This past summer I participated in Goshen College’s Maple Scholars research program, which sponsors students to work with a professor on a certain project! I researched proper data management with Justin Heinzekehr. Who? Justin Heinzekehr, director of institutional research and assessment. What? Data management. I’d explain it to you, but you might start drooling on this copy of the Record. Why? Well, I’m an accounting major if you forgot so I enjoy things like spreadsheets, watching grass grow, banging my head against the wall, etc.

Maple Scholars is a wonderful program and it provides a unique opportunity to explore some different ideas. While exploring data management, bug species, and cutting up worms for “genetics” was informative, I’d like professors to get creative with their projects. As a passionate learner, here are some ideas I have that I expect will be sponsored in the next couple years.

1. Alternative Austerity Measures for GC:

It is no secret that Goshen has a huge endowment. Seriously, Goshen is very well endowed. But, there are measures that continually need to be taken to meet the pressure of a quality education at a somewhat kind-of not-really-affordable price.

We are already doing some wonderful things like paying student workers minimum wage, and making students manage Java Junction (a huge money-making coffee monopoly on campus) for free.

How much money would we save if the environmental science department rented out classrooms to local business and opted for “outdoor classroom” under the big oak tree. Or maybe we could save money by stopping all cosmetic maintenance, and letting the grass grow into a wild prairie (Ryan Sensenig’s dream).

Let’s get creative about saving money like my grandma stretching the orange juice concentrate with five times the water needed.

2. A Comprehensive study of GC Chapel and Convocation:

Bob Yoder, campus pastor, mentor, friend, evaluated his own summer Inquiry programs this year as part of an ongoing Maple Scholar’s project. While I applaud him immensely for taking the time to assess the effectiveness of the program through interviews and surveys, I think we can go further by examining chapel and convocation! Below you will see graphs where I have started to model various chapel and convocation data*.  In Model A, which may or may not have been sponsored by Bob Yoder, campus pastor, mentor, friend, you can see a positive correlation between spirituality and the number of convo/chapel credits one obtains. By the way, props to the student worship assistants, I can barely bumble through a 10-minute presentation let alone be inspirational for 45 minutes every week. Model B depicts multiple scenarios that lead students to have a convo/chapel credit deficit. My roommate Nate Nussbaum has in fact at one point given me all of these excuses.

3. A Useful Physics Project

Maple scholars is the beloved child of the Physics department. Every year the Physics professors get free reign to explore whatever wonky outdated side project that at one point piqued their interest in the 80’s. Over the years they’ve constructed many holograms that are very entertaining.  I believe it’s time to use the robotics lab and build something useful. Maybe a drone that could deliver your packages from ITS to your room, or even a meal from the Rott.  Maybe a moving walkway between buildings. Or maybe just a robot to help up all the freshman that fall off their long boards on the train tracks.

*By data I mean things I made up in my head, or alternative facts.