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Act Your Shoe Size

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)

“You know, now that you’re starting college, you’re really an adult. You’ve got to be grown-up now.” How many of us have heard that from those *cough* well-meaning adults in our lives? To some extent, being an adult at Grinnell is necessary; for most of us, it’s our first time out from under parental rule.

Upholding Grinnell’s policy of selfgovernance takes a certain amount of maturity and responsibility from everyone. But just because we Grinnellians are on our own doesn’t mean we need to be adults … at least, not all the time! When I came to this Little College on the Prairie, I made sure to bring along my inner child (along with bed sheets, textbooks, and enough ramen to feed a small army) and boy am I glad I did!

While the main reason I came to Grinnell was definitely the first-class education I am receiving, it’s impossible to be in class all the time — so how do I fill my spare time? Grinnell provides a million and one activities for its students throughout the year, and a lot of them appeal to the little kid inside each of us. From showings of The Lion King and Kung Fu Panda at the Harris Cinema to study breaks featuring sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Grinnell welcomes us to embrace our child-selves. We have a Quidditch club and held a “Relive Your Childhood” themed Harris dance party complete with Goo-Goo Dolls music and Pokemon cutouts on the walls. We have a theatre group called the Neverland Players that performs plays based on stories written by Grinnell elementary school students. There was even an event earlier this semester sponsored by the Active Minds of Grinnell group to encourage everyone to embrace their inner child and let go of the stress of midsems; prominently featured at the event were crayons, macaroni and cheese, and Mulan.

I was worried when I left for college that I would have to leave my childhood behind forever and completely embrace adulthood, and I just wasn’t ready for that. But here at Grinnell, Little Kat is welcome, and that sense of playfulness and childhood is one of my favorite things about the College. While I do make sure to be professional in academic settings, outside of class, I feel no need to be old before my time. It’s a good feeling. Since classes can sometimes be stressful, it’s one less worry to not always have to be a grown-up.

Whether or not it’s a way of life or an occasional stress-reliever, acting your shoe size instead of your age is definitely fine at Grinnell, and what better way to do that than to bring along your inner child? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat a “Kid at Heart” panini from The Spencer Grill and go play on the campus swing set.

Kat Atcheson '12 is undeclared and from Overland Park, Kansas.

Wadzanai Motsi ’12 awarded Watson Fellowship

Friday, Mar. 16, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Grinnell College senior Wadzanai Motsi has been awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship for one year of independent study and travel abroad. Motsi, an independent major in international relations from Zimbabwe, is one of only 40 students nationwide to receive the $25,000 fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

Motsi plans to use the Watson Fellowship to learn about the motivation for political activism among students and youth in Tunisia, Ghana, the Czech Republic, and Cambodia.

“My objective is to attend student union meetings and work with youth organizations as these countries gear up for national elections,” Motsi said. “I plan to examine why young people are politically active and why they choose specific avenues to express their views.”

At Grinnell, Motsi has served as vice-president of the student government association, a member of the women’s varsity tennis team, and led a service trip to Nashville, Tenn. She hopes to return to Africa following her Watson year.

The Thomas J. 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. Within the past 10 years, 18 Grinnell students have won Watson Fellowships.

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.


Two alumni receive Wall Awards for service projects

Monday, Jun. 13, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Two Grinnell College alumni have been awarded Joseph F. Wall Alumni Service Awards of $25,000 each for service projects in their selected non-profit organizations.

The Wall Alumni Service Awards are named for the late Joseph F. Wall, a Grinnell College alumnus and long-time professor of history who inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his Grinnell students. The awards provide financial support for Grinnell graduates to engage in service projects, programs, and organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of others.

Since the inception of the Wall awards in 1996, more than $750,000 has been distributed to the service projects of more than 30 Grinnellians.

The 2011 Wall Alumni Service Award winners are:

Wall Award winner Leah Bry '04• Leah Bry, a 2004 Grinnell graduate, who works with GreenLeaf, a Denver-based organization encouraging youth to grow fresh foods. The young people also grow by challenging themselves in an environment that creates lasting, just and sustainable social change, in addition to health and nutrition knowledge.



Wall Award winner Jeff Mok '02• Jefferson Mok, a 2002 Grinnell graduate, who developed radio programming in Burundi to open information flow to citizens in the civil war-torn country. The radio show offers a sustainable public forum and community participation in sharing of perspective and individual experiences of life in Burundi.

The Wall Alumni Service Awards are open to all graduates of Grinnell College with a service commitment to benefit others. For more information, go to:http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/socialcommitment/awards/wall/.

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.



Two third-year students awarded competitive Goldwater Scholarships

Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA


Two Grinnell College students have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships for up to $7,500 toward tuition and expenses for the 2011-12 academic year. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was established by Congress to encourage excellence in science and mathematics for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential.

Boanne MacGregor, a third-year math and physics double major from Fairfield, Ia., and Emily Blythe, a third-year biological chemistry major from Kalamazoo, Mich., received Goldwater Scholarships to complete their Grinnell educations.

MacGregor plans a career in theoretical physics and to teach at the university level.

