Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities

In college, one of the most rewarding accomplishments as a student is acquiring the ability to conduct and exhibit our own works. Doing so means that we are in some way progressing intellectually and broadening both our skill sets and minds by practicing what we learn.  Admittedly, though, it’s hard to do this alone. Guidance, even the slightest thereof, can help individuals in dramatic ways. For this reason, Texas A&M – Texarkana is proud to present a new way for students, faculty, and staff members to collaborate, innovate, and communicate ideas and research agenda’s that will contribute to a better understanding of the humanities The Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities!

The innovation lab intends on taking a student lead approach to education and scholarship by utilizing not only services and teachings of value to students, but also allowing them to produce their own research and experiments. The lab wants to offer Texas A&M – Texarkana school members a place of encouragement in which they can gather resources cooperatively and produce research-based developments that aid in the progression of their own understandings of the humanities. From the beginning, we want to emphasize student involvement and construct the lab in a way that benefits the wants and needs of student academics.

The Red River Innovation Lab, though not officially open, will be located in room 120 in the STEM building. We’ve just begun receiving our equipment to get up and running! Prior to our grand opening, Director Drew Morton will be hosting our first meeting on November 28th, from 12:15 to 1 pm, in the lab. The meeting is of a participatory nature meant as an opportunity for you to disclose what sort of projects and materials you’re interested in the innovation lab to offer. Dr. Morton will also provide further insight regarding what we will be able to provide for you! It’s an opportunity for voices to be heard. Finally, you get to tell everyone what you want to learn and gain experience in within the field of humanities. Some examples of possible discussion topics may be podcasts, broadcasting, PLACE work, and whatever else you bring to the table. A link to the Innovation Lab’s Facebook page is included below where you can let us know if you are interested in attending. If you plan on joining us, please RSVP by November 26! There will be a light lunch and refreshments offered, so feel free to come by and check out your school’s new research facilities! We hope to see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/RRILH/

‘Remediation’ is Everywhere

November 16th, 2017 – Squeezed between two Mass Communication courses Dr. Morton was teaching, he found the time to hold a PLACE Lecture in UC 210 – the subject, Bolter & Grusin’s Remediation, a subject dear to his heart (or as close as he can get with a subject so often covered in his courses) and one that I, a Mass Communication Major myself, find fun food for thought when it counts.

While the lecture got described as a 40 minute crash course, the topic of Remediation thankfully is one that’s simple to understand but difficult to master. Remediation, in the case of Bolter & Grusin meaning representing one medium in another, is something we don’t spot enough in everyday life for how prevalent the concept is – it’s essentially the ‘borrowing’ of ideas from one medium (Film, TV, Video Games) to enhance or otherwise detail another – consider Film and TV in the 90’s, two very distinct mediums that aren’t so different in modern terms.

The paradox of Remediation, however, is that often media need to borrow from each other to feel real – they must be less like themselves to be themselves. Think long enough about your favorite property and you might find that you can make a stronger argument for it being a medium other than one it actually is.

Dr. Morton was by the day’s end more than a bit exhausted but he did want to comment that if the lecture (or what’s being described by me after the fact) was of interest to anyone they should consider stopping by the Red River Innovation Lab in the Science and Technology Building on campus, Room 120. As of now, they’re shooting for a full launch of the lab before the beginning of Spring but there’ll be events to get a game plan going in the coming weeks.

‘Ethics in Science’

November 14th, 2017 – After an hour of frank discussion, the low lighting in UC 217 did well to capture the mood of the audience as Dr. Walter Casey’s PowerPoint ended on a slide with the phrase ‘I AM BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS’. They, myself included, had just reached the end of an open lecture on Ethics in Science as part of the Science and Technology theme of this year’s PLACE lectures/events. Where the ethics of the subject lay, none could say.

The two main elements of the lecture – Ethics and Science – got covered in sequence. Ethics, the enforcement of a moral standard or system, are something we know a lot about, even if we don’t think of them as such. You can think of them – broadly – as actions taken because they serve a greater purpose – they are what’s ‘right’. This isn’t to say that this line of logic is wrong – only that Ethics and the morals they stand for are muddy at times. Is a bribe, for example, always unethical to accept?

