Common Intellectual Experience

All Majors & Minors

Alyse Brewer

Class Year



Chalfont, PA


Biology & English



Most Memorable Moment in Class

I have always been passionate about CIE, but the first time I was really challenged in exciting way was through my first CIE paper. My professor asked us to draw personal connections to the texts, and I was surprised how deeply I was able to relate to a work so different from own life. Whether I was writing papers or participating in class discussion, CIE gave me the unique opportunity to examine my own beliefs and identity, particularly in comparison to my peers and famous authors.

CIE helped me form personal connections on campus.

CIE was a catalyst for intellectual discussion of complex topics such as racism and gender equality virtually everywhere. My friends and I would end up discussing some readings while relaxing in our dorms and eating in Wismer. Since every student at Ursinus has taken CIE, it’s a universal topic for almost every student, but is especially key in uniting other first year students.

CIE challenged my views.

CIE challenged my view on racism. I had always understood that racism was a pervasive issue in contemporary society, but reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow really helped change my perspective and understand the gravity of the issue as well as measures I can take to prevent racism in my daily life.

What you should know going in…

CIE is a course unique to Ursinus. It is the perfect course to take as a first year student since it provides an opportunity to get to know your professors, your peers, and yourselves better.

The amount of effort you put into CIE is ultimately equal to the amount you can gain from the experience. In no other time in my life have I been given an academic opportunity to contemplate my own identity and values in such a unique way.