April 2018 News Archive

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Microplastic pollution: Finding the source

Plastic is everywhere. In bags. In bottles. In clothes, toys, disposable cups and artificial turf. It’s in cosmetics and soap, too (those little exfoliating microbeads).

Plastic is even pervasive in New York’s Mohawk River. It’s just too small to be noticeable most of the time.

Jacqueline Smith, research professor of geology, is trying to figure out where these aptly named microplastics are coming from.

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Lost in translation; found in meaning

Students in Prof. Maritza Osuna’s capstone course, SPN 405 (Lost) and Found in Translation, know well the word for “rewarding”: gratificante.

This winter term, they took on a project that not only explores the complexities of translation but helps a Schenectady domestic violence shelter trying to extend its reach to the local Spanish-speaking population.

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Green Power: College tops again among Liberty League schools in electricity sources

Union has again been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a conference champion of the College and University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Liberty League.

This is the fourth time in the past five years the College has won the challenge.

Union buys renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Community Energy and Schneider Electric. The College also generates green power from an on-site renewable energy system using solar and wind resources.

Solar panels on roof of Wold building
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People in the news

Employees celebrating 25 years of service to Union College are inducted annually into the Quarter Century Club. In appreciation of their dedication, President Stephen C. Ainlay and Judith Gardner Ainlay recognized new members at an induction dinner. The Quarter Century Club has 274 members, 141 current employees and 133 retirees. This year, Union inducted 11 new members.

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New York Woodwind Quintet to perform Tuesday

The New York Woodwind Quintet, one of the oldest continuously active chamber music ensembles in the United States, will give two performances on Tuesday, May 1. 

The New York Woodwind Quintet is one of the oldest continuously active chamber music ensembles in the United States.

The New York Woodwind Quintet
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Union students awarded CBYX Fellowships

Two seniors were honored with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) Fellowship. Seventy-five American students to study, live and work in Germany for a year following graduation. CBYX fellows have the opportunity to pursue paid work or internships and live with hosts. The program is open to candidates from all career fields.

 

Bretta Beer ’18

Major: Neuroscience
Minor: German
Hometown: Westford, Mass. 
Activities: Field hockey; winner of the Hans Hainebach Memorial Prize in German Literature; term abroad to Australia

What are some courses/experiences here at Union that helped prepare you for the fellowship?

The neuroscience/biology classes and labs I have taken including behavioral neuroscience, neurobiology, molecular biology of the cell, and experimental neurobiology have helped to sharpen my understanding of the delicate inter-workings of the human brain. I have also taken several German classes throughout college to continue and strengthen my language abilities.

What do you hope to get (academically or personally) from the experience?

Through the CBYX for Young Professionals, I hope to become fluent in the German language, increase my understanding of the German culture and political system, gain valuable and eye-opening professional neuroscience experience, and meet new people.

Bretta Beer ’18

Garrett Maron ‘18

Major: Neuroscience
Minor: German
Hometown: Sudbury, Mass. 
Activities: Alpha Delta Phi; club hockey; German Club; term abroad to Germany

What are some courses/experiences here at Union that helped prepare you for it?

My experiences on the Germany study abroad trip during my junior year helped me prepare for CBYX the most. However, the culmination of all the classes in both my major and minor were also crucial in preparing me for this fellowship.

What do you hope to get (academically or personally) from the experience?

I hope to expand both my knowledge of German language and culture, as well as continue my studies in biology.

Garrett Maron ‘18
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Four awarded Fulbright Fellowships

Four awarded Fulbright Fellowships

Three seniors have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships to study abroad. The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright–Hays Program, is an American scholarship program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.

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Going home: Union student to help orphanage in Ghana as Davis peace scholar

This summer, Emmanuela Oppong ’19 will return to her native Ghana to help children living in an orphanage learn sustainable skills to better prepare them for life.

Called “Stitching Talents,” Oppong’s project will create a vocational school where children will learn tailoring, crocheting, knitting, cloth printing and dyeing, shoemaking and other skills.

Oppong is the latest Union student to win a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Projects for Peace award.

Emmanuela Oppong ’19

Major: Bioengineering
Project title: Stitching Talents

Description: “In my home country of Ghana, there are approximately 1.1 million children who have either lost one or both parents from diseases like malaria and AIDS. Many roam the main city, Accra, where the economy is rising and money flows in, but it is not enough to offer shelter or education for these children. I strongly identify with the children of Ghana who go without, and I want to help provide them opportunities which will lead to peace in their lives. After researching the Egyam Orphanage—a facility that supports about 80 children in the Western region of Ghana—I connected with the director, Mr. Payne, and proposed building a school for an inclusive educational project. This school will spearhead projects that equip students and other children in the neighborhood with useful, hands-on skills, in addition to their regular education. The “Stitching Talents” program will establish a sustainable vocational school. However, it is not the typical vocational school where the families of the students have to pay apprenticeship fees. It will be free. Through “Stitching Talents,” students will learn: tailoring, crocheting, knitting, cloth printing and dyeing, shoemaking and entrepreneurial skills from established tailors, business owners and traditional artisans. After the apprenticeship and certification, the experienced students can pass on their knowledge and skills to their peers, at no cost. These profitable and productive skills can provide students an alternative revenue source, such as opening a small clothing store—which is a very lucrative enterprise in Ghana. “Stitching Talents” will provide a buffer for the young women and men of Ghana that ensures opportunities and decreases their risk of putting their life, health and the future of their country in danger.

Emmanuela Oppong ’19
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Two chosen for TAPIF teaching assignments

William Garner ’18 and Elena Pettiford ’18 will travel to France after graduation as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France.

William Garner ’18 and Elena Pettiford ’18

Elena Pettiford ’18 and William Garner ’18 will travel to France after graduation as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France.