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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Senior standouts ready for real world

    Senior standouts ready for real world

    The level of academic commitment at the UA ranges from those who essentially live in the ILC to those who have no idea what those letters mean and don’t feel bad about it, either. But there are some students who stand out above the rest, even among those in the former category. The Daily Wildcat asked the deans of five randomly selected colleges to pick an undergraduate who represented the best of what those colleges had to offer. Here are their responses:

    College of Engineering

    Most people see engineers as people who design and build tangible objects like cars or bridges. But ask chemical engineering senior Joanna Emerson what she most wants to build, and she’ll tell you it’s something without wheels or slabs of concrete: solutions.

    “”I’m fascinated by the science on a large scale. I love science and I love math, and both of those things combine in chemical engineering to this huge thing that’s happening,”” Emerson said. “”What I would like to see chemical engineers do is solve our energy crisis. That would be the ultimate goal. We have to be creative and find new ways because we only have limited resources.””

    Emerson has prepared herself for a life of problem solving with internships with the El Paso Chile Company and Valero Energy Corporation, where she’ll start her career next year. She completed the design for a plant this semester that could be used to manufacture alternative, eco-friendly liquid rocket propellant.

    “”There are so many things in this world that we’ve invented up until now,”” she said. “”There has to be something else out there.””

    Emerson also volunteers her time as a math tutor with the Math and Science Tutoring Resource, an on-campus tutoring service where she helps design educational programs for the benefit of teachers and students alike.

    Ultimately, what Emerson sees in engineering is what all optimistic students look for: a way to help the people around you.

    “”That’s what engineering is all about,”” she said. “”Making a difference in the world and making options for people that they didn’t have before.””

    College of Humanities

    Megan Coe is a writer’s writer. Ask her if she wants her writing to contribute to any kind of ideological movement, and she’ll tell you that her work, mostly short fiction, is basically just for herself.

    “”I know a lot of people have political goals or environmental ties with their writing, but I don’t, really,”” said Coe, an English and creative writing senior. “”I think that it’s fun and I enjoy doing it. Maybe, hopefully, someday I’ll have a cause but I don’t have one right now.””

    Nevertheless, it’s hard to name a literature-oriented organization on campus that Coe isn’t involved in.

    She has been president of the English and Creative Writing Club, which recently completed work on a self-published collection of stories, poetry and essays with help from former Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

    She has just completed her English honors thesis, a collection of nine short stories that will form the foundation of the fiction writing she will continue as a Master of Fine Arts student at Cornell University in the fall.

    She has spent two years as a program assistant at the Poetry Center, where Coe said she was able to meet and learn from many of the world’s greatest poets.

    “”This job (at the Poetry Center) has been the greatest influence on my writing and getting to meet different writers and making connections,”” she said.

    As if that wasn’t enough, Coe has also been published three times in Persona, the UA’s annual literary magazine.

    Coe said being around poets and professional writers has taught her that having a unique style is what writing is all about.

    “”I’ve learned that all writers have their own groove,”” she said. “”I don’t think anyone says, ‘This is how you have to write’ or ‘This is how you have to live your life in order to become published.’ They all have their own things going on, so I don’t feel like I have to fit into any certain category.””

    Eller College of Management

    Dan Sands is hopeful. In a time when most people in the financial sector are less than optimistic about the future and hesitant to speculate about what it might contain, Sands, an accounting senior, said he puts his faith in what should be the most logical place: the market.

    People have lost some faith in the free market, Sands said, but it is designed to correct itself over time.

    Sands wants to be involved in that correction, but not in the way you might think. Rather than working for an accounting firm or starting his own business, Sands wants to stay in the classroom. The front of the classroom, that is.

    “”(University professors) have an outside perspective on the business environment because they’re not tied down to the day-to-day demands of running a firm,”” Sands said. “”They offer a real, detailed perspective on what’s relevant and what’s not relevant. Really, they lead the industry with ideas. It’s exciting.””

    Before turning to teaching, however, Sands plans to follow through on his commitment to the Army Reserve, which he has prepared for through the UA’s ROTC program.

    As a professor of political economy, Sands would hope to educate his students and the public about the important connection between law firms, the government and the private sector that drive the economy and shape world politics.

    College of Fine Arts

    In an academic world where people are exhorted to focus on one specific skill or area of study, Caroline Nelson might be the closest thing the UA has to a fine arts Renaissance woman.

    This year alone Nelson, a studio art and vocal performance senior, has done everything from photographing musicians for album covers she designed to singing with the Tucson Symphony in their performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.

    But far from feeling stretched thin, Nelson said working across artistic borders is what keeps her interested in the field.

    “”I know a lot of people choose one medium,”” she said. “”They say, ‘I’m a photographer’ or ‘I’m a designer’ and they work with a whole bunch of different kinds of people. I’d rather do more things for the same kind of people.””

    Nelson has been bridging the gap between visual art and music through years of freelance and internship work in arts management, work she hopes to turn into a career.

    This year she has been preparing an event series, to take place on the UA campus in the fall, which would include gallery tours, music performances and lectures centered on 20th century American art.

    For Nelson, art is more than a reflection of social experiences: it is the reason to keep on living.

    “”You have doctors and engineers and things, and they make the world work,”” she said. “”But you get musicians and artists, and they give you a reason to want to be there.””

    College of Science

    Birds on campus beware: Christina Esposito is on the prowl. The biology senior has spent the last year spying on mating finches and plucking the feathers out of turkey skulls. Her defense? It’s in the name of science.

    Esposito has been spending a lot of time in labs this year, but it’s been worth it, she said.

    “”I think that science is something that’s going to be around forever,”” she said. “”I think it’s something that’s going to revolutionize modern society. The more research people do and the more interest the public shows, it’s just going to better our community in the time to come.””

    In her time off, Esposito has been gearing up for a more people-based career: optometry. Next fall she will enter the Midwestern College of Optometry in Glendale, Ariz.

    This year, she was the secretary of the UA’s pre-optometry club, which quadrupled in size under her leadership. The club is responsible for the founding of Unite for Sight, a collaborative effort that provides vision screenings for the homeless.

    Esposito said one of the biggest challenges facing the scientific community is the lack of funding, which has only worsened in the recent economic turmoil.

    “”Without that money, you’re shorting yourself the research that you could be doing,”” she said. “”If the world wants to continue to evolve, or if people want to continue to get better in a medical sense, they need money, they need funding to get them off the ground.””

    Esposito also works as a UA Science Ambassador, a group that gives tours of labs to prospective students, which she described as being an effective recruitment tool.

    Esposito said she recently received a letter from the aunt of a student who had been on one of her tours. The letter said the tour was the deciding factor in the student’s choice to attend the UA.

    “”The feeling was fantastic,”” Esposito said.

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