Student Research Provides Value to Students and Professors

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

One benefit of attending a small liberal arts school is the research opportunities available to undergraduate students. At CC, the Department of Psychology is particularly invested in student research, as three professors have recently published papers on the importance of undergraduate research, and took students to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Portland, Oregon, February 7-9.

Professors Tomi-Ann Roberts, Emily Chan, and Kevin Holmes all published articles in a special issue of Frontiers in Psychologytitled “Engaging Undergraduates in Publishable Research: Best Practices.” Roberts’ and Holmes’ article, “Mentor as Sculptor, Makeover Artist, Coach, or CEO: Evaluating Contrasting Models for Mentoring Undergraduates’ Research toward Publishable Research,” discusses how faculty can help students form research ideas that are beneficial to both the student and the professor. Chan’s article, “Student Research and Publication: Strategic Planning for Inclusion Using a Systems Mapping Approach,” is about how to make undergraduate research inclusive to first-generation students, those from historically underrepresented groups, and those from low-income backgrounds.

This student-focused approach is clear from the fact that many CC faculty, in the Psychology Department and elsewhere, publish with student co-authors and frequently take students to conferences. Quinn Husney ’18, the paraprofessional in the Department of Psychology this year, says her experience doing undergraduate research at CC helped her “conceptualize and study abstract concepts (like social trust, metaphorical thinking, or ambivalence) concretely,” and gain technical research skills. “As paraprof, I have the privilege of watching the transformation [from student to student researcher] in vivo, and it has both solidified and amplified my appreciation for research in undergrad,” she adds.

From the professor perspective, Chan says, “being able to be a part of the research team gives one insight into how knowledge is created, defined, critiqued, and shared. It changes one’s perspective from being a consumer of information to a co-generator in the world of ideas and action.”

In addition to mentored student research, first-year students in the QuestBridge program have the opportunity for paid research assistant positions in science labs through the First SCoRe program, a collaboration between CC’s Bridge Scholars program for first-generation students and Summer Collaborative Research program. Chan, who is also the director of the Bridge Scholars program, says this new program “provides an opportunity for interested students to be able to combine their interest in learning more about research along with the ability to do it as student employment.”

C-SPAN Films Migrant Caravan Presentation at CC

Did you hope to attend independent journalist Alice Driver’s presentation on the migrant caravan earlier this month and were unable to make it?

You’re in luck: C-SPAN covered Driver’s talk, titled “On the Road with the Migrant Caravan,” which was held in Gaylord Hall on Feb. 5. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

The event, sponsored by Colorado College’s Journalism Institute, was held as the nation grappled with the effects of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, sparked over a funding dispute for a wall President Donald Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Driver, who was introduced by Colorado College’s journalist in residence Corey Hutchins, showed photos and spoke about her on-the-ground reporting from inside the migrant caravan. She covers migration, human rights, and gender equality, and her coverage of the border has appeared in publications such National Geographic, TIME, Longreads, and REVEAL. Driver also is the author of “More of Less Dead: Femincide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico.”

“Woodcuts and Weavings:” Jeanne Steiner, Jean Gumpper Create Quietude in New Exhibit

By Miriam Brown ’21

Arts and Crafts Director Jeanne Steiner creates textile work inspired by high-rise architecture, such as in New York City and Chicago. Printmaking professor Jean Gumpper creates woodcuts inspired by the open landscapes of Hawaii, Michigan, and Colorado. In their new exhibition “Woodcuts and Weavings,” their art works together to create a new environment entirely.

Steiner and Gumpper have done three shows together in the past, and the owners of the Bridge Gallery in downtown Colorado Springs were among their visitors. They invited Steiner and Gumpper to install new work in a two-person exhibit at the Bridge Gallery, which Gumpper said is unusual for a gallery.

Steiner and Gumpper had a vision for the space to be contemplative, arranged in a manner that leads visitors to experience and ponder new things as they move through the exhibition.

“My hope is that we have created a ‘quiet’ environment in which to view the complexities of the woodcuts and weavings,” Steiner said.

Though their work is inspired by such different landscapes, they both are fascinated with spaces that make them pause. For Steiner, changing reflections in the glass of high-rise buildings cause her to stop and pay closer attention. For Gumpper, images of springs in the desert and signs of the changing seasons remind her of the beauty of new beginnings in the midst of continuous change.

“We feel there is a conversation among the pieces in the show, and we hope the viewers participate in that conversation by looking closely,” Gumpper said.

