The Intercollegiate Student Magazine

Speaker Series

Spring Speaker Series

On April 18th, five undergraduates from Tulane University gave presentations on technology, culture, and philosophy. We are excited to publish their work as part of The College Contemporary’s mission to compose and share great ideas from college students.

Languages models like ChatGPT, Bobby Becker argues, can allow us to explore a new, exciting frontier of how we communicate with each other. But, if they’re used irresponsibly, they could flood the internet with AI-generated content which drowns out effortful communication. The key is to find ways for language models to enhance our work rather than automate it. 

Bobby Becker is a double major in computer science and philosophy at Tulane University and the founder of The College Contemporary. He is currently working on computer science research on how to optimally integrate language models into video games and is soon to author an honors thesis on ChatGPT’s impacts on society.

In this speech, Ramsey Bottorff talks about the capabilities of bioengineering, both in its current state and in the near future. She communicates the science behind different bioengineering practices and their potential societal impacts. In particular, she explores “resurrection biology”, which could allow scientists to bring back extinct animals with genetic editing.

Ramsey Bottorff is a student at Tulane University (Class of 2026). She first fell in love with genetics while writing research abstracts about bone morphogenetic proteins at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Her last big project was a local art installation themed around resurrection biology and its dangers. Ramsey enjoys geeking out about neuroscience and genetics, carving linoleum print blocks, and writing sappy poetry.

Jasmine Kiley discusses the importance of effective science communication. The overuse of ‘jargon’, she argues, makes important information harder to understand and share. Students in every field must practice clear communication so that everyone can have access to the insights discovered through scientific research.

Jasmine is from Rochester, NY and is a premed student studying biochemistry and public health. Since her freshman year she has been working in a research lab studying female reproductive health. She has also spent significant time learning how to be an advocate for increasing health literacy. Outside of her academic and professional interests, she loves doing yoga, swimming, traveling, watching football (Go Bills!), and listening to Fleetwood Mac.

Nicole Smith-Vaniz explores the significant role that positive thinking plays in shaping our lives. Whether through deliberately practicing positive thinking or through meditation practices found in Buddhism, everyone can foster a more positive mindset and enhance their overall happiness.

A student at Tulane University, Nicole Smith-Vaniz studies public health and creative writing. She concentrates in reproductive health and has additional interests in cognitive science and philosophy. Nicole dedicates her free time to creating content for her food photography blog and writing horror flash fiction pieces.

Mean Mathern delves into the prevalent hookup culture found on college campuses and raises concerns about its overall impact on students’ well-being. She explores the casual nature of these encounters, the prevalence of alcohol consumption, and the potential consequences on mental health and emotional connections. By questioning the healthiness of this culture, Meah hopes to encourage viewers to reflect on the societal norms and pressures surrounding relationships and find more meaningful and fulfilling connections.

Meah Matherne is a Houston, Texas native who majors in Political Economy and English and minors in Spanish. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity and works at the front desk of the Student Organization Center in the LBC. She loves to read and write, and personally hopes to publish a book of her own someday. Meah is very passionate about love and relationships and is particularly interested in dating culture in the age of social media and changing societal standards. She loves walking in Audubon Park, and her favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Ba Chi, which she highly recommends to everyone.