On and Off the Hill

Finding Something Bigger in Yellowstone

A horse skeleton rests under a sky full of brilliant stars at Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Photos by David Teter ’19Spring Breaks are too precious to spend sitting on a beach or catching up on streaming videos. In March, 12 Marlboro students joined Adam Katrick ’07 MSM ’16 and science lab coordinator Allison Turner MA ’99 on an epic two-week road trip to Yellowstone National Park. For all of the participants, it was not only an opportunity to see some outstanding landscapes, diverse environments, and spectacular wildlife, it was a chance to reflect on things larger than themselves.

“These landscapes demand our attention and respect, and teach us to slow down, watch, listen, and learn,” says Adam, who was hired as Outdoor Program (OP) director in April and served as interim director before that. “Hiking in the Rockies in winter forces you to focus on your survival and the well-being of your team. There’s little room to worry about anything else. And in a world where a thousand things are constantly demanded of us from technology and social media, that open and focused space is an invitation to connect to ecosystems much larger than us. It’s slow time, and it’s meditative. I think it’s crucial that we all have that reflective space.”

“It is important for students to do these trips because it lets them see a new part of the world and learn new things,” says junior Sam Harrison. “Coming from rural Vermont, I had a narrow view of what the rest of the country looked like. Thanks to this trip, I got to see so many different landscapes and learn about all of the animals in Yellowstone. Doing trips through the OP also lets students learn to work in a group, where everyone is their own leader and everyone takes care of each other.”

The group spent most of their time based in Gardiner, Montana, just outside Yellowstone, with renowned ecologist, author, and tracker Jim Halfpenny. Their trip also included a stop on the way out at Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, and a stop at the Big Creek Ranger Cabin in Gallatin National Forest, Montana, on the way back. Along the way they got to experience the Badlands of South Dakota, climb through Rocky Mountain forests, and commune with more wildlife than they could’ve imagined, including bald eagles, pine martens, wolves, foxes, coyotes, elk, pronghorn antelope, and, yes, grizzly bears.

A male grizzly hunts near Blacktail Pond, Yellowstone National Park“Getting to see a part of the world and environments that are unfamiliar can be a really valuable experience,” says junior Lydia Nuhfer. “I study ecology at Marlboro, so seeing ecosystems that are so different from the ones I know was truly amazing. The environmental work that the Pine Ridge community is doing, the diversity of species and landscapes along the way, and the interactions with wildlife ecologists that I was able to experience absolutely tie into my studies.”

Like other OP expeditions through the years, the Yellowstone trip gave students the opportunity to engage with people they might not otherwise, like the Oglala Sioux community of the Pine Ridge Reservation or wildlife photographer Dan Hartman. It also provided many opportunities for leadership development—from planning menus to leading hikes or other activities— building skills and confidence that that will help students be more effective leaders for Bridges orientation trips, or in their future workplaces.

“The highlight of my trip was definitely staying in a Forest Service cabin in Gallatin National Forest on our way home,” says junior Claire O’Pray. “One of the days we were there four of us bush-whacked up the mountain that was behind the cabin. Mountains are my favorite thing in the world, and being confident enough to hike a mountain without a trail was really amazing. We also made split pea soup from scratch on a wood cookstove.”

Anna Morrisey ’20 and Della Dolcino ’20 take in the Badlands, South Dakota.“These expedition trips have so many experiences rolled into two intense weeks, that we rely on the participants’ individual skills, talents, and unique leadership styles to make it through each day,” says Adam. “We learn a lot about each other, have plentiful opportunities to share our skills with one another, and concurrently, grow and learn.” But for many of the participants, the highlight of the trip was seeing a male grizzly bear lumbering toward Blacktail Pond, at the northern end of the park. It was their last full day in the park, and they had not seen one yet—in fact they had been told it was extremely unlikely, even in Yellowstone—and there they were, 200 feet away and watching this huge bear break through the ice to find his next meal.

“That was pretty breathtaking, and so was simultaneously watching the look on Della’s face,” says Adam, referring to sophomore Della Dolcino. “She really wanted to see a bear, and was just in awe with tears of joy. To watch someone connect so profoundly to that bear, and that landscape…it was an amazing moment. We saw so much wildlife, but seeing that bear really just made us drop everything we were doing so we could set up our scopes and watch. All we could do was stand there and smile and shake our heads. It was spectacular.”

Adam asserts, and the students who joined him and Allison would surely concur, that the hands-on, experiential learning that takes place on OP trips like this one to Yellowstone is an essential counterpart to classroom work. He says, “When these trips are in their element, whether the Rocky Mountains or the Green Mountains, they provide the perfect environment for ‘aha’ moments and fuel for better learning.”


