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Final week of classes....

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Finals are coming and the semester will be over soon....

If you are a student, you're probably freaking out about the tons of things due this week: final papers, final projects, speeches, homework, reflective papers, etc....

I can say that I'm glad the semester is almost over. I've had a rough semester, and I have a sense of regret about the things I allowed to influence my semester's goals. Sometimes, personal things get in the middle, and there is nothing you can do, but I decided (a little late though) that I won't let that happen again in the future.

Now, the semester is almost over.... We have one week left of classes and then finals... and then, we are out of school.

I wanna wish you all a great week and end of the semester. Study hard for your finals and be proud of what you accomplished this semester. For some of us, it will be bitter-sweet because things didn't come up as we planned, but there is always a next semester to accomplish whenever goal we set...

I'm coming up with an awesome final post for this semester... Don't worry, I won't be leaving yet! The wonderful director of the program asked me last week if I would like to be a returning blogger :) I really appreciate the vote of trust, so of course I said yes.... I'll be back next semester :)

In the meantime, good luck this and next week! Enjoy the last days of school! You know you will miss it during summer hahaha. I know I'll do ;)

Why I'm walking

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

Clad in a black graduation gown and a cap that never seemed to fit, I walked across the stage at DAR Constitutional Hall. It was my high school graduation. I remember grumbling about how meaningless walking across the stage was, and complaining about how the importance placed on the graduation ceremony was merely a social construction. The only reason I walked across that stage in high school was because everyone else did it. It was the expected thing. But, taking part in the high school graduation ceremony held no special meaning for me. Looking back, it was partly because in high school, I took nearly every class with the same cohort of students who were part of my high school’s magnet program. After the magnet program held its own graduation, there was a sense of finality to my high school journey. So it is no surprise that the actual graduation ceremony seemed meaningless. 

This May will be my second time walking across that graduation stage. I do not know how well the cap will fit this time, but I am definitely excited to walk across the stage and announce to the world that I am a graduate of Montgomery College. My indifference about graduation during high school is now replaced with the bittersweet notion that my journey at Montgomery College has ended. Though I was part of an honors program here at Montgomery College, the Montgomery Scholars program, I never felt as if I was only a Montgomery Scholar. I always felt like a Montgomery College student who happened to be a Montgomery Scholar.

My experiences at Montgomery College were very positive. I felt very welcome here. From the library staff who patiently explained how to look up books in the college’s catalog to students who helped me navigate the campus in the first few days, everyone contributed to me having a very welcoming experience. I felt as if I were a member of the Montgomery College community within just the first few days. What made Montgomery College special was the amount of diversity present on campus. People of different ethnicities, countries, socio-economic status and people from different walks of life contributed to me having an enjoyable college experience here. From socializing with students to discussing philosophical issues to taking part in various on-campus activities, I was opened to new ways of viewing the world. The students at Montgomery College really helped me grow, both as a student and as a person. They challenged me during class discussions, shared laughs with me, and took part in my intellectual journey at Montgomery College.

Walking with them on the graduation stage is the best way I can show how thankful I am for the students that populate the campus and made the past two years truly memorable. I want to walk because Montgomery College helped me take the first steps towards being a lifelong learner. After walking across the stage, I will not cease to be a Montgomery College student. Yes, it will be the culmination of my journey here, but the friendships I have made and the memories I have collected will always be a part of me.


I cannot believe this is the final blog post :( Thank you everyone for reading and being a part of this journey with me.

(A more concise version of this blog post will also appear in the MC Alumni Magazine - Insights)


In Honor Of Prof. Polm

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

As a student of her MA181 (Calculus I) class, I have known Prof. Jennifer Polm for the last 4 months. As a 4th semester student with 54 credits in my pocket, I can proudly say that Prof. Polm is by far one of the best professors I have encountered at Montgomery College. It's a great privilege to write a few words in her honor. She has been wonderful both as a person, and as a professor.

Calculus is a very difficult subject, but she tries her best to simplify it. The most important thing I like about her class is that she gives outlines for each section of a chapter. She goes over each problem from the outline, and explains the variations of the problems could have in a fair amount of detail. We complete all the worksheets together, and she suggests practice problems right after she goes over the topics.

Another impressive aspect about her teaching is her assessment structure. She gives a quiz every week. Her quizzes are generally created to help us get an idea of what to expect on tests and will help us know which areas we need to review prior to the next test. For a college level course, she gives very fair tests. Most questions look like worksheet questions, homework problems and the questions from the book. There are no surprises on the test, which means a student’s effort will never go in vain. Simply by working hard and following her instructions, so far, I’ve scored 95%, 96% and 97% in three exams respectively.

