Posts in: Upcoming Events
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.
Monica Black ’19
Humans are attached to their stuff.
This is the idea behind behavioral economics, a blossoming field in finance. The typical neoclassical, traditional economic vision of the human psyche is that it is rational and wants to maximize profits, but behavioral economics, which only came into vogue in the 1970s, takes into consideration the innate irrationality of humans when it comes to economic decision-making. The psychology of the consumer can affect the market.
On Wednesday, April 27, Richard Thaler , professor of economics at the University of Chicago will be giving a talk titled “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.”
Thaler is considered one of the fathers of behavioral economics, a young field.
Mark Smith, CC professor of economics, was instrumental in bringing Thaler to campus. Smith says, “I wanted to bring him to campus because behavioral economics is one of the most exciting trends in economics today.”
Two of Thaler’s books, “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” (2015) and “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Wealth, Health, and Happiness” (2009), lay out his theory and practical applications for the thinking consumer. “I have used both books as required supplemental readings in my microeconomics courses to expose my students to behavioral economics,” says Smith.
Though many students may be put off by the seemingly niche title, behavioral economics’ daily applications are manifold. In “Nudge,” Thaler and co-author Cass Sunstein detail ways that an understanding of behavioral economics can help people save money, encourage contributions to charity, and take care of their health. It also allows us to understand why we are so shortsighted when it comes to impactful economic decisions, and how to rewire that tendency.
“[Thaler] should be interesting to anyone who is interested in economics, public policy, psychology, judgment and decision-making, and simply how people think,” says Smith, who specializes in environmental economy and is interested in the policy implications of Thaler’s work. “He will be a provocative speaker. I think people will enjoy his stories.”
By Montana Bass ’18
“Shakespeare was an extraordinary genius and there’s no better way to begin to discover [Shakespeare], than by actually speaking him,” says Andrew Manley, associate professor of theatre. Students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to do just that this Friday from 6-9 p.m. in Cornerstone Main Space. Manley says he created CC’s first “Sonnet-A-Thon” in the spirit of community celebration, with participants reciting all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The sonnets are short, 14 lines each, so are accessible for those inexperienced in theatre and literature. “I think they’re cool,” says Abigayle Cosinuke ’16, who will be performing. “They’re very concise, but cover such a range of feelings. Everyone knows Shakespeare but not that many people have read a lot of the sonnets and also don’t realize how relevant and accessible they are.”
With 154 to choose from, it’s not hard to find one with a personal ring to it. Tinka Avramova ’16 connected with “Sonnet 47,” which she explains is about longing and the way that feelings of love are intensified when looking at one’s loved one. “I think I was struggling with not being with the person I love and wanting to see them,” she explains.
Cosinuke chose “Sonnet 142” for its uniqueness. “It’s the only sonnet written in octets,” she says. “It’s also about hate, which is unusual and fun because it’s so dramatic. They think it’s about his wife, Anne Hathaway. I actually already have it memorized because I recited it in high school when I went on a theatre trip and we visited Anne Hathaway’s house.”
The reciting of all of these works will give audience members and performers a chance to connect personally with one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time. Manley adds, “This is a reminder that we are still performing Shakespeare after all this time. His poems are still relevant – they speak to us across 400 years. That’s amazing!” And, according to Cosinuke, “Shakespeare is bae,” so don’t miss out.
Five student teams are preparing to battle it out at CC’s annual Big Idea pitch competition Tuesday, April 5. Teams will present compelling pitches for their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges and at the end of the event, the judges award a monetary prize, $50,000, to the winning team(s), providing seed money for launching the students’ ideas. The competition supports CC’s strategic initiative to provide resources, structure, and encouragement to students and faculty as they investigate social and environmental challenges, understand the context in which they exist, identify sustainable solutions, and put them into action. Presented by Innovation@CC and Mountain Chalet, the competition takes place 4-6 p.m. in Celeste Theatre. Come out and see who wins, plus CC students in attendance can win prize drawings. Learn about this year’s competitors: I-Vest Colorado, Lion of the Sea, Neonic, Pick Up, and Spindle.
