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Old 02-06-2020, 08:16 AM   #61
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: University of Florida and Connections to Kessler's People

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

, what other fields of research could Kessler be supporting at UF? What are fields that UF is does a lot of research in and could be vital for investigating the occult?
Essentially anything you want. UF currently appears to have 54,000 students. That's probably both undergrads and graduate students.

It's always been a very serious Engineering school and one of my college room-mate's father had just retired from the military and become a professor in Engineering. So there's some of your military friendliness.

It was also (at least in my time) very friendly to foreign students. I spent a semester with a room-mate from Surinam. So you could have occult connections come in from almost anywhere.

The Physics Department might be more robust than you'd expect and has ties to the LHC.

Anything medically related would be fair game. UF is the site of the Shands Teaching hospital and for rare and/or unusual conditions in Florida it's about 50/50 for Shands in G'ville of Jackson Memorial in Miami.

The College of Agriculture is/was huge (5000 cows in my day). Besides commercial agriculture in the US ecological research from other places would probably end up there.

Big on sports too. Football and basketball particularly with national championships in both within recent memory.

Really, it's a big school by anyone's standards and geographically concentrated with all of those 50k+ students on one not terribly big campus. Anybody from anywhere could bump into anyone else at random any day.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:41 AM   #62
Icelander
 
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Default Re: University of Florida and Connections to Kessler's People

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Essentially anything you want. UF currently appears to have 54,000 students. That's probably both undergrads and graduate students.
That's a lot.

There will be plenty of consultants and experts on fields of study relevant to the paranormal that the PCs meet and hear about during the course of their adventures and I'd like to feature a good mix of backgrounds for these academic and scientific types.

I imagine that almost half of them should come from the numerous Texas universities that Kessler contributes to, but the rest should be a good mix from other Gulf Coast or Caribbean institutions that there is some background reason for Kessler to have dealings with.

Subverting expectations can be fun, but given that most of my players don't have expectations of any US universities beyond a few they've had friends or family go to and/or are well-known in worldwide pop-culture, I'd better focus on presenting the stereotypes before I can subvert them.

So, if you were presenting a few academics or scientists from the University of Florida that were involved in the study of the supernatural, what academic departments would have have them be associated with?

Areas of research that the University of Florida is leading in among all Gulf Coast institutions, ideally. Something that a proud Texan might accept that is done better there than in one of the Texan universities (even if only because the research there is at a more convenient geographic location for some reason).

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It's always been a very serious Engineering school and one of my college room-mate's father had just retired from the military and become a professor in Engineering. So there's some of your military friendliness.
Hunting monsters can require some exotic armaments and other equipment, especially as off-the-shelf electronics and other late TL8 gear can be unreliable around powerful paranormal phenomena.

As a result, several people around the 'Night Riders' (Monster Hunters) have pursued technical or engineering education to enable them to design or build technological devices that they need for their professions.

Probably most of the technically-educated people are part of the crew of the Penemue or other watercraft owned by Kessler, often former USCG or Navy, and several have been established as graduates of Texas A&M, especially TAMUG, i.e. the Galveston campus.

That being said, it would feel implausible if everyone with a technical education came from the same university.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It was also (at least in my time) very friendly to foreign students. I spent a semester with a room-mate from Surinam. So you could have occult connections come in from almost anywhere.
Ah, that's a nice idea.

I'm always looking to feature a diverse array of Caribbean nationals among the NPCs, so academics from the islands who've studied at American universities are always welcome.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The Physics Department might be more robust than you'd expect and has ties to the LHC.
Interesting.

Would you say that the University of Florida has the best Physics Department in the region of the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast?

If not, is it among the top five and what are some other stand-outs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Anything medically related would be fair game. UF is the site of the Shands Teaching hospital and for rare and/or unusual conditions in Florida it's about 50/50 for Shands in G'ville of Jackson Memorial in Miami.
Ah, good idea.

Given that most supernatural phenomena manifests as physic influences and often leads to bizarre crimes, research into occult events often requires psychiatric and forensic expertise. Also, there are 'monsters' that might simply be humans with undiscovered medical conditions.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The College of Agriculture is/was huge (5000 cows in my day). Besides commercial agriculture in the US ecological research from other places would probably end up there.
Kessler has well-established connections with Texas A&M that date back about half a century. Any reason for him to look toward University of Florida instead for agricultural or ecological expertise?

I get the feeling that scientists connected to one university will tend to have academic relationships with faculty or researchers at other universities, so maybe it's perfectly reasonable that in the three decades that Kessler has been researching the occult, some of the Texas A&M people he consulted with have introduced trusted colleagues at other universities to interesting conundrums they are grappling with, eventually leading to them being employed by Kessler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Big on sports too. Football and basketball particularly with national championships in both within recent memory.

Really, it's a big school by anyone's standards and geographically concentrated with all of those 50k+ students on one not terribly big campus. Anybody from anywhere could bump into anyone else at random any day.
True.

There are actually two members of the Penemue 'Night Rider' team who are born in Florida and they are both very athletic men (former special operations personnel tend to be in pretty good shape), but as both of them joined the military right out of high school, neither went to UF.

Neither of them are living in Florida right now and, in any case, I don't think they are planning to get a college degree, but in the future, who knows? Both are still young, at any rate, in their thirties.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-06-2020 at 03:54 PM.
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