The founders of Lawrence University had a grand vision and, throughout the college’s history, its leaders have been steadfast in their commitment to building a reputation as much more than a small liberal arts college in Appleton, Wisconsin. In the 21st century, Lawrence University is among the leading liberal arts institutions in the nation, and is included on a short list of “Colleges that Change Lives” in a book written by the late college-consumer advocate and respected education journalist, Loren Pope.
But Lawrence’s mission and, indeed, its success, are evident beyond the borders of Appleton and the United States. There can be no mistaking the global impact of Lawrence University or the fact that the Lawrence community is truly worldwide.
Lawrence’s global impact is seen in alumni who gained the knowledge and confidence to venture thousands of miles away from Appleton in order to flex their liberal arts muscles and create rewarding international careers; in the faculty whose research and scholarly interests take them around the world and back, bringing to the college and its classrooms unique and meaningful global perspectives; in its extraordinary collection of off-campus study programs that open the doors to life-changing adventures found in locations from the familiar to the exotic; in its many visiting artists and speakers who bring enlightening international experiences to campus; in its international students who share their cultures, their perspectives and their quests to make a difference back home someday. Lawrence’s global presence is an exciting convergence that has today’s students, faculty and alumni sitting on top of the world.
Of the many items a Lawrence student packs for college, a passport might end up being one of the most valuable. Lawrence currently offers approximately 45 study-abroad programs, allowing students to immerse themselves in cultures and languages from around the globe.
Off-campus programs Coordinator Laura Zuege ’02 said studying abroad is a chance for students to see their roles in the larger world. “It allows them to explore the wider range of what they’re studying and put their liberal arts theories and lessons into action.” Zuege said the program’s many offerings are popular, with an average of 130 students studying abroad each year.
For Beth Larson ’12, the Francophone Seminar in Senegal allowed her to experience a culture she had been fascinated with since meeting a woman from Senegal in grade school. “I wanted to take
advantage of a unique experience, and I knew Senegal was something that I most likely wouldn’t be able to do again,” Larson said. “While there I became very good friends with my neighbors, and because of this, I was able to experience things that a typical traveler would not. It was very rewarding.”
Ana Kennedy ’11 chose Florence, Italy, for the chance to live in a city that many consider to be one of the world’s most beautiful places. It did not disappoint. “It is a city full of students, street vendors and soccer players, and it is vibrant, loud and very colorful,” she said. “There is a dynamic between the old and the new, the classical and the modern, tradition and experimentation. That was very interesting to me.
Florence has such a rich history in terms of its art, and because so many people are visiting throughout the year, there is an influx of new ideas and styles.”
Buenos Aires was the destination for Dario LaPoma ’10 because it allowed him to combine his passions for music and the Spanish language. He found the coursework at the university del Salvador inspiring and his new friendships life-changing. “The city offered endless stimulation, and within mere weeks I had formed several relationships with people as passionate about seeking concerts, delicious food, and walking for hours on end, as I was. The decision to go there wasn’t in any way counterintuitive; it was really a reaffirmation and an invitation to follow through with my wildest musical desires and share that enthusiasm with others.”
Leonard Hayes ’11 spent part of his senior year studying abroad at a music conservatory in Amsterdam. Since Hayes returned, his professor noticed striking changes in his performance and attitude. Hayes describes his experience and the effect it had on him in this video.
Nate Grady ’11 chose India for its endless array of extremes. “I did not know the half of it,” he said. “My time in India was so pockmarked with shock and awe, so riddled with adventure, fascination and exasperation that I will never forget it or the physical, emotional and academic learning that it provided me.”
And when it comes to defining one’s Lawrence experience, Zuege said the opportunity to become more cross-culturally savvy is not to be missed. “I’m proud of the way Lawrence approaches off-campus study,” said Zuege. “It is an academically and departmentally driven program. Lawrence is unique in that respect, that we see study abroad as a whole-student experience.”
How does study abroad transform today’s Lawrentian?
Follow Jared Marchant ’13 as he blogs about his travels to Spain during the upcoming Fall Term. Meet Marchant and learn about his preparations.
Off-Campus Program destinations for LU students in 2010-11
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Athens, Greece
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Beijing, China
- Berlin, Germany
- Budapest, Hungary
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Dublin, Ireland
- Florence, Italy
- Freiburg, Germany
- Gaborone, Botswana
- Grenada, Spain
- Guanajuato, Mexico
- London, England
- Melbourne, Australia
- Milan, Italy
- Nantes, France
- Oxford, England
- London, England
- Paris, France
- Pune, India
- Quebec, Canada
- Rome, Italy
- San José, Costa Rica
- Santiago, Chile
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Sydney, Australia
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Tokyo, Japan
- Vienna, Austria
Student Bound for Russia
Meghan Hickey ’12 has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Russian this summer at the Kazan Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities in Kazan, Russia.
Hickey will spend eight weeks living with a host family in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. The program features four hours a day of personalized, intensive language study as well as literature and political science courses and various cultural activities.
World Scholarship – Faculty in Pursuit of Scholarship and Sharing their Expertise
Professor of Music and Teacher of Cello Janet Anthony has been teaching in Haiti since 1997. In December 2010 she was invited to Curaçao to teach cello lessons to children in the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Curaçao Foundation.
Marcia Bjørnerud, professor of geology and Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Studies, continues to work with geologists at the University of Oslo, where she spent her sabbatical in 2000-01. In 2007 she collaborated with geologists from the Academy of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, in fieldwork on the high arctic archipelago of Svalbard (a Norwegian territory). In 2009, a sabbatical to Dunedin, New Zealand (Otago University), allowed Bjørnerud to conduct research that could lead to the development of better risk assessment and predictive techniques in earthquake-prone areas.
Ken Bozeman, Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music and teacher of voice, gave a workshop on the Acoustics of Male Passaggio at the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2010.
Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs, and Marty Finkler, professor of economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System, gave talks at the Geochemistry Institute within Guizhou Normal University in Guiyang, China, in December 2009.
Every other year, as part of the Lawrence University Marine Program, Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio ’82 takes students to Grand Cayman, British West Indies, to collect data on coral and fish biodiversity. A 2009 sabbatical took him to Stockholm University to conduct research on feeding interactions and toxic algae in the Baltic Sea. In summer 2012, De Stasio’s colleague from Finland will travel to Wisconsin to conduct research comparing grazing interactions in the Baltic Sea and Green Bay.
Professor of Biology and Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science Beth De Stasio ’83 has an ongoing collaboration with a researcher in Sweden that stems from a six-month Fulbright fellowship to the Karolinska Institutet followed by a six-month sabbatical in Stockholm in 2009.
