Colorado College News CC, UCCS, and FAC Collaborate on Theatre Production Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:00:00 MST <p>&ldquo;The Long Christmas Ride Home,&rdquo; an upcoming theatre production being performed at Colorado College, has many intriguing elements, not the least of which is its wide pool of talent: The 10 student performers come from Colorado College and UCCS, the director from UCCS, the set designer from Colorado College, the production crew from CC and UCCS, and the puppet maker from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s the first time all three organizations have worked together on a theatre production &mdash; but it won&rsquo;t be the last. Another collaborative production,&nbsp;to&nbsp;be performed&nbsp;at UCCS, is planned for the spring.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Long Christmas Ride Home,&rdquo; a one-act, full-length play by playwright Paula Vogel,&nbsp;dramatizes a road trip by two parents and their three young children to visit grandparents for the Christmas&nbsp;holiday, and the emotional turmoil that they undergo.&nbsp;<a href=";booking=1&amp;title=Performance &quot;The Long Christmas Ride Home&quot;">It runs Dec. 13-15</a> in CC&rsquo;s Studio A in the Cornerstone Arts Center, and is free and open to the public.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re always trying to find ways to collaborate,&rdquo; says Kevin Landis, associate professor and director of the Theatre and Dance program at UCCS, who is directing the production. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeking a model that works, especially with schools that are on two different schedules. Plays are quick and intensive, and this is working,&rdquo; he says of the two-block experience.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s exciting to see UCCS and CC students teaching each other,&rdquo; Landis says. &ldquo;The students working together in collaboration bring out different things in each other. It&rsquo;s interesting to watch the CC and UCCS students teach other through their life experiences. And it allows me to learn; it&rsquo;s the creation of something special coming from different cultures.&rdquo;</p> <p>The students also are enjoying the experience. &ldquo;We have a small department, so it&rsquo;s great to work with other people,&rdquo; says <strong>Max Sarkowsky &rsquo;20,</strong> who is the musician and soundscape designer for the production. He also enjoys working with a new director; he hasn&rsquo;t been in a production with Landis in the past and says he has to work with to find out what and how Landis wants things done. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a different language,&rdquo; Sarkowsky says.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s cool to open up the collaboration, so there&rsquo;s not a bubble between the schools,&rdquo; says CC&rsquo;s <strong>Soren Kodak &rsquo;21</strong>, who plays the minister and a dancer in the show. <strong>Suzy Lewis &rsquo;19</strong>, who is on the production crew, agrees. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s nice getting to know them,&rdquo; she says of her UCCS counterparts. &ldquo;Shake up the classical scene a bit. Everyone knows everyone here.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been so exciting to be a part of the collaboration between UCCS and CC,&rdquo; says <strong>Julia Greene &rsquo;19</strong>, a theatre major who has been in six departmental productions, although this is the first with UCCS. &ldquo;Kevin (Landis) is a fantastic director, and working with skilled students and faculty outside our little department has been such a great experience. Plus, the play is beautiful &mdash; delving into the joy and richness of pain in a way only Paula Vogel could.&rdquo; Greene, who plays the mother and also worked on the costumes, adds, &ldquo;stepping out of my zone as an actor to help costume the puppets was insanely fun. Playing their mom, I&rsquo;m extra proud of how cute they are in their little Christmas gear.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;From my perspective, this is a healthy mixing,&rdquo; says Cinco Placensia, a junior at UCCS, who is one of the puppeteers. &ldquo;Meeting everyone has been incredible. In fact, I&rsquo;ve asked several CC people to help me with a theatre project we&rsquo;re doing at UCCS.&rdquo; His project, the Modern Parable Theatre Company, is a student-based group that devises theatre based off comic books. &ldquo;More collaboration means new perspectives,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Landis, who worked with Vogel while in graduate school, arranged a 45-minute Skype session between the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and the student performers, in which the students asked her a variety of questions. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s excited to see what other people do with her work,&rdquo; Landis says. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s not prescriptive at all.