Two Lawrence University Seniors Awarded $22,000 Fellowships for Year-Long Study Abroad Projects

With the help of kitchen cupboards and china cabinets, Janie Ondracek and Rachel Hoerman cultivated intellectual curiosities as youngsters that have since blossomed into adult passions. Those passions will soon be fed — both literally and figuratively — with a year-long study abroad adventure as newly anointed Watson Fellows.

Ondracek, a senior neuroscience major from Neenah, and Rachel Hoerman, a senior majoring in history and studio art from Bryant, were two of this year’s 50 recipients of a $22,000 fellowship announced Monday (3/15) by the Providence, R.I. based Thomas J. Watson Foundation. The fellowship supports a “wanderjahr” — a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States — on a topic of the student’s choosing.

Ondracek grew up watching her parents create mouth-watering magic in the family kitchen through wholly different methods. While her mother, the owner of a catering business, paid close attention to her collection of cookbooks, Ondracek’s Czech Republic-born father whipped up eastern European favorites with the flair of a culinary conductor, improvising freely from his spice rack with a pinch here and a dash there.

“Learning through observation, I couldn’t help but love to cook,” said Ondracek.

Her fondness for food, including its preparation, will soon take Ondracek to France, India and Japan to examine the pedagogical methods chefs use to instruct culinary arts students, the technical and visual preparation of meals and the habits, customs and etiquette found in the social consumption of a meal.

“These countries represent three very distinct customs of food preparation, from the seasonings and ingredients used, to the manner in which each course is prepared,” said Ondracek. “I want to explore these countries as an apprentice cook and as a true devotee of the rigor, care and pleasure that goes into making, arranging and consuming a meal.”

During her year abroad, Ondracek will visit a variety of restaurants and culinary schools in Lyon and Paris in France, interview chefs and individual residents in both southern India, where the Hindu influence favors a largely vegetarian cuisine, and northern India, where the kitchens of Bengali women play a role and conclude her wanderjahr in Japan speaking with culinary instructors in Tokyo and Kyoto.

“Social situations fascinate me,” said Ondracek, who plans to pursue a medical degree when she finishes her fellowship. “Each country undoubtedly has a very specific code of etiquette. I’m curious to learn how these rules developed and the history behind them.

“I hope to experience not only the pleasures of savoring foreign delicacies, but the satisfaction of learning about fascinating cultures in such a revealing and personally significant way,” she added. “The Watson offers me a chance to meet people who are as enthusiastic about food as I am despite our cultural differences. And it offers me an opportunity, unlike any other, to be able to say that I have honestly and unreservedly pursued one of my most treasured interests in life.”

Hoerman’s fascination with non-Western art grew out of the living room of her grandmother’s 100-year old farm house. Stories told by her grandfathers and great uncles recounted their experiences in World War II and the Korean War. Objects from those faraway lands kept in the family china cabinet — beautifully decorated black lacquer shelves, photographs of Japanese temples and ink-brushed bamboo — sparked a strong sense of wonder. A well-traveled aunt’s collection of oriental scrolls, silk screens and carvings further fueled Hoerman’s young imagination and artistic drive.

Beginning in August, Hoerman will embark on a comparative study of printmaking in Japan and painting and printmaking in Bhutan, Tibet and Australia. Her project will focus on the artistic traditions that have survived to the present day and how geographic isolation, cultural factors and various modern institutions have altered or aided the development of traditional art and artists.

“As a student of history and art, I’m constantly reminded of the long and often strange transitions both ideas and images make as they move through the years,” said Hoerman, who, as a freshman, was named a Wriston Scholar, allowing her to travel extensively throughout Europe the past three summers. “By the same token, I’m struck by how many things seem to remain the same. Painting in Bhutan and Australia and printmaking in Japan are art forms that have been preserved and practiced for centuries.

“I want to find answers to questions about how traditional arts have survived and how they are passed down and preserved, who creates traditional art and what role art and artists play in society,” Hoerman added.

