THE SCHOLAR A PUBLICATION OF THE ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
A LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC:
Four researchers come together to form the big picture on glacial melt
SCRANTON MAYOR USES CHC INSPIRATION FOR EQUITY TEMERITY BAUER FOCUSES RESEARCH ON FAMILY'S NATIVE LANDS A DICTATOR'S BRUTAL REIGN STEERS ALINA SALAGEAN'S RESEARCH BOOK LOVE: CREATING A MEMORY OF PAST AND PRESENT
THE SCHOLAR Fall 2020
I assume this leadership position in circumstances none of us could have predicted a year ago.
Welcome from Dean Stabile
FYRE Scholarships Lead to Research on Mutant Worms
A pandemic, global resistance to racism, the terrible wild fires of the late summer and early fall, and a volatile election season. These are difficult circumstances, but I want you to know that we will face them as a community of students, staff, and faculty dedicated to inclusion and the highest standards of critical thinking, research, scientific thought, scholarly discussion, and debate that respects evidence and facts, social responsibility, and compassion.
and Melting Glaciers
CHC Chaos Was Perfect Prep for Alumna Karishma Shah
Corinne Bayerl Gives Students Room to be Themselves
Ulrick Casimir Inspires Students to Chase The Story
The Research Assistant Scheme Offers Real Time Experience
Book Love: Creating a Memory of Past and Present
Invisible Landscapes Helps Liska Chan Truly See
Emily Fowler Uses Computer Science in Civic
Although change and disruption will be inevitable parts of our lives this fall, the CHC remains a place where you will learn, discuss ideas, grow, and build community. Our small classes, dedicated professional advisors, faculty mentors, and staff allow us to build the kind of strong and tightly-knit bonds that can help our community grow and thrive. In commitment to our students, the CHC remains unchanged. Together, we will make sure this year is one of discovery, reflection, pursuing our potential, and serving our communities.
Nelly Nouboussi Finds Inspiration in her Mother’s Work
Calderwood Seminars are “Feel-Good Teaching”
Helia Megowan Mixes Ballet and Biology
A Little Bit of Magic: The Whole Picture on Glacial Melt
KCUS: A Dictator’s Brutal Reign Steers Alina Salagean’s Research
KCUS: Karly Fear Explores Healing in Personalized Medicine
Temerity Bauer Focuses Her Research on Her Family’s Native Lands
Students Address the Ongoing Problems of American Aparthied
Brian McWhorter: We Are All Performing Artists
Student Project Becomes Rich Resource for Jewish Latin American Culture
Dear Clark Honors College Students,
Resilience Learned at CHC Transfers to Medical School
Alum Kevin Frazier Cultivates Excellence by Helping Others Succeed
As Mayor of Scranton, PA, Paige Gebhardt Cognetti is on a Quest for Equity
Meet the 2020 Stamps Scholars
Jason Lewis-Berry Braves Combat and War Zones to Deliver Humanitarian Aid
Oregon Foresnics Team Cannot Stop Winning Contributors: Lauren Bruce, Kaitlyn Jimenez, Lauren Jin, Ashley Lorraine Wiesner, Laurie Galbraith, Jessica Rotter, Keely Miller, Kristin Strommer, Ed Dorsch Photography: Sarah Northrop Assistant Editors: Lauren Bruce, Kaitlyn Jimenez, Ashley Lorraine Wiesner, Ashley Kim, Jessica Rotter Managing Editor: Laurie Galbraith Editor: Laurie Notaro
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The Scholar is a annual publication of the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. 1293 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1293. 541-346-5414, fax: 541-346-0125, honors.uoregon.edu. An equal-opportunity, affirmativeaction institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request. ©2020 University of Oregon MC082720
I write to extend a warm — if physically distanced — welcome to all of you just beginning your college journey, as well as those of you continuing it. I became interim dean of Clark Honors College in September, when the former dean, Gabe Paquette, became the vice provost for academic affairs. I have taught courses in the CHC and advised theses since 2013 and just last year became a faculty member here. As an associate dean in the College of Arts and Science, I worked on student success initiatives. As a scholar, I’ve written books on media history, crime reporting, and technology. As a teacher, I’ve taught courses on media history; gender, race, and media; and this winter I’m excited to be teaching a Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing on communicating for social justice. I’m honored to be serving as interim dean and look forward to working with my honors college colleagues to get to know you and support you.
So as we meet in virtual spaces throughout the coming term, keep in mind that community is about people — it’s not a place on a map. It is a process we engage in each time we meet, creating bonds of commonality in our shared goals of gaining skills and tools to better understand ourselves and the worlds around us, in the service of democracy. Those are lofty goals, but you move closer toward them each time you log into a class and introduce yourself to the other faces on your screen, ask questions in your classes, lend a hand to other students, make your way through a new and difficult problem or passage, and meet with your advisors. On behalf of the entire Clark Honors College, welcome. We are here to offer guidance and support and look forward to hearing from you about the discoveries you make during this historic time. Stay safe.
Carol Stabile Interim Dean
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
Mutant Worms, Melting Glaciers, and Philosophy For Kids: Nicole Mullen, Lucy Roberts, and Julia Lo awarded FYRE scholarships BY LAUREN BRUCE This past summer, three Clark Honors College incoming sophomores conducted research through a new scholarship awarded by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Education (CURE), called the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) fellowship. The recipients are Nicole Mullen, Lucy Roberts, and Julia Lo. FYRE recipients conduct research in the summer for eight to ten weeks, giving them the chance to experience being a full-time researcher. Separate from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) which is open to all undergrads, FYRE is specifically for first-year students to encourage them to apply for undergraduate scholarships and begin experiencing the research process during their first year.
Julia Lo, a biology major, worked on a team researching meiosis, the process in which sperm and egg cells divide to produce new cells which pass on genetic information to an offspring. Lo explains that during meiosis, the chromosomes in sperm and egg cells each split into “breaks” known as double strand breaks (DSBs). The cells then repair these breaks. Based on how the breaks are repaired determines what genetic information will be passed on to the offspring. Currently, there’s no explanation for why a chromosome will repair a break to pass on one genetic trait over another,
it is only confirmed that the repair is intentionally done by the chromosome. Lo will be working closely with a graduate mentor Zac Bush who will assist her in answering this question using worms. “I think (undergrad research) is really important because if you can get people started in research as an undergrad just imagine how prepared they will be when they’re a graduate,” Lo says. “The sooner you start, the more you’ll be able to understand and the further ahead you will be.”
Lucy Roberts took a gap year in Thailand before joining Spatial Data Science, a relatively new major at UO, which focuses on mapmaking. Roberts’ research for the FYRE scholarship focused on the movement of icebergs in Greenland. “We’re updating a previously published article in order to get a better idea of how the currents move and how icebergs drift along a specific fjord,” Roberts says. Roberts explains that as an ice sheet melts, the freshwater of the glacier mixes with the saltwater of the ocean making it less salty. Because the wildlife needs a certain salinity to live, this can have a major impact on the environment. “I really wanted to get a better sense of how to work with geographic data and how the environment is going to
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impact our lives with climate change,” Roberts says. Working in Professor Dave Sutherland’s lab in the Earth Science department at UO, she’s been working with data collected by his team in Greenland. By putting GPS monitors on icebergs along Greenland’s coast they collected data from which we can learn about the ocean’s currents. “I am excited to actually be able to dedicate myself to this project,” Roberts says. “I feel really honored and excited that I get to contribute to it in my own way.”
Nicole Mullen is a biochemistry major, is a biochemistry major studying general science and sociology. With her research, she developed curriculum for use in graduate teaching programs that explores that value of philosophical learning in children in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms.
educational and philosophical fields to develop this curriculum. A portion of the curriculum will be online due to the impact of COVID-19.
“Giving children the opportunity to tackle questions often seen as ‘too complicated’ or ‘complex’ gives children confidence while developing their critical thinking skills and imagination in a way standardized testing and rote memorization do not,” Mullen wrote in her proposal for the FYRE fellowship.
Mullen’s experience creating English Language Development curriculum, being a student tutor in high school and the support from CHC professor Dr. Caroline Lundquist has prepared Mullen for the challenging work ahead of her.
“If I had been taught that I could question things in a philosophical way from a young age, I feel like that would have been such a valuable experience for my education,” Mullen says.
“I want to make a net positive on the world,” says Mullen.
Mullen worked with experienced professionals in
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY INSTILLED IN A CHC ALUMNA CHC WAS A “GREAT PREP” FOR THE CHAOS OF LAW SCHOOL BY ASHLEY LORRAINE WIESNER
It’s fall of 2019, and light floods into a Chicago apartment as the ear-grating noise of an alarm clock goes off. At 7:15 a.m., and Karishma Shah begrudgingly gets out of bed. She mentally prepares herself for day two of the orientation at the University of Chicago Law School, does her makeup and throws on her mandatory neon orange t-shirt — a shirt she is less than thrilled to be wearing, thanks to its less-than-desirable color.
A 14-hour day is ahead of her. It’s complete with classes, seminars and an orientation mixer aboard a riverboat cruise. She returns home at two in the morning, beat from the day, and hops right into bed. Her alarm set for a mere five hours later. Another early morning and long day at the University of Chicago start tomorrow.
Though politics and law had been a passion of hers since high school, it was her experience in mock trial that solidified her decision to pursue a career in law. She says mock trial proved law had the complexity and intensity she wanted in a future career. It was the hands-on exposure to the law and the opportunity to test persuasion and advocacy skills that got Shah hooked on the actual practice of law.
Sleep deprivation and work-life balance aren’t new to Shah, as she says her time at Clark Honors College prepared her for the chaos of law school. Shah graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in operations and business analytics and Spanish, while participating in a variety of organizations and clubs at UO, most notably, mock trial. CHC allowed Shah to hone in on her passions and excel academically, but what Shah learned to value the most during her time with the CHC is the importance of mentorship and community. “[CHC] provided me with a group of mentors who are really looking out for me,” Shah remarks. “Even now they still support me.”
Shah doesn’t fancy herself as a star; she considers herself quite normal. Despite her overwhelming resume, Shah’s dreams aren’t much different than any other 20-something
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Aside from finding her own mentors within CHC, Shah became a mentor herself through mock trial. She joined mock trial at the end of her sophomore year and quickly became a standout leader in the organization, due to her quick thinking and ability to inspire her peers. Shah was a pivotal part of why the mock trial team grew from around 30 members to 100 members in the span of about a year and she was a key component of her team’s success at the regional competition. “She had the capacity to bring out the best in her teammates,” Trond Jacobsen, director of forensics, says. “She was a competent competitor but also a
An epiphany during her study abroad in Italy is what ultimately inspired Shah to attend law school. In the midst of exploring her options and a new country, Shah found herself missing something. It wasn’t the comforts of home she missed the most; it was the practice and study of law. Upon the realization that she missed mock trial, Shah said everything clicked for her — law was her future.
“Law was uniquely challenging for me,” Shah explains. She explored more than the law during her time at CHC. An active member on the rowing team, she also founded an Indian dance group and interned for the FBI as a data analyst — an experience she refers to as a “bucket list” opportunity. Shah says this ability to balance academics, hobbies and friendships continues to serve her in law school. “She was remarkable and exceptional from the beginning but then got even more so,” Jacobsen comments in regards to her intelligence and interpersonal skills. When it came time to select a law school, Shah had no shortage of options. She was accepted to a multitude of prestigious schools but wanted to attend somewhere that had values similar to CHC. Shah ultimately decided on the University of Chicago with the guidance of David Frank, CHC rhetoric professor. Conversations with Frank allowed Shah to weigh her options with her values in mind. University of Chicago, aside from being an esteemed law school, offered small class sizes, encouraged student engagement, and had interesting professors — all qualities she had grown accustomed to during her time at CHC. As a Portland native, Shah looked forward
to living in a new environment. When she isn’t consumed by the workload of law school, she hops on public transportation to explore the city, and spends her evenings cooking dinner for her newfound friends. Work-life balance is one of Shah’s keys to success. It’s a skill, she says, that she perfected at CHC and continues to utilize in law school. Though many consider law school to be more time-consuming than a full-time job, Shah says it hasn’t been difficult to manage. “Honestly, the honors college was more demanding than law school has been,” Shah says with a laugh. Halfway through her first year of law school, the sleep deprivation and readings haven’t gotten to her. Shah hopes to continue building connections with her law professors, secure competitive internships, and build memories with her new social circle. Her motivation to succeed continues to be balanced with her passion for friendships and community. “She’s brilliant. A great student, a hard worker, a great leader, a compassionate human being. She’s the full package,” Jacobsen says. “I see her as a rising star.” Shah doesn’t fancy herself as a star; she considers herself quite normal. Despite her overwhelming resume, Shah’s dreams aren’t much different than any other 20-something — she just wants a job and to be happy. Following law school, Shah hopes to have a brief stint in corporate law and to travel to the next location on her travel bucket list, South India. Following her corporate law experience, she hopes to transition into family law and land back in the Pacific Northwest. She looks forward to her future, a time when she no longer worries about required readings or exams. Her dream home in Seattle will let in the morning light and have windows that showcase the evergreen trees she has grown to miss in Chicago. A space of her own where she can sip her morning tea and prepare for her day at a boutique law firm. And finally, she dreams of a point in her life when she might be able to get some sleep.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
ULRICK CASIMIR INSPIRES STUDENTS TO CHASE STORIES AND PASSIONS BY ASHLEY LORRAINE WIESNER Ulrick Casimir jokes that he is just a failed poet.
photo by Julian Croman
But it’s what he did with that realization that has made him not only the writer but the teacher that he is today. He took this failure and turned it into a successful fiction career by utilizing themes of poetry in his stories.