&rdquo;</p> <p>The full title of the play is &ldquo;The Long Christmas Ride Home &mdash; a puppet play with actors,&rdquo; and a significant part of the play employs bunraku, an ancient form of Japanese puppet theatre that employs puppeteers, chanters, and musicians.</p> <p>There is a continual presence of music in traditional bunraku, and in the upcoming collaborative production, that task falls to CC&rsquo;s Sarkowsky. Sarkowsky is on the side of the stage throughout the entire performance, providing live, continuous, improvisational music and sound effects that run under the entire play, almost as if he were narrating the play with music.<br /><br />The play has a &ldquo;beautiful, evocative, dreamscape-y quality to it,&rdquo; says Landis. &ldquo;It gives us a platform to make beautiful art; it gives us ownership of the art.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Those images are evoked through music as well as the set, designed by Marie Davis, CC associate professor of theatre and dance. &ldquo;The first line of the play is &lsquo;It was a very cold Christmas in a long and cold winter,&rsquo; so it was imperative to design a frozen world, the kind of cold and snow that builds up and stays, unlike a Colorado winter,&rdquo; she says.<br /><br />Davis notes Vogel has written, &ldquo;Artists who wrestled with this relationship of man and nature called this art &lsquo;Ukiyo-e, the floating world&rsquo;.&rdquo; So Davis suggested &ldquo;a world within a snow globe, one that when shaken creates a magical floating world combined with the simplicity of the Japanese Ukiyo-e imagery Vogel includes in the play (but as misunderstood by Westerners).&nbsp; &ldquo;Throughout the staging you see elements of an exposed cold world of reality versus the idealized and protected world of the snow globe,&rdquo; says Davis. &ldquo;The simplicity of the thrust space hints at the long isolated road, hence &lsquo;The Long Christmas Ride Home&rsquo;.&rdquo;</p> <p>Another important element of the play are the puppets, and Sarah Beth Parks, costume shop supervisor at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College is making those &mdash; all seven of them. She&rsquo;s working with CC adjunct associate professor and costume designer Gypsy Ames, who is designing the costumes for the entire show &mdash; including the puppets.</p> <p>This is the first time Parks has worked with either Landis or Davis &mdash; or any of the students. &ldquo;The students have been very receptive; they are just sponges and interested in working with the figures and improving their performance,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;This is the sort of show that actors don&rsquo;t get to do very much.&rdquo; Parks says the students are open to her notes and observations &mdash; such as when she points out that the puppets are supposed to give the illusion of three kids jammed in the back seat of the car. &ldquo;The puppets can&rsquo;t drift off; they&rsquo;re stuck in the car. I have to get the students to think about the details.&rdquo;</p> <p>Parks, too, talks about the magical, dreamy aspects of the play. &ldquo;The puppets are memories of people, ghosts of people, and future ideas of people, not actual people,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;The collaboration has been great. Kevin (Landis) is open to suggestions, and happy to let me be a part of the creative process.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s essential that artists work together,&rdquo; says Landis. &ldquo;And in a small city, artists have to collaborate with each other. It adds to the richness and spirit that the arts are traditionally about.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College continues its work on implementing the 2017 strategic plan.&nbsp;<a href=";id=16cdbca02c&amp;e=61c303304f">Performing Arts will begin its implementation in the summer of 2019</a> after the work of its committee concludes this spring.</p> Paraprofessional Role Provides Experience and Time Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:30:00 MST <p><strong>Ritik Shrestha &rsquo;22</strong></p> <p>While many students dream of the day they no longer have to study for exams or write another research paper, there are important decisions to be made once one&rsquo;s college career comes to an end. Be it graduate school, a job, a gap year, or a slew of other possibilities, students are faced with making the determination of &ldquo;what&rsquo;s next,&rdquo; after graduation. <strong>David Trevithick &rsquo;17</strong> and <strong>Victor Torres III &rsquo;18</strong> are two students who chose to become paraprofessionals at CC as their first post-graduation step.</p> <p>A paraprofessional is a recent college graduate who stays on with a school to work for a few years within a certain office or department. While positions can vary by college and year, CC currently has 33 paraprofessionals working in various departments, including the Office of the President, Office of Student Life, and most academic departments.