NCUR at Ithaca College

IMG_1849IC hosted the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this year. According to their website, NCUR “is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, this gathering of young scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum. Through this annual conference, NCUR creates a unique environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement, provides models of exemplary research and scholarship, and helps to improve the state of undergraduate education.” 
IMG_1841We expected 3,000 people to arrive on campus. Most of the students and faculty were scared away by the frequent parking updates basically telling us that few spaces would be available. I was sponsoring a student giving a presentation, so I knew that I’d be braving the mob. I arrived about 8:15 a.m. or so and had no problem parking in the Y-lot and catching a shuttle bus to the Textor flag, which is right by the School of Business. I was so worried that the cafe kiosks would be overwhelmed, I brought several bottles of Diet Coke with me. Alas, for most of the day, campus seemed quiet.
IMG_1846IMG_1844I volunteered to moderate a poster session, and the latest available slot was at 2:45 p.m. I thought this would be an easier responsibility for an introvert than moderating an oral session. Things didn’t start off well for me: I was clearly told to go to the fitness center gyms, but I read “Hill Center.” Unfortunately, the two buildings are on opposite sides of campus. When I finally arrived at the fitness center, I realized that all NCUR attendees were squeezed in the very small space for which I was responsible.

In the crowed space with my coat and giant bag (and looking much less professional than the students attached to posters), I was regretting having volunteered. But, I tried to make the best of it, checking to make sure that all the posters and presenters for my 20 tripods were actually in attendance. We’d also been told to ask the students if they’d like us to take their picture with their posters. I would never have thought of that, but the students really seemed to appreciate it. Finally, we were tasked with engaging the students, especially when there wasn’t much traffic at their location. Some of the research was beyond me – so I had to tell the students: I don’t recognize any words in your paper’s title, but why don’t you explain your research to me? Others were really interesting to me, particularly a study on obedience inspired by Milgram, a study on gender and depression, and other business and psychology related topics. Plus, I ran into a couple of my favorite students and enjoyed chatting with them.

While I ended up enjoying my time moderating the session, I was tired. It was not the ideal environment for an introvert that I anticipated, but I wouldn’t be a professor if I didn’t love seeing how excited students can get when something resonates for them.

Patrick, the Miracle Dog

So emaciated his bones protruded, Patrick was found in a Newark, New Jersey housing complex by a maintenance worker on March 16 after having been thrown down a garbage chute. The Associated Humane Societies were notified, and they rushed Patrick to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists where Patrick received a transfusion and life-saving medical treatment. Patrick, who should have weighed about 50 pounds, was only 20 pounds. Miraculously, Patrick survived, and he gets healthier every day. Despite the unimaginable cruelty he suffered, he loves people.

His case has outraged and inspired animal lovers across the country, and donations have ensured that he will receive the ongoing care he needs. However, you may send him a get well card or care package:

Patrick, Patient ID# 92310
Garden State Veterinary Specialists
1 Pine Street
Tinton Falls, NJ 07753

If you are moved by Patrick’s story to make a financial contribution, please send it to your local humane society or use the ChipIn widget on the left sidebar of my blog to help the animals of Japan.

I spent a whole night crying after watching this video, heartbroken by the pain Patrick must have suffered, as well as angry at the person who did this to him. (His former owner has been found and charged with animal cruelty. Though the harm she inflicted is without measure, her maximum punishment is a $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail.)

I hope you will keep in mind, though, that the emaciated creature you see in the video is a commonplace sight in the animal agricultural industry around the world. Individuals who engage in farm animal rescue see this sight whenever they go to an auction.

Use the fire in your heart not to fuel anger, but to fight animal abuses inflicted on both domestic, farm, and wild animals around the globe. What do you plan to do today to help them?