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Archive for March, 2013

  • What is the WISE Program? on March 30th, 2013

    (Yes, I followed the title trend of the last few bloggers’ posts!)

    I’m in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program here at SBU. The way I describe it on my resume is “an honors program for high-achieving women”, which is the gist of it. Basically selection into the WISE program means that you qualified, and the university has high hopes for you in the STEM fields. (STEM= Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The main requirements you must fulfill during your years at Stony Brook are a to take a few WISE classes, maintain a good GPA, and attend at least 3 events per semester. These events are fun and typically informative… past events include: movie nights, research panels, resume readings, ice skating in NYC, and manymany more!

    The WISE program has a number of benefits; a community feeling, mentoring, priority-registration, scholarship opportunities, and the potential for good networking connections. During freshman year, WISE houses all of their members in Gray College in Mendelsohn Quad. (Other students live there too, but almost all of the WISE freshman are housed there, too). Having all of these familiar faces in one place is a very welcoming environment because it creates a sense of community. This campus is large, and it can be hard in the first semester to come out of your shell, so having a close group of friends is a good thing to have.

    Mentoring, a requirement for all freshmen, is probably the second best thing being in WISE has done for me. A group of 4-6 freshman meet with an upperclassman WISE student of the same major for two hours twice a week. This mentoring time is used for homework help and discussing how to handle situations with a roommate/classmate/significant other. Mentoring was amazing for me because that’s how I met my roommate! Actually I met her the first time at the WISE orientation session in the summer before freshman year, but magically we were in the same mentoring group and became closer friends and eventually roommates.

    Priority-registration is the most amazing perk of being in WISE. I have never been locked out of registering for a class, while my non-WISE friends have this occur on a regular basis. Getting into the right classes is important for your overall course sequence, especially for STEM majors because everything is prerequisite for another class you take later.

    WISE typically sends out emails and posts flyers and information about scholarships we can apply to, which is always useful because who doesn’t want a little help financially?!

    Networking, networking, networking. It’s a word you’ll hate at the beginning, but love later on. Freshman year, you’ll attend events that are aimed at helping you learn to network, but there’s really recipe on how to do it, you just have to jump in and do it. I’m finally in that stage where I’ve understood how to network as well as how to use those contacts as inside connections to pass off my resume and get more opportunities. WISE has various events throughout the year where you can network with alumni who are now working, and making those connections can help you out a lot in the future! (There are also alumni networking events for non-WISE students hosted by the Career Center or student clubs on campus, so if you’re not in WISE you still get this kind of an opportunity).

    One perk I haven’t taken advantage of is the connection of WISE with Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). This SULI program is open everyone, but they set aside 2 or 3 spots just for WISE students! One of my friends participated in this, and she absolutely loved it.  I tried to get you guys a link, but the BNL website is down at the moment. If you want to find out more about the SULI program, here’s the general info from the Department of Energy.

    I hope this helps you!

    -Pratha

  • 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.

  • What is the University Scholars Program? on March 18th, 2013

    Hey there everyone! I was recently notified that admissions to some of Stony Brook University’s more selective programs have gone out, and that some of you may be curious as to what these programs are. Well, I have to begin by saying that I am a member of the University Scholars Program, and must further admit that it is an opportunity that you will not regret during your time here at Stony Brook.

    So, the University Scholars Program is a program that accepts approximately the top 8% of students at Stony Brook, with an average SAT score of about 1380 and an average Grade Point Average of 96. Each year anywhere between 200 and 300 students are accepted and offers special opportunities for these students, such as priority course scheduling when it comes time to picking classes for the upcoming semester; exclusive academic advising and first-year seminar courses just for University Scholars; exclusive University Scholars events, leadership opportunities, and trips (something that has significantly increased this year!); and something new: Living with other University Scholars! All first-year students in the University Scholars program live today in the same residential building depending on the quad you are put into. So, this past year, I lived in Cardozo College (part of Roth Quad) with other University Scholars. It was an incredible experience, and we have just decided as of today to stick together for the next year!

    Headed by advisors David Maynard, Brian Colle, and Jeremy Marchese, University Scholars is dedicated to making the student experience here at Stony Brook one that is knowledgeable, engaging, worthwhile, and, above all, FUN! We are a community dedicated to our pillars, which are Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. Scholarship – Students come to Stony Brook to receive the best education, and the University Scholars program encourages that, with all students being required to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average. Leadership – The University Scholars program is comprised of the “cream of the crop,” and because of that we must present ourselves in the most professional manner and maintain that status we were dubbed with. Becoming executive board members of clubs, Undergraduate Student Government, various honor societies, etc., are the different ways in which to fulfill that honor. Service – This program is determined to make a significant difference on this campus, and beyond. We hold various outreach programs throughout the year, all of which raise money or perform a service beneficial to the community. All University Scholars members are required to attend two events on campus, either two University Scholars events, or one University Scholars event and one Undergraduate College event.

