Archives for posts with tag: U Chicago

Update (6/16)
I just found out that the Exchange link was broken. The current exchange site is:

I just found out that Anthro grad students at Chicago have started their own online publication called Exchange. I gave it a quick look over and it seems pretty interesting — I guess I should note that interesting all depends on whether or not you are interested in anthropology to begin with.

As far as my claim of understanding Peircian Semiotics, perhaps that was a little premature. I finally seem to "get" the notion/relation of object, sign (and the corresponding ground relationship betwixt the two), interpretant, and the vectors of determination and representation. I also now have a better handle on why it fits so well with linguistics (as well as how it works differently than Saussurian Semiotics). The only problem is all of that is currently in my head and I still a ways away from being able to explain it coherently. One step closer at least.

I have to confess to often being in complete awe of imaging technology. Joel Snyder, my photo theory professor at Chicago, once remarked that no matter how many times he’s seen it, he’s still amazed watching the latent image emerge on exposed photographic paper that is placed in developer. Having spent a bit of time in a darkroom, I understand that uncanny reaction.

I often experience a similar feeling when I watch a press at work. Such was the case when I stopped by RIT’s Printing Applications Lab today to watch a class project being run on the Goss Web Press. It’s strangely breathtaking to observe an image appear, color-by-color, on a web of paper flowing at breakneck speeds through a press. Faster than the eye can see, for this press operates at a speed of multiple feet per second, each layer of ink — black, cyan, magenta, yellow — is applied, in perfect registration, as the paper flows from tower to tower. The paper then disappears into a drying unit and then emerges and is immediately folded and cut.

The press itself is far to large for me to take a picture of. I did manage these two shots using my cellphone. The first is of the web passing out of the magenta tower (no relation to Stephen King’s famed Dark Tower). The second is of the end result — folded signatures — emerging from the press.

Photos of the Web Press

This weekend I had really planned on updating the blog in general and more importantly switch everything over to the new address. Then came the plauge. I’ve been layed up sick since Friday. Well not exactly, I thought I was getting over it on Saturday and ended up spending most of the day with Mike Zucca, who was in the area. By Saturday night, I was green and a wreck. Sunday, I didn’t move from the couch. Today, while better, I just havn’t made much progress. I just can’t seem to string thoughts together right now.

For those who have checked the comments, you may have seen that Julia mentioned something about a networking article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, our local area newspaper. I knew the article was coming and that I was going be quoted, but this was a lot more than I expected! I’m reproducing it here just in case the archive goes away (and I want to save this!).

Job networking works, when you work it correctly

(February 5, 2006) — Matthew Bernius hit many low points on his way to snagging that coveted job.

It began when Bernius returned to Rochester last summer after graduate school at the University of Chicago. He had just finished a yearlong educational leave from Eastman Kodak Co., and his one-time employer wasn’t taking him back.

So he applied for coffee shop jobs, hoping to make some money while he hunted for full-time work.

“I was told I didn’t have the right skills to make coffee,” recalled Bernius, 31. “I didn’t quite know how to react to that, especially after spending the amount of time I did in graduate school.”

Still, he persevered, never forgetting the golden rule of job hunting: Network, and use every contact you have to secure that job.

Bernius’ networking, for example, touched off a domino effect, as contacts referred him to other contacts. He eventually landed a six-month teaching gig at Rochester Institute of Technology — a job he didn’t think he had a chance to get.

It began with his blog. He talked about his job hunt and his hopes of combining the Internet skills he got at Kodak with his new cultural anthropology education.

A friend read the posting, suggesting RIT’s Lab for Social Computing. Bernius did research, spotting the name of a “friend of a friend” on the faculty, who later referred him to a professor.

The professor suggested meeting at RIT, prior to a lecture he was to attend there.

Who was leading the lecture? Bernius’s former RIT instructor, whom he chatted with, which led to a lunch and eventually a job offer at RIT’s School of Print Media.

“I remember him asking me how I felt about teaching,” said Bernius, a Long Island native. “It was completely out of left field. Teaching was on my eventual trajectory, but I didn’t expect to do it so quickly.”

