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scene Winter 2017

Better together His body, his self Stranger than fiction News and views for the Colgate community


Winter 2017

24 Better together

Cross-discipline collaboration among professors yields interesting results.

30 His body, his self

How do you change into the person you know you are? Chris Edwards '91 explains in his new memoir.

36 Stranger than fiction

In her documentaries, Professor Penny Lane turns realism on its ear.


Message from President Brian W. Casey


13346 — Inbox


Work & Play


Tableau: “My new normal”


Ski story: the ups and downs of Trainer Hill


Life of the Mind


Arts & Culture


Go ’gate


New, Noted & Quoted


The Big Picture


Stay Connected


Class News 70 Marriages & Unions 70 Births & Adoptions 73 In Memoriam


“13 Words or Fewer” caption contest, “Rewind,” and “Clipped from the Colgate Maroon”

U.S. Study Abroad: Leading Institutions; baccalaureate colleges with semester-long experiences INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION


On the cover: Professor Penny Lane’s documentaries will make you think twice — or more. Read “Stranger than fiction” on pg. 36. Photo by Mark DiOrio Left: The chapel’s golden dome peeks out on a frosty morning. Photo by Andrew Daddio News and views for the Colgate community


Contributors Volume XLVI Number 2 1 The Colgate Scene is published by Colgate University four times a year (autumn, winter, spring, and summer) without charge to alumni, parents, friends, and students.

Christopher Hann (“Full-court press,” pg. 62) has written for the New York Times, Art & Antiques, Entrepreneur, Preservation, and many other magazines. A former adjunct professor of journalism at Rutgers University, he contributes regularly to alumni magazines at Sarah Lawrence College, Drew University, and Rutgers. He lives in New Jersey.

Joshua Martin (“Nature’s way,” pg. 47) is a visual artist based in Miami, Fla. Martin primarily uses photography and cinematography as his medium to tell stories. He believes that stories can help bridge the gap of ignorance and create a space of understanding.

Erin Peterson (“Better together,” pg. 24) is a Minneapolis-based freelancer who writes for colleges and universities across the country. When she’s not writing, she cheers on the Minnesota Twins. She also parents her very own pair of 5-yearold Minnesota twins, who — like the baseball team — love playing games but are also constantly losing things.

Sally Vitsky (“Better together,” pg. 24) is a freelance illustrator and adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University – School of the Arts in Richmond, Va. She attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. Paper — textured, handmade, and patterned — has always been a passion for her. Inspiring and versatile, it’s the foundation of her 3D illustrations.

What’s online

Looking back: 2016 Take a moonlit canoe ride with Outdoor Education; get a front-row seat to an autumnal art performance; visit the hometown of Steve Riggs ’65, for whom Colgate’s new hockey rink was named; and more.

13 pics University Photographer Mark DiOrio has selected his 13 favorite pictures. “Balakian wins Pulitzer Prize” “Queen of Soul highlights performing arts weekend” “Lauren Schmetterling ’10 earns gold in Rio”

Engage online Visit us online, share articles with friends via social media, and add your comments.


scene: Winter 2017

If you’re moving... Please clip the address label and send with your new address to: Alumni Records Clerk, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346-1398 or call 315-228-7453.

Non-discrimination notice: Colgate University does not discriminate in its programs and activities because of race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the university’s non-discrimination policies: Marilyn Rugg, Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346; 315-228-7288. “Brian W. Casey inaugurated as the 17th president of Colgate University” The latest campus and Colgate-related news

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Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the university, the publishers, or the editors.

Editor’s choice

Colgate news

Contributors: Daniel DeVries, Admission Marketing and Media Relations Manager; Matt Hames, Communications Strategist; David Herringshaw, Digital Production Specialist; Jason Kammerdiener ’10, Lead Information and Digital Architect; Brian Ness, Video Journalism Coordinator; John Painter, Director of Athletic Communications; Gerald Gall, Freelance Designer Contact:; 315-228-6669 Colgate University: 315-228-1000

What’s online

Top five videos

Interim Vice President of Communications Rebecca Downing Managing Editor Aleta Mayne Editorial Director Mark Walden Creative Director Tim Horn Senior Designer and Visual Brand Manager Karen Luciani Senior Designer Katherine Laube Mutz University Photographer Mark DiOrio Production Assistant Kathy Owen

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Title IX notice: notice In compliance with requirements under In compliance Title IX of the Education with requirements Amendments underof Title 1972, IX of Colgate the Education Amendments University does not ofdiscriminate 1972, Colgate on University the basis of does sex not in discriminate its educational onprograms the basis and of sex activities. in its educational Colgate’s Title programs IX and activities. Coordinator is Colgate’s Marilyn Rugg, Title Associate IX Coordinator Provost is Marilyn for Equity Rugg, Associate and Diversity, Provost 13 Oak forDrive, EquityHamilton, and Diversity, NY 13346; 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346; 315-228-7288; 315-228-7288;

Mark DiOrio

Message from President Brian W. Casey I write this as I complete my first semester at Colgate — a period marked not just by an effort to get to know this campus, but also by first visits with many Colgate alumni, on campus and around the country. At these events, I spend as much time as I can listening to alumni speak about their time on campus and their thoughts about Colgate’s future. But I also try to offer a sense of what I am focused on and how I think about Colgate’s future. During these conversations and presentations, I emphasize the fundamentals of an institution like ours. I speak, always first, about academic life. At the heart of Colgate is the academic enterprise — the faculty, the ways they are supported, the curriculum they sustain, and the means through which Colgate supports their continued development as teachers and scholars. Enhancing the academic program is the deep and hard work of an institution, the bedrock of its reach and reputation. Next, I address the ways in which we attract and enroll students of extraordinary promise and possibility. This is the role of the admission and financial aid office as we fan out across the country, and around the world, speaking to students for whom this form of education might be the most beneficial. Then we do our best to ensure that students can make a Colgate education work financially for them and their families. What is a university if not its students? I next speak about life on the campus. How do the programs we create and support prepare our students for lives of accomplishment and purpose? How do our students live outside the classroom? The college years should provide a series of opportunities and encounters that provide a pathway for our soon-to-be graduates. This is the noisy — but often the most joyful — part of the work of any college or university. Finally, I speak about the campus itself — its beauty, the way it supports our faculty and students, the way it creates community. The magnificence of the Colgate campus is an integral part of the Colgate experience, and it must

be planned for and maintained for current students and for generations to come. One could add to this list. How are we stewarding our resources? How are we communicating and marketing to the larger world? How are we considering our environmental impact? Universities are complex enterprises, and they must be managed across a variety of perspectives. But I have to

“Every now and then, a college or university goes through a remarkable period of transformation... These moments come when the institution commits itself to achieving excellence in its core activities.” remain focused on those four key elements of Colgate: its academic life, its students, the experiences of the campus, and the campus itself. Colgate’s future, and its strength, will depend on the extent to which all of these matters are tended to, and the ways we build on Colgate’s unique expressions in each area. There remains much to learn and much to consider. But I remind myself that it is those four bedrock matters that must take up my time and concern. Every now and then, a college or university goes through a remarkable period of transformation. A phase where it grows in strength, reputation, and possibility. These moments come when the institution commits itself to achieving excellence in its core activities. These moments come when the institution gathers the resources necessary to pursue its mission at the highest level. These moments come when the campus moves together. I look forward to continuing to listen, to speaking about Colgate’s fundamental mission, and to nurturing that which makes it unique. And I look forward to developing bold dreams for Colgate with you, its graduates and its legacy.

News and views for the Colgate community




A well-deserved tribute

Autumn 2016

News and views for the Colgate community

To the limit of his ability The Class of 1965 Arena Generation WHY Force of nature A Celebration of Colgate: Inauguration of Brian W. Casey

The Scene welcomes letters. We reserve the right to decide whether a letter is acceptable for publication and to edit for accuracy, clarity, and length. Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Letters should not exceed 250 words. You can reach us by mail, or e-mail sceneletters Please include your full name, class year if applicable, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address. If we receive many letters on a given topic, we will print a representative sample of the opinions expressed.

Thank you for the recent story on Steve Riggs ’65 (“To the limit of his ability,” autumn 2016, pg. 22). I roomed with Steve for a year, and he was a good friend. Steve was everything said about him in the article — and more. I know how hard he worked on his studies and his hockey. He represented everything that Colgate hopes for. He was kind and thoughtful, but also a product of the North Country, reflecting the sense of honor and duty to his family and environment.

“He represented

everything that Colgate hopes for.”

Thank you for the terrific feature article on The Class of 1965 Arena in the autumn 2016 Scene and the moving tribute to Steven J. Riggs ’65, in whose memory Colgate’s new rink was named. However, I take strong exception with your unnecessary

scene: Winter 2017

Rollie Sterrett ’65 USAF veteran, Vietnam War 1966–67 Simsbury, Conn. Steve was a fine hockey player and a great man. I loved him as a brother. We played together at Ft. Devens, and I was in his wedding. His son, Steve, is a chip off the old block. We had lots of fun together, golfing and playing hockey. Those were the days. I miss him dearly. He was a hero. Leo Gould

I was working in Colorado when I learned of Steve’s death [in Vietnam], and it hit me hard. It was the first time that I really thought about our involvement in [the war]. Before then, it was just a few news items in the papers and on TV. I hadn’t taken the time to examine all sides of the conflict at home. I learned that if we are going to send young men and women into combat, we had better be damned sure of what we risk losing and winning. It’s sad for me to realize that [it took] the death of a good friend for me to measure those goals more carefully. Thomas F. O’Hare ’66, MA’67 Hopkinton, Mass.


editorial comment: “a war synonymous with discord, incompetence, and waste,” which dishonors the service of many Vietnam War veterans, including me.

why the rink was named after Steven J. Riggs. It also tells us about the sacrifices people like him have made since the founding of our nation to assure us the freedom that we enjoy. This story and those like it are worth preserving for the future! G. Carson McEachern ’68 Naples, Fla. I was very impressed with the article. No words can express my gratitude for the honor bestowed upon my brother, Steve. Our mother and father would have been so proud, as I am. “To the Limit of His Ability — Remembering Steven J. Riggs ’65” captures who Steve was to the fullest. My sincere thanks to you, your staff, all the members of the Class of ’65, and others who contributed in any way to making this tribute happen. William Riggs So. Colton, N.Y.

Remembering Professor Aizawa

This is my first letter to the Scene in the 48 years since my graduation. I usually read the Scene cover to cover, and I am always impressed with all of the excellently written articles. Mark Walden’s article on Steven J. Riggs ’65 was outstanding. I would encourage the administration to make this required reading for all incoming students. The article tells how and

Editor’s note: Read a full obituary for Yoichi Aizawa on pg. 71. Although I was a computer science major, with strong support and encouragement from Professor Aizawa, I began studying Japanese and joined the 1986 Japan study group. After experiencing Colgate’s excellent Japanese studies program, again with Aizawa sensei’s support, I went on to graduate school and have spent most of the last 25 years working in Tokyo for international banking and financial services companies.  My life and my career were strongly impacted by Aizawa sensei,

and I know I will always continue to feel his influence and kindness. Every couple of years, he would arrange dinner gatherings during his Tokyo visits so we alums could all catch up.  He was a truly great man and an excellent teacher, with a large impact and continuing influence on many people’s lives. Mark E. Davis ’86 Tokyo, Japan

Art appreciation My mother, Ruth Levine, passed away several months after her one hundredth birthday. Going through her things, I came across a painting she did of the Willow Path many years ago. I don’t remember if she painted it while my brother, Robert Levine ’62, attended Colgate or during my tenure. My parents, Ruth and David Levine,

were multiple-year donors to the Society of Families. Ken Levine ’67 Williamsburg, Va.

A grandmother’s gratitude This is a letter of gratitude for the recent years of your providing me, the grandmother of Jessica Ach ’15, with the wonderful issues of the Scene. I read each issue cover to cover, enjoy the scenery, and am amazed by the quality of the photography and articles — a wonderful experience with each issue! Thanks to Colgate University for including this grandmother! Keep up the good work!

Picture this: stunning Colgate University photography, just a click away Visit our galleries at to order customized photographic prints in a variety of sizes. Bring home images you’ve seen in the Colgate Scene and other university publications as well as scenic views from around one of America’s most beautiful campuses.

Sarah C. Ach Glenview, Ill.

News and views for the Colgate community


work & play

Campus scrapbook A


Celebrating indigenous dance, music, and art at Colgate’s annual Native American Festival. Photo by Austin Sun ’18


Molly Smith ’18 and the women’s volleyball team reach for victory against Lafayette. Photo by Bob Cornell


The chamber singers perform at the Picker Art Gallery’s exhibition Marko Mäetamm: I Want to Tell You Something. Photo by Andrew Daddio


Fellows in the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs present their independent research findings. Photo by Nicholas Gilbert ’18


The boughs are heavy with snow in the midst of winter. Photo by Andrew Daddio


Students dive headfirst into autumn at The Loj’s annual Applefest. Photo by Nicholas Gilbert ’18


Candles glow in the Hall of Presidents during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Photo by Mark DiOrio





scene: Winter 2017



News and views for the Colgate community


In December, Drew Riley, associate dean of admission, found a notecard in his staff mailbox that simply read, “Happy holidays and thank you for all you do to make Colgate the incredible place it is!” It was signed by someone named Dana. Riley thought the nice gesture might be from someone he met while recruiting, until he ran into another member of the admission staff who received a similar letter — and someone in accounting … and the registrar’s office … and …. Hundreds of professors and staff members received the personal, handwritten notes, each signed by individual students or with a broader “Colgate students” signature.

Congressional debate brings national issues to Colgate

National and state issues, ranging from gun control to refugee resettlement and the future of job creation in New York State, dominated a preelection debate among the candidates

Mark DiOrio (2)

work & play

Students write notes of thanks

Jenny Lundt ’19, a Benton Scholar and chair of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) External Relations Committee, said she and six fellow committee members thought of the idea to spread a little extra cheer around campus this year. “There are so many people in this community who work to improve our lives here, and they receive very little recognition in return,” Lundt said. “We decided that we wanted every staff member to get a handwritten letter from a student thanking them.” Members of the SGA, RetroText (a letter-writing group), and DoRAK (Do Random Acts of Kindness) hosted a night of card writing in Case Library. “We got some funding and provided stationery,” said RetroText founder Ben Fetzner ’17. “It was extremely well attended. We had the names of all the faculty and staff, and people could comb through the list and look for people they wanted to write to.” In total, Lundt said, nearly 100 students came together just days before finals to write approximately 600 letters. “Going to deliver them was one of the most fun things I’ve done in my time here,” Lundt said. “It took only a few minutes out of students’ days for a lot of happiness to spread throughout campus.”

