Deputy police chief talks M.S.L., "dreaming up"
CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Jill Schlude, deputy police chief for the Columbia Police Department, discusses the Master in Strategic Leadership program at Stephens College.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Jill Schlude, deputy police chief for the Columbia Police Department, discusses the Master in Strategic Leadership program at Stephens College.
Senior Emily Csengody is interning for Calvin Klein in New York City this summer, a position she equates to winning the lottery.
“At least that’s what it feels like to me,” she said. “I work in the brand’s fashion office with 11 of the most creative, talented, knowledgeable and influential individuals that I’ve met in the fashion industry.”
Csengody is working as an assistant to photographers and stylists, helping coordinate fashion shoots and fittings.
One of her most memorable experiences to date was assisting famous French stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele with an upcoming fragrance campaign.
“I got to spend the entire day working alongside Carlyne observing her styling tactics and admiring her remarkable French accent,” Csengody said.
While in New York, Csengody has been taking the opportunity to network with professionals, making sure she introduces herself and follows up with them on social media. She is also assisting her sister and brother-in-law as they prepare to open a restaurant in the city.
Although she feels fortunate to have snagged the internship, it’s taken more than luck to work for the prestigious company.
“I cannot thank Stephens enough for the preparation for my internship with Calvin Klein,” Csengody said. “From the fashion terminology I learned and all the classes I have completed, I have been able to confidently accomplish all projects and tasks assigned to me. My first week, I was asked to pack a styling kit to send abroad to Amsterdam. I felt incredibly prepared and even contacted my teacher thanking her for her excellent advice.”
What she loves most about the fashion program at Stephens are the real world opportunities.
“It allows us to experience real life situations that would happen in the fashion industry,” she said. “Last semester, I was a part of the Fashion Show Production class and got to be a part of building the fashion show from the ground up. The whole experience took months of work, but my classmates and I had something to show for it. This experience prepared me for entering the fashion industry and to know what to expect if I ever decide to go into fashion show production.”
Csengody said her internship has given her a better understanding of the modeling industry, as well, experience that will come in handy when she goes after her dream job of styling editorial spreads for a high fashion magazine.
Three faculty members from the Stephens College School of Design will present an abstract at the International Textiles and Apparel Association Conference in Santa Fe, N.M., this fall.
Presenting will be Dr. Monica McMurry, dean and professor; Courtney Cothren, an assistant professor; and Kirsteen Buchanan, an associate professor.
The group will discuss the fashion program’s market day—a unique event that lets students experience the industry from all angles.
“We’ve figured out a way to replicate that market experience,” Cothren said. “Designers set up booths, fashion marketing and management students get assignments on how many pieces to buy, and then they have a chance to practice negotiating.”
Fashion marketing and management students have to actually buy garments and pieces as part of their senior capstones, so this gives them an introduction into that experience, Cothren said.
Fashion communication students cover the market day event and later style and feature the collections.
“Market day brings together all of the things we emphasize and value in the School of Design, and that’s the real-world scenario experience,” McMurry said. “It allows all of the components to come together so students can see the larger picture.”
The ITAA Conference will be held Nov. 11 to Nov. 13, and several members of the fashion advisory board will be present.
Eric Johnson is now serving as director of the new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at Stephens.
Johnson is a Physician Assistant and Clinical Assistant Professor working in critical care and emergency medicine in Columbia. Prior to Stephens, he served as Vice President for the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants and is the program’s Director for the University of Missouri’s Physician Assistant Residencies in Acute Care Medicine and Hospitalist Medicine. He also was the academic advisor for the University of Missouri’s Pre-PA Association; helping future PAs attain admission into PA school.
He earned his undergraduate degree in General Studies with an emphasis in biology, chemistry and philosophy from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He graduated from Missouri State University in 2009 with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
Prior to his career as a physician assistant he was a paramedic and volunteer firefighter with 14 years of experience. He considers himself privileged to have assisted at both Ground Zero on 9/11/2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Specialist with Missouri Task Force One.
Senior Fiona Kerr is breaking into the male-dominated field of gaming with an internship at Serenity Forge, a video game development company in Boulder, Colo.
Kerr is working with a team of six other interns to develop a new game that is scheduled to be released at the end of the summer.
A native of Scotland, Kerr is an avid gamer who is majoring in graphic design communications at Stephens, where she has been able to tailor her studies to her interests.
“My advisor, Kate Gray, has been with me every step of the way,” Kerr said. “Even though she doesn’t personally have experience in the video game industry, she has been 100 percent supportive and one of my biggest advocates. She was the one who suggested I take a summer class on 3D modeling, which gave me skills I still use and is also where I met my game industry teacher and mentor, Jeff Byers.”
Kerr is an avid gamer who only recently decided to make it a career path.
“I have played video games since I was a kid, and I kept saying for the longest time I wanted to make video games or work for a game company some day,” she said. “Last year, I decided I should stop daydreaming and make it a reality.”
She credits attending Stephens for giving her the courage to pursue opportunities.
“Stephens has definitely helped me grow more confident, and part of that is because it is a women’s college,” she said.
Kerr found the internship through networking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where she went to present her portfolio of work from her graphic design classes at Stephens. There, she met the Serenity Forge team, and representatives suggested she apply.
“It might seem like an intimidating field to get in to,” she said, “but if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s well worth it.”
Students studying costume design and technical theatre in this year’s Summer Theatre Institute had the opportunity to design and create commedia dell’arte that was used in the program’s acting classes.
Students were tasked with coming up with a character, designing it in clay and painting and decorating the pieces.
“Festival masks date back to the 16th century and are becoming more and more popular again,” said Cynda Galikin, who taught the course. “The art form never really goes away, and there’s been a resurgence of interest within schools that teach acting.”
