Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


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Stephens senior receives 'M.A.D.: Making A Difference' Award from Black Women Rock!

Stephens senior Brianna Jackson received the “M.A.D.: Making A Difference” Award at a Black Women Rock! event earlier this month at the University of Missouri. The evening was a celebration of the contributions of African-American women in the Columbia area.

“I am forever grateful for all the experiences that have come my way, both good and bad, because I know they have molded me into who I am today,” Jackson said. “I couldn't be more proud of this award!”

The Black Women Rock! local program began five years ago and is modeled after the B.E.T. network’s Black Girls Rock! show that aired in 2010.

The M.A.D. award description states: “Passion belts from within this woman. She is an educator gone M.A.D. She is a woman that shows no fear in being a leader. She is a beautiful Black Woman Making A Difference in her community in order to inspire others to be M.A.D.!”

Jackson personifies that description through her passionate involvement on campus. She serves as the president of the Student Government Association, having been re-elected after serving as president her junior year. She has led diversity efforts on campus, including launching a “Breaking Barriers” series to allow students to have open dialogues about timely topics. She also led a “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign last semester that was well received by the Columbia community.

A Marketing: Public Relations and Advertising major, Jackson is also a member of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm on campus, and has worked on 10 projects. Outside of Stephens, she competed in Columbia’s Start Up Weekend two years, one of which she was part of a winning team.

Jackson joins more than 70 women who have been recognized by the Black Women Rock! initiative. Past recipients include Lyah Beth LeFlore ’91, a The New York Times best-selling author and a former member of the Stephens College Board of Trustees.

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Gimme Truth! film short contest will showcase the work of Stephens Filmmaking I students

This Saturday night, True/False festival goers will have the opportunity to enjoy the work of Stephens’ own Filmmaking I class.

As part of the True/False Film Festival happening in Columbia this weekend, the Gimme Truth! event invites local filmmakers to attempt to stump the judges and contestants with their short (two-minute) documentary style videos. These videos can be either entirely TRUE or entirely FALSE.

This year, students in Assistant Professor Chase Thompson’s course worked together to brainstorm ideas for a film to submit. They collaboratively developed a list of the shots they would need and divided up the shot list and worked in small groups. Then each student took all of the film and separately edited it in their own way.

“It was absolutely amazing how so many students can take the same shots – ones developed together as a group – and edit them in such entirely different ways,” said Thompson. “It was eye-opening for everyone.

“The students voted on three films to submit and Gimme Truth! selected one of those to include in the event,” he said “But ultimately I am so proud of the entire class. They worked together collaboratively and democratically, and they all took such interesting approaches to their films. The process helped everyone learn a lot about the art of documentary.”

The selected film was edited by Abigail Cleavinger.

Thompson also has a film of his own in Gimme Truth! this year. The final list has not been published yet but the festival only selects a handful of films.

The live event will be held Saturday night at the Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note.


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Collaboration brings to the stage stories of women who embraced the arts to survive

It was a very special evening—a labor of love and the product of intense collaboration—when Stephens women performed “Traces in the Wind,” a tone poem of remembrance.

Developed by Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, dean of the School of Performing Arts, the project evolved when she brought her ideas to Stephens’ faculty and community. Tom Andes, instructor of music, composed original music. Andes and Humphries Mardirosian developed the lyrics.

Pleased with how the work came together, Humphries Mardirosian said “It’s wonderful how music gives it life. It touches another sensibility.”

Women from Stephens College performed the words of female survivors of the Holocaust. “These are women who embraced the arts as a strategy for survival, spiritual resistance or just because of who they were as individuals,” said Humphries Mardirosian.  “These stories remind us of the deep power of the arts. We hope this will serve as a tribute to the courage and creativity of these survivors—and as a conduit to each of us.”

Tuesday evening’s performance in Historic Senior Hall was a preview of the performance scheduled for this Saturday at Abramson Family Recital Hall at American University in Washington, D.C. That event will be part of the International Psychoanalytical Association’s conference titled The Courage to Fight Violence Against Women.

The stories presented included those of Charlotte Delbo who was arrested for distributing anti-Nazi reading material. She was sent to Auschwitz as part of one of the few non-Jewish prisoner convoys. She later wrote plays about her experiences. Her story was portrayed by student Katherine Moore.

Rosie Glazer was betrayed by her ex-husband, a Nazi-party member, for operating an illegal dance studio. She was sent to a series of seven concentration camps, the last of which was Auschwitz. Glazer survived by teaching dance and etiquette to her captors in the camps. Her story was portrayed by student Clara Bentz.

Eva Kavanova worked as a dramaturge, author and teacher. During the war, she was sent to a Nazi transit camp. She survived to become a professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and a costume designer. Her story was portrayed by student Lauren Hardcastle.

Abilene Olson, another student, performed as the narrator. Jayme Brown served as production stage manager and dramaturge. Jamie Casagrande served as costume designer.

Brandi Coleman, visiting artist, developed the movement. Pam Ellsworth-Smith, associate professor of vocal arts, served as vocal coach. Dialect coach was Paula Cavanaugh Carter. Script consultant was Barbara Oliver Korner.

After the event, a talkback was led by Greg Ochoa, interim dean of graduate and continuing studies.

“I am so honored to have had so many faculty, students and friends of the School of Performing Arts support this work,” said Humphries Mardirosian who also served as director. “We had a robust house, including students, faculty, staff, family members and community, and substantive dialogue at the talkback session.” Now its onto D.C.





