Author: Ed Berthiaume

Lawrence launches new Health and Society minor, with focus on health disparities

The Health and Society minor will dig deep into issues and complexities that shape individual and public health, from food sourcing to social inequities.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University has introduced a new Health and Society minor that will explore the intersection of human health and global social inequities.

The program, drawing on faculty expertise from social, cultural, biological, and environmental fields across campus, will be available to students beginning in Fall Term. It can be paired with any major and will provide important preparation for students eyeing health- or social justice-related careers or graduate school programs, said Beth De Stasio, the Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and professor of biology.

The minor isn’t only about health care; rather, it’s focused on all of the complex issues that shape individual and population health.

“It brings together courses from across the humanities, social and natural sciences to give students a more holistic understanding of the origins of health, illness, and disability, including origins of the disparities in health and health outcomes we see in this country and across the globe,” De Stasio said.

More on the Health and Society minor can be found here

Students pursuing the Health and Society minor will take classes across fields such as anthropology, ethnic studies, and philosophy. They will examine their own experiences working with vulnerable populations and explore career paths that empower them to make a difference in people’s lives.

The minor will include one course that places health in a global or community setting; two courses covering cultural and psychosocial aspects of health and illness or disability; two courses focused on the biological, biochemical, or environmental aspect of human health; one course that facilitates career exploration and self-reflection; and an option for 100 hours of engaged learning.

It will allow students the space to learn about the complexities and complications tied to health and the varied factors at play—from privilege and discrimination to food systems and infrastructure.

The new minor represents a liberal arts approach to a complicated, important area of study, said Mark Jenike, associate professor of anthropology.

“They often seek out and demand rich, complicated understandings of outcomes using tools from across the curriculum,” he said of Lawrence students. “The Health and Society minor gives them an opportunity to do so specifically in the realm of health. We hope that the broader and deeper understanding of why health disparities exist, both locally and globally, that they gain from the minor will help to make them more empathetic, critical, and ultimately more effective health care providers in their chosen field.”

One newly developed course brings it all together with a focus on career exploration tied to health. Alumni who are working in related fields will be integrated into the teaching of the course to share their wisdom and experiences with students, De Stasio said.

“It will allow students the time and intention to undertake exploration of the wide variety of career paths within the field of health care, as well as provide a facilitated discernment process in which their values and skills can be matched against various types of career paths,” she said.

In addition to the classroom work, faculty will work with students in pursuit of internships, paid employment, or volunteer work related to health care delivery, health care policy, or related work with vulnerable populations.

“I think health-interested students will be drawn to the minor because it is distinctive,” Jenike said. “And that’s the point of coming to Lawrence in the first place, right?”

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

Conservatory students partner with NAMI to use music to aid mental health recovery

Clockwise from top left: senior Holly Beemer, Community Programs Manager Betsy Kowal Jett, senior Mindara Krueger Olson, and senior Jacob Dikelsky helped present Creative Recovery: Music in Motion sessions on Zoom earlier this summer.

Story by Karina Herrera / Communications

It’s easy to recognize the power of music while in concert halls and music classrooms, but Betsy Kowal Jett and four Lawrence Conservatory of Music students looked to take it a step further this summer, tapping into music’s healing powers to help people on their mental health recovery journeys.

Kowal Jett, the Lawrence Conservatory’s community programs manager, recruited four music students to launch the outreach support group Creative Recovery: Music in Motion in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Fox Valley.

The four Conservatory students—seniors Jacob Dikelsky, Mindara Krueger-Olson, Lucian Baxter, and Holly Beemer—set out to use music to strengthen the community participants’ well-being. They partnered with Paula Verrett, the Iris Place program director for NAMI, to organize the sessions.

“NAMI, for a really long time, has been wanting to create music-based programming for their clients,” Kowal Jett said. “So, I saw that there was this need and desire for music in NAMI, and they recognized the power that music could have for their community.”

The goal was to explore various kinds of research on the healing impact that music can have, and then use appropriate methods and techniques to help participants bring out their own creative voices.

“Everyone who we’ve worked with in this creative recovery support group is in their mental illness recovery journey every single day,” Kowal Jett said. “I wanted to explore how music could become a part of their tool kit to help maximize their well-being.”

See more on the Lawrence Conservatory of Music here

The group met for one-hour Saturday sessions during three consecutive weeks in July. All of the participants were provided with a music-making kit and connected on Zoom, where the number of NAMI Fox Valley participants fluctuated between four and seven people.

Kowal Jett and her team would meet the Wednesday prior to go over what they had planned for Saturday, but Kowal Jett noted that she had already been training with her students for several weeks. They would plan and co-create the best way to introduce each week’s curriculum.

Each Saturday they shared different musical practices with the NAMI participants. The first Saturday they focused on body percussion, where they explored body movements through a call-and-response technique. The teaching artists and participants would create a rhythm and then the ensemble would echo that rhythm back. Then they explored the sounds that their bodies can make, and then finished their first session by co-creating a body percussion dance together.

The second Saturday focused on creating visual art in response to music. Each participant created graphic scores in response to music selections provided by the students. Baxter played an improvised piano piece; Beemer sang a Shakey Graves song accompanied with guitar; Krueger-Olson shared Through the Fence, a piece she co-created with her jazz combo.

On the final Saturday, the group created musical affirmations to embody the wisdom that guides each participant through their life challenges. The participants worked one-on-one with a teaching artist to transform their words into a song, and each songwriting pair shared their song for the group at the end of the session. 

“The third session was so powerful because at the end of the session almost every person said that what they experienced filled them with hope,” Kowal Jett said.

The debut of the Creative Recovery program could not have gone smoother, Kowal Jett said. She attributes that to the hard work and dedication of the students and emphasizes that she could not have done this without support from her colleagues in the Conservatory, especially Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory, and Leila Ramagopal Pertl, professor of music education and the harp.

