Category: Fun

Student Researcher in the Library: Shang Li

We love to learn about what students are up to in the Mudd!

Shang Li is a government and history major hailing all the way from TianJin, China. She plans to attend graduate school after commencement this spring.

Shang kindly agreed to talk to us about what she’s been working on in the library.

Shang, what have you been researching?

The Italian Holocaust through historical film.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

The librarians at our reference desk. They are so knowledgeable, kind and patient. I am never scared to ask questions; they always have answers and sometimes, candy and cookies!

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

To think more like a historian. I am gaining skills and abilities to support my passion for history for the rest of my life. Whether or not my future career will be related to history, I hope to become an independent researcher during my free time.

Why do you think this research is important?
There has been much research on the Holocaust, but the Italian Holocaust is indeed a very special case. Exploring the Italian Holocaust through written history, but also through historical films, provides me with a unique perspective on this topic. In addition, this research has allowed me to make connections between written history and historical films, as well as the time periods during which the films were made, and to see how those factors influence the works. This is also fascinating to me.

How did you become interested in this line of research?
I took a course with Professor Paul Cohen called “History as Films, Films as History,” where we discussed historical films. I’m actually using my favorite films for my current project. I did a historiography project with Professor Peter Blitstein on “Hitler’s Foreign Policy and the Origins of the Second World War.” During this project, I developed an academic interest in studying Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. Because of my interests in both historical films and Mussolini, it was only logical for me to pursue a capstone project devoted to connecting both topics.

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

The Mudd library is very helpful! It is also in a great location- close to the Wellness Center and Andrew Commons.

Student Research in the Library: Alex Damisch

We love to learn more about what our students are up to in the Mudd. Yes, even over summer break we have the pleasure of welcoming and supporting industrious students. Alex Damisch requested one of our student offices over the summer in order to work more efficiently at developing some of her web applications. The mathematics and clarinet performance double-major, who plans to earn her double-degree in just four years, was quite pleased to discover that she could reserve a private, quiet office in the Mudd to use for her research.

Alex, who hails from Northbrook, Illinois, is planning to graduate in 2016, after which she hopes to enter a master’s program to pursue statistics. She graciously agreed to answer some questions about her work in the library.  Enjoy!

Alex, what are you working on in your office?

Under the supervision of Adam Loy in the Mathematics department, I’m helping create several web applications that allow people to get hands-on experience with statistical concepts like bootstrapping, permutation tests, and ANOVA. The apps create graphs and perform different calculations, many of which can be adjusted by the user, so they can see how the result changes.

There are currently three apps on Professor Loy’s website, with about a half-dozen that are in a more preliminary stage of development. Some of the operations that the apps perform “behind the scenes” are a bit complicated, so they require some fine-tuning by Professor Loy to get to a satisfactory speed before they go live.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I’ve learned a ton about the coding languages that I’m using, of course–I had some R experience before, but not nearly at the level that I have now. Two months ago I knew almost no Shiny at all. Coding is often frustrating, but having my work out there is really satisfying.

I’ve recently started working on an app that uses a statistical test that’s new for me, too, so that’s been a challenge. It’s also been useful to revisit concepts that I learned a few years ago, which I really value because I sometimes tutor for statistics classes. Having to write code and use functions that perform certain statistical calculations has really solidified my understanding of how they work.

Why do you think this research is important?

The apps will probably get used in some of the introductory statistics classes this school year, which is great. In mathematics or statistics, as in almost any other field, the best way to learn is by doing–you have to try out problems yourself. If you can upload your own data set and play around with it and see how your histograms and confidence intervals update in real-time, hopefully it facilitates your understanding of the concepts behind them.

How did you become interested in this line of work?

