Category: Press Releases

Lawrence welcomes one of its largest classes in history

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Lawrence University will welcome one of its largest classes in history as more than 425 first-year, transfer, and exchange students arrive for Welcome Week activities, all in preparation for the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 11, marking the beginning of Lawrence’s 171st academic year.

“We can’t wait for them to arrive,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “Though, to be fair, many of them have been here for a few weeks already for fall sports and orientation programs.”

New Lawrentians this year come from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 25 countries, making this year’s class one of Lawrence’s most geographically diverse ever. Just over 20 percent of the class comes from Wisconsin, followed by Illinois, Minnesota, California, New York, China, Texas, Vietnam, Colorado and Florida.

International students compose more than 15 percent of the class.

Members of the Lawrence University Class of 2019, who will graduate next June, sit for their class photo taken during Welcome Week 2015, a tradition to be repeated by this year’s class.

Staying ahead of the demographic curve

That geographic mix is part of the plan. “The population of college-going students in the country has seen significant geographic shifts over the past decade,” says Anselment. “There are fewer students from our home market in the Midwest, and more students from the West and South.”

Anselment notes that demographic studies project that shift to become even more pronounced in the coming decade. “We have been anticipating this, which is why we have been working strategically to expand our national and international reach over the past ten years.”

Beyond the recruitment benefits, Anselment notes that the strategy primarily benefits students: “From day one, Lawrentians will start building a national and international network with their classmates right in their classrooms, residence halls, and dining spaces.”

Anselment says that this year’s class continues to build on the momentum Lawrence has seen over the past five years with strong academics, strong socioeconomic diversity, and increasing ethnic and racial diversity (more than 25 percent of the class identifies as domestic students of color).

Full Speed to Full Need campaign plays a strong role

Aiding Lawrence’s ability to attract such a strong pool is the continued success of the Full Speed to Full Need campaign, which launched in September 2014 with a goal to build a $75-million endowment that would allow Lawrence to join the small group of colleges in the country that meet the full financial need of their students.

Driven by the support of many members of the Lawrence University community, as well as an anonymous $25-million gift that catalyzed the campaign, the university has already surpassed the $75-million goal, giving President Mark Burstein the confidence to raise the target to $85-million, which would allow the university to provide further funds for students to provide full-need support for students who wish to study abroad during their time at Lawrence.

It’s a bold move, but one that is already paying dividends. To date, more than 180 students have had their need fully met with funds from the campaign, and that number continues to grow with each new class. In coming years, as more of the pledged funds are realized and the endowment continues to mature, Lawrence will be among a small group of colleges in the country—and the only one in the state of Wisconsin—that meets the full financial need of all of its students.


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

 

 

President’s annual matriculation convocation opens Lawrence’s five-part 2018-19 series

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein officially opens the university’s 170th academic year, along with its 2018-19 convocation series, Thursday, Sept. 13 with his annual matriculation address.

All convocations begin at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and are free and open to the public.

President Mark Burstein
President Mark Burstein

Now in his sixth year as Lawrence’s 16th president, Burstein has focused on creating learning communities in which all members can reach their full potential.

Prior to Lawrence, Burstein served nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University and 10 years at Columbia University as a vice president working in human resources, student services and facilities management.

Joining Burstein on this year’s series will be:

Katherine Cramer
Katherine Cramer

Oct. 23 — Katherine Cramer, professor of political science, UW-Madison
Known for her innovative approach to the study of public opinion, Cramer presents “Listening Well in a World that Turns Away.”

Her scholarship focuses on the way Americans make sense of politics and their place in it. She is the author of “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker,” which examines rural resentment toward cities and its implications for contemporary politics. The book earned Cramer the 2017 American Political Science Association’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section Giovanni Sartori Award for the best book developing or using qualitative methods.

She also has written the books “Talking about Race: Community Dialogues and the Politics of Difference” and “Talking about Politics: Informal Groups and Social Identity in American Life.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science at UW-Madison, she earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan.

Phil Plait
Phil Plait

Jan. 17, 2019 — Phil Plait, astronomer
A popular science writer based in Boulder, Colo., Plait is the mind behind the blog “Bad Astronomy,” on which he tries to debunk scientific myths and misconceptions. In 2009, Time magazine included it on its list of the 25 best science blogs. He will deliver the address “Strange New Worlds: Is Earth Special?”

While he’s never been a NASA employee, he was part of the Hubble Space Telescope team at NASA ‘s Goddard Space Flight Center and has been involved with NASA-sponsored public outreach programs for several satellites that study high-energy forms of light emitted by black holes, exploding stars and super-dense neutrons stars.

Pliat, who earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia, is the author of “Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing ‘Hoax’” and “Death from the Skies!,” in which he provides real science behind all the ways astronomical events could wipe out life on Earth.

Matika Wilbur
Matika Wilbur

April 11, 2019 — Matika Wilbur, director/photographer Project 562
Wilbur, a member of the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, has been on a five-year mission to change the way we see Native America. As a visual storyteller, she has traveled the country with her camera, creating portrait art of the lives and experiences of people from the nation’s indigenous communities. She will present the address, “Changing the Way We See Native America.”