Verrett worked closely with Kowal Jett every step of the way. She said she was thrilled at how the program was delivered and received.

“This program made such a difference for me and the other participants,” Verrett said. “It was an opportunity to use music in a new way that supported the recovery of everyone in the group. It was an opportunity to be creative in ways that did not require formal music training. The group provided an opportunity to share with each other without fear of judgment and connect in a unique and different way.”

Not only did the Creative Recovery program leave a positive and hopefully lasting impression on the NAMI participants, but the four students who worked as teaching artists say they also benefited from the learning experience.

“These experiences have repeatedly shown me that we can—and should—broaden our musical focus to include many more styles of music to bring people from all walks of life together,” Dikelsky said.

Kowal Jett wants Creative Recovery: Music in Motion to become an annual summer program, where she can continue to help connect students with the community and provide safe and creative healing environments.

“Every single person is musical, every single person is creative, and to design a program where each person’s intrinsic, musical voice can flourish is so incredibly powerful to me,” Kowal Jett said. “It’s what I absolutely love about my job.”

Karina Herrera, a Lawrence senior, is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

14 packing essentials: A guide for incoming Lawrentians as they prep for move-in day

Alan Garza ’24, left, walks through campus during move-in day in September 2020. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Communications

You’re packing for college. We’ve got tips.

The following advice, written by Awa Badiane ’21, then a student writer in the Office of Communications, is a must-read for Lawrence newcomers. But it was written before the pandemic rearranged our lives. Karina Herrera ’22 has stepped in to offer an updated version.

This list of packing do’s and don’ts will be particularly useful for first-year and transfer students, but keep in mind that many of our sophomores have yet to live on campus because of the pandemic. So, for all those Lawrentians who need it, here are Awa’s packing essentials, with some helpful tips from someone who has been there, done that.

See you soon.

1) Power strip / extension cords 

Power cords are a MUST. You’ll have lots of things that will need to be plugged in throughout your room. There will come a time when you need to blow-dry your hair and charge your phone at the same time. To avoid having to choose between wet hair or a dead phone, get some power strips. Your room will not come with 20 outlets, but some days it’ll feel like you need that many. It will make dorm life so much easier if you have multiple outlets for all your electronics. 

Tip: Having one or two power strips is a lot more useful than a bunch of extension cords.   

2) Shower caddy 

You have probably heard of the joys of a shower caddy from the dozens of college starter packs you have been seeing. But just in case you have not given it proper consideration, trust me, owning a shower caddy is very important. This will be the home to all your shower items. College bathrooms are communal, meaning we have to share them. This also means you can’t leave all of your shower stuff in the bathroom. People typically bring what they need to shower with them using a convenient shower caddy. 

Tip: I find the mesh shower caddies to be a lot more convenient than the plastic ones. With the mesh shower caddy, you can hang it up on a hook while you shower. With the plastic ones, you have to leave them on the floor. 

3) Shower shoes 

Again, with communal bathrooms you have to share showers. Sometimes you’ll find that someone just finished using your go-to shower and it’s still wet. You’re not going to want to step in someone else’s shower water; get shower shoes. It also never hurts to be cautious of germs, especially in a pandemic.  

Tip: No need to waste money on “specially designed” shower shoes. Flip flops work just fine.  

4) Laundry bag with straps

If you don’t get anything else on this list, please do yourself a favor and get a laundry bag with straps! No matter how disciplined you are, you will not do laundry once a week. Your laundry will pile up and that’s OK. And when your laundry does accumulate, you will be very happy to have a laundry bag with back straps. How else will you be able to carry the three loads of laundry you told yourself to do last week when it was only two loads? 

Tip: Tide Pods make laundry a breeze.

5) Reusable water bottle 

We love sustainability at Lawrence. Because Lawrence is a campus that supports sustainability and reducing waste, we have lots of water stations all around campus. With a reusable water bottle, you can fill up throughout the day to ensure that you stay hydrated. And not that you need a mini fridge, but if you have one, I would also suggest investing in a water filter pitcher so that your water will always be cold and so you don’t have to mask up when you leave your dorm just to fill up your bottle. 

Tip:  A water bottle with a wide opening is easier to clean.  

Kianni McCain ’24 carries boxes into Ormsby Hall during move-in day last September. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

6) Storage bins 

You will need storage bins! Not only do they make it easier to organize your room, but they also make life so much easier when you have to pack up your room at the end of the year. 

Tip: Having storage bins that can fit under your bed is ideal. 

7) Medication 

During COVID, everyone is doing their part to stay healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a cold or get a headache. You are going to be here for nine months, and that’s a pretty long time. We hope you don’t get sick during this time, but if you do catch a sniffle, you’ll want to be prepared. I recommend having some Dayquil, ibuprofen, and Emergen-C’s on standby just in case. 

Tip: The Wellness Center does provide free ibuprofen and aspirin. You can also get extra masks from there if needed.  

8) Bedding

Your room does not come with bedding, so you will have to bring your own. Make sure you find Twin XL sheets for the extra-long beds. Our rooms don’t get too cold, so you won’t need too many blankets. A few sheets, a comforter, a couple blankets, and some pillows will be just fine. 

Tip: Invest in a good mattress topper! It will last you all four years, and your back will thank you for it. 

9) Décor 

Do not stress over décor. This is the fun part. Make your room a space you enjoy being in, but don’t lose sleep over what to put on the walls. Do not let Pinterest make you spend hundreds of dollars because you think your room is not good enough; your room is good enough.  

Tip: Command Strips are gold. And remember: the more décor you have, the more stuff you have to worry about packing at the end of the year.

10) Cleaning supplies

You will be living in this space for about nine months. Throw in this pandemic and … yes, you’ll need to clean your room. I suggest having a broom, dustpan, lots of Clorox wipes, and plenty of hand sanitizer. You can also get a mini hand vacuum for pretty cheap online — it doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to work.