Professor of Spanish Gustavo Fares regularly lectures abroad, in Argentina (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo), where he offers a graduate course on Border Literatures, co-directs a master’s thesis, is part of an editorial board, and is of academic counsel.
Peter Glick, professor of psychology and Henry Merritt Wriston Professor in the Social Sciences, has continuing collaborations with German and Spanish colleagues researching sexism, gender stereotypes and prejudice. He has been asked to present in Germany, Spain, England and Chile.
Dave Hall, associate professor of chemistry, has been invited to teach and has done collaborative research on immunology at University Utrecht, Netherlands, for the past five years. He is currently serving as a member of a Ph.D. examination committee in the Netherlands.
Professor of psychology Bruce Hetzler is a member of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism and has conducted research dealing with the effects of alcohol on brain waves and the behavior of laboratory animals for the past 30 years. He has presented at conferences in Cardiff, Wales; Munich, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; Toronto; Yokohama, Japan; Mannheim, Germany; and Paris.
Eilene Hoft-March, professor of French and Milwaukee-Downer College and College Endowment Association Professor of Liberal Studies, has presented her research on late 20th- and early 21st-century life writing at the Society for French Studies in England.
Professor of Music and Teacher of Piano Catherine Kautsky spent a 2010 fall sabbatical in Paris doing research for a book on the Debussy “Preludes.”
Carol Lawton, professor of art history and Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies, has been working in Greece every summer for more than 20 years. Her current project is publishing sculpture from the excavations of the Athenian Agora, the centerpiece of ancient Athens.
David McGlynn, assistant professor of English, received a fellowship to participate in a three-week summer institute hosted by the Japan Studies Association in Honolulu, Hawaii, in June 2011.
Associate Professor of Music Joanne Metcalf has had performances of her compositions in more than 25 countries worldwide. O Shining Light, commissioned by the Scottish ensemble Canty, was recently released on the group’s Carmina Celtica CD. Il nome del bel fior has been performed by the Hilliard Ensemble and Singer Pur more than 100 times in Germany, England, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Russia.
Brent Peterson, professor of German, co-directed a five-week National Endowment for the Humanities seminar in Berlin last summer. It dealt with multi-culturalism in Germany, particularly as it relates to Turkish/Muslim migrants in that country.
Lavanya Proctor, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, conducts research in New Delhi, India, where she explores English language ideologies and their relationship to ideologies of socioeconomic mobility.
Associate Professor of Biology Jodi Sedlock has been conducting frequent research on bats in the Philippines.
Fred Sturm, Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music and director of jazz studies, has conducted performances of his works in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy.
Kuo-Ming Sung, associate professor of Chinese and linguistics, has done research in Seoul, South Korea, on the use of Chinese characters in the modern Korean society. He traveled to Tibet to research the tonal structure of the Lhasa Tibetan. He has also led study tours to China, Japan, Tibet, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In addition, he has also offered tutorials on Amdo Tibetan to Lawrence students and has written a book about Tibetan culture.
Jere Wickens, assistant dean of faculty for student academic services and visiting assistant professor of anthropology, will return to Greece this summer to continue working on an archaeological surface survey in the area of Karystos in southern Euboea, just north of Athens, trying to figure out how use of the rural areas changed over time. He will also study how caves and rock shelters in the region around Athens were used in antiquity.
Bob Williams, associate professor of education, is finishing a sabbatical in Germany where he is a visiting professor with the Natural Media and Engineering project at RWTH Aachen University. He is working with a team of gesture researchers to study the role of bodily movements in communication and cognition. In June he gave a presentation at the third Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition at the University of Copenhagen.
Jane Parish Yang, associate professor of Chinese, has used sabbaticals in 2008 and 2010 to conduct research on 15th- and 16th-century Vietnamese “narratives of strange” written in Chinese characters at Academia Sinica, outside Taipei, Taiwan.
Academic merit and leadership potential have allowed Lawrence faculty to earn appointments as Fulbright Scholars along with fellowships for teaching and research opportunities around the world. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
Marcia Bjørnerud, professor of geology and Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Studies, was awarded a four-month fellowship in 2009 to the University of Otago in New Zealand for research on ancient rocks exposed along the Alpine Fault. The research — designed to increase understanding of what happens during great seismic events — complements her field-based studies with students on ancient rocks of northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which were once in a similar tectonic setting.
Carla Daughtry, associate professor of anthropology, was awarded a nine- month appointment in 2010-11 to the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research at American University in Cairo, Egypt. She taught courses in American perspectives on race, ethnicity, diaspora and globalization and supported student and faculty research activities through CASAR.
Elizabeth De Stasio ’83, professor of biology and Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science, earned a six-month fellowship in 2009 to the Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm, Sweden, for research investigating the role the protein DAF -19 plays in regulating the function of various genes that in turn affect nerve function and maintenance. Her research focused on the viability of C. elegans — microscopic worms — as a model system for studying Alzheimer’s disease.
Gustavo Fares, professor of Spanish, received a 10-week appointment in 2004 to his native Argentina to teach the graduate-level course Hispanic Identities in the United States at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza. Fares’ course examined the identities of Hispanic communities in the United States and the understanding of those identities outside the U.S. borders, focusing on the ways they are depicted in films, literature and the visual arts as well as the role those representations play in the political arena.
Claudena Skran, associate professor of government and Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science, received a six-month fellowship for an investigation of the role of non-governmental organizations in refugee resettlement in post-civil war Sierra Leone. Her study focused on how NGOs are organized, how they are funded, how they are governed, how they interact with local and national governments and their impact on the resettlement and reintegration of refugees, especially victims with special needs, former child soldiers and female victims of sexual abuse.
International Alumni—Making Their Marks in the World
In his work, Kurt Amend provides broad policy oversight for security assistance programs, defense trade matters and political-military relationships with countries around the world. In addition, since August 2009 he has served as the Department of State’s Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements, leading the U.S. Government’s negotiation of status of forces, burden-sharing and access, and defense cooperation agreements with key allies and partners in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and East Asia.
Previous overseas assignments include Afghanistan, India, Kosovo, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan, with recent travel to Warsaw, Poland; Tokyo; Singapore; Astana, Kazakhstan; Rome; The Hague, The Netherlands; and Muscat, Oman. “Without question, the core components of a liberal arts education at Lawrence — rigorous, analytical thought, the ability to place events and trends in historical context, and clear, succinct written and oral expression, to name a few — have been vital to a career as a diplomat.”
Lan Huang is CEO of Wuxi MTLH Biotechnology, a company she co-founded in China. Wuxi develops protein/peptide therapeutics for cancer and immunological diseases. Huang is also involved in several other international businesses, including HYWE Pharmaceuticals, a company she founded in 2003. An herbal drug she created at HYWE for treating brain tumors is undergoing phase II testing in the United States. She is the founder of Beyond ML Groups, a company that provides product management services to large U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including the coordination of research and development in China. In addition, she is the founder of Yolare Dermaceuticals, where she has created skin care products used for anti-aging purposes and scar reduction.