    If you had been so excited to be accepted into the University Honors or WISE programs, do not fret! We hold numerous events throughout the year, jointly, for the entire university to enjoy! Being a part of the University Scholars Program is a privilege that one should embrace with all their heart. I found so much in this program–the people, the opportunities, EVERYTHING. I hope that you will as well. If you have any questions or concerns about this program, or anything at all, please let me know! I’m here to help.

    - Steven Adelson

  • Spring Break! (almost…) on March 15th, 2013

    At 11 AM tomorrow, I will officially be on Spring Break!

    Honestly, I don’t even remember what I did freshman year. (No, it wasn’t like I was having “too much fun to remember” but I think I just went back home, and had a relaxing break.) Last year, I had a blast going to Camp Bob in South Carolina with the Crew Team! It was so much fun getting 3 workouts a day and being with the team 24/7, literally.

    This year, I’m going back home to MA but this time, I’m bringing home one of my best friends! She’s originally from California, and she’s graduating this year. We have an entire list of places we want to go…one of them is the MA Admitted Student Reception Dinner! SO if you’re in the area and you were invited, make sure to RSVP! We’d love to talk to you guys about our experiences here at SBU, and pass on any advice and knowledge that will help you decide if SBU is right for you! I’m looking forward to meeting you guys :)

    -Pratha

    ps. Happy Pi Day!

  • RecycleMania Plants! on March 12th, 2013

    I’m really excited to be a part of RecycleMania 2013! RecycleMania is a two-month competition among the different residential quads to see who can recycle the most product. This year, there is also a photo contest where students can submit a photo that pertains to the theme: “Live Sustainably. Choose to Recycle.”

    The RecycleMania competition focuses on recycling all of the following products:

    • Bottles & Cans, Including Plastic Types #1-7
    • Paper & Shredded Paper
    • Cardboard
    • Electronics / E-Waste (Electronics, Computers, Laptops, Used Cell Phones, etc.)
    • Food Service Organics

    I’m doing my part to help out through programming in the residence halls. Two weeks ago, we transformed plastic water bottles into plant holders by cutting the top off, filling the bottom with dirt and placing the bottom inside the top. I’m proud to say my basil is going strong and in a few weeks, I’ll have enough to bring home for Easter lasagna!

    The best part is, once the basil grows enough to be transplanted, the plastic bottles can be washed and recycled! With the help of hall council, my fellow RAs and I will be planning fun programs about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling and sustainability are important part of Stony Brook’s culture. We are learning how to reduce our carbon footprint as a campus. Last year we came in first place among NY colleges in the recyclemania initiative. This program highlights just one of the many ways that Stony Brook students shine and can make a difference in preserving the planet for future generations.

  • Why Stony Brook? on March 12th, 2013

    As a live-long Nutmegger, and a non-science major,  people always ask me how I ended up at Stony Brook. Its true, there are great Connecticut state schools and awesome people but, I needed a change. I grew up in the same house in the same town and went to elementary, middle and high school with the same people my entire life. When I told my guidance counselor I only wanted to apply to out of state schools, she suggested Stony Brook.

    On the Wednesday before the Friday deposits were due, I skipped school and hopped on the Ferry to Long Island. I took my friend Rachael with me and together we navigated the bus route from Port Jeff to Stony Brook. The bus dropped us off just across from the Wang Center and we looked around for a few minutes before heading to the Administration building for our tour. We saw the Student Activities Center (SAC), academic buildings and some residential halls. I kept looking over at Rachael and whispering “what if I ACTUALLY went here?” Up until that moment I hadn’t really been away from home, except for a debate club field trip to Boston and I was rapidly falling in love with the idea of coming to Stony Brook.

    The tour continued, past the library. I was impressed with the facts the tour guide offered, like the fact that Stony Brook was the birthplace of  the MRI but, where I really feel in love was Staller Steps. There were tons of students playing frisbee, taking pictures and hanging out on the steps. In the grassy strip just outside the library and the SAC, students were sitting under trees reading and playing music. The entire place seemed so alive. Professors were holding class outside of a building I now know was the Psychology building. After the tour was over Rachael and I decided to walk around and talk to current students. At first we just walked around, listening to what current students had to say then we asked a few questions. The only complaint people seemed to have was that the science classes were difficult. Other than that, the students were happy. The other thing I noticed was that everyone had a plan, it was clear their future was bright. That impressed it me.

