Traces of Reading, or A Tale of Two Bookshelves

By Laura Fiss

Anne Fadiman says that there are two kinds of book-lovers: “courtly” and “carnal.” They differ in their attitudes toward the marks and side-effects of reading: creases, dog-eared pages, bent or broken spines, ripped pages, food and water stains. Courtly lovers treat the book with respect and veneration, honoring the book as object. Carnal lovers consume the book enthusiastically, viewing any degradation of the object as a natural result of a delightful encounter. I fall somewhere in the middle, as I suspect most of us do. I treat my books with care – particularly the nineteenth- and twentieth-century volumes in my possession – but I also see the creased spines of some of my more well-loved paperbacks as a badge of honor. The only time I wrote in a library book (gasp!), it was a copy of H. J. Jackson’s Marginalia, and I carefully initialed and dated my notation.

IMG_20161020_123917107The child of bibliophiles, I feel a strong attraction to the book as object. My childhood bedroom, a wood-paneled former study, had one wall of bookshelves and another of windows. I feel a strong sense of comfort when I’m ensconced in a place with nearly-ceiling-high, full bookshelves. Yet as I sit in my new PHC office (with a beautiful view of the fall foliage out the window — come visit us if you haven’t already!), the bookshelf next to me doesn’t have the same effect as the bookshelves of similar height in my office in Walker (come visit there, too!). When I first drafted this post, I thought these books belonged to my office-mate, but I’ve since discovered that they consist the PHC library, which actually changes the way I think about them. At first, I thought that while titles such as The Innovation Killer and multiple copies of Business Model Generation are intriguing and the colorful, mainly paperback spines are aesthetically pleasing, nevertheless these books are, to me, as yet, only objects. Initially, I saw in them the arrangement of another single personality, one who would place Out of Poverty by Paul Polak next to The Seven Layers of Integrity by George P. Jones and June Ferrill for alphabet-defying reasons that make perfect sense to a mind not my own. Now that I know these books are for everyone, I feel less closed-off from them, knowing I could pick one up at any time and begin reading (I suppose I’m too courtly to borrow someone else’s books without their permission).

LauraBookShelves
Each one of these books has a story. I’ve moved several times in the last few years, and I always enjoy the chance to hold each book individually.

Still, these books don’t have the same effect as the ones in my Walker office, particularly my nineteenth-century bookcase (alphabetized by author, then with books ordered by date of publication). There’s my shelf of Jerome K. Jerome, where a few sad print-on-demand titles rub alongside first editions (British and American) purchased for a song online: few people want Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow as much as I. Above and below lie ranks of black Penguins and white Oxford World’s Classics, slim volumes and doorstoppers with variously creased spines. Particular books remind me not only of the plot but of a moment in my personal and academic life. Little Dorrit changed my mind about Dickens. I finished The Mill on the Floss on a bus in France, tears running down my cheeks. He Knew He Was Right fired up my blood throughout its agonizing, painful, infuriating 900 pages, and I finished it while walking to my graduate seminar. While I’m no stranger to multitasking while reading – in high school I played the flute while reading Mercedes Lackey and knitting got me few several Dickens biographies in the final year of my dissertation – walking while reading has always been a matter of necessity rather than pleasure.

I relish the different traditions of reading I participate in, the different rituals of reading I’ve learned. My parents taught me to “break in” a book, particularly a large textbook, by placing it spine-down on a firm surface and gently creasing pages down from both ends. I’ve done that with several Complete Works of Shakespeare over the years. As a child and young adult, I loved filling up a canvas bag at the public library, and now I do the same thing at Portage Lake District Library with my toddler (who’s very into the Llama Llama books at the moment). As a Jew I engage in rituals of reading around prayer books and scrolls, relishing the moment when a manuscript scroll is lifted above our heads (by a web developer the other week) as we sing triumphantly and hope it stays aloft.

PHCBookShelves
These, too, have their stories; I just don’t know them – yet!

I’ve dedicated my life not only to the practice of reading but to the study of reading practices because the act of reading fascinates me in its potency and its fragility. We invest books and other text-carriers (next time, maybe we’ll talk about our relationships to phones) with all these properties, but at the end of the day, they’re just objects: paper, wood, rag, cloth. In the words of one of my favorite jokes (about a pool table), if it falls from a tree, it’ll kill you.

