Home » Staff


Mozart's Requiem

John RommereimGrinnell community members and college students will join forces to sing Mozart's "Requiem" in a free public performance by the Grinnell Oratorio Society, Grinnell Singers, and Grinnell Symphony Orchestra at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, in Herrick Chapel.

The program will begin with two concertos featuring student soloists: Grace Bell ’17 and Kirsten Gillis ’18 will play Domenico Cimarosa's Concerto for Two Flutes. Katie Krainc ’17 will play Camille Saint-Saëns's Violin Concerto No. 3. The feature performance of Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor comprises the second half of the concert.

The Requiem, written by Mozart in 1791 and left unfinished upon his death, is comprised of 14 movements for choir, orchestra and soloists. The Grinnell Oratorio Society, open to all members of the Grinnell community, has been working on the piece since January and will join forces with the Grinnell Singers in its performance.

John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell, will conduct the Requiem. Singing the solos will be Rachel Joselson, soprano; Katherine Eberle, mezzo-soprano; Dennis Willhoit, tenor; and Nicholas Miguel, baritone.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the small lot south of the building off Sixth Ave. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The Making of an Embodied Life

Jonathan Miller-LaneJonathan Miller-Lane will present a free public talk, "A Liberal Arts Education and the Making of an Embodied Life," at 8 p.m. Monday, April 27, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

The philosopher John Dewey argued that, “Freedom is not the absence of an external limit of control, but rather the presence of an internal locus of control.”

Jonathan Miller-Lane asks “In a society that places such a high value on ‘productivity’and that seems increasingly obsessed with measuring academic achievement using ‘objective’ measures, what possible role might a liberal arts education still play? How might an embodied approach, that is, an approach that takes seriously the possibility that our bodies are sites of knowing, inform our understanding of the meaning and purpose of a liberal arts education?”

In his talk, Miller-Lane will explore these questions, offer some initial responses, and invite discussion.

The departments of athletics and recreation and theatre and dance collaborated on this event, which is supported by a Midwest Conference athletics integration grant.

About Jonathan Miller-Lane

Jonathan Miller-Lane is associate professor and director of the Education Studies Program at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. He is also the faculty head of a residential commons, working with colleagues and the student residential life staff to help foster deeper connections between academic and residential life.

His teaching and writing center on a single question: How do we draw from the best traditions of a liberal arts education while responding creatively and compassionately to the realities and challenges of contemporary society in the USA? 

For example, is ‘disinterested learning’ still ethical in a post-Ferguson world? Which cherished ideals should we keep and which should we allow to rest in peace? How should we choose?

Miller-Lane holds the rank of Sandan in the Japanese martial art of Aikido and founded Blue Heron Aikido of Middlebury in 2004. The philosophy of Aikido informs many aspects of his work.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsors or Conference Operations.


Redefining Possible

Spencer West, an inspirational speaker, author, and humanitarian from Toronto, Canada, will give a free, public talk at noon Monday, May 4, in Sebring-Lewis Hall in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Born with a rare genetic disorder, West had his legs amputated when he was 5 years old. Overcoming challenge after challenge, West learned to not only navigate a world that is set against those with disabilities but to become an agent of change in that world.

His many accomplishments, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands and in his wheelchair and raising more than $500,000 dollars for Free the Children clean water projects in Kenya, have made him a role model for individuals striving to negotiate obstacles in their lives. West's words have encouraged millions to stand up to difficult times, face challenges and embrace change.

West has received extensive national media coverage. He has been featured on ABC News, CNN and CBS' "60 Minutes," to name a few. He also is highly active in charity work, having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for prominent charities including Free The Children.

West's appearance is made possible by Peace and Conflict Studies.

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.

Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream The Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” live in high-definition on Saturday, April 25, in Harris Center Cinema. The pre-opera talk will begin at 11 a.m. with the broadcast beginning at 11:30 a.m.

This tragic double bill stars Marcelo Álvarez, who tackles the tenor roles in both operas. Directed by Sir David McVicar, the productions will be set in two different time periods within the same Sicilian village. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi will conduct both productions.

Randye Jones, soprano and Burling Library media room supervisor will explore the operas’ historical background and salient aspects of the music and drama in an introductory talk before the broadcast.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before the opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

Tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students have been generously funded by the Office of the President and are available at no cost at all ticket locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Soviet Propaganda Abroad

Ivo JuurveeIvo Juurvee, an associate professor of history at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences,, will deliver "The Soviet Heritage of Influencing Public Opinion Abroad" at 4:15 p.m. Monday, April 27, Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.

The free public lecture will be on efforts by the KGB and the Soviet regime to clandestinely shape public opinion in the United States, Western Europe, and other parts of the non-Communist world.

Juurvee is an expert in the history of espionage and state security in the Baltic states, the Soviet Union, and beyond, and his talk will consider both the KGB's history of spreading disinformation abroad and the extent to which contemporary Russia engages in similar practices today.

The event is organized by Grinnell's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights and sponsored by the Chrystal Fund.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. ARH is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator at the south end of the building that makes it easy to reach the auditorium and accessible restrooms on the third floor. Outside entrances with automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides of ARH. Several accessible parking spaces are available along Park Street. Request accommodations from Conference Operations.

