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Popular food/fashion designer critiques student work

Gretchen Roehrs had a hard time deciding which designs senior Cortney Sims should make reality this school year—and it’s exactly the reaction Sims was hoping for.

“I wanted it to be hard to choose,” Sims said, grinning.

Roehrs is a 2012 graduate and works as a mobile app designer at Chime in San Francisco.

On the side, she’s been making headlines with her creative food fashion designs. Roehrs’ work has been featured in magazines, and most recently, she appeared on the Rachel Ray Show.

This week, Roehrs returned to Stephens to critique senior collections and student designs. With her input and selections, students will now work to turn their sketches into garments that will be submitted to a jury for possible inclusion in the spring fashion show on campus.

Tylar Paris’s collection, Guardian, was inspired by her grandmother, whom she considers her guardian angel. Designs included red carpet-ready gowns, edgy jumpsuits and jackets featuring feathers, manipulated fabric and sequins.

“My brand philosophy is to evoke emotions,” she told Roehrs.“I want to design things that make you feel a certain way.”

Roehrs liked the collection but warned Paris not to try to create too many of the looks. “With evening wear, it’s better to make a few things really well,” she said.

When she wasn’t critiquing designs, Roehrs spoke to several marketing classes.

She advised one group to use Instagram as a way to impress employers.

“It gives employers good insight into your creative process and how you think, not just what you think,” she said. Roehrs has more than 60,000 Instagram followers.

She uses the platform to show off her food creations. The latest images include a dancer wearing a blueberry and a dress made of lettuce and radishes.

She credits Stephens for helping her think differently.

“Stephens taught me it was OK not to follow the rules,” she said. “The reason I succeeded was I decided I didn’t want to do projects exactly as is. So if there’s a project you’re not jazzed about, find a way to make it interesting.”

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Students create pink dresses for breast cancer awareness month

Students taking the Crafting Sustainable Communities design course this semester were challenged to again create wearable pink garments from recycled materials to promote breast cancer awareness.

"Breaking the Pattern" is a project the class undertakes every fall, and the designs never cease to amaze.

This year, selected dresses will be on display in the windows of Susie’s campus store at Stephens. Jennifer Zink used Chinese New Year envelopes and lotus flowers to create her skirt and top, symbolizing good health and well wishes to those fighting breast cancer.

Whitney Dixson’s piece, “The Whirl Wind” featured handmade pinwheels. Victoria Vitale’s dress, “It’s Just a Chapter” was made from torn book pages and survival stories she found online and printed. She said she wanted to show that survivors can continue to write their book and that breast cancer was just a chapter.

Students researched breast cancer and read stories of survival before beginning the design project.

“It brings an awareness about breast cancer,” Assistant Professor Maureen Lowary said. “Statistically, two of any 10 women will become victims.”

The project also requires students to learn fundamental design techniques. Some students in the class had to learn sewing and patternmaking, skills they did not have prior to the project. Others challenged themselves with materials such as etpy toilet paper rolls and seat belts. One student used tablecloth material to crochet a top.

“There’s a lot of problem solving that goes into working with non fabric materials,” Lowary said. “It creates all kinds of issues that have to be figured out along the way, and many times designs have to change when something doesn’t work.”

Some of the dresses could be selected to be featured on the runway of The Collections student designer fashion show this spring.

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Volleyball climbs standings with sweep of Harris-Stowe

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

ST. LOUIS – The Stephens College volleyball team got back to its winning ways as it topped Harris-Stowe State University in straight sets Tuesday evening. Several Stars had their chance to shine with 10 different players registering a kill on the night.

With the 25-7, 25-14, 25-17 victory, the Stars shifted into ninth place in the American Midwest Conference standings, just one place out of playoff contention. Stephens improved to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in AMC play, while HSSU remains winless at 0-5, 0-4 AMC.

SC set the tone early overpowering the Hornets in Set 1 with a crushing attack percentage of .765. The Stars, who won by a 25-7 margin, posted a match-high 13 kills on 17 swings with zero attack errors. Middle hitter Kerri Kircher (JR/Richmond, Ind.) paced the team with five kills and a service ace, while the senior tandem of Madison Reale (SR/Chesterfield, Mo.) and Kandace Cook (SR/La Junta, Colo.) had three kills apiece. Halan Mann (SO/Blue Springs, Mo.) also contributed a pair of kills in the set.

In the second frame, Kircher finished her night with three more kills for a grand total of eight. The junior from Richmond, Ind., had a clean night on attack with zero errors and red-hot hitting percentage of .800. Kircher's middle hitter counterpart – Shelby Johnson (FR/Nixa, Mo.) – had a productive game with five kills, while outside hitter Darby Jones (SO/Kansas City, Mo.) was efficient in her appearance with two kills and back-to-back service aces. Harris-Stowe State overcame a rough first set to hit above .000 and score 14 points in Set 2.

Despite a 4-0 run to start the third set, unwarranted errors from the Stars' lineup allowed the Hornets to stay within four points up until the 20-15 mark. Stephens finally pulled away scoring seven in the last nine rallies. Stepping up in the stretch for the Stars was Danielle Kirk (FR/Camarillo, Calif.), who had three kills and an assisted block, and Halan Mann with a kill and assisted block.

Setter Danielle Craven (SO/Kansas City, Mo.) dished out 31 assists on the evening along with two aces and six digs. On the defensive front, Taylor Edwards (JR/St. Peters, Mo.) led the team in digs with 10, registering her fifth double-digit dig performance of the season.

The Stars will end a three-match roadswing on Monday when they visit Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. 

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New LaZebnik screenplay chronicles family's journey; alumna Annie Potts to portray Sherry Wyatt

Ken LaZebnik, director of the Stephens College M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting, has released a new screenplay about the family of a Columbia soldier killed in Afghanistan three years ago.

Some 5,000 people showed up at Sterling Wyatt’s funeral in downtown Columbia in 2012 to shield the family from Westboro Baptist Church protestors. The rally became so large that most in the crowd barely noticed the small group of picketers.

The play, STERLING, chronicles Wyatt’s mother, Sherry, and her journey as a Gold Star mother.

LaZebnik, who went to high school with Wyatt’s father, Randy, said he became interested in the media’s portrayal of military after his own son, Jack, went to West Point.

