Talk to Dr. Tom Carroll for just a few minutes about the new high-tech instruments in the third-floor analysis lab in Jephson Science Center and you get the sense the 30-year professor of chemistry at Keuka College is more excited than a kid on Christmas morning.
To the untrained eye, the four new Perkin-Elmer laboratory machines resemble something akin to desktop printer-copiers. But the machines are capable of the kind of data analysis a researcher can use when an unknown substance is handed over with the instructions “find out what this is and report back to me.” With one test on any of these machines, a student researcher could identify in minutes what used to take hours on paper. Carroll is thrilled students – and faculty – can now make regular use of the new equipment.
To biology major Rebecca Evanicki ’14, the new machines enable students to analyze unknown compounds in such a way that it’s like “solving a mystery,” she said.
Indeed, Associate Professor of Chemistry Andrew Robak is already planning to stage a fake crime scene in the organic chemistry lab next door later this spring. He’ll give the students in his organic chemistry class one day to collect evidence and they’ll spend the last few weeks of the semester in the analysis lab using the new machines to identify every substance, “like a CSI practice version,” he said, referring to the popular TV crime show.
It’s the kind of innovation that brings the student research at Jephson Science Center into a new era of digital learning, which is part of the College’s Long-Range Strategic Plan. Thanks to a $137,000 grant from Jephson Educational Trusts, the new machines were purchased and installed between semesters. They represent significant technology improvements that will enhance science coursework and research for students and faculty.
To formally recognize the new lab capabilities, the College will host its first-ever Innovation Celebration, set for 2-4 p.m., Friday, March 14, which is National Pi Day. In mathematics, Pi (represented by the Greek letter π) begins with the numbers 3.14159 and represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is infinite and has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point; contests to recite a portion of those digits are often part of the worldwide celebration. Keuka College will host its own Pi recitation contest, and guests can also take part in an unveiling ceremony, enjoy science-themed refreshments, and browse student work on display. Guided tours through the instrument lab will also be offered, and President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera will give a videotaped message of congratulations.
Check out a unique digital timeline of stories and photos, marking moments of achievement in the College’s science history since the former Millspaugh Science Center was renamed the Jephson Science Center.
One machine, the High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC), carries liquids from glass bottles through thin plastic tubes, passing through several compartments for analysis. According to Robak, different compartments contain an oven, vacuum pump, solution tray, and detectors, respectively.
On the tabletop directly across from it sits another machine, the Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS or “GC – Mass Spec”), which uses hydrogen or helium, pumped in from nearby tanks, to “blast apart” microscopic mixtures to reveal the separate fragments of each component within it, Carroll said. In scientific terms, this process is known as ionizing or fragmenting. The GC/MS features a rotating unit that can extract samples from a tray of up to 108 small vials at one time, conducting analysis as programmed by a small touch screen at the side.
Connected to the CG/MS is a new computer running high-performance software that converts the data readings of molecular ions into a bevy of colorful charts and graphs. Based on the peaks and plunges of a fragment’s chart, the computer searches a large digital library to find the closest match – all in a matter of seconds, Evanicki said. Without it, a student would have to calculate results by hand to narrow down what fragments might be present and then cross-check his or her shortlist of possibilities against a book to determine the answer, she said.
On another table against the wall, a smaller machine, the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR), contains an oval plate with a small diamond reflective element through which infrared light can pass. Connected to another computer running high-speed software, the FTIR is able to provide information about the identity of liquid or solid compounds, Carroll said.
The fourth machine, a Lambda-35, is a newer model of a UV spectrometer already in the lab. It uses visible and ultraviolet light to determine the absorption spectrum of a solution, which will show how much light it absorbs across a range of wavelengths, from visible to UV rays.
The GC/MS is Evanicki’s favorite because various tests on multiple samples can be run in one sitting without switching vials in the tray, she said. In addition, a student can run a series of different tests on just one sample.
“There are just so many different things you can do with it,” Evanicki said.
She should know. Evanicki spent the bulk of January alongside biochemistry major Brian DelPino ’14, setting up the new machines, conducting test runs and writing equipment usage manuals, all as part of their senior Field Periods™. Carroll defers to the duo with pride, dubbing their user guides “equipment manuals for dummies.”
