March 19, 2013
Students, Faculty and Guests Celebrate Intellectual Diversity on Honors Day
On Thursday, March 14th, the talents of students and their faculty mentors were showcased through a series of outstanding student presentations, awards and remarks as part of the college’s annual Honors Day.
President Shaver formally opens Honors Day 2013.
In his opening remarks, Marymount Manhattan College President Judson Shaver gave the day a direction and a purpose. “We want our students to succeed and to improve society not just for themselves, but for others too,” he said. “That is not easy. It requires excellence. We honor academic excellence because it is necessary and because it is inspirational. The more we celebrate excellence, the more we produce it.”
Sarah Brodine (’13) and Dr. Andreas Hernandez, Assistant Professor of International Studies, post her lecture, Brooklyn Artisans Cook Up Food Security Alternatives.
The excellence that the day went on to celebrate kicked off with an impassioned presentation, Brooklyn Artisans Cook Up Food Security Alternatives, by Sarah Brodine ’13 who focused on the slow food movement. During her first-place student presentation, she suggested, “Food artisans play an important role in creating a great and unique product, but the cost and expenses of the end product reinforces the global food system…a jar of pickles can cost $14 as compared to a $4 jar at the supermarket. Before they can make true change, they need to sustain themselves without carrying that cost to their product.”
As the day continued, students took to podiums in rooms throughout the school to share their research and insight on topics ranging from state sovereignty in international politics to Palestinian literature and from gender-neutral restrooms to copper contaminants in the NYC public water supply.
Dr. Susan Behrens, Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, sponsored the presentation by Joséphine Ancelle (’14) on Are Invented Languages Real Languages?.
In some cases, the intellectual diversity on display throughout the day mirrored the theme of the talks themselves. For example, Joséphine Ancelle ’14 explored Are Invented Languages Real Languages?, during which she identified invented languages, including “Klingon” (from the television series Star Trek) and Esperanto (created in 1887 by Ludwik Zamenhof to bring about world peace through an international language), and shared different criteria by which to judge whether they are “real.”
Following induction ceremonies for honors societies and the announcement of senior academic awards, the day closed with a presentation from this year’s Barry Commoner Environmental Lecturer, Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Hayes’ talk, From Silent Spring to Silent Night: a Tale of Toads and Men, spanned his whole academic career, from an undergraduate researcher like many in the audience to world-renowned scientist and activist for environmental justice as he studied the effects of the pesticide Atrazine on frogs and other animals.
The 2013 Alpha Chi Inductees along with faculty and the Alpha Chi committee. In her congratulatory remarks, Carol Jackson, Vice President, Student Affairs, and Dean of Students spoke about their 3.75+ GPAs as well as their motivation to excel. “It is for the love of learning – that excitement that you feel when a skill is mastered, when an argument is won, when your heart sings through a poem…we celebrate your wonderful achievements.”
In keeping with the Honors Day theme, Dr. Hayes’ discussion included an emphasis on diversity, academic commitment, and the improvement of society. The story of his career, which he told as the story of a boy who loved frogs and went on to fight against the disproportionately negative effects of pesticides on low-income, immigrant and ethnic communities, united all three topics.
To close, and to close the day’s events, Dr. Hayes echoed President Shaver’s opening sentiments with the words of another academic – Albert Einstein: “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.