2 Minutes With … Hannah Jones: Inspired to find her voice in opera

Hannah Jones ’22 sings in a studio class being held in All Saints Episcopal Church in Appleton.

2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Hannah Jones ’22 remembers the moment she fell in love with opera, and knew immediately that would be her calling.

She was a high school student in Houston and was part of a music trip to New York City.

“I went to New York because I was singing with Houston Travel Choir,” Jones said. “We were singing at Carnegie Hall, and we went to see The Phantom of the Opera.  At first, I was like, ‘I don’t want to see The Phantom of the Opera, this white show; I want to see The Lion King.’

“But when we went to see The Phantom of the Opera, the phantom was a black man, which is not common at all; usually that role is played by a white man. I saw it and was on the edge of my chair. I realized this is what I want to do, this is what I have to do.”  

Jones has been pursuing voice ever since, more specifically opera. In her second year at Lawrence University, she’s majoring in music performance (voice) in the Conservatory of Music.

She has been excelling at it since arriving at Lawrence in the fall of 2018, learning under the tutelage of voice professor John Holiday, also from Houston. She participated in a National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition, taking a first place honor. She competed again this year, and won for the second year in a row.  

“During my first year, my professor, John Holiday, taught us not to focus on winning but to focus on doing your best, so regardless if you win or not, you still feel good,” Jones said. “I felt good about my performance, so when I won, I was like, this is even better. It felt good, but it wasn’t the end all be all. I want to win bigger things and just do better.”  

Learn more about John Holiday here and the Lawrence Conservatory of Music here.

Besides winning in the NATS competition for the second year in a row, Jones has had lead roles in shows on campus and has been chosen to sing in Italy this summer.  

“Being here, I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities,” Jones said. “Like this summer, I got a role in an opera in Italy. I’m really excited about that. So, I’m learning the opera for here (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in March) and the one for there in June. It never stops, but it’s fun.” 

An early start

Jones was drawn to music early in her life.

“I’ve always been singing,” she said. “My mom is a choir director, and I come from a musical family in general.” 

Having a career in the field of music has been part of her vision. 

“Originally, I played cello for eight years, and I wanted to be an instrumentalist,” she said. “I would tell people I wanted to be the next Yo-Yo Ma … but in the high school I went to, we weren’t able to do two art areas; you have to choose one.” 

When faced with having to choose one area of interest in high school, Jones chose to set aside the cello and focus on her voice.   

You can check out Jones’ talent when she performs March 6-8 in Lawrence Opera Theatre’s  Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Stansbury Theater.  

Good advice

We asked Jones to share two tips for excelling in the Conservatory: 

1: “Take care of your body. Make sure to drink water and get enough sleep.”

2: “Practice your music every day. Not just the notes; look deeper into the music. What are you trying to say?” 

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communications office.

2 Minutes With … Sophie Dion-Kirschner: Pre-med studies mix well with outreach

Sophie Dion-Kirschner volunteers at Edison Elementary School. Here she talks with her LARY Buddy student.
Sophie Dion-Kirschner talks with her LARY Buddy at Edison Elementary School. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

While Sophie Dion-Kirschner ’20 completes a double major in biochemistry and biology, she reaps the joys of giving back to her community, both on campus and off. Her volunteer efforts, she says, fit quite nicely with her preparations to become a doctor.

The start of something new

Dion-Kirschner began her volunteering journey when she was a first-year student exploring what to study. She found the LARY Buddy program and hasn’t looked back.

The LARY Buddy program pairs Lawrence students with students at Edison Elementary School in Appleton who struggle academically or socially. For two hours a week, the Lawrence students visit their buddies to have lunch, hang out at recess, work in the classroom and act as an all-around support system. Dion-Kirschner is one of many examples of the program’s success.

The Buddies stay matched until one of them graduates, ensuring a bond that paves a path for an impactful experience for both students.

“I’ve been with my Little Buddy for three years now,” Dion-Kirschner says. “I’ve watched her go from first grade to fourth grade and the change is incredible. I’ve gotten to see some incredible relationships that come out of this.”

