Posts by Kelly
- What is the Stony Brook Honors College? on March 25th, 2013
This post is for you if:
- you have been accepted to the Honors College at Stony Brook and you’re wondering why you should attend
- you’re thinking about applying, but you’re not sure you want to write an extra essay
- you’ve never heard of the Honors College at Stony Brook, and you want to know more about it
I’ve fielded the question, “Why did you decide to attend Stony Brook?” many, many times. While there are several factors that played into my final decision, I almost always cite the Honors College as the thing the “sealed the deal.” After I was accepted to Stony Brook, I attended an admitted student reception hosted by the HC. The auditorium stage was filled to capacity with HC students eager to share their experiences with the new recruits. They filled me in on all the perks of being an HC student at Stony Brook, all with a level of enthusiasm I had never seen at a college event before. That’s when I realized that Stony Brook was where I wanted to be.
There are lots of special programs for high-achieving students at SBU–Steven’s post gives a great overview of the University Scholars program–but the Honors College is somewhat unique, for several reasons.
First, it has its own curriculum. HC students participate in a series of seminar-style courses on a variety of topics, two in their freshman year, and one each year after that. These seminars replace the DEC curriculum that most SBU students take. Each semester, the HC recruits faculty from across campus to lead the seminars according to their own interests or area of expertise, so the focus changes from one professor to the next. I’ve had classes on the music, literature and popular culture of Weimar Germany, art and architecture in Ancient Mesopotamia, and the influence of technological advancement on society. Since they are seminar-style classes, they all focus on learning through discussion, collaboration and critical thinking, rather than rote memorization and regular exams. These courses are only for HC students, so they give you an opportunity to get to know your peers both socially and intellectually.
In addition to the seminars, HC students also take four 1-credit mini-courses in over their first two years. The mini-course offerings each semester are incredibly diverse, and they offer a great opportunity to take a class on something that interests you but might be outside your general academic focus. Since they’re only 1-credit, they typically meet only once a week and don’t add too much to your workload. My astronomy mini-course met on Monday nights on the roof of the Earth and Space Sciences building for an hour of stargazing! Some other mini-courses that have been offered in the past include:
- The Global Challenge of Infectious Diseases
- Preparing for the Health Professions
- The Islamic World and Europe: From Algebra to Zenith
- The Situation Room: Making Decisions about National Security
- Free Writing with Seniors from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Another unique feature of the HC is that every HC senior completes a yearlong thesis project. I’m finishing up my project in Linguistics this month, but I’ve been working on it since last May. The thesis project is an exciting opportunity to develop an independent project on a topic that interests you. It doesn’t have to be related to your major at all. But, if you do decide to do a project within your major, you can often earn HC credit and departmental honors for the same project. At the end of your senior year, you present your project to a panel of faculty and HC staff at the senior symposium, and many students also present their research at URECA, the undergraduate research symposium.
Working on my thesis has been exhausting and exhilarating, and I’m proud of the work that I’ve done. Many of my friends who are science and engineering majors have been participating in faculty-directed research since their freshman year, but for me, this was a first foray into independent academic research. At first it was overwhelming, but my faculty advisor helped me focus my interests and hone my knowledge by reading and discussing my ideas.
In addition to individualized coursework, the HC also offers some awesome perks: priority registration for classes and housing, the opportunity to be housed with other HC students, free tickets to events at the Staller Center and other cultural activities, and HC-sponsored events like the Faculty Roundtable, Masquerade Ball, and fall BBQ. In my experience, the best part of being in the HC is the connections I’ve formed with my peers. With about 200 students across all four years, the HC offers a tight-knit community within which I’ve found many friends and intellectual partners. At the same time, I’ve been able to take advantage of the vast resources of Stony Brook University, which has afforded me many opportunities that have helped me to succeed. It’s the best of both worlds. And it’s definitely reason enough to write that second essay.
