GOOD WORK A Whirlwind Tour of the Human-Powered Knox Experience
HOW IT FEELS TO BE HERE Well, it feels like you’re living with 1,200 people from places you’ve never heard of, who have ideas you’ve never thought of, who can tell stories you’ve never heard, and who are, at the same time, a lot like you: passionate, collaborative, unapologetically smart, interested in everything. It feels busy but not chaotic, productive but not relentless, philosophical but not pretentious, friendly but not shallow. It feels like a place where good people do great work and don’t make a huge deal about it, because there is more great work to be done. You know how it feels? It feels human. We’re a human-powered community. We do work that powers the world.
“EVERYONE I MET AT KNOX WAS INTERESTED IN ME AS A PERSON. And I was interested in them, too. Knox really draws a lot of friendly, passionate people, and that struck me as something special that I could be a part of. Being an editor has also been a great source of inspiration for me; seeing the work that everyone else is doing on campus really makes writing more fun and pushes me to do more.”
Katana Smith came to Knox from Aurora, Colorado, to major in creative writing and also to be part of a community constantly buzzing with new ideas. Of course, she worked as an editor at Catch—that’s Knox’s award-winning literary magazine. But she was also an editor at Cellar Door, where all submissions are accepted, and the real work comes from working closely with authors to polish their stories and poems for publication.
5 PROJECTS THAT EMBODY THE SPIRIT OF KNOX 1. SPENDING WINTER BREAK AT AN IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER Stephanie was part of a group of Spanish students who accompanied Professor Robin Ragan to the South Texas Family Detention Center as volunteers, filing documents, leading information sessions, and working with detainees to prepare for their asylum interviews. “You never realize the importance of listening until you meet someone who doesn’t have a voice.” Stephanie Martinez-Calderon, Chicago, Illinois, economics
2. WRITING AND RECORDING AN ALBUM OF COMIC LOVE SONGS Playing guitar, kazoo, harmonica, piano, and violin (“I’m awful,” he says), Adam recently released his debut album, Fairytale Beginnings. “All fairy tales are so unsatisfying when they end. But the beginnings have so much potential, anything could happen.” Adam Roth, Miami, Florida, education
3. BUILDING AN ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT “CO-AUTHOR”
4. FINDING NEW WAYS TO TREAT DEPRESSION
Franziska wanted to explore the political and aesthetic ramifications of computer-generated art for her senior Honors project. So she wrote a computer program that independently generated poetry and prose, then used fragments as the foundation for her own creative writing. She found her program was a better poet than fiction writer. “I revised lines and added stanzas, but generally adhered to whatever ‘subject’ the computer appeared to construct.”
After reading studies where people with depression experienced positive effects from a single lab-controlled psychedelic experience up to 14 months later, Jassmine set out to re-create those treatments using virtual reality headsets instead of chemicals. The results were promising. “I think it can lead to positive effects, especially for people who can’t find relief from conventional antidepressants.”
Franziska Hofhansel, Providence, Rhode Island, creative writing
Jassmine Jassmine, Sundar Nagar, India, psychology
5. FOUNDING AN ATHLETICS NONPROFIT TO “CHANGE THE CULTURE” Jordan started Ball4All as a high school junior because he saw the value of organized sports in his own life and wanted to share those opportunities with others. “There are so many kids with great potential in many fields that have it cut short either due to the environment they live in or the lack of opportunities.” Jordan Rayner, St. Louis, Missouri, business and management
“THE MOST SURPRISING PART IS I’M MORE DRIVEN THAN EVER BEFORE. I got an internship to work on a computational biology project in the Mason Lab at the Weill Cornell Medical College, looking at DNA methylation patterns and developing a program that will use this data to designate the age of a tissue sample.” Samuel Hernandez just completed a degree in biochemistry with a minor in anthropology and sociology and a minor in chemistry. By the end of his first year at Knox, he had already learned to use a surgical drill, read EKGs, and suture wounds. By the time he was a junior, he was working on computational genetics. Now he’s a post-baccalaureate researcher at the National Institutes of Health and planning on graduate studies in biomedical research.