I first got this book of infographics called Visual Miscellaneum for Christmas in 2009, so data visualization has been a longstanding interest of mine. I approached Professor Loy absurdly early in the 2014-2015 school year and said that I wanted to work with him over the summer. I was pretty willing to work on whatever statistics-related project he threw at me, but I’m lucky that this one is particularly interesting to me.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Definitely Mathematical Statistics with Resampling and R. (Only half-joking.) Since I can code almost anywhere, it’s been nice to have my library office as a space to keep a few books and to call my own. Having a quiet, focused space and a standing desk has been really important for me. You can only sit in coffee shops or your bedroom for so long.

I also use the whiteboards almost compulsively. This is business as usual for a math major, but this summer I’ve used them to map out particularly convoluted functions.

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

Between working for ITS since I was a freshman and studying frequently at the library during the school year, I always like to remind people that the third and fourth floors are the library’s quiet floors.

Also, the library staff is awesome and really helpful–definitely an under-utilized resource among most students.

We think you’re awesome, too, Alex. 🙂

 

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: John O’Neill

With Welcome Week just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the fabulous John O’Neill, who began working in the Mudd during Welcome Week two years ago, when he was a freshman. Little did we know how valuable and well-loved this horn performance and government major from Reno, Nevada would become.

Not only does John work tremendously hard balancing all of his roles during the academic year, he has also spent his summers working with us in the Mudd, doing all sorts of necessary and useful projects, from helping to manage our music scores and collections, to charmingly modeling for social media posts. Summer would not be the same without John, who is always ready to lend a hand. Read on to learn more about this wonderful and talented student worker!

What is your job title at the Mudd and what work does that entail?

I am a student shelving assistant in the score section, which means that I keep the area organized and shelve everything that circulates. I have also worked at the circulation desk over breaks and have done some cataloging work with Antoinette Powell, the music librarian.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really love fixing up and erasing some of our “extra loved” scores because it tells me how much students use the score collection.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

Very recently someone asked how many feet of CDs we would have if they were laid end-to-end. It was really fun and satisfying to figure out the answer.

As a student, where is your favorite (study/relaxation/hang-out) spot in the Mudd?

I usually head straight for the middle of the stacks on the third and fourth floors, although the “fishbowl” on the 2nd floor is also a great place to work.

What are your hobbies?

Collecting vinyls, reading, putting together puzzles, and baking when I can.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

What are your favorite bands or performers?

The Beatles, Chicago

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

The Atlantic Weekly, New York Times, the Horn Call, and the Mudd’s blog (of course!)

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I am active with Lawrence’s Young Democrats, Lawrence’s Quizbowl Team, and several chamber groups in the conservatory.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

Since I will be a fifth year and I’m only a junior, I won’t graduate until 2018!

 

 

Fox Cities Book Festvial 2015

The Fox Cities Book Festival will be happening this week, April 20-26. Featuring an abundance of free events at many venues in the Fox Valley area, the festival will have something for everyone! Visit the festival’s website here to view the full schedule and learn more about the events.

And be sure to check out these events that are happening on the Lawrence University campus:

Wednesday, April 22: Martin Brief Gallery Tour (1:00pm, Wriston Art Center- Hoffmaster Gallery)
Beth A. Zinsli, director of the Wriston Art Galleries, will give a tour of artist Martin Brief’s exhibition. Brief’s artwork is focused on language, almost to the point of obsessiveness, digging deeper into the meaning of words until he has reached the very limits of expression. (Brief will also be giving a talk on his work in the Wriston Auditorium – Room 224, tomorrow April 21 at 4:30pm).

Thursday, April 23: Reading by poet Cynthia Marie Hoffman (4:30pm, Wriston Art Center- Hoffmaster Gallery)
Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of the poetry collection titled Paper Doll Fetus. Drawing from the history of obstetrics, midwifery, and the many experiences of childbirth, Hoffman crafts imaginitive and poignant work. She will be reading her poetry in the Wriston gallery, so this is a great opportunity to explore and be surrounded by many kinds of art.

