On Thursday, December 3, a unique event took place in the Marran Theater, as professors competed in a “Family Feud”-style event, with students from the Lesley First Year Seminar asking the questions. The event was called “Meeting of the Minds,” and it featured ten specially chosen professors, divided into two teams. It was designed to showcase the passions and successes of the professors, as a means to inspire and motivate students who are pursuing their own ambitions and careers. The goal was to provide the students who attended with an enjoyable opportunity to bridge the gap between them and the professors.
As Professor Liv Cummings explained, “The event came about when five of the First-Year Seminar Faculty decided the FY students should have an event which was especially for their class where they could meet and hear from Lesley faculty from all departments and disciplines: how would faculty look at local and global problems and challenges through their particular discipline? How did these faculty get to where they are today from their undergraduate education? What are their research and artistic passions? We five faculty — [myself], Lisa Fiore, Dave Morimoto, Josh Baldwin, and Kazuyo Kubo — talked to each of our seminar sections about the event, and our classes nominated two FY student leaders from each section (to form a group of 10) to coordinate the event, making it be what they wanted it to be and address questions they most cared about.”
After students took their seats in Marran and the event began, the professors introduced themselves: one team named itself “Edith’s Eagles” (after our founder, Edith Lesley); it included Josh Baldwin (CLAS), Anthony Apesos (LUCAD), Donna Halper (CLAS), Ahni Fritton (Advising Center/CLAS), and Neil Klein (CLAS). Their opponents were the team which called itself “Collective Intelligence”; their members were Heather MacDonald (CLAS), Roser Giné (CLAS, GSOE), David Morimoto (CLAS), Brandon Strathmann (LUCAD) and Liv Cummins (CLAS). The way the game worked was that each team sent up a player after one of the three student hosts asked a question. Since we didn’t have a buzzer for the contestants to use, whichever professor made a sound first (they could choose the sound) could answer the question, and get a point for their team by answering it to the best of their ability. Some of the questions were serious, while others were humorous. It required quick thinking to respond to questions ranging from their views on the evolution of humanity, to recollections of their childhood, and thought provoking questions like “what do you do when you realize that your lifestyle is contributing to the destruction of the planet?” Students in the audience could also ask the professors questions, and many did. Although this contest was close, when the points were added up, “Edith’s Eagles” was the winning team.
The students who put this successful event together included Isabella Mazza, Taylor Toumayan, Nina Carmo, Franchesca Santiago, Elizabeth Gallagher, Anne White, Kaitlin Thibeau, and myself. Given how well it went, we plan to host another, similar event sometime during the spring semester.
From left to right: Professors Joshua Baldwin, Anthony Apesos and Donna Halper.