VOLUME CXLI: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
F R I D AY , M AY 18, 2012
Photo by Joyzel Acevedo ’14 THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER OF AMHERST COLLEGE SINCE 1868.
Table of Contents Senior Proﬁles
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 22 23
Nathan Nash A Jack of All Trades and a Master of Many Leah Longoria Watching TV for a Thesis: the First FAMS Major Romen Borsellino AAS President Goes Beyond Appearances
24 25 26 27
Photo by Joyzel Acevedo ’14
Trevor Hyde Mathematician Discovers Lemniscate Proof Kate Berry A History Geek with a Passion for People Ben Scheetz Run, Run as Fast as You Can and Even Faster Yinan Zhang Intellectual Star Explores Education, Economics
Michelle Escobar A Spanish-Speaking Actress Takes her Bow Jeremy Koo Renaissance Man Composes Natural Spaces Shanika Audige Conversations with that Girl from Gad’s Rohan Mazumdar Omnipresent Man Orchestrates a Fine Balance Caroline Stedman Basketball Court Queen Ready for the Future Phil DuPont Unconventional Senior Breaks from Tradition Ioanida Costache A Love of Music and a Commitment to Humility
3 4 20-21
13-19, 31 28-30, 32
Honorary Degrees Scholarships Year in Review 2011-2012: Year of a New President Comes with New Struggles and Beginnings Senior Greetings Congratulations from friends and family Sports Wrap-up
Schedule of Events 1:00 p.m. Sigma Xi Meeting
Friday, May 18
2:00 p.m.— Conversation with Honored Guest: 3:00 p.m. Sheila C. Bair
1:00 p.m.— Check-In 9:00 p.m.
3:15 p.m.— Conversations with Honored Guests: 4:15 p.m. Martin Duberman Anthony W. Marx
5:00 p.m. Commencement Rehearsal
Saturday, May 19
4:30 p.m.— President’s Reception 6:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.— Check-in 7:30 p.m.
9:15 p.m. Choral Society Concert
9:00 a.m. Phi Beta Kappa Meeting
Sunday, May 20
10:00 a.m. Baccalaurate Service 11:15 p.m.— Conversations with Honored Guests: 12:15 p.m. Ulric St. C. Haynes Jr. ’52 David K. Lewis ’64
8:00 a.m.— Reception Center Open 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. The 191st Commencement
12:30 p.m.— Luncheon 2:00 p.m.
Editor-in-Chief Brianda Reyes Publishers Mary Byrne, Chris Friend, Nazir Khan, David Walchak Commencement Issue Editors Nicole Chi, Erik Christianson, Karl Greenblat, Emmett Knowlton, Alissa Rothman, Meghna Sridhar, Clara Yoon
Design Editor Brendan Hsu Contributors Diana Babineau, Karan Bains, Ethan Corey, Whit Froehlich, Noah Gordon, Reilly O’Haran, Siyu Shen, Jake Walters, Andre Wang, Eirene Wang, Judy Yoo Photographer Joyzel Acevedo
The Amherst Student is published weekly except during College vacations. The subscription rate is $75 per year or $40 per semester. Subscription requests and address changes should be sent to: Subscriptions, The Amherst Student; Box 1912, Amherst College: Amherst, MA 01002-5000. The offices of The Student are located on the second floor of the Keefe Campus Center, Amherst College. Phone: (413) 542-2304. All contents copyright © 2011 by The Amherst Student, Inc. All rights reserved. The Amherst Student logo is a trademark of The Amherst Student, Inc. Additionally, The Amherst Student does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age.
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
MAY 18, 2012
Honorary Degrees Christiane Amanpour ABC News Global Affairs Anchor One of the most widely-recognized foreign correspondents, Christiane Amanpour is currently the global affairs anchor for ABC News. In addition, she is the host of “Amanpour,” an interview program on CNN International where she has also been the chief international correspondent since 1992. Amanpour broke into the journalism scene in 1990 when her first assignment was to cover the Gulf War. Since that first assignment, she has reported from many places, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Rwanda. Amanpour was the only person to interview Hosni Mubarak and had an exclusive interview with Muammar Ghadafi during the Arab Spring in February 2011. Amanpour was the 2011 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Martin Duberman Writer/Gay Rights Activist
The current senior adviser to The Pew Charitable Trusts, Sheila Bair was the chair of the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 to 2011 and played a major part in the government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. Before that, Bair was the Dean’s Professor of Financial Regulatory Policy for the Isenberg School for Management at UMass Amherst since 2002. She has also served as assistant secretary for financial institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (2001-2002) and held many other prominent positions. She was the recipient of a 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and a Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award.
Ulric Haynes Jr. ’52 Former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria
Martin Duberman is an American historian and gay-rights activist as well as a writer of plays, biographies, historical works, essays, book reviews and more. He is a Professor Emeritus of History at Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City Univ. of New York, and he founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in 1991 in the latter — the nation’s first university-based research center dedicated to the study of issues of concern to LGBTQ communities. Duberman has received many awards for his writings, including a Bancroft Prize, a Vernon Rice/Drama Desk Award, two Lambda awards and more. He has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
David K. Lewis ’64 Connecticut College Professor
David K. Lewis ’64 is the current Margaret W. Kelly Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College and taught at Colgate Univ. for 26 years. He recently received the 2012 National Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution from the American Chemical Society (ACS), in honor of his decades of successful collaboration with, and encouragement of, undergraduate researchers in chemistry. Lewis has produced more than 40 articles, most with undergraduate coauthors, for publications such as The Journal of Physical Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He is affiliated with Aerodyne Research Inc. and is a member of the ACS, the Council on Undergraduate Research and Sigma Xi.
John McPhee American Author
Sheila Bair Pew Charitable Trusts Sr. Advisor
John McPhee is an American writer widely considered to be one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction. He is the author of 29 nonfiction books on a wide range of topics, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1965 and the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University since 1974. His titles include “A Sense of Where You Are” (1965), “The Curve of Binding Energy” (1974), “Uncommon Carriers” (2006) and “Silk Parachute” (2010). He won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, a 1977 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 2011 Wallace Stegner Award from the Center of the American West.
Ulric Haynes ’52 is a former United States Ambassador to Algeria (1977 to 1981) and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and Council on Foreign Relations. During his time as ambassador, he helped to negotiate the release of hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Iran. He has worked for the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State and the National Council, focusing on various regions of Africa. His positions in academia include serving as the president of SUNY College at Old Westbury and teaching at institutions such as Harvard and Stanford. Haynes holds a B.A. in political science from Amherst and a J.D. from Yale Law School, and he graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Anthony W. Marx Former Amherst College President
Currently president of the New York Public Library, Anthony W. Marx was the 18th president of Amherst College. He strove to make Amherst the most selective and socioeconomically diverse college in the country, and he pushed to ensure access for the most talented students from any economic background. Prior to Amherst, he was a professor and director of undergraduate studies of Political Science at Columbia Univ. He also helped in the founding of Khanya College in South Africa. Marx wrote a book, “Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil,” that won the American Political Science Association’s 1999 Ralph J. Bunche Award and the American Sociological Association’s 2000 Barrington Moore Prize.
Jim Steinman ’69 Composer, Lyricist and Producer
Since his days as a young opera fan and a creator of daring theatrical works at Amherst College and with Joe Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Jim Steinman ’69 has sold more than 190 million records as a composer, lyricist and Grammy Award-winning record producer. He is responsible for hit songs such as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” and Meat Loaf ’s album “Bat Out of Hell.” Steinman also wrote the lyrics for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Whistle Down the Wind” and contributed to the soundtrack of “Footloose,” among other movies. In June 2012, Steinman will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Photos courtesy of (from left to right): Office of Public Affairs (OPA), OPA, lehman.edu, OPA, OPA, OPA, princeton.edu, broadwayworld.com
May 18, 2012
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Fulbright Scholars Ethan Balgley
Ethan Balgley was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to research the ethical perspectives of New Zealand mental health activist groups towards prenatal mental illness genetic testing. Working in coordination with professors at New Zealand’s leading universities, Balgley explained in his application that “this ethnographic work will be part of a larger anthropological study, called ‘Troubling Choice,’ on moral reasoning around genetic testing and pregnancy termination.” While at the College, Balgley worked part-time as a Health Professions Intern at the Career Center and founded the Amherst Public Health Collaborative, as well as the Amherst chapter of Globe-
Med. His pursuits off campus as a Health and Microﬁnance Intern in Sierra Leone and Health Reform Canvass Manager at an environmental organization in Oregon highlight his commitment to a vision of health equality. Balgley was also captain of the water polo team and studied in Jerusalem for a semester. For his honors thesis, Balgley studied “the effects of different modalities of care on the personhood and family ties of dementia patients,” dealing with issues surrounding mental dysfunction. With a degree in Anthropology, Balgley explained his desire to continue health research from this viewpoint: “The better our understanding of the social and cultural issues around these diseases is, the better our support for those who experience them will be,” enabling him to improve care for the ill and impoverished.
Anthropology major Bethany Brown was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to travel to Bulgaria. “I strongly believe that teaching is a way of life; it is not merely a hat I can put on or off—it is part of who I am,” Brown wrote in her application. She looks forward to building relationships abroad. Brown has previously gained experience in Hangzhou, China, where she taught an elective class at Zhejiang Univ., while interning at an education company preparing students for the American college application process. Every experience improved Brown as a teacher, and Bulgaria will surely not be an
exception. “I genuinely believe I can learn something from anyone and everyone,” Brown admitted in her application. “Perhaps it is selﬁsh, but I love teaching English for all the ways in which I am taught in return.” She has never been to southeastern Europe and is eager to study the culture and customs of Bulgaria. Brown commented excitedly, “I am especially intrigued [by] the dominant Eastern Orthodoxy and the shift in religious culture with the rise of Islam. There is much about Bulgarian current events that is challenging historical cultural norms.” Brown learns best “through interacting with people and seeing theories at work,” and she knows that Bulgaria will help teach and prepare her for a career in international education.
Marlis Gnirke was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Berlin, Germany where she will conduct research on stem cell and regenerative biology. She will be studying under the tutelage of Dr. Gregory Wulczyn at the Institute for Cell Biology and Neurobiology, focusing speciﬁcally on the role of microRNA in brain development. Gnirke hopes to “join the efforts leading towards the development of effective therapies for neurological diseases.” She said in her application: “The societal and economic cost of neurological disease is enormous...[but] the un-
derlying causes remain largely unknown and few effective treatment options exist. However, with rapid scientiﬁc and technological advances over the past decade, gene- and/or cell-based therapies are starting to come within reach.” Gnirke, a ﬂuent German speaker who has visited Germany on eight separate occasions, is conﬁdent that her research stay will be fruitful. She emphasized her desire to “give back to [her] host community” by volunteering at a local medical clinic and to “immerse [herself] in the research scene and unique culture...[of] Berlin.” Upon returning to the U.S., Gnirke hopes to attend either an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. graduate program, ideally beginning her career at an academic hospital.
Fulbright awardee Taylor Davis Haney will spend the next year researching the impact of the Tibetan diaspora on the musical traditions of Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India. He hopes to spend his time there studying the extensive audio/visual archives available at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Haney intends to split his time between understanding the history of Tibetan music and how it is preserved and documented and doing ﬁeldwork to measure “the ﬂuid realities of Tibetan musical life.” He believes his background in musicology and Buddhist studies gives him ideal preparation to comprehend the key fea-
tures of Tibet’s music history. Haney was motivated by his time abroad in India, when news of the Dalai Lama’s retirement from politics fostered in him an anxiety “over the future of an exiled culture and music I had grown to love.” His three-week ethnographic project in Dehradun left him with a love of ethnomusicology and Tibetan culture and a thirst to learn more. Haney believes his research will be a step towards empowering the exiled population to deﬁne themselves through music and creating shared cultural appreciation between India and Tibet. In the future, he plans to go to graduate school in ethnomusicology and hopes to “contribute to the sustained dialogue of ethnomusicology” to “cultivate global awareness, cultural understanding and mutual respect.”
Russian and Music double-major Dana Kaufman was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to research and study the ethnomusicology of Estonia and its minority Russian-speaking communities. Kaufman plans to do ﬁeld research and recordings of different “types of sound” that she will then implement into her own personal composition at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In her proposal, Kaufman explained that the “types of sounds I plan to record include
noise from a factory, birdcalls, trafﬁc and music of street performers.” While composing in Tallinn, Estonia with the help of English- and Russian-speaking faculty from the departments of Composition and Musicology, Kaufman also plans to enroll in the Baltic Studies Summer Institute (BALSSI) 2012 for intensive Estonian language courses. Kaufman explained that her passion for Eastern European studies “far predates my college years and perhaps was ﬁrst sparked by stories of my family history in then-Russia.” As a ﬁrst-year at Amherst, Kaufman excelled in Professor Jeffers Engelgardt’s “Seminar in the
Anthropology of Music: Eastern European Musical Minimalism and the Present Age.” There, she was introduced to the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, who greatly inspired her and whose tintinnabular system haunted her when she learned that New York AIDS patients often requested it on their deathbeds. Last year, she composed
pieces for a choir as Composer-in-Residence of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Northﬁeld, Ill. While Kaufman hopes her research in Estonia will allow her compositions to reﬂect Estonian culture and the Russian presence in Estonia, ultimately her goal is to “genuinely inspire others.”
Thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship, Benjamin Lin will spend a year in Istanbul researching the geology and political economy of earthquakes while taking relevant courses at Boğaziçi Üniversitesi. Lin’s goal is to study the geology of Istanbul, Turkey, as well as understand its policy reactions. In Istanbul, Lin plans to do research in the Kandili Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI) and travel around the city to study and photograph sites. He will also continue to study Turkish independently. Growing up near San Francisco, Calif., Lin was constantly reminded of the dangers of earthquakes and has always been fascinated by
the natural world. However, as a geology and economics double major, his academic passions have been torn between the two disciplines, and he most enjoyed classes “where [he] could combine both and think deeply about how human decisions impacted our planet, and vice-versa.” Luckily, in Istanbul, he will be able to do both. After returning to the U.S., Lin plans to either do economic research at a private ﬁrm for several years in preparation for graduate school in economics or go to graduate school in geology. His ultimate goal is to combine the two disciplines. “I want to build smarter societies that are improving human life but are also aware of our ultimate budget constraint: planet Earth, our one and only ‘pale blue dot’ in the universe, and its precious mix of fortunate coincidences that make life possible,” he said.
For her Fulbright project, Alexa Russo will go to Udaipur, Rajasthan in India to work with non-proﬁt organization Seva Mandir. There, she will examine “the impediments that prevent women from participating in microcredit programs” in order to help women in poverty gain access to additional resources. Russo ﬁrst realized her rational-scientiﬁc way of viewing life was limiting while on a community service trip in Dharamsala, India, where she developed an appreciation for Indian culture and Buddhist philosophy and the central role that they play in certain cultural worldviews. She developed this interest at Amherst by taking relevant coursework and ended up deciding to double major in religion and economics in order to use business as an effective tool for poverty alleviation and social empowerment.
This interdisciplinary background, she believes, is crucial — “not only because development is incomplete if it involves economic improvement without social advancement,” but also because it is often impossible to help people without an understanding of their culture. Thus, her research will try to answer central questions such as whether or not there are differences in background, culture or politics that separate the women who join self-help groups (SHGs) from those who do not. After her project, Russo intends to join an organization in the U.S. that uses a holistic, community-based approach to business growth and attend business school with a speciﬁc focus on development. She aspires to combine her practical knowledge of business and economics and her insights into cultural and religious understanding to form a community-based model that helps increase the ﬁnancial and social wellbeing of those in poverty.
To continue her passions for teaching and French, Susannah Rudel received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English for a year in France. She has dedicated over 10 years to studying the language and culture and spent a summer with a host family in France. Her time living with a French family and their children helped Rudel realize the joy and understanding that comes from interacting with children. In her personal statement, Rudel tells of the time spent with her host family learning French and, in turn, teaching the parents and children English words. “Usually they would be appalled by the English pronunciation of words, and I love seeing their bemused reactions,” Rudel recalled. Rudel’s life at the College reﬂects her dedi-
cation to teaching: in addition to coaching and teaching survival skills and swimming, being a varsity swimmer herself, she has tutored high school math and volunteered at the Little Red Schoolhouse, working with children of all ages. Her great breadth of experience as a trusted mentor explains her attentive teaching philosophy and desire to pursue teaching. Furthermore, her extensive experience with community service brings to light her desire to equalize educational opportunities through her role as a mentor. Rudel’s studies of French history inform her desire to teach in France. Her thesis on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vichy France in the fall of 1942 reﬂects her crosscultural interest that inspires her to exchange knowledge and culture between the two countries, allowing her, as Rudel wrote in her personal statement, “in a small way, to bring the two cultures together.”
With the help of a Fulbright Scholarship, Sarah Schear will have the chance to study women’s rights and family planning in Northwest India through a project entitled “Women’s Empowerment and Sex Ratios.” This will not be Schear’s ﬁrst stay in India; in fact, she spent the 2010-2011 academic year in Varanasi to study Kathak Dance and Hindi language as well as examine the work of social programs for children with disabilities. In her application, Schear explains that she hopes to contribute something she believes is “notably lacking” to India’s existing demographic statistics on sex ratios and sex-selective abortions: “ﬁeldwork rooted in particular contexts and privileging the views and experiences of families. The central questions of my
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
study, which will be of interest to policy makers, include: How are marriage practices, women’s employment and parental expectations of children affecting sex selection, and are these impacts speciﬁc to certain regional or class groups?” Besides her previous experience in India, the Anthropology major has worked in China and visited Norway, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Professor Ranjana Sheel, who observed Schear during her time in Varanasi, praises her “penchant for details and hard work” which he believes will allow her to “be successful in meeting her objectives and bringing forth much-needed facts.” Ultimately, Schear, a volunteer EMT, plans to earn a joint degree in medicine and public health before becoming a pediatrician or family practitioner. She plans to work primarily with low-income populations while remaining “an advocate for global health equity.”
MAY 18, 2012
A Jack of All Trades and a Master of Many A double major, musician, RC, senator, tutor, Russia enthusiast, great friend and more, there is no doubt that Nathan Nash has made the most of his Amherst experience. by Eirene Wang ’13
of the kids were older than me, and I was going to have to deal with TAs who were older than me and who were coming to the U.S. for the first time, usually,” Nash said. “But Porter became my favorite dorm, because it was so close-knit. Most of the residents were sophomores, so they still had that freshman-year feeling of saying hi to each other, and a lot of them were in my Russian classes, too.”
Mixing Humanities and Science
Nash will be interning in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services next year. He remains unsure about his long-term plans. Looking through Nathan Nash’s résumé, the first thought that pops into my head is: how much sleep does this guy get? “Oh, you know, four to five hours,” answers Nash, an ever-indulgent grin plastered on his face. I stare, incredulous, and he acquiesces a little. “Six or seven since I finished my thesis.” He pauses for a second, then chuckles. “They used to call me a vampire back when I was an RC in Porter House [my sophomore year] because I never slept.” It soon becomes clear in our conversation that sleep may be the only thing that Nash doesn’t sink his teeth into on a regular basis. The list of activities in which Nash has been involved during his time at Amherst is staggering and awe-inspiring. It includes everything from playing trombone in the orchestra and the sackbut — a medieval predecessor to the trombone — in the Five College Early Music program, to tutoring for three different programs (though not simultaneously), to being an RC for three years, a senator for two, captain of the Mock Trial team and a Career Center Peer Career Advisor (PCA). “I’ve just tried a whole bunch of different stuff that I’ve never done, and it’s worked out,” Nash happily explains. “I always want to try new things, even when I overload myself with too much.”
Time is No Obstacle Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to a geology professor and a nurse turned part-time massage therapist, Nash grew up dividing his time between his dad’s house in Cincinnati and his mom’s family farm in Wilmington, Ohio, after his parents separated. Af-
May 18, 2012
ter his mom remarried when Nash was five, he and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where they have lived ever since. Nash attended duPont Manual Magnet High School, a magnet school in science and technology, in Louisville. Again, Nash found himself dividing his time between two places — this time between Manual and Louisville’s Youth and Performing Arts School (YPAS), where he attended classes for band and orchestra. As it turns out, Nash was quite the band geek in high school. His instrument of choice was the trombone, which at first sounded, according to an old band teacher, like a dying buffalo, but which later garnered Nash first chair in YPAS’ nationally ranked symphonic band. His love of both music and keeping busy was already present, as Nash took part in jazz band, symphonic band and marching band, as well as wind ensemble, pit orchestra and regular orchestra. College, however, marked a new beginning for Nash. Amherst wasn’t his first choice — he rolled a die to make his final decision — but Nash has more than made the best of it. Although he played the trombone in the orchestra for three out of four years here, dropping it this year because of his thesis, Nash has explored a variety of other interests as well, including mock trial, student government (Association of Amherst Students), ESL tutoring and being an RC and PCA. His RC position, in particular, has been one of his greatest sources of joy, in large part due to the warm and welcoming community he encountered in Porter in his first year as an RC. “I was pretty nervous since some
Russian Professor Boris Wolfson writes that, “What makes Nathan stand out from among his many brilliant peers is his genuinely impressive intellectual versatility.” Indeed, amidst his flurry of activities and interests, Nash also found the time to double major in political science and biology. Having been interested in political science since high school, Nash took a class with Professor Hadley Arkes his first year and eventually decided to major, initially hoping to work in international relations. His science major was a bit unexpected. Although many of his science high school classmates headed straight for the humanities in college, Nash decided to pursue biology, especially after sparking an interest in genetics in his first-year seminar Genes Genomes, and Society. Nash describes this past year, the first year that he’s taken courses solely in the biology and political science departments, as enjoyable and interesting. “I really like the diversity of going from a quantitative field to a more qualitative, humanities field,” he said. He hopes to perhaps incorporate these two loves into a career path that will interweave both the sciences and humanities. This, agrees Biology Professor Dominic Poccia, would be the best use of Nash’s manifold talents. “As a political science and biology major, he realizes that the modern world is a full of questions about which biology increasingly has relevant things to say,” Poccia says. Poccia envisions Nash to be as informed about science as he is of law and social issues as a future politician.
