Friday, April 17, 2015

Undergrads Doing Research!

Before it gets too crowded, presenters check out other students' work. 

Last Wednesday, the weather was beautiful at Fordham. Eddie’s Parade looked like a beach with the number of people lounging and sunbathing. On Wednesdays, a lot of students don't have classes, so it was the perfect day to just kick back and relax. It was glorious. I, however, staying inside most of the day doing something else fantastic: the 8th Annual Fordham Undergraduate Research Symposium. Now before you think I am being sarcastic, hear me out.

One of my favorite posters is a thesis that will
take the form of a stand-up comedy routine. 

Some of the tote bags being handed out, with copies of the
Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal in the background. 
There were 322 undergraduate students presenting research at the symposium. Some did independent research using grants, and others submitted research papers they had done for a class or their theses. Students gave oral presentations as well as poster presentations to peers, alumni, professors, deans, and anyone else who cared to drop by the McGinley ballroom where it was held. Even the people who arrived for the free sandwiches and fruit (and cafeteria cookies!) stayed to learn more about research in all manner of disciplines. Students talked about HGH in diabetic patient treatments, raising Deaf children, nanoscale drug delivery systems, and how early New Amsterdam/New York became a melting pot among a multitude of other things. Watching classmates present on their work is a lot of fun because, oftentimes, you forget how brilliant the people surrounding you are.

Participants and their research mentors received fair trade tote bags as this year’s gift. Fordham has a working relationship with the Amani Project, and the bags helped pay for school fees for Tibetan children who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend. All in all, it was a great way to spend the day, and there was still time after to enjoy the great weather. 

On a personal note, this is my final blog entry. I have written for I Am a Fordham Ram since the very beginning of my sophomore year (September 24, 2012, to be exact). It's been a pleasure to talk about some of my favorite things at Fordham and to talk to students who reached out after finding my email on the profile pages. Most readers are probably in the midst of making their college decisions, which is really, really hard. Everyone writing for this blog remembers that and may be going through the same process with grad school and jobs, so please look at our profiles and send us emails if you have questions that haven't yet been answered. We would be glad to talk with you-- that's really why we are here. So long, good luck, and I hope to see you at an alumni event in 4-10 years. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Who Doesn't Love a Good Field Trip?!

Believe it or not, field trips do exist in college! And when you go to school in the best city in the world (although I admit I am biased), the field trips and experiences outside of the classroom can be amazing.

Being an English major, I've visited sites such as The Wall Street Journal, The NY Times offices, and I've attended numerous lectures hosted on Fordham's campus and in the city featuring famous authors and prominent people in the advertising and journalism fields.

The NY Times building! 

Art history class? Chances are your professor will take you guys to The Met. Sports marketing class? How does a Yankees game sound? Whatever subject or field you plan on going into, I promise that the city can and will be used for your benefit.

Today, my journalism workshop class got a private tour of The Wall Street Journal, which was AWESOME! We toured all of the offices and different departments and had an in depth talk with a Fordham grad who works as a writer for WSJ. He gave us tips and tricks for after graduation and told us if we ever needed help or advice to feel free to contact him. The alumni network at Fordham is so strong, and he was super helpful!

A cool shot I took at the WSJ today!
No matter what field you're going into, the city is a great resource that you'll learn to take advantage of. As Father McShane, Fordham University President exclaims, major in what you want to major in and minor in New York!

Important Things You Learn As A Fordham Student (Outside The Classroom)

 1. New York City

Whether you come to Fordham as a New York native or having never stepped foot in the city before, every Fordham student graduates a proud New Yorker. You will learn the ins and outs of the Bronx, Manhattan, and even Brooklyn and be able to rattle off your favorite or go-to restaurants off the top of your head. The Subway? After a few missed stops and a couple mess-ups, you will soon be directing foreigners on their underground travelers. The D train will always have a spot in your heart and a favorite funny memory to go along with it. 

2. Great Italian food
Being right next to the famous Arthur Avenue, also known as “the real little Italy”, you will learn to appreciate real Italian food. From awarding winning eggplant parmesan at Mike’s Deli to a late night slice of Pugsley’s pizza to a one dollar mini cannoli at Palumbo’s bakery, you’re Italian food needs will be well exceeded. Hate to break it to you, but Olive Garden will never be the same.

3. How to live courteously with others

Dorm living forces you to be more aware of your surroundings (and your messy tendencies). You will learn to take care of your own belongings, in hopes that your friends do the same. Whether it is taking out the trash or simply not throwing your clothes all around the room, you will become more organized and learn to share the responsibility of cleaning.