NEW FACULTY-INRESIDENCE CORINNE BAYERL GIVES STUDENTS ROOM TO BE THEMSELVES BY JESSICA ROTTER When Corinne Bayerl was a college student in Munich, a professor said something that became integral as she developed her teaching philosophy. “A (classroom) seminar is good when it is good for those who talk and (good) for those who do not talk,” her professor said. In the same spirit, Bayerl explains, she strives to give space to those students who are introverted or who come from other cultural backgrounds in which the notion of scholarship, or leadership in general, does not directly translate to rhetorical performance. “I have seen that some students only start
to talk if they feel free not to talk,” says Bayerl. The Clark Honors College welcomes Bayerl as a 2020 new Faculty-inResidence. Bayerl, a senior instructor in comparative literature, has been an affiliated faculty member of CHC since 2016, and is particularly happy that her appointment as a faculty member will finally allow her to be an advisor for honors theses in CHC. For most of the past year, she has been on a research fellowship in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, working on a scholarly book focused on 17th-century battles that pitched playwrights and actors against theological and political authorities in a fight for the legitimacy of theater. Bayerl enjoys teaching comedy and satire in various media, and regularly offers courses dealing with poetry and plays. “I am drawn to rhythm and sound patterns in literary works, and I think that learning how form creates meaning is one of the goals of an arts and letters
class,” she says. Bayerl, who grew up in Europe, came to the United States to gain experience in academic publishing abroad. She decided to stay in the U.S., eventually receiving her Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of Chicago in 2014. Her earlier college education in Munich and Paris was quite different from the education many American undergraduates receive. “Above all, university education was free so the question, ‘Is it worth my money?’ never came up,” said Bayerl. The Comparative Literature departments in Munich and at the Sorbonne building were small, which allowed Bayerl to connect with the field and with other students, an experience that she now tries to replicate in her own classrooms, which will undoubtedly resonate with CHC students.
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“Truly good and affecting fiction imparts to its readers that sympathy, or even empathy, is the way forward from where we are to where we want to be, or ought to be, as human being,” Casimir says. Him empathetic nature is not just reserved for his writing. Empathy and connection are at the core of his
“Simply talking as openly as possible with students about their lives as students can go a long way toward resolving issues in their writing process.” Casimir encourages his students to not only analyze their personal lives but to analyze the creative works of others. He blends sources in his classes, relying not only fictional books but also on music, movies, visual art and poetry. He pulls from classics to pulp fiction. He strives to turn stories upside down and inside out. And he encourages his students to do the same. Casmir believes writing is interdisciplinary. He notes that learning the craft is not enough, students must also learn to interpret others’ narratives.
It was at age of 12 that Casimir got The Great Gatsby from his local library and read it in one afternoon. This experience was so transformative that by the next morning, Casimir realized that he himself was a writer. “I could sense some of what [Fitzgerald] was doing with language,” Casimir remarks. “And I desperately wanted to try it too.” Since that moment, Casimir has been trying and succeeding; his love for creative writing has become a pillar of his life. He was published in Plainsongs, a literary journal, and his collection of short stories, Children of the Night, was published by Corpus Callosum Press in 2018. He now teaches with the English department at the University of Oregon and is an affiliated faculty member with Clark Honors College. His passion for teaching comes from an adulthood spent learning about English. Casimir has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English, an additional master’s degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. focused on literature and film. This fall he is combining these areas of study and his love of writing into a CHC fiction writing course titled “Lie to Me.” One of the themes he often focuses on is perspective, noting that perspective isn’t just the technical issue of who is telling a story but it is constant thematic concern in his writing. He combines a specific perspective with topics like crime, alienation, family, time and subjectivity to make a statement — often a political one. Casimir isn’t making political statements
in his stories just for the sake of making a statement. Instead, he views his statements as a deliberate act of sympathy. “After all,” he says, “the willingness to tell stories is itself an act of sympathy. It takes a lot of sympathy, empathy and dedication to write convincing stories from diverse perspectives” .
teaching style. Casimir calls this strategy, “teaching from behind,” an approach that allows students to master the assigned work in a way that works for them and in a way that will serve them even once the term is over. Casimir says he prefers not to lecture and instead opts to guide his students through conversations and their work. He refers to his classes as a free and open environment to explore and write. Students are active participants in his classes. They dictate the direction of their work; they reflect on their own life and dissect what influences their writing. Often times, Casimir says his students teach him just as much as he teaches them.
“I’m a fiction writer with the training to think like an academic,” Casimir says. “I’m kind of an interdisciplinary person at heart.” As he settles into teaching at CHC, Casimir hopes to enlighten his students in the same way Fitzgerald enlightened him. He hopes they find their passion — in writing or otherwise. As for his own passions, there is no end in sight. “Writing is who he is,” he says, making it to the end of The Great Gatsby was just the beginning of a life-long pursuit. “I’ve been ‘chasing story’ ever since,” he remarks.
“So many seemingly disparate things can affect us as writers,” Casimir comments.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photo by Janko Ferlic
“It’s always a valuable experience to be a part of research. It’s one thing to hear about it and another to be a part of it and see how it’s done.”
THE RESEARCH ASSISTANT SCHEME OFFERS REAL TIME EXPERIENCE BY KAITLYN JIMENEZ Not many undergraduate students are able to say they have hands-on experience researching the effects of using new brain imaging technology in a courtroom — or that they were funded for it. But Emily Carlson, who worked with Clark Honors College professor Nicole Dudukovic as a part of the college’s Research Assistant Scheme that was established last year to bring students and professors together to work on ongoing research projects, can say exactly that.
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— Emily Carlson
Carlson and Dudukovic met in winter of 2019 in the classroom of Dudukovic’s “Neuroethics” class. The following term, the two began working together researching the ethical side of using functional magnetic resonance imaging in the courtroom, which turned into Carlson’s senior thesis. FMRIbased image reconstruction is a new technology that is being developed on the University of Oregon campus. It maps the brain activity of people seeing facial characteristics and from that information, creates a facial composite that Carlson describes as looking like “a bunch of faces on top of each other.” It is in its early stages, but the question Carlson and Dudukovic are focused on answering is “how would people perceive this information if it were brought into a court of law?”
Dudukovic says. “But what if we now say ‘Okay, this is somebody’s memory that is being measured from their brain activity.’ Are people going to have more trust in that method than they would in more traditional methods?”
“We know there are a lot of problems with eyewitness memory in general,”
Carlson’s goal for the future is to be an optometrist, which doesn’t exactly align
Background research done by Carlson and Dudukovic shows that techniques based on neuroscience are beginning to hold more weight. “If an article says ‘brain scans show’ people automatically believe it,” says Carlson. The two are still conducting experiments, and preliminary results were released in Carlson’s thesis last spring. “Depending on what we find, that will dictate where we go from there,” Dudukovic says. “It could end up published somewhere, or it could lead to further questions to explore.”
with the current research project but she says, “It’s always a valuable experience to be a part of research. It’s one thing to hear about it and another to be a part of it and see how it’s done.” She attributes her four years in CHC for teaching her time management and giving her a “holistic” education. Sophomore Jakob Hollenbeck and Tim Williams also met in the classroom when Hollenbeck was enrolled in Williams’ “American Prisons” class in Spring 2019. Hollenbeck quickly caught professor Tim William’s attention when Hollenbeck conducted enough work for the 200-level research class that would suffice for a thesis. Though Williams eventually had to tell Hollenbeck to stop researching, it gave him an idea as to who the perfect assistant for his upcoming project would be. “I thought that if there is somebody who
I know is going to do a good job with this, this is the person,” Williams said of Hollenbeck. “He’s just an amazing guy.”
chapter in Williams’ book and he hopes to write a scholarly essay out of it for publication.
Williams is currently working on his next book that will feature the writings of Confederate prisoners of war and the role they played in what historians have come to known as “The Lost Cause.” The two are combing through decades of issues of The Confederate Veteran and The Southern Bivouac, two popular and important publications that Williams says historians haven’t paid much attention to.
“Here we don’t have graduate students; we have graduate-student-like undergraduates,” says Williams. “We have people who are very serious scholars, good at what they do, and that RAS can help advance our own research. But it can also provide a paid way to learn how to do research with somebody who does research. So it’s a great educational opportunity for students and it’s also really great for the professional advancement of faculty members.”
Hollenbeck is going through every issue between the 1890s and World War I and searching for the usage of “prison” and “prisoners” in order to examine the patterns, changes and themes over time. This information is added to a database so the two are able to see what stories about prisoners were getting told and how they were being told throughout that time period. This research will become a
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photo by Sarah Northrop
Book Love: I left with a way to remember BY LAUREN JIN
These days, I find myself turning to the past. Maybe it’s because I’ve been confined to my childhood home since March, or maybe it’s because of the overwhelming uncertainty each day seems to bring. I find myself leafing through old photos, old journals, old authors, old words, in search of comfort or perhaps an escape. A commonplace is kind of a manifestation of that urge. At least, that’s my understanding of it from HC 421H: Commonplace
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Reading, or, Book Love, a course taught by Professor Mai-Lin Cheng I took last fall. In theory, a commonplace book is a collection of passages, organized under headings and carefully indexed for future reference. In practice, a commonplace contains passages but also images and other artifacts important to the reader. By collecting and compiling, the reader creates a record of both text and individual. A commonplace, then, acts as a sort of window into the past.
We kept our own commonplace books as part of the class. Twice a week, we met in Chapman to share what passages we chose to copy from our readings: Our discussions were filled with the words of Borges, Foucault, Barthes, Austen, Rankine. It wasn’t the kind of class you could hide in (there were less than ten of us), but it was also the kind of class you didn’t want to hide in. I came curious to see what ideas would emerge during our backand-forth, to see what quotations others thought important to pull from the text. It was a class entirely
built around sitting down together and having a conversation — something I deeply miss right now. I also miss doing things. I miss the things that can’t be replicated on the screen or socially-distanced experiences like the workshops we did during the course. They were held in Knight Library, where we learned about handwriting and bookbinding. Some thoughts:
• It’s surprisingly hard to write with
quill or fountain pen. Even more so when it’s cursive, something I only use for my signature.
• My handwriting is terrible after
Arts and crafts is what the college experience is missing.
• There are several different styles
Most of my time in college has been spent reading, typing or listening to lectures, so it’s nice to get outside of the classroom and make something that’s not just another essay.
years of neglect. of cursive?
• Book maintenance is a science in itself. • Folding paper into a notebook requires
a certain way of thinking that I just don’t have (you can show me that the corner is supposed go like that as many times as you want: someone else is just going have to do it for me).
Sometimes I leave a class with nothing really tactile to show for it, save for a couple papers, a PowerPoint, maybe some books I probably won’t touch again. This time, I left with the commonplace. Which is to say I left with a way to remember.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
These days, I find myself turning to the past because I know someone else has already said the words we need for the present. For instance, James Baldwin in his essay, “Down at the Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind,” tells me that “one is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.” As to not forget, I’ve copied it into my commonplace.
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ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
Helps New Associate Dean Truly See BY LAURIE GALBRAITH photo by Sarah Northrop
and resettlement. New immigrants, refugees and enslaved African-Americans all have a history there. The place where the pond was filled in stretches along the south and western boundaries of Chinatown including Canal Street, named after the canal built to drain the pond. Landscape architecture is not just a well-maintained gorgeous front yard. Or a minimalistic, xeriscape model at the newest local park. Both ideas are accurate, but there’s more. Concepts like social justice, as well as the intersection of racial and cultural history with the built environment are also integral to understanding the field.
There used to be a large, freshwater pond that sat where Chinatown in New York is today. 400 years ago, the native Lenape people used it to sustain their livelihood, but that ended with colonization in the 18th century. Slaughterhouses and tanneries were built, resulting in a polluted dump. Later, city officials decided to fill the area in and it became a neighborhood of ongoing arrivals, displacement
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These intersections matter deeply to Liska Chan, associate professor of landscape architecture and most recently, associate dean of faculty at Clark Honors College. She was the principal architect of Chinatown Invisible, an art mapping project which chronicles the racial and geographic cultural history in what is now Chinatown. Those scars of injustice are unseen to most people. Chan says the term is called “invisible landscapes.” “It’s shorthand for ‘invisible aspects of landscapes,’” says Chan. “Meaning, the facets that influence the places where you visit, but they are not immediately perceptible.” According to Chan, almost every (American) city has a low-lying wet area where if
not now, was at some point in history, a Black neighborhood. In 1940s Eugene, it was the Ferry Street Settlement where Alton Baker Park now sits. She says where the duck ponds are now, there was a short-term settlement where African-Americans were required to live outside the city limits. While it was prone to flooding, the residents still managed to cultivate a strong community, “even having its own church,” says Chan. Then they were evicted, likely for site development, but the area remained vacant until 25 years later when the duck ponds were constructed. In 2013, Chan taught “Invisible Landscapes,” having students work on projects surrounding the settlement. Chan says most people aren’t aware of this time in local history. “This is an important historical landscape that isn’t recognized — as far as I know — in any way,” says Chan. “The current landscape erases any stories about the settlement.” Chan’s passion lies where layers of injustice and exclusion related to these landscapes intersect with social justice and the built environment. This passion adds fuel to the fire for one of her highest priorities at the CHC next year. “We are examining how we can incorporate more anti-racist education into the honors college,” explains Chan. That goal includes collaborations with the
University of Oregon’s Division of Equity and Inclusion, as well as the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, which Chan says are strategic. “I want not only to recruit more students of color, with a focus on Black students, but also make us [CHC] a genuinely welcoming environment.” She adds, “Our goal in the next few years will be to advance students of color.” Placing a high value on welcoming and ‘seeing’ those she serves is part of Chan’s professional DNA. A past project — redesigning the university playground behind Prince Puckler’s ice cream — was “an academic exercise with a real-life feel for her students,” says Chan. A collaboration with Dan Rosenberg, professor of history at UO, the studio class
focused on creating “a really lovely place for children to play in.” “We thought, ‘how nice it would be if it weren’t just a giant frying pan of wood chips and puddles,’” says Chan. “But rather a beautiful park for the UO community’s and Eugene’s children.” Considering aesthetics was only one part of the learning and design process, however. Rebecca Cruze, BS ’20, was a landscape architecture major and took several classes with Chan. One of her favorites was the playground studio class. She says they were encouraged to think across disciplines, to be thorough in considering all the children who would use the space. “It was a delightful design exploration that integrated psychology and social sciences into our process.