- Hunkering down and reaching out on February 8th, 2013
I am writing this post from my bed, where I am hunkered down with fuzzy socks and fluffy comforters prepared to wait out the storm. The news channels are calling it Nemo, but the driving rain and whistling winds outside my windows bear no resemblance to my favorite little clownfish. The weather channel summed up the 72-hour forecast with this headline:
Needless to say, I don’t plan on leaving my bed any time soon. Oh New York–I love you, but winter really isn’t your best look.
In better news, I had the opportunity this week to attend an on-campus screening of an amazing documentary called Half the Sky. The evening I attended was actually the first of a four-part series, each focused on a different issue of violence or human rights facing women around the world. Each segment was followed by a discussion, led by an invited guest, to stimulate awareness and encourage members of the SBU community to get involved in campaigns to end crimes against women.
Even though I was only able to attend one night of the series, the experience was deeply moving and inspired me to do my part to spread the word and get involved.
If you are interested in learning more about the Half the Sky movement, I highly recommend reading the book, watching the documentary, or checking out their website here. This experience was a great reminder for me of the passion for making the world a better place that truly ignites the Stony Brook community. From the local community to the global community, you’ll find innumerable ways to get involved and give back. Here are just a few examples of the awesome things that students are doing here at Stony Brook.
Students Helping Honduras
SHH is a non-profit aimed at empowering students to make a difference in rural villages in Honduras by participating in annual capital campaigns to construct schools in Honduras. SHH also conducts service trips through out the year.
SBU Blood Drive Committee
This student run committee organizes and helps staff blood drives on campus. Volunteers are essential to the success of a blood drive – they make posters, recruit donors, and are present at the blood drives to assist donors and nurses.
Stony Brook Compliments – #SBrunsonzamir
A forum for SBU students to “spread the love!” Message us with your compliments and a photo you’d like us to use. We will anonymously share all compliments that are submitted! — please tag your friends.
The most recent product of this group has gotten a LOT of publicity: on February 1st, 2013 students at Stony Brook University surprised Zamir, an employee who works the night shift at the local Dunkin’ Donuts, with handmade cards and gifts thanking him for his service. So many students had posted anonymously about the wonderful man at DD that the community decided to let him know how much they appreciated him. Check out the video!
Find out more: Facebook
Alternative Spring Break Outreach
No plans for spring break? Spend your week helping a community in need! Organized by the Career Center, the ASBO team takes a group of students each spring to a region of the country in need of disaster relief. Previous groups have gone to New Orleans, LA because of Hurricane Katrina, Galveston, TX because of Hurricane Ike, and Atlanta, GA because of major flooding.
Global Medical Brigades
Medical Brigades at Stony Brook University is a chapter of Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. GMB develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to healthcare. Every 3-4 months, student groups visit these high-need areas to provide treatment to hundreds of patients and teach public health workshops.
Find out more: Website
American Red Cross Club
This is only a small sampling of the community-service groups represented here at Stony Brook, but here’s some even better news:
The spring involvement fair is THIS COMING WEDNESDAY, February 13th in the Student Activities Center!
I’ll be there repping the UG Linguistics Club–hope to see you there!
- Hello (future) Seawolves! on January 30th, 2013
Hi everyone! For current students of SBU, a welcome-back is in order: it’s the first week of the spring semester! It’s also the start of my last semester at Stony Brook, a realization which is both exciting and bittersweet. But even as I’m preparing to depart for graduate school and beyond, it is always so fun to welcome newly accepted students to the Seawolf crew. Some acceptance letters for Fall 2013 (that’s the class of 2017!) have already gone out and Facebook is abuzz with questions and comments. This season we have a brand new social media tool for admitted students: the Inside Stony Brook app on Facebook. Once you’re admitted, you’ll receive an invitation in your email inbox. If you haven’t checked it already, you definitely should!
There are tons of activities, interests, careers, and other pages that you can “like” to form mini-communities with people who share your interests. It’s a great way to meet other students who are considering SBU.
