Posts in: Around Campus

Human Anatomy Class Leverages Unique Resources for Lifelong Learning

by Laurie Laker ’12

The study of the human body at Colorado College is something of a unique opportunity for an undergraduate student body. CC is one of the very few colleges in the country, particularly among our liberal arts peer schools, where students can immerse themselves fully in the study of the human anatomy, applying their classroom theory with real-world practice.

“We’re extremely careful about how we present the anatomy lab, what we say about the lab, because we want to be as respectful as possible to the donors,” explains Professor Dan Miska of the Human Biology and Kinesiology Department.

‘Donors’ is the language of the department and all those who move through their classes, rooted in respect for the persons who’ve donated their bodies to scientific teaching and research. The class Introduction to Human Anatomy, running this Block A, lets students gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts of human anatomy, and includes the examination of skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory structures.

“I’d estimate that 90 percent of our students go on to some form of medical program,” Miska adds. “Anatomy has the reputation of being all about memorization, but what we try to teach here is the true applicability of the material — to the clinical work of a future career.”

“For example, with certain diagnoses we bring socioeconomic issues into our discussions as well. Cases like heart attacks, for example, often hinge upon diet and exercise, which in turn frequently hinge on the socioeconomic status of the patient,” adds Miska. “It’s a clinical class, but with applicable knowledge and social awareness woven throughout.”

The class is a combination of clinical study modules and laboratory sessions, and students work in small groups to diagnose a hypothetical injury or condition using the methodology of clinicians — asking questions, noting patients’ medical histories, and then offering a possible diagnosis.

“I’m taking this partly for my major, partly because it’s super interesting,” says Nabeel Elabdeia ’20, who majors in Organismal Biology and Ecology.

“It’s so different from the textbook type of class, a lot more messy — just like real life medical practice.”

“This kind of work — particularly with the donors — it makes me think about real doctors, how difficult it is to diagnose real people. I was a bit nervous at first, but you soon learn to dissociate from the personal and treat it as a learning experience.” Elabdeia, who plans to head to dental school after CC, adds.

“It’s not just checking a box,” Miska details, expanding more on the longer-term goals of the class.

“Students take this because it’s going to follow you in life, to set you up for what you’re doing for a career — these are practical life skills for impactful careers, and that we can offer the practical skills of body diagnosis at the undergrad level is incredible. It gives our students such a head start when they head to med school after CC.”

Nerves are commonplace among students before heading to the lab for the first time — understandably so, given the nature of the material. But it’s no deterrent — the clinical experience of examining a human body and all its systems is often the chief attraction for students taking the class.

“I was anxious but excited for the lab before we went in,” explains undeclared major Julia Moore ’20, who is on the Molecular Biology track and minoring in Human Biology and Kinesiology. “To be honest, it was very much a ‘let’s get this first one over with’ scenario. We get to see this, to do this, from the first day of class, and that’s amazing.”

“It’s a very, very respectful space, aware of the donors and their wishes, and having access to this sort of facility is quite unique for an undergraduate experience,” she says.

“I actually visited the lab as a prospective student, and it’s one of the reasons I came to CC — it’s a special thing that undergrads don’t always get to do,” adds Moore’s lab group partner, Rianna Reimers ’19, a Molecular Biology major who’ll be interning with a genetics lab in her home state of California after the class finishes.

“The way Dan presents the class, and especially the interactions we have with the donors, it’s amazing — respect is the utmost important thing. He even said, on day one, ‘These (meaning the donors) are the four best anatomy teachers you’ll ever have’ — that’s really stuck with me.”

Dan Miska’s Block A Human Anatomy class discusses a case study and views a carpal tunnel surgery online to learn more about the mechanics of a hand to better diagnose treatment.

Hairstreak Butterfly, CC’s New Online Literary Journal

hairstreak butterfly

Hairstreak Butterfly Review,named after the official Colorado state insect, embraces CC’s aspiration to invite innovation and possibility into our understanding of the world. Launched by the Department of English, the online literary journal’s editors describe their mission as offering “a space for writing that stirs the senses and invokes things wild, sacred, daring, and visionary. We are as excited about feeling out the limits of genre, language, perspective, and narratives as we are about the careful rendering of that which makes humans human and keeps time waxing and waning.” Take a look at Issue 1.

