Eighth annual Classes Without Quizzes puts science in perspective

  • Apr 27, 2017
  • Students, Research, event, alumni
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, Chemistry, Microbiology, Physics & Astronomy

Alumni attend Classes Without Quizzes

Nearly 120 alumni, friends and guests of the MSU College of Natural Science attended the 8th annual Classes Without Quizzes on April 22.

A group of MSU alumni, friends and guests spent a recent Saturday morning taking classes that helped put science in perspective, ranging from microbes and smashed atoms to the grand universe and revitalization of physics education.

Nearly 120 people attended the 8th annual Classes Without Quizzes (CWQ), held this year on April 22 at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building on the Michigan State University campus. Hosted by the MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci), the event gives participants a chance to meet with NatSci faculty members and students, while getting an insider’s look at some of the latest research activities being undertaken here on campus.

The day’s “classes” featured five presentations: how soil and root-associated fungi, which includes truffles, mushrooms and molds, function to support plant health and nutrition as well as nutrient cycles and the flow of energy through terrestrial ecosystems; how bacteria use rare earth elements to help them “clean the environment;” how nuclear leftovers reveal the secrets of life; efforts underway to revitalize physics education to prepare the 21st–century science and engineering workforce; and a new way to look at the sky using the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory in Puebla, Mexico. The sessions were livestreamed to allow for a broader viewing audience. To watch them, go to https://livestream.com/msualumni/classeswithoutquizzes2017.

The day concluded with an undergraduate student panel of 2016-17 NatSci Dean’s Research Scholars sharing their research experiences

Scott (resource development, ’71 and ’77) and Margo (medical technology, ’71) from Charlotte, Mich., are regulars at CWQ.

“I’ve lost count at this point of how many years we’ve attended,” Scott said. “We’ve come every year since we’ve retired; we make sure that we’re back from Florida every spring in time to come to this event because it’s so interesting. What I find so amazing is the science and how far advanced it is since I was in school.”

“I love everything MSU does to connect the university to the community. I think we are assets to each other,” Margo added. “And I love the idea of learning something—without quizzes!”

“We come because we’re MSU alums and we’ve always lived close to the MSU community,” said Marti Eyde (B.S., zoology, ‘81; M.A., telecommunications, ’85), who was attending with her husband, Louis. “I think we’ve missed only one and we really enjoy the program. It’s also wonderful to listen to the Dean’s Research Scholars panel. Listening to the opportunities that these young people have is marvelous!”

“The last time we were here, they were talking right on target about what we were involved in with nanotechnology,” Louis said. “I enjoyed refreshing my mind as to what that was all about. It’s just fun to be on campus and take part in all of the nice things that MSU has to offer.”

There were also several junior high school students attending CWQ, including three 8th-graders who came to the event together – Brittany Hansen (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), who has attended the past four years; Aiden Habboub (Birmingham, Mich.), who has attended the past two years; and Ethan Fracasso (Rochester Hills, Mich.), who has attended the past three years.

“I just love science and always have,” Hansen said. “My mom got an e-mail to attend the event a few years ago and said ‘hey, we should go.’ We did, and we liked it, so we’ve been coming ever since.”

“I’m here because Brittany told me about it last year and invited me along,” Habboub said. “I like the science and the topics they cover. It’s also cool to hear what the Dean’s Research Scholars have to say. It’s nice to hear about what it’s like for them as students and the different opportunities that are available to them.”

“I’m really interested in science and I want to go to Michigan State to college when I graduate from high school,” Fracasso added. “I really find a lot of this fascinating – it’s all really neat!”

The 9th annual Classes Without Quizzes will be held April 21, 2018 and is open to all MSU alumni and friends. For more information, or to be added to the mailing list, contact Sara Ford, alumni relations coordinator, at fordsar2@msu.edu or (517) 884-0290.