You can also post questions about anything–student life, campus events, dorming, commuting, coursework, majors, etc.–and get feedback from current students who have first-hand experience!
If you are still waiting for news about your application, there is still plenty of time. If you’re unsure about the status of your application, make sure you check your SOLAR account. This is the first place that will be updated once a decision is made. When you log in for the first time, use your Stony Brook ID number (you’ll find it on the confirmation email and/or letter you received after you submitted your application) and your birthdate (MMDDYY).
Best of luck!
- Time to hit SUBMIT! on January 15th, 2013
It’s application deadline day for the Fall 2013 freshman class! Today’s the day to get that application in.
December and January can be a bit of a whirlwind, with the holidays, the new year and all the associated festivities. Add in midterm exams and all the final details of the college application process, and its enough to make anyone dizzy. But this is one deadline you don’t want to miss! There are tons of great reasons to apply to Stony Brook–the exceptional academics, the excellent value, the prime location–but here are a few extras: my own top five reasons to make sure you hit SUBMIT!
1. the diverse student body
We have students from all over the country and all over the world here on campus every day, which makes for an amazing college environment, both academically and socially. Collaborating and conversing with students from different backgrounds and perspectives has enriched my learning experiences and encouraged me to think about global issues from new viewpoints. And I’ve developed some great friendships! It’s great to have connections worldwide!
2. the AWESOME new student recreation center
I used to hate going to the gym. That was before I met the new student rec center. There are tons of cardio machines, so even when its crowded there is always equipment available, and everything is state of the art! Every machine has its own TV with on-demand programs, live radio, and an iPod charger! You can even track your workouts using your student ID number. In addition, there is an indoor track, basketball, racquetball, badminton, and other courts, and studios for fitness classes. The best part: it’s all FREE! Many universities charge a membership fee for their gyms, but SBU allows all students to utilize the facilities free of charge, and offers a full schedule of aerobics, yoga, and other classes too!
3. the train station right on campus
Having an LIRR station on campus is SO convenient–you can just hop on a train straight to NYC! The train will also take you to Port Jefferson, Smithtown and other local areas to explore!
4. the new Red Mango
Fro-yo lovers, rejoice! A brand new Red Mango cafe is opening this semester as part of Campus Dining offerings–that means you can use your meal plan! Dining options may not seem like the most important factor in choosing a college, but since you’ll be eating meals on campus almost every day, they are definitely worth considering. Class of 2017, you have even more variety coming your way with the renovated West Side Dining , which is also slated to open this spring.
5. super-cool campus traditions
Here’s a bit more good news for you freshman applicants: we need your application by today, but you have until February 1st to submit your supporting documents (SAT scores, transcripts, etc.). So don’t stress! Just make sure to hit SUBMIT before midnight tonight!
- Some unsung heroes of SBU on November 12th, 2012
As yesterday was Veteran’s Day, it seems only fitting to express my sincerest gratitude to all of the men and women who serve our country in so many ways, some of whom have been helping Long Island rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Thank you for all you do! But today I want to send a shout-out to another group of awesome people who maybe don’t get as much credit as they deserve: the landscaping team here at SBU.
If you live in a region with four seasons, you likely know well the beauty and the burden of autumn leaves. Every October, the leaves turn to a medley of red, orange and yellow and begin to flutter slowly to the ground. They begin to dry out and become big piles of delightfully crunchy play-things that children love to frolic in. And then it rains. And the leaf piles become a big, soggy dirty mess.
Our campus here at SBU has lots of big beautiful trees, and that means a lot of leaves. When the piles start to get big, the landscapers come in with their super-powered leaf-blowers and start clearing away the mess. The first time I saw them, I scoffed: they can’t possibly clean up all the leaves, I thought, they’ll just pile up again in a day or two. How silly. But then, like magic, all the leaves were gone! The lawns were pristine!
Now every year, I watch in awe as they work their leaf-blowing magic. Kudos to you, landscaping wizards. Thanks for keeping Stony Brook beautiful.