Huang is the recipient of the 2010 Thousand Talent Innovator Award from China’s central government.
“In my view, ‘international career’ means a person utilizes resources from different countries and makes the most value out of a global presence. In my case, I derive advanced technology from the U.S., then implement these technologies in China by further developing the technologies to make products for the market. I take advantage of China’s talent pool, low-cost manufacturing and large market. I enjoy being the bridge between the U.S. and China health-care worlds.”
Tocher Mitchell recently returned to the United States following a three-year assignment in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he worked with banks and other financial institutions to find new and better ways to finance underserved small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). In addition, his international career has taken him to Hong Kong, Manila, Bosnia, Mongolia and Croatia. After graduating from Lawrence, he spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.
“I believe my liberal arts education at Lawrence, particularly majoring in anthropology, helped prepare me well for working and living abroad. The array of courses I had to take provided me with a broad perspective, and sensitivity to other cultures. As well, it trained me to be observant, a key skill in helping one to adapt to different living conditions.”
Dorota Dabrowski runs a chamber that represents more than 300 American companies invested in Poland — almost one-third are Fortune 500 companies. The chamber provides business- networking opportunities, organizes conferences and sector- focused meetings, and advocates its positions based on U.S. best practices.
“The first thing you have to learn when living and working abroad is that things are simply different — not better or worse. In a place like Poland, some of the odd nuances can be blamed on 50 years of communism, but then at some point you realize that other odd nuances are just a matter of culture. Some things may change over time, but you can expect that most will not. Having been in Poland since the beginning of the country’s transition into a free- market democracy, I have been overwhelmingly impressed by the resilience and adaptability of the Polish people to the changes taking place. Creativity, entrepreneurship and ambition abound and have made this country consistently successful for the past 20 years.”
Heidi Stober currently sings with Deutsche Oper Berlin, but has sung other places internationally and continues to sing in the U.S. with various opera companies and orchestras.
“I never thought I would be living in Germany and singing here. It is such a great opportunity to sing so many different roles at once. It has also been wonderful to meet singers from all over the world with different backgrounds and experiences.”
In the Republic of the Congo, Christopher Murray and his team are trying to fulfill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s goals for Africa. These include health care, especially in the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention and malaria. Other goals involve working with host governments on climate change, good governance, promoting democracy and achieving food security for their populations.
“Central Africa is indeed far from Appleton. My home overlooks the banks of the Congo River, famous from Joseph Conrad’s novel “The Heart of Darkness,” which many of us read in the years before we got to Lawrence. The spirit of travel and engaging new ideas in new places is deep in the Lawrence tradition. When we get to draw on that tradition, we can only feel lucky: Lucky for what Lawrence encouraged us to do with our lives, and lucky for the experiences of living first hand in other cultures.”
Sharp Shooter Films produces television commercials. The company is a joint venture between Madhura Samarth and the WPP group (a global media company). Samarth and her company have produced commercials for some of the biggest brands and worked with several Indian celebrities.
”When I graduated from LU with a degree in economics, I had no idea I’d get into ad film production — I was focused on the financial world. I started out working for a boutique investment bank in New York after graduating from Lawrence. Two years later I moved back to Mumbai where I started a company that helped raise finances for small companies. After the dot-com crash, I got into television commercial production, which was a business my father had been in for several years. It’s amazing that a Lawrence education equips you with skills that can be used across disciplines.”
Michele Mayer manages a clientele of Chilean and Peruvian investors, providing a full range of services including asset management, wealth planning, corporate finance and investment banking.
“I hadn’t even considered finance when I fell into a job in banking in New York City where my Spanish skills and English ‘as a native language’ skills were in high demand. I spent nine years in New York and 12 years based in Santiago, Chile. In Chile, I managed the representative offices of two major European banks and was instrumental in obtaining approval from local risk authorities for offshore investment by Chilean Pension Fund Administrators in those banks. During my tenure, I covered the Andean region (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile) as well as the Southern cone (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). I generated investment-banking transactions and managed institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.”
Rick Kroos’s investments have been varied and include tobacco anti-carcinogen filter developments, FDA-approved medical face masks, the New Zealand green-lipped mussel industry, forestry for carbon credits, thoroughbred horse breeding and racing, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut fast-food franchises in Asia, a call center in the Philippines, owning Miller Golf and several other minor interests.
“My investments … have generally been satisfactory in monetary gains, but even more fulfilling have been the diversity and interesting connections with industries with which I had little prior experience. I have enjoyed the ride and also meeting very bright entrepreneurial persons during this journey. I have been very blessed and much can be attributed to the grounding that the four years at Lawrence provided.”
Peace Corps Partners
When Oliver ’10 and Rebecca (Dempsey) Zornow ’10, reached the African country of Swaziland in June, they extended a long Lawrence tradition of global service through the Peace Corps, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011. Since 1970, when Senator John F. Kennedy first challenged young people to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, 214 Lawrence graduates have robustly answered the call, serving from A(fghanistan) to Z(ambia) and 70 countries in between.
The Zornows, who as Lawrence students oversaw a project that established a tuition-free elementary school in rural Caneille, Haiti, will spend 27 months in Swaziland as non-formal-education project volunteers, supporting continuing education for school staff and programs that strengthen the school community and community at large.
James Eggert ’67, among Lawrence’s first Peace Corps volunteers, spent two years (1964-66) in Kenya following his junior year. He helped the government’s Ministry of Land Settlement facilitate the redistribution of thousands of acres of former British colonial farmland to African farmers.
“I remember being inspired by the JFK ‘give something to your country’ atmosphere of the early sixties and also wanting some real-world experience,” recalled Eggert, whose farming background allowed him to join the corps before graduating. “Fortunately, I was able to finish my senior year with more interest and energy when I came back in the fall of 1966.”
Fiber artist Lee Ann Kleeman M-D ’64 recently used her two years of Peace Corps service in Afghanistan (1967-69) as inspiration for a stitched piece she created for a “turning point”-themed art show.
“Living and working in a country and culture very different from my own enabled me to realize how much a nation’s values and viewpoints are shaped by its history, geography, religion, government and other institutions,” Kleeman said. “Because living conditions were harsh, I also learned I am capable of dealing with much more than I would have imagined.”