“I had the sudden realization that I had stereotypes in my mind of what soldiers would be like—stereotypes inspired by my own industry in television and film,” he said. “At that point, I devoted myself to writing material that would present soldiers and their families as more fully human.”

LaZebnik said he felt compelled to tell the Wyatt family’s story after seeing news reports from the so-called “Red Wall” that formed at Wyatt’s funeral.

“Sherry and Ryan Wyatt and their son, Chandler, are remarkable people,” LaZebnik said. “Their son was a hero, but they are heroes to me, too. It’s their journey that I hope to tell.”

The Writers Guild Foundation is presenting a benefit reading of STERLING starring Stephens alumna Annie Potts in the role of Sherry Wyatt. The reading starts at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at WGAW headquarters in L.A. The reading is being directed by Stephens alumnus Mark Taylor. Proceeds will benefit the WGA Foundation’s Veteran Writing Workshop.

LaZebnik said he would love to someday produce and film the story in Columbia, “but at this point that is a goal for the future.”

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Stanfield, Valentine propel Stars to second place at H.W. Wright Classic

FORSYTH, Ill. – After running in larger meets for its first two competitions of the season, Stephens College cross country scaled back and participated in the H.W. Wright Classic on Friday at Forsyth Park. The field was comprised of just three teams including Millikin University, the host institution.

Navigating their first 6K course of 2015, the Stars took second place behind Millikin. The sub-30 minute performances by Brittany Stanfield and Julie Valentine was plenty to push the Stars past Blackburn College, the other competitor in the field.

Stanfield finished first among SC runners with a time of 29:47.80 and was 10th overall behind nine Millikin University athletes. Julie Valentine also clocked in under 30 minutes with her time of 29:53.40. The junior from Portland, Ind., has made giant strides from last year, shaving off more than 1 minute and 20 seconds from her 6K mark at the Maryville Cross Country Open (31:17.80).
The next pack of Star runners consisted of Juliana Hitchcock and Fey Chavez, who placed 14th and 15th respectively. Hitchcock crossed the finish line at 31:50.90, while Chavez was nearly 30 seconds behind with a time of 32:17.00.

Rounding out the Stephens competitors were Melissa Brereton (17th), who had a career best time of 35:42.10, Emily Hatfield (22nd) at 40:32.40 and Lyubov Sheremeta (23rd) at 40:33.80.
The Stars will be back in action next weekend at the Gary Stoner Invitational, which is hosted annually by Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo. The meet is set to start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10.

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Exhibit shows Hollywood's influence on fashion throughout the decades

Blockbuster movies have powerful influence over culture and society, oftentimes sparking trends and shifting pop culture.

A new exhibit in the Historic Costume Gallery at Stephens College this fall will explore Hollywood’s imprints on fashion.

“Reel to Real: Hollywood's Influence on American Fashion” opens Oct. 16 and runs through Dec. 13.

The show will include information explaining which films inspired which looks, show curator Sheryl Farnan said. The show begins with Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1930s and features a white organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves and puffed shoulders—the iconic dress Joan Crawford wore in “Letty Lynton.”

“Joan Crawford had an athletic, almost boyish figure,” Farnan said. “By giving her a silhouette with large shoulders it gave the illusion of an hourglass.”

Macy’s department store sold more than 50,000 replicas of the so-called “Letty Lynton” dress nationwide.

Also on display will be an example of the slinky white satin gown made famous by Jean Harlow in “Dinner at Eight,” and an embellished coat mass produced after Bette Davis wore one following her transformation in the movie “Now, Voyager.”

In the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was making her mark on fashion, portraying a young socialite in the movie “A Place in the Sun.” She wore a strapless bouffant gown with a full tulle skirt that was adopted as the official attire of proms and beauty pageants around the country. Similar dresses will be among the exhibit.

Other fashions on display will include cocktail dresses inspired by “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Russian-inspired pieces that came out after the release of “Doctor Zhivago,” examples from the mod look that followed “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and colonial Dutch-inspired safari fashions inspired by “Out of Africa” in the 1980s.

The most contemporary garment in the exhibit will be an example of the structured, polka-dot dress made popular by “Pretty Woman.”

“That movie really helped tone down the looks women had been wearing throughout the 1980s,” Farnan said. “It took us out of the 70s and 80s for a softer sophistication.”

The gallery is located on the mezzanine in Lela Raney Wood Hall and is open Thursday evenings and from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends.

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Peterson’s golden goal leads Stars to first-ever AMC victory

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

An infusion of youth continues to push the Stephens College soccer program to new heights. On Tuesday, the Stars defeated St. Louis College of Pharmacy 2-1 in overtime for their first win in the American Midwest Conference. In addition to the AMC feat, the Stars improved to 4-6-1 on the season and surpassed their previous best for wins in a single season.

Freshmen Martha Noelker and Megan Peterson found the back of the net Tuesday afternoon, with the latter delivering the golden goal in the 96th minute.

The path hasn’t always been easy for Stephens, which reinstated its varsity soccer program in 2012. Prior to Tuesday’s triumph, the Stars had lost 34 out of 35 AMC contests and registered its first draw in league play against Central Baptist one week ago.

Early on, St. Louis College of Pharmacy led the battle in scoring opportunities, but was unable to convert. The Eutectics registered two shots on target in the first 20 minutes along with a shot in front of the goal that was blocked by Bridget Teixeira.

Stephens beat STLCOP to the punch in getting on the scoreboard when Martha Noelker registered her 11th goal of the season. Beginning with a pass from Sarah Vitel, Noelker followed up a deflected shot on goal from captain Dani Wilson and punched it in at the 29:39 mark.

Following the goal, both teams were quiet on the offensive front. The Stars went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

The Eutectics evened the match at 1-1 in the 53rd minute with a fluke goal. Into the wind, STLCOP’s Emily Nickels chipped the ball up in the air and watched it descend at the perfect angle over SC goalkeeper Jordan Mayle.

Stephens and St. Louis College of Pharmacy both had their chances to put the game away in regulation, but came up empty. It marked the second time in four matches that the Stars were headed to overtime.

Nearly six minutes passed in OT before a shot was taken and it was worth the wait. While taking the ball up the sideline, Megan Peterson decided to cut inside and had open field in front of her to take the shot. Peterson placed it upper 90 off the crossbar and into the net before the team celebration ensued.

The Stars will look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to take on Lincoln Christian, a team they beat 11-1 on Saturday (Sept. 26). While in Illinois, Stephens will also visit Rockford College on Oct 2 at 10 a.m.