Being a buddy inspired her to become the child advocacy coordinator at Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE), where she helps match LU students with Edison buddies, and advertises the program.

“I’m a LARY coordinator because I believe in it,” Dion-Kirschner says. “The program is really important.”

Learn more about the LARY Buddy program here.

Broadening horizons

Dion-Kirschner has expanded her off-campus outreach. She recently started volunteering at Even Start, a program based at the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) in Appleton that teaches English to mothers who are new to the United States, while also providing free daycare for their children.

Once a week, Dion-Kirschner tutors the mothers alongside the teacher of one of the eight weekly class sessions. If you’re interested in volunteering, having no teaching experience is no problem; all you need is a willingness to make a difference in someone’s life.

“These moms are an inspiration to me,” Dion-Kirschner says. “Some are working two jobs, have several kids and are learning English.”

Learn more about Even Start here.

One for all

Though she wears many hats, Dion-Kirschner points out that there’s unity in her role as a student on a pre-med track and a volunteer.

“Working at the volunteer center for so long has shown me that I don’t want volunteering in the community to be this thing I do on the side,” she says. “I want that to be my goal in my career. Volunteering is so great because you start thinking of things you haven’t thought about before.

“Volunteering gives me the opportunity, as a doctor, to see the changes I need to make to serve people and make a difference.”

Dion-Kirschner sees volunteering potential in everyone, including her fellow Lawrentians. It’s no secret that Lawrence students are busy. But Dion-Kirschner turns that into a strength. She offers the following advice to aspiring volunteers:

“If you want to volunteer, the best thing you can do for yourself is remind yourself what’s important to you. If it’s important to you, you’ll do it.”

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Lighting the Way With … Evan Bravos: A Grammy nod on the road to a life in music

Evan Bravos ’10 calls Chicago home but he has performed all over the country and Europe: “The Midwest, and Chicago specifically, has always remained my musical epicenter.” (Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography)

About this series: Lighting the Way With … is a periodic series in which we shine a light on Lawrence alumni. Today we catch up with Evan Bravos ’10, an opera singer who is featured on an album nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Opera singer Evan Bravos ’10 has a new entry for his already impressive and growing resume — Grammy nominee.

The Greek-American baritone is prominently featured on a recording nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for best choral performance. Sander: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, composed by Kurt Sander, is an original recording of Russian Orthodox choral music in English language. It’ll be in contention for a Grammy at the Jan. 26 awards show in Los Angeles.

The nomination is the latest win for Bravos as he builds an opera career from his home base in Chicago. In the past year, he has debuted with the Milwaukee Symphony in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, sang the role of Inman in the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain with Music Academy of the West, and made his debut with the Ravinia Festival in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.  

Up next is a production of The Merry Widow (Jan. 24-26) with New Philharmonic in Glen Ellyn, Illinois — Lawrence alumna Alisa Jordheim ’09 joins him in the cast — and then the Chicago premiere of Jake Heggie’s Two Remain with Chicago Fringe Opera in late March and early April before embarking on a series of performances of The Long View: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 9 Songs.

Another Grammy connection: Lawrence’s Albright featured on Bon Iver album.

Bravos came into Lawrence with the Class of 2010. He stayed for five years, graduating in 2011 with a double major in vocal performance and music education. He would go on to earn a master of music degree from Northwestern University.

“Lawrence prepared me for a life in music in more ways than I could have ever imagined,” Bravos said.

We caught up with Bravos in advance of the Grammys to talk about the Sander album, his blossoming opera career, and the work he put in at Lawrence to prepare him for the stage.

On being involved with the landmark Sander album:

Peter Jerminhov, music director at St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago, asked me to join him in recording an album in the summer of 2017. Chicago has been my home base since graduating from Lawrence, and I had come to know many of the churches and directors in town. Peter has quite the extensive resume, and I was very excited to join his project.

