Senior One of Only Ten Students Nationwide to Receive Saudi Arabia Exchange Fellowship

Hollins University senior Pavithra Suresh has been awarded a Saudi Arabia Exchange Fellowship/Malone Fellowship by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR), a non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American understanding of the Arab world.

The fellowship provides an all-expenses-paid study trip to Saudi Arabia between December 26, 2015 and January 6, 2016. During the subsequent 2016 fellowship year, Suresh and other fellows will engage in a variety of activities in order to share their new-found knowledge of Saudi Arabia with the American public.

Hollins Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch, who recommended Suresh for the fellowship, noted that “only ten students nationwide are selected for this exceptional learning opportunity each year. Pavithra will be a great representative of Hollins University.”

Applicants must have previously participated in Model Arab League, NCUSAR’s flagship student leadership development program that is similar to Model United Nations. Suresh was a member of the Hollins delegation that took part in the Southeast Regional Model Arab League at Converse College in March. She and teammate Emily Garcia ’18 were named Best Delegation for their work on the Palestinian Affairs Council

Hollins is hosting the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League, November 6 – 8. The conference is open to high school as well as college and university students.


Political Science Professor Selected as Oman Alwaleed Fellow

Hollins University Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch has been named an Oman Alwaleed Fellow for 2015-16 by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR).

The fellowship includes a study visit to the Middle Eastern nation of Oman in August.

The fellowship is highly competitive; only eight college professors are selected each year nationwide. After visiting Oman, fellows will spend the year implementing a variety of programs, events, and outreach efforts in their home communities. These programs will permit Alwaleed Fellows to share their knowledge of Oman and familiarize Americans with this strategically important country.

“The nation of Oman lies directly across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran, and most oil tankers that enter and exit that waterway do so through Omani territory,” Lynch said. “Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the volatility of the world oil market, knowing more about the role of the Gulf States, and Oman in particular, is vitally important.

“Most Omanis are fairly knowledgeable about the United States, but most Americans know almost nothing about Oman. I hope my efforts will address that imbalance.”

Lynch expressed his optimism that his fellowship is the start of an ongoing relationship with NCUSAR’s student programs, which include dozens of Model Arab League conferences around the country. Hollins will host the 2015 Appalachia Regional Model Arab League Conference in November.

“We are proud of Ed’s fellowship, and happy that Model Arab League will be coming to Hollins,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray, noting that Hollins students have been active participants in Model United Nations for years.

Lynch chairs the political science department at Hollins, and is a former Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He has previously traveled to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Chile, Denmark, Israel, and the People’s Republic of China as part of official delegations.


Hollins Joins CIC Consortium to Enhance Teaching and Research

Hollins University is one of 42 member colleges and universities selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to comprise the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research.

Hollins and other consortium members “will be able to increase their capacities to store, preserve, and catalog collections of digital images, documents, audio and visual files, and other types of materials while streamlining administrative capabilities,” explained CIC President Richard Ekman. “Consortium members will be able to improve teaching and learning and enhance faculty and student/faculty research – on their own campuses and/or more globally – by making lesser known or hidden collections searchable and accessible.”

Ekman added that the consortium will employ Shared Shelf, a cloud-based uniform digital platform that is already used by institutions such as Harvard University and Cornell University. Over the next four years, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will subsidize use of Shared Shelf by consortium members as well as team participation in three workshops. This summer, consortium teams will meet with Shared Shelf implementation managers to familiarize themselves with the platform, digitize and catalog their collections and other materials, and come together to share their experiences and insights with other teams in small group webinars.

Hollins’ first project will be to digitize and curate thematic collections of images from a classics professor’s photographic archives. These include some rarely photographed objects such as the Hellenistic painted grave stelai and engraved details from the site of Demetrias-Pagasai.

Hollins, Hampden-Sydney College, Roanoke College, and Washington and Lee University are the consortium’s four participating institutions from Virginia.

