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I’m judging you – by Roxanne Maduro ’17

July 31, 2015
Colgate students are in Bogata, Columbia at a spanish debate comeptition

Roxanne Maduro ’17, an Environmental Sciences major from Bronx, N.Y., (third from left) is one of four Colgate students participating in CMUDE 2015 as a judge

Editor’s note: Colgate students are in Bogata, Columbia at CMUDE, a Spanish debate competition. This post appeared originally on the off-campus study blog. See more pictures from the trip.  

Debating is not easy. You have 15 minutes to prepare a persuasive and informed argument on a topic you may or may not know and then another seven to speak about it, all while attempting to sound confident in a claim that you may not necessarily believe in, but have to prove to be true nevertheless.

If you are told your position is to prove that 2+2=5, your job is to make the judges and the opposition feel like they are complete fools for ever having believed otherwise. I hold extreme respect for students who challenge themselves by debating, especially those in our Spanish Language Debate Society team, who not only have to debate, but do it in another language.

While I admit that debating is hard, the alternative — judging a debate — is not easy either. Debating and judging are both very difficult for different reasons, and require different skill sets to be successful. If you are a great debater, you can still turn out to be a terrible judge, and vice versa.

The role that proves to be harder varies by individual. People who are very quick on their feet and love to challenge others’ opinions without having to consider the other side of things most likely would be great debaters but terrible judges.

Although some people have traits that predispose them to be a good judge, there are techniques and ways of thinking for particularly exceptional judges. To begin, you have to train yourself to be very detail oriented because the smallest nuance that you notice in an argument can have a large impact on the results of a debate. After that, it’s all in the notes.

When I started out as a judge, I was a mess. I would sit and take very careful and tedious notes during the debates that I judged, but when it came time to deliberate, I had absolutely nothing to say. By the end of the fourth round, it reached the point where I was the head judge and was the person that said the least out of the three panelists. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

Eventually, I decided to look over my notes for the last four rounds, and just like that, I found the problem. I was taking notes like a debater. I wrote down the arguments, rebuttals, and anything else of importance in the speech itself, but did nothing to actually analyze what was being said, what points were stronger, and most importantly, the interaction between the arguments of opposing debaters.

I realized then that judging was twice as hard as debating in terms of note taking. Like debaters, you should keep track of arguments and rebuttals, but you also have to see which arguments are stronger, whether another team responded to the argument, if it was a sufficient response, whether points were elaborated upon, whether teams fulfilled their roles, and so much more.

The strongest teams are always those that make the strongest arguments, develop them, and destroy the bases of each opposing argument, point by point. A judge has to try to be as objective as possible and not hold any bias toward a motion or a debater. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the fact that we’re not even allowed to laugh at a humorous comment or an entertaining debate in general, because judges are supposed to be as non-interferential as possible, and laughing could possibly distract from the debate.

I think that everyone, if given the chance, should debate at one point or another in their lives, because it has so many benefits with regards to reasoning, logic, and public speaking in general. But on a deeper level, judging has helped me begin to develop a new mindset and critical viewpoint that I would not have had if I just debated.

Being able to judge in CMUDE for this past week has allowed me to collaborate with students and professors who have years of experience as panelists, meet dozens of different teams from around the world, and most amazingly, learn from the vastly different experiences and lessons that my fellow Colgate teammates and I were able to go through in the exact same tournament.

Roxanne Maduro ’17.

Colgate Faculty in the News

July 31, 2015
A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez's physics lab in Colgate's Robert H.N. Ho Science Center. (photo 2008)

A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez’s physics lab in Colgate’s Robert H.N. Ho Science Center.

Even as summer temperatures neared the 90’s in Hamilton this week, Colgate’s faculty continued to achieve. Here are this week’s highlights.

The New York Times has called Graham Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies, “a taxi historian.” He recently weighed in on the debate making headlines in the NYC area: is taking a taxi or a car hailed with the smart-phone application Uber better, in terms of the exploitation of workers?

