Sunday, February 10, 2008

Undergrad Education Comes in Handy

Way back, what feels like two thousand years ago, I majored in Communications at Emerson College - I have a Bachelor of Science in Speech. Technically a BSSP, I always called it a "BS squared."

Emerson was founded as a school of rhetoric and requires every student to take a core of speech courses such as Voice and Articulation, Public Speaking, and Oral Interpretation. As a columnist for the student newspaper I wrote an article defending this tradition. Many students hated these classes, which involved reciting poetry to the class and having a Professor criticize the students' elocution and pronunciation.

In my article I interviewed one of the Professors who mentioned a survey taken where graduates admitted, decades later, that despite how much they hated these classes, the Speech program turned out to be very useful in real life.

I am now living my words. As part of my work at the Laboratory for Computational Cultural Dynamics at the University of Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies I work on the development of CAGE: Cultural Adversarial Game Engine - a game that simulates operating in a different culture. The game requires a human voiceover at points and guess who was selected for the job? I cleared my throat, found my optimum pitch, and made sure I had an open throat.

Early reviews have been good.

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