Why You Should Partake in Undergraduate Research and How to Get Started

I’m sure that most of you by now have heard of at least one undergraduate research project being on done campus, or maybe you’ve seen mention of it on the University of Washington Bothell’s website. At first, the word “research” may seem a little intimidating; it reminds you of long, painful, fifteen page essays that consist of many, many hours of staring blankly at a computer screen and chugging coffee until 2am. But I am (a fellow undergrad researcher studying the behaviors and vocalizations of our campus crows) here to tell you the truth about partaking in undergraduate research here on the UWB campus and bring to light all of the possibilities and benefits that can go along with it!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard.

Before I get to how amazingly rewarding research can be, I’ll cover the hard facts first. Yes, you will have to put in effort. Yes, you will have to give up some of your precious and seemingly sparse free time. Yes, there will be deadlines and expectations for you to meet. Just like any other college related thing, you’re going to have put in the time and effort. Research isn’t a free ride to a few extra credits and a resume booster (though it does look AMAZING on job apps and really gives you a leg up against all of the competition out there); it’s much much more than that. It’s an opportunity for you to get real world experience under your belt and discover if your chosen field is really what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. Now, the research you do doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly what you want to do as a career. Research is pretty open-ended and gives you a lot of room to pick your own study, so doing research can at least give you some insight on what it might be like, or give you ideas on what you might want to do.

Getting started really isn’t all that scary…or difficult.

For those of you who don’t know, getting into a research team might seem a little intimidating or confusing. Every undergraduate research project is ran by a faculty member and if you start research in your first or second year on campus like I did, you may not know a ton of professors in your chosen degree program yet. That’s why it’s a great idea to contact and schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Research Advisers at the Student Success Center located on the first floor of UW1.  These advisers can put you into contact with faculty on campus who would be a good fit for the type of research that you want to do.

But what if you’re not sure about what you want to research? Well, that’s what the Undergraduate Research Fair and the Undergraduate Research Symposium are for. If you can’t make it to those events, then you can check out the research teams and proposals in the online booklets. Once you find a project that sounds like a good fit for you, you can contact the faculty member in charge of the research (their name will be listed in the abstract). More than likely, they will want to have a meeting with you to go over if there’s room on their team, why you want to be involved, what’s entailed, etc. Now, if you really want to impress this instructor, I would recommend asking them as many questions as you can about their research. Not just the nitty gritty of what you will be doing, but what their research is actually accomplishing and the progress that has been made thus far.

I also suggest going to the UWB home page and looking up the professor you are interested in working with by typing their name in the search bar at the top right corner. By doing so, you will find the specific instructor’s page detailing their current/previous projects so you can get a better idea on why they chose to research a certain topic and what they hope to work on in the future. Faculty members take a lot of pride in their projects, so showing as much interest as possible in the work they’ve done will really boost your chances of getting in.

You will get to do some pretty amazing things.

Picture a day in the life of your dream job. Are you a child psychologist sitting in a classroom, clipboard in hand, documenting the behaviors and interactions of toddlers? Or are you a computer programmer, working on an augmented reality software for promoting a large corporation? Whatever it may be, you could be doing it right now even without a degree. Undergraduate research is completely hands on; you will be out in the field, in the lab, or attending a conference to conduct and further your projects. For the research I am partaking in I am almost always outside, setting up and recording play back studies on our campus crows. But when I am inside, I’m analyzing videos and sound recordings in the lab. It’s an experience like no other, being able to do what I have dreamed of doing my whole life and getting to do it before I have even graduated from college.

Scholarships (aka free money)/extra upper-level credits.

Yet another perk of becoming an undergraduate researcher is that you will have access to hundreds of additional scholarships such as the Mary Gates and Founder’s Fellow awards that are only granted to students participating in research. These scholarships are to provide student researchers more time to dedicate to their projects and less time on worrying about paying for college tuition or rent. These awards look amazing on resumes and come with an award banquet, interviews by school organizations and local papers, recipient breakfasts, and special recognition at graduation. Let’s just say that these awards are quite prestigious and will really make all of your hard work worth the effort. You can find out more information about the UW scholarships available for undergraduate researchers here, or by going to the Student Success Center and making an appointment with an undergrad research advisor or scholarship advisor.

