February 2011 Archives

Thon group 2011.jpg
A recipe for success: mix one part supreme leader,  one part amazing motivator, six parts energetic dancers, and many parts enthusiastic and committed Earth and Mineral Science (EMS) students and you get a record $85,900 raised for Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON.
Simone Gleicher, a senior meteorology student, used her leadership talents for the second year in a row as the overall chair of the EMS Dance Marathon (THON) committee to help EMS earn first place among general organizations in fund raising for THON 2011. "I never danced and I probably never will," she said, as she explained how the dancers are an important part of the event, but "lots of students are responsible for increasing the success of EMS THON. Every student who went canning, made THONvelopes, worked pizza sales, participated in fundraisers, or communicated with their friends and family about THON made this possible," she said.  Her ability to easily share the spotlight may be because she is a triplet. "I had to come to college before I even had my very own birthday cake," she said laughingly. She's quick to point out the talents of many members of the EMS team.

 "Greg Ferro, another senior meteorology student, is the overall canning chair, and he's a master at motivation," she said. He spent hours putting together the canning trips coordinating the overnight accommodations, pairing new EMS THON recruits with older, experienced ones, and ensuring that students raised money safely, and also enjoyed themselves. After each trip, he put together a slide show highlighting the canning experience that reinforced the message of the mission of THON: to conquer pediatric cancer.
This year EMS had six dancers, up from four in 2010. The number of dancers an organization has is determined by how much the organization raised the previous year, and because EMS raised $55,035 last year, they gained two slots for 2011. The six dancers were Laura Schell (materials science and engineering), Christine Hardos (geography), Lauren Kohl (energy, business, and finance), Ryan Leddy (meteorology), Glenn DeAngelis (energy engineering), and Dan Vecellio (meteorology).

Throughout the year, EMS students interact with the families they are paired with through the Adopt-A-Family program. This year, the Michael Woods and Troy Brewer families were assigned to EMS. Michael is ten years old, and his cancer is in remission; however, Troy passed away in 2006. The relationships the students have with the families inspire them.  Students commented that whenever they felt overwhelmed with academic and fund-raising commitments, they reminded themselves of the children battling cancer, and they realized their own challenges were small in comparison.

The connection to the families who have or are experiencing pediatric cancer is also felt intensely during Family Hour which takes place on Sunday of THON weekend.  It includes a slideshow of cancer survivors, family speakers, and the "Celebration of Life," which commemorates those who have died. "Family Hour should be a graduation requirement," said Dan Vecellio. "I believe everyone should experience that number of people coming together for one cause. It puts everything into perspective."

THON began in 1973 when 39 couples danced for 30 hours in Penn State's HUB ballroom. Now it's a 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon with a yearlong fund raising effort of more than 15,000 students raising a record $9,563,016.09 for the Four Diamonds Fund. EMS students are pleased to be the top general organization for money raised, but it's all because they kept the focus of the overall event: for the kids, or FTK, they say.

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Because it's the week of love--Valentine's Day was Monday--let's have some fun with these two words: only and love. Watch what happens to the meaning of a sentence when you move ONLY around.

ONLY I love you!
No one else loves you. Not even your mum!

I ONLY love you! 
In other words, I don't like you, hate you, or feel confused by you. My emotion is only love toward you.

I love ONLY you!
I don't love anyone else. I don't even love my mum.

Notice that ONLY is a modifier in this sentence.  Modifiers are adjectives or adverbs that limit the meaning.  The placement of ONLY can change the meaning of the sentence, so it's important to pay careful attention to it for clarity. It's best to place ONLY immediately before what it limits (or modifies). If anyone ever told you that you have a misplaced modifier, it's probably because you didn't put the modifier immediately before the noun or verb you wanted to limit.
Now use this little grammar lesson to improve your love life! 

Meteo Students Attending AMS 2.jpg

Forty-three undergraduate meteorology students from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences attended the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference in Seattle, Washington in the last week of January. This was the largest group of student attendees from Penn State and represented one percent of the overall attendees at the conference. Students are members of the Penn State Branch of the AMS (PSUBAMS), Campus Weather Service, and the meteorology honors society.

