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The Business of Song INSIDE : Trinity ALE intern Mariana Lopez Levi â€™17 expands repertoire at Opera San Antonio
The literature of the Harlem Renaissance, and of African Americans, generally, is often underrepresented in the Western literary canon and in English literature curricula. The knowledge I gain from research will help me combat that underrepresentation in my own classroom.
ILEANA SHERRY ’16 English & History Future MAT graduate student
Read more about Ileana’s research and other summer undergraduate research projects on Trinity’s blog at gotu.us/undergradresearch
The Trinity Perspective magazine is produced quarterly. Through these pages, explore the many facets of life at Trinity University and get to know the faculty, staff, and students that call Trinity home. With the vibrant city of San Antonio as a backdrop, discover the many benefits and opportunities our community has to offer. Oh, and we may throw in our favorite restaurants around town for you to check out while visiting our 117-acre campus.
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Trinity alumni earn NSF graduate fellowships Undergraduate researcher secures honorable mention By Carlos Anchondo ’14
Three Trinity University alumni have earned graduate research fellowships through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Andrew Battles ’12, Emma Treadway ’11, and Jordan Bush ’14 have been awarded the fellowship as they pursue research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science or engineering. In addition, Allison Levy ’15 was recognized with an honorable mention for her chemistry research and outstanding application. Each NSF graduate research fellowship provides a $32,000 stipend for each of three years as well as an additional $12,000 for the graduate school to cover a student’s educational expenses. Potential applicants submit personal statements, transcripts, professor letters of recommendation, job history, past research, and more before being
selected as part of a peer review process. Trinity biology professor Michele Johnson serves as the University representative for the NSF fellowship and ensures that students are aware of the award and its opportunities. Johnson says that three Trinity recipients in one year demonstrates that Trinity students are well prepared to enter graduate school and immediately participate in high-level work. “Students who have this graduate research fellowship can focus more on their own research, which usually means they are more productive as graduate students,” Johnson says. “They go to more meetings, publish more papers, collect more data, and also have the freedom to pursue the research areas that are of most interest to them.” Historically, the NSF fellowship also makes students more competitive for future funding, as the award indicates a “stamp of approval” from a highly competitive fellowship known across the social and natural sciences. Each of the three Trinity alumni were guided by a mentor from their graduate program. Battles studies ecology at the University of Rhode Island; Treadway
Andrew Battles ‘12 conducts ecology research in the field. As an undergraduate, Allison Levy ‘15 (left) conducts chemical research at Trinity using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
engineering at the University of Michigan; and Bush ecology at the University of Tennessee. Each Trinity graduate was selected from over 16,500 applicants from across the United States. Allison Levy ’15 earned an honorable mention for her research in archaeological chemistry and plans to reapply in the future as a graduate student at the University of Florida at Gainesville. Using chemistry to analyze samples of amber, or fossilized tree resin, Levy has also partnered with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago to examine resins from 13th century shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean. “It was great to receive the award,” Levy says. “Although you don’t get any money [with an honorable mention], this award does greatly improve your chances of getting the research fellowship in the future.” Johnson agrees. “Putting together an application in and of itself is a really valuable experience,” she says. “Receiving an honorable mention means you are among the very best, and as an undergraduate, it means that you have put together an application more competitive than most second-year graduate students.”
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Mariana Lopez Levi ’17
The Business of Song Trinity ALE intern expands repertoire at Opera San Antonio By Carlos Anchondo
Mariana Lopez Levi ’17 has physical proof that she’s always wanted to become a music teacher. Going through old family belongings, Lopez Levi recently unearthed a self-portrait she drew as a five-year-old. Below the image a caption reads, “When I grow up, I want to be a music teacher.” “Apparently it has been set in stone forever,” Lopez Levi says, laughing. At present, Lopez Levi is a summer intern with Opera San Antonio and a music education major at Trinity University. She secured her internship through the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) program at Trinity, which granted four paid summer internships to Trinity undergraduates for 2015. Each student earns one hour of credit, free campus housing, and is mentored by a Trinity faculty member who serves as his or her ALE liaison. A singer herself, Lopez Levi says she is proud to be a member of the small team at Opera San Antonio. She says that she was drawn to the nonprofit because she was eager to learn about all of the “behind-the-scenes” work that makes an opera possible. “I just love opera,” Lopez Levi says.