Friday, April 24: Author Meet & Greet with Crystal Chan (12:00pm, Seeley G. Mudd Library- Milwaukee Downer Room)
Stop by the Mudd Library and chat with Lawrence University alumna and author of Bird, Crystal Chan. Enjoy coffee and cookies while you mingle. We encourage both readers and (especially) writers to attend this event!

Friday, April 24: Art Photography Panel with Kevin Miyazaki & Travis Dewitz (5:00pm, Warch Campus Center Cinema)
Kevin Miyazaki is a Milwaukee-based editorial and fine art photographer, whose most recent project culminated in the book Perimeter: a Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan which exhibits a diverse image of the people and place attached to Lake Michigan.
Travis Dewitz is a professional photographer and Eau Claire native, who is known for his corporate, portrait, youth modeling photography, and numerous personal projects. Dewitz’s latest personal project resulted in the book Blaze Orange, which takes an intimate look at the close ties between deer hunting and Wisconsin identity.
Miyazaki and Dewitz will be hosting a panel to talk about art photography and the development of their work.

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Andrea Parmentier

002 (Medium)Andrea Parmentier is an Appleton native who has been working in the Mudd library for over two years. This English and Geology double major is another of our fabulous Circulation Desk Assistants, completely adept at answering questions and helping patrons find exactly what they are looking for. We appreciate Andrea’s hard work and wonderful personality. Read on to learn more about this library student worker.

Andrea, what’s your favorite part of your job?

Making the closing announcements is pretty fun.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

One day an older man came in. He’s made it his mission to find a list of all WWI armed service members from Wisconsin who had died and were buried overseas, and contact family members who never found out what had happened to them or where they were buried. I helped him find the information and print it off. He was so grateful – I was very happy to have been able to help him out.

As a student, where is your favorite (study/relaxation/hang-out) spot in the Mudd?

I love the Milwaukee-Downer Room tables, especially the mid to late afternoon light.

What are your hobbies?

I write poetry, knit, bake, and have started to cultivate bonsai.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

A Conspiracy of Kings – the latest book in the Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

What are your favorite bands or performers?

It’s kind of dorky, but I’m a big fan of Flying Forms – a baroque ensemble that’s been coming to Lawrence for the past few years.

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

Hyperbole and a Half hasn’t updated in a while, but I love it. Also, Interweave magazine.

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I’m most active in the library’s knitting club and at the Fox Valley Literacy Council.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m graduating this June and I’m going to grad school for a Master of Library Science.

Please feel free to share anything else you’d like about yourself or the Mudd!

If you knit, crochet, embroider, or do any kind of handicraft, come to the library’s knitting circle at 4:30 pm on Thursdays! We also have yarn and needles and don’t mind teaching new knitters.

Student Research in the Library: Allison Juda

Do you know that the Seeley G. Mudd library has nine individual study rooms that can be assigned to students on a term-by-term basis? More information about our student offices, as well as the student office request form, can be found here.

Allison Juda applied for a student office at the beginning of Winter Term to facilitate her work on her senior honors project. She is an English major and an anthropology minor from Maple Grove, MN, a Northwest suburb of Minneapolis. Read on to learn more about what Allison is researching in her student office in the Mudd!

Allison, tell us about your research.

I am currently working on a senior honors project about the portrayal of Jane Austen’s heroines and how their individual growth out of a position of liminality is reflected in many ways in societal growth so that by the end of the novels both the heroine and community are corrected and society operates once again with morality and decorum. In doing this I am combining theories of liminality produced by notable anthropologists and historical information about social structures in Austen’s time period, as well as some research on Austen herself.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I noticed that all of Austen’s novels seem to follow a similar plot structure, so my main goal was to discover why Austen continued to write about the same worlds and journeys, and how that was reflective of literary, and also Austen’s contemporary, society.

Why do you think this research is important?

