2023 Winter Intersession Schedule

All programs will be available via Zoom .

For programs listed as hybrid, the presenter will be in person at UMass Lowell (UML) and the program will also be available via Zoom. The presenter will be remote for all programs labeled Zoom only. All hybrid classes will be in University Suites 106.

Please check your email for the weekly program announcement and any last-minute changes. Hybrid programs will be on Zoom and in University Suites Room 106 (except as noted).

View an online map of with the location of University Suites, parking and building entrance (pdf).

Monday Morning Book Musings. The following programs will run for 4 Mondays from 10 a.m.—noon:

Jan. 23: Writing and Publishing Fiction or Memoir
Presenter: Dale Phillips

Jan. 30 (2 presenters)
The Book of Saint Albans: The Process of Translating from Middle English to Modern English
Presenter: Sarah Brunson
The Book of Saint Albans was printed in 1486, and is one of the first works that began the flood of printed literature in English after the advent of the printing press. England's voracious readership created a demand for many types of books, and such a demand allows us now to see what life was like during that time, told in the voices of that time. This presentation on The Book of Saint Albans will cover my process of encountering the scans of the work, learning how to read the manuscript print, transcribing the Middle English, and translating it into modern English. The reasoning behind and benefit of such preservative efforts will also be discussed, and special focus will be given to how anyone with a little time, an internet connection, and interest in the subject can do projects like this.

S.E. Brunson writes short stories and novels in a wide variety of genres and styles, ranging from academic translations of medieval manuscripts to urban fantasy novels to a gruesome choose-your-own-adventure story for adults. She has worked as a technical writer, editor, and tutor for the past twenty years with a wide variety of interests and professional experiences. She lives near Boston with her spouse and two cats, and in her downtime she draws, repurposes ancient legal codes, does her best with Middle English and Latin and Anglo-Norman French, and plays the bass recorder. You can find out more at https://sebrunson.wixsite.com/main.

Why Does the City of Lowell Exist? Fact and Fantasy
Presenter: Richard Hollman
People often ask, where do authors get the ideas for their stories? In this case, the inspiration for the story was also an inspiration to write fiction in the first place, something I had previously never considered doing. That inspiration was the history of the city of Lowell. In this presentation, I will review the events, beginning in ancient geological history, which resulted in the existence of the city. Looking at these events in a particular way suggests a hidden world of superhuman beings, and an eons-long struggle with implications far beyond the city itself.
Richard Hollman is a Ph.D. physicist, recently retired from a long career in the semiconductor industry. Writing science fiction is one of a number of interests he developed along the way, and which he continues to pursue. His titles include the sci-fi trilogy, A Lowell Story, two collections of short stories, and a soon-to-be-released novel Sanctuary.

Coordinator: Becky Bronson*

Feb. 6 (2 presenters)
Reading to Meet Your Needs: Fiction that Feeds You
Presenter: Laura Feldofi

Whether it is the cozy mystery you like to slip into after a long day or the latest book from your favorite author, we all drift towards fiction that we enjoy. But there is a case to be made that reaching past the familiar to the novel has more benefits than just keeping up with your book club’s reading list: diversifying your fiction intake can make your life not only more interesting, but provide you with plot options in your own life that you haven’t imagined. Join me for a conversation about fictional narratives: how to choose them, how to discuss them, and how to use them.

Laura Fedolfi is the author of the books, Revealing Hannah: The Greek Myth Series. She lives in Chelmsford, MA and you can learn more about her books at revealinghannah.com.

Online Gambling: The Facts Behind the Fiction
Presenter: Becky Bronson

What drives an author to write fiction vs. non-fiction? As a reader, do you believe you can you learn from fiction or are you biased toward thinking that all fiction is simply creative work, whereas non-fiction reveals “the truth.” In this presentation, Becky will discuss her motivation for writing a fictional story about a topic that many people know very little about. She will talk about the importance of research in writing novels, and how fiction can often reveal truths about life in a way that is more palatable to readers than non-fiction. As part of this presentation, Becky will detail some of the facts she discovered while researching her latest novel, Trapped in Pairadice.
Becky is the author of two books: When North Becomes South and Trapped in Pairadice. You can learn more on Becky's website.

Coordinator: Becky Bronson*

Feb. 13: Book Appraisals
Presenters: Bev and Kim Rudeen

What is your book worth?

“Gold in Your Attic”, or “Book Collecting for Fun and Profit” are a couple of titles that make us wonder if the book passed down from Great Grandpa is a really a treasure or a worthless, dusty knickknack.
LIRA members Kim and Bev Rudeen have been book collectors, used book dealers and lovers of the printed page for over 40 years.  They will use their knowledge to help you find out just what the book that you have been wondering about is worth.

They will be in person at University Suites on Monday February 13th to appraise your book.  They will also be showing some interesting videos about the world of book collecting.  If you cannot attend in person, they will do their best to provide you a virtual appraisal through the Zoom meeting.

Coordinators: Beverly and Kimball Rudeen*

Wednesday Programs

The Geoscience, Critical Minerals, Carbon Remediation Nexus
Presenter: Professor Nelson Eby, Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, UMass Lowell (UML)
Wednesday, January 4: 10 a.m. – noon (Hybrid)

Green technologies and modern technologies in general rely on what are called critical minerals. The demand for these minerals far exceeds the current supply. In many cases the source and supply chain for these minerals is controlled by governmental entities that are of questionable character and/or that are not considered "friends" of the United States. This presentation will consider the sources and political considerations in the acquisition of these minerals. The presentation will also consider the role of the geosciences in the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide.

Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

ML NERVE Center Mobility Research Study
Presenters: Professor Holly Yanco, Alexander Wilkinson, and Amelia Sinclaire
Wednesday, January 11: 10 a.m. – noon (Hybrid)

Professor Holly Yanco and student researchers from the UML NERVE center will present their findings from the UMass Lowell Human-Robot Interaction Lab research into intuitive ways to control a robotic arm mounted to a mobility scooter for senior citizens.   LIRA members and many other senior citizens from the Lowell vicinity participated in this study during the fall 2022.

The UMass Lowell NERVE Center is an interdisciplinary robotics testing, research, and training facility that evaluates robotic capabilities, human performance, and human-robot interaction. The mission of the NERVE Center is to improve the development of robot systems by enabling evaluation across many domains including industrial automation, exoskeletons and wearable robots, and disaster response.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Human Interest Stories from Antietam
Scott Mingus
Wednesday, January 18: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom with remote presenter)

The 1862 Battle of Antietam was one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War, author Scott Mingus will present: Human Interest Stories from Antietam: Short stories and anecdotes from the soldiers and civilians as the two armies march to Sharpsburg, invade Maryland, fight the battle, and then march back to Virginia.

Scott has written 28 Civil War and Underground Railroad books and numerous articles for Gettysburg Magazine and other historical journals. He has appeared on C-SPAN, C-SPAN3, PCN, and other TV networks. Mingus writes a blog on the Civil War history of York County, Penn., where he lives. Learn more on York blog website.

Coordinator: Bruce Magnuson*

Construction and Development of a Fusion Tokamak by Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Devens, MA
Presenter: Erica Salazar, Magnetic Systems Lead, Commonwealth Fusion Systems
Wednesday, January 25: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom only, no University Suites viewing)

Erica Salazar, Magnetic Systems Lead at Commonwealth Fusion Systems will present an overview of the company’s plans to construct and demonstrate a tokamak fusion reactor in Massachusetts.  Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) has the fastest, lowest cost path to commercial fusion energy. CFS is collaborating with MIT to leverage decades of research combined with new groundbreaking high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnet technology. HTS magnets will enable compact fusion power plants that can be constructed faster and at lower cost. The mission is to deploy fusion power plants to meet global decarbonization goals as fast as possible. CFS has assembled a team of leaders in tough tech, fusion science, and manufacturing with a track record of rapid execution. Supported by the world’s leading investors, CFS is uniquely positioned to deliver limitless, clean, fusion power to combat climate change.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Her Majesty’s A Pretty Nice Girl…
Presenter: UMass Lowell Professor Emeritus John Wooding
Wednesday, February 1: 10 a.m. – noon (Hybrid)

A conversation about the British monarchy, British political culture and the collapse of traditional norms and values. We will explore the formal and informal roles of the monarchy in the British political system and discuss the breakup of the British state and the possibility of a republic of England.

Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

Sancho and Clarchies: Black Men of Letters and Music
Presenter: Susan de Guardiola
Wednesday, February 8: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Zoom with remote presenter)
Please note the time change for this program

In the late 18th and early 19th century, two remarkable Black men, born into slavery, achieved liberty and success in England and France. Ignatius Sancho, born on a slave ship, became a noted abolitionist, writer, and composer in late 18th century England.  Julien Clarchies, born a slave in the Caribbean, became a famed musician, composer, and dance caller in Napoleonic Paris.  For Black History Month, social dance historian Susan de Guardiola will recount the life stories of these two accomplished men and discuss their contributions to music and dance.

Coordinator: Lisa Hertel*

Ending Generational Poverty-the evolution of the Boys & Girls Club since 1900
Presenter: Joe Hungler, Lowell Boys and Girls Club
Wednesday February 15: 10 a.m. – noon (Hybrid)

Learn how the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell evolved from the third floor of a building on Thorndike Street to a building on Dutton to its current location on Middlesex St. You will see the change in focus responding to the needs of the community from cane chairs to woodworking to robotics and career development. Hear about the exciting plans to double the capacity of the current facility and the vision to end generational poverty. You will get to see the design work of Club alumnus Patrick Tighe, known as one of the top 50 architects in the country.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Island Lore-Shipwrecks, Mayhem, Lighthouses, and Photography off the New England Coast.
Presenter: Bruce Magnuson*
Wednesday, February 22: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom with remote presenter)
Take a trip up the New England coast from Massachusetts to Maine and explore some of the many stories associated with this region.  Focusing on Thacher Island, the Isles of Shoals and Boon Island, photographer Bruce Magnuson will interweave tales from these fascinating locales with photographs from trips to these islands.

Based in Chelmsford, MA photographer and LIRA member Bruce Magnuson has been exploring the New England region for decades.   By incorporating art, history and photography into his presentations, he gives a unique take on this region we call home.

He has had photographs shown at many local venues including the Griffin Museum in Winchester, MA, The New England School of Photography, the Parish Center for the Arts in Westford, MA, the Chelmsford Public Library and a show of his infrared images at the Acton Library.

Coordinator: Bruce Magnuson*