Matthew Derrico ’14 has a new favorite animal: the elephant. Specifically, elephants in Thailand, which he spent 10 days working with in April.
Derrico was a participant in the first Thailand International Film Destination Festival. He and partner Mackenzie Dupuy, who studies film in Canada, were one of 50 teams accepted out of over 800 applicants to take part in the contest.
Derrico, a psychology major, pitched a few story ideas to Dupuy and they agreed on the best one – Derrico learned the elephant is Thailand’s national animal when he studied abroad there first semester. “I did everything a producer would do and he [Dupuy] filmed it,” said Derrico. After two days of orientation, the team was given a van, a driver, a production assistant and six days to film and edit on a $1,000 budget.
“The original idea was A; what we came up with was Z at the end,” Derrico said. The film focuses on the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang,Thailand, but it also includes background on elephants, especially how their numbers are dwindling. “The plan was to put something in to send a message home,” he said.
After staying in a wide variety of places, from high-end hotels to hostels with outdoor showers, the teams gathered for the culmination of the contest: a red carpet gala. Derrico and Dupuy’s film, Through the Eyes of an Elephant, received the Best Editing award, which came with Derrico’s “first big cardboard check,” which he plans to use to pay off loans. He and Dupuy had no thank-you speech prepared when they accepted the award. “I gave a speech like in the real Oscars. I hit all the stereotypical things.”
“It was a roller coaster of a trip,” said Derrico, who is interested in continuing to travel and work in film. “I like the idea of ultimately sending a message through film. People will look back in society and see what the culture was about.”
Andy Robillard, facilities hardscape manager, rolls through KU Plaza with Allie, his six year old Australian Shepherd, as they check the paver work in the plaza. Allie rides with Andy on days when goose management is needed on campus.
5-17-13 by Larry Burgess
Many professors collect mementos over the years, pinning cards from former students next to clipped newspaper cartoons and yellowing snapshots. Philosophy professor Monalisa Mullins, though, uses such a “wallpaper of memories” to supplement her coursework.
“I’ve always had students write a page about something that is taped on my door for extra credit,” Mullins said. “I came across a pile of some of the pages while cleaning out the office. The responses still humble and surprise me.”
It took Mullins, who retired this spring after 35 years at UD, awhile to do a final clean-out.
“I’m still getting messages or notes from students who graduated 15 years ago. Now that I am retiring, the notes and cards have become difficult to take down. I start and then I end up pausing to read each one, remembering that student,” she said. “There is such a sense of community from our students; they are polite and respectful. I just love them.”
One of the gifts she hopes to leave behind is the Monalisa Mullins Scholarship, awarded to a student who has been involved in the UD community. It was given to its first student, Emily Striver, this May, and a new plaque now hangs in the Fitz Center to encourage new ideas and stress a goal towards a greater campus identity.
“It’s hard to leave a campus like this,” said Mullins, pulling another tissue from the box on her desk. “It’s hard to leave this office.”
For a woman whose office walls tell its own story, she harbors many favorite memories, from CAPP Stone cookie baking to overnight homeless vigils to dinner conversations with Marianists.
“I have always shown this film, God Bless the Child, and at the end of the film many students over the years have been very emotional,” said Mullins. “This one time the students were very shaken but too embarrassed to cry. Suddenly a football player ripped out a page from his notebook and blew his nose. It was like that one action gave the rest of us permission to cry with him.”
Mullins did manage to take down all her cards from the walls, take her gifts from the window sill, the writings of students out of desk drawers and the paper topics from the door. The room is empty now, awaiting the next bright and eager professor to step in and make it home. But to students, now and then, the narrow hallways in Chaminade Hall will always seem to lead to the comforting world of Monalisa Mullins and her compassionate love of UD.No Comments
Hundreds celebrated the life of Father Joe Lackner, S.M., on May 11 with stories, prayer, laughter and tears.
“Joe would just love it if we were all singing and dancing in the aisles,” said Brother Joe Kamis, S.M., assistant provincial. “Joe was a giant in so many ways.”
Click here for his heartfelt remembrance.
For teachers-in-training who’ve never had any formal teacher education, being placed in a classroom setting on day one can be a bit like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end. But it’s exactly the right approach, said Woodrow Wilson Fellow Brandon Towns.
“You have to be thrown into the fire,” he said. “You have to have the opportunity to fail.