Tip: You can clean your whole room with just Clorox wipes. Believe me. 

11) Plug-ins

Scented plug-ins are not necessarily a must, but I do highly suggest one. Spray air-fresheners are not banned, but they are frowned upon. Having a plug-in means you don’t have to worry when you have guests over because your room will always smell like your favorite scent.

Tip: If the scented plug-ins are not your style, diffusers work great, too! 

12) School supplies 

For some reason, when people go back-to-school shopping for college, they forget they need school supplies. (Honestly, the only reason I remembered to get school supplies my first year was because I saw my little sister picking out pencils and markers.) Three 3-subject college-ruled notebooks, a pack of pencils and pens, index cards and some Post-It notes is all you’ll really need.

It’s also a good idea to pick up travel-sized hand sanitizer to add to your backpack. You could even buy those fun hand sanitizer holders for cheap off of Amazon. Also, don’t forget to have plenty of masks. Lawrence will provide disposable face masks, but make sure you have a couple of washable ones on hand, too.

Tip: You can wait until after the first day of classes to get all your school supplies. See what your professors say you’ll need on the first day, and then go to the store and get exactly that. Still bring a pen and some paper, though!

13) Winter coat

Winter is coming. When winter is here, you’ll need a coat. You won’t really need your heavy-duty winter coat (if you don’t have one, get one) until winter term, though. If you can, wait until winter to bring your coat because it takes up space. Beware, there is a period near the end of fall term where it’s too cold for a sweater, but not cold enough for your real winter coat. I would suggest bringing a jacket for when that time comes.  

Tip: Invest in layers that you can wear in winter. 

14) Mini Fan 

Contrary to popular belief, it does get warm in Wisconsin. At the start of fall term and the end of spring term, you will be very glad to have a fan in your room. 

Tip:  Get a box fan and put it against an open window. It will feel like air conditioning. 

OK, that’s the list. I hope it’s helpful. Good luck. Move-in day for first-year students is Sept. 8 and 9. Returning students follow that weekend. Let’s get packing.

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

10 new tenure-track faculty join Lawrence University for 2021-22 academic year

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University has announced the hiring of 10 new tenure-track faculty, all beginning at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Three of the new faculty will fill positions in the Psychology department, including two newly created endowed professorships, one in cognitive neuroscience and one in collaboration and organizational psychology.

The influx of new faculty brings talent and experience across the college and the Conservatory, including in environmental studies, ethnic studies, history, philosophy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and vocal coaching.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming such a talented, dedicated group of scholars to the Lawrence faculty,” said Catherine Kodat, provost and dean of faculty. “Our new colleagues will fortify strengths in existing academic programs and help us develop new areas of focus.”

The new hires include:

Alperin

Brittany Alperin, assistant professor of psychology. She will be the inaugural holder of the Singleton Professorship in Cognitive Neuroscience. She comes from the University of Richmond, where she’s been a visiting assistant professor since 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from Hampshire College and a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from Oregon Health and Science University.

Colon

Sigma Colón, assistant professor of environmental and ethnic studies. She has been teaching at Lawrence since 2017, first in postdoctoral NEH fellowships in geography and history, then as a visiting assistant professor of environmental and ethnic studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in history from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.

Culhane

Kelly Culhane, assistant professor of chemistry. She has been working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota since 2019. She joins the Chemistry department after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

Dixon

Scott Dixon, assistant professor of philosophy. He has been on the faculty at Ashoka University in Haryana, India since 2015. He studied philosophy and German at the University of Montana and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Davis.

Draheim

Amanda Draheim, assistant professor of psychology. She joins the Psychology department at Lawrence after recently completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Georgia State University. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity University.

Heaton

Alex Heaton, assistant professor of mathematics. Beginning in 2019, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences and the Math+ Berlin Mathematics Research Center, both in Germany. He then joined the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences in Toronto as a postdoctoral fellow. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Koker

Margaret Koker, assistant professor of physics. She has been teaching in the Physics department at Lawrence as a visiting assistant professor since 2018. She previously worked as a postdoctoral research fellow, a research assistant, and an engineering lecturer at Cornell University and as a Beamline scientist at the University of Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s from the University of Illinois, and her doctor rerum naturalium from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany.

Ng

Linnea Ng, assistant professor of psychology. She will be the inaugural holder of the Hurvis Professorship in Collaboration and Organizational Psychology at Lawrence. She is completing a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology at Rice University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Davidson College.

Roach

Kristin Roach, assistant professor of music (vocal coaching). Her recent accomplishments include work as a vocal coach at the Chautauqua Opera Theatre, conductor with the Pacific Opera Project, musical director and conductor with Spotlight on Opera, and conductor with Vocal Academy of Orvieto. She earned a bachelor’s degree in applied piano and a master of music in piano performance/literature and accompanying/chamber music, both from Eastman School of Music.

Schlabach

Elizabeth Schlabach, associate professor of history. She comes to Lawrence following eight years as a member of the faculty at Earlham College. She previously worked as a visiting professor for five years at The College of William & Mary. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and theology from Valparaiso University, a master’s in American Studies from Lehigh University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from St. Louis University. 

Endowed professorships

The hiring of Alperin as Lawrence’s first Singleton Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience and Ng as the first Hurvis Professor in Collaboration and Organizational Psychology marks a significant milestone in the Psychology department.

The two endowed positions came out of the hugely successful Be the Light! campaign that over the course of seven years raised $232.6 million and added five endowed professorships.

The Singleton professorship elevates Lawrence’s work in the area of cognitive neuroscience and the Hurvis professorship allows for the exploration of the psychology of collaboration, a growing field that has relevance across the curriculum as students prepare for life after Lawrence. 