We investigated the different needs and abilities of children at different phases in their development,” explains Cruze. In classic CHC fashion, Chan’s two classes this upcoming year will use cross-disciplinary approaches. In Fall 2020, she’ll teach “Walkscapes: The Art and Architecture of Walking,” where students will look at walking through a fresh lens. Chan says this will include considering the practice as “ritual, protest and pilgrimage.” In Winter 2021, Chan will teach “Contemporary American Landscapes.” Built upon her interest in “natural systems and cultural layers,” the class will examine how the natural landscape combined with history and injustice, affects our landscapes today. That class won’t be a moment too soon.
In 1811, after Collect Pond was drained and filled dozens of tenements were built over it. In 1862 this New York neighborhood, called Five Points, was the most densely populated place on the planet, which led to its immigrant communities being burdened with poverty and disease. The drawings of the pond and waterways illustrate a ghost of what was there.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
“School board democratization and representation is a huge opportunity to enact local change and to ensure school districts are equitable and just,” Fowler comments. Her passion for this project stems from an interest in civic engagement and interdisciplinary problem-solving. Civic engagement has been a part of Fowler’s life since high school but she credits the Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing for her interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. She said the course with Professor Williams taught her foundational skills for lifelong communication methods, but also taught her the value of collaboration when it comes to problem solving — not just collaboration with other people but collaborations of various disciplines. “The course totally shifted the way I viewed writing and teamwork,” she notes.
EMILY FOWLER’S PUBLISHED WORK FOCUSES ON HER RESEARCH ON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT BY ASHLEY LORRAINE WIESNER
Political science texts litter her laptop, mock trial preparation occupies her mind and cappuccinos course through her system as Emily Fowler buzzes about Chapman Hall. Fowler, a Clark Honors College student studying political science and media studies, rarely has time to eat lunch between her CHC coursework, involvement with Mock Trial, CHCSA, the Wayne Morse Scholars Program and her demanding internship with Terrapin Data, a Eugene-based technology start-up that works with civic data. Interning at Terrapin Data is a new addition to Fowler’s life. She found the internship through the honors college weekly newsletter and jumped at the opportunity to work with technology and civic engagement. Fowler started with the company in
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October of 2019 and since that time has used data science to collect and develop engaging civic data sets for Oregonians. Her position relies heavily on computer science and coming from a political science background, Fowler was a nontraditional pick for the job. Knowing the position would be a challenge, she took to the internet and turned to mentors at Terrapin Data to learn programming and data analytics. Taking on a challenge is a mindset Fowler attributes to her time at CHC, saying that CHC has given her an interdisciplinary and empathetic mindset when approaching problem-solving.
An interdisciplinary approach is just one of the problem-solving skills Fowler has gained from CHC. She says learning to engage empathetically with people and information has enhanced her approach to civic engagement. Approaching people and topics with empathy was a skill Fowler learned in the course, “Muslim Women from the 7th to 15th Centuries” with Professor Irum Shiekh. The class allowed her to explore and dismantle media representations of Muslim women through honest class discussions that allowed her to empathize with human experiences different from her own.
“This position lets me combine my interest in politics with my growing toolbox of computer science and programming [skills],” Fowler explains.
“There are some classes that students carry with them for the rest of their lives,” Fowler adds. “Always looking back at the lessons learned…this was one of those classes.”
This computer science toolbox and interest in civic engagement inspired Fowler to translate 12,000 data entries into engaging data-based tools and applications Oregonians “can use to inspire civic engagement and local change,” Fowler says. Her projects translated directly through an Amazon Alexa app, or an interactive map of Oregon that breaks down school board demographics throughout the state and provides information on how to run for
Fowler’s work is not done with the completion of her Terrapin Data project, which went live in mid-April. She hopes to continue her passion for civic engagement and computer science with her CHC thesis and future career. Her thesis will explore the role of artificial intelligence in future elections and she hopes to have a career in civic tech to find data-based solutions for issues like climate change, income inequality and election stability.
NELLY NOUBOUSSI FINDS INSPIRATION IN HER MOTHER’S WORK AS SHE HEADS TO OHSU BY KEELY MILLER
At 13 and living in Cameroon, Nelly Nouboussi was excited when she learned she and her older sister Ruth were going to live in the U.S., but her expectations were instantly dashed when she arrived at her uncle’s house in Springfield, Oregon. “I thought I was just going to come live in this...huge mansion,” recalls Nouboussi, a recent ‘20 graduate from Clark Honors College, but after arriving, she realized her uncle’s house was smaller than her family’s home in Cameroon in Central Africa. The drab winters and Springfield’s community dynamics made it difficult for Nouboussi to adjust to her new environment. But surprisingly, missing home was what struck her most.
Coming to UO and the CHC turned out to be the right decision, says Nouboussi, whose dedication to her research is apparent; she was a recipient of an Undergraduate Research Award in 2018. “I’m glad I came here,” she adds. Nouboussi has always wanted a career in medicine, following the path of her mother, a physician in Cameroon who provides low or no cost care for people in need. She credits her mother’s good deeds for the formation of her own professional goals. “That was something that I really admired about her, and I wanted to kind of follow in her footsteps,” she said.
Nouboussi began applying to medical schools in last year and by the time of her graduation, had been accepted into four of them. She decided to attend Oregon Health and Science University in Portland in the fall of 2020, receiving a full scholarship. After graduating from medical school, she plans to return to Cameroon, where she wants to become a part of improving its health care system. This, she said, is her biggest motivator. “Having to focus on my goal and what I see as my purpose,” she said. “That’s what makes me keep working hard every day.”
“When I came here, I started feeling really homesick because I missed my family,” says Nouboussi, who left both parents and three siblings behind in Cameroon. “I missed, like...everything.” Before moving to the U.S., she thought she would have a cellphone that would allow her frequently communicate with her family, but that didn’t happen, and she only spoke to her family once a month. Despite these difficulties, Nouboussi was determined to finish high school and after graduation, she chose to attend the University of Oregon. She secured scholarships including the Robert J. Erickson Kaiser Permanente Scholarship, Pathway Oregon, Diversity Excellence Scholarship and the David O’Kelley scholarship from CHC, where her sister, Ruth, was already a student.
photo Sarah Northrop
school board positions.
During her four years at CHC, Nouboussi was a research assistant with for CHC professor and medical historian Melissa Graboyes, and worked in Professor Matt Smear’s neuroscience lab, where she studied the olfactory systems of mice.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
CALDERWOOD SEMINARS ARE TIMELY, INTENSIVE, AND ULTIMATELY “FEEL-GOOD TEACHING” 20
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N A W O G E HELIA M
Tim Williams, associate professor of history at Clark Honors College, believes it’s crucial that people know about and understand the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction that followed, and not just because he’s a history professor. “It’s a really important moment for students to think about why the public should care about this decade,” Williams says. “Historians on Twitter, the New York Times and Washington Post are writing op-ed after op-ed, and it’s a really important way in which we disseminate information to a public audience about a very complicated time period.” Williams taught “A House Divided: The U.S. in the 1860s and Today” in winter term 2020. “In order to understand where we are now as a nation,” he says, “we have to ask what the results of the Civil War were and how do they still affect our culture today? In terms of our racial past, how we think about citizenship, how we think about belonging, how we think about voting, how we think about enfranchisement — all of these things were supposed to be settled by the end of the Civil War. I hope to encourage students to think about the complexities, but also why those complexities matter today.” That’s one reason the Calderwood Seminars are so timely.
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David Lindauer, the economics professor who developed the intensive Calderwood concept at Wellesley College, said student feedback shows the seminars have been very effective in how to talk about their research in a way that appeals to broad audiences. “Students often tell us that their Calderwood Seminar was the best course they took in college, empowering their knowledge in their major and improving their ability to communicate that knowledge to a general audience,” he says. Carol Paty, professor of earth sciences, was thrilled to teach her spring 2020 Calderwood Seminar, “Chasing Planets.” “When it comes to planetary and space sciences,” she says, “an informed and inspired public is the goal. This is really targeted at public communication. One of the most important things we can do with students and for our science is communicate the enthusiasm and the motivation and the importance to the public.” Disseminating understandable information to the public isn’t the only key takeaway. Communicating through critique is essential, Paty added. “The writing process of learning how to take and give constructive criticism is really important,” she
says. “The idea of how to work not in isolation but as part of a group means knowing how to receive criticism, implement criticism and push back on criticism.” Williams also believes the writing process is crucial. Writing to make complex information accessible and smart, with students who are now in the second half of their college experience, will be a significant component of his Calderwood classes, he says. “Bringing the Calderwood to the CHC is one of the ways that the CHC is distinguishing itself as a unique learning environment in the UO,” he adds. “We have committed faculty who want to teach this, but we also have amazing raw material in the students, and our students are up for this experimental way of learning.” His high expectations for the class were not only met, but far surpassed his initial hopes. “While it may sound trite, I think the chief success of the course was that we did it! And it was satisfying,” he says. “Satisfaction in teaching is difficult to quantify — impossible, really — because it is a feeling. I felt students’ appreciation, their eagerness, their joys, their struggles, and felt good that I helped facilitate it. It was feel-good teaching, plain and simple.”
E L L A B IXES
Y T S R I F FOR HER
Students rush in and out of Erb Memorial Union as Helia Megowan — sitting on a couch across from the grand piano in Taylor Lounge — observes the swirl. She’s dressed in all black athletic wear, and her light brown hair is pulled back neatly in a bun. She grins widely as she talks about her first year at the University of Oregon. “It’s just so good,” says the Clark Honors College sophomore, who’s pursuing a degree in biology. Although she started at UO last fall, Megowan didn’t follow the path typical of most new students — in fact, up until recently, she wasn’t sure if she’d pursue higher education. “I didn’t even think I would graduate high school,” she says. From an early age, dance has dominated her life. Her mother, a successful rhythmic gymnast, quickly saw potential in her. Megowan started with rhythmic gymnastics — which merges ballet, gymnastics and dance, and includes an apparatus such as a hoop, ball or ribbon — but switched to ballet at age five. She trained at Oregon Ballet Theatre in Portland for eight years before moving to June Taylor’s School of Dance in Tualatin, Oregon, where she trained for three years, refining her technique. Attending high school during the academic year, Megowan spent many of her summers at ballet intensives — auditions for year-round spots in ballet companies — with numerous companies across the country. She received
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offers from the Houston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet but declined them both, deciding instead to join the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany, after submitting an audition tape filmed by her father. She moved to Germany after her sophomore year of high school; the transition to German life was not too hard, since Megowan’s German mother had raised her to speak both English and German. The school itself, however, was another story. “Nothing can prepare you for a school like that,” Megowan recalls, referring to the twelve-hour days spent in classes, all of which were taught in Russian. One of the first things she had to do at the Cranko School was step on a scale to be weighed. “It was just like the movies,” she says. Although Megowan sensed that one instructor disliked Americans, and it was tough to make friends in such a highly competitive environment, she feels lucky to have gotten the opportunity. But the rigorous, demanding environment took a heavy toll on her. When she returned to the United States to finish high school, she abandoned ballet altogether and even had anxiety going into ballet studios, she adds. After completing high school, Megowan began looking at colleges. She thought about
Portraits by Chris Nelson
R Y MILLE BY KEEL
Oregon State University because her mom had gone there, but a trip to the University of Oregon changed all that. Upon acceptance into CHC, Megowan’s decision to become a Duck was sealed. While visiting the university, she attended a drop-in class at Eugene Ballet — only two other people were in the class. Afterward, the instructor complimented her dancing and connected Megowan with Eugene Ballet’s artistic director, who ultimately offered her a position with the company. In addition to leading to a job, that drop-in ballet class helped Megowan come to an important realization. “I actually still really love (ballet),” she says. “When it’s not super stressful, this is actually something that’s important to me.” Finding Eugene Ballet and choosing UO felt “meant to be” for Megowan. While she pursues her biology degree, she attends daily classes and rehearsals with the company, and was recently an understudy in Swan Lake. Maintaining her grades while keeping up with dance can be challenging, but Megowan attributes her success to being an “intrinsically motivated person.” She hopes to use her biology degree to become a physical therapist at a ballet company. Megowan also plans to continue dancing professionally and sees it as a long-term goal. “But I’m pretty much at the beginning right now,” she adds, smiling widely.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
Kristin Schild eyes the iceberg below her as the helicopter she’s riding in makes a first pass, surveying the monolith from high above. Circling around for a second look, the helicopter swoops in much lower, barely skimming the surface of the ice. From this distance, Schild can check for erosion and direction of the water flow; both of these give her information about potential ice collapse or an iceberg overturning. The revolutions of the powerful propellers eliminate any other sound.