Besides the scholarships, you will also receive upper 400 level credits each quarter for your research. Most degrees on this campus require that you get lots of 300 and 400 level class credit in order to graduate, so research is a great way to meet those requirements. This of course varies depending on how long you participate in research, the time you put into it each quarter, etc. etc. You and the faculty member you are working with, will go over the details to ensure that you are receiving the appropriate amount of credits for the work you put in.

The drive to do your best.

Undergraduate research has really shown me what it is like to work out in the field and get a taste of what my future career will look like. It has motivated me to push through college and put my best effort into class so that I may reach the goal of making it into my dream job and be able to continue on with wildlife research. Just taking classes alone can sometimes feel tedious and almost pointless at times, but when you’re doing research with an actual purpose and meaning – aside from getting a good grade – it can really give you that extra incentive to reach your goals. So I heavily encourage you all to do a little research of your own to find out about and get involved with an undergrad project on campus. It is worth the time and effort, and I guarantee that you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LimeBike- a growing bike-share company

Several weeks ago, I was biking on the Burke Gilman trail towards UW Seattle when I noticed a mass of neon green and yellow bikes on the side of the trail. Since then, I’ve been seeing these bikes practically flood throughout the trails and sidewalks of Seattle. These new and brightly-colored bikes are called, LimeBike.

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LimeBike. Image via LimeBike.

LimeBike is a new company that specializes in bicycle-sharing and are based in San Mateo, California. Currently, their program is found in 7 cities and 5 campuses across the United States.

LimeBike locations . Image via LimeBike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one major difference between LimeBike and other bike sharing companies is that they do not have fixed docking stations (ie: Pronto bikes). The fixed docking stations are costly to produce and makes it inconvenient for people to retrieve and/or return a bike. LimeBike makes it much more convenient and accessible for everyone by allowing the user to park the bike where it is appropriate. You may have seen other dockless bike-share companies pop up around Seattle such as Spin and Ofo.

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Spin bike. Image via Seattle Bike Blog.

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Ofo bike. Image via e27.

Features of LimeBike

  • 8-gear bike
  • Hydraulic seat adjustment (makes it easy to adjust to your height)
  • Bell
  • Front basket
  • Solar panel (bottom of the basket) that charges the lock in the back and GPS.
  • Double kickstand
  • Anti-theft lock and alarm
  • Front headlight and rear light

    LimeBike anti-theft lock and alarm system. Image via Alpha Dog Agency.

How do I get on a LimeBike?:

  1. Download the app (Android or IPhone): A map will show locations nearby where you can find a LimeBike.
  2. Scan the QR code or enter the LimeBike plate number (both located behind the bike seat).
  3. The bike is locked with a simple bar on the back wheel. It can be unlocked once step #2 is done.
  4. Now off you go!
  5. Your trip summary and payment (via debit or credit card) is available after your ride.

Map of LimeBike locations on iOS or Android app. Image via Alpha Dog Agency.

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QR code and plate number. Image via WSBT.

How do I pay?

With the app, you will have to insert a credit or debit card to pay. After you finish your ride, a trip summary and payment will be available.

Your first ride = FREE!!!!!!!

Single LimeBike ride

  • Students! It’s 50 cents per 30-minute time block with a valid “.EDU” e-mail address.
  • $1 for non-student riders

LimePrime

  • $29.95 per month with 100 rides.
  •  Students is $14.95 per month with 100 rides, with a valid “.EDU” email address.
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Ride summary and payment of a LimeBike. Image via Seattle Bike Blog.

Are there any restrictions on how far I can ride a LimeBike?

LimeBikes can only be used within Seattle city limits!

Where do I put the bike when I’m done?

These bikes are dockless which means you can park them anywhere! Okay NOT exactly anywhere like in the middle of a 4-way intersection but where it is safe and appropriate. These locations include bike racks, on the side of a trail, and anywhere that doesn’t cause a hindrance for cars or pedestrians.

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An example of where to park a LimeBike: bike racks! Image via Greensboro.

Are helmets available?

Unfortunately, it is your responsibility to bring a helmet. Helmet laws vary depending what city you live in. While you may see people ride without a helmet due to the inconvenience of carrying one around, it is a required law in Seattle and King County for riders to bike with one. Safety first!

