It happens to the best of us. Sometimes Lawrentians lose track of their belongings in the bustle of student life, and you never know what will turn up in the lost-and-found bins on campus. We visited some of these lost-and-found locations and picked out 10 curious misplaced items.
#10 | Desk organizer
pencils, paperclips and highlights all without a home. It’s pretty hard to stay
organized when you lose your entire desk organizer. Someone out there could use
some tips on keeping track of things.
#9 | Art
Lawrence’s lost and found bins are artistic. Who would leave this behind? The
artist’s identity is a mystery. . .
#8 | Bow rosin
A string player’s best friend. As a former cellist it’s no surprise to see this in the lost and found. Really, has anyone in history ever gone through all their rosin before losing or breaking it? Users of ChapStick might be familiar with the phenomenon.
#7 | Personalized letter “A” mug
Is there an
Archie or Alyssa out there looking for their favorite mug? A personal mug like
this one can make that daily cup (or many cups) of hot tea or coffee even more
special and integral to your day.
#6 | Handwritten lyrics
Poetic talents abound on campus. Maybe this person didn’t like their work and chose to abandon it. Who knows, this could have been the beginning of the next greatest hit.
#5 | Hanging shamrock wall decoration
This is probably the remnant of someone’s St. Patrick’s Day party that was discarded after the festivities. But the party hasn’t stopped; this decoration has been coating everything else in the lost-and-found bin in glitter.
#4 | Pumpkin carving kit
There is surely a faceless jack-o-lantern looking for this. This pumpkin-carving kit was misplaced before it could be opened and used. Maybe it will be reclaimed in time for next Halloween.
#3 | Red sleeping bag
It’s unclear if this was ever used; maybe for a spontaneous camping trip? Or a camping trip that never happened? Regardless, it’s a strange thing to lose!
#2 | A whole shower caddy
How does one
lose a shower caddy? A more vexing question, how does one lose it in the
Conservatory where this was found? I’d like to hear the explanation behind this
#1 | A bag of acrylic paints and paintbrushes
What’s an artist without their supplies? Whether these belonged to an art student here at Lawrence or just someone with a artsy hobby, I hope they come looking for their supplies soon so they can get back to creating masterpieces.
Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.
It’s spring. The sun is shining. It’s time to get outdoors and get active.
For Lawrence University students, the opportunities to do so as part of organized clubs are plentiful.
Longboarding or other skateboarding? Rock climbing? Biking? Rowing? Take your pick of those and many more.
Lawrence makes it incredibly easy for students to come together and pursue their passions. To start a club on campus, all you need is an idea and two friends, and your idea can become a Lawrence official club.
As an official club on campus, you can easily pursue your interests with help from campus coordinators, and potentially funding assistance from the university. A lot of students take advantage of how efficient it is to start something on campus, making it pretty easy for students to find something fun to do. Everything from the Baking and Cooking Club to Sailing Lawrence will give students the opportunity to try something new.
For a directory of student organizations at Lawrence, click here.
As the weather warms up, students can take advantage of the long list of activities to partake in while enjoying the great outdoors.
The Women’s Longboarding Club is an example of just one such opportunity.
“I love riding with other people,” said Angela Caraballo ’21. “It’s fun to see others enjoying something that I also enjoy.”
With meetings every Sunday afternoon, the Women’s Longboarding Club gives newcomers the chance to learn longboarding and gives experienced riders a chance to connect with other Lawrentians who share their interests.
“The thrill of riding around so freely, feeling the wind rush around me, is exhilarating,” said Jailene Rodriguez ’21.
There are plenty of other opportunities to enjoy being outside both on and off campus. With clubs such as the Rock Climbers Club and Rowing Club, students are able to explore parts of Wisconsin they may have never seen. And there’s a Badminton Club, a Slacklining Club, a Flag Football Club, a Bike Club, among others.
Rowing Club gives students the opportunity to row in various parts of Wisconsin and compete against other schools.
In a similar fashion, the Rock Climbers Club gives students the opportunity to go to different hiking sites or rock climbing walls throughout the Midwest.
“My favorite thing about Rock Climbers Club is that everyone starts out on the same level and folks are welcoming to newcomers,” said Spencer Washington ’21. “You don’t need much experience but rather openness and a willingness to trust your own movement.”
That goes for almost all of the student clubs. You don’t have to have any experience to join. You can be anywhere from novice to intermediate and still be able to participate in any of the clubs offered on Lawrence’s campus.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get active.
(Photos above are Rebecca Minkus ’20 and Earl Simons ’22)
Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.
We’re just a couple of short weeks away from Lawrence University’s 2019 Commencement, the 170th in the school’s storied history.
are 19 things to know as you prepare for the big day.
1. Sunday morning celebration: The ceremony on the Main Hall green will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 9. All comers are welcome. The big tent that usually covers the seating area is not available this year, so it’ll be an open-air event. An alternate indoor site on campus — with limited seating — will be prepped for use should the weather be such that an outdoor ceremony is not possible. Watch for details on the Commencement page of the Lawrence website.