A one-time fashion photographer who earned a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography, Wilbur launched Project 562 in 2012 with a goal of photographing and collecting stories of Native Americans from each federally-recognized Indian tribe in the United States. To date she has visited more than 300 sovereign nations in 40 states documenting the diversity, vibrancy and realness of Indian country.

She has taught visual arts at Tulalip Heritage High School in Washington state, providing training and inspiration for the indigenous youth of her own community.

Her photography has been exhibited in national and international venues, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts and France’s Nantes Museum of Fine Arts.

David Burrows
David Burrows

May 22, 2018David Burrows, professor of psychology and director of inclusive pedagogy
Burrows, whose address is titled, “Education for Effective Action,” is the 10th recipient of Lawrence’s Faculty Convocation Award, which represents the judgment of faculty peers that the person’s professional work is of high quality and deserves the honor of selection.

His career in higher education spans more than four-and-a half decades, including the past 13 years at Lawrence after joining the administration in 2005 as provost and dean of the faculty. In 2017, he returned to the classroom as a full-time member of the psychology department, where he teaches “Principles of Psychology,” “Cognitive Psychology” and Freshman Studies.

Burrows, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, taught and served as psychology department chair at the State University of New York at Brockport and spent 17 years at Skidmore College, where he was department chair and associate dean of the faculty. Immediately prior to Lawrence, Burrows served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Beloit College from 1997-2005.

His current scholarship focuses on how students learn in college settings. He has worked with students to help them develop good self-evaluative skills as an enhancement for learning and is interested in the concept of engagement as a critical factor in learning and cognitive development.

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

Megan Scott Named New Communication Leader at Lawrence

Megan Scott will join Lawrence University as its new Associate Vice President of Communication this fall, serving as the university’s chief brand manager, storyteller, and spokesperson.

“We are thrilled to have Megan with us,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “She is a smart, charismatic, and accomplished communication professional with deep experience not only with higher education, but with articulating the particular strengths of residential liberal arts and sciences colleges.”

Megan Scott photo
Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new communications leader

Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Knox College in 1996 and holds a certificate in publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. She worked in academic publishing for eight years, last serving as marketing manager for the University of Iowa Press, where she coordinated all national and international marketing efforts for 30-35 scholarly books per year. She returned to her alma mater in 2004 to coordinate advancement communications and serve as editor of the Knox Magazine, the college’s biannual alumni magazine.

In 2012, she was given the opportunity to lead a newly created Office of Communications at Knox, which was charged with integrating college-wide communications and highlighting Knox’s story to its external and internal constituents. Over the last six years, she and her team have launched an award-winning website, introduced a new suite of admission communications, supported a series of fundraising initiatives, introduced a new internal portal and community newsletter, expanded the college’s visual and social media presence, and helped to launch an award-winning new athletic logo and mascot.

“As a graduate and long-time employee of a liberal arts institution, I am a true believer in the value of the education and opportunities colleges like Knox and Lawrence provide its students,” said Scott. “As both an undergraduate and employee at Knox, I have been challenged to stretch my abilities, push creative boundaries, and achieve more than I ever imagined.”

Scott’s background and approach made her the ideal candidate to lead Lawrence University’s efforts to ensure that its diverse community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and neighbors are informed about and engaged with our work together.

“Megan’s deep understanding of the transformative impact of a liberal arts education and her collaborative management style made her candidacy stand out in a very talented pool of finalists,” said Mark Burstein, president of Lawrence University.  “She is clearly well prepared to build on our recent successes to more accurately describe the power of the education we offer.”

Scott will serve on the president’s cabinet, working closely with university leadership to perform a job she knows very well.

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,”

Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new Associate Vice President of Communication

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,” said Scott. “I have always admired Lawrence University, and I was even more impressed by the institution, its staff, students, and leadership as I moved through the interview process. I am truly honored to join this vibrant community and am excited to get to work telling the Lawrence story.”

Scott will transition to Lawrence with a couple of shorter visits to campus over a six-week period, starting with Lawrence’s annual matriculation convocation and its first faculty meeting of the year on September 13. She will join the campus community full time on October 29.

Scott will be joined in Appleton by her spouse, Brian, a high school Latin and English teacher, and their daughters, Clara (11) and Willa (5).

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

Rick Peterson Retiring After 39 Years and Thousands of Stories

In 1847, shortly after Amos Lawrence commissioned three Methodist ministers—William Harkness Sampson, Henry Root Colman, and Reeder Smith—to establish a school on the land he owned in the Wisconsin Territory, he needed to tell the world about his fledgling college.

And so it was that Rick Peterson began his career as Lawrence University’s media relations director.

Peterson seen here sometime after 1847 (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Or so it seems, now that the university community reflects upon Rick’s tenure as he prepares to retire from Lawrence University on Friday, August 17, after nearly 39 years of service.

Lest you reach for your calculator, that’s 23% of the years that Lawrence has operated.

Rick joined the Lawrence staff in December 1979, after Lee Ester, then Lawrence’s director of public relations, lured him away from the Kaukauna Times, where Rick had been covering sports for 18 months after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. The Oak Creek (Wis.) native’s first day on the job came just two weeks after Richard Warch had been inaugurated as the fourteenth president of Lawrence University, which he would lead for 25 years.

Nearly four decades, two presidents and thousands of articles, stories, and press releases later, Rick Peterson stands on the threshold of retirement leaving a legacy of advocacy for the university that few have matched.