Why do we do these things? Why do we have rituals around reading, and why do some of us feel so strongly about books and the way they are treated that we might, like the chambermaid in Fadiman’s essay, tell each other, “You must never do that to a book”? Reading is many things: frustrating and fun, arduous and ardent. It can stretch time or make it fly by, make us incredibly conscious of our surroundings or transport us, in Emily Dickinson’s words, “Lands away.” The closed book is itself a metaphor for things we don’t — yet? — know. The books in my office might be closed to me at the moment, but the very fact that they’re books makes me feel at home.


The SMART Scholarship for Service Program

The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion with a Department of Defense facility. The Program will pay for all educational expenses for a B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degree, and then provide scholars unique opportunities to work as research scientists or engineers on cutting edge technology in world class Department of Defense facilities.

SMART Scholars receive:
•       Full tuition and educational fees
•       Generous cash stipend ranging from $25,000 – $38,000 per year
•       Paid summer internships, health insurance, and miscellaneous allowance
•       Employment with Department of Defense facilities after graduation

Students pursuing degrees in the following fields are encouraged to apply:
o       Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
o       Biosciences
o       Chemical Engineering
o       Chemistry
o       Civil Engineering
o       Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
o       Computer, Computational Science, and Computer Engineering
o       Electrical Engineering
o       Geosciences
o       Industrial and Systems Engineering
o       Information Sciences
o       Materials Science and Engineering
o       Mathematics
o       Mechanical Engineering
o       Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
o       Nuclear Engineering
o       Oceanography
o       Operations Research
o       Physics

Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
o       a U.S. citizen at time of application (some exceptions apply),
o       18 years of age or older as of August 1, 2017,
o       able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories,
o       willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD,
o       a student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and,
o       pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of the disciplines listed above

The application is currently open and the deadline to apply is December 1st, 2016. For more information and to apply please visit http://smart.asee.org.

SMART_Scholarship_Poster


Silicon Valley to Michigan

GLRCBy Office of Advancement

There will be an open roundtable at noon Wednesday (Oct.26) in GLRC 202. The topic of the roundtable is “Silicon Valley to Michigan—Does the Model Translate?”

This will be an open discussion on business, technology, government and the links between Michigan and California. Automotive, start-ups, app-development – who is taking cues from whom? This roundtable is part of the 14 Floors series.

14 Floors is a series of events and activities designed to build momentum and enable culture change on Michigan Tech’s campus. Core are initiatives focused on fostering entrepreneurism and high-tech innovation—both within the context of a global culture and economy. These activities are cross-disciplinary on and off campus, led by staff and faculty, focused on students and largely enabled by Michigan Tech alumni.


Ownership of student intellectual property – clarifying policies and dispelling myths

By Jim Baker

This is my first blog as a member of the Pavlis Honors College team. I work half time in the Honors College as co-director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) alongside Mary Raber. ICE was established in the fall of 2015 to serve as a cross-campus resource to connect entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and staff to resources and expertise that will help them advance their businesses and ideas into the market. Mary and I have both been involved in startup companies and established manufacturing companies and are building ICE within the Honors College to complement existing campus and community resources. In addition to my new role focused on enabling student innovation and entrepreneurship, the other half of my job involves creating companies and business opportunities around University technologies. I have a technical background with a PhD in engineering and am licensed to practice patent law in the United States.

Among the host of topics rattling around in my head on innovation, entrepreneurship, and various random issues, the ownership of intellectual property for students at Michigan Tech is one that comes up a lot and seems to remain a source of confusion and even mystery. In this post, I will clarify the University’s policies on intellectual property ownership for students.

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The University policy on Patents can be viewed online and provides for two sides of this issue. 1. The University has rights to “any software or invention conceived or reduced to practice by faculty, staff, and students in the course of University employment or research, or through the use of University facilities and equipment”, and 2. The University does not have rights to “inventions developed without the use of its funds, facilities, or equipment.”