After completing a year of intense academic and on-the-job learning as part of a program to train science and math teachers, Towns and 10 other graduates are preparing for a three-year stint in several local schools.
The graduates — ranging in age from their mid-20s to their mid-40s — are the first to complete the University’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, a program designed to train working professionals to be teachers in high-need schools, while improving STEMM education.
Partner universities redesign their teacher preparation programs and immediately place fellows in local classrooms. After a year of classroom-based preparation, fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Ohio school.
Towns graduated from UD in 2011 with a degree in biology. Raised in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio, he has a passion for urban students.
He’s excited to put all he’s learned into practice, and he’s prepared. But he won’t say he’s ready.
“My mentor told me that if you ever feel ready for teaching, you need to stop being a teacher,” he said. “There’s always going to be something to surprise you. I know the content, I know the teaching methods, I know the behavioral modification techniques. So I know what I’m supposed to know, but I expect it’s always going to be a learning process.”
For bios on the 11 graduates, visit udayton.edu/news/articles/2012/05/2012_woodrow_wilson_fellows_bios.php
Brother Dan Klco of 312 Stonemill preps the beds of his vegetable garden for planting on a sunny 74 degree afternoon. When everything is ready he plans to plant tomatoes, peppers, and corn so the residents of his house will have fresh food on their table.
5-14-13 by Adrienne LowryNo Comments
A photograph hangs in the entrance of the music and theatre building depicting a man sitting on a bench outside. As students and faculty begin to gather around the photo near the entrance, a woman approaches with the man from the photo. As he enters the building, smiles erupt all around as his gaze scans the room, landing on the photo. A fond smile spreads from ear to ear.
“Excuse me for not standing,” was the first thing 90-year-old George Zimmerman said from his wheelchair. The second: “Is that my drum?”
Zimmerman retired in 1994 after 52 years of teaching music. He spent five years at Ohio State and Miami University before spending 30 years teaching music in Dayton public schools. He finished his long-time teaching run at UD after 12 years.
“It’s good to be back,” said Zimmerman. “I can’t relate as well to the campus anymore because the landscape is different and the buildings are new. But I can tell that it won’t be long until they need to cut the grass again.”
Zimmerman fondly recalls his time at UD, remembering his own local television show where he would cook and discuss tidbits of his life, as well as the annual Christmas concert that proved so popular, Zimmerman found himself in attendance even after retirement.
“I spent 16 years sitting in Boll Theatre for Christmas sing-a-longs,” said Zimmerman with a chuckle. “One of our biggest turnouts was when we had 800 people for each of the two shows in the same night. I was exhausted.”
Students and faculty followed him as he visited his old classroom, his face bright-eyed and full of memories.
“I wanted to see this room,” he said. “When I taught, I had no textbooks. I had to go from myself. I had to write my own music and books. And I admired the students. How they got themselves involved. There is so much that I didn’t know then that I know now. And I don’t have a class!”
The students surrounding him, hoping to gain his wisdom, began to depart for their morning classes; faculty forlornly glanced at their watches, soon needing to head to class, or their office or a committee meeting. In the hopes of teaching one more lesson, Zimmerman addressed everyone in his old classroom.
“It’s important to collect everything,” he said. “It’s important to travel. To go. Take every minute; move all the time. And always, always be learning.”
And with that last bit of knowledge, Zimmerman placed his hands above the room’s piano keys for the first time in 19 years and played out his students, new and old, to the tune of “Danny Boy.”No Comments
A blue cloth covers a table in Joanne Troha’s office in St. Joseph Hall, hiding boxes of papers and other items compiled through 43 years of service at UD.
What’s inside those boxes is far from junk.
“Underneath that table is four decades of very fascinating ways that we’ve connected UD to the community,” said Troha, director of community service learning at the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.
Troha will retire May 31. A month later on June 30, Brother Ed Zamierowski, S.M., senior community service advisor at the Fitz Center, will retire from UD after 39 years of service. Both have seen the evolution of UD’s involvement in community-building initiatives and civic engagement, from the glimmers of ideas planted in the 1970s to the work of the Fitz Center today.
Troha, who graduated from UD in 1970 with a degree in secondary education, began working at the University that same year. Troha worked in a newly established department, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, under what was then called the assistant provost’s office. The center was a response to student protests for curriculum additions to better reflect a changing world, and UD began offering “mini-courses” in fields such as environmental studies, peace studies, Black studies, women’s studies and future studies.