“Step One: Turn the machine on,” he read aloud from a sheaf of typewritten instructions, before continuing tongue-in-cheek. “Step Two: If you have any questions or problems, contact Rebecca or Brian.”
On Wednesday, sophomores in Robak’s organic chemistry class took a sneak peek at the new equipment they were due to try out in their Thursday lab. About a dozen other students in Carroll’s Analytical Chemistry course will also run utilize the instrument lab this spring. Enthusiasm is running high, not just for the chance to use the machines this semester, but for the rest of their undergraduate studies.
“We’re all very excited about the new equipment and excited to learn how to use it – science is fun!” said biology major Heidi VanBuskirk ’16.
For more information on the Innovation Celebration, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 279-5238.
Just before Christmas, Lisa Makarick finished a course in community health. Just after Christmas, Makarick discovered a profound contrast between the classroom and Calabrete, Dominican Republic, where she traveled with 11 others from Keuka College to bring health education to some of the youngest residents of the community.
“It’s one thing to do a windshield study on [community health] and it’s a whole other beast to do a service project, to get down there with the people and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Makarick, a Hammondsport resident.
Makarick is pursuing her baccalaureate nursing degree through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at Corning Community College, one of 2o ASAP sites around the state. Nine other nursing students from cohorts in the Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, and Utica areas, and one occupational science major from the home campus in Keuka Park, also traveled to Calabrete.
From January 2-9, the Keuka College group, led by Patty Mattingly, associate professor of nursing, assisted the Mariposa DR Foundation, which invests in sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, serving girls as young as 8-years-old. By battling barriers that keep the poor vulnerable and limited, and offering support such as access to quality health care and education, the Mariposa DR Foundation seeks to educate, empower and employ girls in Calabrete to ultimately give back to their community.
The students presented a workshop on dental hygiene and hand-washing, gave a first-aid presentation to parents, and made home visits to assess safety risks and recommend follow-up by Foundation staff. In addition, students also toured a public hospital and an HIV clinic in the area. The trip also fulfilled Keuka College Field Period ™ requirements for the students. Typically, a Field Period ™ enables a student to explore professions, other cultures, or even provide community service for others, but usually, only one of those elements happens at one time. However, the 2014 Keuka College team accomplished all of the above.
According to Makarick, a maternal service nurse and mother of five who will finish her nursing program in April, the trip was an “amazing experience” that she hopes to repeat. The team worked with 15 girls, ages 8 -11, providing encouragement with extracurricular activities that included simple games and health-care instruction. In that region, children only attend a half-day of school and often lack positive alternatives to “just wandering around all afternoon,” said Makarick.
Thanks to one of her daughters, Makarick said she was educated on the threat of sex trafficking and modern slavery facing these young girls. According to New Friends, New Life, a human rights agency seeking to raise awareness, 13 is the average age at which American girls, particularly those vulnerable to poverty, are trafficked into the sex industry. For the poor and vulnerable from developing countries, where legal protection is nearly nonexistent, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution may happen even earlier. As such, Makarick said the impact the team could make was clear.
“I was absolutely not disappointed,” said Makarick. “You can see the effect fairly quickly, even small, little [things] of having someone encourage them … they just bonded with us, and we learned from them, too.”
The group split into two teams of six to conduct home inspections in the neighborhoods where the girls lived, and, in some cases, the level of poverty was “pretty overwhelming,” Mattingly said, describing scenarios where rat poison was left where children could come in contact with it. One student described barbed wire “clotheslines” so low to the ground that children’s bodies and faces bore cuts from running into it. Other elements of culture shock were encountered in el barrio (the ghetto) and the local hospital, which had just five beds in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where equipment and staff practice was like “turning the clock back 30 years,” said Makarick.
According to two Keuka College juniors, the Field Period internships they conducted in the human resource divisions of different global corporations were the best of times.
While she went to a Boston bio-tech company of 5,000, he went to the U.S. headquarters (Pittsburgh) of a global chemical corporation that employs 17,500 people. Both are juniors, both worked May – August 2013, and both were paid – an uncommon occurrence in the arena of collegiate internships.
