On Friday, April 28th, Faith Taylor presented on her travels as the recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. Faith traveled to the Bahamas with Professor Michael Slattery of The University of Tampa to study a coral reef that was documented nearly 50 years earlier. They spent several days snorkeling in the reef, taking photos, and gathering data. This initial visit provided enough information to allow Faith and Dr. Slattery to develop a research program that will continue to investigate the reef.
Kamakshi Dadhwal spent the Spring term at Oxford. Her term there just ended and she sent the following thoughts about her experience:
My term at Oxford was brilliant and eye-opening. I was forced to be alone more often than I ever have been. I was expected to produce work of a higher quality than I even felt capable of. I was pressured to spend hours of each day in the library reading, organising, writing, rewriting, and reorganising arguments. I was pushed to put more into my essays until I was dreaming about them on, at least, a semi-weekly basis. In all honesty, my term at Oxford felt like the most gruelling and stressful eight weeks of my conscious and unconscious existence. However, not only was I constantly challenged during the term, in hindsight, I was also moulded into a new way of thinking about the work of others and that of my own. I have always been the kind of student who absorbs everything and hopes to learn something through knowing it all. Oxford has helped me understand that the power of questioning can move mountains of well-established and widely-accepted knowledge.
Studying at UT is like being at home; I am among people who push me because they care for me and want me to succeed in life. It is the quiet and comfortable nurturing of a mother and father. In stark contrast, being at Oxford is like being in ninth grade; I was the newest in a competitive environment, surrounded by people who have minds far superior than my own. It made me vulnerable at first but has left me with the strength to humble myself to the experience and expertise of others, while keeping an open mind of my own. In the best way possible, my experience at Oxford has crushed my own egotistical sense of self and, for that alone, I would do it again if given the opportunity.
On April 20th and 21st, eight recipients of Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships presented the results of their work in two separate symposia. The students – Zachary Gregg, Nicholas Braganca, Christian Pilot, Tonie Schankweiler, Daniela Delvescovo, Nicoletta Pappas, Ricardo Thompson, and Kelly Fryar – studied a variety of topics, from the pervasiveness of antibiotic resistant staphylococcus aureus in the Hillsborough River to the factors that contributed to the growth of the Bolivian GDP. Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships pay students $1,000 to work with a UT faculty member conducting original scholarship.
On April 27th, actress, author, and social worker Terri Muuss performed her one-person show, Anatomy of a Doll, for Honors students in the Reeves Theater. Muuss is a sexual abuse survivor. Her one-person show portrays both some of her experiences as a child being abused by her father as well as the social, emotional, and physical toll the abuse caused in her life, including her struggle with substance abuse. Also detailed in the play are the therapy she underwent and the struggles she faced in recovering from the abuse. Muuss’s book, Over Exposed, combines poetry with memoir in recounting her experiences.