Nicole DeLise

Gaining expertise on the ancient world

When asked about his work, Dr. Jeb Card succinctly said, “I’m an archaeologist. I go through dead people’s trash.” Card led a group of Summer Scholars in the Lost Cities and Civilizations: Archaeology and the Ancient World academic module for the fourth time. Participating students have become experts not only in what modern scientists know about ancient cultures, but the methods they use to make their discoveries, from excavation techniques to the use of 3-D scanning and printing. Card summarized his objective by saying, “I want them to learn a whole lot about the past they don’t know; I’m frankly even more interested they learn how we do it.”

Jeb Card shares his passion for and knowledge of archaeology and anthropology with his Summer Scholars students. — Photo by Kendall Fields

Card, who has been with Miami University since 2011, clearly values efficiency and student involvement. While being interviewed, he was constantly moving, wanting to answer questions while the group moved classrooms. Card also passed inquiries about his class directed at him onto his students, saying “What are are we doing? What am I trying to teach you all?” and “I’m the worst person to ask! You should ask them!”

 Lyndsey Johnson, Sarah Kusnerick, Elijah McDonald, and Nikki Meuse (from left to right) participate in a mock archeological dig. — Photo by Nicole DeLise

A highlight of the Lost Cities and Civilizations module is a “fake dig” that the Summer Scholars complete by carefully digging though plastic storage boxes in a classroom. The boxes are filled with faux artifacts and and dirt meant to represent what is found at different levels beneath the earth. While Card always does this activity with his Summer Scholars, it is an opportunity he is not able to give undergraduate students because the space is unavailable during the school year.

Dr. Card instructs Riley Mullis (left) and Gina Brooker (right) on how to best proceed on the next part of their dig. — Photo by Nicole DeLise

During the mock excavation, his 10 students break into small groups and work slowly, meticulously documenting where every single item is found. Meanwhile, Card meanders from group to group and gives guidance as he sees fit, taking a hands-off approach during his students’ incredibly hands-on assignment.

Sarah Kusnerick documents her group’s findings on a carefully-drawn map.  –Photo by Nicole DeLise

After finishing their group’s section of the dig, Summer Scholars Gina Brooker and Meg Williams described the many things they learned in their brief time at Miami. They both expressed a passion for history and interest in going into education one day. The students were extremely eager to relay specifics of what they learned; Brooker described in detail caves with ancient artwork that experts have gone to extreme lengths to preserve, and Willliams was able to impart her knowledge on distinguishing the different stages of human evolution. After eight days studying archaeology and anthropology with Card, the 10 Summer Scholars exhibit impressive expertise in the subject. They haven’t just learned so they can understand the material; they also have gained the ability to teach it to others themselves.

 Meg Williams, Riley Mullis, and Gina Brooker (left to right) progress in their fake dig. — Photo by Nicole DeLise

§ § § § § § § § §

Competitive gaming: A sport for everyone

To the outsider, playing video games may seem like a solitary pastime. But for Mason Matuszak, a rising senior from Toledo, Ohio, it is an opportunity to connect and compete with others. Matuszak has enjoyed video games for as long as he can remember and discovered the world of competitive gaming two years ago. About a year ago he started competing himself. Matuszak describes himself as a competitive person, and has played several sports over the years, but has found his true passion in gaming, and is “really enjoying the experience as a whole.”

Mason Matuszak, who is studying game design at Summer Scholars, specializes in a game called Super Smash Bros. — Photo by Nicole DeLise

According to Matuszak, any game can be the focus of a video game tournament because “people can find a way to be competitive about just about any game that’s come out.” Different kinds of games include one-on-one fighting, multiplayer online battle arenas, and single-player games. Tournaments can also be held anywhere; Matuszak regularly attended a weekly tournament in a card shop. While that tournament has recently gone on hiatus, he has expressed the desire to “get back into the scene” after the Summer Scholars Program has concluded.

Matuszak has met a variety of people through gaming competitions, from 13-year-olds to new fathers, due to the fact that tournaments are open to all. “Doesn’t really matter what creed, race, or upbringing they’ve got as long as they know how to play…” Matuszak explained. “Once you get the fundamentals down of a certain game you kind of bring those into another… Of course every game has its own style, but once you get the general feel of how it’s supposed to be played, it won’t take too much time to get into another one.”