She is Sini Ngobese, a business and organizational communication major from Durban, South Africa. He is Devon Locher, a business major from Baden, Pa. Both students are pursuing human resources (HR) concentrations in their business majors, while Locher’s second concentration is in marketing. While Ngobese conducted her Field Period at Biogen Idec, Locher conducted his at Lanxess, a corporation focused on development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber and specialty chemicals. While she researched best-practice policies for redrafting an internal human resources (HR) manual, he worked on internal surveys covering employee and international intern integration into the city and company culture.
Locher said he was able to visit a production site in Ohio once which allowed him to see some of the manufacturing side of the company – with its setting and safety protocols – as well as the corporate side. The Pittsburgh workplace was positive and upbeat, he said, and while Locher already conducted two HR-related field periods, confirming that HR is the field he wants to work in, his two prior internships were at much smaller corporations.
At a prior Field Period, Locher learned he didn’t enjoy accounting work, but at Lanxess, no two days were ever the same,” he said. “There was always something different going on, even if some of the tasks were the same. That’s what I liked about it.”
In addition to developing what turned out to be a 30-page PowerPoint for managers to review, Locher also researched other company plans to ensure affirmative action laws and other HR standards comply with a wide variety of state and federal guidelines.
“I learned a lot through research,” Locher said. “I think that’s why Keuka does the Field Period, because you can only do so much in the classroom and then you have to get out out there and work and see how it applies.”
According to Ngobese, Biogen Idec is the second largest bio-tech company in the world, manufacturing drugs for those suffering from autoimmune diseases. Ngobese was stationed in its Weston branch office, although the company has locations “all over the globe,” she said.
Ngobese said her duties focused on the capture and synchronization of all U.S., European, and Canadian HR policies, to be shared on a new self-service portal for employees.
“It was, by far, the greatest career experience I’ve had thus far and truly fulfilled what the Field Period mission and vision strives to achieve,” said Ngobese. In addition to confirming her career aspirations and the type of company culture she hopes to find, Ngobese said her Field Period also helped her find a professional role model: Elizabeth Abbott, her supervisor.
“All of us were “wowed” by Sini’s professionalism, communication, work ethic and work product,” said Abbott. “Sini has many strengths, but her ability to communicate effectively, professionally, clearly, and persuasively in both written and oral communications is what really stands out to me. I was proud to have her represent my department and proud to call her a member of my team. She will be a strong contributor, I believe, wherever she goes.”
Thanks to Abbott, Ngobese said she now knows exactly what kind of female leader she wants to be, and has a clear sense what future purpose she can have within the HR field. She befriended other HR interns and was able to benchmark herself against those coming from bigger schools and gain confidence that she could still hold her own with them. The experience was so fulfilling, Ngobese may be invited to return to intern a second time, and if so, that would be in the company’s Cambridge, Mass., offices where the HR department will be moved.
“It was intrinsically rewarding in that it truly helped me see that this is what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life,” she said. “I woke up thrilled to go to work and that really was an amazing experience for me.”
“Butch,” a fifth-grader at Penn Yan Elementary School, didn’t like reading.
But thanks to a three-week partner project where Keuka College students met one-on-one with schoolchildren to craft a personal story from the child’s perspective, it wasn’t long before he changed his mind. So says Butch’s new buddy and personal “author,” Keuka freshman Will Staub.
“Butch told me the first day he didn’t like reading, then the next week he showed me this book he’d read,” Staub described. In truth, it was more like Butch raced to Staub’s side, book in hand, thrusting it into view and leaning forward in eager anticipation for the response.
Watching the interaction – and others like it across 17 such pairs of college and elementary students – were Dr. Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka, and fifth-grade teacher Terry Test, herself a 1973 Keuka graduate. The two teamed together, with support from elementary principal Edward Foote, to enable the collegiate “authors” to craft a three-page story from the perspective of each child selected from the joint classroom Test shares with team teacher Rebecca Morse.
The project, dubbed “Who is Penn Yan?,” was the final assignment for Joiner’s Literature in the Wider World course, a new introductory English course in Keuka’s general education curriculum. The course was designed to highlight the focus the English program is placing on literature as the doorway to culture, society, community and more. Over the course of three weeks, each college student spent time getting to know his or her child, and ultimately, learning more about Penn Yan through the child’s eyes or imagination.