Traditionally, commedia dell’arte masks were used to make characters clear to audiences through exaggerated expressions. In some cases, the masks also helped convey the story in less than ideal lighting conditions and to audience members in the back of the theatre, Galikin said.
The art form came to the U.S. in the 1960s and was perhaps most famously featured on “The Masks,” a 1964 episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
This was Galikin’s last class at Stephens, where she’s been an assistant professor of costume design for more than six years. She left the College to return to professional theatre work.
“I’ll miss it,” she said. “There are a lot of things I love about Stephens. The costume program at Stephens is growing, so I’m leaving at an exciting time.”
Students in STI wrapped up work with a musical revue on June 22 after producing five shows this summer.
Students enrolled in Stephens Summer Dance are studying new techniques and movements to express themselves—culminating in dance pieces that will be featured in the upcoming Summer Dance Concert.
Guest artists Martha Tornay, founder and director of the East Village Dance Project in New York, and Tawanda Chabikwa, a Zimbabwean artist, are both emphasizing self reflection and appreciation in the new works they’re choreographing for the concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 26-27.
Tornay’s piece, set to Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto, part of his popular Sympathy No. 5, is a reworked version of a dance she choreographed in New York that reflects the notion that every ending is a beginning.
“It recognizes the value of moving on and that the end of something is always the beginning of something else,” she said. “The book is never closed, but rather each experience leads to the next.”
Likewise in her choreography, “the end of every step is the beginning of the next,” she said. “Any pause is purposeful.”
Stephens dancers have put their own touches on it, essentially creating a new work.
“It’s very sophisticated and the choreography is very challenging,” Tornay said.
Chabikwa’s piece is a more contemporary dance that pays tribute to tradition while also celebrates the personal experiences of the young women.
“We play with the understanding of why we dance and finding one’s own voice and inner power,” he said. “And they explore what it’s like to be a woman through their stories, both personal and their communal experiences.”
The piece is grounded in African traditions and Zimbabwean church music with elements of martial arts and Haitian dance influence, Chabikwa said. He is allowing the students to pick out their own costumes, which will be everyday wear.
“I like the idea of being grateful and thankful and allowing our bodies to express that gratitude,” he said. “They’ll be wearing pedestrian clothing as though they could dance this piece down the street.”
Chabikwa has a collaborative style. He traveled the world learning various forms of martial arts and explored painting before turning to dance. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Dance, has worked with professional dancer and his mentor, Alison Chase, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Dance at The Ohio State University.
Students have been receptive of Chabikwa’s unique style.
“They’re amazing,” he said. “They’re here to dance, and they give it their all. They are taking risks, discovering all of these things inside them. And they’re teaching me, too, concepts like mind over matter.”
Tornay’s students had to get beyond a bit of intimidation: She has a long and incredible dance background. A retired ballet dancer, Tornay worked with masters such as Madame Gabriela Darvash and Merce Cunningham before turning her attention to teaching and choreography.
“The notion of a ballet teacher with Russian training from New York—it took a couple of classes for them to realize I’m human with experiences I want to share with them,” she quipped.
That’s the beauty of bringing in guest artists, said Elizabeth Hartwell, Stephens Summer Dance director. Students have to learn to work alongside the best professional dancers in the country.
Columbia audiences, though, might benefit the most, when Tornay and Chabikwa’s original pieces debut at the Summer Dance Concert.
“There will be many styles,” Hartwell said, “and each is delicious to watch.”
When she returns from conducting an internship in Guatemala, Livvy Runyon ’16 will start work on her senior film, a story grounded in the universal truth that everyone eventually passes on, leaving loved ones behind.
“It wasn’t necessarily my intention to write a melancholic film, but when I sat down and thought about the story I felt I truly needed to tell, it had a lot to do with our impermanence in this world,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed contemplating the passage of time—how one generation takes the place of another in a continuous cycle of individual lives, thoughts, emotions and relationships.”
“Home” will tell the story of a solitary farmer who, after the death of his dog, clings to routine to try to fill the days before his own passing—discovering that life can be more painful than death.
It’s partly based on Runyon’s own experience after losing a close friend in 2013.
“I think that loss solidified my personal need to tell a story about being left behind in this world when those you love are gone,” she said.
Runyon and the crew will be shooting on location on her family’s 36-acre farm in Rolla later this summer. Runyon’s father, Stanley, and brother, Logan, are writing and performing the soundtrack.
“Every step of the way, my family has been my support system for this project,” Runyon said.
She’s also getting plenty of help from the Stephens community. Haley Padilla ’15 is serving as producer, Jordan Laguna ’14 is assistant director, and other students and alumnae are also on the crew.
“I’m really excited to work on this project,” Padilla said. “I know Livvy is a wonderful filmmaker with a great vision, and I wanted to help her make that happen. I love working on film sets, and I know this will be a fun one to be on, despite the somber subject of the film. It’s a story that many people can relate to. I’m excited to see how the film does after it’s finished and am thrilled for all for the support we already have.”
Runyon is currently raising money for the project, hoping to raise $2,500 to pay for lodging, transportation, equipment and compensation. Contributions can be made through her Indiegogo campaign.
Runyon plans to screen “Home” at the Senior Film Showcase next year before submitting it to SXSW, the Chicago International Film Festival, Kansas City FilmFest and other film festivals. She believes the film will resonate with audiences.
“Ultimately I hope that my film can take people to a real place in their heart,” she said, “where they understand just how beautiful and important it is to measure life’s riches not in money but in the relationships you have with other people.”
Girls participating in Trends to the Runway, the Stephens summer fashion camp, oohed and awed—but also heckled—at fashion from the 1960s through early 2000s during a trip to the College’s fashion archives yesterday.
Students in the camp are studying trends from 1900 through 2000 for a timeline project they’re wrapping up this week. Yesterday, Jennifer Cole, assistant curator of the collection, pulled selective garments to show just how much fashion has evolved—or devolved—over the past 50 years.