Hoerman will start her project in the tiny east Asian country of Bhutan, the world’s only Buddhist kingdom, where she will visit the National Painting School in the capital of Thiumphu, as well as temples and monasteries throughout the country.

The second phase of her project will take her to Kyoto, Japan to study woodblock printing, which dates to the 7th century. In addition to working at the Kyoto Handicraft Center, which specializes in the preservation of traditional Japanese handicrafts, Hoerman will visit galleries, museums and temples in Tokyo.

The final four months will be spent in Australia, where she hopes to work with artists in Aboriginal communities, observing their work and learning their traditional designs and processes.

“My fellowship ties together the interests that have sustained me from childhood through college,” said Hoerman, who hopes to pursue graduate studies in creative writing and museum studies or possibly painting. “This project will challenge my skills as an artist and as an observer in cultural environments very different from my own and to reassess my world view. It’s going to allow me to pursue what I love to do and to test my determination and ability to do it on a global scale.”

Ondracek and Hoerman were selected from nearly 1,000 students representing 50 of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and universities who applied for the fellowship. Since the program’s inception in 1969, Lawrence has had 60 students awarded a Watson Fellowship.

The Watson Fellowship Program was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM Corporation, and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs. Watson Fellows are selected on the basis of the nominee’s character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture and the personal significance of the project proposal.

Lawrence University Pianist, Saxophone Quartet Share Top Honors in State Music Competition

Five Lawrence University music students shared top honors in the 10th annual Neale-Silva Young Artists competition held Sunday, March 7 in Madison.

Pianist Ka Man (Melody) Ng and the Lawrence University Saxophone Quartet were named two of the four winners in the Wisconsin Public Radio-sponsored competition. It was the fifth time in the past seven competitions that Lawrence music students have won or shared top honors in the Neale-Silva, which is open to instrumentalists and vocal performers 17-26 years of age who are either from Wisconsin or attend a Wisconsin college. This year’s competition attracted 34 entries, 13 of which were invited to perform as finalists.

Ng, a freshman from Hong Kong, performed Debussy’s “Suite for the Piano” and Liszt’s “Legend of St. Francis of Paola Walking on the Water.” She is a student in professor Anthony Padilla’s piano studio.

The saxophone quartet — junior Sara Kind of Oshkosh, senior Jacob Teichroew of Silver Spring, Md., senior Bryan Wente of Stillwater, Minn., and senior Rasa Zeltina of Edina, Minn. — performed “Tetraphone” by Lucie Robert. The quartet studies under the direction of professor Steven Jordheim.

In addition to receiving first-place prizes of $250, Ng and the quartet will reprise their winning performances Sunday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. as part of WPR’s “Live from the Elvehjem” series.

The Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition was established to recognize young Wisconsin performers of classical music who demonstrate an exceptionally high level of artistry and is supported by a grant from the estate of the late University of Wisconsin Madison professor Eduardo Neale-Silva, a classical music enthusiast who was born in Talca, Chile and came to the United States in 1925.

Western Biases in Study of African History Examined in Lawrence University Address

Xavier University historian Kathleen Smythe will discuss a pair of long-term historical processes of significance in African history before 1000 CE (Common Era), explore their connections to history in other parts of the world and how they illuminate world history in general in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Smythe presents “African Lessons for World History” Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Because African historians have traditionally not situated their works and discoveries within a wider frame of world historical developments, African history tends to be integrated less consistently into world history than other geographical regions. Smythe will examine some of the methods African historians have pioneered to uncover history beyond the use of written sources, including the techniques of historical linguistics.

She also will discuss how current historical research on Africa often has been hindered by an overreliance on Western history and concepts constructed by 19th- and 20th-century Western historians who typically
relied on written evidence and paradigms based on centralized states, development, progress and technology which tend to neglect most regions of the world.

