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Getting their own classroom

A month into the semester, Bloomsburg University students have shaken off their summer vibe and returned to campus. In fact, many of them are set to take control of their own classroom this fall.

A new cohort of education majors have begun their student teaching placements, and several of them got their feet wet through a variety of practicums offered by the College of Education. A central component of COE's teacher education programs is quality field experiences — formal, required school and community activities that teacher candidates complete for the purpose of learning and professional development.

Math major advances to finals of national competition

MAA Competition

Drawing from more than 400 colleges and universities, the Mathematics Association of America national Problem Solving Competition features some of the best math students in the country. And Luke Vuksta, a junior Bloomsburg University mathematics major, was among them. Vuksta advanced to the finals and earned a sixth place medal this past summer.

“The conference itself is much more than just a problem solving competition,” Vuksta said. “It focused on teaching, as well as pure mathematics. I actually didn’t know this until I met a bunch of math education majors at the undergraduate social event that was held.”

According to MAA, they help strengthen mathematical capabilities of the next generation of problem solvers. At the competition there are a series of examinations, and problem solving tasks they need to complete in the competition. They had sets of questions they had to solve while the judges watched how each person progressed.

Vuksta said this competition helped him beef up his resume, and although it is not exactly what a mathematician does, it allowed him to meet some great people.

Computer science internship lands Google Go proposal

Louis Jenkins

Louis Jenkins’s internship with Lehigh University’s R.E.U. program not only provided him with a unique research experience leading to publication and a Google Go proposal, but a lasting relationship with a mentee of one of the country’s renowned computer programmers.

According to the Bloomsburg University senior computer science major, he wasn’t initially looking for an academic research experience like this. Jenkins wanted an industry related internship — but in hindsight — he’s grateful for the summer spent at Lehigh working with Michael F. Spear, an assistant professor of computer science engineering. The summer experience also landed Jenkins an Outstanding Project: Peers’ Choice award for his work on “Concurrent and Scalable Built-in Hash Table for the Go Programming Language.”

Jenkins’s internship advisor was a doctoral student of Michael L. Scott, renowned computer programmer and the Arthur Gould Yates Professor of Engineering at the University of Rochester.

“The internship literally turned on its head,” Jenkins said. “Originally, it was looking okay, but I felt that my potential would be severely limited due to my lack of connections. However, besides for the excellent resume-fluff the award will add, the best award has to be meeting and getting to know my advisor. The project by itself wouldn't have been as amazing as it could've been, and there would be no research paper and it probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere.”

Professional U preps students for job market

Career Boot Camp

Nearly 60 juniors and seniors participated in Bloomsburg University’s Career Intensive Boot Camp last weekend, learning how to leverage their sills and experience to successfully navigate the transition from student to professional.

The students took part in more than 20 unique sessions on topics, such as what to expect the first week on the job, how to negotiate compensation and how to go to graduate school. An instructor-led etiquette dinner, mock interviewing and resume reviews were all part of the boot camp experience.

More than 60 alumni, faculty, staff and representatives of BU partner organizations volunteered for panel discussions or as session leaders. Michael A. Alfonso Sr. ’93, owner and president of Trilogy Group Benefits, LLC, a Pennsylvania corporate benefits firm, served as keynote speaker.

Students received certificates upon completion of the program. This and other boot camps are a hallmark of BU’s Professional U initiative, which aims to prepare students for personal and professional success after graduation. The next boot camp will be held in Spring 2017. Students will be able to register to attend via Husky Career Link

New options for upcoming Majors and Minors Fair

Majors and Minors Fair

Bloomsburg University will host a Majors and Minors Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the KUB Ballroom, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year, three new minors have been added to BU’s list of academic options.

The recently added minors include, archaeology from the Department of Anthropology, emergent media from the Department of Mass Communications, and spatial analysis and GIS from the Department of Environment, Geographical and Geological Sciences. With more than 50 majors and minors, the Majors and Minors Fair gives students the opportunity to explore all academic areas in one place, at one time.

