Lewis' 'Game-Like' Mobile App Helps Teach Chemical Bonding
A new app developed by Albion College chemistry professor Lisa Lewis that enables students to become more familiar with chemical-bonding concepts recently was launched July 24 in the Apple App Store. The program, Chemical Valence, has a "game-like" interface, she told Campus Technology magazine, "where students can play with fundamental concepts in chemical bonding." It's the second app effort for Lewis, who in 2012 created one focused on strong acids and strong bases. Read more on campustechnology.com
Goal! Micunek, '15, Fulfills One in Brazil
Charles Micunek, '15, a defensive anchor for the Albion men's soccer team, joined a group of NCAA Division III student-athletes on a tour of Brazil in early June, just ahead of the start of the World Cup. Representing the U.S. in international competition "was one of the best feelings of my entire life when I put the jersey on," said the Granger, Ind., native, who is pursuing communication studies and business and organizations. "To fulfill my goal at a scale I could play at—for my talent level—was something I had dreamed about. … To represent your country, to be an ambassador, to show we have a love for the sport [Brazilians] love so much is a beautiful thing." Read more and view photos of Micunek's experience on GoBrits.com
Albion Saddened by Passing of Mathematics Emeritus Keith Moore
Mathematics professor emeritus W. Keith Moore, 91, passed away July 26 in Marshall, Michigan. A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 9, at 11 a.m. in the Albion First United Methodist Church’s Wesley Chapel. Moore came to Albion in 1952 and served as department chair for 18 years, more than half his 34-year tenure.
Binda Foundation Supports Next Phase of Education Maymester
The Boundary Crossings program, in which junior-year Albion College students pursuing a teaching career conceive, plan, and teach interdisciplinary subject units to Albion public-school students, received a $15,000 grant to extend the initiative to Marshall High School. Following Albion Public Schools' transition to a K-8 district, the funding allows the successful nine-year-old program to continue to impact the city's high-school-age students.
Albion College Remembers Story, Legacy of Miriam Winter
Miriam Winter, a child survivor of the Holocaust in Poland who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Albion College at 2009 Commencement, passed away July 19. "She inspired many at Albion College to think and feel deeply as well as act effectively in defense of those values that make for a humane society," history professor Geoffrey Cocks said.
Cucinella, '01, Improves Children's Lives at Cambodian NGO
Nick Cucinella spearheaded a drive that netted some 60 secondhand laptops for a nongovernmental organization serving children in Cambodia. "Most of these children have never been inside a car, let alone used a computer. The way to bridge the skills gap and prepare our students for meaningful employment is to empower them with technology," explains Cucinella, who is volunteering on-site in Siem Reap. "Teaching someone to fish allows them to survive; teaching a student to write code will allow her to thrive."
I am exploring the effects of Valerian (an herbal antianxiety drug) on escape and avoidance learning in the earthworm. Earthworms are capable of learning about their responses through a process called instrumental conditioning. If a response prevents an unpleasant stimulus from occurring, it is considered avoidance. If a worm makes a response while an unpleasant stimulus is still occurring, then it is considered escape. Little research has been done with earthworms and the administration of Valerian and the presentation of an unpleasant stimulus -- more specifically, a bright light.
I expose earthworms to a solution of Valerian root, place them in running wheels, and present an unpleasant stimulus in order to record the effects on behavior. I expect to find that worms exposed to Valerian would be less likely to make avoidance and escape responses than are the worms given no drug.
What have you learned so far in doing your research?
There is a lot of preparatory work required for running experiments. Before I administered the drug to the earthworms, I had to make sure all programs that recorded data were working, create a schedule for running the worms, calibrate running wheels, and do background research for my drug. Planning ahead and creating outlines for the summer was definitely a key to my success.
Why did you pick this particular project?
My interest in research was sparked in Neuroscience I with Dr. Wilson. Last fall, I asked him if I could help his research student collect data for her thesis. I fell in love with the subject matter and helping with experiments. I found that I was particularly interested in the effects of drugs on behavior, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to come up with my own FURSCA project. I chose Valerian because I am interested in anxiety disorders and this drug is a newly-considered alternative for those with anxiety.
How will this FURSCA project help you after Albion?
I intend to present my findings at a national meeting (the Pavlovian Society or the Society for Neuroscience) and at the Elkin Isaac Research Symposium. After my senior year, I plan on attending graduate school in order to pursue my interest in research. Doing summer research, attending conferences, and writing a thesis will be an excellent way to prepare for graduate school.
What's next for your project?
I am currently working on the process of data collection. I run a total of 12 worms a day for four hours at a time. Once all data is collected, I will conduct an analysis to determine if Valerian has an effect on the earthworms' behavior. I wish to continue research into my senior year, and perhaps use my findings as a basis for my senior thesis.
Annual Fund Exceeds Fiscal-Year Goal
Albion alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends clearly believe in their College, sending a strong message of confidence through their level of monetary support in the last twelve months. The Annual Fund again exceeded its goal, surpassing the $1.7 million target set for fiscal year 2014, which concluded June 30.
Albion College Names Jerry White VP for Finance and Administration
White, who has held the same role at Spring Arbor University since 2007, will bring to Albion 14 years of higher education experience in finance and administration. His start date is September 8, and he represents the first executive appointment made by new Albion College President Mauri Ditzler.