The fifth-graders all chose character names for themselves and wore name tags to each session, where partners paired up, using whatever chairs, tables, floor space, gym mats, or window ledges were available to continue their conversations.
“Look at the dynamics of this,” Test said, gesturing around the room at the pairs. “The ‘I’m too cool to do this’ vibe just shattered in the first second, and my students are real, being true to themselves. The energy is here on all sides. I’m so impressed at Dr. Joiner’s scaffolding of this.”
To say the children were thrilled would be an understatement. Some brought sketches, notebooks, origami, and more to share with their college author during the second and third sessions. A handful of boys could be seen half out of their seats, leaning forward to dialogue with their authors, while other children were seated more casually, body positions mimicking the college students taking detailed notes.
Watching from a few steps away each week, Test and Joiner were almost as excited as their students at the energy generated during the interactions, and the impact it had on student learning. By the end of the first week’s session, when alerting everyone in the room that only two minutes were left on the clock, Joiner said she could tell the project was en route to success.
“Every student – big and little – turned around and went ‘awww’ in disappointment,” Joiner said. “Some of my students who are not as vocal in class totally engaged with the children. It was just a cool thing.”
Test said the impact on her fifth-graders was almost immediate. (more…)
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series of Q&As with new, full-time faculty members.
Kevin Murphy of Elmira, assistant professor of social work, is teaching traditional and ASAP courses this fall, including Social Welfare Policy and Service I & II, Ethics and Diversity in Social Work, and Generalist Social Work Practice I. Come spring, he is scheduled to teach Group Processes I & II, Social Work Research Methods, Generalist Social Work Practice I & II, and Social Welfare Policy & Service I.
Last book read: Dr. Sleep, by Stephen King.
Favorite quote: Non decor deco (Latin for “I am not led, I lead.”)
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why? No one. I like my real life too much.
What makes teaching fun? Seeing the passion the students bring to the table, and being privileged enough to be a part of their transformational journey.
What do you do for fun? Time with the wife and kids, campfires in my backyard on weekends, reading, writing, and obstacle course racing.
Guadalupe Morales-Gotsch, visiting assistant professor of Spanish, is teaching Intercultural Studies, Introduction to Spanish, Spanish for Communication, and Latin American Short Stories.
Last book read: Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Favorite quote: “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge,” by Albert Einstein.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why? Dora the Explorer, because she loves to engage herself with new friends and situations, making the best of those situations and her new friends.
What makes teaching fun? Students and their desire to learn.
What do you do for fun? Travel, meet new people and learn about their culture, reading for pleasure
Nicholas Koberstein, instructor of child and family studies, teaches Introduction to Human Development, Development in Middle Childhood, and Psychology of Adulthood and the Aging.
Last book read: Go Dog Go, by P.D. Eastman. My daughter, Harper and son, Wyatt, read every night before bedtime. Go Dog Go is a great book that helps them develop skills in language, learn colors, numbers, and orientations, all with some subtle humor. It is a mainstay on our bedtime bookshelf.
Favorite quote: “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me,” by Winston Churchill. My wife, Kristen, is the cornerstone of our family. I have never met a more gorgeous, intelligent, kind-hearted, and hard-working woman.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why? Indiana Jones, the ultimate renaissance man. If nothing more than to have some flashy, three-piece tweed suits. Jones lives a fascinating life of exploration and adventure. He always escapes danger and fights for what is right and just.
What makes teaching fun? Influence. To make a positive change in a student’s life or to teach them something that changes their world view. Learning is an experience that is more than the information that is taught in the classroom. It is a culture that is co-created and shared by the students. Every new class is a different than the last.
What do you do for fun? I love to explore with my family. Every weekend my family and I try to experience something new. Since we moved to the area in August from Connecticut, there is plenty of exploring to do.
Betty Morris-Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Accelerated Studies for Adults (ASAP) program, is teaching Social Work Practice III (SWK 351) & Social Welfare Policy & Services II (SWK 401).
Last book read: The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere
Favorite quote: Character is found in how you treat people who can’t do anything for you.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why?: I would be Ivorie from the book, The Good Dream. Ivorie, a single woman, rescues and raises an abused young child despite talk and opposition from members of the community.
