Monday, March 31, 2014

Another successful Around the World Through Books program

Dr. Christopher Thomas, Reynolds history professor, led a discussion on what it means to be a resistor and what it means to be a collaborator recently at the Around the World through Books program at Reynolds.
Using the context of women in the French resistance movement described in the book A Train in Winter, by Caroline Moorehead, Dr. Thomas invoked a solemn thoughtfulness among the audience as he described the death camp where 230 women were deported, the hierarchy of prisoners, and the underground activities that brought about their arrests. 

Cornelia Warmenhoeven (L)
But it was special guest Cornelia Warmenhoeven who captivated the listeners' feelings. Mrs. Warmenhoeven, now 89 and living in Midlothian, explained with quiet but intense simplicity the  duty and danger she felt as a young resistance worker in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. She told of saving men and boys who were hunted by the Nazis, of carrying them on her bicycle to places where they could hide in safety, and of escorting Allied soldiers through dark, patrolled fields at night to waiting rescuers. She told of her grief when things went wrong, and of her great relief when word came that an escaped soldier had gotten away safely.

World War II and German concentration camps may be relegated to history, but the ethical issues of compassion, compliance, and complicity will always be worth considering.

 Around the World through Books is sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reynolds Celebrates 10th Annual Science Night

This year’s Science Night at Reynolds Community College entitled, “Back to Basics”, featured discussions on weird physics, autistic worms and glowing mice. The 10th anniversary celebration of Science Night took place on Wednesday, March 26 in the Massey Library Technology Center’s Lipman Auditorium, Parham Road Campus.

The program included the presentations: “Serendipity – The Case for Being at the Right Place at the Right Time” by Chemistry Professor Dr. Ann Sullivan, “Weird Physics” by Physics Professor Dr. John Ochab and “Autistic Worms and Glowing Mice: The Use of Model Organisms in Science” by Biology Professor Dr. Jerrod Hunter.

“Scientists are individuals who believe in a method of discovery that has led to exciting and great advances in medicine, electronics and many other fields,” noted Sullivan about her presentation. “However, there are many examples throughout history where an important discovery was not the actual vision of the research. Serendipity is the accidental discovery that results when minds are prepared to see beyond what is there.”

Thanks to Sullivan’s presentation, guests of Science Night were able find out why silly putty, microwave ovens and penicillin have a lot in common.

"There are many strange physical phenomena that nature presents to us,” explained Ochab. “Some phenomena appear simple in character, so we try to understand the basic mechanics involved.” Ochab also gave examples of such phenomena in the fields of mechanics, fluids, electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics.

“Scientists can be very bad at making the important work they do accessible to the community, and this is very true when it comes to explaining why we do things the way that we did them,” says Hunter.

During his presentation Hunter talked about why we care about fruit fly genetics, yeast chromosomes and the nematode C. elegans as well as why we study yeast to understand Down syndrome.

Science Night is always a popular event at the college, but this year rooms were packed to capacity. The event still maintained its informal that allowed the audience to get to know Reynolds Science faculty.

If you missed the event be sure to attend Science Night next spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mobile Library Scavenger Hunt @ Reynolds: “Have fun, learn a lot!”

Reynolds Library has a new option for the one-shot, library instruction session: the Library Scavenger Hunt. In this collaborative learning model, teams of students actively learn to use the library by performing tasks and answering questions. Students utilize the library’s iPads to photograph their answers and post them to the library’s Pinterest page. Tasks vary from “How much does it cost to print?” to “Find an article about Tesla Motors in Academic Search Complete.” When finished, students present their team’s photos and answers to the class, while the librarian facilitates and “judges” the answers. Prizes are awarded (everyone wins a small prize) and the class cheers for every team! 

Selfies for credit? This is real learning! The Library Scavenger Hunt covers 4 of the 6 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards for information literacy. Many students have never used an iPad and the scavenger hunt provides a playful, low-pressure learning environment. The Library Scavenger Hunt has replaced library orientation sessions in some English, Information Technology and Student Development classes. According to one student, “Every class should do the scavenger hunt.”

The Scavenger Hunt has proved itself to be a strong learning experience. Students actively discover and solve problems, while creating relationships with other students and with the library. The more tech-savvy students team with the less confident ones, benefitting both. This enjoyable, yet educational activity creates a positive association with the library and with Reynolds as a whole. Students say “I feel more comfortable with the library, more confident” and “I had fun and I learned a lot.”
Want to see more? Find photos from the Library Scavenger Hunt on Reynolds Library’s Pinterest page.