Students can speak with faculty members, Graduate Assistants, or students from each department and often all three are represented at a table. All students are encouraged to attend, from freshmen to seniors.

Michelle Slusser from the Academic Advisement Center and Military Resources said, “This event is good for all students, not only freshman or undeclared, because some students are in a major that they are unhappy with or simply are not cut out for. This event gives them the opportunity to explore other majors.”

ROTC cadet completes intensive abroad program

ROTC Cadet Abroad

Army ROTC cadet Laura Albright, a history major, completed an intensive Russian language program this past summer at University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia. Albright received a full scholarship to complete this course by Project Go, an initiative created by the Department of Defense to teach military cadets across the country critical languages such as Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.

According to Albright, the class consisted of 15 students, along with two tutors, and one professor from Russia, that had lived in America several years. The program was only six-weeks long, but it was incredibly rigorous.

“Every weekday, class started at 0830 and ended at 2000; there were only breaks for lunch, dinner, and tutoring. At night, we completed homework and studied for daily quizzes” Albright explained. “The workload was tough, but manageable.”

Saturday’s were spent learning more about the Russian Culture, including traditional dishes, dances, and classic Russian films.

“One Saturday, our class went on a field trip to the suburbs of Atlanta. First, we visited a Russian Orthodox Church and learned about their traditions and practices,” Albright said. “Then, we went to a nursing home for elderly Russian people. Lastly, on the field trip we went to a market with authentic Russian cuisine. There, my friends and I purchased and cooked пельнянь (pelmeni), which are similar to dumplings.”

To complete the program, the students were required to take the Oral Proficiency Interview test to measure their ability to listen, understand, and respond in Russian.

COLA's salute to excellence

Dean's Salute to Excellence

James Brown, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, recently presented the Dean’s Salute to Excellence award to four professors at the annual College of Liberal Art’s College-Wide Meeting.

The Dean’s Salute to Excellence award was created in 1998 by Dean Hsien-Tung Liu to recognize professors with outstanding distinction in teaching, professional responsibilities, scholarship, and service. Since then, the college has recognized a few select faculty members each year for their achievements. The following professors were honored for this year’s award:

  • Mary Katherine Duncan, professor of psychology, Joan and Fred Miller Professor of Good Work, recently completed her fifteenth year at Bloomsburg University. She received the 2015 TALE Outstanding Teacher Award and is a conscientious and effective advisor. Duncan has also been active as a scholar, serving as first author on two peer-reviewed articles during the last five years and offering many presentations at national and regional conferences, most in collaboration with undergraduate student researchers.
  • Jason Genovese, associate professor of mass communications, joined 10 years ago. He is a consistently strong classroom and studio instructor, and he is an effective mentor to students in the program. Genovese brought to Bloomsburg University nearly a decade of television industry experience, and he maintains currency with the ever-changing technological innovations in video production.
  • Gifford Howarth, professor of music, has also been a part of the College of Liberal Arts for the past ten years. As a member of the department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Howarth teaches percussion and directs the Maroon and Gold Band. Howarth is a sought-after adjudicator and clinician of international reputation.
  • Vincent Hron, professor of art and art history, during his 20 years of service to the university he is consistently recognized as a highly effective instructor. He’s known for giving constructive and supportive critical feedback to aspiring artists, meeting the students where they are developmentally and helping reach the next level in their ability to express themselves on the canvas. As chairperson, he recently led the department through a successful re-accreditation process, and he is a valuable member of the college’s leadership team.

Murder Mystery to be Solved in CAS Performance

Solve Aquila Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “Murder on the Nile” on Friday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s Carver Hall, Kenneth S. Gross Auditorium. This program is a part of the Celebrity Artist Series.

In Christie’s own staging of her novel “Death on the Nile,” passengers on board a paddle steamer cruising the Nile River in 1940s Egypt find class, money and reputation at stake as they are immersed in a case of deceit, theft and murder. Christie has been regarded as a best-selling novelist of all time by The Guinness Book of World Records, only selling behind Shakespeare and the Bible.