Kodat called the filling of the two endowed positions “especially gratifying,” a tangible result of the generosity and vision seen in the Be the Light! Campaign.

“These positions—in organizational psychology and cognitive neuroscience—will help advance the curricular innovation that was one of the centerpieces of the campaign,” she said.

The 10 new faculty begin their first academic year when Fall Term opens Sept. 13.

“I look forward to a long and happy collaboration,” Kodat said.

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

John Ellerman, one of Lawrence’s “most passionate supporters,” remembered for generosity, leadership

Lawrence University (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is mourning the death of John Ellerman ’58, a Board of Trustees emeritus who has been actively engaged with the university for more than six decades.

He died Aug. 20 in Phoenix, Arizona, at the age of 84.

John Ellerman ’58

Ellerman, an economics major at Lawrence who went on to great success as a leader and innovator in the insurance industry, joined the Lawrence Board of Trustees in 1983 and continued to serve in various leadership capacities for nearly 40 years. He was elected trustee emeritus in 2016.

“Throughout this remarkable time of service to his alma mater, he provided thoughtful counsel to all as one of Lawrence’s most passionate supporters,” President Laurie A. Carter said.

Cory Nettles ’92, chair of the Board of Trustees, called Ellerman’s enthusiasm for all things Lawrence palpable.

“There never was a more committed Lawrentian than John,” Nettles said. “His passion for Lawrence knew no bounds.”

See obituary for John Ellerman here.

Ellerman served on several Board and Reunion committees and was a champion of the Lawrence Fund.

He brought his insights to the Building and Grounds Committee and Subcommittee, the Committee on Trustees, the Committee on Business Affairs, the Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the Finance Committee, of which he served as vice chair in 2011 and 2012. He also was a longtime member of the Lawrence Corporation of Wisconsin, the Investment Committee, and the Development Committee. 

Ellerman played big roles in multiple Lawrence fundraising campaigns. He served on the Campaign Steering Committee for three comprehensive campaigns: the Lawrence Ahead CampaignLawrence 150, and More Light! Those campaigns raised a cumulative $268 million, supporting students, bolstering academic and artistic programs, and helping to fund important building and renovation projects across campus.

His desire to support Lawrence never waned. Most recently, he was part of the leadership team of the Full Speed to Full Need endowed scholarship campaign that was launched as part of the just-concluded Be the Light! Campaign.

Throughout, he led by example.

Philanthropic gifts from him and his wife, Judith, frequently supported the Lawrence Fund, as well as campaigns to bolster Bjorklunden and the arts. He also was a member of the Lawrence-Downer Legacy Circle.

“His personal outreach efforts have strengthened relationships with the university’s most generous donors and inspired others to give back,” Carter said. “John was one of the university’s most passionate supporters, and we are grateful for the thoughtful and candid counsel he has shared over the years with Lawrence trustees, presidents, and staff members.”

After graduating from Lawrence, Ellerman forged an impressive career in the insurance industry, first with Northwestern Mutual and later with his own firm, Ellerman Companies Inc., which specialized in estate planning, business insurance, and executive compensation programs. He served for a time as board chair of the Management Compensation Group.

Carter, who began her tenure as Lawrence’s 17th president on July 1, said she is saddened she won’t get a chance to spend more time with Ellerman. But she can already feel the impact of his loss.

“All speak of his gregarious nature, thoughtful insight, and love of Lawrence,” Carter said. “Many people referred to John as Lawrence’s most enthusiastic cheerleader. … I will miss having the opportunity to learn from John and feel his immense passion for Lawrence.”

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

Work with economics faculty leads 2021 grad to EPA-funded research program

Doan Thu Thuy Nguyen ’21 at her June commencement at Lawrence University.

By Karina Herrera ’22

It was in an environmental economics class at Lawrence University that Doan Thu Thuy Nguyen ’21 realized her interest in economics and her passion for the environment could co-exist.

The experience in that class, taught by David Gerard, the John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System and an associate professor of economics, led Nguyen to two summers at Lawrence spent on environment-related research tied to her home country of Vietnam. And that work has now led the economics and mathematics double major to her next academic adventure—acceptance into Carnegie Mellon University in the doctorate program in Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) as a graduate research assistant. She will join a group of Carnegie Mellon researchers this fall.

Reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Nguyen said her time at Lawrence could not have had a more positive or fruitful impact on her academic interests, pointing to her collaborations with Gerard and other economics faculty as key to getting into the Carnegie Mellon research program.

Find more on Lawrence’s economics program here

Get to know economics professor David Gerard here

The Carnegie Mellon team, led by Nicholas Z. Muller, the Lester and Judith Lave Professor of Economics, Engineering and Public Policy, secured an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to fund the research, which will explore environmental impacts of certain manufacturing processes. Among other things, the funding provides for financial assistantships for graduate students. For Nguyen, this means that she will be given full tuition and a stipend for the initial academic year.

Although a little nervous, Nguyen said she is ready to begin. She’s excited to work with Muller and his team in part because she’s read academic papers of his and admires his work. She’ll also be working with people from different STEM fields and expects to be challenged.

“I expect it to be very intense but I also like that environment,” Nguyen said.

However, making the decision to apply to the Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. program in EPP was not an easy one, Nguyen said. She had offers from numerous economic Ph.D. programs and was hesitant at first to consider Carnegie Mellon because it was the only program that she applied to that was not solely focused in economics. She explained that what drew her in at the end was that the EPP program is exceptionally strong in areas regarding energy and environment, which are her main interests surrounding economics.

“It was clear that it was such a great place to be and I’ll be working with a lot of people who are really pioneering areas in research,” Nguyen said.

When asked how she found her passion for environmental economics and energy, she explained that it was initially through taking the environmental economics class with Gerard. Nguyen has since worked closely with Gerard and associate professor of economics Jonathan Lhost. They and other faculty have helped facilitate and augment her academic interests, she said.

