After a year’s worth of deliberation, Rose-Hulman’s Board of Trustees selected Rose’s 15th president: James Conwell, PhD, PE. Dr. Conwell comes from Jacobs Engineering Group in Michigan, where he served as the Vice President. Dr. Conwell has an extensive background in the engineering industry; additionally, he has attained degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering as well as mathematics. The Rose Thorn interviewed Dr. Conwell informally this last Tuesday.
Dr. Conwell drives a 2010 Ford Escape with roughly 65,000 miles on it. His preferred method of travel, however, is a Beech Bonanza N 35.
When asked about why he pursued the position of Rose-Hulman president, Dr. Conwell spoke about Rose’s value as an undergraduate program. Furthermore, he noted that he had known about Rose during his teaching years, before his career turned to the industry side of engineering. He thought Rose was, and still is, an incredible school because of the foundation that it provides for its students. He stressed that this foundation was critical to Rose-Hulman graduates’ success in the world. Dr. Conwell went on to laud the personal connection between students and faculty and the individual attention students receive. He felt that there is a great sense of community here at Rose.
Dr. Conwell’s favorite super hero is the Hulk because he believes Bruce Banner only really gets cranked up over injustice.
When asked about student life, the Rose identity, and the family atmosphere, Dr. Conwell remarked that the institution is a place of higher learning. He made it clear that he believed college was a “place to live, learn, and grow.” Rose-Hulman’s integration of informal and formal study impressed him heavily. He found the learning, both in and out of the classroom, to be fantastic and mentioned how striking Rose was in terms of having “an incredible number of things to get involved in.” And while he is new to Rose culture, he said that he found student life intriguing. Dr. Conwell also passed on his compliments to the late Matt Branam and interim president Rob Coons.
When asked about whether he would continue Matt Branam’s legacy of being on a first name basis with the students of Rose, Dr. Conwell candidly replied that he hadn’t put a lot of thought into it. He expressed his interest in being approachable, and he said he wanted to be seen and be available.
Dr. Conwell’s musical interests range from Nirvana to Dave Brubeck. He drew special attention to “Take Five” by Brubeck.
Dr. Conwell also responded to questions about Rose-Hulman’s possible increase in size. He stated that Rose had a great “product” in the education it offers its students, and he considered the real question to be one of how to scale that “culture of focus” with any increases in size. Although he’s been discussing the issue with William Fenoglio, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and William Schindel, Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, Dr. Conwell has not yet come up with any answers as to whether Rose should increase its size or not.
After being asked about diversity and intercultural communications on campus, Dr. Conwell stated that he saw great value in Rose’s efforts to bring diversity to campus learning. He went on to discuss how the world students will face is vastly different than the world he faced. Dr. Conwell stressed that today’s companies are global communities where many employees speak different languages and have different majors. He expressed that Rose faces a challenge of making sure that there is an opportunity to face diversity in ideas and that Rose students get “intelligence from across the spectrum.”
Dr. Conwell is married to Angela Conwell—also a mechanical engineer—and they have two children.
In terms of sustainability and the Grand Challenges for Engineering put out by the National Academy of Engineering being important to Rose-Hulman, Dr. Conwell discussed how important sustainability is as a design constraint in many companies. In addition to praising colleges for focusing on sustainability, he remarked that a vibrant educational institution like Rose-Hulman should be evolving to face new challenges in the world. He went on to say that he hoped these were just a few of the things Rose could do to prepare its students for a dynamic work environment.
Dr. Conwell’s favorite pizza style is supreme.
The last thing Dr. Conwell responded to concerned what aspects of Jacobs Engineering Group he would bring to Rose. Dr. Conwell felt that he would bring two particular aspects of Jacobs to Rose. First, he felt that his ability to manage a complex business model would not only allow him to be an effective president at Rose-Hulman, but also to improve students’ ability to be hired and their understanding of business structure. Second, he brings knowledge of world enterprise. Dr. Conwell has worked in several countries across the globe such as Germany, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, among others. He also talked about his knowledge of what the world is looking for in terms of engineers and about his understanding of the challenges facing engineers in the world.
“The Rose Thorn” welcomes Dr. Conwell as Rose’s next president and wishes him luck in years to come!

