As student-athletes, embrace balance between academics, sports, self care

Karina Herrera ’22 is a captain on Lawrence’s 2020-21 women’s basketball team.

Story by Karina Herrera ’22

If you’re a student-athlete, like me, you know that balancing the demands of academics and athletics can sometimes be overwhelming.

It’s hard, and it’s not for everyone. But finding that healthy balance is doable and necessary. Drawing on my experience—heading into my fourth year at Lawrence, I’m an English (literature) major and a captain on the women’s basketball team—I’ve compiled a list of six tips to help you maintain your equilibrium while being a student-athlete. No matter which of Lawrence’s 22 varsity sports you’re playing, keep these things in mind:

1. Be health-minded

This means eating well and getting enough sleep. I know that our schedules can get really crazy and sometimes we just don’t have time to sit down in the Commons for an entire meal, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on food. I recommend stocking your residence hall room with snacks and fruit—think protein or granola bars, apples, crackers, muffins and yogurt (if you have a fridge). You also can grab a to-go meal from the Café or a paper bag lunch from the Corner Store and eat it on the go. Most professors will let you eat in class, so you don’t have to worry about not finishing your food in time—as long as you’re not disturbing the class, of course.

You also need to make sure that you’re getting ample amounts of sleep—at least seven hours. This is something I struggled with my first and second years, so I know that it’s easier said than done. For some reason, I would leave a bulk of my homework to finish after practice, and then I’d stay up as long as necessary to finish my assignments, which would sometimes take until well after midnight. Don’t do that. It might be hard, but pick a reasonable time to stop doing homework—no matter how much you have left—and just go to bed; your body needs that rest. 

2. Be proactive with your studies

When you’re in season, it might seem like there’s no time to complete assignments. Between practices, lifts, traveling, and every other team activity, getting your work done is challenging. What helps me to stay on top of my work is really just knowing my schedule and committing blocks of time to work on assignments. Get a routine going. If you know that you have an hour or two between classes, use that time to get easy assignments out of the way. If you have an away game, bring your work with you, find a seat on the bus with an outlet and take advantage of the free WiFi to get some work done. Wake up early at the hotel and chip away at your workload. Don’t wait to do assignments until after you’ve come back from games or practices—it’ll just cause you more stress and, in the end, you’ll have less time to get it done right.  

3. Rely on teammates for support

More often than not, one of your teammates will have taken the same class as you or had the same professor. Use them as a resource. They can give you insider tips on how to do well in the class. Or maybe one of your teammates is a tutor and can help you with a paper or they know how to help you solve a problem. Also, sometimes your teammates will know some resources to help you that you hadn’t thought about. A lot of the time, my teammates and I will study together even if we’re working on different assignments. Ask your teammates to do the same because just being around that kind of atmosphere can help put you in that homework mindset.

4. Take study breaks

Sometimes your mind can’t focus and you need to give your eyes a break from looking at screens or books. Ask a teammate if they want to go to the gym and get a small workout in, go for a walk along the river or just stroll down College Avenue for food or beverages. Balancing the student-athlete life also means incorporating time for activities that don’t involve either. I know that I can’t sit for hours on end trying to complete one assignment, so taking breaks to reset my mind helps me to be more productive.

5. Be honest with coaches

It’s important to remember that you’re a person first, then student and then an athlete. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with something in your personal life, talk to your coaches and let them know that you’re not at your best. Your mental health is important and should not be overlooked. The coaches at Lawrence also understand that the classes are challenging and stressful, so if you’re falling behind on an assignment or you have a big test coming up, discuss your concerns with them to see how you can come to a solution so that you’re not sacrificing one over the other. And if you get injured, no matter how insignificant you think it is, let your athletic trainer and coaches know. Not communicating these things with your coaches can affect your performance in the classroom and in games or meets.  

6. Why so serious?

Speaking as a senior captain, my last piece of advice is to simply have fun. Don’t be too serious about it all. Give your best effort, of course, but don’t burn yourself out trying to do everything perfectly. You’re not going to remember all the shots you miss or the pitches you didn’t swing at. It’s the memories from team dinners, karaoke bus rides, inside jokes, and the friends you make that you’ll take with you after you graduate. Not to sound cheesy, but enjoy it while it lasts.

Karina Herrera ’22 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Navigating Lawrence’s three 10-week terms: Plan ahead, stay organized, relax

Plan ahead as you make your way through Lawrence’s 10-week terms. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Karina Herrera ’22

One thing I was nervous about while coming into my first year of college was Lawrence’s trimester system. Even though I had experienced a similar academic structure in high school, I knew that college would be different. I was worried about what the workload would be like, how to manage my time, and how to prepare for classes.

So, for any incoming first-year who has those same concerns, or for sophomores who are wondering what to expect from an academic year with fewer COVID restrictions, look no further. I’m a senior now, and I’m happy to share some insights to hopefully help you best traverse the weeks of each term.

What’s a trimester, again?

Lawrence is split into three terms: Fall, Winter and Spring, with students taking three classes per term. They’re all 10 weeks long with midterms held about the midpoint of the term and finals after the last week of classes. Ten weeks will fly by fast, so be ready.

As you start your journey as a Lawrentian, one thing you’ll learn is that both students and professors reference things by weeks. For example: I can’t believe it’s third week already. Students also say it to convey their stress level or indicate their workload. Naturally, the deeper you are in the term, the more work you will have and the more in depth your learning material will be, so some weeks carry more weight than others.

A general guide to how the weeks go are as follows: weeks 1-3 of any term are typically less stressful because everyone is adjusting to their new classes and course materials, including the professors. Weeks 4-6 are a little heavier in the workload because you are past the learning curve of knowing how your classes are structured and what’s expected of you. Midterms are generally held during this time so you’ll find students burying their noses in books or writing papers. Weeks 7-10 make up the final stretch to the term and it’s where students are usually at their busiest. Students will be working on presentations, final projects or papers, and then finals are right around the corner after 10th week.