A specialist in African and colonial history, Smythe joined the Xavier history department in 1997 after earning her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of the forthcoming articles “Literacy: A Vehicle for Cultural Change” and “Religion in Colonial Africa: Indigenous Religion” for the Encyclopedia of African History.

Lawrence University Theatre Production Earns Two Actors Invitations to Regional Competition

For the second straight stage production, two Lawrence University actors have earned invitations to the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition as part of the annual American College Theatre Festival.

Devin Scheef, a junior from Racine, and Nick Endres, a junior from Sun Prairie, were selected for Ryan Competition based on their recent performances in Lawrence’s production of Carlo Goldoni’s “Il Campiello,” an 18th-century comedy set in Venice that looks at life and love in a small neighborhood.

In the four-show production staged Feb. 19-22, Scheef played the role of Fabrizio, a crotchety Neapolitan trying to marry off his niece. Endres portrayed Anzoletto, a jealous peddler.

Scheef and Endres will be among 200 student actors participating in the five-state regional competition next January at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. Participants in the regional acting audition vie for two $500 scholarships and the chance to advance to the ACTF’s national auditions at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., next spring.

In addition to Scheef and Endres for their acting roles, Jessica Whitehead, a junior from Burlington who served as stage manager for “Il Campiello,” was nominated to stage manage for the 10-minute play festival at next years regional competition.

Earlier this year, senior Brendan Marshall-Rashid and sophomore Matt Murphy represented Lawrence at the 2004 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition for their roles in last fall’s production of Shakespeare’s
“A Winter’s Tale.”

The ACTF was founded in 1969 to recognize and celebrate the finest and most exciting work produced in college theatre programs and provide opportunities for participants to develop their theatre skills. Conducted since 1972, the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship was established in the will of the late actress, best known for her role as the lovable and feisty ‘Granny Clampett’ on the TV hit show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Author SARK Shares Her Passion for the Positive in Lawrence University Convocation

Author, artist and inspirational tour de force Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy — professionally known as SARK — shares her infectious perspective on living life to its fullest Thursday, March 4 in a Lawrence University convocation.

SARK presents “Make Your Creative Dreams Real” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

With more than two million books in print, SARK is the author and illustrator of a dozen personal growth, inspiration and creativity books, including the bestsellers “Succulent Wild Woman” and 2002’s “Prosperity Pie: How to Relax About Money and Everything Else.” She’s also embraced the importance of creativity in her books “Inspiration Sandwich,””The Bodacious Book of Succulence,” “Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed” and “Eat Mangoes Naked.”

She has been profiled in the PBS series “Women of Wisdom and Power,” shared her passion for life in the documentary film “The World According to SARK” and is a periodic guest on National Public Radio. For more than 10 years, she has provided positive motivation via her own “Inspiration Line.”

A self-proclaimed recovering procrastinator/perfectionist, SARK grew up in Minneapolis. She studied at the Minneapolis Art Institute, the University of Tampa and the University of Minnesota, where she earned a degree in radio and television production. She makes her home today in San Francisco, where she oversees Camp SARK, a company that produces inspirational cards, posters and calendars.

Progress on Human Rights Goals in Newly Independent African, Caribbean Countries Focus of Lawrence University Lecture

The success of former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean that earned their independence in the 1950s and ’60s in reaching stated goals on matters of civil liberties, economic justice and educational and social access for the masses will be examined in the second installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series “Democracy, Development and Human Rights.”

John McCartney, associate professor of government and law at Lafayette College, presents “The Struggle for Human Rights in Africa and the Caribbean,” Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

A scholar of African politics, Latin America and the Caribbean, McCartney will discuss the United Nations’ 1948 “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which recognized the importance of civil and political rights, as well as the “economic, social and cultural rights for the dignity and free development of the personality of the individual.” Using selected case studies, McCartney will illustrate the successes and failures of several decolonized African and Caribbean nations that have attempted to live up to the U.N. guidelines as newly independent states.

In addition, McCartney will speculate on the future of human rights in Africa and the Caribbean and address the question of whether human rights are synonymous with Western democratic rights.

