Posts in: Around Campus
“Ascend cliffs rising through the clouds. Wander the back alleys of Dublin. Skip moss-covered stones across a river tumbling from the frigid North Sea.” Sound like the summer vacation for you? With the intention of engaging in a creative experiment, Tara Labovich ’19 and fellow student Bryce Kirby ’19, spent the summer exploring those settings, Labovich in Ireland, Kirby in Scotland, trying to get lost in every sense of the word.
The project, to create and publish a book of photos and poetry that captures the experience, was inspired by questions about the creative process: “How will our perceptions of reality and creative expression, told through our poetry and photographs, change with the isolation and loneliness of the trail? In other words, how lost in place and self can we become? Can we represent our journeys in words and pixels?” ask Labovich and Kirby at the start of their project.
Those questions accompanied a video and website the students made to explain the project and request help in funding their travels. Labovich and Kirby each won separate Venture Grants to pursue their individual creative experiments; they joined forces after realizing they had parallel goals for their projects.
“We were doing separate projects, and both submitted different grants, unbeknownst to each other, and we realized we’re basically doing the same thing, so why not pull everything together?” says Labovich of how the two connected. So they did, writing poetry and taking photos, documenting their journeys and observations while getting lost.
“We want it to feel that when the reader’s looking at these poems and photos, they’re stepping into our experience and creating an experience of their own without having to actually get onto a plane,” Labovich says of her work. She says the locales, scenery, and time she devoted to the project during the summer helped her grow as a writer and as an individual.
“I definitely think it was some of the best writing I’ve done. It was interesting for me, because it was a shift — a lot of my poems before [the trip] focused on things I was feeling, and while I was over there, all of the things around me started to come alive. It was a new kind of inspiration.”
She says her travels helped make her more aware allowing her to devote time to just observe and write. “When I’m in a busy place, it can be over stimulating; in nature, there’s a lot more flexibility on the focus, the quiet, the scenery, there’s also a lot of mystery around it.”
It was also an opportunity for Labovich to travel on her own, find her own way, and solve her own problems throughout her month abroad.
“My family asked, ‘You’re not going alone, are you?’ and some of my extended family was concerned until I got back. But my mom’s family is Irish, and they were thrilled I was there. There were times when my lack of navigation skills was a challenge; there was no Wi-Fi access. It was the first time I was traveling when I didn’t have anyone else to rely on, to help find where I was. I built a lot of confidence in myself.”
The connection to her Irish heritage was also a special one for Labovich; she’d traveled to Ireland previously with her family and grandfather, and says she knew she would be back. Labovich is a creative writing major minoring in philosophy; she grew up in Germany, and has lived in Colorado for the past six years.
Her experience drafting poems for “Lost” is something she says will have a lasting effect on her growth as a writer. “This will be something to draw from, and it’s been such a good and changing experience that I think it’ll influence my writing for a very long time. As a writer, the project as a whole allowed me to learn a lot about self-motivation and when I work best (which is late at night and not convenient at all) and how I work both as a writer and as a person.”
Now, Labovich and Kirby have reconnected, going through all of the content, picking out the best and making it better, in preparation for self-publishing their book. “It’s challenging but also rewarding, because we have two different minds, different ideas, and that adds a little more variation,” Labovich says.
The final products are in the works: a book of poems will be completed in October, and a full book with poems and photography will be published at the end of the year. Catch a preview and place your order with The Isles Project.
Aug. 8-9, a contingent of great minds will come together on the CC campus to collaborate about the challenges and benefits of implementing a successful professional development program. The Organizational Development Conference addresses professional development in institutions of higher education.
“Considering our interest in professional development, in workplace excellence, it makes sense for CC to not only host this conference, but to also actively partner with institutions across the country,” says Lisa Brommer, senior associate director of human resources.
