CC Students and Alumni at the Winter Olympics

CC is representing and supporting the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Former CC hockey captain Mike Testwuide ’10 will be playing for South Korea’s Olympic hockey team. A Colorado native, he has played hockey professionally in Seoul for the past four and a half seasons and become a naturalized citizen. He credits his time at CC for his ability to adapt and flourish in a different culture and recently commented, “I think CC and its student body breed a wanderlust curiosity that has definitely rubbed off on me.” Freestyle skier Isabel “Izzy” Atkin ’21 is competing on behalf of Great Britain; she has been dubbed one of the country’s best Winter Olympic medal hopes.

These games also mark 50 years since former Olympic Gold Medalist figure skater and television sports commentator Peggy Fleming ’70 won her gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games Grenoble 1968. Two ceremonies this year have marked the occasion.

Dan Webb ’14 and Tim Ambruso ’05 are working transportation at the games. Peter Kim ’18 is there serving as translator for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Coyote Marino ’00 works as director of digital content. Tori Frecentese ’13 is supporting U.S. Speed Skating and Charlie Paddock ’09 will be Chef de Mission for the U.S. at the Paralympic Games starting in March and also happening in South Korea. Also supporting the U.S. Olympic Committee in various roles are: Katherine Perry ’16, McQella Adams ’16, Sam Hale ’17, Tommy Riley ’17, Davis Tutt ’15, Ross Valdez ’14, and Tina Worley ’17.

In addition, Christine Krall ’70 is the jump coach for skaters Alexa and Chris Knierim and can be seen here sitting next to Alexa as the athletes await their scores (which earned them second place) earlier this week. And, Thomas Hackett ’89 serves as team doctor for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams. He is an orthopedic surgeon at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, where he specializes in sports medicine for professional athletes. He’s been an Olympic physician for 15 years, and this will be his third Winter Olympics

The opening ceremonies took place Friday, Feb. 9, and the games run through Feb. 25.

Students Earning A+ Computer Certification with New Program

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Starting this week, students interested in computers and information technology are embarking on a 10-week A+ computer certification course. Meeting once a week, students will learn to maintain, customize, and operate personal computers with the goal of passing with an A+ certification, an entry-level certification for PC computer service technicians. The certification helps participating students prepare to enter jobs in information technology and other industries; the course proves they have demonstrated advanced computer skills, setting them apart from other students.

Tulio Wolford, the solutions service manager in ITS, as well as an adjunct instructor for Pikes Peak and Arapahoe Community Colleges, is the driving force behind bringing this opportunity to CC, and will be teaching the course. “Being the manager of the Solutions Center, my team hires student workers and I figured A+ certification would be a great way to train up these students,” Wolford shares. “When I spoke to Brian Young, the VP for ITS, about it, he thought offering it to ALL students would be a great way to further CC’s strategic plan. I have had great support on this venture from the president and cabinet and cannot wait to share the results.”

Upon successful completion of the course, ITS will pay for each student’s A+ certification test in Colorado Springs and provide transport to and from the testing site. The course started this Thursday, Feb. 1, and is held each Thursday night from 7-8:30 p.m. Contact twolford@coloradocollege.edu for more information.

History and Future of the Book

By Alana Aamodt ’18

As the way we share knowledge shifts from expansive libraries to instant Internet searches, many of us find ourselves turning to Google before a shelf of books. But the wisdom books have to share isn’t just limited to what their pages contain, as Jessy Randall, special collections archivist, and Steve Lawson, humanities liaison librarian, shared in the History and Future of the Book course. The Half Block class set out to explore how reading, writing, and preserving texts — whether they are clay tablets, sheepskin scrolls, modern-day novels, or online text — intersects with identity, memory, and history.

Randall and Lawson co-taught, taking students deep into the Special Collections of Tutt Library, where books hundreds of years old reside. They also spent time at the CC printing press, learning to set type and hand-press their own books. Truly interactive, Randall says one of her favorite activities from the class was when students were challenged to try and determine the authors, titles, and dates of an “incunable,” a book printed before the year 1501, without seeing the title page and instead using the hints the text itself had to offer.

“Librarians usually only get to see students for short spurts of time, maybe for an hour in a library instruction session or one-on-one to talk about researching a capstone,” Randall shares. “Teaching the Half Block is a good reminder of how engaged and interesting CC students can be. It’s a bit of a cliché to say we learn as much from them as they do from us, but I think that’s true.”