For the Kurt Sander album, we rehearsed and recorded at the New Gračanica Monastery in Lindenhurst, about an hour north of Chicago. The week of recording was monastic in and of itself. We arrived on the grounds every morning at 8 a.m. and rehearsed well into the late afternoon. For daily lunch in the humble church hall, a few of the monks and nuns prepared us very filling traditional Serbian cuisine. We were completely absorbed into the culture. The majority, if not all, of the singers recruited for this project were of Orthodox heritage — be it Greek, Russian, Serbian, Armenian or Romanian — so it was really a very exciting and collective collaboration. 

On why the project was so personally satisfying:

I grew up attending an Orthodox church in the suburbs of Chicago, though my heritage is Greek, not Russian. Growing up, I sang in the church choir, occasionally cantered for baptisms and weddings and played as organist. I had always had a fondness for Orthodox music: simple and down-to-earth, but also divine. Professionally, I had sung some of the featured works in various choirs, but this was the first project dedicated exclusively to the genre that I had been fortunate enough to work on. 

While at Lawrence, I also served as choir director of St. Nicholas, the local Greek Orthodox parish in Appleton. The job served me twofold: it helped me maintain my cultural ties while allowing me to cultivate my musical tastes. By my fifth year, the choir had grown to be the focal point of that small church. Frankly, it was the glue holding the community together. This choir was made up of only six singers, but we always sang in four parts, a rarity in most Greek churches. I can honestly say that those five years were very important to my spiritual and musical growth.

On the excitement of the Grammy nomination:

There had been some earlier buzz about it potentially happening, but I was completely shocked the day that nomination was announced.

On how his Lawrence experience prepared him for the opera stage, this recording and a myriad of other musical opportunities:

The academic and musical rigor of the college/conservatory combo was invaluable in every way. Being fully immersed in a culture of curiosity and of unending learning and surrounded by other deep thinkers who even during their college careers wanted to do more than just think was infectious in the best way possible. When I think of Lawrence, I think of Midwestern work ethic meeting global perspective: Age-old, tried and true values intersecting with an ever-more-demanding modern world. My time at LU taught me how to organize words, thoughts, and time, not to mention my craft as a singer — thank you, Kenneth Bozeman — and how to help shape my own world as an artist and the world around me. 

More here on Lawrence Conservatory of Music

See more Lighting the Way With … features on these Lawrence alumni: Yexue Li ’10, Rana Marks ’12, and Terry Moran ’82, and additional alumni features here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

On Main Hall Green With … Katie Schweighofer: Strength in gender studies

Katie Schweighofer poses for a photo on Main Hall Green.
Portrait on Main Hall Green: Katie Schweighofer (Photo by Danny Damiani)

About the series: On Main Hall Green With … is an opportunity to connect with faculty on things in and out of the classroom. We’re featuring a different faculty member every two weeks — same questions, different answers.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Katie Schweighofer, who arrived at Lawrence in the fall of 2018, is playing a key role in growing and developing the Gender Studies department.

With deep interests in feminist and queer theory and LGBTQ studies, she has focused much of her academic work on the histories and geography of sexual identity, and the institutional and cultural messages that have and continue to frame those conversations.

Before joining Lawrence as an assistant professor of gender studies, Schweighofer taught at Dickinson College following appointments at Butler University and Indiana University. A native of Rochester, Mich., Schweighofer earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a certificate in women’s studies from Princeton University. She also holds a master of arts from New York University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in gender studies from Indiana.

We caught up with Schweighofer to talk about her work and her interests on and off campus.

IN THE CLASSROOM

Inside info: What’s one thing you want every student coming into your classes to know about you?

I’ve chosen to do this work because it is personally meaningful to me, and I hope each of my students is able to similarly connect with some of the ideas in my courses. Our lives and selves are shaped by gender, sexuality, race, class, and a myriad of other factors — identifying, deconstructing, analyzing, and rethinking those institutional and cultural messages is empowering and revolutionary work.  My work is most rewarding when I hear how our work in the classroom continues to affect students long after they’ve left the university. 

Getting energized: What work have you done or will you be doing at Lawrence that gets you the most excited?

I’m thrilled to be here as the first full faculty member entirely in Gender Studies, both for what that represents — including decades of hard work by other faculty — and for the possibilities for the future the role offers. Right now, I’m focused on building our gender studies program, helping our students connect with one another and with our alums doing exciting work in the world. 