The theme of the meeting was "Communicating Weather and Climate." At the students 'recent meeting back at University Park, they discussed the many lessons they learned. Secretary of the honors society, Chris Slocum stated, "I discovered that it's important to consider the end-user when communicating scientifically correct forecasts, and also how difficult this can be when forecasts are more uncertain."  He was also surprised to learn how meteorological data informs US intelligence agencies on piracy threats.

Burkely Twiest was surprised to learn that Weather is the most popular Mobile App, but on average people spend only 30 seconds on it. "The whole job of communicating science with the public has to be done quickly," she commented, and "you have to give them a context they understand."  Ryan Leddy learned that "trust and responsibility are key to effective climate communication."

Many students commented that their job skills improved by attending the conference. Christine McEnrue and Simone Gliecher found networking to be awkward at first, but as a tag team they approached people and were pleased to find how easy it became. Jeremy Geiger was also amazed to find himself networking on an elevator with the Chief of the National Weather Service.

Information on jobs and graduate schools was helpful to many students. "The biggest thing I took away was not scientific," stated Jesse Schwakoff. "Even if you think you know what you want to do, keep an open mind." He discovered that he may want to join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps Officers. As he toured one of their ships, he found himself interested in learning more about their operations under the sea combining meteorology and oceanography. On the other hand, Mary Morris decided after talking to a number of graduate schools, that she'll probably pursue a higher degree.

Hailey Mitchell announced she learned a new impressive word at the conference: magnetohydrodynamics. Even though she proudly pronounced it with ease, she said her most important lesson was, "The atmospheric science community as a whole is very supportive and encouraging of young scientists." 

This was the first time many students had been to Seattle, and Krista Gibbons made them all laugh when she said, "I learned that pictures lie--the Space Needle is actually smaller than I imagined!" Listening to this lively, dedicated group of Penn State meteorological students come away with so many perceptive observations about their field and their futures is proof of the value of this experience.

Seattle 6.jpgIt's always important to give proper credit by citing your sources. Generally, in academic writing you will be following the author and date format inside parentheses. Yet you may have already introduced the source, and want to refer to it again in another sentence later in your paper. You can use what's known as a verb of attribution to connect the source material to the statement. Below are common verbs of attribution.

                         acknowledge, add, admit, advise, agree, allow, analyze, assert,

                         believe,  charge, claim, comment, compare, concede, conclude,

                         consider, contend, criticize, declare, describe, disagree, discuss,

                         dispute, emphasize, endorse, explain, express, find, grant, illustrate,

                         insist, interpret, list, maintain, note, object, offer, point out, reason,

                         refute, reject, reply, report, respond, reveal, see, show, speculate,

                         state, suggest, suppose, think, write

These verbs are also useful for non-academic citing. Think about it: magazines and newspapers use sources, but you never see them inside parentheses. Here's an example from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 14, 2011.

Fruit flies show how to simplify computer nets
By David Templeton,

And you thought the fruit fly was just a pesky little insect that likes rotten apples.                           

Actually the fly, or at least its nervous system, has inspired a better way to organize and operate computer networks, especially wireless sensor networks.

Ziv Bar-Joseph, a computational biologist at Carnegie Mellon University, was studying the fly when it struck him that its nervous system of hairlike structures that allow it to feel and see was not only doing what computer networks try to do but did it more simply.

A study by Dr. Bar-Joseph and five co-authors, published today in the journal Science, reveals that the fly's nervous system serves as an efficient model for organizing numerous cells to operate in unison to accomplish prescribed tasks. The group used that knowledge to write a computer algorithm, or program, to better operate computer networks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11014/1117890-96.stm#ixzz1D0UHHWtM


Notice the bibliographic information of the article written by Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph is given, but it's within the text of the article, and it doesn't include the actual name of the article in Science. However, a reader with an interest could go and find the specific article in a library if he/she wanted to. And what better library could you got to than the Seattle Public Library. Hence the photo I took during my trip to the AMS Conference last week. (It's all about the photo!)

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