It’s the sixth annual ODC and CC’s first time hosting. Wake Forest University initiated the event when CC President Jill Tiefenthaler was there as provost. “It’s an interesting connection, to have President Tiefenthaler providing support and leadership in making professional development a strategic priority at these two different institutions,” Brommer says. Tiefenthaler will give the opening keynote address on the importance of professional development in higher education.
Throughout the two-day conference, presenters will lead discussions on a variety of topics, from building a professional development program, to increasing staff engagement, to evaluation of PD resources. CC’s Paul Buckley, assistant vice president and director of the Butler Center, will lead a segment on diversity and inclusion in professional development, highlighting the “Good to Great: The Journey to Inclusion at CC” Excel@CC program.
“We’re really looking at how we make sense of professional development and package it differently. In a program like what we’ve done with Excel@CC, we’re able to pull it all together and embrace professional development as a part of our institution’s strategic plan,” says Brommer.
The attendee list includes 19 new attendees, which is exciting for the organizers, and one of the benefits of bringing the conference to the CC campus. “We’re able to diversify the conversation by broadening participation throughout this region,” says Brommer. “This is a phenomenal place and we want to share what we’re doing with others.”
The more than 30 participants represent 25 different institutions from across the country. Expect to see representatives from a range of colleges and institutions, from Baylor University to Virginia Tech, Columbia University to the University of San Diego, and many in between. They’ll be on campus, primarily in the Spencer Center, Aug. 7-9.
The conference is an opportunity for CC to continue to build its professional development program and to learn from and support colleagues at the other institutions. It’s also a way for CC to set an example of how PD can be done, and done well, in higher education. “We can really showcase our professional development program. We can show what we’re doing, talk about the support and the resources we have for Excel@CC, and that we have the ability to do what we believe is right for our employees. This is part of our commitment to the college,” says Brommer, “to further enhance our own professional development program.”
What did you do this summer? Pose that question to Ricardo Tenente ’16, Caroline Boyd ’17, or a number of other students in the Summer Collaborative Research program (SCoRe), and you might get an answer like: “Just studying how bacteria incorporate DNA into their genomes by observing the process via an Atomic Force Microscope.”
Through the SCoRe program, Tenente, Boyd, and their student colleagues have spent months conducting real research, in a lab, and recording and analyzing their results. Completing a comprehensive research program on the Block Plan can be a challenge, so this program provides not only collaborative opportunities for students to work together and to work closely with faculty, but also allows for additional time.
“Research requires time and sometimes things don’t work out,” says Tenente. “If an experiment doesn’t work and you don’t get results on a short time frame, it is challenging. That’s why doing it for longer is ideal.” And while the extended timeframe allows for significant progress to be made over the summer, many SCoRe students are involved on an even more long-term basis.
Kristine Lang, associate professor of physics, and Phoebe Lostroh, associate professor of molecular biology, are working with Tenente and Boyd this summer, and have been for several years. The professors are conducting a research project funded by a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant and they collaborate with students each summer to help keep the project moving. By studying a type of bacteria that has a condition called competence, they’re using microbiology and microscopy techniques to observe how bacteria find DNA in the environment and import it into themselves, incorporating it into their own genomes.
“We’re trying to more fully understand how they accomplish this, using a combination of microbiology techniques and microscopy techniques. That’s the cool collaborative part, allowing us to put our skills together.”
They co-teach a First-Year Experience course based on their research project, and during that FYE, the students get one block of background information and introduction to lab work, and then spend a block conducting research. “The idea that you can bring in first year students and have them produce something and have this transformative experience so early in their careers, that’s unusual,” says Lang.
Tenente was exposed to the research program in that FYE course and says the opportunity to work directly on a research project provided insight in making career decisions. “This has defined a lot of my career path,” says Tenente, who graduated in May and is now working as a researcher on this project for the next year. “I knew I wanted to do something with biology, but that first year gave me an insight into what it meant to be a researcher, and I liked it, I liked finding results – that’s just a small part of it – and I liked the whole process.”
