The University of Arizona | College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Spring 2024 Developments Issue

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Spring 2024


I hope you enjoy the spring Developments newsletter. The stories featured in this issue reflect the deeply personal ways that giving can reflect our values and honor our relationships. The Aurelie Sheehan Memorial Scholarship — established by Aurelie’s husband, Reed Karaim, and many colleagues, friends, and former students was created in an outpouring of love, grief, and admiration for Aurelie, who served the University as professor and head of the Department of English. Ken Krane surprised his wife, Paula Krane, for her 80th birthday by establishing a scholarship in her name in the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP). Melody Robidoux’s support of SGPP provides emergency funds to students in need. Her generosity, as well as the support provided by donors to the SBS Student Completion Fund, is rooted in empathy for our students and a commitment to helping them graduate.

This issue also features our Alumna of the Year, Carol Dorsey, and our Innovation Circle reception and student scholar Zoë Goebel. Thank you to our Innovation Circle members – and all our donors – who Fuel Wonder in SBS with their generosity. Together, we transform lives through giving. ~ Lori Poloni-Staudinger, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences


Carol, a first-generation college student, earned a B.A. in political science in 1975. Carol and her husband, Bob, are generous supporters of the Southwest Center and its program “In the Americas with David Yetman,” which airs on PBS. Thanks to their gifts, the show’s website now includes course curricula for educators.

“Carol and Bob have had a tremendous impact on the Southwest Center’s research and educational mission, allowing us to expand our global reach,” said Jeffrey Banister, director of the Southwest Center.

The Dorseys also helped establish The North Mississippi Literacy Project.

Carol’s time in SBS has influenced her passion for regional history, art, and environmental conservation.

“Bob and I think one role of higher education is to provide an avenue for the community to experience things that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, and to open their minds and hearts,” Carol said.

Lori Poloni-Staudinger SBS Dean Lori Poloni-Staudinger and Carol Dorsey. Carol Dorsey was named the College of SBS’s Alumna of the Year for her lifelong commitment to education, community service, and philanthropy.

Honoring A Legacy ofEmpathyTeaching, & Literary Courage Aurelie Sheehan

In a 2006 video from the Poetry Center, Aurelie Sheehan reads her piece “Big Truck” — a tale of a woman riding as a passenger in a monster truck around Tucson. Relatable and hilarious, Aurelie drives the listener through the adventure, reading earnestly while sometimes stifling a mischievous grin.

Aurelie Sheehan, professor of creative writing for nearly 24 years and former head of the Department of English at the University of Arizona, died on August 3, 2023. Her husband, Reed Karaim, with additional donations from family, friends, faculty, and former students, established the Department of English Aurelie Sheehan Memorial Scholarship, to support undergraduates and later, as the scholarship fund grows, graduate students who study creative writing.


Aurelie loved teaching and found joy in helping her student writers discover their own style and expression. Her husband, Reed, says this passion is largely what inspired him to set up the scholarship.

“Nothing made her happier than to see young students find their voice as writers and artists. She also loved working at a public university — that she got a chance to help students from all different backgrounds and walks of life,” Reed said. “To me, it seemed like a fitting way to honor her legacy, by providing some small assistance to students in need — to help them get an opportunity to succeed.”

Reed added, “She was very empathetic and had a gift for understanding when students were struggling or doubting if they belonged. Her door was always open to students; she would reassure them that they were doing well and belonged in the program.”

Joel Hans participated in one of Aurelie’s micro-fiction workshops. The class was large and more competitive than he anticipated, and he recalls that her insightful class management made all the difference.

“It was a more cutthroat environment than a lot of us expected,” Joel recalled. “But Aurelie handled the class with such individual care and kindness to us as writers — the projects we were interested in, and the kind of fiction we wanted to write.”

At the end of the class, Aurelie gave Joel written feedback in a personal note that he has kept tucked in a frame for the last 10 years.

“It’s a symbol of the impact she left on me as a writer,” Joel said. “That was a big reason I donated to the scholarship.”


Aurelie’s Irish American father was in the military, serving in France, when she was born. She retained a lifelong affinity for France and eventually went back for a fellowship, and later, personal travel.

“She spoke French — not well, but better than me,” Reed quipped. “The entire French attitude towards wining,

Aurelie Sheehan with her daughter, Alexandra Karaim, and husband, Reed Karaim.

dining, living art, everything — was something she strongly identified with.”

Unsurprisingly, Aurelie was a voracious reader, always immersed in fiction and poetry. She loved Colm Tóibín, Haruki Murakami, and Claire Keegan, among others, and was a devoted reader of her colleagues’ work as well as her husband’s — a writer in his own right.

