Parent alert. College can be free. Yeah, think about that one. My name is Michael Acquisto. This is my son, Tanner Acquisto, and thankfully, most of his college has been free. In fact, he’s getting paid. So we’re going to discuss that in just a moment. What we’re going to go over is we’re going to tell you about some of his undergraduate research that he did and how he got involved. We’re going to tell you about what he studied, the places that this is taking him, how he went to Paris on his studies, how he’s in New York City at Columbia University and what he’s doing.

So we’re extremely, extremely excited to have you here, Tanner, and I’m glad that you’re going to be able to share this. The thing about this is we’re talking about real estate, but education is a huge part of that because it all comes down to like the total family expenses and the money going out. If you have a student and you’re having to pay all of this money out each year for their education, then you can’t buy as much of a home. Right. So as the homeowner, you want to make sure that you control your expenses. And this is one way that we can do it. So we’re going to talk about how college could be free and has your. So tell us about when it started to become free,

When it started to become free. Well, I guess you might have to put an asterisk on free, at least for some of it, because there’s always some money you have to spend right now. But yeah. So if I went to Texas A&M for the undergraduate and that, as my dad might be able to tell you, is not free,

That was not free. But then afterwards I did a Masters and that was much cheaper. I ended up doing the Masters in France where tuition is I think it was about 400 bucks a year.

Yeah, four hundred a year. So I kind of think about that one he goes through. And you were introduced to this program. Yes. And who is the gentleman that helped you out there?

Ok, so I actually went to for my undergraduate, I’m in the STEM field, so that’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We say STEM and I decided to do some undergraduate research with the professor there that I took a course with the introductory course. Yeah, that’s something that they encourage at the school. Most departments try to encourage it, but they probably don’t do as good of a job getting undergraduates doing these kinds of things. But as an undergraduate, you can work with professors at schools and do small projects.

And that guy was really, really nice. Can we give a shout out to him?

Yeah, Bobby Riggs, I’m a Texas A&M. He really helped me, got me started and thinking about science and interested in the earth. And from there, actually another professor mentioned to me that he has a friend in Paris doing this, international masters. Why not apply? And I said, OK, and I applied. And, you

Know, and we have that up on the screen right now. Right. So tell us a little bit about this place in general.

What was that all about? So this is it’s really tricky, you know, because they have a ton of schools in Paris and they ended up just numbering them after a while, like one through ten, because they people stopped wanting to see their names. OK, this one is more. Yeah.  

Way too difficult to say. Sure. To see what they are. What they’ve done also is you have you have kind of a combination of schools. So you might have like, you know, in order to become a powerful school, two schools combining together. So the school I went to was like this specialized earth sciences school. That’s kind of a part of a bigger institution. OK, a little bit more independent than that.

What school? No.  
Was it they’re part of seven. Paris, Paris seven.
Ok, they call Paris one through eight or nine.

And you worked with a very, very prominent researcher there, right? Yes. And his name is City. And I like how you say that And say that again.

It’s another researcher there. We’re all in the marine sciences group there.

All right. So I. I teased everyone with college could be free. Right. So let’s get to like the math behind this. So you able to go over there and you were able to achieve and get your masters in one year. Right. So you got a Masters from Paris seven

And then ISTE that stands for The Physics Institute of the Earth, more or less.

Ok, so The Physics Institute, the Earth Physics Institute

Gave you a masters degree. Yeah, thanks for that. We appreciate it. And you earned that. Bye. You did a full year and this is a super cool program. There is how many students in it?
There was eight of Us, eight students and were from all across the globe. Right?
Yeah, but at the school overall, there might have been fifty to seventy five. Students, maybe more,

But your particular Program was this international program with students from all over. So what kind of countries where they from?

Oh, OK. There was people from China, Taiwan, Iran, Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia.

Well, that’s pretty cool. And then you and then me. Go, go. That’s awesome. And when you were there, you stayed a really cool place that I don’t know that a lot of people know about. So we’re going to split the screen and bring that over. And you’re going to tell us about how you pronounce this place.

What’s it called?

Oh, well, I guess the translator, it’s kind of a weird name. It’s like the university city, more or less OK. And basically it’s like this organization that was founded, I think, just after World War Two. And it was designed to like encourage international study. And so what they do is each there’s a you know, a number of different countries, more or less involved that have sponsored a different house that they call them in this little kind of place on the southern southern end of Paris that provides cheap, affordable housing to international students.

