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Adding Value to Internship

Toby Baratta ’17, a computer science and political science double major, is in the second semester of her current Mentored Advanced Project (MAP). She’s applying her computer science skills to associate professor Jerod Weinman’s massive historical mapping project, which aims to make historical and geographical data in archived map collections searchable on the Web.

Baratta’s research presentation at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference netted her an invitation to intern at Google last summer. She says her presentation experience plus Grinnell’s emphasis on writing combined to make a substantive difference in the quality of her internship:

“Doing research with Professor Weinman, I was writing a paper every week,” Baratta says. “Writing is emphasized in every class. You learn how to write really well and convey your understanding of material in a way that most people who have engineering degrees can’t. Some people who have English degrees can’t make metaphors regarding biological differences, but at Grinnell they can. They’ve taken those courses, and they took them because they enjoyed it.

“At Google every week I would meet with my team and say, ‘This is what we’ve done, this is what we’re going to continue doing, these are the things that we’re hung up on, and these are questions we have that aren’t implementation questions.’ I’m not a code monkey; I don’t just sit there and type. I have to think about what my assumptions imply about what I’m doing.

“When you’re in industry you have to convey why what you’re doing is important, and why the company should be spending money on it. And you need to be able to say it in a way that doesn’t sound like X equals Y equals Z. I mean, people don’t need to know the technical details of every little thing. Being able to convey what I am doing in a way that’s understandable to people who aren’t computer science majors is so important.”

Grinnell Caucus Project

As a first-year Grinnell College student, Suha Gillani ’16 interned for Barack Obama’s campaign. But until taking a short course in January, she had no idea how distinctive and important Iowa is to the presidential selection process, and how the nature of Iowa and Iowans shape the caucuses.

Gillani, an international student from Pakistan, was one of 13 Grinnell students, including 2 from outside the United States, who got an up-close and personal view of presidential candidates campaigning across Iowa during the Grinnell Caucus Project.

During the weeklong, immersive class about the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, the students traversed 1,525 miles and visited a good portion of the state, attending presidential campaign events featuring one Democratic candidate, three Republican candidates, and a former president. The course wrapped up about 2 weeks before the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

Seeing Presidential Candidates Up Close

Before coming to Grinnell, the only political event Caleigh Ryan ’17 had attended was a huge Obama rally in Chicago. But during the course, she and her fellow students listened to Chris Christie give his stump speech in northwest Iowa, noted how Marco Rubio courted voters at a town hall in Ottumwa, and stood shivering in the snow to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump as he left a rally in the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset.

They watched Hillary Clinton, accompanied by singer Demi Lovato, reach out to young voters at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and saw former President Bill Clinton urge Fort Dodge voters to caucus for his wife because of her experience and achievements. 

The course gave Caitlin Scaife ’16 a new appreciation for Iowans’ role in selecting a president, a role that many non-Iowans scoff at and many Iowans take for granted.

“Before taking this course, I don’t think I ever fully realized how important Iowa is in the presidential selection process or how much work goes into the Iowa caucuses,” Scaife says. “This week we’ve met citizens who have gone to several candidate events in order to make their decision.”

Leaving Personal Politics Behind for a Week

To participate, Scaife and her classmates had to apply for admission and meet the prerequisite requirements: Political Parties and The Presidency courses, both taught by Barbara Trish, professor and chair of political science, who designed and taught the two-credit caucus course.  

The course textbook was What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer. The 1,000-page tome about the 1988 presidential election explores candidates from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart.

The class was structured to get the students out to candidate events, says Trish, who insisted that her charges suspend their personal political beliefs for the duration. “But perhaps more important,” she says, “was to show them that if you dig beneath the surface a little, there’s fascinating work and other aspects of life to uncover related to the caucuses.”

Gaining Insights into Fundraising, Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts

Students also toured the State Capitol with State Rep. Chris Hall ’07, D-Sioux City, and met with Rep. Dave Maxwell, R-Gibson, who represents the Grinnell area. In addition, they talked with political party officials and business leaders.

The national sales manager of KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids discussed trends in political advertising. The vice president of marketing of Pizza Ranch, an Iowa-headquartered restaurant chain with a faith-based mission, explained the context for the key role its franchises play in hosting GOP candidates on the campaign trail.

They gained insights into fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts from the founder of Campaign Headquarters, a call center in Brooklyn, Iowa, that promotes conservative candidates, including Ted Cruz. And they explored the role of PACs in the Iowa caucuses with Rob Barron ’02, political director of NextGen Climate, which advocates policies to prevent climate disaster and to promote prosperity for all Americans.

