Vet School Next Stop for Bio Major Who Conducted Amazon Rainforest Research

Katlin Gott ’18 came to Hollins four years ago with a goal of becoming a veterinarian, and now the biology major and chemistry minor has earned the opportunity to take the next major step in making her dream a reality.

The senior from Fairfax, Virginia, has been accepted at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, a leading biomedical teaching and research center. The college admits just 50 Virginia residents to its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) program each year.

Gott complemented her classroom and lab work at Hollins by working as a veterinary assistant and completing internships in Roanoke and elsewhere, including a Signature internship in West Virginia with veterinary physician and Hollins alumna Jacqueline Chevalier ’01.

Another highlight of Gott’s academic career was spending Spring Term of her junior year in the rainforests of Peru with the School for Field Studies Center for Amazon Studies. While there, she was able to combine her interests in ecology and animal disease by studying gut parasite loads in primates. Her research project, “The Effect of Environmental Factors on Endoparasite Load and Diversity in Black-Capped Night Monkeys (Aotus Nigriceps),” was featured at Hollins’ 61st Annual Science Seminar last month.

“Our results suggest that human disturbance significantly increases parasite species diversity based on the changes in forest density,” Gott reports. “Future research will focus on determining if the degree of forest disturbance plays a role in these relationships, and if zoonotic transmission of parasites between humans and the black-capped night monkeys is occurring.”

Along with her academic work, Gott has been actively involved in a range of campus activities. Along with serving as vice president of the Pre-Med Club, she has represented the group Voices for Unity in the SGA Senate, and, she adds, “I also play guitar, and I’ve been a part of ensembles and played as an accompanying guitarist for a few choral events.”

Gott will begin pursuit of her D.V.M. degree this fall.

 


Dance Major Taking Commitment to Artistry, Social Justice to L.A. and London after Graduation

Epitomizing Hollins University’s enduring slogan artistically, geographically, and academically, Paris Williams ’18 is definitely going places after she graduates this spring.

The dance major, who hails from New Orleans, will be pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in choreography beginning in the fall of 2019 at London’s University of Roehampton, whose international status draws students and dance artists from around the world.

But before that, Williams is anticipating a very exciting and productive gap year more than 5,400 miles away. First, she’s been awarded a full scholarship to attend the Dance/USA 2018 Annual Conference, which takes place June 6 – 9 in Los Angeles. According to the conference website, the event enables participants to “network and learn from nearly 500 dance professionals including executive directors, artistic directors, emerging arts leaders, artists, agents, company managers, presenters, development and marketing staff, and more. Conference programming is shaped around issues of equity and justice, community and collaboration, audience development, and preservation and legacy.”

Then, Williams will remain in L.A. to complete a residency with No)one. Art House, an arts/dance collective that The Huffington Post reports “is one of the only black run contemporary dance organizations in the country. No)one’s aim is to shift the paradigm on how people view dance, art and people of color’s bodies….” Artsmeme.com called No)one, “another harbinger that incredible things are happening in dance in Los Angeles.”

Williams’ upcoming opportunities in Los Angeles and London are the culmination of a distinguished college career.

“During my time at Hollins,” she says, “I have interned twice with our M.F.A. program in dance, including going to the program’s residency in Frankfurt, Germany. I also took part in the Hollins London abroad program, and have been able to attend a variety of conferences on topics surrounding LGBTQ+, dance and performance, and other social justice initiatives.”

This year, Williams served as chair of the university’s Black Student Alliance and has also been the external chair for the Hollins Repertory Dance Company. During her four years she was also actively involved with Cultural and Community Engagement, the Batten Leadership Institute, the Office of Admissions, Housing and Residence Life, the Office of Student Affairs, and many other campus activities.

“Paris is a tireless leader and social justice advocate,” says Meredith Cope-Levy ’12, M.F.A. ’18, Hollins’ coordinator of alumnae events. “She has made incredible work during her time here.”

Williams in turn praises the Hollins dance program for providing her with the foundation for her accomplishments as an undergraduate.

“I give loads of love and gratitude to HollinsDance, especially [Associate Professor of Dance] Jeffery Bullock, for my dedication, growth, and success at this university.”


Senior Student-Athlete Receives Major NCAA Scholarship

Hollins University senior and swimming standout Dani Raymond has been awarded the NCAA Women’s Enhancement Graduate Scholarship, which supports students enrolled in a sports-related program as a full-time graduate student.

Raymond, who plans to pursue a graduate degree in sports management beginning this fall at Virginia Commonwealth University, will receive a $7,500 nonrenewable scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year.

Raymond competed as a member of the Hollins swim team during each of her four years as an undergraduate and was the team’s primary distance swimmer. Highlights of her career include serving as team captain for two years and receiving the Bonnie Kestner Sportsmanship Award at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Swim Championships. Outside the pool, she served as both a team representative and an officer with the Hollins Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and completed internships with the ODAC and the Hollins Sports Information office.

