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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.

Be a Part of Grinnell’s Commencement

It’s a beautiful day for the 169th Commencement of Grinnell College, beginning at 10 a.m. on Central Campus.

Join us as we celebrate our newest graduates. You can:

  • Watch the live stream beginning at 10 a.m. CDT (GMT -05:00).
  • Follow and join the conversation on Twitter: #CongratsGC2015
  • Share your photos on Instagram: #GrinnellCollege
  • Follow us on Facebook and YouTube for highlights from the day.

Guest Internet access is open on campus from noon Friday, May 15 through Monday, May 18. Connect to GrinnellCollegeCommencement wi-fi; no password is required. For assistance, please call 641-269-4901.

See Commencement for event details and information about parking, shuttles, and accessibility resources and drop-off points.

Commencement 2015

Grinnell College will celebrate its Class of 2015 at this year’s exercises of commencement on Monday, May 18. The ceremony, in which approximately 400 students will receive the Bachelor of Arts degree, will feature an address by noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben and the awarding of honorary degrees.

About Grinnell’s Commencement

Grinnell College’s Commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 18, at the amphitheater on central campus. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center, 1201 10th Ave., Grinnell. No tickets are required to attend the 10 a.m. commencement exercises. The ceremony also will be live streamed on Grinnell’s website.

About Bill McKibben

A renowned environmentalist and writer, McKibben is one of the nation’s most outspoken activists on global warming. He has written extensively about climate change, alternative energy, and genetic engineering. His book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book about climate change written for a general audience. His more recent works address social movements, consumerism, and shortcomings of the growth economy.

A native of Lexington, Massachusetts, McKibben completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard, where he served as president of The Harvard Crimson newspaper. After graduating, McKibben was a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. McKibben is currently a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.

About honorary degree recipients

Bill McKibben will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree at Grinnell’s commencement exercises. Grinnell also will confer honorary degrees upon Mary Seely, Kit Abel Hawkins, Penny Bender Sebring ’64, and Charles Lewis.

Mary Seely is a renowned scientist with a history of work in environmental science, education, and policy in southern Africa. A visionary scientist and teacher, Seely served as director of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia for 16 years and has received numerous awards for her work on desert research and conservation. In 2003 she taught a short course at Grinnell on nongovernmental organizations and the environment, and her passion for fostering international cooperation has been critical to the establishment and continued success of the Grinnell Corps program in Namibia.

Kit Abel Hawkins is founder and director of the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences, a private K-8 school in Tualatin, Oregon. Established in 1989, Arbor is the manifestation of Hawkins' dream that education should be "decisive and enduring." Hawkins also established the Arbor Center for Teaching, a 2-year apprenticeship program in partnership with Marylhurst University for six individuals to receive their Master of Arts in Teaching. In nominating Hawkins, Rebecca Garner ’15 praised Hawkins for her "passion for a model of active engagement with learning."

Penny Bender Sebring ’64 is a senior research associate at the University of Chicago and co-director of the Consortium of Chicago School Research. After earning a degree in sociology from Grinnell, Sebring went on to study education and policy studies at Pennsylvania State University and Northwestern University. Sebring is widely published on a variety of topics including urban education, course-taking patterns, and school leadership, and is a Life Trustee of Grinnell College.

Charles Ashby Lewis is chairman of the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and managing general partner of Coach House Capital. A retired vice chairman of the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch and Co., Lewis is a graduate of Amherst College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Together with his wife, Penny Bender Sebring, Lewis helped make possible the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions program, which is designed to help students think about the long-term possibilities of teaching.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Information on commencement ceremonies is available at Grinnell’s Commencement webpage. For any further information on commencement, please call (641) 269-3178.

Inventing the Female Nude

Professor Andrew Stewart will deliver the tenth annual McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies, “Inventing the Female Nude: Praxiteles, Phryne, and the Knidia,” at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Perhaps the most famous statue of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles was his lost masterpiece, the Aphrodite of Knidos, which was copied numerous times. The lecture will discuss the statue’s alleged model, the sculptor’s mistress Phryne; its consequent address to its audiences, both male and female; the messages that it may have sought to send to each of them; and selected episodes in its reception from the Renaissance to the present.

About Andrew Stewart

Andrew StewartStewart is professor of ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology and Petris Professor of Greek Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Stewart has taught at the University of Otago in New Zealand as well as at the University of California, and he has held visiting appointments at The Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. He is curator of Mediterranean archaeology for the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U. C. Berkeley, and he has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Crete, New Zealand, and Israel.

His many honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Distinguished Teaching Award from U. C. Berkeley. Among his extensive publications are eight books, including a recent introduction to art in the Hellenistic world, published by Cambridge University Press, and an earlier, two-volume study of Greek sculpture.

About the McKibben Lectures

The McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies is sponsored by the Department of Classics and honors Bill and Betty McKibben, whose combined service to Grinnell College and to the greater Grinnell community totaled more than a century. 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center has accessible parking in the lot on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to conference operations.