Gwyneth Hamrah got hooked on horses when she was 5.
A friend had invited Hamrah, now 16, to join her at a horse camp. The Columbia teenager has been riding ever since, often traveling across the country to participate in American Saddlebred competitions.
“I just really like working with the animals,” she said.
Hamrah is just the kind of young, experienced saddle seat rider Stephens College had in mind when it designed its Equestrian Overnight Experience: Saddleseat camp, now in its third year. Hamrah was among seven teenage girls from across the country who spent seven days last month immersed in riding, field trips and exploration of equestrian industry careers.
The camp was among several riding opportunities offered by the Stephens equestrian program this summer. Riders of all ages and skills in the Columbia community have participated in camps through the Stephens Summer Riding Program since the 1940s.
Overnight Experience campers, most of who knew each other from the horse show circuit, stayed in Tower Hall.
“All of the campers are serious show riders who are invested in the sport,” said Kelly Hulse, camp director and assistant professor of equestrian studies at Stephens.
Many of the campers said they knew Hulse from the horse show circuit, which made working with her at camp even more fulfilling. They also enjoyed the opportunity to ride a wide variety of horses during the weeklong camp.
“Kelly knows what we need to work on, and she also knows all the horses in the barn and can pair us with the horse best suited to helping us develop the skills we need,” said Kali Lachner, 16, from Omaha, Neb.
Lachner and Hamrah were among four riders who’ve participated in the overnight camp every year it’s been offered. Several are considering coming to Stephens once they graduate from high school.
“I love this camp because we get the chance to ride so many different horses,” Hamrah said.
Camille Talkington, 15, from the greater Kansas City area, said she enjoys visiting professional horse farms and learning about the industry.
“If you want to make this a career and make connections, camps like this help,” Talkington said.
Campers visited Fairview Farm in New Bloomfield as well as High Spirits Farm in Ashland, which is owned and operated by Anna Marie Knipp ’82.
“The girls get to see a big horse operation up close,” Hulse said. “They can talk with the trainers and watch them work.”
Campers also participate in various barn activities, which include learning how to set up a tack room, a makeshift enclosure of boards, curtains and zip ties used to store saddles, bridles and other equipment during shows. Tack rooms are generally set up by the trainers, but Hulse wanted the campers to know the work that goes on behind the scenes that riders sometimes take for granted.
With a pile of long narrow boards, curtains, zip ties and staple guns, the campers split into tow teams and went to work. Hulse and three camp counselors sat down to watch as the campers scrambled to put the pieces together.
“This is hard!” one camper shouted.
As Hulse smiled, she said: “We want them to know the work that goes into this.”
Besides riding, training and exploring the horse industry, campers also enjoyed the camaraderie of hanging out with other teenagers who understand their sport and share their desire to ride.
“I’ll tell people at school that I ride and they’ll be like, ‘oh, I’ve ridden a horse before on a dude ranch,’” Lachner said. “I try to be nice about it, but they don’t seem to understand that this is our sport.”
The campers agreed that a passion for horses and competing in the ring is tough to explain to the uninitiated.
“It’s one of those sports that once you’re in it, you can’t get out,” said Emma Wood, 17, of Oklahoma City.
Physician assistants are trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses and provide treatment.
They must also know how to effectively work as a member of a healthcare team and to communicate patient cases to their attending physician.
Grand Rounds is a teaching tool used in the Stephens College Master of Physician Assistant Studies program that gives PA students an opportunity to practice those communication skills and work as part of a team while presenting medical cases to faculty members.
Melissa Lewis, a Stephens PA program staff member, said the importance of honing such skills is sometimes overlooked in PA education, but not at Stephens.
“The faculty for our PA program knew early on that they wanted additional emphasis on these important communications skills and therefore, we hold more Grand Rounds than most schools,” she said, adding that Stephens PA students generally participate in eight to 10 Grand Rounds a semester.
“In its essence,” Lewis said, “Grand Rounds represent a long tradition of teaching.”
The topic for each Grand Rounds is based on the medical cases presented to students during their Case Based Medicine Seminar. The instructor plays the role of a patient with an undiagnosed medical condition. Students then work as teams to take the patient’s medical history, to examine and treat the patient, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays and ultimately, to make a diagnoses and treatment plan.
“The student then picks one of these cases to present during Grand Rounds,” Lewis said.
On this day, a team of six students presents a case involving a 62-year-old woman with progressive tremors. During the presentation, faculty members and other students sit in the audience and listen to the case. Later, they ask questions about the presentation.
Eric Johnson, director of the PA Studies program, said although Grand Rounds are part of the PA program, they are open to the entire Stephens community and the general public, and anyone in attendance is encouraged to ask the students questions.
Libby Cleavinger couldn’t wait for Camp Citizen Jane.
The 15-year-old from Columbia had finally worked the girls-only film camp into her schedule this summer, and the experience was living up to everything she imagined it to be: fun, challenging and the perfect place to make new friends.
“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “The environment is so encouraging and creative. You can bond over your love of filmmaking and over everything we’ve learned about the empowerment of women.
“At the beginning of the week, I didn’t know anyone here. But now I consider everyone my friend.”
Cleavinger is one of 18 middle- and high-school girls who converged on the Stephens College campus last week to spend five days learning how to tell their stories through film. Cleavinger’s older sister graduated in May from Stephens and had long encouraged her younger sibling to attend the film camp.
