Meeting of the Minds at Carnegie Mellon University
Mar22

Meeting of the Minds at Carnegie Mellon University

by Lisa Warren Late April and early May bring the end of the academic year to many college campuses, while for high schools the final push comes a bit later. For those who can swing it, late-spring college visits may provide exciting opportunities. Timing and planning a trip can be tricky, though: Activities like student-led campus tours might be unavailable when classes are not in session, such as on “reading days”* and during final exams.  Celebrating innovation and creativityAt Carnegie Mellon University, renowned for its ground-breaking research and for combining disciplines such as the arts and technology, the end-of-the-year “Meeting of the Minds” symposium on undergraduate research takes place on a Reading Day–May 4, 2011, this year. The symposium celebrates undergraduate scholarship, innovation, and creativity. It is sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Office, which provides advising, grant funding for student research projects, and assistance with national and international scholarship and fellowship program application processes. Meeting of the Minds draws more than 400 undergraduate student participants, from freshman to senior level, and from a wide range of majors. Individuals and small teams give oral “PowerPoint” presentations and present posters, exhibits, films, demonstrations, performances and more at this popular annual event. Competitive types can also register for one of the Special Competitions and compete for cash prizes. Thousands of fellow students, faculty, and interested visitors circulate throughout the day, meeting the student researchers and learning about their original projects. Meeting of the Minds is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Center on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, campus. Enlightening, thrilling, life-changingA small sampling of current and recent undergraduate research projects can be found here.  Among those profiled is Rachel Inman, a fifth-year senior from South Carolina, and her “My City, My Block” industrial design project. Describing the significance of the URO’s support for undergraduate student research, Rachel says, “Each year, I would visit Meeting of the Minds, walking through the exhibit spaces, and discussing the projects with my peers. It was not until spring of my junior year that I decided I wanted to undertake my own research project. . . . My SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) project not only allowed me to take an idea from initial planning stages to completion, but also pushed me to resolve how I planned to present my findings to both experts and novices.” When asked to describe in one word her experiences as an undergraduate involved in research,Rachel said, “Enlightening.” Other students chose words like “Thrilling,” “Incredible,” “Life-changing,” and “Vital.” Students and families who are similarly excited about undergraduate research opportunities but are unable to attend CMU’s Meeting of the Minds on May 4 should contact or make plans to visit the Undergraduate Research Office at Carnegie Mellon University. Tip: If you visit...

Read More

Smart Learning at Grinnell College

by Val McGinnis At Grinnell College in Iowa, it's not Biology 101 that science-oriented freshmen seek out, it's Biology 150–an innovative, in-depth learning opportunity open to first-year students.  To be a scientist, you first have to think like a scientist Bio 150 is a hands-on learning course that trains first-year students in designing, conducting, and presenting original experiments. The emphasis is not necessarily on memorizing facts, but on learning to "think like a scientist." In addition to undergraduate research opportunities, students have access to scientific literature and equipment typically available only to upper-level researchers at other schools. This course primarily lays quintessential groundwork in successful majors and post-graduate careers in science. Grinnell 's program has generated so much success that it is ranked eighth among all U.S. higher education institutions in producing science graduates who go on to pursue Ph.Ds and has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In January of 2011, the College's signature approach to learning and outreach was recognized through the Grinnell Science Project which received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, administered by the National Science Foundation. To learn more about Grinnell College, contact the admissions office or, better yet, plan to visit campus and see for yourself how other students are taking advantage of these smart learning...

