Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


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Recent graduate working at Utah Shakespeare Festival

Recent graduate Devery North is working as a company manager at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer and fall.

“I applied for the position in April and just thought I’d throw my hat in the ring,” she said. “I got an interview and it went really well. I’m very fortunate.”

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is held each year on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. This season includes Shakespearean classics such as “King Lear” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” as well as classics such as “South Pacific” and “Dracula.”

In the position, North will help arrange housing, travel and special events for the more than 100 performers and supporting crew members.

“There are so many people who come to the festival, I’m looking forward to making connections,” North said.

Prior to graduating in May, North spent the spring semester studying abroad in London, where she took classes at Florida State University’s Theatre Academy London.

“The classes were great, and I was able to take in 18 professional productions around London while I was there,” she said. “I learned a lot about class, gender and race in performance and how minorities are underrepresented in theatre everywhere. It was interesting learning that in the context of a bigger city.”

North stayed in Bloomsbury district and discovered that she was just a block away from the first college in London created for women, Bedford College.

“I loved being located next to a women's college at my home away from home,” she said.

North said she felt having experience abroad gives her an edge.

“Having been in the real world for a semester, I’m definitely more independent and self reliant.”

While at Stephens, North was the chair of the student-run Warehouse Theatre. She also spent one summer interning at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre.

“Stephens is such a hands-on place,” she said. “If you work hard enough and take advantage of the right opportunities, you’re going to learn so much.”

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Professional fight choreographer teaches stage combat

John Wilson, a professional director, actor and fight choreographer based out of Kansas City, is teaching students in Stephens Summer Theatre how to give the appearance of fighting on stage without actually getting hurt.

Most productions have some sort of fight component, he said. (Even the family-friendly “Anne of Green Gables” produced at Stephens in December involved a moment of conflict when Anne whacked Gilbert over the head with a chalkboard.)

“All plays are about conflict,” Wilson said. “They say when conflict can no longer be negotiated with words, you either kiss, sing or fight.”

Wilson, by nature, isn’t a fighter but he is an expert when it comes to stage combat. He studied fight direction at Arizona State University and earned an M.F.A. from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver. He is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, where he earned certification.

Wilson is currently active in the Kansas City area, where he’s worked as at American Heartland Theatre, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre (MET), The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center, The Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

This is his second year as a guest artist at STI. This year, he is teaching the basics along with a martial arts component. Students have studied the art of fake strangling, punching and kicking—and the art of pretending to be hurt.

“The body and facial expressions are just as important in the storytelling as the violent move itself,” he said.

The work will culminate Friday with “Everybody Was King Fu Fighting,” a showcase production that will highlight over-the-top combat techniques.

“While we take a serious exploration of violence, this is lighter fare for the audience,” he said. “I’m excited about this year. Last year, I taught a buffet of moves—punches, slaps and the types of moves they will be able to use in many shows; this year, we’re throwing in Eastern fighting influences.”

Think Jackie Chan or “The Matrix,” he said.

“These are moves you only see in the movies, and they’re very challenging,” Wilson said. “What you’re used to seeing on film but not on stage, come see on our stage.”

Wilson pointed out that stage combat requires intensive rehearsal. It takes a full hour, he said, to rehearse 15 seconds of combat scenes.

“It’s kind of a miracle what we do here at STI,” he said.

“Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Warehouse Theatre. It is free and open to the public.

Click here for a complete schedule of upcoming STI performances.

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Stephens College Children's School wraps up year with party

The Stephens College Children’s School today wrapped up the academic year with an end-of-school party featuring Kona Ice and bounce houses.

This was the second year for the event, which began last year when the school won “Parent’s Pick” through a Hulafrog contest.

“We had so much fun last year, we wanted to bring it back,” teacher Taylor Midgley said. “We don’t have a graduation for our preschool, so this is just a way to let families come together one last time before the year is up.”

It’s been an exciting year for the preschool through fifth-grade. This year, students assisted with beautification of the property around the school, planting rose bushes and working in the new raised flowerbeds.

Students this year went on field trips to a hospital, art gallery and post office. In December, the school got a special visit from Tony McGeorge, president of the Missouri Military Academy and a former Stephens College nursery pupil himself.

“It’s been a great year,” Midgley said. “We hope everyone has a wonderful summer, and we’ll be ready to welcome returning and new students again when school begins in the fall.”

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Coach Ray Fron named interim athletics director

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch announced today that Ray Fron, head basketball and golf coach, will assume the role of interim Athletics Director, effective immediately.

