Posts in: Around Campus

Catch Up, Get Ahead, or Explore with Summer Session

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Whether students are looking to study a language abroad or knock out a major requirement, Summer Session 2017 offers them the opportunity to catch up, get ahead, or explore a new topic.

While Summer Session provides an opportunity to enroll in some of the same academic courses offered during the regular school year, there are also courses that explore more unique topics, such as American bluegrass and videogame culture and design. Off-campus summer courses apply academic subjects to specific locations; this summer offers study of Portuguese in Brazil, arts and culture of Bali, and environment and culture in the Himalayas.

Jim Burke, CC’s new director of Summer Sesison, says he’s excited for his second summer on campus and he, “wants Summer Session to continue to serve our students with dynamic and rewarding academics that explore a new subject matter or fulfill degree requirements.” He is also excited at the opportunity Summer Session provides for faculty, as they are able to “work on new projects and courses, and delve into new topics they may not get a chance to teach during the regular acadmic year.” For Summer 2017, more than half of the courses fulfill a degree requirement and/or one of CC’s general academic requirements, something Burke says many students have requested.

One new course being offered partially on campus this summer is Advanced Topics: On the Road — American Bluegrass, taught by Keith Reed, music instructor and director of the CC bluegrass ensembles. The music course focuses on how live performance has affected the development of American bluegrass. Students will spend half of the block in Nashville, Tennessee, working with professional musicians, recording their own music, and attending music festivals. Reed says the idea for the course grew from a grant he received two years ago for a student ensemble. He says, “that experience inspired students so much that I wanted to open it up to all students looking to experience the music industry through the process of touring, performing, jamming, and speaking to professionals in the music industry.” According to Reed, the course will “create a lasting bond with others through music and traveling as a group.”

Off campus, professors Miro Kummel, associate professor in the Environmental Program, and Brot Coburn, visting professor, are teaching the course Himalayan Odyssey: Environment, Culture, and Change in Nepal. Students will spend a block and a half looking at how the environment of the upper Buri Gandaki Valley is intertwined with the traditions and culture. This course fits in with what Burke explained as the “diverse range of topics and departments represented” in the summer courses. Combining ecology, geology, and climatology with culture and history, the course offers an intriguing mix of topics in a location across the world from CC.

Registration for Summer Session 2017 is open now.  Also coming up after Winter Break, the “Summer in January” event is a partnership between the Offices of the Dean and Student Life to promote all opportunities available to students over the summer and offer coordinated guidance on how students can be intentional when planning their summers.

You’re invited Thursday, Jan. 26, noon-1:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall to learn about Summer 2017 opportunities, funding resources, applications and deadlines, and/or experiences to consider. No RSVP is needed and lunch is provided. Resources involved include: Summer Session, Career Center, research offices (Public Interest Fellowship Program, Venture Grants), Collaborative for Community Engagement, Outdoor Education, The Quad, and State of the Rockies.

Robert Redford Joins Courtney Blackmer ’16 on Her Film “The Confluence”

The Confluence

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Courtney Blackmer ’16 synthesized her interest in film and Southwest studies for her 2016 thesis documentary “The Confluence,” which has been shown at venues across the Southwest and has been invited to screen at the Grand Canyon Youth Film Festival. This past fall, Robert Redford —  actor, director, producer, environmentalist, and the founder of the Sundance Institute — joined the project as the executive producer, furthering the short film’s acclaim.

The film centers on the Navajo people local to the Grand Canyon area and the proposed Escalade Development, which would allow a hotel, RV center, restaurant, and other resort attractions to be built on the rim of the canyon, directly above the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. Even more invasive, the plan includes a 1.4-mile tramway that would shuttle thousands of visitors a day to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to where the rivers join. This area is considered sacred to numerous Native American peoples, including Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni, and while proponents of the development say this will stimulate the local economy, many see it as desecration of a sacred site.

The film features members of the Navajo community as they speak about their lives and tell stories of their origin, many of which focus on the confluence, where legend says the Navajo people first came from. By combining these personal and honest conversations with striking shots of the Grand Canyon area and community around it, the film “explores how the physical landscapes of the Grand Canyon shape the cultural, emotional and spiritual landscapes of the Navajo people who inhabit it,” describes Blackmer.