Not only is she a great professor, but also an easy going person. She always has a smile on her face and I never got a chance to see her get angry at anyone. Not only is she enthusiastic and knowledgeable about her lectures, but she actually cares that her students enjoy her class. Classes are always fun, with her coming up with bingos so we could understand the calculus rules better with candies and pizzas on the line. She very much understands that everyone has different circumstances in life, and tries her best to deal with students on a one-on-one basis. She drops the lowest quiz and the lowest exam if a student does really well on the final exam. She understands that anyone can have a bad day. If by dropping the lowest grade, a hardworking student can move a letter grade up, she would not hesitate to do that. This also shows she is genuinely interested in students’ success.


Too Soon To Be A Dreamer.

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As the clock ticks, I pray for another minute. It seems when the semester draws near we (as in students) have more papers to write, more homework, more everything. Sometimes I feel there just isn’t enough time in a day. *Sigh* Tonight it looks like another I might have to stay awake and study until I pass out on my books or until I run out of coffee. 

I should pace myself, but honestly I have been working eight hour shifts. YIKES! One of my co-workers decided to go on vacation. I think I am a bit envious. I can see myself with a pina colada in my hand with the sand between my toes. Back to reality, I just finished closing the store and am finally sitting down to rest my sore feet as my coworker checks inventory. 

I know I’m not only thinking of vacation! After finals, all of us shall indulge in some FUN! School is great and education pushes us closer to our futures, but as students we should admire our hard work. Give yourself a break and enjoy the summer! Yes, summer is near. (All this talk about summer has pepped me right up.)  Now, it’s time to study math.  I wish I was as enthusiastic about this as dreaming about vacation. 

Oh, the agony! 


Student Council First Meeting

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Hello again :)

I know I'm posting twice in a row, but I've had a hard time keeping the schedule these past three weeks :( Sorry about that!

Yesterday, the Student Council (the council representing the students of the three campuses in the new governance structure) had its first meeting.

Eight of the nine members attended the meeting in which we elected the council's officials and discussed some things about what being part of the Student Council means.

It was a very interesting meeting, and I can say that I'm really happy that the people in the council seem to be highly responsible and reliable people that will do a great job. I'm sure that we will get along pretty well, and I hope that we can make our fellow student constituents proud of our performance in the governance.

It is going to be a busy year because being part of the governance takes a great commitment, but I'm sure every single one of the members understand that and are ready for the challenge. 

The meeting was very productive, and among other things, we talk about the things we will do in order to communicate with the rest of the student population to make sure that their voices and concerns are heard by the administration. 

I'm very excited about this opportunity, and I want to express to all of the students reading this blog that I will do my best to bring whatever concerns you have to the Student Council and therefore to the administration, so don't be shy and talk to me! 

Have a great weekend, and good luck in your final projects! Two more weeks to go :) 

MC101 On the Real

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

It has been an exhausting week, so I haven't had time to write a long post.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity of being part of the shooting of MC101: On the Real, which is a program where students discuss tips to handle stress, manage time, and being successful overall. The program will air in MCTV in the upcoming weeks.

I decided I would leave with you the first episode, so here you go!

Some sense of finality

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

Sorry for posting late, I got caught in the end of the Semester rush and I figured blogging while only being semi-coherent would make my blog posts even harder to get through. So better late than never...

I have been searching for sense of finality. Some epochal moment where I can see my journey as a Montgomery Scholar and a Montgomery College student has come full circle. I am not sure why I am so desperate to find a narrative arc but I am. This week I was thinking that it might be a fundamental need we humans have for narratives - we look for them in stories, presidential campaigns, and I guess our own lives. I might be alone in that last one, I am not sure.

But I think I found some sort of a finality with the Brunch last Sunday for next years' incoming class. At the Brunch, current and past Scholars speak and give the incoming class with a sense of what the Scholars program is about. We presented a slideshow of our class' experience in the program in the past two years. There was the usual bout of nostalgia for the past two years that just flew by, the increasing reminders that I will be going in a different direction for the next two years than the twenty-three other students, and the realization that I have less and less time to talk to my professors and try to make more sense of the world.

But the Brunch was also meaningful for another reason. Two years ago, the Brunch was the first real interaction I had with the Montgomery Scholars program. I had only vaguely heard of it before applying and had no intention of attending when I first applied. I reluctantly attended the Brunch after my mother bugged me about it after finding an invitation in the mail. Talking to students who were then second year scholars, the different professors, and the general enthusiasm and energy everyone had for the program sold me right there. It is crazy to think that if it were not for those second year scholars, I never would have been on this wonderful journey of the past two years where I learned as much about myself as I did about the world.

Ever since that day, I have felt as if I have a responsibility to talk to the future class of Scholars about the program and my experience in it. Unfortunately, I could not attend last years' brunch because the Ethics Bowl competition was on the same day. Luckily, this year I was free. I went, presented the slideshow along with a friend and talked to some future Scholars and answered their questions. I feel like if I can reach out to one student who was in a similar position as me last year I would have made some sort of difference. So I think it is a little fitting that I went back to the event where it truly began.


(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

It well may be that we will never meet again

in this lifetime, so let me say before we part

so much of me is made of what I learned from you.

You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.