Assistant Professor of English Natanya Pulley is the journal’s managing editor. She says that when imagining a literary journal for CC, she asked herself two things: Does the world need yet another literary journal? and What can it offer our students that they aren’t already experiencing in student-run publications, through our Visiting Writer Series’ events and class talks, or through discussion (in-class and one-on-one) about contemporary literary publishing?

“I’ve been editing literary journals for the last 10 or so years and find it is an essential part of being a contemporary writer. One can read the trends before they hit the bookstores and find emerging and marginalized voices that may not find a publisher for some time.” Pulley also says that reading submissions for the journal means encountering not only a wide spectrum of styles, perspectives, and content, but also reading underdeveloped work or writing that feels so close — but not enough — to complete.

“It means confronting writing that is clumsy, hollow, amateurish, offensive, unimaginative, or worse: average,” she says. “This exposure ultimately helps a writer identify their own weaknesses and limitations, and even face their fear of failing while also finding their strengths and readership.”

There are a multitude of writing programs with nationwide literary journals that build the student editorial experience with exactly these areas in mind, says Pulley. “My goal has always been to provide such an opportunity for our students, but I returned often to that first question as I began planning a ‘Literary Publishing Practicum’ adjunct and in my discussions with students and visitors about literary journal publishing,” Pulley says of getting this project started. “Our students are innovative, hardworking, and inquisitive people. Many love writing and reading; they read to escape, be challenged, learn, and see themselves reflected in the words of others. But they also want to build spaces for change and growth — they want to be a part of something important that is inclusive and supportive of marginalized people.”

While the journal increases the number of publications in the literary world as well as at CC, Pulley says her vision for it has been not only to deepen students’ connection with the literary industry and their own role as writers within that industry, but also to deepen work in diversity and inclusion by asking what it takes behind the scenes for marginalized voices to be seen and heard.

“How do we build such an infrastructure?  What are we looking for when we read submissions? What do we see or look for when reading published work and what does this say about how we conceive of the world?” Pulley says of the questions she asks throughout the process of putting the journal together. “What does our understanding of ‘good writing’ rely on and how did it come to be? How can we be proactive about inviting and honoring work by writers of color, LGBTQ writers, and writers with disabilities? And most importantly, how do we interrogate our own choices in building this space and structure? What questions of about our own positions and views must we embrace — not once, but every moment we read submissions and edit, communicate with, publish, and promote our contributors?”

The literary journal, and the Lit Pub Practicum Pulley teaches, offer students an opportunity to tackle these questions and toward a specific purpose. “We work to put something out there that we hope speaks to and teaches others as it has us,” she says. “This is why the world needs literary journals — thousands of different kinds: we must always ask ourselves which narratives, voices, perspectives, and images do we find essential to understanding our world today? And at CC we must ask how do we best amplify them?” Spend some time with Hairstreak Butterfly Review.

Test Yourself with a New Game of Skill: Bridge

Summer Bridge Open Play

When’s the last time you tried something new? Something complicated? You’ll have the chance on campus this summer with a new program to teach and play (and eventually master?) the strategic card game, bridge.

Phoebe Lostroh, associate professor of molecular biology, is leading the effort to bring this challenging game to campus. “It is a way for us to learn together and play together this summer,” she says. “It’s open to students, faculty, and staff. I’m also trying to get the local high school to participate, especially to bring disadvantaged students on to campus to meet college students. Bridge can be played by anyone and everyone — and in fact it is played all over the world.”

Check out with the motto “Bridge for Peace.”

“I’m very interested in activities that make better local communities, and that help people feel connected to one another across boundaries like citizenship and religion,” she says. “Toward that goal, I am working with a local bridge center of primarily senior citizens who will help teach and mentor anyone on campus who wants to learn the game.”Local bridge masters John Dukelis and Ann Parker both are retired K-12 teachers and part of the American Contract Bridge League Unit 360.