The five teams competing at the event are:
I-Vest Colorado: I-Vest Colorado is an online crowdfunding platform that serves as an intermediary between local non-accredited investors and local startup companies.
King of the Sea: Lion of the Sea seeks to grow a regular market for consumption of a tasty, exotic seafood: Lionfish. Lion of the Sea will connect with fishing operations in the Caribbean and West Atlantic to harvest Lionfish and thereby reduce the negative impact Lionfish have on aquatic ecosystems.
Neonic: By creating an interactive way in which concert-goers can become part of the performance, Neonic uses people’s smartphones to create a unique crowd-sized canvas of art.
Pick Up: Pick Up is a cloud platform that helps colleges and their students improve the intramural sports experience.
Spindle: Using neurotechnology, Spindle is creating a ‘smart mask’ to improve memory retention and enhance the function of the brain.
By Montana Bass ’18
Kathryn Mohrman Theatre will be completely packed with students Wednesday evening, predicts Kristi Erdal, psychology professor, as they anxious await Kay Redfield Jamison’s delivery of the annual Sabine Distinguished Lecture in Psychology.
Jamison is the author of the bestselling memoir “An Unquiet Mind,” which details her personal struggle with bipolar disorder. She is also Dalio Family Professor in Mood Disorders, Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins School of Medicine, and a “Hero of Medicine” according to TIME magazine, Her lecture Wednesday, March 30, at 7 p.m., “Touched With Fire: Mood Disorders, The Arts, and Creativity,” should be especially interesting to CC’s creatively charged campus.
Mood disorders, which Jamison describes as “devastating illness with high suicide rates,” are particularly relevant to college students as onset typically occurs at college age. It is for this reason, Jamison says, that she made a commitment relatively early in her career to spend as much time as possible on college campuses and at medical schools talking to students. “When ‘An Unquiet Mind’ came out, I asked my publisher if I could gear my appearances more toward students,” she says, “I really enjoy talking to them. They tend to be very interested in subjects related to mood disorders and creativity.”
It was not until she began teaching at UCLA that Jamison herself was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “Before I became ill, my interests ranged all over the place,” she says, “I studied animal behavior, pain, and a host of subjects before I turned my focus to mania.” Despite her disorder, Jamison’s passion led her to make incredible contributions to both science and literature.
“She was a professor at a time when not many women were accepted into the field of psychiatry and has done it all while struggling with a severe mental illness,” says Erdal. “For years, students have been talking to me about their interest in her research and her ability to communicate. Once I read her work, I could see why they were so moved by it. She doesn’t hold back or paint mental illness in any sort of broad strokes.”
Despite the fact that Jamison’s works have received a multitude of praise and provided profound hope and insight for many readers, she admits that English was never part of her academic studies. “I always read a lot. At some point, I just started writing more,” she explains. “It’s more about loving literature. Writing is just so intrinsically fascinating and rewarding.”
According to Erdal, in Jamison’s case, beautiful writing translates to beautiful speaking. “I know that she is a tremendous speaker, very straightforward,” Erdal says “I think she can peel away a lot in just an hour because of the legitimacy of what she’s saying. Students will gain a deeper understanding not just of the connection between mood disorders and creativity, but of the nature of these diseases.”
By Monica Black ’19
With chatter on campus about tough issues growing to a dull roar, a student-led forum for sharing stories allows individuals to share their experiences in a way that cuts through all the noise. At Story Slam, students and faculty tell their stories in front of a microphone in Sacred Grounds, where a crowd gathers to listen and support.
Students, faculty members, and staff audition stories, then the directors of Story Slam, Lena Engelstein ’16, Abby Portman ’16, and Madi Howard ’16, select their favorites and curate the show accordingly. Each block has a theme and the stories must fit, more or less, within that theme. Past examples include “Lost and Found” and “Borderline.”