Fron will replace longtime athletics director Deb Duren, who retired this month after more than 30 years of service at the college.

“My main goal is to maintain the integrity of the athletics program that Deb built during her tenure,” Fron said. “I look forward to continuing to grow and support the program. I want to thank President Lynch for her vote of confidence in my leadership of the program. Her support has been tremendous.”

As interim AD, Fron will oversee Stephens’ athletic program, which consists of eight sports that compete in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Fron is a veteran coach with more than 25 years of experience, having spent much of his career at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., before arriving at Stephens a year ago. He has directed a successful first year of recruiting, with seven high school basketball standouts set to enroll for the 2015-16 academic year. Total student-athlete enrollment next year will hover around 100.

“We’re thrilled to have Ray as part of our athletics program,” Lynch said. “He brings enthusiasm, experience and a dedication to excellence. He shares Stephens’ commitment to developing student athletes whose first priority is their academic achievement.”

Consistent with Stephens’ values and Ten Ideals, the development of scholars off the court is a cornerstone of Fron’s philosophy. This past school year, eight of the Stars’ 10 basketball student-athletes were named American Midwest Conference Academic All-Conference, while all four of his golfers earned that academic honor. Three of his athletes also were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, the highest academic honor presented to an athlete by the NAIA.

The bulk of Fron’s coaching experience occurred at the collegiate level. In addition to his work at Aquinas, Fron served as head coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He also spent seven years coaching high school basketball in California and worked as an athletics director at the middle school level.

Fron brings enthusiasm, experience and a dedication to excellence to the Stars athletic program. Most important–as Duren once told him–he “gets it” when it comes to the college’s commitment to student athletes –with the emphasis on ‘student.’

A native of Michigan, Fron has a B.S. in Psychology and Special Education from Grand Valley State University and a Master in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas. Fron was a prep athlete at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids, where he lettered in cross country and track, while also playing basketball and baseball.

Founded in 1833, Stephens is the second-oldest women’s college in the U.S. For the past five years, Stephens has been certified by the NAIA as a Champions of Character Five-Star institution.

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Recent graduate snags gig at Jacob's Pillow Dance

Kyla Ranney ’15 is spending the summer in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts conducting an internship at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance, which will host more than 50 dance companies from around the world at its 2015 Dance Festival.

“It’s a great place to make connections and get my foot in the door,” she said. The festival includes three free performances each week from June through August. There are also intensive courses for ballet, contemporary dance and musical theatre. As an intern, Ranney will have access to free courses as her schedule allows.

Part of a 33-member intern team, Ranney will help operate the festival, helping with ticketing and marketing. She’s ready: At Stephens, she’s gained box office experience, including helping promote productions on and off campus.

“I feel prepared,” she said. “I’m just really excited.”

Ranney received her three-year, two-summer B.F.A. in Dance earlier this month. She says the best part of the program has been the guest artists and Stephens Summer Dance, which last summer brought in award-winning dancers and choreographers.

“Summer Dance is so intense,” she said. “it’s the hardest 6 ½ weeks I’ve ever had but also the best 6 ½ weeks I’ve ever had.”

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Vitel lands dream internship in Hawaii

Sarah Vitel '16 landed her dream internship—which could turn into a dream job when she graduates.

Vitel applied for an intern position at San Lorenzo Bikinis, a prominent swimwear company in Hawaii. A few days later, she got a call from the owner who interviewed her on the spot and asked one key question.

“They asked if I’d be willing to move if they offered me a job after graduation,” Vitel said. “Of course! I would love to grow with the company.”

At the company, Vitel, a fashion marketing and management major, will be a marketing assistant who will help manage the company’s social media and will assist with styling on photo shoots.

Although she found the internship through her own search, the Center for Career and Professional Development proved invaluable, she said.

“Everyone in the office helped me refresh my resume, plus my pre-internship class helped,” she said.

Vitel said Stephens more than prepared her to do the work. She praised faculty for their support and encouragement, and said having access to Stephens’ equipment closet—where she can check out cameras, video equipment and other items—has given her hands-on experience.

“It’s the little things that add up,” she said. “Having access to equipment and programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator really helps.”

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Barber conducting internship with Kansas City Fashion Week

Taylor Barber ’17 is conducting an internship this summer as the administrative assistant to the president of Kansas City Fashion Week.