I’m generalizing, of course, as the rhythms of any term will vary depending on your classes, including for those students in the Conservatory who might have recitals and other performances to account for. But you get the idea. The workload—and accompanying stress—tends to ramp up as the term goes on.

Fear not, this is doable

This might sound like a lot, but don’t panic. As a first-year, I was comforted in knowing that each term you only need to take three classes; a standard class is six units (we use units instead of credits) and in order to be a full-time student, you need 18 units. I always liked bragging to my college friends back home that I only had to take three classes at a time while they had to take five or more.

A chance to de-stress comes with the mid-term Reading Period. It’s essentially a four-day weekend at the end of sixth week, a break built into each term. Traditionally, it was intended for students to use to study for their midterms the following week, but it more often plays out as a needed breather. A lot of professors schedule their midterms before Reading Period, so many students go home during this long weekend; others, like me, will take this opportunity to catch up on sleep, relax, hang out with friends, and generally get refreshed. What I’m saying is, unless you’ve been slacking in your studies, there’s not much reading involved, despite its name.

Advice from someone who has been there

OK, advice time! I have five tips to help you best navigate the 10-week terms. I had to learn these the hard way.

1. Order your books with plenty of time to spare. Like I said, most professors are pretty lenient the first three weeks and understand that mishaps occur with the mail system, but it’s still a little embarrassing not having your books on the first day of class. So I recommend ordering your books at least two weeks before the term starts and sending them to your SPC box at Lawrence; that way they’ll be there when you arrive on campus. There are cheaper purchasing options than buying brand new editions; you can buy used versions, rent your books or see if any upperclassmen will lend or give you theirs.

2. Be organized from the get-go. This means investing in a planner or calendar of some kind and becoming best friends with it. You’ll want to write down your class schedule and times, and once you get your syllabus, write down the due dates of assignments. Being organized also means checking your school email daily. Almost every professor will email you with information about class, whether it’s changing an assignment or extending a due date or maybe canceling class—trust me, you don’t want to show up to a class that’s been cancelled and find out you could’ve slept in.

3. Don’t procrastinate. I know, easier said than done. My rule of thumb is if you can get it done in five minutes, do it now. Make a list of the assignments you have to do for the day or upcoming week and order them from which ones have to get done first, or from easiest to hardest. That way you’re not spending more time on something that’s due in a week versus something that’s due tomorrow. It also helps to set up a study schedule and block out chunks of time that you dedicate to finishing certain assignments.

4. Find your study spot. If you work best inside your room, then great! But sometimes your roommate will need to take a call or maybe they chew loudly and you can’t focus. It’s always good to have a backup or two that you can call your own. A good place to study, of course, is the library because the level of quietness goes up the higher the floor you’re on. Other nice indoor spots to study are the fourth floor of the Warch Campus Center, the Steitz Atrium, the Café or in the large venue rooms on the backside of Warch. When the weather is nice, some outdoor spots would be on the Main Hall Green, the Sage patio, or the tables outside both the library and the Café.

5. Take breaks. Even though these other tips are geared toward helping you with your studies, my last piece of advice would be to not let your work consume you. It’s important to take a breather every now and then. College life is stressful but it’s also a great time to meet new people and try new things. Also, remember to get involved with activities on campus. Each term has its own traditions and events that you don’t want to miss. Always keep an eye on the campus calendar for details.

Karina Herrera ’22 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Lawrence’s Jesús Smith takes to the dance floor for annual Shall We Dance fundraiser

Jesús Smith, assistant professor of ethnic studies, rehearses with Pamela Cribbs at the Boogie Ballroom dance studio in Neenah. They are preparing for the annual Shall We Dance fund-raising event, set for this fall in Appleton. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Karina Herrera ’22

Jesús Smith is excited to show off his dance moves.

The Lawrence University assistant professor of ethnic studies is one of eight local community dancers preparing to compete this fall in the Sexual Assault Crisis Center’s annual Shall We Dance competition in downtown Appleton.

The work of the Appleton nonprofit spoke to Smith in many ways—he said he’s felt passionate about sexual assault advocacy since participating in a program called Men Can Stop Rape as an undergraduate at the University of Texas El Paso—and saw this fundraiser as a valuable opportunity. So, when the chance to enter the competition appeared, Smith grabbed his dancing shoes.

“It was a way to tie my passion with the things I do as a scholar and as a professor and make those connections in the community,” he said.

Shall We Dance, built on the same premise as ABC’s popular series, Dancing with the Stars, is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley. But the all-important fund-raising component and the months of practice and preparation are already in full swing.

See Jesús Smith’s Shall We Dance profile page here.

Jesús Smith said practices have been intense as he prepares for the Oct. 16 competition. “It’s hard, it’s different,” he said.

Shall We Dance is an entertainment event that aims to increase awareness about sexual assault while helping the Sexual Assault Crisis Center raise important funds. All of the money raised before and during the event will go to the center to help provide needed services to sexual assault survivors.

Each year, eight Fox Cities community dancers are selected to compete. They are paired with various dance organizations and each is matched with a professional dancer. A part of the competition consists of the community dancers raising at least $10,000 for the Crisis Center in the lead-up to the event.

Smith, a member of the Lawrence faculty since 2017, is partnered with professional dancer Pamela Cribbs from Boogie Ballroom, a dance studio in Neenah.

Although he never trained formally, Smith said he is confident in his dancing abilities. For him, the hardest part is learning the footwork; he and Cribbs meet about once a week to work on their moves. In between those sessions, Smith is spending a lot of time practicing on his own.

“So far, it’s going really fantastic,” Smith said. “It’s hard, it’s different. I have these little Cuban dance shoes that have these heels that I swear sometimes are going to break my ankles.”

Jesús Smith was featured in Lawrence’s On Main Hall Green With … series in January 2020. See it here.

Smith first heard about the competition through a friend, Cristi Burrill, who won it last year. He said he immediately thought that participating in Shall We Dance would be a great opportunity to incorporate what he learned about sexual assault advocacy as an undergraduate in Texas and share it with the Appleton and Lawrence communities—all the while sweating it out on the dance floor.  