“We were always each other’s first readers and editors,” Reed said. “As I go forward in my writing, I know I’m going to miss her insights because she had a tremendous gift for seeing the truth in any piece of prose and pointing you in the right direction.”

Aurelie’s impact extended to her colleagues as well.

Kate Bernheimer, a UArizona professor of English, counted Aurelie as one of her closest friends. She worked closely with Reed to set up the scholarship and says she admired Aurelie’s unique ability to navigate challenges.

“She was the queen of calm, and her colleagues knew they could rely on her. If we were heading into a difficult situation, she had a way of saying just one sentence and it would alleviate all the anxiety,” Kate said. “She could be so irreverent, too — it never impeded her professionalism — but was like a secret gift she had that brought levity to any situation, no matter how grave it was. Up to my last conversation with her, I can’t believe she is gone.”

Ander Monson, a UArizona English professor and close friend who worked with Kate to bridge Aurelie’s colleagues and family during her illness, says he feels her absence keenly.

“I miss her wit and wicked sense of humor, how sometimes you didn’t see how much she saw and how deeply she thought until one of her sentences was hanging around your neck,” Ander said.


Aurelie’s gift for encouraging students, helping them navigate their writing, and cultivating confidence is a main component of the scholarship.

“Aurelie was fiercely invested in centering emerging voices,” Kate said. “Especially those writers who are inter ested in story narratives related to women’s causes and lived experiences, which could come in any form or style and from any voice.”

Kate added, “This scholarship is special because, like Aurelie, it won’t reward what is trendy or loudest. A student who is true to herself, yearning to discover her words and determined to strengthen her voice – that’s who will shine.”

The scholarship has raised enough funds to be fully endowed and will be given each spring. It is dedicated to University of Arizona creative writing majors — especially

“This scholarship is special because, like Aurelie, it won’t reward what is trendy or loudest. A student who is true to herself, yearning to discover her words and determined to strengthen her voice – that’s who will shine.” - Kate Bernheimer

those who are interested in issues confronted by women and girls.

Hannah Palmisano was named as the first scholarship recipient.

“I didn’t know Aurelie, but her legacy precedes her. She seems like such an amazing person, and I regret I didn’t get the chance to meet her,” Hannah said. “She is going to live on in everyone’s memories in all the best ways — in the stories we tell about her and her stories that we get to share with everyone. The scholarship that I’m so grateful to be honored by … is just another way that she’s giving back.”

Reflecting on Aurelie’s dedication to her craft and students, Ander emphasized the impact she will have on the literary landscape of UArizona.

“The scholarship is a legacy of Aurelie’s commitment to young writers and their stories, those they know how to tell and especially those they haven’t figured out how to tell yet,” Ander said. “I’m feeling confident that her name will continue to mean a great deal in the history of the MFA program, the creative writing major, the Department of English, and the University of Arizona.”

The handwritten note from Aurelie to former student Joel Hans. “Joel, your writing helps us see what we have become blind to. I’ve not seen better proof that writing is not selfish or insular, but a communion of the highest order. - Aurelie”

Activism in Action: Supporting Public Service Internships

Ken and Paula Krane are not strangers to philanthropic giving. They have donated consistently over the years — to many different recipients and always together.

This time was different. Paula had the surprise of her life when she found out her husband, Ken, had made a gift in her name to the School of Government and Public Policy. “I was flabbergasted and honored,” Paula recalled.

In honor of Paula’s 80th birthday, Ken set up the Paula Krane Endowment to provide support for junior and senior undergraduates who intern with local, state, and national chapters of the League of Women Voters, or LWV, or other similar nonpartisan organizations.

Over the years, the Kranes have given each other books as gifts, but after downsizing their home and their bookshelves, Ken was out of ideas for Paula’s recent birthday.

“I’m the world’s worst gift-giver,” Ken said. “I go shopping and it just doesn’t occur to me what would be a nice gift. This time I thought, ‘let’s do something big.’”

A lifelong teacher and alumna of UArizona, Paula majored in history, double minored in political science and economics, and earned an M.Ed. in secondary education. She enjoyed history and economics, but it was a political science class with Conrad Joyner that cultivated an enduring interest. A former political science professor who was also a local politician, Joyner served on the Tucson City Council as vice-mayor and later ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

“He pushed for activism, which in 1961, wasn’t really a thing,” Paula said. “He would present an issue from both sides — he would show the good and bad things about it

and make sure we knew what an issue was actually about.”

“He was the spark; he got me thinking,” Paula added.

One semester, Paula worked on a paper about Columbia River water rights. One research source was a pamphlet published by the LWV. She says that was the beginning of her interest in “the League.”