A sleeveless A-line striped dress with a large pocket watch graphic from the 1960s was a hit among the middle school girls, as well as a sheer white jumpsuit complete with ruffles. Patchwork denim short-shorts for men and crocheted vests from the 1970s, not so much. (Those in the room who experienced the ’70s attempted to explain the collective cultural mindset.)
Understanding the history of fashion is one of the main goals of the Trends to the Runway camp, said Sheryl Farnon, assistant professor and camp director.
“Clothing is simple now, disposable, but people didn’t always look at it that way,” she said. “People took care of their garments. They altered and restyled them to keep wearing them.”
The camp also teaches students how clothing is made. Participants have a chance to experience it first hand by making tote bags, complete with an originally designed and embroidered logo.
“Some of our participants are interested in fashion as a career, and that’s great, but I really hope students just get a better understanding of how clothing is made,” Farnon said. “It’s not an easy process.”
Parents and friends will have an opportunity to see the girls’ designs during a showcase from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in Room 108 of Catherine Webb Studio.
Samantha Harrison, a rising seventh grader at Smithton Middle School, signed up to participate in Camp Citizen Jane this year because she was interested in films.
She’s since discovered that there’s a lot more that goes into movie making than Hollywood magic.
“I’m learning just how much goes on behind the scenes, like how important light and sound are,” she said. “I now have a lot of respect for the process.”
Camp Citizen Jane, open to middle and high school students from Columbia Public Schools, introduces girls to filmmaking concepts and also allows them to experience it firsthand.
“We introduce them to media literacy and women in film, then talk about story choice and how to film it,” said Paula Elias, executive director of Citizen Jane. “Then they break into modules and learn about light, sound, camera and the importance of each of those roles.”
Students were then challenged to create a story that included conflict and resolution, prepare a storyboard, find a location and explore all of the jobs that happen on set. Yesterday, they filmed footage that is now being edited and prepared for a screening on Friday.
Gabby Guerra, a 10th grader at Battle High School, is interested in a career in lighting. She’s a Camp Citizen Jane veteran—she’s participated since she was in sixth grade. Yesterday, she was part of a team working on a short film in Windsor Auditorium about a cellist who has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction on stage.
Across campus, Kaite Ritchie, a 10th grader at Rock Bridge, was working on the set of a film involving a mysterious pit. (She and teammates adjusted lighting to make the ball pit in the Student Union seem spookier.)
“Learning film is interesting,” she said. “And because I’m older than a lot of the girls here, I’ve gotten to develop leadership skills, as well.”
A camp for more advanced young filmmakers begins on Monday.
Senior Jordan Collins is participating in the Television Academy Foundation’s student internship program in North Hollywood this summer.
As a production management intern, Collins is working in both an office and on set of a television show.
“Each intern is assigned a host production company to work for,” she said. “I will be working for Tremendous Entertainment. They produce shows like Bizarre Foods, Ghost Asylum and many more.”
The academy—which bestows the prestigious Emmy Awards—also hosts networking events for interns throughout the summer, and Collins is eager to take advantage of them.
“I hope to gain many connections through professionals and other interns in the program,” she said. “TV is my passion and what I plan on doing after graduation, so I will gain so much knowledge and experience from this internship to prepare me for the job. This is my dream internship because I know it’s one step closer to a great career in the industry and a chance for me to learn.”
The foundation selects roughly 50 college students from around the country for the program each year. Collins learned about it from an alumna who also participated in the program. She credited faculty and her collegiate experiences for the internship.
“I don’t think I would be here if I hadn’t transferred to Stephens three years ago,” she said. “I have learned so much both through classes and opportunities provided by Stephens. I work for both True/False Film Fest and Citizen Jane, I work in the School of Performing Arts’ box office, and I stage manage the senior dance concerts. All of these opportunities have helped me gain skills I need for this internship. The faculty is so supportive in everything I strive to do—which is a lot since I am a film major, theatre minor and business minor.”
Women just aren’t funny, the late essayist Christopher Hitchens concluded in a 2007 Vanity Fair essay.
Au contraire. The women of Stephens Summer Theatre Institute are out to prove just how wrong Hitchens was—by honoring some of the great female comedians in American history. “Funny Ladies” starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Warehouse Theatre and is free and open to the public. It’s rated PG-13 for mature themes.
Attendees can expect to be greeted with an over-the-top impression of Maya Rudolph's parodoy of Beyonce singing the National Anthem followed by a re-enactment of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Golden Globe Awards banter. Then, Hitchens will opine on his theory of unfunny females followed by a parade of some of the funniest comedians over the last century—all of whom, of course, happen to be women.
“This is a salute to American women comedians and great comedic writing,” said director Lamby Hedge.
The production will follow the evolution of female comedy, starting with the worldly wit and wisdom of Dorothy Parker, Fran Lebowitz and Nora Ephron showcasing the sophisticated comedy that dominated in the 1930s.
“World War II changed everything,” Hedge said. “When the boys came marching home, women were put back in the box. The comedy that came out of that era was domesticated. It was still very smart, but very down-to-earth.”
That era will be represented by a portrayal of author Erma Bombeck, whose columns and books chronicled life of the everyday suburban wife.
Housewife humor was followed by what Hedge calls the “restless spirits”—Roseanne Barr as the disgruntled mom and the no-holds-barred Joan Rivers, both of whom will be featured in the production.
“Then something wonderful happened,” Hedge said. “The Saturday Night Live phenomenon. Finally, there was a place for smart women to write about something other then relationships.”
In addition to Poehler and Fey, STI will highlight the work of Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer—as well as Samantha Bee from John Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
While audiences can expect lots of laughs, portraying great comedians has also proven to build some foundational skills for budding actors. It’s allowed them to practice delivering monologues—which are required at most auditions.
Students were also charged with researching and studying their respective characters to mimic voice patterns and mannerisms without necessarily trying to impersonate them.
