Scope Spring 2012

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P R I Z E:




Scope SPRING 2012 Volume 42, Number 3 VICE PRESIDENT F O R A D VA N C E M E N T


Dan Forbush EDITOR

Susan Rosenberg A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R


Mary Monigan DESIGNERS

Michael Malone Maryann Teale Snell WRITERS

Kathryn Gallien Bob Kimmerle Peter MacDonald Maryann Teale Snell Andrea Wise EDITORIAL OFFICES

Office of Communications Skidmore College 815 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 phone: 518-580-5747 fax: 518-580-5748 online: SKIDMORE COLLEGE

Main number: 518-580-5000 Alumni Affairs and College Events: 518-580-5670 Communications: 518-580-5733 Admissions: 518-580-5570 or 800-867-6007 Scope is published by Skidmore College for alumni, parents, and friends. Printed on recycled paper (10% postconsumer)


piece of mind




CAR E E R PL AN N IN G 1 01 How Skidmore is revamping its career services for students—and alumni—of all ages

5 SkidNews de-inked


R ISK Y BUSIN ESS IN BIO 1 05 Experimenting with intensive, small-team learning in a huge freshman lecture


SUCCESS IS SLIPPE RY Faculty roundtable: What defines “success”? For whom, and why?


CLUBBIN G In campus activities, students find success is all about sharing and belonging

10 hands-on career help


TE ACHE R , PR E ACHE R , BALE R , SAILOR . . . Q&As: Alumni in varied fields of work discuss their takes on success D E PARTME N TS


16 roundtable roundup 60 firearm fun? ON THE COVER: Creating success is about dreaming, learning, hard work, and good mentorship. See page 16. (Illustration by Jon Reinfurt)

Your summer getaway could help students like Michelle and Tim discover their potential.

Michelle Finan ’13 and Tim Brodsky ’14 are discovering novel treatments for type-2 diabetes and obesity during a summer research collaboration with Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences T. H. Reynolds.

You can donate your summer home (or other residence) to Skidmore and retain the right to live in the property during your lifetime. Your commitment provides a significant charitable income-tax deduction and supports programs at Skidmore like the summer faculty-student research program. Learn more about gifts of real estate at or by calling 518-580-5655

Gift pLanninG for Skidmore



Success—Skidmore style one’s human potential graduates taking their Typing “success” into Google Search in all its dimensions. In first steps toward a careturns “about 1,090,000,000 results.” his Ethics, Aristotle used reer was clearly articuMention the word to most Americans the Greek word eudailated during the “town and they likely will agree that this conmonia to denote the hall” meetings we held cept is central to our national psyche— highest sense of human several years ago. Particalthough they may well disagree on just flourishing or happiipants strongly and conhow to define it. No doubt, the concept ness. I would parse Arissistently reaffirmed the of success does take on various connotatotle’s concept to say value of a Skidmore edtions for different people, but it is possiS KIDMORE P RESIDENT P HILIP that such a life encomucation; yet they also ble to identify themes that recur across passes not only professaid we should do more A. G LOTZBACH many of these divergent perspectives. sional achievement but also civic reto help our students transition to the In this issue of Scope, we interrogate sponsibility and fulfilling personal relaworld after college—to enable them to the notion of success. Professor John tionships—a life of meaning marked by leverage their Skidmore education in Brueggemann, author of Rich, Free, and balance both within an individual and whatever path they might choose in the Miserable: The Failure of Success in Ameribetween that individual and the world. workforce or in graduate or professional ca, joins other faculty colleagues to disI invoked this notion eight years ago in education. These conversations led to a cuss meanings of success in our culture. Engaged Liberal Learning: The Plan for new initiative called “Transition and Campus-life staff members explain how Skidmore 2005–15, and I continue to beTransformation” that includes a broadthey support students’ personal developlieve it expresses very well our highest ranging overment. And several A LIBERAL EDUCATION PROVIDES hopes for our students. haul of our efaccomplished THE FOUNDATION FOR ACHIEVING Accordingly, the “Transition and forts to help our alumni are interSUCCESS IN ALL THESE DIMENTransformation” initiative also seeks to graduates realize viewed about sucSIONS: PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL, the promise of identify those activities most conducive cess in their proSOCIAL, AND SPIRITUAL. to the kind of personal and intellectual their education fessional and pertransformation critical to this ideal of through various kinds of career developsonal lives. I firmly believe that a liberal human flourishing. These transformative ment support. This issue of Scope outeducation provides our students the experiences, which we call “engaged liblines some of the new programs we are foundation for achieving success in all eral learning practices,” include small implementing, but I want to underscore these dimensions: personal, professionclasses, an emphasis on writing, and that these efforts are only the beginning. al, social, and spiritual. Helping our stuclose student-faculty interaction, as well We are committed to achieving the same dents develop their personal definition as student-faculty research collaboralevel of excellence in supporting our stuof success and giving them the tools to tions, study abroad, senior capstones, dents’ career development as we expect pursue it are integral to our work at service-learning courses, and internships. throughout the curriculum and our Skidmore. These experiences have been shown to cocurricular offerings. When we hear that someone has contribute disproportionately to the sucBut many of our graduates today been “successful,” what may first come cess of our students—both at Skidmore would emphasize that true success canto mind is financial security. These days and long afterward. While they are availnot be measured solely in terms of their the idea that a liberal education can lead able to all of our students, our analysis bank balance or stock portfolio. They to material prosperity is often greeted has shown that some of them could be want to do work that engages them and with some degree of skepticism. To my more deeply integrated into our stuprovides intrinsic satisfaction, not just mind, however, a liberal education still dents’ academic careers and that some work that pays them well. They want provides the best preparation for a prostudents’ financial circumstances prevent their lives to include a sense of meaning fessional life in a world marked by rapid them from accessing these opportunities. and purpose. They care deeply for the and profound change—a life likely to We are working to improve in both of well-being of others and want to leave encompass multiple careers in an ever these regards. As I consider what’s next behind a world better than the one they more globally integrated, multi-ethnic, for the College, it is clear that fostering found. So we must never lose sight of multilingual workplace. So, yes, Skidour graduates’ success—in all the dimenliberal education’s greatest promise to more remains a great launching pad for sions of that term—must remain our our students and, indeed, to us all: the a “successful” career. highest aspiration. promise of grounding a life that realizes The need to enhance our support for



Sex and psychotropics



its function? Does it provide energy or sexual motivation?” Whether presenting questions or answers, Lopez is known for sharing the research spotlight, even pushing his students to the front of stage. Each year he takes a few students to the Society for Neuroscience conference, where they present a poster summary of their research. “I have the students be the primary presenters,” he says. “Not many undergrads are presenting posters, so it’s a rare opportunity for them to learn about science as a profession and make important connections as they look toward grad school.” When a project produces strong results, López also encourages students to submit it for publication to a major peer-reviewed journal such as Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior or Hormones and Behavior. “We write it up together, but I have my students be listed as first author,” he says, adding that so far “we’ve had six or seven articles with student authors, so it’s been pretty successful.” —Jon Wurtmann ’78


“I rarely have trouble recruiting stuway, also called the motivation pathway. dents into my lab,” quips Hassan López, Trained in pharmacology, López is a Skidmore psychology professor. No also interested in social and sexual bewonder: his lab exposes rats to cannabihavior, and their intersection is what noids (similar to THC found in marijuadrives his main research agenda. Along na) and measures their sexual responses. with experimenting on rodents, he now Really. He studies the neuronal remodeluses human subjects in about half his ing that occurs in the critical years of work. His human studies do not use any adolescence, and controlled sub“AXONS SERVE AS WIRING how drug use might stances but do inBETWEEN NEURONS. affect reproductive volve sexual stimCANNABINOIDS CAN ALTER and social behavior uli, such as studies THOSE TRAJECTORIES, SO thereafter. of female hormonYOU GET A MISWIRED BRAIN.” “We’re looking at al responses to detrimental effects of cannabinoids,” emotional triggers. In a novel use of The López says. “We subject young rats to a Notebook and its matinee idol Ryan daily regimen of a synthetic cannabiGosling, Lopez has created a pasnoid, because we’re interested in replitiche of clips from the cating teenage use of marijuana during movie that he’s nickthis period when their brain is undergonamed his “attractiveing significant development. We’re tryman video.” For most ing to determine whether it has permaof his female subjects, nent, long-term effects on their emosimple saliva-chemtional behavior or mental health.” istry tests reveal eleDevelopmental neuroscience has vated levels of been changing its focus from neonatal testosterone and cordevelopment to adolescent brain develtisol within 20 minutes opment, and López is right in step with of seeing the video. this shift. “There’s a lot of research com“We’re seeing a clear horing out now that indicates a likely possimonal response,” he says, bility that heavy early use of cannabi“but what is it noids can increase the likelihood of designaling? veloping schizophrenia and certain What is other mental illnesses,” he says. It has to do with the ability of cannabinoids to alter how the brain grows. One example he offers: the drugs can actually change the orientations of neurons. He explains, “Neurons send out projections called axons that serve as connections, like wiring, between parts of the brain, and cannabinoids can alter the course of those trajectories, so you get a miswired brain.” Currently, López and his students are focusing on neurons in the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine path-