And now whatever way our stories end

You know you have re-written mine by being my friend.”

            Listening to two of my best friends sing the above words nearly reduced me to tears. Every year, Montgomery Scholars hosts a brunch to welcome the incoming class of scholars. This weekend at the annual brunch, my friends sang For Good, a duet from the musical Wicked. The song perfectly encapsulates mine and my friends’ feelings of gratitude and love for each other and MC. It also serves as a poignant reminder that too soon we’ll be splitting off in twenty-four different directions.  

            With excitement, I discovered that my friends will be transferring to colleges prestigious as Mount Holyoke, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and University of Maryland College Park. As I myself prepare to become a Saint Mary’s Seahawk (I have a sweatshirt now and everything) I am flooded with the excitement of going someplace new where I will meet new people and be immersed in a unique learning experience.

            By the same token, I have become increasingly aware that my undergraduate experience is halfway done. Sometimes I wish I could freeze the moments when I watched shooting stars in Harpers Ferry, when I expanded my horizons in Core, when I first saw the Library of Congress, and when I basked in a Paris sunset with my friends and picnicked in the shadow of the Eifel Tower.

            I am certain it is not goodbye forever. Even if I never meet these people again, they will always be with me; they are all a part of me, just as the moments I have had with them are forever a part of me. Yet, I know things will never be the same. We will part ways, meet new people, and in some ways, become new people. These two years at MC have been an incredible gift, packed with a lifetime worth of memories. That single moment in which all of our paths converged at MC shines in my heart like the North Star over open seas.

            May it guide me if ever I lose the way. 

A Remarkable Week

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hello everyone,

I am back on your computer screen, but this time I am not quite excited because I only have two blogs left for this semester.However, I had a great week full of remarkable incidents. I want to share some of them with you.

AAAAA on Chemistry: I got my 5th test grade back on Monday, and it was an "A" too. This means I've A's in all 5 of my exams that I've had so far. Anyone with 6 A's doesn't have to take the final. So, I've got one more exam left. If I get an A on the 6th test, I will be exempt from taking the cumulative final.This is going to be tough, but I will try my best. 

Volunteer experience: As part of Student Service Learning, I served 20 hours in the physiotherapy department at Asbury Methodist Village. It has been a wonderful experience so far, and I continually desire to go back and complete at least 100 hours by the end of the summer.

Writing a letter of Support: Earlier this week, one of the department chairs emailed me requesting to write a letter of support for a professor as she is competing for "Faculty Outstanding Service Award." It's a great privilege to have been asked to write a few words in honor of my professor. I am looking forward to it. 

Germantown Campus Annual Honors Awards Convocation: Yesterday, I received a letter from the office of Vice-President that I and several other students will be recognized for academic excellence at the Germantown Campus Annual Honors Awards Convocation on Friday, May 04, 2012. This made my weekend. Congratulations to all of you hard workers!

These were the 4 big things that happened last week. 

Leaving you with a friendly reminder: The fall registration begins on Monday, April 23, 2012. Click here for some registration tips I shared last semester.

Take care, and see you guys next week ! 

"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh." - Friedrich Nietzsche


The End is Near.

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The spring semester is coming to an end. This is a bitter sweet goodbye. My new friends I’ve met in self-defense are going to be the most difficult to leave behind. I learned it’s beautiful to let my guard down and that they’re people who can relate to my situations. The stories I’ve learned about each peer has become apart of me. They’re inspiring and strong women. I am truly lucky that I was able to experience these stories and their lively personalities. Each women is strong and has gone through so much. I am proud that I got to know them. After finals, I hope I will be able to stay in touch with a few of my classmates. 

Another disappointing departure is the Montgomery College blog program. Unfortunately, this is my last semester keeping students up-to-date on my experiences and suggestions on what the College has to offer. Earlier this week, Jane Abraham asked me a few questions, “Did you enjoy this program?  Was it too much or too little? What would you like to change or improve?”

This program is gratifying.  I’ve always been a writer, but this was the first experience where I shared my writing. At first I was nervous because I didn’t know if students would read my posts or comment them. The very first week I had comments.  This gave me confidence in my writing.  Honestly, this program taught me about the bond between reader and writer. Yes, in a classroom I was taught that lesson; however, experience is a more effective teacher. I am proud being a part of this program. Professor Sen saw my photo on the Montgomery College web page and said. “Look, you are famous.”  She smiled as I blushed. I cannot lie, I was glad she noticed me. A realization came over me if she noticed me than how many other students or staff have? I enjoy writing, learning, and guiding other people; when it’s time for this chapter of my life to end, I will still continuing writing. I am grateful for this opportunity Elizabeth Homan and Jane Abraham!  

This program was too much and too little for me. It all depended on the week and how much homework I had. I thought for the most part it was a breeze and I appreciate that aspect. This gave time to deicide what topic I wanted to share.

Personally and honestly, there is nothing I would change about this program! I felt it gave us (bloggers) freedom to write what we wanted to express. Also, posting once a week is flexible. 

