Colorado College alumna and accomplished musician Abigail Washburn and her husband, musician Béla Fleck, perform a piece for an informal gathering of students, faculty and staff in Packard Hall. The performance was part of a workshop Washburn and Fleck hosted with Keith Reed’s bluegrass ensembles. Photos by Andy Colwell.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Learning to preserve historic artifacts, traveling the Southwest to explore contemporary art, and discovering a new understanding of Southwest culture were a few highlights of an internship this summer at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.
Matthew Harris ’18 and Anna Doctor ’18 spent the summer interning at the FAC with the Museum Internship Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The internship, led by Michael Howell, museum internship director and registrar and collections manager, is designed to help students to learn about museums, with a focus on care, handling, documentation, and research of objects, artifacts, and fine art from the American Southwest.
Interns learn about the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, Southwestern cultural diversity, and art conservation, as well exhibit and copyright practices relevant to working in a museum. “Interns get as close to a real-world museum experience as possible with access to learning experiences generally not found in an undergraduate program,” says Howell.
Both Harris and Doctor were looking to learn more about museum work, which is why they decided to spend their summers at the FAC. Doctor is a senior art history major who is exploring her post-college options, while Harris was inspired by his own work as a potter. He heard that the FAC has a large pottery collection, and was interested in studying it. “Looking through the collection of Southwestern pottery gave me many ideas and will likely shape how I make pots,” he says.
Harris and Doctor also had the opportunity to travel to New Mexico to visit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Harris says the trip supplemented his knowledge of contemporary Native American art. During this trip, he was introduced to the art of Crow artist Kevin Starr, about whom he wrote a profile for the FAC website.
During the same trip, Doctor was inspired to research female Native American artists, and wrote a short piece on Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and her world-renowned art.
Harris and Doctor both credit Howell for giving them a thorough museum experience, and say that they learned lots about the wide variety of roles necessary to run a museum. Harris says this summer inspired a possible interest in installations or exhibit design, while Doctor hopes to interact with visitors in a smaller museum. Both interns say their time at the FAC deepened their understanding of the people and art of the Southwest, and anticipate using their deepened knowledge in the future.
During the field trip to New Mexico, Doctor and Harris had the opportunity to spend time with:
Rachel Moore, Curator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque;
Amy Baskette, Registrar at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History;
Joseph Diaz, Curator, and Deborah King, Registrar, at the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe;
Tom Leech, Director of the Palace Press, Palace of the Governors;
Della Warrior, Director, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe;
Jonathan Batkin, Director, and Cheri Falkenstien-Doyle, Curator, at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe
By Leah Veldhuisen
Hone your chess skills and take a quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the Block Plan by visiting Bruce Munro’s “Thank You for a Very Enjoyable Game,” exhibit, currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The exhibit invites museum-goers to interact with the chess-themed concept of the installation, which features 30 chess boards inlaid with colored Formica. They are positioned in a linear formation, tracking the moves made in the chess game.
Munro’s inspiration came from Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” as well as his interest in the ever-increasing presence of technology in our world, according to the FAC website.
In addition to Munro’s art, usable chess boards are set up around the gallery. The boards are meant to provide viewers another way to interact with the art and the artist’s intentions, as well as to diversify patrons visiting the museum. Joy Armstrong, curator of contemporary and modern art at the FAC, says it’s been wonderful to see many levels of chess being played by all ages throughout the summer, and she hopes visitors will continue to enjoy the boards for the duration of the exhibit though Jan. 7, 2018.
Armstrong says she is excited about this exhibit, as it is the first time the FAC has collaborated with the Green Box Art Festival, in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, where Munro’s “Field of Light” installations are on display until Sept. 17.
CC’s new partnership with the FAC allows members of the campus community free access to the museum’s galleries.
From ropes courses to hip-hop dancing to re-enacting art, Bridge Scholars immerse themselves in a multi-disicplinary introduction that brings the CC liberal arts experience to life. See how they engaged with CC’s vibrant community of scholars.
Professor Dwanna Robertson and Judy Fisher ’20 are working together on research that is not only academically relevant, but also meaningful to them both on a personal level.
“Our research is so relevant, not just to Judy or me, but to all Native scholars,” says Robertson, assistant professor of race, ethnicity, and migration studies. As part of the Summer Collaborative Research program, they are examining the low rates of recruitment, retention, and tenure granted to Native women faculty in predominantly white higher ed institutions.