THE FACTS Top
35% students of color 19% international 45 states 49 countries
most diverse liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News & World Report
Power of Experience Grant for all students Student to faculty ratio: 11 to 1 Average class size: 14
of students participate in off-campus study
courses of study 89% of students pursue independent research or creative work
MAJORS & MINORS Africana Studies American Studies Anthropology & Sociology Archaeology Art •Design Art History Arts Administration Asian Studies Astronomy Biochemistry* Biology* Business & Management Chemistry* Chinese Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies •Classical Languages Computer Science* Creative Writing Dance Data Science
Earth Science Economics Educational Studies •Elementary •Secondary •Special Content Areas English Literature Environmental Science* Environmental Studies Film Studies French Gender & Women’s Studies German Health Studies History International Relations International Studies Japanese Journalism Latin American Studies Mathematics* •Statistics
Modern Languages Music Neuroscience* Peace & Justice Studies Philosophy Physics* Political Science Psychology* Religious Studies Self-Designed Studies Social Service Spanish Theatre •Design & Technology •Directing •Dramatic Literature & History •Performance •Playwriting *These programs offer both B.A. and B.S. degree options.
100% of students pursue experiential learning
18 NCAA Division III teams
student-run clubs and organizations
Top producer of Fulbright Fellows
DIVISION III ATHLETIC TEAMS Baseball m Basketball m, w Cross Country m, w Football m Golf m, w Indoor Track and Field m, w Outdoor Track and Field m, w Soccer m, w Softball w Swimming and Diving m, w Volleyball w
Top 4% of national liberal arts colleges producing successful Ph.D. candidates
PRE-PROFESSIONAL & OTHER PROGRAMS Business Engineering Law Medicine Nursing Occupational Therapy Optometry First Year Preceptorial College Honors Peace Corps Preparatory Program Sports Studies (courses) Teacher Certification
Recognized as one of the Colleges That Change Lives ctcl.org
2019 Forbes Grateful Grads Index: one of the top private colleges in the nation where alumni feel they got a great return on their investment
“IF THERE ISN’T A DOOR FOR ME TO GO THROUGH, I’LL CREATE IT MYSELF. Before the pandemic, I’d been teaching fourth grade and keeping up with my video production as much as possible. I took my passions—what I do outside of school and then what I do in school as an educator—and combined them.”
Cortney Hill ’17 majored in political science and business, but during a Fulbright fellowship in Malaysia, he discovered a gift for teaching. When the pandemic temporarily shut down the school where he worked, he responded to the uncertainty by leveraging his filmmaking experience to start Jr Film Academy, offering summer programs that teach elementary school kids about visual storytelling. (Did we mention he’s also an alum of Knox’s StartUp Term?)
5 PEOPLE WHO GRADUATED FROM KNOX AND BLAZED SOME KIND OF TRAIL 1. ALISON SNYDER-WARWICK, HELPING KIDS SMILE Alison always wanted to become a doctor, but she was surprised by how much she enjoyed her rotation in plastic surgery. “I thought it would teach me good surgical technique. And then I found it was nothing like I thought it would be.” As a pediatric plastic surgeon, she is particularly interested in treating facial paralysis, but she also performs surgeries on congenital defects to the lip and palate, traumatic injuries, and cancer. Alison Snyder-Warwick ’00, director, Facial Nerve Institute at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
4. JOSH TVRDY, FINDING HIS OWN VOICE Josh arrived at Knox struggling to reconcile his sexual identity with his strong religious faith. It was a topic that his creative writing professors encouraged him to explore in his poetry—and he has, with great success. Recently, he won the prestigious Pushcart Prize for his poem, “The Out-&-Proud Boy Passes the Baseball Boy.” “It’s humbling and it’s thrilling, it’s flabbergasting. It’s just joyful.” Josh Tvrdy ’17, poet and recent graduate of North Carolina State University’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program
2. SAM JARVIS, FIGHTING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
3. JORDAN LANFAIR, FEEDING THE PEOPLE
As a community health manager in Johnson County, Iowa, Sam was ready to help citizens stop smoking, ensure they could get tested for Hepatitis-C and HIV, and keep an eye on potential outbreaks of infectious diseases like mumps and measles. When he suddenly found himself at the center of a growing COVID-19 outbreak, he drew upon his Knox education to educate the public, organize contact tracing, and slow the spread. “Public health primarily plays the role of strategist or ‘connector and convener,’ It’s a broad interdisciplinary field.”
When the pandemic shut down Chicago public schools, many students found themselves without a regular source of meals. Lanfair helped start #FeedthePeople. In less than two months, they served more than 15,000 meals and are making plans to distribute produce and canned goods to families twice a month. “Our goal is to allow people the space to make their groceries stretch, because we know that a lot of people are one paycheck away from losing everything or being unable to work. It’s just very tenuous times.”