</p> <p>For Trevithick and Torres, the prospects of graduate school or work were never in question. Their options were countless with a degree in <a href="">international political economy</a> for Trevithick, and a double major in <a href="">physics</a> and <a href="">classics</a> for Torres, along with strong GPAs and diverse resum&eacute;s.</p> <p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want to rush it and get into a lot of debt doing something I hated,&rdquo; says Trevithick when asked why he didn&rsquo;t take a more traditional route. Born to two alumni who decided to get married in Shove Memorial Chapel, CC blood runs deep within his family and the paraprofessional position was always a consideration. &ldquo;These were the best four years of my life so spending more time here didn&rsquo;t seem bad,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>For Torres, the paraprofessional position was a &ldquo;great layaway to figure out what I wanted to do while staying connected to CC.&rdquo; Growing up in Colorado Springs, CC had always been a goal of his, and when the acceptance letter arrived, Torres wanted to make the most of his opportunity. Through a four-year college career that included time as an RA, employment in the fitness center and library, volunteer work for the Butler Center, involvement in theater workshops, the student conduct committee, and the debate team, to name a few, the end goal was a masters&rsquo; degree from Columbia University in engineering. While unfortunate circumstances interfered with this, CC President Jill Tiefenthaler took note of all the Torres had done during his time at CC and during the summer after graduation, he was offered the position.</p> <p>Paraprofessionals perform many vital tasks within school departments and are trusted with professional responsibilities. A typical work day goes from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For Trevithick, who works in the <a href="">Office of the Provost</a>, the entire day is usually committed to helping Dean of the Faculty Sandra Wong. Morning hours can vary but are generally spent answering emails and planning for meetings and important projects. Afternoons often are spent in organizational meetings or performing administrative tasks such as proctoring language tests for students. Any free time between these responsibilities is spent completing projects for the department such as making edits to the departmental website.</p> <p>For Torres, who works in two departments (<a href="">Offices of the President</a> and <a href="">Student Life</a>), there is rarely a moment to sit down. He is currently responsible for managing the contacts and schedules of consultants who are externally reviewing racism at CC. This means planning meetings, responding to emails and messages, and making sure that his superiors have everything they need while on campus. On top of this, Torres is still responsible for completing administrative duties in the President&rsquo;s Office and overseeing student events on campus such as the Winter Ball, Midnight at Rastall&rsquo;s, and Halloween festivities.</p> <p>Although the responsibilities can get overwhelming, both Trevithick and Torres insist that they love working at CC. While both want to eventually get master&rsquo;s degrees in policy and engineering respectively, and move with other careers, their time as paraprofessionals have provided many advantages. On top of providing extra time for decision making, the networking that comes with working for high-ranking college members such as the president and department heads will be invaluable in terms of recommendations and references.</p> Dissecting a Classic: Class Explores and Examines Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Mon, 10 Dec 2018 00:00:00 MST <p>By <strong>Laurie Laker &rsquo;12</strong></p> <p>First published in 1818, Mary Shelley&rsquo;s gothic masterpiece &ldquo;Frankenstein&rdquo; is celebrating its bicentennial this year. In honor of that celebration, Associate Professor of English Jared Richman&rsquo;s Block 3 class,<em> Issues in British Romanticism: &ldquo;Frankenstein&rdquo; at 200</em> explored the novel as a historical, cultural, and literary phenomenon.</p> <p>&ldquo;We spent five class periods on the novel itself, moving later into various adaptations across film, literature, and graphic novels,&rdquo; says Richman. &ldquo;The course allowed us to look at &lsquo;Frankenstein&rsquo; from critical and theoretical lenses, across everything from feminism to Marxism to race and ethnic studies to environmental and eco-criticism.&rdquo;</p> <p>Shelley&rsquo;s classic novel tells the harrowing tale of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a salient and sentient being, the Creature, pushing up to and beyond the boundaries of scientific, ethical, moral, and spiritual inquiry. The novel is considered by some as a foundational text of science fiction, but more widely read as a gothic and horror fictional tale.</p> <p>&ldquo;Shelley wrote &lsquo;Frankenstein&rsquo; when she was just 18, so she&rsquo;s around the same age as some of the students in this class,&rdquo; Richman says. &ldquo;There are multitudes, to paraphrase Whitman, in the text, and it engages aesthetics, law, morality, science, and so on &mdash; all the questions it asks feel more relevant every day to me and, I hope, to my students.