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Student designers wow audiences at The Collections

Senior Audrah Davidson’s industrial-inspired collection of business attire took this year’s Best of Jury and Best Collection awards at The Collections, the 71st annual student designer fashion show on Saturday.

From the "Bad Kitty" collection.
The runway show featured the best work of Fashion Design and Product Development students, including 18 senior collections. This year’s garments were inspired by European architecture fused with industrial elements.

“This was an outstanding show,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Design. “It was an incredible mix of pieces—from highly feminine gowns to fun street looks to androgynous pieces.”

Davidson’s collection of dresses, pants and jackets included a tunic made from woven wool with threads replaced with flecks of gold leaf and vinyl, creating a shine. A cream coat and black dress featured reversed needle-felted designs.

Designers have been working on concepts since the fall and have vetted their designs and concepts through several professional critics, including representatives from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Meredith Morrow’s collection of rock-inspired looks won the “Textile Ingenuity” award. Tonya Pesch’s high-fashion equestrian show garments earned the “Most Marketable” award.

Brittany Grayson received the Alumnae Choice Award for her collection, “Bad Kitty,” which included a faux fur crop top, a vinyl blue tube skirt and a faux leather pencil dress—all incorporating some sort of cat element.

Emily Horner and Logan Blagg each received a Jury Choice award; and Samantha Short earned a “fearless award” for her shoe collection.

Other Best of Jury winners included:

  • Best Children’s wear – Pamela Pipkins
  • Best Patternmaking Dress – Jessica Warworkia 
  • Best Weekend wear – Ilia Siegwald
  • Best Career wear – Tylar E. Paris
  • Best Tailored Design – Kelly Ferguson 
  • Outstanding Workmanship – Kelly Ferguson 
  • Overall Technical Excellence – Kayla Gibson

See more photos from The Collections here.

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Graphic design seniors showcase portfolios

Graphic design students are showcasing their portfolios this week and next in the Davis Art Gallery on campus.

The exhibit opened with a reception on Friday, during which students received awards for their work based on critiques from industry professionals.

“The level of work this year across the board is outstanding,” Assistant Professor Kate Gray said. “The judges said there is nothing in here that shouldn’t be on the wall, and that is really exciting.”

The show includes an entire body of work seniors have completed over the past year to two years, as well as a collection of the best of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm.

Sara Barnett received the award for the best overall portfolio collection. Jasmine Taylor, Kala Jones, Fiona Kerr and Haley Padilla received awards for individual works.

Creative Ink received an award for a poster campaign. The designer was Hannah Bilau and the account executive was Brianna Jackson.

The exhibit is up and open to the public through May 8.

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Psychology students share results of capstone projects

Stephens psychology majors yesterday delivered their capstone presentations to a packed audience in a Dudley Hall classroom.

Seniors Joelle Mason, Ashley Landrum, Emily Fellers and Lise Oxaal each presented individual findings on very different topics—but all discovered that basic assumptions about the world in which we live aren’t always accurate.

Mason questioned why people often miss things in front of them when they’re distracted with another task. She conducted an experiment in Stars Café, assuming that when young women had relationships on their minds, they would notice two young men walking by. Her hypothesis was not supported. Mason wondered whether that’s because she conducted the experiment at Stephens, a college known for strong, independent women.

Landrum was interested in finding out whether self-esteem and self-efficacy within certain groups is true, questioning how one’s inclusion in certain minority and majority groups impacted her self-identity. While she had a high number of participants, Landrum concluded that her group did not include enough diversity. If she were to continue the study, Landrum said she would seek male participants and those who identify in the LGBTQ community.

Fellers’ study was centered on the Myers-Briggs Inventory and how certain personality trait combinations contributed to success within certain academic majors. Fellers was fascinated by the idea of people putting one another in categories and predetermining their academic success based on personality. Using that as her backdrop, she questioned how students select majors and what kinds of personality traits work best in each major. Fellers hypothesized that certain personality types are prevalent within certain majors—and found there’s not much evidence to prove that assertion. Like her peers, she said future study of the topic would need a larger group of participants.

Oxaal’s study revolved around online dating preferences. Inspired by Tinder, the online, photo-first dating app, she wondered if a photo’s background setting played a role in whether women say “yes” to a man or reject him. She suspected women would go for the guy in the park, not the one hanging out in a bar. Ultimately, she discovered that’s not necessarily the case.

Senior Kenzie Andrade researched the effects of Facebook on self-esteem. Despite some studies that have linked Facebook to feelings of depression, Andrade discovered people actually report more confidence when skimming the application for five minutes. She presented her results earlier this week.

Assistant Professor Eric Marx, who is wrapping up his first year at Stephens, said he was impressed with the studies and findings.

“They did a fantastic job of getting people involved and shared some interesting results,” he said.

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New Works dance concert showcases student talent

Expect to be wowed this weekend at the annual New Works Dance Concert featuring original choreographs by Stephens dance majors.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

New Works is produced entirely by students through Dance Collaborations. Dances were presented to a panel of adjudicators who selected the pieces that would go in the concert.

“A lot of hard work goes into this concert, which allows our dancers to showcase their talent—as well as their creativity—on stage,” said Elizabeth Hartwell, adviser of the company. “Community members will want to see this work.”

Audiences can expect a range of dance styles. Selections include:

  • “Hobo Hoe-down” and “Children,” choreographed by Kyla Ranney
  • “Midnight Soar,” “Five Women,” “Motherless Child” and “Prideland,” all choreographed by Ta’Shayla Montgomery
  • “Stand Together,” “One Last Dance,” “Remake of Charlie’s Angles,” by Tiara Saddler
  • “Abstract,” by Destiney Lockhart
  • “Subway’s Lament,” choreographed by Kate Wohler
  • “Oh Freedom,” by Lexi Collins
  • “The Social Disconnect,” by Savanna Blocker
  • “Fool of Me ‘Pig’” and “Tired of Waiting,” choreographed by AlexUs Collins.
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Ginkgo tree will ensure Stephens remembers Class of 2015

Student Government Association and Susies Organized for Service (SOS) today planted a ginkgo biloba tree on campus in honor of this year’s graduating seniors.

“The organizations are big on environmental issues, so it seemed like a great way to recognize the senior class,” said Aja Depass, a member of SGA. “We’re hoping this starts a tradition that can continue in the future—kind of like a send off to seniors.”

A group of graduating seniors, along with members of SGA, SOS and the Stephens community, celebrated the planting with a lunch hour groundbreaking ceremony. Seniors each had the opportunity to shovel a bit of dirt over the trunk.

A plaque will mark the tree with a quote from senior class president Lesta NewBerry. It will read: “Believe in yourself and all of your dreams, and never forget all that you’ve learned at Stephens.”

Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest species of trees on the planet, and its extract is known for therapeutic properties, including boosting memory. It will eventually grow to be some 40-50 feet high with branches extending 45 feet, said Greg Mankey, director of facilities.