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Historic Costume Gallery spring exhibit to explore the language of clothing

The Stephens College Historic Costume Museum has announced its Spring 2016 gallery show, “Playing Dress Up: How Kids See Clothing.”

“When we get dressed and put items on, how do children perceive that clothing? How do kids make sense of who people are, based on what they see, without words? That’s what this show is about—the language of clothing,” said Dr. Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Design and curator of the Costume Research Library.

“We explore the signs and symbols of dress by creating vingettes of clothing—the nuclear family, the cowboy and cow girl, fairy tale-inspired clothing,” explained McMurry. The show also explores the world of work and includes the uniforms of service men and women, male and female nurses, police officers and fire fighters. Representing the children are girls’ and boys’ scouting uniforms.


To fully explore how children see clothing, the gallery invited students form the Children’s School at Stephens College to explore the exhibit and write and draw about what the clothing said to them. Their stories and drawings will be an essential component of the exhibit.

“Our fashion program has always enjoyed working with the Children’s School,” McMurry said. “It was one of those days, years ago, when I got the first spark of what this kind of coming together could be.”

As for the students’ perspective, one fifth-grader said, “It was a great experience for us as a class because most schools don't get to work with a fashion department." 

Her teacher, Hannah Vonder Haar, agreed: “Having opportunities to collaborate with the different departments on campus is one of the many reasons why our program is different. We have access to an amazing variety of ideas and resources. The students loved being able to illustrate the garments and use their imaginations to develop stories.”

Furthering the theme, the show will include a dress up and photo area for children who tour the show.

Companion displays will include dress from the 1920s, the decade that saw the founding of the Children’s School, now celebrating 90 years; and a tribute to the ’30s style of the Kit Kittridge figure from the popular American Girl book series.

The free gallery show will open on Feb. 25 and run through May 8. Hours for the gallery are Saturdays and Sundays, noon-3 p.m.; Wednesdays, noon-1 p.m.; and Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m. An opening reception will be held on Feb. 27 from noon-3 p.m. 

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New student group builds portfolios, creates opportunities for creative student professionals

After internships with Seventeen, Cosmopolitan and Elle magazines—all in New York City—Stephens senior Kyla Cherry made it her goal to help other students have similar experiences.  

“We can make our own opportunities. We can build our portfolios right here in Columbia, Missouri,” she said. To do that, Cherry started a new student group, “STYLE: Students Transforming Your Life Experiences.”

The group works with real clients to produce editorial content for a variety of businesses and publications. They’ve already completed “The Love of Lipstick: The 10 Must-Have Shades in Your Cosmetic Bag” for COMO Living’s online magazine, and they’ve been asked back to do another project, too.

The 20+ members of the group have specialties, including photography, styling, hair, makeup, modeling and videography. Their services are free to the business community; all they seek is portfolio-building opportunities, and their projects must include credit for their work.

“The goal is to help students get the kind of experiences that lead to internships. The whole point is to be published, to build your portfolio,” Cherry says. “It’s also exposes members to dealing with real-world clients, which is excellent experience to have.”

“This club promotes teamwork—everything is collaborative. Everyone has different personalities, but we figure out what everyone can bring to the table,” she says.  

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Stephens joins online Odyssey community

Stephens College has joined the Odyssey community, allowing students to contribute articles to a blog popular among college students across the country.

“It’s a place for students to come in and write about either happenings on campus and their reactions or personal things,” said Stephens sophomore Katherine Craig, who is studying fashion communication at Stephens.

Students so far have contributed articles clearing up misconceptions about women’s colleges; how to embrace one’s “inner nerd,” and about life in Columbia.

Craig was contacted by Odyssey headquarters last semester asking Stephens to be part of the online site, which also hosts the University of Missouri. She has since been named editor-in-chief of the Stephens chapter.

The site relies on students to not only generate content but also to share their stories through social media. The strategy has proven successful, allowing the company to pay writers based on views.

“The Odyssey is insanely popular,” Craig said. “Scrolling through my newsfeed today, I saw at least five people who shared Odyssey stories from other schools. It’s great because say I write something like ‘Top 5 Reasons to Stay in Bed Today,’ and then my friend at Mizzou sees it on my Facebook, shares it and her friend from Ohio shares it, then everyone at Ohio State likes it and shares it. Then maybe a Stephens graduate sees it. Then it’s branched beyond colleges. It’s really fascinating.”

You can see all Stephens articles by visiting and searching for “Stephens College.”

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School of Performing Arts hosts high school students for an Afternoon with the Bard

“Shakespeare has a huge vat of riches, fun and drama – everything we love,” said Lisa Brescia, a Stephens College visiting guest artist in acting, to the students who joined her and others today for “An Afternoon with the Bard: Shakespeare in Action”.Students from three area schools came to Stephens College School of Performing Arts on Tuesday to explore Shakespeare for a contemporary society, and what it takes to bring a well-loved but more than 400-year-old play to life.

Brescia, who has performed on Broadway in “Mamma Mia!,” and “Aida,” worked with small groups on diction and speaking for the stage. Brescia is also the director for the Stephens College Playhouse Theatre Company’s production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and is teaching acting courses here this semester. 

Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian led sessions on text and character connections.

“To understand text from another time, you have to look for the meaning behind the text—the subtext.” she said.