The campus community gathered in the chapel on Sept. 20, 2016, to honor the lives of Ryan Adams ’19 and Cathryn (Carey) Depuy ’19, who died on that date in a 2015 plane crash in Morrisville, N.Y. Konosioni invited people to the Quad before the vigil to write memories, wishes, or thoughts on colorful felt squares.


scene: Winter 2017

Shirt tales

L to R: Ciccone Commons Community Leaders Alec Hufford ’18, Melissa Persaud ’17, and Alex Goldych ’19

The new Ciccone Commons spirit wear is a real hoot! The cerulean blue T-shirts, given to students in Curtis and Drake halls’ residential community, feature the fine feathers of the community’s mascot: the owl. Commons Community Leader Alex Goldych ’19 explained that the choice of mascot came largely from student input. “We wanted the animals to be indigenous to New York State. So, after narrowing it down to four different animals — the owl, sea otter, bear, and fox — we held a debate where residents argued for their top choice.” And while the owl was not chosen to represent the trope of avian wisdom, that value does align with those espoused by Diane Ciccone ’74, the community’s namesake. In a lecture given to commons residents last spring, Ciccone set forth the values that she wished to be infused into the community: service, knowledge, inclusivity, and learning. Community Leaders Melissa Persaud ’17 and Alec Hufford ’18 said that this commitment to inclusivity is what drew them to the commons. “I think that inclusivity is the next big thing that will happen to social life here at Colgate,” said Persaud, “and the commons is a great way to help students both navigate the social culture here and also build their own social circles.” Hufford agreed, noting that he’s already observed this happening among his residents. “I’ve seen students planning their own events, putting hammocks up, hanging out, and singing together,” he said. “That is exactly what I wanted to see happen here.” — Brianna Delaney ’19

Back on campus

Claudia Tenney ’83 (far right) was elected to Congress in November after participating in this debate against her opponents in Memorial Chapel on Oct. 20, 2016.

Chapel House reopens after renovations

Both an architectural novelty, with its flat roof and 1950s abstracted formalism, and a sanctuary, Chapel House is where you’ll find rare works of religious art and books on world religion, as well as a dining room, music room, and living quarters. In silence and meditation, you can lose yourself or find yourself at Chapel House, depending on your objective. An anonymous gift, made by a woman nearly 60 years ago, created this unique retreat as a place where people of faith — or people of no faith — could seek out religious insights and spiritual nourishment. Colgate reaffirmed this mission with renovations that make the facility more

have no idea that she was creating a sustainable and accessible. Charles Hallisey ’75, now the Yehan rare oasis of peace in a continuously In keeping with the space itself, Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist connected world,” Casey said. “Her the reopening ceremony was far from literatures at Harvard Divinity School, original intent still resonates and ordinary. It featured a welcome from reminisced about life as a student serves as the primary focus of this Chapel House Director Steven Kepnes working in Chapel House. Hallisey’s beautifully designed, carefully and introductory remarks from Presiundergraduate experience had been restored home. But the impact of her dent Brian W. Casey. Japanese Zen shaped by the building and the ethos generosity has expanded with the master Jeff Shore spoke passionately of those who ran it, including legenddecline of silence and solitude in our about Chapel House’s reach across ary faculty members like Morgan and society.” oceans and generations. John Ross Carter, the second director Vassar College art professor of Chapel House. The lady reportedly The campus in 360 degrees Nicholas Adams guided students, believed that her project would be Colgate partnered with CampusBird professors, alumni, and friends on an worth the money if even one person — the same company that charts intellectual tour through the house’s found meaning in Chapel House. “I Disney’s theme parks — to create a physical, philanthropic, and religious am that one person,” Hallisey said. new online campus map with video, heritage. He also highlighted the “Our anonymous benefactor could deep-seated commitment to religious exploration that moved “the lady” (as the anonymous woman was known) to fund the project, as proposed by Ken Morgan, Colgate religion professor and first director of Chapel House. “The lady offered Morgan $600,000 for his meditation center, with two requests: her name ‘was never to be mentioned, and she must approve the architectural plans,’” Adams said. Taking the long view of Chapel House history with Vassar’s Nicholas Adams

News and views for the Colgate community

Nick Gilbert ’18

for the 22nd Congressional District hosted by Time Warner Cable News in Memorial Chapel. An opportunity for those interested in political science, debate, or any of the many politically oriented clubs on campus, the event provided students as well as members of the local community a front-row seat to democracy in action. Independent Martin Babinec, Democrat Kim Myers, and Republican Claudia Tenney ’83 campaigned for one of the most contested congressional seats in the nation, with more than an estimated $8 million spent by the campaigns and outside political groups. Ultimately, Tenney won with 46.5 percent of the vote in the November election, becoming the first alumna to represent Colgate’s district in Congress. Watch the debate at

— Randy Mackenzie ’71 gave an informational session on transcendental meditation and stress reduction meditation at the Shaw Wellness Institute in November

Nick Gilbert ’18

Mark DiOrio

“As a technique, it’s very easy to learn, and what you experience is a deep, profound level of rest… It’s rest that then becomes the basis for all the different benefits, like clear thinking, more energy, and better academic performance.”


photos, 360-degree panoramas, walking directions, and links to the university website. The new map features custom, digital models of each historic building on campus and many off-campus Colgate properties. It not only showcases the beauty of Colgate, but also is a powerful tool to assist prospective students and parents, as well as members of the community. The mobile-friendly design has icons that can be toggled on and off to help users quickly find what they are looking for. Custom tours can be added for special events, and a walk-

The university’s free shuttle service has a new maroon fleet of handicapaccessible vehicles that have route signs above the windshield and feature bike racks. The cruisers still stop at the same designated pickup locations on campus, as well as off campus, including the Colgate Bookstore, Parry’s Hardware, and Price Chopper.

Austin Sun ’18

Luminaries lit the way on the evening of December 5 as the community gathered on the Village Green for the annual Night of Lights. The tree lighting — with approximately 2,800 twinklers — is the focus of the event, which started in 1937. Horse-drawn wagon rides, performances by Colgate a cappella groups, fire pits for making s’mores, cookies, hot chocolate, and a collection for the Toys For Tots charity make for “a heartwarming event. It’s small town at its best,” said Joanne Borfitz, Colgate’s associate vice president for community affairs. The event was presented by the Hamilton Rotary,

scene: Winter 2017

Mark DiOrio

work & play

Rolling out new Colgate Cruisers

Village Green


Honor roll of access

ing tour is now available for visitors arriving on campus during off hours. With instant updates, the map allows custom content to be added for special events and exciting campus additions, such as the new Class of 1965 Arena.

ScholarMatch, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that provides free college counseling to low-income youth, has named Colgate to its 2016 College Honor Roll. The honor roll recognizes approximately 300 institutions that offer supportive environments for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year. According to ScholarMatch, 21 percent of high school seniors don’t have access to a school counselor. The organization’s honor roll is meant to help prevent low-income and firstgeneration students from “undermatching” their choice of prospective colleges with those beneath their qualifications. Working with the White House, ScholarMatch used public data to evaluate 1,400 schools in four main areas: financial aid, academic strength, student support services, and postgraduate success — with specific consideration given to low-income students’ needs. ScholarMatch’s analysis included metrics that are specifically relevant for students from households earning less than $50K, such as loan default rates and average debt load at graduation for this income bracket.

in partnership with the Hamilton Business Alliance and the Village of Hamilton. From apple-Brie pastries to gourmet bagel sandwiches, Britty Buonocore ’12, MAT ’13 has rolled out a mouthwatering menu with the opening of Flour & Salt Bakery at 7 Maple Avenue. Specialty ingredients like duck eggs and locally made products, including Kriemheld butter and Ray Brothers’ barbecue sauce, make the bakery a standout. Buonocore also plans to use the storefront as a venue for monthly music performances, baking classes, and other community events. Sign of the times: A new placard has been added to the village’s “Welcome” sign to honor John Vincent Atanasoff, the inventor of the computer, who was born in Hamilton and whose father attended Colgate. Atanasoff was born in 1903 to Ivan, Class of 1901, and Iva (Purdy). As a mathematics and physics professor at Iowa State College, Atanasoff received a grant in 1939 to build what would be called the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC).

campus needs. In our first meeting, we established a group of students, staff, and faculty who are committed to supporting students who experience sexual violence, bias, or harassment. We will partner with the efforts already taking place at Colgate.

Colgate continues to make access and affordability a key priority, including meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for all accepted students. The university has doubled spending on financial aid in the past 10 years, and the average debt load of Colgate graduates is considerably lower than the national average of more than $27,000; for example, the average debt load for the Class of 2016 was $16,000.

A new Haven

Denise Contreras at Haven, Colgate’s new sexual assault response center

Tell us about the center’s work. Haven’s outreach efforts involve fostering dialogue about gender-based violence, relationship violence, power and control, consent, characteristics and associated problems of nonconsensual sex, bystander education, and surviving sexual violence. Haven has partnered with several departments on campus for prevention efforts and education and to build awareness of our available counseling services. The counseling center

hired Natasha Torres ’15 to serve as the residential fellow for sexual assault response initiatives. At the start of the semester, we partnered with the Office of Equity and Diversity. We also made contact with the athletics department and talked with athletes about sexual violence and support services. In addition, we presented to all of the student group leaders — approximately 400 students — to educate and discuss prevention awareness concerning sexual vio-

Mark DiOrio

With the opening of Haven, Colgate’s new sexual assault response center, in October, the Scene sat down with Denise Contreras, the assistant director of survivor support services. Located in Curtis Hall, Haven provides confidential care, support, advocacy, and clinical services for survivors of sexual assault and other forms of violence. In addition, the staff offers sexual assault awareness and prevention programming in collaboration with on- and off-campus partners.


lence. Other efforts include classroom workshops, speak outs, clothesline projects, and supporting This Is Not A Play About Sex and Yes Means Yes. Explain the role of Colgate’s sexual violence coalition. We have collaborated with campus partners including campus safety, athletics, Greek life, the Shaw Wellness Institute, women’s studies, and other departments as well as students to strategize once a month on

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Tell us about your community outreach efforts. We’ve connected with Liberty Resources’ Victims of Violence in Oneida and the State Police Campus Sexual Assault Victims Unit to collaborate on services, receive training, and expand confidential services to our students. Recently, we went to the Rotary Club in Morris to let them know about the services and how we talk about rape culture to this generation of students. They’re eager for this information. The president of the Rotary came to This Is Not a Play About Sex and said, “I want all of our Rotary to be part of this next time so that they can begin that dialogue with their own families and community” — which is great; it’s passing along that positivity. What brought you to Colgate? I’m originally from San Antonio, Texas, and earned my master’s degree in social work from Texas State University after serving in the U.S. Air Force for seven years. In August 2014, my partner, Cristina Serna, was hired for a tenure-track position at Colgate as an assistant professor in women’s studies. I spent my first year learning about upstate New York and the Colgate campus culture. I volunteered with the Hamilton Area Community Coalition, and was employed part time at the equity and diversity office at Colgate as well as the Madison County Rural Health Council in Oneida. I was hired for the 2015–2016 academic year to serve as a staff counselor at Colgate’s counseling center. With Haven, I have an opportunity to directly support students while addressing sexual violence on campus. It is an honor to advocate for and support the students. I feel blessed to work with such a dynamic and supportive team as we extend Haven’s survivor support services.


#25 News and views for the Colgate community



By Katie Sullivan ’12 They call it trauma blackout. When your body undergoes something so shocking your brain retains little-to-no information, and you’re left with just a few snapshots in your memory. From that February night three years ago, I remember the sound of the scissors cutting through my shirt in the ambulance after they lifted me from the pavement of 23rd Street in Manhattan. I remember my dad whispering, “You’re a warrior, Katie, and you’re my girl.” My brother Matt’s shaky hand as he touched my arm at the hospital the next morning. Waking up from a seven-hour surgery, learning that the plastic surgeon had used bone from my skull to reconstruct my nose and cheek. The warning that if I sneezed, it would all be undone. The uncontrollable spasm in my shoulder when the nurse lifted me from my bed to the gurney for yet another X-ray. The sound of my mom breathing as she slept on the cot next to me night after night. The smell of dried blood on my neck brace. The moment my lawyer told me that the street camera that would have captured the impact between the cab and my body was blocked by scaffolding, so we’d really never know why the driver hadn’t seen me crossing the road, as he cruised 30 miles per hour down Lexington Ave. In those moments, when I was completely helpless in the hospital, with a shattered face, wired jaw, broken neck, destroyed shoulder, and torn-up knee, I didn’t have the brainpower to process anything more than the present. When my body hurt, I clicked my morphine drip. When they told me I needed food, I let my mom spoon Ensure shakes between my teeth. When the tech approached me with a sponge and bucket, I watched him clean my body. It was primal, and it was raw. Being at the will of my body’s most basic needs while also being completely dependent on others was the polar opposite of the life I had been living before my accident. Before I crossed the street that night, I was an active 22-year-old girl. An athlete my whole life, I played Division I lacrosse in college and continued working out regularly postgrad. In 2012, I moved to New York City and was working at a start-up in Brooklyn. I was living the independent, young-adult life I thought I “should” be. In the months following my accident, I was living day by day. I was in a wheelchair, back home in Baltimore, living with my parents. My stamina barely got me through one episode of Friends. Physically exhausted, I seldom reflected on the reality of my situation — or the future. I didn’t think about the fact that no one had told me whether I would ever be able to run again. I didn’t think about how I’d feel when people from my past didn’t recognize me with my reconstructed face. I took for granted that there would be a new normal and that I might never have the opportunities I had had in my pre-accident life. In my mind, a complete recovery was just as possible as spending the rest of my life parking in handicapped spots and watching 60 Minutes with my parents. So I proceeded with a lighthearted “we’ll see” attitude — for a while. But after a few months, comments like “You look great” and “You’re just so strong” had lost their meaning. Had I really done anything worth praise? It wasn’t like I chose to survive this horrific


scene: Winter 2017

Meagan Stevenson

My new normal

accident; I just got lucky. And I look great? Sure, compared to the Picasso painting that was my face after a cab shattered my eye socket, destroyed my nose, and displaced my six front teeth. When I moved back to New York several months after the accident, reality set in, and I made a promise to myself: I had been given a very real reminder of how short and precious life is, and I wasn’t going to forget it. Although I knew I had years of surgery ahead, I wasn’t going to settle for a life that would be qualified with a “given all she’s been through.” The first thing I did when I got out of my wheelchair: I registered for a halfmarathon. After months confined to a chair, I committed to my body and said to myself, “If you’re lucky enough to be able to walk, you should be able to run. And if you’re lucky enough to run, you might as well run a lot.” So I built up my strength, and one year after getting out of my wheelchair, I completed my first half-marathon. From there, my determination to up my fitness game only grew stronger. I soon committed to daily 6 a.m. workouts that challenged me in new ways, mentally and physically. Soon that perpetual challenge became a habit. I surrounded myself with people who had the same desire to push their limits and reach new goals, and I fell into a lifestyle that gave me a new reason to be proud of myself and others every day. When a friend invited me to register for a triathlon, I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason not to. So on Aug. 27, 2015, I completed a sprint triathlon on Long Island. Aside from lingering knee pain, I felt strong every step (and stroke) of the way. Today, I’m lucky enough to be training for my fifth triathlon to date. My next challenge was my career. Although I was fortunate to have worked for a company I loved with amazing people, I knew I had more to give. I just needed to find my passion. Since I attributed so much of my physical and mental recovery to the nurses at New York Presbyterian, I entertained a path in medicine, but quickly remembered there was nothing about science that I liked or was good at. Thanks to patience, relationship building, and a bit of chance, I ended up with an opportunity to combine my love of fitness with my desire to positively impact people. I joined the team at Swerve Fitness, an indoor cycling studio with team-based rides, as director of marketing. After my accident, fitness had been a way to gain confidence in myself and set goals that I thought I’d never be able to achieve. It was a way to connect with people on a level that was hard to find in any other setting. At work, I get to see people experience these exact same things every day. After a hard ride and a good sweat, people have a confidence that translates to everything they do — whether it’s talking to someone new, making moves professionally, or being a better partner in a relationship. While I can confidently say that I’m now living my happiest and healthiest life — in large part due to my mental shift after the accident — I genuinely believe that many people in my situation would have done the same. Being a 22-year-old who is completely dependent on her parents for an indefinite amount of time is an incredibly humbling experience. Once you’ve felt that feeling and thought those thoughts, there’s no turning back. There’s no moment in life that you take for granted, and there are no people in your life you undervalue. Once you’ve been in the position of can’t, you’re grateful for every day that you can. — Originally published on

ski story: The ups and downs of Trainer Hill

“A Colgate man without a pair of skis is as out of place as a horse without a tail.”