4. Time management

Amidst your five classes and say for example-four clubs, a volunteer program, and need to exercise, socialize, and sleep- you will learn the importance of time management as a Fordham Student. In order to carve out time to hop onto the train and enjoy a beautiful day in Manhattan, you must plan ahead and in order to ensure your work gets done on time.  Especially in the month of April when class loads get heavier, the weather gets nicer, and Spring Weekend approaches, students learn to prioritize and balance work and fun schedules. 

5. Dressing for the weather

Living in New York you will learn how to dress for the weather. On a walk to class in below freezing weather in January, you will probably want gloves, a scarf, and a hat. And if you did not realize that the first time, the second time around you will be more prepared. On the flip side, as soon as the sun comes out in the spring you will be pulling out the summer clothes. 55 degrees in the spring= dressing for 70 degree weather and sitting on Eddie’s. 

6. Networking

Fordham prepares you for the real world. How to interview, send thank you notes, get internships, prepare a resume, and most importantly hot to network. Your classmates, your professors, and Fordham alumni all want to help each other out. Coming out of Fordham you will have an impressive LinkedIn profile and hundreds of new connections and be confident in job interviews.

7.  To Be Grateful

Perhaps the most important lesson you will learn at Fordham is to be grateful. Everyday as I walk around campus, I think of how lucky I am to be here. I thank my parents, my siblings, and all of my friends for helping me get to this point. This lesson will carry you through your life and make you really appreciate all that you have and all that you have accomplished. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making the Most Out of Fordham's 135 Clubs

Are you the kind of high school student who is an all-season varsity athlete, NHS scholar, after school volunteer at a local nursing home, school newspaper editor-in-chief, president of both French Club and Painting With Watercolors Club, and an active member of the Chess Club and Grecian Club even though you’re 100% Irish?

If you can relate, have no fear, most Fordham students were also stupidly over-committed in high school too.

Being involved in so much isn’t necessarily a bad thing- it usually means that you’re passionate about a lot of things and have a wide array of interests, which is an extremely respectable quality to have. It also helps you master the art of time management, and allows you to meet new people with similar interests as you.

However, being over-committed, especially in college, can also be a curse. If you take on too much, you not only overwhelm yourself, but also lose the opportunity to really immerse yourself in what you’re involved in. College can be a big adjustment for some people, so between classes, homework, internships, having fun with friends, exploring New York City, and getting enough sleep, it’s important to remember to only join things you think you will have time for.

That being said, I will now tell you that Fordham has 135 clubs and organizations for undergrads. That’s everything ranging from the Finance Society, to club sports teams, to Fordham Experimental Theatre Group to the Paranormal Society. You can pretty much find an organization geared toward anything you’re interested in; but if not, you can always submit a proposal to start something new!

At the beginning of every semester Fordham hosts a fair (in the fall around Eddies and in the spring in McGinley 2nd) to showcase all of the different clubs. It’s literally like a scene out of Pitch Perfect- the performance groups are singing and dancing at you, and every group in between is offering you candy and trying to get you to sign up for their organizations. 

Fall Club Fair Around Eddies

My advice to freshmen would be to get a feel for all of the clubs first. Talk to the people representing the club at the fair, take tons of brochures and flyers and free food, and do a little bit of research. Whatever you do, don’t sign up for a club right on the spot because if you end up not joining, you’ll still get tons of emails from them until you graduate anyway. After you’ve thought about it and figured out which clubs’ schedules fit into your schedule, join one to four of them. Join some that you know you’re passionate about, and maybe one that you’re curious about. You might learn something new, and meet different people. Also, be active in your clubs! Attend meetings, volunteer to work events, and maybe even run for an e-board position. Getting involved is such a great way to meet great people and truly feel like a part of the Fordham community. 

Expressions Dance Alliance at the Fall 2014 Club Fair

For a full list of the clubs and organizations offered on campus, click here!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend Update

Caroline Lebranti
Keating Hall on a bright and sunny day
This weekend at Fordham was pretty exciting since it was the first couple of days where it was super sunny and nice enough to be outside without bundling up! On Saturday CAB hosted a County Fair around Eddies where students could play carnival games and get free popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream. After hanging out there for a while some friends and I hopped on the D train and made our way to Brooklyn where we basked in the glorious weather, played bocce in Park Slope, and got ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery (highly recommended... try their Mexican hot chocolate flavor!). Sunday was also great because not only was everyone out on Eddies playing Frisbee and sunbathing, but it was also the President’s Spring Preview! Campus was buzzing with current and prospective students and families which made for quite a lively afternoon.

