LAW241: Water for Haiti Discussion


The Water for Haiti Discussion revolved around faculty and students who spoke about their first hand experiences when they visited Haiti, and of their population’s struggles. The students realized how other cultures struggle for clean water, while Americans take that for granted.

Students then discussed in class the role of education and the pros and cons of depending on government solutions to Haiti’s problems.

LAW241: Round Table Discussion on the Possibly of Another Korean War


On Wednesday, September 13th the faculty of the Political Science Department and those of the School of Liberal Arts briefly discussed the history of the Korean war before discussing the current political hostility between North Korea and the United States and the possibility of nuclear and conventional war in that region.

Students analyzed the current heightened political atmosphere and arrived at their own conclusions on how best to resolve the current regional conflict.

Allegany County Farm Bureau Hears of Alfred University Faculty and Student Drone Initiative


On Wednesday evening, September 6, 2017 Professor Sangjoon Lee and Jason St. John of Alfred University attended the Allegany County Farm Bureau board meeting in an effort to gain their support and feedback on the university’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant application. Business and Engineering faculty of Alfred University applied for the ARC grant proposing to train the local workforce in drone repair/maintenance/piloting and business skills, then to apply those skills to obtain farm data that will increase the local farming community’s crop health and yield.

The board members were enthusiastic about the grant’s goals and were more than gracious with their feedback.  Jason explained that if ARC approved the university’s grant, then the farmers would initially receive farm data free of charge, and that really got the member’s attention. Many of the board members have heard that drones have several farm uses, but their high cost is a major hurdle. Using drones is ideal for those jobs that are dirty, distant, dangerous, or dull, and is a very cost effective tool to gather farm data.  Private companies offering drone services charge too much for some of the smaller farm operations in this area, but Jason explained that Alfred University can likely provide the same level of service to the farm community at a lower cost, and use local students, if it received the ARC grant, and that really sets the university apart.

Professor Lee and Jason left the board meeting hoping for the community’s support, and looking forward to servicing them as customers of Alfred University’s drone and business services in the near future.

By Jason St. John, Finance Major, Alfred University (2018 grad)

Big Data: Courtney Bowman of Palantir Technologies

Mr. Courtney Bowman of Palantir Technologies, the firm that The Guardian just last week described as having “more influence over our lives than Google,” spoke to Alfred University students, faculty, and staff on  September 5, 2017.  He was accompanied by Taylor Stearns, a Palantir engineer who spoke here in April 2016.

Big Data is a field that crunches huge quantity of data to analyze and predict trends in many areas of contemporary life, from identifying terrorists to reinforcing civil rights.  It is a form of data analytics employed by private corporations and by governmental departments, including the CIA and the Defense Department.  Palantir–the name comes from a stone in the Harry Potter series that can identify locations, sort of like a crystal ball.  It is well recognized that Big Data touches on ethical issues like privacy and surveillance.

The talk was especially relevant to students in business, engineering, math, and the sciences.