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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Mink serves as Hollins’ senior philanthropic advisor and competes in triathlons throughout North America and Europe.
Alexandra Trower ’86 is joining Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and Kim Kelleher, chief business officer for GQ, Golf Digest, Pitchfork, WIRED, and Ars Technica, in receiving one of the communications industry’s highest honors.
Trower, who is Executive Vice President, Global Communications, with The Estée Lauder Companies, has been named a winner of the 2018 Matrix Award. Presented by New York Women in Communications, the premier organization for communications professionals in the New York metropolitan area, the Matrix Award is awarded to extraordinary female leaders at the pinnacle of their careers. Previous winners of the Matrix Award include Today Show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie; Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls; and TIME editor Nancy Gibbs.
Trower is quick to credit her experience as an undergraduate at Hollins for empowering her with the tools to achieve such a distinguished career. “Any success I have had in my professional life starts and ends with Hollins,” she explained. “I became a true student at Hollins and benefited enormously from the incredible internships the school offered me. Those opportunities took me to Paris, Berkeley, California, and New York City, which ultimately became my home.”
Estée Lauder Executive Chair William Lauder and Hollins University President Emerita Nancy Gray are among those who nominated Trower for the Matrix Award. They praised her dedication to promoting women’s education and health, a commitment that has manifested itself significantly in her role as a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. “One of my passions has been to repay my debt to Hollins through board service, sponsoring internships, and serving as a student mentor,” Trower said. “I have worked with dozens of talented Hollins women over the years and it has been one of my greatest joys.”
One of the students who is effusive in her gratitude to Trower for her guidance and encouragement is senior Emili McPhail, who during her Hollins career has interned with Estée Lauder in New York and London. She also nominated Trower for the Matrix Award.
“I was a college sophomore with little work experience and Alex gave me a chance,” McPhail recalled. “She has championed me from the day I met her, and has fought for me to have every opportunity to succeed. Truly, it’s a privilege to know her as a mentor and role model. She has inspired the woman that I want to become.”
Trower assumed her current role with Estée Lauder, the world’s leading prestige beauty company, in 2008. In addition to serving as an Executive Officer of the Company and on the Executive Leadership Team, she is a founding member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is an Executive Co-Sponsor of the company’s LGBTQA employee resource group. She oversees corporate, social, crisis, Lauder family, and philanthropic communications, including The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and whose mission is to end breast cancer in our lifetime.
Trower also serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), which supports female journalists worldwide who risk their lives to cover news that might not otherwise be reported. In 2014, she received the IWMF’s Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of her more than 15 years of service and fundraising.
“In the decade Ms. Trower has led global communications for The Estée Lauder Companies, she has, with her wisdom and grace, proven to be not just a highly talented communications executive but also a business strategist and key contributor to the company’s success,” said Lauder. “She is the effective leader who has come to her role from a place of humility and who is followed because she has the brightest ideas and can express them while leaving her ego behind. Her opinions are highly valued because she presents them only with the goal of promoting continued excellence.”
Trower, Brzezinski, and Kelleher will officially receive the Matrix Award at a special event in New York City on April 23.
Dancer and choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith M.F.A. ’16 is one of 45 artists and collectives across nine creative disciplines announced as 2018 USA Fellows by United States Artists.
Recognized for their creative accomplishments, each fellow will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, which they may use to support their ongoing artistic and professional development.
Tabor-Smith lives in Oakland, California, and serves as the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. She describes her work as “Afro Futurist Conjure Art,” and her dance-making practice utilizes Yoruba spiritual ritual to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. Her current project, House/Full of Blackwomen, is a multi site-specific dance theater work that addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex-trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.
Tabor-Smith’s work has been performed in Brazil, the Republic of Congo, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where her company is based. She is an artist-in-residence at Stanford University and is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers, and from every corner of the United States, through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Spread across all creative disciplines including Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing, the fellows represent a broad cross-section of the best of American arts and letters.
“I could not be more thrilled with the 2018 USA Fellows, or with the tremendous artistic output, and potential, they represent,” said United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag. “They produce some of the most moving, incisive, and powerful artistic work in the country, and it is our privilege to honor them. Collectively, they are a reminder of the beauty produced by hardworking artists on a daily basis, too much of which is often overlooked.”
Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, United States Artists is among the largest providers of unrestricted support to artists working and living in the U.S. To date, the organization has provided more than $22 million in the form of unrestricted $50,000 awards directly to more than 500 artists working in all disciplines and at every career stage.
Hollins University has been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance‘s list of the 300 Best College Values for 2018. Introduced in 1998, the rankings now combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list.
Kiplinger also ranked the top 100 best values in each category, and Hollins earned the #99 spot on the magazine’s list of best values in private liberal arts colleges. Hollins is one of only four Virginia colleges and universities to make the category’s top 100, joining Washington and Lee University, the University of Richmond, and Christendom College.
“Our rankings, which weigh affordability alongside academic quality, are a great resource for students and their parents when sorting through college choices,” said Mark Solheim, editor of Kiplinger’s PersonalFinance. “We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools and trim the list using measures of academic quality. We then rank the schools based on cost and financial aid data. All 300 schools on our list are worth a look.”
The complete rankings will appear in print in the February 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 9.
Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has received the 2017 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, the highest recognition conferred by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
The prize honors an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout his or her career.
Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. She joined Rockefeller in 1992 and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her work has implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers. Her previous accolades include the Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation; the Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience; and election to the National Academy of Sciences.
“On behalf of SfN, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hatten and to thank her for her outstanding research contributions and the role they have played in advancing our understanding of how the brain develops,” SfN President Eric Nestler said. “As an internationally recognized leader in developmental neurobiology, she has made crucial discoveries of basic mechanisms of neurogenesis and neuronal migration during development.”
SfN is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 38,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.