For the last 55 years, Paula has been a member of the League — a nonprofit, nonpartisan political organization in the United States. Founded in 1920, its ongoing major activities include registering voters, providing voter information, and advocating for voting rights. From 1997 to 2001, she served as the State League President in Oregon, where she and Ken have lived since 1974.

“I’m a strong believer that you don’t learn everything in a classroom, and I always say when you go to college you learn to find out where the answers are.”
- Paula Krane
Ken and Paula Krane.

Paula values the LWV for the methodical way it “studies an issue to death,” looking at the pros and cons, the history, and what the outcomes might be. She wants this endowment to give students similar opportunities to learn to navigate issues from different angles.

“I’m a strong believer that you don’t learn everything in a classroom, and I always say when you go to college you learn to find out where the answers are,” Paula said.

Ken has a different angle. When students must work multiple jobs to make ends meet, they don’t have time to explore extracurricular learning activities. He hopes the funding will lessen the burden.

“One of the things we’d love to do with our scholarship is provide students some money so maybe they won’t have to get that second job,” Ken said. “Maybe they can spend a little more time doing the things that we used to enjoy doing on campus as undergraduates.”

Edella Schlager, director of the School of Government and Public Policy, echoes Ken’s perspective.

“Unfortunately, most internships with public and nonprofit organizations are unpaid, making it costly for students who have to forego income from jobs in order to take an internship,” Schlager said.

Ken, also a UArizona alumnus and physics professor, says not all disciplines get equal funding and sees the gift as a way to help students explore more opportunities.

“If this endowment enables students to work on projects they might not otherwise, I think that’s wonderful,” Ken said.


The Kranes have always prioritized supporting education, even when resources were tight.

“In those early days, we didn’t have money to give, but we had our time and expertise, so we gave that,” Paula explained. “Later, we had a little more money and we added that element.”

It’s not surprising that Ken chose to honor Paula’s birthday with a gift that encourages students to act. Her commitment to voter rights advocacy never waned over the years. She says during her tenure as State League President with the LWV, her role as chief petitioner to participate in making Oregon the first state to adopt vote by mail, is one of her proudest accomplishments.

“All of us enjoy going to vote, so I had mixed reactions when I was asked to be the chief petitioner,” Paula said. “I learned quickly, though, after starting the research that this was the only way to go.”

Like Paula, many SGPP students want to solve problems and make the world a better place. The Krane’s gift will allow students to say ‘yes’ to public service internships and

forego worry about how to make ends meet as they gain valuable experience.

An excellent way for a student to explore a career and make a difference is through an internship — which correlates with higher college completion rates, increased likelihood of securing a preferred career, and higher salaries compared to peers without this experience.

“The Paula Krane Endowment will have a significant impact on our SGPP students who have a public service orientation,” Schlager said.

Ken and Paula are eager to maintain connections and hear the success stories that stem from this endowment, as they do with other higher education students and programs they support.

“It’s always interesting to put a face with a name and meet students each year and talk,” Ken said. “We get to learn their backstories — hear about the roadblocks on the way to getting here.”

Paula wants to see students learn to minimize obstacles, in college and public service.

“If we can help students become more critical thinkers — to think through what’s going to work and not work, then that’s what I’m hoping this endowment will help do.”

“If we can help students become more critical thinkers — to think through what’s going to work and not work, then that’s what I’m hoping this endowment will help do.”
- Paula Krane

a lifeline for students: Bridging the Gap When Times Get Tough

Melody Robidoux.

During a college student’s career, unforeseen contingencies can create crippling financial challenges. For a University of Arizona student on a tight budget or with minimal resources, one unplanned expenditure can translate into a longterm roadblock.

For students in the School of Government and Public Policy, or SGPP, long-time donor and UArizona alumna Melody Robidoux has provided a pathway that aims to alleviate financial barriers. The Student Emergency Funding Scholarship, offered through the Melody S. Robidoux Director’s Fund, provides funding to cover expenses and fees that serve as obstacles to class registration or even graduation.

Melody understands this unique funding can make all the difference and help a student stay in school.

“[The] emergency fund can help students, for example, pay off a bursar account to receive a diploma, cover a car repair, help pay rent, or help with unexpected family bills. These funds can keep graduate or undergraduate students enrolled at UA,” Melody said.

Victoria Vasquez, a criminal justice major, received scholarship support in 2023.

“This award helped me not worry about funds and just focus on school,” Victoria said. “I appreciate being able to get the emergency funding, which helped me pay off the remainder of my tuition and continue my education.”

One student — a senior majoring in law — received funding to cover late fees, which they had been unable to pay, despite working three part-time jobs.

Another student, a sophomore also studying law, received funding to cover past due balances for their tuition and fees, which they were unable to pay as their family experienced a death and used the student’s college savings to cover funeral expenses.

