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ARTES LIBER ALES Spring 2009 Vol. II, No. III

The Newsletter of the Liberal Arts


A&S DEAN’S LETTER

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Greetings, April is always a busy time on college campuses. Students are finishing final projects and studying for exams and seniors are preparing to graduate and begin the next chapter of their lives. To celebrate the independent research that our students have produced over the course of the year, the School of Arts & Sciences hosts our annual Student Research Symposium. Going into its 24th year, the Symposium will feature over 150 oral and poster presentations that touch the sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences. The event, which will take place on Friday, April 17 at the Modlin Center for the Arts, provides students with the perfect setting to share their results in a professional setting. The semester will barely have finished when Arts & Sciences students return

to campus to begin their summer research fellowships. This year, we had a record 107 students apply for summer research support from the School of Arts & Sciences. I’m proud that we’ll be funding 89 of those proposals. We anticipate that at least that number of students will also be able to remain on campus, conducting research, with external support from faculty grants and foundations such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. If you’d like to know more about undergraduate research at Richmond, the School of Arts & Sciences recently released its first report on undergraduate research. E-mail as@ richmond.edu and we’ll be happy to mail you a copy if you haven’t already received one. Andrew F. Newcomb Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences University of Richmond

School of Arts & Sciences Mission Andrew F. Newcomb Dean

Dona Hickey Senior Associate Dean, Faculty Development

Kathy Hoke

Associate Dean, Research Support

Scott Johnson

Artes Liberales is published three times a year for faculty, staff, students, and friends of the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Richmond. Electronic issues of Artes Liberales can be found online at http://as.richmond.edu

Associate Dean Director, Academic Advising Resource Center

Director of Communications Rachel Beanland

Susan Kaye O’Neil

Communications Assistant Giavanna Palermo

Associate Dean Program and Resource Development

Joseph Boehman

Send story ideas or comments to gpalermo@richmond.edu.

Juliette L. Landphair

Cover art, “Majika Icona,” courtesy of Irena Stanisic, ’11. See story on page 5.

Associate Dean Dean of Richmond College

Associate Dean Dean of Westhampton College

To explore the liberal arts through intellectual inquiry, shared investigation, and creativity, thereby fostering a community whose members pursue knowledge for its intrinsic value and its contributions to professions, society and the world.

History professor Robert Kenzer, history professor Magnus Persson of Vaxjo University in Sweden, and history and international studies professor John Gordon enjoy the new space at UR Downtown.


As all good classical studies majors know, the study of antiquities goes beyond recognizing images, dates, and the progression of artistic style; there is an ethical component to studying cultural property that encompasses everything from museum policies to looting. Not all classics majors, however, find themselves facing down third-year law students as they debate these topics in class. Classical studies professor Elizabeth Baughan’s course, Archaeology, Ethics and Law, which deals with the ownership of antiquities as well as ethical and legal aspects of patrimony laws and illegal excavation, includes eight lawyers-in-training from the University of Richmond School of Law. The law students take the cross-listed course alongside undergrads, completing extra assignments and a more in-depth final paper to receive graduate-level credit. “The law students are in their third year, so they’re thrilled with the change of pace from their usual course load,” said Baughan. “They elevate the class discussion because they’re not shy about saying what they think.” The course is a departure for Baughan, who usually teaches archaeologically-based classes. But she sees first-hand the effects of looting when she visits Turkey to do research. “Teaching this class has been a sort of crash course for me on the legal ins and outs of cultural ownership,” she said. “For that reason, especially,

it’s been great to have the law students’ perspective.” Baughan’s students study specific case studies concerning cultural ownership, from the Parthenon Marbles to artifacts excavated from Peru in the 1980s. Baughan has structured the class to be interactive, with students presenting case studies—the real discussion begins when ethics and the law clash. Baughan divided up the class for a formal debate and asked them to take sides on whether or not the British Museum should return the Parthenon Marbles, sculptures taken from Athens’ Acropolis by a British earl in the early 1800s. To Baughan’s surprise, the law students argued for the repatriation of the artifacts, while her classics majors were in favor of the museum maintaining the collection. “In a class where we’re dealing with issues of legality and ethics and art and antiquity, it’s great to have this mix of students,” said Baughan.

