Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from February 2010

  1. Summer scoop: I have an NSERC grant!

    This January, I applied for a summer Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Lakehead University has 20 such awards to give to applicants this year, and on Monday, I learned that I am the recipient of one!

    I was (still am) a mixture of elation and trepidation. Part of me is still in a state of shock and can't quite believe that this is real. I spend a good half hour after learning I got the grant just trying to calm down so I would not run up to everyone I encountered and yell, "I GOT A GRANT!" Another part of me is saying, "What do you think you're doing, Ben? You don't even understand what it is you're going to be researching!" As anyone who has ever looked at a higher math textbook knows, the language is just scary sometimes.

    I applied for the NSERC grant for two reasons. Firstly, it's a different summer employment opportunity than my default, which is the art gallery. Don't get me wrong: I love working at the gallery. You can't beat the hours, and I have an awesome boss--she took the news that I wouldn't…

    Read more…

  2. Battle scars

    My tape measure

    Some people I know lead off their blog posts with massive photos of the minute and the mundane, photos that set the mood for the entry that follows. So I'm going to be a copycat and do the same. Muwahahaha.

    There are some objects that, against all odds, manage to stay with us through childhood, adolescence, and into our adult years. These objects acquire and then store memories for us, exceeding their original purpose as they become receptacles for our past. And they acquire scars, reminding us that we can't travel through life unscathed, but we can always somehow emerge OK. In a society renowned for its throwaway culture, these objects might be old, battered, and bruised, yet we keep them still. They have more than a material worth. At the same time, however, they might not have much sentimental value--that is, they haven't survived all this time because we're overtly fond of them. They've just stayed with us.

    This tape measure is one such object--and a surprising one, at that, considering I'm not especially handy nor prone to measuring things. All the marks on its body tell me a story about my past, and about who I was. I…

    Read more…