The Allure of Russia Yet Nash’s passions lie not only in political science and biology, but also in Russian language and literature. Strange Russian Professor Stanley Rabinowitz credits himself with roping Nash into the field: “I gave the usual spiel of our department. At that point Nathan was also considering philosophy, and I said, Nathan, you can always do philosophy, but if you’re interested in Russian, you should start now or else you’ll have to wait a year. Well, the rest is history: he went to the first class, and he’s never left.” Nash spent his summer last year studying at the Bashkir State Pedagogical Univ. in Ufa, Russia, through the State Department’s prestigious Critical Languages Scholarship Program. The summer started with a couple of glitches — Nash was assigned to two wrong host families and stumbled into a taxi where the driver knew not a lick of English —
but Nash describes his experience as empowering and eye-opening. “I think I really grew a lot,” he says. “It made me more outgoing. They made certificates of completion for us at the end of the program, and I even got Mr. Ucharovanie, which means ‘Mr. Charming,’ That was really cool.” A talk with his Political Science professor (and later thesis advisor) William Taubman led Nash to explore Russian politics over his summer in Russia, in particular, Putin and his authoritarian regime. Nash’s summa thesis, entitled “Enforcement and Artificiality: Examining the Roles of Civility and Democracy in Vladimir Putin’s Hegemonic Authoritarian Regime” examines Russia’s political system under Putin and in particular, the roles stability and democracy play within it. Taubman praises Nash’s thesis as already having made a genuine contribution to the field of Russian Studies. “Professor Taubman emailed me today and said maybe we can publish it in a journal,” Nash says, a bit guardedly. “We’ll see; that’s a long way off.” Although one of Nash’s childhood dreams was to publish a book, Nash admits he has no idea how he would turn his thesis into a book, even though that was one of the questions at his thesis defense.
The Guy Who Would Give You His Sheets Outside the classroom (and library), Nash’s genial personality makes him shine as both a role model and a friend. “As a little kid, people would call me ‘Smiles,’ because I always had a big smile on my face, and I guess that’s become part of my personality,” Nash says. Conny Morrison ’12 writes that “Nathan is ridiculous funny, smart and caring. He is a committed friend who will lend a hand to help whether he realistically has time to or not.” Alex Gomes Pereira ’12, Nash’s suitemate this year and also Nash’s first-year roommate, recalls a touching moment he and Nash shared during their first week of first year. “I had just arrived from Brazil, and I had somehow forgotten to pack my bed sheets,” Gomes Pereira says. “Nathan offered me his sheets, even though we barely knew each other.
Whenever I think of what kind of friend Nathan is, I always think of him as the guy who would give you his sheets.” “What’s really cool about Nathan is that he not only has these great academic achievements, he’s also just a happy, great, selfless guy who really relates to people around him,” Gomes Pereira adds. “I’m sure that whatever he does in the future, he’ll do something great and share it with everyone who has helped him along the way.”
Life After Amherst As he looks toward the future, Nash remains unsure about his longterm plans. Although Nash’s winning proposal for the Truman Scholarship, a $30,000 award for a graduate school of his choice, detailed his interest in the environmental devastation of coal mining in Kentucky, he is hesitant about committing to it, at least in the near future. Nash will spend the next year interning through a Truman-Albright Fellowship in the Office of Rural Health Policy in the United States Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, MD. “I’m excited about it,” Nash said. “I came to college afraid of not being able to make friends and not being accepted, but I think Amherst has given me the tools to make it anywhere.” Teaching and grad school are also possible prospects, though Nash intends to wait several years before pursuing education. “As a little kid, I always wanted to be a teacher,” Nash said. “But I’ve always imagined doing something for a while and then becoming a teacher later.”
The Legacy As our interview wound down, I asked Nash what sort of a legacy he hopes to leave at Amherst. This appears to be a challenging question; for the first time in our twohour long conversation, Nash stalls and stammers. “I don’t know,” he says finally. “I guess it would be that you can be yourself and still be accepted.” He pauses, contemplating. “I guess I’d want people to remember me as someone you could talk to. Someone who knew a lot of people and wasn’t afraid to try new things. And hopefully as someone who was a nice guy.”
Photos courtesy of Nathan Nash
An especially meaningful aspect of Nash’s experience at Amherst has been his experiences as an RC.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Watching TV for a Thesis: the First FAMS Major Rower pursues television dreams after discovering film junior year. By Diana Babineau ’14 Leah Longoria, like many students at the College, at first didn’t know what she wanted to major in. Luckily, she discovered her love for film just in time — the Film and Media Studies department was created at the start of her junior year. Even though she was already a Math major, Longoria dove straight into the FAMS major. Not only was she able to complete the requirements, but she also excelled in her courses and wrote an eloquent, insightful thesis examining death in television. Her drive to succeed has led her to be the first Film and Media Studies major and an altogether admirable and inspiring graduate.
Longoria grew up in Austin, Texas with her parents and twin sister Emma (Caris) Longoria ’12. Growing up as a twin, Longoria was incredibly close with her sister, and both sisters have agreed that their bond has only gotten stronger after coming to the College. Nevertheless, Longoria has always had a distinctive sense of independence, which she has carried with her throughout her time at Amherst. “She blazes her own trail,” Caris said. “I honestly cannot think of a time when she has really failed. For this, I have always looked up to her.” Longoria knew she wanted to remain close with her sister after graduating from high school. “Going to different schools was never an option,” Caris revealed. “I don’t think we even considered the possibility.” What attracted Longoria most about the College in particular was the open curriculum. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in, so the open curriculum was perfect for me,” Longoria said. Indeed Longoria took advantage of the open curriculum during her
first year. “I basically took a class from every department,” Longoria said. By the end of her first year, she had finally decided on becoming a math major. But Longoria didn’t stop there — her academic career suddenly took an unexpected turn when she took the film course “Popular Cinema” with Professor Christian Rogowski. It was then that she began developing a strong interest in film. John (Jack) Eastburn ’13 noticed a huge development in Longoria’s academic interests. “Before she came here, TV was just something she watched a lot. Once she started taking film classes I think she really fell in love with the study of it,” Eastburn said. Caris agreed, stating, “Leah has found her niche in the Film and Media Studies major. That’s where she has really come into her own.”
At the time that Longoria discovered her growing passion for Film and Media Studies, it was not yet an official department and major. Professor Amelie Hastie, who taught Longoria in several courses and was her senior thesis advisor, recounted, “Fall 2010 was when the Film and Media Studies major was officially launched. At that time, it was open to the class of 2014, but Leah came and talked to me the first day of class and said she was interested. I knew it would be a challenge, since Leah was already a junior, but she was ready and able to try it out.” Longoria certainly rose to the challenge. Her friends and professors are amazed at how successful she has been as the first FAMS major of the College. “She’s incredibly driven,” Eastburn said. “As a result, her work ethic is hard to beat.” Everyone I interviewed about Longoria marveled at her impressive time management skills and un-
failing commitment to her studies. “She has the best time management skills I have seen in anyone … I’ve never met anyone who meets deadlines so easily and readily,” said Visiting Professor Chris Mason Johnson, with whom Longoria has also taken courses. “I’m trying to figure out her secret so I can emulate it myself!”
Team Player with the Right Crew
Alongside her academics, Longoria has also excelled as a member of the crew team at Amherst. Joining her first year, she is now the captain of the women’s team. “I did marching band in high school,” she recalled, “and I really liked being in a group, so being on a team here was something that was really important to me.” One of her most memorable moments was winning bronze at the New England Rowing Championship last year. In addition, she produced a film documentary on one of the men’s varsity boats. “It was an amazing experience,” Longoria said. “It was the first film I had ever made, and it was of something I love doing. The finished product is something I’m really proud of.” Despite her busy schedule, Longoria has always made time for her friends. Having known Longoria for three years, Eastburn said, “She’s extremely committed to her close group of friends and always loyal.” Caris, also a rower, recounted how absolutely supportive and selfless Longoria was when Caris’s boat won gold in the New England Rowing Championship, while Longoria’s boat did not do as well. “I will never forget the image of Leah rushing toward me, absolutely beaming with unbridled happiness. As we embraced she said something in my ear, I don’t even remember what, I just remember tearing up, not out of happiness for my success, but because in that moment Leah showed such pure selflessness. She was truly happy for me in a way I think most people who had just experienced failure could not have been. I still look back at that moment as a poignant illustration of our relationship and of Leah’s constant grace,” Caris said.
Death in Television: An Inspiring Thesis
Besides excelling academically, Longoria joined crew her first year to finally row for Amherst as women’s team captain.
Longoria’s proudest accomplishment during her time at the College is her senior FAMS thesis, “Rest in Pieces: Death on an Undying Medium As Seen On TV’s ‘Dexter’, ‘Nip/Tuck’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Damages.’” From the moment she declared her major in FAMS, Longoria knew she wanted to write a thesis in Film and Media Studies. “I’m obsessed with TV,” Longoria said. “I knew I had to pick something I love, something I’m really passionate about, to be able to spend a year writing a thesis on it. So I picked four of my absolute favorite shows to study.” In her thesis, Longoria explored
how death is represented in television, particularly centered around the body. “The shows I picked are so different, so the ironic question I ask is: what does a serial killer, a plastic surgeon, a robot and a lawyer have in common? Nothing, you would think, but I guess what I found in the end was that my desire to work with these shows stemmed from my own fascination with death, which was what connected them in a way,” Longoria said. “I started to see a sort of trade-off between television and different complex theories — Freud, for example — and how our own drive towards death as humans is kind of mimicked in television.” She explained how her thesis topic changed to further examine “hauntings” in television, and then “fragmentation and television’s archive as related to the body and death.” Longoria was very happy to have Professor Hastie as her thesis advisor. “Professor Hastie has been amazing,” she said. “[It was] abso-
Photos courtesy of Leah Longoria
Longoria has produced two films and a thesis exploring death in TV. film and media studies after Amherst College. She will be attending the MFA program in television at Boston Univ. for three semesters, where she will also be a teaching assistant for undergraduates and work in the television production department. After Boston Univ., Longoria hopes to pursue a career in entertainment television.
Longoria was able to complete a major in Film and Media Studies despite the recent creation of the department. lutely the best advising experience I’ve had.” Professor Hastie was equally impressed with Longoria’s impeccable work. “If there is one thing I would emphasize about Leah, it is her fearlessness in researching, reading and then explicating incredibly complex theoretical text — sometimes even against my caution,” Hastie said. “It’s just remarkable what she was able to accomplish.” Professor Hastie also praised the fluidity and engaging aspects of Longoria’s writing. “There are moments that are really very poetic, which is something you do not expect in writing about television. I remember when I read the conclusion of Leah’s thesis — I almost wept, it was so beautiful,” Hastie said. For Longoria, the thesis-writing process was one big discovery. “I found a lot of weird connections between all the shows that I wouldn’t initially have thought of,” Longoria said. “For example, I had a lot of different screen shots within the chapters of my thesis, and it’s fascinating how similar some of the images are in these very different shows.”
It was Professor Hastie’s television studies classes that really excited Longoria about the major and inspired her decision to continue with
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
“I’d love to work on a show on HBO — that’s my dream job,” Longoria said. “I’m interested more in television than film, because the producers are both creative and managerial, so I can get both sides, whereas film is mostly just directing.” Her friends have complete faith in Longoria and are certain that she will go on to be very successful in life. When I asked Caris what she could see Longoria doing after graduating, she responded with, “Being awesome. I’m counting on her to become the producer of a highly successful and critically acclaimed TV show.” Eastburn remarked, “I’ve gotten to read just a bit of what she’s done this year for screenwriting and, though I don’t know much about scripts, it’s honestly very good. Couple that with the fact that she’s produced two phenomenal films over the past two years, and I’d say she can really do whatever she wants.” Given her talents and academic achievements in Film and Media Studies, as well as her leadership, dedication and graceful personality, Longoria has a world of possibilities open to her. The first official FAMS major is undoubtedly an inspiring role model and has really paved the way for future FAMS majors here at Amherst College.
May 18, 2012
AAS President Goes Beyond Appearances His door-to-door campaigning and inclusive approach won Borsellino the presidency for the AAS. by Karan Bains ’14 While Association of Amherst Students President Romen Borsellino served as the elected face of the student body this year, his commitment to student government and everything else that he has touched at Amherst goes far beyond mere appearances. Although he long loved politics and dedicated to making the school a better place through his roles on the AAS, the friendships he forged in the past four years too have undoubtedly played a major role in shaping his Amherst experience. In addition, Borsellino certainly took advantage of Amherst’s academic resources, crafting an interdisciplinary major specific to his interest in political psychology.
Childhood and Family Life Borsellino’s enduring interest in politics and his strong ties to his family developed during his upbringing in Des Moines, Iowa. With an Italian father and an Indian mother, Borsellino was exposed to two different cultures as a child. He says that he “really did have a storybook childhood, in a lot of ways.” He calls his parents “incredible” and appreciates his “blessed” childhood not only with them, but with his older brother Raj as well. His aunt, Amherst professor Amrita Basu, called him “very funny and very theatrical” as a young boy, recalling in particular the many family gatherings that revolved around “shows that Romen, his brother and cousins put together” in which Borsellino would “don his home-made costumes and sing songs he had made up” for the entire group. His favorite food during these days was tater tot casserole; in fact, unsatisfied with the frequency of this meal at home, “at age three or four, Romen announced very seriously that he had
started packing to move in with his best friend Wade’s family so that he could eat his favorite food there,” recalled Basu. Amusing anecdotes like this only scratch the deep sense of family that has been paramount in his life; although Borsellino has always been outgoing, he agreed that “it was always family first.” In 2000, he moved to Florida with his brother and parents. Since he knew nobody in the area at first, he spent a lot of time with his family and reinforced the bonds that had already been made. The nurturing and loving atmosphere that Borsellino became accustomed to was rocked with tragedy when Borsellino was 16, when his father passed away from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. While Borsellino says that “words can’t do justice to how I felt or how tragic that was,” he also emphasized that his father’s death gave him a profound realization that he had “been incredibly lucky to have a father like him” and also gave him a stronger appreciation for his mother, who he calls “the reason for everything I do in life and the person in the world whose opinion I care most about.” His brother Raj also played an important role at this point; although the two had always been extremely close, he developed into “not only a brother but a best friend, and at some point a father figure, as well” for Borsellino, a relationship that continues to this day.
Early Interest in Politics Even as a boy, Borsellino was never afraid to campaign among his peers for a good cause. An early starter, he organized a school-wide campaign in elementary school to donate hundreds of boxes of unused crayons to underprivileged children. As he got older, the influence of his home
environment, which was “immersed in community, state and national politics” according to Basu, swayed him into school politics. His campaigns earned him a reputation as a great political strategizer, who was asked to run others’ campaigns. He volunteered for both the Barack Obama and Howard Dean campaigns in high school, exposing himself to politics at the highest level. As president of his high school, he hosted actor Kal Penn during Penn’s time campaigning for Obama; Penn was so impressed by Borsellino’s enthusiasm and commitment that he took him to the White House and later introduced him to Obama himself during a roundtable event in Iowa. In addition, his brother also said that Borsellino orchestrated a variety of less publicized events, including “volunteering at local animal shelters, advocating against sexual assault and hate speech and raising money for local charities in Iowa.”
Coming to Amherst Borsellino’s family continued to influence him, even in making the decision to come to the College. With an Amherst faculty member in the family, Borsellino felt more than comfortable choosing to become a Lord Jeff, and cited Basu as “the reason why [coming to Amherst] was the best decision I have ever made.” However, he does remember an initial worry that Amherst might be “overly robotic or preppy,” and was relieved to find an open and welcoming atmosphere instead. Dan Alter ’13, who lived on the same floor as Borsellino in Charles Pratt dormitory, remembered that “Borsellino left a very big impression on most people from the start” by always leaving his door open and establishing his room as a social center for his fellow first-years. Alter and Borsellino formed a strong bond through a multitude of shared experiences; more specifically, Alter recalls one rainy day when Borsellino insisted that the pair of them “change into bathing suits and ponchos and sprint to Val in the pouring rain” on a whim. Borsellino also remembered those days fondly and said that they set the stage for the rest of his Am-
Borsellino’s enthusiasm for politics earned him a visit to the White House and a meeting with President Obama.
May 18, 2012
herst experience and the “unbelievable friendships” that have defined his time here. Borsellino considered himself “lucky” and “blessed” to have met people like Alter, his “friend and confidant” Alex Stein, and many other friends, such as his first-year roommate Peter Skurman and his Lip Sync winning room group. As Borsellino’s girlfriend Kyra Ellis-Moore ’15 said, all of his friends love him for his “special ability to bring all different kinds of people together,” adding, “you can rely on him to be the devil’s advocate, the comic relief and most importantly, a fiercely loyal friend.”
Finding a Passion at Amherst Although when Borsellino first got involved with the AAS, he admitted that he “did it just because it was something to do,” he quickly realized that “it was an incredible avenue for getting connected with the school both as an institution and personally with students.” Beginning a practice that would serve him well in future elections, Borsellino started his doorto-door campaigning style at the end of his first year. His friends also helped with his campaigning. Alter remembers that on election day, he “spent the whole day in the lobby of Charles Pratt at the base of the staircase” so that “every time somebody walked in, I got them to vote and not even necessarily for him.” This encouragement for people to invest in their student government, whether they voted for Borsellino or not, became a pillar of Borsellino’s platform when he ran for AAS President at the end of his junior year. As for the time leading up to the election itself, Borsellino jokes that “if I’ve ever had a stressful three weeks in my life, that was it.” Throughout his campaigning, Borsellino reached out to all the groups in the Amherst community. He vividly recalled, in the eleventh hour, “wearing a suit and tie, making a total fool of myself knocking on doors.” Indeed, he remains very proud of the inclusive principle behind these efforts, saying that they “showed students that it was possible to connect with student government in ways they hadn’t thought of before.” Even after being elected, Borsellino maintained that he “wanted students who knew nothing about AAS to start paying attention and show them that we were interested in reaching out to everyone.” In addition, he set goals to “increase transparency and accessibility” and to “influence student life both temporarily and in the long-term.” In his time as president, he worked with President Martin on long-term projects and “even had the opportunity to sit down with President Obama last July and talk about some of the work the AAS has done in recent years,” according to his brother. Despite these notable accomplishments, Borsellino is most proud of his actions to help bring this year’s spring concert to fruition at a time when having the event at all seemed doubtful. He and a few other AAS members refused to give up, and they eventually helped Program Board bring Ludacris.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Photos courtesy of Romen Borsellino
Borsellino created an interdisciplinary major in political psychology.
The Academic Experience From his first semester at Amherst, Borsellino developed an interest in psychology that complemented his passion for politics. He managed to integrate and develop both realms into something he cared about by his senior year — a thesis entitled “Electing Charisma: American Democracy in Action.” Borsellino was advised by Professor Andrew Poe, who he says “brought out a desire in me to be the best student that I can possibly be.” For his part, Poe considers Borsellino’s seminal work at Amherst to be the final paper he wrote for Poe’s Political Emotions class on “wit as a ground for political critique.” While he admires Borsellino’s thesis work, Poe recalls this specific paper with great pride, saying that it “was a perfect synthesis of Romen’s interests with the material of the class, and it seemed as though he found his voice in writing it — whatever Amherst gave to Romen, it was evident in that paper.” He also observed that Borsellino’s efforts in the classroom have crafted a voice and identity all his own and avoided a common pitfall of many students, who “either conform or rebel absolutely to the intellectual forces around them.”
A Promising Future As he leaves Amherst, Borsellino plans to continue his work in politics by taking a position on Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign in some capacity. Beyond that, his future remains open to several possibilities, including potentially following the footsteps of his brother to law school. In any case, those close to him can only marvel at the growth he has displayed in the last four years. According to Basu, while he “remains a prankster,” he has “become more focused, harder working and more intellectually curious at Amherst.” Ellis-Moore echoed this sentiment, saying “He loves Amherst College and has put everything that he has into this place. He will miss Amherst, and it will miss him.” His brother spoke for all his friends and family when he said, “I can only imagine how high he will soar when he goes out into the real world.” Indeed, when this passionate and devoted president, friend, brother, student and son leaves Amherst, Lord Jeffs will also look forward to hearing of his future successes.
A Spanish-Speaking Actress Takes her Bow Energetic Theatre and Dance and Spanish double major shines on and off the stage. By Reilly Horan ’13 “Can I talk about how I was raised by bears?” Michelle Escobar asked as she set her tray down to begin our interview over dinner at Val. For anyone who’s known Escobar at Amherst, this imaginative albeit unhelpful introduction comes as no surprise. Escobar is a Theatre and Dance and Spanish double major at Amherst, which speaks to a lot of things about her nature: she’s energetic, spunky, animated and always up for a little performing. Not actually raised by bears, Escobar was born in Portland, Ore. to Panamanian parents, Kariely Zulu Chanis and José de la Cruz Escobar. She spent her time at Amherst pursuing a challenging double major, which was an unexpected and largely rewarding experience for her.