2. A class of brilliance: More than 330 students are expected to take that magical walk across the stage. Of those, 288 are bachelor of arts grads, 28 are bachelor of music grads and 15 are combo B.A./B.Mus. grads. Another 11 are participating in the ceremony but not receiving degrees until December.
3. A speaker from stage and screen: Commencement speaker Lee Shallat Chemel ’65 will return to campus with stories to tell and wisdom to mine from an impressive career directing theater and television productions. Her deep love of theater was first sparked during her time at Milwaukee-Downer College and then Lawrence. After more than 15 years directing theater, most notably during a 10-year stint as conservatory director at South Coast Repertory in Orange County, California, she transitioned to the small screen, directing for such notable TV shows as “Family Ties,” “Murphy Brown,” “Arrested Development,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “Gilmore Girls” and, most recently, “The Middle.”
4. From the senior class: Commencement also features words of insight and wisdom from a member of the senior class. This year’s speaker, selected by her peers, will be Jordyn Pleiseis ’19, an anthropology major from Milwaukee.
5. Saying goodbye: Honoring retiring faculty is always a significant — and often emotional — part of Commencement. The Lawrence community will be celebrating two long-serving tenured faculty as they bid adieu to the classroom, Bruce Hetzler, professor of psychology, and Kenneth Bozeman, the Shattuck Professor of Music in the Conservatory of Music’s voice department. Both have taught hundreds (maybe thousands) of Lawrentians during their celebrated four decades-plus at Lawrence.
6. Livestream available: A livestream of the ceremony will be available for viewing in real time. It’s an opportunity to watch the ceremony online if you can’t be in attendance. The livestream can be accessed at the time of the event from the Commencement page.
7. Smile, you’re on camera: Yes, there will be plenty of opportunities for family and friends to take photos of their graduates. A designated spot will be set up during the ceremony. Please be considerate of your fellow attendees. There also will be photo-friendly spots set up for photos after the ceremony.
8. Talent on display: Commencement
weekend is a chance for seniors to show some skills, with a Senior Art
Exhibition in the Wriston Art Center Galleries set for Friday (10 a.m. to 6
p.m.), Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 4 p.m.) and a
Commencement Concert featuring members of the Class of 2019 planned for 7:30
p.m. Friday in Memorial Chapel. Look for a reception following the concert in
Shattuck Hall, Room 163.
9. Spiritual journey: On
Saturday, the 11 a.m. Baccalaureate Service, a multi-faith celebration of the
spiritual journey of the Class of 2019, will be held in Memorial Chapel.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Constance Kassor will deliver the
address. It’s presented for seniors and their families.
10. Picnic moves indoors: The annual Commencement weekend picnic at noon on Saturday, held on the Main Hall green in past years, has been moved inside the Warch Campus Center. Seniors and their families, as well as faculty and staff, are invited. Following the picnic, President Mark Burstein will host a reception for seniors and their families at the president’s home from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
12. There will be awards: As per tradition, several of Lawrence’s most cherished awards will be handed out to faculty during the Commencement ceremony — the University Award for Excellence in Teaching, Award for Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity, and Excellence in Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member. The winners are not announced until Commencement.
13. Dressed for success: The
regalia of Commencement is among the great traditions of higher education — the
gowns, the caps, the hoods, the cords all signaling a particular accomplishment
along the journey of academia.
14. Music to come and go: Speaking of grand traditions, the music of the processional and the recessional will embrace this group of graduates, courtesy of the Lawrence University Graduation Band. Andrew Mast will again conduct as the band performs Crown Imperial by William Walton for the processional and Procession of the Nobles by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for the recessional.
15. Familiar and new faces: Led by President Mark Burstein, there will be familiarity in the ceremony. Kathy Privatt, the James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, will again serve as faculty marshal. David C. Blowers, chair of the Board of Trustees, will offer the convocation for the second year in a row. Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Kodat will present the faculty awards. One notable change will come in the opening and closing words, a duty handled for many years by Howard E. Niblock. He retired last year, and that honor now falls to Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life.
16. Class colors: Look for plenty of green to be on display during Commencement. The tradition of assigning a color — red, green, yellow, or purple — to each class at Lawrence has its roots in Milwaukee-Downer history. It was reinstated at Lawrence in 1988 and has continued since. The color of the Class of 2019 is green.
17. Conferring of degrees: That magical moment when the graduates’ names are called and they make the walk across the stage and the degrees are conferred is the heart and soul of any Commencement ceremony. Handling those duties for bachelor of music recipients will be Burstein and Dean of Conservatory Brian Pertl ’86. Handling for bachelor of arts recipients will be Burstein and Kodat.
18. A parade of another sort: A
parade of graduates isn’t the only parade during the June 8-9 weekend that
might get your attention. The 68th annual Flag Day Parade will march
through downtown Appleton beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. It will affect traffic
in the downtown area as thousands of onlookers line the streets to watch the
state’s oldest Flag Day parade. It’ll start on Oneida Street at Wisconsin
Avenue, make its way to College Avenue, then proceed through the downtown,
turning north at Drew Street and ending at City Park. See details here.