Going places: Is there an example of somewhere your career has taken you (either a physical space or something more intellectual, emotional or spiritual) that took you by surprise?

My career trajectory has taken me to places like Kathmandu, Nepal, where I worked with a group called the Women’s Foundation, a group of deeply passionate women who worked tirelessly to help others escape domestic violence and support themselves through sustainable agriculture and textile work. I have also found my way to material closer to my home in Michigan, studying Midwestern LGBTQ histories that challenge the narrative that queer life only happens in cities like New York and San Francisco.

OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

This or that: If you weren’t teaching for a living, what would you be doing? 

Hmm, perhaps writing for the New York Times Gender & Society desk? Or training for a spot on the Great British Bake-Off. Or playing professional rugby. Honestly, all of those jobs would take a lot of work to get to but they sure would be fun.

Right at home: Whether for work, relaxation or reflection, what’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite campus spot was shown to me by a student on my interview visit — the path along the river, from below Briggs east to the old railroad trestle. It is a wonderfully peaceful walk with just the sounds of the river and the rustle of leaves to keep you company.

One book, one recording, one film: Name one of each that speaks to your soul? Or you would recommend to a friend? Or both?

I’m not really a person with all-time favorites, but on my nightstand recently are copies of Margaret Atwood’s new book The Testaments (the follow-up to her classic The Handmaid’s Tale), Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox (a queer story of an 18th century thief — I’ve donated a copy to LU’s library!), and the immigration story Mama’s Nightingale by Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, which I’ve been reading with my twin 7-month-olds. 

I’ve been listening to The Highwomen’s debut album a fair amount recently — they’re a newly formed country music group of four independent artists who are writing smart and compelling songs with a feminist bent. Check them out.

I really like classical Hollywood cinema —American films from the mid-twentieth century — and recently re-watched the classic Calamity Jane (1953) and my wife’s favorite, Singin’ in the Rain (1952). If you haven’t seen them I highly recommend you watch The Celluloid Closet first, a 1995 documentary about LGBTQ people and representations in Hollywood. Then watch them with an eye to the ways in which the films portray gender and sexuality — and you’ll love Calam and Cosmo Brown even more.

See more On Main Hall Green With … features: Dominica Chang, Stefan Debbert, Tim Spurgin, Deanna Donohue, Abhishek Chakraborty.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

On Main Hall Green With … Abhishek Chakraborty: Diving deep into data

Abhishek Chakraborty stands on Main Hall Green.
Portrait on Main Hall Green: Abhishek Chakraborty (Photo by Danny Damiani)

About the series: On Main Hall Green With … is an opportunity to connect with faculty on things in and out of the classroom. We’re featuring a different faculty member every two weeks — same questions, different answers.

Compiled by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Abhishek Chakraborty is a new data guru on campus.

The assistant professor of statistics joined the Lawrence University faculty this fall as the revamped computer science program was rolled out to students.

He arrives with a background in research focused on developing statistical methodologies for analysis of complex data sets, with broad work in the fields of machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling and the application of Bayesian variables.

Chakraborty has a Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University, a master’s in statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur, India, and a bachelor’s degree in statistics from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India. 

As a welcome to campus, we threw six questions at him, part of our On Main Hall Green With … faculty series.

IN THE CLASSROOM

Inside info: What’s one thing you want every student coming into your classes to know about you?

I am here to help them learn and assist them in making their Lawrence experience a grand success. Undergrad life runs pretty fast and is one of the memorable phases in life. I have been there, and wish I could go back again. My greatest satisfaction is when I can support them in their journey and play my part in preparing them for the life ahead. My doors are always open. I have interesting stories to tell. They should never feel that they are alone in this adventure.

Getting energized: What work have you done or will you be doing at Lawrence that gets you the most excited?

I am one of the two statisticians at Lawrence. I am working on developing new statistics courses (newest coming up in spring 2020) and plan to contribute toward proposing a statistics/data science minor in the upcoming years. In my short time at LU, I have seen a lot of interest among students about statistics. These courses will open up different avenues of interest. Diving deep into the world of statistics and preparing future statisticians really gets me excited.