Learning ‘A Language that was not my Own’
Her passion for Spanish was primarily cultivated by a high school English teacher. “He basically adopted me,” Escobar noted. “He taught me all about magic realism, and I thought it was insanely cool. I started writing poetry about where I came from. I’m Panamanian but I grew up in the States, so when I got to Amherst I started taking Spanish classes. I got really interested in Spanish literature and history.” “At ﬁrst, I was very insecure about speaking Spanish because when I would travel to Panama, everyone would make fun of my accent. I kept thinking, ‘How can I communicate
undertook an immersive study of the language over the course of her four years at Amherst. One of her most formative experiences was taking a class taught by Spanish professor Nina Scott. “I took a class with her last year, and I have never been so excited to study Spanish.” Professor Scott has now instructed Escobar in two upper-level literature classes on Colonial Spanish American literature and serves as her advisor. Scott remarked, “the word ‘effervescent’ is a good one to use to describe Michelle. She injects warmth and humor into a class. No matter how dead tired she might have been from all of her acting gigs, she would show up to my 8:30 a.m. class, sort of shake her body and mind into place, twist her hair into a tidy ponytail and be ready to operate. She is creative and funny, but also intellectually bright and insightful. She is an extraordinary person in so many ways and a joy to have in class.” “I’m not afraid to open my mouth and say anything in Spanish now,” Escobar explained. “That’s huge. I used to be horriﬁed. I used to be afraid to raise my hand. Now I can write and have the courage to speak.”
Escobar: The Actress
Escobar’s performative talents were recognized since her elementary school days, when she landed her ﬁrst role. “I played the little red hen when I was seven and that started a very fruitful career,” Escobar narrated. “The play was called ‘The Little Red
Besides being a talented actress, Escobar has been doing karate since she was 12 years old. in a language that isn’t really mine?’ I set a goal at Amherst to master it.” Escobar took “Spanish for Heritage Speakers,” a class meant for students like her, with various degrees of Spanish proﬁciency and no formal training, students who often have trouble learning a language on paper after having learnt it conversationally. Escobar embraced the challenge and
Hen.’ It was my ﬁrst feature role. My parents forgot the video camera. I was devastated.” Escobar’s passion for theater developed more substantively during her years at a unique high school, the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, a school that couples academic rigor with a focused study of performing and visual arts. “It was re-
ally great because it was really small,” said Escobar. “Everyone was super interested in his or her art.” When the college application process began, Escobar thought she would matriculate at a school for theater. When her search narrowed, she decided Amherst had the best ﬁnancial aid package and enrolled despite acceptances to theater conservatories. What she didn’t realize was the impact Amherst’s theater department would have on her life: “I didn’t fully appreciate the theatre department here until I took a semester off to study at Tisch in New York. It was an amazing experience, but it is not as great as this college. The department here pays such careful attention to its underclassmen. I have built a great support system of artists here. Everyone knows what you’re working on and there is this huge collaborative spirit between you, the professors who serve as your mentors and your peers. It’s incredible.” Escobar completed her senior thesis in Theatre and Dance this spring after starring in her senior production “2 Washington Square” in the Fall of 2011. The thesis, a 1960s adaptation of Henry James’ novel “Washington Square” written by Amherst’s playwright-in-residence Connie Congdon, largely explored issues of race and class. “I played a character named Catherine Sloper, whose mother was white and whose father was Latino. It became an intensely personal process for me. In preparing for this, I had to explore my own standing at Amherst College — being Panamanian, having dark skin, not having loads of money. It was difﬁcult to think about those things about myself. I had to examine where my self-worth was coming from when I did this thesis.” Ron Bashford, an assistant professor of Theatre and Dance, the director of “2 Washington Square” last Fall and one of Escobar’s closest friends in the department, reﬂected, “At its best, the art of acting is both personal and transformative — and this dynamic ability is just what Michelle achieved this year in her thesis project. What I admire most about Michelle, other than her obvious talent, is her tenacity. In her written thesis, she wrote movingly about her personal journey examining race and self-expression, in the play and in her life. I know she is going to create for herself a thrilling and illuminating life in the theater.” On her thesis, Escobar explained, “I concluded that yes, those are issues that I am going to have to deal with, but things are evolving such that I can choose to be around people who celebrate it. That changed my outlook on life. Doing a thesis solidiﬁed my desire to pursue acting as a career, but it also changed my life. Rarely do artists get a chance to examine something they’ve worked on so thoroughly. It was traumatic and it was exhilarating, especially because it mirrored so directly my own insecurities about race and class.” Escobar’s warm presence in the theater department is undeniable. Bashford and other theater professors remarked on the close relationship they formed with her. “She likes to
Photos courtesy of Michelle Escobar
Escobar completed her senior thesis in Theatre and Dance after starring in her senior production “2 Washington Square” in the fall of 2011. text me a lot, which I ﬁnd both annoying and endearing, depending on what time it is,” Bashford joked. Another theater peer, Brooke Bishop ’10, described, “once Michelle decides to do something, she does it with all her heart. What’s great about Michelle is her conviction to never stop growing. For her, there’s no obtaining acting, there’s no getting there, there’s only working toward it. And I know she will continue to do so for a very long time.” Classmate and fellow theater major Elias Johanson-Miller added, “as an actor and a person, she is generous, funny, committed, talented, kind and very smart. I feel very lucky to have become friends with such a wonderful person.” “The thing I’ve gotten the most out of this education is being able to say that human connection is so important,” Escobar concluded. “I love the strong connections I’ve made with the people who I’ve made art with. It’s why I make theater.”
Escobar will take the next year off to try her hand in the Portland theater scene, travel to visit her family in Panama and work in a karate dojo (“Karate is huge,” she remarks of the sport she started training for at age 12.). She is also looking to apply to graduate schools for acting for the 2012-2013 academic year. “The good news about getting a graduate degree,” she said, “is that I could teach. I’d love to teach kids. They get along with me pretty well because we’re the same height. It doesn’t take much for them to trust me.” Escobar leaves Amherst with a league of supporters behind her. The friends she’s made through her study of Spanish, her work in the theater and her other niches at Amherst couldn’t speak highly enough of her generosity, warmth, sense of humor and love.
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
“Michelle doesn’t take people for granted,” Bishop explained. “She reminds herself and the ones she loves how much she loves them every day.” Her ﬁrst-year roommate, Lem Atanga McCormick, who has remained close with Escobar for four years, reﬂected, “Simply put, Meesh is an amazing person and a spectacular friend. She really taught me the importance of trying new things, breaking out of my comfort zone and perhaps most importantly, being a free soul capable of staying true to myself even in the face of adversity.” Another friend, Lamia Harik ’12, remarked, “Being friends with Michelle has opened my eyes to an entire world that I never thought I could partake in or understand. We come from such different backgrounds, but somehow she manages to use her relationships and experiences to put herself in someone else’s shoes. I think that is the best thing about her as a friend and person — her willingness to take what she has learned and apply it to someone else’s perspective.” Escobar’s diverse background and interests, paired with her devoted interest in relating to others, allowed her to forge strong bonds with students and professors alike. Her lovely personality, great sense of humor and ﬁerce loyalty maintained those bonds through her time at Amherst. “I had a lot of ups and downs, but I really loved being here,” Escobar reﬂected. “It’s going to be scary to leave here and not have a community of artists right away when I leave here. That will be scary. I feel like we should all just move to the desert and make theatre in New Mexico. It’s very close to the sun there,” she jokingly calls over her shoulder as she buses her tray. “But seriously, Amherst totally changed my life. I have so many opportunities coming from here that I wouldn’t have coming from anywhere else. Everybody says that, but it’s true.”
MAY 18, 2012
Renaissance Man Composes Natural Spaces Whether singing or composing, Koo finds a community in music. by Noah Gordon ’14 People who know Jeremy Koo usually describe him in two ways. The first is as a renaissance man. Koo may be best known for his singing, but he’s also a composer, violinist, choir organizer, woods adventurer and digital space-explorer. The other way is as a genuinely friendly person. The La Jolla, Calif. native seems to exude a sort of quiet positivity and a willingness to make time for others. Throw on a layer of reflective creativity and we start to get close to a portrait of Jeremy Koo.
Finding His Path While most thesis-writers spent the vast majority of their senior years researching in the library, Koo sat in the nature preserve and conjured music. He wrote a composition thesis, which musically conceptualized five natural spaces in the woods. Tag-teaming with his best-friendsince-orientation Brooks Turner ’12, Koo selected his five locations from among those he’d seen while exploring in previous years. He asked Turner to draw five paintings describing the locations visually — Koo wanted to describe them musically, so he spent a lot of time going to the woods, sitting in these spaces and putting together the music in his head. These Walden-like moments characterized the first part of his thesis. The harder part, he explained, was actually putting together the ensemble that would perform it. Writing music comes easier to Koo than administrative work does, but, being the Renaissance man he is, Koo has skill in both areas. A double major in Music and Environmental Studies, his goal of “conceptualizing natural spaces” comes as no big surprise. Yet, Koo arrived at these majors rather haphazardly. A true liberal arts scholar,
Koo entered Amherst intending to major in Biology or English. “I got here, I spread out a lot, I did the whole ‘liberal arts’ thing. I guess I was very passionate about [music],” Jeremy said. “And I’d like to be able to be in a position where the things that I do impact a lot of people, and the environment seemed like something that is getting, in different areas of the world, more attention drawn to it.” He likes the division between Music and Environmental Studies because it gives him both abstract and tangible areas in which to work — chances to both be creative and help the world. Koo did eventually end up taking an English class — in the second semester of his senior year. Yet he doesn’t regret his choice of major one bit, and when asked to give advice to incoming students he warned not to lock yourself into any one path too early. “Being able to sample different studies, different ways of thinking, has had as much effect on me as the majors that I’ve ended up finding myself spend the most time with academically,” Koo said. Koo’s thesis advisor, Professor Eric Sawyer, described Koo as a “man of many talents — composer, singer, violinist, organizer and musical thinker of clarity and subtlety. And that’s just in the musical realm. Jeremy is also a people person, friendly and empathetic, with an easy sense of humor and a positive energy.” “Before Amherst, I was really just a smartass, generally-antisocial, World-of-Warcraft-playing geek without many friends,” Koo said, taking me by surprise. Whether this is an accurate assessment of the pre-Amherst man or just modesty,
the College represented something special for Koo. “College, for me, represented an opportunity to start fresh, a place to really try to open up and plunge into an environment where I could be constantly exposed to new experiences and interesting people,” Koo said. And that he did — far from being a shut-in, Koo reads the newspaper each morning and is fond of adventures in the wilderness. According to Professor Sawyer, in class, Koo is, “always quietly confident but now with an impetus of reaching and affecting other people.” And his musical pursuits have certainly kept him occupied.
Being a Zumbye Anyone who’s been to a performance of the Amherst College Zumbyes in the last four years has heard Koo sing. Whether soloing or contributing to a harmony, Koo has been an integral member of the group since he joined in his first year at the College. Director of the Choral Music Program Mallory Chernin said that Koo “has the most perfect pitch I have ever encountered!” It is no surprise that as a member of the Zumbyes for four years and director during his junior year, Koo’s spot-on pitch and bass tone has rounded out the group. As director of the Zumbyes in his junior year, Koo worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the group. “It’s very much like baby-sitting at times,” he said. Nonetheless it’s clear that Koo cares deeply about his a capella group. When I asked Turner what Koo cares most about at Amherst, he answered without hesitation: the Zumbyes. “He has devoted countless hours to them throughout the course of his college career, often giving very, very late, nearly sleepless nights for them,” Turner said. But, for all the work that Koo has
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Koo
Koo described himself as a shut-in before college, but at Amherst, he came into his own as a quietly confident student and friend. put in, he has also taken away a lot from his time with the Zumbyes. “It was a different sort of engagement with the music,” he said. “Working in a group I got to engage with the music in a very different sort of context.” The Zumbyes also grounded him socially. “It was great to find a niche of people when I was a freshman,” he said. Every college student knows well the orientation clamor for a group of friends to call your own; Koo found it in the Zumbyes. “The Zumbyes, as an organization, has been there for me, more or less since the beginning of my time here. Some of my best friends are in the group, as well,” Koo said.
A Man of Many Talents
An integral part of the Zumbyes, Koo found grounding and a part of his identity in the often hectic but rewarding a capella group.
May 18, 2012
Koo began singing in elementary school, but he has played the violin since he was three. Music has always been a big part of his life. Coming to Amherst, he played in the orchestra for a year before deciding to focus on singing. And in doing so, he became an important member of the singing community at a place often called “The Singing College.” “Our department is something of a community,” Professor Sawyer said. “I’ve been struck by how fellow students want to be in projects with Jeremy, and how generous he has been in supporting his colleagues.” In his free time, Koo is an avid gamer. Preferring the PC to consoles like the Xbox or Wii, Koo is a fan of single-player immersive games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. “I enjoy being totally immersed in the world I’m playing and want to
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
be able to savor the little things, not just be staring at a targeting reticle the whole time,” he told me. Like all students with a timeconsuming hobby, Koo finds it hard to balance fun time with other responsibilities. “The only problem with games like this is keeping track of time and remembering to do my work,” Koo said. As the opinions of his professors would demonstrate, Koo usually remembers.
The Future Koo’s advice for younger students doesn’t necessarily concern music. Koo referred me to “This is Water,” the speech-turned-essay given by David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College’s commencement in 2005. The point Koo was trying to make was about the value of a liberal arts education. “Really, it isn’t about teaching you about things,” Koo said, “It’s about teaching you the way to think.” He strongly believes that every student should take advantage of Amherst’s open curriculum. “Really take that opportunity to take many classes and expose yourself to different ways of thinking,” Koo said. Next year Koo will be staying at Amherst to become a Graduate Associate in Music, working with the Choral Society as a T.A. and general assistant. After that, he has no plans. “I have to get there first,” he said. As both a member of the music scene and a superb scholar, Koo has already left his mark on Amherst, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do the two things Amherst made him so passionate about: helping the people of the world and creating beautiful music.
Conversations with that Girl from Gad’s Fierce, proud and uproariously funny, Shanika Audige has made an impact on every community she has been a part of. By Jake Walters ’14 Meeting Shanika Audige isn’t exactly like meeting most people, and that’s because I can’t really tell you when I did meet her. I could say that I first met Audige during my orientation week when she performed at the “Voices of the Class” show, but for most people it wouldn’t really apply since I didn’t speak to her at all. When it comes to Audige’s personality, “big” is the word. Because of this it’s hard to say you don’t know Audige even if you haven’t actually met her before. I then had two sociology classes with her fall semester of this past year.
connect bright inner city students with high-ranking private schools, she was accepted to The Taft School in Watertown, Conn. She said it was there when she learned about Amherst, a place she was instantly attracted to. “Amherst had the three things I wanted out of my college education: No loans and a commitment to socioeconomic diversity, my favorite color — purple — and a small size that would make for easy access to professors and intimate classroom discussions,” she said. Audige was able to easily adjust to
Photos courtesy of Shanika Audige
Although Audige is a huge presence in Mr. Gad’s House of Improv, she was initially hesitant about auditioning for the group. It was on this subject that we would converse when we first actually met in December of last year, and this would probably be when most people would say I met Audige. But, although I didn’t really know her personally at the time, I certainly couldn’t tell from the way we were speaking. I was a bit intimidated, considering how often I’d seen her on stage, but it felt like it was merely the most recent in a long line of conversations with her rather than the first time we’d spoken in proper. And when her friends think of her, this is generally how they describe her; she has a big personality, but she has an aura about her that draws people to her and makes her seem like she’s known you for years. She’s funny, open, caring, genuinely interested in anything you have to say and a natural conversationalist.
The Journey to Amherst Audige grew up in working class, majority black neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. After going to public school for elementary and most of middle school, she began looking into new options for schooling and was eventually accepted to Link Community School, a private school in Newark. There, she said, “my teachers opened my mind to all the possibilities of higher education.” After being accepted to the Wight Foundation, a program which helps to
Amherst upon arrival, just as she had with boarding school. Always the overachiever, she sought out new activities, partially because she felt that “the best way to survive being thrown into a privileged environment coming from an underprivileged environment was to keep busy.” Over time, she focused her activities on what she felt she enjoyed most and most prominent among these was Mr. Gad’s House of Improv, where she made herself known among most of the student body. Interestingly, although her charismatic nature would seem to make her a natural fit, Audige wasn’t always so sure about her ability to perform improvisational comedy.
ous contributions she makes to scenes, but it’s the more subtle ones — an offer there, a character choice here — that make her an even more valuable asset to Gad’s.” Audige herself appreciates Gad’s as well, particularly because it has helped her as a conversationalist. She says that it has helped her to listen better, to ask more insightful questions and especially to boost her confidence while talking to people she’s never met before. She also appreciates Gad’s for the friends it has given her and for providing her with time when, in her words, “I could relax, let my locks down and have fun.” And, for most of her college career, she’s spent Monday nights at 10 p.m. sharing that experience with her fellow students.
Academia and Black Identity
Audige’s academic pursuits took her away from the stage and into the world around her, but her inability to stay away from people remained. A Sociology and Black Studies double major, she originally entered the College not sure what she wanted to major in, but soon enough discovered her interest in studying the way humans interact with each other. After considering Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought due to her interest in entering law, she experimented with a wide variety of courses before realizing that they all overlapped with Black Studies. She chose this as her first major because it allowed her an opportunity to experience the variety of classes in Amherst’s curriculum while still connecting them to something she was interested in. Having finished her requirements by the end of sophomore year, Audige sought after another subject to explore with a characteristically adventurous mindset. She looked to sociology and took the introduction class “Self and Society” with Professor Ronald Lembo, where she found herself instantly gripped. “The material, the professor and the types of discussions we were having about race, class and everything in between had me hooked. I knew I wanted to be a Soc major after that class,” she said. She also saw the way the two subjects worked well together. “Sociology and Black Studies go hand in hand so it worked perfectly. Both taught me how to critically evaluate the world that means to be a better writer and thinker. They’ve also taught me a great deal about myself — what it means to be black, privileged, a wom-
an, etc.,” Audige said. She also looked to this connection when she wrote her thesis, entitled “(In) visible Blackness,” which examines “the effects of skin tone on the social integration and self-perception of darkskinned women at Amherst” This topic was simultaneously very personal for Audige and very insightful, as a chief impetus for this was her life experience as a dark-skinned black woman and her experience with colorism, a form of racial discrimination which entails privileging lighter-skinned individuals over darker-skinned ones. Her research showing that many dark-skinned black women at Amherst feel unnoticed means a great deal to her, as does sociology and black studies in general. When asked how they relate to her, she simply responded “I AM Black Studies and Sociology.” Friend Spencer Russell ’12 provided a more humorous version in poetry form: “Roses are red, Violets are blue, Shanika is black and will tell you about it.” Throughout her time at the College, Audige has also amassed an impressive resume of working for the college through various roles. In addition to serving as a Student Health Educator and having researched this past summer for her Black Studies advisor Professor John Drabinski, she also works as a Diversity Intern, where she uses her experiences both at home and at Amherst to work with other students interested in Amherst and further her commitment to increasing socioeconomic diversity at the College. She also worked as an RC both her sophomore year and her senior year, another natural fit for Audige due to the fact that she radiates energy and never shies away from a conversation. Her mentorship was something her residents express gratitude for.
A Friend and Counselor Christina Croak ’13, who was a resident of Audige’s during her first year, describes her glowingly. “[Audige’s] guidance, wise words, warm hugs and unconditional love have all helped me get through some difficult times throughout these past three years,” she said. “She literally glows with beauty — it sounds strange, but there’s no other way to describe it — her presence literally lights up any room and is captivating,” she added. But all of this only skims the various ways in which she has spent her
college life learning about people, making them laugh and above all, helping them. When speaking with her friends, Audige’s caring, concerned and genuine attitude was crystal clear. Cloak ’13 put it most directly, “I love Shanika dearly and know that I am not alone, as there are many people on campus who would call her both a sister and best friend.” But the idea remains the same regardless, and many students at Amherst clearly feel indebted to Audige. Her compassion was shared by Ashley McCall ’12 who said: “Shanika is type of person who will put her problems and concerns on the back-burner so she can attend to a friend. When everyone else is tired and uninterested, Shanika steps up and gets folks smiling, laughing and remembering that the time we spend with one another is worthwhile.” No matter who responded, the answer was always the same: Audige’s caring attitude and kindness will be missed by the many people she got to know during her four years at the College.
The Sky’s the Limit While Audige is leaving Amherst behind, she will certainly remember her life experiences before and during Amherst, whether from her personal and social life or from her work experiences. Her summer work experiences have been particularly meaningful to her. After her first year, she interned with the Mississippi Teacher Corps, an organization which works to improve education in some of the poorest counties in the nation. After sophomore year, she worked for the Wight Foundation, which had played an integral role in her path to Amherst, to help connect inner-city students to elite high schools and colleges. Post-college, she will be continuing her work with improving education for under-privileged students by working for the North Star Academy in Newark, as she wishes to give other students some of the opportunities she had. After that, she has no set plans but remains optimistic for wherever life takes her. “After those two years, the sky’s the limit. I don’t know where my mind will be, but I’d like to return to school and get a Ph.D,” Audige said. Wherever she ends up, Audige is sure to leave a big impact on the world, just as she has done during her four years at Amherst to everyone who has known her and even to most of the people who haven’t.
