Posts from May, 2011

Board Votes to Name Cornerstone Venue ‘Richard F. Celeste Theatre’

The Colorado College Board of Trustees has honored President Richard F. Celeste, the 12th president of Colorado College, by naming the south theater in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center the “Richard F. Celeste Theatre.”

Board members passed the resolution at their May meeting, saying they wished to recognize Celeste for his “exemplary leadership as president of Colorado College for nine years; his deep passion for all things CC, including the interdisciplinary arts; and his strong commitment to building and sustaining a rich relationship between the college and its treasured community of Colorado Springs.”

The venue is the main theater in Colorado College’s iconic $33.4 million, 72,400-square-foot interdisciplinary arts center, designed by architect Antoine Predock. The building, dedicated at the October 2008 Homecoming and Parent’s Weekend, has earned a gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The theater has been the venue for such events as lectures by author Amy Tan and U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan; the first-time gathering of three cutting-edge playwrights, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks; the “Four Governors, One Stage” event in which former Colorado governors Dick Lamm, Roy Romer and Bill Owens gathered for a discussion moderated by Celeste, a former two-term governor of Ohio; and numerous concerts, films and dance presentations.

The theater holds a maximum of 451 seats. The venue is equipped with a variable room acoustic system with which the necessary acoustical aura can be literally dialed in with digitally controlled enhancements.

Celeste steps down as president of the college on June 30 and will be succeeded by Jill Tiefenthaler, currently the provost at Wake Forest University.

Athletic Media Relations Director Dave Moross to Receive 25-Year Award

Dave Moross, CC’s athletic media relations director, recently was named a recipient of the 25-Year Award, presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The organization presented national awards for outstanding achievements. When announcing Moross as an award winner, the organization published the following profile:

At hockey-rich Colorado College, Dave Moross has been responsible for tremendous publicity for the hockey program and players during his long tenure as the Tigers’ primary athletic communications contact. Moross will receive his 25-Year Award from CoSIDA during the annual CoSIDA Convention in Marco Island next month – with all 25 of those years spent at Colorado College.

Moross has served as director of athletic media relations at Colorado College since 1986. The athletic program is among those schools which offer different levels of competition, as teams compete at both the Division I level and Division III level. The men’s ice hockey program plays a powerhouse Division I schedule as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while the women’s soccer team has been an affilate member of Conference USA since 2006.  

Moross is the primary contact for hockey and women’s soccer, while Dave Reed, associate director of athletic media relations, is the contact for all Division III sports.

Moross and Reed, who have run their two-man shop together for more than 11 years, have served on various CoSIDA committees during that period and before.  

Moving to Colorado in 1974, Moross is an avid hiker in the mountainous state. He occasionally leads small expeditions and, quite impressively, has successfully summited 19 different “14ers” since the age of 45. The centerpieces of the Colorado Rockies are the 54 peaks over 14,000 feet, or “Fourteeners,” as they are affectionately referred to by climbers. 

Moross is editor of CC’s major athletics publications, including the annual hockey media guide which consistently finished among the top 10 in CoSIDA’s nationwide contest throughout the last decade. The 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02 versions earned “Best Cover in the Nation” recognition. 

A charter member of the CC Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee, Moross has publicized the accomplishments of 21 Tigers who have earned a total of 27 All-America honors in men’s ice hockey. He also helped coordinate promotional campaigns that culminated in Peter Sejna (2003) and Marty Sertich (2005) winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (ice hockey’s national player of the year honor). 

Serving as media coordinator for the 2004 and 2008 NCAA Hockey West Regionals held at the Colorado Springs World Arena, Moross has worked as a statistician for NHL and college hockey telecasts by ESPN, Fox and CBS College Sports. He also assists annually in press-box operations at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s premier event – the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn.

Prior to his athletic media relations career, Moross previously worked as a writer and assistant sports editor at the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper, where his duties included covering the school’s varsity teams for eight seasons. 

Moross graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 1973, earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising communications. A native of the Detroit area, he has served as a contributing writer and done freelance work for several national magazines during his professional career. 