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Sophomore takes championship at St. Louis Charity Horse Show

Sophomore Gabby Zimmermann won the Adult Shatner Western World Championship Finals at the St. Louis Charity Horse Show this past weekend.

“There were a lot of great horses out there, and honestly, I didn’t even think that I would win,” she said. “So when that moment came, it was amazing, probably one of the happiest moments in my life. As I sat there, all I could think about was how hard and how long I have worked for this moment and the fact that it was there was astonishing!”

Although Zimmermann competed as a private owner and not as a Stephens student, she said the College prepared her for the show.

“My experience at Stephens College has pushed me to be not only a better student, but also a more confident, focused and well-rounded rider,” she said. “Going into the class, I was prepared because Stephens has taught me to always be prepared for whatever may come.”

Stephens did not compete in the St. Louis Charity Horse Show, but students did attend to see the show and support Zimmermann, said Sharon Marohl, stable manager.

Additionally, Kelly Hulse, assistant professor of saddle seat, presented a scholarship to an incoming student at the show.

Stephens equestrian students are currently preparing to compete in the American Royal in Kansas City in November.

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Soccer Stars steamroll Lincoln Christian, 11-1

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Stephens College soccer team had some offensive success as it cruised past Lincoln Christian University on Saturday, 11-1.

The game was part of Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend and marks the second time this year the Stars have scored 10+ goals, the first coming against Faith Baptist Bible in the season opener. With the blowout victory over Lincoln Christian (4-4), the Stars moved to 3-6-1 on the season to tie last year’s win total.

Freshman point leader Martha Noelker, who registered a hat trick against Columbia College on Tuesday and set a single-game record for goals, one-upped her mark with a new program best of four goals against the visiting Red Lions.

Noelker put the Stars on the scoreboard first with a one-timer in the sixth minute of play. Defender Lex Rinehart extended SC’s lead in the 12th minute off a Sierra Thibault corner. Deflecting off Noelker’s foot, Rinehart blasted a shot to the lower right and scored her first career goal.

Defensively, the Stars did a great job of keeping LCU sharpshooters Abigail Crockett and Rachel Johnson in check. Entering Saturday’s match, the duo had accounted for 38 of the Red Lions’ 44 goals on the season. Midfielder Abigail Crockett, who ranked first in the NAIA in goals scored (27), was limited to one and scored Lincoln Christian’s only goal of the day in the 18th minute.

Martha Noelker recorded her second goal of the day (26:43) from the right wing and delivering a shot off the right post into the back of the net. Just one minute later, Allie Wilson got in on the scoring action. Beginning with a cross from Megan Peterson and a header from Dani Wilson, Allie capped off the sequence with a header of her own to put the Stars ahead 4-1.

Stephens scored once more before halftime to take a 5-1 advantage into the break.

The potent offensive attack carried over into the second period as the Stars scored a barrage of goals in a seven-minute span. Another reoccurring theme was selfless play by the entire SC squad as the team registered 10 assists on 11 goals. Dani Wilson, Megan Peterson and Sierra Thibault each dished out a pair of assists.

Similar to the first half, Martha Noelker got the scoring started. Freshman teammate Megan Peterson dribbled around a defender near the goal line and made the extra pass to Noelker to finish the play off and earn her second hat trick in three games.

After missing on a few attempts in the first half, Kenna Mattison made sure that wasn’t the case in the second. In fact, Mattison scored back-to-back goal in three minutes.

For Mattison’s second strike, teammate Allie Wilson swiftly made her way through the box and could have snuck one past the keeper, but an unselfish pass allowed Mattison an easy and wide-open goal.

Noelker scored her fourth and final goal in the 58th minute on a header after relentlessly following her first shot. At the 65:30 mark, Gerica Curry followed suit with a goal off her own rebounded shot attempt.

Long after the game had been determined, Megan Peterson put the finishing touches on the Stars’ 11-1 victory with an unassisted goal in the 73rd minute.

Stephens will look to take its momentum into Tuesday’s AMC tilt with St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The home match is set for 4 p.m. at Cosmo Park Soccer Complex, Field #4.

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Spirit Rally, Parade kick off Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend

Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend is off to a great start as parents, siblings, relatives, alumnae and loved ones gather on the Stephens campus.

The event started with the first-ever Spirit Rally and Parade on Friday afternoon.

The Stephens Starlets competitive dance team led a crowd in cheers before freshman Paitra Babb, sporting the Stephens Star mascot, led the group on a parade from the residential quad to the President’s Home for a reception. Mortar Board won the parade float competition with their wagon celebrating local women leaders.

Today, there are special presentations on campus before everyone gathers for a campus BBQ and movie back at the President’s Home this evening.

Families are also encouraged to check out "Clybourne Park" at Macklanburg Playhouse at 7:30 p.m.

The College expanded upon its annual family weekend this year to include all members of the Stephens community and family, said Ada Gallup, director of programming and student leadership.

“We wanted this to become a larger celebration of Stephens College,” she said. “It’s off to an amazing start and we’re looking forward to our all-campus gathering this evening.”

Events will conclude on Sunday with a Stars softball double-header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the American Legion Park in Columbia.

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Children's school gets glimpse into lives of Columbia firefighters

Students at The Children’s School at Stephens College got a real-life glimpse into the life of a firefighter today when the Columbia Fire Department got an emergency call and had to leave a presentation at the preschool. 

The firefighters pledged to come back if they could, but they needed to head to the scene of an incident. Children rushed to the window to wave as the fire truck, with its sirens on, sped away.

The preschool this week is studying emergency vehicles. Although there was no time to get a peek inside the fire truck, the students did have a chance to interact with a firefighter in full uniform.

Firefighters can seem a little scary if you’re not familiar with them. Fire crews promised the kids that they were the good guys, even when wearing complicated headgear and making funny breathing noises through a mask.

The lesson demystified the firefighter uniform, ensuring the youngsters will have had seen a firefighter before in the case of a real emergency at their own homes.

The Columbia Fire Department also recruited the children, saying in case of a fire at their houses, firefighters would rely on them and their family members to report any missing relatives or animals.

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Havig receives College honor

Longtime faculty member and current curator of the Stephens College archives, Dr. Alan Havig was honored today at an all-campus ceremony celebrating the history and future of the College.