What makes teaching fun: Helping students achieve their God-given dreams; helping them to understand that they were created to soar.
What do you do for fun? I read. I enjoy reading fiction, non-fiction, self-improvement books, and biographies. I also write short-stories when I have the time.
Natural landscapes are Kat Andonucci’s favorite subject to photograph, her homing beacon. Heading outside to take nature photos remains a comfort, she said.
When she bought her first camera, Andonucci liked “nothing better than capturing a perfect photo, on a perfect day. My goal is always to preserve that moment in time as realistically as possible, sometimes it’s as simple as just taking the photo, while other times it can be much more complex.”
Each work in Andonucci’s senior exhibit, My Nature, which runs through Dec. 13 in Lightner Gallery inside Lightner Library, has some sort of connection to nature, she explained. From Adirondack Park landscapes, to places near Andonucci’s hometown of Chestertown, near Lake George, to locales visited, mountains hiked or even the nature of a human body, the works all carry the theme of nature.
In her first photography class at Keuka, when she was originally a biology major, she walked into class with a new digital camera only to discover the course was in black and white film photography. Thankfully, her mother’s old Konica film camera sufficed and Andonucci fell in love with the entire process of taking images from film to print.
The exhibit features numerous black and white film photos, sometimes contrasted with digital ones.
“There is just such a dramatic change between the two, even though the photos are the same,” she described. “Not everything has to be bright and colorful. I enjoy finding the beauty in the odd things, things that people might often overlook or not necessarily consider to be beautiful.” (more…)
The images are arresting. Color portraits of African women and children, their faces lined with the trials of life, and yet a common denominator among most: genuine smiles.
These unmistakable indicators of the human experience – happiness—are the handiwork of senior education major Winsome Zinkievich, who traveled to Africa this summer with a group of adults under the umbrella of Tirzah International, a faith-based mission agency. Zinkievich’s younger brother and uncle traveled with Tirzah the year before, which piqued her interest in making the trip.
The group spent about two weeks in Bujumbura, capital of the country of Burundi for about two weeks, with another four days in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It felt like two years, Zinkievich said. Every day, they were driven from their protected housing compound, King’s Conference Center, to the Women’s Center, where a 10-month residential program was just beginning for 46 women, most widowed or orphaned.
The women receive counseling and group therapy and learn to sew, a trade that can provide them future income, she said.
“It was my mission to take pictures of all the women,” Zinkievich said. “A lot of them lost their husbands because of civil war or AIDS, or there’s children whose parents abandoned them. Some are young women who are my age and they’ve lived more than me. After I took my first photo of one of the ladies, I looked at it and knew it wasn’t something to just put on Facebook.”
Her photos could tell the story of each of the women, Zinkievich realized, describing how she learned of heart-wrenching suffering and loss, yet a joy in daily life, as she got to know each one without speaking their language. One 20-year-old widow, a year younger than Zinkievich herself, had endured five miscarriages and the death of her husband. One of the woman’s surviving children is afflicted with “water on the brain” and is not likely to live past childhood. In her photo, she is beaming as she holds her two children on her lap.
“Even though she lost her husband and lost other kids, she’s still here and so happy for the day,” Zinkievich said. “I’ve been more disappointed about not getting a text from someone, than she seemed to me. It just changes your way of looking at the world and what’s really important.”
In many cases, women who had lost everything were filled with faith and happiness – faith that the program would help them provide for their families, and happiness “simply because they were alive,” Zinkievich said. “In a world where they have so little, these women still cherish the moment and believe in the future. I realized that maybe if I shared their pictures, I could show their emotion and [how real they are] … and maybe I could change the world a little for the better.”
A plan quickly came together to make framed prints of every woman’s image and sell them for $40 each to support them during their 10-month program. It costs about $60/month to house and feed each woman, a cost covered by Tirzah through donations from sponsors.
Back at Keuka, she has not lost that passion to make a difference with her photos.
“All these women have a story and they deserve their story to be told. None of the images are altered. I didn’t change any of the colors – it’s just there. That’s how it was, and it’s important to me to share that with the world.”