A Legacy of laughter “In high school, there was an improv team and I was so intimidated by the members [that] I never tried out,” she said. However, one day her and her friends decided to go to a Gad’s workshop. She enjoyed the experience, decided to try out, was accepted and has been an integral part of the troupe ever since. Her contributions to the group do not go unnoticed, especially by her fellow members. Friend and fellow Gad’s member Dylan Herts ’13 said, “Shanika makes scene partners look good, and that’s the best sort of improviser.” He added, “I’m sure the audience appreciates the obvi-
Audige is not only a performer, but she is also an earnest academic who is keen to explore her own identity through her double major in Sociology and Black Studies
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
May 18, 2012
Omnipresent Man Orchestrates a Fine Balance A singer, performer, teaching assistant, had been. When first facing the academics, though, he needed to leap senator, resident counselor and loyal friend, over another hurdle. this senior has made his presence on camTaking the Stage pus felt in a big way. Mazumdar was not used to intenBy Siyu Shen ’15 Glee club, Jazz Combos, Resident Counselor, senator, Route 9, Amherst Dance, Amherst Tour Guide, Physics TA and Ultimate Frisbee. Optimistic, energetic, friendly, thoughtful, intelligent. Add a major or two (Physics and Economics, to be specific), and you have Rohan Mazumdar. It’s hard to think of something he hasn’t done in his four years at Amherst College, and it’s amazing to think of what he has. Mazumdar is that student whose name is as ubiquitous around campus as he is — a force of nature that has taken Amherst by storm. It’s this force, passion and vigor for life, visible from his words to the grin that lights up his face, that will be sorely missed as Mazumdar ends his time at the College.
Growing up in Dubai, United
Amherst that would soon become where Mazumdar would spend four years of his life. Looking back, he said, “I kind of came in blind to the Amherst environment.” This environment was one that initially made Mazumdar very uncomfortable. Everything about being at Amherst was outside his comfort zone and going to a small, liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts was someone almost no one in his school, or even his country, would do. It was a giant transition socially and culturally — so, naturally, Mazumdar faced some surprises. Before Amherst, he had never heard an orchestra, a jazz band or any sort of choral music. He grew up in a place where sex was not talked about and sexual education was nonexistent because of the more conservative culture. Laughing, he remembered, “The SHE [Student
Rohan has taken advantage of the academics at Amherst while pursuing many extra-curricular activities. Arab Emirates, Mazumdar was just as involved in high school as he would later be in college. Besides being involved in student leadership, playing soccer and running track, he eagerly participated in a plethora of musical activities. Following a science-heavy curriculum all throughout high school, he had been looking at mostly larger engineering programs for university, making his ultimate decision to come to Amherst a somewhat non sequitur one. “Amherst was really the only liberal arts school I applied to. I was visiting the career counselor in my high school, and she kind of looked at my profile and said, ‘I want you to apply to Amherst,’ and I said ‘Okay, great. …what’s that?’” Yet, it was
May 18, 2012
Health Educators] skits were crazy. I was absolutely aghast, absolutely astounded. I just had my jaw open the entire time. It was absolutely hilarious.” Despite the initial shock, Mazumdar quickly began to settle in. “Luckily, I found a lot of very awesome people early on — people to connect with, people who I am still friends with, who became my best friends during my time here.” He was struck by the overall friendliness and the willingness to share among the student body. He remarks that it was pleasantly surprising to find that students could be smart and involved in their academics without making it all about comparison and competition, like Mazumdar’s high school
sive reading and academic writing and these became one of the primary challenges presented by his first-year seminar, Citizenship and National Identity with Professor N. Gordon Levin. His first assignment was a five-page paper, but before Amherst, he had never written anything longer than his college application essays. “I freaked out completely,” remembered Mazumdar. “I ran to the writing center many times for that essay.” This class became fundamental in getting Mazumdar up to speed and pushing him to think about issues in the modern world. It was the first of quite a few classes he would take that would embrace the open curriculum available at Amherst. While he did continue to be deeply involved with the sciences, majoring in Physics under Professor William Loinaz and conducting research after his sophomore year with Professor Jonathan Friedman, he decided after taking Macroeconomics with Professor Daniel Barbezat to tack on an Economics major to his already impressive résumé. “Rohan would invariably come in to talk about his schedule for the next semester and be planning to take too many courses. Each semester I had to grill him about whether he thought it wise to take all those physics and economics classes,” recalled Barbezat. “[He is] a joyous overachiever.” His overachieving did not stop at academics. “If there’s anybody who’s truly taken advantage of his or her time at Amherst, it’s Rohan,” claimed one of his best friends, Dana Kaufman ’12. Music has generally been an overarching theme, and he’s said to have been a constant figure in the music buildings these past few years. One of the first things Mazumdar did at Amherst was join Glee Club once he saw their performance during orientation, and it became a constant part of his life for the next four years. He was business manager, president and community outreach manager and his “spirit and enthusiasm,” according to Mallorie Chernin, Director for Choral Society, “is one of his greatest contributions to Glee Club.” During Orientation, Mazumdar also walked into a jazz jam session. He came out completely enthralled, having never been in a situation where musicians would just sit and “jam out.” Immediately enamored, he joined jazz as well, playing bass and guitar and getting together with other musicians to play at various events. His musical life didn’t stop here, however. He performed in “Sweeney Todd” for an interterm musical one year and joined Route 9 in his senior year. His solos have been numerous, but it is his contribution as a leader and advisor even in singing that has shown his generosity and importance to Amherst. Indeed, it came as no surprise
Photos courtesy of Rohan Mazumdar
Music plays a big role in Mazumdar’s life, which is demonstrated by his involvement in jazz, the Glee club, an interterm musical and Route 9. when Mazumdar was recipient of the Lincoln Lowell Russell Prize during Senior Assembly Awards, a prize awarded to “the senior who has done most to foster the singing spirit at Amherst.”
One of his biggest roles at Amherst is undoubtedly as a Resident Counselor. “The RCs in my building had a huge effect my freshman year and transition to college,” recalled Mazumdar. “I found RCs to be a great guide my time here and I wanted to give something back, so I applied to be a first-year RC.” As resident counselor, Mazumdar shone even more brilliantly as a student of the College. He spent two years as a firstyear RC, first in Stearns and then in James. “He kind of built up a whole community,” said Dylan Vasey, a second-floor resident who became part of Mazumdar’s community. “He’s very passionate and energetic about what he does, but he’s also very empathetic, thinking about other people and willing to be involved with other people and in people’s lives. Even though he was a junior and my RC, he treated me as an equal.” As a first-year counselor, Mazumdar worked to help students transition into Amherst, move out of their comfort zones and excel, all the while giving them “delicious Indian food.” As an upperclass RC this year in King, he has supported his residents’ academically and socially, urging them to enjoy their last year at Amherst and helping them with their transition to life beyond Amherst. He’s been a leader on a staff of student leaders and a “tremendous resource to his residents and our department as a whole, despite being involved in a somewhat alarming number of extra-curricular activities,” according to Pamela Stawasz, Associate Director for Residential Life. It is no surprise that he was such an influential force to his residents, making life a richer experience for everyone around him.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
His impactful presence at the College has made Mazumdar a figure that will be sorely missed by all. In his last year, Mazumdar has become a tour guide, taken a leap and joined Amherst Dance and become a representative of the student body as a senator. His extra-curricular activities have been as open and varied as his experiences here. “It’s only sort of now, as I’m graduating as a senior, that I’ve realized how big an impact the liberal arts curriculum has been to me, especially when I compare my intellectual growth with people back home who went with more pre-professional programs. [But] the biggest part of being here has been the people. That’s been the richest part of my experience here.” For him, it is the varying levels of interactions — late-night conversations with his closest friends, group discussions and debates in the classroom and everyday interactions with people one might see on a regular basis — that have taught him different things. Being part of a residential environment where people are willing to share and truly care about imparting something and receiving something back, he claimed, has been “huge in my development and maturity as a person.” He has looked up to his seniors, gained insight from his peers and learned from the juniors that have come after him. Amherst is a place that has taught Mazumdar to be comfortable with who he is, rather than to constantly try to prove himself. Because Amherst has broadened his visions, the way he looks at his future has broadened as well. After graduation, Mazumdar will be heading to Connecticut to work at a consulting firm. When he thinks about what he wants the next few years of his life to look like, he said “There are a plethora of options at this point in time. I’m sort of still in the process of deciding what [my future] is.”
Basketball Court Queen Ready for the Future Reliable, calm and conﬁdent, this Economics and Spanish double major stands out on and off the basketball court. By Alissa Rothman ’15 Overachiever doesn’t even begin to describe Caroline Stedman. It would seem that the All American, NESCAC Player of the Year, 2012 WBCA National Player of the Year winner for basketball wouldn’t have time for anything but making baskets. Instead, during her four years at Amherst, she found time for other activities. An Economics and Spanish double major, Stedman worked as a research assistant and was heavily involved in the Center for Community Engagement. Stedman’s excellence in scholarship, leadership, athletics and character make her a standout student who isn’t afraid to take on new challenges.
Irish Dance and More
Growing up in Walpole, Mass., Stedman started out as a quiet, shy child who enjoyed caring for the stuffed animals that she acquired from various zoos and museums. Even then, Stedman was always active, spending time with her friends, running over the little bridge across her backyard brook and catching frogs in the pond. She also had an intellectual side, starting a book club with her friends where they reenacted scenes from the Ramona series and the Boxcar Kids. Balancing those two sides — her love of being active and for learning — is what has always deﬁned Stedman. Stedman was very active during her childhood. She started out swimming and did some individual races, but soon gravitated towards team sports. She joined the town’s soccer and basketball youth programs, which became her favorite extracurricular activities and led to her being selected to a regional club soccer team and an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team in the seventh and eighth grades. At the age of six, Stedman began
dancing, leading her to divide her time between high school soccer, basketball and lacrosse, while still pursuing her academics and extracurricular activities. She enjoyed playing a different sport each season and was captain of her Walpole High soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams. She was named Walpole High’s top scholar-athlete at graduation. Through all these activities, Stedman remained a serious student, exemplifying hard work, dedication and cooperation in all her activities. She was a member of the high school Academic Decathlon Team, the Spanish Club and Math Team, and she served on the student council, becoming vice president her senior year. When looking at colleges, Stedman looked at NESCAC and Ivy League schools because of their mix of academic and athletic excellence. “I chose to go to Amherst because I believe it offers a great environment for its students. As someone who has always had sports in her life, yet whose life does not revolve around sports, I found Amherst to offer a great balance of competitive athletics and academics. I knew that I would be challenged on the court and in the classroom, and I always like to be challenged,” Stedman said.
Calm Under Pressure
Recruited by head women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki, Stedman, who goes by “Steds” on the court, played limited minutes as a ﬁrstyear. Still, she never stopped working, and by her sophomore year she was named to the State Farm All-American Second Team and was crowned NESCAC Player of the Year. “[Caroline] is a special player because she competed at a high level,
Stedman is the only female basketball player in Amherst history to be named NESCAC Player of the Year two times. Irish step dancing with the Harney Academy of Irish Dance. She placed in the New England championships in individual and team competition and qualiﬁed for two North American Championships, traveling to San Francisco and Toronto. As she grew older, however, she was forced to make a choice between Irish step and other activities. Stedman decided not to continue with AAU basketball or Irish step
made plays that no one else could and, most importantly, she is a caring person who treats people with class; she listened and wanted to improve,” Gromacki said. By her junior year, Stedman was named NESCAC All-Academic, Capital One District All-Academic, NESCAC All-Conference, MVP of the National Championship Team and AllAmerican Honorable Mention. During her senior year, she was
named one of the team captains. “She is the fastest player I have ever coached. She was chosen as a captain because of her skill and commitment to her team and teammates... She is very modest and unselﬁsh! She leads by example,” Gromacki said. “Caroline is one of the best athletes I have ever coached. She is one of a kind. [I will] probably never coach another Caroline Stedman.” Known to step up and create her best plays for the biggest moments, Stedman was named NESCAC Player of the year again during her senior year, making her the only player in Amherst history to be named NESCAC Player of the Year two times. She was also named NESCAC All-Academic, Capital One District All-Academic, ﬁnalist for the Jostens Award, ﬁnalist for the Honda Award and 2012 WBCA National Player of the Year. “It [i]s such a treat to see her athletic grace and skill, as well as her calmness under pressure,” said Spanish Professor Nina Scott. “Caroline has the grace of a dancer on the court.” While she was part of the team, women’s basketball has won three NESCAC titles (’10, ’11, ’12) and been to four ‘Final Fours,’ winning the national championships in 2011. “Being able to play basketball at Amherst has truly enriched my collegiate experience. I have made my best and closest friends through my team, and have memories that will last a lifetime. As a player, I believe that I have evolved tremendously over the past four years,” Stedman said. “Being at Amherst and only playing basketball (instead of multiple sports like I did in high school), I have had a lot more time to hone my skills and develop as a basketball player. I cannot take all of the credit, however, because being able to play under a very successful coach in Coach Gromacki, alongside my extremely talented teammates, I was pushed and challenged in ways that made me a better player.”
Excelling in Classes
Stedman’s interest in becoming a Spanish major started under the tutelage of her high school teacher George Watson, who was later named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 2008. “He truly instilled a love for the Spanish language and culture in me during my senior year AP Spanish class. He is such a passionate and knowledgeable teacher, and I believe [that] were it not for him, I would not have pursued Spanish as a second major,” Stedman said. Stedman enjoyed many classes in her major, but her favorite was “Food: Power, Identity, Memory” which was taught by Professor Scott. “Caroline is as nice a person as one could imagine. Her mental and physical discipline is extraordinary. She is very intelligent, her Spanish is very good and she is highly disciplined,” Scott said. “Her command of both written and spoken Spanish is really amazing, especially since she was not able to take a semester abroad because of her involvement in basketball.” Scott was extremely impressed by Stedman’s choice of research paper topic for the end of the semester. “She had the courage to choose Mexican picture codices, which is a
Photos courtesy of Caroline Stedman
Besides excelling in basketball during her time at Amherst, Stedman double majored in Economics and Spanish and was active in the CCE. very complicated subject. She was the ﬁrst one of my students ever who had the guts to tackle this topic. ” Spanish, though, was not Stedman’s only academic interest; her love of economics led her to ﬁnd time to double major in Economics, as well. For the past summer and the past two semesters, Stedman has served as a Research Assistant for Professor Katherine Sims in the Economics Department. Sims is part of a three-college study that looks at the environmental and socio-economic impacts of Mexico’s national Payment for Ecosystem Services, or Pago por Servicios Ambientales-Hidrológicos (PSA-H) Scheme. PSA-H is an incentive based conservation scheme that pays local landowners to refrain from deforesting their land. The study collected data via an extensive survey from both recipients of the program, along with their matched pairs who were nonbeneﬁciaries of the program. The goal is then to analyze the data to determine the socio-economic and environmental impacts. Such results may be used to see if such incentive-based conservations schemes prove successful. “I became interested in this position during the spring of my junior year when I took Environmental Economics with Professor Sims. I really enjoyed her class and the material, and when I found out that this position would incorporate both my Spanish and Economic skills, I was eager to apply for the job,” Stedman said. As a research assistant, she reviewed literature on previous incentive-based conservation schemes, did data entry and data analysis. “As a combined Spanish and Economics major, Caroline had the perfect skills for this project,” Sims said. “If I had to pick one word to describe Caroline, it would be Professional with a capital ‘P.’ She is 100 percent reliable, positive, calm and well organized. She is also ﬂexible and always takes the initiative to go the extra mile.”
Stedman has also worked as a receptionist for the Center of Community Engagement (CCE) for two years. “It has truly been an amazing job to be around such incredible people and to be able to see the impact they
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
have not only in the school, but in the community as well,” Stedman said. Stedman became connected to the CCE the beginning of her sophomore year through the director Molly Mead, who also serves as the faculty liaison for the Women’s Basketball Team. Through her involvement in the CCE, she went to Costa Rica for six weeks the summer before her junior year to work for the project Beyond el Campo (BEC). BEC was started by recent Amherst grad Cait Scudder in order to promote literacy. “As a volunteer, I went down to Santa Cruz de León Cortés and helped to run literacy camps and establish the ﬁrst public library in their town. For me, it was the ﬁrst time I had been outside of North America,” Stedman said. “Being able to travel by myself, be immersed into a different culture and have positive impacts was an extremely powerful experience.” Her parents have noticed a change in her since the trip. “Her conﬁdence and leadership ability really blossomed as she learned how to get around in another country speaking a different language,” said Stedman’s parents in a joint interview. “Amherst has also given her a more global and diverse view of the world, and she has forged close bonds with professors as well as students.”
After winning the Psi Upsilon Award at the Senior Assembly, which is given to a member of the graduating class considered preeminent in scholarship, leadership, athletics and character, Stedman is moving on to bigger and better things. Next year, she will be working as a Stats Analyst for ESPN’s Stats and Info Group based out of Bristol, Conn. “I am looking forward to having the opportunity to combine my afﬁnity for numbers with my passion for sports,” Stedman said. Eventually, Stedman would like to go back to school within the next few years to obtain an MBA. “I am hoping to be able to stay in the business world but am also hoping to move to the international side so that I can incorporate my Spanish skills into my profession,” Stedman said.
MAY 18, 2012
“Mary, practically perfect in every way!” Congratulations! We love you! !
- Mommy, Daddy, Julia, and Martha
CONGRATULATIONS DAVID! You have made us proud. Love Always, Mom, Dad, Justin and Kayla.
Congratulations, Katherine! We’re so proud of you, nug. Love, Johnny and Meli ’96 MAY 18, 2012
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
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THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
MAY 18, 2012
To Kimberly, As we celebrate your graduation, we take a moment to remember some other monumental firsts in your life...
Your first birthday
Your First Graduation
Your First Day of School
Your First Doubles Partner
May 18, 2012
Your First Your First Pedicure Bungee Jump
Wishing you many more wonderful firsts in the years to come. We are so proud of you... XOXO Mom, Dad, Monica and Gidget The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Congratulations! We’re very proud of you. Love, Mom, Dad and Sara
Congratulations Alison Fornell ’12
“...and I can swim in the deep end without my swimmies.” 16
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
MAY 18, 2012
Senior Greetings Congratulations Walter! We love you so much! Mom, Dad, Myric, Jessica & Erica
Congrats, Shannon...to our star! Love, your family
So proud, Luke! XXOO
“Za!” “Very Interesting!!”
“Sleeping is giving in So lift those heavy eyelids” The Arcade Fire
MAY 18, 2012
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
Parabéns, Xandi! Congratulations Alexander! Félicitations Alexandre! “God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you have two wings to fly, not one. --Rumi “Come to the edge, The Presence said. They said: we are afraid. Come to the edge, The Presence said. They came. The Presence pushed them, and they flew...” --Guillaume Apollinaire “May your mind and body be as solid as stone, and your heart as a butterfly.” --Sami Al Jundi “Love never fails you.” 1 Corinthians 13:8
With love, Dad, Mom and your family
Congratulations Nihal! We are so proud of you! As you scale these peaks, May you soar ever higher, Reach even greater heights, And find happiness in everything you do
All the Best! Love, Mom, Dad, Nikita and family here and in Bangalore
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
MAY 18, 2012
#66 You’re the best! “Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair.” Zach Brown
Michael, Congratulations on your incredible accomplishment! Your Amherst journey may not have been travelled in a straight line, but you’ve never been a “straight line” kind of guy! Cherish these years – relationships you’ve forged, accomplishments you’ve achieved, ideas you’ve been exposed to, adventures you’ve taken, self-discovery you’ve embarked on, great friendships you’ve developed, and all the memories you’ve made. Yes, you are “a new man”! We love you so much and are so proud of you and happy for you!
Mom and Dad
Zachary, We are so very proud of you, you have worked so hard these past four years. Now is your time to go out and make your mark on the world. We love you! Love, Your Family MAY 18, 2012
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
Year in Review
2011-2012: Year of a New President Comes ning on the ballot. Though there was a higher turnout for the number of candidates, voter turnout did not increase signiﬁcantly. “Occupy Amherst” caught on to campus, as many students, professors and other members of the local community took part in marches. Chanting slogans such as “We are the 99 percent” and “Down with Wall Street,” demonstrators protested against what they saw as unfair political and economic inequality. The demonstration was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests in New York City and came as part of thousands of other such “occupations” around the world.
Photo courtesy of Kate Berry ’12
Carolyn “Biddy” Martin was inaugurated on Oct. 15, 2011 as the 19th President of the College.
The Class of 2015 arrived on campus to experience an event the likes of which the College had not seen for 73 years: Hurricane Irene. In the end, the College only suffered minimal damage from the storm. The administration only had to close Valentine Dining Hall for lunch on the day the storm hit. The Board of Trustees announced the election of Carolyn “Biddy” Martin the 19th President of the College on June 14, ending the Presidential Search Committee’s yearlong search to ﬁnd Tony Marx’s successor. She became not only the ﬁrst female president in Amherst history, but also the ﬁrst openly gay person to head the institution. Martin, a distinguished German studies scholar, left her position as chancellor at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison to become President of the College. Valentine Dining Hall underwent construction in the hope of decreasing long lines during lunch and dinner hours. One important change is the addition of a third exit on the south side of the salad bar. Another major change is the relocation of beverages to outside the servery, to the west exit and wrapping around into the Russ Wing, with the soft serve machines and an allergy-free station occupying part of the space freed by the drink machines. Furthermore, Val had an installation of new, colorful ﬂoors. Other major changes include the replacement of all other ﬁnishes (ﬂooring, carpeting), the installment of a new ceiling, the replacement of the old dish conveyor belt with a vertical accumulator (boasting
three layers of tray slots), the switch to environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners, as well as the purchase of a new, more eco-friendly dishwashing machines. With these renovations, Val is striving towards making itself as convenient, sustainable and user-friendly as possible. Tensions arose between the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) and students and the administration after it was decided the events and parties could no longer be held in the basements of Crossett, Davis and Stone dormitories due to a change in ﬁre safety regulations. On Aug. 26, Dean of Students Allen Hart wrote in an email that, following a directive from the Fire Chief for the town of Amherst, “spaces which hold 100 or more people cannot be used unless they have a sprinkler system.” It was eventually decided that sprinkler systems would be placed in the social dorms over the summer.