President Dianne Lynch announced the creation of the Alan R. Havig Award for Distinguished Service, which will be presented periodically to an individual whose contributions to the College have had a lasting and significant impact.

“We are establishing this award in Alan’s honor to recognize him for all he has done for Stephens,” Lynch said. “It is a tribute to his extraordinary service, not only as a revered faculty member but as the College's longtime archivist. Thanks to Alan, the College has been able to capture and retain its rich and important history."

A Minnesota native, Havig has been a fixture at Stephens since 1966 when he joined the faculty after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

During his more than 40-year tenure, he taught history and social studies, served on the Searcy House Plan faculty, chaired the Dorothy Martin Endowed Scholarship Committee, was an elected member of the Curriculum Committee, was a faculty sponsor of the Student Government Association and for decades has served as the unofficial historian of Stephens College.

Havig received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985 and again in 1994, the Distinguished Adviser Award in 1990 and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002.

He continued to teach through 2005 and was popular among students. On online rankings, students dubbed him “awesome,” saying they “loved his class” and that he “knows everything you ever wanted to know about Stephens and the world.”

“I loved the class and he’s awesome—subtly hilarious,” wrote one student who took Havig’s 19th Century American History course. “I wish I could take another one of his courses.”

Havig is also an author. He published an illustrated history of Columbia in 1984, a book about Fred Allen’s Radio Comedy in 1990, and a history of Shelter Insurance Company in 1995. He also completed “A Centennial History of the State Historical Society of Missouri” in 1998.

Havig oversees the Stephens archives in the basement of Tower Hall, where he assists faculty and staff needing historical documents.

“We’re lucky to have Alan as the gatekeeper of our history and records,” Lynch said. “This award will ensure that his legacy at Stephens will be remembered for generations to come.”

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'Once Crazy' to debut at Citizen Jane Film Festival in Columbia next month


After years of working behind the scenes at the Citizen Jane Film Festival, LeeAnne Lowry ’15 will be one of the stars of the festival this year.

Lowry’s short, “Once Crazy,” will be screened as part of the Ms.ouri Made program at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Blue Note.

“It’s the perfect festival to start the festival circuit with,” Lowry said. “It’s poetic to end up essentially premiering the film there.”

Citizen Jane Film Festival is Oct. 22-25 on and around the Stephens College campus. The complete schedule and ticket information can be found here.

Lowry and a crew of mostly Stephens students worked on “Once Crazy” in 2014. The 14-minute film centers on a man, portrayed by actor Santiago Vasquez, who is in solitary confinement.

The prison has placed a telephone in his cell that allows a psychologist to call in and check on him—although he cannot make calls out.

When an old woman mistakenly calls the number believing she’s telephoned her grandson and will not be convinced otherwise, the two develop a relationship. Eventually, the prisoner begins believing he is, indeed, a businessman with a kind grandmother.

The film is a psychological thriller that will leave audiences questioning reality.

The film was also selected to be screened at the Kansas International Film Festival in Lowry’s hometown, Overland Park, in November.

“That was a big deal because we didn’t submit it; they asked for it,” Lowry said.

She said film organizers there called “Once Crazy” “Kafka-esque,” referring to Franz Kafka, author of dark short story, “The Metamorphosis.”

Additionally, the film was selected by the Miami Independent Film Festival as a monthly pick, meaning organizers of the main festival in March will review it.

Although not yet shown to wide audiences, “Once Crazy” was screened at the Senior Film Showcase at Stephens last semesters. Lowry said viewers have told her the film made them nervous.

Lowry is no stranger to making uncomfortable films. Last year, she filmed a classmate having her eyebrows shaved off.

The one-minute short has since been accepted in the Eyecatcher International Film Festival in Oklahoma.

“I’ve shown the film to a few people and it made them really tense,” she said. “I wasn’t trying to make any sort of cultural statement, but in film, we go for emotional reactions. So if it provokes thought about beauty, fashion or cultural norms, that’s great.”

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Thompson's short to be screened at first-ever Diamond in the Rough Film Festival

Assistant Professor Chase Thompson’s short film, “Flat Black,” will be screened this weekend at a new festival in Cupertino, Calif.

The first-ever Diamond in the Rough Film Festival is hosted by Bluelight Cinemas and will showcase more than 30 independent films from 10 countries. The festival received nearly 1,300 submissions.

“With 50,000 movies being made each year, too many wonderful films get lost,” the Diamond in the Rough website says. “We felt it was our job to find them and give them a theatrical screening.”

Thompson said it was a perfect fit for his film.

“Flat Black” focuses on a Mid-Missouri legend that began circulating in the 1990s. Two brothers claim to have seen a 9-foot-tall giant who drove through their field. When they confronted him, they reported that the giant spoke in a strange language and said he was from the future sent to look for something buried on the property.

“This work of fiction is based on a real rural legend that many locals recall to this day,” Thompson said. “I’m thrilled that the team at Diamond in the Rough Film Festival selected this story as one of its inaugural festival films.”

Thompson is currently wrapping up work on his fourth short, “Grandma Vs. The Woods,” which documents his grandmother’s incredible survival story.

He is also working on a feature film through the Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting at Stephens.

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Annual Write Like a Pirate Day at Stephens has academic component, too, matey

There were plenty of “arghs” and “mateys” being bantered around in Firestone Baars Chapel today, but “Write Like a Pirate Day” has a serious component, too.

The annual event—which corresponds with the national “Talk Like a Pirate Day”—serves as a way to get students to loosen up when it comes to writing.

Perfection often paralyzes the writing process, Associate Professor Kate Berneking Kogut stresses at the event, sponsored by the English/creative writing program.

“Too often we focus on self-editing, and sometimes that prevents us from moving forward,” she said.

During the hour-long event today, students were challenged to team up with peers they didn't know well and create a joint story. One student wrote the start of a story, then turned that work over to another student to build upon. The idea is to promote stream-of-consciousness writing.

But there’s plenty of fun, too. In addition to using the unique vernacular, students dress up and participate in a pirate parade, waving cross-bone flags and marching around the perimeter of the sanctuary. 

They also submitted pirate-themed haikus prior to the event, and winning poems were read aloud.

This year’s winners were: Alexandra Wilson; Jasmine Clayton; Haley Coburn and Sarah Marxsen.

Erika Westhoff received a special award for long-form haiku (she wrote several back-to-back, forming a longer story).