“It’s a fine line,” Hedge said. “There’s a level of responsibility having to walk in the shoes of someone else.”
STI concludes Monday, June 22, with the annual musical revue.
Dr. Susan M. Muller—an experienced higher education leader with a strong background in health and exercise science—has been named Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Stephens College.
Muller most recently served as Director of the School of Health Sciences at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she developed a new vision, mission statement and values for the school. She also helped begin the process of developing a new M.S. degree in Athletic Training and worked with faculty to complete a proposal for a B.S. in Nutrition and Fitness.
Prior to that, she was on faculty at Murray State University, where she served as Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Human Services, and at Salisbury University, where she served as Chair of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences and Director of the Health Education Program.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Muller to Stephens,” said Dr. Suzan Harkness, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “An experienced health educator, administrator and leader, she has the qualifications we were seeking to take our health sciences programming to new levels. Her proven ability to provide strategic planning, develop new programming and identify innovative partnerships will solidify Stephens’ reputation as a leader in health sciences.”
Muller takes the helm of the School of Health Sciences at an exciting time, Harkness said. The school recently became independent of humanities as part of a college-wide restructuring that aligns programs into four schools, each with a clear, focused mission—the School of Health Sciences; the School of Design, which includes fashion and marketing programs; the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, which includes film, education, equestrian, English, creative writing and psychology; and the School of Performing Arts.
Science programming at Stephens is evolving, as well. This summer, the college will begin accepting applications for the new Master of Physician Assistant Studies with the first cohort expected to matriculate in August 2016. Last year, the college also added a Bachelor of Health Science and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Health Professions that will allow college graduates to pick up the science credits they need to apply to medical, veterinary science or other pre-professional programs. Earlier this year, the college created the Academy of Health Sciences to promote additional science programming on campus.
“I am excited to be joining the faculty and staff at Stephens College during this time of academic restructuring and growth in the health sciences,” Muller said. “The Health Sciences faculty and I will work with Dr. Harkness to further develop our academic offerings. I anticipate new opportunities for Stephens College students to study in the health science disciplines in the near future.”
Muller holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Health Education from the University of Maryland; a B.S. in Biological Science from Salisbury University; and a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She was elected a Fellow for the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals in 2013, and in 2011, was selected as a Fellow for the American Association of Health Education. While at Salisbury, she earned the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2006. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), is a Certified Sports Nutrition Consultant, and a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.
Alexis Hudson ’16 will conduct her summer internship at Kentucky Horse Park, one of the largest and best equine competition facilities in the world.
“It’s huge,” she said. “Kentucky Horse Park is more than 1,000 acres, an equine theme park and a working horse barn—one of the only facilities of its kind.”
This summer, Hudson will take care of grooming in the park’s three barns: the Hall of Champions Barn, Horses of the World Barn and Big Barn.
“I’m really excited about the Big Barn and working with draft horses, which are a bigger breed of horse than I work with at Stephens,” she said.
During her internship, Hudson will also help prepare tours, presentations and horse shows.
Hudson applied for the internship at the suggestion of barn manager Sharon Marohl. After sending a cover letter and resume, the volunteer coordinator contacted her and invited her to the May 12 orientation.
Hudson transferred to Stephens from the University of Missouri to get a more equine-focused education. She praised Stephens’ program for preparing her for the internship.
“Stephens has done a great job of preparing us for the real world,” she said. “I’m more excited than anything. I’m ready to put my skills to the test in the equine industry.”
Stephens theatre students have set a new standard of expectations for other schools, according to Matt Opatrny.
“We teach at a lot of other places, including other countries, and Stephens is the bar for us,” he said. “We always compare other places to Stephens, and that includes graduate-level programs.”
It’s high praise from a wildly successful professional. Opatrny and wife Jessica Burr are co-founders of Blessed Unrest, a revolutionary theatre in New York that recently received the New York Innovative Theatre Award recognizing the company’s body of work. They have been invited to perform their work, “Doruntine,” a collaboration with Teatri ODA out of Kosova, in Switzerland in 2016.
This is the second time the duo has been to Stephens to work with students in the Summer Theatre Institute. Last year, they produced an original show based on the life of a cave explorer. This year, they’re guiding students through the creative processes.
“Last year was our first time here, and we weren’t sure what to expect,” Burr said. “This year, knowing how amazingly resourceful and creative the students are and how hard they work, we gave them more control over the creative process.”
Six student writers have created various narratives around the theme of separation. Others have choreographed dance numbers.
Creating an original, high-quality piece in two weeks is challenging; students are working from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Even with long hours, it’s not something Opatrny would tackle anywhere else.
“We would not take on a two-week devised theatre production at other places like we do here,” he said. “At other places, we have to teach how to work first. We come here and just start working—we don’t have to teach them how to work first. It’s a pleasure to work.”
The end result will be a tapestry of narratives that will tell a clear story but that will still leave room for audience imagination and interpretation. Attendees can expect tales of separation, beautiful costumes and a minimalistic set involving water.
“What’s unique about this project is it’s not girls putting on a play that’s been done a hundred times,” Opatrny said. “It’s a beautiful show. There’s a lot of movement, great humor and wonderful singing.”
Burr and Opatrny held their first production in New York just days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the nearly 15 years since, they’ve seen other companies embrace devised theatre.
“A wave of experimental theatre came about in the 1960s, but died in the ’80s because of political and cultural changes,” Opatrny said. “We’re seeing a resurgence of it. Theatre is more physical and dance and theatre are overlapping.”
Having the opportunity to experience devised theatre has allowed Stephens students to explore a wide range of freedom, Burr said. “We’re empowering them as actors and creators. And we hope they continue to work on and create their own work because they’re so good.”
Audiences can catch the original The Blessed Unrest Project at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Warehouse Theatre. It’s free and open to the public.