“I am deeply concerned by the challenges facing native communities and I wanted to find a way to be an ally to them,” Blackmer says of her inspiration to start this film, “I am also intrigued and inspired by the wealth of land-based knowledge in native traditions.  I saw this as an opportunity to learn from the Navajo people about land stewardship, environmental activism and the spiritual significance of the natural world.” Blackmer’s upbringing in Colorado helped fuel her film as well; by “growing up rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River, I have a deep love and respect for this river which has shaped my experience of myself and my world. In this way, my characters and I share the understanding that places make us who we are,” she says.

Blackmer, who majored in film and media studies and minored in Southwest studies at CC, recognizes that her film would not be what it is without the help of several people. “I have been collaborating from the very start with my friend from CC, Isaac Salay ’16, who grew up on the Navajo Nation. He had vital connections to the Navajo community and was a fantastic cultural liaison.” In addition, she had the help of two experienced cinematographers, Isaiah Branch-Boyle and Adam Amir, who devoted a month of their time to helping her shoot striking footage and develop the story further.

Redford joined Blackmer’s team in the fall and has encouraged her to make further edits; they have also begun to seek a larger audience for the film.

“Our shared interests in documentary filmmaking, environmental activism, and advocating for the rights of native peoples make this an excellent collaboration; I feel very lucky,” she says of the opportunity to work with Redford.

Finally, and most central to the film, is the Save the Confluence organization, which supplied the main characters of the film — the Navajo activists who are fighting for preservation. Blackmer acknowledges the importance of their involvement, saying “they took a risk and decided to trust me with their stories. This was a tremendous honor and a responsibility that I took very seriously.”

The film is receiving acclaim throughout the Southwest and has recently been invited to screen at Northern Arizona University and Prescott College. It has also been invited for submission to a number of other film festivals, including the Durango Film Festival, Reel Paddling Film Festival, and Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival. “A story isn’t worth much if there is nobody there to listen to it, so I feel very lucky and honored that my film is reaching so many people,” Blackmer says. “The most important audience to reach is the Navajo audience, because this is their story and they are the ones who get to decide whether or not this development moves forward.”

You can view Blackmer’s film for free, and hear from Redford and learn more about the Escalade project and the Navajo people fighting against it on the ‘Save the Confluence’ website.

CC Students Take Stand at Standing Rock

Standing Rock protest

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota made national news for months as members of the Sioux tribe, as well as many other tribes and non-Native American people, protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

CC students were among the thousands who participated in the protests. A number of native students, as well as the Native American Student Union, or NASU, drove to North Dakota during the first block break to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux.

According to Zunneh-Bah Martin ’19, the chair of NASU, the goal of the trip was “to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and to help in any way that we could while we were there in person.” The students brought winter clothes, food, and other necessary items to the camp in Standing Rock, after collecting donations. For Martin, the impact of the trip was substantial. She says that her time in Standing Rock made her want to extend her visit, because she felt her presence there could make a difference. Martin says her own experience growing up on the reservation of the Diné/Navajo people shaped her experience at the protest.

“I could relate to what the Standing Rock Lakota people were going through,” she says. “I know what it feels like to be treated as the minority of the minorities and as a second-class citizen as indigenous people.” Martin also returned to Standing Rock over Fall Break with her family, as they view the Thanksgiving holiday as a “time to educate others as to why this is not a holiday that should be celebrated.”

On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying a permit for construction of a key section of the pipeline, which is a major victory for the people of Standing Rock and other indigenous people around the country who are involved in the protest. They say the pipeline would destroy sacred lands for the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as greatly restrict their water access. The protest has also sparked controversy over Native American rights to their own land.

 

Welcome New Employees as a CC Ambassador

Would you like to meet brand new CC staff members, share all of your favorite parts of CC, and build relationships across campus? That’s what members of the inaugural class of CC ambassadors have been doing over the past year.

“I want them to know immediately that they are welcomed into the college and that they have someone they can turn to about the culture of the campus, strategies for communicating, cool hangouts, and where to find some great places to eat,” says Lyrae Williams, associate vice president for institutional planning and effectiveness, who served as one of the college’s first ambassadors this year.

The goal of the program is to provide a talented CC resource to new staff that can answer questions about CC, foster connections across campus, and assist the new employee in achieving performance excellence. It’s an important resource that doesn’t work without your help! For the 2015-16 academic year, 18 individuals accepted the role of CC ambassador.

“I choose to be part of the program because I believe it is important for our community to embrace new colleagues beyond just onboarding them into their new roles,” says Williams. “These colleagues bring new perspectives and experiences, and it is important that they be given the opportunity to meet our community beyond their own departments and for our community to meet them. The rhythms of the block spill over into all parts of the college, and it is so easy to get caught up in our own sphere of work that we forget to commune with our colleagues. This program provides one avenue for colleagues from different areas of the college to meet, get to know each other, and learn a little bit about each area of the college.”