Visitors can view the exhibit at 218 W. Colorado Ave. from noon–4 p.m. on Saturdays, or by scheduling an appointment with jgumpper@coloradocollege.eduor jsteiner@coloradocollege.edu.

Visiting Lecturer, Playwright Lisa Marie Rollins Explores Cultural Identities

Lisa Marie Rollins

Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Lisa Marie Rollins is an acclaimed playwright, director and poet based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This semester, Rollins is a visiting lecturer at CC, teaching two classes and directing a play at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Among many other accolades, Rollins has been a Sundance Theatre fellow and a writing fellow with the San Francisco Writers Grotto, and has written and directed award-winning plays and poetry.

With her work, Rollins is particularly interested “in ensuring that institutions that produce and develop plays move to a place where they are considering deeply what kind of ‘diverse’ plays they are putting up.” She explains, “my work is to require anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, anti-homophobic practices in how you assemble and hire creative teams and select or commission plays.”

Currently, Rollins is teaching a course called Rewriting America: Playwrights and Cultural Identity. The class is focused on “plays from multiple American diasporic identities,” Rollins explains. “We are having lots of discussions about how these playwrights and their characters imagine ‘America’ and the challenges they encounter or struggles they endure either around identity or around the notions of ‘success’ and the ‘American Dream,’” she continues.

During Block 6, Rollins will teach Writing for Performance, in which she’ll use “immigrant or people of color narratives including some strong feminist perspectives.” With these courses, Rollins hopes to push students to consider themselves in relation to the world around them. “There is so much fear in the ways we communicate, fear about making mistakes and being called out, fear of being ridiculed, of being ostracized, of being rejected from community or from people we love, so much fear. I think about Audre Lorde and her question to us after she told us that “your silence will not protect you,” Rollins says. “My hope is that I can provide a place to begin to find and voice those small truths.”

In addition to teaching, Rollins is directing the world premiere of former CC Professor of Theatre and Dance Idris Goodwin’s play “American Prom.” It is the story of a segregated prom in current-day America, and “asks us to push ourselves to acknowledge the world as it is, so we can actually find a way to begin to change it, to change ourselves,” Rollins says. The play is showing at UCCS until Feb. 10.

Carlton Gamer Celebrates 90 Years of Life with Special Concert

Carlton Gamer

By: Miriam Brown ’21

When Carlton Gamer first joined the Department of Music at Colorado College, the school’s trademark Block Plan system wasn’t even in the works yet. Now a professor emeritus, Gamer will turn 90 this year, and CC faculty are throwing him a concert in celebration.

Gamer is most known for being a composer of over 70 works and a musical theorist whose articles have been published and cited in a number of academic journals, books, and dissertations. At CC, he taught courses on piano, music theory, music history, and comparative musicology — but he also co-taught courses in the feminist and gender studies, Asian studies, mathematics, and political science departments.

“Over the years, I’ve taught a number of interdisciplinary courses, and I love to do that.” he says. “When you’re teaching a course with somebody, they’re your teacher, and you’re their teacher. So for me, teaching has been an ongoing educational experience.”

If the faculty support for Gamer’s birthday celebration is any indication, then the feeling is mutual. Ten years ago, Professor of Music Ofer Ben-Amots, co-chair of the CC Department of Music, and Susan Grace, artist-in-residence and associate chair, decided to celebrate Gamer’s 80th birthday by producing a concert with performances of some of his best work. This year’s concert will feature artists such as Grace, pianist Steven Beck, former student Mark Arnest, George Preston of KCME classical radio, visiting dance professor Sue Lauther, and the Veronika String Quartet. They will perform a piece that Gamer composed in the very beginning of his career, but they will also perform another that he finished last week.

“I just hope they’ll enjoy the music,” Gamer said. The Carlton Gamer Birthday Celebration Concert is Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. in Packard Hall.

Back to the Future: Students Learn From Artist-In-Residence Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz convergence class

By: Miriam Brown ’21

Most students never meet or interact with artists whose work they study in class. But thanks to Colorado College’s artist-in-residence program, students in the classes Human/Being Anthropological Perspectives
and Southwest Arts and Culture learned about Virgil Ortiz’s art from Ortiz himself.

Ortiz, a Pueblo artist who lives in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, joined CC’s campus this fall as a Mellon Artist-in-Residence. His exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College titled “Revolution: Rise Against the Invasion” combines the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 with a sci-fi twist, imagining what the event might have looked like in the year 2180 to make it more accessible for the next generations.

