Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
When Kacey Deamer was 14, she noticed healthy trees in her neighborhood marked for removal. “There was nothing wrong with them. They just happened to be bothersome to somebody,” Kacey recalls. That was when she realized many people don’t appreciate the planet for what it is.
Kacey decided she could make a difference by investigating and reporting on environmental issues. “I want to share my passion through journalism so that people not only understand the environmental issues at hand, but they’re also emboldened to go out and act on them.”
As a student at IC, Kacey took every opportunity to expand her understanding of the environment and media. She traveled with a class to the United Nations Framework Conference for Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico, to observe climate talks in action. Guided by professors, she landed media internships each year of her college career. She reported environmental news for the Ithacan newspaper and Buzzsaw magazine—and as a senior, she became the first student to be an editor for both.
While researching a story, Kacey emailed Ithaca alumna Kate Sheppard ’06, staff reporter at Mother Jones magazine. Kate became Kacey’s mentor and connected her to an internship opportunity at the magazine. She also encouraged Kacey to apply for the Recharge! retreat held by Focus the Nation. Recharge! brings together rising leaders in the clean energy movement from across the country to learn about and discuss environmental issues.
Kacey was invited to the retreat, and spent an enlightening week visiting a coal plant, wind farm, and dam, climbing a glacier, and speaking with other students who were passionate about environmental issues. “It was one of those experiences that really encourages you to think that a difference can actually be made, that you’re not the only one thinking that something needs to change.”
Kacey plans to continue reporting on the issues after graduation and to further her education in environment and science journalism. The inspiration for the next phase of her environmental education came from her IC class trip to the UN climate change conference. “Somehow scientists are able to communicate and agree, and the politicians can’t make it happen. What I really want to be able to do is bridge that gap. Take the science and translate it so that people understand, and then those readers can push the politicians to make the changes that we need.
“I feel ready to save the planet in some small or large way and to take on the challenge of making people care. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I think I can do it.”
Good educators stick with their students until the concepts they’re teaching gel. Considering his research area, Andy Smith, a biology professor at Ithaca College, might have a slight advantage.
Andy and his student researchers—all of them undergraduates at IC—study the unique properties of the gel that snails use to stick themselves to surfaces, even slippery rocks battered by ocean waves. It might not sound like the most exciting topic, but Andy points out the incredible potential.
“Gel like this would make an ideal medical adhesive because it would stick to wet surfaces, and no matter how much the tissue flexed and bent, the gel would flex and bend with it,” he says.
Andy’s student researchers are there because the work is as exciting to them as it is to their professor. Sure, Ithaca requires science students to immerse themselves in lab research for one semester, but placement is based on student preference. Many continue beyond that one semester and eventually earn the autonomy to run their own projects and experiments, assist in data analysis, and author papers submitted for publication.
“I really like working with students in the lab because every day is different, and you never know what you’re going to find,” Andy says. “It’s a terrific process of seeing students grow in independence, maturity, and intellectual sophistication.”
That sort of hands-on learning is central to the Ithaca College experience.
“You can learn so much more in a research lab than in a classroom because research is a big, complex project,” Andy says. “You don’t know the answers, but you become responsible for finding them.”
>> More on this story: Andy Smith's faculty profile
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