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Webster Earns Goldwater Honorable Mention

Lillian Webster ’17Lillian Webster ’17 has received an honorable mention from the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Majoring in mathematics and statistics, Webster is one of 256 honorable mentions, chosen from 1,150 applicants nationwide.

For her application, Webster, a resident of University City, Missouri, submitted a paper titled "Subword Complexes in Coexeter Groups." Last summer, she completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates focusing on algebraic combinatorics at the University of Minnesota, and her research resulted in a talk at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics in January 2016.

"Lillian has amazing creative insight, and is equally adept at working with both abstract concepts and detailed technical arguments," said Joseph Mileti, associate professor of mathematics at Grinnell. "She also communicates her ideas with a clarity and elegance rivaling most graduate students."

An active member of the Grinnell community, Webster is also a student in the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions Program. She has stage managed several productions for Dance Ensemble/ACTivate, including "Snow White Retracted" and "Once Upon a Time Splintered." In addition, she is a mentor for advanced mathematics courses. Webster spent the fall 2015 semester in Hungary as a participant in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program.

After graduating from Grinnell in May 2017, Webster plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, focusing on either algebra or combinatorics, and go on to teach at a college or university.

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program to encourage excellence in science and mathematics for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential. Winners receive up to $7,500 toward tuition and other expenses for the academic year. Grinnell College students are frequent recipients of Goldwater honors, with six students being named Goldwater Scholars and six students receiving honorable mentions since 2010.

Chemistry Alumnus in the Classroom

Nathaniel Rosi '99 lectured in the Department of Chemistry thanks to the Alumni in the Classroom program. Rosi's visit included two days with Professor of chemistry Martin Minelli's CHM-423 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry course, lunch with the CHM-423 students, dinner with chemistry faculty, a presentation during the weekly chemistry seminar, and a side trip to Pella and the Neil Smith Wildlife Preserve. During class, Rosi showed a crystal structure of one of his large clusters, which was best viewed with 3D glasses.

Nathaniel Rosi '99 in front of a large sundial and yellow tulips in Pella, IA.

Rosi is professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, where his research focuses on developing methods for controlling the structure and function of nanoscale materials. His seminar talk was titled "Building Structural and Functional Heterogeneity into Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks."

New Interim Director of Campus Safety and Security

Scott KinnieScott Kinnie, who served 36 years in campus security at Kean University in Union and Hillside, New Jersey, has joined Grinnell College as interim director of Campus Safety and Security.

He is leading Grinnell’s operations while Steve Briscoe, director of campus safety and security, is on extended medical leave. Briscoe joined Grinnell College 18 years ago as the College’s first director of security. He developed the campus safety and security operation as it transitioned from a “night watchman” in Facilities Management into the comprehensive department we see today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Scott Kinnie to the Student Affairs team for this interim period,” says Andrea Conner, associate vice president of student affairs at Grinnell College. ”Scott’s 36 years of experience at Kean University in New Jersey – and especially his increasing level of responsibility and leadership over the years at Kean – show that he was trusted to lead and advance their department.

“His expertise in higher education safety and security, Clery Act compliance, threat assessment and emergency management suit him to help us begin the process of making advances and modernizations in Grinnell’s campus safety and security operation,” she adds. “Even in Scott’s first few weeks he’s shown himself to be a valuable addition to our visioning and strategic planning process.”

“I’m grateful to have this great opportunity to help Grinnell College build up its campus safety and security operations,” Kinnie said. “We’re looking at professionalizing the dispatch function, upgrading the radio communications system, and computerizing the records management system.

“We also hope to add officers over the next 1 to 3 years and to provide all officers with more high-level training in areas such as investigations, first aid, and report writing. In addition, we will be encouraging our officers interact more with students.”

Kinnie, who holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Thomas Edison State College, began his career with Kean University Police as a detective, police officer. He was promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant of the investigations unit before serving as acting chief of police and director of public safety.

He retired from Kean in 2014 as deputy chief, operations lieutenant and executive officer. In that role, he directly supervised operational and administrative lieutenants, emergency medical service, fire safety and environmental health offices, and parking services. He was responsible for a staff of 62 sworn and nonsworn personnel. 

He went on to design and deliver active shooter training and tabletop exercises for colleges and universities in New Jersey. He also became project manager and senior consultant for a consulting firm specializing in creating a “best-in-class” campus security strategy for institutions of higher education.

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.





 

May 16 Libraries Study Break w/Ritalin Test Squad

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.

SGA logoCo-sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Coach Hurley Wins National Award

Erin Hurley has led the Pioneers to plenty of success as the Grinnell College swimming and diving coach.

Her performance has not gone unnoticed on the national scene, as Hurley received one of six major awards from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) at its annual banquet May 5 in Washington, D.C. More impressive is the fact awards at the banquet are rarely presented to coaches at the NCAA Division III level.

