Dispelling the Myth: Nothing Happens on Campus in the Summer

July 11, 2011

A myth in the outside world is that “nothing happens on campus in the summer.” So to dispel that myth, we’ve shown below a nominal sampling of scholarly activity taking place during the lazy, hazy days in Grinnell.

All Over the Campus: MAPs

From Noyce to Burling, Steiner to Mears, Mentored Advanced Projects are all over the campus map this summer. Here are a few examples of the works in progress that incorporate student learning with faculty development and scholarship:

“Civil War Public Memory,” with Sarah Purcell, history During this Civil War Sesquicentennial summer, Ethan Drutchas ’13, Christian Snow ’13, Sara Lowenburg ’13, and Amanda Borson ’13 are writing papers about commemorations of the war and co-curating an archival exhibit at Burling Library as part of their MAP. Each student chose a specific 1861-2011 commemoration for in-depth research, in collaboration with Purcell’s on-going study of public memory and political funerals of the Civil War period.

“Environmental Effects on Exercise Psychology and Physiology,” with Elizabeth Queathem, biology

Biology majors Bethine Moore ’13 and Mike Nodzenski ’12 are working on summer MAPs with Queathem to assess physical activity and behavior change in middle school children (Moore) and to examine how indoor and outdoor exercise environments affect cross-country runners (Nodzenski). Queathem’s research generally focuses on the psychological barriers that prevent humans from meeting established exercise criteria.

“American Nana: Grandmothers in the U.S., 1900-2000,” with Victoria Brown, history

As a grandmother and sociocultural historian, Brown became interested in changes over time in both the popular culture images of grandmothers and their lived experiences. Students Kathryn Hardy ’13 and Erica Seltzer-Schultz ’12 are collaborating on Brown’s research in their summer MAPS; Hardy is exploring the image of African American grandmothers in the ’60s and ’70s, while Seltzer-Schultz is analyzing the image of black and white grandmothers in children’s literature during those decades. Both were students in Brown’s “U.S. Women’s History” course last spring.

“Poetry Writing, Performance, and Publication,” with Ralph Savarese, English

Ethan Kenvarg ’12 and Grace Mendel ’13 studied “Craft of Poetry” with Savarese last fall and chose a summer MAP to focus on the process of publishing poems in professional literary magazines, with opportunities to meet writers and attend readings in nearby Iowa City. Kenvarg, a biology major, recently learned that his poem “The Animals of My Sorrow” was accepted for publication by the Seneca Review, a prestigious literary journal.

Cooking Up Local Foods

Grinnell Area Local Foods apprentices Jackie Blair ’12 and James Yox '12 have organized a series of local foods cooking classes. Each class is taught by an area cook producing a simple recipe using healthy local produce. Participants receive a cookbook compiled by the Center for Prairie Studies of recipes for local foods dishes.  Chase Felker ’12 and Radka Slamova ’13 are using background from the “Human-Computer Interaction” course to implement a user-centered website for the Grinnell Local Foods Coop as part of a MAP project directed by Janet Davis, assistant professor of computer science. The site will allow student coop members to order foods from local farmers.

Film Matters

Ten students and recent graduates are collaborating this summer to edit “Film Matters,” an undergraduate film journal by Intellect Press. During their Humanities 290 “Film Genre” course last spring, the Grinnell students sought submissions from colleges with film studies programs and are evaluating the journal articles this month with the assistance of film theorist Terri Geller, assistant professor of English. According to Geller, the Grinnell students on the editorial board are the first guest editors for the online publication.

The Apprentice, Grinnell Style

The six apprentices working in local non-profit organizations are wrapping up their one-year commitment this summer to the charter program sponsored by the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement. A new class of apprentices will begin in August.

Learning for Learning’s Sake

Faculty members David Harrison (French), Jon Andelson (anthropology), Shannon Hinsa-Leasure (biology), Dan Gross (Alternative Language Study Option Program) and Jan Gross (French) are sharing their expertise through the Adult Community Explorations Series (ACES), offering local participants short courses on contemporary Paris, historic France, vaccines, and local history. Harrison, director of the Center for International Studies, will also deliver a webinar on the Grinnell-Nanjing University partnership in mid-July.

Statistics in the Liberal Arts Workshop (SLAW)

The Statistics in the Liberal Arts Workshop (SLAW), formed in 1987, meets at Grinnell each July. SLAW includes statisticians from Bowdoin, Cornell, Grinnell, Kenyon, Lawrence, Mt. Holyoke, Oberlin, Pomona, St. Lawrence, St. Olaf, Smith, Swarthmore, Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, and Purdue who meet to further the teaching of statistics and to champion the role of the liberal arts college statistician. Tom Moore, professor of mathematics and statistics, was a co-founder of SLAW, along with Rosemary Roberts of Bowdoin. The group’s pursuits have resulted in a Statistics II textbook to be published fall 2012.

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