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February 11, 2014 - Image 4

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4 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

e Mdpian Biy
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Expand educational excellence
Snyder must encourage schools to adopt the 1B programme
ecently, a Michigan public school district took a drastic turn
with its curriculum when it decided to completely embrace the
International Baccalaureate programme, applying the teaching
style from preschool all the way up to high school. IB is very different from
the traditional education system because it avoids simply memorizing
information to spit out on exams. With an emphasis on languages and
global awareness, as well as problem solving and critical thinking, this
unique educational system seems to successfully prepare students for
college and the real world. The state should provide funding to allow

Engineering for the 'real world'

ong before I came to
Michigan, I knew I was
meant to be an engineer.
This belief
may have come
as much from my
love of science
and math as it did
from the hope
that I would find
a community of
people I belonged
with: people JULIA
who skipped ZARINA
middle school
dances to write
letters to NASA about the technical
similarities between the Mars Rover
and R2-D2. People who can't play
Angry Birds for extended periods of
time because they get angry when
the trajectories of the catapulted
birds don't obey the laws of classical
mechanics. People who love the
challenge of creating, of making
their own mark on the world and
learning to better understand it from
a perspective they identify with.
Somewhere towards the end of
freshman year that all changed. In
high school I had been a straight-A
student, but in college I struggled to
keep up, lost in a sea of people who
all seemed to tirelessly and deftly
juggle classes, clubs and internships.
I was inspired, but I was also vastly
unprepared for the competitiveness,
the workload and most of all, the
culture. t came from a high school
where diversity meant far more than
a brochure cover, and the cost of an
education was a concern as real and
as present as getting admitted to a
university in the first place. Here,
I felt acutely like an impostor - as
though the admissions department
had made some grave administrative
error and I was wasting everyone's
time by believingI could compete, let
alone succeed.
For me, the counter-evidence to
this came not from an Aton an exam
or a compliment from a respected
professor. It came from my own
self-affirmation: the first time I
recognized that my degree was more
than a piece of paper or a measure of
my worth calculated to two decimal
points. It was the moment I looked in
the mirror and saw myself for who I
was - my own culture, gender and
experiences - AND as an engineer,
and felt that these two identities
coexisted agreeably, that being one
did not make me less of the other.
I wanted to make my education

and my title totally my own - I
didn't want or need it handed to
me, prepackaged in someone else's
experiences and expectations.
On a more literal note, this
revelation also came when someone
broke into our kitchen at the
beginning of my sophomore year.
In response to this, my landlord
began installing various locking
mechanisms on the doors in our
house. After arriving at the property
one night to find his 1998 gold Ford
minivan parked with the accuracy
of a homing beacon in the precise
geographical center of our front yard,
I entered my home to discover that I
was the proud owner of a padlock.
Well, not a padlock per se, but a
metal hinge device like one might
find on a trunk that, when properly
installed and paired with an actual
padlock, provides a fairly effective
means of securing valuables.
Unfortunately, said mechanism
was not properly installed, a
statement that was informed
primarily by my engineering
training, but additionally by the
casual observation that he had
bolted the metal hinge to the center
of my door, ensuring that either one
of two options were available to me:
1) Securely padlock the hinge
to itself, allowing for uninhibited
door opening/closing abilities while
having a nice padlock-themed door
decoration, or
2) Construct an elaborate system
of bungee cords and chains that
would span the width of the door
frame and provide me with that
"sociopath lair" image that's so
useful for keeping undesirables out
of your room.
Concerned about these security
measures beingsufficiently effective,
I designed and constructed a Rube-
Goldberg intruder alarm straight
from the deleted scenes of Home
Alone, complete with pulleys and a
haommer that would strike a cookie
sheet, alerting me to the presence of
an unwelcome intruder.What exactly
I would do (beyond immediately
fear-vomiting) at that strike of the
cookie sheet was unclear to me, but
it was unimportant at the time. I
was triumphant. I had successfully
engineered a solution to a real-world
problem. I had used my major, and
though it was in a- way that was
absurd, minor and inconsequential,
it was also in a way that was wholly
my own.
From the mundane to the

