campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “Marine Biology”

University of North Carolina – Wilmington

UNC Wilmington (visited 3/13/17)

UNCW seahawk 2

The main building and Seahawk (mascot) sculpture at the main entrance to campus

I have sent several students here over the years, all of whom had good things to say about it. I finally had a chance to visit, but because I was not able to get into town in time for an official tour, I got in contact with a former advisee who is currently a bio major and psych/neurobiology double minor with sights on med school. I walked away from campus incredibly impressed. They seem to really take care of the students with amazing academic and social opportunities and up-to-date facilities. Their retention rate of 85% indicates that they’re doing things right!

 

UNCW quad

bike racks are all over campus

“What surprised me is how smart people are. They study and go to class.” She said that it can be difficult to find seating in the library because it’s so well used. “Students who have the work-play balance figured out are going to do great here!” Students will spend time at the beach and still get to class and study. “You’ll see a lot of people using long boards and bikes here, and they go barefoot a lot. People wear surf shorts to class. Sometimes they’re coming right from the beach. That kind of sucks if you’re sitting in the chair after them and you end up in a damp seat.”

 

UNCW 6Long known as the place to go for Marine Biology, particularly in the UNC system, this school offers much more. Oceanography falls within the Earth and Ocean Sciences department, and there’s also a Physical Oceanography program within the Physics department (URI is the only other university in the country to offer this degree).

UNCW health sci bldgs

Two of the new health science buildings

The Health Sciences (including Nursing, Social Work, and Allied Health) are also strong and have been growing. They’ve added a couple new buildings with talk of more in the near future. Along with majors you’d expect, they offer Recreation Therapy and Public Health Studies.

 

UNCW 5UNCW doesn’t have Engineering but offers a pre-engineering program with 2 tracks in conjunction with NC State. The 2+2 allows students to choose from 11 majors including the more unusual Agricultural, Construction, Material Science, Paper Science, Textile, and Nuclear Engineering. The 3+2 program is a little more limited: students complete a Computer Science, Environmental Science, or Physics major at UNW and then go into Computer, Electrical, or Environmental Engineering at State.

UNCW apts

Some of the apartment buildings.

About 40% of students live on campus although there’s no residency requirement. There is a “village” of apartments that even freshman can live in. “I wish I knew that this was an option when I first got here. I ended up in a traditional hall which kind of sucked, but I did make a lot of really good friends. We definitely bonded over the experience!” Off campus housing is cheap and easy to find: “Rent is really cheap, and I’m hoping to move closer to the beach next year. We’ll see how that goes.”Students living within a mile of campus cannot park on campus.

UNCW greek dorms

A more traditional dorm where Greek affiliated students get room together on floors. Lettering is on the side.

Shuttles run frequently around and off campus, and there are monitors to show where they are on the route and time to arrival at a particular spot. Dining hall food at the main dining hall is “not so good” but there are a lot of other options. Only about 10-15% of students go Greek. “There are only 114 women in my sorority.” Something she would do to improve campus is to build Greek Housing and put in another dining hall.

 

UNCW Chancellors walk

Chancellor’s Walk

UNCW stu cntr

The Student Center

This is a medium-sized public institution with about 13,000 undergraduates. Campus is fairly big but manageable. Chancellor’s Walk is the main pedestrian thoroughfare, acting kind of as the main center of campus, stretching about half a mile through the middle. “People use it to run because it’s easy to plot out distance.” On sunny days, people pour out of the academic buildings that line the walk. “Even though it’s a big school, I see people I know everywhere.” This certainly seemed to be the case; she was greeting people by name everywhere we went on campus.

UNCW seahawk and clocktowerIt was raining when I visited; even in the increasingly heavy rainfall, it’s a beautiful campus! “I wish you could see in it the sun! It’s gorgeous!” The rain didn’t dampen the attractiveness, but students were not out in the numbers they normally are – although there were plenty of people out and about. “One of the drawbacks on campus is that it floods/puddles easily. Given the rain we get here, you’d think they would have figured it out by now and fixed it!

UNCW porchA lot of students stay all year to do research or other work on campus. “Plus, it’s a beach town. It’s easy to find jobs.” The Greyhound station is only a couple miles off campus making getting to campus easy (although all students can have cars).