She said this was the first time “I went and did something, not even for me, but for other people and I was proud of it. It was just amazing,” she said. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about going back, or how I can help them, or ways to make my life different because of them, like buying less things and appreciating what I have or especially appreciating the day. So many people don’t think about how wonderful it is that we’re here, alive and in the now. Instead of thinking about your crappy day, how can we make our day awesome and wonderful and worth living?”
According to Zinkieviech, the experience was deeply spiritual for her.
“When I was there, there was a huge belief that it was all going to be OK. Faith is like believing without seeing. The people there have so much faith that it’s going to be OK and that they’re going to figure it out, that it’s all going to come together and that’s a lot more than we have. God is in Africa to me and people are just happy to know God [there]. So that was huge.”
Zinkievich will graduate Keuka in late May and said she’d love to go back to Burundi to visit in June, when the women finish their 10-month program.
“It would be so great to see how they went from Point A to Point B,” she said.
Currently, a selection of Zinkievich’s photos are on display on the fourth floor of Hegeman Hall on the Keuka College campus. A full gallery of portraits can also be seen online at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/101465662@N06/
To order a print of an African portrait, contact the artist at: email@example.com
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the 10th in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
In the spring of 2012, Alex Jones of Conklin earned a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Keuka College, then headed to Pace University in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
He is now halfway through a two-year program and on track to earn his Master of Science in forensic science in 2014. With degree in hand, Jones hopes to land a job in a criminal justice laboratory.
“At the graduate level, the classes are always interesting because it’s more specialized and the students learn about their interest in their chosen career field,” he said. Looking forward to classes every day, a student is more likely to walk away with a basic understanding and a drive to further develop it, he added.
According to Jones, the small class sizes at Keuka allow every student to stay engaged in c lectures and labs. Beyond that, the element he most valued was the challenge Keuka professors gave students with “tough questions to make us think like real scientists. This improved thought process has helped me become more successful in graduate school.”
Turn the pages of Tipsy Magazine’s Summer 2013 edition and you’ll find the latest trends in high-fashion nail and manicure art.
Tipsy caters to salon owners, manicure artists and nail divas nationwide who turn to the 9×12 glossy for up-to-the-minute articles and photos on polish products, fingertip designs and the edgy nail jewelry that celebs like Lady Gaga have catapulted to fame. Its touted trends take the traditional acrylic manicure (Only one shade of polish? Puh-lease!) to a color-and-jewel-crazed, punk rock-level.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that Dr. Andrew Robak, associate professor of chemistry, has landed in the pages of a Tipsy article. Robak, who holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, has self-described “wacky interests” in chemistry or science as art. His expertise was sought by writer Erin Hart, who started her own design business, Nail Pop LLC, just over a year ago, working on location doing photo shoots, nail parties and fashion shows. Hart endured a nasty chemical burn after she tried to mix fake gold leaf, a decorative metallic, with nail glue to create her own quick-dry polish.
“The gold leaf is so popular right now because it just looks so decadent and when you’re having your nails done, you want to go all out,” said Hart, noting the element comes in either sheets or flake form and can be found at craft or art stores. Hart said she was at home with a friend, experimenting with the fake gold leaf by gluing a big piece to the tip of her finger when “decadent” turned into “drama.”
“The burning started immediately and as I was trying to peel away the [gold] leaf, my skin blistered and came off. I didn’t lose too much skin, about the size of an eraser head, but boy did it hurt!” Hart said, adding it reminded her of burning her finger on a marshmallow stick when she was a kid.
“It took about a week for it to heal using your standard first aid burn care.”
According to Hart, staying ahead of the trends in nail art happens most often by experimenting with different materials, so to best inform other nail artists of any potentially dangerous combinations, she packed up the gold leaf and glue and shipped them to Robak for a thorough chemical analysis and explanation. The two are cousins and Hart had no problem asking for a family favor, she said.
“He was the first person I thought to call after I burned myself and I knew he’d be able to figure it out, which he did immediately after receiving the samples I sent,” Hart said. “I was really impressed with how quickly he was able to compose an explanation that I could actually understand.”