revolutionary, real world experience
is critical. In a purely practical
sense, it is a foundation required
by employers in an increasingly
interactive and interdisciplinary
global economy. In a more idealistic
sense, learning to create - to be
unique and meaningful in the world
- is the ultimate objective of an
education, a goal which often gets
abstracted in the pressure to get a
higher test score, a higher GPA and a
better-paying job.
Even at one of the top-ranked
engineering schools in the country,
the standards set by and for our
education system often encourage
narrowly defined guidelines for
success. Beyond that, "real world"
experience as implemented by many
engineering programs is limited in
the scope of what it definesthe real
world to be.
When I wait for the bus inside
North Campus buildings, I scan
the names on the walls of honored
engineers and find no women and
few people of color. When I read the
enrollment statistics, the numbers
reflect only a marginally better
representation. There is little
to indicate that engineering has
embraced and accepted the "real
world" beyond the pictures on the
first pages of a recruiting brochure.
Even in the face of increasing
objections, the College of Engineering
still has no Race and Ethnicity
or language requirements for its
students, as these subjects are not
seen to be essential to an engineering
career. This is simply no longer true.
In a world that is infinitely connected
and multidisciplinary, it is impossible
to ignore elements that influence
our perspectives and experiences
- elements such as gender, culture,
race and background - and it is
detrimental and discrediting to try to.
Engineering is a profession
dedicated to technical and scientific
excellence, and introducing academic
requirements that encourage
students to think in social contexts
will elevate, not detract from these
values. We need to commit to
education beyond equations and
computer code, not only to inspire
and include capable students who
don't fit the traditional mold, but to
set and live up to a higher standard
of real-world-driven, socially
responsible engineering.
- Julia Zarina can be reached
at juriltonumich.edu.

more schools to adopt the program.
Oxford Community Schools, a school district
in Oakland County, has been pleased with the
results of switching to IB. Though IB standards
are more rigorous than Common Core State
Standards - the educational curriculum of the
majority of Michigan public schools - Oxford
Superintendent William C. Skilling said the
Commots Core does not prepare students for "a
global world that's changing 24-7." Students are
just as happy withIB, claimingthatthey feel that
they are learning more and having fun doing it.
With a program so unique and radically
different from our current educational
regimen, many teachers, parents and schools
maybe hesitant to switch. Although IB is more
liberal and less structured than a traditional
curriculum, the Common Core system fails to
teach students any of the skills that IB does.
The Common Core curriculum relies focuses
solely on preparation for standardized tests,
often requiring no thought beyond textbook
Students' ability to memorize information
is not an effective indicator of their potential
or intelligence. Students who just know how
to do well on multiple choice standardized
tests are not coming into college prepared.
The IB programme is necessary to teach
students useful lifelong skills during their
formative learning years.
The IB programme is divided up into four
parts, each emphasizing different aspects of
development:Starting from age three, childrets
are told to 'take responsibility for their own
learning," with teachers only helping to guide
students toward establishing a firm set of
personal values. As the students mature, they
are encouraged to stay aware of current world
events and undertake projects that help them
develop a skill set. Because the IB programme

serves students from a variety of cultures, each
student is required to take at least two languages
to facilitate teaching others and learning about
all cultures. With most colleges - especially
the University - emphasizing diversity and
employers looking for potential employees
who can communicate with a diverse set of
people, the fostering of these skills seems highly
appropriate. In addition, with an IB diploma
students can more easily study outside of the
United States if they want to.
However, there are some concerns with IB.
Many students won't stay in the same school
district from preschool to high school, and some
feel that it is hard for students who transfer
into an 1B program to catch up with the IB
curriculum. A sudden switch into an lB program
may also create a difficuIt learningcurve for both
teachers and students. In order for Michigan
IB schools to be effective, policies must be put
in place to ease the transition and ensure the
cooperation of all parties.
Fortunately, because the lB programme
focuses on teaching skills rather than facts and
materials, students should be able to adjust. In
addition, the progratn caters to students with
special needs, so any student is able to thrive in
the program.
In the IB programme, students learn skills
that they can use in the real world, and students
who go through this program will improve
their chances of performing better in college.
In addition, the global aspect of this prograto
makes students more desirable for colleges and
employers. Unfortunately, the full IB Diploma
Programme costs about $600 per student. Since
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is planning on
increasing funding for schools, he needs to set
aside money to help expand the 1B system to
other schools in Michigatn. and employers.