 


Summer at Hollins Features Graduate Studies, Improvement Projects, Special Programs

The 2014-15 academic year at Hollins has ended, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be lots of activity at the university during the summer months.

On June 1, work commences on a range of campus improvement projects:

  • Renovations to Moody Student Center will create space for the Student Government Association and others and enable the Hollins Bookstore to move into the area presently occupied by the Private Dining Room.
  • Randolph Hall will be refurbished and reopened this fall as a residence.
  • The Center for Learning Excellence will move from its current location in East Building to the first floor of Wyndham Robertson Library.
  • The upper porch between West Building and Botetourt Hall will be repaired.
  • Concrete sealing of sidewalks will be done on Front Quad and behind East Building.
  • Landscaping will be completed in the Hill House area.

The 2015 edition of the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop comes to campus June 7-12, and Hollins welcomes back the Women Working With Clay Symposium, June 8-11.

Summer Term at Hollins begins June 22 and continues through July 31, featuring graduate courses in children’s book writing and illustrating, children’s literature, dance, liberal studies, playwriting, and screenwriting and film studies.

Hollinsummer, this year featuring three camps for rising ninth through 12th grade girls, takes place July 19-25 and July 26-August 1.


Hollins Student Conference Showcases Undergraduate Work

A variety of podium presentations, poster presentations, and performances from across all disciplines highlighted the 2015 Hollins Student Conference on April 11 in Moody Student Center.

The conference provides an opportunity for the university to come together to celebrate the scholarly and creative work of undergraduate students.

Awards were presented to presentations or performances in the following categories:

Exploring Ideas: Hollins Honors Program Projects

First Place
“Into the Blue: The Universal Essence of Color Between Lapis Lazuli and Mayan Blue”
Madi Hurley ’17, art/business
Rory Keeley ’17, mathematics

Third Place
“Historical Hysteria”
Emili McPhail ’18, communication studies/international studies
Amanda McVey ’18, English
Elizabeth Trout ’17, political science/communication studies
Amelia Verkerk ’18, classical studies

Third Place
“#FirstTimeFeminists: An Engagement of Young Females in the Feminist Activist Movement”
Cierra Earl ’18, undeclared
Taylor Humin ’17, English with creative writing
Danielle Raymond ’18, English with creative writing

Exploring Contemporary Issues in Science and Society

First Place
“Brenda’s Baby’s Got a Gun: Open Carry Activism as a Tool for White Privilege”
Lachelle Roddy ’15, political science

Second Place
“The Effects of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Human and Environmental Health”
Alexis Banaszak ’18, biology

Second Place
“Racism in France: The Intersection Between Immigration, Economy, and the Far Right”
Marissa Richerson ’17, environmental science

Exploring Culture through Art and Religion

First Place
“Oil Painting: Associations Between Color and Mood”
Georgina Bellhouse ’16, studio art

Second Place
“Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art: The People’s Museum”
Allison Schmitt ’15, art history/history

Exploring Questions in Math and Science – Poster Presentation

Third Place
“Applications of Abstract Algebra: Symmetry in Spanish Arab Tile Patterns”
Caitlin Orzechowski ’15, mathemactics


Hollins Students to Debate “Ethics and the Family” at 16th Annual Ethics Bowl

Hollins University will attempt to take home the Batten Trophy for the second consecutive year when it participates in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges‘ 16th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl on February 8-9 at Marymount University in Arlington.

Students from Hollins will compete head-to-head against other highly qualified teams from Virginia’s leading independent colleges and universities, debating a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas. The theme of this year’s event is “Ethics and the Family.” Many notable personalities from business, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen to team presentations and offer reactions.

Members of the Hollins team this year include Kyrianne Lorenz ’15, Madchen Specht ’16, and Marisa Vitulli ’18. Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Gettings is the team’s faculty coordinator.