Lang says she and Lostroh often hire between two and four students out of that FYE class, so the research students are starting in the lab in the fall of their first year, “which is great for them, to get research experience early,” she says. “And, it’s great for us to have students who know they’re interested and have a background. These students typically work for us a couple of years throughout their time at CC.”
Boyd, who’s majoring in molecular biology, also became involved in research during her first year at CC, “which is wonderful,” she says. “Being able to do it for much longer than a block or a summer tells you how much goes into research. I also found out I love it.”
Boyd spent a semester doing research abroad, and says the experience she had already gained at CC enabled her to survive and contribute to the process overseas. “Through this research experience, I’m learning new ways of analysis that can be applied across other labs, learning things I would not have gotten in other classes,” says Boyd.
It’s a rare opportunity, for undergraduate students to participate so fully in research, and Lang says the time working with students in the lab addresses much more than the research project. “We’re a teaching college at CC, and the best part is feeling like this is an extension of my teaching. It is teaching them practical things, like lab skills; it’s teaching them how to interact with supervisors in a professional job setting; it’s helping them determine whether they like professional science and this kind of research and giving them the experience to make educated decisions about their academic futures.”
“I have lots of students I continue to mentor when they go on to be graduate students, so these are very long term, meaningful relationships. There’s lots more to the research, than the research and those other things are as important than actually the research product itself,” says Lang.
You can catch students discussing their summer work and findings during a final Summer Collaborate Research program presentation: Friday, August 5, in Slocum Commons, 12:15-1 p.m.
All Summer Collaborative Research program participants will present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, Friday, Sept. 30, 3:30-5 p.m. in Cornerstone Main Space.
By Joy Li ’18
With the Class of 2020 heading to campus in just a few weeks, the end of another admission cycle provides an opportunity to recognize an indispensible part of the process: CC admission fellows. They are a group of current students who are not only passionate about the college, but also have a thorough and insightful understanding of CC’s unique culture.
This summer, the admission fellows are working diligently to make a difference on campus by helping to recruit students for the Class of 2021. They participate in the admission process by conducting interviews with prospective students, leading information sessions and campus tours, organizing open houses, and compiling the new class profile, along with other duties supporting staff on projects within the Office of Admission.
“The admission fellows bring us a current perspective; they help us find out what we have to do in the admission process to best convey the current climate of CC to prospective students,” says Ryan Walsh, senior assistant director in the Office of Admission and director of the admission fellows program. He says that because the admission fellows are chosen as representatives of CC’s student body, they are from very different backgrounds, and participate in a variety of aspects of CC. They act as a bridge between the Office of Admission and current students, and show that students also play a role in connecting new students with the campus.
“The job of an admission fellow should be changing all the time depending on what we need on campus,” says admission fellow Michael Wu ’17, who is an international student from China. This year has brought changes to the role of admission fellow: the fellows’ interviewing methods have completely transformed, shifting from standard questions that focus on academics and extracurricular activities to questions about students’ perspectives on critical issues in the community. Admission fellow Maya Williamson ’17 indicated that the shift in interviewing format provides a more comprehensive understanding of what students will bring to CC. “We need to find students who are willing to take responsibility for themselves and the community,” says Williamson.
The high degree of professionalism required as an admission fellow also prepares the students for future career challenges. During the summer, they work regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are required to dress professionally at work. “You don’t get the internship feeling here. We’re not making copies of things. What we’re doing actually makes a difference,” says admission fellow Will Baird ’17.
By Joy Li ’18
Looking for an excuse to explore campus this summer? Treat yourself to the CC Historic Walking Tour and take a trip through time, learning about the historic significance of your favorite CC buildings.
“It’s a chance to share the interesting histories associated with the heritage of our historic buildings,” says George Eckhardt, campus planner, who helped apply for state historical fund grants and gathered historic research on many of CC’s buildings.