Our delicious brunch
Caroline McCue
This past weekend, I had a great time celebrating my friend Rachael’s birthday with a delicious Sunday Brunch.  We went to the Gansevoort Hotel which has a delicious menu. Although it is a little pricey, I would highly recommend going for a special treat! Afterwards, we walked around the Meatpacking District for a little and enjoyed the crisp spring day.  I got the eggs Benedict which was to die for!  Although I have a lot of papers and assignments to finish up before the end of the year, I am glad I got to spend an afternoon relaxing and celebrating with my friends in such an amazing city!

Lake Michigan

Megan McLaughlin
This weekend, besides chatting with some prospective students about Fordham and the best places to eat on Arthur Ave, I visited Chicago. The weather was great, but this view of Lake Michigan doesn't quite beat the view of Central Park stretched out below you at Top of the Rock (30 Rockefeller Center's rooftop).

Great night for baseball

Madeline McDermott
On Friday night, I went to the Yankee vs. Red Sock game. I got $10 tickets through the CAB raffle and the game wound up being the longest game in the history of Yankee Stadium.

Another lovely shot of Keating

Claire McGonigle
This past Sunday was Admitted Students Day here at Fordham! It was great to talk
to prospective students and give them a chance to talk to current Fordham students
along with administrators to give them a better sense of what life at Fordham is like.

A Motley of April Events

Although it was really great to have been able to spend a relaxing spring break at home, I was looking forward to the last event-filled weeks of the spring semester. One of the events that I participated in was being a part of the Holy Week liturgy. As a member of the Schola Cantorum choir, I spent a great deal of my Easter Break and Holy Week rehearsing for Triduum Masses: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. The rehearsals were tough and filled with challenging music to learn, but all the time that I spent singing with other choir members helped create a bond that got us through the long week. I also had the privilege to cantor for the morning prayers—my first time cantering ever. It truly was a blessed week for me to be a part of, and through the intense rehearsals, I began to realize the miracle of Easter and the importance of understanding the sacred meaning of what Holy Week means to me.
Even as an Outreach Ambassador, I got to help out with Spring Preview on April 12th, 2015—Fordham’s largest open house event for Admitted Students. I cannot even put into words just how beautiful the day was for this event. With clear skies, Fordham students enjoying themselves on Eddie’s Parade (a beloved green spot for students to hang out), and enthusiastic admitted students on campus, it was the perfect ambiance to show off just how beautiful our Rose Hill campus really is and to talk about what makes our college so special. I remember two Spring Previews ago in which I was in this position of trying to make college decisions and I will never forget the student interactions that I had that persuaded me to want to come here and be a part of this community. That is what makes Spring Preview so special and so easy—ambassadors never have a difficult time bragging about how great their college experience is because everyone’s is unique and special to them in their own way!
Me with the Fordham Ram putting some "horn" hand signs during Spring Preview!

After my shift was done, I headed over to Eddie’s and had a mini picnic with friends. It was wondrous being able to get a tan in and see all the other students enjoy themselves outside of studying and class. Later, I got to enjoy the rest of this beautiful day by also attending the University Choir’s Annual Spring Concert to support my friends in it. It was a lovely afternoon filled with glorious music that filled the University Church that complimented the wonderful day.
The beautiful University Church with University Choir and the Bronx Arts Ensemble.

Although the semester is coming to a close end, it is also one of the most eventful times of the year, with admitted students coming to a decision about schools and extracurricular clubs having their annual spring showcases. It goes to show just how much of a variety of activities Fordham has to offer that truly makes it a community open to people with many interests and outlets to express themselves.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Undergraduate Research in Computer Science

Since September, I have worked in the WISDM lab within the Computer Science department. WISDM stands for Wireless Sensor Data Mining, which means we attempt to derive meaningful information from the data from wireless sensors, like the accelerometer and gyroscope in your phone. Right now, the work I do is focused in activity recognition, meaning try to create algorithms to predict what activity the user is doing (sitting, standing, running, walking, etc.) based off of data from his or her smartphone and, more recently, his or her smartwatch. This research has implications for mobile health and fitness. With any luck, I'll get my research published in a ubiquitous computing journal or conference.

One of the great things that Fordham does to support its research community is to offer funding for students who apply for it. Through Fordham College at Rose Hill, students can receive a stipend of up to $1000 plus an additional $500 for materials. I received one of these grants this semester, and it has been great to be able to focus on my research while also getting paid for it! They also offer stipends for summer work, allowing students to be compensated for staying on campus and working on their research. In a couple weeks, I will present my work at the Fordham Undergraduate Research Symposium, which is a really cool event that allows us to share and showcase what we've been working on with our peers.