Going places: Is there an example of somewhere your career has taken you (either a physical space or something more intellectual, emotional or spiritual) that took you by surprise?

I learned as a student that knowledge has no boundaries. And my learning process still continues. There is some kind of inexplicable satisfaction when you stumble upon a realization. Having said that, I have come to believe that knowing and realizing are quite different things. Realization takes ages. I have become physically fitter during my grad student life. And that has helped in the development of my mind as well.

OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

This or that: If you weren’t teaching for a living, what would you be doing? 

Two years back, I would have said playing soccer or becoming a musician. Recently, I spend my free time cooking and learning about beers. So, maybe I would have been a chef or opened a brewery.

Right at home: Whether for work, relaxation or reflection, what’s your favorite spot on campus?

Firstly, I would say it’s my office. I have a great view of the Fox River. I like it best when the sun rays come in and light up my office. That’s usually during the mornings and early afternoons. I also like the walk along the river; very peaceful.

One book, one recording, one film: Name one of each that speaks to your soul? Or you would recommend to a friend? Or both?

Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I recommend everyone read it at least once in their lifetime.

Song: I am a big fan of the (now pretty old) British rock band Pink Floyd. It’s hard to choose just one of their songs. Maybe Poles Apart from the album The Division Bell. Marooned is another favorite. Chances are my choice of the song and the artist might change if you ask me another time.

Film: The Shawshank Redemption. Because, “… hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lighting the Way With … Yexue Li: Mixing art, history, and a high-priced surprise

Yexue Li poses with a vase that once belonged to the Qianlong Emperor in China.
Yexue Li ’10 holds a Qianlong vase that has gotten much attention in the U.K. Purchased by a thrift store shopper for $1.21, it sold at auction for more than $600,000 at the auction house where Li works.

About this series: Lighting the Way With … is a periodic series in which we shine a light on Lawrence alumni. Today we catch up with Yexue Li ’10, whose love of art and history has taken her to a top auction house in England. A tiny vase had her in the news.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Yexue Li ’10 found herself at the center of international media attention earlier this fall.

Well, it wasn’t so much Li who was garnering all the attention. It was the tiny vase she was holding in her hands.

As the head of Asian art at the auction house Sworders in the United Kingdom, the Lawrence University alumna was the point person for the auction of a vase that had been purchased by an unidentified shopper for 1 pound ($1.21) at a thrift store in Hertfordshire. The buyer, having generated a bit of a frenzy after sampling the vase on eBay, eventually brought it to Li at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers to get it professionally valued.

It was quite the surprise when it was discovered that the vase once belonged to the Qianlong Emperor, a ruler in China’s Qing dynasty during the 1700s. A pre-auction estimate was set at £80,000 ($103,000), which wouldn’t have been a bad take on a £1 purchase.

Then came the Nov. 8 auction. A bidding war ensued, with the final price checking in at £484,000 (nearly $625,000). The thrift shop buyer was, to say the least, pleased.

“The gentleman vendor was in the charity shop and picked out the vase because he liked the look of it,” Li told MetroUK.

The vase is marked with a symbol that means it was destined for one of the emperor’s palaces.

“The vase is special because it comes with the inscription by the Qianlong Emperor, and he must have commissioned this vase,” Li said. “It’s a high-quality vase because it was court commissioned, so it would have been of a high value when it was made.”

Li, of China, was a studio art major at Lawrence. She initially joined Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, for an internship while she was pursuing her master’s degree. She was offered a full-time position when the internship finished.

We chatted with her via email about her work at Sworders and how her Lawrence journey prepared her for it.

On a favorite item she’s come across

We were invited to a house to look at their ceramic collection, and we saw a wood carving, which they used as a door stop. It turned out to be a zitan brush pot carved extensively with a “hundred boys” pattern, and it was later sold for £150,000.

On what she finds fulfilling about her work

I guess it’s the satisfaction after a long search of any relative documentation. It might be one sentence or a comment from the Archives of the Empirical Workshops, or a similar item in the corner of a painting. Any information that can help us understand the item better excites me. 