It turns out the fake gold leaf flakes are essentially a combination of tin, zinc and shiny copper. The tin and zinc prevent the copper from tarnishing, Robak informed Hart. The nail glue, known as ethyl cyanoacrylate, is a polymer that will cure, or dry rapidly, once exposed to small amounts of moisture in the air or on surfaces. What non-scientists like Hart think of as “glue drying” is really the substance changing from liquid to solid form, Robak said.
Ordinarily, a tiny, almost imperceptible amount of heat is released as the glue hardens, but when mixed with the fake gold leaf, the tin and zinc become catalysts, speeding up the process such that there is an excess of heat energy, Hart learned. The gold-glue mixture can’t hold as much heat energy as the liquid glue alone, and not only causes chemical burns but can even produce small tufts of smoke, Robak informed Hart.
So what’s a nail artist to do?
Well, one solution would be to use real gold, Robak suggested, noting the pure element is one of the least reactive substances and won’t require tin to protect it from tarnish. According to the New York Mercantile reported on CNNMoney.com, real gold is currently retailing for about $1,391 an ounce.
If you can’t afford that option but seeing a shiny, metallic gleam at the end of your fingertips is still a must-have, then switching to a simple, clear polish and mixing that with the fake gold leaf will produce the same ritzy look without the Ritz-Carlton price tag. The clear nail polish won’t dry as fast as the glue, but it won’t create an exothermic reaction either, Robak advised.
And that was the advice Hart chose to share with fellow Tipsy readers after she came across a call for submissions for upcoming issues. As it turns out, her unexpected science revelation became her first “big” article for a magazine.
“I’m hoping to do more writing in the future, but I think this first attempt went pretty well,” Hart said, noting she called her cousin for permission to include him in the article. “Most of what you mix with nail glue won’t create an exothermic reaction, but I’ve also experienced heat from nail glue when it comes in contact with cotton fibers. It’s something I’ll need Dr. Robak’s expertise to explain further.”
The imaginary county in Mississippi that William Faulkner fashioned to serve as the foundation for his fiction will come to vivid, online life in a new digital humanities project involving some two dozen Faulkner scholars from around the country – including Dr. Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka College.
“Dr. Joiner’s participation in this important and prestigious digital humanities project promises to raise Keuka’s profile significantly in the field of digital scholarship,” said Doug Richards, professor of English and chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.
Over the next three to five years, Faulkner scholars will collaborate to translate the characters, timelines, dialogue and events of his short stories and novels into interactive online maps that help readers visualize and glean new insights into Faulkner’s works. According to Joiner, Faulkner himself drew a map of Yoknapatawpha indicating locations and events portrayed in his stories.
“He considered it his little postage stamp of native soil of which he was sole owner and proprietor. Thus, this project is attempting to digitalize his fiction and expand on his mapping,” Joiner explained.
Stephen Railton, professor of English at the University of Virginia, is directing the project and invited Joiner to come aboard in late August. This fall Joiner will team with Taylor Hagood, associate professor of English at Florida Atlantic University, to map a short story “The Unvanquished” (later revised and known as “Riposte in Tertio”), first published in The Saturday Evening Post as part of a 1934 series. Joiner and Hagood are facing a year-end deadline to finish digital mapping of the short story and then, Joiner will be assigned to a team mapping one of Faulkner’s 15 novels.
The project, which received a nearly $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), builds upon a 2011 Yoknapatawpha map prototype created by the University of Virginia Library’s Digital Media Lab. The NEH grant was one of 23 awarded through its start-up program to promote progress in the digital humanities. Back in 1957-58, Faulkner held the university’s first writer-in-residence post, so the current online archive includes nearly 30 hours of audio recordings of public readings or remarks he gave, according to a news article from the Virginia website.
According to the website, the project centers on the 15 novels and 48 stories Faulkner wrote between 1926 and 1960 and set in Yoknapatawpha. The prototype models a way to enter every character, location and event from separate works into a robust database that then maps that data into an atlas of interactive visual resources, according to the demands of each particular story. Ultimately, the entire body of Yoknapatawpha fiction would be linked together in new, cumulative maps enabling scholars or students to study, for example, all black inhabitants and the roles they play in Faulkner’s works, or his representations of violence, religion, or family, the site indicates. (more…)
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