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Alpha Nu Fireside Reading

Every year Alpha Nu hosts a Fireside Reading.  We pick a theme and then tell campus to come to the Clark Alumni House to read stories and drink apple cider.  Anyone can bring anything that fits the theme: either something they've personally written or something they haven't written.  This year the theme was Horror on the Homestead.  We had a lovely turnout, lots of English faculty, Dr. Bob (he's from the Rhetoric department), and students!  Ann Struthers (Professor of poetry) read some of her poems, Kobe read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, Whitney read a poem she had written, and Colin read A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner.  It was a fun, literary night.  Check out some photos taken by Emily, a fellow Writing Center consultant.      


Ann being festive!



Playground of Science

Alison and her cochroach
So the ninth annual Playground of Science happened Thursday night.  Peterson opens its door for the Cedar Rapids community and kids and their parents come for a night of science.  Each floor (Physics, Biology, and Chemistry) does demonstrations and there are treats and Halloween decorations and general FUN.  I wasn't able to go last year but I made sure to go this year with my friend Alison W.  We saw a lot of neat things, mainly on the Physics floor because Alison is a Physics major.  We also ventured up to the Biology floor because Alison wanted to hold a cockroach.  All the kids were having a fantastic time; it was fun to watch them literally sprint to Peterson because they were so excited.  Their eyes grew wide as they watched "crazy" things happen and then zone out as the students and professors tried to explain the science behind the crazy.  
Craig juggling fireballs.

Nicki and her Van de Graaff Generator (static electricity)



Plans for May 2012: MADE

So I got the confirmation email last night that I'm a proud member of the Lake District 2012 May Term Trip.  YESSSS!! 

I am so pumped.  I can't even explain it.  The excitement probably matches my 100th Post Celebration.  This is going to be so much fun.  Including myself, there are nine students and Dr. Bob traveling to England to see London and the Lake District for 26 beautiful May days.  There will be a ton of writing and so many fun adventures.

I even have my passport all ready to go.  Now I just have to wait until May.  

I'm Been Promoted to Tutor

So let's say that you're struggling in a class.  You try a ton of different study strategies but nothing seems to be working.  You think all hope (and your GPA) is lost.

Think again.

At Coe, we provide an AWESOME (and free) service to all our students who want a little extra help in their classes.  The Academic Achievement Program (AAP) partners with our faculty to hand pick students to be tutors.  So if you're struggling in a class, you simply have to go to the AAP office (located in Lower Voorhees) and ask for a tutor.  AAP will match you up with a tutor and you can meet with them up to three times a week.

Sweet, right?

Well, this past week I was asked to be tutor for my Introduction to Psychology class.  I LOVE my Psychology class because I think it's a fascinating area of study.  It's not something I'll major in but I love being able to know why we think and do certain things.  Also, I enjoy learning about how Psychology and various schools of thought have evolved over time.  As my friends can attest, I do find many many many ways of slipping psychology terms into everyday discussion.  Sure, it's a bit nerdy, but hey, I remember those terms really well.  So it's a win.

On Tuesday I met my tutee.  We're going to meet two times a week and I'm excited.  This is such a great way for me to help someone while reviewing the terms myself.  I love finding ways of making terms relateable to others.  I met with him to study psychology tomorrow.  Wish me luck!      


UW-Madison Overview

I'm back safe and sound in Cedar Rapids after a fantastic trip to my home state.  Since the last time I posted, I attended multiple sessions all about Writing Centers in the Midwest, ate dinner on State Street, spent Saturday morning taking in UW-Madison, and finally returned back to Coe on Saturday night.

The Pyle Center from UW-Madison Campus Photo Library
The conference was held at the Pyle Center, right near the Main Memorial Union.

I also just finished typing up a ten page report for Dr. Bob with my observations on the conference.  Here are some of the highlights.

I attended seven sessions and during one of those sessions I was a presenter.  I presented with Haley and Dr. Bob and we talked about the culture and community of the Writing Center.  I'm sure I've said this before, but the Writing Center is such a fantastic culture.  Over the past year I've started coming to the Writing Center more when I'm not actually working.  It's a great place to get in a few minutes of studying (if you can ignore all the conversations going on around you) or to say hello to your fellow consultants.  The people I've met through the Writing Center are great people spread across all the majors at Coe.  I've probably learn most of what I know about Coe through them and all their experiences!  It's been a great source of pride to show prospective students the Writing Center when I'm working for Admissions.  I love taking them down to the Stuart-Peterson Tunnel and showing them what our Writing Center is all about.