Smith and the other dancers are currently seeking support while they rehearse in preparation for the dance-off in October.

With his fundraising, Smith said he wanted to take a more educational route to help promote the message of the Crisis Center. He is at the midpoint of hosting four virtual mini educational fundraisers, with discussions concerning different communities’ experiences with sexual assault and violence. The sessions include guest speakers. The next Zoom talk will be July 30 with Tommy Curry, a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, speaking on sexual assault and violence toward racialized boys and men. The final talk will be Sept. 26 and will focus on women, sexism, and surveillance labor with Melissa Ochoa-Garza, a scholar at Texas A&M University. Look for details on Smith’s social media accounts.

Jesús Smith: “I wanted to do a song and dance that was reflective of my cultural, ethnic, racial backgrounds.”

Smith also created a Patreon page where supporters can watch behind-the-scenes rehearsals and silly videos of him doing various workouts and activities to get into dancing shape.

The competition will include advance voting (via contributions on the Shall We Dance site) and voting at the Oct. 16 event.

When asked about the specifics of his dance performance, Smith was excited to share. He will be dancing to a Spanish trap song, A Palé, by Rosalía.

“I wanted to do a song and dance that was reflective of my cultural, ethnic, racial backgrounds,” he said.

The song starts slow and beautiful, with Smith and his partner doing a Viennese waltz. It transitions from there as the tempo picks up.

Smith earns Wilson Foundation Fellowship. See details here.

Smith said he wanted to perform a mix of dance styles to match the song and his upbringing, so the performance will include hip-hop, different waltzes, and various Latin-style dances such as cumbias and the Paso Doble, plus other surprises. He aims for their dance to tell a story through both the movements and the costumes.

“It’s just such a conglomeration of different things, which I love because it’s me,” Smith said. “It’s going to be amazing.”

Karina Herrera ’22 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Summer research grows more robust across an array of academic departments

Tyler Scott ’23 adjusts a drone as part of a summer research project at Two Creeks Buried State Forest Natural Area on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Scott and several other students are working this summer with geosciences professor Jeff Clark. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

From mapping bluff erosion along the shores of Lake Michigan to translating theatrical works from French to English, Lawrence University students are diving deep into a wide range of research this summer.

The Lawrence University Summer Research Fellows Program has come roaring back following a year in which summer research was either limited or strictly remote because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 students—most of them on campus but some still remote—are taking part in summer research, funded through Lawrence and its supporting partners and encompassing 17 academic departments across the college and the conservatory, all in collaboration with Lawrence faculty.

Elliott Marsh ’22, an environmental sciences and geosciences double major who is working with a team of students alongside geosciences professor Jeff Clark on the Lake Michigan bluff erosion project, said he loves the hands-on approach to summer research.

“In my case, I am learning a lot about drones, remote sensing, and GIS, which are very good skills to have in the job market these days,” he said. “Also, research is all about problem-solving, and being immersed in trying to answer a handful of questions in 10 weeks is a very different experience.”

Student participation in the summer research program has grown by 50% over the last six years, jumping from 70 students in 2015 to 105 this year. The number of academic departments taking part has grown from 11 to 17.

Through numerous grants, donations, and other funding, more than $350,000 was available for this year’s summer research. Faculty members applied for funding to support their research; students then applied to join faculty projects that interested them.

“Despite the pandemic, summer research at Lawrence continues to grow and flourish—we have more students participating in summer research with more faculty across more programs than ever before,” said Peter Blitstein, associate dean of the faculty.

The natural sciences continue to lead the way, but there is now more consistent participation year in and year out from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. That, combined with greater flexibility in how available stipends are used, has helped increase participation each of the past six years, with the exception of last summer.  

Relena Ribbons, an assistant professor of geosciences who is leading students in climate-based research in SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden), called the skill-development that comes with hands-on research a valuable piece of life-after-Lawrence preparations. Seeing it return this summer with such enthusiasm has been a welcome sight.

From left: Katie Mahorney ’22, Gillian Buckardt ’22, Relena Ribbons, assistant professor of geosciences, and Ella Lemley-Fry ‘23 work in SLUG as part of a summer research project.

“Summer research fellowships here at Lawrence provide students with the opportunity to fully engage with the entire research process, which is both a valuable stepping stone for connecting more deeply with academic research and a meaningful and enjoyable way to spend the summer months,” Ribbons said.

The work provides students with important insights into graduate school and allows them to explore career possibilities on a deeper level. In the process, it adds skills and experiences to their resumes.

“These experiences are especially valuable in helping students figure out if they might want a career in research, and if so, the work they do over the summer is an important part of their application for graduate school,” said Lori Hilt, associate professor of psychology. “The skills they gain—in data collection and analysis, communication, etc.—will help them in their lives after Lawrence, whether or not they decide to go to graduate school.”


To give you a look at the breadth of the research being done this summer by Lawrence students in collaboration with faculty across the college and conservatory, we’ve pulled together a “by the numbers” guide.

105: Number of students participating in summer research

Blitstein said the growth in the program stems from the diversity and creativity of the research projects and the influx of available funds over the past several years to support the students during the summer.

“I am delighted to see the range of projects our faculty and students are collaborating on this summer,” he said. “From the ceramics studio, to the biology laboratory, to the university archives, Lawrentians are engaged in hands-on learning, developing their skills, and supporting faculty in achieving their scholarly and creative goals.”

53: Total number of research projects under way

The program was renamed the Lawrence University Research Fellows Program in 2017, and with it came a greater emphasis in participation beyond the natural sciences, Blitstein said. That is playing out in a big way this summer.

“Overall, it has become more visible as a university-wide program in recent years,” he said.

46: Number of Lawrence faculty overseeing summer research projects

Hilt has been part of the research program every summer since joining the Lawrence faculty in 2011. She’s working with students this year on multiple projects that touch on mindfulness, rumination, and suicide prevention among school-age children and adolescents.