I hate goodbyes and I still have a few more weeks. I say let’s take this time and cherish it while it lasts. Time does fly! 


Serving to the college....

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link


 One of the main things I've learning during my time at MC is that there is always time to give back something in exchange of all of the wonderful things that the college offers.

During my time here, I've done some community service on and off campus which is very satisfying.

Also, I've had dedicated a lot of time to serving the college by being part of the Student Senate. During the past year, as the vice president of the senate, I've learned a lot of things while helping my fellow students to start and organize clubs, plan events, learn leadership skills, and so on. It has been an incredible experience that has allowed me to develop many skills that I'm able to apply in every aspect of my life.

Now, another opportunity has being given to me: serving in the new Governance Structure! I really want to thank all of the people who voted for me, and my friends who were asking people to vote for me in the computer lab or using their own computers or cell phones. I'm very excited about this opportunity to work with people from the three campuses.

I will continue serving in the Student Senate. Currently, I'm running for president of the senate, but even if I don't get the position, I'll keep close to it because it is the place where I found my passion. I really hope that everything I've learned from my advisor and fellow senators will be useful during my year serving in the governance. 

What can I say? Serving to the college that has given me so much is the least I can do :)


Renaissance Scholars Study Travel Experience

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

I love being a Renaissance Scholar.

Not only we enjoy of wonderful experiences in class, but we are also given other opportunities that make the long hours up at night worth it.

For this semester, the honor students at MC will have the opportunity to be part of the Study Travel Experience Summer 2012 in which a group of students will travel some states in a trip that will give them the opportunity to interact with students in other colleges and learn interesting things about the ecological richness of the area to visit.

Yesterday, during my Literature and Psychology Honors class, we received the information about the trip scheduled for this year.

The students will have the chance of having a one-week travel experience at Appalachia. Among other things, the trip will include visit to museums, classes at some local colleges, service learning opportunties, and  discussions related to the importance of Appalachia in different aspect such as culture, history, politics, etc. 

At the end of the trip, students will have to submit a 20 pages log, a reflective paper, and a research paper based on the trip and the things studied during the one week seminar which is also a great way to interact with honors students of the three campuses.

The greatest thing about the trip and the seminar? It is gonna be worth 3 credits.

I'm really looking forward to this opportunity! It's gonna be great :)

Fire and Ice

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

There is a particular genre of fiction I am very interested which welds science fiction to historical fiction. This genre is called “steam punk” and tends to follow a Victorian line of technology where everything is steam powered and full of clunky gears. Although not a Victorian phenomenon, these stories often feature dirigibles or lighter-than-air ships – such as the Hindenburg. My interest in reading and writing “steam punk” drew me to a lecture on the Hindenburg at the Smithsonian on Thursday evening. (I am of the opinion that all great fiction is based on fact.)

            The lecturer, Cheryl Ganz, is the co-curator for an exhibit at the Postal Museum called Fire and Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic. The hundredth anniversary of the Titanic this week has been highly capitalized upon, given the macabre fascination people seem to have with the disaster. Less publicized is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hindenburg explosion, also this year. Because both of these historic disasters took place on mobile post offices, the curators of the Postal Museum decided that an exploration of these two disasters – from the perspective of the mailrooms – would make an exciting exhibit.

            Dr. Ganz is an expert on the Hindenburg, particularly on Hindenburg mail. Much of her lecture focused on the ways she had to analyze primary sources in order to piece together clues about the mailroom. There are no known photographs of the Hindenburg mailroom, nor blueprints of it. By looking at blueprints of the entire ship, Dr. Ganz concluded that the mailroom was a mirror image of the radio room, of which there is an existing photograph. Further, she was able to piece together what the furniture looked like based on invoices and descriptions of it, and was able to reconstruct what the post-mark stamp would have looked like by comparing the burnt remnants of one to a complete one from an earlier Hindenburg voyage. She used a photograph of the Post Master and information about his uniform to know what he might have looked like sitting in the mailroom. From all of this information, she was able to come up with a picture of what the mailroom on the Hindenburg might have looked like.

            From other primary sources, Dr. Ganz was able to reconstruct a mailbox that had been destroyed, as well as discover the exact route the Hindenburg had taken on its last voyage – something that had been previously unknown. (There are no official records of exact Hindenburg routes. As the ship flew, members of the crew posted the daily location of the ship on a large map in one of the public areas. Passengers were given blank maps to document this progress if they so chose. Heirs of a Hindenburg survivor came forth with his documents that had survived the fire in his valise. Among his papers, was one such map meticulously filled out. This is possibly the only surviving record of the Hindenburg’s exact route.)

            I had never really considered how detail-oriented historical research has to be. I also wonder about historians of the future. With so many of our documents existing in only electronic copies, it is possible that we will be leaving behind fewer physical documents than people of the past, especially if something about technology changes in the future, such that our documents become inaccessible. If somehow, most documentation of our own period became inaccessible, it wouldn’t be thee first time in history. After all, we still don’t know for certain how the standing stones of Britain were raised.