The argument has led to protests, lobbying, and harsh criticism from both sides. In an argument where there’s no clear choice, Hodges shared some insight into the difficult position drivers are in today, bearing the entire operating costs.

Read more about taxi drivers in Hodges’ book and see the full debate on Mashable.

Enrique (Kiko) Galvez, Charles A. Dana professor of physics and astronomy, will be honored as one of the chairs of the Third International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum in New York City August 4-7.

Galvez is recognized as a leading name within the field of optical angular momentum, which has received an increase in attention in recent years. His specialties include physical optics, quantum optics, and experimental atomic physics. While at the conference he will be presenting a paper he co-authored with Kory Beach ’15 and Jonathan Zeosky ’16. Learn more about the project.

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, with the advent of life insurance, there has been a surge in personal data collection. Dan Bouk, assistant professor of history, combined his interests in modern U.S. history and the history of capitalism to write about the need to quantify our lives in How our days became numbered: Risk and the rise of the statistical individual.

Read the Financial Times’ review: (subscription required.)


The Slater brothers’ film festival is back July 30-August 2

July 30, 2015
Wade and Todd Slater, founders of Slater Brothers Entertainment and hosts of the Hamilton International Film Festival

Wade and Todd Slater, founders of Slater Brothers Entertainment and hosts of the Hamilton International Film Festival

Returning this weekend for its 7th year, the Slater Brothers’ International Film Festival will include an impressive range of cinematic experiences while maintaining the intimacy expected from a Hamilton, NY event.

Hamilton natives Grant ’91 and Todd Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment created the festival 7 years ago to give back to their community. The festival serves as an opportunity for town residents, Colgate students and alumni, and eminent personalities from independent cinema to connect and enjoy great films. Read more

Board of Trustees elects new chair, vice chairs

July 30, 2015
A portrait of Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17

Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17

The Colgate University Board of Trustees elected new leadership during a meeting on Friday, July 24. Board Vice Chair Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17 will take up the chairmanship beginning on September 1. He succeeds Denis F. Cronin ’69, P’09,’10, who has served as a trustee for a total of 14 years and has held the top leadership post since 2011.

Trustees Gretchen H. Burke ’81, P’11,’19 and Michael J. Herling ’79, P’08,’10,’12 will take over as vice chairs, succeeding Hurwitz and Vice Chair Robert A. Kindler ’76, P’04,’08,’12,’17, who has served on the Board of Trustees for 13 years and as vice chair since 2011.

“Dan is a natural leader with strong personal skills who listens closely and patiently, manages adroitly, and inspires high expectations and ambitious outcomes,” said Cronin. “He appreciates Colgate’s many strengths and understands its challenges.”

Read more

Xintao Ding ’17: Looking at the genetic makeup of poodles

July 27, 2015

Xintao Ding is a molecular biology major from Zhenzhou, China

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am on campus working with Professor Barbara Hoopes in the biology department. Our lab is conducting research on genes that determine size variation in poodles. Read more

Students present summer research

July 24, 2015


From photochemical pathways to early animation devices to homosexuality in the Arab world — undergraduate research topics explored this summer by students and faculty were presented at yesterday’s poster session.  Read more

Colgate University faculty in the news

July 23, 2015
Buffalo Lockjaw is in an ad with Dockers

Buffalo Lockjaw by Greg Ames featured in Dockers ad

Even though it’s summertime, Colgate faculty continue to make news. Here is a brief roundup.

Buffalo Lockjaw, the award-winning first novel by Greg Ames, assistant professor of English, was featured in a recent ad for Dockers men’s clothing (pictured above.)

Using the hashtag #BookAndALook, the ad copy read “Here’s a soon-to-be-classic look to pair with a soon-to-be-classic novel,” reminding people that they know a new classic the moment they see it. As people learn each year with the Living Writers series at Colgate, a powerful novel can elicit deep feelings and emotions in a reader through a bond of intimacy with the writer. The Dockers ad seeks to evoke the sensibility and attitude of contemporary literature and borrow a bit of it.