But back to the conference.  Last year in Baltimore, I felt I discussed English as a Second Language (ESL) conferences a fair amount; it was the theme in my mind for my first Writing Center conference.  This year, I felt the theme was all about finding the writer's voice and creating strong and solid relationships with the writer.  This was a particularly interesting topic because as a writer, my voice is pretty crucial.  We mainly talked about academic voice -- how to find it and how to keep it alive when the paper isn't the writer's favorite cup of tea.  At this conference, I also met a lot of graduate students who were presenting on their papers.  Hearing about their experiences only made me excited to attend graduate school.  Yes, I know that's still a ways off, but hey, I'm allowed to think about it!

Memorial Union Lakefront Cafeteria
When I wasn't learning about Writing Centers, I was exploring parts of campus.  I did some homework on the Education Building Pavilion, ate Babcock ice cream at the Memorial Union while looking out at Lake Mendota, ate dinner on Friday night at Parthenon Gyros, walked State Street on Saturday morning, and saw the newly remodeled Chazen Museum of Art. I also saw a few friends from high school who go to UW-Madison.  It was nice to see them and tell them about my Writing Center and Coe adventures and hear about theirs!

But sadly, the trip did have to end.  We made the trek back to Coe on Saturday afternoon.  I'm lucky to have been able to go; I learned a lot (hopefully will use some of these ideas in our own Writing Center) and had a nice time.


Back in Wisconsin!

Well I'm not at Coe right now, hello Wisconsin!  We arrived in Middleton last night, checked into our hotel and then went out for pizza at an adorable restaurant called the Roman Candle.  The pizza was fantastic.

We are leaving early this morning (6:45 AM) to head downtown and check in at the conference.  I'll be attending sessions all day and also presenting in one of them with Dr. Bob and Haley.  Should be a good time.

More to come once things start happening!


Back To Campus (But Only For a Few Days)

Alison and I headed back to campus this afternoon, concluding our 2011 Fall Break.  The five days I was back in Mt. Horeb seemed to FLY by and it's hard to believe I'm back on campus.  For the second half of my first semester.  Crazy, right?  Right now I'm in the library, occupying my favorite second floor long table with some friends, working on homework.  I made a To-Do list before I came back and so far I've accomplished a fair amount on the list.  That feels so good.  It will be a busy two days of classes and meetings before I head back to Wisconsin on Thursday afternoon.  I'll make another blog post once I'm in Madison, an off campus post!  Exciting right?

Happy Fall! :)


Coming Soon: A Trip to the Isthmus

This weekend, I'm home in Wisconsin for Fall Break.  I go back to Coe on Tuesday but then on Thursday, end up right back in Wisconsin.  Why you might ask (especially since I would have just gone home for Fall Break)?  Because it's time for a Writing Center Conference!

If you remember from last year, the Writing Center took a trip to Baltimore for a conference.  It was a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity to learn about how other Writing Centers across the nation operate.

This year, the Midwest Writing Centers Association will be on the Isthmus!  Around 20 consultants along with Dr. Bob will get to hang out with Bucky Badger for a few days.  We head to Wisconsin on Thursday and the conference begins on Friday.  Haley, Dr. Bob and myself will be a part of a panel on Friday talking about a liberal arts education in conjunction with our Writing Center.  I'm excited to meet new people and learn about other Writing Centers and it will be nice to spend some more time in Wisconsin!  


Midterms Are Over

I just took my midterm Psychology test which went well!  So now I will be able to relax a bit for the second half of the week.  I mean, I'll still be busy but now I can see Fall Break on the horizon.  And it's exciting!  It's a raining day here in Cedar Rapids but I won't let that sour my good mood.


Swing Dancin' Saturday

Well my Saturday night would not have been complete without some swing dancing.  Rugcutters is a dance club on campus.  They meet Wednesday nights and teach people how to dance!  On Saturday night they decided to try something different and hold a PUB dance.  They paired up with Slick Shoes, Cornell College's swing dance club, for a night of swing.  Haley, Nicki, and I decided to check it out and we were glad we did!

When we got there we were just amazed at some of the dancers out there; they seemed so fluent and confident it was incredible.  And memorizing.  After standing around for a couple of minutes, some Rugcutters came over and taught us the basic swing dance move.  Which is really simple.  Step to the right, step to the left, back step.  Repeat.  It's that simple!  Of course once you start adding turns and whatnot in, well that's gets a little more complicated.