Changing the Odds

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

"I read your blog post, Sairam. It was very well written". That's a compliment no matter who it comes from. But when Dr. Pollard, the President of the college, articulate and busy person that she is says that, my day is made. I met Dr. Pollard on Saturday along with the other students in the "Conversations of Consequence" class she teaches. In fact, the class has been meeting every Saturday for a few weeks to plan an event that raises awareness of critical issues facing our community like hunger, war, a lack of awareness of these issues, and a lost feeling of community.

There is something to be said about the kind of students Montgomery College attracts, many of whom are passionate about service learning and leaving a positive impact on the world. They are so passionate that they don't mind giving up part of their Saturdays to plan this event. I don't know many students that would give up their Saturdays, much less plan an event a week before finals. The interesting thing is, there are so many people like this at Montgomery College. I have met students like this in the Scholars program, in the Student Senate, and now in this class.

Perhaps it is that idealist streak every generation of college students has in them that drives students to do this. Whatever it is, I draw great strength from being around like minded people like this, because every time someone feels the need to complain about my generation and our "complacency", I can always point to individuals like this who are actively trying to make the world a better place.

It is students like this that make Montgomery College special. It is students like this that shatter the misconceptions people have about community college. And it is certainly students like this that have made my time at Montgomery College truly special. Aside from the life lessons that I have learned here, it is the friendships that I made with them that I will take with me after graduating my Montgomery College.


The event we are planning is called Changing the Odds and it is currently schedule for April 29! More details as they become available (and official) :)



Busy Saturday But In A Great Way !

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hi dear readers,

I hope you all are doing good. I am quite late for a weekend post, but there's a reason behind this.I had a very busy but a great Saturday, and I decided to wait until Saturday night (almost Sunday morning now) to write this blog. Today morning, I went to an open house at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. It was important for me to attend an open house in Maryland to know more about pharmacy education, and pre-pharmacy requirements. Maryland is one of my favorite schools I am applying to. Moreover, it is not possible to attend openhouse at many other out-of-state colleges. So, in order to get a feel of the open house, I couldn't miss this one. I went there with my two other friends: Julian and Dagem. All three of us are pre-pharmacy student, and it's our first open house. The breakfast was great.The presentation was awesome, and power point slides were very helpful.The faculty gave a strong and informative speech, while current students were great in answering some critical questions related with admission process. It was a great experience overall. 

Then came the next big event of the day. It is Nepal's New year. Happy New Year 2069 ! Oh yes, my country is little ahead when it comes to history. To celebrate this event, we had a concert at Yards'Park, Washington D.C, and the most famous Rock band of Nepal, "1974 A.D" was coming. I couldn't miss this event either. Hence, I spent all day in Baltimore, and finally all evening in D.C. The concert ended at around 10pm and I am staying at a friend's house tonight, and writing this blog there. It was the best concert I've attended so far. Check out a video I clicked in the concert, and also few pics of today.

Take care and see you guys next week 






Dear Mystery Guy

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Dear Mystery Guy,

I am sore. I am tired.

I have spent all week preparing for self defense. Tomorrow, I have to practice all the moves and each movement has to be precise. I know finals are weeks away, but it will not hurt my chances of passing my skills exam.

I must admit the idea of fighting someone physically stronger than me is a thrill. (Quite honestly I am scared and a bit nervous too.) I supposed my anxiety is getting the better of me. I’m second guessing myself and asking questions like:

What if I slip?

What if I forget a move?

All these ‘what if’ questions are in the back of my mind.

I should sit at home and watch Jackie Chan movies, perhaps his professional physical skills can teach me a thing or two. Maybe his confidence will rub off on me. A movie is all I need for a little extra motivation.  

I bought padding to practice with my little sisters. (These skills are important for females to acquire. I feel it’s necessary for their safety in today’s society.) However, this idea of course had a way of back firing. My fourteen year old sister and I were practicing our kicks. The pad I held in my hand slipped as she kicked my hand. Ouch! A jammed hand is what I am typing with.

Hey it could of be worse right?

Tomorrow, I am prepared for an intense practice. My hand is a pretty color of light blue and purple, but surprisingly nothing is fractured or broken. I think tomorrow I’ll have to take it easy. In the next three weeks, I will be ready to take on the man in pads. 

Wish me luck!

I will not go down without a fight!

Just thought I’d warn you, mystery guy.


2012 State of the College: Finding Truth in the Student Experience

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link


Yesterday, I received an email informing that I would be joining staff, faculty, administration, and fellow students to attend the first State of the College address scheduled for today at 12:00 pm.

I think that this will be a great opportunity for the college community to get engaged with what it is going on in the college by listening to the speech that Dr. Pollard will deliver this afternoon. 

As a student involved in other activities inside the institution, I've learned that this type of events are the ones in which students can hear and understand all of the opportunities that the college offers. It is also a way to get to know what it is happening in the college that directly impact student' life. 