Lostroh also cites research on K-12 students, which shows that playing bridge improves communication and conflict-resolution skills.

Bridge is a four-person card game with similarity to spades, hearts, euchre, and pitch. Pairs of players sitting on opposite sides of a table compete to take the most tricks (which consist of four cards, one from each player in turn), or to defeat the other pair from taking as many tricks as they had planned. Before any cards are played, there is a complex negotiation, called bidding, to arrive at the contract, which determines the number of tricks one pair must try to make as well as the suit that will be the most powerful during the play of the hand. You have to count cards, and you have to consider the odds of an important unseen card being in one of the other hands. Lostroh points out there are no shortcuts to becoming an expert bridge player.

Lostroh says she was inspired to start up a bridge group on campus afterreflecting on her own experience learning the complex card game. “There are many parallels between learning bridge and learning in college,” she says. “In addition to practicing, it pays to listen to experts and to study, and to avoid getting distracted by charlatans who claim they’ve found an easier, faster way.  You have to play the hand you’re dealt. Sometimes that means you get the most organized biology professor in the department — sometimes not. Sometimes the hand is perfect for the new bid you that your partner just learned — sometimes not. Either way, the only way forward is to keep trying.”

Participate in the kick-off event Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in Tutt Library Room 105; open play is happening every Wednesday in June and July, 6-8 p.m. in Worner Campus Center.

Get to Know the Class of 2018

More than four years ago, when members of the Class of 2018 first started their CC experiences, we knew lots of random trivia about them based on admission applications: Two members of the incoming class had biked across the U.S., four were Girl Scouts, nine were black belts in karate, and they spoke a combined 27 languages. Now, as they prepare for CC graduation, here are a few fun facts about those same students, now that they’re seniors: 97 students have received Keller Venture Grants (so far), 30 students have been awarded at least one Ritt Kellogg Expedition Grant.

Seventy senior students have presented research at a past summer research symposium and 11 of the student bands that competed at CC’s Battle of the Bands are primarily made up of senior musicians. Fifteen members of the Class of 2018 completed art theses and there will be 16 academic paraprofessionals and four full-time interns from the graduating class on campus for the 2018-19 academic year.

There have been 14 year-long PIFP fellowships and 19 summer fellowships awarded to members of the Class of 2018. More than 250 students have used Tutt Library’s thesis carrels this year. The class has 50 graduating varsity athletes, one Watson fellow, one Fulbright winner, two Fulbright alternates, two recipients of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, and one Goldwater scholar. And the awards list keeps growing.

Signs for the Times: New Campus Markers are Up

New Campus Signs

You may have noticed some big changes to campus marker signs this week.

New college signs are going up in the next few weeks celebrating our new college visual identity marking the entrances to campus at Uintah Street and Cascade Avenue, Uintah and Nevada Avenue, Nevada and Dale Street, and Cascade and Dale.

The new signs will be installed just in time to welcome many parents, visitors, and alumni for Commencement, and demark our new campus boundary that now extends to Dale Street to encompass CC’s alliance with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

The updated campus markers are part of the college’s new sign system that was presented to the campus and approved in 2016. The system converges the goals of the Campus Master Plan and the Master Communications Plan, both integral components of the college’s main strategic plan to celebrate our sense of place — as well as an effort to unify all campus signs under one clear, cohesive system. A black square or block with white letters — representing the Block Plan — is the base component of most new signs.

The old stone “headstones” with the college’s former wordmark will come down as the new campus marker signs go up. Other major components of the sign system have already been installed, including the new, red Fine Arts Center “block” on Dale and Cascade, and a prototype of major campus “block signs” placed at Cutler Hall. Look for other major updates throughout the next academic year, including more block signs, new building signs, and all new numerals for building addresses.

Materials from the former stone markers will be placed in storage and used for future projects around campus.

Lachlan Nutting ’18 Selected to Present Philosophy Paper

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Philosophy major Lachlan Nutting ’18recently attended the 20th annual Midwest Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, to present her paper, “Emotionally Determined Destiny.”