“I find it to be a rewarding opportunity to mentor students and have them contribute to my scholarship in a meaningful way,” Hilt said. “Many of my summer research students have been co-authors on published papers and have gone on to graduate school and careers in psychology.”

Jeff Clark, professor of geosciences, works with Itai Bojdak-Yates ’23 on research at Two Creeks Buried State Forest Natural Area in east-central Wisconsin. Clark is one of 46 Lawrence faculty members working with students on summer research.

17: Number of academic departments working with students on summer research

The departments involved touch almost every corner of Lawrence. In addition to the natural sciences, participation comes from Anthropology, the Archives, Art & Art History, the Conservatory, Economics, English, Film Studies, French & Francophone Studies, Government, History, Mathematics, Psychology, and Russian, plus outside partnerships with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.

Midushi Ghimire ’24 is a biochemistry major spending her summer working with Mark Jenike, associate professor of anthropology, on research into the human biology of diabetes. The research is expected to contribute to a new course to be offered in 2022-23.

“The best part is that in order to understand the concepts, I have to sometimes revisit and refresh what I learned during my academic year,” Ghimire said of the work. “I feel that I have a stronger grasp on the topics I learned and am applying them to new areas. I am expanding my knowledge horizon and relating biology through a larger scope.”

50: Number of students taking part in science research (biology, chemistry, geosciences, and physics)

The Lake Michigan shoreline research that Clark is leading is part of an innovative NASA project that gives students the opportunity to conduct earth-observing experiments using remote sensing techniques. It ties in nicely with Lawrence’s newly launched environmental science major.

“We are using drones to map bluff erosion on the bluffs along Lake Michigan near Two Creeks,” Marsh said. “To do this, we are using not only a visual sensor but also a thermal sensor. That area is known for its distinct layers, and the sand layer is the weakest layer where the bluff is most likely to fail. So, with the thermal sensor, we are able to identify how saturated the sand layer is because the different moisture levels in the sand will yield different temperatures than 100 percent dry sand would.”

The students will analyze the collected data and by the end of summer prepare a paper on their findings.

13: Number of students taking part in Conservatory of Music summer research

Projects range from research into Brazilian drumming (with percussion professor Dane Richeson) to preparing arrangements for horn and mixed ensemble for publication (with horn professor Ann Ellsworth).

Claire Chamberlin ’23, a global studies major, is working with Eilene Hoft-March, the Milwaukee-Downer College and College Endowment Association Professor of Liberal Studies and professor of French, in the translating of short theatrical works from French to English. Kathy Privatt, the James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theater arts, and her theater students will then take some of those short plays to performance during Winter Term.

“I’m translating short contemporary retellings of four plays by Molière—who was essentially the French Shakespeare—from French into English,” Chamberlin said. “It’s valuable because it’s making art accessible to a new audience. All four plays are funny and incisive, and adapting them into English allows more people to enjoy them. For me, it’s a fantastic opportunity because I get to build my literary translation skills while learning more about Francophone cultures and the French language, especially its idiomatic use.”

7: Number of students involved with research that explores foreign languages and/or cultures

Parker Elkins ’22, a Russian Studies major, is one of three students working with Peter Thomas, associate professor of Russian Studies, to build assignments for Lawrence’s first-year Russian curriculum, including both written and video exercises.

“While I’m still unsure whether I intend to pursue higher education after Lawrence and teach Russian, this work is certainly helping me get a better understanding of some of what that job would entail,” Elkins said.

Researching the Russian text and breaking it down for possible use in future courses has not only proved beneficial in providing insight into possible career paths, it’s also helped give direction to a separate project, his senior capstone.

“I can say that for mine—a scholarly retranslation of Venedikt Erofeev’s novel, Moscow to the End of the Line—working on these (texts) has been immensely helpful,” Elkins said. “Erofeev’s prose shares very, very few similarities to these texts, but at the same time there’s been large parts of the process that I’ve been able to take from working on these first-year Russian assignments and apply to retranslating this novel.” 

23: Number of students taking part in psychology research, much of it focused on youth and adolescent mindfulness

John Berg ’22, an English and psychology double major, is working with Hilt in a study of mental health screening and suicide prevention among school-age children and adolescents in the Fox Valley. They’re partnering with community groups as they examine local screening data from the prior school year and look to develop new or improved screening instruments that can better identify students in need of help.

“I personally love doing this work,” Berg said. “I think that it is relevant and has the ability to help students who are at risk of self-harm and/or suicide.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Upgrade of half-mile stretch of Lawrence’s Riverwalk Trail expected to begin next year

The section of the Riverwalk Trail behind Warch Campus Center, just east of Lawe Street, will be part of a trail upgrade project beginning in 2022. The project covers the half-mile stretch of trail that runs along the river on the south side of campus. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University will widen, pave, and light a campus trail that runs along the Fox River, with work on the project expected to begin in 2022.

The upgraded Riverwalk Trail will improve its year-round usability and allow the campus to better connect with adjacent trails for walking, running, and biking, said Christyn Abaray, assistant to the president.

Abaray called the project a significant benefit for the surrounding Appleton community as well as for the students, faculty, and staff who call the Lawrence campus home. It will further highlight Lawrence’s scenic location along the river, providing picturesque views, a natural get-away, fitness opportunities, and new avenues for environmental studies.

“A well-maintained path will increase experiential learning opportunities for students whose studies focus on the environment and public health and for our environmentally focused student organizations,” Abaray said. “And strengthening the connection between Lawrence and the city through contributions to the growth of the Fox Cities will help us to attract and retain talented students, faculty, and staff.”

The Riverwalk Trail between Drew Street and Lawe Street will be part of the planned upgrade that includes paving, widening, and lighting.

See more on trails and parks near the Lawrence campus here.

Fund-raising is already under way for the project. Philanthropic contributions from the Lawrence community have surpassed $150,000 so far. The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region via its David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund has pledged $100,000, and a $1,000 grant was secured from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Lawrence continues to work closely with the City of Appleton as the project proceeds with its support, Abaray said.