Skidmore News staff may still feel jitStill, the editors are thoughtful about few grumbles from students who liked to tery on Wednesdays—“the day that the pros and cons of the change. James grab the newspaper on their way into brought the dreaded 12-hour layout of was concerned that they guard against the dining hall. But just as many used to the paper,” recalls Brendan James ’12, complacency: “It’s not such a huge deal decline a print version because they were the editor-in-chief. But those weekly allif one story (or even two) doesn’t come already reading it online. By February nighters are gone, traded in for the onthrough one day, but once you start acthe Skidmore News boasted some 350 going deadlines of a digital daily. The News went to an online-only format last fall. In announcing the move, the editorial board shared high hopes for the new version and promised, “Should we fail miserably, the print edition may return next semester.” But they have not failed. Online page hits in the fall averaged 1,000 a day, reports managing editor Rebecca Orbach ’13. Of course they are saving a lot of money on paper and printing, but most important, she says, they are working to be a more timely and relevant news source. That means ONLINE JOURNALISTS BRENDAN JAMES ’12, BECCA ORBACH ’13, AND GABE WEINTRAUB ’13 keeping to a solid programming schedule while also seeking cepting that again and again, you find “likes” on Facebook and 500 Twitter folout and responding quickly to news as it yourself looking back at a week of no lowers. James was receiving many more happens. “There’s more day-to-day work output.” He says the stress, while not of requests to contribute columns from facnow,” says Orbach, but there’s a big paythe all-nighter variety, is perhaps “more ulty members and student organizations. off in timeliness. extensive and punishing.” He says, “We’re happy to serve that purEditors of the print edition had to Weintraub worried about “putting too pose, as a conduit through which new plan two weeks in advance, so if a story much of a burden on the section ediconversations and debates can spread broke midweek it was nearly impossible tors,” but says they’ve managed to find a across campus.” to cover until the following issue, and healthier balance. “We work more days Even the competition has been im“by then it would each week, but pressed. Skidmore Unofficial’s Rowley “IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO often be old news,” the time required Amato ’13 weighed in early, writing in CONVINCE MYSELF THAT says Gabe Weineach day is much October: “Ever since the old girl went IT WAS TIME TO LET GO traub ’12, managless.” A studio art digital, I’ve seen a higher standard of OF THE PAPER NEWS. ing editor and and computer scijournalism, better writing, and more BUT I FEEL STRONGLY THAT webmaster. The ence major, Weininteresting articles in general.” IT WAS FOR THE BEST.” Skidmore News uptraub had reSoon the editors plan to expand their graded its Web site in 2010 to accommodesigned the print edition last year. As impact through a mobile app and live date some daily postings, but Weintraub someone who cares a lot about typograblogging, even while James, indulging a says it became too much to manage both phy and what he calls tactile feedback, little inky nostalgia, admits to hoping print and online coverage. “We were reghe admits that “it was a struggle to conthat one day “the Skidmore News will reularly getting scooped by blogs like Skidvince myself that it was time to let go” turn to print and retain its new and immore Unofficial,” he says. “We recognized of the paper News. But, he adds, “I feel proved online component.” For now, that we’d never catch up if we mainpretty strongly that it was for the best.” “the campus authority since 1925” is a tained the current system.” So do a lot of readers. There were a decidedly 21st-century news daily. —KG




news, minus the paper

comedic gifts


Founded by 30 Rock producer David Miner ’91 and still hosted at Skidmore each year, the National College Comedy Festival is “like Christmas for comedy,”

says one performer. The 2012 ComFest (highlighted in the Feb. 5 New York Times) added a “Women in Comedy” panel discussion to the busy weekend of performances. From more than 50 student comedy teams, the Skidmore organizers chose just 18, representing 12 colleges from Bates and Brown to Vassar and Yale; the home team fielded Skidomedy, the Ad-Liberal Artists, and the Sketchies. Three professional troupes capped the student sets, and some of the pros also offered workshops in sketch and improv comedy. —SR THE SKIDMORE COLLEGE



s a Baltimore tourist in 1950s Cuba, NTUSA actor Ryan Bronz ’96 takes part in a campus tribute to William Kennedy, the Albany-born Pulitzer winner and leading light of the summer writers’ institutes at Skidmore. To celebrate Kennedy’s newest book, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, which involves Ernest Hemingway in Havana, Skidmore’s Salmagundi journal staff and others transformed the Surrey-Williamson Inn into a vintage Havana jazz club. During the course of the evening, the salon/happening featured a reading by Kennedy, live music, and scenes that Bronz and fellow actors wove into the flow of the party. —SR



SARATOGA CLASSIC HORSE SHOW I: JUNE 12–17 II: JUNE 20–24 $25,000 GRAND PRIX: JUNE 23 USHJA $15,000 INTERNATIONAL HUNTER DERBY: JUNE 16 ALUMNI DIVISION: JUNE 23 Be part of a historic tradition featuring many of the country’s best horses and riders. Come watch, or ride in our alumni division.

For a prize list and information, contact Adele Einhorn ’80 at or 518-580-5632

As prisoners of love—for teaching and Skidmore—they’ve served more than 100 years. Now three faculty lifers are finally taking parole this spring. The joint will never be the same without them, but their most important legacy is out in the wide world, in the minds of thousands of alumni who benefited from their scholarship and mentoring. For the faculty’s full citations honoring this year’s retirees, see the “Scopedish” blog.


Susan Kress started as a Skidmore English instructor in 1975 and a year later earned her PhD in American literature from Cambridge University in England. A scholar of law and political institutions in literature, she taught a diverse range of subjects—19thcentury American lit, film, feminist writing—as she rose through the ranks. Her scholarship and publications covered an equally wide field, including pedagogy and academic life, women writing about war, theories of fiction, and writers from Doris Lessing to Joseph Conrad. In 1997 she published the book Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Feminist in a Tenured Position. In 1999 she was the inaugural appointee to Skidmore’s endowed Class of 1948 Professorship for Excellence in Teaching. Kress also devoted time and expertise to many key college committees and new initiatives, and from 2006 to 2012 she served as vice president for academic affairs. Summarizing her academic and administrative career, President Philip Glotzbach has called her an exemplary “teacher-scholar-citizen.” Mac Oswalt earned his PhD from Louisiana State University in 1965 and joined Skidmore’s psychology faculty in 1967. He taught courses on Freud and psychoanalysis, abnormal and clinical psychology, and other topics. He enjoyed teaching and advising the students in Skidmore’s nontraditional, interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and University Without Walls programs and was a regular in UWW’s inmate-education efforts. At the same time, Oswalt also worked as a clinical psy-

chologist, with a specialty in treating phobias, from 1973 to 1986. Using that background, he supervised many Skidmore students in their internships at Saratoga’s Four Winds psychiatric hospital. His research and publications included articles on post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological effects of date rape, depression, attitudes about AIDS and condom use, and the motivations and concerns surrounding organ donation. A consultant for the Red Cross in its blood-donation efforts, he was a longtime organizer for Skidmore’s blood drives. —SR

Worth the trip from anywhere!

Steve Hoffmann devoted 45 years to Skidmore. He finished his PhD in political science at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971— three years after joining Skidmore’s government department as an instructor. As he worked his way up the faculty ranks, he taught Middle Eastern and South Asian politics and diplomacy, World War II and other military history, and the comparative politics of India, China, and Japan. In the 1970s and ’80s Hoffmann also taught in the University Without Walls inmateeducation program at nearby prisons. He was active in Skidmore’s Asian studies program and Greenberg Middle East Scholar series. He regularly updated his courses with new materials and insights gathered on grant-funded sabbaticals and consultancies—for example, he was a visiting scholar at India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, researched in Japan, prepared reports for the National Security Council, was a Woodrow Wilson Center scholar, and worked with the Asia Society of New York City and other institutions. His publica-

tions include the 1990 book India and China in Crisis.


faculty veterans retire

Join us in Saratoga Springs for our sixth annual citywide celebration of the arts— music, dance, visual art, film, theatre, and literary art.

June 7–10



EXPERT OPINION : meds and math, with rachel roe-dale What’s the mixology behind drug cocktails? More and more, physicians are collaborating with mathematicians to refine the science of chemotherapy in cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses where medications are often given in certain combinations or sequences. There’s plenty of clinical evidence that giving drugs in different combinations and orders can affect the success of treatments, but how and why are not easy to pin down. Not a lot of physicians have all the math training to do detailed modeling of the variables. And of course mathematicians don’t usually have biology labs for testing their models. So it’s great when they can collaborate—as they’re increasingly doing in clinical trials and major research hospitals affiliated with universities. Getting a handle on the statistics through mathematical modeling can greatly improve the predictability of multiple-medication dosing options.

What are you learning about cancer drugs? I started modeling biological and medical phenomena in grad school, specifically working with the order and timing of certain cancer drugs. We began by assuming a simple or ideal state in which tumor cells all stay the same so you’d never need to change the medication, and we developed our basic equation to reflect the drug’s effect against the cells. Then we incorporated new variables, and relationships among the variables, to account for some of the differences in real-life cancers. My study focused on two factors: a particular genetic mechanism for withstanding the drugs and also where the cells were in their life cycle. We can quantify the kill fraction of a drug (what percentage of cancer cells it succeeds in killing), and we can define tumor-cell proliferation rates (the expo-



nential process of cells doubling over time), so we can simulate the delivery of a medication, the fraction of cells killed by it, and the continuing growth of those cells not killed. But we’ve also learned that drugs can have different effects on cells in different phases of life, as they’re preparing to reproduce, actively dividing, resting, or transitioning between phases. So we expanded our model to account for drug timing and cell-phase timing. With differential equations we managed to model the effectiveness of two drugs given either sequentially—for example, as AAABBB—or in alternating doses—as ABABAB. And our models showed that when cell life-cycles are factored in, the order of the drugs does matter. So this kind of mathematical modeling can help researchers and clinicians figure out how to target cancer cells when they’re most vulnerable to each drug in a combined therapy.

Can patients make use of such information? There’s a huge amount of data out there that you can access directly to get an idea of a drug’s success rates in clinical trials, or just to familiarize yourself with the terminology so you can be more informed when you discuss medication options with your doctor. Two good online resources are PubMed ( and the National Institutes of Health (

Is there student interest in this field? As a pre-health-professions advisor at Skidmore, I often point to medication modeling as a great example of why and how math is so important for pre-med students. Plus it has become a hot career field in itself and is now being

used for streamlining the way drug trials are designed and set up. Math really gives you a different set of tools for critical thinking—a crucial student skill—and in this case for evaluating drug tests and other research results—a useful skill for anybody. Rachel Roe-Dale earned a doctorate from RPI and joined Skidmore’s faculty in 2005. She teaches calculus, algebra, statistics, and other applied-mathematics courses.