Hurley received the Richard E. Steadman Award, which is presented to a coach who, in the opinion of the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s sport. Steadman’s accomplishments include coaching several national swimming and diving champions and serving on the U.S. Olympic Diving Committee for 16 years.

“I am extremely grateful to be receiving this award,” says Hurley. “I want to thank the CSCAA and its members who work tirelessly to help promote the sport of swimming in an inclusive and student experience-enhancing way. Working at Grinnell College, where the athletic experience is closely tied to the philosophy of the liberal arts, creates a coaching and teaching environment that encourages the growth and development of our student-athletes and the joy of their athletic involvement. It’s wonderful to have the CSCAA recognize the work we are doing at Grinnell to foster these ideals.”

Hurley just completed her 21st season as Grinnell’s coach. Also a faculty member, she teaches swimming and triathlon plus is the senior woman administrator for the College’s athletic department.

Her programs have won 29 Midwest Conference titles over the years. She has won 14 league Coach of the Year honors and produced multiple All-Americans, including a national record-holder.

“We are extremely excited for Erin to be honored by her peers with this award,” says Greg Wallace, director of Athletics and Recreation. “Recognition by fellow coaches is one of the highest honors a coach can receive in any sport. Coach Hurley has been tremendously successful with both the women’s and men’s programs at Grinnell College for 21 years. I offer my congratulations.”

Praise From Student-Athletes

Hurley’s efforts are also lauded by the student-athletes in her program.

“Erin has an amazing ability to push you past your limits and make you excel,” says Joshua Tibatemwa ’19. “She’ll then pretend she had nothing to do with your success, although that’s anything but the case.”

“Coach Erin has had an incredibly positive and meaningful influence on my development as a young adult at Grinnell College,” adds Maddy Pesch ’16. She has enhanced my performance as a swimmer over the past four years with her expert knowledge of the sport’s technique and training. As a coach, she creates an inclusive, welcoming and diverse environment that makes each athlete feel valued as a part of the team.

“Coach Erin has also made a lasting impact on my life for the ways she has been a role model to me outside of the pool,” Pesch continues. “At a rigorous academic institution like Grinnell, she shows academic support for her student-athletes, going above and beyond to help each swimmer/diver not only succeed in his or her classes, but also pursue summer job and post-grad opportunities. She takes the time to get to know each athlete as an individual, making an effort to help each student achieve personal goals in the pool, in the classroom and in other extra-curricular activities. I aspire to use these compassionate leadership skills that Erin models as I, too, move forward in my own career path.”

Last Make/Shift Exhibition for Spring 2016

Grinnell College studio art students will present their art and give short artist talks at free, public events throughout May in the Make/Shift Space at 928 Main St., Grinnell.

The exhibition "Formulations," which includes new artwork from Grinnell College studio art classes, will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, in the Make/Shift Space. It will feature works in various mediums, including collages, 3D printing objects, drawings, sculptures, and more:

  • Color Construction by Introduction to the Studio students and new work by Print Media students, taught by Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art
  • Collages from Mixing Forms, taught by Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art
  • 3D Printing Objects from Introduction to Sculpture, taught by Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art
  • Drawings from Introduction to Drawing, taught by Chen

Also on May 11 — the opening day of "Formulations " — the Make/Shift Space will host "140 Seconds," featuring 13 fast-paced artist talks, starting at 7 p.m. Grinnell College students enrolled in a site-specific studio art seminar taught by Associate Professor of Art Lee Emma Running will each give a 140-second artist talk accompanied by six images of their choice.

The last Make/Shift Space exhibition of the semester, "Beautiful Sunset," will open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The exhibition will feature artwork by graduating seniors. The range of work includes painting, drawing, print media, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Most of these works will be on display through Tuesday, May 24.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

All Hands on Deck

The exhibition “All Hands on Deck,” opening Friday, May  13, 2016, will feature recent acquisitions to the Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Art Collection.

The exhibition takes its name from a series of seven powerful prints created by St. Louis-based artist Damon Davis in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere.

The prints depict the raised hands of all kinds of individuals — old and young, black, white, and brown — inspiring others to rise up.

““It is crucial to comprehend that Damon Davis’s work is not merely inspired by the Ferguson uprising, but a part of it, and of its effect on the arc toward justice,” says Dan Strong, associate director of Faulconer Gallery.

“The hands in ‘All Hands on Deck,’ hard-edged against a stark background, appear from the perspective not of the oppressor, but of the demonstrator,” Strong added. “Photographed by Davis, scanned and commercially printed at Wildwood Press in St. Louis, these hands first proliferated as street art on the boarded-up storefronts of West Florissant in November 2014, to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson.”