Creative Collaboration in Oaxaca

Karla Julia Ramos ’20 shoots video in Oaxaca, part of Marlboro’s collaboration with students from the Oaxacan Learning Center. Photo by Rosario de Swanson One of the most diverse states in Mexico, Oaxaca has a vibrant mix of indigenous cultures, cuisine, art, and folkloric traditions, with 17 distinct ethnic groups and more than 50 spoken dialects. For the spring semester, professors Rosario de Swanson (Spanish language and literature) and Brad Heck (video and film studies) co-taught a course titled Oaxaca: Cultural Exchange and Creative Collaboration, which culminated with a visit to the region in May.

“Besides learning about the cultural diversity and history of Oaxaca, during the course of the semester our students communicated with students from the Oaxacan Learning Center,” says Rosario. This grassroots center provides academic tutoring and social-service support to low-income students from underserved urban neighborhoods and indigenous rural villages throughout the state of Oaxaca. “Through regular Skype sessions with their Oaxacan counterparts, they created a film script that was then shot during our two-week stay.”

Prior to their trip, the students organized a raffle as a fundraiser for the Oaxacan Learning Center, raising nearly $500, which they presented to the center on behalf of Marlboro College. “We hope to continue collaborating with this institution, which helps students serve as role models for their communities— their mission matches Marlboro’s spirit,” says Rosario.

Branch Out Makes Vital Connections

Krystal Graybeal helps a spotted salamander avoid road traffic on a dark and stormy night, one of many Marlboro Moments shared on Branch Out. Photo by John Marinelli ’19When admissions counselor Krystal Graybeal ’17 returned to Marlboro from a college fair last April, during the first warm, spring evening rain, she was too late to join biology professor Jaime Tanner and students who had been helping spotted salamanders cross South Road to their breeding sites. “I decided to do a late-night stroll with a friend, and ran into President KQ and his wife,” she wrote in the Branch Out “Marlboro Moments” group. “We all crept along South Road in a misty rain, ferrying the occasional critter to safety and out of the path of oncoming cars. It was my friend’s first time, though I’m pretty sure it will become a tradition!”

If you have not heard of Marlboro College Branch Out by now, you either have your head in the sand or you are rendered senseless by the phrases “online platform” or “virtual community.” Branch Out is the quintessential site for students, alumni, faculty, and friends to connect, engage, and support other members of the community. Since it was officially launched on May 1, with a festive presentation during the annual party for graduating students and alumni at the Marina Restaurant, there have been more than 400 new users and countless posts, groups started, and professional relationships kindled.

“If members use Branch Out to its potential, we get to find what others can offer to us in our personal or career pursuits; we could even get a lead on a sweet new job,” says Maia Segura ’91, director of alumni engagement, who helped Marlboro choose and implement the platform. “Ultimately, we get a better picture of what our community looks like, and we can build this rare community through stories about the truly life-changing nature of Marlboro College.”

Dubbed “Branch Out” by student focus group member Amelia Fanelli ’18, the new platform provides real-time opportunities for alumni to both benefit and give back through engagement opportunities, mentoring, events, and fundraising efforts. Similar platforms have been adopted at many colleges and universities worldwide over the last few years, and have been highly successful at increasing alumni engagement during particularly challenging times for institutions of higher education.

Students celebrate with President Kevin at the May 1 launch of Branch Out. Photo by Richard Smith“I am particularly excited about the real potential for current students to be able to find mentors, internships, even jobs through this exclusive Marlboro online community,” says Kate Trzaskos, director of experiential learning and career development. “Branch Out provides a medium for us to connect with the rich, unique resources that we all bring to the table, to strengthen the community and help it to grow.” Learn more and log in at marlboro.edu/branch-out.

Who’s Who on Branch Out: Wouldn’t one of these make a nice connection?

  • Corrin Meise-Munns ’09, land use planner at Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
  • Alexander Hunter ’10, producer at CNN
  • Nicole Hammond ’11, attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review
  • Will Timpson ’09, front-end software engineer at Google
  • Laura Frank ’92, producer and multiscreen technology specialist at Luminous FX n Dustin Pawlow ’15, field epidemiologist at Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • Tom Good ’86, research biologist at NOAA Fisheries

New Course Supports Community Governance

Town Meeting is just one of the aspects of shared governance to be supported by the new Community and Governance Colloquium. Photo by David Teter ’19 Although many students are drawn to Marlboro’s focus on community engagement and shared governance, some have found it difficult to integrate their community work with their course of study—until now. A new course called Community and Governance Colloquium, proposed by the Curriculum Committee last fall and piloted last spring semester, stands to make Marlboro’s shared governance model a more deeply integrated part of a Marlboro education.