The tree is located on the historic senior quad. That’s an area that tends to hold water after significant rainfall, so the root system will help keep the surrounding ground dry, he added.

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Professor looks to expand wellness service projects

Assistant Professor Ghadah Alshuwaiyer is looking to expand upon health and wellness service projects as part of her “Life of Service” course.

This year, students participated in a Health Wellness Fair during Wellness Week, held just before spring break. Prior to the activities, the class conducted a survey to assess their peers’ knowledge about alcohol and sexual practices. Students in the class then targeted activities to what they wanted classmates to know based on survey results.

One group played a “beer” pong game using water instead of alcohol. Students were challenged to get a ball into the cup, and if they failed, they had to answer a question about alcohol’s effect on the body. Also during the fair, held in the student center, students had a chance to wear special goggles to simulate alcohol impairment to see how it impacted their balance. The class also made posters to bring awareness to sexually transmitted diseases.

Alshuwaiyer said she hopes the project showed her students the importance of assessment.

“In order to have a successful educational program, they must assess the needs of the population prior to developing the program,” she said. “We cannot assume that students know a lot about these issues just because they have access to the Internet. Therefore, participating in the wellness fair is important.”

She also said she believes students learned that audience engagement is also critical—the best way to educate is through fun activities.

Alshuwaiyer hopes in the future, these types of awareness activities can be held throughout the school year, not just during a week.

A blurb about the class’s projects is expected to run in the July issue of Nation’s Health, a nationally recognized newspaper of the American Public Health Association.

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Physics lab lets students experiment with reflection

What happens when you reflect a laser beam off of a mirror? Can you alter that reflection by simply turning the mirror to a different angle?

That’s what students in Assistant Professor Carrie Whittle’s physics course were figuring out yesterday during a multi-part lab on lights.

Students were challenged to reflect laser beams off of mirrors and prisms, then measure and compare the angles of the reflections. The idea was to see how light bends and reflects based on distance, angles and other factors, Whittle said.

In one part of the lab, students explored how eyes work by using a special lens that makes images flip when held at a certain distance from the object.

In another room, students experimented with colored lights, seeing how colors change based on certain variables.

The lab gave students an up-close look at how everyday objects such as sunglasses, prescription glasses and camera shutters operate.

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Runyon prepares for internship in Guatemala

Junior Livvy Runyon is headed to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where she’ll conduct an internship with Actuality Media, a highly selective documentary production company.

“It’s a huge blessing,” she said. “Not everyone gets this opportunity. I’m very thankful.”

Runyon will serve as a producer on a four-member crew that will film a person making a difference in his or her community. Runyon won’t know the subject until she begins; however, the production company is focused on sharing stories of those making positive changes in the world. Once the team makes the documentary, it’s also on them to submit it to film festivals.

This isn’t Runyon’s first trip overseas, although it will be the first time she’s flying solo. Last summer, she joined Assistant Professor Chase Thompson and another Stephens student, Jordan Laguna ’14, on a trip to Haiti, where they filmed a volunteer effort to build a school through the buildOn organization.

“The Haiti experience really helped,” she said. “It’s really competitive, so it helped that I had previous experience overseas.”

Runyon also credits her Stephens experience.

“I feel Stephens is so personal, and that’s what makes the difference,” she said. “The opportunities we get here and the people we get to meet are amazing.”

Filmmaker “Guinevere Turner was actually here on campus, reviewed my work and gave me feedback on my film. I still can’t believe that happened.”

Those connections and experience, Runyon said, are invaluable.

“It will make a difference in how far we go,” she said.

Runyon hopes to become a documentary filmmaker, although she hasn’t ruled out camera operation, especially for National Geographic or other types of programming. Next fall, she’s applying for a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship.

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Psychology students to share findings at Capstone Presentations

The latest-generation online dating app, Tinder, is designed to replace more traditional dating sites that require users to fill out lengthy questionnaires. After all, can’t you tell a lot about a person just based on where the photo is taken?

Senior Lise Oxaal posed that question this semester as part of her senior capstone project. She asked unsuspecting college women to look at a set of male photos and determine if they would “swipe right”—taking the next step to meet the person—or rejecting him altogether by “swiping left.” Oxaal altered the background to put males in various settings.

So, do women care if a man’s profile photo shows him hanging out in a bar or would they rather date a man whose picture is set in a family-friendly park?

Find out at the Capstone Presentations, during which Oxaal and four other psychology seniors will present findings from the research they conducted this semester.

“They looked at entirely different things, and they’ve done a fantastic job of getting people involved both on campus and from the community,” said Assistant Professor Eric Marx. “They’ve gotten interesting results to add to scientific literature.”

Senior Kenzie Andrade researched the effects of Facebook on self-esteem. Despite some studies that have linked Facebook to feelings of depression, Andrea found different results when people use the application for short periods of time. She will present her findings tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Dudley 122.

The other seniors will share their research results at a senior capstone showcase starting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Dudley 105/106.

Emily Fellers will discuss correlations between Myers-Briggs personality test results and a student’s ability to succeed in a specific academic program. For instance, she wanted to see whether a certain combination of personality traits pre-determined whether a student would be better suited for biology or, say, theatre.

The research required a set of survey questions and special software to do the mathematical correlations. While she’s still working through the data, early results were surprising.

“I thought personality would dictate success, but it turns out, it’s not quite that clear cut,” she said.

Joelle Mason took another look at the “gorilla on the basketball court” study—a famous experiment that discovered when people are busy counting how many basketball shots are made, few notice a man in a gorilla costume walking across the court. Mason did the same at Stars Café, asking people to count cups while two young men—a rare sight at Stephens—walked by. She then primed her participants to think about romantic relationships to see how their reactions would change when the men strolled through a second time.

Ashley Landrum studied the relationship between self-esteem and identifying with certain groups, be it a ethnic group or an academic field of study.

Marx encourages faculty, staff and friends to come to the presentations.

“There are some really interesting results that will be shared that just might impact how you think about yourself,” he said.

Plus, this is the culmination of psychology seniors’ work.

“Psychology doesn’t get a lot of spotlight; it’s not very flashy,” Fellers said. “But all five of us have worked really hard, and the presentations will all be very interesting.”

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Students share work at New Script Showcase

Students who competed in the annual Scriptwriting Competition learned that penning a script to be performed by others takes guts, flexibility and a lot of trust.

“It’s a huge challenge to write something, put your heart and soul into it and then turn it over to someone else,” said Kate Berneking Kogut, associate professor of English/Creative Writing, adding that the script isn’t complete until someone else performs it. “It’s a collaboration.”

The Scriptwriting Competition challenges students to submit short scripts that are critiqued by professionals. The top scripts are then performed at a spring showcase. This year’s showcase was held in the Hugh Stephens Library Penthouse today and featured readings for four stage plays and one web series pilot.

