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Humans of Oxford: Sierra Whittemore: To coach and be coached

“I just love being upside-down,” Sierra Whittemore said. As a kid, Sierra tried to play sports but always found herself doing flips more than kicking the ball. “When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I started to realize that I did cartwheels literally everywhere,” Sierra said. “I did cartwheels in the field playing soccer. I did cartwheels in the outfield playing baseball. I was always doing cartwheels.” So Sierra found her sport: gymnastics. She started competing in fifth grade and has been a part of a number of teams since then, including Miami’s club...

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‘Scaling up’ the dropout rate for Physics department

Students and faculty hold contrary opinions on ‘weed out’ course The class average is an F, over 10 percent of students have dropped and even those who dedicate their lives to studying end up failing the exams. That’s Physics 191. It’s the first of a two-class series  that every Engineering major at Miami University is required to take: PHY 191 and PHY 192. It’s a class that impacts even the non-Engineering majors. They are the ones forced to listen to their friends weep for hours on end after getting their exams back. Sound like a weed-out course to you?                A student in the class myself, I decided to investigate this issue. Why? Because in high school I was a straight-A student. In my one year at community college, I was a straight-A student. In fact, my final grade in Calculus 2 was over one-hundred percent. And yet, for some reason, I came five points away from failing my first physics exam. It didn’t add up to me. So I wondered: are Miami’s Physics professors intentionally making their classes unreasonably hard? Are they trying to weed people out? History Three years ago, the set-up of PHY 191 was completely different than it is now. Back then, all the students taking the course would come to the large, lecture-style classroom with their notebooks and pens, only to sit there and...

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Engineers Without Borders to construct movable greenhouse to for Food Institute

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a national student-run service organization, focused on engineering solutions for those in need. A little over two years ago, Miami’s chapter completed a water supply project in Chaguarpamba, Ecuador. They are currently working on projects for communities in Uganda and Rwanda and will travel to both places in the next few months. But more locally, they’ve collaborated with The Institute for Food at Miami University to build a movable greenhouse. The Miami Institute for Food is located on the university’s 35-acre organic farm and experiential education center. It is just a short drive from campus and, according to Miami’s website, is a place where students, faculty, staff and community members can come together and work together toward economic sustainability. Before the fall semester of last year, the Food Institute was looking for people to help with engineering projects. Out of the list of projects provided by the Institute, EWB chose a movable greenhouse. “In order to extend the growing season for the farm, we’re building a movable greenhouse,” said Prasidh Arora, a second-year student and the project’s manager. Another reason the Institute wants a movable greenhouse over a typical stationary one is that, instead of buying multiple greenhouses, a system that would make the “pre-existing” base of the greenhouse movable was much more economical, Arora said. Because Arora is a computer engineering major, the...

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Humans of Oxford: Justin Heintz: Abroad in America

When people first talk to Justin Heintz, most of them pick up on his accent. But very few know where it came from. “Luxembourg,” he’ll tell them. “I came from Luxembourg.” This small, central European country is the home of Miami’s own John E. Dolibois campus, where many students choose to study abroad. Justin, however, being from Luxembourg, chose to study abroad at Miami’s main campus in Oxford. If he had the time to explain why he chose Miami to every person who asked, these are the reasons he would tell them: Because after his gap year in Ecuador,...

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Humans of Oxford: Brandon Pugh: Commuter Blues

By Alyssa Melendez, Staff Writer Brandon Pugh sat in the abandoned hallway, huddled in a ball against the wall, rocking back and forth. “I thought college was supposed to be fun.” But Brandon wasn’t having fun. In fact, he hadn’t had fun at all in the past five weeks. Because he had to drive 30 minutes everyday to a campus that everyone else could call home. Because even when he was on campus, he didn’t have a single moment to spare. Because he was taking a 17 credit hour workload with tough classes like calculus and chemistry. Because his...

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