© 2017

University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire (visited 10/17/16)

unh-sign

Students stretch out in the grass in front of the UNH sign and main building

unh-foodtruck

Food trucks get tucked around campus

UNH should be on far more people’s radars. This is just an amazing school. I liked the vibe here; students were friendly, outgoing, outdoorsy (including just wanting to be out and about on campus), and smart. For a state school, it is not an overwhelming size, either physically or in population numbers. It’s beautiful with a mix of historic and new buildings, with facilities that offer a great deal to the students in the academic and social realms.

 

unh-2There’s something to be said for the liberal arts within a comprehensive research university. Students who are most successful here want to be challenged and stretch themselves in and out of the classroom. Students who like UVM should also seriously consider UNH. It won’t disappoint; they take care of students, and students want to stay. Freshman-to-sophomore retention (86%) and graduation rates (67% in 4 years, 79% 6-year) are above average.

unh-students-4

Not an uncommon scene on campus: students were everywhere!

Last year, applications topped 20,000 for the first time with the out-of-state population growing. Part of this is demographic (there are fewer college-aged students in NH); the other part is reputation. In the admission process, they focus mainly on the transcript: have students taken the minimum (at least!) and done well (looking for mostly Bs or better)? The SAT/ACT is not crucial for admission, but comes more into play for merit awards. They only require 1 letter, preferably from the counselor. In terms of admissions, Nursing and OT are the most competitive to get into.

 

unh-shuttles

Shuttles get students around campus, but it’s also very walkable

A major distinction for UNH is its location and size. The physical campus size is manageable, but more than that, there are so many options accessible to campus. They’re only 30 minutes from the ocean and beaches, and the mountains and urban areas aren’t much further. Portsmouth, a medium-sized city, is 20 minutes away, and students can use UNH transportation to get there. There’s even an Amtrak stop on campus; students can be in Boston in an hour, or head up the coast into Maine to Portland or Freeport (home of LLBean!).

 

unh-dorm

One of the dorms

Housing is guaranteed for 2 years. Of course there are lots of social options, as at any school of this size (13,000 undergrads at the Durham campus; there are about 1,000 more at the non-residential Manchester campus). Something the students appreciate is that “One thing doesn’t dominate campus: we have Greek life, we have football and hockey, etc – but none of those dominate the others. You don’t have to belong to a certain group or do a certain thing to belong here.” Only 10% of students go Greek. Hockey is one of the most popular sports.

 

unh-engo-lab-2

One of the engineering labs

This is a great option for students who want engineering at a medium school. However, their excellent academic choices and resources go far beyond that. Started in 1866 as New Hampshire’s Land Grant institution, UNH has now also earned Sea and Space Grant designations and offers over 100 majors. It’s not surprising that the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture options are strong and varied, including EcoGastronomy, Sustainable agriculture and food systems, and Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology.

 

unh-hammockTheir sustainability efforts are amazing: they get almost ¼ of their food from local and/or organic sources, and they’re the first land-grant school to have an organic dairy farm, and they make their own ice cream on campus. They gave us scoops for dessert; not only did they have great flavor options, but it tasted better than most I’ve tried!

Discovery is their Core curriculum, comprised of 11 disciplines they need to take classes in, including a World Cultures class (which can be fulfilled with study abroad – they offer over 600 options) and a Capstone or “Integrative Understanding.” Research is defined broadly here: they call original projects (musical compositions or a business proposal) as “research.”

unh-loungeResources are strong across the board, but Ocean Engineering and Marine Biology have some unique resources at students’ disposal. UNH co-runs the Isle of Shoals Marine Lab with Cornell University. Students spend a great deal of time researching out there, particularly in the summer (they can live on the island!). The Ocean Engineering labs have 2 wave pools; the military even asks to use this for research. Computer Science students have labs to try to break into a variety of systems as part of CyberSecurity training.

© 2016

University of New Haven

University of New Haven (visited 10/12/16)

new-haven-sealUNH has their act together. They know who they are and what they expect from the kids. Their tag line is “Leader in Experiential Education,” and having seen their resources and talking to several of their kids, I believe it! One of the students I spoke to said, “There are so many resources and opportunities. I’m really proud to be here.”