An Introduction to Permaculture

Lonnie GambleLonnie Gamble, assistant professor of sustainable living, Maharishi University of Management, will teach the principles of ecological design and the application of permaculture principles in two related sessions.

Gamble says, "the sustainability revolution, like the agricultural, scientific, industrial, and communications revolutions that preceded it, will change the relationship of people to nature and to each other."

This workshop will give you basic tools that you can use to start to make the sustainability shift in your life today. Permaculture is the design of human habitats that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems — permaculture is functional design inspired by nature. 

Gamble will present “The Sustainability Revolution, Design, and Gardening: An Introduction to Permaculture,” beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 25 in Alumni Recitation Hall Room 324.

Introductory session, 9 a.m. – noon.
The principles of ecological design and their application in the provision of energy, water, food, shelter, and city planning.
Advanced session 1–4 p.m.
Hands-on application of permaculture principles to growing food at home.

Registration is required. Contact Jan Graham by Wednesday, April 22 to register. Lunch will be provided to those that attend both sessions.

Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Explore Education Marketing

A first-person account by externship participant Trang Nguyen ’17.

At 12, I wanted to become a mathematician. At 16, I studied English to become a diplomat. Now, at 19, I strive to do marketing.

It’s good to know what you like, isn’t it? But here is the fact: you don’t marry all of your crushes. You marry someone you like, who likes you back, and whose lifestyle matches yours. Likewise, not all interests can become your future career. Whether in relationships or a career, we all need a dating phase. And dating is fun!

One way Grinnell offers “career dating” is through its spring break job shadows, which it calls externships. Externships last 3–5 days and are offered by Grinnell alumni throughout the United States. Many include a home stay with the alum too.

So I scanned through the list of spring 2015 externship possibilities with the keyword “marketing.” I was quite surprised to come across an externship in Grinnell College’s Office of Communications because to me, communication is information driven rather than marketing related. I then looked it up on the Internet and discovered that marketing in education is really a thing. So why not give it a try?

This spring break I did a three-day externship with Michele Regenold ’89, editorial director at Grinnell.

Marketing in Higher Education

On the first day, Michele walked me through the concept of marketing in higher education. She explained how the Office of Communications represents Grinnell to alumni and prospective students on the website and in print materials. Within the office, different teams — editorial, web, media, and creative — collaborate with one another and with other offices, like Admission, to achieve marketing goals. “The editorial team writes stories for the web that match up with the admission cycle,” Michele says. “For example, this summer when prospective students visit campus, we’ll have some stories related to our location and facilities.”

Before the externship, I didn’t know that higher education involves such considerable and even sophisticated marketing strategies. “The way you promote a regional or local school is different from the way you promote a national or globally known one,” says Jim Powers, director of communications. To give prospective students the most accurate sense of the culture at Grinnell, the school has been working with a marketing firm that can understand Grinnellians well and produce materials that “feel like” Grinnell.

Exploring Possible Paths and Cool Things to Learn

Trang Nguyen ’17 I had the opportunity to talk to different teams in the office. Sarah Anderson ’98, Larissa Stalcup, and Adrienne Squier all studied marketing but they now have different specializations: Sarah coordinates the website, Larissa is a graphic designer, and Adrienne manages all social media platforms. Talking with them broadened my perspectives on possible options in a marketing career and gave me some guidelines about how I can prepare myself for each approach. Larissa introduced me to some design software and how to study it by myself. Adrienne shared some cool media tips and how to measure the effectiveness of media strategies quantitatively.

Sarah says, “Even though I’m in charge of studying web behaviors and brainstorming ideas, I still need to have some technical knowledge to know what is possible and what is not.” Taking her advice, I plan to take more computer science classes even though I’m more interested in the strategy part.

It was also very interesting to listen to stories behind the recent redesign of our website. Every single update on the content and design of our website involves lots of studies on brain development and web behaviors. Their explanation shows examples of practical applications of what I studied in my Introduction to Psychology course.

More than just an informational interview: Trying what I have never tried

An externship is also an opportunity for me to get some hands-on experiences. I shadowed Michele in two phone interviews. Interviewing someone for a story is really an art. It is not just a matter of asking the right questions; the interviewer must also keep control of the flow of the interview and keep the interviewee comfortable. “I do background research before interviews so I can ask thoughtful questions,” Michele says.

I also tried doing an interview by myself. I interviewed Kelly Guilbeau, career counselor in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, to get more information about the spring 2015 externship program. I asked her if externship hosts have as good of an experience as us students. Kelly says that most alumni externship hosts give positive feedback about it.

During the interview, Michele helped point out key ideas in Kelly’s answers and analyze important elements of an interview that I should take notice of. She said I did a good job so I guess I do have the potential.  

Although this three-day “date” cannot give me a clear answer to my career confusion, it shows me some hints to figure out the answer by myself.