Megan Settle ’16 documented the course in a series of three photo blogs that show firsthand what the students saw and experienced.

Appreciating How Iowans Participate in Democracy

The students’ main takeaway was an awareness of how tightly the caucuses revolve around Iowa trademark retail politics. Ryan was shocked to learn firsthand that it’s common to see Iowans talking face-to-face with presidential candidates in town halls with fewer than 100 people.

“I think most voters in the country have no idea what a different experience of democracy Iowans enjoy,” she says.

Yanling Xu ’16, an international student from China, noticed that the spectacle of candidates talking in such close proximity to voters revealed a commonality Iowans have with Grinnell students.

“Iowans are as passionate as we are about politics,” she says. “Their questions are sharp and interesting.”

Hearing the candidates speak about how vital Iowans are to the process was energizing and inspiring to Hannah Boggess ’18.

“Candidates and Iowans respect Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status,” she says. “And it’s really incredible that we get to be a part of this unique and important piece of the political process.”

This course was funded by the Wilson Program whose mission is to nurture among our students a critical understanding of leadership and innovation as well as the skills associated with these.

Image of students in front of the Iowa State Capitol courtesy of Megan Settle.

Suha Gillani ’16 is a political science and economics major from Karachi, Pakistan.

Caleigh Ryan ’17 is an English major from Oak Park, Ill.

Caitlin Scaife ’16 is from Rochester, Minn., and is a political science and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies major.

Megan Settle ’16 is a political science and Spanish major from Raymore, Mo.

Yanling Xu ’16 is from Xiamen, China, and a political science major.

Hannah Boggess ’18 is a gender, women’s, and sexuality studies major from Minnetonka, Minn.

Peace and Conflict Studies Student Conference

A keynote address by a genocide studies scholar, an invited alumni address, and presentations of student papers and faculty-led discussions will highlight Grinnell College's fourth biennial Peace and Conflict Studies Student Conference on March 11-12.

All events are free and open to the public, and will take place in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell.

The conference is sponsored by Grinnell College's Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

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

Conference Speakers

Ernesto Verdeja

Keynote address: "Can We Predict Genocide and Mass Killings"

7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Verdeja is assistant professor of political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame and executive director of the Institute for the Study of Genocide.

Verdeja, who received his doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York City and directs undergraduate peace studies at Notre Dame. His research focuses on large-scale political violence, transitional justice, political reconciliation, war crimes trials, truth commissions, and reparations.

Leonard Merrill Kurz ’75

Alumni address: "A Grinnellian's Journey for Peace"

11:45 a.m. Saturday, March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Leonard Merrill Kurz ’75 is president of Forest Creatures Entertainment, a motion picture, television, and new media production. Kurz holds a master's degree in film and television production from Stanford University. He has written, produced, and directed several documentaries, including Free the Children.

Lunch will be provided.

Student Panels

This year, 19 students from Grinnell, Macalester, Skidmore, and Antioch colleges will present papers during the conference. The papers address a range of topics about peace and conflict from the social sciences, humanities, and sciences, reflecting the vibrant interdisciplinary variety of the field.

Papers are organized into themed panels, each moderated by a faculty member who has reviewed panel papers. After the 15-minute student presentations, faculty moderators will respond and facilitate a discussion session.

The following panels will occur throughout the two-day conference.

"The Body, Objectification, and Social Suffering"
4:15 p.m. March 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Vincent Benlloch ’18, Grinnell; Clara Moser, Skidmore College; and Jesus Villalobos ’17, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Abram Lewis, assistant professor of gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at Grinnell.
"Leaders, Parties and Their Alternatives: Political Violence and Social Transformation"
8:30 a.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Suha Gillani ’16, Michael Cummings ’18, Max Pilcher ’18 and Maxwell Fenton ’19, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Keynote speaker Verdeja.
"Communities, Identities and Conflicts"
10:15 a.m., March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Keegan Smith-Nichols, Antioch College; and Stuart Hoegh ’17 and Karol Sadkowski ’16, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Todd Armstrong, professor of Russian at Grinnell.
"Troubling Childhood: Violence and Rights"
10:15 a.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 226
Papers by: Betty Varland ’18 and Mari Holmes ’17, Grinnell; and Jolena Zabel, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Tess Kulstad, assistant professor of anthropology at Grinnell.
"Sexual Violence in War and Peace"
1:30 p.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Emily Ricker ’18 and Hannah Boggess ’18, Grinnell; and Will Stolarski, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Patrick Inglis, assistant professor of sociology at Grinnell.
"National Politics of Exclusion and Their Consequences"
1:30 p.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 226
Papers by Nirabh Koirala ’17 and Lucia Tonachel ’18, Grinnell; Zoe Bowman, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Gemma Sala, assistant professor of political science at Grinnell.
 