Writers had a vague theme on which to base their stories: “lucrative death buttons.” Kogut acknowledged the phrase was simply a combination of random words selected by students.

A couple of authors took a literal approach to the theme. In Heather Beger’s “She’s Always at Her Best,” a seemingly innocent trip to a button shop becomes twisted when the shop owner realizes why her customer’s husband’s buttons are always popping off. She sells the distraught woman a special button that just might make her problems—or, rather, her cheating husband—disappear. Minuette Layer narrated the script, which was read by Haley Coburn and Emily Ritcheson.

Ritcheson’s script also had a “death button,” this time in the form of an actual weapon. In an exchange between husband and wife, read by Sarah Parris and Jamie Casagrande, audience members learn that nuclear arms and weapons are peddled in a briefcase and have already been used to annihilate populations. Just as the wife is fed up with her husband’s line of work, a malfunction in the death button he brought home causes panic.

Meme Dixon and Liz Konkel co-wrote their script, “Survival of the Fittest,” which also comes on the heels of mass chaos. Two strangers (read by Beger and Erika Westhoff) must work together if they’re going to escape cannibals on the loose. And Cheyenne Smith’s “Variables of Perception,” directed by Briannica Ponder, retracts the moves of a killer who just wanted to be left alone.

Minuette Layer took a different approach in her script, “Das Zeichen des Tieres,” which means “mark of the beast.” Directed by Emilie Kimberly, local actor Aaron Krawitz read the role of a Polish grandfather who, the audience concludes, survived the Holocaust. He refuses to speak of it until his granddaughter expresses an interest in getting a tattoo—a tattoo like his.

Following the showcase, the authors took questions from the audience, some who wondered what it was like to rely on others to read their works aloud. Most writers agreed that they appreciated performers’ efforts to improve the lines. But it’s also “surreal” to see one’s story being read by others, Ritcheson said.

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Librarian creates, displays interactive books

Anna Cranor has discovered a new way to tell a story—one that requires readers to discover, participate and self-reflect.

Cranor has created an interactive handmade fabric book collection, “Philographica,” as part of her M.F.A. in Textiles requirements at the University of Missouri. The book exhibit is now on display at Hugh Stephens Library, where Cranor works as an evening and weekend reference librarian. On Wednesday, April 22, she will discuss the project during a public presentation at 4:30 p.m. in the library’s Penthouse.

The three-pronged display takes viewers on a symbolic and literal journey.

The first set of small books, created from delicate fabrics and stamped with elaborate ink prints, portray fragility. The soft textiles are yielding and risk physically falling apart if over handled.

In contrast stands another collection of discarded library books that Cranor has painted black, symbolically and literally blocking out information and communication.

Both serve as visual representations of the concepts and media used to create the hallmark of the exhibit—a four-chapter tale that requires the reader to experience story in new ways.

Cranor wrote a short allegorical fairy tale about two feminine characters represented by a fish and a bird, and two masculine figures represented by a stag and a hare. The story was then chopped into key phrases to be hidden in the books. Other than saying it’s about the complications of human relationships, Cranor won’t reveal the plot—that’s for readers to discover.

Each chapter is a series of four fabric-bound books; smaller books fit inside larger counterparts. Each is covered with elaborate fabrics with cloth pages that have been stamped, painted or otherwise decorated. Every page is a pouch that includes a card with the story text. All 60 cards must be found and pieced together in order for the story to be revealed. But Cranor cautions there’s no “one” story; rearranging the cards can alter the plot.

And if that doesn’t sound complex enough? The words are written backwards, requiring the reader to hold cards in front of a mirror. That’s where the self-reflection comes in.

Cranor, a librarian trained in book-binding, said she wanted to find a different way to experience storytelling. She’s intrigued by the idea that, just as writers have to rely on readers to interpret their words; people have to rely on another person’s projections and perspectives when in a relationship.

“Even if you take the time to know someone, you always have to fill in the blanks based on your own experiences and expectations,” she said. Likewise, “stories change based on the way you tell them.”

The books are on display through April 24. Cranor invites people to come to the library and interact with the collection. There’s a story chart to guide readers, and a mirror nearby to help decipher the story.

It’s up to each person to decide how deep to go into the book—the more time one interacts with it, the more he or she will get out of it. For Cranor, it was a time-intensive labor of love.

“I learned a lot about myself through the project,” she said. “Through the process of making this, I created a lot of images—and now have an archive with background material that I can draw on for the rest of my career.”

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Tennis defeats Westminster, collects second straight win

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In a down-to-the-wire match with NCAA Division III Westminster College, the Stephens College tennis team edged its second consecutive opponent by a score of 5-4.

Having won two straight, the Stars are now 4-6 on the season with three contests remaining before the NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament (AMC, HAAC, MCC) on April 24-25.

"Gracie [Strawn] played with a lot of composure and confidence," head tennis coach Lexie Payne said. "The team really played for one another to pull this win together. I was very proud of them and it was a great ending with the match being so close."

At No. 1 doubles, Stephens' team of Courtney Huels and Hannah Dorey coasted to an 8-2 victory. Winning for the second match in a row, Huels and Dorey improved their overall No. 1 doubles record to 4-5 on the year.

Down 2-0, the doubles tandem of Strawn and Aleesa Wolf stormed back and won the next eight games against Westminster's Laura Kelly and Laura Wiltshire. The win at No. 2 doubles solidified a 2-1 lead for SC heading into singles action.

Huels cruised to an impressive 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles, but the Stars had to play from behind following the No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches.

The visiting Blue Jays picked up wins in each of those flights, including a nailbiter at No. 2 between Laura Kelly (WC) and Dorey (SC). Westminster needed just one more win to clinch the match. Wolf (No. 4 singles) evened the team score at 4-4 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Laura Wiltshire of Westminster.

The winner at No. 3 singles determined the final outcome. After falling behind in the first set [6-2], Strawn sealed the deal with a second-set win (7-5) and a 10-6 win in the tiebreaker.

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Stephens observes Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Stephens College is observing Sexual Assault Awareness Week with panel discussions, art projects and a campus-wide video.

Last week, Stephens students joined other Columbia-area college students to watch “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about sexual assault hosted by Ragtag Cinema. The conversation continued Monday with a lunchtime discussion, allowing attendees to share their thoughts. An evening discussion, “Breaking Barriers,” gave students a chance to ask questions and become better aware of campus policies.

Today, students made T-shirts as part of The Clothesline Project. Hosted by the Principles of Public Health class, students were invited to decorate T-shirts with messages of advocacy. And tomorrow, students will be invited to sign the official “It’s On Us” pledge. The national initiative calls on men and women to pledge to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, to identify risky situations, to intervene when necessary, and to create an environment in which assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

The Stephens community—including administrators, student leaders, faculty and staff—participated in an all-campus “It’s On Us” video, as well.