A&S FACULTY TEACHING

Arts & Sciences students sit side by side with law students in course on classical antiquities

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A&S FACULTY RESEARCH

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Interdisciplinary team of professors write book on ADHD that examines all the angles “When we first started writing, we approached ADHD and stimulant medication as educators and researchers. But over the six-year process, all three of us became the parents of young children,” said Rick Mayes, political science professor and co-author of Medicating Children: ADHD and Pediatric Mental Health, which was released last month by Harvard University Press. “As we redrafted and did chapter re-writes, we often came back to our older writing with new parenting experiences, good and bad.” Medicating Children deals with the history, evolution, and current controversy over the behavioral and developmental disorder attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its treatment. Mayes partnered with Richmond colleagues, psychology professor Catherine Bagwell and political science professor Jennifer Erkulwater, to write Medicating Children and, as a result, the book encompasses numerous perspectives, setting it apart in its field. “We wrote chapters based on our expertise. Rick wrote on health care, Catherine on the clinical aspects and I took the chapters on policy, ”said Erkulwater, who was pulled onto the project because of her research on social welfare, disability, and education policy. Bagwell, who had already been involved in several empirical studies on specific aspects of ADHD, was approached by Mayes and asked to write

the chapters focusing on the clinical side of the disorder and its treatment. “ADHD is the most well-researched disorder in childhood, but the collaboration is what makes Medicating Children unique,” she said. “ Working on the project was incredibly rewarding for me, as I learned so much about the intersection of policy and clinical decisions. We hope that readers will come from a variety of perspectives as well, so they can find some chapters more familiar and others well outside the realm of their expertise.” While the book is thoroughly academic, it appeals to a broad audience: from a neurologist to a college professor to the parents of children struggling with the disorder. Children’s behavior, Mayes says, can be an intensely personal and sensitive subject for parents. “Catherine, Jennifer and I also see the ADHD/stimulant phenomenon from the college angle,” he said. “We see students who could not be here if not for psychopharmeceuticals, but these kinds of drugs are also being abused on college campuses in growing numbers. That is what makes this issue complicated and messy and yet very, very real for millions of children, adolescents, young adults, and parents. And that is what we tried to capture in our book.”


If asked to describe herself, Irena Stanisic, ’11, would say she is a cultural hybrid— and with good reason. Born in South Africa, Stanisic is half Bosnian, half Macedonian, and has been traveling her whole life. This nomadic lifestyle has proved to be an asset to the studio art major and Richmond Artist Scholar. “My background has a big impact on my work,” said Stanisic, who is also a Weinstein Scholar. Stanisic has taken a class with art professor Tanja Softic every semester she has been at Richmond. Last spring, when Stanisic wanted to explore some of her own artistic ideas outside of class, she approached Softic about an independent study. Softic, who shares Stanisic’s Bosnian heritage, helped her turn themes and ideas into a proposal for a project. “When you do research as a studio art

major, your source material is varied,” said Stanisic. “In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time copying the sketches of master artists to learn their methods. Tanja helped me explore different sources, from the work of post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha to music and the visual arts.” Two works that came out of Stanisic’s independent study were “Creation vs. Destruction,” a three-piece ink and watercolor drawing, currently on exhibit in Boatwright Library, and “Majika Icona,” a painting of Stanisic’s mother depicted as an icon. “The pieces I did reflect issues of cultural hybridity, both positive and negative,” Stanisic said. “The negative, for me, is feeling like a mutt; the positive is that I can shape who I am today by blending aspects of the different cultures that are part of my background.” Transposing these feelings into her work, Stanisic explores how figures and shapes shift according to their environment and experiments to see how different forms influence each other. Stanisic has enjoyed taking full advantage of the wide array of classes offered in her major, from printmaking and advanced etching to oil painting and the exploration of the figure. “I’m still figuring out where I fit in and what style I like best,” she said. “I love that at Richmond I don’t have to just pick one style. I can evolve as I come in contact with different methods and different professors.”

A&S STUDENT RESEARCH

Art major’s cultural story makes its way into her work

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A&S ALUMNI FOCUS

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LANDING A JOB WITH THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL At first glance, you’ll think you have Andrew Pulley, ’03, all figured out. He graduated from Richmond with degrees in English and rhetoric & communication studies, he got his international fix with a semester abroad in New Zealand, and he rounded out his education with electives like film studies. His story is comparable to hundreds of other bright and promising Richmond grads. But Pulley will surprise you. With a job he’d secured at a local law firm and plans to apply to law school, Pulley changed his mind. He gave notice and, armed with a directory of every production company in Los Angeles, he packed up his car and headed crosscountry toward an uncertain future. “I knew that I would have to start at the bottom if I wanted to make it,” said Pulley, who landed an internship in the writers’ office of the comedy series “Malcolm in the Middle.” He worked unpaid for six months, catering at night to make ends meet, and met as many people as he could. Eventually, he got a paying job at a talent agency and then on the lot of 20th Century Fox Television, checking on sets. “It was an insane world—15 hour days, people screaming at you left and