Although the way people interact with information is evolving, this class reassures that books and book-making will continue to hold historical significance and inspire wonder. Students interested in the topics covered in this class have the chance to pursue CC’s thematic minor titled “The Book,” which weaves together art, history, English, film, and religion classes into a minor that explores the past, present, and future of the written word in its material form.

Refining Big Ideas During Half Block

By Alana Aamodt ’18

The Big Idea competition is just a few weeks away and the Innovation at CC team has been hard at work throughout Half Block in its new student-designed space on the corner of Weber Street and Cache La Poudre, helping students perfect their pitches. The Big Idea is a startup pitch competition where teams of CC students propose entrepreneurial ventures to a panel of judges for the chance to win a chunk of the $50,000 prize money to fund their project.

The Big Idea Half Block class, which is optional for teams entering the competition, has spent nearly all of the past two weeks going through an entrepreneurial boot camp, taking students from business idea to viable presentation and business model.

The first week broke down the components needed to enter the competition, helping teams create mission statements and executive summaries, and generally refining their ideas. The rest of it has been spent creating comprehensive slideshow presentations, called “pitch decks” in the startup world. Collaborative and intense, the Big Idea Half Block witnessed teams’ ideas ranging from hot sauce to toys to iPhone apps.

To help prepare students to present, the class participated in the Career Center session Improv Theatre, the Job Market, and You led by Anne Braatas ’76, playing improv games to help with confidence and energy while pitching. In addition, the students have practiced their pitches multiple times, presenting to each other and the professors — Jake Eichengreen and Dez Stone Menendez. Eichengreen is the executive director of the QUAD Innovation Partnership and Menendez is the director of Innovation at CC. Menendez, who has a background in startup and small business consulting, says her “passion is empowering people to execute their ideas, particularly young people,” and that the most inspiring and exciting part of teaching this Half Block is seeing just how quickly students can build a pitch.

The finale Big Idea event, where finalists will pitch ideas on the stage of Celeste Theatre, will be held Thursday, Feb. 8.

Professor Sawyer Explores Political Forces and Radical Politics in Recent Publications

Prof Michael Sawyer

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies Michael Sawyer has been hard at work, recently publishing three articles that span the topics of political theory, philosophy, and literature. The three articles, “Radical Temporality, Fictive Realism, and Revolution as Context: Sonic Implosion of the Modern,” “Undoing the Phaedrus: Melville’s Rereading of Plato,” and “Sacrifice,” all tie back to Sawyer’s greater research goal, which explores “the formation of political subjects through coercive force and further how those subjects construct regimes of knowledge and radical politics to unravel that condition,” according to Sawyer. This interest in subjugated people’s responses to the dominant political regime has been a driving force in Sawyer’s research curiosities.

The first of his works was inspired by his time in Italy, where he gave a series of lectures at University of Bologna’s Department on Global Cultures and Critical Theory last spring. There, Sawyer spoke on his book manuscript, “Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X” (Pluto/University of Chicago Press), due out next fall. Following his lectures, scholars in attendance requested Sawyer expand on the concepts of radical temporality and modernity,” or how modern subjects can exist outside of society’s normal relationship with time. The resulting paper was just published in Italian.

Of perhaps humbler beginnings, Sawyer’s piece “Undoing the Phaedus” was the result of conversations in his own classroom about “Moby Dick” and “the complexity that was revealed working with the students.” This piece compares the relationship between “black vs. white” and “good vs. bad” in Melville’s classic novel, arguing it is a dismantled, flipped version of Plato’s logic in “Phaedus.”

Of his third work, “Sacrifice,” Sawyer says: “‘Sacrifice’ is from a larger project in political theory that engages well-known political theorists and philosophers (of which I am not numbered) to take a term and redefine it from a theoretical perspective. For example, Gayatri Spivak’s concept is ‘development,’ Jaques Ranciere took up the question of ‘occupation,’ and Étienne Balibar wrote on ‘exploitation’ and Susan Buck-Morss on ‘civilization.’”

The interdisciplinary nature of these articles reflect Sawyer’s diverse academic interests, which range from applied science, political science, and international security policy, all the way to comparative literature and political theory. Endless topic combinations and the obvious ability to multitask, balancing writing and teaching, are signs Sawyer will continue on as a prolific author.

Students Explore New Topics and Build Skills During Half Block

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

CC’s Half Block offers a range of topics for students to make the most of the Winter Break. Courses range from The Science of Superheroes to Digital Tools for the Liberal Arts. Half of the offered courses are for-credit, and the other half are not-for-credit with a focus on professional development.