How do I ride on the trail or road?

  • Always ride on the right side of the trail
  • Ride in the designated bike lane on roads
  • When passing someone make sure to:
    • Look over your shoulder before going around the person to check if there is anyone else behind you
    • Alert the person by clearly saying “on your left” and then pass
    • OR ring your bell and proceed to pass
  • When turning make sure to use the hand signals (same signals used when your car brake lights aren’t working):
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      Bike hand signals. Image via Michigan Auto Law

    • Tip: it is best to use your left arm for signaling turns so you are able to keep your right hand on the right brake. The right brake controls your rear wheel and left brake controls your front wheel. In case of an accident during a turn signal, you would fall back (as you brake your rear wheel) instead of a forward fall (huge face plant to the ground, ouch!).

What if there is a broken part on the bike?
LimeBike provides customer service via email, call, or text!

Email: support@limebike.com

Call : 1 (888)-LIME-345.

Text: 1 (888)-546-3345

Biking is a great way to get to your destination, be eco-friendly, avoid the traffic of cars, and exercise! Hopefully this information and set of tips will help you feel prepared to get on a LimeBike and ride away!

Podcasts I like and so Do a Lot of Other People

My love for podcasts began in the library. Learning how to shelve books was surprisingly difficult, initially requiring much of my focus. My skills eventually progressed and I could simultaneously listen to music and navigate the book stacks. Eventually, during a long summer shift with plenty of shelving and little else, I dove into the world of podcasts.  I opened up SoundCloud, an app mostly for listening amateur music, and tried to find some talk radio. I landed on StarTalk, hosted by TV astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson with a rotating comedian co-host. By the end of the summer I had listened to every  episode.

Originally, I only listened to podcasts at work. Now, I listen while driving and cooking. I listen while walking my dogs and I listen while training for my half marathon. Podcasts, with their rich narratives and bright personalities, have enriched my life.

Below is a list of my favorite podcasts.

News/Investigative Journalism

This is the best news podcast. I often tune into NPR for news, but with their long-form reporting it’s unlikely that I’ll listen long enough to have a good sense of the news. BBC’s Global News Podcast is a medley of stories from every continent. It is clear that BBC judges the importance of a story on its long-term impact on a group of people, never ignoring a group because they lack political relevancy or economic influence.

Interview

The host Anna Sale’s goal is to talk about death, sex, and money, three things she claims we think about a lot but hardly discuss. This podcast was one of my recent discoveries after deciding to explore other podcasts by WNYC, since they make my favorite one Freakonomics. The episodes I have listened to were a blend of storytelling, reporting, and interviewing, three aspects of a podcasts producers often isolate.

Investigative Journalism

This podcast reminds me of the nuance and complexity that lies behind any headline. Embedded chooses a story and dives deep, investigating how it affects individuals and their communities. Often it results in a reporter traveling and immersing themselves in a new situation or culture.

Interview/Academic Storytelling

Freakonomics is consistently my favorite podcast. I eagerly wait for Thursday morning so I can listen to Stephen Dubner pick apart a topic from an economist’s point of view. The hodgepodge of interviews, academic studies, and personal anecdotes that make up Freakonomics leave me with a new perspective every week.

Fictional

I recently discovered Homecoming. It is the first fictional podcast I have heard. Homecoming tells the story of a caseworker working for a shady government contractor that overstepped in a highly consequential way. It is nothing like an audiobook; it jumps between time and place, with brilliant audio that goes beyond voice acting and sets the scene. It is a perfect podcast for binge listening that doesn’t make your head hurt.

Storytelling/Investigative Journalism

Another podcast by NPR, making it predictably detailed, fascinating, and genuine. It explores the invisible forces that guide and influence us, be it fashion or emotions. It blends personal stories into a wider theme brilliantly.

Storytelling/Investigative Journalism/Educational

Okay, so I was skeptical about this podcast at first. I soon learned that it takes a topic related to the economy, explores all the tangents around it, and makes it fun. It is an enjoyable way to be informed.

Storytelling/Interview

What’s Reply All about? The internet I suppose. What is it really? It’s a show hosted by two charming men with seamless chemistry. It seems like a playground for them to follow all the crazy ideas they have related to the internet, whether it is allowing people to call them for 48 hours straight or going to India to investigate one specific call center that happened to contact them.

