Colby will receive $1 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to improve undergraduate science education by bolstering support to students, especially those in traditionally underrepresented groups. Among many initiatives, the grant will support a six-week summer program for students between high school and college, the hiring of two postdoctoral fellows, and work with local fourth- and fifth-grade students in the sciences.
From local to global, Colby students are celebrating Earth Day with events all week that include a Johnson Pond cleanup, a recycled art contest, and a clothing swap, a lecture about effective environmental policy, screenings of the BBC program Planet Earth in the student union, and more. A list of activities planned is online.
A program that embeds anthropologists with American military forces in Iraq goes too far, says Catherine Besteman (anthropology) and others in the discipline. Critics say the Human Terrain System program requires anthropologists to violate their code of ethics, which says they will not cause harm to come to subjects they study. Colby magazine covers the controversy.
Colby's Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement has won a $246,612 Knight Foundation grant to improve news literacy among liberal arts students. The grant creates the Visiting Lovejoy Journalists-in-Residence Program, a multimedia digital resource center, and allows for a Jan Plan course on news literacy each of the next three years and summer internships for three students interested in journalism.
Recognizing that Colby's comprehensive fee pays only part of the cost of running the College, students on the Senior Pledge Committee have designated April 17 as Tuition Runs Out, Philanthropy Begins Day. The comprehensive fee covers 74 percent of the cost a Colby education. With three quarters of the year over, organizers are highlighting the fact that all students receive a "silent scholarship" for the other 26 percent from donations and other sources. The event was organized to recognize the 12,000 alumni and parents who give to the Colby Fund.
Anthropology Professor Catherine Besteman worked in Somalia in the late 1980s and has been reunited with some of the people she knew there who are now refugees in Maine. She published an op-ed, "Somalia a Victim of American Failures" in the April 15 Portland Press Herald. In it she traces a history of U.S. involvement in Somalia over the past two decades and suggests actions she thinks our elected officials should take.
With events on campus and off, the Knock on Wood Guitarfest returns to Waterville April 18-19, with workshops and concerts featuring varied techniques and genres by an array of master musicians. This is the fourth annual edition, all with Colby as one of the sponsors, and this year Colby artist-in-residence and sarod virtuoso Aditya Verma joins the lineup.
Escar Kusema '09 won a third-place award for a neuroscience poster at the New England Science Symposium at Harvard University April 6, and Aynara Chavez-Munoz '08 received an honorable mention. The competition involved hundreds of graduate and undergraduate projects. Kusema's poster is titled "Cellular mechanisms of melatonin-induced and calmodulin-inhibited neurite growth in crustacean x-organ cells." Chavez-Munoz's is "Mifeprisone reduces HPA-axis responsivity and increases neuronal activation in prefrontal cortex following acute stress." Both will be presented in the upcoming Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Biodegradable serving dishes and utensils in Colby's snack bar, including "Spudware" knives, forks, and spoons, are among a wide range of green-friendly initiatives in Dining Services. When you pick up disposable cutlery to eat in the Spa, it's made of potato starch. Cups for cold drinks are made of cornstarch. Properly composted, they disintegrate in 90 days. See Dining Services news, including sustainability initiatives, online.
A Morning Sentinel review of the Waterville Opera House production "Jesus Christ Superstar" highlights the Waterville-Colby collaboration. "Much of the magic of this production is due to the incredible set designed by master craftsman Jim Jenkins, the brilliance of Colby's Jim Thurston's lighting design, and Colby's Christine Nilles, whose costumes are stunning and letter perfect." With shows continuing this weekend, as many as 20 people with Colby connections are involved.
The Outing Club sponsored a half dozen trips over spring break, and this year an insideColby videographer brought back a vodcast about his group's trip to Death Valley. Death Valley comes alive online (along with other videos, podcasts, photos, stories, and more) at insideColby.com
Caroline Theoharides '06 is the winner of a prestigious Graduate Student Research Fellowship in Economics from the National Science Foundation. Her project on migrant remittances was one of just 7% of applications funded. After two years at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Theoharides starts a Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Michigan in September. She talked about her undergraduate studies in a recent Colby magazine story.
Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who received Colby's Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award Sunday, cited reasons for hope, despite her concerns about national rhetoric of a "War on Terror," a narrowly averted "Constitutional crisis," and threats against her that led the U.S. Marshals Service to prohibit photography at the event. She told the audience that the attorney general is modifying some of the most controversial policies of recent years, Congress is providing more counterweight to claims of executive power, and the judiciary is doing its job, stirring the pot. "It is our obligation to ensure that the executive branch acts reasonably," she said. Read more in the Morning Sentinel.
When Australian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio reported April 6 on efforts to artificially manipulate the climate to cool down the Earth, they tapped, among others, Professor Jim Fleming (science, technology, and society) for their program "The Climate Engineers." Fleming calls the subject "unsettling and relevant... with plenty of angst and potential bad guys," and he's writing a book about it. Also on the program: Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling, who received an honorary degree as Colby's 2007 commencement speaker.
Colby seniors Tom Huff and Keane Ng represented the Colby Freeman Student-Faculty Fellowship Research team at the ASIANetwork Conference, March 13-15 in San Antonio. They explained the team's research findings and presented "Images from China: A Window to Social and Cultural Change" as part of an academic panel. The team has an online photo exhibition from their research trip to China.
Colby's student-run radio station, WMHB 89.7FM, has reached the top 5 percent among the 10,000 radio stations streaming with Live365, a global Internet radio provider. Live365 is the world's largest Internet radio network, with more than four million listeners a month. WMHB features an eclectic blend of music programming, focusing on new music from emerging artists. WMHB can also be heard through its site.
The beginning of a new baseball season brings a new partnership between the Boston Red Sox and the Japanese team Chiba Lotte Marines, which is managed by Bobby Valentine. Working with Valentine on the endeavor is Larry Rocca '90, a one-time sportswriter who joined the Marines four years ago. A feature about Rocca's role appears in the next issue of Colby magazine, online this week at www.colby.edu/mag.
The Honorable Leonie M. Brinkema, who sentenced 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison, will receive the 2008 Brody Award April 6. Brinkema, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, is being recognized for integrity, compassion, humanity, and judicial excellence. She will deliver the Brody address Sunday evening following an afternoon panel discussion titled The Conflict Between Protected Civil Liberties and Government Intrusion in a Time of Terrorist Threats.
A new book, A Healing Touch: True Stories of Life, Death and Hospice, combines the work of six Maine writers with Colby connections to tell stories of loss and inspiration. Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and former Colby professor Richard Russo, the book will benefit Waterville hospice. "The stories that emerged attempted to do justice to the strength, courage, and resilience of the subjects," wrote contributor (and Colby magazine editor) Gerry Boyle '78 in a recent blog post.
Colby will test its new emergency siren on Wednesday, March 26, between 10 a.m. and noon. The test will include a loud tone or tones and a voice message expected to be audible within about two miles. School shootings around the country have prompted colleges and universities nationwide to reassess and bolster emergency response plans, and Colby added the siren to expand its ability to alert students, faculty, visitors, and the Colby community about a potential life-threatening emergency.