Engineering Project Takes Flight

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Dr. John Helferty is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Temple University, as well as an alumni of the school. As part of his Intro to Engineering class, students were to design quadracopters, which are drone helicopters made up of K’nex pieces.

“The idea of this class is to get hands-on, state-of-the-art technology in front of the students first semester, as soon as they come in the door,” stated Dr. Helferty.

This was the first college integration and competition involving K’nex, which donated the parts. Students had two weeks to get the projects together, which was 20% of their final grade, and were graded on the design and test flights. There also was a lucrative $400 prize to be split amongst the team who completed the obstacle course quickest.

Helferty also showed appreciation for help received from colleagues on the project. Jean Jacques Raymond of Montgomery County Community College, as well as a few of his students, were integral in providing information and help for the project.

With so much hard work and time invested, the process behind creating the quadracopter wasn’t easy.

“It’s got 4 wings with motors at each end. We’d take the K’nex pieces and make the frame of it, we’d make that quad shape. Then we’d take the electronics, the propellers with their wires and wire them to the ends,” said Mitchell Brasher, a Mechanical Engineering student.

The winning team, made up of Alec Beiswinger, Matthew Berry, Jake Erdlen and Brian DiBartolo, were able to complete the course in a remarkable 12 seconds. Despite the competitive aspect, everyone present shared a sense of comradery and had a blast with the flight. Though this was the first year building and flying the quadracopters, it seems that this initial flight was a great success.

Holiday Spectacular Lights Up Comcast Center

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The Comcast Holiday Spectacular draws thousands of people every year to the Comcast Center. The magic of the holidays comes alive in the fifteen minute show that plays at the top of every hour from 10am to 8pm daily. On Saturday’s from 11am-3pm, kids get a special treat when they have the chance to see and have their pictures taken with Santa.

Broadcast on a large flat screen in the lobby of the Comcast Center, the show features scenes from The Nutcracker, an orchestra, a dance sequence, and an interactive sing along portion at the end of the show. The Comcast Holiday Spectacular has become a tradition

The show is the same every year, but many guests return and bring friends to experience the holiday magic. “This is my first time seeing the show. I knew I had to see it after the way she described it,” Marilyn Cook says as she motions to her friend, Pat Gessner, who saw the Comcast Holiday Spectacular last year and brought Marilyn to see it this year.

“It was very varied. They had a lot of things going on. They had a little sing along and then they had an orchestra playing,” Eileen Smith says when asked how she enjoyed the show for the first time. Her and her friend had heard about the show from friends and made the Comcast Holiday Spectacular a destination they had to see.

The show runs from Thanksgiving to New Years.

Temple Library Helps Students Relax and Refuel for Finals

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Do you need to relax and refuel before finals? The Temple Library is here to help.

Crunch Time Café is hosted by the Temple Library and provides activities to help students take a break during study days and final exams.  The series of events includes free food, activities, and therapy dogs.

Freshman Rema Qasmieh appreciates Temple’s initiative to not only help students study but also help them relax. “The great thing about Temple is that they give us a lot of recreational things to do and I think that’s great because a lot of people are staying up and are definitely cramming.”

And she’s not the only one. Students like sophomore Asmaa Abdulah and senior McMishah Rapheal are thankful for the goodies the Library provides.

“The Crunch Time Café really does help. I came here for snacks and coffee and I found that,” stated Asmaa.

McMishah also benefited. “I appreciate it just for them just thinking about me. That’s something my mother and father would do.”

Possibly the most exciting event of the week is the De-stress with Dogs event that will be held on Friday.   Students can stop by and hang out with some four legged friends.

“I am a huge dog fan and I’ve usually seen at other colleges that there is this dog event and I was wondering when Temple was going to get one,” stated Rema.

“I know how helpful they are for de-stressing,” agreed Asmaa.

Sometimes the best study tip can be to take a break. Stop by the Lecture Hall in the basement of Paley Library to unwind with some fun activities. Check out the Crunch Time Café events calendar for more info about the remaining events.