right—basically boot camp for working in television production,” he said. “It was exciting and intense but I knew I didn’t want to stay in that environment.” Pulley had moved to L.A. for the professional experience—not the scene, which, after two years, was beginning to get old. He looked for ways to move back east and set his sights on the National Geographic Channel. It was a company he admired and he hoped the work would lead to international travel, something Pulley says became a top priority after the semester he spent abroad while at Richmond. “I figured out the formula for staff Email addresses at National Geographic and started writing to them,” said Pulley. Undaunted by three months of his E-mails going unanswered, Pulley finally received a response from someone who had an opening. Pulley took a sick day, flew to D.C., interviewed for the position, and began work at National Geographic as a production coordinator in September of 2005. He spent six months learning the business of production, working on budget and operations. When he met producer Geoff Luck, who needed a free actor for a series on animal attacks,


10-day Galapagos cruise, free of charge. From there, the crew followed Darwin’s travels through South America. Pulley rode with local gauchos in Patagonia, dug with archeologists in Uruguay, explored the rainforests of Rio de Janeiro, and traveled up the dizzying roads of the Andes to film the fossils that made Darwin question the age of the Earth. Shortly after they returned from South America, the crew set off again— for the South Pacific. They spent a week in New Zealand learning about invasive species, flew to Tahiti to film unique snail species, isolated in the island’s valleys, and dove in the coral atolls of the Tuamotus. Their travels ended with a trip to London to see Darwin’s finches in a museum. “Darwin’s Secret Notebooks” aired on February 10, 2009. “When I first started working for National Geographic, I had no idea I would get this lucky,” said Pulley, whose latest project is a show about Chile’s Easter Island.

Pulley’s work at National Geographic has taken him to some fascinating desinations, including Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, Chile’s Easter Island, French Polynesia, and the Patagonia region of Argentina,

A&S ALUMNI FOCUS

Pulley gladly volunteered. After the crew filmed Pulley being chased by wolves, they hired him as an associate producer for the rest of the series. “Crews on these shows are super small,” said Pulley. “There’s the cameraman, the producer, who writes and directs, and the associate producer, who takes care of everything from transportation to coffee runs.” Pulley hadn’t been on the team long when they launched their next project, an hour-long special called “Darwin’s Secret Notebooks.” “The idea for the show came out of a book, Darwin’s Other Islands, which is about all the places Darwin visited during his five-year journey on the HMS Beagle,” said Pulley. “In each place he visited, he observed something that helped build his theory. Galapagos, at the end, was the key that helped it all fit together.” Pulley convinced Lindblad Expeditions to let the crew tag along on a

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A&S FEATURE

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UR Downtown: Open for Business Arts & Sciences faculty and staff get a sneak peak with tips on how to make the most of the space “The University of Richmond has been serving the city of Richmond from the West End for a long time. It seems natural for a physical location to become the manifestation of the University’s principles of civic engagement,” said Judy Mejia, program manager for the Richmond Families Initiative, one of three programs housed in the University’s new downtown location, aptly named, UR Downtown. What started as a conversation between the director of the Bonner Cen-

ter for Civic Engagement, Doug Hicks, and law school dean John Douglass, is now a place where students and faculty across the University can make more meaningful connections with community partners in the city of Richmond. Located at the intersection of Broad and 7th streets, in the heart of the city, UR Downtown is a 5,000-square foot space on the first floor of the former Franklin Federal Savings and Loan building. On February 26, Dean


tied to social policy but is hoping to expand into other disciplines. The new space, she says, will help make all kinds of opportunities available to a greater portion of the University community. “We’re really looking forward to students being able to use the space for group meetings, research, and a location from which to connect to nearby organizations,” Mejia said. And, as Hicks told A&S faculty and staff, UR Downtown isn’t just for service projects. Mejia hopes that students and faculty will use the space in whatever ways fit the needs of their classes, whether it’s taking advantage of downtown cultural events and performance venues or holding a regular class downtown once or twice a week. The GRTC Route 16 bus makes it easy to travel from campus to UR Downtown.