“It’s a big deal,” she said. “I’ll be assisting her with model casting, designer coordination, marketing materials, social media, and event coordination and sponsors.” While Barber has been a model for fashion week shows and already knew the president, she said the resume and portfolio she’s created while at Stephens “sealed the deal.”

“Connections get you far, but having something to show is better,” she said. “So this was a little luck and a lot of it all I’ve learned at Stephens.”

The internship is part of Barber’s strategic plan to keep her connected to the fashion industry in Kansas City. She’s determined to have a career that will help solidify Kansas City’s reputation as a fashion-forward city.

In addition to being part of fashion week, she’s also involved in The Fashion Accelerator of Kansas City, a new organization committed to making ethically responsible clothing in the community while providing jobs for at-risk women.

Barber is going to work at a resale shop this summer, as well, ensuring she’ll make even more connections in the industry.

After graduation, Barber plans to stay in Kansas City.

“I believe in the Kansas City market,” she said. “My peers have their sights set on New York or Los Angeles, but I just see the potential in that market. There’s a lot of growth and interest.”

At Stephens, she said she’s become ready to transition from model to fashion entrepreneur.

“I’m well versed in the industry,” she said. “I’m comfortable talking about fabric choices, marketing—anything that the boss throws at me, I can figure out, and that’s 100 percent attributed to Stephens. I’ve grown so much in my two short years. I’m thankful for that and excited to see where my next two years will take me.”

She said she’s also learned to believe in herself and has become more determined in her goals.

“At Stephens, I’m surrounded by amazing, strong, intelligent women, and that’s made me realize I’m an amazing, strong, intelligent woman.”

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STI promises classic tales, laughs and lots of moves

Classic tales, stage combat, comic relief and big musical numbers are all in store for Stephens Summer Theatre audiences this year.

Perhaps the highlight of the season will be the return of Jessica Burr and Matt Opatmy—co-founders of the revolutionary theatre company Blessed Unrest in New York. They’ll be on campus overseeing an original, devised theatre piece.

Summer Theatre Institute produces five public performances while teaching student actors basic stage techniques, said Lamby Hedge, who oversees the program. All performances are free and open to the public at the Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave., except “Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!,” which will be held in the Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave.

The season kicks off with “More From Story Theatre,” a family-friendly retelling of folk literature from around the globe. Expect imaginative storytelling techniques such as improvisation, pantomime, dance and over-the-top physical theatre.

  • “More From Story Theatre” starts 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22. It is directed by Carol Estey.

Guest artist John Wilson is also returning to STI this year to direct a wildly entertaining evening of theatre featuring the art of stage combat.

“Stage fights are really important, more and more so among female performers,” Hedge said, citing several productions this past school year that involved stage fights. “This year, he will put emphasis on martial arts.”

  • “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” is 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 29.

That work will culminate for the “Blessed Unrest Project,” which will challenge participants to explore and experience new forms of storytelling.

“This is a whole new way to do theatre,” Hedge said. “Devised theatre is a new branch of performing arts. It’s strenuous, physically challenging—a movement-based acting system.”

  • “The Blessed Unrest Project” starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5.

The following week, students will do their best comedy acts, adapting the best lines, jokes and snippets from America’s funniest ladies. Celebrate the likes of Mae West, Dorothy Parker, Irma Bombeck, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres and more.

“It’s smarter stuff—sophisticated—but still accessible to youth,” Hedge said.

  • “Adaptation: The Funny Ladies” will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12.

STI will end, as usual, with a musical revue directed by Stephens music faculty Trent Rash and Cheryl Nichols. Expect some of the greatest music from the Broadway repertoire and wonderful dances choreographed by guest artist Millie Garvey.

  • “Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!” is 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 22.
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Commencement ceremonies are this weekend

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch will confer nearly 200 bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates during two Commencement ceremonies this weekend.

The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia. In lieu of a speaker, Lynch will present a video tribute to the graduating class featuring memories and thoughts from graduates and faculty.

The student speaker this year is Nickie Bartels, winner of the 2015 Alumnae Association Board Scholarship. Bartels is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication: Integrated Marketing with a minor in Women’s Studies. At Stephens, she’s served as executive editor of Stephens Life magazine; an account executive, copy editor and social media manager for Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm; and as a resident director. She was chapter president of the Mortar Board, a national honor society and was Stephens’ delegate last year to the Women in Public Service Project’s International Conference. Off campus, she is a strategic communications intern at New Chapter Coaching in Columbia.