Basketball. The men won their second straight Liberty League championship, with a 69-66 away-game upset of Hobart. The win was a record-setting 19th for the season, earning Skidmore a second straight trip to NCAA Division III nationals. In the first round, the T’breds kept up with #3 MIT before losing by 62-55. Gerard O’Shea ’12 earned Liberty first-team honors, and Terron Victoria ’12 [right] was the Liberty tournament’s MVP. The women finished with an 8-8 league and 15-10 overall record. Megan Gaugler ’12 was a Liberty firstteam all-star. Ice hockey. The team advanced to the ECAC East semifinals for the third time in program history, finishing with a 12-13-2 overall record. Skidmore edged top-ranked Norwich by 3-2 to help earn home ice for the first round of the playoffs. The T’breds beat UMass-Boston, 3-2, in the quarterfinals and then fell to Castleton State, 4-0. Defenseman Nick Dupuis ’12 made the ECAC East first team. Swimming and diving. Diver Doug Pilawa ’12 became Skidmore’s first male team member to qualify for the Division III national championships. He earned Diver of the Year honors at the UNYSCSA championships, after winning both the 1- and 3-meter events. He broke the Skidmore, meet, and association records in the 3meter with a score of 574.05—more than 20 points higher than the second-place diver. For the women, Carrie Koch ’13 highlighted a record-setting UNYSCSA meet, taking eighth place in the 1,650-yard freestyle and setting new Skidmore time records in the 1,000 (10:59.74) and the 1,650 (18:14.95). Riding. Skidmore was unbeaten in the regular season, and headed to regional and zone competition in hopes of qualifying for another trip to the IHSA nationals in May. Kelly Campbell ’12 was the region’s highpoint rider, qualifying her for the Cacchione Cup competition, reserved for the nation’s top open riders, to be held at the IHSA national show. THOROUGHBRED NEWS: Get full results and schedules for all teams at




o y u t a k h n w o s w ’ t I


“Dressing formally may help you feel more prepared for an interview. Drink juice beforehand to stabilize your blood sugar. Thank-you notes should be sent very soon after an interview.” TO LAND A JOB THESE DAYS, such tips on personal presentation are part of the package. According to Deborah Loffredo, Skidmore’s director of career services, 80 percent of jobs are now filled through networking, not from want ads, so personal contact matters from day one. Loffredo says success starts with “who you know and what they think of you,” moves into soul searching and resume honing, features internships and other practical experiences, includes some targeted phone calls, and then—with luck and moxie—the candidate is front and center, in person, asking for information or a job. Loffredo has data and experience to prove that networking opens the doors for students to get started on career trajectories. That’s why her office and others help students meet alumni, parents of other students, and friends of the college who are active in professional life; facilitate internships and shadowing; mount workshops on how to take advantage of online social media that connect working professionals to each other; and organize discussions of careers in particular fields and of how the liberal arts can anchor a professional vision. Recently Skidmore’s “Evening of Transition and Transformation” attracted 184 seniors and alumni in New York City to



talk to 40 professionals about what might come next for them. On campus there was a more lighthearted “What Not to Wear” student fashion show, co-sponsored by career services, the Student Government Association, and the management and business department. Wall Street 101, Living the Liberal Arts, and many other programs fill the calendar year-round. Alumni on their own are also strengthening old school ties. The alumni-run Skidmore Business Network started in New York City and has spun off chapters in other major cities; members connect both online and at in-person events, sometimes including Skidmore upperclassmen. Ken Freirich ’90 underwrites a business-plan contest that attracts students from all majors, matches them with alumni mentors, and lets them pitch their ideas to alumni judges for $10,000 in startup support (with a $5,000 second and $2,500 third prize). The Skidmore Web site added “Creative Thought at Work” pages, profiling alumni and how they went from college to career. Trustee Bill Ladd ’83 and alumni-affairs staff even created a Green and Yellow Pages directory. What’s behind the networking flurry? One impetus may be the Skidmore “town hall” meetings of recent years, where


In this context, because “career services is not just about a alumni and parents discussed the value of liberal arts educajob after graduation but about guiding the transition into a tion. Then, last November, some concerns about costs and career path,” Loffredo explains, “we want students to engage employability were eased by a national survey showing that early and frequently with our office.” Accordingly her staff alumni of residential liberal arts colleges felt better prepared has designed a four-year timeline: for life after college and for a first job than did their peers • The first year is not too soon to meet with a career counfrom universities. Conducted by the Annapolis Group, a conselor for help in uncovering internship leads, identify sortium of leading liberal arts colleges, the study reveals 10, cocurricular activities that will develop skills that might 20, even 40 percent divergences: “On virtually all measures apply later on, attend programs that known to contribute to positive out“ON VIRTUALLY ALL MEASURES KNOWN present career options in different comes, graduates of liberal arts colleges TO CONTRIBUTE TO POSITIVE OUTCOMES, departments, and check out the ofrate their experience more highly than GRADUATES OF LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES fice’s resume and cover-letter writdo graduates of private or public uniRATE THEIR EXPERIENCE MORE HIGHLY ing guide. versities,” reports James Day, director THAN DO GRADUATES OF PRIVATE OR • Sophomore year, it’s time to start of the study. PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES.” drafting a resume and researching Nevertheless, Skidmore’s strategic the academic requirements for professions. It’s also time to plan—and particularly its 2010 midpoint-assessment docudip into the customized databases of internship opportuniment—keep a strong focus on facilitating postcollege sucties and contact information for professionals who’ve ofcess. To nurture students’ “transitions and transformations,” fered to shepherd Skidmore students through “real world” Skidmore has committed to engage them in more deliberate work experiences. and intentional planning to shape the course of their own • Juniors should refine their marketability with academic learning and the way it translates into their later lives. In the projects, volunteering, jobs, or club leadership that prove 2010 document, President Philip Glotzbach points out the they can apply what they’ve learned. They can also under“increasing demands imposed upon our graduates in a world take more internships and job shadowing. And update that marked by an accelerating rate of change.” He calls on faculresume. ty and staff to “continue to develop in our graduates the • Senior year is the time to join relevant professional associahigh-level cognitive, social, and personal abilities that positions at the reduced student fee, take grad-school entrance tion them for the multiple careers they are likely to experiexams, check job leads through Skidmore’s databases, netence over their professional lives,” and he adds, “We can be work like crazy, and venture into the marketplace for some more creative in developing opportunities for students” to interviews. g build such skills “across their time at Skidmore.”








Skidmore relies heavily on alumni more’s idea of engaging mind and and parents, both as mentors in the hand “unusual, special, and very discovery stage of career planning cool—and Skidmore achieves it at a and as sources of employment. And high level.” As a new graduate in alumni are also welcome as clients of English and government, Mallette career services, to get guidance (in took paralegal training, then person or by e-mail, Skype, or worked for the City of Boston as a phone), search the databases, or relabor relations and grievances anaceive its bulletins. Even decades after lyst. “From my work at Skidmore,” graduation, alumni have sought and she says, “I was able to research, received counseling about a career write, and figure things out. I capichange, grad school, or employment talized on my curiosity and my in specific regions. After the 2008 problem-solving skills—my ability economic crash, Skidmore sent speto think, analyze, and engage cial invitations to alumni in need of broadly. These weren’t explicit job career help. Loffredo says, “While skills, but they connected me to my this is still an extremely challenging work.” In the early 1980s her work economy, there are opportunities. also included heading Skidmore’s That’s why I advise students and career planning programs. alumni to ‘network, network, netNow helping Skidmore’s new cawork’ to find out where the jobs are reer services, Mallette is surveying and who can help you.” students, faculty, administrators, Jonathan Zeidan ’12, SGA presiand parents to learn “how can those dent, has worked closely with Lofgroups best partner? Who are the fredo to get the word out to stubiggest influencers on students? dents. And he’s personally benefited What will help students plan and LOUISE MALLETTE ’74, AN HR EXPERT AND ALUMNI BOARD integrate what they’ve learned?” She from career services, which helped him network with a graduate and se- OFFICER, IS HELPING SHAPE NEW CAREER PROGRAMS. sees a need for “self-assessment that cure a summer internship at the Federal Reserve Bank in goes along with experiential learning. Students may feel they Boston. He says, “Deb is changing the culture of career services. shouldn’t get an internship until they know what they want to Instead of just to going in to get a job, students are beginning do—but how can they know what they want to do until they to go there to learn skills, whether it’s networking tips, how to try some internships?” Mallette says, “Parents and alumni can tailor a resume for a particular position, or how to present yourhelp, but it’s important to allow students to be self-guided and self to an employer. The economy is scary, and you can either self-aware, to get a handle on what they want to commit to, hide or harness your energy. Her office is motivating more peowhat risks they want to take, what questions they want to ask.” ple to market their intellectual product, and to manage the The role for career services, she says, is “the segue between the skills they might learn as a club officer or an intern within a liberal arts and the ability to translate passions into job skills.” holistic liberal-arts experience.” For Loffredo, “The beauty of the liberal “THE LIBERAL ARTS MAKE STUDENTS Zeidan also worked in a Skidmore adarts is that its diversity makes students CAPABLE OF FOLLOWING MANY PATHS, capable of following many amazing ministrative office and feels that between the bank and the college, he has “learned WHETHER VOLUNTEERING FOR HABITAT paths, whether volunteering for Habitat FOR HUMANITY, GETTING AN MBA, a lot about the corporate climate that I for Humanity, getting an MBA, or shadOR SHADOWING A DENTIST.” could not have gotten inside the classowing a dentist.” room.” Career services was essential, he says, “but you can’t Loffredo emphasizes, “A job is an activity that earns you a just go there as a senior and expect it to be easy. You have to living, while a career is an arc that represents a lifelong journey start earlier to gain confidence in your skills and interests and from your first interest in a professional field through the posilearn how those can be supported by programs on campus and tions you hold as you build your career, maybe until you bethen by jobs.” Loffredo agrees: “We tell our students to major come a mentor yourself.” In fact, the career services office is in something they love but to keep trying out new internships now training students as peer mentors who can help with or clubs or projects, to help them figure out what they want to everything from resumes to interviewing, while of course hondo and what they’re good at. Interests change with exposure ing their own skills along the way. Zeidan says, “It doesn’t surand opportunity.” prise me that Deb came up with that, because what you feel in Louise Mallette ’74, a human-resources expert who chairs career services now—and students are acting on it—is a mood the alumni board’s Career and Professional Development of high energy driving creative solutions. If you go there to ask Committee, is a case in point. She calls Lucy Scribner Skidfor help or talk over an idea, the answer is always ‘yes.’”