As a Grinnell student, MacGregor has served as a teaching assistant and member of the student educational policy committee for the physics department and as a volunteer for Grinnell Women in Science.


Blythe plans a career in biomedical or pharmacological research.

As a Grinnell student, she has been involved in the Student Environmental Committee; Grinnell Women in Science; the student educational policy committee for biological chemistry; Grinnell Swing Society; a contributing artist to the student literary magazine; and an actor for the Neverland Players.

Kevin Jennison, a third-year biology major from Lake Geneva, Wisc., received honorable mention in the national scholarship competition.

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.



Shonda Kuiper, mathematics, awarded the 2012 MERLOT Classics Award

2012 Merlot Classics Award - Stat2Labs

The Sloan Consortium
Newburyport, Ma., United States
August 3, 2012

Dr. Kuiper's creative and engaging games and labs exemplify reform efforts in Statistics Education, and she is highly deserving of a MERLOT Classics Award.

Editor Notes: 

  • The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching – MERLOT (www.merlot.org) Announces the 2012 MERLOT Awards for Exemplary Online Learning Resources. This program recognizes and promotes outstanding peer reviewed online resources designed to enhance teaching and learning. The award is granted to honor the authors and developers of these resources for their contributions to the academic community. Every year each of the MERLOT Editorial Boards is able to select an outstanding resource from its discipline to receive the MERLOT Classics Award. MERLOT considers this learning material an exemplary online learning resource and it is now recognized as so on the MERLOT website listing. United States, Aug. 2.

  • Shonda Kuiper's textbook, "Practicing Statistics: Guided Investigations for the Second Course" is available, contrary to the information provided in the release.

Person Mentioned: Faculty/Staff- Shonda Kuiper, mathematics

Experiment used on Skylab designed by George Simon '55

Fri, 2011-07-22 14:36 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Sunspot scientist came close to flying on orbital mission

Las Cruses Bulletin
Las Cruses, Nm., United States
July 22, 2011

The scientist who looked up at the Sun from atop the Sacramento Mountains hoped to get an even closer look, as a payload specialist, during the STS-51F Space Shuttle Challenger flight.

“Space Center Commissioner Dr. George Simon should be riding high … doing his scientific research in a locale that will be the envy of many of his colleagues,” the January 1985 Space Log reported. The International Space Hall of Fame (ISHF) in Alamogordo publishedthe journal. Simon was on the backup list, and did not make the Spacelab 2 mission that launched on July 29, 1985.

Person Mentioned: Alumnus/a- George Simon '55

Grinnell College teams up with local youth via THE ZONE fan club

Tue, 2010-01-19 08:32 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Grinnell College Athletics recognizes that one of its most important supporters is the community youth. Because of that, the College wants to acknowledge this group by offering a special program for young Pioneer fans.

THE ZONE is a fan club for youth (eighth graders and younger), which provides special benefits to those who enroll. With an annual membership fee, ZONE members receive:

*A ZONE t-shirt

*Three season passes (fall, winter and spring)

*25-cent popcorn

*Invitations to special ZONE events, such as sports clinics, pizza parties, etc.

The annual fee is $10 for an individual or $15 for a family (all immediate family members eighth grade and younger).

To register, download [file:47639] and mail it to the Heather Benning, the College’s Assistant Athletic Director, at 1118 10th Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112.

Benning can also be reached via e-mail at benning[at]grinnell[dot]edu. There will also be a registration at this weekend's basketball games at Darby Gymnasium.

The women's game with Lawrence Friday begins at 5 p.m., followed by the men's contest, and on Saturday the women meet Carroll University at 1 p.m. followed by the men's game.

“It’s great to see so many young families in attendance at our sporting events,” said Benning. “The players and coaches appreciate their support – it’s part of what is special about being a college in a small town. THE ZONE is a great way to get the youth involved with Grinnell College athletics and making them more visible in the stands. I’d love to see every kid at our contests in a red ZONE t-shirt!”  

Leslie named to Scholar All-Region Team

Thu, 2009-11-12 00:00 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Grinnell College's Frances Leslie '10 was named to the honorable mention list of the 2009 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-Central Region Women's Team.

The forward also helped the Pioneer women claim the 2009 Team Academic Award from the NSCAA. Leslie led the Pioneers in goals in 2009, including a four-goal performance against Illinois College that was just one shy of the school record.

Grinnell's men had two honorees on the All-North Central/Region Team, as JP Prouty '10 was named to the first team and Alex Exarhos '10 the second team.

Prouty, a defender from Stilwell, Kan., is a biological chemistry major and Exarhos, a defender from Richland, Wash., is majoring in computer science. Prouty is a three-time All-Region selection, twice before earning third-team honors, while Exarhos was a third-teamer last year. Both again helped the Pioneers earn the Team Academic Award from the NSCAA.

Prouty and Exarhos, who are also multiple All-Midwest Conference selections, helped anchor a Pioneer defense that gave up a measly 1.43 goals a game. Both also ranked second on the team in assists with three, while Prouty was third in goals with five. Exarhos had one goal.
See Scholar All-Region Teams

More Alumni Pinning Stories

Sun, 2009-03-15 16:12 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Pinned, then Dunked!