Eyewitnesses to History Part I—Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Sae Goto ’11 was looking forward to a much-anticipated trip home during spring break to get a head start on potential post-graduation job prospects. But Mother Nature turned her travel itinerary into something completely different. Just hours before her last Term II final exam, the environmental studies major from Tokyo, Japan, learned her homeland had been rocked by a record 9.0 earthquake, then slammed by an even more damaging tsunami. Though Tokyo was nearly 200 miles from the quake’s epicenter, the change Goto saw when she arrived home was unnerving.
“You never really imagine something that devastating happening to your home country,” said Goto, who experienced magnitude three and four aftershocks daily during her 10-day visit. “I went to a supermarket the day after I got home and almost all the shelves were empty. There were signs saying ‘please don’t stock up, there’s enough food’ but people were scared.”
The heavily damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant left a typically vibrant Tokyo virtually dark as energy conservation became a priority.
“Shops closed early and families stayed alert for emergency earthquake sirens, which went on about five seconds in advance of the aftershocks to prepare us,” said Goto. “I spent almost the entire time I was home with my family in our living room so we wouldn’t have to turn lights on in other rooms. Through a series of fund raisers, Goto and other Japanese students collected donations to support victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
Nineteen students from Japan were among the 2010-11 Lawrence student body and, thankfully, none of them lost a family member in the disaster.
Eyewitness to History Part II—Egypt Uprising
When Associate Professor of Anthropology Carla Daughtry was awarded a Fulbright Faculty Fellowship to do research in Egypt, and Jamie Gajewski ’09 learned she had been named to a yearlong Rotary International Ambassadorship in Egypt, neither of them could have imagined the drama that would unfold.
Both women unexpectedly found themselves — and their scholarly endeavors — uprooted by the 2011 Egyptian revolution. For Daughtry, her husband and their two children, it meant leaving the American University in Cairo and relocating to Forl, Italy, with family members. For Gajewski it meant an exodus from Alexandria University to Marseille, France. Both endured frightening encounters with protesters; the sounds of gunfire; strict curfews; food, water and gas shortages; bank and ATM shutdowns; cell phone and Internet outages; conflicting news media reports and airport chaos as they tried to leave the turbulent country.
“It was a time when personal, school and business contacts were of the utmost importance because governments and institutions were still also in crisis,” said Daughtry.
“When it became time to leave I needed to say good-bye to our home, to Egypt, and try not to cry too much … knowing in our heart of hearts that we could not return to Cairo as a family. If we had been single or married without children, we would have done as many of our colleagues: living through the protests, joining the protests and appreciating this moment in Egyptian history. We feel mixed emotions, both a sadness and satisfaction. We never imagined that we’d leave Egypt this way in such turmoil. This is not the good-bye and farewell we imagined. I certainly never imagined our Fulbright year would end so dramatically and abruptly.”
Gajewski found the turn of events equally emotional. “I didn’t get to say good-bye to Egypt in the way that I would have liked. Instead, I suddenly found myself in the developed world again, in a place where I understood more Arabic being spoken on the streets than French. I worry about the safety of my Egyptian friends, who are some of the most generous and outgoing people I have ever met. In my five months in Egypt I was taken care of from the moment I landed until the moment I was forced to flee from the country.”
“My Rotary year has been full of challenge, fear, excitement, wonder and joy and I would not trade my experiences for anything.”
Postdoctoral Fellow in Russian
Maria “Masha” Kisel calls her two-year appointment as a Lawrence postdoctoral fellow in Russian a “dream job,” as it provides the opportunity to teach at a liberal arts college while continuing to work on her research.
Her niche, she said, is trying to create more courses to deal with contemporary Russia and to teach more upper-level language courses. “In the fall I taught a course on post-Soviet film,” Kisel said. “This spring I taught Russian through Film, which has never been offered before, and I also taught a course based on my own research, featuring ideas about utopian visions of humanity in the 19th-century and in the Soviet Union.”
Kisel said she’s impressed by the enthusiasm of her students, the vibrancy of the department and Lawrence’s willingness to add new courses to the curriculum. “There’s a great deal of flexibility here, and that has inspired me creatively,” she said. Next year, she plans to offer a new course on contemporary popular culture in Russia. “I’ve felt very inspired here and very nourished in a way that I haven’t felt in my previous appointments,” Kisel said. “There’s a great camaraderie and spirit about the department; I feel honored to be a part of it.”
From Mumbai to Appleton—and Back
Lawrence Today asked alumnus Che Kurrien ’01, a native of Mumbai, India, to reflect on his time at Lawrence and the impact it had on his career. Following are his words:
I was aware of some immutable truths about Lawrence even before my turbo- prop aircraft touched down at what Rik Warch fondly called “Outagamie International.” These facts, passed on by graduates who had moved back to Mumbai, included: that Freshman Studies would knock me to the mat, that the college community was governed by an honor code quite unlike anything I had experienced in India and that Professor Hah never handed out an A.
That much was certain. What wasn’t — much to my middle-class parents’ consternation — were my plans for the future. Most of my friends and relatives back home had chosen technical professions, and found it hard to understand why I was investing in an undergraduate program that didn’t guarantee an immediate return. I had moments of doubt, too, especially while wrestling with Faulkner.
I fully understood the value of a liberal education only as a senior, signing up in a single term for courses that might have been considered intimidating: Political Philopsophy; Morality, Rationality and Self Interest, and Satire. Each was led by a heavyweight professor. Yet magically, I had learned to connect the dots between ostensibly disparate fields, to draw from each discipline to strengthen my arguments in another. This knowledge infused me with a precious confidence I had never possessed, that I value deeply in this present, ambiguous world.
I graduated into a scenario that included a tumbling NASDAQ, ravaged by plummeting Internet stock, a nationwide freeze on corporate hiring — and then a few months later, 9/11. But India felt like a different country from the sclerotic one I had left, a nation on the cusp of heady economic expansion. The Lawrence liberal arts ideal had transformed and armed me with a unique outlook. So I was well positioned to capitalize on a range of opportunities in the new India.
In the decade since I graduated, I’ve worked as a city reporter for the Indian Express newspaper; as the music and nightlife correspondent for the local edition of Time Out magazine; as a financial markets analyst in Mumbai and Sri Lanka for Reuters; and most recently as the first editor of GQ India — the leading men’s magazine in the country.
Studying Sustainability in China
Marty Finkler, professor of economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System, is happy to keep a good thing going. President Jill Beck recently signed a new agreement to cooperate with Guizhou Normal University in China, specifically with its Karst Institute and Community- based Conservation Development Research Center. Finkler first traveled to China in 2003. In 2008 Lawrence helped stage a Wisconsin water symposium attended by 25 delegates from China. This time the focus of the partnership will be on sustainable China: culture, conservation and commerce.