Why Americans Love the Welfare State

Spencer Piston '01Spencer Piston ’01 — an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University — will present “Why Americans Love the Welfare State in an Age of Economic Inequality” at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 16, in ARH 102.

All are welcome to the free public event. Lunch will be provided.

Piston's research examines the influence of attitudes about social groups — with particular attention to racial and class groups — on public opinion and political behavior.

His work has been published or accepted for publication in leading political science journals, including The Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, Political Communication, and Political Psychology. He has been named a Distinguished Junior Scholar by the Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association.

Piston's visit is sponsored by the College's Alumni in the Classroom Program.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. ARH is wheelchair accessible. Automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides. Accessible parking is available along Park Street. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

A Conversation about the Iowa Caucuses

Grinnell College will host "A Conversation about the Iowa Caucuses with E.J. Dionne Jr. and David Shribman" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights is sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

"We are so lucky to be in a position at Grinnell to hear from these distinguished journalists as part of our preparation to participate in the historic Iowa Caucuses," said Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program and professor of history.

E.J. Dionne Jr.Dionne is a syndicated columnist, National Public Radio commentator, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a noted author. His books include Why Americans Hate Politics and Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond, scheduled for release this week by Simon & Schuster.

His new book "provides a sweeping, sophisticated and shrewd analysis of the radicalization of the Republican Party from the defeat of Goldwater to the rise of the Tea Party and the bizarre twists and turns of the GOP's presidential contest in the fall of 2015," according to a review by Glenn Altshulter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

David ShribmanShribman has been executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette since 2003. Before joining the Post-Gazette, he covered politics for several other distinguished newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His column, "My Point," is nationally syndicated. He received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his coverage of Washington in 1995.

This will be Shribman's second appearance at Grinnell in recent months. He served on a panel with a Des Moines Register political reporter and political columnist at another Rosenfield event on Dec. 7 titled "Journalists Talk About The Iowa Caucuses."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

New Exhibitions Feature Feminist, Siberian Art

Beverly Semmes, RC 2014

Beverly Semmes, "RC" 2014. Velvet, 119 x 35 in. Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Art Collection.

Building on its last exhibition theme of asking questions, Grinnell College's Faulconer Gallery will be showing a variety of feminist works alongside a collection of historic Russian photographs.

These exhibitions provoke inquiry from artists and viewers alike, including questions such as "Are feminists supposed to support open depictions of sexuality?" and "What can photographs of rural Siberia teach us about Russian society and history?"

The simultaneous exhibitions, "Beverly Semmes: FRP" and "Siberia: In the Eyes of Russian Photographers," open Friday, Jan. 29, with a reception from 4 to 5 p.m. at Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The exhibitions and opening reception, which includes refreshments, are free and open to the public.

"Both exhibitions present critiques of contemporary assumptions about gender politics, landscape, history, and everyday life," said Lesley Wright, director of the Faulconer Gallery.

In her Feminist Responsibility Project (FRP), Semmes simultaneously conceals, reveals, and otherwise colorfully intervenes in pornographic scenes from vintage Hustler and Penthouse magazines. The exhibition also features Semmes’s striking work in other media: glass, ceramic, and video, as well as three of her signature dress pieces, including one acquired by the Faulconer Gallery in 2014. This exhibition is co-organized with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

"Siberia: In the Eyes of Russian Photographers" is a geographical portrait that has the potential to alter stereotypes about a famously remote region. The photographs, taken by Siberians, span more than 130 years, from the late 19th century to the present. The images include rural and urban scenes, landscapes, native peoples, agriculture, and industry, Russian frontier settlements, the Gulag, religion, and everyday life, and offer an insider’s view of unique and often isolated places.

The project is timely as Siberia's role grows on a world stage. The region's military, political, and economic possibilities have intrigued individuals and nations for centuries. They do so now with renewed vigor as Siberia's energy and mineral resources and strategic location draw global attention.

Leah Bendavid-Val curated the traveling exhibition, organized by Foundation for International Arts & Education (FIAE) and presented in honor of Greg Guroff, (1941-2012), who held a doctorate in history, founded FIAE, and also taught Russian history at Grinnell College from 1968 to 1977.

Programs and Events

The exhibitions, which continue through March 20, include a variety of free public programs and events, all in Faulconer Gallery unless otherwise noted. For the complete listing, visit Faulconer Gallery. Highlights include:

Gallery Talk: "The Political Construction of Siberia: Geography, Industry, and Identity in Post-Soviet Russia"
By Assistant Professor of Political Science Danielle Lussier.
Feb. 4, 4 p.m.
20 Minutes @ 11: "Doing it right? Feminist approaches to sex, censorship, and pornography"
By Assistant Professor of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies, Leah Allen,
Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.
Special Event: "Russia and the West: Conflict, Diplomacy and the Future"
By retired U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle and Eric Green ’85, Director of Russian Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
Beyrle and Green will discuss Russia's evolving and complicated relations with the West during a dialogue moderated by Associate Professor of History Ed Cohn.
Feb. 24, 4 p.m.
Bad Feminists/Bad Critics: A Sex Wars Debate
Featuring Grinnell students from two sections of Allen's senior seminar in gender, women's and sexuality studies, who will explore pro- and anti-censorship feminism.
March 1, 4 p.m.
Slavic Coffeehouse and Maslenitsa Celebration
Hosted by the Russian Department with sweet and savory ethnic foods prepared by faculty and students available for purchase at a nominal cost in the Bucksbaum Center.
Attendees will celebrate Maslenitsa, which marks the end of winter and the beginning of Lent, by eating blini (Russian crepes) that represent the sun and burning a chuchelo (scarecrow), a symbol of winter.
Outside the Bucksbaum Center, March 5, 5:30-7 p.m.
Gallery Talk: Beverly Semmes on her Feminist Responsibility Project
A chance to hear from the artist herself about her career as a feminist artist.
March 8, 4 p.m.

Both exhibitions will be on view through March 20. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the lot behind the building north of Sixth Avenue. You can request accommodations from the Faulconer Gallery or Conference Operations and Events.

Life-Changing Discoveries

Toby Baratta ’17 arrived at Grinnell intending to focus mainly on Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, and political science.

“Then I took computer science,” Baratta says. “It totally changed my life.”

Since her introductory class in functional problem-solving, Baratta has immersed herself in research projects. She has done a Mentored Independent Project (MIP) in computer science, and a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) in the math and statistics department analyzing trends in data used for mapping student success.

Baratta’s second MAP, which builds on the MIP she did in the summer after her first year, has her working with Jerod Weinman, associate professor of computer science, on historical map processing.

Weinman and fellow researchers recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to help fund the project, aimed at unlocking the stories of “politics, people, and progress” that reside in the historical and print map collections of libraries and museums.

Publishing readable, searchable, and properly linked digital content from hard documents is a matter for intrepid computer scientists. Baratta is pinning down data related to locations and names of rivers and lakes from 19th-century maps.

Boon to Researchers

“A computer can’t read a map itself; it just gets an image and doesn’t know what any of the data is,” Baratta says. “So first you have to get the computer to find and read the text.”

The next step, she says, is to “use it with historical information regarding geographical name changes to map it onto the actual geographical existence of today.”

Teaching the computer to see that chronological progression and to make the information searchable via the Web would open new vistas of research for scientists and policymakers. “A biological or environmental scientist could see how a lake or river has shifted or completely disappeared over time,” Baratta says.

“From an anthropological or sociological point of view,” she explains, “you could look at how people have moved, how a community has moved, and whether there are patterns of how society is moving away from rivers now that we have different technological advances.”

Skills in Demand

When not in classes and doing research, Baratta works for Information Technology Services as technology consultant administrator and is Web manager for the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL). She also mentors math and computer science classes.

Baratta spent last summer at Google, where she was invited to intern after presenting research at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. She has already accepted an internship next summer at Microsoft.

Even if an attractive job offer in industry comes her way, she says she’ll opt for grad school. “I like research. I want to get a Ph.D. in machine learning, specifically,” Baratta says, adding, “I don’t know enough yet for what I really want to do.”

Finding Her Passion

Her goal is to work in an organization using data science research and computer science methods to stop human trafficking and other crimes. “There’s a lot of research in computer science that’s really exciting and could be applied to solving these things educationally or through tracking and response,” she says.

