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Winners announced for 2011 Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize

Thursday, May. 5, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College today named the winners of the first Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize: Boris Bulayev, president, and Eric Glustrom, executive director, Educate! (shared award); James Kofi Annan, executive director, Challenging Heights; and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, co-founder and co-executive director, Encounter.

The Grinnell Prize, which received more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries, honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Each winning entry receives $100,000, half to the individual(s) and half to an organization the winner(s) designates for a total of $300,000 awarded this year in prize monies. The inauguration of Grinnell College's 13th president Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. marks a transition point for the college. The prize commemorates the occasion and celebrates Grinnell’s historical and future commitment to positive social change.

“The winners of the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize are outstanding examples of people who saw a huge social need and then worked creatively to meet that need and make the world a better place,” Kington said. “Since its founding, Grinnell has encouraged students to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good. Boris, Eric, James and Melissa exemplify this core Grinnellian value, and their stories and achievements will inspire students at Grinnell and around the world.”

The pool of nominees for the Grinnell Prize spanned a diverse array of social issues, including hunger relief, disaster relief and accountability, childhood education, economic development and the environment, literacy, community-produced news, youth arts, fair housing, violence prevention, immigration, GLBTQ, restorative justice, public access to healthcare delivery, children’s mental health, urban agriculture and global peace, among many others.

Details of Grinnell College Prize winners are as follows:

Glustrom started Educate! at the age of 17 after filming a refugee settlement in Uganda for a documentary. Bulayev became involved while both were attending Amherst College. Today, both have built Educate! to empower 1,400 youth across Uganda, where over half of the population is under the age of 15. Their organization provides social entrepreneurship training, long-term mentorship and access to capital to help youth create and lead solutions to poverty, disease, violence, environmental degradation and the highest youth unemployment rate in the world.

The government of Uganda recently asked Educate! to incorporate its social entrepreneurship course into the national education system. It will reach 45,000 youth annually and be the world’s first national social entrepreneurship curriculum.

A survivor of child trafficking, Annan established Challenging Heights to provide education and rehabilitation for children who have returned from slavery and horrific forms of child labor.

From the age of six to 13, he worked as a child fisherman in more than 20 villages before he finally escaped and returned to his home. At the time he could neither read nor write, but he befriended kindergartners so that he could use their schoolbooks and teach himself to read. He worked to feed himself and pay for school. Annan later rose to become a university graduate and manager at Barclays Bank of Ghana. In April 2007, he resigned from the bank to devote his full-time efforts to promote the mission of Challenging Heights – his multi-faceted approach includes addressing the root cause of child trafficking by providing education, health and advocacy programs for formerly enslaved and vulnerable children and their families.

Weintraub co-founded an organization training Jewish leadership to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by providing Jewish leaders with firsthand exposure to Palestinian narratives and realities on the ground. Encounter’s flagship program has brought more than 1,000 influential Jewish leaders on trips to Palestinian cities, representing the only significant non-military Jewish presence in Palestinian areas of the West Bank in the last decade. Encounter’s target audience—rising and prominent leaders, opinion-shapers and decision-makers—have wide-ranging constituencies, and therefore access to hundreds of thousands of hearts and minds. Melissa’s bold, transformative approach stresses civil discourse across political divides within the Jewish community, attracting "unusual suspects," supporting influential leaders on the right and left to gain a more nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accordingly, to reshape their funding priorities, advocacy efforts, and policy decision-making.

On October 26 and 27, 2011, the winners will visit the campus to participate in the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize Symposium and awards ceremony. Through public lectures and interactions with students, they will share their experiences and perspectives in shaping innovative programs that effect positive social change. In addition, Morris Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and noted civil rights lawyer, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations and pre-professional programs.

Three seniors win competitive Watson Fellowships

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Three Grinnell College students have been awarded prestigious Watson Fellowships for one year of independent study and travel abroad.

The three Grinnell seniors were among only 40 students from 23 colleges nationwide to receive the $25,000 fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation: Natalie Ngoc Truong, a political science and English double major from Davenport, Ia.; Alex Reich, a biology major from Mahtomedi, Minn.; and Courtney Sheehan, an independent major in visual culture from Ohio.

The Watson Fellowship Program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent exploration and travel outside of the U.S. to foster effective participation in the world community. Since 2000, 17 Grinnell students have won Watson Fellowships; not since 1991 have three Grinnell seniors won in one year.

Natalie Truong

Truong plans to study speechwriting in the governments of India, South Africa, Vietnam, and Australia, comparing how politicians in each country advance their political goals and help construct their nation’s images through words. “With the Watson, I want to explore how politicians in democracies and non-democracies use symbolic language in speeches to reinforce values and power,” Truong said. “I will study in countries with stark current issues, cultural beliefs, and nationalistic tendencies and see how they relate to the context, appeal, and style of speeches given in those societies.”