The half-mile trail along the south side of campus—from Drew Street to an area behind Warch Campus Center just east of Lawe Street—has been designated as an unofficial trail for decades. Lawrence paved part of the trail in the 1990s, courtesy of a gift from the Class of 1998, and a wooden overlook was built, but that overlook is now closed because of needed repairs. The overlook will be repaired in the future via this project, Abaray said.

Lawrence began working on trail-related enhancements a year ago. Two entryways connecting campus with the trail, one between Briggs Hall and the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center and one just east of the Warch Campus Center, were renovated last summer.

The enhancements have made both the trail and campus easier and safer to access, but the trail still lacks the amenities for more robust use, Abaray said.

“While campus and Appleton residents still enjoy the existing unofficial trail for its scenic views, its narrowness, lack of lighting, and unpaved portions make it difficult to utilize the trail safely and fully year-round,” she said.

Once the upgrades to the trail portion of the project are completed, the Riverwalk Trail will provide easy access to other nearby trails, including the newly opened Lawe Street Trestle Trail, the Newberry Trail, North Island Trail, and the coming trail that’s part of the planned Ellen Kort Peace Park.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Decoda Chamber Music Festival to include eight public performances in Appleton

Members of Decoda will lead the Decoda Chamber Music Festival in Appleton. (Maria McColl photo)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

A two-week chamber music festival will bring 28 college-aged musicians to Lawrence University in late July and early August for an intensive training program that also will feature multiple free public performances.

The Decoda Chamber Music Festival, presented by the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and the musical collective Decoda, will take place in Appleton from July 28 to Aug. 6. The eight public performances at various Appleton venues—including as part of the Mile of Music Festival—will welcome live audiences. It comes following a year in which most live performances were canceled or moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re bringing nearly 30 young artists from around the world to Appleton for two weeks to study with eight amazing Decoda musicians, some of whom are based right here,” said pianist Michael Mizrahi, a professor of music in the Lawrence Conservatory and a founding member of Decoda. “Students and faculty will work together to create immersive chamber music experiences at venues across the Fox Valley.”

Public performances will include:

July 28: Decoda in concert, Riverview Gardens, 5:30 p.m.

July 30: Decoda in concert, Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 7 p.m.

July 31: Decoda Chamber Music Festival Young Artists’ Concert, Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 7 p.m.

Aug. 1: Decoda Chamber Music Festival Young Artists’ Concert, Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 1 p.m.

August 5 and 6: Decoda Chamber Music Festival performances at Mile of Music. These include 11 a.m. Aug. 5 at Lawrence Memorial Chapel; 11 a.m. Aug. 6 at OuterEdge Stage; 1 p.m. Aug. 6 at Riverview Gardens; and 3 p.m. Aug. 6 at Heid Music. Mile of Music collaborators will include Wade Fernandez, Cory Chisel, and Bernard Lilly ’18 (B. Lilly).

“This kind of cross-genre collaboration will be a win-win for our students and our community,” Mizrahi said of the Mile of Music performances.

Decoda is a national collective of musicians committed to virtuosic performance and audience engagement. Their performances range from trios to large mixed ensembles, with much of the focus on audience outreach at venues that run the gamut from concert halls to schools to hospitals to prisons. Mizrahi and flutist Erin Lesser, associate professor of music in the Lawrence Conservatory, are among the core members of the group.

As part of Decoda outreach, Mizrahi launched the Music for All program in Appleton in 2015. More than 100 free community concerts have taken place over the past six years in conjunction with various local organizations. Among others, it has highlighted the work of women composers at Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, created short educational music performance videos for the Appleton Area School District, and presented free interactive community concerts for families with young children at Riverview Gardens.

The success of Music for All led to discussions of bringing the Decoda Chamber Music Festival to Appleton.

“This festival lived on the East Coast for many years and was looking for a new home,” Mizrahi said. “Appleton has such a vibrant tradition of live music in the summer—I knew this community would welcome us with open arms.”

Multiple visiting members of Decoda will join with Conservatory faculty to work with the participating students. They will lead daily rehearsals and workshops, teach students how to use music to interact with different local communities, and develop students’ skills in instrumental technique, public speaking, and mission/vision development.

The timing of the festival allows it to mesh with Mile of Music, the all-original music festival taking place Aug. 5-8 at more than 40 venues and performance spaces in downtown Appleton. Lawrence Conservatory faculty have led the music education portion of Mile of Music since its launch in 2013, with the work of the Music Education Team focused on getting festival-goers to engage with and create their own music.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Mile of Music this summer—they’ve been doing live music here in Appleton for the better part of the last decade, and our program will allow for a rich cross-fertilization of artists from different backgrounds, all coming together to create live music for and of our community,” Mizrahi said. “This year in particular, after going so long without live music, we can’t wait to create new musical collaborations in front of a live audience.”

Support for the Decoda Chamber Music Festival includes grants from the John Scott Boren Memorial Fund for the Performing Arts, the Bright Idea Fund, and the Mielke Family Foundation, all within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

More information on the Lawrence Conservatory of Music can be found at More information on the Decoda Chamber Music Festival can be found at More information on Mile of Music can be found at

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Hello, Class of 2025: It’s OK to be nervous; we’re all looking for ways to connect

Connecting with others on campus is part of the college journey. After more than a year of pandemic protocols, we may need a little help along the way. We’ve got some advice. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Karina Herrera ’22

For any incoming first-year, starting the journey as a college student can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Throw in a year of mask-wearing, social distancing, and other pandemic protocols and you’ve got a recipe for added anxiety.

As the beginning of the new school year draws closer, you might be unsure of what to expect or worried about making friends. That goes for not only first-years but also for all those sophomores who spent their first year remote. I’m here to help. Here are nine things that helped me meet new people and form lasting friendships when I arrived on campus three years ago.