Schild, assistant research professor at the University of Maine and a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon’s Oceans and Ice Lab, is part of a team of four professors that traveled in August 2019 to study the role of ice in climate change. Unique in its approach, the goal of the trip was to gather information through a multidisciplinary lens and a self-imposed obligation to gather data and conduct research ethically.
Grabbing her ice axe tightly when Schild is satisfied that the iceberg is stable, she opens the door of the still-running helicopter that tries to stay in one spot. Secured by ropes and a climbing harness, she lowers herself out of the helicopter and picks around at the ice with the axe, assessing its condition. Only when she is certain that the conditions are good, she reaches into the helicopter, and her teammate hands her a GPS unit. She takes a few more steps while the ropes on her harness are controlled by Casey Shoop, who sits in the helicopter. She does this again and again at various iceberg locations, depending on the data she needs. This action is only part of a larger process to collect the data. It’s called GPS deployment and it’s one of many steps Arctic ice scientists and researchers repeat countless times during data collection on the Greenland ice sheet.
The team leaders were comprised of three UO professors who represent three different disciplines; Mark Carey, CHC professor of history and environmental studies and Director of the Environmental Studies Program; Dave Sutherland, professor of earth sciences and head of the Oceans and Ice Lab; and Casey Shoop, CHC professor of literature.
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Funded by two sources, The National Science Foundation and the University of Oregon Williams Fund, the team’s research sought to understand the interplay between ice and society. For Sutherland, an objective was “to directly observe iceberg melt and movement in the Greenland fjords, in order to improve predictions of iceberg melt for global climate models.” According to Carey, Greenland is a research hot spot “due to its vast ice sheet, but millions of people live in the Arctic so we wanted to understand icebergs as well as people living in Greenland, how they live and interact with ice, and how histories of colonialism shape their realities and even the knowledge
we have about the Arctic the size of the icesheet and it’s increasingly rapid melting. If the whole icesheet melted, that would be seven meters of sea level rise.” The NSF-awarded funding went primarily toward the scientific fieldwork. Remaining activities were covered by a grant from the Williams Fund — a grant awarded to Sutherland, Carey and Shoop for research and teaching of their spring 2020 class, “Arctic Ice in Science, Policy, and the Imagination.” The NSF outlines specific guidelines for those who wish to study, collect data and conduct research across all disciplines, in and outside of the Arctic. The guidelines focus on establishing effective communication with the community where the research is conducted; respecting indigenous knowledge and cultures; and building and sustaining relationships. These standards are a direct counter to adventure science in the spirit of the Indiana Jones narrative that has historically glorified a swashbuckling approach and has become a mainstay in the public’s idea of research and adventure.
“The point is not to focus on me but rather to understand that people in Greenland depend on thinning ice for transportation and hunting, that sometimes people are happy ice melts because it opens up harbors, or that cruise-ship tourism to see shrinking glaciers is detrimental to local communities who get few economic benefits but live with swarms of passengers who disembark and gawk but buy nothing on shore.” “Typically,” Carey points out, “research is often too heavily based on scholarship and lacks focus on community needs, which isn’t good.”
Carey says he doesn’t care for this kind of heroic narrative; it can be problematic for doing effective research because it celebrates the scientist not the actual environmental or social problems.
This research can include different perspectives that don’t always align with predominant Western media and narratives, that hold the environment as most sacred — even above the livelihood of people. Carey heard some of these viewpoints from locals who felt there were benefits of melting sea ice.
Last fall, he gave a lecture at The Australian Museum in Sydney. Speaking about his recent research trip to study Arctic ice, he told the audience that while he could present the research where he is the heroic researcher, that would be missing the point.
“Some people are happy that glaciers are melting back and there are new mineral deposits that are now accessible. We also heard people who are very concerned about seeing how it does impact hunting practices, fishing practices and access to certain areas. It’s a double-edged sword,” says Carey.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
“Going in with an open mind allowed us to hear many different voices, which is essential.” While these concerns may seem head-scratching for some Western audiences, diverging perspectives aren’t new. Carey says he’s spoken with local folks who are simply fed up with questions. “I’ve talked with people who say, ‘I’m tired of foreigners coming here to ask us about climate change and ice — there are other pressing issues.’” Over time, Carey has cultivated some best practices in field research and puts them to use during challenging conversations. Right off, he says “losing the preconceived ideas” is vital. Unsurprisingly, communication is a close second.
people than I normally do. Typically, I talk to people at the shipping and helicopter ports, then I get on a boat and go. Mark and Casey really engaged with people on the ground in Nuuk (Greenland’s capital city). He and Casey didn’t have an agenda. I’m always kind of driving at research questions I want answered. They were more interested in hearing what was on people’s minds,” explains Sutherland. As a physical glaciologist, Schild echoes Sutherland from the hard science perspective. Her field research revolves around the data she will collect, getting permits, collecting measurements, thinking about who will be in the field and their qualifications and the way she can be most efficient at tackling those considerations. She says she rarely considers “doing anything in the town where we’re based” so learning what non-scientific research looks like was an eye-opener.
In Greenland, icebergs are ever present, massive and towering, all in unspoiled shades of white, all in different organic shapes. They melt, overturn, they move. Some grow curtains of icicles, other have colonies of birds resting on chunks of ice as big as buildings. Schild was astounded by the terrain. “There are humpback whales that come and go and beautiful sunsets. Sometimes you can see northern lights,” she says.
“My ‘takeaway’ was absolutely a greater understanding of what is involved in historical and literary research. The type of preparation Mark and Casey did was quite different, they were talking to different historical centers, museums, working on gaining access to archives, figuring out the archive structure and how to access documents, reaching out to individuals. Prior to this trip, I really had no idea where their data came from or how these types of ideas formed, I always thought of it as a bit like magic,” says Schild.
Similarly, for Sutherland, and although he has been traveling to Greenland since 2008, he says it never gets old. “Every time I go, I’m re-amazed and re-inspired by the scale of the mountains, icebergs and ice sheet,” he adds.
Collecting data and doing field work is important but it must be done with cooperation in mind. Carey warns, “research can be extractive and problematic if you’re not building alliances, being collaborative and asking for permission.”
His “hard” science background keeps him on the technical side of things. While Schild oversaw data collection, instruments, gear and safety — Sutherland managed logistics for the ship and helicopter rides, lodging, funding and arranging meetings with local scientists.
For the team, it was imperative to start the research before they even set foot on an iceberg. “Make contacts in advance and communicate beforehand: What are your concerns? How are you thinking about this issue? Also, look for and utilize available sources there – don’t force your own,” says Carey.
Because he’s spent so much time there, Sutherland has a routine and group of people he typically interacts with in order to accomplish his research goals. He says this trip was different and special.
That approach means talking to people who represent all corners of local life would they get authentic perspectives.
“Having Mark and Casey along, we ended up talking to different
The team kept this directive as a paramount element of the process as they engaged with the community, asked questions and gathered data. For Shoop, his literary background
required digging deeply into the local culture for accurate representation. “I felt I had to become responsible, as much as possible, to the archive and ask about the Greenlandic texts and writings, what the artists are doing and how are they thinking about ice,” says Shoop. He says thinking deeply about “colonialism, western representations of the adventure of research and damaging Anglo-European narratives” also figured into shaping his ice research. As it was for many university students and professors, the spring term started under difficult circumstances because of COVID-19. The class — and primary reason for traveling as a team to Greenland — ”Arctic Icebergs,” was originally slated to be a groundbreaking approach to collaborative, team-teaching, which would allow Carey, Sutherland and Shoop to teach together and also separately in breakout adjacent classrooms. Because of the remote-learning mandate, the structure and delivery were less than ideal, but it was still a groundbreaking course and “the class went as well as it could, having to do it online,” says Sutherland. The class still landed well. A thoughtful group of 57 students pressed the professors to rethink some of their own ideas. “We got pushed a lot by our students, who asked good questions about engaging with indigenous people and local communities. Students can be really critica — which is good,”
says Sutherland. The class was a culmination of each professor’s discipline and perspective as they relate to ice. Sutherland says it became clear that everyone thinks about ice differently. While he looks through the hard science lens and sees data and imagery, Shoop and Carey find meaning and perception differently. “Casey sees ice as a symbol — as gender, metaphors and analogies; Mark sees power structures — how towns and governments are structured and what the power dynamics between groups and people look like when it comes to ice,” explains Sutherland. He goes further, suggesting that Shoop and Carey also see different dimensions when it comes to “science versus traditional ecological knowledge” — a lens that synchronizes with Carey’s dislike of traditional research narratives. Pushing up against established tropes and highlighting diverse perspectives means centering on communication with local people and organizations; respecting the indigenous assets of culture and knowledge; and working to form and maintain relationships are part of ethical, multi-disciplinary research and data collection. This is what Carey calls “focusing on societies.” Sutherland says the benefit of these complementary perspectives — a way of seeing scientific methods and research — opens up a whole new world. all photos by Nicole Abib
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ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
KNIGHT CAMPUS UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARS
HER FAMILY LIVED UNDER A BRUTAL ROMANIAN DICTATORSHIP. THAT HISTORY STEERED THE FOCUS OF ALINA SALAGEAN’S DNA RESEARCH BY LAURIE GALBRAITH When Alina Salagean decided to research fertility, she was influenced by her Romanian heritage and her family’s medical history, which was affected significantly by their lived experiences under communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. As a first-generation RomanianAmerican, Salagean looked toward her family’s history under the reign of the tyrant, who outlawed all methods of birth control to grow the country’s population. “My interest in fertility research is deeply rooted in my personal background and heritage,” says Salagean. “I am fascinated by the stories I heard from my Romanian parents, who lived through the disastrous effects of the government’s extreme pro-nationalist and anti-family planning policies.” Ceausescu ruled Romania with brutality from 1965-1989, keeping tight controls on free speech and dissent of any kind. The dictator kept an even tighter grip on women’s fertility and made both contraception and abortion illegal.
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These laws led to what Salagean describes as “consequences of medical stigmatization, a lack of scientific knowledge and limited access to health services in disadvantaged communities and victims of social violence.” Alina Salagean, BS ‘21, is part of the second Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars (KCUS) program cohort. The comprehensive research program includes funding, mentorship, networking and professional collaboration opportunities. Salagean is a designated Clark Honors College Scholar which means she is one of two CHC students supported with CHC funds and one of nine students overall in the KCUS. This financial support opens many doors. “CHC Scholars in the Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars Program have access to the financial resources and the professional development opportunities that will enable them to embark upon cutting-edge research experiences that can lay the foundation for their Clark Honors College thesis projects and their future careers,” CHC Assistant Dean of Advising & Strategic Partnerships, Elizabeth Raisanen, says. Those resources underpin Salagean’s
research, which involves DNA in the context of fertility. In a nutshell: DNA must make copies of itself successfully and be repaired accurately in reproductive cells like the sperm and eggs. When this doesn’t happen, deletions or alterations of the genetic code can lead to infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. This means that understanding how cells repair DNA damage is vital to healthy reproduction. Salagean uses a soil nematode (microscopic worms) to study how three protein complexes, shared by worms and humans, promote accurate DNA repair. She explains that her specific focus is motivated by her passion for reproductive biology and genetics, in addition to her family’s background. “In conjunction with my passion for reproductive biology and genetics, these experiences have fundamentally informed my education and career trajectory,” says Salagean. Clark Honors College cultivates and encourages student aspirations, and the partnership between the Knight Campus and CHC is one example of that achievement, providing an advantage to students and the programs they take part in.
“This partnership between the Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars Program and the Clark Honors College is really symbiotic,” says Robert Guldberg, vice president and Robert and Leona DeArmond executive director of the Knight Campus. “Students will benefit from the tremendous access, experience and opportunity. But the Knight Campus — and ultimately society — also will benefit from the tremendously talented honors college students who take part in the program.”
and principal investigator of the Libuda Lab, says Salagean is one of the best undergraduates she’s mentored throughout her career.
Erik Toraason, Salagean’s mentor in the Libuda Lab within the Institute of Molecular Biology, sees that talent reflected in Salageans’s drive to go above and beyond — constantly striving to learn and try more.
Salagean’s ambition was clear in choosing CHC. She wanted a rigorous academic environment to strengthen her analytical reading, writing and research skills; pursue biology research at a tier 1 public research university; and, says Salagean, discovering “a broader landscape of knowledge that promotes interdisciplinary communication and collaboration between the humanities, arts, and sciences.”
“In addition to her research efforts, Alina reads primary scientific literature, attends virtual talks given by leaders in the field of reproductive biology and asks deep questions to test and strengthen her own understanding of how fundamental molecular interactions underlie reproductive health,” says Toraason. It’s not just Toraason who sees Salagean’s pursuit of excellence. Diana Libuda, assistant professor of Biology
“She has pushed her project in new directions that have transformed the way we think about DNA repair in developing sperm and eggs,” writes Libuda. “Her research contributions have already earned her authorship on a research manuscript currently in review. I’m so honored to serve as her faculty mentor.”