Internships are required for about 80% of majors (all majors encourage it); most research is available in the sciences, but some companies hire business and engineering students to work on projects. Employers mention the passion and knowledge that UNH students bring to the job; they are mature and well-spoken, and employers keep coming back knowing that they’re going to get quality students. Additionally, the alumni network is strong; they’re willing to employ graduates or interns. “Wildcats look out for wildcats.”

new-haven-4

The Kaplan building with no 90 degree angles (except where it meets the ground and on the roof).

I had no idea that UNH was founded conjunction with Northeastern and Yale. Now, the campus is in a safe suburban area of West Haven (not in its original location downtown). This great college town has music, theater, and a world-class restaurant scene (including Peppi’s Pizza, ranked #1 in the world). When students get sick of New Haven, the are 2 train stations within 10 minutes will get students into NYC (1.5 hours on MetroNorth) or Boston (2 hours on Amtrak). The beaches are only a few miles away.

 

new-haven-bikesThe 4,600 undergrads are evenly split between men and women. Sixty percent come from outside of Connecticut with 41 states and 22 foreign countries represented. Diversity in all its forms is getting better. “A couple years ago, it wasn’t so good. It’s a lot more inclusive now,” said the tour guide in response to my question about how well different groups were represented on campus.

new-haven-lower-quad

Lower Quad where many of the dorms are located

About 2/3 of students live on campus; this will rise when the new building opens in fall 2017 with 67 suites, parking, and retail space (Starbucks and a burger place are confirmed; the rest is still in negotiation). The freshman dorm opened that in 2014 has bathrooms attached to each room. There are still some forced triples, but students in those get $500 off R&B. First-year students can choose an LLC (Army ROTC, honors, arts, marine bio, engineering, forensic science, criminal justice) filled on a first come, first served basis. The tour guides encouraged students to look into these: “They can help a lot in the first year, particularly in more competitive majors or those with lots of projects and late nights such as engineering; if you’re up at 2 am working on something, it’s nice to have others around doing the same things.”

 

One of the tour guides said that he was surprised at how good the food was on campus. The Dairy Bar is the first 3-star certified green restaurant in New Haven.

new-haven-galleryAnother student said he was surprised at how much there was to do outside the classroom. “I was never bored.” The Juggling and Hammock clubs are particularly popular. Students get free tickets to sporting events; the only game that might be difficult to get tickets for is the one against U Maine, their big rival. “We’ll camp out for tickets – that’s half the fun!” Intramurals are a big draw, particularly Broomball.

With 100 majors (and growing) and 70 minors/concentrations, students have no shortage of options. Many programs are hands-on and/or professionally-focused. Students start early doing real work in the field.

  • new-haven-crime-scene-bldg

    Crime Scene Building

    Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences: This is their claim to fame. Henry C. Lee, a nationally known forensic scientist (and still consults for shows and agencies), runs the program.

    • CJ has 7 concentrations: Corrections, Crime Analysis, Law Enforcement Admin, Victim Services Admin, International Justice and Security, Juvenile and Family Justice, Forensic Psych, Investigative Services
      • There’s a crime scene house (“My friends have done 11 hour labs there!” said a tour guide) and a building with crime scene rooms for labwork.
      • new-haven-crime-scene-room

        one of the crime scene lab rooms

        The National Cold Case Center sends information to campus; students and faculty get to work on these.

      • “The forensics floor smells pretty funky, but you’ll get used to it. A professor does research on Forensic Entymology up there,” said a tour guide.
      • One student studied in Australia and worked at a body farm.
    • Fire Science (Arson Investigation or Fire Admin)
    • Fire Protection Engineering
    • National Security Studies: Most students in this major will minor in a language (Chinese, Russian, Arabic are encouraged)
    • Paramedicine
  • Arts and Sciences
  • new-haven-6Business
    • Economics: Students can specialize in General, Behavioral, or Economic Sustainability
    • PACE program: individualized major within the school
    • Hospitality and Tourism Management: students run the campus café and restaurant on campus from top to bottom (marketing, scheduling, food service, purchasing, hiring and firing, etc)
    • The 3+1 Fast-Track allows students to get the Bachelor’s in 3 years. Although not required, it is helpful if students have AP or dual-enrolment credits coming into this program. 4+1 is also an option.
  • Engineering: This school puts a big focus on leadership, communication/presentation skills, and team building.
    • Cyber Systems, Cyber Forensics, and Cybersecurity
    • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • New Lyme College of Fine Arts: When Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts closed, UNH acquired them and merged the programs into the university.