Truong has written for several of Iowa’s politicians and assisted with speechwriting in the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama last summer. Her other Grinnell activities include political organizing in Iowa’s Asian American communities.

Alex Reich

Reich will use the Watson Fellowship to work with environmental research and cultural organizations in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, and Russia. “I am eager to gain insights into the impact of climate change on traditional food systems,” Reich said, “so I will assist scientists as well as community activism groups in the Arctic with indigenous health initiatives and food security projects.”

As a Grinnell student, Reich co-founded EcoHouse, a sustainable living student residence; coordinated a local foods effort and community garden; and participated in cross country and track. He plans to work in science policy to promote effective social solutions to environmental issues.

Courtney Sheehan

Sheehan plans to use the Watson Fellowship to study the politics of film festivals in Croatia, India, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Netherlands. At Grinnell, Sheehan has been heavily involved in programming for the campus films committee, filmmaking camps for children, and reviewing films for the student newspaper. She also completed internships with the Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Children’s Film Festival in Seattle, and a film magazine.

“My Watson project stems from my constant desire to approach film from new angles and directions,” Sheehan said. “The film festivals in each country represent distinctive political contexts, and I will draw on my past experience with festivals in the U.S. to volunteer at these international festivals.”

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.

Copyright expert Jane Ginsburg to deliver Phi Beta Kappa lecture Apr. 21

Thursday, Apr. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Jane Ginsburg will deliver a Scholars’ Convocation lecture on “The Author’s Place in the Future of Copyright,” Thurs., Apr. 21 at 11 a.m. in Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell College campus.

A recognized copyright expert, Ginsburg is the Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia University, where she also directs the university’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts. She has co-authored and edited established texts on international copyright, trademarks and brands, intellectual property, and copyright and piracy. Her legal background extends from family lineage as the daughter of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Martin Ginsburg, international tax expert, both of whom also served as members of the Columbia law faculty.

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available distinguished scholars to the 100 colleges and universities with chapters of the honorary society to contribute to the intellectual life and idea exchange among the lecturers, students, faculty, and staff.

Newly elected members of Grinnell's Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Beta of Iowa, will be recognized at the lecture, as well as the winner of the annual Joseph F. Wall Scholar's Award competition.

Ginsburg’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. Herrick Chapel is located at 1128 Park St. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please call 641-269-3235 as soon as possible to make a request.

U.S. immigration experts to examine all sides of timely policy issue Apr. 11-14

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA

3/29/11

Immigration—complicated policies, controversial possibilities. A Grinnell College symposium on “U.S. Immigration Policy,” Apr. 11-14, will examine a wide range of viewpoints on this timely topic, with experts on both sides of open and closed borders; representatives of immigration and asylum services; and interdisciplinary perspectives on the way forward.

“No matter what your point of view,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the college’s Rosenfield Program, “there’s agreement that U.S. immigration policy is broken. It’s a topic of local, state, national, and international concern that touches people in unexpected ways, and we plan to explore all sides of this policy issue.”

The immigration policy symposium, sponsored by Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, will include the following free, public events:

• Mon., Apr. 11, 12 noon: Immigration-related student presentations based on tutorial projects, mentored advanced projects (MAPs), and Alternative Break projects. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 2nd floor atrium.

• Mon., Apr. 11, 7 p.m.: Teach-In by members of the Grinnell faculty providing interdisciplinary background on immigration from the fields of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology.

• Tues., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, will argue for tighter controls in “Mass Immigration vs. Modern Society.” The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization which examines the impact of immigration on U.S. resources. Kirkorian frequently testifies before Congress and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NewsHour with James Lehrer, CNN, and NPR.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Jonathan Blazer, policy attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the interaction between federal and state immigration laws. The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income immigrant families. Blazer’s main focus at the law center is on promoting immigrant access to economic supports and educational opportunities.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 8 p.m.: Representatives from immigration services throughout the state will lead a panel discussion on “Iowa and U.S. Immigration Policy.”

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 11 a.m.: The Scholars’ Convocation on “A Nation of Immigrants?” will be delivered by Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University. Her book, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” has won numerous awards for addressing the controversial topic of immigration reform.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 4:15 p.m.: Jeffrey Heller, a New York City asylum attorney, will offer perspectives on representing asylum seekers. Heller has taught clinical immigration and asylum law, written on immigration issues for Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and The Westchester Guardian, and opened his home to released immigrants for more than 25 years. Heller’s daughter Rebecca is a senior history major at Grinnell.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m.: Wall St. Journal editorial board member Jason Riley will close the symposium with a discussion of his book “Let Them In,” which stresses the economic value of open borders. Riley has worked since 1994 at the Journal, where he continues to write on social issues such as immigration reform.