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Noah Smith &rsquo;20</strong>, an Art History major and English minor, and <strong>Madison Prince-Judd &rsquo;20</strong>, an English major on the Creative Writing track, both took the class; they&rsquo;ve been friends since their first year at CC.</p> <p>&ldquo;&lsquo;Frankenstein&rsquo; is a book that I never really appreciated until this class,&rdquo; says Prince-Judd. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve read it three times now and each time it felt like I was being forced into doing so. I didn&rsquo;t appreciate it in high school, nor when I was 18, but I do now. It&rsquo;s a text I&rsquo;ll definitely come back to, particularly as a creative writing major looking to improve narrative voice, storytelling and incorporating accessible ideas into my work.&rdquo;</p> <p>Spending one whole block (three-and-a-half weeks) exploring one text, with additional contextualizing and scholarly works is, in many ways, the ultimate example of what the Block Plan is all about. &ldquo;Frankenstein,&rdquo; as a monumental work of creativity, social commentary, and vision, serves as a canvas for huge varieties in interpretation and exploration.</p> <p>&ldquo;This has felt like the ultimate Block Plan class,&rdquo; says Smith &rsquo;20.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of those experiences where you&rsquo;re so rooted in one text that anything else you read, watch, or investigate almost seems like a distraction. What that extra material does, though, is it focuses you on the story that much more. For Jared, he always brings it back to Mary Shelley as author and creator.&rdquo;</p> <p>As part of the bicentennial celebrations going on around the world, nearly 50 CC students, staff members, faculty, and alumni gathered in Tutt Library to read passages from the novel in a &ldquo;Frankenreads&rdquo; marathon event, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on October 31, joining another 700 partner organizations around the world, from universities in Japan to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.</p> <p>&ldquo;Frankenstein&rdquo; was also this year&rsquo;s CC Common Book Read text for incoming first-year students, with the text serving as a jumping off and diving in point for literary analysis, scientific morality, and exploring the social and ethical aspects of exploration, creativity, and investigation.</p> Vanessa Voller ’16 Receives Fellowship for Project in Bolivia Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:45:00 MST <p><strong>Vanessa Voller &rsquo;16</strong>, who graduated from Colorado College with a degree in sociology, has been awarded the 2018 Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship from the <a href="">School for International Training</a> (SIT) to develop a community project in Bolivia.</p> <p>The fellowship allows SIT alumni to return the country where they studied abroad to pursue or continue their research. While a student at CC, Voller spent the spring of 2015 in Bolivia, where she explored alternative forms of community transformation that resist traditional forms of international development and globalization.</p> <p>Voller will travel to Buena Vista, Bolivia, in January where she plans to co-develop sexual health and reproductive rights training with rural Bolivian youth. Her community project is aimed at confronting Bolivia&rsquo;s high rates of gender-based violence and teen pregnancy.</p> <p>She plans to collaborate with local public health officials,&nbsp;doctors, indigenous healers, women business owners, and community leaders&nbsp;to co-facilitate trainings for young people ages 13-18 about sexual health and reproductive rights. She also will co-develop a youth-led health fair and radio campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence and establish a safe space for the youth of Buena Vista to develop their own sense of worth, increase their self-esteem, and develop aspirations for their futures.<br /><br />&ldquo;I cannot imagine a better to opportunity apply what I have learned in the classroom to a meaningfully and action-orientated project that will impact the lives of youth today and for generations to come,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Voller credits CC&rsquo;s interdisciplinary courses and field opportunities with her current career path.<br /><br />&ldquo;While at Colorado College, I was fortunate to not only take part in interdisciplinary coursework through the <a href="">education</a> and <a href="">sociology</a> departments but also be closely mentored by faculty in each department. In addition, my participation in the Community Engaged Leadership program exposed me community based research models and methods which seek to democratize the production and dissemination of knowledge,&rdquo; she says, all of which will serve her well in Bolivia.