Dependable and dedicated

Mark Burstein, Lawrence University president, knows that Lawrence will miss Peterson’s touch. “Rick has a clear sense of Lawrence’s strengths that comes out in everything he writes or prepares about the university,” says Burstein. “It’s a unique gift that is irreplaceable.”

When asked her impressions of Rick’s contributions to Lawrence, Beth DeStasio, Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor of Biology, enthusiastically leads with, “Well, I just love Rick.” She adds, “He is one of the hardest-working people at Lawrence, always digging for more information because he truly wants to know what he’s writing about—and he’s really been able to capture the essence of Lawrence in everything he’s written.”

“He’s one of the most dependable, hardest-working colleagues I’ve had in my long tenure at Lawrence.”

-Cal Husmann, Vice President for Development

That dependability made a big difference with local media, with whom Peterson built a strong relationship. Ed Berthiaume, news director of the Post Crescent, worked with Rick for 25 years, and praises his reliability, accuracy, and honesty, even when the story may not be flattering about the university. “If Rick didn’t know the answer to something, he would work to find us someone in the community to connect with.”

Berthiaume notes that this kind of collaboration is unusual, “The way Rick treated people here at the Post Crescent was always professional and always respectful—and it helped forge a good relationship.”

A human touch… with a twist

Peterson used his gift for writing not just for telling the Lawrence story, but for bringing joy and delight to his colleagues and friends.

Liz Boutelle, one of the university’s art directors, has worked with Rick for 18 years and says she’ll miss his thoughtful gestures. “Everybody that knows him would get a birthday card from him,” she says, adding with slight amazement, “And not just a birthday card, but one with a big paragraph personalized to each person.”

“When he sent you a note, it was with perfect penmanship and always in a straight line like he wrote it with a ruler,” says John Tharp, former Lawrence University men’s basketball coach.

Tharp remembers how Peterson, who has been a scorekeeper at Vikings games for years, would come down to the team room in Alexander Gymnasium before basketball games just to sit with him. “He would have his lunch bag with him, and he and I would sit and talk while he was eating his lunch, and we would laugh.” Tharp adds, “I think it was his way of keeping me calm and relaxed. It was always a treat. He would say, ‘Good luck, Johnny,’ and then walk out that back door.”

Joe Vanden Acker, Lawrence sports information director, says he holds the job that Peterson invented as the university’s first SID. He learned a valuable lesson from Rick early in his tenure. “Rick was in my office. I was finishing a can of soda pop, and put my can in the garbage. Rick said, ‘Wait, there’s a spot for those,’ and he took me back to his office, and opened his closet, where there was a cardboard box where he was saving the cans.” Vanden Acker adds, “He was running a recycling program before Lawrence even had one.”

Ariela Rosa worked as an intern for Peterson from 2015 to 2016, and notes that she learned important lessons in that role. “I came to his department without any experience in journalistic writing, and Rick was always very patient with me, not interested in just fixing mistakes but in trying to explain why we do things the way we do them.”

Her work with Peterson prepared her for her current role as Lawrence University’s associate director of corporate, foundation, and sponsored research. She notes, “When I arrived to Rick as a student, I was always in a rush. But after working with him, I slow down more, am more careful, and double- and triple-check my work.”

She says that working with Peterson had an additional—and unexpected—benefit, “I received a world-class education in classic rock from Rick.”

And how did this education come about? “My fondest memories are of him playing 103.1 WOGB from clock-in to clock-out, with him quizzing me almost daily.”

Peterson seen here dreaming of a Milwaukee Brewers World Series championship, which the author wishes for him as a retirement gift. (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Behold the power of Peterson

“The Lawrence community will miss Rick,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication, “And I will miss him personally.”

Anselment adds, “Rick brought a style, voice, and sense of humor to the Lawrence stories he has written for decades. That combination of energy, production, and persistence is a gift to behold, and we are fortunate and grateful to have beheld it for so long.”

Despite it being closed for the summer while most students are on break, the Viking Room will temporarily reopen its doors to Rick’s friends and colleagues from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, to celebrate his retirement.

Rick Peterson may have written thousands of stories about Lawrence over his nearly four decades here, but Lawrence wrote this one about him.

Lawrence welcomes eight new tenure-track appointments to the faculty

Lawrence University welcomes eight new scholars to tenure-track faculty appointments this fall for the 2018-19 academic year. The first day of classes for Lawrence’s 170th year is Sept. 11.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn); Danielle Joyner, art history; Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe); Linnet Ramos, neuroscience; Andrew Sage, statistics; Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics; Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies; and Allison Yakel, Spanish. Each joins the faculty at the rank of assistant professor, except for Lewis, who will start her Lawrence career as an associate professor.

“Over the past year, I had the great pleasure and privilege to work closely with search committees in the college and conservatory to identify and recruit talented candidates to our tenure track faculty rank,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “These eight new faculty members will enrich the university in myriad ways, introducing new fields of study and fresh perspectives on traditional subjects. I’m thrilled to be able to welcome our newest colleagues to campus.”

Ann Ellsworth
Ann Ellsworth

Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn)
An international performer and recording artist, Ellsworth also brings nearly 30 years of teaching experience to the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. She joins the faculty from New York City, where she teaches at New York University, the Brooklyn College Conservatory and the City University of New York Graduate Center.