All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell,purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091.

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Young, Gifted and Black sharing music ministry during spring break tour

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, a 30-voice choral ensemble from Grinnell College, will present concerts, March 20-25, in churches in Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth, as part of a spring break tour.

The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, open to students of all backgrounds, has a 45-year history on the Grinnell campus. Through a bond of “cultural uniformity,” the choir ministers to a variety of audiences with a wide selection of sacred music, including spirituals and traditional and contemporary gospel.

The gospel choir, directed by Barry Jones, lecturer of music, will share their music ministry at:

Mar. 20, 11 a.m.: Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 1025 NE 15th St., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mar. 20, 5 p.m.: Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church, 7336 W. Britton Rd., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mar. 22: community service projects at San Antonio Food Bank and Haven for Hope, San Antonio, Tex. 

Mar. 23, 7 p.m.: Brentwood Baptist Church, 13033 Landmark Dr., Houston, Tex.

Mar. 24, 7 p.m.: Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, 1007 E. Terrell Ave., Fort Worth, Tex.

Mar. 25, 7 p.m.: Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 14115 Hillcrest Rd., Dallas, Tex.

Each engagement is tailored to the audience, adding an air of spontaneity and encouraging audience participation. The choir has featured works by Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood, and Hezekiah Walker.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.

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Mini-grants to local projects announced

Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA
3/7/11

Eleven Grinnell area organizations will benefit from more than $30,000 in grant support from the Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program for arts, educational and community initiatives.

“We increased both the maximum grant amount and the total grant funds available from the program this year so we were better able to meet community needs,” said Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement. The maximum award increased to $7,500 for the annual mini-grant program, which has, since 2002, funded more than $131,000 in small-to mid-scale projects for the Grinnell area.

Traditionally, the grants review committee has been comprised of faculty, staff and Grinnell College students from the local area. This year, the review committee, led by Chavez-Silva, added two community members, Rick Ramsey and Monique McLay Shore.

Of the 25 proposals submitted, the volunteer committee designated full or partial funding to the following projects this spring: Drake Community Library for electronic book service; Grinnell Area Arts Council for computer and office equipment; Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce for website development; Grinnell Big Brothers Big Sisters for activities to support mentor matches; Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool for a school bus; Grinnell Little League for field upgrades; Grinnell Parks and Recreation Department to improve Arbor Lake shelters; Grinnell Police Department for patrol bicycles; Grinnell Regional Medical Center for electronic records wireless access; PALS animal shelter for insulated pet doors; and Poweshiek County Fair Association for campground improvements.

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Chavez-Silva at 641-269-3900,chavezsm@grinnell.edu, or visit the website: http://www.grinnell.edu/Offices/communityenhance/minigrant. - 30 -

 

Abraham Inc. to perform cross-cultural, cross-genre concert Jan. 31

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Funk, jazz and hip hop will collide in a Grinnell College performance by Abraham Inc.—an eclectic group of klezmer, clarinet, and trombone—on Mon., Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel.

Featuring klezmer artist and clarinetist David Krakauer; funk trombonist Fred Wesley; and hip hop architect Socalled, Abraham Inc. creates a new musical space, “a cross-cultural, cross-genre development.” The group’s debut release “Tweet Tweet” topped Billboard’s charts as #1 in funk, #1 in Jewish and Yiddish music, and #7 in jazz, plus #35 in music sales on Amazon.

“This is a not-to-miss performance,” said Rachel Bly, director of conference operations and events at Grinnell. “This concert is all about collaboration, mutual respect and breaking down boundaries. There is something for everyone with this fun, upbeat music created by world-class musicians.”

Tickets are required for this free public performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office, beginning Wed., Jan. 26, noon-5 p.m. Limited tickets are also available from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3101 or go to http://www.grinnell.edu/car/confops/publicevents/.

Abraham, Inc.’s appearance at Grinnell is sponsored by the college’s Public Events Committee. Herrick Chapel is located at 1128 Park St. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please contact the event’s sponsoring organization as soon as possible to make a request.

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DAH Theatre takes the stage Oct. 27

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—Internationally acclaimed DAH Theatre will perform on the Grinnell College campus Wed., Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Roberts Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

The Serbian theatre company was formed at the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and has gained reputation for addressing critical positions in history, particularly in dark times.

Faculty promotions approved by Board of Trustees

Monday, May. 9, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell College Board of Trustees recently approved the promotion of faculty members to new ranks for the 2011-12 academic year:

• Promoted to associate professor with tenure: Keith Brouhle (economics); Brigittine French (anthropology); and Lee Emma Running (art). Background information about these newly tenured faculty members is attached.