19. A Juneteenth celebration: Speaking of city events near campus, you may also want to note this one on your calendar. Appleton’s ninth annual Juneteenth Celebration will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in City Park, providing a possible post-Commencement destination. It also will affect parking near the campus in the afternoon hours.
Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:
Israel Del Toro’s advocacy for bees — fun fact: there are upwards of 100 different species of bees in Appleton alone — is no secret.
The Lawrence University assistant professor of biology has been championing bees and the untold benefits they bring to our ecosystem since he arrived on campus three years ago. He launched the Appleton Pollinator Project to turn homeowners and gardeners into citizen scientists, helped install and study pollination sites across the Fox Cities, and pushed students in his biology lab and campus environmental clubs to work to improve the on-campus habitat for bees.
Now Del Toro is stepping up that advocacy to another level,
working to get Lawrence designated as a bee-friendly campus via Bee City USA,
an initiative of Xerces Society. There are currently 70 campuses across the
country that hold the bee-friendly designation.
All expectations are that Lawrence will be No. 71, and only
the second in Wisconsin.
Del Toro submitted Lawrence’s proposal in early May,
spotlighting the school’s sustainability push, the efforts to eliminate invasive
species that work to the detriment of bees, the planting of bee-friendly
wildflowers, the ongoing research activities and the educational outreach on
and off campus.
“The goal is to use the campus as this big lab to try to
figure out what the best practices are for managing bee diversity in urban
landscapes,” Del Toro said.
To help connect Lawrence faculty, students and staff with the wonders of honeybees, Del Toro donned a protective suit last week and released bees into an observational hive set up on the roof of the Warch Campus Center, visible from behind the safety of glass on the building’s fourth floor.
“It’ll be an active colony that we hope will last for three
years,” Del Toro said.
“People can’t actually touch the bees but the hives
themselves have a plexiglass window so you can look inside and see the bees
doing their bee thing and building honeycomb and foraging and dancing.”
A formal unveiling of the observational hive will be held in June, complete with a bee-inspired picnic featuring foods that require bee pollination — think apple pie, blueberry treats and avocado smoothies. Stay tuned for time, date and details.
The observational hive at Warch offers an up-close look at the honeybee, the best known of the bee species that are here, but that’s just the start of the bee-focused educational opportunities on campus.
There are 10 different bee species known to be on Main Hall
green, mostly housed in the hexagon-shaped pollination box just southeast of
Main Hall. But another 32 species are known to inhabit S.L.U.G. (Sustainable
Lawrence University Gardens), where students actively maintain a bee-friendly
space with blooming flowers, native wildflowers and the ongoing removal of
Del Toro is also working with City of Appleton officials to
get the city designated a Bee City. It’s all part of the efforts to educate
people on the ecosystem importance of bees and the dangers that exist when
we’re not being good stewards of the land.
“It reflects some of the important values of Lawrence,” Del
Toro said of the bee-friendly campus and city efforts. “Lawrence has always
been very progressive thinking. Sustainability is a big issue now. We want to
make sure that in the time of climate change and biodiversity loss, we are a
leader in setting the proper example. If all we can impact is our little 88
acres on campus, well, that’s a great starting point. We can lead by example. I
think that’s a really great example of the ethos of Lawrence.”
As long as we can get past the misconceptions about bees —
no, they are not looking to sting you — it’s also good for student recruitment,
Del Toro said.
“I would hope something like this is drawing students who are more sustainably focused and are thinking about issues like conservation and ecology and conservation biology,” he said.
For more on Lawrence’s biology and related offerings, click here.
For more on Lawrence’s geosciences and related offerings, click here.
That sort of thinking drew in Maggie Anderson ’19 , a farm girl from northern Minnesota who came to Lawrence with an interest in biology and found the field work that was part of the Del Toro-led bee studies to her liking. She’ll graduate in June, then head to the University of Minnesota to pursue a doctorate while researching bees in prairie ecosystems.
“I didn’t necessarily come in with an intent to study bees,
but it kind of became apparent soon after I got here that that was something I
was really interested in,” Anderson said.
“It’s given me a lot of really great research experience.”
Maggie Anderson ’19
What she got at Lawrence in terms of hands-on research
opportunities was “really more than I expected,” she said.
That kind of scientific research doesn’t start and stop with bees, though. Ecological-focused work is happening across departments at Lawrence, from biology to natural sciences to environmental sciences, where faculty and students are working on studies in such wide-ranging but critical areas as aquatic ecosystems, endangered plants, bat conservation, soil ecology, and hydrology, to name a few.
“This is one tiny thing we do,” Del Toro said of the bees.
“We’re doing a lot of cool science. What that means for our students is they
get to go on this ride with us as we’re doing really cutting-edge science.”