Amherst was hit hard by an October Nor’easter that pummeled the campus with record amounts of snow. The storm left several of the main quads in shambles as it knocked down trees all over campus and resulted in several power outages. Much of the damage was attributed to the wet snow that weighed down branches, resulting in damage to roofs and power lines and consequently leaving countless residents out in the cold. The storm also damaged cell towers, making it difﬁcult for people to stay in touch with one another. With backup generators sputtering to life in only a few buildings and emergency lights in dormitories lasting for only a few hours, the dark campus was eventually closed for a day.
Tony Marx, who left the presidency of the College at the end of last year to become president of the New York Public Library, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxi-
cated in New York City on Sunday afternoon. According to The Wall Street Journal’s Metropolis blog, which ﬁrst reported the story, Marx was driving a Library-owned vehicle around 5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon with a blood alcohol level of 0.19 when the 2009 Audi he was driving glanced off a parked car on 138th East Street. Marx pleaded not guilty to the charges ﬁled against him during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. As of this summer, the Statement on Sexual Misconduct was added to the Student Handbook, specifying what constituted a violation of the sexual harassment section of the honor code. “Now students can look at the handbook and point to speciﬁc violations because everything is broken down,” said Gretchen Krull, the Assistant Director of Health Education and the College’s Sexual Assault Counselor. “The new policy basically says that if you don’t get a yes, it’s [a] no-go. Silence does not equal consent.” The Campus Challenge Committee held its kickoff meetings to mark the ofﬁcial beginning of the College’s participation in the 2011-2012 Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. In May 2011, the White House Ofﬁce of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FSNP) invited college campuses to take up this challenge, designed to increase social cohesion by having groups and individuals work across their differences, while maximizing social capital by having networks of people and groups working together on a common project. Each campus is challenged to address a speciﬁc societal need, and the College has chosen the alleviation of poverty and hunger.
Director of Religious Life Paul Sorrentino led a memorial for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on Memorial Hill, which began with the playing of the bells of Stearns Steeple. Built to honor the alumni lost in the Civil War, the bells rang through campus as students gathered at the war memorial to commemorate the most recent tragedy in American history. It was one that they all remember, despite the fact that many were only in grade school at the time.
After a rigorous advertising campaign by the AAS Elections Committee, the Class of 2015 had a record number of candidates in the ﬁrstyear Senate elections, with 18 students run-
Photo by Brianda Reyes ’14
An October snowstorm hit Amherst, causing destruction and power outages all over campus.
Congratulations to the Phi Beta Kappa Members of the Class of 2012. These students represent the top 10 percent of their class. Hayley Christine Anderson Scott Howard Bartley Sarah Rachel Beganskas Nathan Belkin Kuhuk Bhushan Brenna Kekst Brown Emma Louise Buchsbaum Olivia Marie Chase Rebecca Louise Eppler-Epstein Leah Rebecca Fine Josephine Tessa Cochran Fisher Kristen Scholes Gardner Ethan Thomas Gates Yevgeniy Golubitskiy Maureen Anne Grifﬁn
Anna Dorothy Hager Taylor Davis Haney Wenying Hu Trevor Glen Hyde Annemarie Iker Jiaqi Ji Ariah Aram Klages-Mundt Yordanka Aleksandrova Kovacheva Benjamin Edward Lin Christine Marie Lyons Miranda Claire Marraccini Benjamin Thomas Miller Christopher Todd Morrison Nathan Hochhausler Nash
Rebecca Ann Ojserkis Zohar Perla Catherine Alice Rothacker Alexa Anne Russo Yusuf Saban Sarah Elizabeth Stromseth Schear Carolyn Grace Spalluto Elaine Teng Jonathan Emanuel Thaler Jaclyn Anh Tu Tran Dang Hong Trinh Kate Michelle Turetsky Rina Vernovskaya Eric Nathaniel Weisberg Yinan Zhang
Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors organization. PBK is an acronym for the greek phrase “Philosophia Biou Kubernetes,” which is translatable as “the love of learning is the guide of life.”
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
MAY 18, 2012
Year in Review
with New Struggles and New Beginnings December
In an effort to increase transparency between the AAS and the College community, the AAS is working to move more of its budget information online, making it more open and accessible to the public. Each year, the AAS manages a budget of over $800,000. The AAS treasurer, with the help of a staff of clerks, compiles detailed information accounting for the AAS ﬁnances each semester, which is then reviewed by a certiﬁed public accountant and an independent auditor. While this information is stored on AAS servers, much of it is not available to the College community except upon request. After the format of the College website switched to the CMS format that it currently uses, the AAS stopped posting semesterly budget summaries. The AAS treasurer recently worked to move the full budgets back online for the public to access.
On Jan. 5, College administrators celebrated the reopening of the recently renovated Lord Jeffery Inn. The Inn is an important milestone in the College’s quest to be more environmentally sustainable. A subsidiary of the College, the “Lord Jeff,” as it is colloquially known, serves as the ﬁrst point of contact between the College and the Pioneer Valley community. The Lord Jeff incorporated several new energy efﬁcient designs to demonstrate its commitment to reducing their footprint on the local environment.
As the College gears up for one of its largest construction projects in decades, the future of Amherst Day School, affectionately known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, is in question. After College ofﬁcials informed the Little Red Schoolhouse, located in the heart of the Social Quad, that it would have to close and vacate the premises by June 30, 2012, the Schoolhouse and members of the Amherst community ral-
lied together to petition the College to extend its future. Proposals range from simply ﬁnding the preschool program a new home, to physically moving the building to an alternate location on campus or in town. Recently, the construction schedule has changed, allowing the Schoolhouse to remain on campus through May 2013. Valentine Dining Hall (@AmherstDining) has joined the ever-growing list of Amherst College Twitter accounts. Valentine has joined the popular media site in an effort to connect the dining hall and the students on campus. At 216 followers, this Twitter account has been testing the limits of its 140 characters to reach out to all those who check its “tweets” each day. Gender-inclusive housing became a housing preference option for Room Draw 2012 after the Board of Trustees approved a campus-wide petition to allow students to choose roommates regardless of gender. Sponsored by the Pride Alliance, the petition has been in the works for a few years now and garnered over 300 signatures from students and alumni. It makes an exception for ﬁrst-years, who will continue to be paired with members of the same sex unless they speciﬁcally request an exception. Spring Concert led to high tensions in the student body, as Program Board struggled to ﬁnd an act for the show. While the AAS funds the Program Board, its decisions regarding any events (including the Spring Concert) rest solely on the Program Board itself, and students demanded answers from both. Eventually, the problem was solved when Program Board booked Ludacris for the show after the AAS provided additional money to book an artist. On Feb. 13, Johnson Chapel faced “extensive ﬂooding” after a pipe burst, causing many classes to be canceled and forcing faculty and staff to be relocated to temporary ofﬁces. The
Photo by Peter Mack ’15
Frost Cafe opened on April 13. It offers students hot beverages, cold beverages and highquality pastries. ﬂooding, concentrated mainly on the west side of the building, damaged many of the walls and the ceiling. The pipe burst as the result of the Chapel’s age, as nails in room 30E loosened, causing the ceiling to collapse and fall into the sprinkler pipe. Fortunately, this triggered the alarm system, eliciting swift response.
community announcing the Comprehensive Fee for the 2012-2013 academic year. The fee, which covers tuition, room and board, will be increased to $55,510. This represents a four percent increase over the 2011-2012 fee, making it approximately double the rate of inﬂation over the same period of time.
Frost Café had its soft opening, fulﬁlling a long-anticipated addition to Frost Library that answered the call of students for food and drink in the library. Planning for the café started last spring, while construction began immediately after last semester’s ﬁnal exams and ﬁnished in mid-February. Shortly after spring break, the café had its grand opening, with more fanfare and some giveaways. The President’s Ofﬁce sent an email to students and other members of the College
After the AAS elections for e-board took place, allegations were raised that valuable election information had been leaked during the day by a senator who had access to the real-time results because of an oversight by the elections committee. The Judiciary Council of the AAS decided to nullify the results of the presidential and treasurer elections, while not punishing any of the elections’ candidates, and to run a new election for those two races. The JC also decided to release the results of the vice president, secretary and judiciary council chair positions.
THE CAMPUS CRIME LOG A Year in Crime: The Best of 2011-2012
September 1, 2011 1:22 a.m., Social Quad An ofﬁcer on patrol found that burning charcoal was dumped from a grill onto the ground near Davis Dormitory. The ofﬁcer extinguished the coals. September 3, 2011 11:26 p.m., Wieland Hall An ofﬁcer encountered a student handing out cans of beer randomly to a crowd of people. The remaining beer was conﬁscated. September 14, 2011 11:17 p.m., Hitchcock House An ofﬁcer responding to a noise complaint noticed that many ceiling tiles were moved out of place and one was broken on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. September 17, 2011 10:09 p.m., Charles Drew House A resident ﬁled a complaint about noise. The responding ofﬁcer determined that the noise was coming from ﬁreworks at UMass. September 19, 2011 1:24 a.m., Hamilton House Ofﬁcers responded to a noise complaint and found chocolate cake smeared over basement walls. It
MAY 18, 2012
also appeared that someone urinated in a clothes dryer. No one was present at the time.
tion in the Friedmann room after attempting to spill beer on the DJ’s equipment.
October 16, 2011 10:19 a.m., Off-Campus Location A caller reported seeing a bear on Hitchcock Road. The town police were notiﬁed.
January 20, 2012 1:43 a.m., Railroad Right of Way An ofﬁcer on patrol found a car stranded along the railroad tracks near the social dorms. The operator was found to be intoxicated. The town police took the man into custody.
October 27, 2011 8:06 p.m., Memorial Hill Several students were found sledding. They were directed to stop as such activity on the hill is not allowed. November 5, 2011 2:32 p.m., Quadrangle Road An ofﬁcer responded to a parking complaint and ticketed eight illegally parked cars. November 12, 2011 5:53 p.m., Humphries House A resident reported hearing a loud popping noise she could not explain. An ofﬁcer checked the inside and outside of the house but found nothing. December 7, 2011 11:38 p.m., Keefe Campus Center A student was ejected from a func-
January 23, 2012 1:58 p.m., Seligman House An ofﬁcer responded to a report of someone slumped over the steering wheel of a car. They discovered that the driver’s seat was tilted against the wheel, and no one was in the car. February 7, 2012 1:15 p.m., Campus Grounds An employee reported the theft of a chainsaw from an area near Williston House. February 21, 2012 3:33 p.m., Stone Dormitory A visitor reported the theft of a cell phone and sweatshirt that were left unattended in a common room suite for a period of time several days ago.
February 25, 2012 1:00 a.m., Off-Campus Location An ofﬁcer met a State Police ofﬁcer on College St. who was transporting an intoxicated student back from Northampton, where the student was found in the roadway. He was taken to his residence. March 3, 2012 1:36 a.m., Boltwood Avenue An ofﬁcer observed two people at the bus stop who were throwing snowballs at passing cars. They were identiﬁed and warned to stop the activity. March 29, 2012 2:13 a.m., Davis Dormitory
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
An ofﬁcer on foot patrol observed a naked man, whom he recognized as a student, and a partially-clad female run from the rear of Davis and into the building. They could not be located after that. April 14, 2012 1:50 a.m., Davis An ofﬁcer on patrol observed two men hiding something in the bushed behind Merrill Science. The ofﬁcer discovered it was a trafﬁc barrel from a construction site. The ofﬁcer observed the men enter Davis and went to speak with them. While at their suite, two road horses used for trafﬁc control were found and conﬁscated.
Unconventional Senior Breaks from Tradition Creative Music and Theatre and Dance double major walks to the beat of his own drum. By Andre Wang ’14 It was an early January evening, when, along with four other cast members, I was invited to a house dinner by our choreographer and director Philip Dupont ’12, whose senior project in Theater and Dance, “BelReso Curvus,” would be staged in less than two weeks. Shrouded in blue misty twilight, the path to North Amherst rose up and became narrower as I doublechecked the directions on my iPhone. I wondered why he chose to live off campus and was equally bafﬂed by the manner in which he conducted our rehearsals, which were ﬁlled with collages of spoken words, improvisation, movement formulae and heavy metal mosh scores against a landscape of perilously hung metal chimes (or so they seemed) and white rustling drapes. Dupont, a double major in Music and Theater and Dance, spoke an esoteric language both in arts — with his music thesis “American America,” performed last fall — and in everyday life, giving an impression of being half-hippie, half-ruminator, an image that had not change much since our ﬁrst encounter backstage in Performance Project more than a year earlier. Dupont was preparing salad in the
generous with his thoughts and words, making offhand comments about background music and Moroccan cuisine. Yet there was a certain multitude that intrigued me. “There is something going on somewhere in his mind that [was translated into] drawings, movements [and] patterns, and…I still [wonder] what it is,” said fellow cast member Romain Bigé to me months later.
An Unconventional and Daring Artisan
Bigé was not the only one who struggled to unwrap the enigma that was Dupont. When I paid Dupont another visit as Commencement approached, I too harbored similar thoughts. The visit felt like an extension of the previous one, shaded with the same gloomy coldness and taking place at the same time of day. Looking dapper in a dark purple tie and gray cardigan, Dupont greeted me at the door. He had had a bad day, he told me, so he had dressed up to lighten his mood. Not long ago, his thesis was nominated for Latin honors and he received the Bryant Prize for best performance, so what, I asked him, had
Next year, Dupont will work with the Copeland Colloquium on campus, helping to invigorate Amherst’s cultural scene. line-spacing (“Double-space is the ugliest thing in the world.”). He wanted his thesis to be pretty open about what it actually meant for him. I believed him. During the ﬁrst rehearsal of “BelReso Curvus,” we had a candid conversation where he acknowledged his lack of technical dance training and promised that he would give me freedom to use my own movement vocabulary. During my interview, he seldom held back, his musing even more probing than my questions. Yet unlike the “bare-all,” conceited type of interviewee, he was self-conscious even in the most innocuous reﬂections. “For me, the process of making the piece…” He stopped suddenly, “oh my gosh.” Having been hovering over the nook table while contemplating on his creative process, he straightened his back. “It’s really hard not to sound like a d*** when you’re talking about this stuff,” he mocked himself softly, before showing me his ambitious proposal and every step in the evolution of his project, including notes on his dreads and doubts.
A Passion for Music and New Beginnings
Photos courtesy of Philip Dupont
While at Amherst, Dupont double majored in Music and Theater and Dance. kitchen, a small but cozy space adjacent to the dining area, open to the main living room and a balcony one hammock shy of a back-door haven. I looked around. Oil and watercolor paintings of all sizes adorned the walls. There were scattered handicrafts. A dark-colored rocking chair inches away from a sideway door faced a solitary ﬂight of stairs that ended abruptly mid-air, whose fold-carved base hosted an army of neat wooden drawers. A spacious home to three other students, the house bore visible remnants of its previous owners, obvious connoisseurs of lifestyle and the arts. The house seemed an appropriate metaphor for our host: Dupont was
brought him down? He admitted he was angry earlier that day. “I had to write something that I really felt wasn’t me, [but] it was due and I just had to, like, edit it and send it out.” A departure from the stereotypical, nonchalant senior, the soon-to-be graduate looked bothered by one assignment. Honesty was more a creed than a mantra to him. “I try to be as honest as I can be about what’s going through my mind.” He ﬂipped through the black tome on the round table in a hallway nook, his personal copy of his Theater and Dance thesis, explaining his nonstandard, ﬂak-inviting choices: mixed fonts, journal entries as appendices and
Part of the stress of making “BelReso Curvus” came from an absence of theater and dance background prior to Amherst, in contrast with his strong musical background. Growing up in Bowling Greens, Ohio, the second son of two UMass Amherst alumni has been playing the piano since age six. His passion for music continued in college, where he frequently performed at music gigs, Marsh Coffee Haüs, Jazz Ensemble and recitals in the area. His pursuit of virtuosity was relentless: Alissa Leiser, his piano teacher at Northampton, fondly recalled how Dupont showed up at her house on an “unbelievably hot day” last July for his ﬁrst piano lesson that was in preparation for his music thesis. Having ridden on a bike all the way, he was sweating profusely but smiling at the door, eager to get started. “He came hungry. He came prepared to eat up ideas, talk about his own [and] schmooze about the music and how it should or could be played,” Leiser wrote to me in an email. “Intelligent, creative and enthusiastic,” Dupont earned her high regards and was “a pleasure to teach.”
His thesis advisor, Professor Eric Sawyer, echoed Leiser’s praise, complimenting Dupont as an “omnivore of the arts” who “turned the standard form of a piano recital thesis into a theatrical presentation that was highly entertaining and at the same time musically substantive.” In contrast, his interest in Theatre and Dance, the only experience of which he had through high school drama club, did not blossom until he took “Language of Movement,” a class offered by Professor Wendy Woodson, who would later advise him on “BelReso Curvus.” “I remember when Phil walked into my class,” Professor Woodson recalled, “with little previous dance experience but…a wonderful appetite for learning. He took to movement improvisation and composition like a duck to water and has been a fantastic swimmer ever since.” Dupont had seen it coming. “I wanted to reinvent myself,” he commented on the end of his high school career. He enjoyed his high school days, but he felt the urge to get out and embrace a different experience (he applied to ﬁve liberal arts colleges in New England and chose Amherst for its generous ﬁnancial aid package). Recognizing that he would start over in a new place with new people, he expected change to happen, and he was ready.
Distracted by Thought
Despite his rapid growth in college, Dupont was cautious about the notion of a new life at Amherst. Though he did not seriously sit down to think about the way his journey had shaped him until a month before Commencement, he was adamant about the continuity of personal history and that the signiﬁcant events in his life did not break it into segments. “I absolutely continued living since being 18 years old,” he said, enunciating each syllable in “absolutely” with slow, deliberate attention. For a while, his memory dwelled on Daniel Pinkwater, a children’s books author he liked in high school. Pinkwater fascinated him, but it was not until college that the sensibilities, juxtaposition and absurdist narratives in Pinkwater’s works entered Dupont’s awareness and informed him of his own artistry and
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
even himself. Describing how curiosity immerses Phil in deep thoughts, Bigé called Dupont’s occasional wandering attention “an elegant form of A.D.D.” Watching Phil parsing his memory of Pinkwater, I agreed with Bigé’s interpretation: for a brief moment I witnessed Dupont’s mind drift into his inner world, and then return. “I’m obsessed to know how my mind is working,” he explained.
Looking Ahead: Not What, But Where
He would in a few days prove this self-evaluation accurate, delving into his “queer” identity and its conceptualization for half an hour at Amherst Coffee, with a similarly sincere eagerness that he carries toward his every other endeavor, however big or small. I was surprised, therefore, when I asked him about his future plans. “I am not interested too much in planning out the future, sometimes to my detriment,” Dupont answered. He cares more about where he will be than what he will do, because for him, with locations comes a plethora of possibilities. Vermont, Montreal and Hawaii were mentioned. “It could have been anything in the end,” he previously said of “BelReso Curvus,” a statement that now seemed especially appropriate. After ﬁve classes and four shows together (including each other’s senior project), Grace Booth ’12 believes that Dupont is “willing to entertain, or even try, crazy ideas.” “‘Why not go?’ That’s Phil for me.” For the next year, however, Dupont will be working with the Copeland Colloquium, which plans to bring to campus guest artists from ﬁve continents and aims to invigorate our cultural scene. Dupont accepted the invitation to be a part of the organizing team after attending the planning meetings and interviewing local artists as part of his Special Topics class with Professor Woodson this spring. Always interested in the mechanics and what goes on behind the scenes, Dupont is excited to witness how the colloquium will be constructed. “I think my overall strategy in life is to do things that give me joy.” No doubt, art has met that criterion.
MAY 18, 2012
A Love of Music and a Commitment to Humility Family oriented and humble senior looks forward to an illustrious career in musicology and teaching music, carrying with her a legacy of awards and achievement. By Clara Yoon ’15 For someone who claims to be shy and uncomfortable with the thought of speaking in public, Ioanida Costache is remarkably eloquent. Her unassuming character makes her a favorite among her friends to settle conflict and it’s not until one talks to her boyfriend that one discovers the numerous awards and accolades she has amassed during her four years at Amherst. So even though nobody mentions it specifically, humility might be one of Costache’s defining personality
already got a good impression because they know my brother and think he’s great.” Additionally, since they both attended Amherst and then he got a job with a consulting firm in the town, it gave Costache a support system and a way to bridge the transition from high school to college. She remembered “the first night I came here, I wanted to weep immediately. I had a nervous breakdown, I called my brother, and I remember we met. And I was like, ‘What are we doing here? What is this
be a Chemistry major. While she excelled at the subject in high school, taking two independent-study chemistry classes and winning the Chemistry Student of the Year award, it all changed when she took Introductory Chemistry at the College. “It was terrible!” she exclaimed. The music class she was taking was much more agreeable, and that set the stage for her music major and her interest in musicology. But it’s not just music that drives Costache academically. Though she regrets not broadening the list of classes she took, Costache has nonetheless dabbled in topics ranging from James Joyce to the Monastic Challenge to Poetic Translation. Her close friend, Emma Buchsbaum ’12 claimed, “at Amherst she has taken everything. She’s incredibly creative and can and will do anything that sparks her interest. She’s very curious about the world, and I know wherever she goes after Amherst she will have interesting, rewarding experiences because of it.” Although most people are more than willing to list their laundry list of achievements, Costache is the opposite. She has won awards for both her thesis and work in the Computer Center, but she won’t even mention them. Besides, it’s not her involvement in the orchestra or chamber music she finds most rewarding, but the low-profile work as a tutor for the music department that she truly enjoyed. It gave Costache a chance to realize the passion she holds for teaching. When preparing a mock lesson, her boyfriend Mark Santolucito ’13 remembers that “she taught the lesson five times to me. I heard the lesson five times, and each time, she revised it and made it a little better. Everything she does she does with a 100 percent passion. And she’ll only do things she cares about. She won’t do anything for the reward or the grade.”