Carolyn Hsu, associate professor of sociology, wrote an editorial titled “Draft law may test resilience of Chinese civil society” for East Asia Forum. Her current research examines the rise of NGOs in the People’s Republic of China. NGOs are a new phenomenon in China — they barely existed at all 20 years ago, but now there are millions.

Nina Moore, associate political science professor, was interviewed by Sputnik on Tuesday about the Iran Nuclear Deal. Moore argued that this deal “already is an election issue and will continue to be one in the months ahead, perhaps necessarily so.” Read the full interview.

And finally, a few weeks ago, the Alumni Club of Boston organized a live viewing of the radio show You’re the Expert. Along with all the alumni in the audience, professor Krista Ingram was the guest on the show. You can hear it below:

Grace Littlefield ’16: Growing at the Colgate Community Garden

July 22, 2015
Littlefield is an environmental geography major from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Littlefield is an environmental geography major from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am interning at the Colgate Community Garden. As a local source of organically grown food, the garden is a great asset and educational tool for the university’s sustainability program. Read more

Xiamen-Colgate relationship expands

July 21, 2015
Xiamen Student American Experience program participants meet with former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ’68 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Xiamen University students meet with former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ’68 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Shana Walden)

This Friday, 17 exchange students from China’s Xiamen University will gather with faculty, staff, and Colgate undergraduates to wrap up their month-long visit to Colgate through the Xiamen Student American Experience program.

For Xiamen students, this has been an opportunity to travel to the United States; visit places such as Cornell University, New York City, and Washington, D.C.; explore the Chenango Valley; and connect with distinguished Colgate alumni along the way. It is also a chance to form friendships with the more than 203 Colgate students on campus this summer.

Read more

Adam Basciano ’16: Interning with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

July 20, 2015

Adam Basciano, originally from Randolph, N.J., is living and working in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

Just following the July 4 holiday, I began my summer internship working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the minority leadership of Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. The past two weeks have truly offered many amazing and, at times, surreal experiences here on Capitol Hill.

Upon our arrival, the three other interns and myself were assigned to senior committee staff members based on our interests and previous experiences. As an international relations major with a focus on the Middle East, and having just returned from a semester abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, I was very excited to learn that I would be working with the Middle East and North Africa team.

While the recently announced Iran nuclear deal seems to have taken over every agency and think tank in the city, there are other topic areas relevant to the region that I have been able to explore. Each week, I sit in on meetings with policy makers and Middle Eastern representatives on matters ranging from Tunisia’s growing democracy to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.

With regards to the Iranian deal reached in Vienna, Austria, last week, it has certainly made coming into work that much more exciting and dynamic. Between attending events on and off the hill and preparing the committee staff and senators for our first hearing on the issue this week, I have definitely been kept busy.

At this important and historic juncture for our country and the international community, I am extremely grateful to be in our nation’s capital working on these important issues. I am also very appreciative of the support from Colgate and our Center for Career Services, as well as the countless courses that have prepared me for this opportunity.

[More: Read Professor Nina Moore’s take on the Iranian Deal]

New grant supports the science of mind reading

July 15, 2015
Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject for a brain scan.

Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject as they try to determine whether electroencephalography captures the brain interpreting everyday experiences. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Colgate Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Bruce Hansen probably should have predicted his recent $600,000 James S. McDonnell Foundation award to fund the next six to eight years’ worth of lab work with dozens of students.

After all, his research could easily be considered mind reading.

Read more

Warren Dennis ’16: Preparing for NASA’s future by understanding its past

July 13, 2015
Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis ’16 in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I’m interning for the History Program Office of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, D.C. By providing easy access to information about its past successes and failures, the history office helps NASA to grow and better prepare for future situations. Read more

Former President Jeffrey Herbst named Newseum President and CEO

July 9, 2015
President Jeffrey Herbst

Former President Jeffrey Herbst finished a five-year term at Colgate on June 30th, 2015. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

In a statement released today on the Newseum website, former Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst was announced as the new President and CEO of Newseum.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be joining this world-renowned institution at such an important time in American history,” said Herbst in the announcement. “The Newseum is doing critical work to champion our core freedoms, and I look forward to helping write its next chapter.”