Barry Belmont, Jacob Karafa, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Kellie Halushka,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Thne value of an idea

Our chance to effect change

Not everyone believes in the power of
our generation. Millennials have often been
labeled as "selfish," "lazy" and "emotionally
detached." Whether it is because we were the
first generation to grow up with the Internet
or the first generation who maybe relied too
much on our parents, we have created a bad
reputation for ourselves.
When taking a closer look, our generation
is something unique. We 'are a generation
who will face obstacles unlike any other. Will
we receive the same social security benefits
awarded to present-day retirees? Will we be
able to achieve the American Dream though
a hard work ethic like our parents once did?
Will we ever know true privacy or will we
just assume that our conversations are being
monitored by the government? These are
obstacles we will inevitably face. If we choose
to, we can face them together.
Last semester, readers of The Michigan Daily
were introduced to Common Sense Action,
a national bipartisan grassroots movement
created by Millennials and for Millennials.
We have chosen to work together, no matter
our political affiliation, and craft solutions
to the problems facing our generation before
it's too late. We care about a diverse set of
issues including: education, tax reform, social
security, incarceration and energy. We will
not follow the example Congress has set for
us. We refuse to accept partisan gridlock as an
answer for inaction in Washington on the most
pressing policies to our generation's future.
After our University's CSA chapter
researched and crafted policies culminating
in our "Campus Congress," two members of
our team traveled to Washington, D.C. for
the Agenda for Generational Equity Summit
where they debated policies and lobbied
Congress. Students from chapters across
the nation gathered at the Bipartisan Policy
Center to discuss the policies formed on
their respective campuses, including those
formed here at the University of Michigan.
They found ways to make sure that higher
education was a feasible goal for all students,

no matter their socioeconomic background.
They brainstormed ways to ensure that social
security would exist well into the future, that
formerly incarcerated individuals have away to
integrate back into society, and that America's
infrastructure is reliable for our future. These
students, with bright, diverse and politically
oriented minds, together created one concise
policy proposal that holistically represented
Millennials around the nation - the national
Agenda for Generational Equity.
The group of students that gathered at the
AGE Summitin D.C.provedthat20-somethings
can accomplish great things when common
sense solutions are placed as priorities. While
not every policy was framed exactly the way
students here at the University wished them to
be, they represented our interests as students
in the United States and the interests of
Millennials from a broad range of backgrounds.
We are proud to have contributed to such a
thorough and representative piece of work
that will be advocated for across the nation for
years to come.
Now that the AGE policies have been
finalized, CSA will begin its mobilizing
phase: spreading our message to Millennials
and policymakers around the nation, thus
building a national bipartisan movement.
As passionate Wolverines, we are starting
here, on our own campus. We will advocate
our message of generational equity across
campus through a series of actions. We will
work with candidates, empower voters, host
events and draw media attention on our
policy priorities, seeking to change American
politics and return government to an engine
for the people: for Millennials. We aim not
only to involve members of our organization,
but all students of the University as we create
a national network of Millennials - left,
right, center, moderate and independents
who are passionate about common sense,
solutions and action.
Common Sense Action can be reached
at csamichiganwumich.edu.

