Hollins Student Sets Goal to Master Arabic this Summer

A Hollins University first-year student is heading overseas this summer to engage in one of the biggest challenges of her academic career: becoming adept in the Arabic language.

Strauss
Strauss

Hanna Strauss ’19 of Keswick, Virginia, is tackling a grueling schedule of Arabic classes and practice sessions over a seven-week period at the Center for International Learning (CIL) in Muscat, Oman. The CIL is Muscat’s oldest language learning center and uses a “total immersion” method to give students as much proficiency in Arabic as possible in a short period of time. Formal learning sessions are supplemented by excursions to other parts of Oman so that CIL students are given ample opportunity to put their new language skills to the test.

Strauss first heard of the program through her participation in the Model Arab League last fall at Hollins. The conference was sponsored in part by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR), which has an ongoing relationship with both the AALIM and the CIL.

Strauss said the supportive and encouraging atmosphere at Hollins inspired her to apply to a program that involves living and learning in Oman, a country very different from the United States. “My time at Hollins makes me feel that all things are possible. Being here just naturally creates opportunities to do things I had never thought of before. I never felt I was doing this alone.”

Even though the CIL program will very demanding, Strauss is eager to begin. “Arabic is a growing language. It’s the language of an important part of the world.”

Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch, who brought the Model Arab League to Hollins, said Oman is one of the most important countries in the Middle East, but one that is not well-known to Americans. He visited Oman last summer on a trip sponsored by NCUSAR.

“Oman is one of the safest countries in the world,” he noted. “The people of Oman have a very welcoming attitude towards Americans, and have a lot of curiosity about our country.” He pointed out that Condé Nast Traveler recently listed Oman as one of the globe’s top travel destinations.

Lynch added that he is delighted about having “one of my most enthusiastic Model Arab League participants excited enough and dedicated enough to take this huge step in their education.”


Jackson, Moore Capture Undergraduate Research Awards

Pria Jackson '19
Jackson

Pria Jackson ’19 and Mandy Moore ’16 have been honored by Wyndham Robertson Library as the winners of the 2016 Undergraduate Research Awards.

The annual awards recognize exemplary student research projects completed in Hollins courses. These projects showcase:

  • Extensive and creative use of the library’s resources.
  • The ability to synthesize those resources in completing the project.
  • Growth in the student’s research skills.
Mandy Moore '16
Moore

Jackson was selected the winner in the First-Year/Sophomore category for her research project, Nasser of Egypt and Egypt of Nasser, which was recommended by Associate Professor of History Rachel Nunez.

In the Junior/Senior category, Moore earned the top prize for A Quandary of Errors: The Problem of Innocence in Paradise Lost.  Associate Professor of English Julie Pfeiffer recommended the project.

Jackson and Moore will each receive a $250 award. Their work, along with the work of the other finalists, will be featured in the Hollins Digital Commons.


Professor to Join Panel Discussion with Feminist Scholar, Cultural Critic bell hooks

LeeRay Costa, John P. Wheeler Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology at Hollins University, is among the scholars and practitioners who will be in dialogue with noted author and social activist bell hooks this week at Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College.

As part of the Cassandra Voss Center bell hooks Residency, Costa will participate in the panel discussion, “Becoming Mindful: Practices for Education & Life,” on Thursday, April 21. The conversation will inform the First-Year Seminar course Costa is teaching this fall at Hollins entitled, “bell hooks: rage, love, and creating beloved community.”

Honored as a leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly and one of Utne Reader’s “100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life,” hooks has written nearly 40 books, including Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which was named one of the “20 Most Influential Women’s Books of the Last 20 Years” by Publishers Weekly. Her scholarship has impacted multiple disciplines internationally, from sociology to religious studies to media communication. She is currently the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.


Conference Celebrates Undergraduate Work

Hollins is showcasing students’ scholarly and creative endeavors at the annual Hollins Student Conference on Saturday, April 30, from 1 – 5:15 p.m. in Moody Student Center.

Sponsored by the President’s Office, the conference features a variety of podium presentations, poster presentations, and performances from across the disciplines. Awards are given for the top presentations and performances.

“The conference reflects our goal of preparing our students for a life of educational and professional development,” said Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jill Weber, who each year coordinates the event with Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Patty O’Toole.

