Camp SESE 2013

Camp SESE 2013

On Friday morning, bright and early, 77 first year and transfer students left with professors Arjun Heimsath, Kelin Whipple, Everett Shock and several upper class mentors on two charter buses to the Retreat at Tontozona. The incredibly helpful mentors helped our new students settle into their cabins and get oriented around the camp. The campers were joined at lunch time by SSE interim director, Jim Tyburczy, and Tom Sharp. Friday afternoon was spent with the campers getting a better sense of the geology, water resources, and the challenges of balancing development with conservation of natural resources, led by professors Sharp, Whipple, Shock and Heimsath in different groups. Kip Hodges joined by dinner time. After dinner, Tyburczy welcomed the new students to SESE and Tom Fraker, the Executive Director of the Retreat, provided history behind the mission behind the Retreat at Tontozona. Friday evening was choreographed to music, stars and planets by Ric Alling and his fantastic AstroDevil helpers. A bonfire was built by grad student Nathaniel Borneman, who also organized the S'mores!

Saturday morning found the group guided by the enthusiastic and competent Student Rec Center "Team Challenge" folks, led by Andy White. Sincere appreciation to them for guiding over 80 people through creative and fun bonding and team building exercises.

Saturday afternoon was a tour de force of SESE disciplines that was successful thanks to the truly fantastic contributions of several faculty, as well as the continued coordination and logistical help from the upperclass mentors.
* Rogier Windhorst did no less than three consecutive presentations on the Hubble Mission to rapt audiences full of questions.
* Kelin Whipple, with generous help from graduate student Matt Rossi, coordinated and ran the Scavenger Hunt/Orienteering course.
* Ed Stump and Steve Semkin held court with groups of rotating students on the geology, natural history, and physiography of AZ.
* Sara Walker and Everett Shock led an Astrobiology discussion session.
* Paul Scowen and Jenny Patience, with help from Ric and the AstroDevils, guided an observing and remote sensing session up with the array of telescopes.
* Enrique Vivoni helped students understand the water resources, hydrology, and Tonto Creek dynamics more clearly.
* Kip Hodges and Arjun Heimsath, helped by key mentor spotters, led rotating groups of students through a low ropes course.

Saturday dinner was wound down with an overview of the student clubs and the call for a new one focusing on the expanding student interest in Earth and Environmental Studies, especially as related to the sustainability of our natural resources. Another round of star gazing was somewhat thwarted by clouds and rain, but replaced by dance music and karaoke, another round of S'mores at the bonfire, and movies in the dining hall.

On Sunday morning the group enjoyed the rain and focused on engineering system design and cool robotics.
* Sri Saripalli and student Ben Stinnett successfully launched their robotic kite and photographed the human spelling of "SESE!" from on high. They then let students practice rover driving with their remote control model rover.
* Jekan Thanga, our newest faculty member, guided groups on building a mock lander to compete in an egg drop experiment.
* Chris Groppi and his student Kay guided groups on building their own working AM radio with common supplies and no battery.
* Hong Yu demonstrated and discussed how useful origami art is for engineering and space exploration.
* Danny Jacobs (post-doc working with Judd Bowman) was on call with their octocopter, but launch was scuttled by rain.

The entire weekend was photographed and captured with expertise by journalism student Brittany Morris.

Special and immense thanks to our undergraduate mentors who helped immensely with Camp SESE and are also continuing their service with help for the new students throughout the semester:
*** Chloe Antilla, Andrew Bochko, Michael Busch, Obed Cardin, Tom Chilton, Sarah Cronk, Elizabeth Dybal, Joe Kelsey, Janeen Lantry, Rachel Manak, John McCulloch, Ian McLeod, Chad Ostrander, Nate Pimental, Ben Stinnett, Lauren Turner, and Mason Waaler.

The AstroDevils rushing around in the dark to make the scopes work and support Ric's amazing sound-n-light shows at Camp SESE were:

Kristen Bennett, George Che, Prateek Garg, Trey Ingram, Matthew Mosher, Anish Ramaswamy, TJ Slezak, Diane Van Hoy, and Kim Ward-Duong.

Key behind the scenes help came from our amazing administrative team: Becca Dial and Kelli Wall helped guide students with their enrollment; Nikki Cassis did all the Camp registration, ordering of supplies, and roster building; Becky Polley handled the buses and car rental; Rose Petrini helped assemble the Camp SESE gear; Lillie Glenn handled the billing and finances. And a big thanks to Arjun for organizing and coordinating the whole event. A huge round of thanks to them all!

Thank you to our wonderful group of new students, who brought their keen insights, questions and great attitudes to Camp SESE and helped make the weekend truly fantastic.


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