Recent graduate Devery North is working as a company manager at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer and fall.
“I applied for the position in April and just thought I’d throw my hat in the ring,” she said. “I got an interview and it went really well. I’m very fortunate.”
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is held each year on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. This season includes Shakespearean classics such as “King Lear” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” as well as classics such as “South Pacific” and “Dracula.”
In the position, North will help arrange housing, travel and special events for the more than 100 performers and supporting crew members.
“There are so many people who come to the festival, I’m looking forward to making connections,” North said.
Prior to graduating in May, North spent the spring semester studying abroad in London, where she took classes at Florida State University’s Theatre Academy London.
“The classes were great, and I was able to take in 18 professional productions around London while I was there,” she said. “I learned a lot about class, gender and race in performance and how minorities are underrepresented in theatre everywhere. It was interesting learning that in the context of a bigger city.”
North stayed in Bloomsbury district and discovered that she was just a block away from the first college in London created for women, Bedford College.
“I loved being located next to a women's college at my home away from home,” she said.
North said she felt having experience abroad gives her an edge.
“Having been in the real world for a semester, I’m definitely more independent and self reliant.”
While at Stephens, North was the chair of the student-run Warehouse Theatre. She also spent one summer interning at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre.
“Stephens is such a hands-on place,” she said. “If you work hard enough and take advantage of the right opportunities, you’re going to learn so much.”
John Wilson, a professional director, actor and fight choreographer based out of Kansas City, is teaching students in Stephens Summer Theatre how to give the appearance of fighting on stage without actually getting hurt.
Most productions have some sort of fight component, he said. (Even the family-friendly “Anne of Green Gables” produced at Stephens in December involved a moment of conflict when Anne whacked Gilbert over the head with a chalkboard.)
“All plays are about conflict,” Wilson said. “They say when conflict can no longer be negotiated with words, you either kiss, sing or fight.”
Wilson, by nature, isn’t a fighter but he is an expert when it comes to stage combat. He studied fight direction at Arizona State University and earned an M.F.A. from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver. He is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, where he earned certification.
Wilson is currently active in the Kansas City area, where he’s worked as at American Heartland Theatre, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre (MET), The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center, The Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
This is his second year as a guest artist at STI. This year, he is teaching the basics along with a martial arts component. Students have studied the art of fake strangling, punching and kicking—and the art of pretending to be hurt.
“The body and facial expressions are just as important in the storytelling as the violent move itself,” he said.
The work will culminate Friday with “Everybody Was King Fu Fighting,” a showcase production that will highlight over-the-top combat techniques.
“While we take a serious exploration of violence, this is lighter fare for the audience,” he said. “I’m excited about this year. Last year, I taught a buffet of moves—punches, slaps and the types of moves they will be able to use in many shows; this year, we’re throwing in Eastern fighting influences.”
Think Jackie Chan or “The Matrix,” he said.
“These are moves you only see in the movies, and they’re very challenging,” Wilson said. “What you’re used to seeing on film but not on stage, come see on our stage.”
Wilson pointed out that stage combat requires intensive rehearsal. It takes a full hour, he said, to rehearse 15 seconds of combat scenes.
“It’s kind of a miracle what we do here at STI,” he said.
“Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Warehouse Theatre. It is free and open to the public.
Click here for a complete schedule of upcoming STI performances.
The Stephens College Children’s School today wrapped up the academic year with an end-of-school party featuring Kona Ice and bounce houses.
This was the second year for the event, which began last year when the school won “Parent’s Pick” through a Hulafrog contest.
“We had so much fun last year, we wanted to bring it back,” teacher Taylor Midgley said. “We don’t have a graduation for our preschool, so this is just a way to let families come together one last time before the year is up.”
It’s been an exciting year for the preschool through fifth-grade. This year, students assisted with beautification of the property around the school, planting rose bushes and working in the new raised flowerbeds.
Students this year went on field trips to a hospital, art gallery and post office. In December, the school got a special visit from Tony McGeorge, president of the Missouri Military Academy and a former Stephens College nursery pupil himself.
“It’s been a great year,” Midgley said. “We hope everyone has a wonderful summer, and we’ll be ready to welcome returning and new students again when school begins in the fall.”
By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
Stephens College President Dianne Lynch announced today that Ray Fron, head basketball and golf coach, will assume the role of interim Athletics Director, effective immediately.
Fron will replace longtime athletics director Deb Duren, who retired this month after more than 30 years of service at the college.
“My main goal is to maintain the integrity of the athletics program that Deb built during her tenure,” Fron said. “I look forward to continuing to grow and support the program. I want to thank President Lynch for her vote of confidence in my leadership of the program. Her support has been tremendous.”
As interim AD, Fron will oversee Stephens’ athletic program, which consists of eight sports that compete in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Fron is a veteran coach with more than 25 years of experience, having spent much of his career at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., before arriving at Stephens a year ago. He has directed a successful first year of recruiting, with seven high school basketball standouts set to enroll for the 2015-16 academic year. Total student-athlete enrollment next year will hover around 100.
“We’re thrilled to have Ray as part of our athletics program,” Lynch said. “He brings enthusiasm, experience and a dedication to excellence. He shares Stephens’ commitment to developing student athletes whose first priority is their academic achievement.”
Consistent with Stephens’ values and Ten Ideals, the development of scholars off the court is a cornerstone of Fron’s philosophy. This past school year, eight of the Stars’ 10 basketball student-athletes were named American Midwest Conference Academic All-Conference, while all four of his golfers earned that academic honor. Three of his athletes also were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, the highest academic honor presented to an athlete by the NAIA.
The bulk of Fron’s coaching experience occurred at the collegiate level. In addition to his work at Aquinas, Fron served as head coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He also spent seven years coaching high school basketball in California and worked as an athletics director at the middle school level.
