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Pride

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:

 

Scarlet & Give Back Day - Success!

Scarlet & Give Back Day, April 7, 2016, was an opportunity for alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Grinnell to show pride in the College as a leader in providing a world-class liberal arts education.

As a bonus, an anonymous donor issued a philanthropic challenge: if 2,000 people gave to Grinnell before 11:59 p.m., CDT, the donor would give the College $1 million!

By 5:08 p.m. 2,000 donors had made gifts, and the $1 million challenge gift was unlocked.

But our anonymous donor was so impressed with the generosity of the Grinnell community, they offered a new challenge to continue this exciting event through the evening. For the "bonus" challenge, if 500 additional donors who had not given yet to Grinnell, gave by 11:59 p.m. CDT, the College would receive an additional $100,000.

Both Donor Challenges Met

At 10:15 p.m., the College announced that 500 additional donors had made gifts to unlock the $100,000 bonus challenge. By the end of the day, more than 3,000 donors made gifts unlocking the challenge matches totaling $1,100,000. 

Total donors: 3,376

Donor gifts: $ 284,533.48

Matching gift: $1,100,000

Scarlet & Give Back Day TOTAL: $1,384,553.48

Thanks-a-Million

Thank you to the alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends who made a gift in support of Scarlet & Give Back Day. We are proud of the extraordinary generosity displayed by Grinnellians worldwide. The event’s donor total set a new one-day record for donors to the College.

Because of the tremendous number of donors, we successfully met two donor challenges and unlocked $1.1 million in matching gifts.  

While this was structured as a participation challenge, please join us in taking a moment to recognize how important this day was for campus. Every day, we are grateful for donors who, through their gifts, invest in the future of the people and programs that make Grinnell such a distinctive and wonderful place.

Make a Gift

 

Campus Climate Solidarity—Call to Action

In recent weeks, many historically underrepresented students have been deeply affected by events highlighting racism and inequity occurring across the country at various colleges and universities. In this timely moment, we have an opportunity to be proactive about the campus climate at Grinnell College and take time come together in solidarity towards long-term change in a sustainable way.

Concerned students, staff, and faculty have gathered and have co-created a list of recommendations that highlight key areas of campus life—inside and outside the classroom—that should remain in our collective consciousness and be addressed in order for sustainable change towards a more inclusive environment for all at Grinnell College. The following is a small part of an ongoing conversation, understanding not only that we must all work collectively across all levels of the college both interpersonally and structurally, but also that this is an ongoing commitment that we are invested in order to live out the college’s mission of social justice.

President Kington, Dean Latham, and the College administration strongly support the creation of a more inclusive and equitable campus climate. College staff are currently reviewing the proposed steps in detail and the plan is likely to include many of the items listed here. We will post progress updates on a quarterly basis, and will offer clear explanations of the status of recommendations to indicate which may be immediately accomplished, which will require further discussion and planning, and which may be impossible for regulatory or other reasons.

Policy Review and Implementation

  • Education to develop clarity around Bias-Motivated Incident Protocols
  • Overall improvement of our data collection and ongoing assessment of diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Review of work-study regulations and the implications on students coming from a lower SES
  • Publish the results of reviews and consultant visits
  • Implement a class-free day of programming for faculty, staff, and students to discuss social identities, power, and privilege
  • Divestment from for-profit prisons

Curricular Recommendations

  • Time devoted in every tutorial class to discussing –isms in contemporary society
  • Additional curricular offerings that directly address –isms in contemporary society
  • Creation of African-American Studies Major and Concentration

Co-Curricular Recommendations

  • Raising awareness around contemporary issues of Indigenous Peoples
  • Programming around knowing your rights when faced with discrimination
  • Portion of the Innovation Fund dedicated to projects focused on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Student Advisors in the Residence Halls expanding their programming to include diversity and inclusion dialogue
  • Bringing in more speakers of color through the Rosenfield, Wilson, Departmental programs (also curricular)
  • Continuing to raise awareness on Title IX, Race-Related issues, individually and their intersectionality
  • Provide funding for opportunities to connect to schools, regional and national organizations who are involved in diversity and inclusion work full-time