Naomi Wood, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, describes the week and a half in January as “an opportunity for students to explore a discipline or area outside of their normal field of study or to work on a skill that is complementary to their primary interests.”

One class taught year after year is Wood’s Brazilian Music and Language. It’s a hybrid of introductory Portuguese language and Brazilian music; Wood combines the Portuguese language element of her full-block language classes with the Brazilian culture she usually teaches in English. “I very much enjoy the shift in energy that both I and students bring [during Half Block]” Wood explains. She also says that “because this is a supplemental course (not a requirement) the classroom environment represents the core sentiment of being in class merely for enrichment purposes.” Wood recommends Brazilian Music and Culture to learn “basic Portuguese language, explore percussion instruments core to many Brazilian rhythms, and trace socio-historical contexts and implications of the evolution of Brazilian music.”

CC alumni Camille Blakely ’84 and Millie Olsen ’68 are returning to campus to teach a Dynamic Half-Block course titled Advertising Agency Immersion. Blakely runs Blakely + Company, an advertising agency in downtown Colorado Springs, and Olsen founded San Francisco-based Amazon Advertising. Olsen has been back to campus every year since 1999 to teach a two-day advertising course to economics students, and says she’s excited to be back for all of Half Block 2018.

Blakely and Olsen will help students develop solutions for a millennial-focused brand challenge from a Fortune 500 company. Students will present their ideas to the company during a videoconference at the end of the course. Olsen explains that it will be “a weeklong plunge into the life of a real agency.” It’s a chance, she says, “to try on some roles and see if they fit, and overall, if you’re meant to be in the hyper-competitive, ever-changing, anything-goes world of advertising and marketing.”

In addition to Brazilian Music and Language and Advertising Agency Immersion, there are 20 other for-credit offerings and 20 more not-for-credit Half-Block options. The classes will run from Jan. 8-18, 2018.

Professor Steve Taylor Earns Grant to Fund Groundwater Research

Steve Taylor

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Steve Taylor is an associate research professor at Colorado College, where he studies cave and groundwater biology. He just received a $9,644 from grant from the Cave Conservancy Foundation to fund research on small, shrimp-like animals called subterranean amphipods.

This coming summer, Taylor and one or more students will sample groundwater beneath streams and in springs and caves across numerous river basins in the Colorado Rockies to collect amphipods and record environmental parameters.

Taylor, who is married to Tutt Library Director JoAnn Jacoby, describes the significance of this research, saying, “as stewards of this little jewel of a planet floating through time and space, are we not better equipped to make decisions when we know what lives here?” He also says that “shallow groundwater is one of the easiest habitats to contaminate through human activities such as leaking septic or gasoline tanks, or contaminated runoff from roadways,” but is often overlooked. Human activities have a broad array of impacts on surface and groundwater, meaning that knowledge of “new populations or new species of amphipods could feed into all sorts of decisions in the future.”

The Cave Conservancy Foundation grant will allow Taylor to take on one research student in the summer of 2018, and possibly a second if additional CC funding allows. Students can contact Taylor directly at sjtaylor@coloradocollege.edu if interested in this research, as Taylor explains “with advance, planning, many things are possible!”

Visiting Professor Andrew Westphal Experiences “CC Treasures” Teaching on Block Plan

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Andrew Westphal ’P20 is a physicist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. During Block 2, Westphal took a break from the Bay Area to teach the Scientific Revolutions First-Year Experience course, which focused specifically on relativity.

The experience of coming from a large university on the semester system to a small liberal arts college on the Block Plan gave Westphal an interesting perspective on CC. In regard to the Block Plan, Westphal quite simply says “I am sold!”

He explains that he was able to cover more material more in depth than while teaching multiple classes at a time, and that the pace of the class felt “luxuriously unhurried.” With all the time provided by the Block Plan, students were able to test Einstein’s special relativity at the top of Pikes Peak, and some even brought mountain bikes to ride down at the end. Students remarked to Westphal it was an experience that could happen, “only at CC!”

Despite all the benefits Westphal noticed about the Block Plan, he also says it’s exhausting. “Teaching on the Block Plan requires a lot of frontloading, because there is no time to prepare between classes. By the end of the block I felt as if I had run a marathon. I don’t know how CC faculty do it,” he explains.

Westphal noticed other impressive qualities of CC. He describes the Honor Code as “a treasure unheard of at many colleges,” and remarks on the interesting interdepartmental conversations that happen over lunch at Rastall.  “It seems to happen quite naturally, and is another CC treasure,” he describes. Westphal says he hopes to return to CC in a few years to teach a course on cosmochemistry and hopefully collaborate with a terrestrial geology course.

