Geo016 - Exploration of Mars

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Geo016 / Exploration of Mars / (M) 3:00-5:20 / Lincoln Field 105 / Prof. James Head

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Hannah Pepper-Cunningham (02/04/04)

My name is Hannah Pepper-Cunningham and I am from Newton, Massachusetts, which is right outside Boston and is just forty five minutes away from our lovely institution. And now I pause because stating who I am and where I am from is clearly the easiest part of the assignment. When we introduced ourselves yesterday in class, I was truly amazed to see the company I am in. So many of you seemed to have such clear passions and it was incredible to listen to you describe your visions for your own educations and lives and to hear what role - often integral - this course was to play in it. I am really excited to begin working with you all.

As to my own interest in this course, it seems to be almost like an isolated academic excitement that coexists with hundreds of other isolated academic excitements that do not seem to come together into anything that would give me even a hint as to why I am interested in what I am, a feeling that I would think at least some of you are familiar with. My strategy in college so far has been to latch on to whatever conglomeration of things excite me and explore them further to see what interest I have in the area, and this definitely is my strategy with this course. As I said in class, I don't know anything about the planets, or geology, but I can say that I am certainly more than eager to learn as much as I can. I definitely possess, as most people probably do, the scientific need to explore the unknown, and I feel that this will do a lot to drive me in this course. I am very dedicated to and excited about everything that I study and I feel that I will bring curiosity and excitement to this course. Also, one of the things that I value most in a learning experience is the use of critical thinking skills and so I was thrilled when I heard that in this class I will be challenged to stretch my brain in ways that I haven't yet learned.

In terms of the course schedule, there isn't much outlined that doesn't interest me. Perhaps this is because it is all new to me, and therefore exciting. I can't wait to learn to analyze scientific data from Mars and am excited to work with all of you to draw conclusions form that data. I am also happy that this course takes into account the social, political, and historical significance of Mars. I look forward to becoming more conversant in what these significances are and discussing their implications with all of you. Of course I am also very excited to speak with NASA officials and astronauts, as well as do the CAVE, because, let's face it, that stuff rocks. Finally, it is both incomprehensible and exceedingly exciting to me that I have the opportunity to engage in analysis, discussion, and research that will play a role in shaping the way in which Mars and exploration in general will affect the lives of future generations.

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