new-haven-1If students can’t (or don’t want to) spend a semester or year abroad, they have several 2-week intensive study abroad options or can spend first semester freshman year in Prato (Tuscany). A cohort is sent with bio and engineering professors to teach the same classes they’d take here. Music students go to Nashville, working in studios during the day and take classes at night.

New Haven is strict about application deadlines: EVERYTHING has to be in by those dates, not just the student applications. They only require 1 letter, and they will superscore both tests. Interviews are required for Early Decision only. The rep said, “Send things in early! We have the most money to give out and there’s space in all our programs. Applying early means that you have the best chance to be placed in the major you want.” The Priority App deadline is March 1, but if there is space available, apps will be evaluated on a rolling basis after that.

© 2016

Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College (visited 2/5/16)

FSC waterski ramp 2

Ski jump for the waterskiing team

Want to join a varsity waterskiing team?

Maybe you’d like to major in Citrus?

Are you a Frank Lloyd Wright fan?

Would you like a work-study job walking Riley the Therapy Dog?

Then check out Florida Southern!

FSC dining hall

Students studying in the dining hall

FSC takes a well-balanced, holistic approach to education. The college President said, “Students have to actively engage in the learning process and apply what they’ve learned. If you’re looking for an anonymous experience, go to UF. If you want to be involved with professors and see how learning is applied in a real-world way, this experience becomes transformative.”

FSC arch and towerFlorida Southern has 3 distinctive guarantees:

  • Graduation in 4 years. Students must follow certain straight-forward guidelines; if they do so and still can’t graduate on time, FSU will help cover the cost of the remaining time.
  • Internships: Everyone is guaranteed an internship in their field of study if they want it, although these are not required. However, real-world readiness is stressed here and the National Society of Experiential Education Ranked FSC #1 in engaged learning. Almost all students (98%) do internships, practicum, field work, research, or study abroad.
  • Study abroad. Many students do traditional study abroad, but FSC offers Junior Journey at no or reduced cost to all students. They’re eligible after completing 4 semesters of study. They can apply this to a longer study abroad experience if they want.

FSC bikesStudents have fun here, but academics are important: “I’m surprised how much more academically focused I am,” said one of the students we spoke to. The most popular majors are accounting, business, broadcast and print/online journalism, economics and finance, education (offered in multiple areas), marine biology, music, nursing, and psychology.

FSC PAC

Performing Arts Center

 

For students interested in fine and performing arts, this is a great place. Interested students must audition (remote auditions are available). They just added a new Dance Performance and Choreography major. Their thriving music program includes music education, performance, management, and musical theater. Theater students can major in performance, theater arts, and technical theater/design. Fine arts students have options of graphic design, studio art, art education, and art history. There’s a large art gallery on campus used extensively by students. There are 30+ performance and gallery shows every year, including a full opera accompanied by the orchestra.

FSC business atrium

The lobby of the new Business building

The new Business building opened in August 2015, and in the fall semester of 2015, students had the option of majoring in Political Economy which is only offered at a few universities in the nation.

FSC citrus trees

Some of the citrus trees that Citrus majors help manage.

Biology, Marine biology, and Biotechnology are all strong. Lakeland and the university are within an hour’s drive of both coasts, and there are 29 lakes nearby. FSC students often work with other students from schools like USF and UCF. Dr. Langford, a biology professor, spoke to us. His “how to” for getting students involved in research is: “Recruit students sophomore year, give them original projects, train them, get out of the way, and brag about their results!” Students have access to a ton of topics either self-developed or with professors: they’re actively working on shark ecology, antibiotic discovery, genetics and evolution, paleobotany, wetland ecology, marine microbiology, herpetology, parasitology, and invertebrate phylogenetics among other things, and they present regularly at regional, national, and international meetings and have publications in peer reviewed in scientific journals.