Dr. Pollard will address the college mission and vision as well as the current and future situation of the college. The speech will also approach what students should expect from Montgomery College, and I'm guessing that Dr. Pollard will also talk about student' success.

It is an honor to be part of the people that will have the chance to attend in person to this event, and I really hope that students that aren't in class take the chance to watch the speech which will be simultaneously broadcasted and available for the rest of the college in several ways. I'm going to leave the links for you below. :)

Log on remotely, from an office or home computer 

Log on remotely, at an organized "viewing party" 

Tune into MCTV, cable channel 10 in Montgomery County 

Tune into MCTV, cable channel 10 in Montgomery County


On The Subject of Teachers

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

I hadn't seen Sairam's post until after I decided to write about this, but it turns out to be related! (At least tangentially so. I must have been picking up on his vibes...)

A few weeks ago, I took my normal stroll up three flights of stairs from Adolescent Psych, to Linear Algebra. When I reached the top of the stairs, my fellow math students were all congregated outside the classroom as usual. As soon as I entered, one of my classmates pointed to me and said, “Ask her.”

                I froze and blinked like beetle that’s just been pinned down by an entomologist.

                “Ask me what?”

                “Can you teach me about World War One?” asked a boy. “I have a test, and I don’t understand it.”

                “Uh, sure,” I replied. “What do you want to know?”

                “Everything,” he laughed.

                World War One being one of the most fascinating periods in History – for me – I was delighted by the spontaneous discussion of World War One history that had formed outside my Linear Algebra class. After class, I gave my classmate a private tutoring session in order to go more in depth about the war. My throat was sore after our half hour talk, but I have to admit it was fun.

                This semester has strengthened my convictions to teach high school until I become the Great American Novelist. Incidents such as the spontaneous history lecture is part of it. The other convictions have come from my internship at the Smithsonian.

                I told my mom a few years ago that I didn’t want a desk job. She laughed. “You want to be a writer, Sam,” she said. “Last time I checked, you sit at a desk to do that.”

                But sitting at the desk isn’t the same when you’re creating. Luckily, my internship has me running around all over the place, so I seldom sit at my desk. When I do sit at my desk, I’m usually doing crafts, like making amulets out of modeling clay or cutting acorn silhouettes out of foam board. The days when I do sit at my desk and do nothing but paperwork for hours – those are really hard. By one in the afternoon, I’m ready for a nap.

                My internship has also brought me in contact with students (mostly elementary school) in an hands-on learning environment. These observations have given me a more visceral understanding of just how important a good education can be, and how much better students learn when given a chance to think rather than be forced into rote memorization.

                There is, of course, desk work involved with teaching, grading papers being the most obvious of these sedentary duties. Teaching high school is far from being the most glorious job, given the teenage proclivity for attitude and indifference. There are bound to be some students, however, who will be engaged. If teaching means I get to spend all day talking about History (which is almost as much fun as writing) and provide a valuable service to my country at the same time, count me in!




In Defense of the Community College Professor

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

The Washington Post ran an interesting Op-Ed piece a few weeks ago with the rather provocative title "Do college professors work hard enough?" (available at ). The author, Mr. Levy, claims that college professors earn a lot of money by working just 9 to 15 hours every 30 weeks in a year and enjoy multiple vacations through out the year. He claims this is okay at research universities but not anywhere else. He particularly singles out Montgomery College and states that professors make an equal amount of money as business executives despite working for a fraction of the time that executives do. Mr. Levy's 9 to 15 hours per week calculation does not account the preparation needed to teach, to grade papers, and other little things that take up a great deal of time. Even accounting for this Mr. Levy contends that community college professors are overpaid. Mr. Levy proposes two solutions – professors either engage in research or start teaching more.

Though Mr. Levy's goals in attempting to reduce spending are admirable, his assumptions are questionable at best. By simply using the hours worked as the benchmark for how much someone should get paid, the janitorial staff, the people working in Student Services, or just about anyone answering the phones should probably be getting paid the most since I assume they clock in the most amount of hours. Professors are not paid for the hours they work, they are paid because of the value they create in an economy by teaching, and motivating students. Surely Mr. Levy, the President of the Cambridge Information Group – an investment firm focused on education, whatever that means, – knows this. By molding young minds, professors are helping the economy reap a tremendous value in the long run. Research is absolutely vital as well, but so is teaching students through face-to-face interactions rather than in large gymnasiums with the assistance of TAs (as is the norm in many large research institutions).

Even taking Mr. Levy's claim that community college professors are underworked at face value, his argument falls apart. He claims that in the "unlikely event" that professors spend as much time in preparation for classes as the time they spend teaching, professors still do not work enough. I do not see what is so unlikely about spending a lot of time in preparation. The ability to explain complex materials in a simple manner to a group of 25 to 30 students (who are all of different academic interests and abilities) is no mean task. Just ask any professor I have had how I pepper them with multiple questions if I do not understand something.

