Knoxville lantern festival prepares to dim

Dragon Lights, the first ever Chinese lantern festival in Knoxville, comes to a close in Chilhowee Park this weekend. The festival, which began March 16, ends April 22. The final festival day starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

“It’s a great way for us to learn about another culture. In this case, the Chinese culture,” James Hopkins said. “The lights are beautiful, and we love it.”

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The Dragon Lights festival fills the park with traditional lights such as the Chinese zodiac animals, Chinese opera characters, jellyfish and more. The gigantic red dragon proves the most eye-catching in the middle of the park. The dragon stretches about 70 feet long and 20 feet high.

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Dragon Lights festival features food trucks and showcases performers like plate spinners at 6:30 p.m. and at 8 p.m.

Chinese artisans created each lantern by hand. Lanterns are best viewed after sunset, around 8:13 p.m. for the final day.  Tickets are 16 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for children.

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“I’m glad Knoxville has this even for us,” Hopkins said. “We are looking forward to next year’s Dragon Lights festival.”

Photos by Jeff Park

Languages department hosts annual soccer tournament

The sixth annual Modern Foreign Languages and Literaturs soccer tournament kicked off at the Regal Soccer Stadium Wednesday. The Italian club created the event, and a total of nine language programs (French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German and Russian) participated. Each game lasted 20 minutes with five minutes of halftime break.

“It’s much better this year,” Savannah Householder, who represented the Chinese team, said. “There are more people who came to support. The jerseys are much nicer and everyone is more excited.”

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The first round featured matchups between the Japanese and the Russians, Spanish and Arabic, German and Portuguese and the reigning French champions and Italian team.

Italian supporters came out in full force; the Italian team had never won the tournament.

After the first round of tournament, the Japanese dance team performed during halftime.

Students organize teams and practice leading up to the tournament. The language programs provide the jerseys.

Students like Jacob Isber enjoy the opportunity to play against other language students.

“It’s bringing a bunch of people together,” Isber, who represented the Arabic team, said. “It’s my first time. We love it. We are having a great time, because it’s like a mini-world cup. It’s pretty sweet.”

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However, not everyone remained happy during the tournament. The Chinese versus Spanish matchup included a goal controversy that heated arguments between coaches and referees.

The Spanish fouled a Chinese player four seconds before the end of game, and the Chinese earned a free kick. With an automatic clock, the time never stopped, and the game ended.

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The referee kept his own time accounting for extra time, however. The Spanish team became agitated because time expired. The team thought the judge awarded an unfair penalty kick. As no Spanish goalkeeper showed up, the Chinese kicked the ball into the open net and won by 3-2.

The Italian team ultimately swept the tournament, marking its first win.

 

Featured Images: Jeff Park

Edited by Lexie Little

UT K-Pop group wins award

The University of Tennessee’s Kascade won the Best Choreography award at the 2018 Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC) lip-sync competition. The MTAC 18th Battalion, held in Nashville at the Sheraton Music City Hotel and Embassy Suites, lasted three days from March 30 to April 1. UTK Kascade won the Best Group award at the contest last year at MTAC Haiku.

The returning champions appeared on stage with confidence. Because the lip-sync contest required participants to cosplay, to dress up as characters, Kascade members dressed as Ariel from “Little Mermaid,” Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Jasmine from “Aladdin,” Snow White and Pocahontas.

Kascade danced to “Now, We” by Lovelyz. Their cute and demure dance captured Disney simplicity and the audience’s attention. No one expected, however, for the group to suddenly change the song to “You Think” by Girls Generation and start a powerful, alluring dance. The performance garnered large audience support and judge support.

“Dancing is really important to us, and we were really happy to see what we love to do be appreciated by other people,” Shelby Neil, a Kascade leader, said. “I was really excited to hear that we won best choreography.”

Kascade’s Best Choreography award is one of five awards presented to participants of the contest. Kascade also received a free pass for the 2019 MTAC.

“The lip-sync is one of my favorite events of the year, so I like go all out in planning it,” Jinna Free, another Kascade leader, said. “It’s always an honor to see our hard work pay off.”

 

Featured Image: Jeff Park

Image from left: Jinna Free, Alexandria Ansari, Savannah Householder, Shelby Neil, Kane Dayton 

 

 

Meet math professor Stefan Richter

Students know what other students do. Students study, work on projects, write papers and complete internships or practicums. But professors’ work often remain mysterious. Students wonder what professors actually do.

Math professor Stefan Richter gives insight into the mysterious life of mathematic professors. Richter is one of about 38 math professors at the University of Tennessee and has taught here for 30 years. He teaches, completes committee work and advises students.

“I teach two different classes. One is the differential equation class, and the other is a 400-level undergraduate course. I have office hours and grade exams,” he said.  “Also, I am currently advising math graduate students. I have some other committee duties as well.”

Richter serves on the teaching effectiveness committee where members visit colleagues’ classes to evaluate for promotion. His committee work also includes overseeing graduate assistance and teaching awards.

Professors complete research in their interest areas outside the classroom. Richter researches pure mathematics.

“It has applications for other fields. There are a lot of branches in mathematics,” he said. “We need to develop some techniques in how to deal with data they are collecting and the most efficient way. I do calculus, derivatives, and integration, then go on to a more abstract level. I prove theorems and write papers about them.”

Richter emphasized the importance of collaboration in research.

“I have a number of some co-authors. I used to work a lot with professor Sundberg. But I do have collaborators from other places too,” he said. “I have collaboration with a person I know in Sweden, and I have couple collaborators right now at Washington University.”

Richter and his colleagues communicate via Internet, work on problems and attend conferences throughout the year.

His teaching philosophy focuses on effort. Students’ efforts will show in results.

“Everyone who wants to do well at anything that’s worth while needs to spend some time by themselves working on the subject. So, I try to bring in class material, hoping that the students go back home and sort of work out the details of the calculations so they can remember how things work.”

Richter enjoys his teaching, but advising can prove difficult from time to time.

“Sometimes, you have to decide as an advisor when the research is good enough to be called to be the Ph.D. Some students want to graduate quicker, and I have to uphold the standard acceptable for the university level.”

However, his proudest moment remains Ph.D. graduation.

“It’s a lot of hard work for them. Ph.D. students will be here five or six years on working on research. So, when they finish, it is a proud moment too. I didn’t have that many, just a handful of them, about six over the years.”

Richter also has a special quirk often questioned by students: his sweater obsession. When questioned, he laughs and leaves the obsession to speculation.

Originally from Germany, Richter received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1986.