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Equestrian students perform well at National Equestrian Center

Stephens College Equestrian students last week attended the National Equestrian Center show in Lake St. Louis, a USEF rated show with entries from several Midwestern states.

Several took home first place awards.

Erin Cummings rode A Silver Charm to first place Amateur 3 Gaited and first place to Amateur 3 Gaited Championship.

Autumn Yokum rode KJM The Prodigal to first place in Morgan English Pleasure Open Championship and second place in Morgan English Pleasure.

Candis Miner rode Sir Elegante to third place in Academy WTC Equitation, second place in Academy WTC Horsemanship fourth place in the WTC Championship.

Delynn Uttecht rode Arrowhead's Dreamcatcher to third place in Amateur 5 Gaited and third place in Amateur 5 Gaited Championship.

Rachel Cummings rode Sir Steve to fifth place in 5 Gaited Show Pleasure.

Megan Klostermeyer rode Cool Down Papa to first place in 5 Gaited Show Pleasure and fifth place in 5 Gaited Show Pleasure Championship.

Gabrielle Zimmermann rode Man I'm Lucky to fifth place in ASB 3 Gaited Country Pleasure Adult and sixth place in the ASB 3 Gaited Country Pleasure Championship.

Megan Klostermeyer drove Neon Dion to third place in Hackney Show Pleasure Driving and fourth place in the Hackney Pleasure Pony Championship

Emily Payne rode Son's First Glance to two amazing rides in the English Pleasure Amateur.

"These ladies represented Stephens College Equestrian with amazing sportsmanship and grace," Assistant Professor Kelly Hulse said.

The next show is the UPHA Chapter 5 in Kansas City.

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Romero elected Midwest Representative for Sigma Tau Delta

Shelly Romero '17 has been elected Student Representative for the Midwest Region of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.

She was elected by peers during the annual Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Albuquerque last month.

In the position, she will serve as the liaison between the national Board of Directors and all of the Sigma Tau Delta chapters and students in a seven-state region. She will attend board meetings around the country through the upcoming school year and will help plan sessions for the 2016 International Convention in Minneapolis.

Romero said she was honored and excited about the opportunity but realizes the task before her.

“It's a huge position and a lot of work, and I'm ready,” she said. “It's going to be fun.”

Romero and three other English/Creative Writing students—Maggie Myers '15, Coral Hoelscher '15 and Sarah Parris '15—attended the convention last month, reading their original works in front of professionals and peers.

Romero read a short metafiction she wrote about the stereotypes of the horror genre.

“It was well-received,” she said. “Everyone had constructive criticism and thoughtful comments and questions.”

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Staff members honored at employee luncheon

Longtime Stephens employee Nina Stawski was recognized yesterday with the College’s highest honor bestowed on a staff member.

Stawski has worked at Stephens for 17 years and is currently the access services librarian at Hugh Stephens Library. She is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Staff Service Award.

In their nominations for her, colleagues praised Stawski for going above and beyond to serve Stephens and students without expecting anything in return, President Dianne Lynch said during yesterday’s Employee Recognition Ceremony. True to form, Stawski had no idea the descriptions were about her until her name was called.

A total of eight Stephens employees were honored during the annual recognition luncheon. Dalton Black, a stablehand who has been with the College for five years, was awarded the Reaching for the Stars Award for his contributions. Black is known for being willing to lend a hand wherever he is needed, helping new employees learn to use equipment at the Equestrian Center and doing the heavy lifting around the barns.

Longtime custodian Cindy Hunt and Sara Linde, a Stephens alumna who teaches equestrian studies, each received a Customer Service Award. Hunt was nominated for her dedication to the College and the interest she takes in her co-workers’ lives. Linde is practically famous for her dedication to the equestrian program and her students.

Dan Schultz, an assistant professor of theatre, received the Community Service award for his contributions to the greater Columbia area.

This year's Teamwork Award went to the three-person Student Success Center team comprised of Margaret Campbell, Sady Mayer Strand and Rachel Utrecht. The department helps students who need extra attention and hosts information sessions on study and other success factors.


During yesterday’s luncheon, Campbell was also honored for her 40th anniversary at Stephens. Co-workers surprised her with special remarks, a bouquet of flowers and a special gift. Campbell has served in a number of roles on campus since she began in 1974, including as residential adviser of the Searcy House Plan, now known as the Stephens Scholars.

The awards ceremony allows the College’s Senior Staff to honor those who have made significant contributions, but administrators stressed that the luncheon aimed to recognize all employees for their service to Stephens.

“While we give out awards for specific achievements, this luncheon is really about celebrating everyone’s contributions,” said Kim Schellenberger, director of Human Resources.

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Fashion professionals share wisdom during lecture series

Stay true to your brand, keep your chin up when others say “no” and always be strong.

Those were messages Cillah Hall, publisher of Gazelle STL, had for fashion students today as part of the Jury of Selection Lecture Series. Hall and other industry professionals are on campus this weekend to judge senior collections and other student garments for the upcoming student designer fashion show.

“I love that this college is about bold women,” she said during an afternoon lecture in Charters Lecture Hall. “We cater to strong women.”

A former news producer, Hall started Gazelle STL and Gazelle West in the St. Charles, Mo., area as a way to bring style and inspiration to the Midwest. She and fashion editor Kristy Lee also co-founded Missouri Style Week, an annual show that attracts designers to St. Louis from across the world.

The show is a platform for new designers to get exposure for their works, but also serves as a creative outlet for more experienced designers who want the freedom to explore.

“Missouri Style Week is for creative designers, those who have not lost their voice,” Hall said referring to the show’s edgy designs.

She encouraged student designers to promote their collections not only to state and regional fashion shows, but also organically on social media.

Hall and Lee capped a daylong series that also included Stephens alumnae Margaretanne Huffman, a brand analyst for Gap; Wendy Manasse, designer and founder of Quenchwear in L.A.; and Andrea Seemayer, a technical designer at Rebecca Taylor in New York.

The professionals and the School of Design’s fashion advisory board will spend Saturday critiquing student works. The Collections, the student designer fashion show, will be held at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in Windsor Auditorium.

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The Ten reveal identities

Those who have spent the school year secretly representing Stephens’ Ten Ideals were identified Monday during Honors Convocation.

The Ten is a secret society dating back to 1921. Each year, 10 seniors are chosen to recognize others throughout the year for demonstrating Stephens’ values. This year, the group honored recipients with oversized banners that hung in Columbia Foyer and in the Stamper Commons dining room.

“The Ten serves our community in extraordinary ways,” President Dianne Lynch said. “While most colleges have a mission statement and set of values, we live those values and recognize those who best represent them.”