Jim Burke recently joined CC as the director of Summer Session and says the CC ambassador program helped him feel connected right away. “One of the largest challenges when I joined CC was quickly meeting the large number of stakeholders Summer Session has across campus,” he says. “Luckily, I was paired with an ambassador, Lyrae Williams, who generously shared her contacts across campus, helped me set up introductory meetings, and invited me to events around campus where she would introduce me to faculty and staff in a relaxed and fun setting.”

 It’s a program that Burke says not only allows the ambassadors to give back to new employees, but that also inspires the participants to want to do the same.

“The generosity of time and willingness to share connections has been so rewarding,” Burke says. “At every faculty luncheon, or department event, or In the Loop, Lyrae finds me, checks in on how I’m doing at work and in life, and invariably connects me with someone new. Moving to a new school in a new city, this welcoming gesture is extremely meaningful and makes me want to get involved in the ambassador program and pay Lyrae’s generosity forward to any new faculty/staff.”

The Office of Human Resources is looking to grow the program and is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2016-17 class of CC ambassadors. To become a CC ambassador, send an email to Paul Schilli, senior talent acquisition manager, stating why you would make a great CC ambassador. To nominate a CC ambassador, send an email to Paul Schilli with the employee’s name and why they would make a great CC ambassador. Learn more about the program.

 

Dana Cronin ’17 Racks Up Miles, Experience at 91.5 KRCC

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Dana Cronin ’17, has spent a large portion of her CC career interning with 91.5 KRCC , Colorado College’s NPR-member station. From pitching stories to interviewing sources, Cronin’s internship has introduced her to all aspects of radio, giving her the opportunity to write, record, and produce her stories.

“Throughout my two and a half years at 91.5 KRCC, I’ve learned so much about how to be a good journalist,” Cronin says of her internship, “I’ve learned how to write meaningful and thorough stories about a huge variety of topics. I’ve also developed my radio voice, which is a lot harder than it sounds!” She also says she’s learned a lot about the community and broader listening area through “interviewing people, attending local meetings, and reaching out to the general community 91.5 KRCC serves,” in order to create relevant pieces.

One of her latest stories even took her to the top of some of Colorado’s highest peaks, where she learned about the labor-intensive maintenance of the trails up the state’s 14,000-foot mountains and the hardworking people who work at such high altitudes. Cronin says many people, herself included at first, “don’t realize the amount of time, energy, and money that goes into maintaining Colorado’s high peaks,” making this an important story to tell.

Besides the actual labor of hiking the mountain, Cronin says the hardest part about writing the story was editing down the information, interviews, and sound bites. “I started with about five hours of interviews and recordings, and the story ended up being five minutes long,” describes Cronin. Finding herself personally attached to many of the sources, this was no easy task.

91.5 KRCC “Morning Edition” host and managing editor, and Cronin’s supervisor, Andrea Chalfin, describes the hard work Cronin’s put in. “I’ve worked with Dana in the 91.5 KRCC newsroom for the majority of her college career, and I’m really proud of the work she’s done for us. Aside from literally climbing a couple of mountains for this piece, she was able to pull the story together fairly easily. It’s a testament to her work ethic and experience at Colorado College and in the newsroom.”

Cronin hopes to continue in radio and will be applying for radio internships for next year. Read or listen to Cronin’s fourteener piece or take a look at some of her other work on the 91.5 KRCC website.

Professor Emeritus Gamer Finds Composition Inspiration in CC Logo

CC logo

By Alana Aamodt ’18

The open skies and towering mountains around Colorado Springs have long inspired artists — Katharine Lee Bates, while working at CC, found inspiration from them to create her famous poem, “America the Beautiful,” for example. The new CC logo, introduced in January, takes the same inspiration, incorporating these mountains and clear skies into its design.

From this logo, Carlton Gamer, professor emeritus of music, found his own inspiration for a new musical composition, which will be performed by the CC Concert Band on Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

Gamer, a professor at CC from 1954-1994, taught a vast array of music courses as well as interdisciplinary courses ranging from Asian studies to history. He has composed more than 70 pieces that have been played all over the world. Still connected to the CC community, Gamer’s new piece “Mountains and Skies: A CC Fanfare” attempts to depict CC’s logo through music.

