Saturday, July 30, 2016

So many feels

So this is Mentor Week on the Lakes blog, and our students chose the topic for our posts: "What do we get out of the REU and what do we learn from our students?"  Wow ... so much to say that I'm not sure where to start...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Harry Potter Generation

The other day in the research office while we reconvened after lunch, our economics group somehow stumbled upon a conversation about the world my generation has been raised in. I believe that the conversation began with a sidetracked conversation of Harry Potter, but for what started as a funny comparison of experience of the millennials who were raised reading Harry Potter as children and Chris's experience of reading the series as a graduate student, soon became a reflection on 9/11, the Berlin Wall, and the other events that framed these two very different life perspectives. Oddly enough, this conversation is something I find essential to the nature of our interdisciplinary research. We are the generation of technology, supposed progress and immense industrialization. We are also the children shaped by a world of terrorism, increasing environmental degradation, financial crises, and an ever-diverging bipartisan political system. We are the generation marked by the fact that the first election we can legally take part in is one rooted in racism, international mockery, and a future widely unknown. All of these should terrify me more, but they do not because this is the world I know. I was handed this world as such, and for that I cannot change what has been done.

The point of this observation is not to be depressing- far from it actually. Rather, the fact that we were given such an industrialized, globalized, though slightly broken world has also had its advantages. It has raised a generation of young adults who see the world as an interconnected entity. Because of technology, we recognize the world as interdependent. Likewise, the world of academia has grown to reflect that sentiment. Sharing ideas between nations and academic fields is not only encouraged in today's society, but necessary. A large reason I chose my university and major was because of the interdisciplinary facet. And this is also what drew me to apply to the LAKES project.