Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From Spain Back to Ferrum and Onward

by Delana S., Panther Blogger

Whew!  It has been forever since I last blogged and things have been crazy.  Since my time in Spain, I returned back to the United States on December 20th.  Let me say that it felt so good to see my family in person; we did Skype all the time while I was in Spain, but it is vastly different.  From there, I prepared myself to come back to Ferrum and become reacquainted with speaking and hearing English again every day.  Coming back to the United States was not a huge adjustment for me, but that is only because I am used to moving and traveling around a lot.  In Spain, I learned a lot about myself and was able to be myself all the time.  I made lots of friends and I keep in touch with them regularly.

My friends Song and Sarah B.

My best friends in the program -
Felle and Sarah
My usual group of friends
My Alicatina friends
My host mom Andrea

Dinner with my classmates

Christmas celebrations

My co-worker and I
after my return home
Just thinking about it, I talked to a few of my friends a couple of days ago and they told me that some of the friends that I made had asked about me and that makes me happier than most people would think.  I made a home for myself over there and a family that I cannot wait to go see againI also talk to my host mom often and keep her updated with what's going on in my life.  Coming back to Ferrum was a bit strange for me because I am a different person and I grew up a little bit more, but knowing who I am makes all the difference.

New look for me
Since the start of this semester, I've had a lot to do and it has kept me really busy!  For starters, I am writing my senior thesis in Spanish about Flamenco, which I learned during my time abroad.  It is a fascinating and intriguing dance with a complicated history; I've had a lot of fun researching it, though at times, it is challenging.  In general, I've had 5 classes, with one being a half-semester science course, so now I have four classes including the thesis class.  It would seem that I should have some time to enjoy the rest of this semester with minimal work, but I am writing another thesis paper in Spanish focused on literature, and a small thesis paper for a history class.  It is a good thing that I like to write or that would be a struggle!  At this point, I am almost done with those papers, but I also have other events that I have to prepare for, such as "Put Cuffs on Cancer," Spring Fling, and a variety of events for seniors.  Graduation isn't that far away now, but at the same time, it is.  It's funny to think about how time has flown by so fast, but yet I still remember coming to Ferrum and beginning my freshman year.  Well there is more that I have to do until that point, but stay updated to read how it all ends here...though in reality, it is only the start of a new adventure!

Friday, March 20, 2015

From Ireland to Ferrum - An International Student Experience

by Caoimhe R., Panther Blogger

Hi, or should I say hello or as we say in Ireland, "well, what's the craic?"  This is a saying which I'm accustomed to saying at home when I see my friends, but also one which has won me several odd looks from people who don't understand what it means since I've arrived in the states.  If you ask someone "what the craic is?" at home, you are normally just asking them what they've been doing recently or what's up.  If you say "that was unreal craic" after a night out, then normally, you're just saying it was a great time.  I just thought that it was important to clear that up; if you ever go to Ireland, that will definitely be a useful piece of information to know!

My name is Caoimhe, I'm 22 years old and am an international student at Ferrum College.  My name can also sometimes be a source of confusion, but it's a Gaelic name derived from the Irish language and is pronounced like "Keeva".  It's also number one on "the most mispronounced Irish names in America".  Since I've arrived here, I've been called "Kayomi," "Teeva," and numerous other things!  I know that as a word, the letters and sounds don't always add up, and sure it's all a bit of fun at the end of the day.

Me with some new friends at Ferrum
You're probably wondering how I ended up coming to Ferrum College all the way from Ireland.  Basically, my whole story started over a year ago when I applied for a scholarship offered by the British Council called Study USA, also known as the Study, Work, Create program.  I was one of eight people from my college, St. Mary's University College in Belfast, to apply for this opportunity, but never in a million years would I have envisioned being accepted into the program let alone becoming a student at Ferrum College!  Fortunately, five others from my college and I were placed in the program.  Bearing in mind that there were approximately 400 students who applied around 65 places, I felt as though I accomplished a major goal in being selected from a competitive group of students.  This scholarship meant a great deal of importance to me, and it had been my motivation since the start of my college education to study in the states.

Ferrum Cross Country
My journey to Ferrum College started on the 28th of August 2014.  I remember waking up at three in the morning and getting ready for the day of travel ahead.  I made my way to Dublin airport and said that final goodbye to my family.  It's strange how the reality of a situation, despite how much you prepare for it mentally, never hits you until you are present in the moment.  I remember looking back at my family standing at the airport doors just before I got on the elevator to go through security.  Although a part of me felt incredibly sad to say goodbye, I knew that what was ahead of me would be an experience of a lifetime.  I arrived at Ferrum College on the Thursday before classes started and that is the beginning of my whole story.  I must admit, I had one of those "what am I doing here?" moments when I initially arrived, but I reminded myself that what I felt was completely normal - after all, I was over three thousand miles from home!