All Hollins undergraduate students are invited to submit an abstract of sound scholarly or creative work that has been completed under the guidance of a current faculty or staff member.

During the conference, students will present during three separate sessions:

  • Session 1 (1:30 – 2:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Ideas: Hollins 102 Honors Program Projects
    Exploring Identity and Sexuality
  • Session 2 (2:30 – 3:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Modes of Expression – Performances
    Exploring Politics and the Political
    Exploring Women in History
  • Session 3 (3:30 – 4:20 p.m.)
    Exploring Questions in Science – Poster Presentations
    Exploring Art and Architecture
    Exploring Sustainability and the Myths that Sustain

This year’s conference schedule and a complete list of the event’s 29 student presentations is available here.


Hollins Alumna and Renowned Neuroscientist to Speak on Campus and at VTCRI

Mary Beth Hatten ’71, the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, is returning to Hollins and the Roanoke area to take part in three special events on April 13 and 14.

Hatten is a past recipient of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation. In 2015 she received the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience.

On Wednesday, April 13, Hatten will host a casual conversation with Hollins students from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Chemistry Reading Room (Dana 225). At 4:30 p.m., she will present “Mechanisms of Brain Development: Implications for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” The lecture is free and open to the campus community and general public.

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) is featuring Hatten as part of its Distinguished Public Lecture Series on Thursday, April 14. She will discuss “Mechanisms of Cerebellar Development: Migration, Circuit Formation, and Synaptic Plasticity” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

“VTCRI is bringing some of the world’s leading medical researchers and scientific thought leaders to Roanoke as part of our mission to engage the community in the excitement and promise of scientific research,” VTCRI Executive Director Michael Friedlander explained on the institute’s website. “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the insights of such highly sought-after experts in such a range of fascinating topics.”

Photo: Mary Beth Hatten ’71 received the Max Cowan Award last fall for her work in developmental neuroscience. 


Hollins Senior to Pursue Graduate Degree in One of the Nation’s Top Landscape Architecture Programs

This fall, international studies major Mikaela Murphy ’16 will begin work on completing a Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree in the College of Environment and Design (CED) at the University of Georgia (UGA).  She will receive full funding for two years through an assistantship.

UGA’s CED is consistently ranked as having one of the best M.L.A. programs in the country alongside Harvard University, Cornell University, and Virginia Tech. Each year, the program selectively admits only about 16 new students.

This past January, Murphy completed an internship at UGA’s CED that was coordinated by Laura Kviklys ’07, who finished her Master of Historic Preservation at UGA and now leads FindIt!, the CED’s public outreach program.

“My very positive internship experience with Laura and the FindIt! program prompted me to apply to UGA for a degree in landscape architecture,” Murphy said. “I will concentrate my M.L.A. studies on urban design and planning.”

After completing her M.L.A. degree, Murphy hopes to practice landscape architecture through either a private firm or a municipality, and someday work abroad. “Landscape architecture is a growing field in China, a country that has captured my academic interest during my time at Hollins,” she explained, adding that after gaining a few years of experience, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in geography or urban studies/design.

 


Sophomore Receives Distinguished Student Researcher Award

The School for Field Studies (SFS) has recognized Lan Nguyen ’18 with its Distinguished Student Researcher Award, honoring the work she completed at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies in Cambodia during the fall of 2015.

Each semester, SFS faculty nominate one student from their Center who has demonstrated exceptional skill and care in contributing to the Center’s research agenda, as evidenced by their Directed Research paper, oral presentations, and approach to the research project.

“The award recognizes not only excellence and diligence in research, but also teamwork and leadership shown during the semester,” said SFS Dean of Academic Programs Mark Seifert. “Of those nominated students, only a few are selected to receive the Distinguished Student Researcher Award.”

Seifert noted that Nguyen’s Directed Research paper, “Morphology and niche partitioning of fish assemblage in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve – a case study in Prek Toal core area,” “provides a sound foundation for future research at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies.”

In her nomination, SFS Research Advisor Chouly Ou stated that the Hollins sophomore was “passionate about [her] research topic and [was] proactive, diligent, and efficient…[and] exhibited strong leadership skills, particularly in the area of cultural and community engagement.”

