With my time at RPI dwindling, my remaining time on the staff of The Polytechnic is also shrinking. My involvement in The Poly could be seen as an accident. When I first came to RPI in the fall of 2009, I was just getting started in photography. I inherited my father’s DSLR, the original Canon EOS Digital Rebel with a kit lens. It’s not a bad camera by any means, but it was incredibly outdated at the time. I used it to learn over the summer and brought it with me when I came to RPI in the fall. I used it to take pictures of a Yankee’s game and the campus after the first major snowfall that semester.
Like every other freshman, I made new friends and one of those friends was T.J. Lipscomb ’13, who would become editor in chief of The Poly. We took Diff EQ together with an awful 9 am lecture. With class at noon and not much food available in Commons, we would go to the Poly office between classes. At the time, T.J. was the Ed/Op editor for the paper, so on Tuesdays after class, there would be layout and copy reading to be done. Between working on homework problems, I’d help out by copy reading as T.J. laid out his section. A little ways into the semester, the original photography editor quit his position and there was nobody to take his place. There was, however, a freshman who was willing to do the job and learn about photography. At this point, I started covering events for the paper, and at the end of the academic year, started as the photography editor for the first of four semesters.
In that time, I’ve covered an incredible number events ranging from sports and speeches to plays and carnivals. One event that sticks out above all the rest is the 2011 Big Red Freakout. A little backstory here. The previous year’s Freakout against Princeton was a 0-7 loss and until that point, Yale was undefeated in league games. With a sea of red in the stands for what continues to be RPI’s most-attended game, the Engineers decisively defeated Yale in a 5-2 victory. This is the first Freakout that I covered, and I could not have asked for a better one. Hockey naturally lends itself to action shots, but the attitude and energy of the game gave me some great crowd shots for the Freakout spread that week. The win was just icing on the cake.
Continuing with the sports trend, I also enjoyed covering Le Tour De Troy, a cycling race hosted by RPI’s Cycling Team as part of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. Even though I had to get up at around 5:30 am to prep, it was well worth the time and temperatures (below freezing) to cover something I may not get a chance to again. Watching hundreds of cyclists zip through Troy right in front of you is a sight to see, and I hope RPI gets to host this event again.
Aside from sports are speeches and talks. I’ve gotten to cover some great speakers from the Union Speaker’s Forum and talk with them briefly while I took pictures of them for the paper. Most notably, Ken Jennings is a hilarious speaker and Grant Imahara gave an amazing talk about his work. I also had the privilege to cover the Watson panels over the three days when it was playing Jeopardy. These panels, composed of RPI faculty and IBM researchers, discussed Watson, its architecture, and its implications. There are others, of course: President Shirley Ann Jackson’s speeches, commencement speakers, and more, but these are the few that stick out to me. Covering all of these events was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget, and I hope to see The Poly continue its coverage of campus life in the years to come.