Start the west-loop tour at the oldest building on campus, Cutler Hall, and admire its collegiate gothic style. Try to imagine Cutler being the only building on campus, housing all college functions. Behind the Worner Campus Center is Cossitt Hall, the “Rastall” for CC students until 1956, and then the gym until 1970. Famous choreographer Hanya Holm taught dance classes in Cossitt gym for 43 summers, beginning in 1941. Pass by Bemis, McGregor, and Montgomery, which served as the female dormitories in the early 1900s.
Then follow the tour to Ticknor Hall, which served as a military training base for radio operators during World War I. Next, proceed to Haskell House, formally known as Rice House, and where you can enjoy one of the best examples of Colonial Revival style in the city, designed in 1927 by Thomas Barber, co-designer of Colorado Springs City Hall. Finally, end the west-loop tour at 112-year-old Palmer Hall. This Romanesque Revival building stands in the center of campus and would’ve been replaced by a railway if the college and the City of Colorado Springs hadn’t strongly opposed the idea.
If you have only limited time, venture out on the east-loop tour, featuring Palmer Hall, Arthur, Jackson, and Lennox (Glass) Houses, Shove Memorial Chapel, and the Spencer Center.
Keep an eye out for tree trimming and removal starting Monday, June 27, through the end of July. To protect healthy trees and prevent disease, crews will remove dead or dying trees. They will also be trimming trees in the central part of campus. Contact Josh Ortiz, landscape and grounds supervisor, with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Trees in the following locations will be removed:
- Bemis Hall (southwest corner) – 1 Siberian elm
- Ticknor Hall (north side) – 1 American elm
- Boettcher Center (east side) – 1 silver maple
- French House (northeast corner) – 1 Colorado blue spruce
- Max Kade House (south side) – 1 silver maple
- Breton Hall (northwest corner) – 1 Douglas fir
- Slocum Hall (northwest side) – 1 ponderosa pine
- Palmer Hall (south) – 1 crabapple
- Armstrong Quad (north) – 1 American elm
- Armstrong Quad (west) – 2 ponderosa pine
- Armstrong Hall (east) – 1 Princess Kay plum
- Slocum Hall (east) – 2 Englemann spruce
- Jackson House (north) – 1 American elm
- Jackson House (east) – 1 cottonwood
- Interfaith House (south) – 1 silver maple
- Autrey Field (southeast corner) – 1 Siberian elm
- Stewart House (front doors) – 1 golden raintree
- Stewart House (parkway) – 1 Norway maple
- Pinetum – 1 juniper
By Joy Li ’18
Rockets, slime, telescopes, and engineering workshops were just a few of the things getting kids excited about science at the 2016 Big Cool Science Festival. This spring, more than 3,000 community members from Colorado Springs and the greater Front Range visited to the CC campus for the event, co-organized by the nonprofit organization Cool Science and CC’s Cool Science Club. The carnival-style experience was designed to help children gain interest in science by presenting a variety of scientific exhibitions and experiments.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo brought in plants, animals, insects, and fungus for a hands-on exhibit about wildlife in Colorado; young scientists explored the “micro world” with help from CC biology students; and presentations from the archeology, architectural, and aerospace sectors were just a few of dozens of on-site opportunities for festival participants.
The 2016 event was the largest in the past five years both in number of participants and in donations; $24,000 was raised to cover the cost of the festival.
CC’s Cool Science Club provided 70 student volunteers, who helped to organize and facilitate the
daylong event. The volunteers did everything from managing the booths to interacting with the participants to facilitating workshops and tours. Mark Straub, director of the Cool Science organization, says it’s great to work with CC students. “They do such a wonderful job managing this huge event,” he says.
The collaboration between CC students and the local nonprofit was established well before this year’s festival. The purpose of the Cool Science Club at CC is to work with the Cool Science organization to mentor at-risk elementary and middle school students, and help them develop an interest in science. CC students visit local schools monthly and facilitate science experiments. Stephanie Bui ’17, a leader of the CC Cool Science Club, says she gains a lot from the school visits. “It’s really heartwarming to know that kids are enjoying science and understand that science is not this formidable subject,” she says.