 

After a closely run election at the end of last quarter, a new president was elected to head the Student Government Association, Kevin Dwyer. Over 500 students voted in the runoff election after a general election.
Kevin is a junior mechanical engineer who is also active in Student Activities Board (SAB). He ran on a platform of making the government more transparent as well as being more accessible to the average student. Kevin said “most students do not understand everything that SGA does, from pizza at sports games to funding most of the clubs on campus.”
Some of Kevin’s ideas include making a better way of informing the student body of what is going on, either by a president newsletter or a posting of decisions made by SGA in common areas. He also wants to make SGA a friendlier place, remarking “SGA is going to have to say no to student requests, but that should not make the student worried about coming again.”
The next step for SGA at the time at whichthis article was written is to appoint three non-elected officers. This spring term SGA will be approving the budgets for clubs for the next year as well as reviewing new clubs applying for official status.

After Charles Joenathan, head of the Physics and Optical Engineering,  and other professors from Faculty without Borders traveled to Kenya last summer to witness the needs of the educational system there, they came back with big ideas to help the country.

“If you can educate people, you are actually lifting the society out of poverty and bring them to self-sufficiency,” Dr. Joenathan said.

He expressed his admiration for the students in Kenya, who pursue their education despite the hurdles they face every day.

“The need is there. The enthusiasm of young minds to study is much greater than what we see in the United States. Kids travel, actually walk 7-8 miles every day, one way. So, in order to come to school, which is at 8:30, students leave home by 6:00, 6:30, and by the time school is finished they reach home during the night.”

However, when students do reach home, they have no light source and no way to keep reading or working.

“Most of the lighting and electricity is only on the main highways. If you go into the remote villages, they don’t have electricity,” Dr. Joenathan said.

The largest obstacle now is finding an alternative light source for homes in villages.

“If you don’t have lighting at home, what would these students do?” he said. “Basically they use kerosene lamps, and kerosene lamps are pretty bad for your health because of the smoke.”

Then Faculty Without Borders hatched an idea to provide cleaner, healthier forms of lighting. Dr. Joenathan suggested using LED lights powered by batteries, which in turn are charged by solar panels during the day. When students leave home the next morning, though, the troubles continue at school.

“Some of them leave their home so early that they come to school an hour early, and so they have to find places for these kids to stay. And they don’t have a place for these kids to stay. Usually it’s dark, so these kids are actually sitting outside, waiting outside, to enter the school.”

The conditions aren’t much better for the faculty, either.

“We went to a school where the whole offices of the principals are in mud huts,” Dr. Joenathan said. “The floor’s a mud floor.”

Faculty Without Borders is working to fix problems like these and many more. They are currently writing a memorandum of understanding with Eagerton University, a private engineering university in Kenya, to help the school with its needs that Dr. Joenathan claims are hard for Americans who have lived comfortably their whole lives to imagine.

“I think what we don’t see is that the wealth of our country is so much and so different any of those countries where you see the need,” he said. “I grew up in India, so I know these things, but not for faculty members (from America).”

Agreements like the one with Eagerton are necessary to apply for funding from larger organizations and secure the assets needed to tackle large-scale problems, like lighting. The group is also working on other proposals to send to foundations to acquire grants. With these funds, Dr. Joenathan suggested introducing workshops like Operation Catapult in Kenya to teach students and other programs to train teachers there. According to the professor, there are many ideas to help improve education in Africa, but only a few would actually be practical. The challenge is finding those solutions, which are needed right now.

“In Kenya, the government has put a lot of emphasis on education, so there are more kids now going into high schools and secondary schools and middle schools,” Dr. Joenathan said, “so the demand in Kenya is now skyrocketing. A school like Rose-Hulman can actually contribute a lot. When the system is growing, the things we contribute can be a big change in the whole society. So at this time I think it’s right for Rose-Hulman to enter this place and (meet) some social needs.”

