Lawrence University News

Furniture-based sculpture, Dust Bowl Era Photos Featured in New Wriston Art Center Exhibition

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

BA Harrington, an artist specializing in woodworking, discusses her furniture-based sculptural installation “Chest on Chest” Friday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in the opening lecture in the new Wriston Art Center Galleries ChestonChest_newsblogexhibition, which runs through Nov. 26. A reception follows Harrington’s remarks. Both events are free and open to the public.

Harrington, a former custom furniture maker, currently teaches woodworking at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Harrington merges her traditional cabinetmaking experience with academic training as a contemporary artist. Her installation, featured in the Kohler Gallery, explores themes of gender, history, craft and family.

The Leech Gallery presents “Migrant Mother, W.P.A. Prints and the Dust Bowl Era.” The exhibition features artworks from the U.S. Works Progress Administration and the Dust Bowl era of the mid 1930s, including  Dorothea Lange’s iconic photograph “Migrant Mother, Nipomo CA.”

Wisconsin-born, Chicago-based artist Nathan Vernau is featured in the Hoffmaster Gallery. His exhibition, “Scraps & Debris,” uses brilliantly colored mixed-media compositions to draw on a range of recognizable but also obscure symbols: cinder blocks, letters and envelopes, balloons, picture frames, and hearts.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Signs Partnership Agreement with UW Colleges to Assist Transfer Students

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by Rick Peterson
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Lawrence President Mark Burstein announces a partnership agreement with the UW Colleges that will make things easier for students from any of the state’s 13 two-year campuses to transfer to Lawrence and earn a bachelor’s degree.

An historic partnership between the University of Wisconsin Colleges  and Lawrence University will soon help students transfer more efficiently from the two-year institutions and earn a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence. The partnership agreement was formally signed Wednesday (9/24) in ceremonies at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.

Lawrence President Mark Burstein, Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows and Lawrence Special Assistant to the President and Professor of French and Milwaukee-Downer College and College Endowment Association Professor of Liberal Studies Eilene Hoft-March joined UW Colleges/UW-Extension Interim Chancellor Aaron Brower, UWFox CEO and Campus Dean Martin Rudd and UW Colleges Provost and Vice Chancellor Greg Lampe in the signing ceremony.

The agreement is designed to minimize barriers faced by independent transfers from UW Colleges, including UWFox, and ease the transition process so students can reach their academic and career goals.

Under terms of the agreement, Lawrence will provide specialized advising, registration, financial information and orientation opportunities for UW Colleges transfer students. Academic credits will still be transferred on a case-by-case basis. All UW College transfer students will be eligible for a merit-based scholarship up to $20,000 per year.

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Aaron Brower. (Photo by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison)

“Through small classes and engaging hands-on learning experiences, UW Colleges students from our campuses around the state are well prepared to succeed when they transfer to four-year institutions, including private schools such as Lawrence University,” said Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension. “This partnership serves our students, both institutions and our state well as we all strive to increase the number of Wisconsin residents earning high quality bachelor’s degrees.”

Chuck Erickson, associate director of admissions at Lawrence, will serve as a transfer advisor and hold office hours every other week at UWFox during the academic year to meet with students interested in transferring.

“This agreement is another step in our effort to increase access to
a rigorous Lawrence education and help make it affordable
to more residents of Wisconsin.”
— President Mark Burstein

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Martin Rudd

“Some of our very best students have transferred to Lawrence, but there have been struggles with that process that detract from students’ focus on their studies,” said Rudd.  “Lawrence and UWFox want our students to succeed at the highest level wherever they may go once they leave us, and we feel that this partnership presents guidelines as to how we can do that.”

Lawrence currently has 10 students who have transferred from UW Colleges among its 1,500-member student body, including eight from UWFox. The majority of the transfers enroll at Lawrence after one year at one of the UW Colleges campuses. With the partnership agreement in place, Lawrence hopes to increase that number of transfer to between 10 and 15 per year.