Lesta NewBerry, president of the senior class, will also share some thoughts. NewBerry is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with minors in legal studies and media studies. In addition to serving as senior class president, she is president of the Stephens College Young Democrats, Co-Chief of Justice on the Stephens College Judicial Board and a student member of the College’s Diversity Coalition. She is social media coordinator for the Human Experience student club; has served on the curriculum committee; and has spearheaded numerous panels, keynote speakers and other events on campus. She’s also a member of the Stephens golf team and works as a career associate for the Center for Career and Professional Development. Off campus, NewBerry has been a legislative intern for the Office of Senator Claire McCaskill in Washington, D.C. and is currently policy assistant at Renew Missouri, a Columbia-based organization that promotes energy efficiency.
NewBerry represented “Intelligence,” one of the College’s Ten Ideals, this year.

The graduate and online ceremony starts at 6 p.m. today in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall on the Stephens campus. Teresa Rouse Maledy, a Stephens alumna and trustee, will be the keynote speaker. Maledy is president and CEO of Commerce Bank, Central Missouri Region. She’s been with the bank for more than 34 years, and was the organization’s first female bank president. In her role, she’s responsible for leading all facets of retail and commercial operations in Central Missouri. Maledy is the recipient of the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award, the Columbia Public School Foundation Distinguished Alumna Award, the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award, as well as the Chamber’s Athena Award, the NAACP Roy Wilkins Award for Community Service, the Stephens College Alumnae Service Award and the 2014 Greater Missouri Leadership Woman of the Year Award.

Katie Ellis will serve as the student speaker. She started the Master of Education in Counseling program in July 2013. Just a month later, Stephens, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Sedalia School District granted her provisional certification to being a school counseling-in-training position at Smith-Cotton High School.

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From Broadway to Stephens Star, Estey to retire

The first day Carol Estey walked into her new office at Historic Senior Hall, she saw a page torn from a 1981 Broadway-themed calendar. She just thought someone had saved a nice photo.

Not long after, Estey thought to turn it over. There she was—in the photo—dancing alongside Liza Minnelli in the Broadway production of “The Act.”

Estey enjoyed a 30-plus year career on Broadway before coming to Stephens to lead the dance program. She was in the original “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which later toured and made a stop at Stephens. She recalls thinking how much she liked the campus and city.

“Ending up here was definitely in the stars,” she said.

After seven years, Estey is taking a new path, retiring at the end of the school year.

“I decided now is the time to retire because I am not tired yet,” she said. “I have good years left, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to try other things.”

It seems Estey’s life has been one adventure after another. She grew up in Trenton, N.J., where her mother—an almost-Hollywood starlet—owned a ballet school and her father worked as an English teacher at an all-boys school. Estey set out for New York at the age of 17 and almost immediately began performing on Broadway. Shows were “riskier” back then, which meant more of them but shorter runs. Estey can’t name all of the shows she was in but among the more high-profile was the original production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

And “The Act” with Minnelli? Audience members included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. Afterwards, Estey recalls, the cast went to Studio 54 and met up with Michael Jackson. (It sounds glamorous, but Estey is quick to point out it was a lot of hard work.)

She performed into her 40s before deciding to pursue higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree from SUNY-Empire State, and a master’s degree at NYU. During her studies, she met a friend who shared a mutual vacation spot—a little-known island off the coast of Maine. The two, along with their respective partners, purchased an opera house there and ran it as a non-profit. After 10 years, Estey was looking for a new opportunity when Beth Leonard, former dean of the School of Performing Arts, called.

Estey has spent the past seven years overseeing the dance program. She’s brought in world-renowned guest artists, connected dancers with opportunities off campus and choreographed countless pieces.

Estey praised the College for giving faculty the opportunity to continue to work professionally while preparing the next generation of dancers.

“It’s a fantastic, brilliant program and there aren’t a lot of three-year programs like it,” she said. “I definitely believe in the program.”

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Barnett to intern at award-winning ad agency

Sara Barnett ’15 will have the chance to show off her graphic design skills at an award-winning ad agency this summer.

Barnett has an internship at BOHAN Advertising in Nashville, Tenn. An advertising giant, the agency works with clients such as Purina, Dollar General and Pigeon Forge tourism. She’ll be part of a team of interns who will be assigned one client project to complete during the course of the summer.

“I’ll be the creative director, so I’ll oversee the design work—critiquing and editing designs and examining marketing products and materials,” she said.

Barnett has already worn the “creative director” hat on the staff of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm at Stephens. She also served as a graphic design intern for the Stephens College Office of Marketing and Communications.