Not your mother’s lecture course

How two professors (and, perforce, their students) handled risk, failure, success, and commitment in a brand-new learning experiment



“WE COULD CRASH AND BURN,” says Pat Hilleren flatly. “This is a crucial foundational course, and we’re delivering it in this format for the first time.” Looking both tired and wired after a September class session, she’s lugging 26 candy-colored plastic portfolios for grading before the next class meeting in two days. Her co-teaching colleague Abby Drake had a tough morning too, dealing with frustrated, fractious students unap-

peased by bright colors or reassuring words. “I’m sure we’ll get trashed in the student evaluations,” Drake says. Hilleren, a molecular biologist who came to Skidmore as its first Lubin Family Professor for Women in Science, has taught Biology 105, the fast-growing introductory course, since 2005. But this year she and Drake, a new hire in ecology and evolutionary biology, made a big leap, reformulating bio-105 for “team-based learning.” g



After taking a summer seminar on TBL pedagogy (less familiar to Hilleren than to Drake, whose undergrad work featured nontraditional, collaborative courses at Hampshire College), they were both so inspired that they decided to reshape the lecture sessions of bio-105 for small-group exercises—and to do it in time for the start of classes in September. Why the rush? With the rising popularity of science majors, bio-105 enrollments have expanded dramatically in the past few years, stretching both staff and classroom resources. Last year students voiced discontent with the size and venue of bio-105’s lectures (the course’s lab sections are still capped at 16 students each), and Hilleren was inclined to agree that such large lectures weren’t effective enough. She’s a lively, funny, engaging lecturer, yet she saw “too many kids texting or tuning out in the back row.” She also suspected too many of memorizing data to pass the exams but “not internalizing the whys, whens, and hows of applying that knowledge.” After her TBL training, she jumped at the chance to get more personal, require more accountability, and spur more active learning in bio-105.

“Oh, I see. It’s actually X and Y that form part of the square.“ “See if this helps: You want to measure relative to what? The null, that’s right. And what does the slope of the null hypothesis look like? Yeah, it’s flat.” “Ah, I get it now. Hello!” “You guys are interrogating this really well—keep talking.” As Drake points out, it’s as if the student-faculty ratio in the room shrinks from 1:150 down to 4:26, making one of Skidmore’s largest classes into one of its smallest. Moreover, to make sure all students contribute, team members evaluate each other twice during the term, and those evaluations are graded by the professors. Cutting classes? Not likely. Dozing at the back of the hall? Nope. Skipping homework in favor of cramming just before the exam? Won’t work. “Teachers know that one of the best ways to learn is to teach—to conceptualize and articulate information for others,” Drake says. “So that’s an excellent skill for students to practice in their teams.” During the exercises each team must reach a consensus and record its answers on a scratch-off card; if the first scratch reveals a wrong answer, the team can try again, as second scratches earn AY ONE: Some 150 students, most of them freshmen, are partial credit. The team’s “folder czar” is responsible for leaving met at the door of Gannett Auditorium by Drake, Hilleren, the scratch-off cards and other paperwork with the professors at or a teaching associate, who assigns them randomly into teams the close of class and for collecting the team folder at the start of of five or six. They’re told that each team must sit together and the next session. work together every day, like it or not. They’re told about the It’s a busy, jam-packed 80 minutes for students and faculty course goals, TBL methods, their responsibilities, and how their alike. It came as no surprise that, as Drake reports, “We got grades will be calculated. It all sets them reeling—this is not the some resistance: ‘You’re not telling me the information!’” anonymous, passive intro course they were expecting. Hilleren says the first of the semester’s four exams “really upset Over the next few class meetings, both students and professome students.” A vocal rebellion broke out when students sors struggle to find their TBL legs. Every session begins with a learned their scores, which averaged in the 70s. (Scores for that short, simple quiz on the assigned readtest in previous years were typically in THE INSTRUCTORS ARE ROVING— ings. Students punch answers into handthe 80s.) “But I didn’t worry too much,” EAVESDROPPING ON THIS GROUP held electronic clickers, and can promptHilleren recalls, “because they just didn’t HUNKERED IN A CIRCLE ON THE FLOOR, know how to prepare well. We gave ly see the correct answers on the big RESPONDING TO AN SOS FROM screen up front. Clickers not only registhem guidance about preparing for the THAT GROUP DRAPED OVER ter the students’ individual scores (well, next exams, and their scores were much EACH OTHER’S SEAT-BACKS. they do once the professors get the softhigher—better than for the same exam ware glitches figured out) but also show how well the readings in previous years.” She adds, “We also used the opportunity to were comprehended, so the professors can clarify any hazy re-emphasize our goals for collaboration and self-learning, in areas right away. Then comes about 20 minutes of lecture or hopes that they’d remember these values and realize that grades video (adjusted on the fly to make time for whatever impromparen’t so all-important.” tu teaching is needed to address weaknesses revealed by the RIVATELY RACKED by a sense of grave responsibility and dee-clicker quiz). The lecture sets the stage (not always clearly termination to make their TBL experiment successful, in enough early on, but better as the weeks go by) for what’s next: class Drake and Hilleren deployed their relentlessly upbeat deteam exercises in analysis, problem-solving, or otherwise applymeanors as wide, convex shields to turn aside any carping. They ing the concepts being covered. fielded a range of complaints and confusions in office hours and For these case studies and problems, several teams huddle weekend review sessions. together in their seats, while other adjourn to the lobby or “We’re aware that TBL is a very mature way of learning,” says aisles, trying to put some distance between the 26 simultaneDrake. Given that “nobody’s admitted to Skidmore unless ous conversations. Now Drake, Hilleren, and two teaching asthey’re good students,” she says, “we knew the class would be sociates start roving, eavesdropping on this group hunkered in able to learn a lot of material,” and by late in the term she was a circle on the floor, or responding to an SOS from that group declaring, “I have zero qualms about whether they’ve absorbed draped over each other’s seat-backs: the content of the course.” The added sophistication, she notes, “What would you say is the value for Y? Like, look at the comes from the problem-solving and critical work in teams. data and see what you think.”








That’s challenging not just for most freshmen but for most introductory courses. Hilleren likens bio-105 to “starting a foreign language—lots of new vocabulary and grammar to memorize before you can advance.” But along with all that content acquisition, she says, “we wanted to give these students the skills to learn on their own and to work with others to tackle problems, and that was a lot less possible in the straight-lecture format.” At peer evaluation time, Hilleren told the class, “For those of you who are uncomfortable about this, trust me: this is a very valuable part of being a productive team.” Afterward, she called their comments “constructive, realistic, and positive— really meaningful. I thank you for that effort.” To end that same class period, Drake prompted some friendly rivalry by inviting teams to the front of the auditorium (for just fractions of extra points) to share their answers from the exercises. Amid cheers and whistles, several brave young souls gladly explained and defended their team’s answers. Presenting their conclusions, critiquing each other, even the foxhole solidarity of blaming the professors for the rigors of TBL—they’re all part of “forging a sense of belonging in a collaborative learning community,” Drake says. On their TBL feedback forms, students did voice some common frustrations. Many were “very disappointed” to get only brief lectures before taking on the team exercises. “We are expected to ask further in-depth questions before we even have a solid foundation on the material,” one student wrote. And those exercises sometimes consisted of “mostly arguing with my peers” as the team “rushed to scratch off the right answers.” As one put

it, “I’d rather have a lecture than struggle through confusingly written questions meant to screw us up.” Others echoed the student who exclaimed in all caps: “I don’t want my grade to depend on whether my peers are prepared.” As for the start-of-class quizzes, some appreciated that they “forced you to do the reading and really remember it,” while others argued they took too much time away from lectures or teamwork. Perhaps the most poignant comment from a lecture-craving student: “We had to teach everything to ourselves.” On the last day, when Hilleren ended the class early and said the rest of the period was “time for yourself,” immediately students collected notebooks and knapsacks and stood up … only to gather with their teams to continue working on the day’s exercises. Not one student left early. Seeing that, Drake and Hilleren lit up with joy. Delivering bio-105 as a TBL course was “quite demanding, but totally worth it,” they say, because the engagement of students was much stronger—from attendance to participation to exam scores—than in the all-lecture format. Drake adds, “We learned a lot that we’ll use to improve the course for next year,” and in March she was already attending another TBL training seminar. Having previously taught lectures of 250 at a big university, she says: “At a liberal arts college like ours, seminarstyle and team-based learning are what we should be offering.” (She’s incorporated TBL in her advanced courses too.) Now she and Hilleren are eagerly watching to see how their students’ early immersion in engaged, collaborative learning will serve them in their next seven semesters, and beyond.




AS A CONCEPT, success is an octopus—a slippery, changeable tangle that can conform to most any little niche and escape most any container. For an hour or two recently, some Skidmore professors had hold of one tentacle at least: the notion of measures of success for various societies and individuals. Here is some of their conversation, in hopes it may inspire others to do a little cognitive wrangling of their own.


those communal, belonging-centered functions, because we’re The very notion of measuring success raises some concerns for working so much in pursuit of individual material gains. sociologist John Brueggemann, author of Rich, Free, and Miserable: For Tim Harper, in management and business, personal sucThe Failure of Success in America. He argues that in Western culcess is about the social imperatives Brueggemann describes. ture, as the scientific method took hold around the 17th centuHarper defines it for himself as “having a positive impact on ry, and then with industrialization in the 19th, “the default way others.” As department chair, for instance, “I aim to find innoof evaluating everything became more and more about measurvations that will allow faculty to experience a higher quality of ing,” from formulas to cost-benefit analyses to bottom lines. But work life.” And in his “Social Identity in another approach is through narrative. He “SOMETIMES IT’S MORE RELEVANT the Workplace” course, he felt successful says, “Numbers are seen as objective and FOR PEOPLE TO CONSIDER when he saw his students’ success in “honprovable, yet sometimes it’s more relevant THE WAY THEIR EXPERIENCE FITS estly, openly engaging in sensitive, risky for people to consider the way their experiINTO A MORE QUALITATIVE, discussions to deepen their understandings ence fits into a more qualitative, narrative NARRATIVE EXPLANATION OF of other people’s viewpoints.” explanation of what success means.” WHAT SUCCESS MEANS.” Artist Trish Lyell ’81 offers a different His book describes how the values of student story. Several years ago, she had a student in her arts modern capitalist market culture—efficiency and productivity, foundations course “who was smart as hell,” she recalls, “but acquisition and consumption—have spilled into other aspects of whose skill set for that course, which requires learning to draw American life. As our market economy has become a “market sofrom still-life setups, was weak and stayed weak. You couldn’t ciety,” he maintains, the reduction of “success” to working hard recognize his work as the result of the same exercise the other and consuming a lot has made many Americans distinctly students completed. By any usual standard for this course, his unsuccessful at meaningful social relationships and a fulfilling work was horrible. But his observation was that the other drawlife. Social institutions that had served as a counterbalance ings looked alike and his didn’t resemble anyone else’s.” And on to market forces—such as government, education, organsome level Lyell saw that value too. She explained that his grade ized labor, and the media—have succumbed to the everwould reflect his trouble learning to render and that he’d likely spreading market culture, he says, so that their meanings of success also revolve around bottom lines and market have difficulty going to the next level in drawing, but, she says, share. Yet people are still human, and “part of the human “I was hesitant to ‘force’ him to conform and suppress his quirky condition is trying to become attached to something broader way of seeing.” In his case, she says, “I wasn’t worried about his or more enduring than yourself—the gods, clan, success with a grade, because I knew he’d have a successful life. community…” Today, he observes, Americans have He was a very successful thinker; he was just mismatched for less time and place for that course.” That student went on to major in both art and music, and Lyell will never forget his final project, an interactive work of sound and visual