City of Grinnell-Grinnell College Relations

  • Partnership with City Officials to develop protocols around responses to bias-motivated incidents that occur in the city of Grinnell
  • Create community relations and mentor programs to facilitate increased meaningful connection between the college and the City of Grinnell
  • Partner with Grinnell Police Department to educate around issues of bias related to students

Training and Development Opportunities

  • Ongoing and regular diversity and inclusion training for staff, faculty, and students that address the curricular and co-curricular experience
  • Expanding diversity and inclusion programs during and beyond New Student Orientation for all students
  • Fall and Spring semester diversity and inclusion training for student leaders and student groups that includes how to have hard conversations, implicit bias, microaggressions, privilege, and power
  • Address the cultural appropriation in menu nomenclature and theme nights in the dining hall
  • Providing additional information and context to our international students of color about the history of U.S. racism and training on how to navigate their identities in that space

Recruitment and Retention Strategies

  • Increase recruitment of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds
  • Increase recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds
  • Increase retention efforts for students, staff, and faculty of color, including exit interviews for underrepresented staff, faculty, and students who leave
  • Departmental review to examine successes and failures at retaining underrepresented faculty and staff
  • Increase the number of shuttles to cities across the state (Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids)
  • Provide a concerted effort to ensure that students, staff, and faculty have access to mental health providers from diverse backgrounds who are trained to work with diverse populations

Alumni Connections

  • Developing a focused mentoring program for alumni and students
  • Establishing an intercultural alumni weekend so that current students can network with underrepresented alumni

Physical Spaces

  • Decorating spaces (art, murals, etc.) that reflect the various identities on our campus

Updates

Clark Lindgren, Iowa Professor of the Year

Clark Lindgren, Patricia A. Johnson Professor of Neuroscience and professor of biology, has been selected as the 2015 Iowa Professor of the Year.

The U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program honors excellence in undergraduate instruction, recognizing professors who profoundly influence the lives and careers of their students. Lindgren is one of 35 state winners from across the nation.

A member of Grinnell's faculty since 1992, Lindgren has strived, as both a professor and an adviser, to help students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences overcome external challenges and find success in scientific fields. He served as an early faculty director of The Grinnell Science Project, which is designed to increase retention and success of science students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM fields.

Clark Lindgren talking with Yang Chen '17The former students who wrote letters of recommendation for Lindgren have been successful despite external challenges they faced because of their background. Lindgren said, "For each student I try to be appropriately demanding and yet encouraging at the same time, and that to me is really the essence of what good teaching is about – finding that balance."

Lindgren has continued to advise these students past graduation. One former student and nominator, who described herself as "woefully unprepared" to meet the expectations of the biology department when she arrived at Grinnell, said she owes much of her success to Lindgren. By graduation, she had been selected as a Rhodes Scholar, which she applied for at the encouragement of Lindgren, and later went on to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Sydney Kimmel Cancer Center.

"I have achieved more, reached further, and contributed that which I would not have been able to otherwise because of Professor Lindgren's investment in me as a teacher and as a mentor," she wrote. "I would not be the learner, the teacher, or the cancer doctor I am today, were it not for him."

In addition to helping students pursue their goals in and out of the classroom, Lindgren is a pioneer of engaging, authentic, and interdisciplinary biology teaching methods. He was a co-architect of the upside-down biology curriculum, in which students are immersed in research from their first biology course. Now emulated across the country, the biology 150 course is, according to a colleague and nominator, "an important transition from faculty-centered teaching to student-centered learning."

Lindgren also helped create Grinnell's neuroscience concentration, now one of the largest concentrations on campus. The neuroscience concentration's curriculum, which attracts students from all majors and divisions, is interdisciplinary, including courses from biology, psychology, social sciences, and the humanities.

A celebrated professor and adviser, Lindgren is also being recognized for his scholarship. For the past three decades, he has been working to understand the remarkable ability of chemical synapses, the nexus between individual neurons, to change their behavior in response to the activity they experience. He has authored articles in 16 peer-reviewed publications.