Finkler and colleagues Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs, Jane Parish Yang, associate professor of Chinese, and Yudru Tsomu, assistant professor of history, will travel this December with up to a dozen students to Hong Kong and the Guangdong, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces. Finkler said students will present projects related to the multifaceted sustainability theme and learn more about the tradeoffs involved in economic development.
“We are excited about the opportunities to work with our friends in Guiyang,” said Finkler. “We share a common interest in finding ways to alleviate poverty and improve general well-being without destroying critical natural resources.”
Collaboration for Cultural Understanding
The beginning of the decade-long partnership between Lawrence University and IndUS of Fox Valley Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Indo-American friendship and goodwill, goes back to 2000, when the fledgling IndUS held its annual banquet on campus. Lawrence later helped the organization craft its charter and obtain non-profit status. Since then, Lawrence and IndUS have increasingly collaborated on events that celebrate diversity, co-hosting several concerts, film screenings and discussions each year.
The collaboration continues to grow: Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow of Ethnomusicology Sonja Downing is the latest Lawrence representative to
serve on the IndUS board of directors. “I had been trying to think of ways to connect the Conservatory of Music with local organizations, especially those that highlight the culture and arts of local ethnic or international populations, and they were also keen to strengthen a connection with Lawrence University,” said Downing. “I have long had an interest in Indian culture and music, since studying Hindustani (North Indian classical) and Carnatic (South Indian classical) music in college and during my graduate work in ethnomusicology.”
This July, several volunteers from IndUS will present a day-long session on Indian music as part of Lawrence’s 2011 World Music Summer Seminar; and IndUS recently committed $2,000 toward Lawrence’s plan to invite Vidya Dengle, an Indian classical violinist, to campus as an artist in residence.
B.S. Sridhar, one of IndUS’ founders who currently coordinates the organization’s cultural programming, said, “The strategic goals of IndUS are centered around education, promotion of cultural understanding and awareness, social responsibility and charity. These are very similar to the mission and goals of a great university such as Lawrence, with its commitment to liberal education. Our collaboration, we believe, contributes immensely to the promotion of cultural understanding in the community and thereby to the quality of life in the Valley and beyond.”
A distinctly Southeast Asian flavor was added to Lawrence’s music ensembles in January 2009 with the debut of the Balinese gamelan. Indigenous to Indonesia, the gamelan was introduced to the curriculum by Lawrence post-doctoral fellow of ethnomusicology Sonja Downing to help bridge the Lawrence conservatory and the college through a cross-cultural music experience.
Launched with borrowed instruments from the university of Illinois, the 30-member ensemble unveiled its own custom-made set of instruments in a March 2011 performance. Hand-carved from native jackfruit wood by the top gamelan craftsmen in Bali, the set includes 25 core instruments, eight sets of cymbals and more than 20 bamboo flutes.
“In Balinese gamelan music, it’s not about how well one person plays, but how well every member of the ensemble can play as precisely and artistically with everyone else,” said Downing, who began playing the gamelan as a senior at Swarthmore College. “In addition to the high aesthetic standards the students bring to the gamelan, we hope the skills they gain of simultaneous responsibility and humility translate well into other areas of their lives, including a broadened sense of global cultural diversity.”
Bali native I Dewa K.A. Adnyana is the musical director of the ensemble.
Learning the Language
Thanks to Lawrence’s language assistants program, students studying German, Russian, French, Chinese, Spanish or Japanese are able to learn directly from students who make those countries their homes.
The language assistants program pairs native speakers with the appropriate language department where they teach drills, run the language tables and organize Björklunden weekends or cultural events. “It’s a great program,” said Tim Schmidt, coordinator of international student services. “Having a native speaker allows students to learn how to speak a little closer to how they speak in that particular country. You can learn from a book, but it’s not as natural as learning from a native speaker. It provides that opportunity to exchange on a more natural level. And when students learn from their peers, they’re going to be speaking the language that’s appropriate for their age group.”
Since 2002, Lawrence’s partnership with WASEDA University in Tokyo has brought, on average, a dozen students annually to the college for a year of study in Appleton. “Lawrence provides the chance to study at a liberal arts institution where students can take classes that are outside their majors, such as music history, studio arts, theatre arts, gender studies and environmental studies, classes they aren’t able to take at WASEDA,” said Cecile Despres-Berry, director of the Lawrence WASEDA program. The program also includes ESL classes, mentoring, cultural events and field trips.
For many of the students, the experience of studying abroad also provides a first chance to develop friendships with people from other cultures. “Working with WASEDA students has reinforced for me the importance of intercultural experiences,” said Despres-Berry. “I hear from former WASEDA students that their year at Lawrence has led them to jobs with international companies, inspired them to attend graduate school in the United States or encouraged them to work for non-governmental organizations in Japan.”
As far as the program’s impact on Lawrentians, Despres-Berry said some students who served as tutors were motivated to become assistant English teachers in Japan, others have begun studying Japanese after befriending WASEDA students, and still others have been inspired enough by the courage of their WASEDA friends to study abroad themselves.
“In our increasingly global economy, a well-rounded liberal arts education is not complete without international and intercultural experiences,” Despres-Berry said. “The WASEDA program helps provide those experiences by increasing the cultural and linguistic diversity on campus.”
The Business of International Careers in Business
The successful Lawrence “Scholars In …” programs keep expanding, with the latest iteration focused on international careers. “Lawrence is always looking for alumni who are headquartered overseas,” said Mark Breseman ’78, associate vice president of alumni and constituency engagement. “They are doing creative things and we want them to share their experiences with current students.”
Breseman said besides valuable information sharing, alumni collaborating with Lawrence Scholars in International Careers might be able to help students secure internships overseas or provide valuable contacts with potential employers.
“The goal is to have Lawrence Scholars in International Business continually on the minds of alumni located throughout the world,” said Breseman. “We want to engage them in this program so that when their travels bring them back to the U.S. they come to Lawrence and sit down and meet with our students face to face. With today’s global economy, the time is right for the Lawrence Scholars In programs to move to an international stage.”
If you are interested in the Lawrence Scholars in International Business program, email Breseman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adenwalla Remembers a Hero and a Friend
As a native of India, Minoo Adenwalla, professor of government and Mary Mortimer Professor of Liberal Studies emeritus, had always been an admirer of Nani Palkhivala, India’s most prominent constitutional lawyer, who also served as India’s ambassador to the U.S. Recently Adenwalla published an article titled “The Legacy of Nani Palkhivala” in Freedom First, a liberal monthly magazine published in Bombay. In it, Adenwalla recounts meeting Palkhivala and the friendship that ensued. What follows are excerpts from Adenwalla’s article.
It began in 1979. Lawrence University invited Ambassador Palkhivala to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at our June graduation. Unfortunately, the date later conflicted … and Lawrence responded by making an unusual exception. It invited Nani to address a special university convocation, where his honorary degree would be conferred.
