From the editor:

Rock on

Aug. 23, 2016

My to-do list yesterday probably looked like a lot of people’s lists — some writing, a bit of editing, a couple of meetings, responding to emails and working on some projects. Oh yeah, and painting a rock. I’m guessing there weren’t many people with that on their list — except four of my #TeamCABS coworkers. We weren’t just painting any rock. We painted The Rock. You know the one: The huge boulder on Farm Lane that is steeped in campus tradition and covered in thousands of coats of paint.

We five Spartans, who all graduated some time ago (some of us much longer ago than others, ahem) broke out our brushes on a beautiful early morning and painted The Rock for our first time. Technically, two of us had kind of helped once before. But the help consisted of bringing snacks and watching the real artist do his work rather than doing any actual painting.

But this time, guided by another talented artist who wisely made stencils, we channeled our inner Renoir (or maybe Warhol) and got to work. We had a video shoot planned in which The Rock had a starring role. (I can’t wait to share the final video with you next week. My colleagues are uber talented so I know it’s going to be great!) A couple of hours later, with paint drying on both The Rock and in my hair, the job was done. A Spartan bucket list item checked off for all of us. We felt a little like rock stars the rest of the day (groan, I know).

There are Spartan rock stars all across campus doing incredible work finding solutions to all sorts of challenges the world is facing. Two of them, Richard Lenski and Gemma Reguera, are absolutely worthy of a standing ovation. In a span of less than two weeks, they were both featured in the world’s most highly cited interdisciplinary science journal. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Big Science? It’s in our Nature, to learn more about their work.

Lars Brudvig and Tammy Long are committed to making sure the future is full of Spartan scientists who will make the world a better place. The two plant scientists teach an introductory biology class aimed at inspiring students to stay in the field. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Helping students think like scientists, to learn more about their approach to teaching.

Emmalee Skorich is a recent neuroscience graduate who combined her passion for science with another Spartan bucket list item when she studied abroad. She traveled to the Galápagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and studied conservation. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Reigniting a passion for travel, to learn more about her experience.

You don’t have to make a scientific discovery, or even paint The Rock, to be a Spartan rock star. Sometimes, it’s all about pitching in and helping someone else. Which is exactly what hundreds of MSU students and staff members recently did on the Annual Spartan Day of Service. Check out the photo in GLIMPSE: Day of Service, to see some of them and the link to more about the cool program they were part of.

Like I said, Spartan rock stars are everywhere you look. Numbering half a million strong, Spartans make a huge difference in the world in countless ways. Go ahead, be a rock star today. Help a neighbor, work hard, discover something new, never give up, form a partnership, be bold, check an item off your bucket list. Who will rock on and change the world for the better? Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone