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Research

"When you get something right in lab, it's like making a birdie or getting a one-putt," says Stephanie Spahr '14. She joins her mentor, chemistry professor Stephen Sieck, to share stories about "failed" experiments, organic chemistry, and finding success in the top programs in the country.

Meet Grinnell in a minute and a half, then go deeper with our latest videos (below) about the diverse facets of the Grinnell experience:

Global Grinnell

"Grinnell put us together. This is the meeting place," says Serbian Kristina Duric '13. She and Californian Cynthia Amezcua '14 talk about international friendships, the global Grinnell family, and living abroad.

Meet Grinnell in a minute and a half, then go deeper with our latest videos (below) about the diverse facets of the Grinnell experience:

 

A scientist's journey to a career in technology

Nicole Lee Snoeberger '09 addressed summer research students in the sciences thanks to the Alumni in the Classroom program. During her lecture on May 31, "Leveraging Research in Chemistry into a Career in Technology Transfer," Snoeberger spoke about the process of technology transfer and how her research led to her career.

After graduating from Grinnell College, Snoeberger stayed on campus as a Mellon Post Bac in the lab of Professor of Chemistry Elaine Marzluff, then she entered graduate school at Yale University and earned a doctorate in chemistry. Snoeberger is currently working as a technology licensing associate in the MIT Technology Licensing Office.

During her visit, Snoeberger also met informally with students after her talk and had meetings with Marzluff's current research students (pictured) and several chemistry faculty. 

Get on Your Bikes and Study!

Try the Libraries’ newest feature — two bike desks located inside Burling’s south end, overlooking Sixth Avenue.  These desks may be just what you need to combine academics and exercise.  

The bikes are completely silent and use little electricity, making them library- and eco-friendly.  You’ll be able to set goals and easily track your progress as the desk console is integrated directly in the armrest showing readouts for workout time, pedal revolutions, distance, calories, and speed. 

Download the Active Trac app from the app store and track your progress. Simply hover your smartphone over the bike desk console to upload your data. That’s it. The data syncs effortlessly. Plus, this feature is free for everyone.

A few other bike desk details:

  • Electric height adjustment from 40” to 53”
  • 2 desktop options — 38” or 48” wide
  •  Integrated padded armrest
  • Apple Health and Google Fit enabled
  • Social media integration via Facebook and Twitter

Enjoy — and happy studying and peddling!

Artistic Collaborations Online

Sasha Middeldorp ’18 and Arch Williams ’18, both members of Grinnell Singers, are helping launch a new project called the Grinnell Virtual Choir. In the project's most recent video, 25 singers used the technology to perform a movement from Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.

In a virtual choir, each participant records one or more individual singing parts of a particular song, and the videos are then synchronized and combined into a group performance.

In the current video, Middeldorp and Williams are among the singers testing virtual choir technology and demonstrating how it works. It’s the first step in introducing both a testing tool for better choir singing and a new opportunity for musical interaction among alumni and current students.

User Friendly

Middledorp says she found her initial singing experience to be “simple and straightforward” from a technological standpoint. “I only had to practice once or twice to figure out some of the logistics,” Middeldorp says. “I was in a practice room, and I just recorded it on whatever video recorder is built in on the computer and watched John [Rommereim] conduct on the same device.”

Williams did the same “after finding a quiet spot in my house where I could sing,” he says. “I did a couple of takes before submitting my video. I adjusted based on the recordings of my own voice and as I got a better handle on the music.”

Taking Ownership

One of the goals of the virtual choir project is to develop innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Using videos to record individual parts may provide a better way to test and evaluate the contribution of singers and improve their accountability in the chorus.

“Often in choir you think you know your lines but you’re just relying on the person next to you,” Middeldorp says. “When it’s just you singing alone you really take ownership over the music. One of the great benefits of this is that you know if you’re truly solid on your part independently.”

The Grinnell Singers have already begun putting virtual choir technology to the test as a rehearsal tool. They are using it to practice Duruflé’s Requiem for a combined concert with the Grinnell Oratorio Society later this spring.

“I think that using virtual choir capabilities will be an exciting experience and will help us learn the music in a new, cool, and different way then we normally do in class,” Williams says.

Learning the Technology

Austin Morris ’15, a mathematics major and Grinnell Singers alumnus, is the talent behind the scenes. He says learning to synchronize audio and video files from various devices has been challenging but worthwhile. Innovation Fund support for the project helped secure dedicated equipment for his work.

“Once we get the videos from all the people that we contact, it’s my job to put them all together in the final project,” Morris says. “My goal is to make it look as good and complete as possible.”

Fun and Inspiring

“The main goal of the Grinnell Virtual Choir is to create an online platform that facilitates choral performances that are connected virtually,” says John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music. “It’s a way to engage alumni in an artistic way so they can collaborate with current students and with each other.”

Current singers and alumni are invited to contribute additional vocal parts on All-Night Vigil and other works via the website. In addition to instructions for accessing the score and conducting video, the site offers musical and technical tips for getting a workable recording.

Essentially, singers can make it as simple as putting on earbuds and singing into their phones or laptops.

“We want it to be fun and a little inspiring,” Rommereim says. “We’re hoping it will blossom into a significant artistic endeavor.” 

Sasha Middeldorp ’18 is an anthropology major from Northfield, Minn. Arch Williams ’18 is a chemistry and political science double major from Minneapolis.

Experiential Learning in Burling Library this Summer



Experiential learning is alive and well at Grinnell College in the summer. Current summer MAP students from every discipline and a few  summer interns on campus are having a complimentary lunch with  Maria Tapias at MAP luncheon 2016prospective students and their families every Monday and Friday in Burling Library. These lunches, sponsored by the Office of Admission, provide prospective students an opportunity to meet current students and find out about the cool things they are doing over the summer in Grinnell.

2016 Research Award Winners

Grinnell College librarians Julia Bauder, Kevin Engel, and Phil Jones are recipients of the 2016 Research Award from the Iowa Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Their article, Mixed or Complementary Messages: Making the Most of Unexpected Assessment Results,” was published this March in College & Research Libraries, 77(2), 197-211. Read their remarks upon accepting the award during the ILA/ACRL 2016 Spring Conference.  

Summer Research in Chemistry is Underway

Chemistry summer research has begun! Thirty-five students are working with ten faculty mentors in the chemistry department on a variety of projects, such as conductivity of lithium electrolytes, dynamics and synthesis of biological molecules, biogeochemistry in aquatic systems, and the use of metal oxides as photocatalysts.

Safety training is a priority before lab work commences. One session involved all participating students practicing to use a fire extinguisher. 

Besides literature searches and bench work, chemistry's summer program also involves presentations from research groups and a culminating poster session. The department will host two social picnics throughout the summer as well. 

Research projects are funded by various sources, including Grinnell College's MAP program and Erickson fund, and grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation. 

Audition for Grinnell Singers! Fall 2016

New Grinnell Singers Auditions

Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152

  • Monday, August 22, 3:30–5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 23, 3:30–5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 24, 7–8 p.m.

Sign up for an audition

Returning Singer Auditions

Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152

  • Thursday, August 25, 4:15–6 p.m.; 7–9 p.m.
  • Friday, August 26, 4:15–6 p.m.

All returning students are required to complete an individual audition. We need to complete these auditions for returning students before the callbacks on Saturday, so we will need the cooperation of the returning students in fitting in all of these individual appointments on the Thursday and Friday of the first week of the semester.

Sign up for an audition

Callback Group Auditions

Sebring-Lewis Hall , Saturday, August 27

  • Altos, 10–11 a.m.
  • Sopranos, 11 a.m.–noon
  • Basses, 1–2 p.m.
  • Tenors, 2–3 p.m.

For the Audition

Please fill out the information sheet provided online prior to the audition.

The ten-minute individual audition will consist of:

  • Singing measures 1 through 35 of “Laudibus in sanctis” by William Byrd.  You are encouraged to study the excerpt ahead of time.  We’ll be singing this wonderful piece in the fall, so any work that you do on it to prepare for the auditions will help to give us a leg up on it.  By the way -- this is totally optional -- if any of you choral enthusiasts are just raring to go and have an abundance of energy you are welcome learn the entire piece and submit it to the Grinnell Virtual Choir.  There is a conducting video on the GVC web site; just follow the instructions to submit your own video. 

  • Singing back short melodies played on the piano (testing tonal memory).
  • Testing your range using a simple pattern, such as 1-5-4-3-2-1 on "ee" and "ah" vowels. The pattern will move up and down by half steps.

Optionally, you may sing a prepared piece up to three minutes long. It is helpful to hear how you sound when you're singing a piece that you know well. Any style is acceptable — whatever allows you to show your musical and vocal personality. Again, this is optional; it is perfectly ok if you don't have a prepared piece.

I'm looking forward to meeting you and hearing you sing!

May 17 Libraries Study Break w/the G-Tones

Grinnell College Libraries invites you to join us at Burling for a quick break from studying with milk, homemade cookies, and student performers!

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17, in Burling Lounge. The improv group Ritalin Test Squad will perform on Monday, and the a capella group Grinnell College G-Tones will sing on Tuesday.

Cookies will also be delivered to Kistle Science Library.

Co-spSGA logoonsored by the Student Government Association.