Following the faculty procession and before Nani spoke, President [Thomas] Smith conferred the honorary degree Doctor of Laws. Nani titled his convocation address “A New Birth of Freedom.” It referred to India’s rejection of the draconian emergency. Without props or notes, Nani spoke to a spellbound audience. In his speech he lauded the U.S. for “being the first nation in the world to have a guaranteed Bill of Rights.”… As Nani concluded his Lawrence address, the audience rose spontaneously in a standing ovation. Nani acknowledged the “special” convocation as “one of the happiest and proudest days of my life.”
Following dinner at President Smith’s home, Nani departed. We had been together almost the whole day. Nani made me promise to visit him whenever I was in India. I kept it, with great pleasure, for almost the next 20 years.
I met Nani for the last time in 1998. Every visit, Nani invited me to lunches, at Bombay House, the Ripon Club, and to dinners at his home, “Commonwealth.” … I knew that he had not been well. Yet, he continued to work. I went to Bombay House, since I did not want to burden him by being invited to dinner. As soon as I entered his office … his first words were, “When are you coming to dinner?” I protested, but he insisted. His mind was clear and sharp as ever. It was my last memorable evening with him.
Celebrating all things International
For more than three decades, Lawrence International Cabaret has been wowing audiences who come to enjoy international students expressing their culture through music, dance, native attire and global cuisine. The theme for the 2011 performance was “Unity in 57,” a salute to the 57 countries represented in the Lawrence student body. This year’s Cabaret also included fund-raising activities to support victims of the floods in Pakistan, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and various campus organizations involved in humanitarian projects, such as Globemed, which supports a children’s school and health care facility in Ecuador.
“We want to broaden the reach of Lawrence International to be an organization that’s more than just a tableau of cultures,” said LI President Siddhant Dayal ’11, a senior from Mumbai, India. “We want to be an organization that makes a positive difference around the world, especially in the home countries of our students.”
Scholarships Support International Students
Approximately 12 percent of Lawrence students come from outside the U.S. According to statistics the Office of Admissions tracks, this makes Lawrence one of the most internationally diverse colleges in the country. Several scholarships help international students receive an education at Lawrence, fostering ethnic and cultural diversity on campus. Only a handful of these funds are listed below.
- The Dr. Betty Thompson and Dr. John Cowan Messenger Scholarship, to be awarded for the first time for the 2011-12 academic year, will support international students who have demonstrated financial need, particularly those hailing from West Africa. The fund was established by Betty Thompson Messenger ’47 and John Cowan Messenger ’42, former professors of anthropology at The Ohio State University who have conducted ethnographic research around the world, concentrating their work in New Zealand, the West Indies, Nigeria and Ireland.
- The International Student Fund, established by Lawrence parents Robert and Patricia Johnson, is a scholarship that benefits international students at Lawrence who have demonstrated financial need. Over the past decade, the fund has helped support 12 students who hailed from countries around the world, from Bangladesh and Bhutan to Sierra Leone and Thailand.
- The Dr. Scholl Foundation International Student Fund, created in 2001 through a grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation, is awarded to a student from outside the U.S. It was established as a way to honor the foundation’s appreciation for and commitment to the brand of private education for which Lawrence is recognized. “While Lawrence offers several scholarships that help support international students, the current need for these scholarships exceeds available resources,” said Vice President for Alumni, Development and Communications Calvin Husmann. “We are working to create even more opportunities for international students to study at Lawrence.”
A Home away from Home
Students may come from all around the world to study at Lawrence, but thanks to a host of volunteers, it’s a bit easier for them to feel at home in Appleton. The Friendship Family program pairs international students with area families who offer friendship, support and everything else in between.
Jill and Paul Wilke, who have been in the program since 2002, said it’s like having an extended family. Students have accompanied them picking apples, carving pumpkins, at sporting events, and have even joined them for Thanksgiving dinner and decorating the Christmas tree. “In general, if we have an idea or event, we send a note to the students to see if they want to participate,” said Jill.
For Carrie ’95 and Ryan Korb ’95, becoming a friendship family stemmed from their own travels abroad as students at Lawrence. “We both knew how influential a family relationship can be for both the student and the family. Also, we had young children and wanted them to know people from other countries,” said Carrie. The Korbs have been a friendship family for 10 years.
Both the Wilkes and the Korbs say they’ve been enriched by the experience. “Our boys have absorbed an expanded world view, and have a better understanding of how what happens on the other side of the world really does matter, and impacts our lives,” said Paul. “We have gained much more from these students than we could have ever imagined.”
The Korbs agreed. “We have three children, ages 5, 11 and 12,” said Jill. “This experience has made them more aware of the world around them. Learning about the different cultures and experiencing events like Cabaret has exposed them to the diversity of human expression, but perhaps most importantly they have grown up seeing members of all nationalities as people just like them.”
Graduation doesn’t mean the end of the relationship between the family and its student. Both families have stayed in touch with many of their former students.
“When some of the international students graduate, they’ll praise the academics, their relationships with other students, but often what they say is that the Friendship Family was the best part of their experience, the non-academic part of American culture,” said Tim Schmidt, coordinator of International Student Services. “Some of our students don’t see their parents for four years, and they need that comfort zone to go to.”
From Ethiopian doro wot to Korean bulgogi and from Vietnamese pho to sweet potato peanut stew, diners at the Warch Campus Center can take a daily international culinary cruise of the world with a stop at Andrew Commons’ Global Market food station.
With menu offerings that tilt primarily toward Southeast Asia, the Subcontinent and the Pacific Rim — anything with hoisin sauce is especially popular — the Global Market features an array of student- requested dishes unheard of a generation ago.
“Our students grew up watching the Food Network. They’re familiar with these exotic ingredients,” says Alan Shook, executive chef for Bon Appétit. “Their palates are much more educated these days.”
“International students in the classroom provide an essential component of the education for domestic students,”
said Marty Finkler, professor of Economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System. “This notion is nicely illustrated by the teams students put together in Economics 425 – Entrepreneurship and Finance.”
“Such a mix of nationalities helps greatly to enrich the ideas and strategies the students propose for the enterprises they wish to create,” said Finkler. “It also makes class discussion — a central component of the course — much richer than it would be if the students were all Americans.”
The six teams were comprised as follows (by place of permanent residence):
- Galveston, Texas; Seoul, Republic of Korea; and Berlin, Germany
- Madison, Wis.; Beijing, China; and Colombo, Sri Lanka
- West Bend, Wis.; Barcelona, Spain; and Pusan, Republic of Korea
- Burlington, Wis. and Oxford, Mass.