And the relationships the students begin in the classroom carry into the annual festival hosted on the CC campus. “It is a good liaison between the Colorado Springs community and CC,” says Bui of the festival, “especially for the marginalized students. We want them to experience what it’s like to be in college.” The festival not only strengthens the connection between CC and communities all over Colorado, it also provides the opportunity for CC students to volunteer and make connections with organizations throughout the community.
From innovation policy, to green technology, to social sustainability, scholars from across the globe have convened at CC as Dan Johnson, associate professor of economics and business, hosts “Innovation and Sustainability: Lessons from the History of India and Hopes for the Future” on campus this week. Sessions are June 9 and 10 and many are open to the public and the CC community: view the full program.
This multidisciplinary celebration of international scholarship about India brought scholars from India and around the world to CC to join in a conversation to further the regional initiative, IndiaLICS (Learning, Innovation, and Competence-building System), which aims to connect scholars who use the concepts of learning, innovation, and competence-building systems as their analytical framework.
The conference is already building community, both on the international and the local levels. Jay Patel has lived in Colorado Springs for 38 years and is a leader in the Indian community here, which he says has grown over the years. After hearing about Johnson’s proposal for hosting IndiaLICS at CC, and opportunities for the exchange of ideas, best practices, and innovations it would offer, Patel and the Colorado Springs Indian community jumped in to help fund it. The Colorado Springs South Asian Community puts on an annual Diwali event, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of India with festivities similar to Christmas in the U.S., to raise money each year for a local charity or nonprofit. This year, the event’s net proceeds helped fund the IndiaLICS academic conference.
Patel says he’s excited about the energy and ideas the conference brings to CC and Colorado Springs. “The world is not a small place anymore and ideas move quickly,” says Patel. “Who knows what ideas and innovations will be sparked here? This could really be putting [CC and Colorado Springs] at the forefront.”
Lakhwinder Singh, professor of economics at Punjabi University in India, is participating in the conference. He says his core teaching and research interest lies in the areas of innovations and development, and the theme of this conference coincides with his personal research work as well as the research work in progress at the Centre for Development Economics and Innovation Studies, of which he is a founding coordinator.
Singh says that with economists and other social scientists participating and presenting their work, the conference provides an opportunity for interaction with experts in the areas of innovation and development. “Hearing from them will allow me to better understand where public policy interventions in India are required,” he says. “The idea of collaborative research is to build capacity and identify gaps so that in the future, suitable public policy can be designed to meet the challenges that act as stumbling blocks in achieving India’s long-term sustainable economic development.”
One of the challenges Singh hopes to address is in India’s private industrial sector. “India’s national innovation system has some very big achievements, such as space technologies and pharmaceuticals,” Singh says, “but manufacturing and agriculture innovations lag behind, which is a big contributor to the poverty that persists in India.”
Singh adds that conferences, like IndiaLICS, help to begin collaborative efforts that can make a big impact. “There is an ample scope for collaboration across manufacturing and agriculture sectors where India direly needs new innovations, including various science and technology institutions and also with manufacturing firms and national governing organizations.” Representatives from those various sectors are convening on campus now and most sessions are free and open to the CC community and general public.
Patel says he’s hopeful many members of the local Indian community are in attendance; he plans to be. “I’d like to meet some of the intelligent people coming out and get a sense of what’s going on in India,” says Patel. “Much of that information-sharing could potentially affect Indians living here in Colorado Springs, many of whom have families and homes in India. By sharing ideas, putting something on the table, getting new thoughts, that really triggers innovation in its best form. So this will be terrific.”
By Montana Bass ’18
It’s that time of year, when the campus community fills Taylor Theatre for one of CC’s most popular performance events: “Relations,” a show that brings the sex lives of students to the stage.
Through online surveys, word of mouth, and written submissions, the show’s directors create a script that facilitates a conversation surrounding the intimacies of students’ experiences with sex, sexuality, and relationships. Nia Abram ’17, one of the directors, says this year’s show will specifically focus on intersectionality and how it plays out in sexual, emotional, and intimate encounters.