- Balancing acts on October 5th, 2012
Freshman year, my friends and I came up with a theory about priorities in college life. There are three important components, but the average person can only balance two at any given time, at the expense of the third. The components are academics, social life, and sleep. While I’d like to think that we drafted this clever analysis all on our own, it’s an observation that has been around for a much longer time than I’ve been in college. More concisely, the saying goes:
Grades, social life, or sleep: pick any two.
For those of you that can do it all (or who–by some miracle–don’t need sleep), more power to you. For me, two of the three is about all I can handle at once. But here’s the good news: your selection doesn’t have to define your college life–you can shift your priorities from semester to semester, week to week, or even day to day. What it comes down to is that wonderful and elusive skill your parents and teachers have been harping on since middle school: TIME MANAGEMENT.
Fun weekend coming up? Buckle down and get your work done early so come Friday, you can relax.
Midterm week? This is not the best time to have a Lord of the Rings movie marathon with your friends.
You get the idea. It’s not hard, once you get the hang of it. The key is staying organized. I like lists. I especially like crossing things off lists. In fact, sometimes I write “make a list” on my to-do list, just so I can cross it off. But there are lots of other options too–at the beginning of the fall semester, the university distributed an SBU Success Book to all incoming and returning students. It’s a daily planner, perfect for filling in all your HW assignments and exams, plus it’s filled with information and resources for new students.
This week, I’ve definitely been leaning heavily toward the school/sleep points of the trifecta. I was feeling a little under the weather, and had a lot of reading to catch up on, so I was happy to spend my evenings buried under my down comforter with highlighter in hand, sorting through a thick stack of papers on logical semantics.
Did you know that Stony Brook gives every student 40 pages of free printing EVERY DAY? And it’s cumulative through the end of each week! The best part? You can download a printer client to your own laptop or PC and send documents to the printer from anywhere. All you have to do is stop by a SINC site and swipe your ID card to retrieve them. SO AWESOME.
I’m looking forward to finishing up some homework this weekend, and hopefully tipping the scales in a different direction next week. I think my roommates miss me. This semester is definitely an academically-focused one, as I’m researching and developing my senior thesis. I have to stay organized and focused in order to get everything done, so I don’t have too much time for hanging out with friends. But I’m making an effort to set aside time to enjoy my favorite SBU events and traditions–Wolfstock and Homecoming were a welcome break, and I’m looking forward to Halloween! But even when I’m bogged down in homework, there’s one block of time every week that is open for extracurriculars: Campus Lifetime every Wednesday from 1:00PM – 2:30PM. There are very no classes scheduled during Campus Lifetime and many campus groups use this window to host meetings and events. Usually you’ll find me at an Undergraduate Linguistics club meeting, a LIN department brown-bag talk, or just relaxing at Starbucks. This semester the campus bookstore is also hosting events in this time slot–everything from tarot card readings to cooking demonstrations.
Just a sampling of the many Campus Lifetime activities.
But my favorite part of Campus Lifetime is how the campus comes alive–on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, you’ll find the center of campus bustling with people, frisbee games and picnics spread out on the Staller Steps, students rollerblading, skateboarding, and biking–sometimes I even encounter impromptu musical performances! It paints a vivid picture of the diverse and active student body at SBU. If you want to visit campus, I encourage you to come on a Wednesday! But for today…
- Welcome back! on September 25th, 2012
Hi guys! With the start of a new semester there is always a flurry of activity–welcome back events, getting settled into classes, the ever-growing involvement fair, Wolfstock and the homecoming game…it all went by so quickly! Now that I’m a senior, I’m savoring all the Stony Brook traditions I’ve come to love over the last three years. And there are quite a few of them!