1Take advantage of Welcome Week: Welcome Week is as it sounds—a time when you and your fellow first-years will move into residence halls and be welcomed to campus. There are a myriad of activities over several days that are specifically designed to help you meet new people and aid you with the transition to college life at Lawrence. Engaging in these activities will provide you with an easy opportunity to start making connections with other first-years before the rest of the student body arrives on campus. You can ask someone from one of these activities to grab a bite to eat in the Warch Campus Center or go for a walk along the river or even tour the education buildings together to figure out where your classes will be held.

2Attend residence hall activities: A fun way to get to know the students in your residence building is to go to the events hosted by your community advisor (we call them CAs). In the dorm’s lobby during their night shifts, they will set up movies, have various game nights, order pizza, and sometimes make pancakes. There is no work involved for you. Just enjoy. All these activities are opportunities to mingle, and the best part is, you don’t even have to leave the building!

Student organizations offer a great way to meet new people. Here, students participate in a hike during Camping 101, an event hosted by the Lawrence University Outdoor Recreation Club in May. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

3Join student orgs: There are more than 100 student-run clubs and organizations on campus, all looking for new members. Click here for the list at Want to learn how to swing dance? Or do you really like improv theatre? Itching to go on a camping trip? There are clubs for all of these interests, but on the slight chance that Lawrence does not already have the club you’re looking for, no worries. You can form your own, and it’s really simple! Here’s a link for a how-to guide; on the page it’ll tell you to review the Student Handbook and then you simply have to fill out a club recognition request form. Joining a student org is a sure way to follow your passions and connect with other Lawrentians. You may even learn new skills along the way.

4Go to sporting events: Even if you are not athletically inclined, you’re in luck—cheering on the Vikings only requires your enthusiasm. Even if you have no idea what’s going on, it’s OK because there is usually someone sitting near you who is in the same boat. Making connections through shared confusion is a fun way to start those friendships while also showing support for the athletes. And as a captain for the women’s basketball team, I can attest to how much we appreciate it when we see the bleachers filled with students cheering us on. Lawrence provides a free shuttle service to take you to and from the athletic facilities, but here’s another tip for forging connections: Skip the shuttle and walk to the Banta Bowl or Alexander Gym. It’ll be quality time with your new friends.  

5Visit the Downtown Appleton Farmer’s Market: This weekly event is a great way to spend a Saturday morning in the fall (or summer if you stay on campus) with a friend. Beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m., College Avenue from Appleton Street to Drew Street is closed off to vehicle traffic so vendors can sell a variety of goods. You’ll find everything from fresh produce and baked treats to handmade items and artwork—often while listening to live music. So, grab your roommate or a new acquaintance and take a stroll to experience one of Appleton’s summer and fall favorites.

Lawrence students volunteer at Feeding America in January 2020.

6Get out and volunteer: Volunteering is an awesome way for students to connect. Make friends while helping to educate kids, comfort animals, or save the planet. Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE) works hard to educate students about their role as citizens in their community while also promoting a wide range of volunteer opportunities. The CCE is not the only an avenue for volunteering but it’s a great resource to meet others along the way.

7Go to the movies: Seeing a good movie is always a great option when building new friendships. The campus movie theatre on the second floor of Warch Campus Center features free movies for students every Friday and Saturday night during the school year. You can even fill out an online form to make suggestions for specific movies that you want to see, and there’s free popcorn. It’s a fun way to spend a weekend night and connect with others. Did I mention the free popcorn?

8Embrace the arts: I hope you’re not too attached to your socks, because they will be knocked off while watching a performance in the Conservatory, whether it’s our own students or visiting artists. Attending events in the Con with your new friends is a must. This is one of the true perks of going to Lawrence. We have a world-renowned music conservatory right here on campus. Not many schools get to say that. I’ve enjoyed watching many of my friends perform in various ensembles and have had my ears blessed while listening to music recitals. And there are amazing theatre and dance performances, not to mention opera and other musical feats. Music is quite literally happening all the time on this campus.

The Trout Museum of Art, located adjacent to Houdini Plaza in the heart of downtown Appleton, is a short walk from campus.

9Get outside the Lawrence bubble: There doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you and a fellow newcomer to step off campus and explore Appleton. College Avenue has a comprehensive selection of fun downtown spots, including coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, art and various crafting stores, and so much more—even I haven’t seen it all and I’ve been here for three years. But it’s not just shops. Check out the various trails and parks within walking distance of campus (the Lawe Street Trestle Trail is my favorite). Also, be on the lookout for student rush tickets for shows at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (nothing wrong with cheap tix to a touring Broadway show), book a tour of the History Museum at the Castle or visit the Trout Museum of Art, all short walks from campus. These are just some of the great ways to get to know other students who also are new to Appleton.

Bonus tip: Follow Lawrence and Appleton social media pages. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the Lawrence website, it’s a good idea to stay connected to your new community. Keep tabs on news updates, insights into your fellow students and the Lawrence faculty, and details of coming events on campus or nearby.

Karina Herrera ’22 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Chill out: 10 nearby places Lawrentians can cool down with an ice cream treat

A hand hold a cup of chocolate ice cream in front of the Copper Rock store front.

This story was updated on July 2, 2021, with an assist from Karina Herrera ’22

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

What’s better than ice cream on a hot day? Now that summer is at its hottest, I know I will be eating a TON of ice cream to stay cool. But I’m not going to be selfish and keep all the ice cream to myself. I’ve created this list of favorite places close to campus to get a delicious scoop this summer. 

1) Frio Mexican Treats, 131 W. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton 

Frio Mexican Treats is a family-run Mexican ice cream shop. The owner moved to Wisconsin from Mexico 17 years ago, fell in love with Appleton, and decided to open Frio Mexican Treats. This shop has brought delicious, authentic Mexican treats to the area, and we are all grateful for it. 

Favorite frozen treat: I LOVE apple pie, and Frio’s has an Apple Pie-flavored churro sundae! It is made with Mexican vanilla ice cream topped with apple pie filling and two cinnamon sugar churros … is anyone else drooling? 