Students representing The Ten this year are:

Belief – Colby Elliot
Courage – Lydia Miller
Creativity – Katherine Rudder
Independence – Katlyn Lee
Intelligence – Lesta NewBerry
Leadership – Nicole Bartels
Respect – Alexandria Hagelston
Responsibility – Haley Padilla
Sensitivity – Emily Mendoza Fellers
Support – Mackenzie Andrade

Each year, The Ten also recognize a Four-Fold Girl and a Best Private Citizen, awards that also date back to 1921. This year’s Four-Fold Girl was Sara Barnett, and Jennifer Miller was named Best Private Citizen.

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Dance students perform at Links in Chicago

Stephens College dance students are headed to Chicago this week to perform an original piece choreographed on the Columbia campus.

Brandi Coleman of Chicago’s Jump Rhythm Jazz Project choreographed the dance as part of Stephens Summer Dance. She expanded on it, adding scenes and tweaking moves, as a world dance guest artist in the fall. Coleman used the dance as the creative component of her thesis while working toward her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The dance, “What We Do With Time,” will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Links Hall. It originally debuted at the Annual Spring Dance Concert at Stephens’ Macklanburg Playhouse in February.

“This is the perfect connection between what our guest artists create with our dance students on campus and then having our students be able to share that work in a professional venue,” said Gail Humphries Mardirosian, dean of the School of Performing Arts. “Brandi’s work is imaginative and vibrant, and it’s exciting for our students to be dancing and working with an innovative choreographer such as her.”

The piece is a “tongue-in-cheek commentary on the life of a student,” Coleman said, “and all of the stress, anxiety, panic and loopy lunacy that goes with it.”

Moves mimic typing, classroom behavior and acrobatic feats as chairs become interactive props.

Coleman originally choreographed the piece as a solo. When she spent three weeks at Stephens Summer Dance intensive this past summer, she reworked it as a group performance.

“Working on it with 11 dancers, the piece took on a life of its own,” she said. “Each dancer developed her individual character based on her unique experience as a student.”

When she returned to Chicago this fall, Coleman wanted to continue working on the dance but “couldn’t see doing it with another group.”

Coleman also brought Stephens alumna Elizabeth Lamontagne back to perform in the show as a solo artist. Lamontagne graduated in 2014 but participated in Stephens Summer Dance following graduation. She now works for Tapestry Dance Company and Academy in Austin.

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Harbinger: Do It Yourself conveys self-reliant spirit

If you take anything away from this year’s Harbinger, Stephens’ award-winning student literary journal, it’s that young women of this generation are doing things their way.

“In Harbinger 2015, the voices and stories of our authors come together to suggest a continuation of our generation’s self-sufficiency—our willingness to make it happen for ourselves,” editor-in-chief Kitiara McGuire says in the magazine’s foreword.

The theme of this year’s Harbinger is Do It Yourself, a nod to the “grrrl” movement of the early 1990s that led to the popularity of “zines,” small handmade pamphlets. “Do It Yourself” begins with Maya Alpert’s how-to, “Write What You Know, Or Don’t,” a mockery of the concept that one has to be an expert on something in order to write about it. Other poetry, fiction and works also challenge norms and expectations and experiment with new concepts and language.

“Each year, the magazine reflects the personality of the group of editors and interns who work on it,” said Kris Somerville, faculty adviser. “This year, I would say the crew conveyed a punk ethos. They feel as if rather than being a coddled generation, they are independent and doing things for themselves in new and different ways. The cover and content reflect their self-reliant spirit. This year, our readers will notice a real edge to the look and content.”

Somerville also praised the cover and overall look of the magazine, designed by senior Haley Padilla.

“This year’s issue is a real marriage of design and content,” she said. “It’s a great read in a well-designed package.”

“Do It Yourself” is eligible for an “Outstanding Literary Journal” award at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta convention. Harbinger took the award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before new rules kicked in barring a journal from winning the award two consecutive years. Harbinger won again in 2013.

The journal is on sale at Susie’s or order a copy online here. The staff will hold a Harbinger Night launch party and reading at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24 at the Bridge in downtown Columbia.

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SCCS students take on Destination Imagination challenge

Students at the Stephens College Children’s School participated in an on-campus version of Destination Imagination, a program that challenges young people to complete STEM projects that also incorporate the arts.

Four teams spent weeks working through their projects before executing them in front of an audience in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall on Friday. While the event was not a competition, Mark Brunner, Stephens’ IT director, and Philip Coleman, husband of President Dianne Lynch, scored and judged each challenge.

Two groups opted to participate in a “theory tale” challenge and created fairy tales to solve hypothetical problems. One group, named PG-13, created a play about a phobia with functional artwork, choreographed dances and original songs. A second group also wrote a play to figure out how a group of scientists would “undo” the damage they did when they created an evil monster.

Another group, Horse People, opted to participate in an improv challenge. They researched various types of street art before receiving a random situation to act out on the fly during the public event.

And The Eagles completed a challenge in which they built a structure that could withstand 10 pounds and be taken apart without collapsing.

“Students learned to execute real-world scenarios,” said Lindsey Clifton, an elementary teacher. “They learned collaboration, teamwork, problem solving and time management.”

There were times students didn’t think they were going to get through the exercises, Clifton said.

“These challenges create feelings of chaos,” she said. “But students were able to see them through. If teachers believe students can make their own choices and take the lead, then it’s possible.”

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Convocation recognizes outstanding students, faculty

Outstanding students were recognized yesterday at the annual Honors Convocation, an end-of-year ceremony that also honors an outstanding faculty member and adviser.

Steph Borklund, an assistant professor of film, received the Distinguished Teacher Award, and Associate Professor Jeff Phillips, Ph.D., received the Michael Bowling Distinguished Advising Award.

Borklund has more than 10 years of experience as a producer, director and editor. Her works include documentaries, narratives, and corporate and industrial videos. Her most recent film, I Am One, is a short film about bullying. She earned her M.F.A. from Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.A. from the University of Kansas.

Phillips specializes in ecology, and his research interests focus on the factors determining mate selection in largemouth bass, and the consequence that mate selection has on survival of the young. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University.

Also during the celebration, Rachel Utrecht, a tutor in the Student Success Center, received the Stephens Star Award for her contributions to student achievement.

