Rodman Seminars

Rodman Seminars are student-taught one-credit courses for and by Rodman Scholars.

Fall 2023

Section 001: Hand-Sewing 101

Time: Thursdays 11 am - 12 pm

Instructor: Lauren Hernon

Have you ever had a button fall off of your favorite shirt? Come learn to fix it yourself! Hand-Sewing 101 teaches the basics of how to stitch by hand. This includes, but is not limited to, sewing buttons, repairing small tears/holes in fabric, and learning different types of stitches.


Section 002: Beginner Magic: The Gathering

Time: Wednesdays 6-7 pm 

Instructor: Elijah Witt

Looking for a fun new tabletop card game to play with your friends? Join this introductory Rodsem into the world of Magic! We'll explore the basic Modern ruleset, deckbuilding (cards provided), and beyond. If you've never played MtG before or you've recently started, then this seminar is for you!


Section 003: Icebreakers

Time: Mondays 10 am

Instructor: Brett Hogan

If you're a fan of mints or getting to know people, this is the class for you! Learn about yourself and others in a relaxed and inclusive environment. Led by the least friendly person in the class of 2024.


Section 004: Intro to D&D

Time: Thursdays 3-5 pm

Instructor: Charles Alhusen

This Rodsem will be an introduction to D&D. There is no previous D&D experience required, we'll be starting off with character creation and then playing a campaign starting from level 1.


Section 005: Picking Up Ultimate Frisbee

Time: Fridays 9:30 - 11 am 

Instructor: Jayeesh Chennupati

In this course, we'll be learning the fundamentals of Ultimate Frisbee. Don't worry if you don't know what a mark, dump, cut, sky, or a Callahan is, this one is a tough one. Learn how to throw a flick, a backhand, and any other weird types of throws you'd want to. Be the cool kid who catches a disc no one thought was possible to reach or get an amazing block. Or come out to get some Vitamin D and your daily exercise. We might participate in intramurals and compete for the shirt if there is a significant interest in that.


Section 006: Perfect Pairings

Time: Tuesdays 6:30 pm

Instructor: Katie Borland

For 4th years only. Delve into the science behind a selection of drinks, what makes them different, and how best to pair them with food.


Section 007: Behind Beer

Time: Tuesdays 5:30 pm

Instructors: Dayton Barker and Brendan Cox

For 4th years only. Ever wondered the difference between an IPA and stout? Do you know how to rate a beer based upon its appearance and feel? If not, come learn about the differences between beer varieties whilst getting to taste test examples of that kind of brew.


Section 001: High Intensity Interval Training

Time: Wednesdays 9 am

Instructor: Caroline Bell

Want to get yourself to the gym and fulfill a Rodsem at the same time? Join this fun, HIIT based workout class. Learn new skills, jam out to some fun music, and start your Wednesdays off right! No fitness experience needed.


Section 002: Let's Get Buzz'd

Time: Fridays 11 am

Instructor: Cat Sano

Have you ever wondered how your favorite caffeinated drinks are made? Making your favorite espresso and tea drinks is a lot easier than you think (and spares your wallet from daily barista tips). Join weekly to learn to make lattes, matcha, drip coffee, and chai with friends. Bring in your favorite mug, spread joy, and start your Friday buzz’d.  


Section 003: Unconventional Ice Creams

Time: Wednesdays 3 pm

Instructors: Brett Hogan & Eirian Crocker

Using a $20 ice cream maker and the hubris of playing god, build and consume one of ten unique ice cream flavors to determine the best. Class discusses food science and builds character.


Section 004: Action Movies & Chat

Time: Fridays 2 pm

Instructor: Sudarshan Atmavilas

Each week, we'll watch the best clips from an action movie/franchise (Inception, The Matrix 1, Avengers movies, Black Panther 1, Star Wars prequels & originals, & more) and talk about what they mean! Anyone's free to join -- no previous viewing required, but it's possibly recommended to avoid spoilers & for some context going in!


Section 005: How Not to Get Salmonella

Time: Tuesdays 6:30 pm

Instructor: Katie Borland

A cooking class for beginners. Learn how to handle and cook raw meats, make pasta from scratch, proper cutting techniques and more!


Section 006: The Science of Wine Production

Time: Wednesdays 9 am

Instructors: Emily Buerk & Lauren Laughlin

In this course we will dive into the history of production and consumption of wine. Additionally, we will explore the science behind wine production and experiment on different types of wine from a variety of locations. This class is only for 4th year Rodman students.


Section 007: Effective Altruism

Time: Thursdays 2 pm 

Instructor: Casey Evans

This course will explore the ideas behind the movement known as Effective Altruism (EA), which aims to find the best ways to help others and put them into practice. By taking this course, you'll get a feeling for what EA is, why it can help you make decisions regarding your time/money/career, and get an overview of some of the major issues facing humanity. Discussion topics will include global health/poverty, AI, geopolitics, pandemic preparedness, existential risk, animal welfare, etc.