What is Musicology?
Costache draws her strength from her Romanian parents and her brother, an alumnus of the College who was an inspiration to her. traits. After all, Amherst students all aim high, but not everyone will have the strength of character to match their career.
thing?’ I was going to college and it didn’t make any sense to me. I don’t think I could have gotten through the first year if I didn’t have him.”
Finding a Niche
Some of that inner strength would have to be attributed to her family. Her Romanian parents were always supportive and driven by the need to give their children opportunities they never had. Costache started learning the violin when she was five. She said that “they of course went through the phase when they wanted my brother to be pre-med and all that, because who doesn’t do that? And they worry, like everyone else, but they’re not crazy: ‘What are you going to do with a music major?’ They have confidence.” And though some people resent being in an older sibling’s shadow, Costache claimed that “it was the best. I would walk into a classroom, and I’ve
From a small suburb outside Portland, Ore., Costache found that the size of Amherst, at least, was easy to handle. She found a niche in town through working at the ABC, or Amherst Brewing Company and later at the High Horse. And following her brother, who also lived there, Costache found a community in the Zü (officially called Humphries House). She claims that it was a grounding experience: “You have to stress out about cooking and cleaning, and it’s nice to have that distraction instead of stressing out about school.” Finding an academic niche was less easy — Costache came to the College originally thinking that she would
May 18, 2012
In the end, Costache found her passion in musicology. Her senior thesis was on the piece, “Das Lied von der Erde” by Gustav Mahler. Her passion shone through the piece. “There’s something about his [Mahler’s] music,” Costache insisted, “that expresses something about the human condition. You listen to the music and you feel that Mahler really understands how we feel.” She was originally introduced to Mahler through one of his symphonies that she played in high school, but she wasn’t interested in the actual piece until she took a seminar with her advisor, Professor Jenny Kallick, about it. While an entire class might be enough for most people, Costache claimed “there was so much left to read about it and to study.” She decided to write her thesis on the piece because “[she] resonated with it on an emotional level.” Her focus was on the links to nature that Mahler emphasizes on in the piece. More specifically, this emphasis on nature reflected the ways man related to nature, man’s condition on earth and what comes after. It was a rather dark and “angsty” piece, yet Costache stated that despite its heaviness and the sheer intimidation she felt when approaching her thesis, “it was worth it. I had a lot of fun with it.”
Photos courtesy of Ioanida Costache
Costache’s close friends claim she is incredibly creative, curious about the world and capable of drawing the most out of her life experiences.
Afterwards This coming year, Costache will be working as a Graduate Associate in Music. This job, part assistant to Mark Swanson, the Orchestra Director, part intermediary between professor and student, will give Costache a chance to spend a less hectic year applying to graduate school for musicology. Before getting her degree, she will be working at the Chamber Music Festival in Portland. After getting her degree, Costache hopes to be a professor, her “dream job,” and one of very few careers available for musicology degrees. As she so dryly mentioned, “There aren’t a lot of musicology degrees out there.” But knowing Costache, and how she had always enjoyed being a tutor for the music department and defending her thesis, one can predict that Costache has made the right choice. And though the career options for a musicology degree are limited and very competitive, she approaches these challenges with a philosophical mood. “Everything is competitive,” she mused, “so that shouldn’t be a deterrent for anyone to do what they want to do.” Yet, she doesn’t want to restrict
herself to the desk: Costache plans to reconnect with her violin, practicing so that it can be a significant part of her life and possibly career. She finds that the two successes during her college career were the thesis, and the “epiphanic, almost cathartic” feeling she had during a concerto performance she played during her last week of school. “I was super sick, and just powering through it, that was huge. That was probably one of the best moments of my life,” she said. Reconnecting with the love she holds for her violin, Costache is determined that her career be the best mix of the practice and study of music. But Costache isn’t looking towards the future like so many do, caught up in the possibilities and the potentials and the accompanying worrying and stress. And yet, she isn’t stuck in the past either, as much as she claimed that she “came into her own” at the College. Instead, she’s fully invested in living the moment. She claims that “one of the biggest things I’ve learned in the four years is about realizing it’s just life. It’s just not that big of a deal. You can be stressed out, you can be worrying, but overall, life is so beautiful.”
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The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Mathematician Discovers Lemniscate Proof Able to conceptualize abstractions, Hyde excels at “real” mathematics, which shone through in his novel thesis. by Whit Froehlich ’14 I first met Trevor Hyde at practices for the William Lowell Putnam Competition, an annual intercollegiate math competition in which math students from around the country compete for scholarship prizes. I’d done math competitions before, but Hyde assured me that this one was different. Scored out of 120 points (10 for each of 12 questions), it is administered over a six-hour period, three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon on the day of the test. The median score out of 120 is usually between zero and two points. More importantly, he explained, the Putnam exam tests “real” math, not counting or clever tricks with combinatorics. Hyde, as I quickly found out, excels at real math, the subjects that draw lines between high-schoollevel and college-level math, where numbers take a back seat to the many more abstract features of the subject. On Putnam that year, Hyde did well, but he didn’t rank among the best. Though a high score would have helped in applying to graduate school in math, he took it as encouragement to work harder in his classes and to apply himself more to the more direct determinants of graduate-school admissions.
From Far ‘Afield’ to Amherst Hyde hails from the small town of Fairfield, Iowa, home to a large group of the followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, best known as the spiritual leader of the Beatles. As he describes it, the town features a divide between the “townies” and the “rus” (short for “gurus”) who follow the Maharishi’s teachings. This dynamic proves to be a persistent source of differences between the two groups on matters of town governance. Hyde explained that despite being a “townie,” through his job at a local organic grocery store, he was exposed to those on the other side, summarizing, “I consider myself pretty neutral — this whole thing is sort of childish, that there are still disputes between these groups of people.” Though the movement has lost some steam since its height in the 1960s, it retains a foothold in Fairfield and, until just a few years ago, in Amherst as well, where the movement maintained an information center downtown. An important point for Hyde in arriving both at Amherst and at the math department was a summer spent at a math camp, at the urging of his computer science teacher. He explains, “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into… I was sort of thrown into this camp with these really brilliant people who had already studied abstract algebra and analysis while they were in high school, and I didn’t really know what a proof was yet.” While at the camp, he met a professor from Wil-
liams College who was a very inspiring lecturer, and after learning more about Williams, decided to apply to both Williams and the similar Amherst College. After being accepted to both, Amherst invited Hyde to visit and, though, set on Williams, he decided to take Amherst up on its offer. After visiting, his decision was made: he was coming to Amherst. By the time he arrived at Amherst, Hyde was certain that he would be a math major. After briefly considering physics and more lengthily considering computer science as a second major, he determined that even though these were interests, they were not worthy of the focus of a major. His focus determined, he let little stand in the way of his pursuit of math, taking during his time at Amherst 17 math courses, an impressive number well beyond the nine required for a major. Excepting Putnam, he did few extracurricular activities, recounting, “I did the Frisbee team for the first two weeks of my freshman year, and then I remember the reason I quit was because I got some really interesting problem for my number theory class, and when it was time to go to practice, I was just like, I just don’t want to stop doing this to play Frisbee. And that was the end of my Frisbee career.” It was this singleminded focus on math that drove Hyde to take the comprehensive exam as a junior in order to qualify for writing a thesis in his senior year.
The Genesis of Thesis Project Hyde’s thesis involved the lemniscate, a curve in two-dimensional space best described as “the infinity symbol,” though more formally described by a mathematical equation,
(x2+y2)2 = 2a2(x2−y2). He took up an analysis of this curve after taking a reading course with Professor David Cox, using Cox’s book about Galois Theory. While the book begins with the foundations of Galois Theory, the later chapters explore a number of different topics, including one on the lemniscates, which both interested Hyde and contained several unsolved problems, a happy intersection for a junior looking to write a thesis the following year. The problem in question was to find the size of a certain Galois group, but the benefit of doing so was a more elegant proof of a theorem by Abel about the division of a lemniscate into equal lengths using a ruler and compass. The theorem states that the lemniscate can be divided into n equal lengths if n can be expressed as a power of two multiplied by distinct Fermat primes, primes of the form 22^m+1, where m is some positive integer, which is the same formula for the equivalent operation on a circle. Initially, Hyde and Cox headed in the direction of number theory in order to apply the tool of class field theory, which easily gave the size of a similar Galois group. Despite learning a significant amount of class field theory, however, Hyde was unable to extend this result to find the size of his desired group. Cox describes: “We were at this dead end with class field theory, so Trevor said, let me try to come up with a lemniscates analogue of the cyclotomic polynomial, and if [we] can prove that’s irreducible, then we have an isomorphism, and then good things happen. Trevor called this a ‘lemnotomic polynomial.’ It was really a genuinely good idea, and it worked.” From this key insight, it was a matter of making things fit to achieve the full proof. With some write-up, it is likely to be a publishable work, as it is an elegant and original proof. Cox also explained that the dead-end that Hyde encountered might have caused his thesis to be
Hyde plans to work as a Quantitative Center fellow at Amherst before moving on to help others with higher-level math while improving his own skills. very different: “It could have been an expository thesis, [with] a very nice introduction to class field theory, how it applies to this case, and how it gives Abel’s theorem.” This easier approach, he said, would still be doing math at the graduate level and would have been a “very nice” thesis. However, “by coming up with [a] genuinely original approach,” Hyde was able to create an “exceptional” thesis.
To the Future: (more) Math! With this exceptional thesis under his belt, Hyde plans to go to
Photos courtesy of Trevor Hyde
Though he dabbled in extracurriculars and considered other majors, Hyde decided to focus his career at the College on mathematics.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
graduate school in mathematics after taking a year to work as the Quantitative Center fellow at Amherst. As the Q Center fellow, he will provide the fairly rare service of helping students with upper-level math courses, something that they have been generally less able to provide to students. In addition, he will have to time to continue independent research and apply to graduate schools, with the eventual goal of teaching at the college level. When asked about the relative importance of teaching and research, he cited Richard Feynman, the famed physicist, who, he explaind, after returning from a research sabbatical, “realized, when he went back to teaching, that his teaching inspired and informed his research, and that having students was a crucial aspect of his research career.” This insight has and will inspire Hyde’s learning experiences working in the Q Center. Asked if he had to choose between teaching and researching, he confirmed that he’d choose teaching, balking, like Feynman, at the prospect of research without teaching. QianQian Chen ’13 agreed that teaching has become an important skill for Hyde, stating that he “got much better at teaching at the Q Center.” She recalled that while freshman year she “couldn’t understand what [he] was talking about, […] this semester [… he was] really good at teaching.” By working at the Q Center for another year, Hyde is delaying his inevitable departure from Amherst. Afterwards, he will go on to apply his math skills in new and interesting ways elsewhere, but not before helping dozens more Amherst students achieve their own insights in the Q Center.
May 18, 2012
A History Geek with A Passion for People As an RC and friend, Kate Berry will be missed at Amherst. She is moving on to exciting ventures, however, such as continuing her interest in human trafficking — her thesis topic — in Washington, D.C. by Judy Yoo ’14 Most of us know Kate Berry as a Resident Counselor in Morris Pratt, but her loved ones know her as Dit Beedy, an incredible conversationalist, die-hard romantic and thoughtful friend. It’s surprising to know that she is already a graduating senior. Born in Seattle, Wash., Berry grew up with her parents and little sister, Madeline, in Woodinville, Wash. — a suburb just to the east of Seattle. Redmond — the next town over — houses the Microsoft headquarters, so she grew up with an interesting blend of countryside (cows, horses, farms) and the tech industry. While the weather may give Seattle a rainy reputation, Berry loved it and hopes to return at some point after graduation.
Growing up with American History Growing up, Berry was a quiet kid who enjoyed reading — anywhere, anytime. To her parents’ displeasure, she would often even read at the dinner table. Berry loved all types of genres but particularly fell in love with books about American history. She first became interested in American history after seeing her
greatest heroes then and and now are still her parents. “Without a doubt, they were tremendous influences on my sister and me. They demonstrated early on a commitment to learning and to giving — both of which remain important to me today.”
At first, Berry was not certain whether or not Amherst was the right school for her. She knew she was interested in political science and in a liberal arts education, but she was pretty ambivalent about where she wanted to go for a long time. She applied to colleges all over the country — primarily liberal arts schools, but some larger research universities as well. Ultimately, she decided between four places — Amherst, another small liberal arts college (not Williams!), a women’s college and a large university. In the end, however, she decided that she wanted a co-ed experience and that the university’s program would not allow her the sort of flexibility she desired. It was ultimately a visit on Admitted Students day that changed her mind. As her dad and she sat on the quad — in the exact spot where her classmates and she will walk across the stage on May 20 — she decided that Am-
ters, performed in tap dance with Amherst Dance, walked backwards across campus as a Tour Guide, played on an intramural softball team (“Yogurt on Jake Gyllenhal”) and worked as a resident counselor. All were memorable, but Berry finds this year as an RC to be the highlight of her Amherst tenure because of the remarkable RCs and residents she worked with. Overall, residential life has played a large role in her Amherst experience. During her first year as a resident of James second floor, her relationship with her fellow residents that really shaped her friendships and time here. She was very much committed to recreating that intimate experience in Morris Pratt this year. JohannsonMiller remembers Berry having numerous conversations with him about her Morris Pratt residents. For hours, she would rack her brain trying to figure out their problems. She would carry around an extensively written day planner and spend time making sure that she fulfilled her responsibilities as a counselor and student. Another memorable activity at Amherst was working as a photographer for the Public Affairs Office. It began when her first-year roommate got a job as a photographer for the office, and she quickly took on a similar interest. She ended up loving her work for that office — using a camera to preserve moments in Amherst’s history: sports games, guest lecturers, concerts, plays, commencements, convocations and President Biddy’s historic inauguration. Until now, Berry has dabbled in various activities on campus — but she really took the time to consider what activities and classes she enjoyed the most. Her time in college was much less about filling up her schedule (although it has been pretty busy) and more about the quality and meaning of her engagement.
Birthday in Geneva
For Berry, one of the most memorable activities from her Amherst experience is her work as a photographer for the Office of Public Affairs. uncle perform in the musical “1776.” The characters’ noble actions and patriotism fascinated her and she spent much time as a kid gathering as many books as she could find about John and Abigail Adams. For a long time, Abigail Adams became her hero. She admired her as an early advocate for women’s rights in the letters to her husband. Watching that musical as an eight-year-old, she thinks, is the root of some of her interest in political science and women’s studies that have been so important to her at Amherst. But really, Berry admits that her
May 18, 2012
herst just “felt” like the right place.
Engaging with the Amherst Community Berry attended a Community Engagement Orientation Trip as a first-year and ever since, her involvement with the CCE hasn’t stopped. On her trip she met Elias JohanssonMiller ’12, one of her closest friends today. They became good friends after working as CEOT trip leaders sophomore year. She also worked on The Indicator for a few semes-
During her junior year fall semester, Berry studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland through a Smith College program. It was really difficult for her to miss a semester at Amherst, but she felt it was also the right time to get away. During her stay there, she fell completely in love with the beautiful scenery and romantic excursions the city offered. Every day, she explored the city — absolutely beautiful with the lake and mountains — and Europe, as well. On her 21st birthday, she met up with Johansson-Miller, who joined her from Spain and celebrated with her, atop a Swiss mountain. After the celebration, Johansson-Miller and Berry walked around the center of town late at night at a cafe and sat there for a good two hours chatting and eating lots of croissants, cheese and chocolate. That, she recalls was an unforgettable birthday experience. On another day, she also got to explore Budapest with her first year roommate. She even took some great classes at the Univ. of Geneva and the Graduate School for International Studies and had an internship with End Human Trafficking Now. The internship inspired her current interests in human trafficking and opened doors towards her passion.
Photos courtesy of Kate Berry
Born in Seattle, Wash., Berry became an integral part of the College community as an incredible conversationalist and thoughtful friend.
Thesis on Human Trafficking Berry dedicated her political science thesis to a critique of responses to human trafficking in the United States. She first learned of human trafficking as a high school student traveling in Cambodia, and it became a scholarly interest when she arrived at Amherst. As she learned more, she became increasingly concerned about the problem and simultaneously critical about social and political responses in the U.S. For her thesis, she considered how human trafficking — forced labor and prostitution — is understood as an issue of prostitution, migration and criminal justice, and it highlighted some shortcomings of that conception. The project was largely based on the internship at Geneva and another one she had at Polaris Project, where she worked on the national human trafficking hotline. She worked many exhaustive hours working on the thesis project — she cried when she turned it in, not so much from relief
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
as separation anxiety. She hopes to revisit the topic in the coming years.
Her Passion Continues Fortunately, Berry will be able to continue her investigation into human trafficking after graduation. She has a job in Washington, D.C. as a Call Specialist for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at Polaris Project. Expanding on her past internships and thesis, she plans to work on the national human trafficking hotline, fielding calls from people interested in learning more about trafficking, reporting suspicious activity and seeking help from exploitative and abusive situations. She may go back to graduate school within a few years, but she is taking time off to determine exactly what she wants to study and pursue. The options are all open, and she is open to any suggestions. As for 10 years from now, she really has no idea where she will be, but only hopes her daily life will involve good food, close friends and books.
Run, Run, as Fast as You Can and Even Faster An inspiration on the team and a legend on the track, fast, stubborn and dedicated Ben Scheetz will continue running after his dreams once he has graduated. by Ethan Corey ’15
Ben Scheetz was named the National Track Athlete of the Year two consecutive years. Ben Scheetz is really fast, and that’s probably an understatement. Sprinting 800 meters in less than 1:48, Scheetz is a two-time National Track Athlete of the Year, holder of two Division III records in 800m and 4x400m, captain of the track & field team and member of the cross country team. When not running, Scheetz can be found studying Physics or working with the Peruvian Education Initiative. Known to his coaches, professors and peers as a hard-worker, role-model and mentor, Scheetz applies his goal-oriented mentality to all aspects of his life.
Dreaming Big Straight from the heart of Amish Country in Lancaster, Pa., Scheetz admits that Amherst was “under his radar” for most of the collegeapplication process — he submitted athletic information and an application, but he knew very little about the College. This changed, however, when his current coach at Amherst, Erik Nedeau, contacted him and invited him up for a visit. Nonetheless, Scheetz maintains that his choice of Amherst has been largely serendipitous, explaining his decision as “good luck — fate, mostly.” Right away, Scheetz took to running with a disarming level of confidence and commitment. In describing Scheetz’s positive attitude, Nedeau said: “He is confident about what he can do — both in practice and in races. And while it irked some people in the early stages of his running career here, he was always able to back it up. I have never had a problem with someone being confident, as long as they could back up what they talked about and Ben has always done that. While some could confuse it for arrogance, he is not afraid to say what he wants to achieve as he responds well to backing that up.”
From the start, Scheetz knew he wanted to go for the gold. Christopher Erickson ’12 remembers that during their first year on the team, Scheetz would talk incessantly about running a 1:48 (one minute and forty-eight seconds) on the 800-meter sprint (800m), even though he had never ran faster than 1:53 before. “Five seconds is a lot of time to drop in this event,” Erickson said. Nevertheless, by his junior year, Scheetz had indeed run a 1:48. This year, he broke the Division III alltime record with his astounding 1:47.43 performance at the 2012 New England Indoor Track & Field Championships, smashing the previous record by almost half a second — a significant difference in fast-paced events like the 800m.
A Legend on the Track It was no easy road to victory for Scheetz, however. Scheetz’s teammates and coaches alike emphasized Scheetz’s unparalleled work ethic and commitment to running, a mindset that helped Scheetz focus on improving his talents even while balancing the pressures of a rigorous Amherst education. Teammate Charles Reighard ’14 gushed, “not once in all the days I have trained with him has Ben not given 100 percent of his effort and focus to the task at hand. Every athlete works hard, but the degree of focus that Ben puts in to his sport is unparalleled. It’s focus that can only be truly appreciated after spending a long period of time with him, since it is the constant relentlessness of his work ethic that defines him.” This incredible devotion to selfimprovement has made Scheetz a role model for others on the team. According to teammate Adron Pitmon ’13, “over the past three years Ben has set the standard on our team in terms of his commitment and ef-
fort level and challenged the rest of us to match it.” Even when he was injured or tired, Scheetz was always ready to work out and give running his all. Erickson mentioned that Scheetz “is a tremendously hard worker. He lifts weights like a sprinter during crosscountry season and during summer training, which is remarkable because you run a lot of miles during these seasons. Most people’s legs are dead; Scheetz is doing hang cleans. Moreover, he would always welcome people to join him.” In the same vein, teammate Pitmon said that Scheetz’s intensity and positive attitude serves as an inspiration for the entire team. “His presence has a palpable effect on the rest of the team. He forces everyone to raise the level of their focus and effort during practice. On a personal level, he’s raised the level of my ambition in athletics, as well as life. When you spend time around someone as driven and ambitious as Scheetz, those qualities begin to rub off on you,” he said. By his senior year, Scheetz had become somewhat of a legend in the track community. “The expectations for him kept rising throughout his athletic career, and, remarkably, it became the norm for him to achieve them,” Reighard said. Challenging even Division I powerhouses such as Univ. of Connecticut’s Mike Rutt, Scheetz captivated the attention of even his opponents. Reighard continued, “Soon not only his teammates would come to cheer for him, but every single person at a meet would turn to the track to watch him, knowing something spectacular is bound to happen. This is something very rare in our sport, and I could tell you dozens of stories where entire field houses became captivated by his races.” Ask anyone, and they will say that Scheetz’s performances are spectacular and beyond comparison. Erickson recounted Scheetz’s dramatic comeback during the final round of the relay 2012 New England Indoor Track Championships, “Amherst had fallen behind by roughly 50-60 meters by the time Scheetz got the baton. He was running the anchor leg. During his four laps, he was reeling people in and passing them. Everybody’s chanting, ‘Scheetz, Scheetz, Scheetz.’ Middlebury’s anchor was still in the lead on the last lap, and he is pretty fast himself…Scheetz goes into beast mode, puts the team on his back, catches the Middlebury guy and passes him at the line to win the heat. It was one of the most unreal performances I’ve ever seen.”
