This year, Connections students were given an opportunity to meet and have lunch with Chris Rose, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter from the New Orleans The Times-Picayune. Rose has a broad background in journalism and spent a great part of his career in New Orleans. In 1984, Rose moved to New Orleans and for the next two decades was the Times-Picayune newspaper’s most popular local columnist, covering social, cultural and political trends and personalities. He received a Pulitzer prize for his post-Katrina coverage of New Orleans.
To be considered for this honor of dining with Chris Rose, students submitted a 350-400 word essay stating why they should be chosen and what questions they would ask him. This year, seven students were selected and they include Austin Spence, Ellyn Thornton, Melinda Helms, Marilize Van der Walt, Darcie Christensen, Britany Chamberlain, and Allison Fife.
Each student shared a little blurb about their experience dining and discussing with Chris Rose. Their comments can be found here:
Lunch with Chris Rose was an interesting and eye opening experience. Rose was the first person I had ever met from New Orleans and who had experienced Hurricane Katrina. Obviously, I had read the books and seen the news stories about Hurricane Katrina, but those were nothing compared to the experiences Rose brought to the table. To me, the best part was to see that Rose could share his emotions about the experience. Not to say that was easy for him, but when asked about his family or how the he thought the government dealt with the situation, we could see his true feelings. Rose was angry and sad for his city and people, but he was also looking towards the future. He had ambitions and hope for his city. This showed that Katrina victims weren’t just another news story, but real people with real problems. It can be hard to realize that without knowing any of the actual victims, and Rose did a fantastic job representing New Orleans. –Austin Spence
I highly enjoyed the lunch with Chris Rose, and found his opinions regarding the changes in society as a result of disasters especially interesting. He related his observations regarding both the polarization of humanity under stress and a community’s ability to unite and rebuild after a crises. These insights were both meaningful in hindsight and for future application. His personal experiences regarding the Hurricane Katrina added depth to my understanding of Zeitoun, in addition to increasing my understanding of the events associated with the storm. –Ellyn Thornton
The lunch with Chris Rose was fascinating. The thing that I valued most from the conversation is the new perspective on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
With myself living in the Western states, my perception came from the media. Chris Rose gave a completely new image of what happened in the aftermath. From what I had originally heard, everything got much better fast. But Rose was quick to point out that rebuilding is still occurring, even after 6 long years. I couldn’t believe it. His stories about life before, after, and during were both riveting and depressing. But they needed to be told. –Melinda Helms
What stood out the most for me was that Chris Rose was so human. He stayed to report the catastrophe, and though he only did what he deemed necessary at the time, he became a hero; he became the eyes for the rest of the US. His stories are fantastically inspirational yet he did not come out of the experience without injury. He seemed emotionally and physically drained–even now, years later. It is because of this evident scarring that we were able to see a vulnerable, human side–his most powerful attribute. Because of it we could put ourselves in his position and feel his pain, the determination of New Orlean’s people, and the lust for this “sexy, sensual city” that binds one so whole-heartedly that all there is left to do is to rebuild. –Marilize Van der Walt
From my lunch with Chris Rose, I learned that so many possibilities for improving our nation were abounding after Hurricane Katrina but none of them were built upon. Speech upon speech was given to stir people to change, but no action was ever taken to progress after the disaster. The things that were done, such as buses coming to rescue people from the Super Dome, were all for show. Those buses could have been there to pick up passengers long before they actually did. The grandeur of the situation was higher on the priority list than actually saving the people. Rose emphasized what a shame it was that more action wasn’t taken against prejudice, racism, and crime in this situation though there were many opportunities for action. He was quite livid that his people were suffering all for the sake of making the government look good via the media. It made me realize how many great opportunities we pass up. Each day, we should be looking for ways to help and serve others just to show our love for them, not to show that we are better than anyone else. –Darcie Christensen
Speaking with Mr. Rose provided a great opportunity to really make the story and heartache of what happened in the wake of Katrina hit home. Whether it was the evident loss, accounts of hardship, or simply hearing first-hand about the process of recovery, Mr. Rose communicated the “realness” of Katrina with every fiber of conversation. Of particular interest to me was his account of how New Orleans has grown since the hurricane—stronger and closer together than ever before. His understanding of the increased level of political efficacy amongst New Orleanians, and of the political opportunities missed in the debate surrounding the city provided a fascinating perspective on some of the broader impacts Katrina had. Ultimately, I felt meeting Mr. Rose was a unique opportunity to really “connect” to the themes of Zeitoun. –Allison Fife
Two USU Undergraduate Research Fellows, Lindsey McBride and Taylor Packer, grace the cover of the just-released CUR Quarterly, a periodical devoted to undergraduate research. McBride works with Dr. Christie Fox and is engaged in analyzing Irish literature. She is a dual major in English and Business and plans on attending law school. Packer, a Piano Performance major, who works with Professor Dennis Hirst, has been working on curriculum design. Both entered USU as first-year students in Fall 2010.