Everyone knows that Hamilton, N.Y., gets piles of snow, so it’s no surprise that... skiing has been one of Colgate’s most popular activities. Back when the university had an annual winter carnival [A] in the early 1900s, ski races were a main part of the event, where fraternities and other student residences competed against each other to win the house cup. By 1937, skiing became the coolest way to get some exercise in winter. As the Colgate Maroon wrote on December 13 of that year, “A Colgate man without a pair of skis is as out of place as a horse without a tail.” Cross-country skiing was more common, but the ski hill was gaining popularity. Much of this was due to the efforts of David W. “Doc” Trainer [B], a geology professor who encouraged skiing on all levels. Trainer required those who didn’t know how to ski to report to him in the gym for instruction before venturing out on the hill alone. He also helped turn skiing into a varsity sport at Colgate by 1939. In 1941, the ski hill was dubbed Trainer Hill. The ’50s and ’60s saw the expansion of many Colgate facilities, including Trainer Hill. Under

President Vincent M. Barnett Jr. (1963–1969), the ski hill was extended and a t-bar lift, lighting, and snowmaking equipment [C] were added. At one point, Colgate hired a professional skier from Switzerland as an instructor to teach classes and to coach the ski team. Students filled up the physical education classes, and the children’s ski program was also successful. The skiing tradition continued through the years, and the university continued its efforts to attract people to the hill. According to an advertisement in The Colgate News on Feb. 22, 1991, the hill was open to the public six days a week. But, just four days later, The Colgate Maroon told a different story, with a front-page headline reading: “University to Close Trainer Hill.” The cost outweighed the benefits, and the equipment needed repairs. A year later, Outdoor Education started offering lessons at nearby Toggenburg Mountain, and the

ski team started practicing there, too. Although it’s now a club sport, Colgate’s ski team can still shred with some of the best. And, the Ski and Snowboard Club is one of the biggest student organizations on campus. — Meredith Dowling ’17

13 Page 13 is the showplace

for Colgate tradition, history, and school spirit.

life of the mind

3D printing the past

Original cuneiform from Colgate’s archives (bottom) and a screen shot of a 3D model (top).


scene: Winter 2017

Call it modern Mesopotamian claymation. With the help of the latest Artec3D equipment, archivists and instructional technologists at Colgate have teamed up to produce 3D scans and models of the university’s collection of 4,000-year-old Sumerian cuneiform tablets. The ancient Sumerian people of Mesopotamia developed cuneiform — one of the earliest systems of writing. They created the tablets by using a blunt reed to press a design into wet clay and making recognizable wedge-shaped marks. Colgate’s collection comprises 48 cuneiform tablets documenting the trade of goods like silver, fish, flour, and sheep. “Our cuneiform tablets and most of the tablets that you find are economic texts, like receipts and accounting records,” said Sarah Keen, university archivist and head of special collections. The artifacts are often used in Colgate classrooms as teaching aids for courses in anthropology, sociology, and related subjects. “They allow students to study the primary goods that were traded and what fueled these economies,” Keen added. “[A tablet] gives you an entrée into some aspect of that society.” Instructional technologist Doug Higgins partnered with Keen and Colgate’s conservation technologist, Allison Grim, on the project. They were joined by Ian Roy from Brandeis University and Jordan Tynes from Wellesley College. “Three-dimensional scanning, modeling, and printing will allow us to bring the archives out of the boxes and to the Colgate community both locally and globally,” Higgins said. “We have the ability to share the artifacts digitally or to bring the models up the hill and have a closer study of the items within the classroom without fear of them being damaged.” Handheld 3D scanners work by gathering a steady stream of photographs as the object is rotated. The scanner then uses software to stitch those photographs together in order to generate a model that measures to a 10th of a millimeter for accuracy. The digital cuneiform models have already proved useful as educational tools. Professor Tony Aveni has used the models to supplement his anthropology course Comparative Cosmologies by projecting them onto

Syllabus Cyborgs of the World, Unite! Science Fiction from Russia and Beyond Mieka Erley, Assistant Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies TR 1:20–2:35 p.m. Lawrence 201 Course description: What does it mean to be human? Can our species survive climate change? Can we build a utopian society on Mars? These are questions that science fiction — a genre that bridges the “two worlds” of science and the humanities — has considered for more than a century. Focusing on philosophical, ethical, and environmental questions, this course introduces students to a wide range of science fiction literature and film, with a strong emphasis on works from Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe from the 20th century to the present day. Among other topics, we will discuss human-machine interfaces and ethics, life-extension and transhumanism, space travel and colonization, and the prospects and perils of the rationally planned society. This course places questions of biological and social diversity at its center, moving past the “local and transnational” to the transplanetary, transhuman, and beyond. The works read in class interrogate the very borders that structure the world and our experience of it — borders between ourselves and others; between the human, the animal, and the machine; and between the “natural” and the “artificial.” Students have the chance to reflect on new forms of social organization and new ways of “being human” in a diverse and changing world. The professor says: “This is the only science fiction course currently offered at Colgate, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest from students. Science fiction is valuable because it liberates us to imagine other biological, social, and political formations than the ones that now structure and dominate our world. Given the enormous changes that are already upon us, we need this space of creativity, inspiration, and ‘thought experiment’ more than ever.”

Engineering Club reaches for the sky

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a Styrofoam cooler filled with GPS equipment and GoPro cameras floats toward Nova Scotia. The cooler is actually the body of a weather balloon designed and built by the Colgate Engineering Club.

The club launched the balloon on October 5 and tracked its flight via satellite GPS. It passed within a quarter mile of the Ho Science Center and then drifted east until atmospheric pressure burst its balloon, thus triggering its parachute and dropping the cooler into the ocean 70 miles off Cape Cod. “The balloon reached a height of about 120,000 feet, which is three to four times the height that a commercial airliner flies at,” said physics major Brendan Corrodi ’18, the club’s president and co-founder. “If we had the video, you could see the curvature of the Earth.” The group continued to track the cooler as it floated in the ocean; physics majors Stephen Paolini ’18 and Austin Chawgo ’18 led the mission to recover it. They contacted the Cape Cod Coast Guard for help and used public-access GPS data to reach out to nearby fishing boats. “A lot of the boats in the area were commercial, non-trap lobster boats,” said Paolini, the club’s project manager. “They could potentially sail past and scoop it right up in their nets, but none of them were near enough.” The balloon’s GPS stopped transmitting on October 9 and the group abandoned the rescue mission, but they hope that the cooler will make it


the 32-foot wide screen of the Ho Tung Visualization Lab. “My students had the opportunity first to handle the cuneiform, hold them in their hands, and see what they look like,” Aveni said. “Then we did a projection in the visualization lab of the 3D scans so that you could rotate them, spin them around, and look at the flip side. It gives students another perspective of the artifacts they’ve seen. These are marvelous teaching aids.” The success of this cuneiform scanning project leaves Higgins hopeful for others like it in the future. One potential application of this technology is the 3D scanning of Colgate faculty research. Higgins envisions professors capturing 3D scans of archaeological sites abroad and bringing the images back to share with students. He said, “I’m excited to see what we can do next.” — Brianna Delaney ’19

On Zika: “The possibility of local transmission through mosquitos remains the biggest public health concern.” to the shores of Nova Scotia intact and be found. “My phone number is on the side, so if someone finds it, we might get a nice present,” Corrodi said. If the weather balloon makes it back to Colgate, the club will be able to recover the GoPro video footage of its journey and reuse the equipment for another launch. In the meantime, they can use the GPS data to analyze wind patterns, air currents in the jet stream, and even ocean currents. — Emily Daniel ’18

Professors talk Zika

The Engineering Club prepares to launch a weather balloon that they designed and built.

When confronted with government warnings and media headlines about a new global health threat, it’s best to speak directly to those in the know. Before heading home for Thanksgiving break, students and faculty had the chance to discuss the Zika virus outbreak with biology professors Geoff Holm and Bineyam Taye. During the November 14 conference, sponsored by the Shaw Wellness Center and Global Health Initiative, Holm drew on his experience as a virologist to describe Zika’s structure and behavior. “Zika is a plus-strand RNA virus, which means it has one strand of RNA that functions as its genome,” Holm said. In this way, the pathogen — which is often spread by animals and insects — resembles Yellow Fever virus, Dengue Fever, and West Nile. In behavior, Zika is similar to a Xerox machine, relying on its unwitting host to help it replicate and export itself to other cells.

“Understanding these replication mechanisms is the purview of basic virology,” said Holm. “We try to identify targets for therapeutic intervention so that we can potentially stop the virus from replicating within the host cell.” Zika has garnered widespread attention in recent years due to a rare syndrome response called microcephaly, a birth defect that Holm defined as decreased head volume and brain size with consequent central nervous system disabilities. Symptoms of the virus are typically mild and may include conjunctivitis, joint pain, fever, and rash. These usually clear up within a few days. Because 90 percent of Zika cases are asymptomatic, men and women may transmit the virus sexually without knowing they’re infected, posing a risk to pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. Epidemiologist Taye noted that there had been more than 4,000 cases of Zika recorded nationwide as of November 2016, and more than 600 cases in New York City alone. “To date, the only cases in New York State are in people who acquired the virus while traveling to Zikaaffected areas, or through sexual transmission from someone who had traveled to those areas,” Taye said. “However, the possibility of local transmission through mosquitos remains the biggest public health concern.” — Emily Daniel ’18

News and views for the Colgate community


life of the mind 16

scene: Winter 2017

New research on measuring greenhouse gases

It turns out that we may have been measuring carbon emissions incorrectly all along. And not in a good way. New research led by environmental studies and physics professor Linda Tseng, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology and reported in Scientific American, identified an overlooked source of greenhouse gas emission — from wastewater treatment — that may increase current greenhouse gas emission estimates from that sector by 13 to 23 percent. The international body that recommends guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions accounting does not currently include wastewater treatment plant carbon dioxide emissions because they are considered to be from natural biological sources that are carbon neutral. Tseng, along with colleagues from the University of California–Irvine and the University of Melbourne, found that a fraction of wastewater emissions actually has fossil origin (produced from petroleum) due to the household use of man-made synthetic detergents and soaps. “We hope this study would promote efforts to quantify greenhouse gas emissions more accurately, matching the increasing global interests to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Tseng said. “The results of this research should be seen as an opportunity to reduce and sequester emissions from wastewater treatment and could help wastewater treatment facilities meet their emission goals.”

Letting the good be the enemy

Suppose, for a moment, that the Good Samaritan didn’t rescue just one person merely by chance. Let’s say that he spent his entire life walking up and down mountain passes, finding wounded travelers by the hundreds, spending his children’s lunch money on the medical bills. Would we still respect him? When New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar looks at the world, she sees heroes and do-gooders who go to moral extremes. In her November 15 campus presentation — part of the

Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs speakers series on Crossing Borders: Peoples and Cultures, Goods and Information — she drew the distinction. Heroes have greatness thrust upon them by circumstances. We like them because we could see ourselves behaving in the same way if the tables were turned. Do-gooders, on the other hand, often make us feel uncomfortable, because their altruism stretches beyond the pale. They sacrifice their own comfort and often the comfort of loved ones. They don’t confine their good deeds to their own social spheres. In her book, Strangers Drowning: Altruism at Home and Far Away, MacFarquhar profiles several of these dogooders, including an Indian lawyerturned-doctor who launched a leper colony and a husband-and-wife team who adopted 20 children who were unlikely ever to have a family because of age, race, or ill health. Freud might have called their behavior moral masochism. Freud’s daughter would have spoken of altruistic surrender, the affliction that requires someone to obtain gratification through a proxy. MacFarquhar doesn’t buy it. “These people have a sense of purpose,”

she said. In wartime, MacFarquhar asserts, individuals are often called upon to make ultimate sacrifices. But decades have passed since World War II — the last time that Americans were asked en masse to think beyond the bonds of blood when calculating the value of life and property. Perhaps that fact has altered our perceptions of normalcy when it comes to performing good deeds. Decide for yourself. Join the Lampert Institute audience for MacFarquhar’s presentation, archived at colgate. edu/macfarquhar, and ask yourself the same questions that guided her research: “Is there a sense of too much morality? Can you push it too far? What would a life of moral extremity look like?”

“Is there a sense of too much morality?”