If you want to participate in research as an undergraduate, it's super easy to get involved. All you need to do is talk to professors about what research they do and, once you've found something you're interested in, ask how you can help out. Professors are always looking for more help! It's a great opportunity to learn and develop in your field of interest as well as an awesome thing to put on your resumé!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fordham's Campus MovieFest!

With Spring Weekend only a few weeks away, students on campus are buzzing with excitement about who will perform on Martyr's lawn and what the "Under the Tent" theme will be. Other students have been preparing for spring weekend this week by brain storming script ideas, running around campus with cameras, and staying up late editing.

These students are (most likely) participants in this year’s Campus MovieFest. While not technically on the weekend (the event occurs the Wednesday night before Spring Weekend) Campus MovieFest is an annual event students anticipate and plan for all year. Though their excitement and planning may start months in advance, the real grunt work is limited to just one week. 

The film The Translator from last year's festival

Campus MovieFest challenges students to make a movie, with a run time of 5 minutes or less, in just one week. Films include a variety of genres from Comedy to Drama. Last year included a few high action Matrix-style thrillers as well as silent films. Students tap into all of their creative outlets sometimes composing their own scores or special effects.

Hans Lueders's crew produced a sci-fi thriller for last year's CMF
The competition attracts 500,000 global college student participants. The Campus MovieFest complies a judge panel comprised of students, faculty and partners unique to each school. The winners are not disclosed until they appear on the screen at the event itself. 16 films premiere and the top 4 films are sent to Hollywood for CMF national competition.

The crowd favorite duo known as "The Part Time Hooligans"
Come out to Fordham’s Campus MovieFest at 7pm on Wednesday, April 22 in Keating first floor auditorium!

Also Check out all of last year's films here

New Orleans Adventures (feat. the Fordham Marketing Association!)

My beautiful e-board :')
One of the main reasons why I was so excited to attend Fordham was because of all of the great opportunities this school offers both in and out of the classroom. During every tour I take part in, I make sure to stress to incoming students the importance of finding and working at internships. Personally, I’ve had an internship during every semester of college thus far, which has allowed me to take what I learn in class and apply it to real-life situations nearly instantaneously while also gaining a breadth of professional knowledge that classrooms and professors cannot necessarily provide.

The local food was *so* good!
Late-night sightseeing.
However, one of my favorite professional experiences came this year when I, along with the rest of the Fordham Marketing Association executive board, went to the American Marketing Association’s International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. FMA has been travelling to the conference for several years now – and has even placed in several of the competitions – but this was my first time going (and also my first glimpse at the amazing city of New Orleans)!

Our four-day trip allowed gave us the privilege of sitting in on panels led by present-day marketing professionals from companies like Google and Coca Cola, meeting and networking with students from collegiate marketing associations all across the country, and gaining insights on how to better run our own club. In the evenings, we had free time to explore the French Quarter, try out the amazing southern cuisine, and go sightseeing and souvenir shopping. We actually passed by a voodoo shop at one point and I couldn’t resist stopping and buying one that’s supposed to bring success to its owner! Fingers crossed that it works…

View out of our hotel window!
Streets of NOLA...
Aside from the Fordham Marketing Association, there are plenty of other organizations and clubs students can join to further themselves professionally or just to get involved in student life on campus. Whether you’re interested in the student government, the Campus Activities Board, or even writing for this blog as an Outreach Ambassador for the Rose Hill Society, there is surely a spot for you at Fordham. Maybe next year, you’ll even be coming along to New Orleans with me… Who knows? 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fordham Connections

One of Fordham's most unique qualities is its large alumni community.  Students journey to Fordham from all over the world and become part of what we like to call, the "Ramily."  Many of these students then go on to live and work in New York City, making it extremely easy for current students to get internships or jobs with fellow Fordham grads. 

Class of 2014 Graduation
Being in New York City, Fordham has a tremendous relationship with the alumni, making it very easy to connect with employers who have either gone to Fordham or are particularly interested in hiring Fordham students.  Many of my friends that have graduated have helped provide me with connections and experiences benefiting my career search.  In fact, a good friend of mine that graduated last year helped to get me an interview with her company for a summer internship.  Her employer was excited to meet with me simply for the fact that I attended Fordham.  Employers nationwide recognize that Fordham caters to the well rounded growth of the whole person, and that is something that makes Fordham students stand out from the crowd.  If it weren't for such strong alumni connections, this would not be the case.

Wherever you go, your Fordham family follows you, making it truly something special. The feeling of community campus, amongst friends, and amongst alumni is almost indescribable. It is something I wish everyone could experience. The friendships made at Fordham are ones that are irreplaceable. These aren’t just friendships that come and go with graduation, but ones that last your entire life.