Spencer writes in the library, part 8: Launchy colors

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source: Spencer Greenhalgh


This episode of Spencer Writes in the Library took place on Monday, August 4 around 10:30am

The Spot

Where am I working today?

On the far east part of the second floor, right next to an impressive collection of books on monasteries.

What’s a perk of this spot?

I have a thing about working with my back to other people. It doesn’t really bother me that much, but if I can avoid it, I certainly will. This is the first spot I’ve found in the library where I can work at a desk and have my back to the wall instead of to someone else, and that’s kind of nice.

What’s a problem with this spot?

Working with my back to a wall is nice, but it’s not what I was hoping for today. I was actually on the hunt for somewhere on the second floor that had windows and a nice view of what’s outside the library. No luck today: There are a few windows here where I am, but all they look out at is, well, the next window two feet away. Maybe I’ll find a more scenic spot next time I’m here.

What have I learned in this spot?


There are signs all over the library warning that you shouldn’t leave your things unattended, so if I need to stretch my legs or get some water, I typically pack everything up and take it with me. The area where I’m working is kind of non-descript, so I was a little worried about getting back to the same spot when I took a break about midway through the morning. However, I remembered that there are color lines spread throughout the library – these are to help you find different sections of the floor that you’re on, but it turns out that they’re also helpful for finding one’s way back to a particular work spot! Plus, they remind me of one of the features of Battle School in the novel Ender’s Game, and that makes me pretty happy.

How would I rate this spot?

3 out of 5 dentists. (Why dentists?)

The Work

What am I working on today?

This summer, I’ve been taking an independent study course on moral and civic education, which I’ve really enjoyed. My final project for the course is a grant proposal, and I’m hoping to use the work I do for the proposal next semester as I lay the foundations for my second year practicum project. So, today I’ve been poring over a few different NEH and NSF grants that the work I’m interested in could conceivably fall under.

What’s the highlight from today’s work?

Once I found a grant that I could potentially apply for (at this point, everything is completely hypothetical), I spent some time going through the NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide to figure out what exactly I need to be writing. Let me share three major elements that I will probably be using to structure my outline:

  • objectives and expected significance of the work
  • relation to my longer-term goals as a researcher
  • relation to established research and current work in the field

These seem like elements that have been present in the different proposals that I’ve written for classes, so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble with it, but it’s still a good reminder of what’s important when proposing research!

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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.