“Here I’m learning a lot about the music business itself, from how to budget a production to drafting contracts to doing the casting. It’s really interesting to see the administrative work behind everything.” When the majority of people attend an opera, Lopez Levi says, they might only think about the amount of time performers spend in rehearsal. Lopez Levi calls an opera production “an art form that encompasses many different art forms,” from song and dance to costume and set design. “It really is a grand form of art,” Lopez Levi says. “Opera is something that brings all of these art forms together.” One of Lopez Levi’s current projects is to create an educational guide for students who attend the opera. The guide tells readers about what the opera is about, the different voice types, the opera’s structure, how an opera differs from a play, and includes activities for students ages fourth grade and above. In the fall, Opera San Antonio will feature Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which Lopez Levi calls a “crowd favorite” and a “beautiful opera.” Lopez Levi is particularly excited to tell people that she was part of the team behind the opera’s production. While Lopez Levi says she does her share of administrative work, like fielding phone calls and making copies, she also serves as a brand ambassador for the opera. Due to Opera San Antonio’s age – it was established in 2013 – she says some people are simply unaware that the city even has an opera.
You can learn so much about the different things that interest you. You don’t have to limit yourself to your major or one area of learning because it’s such an expansive school.
“It’s important to bring awareness that we have an opera in San Antonio,” Lopez Levi says. “I also like to share general knowledge about how big an opera production truly is.” Lopez Levi, whose favorite opera is Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, says she has loved singing since taking music lessons as a Learn young girl, when a music more about teacher told her mother Trinity’s ALE that she had a pleasant program online at voice and a good ear. More singing lessons gotu.us/ale followed, and Lopez Levi began singing in choirs and as a soloist. At Trinity, Lopez Levi is a member of the Trinity Chamber Singers, the all-female a cappella group The Acabellas, and the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity. From Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, Lopez Levi says that Trinity is an excellent place for anyone unwilling to settle on just one area of study. “You can learn so much about the different things that interest you,” Lopez Levi says. “You don’t have to limit yourself to your major or one area of learning because it’s such an expansive school.” For Lopez Levi, her favorite part of an opera is listening to the singing, as she has a deep admiration for the singers’ abilities and their capacity to tell “beautiful stories with beautiful music.” “I just like to sit there and take it all in,” Lopez Levi says. Lopez Levi and the other ALE interns began their internships on May 18 and will work through July 24. Lopez Levi says she enjoys earning practical experience and learning how to “face a challenge” head-on, whether it involves tracking ticket sales, making cold calls for a fundraiser, or interacting with visitors at Opera San Antonio’s downtown office. Only just hitting her stride, Lopez Levi looks forward to bringing the skills she’s learning at Opera San Antonio back to music education at Trinity and maybe taking a few of her peers to watch CioCio-San and Lieutenant Pinkerton in all their glory.
Relating through radio
Alternative media course brings radio to the Bexar County juvenile probation system By Carlos Anchondo
The students of communication professor Robert Huesca received a bit of a shock on the first day of their communication special topics course about alternative media. They were going to the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department of San Antonio. “At first I was surprised,” Taylor Mobley, a junior from Southlake, Texas, says. “I was not expecting it, but it’s been a pleasant surprise. Dr. Huesca is so passionate about what he does that I knew it would be a good experience.” Students enrolled in Huesca’s upperdivision special topics course, COMM 3325, have been working with youth in the Bexar County probation system to teach them about radio and tell their stories through this form of alternative media. Trinity students are exposed to various theories and readings in
left: Luke Wise and Taylor Mobley plan an audio lesson using campus recording equipment. below: Students from Robert Huesca’s alternative media course prepare for a session in San Antonio’s South Side.
class and then apply those concepts to their sessions with youths. Alternating between workshop sessions with youth and library research, Huesca’s students are preparing for a final term paper where they will compile their findings, field notes, and the practical applications of the theories they have learned. During the workshops, Trinity students have introduced the youth to radio equipment, recording and speaking techniques, styles of writing for radio, the basic principles of editing, and understanding a radio audience. Over the course of the project, Huesca’s students have noticed that with time the youth have become more and more amenable to the project and share more of themselves with each passing workshop. “It’s great to see how comfortable and knowledgeable they have gotten with the process,” Luke Wise, a junior from Flower Mound, Texas, says. “We first taught them the steps and then we’ve expanded on that each time and teach new things on top of that.” Youth in the program have been encouraged by parole officers and judges to participate as an outlet for personal growth and as a demonstration of good faith that they are
trying to learn from past mistakes. “My favorite part of this course has been seeing them open up and trust us,” Mobley says. “I think when they see us continually coming back and seeing that we are invested in the project has allowed them to be receptive and to really engage.” Workshop topics have included anything from fashion and sports to who these youth see as heroes in their everyday lives. An upcoming workshop will ask the youth, all between ages 12 and 18, what they wish “X” knew about them. “X” can be their parents, the police, the probation system, or anyone they feel does not completely understand who they are as people.