For the first and second Wednesdays of Block 4, Ortiz met with Assistant Professor Scott Ingram’s anthropology class and Assistant Professor Karen Roybal’s Southwest studies class to teach them about his background, the revolt, and his art, including his FAC exhibit. In addition to these meetings, Ingram’s class met with Ortiz in Bemis School of Art on the third Wednesday of the block for an informal question and answer session, and students have had an open invitation to attend any of Ortiz’s studio hours.

“Virgil is one of the most open, kind people that I’ve ever met in my life,” said Cristina Garcia ’19, a Southwest studies and religion double major. “It’s amazing to see his enthusiasm about his work, and also the fact that he gives all the credit to his community and where he comes from. It’s amazing to see that he’s never forgotten that, [and] that he really expands people’s minds of what indigenous art looks like.”

As co-chair of the Native American Student Union, Garcia had met Ortiz twice before, at the FAC and even at Ortiz’s house for dinner. Other students reported that Ortiz gave them his personal email, invited them to his home back in New Mexico, and even sent copies of his work to a student who wanted to recreate them as drawings.

In the final meeting with Ingram’s class, students took turns thanking Ortiz for his honesty, patience, and humility in sharing his work and life with them.

“This time with you is more than just learning … [it’s] transformative,” Ingram said to Ortiz. “Rise Against the Invasion” is on view at the FAC now-Jan. 6.

Students Perform Poetry-Songwriting Collaboration

By Ritik Shrestha ’22

 Student performers at CC are pushing the boundaries of expressionism with exciting pieces.

An example of this innovation can be found in the collaboration between the Art of Songwriting course taught by Assistant Professor of Music Iddo Aharony and Contemporary Poetry taught by Professor of English Jane Hilberry. With the help of artist Reiko Yamada, CC’s innovator-in-residence, both classes have come together to create a workshop that allows students to explore the relationship between songs and poetry and how both aspects can be combined to open a whole range of possibilities in performance.

Aharony explains that “language has music in it, and music has language, so the overlapping nature of these the two fields means they really aren’t that different.”

Through four sessions, students have participated in a variety of activities such as learning how to communicate and collaborate without speaking, studying different aspects of performance, and using the poem “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbertas inspiration to create their own project. Even though these workshop topics might not be similar to each other, they were designed to show students how the dividing lines between fields can be blurred to create one unified piece. “One of the most fruitful ways is to collaborate,” explains Hilberry “it requires everyone to bring their skills together but also give up some control.”

Students in the songwriting and poetry workshop are enthusiastic about the whole experience. When asked about her experience, Maya Day ’20says, “the workshop has taught me how to collaborate and mix mediums, and it has expanded the possibilities of poetry for me.”

Now that the block is coming to an end, the students of this workshop are taking the skills they have learned and presenting them in a final performance called “Broken Songs: A Poetry and Songwriting Collaboration,” Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. in Packard Hall.

Groups of students will finally be able to show off the pieces they have been working on for the last few weeks. When asked about the content of the show, the instructors were hesitant to give many details but stressed that audience members should come in with an open mind about what a performance is because  the poets and songwriters of the class have merged their talents to produce a show that is far from traditional. “Each performance is special and shouldn’t be missed because it will never be replicated in exactly the same way,” remarks Yamada.

CC Students Achieve Start-Up Success

By Miriam Brown ’21

 While many Colorado College students dream about starting businesses after they graduate, three CC sophomores have decided there is no reason to wait.

 They have all launched start-ups in their free time.

Milan Kordestani ’21 and NYU student Sabine Rizvi initially thought of the idea for Dormzi, a task-oriented app designed to make college life more manageable, about a year ago. They began working on it the same day they came up with the idea, starting with securing the domain name and social media handles. Since then they have worked with a designer and coder, and they are currently testing the app on NYU’s campus to fine tune the product before it makes its app store debut — all while juggling school work and responsibilities.

“Being on the Block Plan makes it incredibly easy to balance both work and school,” Kordestani says. “After class I grab lunch quickly, then I spend the next several hours of the day tending to emails, phone calls, and all other Dormzi-related tasks that need to be taken care of.”

 Lauren Weiss ’21 has an app of her own on the app store, but that’s where the similarities to Kordestani’s company end. Weiss’s app LifExpectancy uses data like the user’s body mass index number, exercise habits, and sleep schedule to calculate a realistic life expectancy, as well as to provide health-related suggestions on how to add years to it. Though the app is already available to the public, Weiss says she’s constantly thinking of ways to improve it.