Heather Beger earned a “pirate sarcasm” award for her haiku, which used the word “argh,” and a sentence about the assignment, to fulfill haiku requirements.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is technically tomorrow, was started by two men in 1995 and became an international sensation after columnist Dave Berry wrote about it in the early 2000s.

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One Read event is tonight

Stephens College will participate in this year’s One Read, Daniel Boone Regional Library’s annual community-wide reading event.

This year’s book, “Station Eleven,” by Emily St. John Mandel, is a national bestseller that takes a look at the state of art in a post-apocalyptic world. The book revolves around a traveling Shakespearean troupe attempting to preserve pre-pandemic theatre. There are also themes of art and graphic design throughout the novel.

“The Intersection of Art and Society: A Stephens College Panel Discussion” starts with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception featuring Tom Andes on the piano at 6:30 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom.

The panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. with Dr. Suzan Harkness moderating. Panelists are Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Dean of the School of Performing Arts; Kate Gray, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design; and Dr. Leslie Willey, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Prior to the reception, Gray’s exhibit, “Dual Ties: A Creative Journey—Can Art and Design Become One?” will be open starting at 5 p.m. in the Historic Costume Gallery. Gray’s M.F.A. exhibit explores the relationship between designer and artist.

The public is invited to the event, and One Read organizers expect a large turnout, so come early to get refreshments and a seat. The discussion will conclude by 8 p.m.

“With strong theatrical and art themes, we knew this was a perfect book for Stephens,” said Rebecca Kline, Director of Marketing. “We’re thrilled to showcase our faculty and their expertise at this public event.”


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'Clybourne Park' shines spotlight on disparities

The Stephens College Playhouse Theatre Company this month presents “Clybourne Park,” a story about how gentrification and white flight impacts individual families of all races.

The play, written in 2010 by Bruce Norris, essentially picks up where “A Raisin in the Sun”—a groundbreaking play about a lower-class black family struggling to gain middle-class acceptance—leaves off.

“Clybourne Park” begins in 1959 when the main characters, who are black, are preparing to purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood. White neighbors unsuccessfully try to stop the sale.

Fast-forward 50 years. In the second scene, set in 2009, Clybourne Park is now an all-black neighborhood, and residents must decide whether they are willing to allow a white couple to move in and build a new home. Discussions about housing codes quickly turn to questions of racial issues and perceived political correctness.

It’s clear underlying issues have not changed, although roles have been reversed.

And the story is as timely today as ever, guest director Linda Kennedy said.

“During these times, people try to be so politically correct,” she said. “When you try to pretend something doesn’t exist when it clearly does, you end up putting your foot in your mouth.”

She hopes the play shows that people are more alike than unalike, although on different levels in society.

She also expects the story to shine a spotlight on systematic failures that keep certain people from having the ability to get ahead.

“It’s not just about race, it’s about politicians using territory to control people no matter what race they are,” she said.

Kennedy wants students actors to get as much out of the message as audience members.

“I hope students learn that it’s OK to disagree,” she said. “You can agree to disagree. We’re all part of the human family.”

Clybourne Park begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 27. Tickets.

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Kircher named AMC 'Attacker of the Week' following Saturday back-to-back wins

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

ST. LOUIS – Stephens College’s Kerri Kircher was honored Monday afternoon as the American Midwest Conference Attacker of the Week in volleyball for her performances against Lyon College and at the Avila Invitational.

The junior from Richmond, Ind., becomes the first Stephens student-athlete to claim AMC Volleyball Player of the Week honors since Kelsie Byrd in 2011.

With double-digit kills in all four matches this weekend, Kircher earned All-Tournament Team honors while eclipsing the 500-career kills mark.

For the week, Kircher averaged 3.2 kills per set and 0.7 blocks per set, which pushed her into the AMC Top 10 in each category.

The remarkable five-game stretch also pushed her season hitting percentage above .300, which is good for seventh among AMC players. Kircher, along with her Star counterparts, closed out the Avila Invitational on a high note with a five-set loss to a strong 11-3 Missouri Valley College squad and victories over Bethany (Kan.) and Haskell Indian Nations.

On Saturday, Kircher hit a blistering .458 in the pair of wins while tallying 27 kills in 48 attempts. Against Bethany, the 6-foot middle hitter registered 15 kills and a .500 attack percentage.

That helped the Stephens College volleyball team snap out of a four-game losing streak as it achieved back-to-back wins on the final day of the Avila University Invitational.

Improving their record to 4-6, the Stars defeated Bethany College, 3-1, and closed out the tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Haskell Indian Nations University.

Match Three

Stephens College def. Bethany (Kan.), 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-15, 25-19) After going the distance with an 11-3 Missouri Valley squad Friday evening, the Stars carried their confidence and momentum into the Bethany matchup.

Despite trailing the Swedes by seven, the Stars staged a colossal comeback with 10 unanswered points to win the set 25-22. One major contributor in the rally was setter Danielle Craven. In the midst of nine straight service attempts, Craven registered two aces along with a pair of kills. Bethany answered the Stars with a 25-20 victory in Set 2. The Swedes played the cleaner set recording 14 kills, .429 hitting and just two errors, while SC had seven attack errors versus 12 kills. In Set 3, Stephens recovered quite nicely and executed in nearly every facet of the 25-15 game. The Stars served well with four aces, blocked well with two stuffs at the net and hit well with 12 kills and a match-best .391 attack percentage. Halan Mann continued her strong weekend with a six-kill effort in the fourth and final set.

The Stars closed out the match with an impressive 16 kills and .353 hitting percentage.

The duo of Kircher and Mann finished with a combined 29 kills as the former hit a match-high .500. Other hitters that had productive outings included Yonne Naismiyu (7 kills), Madison Reale (6 kills), and Danielle Kirk (5 kills). Danielle Craven notched a double-double against the Swedes with 37 assists and 10 digs.

Match Four 

Stephens College def. Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.), 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 25-20) The Stars registered their first-ever win against Haskell on Saturday after losing the two previous meetings in 2013 and 2014. To no one’s surprise, Kerri Kircher kept up with her offensive pace and had five kills to begin the match against the Indians.