Del Toro and his wife, Relena Ribbons, a visiting assistant
professor of biology who will become a tenure-track faculty member in the fall,
have been leaders in the citizen science project, an effort launched last year to
build nearly 60 garden beds in back yards across the Fox Cities. The garden
beds, designed to grow vegetables, are split in two, one half pollinated by
insects, the other half cordoned off by mesh to keep bees and other insects
The homeowners keep the veggies in exchange for providing
data from their gardens. Del Toro, Ribbons and their students then analyze the
results as they come in.
“What we found from last year’s research is that bees are
probably contributing to a market here in the Fox Cities that’s worth roughly
$80,000 to $100,000 a year in pollination ecosystem services,” Del Toro said. “That’s
based on the amount of produce that gets pollinated by bees in our back yards.”
For Anderson, the interaction with the community has been as
enlightening as the work with the bees.
“It’s given me a lot of really great research experience,
but also communication experience,” the senior biology and music double major said.
“Working with people is a really undervalued part of science, especially in the
conservation field that I want to go into. You have to work with people a lot,
and you have to know how to communicate.”
Her fellow students, Anderson said, have embraced her bee
research and the idea of this being a bee-friendly campus.
“In this campus environment, people really do get that,” she
said. “People really do understand that we are up against a lot of
environmental issues when we talk about bees in terms of habitat loss and bees
just not having enough resources in an urban setting. We need to make a nice,
available on-campus habitat for bees, and students and staff to my knowledge
have been really, really supportive of that.”
Today (May 20) is World Bee Day. And National Pollinator
Week arrives on June 17, just in time for Del Toro’s pollination-themed picnic.
No better time to salute these researchers as they create the biggest buzz on
Whenever I go home for break, I get asked one of two questions, “What school do you go to again?” and “What did you bring me?” That’s why I have compiled this list of Lawrence swag every Lawrentian should own, so we can all be prepared when it’s time to head home for the summer. Take a piece of Lawrence home for yourself and have something to give to someone else.
1) Lawrence hoodie
Who doesn’t love a good hoodie? Especially a lined hoodie, with a reliable drawstring, that you can wear with everything! Every Lawrentian should own their very own classic Lawrence hoodie, and you can get one in Kate’s Corner Store located in the Warch Campus Center. A classic Lawrence hoodie and a pair of black leggings is the perfect outfit for any day.
2) Class T-shirts
Go Class of 2021! During Welcome Week, Lawrence starts off every Lawrentian’s collection of Lawrence gear by giving students their very own class shirts. Each class shirt has the class year and is the color that class is associated with. Learn more about the tradition of Class Colors here.
3) Lawrence phone accessories
Never lose your ID again! With the Diversity and Intercultural Center-sponsored card holder, you can have all you most important cards on the back of your phone. Just peel of the paper lining and stick the holder to any case or directly on your phone. Or you can stop by Kate’s Corner Store and get yourself a Lawrence pop-socket! Now all you’ll need is your phone to show off some Lawrence pride.
4) Vintage Lawrence
BINGO! There are so many opportunities to win free Lawrence gear on campus. At a lot of these events you’ll have the opportunity to win some Lawrence classics that are no longer available for sale but are still very cute. I won my favorite Lawrence top from a BINGO game!
5) Glow-in-the-dark Lawrence water bottle
The name honestly says it all. This addition to the Lawrence swag list was made available starting just this year. Glowing makes anything cool and having a water bottle that glows in the dark and represents Lawrence is the coolest thing ever. These water bottles are available for sale in Kate’s Corner Store.
These are my five essentials. Itching for more? Stop by Kate’s Corner Store in Warch or check out this site full of Lawrence gear. Do you have other Lawrence swag you can’t live without? Tell us all about it in our social media comments!
Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.
Five new tenure-track faculty members will join Lawrence University for the start of the 2019-20 academic year, boosting the school’s academic prowess across multiple fields of study.
The appointments include Abhishek Chakraborty, statistics; Estelí Gomez, Conservatory of Music (voice); Vanessa D. Plumly, German; Relena Ribbons, geosciences; and Austin Segrest, English.
The new hires were announced by Provost and Dean of Faculty
“I am delighted to be able to welcome five new tenure-track
faculty to Lawrence this coming fall,” Kodat said. “These impressive new
colleagues represent the best in their fields and will allow us to continue
building on our strengths in mathematics, the sciences, and the humanities in
the college, and in the voice program in the conservatory.”
The tenure-track hires include:
Abhishek Chakraborty, statistics
A candidate this spring for a Ph.D. in the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University, Chakraborty holds a master’s degree in statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur, India, and a bachelor’s of science degree in statistics from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India. He ranked fifth out of 200 entrants from 100 different countries in the Prudsys AG Data Mining Cup 2016, and placed 28th out of 193 entrants in 2018. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant at Iowa State.
His research experience has focused on developing
statistical methodologies for analysis of complex data sets, with broad work in
the fields of machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling and the
application of Bayesian variables.
“Abhishek joins a newly renamed Mathematics and Computer Science department as our second specialist in statistics,” Kodat said. “His research interests in data mining will fortify course offerings in data science as well as statistics more traditionally understood — an exciting contribution for a department in the midst of a renaissance.”