“UR Downtown has permanent staff who are committed to helping our students and faculty think through projects and find downtown connections, whether it’s for a one time event or an ongoing venture” said Mejia. “We’re really excited to be a part of the vibrancy of the city and to have a greater impact here, now that the University of Richmond has this physical presence,” she said.

A&S FEATURE

Andrew Newcomb invited Arts & Sciences faculty and staff to a special faculty meeting at UR Downtown, where they could tour the building and envision the ways Arts & Sciences students might connect with the new space. “We were pleased that Dean Newcomb and the A&S faculty committed to hold a faculty meeting in UR Downtown even before it was dedicated,” said Hicks. “The space will serve as a resource for faculty wishing to hold a lecture or an event downtown and it will help students get ‘beyond the bubble’ and expand their knowledge base of the city in which they live.” UR Downtown houses three programs: the Harry L. Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service, the Jeanette Lipman Family Law Clinic, and the Richmond Families Initiative, which supports and promotes the development of stable families in the Richmond area. “The Richmond Families Initiative partners with nonprofit organizations and provides our students and faculty with the opportunity to think about issues that affect families,” said Mejia. “The University community is a great resource and can help these nonprofits in a variety of ways.” The Richmond Families Initiative has already been helping students and faculty get involved with community-based learning projects since last fall. Students worked with local nonprofits Voices for Virginia’s Children and St. Joseph’s Villa to do data projects such as creating assessment tools. Mejia primarily works with faculty members who teach classes that are

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A&S IN THE COMMUNITY

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Science at Richmond has come to mean a lot of things: professors who go the extra mile; students doing research before they even get on campus; classes that bridge the gap across departments; grants that put faculty in the news and students in the lab all summer. With state of the art equipment in Gottwald Science Center’s 70+ teaching and research labs, one thing that doesn’t immediately come to mind is community-based learning. While students who take courses in the humanities and social sciences have come to expect that community involvement

ways—it brings what’s taught in the classroom to life.” This is the second semester that Dattelbaum has worked with the Center for Civic Engagement to partner with community organizations that are relevant to his course material. His biochemistry students can choose to spend time in one of six locations: the Virginia Home, which provides nursing and residential care to adults with irreversible physical disabilities, the National Kidney Foundation, which screens for kidney disease, the MCV palliative care unit, the Fan Free Clinic and the Cross Over Ministry

A SCIENCE CLASS WITH ALL THE COMPONENTS will be part of their coursework, chemistry professor Jonathan Dattelbaum is one of several science professors starting to incorporate communitybased learning into their classes. And it’s not just any class—it’s a 300-level biochemistry class made up of upperlevel science majors. “Community-based learning isn’t just community service; students are bringing what they learn in class to their volunteer work and then taking what they learn from those experiences back to the classroom. So it works both

clinic, both of which provide healthcare to low income Richmond residents, and the International Hospital for Children, which links pediatric surgical resources to critically ill children in developing nations. “Class labs are set up to show the different types of reactions—the ‘hows’ of biochemical interactions,” said Eric Gabriel, ’10, a biology major in Dattelbaum’s class with plans to attend dental school. “Getting out into a clinic like Cross Over Ministry, taught me the ‘whys’ of studying biochemistry and the


“It was great to have the opportunity to take what I learned about disease on the cellular or molecular level in class and apply it to diseases and conditions on a more holistic level in a real life situation,” said Justine Gorman, ’09, who volunteered at the Virginia Home last semester and enjoyed it so much that she has continued working there even after Dattelbaum’s class ended. Most of the community sites connected to the class deal on some level with palliative care; Dattelbaum hopes that his students, thanks to their biochemical background, will be inspired to think about prevention.

for instance, almost all patients are screened for Type 2 diabetes. In class, Dattlebaum teaches students about the malfunctioning membrane protein that causes this disease by elevating glucose levels. Students who volunteer at the clinic can then observe firsthand how diabetes leads to blindness and loss of limbs without the proper treatment. Dattelbaum wants his students to make connections, whether it’s observing disease or finding the link between metabolic disorders and the ingredients in food items.

“It’s natural for a student to be sitting in a science class wondering, ‘Why I am learning these 20 standard amino acids?’” he said. “But when that student is out there interacting with those who are dealing with the disease, it becomes a motivational experience that encourages them to understand what’s happening on a metabolic level and put it together with the bigger picture.” Left: Chemistry professor Jonathan Dattelbaum kicks off a biochemistry lecture. Right: Carrie O’Rourke, ’11, spent her semester volunteering at the Virginia Home; Tran Doan, ’10, logged hours at VCU Medical Center; and Miles Johnson, ’09, worked at the International Hospital for Children. Opposite Page: Heather Hollis, ’09, chose the Fan Free Clinic as her service learning site.