“We are very excited to formalize our relationship with the UW Colleges and specifically UWFox,” said Burstein. “This agreement is another step in our effort to increase access to a rigorous Lawrence education and help make it affordable to more residents of Wisconsin.”

In addition to Menasha, UW Colleges have two-year campuses in Baraboo, Fond du Lac, Janesville, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marshfield, Rice Lake, Richland Center, Sheboygan, Waukesha, Wausau and West Bend.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Receives Record $25 Million Gift for Scholarship Endowment

Posted on: September 21st, 2014 by Rick Peterson

A lives changer.

That’s how Lawrence University President Mark Burstein sees a $25 million anonymous gift the college has received to support student scholarships.

major-gift-news-blog2The $25 million gift is the largest in Lawrence history and will be used to establish an endowed scholarship to help meet the financial need for future Lawrence students. It is a dollar-for-dollar matching gift that will result in a new $50 million in additional endowment to support scholarships.

“A gift this size will truly change lives. We are humbled by the donor’s generosity,” said Burstein. “This gift and subsequent matching support will further enhance Lawrence’s role as a catalyst for social mobility.

“The magnitude of a $25 million gift is really immeasurable, but we know it will impact generations of students from across the country and around the world,” Burstein added. “The students who benefit from this gift will go on to make a difference in their home communities. That will be the ultimate dividend of this gift.”

“Few moments happen in the more than 160-year history of an institution like Lawrence that are truly transformative. This is one of them,” said Terry Franke, a 1968 Lawrence graduate and current chair of the college’s Board of Trustees. “A boost of $50 million in our endowment guarantees that Lawrence remains affordable for generations to come. I’m sure it will excite our alumni as much as it does me.”

Based on the average financial aid package for the 2014-15 academic year, the endowment draw from this gift will allow Lawrence to offer financial aid awards that meet the full institutionally demonstrated financial need of at least 50 students each year in perpetuity.

“The magnitude of a $25 million gift is really immeasurable, but we know it will
impact generations of students from across the country and around the world.”
— President Mark Burstein

Since becoming Lawrence’s 16th president in July 2013, Burstein has made affordability a central institutional priority.

Major-Gift_newsblog#2“We fully realize college costs can be a financial burden, which is why we are so focused on scholarship support,” said Burstein. “With this gift, along with an institutional commitment to contain expenses and manage tuition growth, we aim to help students from all backgrounds attend Lawrence and reap the benefits of a challenging and rigorous education.”

The importance of a college degree in improving a person’s social mobility was underscored in a 2008 Brookings Institution report, “Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America.”

According to the report’s authors, when children born into the bottom fifth of the United States of the income distribution earn a college degree, their chances of making it to the top fifth of income earners nearly quadruple, and their chances of escaping the bottom income quintile increase by more than 50 percent. While half of all people from high-income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, only 1 in 10 people from low-income families do.

The record-setting gift comes on the heels of other positive financial news for Lawrence. The college is coming off its best year ever for gifts to its annual giving program — the Lawrence Fund — with an institutional record $3.7 million raised during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The Lawrence Fund provides nearly 10 percent of the college’s annual operating budget. It helps bridge the gap between what students pay in tuition and actual operating costs and in conjunction with endowment earnings, helps reduce each student’s tuition by more than $10,000 per year.

In July, Lawrence announced a $2.5 million gift to expand its current teacher education program to include elementary teacher education certification beginning in the fall of 2015.Major-Gifts_newsblog_4

Earlier this year, Lawrence received a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III SIP program for a comprehensive program designed to increase the graduation rate of at-risk students.

“Collectively these gifts and grants have fueled considerable institutional momentum that will help our students have a positive, productive experience while they’re here and prepare them to succeed in a rapidly changing world,” Burstein said.

Lawrence’s previous largest gift was $16 million in 2006 for the Warch Campus Center.