Both Rugcutters and Slick Shoes were super friendly and helpful to us newbies.  They asked us to dance and taught us a few things.  I mean, I definitely did more watching than dancing but that was totally fine with me.

Rugcutters also participates in an event in Iowa City called Hawkeye Swing Fest.  I've included their dance from last year.  You should know the tune.  

It's really neat to see clubs like this.  The students involved are extremely passionate.  I'm glad they had an informational session and I hope to do more swing dancing in the future!

CoeFest Sucess!

My Saturday was pretty busy: from Campus Visit Day then to CoeFest!  Senate's music festival was a success.  The bands were great and the pig roast was something different and had the campus smelling good all day long.

I helped out for four hours, mainly manning the table.  I got waters for band members, sold our CoeFest t-shirts (I've included our sweet design by Treasurer Whitney Hu below), and chatted with friends while listening to awesome music.  Favorite band?  Probably OSG, the nine piece funk band.  You had some drums, piano, saxophone, trombone, and voices.  It was fantastic.

Another neat thing?  I think other Coe students enjoyed it too.  I saw a ton of CoeFest t-shirts being worn on Sunday so I take that as a good sign.  Hopefully this will become a longstanding tradition!

Welcome Prospective Kohawks! Campus Visit Day 2011

On Saturday Coe had a few more people on campus than usual.  Not only was there the second home football game of the season (we won!) but it was also a Campus Visit Day.  That meant I was up early to help Admissions welcome students and to give a tour.

I had a great tour group, filled with some great kids.  It was fun showing them around campus and telling them stories about my own experiences.

Also, mine and Heidi's room was a show room in case people wanted to see a Murray room.  I even made a pretty sign to put on our door but sadly, no one visited our room!  Oh well, I'll keep the sign for future Campus Visit Days!

Our next Campus Visit Day is Saturday, November 12th.  You can still register here.  It's a great way to see campus and also listen to panels or chat with your Admissions counselor to learn more about Coe.  Or, even better, you could come on Friday, sit in on some classes, have lunch in the caf, and talk to professors in the area you're interested in studying.  Round the weekend off with Campus Visit Day and you're sure to have a great weekend!  


Old Times

This past weekend the last showings of Coe's first theatre performance occurred.  I went to see Harold Pinter's Old Times on opening night.  I also helped usher twice this past week, on Thursday and Friday.  I finally learned how the seats in the round (Dows Theatre) worked.  I think every performance (there were six) had a good crowd.  Lots of students came out to support the three actors and all the tech people who have spent the last three months getting this show ready.

The plot of the play is really weird and if you know Pinter, you'll know what I'm talking about.  The cast didn't try to hard to interpret what the show meant either so it was left up to each audience member's opinion.

This show was definitely an unique way to start the 2011-2012 theatre season off!  Next up, Twelfth Night (near Thanksgiving) and then Drood (a musical in the spring term).  I'll be posting the flyers for these shows sometime this week.  Stay tuned!  Want to know more about the theatre department?  Let me know and I'll be able to direct you to one of my friends who knows all there is to know about theatre at Coe.  



Student Senate is sponsoring an event this weekend which we hope will become a tradition in the coming years.  We've called it CoeFest and it's very similar to Summerfest (in Milwaukee, WI) except it's Coe style.  On Saturday, there will be five bands on the PUB patio playing for Coe students.  In between their sets, a Coe student will be doing a mini-show.  The bands are:

  • The Poison Control Center
  • OSG Music
  • Saturday Night Ride
  • The Burrows 4
  • Derek James
Senate made t-shirts and we're doing a raffle.  I hope a lot of people come because I think there's going to be nice weather and an all around good time. 


Tuesday Night Volleyball

Tuesday was an extremely busy day which is surprising, because usually it's pretty calm.  Since it was so nice outside on Tuesday, I was able to play about thirty minutes of beach volleyball.  It was a perfect study break and a nice chance to see some of my friends.

But I was in for another treat Tuesday night: I FINALLY went to a volleyball game.  It makes me so mad that I hadn't been to one until yesterday.  There was a hefty student section there and most of us were wearing pink: it was their breast cancer fundraiser.  The team played Luther and boy, did they look good.  I can't tell you how much I wanted to be out on the court with them, passing and digging those balls.  I cannot wait for intramural volleyball to start, it's time I got back out onto the court.