Lindgren includes students in his research. Since arriving at Grinnell, he has worked closely with 64 undergraduate students researchers, almost 70 percent of whom have gone on to graduate school in neuroscience or a related field.

An engaged member of the Grinnell faculty, Lindgren has served as the chair of the biology department twice, the chair of the science division, and on various college-wide committees, such as the Personnel Committee and Executive Council, a faculty advisory committee to the president and dean.

For Lindgren, this award is a testament to the outstanding students and colleagues he works with each day at Grinnell.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education launched the U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program in 1981. That same year, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching began hosting the final round of judging, and in 1982, became the primary sponsor.

The program awards four national winners and one winner from each state every year.

Professors are judged on four criteria:

  • impact on and involvement with undergraduate students;
  • scholarly approach to teaching and learning;
  • contribution to undergraduate education in the institution, community, and profession; and
  • support from colleagues and former undergraduate students.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

Students Win Awards in National Statistics Competition

USPROCTwo groups of Grinnell College students won awards at this year’s Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition (USPROC) sponsored by the American Statistical Association and the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education. USPROC is an annual national competition among undergraduate students in the United States.

Alex Schmiechen ’17 and Zina Ibrahim ’17 won first place in the subcategory “First Course in Statistics.” Their project, titled Upvote or Downvote: What Makes Yik Yak Posts Popular?, was completed as part of the course Applied Statistics (MAT 209).

Their study examined Yik Yak, the anonymous social medial platform that is widely used on college campuses, in which users can indicate their liking for a post by “upvoting” or “downvoting” it. Schmiechen and Ibrahim’s study aimed to “determine potential indicators of popularity” and counted the upvotes of posts based on categories such as amount of humor, academic level, love life relevance, and whether or not it was a question.

Clark Fancher ’15, Josh Vernazza ’15, and Zack Davis ’16 won second place in the subcategory “Intermediate-level Applied Statistics Course.” Their project was titled An Examination of Age of First Drink and Effects of Church Attendance by Gender, and was carried out in the course Statistical Modeling (MAT 310).

They initially came up with this topic due to its relevance on college campuses. “Since underage alcohol consumption is so rampant throughout college campuses, we thought a study examining the age of first drink consumption would be interesting,” Davis said. They used survival analysis to model drinking patterns in Iowa youth. They also found that male church-goers have their first drink later than their female counterparts, which was different from conclusions reached in previous literature.

The results of both studies are significant in part because they pertain to current issues. Schmiechen and Ibrahim’s study highlights that further analysis could “lead to further insight into popular culture” and also be “a tool to examine a student body’s mental health”. Fancher, Vernazza, and Davis’ study addresses the benefits of decreasing underage drinking, and discusses the efficacy of after-school church programs delaying the age of first drink consumption.

Both projects were from courses taught by Professor Shonda Kuiper of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. These achievements highlight the College’s advancement in statistics education. “Students of Grinnell College are doing innovative research projects related to current events in their lives, while also utilizing advanced multivariate statistical modeling techniques,” Kuiper said.

In addition to a monetary award, both groups were invited to give a plenary talk on October 2, 2015, for the First Annual Electronic Undergraduate Statistics Research Conference.

It’s Scarlet & Give Back Day

It’s here! Scarlet & Give Back Day. Today, March 31, 2015, is a huge opportunity for alums and friends of Grinnell everywhere to show pride in the College as a leader in national and international liberal arts education. Your gift today will positively help strengthen our commitment to financial accessibility, academic excellence, and student success after Grinnell

Here’s how to help make it a success! Go to our online gift form or call 866-850-1846 and give any amount to the area of campus that’s important to YOU. Please take this opportunity to step up and make a real, tangible difference.

Together, we can do it! We have 24 hours to show our stuff! By midnight tonight, we intend to amaze the entire Grinnell community! We’ll keep you updated throughout the day so together we can celebrate the power of Grinnell pride!

Let’s do this, and thank you!

Update: The Finkelman Challenge!