Undergraduate Researchers Lindsey McBride and Taylor Packer Featured on Magazine Cover (Photography by Kinsey Love)
Clifford King, Undergraduate Researcher of the Year for the College of Agriculture, at National Conference
Jong-Su Eun, Ph.D., who is the faculty mentor to the College of Agriculture’s Undergraduate Researcher of the Year, reports of yet another success for Clifford King. He went to the Undergraduate Student Paper Contest at the 2011 DSA-ASAS JOINT ANNUAL MEETING in New Orleans, Louisiana in July 10-14, 2011. He won the 2nd place on the competition .This is another great achievement of ADVS. King had support from ADVS, COA, and Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities (URCO) Grant Program. His presentation topic was: Assessment of ruminal fermentation characteristics under normal or high fermentative temperature in continuous cultures. The project was funded through the URCO grants program. He did a really great job on his oral presentation, and some well-known scientists on ruminal fermentation area were impressed on his presentation performance and knowledge. Cliff is going to start his first semester at the School of Veterinary Medicine, WSU this coming fall.
In March, Jory Johnson learned that she had been invited to participate in MU’s Summer 2011 Internship Program. As part of the nine-week program, she was provided a stipend, on-campus room and board, one hour of research credit to transfer back to USU, and travel to and from Columbia. Her mentor was Dr. Candace Galen of Biological Sciences. On July 28, the summer experience wrapped up with a poster symposium. In addition to the research experience, the program also sponsors weekly workshops and seminars, brown bag lunches, and social activities.The program is coordinated by Dr. Linda Blockus, who directs the Office of Undergraduate Research.
It’s never to early to begin thinking of Summer 2012 and the research experiences that can really make a difference in a student’s academic career.
Veronica Hunsaker, Research Fellow in ADVS, at REU in Oklahoma
Veronica Hunsaker, Research Fellow in ADVS, at REU in Oklahoma
Guest Blogger, Veronica Hunsaker, describes her experience at a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Oklahoma State.
This summer I am doing an NSF REU at Oklahoma State University
studying boldness and learning in Zebra Finches. We are studying to
see if there is a correlation between immunization method and learning
and boldness. Last year the mothers of some birds were immunized, and
the others were immunized as hatchlings. Now we are running the birds
through a series of trials to find a correlation. We introduce a novel
object to each Zebra Finch’s cage and record how close they get to it
to determine boldness. To test learning, a different feeder is put in
the bird’s cage, and we record how many trials it takes them to learn
to eat out of the feeder.
The program also includes seminars and classes about preparing for
graduate school, applying for grants, conducting research, and
research ethics. The program is such a great opportunity to gain an
understanding of research and to prepare myself for further research.
Last week at the CUR Conference, Anna McEntire and I presented on marketing and our UR Program. Throughout the week, we’ve had follow-up emails requesting more information, like one this morning asking about our Undergraduate Research Scholar transcript designation. It’s fairly simple actually: a student applies, noting a minimum of 2 semesters of UR activity, dissemination through presentation or publication, and certification by a faculty mentor. The student also lists other UR activity, which is a great help to us in assessment. Some students–like Jason Carlisle of Wildlife Science–choose to submit an electronic portfolio, which we love, as it gives us a terrific window onto the UR experience. The query about our transcript designation gave me the opportunity to make a count. Our first year saw about 20 UR Scholars, the next year 40, the next 60, and so on. It is increasingly popular, particularly for those students continuing to graduate studies. And, it was a great PR tool for us as when the local newspaper asked for any interesting news stories for the special Commencement issue, they bit on the story idea about the transcript designation. Voila! Several of the students were featured on the front page of the Herald Journal, which made a dandy souvenir for their parents.
