Dr. Pangallo Discusses Playing Shakespeare

Playing is serious work, and playing Shakespeare among the most serious work of all. Mastering the rich language and complex characters of Shakespeare’s plays has been the highest goal of western theater for hundreds of years. To perform Shakespeare is to make contact with the deepest, truest, funniest, saddest, most persistent and most genuine aspects of our humanity. Today high school students are usually introduced to his plays as assigned reading in a classroom, but this course will re‐introduce students to his plays as they were originally written: as scripts for lively, and living, performance.file3031294416087

Course Description: Performing Shakespeare
July 26th – August 8th

Over the past four hundred years, we have made Shakespeare into one of the most intimidating cultural icons in the world. Because of this, students often dread his plays – but this is in large part because they are often taught as books to be read rather than, as they were intended, scripts to be performed. On the page, his language is dense and often confusing; but on the stage, that language becomes engaging, moving, and truly alive. Performing Shakespeareintroduces students to a theatrical approach to mastering the works of the greatest playwright in the English language. The course is for all students, including those who have no prior experience with performance and those who have no prior experience with Shakespeare.

While the two weeks culminate with student performances of scenes, the course is process-centered, with an emphasis on practical experience and collaboration. Students will analyze a Shakespearean character from an actor’s perspective, they will decode clues about action and emotion in Shakespeare’s verse and prose, they will map out the theatrical structure of the Shakespearean scene, and they will experiment with different ways of translating all of those into a compelling and original performance. Through improvisational games, exploration of the text, movement, production design, and experimentation and rehearsal, students will come away with the skills of cooperation, creativity, and critical thinking that will serve them when they approach any complex text or any great challenge.

Apply online at http://www.umass.edu/summer/precollege

Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things

Once upon a time, I was nearly laughed out of the room for suggesting that, someday in the distant future, everyone would have their own computer. Now, of course, you probably have several computers. But you actually have a lot more computers than you think.

A photo of a computer and arduino

Some of your computers are in obvious places, like your laptop or cell phone or game system. But others are invisible to you: In your car. (Your car probably has multiple computers in it already!) In your microwave. In your television.In your refrigerator. In your thermostat. Did you know there is probably a tiny computer inside your microSD card? (It’s a modified ARM processor that maps out bad memory location and remaps the file-system so the FLASH memory gets exercised evenly).

Soon, there will be computers inside everything. Imagine your disposable soda cup at the restaurant with a video advertisement playing on the cup! Or food packaging that turns black (or green or yellow) when it’s expired. But the next really big step will be that these computers won’t just be standalone computers: they’ll be networked and able to talk to one another. Welcome to the Internet of Things.

We’re offering a class about Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things because, although the future is not quite here yet, you can already start exploring this new world. And begin developing the basic skills that will allow you to start using these technologies immediately.

Some of the skills are basic: Navigating the Linux operating system using the bash shell and a text editor; Applying fundamentals of computer communication and Internet Protocol networking; Programming with Python. Others are more specialized: Collecting and transforming data from sensors using a GPIO; Controlling electronic devices; Building and using client-server applications.

Finally, there’s a dark underside to being surrounded by all of these computers: Who really controls them? Are they collecting data about you? Who can see that data? It’s imperative to think through the security implications of these systems to prevent intrusions and mitigate their effects when compromised.

The course is being offered by Steven D. Brewer, Director of the Biology Computer Resource Center, and Christine Olson, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at UMass. They are co-founders of Makers at Amherst Media, a local group focused on building community and making technology accessible to the public.

Former UMass student and entrepreneur Wayne Chang, talking about technology startups recently, identified the Internet of Things as the “next big thing”. We agree — and hope you’ll join us this summer for Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things July 12 through 25.

Professor Rebecca Ready Discusses Her Work in Clinical Psychology

In Clinical Psychology we have been building patient databases of neuropsychological assessment data. 

Artistic rendition of a brain

Neuropsychological assessments are clinical evaluations to determine reasons for psychological symptoms and/or problems in living (see this document for more information).  For example, evaluations are conducted to diagnose learning disabilities, ADHD, and memory impairment.  More important, these evaluations generate recommendations to help patients function better and to obtain accommodations and treatment.  The neuropsychological evaluations consist of a clinical interview, questionnaires about personality and psychiatric symptoms, and neuropsychological tests.  Neuropsychologist tests include assessment of learning, memory, IQ, language, visual-spatial skills, executive functions, and academic knowledge.

We have been entering data for assessments conducted over the past 8 years and have rich data to explore questions pertaining to many important aspects of these complex evaluations.  For example, we could determine how different types of test performances are associated with one another.  Links between emotion and cognitive function are of particular interest to our research group.

Rebecca Ready, Ph.D.
Division Head and Director of Clinical Training
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Professor Ready is offering a research-intensive experience for high school students this summer.  See www.umass.edu/summer/precollege for more information.

UMass Amherst Faculty – What you should know

Whether you are a summer pre-college student, a UMass Amherst undergrad or grad student, one of the key benefits of studying at UMass Amherst is the faculty.  You probably know that some colleges and universities are two-year schools, while others are four-year schools.  Something you may not be aware of is that there are other factors that distinguish institutions within those categories.

The Carnegie Foundation classifies schools by the length and kind of degrees they offer, their areas of focus, and their level of research activity.  UMass Amherst is an RU/VH institution, meaning that it is a research university with very high research activity.  When we talk about research in this context, we are talking about each faculty member’s particular work in her or his field — everything from bio labs to biographies.

The connection between faculty research and your education may not be clear at first blush, but there are great advantages to taking courses with faculty members at the cutting edge of their fields.  It means the faculty will be teaching the most up-to-date material, as keeping up with research findings is a part of their daily routine.  It also means that the faculty can bring real-life examples of concepts you are learning into the classroom, even examples from their own research.

Because we are so proud of the UMass Amherst faculty who participate in our summer pre-college programs for high-school students, we will be bringing you blog posts from many of them over the weeks and months leading up to our pre-college programs.  Stay tuned to hear about a wide range of topics!

In the Rear-View Mirror

It has been over a week since students left the summer programs and the campus definitely feels different without them. Last week I reached out to a couple of students for some testimonials about the time they had.

I’m about to share what Juan David Figueroa (Bogota, Colombia), Erica Dirk (Tewksbury, MA), Ted Johnston (Amherst, MA) and Sarah Gold (Warwick, RI) had to say about their Summer College experience. Continue reading In the Rear-View Mirror

Best of Luck

Hello one last time!

Yesterday the Research Intensives students left after engaging in six weeks of research. They were the first group to arrive and the last to leave, they saw two full sessions come and go, and spent as much time at UMass this summer as I did. Continue reading Best of Luck

It’s All About the Little Things

I am from a very small country; you can go from one coast to another in about three hours. Population size falls just short of 5 million, and my graduating class was 50 students. I never understood how being from a small environment made me feel a deeper connection to everything around me until I came here. I say this because having a smaller group of students for this session made me remember that. Continue reading It’s All About the Little Things

A Whale of a Tale

Ahoy! Hope your weekend was great.

At Summer College we enjoyed an activity-packed weekend including a trip to Six Flags New England on Saturday and a visit to Boston on Sunday. This time I took part in the latter. Continue reading A Whale of a Tale

In The Making

Hello again, everyone! As promised, I’m writing before the week ends.

I’ve tried to spread myself out this week to cover as much ground as possible to keep you updated. I spent most of my time creating a social media report, but still managed to visit and keep track of some of the activities the students were doing. Speaking of the social media report, thanks for being such an awesome audience. The number of views throughout all of our social media has been incredible! Continue reading In The Making

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