“There is scarce research available about Native women faculty and the stagnancy of their integration into academia,” Robertson says. “I plan to expand that to Native men faculty in the future. Judy’s also looking at retention rates for Native students in college and the tactics they employ to succeed in spaces that, originally, weren’t meant for them.”
“This research has allowed me to work on something that will directly benefit other Native scholars navigating higher education institutions,” says Fisher. “This is significant to me personally because, as a Native person, I pursued higher education to fight for marginalized people at an institutional level, particularly Native people. I want to give back to my people for all the love and support I receive through my tribe.”
Fisher says the summer research opportunity has helped grow confidence in her ability to do research, while working directly with afaculty member and expert in the field. Robertson says it’s easily a two-year project and she and Fisher will continue their work together.
Middle schooler Sydney Murphy took the phrase “embracing the concepts” to a whole new level during her summer course. Holding a baby goat, she got up close with the farm animal, which was brought to her Caring for Critters class for a petting and milking demonstration.
Throughout the class, co-taught by Scott Purdy ’18 MAT, CC Master of Arts in Teaching student, and Brittni Darras as part of CC Gifted and Talented+ summer program, middle schoolers explored a wide range of research and got to apply their knowledge on visits to local animal shelters and rescues. Students also learned about local and global impacts of animal conservation and treatment, and developed their own action plan to address problems locally with our animal population.
Caring for Critters was just one of dozens of courses in the GT+ program that brought elementary, middle, and high school students to campus for three weeks this summer. Now in its 42nd year, the program is designed for students entering first through tenth grades with offerings to challenge their intellectual and creative abilities.
The program also brings to campus teachers who are experienced and skilled in working with gifted children and who are well educated in their fields. Plus, it provides an opportunity for CC’s Master of Teaching students to work directly with students and expert teachers in the classroom; each teacher has a CC graduate teaching assistant to help provide the individualized attention that gifted children need.
“I love to share these tools and then model for the MAT students those same strategies with the summer program students. It’s my goal to send them off as a new teacher with as many items in their toolkit as possible,” says Tiffany Hawk, teacher in the GT+ program of working with the master’s students. Hawk co-taught a course titled Farm to Fork for ninth and tenth graders with CC MAT student Savannah Teeple ’18 MAT.
Throughout the class, students explored local and global issues surrounding food scarcity, waste, and ethical practices of sustainability of food sources around the world. Students also studied real-life struggles of various cultures and developed plans to address issues that affect international citizens.
The students spent three days working directly with seven Habitat for Humanity families building and planting backyard raised garden beds in the Crestone Peak Trail neighborhood in Colorado Springs. Students also provided seeds, student-created recipes using crops from the gardens, and care instructions with the beds so that homeowners could put their new gardens to good use.
“When we are able to open our minds and explore the connections between global and local issues, we begin to see that there are so many experiences that bond us throughout the world,” Hawk says of developing the concept for the Farm to Fork class. “The beauty of this program is that students are able to experience the impact of their action. They are making community partnerships and experiencing the power of collaboration. They learn that they can make a difference.”
Hawk says she hopes the MAT students also gain practical knowledge throughout the program. “It is my hope that they take ownership and embrace the power of reflection and taking risks. My emphasis is to remain flexible with instruction and allow students to take you, as the teacher, in different paths to explore what they want to learn within our course objectives.”
From waterfalls to greenhouses to a glacial lagoon, students explored the far reaches of the Icelandic landscape, immersing themselves in the country’s culture and thriving ecotourism industry. This summer, two guides and 10 students embarked on the second-ever international trip with the Office of Outdoor Education, a partnership with the Office of Sustainability.
“Iceland has been on the top of my bucket list as a travel location for years because of the untouched wilderness,” says Matt Cole ’18 of why he wanted to participate. “This trip was the perfect opportunity to travel to Iceland and see a wide variety of all that the Icelandic wilderness and culture had to offer.”
Students completed an application process and attended pre-trip seminars before being accepted into this summer’s nine-day Iceland summer program. The trip itinerary was based on outdoor activities, with educational elements delving into sustainability and aspects of Iceland’s growing ecotourism industry.
“When we put a trip like this together, we want it to be thematic and intentional,” says Ryan Hammes, director of the Office of Outdoor Education and one of the trip’s two guides. “This one combined sustainability and the timely ecotourism topic with outdoor experiences in the natural environment.”