According to the Newseum’s website, the organization’s mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” The Newseum is a not-for-profit established and supported by the Freedom Forum.

Read additional coverage of the announcement in the Washington Post.

Susan Price ’16 presents at UN Human Rights Council

July 8, 2015

Susan-price-2_WEBIt’s almost unheard of for an undergraduate student to present a statement at a United Nations (UN) session. Yet, Susan Price ’16 has done so not just once, but twice. Most recently, on June 18, Price presented at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Read more

Madison Paulk ’16: Conducting social research in South Africa

July 6, 2015
Madison Paulk '16, a political science and African studies double major from Buffalo, N.Y. atop the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, built for the 2010 World Cup.

Madison Paulk ’16, a political science and African studies double major from Buffalo, N.Y., atop the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am in Durban, South Africa, conducting research with Congolese refugees through first-hand communication. Read more

Flaherty Film Seminar examines the Scent of Places

July 1, 2015
Laura U. Marks with several participants of this year's Flaherty Film Seminar hosted by Colgate.

Laura U. Marks with several participants of this year’s Flaherty Film Seminar

The “scent” of a locality is an invisible, unquantifiable aura that can be difficult to capture on film. Yet, it was the course of study for the 61st Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, hosted by Colgate for the eighth year. Read more

Katie Fallon ’16 gets the story, runs with it

June 30, 2015

Katie Fallon ’16 is spending the summer interning for CBS News in Washington, D.C., and it’s a far cry from making copies and getting coffee for this political science major from Hillsborough, Calif. Read her account of the experience at CBSNews.comRead more

Colgate University’s new athletics facility to be named Class of 1965 Arena

June 29, 2015
Members of the Class of 1965 sign a beam to be used in the construction of the Class of 1965 Arena

Members of the Class of 1965 sign a beam to be used in the construction of the Class of 1965 Arena (photo by Andrew Daddio)

Colgate’s new athletics facility, opening in October 2016, will be named the Class of 1965 Arena, thanks to a record-setting gift from the university’s 50th anniversary graduates.

Class members — led by gift chair Jim Himoff, Peter Desnoes, Peter Kellner, John McGonagle, and Robert Forster — offered more than $22 million in support for Colgate to mark their reunion this spring. Their generosity also ensured that Colgate hockey’s home ice, located inside the arena, would be known as the Steven J. Riggs ’65 Rink, in memory of classmate Steve Riggs, killed in Vietnam in 1968. Riggs was team captain and was inducted posthumously into the Colgate Athletics Hall of Honor.

Read more

Zhou Tian’s new violin concerto “The Infinite Dance” delights

June 24, 2015
Composer and Colgate music professor Zhou Tian

Composer and Colgate music professor Zhou Tian

What do J.S. Bach’s Partitas and traditional Chinese erhu (violin) music have in common? For one thing, a new concerto, “The Infinite Dance,” called by one reviewer “quite original” with “soaring melodic loveliness” and “magical” effect — a “minor masterpiece.”

But for Colgate music professor and composer Zhou Tian, a deeper commonality served as his inspiration: both are musical forms inspired by dance.

“I am fascinated by the frequently similar energy … even though their musical roots cannot be more different: partitas were composed based on matured Western music theory, while erhu music is often freely improvised,” Zhou explained.

Read more

Kevin Costello ’16: Interning with congressman on Capitol Hill

June 23, 2015
Kevin Costello '16 stands in the office of Congressman Hanna on Capitol Hill

Kevin Costello ’16, philosophy, Concord, Calif.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across America.