For the 2014-15 academic year, Lawrence provided $33.4 million in institutional financial aid.

Ninety-six percent of Lawrence students are receiving need and/or merit based financial aid for the 2014-15 academic year.

The average need-based student financial aid package for the current school year is $35,600.

For the current school year, 21 percent of Lawrence students are receiving federal Pell Grants, which are given to undergraduates from low-income families with the highest need.

As for June 30, 2014, Lawrence’s endowment was nearly $250 million and experienced a 16.2 percent investment return over the fiscal year.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Corinne Wocelka 1931-2014: Long-Time Librarian Helped Modernize Seeley G. Mudd

Posted on: September 19th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

Corinne Wocelka, who spent more than three decades assisting students and faculty members alike in the Seeley G. Mudd library, died suddenly Sunday, Sept. 14 after attending the Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field. She was 82.

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Corinne Wocelka

As associate professor and director of technical services in the library, Wocelka enjoyed a 33-year career amid the stacks, beginning in 1976 as a circulation assistant. She spent eight years as an acquisitions librarian and the following 24 years as director of technical services, overseeing the acquisition and processing of all new materials added to the library’s collections.

She led the creation of Lawrence’s on-line catalogue system that helped revolutionize the way we access information, played a leading role in modernizing the management of periodicals and was a driving force behind the creation of the Lincoln Reading Room.

In addition to her excellent work in the library, Wocelka was an active participant on faculty committees, especially the Honors Committee, which benefited greatly from her high standards and attention to detail.

She retired from Lawrence in 2010 and was awarded an honorary master of arts degree at that year’s June commencement.

A native of La Crosse, Wocelka studied in the Mudd library before she began working there, taking advantage of the library’s resources while completing her bachelor’s degree in language and literature at UW-Green Bay. She later earned a master’s degree in library science from UW-Oshkosh.

A celebration of Wocelka’s life will be held Saturday afternoon Sept. 27 (time TBD) at Touchmark, where she lived in retirement, 2601 Touchmark Dr., Appleton. A complete obituary will appear in the Sunday, Sept. 21 edition of The Post-Crescent.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Summer Makeover: Lawrence Tennis Facility Receives Significant Upgrade

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

The Lawrence University tennis teams have been honing their games on the banks of the Fox River for more than 75 years, and thanks to a generous donation, those courts have never looked better.

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Lawrence men’s and women’s head tennis coach Steve Francour says the Vikings’ updated facility is now “one of the best in the Midwest Conference.”

The Lawrence Courts, located at the bottom of Drew St. hill, underwent a makeover this summer thanks to an anonymous alumni donation.

“The new tennis facility allows Lawrence to provide its men’s and women’s tennis teams with a first-class facility to compete and train,” Lawrence coach Steve Francour said. “Potential student-athletes will also see that they can reach their full potential at Lawrence with an outstanding facility. I would like to thank the donor and Lawrence for making this facility one of the best in the Midwest Conference.”

The six courts, which are located in a picturesque location next to the Fox River, were completely resurfaced with Nova’ProBounce. The new court surface, which is in use at tennis clubs all over the country, is an extremely high-quality, multi-layer product.

The complex, which received a new windscreen, also has been prepared for the installation of lights. A new storage building is in place, a new retaining wall was built and seating for fans also is on the drawing board.

“The new tennis courts will help give us an opportunity to become an elite program once again,” Director of Athletics Mike Szkodzinski said. “Coach Francour did a tremendous job in his first year with us last year. The new courts will allow him to better attract the best scholar-athletes to our programs. The courts also enhance our ability to interact more frequently with the Appleton community and invite them on campus.

“We are very thankful for the generosity of our alumni who made the courts possible. Without the support of our alumni, we would have a more difficult time reaching our full potential. The support of past Vikings is crucial to our success.”

The Lawrence women’s team gets its first chance to take on an opponent on Wednesday when the Vikings host Ripon College in a Midwest Conference North Division match at 4 p.m.