In addition to everything else she does, Baratta is a responder with Grinnell Advocates, and she manages the Stonewall Resource Center that supports LGBTQ communities. Her schedule demands good time management. “I go to bed at 10:30 every night and get up at 8:00,” Baratta says. “I know where I’m going to be and what the plan is.

“I wasn’t like this in high school,” she says, “but I mean, once you find something you’re passionate about, it’s kind of easy to have energy behind it.”

 

Toby Baratta ’17, from Boca Raton, Fla., is a double major in computer science and political science with a concentration in statistics.

 

Journalists Talk About the Iowa Caucuses

Three national political journalists will discuss the role of the news media covering the 2016 Iowa caucuses at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, will conclude the fall series of public events leading up to the Iowa caucuses sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. The series has brought to campus political activists, authors, professors and, now, journalists, to share their perspectives of the Iowa caucuses. 

The journalists serving on the media panel will be:

  • David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette;
  • Jennifer Jacobs, chief political reporter at the Des Moines Register; and
  • Kathie Obradovich, political columnist at the Des Moines Register.

An acclaimed journalist, Shribman became the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2003. Before joining the Post-Gazette, he covered politics for several other distinguished newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His column, "My Point" is nationally syndicated. He received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his coverage of Washington in 1995.

Jacobs has been the chief political reporter at the Des Moines Register since 2011. She covers presidential, congressional, and state politics in Iowa, as well as Iowa's first-in-the-nation role in the caucus. A respected voice for Iowa politics, she has been featured on Iowa Press, CNN, CSPAN, MSNBC, and NPR.

A 25-year veteran of covering Iowa politics, Obradovich has been at the Des Moines Register since 2003. Her columns, focusing on presidential, congressional, and local politics, are published weekly. For 10 years, Obradovich served as the Des Moines bureau chief at the Iowa Statehouse for several Iowa papers, including the Quad-City Times, and Mason City Globe-Gazette

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Reducing Political Polarization

Jacob Hess and Phil Neisser Phil Neisser and Jacob Hess, political opposites and co-authors of You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong): Conversations between a Die-Hard Liberal and a Devoted Conservative will host two Iowa caucus-related events Nov. 19 and 20.

Their workshop, "How to Reduce Political Polarization without Compromise," will teach strategies for engaging in more civil and productive political conversations. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Neisser and Hess will also give a free public lecture, titled "Using Dialogue as Civic Engagement, On and Off Campus," at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101. The workshop and lecture cosponsors are the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, President Raynard S. Kington, and the Ombuds Office.

For two years, Neisser, a leftist; and Hess, a conservative; have been engaging in difficult and in-depth conversations about controversial political issues, including sexuality, race, big government, and big business. Working to reduce polarization by both pressing each other and listening to each other, the two compiled highlights of their conversations into their book, You're Not as Crazy as I Thought. The book was featured on the popular public radio show This American Life.

Neisser is a professor of political theory at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he also serves as the associate dean of Arts and Sciences. A gifted teacher, he received the SUNY Potsdam Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000. Neisser is also the author of United We Fall: Ending America’s Love Affair with the Political Center, as well as several acclaimed essays in various political science books.

Hess, a psychologist, is research director at Utah Youth Village, a nonprofit for abused children in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2009, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation research on long-term depression treatments. He has written 13 peer-reviewed articles and two books. A teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction, Hess co-founded All of Life, a nonprofit that educates people about scientific discoveries in brain science and how these findings can be used to help overcome mental and emotional challenges.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can make accommodation requests to Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Cosmic Secrets

Asif SiddiqiFordham University Professor of History Asif Siddiqi will discuss the history of the Soviet space program during the free, public Scholars' Convocation at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Much of Siddiqi's interests are focused on the history of science and technology, postcolonial science, and its intersections with popular culture. He is a recent winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, has held an endowed visiting chair at the Smithsonian Institution, and is a leading expert in the history of modern science and technology.

A prolific writer and speaker on Soviet history, Siddiqi serves on the National Research Council Committee on the Future of Human Spaceflight, and is a contributing editor of the journal Technology and Culture. He has written several books, including The Rockets' Red Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857–1957," Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, and The Soviet Space Race with Apollo. His upcoming book from Oxford University Press is titled Soviet Science and the Gulag.

Siddiqi also has been quoted by numerous national media outlets about topics ranging from accidents in space to engineering disasters to the Russian Space Program. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in economics from Texas A&M University, as well as an M.B.A from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon University.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.