“There are so many shared skills gained by designing your own education and by having a voice in governing the campus,” says dance professor Kristin Horrigan, a member of the Curriculum Committee who is co-teaching the course this fall. “But students who come in excited about Town Meeting, committees, and community leadership roles were telling us that they had a hard time seeing and feeling the connection between community work and their academic work, especially in their first few years. This course is a way to build a clearer bridge.”

The new course grew out of the Curricular Innovations Action Planning Group, which Kristin was also a part of, who recommended that the faculty work to create a link between the governance model and the curriculum. It also builds on a group tutorial taught by math professor Matt Ollis and Helen Pinch ’18, who were part of the same action planning group during the fall of 2017 when Helen was serving as head selectperson.

“In the curricular innovation group, Matt and I had been talking about marrying academics with community governance, and trying to find a common thread that defines a Marlboro experience,” says Helen. “Instead of Plan being just an individualized, isolating experience, we wanted to include within the Marlboro experience this element that is much more expansive— of being an autonomous individual, but in a self-governing community.”

Matt and Helen’s tutorial supported students to go beyond their roles in community governance and do larger projects that were linked to their studies. For example, junior Eric Wefald created a handbook for the position of public advocate, a key community leadership position tied to Community Court. “At Marlboro, I believe we aim to put our democratic values into action,” says Eric.

The first Community and Governance Colloquium was taught by Matt and chemistry professor Todd Smith last spring, and included research and writing projects relating to Title IX, the Real Food Challenge, Town Meeting, and the role of the Town Meeting moderator. Part of the rationale for offering it as a course is that it is more visible to prospective students as well as more accessible to new students who are not yet doing tutorial work.

“I loved having conversations with the others in the class about what we like and what frustrates us regarding Town Meeting and the way Marlboro’s governance works,” says sophomore Phoenix Bieneman, who served as Town Meeting moderator last year. “I learned a lot, and I also found that we were able to talk about possible solutions.”

“I enjoyed the students’ dedication to the spirit of community engagement and self-governance, and it was exciting to see the commitment they had to their projects,” says Todd. “They were all quite committed, both to contributing their voices in campus governance, and to advocating for real change on campus.”

Students in the course apply academic skills to deepen their work on committees and in community roles. Each student crafts their own “work contract” with the faculty running the course so their assignments are shaped around the work they’re doing in the community. The course also includes some communal skill-building, in the form of workshops with guest speakers, shared readings, group projects, or discussions, to address gaps students may experience when diving into community work.

“I am looking forward to the chance to formalize the bridge between my teaching and the things I’ve learned from 12 years of participation in community governance at Marlboro,” says Kristin, who is co-teaching the course this fall with American studies professor Kate Ratcliff. “Working with Kate and a group of students whom I don’t usually see in my classes will be a treat, and it will offer us all a chance to deepen our understanding of our community while helping to strengthen it at the same time.”

Marlboro Partners with Nigerian University

President Kevin visits with Atiku Abubakar, AUN founder. Last spring, four years after they were abducted from a school in Nigeria, more than 100 girls released by Boko Haram were attending the American University of Nigeria (AUN). This is the same university, located in Adamawa State and known for its focus on sustainable development in Africa, that launched a new partnership with Marlboro College in March.

“Marlboro is committed to offering students international experiences that expand their horizons and launch them into a life of meaningful work,” says President Kevin, who serves on the board of directors at AUN and visited Nigeria in March to sign a memorandum of understanding with the university. “We already have partnerships in China, Mexico, Germany, Slovakia, and Czech Republic, as well as with domestic programs, and we are thrilled that our first collaboration in Africa is at AUN.”

President Kevin was introduced to AUN through his longtime colleague Bob Pastor, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer and a writer and member of the National Security Council. Pastor helped establish AUN, working closely with its founder, Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of Nigeria.

“I worked with Atiku and Bob, in my role as president of the National Peace Corps Association, to launch the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award,” says Kevin, who returned to Nigeria in May to speak at the installation of AUN’s new president, Dawn Dekle, and to meet with Abubakar. “This award recognizes individuals like Atiku, whose lives were influenced by their interactions with Peace Corps Volunteers, leading to a life of service to community and country.”

The specific goals of the cooperative relationship with AUN are to cultivate engaged learning between students and faculty from both institutions through student exchanges. The partnership will also provide for other joint academic endeavors, such as summer programs or faculty exchanges of mutual benefit.