University employment is quite simple – did you get a paycheck to do it? University research is also quite simple – is there a contract or other agreement in place that covers the project? The phrase “use of facilities and equipment” is sometimes a cause for concern and is perceived by some to allow the University to claim ownership to anything that a student does while they are at Michigan Tech. That is not the case, and this issue has been formally clarified in a memo issued by Dave Reed, Michigan Tech’s Vice President for Research.

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The memo lays out two very important qualifiers to the facilities and equipment issue. It requires that the facility/equipment be specialized and that the use be substantive. Any facility that is open to the entire student body is outside of the definition of specialized. A dorm room, the library, an open computer lab, and the Innovation Alley Makerspace are examples of things outside of the definition of specialized facilities and equipment because all students have access to them. The supercomputer cluster, electron optics equipment, and any specialized lab facilities would be specialized, however their use alone may not necessarily result in University ownership – the use must also be substantive to the creation of the invention in question.   For example, if you design something on your own computer and then make arrangements to simply have it made in a ‘specialized facility’ then that use is not substantive.

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All policies regarding facilities use still apply so you can’t open a retail store in your dorm room or us a machine shop to manufacture production parts but if you think of the next best invention in your dorm room and email a description to your friend from a University email account it’s all yours to do with as you please. I am hopeful that this post clarifies the policies and practices but if you have any remaining concerns I encourage you to reach out with your specific questions and circumstances. We can answer any questions you have, and through ICE, we can provide guidance on your path forward to customers as well as recommendations to other recourses that will be essential on your way there.

Jim Baker can usually be found at the Pavlis Honors College offices on Tuesdays or Thursdays. If you would like to set up an appointment with him to talk IP, please email Amy Karagiannakis (akaragia@mtu.edu).


Meet Brad Turner…

Brad

By Amy Karagiannakis

Brad works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, the Michigan Tech start-up that is now headquartered in San Francisco. He started as an intern while the company was still located in Houghton in 2014. David Shull, Michigan Tech alumni and Director of University Growth at Handshake, related, “I’ve had the chance to work with Brad on a few different teams now.  At Handshake, Brad crafted major redesigns of the student on-boarding process. Over three months, Brad’s inquisitive nature enabled him to learn about the company, the team, and the users to create a new student experience that has been used by hundreds of thousands of students across the country. From day one, Brad was treated as a full time team member and impressed the entire team with his work ethic, design skills, and technical approach to problem solving.” Brad’s biggest challenge since working at Handshake is trying to involve more actual users in the design process. He’s currently leading many student-focused projects that will help to redesign the job search experience for all of Handshake’s users.

Handshake office in San Francisco

With the new Michigan Tech Makerspace set to open in a little over a week, Brad has been busy trying to get The Alley ready. Next week, Silicon Valley alum will be visiting campus to take part in the Makerspace grand opening. As the Student Director, Brad incorporated a design thinking process to turn the old Michigan Tech bowling alley into a multi-functional makerspace that the entire University community can benefit from.

Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html
Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html

Brad is a fourth year student graduating in the Spring with a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering. A Custom Pathways Innovation student, Brad sits on the Pavlis Honors College (PHC) Undergraduate Student Advisory Board and is very involved with Michigan Tech’s new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). During Homecoming week, Brad gathered a team to construct a cardboard boat for the Pavlis Honors College to compete in the annual races. Dr. Meadows may have captained the boat, but Brad led the charge. The well constructed design stayed afloat, and PHC came in second in their race.

BradCardboard

Named University Innovation Fellow in 2015, Brad continues to bring the entrepreneurial mindset to Tech by increasing engagement on campus through innovation, design thinking, and creativity. He facilitates student workshops and coordinates the Maker Coach training. Brad is also putting what he learned through his involvement with UIF, to use at Handshake, as he develops personas to better understand the students using the platform.

UIFs in Silicon Valley for Epicenter Training

One of Brad’s favorite memories while working in San Francisco this past summer was marching in the Pride parade with a group called the Trevor project, which is a suicide hotline for LGBT youth. Outside of class, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, skiing, and taking pictures.  Self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd, Brad bought the new book this summer on the day of its release and read it all in one day. He also loves volunteering at the Humane Society in his spare time to hang out with the cats.