I don't know how well you tune into Coe sports but the volleyball team is doing EXCELLENT this year.  So far, they are 5-0 in league play and 19-2 overall.  They looked wonderful last night -- there is a good group of girls from all grades collaborating to make the team what it is this year.  Last night there were so many good rallies (my Grandma Joan would have LOVED it) and some great effort as what looked like impossible balls to reach became possible.

If you want to learn more about the volleyball or just Coe Athletics in general, click here.  Did you know that 35% of our student population are student-athletes?  Remember, Coe is a Division III school playing in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).  Schools in the IIAC include: Buena Vista, Central College, Cornell, University of Dubuque, Loras College, Luther, Simpson, and Wartburg.      


An Abnormally Beautiful Fall Day

Today was GORGEOUS.  It was also a homework day.  So how did I enjoy the weather yet still do the things that needed to be done?  Well, since the majority of my homework was reading, I sat outside and read today.

It worked surprisingly well.  Not only did I get a lot done, I also was able to enjoy the beautiful weather.  The sun was out and shining brightly with a perfect, light breeze.

I also worked my first reference desk today in the library.  It went well, I helped a few people and hopefully I directed them to the information they were looking for.

For supper, Dr. Bob had made vegetable soup for anyone who wanted to stop by the Writing Center.  It was delicious and hearty.  It was also nice catching up with the other consultants who showed up for yummy food.

Now I'm in the PUB (does that surprise you?) working on more homework.  Two papers due this week and lots of reading to accomplish.  But don't worry, I've got this and all will be completed soon enough.


May Term 2012 Options

This May Term there are so many fantastic trips going on.  It makes it hard to decide on just one!  To recap, May Term happens in May (obviously) and is a chance to study one topic in depth for a month.  Most May Terms venture off campus, many times overseas.  This is helpful to students in majors where off campus study isn't quite possible because they need every class on campus they can get.  I'm including below the list of the May Term options I received in a list from the Dean of Faculty on Friday.  Personally, I'm interested in the Writers Colony May Term to England's Lake District.  The Jane Austen one sounds fantastic as well, but I would love the opportunity to just write for 26 days in England!  For many of these May Terms, an application is required because the faculty who sponsor the trip can't take everyone who is interested.  So right now I'm working on my application for Writers Colony and hoping I will receive one of the eight spots (spot vary from class to class)!

  • A trip to Vietnam.  This one is sponsored by Professor Buckaloo and Professor Nordman.  The focus of the trip will be on the Vietnam war.  I know Professor Buckaloo's specialty is the Vietnam War (he taught an FYS class last year on this very topic).  
  • Marine Biology.  A very popular lab science May Term.  Students enjoy taking this one to satisfy their lab science requirement because it's some place warm!   
  • A trip to Southern Africa.  A May Term geared more towards Biology and Nursing majors.  The group will travel to southern Africa and help with water purification as well as helping nurses with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  
  • "Made in Italy": Competing in a Global Marketplace.  A business and economics orientated May Term focusing on the success of businesses and enterprises in Italy.  The classes in Italy will be taught in English but all travelers for this May Term will take some Italian prior to leaving.  
  • Economics of Renewable Energies.  A class focused entirely on renewable energies, their pros, cons, and potential impacts on our society.
  • Jane Austen.  At Coe, students will read four of Austen's novels (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion) and then they will travel to England to see some of the places Austen described in her novels.
  • A trip to Spain.  This class will happen at the University of Alicante, Spain.  It's basically an abbreviated study abroad.  Students will take Spanish classes and also culture based classes.  The university is within a day's travel of major cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.  
  • Human Rights and International Law: Berlin and the Hague.  Students will travel to Berlin and investigate the Holocaust and the Hague.  
  • Seminar in Leadership.  This course is an on campus one, focusing on theory and practice of leadership.
  • Writers Colony: Walking in England's Lake District.  Students read works written by authors who wrote in the Lake District as well as write about their own adventures.  This is a intensive writing workshop (which would be perfect for me!).     
  • Lakota Culture and Communication.  This May Term occurred last year as well and the students who go on this one travel to the Lakota Indian Reservation where they are immersed in the culture.  
  • A trip to London.  Sponsored by the theater department, this May Term is an arts focused class.  Students travel around London experiencing all the art that can be experienced.  My friend Anna went on this May Term the last time it was offered, when she had just finished her first year of college.  She really enjoyed it!  
  • A trip to Turkey.  This class would parallel the FYS that has been taught for the past two years about Turkish culture.  The group will go to Turkey, specifically Istanbul, and explore all there is to offer.

Aren't these awesome trips?  I think so.