Yeah. And so each one represents a different country, but it’s for residences. So think of this as kind of like dorms,

But like really well done.

Right. They’re basically dorms. Yeah. Yeah. We have a shared kitchen and bathroom.

Yeah. And then so each one of these here, there’s a bunch of them. Right. And you stayed in in the United States. One, it’s a good choice on the on the top next to the subway.

But you don’t have to necessarily be American to be there.

No, absolutely not. Yeah. There’s a German house, a Mexican house.

Each one of these are all different. Right. And then there’s kind of courtyards in between. And it’s a really well done place. And, you know, they just think of it as kind of all a dorm setting and it’s huge. It’s really big and it’s in a good location. There’s a park right across the street, right?

Yeah, there’s a ton of yeah. There’s a huge park across the street. I actually still go there sometimes.
Yeah. And then there is a like a train that runs right past it.
Yeah. So in Paris they have a tram, they have a train, they have buses and they have a subway.

So I know the train is what’s a tram like. What would they combine experience.

And the San Francisco trolley. OK, yeah. This thing, this thing that runs in circles around the city like a circle. OK then you have the subway going all through and then the trains are just bigger versions of the subways that go faster.

Ok, I mean, they’re not they’re less, they’re more sparse.
So that worked out. And then get back to the to the finances behind this. We have numbers that would go with it. So you were actually compensated when you were there. So is it paid person, right?

Yeah. Master students are given a stipend. I like that word.
So stipend. Yeah, that was really good scholarship.
Yeah. No state again because dad loves stipend

Stipends are really nice. They would give us fourteen hundred. Well I got paid a little bit more actually. Yeah. The person I was working with paid us a bit more. He had a separate fund for us and was able to give us fourteen hundred a month.

To teach in euros which was more than enough to live given that housing was about four hundred a month. Four or five hundred a month. Yeah. And then yeah I think the average regular master’s student might get twelve hundred a month and then a PhD student there would get about the same fourteen to fifteen hundred a month.

Well I was excited about that. And then when you were there you got health insurance as well.

Yeah. That was, that’s a that’s a pretty nice one. You pay about two hundred bucks a year for that or you can pay another two hundred and get full reimbursement on everything.

Yeah. So Mom and dad just sprung for that one. We’re like, let’s pick that option so we don’t have any problems. And so that worked out. I don’t think you get sick while you’re there, right.

No, but I’ve actually since returned and I didn’t have their health insurance at all and it was still no problem.
Oh, so you don’t even have to do it. I mean, it’s still cheap. Way to go.

France, it’s just even without insurance, it’s cheaper. Very good.

So you enjoyed your time there so much that we went to go pick you up at the end your graduation and you’re like, hey, mom and Dad, like, I know I have a return return ticket they already bought, but like I have a friend and we were thinking about going to travel just a little bit.

I don’t think you bought me your return ticket already. Oh, yeah, we totally did.

And then this friend, like, all of a sudden it was like, huh? Then this friend is like around a little bit and like, hey, I think we can extend our trip. And then. So where’d you go at the end? How many places did you go travel to.

Oh so well we went to two cities in Spain and then we went to Tokyo for two Weeks and that was one of the professors

Let you go to his Place, right? Oh, yeah. One of my one of the professors in my program, he is Japanese and he was working there over the summer and he’s like, hey, you can stay in my apartment.

So if anybody would like to know who he is, he’s pretty much like he’s Japanese. Right. All right. So he’s like Japanese. Dave is about what he is, except a little more extreme. I don’t know. Is that any greater than Dave? Oh, he’s not more extreme.

Dave has his own extremeness, but he’s very similar. What’s his name? No, no, bu. How do you know who kind of seems like yoga. I would say it Mubarrak. Yeah, but he works on a really crazy program. Right.

He was on the Mars program.
Yeah. So actually, yeah. I don’t know if anyone’s heard of this Incyte program. We sent a seismometer to Mars Records. Mars quakes. You don’t call them earthquakes on Mars.

Oh, that’s crazy. I didn’t even think about that. So is that an earthquake? It’s a Mars quake. Exactly.