    I went home that night and crunched the numbers with my parents. With my scholarship, Stony Brook would only cost about $1,500 more a semester than a CT state school but it offered so many more opportunities. There is literally a club or organization for every interesest–from Dumbledore’s Army to Community Service Club. The quality of professors here is unparalleled in terms of their research and field experience.

    I’m incredibly happy with my decision to come to Stony Brook. I’ve found life-long friends, learned countless life lessons and feel totally prepared for the next chapter of my life.

  • Running Down a Dream: Why I Chose Stony Brook Univeristy on March 12th, 2013

    Hey Stony Brook~

    I hope you all have been well during this busy spring semester!

    The weeks are flying by—can you believe, midterms are upon us already?

    But think; soon you will be relieved of your hard work…sunny days, warm temperatures, and the highly anticipated “spring break” is just around the corner!

    For me, this spring will be my SIXTH semester at “The Brook,” and I can hardly believe it! Just three years ago, one would find me at Cold Spring Harbor High School, hard at work preparing my AP Art portfolio: cutting, pasting, and painting my way through the final push of the school year.  However, my mind was largely at ease. Unlike many of my peers, I already knew where I was going to school…

    Since my freshman year in high school, they had been piling up.  “They” being: the letters.

    Over my four years of high school, starting with the one from Babson College, a stack of forty-plus hand-written pleas from the running teams at a wide variety of private and public universities accumulated in my bedroom; Syracuse, Cornell, SUNY ESF, Georgetown, UNC Greensboro…the list goes on.  I had spent the end of my Junior year through the start of my Senior year in high school flying to and from the various colleges attempting to court me to join their Women’s Cross Country and Track teams.  You see, I am a natural runner—and once I got a taste of the college running life, I knew that was where I needed to be.

    I traveled more within the span of those 6 or seven months than I had previously in my entire 17 years of existence.  At Syracuse, it was the never-ending supply of new sneakers and myriad choices of uniform that pulled me in.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for “schwag.” At Wofford in South Carolina, it was the incredible trails, scenic and winding that attracted me (I’m a Cross-Country girl, at heart).  At Cornell—well, I could say at the end of my four years, “I went to Cornell.”

    Unlike my high school friends, who had sent in ten or more “Common Apps”—complete with the necessary essays and letters of recommendation—I had only submitted five: Wofford, Syracuse, and Cornell—and, as my “safeties,” Stony Brook Southampton and, here, regular old Stony Brook U.

    After ripping open my acceptance letters, I was filled with a sense of excitement.

    I had my pick of any school I wanted…

    Particularly to my delight, Wofford had offered me a partial athletic and academic scholarship!  From my visit, I had seen that the school had an awesome new Environmental Studies facility, located in an old converted textile mill perched on the banks of a slow moving river.  I figured this was my way to realize both academic and athletic success.  It was an awesome feeling.

    I picked up the phone to call my “new coach” to tell him the news; I was ready to be a Wofford “Terrier,” D-1 status.

    But then, I stopped.

    I looked down, and I saw my Alaskan Malamute, contently snoozing on the floor.

    I looked to the left, and I saw my work bag, Wildlife Rehab Manual poking out of the top.

    I looked to the right and I saw an almost-finished art piece, a pencil drawing I was working on for my brother, Evan.

    I looked in the mirror, and I saw in my heart that I was not ready to leave.

    I was not ready to sign away my college career—knowing myself, I put the phone down.

    Instead, I decided to choose Stony Brook Southampton for its incredible Marine Vertebrate Biology program—I could live at home, where I was comfortable, and commute to school.  Giving up competitive running, I would have time to work, spend time doing my art, and truly become engrossed in my studies.

    Ironically, SB Southampton shut down in the fall of 2010, so I made the choice to attend the original Stony Brook University instead. Three years later, I truly realize that this was the best choice I could have ever made.

    Here at Stony Brook, I realized my true passion: writing about the environment.

    The professors, courses, and amazing friendships I have forged here at Stony Brook have made the sacrifice to give up competitive running “worth it” for me.  Do I miss it—the sense of team, the thrill of the race?  Sure.

    But I also love waking up every morning and being able to walk my dog on the North Shore beaches of Long Island, to visiting my local friends and family, to being able to have a landed a great job, to buy my own car (actually, this is number three!).  Not being on a team has afforded me time to do such things.  Despite giving up my athletic scholarships, I found, upon admittance, that I had actually earned scholarships to Stony Brook, making it, in actuality, the most affordable choice!

    Going away would have been fun, and sure, I could have still ran competitively here at Stony Brook—we have an AMAZING team! But instead, I choose to run in my local running team (Nortport Running Club).

