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


Hollins Names Albaugh to Lead Graduate Studies in Screenwriting and Film Studies

albaughHollins University has named writer/producer Tim Albaugh as the new director of Hollins’ master of arts and master of fine arts programs in screenwriting and film studies, beginning in the summer of 2012. He succeeds Professor of Film and Founding Director Klaus Phillips, who passed away suddenly in early October.

Albaugh, who has taught in Hollins’ M.F.A. screenwriting program since 2007, is a graduate of the M.F.A. screenwriting program at UCLA and has taught screenwriting at UCLA, UC Irvine, Pixar Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He wrote Trading Favors, a film starring Rosanna Arquette and Cuba Gooding, Jr., and his students have sold scripts to numerous studios, producers and production companies, including HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, Nickelodeon Films, the Coen Brothers, and all the major television networks. The film The Machinist, starring Christian Bale, was written by Scott Kosar, a student in Albaugh’s class at UCLA.

“While the campus community continues to miss Klaus’ presence, we know he would like nothing more than for the graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies to continue and to grow,” said Hollins’ Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeanine Stewart. “Tim is the person we believe is best able to take on this challenge. He has been a wonderful asset for the past four years and offers a wealth of experience as well as familiarity with our students and faculty. He will do an excellent job of leading these programs.”

Hollins has offered an M.A. in screenwriting and film studies since 1999 and an M.F.A. in screenwriting since 2005. The summer programs draw instructors from the ranks of Hollins’ permanent faculty as well as visiting screenwriters, filmmakers and distinguished scholars from other institutions. The Summer 2012 session will be held June 18 – July 27.


Graduates of Hollins and Other Liberal Arts Colleges Feel Better Prepared for Life’s Challenges, Study Finds

preparedWhen it comes to getting a first job out of college, gaining admission to graduate school, or generally preparing to meet life’s challenges, graduates of residential liberal arts colleges such as Hollins University give their college experience higher marks than do graduates of any other type of colleges, according to a new national study.

The study was commissioned by the Annapolis Group, a non-profit alliance of 130 liberal arts colleges. Hollins is a member of the consortium, which sought to determine how its graduates perceive the effectiveness of its member institutions in comparison to others.

“On virtually all measures known to contribute to positive outcomes, graduates of liberal arts colleges rate their experience more highly than do graduates of private or public universities,” said James H. Day, a principal of the higher education consulting firm Hardwick Day, which conducted the study.

Among the study’s career-related findings:

  • Seventy-six percent of liberal arts college graduates rated their college experience highly for preparing them for their first job, compared to 66 percent who attended public flagship universities;
  • Eighty-nine percent of liberal arts college graduates reported finding a mentor while in college, compared to 66 percent for public flagship universities;
  • Sixty percent of liberal arts college graduates said they felt “better prepared” for life after college than students who attended other colleges, compared to 34 percent who attended public flagship universities;
  • Liberal arts college graduates are more likely to graduate in four years or fewer, giving them a head start on their careers.

The study is based on a total of 2,700 telephone interviews made in 2002 and again in the summer of 2011. It is one of only a few studies that explore the lasting effects of college in such areas as career preparation and advancement, skill development, development of personal and professional values and attitude, and community involvement.

Among other key findings in this year’s survey:

  • Seventy-seven percent of liberal arts college graduates rated their overall undergraduate experience as “excellent,” compared to 53 percent for graduates of flagship public universities;
  • Seventy-nine percent of liberal arts college graduates report benefiting “very much” from high-quality teaching-oriented faculty, compared to 63 percent for private universities and 40 percent for alumni of flagship public universities;
  • Eighty-eight percent of liberal arts graduates said there was a sense of community among students, compared to 79 percent for private universities and 63 percent for public flagship universities.

The study determined that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than graduates of both private and public universities to give their college a high effectiveness rating for helping them learn to write and speak effectively.

The study found also that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than alumni of other types of institutions to say all of the following about their college experience:

  • Their professors often challenged them academically and personally helped them meet those challenges;
  • Most of their grades were based on essay exams and written reports;
  • Their experience often included extensive classroom discussions;
  • They participated in faculty-directed research or independent study;
  • They often engaged in conversations with professors outside of class;
  • They participated in service-learning or community service;
  • They were involved in an extracurricular activity.

Alumni of all three types of institutions – liberal arts colleges, private universities, and flagship public universities – were more likely in the 2011 survey to rate their overall experience as “excellent” than in the 2002 survey, Day noted. The increase was particularly pronounced for graduates of liberal arts colleges, who went from 66 to 77 percent, and public universities, who went from 41 to 53 percent.


Hollins Appoints Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing

brownHollins University has named author and professor Carrie Brown as distinguished visiting professor of creative writing. She will join the Hollins faculty in August.