- Winnetka, Ill.; Minneapolis MN; and Dhaka, Bangladesh
- St. Charles, Ill. and Quito, Ecuador
An informal gathering place where Lawrence’s international students can feel at home to:
- socialize and hang out
- cook food from their homelands
- watch TV from around the world
- A place where international clubs can have meetings:
- Lawrence international
- Chinese student association
- Korean student association
- Afro-Caribbean Club
- ¡VIVA! (Latin American Club)
- German table
- Russian table
Ask Tim Schmidt, coordinator of international student services, what makes Lawrence stand out from some of its peers and he’ll point to the diversity of international programming at the college.
Under the umbrella organization Lawrence International, students make connections, share experiences and put on a variety of events for the Lawrence community. Its activities include:
- International Cabaret
- Themed / Ethnic dinners
- Spring break trips
- Fund raisers for international tragedies
In addition, LI sponsors a mentoring program that pairs a returning international student with a new international student to help ease the transition into life at an American liberal arts college. LI’s Bridging Borders program is part of Welcome Week and features a panel discussion where international students can get advice about adapting to a new culture and battling homesickness, and even obtain a list of places where they can go when they’re craving food from their home countries.
“Not every university has as much international programming as Lawrence,” said Schmidt. “They all do some, but it’s not as big as what we do. And I’m very proud of that.”
An African Adventure
Ever since he was in elementary school, Dane Richeson, professor of music, has been fascinated with the music of West Africa. In pursuit of his passion, he travels regularly to Ghana, Brazil and Cuba to research non-Western music to include in his percussion curriculum. The result has been the creation of three Lawrence ensembles that perform these types of music: Sambistas (Brazil), Kinkaviwo (Africa) and an Afro-Cuban ensemble.
While in Ghana, Richeson spent time with master drummer Godwin Agbeli. After Agbeli passed away, his son Nani began working with Richeson. Eventually Nani moved to the United States — Madison, Wis., to be exact — and the pair continued their musical endeavors. Nani has been invited to Lawrence as an artist in residence; in turn, Richeson and his students have joined Nani on summer study tours in Ghana. “The experience changes their lives,” Richeson said. “A lot of the music is percussion oriented … it makes the musical environment very inspiring. Musically my students are knocked out about the experience and can’t wait to come back to Lawrence and teach other kids about it.”
Lawrence’s ever-expanding international programming has moved from the classroom to the dance floor. Last year President Jill Beck taught World Dance, a class she called a “blend of dance technique and a liberal arts approach to dance content that embraced history and multiple cultures.” Students learned different styles of dance from Mexico, Israel, Bolivia/Argentina and Vietnam.
“Dance courses often tend to focus on Western techniques such as ballet and modern dance, and other familiar theatrical styles such as jazz and musical comedy,” said Beck. “The World Dance course extended the reach of dance studies to include choreography and non-theatrical styles from various countries. It was a more global approach to studying how different cultures express their values, belief systems, history and sense of identity through movement.”
Beck said she enjoyed returning to the studio to teach the class and hopes to see more world dance offerings in the future. “As ethnomusicology develops in the conservatory, I predict that world dance will come right along with it,” she said.
As the beneficiary of an older brother who helped her attend Lawrence, Zenabu Abubakari ’11
dreamed of a day she would have the chance to
change somebody’s life herself. That dream became reality when Abubakari launched the “Ghana Reads” project in the spring of 2010.
The studio art major from Accra, Ghana, spearheaded a community outreach initiative designed to support rural education in her homeland. The response, from both the Lawrence campus and Fox Valley communities, generated 7,500 pounds — 225 boxes worth — of new and gently used books, pencils and other education supplies for four schools in Ghana, including the high school she attended. Additional cash donations covered the shipping costs.
Dominique Goldson ’11, Sasha Johnston ’12, Sydney Pertl ’11 and Sirgourney Tanner ’10 accompanied Abubakari to Ghana to help distribute the donated supplies.
“Seeing smiles of heartfelt appreciation on the faces of needy children and their communities was truly rewarding and satisfying,” said Abubakari.
A Classic Tale
Whether student presentations of Latin versions of Dr. Suess stories, performances of plays by Greek playwright Aristophanes and Roman dramatist Plautus on the steps of Main Hall, or scholarly lectures on Roman baths and artistic representations of Hercules, the classics department’s annual “Classics Week” celebrates the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome to our own civilization.
Classics and anthropology major Lauren Mimms ’12 continued the Classics Week tradition of connecting the ancient world to the modern world this spring with a presentation on her field research. It included highlights of her three separate study-abroad experiences in 2009 and 2010 at excavation sites in Macedonia, Greece and Egypt.
A World of Service
From an at-risk youth music program in Paraguay to an orphanage in Ghana and a medical clinic in Camaragibe, Brazil, Lawrence students have traveled the world, participating in meaningful service projects as learning experiences thanks to the Summer Volunteer Opportunity Grant. Since 1991, the SVOG has supported more than 80 students in a volunteer and service-related projects that incorporate academic inquiry.
Katie Jubert ’12 spent nine weeks in Paraguay in 2010 teaching private and group music lessons while also working with a high school orchestra through Sonidos de la Tierra (Sounds of the Earth), an organization that provides music instruction to underprivileged students. She described her experience as “a life-changing adventure and a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity.”
In working with students before and after their summer projects, Volunteer and Community Service Center Director Kristi Hill says she has seen “profound transformations.”
“This program truly embraces Lawrence’s mission of preparing students for lives of achievement, responsible and meaningful citizenship, lifelong learning and personal fulfillment,” Hill said.
Upon their return to campus, SVOG recipients are expected to engage the campus community around issues of social, legal and political concern relating to their self-designed service project.
Kalle Larsson ’07 came to Lawrence University in search of a great education. He now searches for young men looking for the exact same thing. Larsson was a standout for the Lawrence hockey team during his time as a student and recently completed his first season as an assistant coach with the Vikings.
“I wanted to go to the best school I could academically and Lawrence was by far better than any of the other schools I talked to so it was Lawrence all the way,” said Larsson, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Larsson had played junior hockey for one year in Victoria, B.C., and then played another year in Dayton, Ohio, before coming to Lawrence. One of his junior hockey coaches knew Lawrence’s head coach at the time and a relationship with the school was born.
Lawrence’s small size and his position as a student-athlete aided a quick transition to college. “Being a small school, there’s help for an international student. You’re not just a guy in a class with 400 students,” Larsson said.
Larsson was a government major with an interdisciplinary in international studies and a minor in history. “Academically, Lawrence was everything I wanted and more. It was awesome. It felt like professors cared about my education even when I didn’t,” Larsson said with a laugh. “You have the resources to do well at Lawrence. If there’s something you can’t figure out on your own, there’s help.”