With the award, the double-major in environmental science and economics is also eligible for a small stipend to help offset costs incurred if she presents her research at a conference this next academic year.

Nguyen is the second Hollins student to be honored with the Distinguished Student Researcher Award in the past six months. Kayla Deur ’16 was recognized last September for the research she conducted during the spring of 2015 at the Center for Mekong Studies.

SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Its educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by its local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where people live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.


Education Department Receives National Accreditation

The Hollins University education department has been accredited for a seven-year term by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). The council supports the preparation of competent, caring, and qualified professional educators through an evidence-based accreditation process.

The education department received the highest ratings in all categories of evaluation:

  • Evidence of student learning
  • Institutional learning
  • Quality control

Providers accredited under TEAC Quality Principles, as well as those accredited under the National Council for Accreditation standards, are now served by the single specialized accreditation system for educator preparation in the United States, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). More than 900 education preparation providers participate in the CAEP accreditation system.

 


Sophomore to Speak at Prestigious Academic Conference

Katherine Nelson ’18 will present her paper, “Katniss Everdeen, Apologetic Feminism, and the Glorification of Masculinity,” at the eleventh biennial Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Gender Studies Conference, which takes place February 19-21 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

The interdisciplinary conference, whose theme is “Gender Across…,” will showcase work that explores how gender and sex are represented across the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and fine arts, as well as across race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability, space, place, time, bodies, culture, and genres.

Nelson’s philosophical-gender studies essay focuses on the “manifestation of ‘apologetic feminism'” in the character Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. “I argue that although she is powerful, Katniss portrays that power as it pertains to masculinity, to the standards of which men are judged,” Nelson explains in the paper’s abstract. “She uses her masculine traits to survive in her world. I further suggest that Katniss, and the society of the Capital – the city in which the wealthy and powerful elite reside – and the Districts – the areas in which the other citizens reside in ranging degrees of poverty – in this work of fiction are reflections of Western capitalist societies, and the story draws parallels to the world we live in.

“One such parallel for women is that sex-based oppression, especially in a capitalist society, only allows women to succeed by shirking or repressing their traits that are typically considered feminine and conforming to society’s standards of masculinity.”

Nelson further argues that The Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen convey the message to girls and young women “that they cannot succeed because of their gender, but in the rare case that they try, women are only as successful as their measure of masculinity allows them to be.”

She concludes that “we must not apologize for our femininity. Rather, the embrace of all aspects of feminine, masculine, and gender-ambiguous traits is necessary to combat the idea in our society that masculinity is key to success and survival.”

Nelson notes, “I’m very excited to attend the conference, present my work, and meet the other contributors, and I am excited to represent Hollins.”

 


Hollins to Host 17th Annual Ethics Bowl, Jan. 31 – Feb. 1

The statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is coming to Hollins University for its 17th annual competition.

Co-sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), the two-day event takes place January 31 – February 1. Student teams from Virginia’s leading independent colleges and universities will participate and debate a variety of case studies highlighting potential ethical dilemmas faced by citizens. The theme of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is “Ethics and Civic Responsibility.”

Teams of three to five students from 15 VFIC schools will be paired in head-to-head competition that will be judged by panels of distinguished leaders from across Virginia and Maryland. Many notables from the business sector, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen and offer reaction to team and student presentations.

The Ethics Bowl kicks off with an opening session on Sunday, January 31, at 2:30 p.m. in Hollins’ Babcock Auditorium. The first matches begin at 3:30 p.m. in various locations throughout Moody Student Center and Dana Science Building. On Monday, February 1, rounds three and four start at 8:45 a.m. The final round of competition takes place at 11:15 a.m. in Babcock Auditorium. The public is invited to attend these sessions free of charge. The winner of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl will be announced on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

As the host institution, Hollins will have two teams competing in this year’s event:

Team 1
Lauren Earley ’16
Erin Harrover ’19
Lisa Sekwababe ’19
Audrey Spangler ’19

Team 2
Darcy Brauchler ’19
Julia Brooks ’19
Valerie Heflin ’19
Madchen Specht ’16

The faculty coordinator for both teams is Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Gettings.

Founded in 1952, the VFIC is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Washington and Lee University.