“AUN is an ideal partner for Marlboro, with its focus on arts and sciences, but also technology and entrepreneurship, in the interest of future sustainable development,” says Maggie Patari, Marlboro’s director of global learning and international services. “We are fortunate to have this new partner providing the skills and leadership to help students address the social and economic challenges in the region and the world.”

See the New York Times article about the abducted girls, now young women, attending AUN, including powerful and moving portraits.

Also of Note

“In creating my Plan in religious studies and psychology, I felt it was integral that I grow my understanding of life and the world beyond the classroom and outside of the bubble and great privilege of being a US citizen,” says junior Janelle Kesner (pictured, right). She spent the 2017–18 academic year at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taking classes in psychology, religion, language, and cross-cultural and political relations. “My studies abroad were broadened by observing, learning, and immersing myself in the many cultures of Israel. Conversing day and night with people helped me to grow a personal understanding, rather than relying on the consensus of the media.”

Despite sticky competition from rice noodles, rice-stuffed peppers, rice paper–wrapped spring rolls, and Nigerian jollof rice as mentioned in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, COO Becky Catarelli ’04 won the first annual Rice-Aron Library Cook-Off in May. Rice-inspired dishes prepared by staff were judged based on their use of rice, connection to any book theme, and other criteria such as appearance (from “beautiful food” to “are you sure that’s food?”). Becky gained high marks from the judges for a book-shaped cake decorated to look like Memnoch the Devil, by Anne Rice, and was awarded the coveted golden-rice-encrusted trophy.

In June, sophomore and dancer/choreographer Ricarrdo Valentine performed a new work-in-progress titled Hawa (The Ride) at Abrons Arts Center in New York City, as part of his duo with his partner, Orlando Zane Hunter Jr. “Brother(hood) Dance! is an interdisciplinary duo that seeks to inform its audiences on sociopolitical and environmental injustices from a global perspective, bringing clarity to the same-gender-loving African- American experience in the 21st century.” The culmination of their AIRspace residency, Hawa (The Ride) is a contemporary myth that “takes up black masculinity and the politics of adornment as source material for a creative fashioning of the future self.”

The Art of Shooting: Us & Them, a work by Richard Reitz Smith, communication and design manager, was featured in an exhibition titled “Opulence: Not Everything That Glitters Is Gold,” from July through September at New York’s Center for Book Arts. The work (pictured, right) evolves from a 1950 primer on good sportsmanship to what is now a loaded topic on so many levels. “I believe in beauty, its power, and its poetry,” says Richard. “I see them, even if they are ugly and painful, because I know that there is a story waiting to evolve and we must see and hear that tale.”

Through Marlboro’s partnership with the College for Social Innovation, junior Sage Kampitsis spent last spring semester as a Social Innovation Fellow in Boston, working with the Steppingstone Foundation, a nonprofit organization bridging the opportunity gap in education. She tutored middle school students, and conducted a research study on the effectiveness of the program’s admission process. “My ‘Semester in the City’ not only tied into my coursework at Marlboro, but shaped it as well,” says Sage. “It was through this program that I discovered my passion for empowerment education and decided to focus my Plan work around that passion.” See Sage share her own empowerment journey.

“I see Marlboro as a place of tremendous opportunity, both for our students who want to engage in the serious pursuit of a unique education, and for our supporters who can help to make that happen,” says Rennie Washburn, director of advancement, who joined the college in January. Rennie comes to Marlboro with 17 years of experience in many different facets of development work, most recently at Northfield Mount Hermon, where she was the director of alumni and parent giving programs. She recently guided Annual Fund giving to a record $2.2 million last fiscal year, which ended June 30.

In April, MATESOL student Mark Cormier (pictured, right) gave a presentation for PD Talks, a public speaker series open to teachers and education students, hosted by the Mark Twain Library in San Jose, Costa Rica. “I talked about fake news and common cognitive biases and logical fallacies that contribute to its prevalence and impact, as well as the importance of harnessing our students’ natural curiosity as a tool for developing a more critical eye,” says Mark. He is head of training and professional development at the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, a nonprofit English school and cultural center in San Jose promoting exchange between Costa Rica and the U.S.

Junior Karla Julia Ramos and sophomore Annalise Guidry travelled with theater professor Jean O’Hara to Scotland in August for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. They were there to represent Marlboro College and to share their original performance, 3 Women, 3 Myths, a journey of exploration into how each of us is informed by our ancestors: their music, their languages, their spiritual practices, and their stories. With roots in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Ireland, respectively, each of the performers explored how their ancestors were brought across the ocean, and worked with the theme of water to tie in ancient myths from their families.