The group tackled hut-to-hut backpacking treks, as well as numerous day hikes. They visited a farm using greenhouses heated by geothermal to grow tomatoes, an exceptional feat, the group learned, for a country where growing such produce wouldn’t otherwise be possible because of the climate. They traveled to a horse farm and learned about the Icelandic horse, a significant part of the country’s culture. And they took a boat tour into a glacial lagoon. “In 60 years, that glacier will be completely melted, so it was a special part of our trip to get to see it,” says Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability, who co-led the trip with Hammes.
“Traveling and having the opportunity to explore the world is a wonderful experience we should all do at least once in our life, especially when it’s with a purpose,” says Jubilee Hernandez ’20 of why she wanted to be a part of the trip.
Hernandez and the rest of the group experienced all four season during their visit — from blue sky to snow. “What really makes a trip memorable is taking the time to truly explore the area, by going on walks, hikes, car rides, taking a ferry, as well as getting to know the others on the trip and making friends with strangers,” she says.
When talking about first impressions, Johnson says many students were surprised at how clean the country is, especially in the big cities and urban areas. Another theme students discussed was the environmental impact of tourism and how Iceland is working to balance tourism and preservation.
“We saw how all of these natural resources can be an asset and something to be protected; it’s very different than how we have our national park system set up,” Hammes says. “The students were doing personal reflection on how this place is different from what they call home.”
“I learned a lot about the geothermal process and what makes Iceland such a sustainable country, and that this geothermal energy potential could be possible in theoretically every country on Earth,” says Cole.
One-hundred-percent of Iceland’s energy comes from renewable resources — primarily geothermal and hydroelectric; a small percentage also comes from wind power. It’s also historically been a self-sufficient country, with many sustainable farming and fishing villages.
“Since 2010, tourism has been picking up, due to the nature, waterfall, geysers, hiking, black sand beaches, glaciers, puffins, whale watching; all of the things we experienced here,” says Johnson. “As a country, they’re struggling with it and how to [support tourism] responsibly.”
The group got a behind-the-scenes tour of a geothermal energy plant and saw how the “wastewater” from the plant spills into Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.
“The thing that stands out to me weeks after the trip is the connections with the group of students as well as the leaders. I knew no one on the trip and would have never crossed paths with any of them at school, however we all became very close,” Cole says.
Building relationships with one another also empowered students to embrace opportunities to venture outside their comfort zones.
“Every day brought a new adventure spent outside,” Hernandez says of her experience. “Most challenging was the trekking. I absolutely hated my life when we were hiking, but I wouldn’t have changed any part of it. It was the slips, falls, and challenging paths that I remember the most.”
Hammes and Johnson say there was certainly enough student interest in the trip to offer a similar program in the future.
This summer, 25 students from four different area colleges and universities came together to solve challenges facing our community. In its third year, the Quad Innovation Project Summer Intensive brought together 10 CC students, along with recent graduates and peers from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy, and Pikes Peak Community College to partner with local organizations in developing scalable, innovative solutions to real-world problems.
Quad Partnership Director Jake Eichengreen says he was surprised and impressed by the team dynamics. “The program this year was tremendously diverse, with a broad and inclusive representation of different academic tracts, ages, life experiences, races, and backgrounds,” he says. “Each of our teams was comprised of members from multiple schools. For many of our participants, it was their first time working closely together with students from such radically different backgrounds, and it went phenomenally.”
For example, a team comprised of a CC junior majoring in political science, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Special Forces pursuing an associate’s degree in science, and a retired army private who just finished his third degree in advanced manufacturing at Pikes Peak Community College were working together to build an urban farm.
“I was pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to think bigger, broader, and from multiple perspectives,” says Abbey Lew ’18, who worked on a project addressing food insecurity in the community. “I was inspired by the many community members who came to speak to us as well as by my passionate peers, all of whom are dedicated to bringing about positive change in the Colorado Springs community.”
Thomas Gifford ’18 worked with his team to reduce peak energy demand in the region by developing a new format for utility billing. He says working toward a common goal was a valuable part of the program. “Not only did I gain confidence in my own abilities, but also in the idea that I can truly contribute towards solving a large and complicated issue when working with the right people,” he says.
Thomas received a job offer from a startup called Maxletics, which he accepted and where he’ll be working for the rest of the summer; he met the company’s founders through the Quad summer program. Along with Gifford, several summer participants interviewed with and/or obtained employment with businesses or organizations that visited the class as part of the program.
Lew says she and her teammates are excited to continue pursuing their project and are currently working with various community businesses and organizations to develop a food-focused comic book that aims to increase food literacy among children.