Jason Carlisle\’s electronic research portfolio
Max Olsen at REU (UNLV)
I saw the NSF-REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program on the Honors listserv and applied to the one hosted at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) for summer 2011, which focuses on bioinformatics. It was one of those internships where you see it and think “I’ll never get in; it’s probably way too competitive.” A week or so later, I got a call from Dr. Regner, the leader of the REU saying, “ We like your application.” I had to do some further work, but another week later, lo and behold, I received a call saying they wanted me. Dream come true!
What am I doing? I’m working on a full human protein pathway database. This could be used to see where in a pathway a disease is affecting a person and offer ideas on how to heal the person. It’s still early days in the experience, but here’s what I have learned thus far. Nuts & bolts. If you think there is any way remotely that a cost is something that the internship will cover, just ask. I needed a ride to the SLC airport so I asked if they might pay for the airport shuttle, and they did. I got to Las Vegas and got settled in. Work is a blast, and the professor is so nice. If you are worried about what will you do, know that they train REU participants on how to do everything. And then you just get to work. REU sets up weekly events for training, activities, even socials. Yes, there is time to play around and go to The Strip.
I completely endorse this program. I feel like I am learning and also contributing. I look forward to completing the project this summer. And, it makes me feel good to be working on something this important. This will be an invaluable addition to my resume as well as essential experience for graduate school.
Sharing USU Undergrad Research Marketing Strategies
One of the real strengths of undergraduate research at USU is the phenomenal marketing team of the Research Office, led by Anna Brunson McEntire, who started work in the office as, well, an undergraduate researcher. As an intern, Anna began a decade ago laying out a marketing plan and strategy for Research, which has had wonderful benefits for undergraduate research. Ten years of hard work are paying off this week as she presents as a featured speaker at the “Gateways to Best Practices for Undergraduate Research Program Directors.” In this photo, she’s shown at the poster session at the end of day one, sharing one-on-one with conference participants the strategies and products she’s produced for Undergraduate Research. Earlier in the day, she led the conference in a SRO presentation on “Branding and Marketing through Print Publications and Events.” On Thursday morning, she’ll conclude the “track” on public relations by talking about how to “Develop a Marketing Plan for an Undergraduate Research Program.” Not only has the audience been wowed by Anna’s specific advice but also by her overarching knowledge of marketing research. It’s been such a pleasure to watch other institutions invite her for consultation. We’ve been very fortunate at Utah State to find a talented undergraduate, provide a professional experience via an internship, and watch that person grow to become a distinguished expert in the field. In the end, it’s what undergraduate research is all about: helping students get their hands on research. I owe much to Anna for her schooling of me, which proves a second tenet of undergraduate research: both the student and the faculty member benefit.
This is Cool! Chemistry Workshop for High School Students
“This is cool!” I’ll second that. What a pleasure to see on the front page of Friday’s Herald Journal this article on high school students from around the state participating in a weeklong hands-on learning experience in chemistry and biochemistry. Department head Alvan Hengge and Associate Dean Lisa Berreau were overseeing the students in the teaching lab when I stopped in to share undergraduate research brochures with these prospective USU students. At USU, we help new students get involved in research as early as possible, but it surely does help to have lab experience even before the first year! This workshop in chemistry is just one of the outreach efforts that university faculty and departments make to high school students. The wonderful Biotechnology Summer Academy (held in July) springs to mind as does Engineering Week and Business Week.
USU Scholars Celebrate May Swenson at the Bear Lake Overlook
Noted alum May Swenson (’34) was honored on May 28th when a sign with her poem, “Above Bear Lake” was installed at the scenic overlook of the lake that has been termed the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its striking blue color. It was a particular pleasure for me to stop and see it this past Saturday en route to a summer cottage as USU Undergraduate Research is noted as one of the sponsors. Our office funded an URCO Grant that helped Natalie Hatch, English major, envision and work through the project. While it’s taken some time to gain permissions through the various agencies, seeing the reality makes a UR Director’s heart sing. It’s also a great example of how undergraduate research can work in the humanities. “Above Bear Lake” appears in the volume May Out West, which was published by USU Press.