She spent two summers at Lawrence conducting research—one summer focusing on the cost of decarbonizing Vietnam and the other on the air quality and public health in Vietnam. Both professors recommended that she apply to present her research at professional academic conferences and helped her to prepare and practice for her presentation.

“This is just one example of how professors at Lawrence go above and beyond for their students,” Nguyen said. “My professors really didn’t have to do any of those things, but they did because they care.”

Gerard also encouraged her to consider the EPP program at Carnegie Mellon and wrote her a letter of recommendation. He saw Carnegie Mellon as a great fit for her in part because of his own experiences there; he was on the faculty for eight years prior to coming to Lawrence in 2009, serving as executive director of the Center for the Study & Improvement of Regulation. He continues to serve as an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy.

Although he knows it was a tough decision for Nguyen, he doesn’t doubt she’ll exceed expectations.

“She was certainly an extraordinary student,” Gerard said.

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

Lawrence alumni, friends push fundraising to 4th highest level in school’s history

Steitz and Youngchild Halls of Science (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Strong financial support from alumni and friends continued to come in for Lawrence University during a 2020-21 fiscal year that was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A financial report at the close of the fiscal year shows the university raising $25.03 million, marking the fourth time in the school’s history that it has topped the $25 million mark in a fiscal year. It previously did so in 2008 ($31.4 million), 2015 ($34.4 million), and 2016 ($27.6 million).

The fundraising included, among other gifts, a special campaign to provide emergency funds for students dealing with pandemic-related expenses, an alumnus donation aimed at strengthening study abroad opportunities in perpetuity, the final stretch run that pushed the historic Be the Light! Campaign well past its $220 million goal, a campaign to thank outgoing President Mark Burstein by establishing an endowed professorship in his name, and a gift to rename and care for the President’s House.

The fundraising boost, combined with strong growth in investments, helped elevate Lawrence’s endowment by 31% from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2021. A preliminary estimate shows the endowment reaching $474 million, up from $361 million the previous year, said Mary Alma Noonan, vice president for finance and administration.

“The increase is due in part to continued success in fundraising, including closing out the Be the Light! Campaign, and partly due to a booming capital market recovery after earlier COVID-related losses in 2020,” she said.

Cal Husmann, vice president for alumni and development, said the fundraising success is a result of so many people who care deeply about Lawrence coming together to make sure the Lawrence experience is available and accessible for this generation and generations to come.

He referenced a former colleague once calling fundraising a team sport, and said it felt that way more than ever over the past year and a half.

“The last 18 months definitely had the feeling of an athletic contest, with the Lawrence community rallying several times, especially to support our students during the pandemic,” Husmann said. “They truly were beacons of light during challenging and uncertain times. Their response to the SOS fundraising was moving, especially seeing how that helped Lawrence students directly.”

The Supporting Our Students (SOS) campaign was launched early in the pandemic, an effort to raise funds that would go directly to students to offset unexpected travel, housing, or food expenses brought on by classes going remote for Spring Term 2020. More than 600 donors contributed $229,116.

The Lawrence Fund, meanwhile, saw contributions of $3.9 million. The Lawrence Fund is the key funding mechanism that supports students, the work of faculty, and the upkeep of campus infrastructure on a daily basis. The amount raised was just shy of the record $4 million in 2019-20, with more than 7,000 donors contributing.

The Lawrence Fund helps cover costs of many infrastructure upgrades, including work this summer on the hardscape in front of Hiett Hall. (Photo by Liz Boutelle)

There have been numerous great fundraising moments to celebrate over the course of the past year, Husmann said. He pointed to one alumnus who found motivation in the pandemic to contribute funds to help students wanting to study abroad.

Dr. James Boyd ’56 and his wife, Dr. Sue Ellen Markey, of Fort Collins, Colorado, established the James W. Boyd Sr. and Sue Ellen Markey Endowment for Study Abroad at Lawrence. After their own travel plans were curtailed because of COVID restrictions, they decided to establish the endowment to help Lawrence students be able to travel once it was safe to do so. Funds were also donated to Markey’s alma mater, Lewis and Clark.

In all, donors gifted Lawrence with more than $10 million in endowed gifts in 2020-21.

Channeling that kind of passion into support for current and future students is what drives Lawrence’s fundraising, Husmann said. It was evident at every turn, including in the final weeks of the Be the Light! Campaign, which officially closed on Dec. 31 after seven years. The final tally came in at $232.6 million, more than $12 million above goal.

Be the Light! concluded with great success with so many donors stretching philanthropically to help us exceed goal,” Husmann said.

He also said alumni and friends rallied to support a “Thanks, Mark!” campaign, set up to honor outgoing President Mark Burstein. Nearly $3 million was raised to endow a professorship in global and public health in Burstein’s name and to eventually replace the walking bridge that crosses Drew Street. It’ll be named for Burstein and his husband, David Calle.

“Again, the community rallied around this opportunity to honor the legacy of our 16th president,” Husmann said.

Meanwhile, a gift of $2 million to provide future care for the President’s House and other nearby Lawrence property came from Patricia (Pat) Boldt ’48 in honor of her late aunt, Olive Hamar, who died of meningitis in 1925 while a Lawrence student. The house, occupied by new President Laurie A. Carter and her family, is now known as the Olive Hamar House.

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

Building community: A study guide to Lawrence’s 2021-22 First-Year Studies

Stranger in the Shogun’s City and The Harm in Hate Speech are new additions to this year’s First-Year Studies reading list. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Communications

Our annual guide—updated—to Lawrence University’s First-Year Studies reading list has arrived.

Martyn Smith, associate professor of religious studies, has taken the baton as this year’s director of First-Year Studies (previously known as Freshman Studies).

