Conference Travel – Lena Malpeli

I recently went to the ALT_CTL Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Film Festival in Brooklyn for source material for my independent study on Afro- and African- Futurism via an Honors travel award. The festival was to showcase black sci-fi or futurist media. My independent study with Dr. Onipede Hollist and Daleyna Abril contains a 6000+ word paper to submit to a journal; the festival helped me find my topic. My favorite film, and the film I will be writing on, is Saul Williams’s Neptune Frost, which is like a gritty, neon-painted Alice in Wonderland (that is, if Alice were exposing the horrors left by colonialism on the people of Burundi in a cyber-tech, futurist rebellion). After the movie, a group of academics and afro-futurist enthusiasts discussed the film’s message over cheesecake and coffee; it was one of the most enriching and interesting conversations I’ve ever had. I would highly recommend renting the movie but be prepared — it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  

 It was my first time in New York, and actually, my first time above the Mason-Dixon line. I met with academics and sci-fi enthusiasts alike who had a shared interest in black sci-fi; they knew first-hand authors I’ve only read about. They pointed me in the right direction for my research and to the subway. I had one day that was not a part of the film festival and spent the time roaming NYC. I hit the big things like the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Met, 30 Rock, and more but it was the little things that made the trip thrilling. My favorite memory would have to be grabbing a liberty bagel and then people-watching and reading in Central Park. I am vastly grateful to the Honors program for a professional and personal opportunity of a lifetime.   

Oxford – Sofia Cuello

Hello from Oxford! Though far from the sunshine state with its beaches and warm weather, there’s nothing like walking through Oxford on a cool autumn day. I’ve been here for only a few weeks and every moment has been something special, whether it’s my tutorials, where I get to work with experts in the subject, or where I get to meet new people, or walk around this historical city. Oxford Study Abroad Programme (OSAP) has been amazing so far, and I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity.

Though far from my family and friends at UT, I’ve been able to make so many friends and stay occupied every day. I am lucky enough to have found community on the W1 Volleyball team, where I’ve met an awesome group of girls to play some killer volleyball. Everyone in OSAP has been so kind and welcoming as well, and I am so happy to be abroad with this group of people. College events at Oriel are fantastic, and living in Oxford has been incredible. There’s no shortage of restaurants, cafes, and cozy study spots in the city.

Regarding academics here, it’s the most unique way of learning that I have ever experienced. Everything is self-paced; you have to give every tutorial your all to get the most out of it. I have been forced to think in ways that I never have before, and I’ve left every tutorial excited from the discussions we’ve had in the hour. You are genuinely speaking with an expert in your topic who wants to push your thoughts, and all you can do is absorb, learn, and prepare even more for the next tutorial. I’m currently studying biophysics in cardiovascular science and advancements in bioimaging, and it’s all been fascinating.

I’m so excited for the remainder of the term and what is still to come! (p.s., my UTampa scarf is finally getting some use!)

Learning about Leadership

Drs. Aimee Whiteside and Deirdre Dixon are teaching a class on Leadership this year for HON 255: Idea Lab Humanities. The students conducted research projects and put on mock conferences for their course in the leadership lab, presenting posters and research materials as part of their “leadership showcase” projects. Students researched everyone from Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Marcus Aurelius, Walt Disney, and Gandhi, Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Coco Chanel, and Clara Barton.