Brad Turner is redefining what it means to be an Honors student. Have a passion for innovation? Find out how you can get involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Applications are due October 23rd.

 


Learning How to De-Stress

By Amy Karagiannakis

We all encounter stress in our daily lives, but some of us are able to cope with it better than others. Dave is on the football team, USG representative, serves as project manager for his Enterprise team, works part-time as an intern, stays active in his fraternity, serves on the MUB Board, is a member of the Pony Brigade, maintains a 3.97 GPA, and is probably one of the most laid back, got-it-together people you’d ever meet. Ok, ok, Dave is not a real person, but for the record, the Pony Brigade is a real Michigan Tech Student Organization. The point is that all of us know someone like Dave or have encountered someone like him in our past. How do they not have daily nervous breakdowns?

 Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Understanding how our body deals with stress is a good first step to managing it, so let’s review 8th grade science. Our nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. We will focus on the former. The sympathetic nervous system regulates what Walter Bradford Cannon called our fight-or-flight response. When this process is stimulated, your blood pressure rises, your heart begins to race, muscles tense up, and your breathing intensifies. If your typical day-in-the-life is consistently stressful, you may be conditioning your sympathetic nervous system to stimulate the fight-or-flight response for every minor circumstance. Experiencing this reaction multiple times a day can really wreak havoc on your mind and body. Finding ways to bring your heart rate down and relax your mind is important to managing stress and the triggers that cause it.

Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html
Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html

I find the most effective way to deal with stress is meditation. Meditation can be practiced by anyone. There is no wrong way to meditate, but here are some guidelines that can help you benefit from it. Finding a place for meditation during the day can sometimes be a difficult task. However, these are when our stress levels are highest. If you can’t be at home and you are looking for a place to meditate, consider the following options around campus: library study room, an empty classroom, Counseling Services Relaxation Room, empty common areas in the residence halls, or even outside in the warm sun on a nice day. Your meditation spot doesn’t necessarily need to be quiet. Some people prefer background noise or music to complete silence. Once you have your spot, get comfortable. Despite popular belief, you do not have to sit in full lotus position to meditate. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Men-and-meditation
Jagged rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in full lotus? Not my idea of comfortable, but to each their own…

Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help eliminate the negative thoughts and feelings that triggered your stress. If you are still having trouble freeing your mind from negativity, try focusing on an object or image that relaxes you. Others may find that the repetition of a single word said softly and slowly helps to relax them. Whatever you choose, the point is to find something that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but enough that your mind is able to focus on that instead of the negative thoughts and stressors. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, your heart rate will begin to slow, your muscles will relax, your mind will clear. Meditate for as long as it takes to reach this point of tranquility.

Statistics show that stress among college students is on the rise. The demand to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, getting internships and/or co-ops, keeping that GPA up, applying for graduate school, exams, getting a job, the availability of immediate communication via email, text, and social media all contribute to the stresses of today’s generation of college students.  Recurrent, long-term stress and anxiety can lead to a long list of physical and emotional ailments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder
Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder

If you feel stressed and need help, remember that you are not alone. Michigan Tech offers one-on-one and group counseling services that are free to all Michigan Tech students. If you find meditation or other relaxation techniques to be unhelpful and you are experiencing physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress, please seek help from a counselor or doctor.


Have you registered to vote yet?

There is still time! To vote in Michigan, students must register by tomorrow with their home or local address. Visit the Campus Vote Project (CVP) website for more information and answers to commonly asked questions. This Michigan-Student-Voting-Guide from CVP can also help guide you through the registration process. Don’t let your voice go unheard. Register today!

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Filling the Pool…

By Lorelle Meadows, Dean Pavlis Honors College

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find time to read a book that was recommended to me by a PHC student. It’s called Crucial Conversations. It’s about developing the skills for engaging in the day-to-day conversations that affect your life. But not just any conversation – crucial ones: the kind when opinions vary, the stakes are high and emotions run strong. Yikes!! Sounds like something we like to avoid!