Socrates returns to life (momentarily)

Some say that the death of a great philosopher in Colgate’s Ho Tung Visualization Lab on October 27 was a miscarriage of justice and a stain on Athenian democracy. Socrates’ suicide, reenacted on the domed screen by actor H.C. Selkirk, didn’t require the response of law enforcement, but it did draw a crowd of spectators. Students dressed in ancient Grecian garb ushered faculty, staff, and friends into the intimate theater on the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center’s fourth floor. The lights went down, and the audience was transported through time into the agora in Athens, digitally reconstructed during the past two years by Colgate University and Hamilton Central School students under the guidance of Vis Lab director Joseph Eakin. The film, Socrates on Death Row, used live action and a voiceover by history professor Alan Cooper to tell the tale of one of Athens’s most famous citizens, who was a font of notable quotes and a deep thinker who never published. We know of Socrates’s philosophy and his eponymous method of Q&A through the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Relying on those texts, classics professor Robert Garland drafted the script for the show, which he considers a prequel of sorts to his previous show depicting the murder of Julius Caesar, Murder on the Ides. Through Garland’s words, we hear of Socrates’s service in the Athenian army during the Peloponnesian War against the hated Spartans and their allies. We learn of his sympathy for nobles who would rather take government out of the hands of the hoi polloi. Socrates goes on trial for corrupting the youth and defends himself against his prosecutors, mostly by asking questions that make them look like fools. When the jury finds him guilty, he baits them into ordering his execution in an effort to prove the folly of their judicial system. We stand beside Socrates as he downs his dram of hemlock and sighs his last breath. Thanks to Garland, Eakin, and their collaborators, the death of a classical hero demonstrates the life and vitality of Colgate’s interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts education. “This is a new way of bringing the classics to a wider audience,” Garland said. “I want to show that classics is exciting, gripping, and that it can engage you.” Eakin and his student staff have produced four full-length planetarium shows as well as flybys of the Grand Canyon, Rome, Mexico’s Teotihuacan, and other locales. “It brings these cultures to life when you can show what it was really like to be there,” he said.

“I want to show that classics is exciting, gripping, and that it can engage you.” — Professor Robert Garland

News and views for the Colgate community


— Rachel Kierstead ’19

scene: Winter 2017

Photo by Zoe Zhong ’17

Celebrating the continent and its nations’ cultures, the African Fashion Show filled the Hall of Presidents on November 12.

Orpheus: a dynamic democracy

Photos by Zoe Zhong ’17

arts & culture 18

“The musicians’ ability to listen to each other and accept criticism before the entire group is a model that we can all learn from.”

Love, Africa

With a backdrop of African flags and an Afrobeat soundtrack, students modeled colorful styles at the third annual African Fashion Show. Celebrating the continent and its nations’ cultures, this year’s event — called Love, Africa — filled the Hall of Presidents on November 12. Designers Bamboo Stitches, Obioma, Missy Temeke, Queen W, and Queen Irie created the fashions on display; comedian Ebabykoby emceed the show. Guests enjoyed a feast — meat pie, coconut rice, fish balls, roast beef kebabs, plantains, and banana bread — catered by Agape Glory Services, owned by the mother of Sharon Nicol ’17. “This year’s show was the best we’ve had so far,” said founder and coordinator MariaDorin Shayo ’17. “I can’t describe the joy I felt when everyone was getting food and looked so excited.” The African Student Union (ASU) and partners Gamma Phi Beta, Brothers, Black Student Union, Caribbean Students Association, and Sisters of the Round Table sponsored the 2016 show and raised money for Hope For Haiti. “I love seeing people come together to see the Africa that I know — not the stereotypical one awash with war and hunger, but the diverse Africa and the resilience of the people who are thriving,” Shayo said. “It’s great to tell that other story.” — Meredith Dowling ’17

The Grammy-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, famed for its democratic approach to music making, performed at Colgate on October 23, just before its date at Carnegie Hall. Founded in 1972, the New York City–based orchestra was among the first chamber orchestras to function without a conductor. Instead, the musicians work collaboratively. “You need many more rehearsals for all of the musicians to determine what the interpretation of a work is going to be,” said Marietta Cheng, professor of music and Colgate University Orchestra conductor. “But because there is so much personal input from each musician, you see a greater commitment and devotion. There’s a certain joy the musicians have in giving it their all.” At Colgate, Orpheus’s 38 performers partnered with renowned German pianist Christian Zacharias for a dynamic concert featuring Mozart’s Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Bizet’s Symphony in C Major, as well as a world premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Records from a Vanishing City. Prior to the concert, the musicians (who previously performed at the university in 2008) hosted an open rehearsal followed by a Q&A session with students from Colgate's orchestra. Sponsored by the Christian A. Johnson Fund, the event gave students insight into teamwork and how collaboration produces better results.   “You can imagine that if you have that many people working together, they’d have quibbles over different interpretations of tempo, style, phrasing, and dynamics,” Cheng said. “So they have to come to agreement for a successful end result.”   Rachel Kierstead ’19, a Colgate University Orchestra violinist, agreed. “The musicians’ ability to listen to each other and accept criticism before the entire group is a model that we can all learn from,” she said, “whether we’re in music, business, or any other pursuit that involves working with others.” — Brianna Delaney ’19

Rubbish gets a redesign

Photo by Nick Gilbert ’18

“Who knew that so many new things could be made from junk?” said Fiona Adjei Boateng ’19, a theater student who was making handbags out of denim pants during an upcycling workshop. Reet Aus, an Estonian fashion designer and environmental pioneer, hosted the workshop in Clifford Gallery. She is known for upcycling, which is using discarded materials to make beautiful new products. Aus was in residence at Colgate for 10 days — a joint venture with the theater department, environmental studies and film and media studies programs, sustainability office, and art and art history department. Transforming materials sourced from the Madison County Solid Waste and Recycle facility as well as Syracuse Rescue Mission, students created jewelry from metal wire, clothing made from fabric remnants, and found art pieces. In Aus’s lectures on campus and in the screening of her documentary Out of Fashion, she explained that to keep up with the fast pace of fashion trends, clothing companies use wasteful manufacturing practices to produce cheap garments. “On average, eighteen percent of the textiles processed in clothing factories are leftovers, and are thrown away,” she said in Golden Auditorium on November 2. These materials end up in landfills, which pollute the air, water, and soil. “Working with Reet throughout the week was eye opening,” said Boateng. “I still can’t believe how much waste the clothing industry creates.” To address the problem, Aus and her colleagues created Upmade, a software program and certification that helps factories reduce waste by upcycling leftover fabric back into the production process. Two major factories in Estonia and Bangladesh have received certification so far. “Reet Aus is a true leader and planetary hero,” said John Pumilio, Colgate’s director of sustainability. “She demonstrates how it’s possible to pursue our passions with social consciousness and environmental stewardship as a cornerstone.” Aus also addresses the social and moral implications of fast fashion, noted studio art major Kris Pfister ’17, who was inspired to use recycled materials in a senior art project. “Her work is a tangible force of resistance to the materialism the Western world has become so accustomed to.” — Emily Daniel ’18

At home on Mars

Photo by Mark DiOrio

During a workshop with visiting artist Reet Aus, Haoqi Xia ’20 works on a project incorporating found objects.

Real science fused with science fiction when Dani Solomon “We start with a ’13 performed One Way Red, a solo show that followed a question or curiosity. young woman’s one-way journey to Mars. The 90-minute We often start from a performance on October 6 unfolded as Sam, played by Solomon, stumbled upon an online video about Mars One — known, familiar place, an actual nonprofit that intends to colonize Mars by 2026. and through the process The performance jumps back and forth between Sam’s of following a curiosity, bedroom, where she applies for the Mars One project, and we follow the known the surface of the red planet. There is both humor and profound loneliness as Sam leaves Earth to experience Mars. into the unknown.” “We didn’t start with a script,” Solomon said. She and — Dani Solomon ’13 her collaborator, Mason Rosenthal, use an unconventional approach to theater in their work with Philadelphia-based Medium Theatre Company. “We start with a question or curiosity. We often start from a known, familiar place, and through the process of following a curiosity, we follow the known into the unknown.” Space travel has long captivated Americans’ imaginations; One Way Red questions why we look spaceward and what we hope to find there. The possibility of interplanetary travel serves as the backdrop for this existential fever-dream populated by alien mirrors, talking lamps, and a sassy computer assistant named Morgan. “I think a lot of people in our generation want to do something exceptional to be remembered,” Solomon said. “This character has a lot of that drive, that ambition to do something great and historical.” Solomon, who was a physics and theater major at Colgate, is interested in the process of discovery found in both the sciences and the theater. The play was performed in the Ho Atrium, allowing the arts and sciences to mingle while bringing the audience to an otherworldly space between reality and fiction. In addition to performing the play, Solomon gave a talk about alternative career paths for physics majors. She and Rosenthal also hosted a workshop that encouraged students to explore unconventional approaches to theater. Solomon hopes that there will be more intermingling of the arts and the sciences in the future, especially at Colgate. “Getting people from different disciplines to ask hard questions together is the next step toward interdisciplinary dialogue,” she said. — Emily Daniel ’18 News and views for the Colgate community


go ’gate

George Kubas

nament Team by Brown, Zach Tamen ’17, and Jared Stroud ’18. “We were absorbing some pressure from American early in the game, and our guys were fighting and battling and never stopped working or believing,” head coach Erik Ronning said. “Seeing those guys fight for each other was absolutely amazing.” “This was redemption week for us,” Kutler said. “We lost to Army, Loyola, and American in the regular season and came back and won all three games in the tournament. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this team.” The Raiders continued on to the NCAA Tournament, but fell to UCLA (4–2), concluding a historic season with a 13-7-2 finish.  

Sixth PL championship for men’s soccer

Women’s hockey skated to a 3–3 overtime draw with Harvard on December 3. At press time, the Raiders were ranked #7 in the national polls.


scene: Winter 2017

Colgate student-athletes maintained their lofty position at third in the latest NCAA Division I Graduation Success Rate (GSR). For the fifth-straight year, the Raiders are at 98 percent, placing Colgate alongside peer schools Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Davidson, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. “Our student-athletes are proof that you can compete at the highest level of athletics while excelling in the classroom at a world-class institution,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Victoria M. Chun ’91, MA’94.  Colgate recorded 100 percent graduation success rates in 22 of its 24 NCAA-sponsored teams. The NCAA’s GSR includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing; it measures graduation over six years from first-time college enrollment.

Miller ’12 named to Israeli lacrosse team

Bob Cornell

The men’s soccer team earned a 5–4 penalty shootout win against American University to claim the 2016 Patriot League Championship in November. It was the sixth championship win in the program’s history and the first since 2011. The Raiders and top-seeded Eagles played to a 1–1 double-overtime draw before the game was sent into a penalty kick shootout. American made its

first four penalty kicks and had the chance to claim the title, but Ricky Brown ’17 stepped up with back-toback saves to clinch the championship for the Raiders. Ethan Kutler ’17 scored Colgate’s goal on a penalty kick in the 56th minute. It marked Kutler’s fifth goal of the postseason, setting a Patriot League Tournament record for goals scored by a player. The Lansing, N.Y., native was named tournament MVP. Kutler was joined on the Patriot League All-Tour-

Raiders in NCAA elite for graduation success rate

Come July, Courtney Miller ’12, a standout in Colgate women’s lacrosse history, will compete on Israel’s Women’s Lacrosse National Team for the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup at the University of Surrey in England. “Courtney making the Israel National Team shows what a great athlete she is,” said Heather Young, Colgate women’s lacrosse head coach. “She is a dominant midfielder making big contributions and uses her speed in transition.”

A native of Tel Aviv, Miller tried out in Be’er Sheva, Israel, last summer. Each player will play in honor of a charity of her choice in conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedekah Program; Miller will play for the Friends of Israel Defense Force. Named the Patriot League Midfielder of the Year in 2012 and a fourtime All-Patriot League First Team selection, Miller was a three-time Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Second Team All-Region selection. In 2012, she was also one of just 10 players in program history to compete in the North-South Senior All-Star game. Miller ranks in the top 10 in program history in numerous categories, including a 76-point senior season that ranks sixth in program history. She scored 59 goals that season, the fifth most in a single season, while her 36 assists as a junior rank as the second most in a season. In her career, Miller is the all-time leader in draw controls with 201. She also ranks third in program history with 241 points and 168 goals, while her 73 career assists are fourth.

Gold-medal visit

ESPN anchor David Lloyd ’83 interviewed Olympic gold medalist Lauren Schmetterling ’10 in Memorial Chapel during a family weekend event sponsored by the Presidents’ Club. Schmetterling, who rowed with the USA Women’s Eight crew in Rio last summer, is the first student-athlete from Colgate — and the entire Patriot League — to win Olympic gold. On her

triumphant return to the Chenango Valley, she spent the day meeting with a number of the university’s athletics teams before sitting down with Lloyd to discuss her Olympic success. Lloyd led Schmetterling back to the beginning, to those first moments when she grabbed an oar as a high school first-year. “I remember feeling very confused — I didn’t know what to do with my hands,” she said. She clearly figured it out, going on to row for four years at Colgate. After meeting with national team coaches her senior year, she made it her ambition to make the under-23 national team. But although Schmetterling would earn an invitation to training camp after graduation, the effort ultimately failed. “That encouraged me to keep going and double down on my training,” she said. “I felt that if I put in more work than anyone else, that was going to get me where I wanted to go.” By 2013, after regularly evaluating her development and questioning her goals, she made the team, beating out 16 women on the 30-member squad

always make improvements. I feel like everyone — no matter where they are — can be pushing for more.” Watch the conversation at colgate. edu/schmetterling.

100th career win for Coach Young

Women’s lacrosse head coach Heather Young was honored for achieving her 100th career win during the 2016 season at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Honors Banquet. Young, who will begin her 11th season at Colgate with the start of the 2017 season, was one of 12 head coaches earning Victory Club recognition, which honors those who achieved milestone victories during the 2016 season. Young’s 100th career win was a 13–11 victory at Binghamton on April 12. The win also propelled Young into winningest coach in program history as she picked up her 83rd win at Colgate in the game. By the conclusion of the 2016 season, Young had 106 career wins, with 87 of them coming at Colgate, along with a 49–31 record in Patriot League play over that span.

“ I knew that, if I was my best self, I could make it.” — Olympic gold medalist Lauren Schmetterling ’10 told ESPN anchor David Lloyd ’83

Zoe Zhong ’17

Courtney Miller ’12 during her Raider days

for a place in the 2016 Olympic boat. “You have to have a strong relationship with your teammates,” she said. “You have to work with them to make the fastest boat, even though the next day, you might not be rowing with them.” In the chapel, with the Olympic race projected on a screen behind her, Schmetterling walked the audience through the heat. Water conditions in Rio were some of the worst she’d ever seen. The team held third place through most of the race, pulling ahead in the final lengths by favoring a strategy of mid-race strength over initial sprints. “Our coxswain made the call, ‘We are the U.S. Women’s eight,’ and I feel like that pushed everyone to move together,” she said. “The boat was 10 years undefeated. When she made that call, I felt like I needed to do a service to all the women who had come before me.” The gold medal justified the years she had dedicated to her sport. “I knew that, if I was my best self, I could make it,” she said. “It took a lot of work to get to that point, and I felt like everything I had done had been validated.” But that validation won’t secure Schmetterling a seat on the boat during the next Olympic games. To earn that honor, she’ll once again need to prove her strength through action. “I feel like there’s always somewhere new you can go,” she said. “You can

News and views for the Colgate community


new, noted , & quoted 22

scene: Winter 2017

Books, music & film

BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some

The Late Bloomer

It was 1995, and the word “transgender” had barely even entered the national lexicon, but Chris Edwards knew what he had to do. His decision to transition from female to male was a simple one, but it also took balls. Edwards tells the story of how he summoned the courage to come out at a company board meeting filled with middle-aged executives and braved his 10th high school reunion, finally becoming the man he was meant to be. With skills he learned in advertising, his sense of humor, and the support of family, friends, and a great therapist, Edwards was able to rebrand himself and help change perceptions. This memoir provides an important look at what it’s like to be uncomfortable in your own skin and how one man found the courage to be his true self. For more, see pg. 30.