National Championships, Scheetz suffered a foot injury that turned out to be his toughest opponent. Nedeau explained, “Despite his failure to advance to the finals in either the mile or the 800, which ended his quest to be a double winner at NCAA’s, he seemed remarkably poised and in control. I knew it hurt and knew that it was not easy for him but he handled it so well and did not let it bother him, and it truly showed me how much he has grown and matured.” Vindication for Scheetz came three days later, when he learned that he had been named National Athlete of the Year in Indoor Track for the second year in a row. Scheetz’s list of awards, trophies and accolades seems endless: he was the 2012 recipient of the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy for honor in athletics, 2011 National Champion in 800m and 4x400m relay, Most Outstanding Performer at the 2011 National Championships and more. The list could go on for a while.
Away from the Track Despite his accomplishments in track, there is much more to Scheetz than his amazing athletic ability. Teammate Patrick Grimes ’13 said of Scheetz, “Anyone would attest that at heart he is a huge nerd.” When not on the track, Scheetz can be found studying Physics or jamming out to K-pop. Assistant coach Stephen Shashy ’08 fondly remembers late-night trips to Steak ’n Shake and said, “For all his intensity and confidence on the track, I’d say that, as a person, Ben actually exhibits a certain degree of shyness. He also, I think when you get right down to it, exhibits a striking level of generosity. And he’s got a quirky sense of
humor with just a touch of tactlessness that is a lot of fun to be around once you sort of figure it out.” In the classroom and the study room, Scheetz was known for his strong opinions and firm convictions. Erickson, who took Professor Robert Townsend’s The Moral Essay with Scheetz, remembers one incident in the King second-floor common room: “We were writing our paper about Montaigne…together. Scheetz got angry about Montaigne’s inconsistencies, his contradictions. He slammed him in the paper. When Scheetz believes that he’s right, it’s always fun to listen to him about his position. He gets really adamant… The man has opinions that he eagerly defends. When we talked about that class, it was often ‘Scheetz knows best.’ Frequently he does.”
Running to a Bright Future After graduation, Scheetz plans to devote himself completely to running, and he hopes to surpass his current achievements. After that, he is unsure what he’ll do, but said that he was confident that he will be able to succeed: “I know Amherst has given me a set of tools that will allow me to perform well at whatever I do, be it medicine, physics, finance, etc.” If you haven’t gotten the picture already, his teammate Erickson sums up his impression of Scheetz: “Scheetz is a tremendously hard worker who always wants to win and usually does win. He’s confident. He’ll talk a bunch, but he also listens really well. Most importantly, he’s a great teammate and a great friend.”
Struggles and Triumphs This past winter, Scheetz faced two of his greatest challenges, both as an individual, student and athlete. First, he had worked hard all of fall semester to write a senior thesis in Physics, but over Interterm, he realized that it would be impossible to put adequate effort into the thesis while focusing on his running. He knew he couldn’t give up something as important to him as running, and after much thought and consideration, he came to the difficult decision to drop his thesis. Second, shortly before the Indoor Track & Field
Photos courtesy of Ben Scheetz
Scheetz’s teammates laud him as a runner whose performances are spectacular and capture the attention of all, even his opponents.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
May 18, 2012
Intellectual Star Explores Education, Economics An international student, Zhang dives into different cultures and languages with compassion and curiosity. by Meghna Sridhar ’14
A Spanish Invasion
Photos courtesy of Yinan Zhang
Zhang finds a purpose in education that has been fostered by extracurricular experiences and internships. One late night at the end of the August of 2008, a quiet, unassuming girl from Shanghai, China, stepped onto the Amherst College campus, still relatively unfamiliar with American culture and looking forward to an education that would hopefully lead to a career in finance or investment banking. Now four years later, Yinan Zhang will be matriculating with a double major in Spanish and Economics, a close familiarity with three different cultures and languages and an acceptance into a Harvard Master’s program to research education. She has still, however, retained her humble and unassuming character, soft-spoken and modest as she described her incredible achievements to me during one hot May afternoon on the first-year quad.
A Developing Interest in Education “I entered Amherst thinking I might want to go into finance,” said Zhang, who said she was “pretty good” at math and began with the standard economics track. However, she soon discovered that her interests laid elsewhere, and she realized that a career in investment banking wasn’t what she was truly passionate about. A big intellectual inspiration for Zhang actually came from outside the classroom; her internships, all through the Amherst Select Internship Program (ASIP), began to foster in her a growing interest in education. Her experiences working in a public high school in Brooklyn, N.Y. and interacting with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, interning in a non-profit interested in education and tutoring all pushed her towards exploring education, access and inequality through economic research. Another important formative event in Zhang’s Amherst career was the Mellon seminar entitled “The City, School, Space” that Zhang took with Professor Hillary Moss. Moss ended
May 18, 2012
dent. “The Mellon seminar really challenged me and helped me,” smiled Zhang. “I would recommend that class to everyone.”
up being one of Zhang’s primary intellectual mentors and an inspiration for her academic journey. “Once a week, we would read historical narratives of urban history intertwined with things like modern housing policies,” described Zhang enthusiastically, her love for that class clearly shining through. “It was a threehour discussion and a very small class. Moss always challenged us to think in our discussions — she always said that saying, ‘that’s interesting’ is not helpful, and we must figure out what our argument was and the purpose of making it. She was really good at leading discussion.” Zhang wrote a 30-page research paper for the class, working with primary sources and going to MIT to find original documents about a highwaybuilding proposal through Cambridge in the 1960s that affected the local residential community. “If the highway were to be built, these people would lose their homes,” said Zhang earnestly, demonstrating the clear passion for justice and intellectual curiosity that together had guided much of her academic work at Amherst. “But my paper explores the psychological impact of the highway proposal on residents.” At the end of the class, Moss and Dr. Andy Anderson from IT, who cotaught the course, offered the class an opportunity to continue their research outside the seminar, should they express an interest in doing so. Zhang, for whom the class was a life-changing experience, jumped at the opportunity. “I was very passionate about it,” she said. “It took me a long time to dig through all the data and the files, but it finally grew into an independent research project.” She continued to work with Moss and Anderson on it, and the three of them hoped to publish a paper collectively about the topic, a remarkable achievement for an undergraduate stu-
When Zhang came to Amherst, she decided that, despite being bilingual already, learning another language was imperative to a well-rounded education. She took elementary Spanish the fall of her first year and rose from not knowing the language at all to writing research papers in Spanish and majoring in the language by her senior year, a remarkable feat that few other students have achieved. “The wonderful thing about Yinan is that the entire department knows her,” said Professor Nina Scott, Zhang’s advisor from the Spanish department. “The language instructors had her as a beginner, and the literature professors had her during her later years at Amherst.” Despite having only learned the language for four years, Zhang displays a high level of proficiency in the language. “She is so fluent,” exclaimed Professor Scott. “I looked in the directory and discovered she was from Shanghai, but she spoke Spanish so well!” Zhang attributed her fluency to her study abroad experience in Madrid, Spain, where she was living with a host family and had to speak Spanish 24/7. “It took me a while to adjust,” she admitted. “By the end of it, I definitely matured.” While at Madrid, Zhang took in the excitement and experience of a new environment, but she did what she does with all her life experiences: she channeled them into academia. The exposure to a new culture was important to Zhang, not only as an intellectual journey in and of itself, but also as fodder for her thesis and for her further studies that related education and social norms. Already having been exposed to the different societies of China and America, Zhang’s cultural awareness provided the perfect knowledge base to be able to learn from and contextualize her study abroad experience. “She had to navigate three cultures,” said Scott, describing her with an animated reverence. “She’s not just a theory monk, she’ll be willing get in there and roll up her sleeves and get involved.” “I traveled around a lot,” said Zhang. “It’s a very fascinating country. It was an awesome experience travelling through Europe, sleeping in a hostel and taking the midnight bus.” Zhang took classes in Spanish economics, literature and society, continually finding ways to marry her varied interests.
arriving with college, being an international student was still a defining part of Zhang’s experience. “I’m proud to be an international student,” she said, smiling. “Some of my fellow international students are my closest friends. We understand each other well.” Zhang spoke fondly of the shared experiences of being from a foreign country with her friends, reflecting on how they battled homesickness and dealt with the new culture together. “It’s funny…but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are unheard of in China,” said Zhang, laughing. “Some things are very different here.” It was this international perspective that made Zhang get involved with Women of Amherst and the Vagina Monologues, both of which she claims have been an important part of her Amherst experience. “You don’t talk about the experience of being a woman, sexuality or sexual assault in China,” she reflected. “It was a powerful experience.” Zhang also loves children and spending time with them, leading to her active participation in the Big Brother Big Sister program. “I’m interested in being more personally involved with education,” she said. “I like to observe how kids actually are in school, how to become a good role model and the way in which children can learn better.” Zhang is also a Peer Career Advisor and has taken up several other jobs during her time at Amherst, including a brief stint with the Center for Community Engagement. “Extracurriculars are a great way to reach out and meet new people,” said Zhang, with her characteristic vivacious enthusiasm. “She’s not extroverted,” reflected Scott. “But she’s not introverted, either. She has a bubbly personality, and she is a wonderful person to know.” “She has a very friendly and warm personality,” agreed Adoma Manful ’12, Zhang’s close friend. “Yinan always has a willing ear and kind words to offer when you need some support.”
A Coalescence of Interests All of Zhang’s activities inside and outside the classroom hone in on one clear focal point: education. Thus, it
came as no surprise when Professor Jun Ishii, Zhang’s advisor for her Economics major, described her strongest quality as her certainty and drive. “She knew exactly what she wanted to study,” he said, “and now she’s getting a Master’s at Harvard.” Zhang’s thesis related the social norms of a country to the extent to which family background had a determining effect on student success. “It’s very difficult work, as there is not much data on social norms,” said Ishii. Ishii claimed that Zhang did a wonderful job and that with better data on social norms, her work could make an impact on education policy. In addition, it is Zhang’s personal work ethic that Ishii most admired about her. “She is an incredibly hard worker,” he claimed. “I admire how she knows exactly what she wants and demonstrates great dedication.” Scott agreed, calling her a “brilliant student” who had chosen the right field for herself. “Her passion and dedication to this field are extremely impressive, and we think they will take her far,” said Kuhuk Bhushan ’12, a close friend of Zhang’s. “I did very much enjoy advising Yinan,” concluded Ishii. “I think the thesis experience will serve her well as she pursues her [Master’s] in Education at Harvard. Yinan will have an impact in both academic and policy circles. Education policy is full of tough problems. But tough problems don’t scare her. Perhaps more importantly, Yinan has just the patience and soft touch to help persuade others to tackle their tough problems, as well.” Zhang herself is extremely humble about the promising future she has ahead of her. She softly told me that she had been accepted into Columbia, Univ. of Penn and Harvard, finally settling on Harvard as it was the program that she felt best prepared her to work on the field. “I wanted to gain work experience,” Zhang explained, in terms of future plans. “I need foundational knowledge, but after that, I want to start working.” In the long term, Zhang looks forward to doing a job she is “truly passionate about.” With her spirit, enthusiasm and perseverance, it will not be hard to imagine her achieving that goal and great success with it as well.
Not Just A Theory Monk Zhang has always carried with her a strong work ethic — but she refuses to be defined solely by her academic work. While she had been an exchange student for a private high school in the United States before coming to Amherst and was thus not entirely unfamiliar with American culture before
Zhang has been involved with Women of Amherst, Peer Career Advising and the Big Brother, Big Sister program.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Women The women’s golf team, which has evolved into one of the premier Division III squads in the country under the tutelage of head coach Michelle Morgan, achieved yet another strong season this year. Under the leadership of captains Elaine Lin ’12 and Laura Monty ’12, the team earned four third place finishes, a second place finish and two tournament victories over the course of the fall and spring seasons. In addition to Lin and Monty, Nina Yoo ’12 and Liz Monty ’13 also posted some of the lowest scores on the team over the course of the year, and Kristen Lee ’14 developed into a dependable top five scorer, as well. Despite losing Lin, Monty and Yoo, the team should still manage to remain dominant next year with the talented players returning to campus. Men After earning a spot in the NESCAC Championship in the 2010-2011 season, the golf team had to rebuild after graduating key players Trip Wray ’11 and Mike Belkin ’11. This year’s captain, Nate Belkin ’12, however, stepped into his role as team leader and helped the squad to nearly replicate the success of last season. Highlighted by a third place finish at the Trinity Invitational to open the season and a first place finish to win the Little Three Championships and break Williams’ run of 14 straight titles, this season certainly had its great moments. In addition to Belkin, several golfers made important contributions throughout the season, including Mark Colp ’12, Alex Butensky ’13 and Nicholas Koh ’14. While the Jeffs finished one spot away from qualifying for NESCACs, next year’s team should be primed to make a strong run to the tournament.
her first year for the Jeffs.
After going 6-2 and losing to Williams at Pratt Field to end the 2010 season on a bitter
The field hockey team enjoyed one of the most successful regular seasons in program history this year and ended the season with an impressive 15-4 mark, including an 8-2 record within the NESCAC. Yet, Middlebury College proved to be the nemesis that the Jeffs could not surpass, as the Panthers defeated Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals and then again in the NCAA quarterfinals. All of the Jeffs’ losses, including these heartbreakers, were by one goal, indicating that this squad could compete with the best in Division III. Key contributors on the team included three time All-America selection and co-captain Carly Dudzik ’12, Katie McMahon ’13 and goalie Rachel Tannenbaum ’15. McMahon set the school’s all-time mark with 120 points, while Tannenbaum led the country with a remarkable .901 save percentage in just
son in the right fashion.
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
note, the football team was mo tivated for revenge in 2011. The squad’s focus and determination paid off, as the Jeffs went 8-0 for the program’s second undefeated season in the last three years. After a shaky first half that saw the Jeffs fall behind Bates in the season opener, quarterback Blake Grauer ’12 filled in admirably for starter Brian McMahon ’12, who went down with an injury in the preseason. Grauer combined with NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year and running back Eric Bunker ’12 to form a dual threat that peaked as the season progressed, eventually posting 66 points over the final two games against Trinity and Williams. On the defensive side of the ball, Kevin Ferber ’12 had a historic season with 11.0 sacks and was the first player in Amherst history to be named to the D3football.com All-America first team, an incredible accomplishment.
Photo courtesy of Megan Robertson ’15
led the NESCAC in goals and assists. In addition, Kathryn Nathan ’13 was named NESCAC Co-Player of the Year, and defensive stalwarts Jill Kochanek ’12 and goalkeeper Allie Horwitz ’12 earned AllAmerica honors on the defensive side of the ball.
Coming into the season as a relatively unknown entity, the women’s soccer team exploded onto the national scene as one of the premier teams in the nation, enjoying perhaps the best season in program history. The Jeffs went 20-1-0, with their only loss coming to eventual national champion Messiah in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. However, prior to that game, the team earned a victory over previously undefeated Johns Hopkins in NCAAs and defeated Williams in the NESCAC Finals in dramatic fashion, coming back from a late deficit to win 2-1. Among several other storylines, the season will be remembered for Sarah Duffy ’14 transforming into an elite goal scorer, as she
Photo courtesy of Mark Idleman ’15
The men’s soccer team began the season with a flourish, going 11-0-2 in their first 13 games en route to a 16-2-2 final record that included a NESCAC championship and a pair of NCAA Tournament wins before falling to Stevens Institute of Technology by a 2-1 score. The return of Jae Heo ’14 from a two-year military service in South Korea sparked the Jeffs’ offense, as Heo and All-American and NESCAC Player of the Year Spencer Noon ’13 combined for a potent attacking combination that led the NESCAC in scoring offense. The defense was anchored by Lennard Kovacs ’12, who graduates with 32 shutouts to his name. With all but one of its goal scorers returning next season, the Jeffs should be able to continue finding the net at a high rate in 2012.
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
Coming off its second NESCAC title in the past four years, next season promises to be exciting as the Jeffs push closer to a National Championship.
Women The women’s tennis team had an impressive fall despite dropping their only duel match to archrival Williams, 3-6. In the three tournaments that followed, the Jeffs slotted impressive victories led by doubles tandem Jordan Brewer ’14 and Laura Danzig ’14. In the 2011 USTA/ITA New England Championship, Brewer and Danzig captured the doubles crown with impressive victories over NESCAC rivals Middlebury and Williams in the semifinals and finals, respectively. The following week, the duo dominated the Gail Smith Doubles Tournament at Middlebury, before closing out their fall season by winning the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament at home. Though the fall season is always only a warm-up for the spring, the Jeffs efforts were still undoubtedly impressive. Men Coming off the program’s first-ever National Championship, the men’s team began their title defense in strong form this fall. Sophomore Joey Fritz won the singles title at the men’s ITA New England Championship, battling back after dropping the first set to beat Williams’ Matt Micheli (2-6) 6-0 6-4. The following week, the men’s team traveled south and beat Johns Hopkins Univ. and Carnegie Melon Univ., 6-3 and 8-1, respectively. The next weekend, the Jeffs topped MIT, 8-1. In search of its second title in two years, the top-ranked Jeffs certainly began their sea-
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Photo courtesy of Office of Public Affairs
After a 2010 season that included an incredible 16-game winning streak and a 25-4 composite record, the 2011 volleyball team had big shoes to fill. The squad, however, managed to come together in an impressive fashion to rebound from the loss of several key seniors in the Class of 2011 and reached the 20 win plateau for the sixth consecutive year, compiling a record of 20-7. Although the team’s bid for an NCAA Tournament spot was ended with a loss to Trinity in the NESCAC quarterfinals, several individuals had great campaigns nonetheless. Cristy Meier ’12 played a key role as outside hitter, while KC Kanoff ’12 had a strong season to end her Amherst career with over 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Kristin Keeno ’13 also pushed the Jeffs’ defensive play to a higher level, leading the NESCAC with 6.23 digs per set. As the Jeffs lose three important attackers to graduation, coach Sue Everden will look for more improvement from her returning players to continue the streak of 20 win seasons next year.
Women The women’s cross country team had a very successful season, nearly matching their eighth place finish at the NCAA national championship in 2010. Although the Jeffs came in 11th this year, they return six of their top seven runners to form a squad that should be even more dangerous in 2012. Most notably, Keri Lambert ’13 came into her own this year, capping off a series of remarkable performances with a fifth place finish at the NCAA national championship to earn All-America honors. In addition to Lambert, Ali Simeone ’13 and Melissa Sullivan ’12 sparked the Jeffs in many meets. With their sights set on a top 10 finish in 2012, the Jeffs should be ready to bring the program to a new level next year. Men After losing an exceptional senior class, the men’s cross country team was forced to revamp its approach in 2011 to avoid taking a step back. Indeed, the young squad exceeded expectations and finished in sixth place in a field of 44 teams at the ECAC Championships and eighth in a field of 48 squads at NCAA Regionals to finish the season. Led by seniors Alec Jacobson, Ben Scheetz and Geoff Ainslie, this squad also boasted many fast young runners, including Dillon Buckley ’13, Patrick Grimes ’13 and Andrew Erskine ’13, along with a bevy of talented sophomores and first-years that should contribute and progress more in seasons to come.
May 18, 2012
Winter Season Women’s Basketball
rise knocked down the game-winning threepointer with 3.2 seconds left, giving the Jeffs a 71-69 lead they would not relinquish. With the victory, Amherst advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where they earned two dominant early round wins before falling in the Round of 16 to Franklin & Marshall.
Men’s Ice Hockey
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
The defending NCAA Champion women’s basketball team began this season right where they left off last year: winning. The Lady Jeffs faced a stiff challenge this season, as they lost three important members of the Class of 2011, but they looked to their depth to carry them to success this year. In regular season play, Amherst looked every bit the part of a dominant powerhouse, going undefeated in 24 games. However, that record was not without its tense moments, as the Jeffs barely eked out a one point win against Colby early in the season. Nevertheless, the Jeffs entered the NESCAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and easily rolled to their third consecutive Championship. Unfortunately, though, the Jeffs were unable to repeat that success at NCAAs. The Jeffs made their way to the Final Four before losing to George Fox in a close battle of unbeaten teams. The loss ended an impressive streak of 50 consecutive victories for the Jeffs, dating back to last season, but the team will surely bounce back strongly next year.
After losing in the NESCAC Championships last season, the men’s ice hockey team exceeded expectations this year and played their way deep into the NCAAs. After a solid 5-0 start to the season, Amherst continued to build on that momentum, finishing the season 17-1 in-conference and earned the top seed and home-ice in the NESCAC playoffs. There, Amherst was pushed to the test repeatedly but responded strongly, beating Williams and Middlebury on back-to-back days to win the conference title. The win earning themselves a direct bid to the NCAA Championships. The Jeffs were able to earn a victory in their quarterfinal matchup, topping Plattsburg St. 3-1 in front of a packed home crowd. Earning a trip to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the program’s first ever Frozen Four appearance, the Jeffs suffered a tough overtime loss to Oswego, 2-1, that ended their run in the Semifinals. All in all, it was an impressive season for the Jeffs, and they will look to build on their success as they push toward another NESCAC title and another trip to Lake Placid.