Crucial Conversations

One of the first things the authors mention is the importance of the free flow of relevant information – the open and honest sharing of perspectives and ideas – because only then will the best decisions be made and only then will everybody buy in to and respect the decisions. The authors call this filling the pool of shared meaning. I like this analogy and the image that it takes all of us to fill this pool. It also fills much quicker if we are all pouring in our thoughts and ideas.

puppies

When people have a chance to share their ideas – no matter how controversial they might appear at first glance, no matter how challenging to others beliefs – people feel valued and engage in making meaning together – in understanding. Even though not everybody is guaranteed to be completely happy with whatever decision is made, the deeper the pool, the better the choice and the stronger the belief in the decision and the understanding of why the decision was made.

What I hope to always remember as I continue to meet and work with others, is that in that instant when I feel challenged or faced with controversy, and my heart begins to race and I start to think about running or hiding, that I am engaging in the beginning of filling that glorious pool of shared meaning. And, soon, that pool will be overflowing with unique perspectives, amazing ideas and all I have to do is dive in!!


Cultural Vistas Opportunities

cultural vistas
Photo from Cultural Vistas.

Application season for the Cultural Vistas’ fellowship programs is now open. Several fully-funded programs for various students and professionals are available.

Sophomores and juniors who have not participated in a formal work or study abroad program, may want to consider the Cultural Vistas Fellowship. The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals is a great opportunity for students and recent graduates (18-24 years old) in all fields, who wish to live, study, and intern in Germany. The Alfa Fellowship Program to Russia and the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program are great for early- to mid-career professionals, who wish to gain high-level experience abroad.

These fellowships are international initiatives that offer accomplished Americans the opportunity to complete fully-financed professional development. For details, please refer to the eligibility requirements outlined on each program’s website.


Meet Kemin Fena…

Fena
Photo courtesy of Rachel Connors

 

One of Kemin Fena’s favorite books is By Amy Karagiannakis

The Quiltmaker’s Gift, written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail de Marcken. For those of you not familiar with this classic children’s book, it is the story of an old woman who makes elaborate, beautiful quilts, only to give them to the poorest people in the village. The greedy King, who required the people of the village to bring him their most valuable possessions, heard of the little old woman’s quilts and demanded that she make one for him. The old woman told the King that she would only make him a quilt once he had given away all of his possessions and became poor himself. The King found that as he gave away his possessions one by one, he became happier. When he had finally given everything he owned away, the old woman presented him with a quilt that was more beautiful than any quilt she had ever made. The King remarked, “I may look poor, but in truth my heart is full to bursting, filled with memories of all the happiness I’ve given and received. I’m the richest man I know.” This lovely story demonstrates how fulfilling and rewarding service work can be, something Kemin has experienced first-hand.king

Kemin is passionate about community service. Her pathway to service didn’t start with the Pavlis Honors College though. In 2014, she spent her summer in Lima, Peru volunteering at El Hospital del Nino with a non-profit organization called Aprendo Contigo. After nine weeks, Kemin realized that helping others was something she wanted to dedicate her life to. She applied to the Custom Pathway Community in the Pavlis Honors College in 2015 with a chosen focus on the service pathway.

Kemin is a Biomedical Engineering major set to graduate next Fall. While at Michigan Tech, she was an Orientation Team Leader and participated in Leadershape. Kemin has volunteered at the UP Health Center and Portage Pointe Nursing and Custodial Care Center. She also volunteered in a research lab under the direction of Michigan Tech’s Dr. Feng Zhao. In addition to all of these volunteering commitments, Kemin made time to visit Frank Pavlis at his home in Allentown, PA to do an oral history on his life. She created a masterfully edited video, that tells the story of a young man who was born to a modest farming family who grew to be one of Michigan Tech’s most successful graduates. This video will be shown for the first time later this month during the Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board visit, and then publicly released shortly after.

kemincollage (2)kemincollage (3)

Kemin Fena continues to impress the faculty and staff at the Pavlis Honors College with her continued dedication to service and her community. Thank you Kemin for all you do! To learn more about Kemin, visit her Seelio profile @ seelio.com/kxfena.

Check out the Custom Pathway Experiential Learning Community and click on Service to find out how you can get involved!