    Sometimes, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had gone to one of those schools that had sent me those letters…what races would I have won, what friends would I have made?  I had for so long, been convinced that I was supposed to go away to school to run…

    Though the thoughts sometimes bother me, upon further examination, I always recognize that such is not my destiny.

    Stony Brook is where I belong.

    peace. love. run.

    ericarunsamerica.

    Here at Stony Brook, I have been able to bring my dog to school, the famous "Foosa!"

  • An SB Athletics-Filled Weekend on March 11th, 2013

    As per usual, I capped off my week last week cheering on all of my people who get their RED on on the field and the court with Stony Brook Athletics. This weekend, though, could be the biggest we’ve had so far this semester. If you’re any sort of avid sports fan, which you should be since you’re coming to debatably the most powerful school in the America East/Big South/CAA Conference, you’d know this weekend played host to the America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Conference Championships in Albany. A win offers any school the opportunity to play in the big dance and garner all sorts of national coverage, something huge for an up-and-coming school like us. So when fan buses were announced, I obviously was on board.

    The women’s team, running on a season with ten more wins than last year had already exceeded many expectations, and lost a heartbreaker to UNH at the buzzer after an unbelievable 10 point comeback in the second half Friday night. Though we couldn’t pull through with the win, this season proved a great opportunity for me and my fellow avid Seawolves who come to every game the opportunity to get to know and connect with the team on a personal level. The sheer turnaround from one year ago will truly etch this year in all of our history books as a great season to be a Seawolf.

    After watching the heartbreaker to UNH at home, my friends and I made the conscious decision to stick around Saturday and watch the Women’s Lacrosse home opener vs. Longwood instead of taking the drive to Albany with the two fan busses packed to watch the men’s team down Bing by 23 points. And honestly, looking back, I’m glad I stuck around to watch history in Kenneth P LaValle Stadium. Being from the midwest, I’d never seen a LAX game, but after becoming close friends with the team, I figured it would be a good opportunity to watch some of my best friends on a nationally ranked team open up their home season. Right from the go, Stony Brook dominated and ended up winning 21-3, led by my good friend Claire Petersen who had 13 points and an NCAA Division 1 record 11 assists. There are no words to describe how proud I am of all of those girls as they continue having an unbelievable season.

    Sunday capped off the weekend, with Stony Brook Men’s Basketball playing at UAlbany against the Danes. I knew this would be an important game, especially since Albany would have home court advantage. At 2 p.m. the busses rolled up to the SAC loop and filled with almost a hundred students ready to show their swagger in Albany. Never attending an America East playoff game, I really had no idea what to expect, and the day proved to be a day of revelations.

    First thing I noticed when we got there early before the Vermont/UMBC game was over was the amount of students from other schools there–virtually nonexistent in comparison to the buses full of SBU students and so many who opted to drive or stay upstate for the weekend at home. It truly made me proud to watch as the bands from UVM and UMBC would cheer on each other after performing during the timeouts and just appreciating each others’ schools. It also was great to know the showing of Stony Brook students who came out as the game got started in comparison to UMBC or UVM and it was great to know our administration was so supportive of getting fan buses and students to the game to support. We really are an energetic crowd and it’s been great to watch our sheer size grow as the year’s gone on.

    Though we couldn’t pull out the win, the experience of going to Albany and knowing we will be playing in the NIT makes the loss a little easier to swallow. At the end of the day, the strides the RED Zone has taken this year and seeing young leaders emerge on the team make next year something to look forward to.

    As every weekend ends, some with wins, some with losses, it really always is great to see an even brighter future on the horizon, and it’s always great to be a Seawolf. :)

  • OOSSA’s Trip to NYC and The Lion King! on March 3rd, 2013

    Yesterday, a total of 30 members of the Out-of-State Student Association went on a trip to the city to see the Lion King on Broadway! It was a lot of fun, and very low cost to the students! Only $12 for each student! This is just one of the many awesome things OOSSA does throughout the year, with a lot of financial help from the Admissions Department to get it so low cost!  We split up into smaller groups, and had at least one eboard member lead each group. One group went shopping on 5th Ave, another went to Chelsea to see art galleries, and my group wanted to see Times Square! After spending time in the city, we met up outside of the theater. Everyone really enjoyed the show, and for most of them, this was their first Broadway experience. The Lion King is well-known for the incredible costumes, musical numbers, and the overall amazing experience.

    The Lion King on Broadway

    OOSSA plans to do a NYC/Broadway trip at least once a year, with the hope that we can get a trip in  for every semester in the future. We are going to try to get in another trip to the city this semester, to visit some of the famous museums.

    OOSSA is just one of the 300+ clubs on campus that you can join, and each one holds different wonderful events that everyone should try!

    -Pratha