Marlboro was pleased to welcome Fumio Sugihara as the new director of admissions in August. Fumio comes to Marlboro from Bennington College, where he was director of admissions, but he has also worked in admissions at University of Puget Sound and Juniata College. He started his career in higher education at Bowdoin College, where he was director for multicultural recruitment and associate director of admissions. Fumio earned a bachelor’s degree at Bowdoin in women’s studies and environmental studies, and went on to earn a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. 

Minds on Main Street
Three finalists in the Beautiful Minds Challenge explore Brattleboro, part of the symposium in April that welcomed more than 20 innovative high school students from all over the US as well as Kazakhstan, Jordan, and Ecuador. Learn about this year’s contest at minds.marlboro.edu. Photo by Kelly Fletcher





Spring Bounty
Freshman Faza “Jimmy” Hikmatullah discovers a wealth of wood frog eggs in a vernal pool, part of biology professor Jaime Tanner’s Life in the Cold class. An international student from Indonesia, Jimmy embraced his first real winter with gusto. Photo by Cedar van Tassel ’21









Parlez Vous
Lucy Johnston ’21, Margaret Brooks ’21, and Brooke Evans ’19 were among a group of six students who traveled to France in May with French language and literature fellow Frédérique Marty. They hiked in the Pyrenees, met with students in Bayonne, and learned about the history of chocolate in Basque country. Photo by Charlotte Nicholson ’18






Making Change 
In February, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Development Kate Trzaskos (left) and others on campus welcomed representatives from Ashoka U, part of the process of becoming an Ashoka Changemaker Campus. Photo by Travis Hellstrom 









Student Art

First page, clockwise from top left> “By using 19th-century processes, expired materials, rough paper, or multiple mediums, I create images that lack control and have outside forces affecting the end result,” says Bo Brout ’18, who exhibited ceramics and mixed media in his Plan show. | International student Dominique Drees and Erin Huang-Shaeffer ’18 performed in Erin’s production of Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl’s feminist adaptation of the Greek tragedy whose heroine dies twice. | As part of his Plan in visual arts and writing titled “Drawing from life: Possibilities in cartooning,” Griff Jurchack ’18 created a three-dimensional exhibit titled Simpleton to allow visitors a glimpse inside a cartoonist’s head. | As part of his Plan in ceramics and Asian studies, Salvatore Annunziato ’18 had an exhibit of ceramic forms influenced by the aesthetic of Japanese folk wares.

Second page, clockwise from top left> “Do you ever feel like you’re remembering someone else’s memory?” asks Cait Mazzarella ’18 in the artist’s statement for her exhibit of mixed media titled What’s Left?, part of her Plan in politics and visual arts. | Senior Jackie King exhibited paintings, line drawings, and etchings in support of her Plan titled “Inalienable weight of care: Aesthetics, anxiety, and the feminine.” | Joshua Rudas ’18 presented an exhibit of paintings and drawings to compliment his written analysis of the heroic and the triumphs of ritualized practice. | Lysha Smith ’18 performed Witness to Change, a live audio-visual show that featured new electronic music compositions, sound art pieces, and improvisation to facilitate awareness of the present moment. | Saron Zewdie ’18 and Menefese Kudumu-Clavell ’19 performed in Saron’s production of Wine in the Wilderness, the Alice Childers play exploring black womanhood during a 1964 race riot in Harlem. 


1 Music professor Matan Rubinstein was joined by two master musicians, Wes Brown on double bass and Royal Hartigan on drums and percussion, for a concert of original works in February. 2 In April, the Samara Piano Quartet made an appearance at Marlboro College as one of their inaugural season of concerts, part of the Music for a Sunday Afternoon series. 3 The spring featured two gender-free contra dances, welcoming members from the local community and featuring music performed by Clayton Clemetson ’19 and Willy Clemetson ’21. 4 This year’s Wendell-Judd Cup cross-country ski and snowshoeing event in February featured a new starting point, on the soccer field, as well as sporty new caffeinated bibs. 5 In May, students and faculty performed a reading of the play Salmon Is Everything, a community response to fish mortality on the Klamath River, followed by a discussion led by Shaunna Oteka McCovey, member of the Yurok Nation. 6 Lynn Mahoney Rowan ’09 and Will Thomas Rowan ’08 returned in February with their quartet Windborne to sing from their Song of the Times album, featuring songs for peoples’ rights from the past 400 years. 7 A February screening of Possible Algeria, which recounts the life journey of Algerian anti-colonial activist Yves Mathieu, was followed by a discussion with Dartmouth professor Jeffrey Ruoff and filmmaker Viviane Candas, Mathieu’s daughter. 