A third session explored scenic design, lighting and costuming – essential components for bringing the play to the modern stage. How that happens, what goes into to creating a set – and why – were discussed in the interactive session.  

Students were welcomed from Hickman and Battle high schools and Gentry middle school to the actual rehearsal and performances spaces that Stephens College students use, and had the opportunity to meet current students in the program as well.

The event was one of several tied to the current production of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" which continues Feb. 12 and 13. 

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Stephens hosts high school women for Health Professions Day

Local high school students came to Stephens College campus today to explore careers in the health professions, learn about health and wellness topics, and gain hands-on laboratory experience. 

“These young women are interested in pursing a career in the health science field, but they may not understand all of their options,” explained Suzan Harkness, Vice President of Academic Affairs for Stephens, “moreover, they may not know how to best prepare for college while they are still in high school. Taking the right sequence of courses in high school will ensure they are on the right track as they plan for and prepare for college.

“We hope that today gave them a taste of their options and opportunities,” she said.

Dean Susan Muller, faculty and undergraduate volunteers from the School of Health Science shared their expertise in health and wellness with chemical laboratory testing of foods and interactive presentations on the effects of nutrition and stress.

Representatives from Boone Hospital Center shared a diversity of career experiences in a panel discussion. Joining Stephens from Boone Hospital were Deanna Powers, RN-Patient Care Manager; Sharilyn Reedy, MSN-Clinical Staff Educator; and Teri Kaune, BS, PHR-Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. The panel talked about hands-on patient care roles as well as the business and administration side of healthcare.

The director of Stephens’ Master in Physician Assistant program also spoke about that career path and Stephens’ career center staff provided additional perspectives.

Current Stephens students who are members of Tri-Beta Honors Society also assisted with the activities, and escorted visiting students around the Stephens campus. Visiting students were from Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle high schools and sponsored by the schools’ AVID and EEE programs.



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Starlets capture first place at Stephens Dance & Cheer Challenge

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

Rising to the occasion, the Stephens College competitive dance team took home top honors at the second annual Stephens College Dance & Cheer Challenge Saturday afternoon. The Starlets topped American Midwest Conference foes Missouri Baptist University and Lindenwood University-Belleville for their first gold of 2016.

Fixing mistakes from last weekend’s competitions, Stephens turned in a top-notch performance at Silverthorne Arena. With a final score of 90.85, the Starlets won by a significant 15-point margin over their next-closest competitor. Missouri Baptist edged the Lynx Line from Lindenwood-Belleville by a slim 0.60 points at 74.85 overall.

The Starlets won over all three dance judges with its energetic routine garnering scores of 86.00, 91.00 and a competition-high 96.00 points.

In the cheerleading competition, LU-Belleville snagged first place with a final score of 77.83. Missouri Baptist finished second with 71.92 points.

The Starlets now have two weeks to prepare for their NAIA Qualifying Competition. Placed in the South Regional, Stephens heads to Oklahoma City, Okla. on Feb. 18-19 and will vie for one of three automatic bids for the NAIA Cheer & Dance National Invitational in March.


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Writers on the Edge guest author shares advice on getting published

Stephens College English/Creative Writing program recently hosted novelist Laura McHugh as part of the ongoing Writers on the Edge series. The award-winning author of “The Weight of Blood” shared her journey as a first time novelist, offering advice to students and guests about the process of submitting work, getting an agent, and negotiating the terrain of the world of publication.

Of special interest to the audience of writers and readers was McHugh’s experiences seeking agent representation. She shared her less-than-successful query letters as well as a sample of a more successful one that interested multiple agents, including the one currently representing her work. “An important part of a good query letter is how well you describe your novel,” she said. McHugh also suggested that writers look at other work that is similar to their own so agents might have a better idea of where your work fits in the current market.

“It was a great event,” said Kate Berneking Kogut, associate professor of English/Creative Writing. “A wonderful opportunity for us to hear about the experiences of a talented writer.”

“The Weight of Blood,” published by Spiegel and Grau, was a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. It was also a Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel and was named One the of the Best Books of the Year by Bookpage.

McHugh’s second novel, “Arrowood,” also published by Spiegel and Grau, is due out in July.

The English/Creative Writing program’s next event is “Sparking Words” a workshop with Visiting Writer Tara Betts, Sunday, Feb. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Dudley 225. Every writer welcome!

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Contemporary documentary class hosts award-winning director

“There is always a deeper truth.”

Those were the words of Nick Berardini (pictured far right), the director, writer and producer of the contemporary documentary, “Killing Them Safely”. He joined Assistant Professor Chase Thompson’s contemporary documentary film class for a Q&A with filmmaking students on Thursday. 

His documentary examines Taser International, the company responsible for the worldwide sale of Tasers to law enforcement, and was released in November. It has since been named a Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection (Nominated Best Documentary Feature), Hot Docs Film Festival Official Selection, and a Sundance Selects.

He talked to the class about bias in the filmmaking process and urged them to be aware of their personal bias as they pursue their own documentary projects. “There is a bias in how you film, what you say is a reflection of you,” he said, urging students to consider the “ethical dilemmas of truth” because no documentary can be truly free from bias.

The class also explored trends in the documentary film industry including the growing popularity of episodic documentaries including “Making a Murderer.” They also discussed the need for and interest in “seeing people as real people not fictionalized version of people” and exploring “the complexity of human nature”.