I have had Calculus professors email us additional worksheets they created outside of class so that we could have more practice. I have been fortunate that every one of my professors have maintained generous office hours and are more than happy to indulge their students when they stay in their office beyond the posted hours. I had one professor who came in at 7 am in the morning because a fellow student could not make her regular office hours. The foreign language professors tutor students for several hours at the Language Lab. Many professors also advise clubs and organizations on campus, mentor students who are involved in internships through the college, and are always more than happy to work with you when you are struggling in a class. Doing all of this easily requires more than 40 hours a week, and this is without taking into account all the administrative tasks like creating syllabi for your classes, creating material for entirely new classes, attending department meetings, faculty meetings among many other things. Obviously this is not every professor, but Mr. Levy is painting every single professor by the same brush when he makes the assertions that he does in his op-ed.

Honestly, I have not even scratched the surface about how incredible professors at Montgomery College (and I assume at many colleges across the country) are and how dedicated and engaged they are.

In a season where slashing budgets to educational institutions seems to be in vogue, Mr. Levy's article comes off as poorly researched puffery at best and legislative demagoguery at worst.


A Beginner's Poem

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

It keeps coming
The day has come 
I have a blog to post
But my brain is numb.

Pulled an all-nighter 
For the calculus test 
I felt so tired 
But I tried my best.

Hungry and worn out 
Back home at eight 
Ate some food 
And jumped straight to bed. 

Found myself awake 
The clock shows two 
Struck my mind 
Got some blogging to do. 

My heart whispers "sleep" 
Brain orders "write" 
Don't know who to follow 
It's getting harder to decide. 

Just washed my face 
Drank a Red bull 
It might yet be 
Another all-nighter to pull. 

Doesn't really matter 
Cause it is Saturday 
No class, no quiz 
No due date to essay. 

Now I'm thinking of a topic 
For today's blog 
Should I write a poem ? 
"Ok" says the dog. 

An hour has passed 
But words fail to rhyme 
Forcing myself to write 
I'm committing a crime. 

All of a sudden 
Popped in my head 
A substitute for poem 
Some photos to embed. 

Ok now I'm leaving 
With flowers of last week 
If poem didn't click 
Hope photos will speak......






Be The Voice who Matters!

 Permanent link

 This week has been unbelievably busy! My eyes are red from the lack of sleep and the bags under my eyes are completely a different story. I’m sure a weekend filled of rest and a peaceful slumber will do me some good.

I have been working on a project for women’s self defense for the past two weeks.  I have created a video that talks about child abuse. It isn’t the happiest of all topics, but we cannot always ignore all the bad. Sometimes it’s necessary to become involved and perhaps along the way someone’s hero.

Child abuse is an issue that is more common than what we think. When it is seen it is often ignored, people don’t want to be reliable. However, all that needs to be done is by saying something.  Talk to the schools administrative or social services.  Isn’t worth saving or bettering a life?  I think it's time to be their voice! To be their hope!

Here is the URL:


Seriously, check it out. It’s better to be aware and alert!

Have a safe weekend!



Vote for me!!! A campaign sponsored by me :)

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link


Hello all!

So, I was nominated to be part of the new Governance Structure which will be implemented in MC starting next semester. 

At the beginning, I was thinking about rejecting the nomination because I have many things going on, and I thought I shouldn't do more. However, many people nominated me which is a great honor because they think I can do a good job. After thinking about it, I decided to accept it... 

 Now, I'm campaigning to be elected :) 

Yesterday, I took my laptop and went to ask people to vote for me... Today, I'm using my blog to ask people the same... and some of the people that deserve to be part of this structure too ;) (Yes.... I consulted with one of the members of the task force first.)

I want to be part of the governance because, as a member of the Student Senate, I've learned that student involvement in the decisions and policies influencing our education is very important. I've been working with the senate for the last year, and it has been a great experience. I've learned a lot about what it is to serve in a governance structure, and I'm looking forward to work with the college wide structure and to be part of the people who brings the student's voice to the college administration. I know it will be a great experience for me, and I know that I will be doing my best to meet the requirements and commitment that being part of the governance requires.

 In order to vote, go to this website and login as you would login to MyMC. 

Then, go to Elections 2012, and you'll see the list of names of people who are running in the different councils of your constituents representatives, so students will see a list of name of students running for the Student Council and campus council. 

 Students can only vote for students running in the positions for that specific campus, so TP/SS students... please vote for me :) my name appears as Keren Natalie Urrutia Alarcon. There are a couple of other people over there that I'm sure will do a great job, so vote also for Tranetta Elizabeth Ann Franklin. (My girl from the Writing Club)

I'm also trying to get staff to vote for my wonderful boss, Mrs. Karen I. McGetiggan. She's going to be a great addition for the governance, so vote for her! 

Other names for you to consider are Prof. Miriam Simon, Prof. Karl Smith, and James Walters (Director of Student Life). All of them are running for positions in the TP/SS campus...