At 11:30 a.m., Daniel '77 and Patricia Jipp Finkelman '80 announced a challenge! For every new donor today, March 31, 2015, between the time of their announcement and 11:59 tonight, the Finkelmans will give $250! The Finkelmans chose to support the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS). They encourage you to support students and their preparation and aspiration for life after Grinnell! If CLS is not your area of interest, there are a number of other ways you can support the student experience. Meet their challenge and give to support your Grinnell passion! To make your gift, go to the online gift form or call the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (866) 850-1846.

Compete fiercely and win frequently.

Grinnellians take athletics seriously. We field 20 NCAA Division III teams that compete fiercely and win frequently. One-third of our students play at least one varsity sport.

We approach athletics a bit differently than the typical college — you may have seen our men’s basketball team’s unorthodox approach to scoring and winning highlighted on television or in a magazine. Athletic competition is an integral part of a liberal arts education for our student athletes. They demonstrate progressively quicker thinking, more nuanced team dynamics, and improved physical and mental agility over the course of a season and a career.

We also offer a wide array of intramural and outdoor recreation programs in which the vast majority of Grinnellians participate. Students here wear a path between the library and the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center, demonstrating their commitment to both thinking and living well.

Ready to take the next step? Visit campus, learn how to apply, understand our generous financial aid policies, or just get more information about Grinnell.

  • Men’s Varsity Teams

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field (indoor and outdoor)

Women’s Varsity Teams

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field (indoor and outdoor)
  • Volleyball

Redefining Realness

Groundbreaking author and transgender activist Janet Mock will discuss her best-selling book during Pride Week.

“It’s important that people on this campus get to see someone like Janet Mock speak about her life and struggle,” says Javon Garcia ’14, a senior in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies.

Mock will give the keynote address at 8 p.m. Monday, April 21, in  Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. Mock is the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

“Her writing is so beautiful,” says Garcia, a native of Laurel, Md. “Every word of it comforted me, and I wanted to read more and more.”

Pride Week features a drag show, parade, workshops, a film screening, poetry and spoken word performances, a book-signing event with Mock, and more. The events are organized by student groups of the Stonewall Resource Center to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBTQ+).

Mock is a writer, activist, and founder of #girlslikeus: an online project on Twitter and Tumblr meant to provide a space for trans women to share their stories and connect with each other across colors, generations, sexual identities, and class.

Garcia, manager of the center, says Mock’s work really illustrates her struggle, which resonates with and helps others.

A native of Honolulu, Mock attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and earned her master’s degree in journalism from New York University.

While working as a staff editor at People.com in 2011, Mock wrote a Marie Claire article about her life as a young trans woman of color. This sparked her work as an Internet-savvy activist who uses media to raise awareness of the struggles and strengths of trans women, expanding the idea of womanhood and holding the LGBTQ+ movement accountable to all trans and queer folk, including those from low-income communities and people of color.

Mock’s memoir was published in February and earned a spot on The New York Times’ best-seller list.

The center’s Queer People of Color and Transgender Advocacy Group and several campus offices sponsored her speech, which is free and open to the public. See Pride Week: April 19-26 for a partial schedule of events.

 

Remy’s Route

Remy Ferber’s love affair with Grinnell College began at night.

The beautiful, modern buildings mixed with distinguished, historic ones impressed her as she toured the campus with her father.

“I kind of fell in love with the school then and there,” says Ferber ‘14, a fourth-year art history and political science major. “It was a small school that would challenge me, and it was an opportunity to explore a new part of the country with a diverse group of people.”

That moment put Ferber on the path to join an esteemed group known as Grinnellians.

Excellence, service, leadership

The 21-year-old from Concord, Mass., says her four years here have taught her that Grinnellians are committed to excellence, service, and leadership.

“What I love about Grinnellians — students, faculty and staff — is we’re constantly setting the bar higher,” she says. “Not to make a statement about what we can achieve, but in legitimately trying to make a difference.”

Challenging and transformative opportunities abound at Grinnell — inside and outside of the classroom.

Like so many other Grinnell students, Ferber devised her own research plans to guide major projects.  

Jenny Anger, associate professor of art and art history, described Ferber’s research at Grinnell and abroad as “meticulously detailed and thoughtful.” 