“Interdisciplinary” is a good word to describe Salagean’s life outside the lab. She places great value on family, cultural heritage and social interconnectedness. “Every time I step foot through the door of my home in Beaverton — with walls decorated by embroidered portraits of
Romanian women in traditional clothing and bookshelves over spilling with little trinkets painted in the national flag’s red, yellow, and blue — I feel as if I’ve traversed continents to a country half a world away,” says Salagean. Toraason sees that value manifested in Salagean’s research pursuits. “The direct connection between Alina’s personal and scientific passions makes for a potent combination and is absolutely a contributing factor to what makes her such an excellent research scientist,” observes Toraason. Should Salagean emerge as that excellent research scientist, it will be no surprise. Her hopes for the future are right in line with that vision. As a rising senior, she’ll soon start applying to Ph.D. programs where she can focus on reproductive biology and ultimately address challenges and barriers to providing comprehensive reproductive care. “As a future researcher and professor,” says Salagean, “I aspire to serve as a scientist that utilizes an in-depth understanding of novel molecular interactions to directly address the underlying problems related to transgenerational genetic diseases.”
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
KNIGHT CAMPUS UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARS
KARLY FEAR: EXPLORING HEALING IN PERSONALIZED MEDICINE BY LAURIE GALBRAITH
“I’ve always been interested in medicine and its applications — like technology. And, once I got into this research, I learned that there are so many ways to approach these types of issues,” says Fear. Long before attending the University of Oregon, Fear, a rising Clark Honors College senior, was taken with medicine, therapies and devices tailored to individual patients. She says that curiosity is now a full-blown passion that she gets to channel into research. “For the longest time, I’ve loved science and knew that I wanted to be close to medicine. Actually living that out has been so exciting,” says Fear. Fear is one of two CHC students in the second Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars program cohort. The researchcentered program, which has nine students this year, awards $8,000 to natural science majors with a minimum 3.3 GPA. It provides interdisciplinary collaboration, mentoring and networking opportunities, and the structure is one of Fear’s favorite components of the program. “One of the best parts [of KCUS] is the cohort,” she says. “We meet once a week with the program manager and discuss things like how the lab is structured and how to read scientific articles. It’s cool to see other people’s experiences and what they’re doing.” The KCUS program and CHC both place a premium on diverse collaboration and networking opportunities — on and
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off campus. Fear points to a “Science Knight Out” event that ultimately swayed her decision to choose the University of Oregon and ultimately apply to the prestigious scholarship program. The partnership between the Knight Campus and CHC is really symbiotic, says Robert Guldberg, vice president and Robert and Leona DeArmond Executive Director of the Knight Campus. “Students will benefit from the tremendous access, experience and opportunity. But the Knight Campus — and ultimately society — also will benefit from the tremendously talented honors college students who take part in the program,” he adds. “Before making my decision, I attended a lecture given by Dr. Robert Guldberg. He mentioned a goal of the program was to attract students who were drawn to UO’s kind of research that Knight Campus would be doing,” says Fear. Fear’s research centers around broken bones, which are a significant problem for many people. Bones do heal naturally on their own, but certain factors can hinder or block healing. According to Fear’s KCUS mentor, Salil Karipott, in the Ong Lab of
“Our project is developing a device that can generate such small magnitude loads with magnetically active materials. This device can generate localized lowmagnitude loads by applying magnetic fields without any need for wires or electronic components inside the body — this technology could very well be used in humans soon where people can heal bone fractures with this technology at home with a daily therapy of a few minutes,” says Karipott. Fear has always had a strong interest in medicine and technology but says it was the program’s focus on interdisciplinary collaboration that helped her both expand her vision and streamline her goals. She started learning that there were different ways to approach her research, such as using orthopedics. It makes sense that Fear enjoys the cohort structure of the KCUS program; part of her decision to come to the UO was the small group feel within CHC. Fear says she chose CHC for the “immediacy of connection.” With only 19 students in class her first term and office hours that weren’t intimidating, she felt immediately comfortable. Clark Honors College Assistant Dean of Advising & Strategic Partnerships, Elizabeth Raisanen, reinforces Fear’s experience. “One of the great features of the CHC’s partnership with the Knight Campus
portrait and lab shots by Sarah Northrop
Knight Campus professor Keat Ghee Ong, research has found that small magnitude loads — impact on the bone during daily activities like walking or running — can assist with healing. Small magnitude loads are 100 times smaller than the ones seen during daily activity, these are called Low Magnitude High Frequency loads.
Biomechanics thrill Karly Fear. Working with medical technology that can be personalized and fit to people’s specific fracture or trauma situations is what she considers the most fascinating work anyone can do.
“ One of the best parts of the Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars program is the cohort. We meet once a week with the program manager and discuss things like how the lab is structured and how to read scientific articles. It’s cool to see other people’s experiences and what they’re doing.” — KARLY FEAR Undergraduate Scholars Program is that it fosters close connections between students and their Knight Campus research mentors, and with their honors college advisors,” she says. “I got to know Karly incredibly well as she prepared her application materials for the program, and I was impressed with her focus and her motivation to join a lab so early in her college career.” In addition to a closely connected learning environment and interdisciplinary focus, Fear says she values deeply that she’s learning how to think about science and communicate the concepts to a broader audience. And, while it may sound surprising, she’s seeing that being willing to learn is just as important as finding answers.
“The point is not expertise. The point is to challenge and explore,” says Fear. Karipott agrees. “I think our goal was to treat this as a learning experience rather than just replicating tests from protocols. Karly asks a lot of questions which, in my opinion, is the best way to learn,” says Karipott. “This project has encouraged her to explore new skills outside research like CAD and 3D printing.” Fear has big goals for the future. She hopes to finish her undergraduate degree in a three-year timetable, then pursue genomics and bioinformatics. A researcher at heart, she says graduate school is definitely the next step.
pursue research in my future and return to the academic community at some point in my career, hopefully giving others the opportunities that have propelled me forward.” As she navigates plans for her future, Fear spends downtime baking chocolate chip cookies and Baked Alaska (her specialty) and coloring — all outlets she finds satisfying because of the creativity involved. One more thing she’s learned in her downtime: A global pandemic can provide unforeseen opportunities for reflection and new realizations. “I’m seeing how important conversations are, especially during quarantine.”
“I am confident that I will continue to
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
After illness devastated her family’s reservation, Temerity Bauer reacts by dedicating herself to neuroscience BY JESSICA ROTTER photo courtesy of Temerity Bauer As the daughter of two professors, Temerity Bauer had a unique childhood. Rather than vacationing at the beach or spending summer days at Disneyland, Temerity found herself with her father at various historical sites, archives and libraries. “When I was very little, I drew a computer on a folded piece of paper and pretended to type notes as I sat through my parent’s classes,” said Bauer, a junior biology major and Clark Honors College student. Bauer’s father, a professor of Native American studies, was her main connection to their own tribe, the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo, CA. He taught her about Native American history, including government practices that attempted to eliminate Native culture such as forced removal and forced sterilization. While these realities were harsh, he supplemented them with inspiring stories of their people, such as how the mountains were created, and why we have fire. When her family travels to the reservation, they participate in the Nome Cult Walk, a seven-day walk to remember their ancestors who were forcibly removed from their homeland. Her fondest memories of the reservation are the moments she spent out in her grandparent’s fields with her grandmother, hunting for beads and arrowheads that her ancestors left behind. Bauer recalls the joy and excitement of finding a fully intact arrowhead. Bauer’s passion for her reservation drove her to a special field of studies at the University of Oregon. She observed as pollutants from a local lumber mill leaked into the soil on her reservation, causing disease rates to skyrocket and attributing to the death of a 22-year-old family member. Similar trends occurred throughout many other reservations, leading to birth defects, high cancer rates and death. Her desire to understand the cancer related to her community led her to study neuroscience, initially researching early biomarkers for the detection of glioma, a type of tumor in the brain or spinal cord.
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Fascinated by the brain, she began working in professor Santiago Jaramillo’s lab at the UO Institute of Neuroscience as a freshman. There, she became enthralled by the neural connections used in speech sound detection. Bauer used mice to study speech-sound learning, finding that mice can reliably learn to discriminate human speech sounds, opening new means of investigating the neural mechanisms of speech learning. Bauer says Dr. Jaramillo has been a crucial part of her success, encouraging her to branch out to try new things like coding and pushing her to present her previous findings at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science conference. Her current project in Dr. Jaramillo’s lab involves studying pupil dilation in response to changes in speech patterns. “In this new project, we will be observing the changes in pupil size to spectral and temporal aspects of natural sounds,” Bauer adds. “This will help us understand how the brain processes sounds and how it changes when we learn to categorize different sounds. Further, it will help us understand how the brain can learn to detect subtle changes in sounds.” Bauer recently received the prestigious Udall Undergraduate Scholarship, making her the second American Indian/Alaska Native to win the award and the third UO recipient in the last six years. The award grants access to the Udall Alumni Network, an invitation to the scholar orientation which she will be attending in August, and $7,000 for academic expenses. Professor of Earth Sciences Mark Carey encouraged Bauer to apply for the fellowship, noting that Bauer, also a 2018 Stamps Scholar, is highly motivated and creative and doing research on extremely urgent issues affecting tribal peoples and tribal health in particular.
Pathways Pilot program, preparing for medical school applications and working virtually alongside other Native students. The following summer, she will be performing research at Harvard Medical School within the Four Directions Program. Finally, she’s incredibly delighted to continue working on establishing the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, striving to create a community of Native students pursuing STEM fields where they can share information about opportunities and facilitate retention in underclassmen. “It has been my dream since I set foot on UO’s campus to set up the American Indian Science and Engineering Society,” said Bauer.
“Her planned future work in biomedical research as well as international comparative work on indigenous people’s cultural and colonial histories is highly relevant for the Udall Scholarship specifically and for society in general,” said Carey. Bauer says she feels empowered at UO and has had many opportunities to explore her culture in depth, specifically through the UO’s Many Nations Longhouse and Native American Student Union in which she is one of the four elected codirectors. “I was able to share one of my great-great grandmother’s creation stories, start beading, dress in traditional attire, make my own moccasins and drum, make hundreds of Native American tacos and play basketball with our all Native co-ed team,” Bauer said. After completing her undergraduate work, Bauer plans on pursuing her MD or Ph.D to study how the environment and resources impact the rate of diseases on her reservation and to provide specialty care to her people. Meanwhile, she has big plans for the next two years. Last summer Bauer participated in the Mayo Clinic Native American
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
STUDENTS STUDENTS ADDRESS THE ADDRESS ONGOING ONGOINGTHE PROBLEM OF PROBLEM AMERICAN OF APARTHEID AMERICAN BY KRISTIN STROMMER
APARTHEID by Kristin Strommer
The class, partnering with the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, examined the successes of the civil rights movement and what they mean for anti-racist efforts in the current political climate. Beginning their course with a viewing of The March, a film by UO alumnus James Blue that documents the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the class was structured to spark a community conversation about racial justice, social movements and political change. The students conducted original research and worked with the museum to develop a program for presenting their findings to a public audience. Livestreamed on June 4 on the museum’s Facebook page, the 90-minute presentation included discussions of four group research projects with realtime audience participation. “For nine weeks we discussed the long civil rights movement and the rise of the Trump MAGA movement,” says Frank, a rhetorician who studies
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“The civil rights movement teaches us about cooperation based on mutual, often economic, interests,” says Dylan Land, one of the student researchers. “Activists today should learn from that movement to build bi-racial coalitions against the powers of this country that perpetuate racial and economic inequality.”
argumentation in justiceseeking movements. “Then George Floyd was murdered, making painfully clear the systemic racism at work in this country and the urgency of addressing and dismantling it.” Highlighting key outcomes like the federal civil rights legislation of the 1960s as well as the war on poverty declared by President Johnson in 1964, the students pointed to the civil rights movement as a model for continued social change. They also emphasized specific actions that can pave the way toward racial reconciliation in the U.S., including widespread cultural competency training, engaging in difficult dialogue about white privilege and racism, disrupting unconscious forms of discrimination and demanding criminal justice and economic reform through voting and direct activism. “The civil rights movement teaches us about cooperation based on mutual, often economic, interests,” says Dylan Land, one of the student researchers. “Activists today should learn from that movement to build bi-racial coalitions against the powers of this country that perpetuate racial and economic inequality.” Dr. Lesley-Anne Pittard, the university’s assistant vice
illustration by Ellie Reisman
Clark Honors College students were deep in the research phase of professor David Frank’s class “The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement and the Rise of Trumpist Romantic Populism,” when the nation erupted in protests in response to the murder of George Floyd.
president for campus and community engagement, opened and framed the June 4 discussion, calling upon white allies to connect with groups on campus that have long been engaged in racial justice efforts, such as the Division of Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Black Strategies Group. “These aren’t new issues, and
we’ve been in the trenches. Have you? This isn’t only black and brown folk work; this is where our collective and truly difficult work is. This cannot be achieved by DEI alone, or by asking our black and brown peers and friends what to do.” For many of the students, this was a first experience of presenting research to a
public audience. “The Clark Honors College strives to help students translate original research into images and language geared toward the general public,” Frank says. “The museum, with its outstanding reputation for public scientific and cultural programs, was a natural partner in helping us accomplish this.”
Land says that the presentation offered an opportunity for a muchneeded community conversation. “Without having this kind of open, respectful space for dialogue, it’s hard to breach subjects that challenge peoples’ core understandings and inspire meaningful change in the world. Our class presentation
was a good example of the dialogue that we should be encouraging throughout our country and the world.” Originally planned as an inperson presentation at the museum, the event shifted to a virtual format after COVID-19 necessitated temporary campus closures. “One silver lining of the pandemic is that
it’s poising us to present more and more of the museum’s programs online,” says program developer Lauren Willis. “It’s proving to be great way to support new connections between campus and the wider community.”
