What do Professors Do in the Summer?
When classes let out and graduates cross the bridge to the world of work, professors cheer as loud as anyone.
But it's not because they're headed to the beach or the mountains for three months - although they do often get to travel. Some of the most exciting scholarly activities take place on research trips.
Ruth Mosterntraveled to the mountains of western China at the beginning of the summer to participate on an international team mapping and studying ancient road networks.
Mike Dawsonand lecturer Laura Martin will travel to Australia to see dolphins using sponges to dig for food and stromatolites thought to have been formed by microbes trapping and cementing sediment.
Christopher Vineywill travel to Zambia in August with National Geographic Television, obtaining samples of hippopotamus skin secretions by day and analyzing them by night.
Dunya Ramicova,UC Merced's first arts professor and an Emmy-winning costume designer, will spend time in Seattle and Chicago to oversee the implementation of her designs for the operas The Flying Dutchman and Doctor Atomic.
Teenie Matlock, cognitive science professor, is going to the annual Cognitive Science Society meeting in Nashville the first week of August and will present four projects she has been working on with collaborators here and at such schools as Stanford, Berkeley and Emory. One of her students will also be presenting there, as will professor David Noelleand one of his graduate students. Matlock is also spending part of the summer in Santa Cruz, working on a number of articles.
And sometimes professors' travel is all about collaboration - for example, Arnold Kimspends time every summer in Madrid to work with longtime collaborators in modeling and numerical simulation and plans to visit his old group at Stanford before the end of the season this year. He and other professors will also travel to present their research at conferences all over the world.
My summers are packed pretty tightly, Kim said.
Fortunately for UC Merced students, their professors routinely bring it all back home, and developing courses is another important part of the faculty's summer task list.
Sayantani Sai Ghoshis working on a third-semester physics course to introduce students to quantum mechanics with hands-on labs about radioactivity and other topics. Jennifer Manilay, Dawson and Marcos Garcia-Ojedaare re-working a graduate course in quantitative and systems biology.
And courses aren't the only way these dedicated scholars will bring their research back to Merced. Robin De Luganis planning to host a traveling photographic and oral history exhibition, Living Under the Trees, this September to help the campus and community learn about Oaxaca Indigenous people in California. Writing instructor Jared Stanley is working on the details for next year's Write - Look - Listen reading series, which features poets, fiction writers and non-fiction writers reading from their work.