It’s even muddier in the realm of Science. More specifically, Engineering. Consider whether or not a building code is enforced, or safety rules are met at a chemical plant. Do you think it’s unethical not to keep things up to code? There are those that don’t – catastrophe after catastrophe can me attributed to a lack of ethical standard. Just look into the Bhopal Disaster, for example.

Dr. Casey argues we’re guilty of this in our own lives, too, even if we’re not given great and obvious responsibilities like the upkeep of a chemical plant. We worship technology as a people and give it far more power than we realize. Ethics can quickly turn into a matter of security and we are not safe. As Dr. Casey says, “Read your End User License Agreement.”

Career Services at TAMUT

Are you worried about having a job upon graduation? Does your resume lack confidence? Do you have interview anxiety? If so the best help you can get it’s from Career Development. Career Development is located on the third floor, and it is there to help students succeed in life. My time with Career Development has been pleasant and helpful.
Career Development is there for students who need a job now and for those who are looking for jobs in their field upon graduation. What career Development does is it networks and communicates with local and not so local businesses and determines what jobs they need to be filled.

All a student has to do is set up an appointment and see Mrs. Tina Boitnott in UC 329. It helps if you bring your resume so she can review it and help you make your resume more solid and attractive to future employers. When I first had an appointment, I was kind of nervous, but as I sat down and began conversing with her assistant, I realized that they are just there to help. At the appointment, you will discuss what your degree is and what you want to do in the future. Mrs. Boitnott will probably ask a few follow-up questions, but all the questions allow her to help find a job that you would do well in. By the end of my first appointment with Career Development, I realized they didn’t have any jobs available for me. However, it put me on their radar so; then they could keep an ear out for jobs that would match my skill set.

Now as I am in my last semester I have created a solid resume that allows me to put my best foot forward, and I have several different directions I can take for my future career path. I am planning to apply to all these options because I know not all will give me an interview. I have been going to Career Development for about a year now, and as this year progress, they have had a couple of jobs come across their desk that I have shown interest in. One I looked into and another I knew was not right for me, but now that I am graduating I am looking at jobs more seriously. If everything goes well with the help from Mrs. Boitnott, then I will have a job by the time graduation gets here.

I encourage everyone to go check out and make an appointment with career development so they can help you with your resume, give mock interviews, and be put on their radar so they can help find you a job. So, whether you need a job now or in the future, Career Development is there to help you, and they cannot help you if they are not aware that you need help. For new college graduates, any help is appreciated when you are fighting to get your foot in the door.

Random Acts of Kindness

The holiday season is upon us.  Rather than adding to your wish list, or stressing over the trappings of the season; find your joy by doing random acts of kindness.

Random acts of kindness are selfless acts of kindness directed at complete strangers, with the sole intent of spreading love and kindness.  There is no better way to celebrate the joy of the holidays.

Below is a list of easy and fulfilling random acts of kindness.  Give them a try and see how they improve your holiday season.  You might just want to make them a part of your everyday life.

  1. Buy a stranger’s coffee.
  2. Leave some change in a vending machine, so that someone can get a free drink.
  3. Take some homemade treats to nurses, firefighters, teachers, or cops in your community to thank them for all they do.
  4. Leave a big tip for a waiter or waitress in need.
  5. Make treats and put them in the mailbox for the mailman.  Be sure to leave them a note, so they know the treats are for them.
  6. Take pet food, old blankets, and pet toys to your local shelter.
  7. Take flowers to a local hospital and have a nurse give them to a patient who needs to be cheered up.
  8. Donate food, books, toiletries, and warm clothing to the local homeless shelter.
  9. Do chores for a friend or family member.
  10. Adopt a deployed soldier and send him/her some much needed holiday cheer.  Here is the website:  http://www.adoptaussoldier.org/
  11. Give someone your place in line.
  12. Visit a nursing home.  Just talk to the residents, play board games with them, or get some friends together to sing Christmas carols and hand out Holiday cards.
  13. Give a hot drink to a Salvation Army bell ringer.
  14. Give a gift card to a stranger at the grocery store.  Any amount shows you care.
  15. Take classroom supplies to a teacher or two.  If you have Dr. Morton, then you know he always needs dry erase markers.
  16. Adopt an Angel from an Angel Tree.  Most of the time, these children aren’t asking for a lot.  I personally have adopted several angels over the years, and each time it cost me around $50.

Above all, this Holiday season and all year round, show kindness, compassion, and love for your fellow man.  Restore your faith in humanity by blessing strangers with random acts of kindness.

Veterans Day Parade

The Texarkana Area Veterans Council hosted the annual Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Texarkana, on Saturday, November 11, at 11 a.m.  The theme of this year’s parade was “Saluting Women in the Military thru the Years.”

The parade began at the intersection of East Broad Street and Hazel Street, in downtown Texarkana, Arkansas.  The festivities consisted of floats, local high school bands, antique cars, local motorcycle groups, Texarkana Jeep Junkies, the Corvette Club, Cub Scouts, and much more.   The TAMUT Eagle was also there, showing support for our student and community veterans.

The crowd was beaming with support for their veterans.  Children and their parents were proudly waving their flags and showing their support, as community organizations slowly trickled by passing out candy, flags, and cross pins to the crowd.

If you missed this year’s parade, check out the video link and photos below.

Video provided by KFLTV Texarkana – Youtube

 

Photos by:  Misty Jones

 

The Demon Haunted World

The book club meeting held on November 8 began with the video above. The book discussed was The Demon Haunted World- Science as a Candle in the Dark written by Carl Sagan. Sagan was an astronomer born in 1934. He worked on NASA projects and wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Cosmos, that turned into a thirteen part television series that aired in 1980.

Science as a Candle in the Dark is a collection of Sagan’s articles and essays over a few decades. One of the points highlighted in the book is the effects of scientific illiteracy. Science and math are subjects most students are not excited to learn in school. Because of this, people take scientific assertions as facts when there is no proof of these assertions being true. A topic mentioned was UFO’s. Many people wrote to Sagan asking him to verify the existence of UFO’s. He could not say they existed, nor could he say they did not. However, he did think this was a hallucination.

One of the people who wrote to him said, “Your conclusion that large numbers of people in this country, perhaps as many as five million, are all victims of an identical mass hallucination is asinine.”

After the video, the moderator Dr. David Allard, Professor of Biology, opened the floor for discussion about the book and Sagan’s ideas.

In the book, Sagan discusses alien abductions and the people who claim to be victims.

“Carl Sagan talks about how he can hear his dad every once in a while in his head. He lived with his dad for so long and every once in a while he could hear ‘Carl’. Technically, that is a form of hallucination, auditory hallucination,” said Dr. Angela Sikorski, Associate Professor of Psychology.

After she said this, there was discussion about sleep paralysis, which Dr. Sikorski confirmed is real. Sleep paralysis has been a theory behind the stories of alien abduction for years. Sleep paralysis occurs when you are falling asleep or waking up. The mind is awake and fully aware of what is going on, but the body is asleep. You are unable to move or speak, but you are mentally aware of the sounds around you because you are awake. In this state, it is very possible to begin having visual hallucinations.

Dr. Dayna “Joy’ Goldstein, Assistant Professor of English, chose this book for discussion and said, “He touched my life as a scientist I could relate to and I watched the Cosmos series and he inspired me about the meter of the universe.”

A moment when Sagan inspired Dr. Goldstein was when she was at a point in her life when she was questioning religion and her beliefs. Sagan’s own religious beliefs were debated and he was not a religious man.

“As a person who never had a strong interest in math and science, I found the book very interesting and entertaining. Sagan was able to explain science in a way that made sense for the average person. The book was not full of confusing scientific jargon, but was written in a conversational tone.”

As someone who does not have an extensive background in science, the book was not difficult to follow. Sagan explained his thoughts in a tone that did not belittle the reader and was very interesting to read. He used examples and stories from real people to emphasize his points.