He and his wife, Amy, have five grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Get to Know: Neena Grover

Neena Grover 1For Neena Grover, science goes way beyond the classroom.

It goes throughout the region via the Southern Colorado Aids Project. It goes to towns in Tanzania and Kenya. It goes to K-12 schools in Colorado. Any student interested in science outreach can participate in the biosciences club, which goes to a local elementary school and teaches scientific methodology.  High school students and teachers learn about RNA research in her laboratory.

Grover, chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department, wants to make science fun and accessible.  She uses real-life problems in teaching biochemistry, an approach called problem-based service learning.  Students learn nucleic acid biochemistry by reading current literature on AIDS-causing HIV virus and present the science of virus multiplication and drug action to the local community.  “These students have enough knowledge to make a difference,” Grover says. “They may not be experts, but they have learned enough to be useful to society.  One does not need a Ph.D. to make a difference in the world.”

She also wants her students to know that science is a puzzle and never a finished project; that there are always new directions to pursue. And she practices what she preaches:  Eight to 10 students each year conduct RNA-related research in her lab. The students get a lot of one-on-one mentoring in her lab, but they also learn independently, with every student getting his or her own research project. “That way, each student gets ownership of the work,” Grover says.

Although each student has a project, they all deal in some way with how local structures form in RNA. They examine the affect of ions on RNA stability. “We want to determine the rules for forming RNA structures.  We study small regions of RNA that are functionally important.  We want to improve the accuracy with which we get RNA-based information from genomic databases,” Grover says. The research results are impressive, and every year Grover takes four or five students to national conferences where they present their work.  Students also get a chance to publish their work in nationally renowned journals.

When she was in her early 20s, Grover, the daughter of an Indian Air Force officer and a teacher, came to the United States, where she earned a master’s degree in biophysical chemistry from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in bioinorganic/biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  While there she worked with Dr. Holden Thorp to study drugs that cut DNA for such uses as in chemotherapy.

During her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of renowned RNA researcher Dr. Olke Uhlenbeck at the University of Colorado, Boulder, she began delving into catalytic RNA, one of the hottest fields in biochemistry. “RNA controls everything in the cell. You have ribosomes acting as enzymes, and RNA cutting itself out of a larger RNA, perhaps telling us that RNA is the original molecule of life,” Grover says.  Boulder was the center of the “RNA world” during the 1990s.  While at Boulder, Grover taught an organic chemistry and biochemistry course to CU nursing students. She found she enjoyed it, and that students responded well to her teaching. She realized then that she wanted to improve science education for all students.

Grover joined the Colorado College faculty in 1999. She teaches organic chemistry and biochemistry, as well as gender and science, and ecofeminism.  “I’m not here to open their brains and dump information in,” she says. When she tells her students that what they are learning now may be obsolete in 10 years, they groan and ask, “So why are we learning this?”

“Ah,” she replies, “you should be thinking of the principles, and not memorizing.”

“The liberal arts philosophy fits me,” she says. “I want students to see science from multiple angles; to see science broadly. I want them to think for themselves, think logically and build a foundation.”

Grover is married to Gerald Miller, a professional cellist who plays with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and with symphonies in Calfornia.  They travel to India every few years to visit her two siblings, mother and their nephews and nieces.

Collin Knauss Awarded Water, Wildlife Conservation Internship

Collin Knauss ’13 of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has been awarded the 2011 Charlie Blumenstein Water and Wildlife Conservation Internship. Knauss, a biology major, will serve as an intern at The Nature Conservancy Silver Creek Preserve in Picabo, Idaho.  He is responsible for assisting stewardship staff with protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and natural resources on The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in Idaho.

The internship is named after Charlie Blumenstein ’96, who was passionate about the environment and conservation of water resources.  He credited his informal, out-of-classroom, extra-curricular, field experiences with his decision to become a hydrogeologist and to devote his professional life to the improvement of water resources.

Four CC Students Present at Biochemistry Conference; Allison O’Connell Wins Award

Four Colorado College students recently presented posters at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s highly competitive undergraduate poster competition, with one student receiving an award for her work. The poster competition was part of the organization’s national conference, held in Washington, D.C., last month.