Yeah, they they have that.
There’s moonquakes to do things I never thought about.
Ok, you know, ice quakes on glaciers.


eah. These sorts of quakes. All right. That’s awesome. I’m glad to hear it. But yeah.

So actually there is this. Yeah. Lockheed Martin built the you know, the little rover. There’s a French group that made the seismometer and the Germans made a Heat probe and they slung that thing up in the space and threw it to Mars. And it’s been sitting there for a while. And he’s been one of the many people working with the data as a seismologist.

And you were with him, I think, when that happened. When it
Got there, you know, He had a celebration, didn’t he?
A lot of people did. Yeah, it was a big deal.

And a lot is. Yeah. The guy at the school I went to that’s been leading the charge to put a seismometer on Mars has been trying to do it for 30 years.

All right, then, one last thing. So you had a great time in Paris, right? Exactly. And then you ended up not just picking up a friend, you picked up a fiancee eventually, right?

Yeah. All right. That’s awesome. Way to go.

And the last thing that we have on your education, it also can be free is your master’s and PhD here in the United States, thanks to a lot of the Masters, maybe more of a loophole. But I was talking with a friend about how you might pull that one off to essentially at least stem the STEM field, as far as I’m aware, is that you don’t really spend a lot of time or money normally because they would cover your tuition and give you a stipend.

Again, that word stipend. I’d love to hear that word. Yeah.
I mean, I’ve never heard of anyone in the STEM field paying. I mean, they can’t expect you to pay five or six years of tuition. Nobody would do that.

So you were able to do that at what? University?
I’m at Columbia right now.
That’s amazing. You know, Normally a very expensive school, but that’s covered for the tuition is paid for.
And then then again, that works tiepin that we so much love.

And then you get a stipend on top of that and health insurance. I get health insurance with Columbia. Yes.

It’s a crazy world, ladies and gentlemen, that you can get paid to go to college. And so you fully take care of yourself, which is incredible. And you’re able to do that. And so you your split time between Columbia and the lot.

I mean, as far as, like work goes, I’m most yeah, I guess you could say that. Yeah, I’m required to teach courses. You know, that’s part of more of the Columbia side of things. And then the research I do is more part of this other observatory that I’m a part of.

So we’re going to show that on the screen real quick. We’re going to pull up the Lemont and this about have you been on this boat now? But one similar. Yep. All right. Tell us about the boat a little bit what you did there, because you’re out in the ocean.

You go to the blog. Oh, yeah.
We do have a blog as well. So we’ll pull that bad boy up. There’s a blog and this is from you
Said Kari, go back to the home, maybe. OK, if  

You click home, you should have this really nice drone footage.
Ok, so let’s see if we can do that. So you want me to go over here to the home screen and this is a place that your travels were able to take you.

You can look all right. See the boat I was on that’s that’s owned by a University of Alaska Fairbanks. That’s the school. OK, that that’s ship design is designed to go through ice to break through the ice.

How long were you on this ship? Five weeks.
Five weeks in the ocean.  

Yeah, but yeah, the Internet, actually, surprisingly, depending on your latitude, you have satellite internet.  
Yeah. Works pretty well. Yeah. And would you use your Internet for talking, talking to fiancee. Oh the fiancee. Well that’s good. At the time she was just a regular, she was a girlfriend at the time. Wow.

Well I’m glad she stepped up.  
And we do that for five weeks, go out on the ship and we drop things into the ocean and then we come back and pick Them up, drop things like what?

Receiver’s to record electromagnetic signals.

All right. Well, if that’s over your head, then you’re all in the same group. But this is something that was able to be paid for, right? Again, you didn’t do it. These are experiences that you got to have and you’re going on another one relatively soon, right? Yeah.

I should be going to another one for on a different ship. A different ship, one that Columbia did.  
But I heard they’re not ships. They’re vessels.
It’s a vessel. Right. ROV research vessel
Rov. That’s crazy. I would never have called in an ROV.

It’s the ROV schoolyard or be asked to be our Slashfilm. All right. Well, that’s amazing. Thank you for getting college paid for. Thanks for having all those great experiences. We appreciate it. Hit the bell and we’re going to go to the next one.

Episode Links

Michael Acquisto , Columbia University , The Physics Institute of the Earth ,

Episode Recorded Live on YouTube 6.9.21

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