“Journalism is best suited for information. Movies are completely different, they are about human nature and the question ‘Why do people do the things that they do?,’” added Berardini, who was a University of Missouri broadcast journalism major. There he learned to not give up, but instead to be persistent, when you need a source, he told the class.

When it comes to finding truth in interviews, he said, “Let them speak for themselves. Let them tell the story the way they want to.” 

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Scholarship essay contest winners announced by Office of Financial Aid

The Stephens College Office of Financial Aid recently awarded $500 in scholarships to three students selected on the merits of an essay application. Rachel Cooper, Gigi Kreibich and Erin Gately were named the winners of the contest and were presented with their scholarships immediately.  The essay contest focused on topics related to financial aid.

“I’m honored and excited to receive the financial aid essay scholarship and plan to put the funds toward professional clothing for interviews, so I can positively represent the incredible institution that is Stephens College,” said senior Rachel Cooper. 

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be selected as the recipient for the sophomore scholarship!” said Erin Gately, sophomore scholarship recipient.

Junior Gigi Kreibich wished to thank the Office of Financial Aid.

“Thanks to Financial Aid team for doing great educational work on managing college finances and making college possible for so many,” she said.

The scholarship was funded by a scholarship fund that the Stephens College Financial Aid team received after attending a meeting of the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Professionals this Fall.

“We saw this as an excellent opportunity to give back to our students. Working with students and families to make Stephens College and a quality college education affordable is our calling and we know that every little bit helps,” said Kim Stonecipher-Fisher, director of Financial Aid.

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Dates and preliminary line up set for Stephens Summer Dance

Dates have been set for the six-week intensive course that brings dance students to Stephens College campus each summer to study with internationally and nationally recognized guest artists and resident faculty.

“Our Summer Dance program allows students to interact intensively with exceptional dance professionals from all facets of the dance industry,” says Brandi Coleman, artistic director for the intensive. 

“For summer 2016, we are excited by the slate of faculty we expect and the opportunities they will bring to our students,” says Coleman. Guest faculty currently expected include Charissa Barton, Dance for Camera; Elizabeth Johnson, dual certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, founder and artistic director of Your Mother Dances, and a visiting professor at Texas Tech University; Jon Lehrer, founder and artistic director of Lehrerdance and former performer, associate director and choreographer for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago; and Nancy Stoy, who will teach ballet and pedagogy.

Coleman was a guest instructor at the intensive last summer and currently serves as a visiting guest artist with the Stephens College School of Performing Arts.  

“After six weeks of immersive study with our guest faculty, our students demonstrate remarkable growth as artists and professionals,” says Dean of the School of Performing Arts Gail Humphries Mardirosian. “In addition to enhancing their technical proficiency in a multitude of genres, they continue to develop their skills as performers and creative artists by participating in nightly choreography rehearsals as well as the final two-night main stage productions.”

The complete six-week session, which includes college credit, will run May 11–June 25. High school student who have completed their junior year (and above) can join the program for a three-week session including June 6-25. Students outside of Stephens College are welcome to participate, however, all students must audition.

Stephens Summer Dance is part of the College’s B.F.A. in Dance program that allows students to earn their degree in three years and two summers.


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Middle school girls explore genetics at Stephens College


For 22 middle school girls, this past Saturday featured an exciting science-packed morning of genetics exploration at Stephens College. The “Saturday Science for Girls” event was held for students in the Jefferson Middle School Adventures in Science Club.

Dr. Erin Sellner in the Stephens School of Health Sciences, taught the two-hour college laboratory experience in the E.S. Pillsbury Science Center on campus.

With the assistance of three undergraduate Stephens students—Gabrielle Finley, Gigi Kreibich and Brittany Lucas—Sellner led the middle-schoolers in two lab activities: one that included visualizing DNA and the other genetic variation.

During the first activity, the students extracted DNA in the form of chromatin from strawberries by disrupting the cell and nuclear membranes and ethanol precipitation. They got the chance to use a vortex and compound light microscopes.

In the second activity, students used M&Ms to demonstrate the random inheritance of alleles in a multigenerational pedigree to simulate genetic variation.

“They loved learning at their own pace in a no-pressure environment,” says Debbie Brunner, Executive Director of the Academy of Health Sciences at Stephens, who arranged the Science Saturday.

She said they found the environment at Stephens to be both “supportive” and “accepting” and learned that “making mistakes was okay.”

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Stephens honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Diversity Conference

“We are not taking the day off, we are taking the day on,” said Stephens College Diversity Conference speaker Sean Olmstead, coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center, University of Missouri, echoing a sentiment shared throughout campus today as Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated with activities designed to promote inclusion and understanding.

For juniors and seniors, the day included a Diversity Conference sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Development. Students chose from workshops centered around creating safe spaces, exploring diversity and inclusion through active listening and productive dialogue, and working in an increasingly diverse environment.

“What will the world look like when you head down your career paths? What will it feel like when you’re at the table with people with different experiences and backgrounds of all kinds?” asked Stacye Smith, director of human resources at Shelter Insurance Companies. The challenge came as part of a panel that focused on creating and sustaining a diverse network and working with an increasingly diverse population. The panel also included Dr. Amanda Andrade, chief people officer at Veterans United Home Loans and Lorelai Wilson, united initiator at Veterans United Home Loans.

“You need to be willing to have a conversation with someone different from you. Trust me, the person that seems the most different will have something in common with you,” Smith said. The workshop continued by pointing out that there will be five generations working side-by-side when today’s students graduate, and urged students to find common ground. “Seek first to understand before asking to be understood,” she said.  