he on campus entrepre-
neurship scene is always
buzzing. Among the many
brilliant stu-
dents and their
innovative ideas,
there are some
people who
stand out more
than others,
especially at the
initial stages of
the development NIVEDITA
of an idea. KARKI
this is due to the
fact that their idea itself is brilliant
- but often times it is so because
they're looking for people to work
with them on their idea. These
students, invariably, turn out to be
smart ones who just didn't choose
to code, or to study business. They
need an iOS/Android/Web-devel-
oper/designer and maybe someone
for business development. So they
talk to anyone and everyone who
will listen, and their ideas becomes
well known.
Reggie Brown was a junior study-
ing English at Stanford Univer-
sity in the spring of 2011 when he
approached his friend Evan Spiegel
with an idea - an app that allows
users to send pictures that disappear
within seconds. Spiegel, a product
designer who could code, responded
by saying, "That's a million-dollar
idea," and the two recruited a third
partner, hard-coder Ryan Murphy.
In 2013, Brown filed two lawsuits
against Snapchat. "Ousted" from the
company, Reggie's lawyers claimed
in November 2013, "This is a case of
partners betrayinga fellow partner."
It appears as though a settlement
has still not been reached between
the two parties.
For those who've watched the
"Social Network," or just keep tabs
on the lawsuits against Mark Zuck-
erberg, this might sound similar to
the Winklevoss twins and Eduardo

Saverin situation.
Winklevii received
million for what st
idea, and Saverin,-
disclosed settleme
as a co-founder of
initial work as a
oper. The Winkl
in were all econ'
Harvard Universit
These lawsuits
staple, cautionary t
industry. Even on
occasionally come
who've zipped
their mouths
as far as ideas
are concerned.
What's funny is
that these peo-
ple are usually
the ones who
have the skills
to implement
their idea (yes,
this includes my
fellow computer
science peers).
These are time
olds are making bi
sions that affect mi
world, times whe:
discussion involv
of the Silicon Vall
boasts of success st
ized in dorm room
that hard program
preneurship might
startup-life itself.
Ideas by then
enough. Without t
idea remains wha
thought, which wi
time. It is in no w
working hard to bu
putting out a produ
The implementa
what makes it suc
happens to those w
code? Or even thos
to go to business
no place for them
world of college

But at least the are imaginative thinkers, but will
I a handsome $65 they not have the skills required
arted out as their to implement their own, or for that
along with a non- matter any, ideasEIf ideas are worth
nt, got reinstated nothing, where do they stand in the
Facebook for his bustling arena that is collegiate
business devel- entrepreneurship?
evii and Saver- And so they ask for help, for
omics majors at people interested to work with them
y. on their ideas. They look around,
have become a talk to people. Whereas those with
ale in the startup skills sit and work on their ideas
campus, you will by themselves, hoping no one else
across students would put out a similar - or worse, -
a better product.
Looking at
Today the idea that the Snapchat
d , d t lawsuit, you
hard programmers can't argue that
you feel bad for
fuel entrepreneurship Brown - the
might English major. In
might be the idea of court documents
the startup-life itself and coverage
in the media, it
comes across
as if there is
something morally incorrect about
s when 20-year- what happened to Brown. He should
llion-dollar deci- definitely be compensated for the
llions around the work that he did. But the question is,
n every business what does this compensation entail?
es the mention And for that matter, these law-
ey - a place that suits from Silicon Valley point to an
ories conceptual- even bigger question - what does it
s. Today, the idea mean to invent/create something?
mers fuel entre- What is worth a billion dollars?
be the idea of the Coming up with a brilliant idea?
Turning it into a product? Relating
selves are not it to your customers? Selling it to the
he execution, an right people? Solving a global issue?
t it is - a mere I don't know, but I am over-
ll be forgotten in whelmed. This is a campus of start-
ay comparable to up weekends and social innovation
ild a company or challenges, of Hackathons and
ct to sell. career fairs, and of just kids with
tion of the idea is ideas looking to make some change
cessful. So what in the world. Is any one part of the
eho choose not to conceptualization of these ideas
e who choose not really worth more than the other?

school? Is there
in the exciting
startups? They

Nivideta Karki can be reached
at nivkarki@umich.edu.


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