If you saw a group of women looking down from an open window of a South Campus dorm, as the sounds of "Honey, honey bless your heart" drifted up from the lawn below, you would be witnessing the result of a pinning at Grinnell College. Some lucky coed had snagged a man or visa versa.

It's the '50s and attaining a Younkers, Cowles, or any men's dorm pin was akin to wearing your high school beau's class ring on a chain circling your neck, although a North Campus pin was taken more seriously. Pinning often led to an engagement ring.

After the serenade, the lucky coed might be carried to a shower and "dunked," clothes and all, to celebrate her new status. That's exactly what has happened in this photo of Marta Martens Kurth '61, who looks happy (though wet) after getting pinned to Jerry Kurth '58.

The "dunking" is just a sample of the many rituals that seemed to abound in the 1950s at Grinnell College. Was I ever pinned at Grinnell College? No, but I was "ringed" with a diamond by a Grinnell grad after college: my lifelong partner, George Drake '56.

- Sue Drake '58

Grinnell, Iowa

… And a Word from the Girl in the Shower!

Marta Martens Kurth '61Sad to learn the "pinning tradition" has been dropped. It was a special event, and the song "Honey" was beautiful in the deep male voices.

That Honor G pinning in Sue's photo led to a Golden 50-year anniversary to be celebrated on May 30, 2009 (formerly Memorial Day until they changed the observation day on us). We thought we would always have a day off on our anniversary!

No one thought I would finish college when I gave up my Grinnell scholarship and left to marry Jerry. But, after attending universities all over the country, I finished with a B.A. in French with Distinction, this time on the Jerry Kurth Scholarship!

We've had an interesting life - 20 years in the Marine Corps living in Morocco and all over the United States. Jerry is now senior vice president-investment officer with Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly Wachovia Securities) and still working. We split our time between Kansas City and Scottsdale, Ariz., where we have been lucky to watch our two grandsons grow up. We have traveled most of the world on vacations and company trips, but are still ready to go at every opportunity.

- Marta Martens Kurth '61

Lees Summit, Mo.

On the Right Track

Kent Halsey '54Portia McNally and I met on a train out of New York City on our way to Grinnell in 1950. We started dating when we arrived at Grinnell, and eventually we went through the "pinning" thing where I gave her my Langan Hall pin and guard to wear. We became engaged when we graduated in 1954 and were married in 1955. We still are married.

- Kent Halsey '54

The Villages, Fla.  

A Happy Ending

James Kissane '52When I fell off the proverbial potato truck and landed in Grinnell as a first-year, many of the peculiarities of a college culture were new to me. One particularly bewildering item was the term "pinning" and the custom to which it referred. Oh, I knew it could not have anything to do with the Middle Western craze for competitive wrestling, but that was all I did know.

When in time I became somewhat more wised up, I concluded - drawing upon some pretty sketchy high school experience - that being pinned was rather like "going steady." But such an assumption was inexact; pinning involved a more substantial commitment. If it did not quite rise to the solemnity of announcements in a local newspaper's "society" column, the bestowal of one's hall pin upon a chosen co-ed did constitute an impecunious undergraduate's equivalent of an engagement ring.

So, at least, it appeared to me in my second year at Grinnell, as Nancy Duke '52 and I were beginning to realize that we were embarked on the big adventure of our lifetimes. We had proceeded from the then-all-but-obligatory "coffee date" to many hall parties and all-college dances. We were spending a lot of time together, studying in the library, but also - since her family lived right across the street from Smith Hall - in the Duke's living room, untroubled by the dour and dreaded sanction known in those benighted days as "women's hours"!

Sometimes Nan's folks drove us up to Marshalltown for Sunday dinner at "Stones" (how's that for encouragement?) and when the weather allowed, we went out into the country on long walks where we glimpsed the possible future. Blissfully ignorant of cell phones, we even wrote little notes to each other. It was the beginning of the dim and docile '50s, and it was all lovely.

My roommates - incredulous at first ("You asked the dean's daughter for a date!") and then amused but always encouraging, if not always tactful - became a personal rooting section of two. They didn't doubt my ardor, but they decided my progress was exasperatingly slow. Of course we were sure this was for real; and Nan would have accepted a ring, though it was no secret to her that I couldn't afford one.

That's why I have good reason to be grateful for the quaint collegiate custom of those days known as pinning. I must shamelessly confess that even a brand new Smith Hall pin was beyond my financial reach; but one of my roommates offered to sell me his, which wasn't at the time doing him much good, at a price I considered steep enough to make the whole undertaking entirely creditable.

Naturally, I'd have paid infinitely more, had that been necessary and even remotely possible. Nan was pleased to wear my pin and never did mind not having a ring, so she has always claimed. This simple story has no "O'Henry-type" ending. No ironic turns, no excruciating pathos; just a happy outcome with no surprises for the reader, but satisfactory in every way to the author and his characters. We were married in Herrick Chapel on Commencement Day.

- James Kissane '52

Athens, Ga.

Originally published as an online extra for The Grinnell Magazine, Spring 2009