For more on the computer science major at Lawrence, click here.
For more on the mathematics major at Lawrence, click here.
Estelí Gomez, voice
A soprano, Gomez joins the Conservatory of Music amid impressive success as a recording artist and performer. She is a vocalist with Roomful of Teeth, which won a 2014 Grammy Award with its debut CD. Also, she was a vocalist on Silk Road Ensemble’s 2017 Grammy-winning CD Sing Me Home, featuring members of Roomful of Teeth. She was nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award as soprano soloist on the Seattle Symphony’s release of Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No 3. She holds a master of music degree from the McGill Schulich School of Music and a bachelor of arts degree in music from Yale.
Roomful of Teeth has performed at Lawrence twice, once in
2014 and again in 2017. The eight-piece a cappella ensemble has been much
lauded in vocal circles since debuting in 2009. Gomez, who has sung in more than
20 languages, has taught in private voice studios since 2006, mostly in New
Haven, Connecticut, Montreal and New York City.
“A founding member of the celebrated vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Estelí exemplifies the twin commitments to excellence in teaching and performance that characterizes our conservatory faculty,” Kodat said.
For more on the Voice Studio in the Conservatory of Music, click here.
Vanessa D. Plumly, German
Plumly comes to Lawrence from State University of New York at New Paltz, where she is a German lecturer and program coordinator in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty affiliate. She has been there since 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in German Studies in 2015 from the University of Cincinnati. She holds a master of arts degree in German Studies from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor of arts degree in German and History from Bethany College in West Virginia.
Plumly earned the 2018 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence
Award from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). She was a
Fulbright Research Fellowship Alternate in 2013.
“Vanessa’s research interests in Afro-German culture, film, and gender and sexuality studies will enrich many areas of our curriculum beyond German: Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, and Gender Studies, to name three,” Kodat said. “She joins us as our third Mellon Faculty Fellow for a Diverse Professoriate.”
For more on German studies at Lawrence, click here.
Relena Ribbons, geosciences
A visiting assistant professor in geosciences at Lawrence since 2016, Ribbons has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Wellesley College, a masters in forest ecology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and doctorates in forest ecology, geosciences and natural resources from Bangor University and geosciences and natural resources management from the University of Copenhagen.
She’s also an accomplished marathoner and ultramarathoner.
“Relena’s appointment to the Geosciences department gives us additional expertise in important areas of environmental research, among them soil ecology and biogeochemistry,” Kodat said. “And we are always happy to welcome another marathoner to the Lawrence faculty family.”
For more on Lawrence’s geosciences major, click here.
Austin Segrest, English
A visiting assistant professor of English at Lawrence since 2014, Segrest holds a doctorate in literature and creative writing (poetry) from the University of Missouri and a master’s from Georgia State University. He has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and previously served as the poetry editor of the Missouri Review.
“We now have three accomplished, actively publishing writers who are either tenured or on the tenure track in our English department, a great boon for our student writers in both the college and the conservatory,” Kodat said.
For more on English offerings at Lawrence, click here.
This will come as a shock to no one, but middle school is hard.
Throw in the first year of high school and you have a three- or four-year stretch that for many is an often emotionally difficult, awkward, angst-filled journey through adolescent hell, a transition from the relative safety of elementary school to the more confident (sometimes) world of young adulthood.
Getting across that bridge with your emotional bearings
intact is no small thing. And that’s where the studies of Lawrence University
Associate Professor of Psychology Lori Hilt and her psychology students come
For the past two years, Hilt has been leading a study on
adolescent rumination, focused on ages 12 to 15, and the study is about to be
supersized thanks to a $368,196 three-year grant from the National Institutes
Adolescent rumination refers to a mindset in which someone can’t
get beyond the negative things that are happening around them. Where most kids
will process something bad that has happened, react to it and then move on, an
adolescent struggling with rumination will dwell on the negative information,
stew on it until it consumes them, unable to let go.
It’s often a precursor to depression or anxiety or other mental health battles that can track into adulthood.
Launching a study
Hilt and the students in her Child and Adolescent Research
in Emotion (CARE) Lab set out to create a mobile app that would utilize
mindfulness techniques designed to aid those 12- to 15-year-olds struggling
with rumination, and then sought funding to study the use of the app.
“We see technology just skyrocketing with kids, so why not
harness that for good?” Hilt said.
The American Psychological Foundation agreed, awarding Hilt an
$18,000 John and Polly Sparks Early Career Grant two years ago to launch a
study that would involve 80 Fox Valley adolescents and their families.
Data from that study has been collected and follow-up visits
with the families have been completed. Hilt and her team are in the process of analyzing
what they have.
But now comes the much more robust grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, allowing the study of the app to continue over the next three years, entailing more sophisticated research methods. It’s expected to involve an additional 150 kids and their families. A full-time project assistant will be hired, and 12 to 20 LU students could be working on the study at any given time.
“If the results come out as we hypothesize, if we find that
the kids who use the app actually decrease their rumination and their levels of
depression and anxiety remain lower, then I think we’d move forward with
further developing of the app and maybe get it out publicly, make it available
for more kids to use,” Hilt said.