Read More

Smart Learning at Northeastern University

Lisa Campbell Warren Students follow roads less-traveled to global opportunities Would you describe yourself as adventurous? Do you prefer to do your exploring "off the beaten path"? If so, you're likely to find kindred spirits on most college campuses these days. A recent study shows that U.S. students are increasingly choosing less-traditional destinations when they study abroad. Options for transformation Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts, prides itself on offering students in all majors a range of options–from more traditional to almost unheard of–in the form of semester-long, or even longer, international co-op and study abroad programs, as well as shorter term “Dialogue of Civilizations” trips. NU President Joseph E. Aoun strongly encourages students to take advantage of international experiential learning opportunities, calling them “transformational.” Students who have participated agree, often crediting their experiences with increasing their independence, confidence, knowledge and skills, with regards to their academic pursuits and in general, as individuals in a global society.  The last place on Earth  NU fourth-year biochemistry student Corey Allard spent the fall 2010 semester studying the effect of global climate change on marine organisms in . . . Antarctica, of all places. Unless you happen to be a penguin, that definitely would qualify as off the beaten path!   “There is a sense that it is the last place on Earth,” said Dr. H. William Dietrich, who directed Corey’s research project.  “And there’s so little that is known about it, that if you go there, you can make a meaningful contribution.”  Future explorers will enjoy and be inspired by this short—but truly amazing—video encapsulating Corey’s experience as an undergraduate research co-op student at Palmer Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.   Northeastern has been providing adventurous students with co-op experiences for 100 years. The NEU co-op program includes more than 2,000 employers, ranging from multinational corporations to international agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) across the United States and in 49 countries around the world.  Northeastern University also appears in our post on the Top 25 Entrepreneurial Colleges. Colleges and universities interested in having their school profiled for Smart College Visit's Smart Learning series are invited to read more and contact us...

Read More
Smart Learning at Rollins College
Dec06

Smart Learning at Rollins College

What if you could have the college adventure of a lifetime before even setting foot on campus? Imagine spending 10 days in Costa Rica engaged in environmental studies? Or, delving into the language, food, and culture of Shanghai through an immersion-based experience?  You can at Rollins College where a handful of pre-freshmen are given the opportunity to be part of the Rollins Explorations First-Year Field Study Experience, a program that promotes student bonding, creative learning tactics, and complete immersion in a new culture. Students must apply to the program and those who participate receive course credit. To Rollins educators, this program is not only an excellent bonding opportunity for students, but is also an excellent opportunity to learn experientially instead of from the traditional text book and classroom model. Professor Barry Allen, who headed up the Cost Rica trip, calls the trip "transformative." “I left with a dozen kids from around the country and came back with Rollins students." For Rollins sophomore Hannah Lewis, the impact was unparalleled.  “My response to how the trip has affected me is always the same. I feel that deciding to go on this field study was the most important decision I have made thus far in my college career. Not only did it expose me to Rollins' academic structure, through the course work, before stepping foot on campus, but it also allowed me to meet and formulate friendships with eleven other incoming freshmen, as well as our professor,” states Lewis.   As far as Allen has discovered, an international abroad program for incoming freshman is something that’s highly progressive in the academic community. “I’ve heard that some colleges run a semester-long abroad experience in the fall. But I don’t know of any institution that is doing this on an international scale in the summer before the freshman year.”  *** Rollins College is located in WinterPark, Florida. About: Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida's oldest recognized college, and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's best colleges." The College of Arts & Sciences offers full-time undergraduate programs in the liberal arts. Rollins Evening Program, the Hamilton Holt School serves the Central Florida community by offering exceptional undergraduate and graduate degree programs during evenings and weekends to students diverse in age, experience and professional development. The Crummer Graduate School of Business is ranked a top MBA program by: Forbes, Entrepreneur and the Financial Times. For more information about Rollins, visit our Web site at...

