Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bandwagon Traffic Jam

And now for the traffic report....

We're seeing some serious backup happening between the Watson Interchange of idea central and time required. Expect some delay due to agricultural advocacy and local business development, coupled with family and church responsibilities, as well as academic goals and playful hobbies. Communication channels are expected to be sparse, random and slightly jumbled, until problems are resolved.

Keep alert listeners, its going to be a fabulous summer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Learner in Learning Learnersville

Today I became an academic on the outside.

A couple of months ago, my thesis adviser suggested I submit my 100+ thesis document into a conference paper, a.k.a chop it down to 30 pages. With the switch between jobs and states, I admit, a part of me groaned at the thought of having one more thing to do. Nonetheless, I made a half-hearted attempt to produce a paper in a matter of an afternoon. I sent it off, and promptly forgot I had ever done anything with it.

A few months later I was surprised when I read the following message in my gmail inbox: Please find the attached acceptance notification of your paper submission for the 2011 ACE International Conference.

Those words made my jaw drop like Sebastian in the Little Mermaid. In fact I began to question the integrity of academics--I did not believe my paper was up to par, given my less-than-enthusiastic attempt to submit something worthy of a conference.

Yet, today, as I presented my work, my attitude changed. I realized good research is still good research regardless of its poorly written transitions, or a few typos disguise. The data I collected bridged a more than 20-year-old gap in agricultural communications student data. Such useful knowledge was in high demand, and screaming for the front stage spotlight. I received compliments from many different faculty and students on my ability to recognize the research gap and then rigorously attempt to fill it with something.

Although, I must confess, the most fascinating thoughts of the day have been devoted to all those who have graduated with some type of upper-level college degree, and never attempted to distribute the knowledge they spent anywhere from six months to three years researching. Consider all the graduate studies that have been "sentenced for life" in the a thesis section of a university's library, where their only true use is to collect dust in the land of the forgotten. What a sad waste of talent and hard work.

I loved sharing my research today, hearing the feedback, and networking with fellow academics. I have learned much as I listened to the other presenters talk about their discoveries. I gained a personal testimony similar to John Milton who believed progression towards Truth was dependent on sharing thoughts with another in the open marketplace of ideas. In essence, progression of a public's educational knowledge is only derived from healthy discussion and discourse. Truthfully and whole-heartily, I was happy to be on the market floor today.

So to sum up my day in Dr. Seuss Language: I've been a happy learner in learning learnersville.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Personal Horcruxes

No, I don't plan on becoming an evil wizard anytime soon, nor do I plan on trying to figure out how to be immortal now (because it will just happen later, its just a matter of time :)

Yet, in a few ways I have been rediscovering myself with the appearance of different objects. Consider my list:
Chocolate: my African American cabbage patch doll I bought when I was in 2nd grade (yes, I did name her chocolate as a 7-year-old kid). It was the first toy I ever bought with my own hard-earned money. She taught me the value of a dollar and I have cherished her for more than 20 years.

My FFA Jacket: The corduroy blue jacket, accented with corn gold never fails to bring a smile to my face. When I see others in that jacket, I am reminded of my personal responsibility to lead, inspire and teach others about the future of agriculture, be it the urban garden, or rural ranch. When I see my FFA jacket, something swells within that says, "You Can"

Letters from Brazil: Although its been nearly five years since I returned home from serving in the Porto Alegre North Mission, I still have a deep love for all the people who I served. This week I received an email from a man I taught and was as giddy as a girl heading to Disneyland. Each time I read about a person's eternal progress, I can't help but feel an even deeper love.

My Okstate Sweatshirt and Blanket: I stand out like a chubby kid in dodge ball when I display my Orange--Utah is all about the Aggie & BYU Blue or the Utah Red. I admit it, I did bleed blue, a strong blue (aggie and cougar), until I came into contact with Cowboy Orange; but now my soul swells the biggest when I say, yup, I'm an OSU Cowboy! GO POKES!
Its funny how life's sweetest memories can be imbedded in small objects, similar to the fictional horcruxes penned by J.K. Rowling. I don't believe its because we actually place our soul in the object, but rather that such objects remind us of life's sweetest memories. And its in that moment, that one truly understands their own soul.

Life is good.