Trish Lyell ’81

Tim Harper

Linda Simon

Caroline D’Abate ’93


John Brueggeman

D’Abate and Brueggemann point out that success is inextricart that was “the most astonishing senior-thesis project I’d ever ably culturally bound—for example, some nations or religions seen.” She still finds occasion to cite his case “as a reminder that value group achievement over individual, and some value matewhat’s problematic in the short term can be very valuable in the rial wealth more or less highly than others. But Lyell is curious long term.” about the earliest, almost presocietal humans: “What does it Many people look outside themselves to interpret success, mean that prehistoric tools have decorations? With no church but some don’t need to look far. Both William James and Coco or state to do it for, early artists made art. Their goal wasn’t just Chanel, the biography subjects of English professor Linda an efficient tool, but also beauty, for which there may have been Simon, “defined success according to a small circle of people no external reward.” Simon hazards, “I think they wanted to exwho mattered to them,” she says. “Their larger marketplace sucpress their individuality and show it to others. It’s like publishcess was secondary to the esteem of those whose opinion they ing on the Internet: you want to reach an audience.” valued.” Her research on James highlighted “the importance he When it comes to children, conveying and filtering ideas of placed on ‘recognition,’ the feeling that he was seen and undersuccess can cause considerable parental angst. D’Abate says, stood by people he respected”—from the woman he loved to fa“Yes, I want to challenge my kids and expect the best from mous philosophers he met. And Simon says Gertrude Stein worthem. But they don’t have to be all-A sturied that the fame brought by her success “THERE ARE MANY WORLDS dents or top athletes; the way my husband “would change her sense of self and inhibit WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT, AND and I look at it, they have to try their best, her creativity. So that was a case where public SUCCESS IS SEEN DIFFERENTLY show kindness to others… What matters is success was considered with suspicion by IN DIFFERENT WORLDS.” being happy with themselves, not just being someone who craved an audience.” successful to some external criterion.” Brueggemann says, “My When the publication of Simon’s Chanel biography earned third-grader sees which classmate is in which reading corner or her an invitation to blog with the Huffington Post, she relates, “I math group. She has a keen sense of how the kids rank in how was pleased because at least I’d heard of it, but then the item got ‘smart’ they are.” He adds, “We’re always trying to talk her picked up and reposted on all sorts of fashion sites and other down from that.” And D’Abate agrees it’s a challenge, not to blogs. Did I feel successful because it got all those other readers? mention potentially confusing, to instill more personal notions I’m not sure how to evaluate those sites, so they didn’t mean of success in children who live with externally delineated stanmuch to me, but I know that wide exposure on them does mean dards every weekday. success to some people.” She muses, “There are many worlds we don’t know about, and success is seen differently in difLyell recalls that her much older siblings “had a different ferent worlds.” standard of success than I did, because my parents’ ideas Even market success varies in various worlds of business, changed over time.” She watched her father quit his job benotes Caroline D’Abate ’93, a faculty member in management cause he was unhappy, though he was considered successful. and business. “Some organizations are top-down, defining sucHe subsequently “made less money but did get happier.” What cess for their employees. Others are bottom-up, where the culmakes Tim Harper happy outside of his work is helping youngture is created by its employees, who therefore influence the sters and others less fortunate than him: “Facilitating success meaning of success in their organization.” While she acknowlfor an individual facing highly challenging issues in life is ultiedges that even nonprofits must show a successful budget balmately very rewarding.” ance to their stakeholders, she’s interested in data demonstrating In the end, for D’Abate, as for many, success translates as that “companies who count their benefits to their communibalance. She says, “Balancing work with family, balancing my ties as measures of their success, along passions with those of my students and colEDITOR’S NOTE: with their profits, can actually outperleagues, balancing the expectations of othJoin the colloquy by e-mailing form other businesses financially. So ers with my own expectations for myself— or writing to business success doesn’t have to be onethe days I feel most successful are the days I Scope magazine, Skidmore College. dimensional.” feel balance across all realms of my life.”



Community center: In campus life, students say, success is a group practice BY HELEN S. EDELMAN ’74 AT SKIDMORE, where opportunity and support infuse campus positions have had a significant group element.” And, as Adams life with the stuff leaders are made of, success “is about setting adds, “If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to and achieving goals, taking a risk, being responsible to a group, sign yourself up. You have to put yourself out there.” In fact, and developing leadership skills,” according to Beth HallenCurry exemplifies Adams’s definition of a successful student, beck, head field hockey coach. Teaching her players individual because she already had a track record as a high achiever and skills and team strategy—and often mentoring them in their was still willing to look further for a niche where she could athletic, academic, and social development—Hallenbeck has apply her leadership skills, if not her specific experience. helped catapult her teams into the NCAA Division III national Though frustrated by the SGA election, she rebounded to speartournament in nine of the past 11 years. The Thoroughbreds head a Comedy Fest whose planning was so impressive that it have been ranked among the top 20 field hockey teams in the was featured in the New York Times. country every year that she’s been at Skidmore. Curry’s grace and flexibility were no accident: Skidmore has a In directing student leadership activities, Robin Adams ’00 proactive process for ensuring that student leaders are mentored works closely with some 80 clubs across campus, from Frisbee by incumbent upperclassmen, faculty advisors, or student-life enthusiasts to environmental advocates. He and Hallenbeck administrators, who help them put their roles in context and dehave watched many students make personal progress, convelop a healthy perspective on outcomes. “Before classes start, all tribute to group efforts, and, beyond Skidmore, student leaders attend training on campus—we “EVERYONE HERE realize grad-school or marketplace achievements talk about how to run meetings, Skidmore poliWANTS STUDENTS TO BE cies, ice-breaker activities, how to delegate, and that are rooted in their experience of academic SUCCESSFUL, INCLUDING more,” Adams explains. “By the time they take and cocurricular victories. OTHER STUDENTS.” They point, for instance, to Lex Curry ’12. on their jobs, they feel a level of confidence, and After serving as president of Wilmarth Hall and chair of the Late the upperclassmen feel invested in their success. The fact is, Night Entertainment Committee during her sophomore year— everyone here wants students to be successful, including other roles tied to her term as a Student Government Association sena- students.” In practical terms, that means that when an outdoor tor—Curry spent a fall studying in Paris. Back on campus in the spring festival is rained out four years in a row (sad but true), orspring, she represented SGA on Academic Council. But when she ganizers accept that the weather is out of their control and move ran for a senate seat for her senior year, she lost the election. the good times indoors. “I’m not saying it doesn’t cause anxi“She was upset,” says Adams. “She wasn’t sure how she was ety,” Adams notes, “but the students handle it, and the event is going to be involved in campus life in a meaningful position.” still a success. These are the skills and attitudes they’ll take with But soon, he says, she became co-producer of the National Colthem to law school or the entertainment industry or medicine. lege Comedy Festival and was selected as a peer advocate with They believe in themselves, and that inspires others to believe in the Center for Sex and Gender Relations, working for a healthy them. They’re not afraid of the next challenge, whether academcampus culture with regard to issues of sexuality. ic, professional, or interpersonal.” “I definitely want personal triumphs, but many goals inherSimilarly, Hallenbeck’s students get extensive preparation to ently involve cooperation and collaboration,” Curry says. “Albe successful team members. They come to Skidmore two though I appreciate my achievements, a lot of my leadership weeks before the fall term starts for a unique orientation de-






signed to acclimate them broadly to their teammates’ personalities and athletic strengths, Skidmore services, and the rhythms of student life. “They are encouraged to think about personal and team goals, whether it’s to be an All American, win the league championship, or get good grades and still fit in eight hours of sleep,” Hallenbeck says. It’s not always easy: “These athletes arrive having already been successful, so they come with expectations of what they can bring to the team. Suddenly those have to change dramatically when they’re surrounded by people with the same expectations.” Christine Kemp ’11, a former center-forward for Hallenbeck who is now studying to become an athletic trainer, reSTAFFERS JULIA ROUTBORT, ROBIN ADAMS ’00, AND BETH HALLENBECK MENTOR STUDENTS FOR calls, “When I came to SkidSUCCESS IN CLUBS, ON THE PLAYING FIELD, AND INSIDE THEIR OWN HEADS. more, I thought success meant about solitary tasks and concerns, but there’s been a seismic winning. It meant getting the best grades however you could, shift toward the importance of being part of a successful getting the win however you could. Over time, I realized it was group.” Of course the counseling center tends to draw students so much more: understanding a concept, instead of memorizwho are not feeling successful, “maybe experiencing a first ing the answers; my teammates’ defensive play that got us the heartbreak, or because of low grades, or freaking out about ball, instead of me scoring the goal. It was about team contriwhat’s going to happen after graduation, and these are things bution. Everyone knew it. Everyone bought into it. And that’s people go through as individuals. We help them reappraise why we were so successful.” their sense of what’s important, and that includes whether it Forward Kelly Blackhurst ’14 views success as “an equation matters what the group says.” that must be balanced.” She acknowledges that “YOU MAY READ SUCCESS For many or most, it matters a lot. Hallenindividuals make a difference, but emphasizes STORIES OF INDIVIDUAL beck tells of one student who yielded to the that collaborative success is “much more excitSTUDENTS, BUT NO ONE best interests of the team when it had the oping.” Formerly a competitive alpine ski racer GOES IT ALONE HERE.” portunity to play in China. The student faced whose personal skill on the slope was “of utmost two big, personal obstacles: She was terrified of flying, and her importance,” she came to realize that she enjoyed team camapeanut allergy made her worry that meals in China could literraderie even more. “Team success involves every single playally kill her. But her commitment to the team outweighed her er—the injured, the ones waiting patiently on the sidelines, fear, and she went on the trip. “The experience changed her and those sprinting up and down the field. It’s not ‘every man life,” says Hallenbeck. “We watched her learn to trust—an imfor himself.’ We win together and we lose together.” portant life skill. And she chose to travel again to New Zealand Skidmore’s counseling center director, Julia Routbort, conthe next year, which she might not have done without the sucfirms that “this generation is very group-affiliated. You can see cessful experience she had in China.” it in the students’ e-mails—their signatures have taglines that Adams maintains that this ability “to move outside one’s tell what organizations they belong to.” She stresses that “it’s comfort zone” translates into successful careers and human connot the end of the individual.” But, she points out, “College nections later on: “Both self-confidence and the confidence othkids are constantly webbed-in, on their cell phones, on e-mail. ers have in your performance are factors in long-term success.” Connectedness and belonging are the air they breathe. You In the end, Curry muses, “College success is like your own permay read success stories of individual students, but no one sonal cheerleader, I suppose. You still have to go out and play goes it alone here.” the game, but it will help you along.” In counseling sessions, Routbort says, “students do talk