Raymond will graduate this May with a double major in English and communication studies, and participated in the university’s Batten Leadership Institute. Her academic accomplishments include earning Academic All-ODAC and VaSID Academic All-State citations. She is a Batten Scholar at Hollins and is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Chi Sigma Alpha, and Lambda Pi Eta.

As a scholarship recipient, Raymond is invited to attend the 2018 NCAA Career in Sports Forum (CSF), which will take place at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, May 31 – June 3. The CSF brings together 200 selected student-athletes to learn about careers in sports with a primary focus on intercollegiate athletics. The educational event is designed to assist student-athletes in charting their careers in the business, giving them the opportunity to network and learn from current athletics professionals.

 


Playwright’s Lab Earns National Recognition with Multiple Kennedy Center Awards

Students and faculty of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University have been honored with 12 awards in direction, production, acting, and playwriting by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

The artists were recognized at the 2018 KCACTF National Festival, held April 9 – 14 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

This year’s winners include:

  • Outstanding Director of a New Work: Todd Ristau for Cold by Ben Jolivet
  • Outstanding Production of a New Work: Cold by Ben Jolivet
  • Distinguished Production of a New Work: Absence Makes the Heart by Sean Abley
  • Distinguished Performance and Production Ensemble: Cold by Ben Jolivet
  • Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play: Bonny Branch in Cold by Ben Jolivet
  • Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play: Emma Sperka in Cold by Ben Jolivet
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting: Ben Jolivet for Cold
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Performance: Susie Young in Absence Makes the Heart by Sean Abley
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting: Meredith Dayna Levy for She Made Space
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Directing: Lauren Brooke Ellis for She Made Space by Meredith Dayna Levy
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Dramaturgy: Katie Stueckle for She Made Space by Meredith Dayna Levy
  • Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Performance: Meredith Dayna Levy for She Made Space by Meredith Dayna Levy

The KCACTF has served as a catalyst for improving the quality of college theater in the United States for nearly 50 years. Featuring a network of more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country, the organization celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs and encourages institutions of higher learning to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students. The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, dramatic criticism, directing, and design.

 

Photo caption: Todd Ristau (right), director of the M.F.A. program in playwriting at Hollins, is congratulated on receiving the KCACTF’s 2018 Outstanding Director of a New Work award.

 


Hollins Announces Winners of the 2018 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Hollins University has honored a retired teacher who writes poetry for children as the winner of the third annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Elaine Magliaro will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for her debut children’s book Things to Do, illustrated by Catia Chen and published by Chronicle Books in February 2017. Magliaro previously received a 2018 New Writer Honor from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which calls Things to Do “a poetic take on the world and the important things in it, from the sun and moon to a pink eraser, as experienced through a child’s eyes and imagination.”

Magliaro was an elementary school teacher for more than three decades and worked as a school librarian for three years. She also taught a children’s literature course at Boston University; served on the advisory board of the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival; and was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English Poetry Committee. She lives in Massachusetts.

This year’s Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book award of $300 goes to Laura McGee Kvasnosky for Little Wolf’s First Howling, published by Candlewick.

Each year, Hollins invites nominations for the Margaret Wise Brown Prize from children’s book publishers located across the country and around the world. A three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, reviews the nominations and chooses a winner.

Hollins established the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature as a way to pay tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. The cash prizes are made possible by an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Amanda Cockrell, director of the children’s literature program at Hollins.

The engraved medal presented to the winners was conceived by award-winning sculptor, painter, and Hollins alumna Betty Branch of Roanoke. Winners and Honor Book recipients are presented an original linocut certificate designed and donated by Ashley Wolff, author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books. Winners are invited to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate programs in children’s literature.

Margaret Wise Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.

This summer, Hollins’ children’s literature program will release information on how to submit books for consideration for the 2019 Margaret Wise Brown Prize.


For the First Time, Hollins Students Take Top Spots at Research Forum

Megan David ’18 and Emili McPhail ’18 have earned an unprecedented achievement for Hollins.

The communication studies majors won first and second place, respectively, at the 16th annual Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF), held at Lynchburg College on March 17.

The Lynchburg College website says SURF “brings together undergraduate students from colleges in the region to present original undergraduate research. The students’ original research and oral presentations are evaluated by a panel of judges and awards are given. The students gain valuable experience in doing research and get insight into the possibility of pursuing their research interests in graduate school.”

In addition to Hollins and Lynchburg, participating institutions include Liberty University, Longwood University, Radford University, Randolph College, and Sweet Briar College.

David captured the top prize with her paper presentation, “Oh the Places We Have Gone: The Interplay between Study Abroad and Social Media.” McPhail’s second-place paper, “Parasocial Relationships with Celebrities: Finding Meaning with the Famous,” also focused on social media. Both papers were based on the students’ individual senior theses, which were completed under the guidance of Associate Professor of Communication Studies Chris Richter.