Focus on Faculty

Faculty Q&A
In May, Hannah Noblewolf ’18 sat down with math professor Matt Ollis to talk about math— obviously—as well as game theory, student research, and sustainability. You can read the whole interview.

HANNAH: What about math appeals to you so much?

MATT: It’s fun to work on, very similar in vibe to solving puzzles. Like, if you enjoying doing Sudoku puzzles, it’s the same sort of feeling of not knowing how to do something, figuring out how to work it all out, putting it all together, and a feeling of success when you do it.

H: Do you think everyone should do math to some extent?

M: Sort of, but only in the way that I think everyone should do languages, and poetry, and like a hundred other things that no one actually has the time to do all of. I’m certainly against having a math requirement at Marlboro. I really like the sort of structure where people work out what it is they want to do and need to do, and are able to do that.

H: What would you say is your favorite thing about teaching at Marlboro?

M: I think the close working relationship with students, and the collaboration, and how I decide what to teach based on what students want to do. They teach me new things, and I have to learn new things based on the direction that they’re interested in.

H: Do you have any insider information on when our professor of coloring, Molly Ollis, will return from sabbatical?

M: She’s quite annoyed that someone else has taken over her office and she’s looking forward to reclaiming it this summer. She’s got a good attitude to teaching—she does it over the summer when the students aren’t here, and it’s much easier that way.

Two Rectangles, a work by visual arts faculty Amy Beecher and exhibited at Drury Gallery in March. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, yet many argue that racial and economic disparity within the criminal justice system violates this constitutional amendment. Politics professor Meg Mott organized a series of community discussions on constitutional issues, titled “Debating Our Rights,” at the Putney Public Library over the summer. “As a matter of law, the state cannot engage in arbitrary or extreme punishment,” says Meg. “As a matter of practice, however, states exert all sorts of cruelty, such as solitary confinement and lethal injection. How is it constitutional to punish one class of citizens more severely than another class?”  

In connection with the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center exhibit Shimmering Mirage: Anila Quayyum Agha, art history professor Felicity Ratté presented “The Alhambra in Time: From Nasrid Palace to World Heritage Site” in January. Felicity’s talk looked at the long history of the Alhambra palace in Granada, from its enrichment under the late Nasrid rulers in the second half of the 14th century through its transformation under the auspices of the Spanish kings to its rediscovery in the 19th century. Her talk offered an intimate look at one of the most well preserved examples of an Islamic palace of the medieval period, now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Spanish language and literature professor Rosario de Swanson served on the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Development Committee over the last academic year, playing a critical role in the preparation of the the AP course description and exam for their subject. A unique collaboration between high school and college educators, representing a diversity of knowledge and points of view in their fields, the AP Development Committee is the authority when it comes to making subject-matter decisions in the exam-construction process. Rosario’s work has also been published in a new anthology titled Voces de la hispanidad en Estados Unidos: una antologia.

Spanish language and literature professor Rosario de Swanson was pleased to announce the publication of her book on the plays of Mexican feminist Rosario Castellanos, “¿Y cuál es mi lugar, señor, entre tus actos?”Young managers should respect the expertise of older employees and help enable their success, according to management faculty Cheryl Eaton. She was interviewed for an article in Business Insider, which was cited in the blog post “Simple Tips for Managing Older Employees.” One of the best ways to enable employee success is to ask how you can help them do their jobs better. “Listen rather than assuming you know best,” she says. “When that kind of respect is given, it is received.”  

In April, visual arts faculty Cathy Osman, Tim Segar, and John Willis presented “Person to Person: Cambodia and Community,” a slideshow, discussion, and fundraiser at 118 Elliot Street, in Brattleboro. Since 2007, about 30 students have participated in four learning trips to Cambodia, where they have steadily built connections with two nonprofit organizations working for clean water and children’s education. With the help of Buddhist monks at the local pagodas they have sponsored and monitored clean water projects and established a small school. “We are humbled by the incredible determination and resilience we witnessed in the people of Cambodia, particularly the youth, who remain the focus of so much of our work there,” said Cathy.

Theater professor Brenda Foley has had a number of plays performed at theaters around the country recently: Protocol and It’s Not About the Crullers were both performed in Washington, D.C., and Camouflage was selected for the 20th Boston Theater Marathon and also chosen for inclusion in a joint project for the She Speaks Festival in Ontario and Paris. And Brenda’s new full-length play, Portraits, had an excerpt reading in New York City as part of her yearlong playwriting fellowship with Athena Theatre.

