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March 30, 2016

Spice of Life

March 30, 2016

If variety is the spice of life, then many of my days are like a piping hot curry or a giant bowl of jalapenos. I don’t really have a “typical” workday. I’ve noticed when co-workers are giving tours to new interns they usually get stuck trying to describe what I do. Most usually end up with something like, “She’s the editor of MSUToday, but she does a lot of other stuff too.” Not a bad description. Officially, I’m an editor and the integration manager. Unofficially, I’m kind of like a utility player.

I’ve got my hands in a lot of different things and I’m usually juggling a bunch of different projects at once. Some days I’ve got a lot of balls in the air — and then someone tosses me another. I don’t mind. Like any good Spartan, I love a good challenge and I’m bored with monotony.

I love being able to work with writers, graphic designers, web developers, video producers, data analysts and photographers. There’s so much to learn from seasoned professionals and from brand-new interns. It’s a blast to break away from writing and editing and work on a project outside of my basic skillset. Meeting new people and being exposed to new ideas give my life flavor — and I like it spicy.

I love that MSU is overflowing with all kinds of flavor. (Some of my favorites reside at the MSU Dairy Store, but I digress.) Whether you love math, music or medicine — you can find your niche here. But you also don’t have to keep to just one discipline. There are endless opportunities to try new things, explore other areas and create your own spicy mixture. I know students who have majored in neuroscience while minoring in theatre. We recently featured another who is studying journalism and in a program for future physicians. 

It’s not just students who expand their studies at MSU. Faculty members and researchers are encouraged to reach outside of their departments and form collaborations with others. Glenn Chambers is the director of African American and African Studies in the College of Arts and Letters and an associate professor of history. AAAS is a cross-college, university-wide, academic unit. “The African diaspora doesn't always fit neatly into the academic boxes,” he says. He appreciates a campus where he can get out of his discipline sometimes and interact with anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and economists. Check out his story and video in the FACULTY VOICE: A Broader Understanding of Africa, to learn more about his work.

Bethany Laursen is a graduate student who has officially crossed disciplines. She’s currently a student in both the colleges of Arts and Letters and Agriculture and Natural Resources where she is pursuing both a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctorate in community sustainability. She says that the freedom to sit in two colleges and work across them offers her so many options that she knows she picked the right place to study. She says, “If you’re looking for humble and brilliant people who are doing amazing and excellent work, and who are really committed to a growth mindset, that’s what you’ll find at MSU.” Read her story and watch her video in the STUDENT VIEW: Sense Making, to learn how multiple social and disciplinary viewpoints can come together to solve "wicked problems" such as climate change and racism.

Speaking of humble and brilliant Spartans, it’s just been announced that Mona Hanna-Attisha, whose study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children, will speak at MSU’s undergraduate convocation on May 6. She’s also in the running to be named one of “Time Magazine’s” 100 most influential people of the year. Read the MSUTODAY STORY: Flint’s ‘water hero” to speak at MSU commencement, for more details.

With all the variety you can find by being a Spartan, I think the saying should be, “Spartans are the spice of life.” So get out there. Taste a lot of things and keep it spicy.

Spartans Will.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday


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