</p> <p>Voller says the education classes gave her skills as a peer educator and provided experiences working with students. The sociology courses allowed her to explore critical social theories as to what drives global inequity, provided rigorous methodological coursework, gave her strong technical skill sets, and offered the opportunity to pursue qualitative research projects. Her interdisciplinary coursework led to her thesis, an examination of the impact of international service learning programs on host families in rural Costa Rica.</p> <p>&ldquo;My multi- and inter-disciplinary experience at CC, coupled with my time studying abroad in Bolivia, catalyzed my decision to apply to the interdisciplinary doctoral program,&rdquo; says Voller, who currently is a Ph.D. student&nbsp;in Comparative International Development and Education and Global Health Studies at the University of Minnesota.</p> <p>While a student at CC, Voller spent three summers in Costa Rica where she worked with Amigos de las Americas; received a <a href="">Venture Grant</a>; undertook two independent research projects which integrated education and sociology; was a <a href="">PIFP fellow</a> with the Bell Policy Center in Denver; and was a <a href="">Collaborative for Community Engagement</a> fellow whose Community Engaged Leader capstone project was <a href="">&ldquo;Breaking the Stigma &mdash; How to Effectively Understand, Intervene, and Treat Eating Disorders on College Campuses.&rdquo;</a> Voller notes that her Collaborative for Community Engagement experience led to her being hired as the coordinator for community-based research at the University of Minnesota&rsquo;s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), which assists in funding her Ph.D. program. While at CC she also was an NSO leader, FYE mentor, and manager of the&nbsp;<a href="">Sacred Grounds</a> Tea House.</p> <p>&ldquo;The rigorous demands of the&nbsp;<a href="">Block Plan,</a> in conjunction with the unparalleled mentorship and advising I received at Colorado College and opportunities for undergraduate research, equipped me with the skills, knowledge, curiosity, and confidence to excel in graduate school,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Moreover, the intensive writing component of CC&rsquo;s curriculum prepared me to write at the level necessary to thrive at the graduate level.&rdquo;</p> <p>Voller, who eventually plans to become a multidisciplinary professor of education, gender and sexuality studies, and women's health, credits CC&rsquo;s interdisciplinary classes, her PIFP fellowship, independent research, and Collaborative for Community Engagement learning experiences with leading her to where she is now.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am extremely grateful for my liberal arts education at CC,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;For me, the liberal arts were transformative. My experience at CC launched me into an interdisciplinary program and into a fellowship in a field that is in the intersection of health, gender studies, and education.&rdquo;</p> Press Exhibition at Tutt Library Wed, 05 Dec 2018 00:00:00 MST <p>Have you noticed the interesting presentation of events hosted by CC on the walls in Tutt Library this fall?&nbsp; These flyers and posters were all produced by the Press at Colorado College.</p> <p><span style="color: black;">In addition to viewing the work, the Press is engaged with two exhibitions this week.</span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="color: black;">The first is a reception on Thursday, 12/6, from 4:30 - 6, on the 4th floor of the library, near the map room. The show extends throughout the whole library. </span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="color: black;">If you want to see more, there is also a letterpress* show at the GOCA downtown gallery. The show is called Gadzook! and the reception is from 5 - 8 on Friday, 12/7. The Press has a piece in that show, and so does Amos Kennedy (</span><a href="">Kennedy Prints! Poster Gallery</a><span style="color: black;">), who is teaching our Press half block this year. More info: <a href=";;sdata=RDq4X08%2F0biVmlLx5o5xPXjT%2BySb%2FinysY8b4CnSmrM%3D&amp;reserved=0" originalsrc="" shash="ghH8gksLFdipQXiBrGZBmYsEFYyf6YY+vHeC3F/hpIFeF5GdkXsV9sd3EiGcAeA3zAvZmOMeiTEeOUL2xMbxpccKH+HzZpgnVvwH+aU6RIAG9vevsrkOIBKjNpo7bJ1PSwaWxIIxFSdDivthZhLkvCKT2C0unsg0PaoNzFDpx/s="></a></span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><b>*Letterpress printing</b> was the standard form of printing for centuries after Johannes Gutenbery invented in in the mid-15th century.&nbsp; It uses a printing press and a technique of relief printing with movable type to make multiple copies through repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or rolls of paper.&nbsp; It can include other forms of relief printing also such as wood engravings, etched cuts and blocks</p> <p></p> <p></p> DVD of the Month: Decemeber Tue, 04 Dec 2018 09:00:00 MST <div itemprop="articleBody"> <h4>DVD of the MONTH:</h4> <p><em><strong>December 2018&mdash;A Fantastic Woman<br /><a href=",-1,,B/browse">PN1995.9.F67 M85 2018</a> &nbsp;<br /><br /></strong></em>Marina works as a waitress and moonlights as a nightclub singer.