From the editor:

A Spartan reality

March 22, 2017

Holy wow I am tired! I’m not sure whether to blame it on the recent time change, the incredibly busy week I had at the South by Southwest conference or some combination of both. All I know is I’m wandering through the days in a stupor and having bizarre dreams at night. While I feel a bit like the walking dead, I actually dreamed that Rick Grimes (a character on the show “Walking Dead”) told me I knew how to put together an outfit and patted my back before we jumped on a Ferris wheel to shoot zombies. At least my fashion choices are on point in my subconscious.

I’m not the only one chasing Mr. Sandman. One of my coworkers said she has a new definition of tired – SXSW tired. Another said when she arrived home, she inexplicably woke up in her bed four hours later with a box of Cheez-Its. We went non-stop at the conference, learning as much as we could, getting inspired and planning how to use what knowledge we gained. Like all tough Spartans, we persevered through our exhaustion and faced that next day ready to get down to work.

The conference was pretty amazing. Imagine thousands of innovators, creators, writers, photographers, designers, developers and more converging on one city to attend sessions to learn from leaders in their fields. It’s like the entire city of Austin, Texas was overflowing with possibility and extraordinary vision.

MSU students by Startup BusA group of MSU students made themselves known in a big way by literally parking the MSU Startup Bus on the floor of the trade show. These young entrepreneurs pitched their products, gave tours of the bus and just generally were some kick-butt ambassadors of MSU, displaying all the incredibly forward-thinking opportunities Spartan students have.

One of the things we got to do while we were there, was to try out the latest and coolest 3-D and virtual reality technology. You can see me above getting my science geek on while I check out Mars with astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Until I solve this sleep thing, a lot of my days seem a bit like I’m actually still in a virtual reality — at least until I bang my elbow or knee as I’m prone to doing, especially when I need a nap.  

Sean Couch’s actual reality is all about 3-D and space. He’s an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and computational mathematics, science and engineering whose research is focused on 3-D turbulence in stellar explosions and 3-D massive stellar evolution. If that all sounds too complicated, you should really check out the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Star guts, because this cool researcher actually makes it understandable for the rest of us. Plus, don’t you want to find out what he means when he says, “You and I are made of star guts?”

Jadel Hughes Davis, an Honors College student from Detroit majoring in chemical engineering, already has a Spartan curiosity and determination that all great researchers have.  She’s not studying the stars, but she discovered her love for biology could be combined with her love for fashion as she eyes a career in the personal care industry. Check out her short video in the STUDENT VIEW: Finding out the whys, to learn more about this smart young woman who is also supporting other women of color working in a STEM field.

A week of learning and inspiration is great, and I’m super grateful I was able to attend SXSW. But motivation and creativity abounds everywhere — and a lot of it is being done by Spartans. Every day, even when they’re tired, Spartans get up and get to work in labs, classrooms, hospitals, offices, theaters, fields, streams and more, tackling the world’s biggest problems and finding innovative solutions. And that’s not a virtual reality; it’s a Spartan reality. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Top photo by Jessi Adler