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To aid Cameroon students with test prep, earn their trust
April 25, 2019 — When it comes to studying for their all-important baccalaureate exam, students in Cameroon are largely left to their own devices. Now a team of Cornell researchers wants to use those devices to help them prepare for the test.
The researchers sent a series of study questions via SMS and WhatsApp to Cameroonian students – an attempt to take advantage of growing phone use by African youths to combat some of the challenges they face. The study found that while the approach holds promise, participation rates, which hovered around 20%, were influenced by students’ perceptions of the project’s trustworthiness and their own security.
“There were definitely concerns about financial or security-based scams, rumors and fake news kinds of things,” said Anthony Poon, a doctoral student in the field of information science at Cornell Tech and first author of “Engaging High School Students in Cameroon with Exam Practice Quizzes via SMS and WhatsApp,” which will be presented at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 4-9 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Cornell University students get to know of tribal way of life
April 24, 2019 — Students from Cornell University teamed up with student leaders from indigenous communities in the Nilgiris, to understand issues such as healthcare, ecology, environmental governance and waste management.
The initiative – the Nilgiris Field Learning Center (NFLC), a collaborative effort between Cornell University and Keystone Foundation in Kotagiri, is an interdisciplinary programme, which took over three years to design, and is aimed at getting students from Cornell to team up with students from local communities to better understand issues concerning local communities, said Neema Kudva, Associate Professor at Cornell University and faculty lead of the NFLC.
Students showcase their community engagement work
April 18, 2019 — From Buffalo’s snowy sidewalks to Puerto Rico’s island warmth to a newly restored library in Ghana, Cornell students work in contrasting locales with community partners around the globe – and they’re making a difference. The students shared their global experiences through posters April 15 at the 2019 Community Engagement Showcase.
“The showcase celebrates how Cornell students support global communities and connect with people who live locally or half a world away,” said Mike Bishop, director of student leadership for the Office of Engagement Initiatives. “Our students are passionate and dedicated to building relationships with their community partners.”
Community engagement takes many forms, including research and leadership, and brings about partnerships locally, domestically and globally.
“All of the students take action in some form with an off-campus partner,” Bishop said. “They may work with a nonprofit organization or a government office. Some students have conducted research, others have undertaken community organizing, and some have developed educational initiatives.”
“SPILL” examines the human stories and lasting environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
April 15, 2019 — On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig set off the largest marine oil spill in history. The blowout killed eleven workers, injured dozens of others, and caused lasting environmental and economic repercussions in the Gulf of Mexico. Nine years later, how has the oil industry and our reliance on fossil fuels changed? How do the stories of those directly affected help us to make sense of climate change and economic inequality?
Developed from hundreds of interviews with survivors of the disaster and the families of those who lost their lives, Leigh Fondakowski’s SPILL explores the human stories behind the headlines. Cornell Performing and Media Arts PhD candidate Caitlin Kane directs performances of SPILL April 26–May 4 in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Flex Theatre.
An architect’s lens on societal wellbeing
Every day in the United States, it seems, there’s another gun-related crime in the news. While politicians and activists argue about the issue, Mardelle McCusky Shepley, Design and Environmental Analysis, is tackling it through the lens of architectural design.
“We have a horrific problem with guns in this country,” she says. “At the same time, there have been a number of studies that have shown when there’s more green space, violent crime goes down.”
Collaborating with Naomi A. Sachs, Design and Environmental Analysis postdoctoral associate, Christine T. Fournier, life sciences librarian at the Cornell Mann Library, and Hessam Sadatsafavi, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Shepley initially surveyed 15,000 titles on the impact of nature on the human physiological and psychological state. “There’s a huge body of literature on the subject,” she says. “But few have looked at the urban scale in very much detail.”