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photo by Dusty Whitaker
Photo by: Cliff Volpe
his dream of living in New York City and making a living as a musician playing in groups and touring across the country. It was during a tour that McWhorter made a stop in Baton Rouge to play a show at Louisiana State University. After the performance, he was approached by an LSU faculty member who asked him to interview for a position there. The interview went well, and a few weeks later, he accepted the job.
WE ARE ALL PERFORMING ARTISTS: BRIAN MCWHORTER BRINGS HIS TALENT, PASSION FOR MUSIC AND LOVE OF TEACHING TO CHC BY KEELY MILLER
everal years ago, Brian McWhorter was in a recording session when he felt an unexpected snap in his throat. He was playing better than ever and had built an international reputation as a trumpet player, performing with such groups as Beta Collide, Meridian Arts Ensemble and the Eugene Symphony. The trumpet had been a large part of his life since he was nine. After consulting with numerous doctors,
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it was unanimous that the best solution was for McWhorter to stop playing trumpet. He had experienced a bilateral external pharyngocele, which sounds as terrifying as it is. It meant that his pharynx — the membrane-lined passageway behind the nose and mouth that connects both to esophagus — had herniated through the muscle wall and had almost severed the vagus nerve, which transmits information from the brain to the heart, lungs and digestive tract. Physically, his throat would balloon out like a frog’s when playing, and it spelled the end of his musical performing career. Although he was no longer making his living solely by playing trumpet, having
moved on to teaching and conducting, the loss affected him deeply. Every night for two years, McWhorter dreamt vividly about playing again. Each dream served as a painful reminder of what he’d lost. “It’s not hyperbole to say that it really changed my identity,” he reflects. McWhorter grew up in Portland, Oregon in a large evangelical Christian family and began singing at church when he was five. He was bussed around from church to church to perform. His parents would often perform during service as well, his dad playing guitar and his mom singing. He was in the fourth grade when he started playing trumpet in his school’s band. It was one of the few places he
felt totally comfortable. The instrument came easy to him right away, and it was not until his throat injury that he stopped playing. It was the beginning of a life dedicated to the performing arts, and his goals became apparent to him early. By the seventh grade, he knew where he wanted to study music: The Juilliard School in New York City. He only wanted to become a great musician. He chose Juilliard because, as he now admits, it was the only music school he knew existed. After earning his bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Oregon, he set out to New York to earn his master’s degree, at none other than the only music school that he knew of as a child — Juilliard. After earning his graduate degree at the famed school, McWhorter had achieved
He had taught before at Princeton University for several years and enjoyed teaching so much that it made his decision to move to Baton Rouge definitive. Plus, McWhorter says, the offer couldn’t have come at a better time. “I wasn’t super happy in New York at the time,” he adds. He had made it as a professional player, but he couldn’t see what he calls a “ladder” — a place to grow — in front of him. “It felt like I was flat-lining.” Teaching, he thought, would serve as a good outlet for him, and would serve as the change he was looking for. McWhorter spent two years teaching at LSU, and he loved it there. When a position opened up at UO, it was hard to resist; he moved back to Eugene, where he’s been ever since. McWhorter is devoted to his work, but it is clear that he is most devoted to his family, which he calls “the best part of his life.”
Tears fill his eyes and his voice breaks each time he speaks about his two children. He enjoys taking them camping and packing their lunches, and he especially cherished walking his daughter to school pre-COVID-19. It was his children that led McWhorter to the next chapter in his musical life. After buying tickets to Eugene Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, he was surprised to learn that the performance would not have a live orchestra. Despite his lack of conducting experience, he offered to assemble an orchestra to accompany the ballet, but left out one detail: McWhorter told no one that he had never conducted before. “If I was smart — or smarter — there’s no way I would have done this,” he reflects humorously. Lucky for him, his experiment was successful, and the experience led to the conception of Orchestra Next. The organization, which McWhorter co-founded, brings aspiring musicians together with professional musicians to give them the performance experience they need. Orchestra Next still provides Eugene Ballet’s live music. Over the past holiday season, McWhorter and the orchestra performed The Nutcracker again; he estimates that he’s done that show as a conductor over 60 times. McWhorter feels fulfilled by his role at Orchestra Next. “I really do feel like conducting is the most satisfying musical experience for me right now,”
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
With the numerous professional roles he assumes, McWhorter is a consummate juggler. He doesn’t claim to balance these responsibilities though; he insists he simply “manages” them, and does this through daily self-reflection and mindfulness practices in which he reminds himself of his values. At UO, for instance, McWhorter values the culture that expects faculty to share their interests with students. “I love working in a space where the idea is that professors go in with what they’re interested in,” McWhorter says. “I love that my values kind of converge with the university’s values.” Although McWhorter has been instructing at UO since 2006, Winter 2020 was his first term teaching outside of the School of Music and Dance. McWhorter recently became a Clark Honors College (CHC) Faculty-in-Residence. He has found that his values align with those of CHC even more than he anticipated, but his new appointment has also stirred a slight shift in values as he now has the opportunity to extend his impact beyond the walls of the music school. Now, his ultimate goal is to expose everyone he possibly can to the performing arts. He began working toward this goal in his last class, (HC222, The Velocity of Gesture, or Intro to Air Guitar). McWhorter and his students are exploring the relationship between gesture and music, as well as the nature of body language and physical expression by engaging in unique activities like lip-syncing and performing air guitar solos.
photo by Glen Waddell
He says that only a few of the students in his class have any background in performing arts, yet they are all surpassing his expectations. McWhorter’s experience in his first CHC class confirmed his belief that the performing arts are for everyone. For the next eight years as CHC faculty, McWhorter will attempt to convince CHC students from all different backgrounds that they are performing artists, too. “We are all performing artists, as far as I’m concerned,” he says with a smile.
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PROFESSOR BALBUENA TURNS PASSIONS INTO COLLABORATIVE STUDENT PROJECT
BY ASHLEY LORRAINE WIESNER
“It’s about sex,” Professor Monique Balbuena whispered to her class. The students look around, half of them nervously laughing and the other half rolling their eyes. It’s a Thursday morning and she is guiding her CHC class, The Jewish Diaspora in Latin America, a discussion about the “Living Flame of Love,” by St. John of the Cross. They read it in contrast to “commentary 23,” a poem by contemporary Jewish Argentine poet Juan Gelman, that dialogues with the 16thcentury Spanish poet’s text. The class is exploring mystical poetry as part of their Jewish diaspora studies. “Don’t cut yourself short before you try,” she says to a student, timid to provide analysis of the poem. Balbuena is passionate about Jewish studies in Latin America and about teaching. Both passions become clear when she’s in a classroom. She discusses weekend plans with a student while laughing and excitedly encourages students to speak up in class. A new project will soon allow Balbuena’s passions to reach beyond the academic world as she and the class develop an informational and educational website. This website will narrate the history of Jews in Latin America and offer varied examples of Jewish culture in the continent. Approximately 15 Clark Honors College students will work both independently and collaboratively to create an informative website for a broad public audience, with a focus on high school and university students.
Jewish languages, art, and dance. They will also include relevant political history, such as the military dictatorships that ruled several countries in the 20th century, and the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, a terrorist crime with international connections, that has not yet been solved, she adds. “It’s been interesting researching and narrating such a diverse history,” says AJ Heckman, a CHC student. Balbuena ends her lecture and instructs the students to get out their project work. Laptops pull up interactive maps and PDFs, folders filled with loose papers of art clutter desks, and thick books get pulled out of backpacks. She buzzes around the classroom and sits down with each student, anxious to hear about the advancements in their research. Together they discuss progress, edit work and find additional source materials. Balbuena chose this teaching approach strategically. She wanted her students to develop a collaborative project, and she wanted to empower them to create a product that will educate people outside of their classroom. She says that by having a project where they are responsible for something beyond themselves, students might push themselves a little further. The students, she says, also began to see themselves as participants of a much larger scholarly conversation. “Plus, it’s also fun,” Balbuena adds. The students seem to agree. They laugh
The Jewish presence in the history and culture of Latin America is little known, Balbuena explains. The class’ website seeks to shed some light on how Jews have been a part of Latin America, and how specific Latin American realities have also shaped a distinctive Latin American Jewish identity. Students in the class will discuss the contributions of different Jewish ethnic groups and explore various cultural aspects, such as burial practices,
as they look at art or mimic dances, and they compare history to modern memes. Part of what makes this project fun is that students were able to select topics that they were interested in. Balbuena says this helped the students get invested in the project. Jude Stone chose burial practices because it’s “a little morbid;” Heckman stuck with his interest in history, while Isabel Crabtree explored the various Jewish languages and dialects. “It’s been fun; studying linguistics is right up my alley,” comments Crabtree, as she pulls up an interactive map and highlights the Ladino language, a Judeo-Spanish language formed in the former Ottoman Empire, and one in which Balbuena specializes. As the term comes to an end, discussions about website design have started. Students chime in, mentioning the type of coding they know, and others express the importance of interactivity in the website. The “Jewish Diaspora in Latin America” website was set to launch on March 11, but news of COVID-19 altered the class’ plans for celebration in the DREAM lab. Balbuena looks forward to the website becoming a rich resource about Jewish culture in Latin America. She says the website will be a great entry point into this topic for people who are beginning their research, and that it also has the potential to grow, since additional information can be included in the future. For Balbuena, the most important aspect of this project is that people know this information is valuable. She says she hopes people will feel inspired to dig deeper and explore the world around them after they explore the website. “After all, the world is big out there,” Professor Balbuena notes.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photos by Sarah Northrop
he adds, noting that it also helped fill the gap when he was forced to stop playing trumpet.
“It’s an act of resilience to learn how to say, ‘Okay, that door is closing, but I’m going to kind of follow this other opportunity down the path.’”
ALUM DAVID ADAMS TAKES THE RESILIENCE HE LEARNED AT CHC AND BRINGS IT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dassonville says Adams’ passion for science was clear for the near two-and-a-half years they spent on lab research. “David was one of the most dedicated students I’ve ever had in the lab; the thesis he wrote up was phenomenal. I had very few comments — it was his product,” says Dassonville. Getting into medical school can be just as stressful as the program itself — albeit a shorter process. The application process can take close to a year-and-a-half, encompassing first and second interviews, which often require significant travel. Similar to a job search, an interview request doesn’t guarantee an offer; the field is competitive and admission rates are low. He says the memory is still fresh.
BY LAURIE GALBRAITH
David Adams often feels like an imposter. Not long ago, David Adams, BS ‘16, was a Clark Honors College freshman, unclear what field he would pursue. Ten years later, owing to tenacity, discovering his passion and creating his own major, he is now at UCLA studying medicine. “Imposter syndrome is real — something I experience regularly. If you start to make comparisons to others, it can make you feel worse about yourself. For me personally, I really work hard to take a step back and remember that the imposter syndrome while real in its power on you, is in itself, a fallacy,” says Adams. Adams didn’t always know he would go into medicine. While it always held his interest, he initially began CHC as “undeclared.” Then, the appeal of constitutional law pushed him toward political science. But it wasn’t until the end of his freshman year that he says he realized neuroscience was his passion. “I ended up kind of being brought back into the sciences because I realized I was so fascinated with the neurosciences,” says Adams.
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Samantha Hopkins, associate professor of Earth Sciences, says she observed Adams’ determination consistently throughout his time at CHC. “It was clear that he didn’t do anything halfway, and that he applied all of his considerable intelligence and motivation to all the tasks he took on. He took his commitments really seriously, and many of our conversations were about how to put it all together, how to get all the things done that he wanted to do,” says Hopkins. The following fall, Adams received an email from his previous bio-psychology professor, Dr. Paul Dassonville, who said he had lab openings and asked if Adams would be interested in working on his cognitive visual neuroscience research. Adams says this opportunity formed the outlook of his future considerably. “He really changed my undergraduate experience. Absolutely, 100% shaped it,” says Adams.
Adams has advice for incoming and current CHC students that might sound counterintuitive, coming from someone who wants to help lessen people’s pain. He says that often, high-achieving students strive for order and control, but life just isn’t like that. “Be comfortable with uncertainty and being uncomfortable,” encourages Adams. This wisdom is inspired by an idea from the poet John Keats, shared with him by Raisanen. This concept, called “negative capability” is when a person “is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” This practice, in theory, provides the power to bury self-consciousness, dwell in a state of openness to all experiences, and identify with the object contemplated. After adopting the concept, Adams says this mental space is where, for him, “magical things happen.” Adams now attends the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he’ll graduate in 2022. From there, he’ll choose his area of focus during residency training, which introduces new physicians to specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, OB-GYN, surgery and others. Right now, Adams says he’s set on neurology and psychiatry, but is leaving room to change his mind. “By the time you get to clinical rotations, it’s hard to really know what medicine looks like in all the specialties because you haven’t seen it,” he explains. “So that’s the opportunity we get in our third year, to explore and dabble a little bit.” COVID-19 update:
Adams admits that being told “no” repeatedly can be incredibly discouraging, especially while an applicant is trying to stay confident and maintain momentum, and that goes for medical school applications and otherwise.
With the arrival of COVID-19, medical schools had to make rapid changes to protect students’ health and provide for remote learning. Adams’ program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA was no different. He says, “Medical students were pulled out of the clinical environment to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and avoid unnecessary exposure.” Then curriculum adaptations were made and rotations were drastically cut.
“It’s an act of resilience to learn how to say, ‘Okay, that door is closing, but I’m going to kind of follow this other opportunity down the path,’ Adams says.
“Because direct patient care is essential for learning medicine, the maximum portion of each rotation we could complete remotely was 50%,” explains Adams.
