"Cutting Edge" Lectures Aim to Introduce High School Students to UB

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: February 12, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) again will reach out to local high school students this spring by presenting the "Cutting Edge Lecture Series," a series of free Saturday-morning seminars in which top UB scholars in the arts and sciences, as well as successful alumni, give presentations aimed at increasing public awareness in rapidly advancing fields.

The series, along with a Poetry Contest for high school students, were initiated last year by CAS Dean Uday Sukhatme based on similar program he started at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Both programs are designed to introduce prospective students to CAS and to UB, as well as to help students explore new areas of knowledge.

"We have to get the public to visit the campus, relate with the faculty and get an idea of what cutting-edge research mean," Sukhatme says. "People in the Buffalo area have to take greater pride in UB and start thinking of it as 'their university.'"

Last year's lecture series -- which was attended by about 500 students from 31 different Western New York high schools -- featured presentations by CAS faculty members in the fields of sociology, art, classics and geology, as well as a lecture by Pamela S. Benson, BA '76, senior producer of national security for CNN.

Benson also will speak on March 27 during the 2004 edition of "The Cutting Edge Lecture Series." Her lecture is titled "The Global Media and the CNN Effect: Observations of a Veteran News Producer."

The remainder of the schedule for 2004:

• March 6: "Real-time Interactive Computer Music Systems," Cort Lippe, associate professor, and Cheryl Gobbetti-Hoffman, adjunct assistant professor, both in the Department of Music. This lecture will examine how the use of computers in music has gone beyond just producing sounds and synchronizing electronic events with a musical part played by a musician.

• March 13: "Groundwater Detectives: Tracking Groundwater Contaminants Flowing Within the Earth," Richelle Allen-King, associate professor, Department of Geology. In the first part of a two-part presentation, King will discuss how contaminants move from their origin at the ground surface and travel within the earth. During the second part of the program, participants will use their groundwater detective skills to consider the scientific evidence -- and its limitations -- in the landmark Woburn, Mass., case of groundwater contamination that was the subject of the popular novel and movie, "A Civil Action."

• March 20: "Rituals of Resistance," Jason Young, assistant professor, Department of History. This interactive presentation will explore the music, dance, rituals and even martial-arts traditions of slaves and focus on the ways that enslaved Africans in the U.S., the Caribbean and South America fought back against slavery -- not only with their fists, but also with the power of their culture.

• April 3: "Traditional Shamanic Healing and the Spirits of Chilean Modernity," Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology. This multimedia presentation will look at the shamans, or sacred specialists of the Mapuche indigenous people of Southern Chile, and how they combine traditional beliefs with modern technologies, Catholicism and politics.

All lectures will take place from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. Registration will be held at 9:30 a.m., and light refreshments will be served. The lectures and parking are free. While the lectures are geared toward high school students, they also are open to the general public.

High school students who attend at least three of the five lectures will receive souvenir gifts and an "Honorary CAS Scholar" certificate.