THERE ARE PROBABLY as many definitions of success as there are people who seek it. Scope sought words of wisdom from a sampling of Skidmore alumni in a broad range of careers: a writer, a trial lawyer, a farmer, an educator, a mental coach to professional card players, a theater producer, a lay minister, and a Navy captain. NEELA VASWANI ’96 English major MFA in writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts; PhD in cultural studies, University of Maryland at College Park Author, You Have Given Me a Country and other works; faculty member, Spalding University’s MFA program in writing New York City M O R E AT S C O P E D I S H B LO G How do you define success? It doesn’t have much to do with money or status, though both are helpful for more freedom, better choices, and making life easier. But being someone who can be counted on to help, to listen, to try her best at any given moment—that’s the kind of success I strive for.


How did you come to that definition? As a young adult, I realized that I had to figure out what success meant to me rather than to the rest of the world or my family. It was complicated being the only artist—to not be the doctor everyone wanted. But throughout, I’ve always taken pride in all of my work, including waitressing, which I consider a noble profession. Has your definition changed over time? Definitely, and I can tell you that it will keep on changing. One thing that affected me deeply was working with the adult literacy and English-as-a-second-language community at the New York Public Library. I’ve never met a more courageous group. Every new word learned, every moment of defeat or difficulty borne with good humor and moved past—those are true measures of success. g



How do you influence your students’ ideas of success? I always tell my creative-writing students to be careful not to weight publication as more important than craft. Success to me, in terms of writing, has always been about craft. do your american Book award and o. Henry prize mean success? The awards have been validating: I think of myself as a writer now, and claim the word as a true vocation. They’ve garnered me more readers and opportunities, and I’m very grateful. But I don’t think of them in relation to personal success, only as vehicles that help to “indicate success” in the wider world.

JOE TACOPINA ’88 Business-government major JD, University of Bridgeport School of Law Trial lawyer; CEO, Madison Avenue Sports and Entertainment; VP, AS Roma soccer team New York City M O R E AT S C O P E D I S H B LO G How do you define success? First and foremost, loving what you do. If you love what you do and you’re passionate about it and you apply hard work, you’ll be successful. Of course, financial success isn’t unimportant—I have five kids! And yes, I enjoy creature comforts, never having grown up with them. But they’re lower on the totem pole of priorities for me.

M O R E AT S C O P E D I S H B LO G How do you define success? What you get from farming in terms of success is not monetary. I’m successful in breeding and raising animals and treating them impeccably—keeping them healthy, not using any chemicals or antibiotics, giving non-GMO feed three times a day with zero automation. It might as well be 100 years ago. But it’s amazing to be around animals all the time—and that might be my success.


are there any downsides to your success? Yes. Everything you do gets analyzed. If you’re a high-profile individual, people love to critique and criticize, and there are some crazy people out there. But I don’t let it get to me. Has your definition of success changed over time? I’ve gained an enormous amount of perspective over the last several years. It used to be that reading about myself in the New York Times or GQ was just so gratifying. It’s not that important to me anymore. And 10 years ago, I would have said that the greatest thing was making money, because I didn’t grow up with it. But that lasts for a year or two. I got rid of


JOHN UBALDO ’88 Government major Owner, John Boy’s Farm (Berkshire pigs, black Angus cattle, chickens, ducks) Cambridge, N.Y.

What about your first career as an investment banker? Truthfully, I was there to make enough money to buy a farm. I drove an old Ford Bronco down to Wall Street every day. My biggest thrill was teaching 22-year-old kids that if they worked hard and played by the rules, they could make life-changing AS A YOUNG ADULT, I REALIZED money. That was my success.

did Skidmore hockey contribute to your success? Playing a sport helps build discipline, instills in you that what you put in is generally what you get out, develops character and the ability to work within a team, and develops respect for others. It also sparks a competitive fire.


my fancy cars and all that stuff, and now success is a good family, healthy and successful kids, making a difference for my clients, and enjoying what I do.

What does it mean to live a successful life? That I impact people positively. And that I will never have to say “I should have” or “I wish I did.” You have to be kind of insane to do it, but at least I’ll never say, “I wish I tried farming.”

are you comfortable with your success? I’m not necessarily comfortable with the publicity spotlight—I wanted to have a farm to kind of be off the grid. But when I see how many families have been affected by what I do, it’s really humbling. When the first meat that someone’s baby eats is one of my chickens or pork chops, I feel that as a lot of responsibility. I think success is getting people away from McDonald’s.

JANE BALDWIN HENZERLING ’97 Spanish major MEd in educational leadership, Northern Arizona University Founding principal, Mission Preparatory School San Francisco, Calif. How do you define success?

ing more than chasing my tail. I learned that recognizing and feeling proud of what I accomplished didn’t mean I was going to stop working to be better. That made me capable of wanting to achieve more, but not in a desperate way that focuses only on results.

The degree to which one has positively impacted the lives of others—in short, service. For me, this means providing access to greater opportunity and upholding and expanding human rights. It stems from trying to be a good human being and raising my son to IF YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND be one too. It YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT requires maintaining high AND YOU APPLY HARD WORK, standards with YOU’LL BE SUCCESSFUL. regard to the quality and integrity of my work and making everyday choices that align with my values, beliefs, and priorities.

What did success mean when you first graduated? Figuring out how to become a professional golfer. I knew that I did not have the mental wherewithal to get there, and I saw counseling psychology as a stepping stone for me to solve the issues that were holding me back. I figured that I could solve my problems and go play professional golf, and also have a counseling career, because I knew that I wasn’t alone.

Has your definition changed over time? As a student, my idea of success was rooted in my own academic performance. I guess you could say that I’ve now turned that notion into something that is outward-looking rather than inward-looking.

How do you help pro poker players? To be more successful they have to improve every single day, even if only slightly. My job is to identify the hidden roadblocks in their mental game and overall approach to improvement, and to customize strategies to eliminate them.

How do you influence your students’ ideas of success? When our students start kindergarten we plant the seeds of academic achievement, college graduation, and options in life, and we work to cultivate them every day, with high expectations and rigorous standards of accountability and with language and rituals that foster a college-going culture.

any advice for today’s students? If your definition of success is too narrow you’ll feel unfulfilled, and if it’s too wide you’ll feel overwhelmed. As you grow as a person and in your career, allow your definition of success to evolve to match where you are at different times.

How important is being successful? Success in my work is integral to my success in life; it’s a major part of how I define myself. The other key for me is being a successful wife and mother. It might be easier to ignore my definition of success in work and pursue something more lucrative or less demanding, but my integrity— what I say matters to me and what I choose to prioritize— would be lost.

NELLE NUGENT ’60 Theater major Owner, Foxboro production company; adjunct assistant professor of film, video, and broadcasting, New York University New York City

JARED TENDLER ’01 Management-psychology major MS in counseling psychology, Northeastern University Licensed mental-health counselor; mental coach to professional poker players and golfers New York City How do you define success? It’s a level of fulfillment in the things that can’t be quantified, and a level of achievement that fulfills me in the things that can be quantified. It’s the combination of quality and quantity. Has your definition changed over time? Definitely. I remember winning golf tournaments and feeling nothing, because I was always comparing it to what else I wanted. I realized that this old version of success was noth-

How do you define success? When people ask me what I do, I say, “I make people’s dreams come true.” Taking something that you read on a page and getting it onto the screen or stage is a success in itself. That an audience pays to come see it is beyond one’s wildest dreams. I love standing at the back of the theater and hearing the audience react, and thinking. “Oh, they love it too. How exciting!” Has your definiFIND OUT WHAT MAKES tion changed YOU HAPPY, AND THEN DO over time? Well, my first sucIT. YOU CAN’T SUCCEED IF cess was landing a YOU’RE UNHAPPY DOING job at all in New WHAT YOU’RE DOING. York after I got out of Skidmore. My second was becoming a stage manager when females weren’t stage managers. And I certainly never thought of becoming a producer, but once I became a producer it felt like destiny. g



How did you succeed in a very male world? I was a professional. I never cried, never said “poor me,” never asked for a quarter-inch. The guys trusted me because I took care of them and they knew I wasn’t going to throw them in. is credit part of success? I believe there’s no end to what you can accomplish as long as you don’t mind who takes the credit. If you know who you are, it’s OK to step aside and let someone else take the bow. That’s not being self-effacing; that’s good business. What sells tickets? Not I. any advice for today’s students? Find out what makes you happy, and then do it. You can’t succeed if you’re unhappy doing what you’re doing.

JOAN BOWLES AVERETTE ’58 Physical education major Certificate in lay ministry, Wesley Theological Seminary Lay minister, Thalia United Methodist Church; master swimmer, Virginia and National Senior Games Virginia Beach, Va.

body in a good state of fitness, but I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t fun and rewarding. What makes a successful lay minister? A love of God, a love of people, and a real desire to be of service. My hope is that I can make a difference in at least one life.

ART RICHARDSON ’77 Government major MA in national security and strategic studies, Naval War College Navy captain; veteran of intelligence operations in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.; presiding officer, Physical Evaluation Board Washington, D.C. How do you define success? Dying with a sense that my life has been worthwhile. I realize that “worthwhile” is a bit squishy, and I’ll either sense it or I won’t when the time comes. Easy answers—money, security, happiness, family, fame, beating the odds, smooth skin— might or might not represent elements of success or of failure. But if you can die with a sense that your life, despite all its baggage and blunders, has been worthwhile, it puts all the other scorecard items into their right place and proportion.