Women’s Ice Hockey
Photo courtesy of Alec Jacobson ’12
May 18, 2012
Women The Lady Jeffs’ season was highlighted by a second-place finish at the ECAC Championships. First, however, the squad captured fourth place at the Tufts Invitational and first place at the Smith Tartan Invitational. From there, the Lady Jeffs proceeded to finish ninth at the Div. III New England Championships and 27th at the Open New England Championships before heading to the ECAC’s. There, Lauren Almeida ’13 brought her best game, pacing the field in the 1000-meter run, as did Keri Lambert ’13, who performed admirably in three separate events. Her personal best time of 4:53.76 in the mile run was the second fastest in school history and one of the five best Div. III times of the year. Finally, Naomi Bates ’14 set a new school record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.68. Lambert, Bates and Almeida, along with Melissa Sullivan ’12, headed to the NCAA Championships to compete in the distance medley relay. Men It was an equally impressive campaign on the men’s side, which ultimately propelled Amherst to third place in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings. The Jeffs won their third scoring event of the season, the Springfield Invitational, as they topped rival Williams by a mere 14 points. After a solid sixth place finish at the Div. III New England Championships and a 20th place result at the Open New England Championships, the Jeffs headed to the ECAC Championships. There, they finished a formidable third in a field of 62 behind first place showings from Matt Melton ’14 (500-meter dash), Pat Grimes ’13 (mile run) and Ben Scheetz ’12 (1000-meter run). For his season-long excellence, Scheetz was named the national track athlete of the year for the second year in a row. Grimes also qualified for the NCAA finals with his performance in the mile run.
After making the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago, the men’s basketball team had high hopes entering the season. The Jeffs began the year on fire, winning their first eight contests and staying hot to finish the regular season 22-2. The team went undefeated in NESCAC play, although that certainly did not come easy, as Amherst barely squeaked out lastsecond, thrilling victories in their final two regular season games. With those impressive wins, the Jeffs earned the top-seed in the NESCAC Tournament and rode that momentum to the NESCAC Championship game. It was another close contest, but Amherst again managed to come out on top, as senior Taylor Bar-
Indoor Track and Field
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
After a somewhat disappointing 20102011 season, the women’s ice hockey team looked to return to their dominating ways this year. The Lady Jeffs got off to a strong start, winning their first seven games in-conference, en route to a 19-4-1 regular season record. That record was good enough for the second seed in the NESCAC Championships, where the Jeffs advanced to the finals. There, they faced off against No. 1-seeded Middlebury in a contest that came down to the wire. Unfortunately, the Jeffs were unable to pull out the victory, as they lost in heartbreaking fashion, 1-0, in overtime. Amherst did still earn a bid to the NCAA tournament, but they were paired against defending champion Norwich in the opening round. The Jeffs lost that contest, but still put together a respectable season, marked by their return to the NCAA Championships. Next season, the Jeffs look to build on their NESCAC momentum and gain revenge against Middlebury.
Women Having improved their record in each of the last four seasons, the women’s squash team was looking to continue their rise to the top of B Division rankings this year. Unfortunately, though, the Lady Jeffs got off to a bit of a rough start, as they lost six of their first nine games. To their credit, Amherst responded strongly, winning their next five contests before losing to Williams at the Little III Championships. Building on that winning streak, the Jeffs entered the NESCAC Championships as the sixth seed and proceeded to earn seventh place in the tournament. The Jeffs then closed out their season by avenging an earlier loss to Bowdoin by defeating the Polar Bears in the CSA Team Championships.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
Men Having graduated four of their top six players to graduation, the 2011-2012 men’s squash team needed younger players to step up this season. The Jeffs were looking to build on the success of last year’s team, who earned 14 wins in a season, only the second Amherst team to do so since 1996. The Jeffs’ season got off to a slow start, as the team dropped five of their first eight contests. However, Amherst responded by winning with a five-match winning streak, before losing to Williams in the Little III Championships. The streak gave the team important momentum, and they went on to earn a respectable fifth place in the NESCAC Championships. Building on that success, the Jeffs wrapped up the year by winning the Summer Cup (C Division) consolation championship for the second time in as many years.
Swimming and Diving
Women After losing the NCAA Swimmer of the Year and NESCAC Diver of the Year to graduation, the women’s swimming and diving team certainly faced a challenge in making up for that lost talent this season. However, with improving young members of the team, the Lady Jeffs were unperturbed and planned on continuing their NCAA streak of success, which has seen them finish in the top 10 at Nationals in each of the last nine years. In line with those expectations, the team got off to a solid start, winning their first four meets of the year. The Jeffs continued to build on that momentum throughout the season, leading to an impressive second-place showing at the NESCAC Championships. Their season then culminated at the NCAA Championships in respectable fashion, a 13th place finish. Their success marked the 15th consecutive year in which the Lady Jeffs finished in the top 15 at the NCAA tournament, and they will look to build on that success next season. Men Having earned four consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA tournament, the men’s swimming and diving team came into this season with high expectations once again. Living up to those expectations, the Jeffs won their first six contests of the year, pushing their dual-match winning streak to 15, dating back to previous seasons. Unfortunately, the Jeffs did meet their match against another unbeaten team, MIT, in their next contest. Amherst, though, was undeterred by the loss, as they recovered to earn second-place at the NESCAC Championships, setting a new program record with 1,959 points. The Jeffs followed that by earning sixth place at the NCAA Championships, marking the team’s fourth consecutive top-six finish.
Photo courtesy of Alec Jacobson ’12
Photo courtesy of Office of Public Affairs
After a solid 7-3 start in Florida, the Jeffs posted a strong regular season showing en route to their second consecutive NESCAC West Division Championship. For the most part, they featured a well-balanced attack of potent offense, consistent pitching and tight defense. With an overall record of 23-10 and a 10-2 mark in NESCAC play, including sweeps of Little III rivals Williams and Wesleyan, the squad seemed poised to capture a league title. For the second consecutive year, however, the Jeffs faltered in the playoffs, exiting early with back-to-back losses to Bowdoin (who eliminated the Jeffs in 2011) and Williams. Despite its disappointing end, the 2013 season was marked by some notable individual performances. The 2013 Jeffs will certainly miss heavy-hitting DH Kevin Heller ’12, the program’s all-time hits leader who has received attention from professional scouts. The absence of two-sport star Mike Samela ’12, who hit a combined .377 and accounted for 29 extra-base hits and 59 RBI’s, will also leave a significant hole in the Amherst lineup. Still, pitching standouts Bob Cook ’13 and John Cook ’15, who combined for nine wins, will both return next year — along with promising lefthander Fred Shepard ’14 — and the Jeffs should have a strong chance at playoff revenge.
The team will lose seniors Elaine Lin, Laura Monty and Nina Yoo but should have more than sufficient talent to return to dominance in 2013. Men Although the men did not match the success of the women, they nevertheless featured some strong individual performances and promising team efforts. The high point of the Jeffs’ spring was their victory at the NESCAC Little III Championship, where they broke Williams’ streak of 14 consecutive titles. The Jeffs topped the 2.5-1.5 in the alternate shot format and also in match play, 4.5-3.5. Seniors Nate Belkin and Mark Colp were invaluable in both alternate shot and match play, edging out key victories over their Cardinal and Eph counterparts. In other action, the squad placed eighth at the Hampton Inn Invitational, where Belkin set the Jeffs’ pace with a two-day score of 160. Ben Johnston ’13 shot a 77 on day two of the tournament, which turned out to be a team low. The Jeffs also took third place at a rain-soaked Williams Spring Invitational; here, Nicholas Koh ’14 led the team with a total score of 153. Still, the returning Amherst men would like to take their play to a higher level next spring. They will have to overcome the loss of key contributors and leaders Belkin and Colp, as well as Matt Parsons ’12, as they look to post an even stronger showing in 2013.
Although the Lady Jeffs were knocked out of the NESCAC playoffs with a 7-6, firstround loss to Middlebury, they did capture an NCAA at-large bid thanks to their 13-4 overall performance.
Outdoor Track and Field
Women Despite all-NESCAC individual performances from Keri Lambert ’13 and Naomi Bates ’14, the Lady Jeffs, like their counterparts on the men’s side, had a somewhat forgettable spring campaign. They came out behind both Wesleyan and Williams at the NESCAC Little III Championships and finished seventh in the conference championships. Still, the season was not without highlights, as the team rebounded with a solid eighth place showing at the Div. III New England Championships, where they also managed to top Wesleyan by a wide margin. Seven seniors will graduate, but nine rising sophomores, alongside Lambert and Bates, are prepared to step up in their place; there is no reason to count the Lady Jeffs out in 2013. Men The men’s track team struggled at times in the spring, including a disappointing seventh place finish at the NESCAC Championships, a 13th place showing at the Div. III New England Championships and an eight place result at the AIC Invitational. Conference rivals Middlebury, Bates, Tufts and Williams consistently topped the Jeffs, who were for the most part a young and inexperienced team (they carried 11 first-years and only five seniors on their roster). National track athlete of the year Ben Scheetz ’12 will be departing, making the Jeffs’ chances of rebounding all the more difficult. The good news: standouts Pat Grimes ’13 and Matt Melton ’14 will return in 2013, and there will still be plenty of room for improvement for coach Erik “Ned” Nadeau”s squad.
Women The Lady Jeffs, who entered the spring season with high expectations, did not disappoint, winning two events and providing tremendous optimism about the future of the program. In their first action of the spring, the Lady Jeffs won the Vassar Invitational, besting Middlebury by a tight margin of four strokes. Liz Monty ’13 posted a day two low of 77 and narrowly lost the top individual spot to the Panthers’ Flora Weeks in a twohole playoff. Behind her were Laura Monty ’12 and Elaine Lin ’12, who tied for fourth at 165. Following this successful weekend, the Lady Jeffs hosted the Jack Leaman Championship and managed to hold off Williams for their second consecutive victory. The team held an eight-stroke lead after day one, and, even with an impressive 319 on day two, the Ephs could not overcome the hometown team. Laura Monty led all individuals with a two-day mark of 154, while Liz was right behind her with a score of 155. The Lady Jeffs finished up their season by taking home third place at the Williams Spring Invitational. Although they could not repeat their previous success against Williams and Middlebury, their result did not diminish those of the previous two weekends.
Offense was the area of greatest inconsistency for the Jeffs, who averaged 13 goals per game in their wins but just under six per game in their losses. Individually, Evan Redwood ’12 and Danny Gold ’13 were named to the all-conference second team, while Devin Action ’14 led all scorers with 44 goals. The Jeffs will graduate 10 seniors, including goalie Samuel Jakimo, but the returning underclassmen should be capable of filling the void and propelling the team to a better finish next spring.
Photo courtesy of Chloe McKenzie ’14
Women The Lady Jeffs made it a pair of NESCAC titles for the tennis program, beating Middlebury and upsetting Williams — the defending champion, to whom they had previously lost twice — en route to hosting their 13th consecutive NCAA regional tournament.
Photo courtesy of Chloe McKenzie ’14
For most of the spring, the Lady Jeffs, who recorded the best season in program history, were nothing short of unbeatable. The team won 31 of its first 32 games, including a 22-game winning streak to open the season, and it earned the right to host the NESCAC Championship. There, the Jeffs were stunned by two heartbreaking losses, as
Continuing their impressive play, they scored a pair of shutouts at home and advanced to the quarterfinals in Cary, N.C. Laura Danzig ’12 led a group of four allNESCAC selections, the other three of whom (Jennifer Newman ’14, Gabby Devlin ’14 and Zoe Pangalos ’14) will be returning in 2013 to help the Lady Jeffs continue their winning ways.
Photo courtesy of Megan Robertson ’15
Men It was a virtually perfect season for the Jeffs, who were 8-0 in NESCAC play and breezed to a conference title before moving on to the NCAA regionals. The squad registered nine shutouts on the year and clearly overmatched their opponents by 7-2 or 8-1 scores on many other occasions. Still, the Jeffs proved their ability to grind out tough wins when they needed to, as evidenced by a pair of 5-4 road wins over Bates and Williams. Three players — Mark Kahan ’13 and seniors Austin Chafetz and Luis Rattenhuber — received all-NESCAC honors, while 2012 graduates Wes Waterman, Robby Sorrel and Andrew Jung also made instrumental contributions. The top-ranked team has now captured back-to-back NESCAC titles and has hosted the NCAA regionals in each of the past four years. The Jeffs compete this weekend in North Carolina, looking for their second-straight title.
There, they hung tough against the nation’s No. 4 team, TCNJ, before losing in heartbreaking fashion to end their year. Regular season highlights included three critical road wins: an 11-9, overtime victory over Bates, a 7-6 result against Trinity and a double-overtime thriller against Williams which the Jefs took by the same score. Marta Randall ’13 was the team’s top scorer while Hillary Densen ’13 led in the assists category. The team loses five seniors, but the momentum from its impressive spring should carry over into the offseason as the Jeffs chase an even more memorable 2013 campaign.
It was an up-and-down campaign for the Jeffs, who won seven straight to begin the season but then proceeded to lose seven of their last nine. Ultimately, the squad finished just 9-7 overall (5-5 in conference play) and dropped their first-round playoff contest to top-seeded Tufts.
Tufts and Middlebury knocked them out of contention with a pair of one-run defeats. Owing to their stellar regular season, however, the Jeffs received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, their first such appearance since 1999. They won two games before being eliminated by No.1 Cortland. Amherst’s offensive leader was first-year Donna Leet, who batted .412 and set program single-season records in hits (51) and RBI’s (41). On the mound, Theresa Kelley ’13 dominated opponents with a 1.19 ERA and two NESCAC Pitcher of the Week selections. Kelley herself also hit .304, an excellent mark for a pitcher. The Lady Jeffs will graduate only one senior — all-academic pick Carly Dudzik — and so should find themselves back at the top of the league in 2013.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
May 18, 2012
Congratulations on your graduation from Amherst College! We are so lucky to have you as our daughter. We have been very happy traveling with you on your life journey for the past twenty one years. We are so proud of you and your achievements. We look forward to sharing your next adventure. We know that you will continue to study and work hard and that you will find success. We hope that this Chinese poem will bring you encouragement for a lifetime.
书 山 有 路 勤 为 径 学 海 无 边 苦 作 舟 There is a path made of diligent study in the mountain of books. There is a boat made of hard work in the ocean of knowledge.
Mom & Dad
Congratulations Jonathan! What an experience!! Love, Dad, Mom & Alanna
MAY 18, 2012
THE AMHERST STUDENT: COMMENCEMENT EDITION
Recapping Football’s Record-Breaking Season Photo courtesy of Alec Jacobson ’12
It was not the first undefeated season in program history, but it may well have been the most decisive. The 8-0 campaign of Coach E.J. Mills and company concluded memorably with a resounding 31-18 victory over host Williams. The road to that point, however, was a deceptively arduous one that the Jeffs traversed with skill, toughness and all-important luck. That toughness showed when starting quarterback Brian McMahon ’12 was unable to play due to an injury that had sidelined him for all of 2010. As a result, Blake Grauer ’12 stepped into the starting spot for the Jeffs’ opener at Bates. He would need help from standout rusher Eric Bunker ’12, solid receivers and a deep offensive line. Defensively, expectations would be high for a corps of seniors featuring Kevin Heller, Kevin Ferber and Evan Rosenstein. Amherst dispatched the Bobcats despite Grauer’s struggles in his first start (three interceptions, 83 passing yards). Just before halftime, the game was tied with Bates outperforming Amherst in total offense. But the Jeffs scored off of a crucial Bowdoin turnover, and they proceeded to shut out the Bobcats over the final 30 minutes. The Jeffs triumphed, 20-7, but questions persisted about the effectiveness of their offense. Against Bowdoin, wet conditions further hindered the Jeffs’ passing game. Again, however, their running game and defense came to the rescue, propelling Amherst to a 20-3 victory. Polar Bears’ quarterback Grant White helped the Jeffs’ cause with three interceptions, and Bunker amassed 134 yards on the ground. Even so, the sloppy affair included 75 yards in penalties against the Jeffs. The following week, the Jeffs met Middlebury and its vaunted offense. Fortunately, the Jeffs’ own offense also rose to the occasion. Five Panther turnovers set Bunker up for 130 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and Grauer threw for 193 yards with two touchdowns. Matt Rawson ’12
also kicked his 23rd career field goal, a program record. Again, the Amherst defense came up big, limiting the Panthers to seven points in the second half. The Jeffs moved to 3-0 with a 48-28 victory. The Jeffs kept climbing against Colby, who fell 31-7 on just 241 yards of total offense. The team showed no complacency on Homecoming Weekend against Wesleyan, as McMahon returned to the starting lineup and did not disappoint. He threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, and Bunker was again dominant, gathering 176 total yards. Sam Clark ’13 led all defenders with 12 tackles and a “pick-six” to break the game open en route to a 24-10 victory. Facing 0-5 Tufts, the Jeffs took care of business by a 30-0 score, but the next weekend’s opponent, the 6-0 Bantams of Trinity, would be well equipped to ruin the Jeffs’ season. They featured plenty of size up front as well as their own “Bunker”— sophomore running back Evan — who averaged 98.5 yards per game. They handed Amherst their first loss of 2010 and had given up a measly five points per game. In the first half, the Jeffs held their own — and more. Amherst led 21-0 at halftime after two touchdowns from McMahon (one rushing and one passing) and one from Bunker. A critical roughing the kicker penalty also halted the Bantams’ momentum after a defensive stop. Demoralized, Trinity allowed two long scores to open the second half, a 75-yard run by Bunker and a 60yard reception by Mike Samela ’12. With a 35-7 advantage late in the third quarter, the Jeffs inexplicably faltered while Trinity regained life. It began with a blocked punt and subsequent touchdown run. On the Jeffs’ next possession, Matt Paskalides intercepted McMahon; a Bunker run cut the score to 35-21. Amherst failed to eat the clock, and Paskalides came up with a second pick. The Bantams converted a fourth-and-goal from the two to
make it 35-28. Looking for insurance, the Jeffs drove to set up a short field goal try. Incredibly, Trinity’s special teams came up big again, blocking the kick and giving the Bantams a chance to complete their comeback. But, as the Amherst crowd sat stunned, the Bantams made a mistake of their own. With 2:12 to go, a pass from Ryan Burgess was pulled down by cornerback Landrus Lewis ’13, who also recorded nine tackles on the afternoon. With a 35-28 win, it was time for a sigh of relief — and on to Williams for a chance at perfection. The achievement of that perfection was decidedly anticlimactic. Unlike in 2009, the Ephs were no match for the Jeffs, who scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter. Heading into halftime up 24-6, the Jeffs never wavered. Ferber scored on a fumble recovery early in the third quarter, and, by the time the Ephs scored again, the game was all but out of reach. Ferber finished with 4.0 sacks and eight tackles, while Doug Gebhardt ’12 led all players with 14 tackles. As “Jeff Nation” stormed Weston field, they had ample reason to celebrate. It was only the third 8-0 season in modern Amherst history, and none had ended this way — by beating the Ephs on the road so convincingly— since 1964. Besides Rawson’s kicking record, Bunker set a single-season program mark for rushing touchdowns, while Ferber’s 11.0 sacks were also a new high. Ferber also became the first Amherst player to be named a Div. III first team All-American. He stands as the only NESCACplayer named to the team this year and the only one ever to receive two selections. For his fiery leadership, Mills was also named the MasterSports College Coach of the Year. In 2012, their last season on the “old” Pratt field, the Jeffs have only one goal: to complete a season somewhere nearly as memorable as this one. After 2011, though, that will be a tall order. —Karl Greenblatt ’15
Out of many star athletes this year, these Jeffs shined brightest: Caroline Stedman Ben Scheetz Jonathan LaRose Senior guard Stedman was
named the WBCA/State Farm National Player of the Year. Her 1,256 points rank fifth on the program’s all-time list. For the second year in a row, senior middle-distance runner Scheetz was named the Division III Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Scheetz set the DIII record in the 800 with a 1:47.43. Senior goalie LaRose was named USCHO DIII Player of the Year. His save percentage (.943) topped the nation.
The Amherst Student: Commencement Edition
A look back at the year in sports:
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
Photo courtesy of Mark Idleman ’15
Photo courtesy of Niahlah Hope ’15
Photo courtesy of Mark Idleman ’15
Photo courtesy of Chloe McKenzie ’14
Photo courtesy of Public Affairs Office
Photo courtesy of Niahlah Hope ’15
1. The men’s soccer team beat Trinity 2-0 to capture their second title in four years. Junior Spencer Noon’s first-half bicycle kick — his record-breaking 20th goal of the season — proved to be the game-winner. 2. The Lady Jeffs beat Williams 2-1 to push their perfect record to 17-0. Amherst rallied late in the second half to earn the victory and prevent the Ephs from their fifth-straight NESCAC title. 3. Senior shooting guard Taylor Barrise hit a goahead three with 3.2 seconds left to beat Middlebury and give the Jeffs their first title since 2006. 4. Entering the NESCAC tournament undefeated, the Jeffs cruised by their opponents, beating Tufts in the final, 65-35. The victory marked the team’s third NESCAC title in the past four years. 5. As they did all season, the Jeffs relied on goaltender Jonathan LaRose ’12 in the finals against Middlebury. The senior netminder turned aside 33 of the 36 shots he faced, helping Amherst to its first tournament championship since 2009. 6. The defending national champions entered the tournament as the top-seeded team in the country and downed Bowdoin in the final, 5-2. 7. The Lady Jeffs outgunned the Ephs, 5-2, marking their sixth finals victory over Williams in the past seven years.
May 18, 2012