“I’ve gained more entrepreneurial experience, learned how I work with different types of individuals, discovered the vast number of preexisting resources and opportunities in Colorado Springs, and have seen how seemingly small ideas can lead to bigger actions and impacts,” says Lew. “The most rewarding part of Quad was the connections and relationships I formed that continue beyond the end of the program.”
“My group was working on a project centered around sharing the stories of people experiencing houslessness,” says Emma Finn ’20. “It was both informative and eye opening to hear their stories and begin to understand the deep rooted stigmas that span throughout Colorado Springs and the rest of the country. I think the most rewarding part of the program will come when we get our project up and running.” She says her team intentionally begin using the term “houseless” instead of “homeless” after discussion with one community member who conveyed that, while it may be unconventional, he did have a “home.” What he was missing was a house. “After this encounter, we shaped our project around what people experiencing houslessness actually need, not what others may think they need,” she says.
It’s a program that not only benefits participants, but also the broader community. “The program offers the community access to the kind of entrepreneurial talent and young leaders capable of building new value here in a variety of ways throughout the community,” Eichengreen says. All six of the Quad Project teams chose to build projects to address major issues facing the community – food insecurity, homelessness, and peak energy consumption. “The community is the true beneficiary of the sustainable, scalable concepts our students built that open new opportunities to the homeless, stimulate demand for fresh food in food deserts, and reduce peak energy consumption,” he says.
More than 75 community members attended demonstration day in late June to hear students present their projects. Here’s a full list of the projects students developed to tackle community challenges this summer:
Stuff Comics – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
Creating superhero comics that excite kids about healthy eating.
Finalizing funding, printing, distribution, and content partners; Committed to 1,000 copy beta version launching in September.
300 Energy – (CC, UCCS)
Creating improved formats for energy bills to encourage customers to reduce demand during peak energy usage times, while also saving users money. A bill design under consideration for further development with Colorado Springs Utilities.
Lift Me Up – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
A philanthropic ride-sharing program for those in need. The team has secured a service provider partner and raised $1,000 towards a beta launch.
Apical Horizons – (CC, PPCC)
Building urban farms to produce food and housing for college students in need. The team identified a possible pilot site and is finalizing a modular, replicable design.
Strive – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
A project to amplify the stories of the houseless to improve access to mental health resources. The team has identified initial houseless participants and mentors.
Avium – (CC, PPCC, UCCS, USAFA)
Creating engaging education to stimulate demand for healthy food choices in food deserts. The group’s first teaching dinner will be Aug. 5; they have secured a chef/instructor, food, venue, and marketing.
JoAnn Jacoby will join CC in August as the new library director.
Most recently, Jacoby served as associate dean for user services in the University of Illinois Library, the largest publicly funded academic library in the U.S. She has spent most of her professional career at Illinois in a number of roles over the last 18 years, including head of research and information services, coordinator of the New Service Model Program, anthropology and sociology subject specialist, and visiting assistant university archivist. Jacoby has published her research on evolving scholarly practices and library service evaluation processes in major journals in the field. She has served as chair of both the American Library Association’s Library Research Roundtable and of the Anthropology and Sociology Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Jacoby has a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.
Jacoby will begin leading the newly renovated Tutt Library on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
In just a few weeks, the shelves will be stocked and garage door will be open wide to Autrey Field, as the Outdoor Education Center Annex makes its home on campus as a resource for all things related to outdoor recreation.
“We’re striving to decrease the barriers to participate in the outdoors, and encouraging everyone to get outside,” says Rachael Abler, outdoor education specialist.
The 1,500-square foot space looks much like a well-outfitted garage, with lots of thoughtful storage, a check-in desk, and comfy seating; the annex will help to equip students as they embark on personal or CC-organized trips. But it’s a resource that’s open to the entire Colorado College community, including faculty and staff. From renting a daypack, kayak, or snowshoes, to advice on following trail maps or winter weather layering, the new space will bring together all outdoor resources in one place. Currently gear and rentals are stored in various locations across campus.
Outdoor education staff will be available to not only handle checkout and return of equipment, but also to help educate members of the campus community in doing their own bike or ski repairs.
“We’re offering the four R’s: Rentals, resources, repairs, and retail,” Abler says. “The annex can also sell consumable items at discounted rates, things you can’t rent, like camping utensils and water bottles.”
There’s also outdoor furniture, extending the center’s connection to the east side of campus and Autrey Field. Plus, solar panels on the roof offset energy usage of both the new annex and the current Outdoor Education facility.
Check out the new space: It will be open for business by the start of Block 1.