The Ethics Bowl program will commence with an opening session on Sunday, February 8, at 2:30 p.m. in Marymount’s Rowley Hall. The first matches are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. Rounds three and four of the competition will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, February 9, with the final round taking place at 11 a.m. in Reinsch Auditorium. The winning team will be announced at 12:15 p.m. on Monday.

The public is invited to attend the match sessions free of charge.

Hollins captured the title last year after defeating Bridgewater College in the Ethics Bowl final.

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth, including 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 & Lee University.


Lorraine Lange to Lead Hollins’ Graduate Programs in Teaching and Liberal Studies

Lorraine S. Lange, who is retiring this June as superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools, has been named director of Hollins University’s co-educational Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.) program, effective July 1.

After beginning her career as a teacher in Roanoke in 1969, Lange went on to serve as assistant principal, principal, supervisor of language arts K-12, associate director of instruction, assistant superintendent of instruction, and deputy superintendent of instruction before she was named superintendent in 2006. Her distinguished contributions to K-12 education were recognized when she was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2012. That same year, she was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.

“Dr. Lange has enjoyed an extraordinary career and we are delighted that she has agreed to helm our M.A.T. and M.A.L.S. programs,” said Patricia Hammer, vice president for academic affairs at Hollins. “Her knowledge and expertise will benefit our graduate students tremendously.”

Lange has first-hand experience in both the graduate programs she will be leading at Hollins. She completed her M.A.L.S. degree there in 1974 and later taught graduate-level education courses to aspiring teachers as an adjunct professor.

“I am thrilled to return to Hollins,” Lange said. “I am eager to guide students as they pursue their higher education goals.”

The M.A.T. program presents students who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution the opportunity to earn teaching licensure and a graduate degree at the same time. It was the first program of its kind in the Roanoke Valley.

The M.A.L.S. program is intended for students with varied interests and backgrounds and features concentrations in humanities, social sciences, visual and performing arts, leadership, and interdisciplinary studies.

 


Unique Learning Opportunities Highlight January Short Term

Putting together navigation plans, learning more about the Roanoke Valley, touring with a children’s theatre production, producing comic books and graphic novels, researching the history of Hollins University, and even identifying and avoiding BS are some of the distinctive course offerings engaging Hollins students during the school’s January 2015 Short Term session.

Throughout the month, while many students participate in travel/study programs (the Caribbean, France, Greece, Japan, Spain, and Turkey are among this year’s destinations), internships, and independent study projects, others are choosing from a creative mix of on-campus seminars that are unlike anything they experience during the rest of the academic year.

This year’s highlights include:

  • Learning Navigation Skills. Associate Professor of Chemistry and licensed pilot Daniel Derringer leads this class in which students learn to navigate using a compass, sextant, and GPS technology.
  • Getting to Know the Roanoke Valley: A January Term Primer. This course is part of a broader project intended to educate students about the entertainment, cultural, recreational, and culinary scenes within the greater Roanoke Valley. Students will work throughout the semester designing and publishing a new website designed for Hollins students focused on the Roanoke Valley. Students will go into the community, meet and speak with local business owners and groups, and write reviews about their experiences.
  • Touring Theatre Production for Children. Taught by Associate Professor of Theatre Ernie Zulia and Theatre Technical Director John Forsman, this class will mount a production of The Adventures of Iris and Walter, based on the award-winning children’s storybooks by Elisa Haden Guest and adapted by Nicole B. Adkins. Both Guest and Adkins received their Master of Fine Arts degrees from Hollins in 2012. The production will be staged at Hollins Theatre, February 5 – 6, and on Mill Mountain Theatre’s Trinkle Stage, February 7.
  • Think It, Ink It, Bind It. Students will learn how to make prints that will be incorporated into book formats. They will explore the mechanics and terminology of books and how to design and bind them. Students will also be introduced to three different printmaking processes that will be used for the imagery in their books. Students will make their own comic books, graphic novels, and zines.
  • History of Hollins and Its Social Movements. After reviewing the fundamentals of public history and strategies of social change, this class will create a smart technology application based on research of the Hollins campus. Possible objects of study include campus artifacts, buildings, and artistic representations. Students will use resources at Hollins’ Wyndham Robertson Library to investigate social change movements at the university. Groups will create a museum-quality feature display at the library based on their study.
  • On BS. The aim of this class is to recognize BS in all of its many forms and then prevent it in one’s own thinking.