&nbsp; When her&nbsp; older boyfriend dies suddently, instead of being able to mourn her lover, Marina is treated unkindly and with suspicion. Marina, as a trans woman, is seen as a perversion byr most of Orlando's family.&nbsp; Marina struggles for the right to be herself. She battles the very same forces that she has spent a lifetime fighting just to become the woman she is now - a complex, strong, forthright and fantastic woman.</p> <hr /> <h4>November<em><strong> - Ohero:kon - Under the Husk<br /><a href=",-1,,B/browse">E99.M8 O44 2018</a> &nbsp;<br /></strong></em></h4> <p>A documentary that follows the challenging journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families living in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne that straddles the U.S./Canada border. They both take part in a four-year adolescent passage rites ceremony called ohero:kon "under the husk" that has been revived in their community. This ceremony challenges them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. It shapes the women they become.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h4>October<strong><em> - Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)<br /><a href=",-1,,B/browse">JV7048 .D66 2015</a> &nbsp;<br /></em></strong></h4> <p>This documentary about Angy Rovera won a 2015 <a href="">Peabody Award</a>. Angy Rivera lived for 20 years in the USA as an undocumented person at the start of this film. The film follows her path as she becomes an activist for immigrants when she began writing a popular advice column called "Ask Angy&rdquo;. It also shows her proceeding through the process of obtaining a&nbsp;<a href="">UVisa,</a> a visa for "victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity".<em> </em></p> <hr /> <h4>September - <em>Showing Roots<br /><a href=",-1,,B/browse">PN1997.2 .S47 2017</a> &nbsp;<br /></em></h4> <p>Two women, played by&nbsp;Uzo Aduba and Maggie Grace, look to integrate the 'right' and 'wrong' sides of the tracks of their small southern town. Set in 1977, these young women - one white, one black - forge an unlikely friendship that sparks a journey of independence and self-discovery that ultimately results in the discovery of the perfect hairdo.<em><br /></em></p> <p><em></em></p> <hr /> <h2>Ask for these films at the Circulation Desk.</h2> <p><strong>Check in next month for the new movie of the month.&nbsp; <br />Check out&nbsp;<a href="">other dvds at Tutt Library</a> now.</strong></p> </div> Recent Grads, Faculty Research Published in Biology Journal Mon, 03 Dec 2018 10:30:00 MST <p>Research conducted by two recent Colorado College alumni in collaboration with Associate Professor of Molecular Biology Darrell Killian and other collaborators, including those at the University of Colorado &ndash;Colorado Springs, has been published in the journal&nbsp;<em><a href="">Developmental Biology.</a></em></p> <p>The article, &ldquo;<a href="">Shep interacts with posttranscriptional regulators to control dendrite morphogenesis in sensory neurons</a>,&rdquo; is based on research conducted by Killian and two of his former students, <strong>Katherine Miller &rsquo;17</strong> and <strong>Samuel Mathai &rsquo;18</strong>, as well Simona Antonacci and Amber Marean, both former lab technicians in CC&rsquo;s Department of Molecular Biology. Associate Professor Eugenia Olesnicky (corresponding author) and Assistant Professor Meghan Lybecker, both with UCCS&rsquo;s Department of Biology, three UCCS students, and a collaborator in Austria also were part of the collaborative research project.</p> <p>The work stems from a collaborative $677,091 <a href="">National Science Foundation grant</a> that the husband-and-wife team of Killian and Olesnicky received in 2013. They&rsquo;re interested in learning how genes influence the development of the nervous system, and their research focuses on genes that encode RNA-binding proteins, which they hypothesize are important for regulating neuron development. The funding allowed them to research how genes control the morphology, or shape of neurons.<br /><br />&ldquo;The shape of a neuron is very important for its function,&rdquo; says Killian. &ldquo;The neurons in patients with neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, often show aberrant morphology. Neurons have thin branches called dendrites, which receive information, and axons, which send information. One gene that we found important for proper dendrite morphology is called SUP-26 in <em>C. elegans</em> (a worm) and Shep in <em>Drosophila</em> (fruit fly). By studying how this gene works in evolutionarily distant animals such as flies and worms, we can extrapolate how it works in humans because humans have a version of this gene as well.&rdquo; Killian notes that their recent study shows that SUP-26/Shep regulates many other genes, many of which have previously been implicated in neuron function.