“It takes time. It takes effort,” President Kevin says about getting things done through Marlboro’s shared governance system. He was interviewed for an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “A Primer for Nontraditional College Presidents.” Kevin says he has worked to engage and build trust with the faculty, and he has achieved a measure of peace with the governance system in which everyone on campus has a say in how the college operates. “You don’t always get the ideal outcome. I do think the outcome is better for having gone through the process, and it is much more likely to endure.”

One of several ads for literature and writing professor John Sheehy’s Meta-Muscles Fitness Program, and related Sheehy FarmsTM merchandise, promoted in the May 2018 issue of The Citizen. “I thought it was hilarious,” says John. Drawing by Griff Jurchack ’18The newest book in management faculty Travis Hellstrom’s 52 Questions series was published last November, following on his 52 Questions for a Happy Friendship and 52 Questions for a Better Relationship. It’s called 52 Questions for Families, and includes a year’s worth of fun, thought-provoking conversation-starters to help readers learn more about their loved ones. “These books are designed to help anyone have a deeper conversation with people they love,” says Travis. “At Marlboro we love questions, so I hope these books help people communicate and enjoy making their interactions even more fun.”

In April and May, religion professor Amer Latif conducted a series of lectures on Rumi for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of the University of Vermont. In a series titled Reading the Qur’an with Rumi, Amer discussed how the 13th-century Muslim contemplative, now one of the best-selling poets in America, considered Qur’an a map of the self. “Rumi interprets Qur’anic stories through telling tales of his own,” says Amer. “Using insights into the nature and function of stories from the cognitive and neurosciences, we examined how Rumi’s stories orient readers to take actions that can lead to a life of happiness and flourishing.”

In March, professor of painting Amy Beecher and visiting arts fellow David Eichelberger presented an exhibition of their work in Drury Gallery, as well as an artist’s talk. An interdisciplinary artist, Amy exhibited abstract digital paintings and photographs generated on a large-format ink-jet printer. Ceramist David exhibited recent clay vessels and wall pieces. As their joint exhibit and talk illustrated, both artists share an interest in medium specificity and attention to evolving technologies of expression.

“Teaching students about concepts is usually not adequate,” says TESOL faculty member Josh Kurzweil in a recent blog post about teaching adults English as a second language. “For many students to become more effective learners, they need to see, do, and reflect on the techniques in class. In this way, students can build habits of learning that make sense to them.” Josh has recently done teacher training with professors at the California College of Art as well as labor union instructors with Laborer’s International Union of North America and the Service Employees International Union. Read his blog post on Supporting Science of Learning in the Language Classroom.

“I was one of three men invited to a conference on the theme of The Women in the Buddha’s Life at Harvard in April,” says philosophy professor William Edelglass. In March, William was in India to give several talks and workshops, including a talk titled “That is Why the Buddha Laughs: Apophasis as Practice” at the K.J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies in Mumbai. While in India he was also able to attend a meeting of the Mind and Life Institute, a weeklong conversation between scientists and the Dalai Lama called Religion and Ritual: The Poetics and Performance of the Ineffable. William recently published a chapter titled “Buddhism, Happiness, and the Science of Meditation” in Meditation, Buddhism, and Science in Context: Humanistic Scholarship and the Scientific Study of Meditation, edited by David L. McMahan and Erik Braun (Oxford University Press). Learn more about the Mind and Life dialogs.

Philosophy professor William Edelglass explores nature through Buddhist poetry with high school students in the Pre-College Summer Program titled Awakening in the Wild. Photo by Kelly FletcherIn August, theater professor Jean O’Hara presented on two panels at the Association for Theater in Higher Education conference in Boston. The first was a directing panel titled “Going from Protester to protestee: Who has the right to tell a story?” where Jean shared her experience with directing Didi and Gogo, an original adaptation of Waiting for Godot with two women of color in the lead roles. The second was an LGBT panel titled “Queering self/place/the everyday: Paving a path beyond heteronormativity?” where she shared the Drag: History, Politics, and Performance course that she co-taught with anthropology professor Nelli Sargsyan.

“The Exposures curriculum is now much more about understanding different cultural perspectives, and that ‘normal’ is a cultural construct,” said photography professor John Willis, who once again spent a month this summer with the cross-cultural youth arts program. “We use photography, writing, multimedia, and cross-cultural experience to understand and appreciate diversity.” Now in it’s 16th year, the Exposures program was initially launched by a group of John’s Plan students, and has employed several students and graduates over the years. This will be the first fall that one of the Lakota participants in the program will be enrolled as a new student at Marlboro College. 