Student awards were as follows:

School of Fashion and Design Award for Academic Excellence (3.8 GPA or higher)

Rachel Ballew
Maria Chavez
Regan Collins
Kalynn Coy
Oletha Crutcher
Claire DeSantis
Whitney Dishaw
Khyneesha Edwards
Nicole Gagne
Kayla Gibson
Caley Gustafson
Hillary Henry
Brianna Knopf
Zoë Korklan
Allison Langley
Audrey Lockwood
Kathryn McCarthy
Sarah Mills
Allison Moorman
Monica Nakamatsu
Abby Ntalamu
Margaret Reasbeck
Tobie Roberts
Katherine Rudder
Sonja Tabb
Julie Valentine
Victoria Vitale

School of Humanities & Sciences

English and Creative Writing
Outstanding Senior in English and Creative Writing…………... Morag Stewart Mason
Clark/Dillingham Outstanding Essay Award…………………………..Katherine Moore

Natural Sciences
Biology Underclass Peer Award…………………………………..Emelia Holzwarth
Biology Upperclass Peer Award………………………………….. Dana Heggemann
Outstanding Underclass Biology Student Award…………………. Emily Payne
Outstanding Upperclass Biology Student Award…………………. Chloe Tyau
Outstanding Physical Science Student Award…………………… Rachel Lightfoot

Outstanding Juniors Academic Achievement in Psychology……..Tiawna Johnson
Outstanding Senior in Psychology………………………….……Emily Mendoza Fellers

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Digital Filmmaking
Citizen Jane Award…………………………………………………LeeAnne Lowry
The Max Ornles Guiding Light Award…………………………….Olivia Runyon

Contribution to the Laboratory School- Katelyn Rush
Promising Education Major - Daisha Ganaway
Distinguished Education Major - Kaitlynn Rasmussen
Outstanding Junior in Education. - Maile Wortham
Outstanding Senior in Education - Dawnavyn James

Equestrian Business Management/Equestrian Science
Outstanding senior……………………………………………….………………….Alex Hagelston
Promising Equestrian Major…...................................................Sarah Hines and Megan Klostermeyer
Outstanding Contributions to Equestrian......Gabby Ault-Zimmermann, Rachel Cummings, Erin Cummings
Equestrian Academic High Honors Award…………………………….Nicklette Ball, Hannah Dritt, Atlanta Hubbard
Equestrian Leadership Award…………………………………… Shelby McCoy, Candis Miner, Haley Upton

School of Organizational Leadership & Strategic Communication

SOLSC Shining Star: Sara Barnett
SOLSC Rising Star: Kimberly Doman
Outstanding Strategic Communication Design Student: Fiona Kerr
Outstanding Event & Convention Management Student: Carly Schooley
Outstanding Strategic Communication Integrated Marketing Student: Nicole Barth

School of Performing Arts

Outstanding Dance Students: Lexi Collins and Kyla Ranney
The Dance Leadership Award: Lexi Collins and Kyla Ranney
The Heart of a Dancer Award: Kayla Boles-Crumrine
Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Choreography: Carrie Collins-Whitworth and Destiney Lockhart

Kelly Archer Award for Service to the Music Program………………..Emily Bricker and Emma Costello
Harry Morrison Award for Achievement in Voice… Emily Chatterson, Meaghan Parker, Mycah Westhoff

Sara Ann Fay Award……………………………………………………… Savannah Bell
Sara Ann Fay Award for Outstanding Theatre Student……………………………. Cheyenne Smith
Spirit Award………………………………………………………………. Dona Walker

Resident Life Awards
Mary Omer Awards
Outstanding Resident Director……………………………….. Dana Heggemann and Dona Walker

Alumnae Association Scholarship Award
Freshman……………………………………………………......................... Minuette Layer
Sophomore………………………………………………………………..... Shelly Romero
Junior………………………………………………………………………. Khyneesha Edwards
Senior……………………………………………………………………… Nicole Bartels

Dorothy Martin Endowed Scholarship……………………………………..Jayme Brown
James M. Shirky Endowed Scholarship…………………………………….Khyneesha Edwards
H.E. Wilkerson Award
For Outstanding Service to Stephens College Admissions…………………………..Rob Doyen
Stephens Student Leadership Award………………………………………... Rachel Ballew
Century Candle Awards…………………………………………………….. Kirsteen Buchanan

Mortar Board New Members 2014-2015
List of Current Mortar Board Members, Spring 2015
Executive Board
Nicole Bartels, President
Emily Fellers, Vice President
Karina Palencia, Secretary
Andrea Jeffries, Treasurer
Sara Barnett, Director of Communications
Kristen McCurdy, Historian

The Ten Ideals
The Ten Ideals originated in 1921 when Dr. Werrett Wallace Charters and President James Madison Wood sought the development of a new curriculum. Each year, 10 students whose activities represent the overall ideals of Stephens College were selected as personifications of individual Ideals. A practice abandoned in 1968, it was re-established in 1983 by Dean of Students Martha Wisbey and a group of Stephens students.
BELIEF……………………………………………………………………….Colby Elliot
COURAGE…………………………………………………………………..Lydia Miller
CREATIVITY………………………………………………………………….Kate Rudder
INDEPENDENCE……………………………………………………………..Katlyn Lee
INTELLIGENCE……………………………………………………………..Lesta NewBerry
LEADERSHIP……………………………………………………………………..Nickie Bartels
RESPECT………………………………………………………………….Alexandria Hagelston
RESPONSIBILITY……………………………………………………………………Haley Padilla
SENSITIVITY……………………………………………………………………..Emily Fellers
SUPPORT…………………………………………………………………………..Kenzie Andrade
Four-Fold Girl Award…………………………………………………………..Sara Barnett
Best Private Citizen……………………………………………………………Jenni Miller

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Equestrian students take awards at WWU show

Stephens College students participated in a Western Horse Show at William Woods University on Saturday.

“We had a great show, as most of the classes had 15 to 38 entries,” instructor Karen Craighead said. “Our students looked fabulous and rode their best. We were so very happy and proud of their accomplishments.”

Senior Shelby McCoy and Rendezvous (Hummer) took first in Showmanship, first in Hunt Seat Equitation, second in Stock Type Halter, second in Open Hunt Seat Discipline Rail, third in Rider Swap Western Pleasure, sixth in Open Stock Type Western Pleasure, fifth in Western Horsemanship and first in Western Discipline Rail. McCoy was also named Reserve High Point Hunt Seat Rider and Reserve High Point Western Rider.

Margaret Sheldon and Lil Ironsides (Doc) were fourth in Stock Type Halter, second in Novice Rider Western Pleasure and first in Open Stock Type Western Pleasure.

Alexis Hundson and Chips Private Party (Tatum) took fifth in Novice Horsemanship, second in Novice Horse Western Pleasure and fifth in Novice Discipline Rail.

Miranda Mammen and Paint Me Fred were second in Open Western Pleasure and first in Novice Rider Western Pleasure.

Jessica Rauls and Private Timin (Tarzan) were fourth in the Novice Horse Western Pleasure.

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Stephens, City of Columbia present 'Bridging Traditions'

A dress worn by Diana Ross in 1969, a diploma circa 1897 and lots of vintage photos and memorabilia from Stephens College are now on display at Columbia City Hall.

The three-case exhibit, “Bridging Traditions,” also highlights ways in which the College connects with the city and the community. Women of the Earth, an environmental club on campus, teamed up with Columbia Storm Water, for instance, to create a rain garden to filter runoff from Hinkson Creek. A student-run marketing firm on campus worked with the city last year to rebrand Columbia Transit. And the city was instrumental in construction of the College’s pedestrian bridges over College and Broadway, a prominent entrance into downtown Columbia.