Storytelling/Thriller/Investigative Journalism

Serial was and is a huge deal. I only listened to the first season, which explored a cold case and the convicted murderer behind it. In it, the journalists uncover new evidence and interview witnesses and other people related to the case. Serial, as most good investigated journalism does, reminds you to question everything.

Interview/Educational

The depth and range of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s knowledge makes StarTalk Radio worth listening to as long as he is a part of it. It’s a show that takes great strides to make important science interesting and fun.

Storytelling

Each season of Startup intimately follows the progress of a new startup company. The first season follows the founding of Gimlet, the podcast company that produces Startup. Gimlet also produces Reply All and Homecoming so getting a behind-the-scenes look was fascinating. Unfortunately, this podcast has made me start conversations with friends in business that I am entirely unqualified to take part in.

Conversational/Educational

This is an educational podcast about women, gender, and sex. They explore the sociology, psychology, and history behind different issues. Beyond educating myself, I love this podcast because I want to model the way the hosts talk about gender issues with openness and inclusivity but without losing attention to detail or downplaying historical context.

Educational

This is my go-to podcast for some perspective. Historical stories remind me that the things I see as ubiquitous were not always so and that news headlines that seem so unprecedented may not be. The past was a weird, unpredictable, complex time, just like today. Times may change but much about the human condition perseveres.

Conversational/Educational

I listen to Stuff you Should Know partially to learn but mostly as a mood booster. I feel like the hosts, Josh and Chuck, are my best friends. Their attitude that everything is interesting if you explore it deep enough is a refresher.

Storytelling/Investigative Journalism/Interview

I get the sense that This American Life is the most popular podcast of all time. Actually, Serial may be the most popular podcast of all time, but it is a spinoff of This American Life. Each show has a theme separated into multiple acts. The format of the show varies widely but you can count on touching first-person narratives and powerful investigative journalism by host Ira Glass and his team.

The podcasts I listen to were stumbled upon through internet searches or recommendations embedded in other podcasts. There are a ton of different high quality podcasts that I don’t listen to and tons of obscure niche podcasts that I could never listen to. There are multiple podcasts about the podcast Serial, for example. Below is a list of podcasts I’ve listened to a few times, know they are awesome, but haven’t had time to explore fully.

Found Relics Display

Pieces of people’s lives are often left behind in the library, tucked away between pages of books and forgotten underneath tables. This summer, the UW Bothell/Cascadia Library has been home to a display of such items, collected by various members of the library staff over the years. The found relics display showcases many precious snapshots of life, and each item has been given a fun, colorful code name for identification purposes.  Some of my favorite code names are: the crimson wolf, the lilac lady, the golden goodbye, and the magenta mullets.

On display is a wide variety of materials, including:

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Photo by Tate Crowley

An old piece of a German newspaper (the sepia slipper),

bookmarks

Photo by Tate Crowley

A few  handmade bookmarks (the turquoise paperweight and the plum predators),

 

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Photo by Tate Crowley

Artwork of an anchor, perhaps a tattoo design (the indigo shipwreck),

 

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Photo by Tate Crowley

A note found in a book of Nobel prize winners (the Copenhagen collective),

 

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Photo by Tate Crowley

And finally, my personal favorite, the hilarious to-do list of someone with a lot going on (the ivory key).

 

 


 

Library visitors have been invited to invent stories about the items on display, and there have been many creative submissions, such as the one below.

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Photo by Tate Crowley

SHORT STRAW

Unnerstones are always bad news. In the world of improvised magical objects, this was the thing that skipped past hexes and curses and went right to blowing off limbs.  The one I saw in the library, made from a cardboard cut-out of a crow and tacked to a bulletin board, was designed to be placed between the pages of book and go off as soon it was discovered.

From where I stood, I could see the crow’s feet were missing, which meant that phase three: carnage never happened —  the trap was sprung but the Unnerstone never went bang.  That’s probably how it got here.  Whomever this was meant for just closed the book and turned it back in, not realizing that they were almost pulverized.  Now Unnerstone was more dangerous than ever because anything could set it off — such as tacking it head hight to a bulletin board. I glanced at the librarian behind the circulation counter.  Why didn’t you drive a nail through a rusty land mine while you were at it?