“I’m attached to the stories being on the theme,” said Engelstein. “But we also look for a story with an arc.”
Portman added, “I look for what you would come away with after the story.” The stories, beyond these criteria, range hugely: some are funny, some are moving.
Engelstein, Portman, and Howard started Story Slam during Block 3 as the continuation of a prototype version last academic year. The Slam is modeled after the popular storytelling radio show “The Moth,” which is a recorded version of a live story slam.
Listeners love “The Moth” for its unique format, funny and moving stories, and celebrity appearances, but Story Slam emphasizes that this type of platform on a college campus has a particular role. “People that you see around campus, but who you don’t necessarily know, are telling really relatable stories,” said Engelstein. “Your image of that person changes [when you hear their story].”
One such example of breaking down those day-to-day barriers is when Kathy Giuffre, an associate professor and chair of the Sociology Department, told a love story at one Story Slam. “She was just as nervous as the students to tell her story,” said Portman. “She was hugging everyone who was about to tell a story too, and there was this nervous excitement. She’s just like another human who has a story. It’s not really about her position at CC, or how distinguished she is.”
The Slam can also air difficult topics, right out of the mouths of those who experience them. “We had two stories last slam about sexual assault,” said Portman. “There are lots of voices on campus talking about those issues through other media, but I thought it was really interesting that they could tell their own story.”
Story Slam happens the third Sunday of each block in Sacred Grounds, so for Block 6 you can catch Story Slam this Sunday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. The theme is “Stranger.” Auditions are the first week of every block, and Block 7’s theme is “Crush.”
Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors,” will bring her expertise to the Colorado College campus March 3. Finney is currently a geography faculty member at the University of Kentucky.
In a time when racial tension has exploded on college campuses across the country, including CC, and environmental discussion is at the forefront of political and social debate, Finney facilitates conversations regarding the intersectionality of these topics. “We have a long history of marginalizing people, and the environment is included in that,” Finney says. “It doesn’t mean that black or brown people haven’t had a relationship with the environment, but that relationship differs depending on their unique experience and history. We have developed a culture that pushes a universal way of looking at things, and that classic narrative isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not truly universal.”
It’s thanks to Drew Cavin, director of the Office of Field Study, that students will have the opportunity to discuss such topics with Finney. “I had a strong hunch that a large portion of the missing sense of inclusivity at CC was due to the ethos around nature, outdoor adventure, and the environment. I know from my research that these things do not resonate equally with all people for a variety of different reasons, but largely, I think, because of our country’s past and present of systemic racism, and the cultural paths that have emerged in different communities because of those systems,” says Cavin of his push to bring Finney to CC.
Both Cavin and Finney are excited about her visit to campus, and hope students will be, too. “As soon as I start talking about it I’m pacing back and forth,” she exclaims. “I love hearing about what people are experiencing.”
Find full event information at: “Black Faces, White Spaces.”
By Montana Bass ’18
Part of the Cornerstone Arts Initiative, a 13-year-old program that emphasizes collaborative, interdisciplinary arts teaching linked by current and developing technologies, Cornerstone Arts Week is a series of talks, screenings, performances, and exhibits that celebrates artistic collaboration around an annual theme. The theme for 2016 is “Where Is Hollywood?” The week provides a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary events that address conceptions of Hollywood as a “cultural factory,” as a metaphor/mythology, and as a physical space.
Cornerstone Arts Week is sponsored by the Film and Media Studies Program, the Cultural Attractions Fund, the NEH Professorship, Innovation@CC, the IDEA Space, the History Department, the Economics Department, the English Department, Student Life, The Butler Center, the Office of Residential Life and Campus Activities, the Career Center, and the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute.
MONDAY, Feb. 22
4:30 p.m. Coburn Gallery: Reception and Artist Talks. “Staged: Constructed Realities, Altered Worlds.”