</p> <p>Colorado College researcher Miller, who graduated with a degree in neuroscience, currently is a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the Mood Brain and Development Unit and is applying to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology. Mathai, a molecular biology major (and a CC lacrosse player &mdash; 16 goals in 51 games), is a medical assistant at Vanguard Skin Care in Colorado Springs and plans to apply to medical school next year.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our work provides a substantial contribution to the field of developmental neurobiology, as it is one of few studies that investigates the extent to which genes in different organisms share conserved functions in the developing nervous system,&rdquo; says Killian. &ldquo;This project took about four years, which is an incredibly long time for CC students to think about, considering how short a block is. I am very happy for Katie and Sam to see the work they did a few summers ago at CC come to fruition.&rdquo;</p> Innovator-in-Residence Program Fosters Culture of Creativity Tue, 27 Nov 2018 00:00:00 MST <p>...</p> Untold Stories: Victor Nelson-Cisneros Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:00:00 MST <p>...</p> Welcome in the Wilderness Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:00:00 MST <p><em>Story by Cate Terwilliger, photos by Katie Klann and Jennifer Coombes<br /></em></p> <p>When Director Ryan Hammes considers the Office of Outdoor Education&rsquo;s professional staff, he sees part of the problem: four friendly but undeniably white faces.</p> <p>When he considers Britt McClintock, he sees part of the solution: an outdoor education and gender-identity specialist whose presence as a biracial lesbian visibly communicates that all people are welcome in the wilderness.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a lesson McClintock, 33, learned as a girl roaming the woods near Erie, Pennsylvania.</p> <p>&ldquo;I grew up in a predominately white environment ... and spent a lot of my younger years struggling with my self-identity, so the outdoors offered a space where there weren&rsquo;t a lot of rules, a lot of boundaries,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>McClintock joined the Outdoor Ed staff in August as executive-in-residence, a position she will hold through December. She&rsquo;s tasked with helping the program embody its commitment to inclusion and diversity: developing curriculum used to train student trip leaders, offering workshops, bringing in guests, and leading outings herself.</p> <p>That included a first-year outdoor orientation trip composed of eight women of color. &ldquo;I think we passed at least 50 people&rdquo; backpacking in Eagle&rsquo;s Nest Wilderness, McClintock recalls, &ldquo;and one of the students said, &lsquo;They&rsquo;re all white. What do you think they think of us out here?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a familiar experience for minorities who venture into the wild. Nearly three-quarters of Americans who participate in outdoor activities are white, according to The Outdoor Foundation&rsquo;s 2018 outdoor participation report. Historically, African Americans are least likely to be involved in outdoor recreation, though Hispanics also lag whites.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a concern, for several reasons. At a time of accelerating environmental degradation, a new generation of invested wilderness stewards is crucial &mdash; and minorities are expected to become the majority in the United States by 2050. &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have people of color who care for the environment and who are advocating for it, what does environmental conservation start to look like?&rdquo; McClintock asks.</p> <p>But participating in the outdoors &mdash; especially on group outings that require cooperative effort &mdash; also benefits individuals.</p> <p>&ldquo;A fully complete education is not only about academic performance and intellectual development,&rdquo; says Peter Steinhauser, executive director of Outward Bound USA. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about character development, teamwork, compassion for others. Those are not necessarily the kinds of things one learns at the best of schools.&rdquo;</p> <p>Experiential outdoor learning embodies qualities Colorado College values, Hammes says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s powerful when people can step outside their comfort zone and do what they didn&rsquo;t know they could. The activity &mdash; white-water rafting, mountaineering, or whatever it is &mdash; is just a conduit to fulfilling greater learning objectives: leadership, stewardship, discovering what is within themselves, and out there ...</p> <p>&ldquo;These are really transferable skills. We&rsquo;re not making mountain guides here. We&rsquo;re making a good lawyer a great lawyer, a good doctor a great doctor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Outward Bound learned long ago that the greatest benefits attach to mixed groups: &ldquo;The more homogenous, the less powerful the outcome,&rdquo; Steinhauser says. That composition &mdash; a small, diverse group in which members must rely on each other to accomplish shared tasks &mdash; is also the most effective for countering unconscious bias, according to Princeton social psychologist Susan T. Fiske.