She looked back at me with an eye tempered by the fiery heat of experience and painted me as a someone worth watching until closing time.

I caught a break when the phone rang and diverted the her attention. If I was lucky, then it’s one of those calls where the person on the other end asks the same question six different ways before demanding to talk to a supervisor.  Her back is turned. I’m on my feet and fast casual it over to the bulletin board.  In my bag is a big metal water bottle, not only BPA free, but etched in enough runes to keep the Unnerstone happy enough to prevent it from creating a blast zone.

I was holding the rune bottle under the under the Unnerstone when it spoke. “From the opening of the book begins the time of reckoning.” When it cawed at me, I thought it was over. Most of the time a dud spell simply doesn’t work— the worst thing about them is the cleanup. But when a spell starts talking to you, the spell is telegraphing the fact that disaster has transitioned from  an ’if’ to a ‘when.’

Just as I made my move, the Librarian is right there in my face, ready to regulate. “What are you doing?” She asked. I’ve done this gig for a decade and change and there’s still no good answer to that question. She looked at the crow cut-out. “Are you the one who made this?”

I could have told her the truth about the Unnerstone.  Instead, she got a much simpler “Yes. Yes I am.”

“Really?” She said. “Do you remember what book you left it in?”

I looked at the crow cut-out. Some of the runes were visible and displayed the specifics of the spell. Item three was the title of the book it was meant for.

“Carly’s Paranormal Index. ” I said.

She reached up and unpinned the crow. With an outstretched hand, she presented it to me. “Here you go. I’m glad we could get it back to you.”

Inside I’m calling a code brown.  Outside it was a polite “thank you” as I gently took the crow and sealed it in the water bottle.

“What are you going to do with it?” She asked.

“I’ve got a special place for these things.” I told her.

“Did you make the other ones?”

I stop. Holy crap. The Librarian’s right. Since when is there ever just one Unnerstone?

“Maybe.” I said. “Can I see them?”

“Sure.” She said. I followed her to small room off to the side of the circulation desk. She removed a key from her pocket and opened the door. Inside, the walls were covered with dozens of cardboard cut-outs of different animals.

Let me say it again: the walls are covered in dozens of Unnerstones.

Suddenly I am forced into a new theory of the crime. Some rage mage  had been making Unnerstones for months and putting them in library books. The Librarians have been finding these things and instead of throwing them away, chose to collect them into the largest concentration of magical Armageddon that I’d ever seen in my life.  That’s the problem with magic — even the most dangerous things are nowadays considered nothing more than imaginary folklore.

“Yes. They’re mine.” I said. “All mine.” I hope that my voice doesn’t sound like panic.  “Do you have a box?”

It took me ten minutes to rune up the cardboard box the Librarian had brought from the circulation counter. Then another ten minutes to rip the Unnerstones from the wall and place them in said box, and finally another five to concoct a BS story before leaving a card asking her to call me if anymore cardboard animals turned up.

As I sat in traffic, I realized that I’m effectively a car bomb waiting to happen. The broken Unnerstone from the bulletin board has been talking to the ones from the back room, and now they’re convinced that they should all peace out and detonate right then and there. The only thing that holds them back are the runes written in sharpie on the box. They kept up the chatter until I reached a small field in banjo country and the stone circle I built there three days earlier.

After that, there wasn’t much too it. Some crystals, a couple of chicken bones, and a road flare delivered by tracked robot, and the whole thing went up with a roar. I watched the glowing embers rain down from the night sky and bounce within the confines of the stone circle. I’d be back in a couple of days to go through the pieces and find out which self proclaimed wizard has decided to LARP the Unibomber.

When I got back to my car there’s a long message on my phone from the Librarian. She  found another Unnerstone and being a librarian, has done a lot more reading. After deciphering a few of the runes,  she wanted answers, and in her words: “not the BS story you fed me before.”

I’ve got two more jobs in front of me: a bound wraith without a master and a malformed magic circle that could be as innocent or as dangerous as the description of  ‘wonky’ allowed.

I took the freeway back to the library with no intention of telling the Librarian the truth but seeing that as the only outcome. Maybe it’s finally time to get some help.

 


 

The found relics display won’t be up for much longer, so be sure to stop by the UW Bothell library soon and check it out!