“The new courts are beautiful,” Lawrence junior Ali Heiring exclaimed. “No better way to kick off a season.”

The Lawrence Courts have been in use by the Vikings since the spring of 1939 and were most recently renovated when the facility was impacted by the construction of Hiett Hall in 2003.

“Having new courts shows the team that we really have the school and athletic department supporting us, which really means a lot,” said senior Allison Juda.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Matriculation Convocation Officially Opens Lawrence’s 166th Academic Year

Posted on: September 13th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

President Mark Burstein officially opens Lawrence University’s 166th academic year as well as the 2014-15 convocation series Thursday, Sept. 18 with the matriculation address “Sustaining Dialogue: Educating for a Diverse Society.”

The event, at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, is free and open to the public. The convocation also will be available via a live webcast.

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President Mark Burstein

In his address, Burstein will discuss the importance of dialogue across different viewpoints and the role universities must play to foster this engaged exchange. As our society becomes more segregated by socioeconomic class, race, and political view, universities, as training grounds for citizenry, are obligated to create campus communities where a diversity of viewpoints are explored.  Last spring’s rash of cancelled commencement speakers calls into question whether universities are fulfilling this role.

Lawrence’s 16th president, Burstein began his tenure in July 2013 after nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at Columbia University as a vice president working in human resources, student services and facilities management.

A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., Burstein earned a bachelor’s degree in history and independent studies from Vassar College and a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lawrence’s 2014-15 convocation series also includes:

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David Gerard

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Kwame Appiah

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Sian Beilock

Nov. 4, University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, “Leveraging Mind And Body To Perform Your Best Under Stress.” Beilock is an expert on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the many factors that influence different types of performance, from test-taking to your golf swing.

• Feb. 17, 2015, Author and New York University Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, “A Decent Respect: Honor and Citizenship at Home and Abroad.” Known as a postmodern Socrates, Appiah asks probing questions about identity, ethnicity, honor and religion while challenging people to celebrate our common humanity.

May 14, 2015, Honors Convocation, Lawrence University economist David Gerard, “Is it Warm in Here?: The Intractable Challenges of Climate Change.” Gerard will examine the economic, social and technological obstacles confronting the issue of global climate change.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Hail to the Class of 2018: Lawrence Welcomes More than 400 New Students

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

Lawrence University is laying out fresh “welcome” mats for the arrival Tuesday (9/9) of 432 new students — 385 freshmen, 29 transfers and 18 one-year visiting and exchange students — for the 2014-15 academic year.

Move-in-Day-blur

Move-in day is an annual fall rite of passage on campus as students begin the transition from high school graduate to Lawrentian.

Drawn from a school-record 2,748 applications, the freshman class of 2018 will participate in a week of new student orientation activities before the start of Lawrence’s 166th academic year, which begins Monday, Sept. 15.

According to Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid, this year’s freshman class is as ethnically and geographically diverse as it is academically impressive.

“Diversity continues to be on the rise at Lawrence,” said Anselment. “Nationally, the college-bound population is becoming increasingly diverse and Lawrence is certainly mirroring that trend.”

Here is a snapshot view of this year’s freshmen class includes:

Students from 35 states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands. Despite declining numbers of college-bound students in the upper Midwest, Lawrence managed a strong share, with Wisconsin (105), Illinois (87) and Minnesota (36) accounting for the top three student-producing states.

 Outside the upper Midwest, Lawrence reached both coasts for its next highest number of students, with New York and California sending the fourth and fifth most students to Appleton with 19 and 15, respectively.

• Eleven percent (43 students) of the freshman class will arrive from 19 countries, including Japan, Jamaica and Jordan.

China, with 13 students, produced more members of the freshman class than all but five U.S. states.

• Domestic students of color comprise a full 25 percent (98) of the freshman class, making this one of the most ethnically diverse classes in decades.