The exhibit displays rare pieces of Stephens history—artifacts that have never before been displayed together.

“We went to the College’s archives, to individual offices, to storage spaces and to the far corners of campus to unearth these pieces,” said Rebecca Kline, director of marketing and communications. “You’ll see decorated suitcases Stephens Women brought to campus in the 1930s, vintage beanies and some really extraordinary photos. It’s worth a trip to City Hall.”

Perhaps the highlight of the exhibit is a black and white zebra gown with a flounce of sunburst-pleated organza and large black and white hat with yard-long pheasant feathers designed by Bob Mackie. Ross wore the head-turning costume at a special Broadway performance during which she performed “Wouldn’t it be Lovely” from “My Fair Lady.” The dress was purchased at auction and donated to the Stephens fashion program for inclusion in the Historic Costume Museum and Research Library. The dress was last on display in 2010.

College administrators, city officials and the Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the opening of the exhibit with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. The exhibit will remain up through mid-May.

“We’re grateful for our long partnership with Stephens and its talented students and alums,” said Toni Messina, the City of Columbia’s civic relations officer. “I hope people will take the opportunity to see this exhibit and other artifacts celebrating our local heritage on display at City Hall.”

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Sister Outsider discuss power of language during visit

“Language has an agenda,” poet Denice Frohman told students at a workshop earlier this week, part of a two-day visit to campus.

Frohman is the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion and one-half of the duo Sister Outsider. She and fellow World Poetry Slam Champion Dominique Christina performed publicly on campus Monday night.

During the Tuesday morning workshop at Hugh Stephens Library, Frohman explained how “language is used to create systems of oppression.”

“No system of oppression can exist without the language to justify it,” she said.

Citing examples such as “prisoner” versus “inmate,” and “choose” versus “decide,” she shared the origins of some of the words people use daily without really understanding their meaning.

Frohman challenged students to think of a belief they once held but no longer do. Students responded that they now believe feminism matters; that they now feel they have a voice and that they can be comfortable in their skin. Such discussions support the duo’s commitment to providing marginalized populations with a voice and finding ways to acknowledge and celebrate diverse identities.

The workshop was part of several experiences from the slam poets on campus. During Monday’s “At the Intersection of Art and Activism,” Frohman and Christina focused on using poetry as a tool for social change. A third event, “On Being an Other,” explored how privilege and oppression insist on the degradation of certain identities and ways of being.

As Tuesday’s workshop closed, Frohman urged participants to “have an intentional relationship with language.” After all, she said, “words make worlds.”

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Vice President Deb Duren, longtime athletics director, retiring

Deb Duren, Vice President for Student Services and longtime athletics director at Stephens, is retiring at the end of this academic year, leaving behind a legacy of service and commitment to women’s education. Duren came to Stephens as head volleyball coach in 1984. She became a faculty member and chair of the Physical Education department four years later. In 1994, she was named athletics director and dean of students, earning a promotion to vice president in 2005.

“She will be long remembered and appreciated for her years of dedication and service, and for her commitment to Stephens College,” said Nikki Krawitz, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “She has always kept the welfare of students foremost in her mind. She is kind and fair and at the same time demanding, always expecting students to perform to a high standard. Her contributions to the success of our students both on campus and after graduation are immeasurable.”

During her 31 years at Stephens, Duren has been a constant and enduring champion of its students, its values and its programs—from athletics and student leadership to pets on campus. Under her leadership and direction, Stephens has become the pet-friendliest campus in the nation, an innovation that has contributed significantly to enrollment growth over the past three years.

“Deb is not at all like your typical boss,” said Erin Mazzola ’13 M.S.L., Director of Student Services. “She’s a mentor. She’s someone who has taught me more in five years than I could have ever imagined. If, during my career, I develop her work ethic and her ability to work with all different kinds of people, I’ll consider myself lucky. She truly cares about her employees, their well-being and their happiness.”

Faculty and staff gathered Wednesday to celebrate Duren’s contributions to Stephens and to wish her well in retirement.

“Stephens is a better place because she’s been a part of it,” Tony Coleman, Director of Campus Security, said during his remarks. “She’s made everyone’s lives she's been a part of better. I know personally that being around her for the past six years has made me become a better person.”

During Wednesday's celebration, Dr. Dianne Lynch announced that she and her husband, Philip Coleman, have established a new scholarship fund — the Deb Duren Scholar-Athlete Scholarship — in honor of Duren’s longstanding commitment to student-athletics.

"The Deb Duren Scholar-Athlete Scholarship will support an outstanding student-athlete who reflects the work ethic, values and commitments that Deb so truly represents,” Lynch said.

She encouraged the college’s faculty, staff and alumnae to contribute to the new scholarship as well. “I am confident our community will respond with generosity and support for this tribute to Deb and her contributions to Stephens."

Anyone interested in making a donation to the fund in Duren's honor should contact Meichele Foster, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Initiatives, at [email protected]

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Softball team sweeps past Ecclesia College in Pink Series

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Led by dominant offense, the Stephens College softball team swept its non-conference doubleheader with Ecclesia College on Saturday afternoon. Despite playing from behind in both games, the Stars picked up 10-7 and 16-7 (5 innings) wins over the visitors from Springdale, Ark.

With the sweep, SC snapped its 10-game losing streak and improved to 3-13 on the season. The Stars have a quick turnaround as they welcome Missouri Valley College to American Legion Park Sunday at 12 and 2 p.m.

Game One – Stephens College 10, Ecclesia College 7
Ecclesia started the scoring in the first with two outs on the board. A double and back-to-back singles gave the Royals an early 2-0 lead before Stephens stranded three baserunners.

The Stars had their own two-out magic as Katie Heaton started off with a single to shallow left. Sarah Dooley, Cheyenne Jones and Jamie Martin followed suit and each hit consecutive doubles to give SC the 3-2 lead.

Both teams traded runs in the second before Ecclesia jumped back ahead, 5-4, in the third frame. Moments later, the Stars took advantage of three EC errors and bounced back from the deficit with four runs and an 8-5 advantage.

Ecclesia loaded the bases with one out in the fifth and managed to score two runs after the inning was extended on an infield miscue. Sticking to the theme of game one, the Stars had an answer to the Royals’ offense with two runs on two hits.

Rush, who recorded her second win from the mound, struck out two batters in the final inning to match a season high in strikeouts (5).

Leading the way for Stephens offensively was Monica Nakamatsu and Jamie Martin, who were both 3-for-4 at the plate. Nakamatsu added two runs and three RBI, while Martin had two doubles and one RBI. Also recording multi-hit games were Katie Heaton and Sarah Dooley, each with two hits and two RBIs apiece.