Ferrum Women's Cross Country
Homecoming Parade at Ferrum
Since then, I have tried my best to embrace the experience!  I joined the cross country team in my first semester, as well as other clubs and societies on campus which provided me with a great opportunity to meet new people.  Although I've only lived here for about six months, I believe this experience has totally changed my outlook on life!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#MyFerrum Experience in Academics

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

With the onset of the #MyFerrum campaign, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to write some of my upcoming blogs on different facets of #MyFerrum experience!

In my freshman year, fall of 2012, I began my horticultural path by being enrolled in BIO-202, Introduction to Plant Science.  I sat directly up front and remember the first day being the only freshman in the class.  Because I had taken AP Biology in high school, the credits transferred and I was able to take the 200-level class during my first semester at Ferrum.  I also took AGS-110 Issues in Agriculture that first semester, which really broadened my horizons on how much further agriculture reached than just my realm of greenhouses and floristry.

The next semester, spring of 2013, I enrolled in HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which was taught by my advisor, Dr. Pohlad.  I had the amazing luxury of being just one of six in that class, which let me begin to develop a relationship with my advisor and with Ferrum's agricultural program that couldn't be matched anywhere else.  We did projects such as help run the Plant Sale that occurs every spring, and even fill the planters and design the flowers of Dr. Braaten's home.  We went on field trips to Virginia Tech to view their tissue culture lab, and we traveled to Riverbend Nursery to get a tour and first-hand look on how a commercially larger-scale operation is run.  That same semester, I started my green roof practicum and took both half-semester horticulturally-derived topics in science classes:  SCI-124 Edible Wild Plants and SCI-130 Healthy House Plants.  This was also the semester that I traveled abroad to Peru for my E-Term, and the Honor's Program enriched the class by producing a field guide for the orchids of the Inca Trail!

The following fall of 2013, I took HOR-410 Greenhouse Management also with Dr. Pohlad, which was my first 400-level class in my field.  This had more of an impact than I expected, which was very fortunate for me.  Back when I toured Ferrum College before I was a student, my admissions counselor brought us through the Academic Resource Center and talked about the Peer Assisted Learning Program, where students can be tutors to help fellow students learn and understand specific classes better.  I remember her explaining that and how I could not wait to eventually one day be a PAL tutor in a horticulture class!  Well, three semesters later, I was asked if I wanted to help out and tutor BIO-202 since I was proficient in my knowledge and already taking my major classes in my sophomore year.  I obviously said "yes"!
My design for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden

Since then, I have taken HOR-418 Plant Pest Management, which let me become legally licensed in pesticide application, and HOR-411 Landscape Design and Management, which presented me the opportunity produce and present a design for our Titmus Agricultural Center entrance and the Adam's Lake Riparian garden.  My proposal was actually chosen and reproduced for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden restoration project!  The semester after those two classes - in the fall of 2014 - I took HOR-415 Plant Disease, AGY-315 Soil Science and Management, and AGS-417 Agricultural Business Management.  While still continuing to tutor the BIO-202 class, I also did another practicum where I was additionally a Lab Assistant for the class.  This gave me valuable experience first-hand on how to work in a lab as a facilitator while also providing me the opportunity to hone my skills in teaching and explanation.

My Riparian garden design being implemented!

Currently, I am enrolled in BIO-419 Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, which I am loving, and I am I beginning to undertake a project studying tissue culture and phytohormone application.  This project, tied in with my junior seminar paper, is helping me and teaching me how to properly go about producing and conducting graduate-level work.  This semester, I also began tutoring HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which I took just year before, so I have a feeling of accomplishment that really helps me get up in the morning.  I have this all thanks to #MyFerrum experience!

With only AGS-314 Animal/Plant Breeding & Genetics left to complete my major's required classes and BIO-306 Nonvascular Plants & Fungi left to take as an elective to complete the requirements to be invited into the National Biology Society, I know that my time left here at Ferrum is coming to a close.  But a year is still a lot of time to continue to make my mark on this campus because:  This is #MyFerrum. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Beginning of a Great Season for Softball!

by Amanda R., Panther Blogger

Ferrum didn't have typical "Spring Break" weather this year.  Before leaving for the week, Ferrum students saw multiple days of snow!  With this being said, spring sports had a difficult time getting outside for practices and games.

During our break, the Ferrum softball team traveled to Florida to play in a non-conference tournament.  Softball in 78-degree weather?  I'll take it!  We played six games over the course of four days.  We returned with five wins and one loss.  One of these wins happened to be over the #6 ranked team in the nation for Division III sports!  It was a major win for us and a great confidence-booster!

We returned back to Ferrum to host four conference games, and we finished these with three wins and one loss.  So overall for our season, we have eight wins and two losses!  This is just the beginning to a great season!!

- Amanda