There has been a lot of research on Jane Austen, especially since the most recent trend of producing Austen movies (as well as other movies from her time period), but I think that not enough research has focused on the reasons why the heroines must go through their journeys. One of the most important things that I want to draw out in my work is an emphasis on the fact that these heroines are a product of their surroundings and that the growth of the social structure is instrumental in the growth of the liminal heroine. In this way, Austen’s literature is an important product of its era; in examining her literature we can learn more about her time period and social structures in general.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

After reading my first Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice, I was drawn into her literary work. As I entered the rabbit hole I became more fascinated with examining the works from a critical perspective and so I approached my advisor about working on the topic in greater detail.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

I think that the physical building itself, with great places to study is a huge asset to anyone doing research, big or small. Having a place to go to know that I am going to do work is very important in helping to keep me focused. I also have taken advantage of the expertise of the reference librarians, who have helped point me in the right direction in my research, and the ILL system to get access to important works that we do not have here in Mudd.

What I am perhaps most thankful for is my library office; I have two large binders with research and various drafts and well over a dozen books with which I have been working on a regular basis. Having a place to keep all of my materials safe has been a savior both on my sanity and my back (I don’t think that my poor backpack could make it without my office either).

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

I think that something I didn’t realize my freshman year at Lawrence is that returning to the same place to study (and only study) on a daily basis really helps me get into the mindset and stay focused while I am doing my work. Studying in the library provides you with all the resources you need in the same place, from the librarians to help you if you get stumped, the scanners, printers, hole punches, staplers, and even the occasional piece of candy.

Mudd March Madness: First Round in the Books

We are pleased to share a guest post written by our very own Andrew McSorley!

03/11/2015, Appleton, WI

The Mudd March Madness event pits fictional characters from all across literary history against one another. By the end of next week, a champion will be crowned, taking control of the Seeley G. Mudd Library’s bragging rights for the next year.

It was mostly chalk in the first round of the inaugural Mudd March Madness as top seeds hung on in nearly every contest. One huge upset seized the day, however, with eighth seeded Alex (A Clockwork Orange) taking down The Shining’s Jack Torrance, the number one seed in the Contemporary Fiction region.

The Young Adult region saw every top seed advance to the next round. Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and Winnie the Pooh all blew-out their competition en-route to the sweet sixteen. Peter Pan survived a late surge from The Wind in the Willows’ Toad (a well-sponsored fan favorite) to seize a matchup against Pooh bear in the next round.

In the Science Fiction region, fans were treated to the largest margin of victory in Mudd March Madness history with Bilbo Baggins’s outclassing of Rick Deckard in the first round by a score of 56 – 9. A fan found sporting a “If you can’t handle Smaug’s heat get away from the treasure” t-shirt said this of the matchup: “I’ve never seen anything like it. Bilbo wasn’t even challenged in this matchup. It really seems like he’s peaking at the right time. He looks like a champion right now to me.”

Our Classic characters region saw one upset, as Moby Dick took down Anna Karenina 37 – 32 in a low-scoring nail-biter.

The contemporary fiction region found itself with the biggest storyline of the first round. Jack Torrance was frozen out by Alex 34 – 26. With this outcome, fans witnessed the biggest upset in Mudd March Madness history. Alex’s win puts him into contention against The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander in the second round, while Tyler Durden and Amy Dunne go head to head in one of the most intriguing matchups of this sweet sixteen.

Fans can vote for their favorites in each matchup of the second round in person at the Seeley G. Mudd Library. Stay tuned to see who is moving on to the elite eight and taking one more step towards the Mudd March Madness championship!

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Tyler Grasee

003 (Medium)Tyler Grasee is another of the Seeley G. Mudd Library’s wonderful Circulation Assistants. He is adept at the full array of circulation duties, including helping patrons find and check out materials. Tyler, who is an anthropology and German double major, has worked in the Mudd since his sophomore year at Lawrence. We appreciate his sweet and helpful nature, and are always impressed with his impeccable sense of style. Read on to learn more about Tyler!

Tyler, where are you from?

