Category Archives: Features

Explore innovation through DICAST

Jeremy Kohn

Staff Writer

Has anyone ever told you playing video games is a waste of time and will amount to nothing when it comes to life in the real world? Don’t let the members of LCC’s DICAST hear you say that.

DICAST, which is located on LCC’s West Campus, stands for Digital Innovation Center for Arts Science and Technology. DICAST is a digital think tank, and its members use their computer programming knowledge to create video game simulations as learning tools.

DICAST is funded through various grants and state funding.

The center is fairly new, having only been around for two years, but in those two years, DICAST has made quite an impact using its digital simulations for various educational purposes.

“We have made learning programs for the Automotive Programs and Alternative Energy Programs,” said Sean Huberty, lead faculty for LCC’s Alternative Energy Engineering Technologies.

These games include the Auto Earmark Project, which is a simulation program created for students who take the Automotive 267 course. The game demonstrates the inner workings of a hybrid Toyota  and what tools are needed to run  a proper maintenance on the vehicle.

Building Energy Audit  Simulation Training, or B.E.A.S.T, is a program designed to teach students how to measure levels of energy through a digital house using a specialty meter.

DICAST Programmer Aaron Mundale talked about a current project he has been working on to help with the LCC Police Academy.

“They used to carry around tons of paperwork with comments for the troops, so I’m working on digitizing them so they can be  organized and placed on tablets,” Mundale said.

DICAST is open to all LCC students who wish to sign up for an internship.

For students who want to take their love for video games and start on the path to a career in game design, DICAST may be the perfect opportunity.

Fishing for knowledge in A&S

Chelsea Allen

Freelance Writer

Ever walk by the fish tanks in the Learning Commons in the Arts & Sciences (A&S) Building and wonder why they were placed there?

Some students might think they were installed for decoration and to look pleasing to the eye. In reality, they were placed there for a much greater purpose — as a teaching and learning tool.

These tanks were previously located in the Academic Resource Center, commonly known as the ARC, on the fourth floor of the A&S Building before it underwent renovations.

Now students can easily find these tanks by entering the A&S Building from Washington Square and taking a quick left into room 107.

Through an open bid, Preuss Pets in Old Town was selected to be a part of this project and helped install the tanks.

Michael Nealon, dean of the Arts and Sciences Division at LCC, and Rick Preuss, the owner of Preuss Pets, agreed the fish tanks should remain a part of the learning environment.

There is one freshwater tank and a saltwater tank. Both tanks hold approximately 600 gallons of water, according to Preuss.

A wide variety of aquatic life can be found in both tanks, ranging from exotic sea animals and coral reefs to everyday clown fish. Preuss said these tanks were designed to require very low maintenance.

At least once a week, there is a partial water change and the walls of the tank get scrubbed if needed. The fish and tank equipment are checked and any supplementation of food is given to the aquatic life. Both tanks have an automatic fish-food dispenser that dispenses food pellets for the aquatic life.

Nealon said he felt it was crucial for students to take advantage of these tanks because they offer great learning opportunities for those who take part in the many different science courses offered at LCC.

“Many science professors plan a study lesson around these fish tanks and take their entire class to observe the aquatic life in their habitat and study their ecosystem,” Nealon said.

Steve Oberg, aquatic manager of Preuss Pets, described what it meant for his business to be involved.

“It was truly an honor for us to be a part of this and to have our work selected,” Oberg said. “It represents a much greater footprint than the older tanks.”

Preuss also expressed his gratitude to LCC.

“We’re extremely proud of LCC and for them keeping in mind of nature when that is truly the anchor point of science all together,” Preuss said.

For any student who has a chance to stop by the Learning Commons in the A&S Building, make sure to take a quick look at the fish tanks and get a chance to explore and observe the nature happening right before your eyes.