It was UD’s first approach to interdisciplinary studies, and Troha is proud that many of the initial mini-courses are now a regular part of the UD curriculum, and that the idea of interdisciplinary study is an encouraged part of college education.
And then, in 1975, the office was disbanded. Troha found herself unemployed for six weeks.
“That was the longest time I was away from UD,” she says.
Brother Ray Fitz, S.M., soon offered her a job at Strategies for Responsible Development, a precursor to the Fitz Center. The office often applied Fitz’s engineering-related systems approach to solving community problems, whether that community was in Dayton or halfway around the world.
UD made more forays into civic engagement, and Troha can recount them all, from the development of community gardens in west Dayton to the operation of Ohio’s first AmeriCorps program.
While staffers in SRD were seeing the impact of their work, the question of how to integrate faculty and students into civic engagement remained a quandary. The opportunity finally presented itself in the late ‘90s, when UD formed a partnership with nearby Patterson-Kennedy School. Although the school closed in 2011, UD’s partnerships have shifted to Dayton’s Neighborhood Schools Centers, where students are a constant presence in the halls of five schools.
And, through the Fitz Center, faculty and students continue to work in partnership with the greater Dayton community.No Comments
Roesch Library cares about its students. Last semester, the LibQual+ survey was administered, an international survey developed by the Association of Research Libraries, to measure quality of services and perceptions of the library – and Roesch is listening to what students had to say.
“The number of responses we had was phenomenal,” said Hector Escobar, director of education and information delivery at Roesch. About 1,500 students gave their opinions and it’s appreciated. “It’s good to see how the library is used,” he said.
In a report of over 100 pages, Escobar discovered important feedback. For example, students find the “silent” sixth floor to often have noise issues, so Escobar is looking into better enforcing sound levels. Another issue was the look and feel of Roesch. “Students said the outside looks nice now, but inside some of the colors are drab,” said Escobar. So they’re changing it up; there’s a poll on the fourth floor asking what color the walls should be painted.
“The main need is more study space,” said Escobar. “It’s very apparent come finals week, when the place is jam-packed.” Roesch is investigating ways to offer more room to students, such as consolidating shelving to increase space for studying.
“For planning purposes it’s great to hear comments,” said Escobar. “We hope that this information provides qualitative examples of what students’ needs are.”No Comments
Gathered in an otherwise empty field 40 minutes from campus, the UD biology students circled the specimen, a pig carcass three months decomposed. Interested but hesitant, they prepared to collect the project’s necessary samples — but it was their younger counterpart, 12-year-old Josie Baudendistel, who reached one gloved hand in first.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to work with animals, but I’m not sure when I realized that counted as science. When I was in preschool, I thought of mad scientists blowing things up in a lab — it wasn’t until I was in first grade that I conducted a project on apes and realized that biology, something that just sounded fun to me, was a real science,” she said.
It’s that work ethic and inquisitive spirit that has propelled Josie, eighth grade daughter of alumnus Tommy Baudendistel ’88, into a multi-year partnership with the University. In 2011, the then-sixth grader’s research on larval growth rates produced some confusing results, and her father knew his alma mater could help.
“Knowing how friendly everyone is on campus, and that the professors love what they do and would truly want to help a student understand their field, made it easy for us to approach biology professor Eric Benbow,” Baudendistel said.
Benbow agreed to review Josie’s report; then, came an “aha” moment. “Some of what she was doing was very, very similar to what my students were already doing in the lab,” he said. “Then, she told me her goal was to work with mammals, and everything clicked. Scavenging was something we had thought about studying, but we needed resources.”
In many ways, the arrangement was serendipitous. Benbow’s land permit had just expired; Baudendistel owns a 45-acre farm with 14 acres of unused land less than an hour from Dayton. The project would need high-tech electronics, including wireless cameras and motion sensors; Baudendistel, a doctoral-level engineer, knew just how to set it up. Josie’s research depended on mammal carcasses and lab facilities to analyze samples; Benbow and his students were happy to contribute.
“My students realized, as did I, how much a young person can get done when they put their potential to work. You can do some really good science, even at a young age, if you have the focus and drive and interest,” Benbow said. Josie has been an author on three of his conference presentations.
Although she’s an experienced researcher, Josie still needed some assistance in fundraising for her current project, on how opossums might use ultraviolet and infrared light for scavenging cues, through online crowdfunding via Fundageek.com: since she fell short of the site’s age limit, her father established the account.No Comments