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Last Make/Shift Exhibition for Spring 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bucksbaum Endows Growth for ‘Global Grinnell’

Carolyn ‘Kay’ Swartz Bucksbaum ’51Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum ’51, former chair and now life trustee of Grinnell College, has committed $5 million to support the expansion of the Global Grinnell Program at the College.

“I believe in the leaders of the College and their vision for the future,” Bucksbaum said. “I want to see Grinnell College increasingly recognized, and measured accordingly, for its leadership among similar colleges in my lifetime.

“The Global Grinnell Program is close to my heart because of my own global views and experiences,” she added. “It is my desire to have others join me in this opportunity to expand the impact of a significant factor that makes Grinnell stand above other colleges.”

“Kay Bucksbaum’s generous gift combines her dedication to Grinnell College with the vision and foresight to advance our mission in strategic fashion,” said Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. “The programmatic support this gift will provide brings an increase in opportunities for students to gain global competence and leadership at a level that will distinguish Grinnell from our peers. We share Kay’s vision to engage other donors in the Global Grinnell Program.”

Bucksbaum said her desire to make this leadership-level commitment was influenced by various aspects of her own life, including having foreign visitors living in her family home, her mother’s world travels and Bucksbaum’s own daughter’s involvement in the international arena.

"Kay Bucksbaum’s generous gift combines her dedication to Grinnell College with the vision and foresight to advance our mission in strategic fashion," said Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. "The programmatic support this gift will provide brings an increase in opportunities for students to gain global competence and leadership at a level that will distinguish Grinnell from our peers.  We share Kay’s vision to engage other donors in the Global Grinnell Program.”

Accompanying Bucksbaum’s gift is her agreement to serve as honorary chair as the College prepares for a comprehensive fundraising campaign. 

“We are currently organizing the College fundraising priorities in advance of the launch of a campaign, and Kay’s leadership arrives at a pivotal point in the life of this endeavor,” said Shane Jacobson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.

 “Kay’s generosity links the legacy of our previous campaign with our renewed effort to invest in students, faculty, staff, programs, and facilities,” he added.

The gift will create two endowments. The first funds the creation of a Chief Global Officer position to promote and ensure an integrated and innovative approach to international education across the divisions of the College. 

The second fund will create a Global Distinctiveness Fund that will enhance programs and student opportunities that continue to bring to life the Global Grinnell Program for each student. The Fund will make possible internships abroad, scholarships for global course work and language studies, and faculty and student research focused on collaborative, international projects exploring global problems and challenges. These additional resources will allow faculty and staff to benefit from opportunities to develop their own contributions to global engagement in their work with students.

“This commitment gives us the chance to pursue an integrated and sustainable global strategy,” said Michael Latham, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “Our large and diverse international student population, excellent off-campus study opportunities, inquiry-led curriculum, internship programs, alumni network, and external partnerships around the world have made Grinnell a profoundly international institution.”

“Kay’s partnership allows us to name the Chief Global Officer as soon as possible. This position will oversee the strategic utilization of Kay’s philanthropy, and bring to life the vision to expand Global Grinnell to faculty, staff, and students alike,” Latham added.

 

Advocating for Men’s Health

While life events have helped Ryan Brown ’16 shape his aspirations, he has largely carved out his own path toward fulfilling them.

“My dad is a pediatrician, so I was raised thinking I was going to be a doctor one day,” Brown says. “I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with that until my mom got breast cancer and I realized I really wanted to do something about it.”

Originally recruited from the Chicago area to play baseball for Grinnell, Brown is a biological chemistry major who’s become intensely focused on oncological research. He has spent the past three summers interning at University of Chicago research labs that deal primarily with late-stage prostate cancers.

“More specifically, cancers that don’t respond to the normal androgen deprivation therapies,” Brown says. “Our lab works with different genetic manipulation approaches to establish models for various stages of prostate cancer progression.” 

Motivated by Coach

Thankfully, Brown’s mother is a success story. Brown’s inspiration to study men’s cancers came from another survivor — Grinnell pitching coach Casey O’Rourke (2008-2013). An all-conference phenom in his first year at the University of Iowa, O’Rourke was sidelined as a sophomore by testicular cancer.

“[O’Rourke] kind of refined my interests into men’s cancers and testicular cancer,” Brown says. “After working with him in my first year I had this motivation to work with male cancers. I just cast the net out to cancer labs that were close by me and the prostate lab was one of them.”