The course has acted as a “real-life” equivalent of the theories learned in class and has taught him more than he could learn from only reading textbooks. Wise says that the course has acted as a “real-life” equivalent of the theories learned in class and has taught him more than he could learn from only reading textbooks. “It’s been so interesting seeing how all of the theories and discussions we’ve had in class are reflected in the kids and the program,” Wise says. For Mobley, who aspires to become a broadcast journalist, she says the course has been especially helpful in developing her interview skills and learning about interacting with an interviewee. “I’ve learned that a lot of times you have to go at the pace of the other person,” Mobley says. “You really can’t push anything on them. You just have to let people warm up to you.” In addition to course readings, Huesca’s students have also heard from industry professionals about alternative media. Students were required to sit for a midterm, introduce an alternative media exemplar through group presentations, creative a video subvertisement, and keep detailed field notes and transcripts. Both Mobley and Wise agree that the course has made them more sensitive to students growing up in circumstances and lifestyles different from their own. They were also surprised to see how interested the youth were in the lives of college students and what it is like to attend Trinity, and they bonded over shared interests in music, food, clothes, and sports. As Huesca’s students prepare for exit interviews with the youth, they are thankful that they decided to enroll in the course and encourage others to continue the project in the future. “It’s been a great experience,” Mobley says. “It’s been a real eye-opener for me and it’s been cool to be a mentor and expose them to college and technology in this way. I’m glad that they are able to have their voice heard in a system where they might have felt silent.”
Trinity Biologists Publish Warbler Research Study focuses on bright colors of female birds By Susie P. Gonzalez
Three Trinity evolutionary biologists turned their attention to female warblers to learn why the females are as colorful as males in tropical locations but tend to lose their brilliant colors, even becoming drab, if they migrate to temperate locations. The researchers – Rick Simpson ’12 and associate professors Troy Murphy and Michele Johnson – published a study in late May in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, titled “Migration and the evolution of sexual dichromatism: evolutionary loss of female coloration with migration among wood-warblers.” While a Trinity student, Simpson analyzed geographical patterns in birds of sexual dimorphism, or differences in appearance between males and females, and said it was exciting to be published in a highly respected journal. “Not only
did I learn a ton about scientific writing through this whole process, especially from Dr. Murphy, but I also learned a bunch of phylogenetic analyses that I am now using for my dissertation” at Arizona State University. By looking at female migration patterns, Murphy said the team discovered that the longer distance a species migrates, the more likely that females will appear dissimilar to males. Previous studies about the evolution of sexual differences focused mainly on males of a species, with an emphasis on how greater competition among males led to greater male ornamentation.
Academic Iron Man Jimmy Clark is a standout, on and off the Tiger basketball court
Trinity Tiger Jimmy Clark ’15 shone as a hard-working leader of the men’s basketball team. The 6’3” Clark, who hails from Rockford, Illinois, had to work especially hard to earn a position on the squad. He was forced to sit out his first year because of knee surgery, and received a medical redshirt. After countless and intense workouts in Sams Gym, Clark became a starter the next season, and continued through 2015 earning two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) titles and two trips to the NCAA tournament. Yet there is another aspect to this tireless “iron man,” and one that takes just as much perseverance and determination—Clark’s strong academic performance. Last July, Clark was named to the prestigious National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court - along with 10 of his teammates - which requires a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. His credentials also include five semesters on Trinity’s Dean’s List, and three selections for the SCAC Academic Honor Roll. Clark had plenty of wiggle room to make the Honors Court: he graduated in May summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in finance, in addition to an
I think adding a global aspect makes me more marketable. It offers more opportunities once I get into my career.
interdisciplinary second major in global health management. The latter project took some extra work, as Clark customized his own program. He devised his curriculum, which had to be approved by two different councils, with the assistance of three faculty advisers. “I have a passion for health and wellness, and my career goal is to get into hospital administration,” Clark said. “I think adding a global aspect makes me more marketable. It offers more opportunities once I get into my career.” Clark is well on his way, beginning Trinity’s master’s program in Health Care Administration this fall. “I expect to gain a more thorough understanding of the
healthcare industry so that once in the field, I will be able to make decisions that enhance the well-being of others.” Clark said. “I ultimately aspire for a career that requires continuous learning but which also allows me to serve others.” Clark is no stranger to serving others, and his community service list includes volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, serving on Trinity’s StudentAthlete Advisory Committee, and helping coach his uncle’s local youth club basketball team. Undoubtedly, Clark’s strong work ethic and volunteer-oriented mindset will continue to serve him well as he prepares to begin his graduate studies.
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Published on Aug 26, 2015
The Trinity Perspective magazine is produced quarterly. Through these pages, explore the many facets of life at Trinity University and get t...