On how her studio art major helps guide her work

Art skills are very important in the decision-making during preparation for the sale. I am responsible for the layout of the catalogues, design of posters and other advertisements, etc. We do a lot of valuation days and house visits in the auction business. I need to be able to pick up one item and tell the owner how old it is and how much it is worth. A good communication skill is also required. In addition, there is a massive amount of research involved in my work. We need to find the previous sale records and any related documents or similar items for comparison. 

On one take-away from Lawrence that has paid dividends

It was the speaking and writing-intensive classes. Just the other day I was asked to bring the Qianlong vase to Asian Art in London headquarters to show it to the Board of Committee as a shortlist award for the most outstanding work of art of the year. I didn’t know until I walked in the room that I needed to do a presentation. My most precious experience at Lawrence was not learnt from a textbook but to always be ready and prepared for a situation like this. 

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu. Jaclyn Charais contributed to this story.

2 Minutes With … Papo Morales: Charting a course to the classroom

Papo Morales stands on the patio just south of the Mudd Library.
Papo Morales ’21 works with Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change.

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

History major and art and Latin American studies minor Papo Morales ’21 dreams of becoming a teacher. He got one step closer to that dream through a recent internship at KIPP NYC.

KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) is a nonprofit network of charter schools committed to training outstanding educators and helping students develop skills to succeed in college and beyond. KIPP serves 28 regions throughout the United States.

During his first two weeks at KIPP NYC, Morales worked in the legal department, which meant reading over tax plans and making sure everything complied with New York state laws. He then moved to the People Team, where he recruited teachers and helped with teacher certification. In the last leg of his internship, he advised high school students on the college process with KIPP Through College.

A chance to explore

Morales had an immediate connection with his work. As the Equal Access to Education Programs coordinator at Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE), he’s no stranger to the administrative side of education. He’s also a charter school child from Brooklyn himself.

“The great thing was I got to do a bunch of different things,” he said. “Even though it wasn’t in the classroom, I got to learn a lot about what makes a charter school network run, and being a charter school student, it was a completely different perspective.”

Morales was able to apply his experience at KIPP to his work at the CCE, particularly when it came to making changes to the VITAL program, Lawrence’s free tutoring program that pairs tutors with students in the Appleton area school district based on subject area.

“A lot of the things I learned at KIPP I brought back here, and helped change my program. I overhauled it over the summer while I was there because I learned a lot. They gave me tons of feedback about academic support.”

A promising partnership

The summer internship wasn’t Morales’s first time working with KIPP. In the preceding winter, he stepped into the classroom for the first time as a teaching fellow at KIPP Academy in Lynn, Massachusetts. He speaks highly of both KIPP experiences.

“My favorite part has to do with the passion it helped me discover,” he said. “While my experiences were just weeks long, it helped me realize what I really wanted to do. During my time there I also just got to network, which I think Lawrence students benefit greatly from. I was working with other professionals. I was in a space where I felt validated, like a working individual.”

Now that Morales has built on his passion, it’s clear he’s going to stick by it. He plans to continue his relationship with KIPP with another teaching fellowship in the winter, where he will teach middle school students in Minnesota. By February, he hopes to apply to Teach for America, an organization that promotes equal access to education by recruiting college graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities.

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

On Main Hall Green with … Deanna Donohoue: When science is in the air

Deanna Donohoue sits on a bench outside of Main Hall.
Portrait on Main Hall Green: Deanna Donohoue (Photo by Danny Damiani)

About the series: On Main Hall Green With … is an opportunity to connect with faculty on things in and out of the classroom. We’re featuring a different faculty member every two weeks — same questions, different answers. See more from the series here.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Deanna Donohoue isn’t ever too far from her beloved ARTEMIS.

The Lawrence University assistant professor of chemistry developed ARTEMIS — Atmospheric Research Trailer for Environmental Monitoring and Interactive Science — as a science lab on wheels. It’s a low-cost, mobile laboratory for atmospheric measurements, allowing her and her students to monitor and learn about air quality and the effects of things like oil and gas activity and sand mining.