Speaker Stan Hudson, associate director at the center for health policy at the University of Missouri held an interactive session that challenged students and faculty in attendance to share words related to “diversity.” Then the participants broke into pairs and small groups to share personal thoughts and experiences about those words. Learning to “step back and listen,” “connect person-to-person” and “get out of the comfort zone” were some of the results of the exercise. 

A third session, led by Olmstead, used stars to represent coming-out experiences from the LGBTQ community and challenged students to “be a point on the star for someone else.”

“All oppression is connected,” he said. “You can’t be an ally to one group and not the other.”

In her keynote presentation, Stefani Weeden-Smith (pictured above left), program director for the National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis, challenged the audience to look at where they grew up and explore their own biases. She urged the group to “enter into new conversations across borders by visiting a new neighborhood; church, temple or mosque; or even a new restaurant.

“Find a way to change your corner of the world,” she said.  

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch and Vice President of Academic Affairs Suzan Harkness also spoke at the event.

Concurrent to the conference, first-year and sophomore students participated in service projects benefitting Rainbow House, Room at the Inn, The Bluffs Nursing Home and the Ronald McDonald House. Other events planned for the week include an evening celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Peace Walk to be held Tuesday, and numerous student group-led sessions covering a wide range of topics related to diversity and inclusion. 

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Heggemann scores 1,000th career point

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

Entering Tuesday night’s game at Park University, senior Dana Heggemann needed only seven points to reach the prestigious mark of 1,000 career points. There was just one minor roadblock in her path to the 1,000th point. The 6-foot center saw just 14 minutes of action due to first- and second-half foul trouble.

Before taking a seat on the bench, Heggemann went 2-for-2 in the first half with five points. Unfortunately, an early foul in the third quarter forced head coach Ray Fron to save the senior captain for the fourth quarter. She was still two points shy.

The final period didn’t lack excitement for a Stephens-heavy crowd at Breckon Sports Center in Parkville, Mo. Despite a heartbreaking 63-60 loss on a last-second shot, the Stars still had several reasons to hang their heads high. The steady progress made by Stephens basketball program was evident on Tuesday and was highlighted by Heggemann’s 1,000th career point.

Just as Park had closed within one, Angelica Medrano found an open Heggemann under the hoop for her monumental make. With 7:07 remaining, Heggemann recorded her 1,000th career point.

Heggemann, who currently leads Stephens this season with 10.8 points per game, became the third player in program history to reach the milestone. She joins Tia LaFavor (2007-10) and Jessica Platt (2000-03) in the 1,000-point club and is now tied with LaFavor for second all-time in scoring at 1,000 on the dot. Platt ranks at the top of the list with 1,127 career points.

Ray Fron, who has had the pleasure of coaching Heggemann for two seasons now, says that the senior has made the most of her time on the court.

“Reaching 1,000 career points is a huge milestone and it’s a testament to her productivity and understanding of the game,” head coach Ray Fron said. “Dana is a leader for us and really epitomizes a Stephens College student-athlete as well as what the NAIA is all about.”

Tuesday’s feat is yet another bullet point for Heggemann’s decorated career. The Warrenton, Mo. native earned AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention and Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2014-15, and is a three-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree. Prior to her junior year, Dana was named the 2014 AMC and NAIA Emil S. Liston Award winner, given out to the top junior basketball student-athlete in the areas of academics, athletics and character.

Coinciding with Heggemann’s 100th game played in a Stars’ uniform, the Athletics Department will recognize the 1,000th point prior to Thursday’s contest at home against Lindenwood University-Belleville. Tip-off for the AMC matchup is 7 p.m. at Silverthorne Arena.


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Jackson to be honored at Black Women Rock! event

Senior Brianna Jackson is being honored at Black Women Rock!, a celebration of the contributions of African American women in the Columbia area.

Jackson is up for the “M.A.D.: Making A Difference” Award at the Black Women Rock! 2016 event March 5 at the University of Missouri.

The local program began five years ago and is modeled after the B.E.T. network’s Black Girls Rock! show which aired in 2010.

Jackson is president of the Student Government Association, having been re-elected after serving as president her junior year. She has led diversity efforts on campus, including launching a “Breaking Barriers” series to allow students to have open dialogues about timely topics. She also led a “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign last semester that was well received by the Columbia community.

An integrated marketing major, Jackson is also a member of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm on campus, and has worked on 10 projects. Outside of Stephens, she competed in Columbia’s Start Up Weekend two years, one of which she was part of a winning team.

Jackson joins more than 70 women who have been recognized by the Black Women Rock! initiative. Past recipients include Lyah Beth LeFlore ’91, a New York Times best selling author and a former member of the Stephens College Board of Trustees.

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College welcomes two new faculty members

Stephens will welcome two new faculty members this semester. 

Dr. Ann Breidenbach has been named Sara Jane Johnson Scholar and will be on faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies this semester in a full-time, tenure-track position. Broadway actor Lisa Brescia will join the School of Performing Arts this semester as a visiting guest artist for acting.

Breidenbach, who has served as an adjunct for three semesters, will teach women in film, a literature course focusing on memoirs and a women’s studies course, “Women and the Military.