Resilience is a strength Adams cultivated while at the CHC. With the help of mentors who guided and encouraged him along the way, he learned important skills and approaches that he still relies on to navigate the rigors of medical school.
Ongoing, it will be PPE supply chains will be an important factor as schools assess learning in a clinical environment. Adams says, “There is no guarantee that conditions will not require us to be taken back out, to resume remote learning in the name of social distancing.”
“The process is long, daunting and at times, emotionally taxing,” says Adams.
The University of Oregon does not offer a neuroscience-specific major. So Adams curated his own, putting together biology and psychology classes with a neuroscience focus. This proved to be a shrewd decision.
education has prepared him well for a career in medicine,” says Raisanen.
Assistant Dean of Advising & Strategic Partnerships Elizabeth Raisanen came to CHC during Adams’ senior year. Adams recounts that Raisanen was instrumental in supporting him, especially through the medical school admissions process. She says Adams was one of the most exceptional students she’d ever met. “As I got to know more about his academic work, I soon discovered that David is the quintessential honors college student whose investment in a wide-ranging liberal arts
Adams’ admonishment about COVID-19 precautions reflects what most people hear now almost daily. He says the virus isn’t going away anytime soon and while vaccine research is hopeful, it is “social distancing, changing our day-to-day habits and advocating for policies that advance the health of our communities” that will be most impactful. “In the meantime,” he says, “we have to do what we can to look out for one another’s safety.”
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photos by Sarah Northrop
CHC Alum Kevin Frazier Cultivates Excellence by Helping Others Succeed Kevin Frazier returns to Clark Honors College to present a symposium on resilience, success and how to prepare for challenges. BY LAURIE GALBRAITH As Kevin Frazier sat through the rigorous interview process for the Truman scholarship in 2015, he was asked a question about civic duty that sent him “down the deepest rabbit hole you can imagine…it was me and Alice in Wonderland, exploring who knows what.” It was a challenging moment for Frazier, despite having worked in stressful positions as an intern with Senator Jeff Merkley and as the president of the College Democrats of Oregon. “If I can help another finalist avoid that,” Frazier says of the intimidating interview process, “that would be awesome.” Frazier is no stranger to passionate determination when it comes to helping others surmount barriers and succeed. That commitment has been woven throughout his personal, academic and professional endeavors. “Kevin is one of the most dynamic, dedicated and determined young people that I have met in a long time,” Gov. Kate Brown says of Frazier. “His passion for making the world a better place for everyone is extraordinary. I was honored to have him intern for me as Secretary of State and work for me as Governor.
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Kevin’s advice is useful whether you are 22 or 82. I hope he comes home to Oregon.” Kevin Frazier, BS ’15 returned to Clark Honors College in October 2019 to speak about the importance of applying for prestigious scholarships such as the Rhodes and Truman — both of which he was a finalist. Frazier wants to share his experience, passion, and unique perspectives with CHC undergraduates as they compete for funding opportunities and answer the call to innovate and lead with excellence. Experience has shown Frazier that the benefits of esteemed opportunities such as the Rhodes or Truman scholarships go well beyond the actual award. “The process of thinking about the issues I care about most and what solutions would actually change them is rewarding in and of itself,” he says. And for Frazier, it’s not just seeing personal motivations and goals more clearly, but meeting people who serve as inspiration. In the process of applying for the Rhodes scholarship, he met previous recipients who made an impression on him. “When I said I was applying for the
Rhodes, that was a great segue into regular coffee dates with Dave Frohnmayer (former University of Oregon president and Oregon attorney general) and Knute Buehler (former Oregon state representative and Republican governor nominee),” Frazier says. It wasn’t just previous recipients who motivated the CHC alum, either. During the process, he also developed relationships with professors who both encouraged and challenged his altruistic objectives. Passport Oregon is a non-profit Frazier founded directly out of college and ran from 2016 to 2018. The mission was to provide access to the outdoors that many kids and their parents don’t often enjoy due to socio-economic reasons. “His approach to helping kids break out of their shells in poorer counties, well, Kevin pays attention to that research on achieving the American dream,” Ed Whitelaw, professor emeritus of economics, says of the non-profit. “I like that.” It wasn’t just previous recipients in high places that inspired Frazier. Fellow competitors spurred him on as well and through the process of applying, some
which turned into relationships which he continues to cultivate.
and how to identify what skills are going to be needed,” he says.
“To be surrounded by folks who were similarly pushing themselves to ask big questions and convince themselves that they’re capable of thinking about these solutions…it was really encouraging,” Frazier says.
In 2022, Frazier will finish both degrees. That education, paired with his commitment to access and agency for all Oregonians, is how he hopes to continue making an impact.
Even though Frazier’s application for both contests was so robust that he ended up a finalist, in retrospect, there are still some choices he might have made differently. “Many applicants go into the process thinking they must solve a problem globally,” he says. “I would have tailored my approach locally, meaning, on a state and local level.” Frazier’s time in the CHC prepared him well not only for the grueling process of applying for the Rhodes and Truman scholarships, but also for roles such as working concurrently toward a Master of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Law Degree at UC Berkeley School of Law.
“The position where I can help people who’ve been left behind by all this tech advance, catch up — is where I want to be,” he adds. Frazier believes every student has the ability to apply and at the very least, benefit significantly from the process. To those students who feel hesitant, he has a little advice. “There’s an assumption that you have to be from the Harvards and Yales of the world to be competitive and really, that’s not the truth,” he says. “The resources available to University of Oregon students and the professors willing to go out of their way to help really make any Duck a competitive candidate. And, even if you fail, you always end up further ahead than when you started.”
“At CHC, having really thoughtful, honest and challenging conversations was such a blessing because it allowed me how to better understand how to communicate with people who see differently than me
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
“Make sure you tell her it’s Gebhardt Cognetti, not just Cognetti,” a voice belonging to a mother says from across the room. “I will, Mom,” Paige Gebhardt Cognetti replies with a laugh as she brings the phone to her ear. With a seven-week-old baby in her arms and her mom listening in the background, she introduces herself as Paige Gebhardt Cognetti, Mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The baby
business, and ordered a Tuscan chicken sandwich from him. That sandwich changed the course of her life. Becoming the mayor of Scranton was never part of her plan, but after she married and settled down in Scranton, she felt inspired. She was inspired by her new community while realizing her leadership skills could bring about change and equality in the city. This community-minded approach to leadership was
“The honors college trains you to think about others, the world around you and the future in a really positive way,” she says. “We’re used to thinking about other people.” gurgles as Gebhardt Cognetti explains that Gebhardt Cognetti is her complete name, but local news outlets often refer to her as Cognetti — her married name. Gebhardt Cognetti met her husband in the mid 2000s while working on a congressional campaign. She walked into a restaurant called Caravia, his family’s
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A PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE
instilled in Gebhardt Cognetti during her time at Clark Honors College. She credits her time at CHC with making her a well-rounded person with a solution-focused mind, which helped shape her approach to politics as mayor and beyond. “The honors college trains you to think about others, the world around you and
Now the mayor of Scranton, PA, Paige Gebhardt Cognetti’s quest for equity was inspired by her time in CHC the future in a really positive way,” she says. “We’re used to thinking about other people.” The importance of thinking about others is the reason Gebhardt Cognetti ran for mayor in the first place. At the time of her campaign, the city’s political landscape was plagued by the personal interests of local Democratic party leaders. Previously aligned with the Democratic party, she changed her affiliation to Independent and campaigned as an Independent candidate for mayor. “I am truly progressive in a lot of ways,” she explains. “But I take a pragmatic approach to the problems we have in places like Scranton.” This pragmatic but progressive approach to politics won over the people of Scranton. Her platform focused on “non-sexy” aspects of politics like structural reform, economic equity and justice, and ensuring the city’s political leaders reflected the
diversity of the city. Her previous political and business experience has contributed to Gebhardt Cognetti’s dedication to tackling “non-sexy” aspects of local government. Prior to becoming mayor, she served on Scranton’s school board, where she worked with the rest of the board to diversify the district’s professional service contracts. She says this was important for the district because it created a competitive market that can make the best use of public dollars and create a prosperous local economy. “It’s about a passion for public service,” Gebhardt Cognetti says in regard to her commitment to Scranton. Though her passion lies with Scranton, much of her political experience happened on a national scale. In 2007 and 2008, she worked on the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania recruiting volunteers and honing her leadership and campaign skills. Following the election,
BY ASHLEY LORRAINE WIESNER
she transitioned to the Treasury Department as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs and as the Managing Director for China Operations. She attributes her time at the Treasury Department with her current values and success. “[I learned] what it means to be in a leadership role, what it means to be a woman and what it means to put substance first,” Gebhardt Cognetti says about her time working with Undersecretary Lael Brainard. “To make sure people are working with you and respecting you because of your accomplishments and not just because of your gender.” Her business-minded approach also made her a unique candidate for mayor. With an MBA from Harvard and investment experience at Goldman Sachs, Gebhardt
Cognetti is able to tackle local issues not just through policy, but also through a business lens. Economic decisions are crucial to local government and can create or dismantle economic equity in Scranton, she explains. Her diverse background is what made Gebhardt Cognetti’s leadership a welcome change for Scranton, a town ready to diversify and grow. Her plans for the city include what she refers to as a “a lot of not-so-exciting stuff.” Scranton’s city hall is currently working on structural changes in cregards to communication, city mapping, technology and department leadership in order to build a more equitable Scranton. “[We’re] trying to get a better, stronger foundation based on communication, data and technology,” she says. Gebhardt Cognetti won’t be
satisfied with just reform and community equity. She says once the “nitty gritty” work is accomplished she wants to market Scranton as a great place to live. She explains that the cost of living is low, it is close to New York City and it is a diverse and welcoming community. Gebhardt Cognetti knows that Scranton has a lot of work to do before the city can become an ideal place to live, but she is ready to put in the work. She plans on running for mayor again in the 2021 election and wants to remain focused on Scranton for at least the next six years. She is committed to breaking down barriers that exist within the town in order to create an equitable community
Her dedication to Scranton is undeniable. A city that was supposed to be a pitstop in her life became the backdrop for her legacy. Minutes away from the market where she got the infamous Tuscan chicken sandwich she now sits in City Hall. A baby is cradled in her arms as she takes phone calls and talks budgets. A pack-and-play sits in the corner of the office, a reminder that maternity leave was never an option because local government can’t wait. “Local government is where the real stuff happens,” Gebhardt Cognetti says.
“It’s time to break the cycle of nepotism, break the cycle of cronyism, break the cycle of corruption,” she declares.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
TEN OUTSTANDING STUDENTS CHOSEN FOR UO’S MOST GENEROUS AND PRESTIGIOUS SCHOLARSHIP
BY ED DORSCH This summer, the university announced its newest class of Stamps Scholars for fall 2020. Six exceptional high school graduates from Oregon and four from other states have been chosen through a rigorous selection process. Provided by the Stamps Scholars Strive Foundation in partnership with the UO, the award is the university’s most prestigious and generous. “We’re delighted to welcome this remarkable group of first-year students,“ said Roger Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management. “It’s been quite a year for them, and they’ve earned it. “For these high-achieving students, the final classes of high school were remote. Prom, commencement, and many other traditions were either cancelled or offered as a virtual alternative. By accomplishing so much during this unprecedented time, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience. I’m proud to call them Stamps Scholars, and I wish them all the best.”
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Including these 10 newest students, a total of 35 Stamps Scholars will attend the UO during the upcoming academic year. So far, 17 have graduated since the program began at the UO in 2013. The Stamps Foundation partners with just 35 universities nationally, and the UO was the first West Coast school to be chosen for this honor. Recipients are selected based on their academic achievements, demonstrated leadership, innovation, perseverance, and volunteer experience. In 2018, the UO’s Stamps Scholarship program expanded from five to 10 awards annually, with approximately half the awards granted to instate students and the rest to students from outside Oregon. Oregon resident Stamps Scholars receive UO resident tuition, fees, room, and board for four years of undergraduate study. Out-of-state recipients receive non-resident tuition and fees. All recipients benefit from enrichment funds to be used over four years to help pursue study abroad, unpaid internships, or other experiences. Stamps Scholars receive up to $125,000 in scholarship money over the course of their college careers. In addition to financial support, they are guaranteed admission to the Robert D. Clark Honors College and join a national cohort of Stamps Scholars. Every other year, the Stamps Scholars National Convention offers Stamps Scholars from around the country opportunities to learn, share ideas, and showcase research and special projects. The Stamps Scholars Strive Foundation covers the costs for students to attend. Over the summer, the UO’s 10 incoming Stamps Scholars will have virtual opportunities to get to know each other and pose questions to UO staff members using Zoom. They will also benefit from peer-to-peer mentorship, learning from more experienced Stamps scholars how to navigate the university and take advantage of all the opportunities available to them.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST STAMPS SCHOLARS
NAYANTARA ARORA Portland, OR
REILLY GAULT Springfield, OR
RUBY GIBSON Scappoose, OR
Intended major: exploring
Intended major: music
Intended major: exploring
Nayantara graduated from St. Mary’s Academy. She is the founder and copresident of Youth Advocates for Immigrants and Refugees, a nonprofit that bridges the cultural and communication gaps between immigrant and refugee youth and nonimmigrant and refugee youth in Portland. Active in music and dance for more 15 years, she plays the violin and practices Bharatnatyam, a classical south Indian dance. This summer, she is learning Arabic through the U.S. State Department’s selective National Language Initiative for Youth program.