</p> <p>The relationship-building that occurs on outdoor trips can be &ldquo;magic,&rdquo; Hammes says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re out there overnight and dealing with a little bit of adversity, and everything is very communal: You&rsquo;re eating, sleeping, hiking together &mdash; and having conversations you probably wouldn&rsquo;t have on campus.&rdquo;</p> <p>Women are well-represented in outdoor education; at both Outward Bound and CC, they comprise the majority of field instructors. But keeping minorities involved is a challenge. Beyond the Priddy Experience &mdash; a required four-day new-student orientation trip that combines service with outdoor activity &mdash; many will take one additional trip and then fall away, Hammes says.</p> <p>Money is one problem. Although Outdoor Ed trips and equipment are free or inexpensive, students from less affluent families may experience what McClintock calls &ldquo;gear fear.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s these really fancy brands that can make you feel you&rsquo;re not able to go out if you&rsquo;re not wearing certain things, or have a certain backpack ... like you can&rsquo;t do it if you only have jeans,&rdquo; she says. Lower-income students may also be holding down jobs that limit their free time.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of students of color are coming from completely different backgrounds than white students,&rdquo; says <strong>Rachel Delley &rsquo;20</strong>, whose mother is white and father is black. &ldquo;They feel so out of place. They don&rsquo;t go skiing on the weekends because they don&rsquo;t have the money, and they might never have tried backpacking or camping.&rdquo;</p> <p>McClintock notes an additional disconnect for students whose families may have struggled to provide them with modern comforts. &ldquo;If they have parents who grew up really poor, it&rsquo;s a weird thought: &lsquo;You want me to go outside, sleep on the ground and not shower, after my family fought very hard for me to have all these amenities in life?&rsquo; It feels very uncomfortable,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Racial history can also temper attitudes toward the outdoors. Black American narratives about nature are informed by the manner in which &ldquo;the natural world has been used to destroy, damage, or subjugate African Americans&rdquo; through slavery, lynching, and other violence, writes African-American poet and scholar Camille T. Dungy.</p> <p>Additionally, many minority students grow up in cities, where they have little opportunity to experience the outdoors. To them, the idea of recreating in the wild can feel alien.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just this cultural norm: &lsquo;My people don&rsquo;t go in the outdoors; that&rsquo;s a white people thing,&rsquo;&rdquo; Hammes says. &ldquo;That has been the bigger crux for us &mdash; helping minorities feel like these places and experiences are for them.&rdquo;</p> <p>Better representation of historically marginalized groups &mdash; not just as participants but as leaders &mdash; is crucial to the program&rsquo;s efforts. &ldquo;You have to have these conversations about diversity and inclusion, but you also need to make sure you have teachers that are representational,&rdquo; McClintock says.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why she brought Abby Dione to CC. The first black woman owner of an indoor climbing gym in the United States, Dione visited campus in October, and spent several days working with student climbers, including several African Americans.</p> <p>&ldquo;Good information is good information,&rdquo; Dione says. &ldquo;But if it comes through the body of someone you can relate to &mdash; if you feel this person is familiar to you &mdash; it allows you to receive that information even better.&rdquo;</p> <p>Delley became a leader last summer after going on several trips, including one led by a friend who also is a student of color. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d started to see changes on campus as to who is thought of as an &lsquo;outdoorsy&rsquo; person, and I really wanted to help the effort Outdoor Ed is making,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen multiple trips just this year led by students of color, and all of these freshmen of color want to join.&rdquo;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s McClintock&rsquo;s dream: to create for all students that feeling of belonging the natural world first gave her so many years ago. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a timeless thing,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Nature will forever have the ability to make people feel that way. It&rsquo;s an unforgiving but beautiful place where everyone fits.&rdquo;</p>