With a focus on new music, overlooked or rarely played pieces and arrangements, Ellsworth has recorded four solo albums, including “Rain Coming,” which was released in 2017. She has performed in music festivals around the world, been a guest artist or principal horn with nearly 20 orchestras or symphonies, including Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and the Oslo Philharmonic, among others. She also has performed for more than a dozen Broadway shows, as well as in concert with touring artists ranging from Shakira and Aretha Franklin to Diana Ross and Johnny Mathis.

A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Ellsworth earned a bachelor of music degree from Eastman School of Music, a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Rochester, took graduate studies at Juilliard School of Music and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Russia and earned a master of music degree from the University of Maryland.re

Danielle Joyner
Danielle Joyner

Danielle Joyner, art history
Joyner, whose scholarship interests include ecocriticism, environmental history and conceptions of the natural world, spent eight years in the department of art, art history and design at the University of Notre Dame and since 2015 has taught in the art history department of Southern Methodist University.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Joyner is the author of the 2016 book “Painting the Hortus Deliciarum: Medieval Women, Wisdom and Time,” and has a second book “Before there was Nature: Rethinking Landscapes and Early Medieval Arts” in progress.

She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Toronto, and a master’s and doctorate degree in art history from Harvard University.

Nora Lewis
Nora Lewis ’99

Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe)
It will be a homecoming for Lewis, a 1999 Lawrence graduate who returns to her alma mater, replacing her former oboe professor, Howard Niblock, who retired earlier this year. She has taught oboe the past two years at Western Michigan University. Prior to that, Lewis spent nine years building oboe studios at Austin Peay State University (2007-08) and Kansas State University (2008-13).

During her career, Lewis has engaged extensively in national and global outreach, including artist residencies in Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, India and Panama and has delivered scores of master classes throughout the United States.

Since 2010, she has performed with the PEN Trio, touring with the chamber ensemble across the country. Her first book, “Notes for Oboists: A Guide to the Repertoire,” is in progress with Oxford University Press.

A double degree graduate of Lawrence — she earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.M. in performance — Lewis also holds a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Music and a doctor of music degree from Northwestern University.

Linnett Ramos
Linnet Ramos

Linnet Ramos, neuroscience
Ramos joins the faculty from Temple University, where she held an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher. She also held an adjunct professorship in the psychology department at Temple. Prior to Temple, Ramos worked as a postdoctoral researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2015-17. She served as a member of the diversity committees at both Temple and Children’s Hospital.

Her scholarship interests focus on identifying novel therapeutics to manage various mental health disorders, including drug addiction. Her research has examined the effects of these therapeutics on the neural circuits underlying social behavior.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Temple University, a master’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Hartford and a Ph.D. in behavioral pharmacology from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Andrew Sage
Andrew Sage

Andrew Sage, statistics
A former high school math teacher, Sage has taught statistics courses at Iowa State University since 2014. As a graduate teaching assistant at Miami University prior to Iowa State, Sage was recognized with the mathematics department’s “Effective Graduate Teaching Award.

Sage’s research interests include data mining, statistical machine learning and statistics education. While at Iowa State, he was involved in a project using data analytics to help improve student retention among STEM majors.

Originally from Chardon, Ohio, Sage graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The College of Wooster, where as an undergraduate, he wrote a computer program to project complete times for tire tests at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics at Iowa State.

Elizabeth Sattler
Elizabeth Sattler

Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics
Sattler joins the mathematics department with research interests in symbolic dynamics, ergodic theory and fractal geometry.

A native of Dickinson, N.D., Sattler has spent the past two years on the faculty at Carleton College, where she’s taught courses in calculus, real analysis and complex analysis. From 2011-2014, she taught at North Dakota State University, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics.

While at NDSU, she was the recipient of two graduate student teaching awards. She’s been involved as a faculty advisor and mentor for undergraduate research projects at Carleton and NDSU. As a proponent of fostering an inclusive environment, Sattler co-founded the Society of Women in Math and Statistics (SWiMS) at Carleton for women and non-binary math students.

Katherine Schweighofer
Katherine Schweighofer

Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies
Schweighofer brings teaching and research interests in histories of sex and gender, feminist and queer theory, LGBTQ studies, queer geography and gender and sports cultures to the Lawrence faculty. She is especially focused on the histories of sexual identity, geography and political resistance and how it reframes the impact of the U.S. women’s land movement of the 1970s and ’80s.

Since 2015, Schweighofer has taught at Dickinson College following appointments at Butler University and Indiana University, where she received the Barbara C. Gray Award for Teaching Excellence. At Dickinson, she served on the college’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and was recognized in 2017 with a service award by the office of LGBTQ Student Services.

Schweighofer, who grew up in Rochester, Mich., earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a certificate in women’s studies from Princeton University. She also holds a master of arts from New York University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in gender studies from Indiana University.

Allison Yakel
Allison Yakel ’06

Allison Yakel, Spanish
Like Lewis, Yakel is returning to alma mater, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and government in 2006. Since 2014, she has taught Spanish courses as a graduate assistant at the University of Houston.

With an interdisciplinary approach, Yakel’s scholarship unites phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics as it pertains to Spanish and English in contact, and applied linguistics. Her teaching experience includes teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language.

