SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM (Spring 2011 and counting!)

Starting in the Spring 2011 term, ESC Metropolitan Center will host the Science Colloquium. We will invite guest speakers across the all natural sciences to speak on topics of theirs interest and expertise. The range of topics may span across biology, chemistry, physical, ecology, environmental science, paleontology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and medicine; however, we hope to provide a broad range of topics in the future. We aim to present an interdisciplinary series, in which we hope will integrate science with popular, modern, cultural, political, and environmental perspectives. The colloquium is designed to be open to all students, faculty, and members of the public who may be generally interested in the sciences. Presentations will be bi-weekly, and thus we will likely have seven or eight speakers. For students, the colloquium will be offered as a group study to Metro students only (2Cr, Intro, Non-Liberal), but we may have the ability to engage in video conferencing in the near future. Please check out the current schedule here.



Co-taught with Dr. Karyn Pilgrim (Metro), this study intends to immerse students in urban sustainability, from an ecological, cultural, and activist standpoint. Students will explore definitions of sustainability and consider the means by which a community can work together to implement sustainable practices for the good of all. Since the best way to learn about sustainability is to practice it, students will apply their reading and classroom learning to hands-on experiences in urban agriculture field trips, visits to museums, and other sites across the city. And because sustainability and democratic principles are intertwined, students will take on the role of citizen journalists, interviewing people involved in urban sustainability, researching the goings-on across the city, and reporting on them in creative essays.


SEX, DRUGS, & ROCK’N’ROLL (May 2013)

Co-taught with Dr. Gina Torino (Metro) and Mark Miyake (HVC), the purpose of this group study is to examine each component of Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll from a natural science, social science, and historical arts perspective. We aim to examine each component academically in order to suggest that their interrelatedness runs deeper than a mere catch-phrase. Although the slogan was popularized in the mid-20th Century, the entertainment industry immortalized the theme, giving it prominence and new meaning for successive generations. Students will have the opportunity to examine each component from the natural science, social science, and historical arts perspective. Ultimately, students will explore how the biology and psychology of sex and drugs fueled a cultural and musical revolution that in turn shaped how Americans understood their relationship to the pleasures and the dangers of sexuality, sensation and fantasy.



Engaging in an undergraduate field research project is an educational opportunity for students with a desire for an enriched learning experience within a particular subject. Students who undertake a field research experience will work collaboratively with the tutor on a scientific problem of their choice. This is an 8-week summer study that involves a weekend on-site residency. During the term, students will design a research project, collect data and perform analysis, interpret results and prepare a written scientific paper of the work. Each student will pursue an individual research project under the guidance of one faculty member, yet collaborating with all three faculty. This approach will provide students with the skills necessary to undertake similar projects in their career field or future graduate program. In this study, students will become familiar with scientific and field research as well as interdisciplinary collaboration. They will participate in the generation of new ideas and information through field data analysis. The goal of this study is to provide the student with an enriched learning experience based on skills necessary to undertake similar projects in their career field or future graduate program. This study is co-taught with Dr. Audi Matias (CDL) and Nathan Whitley-Grassi (NFC), and will take place at the SUNY Oneonta Field Station in Cooperstown.


Empire State College Radio (viral in May 2011) – The New Age for Radio

Pirate radio is back, and its in the hands of Empire State College students. Along with Dr. Ruth Goldberg and Aaron Zachmeier from the Metropolitan Center, and Dr. Mark Miyake from the Hudson Valley Center, we intend to take over the internet (with an ESC flare). A pilot study group will be offered in the May A 2011 term. Students will have the opportunity to learn the technical aspects of internet radio production, podcasting, script writing, streaming audio, and digital broadcasting. Our objective is to provide a basic framework in which to inform the Empire State College community and the world about the news, achievements, and artistic endeavors of our students. Link to to come…


SMArT (Science Math & Achiever Teams) (Anticipated Start as Group or Independent TBD)

In either the Fall 2011 or Spring 2012 term, the Science Math & Achiever Teams (SMArT) will launch. The SMArT program started at Southwestern University by Dr. Romi Burkes and Suzy Pukys, and we will continue to receive logistical support from both Dr. Burkes and Ms. Pukys. SMArT Teams pair an undergraduate mentor with a local elementary school child (grades 3-6), and engage the scientific method over the course of the term. Here, mentor-student pairs will work together to develop a project with a testable hypothesis, conduct an experiment, collect data, analyze basic results, and present their findings at a poster conference for family and friends. We anticipate the program to continue every term for 10-12 weeks, as each pair will meet at the local elementary school weekly. This program will greatly assist students interested in science education or are interested in community activism. For the school children, it will be a rewarding and prestigious achievement in which they can demonstrate this accomplishment to their family, and to the community. In the next year, we hope to identify a cooperating public school. For students interested in this program, it can be offered as a group or independent study to Metro students only (4Cr, Intro/Adv, Non-Liberal). If you are interested in participating in this program for upcoming terms, please contact me.


Internships in Science

Internships are an integral part of experiential learning. Here, you will develop a hands-on approach in your scientific field of interest, and apply the theoretical components that you acquired during your undergraduate studies. Students may wish to establish internships in various field in science: zoology, behavior, natural history, education, research, development, medicine, and astronomy (just to name a few). We may be able to assist with develop internships with local institutions, such as the Wildlife Conservation Society (e.g., New York Aquarium, Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Central Park Zoo), American Museum of Natural History, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, research labs at other universities, or work with an organization of your choice. Students who engage in internships may also explore the occupations of animal trainers, research assistants, field officers, science educators, policy makers, or any endless number of science-related jobs. We aim to work with you to acquire an internship in your field of interest. Depending on the internship and the number of hours dedicated to job, students can earn 2-8Cr per term, may register any term, as introductory or advanced, and as a non-liberal independent study. Internships also vary greatly in their intellectual and physical demands, and some may be be paid while others are strictly volunteer. We will also focus on local internships; however, we may also consider national and international placements. For students interested in participating in any internships, please contact me.


FIELD ECOLOGY & LANDSCAPE EVOLUTION IN NEW ZEALAND (Anticipated Start as a Group or Independent Study TBD)

Want to escape the freezing New York winter? Staring in a future winter session, we will embark on a course to study field ecology in New Zealand during the southern hemisphere summer months. Along with my colleague Dr. Greg Holwell from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, we aim to investigate questions in ecological restoration, conservation, behavioral ecology, and climate change. The University of Auckland has a number of nature reserve in which we can conduct our studies. You will learn to apply ecological sampling methods to assess flora and fauna diversity in Australasian. Furthermore, we will understand how the indigenous Maori culture has significant ties to the land and the sea in Aotearoa. This is a long-term project, and will likely occur annually. Moreover, the field techniques that you learn and use to collect data may have implications for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. For students who are interested in this field study, it will be offered as a group or independent study to all ESC students (4Cr, Intro/Adv, Non-Liberal).  If you are interested in participating in this program for upcoming terms, please contact me.

The Sound of the Harmonic Generator