Nutting says she has been interested in determinism, the philosophical theory that all events are determined by causes outside of human will, since sophomore year, but doubted that she could write a paper on it. It wasn’t until her senior year, in the class Philosophy of Emotions, when the themes that had originally interested her reappeared and she decided she would write her final paper on the topic.

“I argued that emotional responses are determined based on Cheshire Calhoun’s idea of biographical subjectivity and Max Scheler’s individual destiny,” explains Nutting. “This basically means that emotional responses are determined by who you are at your core as an individual, and they allow you to actualize your destiny by telling you what is significant in your life.”

After having this topic swirling around in her head for years, Nutting decided that her final paper was worth submitting to the Midwest Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, and she was honored to have the opportunity to speak, saying that “everyone there was amazingly nice and supportive. I think more people should submit their papers to conferences; it was the most wonderful experience.”

Reflecting back, Nutting says she was drawn to the many diverse frameworks of philosophy, and how the subject took on huge questions about life and reality. Her studies required her to keep an open mind and, as she describes, “see how these different ideas might apply to my life, making studying philosophy incredibly worthwhile.”

CC Rugby Wins Regionals, Heads to Nationals

CC Rugby

CC Cut Throat Rugby 7’s won the Rocky Mountain Conference Regional Playoffs, qualifying to play in the National Small College Rugby Organization Sweet 16 National Championships this weekend, April 28-29, in Pittsburgh.

“This season has been really incredible so far,” says team captain Nora Holmes ’18. “It’s an amazing feeling as a senior captain to see the leaps and bounds of improvement that every player has made since the beginning of the fall season. The whole team has dedicated themselves to working hard this season and we are so excited to compete in the national tournament.”

Historically, CC rugby has done well during the spring season with a fourth-place finish at nationals last year, and second-place finish the year before. Holmes, an organismal biology and ecology major, is the only senior remaining from the team that started playing together as first-years. It’s a team that has seen a lot of transition with Vic Tise serving as the third coach in four years.

“We’re very happy to have him,” Holmes says of Tise. “The team dynamic has evolved a lot since I began playing. CC rugby has always been an inclusive space and at the end of the 2015-16 academic year, we made the decision to become a gender-inclusive team. We call ourselves the Colorado College Cut Throat Rugby Club instead of the CC Women’s Rugby Club.

The team also uses inclusive language like “mates” “ruggers” and “y’all” instead of gendered terms like “ladies” or “you guys.” Though the team competes in an institutional women’s league, not all teammates identify as women. “Our intentional use of language and desire for inclusivity exists to welcome all individuals,” says Holmes.

Holmes describes the CC Cut Throat team as one built on a foundation of unconditional love and support, which is reflected in strong bonds both on and off the field. “I have never been a part of such a genuinely caring and compassionate community,” Holmes says. “Through a lifetime of playing on various sports teams, this team is by far the most open and tight-knit community I’ve ever had the honor to be a part of.”


CC Rugby

CC Climbers Take on Nationals

Zach Levy

In its first year of existence on campus, the CC Climbing Team boasts 30 athletes on the team roster, even before climbing is officially recognized as a club sport, which begins in Fall 2018.

“It was a way bigger turnout for the team than we had expected, and we were very pleasantly surprised,” says Zach Levy ’21.

This season, the team has competed in two local USA Climbing competitions against other Colorado teams — one in Boulder and one at the U.S. Air Force Academy. “The competition in Boulder was a blast! Although it was the first collegiate climbing competition for almost all of our team members, we performed very well,” says Levy.

Two climbers, Kat Gentry ’19 and Levy, advanced to the final round of the competition with Levy taking home the win in a field of 80 men, beating the CU Boulder team on their home turf. At the USAFA competition, three CC climbers placed in the top 10. Then, at the end of Spring Break, the team competed at USA Climbing’s collegiate regional championships in Fort Collins. CC’s team had 14 climbers compete and seven climbers advanced to the national championships by placing in the top 20.

CC had five top ten finishers: Piper Boudart ’21, Allie Kreitman ’21, Gentry, Claire Bresnan ’19, and Levy, then three climbers who made it to finals, Gentry, Bresnan, and Levy, and one regional champion: Gentry for sport climbing. The team placed third in the region for bouldering and fifth in the region overall out of 16 teams.

This weekend, five CC athletes will head to Houston, Texas, to compete in USA Climbing’s Collegiate National Championships. In this competition, collegiate students from schools all around the country will compete for a spot on the U.S. Climbing Collegiate National Team and an invitation to the University World Championships. “Our team has been working hard to train for this competition and we are ready to test our skills on the national level,” Levy says. “We are extremely excited to climb hard, meet new people, and have a blast this weekend.” You can track the team’s progress at the championships here.

“Climbing gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself regardless of how good you are or how long you have been climbing,” Levy says of one of his favorite parts of the sport. “There is endless room for improvement when it comes to climbing, whether in technique, core strength, balance, or brute power. This allows a climber to have goals that can range from being able to perform a single foot movement to winning a national championship.

He says being able to set continuous, progressive goals as a climber keeps him driven and focused. “Climbing challenges you on an individual level, and you are able to push your limits as much as you wish. This makes climbing an amazing sport for beginners and pros alike.”

He also says that climbing provides the opportunity to meet new people and create lasting friendships, providing a competitive environment that is welcoming and encouraging.

Levy says the most challenging aspect of competitive climbing is staying focused. “It is very easy to be distracted by the performance of others and then become discouraged about your own climbing. While it is nice to know how well your competitors are climbing or how well you must climb to beat others, this often takes your focus off of the only thing that you have control over: Your own performance.”

Levy says he’s excited to see the interest in climbing and the climbing team grow at CC. “With climbing being in the Olympics in 2020, the sport is likely to become more mainstream. We hope that this climbing movement leads to a bright future for our team and the sport in general.”

Jeremy Zucker ’18 Prepping for Graduation and World Tour

Jeremy Zucker '18

By Alana Aamodt ’18

For any student, studying on the Block Plan is a major balancing act — fast paced and sometimes stressful, it all leads to those four days of block break when students can finally take that long awaited nap, hop in a car and drive to the desert, explore Denver or, in the case of Jeremy Zucker ’18, travel the country and perform music. Maybe they’re not your typical block breaks, but Zucker has spent his time at CC fostering a music career right alongside a molecular and cellular biology major.

Signed to Republic Records, Zucker has seen a growing following over the past few years with songs on his most recent album “idle” garnering millions of plays on Spotify, You Tube, and SoundCloud. Zucker’s record label, which has also signed artists such as Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Drake, describes his music as a “fusion of organic airy beats, lush soundtrack-style soundscapes, and biting Tumblr-worthy lyricism, Zucker’s catalog is eclectic: equally carefree and effortless as it is introspectively cathartic.”

Singer, songwriter, producer, and student, the balancing act is not easy, says Zucker. “Honestly, the deeper I get into my major the harder it gets to balance school with music. I couldn’t imagine doing it at any other school; often times I’ll fly out and do a couple shows over a block break or just stay at home in the studio I built in my basement and make music nonstop for five days. The way my mind works, I need to be able to focus my attention and effort on one thing at a time or I’ll go crazy,” he says, citing the Block Plan as the main way he is able to do both.

Zucker has been making music since middle school, consistently releasing songs on various platforms. His hard work and determination have paid off, and he has big plans coming up: Zucker is embarking on a European tour in April with the artist Lauv, a good friend of his, as well as appearing at the Firefly Music Festival, the East Coast’s largest music and camping festival in Dover, Delaware, in June.

“As my outlook on life changes and evolves, so do my songs,” Zucker says. “My process is really cathartic. I find myself digging through my subconscious, picking out feelings, fears, and hopes that I didn’t even know I had.” Even with graduation and a European tour approaching, Zucker will continue to create music. Listen to some of Zucker’s music and check out his tour dates.

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.