Early Lab Experience

Brown’s efforts to secure an internship were entirely self-directed. He sold himself as a candidate for an unpaid internship in his first summer, and he returned in a paid capacity after his second-year science classes provided the requisite knowledge.

“My first summer in the lab I really knew nothing about biology and it was pretty difficult to catch up on what everyone else knew,” Brown says. “After my second year I came back and everything made sense.”

Brown also successfully advocated for two other Grinnell students, Matt Godinsky ’16 and Shane Comiskey ’18, to work in the lab — one in each of two consecutive summers.

Creating Awareness

Last November, Brown organized a group of 20 Grinnell students and staff to join with the lab’s Moustaches in Movember team in raising funds for men’s health issues through the Movember Foundation. Grinnell’s contingent raised $1,751 of the lab’s total of $6,816.

“It’s an awareness-type thing,” Brown says. “You see a guy with a ridiculous moustache and people are likely to say, ‘Hey, what’s up with that?’ You say, ‘Sorry, I look like an idiot, but it’s for a good cause. I’m raising money for men’s health issues through Movember.’ It’s awesome. It opens conversations.”

A Better Understanding

After graduation, Brown will be working full time in the lab where he’s interned the past three summers, driving his own projects and working to publish them. He says he’ll concentrate on research for a couple of years before applying to medical school.

“I want to be a translational physician scientist,” Brown says. “A physician who’s able to translate work between the lab and exam room gains a much better understanding of what their patients experience, as well as issues that interfere with treatment.”

Ryan Brown ’16, from Chicago, Ill., is a biological chemistry major with a concentration in neuroscience.

Examining Grinnell’s Culture

Grinnell is a secular institution, but does that mean students have to leave their religion at the classroom door?

Olivia Queathem ’17 is part of an unusual group Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) in religious studies that may help answer that question. Queathem and five other student researchers are conducting focus groups this spring to gather data for the Grinnell Religious Diversity Project.

The grant-funded study is exploring issues of religion, religious culture, and religious diversity on campus. The project focuses, in part, on whether classrooms in an intentionally secular environment are affected by, or in some cases impinge upon, students’ closely held religious beliefs and experiences.

Strong Emotions

“There can be some pretty strong emotional attachments to what’s being talked about,” Queathem says, “and it’s a really difficult balance to find a classroom climate that feels open so that people can say what they’re feeling and ask honest questions.

“The professors are always looking for better ways to make sure that students feel safe in the classroom expressing their views through respectful dialogue,” Queathem adds.

Project directors Tim Dobe, associate professor of religious studies, and Caleb Elfenbein, assistant professor of religious studies and history, are helping students establish the parameters for the research. But it’s the students who are driving the process.

Honest Conversations

A key goal for the MAP participants, says Alexandra Odom ’16, is to “create a project that shows people what the realities of religion are on campus.” One of their first tasks was to formulate questions that would foster open and honest conversations in their respective focus groups.

“People are used to not talking about religion and keeping it part of their private lives,” says Odom. “We have to be very intentional about how we create a space where people feel comfortable talking about their religious beliefs and engaging with people who may or may not have similar beliefs.”

Odom says the first round of focus groups indicate that students who feel personally shaped by their religion are willing to share and wish more people on campus would ask questions about their faith.

Opportunity to Speak

“It seems like people have been waiting for this opportunity to speak,” Odom says. “Even people who don’t align themselves with a religion are willing to talk, especially if they grew up in a setting where religion was always present, even if they weren’t directly involved.”

Promoting honest dialogue will not only help define the range and depth of religious experience on campus, Odom says. It will ultimately help researchers understand religious diversity in the context of core Grinnell values like self-governance.

“Grinnell prides itself on students looking out for each other,” Odom says. “We can’t promote the health and wellness of the community if we have no idea what that community is. To identify religious populations that are present is the first step to serving those populations in a way that’s meaningful for them so they can have a great experience here, too.”

Identifying Campus Culture

Since February, the MAP students have been journaling personal impressions of their research experience on a blog. For Jaya Vallis ’16, having a place for personal introspection is helpful.

“We talked a lot about objectivity, self-reflexivity, and trying to remove our own biases when we were designing questions and talking to our interviewees,” Vallis says. “I recognized almost immediately even in just describing this project to people that I had to identify and separate out my own personality.”

Vallis says the research group also discussed techniques for talking to interviewees in order to identify what people think campus culture actually is and how religious diversity plays a part in it.

“‘Campus culture is a very vague term,” Vallis says. “Once we get an idea of what it is, we’ll be better able to identify ways to maybe implement policy changes or the creation of new spaces on campus.”