The Faulconer Gallery acquired the prints for its permanent collection in honor of the late Vernon E. Faulconer ’61 graduate and life trustee of the College who was best known as founder of the Faulconer Gallery, along with his wife, Amy Hamamoto Faulconer ’59.

The “All Hands on Deck” exhibition also highlights other recent additions to the Grinnell College Art Collection:   

  • Seven large drawings made from the carbon of candle smoke by South African artist Diane Victor, who created the drawings while in residence at Grinnell in 2011
  • Prints from the “Chinese Library” series by Chinese artist Xie Xiaoze, who holds a named chair at Stanford University
  • The Lenny Seidenman Collection of late 19th-century French prints and posters, including 10 works by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

The exhibition will run through Saturday, June 19, in Faulconer Gallery at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. The Gallery will be closed on Memorial Day.

 Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the lot behind the building north of Sixth Avenue. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Meeting the Diverse Needs of our Students

Dear Grinnell Community:

Last week, I wrote to inform the College community of changes in our relationship with the Posse Foundation. Since that time, I have received constructive and thoughtful feedback about how Grinnell should move forward in living our mission and values, especially as we continue to create, uphold, and value a diverse community.

In my note of last week, I shared that the College has been working to provide additional academic and personal support to all students, but particularly underrepresented students, and I’m pleased to share that draft framework with you now. 

This is a plan in progress and will not be complete without feedback from members of our community, which I will be gathering during meetings with various campus constituencies over the coming weeks. In addition, I hope you will take a few moments to complete this online survey and share your thoughts, perspectives, and experiences. We have provided two guiding questions about particular components of the framework, but encourage you to share thoughts about any portion of the document.

Once comments and feedback on the draft framework have been reviewed and synthesized, I will share the final plan with you so that we can begin moving forward and provide periodic updates on the progress being made. Note that we view the participation of the entire campus community as necessary to help us meet our goals.

I deeply appreciate the commitment of the College community to our values and look forward to further conversations on this topic.

Raynard Kington, president

 

The Scoop on Shovel Knight

Although millions of people around the world enjoy playing video games, not many people have the talent or motivation to make a game of their own. For David D’Angelo ’08, however, the spark, the drive, and the talent were all there.

D’Angelo was heavily involved in music while at Grinnell, participating in the orchestra and serving as president of the acapella ensemble G-Tones. He was also an avid gamer and had always been interested in the process of making video games. After a short postgraduation stint writing commercial jingles, the dual music and computer science major moved to Los Angeles and began to pursue a career in video game design.  

He got a job as a video game programmer at WayForward, a work-for-hire video game company that produces games at the request of companies like Warner Brothers, despite the fact that the economy was crashing for many other industries. “Video games are kind of recession-proof for some reason,” he says.

After working on retro-style 2-D games like “Double Dragon Neon” and “Contra 4,” an idea began to bud in D’Angelo and a few of his coworkers. In 2013, they broke off from WayForward and began their own video game company, Yacht Club Games.

“We wanted to create a retro game that was the first in a new franchise rather than a continuation of an old series,” D’Angelo says. “We were looking at ‘Zelda II: The Adventure of Link’ and observing the underused down-thrust attack of Link, and we just thought ‘How cool would it be to base an entire game around that simple mechanic?’”

After much debate over what kind of weapon would work best for flipping enemies over and attacking their underbellies, the team decided on a shovel. “Then we thought that ‘knight’ is the funniest word you could put next to ‘shovel’, so we wound up with a game called ‘Shovel Knight,’” D’Angelo says.

D’Angelo and his team started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the game, in which they had 30 days to reach their monetary goal through online donations. To get the word out, they went to conventions to show off the game, released live-streamed video updates on the project daily, and communicated heavily with their fans.

“We streamed ourselves making the game, we streamed ourselves talking to our fans, we responded to every single email and comment we received,” D’Angelo says. “We wanted people to see how passionate we were about this game.”

The Kickstarter campaign was launched in the middle of March 2013 with a goal of $75,000; they reached that goal in just a few short weeks. By the end of the campaign in mid-April, the team had collected a total of $311,502 for the development of the game. The game was released in June 2014, and has since sold more than a million copies. It can be now purchased for Wii U, 3DS, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Windows, Amazon Fire TV, Mac, and Linux.

When it came to the designing and marketing of “Shovel Knight,” D’Angelo says his Grinnell experience has been a valuable asset to his work. “I didn’t learn how to make games at Grinnell, but I did acquire the knowledge and tools needed to face any programming problem, and my music background helped me create and implement sound in our games,” he says. “Even the course I took in Japanese literature has come in handy as I draw on Japanese art and customs when engaging with our partners there in preparation for the game’s release.

“You get a taste of a little bit of everything at Grinnell, and that has been so important in what I do. I think the best thing you can do is to explore all your options while you’re there, because you just never know what skills you’ll end up using later on!”