Experience Buck Walsky’s Art at Silent Disco at FAC “Snow Ball”

Snow Ball 2017

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College hosts a silent disco dance party underneath Buck Walsky’s “Beach Front,” an interactive art installation featuring fiber optics and LED lights. Artist William “Buck” Walsky is a Colorado native and proud parent of a CC hockey alumnus. He has one piece on display in the FAC permanent collection, and continues to create works of art, including an installation for the Burning Man festival.

Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the FAC, says she was excited to see Walsky’s art in the interactive experience of the Snow Ball. “I’ve long admired a sculptural work in the FAC permanent collection that is a large wood carving of a bird taking flight,” she says. “I was delighted to discover a few years ago that not only was he still making remarkable works of art, but that he had been commissioned by the Anchorage Art Museum to create a monumental installation for Burning Man.”

“One of my greatest passions as a curator of contemporary art is to engage with living artists and help facilitate the creation of their dream projects, specifically ones that are site-specific, immersive, and/or interactive,” she says. “Walsky’s “Beach Front” was a perfect fit for the Fine Arts Center in all regards: a celebration of a regional artist, an exciting transformation of an unexpected and under-used location, and an opportunity for Walsky to re-envision his initial concept by tailoring it to the FAC and constructing it the way he had only dreamt of the first time around.”

Armstrong says the installation was a labor of love that involved many hands, generous donors of heavy equipment and specialized skills, and ultimately resulted in a “magical experience that we’re honored to share with our community.”

“My aspiration is to create a piece that holds people’s interest and continues to draw them back in, that defines a community, and is a public gathering space,” Walsky has said about the “Beach Front” installation.

The Anchorage Art Museum presented a silent disco with its installation, and Armstrong says that video was her first introduction to Walsky’s piece. “I was inspired to bring this unusual dance party to Colorado Springs and keep it tied to the installation. I love any opportunity to engage with art in new ways, and the Snow Ball is certain to be a one-in-a-million night, and one to remember.”

You’re invited to attend the Snow Ball, Saturday, Dec. 16, 8-10:30 p.m. at the FAC. Grab a pair of wireless headphones (provided), tune in to the channel of your choice, and dance to your own beat under this stunning work of art. Cash bar and small plates will be available. Tickets: $10; $5 members; free for students (with ID).

“Beach Frontis sponsored by: Colorado Industrial Recycling, Colorado Springs, CO, RMS Cranes, Denver, CO.

 

Geoffrey Hartley Documents Power of Art Therapy

By Leah Veldhuisen

Over the summer, CC student Geoffrey Hartley ’19 immersed himself in a program at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College in a way few students get to experience. Hartley filmed a documentary about the FAC’s Military Artistic Healing program, a program that currently has little student involvement. As a part of CC’s summer course the Colorado Documentary Project, a class conceived and taught by professors Dylan Nelson and Clay Haskell, Hartley learned about the documentary genre and how to film documentaries, and was able to make his own movie.

The course is a collaboration between CC’s Film and Media Studies program, Rocky Mountain PBS, and other Colorado organizations, and allowed students to do an externship with a local organization during the course. Hartley explains “after the week-long externship, everyone comes back to class and pitches an idea for a documentary inspired by our experiences.” Each student presented an idea to Rocky Mountain PBS, and then spent the rest of the class organizing, shooting, and editing a documentary. Hartley spent time at the Bemis School of Art and that’s where he learned about instructor Kim Nguyen’s art class for military veterans. “After hearing about the work that Nguyen was doing to provide a creative outlet for military veterans to express themselves and work through their PTSD, I knew that this was a story I wanted to share in my documentary,” Hartley says.

Because he saw art as a frequently overlooked therapy, Hartley says it was particularly important to portray it in film. He tried to highlight the positive impact painting has had on the lives of many Colorado Springs veterans, and the simplicity of art as therapy. Working on this project had a strong impact on Hartley. “I think the most important thing I learned from working with the Military Artistic Healing program,” he explains, “is how art works for each person differently. Everyone can find comfort, safety, or understanding through art, but it truly is an individualized experience and the meaning of art only exists through the individual.” While his documentary was about painting, Hartley also notes that “poetry, film, music, or countless other art forms can provide an outlet that might really help work through troubling issues.”

In addition to learning about this special program at the FAC, Hartley also gained a strong background in documentary filmmaking. All that he learned, Hartley feels, will be essential to pursuing a career in the film industry. View the full documentary, “Just Paint.