Before joining the Lafayette faculty in 1986, McCartney spent six years as the president of the Vanguard Party, a social democratic political party in the Bahamas. He began his academic career as a member of the political science department at Purdue University. He is the author of the book, “Black Power Ideologies” and co-wrote the book “The Struggle for Freedom in the Bahamas.” McCartney earned his doctorate in political theory at the University of Iowa.

The “Democracy, Development and Human Rights” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of Lawrence’s long time professor of government, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.

Lawrence University Graduate Wins Houston Opera Competition

Heidi Stober, a 2000 Lawrence University graduate, won the Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers Feb. 12 at the Wortham Theater Center. She received the $12,000 Scott F. Heumann Memorial Award for her first-place performance.

A soprano, Stober was one of 17 singers invited to the semifinal auditions last week from among more than 450 singers who applied for the competition from around the world. She was among seven singers selected to compete in the finals.

Stober, 25, earned a bachelor of music degree cum laude in vocal performance from Lawrence, studying in Professor Ken Bozeman’s voice studio. A native of Waukesha, she is currently the apprentice soprano in the Utah Symphony and Opera Ensemble Program in Salt Lake City.

While at Lawrence, Stober performed the roles of Laetitia in “The Old Maid and the Thief” and the countess in “The Marriage of Figaro.” She performed as Lisa in Milwaukee Opera Theater’s “La Sonnambula” in 2001 before leaving for Boston, where she earned a master of music degree from Boston’s New England Conservatory. While there, she received the John Moriarty Presidential Scholarship and performed the roles of the dew fairy in “Hansel and Gretel” and Laurie in “The Tender Land.”

During the 2002-03 season, she portrayed Yvette in “La Rondine” and Sally in “Die Fledermaus” for the Boston Lyric Opera, earning the BLO’s Stephen Shrestinian Award for Excellence. Stober sang as studio artist with Colorado’s Central City Opera in the summers of 2002 and 2003, covering Nellie in “Summer and Smoke” and singing the roles of first wife and first gossip in the world premiere of “Gabriel’s Daughter.”

Stober returns to Lawrence June 4 as a guest soloist for the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra’s and Concert Choir’s performance of Penderecki’s “Credo.”

U.S. Foreign Policy Scholar Opens Four-Part Lawrence University Lecture Series with Road Map for Global Democratization

Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institution and professor of political science and sociology at Stanford University, discusses the prospects and potential road map for global democratization in the opening address of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series, “Democracy, Development and Human Rights.”

Diamond presents, “Can the Whole World Become Democratic” Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

With the U.S.-led effort to build a functioning democracy in Iraq — one of the most formidable and unlikely countries in the world in which to achieve such a goal — as a backdrop, Diamond will explore the scenarios for “universal democracy” to emerge in the coming decades. At present, there are more democracies in the world –approximately 120 or 60 percent of all countries — than ever before. Many of those are poor, non-Christian, non-Western, Muslim-majority countries that have defied the typical democratic template, but have managed to maintain democratic institutions for more than a decade now.

For additional global democratization to occur, Diamond asserts the United States and other established democracies need to design aid policies that promote economic development, focusing on combatting corruption and fostering structures of accountability that ensure public resources are used to advance the overall public welfare. In addition, new forms of pressure should be applied on the world’s remaining dictatorships through strategies of international assistance that reward leaders who govern responsibly while denying resources to the world’s most corrupt and repressive regimes.

Diamond will argue the ultimate key to increasing democratic reform globally rests on national humility to forge a collective approach and the steadfastness to see it through over a long period of time.

One of the nation’s leading scholars on democratic development, regime change and U.S. foreign policy affecting democracy abroad, Diamond has written or edited more than 20 books, including “Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation,” and “Promoting Democracy in the 1990s: Actors and Instruments, Issues and Imperatives.”

Diamond, who earned his Ph.D. at Stanford, joined the Hoover Institution, a public policy research center devoted to advanced study of politics, economics and international affairs, in 1985.