Brown is the author of five novels, including The Rope Walk (Pantheon Books, 2007), Confinement (Algonquin Books, 2004), The Hatbox Baby (Algonquin, 2000), Lamb in Love (Algonquin, 1999), and Rose’s Garden (Algonquin, 1998), and a collection of short stories, The House on Belle Isle (Algonquin, 2002). Her short fiction has appeared in such journals as One Story, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, and The Oxford American, and she regularly reviews fiction for major newspapers. Her work has been translated into several languages, and she has read at literary festivals, libraries, bookstores, and colleges and universities across the country.

Brown is a two-time winner of the Library of Virginia Book Award and a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. In 2009, The Rope Walk was selected by the Iowa Public Library as the “All Iowa Reads” book and as the “Lynchburg, Virginia Reads” book by the Lynchburg Public Library.

Brown earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Virginia and is currently associate professor of English and Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College, where she teaches creative writing courses in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She also serves as coordinator of international programs for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a year-round residential working retreat center for visual artists, writers, and composers.

Brown succeeds David Huddle, who has served as distinguished visiting professor of creative writing at Hollins since 2009. The professorship is a one-year, full-time, renewable position.


Hollins Celebrates the Class of 2012 at 170th Commencement

commencement2012Hollins alumna Elizabeth Brownlee Kolmstetter wished graduates “a life ahead full of continuous discovery” during the university’s 170th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20.

Hollins conferred 182 bachelor’s degrees and 71 master’s degrees during the ceremony, which was held on the university’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Kolmstetter, a member of Hollins’ class of 1985 and this year’s guest speaker, is deputy associate director of national intelligence for human capital within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Previously, she served as the director for human capital development at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security. An industrial-organizational psychologist, she was one of the first federal employees chosen in 2002 to be part of the creation of the TSA in the aftermath of 9-11. She was directly responsible for establishing and managing the new standards and hiring system that resulted in the largest civilian workforce mobilization in U.S. history – the hiring of over 55,000 security screeners at 430 airports across the nation in less than one year.

Kolmstetter focused on the importance of maintaining “your own journey of discovery that must never end” in her address.  She shared four stories of what she personally has discovered in life:

  • “Be grateful and show it.” (“We are all here together today because of the dreams and commitments of those who have come before us and we must give thanks….”)
  • “Plan, prepare, work really hard, and be open to the unexpected in life.” (“…even those curve balls life will throw at you, that is when amazing things happen resulting in real discovery.”)
  • “Know and keep your real friends…forever.” (“[They] only have your best interest in mind, no hidden agendas, no personal gains – they will encourage you and sometimes give you the courage you need to take your own leaps of faith.”)
  • “Do what’s hardest…even something you don’t think you can do.” (“There is nothing like taking on the toughest task and surviving – indeed, thriving. It engages your mind and a sense of purpose fills your heart.”)

Following Kolmstetter’s address, Suzanne Smith Whitmore ’60, chair of Hollins’ Board of Trustees, awarded her with the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her personal and career achievements. “Since graduating from Hollins in 1985, you have ably served your nation and your alma mater with intelligence, perseverance, originality, and integrity,” Whitmore told Kolmstetter, who was joined on the commencement stage for the presentation by her mother, Paula Brownlee, who served as president of Hollins from 1981 to 1990.

Four graduating seniors were honored during the morning ceremony for their academic achievements. Chelsea Rose DeTorres, Laura Chelsea Woodrum, Melissa Susanna Hammond, and Eileen Michelle O’Connor each received the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. DeTorres and Woodrum tied for the highest grade point average among this year’s graduates, while Hammond and O’Connor tied for the second-highest grade point average.

The following awards were also presented at this year’s Commencement:

  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given by the New York Southern Society in memory of the founder, recognizes members of the campus community who have shown by daily living those qualities that evidence a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women. This year’s honorees are senior Kylie Louise McCormick and Professor of Psychology Randall Flory.
  • The Annie Terrill Bushnell Award, established by the late Mrs. William A. Anderson in memory of her mother, is presented to the senior who has evidenced the finest spirit of leadership during her days at Hollins. Elizabeth Price Dodd is the recipient this year.
  • The Jane Cocke Funkhouser Award, honoring a member of the class of 1911, recognizes a junior or senior who, in addition to being a good student, is pre-eminent in character. Senior Jessica Maria Hall was presented this year’s award.
  • The Hollins University Teaching Award, supported by an endowment established by Mary Bernhardt Decker ’58 and her late husband, James DeWitt Becker, honors secondary school teachers who have devoted their lives to preparing students to achieve and excel in a higher education setting. Each year, Hollins seniors are invited to nominate the teachers who inspired them or contributed significantly to their intellectual and personal growth. This year’s winner, nominated by senior Nancy VanNoppen, is Jack W. Bonner IV, associate head of the Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is also the assistant head for academic affairs, chair of the curriculum committee, and on the English/Humanities faculty.