• With an average grade point average of 3.6 and an average ACT score of 28, the freshman class arrives well prepared for the challenges of Lawrence’s rigorous curriculum.

 Among Lawrence’s 18 one-year exchange and visiting students, 16 arrive via Tokyo’s Waseda University as part of the college’s Thematic Studies Abroad program.

As in recent years, the male-to-female ratio tilts slightly toward the women, who account for 54 percent of this year’s freshman class.

“For our team in the admissions and financial aid offices, new student arrival carries for us the same kind of eager anticipation that little kids feel the night before their birthdays,” said Anselment.

He and his staff will collectively welcome the 432 new students Tuesday night (Sept. 9) in the Memorial Chapel, where they will all gather for the first time as Lawrentians.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence Names New Football Coach

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

Chris Harris, the Vikings’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, has been named the Lawrence University interim head football coach Director of Athletics Mike Szkodzinski announced today.

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Chris Harris has been named the Vikings interim head football coach.

The decision came following the unexpected resignation of head coach Mike Barthelmess. Harris will lead the Vikings into their home opener on Saturday when Lawrence hosts Maranatha Baptist University in a 7 p.m. nonconference game in the Banta Bowl.

“I was very sorry to learn of coach Barthelmess’ decision to resign as coach. The most important issue is to ensure that we maintain an excellent experience for our football players who have dedicated so much to the team and to Lawrence,” said Lawrence President Mark Burstein. “As an educational institution that values athletics as an integral part of our student’s education, it is extremely important that Lawrence have a successful football program. Accordingly, we will begin a national search for the next head coach immediately.”

Harris came to Lawrence from Manchester University where he had coached from 2010 through 2012. He served as the offensive line coach and director of football operations, helping to turn around the football program during his three seasons with the Spartans. A 2000 graduate of the University of the Cumberlands, Harris previously served as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Beloit College in 2008 and 2009.

“I’m confident in Chris’ leadership as this team strives for success during the remainder of the season,” Szkodzinski said. “He has my full support as well as the support of the entire university. I know that our student-athletes and coaching staff will remain united in their dedication to the program and the season ahead.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

New “D-Term” Offers Students Additional Enrichment Opportunities

Posted on: September 4th, 2014 by Rick Peterson
Jason-Brozek_D-Term-newsblog

Government professor Jason Brozek will teach the course “9/11 in Context: Terrorism as Lived Experience” as part of Lawrence’s new “D-Term” this December. The course includes a trip to the 9/11 memorial and museum in New York City.

Lawrence University is adding a fifth class session this fall with the launch of the two-week December Term, or “D-Term.”

The term will feature 18 new Lawrence courses ranging from an introduction to the art of making books, to the political and cultural forces that shape what we eat, to an exploration of how neurobiology, genetics, physiology and ecology direct animal behavior.

The D-Term also provides opportunities for students to enroll in one of several non-Lawrence courses. Students enrolled in a CNA training or medical terminology class offered through Fox Valley Technical College can receive credit from FVTC, but not from Lawrence.

An intensive business fundamentals course designed to immerse students in the fundamentals of business and build upon the necessary skills and behavior for success in today’s 21st century global workplace will be taught by faculty of the Fullbridge Program. This will be offered as a non-credit class.

Available only to current students, the classes will be conducted the first two weeks of December (12/1-12). The Lawrence courses will provide three units of credit toward the required number for graduation. Classes will be conducted each weekday, with some involving weekend work. Class meeting times will vary during the day.

“The December Term is being offered as an enrichment program. Credits are awarded, but students are not required to take a course,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty in announcing the program. “The term is designed to provide exciting experiences that offer new perspectives, unusual content or exploration of interesting activities. These won’t just be accelerated versions of courses currently offered during the Fall, Winter or Spring Terms.”

Each course will require at least five students to be conducted and students will only be allowed to register for one D-Term course. If a particular course does not meet the enrollment minimum, students will be able to sign up for a second course.