The Stars took an early 1-0 lead following a 25-19 win in Set 1. Stephens won the second set in extra points and held off a surging Haskell squad. Leading throughout the entire frame, the Stars yielded the lead to the Indians at 23-22 and avoided a loss at 25-24 with a Kandace Cook kill. Cook then delivered a service ace followed by a Danielle Craven kill to secure to a 27-25 decision. In a back-and-forth battle in Set 3, the Stars were able to separate themselves late. Tied at 18-18, Stephens scored in seven of the last nine rallies to clinch the straight-set victory and a 25-20 win in the third.

During that stretch, Mann took over as she totaled four kills and a solo block. Mann finished with 10 kills, just behind Kircher’s 12. Both middle hitters registered a pair of solo blocks against the Indians. Cook had a productive match with seven kills on 17 swings, along with a team-high three service aces. Reale registered a match-best 13 digs.

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Children's School participates in One Read

The Children’s School at Stephens College enjoyed a unit on comic books and graphic design this fall.

The project allowed the children to be a part of Daniel Boone Regional Library's One Read programming. While this year's One Read selection, "Station Eleven," is not a children's book, it does include graphic design themes throughout. The Children's School extracted those themes to create the curriculum. 

Students were challenged to draft a short story, then draw preliminary sketches of their primary characters. They then created a mock-up draft of how the characters and plot would intersect before starting a final comic book. Younger children were given pre-made comics to fill in. One class opted to create a single book based on their own adventures as a group.

As part of the unit, students also took a walking trip to Rock Bottom Comics on Walnut St., where they got a first-hand look at the world of graphic storytelling. 

The work, including various stages of students’ projects, will be on display at the One Read panel discussion on the Stephens campus Sept. 17.

"We've had lessons on comics in the past, but this year, it really took off," elementary teacher Lindsey Clifton said. "We liked that we could be a part of this community-wide event, and we're looking forward to showing the public our work."

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Adjunct professor oversees design of new wardrobe for Southwest Airlines

Adjunct Professor Caroline Bartek recently launched a wear test with new designs for the official work wardrobe of Southwest Airlines.

Bartek is Creative Director at Cintas, which designs and provides uniforms for companies such as Marriott Hotels, Sprint and the United States Postal Service.

The Southwest Airlines project was unique. Rather than the company commissioning a third party to design the new looks, the airline gave its employees the opportunity to be part of the redesign process. Bartek oversaw the project.

“We trained them to be designers and had design sessions for the entire first quarter of 2015,” Bartek said. “They learned about fabrics, functionality, fit, aesthetics and color.”

Rather than a standard uniform for each individual work group, Southwest has a cohesive wardrobe for workers above the wing and below the wing, that any employee can select from.

The design team came up with about 25 pieces for each group that employees will be able to choose from to mix and match.

The new looks have been revealed this month in a wear test, so travelers may begin seeing the new pieces.

“Employees, overwhelmingly, are excited about the new look and the new day at Southwest,” Bartek said.

A group of 120 Southwest Airlines employees are now testing the garments before the large scale roll out in 2017.

The project has given Bartek new industry experience that she can use in the classroom.

“I teach a product development class, and I just taught 120 people about product development in the real world,” she said. “We had to be conscious of everyone no matter age, size, or personal style preferences. Whether in the classroom or professionally in the industry, it’s about teamwork and understanding how to be a team player. I can talk to my students about that from experience.”

Bartek started at Cintas as an Assistant Designer in 2003 and worked her way up to Creative Director.

She said she hopes her unique role shows students that fashion is a wide and varied industry.

“There are so many opportunities within this industry of apparel,” she said. “People tend to think about fashion being runway shows and big name brands, but everybody wears clothing. People use clothes for different reasons. This is a very functional way to design. I want students to be open-minded to all aspects of the industry.”

She noted that other faculty members in the fashion program have real-world experience to share, as well.

“At Stephens, our faculty has industry experience, and that’s quite different from other schools,” she said. “We bring varying perspectives and in the end that benefits our students.”

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Stephens athletics earns Champions of Character Five-Star Silver Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) remains at the forefront of character-driven athletics, Stephens College continues its run as a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution. On Thursday, the Stephens Athletics Department was one of 169 institutions named to the list of Five-Star Award winners.

It marks the sixth straight year that the Stars have earned the Five-Star distinction. Stephens improved its overall rating on the Champions of Character scorecard totaling 83 points during the 2014-15 academic year. With 83 points, the Stars were one of 68 institutions at the silver level.

Based off of a school’s point total on the scorecard, an institution can earn gold (90+), silver (75-90) and bronze (60-74) status. In 2013-14 – the first year of the tiered system (2013-14), the Stars accumulated 72 points for a bronze rating.

Receiving the Silver award was no surprise to Adam Samson, Assistant Athletics Director for External Relations and the Stars’ NAIA Champions of Character Liaison.

“The Champions of Character initiative is an integral part of our athletics program at Stephens,” Samson said. “Each day, I have the privilege of witnessing firsthand how impressive our student-athletes and coaches are. It sounds cliché, but our student-athletes are great stewards of character both on and off the field of play.”

Each year, the Champions of Character program provides resources to member institutions to enhance administrators, staff and student-athletes in its five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

To carry out the Champions of Character mission, the Stars participated in several outreach activities this past year in which they volunteered or presented the Champions of Character message to youth, parents and coaches around the community.

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Playhouse Theatre Company presents 'Seven'

Stephens College this weekend presents “Seven,” a documentary theatre production about seven women around the world who stood up to injustice and fought for the well-being of families and children around the world.

It’s a perfect piece for the Stephens School of Performing Arts, guest director Gillian Drake said.

“It’s issue-oriented,” she said. “This goes right to the heart of what women do here—the idea of ‘Who am I? How do I find my voice and when I find it, what do I do with it? How am I connected to other women in the world?’ These women started as nobody special but when the time came they knew themselves well enough to take action, and they took action that made them understand who they are. They worked through issues and inspired other women to do the same.”

The piece, conceived by Carol Mack and written by seven award-winning playwrights, focuses on the women’s stories.

The set is minimal, allowing the stories to come alive through music, lighting and movement.

Seven actors will portray the main characters, while also providing supporting cast to one another’s individual stories. Additionally, an ensemble of three will enrich the narratives through vocals and instrumentals, including guitar, flute and conga drums.

Drake expects audiences to be amazed.

“This will surprise people,” she said. “It begins seemingly as nothing but women telling their stories on a bare stage. They start as actors and in front of your eyes transform into these women. The stage is filled with women moving and singing and laughing. It is really beautiful.”