• Promoted to associate professor: Heather Benning (physical education) and Brian Jaworski (physical education). Background information about these faculty promotions is attached.

• Moving from active teaching to senior faculty status: Gail Bonath (library).

• Moving from senior faculty status to professors emeriti: Michael Cavanagh (English); Charles Duke (physics); Diane Robertson (biology); and Bruce Voyles (biology).

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.

Background information for tenure promotions:

Keith R. Brouhle, associate professor of economics. B.A., Grinnell College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Illinois.

Keith Brouhle joined the economics department in 2005, after serving as assistant professor at the University of Alberta. Brouhle is a noted innovator in the use of teaching technologies, including interactive “games” and concrete applications to reinforce abstract concepts. His primary area of scholarship is empirical environmental economics, and his work has appeared in a range of well-respected journals in his field. His additional interest is the influence of voluntary programs on the environmental behavior of firms in the United States and Canada. On campus, Brouhle has been a member of the Rosenfield Committee, the campus plan update task force, the admissions board, and committees for scholarship, faculty recruiting, the environmental studies and policy studies concentrations, and the Social Studies Division for technology and pedagogy. At a national level, he is a reviewer for eight scholarly journals in economics.

Brigittine French, associate professor of anthropology. B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Iowa. Brigittine French came to Grinnell in 2003 as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in linguistic anthropology. French’s research is focused on the relation between language and political power; specifically, language and ideology, nationalism, and the role of language in the formation of ethnic identity. She has worked in both Guatemala and Ireland on these issues and on the constructions of gender expectation through linguistic discourse. Her book, “Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity: Violence, Cultural Rights, and Modernity in Highland Guatemala,” was published in 2010 by the University of Arizona Press. French has served as chair of the linguistics concentration and the Peace Studies program, and on the teacher education committee, the admission board, and the Watson Fellowship committee. Nationally, she was elected to a two-year term as social science representative to the executive board of the American Conference for Irish Studies, and is chair of the James F. Donnelly Prize for Outstanding Book in the Social Sciences.

Lee Emma Running, associate professor of art. B.F.A., Pratt Institute; M.S., M.F.A., University of Iowa.

Lee Emma Running joined the studio art faculty at Grinnell in 2005 from the University of Iowa, where she was a lecturer and sculpture research assistant. She teaches classes in drawing and sculpture at all levels, as well as a new introduction to studio art she helped design. In her scholarly work, Running engages in both individual and group projects, typically in the form of drawings and installations. She has shown her work at many nationally recognized galleries and recently signed a long-term contract with Olson Larsen Galleries in West Des Moines. She is also engaged in fulfilling a public art commission for the Grinnell Regional Medical Center. In addition to her solo work, she is a member of The Moving Crew Artist Collective, a group of international artists who develop collaborative projects that engage ideas of community, movement and transformation. Running has served on the Expanding Knowledge Initiative advisory board, the convocation and public events committees, and has been active in the early career faculty group.

Background information for promotions to associate professor:

Heather Benning, associate professor of physical education. B.A., Grinnell College, M.A., University of Iowa.

Heather Benning has been a member of the physical education staff in a variety of capacities since her Grinnell graduation in 1996. She became head women’s soccer coach in 1998, was assistant track coach from 2000 to 2007, and became assistant professor in 2001. In 2002, she was named senior woman administrator for the athletics program, and since 2007, she has also been assistant athletic director. Benning was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2006; her teams have been conference champions four times, appeared in NCAA national tournaments four times, and since 2003, have been named All-Academic teams every year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She recently published a peer-reviewed article in Soccer Journal, as part of a series authored by prominent international coaches. Benning has an extensive record of committee service for the NCAA and Title IX Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Woman. Locally, she has served as faculty advisor to the Stonewall Resource Center, and on committees for student life, President’s Medal selection, accessibility, college hearing board, and health services.

Brian J. Jaworski, associate professor of physical education. B.A., DePauw University, M.Ed., Indiana State University.

Brian Jaworski joined the Grinnell faculty in 2004 after an extensive coaching career in Indiana. He serves as head coach for men’s soccer and golf, and was previously assistant track coach. Jaworski was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2009, the same year the men’s soccer team won the conference and qualified for NCAA nationals for the first time in the college’s history. His soccer teams have been consistently recognized as National Soccer Coaches Association of American Academic Teams. He is the author of several highly regarded articles on coaching technique. Since 2005, Jaworski has been the director of the college’s summer sports camp, and he is in demand as a leader of soccer clinics around the state. He has been a member of the college’s hearing board and currently serves on the judicial committee, while serving as NCAA representative for the Midwest Regional Golf Committee.