The fund also pays for crucial, non-emergency services that contribute to academic and post-graduation success.

Students may apply to have fee-based tutoring services offered through UArizona’s Think Tank covered, or fee-based services through the Writing Skills Improvement Program, which helps students improve their writing and editing skills.

“The Director’s Fund is an important and effective means of helping undergraduate students remain in school and graduate,” said Edella Schlager, SGPP director. “Melody Robidoux cares deeply about student success and her commitment to SGPP students is invaluable.”

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has a similar scholarship — the Student Completion Fund — created to help students bridge the financial gap to graduation. Established in October 2022, it was designed to pay off or reduce small past-due balances, making it possible to enroll in classes for the next semester. As of December 2023, 47 students had been awarded a total of $36,608.

Many donors understand that providing funding to cover emergencies or small fees that create larger barriers provides students more opportunities, continued success, and stress relief — allowing better focus on academic responsibilities.

“I found supporting the Director’s Fund a compelling idea … this emergency fund reminded me of my own sometimes precarious financial situation while a UA undergraduate,” Melody said. “I worked almost full time and summers for most of those years. I was responsible to pay my way through college, so I can still relate to how an unexpected expense could cause a lot of stress. When I was a senior, I got some family assistance, but many students don’t have that backstop. A student emergency fund is a terrific idea for a grant-maker or alumni to support.”

Innovation Circle: 20 years of generosity

This spring, the Innovation Circle hosted its annual reception and celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Tucson Marriott University Park.

The event was emceed by SBS Student Ambassadors Sophia Horowitz and Zoe Montaño. Innovation Circle Scholar Zoë Goebel was the student speaker, and Steven Eddy (‘05), a geography major from the inaugural class, spoke about how receiving the scholarship was “a profound moment for me in my student career.”

Dean Lori Poloni-Staudinger recognized the founding members in attendance and thanked the Innovation Circle members for their generosity, including the Patrons who supported 56 students with Innovation Circle scholarships this year. She detailed the myriad ways Innovation Circle members make a difference.

“Innovation Circle membership supports student internships and externships, which are often unpaid, and therefore are not feasible for many students without this needed financial support,” Poloni-Staudinger said. “Funds also go toward graduate student funding, supporting the

training of our next generation of professors and thought leaders who are tackling the greatest challenges of our time.”

Poloni-Staudinger continued, “The Student Completion Fund is supported by the Innovation Circle, and I’m so pleased to let you know that with the support of all of you, we were able to provide funding in just the last month for over 15 students to … allow them to remain enrolled in the university.”

SBS Advisory Board Chair Rowene Aguirre-Medina spoke about how our scholars are future change makers, our professor are engaged in groundbreaking research, and our donors “make the magic happen.”

“Why do I support Innovation Circle scholars? I truly believe that the social and behavioral sciences can change the world in real and measurable ways. These students can and will make a difference in this very troubled world,” Aguirre-Medina said.

Become an Innovation Circle member today! Learn more at

2024 Innovation Circle Patrons and Scholars. Scholar Selena Dey-Foy sitting with her Patron, Sandy Maxfield. Patrons Barbara Starrett (L) and Jo Ann Ellison (R) with Scholars Alyssa Esquero and Destiny Green.

P.O. Box 210028

Tucson, AZ 85721-0028

UArizonaSBS UArizonaSBS collegeofsbs uarizonasbs uaz-sbs


Innovation Circle Scholar Zoë Goebel studies communication and public relations and truly “sees” the impact of taking initiative. She has maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA, recruits for Alpha Chi Omega, served as president of the University of Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and works part-time. After graduation, Zoë will continue an accelerated master’s program and plans to work in public relations.

That motivation started well before college. As a child, Zoë had vision problems, which

affected her self-confidence in school. “I felt inferior because my classmates seemed to do great in things like reading, while I could barely spell out a word. Once I got my glasses, everything changed. I was able to see the board and learn. With my mom’s help every night, doing homework at the kitchen table, I started to feel competent in academics and no longer faced inertia with my education,” Zoë recounted. “At that table, I developed the most crucial skill — initiative — which has helped me achieve much, including becoming a Wildcat.”

Now, she is grateful for her Innovation Circle Patron’s support.

“Thank you so much to my amazing scholarship Patrons, Steve and Nancy Lynn. Their generosity has made a huge impact on my academic career. Their kindness eased my financial burden and allowed me to focus on what truly matters — my studies,” Zoë said. “Their philanthropy inspired me to aim high and tackle difficult obstacles with confidence so that one day, I too, can support a future Wildcat’s education!”

Steve Lynn and Zoë Goebel at the 20th Anniversary Innovation Circle reception.

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