2) Crazy Sweet, 514 W. College Ave., Appleton 

An ice cream stuffed donut – need I say more? Crazy Sweet is sure to fulfill anyone’s sweet-tooth cravings. It’s comprised of a full candy shop, with more than 300 candy options, attached to an ice cream shop that has 16 rotating flavors of Cedar Crest made here in Wisconsin. If you are in the mood for a float, a pile-high sundae, or just a scoop, Crazy Sweet has you covered. (Note that Crazy Sweet reopened with new owners in its new location last summer; it’s a little longer walk from campus, but still so worth it.)

Favorite Frozen Treat: ICE CREAM. STUFFED. DONUT.   

3) JD’s Drive In, 1939 E. John St., Appleton 

Because it’s located so close to the Banta Bowl and Alexander Gym, JD’s Drive In is a good bet for Lawrentians. It’s known for delicious and cheap burgers that hit the spot after a home game or practice. But did you know it’s also a perfect spot to get a cold treat? JD’s serves up some of the best soft serve that you can get, topped with or dipped in toppings of your choice. JD’s frozen menu also features a heavenly ice cream sandwich and what it calls a Storm, which is a legendary soft serve blended with mix-ins of your choice. 

Favorite frozen treat: Ice cream sandwiches are the way to my heart, and when there are ice cream sandwiches half off every Wednesday, sign me up.   

4) Cold Stone, 420 E. Calumet St., Suite D, Appleton 

Cold Stone is obviously not exclusive to Appleton, but it does hold the crown (in my opinion) for best cold treats. With more than 50 ice cream flavors and toppings to choose from, there is truly no end to the possibilities you can create. They are not limited to just ice cream, also featuring frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream cakes.  

Favorite frozen treat: Dirt is not usually a flavor people would go for, but when the dirt is made of chocolate ice cream and Oreo cookies, well, I think you’ll love eating dirt, too.  

5) Copper Rock, 210 W. College Ave., Appleton 

Copper Rock is a cozy coffee shop located just blocks from campus, known for its globally sourced coffee. Copper Rock also is a great spot to chill out with delicious gelato. It has a case of 12 flavors made in the gelato kitchen right in the store.  

Favorite frozen treat: The Chocolate Cupcake Gelato is unmatched.  

6) Kwik Trip, 730 E. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton 

I know what you’re thinking, “How did Kwik Trip make this list?” In my defense, my first time at a Kwik Trip was in Appleton, as the convenience store chain is a Wisconsin-based enterprise. It was also my first time seeing a gas station with a make-your-own milkshake machine. And might I add, the milkshakes are AMAZING. 

Favorite frozen treat: Cookies and Cream Milkshake is my go-to.  

7) Culver’s, 3631 E. Calumet St., Appleton 

Culver’s is a Wisconsin staple known for its delectable ButterBurger. But this list is about ice cream, so let’s take a moment to appreciate the fresh frozen custard — the chocolate and vanilla flavors are made in the store all day. Despite only making chocolate and vanilla, Culver’s still provides lots of ways for you to make the custard your own, offering a wide selection of mix-ins. Culver’s also has different options for the way you can get your custard served — cone, shake, or in their famous concrete mixer.       

Favorite frozen treat: Salted Carmel Concrete Mixer with Brownie is my favorite.

8) Knotted Cone, food truck. Check the schedule online to see if they’re in town:

The Knotted Cone is a gelato truck that travels throughout the Fox Valley but spends most of its time in Appleton. The business started after the owner spent two months backpacking through Europe. There she fell in love with gelato and decided to return to Italy to study gelato-making. All of Knotted Cones ingredients are either locally sourced or come straight from Italy, so you know you are getting a quality treat.  

Favorite frozen treat: The French Pressed Coffee Cream is delectable.  

9) Twist, N1716 Hyacinth Lane, Greenville  

The Twist Ice Cream Company is not quite in Appleton, but it is in close proximity and its ice cream is way too delicious to have not made the list. Twist is a family-owned business that has been serving scoops of creamy deliciousness since 2011. Twist is only open from April to October, so be sure to stop by while you still can.    

Favorite frozen treat: Brownie Bite Arctic Twist is beyond satisfying. 

10) Doughlicious, 322 W. College Ave, Appleton. The newest entry on our updated list. It’s just a short walk from campus and there’s a colorful sign that draws you in. They have ice cream here, but the main draw is the wide variety of cookie dough, with two flavors always being gluten free and vegan.

Favorite frozen treat: Mix the cookies-and-cream cookie dough with vanilla ice cream and then enjoy my treat on their comfy couches.

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

New era dawns as Laurie Carter begins tenure as Lawrence’s 17th president

President Laurie A. Carter (Photo courtesy of Shippensburg University)

Welcome, President Laurie A. Carter.

A new era at Lawrence University begins today as Carter steps in as the 17th president in the 174-year history of the university. She comes to Lawrence from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, where she had served as president since 2017.

Carter succeeds Mark Burstein, who closed his Lawrence presidency at the end of June after eight years, wanting to return to the East Coast to be closer to family.

Carter was named president following a national search conducted by Lawrence’s Presidential Search Committee, led by chair Cory Nettles ’92 and vice chair Sarah Schott ’97. The 17-member committee, which included alumni, faculty, staff, and students, delivered a unanimous recommendation for Carter to the Board of Trustees.

Since that announcement in early March, Carter has been communicating regularly with various members of the Lawrence community to help get her presidency off to a fast start.

She arrives with a work history that includes a 25-year stint in various leadership positions at the Juilliard School in New York City and several years as an executive vice president at Eastern Kentucky University.

The number 17 has been significant for Carter. She also was the 17th president at Shippensburg. Before leaving Pennsylvania, Carter and the Shippensburg University community held “17 Days of Kindness,” featuring blood drives, service days, community clean-ups, and food and school supply drives. It was a flashback to something the campus had initiated when she first arrived at Shippensburg, and she told the student newspaper it was important to her to do it again on her way out.