Breidenbach earned her undergraduate degree in language arts and taught in public schools in California before returning to her home state of Michigan, where she taught junior high. That sparked an interest in counseling, so Breidenbach went back to school to earn a M.A. in Counseling Psychology. When she and her late husband moved to Columbia in 1994 to allow him to return to school, Breidenbach worked at the Family Counseling Center. She became interested in writing while earning her doctorate and took a creative nonfiction writing class to spruce up her doctorate. She enjoyed the class so much that she took it twice. That’s when she went on to earn a M.F.A. in creative writing.

Stephens is allowing all of my experiences to come together,” she said, adding that after she taught her first class here as an adjunct, “I immediately fell in love with it.

Breidenbach described her teaching style as reflective. “I take cues from my students and learn from them along the way, adjusting my teaching based on their interests,” she said. “Ultimately, I hope I’m teaching them how to see the world through a new lens, to think critically and examine the world around them.

Brescia will direct “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in February while teaching four acting classes throughout the semester.

Brescia has an incredible resume of credits, including playing Donna Sheridan in “Mamma Mia!,” Cleo in “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and Amneris in “Aida” on Broadway. Regional theatre credits include Victoria in “Victor/Victoria,” the Witch in “Into the Woods,” Elphaba in “Wicked” and Hermione in “A Winter’s Tale.”

Brescia is also head teacher and founder of The Actor’s Playgroup in New York. She has an M.F.A. in Classical Acting from the Academy for Classical Acting, George Washington University.

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Children's School moves to new home

There were a lot of “oohs” and “aahs” this morning when students from The Children’s School at Stephens College saw their new academic home for the first time.

CSSC has moved from the lower level of Tower Hall, a residential hall on campus, to the top-floor Penthouse at Hugh Stephens Library. The new open classroom will allow kindergarten through fifth-grade students to work as a large group or to split up into nooks with tables, computer stations and reading areas.

Families joined their children on the first day of school this morning to see the new space.

During a welcome, Stephens President Dianne Lynch said the move stemmed from a conversation between her and Leslie Willey, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, about ways in which CSSC could better collaborate with the college’s academic programs. The school has already partnered with performing arts classes, science faculty and the fashion program, with more partnerships in the works. By being in the Penthouse, children will be in the academic heart of campus, allowing for even more collaboration.

“The new space is absolutely beautiful,” Willey said. “The move is also a strategic one that will give our young students the opportunity to really explore a variety of academic areas.”

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Children's school teams up with fashion to promote Historic Costume Gallery exhibit

The spring exhibit at the Historic Costume Gallery will feature garments that children often associate with certain characters or professions.

“Playing Dress Up” will feature uniforms, frilly “princess”-like dresses, western wear and costumes. Gallery curators are also planning to include an interactive feature in the exhibit that will let young visitors dress up, too.

Students from The Children’s School at Stephens College are helping promote the show. Last week, a select group of children were asked to sketch a vignette of a family of mannequins wearing typical garments from the 1950s. The Children’s School had just completed a unit studying that era. One or more of the drawings will be incorporated in marketing materials for the show.

When the exhibit opens early next semester, all of the children at the school will visit and be asked to write stories about the characters or sketch the garments.

The Historic Costume Gallery is free and open to the public. Check here for more information when the “Playing Dress Up” exhibit opens in January.

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School children enjoy holidays at President's Home

Students from The Children’s School at Stephens College visited the President’s Home today where they enjoyed decorating cookies, making crafts and hearing a winter-themed tale.

Earlier in the day, students from Lee Elementary spent an hour also participating in the events and also performing Christmas carols for President Dianne Lynch.

The event, now in its fourth year, is an end-of-semester field trip that also serves as a way to demystify college for children. Lynch also opens her home to the children at the end of the school year.

Today, Dr. Tom Prater, a longtime Missouri educator who is a consultant at CSSC this year, read “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen. Speaking with a dramatic tone, Prater pointed out the book’s intricate shadowy illustrations and challenged children to see their own shadows this winter.

Children from both schools also had a chance to see their own works on display at the President’s Home. They previously created drawings, cutout snowflakes and candy decorations to adorn the first floor of the nearly 100-year-old house.

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Belle takes top design honors at Fashion Group International event in St. Louis

Senior Britta Belle took top honors in the design category at The Fashion Group International of St. Louis Inc.’s scholarship program this year.

She and two other winners were honored at FGI’s Spring 2015 Trend Report and Scholarship Presentation held at Caleres in St. Louis last week.

Belle submitted a portfolio that included designs from her collection, Aftermath, inspired by images of Prypyat, Ukraine, the city abandoned following a radiation leak in 1986.

She created the militant designs as part of a project for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The FGI competition allows submissions that have been previously used elsewhere.

That was helpful, as I would not have had time to complete a new project,” Belle said. “And the CFDA collection was a lot of hard work. I put my heart and soul into it.

The FGI award came with a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to share her work at the reception.

Belle is pursuing a self-initiated major that combines fashion with creative writing.

She is now working on her senior collection, Desiderium, which means “longing for something lost. The collection includes dresses and separates inspired by the moon and oceans and combines silks and knits. Rather than unveiling her collection at the April student-designer fashion show, she will display her designs in the Davis Art Gallery and is planning to combine it with a public poetry reading next semester. Belle said she owes her success to Stephens.

This school has meant so much to me,” she said. “I’m continually impressed by the capacity of the instructors to care and constantly strive to make us really give our best. I’ve learned so much from them.