Gamer interpreted the two “C’s” on the logo as musical pitches. “It has two mountains,” he explains, “a big one and a little one, that can be conveyed in musical terms, the big ones by layers of low brass instruments, the little one by layers of low woodwind instruments. It has a clear background, the sky, which can be suggested by lighter layers of higher-pitched woodwind instruments.”

The buildup of a series of chords creates the “mountains,” trumpets cut across the piece, playing “C, C,” and the flares of the high woodwinds are reminiscent of the sharp diagonals of the logo. The effect is “chord-mountains” that rise and fall, eventually climaxing: “Finally, a big chord built on C arrives, and the mountains that form on this chord, the flares in the woodwinds, and a final flourish in the trumpets create the climax of the piece,” Gamer says.

Gamer took care in making his work both technically challenging and accessible for CC student musicians. He hopes that this balance, in combination with the piece’s deep connection to CC, will make it enjoyable to play and listen to, possibly becoming “a staple of the CC Concert Band repertoire.”

Come hear Gamer’s new work during the Colorado College Concert Band performance, “The American Experience,” directed by Jeremy Van Hoy and featuring rock, jazz, and music inspired by World War II Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30-9 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

Need to Know Fall Break Info

CC’s Fall Break began this week with the conclusion of Block 3 and officially runs through Sunday, Nov. 27. The break provides students a respite from classes and an opportunity to spend time on campus or at home or to take advantage of opportunities for trips, service work, or CC-sponsored programs.

The Outdoor Recreation Committee sponsors free BreakOut trips during weekends, block breaks, and Spring Break. BreakOut trips are student-led and focus on community service. This year, the trips are also being offered during Fall Break. Students are visiting Mission: Wolf, a nonprofit wolf sanctuary in Westcliffe, Colorado, during the first four days of the break. The sanctuary cares for captive wolves and educates people on the danger of keeping wolves as pets. Students on the trip will help with daily tasks, such as feeding the wolves and maintaining the sanctuary.

Another trip is going to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort for camping and hiking Nov. 21-22. A third takes place at the end of the break, Nov. 25-27, and is going to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Sign up on Summit.

Also happening over Fall Break: Two home hockey games, one against University of Wisconsin, Friday, Nov. 25, at 7:37 p.m., and against the U.S. Air Force Academy Saturday, Nov. 26, at 6:07 p.m. Both are at the Broadmoor World Arena.

Additionally, these things may be helpful as you are supporting students and answering questions about the Fall Break schedule and resources.

Housing

Housing is available for students who have requested accommodations. Students who have obligations with the college, are members of an athletics team in season, or who have a special circumstance that may warrant “break stay approval” were invited to request accommodations from their residential life coordinator earlier this month.

Meals

Bon Appetit food service locations Benji’s, The Preserve, Local Goods, and Chas Coffee will be closed Nov. 17-27.  Rastall will have limited service Nov. 17-22, serving lunch only during the weekdays and closed Nov. 19, 20, and 23-26. Rastall will open on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m.  Students staying on campus can use their Tiger Bucks to order microwavable pack-out meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner through Bon Appetit.

The CC Thanksgiving Luncheon takes place Thursday, Nov. 24, 12:30-2 p.m. in Bemis Great Hall. Faculty and staff are also welcome to participate. This event is free and does not require students to use their meal plan. All are welcome; no RSVP needed.

Transportation

Throughout Fall Break, shuttle service to Walmart will be available to students approved for Fall Break housing. Contact Campus Safety: (719) 389-6707. Campus Safety can also assist with student transportation due to unexpected injuries or illness.

Special Events

Students who have been approved for housing over the break will receive additional information about on-campus programs and free trips off-campus directly via email.

Health and Safety

Residential life coordinators and resident assistants will remain in some halls and are accessible for all students. Students staying on campus will receive detailed information via email.

Campus Safety non-emergency number: (719) 389-6707

Campus Safety emergency number: (719) 389-6911

Over Fall Break, the Office of Residential Life and Campus Activities will continue to offer support to students and opportunities for engagement and community. The goal is to ensure that students remaining on campus have a safe and enjoyable Fall Break.

For further information, please contact Yolany Gonell, director of residential life and campus activities, yolany.gonell@coloradocollege.edu or Rochelle Mason, senior associate dean of students, rmason@coloradocollege.edu

Presentation, Panel Looks at ‘The Future of College Art Museums’

Jessica Hunter-Larsen, left, and Sharon Corwin tour the collection at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Sharon Corwin, professor of art, chief curator, and the Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art, delivered a presentation on Nov. 3 titled “The Future of College Art Museums,” highlighting the bridge the Colby College Museum of Art is building between academic and public communities. Many affiliated with the historic Colorado College-Fine Arts Center alliance attended the presentation and subsequent panel discussion, which was moderated by Rebecca Tucker, CC professor of art and FAC museum director.