While a student at Lawrence, Yakel spent three years as a Spanish/Italian tutor in the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning. After graduating from Lawrence, she earned a master’s degree in Spanish at Texas State University and a Ph.D. in Hispanic linguistics at the University of Houston.

A Wisconsin native, Yakel grew up in Edgerton.

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

 

 

Lawrence music education team unleashes everyone’s “inner musician” at Mile of Music fest

Listening to great original music by a wide variety of artists is, of course, what Appleton’s Mile of Music is all about.

But the opportunity to personally engage in music, a unique feature of the four-day festival, aah, that’s what red lines Leila Ramagopal Pertl’s excitement meter.

Leila Pertl
Leila Ramagopal Pertl ’87

As the music education curator for the Mile of Music, Ramagopal Pertl will oversee a 28-person team of music educators, most with Lawrence ties, that will conduct 40 hands-on music-focused workshops during the festival, which runs Aug. 2-5.

This year’s festival — Mile 6— will feature 900 live performances by 208 artists/bands from 29 states as well as Washington, D.C., and Canada at 70 venues along College Avenue and the Fox River.

The interactive, education workshops designed for both the young and the young at heart range from Balinese gamelan and Ghanaian drumming and dance to didjeridu and ukulele.

“I’m so excited to see the growing number of people who schedule their Mile of Music education events ahead of time,” said Ramagopal Pertl, a 1987 Lawrence graduate and music education instructor in Lawrence’s conservatory of music
who has led the music education team since the festival’s inception along with her husband, Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory.

“Lawrence music education is not only providing hands on, music-making events to our public, but, in fact, is helping to change a mindset about who is musical and who is not,” she added. “We are all musical beings whose life experience must often be perceived and expressed in musical ways. When our Lawrence community, and especially our Lawrence music education students, contribute to this awareness and active process, their influence goes far beyond this campus, and, indeed, far beyond our own Fox Valley.”

Lessons in Ghanaian drumming attracts musicians of all ages during the Mile of Music education workshops.

At last year’s festival, the music education team engaged 5,000 participants in the workshops. Ramagopal Pertl hopes to increase that number by at least 500 this year.

New for Mile 6 will be a reinvention of a festival staple, the Great Mile of Music Sing-a-Long. This year’s sing-a-long will celebrate rich music diversity with culture leaders from all corners of the Fox Cities teaching songs from their traditions, including Oneida, Congalese and Latino cultures.

Jaclyn Kottman, a 2012 Lawrence graduate and a choral music educator in the Appleton School District who serves as the director of operations for the music education team, calls the annual sing-a-long “a touchstone of the festival weekend.”

“We felt this year’s sing-a-long was an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the rich musical and cultural diversity of the Fox Cities,” said Kottman, who also teaches voice and conducts one of the girl choirs at the Lawrence Academy of Music. “By lifting up these songs alongside the more traditional sing-a-long tunes, we’re broadening the concept of what ‘the music of our community’ sounds like on the Mile and beyond.”

José Encarnación, director of jazz studies at Lawrence and one of the country’s top jazz saxophonists, will trade his instrument for his dancing shoes. He and his wife, Marisol, will showcase their superb salsa dancing skills in a pair of workshops.

Singer B. Lilly, who graduated from Lawrence this past June, will both perform during the festival and lead a pair of workshops on songwriting. He describes his musical style as “soulful, coming from a pure place.,,influenced by the transparency of the Motown era. It is intentional and raw.”

“His artistry has a depth of thought and honesty that I find stunning,” said Ramagopal Pertl.  “I’m looking forward to how he brings these qualities out in others.”

Mile of Music gamelan workshop
The Balinese gamelan is always one of the favorites among the Mile of Music education workshops.

Another performer/education team member are the members of Porky’s Groove Machine, a seven-member band of all Lawrence graduates who call themselves “(unofficially) licensed providers of environmentally sustainable nerd-funk.” In addition to seven (7!!) performances during the festival, Porky’s will help groovers of all ages get their funk on in a pair of workshops.

“Being Lawrentians, the members of the band are not only top-notch performers, they are also first-rate music educators,” said Ramagopal Pertl.

New to the music education team this year will be an eight-person contingent of aspiring music educators from local high schools known as the MET Ambassadors, who Ramagopal Pertl described as “on fire about the positive effects of music education and excited about making music with their community.”

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

 

Lawrence psychologist research project focuses on local adolescent rumination intervention

Lawrence University psychologist Lori Hilt has been awarded an $18,000 grant by the American Psychological Foundation Award to support her research on rumination intervention for adolescents.

The John and Polly Sparks Early Career Grant supports early career psychologists conducting research in the area of intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children.

Lori Hilt
Lori Hilt

Hilt is looking to engage approximately 80 local adolescents in her study that will begin this fall.

“We’re targeting kids who are high on rumination, which is the cognitive process that our intervention is focused on,” said Hilt, a child clinical psychologist who specializes in the development of emotion regulation. “Kids who tend to dwell on negative information and rehash it in their minds are more at-risk for developing depression and anxiety. We’re trying to get kids who are already engaging in that process to see if this intervention can change the way they think.”

Rumination, a clinical term, refers to brooding about negative thoughts and emotions, “chewing” over things in one’s mind.