I’m a local! Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love the interactions with professors, visitors, and other non-students. Working with and meeting new people are nice breaks from studying.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

I’m not certain I’ve done anything particularly notable behind the desk, but there is definitely a sense of personal satisfaction on the rare occasion I find a lost book.

As a student, where is your favorite study/relaxation/hang-out spot in the Mudd?

The Kruse room on the fourth floor has a great view and very cozy furniture.

What are your hobbies?

Though traveling, attending concerts, reading, and writing are all at the top of my list, food will always be number one. There is nothing I appreciate more than an interesting culinary experience, whether it be out or at home. I’ll eat anything.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. If you like poetry, it changes your life within the hour it takes to read.

What are your favorite bands or performers?

Classical music is my first love, but I usually find myself listening to Disclosure, FKA Twigs, Grimes, SBTRKT, Tei Shi, Lana del Rey, Janelle Monae, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, and of course, Beyoncé.

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

This is difficult for me to narrow down, but I’ll give it a try: Fast Company, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hello Mr., New York Magazine, Dazed and Confused Magazine, the Atlantic, Vogue, and GQ are a few.

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I’ve been most active in Hillel, Anthropology Club, and GLOW.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m graduating this spring! I’m hoping to get my Master’s in museum studies.

Is there anything you’d like to share about the Mudd with your fellow students?

Interlibrary loan is a great tool, use it!

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Devin Ditto

001 (Medium)Devin Ditto is a psychology major from St. Louis, Missouri, and works as a Circulation Assistant at the Seeley G. Mudd Library. We love to see her smiling face from behind the Circulation Desk, where she helps students and faculty access course reserves, locates materials and assists students in navigating the stacks, and helps patrons use the copier, scanner, and printer. Devin enjoys working in the Mudd, and it shows!

We asked this circulation assistant a few questions so that you, our faithful patrons, could get to know her and her work in the library a little bit better. Be sure to say hello the next time you see her in the Mudd, and you may get a glimpse of her shining smile yourself.

Devin, how long have you been working at the Mudd?

This will be my second year working in the library.

What’s the best part of your job?

I think my favorite part is helping students find what they are looking for. The other staff members are pretty great as well.

As a student, where is your favorite study/relaxation/hang-out spot in the Mudd?

It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. If I actually want to be productive, somewhere on the second or third floor. If I want to be a little bit productive but still talk to friends, the first floor. And if I want to make myself believe that I’m being productive, the Kruse room.

What are your hobbies?

Cooking and baking

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Gone Girl – I read at least 200 pages in one day over reading period.

What are your favorite bands or performers?

Oh my gosh, so many favorites that I don’t think I actually have a favorite!

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

LUCC (Lawrence University Community Council)

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

I will graduate in June. I’m not sure what my post-graduation plans are, but hopefully working, so that I can save up to go back to school, is on the agenda.

Is there anything you’d like to share about the Mudd with your fellow students?

Actually use it! It has so much stuff to offer, from great study spots to a friendly environment. The staff is always really helpful, and you will almost always be able to find what you need or are looking for.

The Weekend of Trivia L Has Arrived!

ARC2008-06Beginning Friday, January 23 at 10:00:37pm and lasting through midnight on Sunday, will be the 50th edition of the Great Midwest Trivia Contest hosted by Lawrence University.

For those who aren’t familiar with this Lawrence tradition, Trivia is a 50 hour competition among both on-campus and off-campus teams to answer obscure questions penned by the year’s Trivia Masters.  With one question read every ten minutes, teams have three minutes to complete each question, usually after an intense amount of Google-searching. In past years before energy drinks and laptops, teams would search through encyclopedias, atlases, almanacs, and other print sources to find answers.

The Mudd Library’s archives feature some fantastic images from Trivias past, including photos of teams, sample questions, and more! Here is where you can check those out. In addition, Lux contains digitized copies of past editions of The Lawrentianbrowse through student articles about Trivia!

And for those of you participating in Trivia L this year, check out the MIT Libraries’ Google search tips!