Block 5 Newsletter
Students in Economics of Higher Education pose for a photo with Governor Jared Polis on our field trip to the Capitol. Photo by Jennifer Coombes.
Dear CC Alumni and Parents,
The campus has been humming since early January, and I’m glad to share some of the highlights of Half Block and Block 5.
We saw record attendance for this year’s Half Block with 461 students earning academic credit in 25 courses such as Socrates and The Mole and its Mathematical Role in Chemistry. An additional 259 students opted to take one of the 21 non-credit courses that provided opportunities to enhance life skills, delve into emerging technologies, and explore career fields from journalism to nonprofit work. Thanks to Michelle Chalmers ’89, Heather Carroll ’89, Chris Edmonds ’14, and Jerome DeHerrera ’97, who taught in Half-Block and to the many alumni who contributed to these courses.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marked the first day of Block 5. I was thrilled to see such an excellent community turnout for the CC-hosted All-People’s Breakfast, which featured keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Stephanie Rose Spaulding. Our First Mondays speaker, Dr. Reena Goldthree, assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, explored the history and legacy of the black freedom struggle. In the evening, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble performed to a packed Mohrman Theatre. Later in the block, we kicked off Black History Month with a community celebration on February 1st.
Dr. Reena N. Goldthree delivers her First Mondays talk on Martin Luther King Jr., Day.
Block 5 was especially busy for me because I taught the Economics of Higher Education with my husband, Kevin Rask. Teaching is one of the highlights of my year. I am always impressed with and inspired by our bright, engaged students, and this group was extraordinary! Over the block, we examined the shifting landscape of higher education, applying economic theory, data analysis, and meetings with experts to issues of prestige, admissions, financial aid, and endowment. We visited with leadership at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College to learn about their business models. The class spent a day in Denver at the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the capitol, where we met with Governor Jared Polis, Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, and Senior Advisor for Fiscal Policy Cary Kennedy.
This block also included a celebration of the arts with Cornerstone Arts Week. Several professors shared their original poems, and CC’s Native American Student Union screened “We Shall Remain.” We welcomed Oglala Lakota poet, writer, and artist Layli Long Soldier for a talk and reading, as well as Native American visual artist and curator Jaune Quick-to-See Smith who discussed her activism and art. Students mounted a show of their artwork, and performed Samuel Beckett’s “Come and Go” and Mike Bartlett’s “Contractions.”
Theatre Workshop members Jolie Curran ’22 (left) played Emma and Jessie Berger ’21(right) played The Manager and in Mike Bartlett’s "Contractions." Costume design by Director Emily Gardner ’19; lighting, sound, and set design by Max Sarkowsky ’20. Photo by Emily Gardner' 19.
The annual Big Idea competition took place last week. Eleven teams made it to the semifinals, and four advanced to the finals. Their pitches included a business that would provide affordable laptops to underserved communities and another to develop virtual reality software for chemistry students to understand chemical reactions better. Momentix and Advanced Water Sensing were named the first and second-place winners, respectively. Physics majors Alana Aamodt ’18 and Anna Gilbertson ’19 are the cofounders of Momentix, which makes toy kits that help children create chain reaction “Rube Goldberg” machines. Jose Monge Castro ’20, Nick Humphrey ’19, and Jero Miranda ’18, co-founders of Advanced Water Sensing, are developing a simple-to-use device that makes testing drinking water more affordable and efficient.
The winning pair for CC’s annual Big Idea competition receives their seed money prize, which they will use to grow their start-up. From left: Director of Innovation at CC Dez Stone Menendez ’02, Alana Aamodt ’18, myself, and Anna Gilbertson ’19.
And if we need any more evidence of our students’ talents and desire to change the world, CC boasts a record number of Fulbright finalists this year. Twelve current students and recent graduates are finalists for these prestigious fellowships.
Thank you for all you do to support our students as they pursue opportunities and take on new challenges. Your engagement makes our community stronger.
President Jill Tiefenthaler