Exhibit runs January 29-March 5, 2016
“Staged” explores the ways in which photographers — like filmmakers or authors — can create new worlds, construct different realities, or narrate alternative histories. Building carefully imagined scenes, the photographers featured in the exhibition variously take on the roles of director, stage and costume designer, make-up artist, and occasionally, of performer. Featured artists: Bill Adams, Carol Dass, Carol Golemboski, Heather Oelklaus, Emma Powell, and Sally Stockhold.
6:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Screening and discussion: “The Last Picture Show” (1971), dir. Peter Bogdanovich. This classic of the “New Hollywood,” the second golden age of Hollywood cinema, won two Academy Awards and is preserved in the Library of Congress. Post-film discussion will be led by CC faculty.
TUESDAY, Feb. 23
4 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: “Directed by John Ford” (1971-2006), dir. Peter Bogdanovich. This documentary examines the life and work of Hollywood Golden Age artist John Ford.
6:30 p.m. Celeste Theatre: Keynote Address with Peter Bogdanovich – “Where is Hollywood?”
This event will be live-streamed.
The keynote speaker for 2016 is director, actor, and film historian Peter Bogdanovich. As the Oscar-nominated director of celebrated films including “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), and “Paper Moon” (1973), Bogdanovich was a key figure in the 1970s American cinema renaissance known as the New Hollywood. His most recent film, “She’s Funny That Way” (2015), stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson and premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Bogdanovich has written more than 12 books on film and filmmaking, among them “Who the Devil Made It” (1997), which features interviews with 16 legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, George Cukor, and Howard Hawks; with Orson Welles, “This is Orson Welles” (1998), and his classic interview book “John Ford,” which has been continuously in print since its first edition in 1967. He is a frequent commentator for the Criterion Collection and other DVD releases. As an actor, Bogdanovich is perhaps best known for his recurring role as the “shrink” for Lorraine Bracco’s psychiatrist character, Dr. Melfi, on HBO’s groundbreaking series “The Sopranos.”
Bogdanovich’s talk will draw on his close relationships with many classical Hollywood auteurs, including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Orson Welles, whose legendary unfinished film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” Bogdanovich is currently completing. He will also discuss his thoughts about the current state of Hollywood cinema.
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24
3:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Faculty Panel. “Fault Lines: Social History, Culture, and Geography of Hollywood”
In this presentation, an interdisciplinary panel of CC faculty examines the landscape, culture, and social history of Hollywood/Los Angeles.
6:30 p.m. Celeste Theatre: Cari Beauchamp and Sone Quartet – “Without Lying Down: The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood”
Film historian Cari Beauchamp is the author of numerous books about Hollywood, including “Without Lying Down: Frances Marion; The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood;” and “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.” Her books have been selected for “Best of the Year” lists by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Amazon.com. Beauchamp was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for the documentary film “Without Lying Down: The Power of Women in Early Hollywood,” which she wrote and co-produced for Turner Classic Movies. She has twice been named the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Scholar and is resident scholar of the Mary Pickford Foundation. Beauchamp’s talk will include screenings of several early Hollywood short silent films directed by, written by, and starring women. Acclaimed Denver quartet Sone will improvise live musical scores to accompany the films.
THURSDAY, Feb. 25
5 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: F.W. Gooding and Faculty Panel – “Diversity and Representation in Hollywood”
One “space,” broadly speaking, rare in Hollywood is one that includes diverse roles for and positive representation of people of color and members of marginalized communities – not to mention jobs for same. This presentation by scholar F.W. Gooding, assistant professor of ethnic studies at Northern Arizona University and author of “You Mean There’s Race in My Movie?: The Complete Guide to Understanding Race in Mainstream Hollywood,” critiques matters of diversity and representation in Hollywood cinema and will include a panel discussion with CC faculty.
7:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Ted Miller – “Economics of Hollywood Television”
Ted Miller ’86 is a partner and co-head of television at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a worldwide talent and literary agency based in Los Angeles. Miller represents many of the world’s leading television producers, writers, directors, and showrunners, including Noah Hawley (“Fargo”), Alex Kurtzman (“Star Trek,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Scorpion,” “Limitless”) Damon Lindelof (creator of “Lost” and “The Leftovers”), Clyde Phillips (executive producer of “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie”), Matthew Weiner (creator of “Mad Men”), and Marc Webb (director and executive producer of “Limitless” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). Prior to CAA, Miller was an investment banker in New York. Miller will discuss the evolution of television, the creative renaissance in television series and argue that the “where” of Hollywood has moved to the small-ish screen.
FRIDAY, Feb. 26
1 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Andrew Goldstein and Robyn Tong Gray – “Empathy, Entrepreneurship, and Virtual Worldmaking”
Andrew Goldstein ’09 and Robyn Tong Gray are co-founders of Otherworld Interactive, one of the most highly sought virtual reality development studios in the growing industry. Their projects, such as “Spacewalk” and “Café Âme,” have been featured at festivals and conferences throughout the country, from the Game Developers Conference to the Interactive Playground at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week. Their project “Sisters” was accepted to the New Frontiers section of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Goldstein will discuss virtual worldmaking – specifically, the emergence of virtual and alternate reality technologies and their potential impact on the Hollywood entertainment industry – and Gray will discuss the role of empathy in designing interactive stories.
After the talk, participants will be able to view Otherworld’s mobile virtual reality apps and experience their Sundance-selected project, “Sisters,” in Cornerstone Studio B.
Montana Bass ’18
When I walk in to Sacred Grounds, a student-run tea house inside Shove Memorial Chapel, Vanessa Voller ’16 immediately shows me to an assortment of teas, puts on water, and makes sure I’m comfortable. In less than a minute, she has already impressed me with her obvious kindness and the comforting sense of calm she carries with her.
She is a sociology major and an avid hiker from St. Paul, Minnesota. Next block, she will facilitate an inaugural three-day event series during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week to raise awareness about disordered eating and eating disorders on college campuses. Events will include keynote lectures and book signings by Jenni Schaefer and Anita Johnston, two prominent scholars and activists in the field; a documentary screening and discussion about eating disorders in diverse communities; trainings and workshops for Athletics Department and residential life staff; and free assessments and referrals by specialists from the Eating Disorder Center of Colorado Springs.
“I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2005, when I was just 11 years old,” says Voller. “I was physically and mentally ill for nearly a decade, losing my early and late adolescence to my mental illness.” We are sitting on colorful, plush cushions when I ask what motivated her to dedicate so much time and effort to this cause. She began her answer very simply.
“I was fortunate enough to have access to help at the Emily Program in St. Paul, one of the best centers for eating disorders in the country. There, I attended intensive out-patient therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions.”
Though at a more stable weight, Voller admits that her mental health continued to suffer throughout her first three years at CC. Now during her last semester, she is determined to spread awareness about this deadly mental illness. “The most important thing for me for people to know is that healing and recovery is possible. I think if someone had said that to me when I was 11 or even a first-year at CC it wouldn’t have taken a decade to ultimately be freed from my own mental illness,” she pauses, waiting for me to look up, “make sure you get that down,” she adds taking a long sip of her chamomile tea.
The three-day NEDA week event series, says Voller, is the culmination of her own recovery process. It is also her senior capstone project for the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate program, supervised by David Harker, director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement and an extension of her recent Venture Grant supervised by Associate Professor of Sociology Kathy Giuffre. Voller received a Venture Grant to spend her winter break hiking the Na’Pali coast in Kaua’i and interviewing Hawaiian cultural experts and medical staff at Hawaii’s only residential eating disorder clinic, Ai’Pono.
The Kalalau Trail she hiked is one of the “Top Ten Most Dangerous in the U.S.” according to National Geographic. Despite various setbacks, including a flash flood, Voller ultimately completed the 22-mile trek, during which she said she was reminded of her own recovery journey. “At mile two on the hike, at the Hanakap’ai Stream, I faced incredibly dangerous, chest deep waters. A local park ranger told me that I had to turn around and wait out the flash flood because crossing could be deadly. I immediately thought of my childhood therapist, holding my 11-year-old hand saying, ‘Vanessa, if you continue with this behavior you could die.’”