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, passed away

On Wednesday, thousands of people mourned the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday, in the streets of the capital, Caracas. “President, wherever you are, we are going to miss you forever” said a woman in her 20s. Members of the military escorted and carried Chavez’s coffin, which was draped with the national flag, to the Fuerte Tiuna Military Academy for his funeral. The body will lie in state in the Academy until Friday morning’s state funeral. This whole ceremony was broadcast live on state television. Presidents from different countries including Uruguay’s Jose Mujica, Argentina’s Cristiana Fernandez de Kirchner and Bolivia’s Evo Morales arrived in the country for the funeral. To ensure peace, the country declared seven days of mourning, closed schools for the rest of the week, and deployed armed forces. Also, to guarantee sobriety, it had banned the sale, distribution and consumption of alcohol through March 12 “to guarantee the physical integrity of individuals with the intention to maintain internal order and normal development of the country’s action”, as said in a quote by Venezuela’s Interior Ministry. Besides the thousands of supporters, a significant amount of people opposing the ruling party was present. “My life was completely altered because of that man. And I will not hide the fact that I am happy that he is no longer alive”, a 27-year-old man said to the reporter. A new president will be elected within 30 days. Possible candidates include Henrique Capriles and Nicolas Maduro. “Venezuela without Chavez will be a vastly different place” said Daniel Greenberg, a professor of history at Pace University in New York.

Young woman intern killed by her favorite lion at Cat Haven sanctuary

A 24-year-old woman living in Seattle, who was working as an intern since January at Cat Haven sanctuary in California, was killed by a 5-year-old, 350-pound African lion inside its cage. The victim is identified as Dianna Hanson. Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said that when the lion attacked, a coworker tried in vain to distract the lion away from Hanson into another enclosure. A sheriff’s deputy, seeing that the lion would not let anyone reach Hanson, shot and killed the animal, but it was already too late. The attack happened at 12:30pm, when there were no visitors present. This lion appeared once on Ellen DeGeneres’ television show when he was about three months old. A video of that episode can be seen as the comedian fed the animal from a bottle as a handler stood by. People who worked with the lion were shocked after this incident. Paul Hanson, father of the victim, said Hanson’s love for big cats started at a very young age. “Her favorites were the tiger and the lion who killed her today,” he added. Hanson thanked her family and friends for helping her get close to her dreams in a 2011 letter. “This was her dream come true,” said her father.

Apple’s iWatch gaining more steam

Rumors on whether Apple is working on a new device called iWatch gained more attention on Monday. Much excitement focused on a launch by the end of the year and on the potential features the device will provides its users. Jon Ives, Apple's head designer, is reportedly leading a team of 100 product designers working on the iWatch. Some of the features speculated are: making phone calls, identifying callers, checking map coordinates, monitoring heart rates, and other health-related data. There is currently technology available to make this happen. “There’s Bluetooth 4, which Apple is a major proponent of,” said Andrew Eisner, a director at Retrevo. “It provides very low power and works very well for devices like these that don’t need to be in constant communication with the computer.”

Most games focus on being the hero of the story: achieving greater power as you defeat the evil bosses that stand between you and the greater good. In all honesty, this can get to be quite repetitive and sickening after a while, which is precisely what makes Overlord an excellent and entertaining game.

Overlord does not focus on good and evil choices; instead, it focuses on evil and very evil choices. For example the first choice you make when you get into a town is one of greed, just like all the others. Would you rather spare a town of innocents and let them continue to live peacefully? Or would you rather have our minions go about hunting down every person you see, so that you can have more “life-force” and gold. Later decisions are so much simpler, like: are you going to give back to peasants the food they are begging for or keep it? Things like that.

The story of the game is so much more entertaining though. In a way, it is a knockoff of “Lord of the Rings” where the evil overlord has just been resurrected after his defeat by seven heroes. The only difference is that the seven heroes have now become corrupted themselves by variations of the seven deadly sins and rule their kingdoms with poor intent. The first of these bosses whom you fight is, of course, a Halfling. This particular Halfling, however, has become so obsessed with gluttony that, unlike the rest of his kind, he is the size of small building and will literally roll on top of anyone he needs to fight. Of course, after beating any boss, it is expected by your minions that you exact your revenge on the heroes who destroyed you and so, to finish any battle, you must perform the act of finishing them off.

