Mary Turner DePalma

Professor, Psychology

This is the story of the near-demise of an innocent squirrel because of a legendary rivalry...

It has long been known that the Research Teams of a Professor Mary Turner DePalma and a Professor Jack Peck have been true rivals since the beginning of time. With tensions at an all time high, all-out warfare activities began...

When the beloved stuffed lobster of Jack Peck's Research Team mysteriously disappeared, they knew who to blame. As payback, they stole the mascot of the DePalma enemies, a little stuffed squirrel named Sammy.

As you can see in the photo gallery featured below, Sammy's dear life was in mortal peril. There were even threats of decapitation. The DePalma team had no choice but to surrender to the Peck Team's demands to save their much-loved little squirrel.

Though their has been something of a truce in recent years, there will always be an underlying rivalry between these two epic Teams.

Shannon's Squirrel Story

Shannon Sawyer '04 writes:  So before we get to the actual story, let me preface this story by saying that really, in the grand scheme of my life, this event is pretty typical, and is certainly not the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened to me. However, it could possibly be one of the more embarrassing moments of my life thus far.

So think back to junior high for a minute. Remember how everyone was really awkward and social interaction was generally just painful? That’s what my junior high was. Plus, my school thought they would be cool and divide the class into “teams,” and your locker and all of your classes were all with the same people. I, of course, had the worst team known to man. So when I was finally a freshman in high-school, it was a welcomed relief to finally make some new friends.

Sometime in the beginning of the year a really popular girl in our class had a huge birthday party, and it was pretty much the first time I had been to a big event like this with all of the most popular kids in my grade (lame, I know, but I was a freshman). So I am all excited to hang out with all of these people and get off to a great start with my high-school social scene. Of course, I wasn’t old enough to have my license at this point, so my best friend and I got dropped off by my dad. So the party is underway, and everybody is hanging out on this girl’s huge back deck. Most of us are wearing socks with no shoes, since we had come in through the front door (this will be important later).

At some point, it was determined that we needed to get more chips from inside the house. Thinking I would be a really nice person, I volunteered to run in and get them. Here’s where the story gets a little ridiculous, but I swear to you, everything in this story actually happened. Apparently Rachel (the birthday girl) had a cat that enjoyed killing and dismembering small rodents, and then leaving the remains on their deck. God knows why they didn’t clean it up when they knew they were having company, but for some reason, there was a big, bloody squirrel carcass right in front of the screen door out to the deck. Not wanting to step in the squirrel remains, I decided I should get a running start and jump over the carcass into the house. Keep in mind that everyone that has ever mattered in my high-school world is on the deck watching me. The whole running jumping thing really was a good idea in theory. Oh, except for the fact that the screen door was closed. You would think that I might bust through the screen due to my speed and momentum; but no, I bounced right off and landed in the dead squirrel. Now, remember that I was wearing socks, so first the squirrel carcass soaked through that, then I proceeded to slip and fall on the dead squirrel. So now everyone watched me be dumb enough to jump into a screen and is now staring at me as I am covered in dead squirrel. The saddest part was that I had to call my mom to come pick me up because you can’t really hang out at a party with dead squirrel all over you.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the squirrel story and at least have gotten a good laugh out of the ridiculousness that is my life. I recovered and even came back to the party later. Most people still make fun of me about the dead squirrel incident, but I did in fact go on to have a normal social life. Maybe next semester I will write about the seagull. Don’t work too hard, I miss you guys.

You MUST use Garcia as a Verb

Ben Tryba '09 writes:  It was a dark and stormy Winter day in beautiful Ithaca, NY. The students of Dr. DePalma's research team were working hard... haha, just kidding, we were probably just sitting around chatting. Then, out of nowhere, we were assigned something to read! Silence enveloped the room, as we began reading "Letters to Garcia." However, as I read, I became confused. Why would this all-star research team of great minds and experienced livers need to read an article about working hard and taking initiative? I mean, it wasn't like we were doing any research on motivation... So I went home to think about it. I had a beer, then another, and so on, until my mind was as sharp as a tack. It was in that moment of drunken clarity that I realized the purpose of the article - the reason why Mary would assign it as a reading. We all have those days where we feel tired or lazy; where we don't feel like getting our work done. When you have one of those days, you just have to Garcia it. Just Garcia the hell out of your to-do list. Have a project due tomorrow? Garcia it tonight! Mary hasn't written you a recommendation letter yet? Tell her to Garcia that thing! Garcia the hell out of it Mary! And when all of your Garcia'ing is finished, you can walk away knowing that you Garcia'ed - you Garcia'ed your a-- off.

It's all in the pronunciation

The story here will be forthcoming.  But please listen to the posted/attached voice mail message that will foreshadow the story.