Smith generously agreed to update the guide and offer new insights as we approach the launch of the 2021-22 academic year. Two new works have been added to the list, one for Fall Term, one for Winter Term.

First-Year Studies, as all Lawrentians know, is an important piece of the Lawrence experience. Since its establishment in 1945, the First-Year Studies syllabus has been continuously revised to introduce a changing student body to the intellectual challenges of a liberal arts education, and to the resulting benefits of the interdisciplinary thinking it embraces.

While adjustments will be made as needed, Smith said he remains hopeful all First-Year Studies courses will be in person this year.

“I would like to suggest that our experience of the pandemic has thrown a new light on the works chosen for First-Year Studies,” he said. “They continue to serve as an ambitious introduction to the liberal arts, but we can now see a strong sub-theme of community that runs throughout these works.”

Fall Term

Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard.  We are again starting off the year with poetry. This collection of poems asks students to see a relationship between private experience and the larger narratives of history. This work sets the tone for thinking about racism in America, demonstrating to students that one part of a liberal arts education is learning to talk about the pressing issues of our time. Reading these poems, we begin to see the threat to community when stories are suppressed or erased. At the same time, we see through these poems the importance of memory and memorials in establishing a flourishing community. (Adopted Fall 2015)

Thomas Seeley, Honeybee Democracy. From Trethewey’s poetry, we move to a biologist’s study of the most fascinating of social insects: the honeybee. Seeley demonstrates that we now know a surprising amount about collective decision-making in the hive. It turns out that something like an argument can take place in the hive as they consider where they should move, and that there are mechanisms for resolving that difference. But while the honeybees are a fascinating look at another form of community, we also come to see how scholars have built on each other’s work and collaborated as a unit to learn about honeybees. (Adopted Winter 2019)

Plato, The Republic. There’s a reason why this book has been on the syllabus, almost continuously, for 75 years. It raises big questions that can be worked through in class discussions. Since the work itself is in the form of a dialogue, it serves as a model for these discussions that are at the core of First-Year Studies. It’s hard to think of a major issue that doesn’t turn up somewhere in this work, but at its core is a question about the ideal city. No students or instructors will today wholly agree with the prescriptions for community given by Plato (through his character Socrates), but his wide-ranging questions prompt us to think about what an ideal community would look like.

Berenice Abbott, Tri-Boro Barber School, 264 Bowery, Manhattan. Taken in 1935 as part of the WPA’s Federal Art Project, this photograph rewards close inspection. The barber-stripe column, the contrasting façade tiles, and the patterns of light and shadow evoke modernist art styles like cubism and abstraction. As we continue to examine the photo, economic issues begin to stand out: questions about advertising and who is inside and who is outside of the “world’s up-to-date system.” (Adopted Fall 2020)

Amy Stanley, Stranger in the Shogun’s City. This work of history is one of the new works for First Year Studies. It is a biography of a woman named Tsuneno who lived in the first half of the 19th century in Edo, Japan (which would become Tokyo). On the strength of its storytelling this work has been awarded the 2021 PEN and National Book Critics Circle awards for biography. The book takes a sympathetic look at the life of a woman who made her way from a village to the big city. After having read about Plato’s ideal vision for a city in The Republic, this work of history will sketch for us the reality of life in a growing modern city, and give us a look at the demands such a city makes on individuals. (Adopted Fall 2021)

Winter Term

The Harm in Hate Speech, Jeremy Waldron. We begin the term with the second new work for First-Year Studies. This is a book that provides a philosophical and legal framework for understanding the contemporary question of hate speech. One of the goals of a liberal arts education is to gain facility entering into close written argumentation about contemporary issues, and this work is a model of argument building. It also marks a turn in our approach to thinking about community. In this book, we examine a direct threat to any ideal community, and consider how words sometimes act more like bricks than as reasoned statements. (Adopted Winter 2022)

Tony Kushner, Angels in America. Set in the 1980s, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play offers a searching exploration of the political and ethical conflicts of the AIDS epidemic. We find ourselves in the midst of a community whose sense of meaning is threatened by a deadly virus. As its title suggests, the play works to awaken a larger sense of possibility and wonder. Kushner’s script explores the complex motives of a politically, spiritually, and racially diverse cast as they struggle to find meaning in the midst of a tragedy. (Adopted Winter 2020)

The periodic table of elements. Many students will have used the table in high school, but few will have had the chance to explore it as a created object. Students will be asked to think about the table not as a passive container for information, but as an innovative visual representation of scientific knowledge. This approach will remind us that our shared ideas about the world are built by finding ways to share and disseminate them. There are lots of questions to ask about this iconic image: Who was responsible for designing it? What other possibilities were there for presenting this information? What is the argument made by the table about the nature of the universe? (Adopted Winter 2021)

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics. Two distinguished economists offer a scientific approach to the battle with global poverty. Their conclusions are sometimes counterintuitive. Banerjee and Duflo advocate putting aside big ideas, like increasing aid or freeing markets, in favor of careful research addressed to small, specific questions. Reading the book helps students to see how answering these small questions can also give voice to the experience of those living on $1 a day. This book also brings students into contact with a way of thinking about global problem-solving that is highly influential in our time. (Adopted Winter 2017)

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. Lawrence’s Conservatory of Music is a fundamental part of our university community. This most famous of jazz albums invites students to explore the complex relationship between planned structure and improvised action at the heart of musical performance. If many of the works in First-Year Studies have taken us to questions about community, this final work reminds us of the place of human creativity. This deeply influential LP challenges students to think about the process of memory and the creation of meaning. (Adopted Winter 2016)

Note to incoming students:

Looking for First-Year Studies books? The first book, Native Guard, will be sent to domestic students in the U.S. mail or they will receive a copy in their mailbox. Copies of the Abbott photograph will be made available to students later. The other works are now available from our online bookstore, www.lawrence.edu/academics/bookstore. Wherever you get your books, you should make sure to get the editions we’ve chosen for you. Information about editions, including ISBN numbers, can be found at https://www.lawrence.edu/academics/study/freshman_studies/current_works.