Valuable Experience

By semester’s end, the MAP students will produce a group paper that will help inform future phases of the three-year study. Among the skills gained in designing and implementing the focus group process is Institutional Review Board training necessary for ethical research involving human subjects.

“Religion touches a lot of aspects of our society, and it’s really interesting to see how it overlaps with other spheres of influence in terms of how people live their daily lives,” Queathem says.

“I know that I want to do something that helps people in a concrete way, whether that ends up being activism or nonprofit work,” Queathem says. “This is valuable experience in terms of giving me an actual research opportunity that I haven’t had before so I’ll get to see if I like it or not.” 

Olivia Queathem ’17 is a religious studies major from Grinnell. Alexandra Odom ’16 is a history major from Baltimore. Jaya Vallis ’16 is a psychology and religious studies double major from Washington, D.C.

Open Studio Event at Make/Shift Space

Grinnell College's studio arts faculty will conduct a free and open studio event on Saturday, April 23, for people of all ages and skill levels interested in creating drawings and collages.  

The event, which is free and includes all materials, will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at Make/Shift Space, 928 Main St., Grinnell.

Make/Shift Space is a temporary downtown space for Grinnell College art students and faculty to hold rotating exhibitions, offer workshops for the community, and work on art in an off-campus setting.

For more information, contact Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art.

Nelson Ogbuagu ’16 Wins Short Story Contest

Grinnell College senior and winner of the Nick Adams Short Story Contest, Nelson Ogbuagu Nelson Ogbuagu ’16 has been named the winner of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest 2016 Nick Adams Short Story Contest. His story, "Playing it Safe," was selected from the 32 stories submitted by students from ACM colleges.

Author Bill Hillman, who served as the final judge for the contest, awarded first prize to Ogbuagu, praising his story as “a psychological thriller and a coming of age tale of an introspective and sensitive youth” that “works on a lot of levels.”

A Chicago native, Ogbuagu is an economics major. His interest in writing, inspired by his love for hip-hop music and storytelling, started in high school, where he served as both an arts and entertainment and a sports editor.

He began to write short stories in a creative writing course he took at Grinnell with author Dean Bakopoulos, assistant professor of English.

“His mentorship, teaching, feedback, and general support as I developed in his classes and outside of them not only made me a better storyteller through writing, but also encouraged a type of self-exploration that made me believe that I had meaningful stories to tell,” Ogbuagu said.

These workshop-based courses require students to read each other’s work and give extensive critiques in class discussions. “After all of that feedback, we’d go and make a revision that was very deep, very heavy,” said Ogbuagu. “You really get a very sharp sense as to the different ideas that different types of writers have for the directions you can go with a story. It really informed how I could take a certain experience and craft it in a way that I hadn't originally considered.”

In addition to writing, Ogbuagu serves as co-chair of the All Campus Events Committee of the Student Government Association and co-leads the Latin American Dance club. This fall, he will join LinkedIn’s Business Leadership Program for global sales in San Francisco. He plans to continue writing and eventually pursue a master’s degree in fine arts.  

Grace Lloyd ’16, a senior from Allentown, New Jersey, was awarded honorable mention for her story "Crush." She is an English and theatre major with a concentration in technology studies. She is currently writing a novella with the mentorship of Bakopoulos and plans to continue writing after graduation.

The Nick Adams Short Story Contest has been held annually since 1973 by the ACM. Winners receive $1,000, made possible by a gift from an anonymous donor.

Racialized State Violence and the Movement for Black Lives

In a free, public event, Damon Williams ’14 will present “Bigger Than the Cops: Racialized State Violence and the Movement for Black Lives” at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in ARH Auditorium, Room 302.

After a brief presentation, Williams will join in a one-on-one conversation with Shanna Benjamin, associate professor of English. Alexandra Odom ’17 will introduce participants and set the stage for the discussion.

At 5 p.m., there will be a break for refreshments. Attendees will return at 5:15 p.m. for a workshop with Williams and Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology.

Event sponsors include Alumni in the Classroom Program, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for the Humanities, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Departments of Sociology, American Studies, and Economics, and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations through Conference Operations and Events.

About Damon Williams ’14

After a brief presentation, Williams will join in a one-on-one conversation with Shanna Benjamin, associate professor of English at Grinnell College. Senior Alexandra Odom will introduce participants and set the stage for the discussion.

At 5 p.m., there will be a break for refreshments. Attendees will return at 5:15 p.m. for a workshop with Williams and Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology at Grinnell.