§ § § § § § § § §

Cincinnati teen conveys emotions through music

Erin Pierce, a rising senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, brought an unusual item when packing for the Miami Summer Scholars Program: her cello. The cello was a necessary addition to Pierce’s luggage because she has an audition for the Cincinnati Symphonic Youth Orchestra (CSYO) a mere 12 days after returning from Oxford. While she is auditioning to be in the CSYO for the third year, Pierce is putting her best foot forward because “most of the time I worry about being the best…in the seat…like, don’t give them a reason not to choose you.”

Erin Pierce practices for her next audition.  — Photo by Nicole DeLise

In addition to the CSYO, Pierce has played in many prestigious orchestras, such as an African-American ensemble in the Nouveau Chamber Players and the Peraza Music Workshop. As a part of the groups, she has taken advantage of opportunities to play all over the country, from a showcase at the Sphinx competition in Detroit to a performance in Carnegie Hall.

Erin Pierce shows off her T-shirt from her trip to Carnegie Hall with the Peraza Music Workshop. — Photo by Nicole DeLise

Pierce has been playing the cello for seven years, and has remained fascinated with the the task of wordlessly conveying complex emotion through different pieces of music. “All the pieces have a story,” she declared. As she absent-mindedly fiddled with her cello, she described the piece she is preparing for her audition: “Elegy” by Fauré. While there are many pieces of music titled “Elegy” Fauré’s version is about the pain of losing his son. Pierce has been “trying to feel the pain” of the piece by drawing on her memories of her older brother’s death. “It’s a hard thing to lose a child…” Pierce stated. “I remember watching my mom…”

The emotional aspect of playing the cello has been an influential part of Pierce growing up. “I feel more open playing the cello…” she confided. “Music is great. Music is everywhere.”

Game design student works to perfect her art

Angela Li, a rising junior from Upper Arlington, Ohio, has just finished two weeks at Miami University’s Summer Scholars Program in the Art of Game Design academic module. While Li does enjoy video games, her primary draw to the program was her desire to learn more about the techniques involved in creating animation. Li has been inspired by the art in the Studio Ghibli films and the TV show Gravity Falls. She explains her fascination: “They’re really fantasy-related and it’s really unpredictable; it’s like you’re in a whole new world.”

Angela Li is fascinated with watching and creating animation.  — Photo by Nicole DeLise

While there isn’t a course offered on animation skills at her high school, Li continues to hone her craft outside of school and on her own. She has taken a Saturday morning class for high school students at the Columbus College of Arts and Design. In that course, which focused on 2-D animation, Li and her classmates worked on “morph animation” and a “walk cycle.” Independently, she has made “tiny gifs” using an online software called Pisko. As for the future, Li plans on developing her skills though more practice.

§ § § § § § § § §

Journalism: Fast-paced and adaptable!

Journalism has a close relationship with technology. It has found a place within every piece of information-related technology, from print, radio, television and the Internet.

News organizations are struggling with how to make money online because not as many sponsors feel the need to buy banner ads.

Journalists are always changing employers or positions.

Journalists have to take so much initiative in order to pursue a story and get all the information they need. They can’t be timid at all; they need to be aggressive and downright nosy sometimes. Persistence is also a vital trait of a good journalist!

Having the correct information is so important. The motto for the Associated Press is “Get it first, but first get it right.”

Journalism is such a fast-paced world, especially with the advent of the Internet. Reporters have to comprehend major events and break them down for others as soon as they happen.

Every day is different for those who work in a newsroom; it’s a crazy world where new and exciting things are happening every day, and there always has to be a journalist around to cover it!

In the last 25 years, news organizations have needed to learn how to marry their print and online content, make money off their websites, and utilize social media to promote their stories. It isn’t just newsprint and printing presses; the industry is constantly adapting to the modern age.

About the author


Nicole DeLise, 17, lives in Fishers, Ind., with her parents and younger sister.  She is a senior at Cathedral High School, where she is captain of the Battle of the Books team; a regular participant in CaTheatre, Cathedral’s theatre program; and a member of the Irish Adrenaline show choir.  She also dances at Dance Creations, a studio outside of Cathedral.  Nicole’s most memorable high school accomplishments to date have been three consecutive local Battle of the Books wins and holding multiple roles in CaTheatre productions, including a seagull in The Little Mermaid and Panichelle the Panicky Princess in The Princess and the Pea.  In her free time, Nicole enjoys reading, writing, knitting and watching Disney movies and musicals.  If asked about the future, Nicole will say that she would like to study English or communication in college.  Nicole has aspirations of becoming a screenwriter and living in Chicago.