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Reale, Edwards named 2015 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athletes

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the National Championship underway in Sioux City, Iowa, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the recipients for the 2015 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athlete award. On Friday, 428 volleyball players were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, including Stephens College senior Madison Reale and junior Taylor Edwards.

Reale, a two-time recipient of the award, is an Integrated Marketing major with a 3.55 cumulative grade-point average. This season, she also received her third straight AMC Academic All-Conference honor. The rightside hitter finished among the team’s top 5 in several categories including blocks (2nd), assists (2nd), service aces (2nd), kills (3rd), and digs (4th). Reale is a member of the newly formed Association of Student-Athletes (ASA) at Stephens and will play golf for the Stars in her final semester.

Edwards, a junior from St. Peters, Mo. is a Biology/Pre-Med major with a 3.69 GPA. This is Taylor’s first Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, adding to an impressive list of accolades including 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District and two Academic All-Conference honors. The Stars’ primary libero finished the year with a team-best 277 digs and ranked among the AMC’s top defenders on serve receive at 94.3 percent. Outside of volleyball, Edwards is involved in the Alpha Lambda Delta and Beta Beta Beta honor societies, Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and is the Vice President for the Association of Student-Athletes.

The Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete programs recognize excellence in the classroom by NAIA-member student-athletes who are juniors or above in academic standing with a 3.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student must appear on the eligibility certificate for two full years as a non-transfer or one full year as a transfer. Goshen College in Indiana led all programs with 14 individuals on the list.

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Six Stars earn Daktronics-NAIA Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete recognition

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that 588 recipients were named 2015 Daktronics-NAIA Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athletes. Stephens College was well-represented on the list with seniors Rose Baka, Anna Martin, Bridget Teixeira, Sarah Vitel and Dani Wilson, and junior Sammy Dorman receiving the award.

The Stars and Freed-Hardeman University led the American Midwest Conference with six student-athletes apiece.

Anna Martin, who earned 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honors, and Dani Wilson, are two-time winners of the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award. The entire group listed below, also received AMC Academic All-Conference recognition last month:

Rose Baka – Biology – 3.66
Sammy Dorman – Graphic Design Communications – 3.85
Anna Martin – Strategic Communications (Graphic Design) – 3.73
Bridget Teixeira – Psychology – 3.56
Sarah Vitel – Fashion Communication – 3.78
Dani Wilson – Fashion Design & Product Development – 3.62

On the field, the Stars finished the year at 6-11-1, which was a new program-best. The team, which won its first-ever AMC match in a 2-1 victory over St. Louis College of Pharmacy, also set several single-season individual and team records on both offense and defense.

The Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete programs recognize excellence in the classroom by NAIA-member student-athletes who are juniors or above in academic standing with a 3.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student must appear on the eligibility certificate for two full years as a non-transfer or one full year as a transfer. Goshen College in Indiana led all programs with 14 individuals on the list.

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Award-winning playwright to headline performance at Diversity Week event

Award-winning playwright and American University Professor Caleen Sinnette Jennings will be the headlining performer at the Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on campus Jan. 18.

Jennings will perform several pieces, including “Hands Up,” a nine-minute poem that explores the struggles of African Americans throughout history, including contemporary triumphs bookmarked by recent violence against black youths. 

Jennings created the piece for a (Re)Acts event at the Forum Theatre in Washington, D.C., last winter following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The artistic director of the theater asked her to create something in two weeks. Jennings said the long-form poem came out in a day.

“I had been wanting to say something and to express myself about recent events and this gave me a reason,” she said. “I didn’t realize this stuff had been brewing inside of me.”

“Hands Up” begins with praying hands in Africa; hands that were later bound and brought to America; hands that nursed the babies of masters and hands that eventually broke free. Jennings looks at more modern hands, too, from Beyoncé’s ring-bearing hand to hand-held devices. She concludes with hands up, questioning whether society has come as far as we thought in terms of race relations.

Jennings, accompanied by cellist and composer Jodi Beder, performed the piece at (Re)Act alongside young hip hop artists and said she was surprised by the overwhelming reaction.

She has since performed it at colleges and high schools. American University filmed the performance earlier this year, and the video has struck a chord with audiences.

Surprised by the attention, Jennings said she hopes viewers ask themselves what they will do with their hands in light of recent racial tensions.

“Ask yourself the same question, ‘What am I going to do with my hands?’”

Jennings said action sometimes comes in the form of protests and fists up, other times in the form of soothing strokes. But idle hands, she said, aren’t acceptable.

While at Stephens, Jennings will also offer a master class on dramatic literature, performing a semi-autobiographical piece before challenging students to share their stories.

“When telling your own story, you do something very powerful—you empower yourself and your experience,” she said. “Everybody should write and tell their stories.”

For Jennings, telling her own story initially came out of necessity. After earning an M.F.A. and having been trained in classical theater, she discovered that in 1976 there were no roles that represented her as an educated middle-class woman.

The commercial market was telling African-American stories of people living in poverty and surviving the odds. They were important, Jennings said, but did not accurately reflect diversity within the African-American community.

Her husband challenged her to write her own material.

Fast forward 40 years, and Jennings has written, produced and published numerous plays and stories. She received the Heideman Award from Actors’ Theatre of Louisville for her play “Classyass,” produced at the 2002 Humana Festival. She is a two-time Helen Hayes Award nominee for Outstanding New Play. She is also a founding member of The Welders, a Washington, D.C.-based playwrights’ collaborative.