How do you define success? I guess when you’ve been to your 50th reunion, raised four Has your definition changed over time? wonderful girls, have nine grandchildren, and are pushing How I articulate it has changed. All through life, each of us 76, it’s time to reflect on your successes and failures, and looks back upon moments that felt try with God’s help to discern the fujoyful and realizes that they were tragture path. After George, my husband IF YOU CAN DIE WITH A SENSE ic, cruel, or wrong-headed. And we of 40 years, died unexpectedly, I was THAT YOUR LIFE, DESPITE ALL look back upon failures or embarrassfaced with many challenges. Success ITS BAGGAGE AND BLUNDERS, ments and find they have come to unwas measured in very small steps. HAS BEEN WORTHWHILE, IT derpin our compassion or strength of Now, three years later, I feel as character. I wouldn’t trade those diffiPUTS ALL THE OTHER SCOREthough the black cloud has lifted and cult moments. Success, in the short CARD ITEMS INTO THEIR RIGHT I can move ahead. term, eludes any reliable definition. PLACE AND PROPORTION. What did success mean when you first graduated? We all wanted to land a teaching job in a desirable location. Falling in love and getting married soon after graduation caught a few of us off guard, so new and often conflicting ideas of success began to emerge—to be a supportive wife, to juggle career and family. Not that we didn’t like being mothers, but we had just spent four years learning how to be outstanding teachers. Our ideas of success had to change from personal and career-oriented to family-oriented. What’s the secret to success in your swimming? It’s no big secret—a lot of hard work, a small amount of talent, and a wonderful love of the water. I am increasingly aware that I need to continue swimming just to keep my



How important is being successful? In my current job, I adjudicate determinations of fitness and disability for ill and injured marines and sailors. I cannot succeed in my work; I can only do my best to apply law, policy, and principle. The best I can do is make my personal slice of this terrible business as fair as circumstances allow. What does it mean to live a successful life? I have no idea, beyond the selfish notion of “worthwhile,” what success means, but I’m almost 100 percent sure it is very, very important. Maybe it means I don’t have to start over as a cockroach or as somebody’s socks, or maybe I get fewer beatings in purgatory. Perhaps I get a good night’s sleep. That would be nice.


citizenship education TANIA BARRICKLO

of charity work, Joanne Myers ’75 wants her students working on a camto become critical thinkers and active citpaign or with a izens. For examples of both, they need nonprofit, or atlook no further than the life and work of tending a public this outspoken scholar and tireless “aphearing.” The real plied political philosopher.” world is rife with Myers is associate professor of politilearning opportucal science and co-director of women’s nities, as she restudies at Marist College. To her Twitter lates in the story of followers (@feminista54) she is a “Femia student who set nist, Writer, Thinker, Poli Sci Professor @ out to pick apples Marist College & Poker (& Scrabble) Playfor the local food er.” To her students, she is Dr. JAM. bank. “They The popular professor, who also blogs picked up their at, emMARIST PROFESSOR JOANNE MYERS ’75 TEACHES HER STUDENTS baskets, and she braces social media as another way to POLICY AND PRAXIS. reached down for call attention to issues. “The purpose is and poker tournaments. a windfall apple,” recalls Myers, but “the to get people to think, sometimes by The field of women’s studies hadn’t leader stopped her and said to pick apputting things in context or a different yet come into its own when Myers was at ples that she would eat.” That moment perspective, sometimes by posing a quesSkidmore. “It was not seen as necessary,” changed how the student viewed people tion, sometimes by just complicating an she reflects. “We were a women’s college, in need. issue,” she explains. “Democracy is messy. after all.” She majored in philosophy and In addition to a demanding teaching If our chief values are equality and jusgovernment and went on to earn an MS schedule, Myers has organized the annutice—what do those very contested terms in political communication and PhD in al Women and Society mean?” “PEOPLE NEED TO BE urban and environmental studies at conference at Marist, Underlying it all is REMINDED THAT THEY ARE serves on the board of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. a drive to get her stuNOT ISOLATED, DISCONNECTED the Eleanor Roosevelt One woman Myers never tires of dents and online folFROM THE PUBLIC—THEY studying is former first lady Eleanor RooCenter at Val-Kill and lowers to think about ARE THE PUBLIC.” sevelt. “She was compassionate, and able at Grace Smith House what “we the people” to bring change about by listening, for domestic violence survivors, previreally signifies. “People need to be rebringing people together, and planting ously crewed on and served as board minded that they are not isolated, disseeds,” says Myers. “She continued to president of the Hudson River Sloop connected from the public—they are the grow and learn throughout her life—she Clearwater, and has consulted on various public,” says Myers. And they need to be did not start out feminist, but became political campaigns. She writes and gives well informed in order to be effective citso.” Roosevelt’s women’s-only press contalks and workshops on topics as diverse izens. Myers tries to inspire her students ferences influenced news media to hire as feminist political philosophy, property to active citizenship in many ways: “By more women. And Myers admires her rights, environmental policy, and public giving them the tools to question, and commitment to social justice, noting she policy and citizenship. She has just upthe tools to find the answers. By modelworked for civil and human rights bedated her 2009 book The A to Z of the ing critical thinking and being an active hind the scenes and not just in public. Lesbian Liberation Movement: Still the citizen myself.” She says Roosevelt’s life and work Rage—“adding in the men,” she says, to Myers engages students with current offer an enduring message: “Young peocreate The A to Z of the Lesbian and Gay events in the classroom and then has ple need to know that they can make a Liberation Movements—and has two more them test their ideas in real-world setdifference—that one candle can combat book proposals in review. She also finds tings. She says most of her classes indarkness.” —Helen S. Edelman ’74 time for painting, photography, poetry, clude “a praxis component—three hours




Watching the watchers


Deborah Jacobs ’90 likes debunking myths and winning people over. Especially when it comes to one of the most misunderstood organizations in the nation: the American Civil Liberties Union. As executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey since 1999, she’s used to hearing criticism. She asserts, “We’re one of the few organizations that helps ordinary people fight against injustices imposed by the powerful, and that includes the government and large companies. Real democracy can be a threatening concept, and it’s easier to discredit the ACLU than admit you’re against speaking truth to power.” Jacobs, who previously worked for the ACLU in Washington State and Missouri, spearheads legal, legislative, and grassroots advocacy to promote and protect civil liberties in New Jersey. She testifies

She cites the longstanding “war on Public Radio, CNN, and USA Today. drugs” as a failed policy that has unfairly An English-lit major who also retargeted African Americans and Latinos ceived a degree from Skidmore’s MALS and done significant harm that will take program, Jacobs says it’s “an honor and generations to undo. “It a thrill to work for the “AS WE HAVE SEEN doesn’t deter drug use, it ACLU” and to represent IN AMERICA BEFORE, sends nonviolent people “courageous and amazing” PROHIBITION IS A CURE to prison, and it wastes clients who are, for her, an THAT CREATES MORE billions of taxpayer dolenormous source of inspiPROBLEMS THAN THE lars,” Jacobs argues. “We ration. ORIGINAL DISEASE.” should regard drug use as In governance and law a public health problem, not a criminal enforcement, she says, “every state has justice problem. As we have seen in unique priorities and tactics.” In New America before, prohibition is a cure that Jersey, much of her time is spent on pocreates more problems than the original lice practices, privacy rights, racial jusdisease.” tice, and government transparency: Jacobs says it’s frustrating when gov“The state’s long history with corruption ernment officials who actually agree makes open governance a natural prioriwith the positions of the ACLU neverty for us, whether we’re seeking minutes theless hesitate to do right for fear of pofrom a small municipality’s council litical repercussions. “It makes me yearn meetings or information about a meetfor leaders who show more character and ing between the governor resolve,” she says. “But ultimately we and the head of Fox News.” have to hold ourselves, the citizens, reNot surprisingly, the Sepsponsible for the actions of our elected tember 11, 2001, terrorist officials. They will only ever do as much attacks added a twist to the as we make them do or as little as we let nature of her work. The them do.” ACLU-NJ focused intently In the last decade, the ACLU-NJ has on “challenging ineffective doubled its membership and quadrupled and invasive national-secuits budget and staff—which includes Jarity measures, such as the cobs’s assistant Tracey Kelley ’78 and rebloated government watchcent hire Eliza Straim ’11, plus a number list and unconstitutional of Skidmore interns over the years. Under warrantless-wiretapping Jacobs the New Jersey branch has become program.” Jacobs notes that one of the largest ACLU affiliates in the litigation is just a small country, with nearly 15,000 members. piece of what the ACLU People join for various reasons, Jacobs does. “Our public education says, but generally because they believe and legislative activities are in “the founding American values of freeequally important,” she dom, justice, and equality.” says. The organization For her part, Jacobs tries to makes sure worked with communities her organization’s efforts have a farthroughout the state to pass reaching impact. “I lead with a strategic, nearly two dozen anti-Patriaggressive approach, and I work hard to ot Act resolutions, and one ACLU LEADER DEBORAH JACOBS ’90 WORKS FOR “REAL of her biggest challenges to make sure the ACLU-NJ never comproDEMOCRACY.” mises its founding principles,” she says. date has been “persuading And she doesn’t let the critics get to her. legislators to replace a ‘tough on crime’ regularly before the state legislature, sub“When you work for the ACLU, if no mentality with ‘smart on crime’ policies mits opinion pieces to the state’s major one is mad at you, you’re probably not that both make us more secure as a socinewspapers, and is often tapped for comdoing your job.” —MTS ety and respect people’s rights.” ments by the New York Times, National



forest service success in showing companies that they can also profit from presenting a more “green” image. And Ecuador recently agreed not to cut the Yasuni Forest to get at the petroleum reserves underneath, in