Movie based on Man Made: A Memoir of My Body by Ken Baker ’92 (Momentum Pictures) Dr. Peter Newmans, played by Johnny Simmons, is a 30-year-old sex therapist who’s never gone through puberty — until now. When a basketball injury leads to the discovery of a benign tumor on his pituitary gland, Peter’s life changes in an instant. Once the tumor is removed, he goes through puberty in a matter of weeks, complicating his relationships with his parents and friends in raunchy, comedic fashion. The film’s stars include J.K. Simmons, Jane Lynch, and Brittany Snow. After its September premiere at the San Diego Film Festival and theatrical release in October, it is now available via video on demand.

An Angle on the World: Dispatches and Diversions from the New Yorker and Beyond Bill Barich ’65 (Skyhorse Publishing)

Bill Barich has thrown himself into new environments — from San Francisco’s homeless community to the conflict zone in Northern Ireland — talking to grocers, butchers, barbers, and others to get the real story. In An Angle on the World, Barich shares a collection of articles and dispatches from these adventures and talks about his 30 years of experience as a writer, 15 of which were on the staff of the New Yorker. These stories range from life-changing accounts to lighter travel narratives, all offering a new look at the world.

Chris Edwards ’91 (Greenleaf Book Group)

The Railroad and the Pueblo Indians: The Impact of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe on the Pueblos of the Rio Grande, 1880–1930 Richard Frost, history professor emeritus (University of Utah Press)

The history of the railroad conquest of the West is well known, but the impact of western railroads on Native Americans has largely been ignored. Richard Frost examines the profound effects that the coming of trains had on Pueblo Indians in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley, which included destroying or damaging crops, livestock, irrigation ditches, community autonomy, and privacy. American colonialism abetted the railroads, so the Pueblos faced land and water confiscation, court cases, compulsory American education, and other problems. The trains also brought farm tools, clothing, and cus-

tomers for Pueblo pottery, but these were comparatively marginal benefits, Frost asserts. This book spotlights how Native American communities responded.

Sunday Pasta: A Year Around the Table with Family and Friends Edwin Garrubbo ’87 (Garrubbo Communications)

Edwin Garrubbo’s goal is to find the perfect bowl of pasta. He’s visited restaurants, cooking schools, and markets across Italy to find tasty cucina Italiana. He’s spoken with chefs and food artisans across the world, and he cooks a wide variety of Italian dishes himself. Following the success of his blog and website Sunday Pasta, this book provides recipes to last the entire year, a handy guide to pasta shapes and sizes, insights on the particulars of key Italian ingredients, and expert wine pairings.

This Business of Words: Reassessing Anne Sexton

Edited by Amanda Golden ’01 (University Press of Florida) Overshadowed by the work of her contemporaries Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton is often sidelined in literary criticism. This book — the first to examine her poems in more than 20 years — reappraises Sexton and encourages further scholarship on her poetry and her life. With essays written by fellow poets and literary critics, this collection interprets her poetry in relation to photography, performance, and mid-century culture; her role as a public figure; and her continuing importance as one of America’s most influential writers. This Business of Words also analyzes Sexton’s teaching strategies — including notes from the course she taught at Colgate in 1972.

In the media Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa Dominika Koter, political science professor (Cambridge University Press) “Dominika Koter asks an important question in this excellent book: why does political mobilization occur along ethnic lines in some African

countries but not others? Although social scientists have long studied the


In Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa, Beyond Ethnic Politics Dominika Koter in Africa argues that a country’s social structures — such as the power of local chiefs or religious leaders among people of different ethnicities — play a key role in the way politicians attempt to organize voters. Koter concludes that ethnic politics can be avoided when the local leaders serve as intermediaries between politicians and voters, and that the strength or weakness of local leaders is what determines the degree to which ethnic politics exist across the African continent. consequences of ‘ethnic politics,’ few have sought to explain why such

historically-rooted analysis, Koter shows that politicians are more likely to pursue ethnic-based mobilization when traditional authorities and local intermediaries lack the power to shape the electoral behavior of their communities. Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa offers a welcome

contribution that should be read by scholars of ethnicity, clientelism, and democratization.”

Leonardo R. Arriola, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for African Studies, University of California, Berkeley

“Scholars have long recognized the importance of ethnic appeals in African political life. But in this smart, and well-argued book, Koter provides an

original theory of how existing local social and political structures affect the likelihood that politicians will actually play the ‘ethnic card.’ She

draws on a rich set of comparative and historical analyses to support her

argument, and makes an important scholarly contribution. Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa will be of interest to students of African politics and of comparative ethnic politics more broadly.”

Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa

identity cleavages become activated in the first place. In a convincing,

Dominika Koter

Evan S. Lieberman, Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cover illustration: Detail of Untitled (dream) by Senegalese artist Soly Cissé, courtesy of Ethan Cohen Fine Arts

Town Called Patience

Waiting for Henry (David Ashdown ’91, Mike Chun ’88, Rob Draghi, Dave Slomin ’87) “Town Called Patience is a road map,” said Waiting for Henry’s songwriter and singer Dave Slomin. “If our first album was a homage to the ghosts we all leave behind us, this one is about listening to those ghosts so we can look ahead with as much wisdom as possible.” The opening track, “Musconetcong,” is described as a watery jangle to mimic its namesake river, which snakes through New Jersey, Slomin’s home state. Another song set in the Garden State is “Parsippany,” about Slomin’s coming to terms with the breakup of his former band, Mr. Henry, when he settled down to start a family. “Their music draws from the archives of alt-country” and “incorporates influences from the heyday of the American underground,” noted Currents of Pop. The album was produced by Mitch Easter, who also produced R.E.M.’s classic albums Murmur and Reckoning.

Where Do Rivers Go, Momma? Catherine L. Weyerhaeuser ’79 (Mountain Press Publishing)

The children’s book Where Do Rivers Go, Momma? illustrates the water cycle, from mighty rivers rushing downhill to the sea to rainbows formed by sun shining on water droplets in the sky. Author Catherine Weyerhaeuser combines her talents as a geologist, educator, and illustrator to describe how water moves around the Earth. Her detailed illustrations of watery landscapes with lush ferns and aquatic creatures will thrill preschoolers, and straightforward explanations of the water cycle will satisfy the curiosity of elementary-age children. The final pages tell the stories of several well-known rivers and aquifers as well as the challenges we face in providing clean water to future generations. Beyond a simple teaching tool, Where Do Rivers Go, Momma? inspires its readers to become stewards of the blue planet.

A Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North Side Al Yellon ’78 (Sports Publishing)

No doubt you’ve heard about the Cubs’ decadeslong run of futility: no pennant in 71 years, no World Series for a record 108 years. But after a 100-loss season in 2012, Theo Epstein and his staff reversed the losing streak with the Cubs of 2016. The team earned the most wins for the franchise since 1910; and they defeated the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League playoffs before beating the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series. A Season for the Ages chronicles not only the 2016 Cubs’ rise to the top of the baseball heap, but the team’s — and the fans’ — long journey to get there. Author Al Yellon is managing editor of SB Nation’s Bleed Cubbie Blue website and co-author of the book Cubs by the Numbers.

“The objective facts very clearly show that she is innocent. We wanted to examine why people just don’t want to believe that.” — Rod Blackhurst ’02 in a Glamour Q&A about his Netflix documentary Amanda Knox

“I think chronicling the drug war solely in terms of statistics and tales of big drug lords sanitizes the subject. It allows us to fetishize this violent world without acknowledging the true cost or humanizing the people in it.” — Dan Slater ’00 in the Easton (Connecticut) Courier on Wolf Boys, his book about two American kids recruited by a Mexican drug cartel

“I just had this moment, looking at this beige wall, thinking: Am I doing what I love? The answer was no. I was fueled by the fire that was sparked by that question, and that’s when I decided I needed to leave, be bold, and try to write.” — Broadway writer Caroline Sherman ’87, whose newest hit is Empire: The Musical, talking about her journey in a video for the Charles Schwab Corporation

“There’s $600 worth of gold in the medal.” — Lauren Schmetterling ’10 in the Philadelphia Inquirer about paying taxes on the gold medal for rowing she won at the Olympics last summer

“Global average temperatures have now risen more than one degree Celsius since pre-industrial levels. This may sound benign or even welcoming to those of us facing another central New York winter, but the impacts are … devastating.” — John Pumilio, Colgate’s director of sustainability, in an opinion piece for the Utica Observer-Dispatch

“When immigrants arrive, they create an opportunity for native-born workers to respond to immigration by working in more managerial and supervisorial kinds of work, which often pay higher wages.” — Chad Sparber, economics professor, in a article, “Undocumented America: The Truth of Illegal Immigration”

“Growing up, I always felt alone as someone interested in the study of stars.” — Jeff Bary, physics and astronomy professor, in West Virginia’s Register- Herald after speaking to high school students in his home state

News and views for the Colgate community


Better Together BY ERIN PETERSON



scene: Winter 2017


Sometimes the most amazing work comes from those who are willing to team up with others. In a world where the problems we face are increasingly complex, from climate change to stamping out vexing diseases, collaboration may help us find better answers. Bringing many perspectives to big problems leads to better and more creative solutions. At Colgate, professors are pairing up across departments to solve thorny environmental problems. They’re partnering with companies that can take great educational ideas from one campus to dozens. And they’re dreaming up the next big thing with funds that turn “wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversations into reality. In the pages that follow, we share some of the ways that Colgate professors are joining forces.

The hidden side of all we eat Food brings people together. At Colgate, that truth is about more than the simple draw of a great meal. This past summer, with the help of the Kallgren Fund (see pg. 29), eight professors traveled to several Midwestern cities to study food, community, and culture. Their target destinations? Local farmers’ markets and international agriculture companies, hunger-relief organizations and top-notch restaurants. When they returned, we asked them to share the highlights.

W H A T M A D E Y O U WA N T T O G O O N T H I S T R I P ? Chris Henke (sociology): I wanted to learn about new food groups and movements in U.S. cities. I’ve read about the rise of food justice — the idea that communities should be able to grow, sell, and eat healthy foods — in urban contexts, but hadn’t talked to people in these organizations. April Baptiste (environmental studies): I was hoping to get a better understanding of GMOs, the role of urban farms, and the spaces that were experiencing food injustices. I was also interested in the agricultural tech side of food and wanted to learn about Monsanto firsthand.

Ben Anderson (economics): I was interested in gaining insight into the practical challenges and difficulties facing urban farmers as well as those working to resolve hunger issues in Midwestern cities. Mark Stern (educational studies): I have an interest in gentrification and urban development. I had a hunch that farmers’ markets and foodie restaurants were a part of this narrative. I also wanted to know why I can’t not binge watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives whenever it’s on, despite sort of hating it.

SHARE A MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH US. Robert Nemes (history): The conversations we had with bakers, farmers, chefs, and others. For instance, we had a great talk with a bread maker in Detroit, who told us about how long it had taken him to master this craft. Now he can make dozens of different breads and was playing with ingredients (including Michigan beers) to create even more. Antonio Barrera (history and Africana and Latin American studies): One larger highlight was seeing the differences between African Americans, Latinos, and whites working in farms, gardens, farmers’ markets, and restaurants. Their respective histories of slavery, dispossession, immigration, and privilege position each one of them in particular ways. Their histories provide them with different political, social, and cultural agendas. It is not that I did not know this before, but rather that this trip made it real.

News and views for the Colgate community


The great big impact of a lowly worm

The problem: “Crazy worms” — an invasive group of earthworms from East Asia known for their high-energy slithering and prodigious appetites — can cause plenty of problems. They deplete the natural leaf litter in forests, change the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil, and chew up the roots of tiny seedlings. The impact on the ecosystems in which they thrive, including upstate New York, could be dramatic. When these earthworms drain the soil of its nutrients, forest plants and backyard plantings suffer.

W H AT D I D YO U L E A R N F RO M OT H E R S T H A T Y O U C O U L D N ’ T H AV E L E A R N E D O N YO U R OW N ? Barrera: Chris, April, and Mark helped me understand better the complex relationship between industrial food production, human health, communities, and the environment. I was an apprentice on this trip. Stern: We all tried to think about the responsibilities we might further accrue by having access and getting to know more about these issues and places. How did we just not take, parasitically, from the organizations and communities we visited with?

H OW W I L L YO U R E X P E R I E N C E S F U RT H E R YO U R T E AC H I N G O R R E S E A RC H ? Anderson: The trip to Monsanto was informative for my research because I learned more about the process of testing new seed and plant varieties by agricultural biotechnology firms. Baptiste: I had my students do research projects on food issues in the cities that we visited — for example, the role of urban gardens as forms of environmental justice in Chicago and issues about food deserts and health in St. Louis and Detroit.


AND DIVES OBSESSION? Stern: I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years, and the show is basically about people eating meat. You do the math.


scene: Winter 2017

The brainpower: With funding from the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute (see pg. 29), three professors — Damhnait McHugh (biology), Ahmet Ay (biology and mathematics), and Tim McCay (biology and environmental studies) — are trying to find out how quickly these destructive critters might spread. The genesis of the idea: It all started with McCay, who has long been fascinated by the way that earthworms gobble up the plant material found on the forest floor. But what he really wanted to learn was how quickly they could spread — and understand the wider scope of their potentially destructive ways. “There were lot of disconnected pieces, but together, we had the expertise to tell a more cohesive story,” he said. Putting the puzzle together: McHugh helps distinguish between similar-looking but genetically different types of worms; McCay looks at the worms’ natural

history and how fast their populations can grow; Ay models the potential spread of the worms using mathematical modeling, based on numerous factors, over the course of decades. The work is in progress.

“When you work together, you realize you’re all using different vocabularies to ask and answer questions.”