“This year the cast is much more diverse, with different racial and queer identities. We talk about issues of social justice and how that relates to our identities as sexual and intimate beings,” says Abram. Involving such a diverse group of cast members can also be an intimidating part of the process. Much of “Relations’” significance comes from an ability to show the CC sex scene from all angles, and preparation requires complete openness among cast members. Luckily, Abram says she is ready to rise to the challenge. “I am responsible for cultivating a safe and comfortable environment,” she notes, “As a director I have to mitigate a lot of differences in knowledge bases because not everyone was completely on the same page about these concepts.”
Thanks to the directors’ dedication to fostering this environment, actors have been able to commit themselves to their characters and their scenes, and ultimately learn deeply about themselves and their sexualities. “I auditioned because during the show last year, I was pulled into the experience,” says Christian Wulff ’17, a 2016 cast member. “A part of me realized that participating in “Relations” would be different than anything else I’ve ever been a part of, and I was right. This experience helps individuals create an openness with each other as a group.”
It is precisely the uniqueness of the group dynamic that enables “Relations” to make such a deep impact on audiences as well as on cast members. Katie Larsen ’18, who saw the show last year as a first-year student, can’t wait to attend again. “I think the best part is that it makes you feel so many emotions. I was crying one minute and laughing the next,” she says, “The way the story line is presented creates an opportunity to explore themes that are so incredibly central to our lives.”
If you’re looking for provocation to explore your identity and relationships, sexually and otherwise, attend “Relations.” Tickets are now available at Worner Campus Center and shows run Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Theatre.
By Montana Bass ’18
The next time you pick up a copy of CC’s alumni magazine, the Bulletin, realize that not only are you learning about the awesome lives of CC graduates, you’re also holding a publication that is truly environmentally responsible.
The Bulletin has a long history of being green. Sappi Opus, the paper used for printing, is made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. It is certified by both the Forestry Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which means it is approved by two of the most influential forest management and sustainability foundations. It’s also green-e certified, meaning that renewable energy is used in the paper production.
How could it get any greener? Enter PrintReLeaf. Tracking the amount of paper that clients order and consume, PrintReLeaf equates that data to the amount of trees used, and then plants the same amount of trees in areas where forests have been degraded or depleted. Felix Sanchez, CC’s creative director, says a representative from Triangle Printing in Denver where the Bulletin is printed, introduced him to PrintReLeaf.
“It was fairly easy to join the PrintReleaf program,” says Sanchez. “We have been a part of PrintReleaf for the past two issues of the Bulletin. An online account and a customized dashboard show how much paper we have used for each issue and how many trees have been planted based on our consumption. It’s a fun, interactive, and transparent way to understand our impact, not only in paper usage, but in global sustainability efforts, too.”
This system makes responsible paper usage and reforestation efforts highly tangible. The PrintReLeaf certificates and dashboards actually allow CC to follow the growth of trees planted in honor of paper used for the Bulletin.
“Right now, we are helping to replant trees in Brazil through the We Forest project, which is working to combat the progressive loss of biodiversity in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Rainforest Ecoregion. This helps contribute towards the restoration of some of the best and most extensive examples of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil,” explains Sanchez. “PrintReLeaf’s goal is to replant 700,000 to 1 million trees every year. It makes me feel good to know that we are contributing to this honorable endeavor.” From paper consumption of the past two editions of the Bulletin, CC has helped We Forest replant 431 trees.
CC’s partnership with PrintReLeaf doesn’t have to be limited to the Bulletin. Sanchez promises efforts are being made to work with other print vendors to enroll in PrintReleaf to monitor paper consumption for most printed publications in the Office of Communications.
Sanchez encourages students interested in seeing their everyday paper usage equated to reforestation efforts to push for PrintReleaf’s expansion. He adds, “students have a strong voice in the college’s sustainable efforts — in fact, most of the sustainable efforts at the college would not exist if it were not for the demands or activism of students.”