Donohoue earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Ph.D. in marine and atmospheric chemistry from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. She joined the chemistry faculty at Lawrence in 2013. Her work with ARTEMIS has included, among other things, monitoring air quality in the Bakken Shale basin in and around western North Dakota and eastern Montana and near a sand quarry in Fremont, Wisconsin.

When it’s not on duty, ARTEMIS is often being shown by Donohoue to school groups or others willing to listen — because science in fascinating and cool and fun, and Donohue has a deep desire to spread the love.

We caught up with Donohoue to talk about her work and her interests on and off campus.

IN THE CLASSROOM

Inside info: What’s one thing you want every student coming into your classes to know about you?

I give extra credit for failure. I think so often a student enters a class thinking that they should get every answer right and never make a mistake. But this is just not possible; we all come into a class with different experiences and backgrounds. My job is to push you all to grow in your knowledge. If you know or immediately understand everything I present in class, then I have failed you. I need to push you into spaces that you are unsure of the answer and into spaces where you make mistakes because it is through those experiences that you will learn the most deeply. So in my class, you do not get extra credit for knowing all the answers. You get extra credit for pushing yourself into the unknown and trying.

Getting energized: What work have you done or will you be doing at Lawrence that gets you the most excited?

This is a hard one, as I love all of the work I do at Lawrence. But if I have to pick one to tell you about, it is the development of my mobile air quality lab — ARTEMIS. Before I started my Ph.D., I said I wanted a magic school bus, and now I have one. ARTEMIS is a small trailer filled with instruments that measure air quality that can be taken anywhere. Students and I have taken a 14-day trip through areas of heavy oil and gas development in North Dakota and Montana. We took it to Pennsylvania to look at the impacts of aging oil and gas wells on methane emissions and ozone production. More recently, ARTEMIS was sitting in a field about 30 minutes from campus to measure the impacts of sand mining on local air quality. It really is a magic school bus that lets me explore the world of atmospheric chemistry.

Going places: Is there an example of somewhere your career has taken you (either a physical space or something more intellectual, emotional or spiritual) that took you by surprise?

I picked a field in chemistry that would let me travel and have many adventures. Last year, I had to replace my boots, and I thought about all the places I’ve been and experiences I’ve had wearing those boots. I wore those boots looking at faraway galaxies through a telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. They got all scratched up working on volcanos in Nicaragua and Italy. They carried me through the snow in Barrow, Alaska, and through the mud in the Florida Everglades. I was surprised about how much of my career was contained in those boots, and it was hard to let them go. But I did, replacing them with the exact same boots. Now I am ready to spend 15 years creating science and stories in these boots.

OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

This or that: If you weren’t teaching for a living, what would you be doing? 

I would open a bakery. I love to create new recipes — which often fail — and share those treats. Students can tell you; you never know what treats might appear in the first floor Chem office suite.

Right at home: Whether for work, relaxation or reflection, what’s your favorite spot on campus?

I find Sabin House a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle of campus. Whether working on my research, having a group meeting, or just finding some time to slow down, the open door of Sabin House helps me be my best self.

One book, one recording, one film: Name one of each that speaks to your soul? Or you would recommend to a friend? Or both?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry speaks to my soul, I can settle in and watch the TV show Leverage any day, and right now the song What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes is getting me ready for the day, and, more importantly, ready to dance!

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

2 Minutes With … Adona Lauriano: Building leadership, career skills

Adona Lauriano poses for a photo in the Diversity and Intercultural Center at Lawrence.
Adona Lauriano ’21 led efforts to revamp the space that houses the Diversity and Intercultural Center.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Finding employment and internship opportunities that tie in with future career plans is the ideal for college students. Adona Lauriano ’21 did just that this past summer and was able to work at two jobs that pertained to her area of interest.

The experiences built on the skills she was already developing as the resource coordinator for Lawrence University’s Diversity and Intercultural Center (DIC).

Lauriano, a government major from Brooklyn, New York, started the summer as a worker for Meredith Jones’ judgeship campaign for Kings County Surrogate Court in New York.  