The app is designed to talk young students through brief
mindfulness exercises at various points during the day, most notably when they
wake up in the morning, after school lets out and before they go to sleep. The
exercises could last from three to 10 minutes, focusing on breathing techniques
and other things to help clear or refocus the mind.
“It came out of some research I was doing right when I
started at Lawrence in 2011,” Hilt said. “One of the first studies I looked at,
in the lab, how can we change rumination?”
So, a lab study using 160 kids was conducted, focused on various avenues to combat rumination, from briefly distracting the student to using mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness came out the clear winner.
“If we know that doing this in the lab for just a few minutes was really helpful, what if we had a way for people to access this as an intervention?” Hilt said. “Obviously, we think it needs more repeated exposure to actually be helpful in the long run. So, we developed an app that would allow kids to access it repeatedly.”
For information on participating in the rumination study, click here.
For more on the Psychology Department at Lawrence, click here.
A tech assist
Hilt and her psychology students knew where they wanted to
go. But they lacked the technical know-how to create and develop an app.
Thus, they tapped a student in Lawrence’s
mathematics-computer science department. Eduardo Elizondo ’16 set to work
creating the app.
“He was a freshman at the time,” Hilt said. “Now he’s at
Facebook. He really helped develop the first version of the app, and it was
kind of clunky. He was learning, we were learning. So then as he became more
sophisticated and we got more pilot data, we refined the app. So, before he
graduated, it kind of developed into the version we have now.”
Another computer science student, Simon Abbot ’20, has since picked up the ball, continuing the work started by Elizondo.
For the LU psychology students, the work on the rumination
study is part of a wider education.
“Since all CARE lab members are undergraduates, we have
opportunities at every step in the research process that are normally only
available to graduate students,” said Caroline Swords ’19, a neuroscience and psychology
major who has been heavily invested in the study and will continue working with
it as a research associate after graduation.
The study is focused on practical tools that young people
can use to navigate their mental and emotional journeys, she said. And, while
the results aren’t in yet, seeing the study unfold over the past couple of
years has been fascinating.
“I was drawn to the study because of the positive impact
teaching mindfulness can have,” Swords said. “Since adolescence is a time when
mental illnesses can first develop, it’s great to teach adolescents about mindfulness,
which can act as a buffer and remain a lifelong skill.”
For Hilt, providing any tools that can help a child adjust,
cope and thrive is always worthwhile.
“I’ve really focused my career on studying that early
adolescent window,” she said. “We know so many things develop then, including
depression. We see pretty low levels, luckily, in childhood, but then in
adolescence you see this huge spike that really stays throughout adulthood. So,
I’ve really focused all my research on trying to understand what’s going on,
how kids process emotions in that window shortly before we see this increase,
and what can we do to try to prevent that from happening?”
Existing apps such as Headspace are already available to teach ways to redirect our thoughts or calm our anxieties. But those, and any studies that accompanied them, are primarily geared toward adults, Hilt said.
“We’re one of the first to really look at it in kids.”
Ed Berthiaume is
director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:
Note: Research tied to the new grant is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health. The content reported here is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Willa Dworschack ’20, a Lawrence University physics major from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, has been named a Goldwater Scholar.
Dworschack, who is doing research in atomic and molecular optics, is one of 496 undergraduates across the country being honored for their studies in math and science fields.
The program honoring the late Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of math, natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields, is administered by the Goldwater Foundation, a federally endowed agency established in 1986.
“I am thrilled to be honored by the Goldwater Foundation,” Dworschack said. “Lawrence has provided the opportunities to help me perform nationally recognized research, which is instrumental to my successes as an undergraduate.”
Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research
credentials that garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship
Dworschack, a junior, is among the 496 college sophomores or juniors selected from across the country. The selections came from a pool of 1,223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students who were nominated by 443 academic institutions to compete for the 2019 Goldwater scholarships.
“I am grateful for this scholarship that will help support my future and look forward to discovering what opportunities result from becoming a Goldwater Scholar while I continue my study of atomic and molecular optics,” Dworschack said.
The Goldwater announcement comes on the heels of Lawrence students earning prestigious Fulbright and Watson fellowships.
Details here on fellowship and scholarship opportunities at Lawrence.
Meghan Murphy ’19, from Wauwatosa, is one of 41 national recipients of a Watson Fellowship that will provide for a year of independent travel and exploration, studying the violin and violin-like instruments in multiple cultures. See details here.
Milou (Emmylou) de Meij ’19, from Bozeman, Montana, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award. She will teach English in an assistantship position in Latvia during the 2019-20 academic year. A student of both Russian studies and music performance, she is one of more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the coming academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. See details here.
For the four Lawrence University students who are studying abroad during spring term in Dakar, Senegal — part of the school’s Francophone Seminar program— the immersion in daily life in the west African country is invaluable.
“All of our courses are either in French or Wolof, and the people around the Baobab Center are always chatting with us and pushing us to learn new phrases in Wolof or French, so we are truly immersed in the language and culture,” said Greta Wilkening ’21.