Other lectures scheduled in the series include:

February 26 — John McCartney, professor of government and law, Lafayette College, “The Struggle for Human Rights in Africa and the Caribbean,” Wriston Art Center auditorium, 7 p.m.

April 14 — Minxin Pei, senior associate and co-director, China Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “Democratizing China: Lessons from East Asia,” Wriston Art Center auditorium, 7 p.m.

April 20 — Jonathan Greenwald, senior fellow at the International Crisis Group, “Prospects for Peace in the Middle East,” Wriston Art Center auditorium, 7 p.m.

The “Democracy, Development and Human Rights” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of Lawrence’s long time professor of government, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.

Lawrence University Hosting Forum for Appleton Mayoral Candidates

The Lawrence University College Democrats, in conjunction with the College Republicans, will host a forum with the three Appleton mayoral candidates Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.

Lawrence senior Kim Dunlap will serve as moderator of the forum featuring incumbent mayor Tim Hanna and challengers Charlie Goff and William Siebers. In addition to addressing issues focusing on the new College Avenue bridge, riverfront development, diversity in Appleton and parking, the candidates will entertain questions from the audience.

A primary election on Feb. 17 will trim the field to two candidates for the spring election on April 6.

Lawrence University Hosting Summit on Fox, Wolf River Water Quality

U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget Lynn Scarlett, former Wisconsin governor Tony Earl and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Tom Skinner are among the guests scheduled to speak Feb. 12-13 at the “Summit on New Tools for Water Quality in the Fox-Wolf River Basin” at Lawrence University.

Organized by the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, the two-day working conference will bring together stakeholders from the government, business, academic, agricultural and nonprofit sectors to explore how to most effectively integrate emerging regulatory and incentive-based innovations into ongoing efforts to limit nutrient loading into the Fox and Wolf river basins. The lower Fox River basin currently has the highest concentration of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) waters of anywhere in the state.

Skinner, a 1983 graduate of Lawrence, opens the summit Thursday, Feb. 12 at 9:15 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall, Room 102 with the keynote address “Regional/Great Lakes Water Quality.” Skinner has served as the EPA’s Region 5 administrator since 2001 and is responsible for implementing federal environmental programs in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. In addition, he serves as EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager and U.S. Chair of the Binational Executive Committee for the Great Lakes, the main forum for U.S.-Canadian discussions on Great Lakes issues.

On Friday, Feb. 13 at 12 noon in Downer Commons, Scarlett presents “The National Water Policy.” Prior to joining the Bush administration in July 2001, Scarlett served as president of the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a nonprofit current affairs research and communications organization. She spent 15 years as director of the Reason Public Policy Institute, the policy research division of the foundation, where her research interests focused on environmental, land use and natural resources issues.

Earl will close the summit Friday, Feb. 13 at 2:15 p.m. in Downer Commons with the keynote address “Where Do We Go From Here?” Earl, Wisconsin governor from 1983-87, is a partner with the Quarles & Brady law firm in Madison, handling environmental issues. He also serves as the chair of the board of directors of the Center for Clean Air Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promotes innovative solutions to environmental and energy problems and spent 15 years as a member of the board of directors of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, which supports collaborative actions to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

“This summit is bringing some highly ranked federal and state water quality experts to Lawrence to discuss new strategies to improve water quality in the Fox River, Green Bay and Lake Michigan,” said George Meyer, former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary and current Scarff memorial visiting professor of environmental studies at Lawrence. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the citizens of the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin to offer direct input into policies to improve water quality in their area.”

In addition to several technical sessions, the summit will include panels on regulatory framework and market incentives from both rural and urban perspectives.

Based in Appleton, the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent, non profit organization that identifies issues and advocates effective policies and actions to protect, restore and sustain the water resources of Wisconsin’s Fox-Wolf River Basin. To register for the summit or for a complete schedule of events, contact the FWWA at 920-738-7025 or visit