Fron brings enthusiasm, experience and a dedication to excellence to the Stars athletic program. Most important–as Duren once told him–he “gets it” when it comes to the college’s commitment to student athletes –with the emphasis on ‘student.’
A native of Michigan, Fron has a B.S. in Psychology and Special Education from Grand Valley State University and a Master in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas. Fron was a prep athlete at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids, where he lettered in cross country and track, while also playing basketball and baseball.
Founded in 1833, Stephens is the second-oldest women’s college in the U.S. For the past five years, Stephens has been certified by the NAIA as a Champions of Character Five-Star institution.
Kyla Ranney ’15 is spending the summer in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts conducting an internship at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance, which will host more than 50 dance companies from around the world at its 2015 Dance Festival.
“It’s a great place to make connections and get my foot in the door,” she said. The festival includes three free performances each week from June through August. There are also intensive courses for ballet, contemporary dance and musical theatre. As an intern, Ranney will have access to free courses as her schedule allows.
Part of a 33-member intern team, Ranney will help operate the festival, helping with ticketing and marketing. She’s ready: At Stephens, she’s gained box office experience, including helping promote productions on and off campus.
“I feel prepared,” she said. “I’m just really excited.”
Ranney received her three-year, two-summer B.F.A. in Dance earlier this month. She says the best part of the program has been the guest artists and Stephens Summer Dance, which last summer brought in award-winning dancers and choreographers.
“Summer Dance is so intense,” she said. “it’s the hardest 6 ½ weeks I’ve ever had but also the best 6 ½ weeks I’ve ever had.”
Sarah Vitel '16 landed her dream internship—which could turn into a dream job when she graduates.
Vitel applied for an intern position at San Lorenzo Bikinis, a prominent swimwear company in Hawaii. A few days later, she got a call from the owner who interviewed her on the spot and asked one key question.
“They asked if I’d be willing to move if they offered me a job after graduation,” Vitel said. “Of course! I would love to grow with the company.”
At the company, Vitel, a fashion marketing and management major, will be a marketing assistant who will help manage the company’s social media and will assist with styling on photo shoots.
Although she found the internship through her own search, the Center for Career and Professional Development proved invaluable, she said.
“Everyone in the office helped me refresh my resume, plus my pre-internship class helped,” she said.
Vitel said Stephens more than prepared her to do the work. She praised faculty for their support and encouragement, and said having access to Stephens’ equipment closet—where she can check out cameras, video equipment and other items—has given her hands-on experience.
“It’s the little things that add up,” she said. “Having access to equipment and programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator really helps.”
Taylor Barber ’17 is conducting an internship this summer as the administrative assistant to the president of Kansas City Fashion Week.
“It’s a big deal,” she said. “I’ll be assisting her with model casting, designer coordination, marketing materials, social media, and event coordination and sponsors.” While Barber has been a model for fashion week shows and already knew the president, she said the resume and portfolio she’s created while at Stephens “sealed the deal.”
“Connections get you far, but having something to show is better,” she said. “So this was a little luck and a lot of it all I’ve learned at Stephens.”
The internship is part of Barber’s strategic plan to keep her connected to the fashion industry in Kansas City. She’s determined to have a career that will help solidify Kansas City’s reputation as a fashion-forward city.
In addition to being part of fashion week, she’s also involved in The Fashion Accelerator of Kansas City, a new organization committed to making ethically responsible clothing in the community while providing jobs for at-risk women.
Barber is going to work at a resale shop this summer, as well, ensuring she’ll make even more connections in the industry.
After graduation, Barber plans to stay in Kansas City.
“I believe in the Kansas City market,” she said. “My peers have their sights set on New York or Los Angeles, but I just see the potential in that market. There’s a lot of growth and interest.”
At Stephens, she said she’s become ready to transition from model to fashion entrepreneur.
“I’m well versed in the industry,” she said. “I’m comfortable talking about fabric choices, marketing—anything that the boss throws at me, I can figure out, and that’s 100 percent attributed to Stephens. I’ve grown so much in my two short years. I’m thankful for that and excited to see where my next two years will take me.”
She said she’s also learned to believe in herself and has become more determined in her goals.
“At Stephens, I’m surrounded by amazing, strong, intelligent women, and that’s made me realize I’m an amazing, strong, intelligent woman.”
Classic tales, stage combat, comic relief and big musical numbers are all in store for Stephens Summer Theatre audiences this year.
Perhaps the highlight of the season will be the return of Jessica Burr and Matt Opatmy—co-founders of the revolutionary theatre company Blessed Unrest in New York. They’ll be on campus overseeing an original, devised theatre piece.
Summer Theatre Institute produces five public performances while teaching student actors basic stage techniques, said Lamby Hedge, who oversees the program. All performances are free and open to the public at the Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave., except “Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!,” which will be held in the Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave.
The season kicks off with “More From Story Theatre,” a family-friendly retelling of folk literature from around the globe. Expect imaginative storytelling techniques such as improvisation, pantomime, dance and over-the-top physical theatre.
Guest artist John Wilson is also returning to STI this year to direct a wildly entertaining evening of theatre featuring the art of stage combat.
“Stage fights are really important, more and more so among female performers,” Hedge said, citing several productions this past school year that involved stage fights. “This year, he will put emphasis on martial arts.”
That work will culminate for the “Blessed Unrest Project,” which will challenge participants to explore and experience new forms of storytelling.
“This is a whole new way to do theatre,” Hedge said. “Devised theatre is a new branch of performing arts. It’s strenuous, physically challenging—a movement-based acting system.”
The following week, students will do their best comedy acts, adapting the best lines, jokes and snippets from America’s funniest ladies. Celebrate the likes of Mae West, Dorothy Parker, Irma Bombeck, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres and more.
“It’s smarter stuff—sophisticated—but still accessible to youth,” Hedge said.
