April 13, 2016
I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a procrastinator. It’s not that I’m lazy or stubborn or unmotivated — sometimes I underestimate how many things are on my plate or how long something will take. Often for me, tomorrow is another day. Which is why I’m up at 5 a.m. writing something I should have done last night. But I really needed to catch up on “Better Call Saul.” I underestimated how tired I would be after two episodes. (Totally worth it though, it’s a fantastic show.) For me, I think there are so many things to do in life, that I run out of hours to do them. I kind of like to live my life by Dr. Seuss. “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
Tomorrows aren’t just when I’ll get to folding laundry or finishing up some long work project. They’re also filled with incredible wonder and opportunity. Who knows what tomorrow brings? I just got back from visiting my daughter in New York City. Talk about a place where you never know what tomorrow brings. Even as a visitor, one day I was tracing ancestors at Ellis island, the next I was drinking ale at a place with bras on the ceiling, and then I was staring at Van Gogh and Matisse masterpieces at the Museum of Modern Art. The possibilities for tomorrows are endless in that city. And as I watch my kid live her dream, tomorrows are what keep her going.
Tomorrows also aren’t just about procrastination and fun either. Tomorrows are filled with the possibilities that something really big could happen. I mean really big. Like solving huge world problems such as hunger, safety, disease and energy use. Imagine a world where someone finds solutions to these challenges. Luckily for the rest of the world, Spartans are on the job.
As President Lou Anna K. Simon has said, “At Michigan State University, today’s work is fueled by our ability to anticipate tomorrow’s biggest challenges and to accelerate solutions. And it’s inspired by our commitment to making tomorrow what we dream it can be.”
Dang right. And Spartans walk the walk every single day. President Simon has just released her yearly report — and it’s not filled with boring numbers or budgets. MSU President’s Report: TOMORROW is filled with beautiful, stunning examples of just a few of the many Spartan researchers who are envisioning a better tomorrow while they seek solutions in critical areas. It’s a fascinating immersive, multimedia, web-based experience you don’t want to miss. I had but a tiny part in its creation, but I work with some incredibly talented colleagues who pulled off an absolutely amazing product. It’s seriously good so don’t put off checking it out until tomorrow. (See what I did there?)
One of the researchers featured in the report is Anil Jain, a University Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering. His research interests include pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition. He’s kind of a rock star when it comes to facial recognition and fingerprint software. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Q&A with a biometrics expert, to learn more about him and make sure to watch his part of the report.
The last part of the report features student researchers who are working in the labs with the featured faculty. Some are grad students, but some are actually undergraduates. At MSU, you can actually get involved in research and be mentored by faculty who are tops in their field as early as freshman year.
Sydney Thomas is a Lyman Briggs senior majoring in environmental biology and plant biology. She is doing undergraduate research in Brad Day’s lab. Day, who is featured in the report, is an associate professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences and focuses on the molecular-genetic and biochemical processes associated with the interaction between plants and pathogens. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: Vital Hands-On Research, to learn a bit about this smart young woman and her work. Who knows what discoveries her tomorrows may bring?
Oh I really do love ya, tomorrow. (Sorry fellow Broadway fans, now you’ll be singing in your head all day like I’ve been.) But seriously, I do love the endless possibilities that tomorrow brings. When you’re a Spartan, tomorrow brings opportunities, solutions and a better world for all of us. Who will create a tomorrow that is smarter, more sustainable, better nourished, healthier and safer for all? Spartans Will.
Photo by Kurt Stepntiz