Good luck on your finals owls, and remember to treat yourself.

Christmas Village: A Philadelphia Tradition

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Philadelphia’s Christmas Village has returned for it’s ninth season.

The holiday tradition is modeled after German Christmas markets, notably the Nuremberg Christmas market. An entirely German team heads up the holiday market that’s made it’s home at City Hall on Dilworth Plaza from Thanksgiving day until Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Village began on Dilworth Plaza in 2008 and moved in 2011 for construction on the Plaza. They found their new home at LOVE Park across the street until returning home this season.

Christmas Village hosts over 80 vendors from around the world, who set up shop for a month and sell traditional goods from their homes. Visitors to the market can drink gluehwein, a spiced wine traditional to Germany, as well as apple cider and hot chocolate. They can also purchase gifts throughout the holiday season.

The Christmas Village has a new addition this year, a carousel has been placed in the center of City Hall. The village is also home to the Rothman Ice Rink on Dilworth Plaza.

Christmas Village has become a home to many vendors who have returned to the market for years, but it’s also become a December tradition for several local Philadelphian’s.

Class of 2020 Reflect on First Semester

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Every year, high school graduates across the globe move on to the next step in their journeys, college. While there are high schools that do prepare students for college academically, no amount of information could truly prepare students for the experiences that await them at college. Navigating college can be intimidating for the first time, but also exciting as one may finally be on their own for the first time. They’ll make new friends, attend parties, study overnight, and learn more about what they truly want (and don’t want) from life.

These general ideas of what first year students experience are vague though, as each student perceives their first semester differently. As we complete this Fall 2016 semester, students Shayla Chambers, Parker Wilson, and Claire McGinty kindly share their reflections on their first semester at Temple University. Whether you’re reading to relate, or to feel the nostalgia, enjoy!

Shayla Chambers

Shayla Chambers is a Communication Studies major from Bridgeport, Connecticut. To Shayla, unlike students who may come from small towns, coming to Philadelphia’s urban environment was an easy transition, “Where I’m from is an urban city setting similar to Philly, so I felt comfortable in terms of the urban environment from the start.”

In regards to her adjustment to college life, she had this to say, “I feel like I’m adapting well to the new environment, even though initially it took a little time for me to adjust. I love how there’s always something going on and that there are different student events and clubs that suit my interests.”

Shayla seems to have gotten one of the most important aspect of college down, time management. In making sure she set enough time aside to study, she said her first semester wasn’t harder than she expected.

In closing our interview, she gave us a tip for next years incoming students.

“Don’t be afraid to branch out and try or join new things, whether that be student clubs, organizations, or any of the other activities that are offered here at Temple.”

Our next student, is Parker Wilson, a Kinesiology major from Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania.

Parker Wilson

The one thing he found at Temple to be most unexpected was the amount of freedom he had.

“I wasn’t used to it cause I was living with my Dad and he’d ask what work do I have, what do I need to do…also I played a lot of sports in school…having practice everyday after school was a big part of my life and I invested a lot of time in it, so coming here and only playing inter mural sports…it was getting used to that and not have a schedule set for me.”

Parker mentioned his older sister attended Temple and during his visits to see her, loved that Temple was in the city. Coming from a small town, the move to the city was what Parker desired, “I wanted to go somewhere where there was more than just three things to do…I can’t see myself going anywhere other than the city,” he said.

In asking Parker if he could go back and tell himself anything before his first semester, he said this.

“Get a feel for time management and studying cause in high school you can get away with not studying…and I’d tell myself to be more personable and to put myself out there.”

Claire McGlinchey

Our last student to share her reflections on her first semester is Claire McGlinchey, an Advertising major from Media, PA.

One thing Claire didn’t expect to learn at college was fencing, “I joined the club on a whim near the beginning of the semester and it’s had a really great impact on me. I guess that just goes to show that there’s a lot more to college than academics,” she said.

Despite coming from a small town, Claire adapted rather quickly to her new environment.

“When I first got here, I found myself wishing I had chosen a more nature-infused college, but with time, I saw the lack of trees and green space as a fair trade-off for the exciting bustle and infinite possibilities offered by the city.”

For many students, going away to college is one’s first time away from home. Claire truly loves the new form of independence she has.

“The best part of being away from home is the ability to set my own curfew; there’s something so liberating about hanging out with my friend at two in the morning in the middle of the week.”

“I’ve noticed between my thirteen years in public school and my first few months of college is the way my academics meld into my personal life. I think that’s just a natural part of living on campus. Everywhere simultaneously feels like my classroom and my home…I find I have deeper intellectual conversations much more frequently here than I ever did at home.”

Boyer College of Music Presents Family Holiday Concert

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With the holidays approaching, students at Temple are getting into the festive spirit by decorating their dorms, drinking hot cocoa, and blasting Christmas music. Listening to Christmas music is one of the best ways to fully get into the spirit, and the Boyer College of Music’s Holiday Concert is the perfect way to hear these classic songs live!

Boyer’s Family Holiday Concert features seasonal favorites performed by Temple University’s Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, and choirs. Come early at 4:30 PM for a special performance of Tim Warfield’s Jazzy Christmas in the main lobby, and a performance by the Temple University Horn Ensemble, directed by Jeffrey Lang, at 6:30 PM on the mezzanine.

The concert will be housed at Lew Klein Hall at the Temple Performing Arts Center on Friday, December 9th. The event officially begins at 7:00 PM. Admission is free, but be sure to get there early for a good seat. If you cannot make the actual concert, but still want to watch the festive performances, the event will be livestreamed here. Be sure to bring the whole family for a concert full of holiday cheer and iconic music!

Jurassic World Exhibit Comes to the Franklin Institute

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The Jurassic World Exhibit has come roaring into Philadelphia.

The Franklin Institute is now home to the exhibit’s North American debut after its successful run at the Melbourne Museum in Australia earlier this year.

Inspired by the 2015 blockbuster hit, Jurassic World takes visitors to the island of Isla Nublar to see some of their favorite extinct creatures. Several large animatronic dinosaurs are on display, including Stegosaurus, Triceratops and a twenty-four foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex. The dinosaurs are so massive, the building needed to be inspected to ensure it could handle the weight.

“They’re so big,” says visitor Hannah Heritage, “I didn’t expect them to be as big as they actually are.”

The exhibit also features several easter eggs from the film series. The “Gentle Giants Petting Zoo” section features a prop dino-food dispenser that was used in the most recent film. In a callback to the original 1993 movie, visitors can also touch some “dino dung.”

“It was gross,” Heritage says with a laugh.

But Jurassic World is about more than just animatronics and props. The team behind the exhibit turned to renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, who also consulted on the film series, to make this attraction as scientifically informative as possible. Visitors can stroll through the DNA labs of InGen and learn about the real-life science behind DNA and dinosaurs. Information on fossils such as global hotspots can be seen as well.

The Jurassic World Exhibit will remain at the Franklin Institute through April 2017.

At the Ballet: “The Nutcracker”

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Photo Credit: The Pennsylvania Ballet
Photo Credit: The Pennsylvania Ballet

With winter and the holidays quickly approaching, there are many events and activities happening in Philadelphia to commemorate the season. One holiday tradition you do not want to miss is the Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker is a timeless story that has graced the stage and screen in movies, television, and, of course, the stage. Taking place on Christmas Eve, it tells the story of young girl, Clara. A toymaker brings her dolls, and she is immediately drawn to the nutcracker. That night, she dreams of the nutcracker turning into a handsome prince after she saves him from the Mouse King. She is transported to the beautiful Land of Sweets. Full of fairies and magical beings, a celebration is held in honor of Clara for saving the Prince.