While I’m only in the third week of my internship with Congressman Richard Hanna, Capitol Hill has been incredibly exciting for me so far. Read more

Overheard at this week’s Colgate Writers’ Conference

June 19, 2015
Participants from this week's Colgate Writers' Conference gathered for a reception at Merrill House.

Participants from this week’s Colgate Writers’ Conference gathered for a reception at Merrill House.

Now in its 20th year, the Colgate Writers’ Conference has blossomed into a cooperative literary haven for writers of all ages and literary interests. This past week, more than 40 writers enjoyed workshops, craft talks, and readings. For many, it was the opportunity to return to a collegiate environment (several even experienced an early morning fire alarm in a first-year residence hall) ripe with intellectual sharing and inspiration. They came, they wrote, they collaborated. Here are some reflections: Read more

Chorus and chamber singers tour Europe

June 17, 2015
Ryan Endris leads the Colgate University Chorus in Vienna. Photo by Dylan Crouse

Ryan Endris leads the Colgate University Chamber Singers in Vienna. Photo by Dylan Crouse ’15

In May, the University Chorus and Chamber Singers had the opportunity to perform the program for their spring concert in the places where the musical pieces would have originally been heard. During the nine-day tour, we held four concerts: in Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest. Read more

‘Prepare to be inspired': Eddie Glaude’s Colgate commencement speech makes NYT

June 12, 2015
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. gives his Commencement address to the Class of 2015, May 17, 2015.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. gives his commencement address to the Class of 2015, May 17, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

After combing through many hundreds of commencement soundbites and snippets, editors at The New York Times highlighted the best of the best for their 2015 Cap and Gown blog. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., recipient of an honorary doctor of humane letters from Colgate and professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, appeared at the top of the blog yesterday, above first lady Michelle Obama, television commentators Stephen Colbert and Katie Couric, author Salman Rushdie, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The excerpt chosen by the New York Times begins: “In so many ways, colleges and universities are training grounds for citizenship. Here you either cultivate the habits of courage or learn the habits of cowardliness. Over the past year, you have courageously forced this university to look unflinchingly at itself. You have set the conditions for a nobler university for that fourth grader today who, in a not so distant future, will find herself moving about this campus. And, hopefully, she will not have to ask herself if she belongs here.”

Read the full transcript of Glaude’s speech here.


Downtown incubator abuzz as Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund winners go to work

June 10, 2015
Amanda Brown '15 (left) talks to a student at eWeekend. Brown is one of six eFund winners working in the Thought Into Action incubator space in Hamilton, N.Y. this summer.

Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at  Entrepreneur Weekend in April. Brown is one of six eFund winners working in the Thought Into Action incubator space in Hamilton, N.Y., this summer.

Being selected for the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund (eFund) can change everything for a fledgling start-up, especially when combined with incubator space and direct access to Thought Into Action alumni-mentor support for an entire summer in Hamilton, N.Y.

The $15,000 award that comes with selection opens doors for these new ventures. Some use the funding to hire product engineers, web developers, advertising buys, or just use the capital to allow for full-time work on an idea that otherwise would be attended to only after working another job.

Read more

Colgate’s #2 ranking on economic outcomes continues to pay dividends

June 10, 2015

Yesterday Barron’s became the latest media outlet to report the good news about Colgate’s #2 ranking for “value-added” with respect to mid-career earnings. Colgate ranked ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and many other four-year schools, on the first list assessing a broad array of colleges on economic outcomes for graduates.

The recent report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program — titled Beyond College Rankings, a Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools — used a blend of government and private data sources, including LinkedIn and PayScale. It factored in seven quality metrics: curriculum value, percent graduating in a STEM field, alumni skills, graduation rate, retention rate, aid per student, and instructional staff.

Read here for the summary of the report and the list of the “10 universities that will increase your career earnings the most.”

The new ranking has attracted much attention, including coverage in Inside Higher EducationNational JournalCNN Money, cbs.comNational Journal, Fusion, and Huffington Post.