This year, I’m gearing up for the next step: graduate school! I’m balancing my classes with other activities that will help build my real-world experience. Stony Brook has so much to offer in addition to great academics, and I’m trying to fit it all in! Here’s what I’m up to this semester:
– Finishing up the last few classes for my two majors, Linguistics and Spanish. I’m getting all interdisciplinary too–my Spanish class is an introduction to Hispanic linguistics and one of my linguistics classes is about Spanish syntax. Sometimes I forget what language I’m supposed to be speaking.
– Working as a student intern in with Out-of-State Admissions team. I’ve been working in Admissions for more than a year now, and I love connecting with prospective students and sharing my Stony Brook experience.
– Serving as an undergraduate TA (that’s code for teaching assistant) for a linguistics class. I update the course website, hold office hours and run review sessions for exams. Almost every department will allow you to TA for a class if you’ve already taken it and done well. All you have to do is reach out to the professor! It’s a great way to develop a relationship with faculty in your department and get some teaching experience–plus it looks good on your resume!
– Volunteering at the Speech and Hearing Center at the Stony Brook University Hospital. Since I’ll be going on to graduate school for speech pathology, I’m excited to have an opportunity to observe professionals and learn about different speech disorders and treatment strategies in a real-world setting. It’s easy to become a volunteer at the hospital, and there are placements in a wide variety of departments–everything from the cardiology unit to the gift shop. Plus, it’s right on East Campus.
– Developing a senior thesis project in linguistics, to be presented in the spring semester. The senior thesis is part of my requirements as a student in the Honors College. It is a year-long research project, guided by a faculty mentor, that will culminate in a final paper, which will be presented to a panel of faculty members in May. I’m still in the beginning phases, but I’ve been doing lots of research and the creative juices are flowing!
In addition to my daily schedule of work and school, I’m also trying to take advantage of more activities on campus! USG recently rolled out a new interface called SB Life for promoting on-campus life and facilitating clubs’ organization of activities. Many student groups and organizations have already migrated to the new system, and the Events tab lists all of their upcoming programs in one place. It’s the easiest way to find out what’s happening on campus right now–go check it out!
- For the science nerd in all of us on March 12th, 2012
It’s no secret that Stony Brook is outstanding in the sciences, but we have a lot more to offer than just biology, chemistry and physics. With 67 majors and 81, there are a wealth of students on campus with diverse interests outside of the hard sciences, and I’m proud to say that I’m one of them! Not that I’m hating on all you science people–even after departing from my initial pre-med plans (see here for that story), I still have a soft spot for biology. But I find that the more abstract and theoretical the material becomes, the more I feel like I’m over my head and outside of my interests. Interestingly enough, the majority of my linguistics courses still involve analyzing data and developing hypotheses in a largely scientific manner. But if you start talking to me about particle physics…well, I’ll nod and smile.
Last year, I had the privilege of a front-row seat (thanks Honors College!) to a fascinating lecture by Alan Alda, actor, director and founding member of the Stony Brook Center for Communicating Science, an initiative to teach scientists how to effectively communicate their work to more than just other scientists. His lecture was interesting, informative, and interactive — he even had Dean Schneider of the Journalism School walk across the stage carrying a glass full to the brim with water and told him:
“Don’t spill a drop, or all the people in your village will die!”
You can watch the whole lecture – it’s great – but fast forward to 1:12:40 for the walk of doom.
The exercise was designed to demonstrate how when one person is highly engaged in what they are doing, other people become engaged as well. Sure enough, when a few drops of water sloshed off the top, the focused silence of the audience was broken by gasps and murmurs.
Last fall when I attended the talk, the Center for Communicating Science project was just getting underway–now, a little over a year later, the program is thriving. The Center offers a Master’s in conjunction with the School of Journalism, as well as certificate programs for scientists and health professionals which focus on innovative solutions for communicating their work to the public, the media, and scholars in other disciplines. In addition, it has run improvisation workshops for science professionals at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University’s Medical Center, and UCLA, with rave reviews.
Research professionals getting loose.
Photo credit: Center for Communicating Science.