She said she hopes to encourage Stephens women to listen and connect with one another.

“Sharing their stories is an important way to make connections and an important way to grow as human beings,” she said. “It’s an important way to start difficult conversations, and if they make a habit of finding a way to share their stories, I think that’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

The Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King event is part of Diversity Week at Stephens, which will include programming and special events through Jan. 22.

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Students demonstrate world dance

Monique I. Jones led an African World Dance Lecture Demonstration in Kimball Ballroom during the lunch hour, allowing world dance students to showcase various healing movements they’ve learned in class.

Jones is a guest artist instructor for world dance this semester.

A Kansas City native, Jones is currently director of operations at Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

During the demonstration, students imitated various African animals, including elephants and birds; mimicked traditional gathering and weaving movements; and used colors to represent elements such as fire and air.

Among audience members were students from The Children’s School at Stephens College.

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Beger's play selected to be read at Kansas City venue this weekend

Senior Heather Beger’s play, “Snowman,” was one of four short plays selected to be read at Potluck Productions First Friday Play Reading this weekend.

Potluck Productions is a Kansas City-based organization that showcases scripts written by women playwrights.

This weekend’s event, which will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the Uptown Arts Bar in Kansas City, features plays written by college students competing in a two-state competition.

Beger’s play centers on a 12-year-old girl who is coping with the death of her brother. She gets support from a surprising source.

Beger is earning a B.F.A. in Creative Writing with a Scriptwriting emphasis. She wrote a first draft of the play in Kate Berneking Kogut’s Intro to Scriptwriting class her first year and first presented it at a Scriptwriting Showcase on campus in 2013.

She has continued reworking the script over the years, and it is now part of her Senior Project.

“I'm very excited to see an interpretation of my play without being a part of the rehearsal process for once,” she said. “And getting to meet other playwrights is, I'm sure, going to be awesome.”

Kogut agreed that having it read by a new audience will be an advantage.

“Heather will gain a lot of insights about her play hearing it read by these professional actors,” she said.

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Stephens Life to host release party

The staff of Stephens Life will host a party on Friday releasing the latest edition of the student magazine.

The party is from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, on the second floor of Hugh Stephens Library.

“We revamped the magazine and are excited to show our new look to campus,” said sophomore Allie Moorman, outreach coordinator for the student-produced magazine.

Copies will be available in Stars Café, the admissions office, fashion and design offices and in residence halls next week.

Moorman encourages students to attend the cocktail-attired launch party, saying attendees will enjoy refreshments, an award presentation and a look into the Stephens Life Snap Shots campaign.

“We are really excited about our ‘Above the Fold’ nominations,” she said. “These were students who were nominated both by our Stephens Life Staff and Stephens faculty for their advancements in their majors.”

The Snap Shots campaign involved quick interviews with students on campus.

“We asked them heavy questions, light questions and funny questions,” Moorman said. “The video will be shown at the launch arty for those who are interested to see it.”

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Holiday performances begin Friday

Stephens College is ready to start celebrating the holiday season with two upcoming performing arts events.

The Playhouse Theatre Company presents Roger Bean’s “The Winter Wonderettes” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 9-10 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Dec. 6, at Macklanburg Playhouse. Tickets.

Audiences can expect every holiday song one can imagine, said Gail Humphries Mardirosian, dean of the School of Performing Arts.

The performance will be set in a hardware store in the 1960s and will star Sydney Benton, Emily Chatterson, Madeleine Campbell and Shannon Cox.

"Audiences can expect to laugh, maybe cry a little and really get into the holiday spirit," said Lee Heinz, assistant professor of musical theatre. "It's a great choice for Stephens because it features four-part harmonies, at which Stephens women excel."

Then, starting Sunday, Columbia audiences can expect old-fashioned holiday fun at the annual Dickens Victorian Christmas event.

The musical program is an authentic recreation of a 19th century English Christmas hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens. Period dance, music, refreshments and games will be provided.

A Dickens Victorian Christmas, held at Historic Senior Hall, will include a 4 p.m. matinee on Dec. 6 and will start at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6-8. Tickets.

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Students make, donate heart-shaped pillows to breast cancer survivors

Students in a sustainable fashion class recently created heart-shaped pillows to donate to area women who have undergone breast cancer-related procedures.

Dr. Suzan Harkness, vice president for academic affairs, delivered dozens of the hand-painted silk pillows to Ellis Fischel Center in Columbia last week.

For Harkness, the project was personal. She remembers a similar pillow bringing her comfort—both physically and emotionally—after her lumpectomy less than two years ago.

The pillows are specifically designed to serve several purposes, Harkness told the class prior to delivering them.

The pillows fit under an arm to provide pain relief and protect against accidental bumps. They can be placed under an arm for comfort during chemotherapy appointments. For someone who has undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy or biopsy, the pillows can be placed between a safety belt and the surgical site to provide comfort and protection.

“And they’re great to cuddle with,” Harkness said.

The project was also meaningful for students.

“It made me re-evaluate my life and made me grateful for my health,” said Bianca Fitzpatrick ’16. “I put love into making it.”

“It feels good just helping someone,” Whitney Dixson ’19 added.

Harkness included a note with the donations encouraging survivors and letting them know that Stephens women are thinking about them.

The Creating Sustainable Communities class also created pink dresses from recycled materials in October to support Breast Cancer Awareness month.

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