Other on-campus courses at Hollins in January cover such diverse topics as jazz cinema, snakes, female scientists in film, women’s travel writing, and wilderness survival for the modern world.

Hollins’ Short Term began January 5 and continues through January 30. It has been a valuable component of the Hollins curriculum since 1968 and serves as an avenue for Hollins to inject fresh courses, programs, and approaches to education into the curriculum.


Hollins, Roanoke College Team Up for Model UN

For the first time, Hollins University and Roanoke College students joined together to attend the annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference, held November 22-25 in Chicago.

Eight students from Hollins and six from Roanoke made the trip, representing Tunisia and Gabon, respectively. The two delegations worked together on the Economic and Social Council and the Economic Commission for Africa.

Hollins Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch fostered the collaboration. He is filling in as the Roanoke College Model UN Club’s academic advisor. Roanoke Professor of Public Affairs Joshua Rubongoya, the club’s regular advisor, is on sabbatical leave.

“Hollins students have attended AMUN in Chicago since 2003 and it made sense for me to accompany Roanoke College students to this conference as well,” Lynch explained. “Moreover, AMUN is the best-planned and best-organized academic conference I have ever attended.”

Students from Roanoke College have been attending a similar conference in New York each spring.

AMUN includes over 70 colleges and universities from around the United States, with more than 1,000 students attending. During the conference, students act as country representatives and debate resolutions over issues ranging from human trafficking to arms control. The “diplomats” meet in formal sessions and informal caucuses; intense negotiations take place over the wording of resolutions.

The conference also includes a graduate school fair, internship opportunities, and chances to see Chicago’s many attractions. The timing, just before Thanksgiving, means most of the representatives miss little or no class time.

“The students from both Hollins and Roanoke welcomed the opportunity for hands-on learning and to practice public speaking, effective writing, one-on-one negotiation, and parliamentary procedure,” Lynch said. “I think having both delegations there prompted some competition, bringing out the best in both groups.”


Students Take Part in Quest to Build the Largest Fractal Ever

Fractal projectHollins University is participating in an exceptional construction project composed of over a million business cards and encompassing the entire Earth.

Hollins is one of 27 sites around the world supporting MegaMenger, an effort to build what is believed to be largest fractal ever. Over a dozen students, including those enrolled in Professor of Mathematics Caren Diefenderfer’s first-year seminar, “Games, Puzzles, and Logic,” are spearheading the construction at Hollins, which began earlier this month and continues through Saturday, October 25.

The university’s Wyndham Robertson Library serves as the primary build site. However, Diefenderfer and her students have also taken the project into the community at large. During the Virginia Science Festival in downtown Roanoke on October 11, they encouraged area adults and children to join in the construction.

According to the Fractal Foundation, a fractal is “a never-ending pattern that repeats itself at different scales. Although fractals are very complex, they are made by repeating a simple process.”

A Menger Sponge is a three-dimensional fractal that can be made from cubes attached together. Twenty single cubes made from business cards can be joined to make a Level 1 Menger Sponge, 20 Level 1 sponges make a Level 2 sponge, and 20 Level 2 sponges make a Level 3.

Each site will build one of 20 Level 3 sponges, each made of 8,000 cubes and in total making up a giant Level 4 sponge, spread around the entire world.

Diefenderfer estimates that Hollins will use between 50,000 and 60,000 business cards to complete its Level 3 sponge.

For more information, visit www.megamenger.com.

Photo by Abrian Wilson ’18