Registration for D-Term courses begins Sept. 15 with the start of Fall Term classes.

Complete details on the D-Term are available here.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Research Road Trip: Lawrence Students Enjoy Rare Opportunity to Study at Argonne National Laboratory

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by Rick Peterson

A team of three Lawrence University students recently completed a rare research opportunity at one of the nation’s premier laboratories in an effort to shed new light on how liquids can solidify.

Students-at-Argonne_newsblog

Lawrence physics students Erika Roedl (l.), Leo Sussman (c.) and Ben Clark (r.) recently had the rare opportunity to conduct a five-day experiment at the prestigious Argonne National Laboratory.

Senior Leo Sussman and juniors Ben Clark and Erika Roedl, under the direction of Nick Mauro, visiting assistant professor of physics, conducted a five-day-long experiment at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago.

The project involved collaborations with students working with Lawrence Assistant Professor of Chemistry Allison Fleshman and a research group at Washington University in St. Louis.

The research project focuses on the underlying governing principles that dictate how a liquid forms into a particular kind of solid — glass. Almost any liquid can be formed into a type of glass if cooled quickly enough.

“Physicists are primarily interested in the discovery of new knowledge and new technology and the field of condensed matter physics is an area where we realize both at Lawrence,” said Mauro. “Materials known as metallic glasses have very unique physical, electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. In our lab, we use advanced experimental techniques to try and understand how and why these unique materials form.”

The student researchers heated samples of liquids and glasses in advanced furnaces that generate temperatures of nearly 1300 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing them to examine the samples’ atomic structure using extremely bright X-ray beams.

“The work we conducted will help us to better understand how liquid atomic
structure evolves and how to tailor metallic alloys for particular applications.
These students are helping make these advances possible.”

              — Assistant Professor of Physics Nick Mauro

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Leo Sussman ’15

“My week at Argonne gave me a fantastic glimpse into life as a professional scientist, complete with triumphs and tribulations alike and inspired additional work when we returned,” said Sussman, a physics and flute performance major from San Francisco, Calif. “It was exhilarating when the moment finally came to see the data we’d been preparing to collect for months start to appear on a monitor right before our eyes.

“I came away from the experience with a profound sense of awe for the amount of collective human knowledge, expertise and talent that went into building the facility,” Sussman added. “One of the most thrilling aspects was working among dozens of other research groups, all striving toward the same overall goal of better understanding the world.”

The experiments were carried out 24 hours a day with the team working in shifts over the course of five days. More than 60 different experiments using 35 various liquids and glasses were performed.

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Ben Clark ’16

Clark called the opportunity to conduct work at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source “an incredible experience.”

“Before working at the APS, I was both terrified and exhilarated, but being able to assist in the experimentation and sometimes even running parts by myself, with some supervision, gave me a sense of confidence I’ve never felt before,” said Clark, a physics major from St. Louis, Mo. “This was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.”

The APS is a state-of-the-art facility that accelerates electrons to nearly the speed of light, creating very intense and highly energetic X-rays. The APS is one of the brightest X-ray sources in the world and researchers from across the globe go there to conduct research in many different fields.

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Erika Roedl ’16

“As a student participating in the engineering track at Lawrence, I was looking forward to seeing what the experimental side of physics was really like,” said Roedl, a physics major from Minneapolis, Minn. “At the lab I could feel the dedication the countless graduate students, professors and professional experimentalists have for their respective fields. Being in that atmosphere, as well as seeing Professor Mauro so enthused about the research we were conducting, was so inspiring.”

Mauro, a 2005 Lawrence graduate who returned to his alma mater last fall, said the trip to Argonne was “a unique study experience for the entire research team.”

“It is extremely difficult to get access to Argonne since the competition for beam time is very high. Our students had the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research at a world-renown institution. The work we conducted will help us to better understand how liquid atomic structure evolves and how to tailor metallic alloys for particular applications. These students are helping make these advances possible.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.