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Archive for the 'Faculty' Category

Calling Cambodia home

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Sachs family

In July 2009, Roseann Sachs, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, prepared her home in central Pennsylvania for renters and packed up her family for a year-long adventure in Cambodia where she spent her sabbatical doing research and teaching at The Royal University of Phnom Penh.

From navigating a busy city, to learning the language, to coping with a scary medical situation involving her oldest daughter, it was a year of unbelievable opportunities and challenges for this family of five.


Mother and son talk about growing up at Messiah

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

At the time of Linda and Nathaniel Parkyn’s interview (October 2009), Messiah College was celebrating its Centennial year. The Parkyns were on campus for the Centennial Homecoming celebration, and more than happy to reminisce about their 25 years at Messiah.


Drawing a line between theatre and worship

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Valerie Smith and Bryant Vance

When Valerie Rae Smith delivered her first monologue at age 13, she had no idea that she was revealing a special personal gifting that would from that point on direct her vocational steps.

Smith, now associate professor of theatre and co-chair of the theatre department at Messiah, chats with theatre student Bryant Vance about how being a person of Christian faith has shaped and affected her career in theatre in this latest Listen Up! podcast.

Smith sees a clear line between theatre and worship, citing that theatre is just one venue for expressing God-given creative abilities.  She is pleased with the way Messiah College challenges its students, both on stage and off, to deal with difficult and complex issues, and notes how she, like her cast, grows during the process of rehearsing and performing a play.

Listen to the interview between Valerie Smith and Bryant Vance.

Visit the department of theatre website.

From harmonizing jingles to soloing at Lincoln Center

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

As a toddler, Damian Savarino used to
harmonize to the jingles on television
commercials, an ability that his parents
understood to be special.
So his mom and dad signed him up for guitar lessons, his first official foray into music. He played several instruments before his parents, in his words, “forced” him to try out for school choir. Savarino says he was nervous about singing in the choir because he felt “more safe and secure to hide behind an instrument.”

Turns out that his best instrument was his voice, and it wouldn’t be long until he would own his own tuxedo for performances. (more…)

Artificial intelligence expertise earns professor a patent

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Randy Fish

It is estimated that 300 million people use Google every day in their quest to find information on the web. Imagine having the ability to not only search online text files for specific words but also to search audio files for specific sounds. Thanks in part to Messiah College Engineering Professor Randy Fish, that technology is now patented.
Fish and a team of five others have spent the past seven years perfecting and patenting “audio hot spotting,” a search engine technology that allows users to search audio files for a specific word or phrase, a particular speaker, a speaker’s tone, or characteristics like laughter and applause.
This type of “audio hot spotting” might, for example, be helpful to a user who only wants to hear the portions of a speech that caused an audience to react with applause or laughter.
The challenge, according to Fish, was developing the artificial intelligence algorithms able to discern emotion in a voice, regardless of whether the voice is male or female, and to recognize applause and laughter generically.
Other systems attempt this type of audio searching, Fish says, but only this patented system gives users access to emotions and non-speaking sounds in addition to searching on what was said or who said it.


In sickness and in health

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

blood pressure screening

Imagine that you are the parent of a toddler who is ill and exhibiting symptoms such as a fever and sore throat. You live in Steelton, and your child’s doctor’s appointment is in downtown Harrisburg. You must use the bus system to get to the office. The doctor examines your child and orders more tests at a separate facility, so you have to take the bus to yet another location. After more waiting in another medical office, you and your exhausted and ill child still have the bus ride home, complete with several connections, ahead of you.

Such is a sample scenario that a senior student in associate nursing professor Wanda Thuma-McDermond’s community health clinical rotation might receive, along with a bus pass so that they can maneuver the city under conditions similar to what their community health clients might face. (more…)

Unwritten last chapter

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Ray Norman

Believing that “people are remarkable stories” with the last chapter unwritten, Ray Norman, dean of the School of Science, Engineering, and Health, embraces opportunities to learn about people and hear their personal stories.

That skill has come in handy as he has managed a water and mobility project in West Africa for the past several years.

West Africa is an area where oral storytelling is valued. Norman knows the region and the art of storytelling well as he grew up there.

When Norman, a water engineer by trade, came to Messiah in 2002, the College’s Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research had already been working in Africa, specifically Burkina Faso, for a number of years. In 2005, World Vision approached Norman and asked for the Collaboratory’s assistance to design latrines and wells accessible to handicapped people in Mali.


Journey of thousands of miles

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Bernardo Michael

Colleagues and friends Jim LaGrand, professor of American history, and Bernardo Michael, associate professor of history and director of The Center for Public Humanities, talk about Michael’s journey from his home country of India to Messiah College, a place that wasn’t even on his radar screen when he began looking for a teaching position after completing his doctorate.

Michael, after several interviews at Messiah, was impressed with how the College seemed to be “moving with a sense of vision and intentionality.” He joined the faculty in 2001, and in this Listen Up! podcast recounts his journey of thousands of miles and his affection for the Messiah College community.
In this photo, Michael hosts students and alumni in his home for a weekly time of sharing food and fellowship.

Into the City: A Taste of the Big Apple

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Group poses with Today's Show Meredith Vieirea

One of the most prominent characteristics of a city is its diversity. From people, to landmarks, to opportunities, to challenges; each city promises an exhilarating adventure for tourists and residents alike. Recently, 20 Messiah students jumped at the opportunity to get a taste of real-life in New York City.

Students and leaders from the College left early on April 8 for a two-day networking trip organized by the Career Center with help from the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and the Development Office. The trip’s focus was to give students a chance to learn from and network with Messiah alumni and business leaders, while also experiencing what life is like in the city.


Professional experience

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

If Nate Jenkins was asked to write the obligatory “What I did during my summer vacation” essay, he would have quite a story to tell.

His narrative would be littered with the names of professional football players, all of whom he met and worked with during a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald’s camp for NFL athletes.

Not your usual summer camp
Fitzgerald, a wide receiver who has amassed 59 touchdowns and totaled 523 receptions for 7,067 yards during his six-season career as an Arizona Cardinal, invites players to come to his hometown of Deluth, Minnesota for an intensive week of agility, footwork, and conditioning drills before team training camps begin in August.