New internship program puts focus on hard work of social, environmental justice

Adya Kadambari ’23, seen here during Spring Term, is among the 12 Lawrence students taking part this summer in the Social & Environmental Justice Cohort program. She’s working an internship with Bay Bridge in Whitefish Bay. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Adya Kadambari ’23 processes the slow movement on social justice issues she’s championing this summer and chooses to channel her frustration into more work. Always more work.

The Lawrence University government major from Bangalore, India, has found her summer internship with Bay Bridge, a Whitefish Bay-based nonprofit working to address systematic racism in the community, to be eye-opening in the sheer weight of the challenge.

“I have learned that being part of Bay Bridge means continuing to try—even if it goes unnoticed—because that is the point of being a racial justice organization,” she said.

Kadambari is one of 12 Lawrence students who are setting the foundation for the Social & Environmental Justice Cohort program, a new summer internship initiative at Lawrence, one that is unlike any the school has launched in the past. It’s focused on social and environmental justice issues and has been developed as a shared experience across multiple nonprofit organizations doing work in a particular geographic area.

In this case, the area is the City of Milwaukee and its suburbs. The students, working across nine organizations, meet weekly as a cohort, their discussions facilitated by Jason Brozek, the Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and associate professor of government, to share and reflect on their experiences—successes, failures, frustrations, and everything in between.

Jason Brozek meets with Naomi Torres ’22 and Fernando Ismael Delgado ’22, both of whom are working internships this summer with the Center for Urban Teaching in Milwaukee. Brozek meets weekly with the full Social and Environmental Justice Cohort via Zoom.

“The idea is to really be explicit and deliberate about the reflection piece of this,” Brozek said of the cohort structure built into the internship program. “One of the things I’ve learned is how important it is to not just hope students will reflect on their experience but to specifically and deliberately guide them through that process and give them space to do it, prompt them to do it.”

This is work that is often emotional and potentially life-changing. Being able to talk about it, process it, hear others’ experiences, can be educational and therapeutic at the same time.

“That process of reflection, I think that’s where the real impact and transformation of these experiences comes from,” Brozek said.

To date, more than $350,000 has been raised to support the Social & Environmental Justice Cohort program, with a goal of $1 million to grow it into an ongoing staple of the Lawrence summer.

The program came together quickly after an anonymous donor, moved by the activism that followed the murder of George Floyd, sought to fund internships that would aid community organizations, give students an avenue into social and environmental justice work, and allow those students to share their experiences with one another in a collaborative learning environment.

The program provides a stipend for the students, who are working for nonprofits that in many cases couldn’t otherwise afford interns.

“For me, that’s a really critical part of the program because it means these experiences are more accessible and equitable, and available to a wider range of students,” Brozek said.

Kenneth Penaherrera ’24 is working an internship this summer at a youth crisis center through Pathfinders in Milwaukee.

Mandy Netzel, assistant director of career services in Lawrence’s Career Center, went to work connecting with nonprofits in the Milwaukee region to set the scope of the internship program. Meanwhile, Cassie Curry, director of major and planned giving for Lawrence, set out to raise the monies needed to financially support the program as an annual endeavor.

Brozek came on board as the faculty advisor. He’s meeting weekly with the students via Zoom, a nod to the barriers still being posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope is that those meetings will be in person by next summer, as will all of the internships.

It all came together in a matter of a few months. The early momentum suggests this is a program that will continue to thrive, perhaps growing in the number of participating students and organizations, possibly expanding at some point to other regions.

“We really have a chance to not just make it a great experience for the 12 students who are doing it this summer but to really build something that is distinctive for Lawrence and to keep it going,” Brozek said.

Some of the students are doing social media and communications work for their organizations. Others are working with young people or families in schools or shelters. All of the organizations are located in the Milwaukee metro area with the exception of Pillars, of Appleton. The list includes Pathfinders, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, a Milwaukee aldermanic office, Bay Bridge, Legal Action Wisconsin, Center for Urban Teaching, Blue Lotus, and Walker’s Point.

“Spending time doing this justice work can be really draining,” Brozek said. “How do you make this kind of work sustainable? Not just sustainable for the organization, but personally as well? We’re talking about that and they’re learning from each other, and really supporting each other and being impressed with each other. I’ve really loved that part of it.”

For Ben DePasquale ’22, joining the team at Milwaukee Riverkeeper gave him a chance to gain valuable experience in environmental advocacy and politics. He’s working on website content, social media, surveys, and focus group questions alongside the organization’s communications manager. He’s learning about reader engagement, targeting particular audiences, and the power of clarity.

“Politics is local, yet the greatest environmental threat of our lifetime, climate change, is global,” DePasquale said. “I wanted to be part of this organization because I saw an opportunity to craft narratives around environmental issues that might appeal to people who may not always see the bigger picture.”

Ben DePasquale ’22 is working on environmentally focused social media campaigns as part of an internship with Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

Netzel said the response from partner organizations—some with alumni connections—and students has been “overwhelmingly positive” in the pilot year.

“The pace at which we were able to pull it all together indicates a need and desire in the community for social and environmental justice work, and Lawrentians are interested and ready to rise in serving that need,” she said.

Sarah Gettel ’14, one of the leaders of Bay Bridge, said the fit has been ideal, with two Lawrence students, Kadambari and Sierra Johnson ’22, doing important advocacy work.

“Right from the start, Adya and Sierra jumped into the storm of moving projects and pieces,” Gettel said. “They asked excellent questions, raised ideas, and brought their creativity and intentionality to every project. Their support has been an incredible help to us at Bay Bridge and has helped us to build our supportive infrastructure to invite more people in our community into this work, from designing a volunteer orientation, to creating eye-catching event posters, to extending our social media reach, to facilitating a book discussion, to helping us work on a communications strategy to help connect systemic justice and equity to people’s values and lived experiences.”

