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When Chris Mustazza was researching poetry and poetics for his Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts degree, he discovered a collection of recordings of celebrated poets, including James Weldon Johnson, Vachel Lindsay and Gertrude Stein, reading their own work. Chris, who’s also a Penn employee, is digitizing this treasure trove so any one can listen to the poets on PennSound, a Web-based site. In a newsletter about research and scholarship, the master’s student in Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies shares more about the poetry recordings and their significance.

A greener horizon

From protecting the Gulf waves to Philly’s storm water

In 2010, the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill wreaked havoc in the Louisiana Gulf. At the time, Alex Warwood (Master of Environmental Studies ’13) was serving as a marine science technician in the Coast Guard. As the severity of the spill became clear, Alex found himself assigned to the Gulf to help stem the damage.

Because I work full-time, I wanted to take advantage of my tuition benefits. So I have been exploring all the courses that I missed out on as an undergraduate – hello, statistics! Others, I just did not have time to fit into my schedule or did not realize I was interested in the subject until after I graduated.

One of the Post-Baccalaureate Studies program greatest assets is the sheer number of courses offered in the evening. There are so many options to consider. And it was very helpful to be able to take classes that would not interfere with my work commitments.

It wasn’t until I was studying actuarial sciences for my MBA that I learned what an actuary actually does. Right away, I knew I wanted to switch careers and become an actuary. I have always loved math. When I was young, while other kids played, I found my greatest joy in solving math problems and teaching myself new concepts. With the heavily math-based actuarial science class I found myself once again staying up late solving problems and having to force myself away.

I was working in a clinical research program for Parkinson’s disease when I entered the Post-Baccalaureate Studies program. My initial hope was to take some classes – perhaps in Biology or Public Health – to complement my medically oriented job.


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