“Some kids develop these maladaptive strategies like rumination,” Hilt explained. “What I want to do is see if we can intervene and teach them more adaptive strategies like mindfulness — being in the present moment — to try to prevent them from developing things like depression and anxiety.”

Hilt’s research will involve the use of a mobile application she developed with the assistance of several Lawrence students that sends notifications to the user several times throughout the course of the day. It asks the user a series of questions — Are you feeling sad? Are you feeling anxious? — and then assigns a mood rating. Depending upon how high the rating is, the user may get assigned a mindfulness exercise, either a written instruction on the app or a prerecorded audio one that will guide the person through a specific exercise, helping them focus on the present moment.

“Afterward, the app will ask questions again so we can see the short-term effects,” said Hilt, a 1997 Lawrence graduate who joined the faculty in 2011. “We’ll also have participants log-in to a website to answer questionnaires before they start using the app, three weeks after they use it, and then again six weeks and 12 weeks later to see if there are any long-term effects.”

Hilt says her study is “a first step” in what she hopes will result in a wider program.

“We have some evidence from a pilot study that it is effective, but we really need to look at a larger group of kids and have power to statistically test whether the intervention is helping kids, said Hilt. “If results are favorable from this trial, I want to do a larger, randomized control trial where we compare the mindfulness mobile app to another type of mobile app to see how well it works under more controlled conditions. Then, if we get favorable results, we would disseminate this app, use it as a proof of concept.

“There are a lot off apps on the marketplace that say they’re helpful but haven’t been tested,” she added. “If we can show, in a laboratory situation, how well it works, then we can go and recommend this to kids as a prevention strategy locally and then spread it around the country.”

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

 

 

Elizabeth Bridgwater named Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholar

Strong interests in atmospheric science helped Lawrence University junior Elizabeth Bridgwater be named an Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholar.

Elizaberth Bridgwater
Elizabeth Bridgwater

A chemistry and environmental studies major from Fort Collins, Colo., Bridgwater was one of 150 undergraduates nationally selected for the scholarship. Named in honor of long-time former U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, who was well known for supporting ocean policy and conservation, the award includes a two-year academic scholarship and a summer internship opportunity.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said Bridgwater, who recently met with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C. to discuss internship possibilities for next summer. “I’m particularly interested in it for its environmental applications.

“It was amazing to learn about all of the work that goes into predicting and understanding our weather and climate, protecting our oceans and coasts and sharing this information with policymakers in Washington and communities,” she added. “As someone who has developed a passion for understanding how our behaviors influence both air quality and climate change, I feel really grateful for the opportunity to engage with the incredible work being done at NOAA.”

As a Hollings Scholar, Bridgwater will receive a $9,500 academic award for each of the next two years and a 10-week, full-time, paid summer internship, including travel expenses, at any NOAA facility nationwide in the summer of 2019. She also will receive funding to present the results of her NOAA research project at up to two national scientific conferences. Later this year, she will choose from a variety of internships and connect with the mentor associated with that project.

“As I learn more as a scientist, something I work to keep in perspective is that certain communities, particularly communities of color and low-income communities, face disproportionate levels of pollution and public health concerns.”
— Elizabeth Bridgewater

Bridgwater’s interests in becoming a scientist are motivated in part by her desire to improve the health and quality of local communities through a better understanding of the world around us.

“NOAA is a really cool organization in that the scientific work done there is ultimately geared toward serving the United States and protecting the resources and ecosystems that are vital to our daily lives,” said Bridgwater. “I feel lucky and honored for this chance to be a part of that science and to continue developing as a scientist so I can help people in the future.”

Her long-term goals have Bridgwater pursuing graduate studies with an eventual eye on working on public policy.

“I’m interested in going to grad school for atmospheric science and to develop expertise in that field. But at some point, I would like to engage with the policy side of things and to take on a leadership role that will allow me to influence the decisions we make about air quality and climate change.

“As I learn more as a scientist, something I work to keep in perspective is that certain communities, particularly communities of color and low-income communities, face disproportionate levels of pollution and public health concerns,” she added. “It is really important for scientists and policymakers alike to incorporate an understanding of environmental justice issues into their work so that as we better understand and alleviate the challenges of environmental degradation that these communities receive the attention and resources they deserve.”

The Hollings Scholarship was established in 2005. Bridgwater was selected from among more than 600 eligible applications nationwide.

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

Douangvilay, Finzel, Salvia heading to South Korea, Greenland, Germany as Fulbright Fellows

Having already completed all of her necessary credits to graduate, Nalee Douangvilay spent spring term working with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. While driving back to campus in early June for commencement exercises, thoughts turned to what she would do with her life. That’s when a special email arrived on her phone.

Nalee Douangvilay
Nalee Douangvilay ’18

The message informed Douangvilay she had been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, getting promoted from alternate status to recipient.

“It was really unexpected, very exciting, very weird, but good kind of timing,” said Douangvilay, who graduated with honors in June with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Douangvilay, along with fellow 2018 graduate Augusta Finzel and 2017 Lawrence graduate Emilio Salvia, are the three latest recipients of Fulbright awards. They join William Gill and Elena Hudacek who were awarded Fulbright grants earlier this year. The five Fulbright winners matches 2014 for the most in a single year in Lawrence history.