STI will end, as usual, with a musical revue directed by Stephens music faculty Trent Rash and Cheryl Nichols. Expect some of the greatest music from the Broadway repertoire and wonderful dances choreographed by guest artist Millie Garvey.
Stephens College President Dianne Lynch will confer nearly 200 bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates during two Commencement ceremonies this weekend.
The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia. In lieu of a speaker, Lynch will present a video tribute to the graduating class featuring memories and thoughts from graduates and faculty.
The student speaker this year is Nickie Bartels, winner of the 2015 Alumnae Association Board Scholarship. Bartels is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication: Integrated Marketing with a minor in Women’s Studies. At Stephens, she’s served as executive editor of Stephens Life magazine; an account executive, copy editor and social media manager for Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm; and as a resident director. She was chapter president of the Mortar Board, a national honor society and was Stephens’ delegate last year to the Women in Public Service Project’s International Conference. Off campus, she is a strategic communications intern at New Chapter Coaching in Columbia.
Lesta NewBerry, president of the senior class, will also share some thoughts. NewBerry is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with minors in legal studies and media studies. In addition to serving as senior class president, she is president of the Stephens College Young Democrats, Co-Chief of Justice on the Stephens College Judicial Board and a student member of the College’s Diversity Coalition. She is social media coordinator for the Human Experience student club; has served on the curriculum committee; and has spearheaded numerous panels, keynote speakers and other events on campus. She’s also a member of the Stephens golf team and works as a career associate for the Center for Career and Professional Development. Off campus, NewBerry has been a legislative intern for the Office of Senator Claire McCaskill in Washington, D.C. and is currently policy assistant at Renew Missouri, a Columbia-based organization that promotes energy efficiency.
NewBerry represented “Intelligence,” one of the College’s Ten Ideals, this year.
The graduate and online ceremony starts at 6 p.m. today in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall on the Stephens campus. Teresa Rouse Maledy, a Stephens alumna and trustee, will be the keynote speaker. Maledy is president and CEO of Commerce Bank, Central Missouri Region. She’s been with the bank for more than 34 years, and was the organization’s first female bank president. In her role, she’s responsible for leading all facets of retail and commercial operations in Central Missouri. Maledy is the recipient of the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award, the Columbia Public School Foundation Distinguished Alumna Award, the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award, as well as the Chamber’s Athena Award, the NAACP Roy Wilkins Award for Community Service, the Stephens College Alumnae Service Award and the 2014 Greater Missouri Leadership Woman of the Year Award.
Katie Ellis will serve as the student speaker. She started the Master of Education in Counseling program in July 2013. Just a month later, Stephens, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Sedalia School District granted her provisional certification to being a school counseling-in-training position at Smith-Cotton High School.
The first day Carol Estey walked into her new office at Historic Senior Hall, she saw a page torn from a 1981 Broadway-themed calendar. She just thought someone had saved a nice photo.
Not long after, Estey thought to turn it over. There she was—in the photo—dancing alongside Liza Minnelli in the Broadway production of “The Act.”
Estey enjoyed a 30-plus year career on Broadway before coming to Stephens to lead the dance program. She was in the original “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which later toured and made a stop at Stephens. She recalls thinking how much she liked the campus and city.
“Ending up here was definitely in the stars,” she said.
After seven years, Estey is taking a new path, retiring at the end of the school year.
“I decided now is the time to retire because I am not tired yet,” she said. “I have good years left, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to try other things.”
It seems Estey’s life has been one adventure after another. She grew up in Trenton, N.J., where her mother—an almost-Hollywood starlet—owned a ballet school and her father worked as an English teacher at an all-boys school. Estey set out for New York at the age of 17 and almost immediately began performing on Broadway. Shows were “riskier” back then, which meant more of them but shorter runs. Estey can’t name all of the shows she was in but among the more high-profile was the original production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
And “The Act” with Minnelli? Audience members included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. Afterwards, Estey recalls, the cast went to Studio 54 and met up with Michael Jackson. (It sounds glamorous, but Estey is quick to point out it was a lot of hard work.)
She performed into her 40s before deciding to pursue higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree from SUNY-Empire State, and a master’s degree at NYU. During her studies, she met a friend who shared a mutual vacation spot—a little-known island off the coast of Maine. The two, along with their respective partners, purchased an opera house there and ran it as a non-profit. After 10 years, Estey was looking for a new opportunity when Beth Leonard, former dean of the School of Performing Arts, called.
Estey has spent the past seven years overseeing the dance program. She’s brought in world-renowned guest artists, connected dancers with opportunities off campus and choreographed countless pieces.
Estey praised the College for giving faculty the opportunity to continue to work professionally while preparing the next generation of dancers.
“It’s a fantastic, brilliant program and there aren’t a lot of three-year programs like it,” she said. “I definitely believe in the program.”
Sara Barnett ’15 will have the chance to show off her graphic design skills at an award-winning ad agency this summer.
Barnett has an internship at BOHAN Advertising in Nashville, Tenn. An advertising giant, the agency works with clients such as Purina, Dollar General and Pigeon Forge tourism. She’ll be part of a team of interns who will be assigned one client project to complete during the course of the summer.
“I’ll be the creative director, so I’ll oversee the design work—critiquing and editing designs and examining marketing products and materials,” she said.
Barnett has already worn the “creative director” hat on the staff of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm at Stephens. She also served as a graphic design intern for the Stephens College Office of Marketing and Communications.
“I feel very prepared for this position,” Barnett said. “The experience I’ve gotten here is extensive, so that’s helpful.”
Those who attend Stephens College’s upcoming production of “Gypsy” might leave with more of a sense of empathy toward Mama Rose than they previously had.
That’s because guest director Millie Garvey has researched the family to gain a little more insight into why Rose is considered the “ultimate show business mother.”