“The MAT in Teaching with Technology has had a remarkable, 20-year run of exceptional learning for ‘teachers who like to geek and geeks who like to teach,’” said Kate Jellema, dean of graduate and professional studies, reflecting on the discontinuation of that graduate specialization. “As degree chair for half of that run, Caleb Clark brought his love of technological innovation, together with a real gift for teaching and advising, and helped facilitate impressive student outcomes.” See one example of these outcomes on page 44, and many more at marlboro.edu/matgraduates. Marlboro will be honoring Caleb, and celebrating the MAT alumni community, at the Graduate and Professional Studies 20th Anniversary weekend


2018 Commencement

Families, friends, colleagues, and classmates were all present on the glorious spring morning of May 13 to celebrate the commencement of the Marlboro College Class of 2018. A total of 52 undergraduates and 44 graduates were recognized for their Plans of Concentration, Capstone Projects, and many other achievements. Heartening student addresses were delivered by senior Fiona Craig and MAT student and undergraduate alumnus Michael Auerbach ’97, and honorary degrees were conferred upon Vermont Performance Lab founder Sara Coffey ’90 and writer, poet, and tribal sovereignty advocate Shaunna Oteka McCovey. Longtime trustee Ted Wendell kept the valediction speech short and sweet. “Look back with appreciation and affection on your journey to this moment,” he said. “Look forward with optimism and anticipation for the opportunities that await you. Seize those opportunities.”

From President Kevin Quigley’s remarks
Helen Pinch '18 performs a solo violin interlude. Photos by Kelly FletcherOne of the great joys of living and working at Marlboro is to witness our students live their passions, learn new skills, and grow into engaged citizens. Today’s program eloquently catalogues the extraordinary breadth of their interests, exploring ideas about theater, leadership, technology, innovative teaching, identity, painting, the human gut micobiome, art and consumer culture, environmental science, political rhetoric, religious communication, and animal behavior, to name just a few of the Plan and Capstone topics. Graduates, as you take this next step in life, the task of making our democracy succeed lies before you. Given what you have learned here and how you learned it, I believe that you are well prepared to become engaged citizens, connected to community, who will play a critical role in helping our democracy experience a needed rebirth.

From Fiona Craig’s student address
The conscience is what tells us, even when the world would lead us elsewhere, how to follow our basic impulse toward happiness and harmony…. The individual conscience, when heeded above all else, drives us to do good…. Perhaps most importantly, it calls us to forgive each other for our trespasses, because when we understand the deep conflict between our consciences and our appetites and influences, we can understand how people do evil while still containing something kind, pure, and beautiful. So I urge everyone to both follow their own conscience, and extend love and forgiveness to those who fail to.

From Michael Auerbach’s graduate student address
Margaret Hilliard receives the Buck Turner Prize for excellence in the natural sciences.I have been to a number of college graduations, and every time I feel pity for those happy graduates—not out of meanness or pride—but I feel a small part of pity because I know that they have not done what you have done. They have not been forged by what you have been through in your Plans, your Capstones, your Orals. They have not experienced what you have, honestly, what you have survived. Among over 2 million graduates this year—I did the math—only 0.002 percent (and I rounded up) have done what you have done. And you’ll carry that with you wherever you decide to go.

From the comments of Sara Coffee ‘90
As an alumna of the college, I value the academic rigor, the dedication of the faculty, and the rich experiences gained through a Marlboro education. Being here I feel so at home. And today, three decades later, as I look at the list of projects and Plans in this year’s graduating class, I see that the Marlboro that I knew and loved lives on, and it gives me great hope for our future…. At Marlboro l found passionate students and faculty and staff committed to rigorous academic and community life—I found my tribe. My experiences at Marlboro shaped me and gave me the values, tools, and confidence to navigate the world beyond Potash Hill.

From the comments of Shaunna Oteka McCovey
Erin Huang-Shaffer ’18 celebrates with theater professor Jean O'Hara and friend Allison Power.We live in very interesting times. We live in a time of divisiveness, of environmental degradation in the name of greed and partisanship, a time where people with racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, bigoted inclinations have been given a green light to act in abhorrent ways, a time where it feels like we are going back in time. Which makes it all the more important for you to accept your shared responsibility and acknowledge our shared humanity—and act accordingly. Whatever, however that may be. I trust that you’ll figure it out because you are soon to be Marlboro alumni.

For full transcripts of addresses, citations, and academic prizes and scholarships, as well as photos, go to marlboro.edu/comm2018.