Section 008: Chess: Tactics and Strategy

Time: Tuesdays 3 pm 

Instructor: Nathaniel Ribeiro

A Rodsem on the game of chess, including strategies, tactics, history of chess, current events, and openings. Time included for friendly rapid games during class time. No prerequisite knowledge of chess is required although prior understanding of how the pieces move is helpful.


Section 009: Ballet

Time: Wednesdays

Instructor: Abby Freed

Join us for a weekly ballet class. No experience required, I'll teach everything you need to know. We may alternate dancing and watching ballets. 


Section 010: Quantitative Brainteasers

Time: Wednesday 5 pm

Instructors: Cooper Scher & Drew Goldman

A course that explores logic, game theory, and probability with interactive problems and brainteasers. The content is geared towards topics used in quantitative interviews from two students who just went through the process.


Section 011: Wine Tasting

Time: Friday 3 pm

Instructor: Hayden Ratliff & Noah McGhee

Are you a wine connoisseur? Never tried wine in your life and interested in developing your taste? Just want to hang out with your fellow Rodmans while tasting wine from around the world? In this Rodsem, we will embark on a wine journey together, learning about the history of wine, how to taste it, and tasting wine from the region, the country, and the world. Fourth years only.


Section 012: Starbust: Great Coffee at Home

Time: Tuesdays 3 pm

Instructor: Ali Houssain Sareini

A coffee lover exists in all of us; though, we tend to settle for poor coffee that we spend our hard earned StarBUCKS on. Great Coffee at Home will walk you through the techniques and various methods of what coffee is, how to taste coffee, brewing methods, and most importantly, how to do all of this at home cheaply and with amazing results. Whether you like your coffee black, or filled to the brim with cream, we've got you covered on improving your results, and guiding you through world of coffee.


Section 013: Intro to Dungeons and Dragons

Time: TBD

Instructor: Anthony Moore

We are going to learn and play Dungeons and Dragons. Any level of experience is welcome!


Spring 2022 Rodsems!

UVA Squid Game

Instructor: Jason Yu

The course structure is divided into two parts. In the first part of the course, class meetings will consist of watching the Netflix show Squid Game along with class discussions analyzing the plot, characters, and themes of the show. The second part of the course will involve planning, publicizing, and organizing a six-week, Squid Game-like tournament open to all UVA students.


Dungeons & Dragons

Instructor: Anthony Moore

We're going to learn and play D&D! Any level of experience is welcome, we will go over how to play D&D and then play a campaign.



Instructor: Justin Gou

Come play chess! No experience necessary!


Intro to Japanese Animation

Instructors: Daniel Xue & Neha Krishnakumar

I would write something deep and philosophical, but to be honest, this is just us watching anime and receiving course credit for it.


Textile Engineering

Instructors: Abigail Freed & Cecilia Smith

Explore textile engineering with us through arts and crafts. In this class you are welcome to bring your own textile based project (embroidery, knitting, crocheting, etc.) or join us in making a new type of friendship bracelet every week or so. Thread will be provided.


Classic Card and Board Games

Instructors: Benjamin Van Zandt & Stephen Durham

Explore and learn classic card games with fellow Rodmans. Learn strategies and compete against classmates in games such as Poker, Capitalism, Rummy, ERS, Casino, Spoons, and more! Also play board games such as Monopoly, Risk, and Pan Am (new game).


Oui Wii

Instructors: Sharon Lu, Bebe Holloway, & Madison Stone

We will be playing Wii games (Mario Kart, Just Dance, Wii Sports, etc.)!

Rodsems Fall 2021

Baking For Dummies - How To Bake It Til You Make It

This course will teach you how to bake a variety of delectable foods, no matter your skill level. Make the dishes yourself and enjoy with friends. The class will culminate in an end of year bake-off for a spectacular prize! You must have access to a kitchen in your place of residence in order to participate, as there will be an at-home baking component.


Introduction to Magic the Gathering

The trading card game Magic the Gathering (MtG) was created in the early 1990s by Richard Garfield working with Wizards of the Coast, a popular gaming company probably best known for their wildly popular ttrpg series, Dungeons and Dragons. Magic is a card game that combines fantasy ideas from games like D&D with the earlier collectible sports cards, and in doing so pioneered an entirely new genre, with other popular games including the Pokemon TCG, Yugioh, and Hearthstone. In this Rodsem, I will teach the basics of playing Magic, and introduce a couple formats of play.


Ghibli Movies

We will watch and comment on various Ghibli or Ghibli inspired movies


Wine Tasting (21+)

Tasting various wines, with a Virginia focus so we can enjoy local flavors!


Bored? Games?

Explore the world of tabletop entertainment and physical game design through play testing a variety of board games. Through this experience, you will explore cost benefit analysis, understand the importance of teamwork and trust, and enhance your cognitive and memory skills in an enjoyable way.