“I began the hike alone,” she says, “thinking that I didn’t need anyone or any help. But honestly, it was quite bold to think I didn’t need anyone.” She sets her mug down, “After the flash floods I befriended three other hikers and we traversed the rest of the coastline together.” She adds, “You know, almost everyone I met during my travels was healing from something: a failed marriage, an addiction, the loss of a loved one.”
After her hike, Voller traveled to the Ai’Pono clinic in Maui. “I read ‘Eating by the Light of the Moon’ by Anita Johnston when I was in treatment and it profoundly impacted me,” she says. Voller speaks of Johnston with intense admiration. “Anita is a remarkable woman; a true healer. An inspiration. She will do wonders for our community and I am honored that she is taking time to visit us.”
This block, Voller is in an independent study with Giuffre focused on writing an auto-ethnographic memoir chronicling her recovery journey through the lens of her backpacking trip. “I’m not sure what will happen with the manuscript when the block is over,” she says, “but for right now, I’m just focused on exploring my own creative writing process and crafting a new narrative of hope and of healing.”
More information on NEDA week, which will be Tuesday, Feb. 23, to Thursday, Feb. 25, is coming soon.
Monica Black ’19
CC students looking to gain meaningful work experience and to deepen their understanding of a certain career field should consider applying for a PIFP fellowship. Colorado College’s Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) matches CC students with non-profits around Colorado for summer and yearlong paid fellowships. PIFP partners with non-profits ranging from the health sector to law, to the environment, and beyond. Some of these organizations include the ACLU of Colorado, ARC of the Pikes Peak Region, Bell Policy Center, Catamount Institute, Palmer Land Trust, TESSA, Colorado Health Institute, and many, many others.
Fellows participate in a full-time summer-long or yearlong fellowship, earning, respectively, stipends of $3,500 and $26,500. They also gain valuable experience, the kind that’s usually unavailable to students and recent graduates. It’s an opportunity that leads many fellows to careers both within and outside of the non-profit sector. “I’ve realized that I want to be part of an organization that is committed to helping people,” says Duy Pham ’15 of his current PIFP experience at Bell Policy Center.
Alex Drew ’15, who is currently carrying out her fellowship at the arts-driven community advocacy group Concrete Couch, describes herself as one of two full-time employees. “I wear many hats,” she says. “Some days I write grants, teach fifth graders, work with at-risk high school students at welding, fundraise, coordinate volunteers, send emails, represent Couch at events, fundraisers, and even on TV.”
Even at the larger, national PIFP partner organizations, fellows experience similar amounts of responsibility. ACLU of Colorado summer fellow Jane Finocharo ’16 revamped the curriculum of the ACLU’s Bill of Rights for an educational program at a Denver elementary school. It also afforded her opportunities to become proximate to issues she had only previously read about, like attending the closing arguments on a case in which a bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of their sexual orientation. “I learned that even seemingly small violations of an individual’s civil liberties are significant and should be challenged,” says Finocharo. “I learned how many of our rights only exist because of the tireless work of organizations like the ACLU.”
The success stories are not one-sided. The organizations’ trust in Colorado College students grows, based on numerous positive experiences. The Catamount Institute, an outdoor education organization, has accepted PIFP applicants since 2009, and say they appreciate CC students because they are qualified and tend to stay connected to the organization for years. “Physics majors can become teachers. The experience is career-changing for many students,” says Tracy Jackson, the education director at Catamount.
Applications for the 2016-2017 cycle of fellowships are due Wednesday, Jan. 27. PIFP’s partner organizations look for smart, passionate people who are good communicators and want to make the world a better place. Beyond that, specific qualifications (like an ability to conduct quantitative research) for certain fellowships are listed on the PIFP website. That being said, most organizations are looking for an interest and/or background in related fields, as well as an aptitude for learning quickly. All years are encouraged to apply.