FSC dorm 1

One of the dorms

There’s a strong sense of campus pride and inclusivity here. With 11 dorms, 3 apartment complexes (with a 4th on the way), and Greek housing (about 1/3 of students rush, but not all live in housing), this is a highly residential campus; first-year students are required to be on campus unless living with parents (94% are on campus). Dorm rooms are big and many have water views. Greek rush happens during the 3rd week in the fall. Students can join both a social and a professional Greek organization.

FSC has 19 varsity DII sports, and they’ve won 28 National Championships. There are 25 intramural options including Inner Tube Water Polo, Rock Paper Scissors, and Kayak Racing.

FSC bikesStudents can walk to downtown Lakeland in about 15 minutes (“or about 3 minutes on a bike”). Students like the town: “It’s little and cute and there’s plenty to do,” including First Fridays, coffee shops, a great farmer’s market, and a flea market. If they get tired of Lakeland, beaches and Orlando are both an hour away. This is the oldest private school in Florida, founded in 1885, and is the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

FSC FLW chapel

The Chapel

Students perform 32,000 hours of community service a year. Although the university is affiliated with the United Methodist church, there are no religious requirements; those who are interested can help run chapel services.

The college is responsive to students and what they need and want: for example, they kept the library open later when students asked for it. They’ve changed up the food options; there are now more food trucks on campus. They have offered more vegan and other options, as well.

FSC fountain and tower

The fountain where WaterDome Splash occurs

Some of the students’ favorite classes are:

  • Philosophy: “The professor is Lebanese and has a different perspective on a lot of things; he took it to a whole new level.” Bikes apparently are useful but not used so much.
  • Marketing Principles: “The professor is really straight-forward; we do cool projects!”
  • Speech class: The professor is passionate.”
  • Intro to Microbio Research: “We do concrete projects. The professor is interesting and has expanded the content past the textbook.”

Things that they’d like to change are:

  • More centralized parking: “All students can bring a car but parking can be a struggle. It’s there but can take awhile.”
  • “Sometimes school spirit for athletics gets forgotten. It’s very academic here. People would rather go to the library than to a game.
  • “I’d change the accounting program.”

Traditions students particularly like are:

  • WaterDome Splash: going into the fountain is forbidden except for seniors at graduation who are allowed in.
  • Blast Off: on the day before classes, clubs in the gym host a club fair.
  • Pizza with the President: “She’s super involved; she even got kicked out of a basketball game because she was yelling so much!”
  • Winter Wonderland: “they bring in snow to the green”
  • One student said, “It’s not a traditions, but I’m going to miss my professors when I leave.”

Admissions is rolling between September 1 and March 1 with an ED deadline of 12/1. They admit approximately 45% of total applicants; admitted students average a 3.6 GPA, 26 ACT, 1134 SAT. They will superscore both tests.

© 2016

Monmouth University

Monmouth University (visited 7/29/13)

~Monmouth wilson hall stairsMonmouth is a private university with about 4400 undergraduates. The main hall on campus is Wilson Hall built in the early 1900s and named for President Wilson who had stayed there during his 1916 campaign for president. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it is surrounded by the Shadow Lawn Estate, modeled after the Gardens of Versailles. Many people will recognized it as Dr. Warbuck’s mansion from Annie. The Guggenheim family “cottage” (mansion) is also on campus and now houses the library and cafe.

~Monmouth fountainMonmouth stresses Experiential Education, required of all students. This can be fulfilled through study abroad, internships, or other similar experiences. Classes are caped at 35 with an average size of 22. The tour guide’s largest classes were 35 in her Gen Ed classes; the smallest had 8. She had transferred from Ramapo (a larger public school) for the hands-on experience and to take advantage of the 5-year BA/MBA program; she’s planning on doing her MBA in Health Care Management. “I like that they make sure we succeed. It’s not survival of the fittest here.”