Trang Nguyen ’17 is a mathematics major from Hanoi, Vietnam. The externship program is coordinated jointly by the CLS and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

Writing Books for Kids

Picture books that beg to be reread dozens of times are a unique and challenging art form. Molly Beth Griffin ’05 has published two picture books so far, Loon Baby and Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, which was recently released. She has a dozen manuscripts in various stages of preparation and another dozen or two that no one will ever see.

We chatted with Molly Beth about her writing and Rhoda’s Rock Hunt.

How did your Grinnell experience influence your writing?

I was in the education program at Grinnell. Those classes ignited a passion for nurturing literacy in children, which has guided my entire career. As an English major, I learned to read critically and write articulately. I use both of those skills every day, even though I didn't get to do any writing specifically for kids or teens in my Grinnell English classes. 

I think that my undergrad experience paved the way for my MFA in writing for children and young adults. [It] prepared me especially well for the critical component of my master’s.

How did you find your way to writing picture books?

I started writing picture books while I was live-in-nannying in Juneau, Alaska, one summer during college. The kids were in bed but the light would linger ’til midnight. 

I think I came to picture book writing through poetry, specifically spoken word poetry. I did a little bit of poetry slam as a teenager and I think it influenced me deeply. Since picture books are meant to be read aloud, they blend written and oral traditions, and they have a lot in common with performance poetry. Rhythm matters and breath matters and the sounds of words matter as we try to create a meaningful reading/listening experience. 

After Grinnell, I started taking classes in writing for kids at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and submitting picture book manuscripts to publishers. When one of my stories won the Loft’s Shabo Award, I decided to take picture book writing seriously and enroll in Hamline University's MFA program.

How did the story of Rhoda's Rock Hunt come about?

I have always been a compulsive rock picker-upper, and I've been trying to write a rock-hunting book for years. The first version underwent several revisions and got rejected a bunch of times. The second version went into a drawer and never came out. This third version was inspired by a camping trip my partner and I took with our son when he was two and a half and obsessed with throwing rocks into Lake Superior. My kids are always picking up more rocks/sticks/pinecones than they can carry! That common dilemma became the central conflict of the story.

What do you say to people who ask when you're going to write a "real" book, i.e., for adults?

I see my books as real books. I see kids as real readers. I see children's literature as an art form that is just as valid as any other art form — though possibly more able to transform, enlighten, enchant. So in my head, I reframe their question into “Why do you choose to write for kids?” 

I think that there is an energy inherent in stories for children, an energy that is tied to the way that kids and teens are always changing. Adults tend to stay the same, or transform very gradually in small ways over the course of years. Young people, though, are constantly outgrowing their old selves and trying on new ones, and that fascinates me. 

I love exploring the ways in which young people interact with their environments — how they let a place change them, and how they in turn transform their world.

Griffin has also published a young adult novel, Silhouette of a Sparrow. She teaches writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Hearing Loss, Hearing Loop

Juliette SterkensJuliette Sterkens, a renowned audiologist with expertise in hearing loop installation, will lead a free, public information session about hearing loops, hearing aids and other listening technologies at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

At the information session, Sterkens will discuss:

  • how we hear,
  • what happens when people lose their hearing,
  • how hearing people can better interact with those who are hard of hearing, and
  • how hearing aids, T-Coils and hearing loops work.

In addition, she will answer frequently asked questions about hearing aids and hearing loops, including why people with hearing loss say that they can hear, but do not understand what they are hearing.

The session will be useful for anyone who is experiencing hearing loss or anyone who serves the public. Those in attendance, both the hearing and hard-of-hearing, will be have the opportunity to use demonstration equipment to listen through the loop in Rosenfield Center Room 101.

Sterkens is a Wisconsin-based audiologist and a national advocate for hearing loop installation. She has received numerous honors, including the American Academy of Audiology Presidential Award, and was named Wisconsin Audiologist of the Year in 2011.

She also is co-owner and founder of Fox Valley Hearing Loop LLC, which has installed more than 50 hearing loops across the Midwest. Now retired from private practice and loop installation, Sterkens is a national hearing group advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America. In this role, she collaborates with volunteers to increase awareness about hearing loss and the need for an increase in the use of hearing loops to improve hearing accessibility.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Rosenfield has accessible parking in the lot on the east side of the building. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Ancient to the Future

Nicole Mitchell — a leading flutist, composer, and improviser — will present a lecture recital, “Ancient to the Future," at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015 in Herrick Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Mitchell lives at the intersection of improvisation, composition, education, and community leadership. In her lecture recital, she will share her perspective on what it means to live a life in music, how music can change communities and how communities can change the world.

Mitchell, a native of Chicago, is a professor of music at the University of California at Irvine, where she teaches in the newly established Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology program. She was elected first female president of the iconic Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Chicago Tribune named her 2006 Chicagoan of the Year. She has received numerous other honors, including the prestigious 2011 Alpert Award in the Arts.

As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly honored by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as Top Flutist of the Year for the last four years.

Her music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as “Black Unstoppable,” “Awakening,” and “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler.”

In addition to presenting her lecture recital, Mitchell will lead an improvisation workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 103. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring instruments or their voices, and be prepared to make music.

Grinnell's Center for the Humanities, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Department of Music are cosponsoring the events.

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