Sam Jarvis ’09, community health division manager, Johnson County Public Health
Jordan Lanfair ’11, manager of academic and social-emotional support, Golden Apple
5. ARIYANA SMITH, MAKING HISTORY In 2014, as a member of the women’s basketball team, Ariyana became the first athlete in the country to protest police violence during the playing of the national anthem. It was a choice that made many in the Knox community uncomfortable—but it was also a sign of things to come. Now she’s working to inspire change on a larger scale, running programs that prepare young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become community leaders. Ariyana Smith ’16, program manager, Public Allies
A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE RESOURCES 1. BASTIAN FAMILY CENTER FOR CAREER SUCCESS
6. VOVIS CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND ADVANCED STUDY
Helps you imagine the ways in which all of the things you’re doing—research and service, athletics and internships, on and on—could work together to get you where you’d like to go.
Helps you get funding for independent research, scholarship, and creative work; or, a little later, apply for post-graduate fellowships (e.g., Fulbright, National Science Foundation).
7. GIZMO A short-order restaurant attached to Seymour Union, serving signature entrees and grab-and-go options. Home of the Prairie Fire Starter breakfast. The not-so-secret heart of campus.
2. E. & L. ANDREW FITNESS CENTER Our 13,000-square-foot athletic training facility, open to all. Includes a cardio exercise area, free weight training area, fitness studio, and top-of-the-line equipment.
12. KNOX JAZZ YEAR In the fall and winter, working musicians come to campus to give private lessons and jam with students. Each week, jam sessions with the faculty/student Cherry Street Combo, bursting into joyous sound each spring with the citywide Rootabaga Jazz Festival.
14. PRE-PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS Advice and guidance if you’re planning to pursue business, engineering, environmental science, medicine, more. Random fact: In a typical year, 80% of our seniors who apply to medical school are accepted (the national average is 50%).
3. GALESBURG, ILLINOIS Our hometown. A small city (pop. 33,000) at the center of a national railroad network. Home to good coffee and great pizza, natural food and less-natural food, live music, and friendly, enterprising people.
4. IMMERSIVE LEARNING Examining a topic from every angle. Maybe even getting a little obsessed. Examples: StartUp Term, spring break trips built around exploring careers in technology or healthcare or nonprofit management, marine anatomy courses taught off the coast of Maine.
8. GREEN OAKS Our 700-acre biological field station, 20 miles from campus. The second oldest prairie restoration site in the country. A place to do research, go hiking and canoeing, wander, wonder.
9. KLEINE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE Coordinates hundreds of students doing thousands of hours of service every year. Regular recipient of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award.
10. KNOXCORPS A Knox innovation, modeled after the Peace Corps. Places current students and recent graduates in positions with local and regional organizations.
11. KNOX FARM 5. OUR FACULTY Real people with full lives who happen to be inventive teachers and tireless researchers and lifelong mentors. They will know you as a complete person.
Tiny but mighty. An acre for outdoor growing, plus two high tunnels, on a residential block 110 yards from Knox Dining Services. Provides food for campus, research opportunities, general green-ness.
15. SERIOUS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH, INTERNSHIPS, AND MORE Every student receives a $2,000 Power of Experience grant they can use to conduct research or pursue a creative project. So you graduate from Knox with proof that you can effectively launch your own intellectual start-up.
16. STELLYES CENTER FOR GLOBAL STUDIES Oversees Knox-only study abroad programs and dozens of Knoxapproved programs around the world. About half of our students study off-campus.
17. UNION BOARD The student organization in charge of producing campus events—concerts, comedians, game nights, meatless haiku contests. Well-funded and highly visible.
“I DIDN’T THINK I WOULD GET THIS OPPORTUNITY. And Knox was like, ‘It’s gonna be okay.’ If studying abroad is a thing that you’re looking to do, Knox really, really, really cares about it. The director of the Stellyes Center for Global Studies really, really cares about each and every one of her prospective students, and she wants everyone to go abroad. ‘Oh, you want to go here? We could go here and here and here.’ It’s kind of overwhelming, but it’s exciting.”
Sadie Cheney wants to be a journalist, so she was excited to spend an entire term in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, interviewing European women for an independent research project while taking classes in her major, Gender and Women’s Studies. Knox helped her apply for and win a Gilman Scholarship to provide funding for the experience.
Office of Admission 2 East South Street Galesburg, IL 61401-4999 knox.edu
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