Below is first year student Josh Corn's reflections on his birthday celebrations. (And yes, it is nice to have a professional magician in our student body!)

During my first year at PoD, I've had the opportunity to be a part of the unofficial birthday committee, known simply as CMMTTEE. We try to do something special and personal for every member of the PoD family's birthdays—the scale of which can be anywhere between extravagant to intimate. This year, these parties have ranged from Escape Rooms to Historical Battle Reenactments, and it's been a rewarding experience to cater each experience to the individual, providing people with a little joy on their birthday.

Last week was my birthday, and since everyone was so busy with thesis and other end-of-semester work, I wasn't expecting much. But I was wrong. About 30 minutes before our evening class, two of my classmates came to my desk, picked me up, and carried me across the room to lay me on one of our work tables facing the projector screen. Everyone was surrounding me and I had no idea what was about happen. A video began to roll, and I saw one of my friends on screen performing a parody of a magic trick. The video continued with the 1975 smash hit song Magic by Pilot, and a montage of my fellow PoDers performing their renditions of magic tricks.

To give a little background, I've been performing magic for the past 15 years, and always try to work some illusion principles into my work. It was hilarious to watch my friends trying to make dogs appear, people vanish, and ballons levitate, and I was touched by how many people participated, (including Allan Chochinov, the chair of the program, who performed a classic coin sleight with beautiful flourish.)

Thanks to everyone for an amazing birthday surprise and a great day!

[And thank YOU Josh for all the inspiration!]