“I am a computer science major, so it’s great that I am able to learn more and more in class about things that I can add to the app,” Weiss says.

The student successes aren’t just limited to apps. When Turner Black ’21 couldn’t find any feminist patches to her liking for her jacket, she started creating her own. Today, her patches are the basis for her startup company called Patches for Peace, which donates a portion of the sales to organizations like Planned Parenthood and Annie’s List, an organization which supports progressive women seeking elected office in Texas. To account for the nature of the Block Plan, Black prepares for future orders whenever she has a break from schoolwork, then fills and mails out orders at least once a day.

 “This has been such a great way to give back while getting my designs and messages out into the world,” Black says

CC Climbing Team Reaches High with Eye on Nationals

CC Climbing

Ritik Shrestha ’22

 CC students are in a prime location to explore rock climbing, with some of the best spots in the country just a short drive away: An afternoon trip to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs or a weekend drive to Hueco Tanks near El Paso, Texas, climbing is relatively easy to access from campus.

In addition, CC is fortunate to have an indoor climbing gym, where aspiring climbers can practice their skills and newbies can get an introduction to the sport.

For the more experienced climbers in the campus community who are looking for a competitive challenge, or for beginners who want to try it out, the CC climbing team offers a great chance.

After just two years in existence, the climbing team has grown in size and ability. Kate Hade ’22placed first in the women’s category of her first collegiate competition back in September in Longmont. Claire Bresnan ’19(senior) and Zach Levy ’21, Team captain and 11-year USA youth competitive climber,recently placed first in the women’s and men’s categories, respectively, at a local competition in Denver. At this same Denver competition, our teammates occupied three more of the top six spots in the women’s division. Regionals are in March and the national competition takes place in April in Tennessee.When asked about the early success of the team, Levy says, “for most of us, climbing is a passion, we do it because we love, it not because we feel obligated to contribute to the team.”

CC’s club climbing team aims to bring the sport of rock climbing to a wider range of the CC student body. While most club sports require a two-year trial period in order to become officially sponsored by the college, the enthusiastic response to the climbing team enabled the club team’s establishment after its first year.

While joining such a successful group might be intimidating to those with less experience, the team is always looking for new members. “Practices and competitions are totally optional,” explains Levy. “There’s really a place for climbers of all experiences at these events and we want to be as accommodating as possible.”

This philosophy is a big reason why the team has become so popular within the student body and has a roster that now boasts over 50 members. With a bit more practice, Levy hopes that many of the members will be able to participate in the upcoming competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

“I think this is going to be a good year and that we can have more people go to regionals and maybe even nationals in Tennessee this year” responds Levy when asked about his goals for the team this season.

While this might sound optimistic, it’s hard to doubt a team that has accomplished so much in such a small time-frame.

 

 

CC’s First Geodesign Workshop Explores Community Impact on Creek

CC Geodesign workshop

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

For the first time ever, CC hosted its own geodesign workshop in October. The workshop was developed with Professor of Geology Christine Siddoway and Hrishi Ballal of GeoDesign Hub, and took place from Oct. 22-24.

Geodesign has been an ongoing project at CC, and a handful of faculty and staff, as well as students, worked on research in the summer of 2018. Siddoway; Matt Cooney, GIS coordinator; and Cyndy Hines, coordinator with the State of the Rockies Project; worked with three students, David Sachs ’20, Will Rundquist ’19, and Darryl Filmore ’19,to obtain and analyze GIS data for the section of Monument Creek that runs through CC’s campus. The group has also been working on adding CC as a member-institution of the International Geodesign Collaboration, which would make CC the first and only liberal arts school in the organization.

The data collected from Monument Creek is fundamental to this workshop and future meetings, as one main goal is to examine campus-creek relations using evaluation models. With this information, there can be more knowledge of how CC relates to the urban landscape and physical-geological-hydrological surface environment. During the October workshop, participants from CC and greater Colorado Springs worked in small teams to evaluate how various systems (transportation, green infrastructure, and food supply, for example) are helping or hurting the campus-creek relations. These teams, and then the whole workshop, discussed which elements need to be improved and how to do so. While the workshop was addressing CC’s relationship to Monument Creek, goals of the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County are also involved.

CC’s next geodesign workshop will be held in mid-May in Tutt Library and will address a wider geographic area, expanding to include 15- and 30-square kilometer areas from CC toward the west. Stay up-to-date via this geodesign blog.