Gathering Graces 4/28/2017

*Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a parlour game based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, which says that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart.  It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps.  Today when I was at the University of Idaho, I think the same can be said about connections at the University of Idaho.
*The KHS Science teacher Nicole Young and I took 18 students to U of I today to attend the University of Idaho Engineering Expo, and visit other departments on campus.  It was a fun day of seeing excitement and enthusiasm in the eyes of the students we took, as they were told about different engineering subjects.  It was also a day of connections.
*The day started off with the group getting their photo taken with Joe Vandal.  As we were standing waiting for our orientation before we headed out, one of the ladies who worked at the main desk that handed the bags out to the students made a point of coming over to me and complimenting me on our students, saying they were one of the last groups to pick up their bags, and they were the only group all day that every single one of the students said thank you.  And their behavior, enthusiasm, and attitudes continued to be positive all day long.  It was great to receive a message from a parent of one of the students who was on the trip later in the evening.  She thanked me for taking her student on the trip, and also said, “I haven't seen her this excited in a long time talking about her day. She hasn't stopped talking yet. Thanks again.”  It is moments like these that make it all worth it. 
*One of our Vandal students host, Diamond, is in the same major as Cosette, and had just finished working on a project with her in one of their Broadcasting classes.  She escorted us to the IRIC, the newest building on campus. It just opened in January.  IRIC stands for Integrated Research and Innovation Center.  It is a building where people during research can come and work on their projects.  It was fascinating learning about the different projects currently housed in this facility.

One of the IRIC projects
*As we were walking back to the Bruce Pittman Center to go see the Engineering Expo exhibits, I walked by the son of one of my friends from college.  As I walked into the exhibit, one of the first people I saw was my dear college friend Dedra Swanstrom, the mother of that guy on the sidewalk.  We hugged and had a short visit.  Dedra was my roommate during Rush at the U of I, and we both ended up pledging Delta Delta Delta.
*I went to sit out in the lobby area outside the exhibit to organize some items in my bag.  A woman sitting across from me saw from my nametag I was from Kellogg.  We struck up a conversation, and she was the sister of a woman named Linda Fischer who was a pharmacist at Gary’s Drug here in Kellogg.  As we continued talking we had a lot of connections.  1. We were both at U of I at the same time, and were both in the UI Marching Band at the same time. 2. She knew my Tridelt sister Michele Alzola, because they were both part of the Boise Basque community.  3.  She also knew Paul’s cousins the Murelagas, who were also part of the Boise Basque community.  4.  Her sister Linda worked for and was mentored by Gary Damiano, who is the father of my sister-in-law Michele Damiano.  And we made all these connections in a very short period of time.  We probably could have made more, but it was time to leave.  Such a fun conversation.
*It was exciting to see two of Zoe Roberts’ best friends having presentations at the Expo.  They both were also in my first GEAR UP graduation  class at KHS in 2012.  Christina Gibbs will graduate as a Biological Engineer in a couple of weeks.  Her project was Neuro Touch, a device that offers a clean, safe and sanitary way to test the effects of different health ailments such as cancer, tumors and other neurological diseases.  Sheila Briggs will graduate in Chemical Engineering in a couple of weeks as well.  Her project was extracting the copper sulfate used in hoof baths for cows and reuse it again.  Both were fascinating to hear about, and I am so proud of both of these women, and I know they are going to go out and do great things in the world!!

Soon to be Biological Engineer Christina Gibbs

Soon to be Chemical Engineer Sheila Briggs, far left.
*I met up with daughter Cosette and she joined us all for lunch at Bob’s, the U of I dining facility.  It was fun to see her and visit a bit with her.  It is hard to believe she is almost done with her junior year of college.  I also saw fellow GEAR UP coordinator Stefani Limandri Hoffman at Bobs eating lunch with some of her students.
*In the afternoon we got to tour the Kibbie Dome and learn about laser cutting, 3-D printing and Rotation.  I saw parts of the Kibbie Dome I have never seen, and will probably never see again, such as the Press Box and the Litehouse Center. I also saw the current turf at the Kibbie Dome for the last time.  It has been auctioned off, and will be replaced over the summer.  I was visiting with another of our Vandal student hosts, and he told me he was from the Sun Valley area.  I asked if he knew either of my friend Jennifer Kroos Haemmerle’s sons (Jenn was also a Tridelt pledge sister, who currently lives in Hailey, right by Sun Valley) and he did know one of her sons.  Small, small world!!

The Litehouse Center in the Kibbie Dome.

Last view of current turf at the Kibbie Dome.  New turf will be added this summer.
*I told the kids on the bus that I was excited to get home because Mr. Roberts and I were going out on a date.  We had hoped to eat at one restaurant, but it was closed until May 11, so we went to Sams instead.  There I saw the mother of another of Zoe’s friends from high school, Courtney Lott.  Courtney recently moved to Germany to join her husband who is in the Air Force.  I asked her mom Lisa if she was going through withdrawals, and she said it was tough, and that Courtney’s dogs miss her a lot. 
*The full and eventful day ended with Paul and I enjoying the movie La La Land.

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