Seven begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday at Macklanburg Theatre. Tickets.

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Stephens Scholars study birds of prey during weekend event

Stephens Scholars learned about different types of raptors and had a chance to meet a couple up close on Saturday.

Representatives from the University of Missouri’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project visited campus to talk to the honors students about the importance of raptors in the environment and their work at the center.

RRP rehabilitates injured birds—many of which are struck by cars—and releases them back into the wild. When birds’ injuries are so severe they would not survive in the wild, the center keeps them and uses them for educational purposes.

An American kestrel was a popular visitor during the project’s trip to Stephens. The blue and orange bird is a small falcon and is missing part of his wings. A Harlan’s Haw, a sub-species of the Red-tailed Hawk, also with a broken wing, and a partially-blind Bard Owl were also part of the event.

The Stephens Scholars program is an innovative, selective honors program that challenges students with rigorous coursework and provides experiential learning opportunities on and off campus. The honors program dates back more than 60 years and has been a model for other colleges.

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Senior passes education tests ahead of schedule

Senior Maile Wortham won’t graduate until May, but she can scratch two things off of her senior “to-do” list—this summer, she passed both the early childhood and elementary education tests.

Wortham said she took the exams early at the recommendation of Leslie Swanda Willey ’83, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. She knew she would be wearing many hats this school year, including serving as senior class president and student teaching at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary in Columbia.

“It is such a weight off my shoulders to have both of my certification tests passed,” she said. “I am highly involved on campus in addition to classes and student teaching, so by studying for the tests this summer, I am able to dedicate more time to my current classes and exams as well as preparing to take the GRE as I look forward to attending graduate school next fall.”

Wortham said her Stephens College education prepared her for the rigorous examinations.

“I think that Stephens has an incredible education program,” she said. “I was very prepared for these tests and for my student teaching experience because of my incredible professors and mentors supporting me along the way.”

Stephens students’ pass rate on the exams remains well above average in both teacher education and school counseling, said Sean Livengood-Clouse, associate professor of education and also the College’s certification officer with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

That’s partly because of the children’s school on campus, a lab school that allows education majors to work alongside master-level teachers in real pre-K through fifth-grade classes.

“We give students early opportunities to go into the classroom and work with children and teachers to build that foundation,” he said.

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Involvement Fair attracts hundreds

Hundreds of students yesterday flocked to Kimball Ballroom to see how they can become more involved in campus and community organizations and activities.

The annual Involvement Fair allows groups to showcase their work to new and returning students.

“It’s just a great way for everyone to explore all of the ways they can become more connected at Stephens,” said Ada Gallup, director of student leadership and programming. “And the turnout yesterday was great.”

Lindsey Howard and Alexandra Garcia were there to promote the Acute Math Club. They formed it last year as a way to introduce the subject in a non-threatening way.

“Some perceive math as scary, and it’s not,” Howard said.

Although the club officially has five members, dozens signed up to learn more about it. The club hosts activities such as the Amazing Math Race, which challenges participants to complete simple math tasks. It was a success last year, Garcia said.

While Acute is new, math clubs have a long history at Stephens. In 1921, students formed the Hypatia Hexagon club, named in honor of the Greek mathematician, astronomer and teacher, Hypatia. Born around 355 AD, she is believed to be the first woman to have studied math.

Another club, Infinity Poet, exploded onto the scene last year and continues to draw interest from aspiring poets. The club promotes political poetry, and last year, officers held several public readings about issues of race and gender.

“We’re excited to see fresh new talent,” said President Gabriel Cole. “We have a lot in store for this year.”

Although it’s been around for a while, Susies Organized for Service is seeing an upswing this year, officers said. The club promotes service not only on campus but also in the community, hosting city cleanup events, blood drives and 5K runs.

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Citizen Jane Film Festival named one of 'Coolest in the World' by Moviemaker Magazine

Moviemaker Magazine today named Citizen Jane Film Festival at Stephens College one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.”

“We’re thrilled to be included on this list,” said Paula Elias, director of Citizen Jane Institute at Stephens College. “We’ve worked really hard over the years to strategically build our audiences while also keeping our venues intimate and welcoming for both visiting filmmakers and attendees. It’s great to receive outside recognition.”

Moviemaker Magazine is a leading resource on the art and business of movies and the world’s most widely read independent film magazine. Each year, a panel of industry experts crafts the list of film festivals that provides innovative programing alongside film screenings.

Citizen Jane is one of a handful of festivals that exclusively showcases films made by women. It opens with a summit, where industry leaders brainstorm ways to boost the number of women working in the industry, and includes Q&As with filmmakers throughout the weekend.

“Citizen Jane is more than a festival,” said Kerri Yost, associate professor of digital film and one of the festival’s co-founders. “It’s an artist’s retreat where women are heard and celebrated.”

Passes are now on sale for the eighth annual CJFF, set for Oct. 22-25 at venues around campus and in the community. This year’s opening night film, “Frame by Frame,” follows four Afghan photojournalists documenting the Taliban’s impact on their country. The film was directed and produced by University of Missouri alumna Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach. The complete line-up of documentaries, fiction features and short films will be announced Sept. 18 at citizenjanefilm.org. The site also includes online ticket sales, travel information and additional resources.

The Citizen Jane Film Festival began in 2008 to give female filmmakers the opportunity to screen their films and discuss inequities in the film and television industry. It has since grown to become the Citizen Jane Institute at Stephens College and includes screenings and lectures throughout the year, as well as a camp for middle and high school girls in the summer.

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Stephens soccer team defeats Faith Baptist Bible, 13-0

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

ANKENY, Iowa – Stout defense paired with a potent offensive attack made for an exciting season opener for the Stephens College soccer team Saturday. The Stars (1-0-0) ran away with a 13-0 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College (0-1-0), shattering several records along the way.

Prior to Saturday’s contest, the most goals scored in a single game by a Stephens team was four. That also happened to be against the Faith Baptist Eagles. The Star defense completely shut down FBBC, holding the home team without a shot for all 90 minutes.

Offensively, it was a collective effort as nine different SC players registered a goal. The group made up of Savannah Thibault, Sierra Thibault, Allie Wilson and Gerica Curry scored two goals apiece, while Anna Martin, Martha Noelker, Megan Peterson, Sarah Vitel and Miranda Mammen each contributed one goal to the final box score.