 DA M H N A I T M C H U G H  Biology professor The big picture: For Ay, an expert in modeling biological regulatory networks, learning to create a model of an entirely different kind of system has opened up new ways to make an impact. “Ecological system modeling can help us make predictions to stop the spread of these earthworms,” he said. The challenges and joys of collaboration: “When you work together, you realize you’re all using different vocabularies to ask and answer questions — we’re all struggling to understand and speak the other’s language,” McHugh said. “But over time, you become fluent. And the great thing is that our research students get to that fluency across disciplines, too. We’re building an interdisciplinary team.”

Move aside, space invaders An ancient alien civilization has vanished. You — an intrepid young explorer with only a starter spaceship to your name — have stumbled across remnants of this society in your travels for your employer, The Corporation. If you don’t work fast, The Corporation is going to use technology that is reverse engineered from this advanced civilization for evil, not good. You are the only person who can stop The Corporation and save the galaxy. But do you have the brains to do it? That’s the idea behind At Play in the Cosmos, a video game created by authors Jeff Bary, associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Adam Frank from the University of Rochester, in collaboration with the Learning Games Network and the publishing company W.W. Norton. Unlike similar games, players don’t just use blasters to defeat the enemy. Instead, they might employ the Small Angle Formula Tool to identify an asteroid with enough iron to repair their spaceship or the Light Curve Tool to find habitable exoplanets. That’s just the way that Bary imagined it. The game, designed to teach students introductory principles of astronomy, integrates different astrophysical concepts into the gameplay. The game is a teaching tool intended to familiarize students with interesting objects and phenomena that exist in the cosmos in a

manner that extends beyond the traditional textbooks and problem sets. “We want to trick students into using a little bit of science,” joked Bary. The collaboration has been eye opening for him. He’s had to help come up with clever but natural ways to integrate specific astrophysical concepts into the story’s larger narrative — and explain these elements with enough clarity that the game’s developers can turn the ideas into on-screen reality. “This kind of work can get really detailed, even though it’s designed for an introductory-level class,” Bary said. “The work has pushed me to think about areas of astronomy that are outside of my expertise, and it’s helped me think about the best ways to teach students.” The game is currently being tested in several university courses across the country — including at Colgate — with a wider rollout expected this year. Bary

sees significant promise in the approach. “Students may not realize it as they’re playing the game, but they’re mimicking exactly what astronomers do when they try to calculate the density of an asteroid, for example,” he said. “We’re putting them in the role of a scientist, and nothing could be more compelling from a [teaching] standpoint than that.”

“We’re putting [the students] in the role of a scientist, and nothing could be more compelling from a [teaching] standpoint than that.”

 JEFF BARY  Physics and astronomy professor

News and views for the Colgate community


“You discuss, you ask questions, you think ... and you can end up with projects that no one in the world has ever thought about.” Y U K A R I H I R ATA Japanese professor

They speak your language On a Friday afternoon eight years ago, Japanese professor Yukari Hirata was giving a talk on campus about her research on verbal techniques that help people learn a second language. For audience member Spencer Kelly, a psychology and neuroscience professor who is an expert on the link between language and gestures, it felt like a light bulb moment.

The two launched a research project examining how adding specific gestures could enhance secondlanguage learning. Their findings suggested such gestures didn’t improve language acquisition — but that discovery, made possible through funding from Colgate’s Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute (see pg. 29) was more promising than it sounds.

Kelly and Hirata chatted after her talk, and soon they were collaborating on a project to see if the right combination of visual and auditory cues could benefit second-language learners even more. For example, they knew that Japanese language learners typically watch a speaker’s lips to understand the difference between short and long vowel sounds. But could hand gestures designed to show the distinction help these students learn faster and better?

For years, neuropsychologists have believed that gestures and speech are a thoroughly integrated system. Hirata and Spencer’s findings seemed to upend this previous research, suggesting that at the lower bounds of communication, like learning the novel sounds of a new language, a combination of speech and gestures don’t work in tandem. “Our research helped us identify the limits of this coupled system,” Kelly said. “The two systems are still integrated, but there are boundaries in that relationship.”


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The two have continued their work, which has earned them a $316,000 National Science Foundation grant to help launch Colgate’s new Center for Language and Brain. The center is exploring foreign language instruction and learning — a critical topic, given that we live in an increasingly multilingual world. The center’s work, in which Hirata and Kelly both participate, explores topics ranging from how language changes the way we experience the world and how language learning gets more challenging as an adult. Their work has also led to a more personal connection: the two married in 2013. For Hirata, the joy of collaborative research has come from exploring questions and taking them as far as they can go. “When you work with someone else on a problem, you discuss, you ask questions, you think,” she said, “and you can end up with projects that no one in the world has ever thought about.”

AROUND THE WORLD WITH KALLGREN Plenty of collaborative work happens right at Colgate, but sometimes going beyond campus is the catalyst that ignites entirely new ideas.

OPENING UP NEW RESEARCH FRONTIERS The work that scientists have done in the hard sciences over the course of centuries can lead to some frustrating situations for today’s researchers. “In general, scientists today learn more and more about a very small area,” explained Daniel Schult, Charles G. Hetherington Professor of mathematics and director of Colgate’s Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute (ISI). But it turns out there are still many places within the sciences that offer an almost Wild West sense of opportunity. The map is often wide open at the intersections of multiple disciplines — where environmental studies and chemistry and mathematics meet, for example.

The Kallgren Fund fosters such work by sending groups of faculty on travel around the world, explained Nicole Simpson, associate dean of the faculty for international initiatives. “When professors travel together, it leads to all sorts of conversations that might not happen in more formal settings,” she said. “Kallgren provides that initial spark to collaborate and learn about one another’s work and perspectives.” Groups have traveled to India, Uzbekistan, and Hong Kong, among other locations. And in the end, the professors who participated aren’t the only ones who benefit, because they “often incorporate the work into their classrooms or find ways to take their students on similar trips,” Simpson said. “It helps the faculty not just as scholars, but also as teachers.” The fund was established by Carl A. Kallgren, a former dean of the college.

The Picker ISI, named for Harvey Picker ’36 and now in its 11th year, nurtures these collaborations. It provides seed funding to launch promising research projects, and has awarded more than $2 million to set them aloft. Many grow beyond this initial funding. For example, a Picker ISI–funded project examining the conservation of Ethiopian sacred forests, conducted by professors in religion, geography, and biology, was recently awarded a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to further the work. For Schult, the success is heartening. “Interdisciplinary work expands the number and kinds of questions we can ask,” he said. “There’s a real payoff when you can address questions that require more than one discipline to answer.”

“Interdisciplinary work expands the number and kinds of questions we can ask. There’s a real payoff when you can address questions that require more than one discipline to answer.” DA N I E L S C H U LT Charles G. Hetherington Professor of mathematics and director of the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute

News and views for the Colgate community



BODY SELF HOW DO YOU CHANGE INTO THE PERSON YOU KNOW YOU ARE? Chris Edwards ’91 explains in his new memoir, BALLS: It takes some to get some.


scene: Winter 2017

S U M M E R 1 9 7 4

I came out to my grandmother when I was 5. I just didn’t know I was doing it. Neither did she.

Stephen Yang

I can’t tell you what Gram was wearing at the time, but I’m sure it was something fashionable, which likely meant one of her bell-bottom pantsuits and a wrap turban with some bright, crazy pattern on it. Her mother, my Great-Gram, was the matriarch of our family and owned a summer cottage on Cape Cod that served as the hub of our extended family gatherings from July through August. Because Great-Gram’s house was a short walk to Old Silver Beach, it wasn’t uncommon to find six or seven of my relatives’ cars wedged in like a jigsaw puzzle on the front lawn (and by lawn I mean crabgrass). On this particular day, my parents’ wood-paneled station wagon was wedged in among them. Gram had driven down with us, which always made the 90-minute ride more fun, and as usual, my older sister, Wendy, and I fought over who got to sit next to her. There was only room for three people in the backseat, so with Grampa up front with Dad, and Mom in the back holding my baby sister, Jill, that meant one of us was destined for isolation in the way back. Still, Gram kept us both entertained by playing “I Spy” or having us compete to see who could spot the most VW bugs… Gram loved the beach and once she gathered up her necessities — aluminum folding beach chair, sticky bottles of suntan oils, and rubber swim cap dotted with plastic daisies to protect her frosted hair — she walked us down to Old Silver where we spent the whole day taking in the sun. With both sides of my family being Armenian, most of my relatives had dark hair, brown eyes, and olive skin like Gram’s that tanned easily. Wendy and I fit the bill. But it was sunblock slather sessions for Jill, who was inexplicably born with light brown hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. (We’d later tell her she was adopted and that the pale Ukrainian

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man who delivered Mom and Dad’s dry cleaning was her real father.) After a full day at the beach, Wendy and I were back at Great-Gram’s house in our T-shirts and shorts, hair still wet from the outside shower. We sprawled out on the faded Oriental rug in the family room with our coloring books and crayons, while Gram repeatedly passed by us on her route from the kitchen to the dining room carrying platters of shish kebab, salad, and pilaf. On her last pass, she yelled, “Come on, girls, dinner’s ready.” Wendy immediately sprang up and followed her to the table. I didn’t flinch. I honestly didn’t think she was talking to me. Soon Gram was back kneeling across from me at eye level. “Didn’t you hear me calling you?” she asked. “No.” “I said, ‘Come on, girls.’” “I’m not a girl,” I replied, insulted. “Yes . . . you are,” she said gently. “No, I’m not. I’m a boy.” “No, you’re not, sweetheart.” “Well, then I’m gonna be,” I insisted. “You can’t, darling,” she said, then smiled sympathetically and walked back into the kitchen. I’ll show her! I thought. Since everything about me was boy-like — my clothes, my toys, my obsession with all superheroes except for Wonder Woman and her lame, invisible plane — I put my 5-yearold brain to work and determined that the only thing lumping me in with the girls was my hair length. Girls had long hair; boys had short hair. So to clear up Gram’s and anyone else’s future confusion on this matter, as


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soon as we got back home from the Cape I told my mom I wanted my hair cut “like Daddy’s.” Many moms would have said “no way” to such a request, but my mom wasn’t too concerned with gender stereotypes. “Nano,” as friends and family called her, may have been traditional when it came to family, but she was relatively hip as far as moms went. She had given up her career in nursing to stay home and raise three kids while my dad worked his way up the ladder in advertising. She was extremely involved in our school activities from kindergarten through high school and was known as the “fun mom” who would plan the best birthday parties and supply endless trays of snacks and candy whenever friends came over. She’d even let us watch scary movies, though usually to our own detriment. Seeing Jaws at age 7 led to an entire summer on dry land. Forget swimming in the ocean; I wouldn’t even go near a pool. What if the shark came up through the drain? Mom wasn’t — and still isn’t — a big skirt or dress wearer, so she never put Wendy or me in anything particularly girly when we were little — only Jill, whose favorite colors were pink and purple. Wendy and I were both tomboys. For us, it was Osh Kosh overalls in neutral colors, Levi’s corduroys, and “alligator” shirts. So when I asked to get my hair cut short, Mom took me to the barbershop in the center of town. After that, sure enough, everyone outside my family started calling me a boy.

Problem solved. See, Gram, that wasn’t so hard. It wasn’t until the following summer that I realized I was lacking certain “equipment.” Still sandy from the beach, Wendy and I were eating popsicles with our younger cousin Adam on Great-Gram’s back deck, a danger zone for bare feet. I was standing on my wet towel in an effort to avoid another painful splinter-removal session with Mom’s sewing needle when Adam nudged me and said, “Watch this.” He then turned his back, and a stream of what I thought was water came shooting out of his red swim trunks over the deck rail in a perfect arc. I was in awe. “How’d you do that?” I asked. “Do you have a squirt gun in there?” Wendy, 17 months my senior and always ready to educate (she dropped the “there is no Santa Claus” bomb on me seconds after finding out the awful truth), fielded the question quickly and effortlessly in a “could-you-be-any-dumber?” tone. “It’s not a squirt gun. He’s peeing.” How was this possible? When I peed it went straight down and I had to sit. “But how does he get it to go up like that?” “Because he has a pee-nis.” This answer only raised more questions in my mind: What is a “penis” and how come I don’t have one? I was too embarrassed to ask and something told me I didn’t want to know the answers, for fear they would only lead to more evidence that Gram and everyone else in my family was

right: I wasn’t a boy like I thought — not even with my short haircut. It was easier to talk myself into believing my penis hadn’t grown yet than to face that possibility. So every night I prayed that my body would change into a boy’s body. That I would grow a penis — whatever that was — and everyone would finally realize they were wrong for thinking I was a girl.

Well, my body changed all right. Just not in the way I'd hoped. Puberty struck, and it betrayed me in the worst possible ways I could imagine. First, two buds began to protrude from my formerly flat chest, so I wore extra layers of clothing to hide them from myself and everybody else. I couldn’t think of anything more traumatizing than having to wear a bra, let alone shopping for one. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It happened the summer after my 12th birthday on a fittingly stormy summer night. My family now had our own cottage in Old Silver Beach Village, directly across the street from Great-Gram’s house. While Jill had her own room, Wendy and I shared the larger front bedroom with its wood-paneled walls, cooling cross-breeze, and “magic” closet that you could walk into, turn a corner, and wind up in my parents’ bedroom. The house had only one bathroom, which was decorated in a nautical theme and centrally located at the top of the stairs. It was so small you could sit on the toilet, stretch your legs out, and rest your feet on the tub. The living area was divided into a family room where we’d watch TV and a sunroom where we kept all our toys and games along with a bright green folding card table, the one piece of furniture in the house that got the most use. Wendy and I were babysitting Jill and our cousins Adam and Dana while our moms were out bowling. The five of us were at the card table embroiled in yet another never-ending game of Monopoly. Looking past our reflection in the darkness of the picture window,

I could see the rain coming down sideways in the glow of the street lamp, the sound of thunder getting closer and closer. Since everyone was focused on the lopsided trade Wendy was trying to con Dana into, I decided it was a good time to run upstairs for a pee break. And that’s when I saw it: the red splotch. I froze, my mind flashing back to the movie I had been forced to watch with all the girls in my fifth-grade class. My first thought was, This can’t be happening. Wendy’s older than me. She’s supposed to get it first. My second thought was, I’m doomed. A loud clap of thunder crashed as if to accentuate the horror of my situation, followed by playful screams from below. I didn’t know what to do so I began frantically stuffing the crotch of my underwear with toilet paper, the escalating storm echoing my panic. I walked downstairs with the gait of someone who’d just ridden his first rodeo to find my sisters and cousins staring out the window as a lightning bolt struck the telephone pole across the street. The lights inside the house flickered. They all screamed in unison, more out of excitement than fear, while I sat there trancelike on the couch. Just then, my mom and her sister burst open the door, soaked from the rain. Sensing what was to come, Mom rushed to the kitchen to find a flashlight and some candles while Aunty Barbie headed for the sunroom. Within seconds, another bolt of lightning struck and the whole house and street went dark. More playful screaming like what you’d hear on a roller coaster filled the room, only to be drowned out by uncontrollable sobbing. My aunt followed that particular sound to the couch and, after whacking her shin on the coffee table, felt her way to my shoulder and put her arm around me. “It’s okay, don’t be scared, Jilly.” “I’m over here!” Jill shouted from across the room. The surprise in Aunty’s voice when she realized it was the 12-year-old, not the 9-year-old, that she was consoling only made me feel worse. I wanted everyone gone so I could talk to my mom privately. Once she came in with the flashlight and began lighting candles, I took one up to my bedroom and waited for everyone to leave. When I finally heard the front door shut, I stood at the top

of the stairs and called for her. Halfway up, she saw me looking down at her in tears. “What’s wrong?” she said, seemingly annoyed that her 12-year-old was afraid of the dark. “I got my period,” I eked out. “What do I do?” Mom seemed just as caught off guard as I was. She, too, expected Wendy would go first. She ushered me into the bathroom and looked inside my underwear to make sure. Her face softened and then she disappeared to the linen closet while I stood there helpless, looking through the crack in the doorway as Wendy and Jill hovered outside it trying to find out what was going on. Soon Mom returned with some maxi pads and a fresh pair of underwear and closed the door behind her. I couldn’t speak. I knew my mom was talking, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying over the sound of my whole world crashing down on me. I climbed into bed with what felt like a diaper between my legs and cried myself to sleep, quietly so my sister wouldn’t hear. In one night, any hope I had left of being the boy I knew I was evaporated. No matter how much I prayed, I was stuck with this body — stuck being a girl.