Accompanied by Dominica Chang, the Margaret Banta Humleker Professor of French Cultural Studies and an associate professor of French, the students are staying with host families, studying at the Baobab Center, being immersed in local customs and languages and working on independent study projects.
We asked Chang to tell us a little about the program and we asked the four students to share their experiences halfway through the 10-week term. Their responses are below.
Dominica Chang, a brief introduction:
“Hello! Bonjour! Asalaam Alaikum! Na nga Def? I teach French at Lawrence and am leading this spring’s Francophone seminar in Dakar, Senegal.
“Lawrence University’s Department of French and Francophone Studies is proud to lead a long-term study abroad experience for students to Dakar, Senegal. This program, which first began in 1996, is unique for many reasons: not only does a member of the department’s faculty accompany students for the entirety of their stay (both teaching French language and taking courses from local instructors with them), but participants experience complete cultural and linguistic immersion in Senegal, a francophone country with deep ties to France but with its own distinctly rich and proud history and culture.
“While in Dakar, The Baobab Center (African Consultants International) is a home base resource center that arranges family home stays and service learning opportunities, provides cultural orientation workshops and language instruction in Wolof, and organizes cultural excursions in Dakar and other cities and villages in Senegal.”
More on the Francophone Seminar program can be found here.
Meet the students:
Bronwyn Earthman ’21 is a biology and French major from Minneapolis:
“My host family here in Senegal has been a little bit
different than I initially expected because my host mom is in France with her
husband getting a medical treatment, and so I have been living with my three
host brothers, Lucas, 23, Noel, 15, and Marco, 9. They are the best, and I’ve
had a great time hanging out with them!
“The Baobab Center is our home base, where we have all of our classes. It’s about a three-minute walk away from my house, which is so convenient! Africa Consultants International (ACI) was founded in 1983 by Gary Engleberg and Lillian Baer, and its mission is to promote intercultural understanding, social justice, health, and the well-being of the people. The center has two main floors with many classrooms, where we have classes with guest professors from the university, as well as with professors from the center and Dominica. The faculty and staff of ACI are so wonderful and helpful, and are definitely my favorite thing about the center. Every morning when I walk in the building, everyone greets me enthusiastically in Wolof and French, giving me the opportunity to practice both.”
Miriam Thew Forrester
’20 is double-majoring in English and government (international relations)
with a French minor:
“My host family lives in the neighborhood of Mermoz. I live
with my host mom (Gnagna) on her floor, but her son and his family live on the
floor above us so I also have a little brother (Mouhammed) and a baby sister.
My house is right on the VDN (one of the main roads in Dakar), so my walk to
and from the Baobab Center is always interesting.
“One of my favorite things about Dakar is that there is so
much to love; it’s made it almost impossible for me to choose my independent
project. I’m primarily interested in identity (and its creation, expression,
transformation, transmission, etc.), and Dakar has a seemingly infinite array
of possibilities for this. There’s the graffiti, which is not illegal here and
incorporates various aspects of Senegalese identity, culture, and traditional
art forms while simultaneously pushing cultural norms.
“The mix of the French and Wolof languages (as well as Pulaar and others) in daily life is incredible, and I’m currently beginning to conduct interviews focusing on the impact of language on identity here. Each interaction has offered something new, and I am so excited to continue exploring the culture here.”
Tamima Tabishat ’20
is majoring in global studies with a focus on cities and is pursuing a triple
minor in French, German, and Arabic language studies.
“I chose to study in Dakar to improve my French-speaking skills and to work on my senior project. During these 10 weeks, I am staying with a host family that lives very close to the center. My host parents, Chantal and Babacar, are very kind and I felt like a part of their home from the very first day. Chantal takes me with her to markets, family gatherings and church services, which have all been very enriching experiences.
“For my service learning project, I have been researching
the role of the second-hand clothing market in Senegal and its impacts on local
tailors and the textile industry. Over the past few decades, used clothing from
the U.S., many European countries, and China have flooded into Senegal by the
ton and created an enormous second-hand clothing market where used clothing is
sold for a fraction of its original price. Not only is this industry harmful to
the environment, but it has destroyed local industries and jobs such as fabric
production and tailoring as it has become more affordable for consumers to
purchase second-hand items from overseas than locally made garments.
“Over the course of my time in Dakar, I hope to learn more about this global phenomenon through interviews with local tailors, second-hand vendors, fashion designers, and fabric shopkeepers.”
Greta Wilkening ’21
is an environmental studies major with a French minor.
“I live with a host family near the Baobab Center, where I
attend class. My family is quite large: about 18 people in total, though
neighbors and friends will always drop by at any given time. My host family
speaks mainly Wolof, the local language, and they are always helping me learn
new phrases in Wolof. Three younger host-siblings are always ready to play with
me, even after I return home from a long day of classes.