Of the nine goal scorers, five were freshmen and eight found the back of the net for the first time in their career.

Within the first 15 minutes of the match, the Stars showed that they had the upper hand as they jumped ahead, 4-0. Freshman defender Savannah Thibault put Stephens on the scoreboard first in the seventh minute, which also marked the Stars’ first goal of 2015. Fellow freshmen Allie Wilson and Martha Noelker followed suit shortly after with goals at the 8:45 and 11:13 mark.

SC took a commanding 8-0 lead into halftime after out-shooting the Eagles 23-0. Allie Wilson paced the Stars in the first half with four shots and two goals.

It didn’t take long for Stephens to find its way into Faith Baptist territory following the break. Senior Anna Martin kicked one top shelf in the 52nd minute to score her first career goal. Captain Morgan Daniels was credited with her second assist of the match.

The Stars continued to move the ball around and distribute it evenly throughout the second period, eventually knocking in four more goals.

Other Stars to register a point included Katelin Lawrence and Sammy Dorman, who each had one assist apiece.

Stephens welcomes MacMurray College to Columbia, Mo., on Wednesday. Kickoff for the home opener is set for 4 p.m. at Cosmo Park, Field #4.

Also new this season, StephensStars.com is excited to feature live video streaming for all home sporting events (weather permitting). Be sure to look for the video icon on the Scoreboard, Sport Schedule or Live Media Schedule.

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Exhibit explores ties between design, art

For years, Assistant Professor Kate Gray saw her work as an instructor of graphic design and her life as an artist as conflicting roles.

“My personal practice seemed to be part of my creative life and teaching part of my professional life,” she said. “Just like my artist and designer selves, personal practice and teaching would fight for my time, voice and attention.”

While earning her Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Gray explored ways to come to terms with herself as a whole person, both designer and artist.

Work from her thesis, highlighting ways graphic design and art can become one, will soon be on display in the Historic Costume Gallery in Lela Raney Wood Hall.

The exhibit, “Dual Ties,” opens Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 27, with an opening reception at 6 p.m. Sept. 4. Gallery hours are noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It will also be part of the community wide One Read, which this year focuses on Emily St. John Mandel's post-apocalyptic novel "Station Eleven," and will be open prior to a One Read Panel Discussion at Stephens on Sept. 17.

The show is a sort of timeline of Gray’s exploration beginning with her study of “ugliness.” Using mud-based paint, Gray allowed herself to create work that defied all of the rules she had placed on herself in her professional work.

“It was an emotional release,” she said. “It allowed me to rediscover my voice and find my center, my balance. There’s a power in play within art and design, and that’s something I had locked up.”

In another phase, Gray created a handmade book, then designed it digitally to create a printed version, allowing viewers to realize what happens when art is computerized.

“It loses its human quality,” she said. “The handmade book allows you to feel the human connection—the stories are richer.”

In the final phase of the work, Gray quieted the loud energy she had previously expressed. She introduced tai chi into her daily routine, then duplicated the physical movements of the martial art by making marks on mylar paper.

“I wanted to see if I could say what I wanted to say but do so quietly,” she said. “The idea is that we all make marks, but do we make lasting marks? What we leave behind is who we are.”

Gray expects the exercise to make her a more powerful professor. She created a “Graphic Designer’s Awareness Workbook” dedicated to developing the personal side of students’ portfolios.

“As a teaching and learning tool, exercises in the book are expected to impact positively one’s self-awareness, strengthen personal design confidence and build creative development skills crucial to thriving and surviving in the graphic design workplace.”

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Class will consult alumna on garment line to support her charity in Thailand

Students in Assistant Professor Courtney Cothren’s Fashion Retail Management class are collaborating this semester with a Stephens alumna setting up a tutoring facility for orphans in Thailand.

Katie Dillman ’09 is the founder of the Make Our Day organization, which currently supports activities for low-income children there. Her goal is to employ Thai teachers to help children with essential skills such as math and reading. She ultimately hopes to turn the facility over to the teachers by 2018.

To help fund the project, Dillman purchases and sells garments via social media. Before the next wave of her campaign, she wants to select garments that reach a broader audience, find ways to better promote her merchandise and create a signature look.

That’s where Cothren’s class comes in. Students will essentially serve as her consultants, offering up ideas and opinions on looks, items and outreach.

In class today, students already had some initial thoughts. They agreed that a short-sleeved T-shirt and more neutral colors would be best when trying to sell to all ages and agreed that Dillman should make sure customers know the story behind the clothing—and that 100 percent of proceeds benefits her charity.

The project will also require students to get an understanding of her sales figures, assess competitors, recommend new e-commerce platforms and help her style future advertisements.

Dillman is working with another group of students to help her create sports-themed headbands to sell to raise money for the tutoring center. This summer, she also hosted authentic Thai dinners to support her efforts. Dillman is in the U.S. temporarily before returning to Thailand, where she’s spent the past few years teaching and tutoring.

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Adams shares story at Convocation

Dr. Portia Adams didn’t attend Stephens College, but she “had the dream up experience,” she told the Stephens community today.

“My grandfathers were sharecroppers,” she said. “I am the product of their dream. I am my mother’s dream. I am my father’s dream.”

Adams was the keynote speaker at Opening Convocation, a campus-wide gathering that celebrates the start of the academic year.

Adams grew up in a working class family in Peoria, Ill. She was able to attend and graduate from Brandeis University in Massachusetts on a full scholarship, volunteered in Ghana and Kenya and ultimately earned her doctorate and became a social worker.

Now an associate professor of social work at Indiana State University, she was recently named Central Indiana’s Black Social Worker of the Year.

“I like the idea of dream up,” she said, referring to the College’s motto. “It acknowledges the idea that sometimes you’re going to get knocked down; you’re going to meet adversity.”

And adversity happens disproportionately to minority communities, said Adams, who is also an activist and community organizer. She gave students a brief history of government regulations that have systematically oppressed certain groups of people.

While discussing her life’s work, Adams was also quick to share credit. “I did nothing alone,” she said. “I stand on the shoulders of my parents and ancestors and those who have gone before me.”

Adams was one of a string of speakers at Convocation who offered motivation and inspiration to students starting another semester.

“This is a day to pause to welcome and celebrate the opening of our academic year,” said Dr. Suzan Harkness, vice president for academic affairs. “Stephens is a college community, and each one of you is contributing in very special ways.”

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