Corwin praised Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for the innovative, collaborative model that is being developed between the two, noting that the partnership can serve a model for others in the field.

Corwin says the Colby College Museum of Art’s primary goals are: to serve as a teaching resource for faculty and students; be a destination for visitors to the area; and contribute to the cultural landscape of the region. But, she says, “Academic engagement is the heart and soul of what we do.”

The Colby College Museum of Art, founded in 1959, has nearly 8,000 works and a collection that specializes in American and contemporary art with additional, select collections of Chinese antiquities and European paintings and works on paper.

The Colby College Museum of Art actively is partnering with other regional cultural institutions such as the Asia Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York City, which is helping to raise the museum’s national profile and level of scholarship, Corwin says.

The Colby museum also seeks to build professional experiences, mentorships, and networking opportunities for its students by offering internships at the museum as well as partnering with other institutions. Among those are the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Glasgow. “We want our students to have rich professional experiences,” Corwin says.

Colorado College’s I.D.E.A. Space programming, now in place for more than a decade, already incorporates many of these themes. CC’s program, begun in 2006, was designed from the outset so that exhibitions would be integrated into the teaching mission of the college.

The program has evolved over the years, says I.D.E.A. Space Curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen. “It has developed not so much through the establishment of a template, but through relationships with faculty to build understandings of their needs and how interaction with the visual arts can support teaching.”

She notes that curated projects allow students to respond to exhibition themes, contribute original research, analysis, or creative work to the exhibitions. “In what I’m calling an iterative exhibition model, some exhibitions continue to evolve over the course of two blocks, as we add students’ contributions. Exhibits are not ‘done,’ but evolve as layers of scholarship and multi-interpretations are added,” she says.

Additionally, students often present their work to the public. “It holds them accountable to a larger audience than their professors, makes them really think through the subject material,” she says. “You have to understand your topic thoroughly to describe it in 300 words or less to a novice audience.”

Some projects comprise a large portion of work over a block. One example is “Atomic Landscapes,” an exhibition that examined the nuclear history of the Southwest through the work of five contemporary artists. In the block prior to the Atomic Landscapes exhibition, students in Eric Perramond’s class Nature, Region and Society of the Southwest researched nuclear-related sites in New Mexico and wrote exhibition text that was included when the exhibit opened. Perramond is director of the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies and director of the State of the Rockies Project.

Highlighting the program’s interdisciplinary nature, three other classes contributed to the exhibition during its run in Blocks 7 and 8: Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy Marion Hourdequin’s class Environmental Ethics contributed text; a Sound Art class created a sonic landscape inspired by the exhibition’s theme and visual materials that was included in the exhibition; and students in Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre and Dance Shawn Womack’s Participatory Art class interviewed senior citizens at a local community center about their memories of the bombing of Hiroshima or Cold War experiences, then performed monologues based on those narratives.

Another project highlighted in the presentation was a community partnership with Kris Stanec’s Power of the Arts in Education class. Stanec, assistant chair and lecturer in CC’s Education Department, says students work with area teachers to establish learning outcomes for an interaction with an IDEA exhibition. Students then develop and lead “tours” for area schoolchildren. The goal is to develop dynamic, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based interactions that meet teachers’ specific learning objectives and fulfill common core requirements.  Stanec hopes to demonstrate that learning in a museum can occur through means other than lectures, wall text, and head phones.

Says Hunter-Larsen, “these programs have been successful due to the experimental nature of CC’s faculty, their willingness to take risks with teaching.”

“There are boundless collaborative opportunities here,” says Perramond. The alliance “can enrich faculty approaches in new ways. I’m excited about this because it re-engages us in what drew many of us to the liberal arts in the first place,” he says.

In addition to Corwin, Hunter-Larsen, Stanec, and Perramond, panelists included Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Mario Montano, CC professor of anthropology.

Cynthia Lowen ’01 Shares Insights into Innovation

Cynthia Lowen '01

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Cynthia Lowen ’01, poet, writer, and producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary “Bully,” is visiting CC this block, sharing insight into her creative process, her experience as an artist, and how she innovates social change through her own creativity.

She spoke on campus Thursday, Nov. 3, as part of CC’s Innovative Minds series, which features speakers from various industries and backgrounds and allows them to share insights from their personal and professional experiences, and is a block visitor teaching a screenwriting course in the Department of Film and Media Studies during Block 3.