Beginning later this summer, Douangvilay, Salvia and Finzel will spend the following 10 months abroad as English language teaching assistants and cultural ambassadors, courtesy of the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Douangvilay’s Fulbright will take her to South Korea. Leaving in July, she will spend six weeks in orientation before beginning her teaching assignment.

“Korea is one of those places that really has a lot of duality to it,” said Douangvilay, whose only previous time abroad was in the fall of 2016 at Lawrence’s London Center. “It’s very modern in some ways. At the same time, there is a lot of really traditional aspects to Korea that are still practiced. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like to be in that kind of world.”

After some independent study — which included watching Korean reality shows online — Douangvilay thinks she’ll arrive with just enough Korean language skills “to sort of get by.”

“It’s going to be challenging living in a country where I’m not fluent in the language,” said Douangvilay, who will live with a host family. “When I was in London, that was a safety net because I could communicate with everyone. This will be a really great learning experience and even if it’s hard, I think it’s good to challenge yourself in that way.”

A cultural outreach aspect is part of the Fulbright grant, and Douangvilay, who was very active in the theatre department at Lawrence, is looking forward to continuing those interests in Korea.

“I would really like to be involved in theatre in some way while I’m there,” said Douangvilay, who was working in costume construction at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. “I know a lot of schools have theatre programs and would definitely like to be a part of that.”

Associate Professor of English Karen Hoffmann and Douangvilay’s academic advisor, hailed her as “an exceptionally creative and intellectually curious individual.”

“Given the breadth of her interests and talents, ranging from physics, current events,and literary studies to costume design and playwrighting, Nalee stands out as an ideal student of the liberal arts,” said Hoffmann. “With her commitment to international collaboration, she will make a superb Fulbright Scholar.”

Augusta Finzel
Augusta Finzel ’18

Like Douangvilay, Finzel was originally named a Fulbright alternate. Her initial country of choice, Russia, was put on hold, but when her application was considered for Greenland, she was approved.

“I was shocked, honestly,” said Finzel, who graduated with honors in June with majors in biology and Russian studies. “It felt like they were just stringing me along for a really long time as an alternate. Then they told me they sent my application to Greenland. I thought, well that’d be cool, but I wasn’t expecting anything. It was such a fast turn-around that I barely got to process what being in Greenland would be like before I heard news I was going there.”

Although Greenland was not her first choice, Finzel is still thrilled to be heading somewhere central to one of her primary interests – climate change. She has been assigned to the capital city of Nuuk.

“I’m really excited. Greenland has never really been on my radar,” said Finzel. “I’m interested in melting permafrost in the Arctic and other climate change problems. Greenland works really well with those interests because so much of it is inside the Arctic Circle. It’s right at the heart of many of these problems.

“I’m looking forward to seeing something very different from what I’m used to,” she added. “I think I’ll learn a lot and gain a lot of insight into a culture I’ve never really thought about before. I’ve always liked learning different languages and I have no issue with the idea of learning either Danish or Greenlandic just for fun. I think that would be really interesting.”

Finzel also hopes to explore the connection between climate change and its effects on the local population.

“I’m hoping I can interact with the community, maybe join one of their environmental groups. I’ll want to figure out a way to interact.”

One of Finzel’s academic advisors, Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio, said her Fulbright grant will provide a unique and valuable experience for her.

“Augusta has a deep interest in examining how climate change might affect ecosystems in northern locations and her time in Greenland will allow her to see first-hand how conditions are changing,” said De Stasio. “She also has a love of studying language and culture, as evidenced by her double majors in biology and Russian Studies. She is an excellent observer and has keen listening skills, both of which will allow her to excel as she assists English language learners during her Fulbright Fellowship.”

Emilio Salvia
Emilio Salvia ’17

Salvia, the 2017 Lawrence graduate, will be heading to Harsewinkel, Germany, a town of 25,000 in the northwest part of the country, where he will teach at a ‘gesamtschule” — a comprehensive school.

A 2015 study abroad program in Germany he participated persuaded Salvia to pursue the Fulbright grant originally.

“I knew of the Fulbright program, but it was my experience in Berlin that truly motivated me to apply for the fellowship,” said Salvia, who graduated last year with a major in both German and biology. “I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and connect with German culture firsthand and was very interested in Germany’s dynamic role in both European and global politics. Given my interest in international affairs and German culture, I knew that Fulbright was a good fit.”

A native of Elmhurst, Ill., Salvia has career aspirations of working in public service or higher education and sees the Fulbright as a springboard toward those goals.

“I’m confident my Fulbright experience will enhance my worldview and will provide both unique challenges and opportunities while allowing me to explore my interests,” said Salvia, who leaves for Harsewinkel in early September. “During my stay in Germany, I hope to continue my studies at a university, conduct research and gain insights into another culture’s work environment. My Fulbright year will help prime me for a career in government, international affairs or academia, all of which are major interests of mine.”

As a Lawrence student, Salvia worked as a tutor with exchange students from Japan and served on several university committees with faculty. He sees the Fulbright as an extension of those experiences.

“The opportunity to work on the various committees offered me unique insights into how teachers make decisions that best suit students, insights I hope to apply in Germany.”

As for his cultural outreach, Salvia hopes to pursue his interests in environmental education, sustainable agriculture or volunteer with refugees.