Right now, the CCS is conducting a competition called The Flame Challenge, inspired by a simple question asked by an 11-year-old: What is a flame? The rules of the challenge are simple: present an answer to the question in a way that is accessible and understandable for a child of 11. The submissions will be judged, fittingly, by panels of 11-year-old students in grade schools across the country. Submissions will be accepted through April 2, 2012 and the winners will be posted on the Flame Challenge website – check back for details!
The results of this initiative is that the scientists who are doing ground-breaking research right here at Stony Brook will be able to explain how awesome their work is to people (like me!) who lack the technical vocabulary and background knowledge of field professionals. So that you don’t have to be a science major to “get” science. Pretty cool, huh?
To further the communication lines among students, the CCS created a lecture series called Science on Tap–last Wednesday I stopped by The Bench, a bar/restaurant right across from the train station on campus, for a talk by Paul Gignac, who is a researcher and professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University and an expert on crocodiles. The place was packed! There was live jazz music playing when we arrived and I recognized some Stony Brook journalism students who were videotaping the event (the professional equipment available to students in the School of Journalism is AWESOME). Dr. Gignac talked about his career as a paleontologist, which began with a childhood love of dinosaurs, and also highlighted his research on crocodile bite force. The casual atmosphere and the opportunity to share food and drinks with friends set an informal tone, but the speaker took science out of the technical realm and made it enjoyable and accessible even for the kids in the audience–it was a great way to spend a Wednesday night. I’m excited to see what the CCS comes up with next!
- Get in the RED spirit! on February 27th, 2012
In honor of midterm season , which is now in full swing, I’ll start this post off with a quick quiz:
Which of the following is the last line of the Stony Brook fight song?
A) Let’s go Stony Brook, the number one school!
B) Go, Fight, Win!
C) Raise a grateful cheer for Stony Brook!
The answer is, A! Though if you’ve ever been to a football or basketball game, you’ve heard B shouted many times as well–that’s our call to victory. And C is the last line of the alma mater, Sandy Shore, which is played at the end of every game.
I’ll confess, I’m not much of a “sports girl.” In high school, I was a member and captain of the colorguard, which certainly involved a measure of coordination and endurance, but I was always more interested in the performance sports, like dance and gymnastics, than traditional team competition. But regardless of my lack of athletic inclinations, I cannot deny that there is something spectacularly exciting about cheering for your team. Among a crowd of cheering fans, strangers become comrades and everyone shares in the joy of an invigorating win. I’m willing to bet more than half of Americans who have watched the Super Bowl have hugged a random stranger in a sports bar at some point in their life.
Here’s another quiz question: did you know that Stony Brook has NCAA Division I teams for eleven different sports? Before I became I student, I definitely didn’t. But around here, our teams have a reputation, one that has been reaching milestone after milestone in the last three years. Last year, our men’s soccer team won the 2011 America East Championship. At the end of last semester, our football team made it to the second round of the Division I championships, and just yesterday, our basketball team defeated Maine to take the top spot in the upcoming America East championship. It would be hard not to get caught up in the excitement!
As a spectator, there are tons of opportunities to cheer on our teams. Tickets to games on campus are typically free for students with an ID, and for important away games, the University will offer free transportation for student fans who want to attend the game. Last year, we sent 11 buses full of SBU students to Boston to cheer on our men’s basketball team at the America East Championship! If you attend a home game, you won’t be lonely–at every game, throngs of students occupy the Red Zone, a designated section for SBU students which is flanked by the marching band and decked out in our school color: RED! There’s usually a few fans who go above and beyond and paint themselves in the spirit of the game, but regardless of the extremity of their dress, everyone is pumped up to cheer on the Seawolves.
Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics.
If you haven’t joined the Red Zone yet, you should definitely check out an upcoming game! You can find updates on the Stony Brook Athletic website or on the Red Zone Facebook page. Next weekend the first game in the America East Basketball Championship will be played in West Hartford and the fan bus is free…road trip anyone?
WHAT’S A SEAWOLF? I’M A SEAWOLF!