A&S IN THE COMMUNITY

uses it has in the everyday world.” Along with the 15 required hours that students spend at their site of choice during the semester, they also post on the class blog (http://blog. richmond.edu/biochem326s09/) after each visit, and write a final paper, which links biochemistry with something they observed at their community site. Many students, Dattelbaum says, found the most important connections to be between the metabolic and biochemical basis of diseases and their manifestation and effects on the everyday lives of the people affected by them. At the Cross Over Ministry clinic,

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A&S IN THE WORLD

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Students connect with Middle Eastern counterparts in Yemen online, via webcam Class discussions in the School of Arts & Sciences are always lively. But political science professor Sheila Carapico took class discussion to the next level—asking students in her Islam in Politics course to talk about cultural and political differences between the Western and Arab worlds via webcam, sometimes at 6:30 a.m., with students in the Middle East. The conversations took place thanks to an online network called Soliya Connect, which connects students in Western and Arabic cultures in the hopes of creating a more informed and peaceful global society. Students at participating schools across the U.S. and the Middle East split into groups for spirited, twohour discussions once a week. Soliya contacted Carapico, an expert on Yemen, and asked her to suggest a Yemeni university with the technological capacity to participate in these global discussions. Coincidentally, Carapico had just received an email from former student David MacDonald, ’07, who was teaching English in Yemen at

the Yemen-America Language Institute. Carapico connected MacDonald with Soliya and decided to get her own students involved as well. “My students loved the meetings,” said MacDonald. “I think that Yemeni students were a great addition to the program because of their traditional social morals and relatively conservative interpretation of Islam.” Both MacDonald’s students and Carapico’s students found that talking about culturally disparate issues, face to face, broke down barriers. “My group had a passionate discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Bridgette Leahy, ’09. “The personal experiences of the Arabic students reminded us that the conflict is not just a political topic but a devastating reality for many families in the Middle East.” “I actually enjoyed getting up at the crack of dawn to meet with my Soliya group,” said Caleb Routhier, ’11. “The conversations were always interesting, and I came away feeling like these people were my friends.”


Beth Crawford’s [psychology] paper, “Conceptual Metaphors of Affect,” will appear in the new journal Emotion Review in spring 2009. Ladelle McWhorter’s [philosophy] book, Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America: A Genealogy, was released in March 2009 by Indiana University Press. Con Beausang [physics] has been asked to serve as chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society. Johann Stegmeir [theatre and dance] designed costumes for “Inventing Van Gogh,” a play by Stephen Deitz, for The Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Stegmeir’s costumes can also be seen in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Florida Grande Opera. Michael Leopold [chemistry] was awarded $255,000 by the National Science Foundation for a proposal to continue research on incorporating nanomaterials into biosensor technology development. Brian Henry [English] had translations of poems by Slovenian poet Aleš Šteger published in The New Yorker, Guernica, BOMB, and Boston Review and had his own poems published in TriQuarterly, Washington Square, and Salt. The 2009 LASA Film Festival & Exhibit is directed by Claudia Ferman [LAIS].

Robert Hodierne [journalism] wrote the cover story in the February-March issue of American Journalism Review, and he was named military history and military studies adviser to World Book Encyclopedia. Gary Shapiro [philosophy] co-edited a special issue of The Journal of Nietzsche Studies on Nietzsche and Contemporary Politics, which included his essay, “Beyond Peoples and Fatherlands: Nietzsche’s Geophilosophy and the Direction of the Earth.” Jan Hoffman French’s [anthropology] book, Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast, will be published in May 2009 by The University of North Carolina Press. Tom Mullen [journalism] led a public affairs reporting class that covered the recent Virginia General Assembly session for weekly newspapers and Web sites in cooperation with the Capital News Service at the VCU School of Mass Communications. David Leary [University Professor] has published “Between Peirce (1878) and James (1898): G. Stanley Hall, the Origins of Pragmatism, and the History of Psychology” in History of Psychology. Terryl Givens’ [English] book, People of Paradox (Oxford 2007), was named a 2007/2008 Choice Outstanding Academic Book.