We'll see if my campaign gets the results I'm expecting hahaha... This will be a great experience for anyone who gets elected in these positions :)


Pudding in the Pot

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

“Be there loaf in your locker,

And sheep in your fold,

A fire on your hearth,

And good luck for your lot,

Money in your pocket,

And a pudding in your pot!”

            -A traditional ending to a Mummers Play

On Friday night, my two brothers, my boyfriend, and I laughed as I sliced a bowlful of chocolate pudding into four equal parts. Each quarter of pudding came out of the bowl so clean, I didn’t even need to wash it before putting it in the dishwasher.

            “It’s jiggling,” said my younger brother.

            “I don’t think pudding is supposed to do that,” said my older brother.

            “I know,” I said sheepishly. “But it was the right consistency when it came off the stove.”

            We solved the problem by reheating the jiggling pudding in the microwave. With a bit of whipped cream on top, some milk and laughter on the side, my somewhat botched first attempt at pudding still accomplished what good food is supposed to: a good time.

            My decision to attend MC has provided a number of unforeseen benefits, among them, access to a kitchen and the opportunity to cultivate my latent love of food. I discovered this passion when I met a vegetarian foodie named Callie. She and I found ourselves talking for hours about food. I began my college career vowing that I could never forswear bacon cheeseburgers, yet by my first winter break, I had become a vegetarian. To avoid living off of yogurt and pasta, I needed to learn how to cook, so I began experimenting my way through my mom’s three Moosewood cookbooks. I have since grown to love cooking.

            Earlier on Friday night, before I made the pudding, I was flipping through these three cookbooks.

            “I feel like I’m going to be borrowing these cookbooks from my mom all the time when I move out,” I told my boyfriend. Then, I realized that I won’t have a kitchen in my dorm next year, so there’d really be no reason to take the books with me.

             As the days of the semester fly by, I come to realize more and more that the moments I most cherish like watching Prince of Egypt with my family, or throwing cooking parties with my friends, or eating homemade chocolate pudding at 10:30 at night with my brothers and boyfriend will soon be gone. Come August, I will be moving into a dorm at Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. While I am excited to move onto this new phase of my life, I am also sad to leave these moments behind me.

            There will be other kitchens and other puddings and other friends in my future, and my family will always be my family. I will always look back on my time at MC fondly if for no other reason than the amazing new friends I made, and those extra two years living with my family. Indirectly, MC has given me the gift of cooking, and with it the gift of bringing together the people I love most.


Board of Trustees Meeting

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Today, I was reminded of how lucky I am to be an MC leader.

I just got home from a meeting with the Board of Trustees in which a group of students had the chance to talk to the members of the board about the things that have help us to succeed in Montgomery College. 

One of the things that struck me the most during this meeting was seeing how many of the MC leaders share the same vision about Montgomery College. We see it as our second home, and we are very grateful that we are MC students. We want to give back to the college that have given us the opportunity to prove ourselves and to reach our greatest potential.

Personally, I have great love for MC. I can't imagine a better place to do so many things, to meet so many great people, and to develop my skills at levels I never thought possible. My love for MC makes me wants to give something back to the college, and I think that by getting involved in student life and service learning, I can reach more students to do the same. 

It is difficult to balance schooL, extra curricular activities, work, and personal life, but everything that we get from Montgomery College makes the hard work worth it. Getting the chance to interact with the people who make the decisions that influence our experience in college and being able to let them know what we think and how we feel about MC is awesome.  

Like I said at the beginning, these experiences made me realize how lucky I am to be an MC leader and make me appreciate more the things that I've achieved here as well as appreciate the people who have influenced me :)

I had so much fun today, and I hope this won't be the last time I'm part of these meetings... 

The MC Talent Show

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

Just a heads up, I'm resorting to shameless promotion for the Rockville Student Senate for this week's blog post.

The 2nd Annual MC Talent Show is this upcoming Saturday - April 7th from 6pm to 9pm at Montgomery College Rockville's Theater Arts Arena. The show features singers, dancers, musicians and many more talented students from Montgomery College! Tickets are $8 for MC students (on any campus) and $10 for non-MC students. You can buy tickets from the Rockville Campus' Office of Student Life (CC 005). The Rockville Student Senate will also have a table outside the cafeteria this week, so you can buy tickets from there as well.

You might ask "why are tickets $8, when we're all poor college students?". Well the money we raise will go to two causes. One, to recognize the talent of the top 3 performers at the Talent Show. Two, to give out more scholarships to Montgomery College students (based purely on need). So we're awarding students based on both merit and need. Last year, we raised nearly $8000 and we're hoping to top that this year. On that note, last year, we also sold out tickets and had to turn away many people at the door, so please get your tickets early!!

Last year's talent show was one of the largest student organized events in MC history and last year's success means this year it will only be bigger.

Here's a flyer that states the same things I did in the post, in a more succinct manner. And we also used the new school colors, that's gotta count for something, right? :)


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