Curry said a gift from a second donor that followed the initial gift has put Lawrence in position to fund the program for at least the next five years, providing time to secure financial support that will hopefully feed an endowment that’ll make the program ongoing.

“The donors want to ensure that Lawrence students can share what they are learning for the betterment of society, while at the same time growing and learning themselves through the process,” Curry said. “That was part of their motivation for a cohort model and faculty involvement.”

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

Day trips: Seven options to explore wonders of Wisconsin beyond Appleton

High Cliff State Park is a 20-minute drive from downtown Appleton. (Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The bubble is a thing. For many Lawrence University students, much of life during these four years will take place on or near campus. We are, after all, a residential campus. Located on the eastern edge of Appleton’s downtown, walkability often sets the boundaries for how far students will explore.

But when opportunities present themselves—friends with cars, family visits—there are plenty of day trip possibilities. We’re here to guide you through a few nearby options if you want to roam beyond Appleton. There are many other worthy destinations, of course, but here are seven to get you started.

High Cliff State Park

High Cliff State Park features 26 miles of trails. (Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin)

Wisconsin has more than 40 state parks; the closest to the Lawrence campus is High Cliff, situated on the east side of Lake Winnebago. Named for the limestone cliff of the Niagara Escarpment, this gorgeous slice of nature is a 20-minute drive from downtown Appleton. It encompasses nearly 1,200 acres, with more than 26 miles of trails suitable for hiking, running, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. There also are opportunities for swimming, boating, and camping. You’ll need a state park sticker on the car to enter. A one-day pass will cost you $8 per carload ($11 if out-of-state plates). If you plan multiple visits, a sticker good for the calendar year will cost you $28 (add $10 if out-of-state plates). Stickers are available on site. See details here.

Wolf River rafting or tubing

Whitewater rafting on the Wolf River. (Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin)

While we’re exploring the great outdoors, how about a day floating down the Wolf River? But let’s be clear. There are a couple of different options here. There is the casual float down the river with friends on giant inflatable tubes and there is the more adrenaline-filled whitewater rafting trek if you’re feeling more adventurous. Choose carefully. Both options are available within a reasonable drive. For the more placid float, you’ll find outlets near New London, about a 35-minute drive from campus. For the more adventurous version, your best bet is to go an additional hour to the north. Do a digital search for Wolf River tubing or Wolf River rafting to find available locations and details. See details on rafting and tubing options here.

Point Beach State Forest

Rawley Point Lighthouse at Point Beach State Forest. (Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin)

Lawrence is a one-hour drive to the shore of Lake Michigan. If you go straight east along U.S. 10, you’ll come to the Point Beach State Forest near Two Rivers, a wonderful introduction to the joys of Lake Michigan’s western shoreline. The more than 2,900 acres of state land stretches across six miles of the Lake Michigan coast. There are more than 17 miles of hiking trails and several beaches. Be sure to check out the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which dates back to 1894 and, at 113 feet, is the tallest octagonal skeletal lighthouse on the Great Lakes. And if the history of the Great Lakes is an interest, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in nearby Manitowoc is worth a visit. You’ll need that state park admission sticker for entrance to Point Beach. See details here.

Door County

Bjorklunden is a great spot to begin exploring Door County. (Photo by Rob Kopecky)

You will have opportunities to explore Door County, thanks to Lawrence’s beautiful Bjorklunden property. You could spend a month or more in Door County and not run short of new things to explore. From state parks and beautiful beaches to shops and restaurants, it is one of the wonders of the Midwest. Bjorklunden, known as Lawrence’s northern campus, will be a great introduction. Take advantage of every opportunity to go there. The 441-acre estate is situated on the Lake Michigan shore just south of Baileys Harbor. It was bequeathed to Lawrence in 1963 by Donald and Winifred Boynton and has now been an important part of the Lawrence experience for decades. See Door County details here and Bjorklunden details here.

EAA Aviation Museum

EAA Aviation Museum is 30 minutes away in Oshkosh. (Photo courtesy of EAA)

If aviation is an interest, you will want to pay a visit to the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh. Located less than 30 minutes from Lawrence, this is a world-renowned museum showcasing everything and anything tied to flight. From aircraft of past wars to the wonders of space flight, you’ll find it here. And for one glorious week each summer, the grounds of the EAA become the gathering place for the world of aviation, with thousands of enthusiasts bringing homebuilt, classic, experimental, and state-of-the-art aircraft to Oshkosh for the EAA AirVenture Fly-In. It is literally a sight to behold both on the ground and in the air. See details here.

Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Lambeau Field is located 30 minutes north of Appleton. (Photo courtesy of Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Whether you’re a football fan or not, Lambeau Field should be a destination. Located just 30 minutes to the north of the Lawrence campus, the stadium is one of the most iconic in all of sports. There is no logical reason a city of 100,000 residents should be home to an NFL team. And yet it is. The Green Bay Packers have been among the most successful teams in the history of the NFL. That success, the team’s community ownership, and the history that has unfolded in Green Bay puts Lambeau Field on the bucket list for many sports fans. But you don’t have to go to a game to enjoy. Stadium tours are available daily, and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame is housed within Lambeau. See details here.

Explore the Fox River

The Fox River near Lawrence University. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Lawrence’s location along the Fox River adds to our campus beauty. If you want to further explore the river, you won’t have to go far. Fox River Tours operates two touring boats, one based in Appleton and one in De Pere, between mid-May and late October. The one in Appleton is a 32-passenger restored canal boat known as River Tyme Too. Look for tour options that include passage through the hand-operated locks and narrated lessons in river history. Another bonus: It docks not far from campus. See details here.

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