A&S IN THE WORKS

Arts & Sciences Faculty Accomplishments

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A&S HIGHLIGHTS

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APRIL April 3 @ 1:30 p.m. Gottwald Science Center, Room C112 & 114 Four chemistry majors present their research as part of the chemistry department’s 2008-2009 seminar series April 5 @ 3 p.m. Booker Hall of Music, Camp Concert Hall Schola Cantorum and the University Women’s Chorale perform music from central and Eastern Europe, recently featured on their concert tour of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary April 6 @ 4 p.m. Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room Vanderbilt University English professor Mark Wollaeger gives a talk “Cyborgs and Indians: Locating Lawrence’s Modernism in America” April 8 @ 4 pm Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room A reading from the anthology Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life. Four contributors read from their essays in the anthology and answer questions about balancing motherhood and the academy. April 9 @ 7 p.m. Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room American poet and memoirist Mark Doty reads from his work. Doty is the author of six books of poetry and is the only American poet to have won Great Britain’s T. S. Eliot Prize. April 11, 15-18 @ 7 p.m. April 12 @ 2 p.m. Modlin Center for the Arts, Alice Jepson Theatre The Department of Theatre & Dance presents How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Directed by theatre professor Walter Schoen.

April 13 @ 4:15 p.m. Jepson Hall, Room 120 Washington and Lee University professor Simon Levy gives a talk, “Hyperdimensional Cognitive Computing: A New Approach to Some Very Old Problems,” as part of the Department of Math & Computer Science’s spring 2009 colloquium series April 16 @ 7 p.m Jepson Hall, Room 120 American poets Laura Sims and L.S. Klatt read from their work as part of the English department’s Writers’ Series April 13-16 Gottwald Science Center, Auditorium The Department of Physics presents Nuclear Physics & Society, a free, four-day short course on nuclear physics and public policy. For more information, visit http://physics.richmond.edu April 17 @ 1 p.m. Modlin Center for the Arts Arts & Sciences students present their 2008-2009 research at the 24th Annual Student Research Symposium April 29 The University of Richmond hosts “America on the Eve of Civil War,” the nation’s first major sesquicentennial event and the first of seven programs sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. To register for this free conference or for more information, visit www.virginiacivilwar.org Modlin Center for the Arts Calendar at http://modlin.richmond.edu/ University Museums Calendar at http://museums.richmond.edu/

Visit http://as.richmond.edu for the School of Arts & Sciences’ full calendar of events.


Artes Liberales catches up with one Arts & Sciences graduate each issue to ask the age old question—What are you really going to do with a liberal arts degree?

Name: Gordon Meader, ’08 Major: English Hometown: Marshfield, Mass. Did you have any post-grad plans at the end of senior year? Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do. First I started working for a friend of mine who was renovating houses in the Richmond area—but the collapse of the housing market ended that. And that was okay, actually, because then I started looking for nonprofit work, which is where I realized I really wanted to be. I heard about Dominion Youth Services, which offers structured therapeutic and recreational activities that promote the development of positive social and family relationships. I did some investigating and applied for a position as a Youth Counselor. What is a normal day like for you?

After school, from 2 to 7 p.m., I work with about 50 kids, ages 5-13, at an afterschool program housed in our facility. We’ve basically recreated a school setting, providing the kids with more structure and the opportunity to build social skills. You’ve been with Dominion since November. Thus far, has your English degree contributed to your success on the job? My English major has helped me big time. As simplistic as it sounds, my English degree has given me the ability to express myself in a really articulate way, and, in turn, I’m able to help the kids learn how to express themselves. I really think a liberal arts degree teaches you how to learn. It’s fostered in me a willingness to try and figure things out. That kind of flexibility makes this job really worthwhile -- it’s not easy and the days are long, but working here feels right.

ELEVEN MONTHS OUT

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I provide positive behavioral support to my clients within a Richmond public school. As a youth counselor, I counsel the kids on how to change their behavior as they encounter different situations throughout the day. Many of the kids in the program exhibit ongoing difficulties in the home, community, or school. Many haven’t been given the tools to deal with trauma or stress, and it’s difficult for them to function normally when they’re faced with obstacles in the school day.

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Irena Stanisic, “Underwater Outerspace.” This etching explores an unnatural mixing of environments, showing an antagonism between the teeming life of the ocean and the emptiness of outerspace as well as between free-flowing objects and structure. The artist sought to convey movement and confinement at the same time.

INSIDE Artist Scholar Irena Stanisic, ’11, concludes independent study project and prepares to participate in Student Research Symposium

University of Richmond, Virginia 23173


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