According to Jill Lange, program manager for Innovation at CC, Lowen “has maintained ties with the college in various capacities over the years” and Lange was excited when Lowen accepted the invitation to speak. Lange says she’s proud to showcase Lowen’s success in “navigating her own innovative, artistic career path.”

Lowen is an award-winning poet and film writer and a recipient of the Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Prize. She wrote and produced the 2012 documentary “Bully,” which focuses on childhood bullying in America’s schools. “Bully” was nominated for two Emmys, and was awarded the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism and the 2013 Stanley Cramer Award, among others. After the production of “Bully,” Lowen co-wrote “The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention and Intervention.” She has also published a poetry collection called “The Cloud That Contained the Lightning,” which won the 2012 National Poetry Series.

Next up on Innovation Thursdays: A Big Idea workshop titled “Minimum Viable Product” Thursday, Nov. 10, 4-5p.m. Morreale Carriage House for students interested in participating in the Big Idea competition to understand “what is a MVP, why it’s important and what it’s used for.

Venture Grants Fund Growth and Exploration for CC Students

By Alana Aadmot ’18

Keller Venture Grants, made possible by the Keller Family Foundation, allow hundreds of Colorado College students to create and implement their own research projects by providing students up to $1,000. Last year, the program provided nearly $150,000 in student research funds and saw 146 CC students pursue their own individual research projects on campus, across the United States, and around the world.

Last Spring Break, Celia O’Brien ’18 pursued her project titled “Teachers at Busesa Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School, Uganda.”  O’Brien spent three months teaching fifth grade students at this same school back in 2014 as part of her gap year, which served as inspiration for her project.

“I was really affected by my time there,” she elaborates, “I knew I needed to somehow find my way back. I took Professor Charlotte Mendoza’s Globalization of Education course my first year, and that sparked the idea to apply for a Venture Grant to return to the school and dig a little deeper.”

O’Brien formulate her idea into a plan to investigate the teachers at a particular school and the growing role of English in their classrooms. Particularly, she wanted to study what factors shape teachers’ lives, the daily and long-term challenges they face, and the experiences that shape and motivate them as teachers.

O’Brien’s research involved a series of interviews with teachers as well as classroom observations to learn “how the teachers interacted with the students, how they organized the class, and especially how they used English versus their local language,” she says.

“I was surprised to learn how much of themselves they invest in their students in unseen, or at least subtler ways,” O’Brien says of her results. “They spend so much time and energy and thought on the kids. This quality, I learned, isn’t very common in Ugandan schools; at this one (Busesa), the high quality and dedication of the teachers attracted new students every day I was there.” This popularity, O’Brien learned, brought new challenges to the school, leading her to explore not only the successes of the school but also the consequences of a success, all thanks to her Venture Grant.

Soren Frykholm ’17 also received Venture Grant funding, on two separate occasions, to enact his own projects. He pursued his first Venture Grant, “Going the Distance: The Effects of Travel on Team,” in the summer of 2015. Frykholm, a member of CC’s varsity men’s soccer team, traveled to England, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany with the team to play soccer, and with the aid of a Venture Grant, he was able to create a documentary film of their experiences.

“During our travels, I used my camera and some audio gear that I borrowed from CC’s film department to conduct interviews with all my teammates and many of the people we encountered on our trip,” describes Frykholm. “Over the course of 18 days, we played ten soccer games in four countries, toured many historic cities, volunteered at several local schools, and much more. I captured many of our best moments on camera.” The result was a ten-minute documentary, with a 25-minute extended edition, that examined the travel’s effect on the team and helped Frykholm grow his filmmaking skills.

“It slowly evolved to feature more of the people we were meeting instead of just the guys on our team,” he says of the progression of his project, “it became increasingly about not only the camaraderie forming between us, but also about the international connections we were making and the implications of the fact that we were acting as ambassadors for our school and our country. I ended up interviewing many of our hosts, some of whom were CC alumni, and others we met.”

Frykholm says he hopes that his work and the conversations it created inspired his team to do some deeper thinking “about the opportunities we have as CC students to expand our intellectual, cultural, and humanistic horizons,” like it did for him.

These are just two examples of the ways Venture Grants can be interpreted and enacted. Read more about Venture Grants and explore grants from years past. Or, hear from Venture Grant recipients at the 2016 Keller Venture Grant Forum Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Celeste Theatre. The event begins with presentations at 4:15 p.m., followed by a reception in Cornerstone Main Space at 5:15 p.m.