This classic story is told through gorgeous dance, Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, an opulent set, and extravagant costumes that will dazzle any viewer. This ballet, an annual Philadelphia tradition, is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!

Tickets are available for $10 at the Reel Box Office for the December 11th performance. Also, student rush tickets are available at the venue for $10 an hour before the performance starts. All you need is your TUID!

The Nutcracker is hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet and will be housed at The Academy of Music in Center City from December 9th-31st. Students can easily take the subway from the Cecil B. Moore station to either the City Hall station or the Walnut-Locust station. It is then a short walk from there to the venue.

For more information on The Nutcracker, including company bios, ticket information, dates, and times, visit the Pennsylvania Ballet site or the Kimmel Center site.

Off to See “The Wizard of Oz”

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Photo Credit: The Walnut Street Theatre

Get ready to follow the yellow brick road to the Walnut Street Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz!

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most classic stories of all time. It tells the story of young girl Dorothy Gale living in Kansas, dreaming of a place “somewhere over the rainbow”. Suddenly, when a tornado sweeps through her town, she and her dog Toto, along with her house, are taken into a dreamland called “Oz”. When her house accidentally lands on the Wicked Witch’s sister, Dorothy must find a way to get back home while avoiding the wrath of the witch. With the help of new friends, including favorites Glinda the Good, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion,  Dorothy goes on a thrilling journey where she learns that there is no place like home.

Full of classic characters, iconic songs, unforgettable moments, and a message that stands the testament of time, this stage adaption truly something you do not want to miss!

The Wizard of Oz is housed at the Walnut Street Theatre until January 8th. Students can take the subway from Cecil B. Moore Station to City Hall or the Walnut Locust station. From there, it is a short walk to the theater. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Reel Box Office, or student tickets are available at the venue for $20 the day of the performance. All you need is your TUID!

To learn more about The Wizard of Oz, visit its event page.

Holiday Treats: Thanksgiving Edition

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Fall is coming to a closure and Thanksgiving is in a few days. Thanksgiving is a time for family, counting blessings and most importantly, eating really good food. If you have a sweet tooth, Thanksgiving is the holiday for you.

At this time of year, it is fun to experiment with different dessert recipes, since there are so many festive, and different twists on simple recipes. Sit back, relax, drink a pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy the various desserts that will look perfect on your Thanksgiving table.

First up, we have Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting. When you bite into this cookie, it instantly feels like fall.

Here are the ingredients to this delicious pumpkin cookie:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powderimg_0041

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

For the icing:

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioner sugar

Once the all the ingredients are out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. This way, by the time the cookies are ready to go in the oven, the oven will be ready too. Now it is time to prepare the recipe. Start by whisking the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger together. Then in a separate bowl, beat the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and egg with an electric mixer. After all these ingredients are beaten together, beat in the pumpkin puree. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. After the batter is complete, spoon batter by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Put in the sheet for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are a golden color. While the cookies are baking, prepare the frosting. Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Wait until the cookies are cooled, to prevent the icing from melting. 

Next recipe, are the Pecan Pie Bars. This is a nice break from traditional pies, and is super easy.

Here are the ingredients you will need when making these bars:

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3 tablespoons margarine(melted)141653

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 chopped pecans

For the crust:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup margarine

After getting all the ingredients ready, start preparing the crust. Stir the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Then, cut in the margarine until the mixture looks crumbly. Place this mixture in 10×15 inch jellyroll pan. Once spread evenly, place pan in a oven set to 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When the crust is baking, start to make the batter. Mix together the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, margarine and vanilla extract. Once the batter looks smooth, stir in the pecans. The pie crust should be done by the time the batter is complete, so next fill it into the crust. Place the pan into an oven, and bake for 25 minutes. Once finished, let pie cool before cutting into bars.

These simple and festive desserts are super fun to make, and will have everyone tasting the fall spirit. Bon Appetit, and Happy Thanksgiving!