CCAD Class Travels to Leading Research Center

December 6th, 2011 by Katlin McNally
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Student examines rocks outside the Byrd Polar Research Center

Kim Landsbergen, an associate professor at CCAD, is having her Liberal Arts class further their understanding of scientific research by taking them to cutting-edge research centers and sites in Columbus.

The class traveled most recently to the Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC) at The Ohio State University. BPRC is recognized internationally as a leader in polar and alpine research.

While there, the 20 students were able to tour the center guided by three Ph.D. candidates. They explored the U.S. Polar Rock Repository, which is a national facility that provides rock samples for research, education, and museum use.

They were also able to walk through the center’s cold storage facility. The freezer compartments in the building store ice cores at -30 to -40 degrees Celsius.

“My goal for the field trips in the ecology class is for students to see—live, in person—the vital ecological issues that are right under their noses, here in central Ohio,” said Landsbergen.

The visit was not just a one way experience. The Ph.D. candidates asked CCAD students to help them in being able to appropriately and artistically display their scientific findings.

Students bundle up in a cold storage facility

Students chimed in with suggestions including color coding satellite images based on elevation and altering displays of photographs so visitors could understand their scientific process visually.

“It is important to be involved with current scientific research and other news topics because, as artists, we have to be able to reflect what is going on in the world in order to be successful,” said Joelle Baker, senior in Fine Arts, and a participant in the BPRC trip.

The class went on a total of five trips this year.  Along with the Byrd Polar Research Center, they also visited restored ecosystems in Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Community Garden Campus, Grange Insurance Audubon Center, and SWACO, which is central Ohio’s main landfill.

“It is important for students, especially ones who are actively engaged in the creative world, to learn by doing and seeing,” said Landsbergen. “You can read about these issues all day, but it is something completely different to be able to see a landfill and the waste or talk to an actual student who has seen the glaciers they are reading about.”



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