From the editor:

Act boldly

Aug. 9, 2017

“Wait, let me just try this.” “Hold on, I think this might work.” “I can probably figure it out if you give me a second.” “Whoops.” If you’re anything at all like me, those are commonly used phrases in your vocabulary. I’ve hardly met a challenge I didn’t want to tackle (well, maybe removing the snake from my garage). I don’t always succeed, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m willing to try.

This week, like most, has been filled with moments of trying something new, figuring out a different approach and making some mistakes. Heck, even walking to my office has been challenging lately. Because of construction, the path from the parking ramp changes daily, lined by wire fences and tarps. It’s kind of interesting to see what configuration they’ll come up with next. Apparently, not everyone has been able to navigate successfully – yesterday a lone shoe sat abandoned on the path. (How does that happen? Who continues on with just one shoe?)

At work, I’ve been loading content into a really cool site that we’ll be sharing soon that ties together a ton of great stuff my colleagues gathered on the #MSURoadTrip. It’s not a particularly difficult task, but it can get a little dizzying. At one point, I had three browsers and 24 windows open – pulling stuff from everywhere. It’s not normally how I spend my day. I’ve had to troubleshoot some things, and I am not a web developer. We’ve got talented developers in the office, but I’m the person who likes to try everything I might be able to guess first before calling them – usually only after I’ve broken something. More often than not, I’m able to find a solution on my own, even when it’s outside my skillset or field.

When my husband informed me that one of my headlights was out on my car, I was determined to not pay someone to replace it. I did a little research, visited an auto supply store, opened the hood and got to work. Ta-da! Working lights and I did it myself. I’ve certainly never been trained in auto mechanics, but a little determination can go a long way. The satisfaction of doing it myself was an added bonus to the money I saved.

I’m also not a trained pastry chef, but I’ll try pretty much any recipe. Some are great and I tuck them away to repeat later, others, not so much. After changing my headlight, I got to work in my kitchen to make a standby cookie bar recipe – except I was short an egg. Rather than get into my newly lit car and go to the store (did I mention I changed the light in my pajamas?) I decided to try a work around. A little web surfing and I thought I had a substitute. I’m here to tell you, oil does not work as a good substitute no matter how many people on the internet say it does. But hey, at least I gave it a shot.

Doing things that aren’t necessarily in our wheelhouse or what we’re expected to do seems to be what Spartans do. Spartans never let tradition or status quo stop us from conquering a challenge. Spartans think outside the lines and take bold action to find solutions.

Charles Mackenzie exemplifies the Spartan way. He’s a veterinarian but that didn’t stop him from finding a breakthrough treatment for humans suffering from a painful parasitic disease. He skillfully used his smarts and training to veer outside his traditional lane and change lives across the globe. Check out the video MSUTODAY FEATURE: Fighting a neglected disease, to learn more about his work to treat a disease the poses a threat to more than 900 million people worldwide.

Working to cure the world of diseases is something every Spartan doctor would like to do. But, facing sick patients and working long hours is bound to take a toll. Medical students, residents and young doctors have a higher risk of burnout, depression, alcohol dependence and suicide than the average person. MSU psychologist John Taylor is working hard to change the risk at MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Impacting student well-being, to learn how new programs can support students in the field.

Panashe Mayangamutse, an Honors College junior majoring in electrical engineering, definitely took a hard turn outside of the lane she was expected to stay in. Back home in Zimbabwe, she was expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a homemaker and mother. Instead, this adventurous Spartan traveled across the ocean to MSU to become an engineer. Watch the video in the STUDENT VIEW: Spanning beyond imagination, to learn more about this determined young woman who believes engineers make the world better.

In truth, Spartans make the world better. Partially because they’re willing to think creatively and act boldly. Spartans aren’t satisfied with doing what’s expected. They don’t sit back and wait for someone else and they simply never give up. Spartans are always looking for new ways to turn the unexpected into solutions for a better tomorrow. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner