By: Brianna Albertini, Staff Writer
Students have the opportunity to showcase their individual research projects through the College of Science and Technology during Research and Scholarship Day on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hartline Science Center in Kuster Auditorium.
There will be 20 posters on display in the Hartline lobby and 23 presentations in the auditorium throughout the day done by graduate and undergraduate students.
Dr. John Polhill has been assistant dean to the college for two years, and was assigned to advise this project.
“Students get the opportunity to present the research they have been doing under the faculty mentors,” said Polhill.
Each student involved in this event was advised to pick between a poster session and a 15-minute presentation, but some chose to present during both sessions.
The college has discussed inviting alumni, who have done research projects in the past, to this event in order to represent their research, says Polhill, but it has not been done yet.
According to Polhill, the college has invited area companies and graduate schools to the event. In the past the event has not had a large outside attendance, but that is what first-time organizer, Brenda Machuga, has been working hard to change this semester.
“The number one group that it [the event] is for is the students that are doing the research,” said Polhill, “both the students that are presenting the research and those who are just starting the research.”
Machuga has worked on advertising the event through various media channels as well as throughout campus, on the BU website, and local businesses that are related to the research.
The college has been hosting this event every semester since fall 2005, says Machuga, but the spring session is relatively longer than the fall.
“Our spring session is bigger than the fall because sometimes research can encompass time,” said Machuga. “People who may be are graduating in the fall or their research ends in the fall do it then.”
Polhill encourages anyone who plans to go into a research-type career to get involved in a research project and presentation because of the experience and preparation it entails.
“Being someone who has specialized in math, I can still vividly remember giving presentations on an honors thesis to a group of faculty members where I was a student,” said Polhill.
This event is sponsored by the College and Science and Technology.
By: Rae Meade, Managing Editor
With the final days of the spring semester rapidly approaching, Bloomsburg students are prepping for exams, grabbing last minute extra credit opportunities, and writing final papers.
With the influx of papers at the end of the semester, the Bloomsburg Writing Center always receives a spike in visiting writers, so much so that appointments often have to be shortened to only half one hour in order to fit every student into the available time slots.
Though the tutoring service has been popular, it faces a constant battle with students, possibly even more so during finals week when students are on edge.
A dilemma that frequently occurs in the Writing Center is confusion over the policy of collaboration between the student writer and the writing consultant.
According to the Bloomsburg University website, students are in charge of the session, not the tutors. Students cannot drop off their paper and come back for it. Instead, they have to sit with the tutor and gear the session in the direction they want it to go, while the tutor serves as a collaborative member in the session, listening and guiding rather than telling and fixing. While the Writing Center is happy to help students with their papers, their overall goal is to improve the student as overall writers.
“What we want is for writers to work with us in a way that helps them because they are interactive in the session,” said Dr. Ted Roggenbuck, Writing Center director and assistant professor of English. “We emphasize that we don’t want to be a dry cleaning service for the paper, but we expect to have to explain this to students.”
Students often misunderstand the way the Writing Center operates, particularly those who are using the service for the first time. They will come in with the expectation that tutors are proofreaders, says Roggenbuck.
In regards to getting the word out about their policy, Roggenbuck states that it’s not beneficial to focus on what they don’t do because people don’t often hear the “don’t,” accidentally reinforcing misunderstanding. Instead, he says that focusing on what the service does do, and emphasizing that writing consultants want students to come work with them, stressing the collaborative component, is the most they can do to set the record straight.
“We have our strategies, but we also know that for people who are coming to the writing center for the first time, we will often have to negotiate for the session to work in the most effective way,” said Roggenbuck.
Though Roggenbuck and the Writing Center consultants give orientations and explain their philosophies during sessions, there are often students who still are displeased with their services and desire a less collaborative session, with the tutor using directive methods.
“I’ve had students get annoyed, but not necessarily angry, that the session isn’t going to be what they expected,” said Katie Sampson, junior and writing consultant of five semesters. “For instance, they want to just drop their paper off and leave. It’s hard to get past that boundary and get them to say what they want to work on. Sometimes people get frustrated when we ask them questions because they want us to tell them what to do rather than ask them, ‘Well, what do you think about this?’”
“I’ve never had anyone actually say that they weren’t happy with how the session was going, but I have noticed surprise when I explain how we don’t just edit their paper for them,” said Alyssa Duksta, junior and writing consultant of four semesters. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, so that’s what you do?’ But generally, writers will understand once I let them know.”
A reason why students are sometimes surprised about the nature of the session is because of accidental misguidance by their professors, who sometimes say that the Writing Center is a place to get their paper proofread.
If the tutors work on grammar at the student’s request, tutors will not look over the paper without the writers’ contribution, and if possible, try to avoid writing on the students’ work at all. At times, the faculty is uninformed of this, which leads to faculty criticism.
“Sometimes, I almost look forward to faculty criticisms because they create an opportunity for discussion,” said Roggenbuck.
He recounts a time when a faculty chairperson came with a criticism, asking how a student’s paper could be so full of errors when he knew the student went to the Writing Center. Roggenbuck takes moments of criticism such as this one and uses them to explain that tutors are not held accountable for every error in the paper, but rather for improving the writer, and understands how this could be skewed.
With the final days of the semester approaching, students will inevitably be making their way over to the writing center. Though there have certainly been unhappy students in the past, Roggenbuck is optimistic about the present and the future.
In regards to a possible increase in displeased students, Roggenbuck says if there has been, he has not noticed.
“If anything, I think our reception is even better than when I first got here,” said Roggenbuck.
He says that there will always be students who are perhaps displeased with their policy, but that the writing center is on the right track with helping Bloomsburg students grow as writers.
Students raise awareness of water issues in developing countires
By: Gabby Vielhauer
This past Sunday, roughly 30 students on campus joined in the second annual “Be Hope to Her” event. One student, Nick Marsellas, even traveled from Indiana, Pennsylvania to participate in the walk.
“Be Hope to Her” is a national event aimed at raising awareness about adverse conditions in which millions of people on the planet currently live in.
One common and tragic struggle is finding and transporting clean water. In fact, it is estimated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that over 783 million people across the globe don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water.
Last year, nearly 1,000 people on 11 college campuses participated in “Be Hope to Her,” according to the ONE campaign. The movement has grown to over 24 colleges internationally, including one in Florence. There have been demonstrations in major US cities such as Seattle and Pittsburgh.
The funds raised by the event helped to facilitate the drilling of four deep-water wells in Kuria, Kenya. This year, Bloomsburg University raised over $500 to contribute to these clean-water initiatives in Kenya.
The BU Honors Program organized the project on campus. The walk began on the quad and continued through town to Market Street. From there, students walked down to the Susquehanna River and filled buckets with water, which they then walked back up to campus. The act was meant to prompt reflection about how the simple conveniences most Americans enjoy everyday are strains on others around the world.
The event was coordinated primarily with the efforts of senior nursing major, Lizzie Lee, and senior English major, Annie Reno.
Nick Marsellas, a sophomore English major from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said that the experience was a rewarding one.
“I really enjoyed being a part of their project. It felt much more tangible than a bakesale fundraiser, and I think people were better able to connect with the issue that we were fundraising for,” said Marsellas.
He also reflected upon the physical experience of the walk.
“It didn't seem difficult while we were walking, but once we put the buckets down I could feel a stiffness in my back and neck and knew that I'd be sore the next day. I couldn't imagine having to make that trip again in the same day, let alone the typical three times a day,” said Marsellus.
“Water collection affects mainly women and children. Often children cannot attend school because they have to make multiple trips to their water source daily. The trips are time consuming and often perilous,” said Lee about the hardships of many women and children living in Kenya.
“Can you imagine missing school in order to fetch water for your family that isn't even clean? Clean water initiatives promote more than just sanitary drinking water,” continued Lee. “Clean water initiatives allow women and children in developing countries obtain an education, which gives them hope for a better life.”
Lee said the impetus for the project began with her own participation in short-term medical mission trips. She saw the negative effects of unsanitary water usage, including the long-term damages caused by parasites on these trips.
“The greatest challenge comes in simply getting the word out,” said Lee, “Because it is such a new event we need to promote the walk and describe the cause clearly.”
The event will be continued next year by freshman Abbey Brown.
Professors share thoughts on retirement
By: Lily McElroy, News Editor
Bloomsburg University will be saying goodbye to a number of professor’s at the end of the spring semester.
Dr. Dennis Gehris, has taught business education at BU for the past 28 years.
After teaching at the high school level and then at Lehigh County Community College for a number of years, Gehris secured a full-time, tenure track teaching position at Bloomsburg University in 1985.
“I chose Bloomsburg University because it offered a program in my field- Business Education,” said Gehris.
Obtaining a full-time, tenure track teaching position was not Gehris’ only achievement.
“I served as department chairperson, and was coordinator of accreditation before being appointed as Interim Dean from 2005-2006, again in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. I was instrumental in obtaining AACSB accreditation for College of Business in 2004 and led the College to be reaccredited in 2010,” said Gehris.
Dr. Nancy Coulmas, professor of accounting, began teaching at BU in the fall of 1994 after completing doctoral work at Penn State.
“I chose Bloomsburg University because, when I was planning to leave my previous position, I happened to run into a couple of BU professors at a conference. They convinced me to apply here, and the rest is history,” said Coulmas.
Coulmas, who originally had no plans of becoming a college professor, has a number of greatest accomplishments and memorable moments from working at BU.
“It was very satisfying to earn promotion to full professor,” said Coulmas. “It was a privilege to serve as department chair for several years and to make significant changes to our department practices. It was exciting to get our departmental fund-raising started and to be able to use that funding for student scholarships,” said Coulmas.
Coulmas, who coached the Business Plan Challenge team that won the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants competition and served as graduation reader for the College of Business since her second year, will miss a variety of things about BU.
“I will miss our students and being in the classroom with them,” said she. “I will also miss many of the friends and colleagues I have worked with over the years and I will miss the beautiful campus.”
“I plan to spend a great deal of time with various members of my family, especially my grandchildren,” said Coulmas regarding plans after retirement. “After that, I will be doing some work on my house, reading lots of books, and perhaps finding other things to do that I haven’t really tried before.”
Dr. William Green, who taught Mass Communications at BU for the past 23 years, will also be teaching his last classes and saying goodbye to campus this spring.
Green worked as a reporter in Toledo for six years, then went on to teach at Ohio State for two years prior to accepting a position at BU.
“I wanted to be closer to family,” Green said when asked how he chose to teach at BU. “I liked that Bloomsburg was a teaching institution and I thought there was a lot of potential in the department at that time.”