For those not familiar with the story of “Gypsy”—based on the memoirs of Rose’s daughter, performer Gypsy Rose Lee—she’s not exactly a likeable character. Rose is determined to see her young daughters become mega stars during the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s. But when the youngest and most promising, June, breaks away from the family—and vaudeville ultimately dies—Louise is forced to bear the brunt of the quest for family fame—and she pays a hefty price.
“It’s easy to hate Mama Rose, but we have to remember the time period,” Garvey said. “It was a man’s world. Today, she would be the equivalent of Kris Kardashian.”
While Garvey doesn’t expect audience members to walk away liking the character, she hopes they will at least see a redeeming quality or two.
“I hope I’ve directed it in a way there is some empathy for her.”
Garvey is a veteran when it comes to “Gypsy.” She’s done the show five times, including choreographing for it and playing a supporting role. For this production, she turned to “American Rose,” a book by Karen Abbott that includes more of June’s perspective of the family, as well as perspective from Gypsy Rose Lee’s son, Erik Preminger. Garvey also relied on the Gypsy archives at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Although the Stephens production stays true to the classic, Garvey has added a few extras. Expect some interesting effects on stage, as well as some less-prominent characters to have more of a backstory.
First-year student Caitlin Castro is portraying Rose. Third-year student Emily Chatterson will play a grown Louise, and second-year student Chelsea Abercrombie is portraying Dainty June. Local actors from TRYPS Institute at Stephens College, area high schools and community actors will join the cast, portraying young Louise and June, as well as supporting roles. Herbie will be played by Assistant Professor Dan Schultz.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. May 6-8. Buy tickets here.
Audiences won’t be disappointed, Garvey said.
“The show is a great classic—the music, lyrics and book are so dense and tell the story completely,” she said. “It’s pretty terrific.”
Senior Katie Sharp conducted an internship at the Cancer Research Center in Columbia the summer prior to her senior year—work that she has continued as part of her senior capstone project.
Specifically, Sharp and the research team are determining whether erwinia—a bacteria that causes plant rot but does not harm humans—will fight cancer cells while leaving healthy cells undisturbed. The work involves testing lines of both malignant and healthy cells, and early results are promising.
Sharp got her first taste of hands-on research in 2013 when she and an equestrian student, Caroline Schwerzenbach ’13, teamed up to study deworming practices at the Stephens Equestrian Center.
“That’s when I got my foot in the door, and I knew I wanted an internship or summer opportunity that involved research.”
Sharp got in touch with Stephens alumna Alison Fea, senior technician and laboratory manager of the center, to secure the internship.
Although she’s learned plenty about cell responsiveness, bacteria and other molecular biology lessons through her research, Sharp said she also learned a lot about herself.
“My biggest take-away has been my ability to think independently and think critically,” she said. “I learned how to respond if an experiment does or doesn’t work, how to determine the next step and how to make sure I’m accurately representing the results.”
She said her Stephens education prepared her for the internship and research, which helped her secure a spot in graduate school. Sharp is now headed to the University of Oklahoma, where she’s been accepted to begin work toward a Ph.D. in chemistry. She’s found a researcher there doing similar bacteria therapy cancer studies and hopes to work with him.
“The courses here and research have prepared me well,” she said.
Creating a short public service announcement in less than two weeks reminded sophomore Kathy Nguyen that Stephens is a community of women who support one another to rally around a cause.
Inspired by other PSAs being shared during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Nguyen got the idea to create her own after seeing the phrase “that’s what she said” online. Nguyen decided if men could use the phrase as a racy innuendo, it could also be used to remind them that, in many cases, “she” also said “no.”
“The idea just clicked and I was so excited about it; that night I asked for volunteers on Facebook,” Nguyen said. “I had 13 almost immediately.”
The short PSA tackles the issue by showing a series of women making comments that might trigger someone to joke “that’s what she said.” Then it shows the same women saying various ways of saying “no,” such as “wait” or “stop.”
Nguyen said she was amazed at all of the support she received during the project and the responses she’s been receiving since.
“I was surprised by all of the help I got—but that’s the vibe I always get from Stephens,” she said. “I appreciate this community. Not only does Stephens give you the resources to do things quickly, everyone actually helps you execute your ideas. That’s what I really love about Stephens.”
Nguyen is now hoping to share the PSA with a larger audience. She hopes viewers think twice about making jokes about sexual situations and realize that sexual assault needs serious discussion.
View the video here.
Students in Sara Fletcher’s “Illustrations From Around the World” class will show their final projects on Friday during a public reception and daylong exhibit.
The class spent the semester taking a photo tour of artists’ illustrations and paintings from six continents, finding common threads among a vast array of works.
“The idea was a broad exposure for the students of different approaches to illustration in different times and places,” Fletcher said.
Students then chose a story to illustrate in 10 panels using different artists as inspiration. They were instructed to visually communicate the story as best they could with compelling compositions and spent the semester brainstorming, revising and developing their pieces.
The final work will be on display in the Hugh Stephens Library Penthouse on Friday. A reception will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m., during which time the student artists will be on hand to answer questions. Refreshments will also be provided. The exhibit will remain up throughout the day.
“This exhibit is quite diverse,” Fletcher said. “I think the way each student delved into her own visual and story world is fascinating. Seeing the process sketches reveals a bit of the problem-solving process, and attendees will enjoy seeing the various influences that inspired these artworks.”
Among the pieces will be illustrations of Jane Eyre by senior Coral Hoelscher, who was inspired by the works of Shahzia Sikander, an American artist who grew up in Pakistan. Fiona Kerr wrote and illustrated her own story set in East Germany about a water nymph who falls in love with a human. Miranda Carlisle was inspired by Ancient Greek vase paintings and French neoclassical painting to illustrate the myth of Theseus and Minotaur. Tiawna Johnson illustrated “Alice in Wonderland,” and Dona Walker illustrated “The Wizard of Oz” from Toto’s point of view.