When David Greenberg ’92 came to ing up in the atmosphere, and adding carSkidmore in 1988, he knew he wanted to bon alone would fuel climate change study biology. Even as a child, he says, he even more, imagine the climate impact of felt like a biologist as he dug around in deforestation with these large trees holdthe dirt and collected insects. He suring so much carbon.” rounded himself with books on all sorts of animals, especially dinosaurs. His annual visits to the Museum of Natural History with his brothers were more like pilgrimages. At Skidmore he found other passions, such as music and philosophy, and he worked on Salmagundi with English faculty members Peg Boyers ’75 and Marc Woodworth ’84. But the research he was able to do as a biology student kept him on a singularly focused path. After Skidmore he studied at the University of California at Santa Barbara and received a PhD in ecology, evolution, and marine biology in 2002. Currently in England, DAVID GREENBERG ’92 IS PROVING THE VALUE OF REDUCING Greenberg holds a two-year split appointment at Oxford University When he finishes his work in the UK, and the University of Leeds, where he is he’s interested in joining the UN’s Food working on the Rainfor project, studying and Agriculture Organization in Rome, the relationship between tropical forests Italy. The FAO does a lot of global forest and climate change. He says, “In the monitoring, and its Reducing Emissions Amazon we have a large network of 250 from Deforestation and Degradation procensus plots scattered across the basin, gram has UN backing to pay countries and in each plot we with vast forests not to ORGANIZATIONS WORKING cut them down. Greenmeasure the size of TO PROTECT THESE every tree every one to berg hopes his research FORESTS HAVE HAD SOME skills can help UN offitwo years. From this we SUCCESS IN SHOWING can estimate how much cials determine which COMPANIES THAT THEY wood is contained in countries have the most CAN ALSO PROFIT FROM the plot, and thereby trees with the most PRESENTING A MORE how much carbon is stored carbon. “GREEN” IMAGE. stored there.” “It can be difficult to Results so far indicate that stored carcompete economically with multinational bon has increased dramatically. “Because corporations that can pump loads of cash of all the CO2 we pump into the atmosinto developing countries,” he says. “A phere, the trees are working overtime to huge issue right now is the burning of split that chemical compound, the end reforests in Indonesia for palm agriculture— sult being that they’re growing signifipalm oil is in high demand for use in an cantly faster due to their increased carbon amazing number of processed foods and intake.” Greenberg’s concern: “If climate household products.” Organizations workchange occurs from carbon dioxide building to protect these forests have had some


exchange for $3.6 billion (about half the market value of the oil), money the UN is raising from other nations. Greenberg’s work requires a lot of time in the lab and on the road. He hasn’t yet done site work in South America, but his research into carbon sequestration by trees also includes sub-Sarahan Africa, and he plans to visit Gabon and South Africa. For now, Greenberg is enjoying his time in England. While his wife, Helene Schneider ’92, and their cats remain stateside, he is (“reluctantly”) getting used to the English climate while cycling around the countryside. At work, he says, he’s fortunate to be surrounded by smart and interesting people, all of them hoping that their work will have a significant impact on our understanding of climate change. —Robin Adams ’00

EDITOR’S NOTE For more exemplars of creative thought at work, see



It’s right around the bend… REUNION 2013 Now’s the time to join your classmates for a weekend at Skidmore, to plan your next big get-together. Reunion Planning Weekend: SECTION I July 26–28, 2012, Thursday–Saturday (for classes 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, & 1973) SECTION II July 27–29, 2012, Friday–Sunday (for classes 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, & 2008) For more information call 800-584-0115. Reunion 2013 is May 30–June 2. Save the date!


OCTOBER 19–21 • • • • •

President’s Hour Minicollege presentations with Skidmore faculty Exhibitions at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery Thoroughbred athletic contests Under the Big Top with talented student performers

There’s more to come, but mark your calendars now! Registration will be available in the summer. For more information and a schedule of events, visit celebrationweekend, e-mail, or call 518-580-5670. For lodging and dining information, visit or call the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce at 518-584-3255.



• 2002 • 1997 • 1992 • 1987 • 1982 • 1977 • 1972 • 1967 • 1962 • 1957 • 1952 • 1947 • 1942 • 1937 • 1932 • 1927 • 1922 •

It’s not too late to take part.

May 31–June 3 Rekindle old friendships • Rediscover Saratoga Springs Reconnect with faculty • Join the parade • Picnic on the green Go back to class • Visit the alumni art exhibition Enjoy live music and fireworks To register and get details, visit

1937 • 1932 • 1927 • 1922 • 2007 • 2002 • 1997 • 1992 • 1987 • 1982 • 1977 • 1972 • 1967 • 1962 • 1957 • 1952 • 1947

2007 • 2002 • 1997 • 1992 • 1987 • 1982 • 1977 • 1972 • 1967 • 1962 • 1957 • 1952 • 1947 • 1942 •

2007 • 2002 • 1997 • 1992 • 1987 • 1982 • 1977 • 1972 • 1967 • 1962 • 1957 • 1952 • 1947 • 1942 •



SPRING CLEANING? Who are these student stevedores, what are they loading, and why? Tell us your answers at 518-580-5747,, or Scope c/o Skidmore College. We’ll report answers, and run a new quiz, in the upcoming Scope magazine.

FROM LAST TIME Ice men? Rob Ellerstein ’83 and Peter Cornelius ’83 saw themselves in this 1980 team photo. Cornelius notes that Peter MacDonald ’79 (far right, in necktie) was their student coach, as hockey didn’t become a varsity sport until the next year. Ellerstein says, “Brings back a lot of fond memories.” Cornelius says he still plays hockey weekly and helps coach his son’s team. Jason Kurchner ’81 recalls that the skaters “were the Wombats, as were other Skidmore teams” before Skidmore adopted the Thoroughbreds nickname. Bryan Bernart ’80 recalls, “We were awful, but we were a new program and we all had fun. At least now the team doesn’t have to play beer leaguers—that was interesting.” Lance Wachenheim ’85, a rookie in the year after this photo, recognizes a few upperclassmen, including two who became his coaches: “goalie Steve Cornell ’81, and I think #14 in the back is Steve Yale



’81.” He adds, “I still have my Skidmore jerseys.” Consensus suggests: in the back, Jeff Raverby ’83, Brian Fernandes ’83, Bill LaPierre ’83, Cornelius, Yale, Jim Morrison ’83, Ellerstein, Steve Fugazy ’82, Charlie Audet ’80, and MacDonald; in front, Ron Rubbico ’83, Brian O’Brien ’82, Mike Marino ’83, Cornell, Anthony Giordano ’83, Shannon Baker ’83, and Peter Frautschi ’83. For Jessica Goldberg Farkas ’82 and Helen Makohon ’83, this is a “blast from the past” that’s “too funny to see and remember.” Betsy Linzer Rickert '81 remembers the rink where it was shot. And Kathleen Colquhoun Halm ’81 adds this postscript: “Say it ain’t so! We aren’t that old yet, are we? Shouldn’t these archival photos feature people who graduated 40 years ago, not young kids like us?” —SR










WAR/GAME Aiming, squeezing, steadying, squeezing…Boom! The gun goes off with a sudden bang, a hard jolt, and acrid smoke— nothing pleasant, but I can’t stop grinning. As a youngster I grew to hate the pointless shock and noise of cap guns or firecrackers, but I did love the shooting galleries at county fairs, because hitting a target is fun, like sinking a baseketball or throwing out a base-runner. Still, while I have no big objection to responsible game hunting (and even less objection to venison steaks), I’ve always been appalled from afar by gun violence and easy gun access. Known for its arts and culture, Saratoga Springs is not where I’d have expected to pick up my first gun, but an ex-Army deer-hunter chum is a member of SaraSpa Rod and Gun Club, which opens a few events to the public, so I decided I should try it. Earlier he’d let me shoot an arrow with his high-tech bow at Kayaderosseras Fish and Game Club, just south of town. His bow is strung at 70 pounds of tension, so I didn’t send that arrow very far. But wielding both weapons—sleek, well-designed dealers of death and suffering—was strangely, disturbingly enlightening. I didn’t find much ethical conflict in SaraSpa’s “women’s trap shoot” one sunny fall weekend. Just $10 bought a loaner gun, goggles and ear muffs, safety instructions and advice, and 25 cartridges of birdshot to blast at clay targets flung across the sky. As a fan of BBC historical dramas, I’ve longed to take up a stance (preferably in tweed plus-fours), shoulder a shotgun, and shout “Pull!” That was a gas. The actual shooting was just a bonus—as was the company. Far from rednecked, these gun clubbers were 4-H instructors, careful hunters, and benign target competitors. Members and guests of both sexes, from teenagers to retirees, shared applause, sympa60 SCOPE


thy, and doughnuts. I managed to hit one clay pigeon in 15 shots, which was all my rotator cuff could bear from the “easyrecoil” 20-gauge. For me, the real kicker, in every sense, was privately shooting a .357 magnum one cold spring morning. First I tried two smaller pistols, which were so easy to aim and fire that I immediately understood why there are so many handgun murders and accidents. Against my better judgment, their toylike handling seemed to inspire toylike thinking: We’re having a game with playthings. Then I took up the magnum, and try as I might to keep my clasped hands down in front of me, each recoil sent my arms flying straight up and back over my head. The report concussed my eardrums under my muffs and lingered in the air. My hunter chum laughed and yelled, “It’s a cannon, isn’t it?” I agreed, laughing back. But wait! Cannons don’t belong in the pockets of civilians. Nothing that easy to use should be that lethal. Or that exhilarating. Shooting is deadly dangerous; that’s serious. Yet it felt like entertainment; it didn’t mean a thing. The cocktail of gravity and silliness made my head spin. (And learning that pistol-shooting is the most popular sport at SaraSpa made my knees knock. Where are all those pistols when they’re not at the target range?) Carnivorous and clannish, humans are probably hard-wired to use projectiles, so I’m sure gunplay gratifies on some subcerebral level. In a civilized world, though, can’t we scratch that primal itch with, say, laser tag? Well, only two other gun clubs lie within a half-hour’s drive, so Saratoga is hardly a shooters’ mecca. But I don’t mind knowing that its roots run deep and also broad. I mean, where else can you browse upscale galleries in the morning and shoot skeet that afternoon? —SR

........................ DOES YOUR GIFT TO SKIDMORE MAKE CREATIVE THOUGHT HAPPEN? ........................ Elaine Allen ’70 PSYCHOLOGY

........................................................................................................................ DID SKIDMORE HELP ELAINE ALLEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO PREDICT A WORLD SERIES WINNER? ........................................................................................................................ You Can Count On It! According to Elaine,

“At Skidmore, I started my journey to analytics and data analysis—experimental psychology was the first course I took where I gathered my own data and analyzed it.” A statistician and professor of business and entrepreneurship, Elaine Allen ’70 is a guru of baseball stats. She has consulted with the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Her studies on baseball have been covered by, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Your gift to Skidmore helps to ensure today’s Skidmore students have their own Creative Thought experiences and will grow into successful Skidmore alumni.

Please make a gift now at or call 1-800-584-0115. This is just one of our many Creative Thought Matters stories. For more information on Elaine Allen, visit:


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Skidmore College 815 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632


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