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Committee president Benjamin Blumenstein taught himself to juggle during his senior year of high school and organized a juggling preceptorial this past Sunday with Penn Illusionists.

Credit: Tiffany Pham , Tiffany Pham

For students interested in learning homebrew chemistry, bartending, ballroom dancing and other skills not ordinarily taught in school, Penn's Preceptorial Committee has got them covered.

Preceptorials are not just a New Student Orientation phenomenon. Every semester, students have the chance to select from an eclectic array of fun, short, not-for-credit courses that the Preceptorial Committee offers. The classes are uniquely generated each semester by students on the committee, except for some that have proved to be very popular in the past, like "Intro to Bartending," "Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking" and "Intro to Latin and Ballroom Dance."

“What we run depends on what our members want to do … whatever they are passionate about,” Engineering sophomore and Preceptorial Committee President Benjamin Blumenstein said. “A member has an idea, they find a professor or someone to teach it, and we supply the budget.”

For instance, College junior  and Preceptorial Committee Vice President Patricia Chan said that in collaboration with her biology professor Linda Robinson, the two came up with the idea of a shark dissection preceptorial. 

Shark dissection, wine tasting and "Intro to Bartending" have been some of the most iconic classes in the past, said Wharton sophomore and committee member Alisha Joshi said.

While registration has reached full capacity for the spring, students can sign up for courses on in the fall.

Below are some of the most popular classes offered this semester.

Intro to Bartending: This course will be a comprehensive overview of bartending and drink making. The course will cover themed highball drinks, shots, layered shots, margaritas, martinis and more. There is no age limit, and students will receive a bartending certification from Penn at the end.

Mad Potter’s Wheel: Students will have the chance to discover the artist within them, or simply have fun spinning clay in this ever-popular class taught by professors from the Fine Arts Department.

French Macaron 101: Chef Tang of the Sugar Philly food truck will instruct students on how to make the perfect French macaron. Students will even take home a recipe at the end!

Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking: The chance for an avid home cook to learn how to make classic Italian dishes. Chef Matt Buehler from Philadelphia's Vetri Ristorante will be leading the session.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Dinner Party: Students will learn how to throw the perfect dinner party. Vetri line cook Amanda Shulman will reveal the ins and outs of hosting and cooking an unforgettable meal.

Juggling: Penn Illusionists is offering a hands-on juggling class. The class will begin with scarves and move on to a three ball cascade.

Coffee with the Classics: Friendship, Then & Now: What is the meaning of a friendship? Through an informal dinner seminar, students will read texts by Aristotle, Cicero and Emerson and discuss the philosophy behind friendship.

A Guided Tour of the Barnes Foundation: Specially trained guides will take students through the museum, highlighting key pieces of the collection, leading artists and the history of the foundation.

Intro to Latin and Ballroom Dance: Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba, Waltz and Tango. Students will learn Latin and classy ballroom dance moves from top-notch instructors from Penn Latin and Ballroom Dance.

Homebrew Chemistry: the Art & Science of Making Beer At Home: Associate professor of chemistry William Dailey will be teaching students how to make great beer at home.

How To Start A Startup @ Penn: Students interested in entrepreneurship at Penn will find this session useful to learn more about the various components of starting one’s own company.

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