“I think it’s really significant to the world — kindness matters,” Carter said in the interview with The Slate before leaving campus. “And a little kindness goes a long way. It really softened the community, brought us together in so many ways. And I thought it appropriate for us to end in the same way, really focusing on how we treat one another and that mutual respect.”

As Carter’s tenure at Lawrence begins on July 1, we’re sharing some content that has helped us get to know her a little better over the past few months.

“As a sitting president, I am well aware of the challenges facing higher education, but I know the Lawrence community is ready to work together to continue the traditions of excellence while ensuring a bright future for the students, the university, and the community,” Carter said on that day in early March.

The things to know included her background in higher education, much of it spent in a liberal arts setting, her work as a lawyer, her early days in Student Life, her successes as a student athlete, her passion for the arts, and her enthusiasm for exploring all things Wisconsin.

President Laurie A. Carter joined outgoing President Mark Burstein for a video conversation.

Carter, her husband, Gary Robinson, and the new presidential pup, Pepper, are settling into the newly renamed Hamar House, previously known as the President’s House. An inauguration for Carter is being planned for Fall Term. Stay tuned for details.

Legacy of Olive Hamar to live on with renaming of President’s House

The president’s residence at Lawrence will now be known as Hamar House. (Photo by Liz Boutelle)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University’s President’s House is being renamed the Olive Hamar House in honor of a student who a century ago sought to create a new social space on campus and advocated for women’s rights.

The house that serves as the residence for Lawrence’s president and is often the site of campus gatherings takes on its new name courtesy of a $2 million endowed gift from Patricia (Pat) Boldt ’48, niece of the late Olive Hamar.

Part of the City Park Historic District, the house along North Park Avenue has served as the president’s house since 1956, when Sampson House was converted from a presidential residence to administrative offices. Outgoing President Mark Burstein is the sixth Lawrence president to call it home; Laurie Carter, joining Lawrence as its 17th president on July 1, will be the home’s newest resident, the first under the name Hamar House.

Hamar was a student at Lawrence when she died of meningitis in March 1925. She had been active with student organizations and with the local YWCA and was leading a push to open a hospitality center on campus.

An article in The Lawrentian described her as “one of the most beloved girls on the Lawrence campus. … She dreamed of a place where Lawrence students could meet on a common ground, unhampered by distinctions of any kind, in a house that would offer them that homelike atmosphere missed at college.” 

The endowed gift in her honor will now fund the upkeep of Hamar House as well as the maintenance of several other Lawrence-owned homes along North Park Avenue.

Legacy of Olive Hamar

This portrait of Olive Hamar, part of Lawrence’s art collection, was on display in the President’s House for the past eight years.

Because the president’s house is often a gathering place for campus celebrations and meals with Lawrence guests, it’s appropriate that it will now carry the name of a student who put such emphasis on hospitality and friendship.

Boldt, who followed her aunt’s path to Lawrence, said family stories and cherished letters detail the kindness and generosity of Hamar, including her love of Lawrence.

“Olive was a beloved girl,” Boldt said. “And not just by her family. If you read all the stuff that I’ve got, you can tell people were really fond of her. And when you read some of these letters, you see that she was a darling and a wonderful woman, so generous and humble.”

The story of Hamar and her quest to create a social center on campus—it eventually happened after her death, with a building at the northeast corner of Union Street and College Avenue serving as a gathering place for Lawrence students and members of the Appleton community—became a frequent topic of conversation over the past eight years. Before settling in at Lawrence, Burstein and his husband, David, selected the painting of Olive Hamar from the university’s art collection to hang over the mantel in the living room. They were unaware at the time of her history or her connection to the Boldt family, longtime supporters of Lawrence.

“The spring before we arrived, David and I had the wonderful opportunity to look through the art in Wriston Gallery storage to pick out pieces for the President’s House,” Burstein said. “Our goal was to display the quality of Lawrence throughout the house. We fell in love with a portrait of a young woman. We were drawn to the idea of giving the work a prominent place over the mantel in the living room. We also liked the idea of having a woman in this location given Lawrence’s history as one of the first co-educational institutions in the country.”

Boldt, meanwhile, was plenty familiar with the painting of her aunt. She has letters that document the commissioning of that portrait for Lawrence following Hamar’s death. An almost identical painting, created by the same artist using the same photograph, was on display at her grandparents’ house for as long as she can remember, she said.

Shortly after Burstein assumed the Lawrence presidency in 2013, he and David hosted Pat Boldt and her husband, Oscar C. Boldt, for a social event at the house. It was then that Pat noticed the painting of her aunt on display. The stories flowed from there.

The Olive Hamar stories have now been told and retold—the joy she found on campus, her work with the YWCA, her advocating for women’s rights, her generosity of spirit, the mourning of her death—and they will live on as the house transitions to Hamar House.

“Both David and I have had the honor of retelling Olive’s story and describing the impact she had on the Lawrence community,” Burstein said. “Her care for individual community members and her passion for women’s rights resonated with us and with the many visitors we’ve hosted at the house. It is a pleasure to know this connection to Olive will live on with the naming of Hamar House. That this naming also links the house to Pat Boldt, someone renowned for hospitality and also someone so generous to us and other past presidents in so many ways, was such an added bonus.”

About the house

The Queen Anne-style house was built in 1904—the same year Olive Hamar was born—and acquired by Lawrence in 1947. Designed by architect George W. Jones, its initial occupant, the house is described as an English-inspired mansion with touches of the Victorian era thrown in for good measure.

After Lawrence purchased the house, it briefly converted it into a residence hall, known as the Park House Dormitory. That lasted until 1956, when then-President Douglas Knight and his family moved into the home. It has been renovated multiple times over the years, including a complete renovation in 2000, and has housed, in addition to Knight, presidents Curtis Tarr, Thomas Smith, Richard Warch, Jill Beck, and Burstein.

Carter will be joined in Hamar House by her husband, Gary Robinson, and their family dog, Pepper.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: