Experience the College
Experience the College: Stories
Real World Foreign Experiences
During a three-week winter session program, students like Adam Singh, College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador, transition from foreign tourists to international journalists as part of the Foreign Reporting in Berlin course experience. They interact with the city and its inhabitants, confront language and cultural barriers and experience the stories of a city and a nation marked by 20th century history. The moment they arrive in Berlin they are asked to write about the city and the cultural differences they encounter through visits to historic sites, meeting and interviewing residents about their experiences in the city. Students also cover current and breaking news as well as cultural events and meet with foreign correspondents from major American news organizations as well as freelance journalists to benefit from their international experiences.
Photo: Adam Singh and his Foreign Reporting in Berlin classmates.
Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE)
A collaborative program between the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, WiSE offers support and extra-curricular opportunities geared toward female students in the STEM fields. Events throughout the year include guest lectures, a brown-bag lunch series, community outreach, and breakfast meet ups with professors. Both academic and popular literature discuss the gender gap in the STEM fields. According to the IPEDS data, women outpace men in obtaining degrees in the social sciences, psychology, biology and the agricultural sciences while they lag behind in engineering, math and computer science, and the physical sciences. While the UB departments that represent the STEM disciplines show healthy numbers of female students overall, we are re-confirming our dedication to the recruitment, retention and success of women in science, technology, engineering and math through the WiSE program.
Art, Robots, & Technology for Youth (ARTY)
ARTY is a summer program for youth that offers elementary school children an opportunity to learn and experiment with robot art projects. High school students are specifically trained for the week-long workshop and mentor ARTY participants. Those high school students in turn are mentored by college and graduate students who are led by faculty. Students learn about robotics and computer science through its intersection with art, including technology in new music and have the opportunity to engage with guest artists and scientists pursuing projects in art, design, and technology. “Diversifying STEM disciplines is not just a matter of attracting a more diverse population,” says Sarah Bay-Cheng, former director of Technē Institute. “It’s also important to establish networks and mentorships in those fields. It’s about being able to imagine yourself in different environments and seeing successful people who look like you from middle school though high school and college, to professionals in higher education and beyond.”
A Cultural Experience Through Food
No human endeavor is untouched by the necessity of food and water for survival. This study abroad opportunity in London, Sociology of Food, led by professor Debra Street, allows students like College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador, Katie Flynn explore how food and water shape both everyday and exotic experiences in the modern world. “I was able to try different cuisines and explore a diverse and historical city, vastly different from everything that I have known, living in Buffalo my entire life. It also pushed me to change my major to Psychology and Sociology, and now I am writing a Sociology Honor’s Thesis!” Students use a sociological lens to explore a part of their everyday lives that is often taken for granted. They acquire a new understanding of how globalization has changed the ways food is produced, consumed, and disposed and why the future of food security has become such a critical area of study. Learning takes place in the classroom and through visits to different kinds of food markets—from Harrod’s famous Food Halls, to supermarkets, street markets, and historic wholesale markets. These places underscore social inequalities associated with food production and distribution.
Photo: Sociology of Food students enjoying a proper tea at an art museum in London.
Learning through Games
The Department of Media Study (DMS) uses the certificate program to extend the department’s experimental and critical approach to technology. Pragmatically interdisciplinary, the program offers core courses to form theoretical and practical perspective on Game Studies, “Game Gender and Society”, “Designed Play”, and “Game Design”. The Game Gender and Society is a theoretical and historical investigation of video games. Designed Play is a combined theory and practice course – focusing on the impact of play and games on contemporary cultural production and design practice. Game Design is a production course focused specifically on creating video games. Cosmo Keller, College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador, who is minoring in Game Studies, describes his experience in Department of Media Studies “Collaboration is encouraged and the program provides students with an amazing equipment room to help with classwork or personal projects.”
Experience by Doing
College of Arts and Science Student Ambassador, Ashley Cerone, has engaged in archaeological excavations, traveled the world, and gained hands-on laboratory experience through the Department of Anthropology. “Throughout my undergraduate career, I have tried to gain as much hands-on experience as possible to further my knowledge in archaeology and boost my credentials.” She has done this by engaging in international field schools and excavations. While participating, she learned how to excavate a trench, clean and bag artifacts, photograph special finds, flot and sort soil samples, enter data into databases, and restore ceramics. Through her constant interaction with students and scholars in the area, she was also able to learn a foreign language. As part of her role as a laboratory assistant for UB’s Archaeological Survey, working under the direction of Professor Doug Perrelli, she has gained hands on laboratory experience while learning about her local heritage and history. She believes that all of these projects have prepared her for graduate school and taught her methods that she could not learn in the traditional classroom.
Photo: College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador Ashley Cerone working to restore a ceramic artifact.
Lessons in Music
The Music Department is a proud partner of Buffalo String Works, providing student interns as teachers. This endeavor is spearheaded by Professor Yuki Numata Resnick (UB Professor of violin and viola), Elise Golove (music teacher at School 45) and Virginia Barron (violist and WNED radio announcer). Arielle Balthazard, a Student Ambassador for the Music department accepted an internship as a Teaching Artist with Buffalo String Works. Buffalo String Works aims to benefit an under-served population on Buffalo’s west side by creating an enriching musical community. They serve recently displaced families from all over the globe, and recognize the importance of music as a universal language to their students and the community. They provide high-quality instruction on stringed instruments and performance opportunities with the help of interns, giving children who are searching for a sense of belonging in a new community a creative outlet. In addition, they provide a training ground for teachers who will carry on and expand comparable programs, creating leaders that will emerge to build a sustainable programs of musical advancement. “Not having much teaching experience, I had to learn how to help with lesson plans that would both target specific skills and reach every student, each with different needs and ability levels. I was able to learn about many different cultures in the classroom from students who came from all over the world. No matter the culture or socioeconomic background of the students, we were all able to make music together.” Ashley has strengthened and honed her skills as a teacher through private and group instruction, but she has also developed organizational, entrepreneurial and communication skills through her work with Buffalo String Works.
Photo: Buffalo String Works students participating in a group lesson.
Building Models to Save Lives
A model conceived and developed by a three-member interdisciplinary team of UB students was among this year’s winners in a prestigious international mathematical modeling contest. This contest demands from participants skill, ingenuity and endurance over an intense four-day period of competition. Andrew Harris, an aerospace engineering major with a minor in English, Dante Iozzo, a mathematics and physics major, and Nigel Michki, a computational physics major were asked to consider how a new, hypothetical medication could stop Ebola and cure patients whose disease had not reached an advanced stage. Teams had to build mathematical models that considered not only the spread of the disease, but also the quantity of medicine needed, feasible delivery systems and the time required to manufacture and administer the drug. “Our model helped us to analyze the spread of Ebola and the effect of medical resource implementation,” Iozzo says. “A highly adjustable computer simulation illustrated not only the interactions between cities and regions, but also the interactions among individuals.”