~Monmouth businessThere are several notable academic areas to point out:

  • There are multiple 5-year Bachelor/Masters programs. Their Social Work (concentrations in International and Community Development or Families and Children) and Software Engineering programs are top ranked.
  • They have a student-run record label!
  • Marine Biology is well-regarded with research opportunities in the Bahamas.
  • The Center for Entrepreneurship. One student started a natural pet treat company and donates 10% of profits to animals for military
  • Their Clinical Lab Science major is unusual. Students can complete concentrations in Cytotechnology or Medical Lab Sciences.
  • Other unusual majors include: Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy, Chemistry: Chemical Physics, Homeland Security, and Fine Arts with concentrations in Creative Writing, Animation, or Graphic Design.
  • They’re starting their nursing program in the fall of 2014 with 25 spots anticipated. Students will need about a 1600 SAT and 3.25 GPA and must write an essay addressing interest.
  • They offer 3 free rides to law school.
  • The art museum has exhibits and studio space.

~Monmouth 4~Monmouth flowersHousing is guaranteed for freshmen, and starting this year, for sophomores as well (a new sophomore residential hall just opened up). A tunnel under the road leads to the residential oval where there’s a 50/50 split between traditional housing and suites, although freshmen tend to be in more standard cinderblock set-ups. Dorms are wired for wifi, but rooms have backup Ethernet hookups. Each room has cable access for students wanting to buy into that system. There is no official Greek housing, but groups can live together on a hall as long as they don’t exceed 15% of space. Most students will opt to live on campus, but there’s plenty of off-campus housing should they choose to move off. Most students living in non-campus housing will need cars or will ride the shuttle into school. Parking costs $300 a year in the assigned lot; it’s first come, first serve.

~Monmouth stud cntrThe Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) was completely built with donations. They have TV and radio stations inside, student activity offices, and plenty of meeting spaces. There are even special recycling bins; by using them, students win points for iPods and more. Monmouth has a world-class debate team which won a national competition last year. Students are given a calendar of activities when they arrive on campus. “There’s a ton to do on and off campus,” said the tour guide. Big campus traditions include Battle of the Buildings (inter-dorms competition in the fall, Winter Ball (prom-like dance), and Spring Fling. Off-campus trips, include weekend shuttles to the beach, require a $5 reservation to hold a the spot, but they get it back when they get on the bus.

~Monmouth mascot~Monmouth hawkAdmitted students tend to have a B+ average and have about a 1600 SAT or 24 ACT. Crossover colleges are often Scranton, Charleston, Iona, TCNJ, Rowan, and Drew. About 65 students are admitted to the Honors program during the application process. They are housed together and have access to specially designed classes that are often thematic and emphasize creativity. Students need to keep a 3.5 in the major and 3.4 overall to stay in the program. The Honors Program has about a 94% retention rate.

© 2014

San Francisco State University

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY (visited on 7/19/12)

SFSU tiger and acad bldgSFSU scienceSFSU lives up to its reputation as being in the coldest area of town. As we toured in the afternoon, we could watch the fog roll over campus; you definitely can’t forget that you’re in San Francisco! This is the most compact, size-wise, of the CSUs, and with 25,000 undergrads, it also has the highest density. It is called the “City’s University” because it mimics the diversity found in San Francisco: 68% of the student body are students of color. It has also been called a “College with a conscience.” They got a 2010 award from President Obama because the students provided over 300,000 hours of service during the year. There is no community service requirement; students do it because they want to.

SFSU businessSFSU commerceThe university offers Bachelor degrees in 115 areas. They have an outstanding Marine Biology and cinema programs. The movie “Dolphin’s Tale” was based on the work of a SFSU professor who provided the new tail for the injured dolphin. In cinema, alumni have been nominated for 13 consecutive years for Oscars in a variety of categories. They also have an apparel design program which might be one of their most unique programs. The most competitive would be nursing which has 80 spots open per year. Students cannot apply directly to nursing. Instead, they apply undeclared with an intent to major in nursing, then have to take the prereqs on campus and apply into the program. They have several impacted majors on campus, a term applied to schools in California which have more applicants than spots available to accommodate them. Some of the impacted programs are environmental studies (a major that is becoming more and more popular on several campuses), psychology, journalism, and social work.

SFSU quadSFSU 2The campus is attractive, nicely landscaped, and welcoming. I really liked the college and would highly recommend that my students take a serious look at it. The only drawback is that housing is a problem on campus. They only have 2400 beds and have no immediate plans to add, mostly because of space issues. Students have to apply for housing by mid-December; this application has a $55 fee attached to it. Most people who meet this application deadline can get housing provided.

(c) 2012

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