“Remy’s consummate professionalism surpasses that of many who have already collected many more credentials than she,” says Anger.

Graduation approaches

As graduation approaches, Ferber is excited about a project that will culminate four years of interdisciplinary research, Art as an Agent of Diplomacy: The Anglo-American Example, her Mentored Advanced Project (MAP). The paper explores the use of the visual arts as propaganda in American cultural diplomacy since the Cold War, and mentions potential reforms based on the success of the British Council.

“This is what a Grinnell education is all about — providing the means for you to jump in and be able to manage independent research,” she says.

Recently, Ferber and Jennelle Nystrom ’14, a fourth-year computer science and art history major, co-founded the Grinnell+ Leadership Program. The organization brings together student leaders, online and on-campus to discuss leadership issues. Alums can join the online forum.

Ferber, who laughingly refers to German Expressionist painters as “friends” of hers, has leveraged her art knowledge and leadership skills on a variety of high-profile summer internships at the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums, and Christie’s. Internships, externships, off-campus study and course-embedded travel very much make the world Grinnell’s “campus.”

Intense New Englander

With a self-described “New England intensity,” Ferber has relished serving on a staggering number of groups and committees, including her role as the Student Government Association’s vice president of academic affairs.

The position enables her to work with College leaders to consider Grinnell’s future in ways she otherwise might not have.

Even with graduation looming, Ferber is certain her attachment to Grinnell won’t end.

“I love Grinnell, and I’m dedicated to this school,” she says. “Students have access to a customized education here in a way that is very unique to this particular institution.”

 

Remy Ferber ’14 is an art history and political science major from Concord, Mass.

Forest of Lights

When they started working on their Mentored Advanced Project (MAP), Ben Doehr ’15 and Caleb Sponheim ’15 had no idea how moved some observers would be, by a display of lights, triggered by the viewers’ very presence.

Like so many Grinnell students, Doehr and Sponheim employed creativity, critical thinking, and individualized study in an attention-grabbing project supported by the College’s unique programs.

The pair shares an easygoing friendship, an enthusiastic collaboration, and a wry sense of humor. Last semester at Grinnell-in-London, they shared a flat, where the concepts for their current projects first germinated.

Roberts Theatre aglow

Roberts Theatre aglow with lights

Caleb wanted to create a forest of lights in Roberts Theatre. He and Ben wanted people to be able to interact with the light display from the stage.

From concept to the March 2014 installation, their vision remained the same. Participants entered the darkened theatre, where Caleb led them to a line of dimly glowing light bulbs suspended at face height over the lip of the stage. As soft music played in the background accompanied by the sounds of crickets and flowing water, Caleb explained that the lights knew the participants were there, and that if they got close enough to them, the lights would respond.

Interactive music

When a participant reached out, nearly touching one of the hanging light bulbs, the bulb would brighten as a musical note rang through the theatre and a cluster of other light bulbs hanging at various heights over the seats would brighten before fading back into the darkness. Light sensors drove the display; when either of two cameras that monitored the space sensed a change in ambient light — brighter or darker — the lights would respond.

The faces of the participants, lit up with wonder and joy, were as compelling to watch as the twinkling bulbs in the theatre.

Caleb says, “People brought things in. They projected their emotions on the space.” It was the human element that brought the design to life.

First of three projects

Interacting with light

If you were to pigeon-hole the work, you could call it an art installation. It is the first of three projects, which all are part of a theatre MAP.

Interestingly, Ben and Caleb don’t have a theatre major between them.

Doehr is double-majoring in chemistry and economics; Sponheim majors in psychology.

The project gave them a chance to stretch, a common occurrence on a campus with such diverse academic and extracurricular offerings. “This is a good creative outlet for both of us,” says Caleb. “It helps break up a schedule of highly analytic thinking.”

The pair is planning two more installations in Roberts Theatre:

  • Dark, which will open in mid-April, and
  • Dance, which will open in early May.

Each will offer a unique sensory experience and will allow for different ways to participate in the experience and interact with the space. Ben and Caleb didn’t disclose any details about their future installations, but if they’re anything like Light, they will be more than installations. They’ll be experiences.