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When I was applying for colleges, my number one fear was the cost. I didn’t want to come out of college with debt and heaps of student loans to pay off. That’s why when Juniata offered me a spot in their 3+1 Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program, I jumped at the opportunity.
The accelerated dual degree program allows students to earn their bachelor’s in three years and their MBA in their fourth year. While it would normally take students five to six years to complete, I could finish my typical 4 years of college with both a bachelor’s and a master’s.
My degree is in Marketing within the Accounting, Business, and Economics department, but Juniata has plenty of programs to pick from if your concentration is not in business. Other programs where the 3+1 is offered include Environmental Studies, Spanish, and Communication. Other than financial benefits that come with an accelerated dual degree, the program has also posed many opportunities on and off campus.
Specifically, Juniata has a chapter of an honors business society called Tau Pi Phi, and you typically enter the program as a junior after being recommended by faculty. Since you are on an accelerated path in the 3+1 program, you get entered into the program a year earlier than most, allowing you the opportunity to go to Pittsburgh in the spring for a case study competition. As someone who went this past spring, trust me when I say it was an incredible experience that allowed me to make some of my closest friends and taught me about how I can further myself as a business student.
Other advantages of the 3+1 program are the opportunity to connect with alumni and faculty of Juniata. Networking is an incredibly important aspect of entering the workforce. When trying to get a job in the future, networking helps you build a better reputation, increase visibility, and strengthen your support network.
Overall, the 3+1 program offers many academic, financial, and experiential advantages. Whether it’s earning two degrees in four years, saving money on two years of education, or enhancing your network, it is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, and I hope you don’t either!
One of Juniata’s most recognized traditions, the Bailey Oratorical, happened earlier this semester on Tuesday, February 28. Dating all the way back to 1910, the Bailey was founded by Mrs. Letitia Bailey and her son, Thomas, as a memorial to the late Mr. John Bailey. This tradition revolves around a public speaking contest that is judged based on subject-matter, composition, and delivery.
This year was the definition of women in power. All seven of our finalists identify as women and each of them nominated other women for their ‘profile in courage’. To review, our speakers had to create a persuasive speech based on the following prompt:
This competition started off with Molly Sheets ’26, who blew us away by bringing attention to a woman named Hannie Schaft. Hannie was a resistance fighter during World War II. She quickly became known as “the girl with red hair” and was sought after by Hitler himself because her actions were so significant that she was seen as a threat to his work. From there, Nhu (May) Nguyen ’23 spoke about Michelle Yeoh, a famous Malaysian actress. This speech hit on a number of points including gender discrimination, the underrepresentation of Asian women in American movies, and the fight against cultural disapproval.
The third speaker was Kiran Patil ’24, who spoke about a war journalist named Nicole Tung. Kiran educated us about the importance of capturing these events and spreading them for the world to see. In order for change to happen, we must recognize the violence and suffering that is present in our world and exploit the horrors that would otherwise be hidden. After her, Lillian Case ’25 came in with a speech about Ida B. Wells, who was a leader in the civil rights movement. In her lifetime, Ida was also a journalist and in order to write the stories she desired, she ended up buying co-ownership of the newspaper. To bring even more attention to what she wrote, she printed all of her stories on pink paper, so that even those who couldn’t read would be able to partake in her goals.
Jumping from one movement to the next, Elizabeth Bailey ’23 enlightened us about what it is like to be gay. She spoke about her own experiences and fears while relating them to a loose thread that she once hid. However, after accepting herself and taking the steps to come out she was able to weave a bracelet by linking her support system together and by creating hope for the next person. Also touching on support systems was Hannah Kempken ’23 with her speech about Mrs. Schubert, the teacher of a lifetime. This teacher motivated, encouraged, and trusted her students to push their boundaries and exceed their personal expectations. Based on how and what she taught, those lessons will just keep giving.
Last but certainly not least was Kayla Blackstock ’23 with a speech about women in Iran. She exposed the brutality and fear these women face because of the Iranian government and mandates they are expected to follow seamlessly. Bringing attention to this horror will hopefully encourage others to step up and help these women who are being forced to have moral strength in the face of danger.
As you can see, these speeches opened our eyes and thoughts as we learned about people, events, and ideas that are all part of our world. The judges had a lot of work cut out for them and took their time when deciding who would place in this year’s competition. Elizabeth Bailey placed first, Lillian Case was second, and Kayla Blackstock was third. As students, we also had a voice in deciding who we thought should win. This ended up leading to another moment in Juniata history where the People’s Choice Award resulted in a tie between Elizabeth Bailey and Lillian Case. Overall, congratulations to all of our finalists and their inspiring speeches that led to another successful year of the Bailey Oratorical!
