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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Excellence‏

Excellence‏

Exciting events still abound for the reminder of the semester

Dear students,

This has been an exciting week in the college. Two of our biggest events of the year were held, celebrating the excellence of you, the students in the college:

         -The Undergraduate Research Forum was on Friday, and over 200 individuals and teams presented posters on their research happening on and off campus. It was so great to see the astonishing work ranging from theoretical physics to epistasis (I learned a new word!). Prizes were given for best posters in a variety of fields. You can see a complete list of winners here. It was great to see the ingenuity and creativity of all you students on display.

          -The CNS Honors Ceremony took place Friday evening. Students from across CNS were recognized for their honors scholarships or earning a place on the University Honor Roll. Several students were also recognized by faculty for excellence in their classes with the presentation of a book award.

It's inspiring to see all the hard work that goes in to being at such events. A research result or excellence in the classroom aren't simply the result of talent and accomplishments. They happen because of hard work — tackling hard material, and working with faculty and peers to achieve your goals. Excellence in this context is about being wiling to do the very best you can.

In celebrations like these, we tend to talk a lot about successes. What we don’t always acknowledge is failure. Every success, every insight in the lab, and every mastery of a hard concept comes at the back end of a long string of challenges, mistakes, and failures. Those missteps are key to developing new understanding and ultimately mastering the hard concepts. Athletes know this, as they return to the field day after day to practice the same difficult skills. Scientists and scholars work through failures because only then are breakthroughs possible. I congratulate all of you for your perseverance to keep struggling. Years from now, you’ll rightly look on that struggle with the greatest pride. And you’ll point to that effort as the time when you gained the confidence to tackle new challenges ahead.

Have a great week this week,
-- Dr. Kopp

PS: Some more big news in the week ahead:

-The Scientist Behind "Breaking Bad" Wednesday, 4/16, 5:00pm WEL 2.224. Professor Donna Nelson (OU) is a CNS alumna and has worked as the chief science consultant for the television show Breaking Bad. She will talk about her experience helping the writers and actors of the hit TV show. Read a Q&A with Dr. Nelson here.

-Every year, the Natural Sciences Council hosts the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Banquet, to which any CNS undergraduate can invite a professor, teaching assistant, or advisor that has greatly influenced them. It's completely free. The event is on Monday, April 28th, from 5 - 7 pm in the SAC Ballroom. The deadline to RSVP to this is Friday, April 18. Email RSVPs and questions to Bonnie at NSC.sf.chair@gmail.com. Feel free to visit the Facebook event page HERE to view more details about the event including who has already been invited.

-This week we learned that Professor Peter Stone (Computer Science) and John Stanton (Chemistry) were inducted in to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers — UT Austin's highest honor for faculty committed to teaching and service to students. Congratulate them when you can!

-For a complete listing of the week's activities, opportunities, scholarships, and deadlines, check out the weekly newsletter, which CNS student Nicole Kruijs has faithfully prepared every week to go along with my email.

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Friday, 18 September 2020

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