Game Two – Stephens College 16, Ecclesia College 7 (5 Innings)
Similar to game one, the Stars found themselves playing from behind, trailing Ecclesia 2-0 after the top of the first. SC made up one run in the first, but a big second inning for the Royals put the Stars in a deeper hole.

All day long, Ecclesia’s Lakota Elliott was getting ahold of the ball and had another strong go-around as she hit a three-run blast to center. Royal catcher Victoria Kaiserman hit the second home run of the inning to extended the EC lead to 7-1 heading into the bottom of the second.

The Stars got right back in the game with a five-run third inning thanks to four singles, a Heaton double and a Rush triple.

Stephens gained its first lead of game two with an ambush in the fourth inning. The Stars used their hot bats to pile on eight hits and eight runs.

Miranda Carlisle, who had a slow start in the circle, buckled down and threw three consecutive scoreless innings. In the top of the fifth, she got some help with a 5-2-6 double play, followed by a home-run saving grab by Jessica Kane at the center field fence.

The momentum and excitement carried over to the next half inning. With Heaton on first, Sarah Dooley hit a walk-off home run to run rule the Royals. Dooley leads the Stars in home runs with three on the year.

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Annual 'clusters' put education majors in charge

For the past two weeks, Stephens junior Christina Hull and Danielle Carnes have used dinosaurs to teach preschoolers all sorts of things.

They practiced measuring by comparing the size of their feet to what dinosaurs might have walked on—and then lined the hallway of the Audrey Webb Learning Center with colorful dinosaur tracks.

They practiced both democracy and mathematics when they took a poll, allowing the preschoolers to vote on what they believe caused dinosaurs to be extinct. When they counted the votes (using Roman Numerals), they determined most in the class blame extinction on volcanic activity—so the juniors created an experiment to mimic a volcano.

The pink bubbles erupting over a cardboard mountain caused all sorts of giggles and screams. So Hull had to implement a clapping strategy to get the children focused again.

Learning the ins-and-outs of teaching, including the unanticipated distractions, is the goal of “clusters,” an annual project that allows juniors to take over classrooms. That means preparing and delivering lesson plans—but also knowing how to respond when, say, a little one starts crying because someone cut her off in line.

These are absolutely skills I’ll be able to use in the future in a classroom,” Hull said shortly after calming a tearful tot.

During clusters, juniors select a theme and incorporate lessons and activities around it.

Over in the elementary school, junior Izzy Marsh focused her studies on the concept of life, while junior Maile Wortham taught students about media and blogging.

Allison Mather—who is at Stephens this semester to get her teaching certificate—and senior Dawnavyn James implemented curriculum around Greek mythology.

“We put a mythology twist on everything,” Mather said.

To celebrate Pi day, they baked pies, studying both mathematics and chemistry. They also delved into the creative arts, studying gods and goddesses.

The curriculum culminated this afternoon with a play about Orpheus’s struggle to bring his wife, Eurydice, back from the underworld. And just as he did in ancient Greece, Orpheus succeeded only to do one thing forbidden him and lose her forever … or at least until his own demise.

The activities and lessons took a lot of collaboration, Mather said.

“It’s really important to collaborate with other teachers, bouncing ideas off one another, tweaking things and making them better,” she said.

Her main take-away?

“You have to keep things moving,” Mather said. “You have to be flexible and prepared.”

Taking over a class has shown Hull just how capable preschoolers are.

“Even though they’re very young, they’re still very capable of understanding how the world is,” she said. “Do not underestimate young children.”

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English/Creative Writing students to present at international conference

Four English/Creative Writing students are headed to Albuquerque today to participate in Sigma Tau Delta’s annual International Convention.

Sophomore Shelly Romero and seniors Maggie Myers, Coral Hoelscher and Sarah Parris will be presenting their original works during the four-day session, which brings together members of the English honor society from around the world.

“It’s a huge honor,” Romero said. “This isn’t just a national conference; it’s international and includes speakers and professional authors.”

Romero will be reading her short metafiction, “So, You’re in a Horror Movie.” It’s somewhat of a love/hate letter to the horror genre and its overt stereotypes. (Think “Scream.”)

“If you’re in a horror movie, you don’t want to be the popular cheerleader, and you definitely don’t want to be the boyfriend of the last girl alive,” Romero quipped.

Since finding out her submission had been accepted, Romero has edited her piece several times and has been practicing reading it aloud.

“There’s a lot of voice in it,” she said. “It’s sassy and in-your-face. And it’s in second person, so I’ll be speaking directly to the audience.”

Hoelscher had a chance to practice reading her piece in public at last year’s Harbinger launch party.

The short story, “Sticks,” was published in Stephens’ 2014 literary magazine. It’s about a woman who watches her husband succumb to the same grotesque metamorphosis that her brother went through. (Too bad her children don’t realize the giant roach in the bedroom is actually their father.)

Myers will read a collection of poetry during the Sigma Tau Delta conference; and Parris will read her short story, “Last Dance.”

Judith Clark, professor emerita and adviser of the Sigma Tau Delta chapter at Stephens, is accompanying the group and will serve as a faculty moderator for two sessions.

The group will return Sunday and have a week off before preparing for this year’s literary magazine, which will be in print next month. The Harbinger will debut at a public party scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 24 at The Bridge in downtown Columbia.

Harbinger has won Sigma Tau Delta’s “Outstanding Literary Journal” four of the past five years.

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Boston-based poet, alumna shares work with students

Krysten Hill, a Boston-based poet and 2008 Stephens graduate, shared some of her works on campus Friday before hosting a workshop with students on Saturday.

Hill teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts, where she also performs and writes. Originally from Kansas City, her poetry has been featured on stage at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival; Cantab Lounge; Literary Firsts and U35 Reading Series. She’s been published in Muzzle, PANK, Amethyst Arsenic, Roar and Write on the DOT. Ultimately, she wants to form a collective of female poets who travel to teach girls the power of voice.

On Friday, Hill read poetry mostly surrounding issues of gender, race and adolescent angst. One poem, part of an Encyclopedia Show that required her to write about Sloth Bears, allowed her to explore the idea of captivity both in relation to the animals and in relation to womanhood.

Hill, who earned a B.F.A. in Creative Writing, said she found her voice at Stephens, a “safe space.”

“I learned to be better to myself, better to my skin,” she told students. “There's something that really happens here, guys, so take it in.”

Later, Hill said Stephens gave her the ability to do “really hard things. I learned to stand up for myself outside of the world of academia.”

On Saturday, Hill led students through a series of exercises aimed to get them comfortable with sharing, said Assistant Professor Kate Berneking Kogut.

Students performed individual pieces and got guided feedback. Hill also led them through a series of breathing and voice exercises.

Voice, Hill said on Friday, is always evolving. While she’s been faithful to the same topics she wrote about in college, she said, “I’m always practicing and always developing.”

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