— Chris Edwards ’91; excerpted from BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some (Greenleaf Book Group Press, October 2016)

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Chris Edwards ’91 is transgender — but that doesn’t define him.

“Gender is not defined by what’s inside your pants; it’s defined by what’s inside your brain.”

He’s a successful advertising executive, a son, a brother, an uncle, a former rugby player and sorority sister, a people person who makes friends easily, and a type A-plus perfectionist. Currently, he’s an author who is telling his story in a candidly funny — sometimes outrageous — way. “No, I’m not just really really gay,” is one of the chapters in his new book — BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some — as well as “Bye bye boobies” and “Take my uterus. Please.” He’s frank about growing up with a tortured sense of self, and the book sheds light on some of his darkest moments. But the reader is buoyed by the levity in Edwards’s storytelling, bringing us along like a close friend in whom he’s confiding. “I’m an ad guy, so I write like I speak,” he said. “I wanted it to be engaging and entertaining so that people read it and then walk away being more informed on this topic.” In the book, he’s open about the challenges he’s faced: feeling like he was dressing in drag every time he was forced to wear a skirt for church, explaining his feelings to people without the words that today are part of the general lexicon, dating disasters, and the psychological and surgical rigmarole he’s endured to have a body in which he feels comfortable. Dedicated to his family, the book describes his parents not just as characters in his narrative, but also as characters. Edwards’s stories about them reveal the source of his wry sense of humor. More importantly, we learn that they also gave him tremendous support. Growing up transgender is no laughing matter, and Edwards proves that family makes all the difference. “While numbers are hard to quantify, studies suggest that nearly sixty percent of transgender teens go without support from their families, and in those cases the risk of suicide is much higher,” he explains in the epilogue. “The sad fact is that more than fifty percent of all transgender teens will attempt suicide. And without parental support, many of them will succeed.” Edwards writes about his own thoughts of suicide — a plan, actually, that he’d been devising since high school to kill himself after college. “I couldn’t continue pretending to be a girl much longer; keeping up my act was exhausting,” he writes. “And to what end? When I looked to the future, all that was in store for me was more misery. Well, except maybe for college. That was supposed to be a blast.” At Colgate, he did embrace the experience. He joined a sorority — “my best friends were in it, and they were the fun people” — and the rugby team — “a diverse bunch.” Photos (top down): Edwards in his closet in Boston, photo by Mary Beth Koeth; family selfie, Easter 2016; with Colgate ruggers (from left) Angela Kelliher Gokey ’94, Christine Price ’92, Jenn Fedin ’93, and Kim Siedsma ’94, practicing their "aloof" pose (a team tradition); with former co-workers from Arnold Worldwide advertising agency in 1998


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“I felt like I was in what would have been Dante’s tenth circle of hell. But I’d do it all over again if I had to. The feeling of finally being complete — of being who you really are — trumps everything.” — C H R I S E DWA R D S ’ 9 1

The 1991–95 Colgate women’s rugby team reunited in Chicago in 2014. “We were the most diverse group of people,” Edwards said. “Some were gay, some were straight, and come to find out, one of us was even a guy.” Read an excerpt from BALLS in which he talks about “reintroducing himself” at a rugby player’s wedding after his transition: Still, “there was no LGBTQ community” back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Edwards recalled. “I didn’t know anyone who was even openly gay. It was not socially acceptable.” He had to hide his true self and the fact that he was falling in love with a close female friend. Issues of what he’d later learn to call gender dysphoria (an unease with having the physical characteristics of one’s gender, accompanied by identification with and desire to live as the opposite gender) had yet to enter public consciousness. “I know now what I didn’t know then: sexual orientation and gender identity are two completely separate things,” Edwards explains in the book. “Gender is not defined by what’s inside your pants; it’s defined by what’s inside your brain.” His therapist helped him put his feelings into concrete terms, and she confirmed his self-diagnosis. “I was indeed transgender,” he writes. “Her official diagnosis was critical to me for a few reasons… It validated what I’d known all along and gave me a major sense of relief; I was not crazy. Second, it made my situation very real. This wasn’t going away.” Lastly, it checked off a box in the requirements then for the gender reassignment process, now called gender confirmation surgery. With the official diagnosis, Edwards was able to start transitioning in 1995. It

took years and presented more hurdles as he tried to find a U.S. doctor capable of performing “bottom surgery.” In the book, Edwards describes a hilarious, cringe-worthy meeting with a surgeon in which he and his parents are shown photos of different penises and are then asked to “pick the ‘imposter’ out of a lineup.” The process to change sexes is “not a one-and-done deal,” Edwards emphasized. From 2002 to 2007, he underwent surgery 22 times. “It’s an expensive, painful, and time-consuming proposition with the potential for myriad complications and no guarantees when it comes to aesthetics or sensation,” he said, noting that the challenges prevent many transgender men from pursuing it. “I felt like I was in what would have been Dante’s tenth circle of hell. But I’d do it all over again if I had to. The feeling of finally being complete — of being who you really are — trumps everything.” By writing about the surgeries in a forthright, conversational way, Edwards hopes to diminish the stigma around the subject. “By not talking about it, it makes it feel like it’s shameful to have surgery, and it’s not,” he said. “And, frankly, it’s what everyone really wants to know about. So if we want people to focus on the bigger issues like trans rights and violence against trans people, let’s just get the information out there so people can get over it and we can all move on.” Edwards started writing BALLS in 2012, and it took four years to get it published. “That’s almost as long as it took to make my penis,” he joked, “and at times it was a lot more painful.” But, “I wanted to write a book that would help change perceptions and give people a more accurate picture — that there are all kinds of transgender people,” he said. The culture is beginning to shift toward acceptance, but trans people, he explained,

have typically been portrayed as deviants or freaks. And even Caitlyn Jenner, who transitioned in the public eye, is not relatable because she’s a celebrity, Edwards added. In telling his story, Edwards’s goal is twofold: he hopes to educate, and to serve as an example of a regular guy who successfully transitioned. “Thankfully, my story has a happy ending,” he writes. “But I’m one of the lucky ones.” While promoting and talking about the book, he’s heard from parents of trans teens who appreciate the message that their children can live a fulfilling life. “If they can envision that, they’re more likely to be supportive,” Edwards said. “And if the child who is trans can envision that, they’re less likely to try to kill themselves.” Edwards is donating a portion of the book proceeds to a scholarship fund at Camp Aranu’tiq, a summer camp in New Hampshire “where [transgender] kids can meet people who are like them and not worry about being bullied or what bathroom to use, they can wear whatever they want, and just have peace,” he said. His family donated money to help the camp purchase a permanent place last year; previously, they were renting space from other camps. On Sundays in the main dining room — named Edwards Hall — they serve chicken and pilaf, “because that was my family’s tradition, and I came out to my family during one of those dinners,” he said. Check out BALLS for a complete picture of Edwards’s transition and more of his lively tales — being upstaged by a backyard mole while coming out to his family, informing his company’s stakeholders in “the board-doom,” dating a member of the Nashville bikini team, and (a significant rite of passage) learning how to pee standing up.

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STRANGER THAN FICTION IN HER DOCUMENTARIES, PENNY LANE* TURNS REALISM ON ITS EAR “A door will open that had always been closed to you: a door to a new dimension in your awareness of the nature of life.” This line from Professor Penny Lane’s newest documentary, Just Add Water, is about Sea-Monkeys (yes, you read that right), but it could also describe Lane’s work. For example, Just Add Water starts out as a cheerful chronicle of Harold von Braunhut and his inventions, which included the Amazing Sea-Monkeys, X-Ray Specs, and other novelties that were advertised in comic books in the ’60s and ’70s. But the movie changes tone when von Braunhut’s dark secret is revealed.

“PEOPLE ARE COMPLICATED. LIFE IS COMPLICATED.” As the voiceover of von Braunhut says in the movie, “People are complicated. Life is complicated.” That theme also occurs in Lane’s two feature films. With Our Nixon (2013), “I made a movie about Richard Nixon’s aides that asked to have empathy for them, not because they were good guys who did good stuff, but because they’re people!" she told Paste magazine last summer. "They are human beings.” Likewise, NUTS! (2016) told the story of “goat-gland doctor” John Romulus Brinkley. She said, “Brinkley had a lot of bad aspects of humanity … but I also do believe that he was trying to build a better life for his son. He’s a person. I don’t think it’s controversial to ask people to feel empathy for even really bad people, you know?” Whether she’s focusing on questionable characters, a cosmic love story (The Voyagers, 2010), or Emily Dickinson (The Wren, 2007), Lane presents the complex tapestries that make us human. Lane came to Colgate in 2013 and released Our Nixon shortly after. Called “ingenious” by New York Times critic A.O. Scott and a “must-see” by Variety, the film came under fire by pundit Ben Stein for being misrepresentative. In Our Nixon and her other films, Lane uses creative license in the editing and storytelling processes, which her critics claim blurs the lines of a documentary. For example, in NUTS!, a wild ride of a film about a charlatan, Lane herself “cons” the audience. “The con man operates the same way as a documentary filmmaker does, on a scale,” she told Paste. “You’re taking little pieces of the truth and you’re wrapping them up in a story, and there’s an inherently fictionalized aspect of any story.” “The best works of art nearly always do what Penny Lane does,” English professor Jennifer Brice said about NUTS! at its Hamilton screening. “They unsettle us.” 36

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Penny Lane’s Just Add Water reveals the dark secret of Harold von Braunhut, inventor of the Amazing SeaMonkeys. The movie was released online in December as part of a CNN Films collaboration at GreatBig

Lane is now working on a documentary about Nellie Bly, the pioneering 19thcentury journalist, for The Center for Investigative Reporting. The difficulty with this film, Lane explained, is trying to learn who Bly was beyond the factual information available. “Nellie Bly is a feminist icon,” Lane said. “[But] it’s very telling that all the books about her are for children, because that’s the level of understanding we have of who she was. So I’m reading all of her writing and trying to find something about her voice.” The lack of visual assets also presents a hurdle with historical subjects like Bly — as with Brinkley and von Braunhut. “I have a great knack for picking stories from history for which there are no moving images,” Lane joked.

“THE BEST WORKS OF ART NEARLY ALWAYS DO WHAT PENNY LANE DOES. THEY UNSETTLE US.” — English professor Jennifer Brice at the NUTS! Hamilton showing

In NUTS! (above and right), Lane uses both archival footage and animation to tell the story of John Romulus Brinkley, "the goat-gland doctor."

Her colleagues would argue that this is part of what’s earned her recognition. “[She] is on the cutting edge in terms of combining archival images, sound recordings, animation by many different animators, using a lot of strategies to fill in when there is no visual documentation,” Jaime Baron, a film studies professor at the University of Alberta, told Cinefiles and film professionals alike have become fascinated with Lane and her work — to the point where she herself has become a character study. In the interview on the following pages, originally published in Slant magazine, Lane talks more about how she approaches filmmaking. — Aleta Mayne

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Let’s get the name out of the way. Were your parents hippies? No. They were just teenagers with the last name Lane. It wasn’t that thought out. Lois Lane was another option, so all I can do is be happy that they didn’t go with [that].

WITH PENNY LANE, art and art history professor

Your movies aren’t quite documentaries in the traditional sense. How do you describe your work?

Mark DiOrio

This is what I think about all the time. I went to art school and studied video art and experimental film. Then I started making things that seemed more like documentaries than experimental film, but I’m still a little bit between those two idioms. It’s, like, experimental in the mainstream doc world, but in the experimental film world, it’s accessible. I like to be on the periphery. My role model is Banksy, who made Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is a profoundly influential film on me. That film achieved something that I knew I wanted to do as a filmmaker, but had never really seen, which was to make an accessible, funny, entertaining movie that was also film-nerd catnip. It was formally so strange and out there that to this day I’m still having arguments with people about whether this edit was a lie or not, or whether Banksy exists. It also has lots of ideas in it, but if you’re just going to be a casual film viewer, you can just enjoy the movie as a movie. That gave me hope, because I had it in my head that I wanted to do that.

* NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH: Pennie Lane, a groupie. Penny Lane, a Beatles song. Penny Lane, a street in England. From her website,

You seem like someone who’s pursued what you love from an early age. I’ve always been pretty good at inventing my own life and coming up with my own path through it, but the filmmaking stuff didn’t start until I was a little older. I started making video art when I was about 22 or 23. It actually feels very gradual and slow. Hopefully it’ll keep changing the same way, where 10 years from now I’ll look back and see how it all relates, but what I’m doing then will be something totally different than what I’m doing now.

How have you made the money part work? [As a] professor, I’ve never had to be a professional filmmaker. And I have a salary, so I can take risks. It turns out that the two features that I’ve made have been financially successful, but that was a surprise. Our Nixon, I thought, was totally weird. I thought no one would get it. And [Nuts!], I thought, was so much weirder. It was very hard to explain it, and it’s very hard to pitch it. In the process of making it, I didn’t feel like the whole world was [saying], “You have to make this film.” Most of that had to come from me. It was very hard to maintain the energy to keep it going and get it done.