Professor of German Brent Peterson, one of Salvia’s advisors, called him “both an exceptional and typical multi-interested Lawrence student.”

“Emilio’s story is the kind that could never be planned, but his is exactly the growth experience that only a liberal arts education can provide,” said Peterson. “German was his third major, but he revealed himself to be a careful reader and insightful interpreter of German texts. He wrote an excellent paper that provided a significant insight on the topic of integration by looking at the issue of shame in migrant narratives. It’s not what we normally expect from STEM majors, but Emilio is both an exceptional biology student and multi-interested, with a real gift in German. There is no telling where the Fulbright year in Germany might lead him, but I am certain it will be a life experience that could open up undreamed of possibilities in the sciences or in something else entirely.”

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

 

Copeland Woodruff wins national opera directing award, two LU productions also earn top honors

Copeland Woodruff
Copeland Woodruff

In baseball parlance, Lawrence University has swept a prestigious doubleheader in the annual American Prize Performing Arts competition.

Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies and associate professor of music at Lawrence, has been named the 2018 recipient of the American Prize’s Charles Nelson Reilly Prize for stage direction. Selected from among 15 national semifinalists, he was honored for his work on Lawrence’s 2017 production of Philip Glass’ “Hydrogen Jukebox.”

American Prize hailed Copeland as “a champion of improvisation, musical and physical, in the operatic medium as a tool for education, creation and performance.”

Additionally, Lawrence’s opera productions “The Beggar’s Opera” and “Hydrogen Jukebox” shared first-place honors for the American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division.

Lawrence’s two productions were chosen from among 15 reviewed operas. Lawrence was competing against several institutions with graduate programs, including Yale University, University of Wisconsin-Madison. and Oklahoma State University.

Scene from the opera "The Beggar's Opera"
Lawrence’s 2016 production of “The Beggar’s Opera” tied for first-place honors with the college’s production of “Hydrogen Jukebox” in the American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division

In announcing Lawrence as this year’s performance winner, American Prize said “Recent productions have garnered national attention because of their well-crafted and dedicated musical and dramatic performances.”

Copeland said being honored as the first recipient of the newly-named Charles Nelson Reilly Prize was “daunting.”

“I admired Reilly as a child and met him in the early 1990s while I was on staff at Santa Fe Opera,” recalled Woodruff. “His acting classes were packed and like nothing I had ever seen before. To be mentioned with a man who lived his amazing life proudly and among many of the world’s great talents, is a blessing I never anticipated, but am over-the-moon about.”

Copeland credits Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, who hired him in 2014 as the university’s first director of opera studies, for offering him “the chance to dream.”

“The Charles Nelson Reilly Award recognizes Copeland’s outstanding achievements as an artist, director, and educator. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this singular honor.”
— Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music

“Lawrence has been the epitome of environments to teach, learn, develop craft and struggle to tell difficult, funny, frightening, loving, messy human stories on stage,” said Woodruff.  “I have been a very lucky man to do what I love for a living and feel luckiest being able to work with unbelievably generous colleagues and students whom I also see as colleagues. Lawrence is fertile soil with dedicated gardeners. I’m humbled and inspired each day.”

Pertl called winning the American Prize for two separate opera productions “a rare and momentous occasion.”

“It speaks to the incredible strength of the Lawrence Opera program, our outstanding students and especially our world-class faculty,” said Pertl. “From the moment Copeland Woodruff walked through the doors of our conservatory, we all knew that he was a creative visionary who would build an opera studies program that would give our students the opportunity to receive not only exceptional opera training but also the opportunity to create art at the highest level.

“The Charles Nelson Reilly Award recognizes Copeland’s outstanding achievements as an artist, director and educator,” Pertl added. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this singular honor.”

Woodruff’s Reilly Prize honors the memory of Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award-winning actor for his 1962 portrayal of Bud Frump in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Broadway stage director, acclaimed opera director and acting teacher.

Woodruff joined the Lawrence faculty after spending six years as co-director of opera activities at the University of Memphis, where he earned four first-place National Opera Association Best Opera Production Awards. In addition to directing Lawrence’s annual main stage opera production, Woodruff has launched a series of “micro-operas” that examine socially relevant issues and are performed at non-traditional locales.

Lawrence’s production of Philip Glass’ “Hydrogen Jukebox” shared top honors for this year’s American Prize in Opera Performance, college/university division, along with Lawrence’s production of “The Beggar’s Opera.” in Opera Performance in the college/university division.

The American Prize honors are only the latest accolades for Woodruff. His 2016 mainstage production of “The Beggar’s Opera” was awarded first-place honors by the National Opera Association while his 2015 production of “The Tender Land” earned second-place honors in the NOA’s Best Opera Production competition. “The Beggar’s Opera” also was named “Best of Local Productions” from among 164 productions in both local and professional categories by WFRV-TV arts critic Warren Gerds.

Other awards during Copeland’s tenure include first-place honors for seven students in the 2015 Collegiate Opera Scenes competition held at the NOA’s national convention in Indianapolis, Ind., and his first two micro-operas — “Expressions of Acceptance” and “Straight from the Hip,” which addressed issues of gun presence/gun awareness in the community — earned third-place recognition in the NOA competition, competing against standard opera performances.

Founded in 2009 and based in Danbury, Conn., the American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels.

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