Reilly graduated from Thurston High School. An avid musician, Reilly shares his musical talents by volunteering at his church and at the local hospital. He was the section leader for his high school percussion section and drumline. When not involved in music, Reilly participates in goalball, a Paralympic sport for the blind and visually impaired and is a speed cuber, solving various types of Rubik’s cubes as fast as possible.
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Ruby graduated from Scappoose High School, where she was involved in Future Business Leaders of America as well as student government as an officer for public relations and fundraising. Ruby was a member of the wrestling team and led an effort to establish the first staterecognized women’s wrestling team at her high school. Ruby works at a local restaurant, is a peer tutor, and volunteers with the Red Cross.
CAMILA HESS-NEUSTADT Flagstaff, AZ Intended major: psychology Camila graduated from BASIS Flagstaff charter school. She was president of the Speech and Debate team, president of the Grand Canyon Youth club, captain of the cross country team, and is an avid rock climber. Camila volunteered at a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece, and as a paralegal and SpanishEnglish translator at a free legal clinic serving immigrant families in her community.
CHARLOTTE KAMAN San Rafael, CA
ELIANA KERTZNER Portland, OR
ZACHARY PENNEL Blachly, OR
KYLE TREFNY San Francisco, CA
HADLEY WEYERICH Kirkwood, MO
JACKIE ZHANG Portland, OR
Intended major: architecture
Intended major: product design
Intended major: physics
Intended major: environmental studies
Intended major: biology
Intended major: economics
Charlotte graduated from Terra Linda High School, where she was a student in the Marin School of Environmental Leadership. She is a classically trained clarinetist, a STEM camp counselor through the American Association of University Women, and a working group member of the City of San Rafael’s Climate Change Action Plan. She was founder, CEO, and head jeweler of Swirl Jewelry, a sustainable business that sold handmade jewelry made from recycled electrical wiring.
Eliana graduated from Cleveland High School, where she was captain of the speech and debate team. She was active in theater, directing one full-length play and teaching summer camps and theater classes to children. Eliana spent most of the 2019–20 school year volunteering with Gamma, a local women’s rights group in Ecuador.
Zachary graduated from Triangle Lake High School where he was the president of the FIRST Robotics team and volunteered as a big buddy mentor to first-grade students. Zachary played first trumpet in advanced band and jazz band, and was active in school athletics as a team member of both varsity track and field and basketball. He also works on his family’s ranch.
Kyle graduated from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. He cofounded and coled the Asawa SOTA Environmental Club, empowered his peers with art and activism, and improved green practices on campus. He served as Senior Class President and sustainability director. Kyle backpacked the 230-mile John Muir Trail, raised thousands of dollars for endangered species, and volunteered at the San Francisco Zoo. He capped off high school with an animated short film for 2020 graduates that was featured on YouTube’s national commencement alongside Michelle and Barack Obama.
Hadley graduated from Kirkwood High School. She was a business editor and a member of the editorial board for the Pioneer yearbook, founder of her equestrian center’s recycling program, and founding member of KHS Cares, a volunteer organization that researches ways to meet community needs. Hadley was a four-year varsity letter winner through the United States Equestrian Federation, and has worked with riders with special needs through an equine assisted therapy organization.
Jackie graduated from Sunset High School. Active in her high school’s varsity mock trial team, Jackie was also the cofounder and copresident of Lingua Franca, an English as a second language peer tutoring program that connects native English-speaking students to ESL students. She started her own business, Terracotta Tea, which sells hand-blended traditional Chinese medicine wellness teas and she won startup funding at a young entrepreneurs’ investor panel.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
photo by Sarah Northrop
BRAVING COMBAT AND WAR ZONES,
During his career with State, Lewis-Berry was sent on missions in more countries than he could keep track of, although two places stand out — Central Africa and Afghanistan.
CHC ALUM FOCUSES ON DELIVERING HUMANITARIAN AID BY KAITLYN JIMENEZ When Jason Lewis-Berry graduated from Clark Honors College, he thought he’d probably have an interesting but relatively normal life in Los Angeles making movies. He dedicated his first year after graduation to working abroad to get international travel “out of his system” before embarking on his film career. He never could have predicted that, four years later, he would switch to a globetrotting career working to mitigate conflicts and achieve peace. Or that the French minor that he got for fun would open so many doors in his future. Although Lewis-Berry always was interested in international affairs — his CHC senior thesis was a documentary following six international students during their first year at the University of Oregon — he considered it merely a hobby. Then 9/11 happened. In the months that
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followed the terrorist attacks, LewisBerry looked at what was happening in the world and reflected on his future. “I had explored this film and TV world and it was fun,” he says, “but I made myself think about whether it was really what I wanted to do.” He realized he wanted to turn his international affairs “hobby” into a career. At first, he expected he could leave the movie set, head straight for the U.S. Department of State or United Nations, and work his way up the ladder as he had started to do in L.A. But Lewis-Berry soon learned that transitioning from film to diplomacy required graduate school. He enrolled in Georgetown University’s Master of Foreign Service program in 2003, where he also worked as a teaching assistant for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Over those two years, he was able to refine what he wanted to do: help determine how the United States can prevent and respond to conflict and serve on the ground in
That knack proved quite useful when he joined the Department of State in 2008, where he spent nine years, first as a civil servant and later as an Obama administration political appointee. For much of that time, he was part of a unit that agreed to deploy anywhere in the world — with as little as 48 hours’ notice — and be prepared to stay for up to a year.
conflict countries. After earning his master’s degree from Georgetown, Lewis-Berry worked for a national security consulting firm in Washington, D.C., then took another risk when he left to get practical experience in a country facing conflict, accepting a lower-paying job with Solidarites International, a French non-governmental organization in the Congo. The organization focuses on giving emergency life-saving relief — food, water and tents — to displaced refugees living in camps spurred by the conflict that began with the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Lewis-Berry was their representative working with the Congolese government and its European and American donors. Moving to an unfamiliar country racked by warfare and social injustices probably would be a difficult adjustment for most, but LewisBerry adapted fairly quickly. “I’m not easily shocked,” he says. “I just kind of bloom where I am planted.”
Lewis-Berry served two tours in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, primarily in Kandahar province, which at the time was the “hottest part of the war.” He worked alongside civilian and military colleagues from the U.S. and elsewhere to help the government in Kabul deliver services to the Afghan people. Every time team members left their base they wore body armor and Kevlar helmets and were protected by soldiers. Although Kandahar was decidedly dangerous, he says the most important things were the Afghan people and the camaraderie that developed among colleagues. “There’s a common sense of purpose when you’re in an environment like that,” he says. “The stakes are very high, people are dying around you, but you feel like you are there trying to do something good and having some success, although in the big picture it’s not in your control.” Although bullets occasionally raced overhead and improvised explosive devices detonated close enough that he could feel the concussion in his chest, Lewis-Berry never felt his life was in danger; he describes it as “an average experience in Southern Afghanistan.” His second tour was finished by 2011, but he didn’t feel it was complete until his teammates had safely finished their own. Unfortunately, several of his local colleagues did not survive. “There were a couple of Afghan government officials who I worked very closely with who were assassinated within the year or two after I left. That stuff gets you,” he says. One of the
survivors was the governor of Kandahar. Lewis-Berry got to see him a couple of months ago, and “it was nice to have a reunion.” In Central Africa, Lewis-Berry worked in 2011 and 2012 with U.S. Special Forces as the Department of State’s field representative. He worked on issues involving the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This mission stands out to Lewis-Berry because of the tangible results that came from it. “When we were out in the field and you see women and children who have escaped from the LRA because of our strategy and the hard work of local partners,” he says. “Being able to get them out and get them home and reintegrate in their communities. Those moments stick with you.” But all of this would hardly have been possible without French classes at UO. During the summer of 1997, Lewis-Berry studied abroad in Angers, France, and upon returning figured, “I’ve done this much, I might as well get a minor in French.” With graduation approaching and the minor in hand, he thought that if he didn’t keep practicing, he would lose his French skills. After graduating in 1999, he moved to France to teach high school English. “All of those things were done with no professional intent,” he says, “but it turned out that it was a really critical skill set.” Without fluency in a second language, Lewis-Berry would not have been accepted into Georgetown for graduate school, been selected for a summer internship at the U.S. Embassy in Morocco (where French is an official national language) or been hired by Solidarites International. “I’ve had to work in it and live in it,” he says of French. “It proved to be very useful.” His time in CHC also prepared him for his diplomatic career, although he didn’t
realize it at the time. “The intellectual and analytical rigor that was required, to read the material, write the essays on it, et cetera, turned out to be pretty useful later on,” he says. It combined nicely with his major in journalism, especially when he was deployed to a foreign country and trying to understand why it was engulfed in conflict. One professor who stood out the most to him was now-Professor Emeritus Joseph Fracchia, whose enthusiasm for history, philosophy and faraway places brought course material to life. After deciding it was time to be closer to family, Lewis-Berry left the Department of State in early 2017. He wasn’t sure exactly what a foreign policy guy was supposed to do in Oregon, but after years of helping abroad, he thought it was time to try public service closer to home. In February 2017, he started as Gov. Kate Brown’s economic adviser and director of Regional Solutions, an economic and community development program with offices statewide. After two years with Brown’s administration, Lewis-Berry felt it finally was time to take time off to focus on spending time with family and volunteering for causes he cared about, something he had wanted to do for years. But the break still meant living out of a suitcase. After international vacations with each of his parents, he settled into a rhythm splitting time between Oregon and elsewhere. He and his mother volunteered for two weeks with an organization called Al Otro Lado, which helps asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico, and he recently spent three weeks in Wisconsin helping the Democratic Party organize a statewide voter outreach effort. Lewis-Berry is about ready to get back to work full-time, and the 2020 election is likely where he’ll focus his efforts over the coming year. Consistent with his career to date, things are far from boring. “There’s still a lot of room for surprise,” he says. “I literally don’t know where I’ll be a month from now.”
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
Oregon Forensics Cannot Stop Winning The team finishes the season with victories from top competitions across the country BY KAITLYN JIMENEZ With sweaty palms and a shaky voice, journalism major Julia Mueller walked into the mock trial try outs her freshman year. Despite participating in mock trial in high school, Mueller couldn’t shake the nerves. The nerves were for nothing. Within months, she became the captain of a traveling team and continued to move her way up through leadership positions in the program. In four years, Mueller held the elected positions of vice president of communications and president of the Mock Trial Cabinet and is currently the captain of the A Team, one of the top four teams that travels to out-of-state competitions. She describes the experience of being in those leadership positions as “formative” to her college experience and beyond. “Mock trial does more than just give students a space to practice public speaking or writing,” Mueller says. “It also necessitates creative thinking and problem solving in a competitive team dynamic.” Oregon Forensics, the program that includes mock trial, was founded just one week after the university opened its doors in 1876 and has a rich history that includes participating in the first-ever radio debate, televised debate, and debate tour internationally. The program now includes speech, debate, and since 2010, mock trial.
photo Sarah Northrop
“The near future is very bright and the long-term future is limitless,” says Trond Jacobsen, director of Oregon Forensics.
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The debate program hosted the David Frank Tournament of Scholars for collegiate speech and debate on Feb. 22 and 23, and the Robert D. Clark Invitational for high school forensics on Feb. 15 and 16. It was the sixth annual David Frank tournament and 15 colleges, including UO, participated. The Robert D. Clark Invitational, named after former director of Forensics and the founder of Clark Honors College, Robert Clark, is one of the oldest tournaments in the country and includes high school teams hailing from Oregon, Washington and California. “It›s a great way to exercise creativity while playing with logic and to learn about the law while working in a collaborative, supportive environment,” Mueller says, describing her experience in mock trial.
At the college level, there are approximately 700 mock trial teams nationwide that are given the same criminal or civil case. They must then build their own “case theory,” which includes “writing statements, crafting arguments and preparing witnesses,” in preparation for the tournaments. The UO’s mock trial program finished its 2019-20 season with top awards at University of California, Davis; University of Washington; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Irvine; and University of California, Los Angeles. At the Seattle Regional Tournament, the team won five individual witness awards (Madi Vann, Celebre Fouka-Nganga, Lexi Wong, Blake Hardin, and Kianna Reid); four individual attorney awards (one award each for Noah Jordan and Megan Priaulx, and Mueller received two awards); and bids for two of UO’s four teams to advance to the Opening Round Championship Series in Geneva, Illinois. “It was just a few years ago that it started and so the progress in the number of students, their ability, their training and learning, then their competitive success is just going through the roof year by year by year,” says Trond Jacobsen, who has been the director of Oregon Forensics for the last seven years. Jacobsen was also a member of the debate team when he was a student at the UO “many years ago.” A native of Eugene, Jacobsen feels fortunate to live in his hometown and be a part of the same program that improved his life and the lives of all the students that have cycled through Oregon Forensics. Though the program is affiliated with the CHC, all students are welcome to join. “You don’t have to be in the CHC and many students are not,” says Jacobsen. “There’s always space and opportunity for anybody who is interested in being a part of the program.” Jacobsen is also proud to announce that the UO not only has one of the largest Forensics programs in the country, but that the majority of participants are female students. “The near future is very bright and the long-term future is limitless,” he adds.
ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE
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CLARK HONORS COLLEGE ALUMNI AND PARENT OUTREACH PROGRAM Are you an alum of Clark Honors College? Parent of a CHC student? We offer a growing number of opportunities to stay involved with the Clark Honors College, open to CHC alumni, parents and families alike. Please let us know the best way to reach you so that we can keep you in the loop about upcoming honors college events and share our quarterly newsletter with you.