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So much of your work is created with archival footage. I read in one of your interviews that you hate to point a camera at people, so I’m wondering: How much do you use archival footage because of that and how much is it because there’s something you love about the discovery process of going through old footage — or finding good source material of other kinds? It’s all of that. It’s my reticence to point cameras at people. And, as an artist, you choose your challenges, and for whatever reason, negotiating access to a subject isn’t a challenge that I want to be staying up at night worrying about. Figuring out how to take a pile of old ads and turn it into a movie is more interesting to me. Or maybe I’m a little more comfortable in it. I’m a little bit of a control freak, so being alone in my house without having to negotiate all that stuff feels really good. Doing archival research is like what most of my peers do when they go out and film. You’re discovering, and it’s beautiful and exciting. You have to keep an open mind but at the same time keep an eye on your plan. Because you can get very lost in an archive, but also you should be open to something showing up and entering the picture that you weren’t looking for. So it’s really not that different.

One of the things NUTS! is about is how to think critically while watching a movie. You’re challenging your viewers to question what is and isn’t true. Absolutely! People don’t always get that documentaries have a director. They have no idea that these movies are contingent on who’s making it, what questions they ask, what materials are available to them at the moment that they asked it, what happened in the edit room, their mood that day. With this film I wanted to make it as clear as possible that Penny Lane is a person, and she has made choices. To the point where you see my hands, literally, moving the archival material around in one scene. And if you watch the film with attention — which not everyone will, which is fine — you’ll definitely think, by the end: “Well, wait a minute! Didn’t she tell me this? And was that not true?” That kind of feeling, I think, can be really productive. Which is why I think the true crime genre is actually quite good for documentary. Making a Murderer. The Jinx. Serial. Audiences get very engaged in researching the subject and saying, “Wait a minute! They left this out,” because we’re trying to solve the murder or whatever. It’s the one area where I see where the general public does get very invested in questions like authorial intent and editing and shaping.

Yeah. I wanted some goat cameos. That was definitely part of the instructions. This is another thing we couldn’t have anticipated: We didn’t know goats were going to become cool. Chickens were cool when I started the movie, and now chickens are totally out and goats are what’s cool. So I was, like, we’ve gotta put more goats in the movie. I’m kidding. But no, I always had this idea that Brinkley had a crowd of fans around him, even if you couldn’t see them. His wife was always standing next to him, and nearby would be his supporters, and there would always be a goat there. We just thought that would be funny. The thing about animation is that you can do a lot of things that would be cost-prohibitive if you were shooting them. Like, you can make a plane explode. Doesn’t cost any more dollars than to not have the plane explode. I tried to take advantage of that, so we could have big set pieces at a party or dream sequences or these really fantastical elements. Those are mostly dialed down, because it’s a documentary and they need to somewhat read as real for the movie to work. But we did try to take advantage of at least some gags.

Is the animation why it took so long to make NUTS!? Oh, absolutely. The movie was basically done two years ago, but with no pictures where pictures need to be. It was very frustrating. I want to keep making films the way I’d been doing it at least sometimes, which is having complete freedom and no [financial] support. I think it’s worked out pretty well for me so far, doing it that way. I’m a little worried about what will happen if I don’t make them that way. And I’ve vowed to myself that I’ll never make a film again where the engine of the film is something that I cannot do myself.

The Voyagers is my favorite of your films. I read somewhere that it was your favorite, too. Is it still? Oh yeah. It’s the best thing that I ever made. It’s because I made it for one person. Frank O’Hara wrote a quasi-joke of a manifesto called Personism, where he talks about how poets should only address a poem to one person because this will remove all the artifacts and will make it really about this active communication that we say it is, but really it’s [usually] more about posturing. I made that film for my then-fiancé to show at my wedding, with no intention of ever showing it to anyone else, ever again. This was a gift for one person.

THE BUZZ “A ridiculous enjoyable ode to old, weird America.” — the Guardian on NUTS! One of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012 “Surprising and artistically keen… eerie, beautiful.” — The Washington Post on Our Nixon Winner of the 2006 Choice USA Generation Award: The Abortion Diaries “Her projects are slow burns, so she’s not prolific. But her deliberate way of working means she thoroughly researches her subjects, looking at them from every angle until she feels she can trust what she thinks and wants to say.” —

And then later, he said, “It’s really good. You should probably show it.” And I [said,] “No way. It’s so personal!” I started showing it maybe six months after the wedding, but it was absolutely made for one person. At this point, I probably make the films that I make for the five people who I care about and trust and value the most. One of those five people is me, obviously. I think that’s a good way to go. Because you’re not going to please everybody, and if you try to do that you’re going to fail and make a bad movie. The danger is that you’ll try to anticipate every question anyone might have and answer all of them. . — Interview by Elise Nakhnikian of Slant magazine

Penny Lane at the Hamilton showing of NUTS!, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a special jury prize for editing. Lane screened NUTS! at the Hamilton Theater and participated in a Q&A as part of Colgate's Living Writers series last fall.

Mark DiOrio

Goats keep popping up like Waldo in the animated sequences in NUTS! Is that something you told all your animators that you wanted?

REEL EXPERIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM “It is much, much easier not to make films,” Penny Lane wrote in a recent Filmmaker magazine article. “[I tell my students] the best thing they can learn is how to fool themselves that their great idea will be ‘easy, fun, and fast,’ because that’s what will convince you to say yes, and then to learn to cope when it’s none of those things.” Lane’s statement is tongue in cheek, but she does spend a lot of time with students on creating art “that motivates them — makes them want to stay up working on [it] all night because it’s fun,” she said. Whether she’s laying the groundwork in her intro to video art course or overseeing senior studio art projects, Lane encourages her students to base their work on “genuine interests, not what you think your professor wants you to do.” Students have also benefited from real-world experience with Lane — she hires them as research assistants on her own projects. “As a result, our students have gained tremendous insight into documentary practice, aesthetics, and ethics, as well as the filmmaking process more generally,” said film and media studies professor Mary Simonson. Furthermore, because of Lane’s connection to the world of documentary filmmaking and her presence on the film festival circuit, “she has a keen sense of the most exciting new work that’s being made, [so] we’ve been able to invite a wide range of independent filmmakers to campus,” Simonson added. “[It] has significantly enriched our film and media studies curriculum.”

News and views for the Colgate community



scene: Winter 2017

Andrew Daddio

News and views for the Colgate community


The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to offer many ways for alumni to stay in touch with each other, and with Colgate! E-mail me with questions or concerns at tmansfield@colgate. edu. – Tim Mansfield, associate vice president, institutional advancement and alumni relations Questions? Contact alumni relations: 315-228-7433 or


scene: Winter 2017

John Zich

stay connected

Alumni programs, volunteer opportunities, career networking, and more

Professor Tim Byrnes on 2016 election Ten years ago, my husband, Chris Hurley ’81, had an idea. To engage with Colgate on an intellectual level, we would invite a professor to Chicago for a cocktail party and lecture. For a pair of Colgate political science majors — and parents of another (Matt ’12 and Dan ’12) — the subject was obvious: American politics. A professor could bring intellectual rigor and deep knowledge of American history to a topic that affects everyone. For most of these last 10 years, Professor Tim Byrnes has been our guest, lecturing about presidential politics. (Last year, Professor Nina Moore switched it up by giving a fascinating and timely lecture about immigration policy — see her report in the winter 2016 Scene.) We have seen Tim slash the whiteboard with what he calls “the primary cleavage” dividing the major political parties, namely the role of the federal government in ameliorating the economic downturns of the business cycle. He has described the life cycle of political parties: how a dominant party moves from unified to fragmented, until finally its

members end up in a “circular firing squad.” Then, the other party gains power and begins the cycle again. Although this lecture is now a regular event on our calendar, 2016 was quite irregular. A record 150 people came on December 2 to hear how Donald J. Trump had beaten most predictions — including Tim’s. Had the primary cleavage changed? Had the Democratic Party prematurely exhausted itself? It was a more serious evening than usual, and the weight of the election felt heavy in the room. Tim held strong to his original analysis, though, and noted that some remarkable and unique circumstances affected enough votes in key states to change the result. (By the way, none of this has helped improve his opinion of the Electoral College.) We look forward to continuing the conversation next year with Tim. We may need a stadium to hold all of the attendees. In the meantime, we remain grateful to him, and to Colgate, for the power of a Colgate liberal arts education in fostering the conversations and critical thinking essential to a democracy. — Becky Hurley ’81

“Had the primary cleavage changed? Had the Democratic Party prematurely exhausted itself? It was a more serious evening than usual, and the weight of the election felt heavy in the room.”

Mark DiOrio (2) Left: panelists (L to R) Geoff Holm, Gregg Fine ’94, Carin Rollins ’94, Wayne Feinstein ’74, and Tom White P’17. Above: Holm speaks with an attendee.

Discussing cancer immunotherapy Colgate community members are at the forefront of cancer research, both on the medical and development sides of the field. On November 14, Colgate Professional Networks hosted a panel conversation on cancer immunotherapy in San Francisco. The discussion, moderated by associate biology professor Geoff Holm, focused on the progress being made in immuno-oncology, as well as issues of access, affordability, and ethics. Gregg Fine ’94, senior medical director at Genentech, opened the talk by explaining that the goal of immunotherapy is to harness the power of the immune system to treat cancer. “Our bodies have checkpoints to keep our immune system working properly, but cancer cells can coopt these mechanisms to fight off the immune system,” Fine said. Immune checkpoint inhibitors block the checkpoint pathways and essentially release the brakes of the immune system, allowing it to attack cancer cells. In and around the field of oncology, there is a “hope vs. hype” debate over the value of immunotherapeutic research. Those on the “hope” side believe that the potential of immunotherapeutic drugs makes the cost worthwhile, but skeptics believe that the hype distracts researchers and investors from other potentially successful therapies. “Immuno-oncology is the next big wave in cancer research,” said Carin Rollins ’94, the CEO of Hinge Bio. “It has huge, untapped potential, beyond the amazing good that it’s doing already.” One of the issues that causes skepticism is the scarcity of funding. Wayne Feinstein ’74, senior vice president of Capital Group’s Private Client Services and founder of the Gastric Cancer Foundation, noted that federal budget constraints make research difficult. Tom White P’17 emphasized the importance of venture capital groups investing in researchers and forming foundations to fund them. “If not for small, focused research foundations, there would be a lot of top scientists who couldn’t find enough funding to begin to do their work,” he said. The panel discussion was live streamed for students in the National Institutes of Health Study Group and the Colgate community worldwide. Watch it at immunotherapy.

“Immuno-oncology is the next big wave in cancer research. It has huge, untapped potential, beyond the amazing good that it’s doing already.” — Carin Rollins ’94

It’s time to get in-tents Take a vacation with thousands of fellow Colgate University alumni — join us under the tents for Reunion 2017, June 1–4. You’ll see familiar faces and experience traditional events like your class banquet, tent entertainment, Reunion College, our welcome-back lunch and barbecue dinner, the Alumni Awards ceremony, Torchlight parade, and fireworks. Registration is now open! Visit to choose your favorite reunion package, designed to meet your travel needs, and we’ll see you on Whitnall Field.


L.A. story It happened on Sunday, October 23, at Book Soup, a wellknown independent bookstore on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. A series of Colgate authors read excerpts from their recent publications: Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik ’73 from his new book, Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex; Kevin Glynn ’76 from his novel, Tyrannosaurus Sex; Chris Edwards ’91 from BALLS, It Takes Some to Get Some (see pg. 30); and Mary Anna King ’04 from Bastards: A Memoir. Sponsored by the Colgate Entertainment Group, the event further established the fact that “the Maroon Mafia” is thriving in Hollywood — with its own unique voice.

2017 Alumni Council Nominees

The Alumni Council, upon recommendation of its nominating committee, has approved the following slate of alumni for election at Reunion 2017. The candidates, chosen from approximately 300 alumni, have strong records of varied Colgate volunteer service, a consistent history of giving financial support to Colgate, and meaningful personal or professional accomplishments or contributions to the greater community. Complete information about the election and challenge petition process, as well as full biographies of the nominees, are posted at colgate. edu/2017candidates. Paper copies are available by calling 315-228-7433, or by sending an e-mail to

Era I: Bernard S. Siegel ’53 Era II: Timothy A. O'Neill ’78 Era III: Jon D. Tiktinsky ’82 Era IV: Karl W. Clauss ’90 Era V: Becky Bye ’02 Era VI: Shevorne O. Martin ’08 Era VII: Ian J. Murphy ’10

At-Large: Debra S. LoCastro ’05 At-Large: Robert Austrian ’85

L to R: Chris Edwards '91, Mary Anna King '04, and Michael Hiltzik '73 at Book Soup in Los Angeles News and views for the Colgate community



Rewind A philosophy major, I took my freshman core philosophy and religion course, as well as a course in existentialism and at least one other course, from Professor Hartshorne. He was known then as Steve Hartshorne (I don’t think I ever knew that his full name was Marion Holmes Hartshorne).

Steve was an ordained minister and served as the college chaplain. I only met his wife, Ruth, on one occasion, but I am inspired to write this after reading that she just passed away at the young age of 103.

13 Words (or fewer) Submit your creative, clever, or humorous caption of 13 words or fewer for this vintage Colgate photo by March 1 to or attn: Colgate Scene, 13 Oak Dr., Hamilton, NY 13346. The winner will receive a Colgate Scene T-shirt, and the winning caption will be announced next issue.

Steve undertook the manly job of carving the turkey at the table, and I remember him struggling with the task. After a few frustrating minutes, he said: “I sure wish these birds were not put together so firmly.” Ruth responded: “Well, dear, you know who to speak to.”

Clipped from

February 16, 1967

“Separate But Equal: University Committee Finds Co-ordinate College Beneficial”

The admission of women to the University would have numerous beneficial effects, the committee states. A wider range of interests would permit an enlarged cultural program. Also, increased enrollment in such departments as


I remember her as a very gracious and attractive lady of about 40. It was on Thanksgiving of either 1952 or 1953, and I was one of the few boarding students in the philosophy department who did not go home for the holiday. Steve and Ruth kindly invited me into their home to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember feeling very much at ease with them.

scene: Winter 2017

Fine Arts would tend to improve and enlarge their course offerings. [It was] noted that females tend to have higher academic credentials then [sic] their male counterparts in a coordinate college situation proposed for the University.

— Phil Brooks ’54, Southport, Maine

Do you have a reminiscence for Rewind? Send your submission of short prose, poetry, or a photograph with a description to

Above: With a 139–97 win against Niagara University in November, the women’s swimming and diving team had nine first-place finishes. Photo by Zoe Zhong ’17 Back cover: Melting snow is a mid-winter tease. Photo by Andrew Daddio

News and views for the Colgate community

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Winter Scene 2017  

The Scene is published by Colgate University four times a year — in autumn, winter, spring, and summer.

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