“I’m excited to finally be here,” Cleavinger said.
Camp Citizen Jane, now in its eighth year, is designed to connect young women with the world of film. During their experience, campers have total access to Stephens’ film equipment, students and faculty.
“There is a little bit of media literacy work, lots of discussions about women in media and hands-on work to create a short film,” said Barbie Banks, director of the Citizen Jane Film Festival and the summer camp.
During the week, campers explore the industry basics of filmmaking, which comprises screenwriting, directing, cinematography, lighting, sound and editing. They also discuss how girls and women are portrayed in life and media.
Eventually, the campers split into “production companies,” in which they learn the roles of director, cinematographer, sound mixing, lighting and in some cases, acting.
Once in their respective production companies, the campers create a narrative film as well as a PSA that will be shown at the Citizen Jane Film Festival, which runs Oct. 26-29. The PSAs will remind viewers to turn off their cell phones and to refrain from talking during the festival films.
“For their short films, each production team of campers is randomly assigned a genre, a line of dialogue, and a prop to make the creative process a little more interesting,” Banks said.
Cleavinger’s team scored a stuffed reindeer head as its prop. And like any creative production team, the campers cleverly wrote the prop into their script, making the stuffed reindeer head a treasured family heirloom that is stolen but then rescued by a brave heroine. Of course, there’s a ransom note and plenty of theatrics.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Fin Crowder, 15, of Columbia, who attended camp for a second summer.
This was also the second summer Molly Murphy ’18, a digital filmmaking major at Stephens, volunteered at the camp. This year, she worked with the youngest production team, a spirited group of 10-year-olds.
“It’s very rewarding,” Murphy said. “They’re really enthusiastic and all so creative.”
Postcard design by Stephanie LeBlanc ’19.
When Stephens College decided to move toward a more middle- and high-school aged market for its summer camp programs, it turned to a marketing group close to home for help reaching its new audience.
Creative Ink, Stephens’ student-run marketing firm, was asked to create promotional materials for the 2017 summer camps. Working in teams of two—an account executive and a creative executive—the students pitched multiple ideas, each well planned and researched.
Stephanie LeBlanc ’19 (pictured right) and Brie Marie Orsak ’18, a Creative Ink account executive, teamed up for the project with LeBlanc designing the cool kicks, which have a distinctly Andy Warhol pop art feel.
“It was an extremely difficult decision, and there were many great options,” said Rebecca Kline, director of marketing and communications at Stephens. “In the end, we liked the way the concept designed by Stephanie, in partnership with Brie Marie, conveyed the Stephens commitment to respecting and embracing every student as an individual. In other words, color your shoes anyway you’d like because you are uniquely you.”
LeBlanc said she chose to draw Converse sneakers because they are popular with the target audience. The design was used in print, and on digital ads and T-shirts.
“I also felt they fit nicely in with the active and fashionable atmosphere of the camps,” LeBlanc said, adding sneakers are a common fashion statement among middle- and high-school girls, and one that can show their individuality.
“Summer camp is about being able to express our passions,” she said, “so I designed it in a way that conveys that idea.”
Kline was impressed with the professionalism of the Creative Ink students as well as their ability to produce results in a short period of time.
“I’ve had a lot of ad agencies and creative services firms pitch to me over the years—and I’ve done quite a few pitches of my own,” she said. “Every single Creative Ink team involved in this project demonstrated a strong understanding of the project, my needs as a client, and the market we were trying to reach. Every team was professional and prepared. I continue to be impressed with their work time and time again.”
This summer marks a significant milestone in the career of Stephens longtime theatre professor Rob Doyen ’69. He’s celebrating 40 years of acting and teaching at Okoboji Summer Theatre (OST) in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
The Sioux City Journal recently featured Doyen, who is playing Norman Thayer, the lead character in this week’s OST production of On Golden Pond. Read the story.
Stephens College has named Timothy Klocko to the position of vice president for finance and administration. He replaces John Shipley, who had served as interim VPFA since October.
Klocko, who began work earlier this month, is back in familiar territory after having served at Stephens from 2001-09 as controller, and then vice president for finance and administration. He also served as interim president in June 2003.
“Tim brings to Stephens an outstanding background in higher education finance, business process redesign, investment, financial aid, strategic planning, human resources, facilities, dining services, auxiliary operations and risk management—plus, he knows and loves Stephens College,” said Stephens President Dianne Lynch. “Our colleagues who worked with Tim remember him as a great manager—of both people and processes—a team player, a creative problem solver who never loses his cool, and a man of his word.”
The deadline for Class and Club Notes for the Fall/Winter 2017 Beyond Stephens alumnae magazine is Tuesday, Aug. 1. We want to hear about new happenings in your life, whether it's a career move, a new bundle of joy in your family, a special anniversary or recognition of your work. Please also share events and news from your local alumnae club.
Join us for Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend, which will be held Oct. 13-15. You’re invited to reminisce with fellow alumnae and to network with current students (and meet their families) as we gather to celebrate all of the reasons to love Stephens.
Stephens has launched a Suite Dreams campaign that allows you to adopt a residence hall room for $3,000 and support the purchase of new furniture for a current student. Learn more here or contact the Office of Institutional Advancement and Initiatives at (573) 876-7110 or [email protected].
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.