Read More

Smart Learning at University of Rochester

By Lisa Campbell Warren Dream it, do it! KEY Program Jumpstarts Enterprising Students “If you can dream it, you can do it,” Walt Disney said famously. What he said next is worth noting too: “Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.” Substitute “an undergraduate student with a great idea” for “a mouse” to describe the principle behind the University of Rochester’s Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year program. Within a supportive framework that provides expert advising, skill-and-knowledge-building course work, and up to a year of tuition-free enrollment, KEY (or “Kauffman”) scholars pursue the transformation of their dreams.  For example: ArtAwake  ArtAwake was born of the combined passion of a group of students for urban exploring, community, and the arts.  Working with the university’s student activity office to get approval and support, the group started an above-board* UE club, with an architectural photography bent. [*Above-board means members request permission to explore private property.] The club quickly became popular, and its founders “wanted to do something bigger that would involve and touch more people,” explained Zach Kozick, physics major and co-founder of ArtAwake. Thus, the idea was born to create a student-run arts-and-music festival, housed in an abandoned urban space in downtown Rochester. Acceptance to the KEY program allowed the founding partners to work together to achieve their dream of annually transforming a different space into a gallery and music/performance venue. The project successfully united the university community with the general public, while creating the foundation, structure, and organizational model to continue and improve the festival year after year. Our Trash is UR Treasure  With her “Our Trash is UR Treasure” project, Katie Maloney is developing a safe, clean, efficient method of making liquid soap from the by-products of environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel formulation. Said Katie, “I had been thinking about working on soap production during my undergrad, but I never had enough time to devote to the project, so KEY was the perfect chance to do it.”  Working independently, Katie keeps in contact with a biodiesel team on campus and a chemical engineering senior design team that is pursuing a similar project.  “It’s encouraging to see how active entrepreneurship is on this campus,” she said.  The biomedical engineering student plans to enroll in grad school next fall.  “I’m not sure if entrepreneurship will directly be incorporated into my plans,” she said, “but I will definitely use the skills I have learned to my advantage.” Creating value  The process of developing entrepreneurial ideas into “for-profit” or “not-for-profit” ventures that will create economic, social or intellectual value is what it’s all about, according to Professor Robert Tobin, associate director of the UR Center for...

Read More

Smart Learning at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

A business school after Aristotle’s heart “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing,” said Aristotle (384-322 BC). If the Greek philosopher chose to study business today, he’d feel right at home as an undergraduate at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.  Experiential learning, aka “learning by doing,” is at the core of  Whitman’s bachelor of science programs in accounting, entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises, finance, marketing, management, real estate, retail management, and supply chain management. It’s not surprising, then, that internships, community service, and international experience related to the student’s program of study all are required (and not just options) for all undergraduates and are actively facilitated by faculty and staff.  In the classroom, experiences that at many business schools usually would be reserved for MBA students are the norm (think: real-life case studies, simulations, hands-on research and development projects, team efforts, competitions for seed-money prizes, and more).   The Most Unique Thing “The most unique thing about Whitman is its EEE457* class, in which students come up with an innovative product or service, write a business plan on it, and then present it to a panel of judges. "Tons of work," one graduate of the school’s top-ranked entrepreneurship program, reported on BusinessWeek.com. “However, it was a great experience that enabled us to apply everything we learned in all of our other Whitman classes, as well as learn much more.” Ask a finance major about the most unique thing and you’re sure to hear about the Orange Value Fund**, a $1.1 million student-managed fund created with the objective of training Whitman students to become money managers. Through participation, students gain meaningful firsthand experience and a deep understanding of value investing. The program is housed in Whitman’s Ballentine Investment Institute, which was founded by alumnus Steven Ballentine (’83), to “bring the markets alive to the students.”  For a close-up look at these and other unique learning opportunities, check out online video presentations by and interviews with Whitman students and alumni, as well as student news programs and more. An Environment for Learning To support all this teamwork- and technology-enhanced learning-by-doing, the Whitman School’s new 160,000-square-foot building, completed in 2005, is student-focused by design. It features 20 team meeting-rooms each for undergraduate and graduate students, all outfitted with the latest technology, and wireless Internet access throughout. Numerous conversation areas encourage casual interaction among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors. There are 22 state-of-the-art classrooms, 74 faculty offices, a 100-seat café and 200-seat auditorium, an awesome three-story, 4,000 square foot Grand Hall, and a special events room with an outdoor terrace and a view of the campus and nearby...

Read More