“At the Baobab Center, we take many different classes throughout the week. We take classes like Senegalese literature and history, political history, contemporary art, Islam in Senegal, Wolof, and music and dance. In music and dance, we are learning to play the kora, a stringed instrument, and are also learning a dance routine that we will perform at the end of the program.”
Follow the Lawrence students’ educational journey in Senegal, including more photos and video, on Facebook @lawrenceinsenegal.
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Michelle Gibson ’17 had visions of being a religious studies professor.
She arrived at Lawrence University six years ago as a first-year student enamored with the idea of teaching about life’s mysteries, about how our human qualities make us more alike than different despite our cultural and faith histories and how a thirst for learning can lead us to the inner peace we crave.
Today, nearly two years after graduating as a religious studies major, Gibson is indeed teaching those principles she holds so dear. But the students staring back at her, well, they’re a little younger than the college students she once envisioned.
Welcome to Appleton’s Lincoln Elementary School, where
Gibson is a second-grade teacher, one year removed from a year-long
apprenticeship program that provided a different path to the classroom than
most of her teaching peers.
It turns out Gibson’s journey through Lawrence ignited a new
spark, one that called her to the elementary classroom. And the launching of an
apprentice partnership between Lawrence and the Appleton Area School District proved
to be ideal timing, providing the opportunity she was looking for.
Gibson became one of the first two graduates of the Teacher Education Apprenticeship Program, and on April 28 she was honored with the Early Career Education Award presented by the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE). The award goes to teachers in their first three years of teaching who are already making an impact.
It was during Gibson’s sophomore year at Lawrence — her last name was Johnson then — that the seeds of a new career were first planted. She took a sociology of education course that brought her into a kindergarten classroom during her practicum.
“I realized that when I was in that classroom, that was when I felt the most at home and actually felt happy,” she said. “I wasn’t stressed. It was almost like a release for me to go hang out with those kids.”
But it wasn’t until the following year, when she took a philosophy of children class taught by Assistant Professor of Education Stephanie Burdick-Shepherd, that she was convinced the elementary classroom would indeed be her calling.
“That’s when I realized, oh my goodness, I need to teach,” Gibson said. “We were finding ways where you can pose these philosophical questions like you do in religious studies, but with children.”
In a religious studies college classroom, she figured she would mostly be speaking to students with a similar view of the world — “We are all human, we are all the same, we need to find the sameness within us to really come together as a world and as a community,” she said.
“Or I could go into an elementary classroom and be working with young students and really be helping them to see that truth and having those large philosophical conversations with them about the sameness within people and how as humans we are more alike than different, and how that can build community rather than divide us.”
That’s where the post-graduate apprenticeship program, a
collaboration between Lawrence, the school district and the Mielke Family
Foundation, pays dividends. It allows for undergraduates in any major at Lawrence
to apply for admittance, giving them a one-year path to teacher certification
as an elementary teacher.
“Our program is rare in the sense that, at its core, what we value most is the education of the liberal arts, that an education about learning to love and engage deeply in learning across disciplines and subject areas is the best preparation for teaching young children,” Burdick-Shepherd said. “The elementary school teacher teaches how to learn, and our students learn to teach learning in our elementary teacher certification program.”
Lawrence saw two graduates, Gibson being one of them, jump
into the apprenticeship program in 2017. Another graduate is in the program
this year and two more are lined up for next school year.
Burdick-Shepherd said her courses that are focused on working
with young children are consistently full, and not just with students on a
teaching path. And, as they did for Gibson, such courses might just light that
“Michelle is a shining example of how someone who never saw
themselves as an elementary teacher learns to recognize a call to change the
world by working with young people,” Burdick-Shepherd said. “Michelle is one of
LU’s outstanding alums. There was not a book you could throw at her that she
wouldn’t read deeply. She wrote magnificently. A religious studies major, she
traveled the world engaging deeply with other cultures and traditions.
“Michelle could do any job she wanted, but she chose to
learn to teach. I think she chose this because she wanted to share her love of
learning in the most impactful way she could.”
Gibson, who grew up in Minoqua, was one of two teachers honored by WACTE. The other is Dan Singer, a band teacher at Oshkosh West High School who has mentored eight student-teachers from Lawrence through the years.
Lawrence’s apprenticeship program, Gibson said, provided the guidance she needed to transition smoothly into an elementary teaching career.
“The apprenticeship, that’s when you really felt, OK, this is what teaching actually looks like,” she said. “This isn’t just reading from a textbook on what teaching looks like, this is actually what it looks and feels and smells and is like.”
She liked the full-year apprenticeship, as opposed to a one-semester student-teaching stint. It provided time to absorb, to adjust, and to ask questions.
“I knew I had an entire year to see where the kids grew, where they started off and where they ended, and I could even map my own growth alongside them,” Gibson said.
She also found her teaching style, her own pacing and methods of student interaction, heavily influenced by her liberal arts background. That’s an important thing, a base to build on.
“I could just start off with a very inquiring style of teaching,” she said.
“I had Lawrence modeling, that conversational style of teaching in the college setting, which was actually very easy to transition into a first- or second-grade room.”
Ed Berthiaume is
director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org