Sponsored by Associate Professor of Communication Studies Lori Joseph, Hollins communication studies students have participated in SURF since 2013 and have consistently earned honors.


Sophomore Selected as Feminist Camp Program Assistant

Madeline Clevenstine ’20 will be spending the first full week in June helping foster deeper insight into the theory and practice of feminism.

Clevenstine has been named a Program Assistant (PA) for Feminist Camp, scheduled for June 4 – 8 in New York City. The camp is sponsored by Soapbox, Inc., the world’s largest feminist speakers bureau. The PA is a competitive position filled through a nomination process in which the camp seeks individuals with “communication, social media, and people skills, a good sense of (geographical) direction, and a take-charge attitude who can be peer leaders to a dynamic group of feminists.”

A double-major in English and gender and women’s studies, Clevenstine served last fall as the Student Success Leader for Professor LeeRay Costa’s seminar, bell hooks: rage, love, and creating beloved community. She’s an editor with Cargoes, Hollins’ literary magazine, and is a tutor with the university’s Writing Center. “In my downtime, you can often find me writing poems, starting, but never finishing, TV shows, reading, and laughing (very) loudly with my friends,” she notes.

The Feminist Camp website says the program is designed for “someone with a passion for feminism but you’re not quite sure how that’s going to translate into your personal life. Or, you’re sick of hearing people ask you ‘what you can do’ with a Women’s/Gender Studies degree. Our flagship Feminist Camp program in the Big Apple is designed to help you identify your next steps for applying your feminist passion to your professional or beyond-college life.”

Companies and organizations that have participated in Feminist Camp in the past include VICE, The Doula Project, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Choices Medical Center, Feminist Press, and the Ms. Foundation for Women.

 

 


Playwright’s Lab Director Earns Kennedy Center Theatre Festival Honor

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) has presented its highest award to the director of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University.

Todd Ristau, who has guided the M.F.A. program in playwriting since its inception in 2007, has received the KCACTF Gold Medallion, one of the most prestigious honors in theatre education.

The medallion recognizes “individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry, and enthusiasm to the development of the KCACTF.”

In announcing the award, the KCACTF praised Ristau for having “demonstrated innovative leadership in the field of new play development and [making] a tremendous impact in the vitally important area of nurturing playwrights and new plays. Todd Ristau works tirelessly to bring quality instruction and experiences to students. An innovative and engaging teacher, he has developed a program that truly puts students at the center, fostering the individual growth of each playwright’s style rather than turning out a specific type of playwright.

“One salient example of the Playwright’s Lab’s contributions is student Meredith Dana Levy, 2014 winner of KCACTF’s National Student Playwriting Award for her play Decision Height, which has been published by Samuel French and has enjoyed over 40 productions to date.”

“To say we are proud of Todd Ristau and all the members of the Hollins Playwright’s Lab is about as big an understatement that one could make,” Ernie Zulia, director of the Hollins Theatre Institute, told The Roanoke Times. “Receiving such an honor brings a national spotlight to Hollins and Roanoke, affirming our goal to be an ignition point for new work in the United States.”

 


Arbor Day Foundation Honors Hollins with 2017 Tree Campus USA® Recognition

Tree Campus USA LogoHollins University was honored with 2017 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Hollins University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 344 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $48 million in campus forest management last year.


Alumna Lights the Torch for Major Amateur Sports Competition

A Hollins alumna who has earned a place in Winter Olympics history was the honored guest at the kick-off to New York’s 38th Empire State Winter Games (ESWG).

Suzy Mink ’74, who was a member of the relay team that carried the Olympic torch 900 miles to Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics, helped launch the inaugural ESWG Torch Relay on January 29 in Manhattan. The relay’s 330-mile path goes from New York City to Lake Placid, where the ESWG Opening Ceremony takes place on February 1.Suzy Mink ESWG 2

According to a news release from ESWG, “The Torch Relay will call attention to the commitment New York State has to the Empire State Winter Games’ participating towns and villages, and the more than 2,500 athletes and winter sport enthusiasts across the Northeast and Canada who take part in the Games.”

Resplendent in the same uniform she wore while carrying the torch 38 years ago, Mink was designated “the number one lead torch lighter” at New York’s Battery Park by relay organizers. She then led a contingent along the Hudson River Walkway as part of an hour-long special event to start the relay.Suzy Mink ESWG 3

“In addition to calling attention to the Empire State Winter Games, we want to encourage people from across the region to get outside and play,” said Tait Wardlaw, ESWG director. “What better way to inspire others than to run from Manhattan to Lake Placid.”

Suzy Mink ESWG 5

 

 

Mink serves as Hollins’ senior philanthropic advisor and competes in triathlons throughout North America and Europe.