“For Meredith Jones, we would be in the office trying to figure out ways she could publicize what she has done in the community,” Lauriano said. “Because in New York, when you are running for court, your community has to elect you. So, we were trying to figure out ways to highlight all the good she has done in her life for her community.” 

Building experience

Lauriano was able get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to becoming a judge. This is especially beneficial, she said, because she hopes to be a judge herself one day.

“I learned that if I want to be a judge, I need to start with my community impact now,” Lauriano said. “I’ve learned that everything you say and do matters. It’s important to try your best and make a change in a way that’s impactful for more than one racial group, more than one type of community in general. And to be nice, that’s very important.”

Jones fell short in the primary in June, but the experience was invaluable for Lauriano.

After the elections were over, Lauriano became a campaigner for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  

“I wanted something in my field,” she said. “I’m going into political science because after I get my undergrad, I’m going to law school. So, I’m trying to figure out which path as a lawyer I want to take. The ACLU helped me solidify some of my beliefs that I believe is important to have as a lawyer.”

As a campaigner, Lauriano helped the ACLU raise funds to keep its programs running. 

Leading the DIC remodel

At Lawrence, Lauriano had been building her fund-raising skills as the resource coordinator for Lawrence’s DIC. Recently, the center revamped its space, and Lauriano was the advocate behind the remodel.

“I definitely do think it’s representative of the community,” Lauriano said of the newly remodeled space inside Memorial Hall. “The people who are up [on the wall] are portraits of 12 leaders that the community voted on. And it was something that I definitely pushed for, outreached on. Through surveys, polls, emails, yelling at people, asking them for their input, we wanted to ensure that it was reflective of what the community wants.

“And it’s not done yet,” she said. “There are going be vinyl letters that go up with words that inspire people from diverse backgrounds, which we also got from our community outreach.”

Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.  

2 Minutes With … Jason Bernheimer: Spanish-language, LGBTQ+ advocacy

Jason Bernheimer poses for a portrait.
Jason Bernheimer on his efforts to advocate for resources for the LGBTQ+ community in the greater Fox Cities: “Inclusivity is always the best policy.” (Photo by Danny Damiani)

2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

Spanish and global studies double major Jason Bernheimer ’22 figured out how to combine his passions in a research project. The Lawrence University sophomore from Vancouver, Washington, visited various clinics in the Fox Cities to find out what Spanish-language health resources are available to Appleton’s LGBTQ+ community.

This type of work is familiar territory for Bernheimer. In high school, he worked for different departments within the Washington state government, doing workshops with state officials on how to successfully serve a gender-diverse community.

Behind all of this is Bernheimer’s philosophy that inclusivity is key.

“Inclusivity is always the best policy,” he said. “I think this applies to many different realms, not just gender inclusivity or the LGBTQ+ community. It’s important for all sorts of things.”

In the field

Bernheimer, working on an independent study project through professor of Spanish Rosa Tapia, knew that patients with health resources available in their preferred language — especially having access to health professionals who speak that language — have significantly better experiences in clinics than those without. So, what resources does Appleton provide for the Spanish-speaking community members who need them? And what about the LGBTQ+ community, another group that benefits from targeted health services?

Bernheimer hopped on his bike and went from clinic to clinic in search of answers. The results? There aren’t many health centers in the Fox Cities that provide adequate Spanish-language resources for Latinx patients. Nor is there any overlap between these resources and those targeted toward the LGBTQ+ community.

“That was something I found to be really concerning, and somewhere we have room to grow as a community and as a city,” Bernheimer said.

Regardless, Bernheimer said he had impactful conversations with clinics and nonprofits that have been working hard to support Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities in the Fox Cities. One is Casa Hispana, a Fox Cities nonprofit that develops initiatives to better the lives of Latinx locals, including connecting them to resources.

Connecting to the community

The research was relevant to Bernheimer not just as a student but as a Fox Cities community member.

“It was a really helpful experience for me in general,” he said. “More than just doing the research but also becoming more a part of the Fox Cities community. [The research] presented itself as an opportunity for something I wasn’t aware of as someone who is residing in the Fox Cities.”

The research also lays the groundwork for his future plans to help companies implement inclusive practices and policies.

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.