If you missed the Bailey Oratorical, you can watch the archive here.
This past weekend, several Juniata students had the opportunity to present their research at the Allegheny Branch of the American Society of Microbiology’s yearly conference. As a bonus the meeting was held right here at Juniata in the von Liebig Center for Science. The conference took place over the course of roughly thirty-six hours starting from early afternoon on Friday and ending early evening on Saturday. Over the course of those thirty-six hours students from nineteen institutions, both graduate and undergraduate, had the opportunity to learn about a diverse range of topics from distinguished speakers and from one another. There were several unique presentations over the two-day period. The first was a self-mentorship workshop where the speaker guided us through introspective searches into our deepest desires and goals which we later used to help craft a personal mission statement. The next day we participated in a workshop given by a Juniata alumnus that now works at Ecovative, a company that produces biodegradable packaging products with fungus. We even got to take some samples home with us! To close out the conference Juniata’s very own Dr. Belle Tuten, a history professor that specializes in medieval medicine, gave a talk on the methods by which doctors in medieval times used to treat wounds. The subject matter, which was quite humorous by itself, was made even more so by Dr. Tuten delivering her speech as if the medical practices of the past were perfectly reasonable methods for treating diseases.
While the workshops and speaker sessions were fun and educational, nothing compared to the student presentations. Although I presented this summer at the Landmark Conference at Susquehanna University, presenting at an actual society meeting had a much more significant feel to it. Sharing my hard work with a room full of people who were just as big or bigger science nerds than me was phenomenal and then being able to sit back down and learn about all the other awesome projects students were working on was just as exhilarating. This conference further affirmed by desire to go into research when I graduate from Juniata this May. I learned so many new things about tools like CRISPR and about how viruses affect fetal brain development, to cover just a few things. This conference increased my thirst for knowledge and understanding about the scientific world and made me that much more excited about graduate school next year.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the constant support and mentoring by Dr. Regina Lamendella and Justin Wright and their lab. Without them I highly doubt that our lab would have done so well at the conference, and many of us that presented wouldn’t have had as high quality research to present on without their connections and collaborations. There are many labs that conduct undergraduate research on campus. Students can do research in almost every department on campus, and many students present this research at local, regional and national conferences, including the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and our very own Liberal Arts Symposium which we host every Spring.
From my experience, albeit limited, Juniata has one of the best programs for undergraduate research. Everyone is encouraged to participate and you can get involved as early as your freshmen year. All it takes is a little initiative, drive to succeed and no small amount of curiosity on your part. Even if you don’t think you’ll like research, I still encourage you to participate. You might find, like me, that you love research and the amazing sense of discovery that comes with it, and find it much more satisfying than being a doctor. Or you might not. It is better to try and not like it, then never try and miss out on an amazing opportunity. Not only that but if you do want to go to med school it looks good if you have done research.
I leave you with this: Research can be difficult. There are days where you will want to pull your hair out because your line of code just isn’t working or your organic reaction has failed for the twentieth time. If you get nothing else out of research, you will at least learn the ability to fail. Yes, the ability to fail. It is an art, one that I am still mastering. Sure, succeeding at everything you do feels great, but you don’t really learn anything from it. Failing teaches perseverance and creativity. Believe me, you do a lot of failing when you first start researching. You learn as you go and slowly, you improve. The quality of your work gets better as does the understanding of your project, and for me, my desire to learn more about what I was researching also increased. It is quite a journey but there is no better place to undertake that journey than Juniata.
A few weeks ago, Juniata was visited by a very special guest, Dr. Bill Phillips of the Juniata College graduating class of 1970 and one of the 1997 Physics Nobel Laureates. Despite his huge success in his field, Dr. Phillips has not forgotten where he got his start, a small Liberal Arts college nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania. Dr. Phillips comes back every four years to give talks about physics and to interact with current Physics students, and others as well. I’m sure he has many reasons for why he does come back, but I’d like to think that he mainly does it to inspire younger generations, to instill within them a belief that they can do anything and go anywhere with hard work and the right attitude.
His own attitude is one of positivity and an almost childlike sense of curiosity and fascination with physics, even after a lifetime of in-depth study. His energy and enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself excited for each new physical property that he introduced, despite my small amount of disdain for the field of physics. He bounced from one side of the stage to the other, always talking, his hands always moving as he described the intricacies of time and its relation to the coldest temperature ever recorded. During the talk, I roamed through the crowd and behind his presentation setup taking pictures of his talk. I captured liquid nitrogen being poured, ad libitum, on the floor and up the aisles of the lecture hall and I watched as the 77 Kelvin (really freaking cold) liquid nitrogen shrunk twenty or more fully blown up balloons down to a size small enough to fit them all into a bait bucket approximately one gallon in size.
Smashing frozen solid rubber balls into oblivion on the black concrete floor of Alumni Hall in our very own Brumbaugh Academic Center was cool (pun intended) to watch, but more fascinating was watching the crowd. Each face lit up with excitement as they watched each new demonstration. By far the most interesting faces to watch were those of the professor emeriti, those scholars and teachers that have retired from Juniata, several of whom taught Dr. Phillips when he attended Juniata. Their stoic faces broke into easy smiles with each joke and one was even giddy with excitement with each new revelation of a physical phenomenon. And the best moment of them all was when a water bottle filled with liquid nitrogen and placed under a trashcan, exploded launching the trash can up in the air causing the entire audience to jump and my heart to stop for a few seconds.
Bill Phillips most influential contribution to this campus did not come in his relation of physics to students of his alma mater, but in an answer to a question from a young audience member after his talk had concluded. The student asked what, if anything he would tell his younger self. He answered by telling a story of a time during his junior year at Juniata College when a physics professor from Princeton came to give a talk. During the question and answer portion the Juniata students asked about graduate school and getting into Princeton and the speaker gave the rather flippant answer that no one from Juniata could ever get into Princeton.
Bill Phillips took that information and proceeded to ignore it as he not only applied to Princeton, but also Harvard and MIT. His overarching point with the story was to not let anyone ever sell you short, especially if you are a Juniatian. That really hit home for me as I am now applying to graduate school and worrying if I will get accepted. What I tend to forget is that here at Juniata we are almost over prepared for our futures. If you choose to come to Juniata for the four years of your undergraduate study you are sure to embark on a difficult journey. Fun? Absolutely! Fulfilling? Of course. Difficult? Definitely. But we are better students and people for having gone through those difficult times.
Even if you are not a Juniatian now and even if you never will be. Remember to never let anyone sell you short. Show them what you can do and prove them all wrong. You might be surprised how far you get. Maybe you’ll even win a Nobel Prize.
You can find the video mentioned in this blog at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzESTv7ohhY
When people ask me where Juniata College students go out for dinner, coffee, or to relax outside of campus, I usually have a premade list in my head that I tell them, but that list always starts with the same answer: Standing Stone Coffee Company.
Standing Stone is owned by a Juniata graduate, and is only a short walk from campus. It’s a great place to sit, do some homework, or to potentially get a job (as my roommate, Bekah, did). However, they also host these incredible open mic nights in partnership with the college. The open mics can be for everything from just the fun of it, to an open mic night for Genocide Awareness and Action week. Most recently, Standing Stone hosted an open mic night for the International Day of Peace, and it was delightful.
The International Day of Peace open mic ran from 5-6PM in the cozy coffee shop. I was a little late to the event myself, but when I got there, it was amazing. Professors were singing songs about war and peace, students were reading original poems or other works, community members were there, and there was an overall atmosphere of peace in the room.
There was so much variety in the pieces that were read. Some had a somber atmosphere, some were hopeful, some were angry… I got the chance to read a piece that I wrote this summer. My reading was a short little blurb of thoughts about an old man and a pipe, which may not sound like it has anything to do with peace outright, but I like to think people enjoyed it! This was my third time reading my work in front of a crowd here at Juniata (or anywhere really!), and it keeps getting easier and more fun every time. It is something I would definitely recommend to any who are interested in trying!
The open mic wrapped up, and then the evening carried on with free live music from a local artist. Overall, I think it was a wonderful event. This has turned into a bit of a piece about how great Standing Stone is, and about how much I like the open mic nights, but that’s okay. It truly is a great little coffee shop, plus they have excellent food if you ever need a snack or a break from dining hall food. And the open mics are something I never thought I would participate in, but really enjoy. All in all, I’m just very thankful that this partnership exists between small businesses in town and the college. It creates something wonderful for all of us.