The gameplay is, in itself, creative and entertaining. By playing as the overlord who walks across a country seeking revenge and casting spells, you also have access to minions that obey commands. At times, this can be frustrating, especially when you pass through water where they try to follow you only to end up drowning. But overall, they are the highlight of the game. It is entertaining to watch as you sweep them through a town as a single group and watch them destroy everything they touch, while still pausing to drink certain beverages of which they immediately relive themselves. 

Overlord is an incredibly entertaining game with a dark sense of humor that is, surprisingly enough, not profane. The game definitely alludes to more adult themes; however, it masks it to a surprising extent which just makes every joke in the game that much funnier because it comes off as an incredibly twisted version of innocence as you play the game.

Game: Majora's Mask

When it comes to naming classical games, "Legend of Zelda" is usually within the top five of most gamers' minds. This is because of the near flawless streak of games that it had during its first decade of existence. This includes the first open world epic "The Legened of Zelda" to the genre-defining "Link to the Past." However, if there is one game that had to be mentioned for standing out in the series, it would be a game surrounded in more mythos, more side-quests, and more characters than any other game in the series.

That game would be "Majoras Mask."

Unlike most "Zelda" games, "Majora's Mask" is a rare direct sequel to the prior "Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time," a possibly more well-known game. Following the events of said game, Link leaves Hyrule in search of his lost friend, the identity of whom can be left for interpretation. On his new quest, however, he is quickly ambushed by a mysterious Skull Kid and stripped of his belongings. This is just before he is cursed into the form of a Deku. Not one to give up for anything, Link chases after the cruel prankster. This is how Link ends up in the new land of Termina, a world parallel to Hyrule that has a rather... unique predicament.

The moon is trying to crash into it.

Right off the bat, "Majora's Mask" establishes a rather cruel timeline to which Link must keep and work around in order to save the land of Termina from the destruction of the descending moon. To do this, he must use the powers of the Ocarina to travel through time, solve temples, and free the ancient giants, all to stop the moon and defeat the omnipotent Majora's Mask.

Let me make one thing very clear: "Majora's Mask" is a great game. The game is close to the classic Zelda games, with the dungeons designs and plot progression that you get wrapped up in the world quickly and efficiently. You really don't want to leave Termina, even though it's doomed to die. I mean, it's called Termina... like terminal. However, "Majora's Mask" also separates itself from the rest of the series by adding much more in depth side-quests with far more rewarding items than just quiver upgrades.

Throughout the game, Link is asked to collect masks in order to free the giants and give him new powers and abilities. These masks are fun to collect, look at, and, most importantly, use. Some masks can do simple things such as open up new dialogue options while others can transform Link into an entirely new being, like a Zora or Goron. There is even a unique item to gain if you manage to collect them all, and it's one heck of an item.

What these side-quests also do, however, is make the gamer ask a lot of philosophical questions one normally wouldn't conceive. One particularly jarring moment in a non-required side-quest involved helping a couple reunite after one was cursed to be a child just days before his wedding. Throughout the long, three-day quest, you see how the bonds of love are twisted, tested, and can either break or pull through. This leads to a powerful moment of confession and acceptance that gamers can easily carry with them for years to come. I still do.

More than that though, "Majora's Mask" also opens up a whole new meaning for symbolism. Next to the omnipresent question of masks and identity, carried in every quest, be it required or not, the game also uses characters and items to symbolize other powerful forces in the world. One very subtle, but jaw-dropping example would be the inclusion of the Tower of Babel as a dungeon in game. It's not called that, of course, but with symbolism in the dungeon, it's not hard to see. The symbols show men building and claiming to reach a portal to heaven, and then are ultimately reversed by the gods in order to punish the men that created them. If these elements don't bring you in, then no game can satisfy you.

"Majora's Mask" is a treat of a game, underappreciated during its release and forgotten beneath the shadow of its predecessor. Not playing this game would be a disservice to the artists who worked so hard on creating a world that is deep, rich, and inviting.

Rating:

4.5/5 Elephants.

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