Presenting posters at the conference were Allison O’Connell ’11, Shane Strom ’11, Arian Frost ’12, and Justin Garoutte ’12. All four students are biochemistry majors and work with Associate Professor Neena Grover of the chemistry and biochemistry department.

Allison O'Connell

O’Connell, a biochemistry major from Sea Cliff, N.Y., won an award for her poster titled “Thermodynamic Examination of the Internal Stem-Loop in U6 RNA.”  She investigated the stability of the small RNA that is responsible for spliceosome assembly and catalysis. Understanding this can help explain the role of RNA and help in developing better RNA-based drugs in the near future.

Two Philosophy Majors Present Work at Philosophy Conference

Two Colorado College philosophy majors recently presented their work at Pacific University’s Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.

Madeline Mindich ’11 presented “The Human Condition and the Ethics of Remembering It: An Essay Inspired by the ‘Concluding Unscientific Postscript’.” Joel Bock ’11 presented “Dwelling as Being at Home in the World: The Heideggerian Plight of Dwelling in Wolfe’s ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’.”

The Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference is an annual, two-day conference held each spring, attracting students from across the country and internationally. The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for the presentation of philosophical work of undergraduates to their peers. Since 1997, almost 1,000 students from more than 240 schools have participated.

All of the participants are undergraduate students, with the exception of the annual keynote address by a renowned philosopher. Past keynote speakers have included Paul Churchland, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, Keith Lehrer, Catherine Elgin, John Perry, Hubert Dreyfus, Jerry Fodor, and Alvin Plantinga.

Dylan Nelson’s ‘Soundtrack for a Revolution’ to Air May 9 on PBS

“Soundtrack for a Revolution,” the documentary produced by Dylan Nelson, Colorado College’s artist-in-residence for film studies, will air on Monday, May 9 on PBS’s “American Experience.”

Poster for the documentary "Soundtrack for a Revolution"

The 82-minute documentary is the story of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, told through the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in meetings and in jails. As current singers perform songs from the era, interviews and archival footage evoke the movement’s emotional history.

A companion to the PBS history series, “American Experience” includes features on a range of people and events in American history. Praised as the finest documentary series on television, “American Experience” brings to life the compelling stories from the past that inform our understanding of the world today.

In addition to the documentary’s debut on “American Experience,” Nelson, along with the directors, will present the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, May 11, at its contemporary documentaries series. The program is a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.

Nelson, along with her husband, Clay Haskell, teach a variety of filmmaking classes, as well as the popular off-campus class, “On Location: Hollywood.”

KASA Members Host Korean Culture Camp for Community Members

Members of CC’s Korean American Student Union (KASA) recently held a day-long Korean Culture Camp for Korean children in Colorado Springs adopted by American families.

KASA members, campers, and their families at the Korean Culture Camp. Photo by Mina Chung

The camp, held during the Block 6 break in Loomis Lounge, was attended by 15-20 children ages 3-10.

In the past, KASA has held a Korean culture night with dancing, food, and music, but this year the group wanted to tackle something different. “We wanted to do something that would last,” said YaeEun Grace Hahm ’11, a biochemistry and music major.

The event was organized by Hahm, who co-chairs KASA with Mina Chung ’13, and Alexandria Song ’12, secretary of the group. Six additional KASA members helped with the camp.

Sample of a worksheet distributed at the camp.

The day featured games, songs, food, story-telling, and crafts. The adopted children’s American families also attended, so they, too, could learn about Korean culture. “It was a good community outreach project,” said Hahm, who is from Korea originally but moved to Boulder with her family when she was 9.

The goal was to teach the adoptees about their Korean heritage because many of their American parents were not equipped with that knowledge. KASA members taught parents about Korean cuisine and how to prepare simple dishes, and gave parents recipes and samples. The children were taught simple Korean phrases, songs, and games. 

“We wanted the Korean adoptees to know that we do care, and that they have a lot of support from everyone,” Hahm said. Although she is a senior, Hahm said she is hopeful that the camp will continue. “We got a lot of ideas for other things we want to do next time,” she said. “The first time is the most difficult.”