From the editor:

Spartan superpowers

Oct. 11, 2017

Apparently, I am a human deluminator. For those unfamiliar with Harry Potter, it means I have the capability of turning out streetlights simply by being near them. Or sometimes ones that are out go on (which means I’m a human luminator too, I guess). I know it sounds crazy, but it’s been happening to me for years now. Now that it’s darker in the evenings, it happens more frequently – at least three or four times a week. Two nights ago, I hit a record. During an evening walk with my husband, seven lights either went off or on as I walked by them – SEVEN!

I had no sooner said, “Let’s see how many lights I turn out tonight,” when the one we walked by promptly extinguished. Shortly after, another one went out while we were under it. My husband, who said this never happens to him, was a little freaked out. So, I decided to jokingly pretend I could control it and snapped my fingers and pointed at one – it went out! As we passed by it on our return path, I snapped my fingers again and pointed and it came on! I picked another one down the street, snapped and pointed and out it went! Two more times that night streetlights went out while I was near. I’m sure it’s all coincidence, but still, it makes me feel like I have a superpower or something.

I wish I had a superpower that was a little more useful or exciting than just making my neighborhood dark (or the parking ramp, or campus or any other place I seem to be walking). But, let’s face it, all Spartans have superpowers. Every Spartan has special skills, knowledge and fortitude that makes he or she perfect for making things better or even saving the world.

MSU researcher Jianguo “Jack” Liu has a pretty incredible superpower – saving pandas. Seriously. Did you know that pandas are no longer endangered? Some of the credit directly goes to MSU research led by Liu. And it’s not just pandas. His work will not only help protect pandas, but people and the planet too. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Progress for pandas, to learn more about his work. Don’t forget to watch the video because who doesn’t love watching pandas hang out?

MSU student advisers have the superpower of guidance and empowerment. They are key to helping students find their paths and follow their dreams. Sekhar Chivukula, the associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies, recently spoke at a ceremony recognizing the importance of advisers. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Recognizing advisers, to learn more about this unique academic role on campus and some of the super advisers who were honored.

Recent graduate Jordan Noble developed her superpowers of vision and storytelling while earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. Using her incredible eye for photography and a desire to explore a societal issue, she created a fantastic art exhibit showcasing body image and identity. “Underwear,” which features both photography and text, was recently part of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read the STUDENT VIEW: 'Underwear' Goes to ArtPrize, to learn about this super Spartan (who also happened to be an intern in my office).

Spartan superpowers are literally all around us. Spartans are cleaning up pollution, protecting kids, making advances in birth control, making cars lighter and more fuel-efficient with composite materials and beating Wolverines at the Big House. And those are just a few things Spartans did last week. Spartans never stop trying to make the world cleaner, safer, healthier, more sustainable and even a little more fun. So, pull out your cape, hone your superpower and join the rest of the Spartan superheroes in making tomorrow better than today. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo of a Spartan student superhero by Kurt Stepnitz