Larsson worked in management consulting for three years in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill., after his graduation. He also started Scandinavian Hockey Consulting with former Lawrence teammate and fellow Swede Daniel Ljung ’06. Larsson got a call from Director of Athletics Mike Szkodzinski last summer to see if he would be interested in being his assistant coach with the Vikings.
“When Mike called, it felt like a really good fit,” Larsson said. “This is the place where I became the person I am. I formed a lot of my values here. It’s pretty cool to be back.”
Lawrence’s international presence also extends to its athletic teams:
Mats Jonsson — Barcelona
Jesse Simonsen — St. John, Virgin Islands
Salem Barahmeh — Jericho, Palestine
Alex Chee — Selangor, Malaysia
Edward Li — Chengdu, China
Xiaoting Liu — Congquing, China
Elodie Jegu — Cochabamba, Bolivia
William Thoren — Gothenburg, Sweden
Pier-Andre Marquis — St. Georges, Quebec
Yagmur Esemen — Cyprus
Ted Chritton — Singapore
Teresa Protasio — Monte Estoril, Portugal
Lin Zhao — Tianjin, China
World Music Series
The Lawrence Conservatory of Music, known for providing world-class training in Western music, also has a strong commitment to providing students with a broad exposure to the music traditions of the world. Just as studying a foreign language gives a student a deeper understanding of his or her native tongue, studying world music traditions can provide surprising insights into Western musical thought and performance.
According to Dean of the Conservatory Brian Pertl ’86, Lawrence takes a holistic approach to the exploration of world music that has three main
components. First, in the classroom, Sonja Downing, Lawrence postdoctoral fellow of ethnomusicology, intellectually challenges students to explore the varied roles of music within the world’s cultures.
Second, in the rehearsal hall, students are invited to experience non-Western music directly. Lawrence believes that the students should have the opportunity to play the music, feel it, groove with it — in short, begin to gain fluency in other musical languages. Lawrence offers five separate performance opportunities: Brazilian samba drumming, Ghanaian dancing and drumming, didjeridu, Cuban singing and drumming and Balinese gamelan.
Third, in the performance hall, the conservatory brings in virtuoso musicians from around the globe to perform and give hands-on lecture demonstrations in the new World Music Series. Since 2008, Lawrence has hosted performers from places around the world including Tuva, India, The Ivory Coast, Palestine, Russia and Iran.
“Lawrence’s offerings in world music and ethnomusicology are unprecedented for an undergraduate institution of its size, and the college is proud of this achievement,” Pertl said. “By studying world music, students become better musicians, better scholars and better citizens of the world.”
Sister Cities leads to Scholarship
The city of Appleton recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Fox Cities–Kurgan Sister Cities Program. The event was held at the Warch Campus Center and featured a concert by the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra, a borscht cook-off, plus dinner and dialogue.
A spin-off of the sister cities partnership was the signing of an accord between Kurgan State University and Lawrence that allows for an exchange of students and faculty between the institutions.
“For the last three years, a professor from Kurgan State University has come to observe and participate in classes at Lawrence,” said Tim Schmidt, coordinator of international student services, and a Fox Cities Kurgan Sister Cities board member. “They’re learning American teaching methods, taking advantage of our library for research and learning our methods for teaching English to our international students.”
Lawrentians have also traveled to Kurgan to teach classes, including Freshman Studies and English.
For the Islam course taught by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Martyn Smith, students are expected to learn about the cultural diversity within the Islamic world. But with political uprisings, ongoing instability and extensive travel restrictions, hands-on learning seemed all but impossible.
Smith’s creative solution for solving the dilemma made use of Google Earth, a virtual globe featuring satellite imagery and aerial photography that allows viewers to zoom in on a specific area anywhere in the world. As a final project Smith asked students to locate on Google Earth historical and contemporary sites related to a city or country in the Islamic world. They used place markers and other tools on Google Earth to communicate their research about the sites.
“I wanted an assignment that would allow students to imagine the cultural diversity within the Islamic world, which reaches from Morocco to Indonesia, and lots of versions of Islam in between,” said Smith. “Islam isn’t just one thing — which is how we tend to view a culture we don’t know — but has lots of different faces and expressions. This project was a way to get students to get at the multi- sidedness of Islam and to engage geographically with its diversity.”
They don’t work for the U.S. Department of State, but several Lawrentians have been appointed honorary “ambassadors” in recent years as recipients of Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships.
Rachel Young ’12 of Minneapolis was named Lawrence’s latest Rotary Scholar this spring and awarded a $27,000 scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year. She hopes to apply the scholarship toward a year of study in international relations at National Taiwan University in Taipei. A Chinese and Spanish major, Young called the scholarship “an amazing gift,” and is looking forward to “being a bridge between Rotarians here and in Taiwan.” In addition to their course work, while abroad Rotary Scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors for their home countries by participating in community service projects and speaking at local Rotary Club events, civic organizations and other forums.
Other recent Rotary Scholars include:
- Sarah Ehlinger ’11, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana — environmental issues, environmental inequalities and human health.
- Jamie Gajewski ’09, Alexandria University, Alexandria — Egypt, Arabic
- Natalie Grattan ’10, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand — public health
- Sonja Weston ’07, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India — Indian politics, history and society
For decades students have begun their post-Lawrence lives in cities around the world as unofficial U.S. ambassadors, teaching English or conducting research as recipients of scholarships through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. In the past six years, 13 graduating seniors have been awarded Fulbright scholarships.
Jennifer Compton ’11, Ames, Iowa, will travel in September 2011 to the University of Amman in Jordan for a 10-month position as a language-learning assistant to an English teacher there.
Anneliese Abney ’10, Chelsea, Michigan, was awarded an English language teaching assistantship and will spend the
2011-12 school year in the town of Zwetti, in the Niederösterreich province of Austria.
It is called a “wanderjahr” — a year to travel and explore the world on a topic of the student’s choosing — by the Watson Foundation, which has been awarding fellowships to students to do just that since 1969.
In the program’s 42-year history, 69 Lawrentians have seen the world, or at least parts of it, as Watson Fellows, investigating everything from the prospects for democracy in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to the impact of deforestation on bird populations in Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
Recent Watson Fellows, their study interests and destinations include:
Alex Winter ’10, “Video Game Culture Studies in East Asia”, China, Japan, South Korea
Madhuri Vijay ’09, “The Two ‘I’s in Indian’: Writing the Stories of the Indian Diaspora”; Fiji, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, South Africa, Tanzania
Valeria Rojas 09, “Ethnic Discriminations and social Exclusion in Latin America”; Artgentian, Bolivia, Chile, Equador
Rick Peterson joined Marti Gillespie in writing this feature report on Lawrence University’s Global Impact.