Williams is a community producer, organizer, radio host, hip-hop performance artist, actor, teacher and public speaker from the south side of Chicago. He has performed across the country with his sister, Kristiana Colón, as the poetic duo April Fools. He also co-hosts "AirGo Radio," a weekly show on WHPK, Chicago Community Radio.

In addition, Williams co-chairs the Chicago chapter of Black Youth Project 100, a national political organization comprised of black youth ages 18-35. He co-edits the #LetUsBreathe Collective, an artistic activist organization that serves underprivileged people and creatively disrupts the anti-black racist status quo.

Committed to addressing economic inequality, Williams also serves as the co-director of the Ujamaa Jr. Investment Club, which promotes financial literacy and investment strategies.

Swing into Spring Contra Dance

Grinnell College's Contra Dance club is holding its Second Annual Contra Dance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22. The free, public event will take place in Main Quad Dining Hall.

The dance will feature live music by Can I Get an Amen, one of Chicago's foremost folk bands. Nikki Herbst, a renowned contra dancer from Iowa, will be calling the social dances.

Contra dance is an American folk tradition, similar to square dancing. Fun for both skilled and beginner dancers, this live dance is a unique opportunity to experience one of America's folk traditions firsthand.

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

This event is supported by the Grinnell Department of Music with funds from the Terri Thaler ’82 Memorial Endowment.

Pioneer Weekend 2.0: A Three Day Innovation Competition

What the heck is it?

Pioneer Weekend 2.0 is the second iteration of a three day innovation competition, sponsored by the Wilson Program.

Student innovators from different backgrounds work together in teams of 3­–6 people and complete a prototype of an idea that they come up with at the event.

Pioneer Weekend encourages hands-on experiences, innovation and leadership skills, and aspiring student entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas might be viable.

When is it?

Friday though Sunday, April 8–­10, 2016.

Register by Wednesday, April 6. Space is limited and spots are filling fast!

Why Should I attend?

Cash Prizes! $500 1st team; $300 2nd team; $100 3rd team.

Education: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Pioneer Weekend is a perfect opportunity to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just experiment. Step outside of your comfort zone! Pioneer Weekend is all about learning through the act of creating.

Networking: We all know it's not just about the idea — it's about the team. Pioneer Weekend attracts the community's best makers and doers and is a great way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with. Walk away with a cool story that could lead to a job or a potential company.

Fun and Friendship: This isn't just a happy hour. It’s a happy weekend! By spending a weekend working on solving real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships.

What to Expect

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, students will bring in their best ideas and inspire others to join their team.

Saturday, teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing Lean Startup methodologies, and building a minimal viable product. Mentoring sessions are provided by distinguished professionals.

On Sunday afternoon, teams present their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Prizes are awarded.

Mentoring

Student teams will be mentored and judged by distinguished alumni that are part of the Wilson Program Leadership Council.

Grinnell Singers Spring Concert Tour

The Grinnell Singers, the College's premier choir, will perform in six cities during a concert tour of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico during the week leading up to Easter. The concerts, which will take place from March 19-25, are open to the public.

Directed by Lecturer in Music Ben Luedcke, the choir will sing motets by Francis Poulenc, Eric Whitacre and Knut Nystedt written specifically for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

A string quartet of Grinnell College students will join the Grinnell Singers to perform a sacred work for strings and choir by Joseph Haydn. The choir also will present sacred works by Orlando Gibbons, Maurice Duruflé and Hubert Parry.

The 38-voice Grinnell Singers will round out the program with some part-songs and spirituals, including pieces celebrating Spanish dance and butterflies.

The Grinnell Singers have toured Finland, Estonia, Russia, and Turkey. The choir has produced two recordings, including a CD of Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil," which was praised for its "consummate artistry" by Iowa Public Radio.

Free-will donations will be accepted at all of the concerts, which start at 7:30 p.m.:

  • Saturday, March 19, at Asbury United Methodist Church, 5400 W. 75th St., Prairie Village, Kansas.
  • Sunday, March 20, at Cathedral of the Plains — Basilica of St. Fidelis, 900 Cathedral Ave., Victoria, Kansas.
  • Monday, March 21, at First Congregational Church of Boulder, 1128 Pine St., Boulder, Colorado.
  • Tuesday, March 22, at Green Mountain United Methodist Church, 12755 W. Cedar Drive, Lakewood, Colorado.
  • Wednesday, March 23, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, 50 Mount Carmel Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Friday, March 25, at First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave., Colorado Springs, Colorado.