The Only Good Chem Class You'll Ever Take (Don't Argue, ChemE Students!)

This Rodsem is about love, and by love, I mean trashy love. Specifically, dating shows. During the course of this semester, we will be doing nothing but watching dating shows, and we will be making diagrams and maps trying to predict who will end up with who. My goal is to get as many of you as invested in these carefully constructed false relationships as I am. So, if you're ready to watch people cause drama make absolutely mindnumbingly stupid decisions for a cash prize, come join me in the only good chem class you'll ever take.


Explore Artistic Expression

A course that allows UVA’s best engineers to explore their creativity through painting, but with a twist. Each painting project we tackle will present a new and unique creative challenge that encourages you to think in different ways!


Dungeons and Dragons Rodsem

We’re going to learn and play Dungeons and Dragons! Any level of experience is welcome, and this is a good introduction to the game if you’ve always been curious.


Mixology & Bar Skills (21+)

This course will provide an introduction to spirits and liqueurs and their associated bartending skills. We will cover basics on pouring with tools such as jiggers and cocktail shakers, as well as how to garnish and create flourishes. This course will teach you how to create classic cocktails like the old fashioned, margarita, moscow mule, etc and explore the history and evolution of these drinks. We will also visit some local cville bars and have the opportunity to learn how to pour a few of their signature drinks.

Rodsems Fall 2020

Wine Tasting

This class explores the basic skills and knowledge for budding wine aficionados! Students have the chance to chat with friends while learning the different components and styles of wine, along with the relevant lingo. We cover everything from the methods of tasting, food pairing, choosing glassware, and handling wine.

Anarchist Thought and Practice 

This class serves as an introductory view of anarchism and its applications in the modern world. Each week looks at a school of anarchist thought or a key area of interest within anarchism. The purpose of this course is to expose students to various forms of political thought and praxis with an emphasis on the collective discussion of ideas. 


This class teaches the fundamentals of yoga and successful practice. We learn about the physical and mental practice of yoga and mindfulness including breathing techniques and the importance of meditation.

Debate and Discussion

This class is a forum where students can hone their debating skills through open form discussion of topics chosen by students. This Rodsem gives the opportunity to challenge each other’s beliefs and your own perception of the world by discussing and debating current events and popular culture.

Zero to One: How to Start a Startup/Entrepreneurship Essentials

What really makes a startup successful? There are many factors that influence this entrepreneurial prospect which we explore in this Rodsem. We combine elements from our own experience running a startup to help you pursue an idea you may want to grow into a potential future venture! This seminar serves as a workshop to teach entrepreneurship principles including intellectual property, effectuation, finding co-founders, funding, competitions/grant application writing, etc.

Rodsems Fall 2019

Meditation on the Lawn

An opportunity to learn a free, non-denominational form of meditation known as Heartfulness in a casual group setting. Learn how to build inner focus and create a stress-free routine that’s doable and right for you. 

Computational History

Explore the history of computing by contextualizing the growth of Computer Science from its historical basis. Experiment with Python, Fortran, and C, as well as tools such as git, emulators, containers, and Unix shells, to gain a deeper understanding of how modern Computer Science has evolved, while simultaneously becoming familiar with command-line interface.

Success without Stress

We all know that college is stressful. From balancing coursework to securing internship or job opportunities, to having a social life and occasionally watching Netflix, it can all be a bit overwhelming. This course will explore the connection between work and rest, specifically focusing on how you can learn to achieve your goals without sacrificing your happiness along the way. 

Founding Father of Wine: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson claimed, in 1818, that "in nothing have the habits of the palate more decisive influence than in our relish of wines." Our founding father was one of America's first wine connoisseurs and is credited with bringing over the first French grapes to America. Through this class, participants will learn about Thomas Jefferson's lifelong passion, wine, while exploring the local wine making techniques and grapes varieties Jefferson inspired. 

Intro to VR/AR

Technology demonstrations of VR and AR.

Decorative Candle Carving: The Art, Origins, & Science

Students will learn about the mediums and craft of candle making and carving. We will explore various waxes and practice traditional carving techniques to produce ornamentation on hand-dipped candles. There will also be opportunities to create other types of fun, decorative candles. Lessons will include lecture on the science, art, or history of candle making and hands-on candle making and carving components.

Teamfight Tactics

Teamfight Tactics was released in June of this year by Riot Games, the same company that created the hit game League of Legends. It is a "round-based strategy game that pits you against seven opponents in a free-for-all race to build a powerful team that fights on your behalf." We will be spending time learning the basics mechanics of the game, eventually building up to learning more advanced strategies.

Trading Interview Prep

A course designed for interview preparation for proprietary trading firms. Will include sessions covering financial derivatives, how to come up with a pitch, brainteasers, mental math, and some non-technical questions.


We will explore coffee through its history, varieties, roasting, brewing, and preparation. We will focus on brewing, especially on pour-over methods. Each student will get to brew coffee in unique ways and drink a lot of coffee.