From the editor:

The right place

Oct. 17, 2018

Have you ever had something happen where you think to yourself, “I was in the right place at the right time?” Sometimes it’s for small things, like seeing a rainbow, bumping into a friend or catching a great sale. On other occasions, things happen that leave you feeling profoundly honored to have been in that right place at that right moment.

I recently had this happen to me while I was visiting my dad in the ICU. I know, it never really feels like the right time to be in an ICU. It certainly hasn’t felt like that for me in the weeks I’ve been going there. Yet, on this particular day, I was definitely in the right place.

A nurse practitioner I had talked with about my defibrillator mentioned that she had a patient who needed one and was really scared. I offered to talk with the patient directly and she took me to her room. After a 30-minute conversation with her and her family, where I acknowledged her fear, let her feel my device, gave her tips, explained exactly what it was like to have one and pumped her full of encouragement and positivity, her demeanor changed. When I visited her after she received her device and asked how she was, she said, “Good. A whole lot better than I would have been if I hadn’t met you.” Right place, right time.

It seems like the conversation helped her, but it helped me more than I could have imagined. It made me realize the power I have to help someone and how good it felt to do it. After days of feeling helpless to fix my dad, there was still a purpose for me being there.

I truly believe that every single day Spartans are in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s by chance, like the Spartan teacher who read a story about MSU robot technology that is now helping one of her elementary students attend class. But more often than not, we’re in the right place because of our will and determination.

Like the MSU-Fraunhofer team who have dedicated their skills and technology to figuring out how to clean up PFAS-tainted water. At this time, with a real danger in wastewater, they put themselves in the right place to try to solve it. Read the MSUTODAY STORY: Diamond technology cleans up PFAS-contaminated water, to learn more about their viable solution.

Heather McCauley makes it a point to be in the right places at the right time. As the chairperson of the MSU Sexual Violence Advisory Committee, there has never been a more important time to be in the right place, doing the right things. A Harvard-trained social epidemiologist, she has used research to apply tactics that challenges leaders “to become better versions of themselves.” Read her FACULTY VOICE: Leaders, be the change, to learn more about her work.

Taylor Kuminski knows how important it is to be in the right place, especially as the student president of MSU's Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Team. A senior majoring in animal science with minors in women's and gender studies and educational studies, she says that members of the team are often the first person someone tells about a sexual assault. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Advocacy and leadership, to learn more about her advocacy for survivors.

Next week, the campus will participate in the "It’s On Us" Week of Action, to take a stand against sexual violence. I think all Spartans can agree that there has never been a more important time for all of us to be in the right places to address this issue. We cannot change the past, but we can certainly transform the future.

I have no doubt that the half a million Spartans all around the globe will continue to put themselves in the right places at the right time to make a difference. Just this week we’re working with U-M to raise awareness for disabilities, opening a 'mosquito factory' in Mexico to fight disease and studying antisocial behaviors in children, the learning and relearning of movement and how exercise is linked to a healthy gut and bones.

Maybe you can't do ground-breaking research, but you can probably reach out to a stranger with kindness and compassion. Do whatever you can in whatever place you're in. At this time, in this place, just imagine the collective power of Spartans and how we’re poised to change the world. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner