Friday, July 6, 2012

Ithaca Visit

Now its July! Goodness the summer is really flying. Also the fact that I will need to figure out my life after August is really sinking in. Its nice to actually have time to search for jobs and opportunities, and to have the option of really going anywhere to work. I had a really great weekend here. I went to a huge indoor rock-climbing gym in Half Moon, NY that has some great routes. I also got to make my favorite cupcake recipe for Zoe's 30th birthday party on Saturday - Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Baileys butter cream and a chocolate ganache filling! It was really fun to hang out with everyone from the office in a non-work setting and enjoy the sunshine. Sunday I went for a really gorgeous hike near Lake George on Buck Mountain with some friends and it was so nice to be outside and moving. Sometimes it is hard to sit inside a lot at the office and at a desk with the AC on while its gorgeous outside. The hike was about 3.2 miles each way and it was a beautiful day. When we got to the top, there was a huge storm that we could see just across the lake, which was unfortunately moving right towards us. It was an exciting descent getting drenched, but we had a good time.

On Monday Charlie, Zoe and I drove to Ithaca early in the morning for an exciting day. We spent most of the day with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick to take her on a tour of the Vet School and also to a meeting with President Skorton. Assemblywoman Glick is serving her 11th term, and she is the first openly lesbian or gay member of the NYS legislature. She is the chair of the Assembly's Higher Education Committee and was integral in helping Cornell get funding for the new expansion of the Cornell Vet School. It is a $22 million renovation project that will allow the class size to increase from about 100 students per year to about 120 students per year. Construction is supposed to start this summer, and there are multiple phases of the project which should be complete by 2015. The expansion will include new lecture halls, teaching labs, locker rooms, tutorial rooms, and a new atrium. The Vet School started with the founding of the University in 1865 and Andrew D. White the university's first president was instructed by Ezra Cornell to find the best person to teach courses in Veterinary Medicine. Cornell Faculty in 1871 passed a resolution requiring four years for a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree and an additional two years for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - a degree which was previously unavailable form any institution in the U.S. The college was originally on the Ag Quad until 1957 when the 'new' vet school opened at the east end of Tower Road. Pretty much all students were males up until 1910 when Florence Kimball, the first woman in the U.S. to receive the DVM degree graduated. Even when the new building was built in 1957, the classes were still mostly male, however now the graduating classes are female-dominated, so new locker rooms are essential! 

I was basically tagging along for the visit planned for Assemblywoman Glick. Charlie and Zoe had seen most everything before, but for me it was all very new and exciting. We were joined by the Dean of the Vet School for a tour of the facilities, and of course as soon as I took out my camera to take pictures, my batteries died. It was wonderful to see the inside of the buildings I have passed by so many times. There were many memorable things, such as one hallway was lined with crazy old tools from Vet's bags that looked pretty terrifying. We went through the hospital and saw a lot of state of the art equipment like both a small animal and a large animal ct machine, x-ray machines for animals, the holding areas for large animals, and more. We got to see meet a few of the doctors on staff and see what work they were doing with animals, one cat had stones in his bladder and we got to see the x-ray. There was also a giant treadmill that a horse was running on for a study, which is also used for physical therapy. We also got to see the NYS Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory which is a nice new building right next door and hear about the work that they do there. They get over 150,000 submissions a year and are integral in providing effective surveillance and early disease detection for NY state.

I did get one picture before my camera died of Lucy Lou, a cow who lives in the Vet Hospital and is a blood donor. 

After the tour of the Vet School, we headed down to Day Hall for a meeting with President Skorton, the 12th President of the University. His office was very bright and all white, with white carpet, walls, and a big white sofa. He had a wall full of books and really interesting gadgets and art all around his office. There was also a very fancy coffee machine. President Skorton was incredibly nice, and actually remembered meeting me once at an Outdoor Odyssey event. Crazy! He was very down to earth, and it was very comfortable being there. He spoke with Assemblywoman Glick about updates from around Cornell, and thanked her for all of the help with the Vet School.

Next Charlie and Zoe had a meeting with the Major of Ithaca - Svante Myrick, who at 24 is the youngest Mayor of Ithaca ever! Here is a funny article about his parking space. Charlie and Zoe talked with him about how things work here in Albany, and gave him some ideas about how to lobby effectively. He was such a nice guy, and has some really innovative ideas for Ithaca.

It was strange to be in Ithaca for just one day, and not on my own agenda. It was lovely to get to stop at CTB though and get my favorite sandwich - the Autumn Sky - before heading home again to Albany.

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