My Last Semester at Umass Lowell

I can’t believe that I am writing this, but this is the first full week of my last semester at Umass Lowell. I went to WPI in Worcester MA for my undergrad degree, but both of my master’s degrees will be from Umass Lowell. I got my Master’s of Education there in 2009, and I will have my Master’s of Science in Biology this May. What can I say, I like school. I was told once, don’t remember by who, that your education is the only thing that can’t be taken away from you….and so as I have lived my life amassing furniture, sporting goods, whatever…I have also been amassing courses.

Umass Lowell was inducted into the University of Massachusetts family back in 1991. It is the second largest MA state school, Umass Amherst is the largest. I have watched over the years as Umass Lowell has transformed from a largely commuter school to a thriving community for students and faculty. There are three campuses at Umass Lowell. North Campus was originally the Lowell Technological Institute (started as Lowell Textile School in 1895) and South Campus was originally Lowell State College which really began as a teacher’s college back in 1898. They are on opposite sides of the Merrimack River and merged back in 1975. The third campus, East Campus, is over by LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners, a minor league team for the Boston Red Sox. That campus has a lot of the dorms and a big dining hall.

Now, there has been construction on campus pretty much since I started there back in 2008. A lot of the buildings have the geometric (ugly) style to them….they kinda look like tetris pieces? There are some buildings that I love though.

ac97d2ab41986b52b814b5b7785c7274
Via Pinterest

This one is Coburn Hall on South Campus. The South Campus is where the health sciences, humanities, grad. school of education, and some dorms/student center can be found. I love this building. This where the Lowell State College started. The building was designed by Stickney & Austin. It was named after Frank Coburn, the first principal of the school.

The next three are all on the North Campus where the textile school/technological institute was started.

7753b4b0c31f731f769b540c479ba37c
JFK at the official opening of Cumnock Hall in 1956. This building has a big auditorium, conference rooms, and offices.  Via Pinterest
4558433716_739ac58fe6
Southwick Hall, opened in 1903, dedicated to Royal & Dierexa Southwick for the textile program. Now it’s just classrooms & offices. From a site called flickriver.com, seems to be a dead site now though. 
IMG_2045
Alumni Memorial Library, built in 1949. One of two new buildings along with Eames Hall for the textile school. This is my picture, I kinda have a building crush on it 🙂

The Southwicks were Quakers and abolitionalists and they started the Lowell Carpet Company. Textiles and mills were the main industry in Lowell for the industrial era. Frederick Ayer was the grandson of the Southwicks, and he had a big influence on the textile market in Lowell & Lawrence. The textile program shut down in 1971.

Rejuvenating the mill district in Lowell has been a process. I grew up nearby and have watched the industry come back to Lowell…..new restaurants….mills converted to apartments….new community activities. Lowell is home to the Tsongas Arena, canals that are a beautiful and educational stroll, LeLacheur Park which has more activities than just baseball, and a lovely mill museum. The Textile Regatta in Lowell is usually the first big fall headrace for crew, so much fun, and they have a great folk festival too.

Umass Lowell has been a huge part of bringing Lowell back to life. The school has expanded, made jobs possible, and has really become one of the most underrated schools in a really underrated city. When we think of Massachusetts, maybe our coastline comes to mind. Cape Cod, Boston, and Cape Anne are GORGEOUS, but mill towns have been important to Massachusett’s history too. Lowell is totally worth a visit and Umass Lowell is worth a look for a great (& affordable) university. I will be sad to finish up this spring.

Hope you all had a great weekend!! I will do a post maybe tomorrow with some trail fun pictures from this weekend 🙂

Signature 2

 

Presenting in my grad class

There are only two weeks left this semester at Umass Lowell. Then I will have a break where my weeknights are returned back to me before my last semester begins in January. I am certified to teach both biology & biotechnology in the commonwealth, and while I got my Master’s in Education back in 2009, I just can’t stay out of school! I started my Master’s in Science for Biological Sciences back in 2012 and have just been plugging away. I love the courses, I have loved all my professors in many different ways, and I will be sad to see it end in May. I’m getting a non thesis master’s, just coursework. It’s sort of a neutered degree, I know, but I am not getting it to do research! I enjoy taking classes, and saw I could get a degree from it, and figured why not? I’m a huge nerd, I love reading journal articles, I love googling all the words I don’t know, jumping around latin roots and comparing graphs…..judging images of fluorescence and bands in Western blots…..oh no, I’m losing you huh?

IMG_2045
My favorite building at Umass Lowell, the old alumni memorial hall

Anyway, this week was my turn to present in my class. It was a little nerve-racking because this is only grade in the class really. I guess he is going to count our attendance & class participation, but most of the grade is on this presentation. My paper was fabulous. An amazing new gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Did you know that the reason why its so hard to just come up with a gene therapy already is because the dysfunctional protein, dystrophin, is one of the largest proteins in the body so it has tons of opportunities for mutations!? Fascinating.

Powerpoint was done three weeks ago. Over the weeks I edited, added, deleted, and nurtured my little powerpoint like it was a finicky plant. I secured one of those little remotes with the USB thing that lets you click through your slides without having to walk over to the computer and has a laser pointer so you don’t have to stand IN the projector light to point at stuff on the screen all the while being covered in your own powerpoint. Then came the outfit. I like the dress nicer than usual for a presentation. Whatever I normally wear, I like to go a step up. Not everyone in my class feels this way. I think its nice to get up in front of your classmates and professor and acknowledge in your appearance that you are honored to present for them.

I wore an old tartan skirt from J. Crew Factory, navy tights, my cognac Seychelles riding boots that I got from Rue La La last year, light blue knockoff Ralph Lauren oxford when I lived in Thailand that I got for 199 baht (5 bucks folks haha), Daniel Wellington watch, KJP bracelet, AND a navy wool cardigan from Polo Ralph Lauren, vintage, that I got for $27.99.

The cardigan is comfortable, so warm, and I am just a little in love with it? Hunting for vintage Ralph Lauren is a fun little hobby of mine- I try to find sweaters from the past for under $40. Etsy & Ebay are the best places online to look, and then of course upscale consignment shops.

IMG_2132IMG_2134

IMG_2137
My coteacher took this pic in my lovely classroom 🙂

I love putting together an outfit for something specific that makes me feel confident for that occasion without breaking the bank. Finding this cardigan came from a search for a navy blazer, and I think I lucked out because the cardigan is a little more casual and I will be able to wear it more I think. I like to imagine that the woman who owned this cardigan before me was a fabulous professor with a closet full of wool and tweed who gave away all her winter clothes when she bought a small horse farm on her last sabbatical someplace warm like Brazil, fell in love, and decided to stay.

I have today off which is so nice before Thanksgiving. I have some errands to run and then obviously a trail run this afternoon with the sweetest spotted pup who is currently curled up in the sun next to me. Happy Wednesday! I hope many of you are off and heading to see family and friends or at least you are getting out early today!!!

Signature 2