There’s Still Time for Summer!

Although we are approaching the start of a new school year, there is still much to do to make the summer worthwhile! After an intense school year, I found that it made this summer so much sweeter. Before having to go back to spending my weekends doing assignments, studying, and reloading my Starbucks Rewards card for coffee, there are still some events around Washington that I plan on attending and hopefully you will too! Check out some upcoming events below:


  • Seattle Night Market & Autumn Moon Festival
    • Where? Chinatown-International District of Seattle, WA
    • When? Saturday, September 9th @ 4PM-Midnight
    • What? My first time to the Seattle Moon Festival was in 2015 and it was a night filled with street food and free entertainment! In previous years, the types of entertainment that were there included hip-hop dance battles and live band performances. Wondering what exactly is a Moon Festival? To keep it short, in Chinese and Vietnamese culture, people would give offerings such as fruit and moon cake to worship the moon goddess. In doing so, it was believed that the moon goddess will bless the people with a plentiful harvest for the following year.
    • Additional info/tips:
      • Admission: FREE
      • Bring cash! Vendors and food trucks sometimes prefer cash over credit cards. There will be ATM’s in Chinatown.
      • Check the weather before you go. The event will be held outdoors and mostly at night.
      • Don’t want to deal with traffic and having to find parking IN SEATTLE? Take the Light Rail and get off at the Chinatown/International District stop. The walk from the light rail station to the event is about 5 minutes.
      • The history of the Moon Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival
      • More info @ http://cidbia.org/events/night-market/
    • Here’s a picture of the live band performance from Lions Ambition when I went!
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Lions Ambition. Photo taken by author.

  • Washington State Fair
    • Where? Washington State Fair Events Center
    • When? September 1st-24th (Closed on Tuesdays and 9/6/17)
    • What? The Washington State Fair is just like any other fair. There are many food vendors and tents where people sell things from t-shirts to little crafts. For those who are thrill seekers, the fair also has a number of rides and games to win prizes. It is definitely a place where you can spend all day at so grab some family and friends and come!
    • Additional info/tips:
      • Admission: adults $14
      • Parking:
        • MWThF $10
        • Sat. & Sun. $15
      • Certain fair dates have special deals. Check them out here! http://www.thefair.com/deals
      • Wear comfortable shoes. The fair takes a lot of walking to be able to do everything.
      • More info @ http://www.thefair.com/
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Washington State Fair 2015” © 2015 atomic80, made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. https://flic.kr/p/yCoBZD

  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit
    • Where? Seattle Art Museum
    • When? June 30th-September 10th
    • What? The Infinity Mirrors is one of the SAM’s most popular exhibits to have ever come to Seattle! Tickets are available on-site at the SAM (With student discounts so bring your school ID!). Upon entering the exhibit, you will experience Yayoi Kusama’s vision of what the vast concept of “infinity” is through multiple mirror rooms.
    • Additional info/tips:
      • Get to the SAM early or even before they open to increase your chances of scoring tickets! Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis.
      • Try going on the weekdays. Weekends are more crowded since people usually have more free time.
      • Take the Light Rail and get off at the University Street Station to avoid driving in the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle.
      • More info @ http://kusama.site.seattleartmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/
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Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. Photos taken by Melissa Logan.

Seattle’s Link Light Rail system: it’s (been) here!

Earlier this summer I had my first experience with the Seattle light rail system while exploring around downtown with a few of my friends. I consider myself a huge public transportation enthusiast and user. During my academic year I commute via bus to and from school, in the summers I will also take the bus to work and to places I volunteer at. But as much as I love busing, there’s just something special about traveling underground. This might not sound like the flashiest, most exciting thing to everyone, but personally my experience on the light rail took me back to the summer of my sophomore year in high school when I took a three week long trip to Europe. It made me feel like I was in a big city again and this filled me with excitement. My experience with the light rail made me ask myself “why hadn’t I tried this before…? It’s so convenient!”