“That’s the funny thing about networking,” he added. “It tends to be complex.”

Networking is a simple process. It’s the web of contacts that can be complex.

You just start with friends, family and others you see regularly. Who do they know at your target companies?

Some of the most underappreciated networking sources? Doctors, clergy, haircutters and personal trainers, said Candy Muth, job market consultant at Lee Hecht Harrison’s Rochester office.

Such sources talk to lots of people, especially about their personal lives.

Why not shoot them a call? Or at your next appointment, bring up your career transition.

Mention your target jobs, companies and the kinds of people who can help you. They might refer you to such a patient or client.

“Once you tell people you’re unemployed, people will want to help you,” Muth said.

“One common mistake?” she added. “People handing out their business cards impersonally.

“You really have to treat it like a simple conversation in which you inquire about that person and get on a more personal level,” she added. “Then you can ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities.”

Too often people just look for Internet job postings, “or they hit a button and send a resume,” added Richard Bayer, chief operating officer of the Five O’Clock Club, a national networking group with 10,000 members.

“But very few people get a job that way.”

What if you don’t have a good network? Try to at least personally contact the overseeing manager, he added.

Bernius is perhaps the poster boy for using the personal touch to get jobs.

Remember the professor who linked Bernius to the RIT job? He was the same person that networked Bernius into his first job at Kodak.

I’ve started the process of pulling together my application packet for the full time position at the School of Print Media. For those not familiar with it, the academic application process differs in a number of ways from that of other jobs. Instead of a resume, I will be submitting my curriculum vitae (cv), a detailed account of my academic and professional history. I am also expected to submit two statements, essays that present my research interests and teaching philosophy. Each statement shouldn’t go much more than a page.

Right now, I’m deep into planning them out. I’ve been filling pages with notes about my personal beliefs on teaching and research. The latter, research, has been progressing far more smoothly. It hasn’t taken much time to refocus my media anthropology interests on the world of print and new media. Heck, it was pretty much there already; just replace sex-bots with Gutenberg.

The teaching statement on the other hand is vexing me. This is supposed to be a deeply personal document that lays out who I am and what separates my approach from others, not to mention what will make my approach effective. In theory, this would have been developed over a few years of TAing. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury, and I’m a little concerned about that. But trust me, that little detail isn’t going to stop this process. For the moment, I’m reading the wealth of online information about teaching philosophy statements. I think I’ve got the structural formula down. The next step will be to put a first draft together. I’m trying to accomplish that by Friday.

I just got back from the second lecture that I’ve attended since starting here at RIT. As part of my preparations for next quarter, I am sitting in on the classes I’ll be teaching in spring. Tonight was a really valuable experience. I got to experience what happens when a “smart” classroom turns dumb. The overhead projector refused to acknowledge the existence of the instructor’s laptop. While the teacher eventually emerged victorious, the ensuing hot man-on-computer wrasslin’ match was a sobering demonstration of how quickly technology problems can disrupt a class. The incident was in stark contrast to classes at the University of Chicago, where dry-erase markers are looked upon as unproven technology compared to tried and true chalk.

From this incident I learned to make sure to arrive early and test the equipment. In the instructor’s defense, his planned pre-flight was stymied because the preceding class ran over, providing him no prep time. Thus a secondary lesson is to expect the unexpected.

Beyond projector issues, I learned that I have managed to retain a lot of the fundamental printing knowledge that was instilled in me over a decade ago within these brick lined walls. Professor Hoff, where ever you are, I just want to say thank you. This means that I can spend much more prep time structuring the material, as opposed to relearning it. That said, the structuring will be no easy task. The goal of this course is to present a solid and relevant overview of the various printing processes and the printing industry. There is a large amount of interconnected information in there and my first order of business is to decide what’s essential and what order it should come in. An interrelated challenge is to appropriately set subject “depth,” ensuring that I avoid going to shallow or making students take too many drinks from the fire-hose.

Needless to say, I’m excited about meeting these challenges. I’m beginning to see how I can make a difference and how a new perspective will be useful.