There are plenty of people who have not ridden the light rail even though it has been running for over a year now (and recently opened two new stops, including UW Seattle!). If you’ve been one of the people who have not heard much about the light rail, or a little intimidated by it, do not worry! It is not complicated at all there are just a few things to remember:

 


Paying:

  • ORCA Card/Passes (Anyone): Purchase an ORCA card for $5 ($3 for seniors 65+, or riders with disabilities), and add as much many as you like between $5 and $300.
    • ORCA Regional Day Passes, can be loaded onto your ORCA card for $8 per day. The Day Pass expires at the end of transit service on the day that it is used. Multiple days can be loaded onto one pass. These passes can also be used for buses, streetcars, trains, and water taxis.
  • UPASS (UW Students/Staff): Your Husky Card also works as an ORCA Card! This means that as long as you’ve activated the UPASS feature on your Husky Card, all you have to do is scan your card before AND after getting on/off the light rail.

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    Where to scan your Orca card or UPass – Image via Seattle Times

***Scan before and after getting on/off the light rail (this was something my friends kept needing to remind me of)***

  • Tickets (Anyone):
    • One-Way: Ticket prices for one-way rides vary (depending on how far your trip is) and range between $2.25-$3.25. You should note these passes are one use only, and intended to be used between the specified stations printed on the ticket.
    • Day Pass: Day passes can be purchased for $4.50 and may be used anywhere throughout the Link Light Rail. These are especially nice for if you’re having a friend or relative visit, and you’re wanting to explore around Seattle the whole day.
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One-way ticket from SeaTac to Westlake – Image via Bittersweetbyte

***Note: Rail tickets can only be used for the light rail, unlike the ORCA cards and UPASS.***

Etiquette

  • Off the rail:
    • Stand to the right on the escalators going up or down if you will not be walking up them. As much as you might want to stand next to friend or loved one on the escalator (or take in the sights of the underground), there’s people who need to get to work on time or make it to an appointment, by standing to the right you’re giving them space to walk (sometimes run) up the escalators.
    • Have your pass/ticket ready to scan, this way everyone can get to their destination much faster.
Image result for stand to the right on escalators

Escalator rules – Image via Torontoist

  • On the rail:
    • Stay away from the doors! You don’t want to be the person blocking the entrance/exit for everyone else. If the train is reaching max capacity, do your best to make room for people exiting.
    • Don’t take up more space than you need for yourself, this includes laying on the seats, placing a backpack or purse on a seat next to you, etc.
    • Don’t do anything that would require you to have a private space, the light rail is meant for transportation (this also includes eating on the rail, don’t feast on the rail).
The MTA's New Subway Etiquette Campaign Focuses On Spatial Awareness!

Be courteous and leave space for others. – Image via darnellthenewsman

Planning

  • Use the Sound Transit Website to find when the next train arrives.
  • Use this map of the rail to find where the stations are located (entire red line, including the dashed part is open for use):
Image result for link light rail map

Map of current light rail (July 2017) – Image via thenorthwesturbanist

  • Google Maps: You can use Google Maps to typing in the location of the place you want to get to, and where your trip would start from.
    • Google Maps also lets you choose what method of transportation you would like to use, by clicking on the image of the light rail, then it can give you the best walking or driving route to the light rail.
    • You can also find routes with less walking (which my result in a longer commute time from taking multiple buses).

 


I found my experience with the Link Light Rail to be very excited and worry free, I hope that with these tips anyone who felt a little intimidated or less inclined to ride the light rail, will be find it easier to understand.

National Poetry & Letter Writing Month

The air inside the trailer is slightly musty, reminiscent of cedar and memories just out of reach.  Inside, stacks of paper and notebooks and postcards eagerly await someone’s pen.  They rest on two small tables, a slight breeze causing them to ripple like the sea, and they whisper secrets to each other.  If the trailer sat there long enough, grass would begin to ensnare its tires and eventually invade the wooden interior.  Perhaps that is what the trailer wanted for those few sunny days, to sit in that glow as the voices of students passed endlessly by.


As April comes to a close, so does 2017’s poetry and letter writing month.  On April 3rd and 4th, the small campus trailer was parked next to the library and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time inside!  Here are some pictures of the trailer:

(a short video of the inside can be found here: https://vimeo.com/215115289)


The UWB/Cascadia library had a poetry month celebration of its own, via the children’s literature display.  Students were invited to write poetry and read some of the sweet children’s poetry books.  Here are some pictures of the display, which can be found on the second floor of the library through the end of the month:

 


All images and video taken by the author.