“I feel very prepared for this position,” Barnett said. “The experience I’ve gotten here is extensive, so that’s helpful.”

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Gypsy continues Wednesday

Those who attend Stephens College’s upcoming production of “Gypsy” might leave with more of a sense of empathy toward Mama Rose than they previously had.

That’s because guest director Millie Garvey has researched the family to gain a little more insight into why Rose is considered the “ultimate show business mother.”

For those not familiar with the story of “Gypsy”—based on the memoirs of Rose’s daughter, performer Gypsy Rose Lee—she’s not exactly a likeable character. Rose is determined to see her young daughters become mega stars during the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s. But when the youngest and most promising, June, breaks away from the family—and vaudeville ultimately dies—Louise is forced to bear the brunt of the quest for family fame—and she pays a hefty price.

“It’s easy to hate Mama Rose, but we have to remember the time period,” Garvey said. “It was a man’s world. Today, she would be the equivalent of Kris Kardashian.”

While Garvey doesn’t expect audience members to walk away liking the character, she hopes they will at least see a redeeming quality or two.

“I hope I’ve directed it in a way there is some empathy for her.”

Garvey is a veteran when it comes to “Gypsy.” She’s done the show five times, including choreographing for it and playing a supporting role. For this production, she turned to “American Rose,” a book by Karen Abbott that includes more of June’s perspective of the family, as well as perspective from Gypsy Rose Lee’s son, Erik Preminger. Garvey also relied on the Gypsy archives at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Although the Stephens production stays true to the classic, Garvey has added a few extras. Expect some interesting effects on stage, as well as some less-prominent characters to have more of a backstory.

First-year student Caitlin Castro is portraying Rose. Third-year student Emily Chatterson will play a grown Louise, and second-year student Chelsea Abercrombie is portraying Dainty June. Local actors from TRYPS Institute at Stephens College, area high schools and community actors will join the cast, portraying young Louise and June, as well as supporting roles. Herbie will be played by Assistant Professor Dan Schultz.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. May 6-8. Buy tickets here.

Audiences won’t be disappointed, Garvey said.

“The show is a great classic—the music, lyrics and book are so dense and tell the story completely,” she said. “It’s pretty terrific.”

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Senior studying effects of bacteria on cancer cells

Senior Katie Sharp conducted an internship at the Cancer Research Center in Columbia the summer prior to her senior year—work that she has continued as part of her senior capstone project.

Specifically, Sharp and the research team are determining whether erwinia—a bacteria that causes plant rot but does not harm humans—will fight cancer cells while leaving healthy cells undisturbed. The work involves testing lines of both malignant and healthy cells, and early results are promising.

Sharp got her first taste of hands-on research in 2013 when she and an equestrian student, Caroline Schwerzenbach ’13, teamed up to study deworming practices at the Stephens Equestrian Center.

“That’s when I got my foot in the door, and I knew I wanted an internship or summer opportunity that involved research.”

Sharp got in touch with Stephens alumna Alison Fea, senior technician and laboratory manager of the center, to secure the internship.

Although she’s learned plenty about cell responsiveness, bacteria and other molecular biology lessons through her research, Sharp said she also learned a lot about herself.

“My biggest take-away has been my ability to think independently and think critically,” she said. “I learned how to respond if an experiment does or doesn’t work, how to determine the next step and how to make sure I’m accurately representing the results.”

She said her Stephens education prepared her for the internship and research, which helped her secure a spot in graduate school. Sharp is now headed to the University of Oklahoma, where she’s been accepted to begin work toward a Ph.D. in chemistry. She’s found a researcher there doing similar bacteria therapy cancer studies and hopes to work with him.

“The courses here and research have prepared me well,” she said.

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Sophomore creates PSA with help of classmates

Creating a short public service announcement in less than two weeks reminded sophomore Kathy Nguyen that Stephens is a community of women who support one another to rally around a cause.

Inspired by other PSAs being shared during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Nguyen got the idea to create her own after seeing the phrase “that’s what she said” online. Nguyen decided if men could use the phrase as a racy innuendo, it could also be used to remind them that, in many cases, “she” also said “no.”

“The idea just clicked and I was so excited about it; that night I asked for volunteers on Facebook,” Nguyen said. “I had 13 almost immediately.”

The short PSA tackles the issue by showing a series of women making comments that might trigger someone to joke “that’s what she said.” Then it shows the same women saying various ways of saying “no,” such as “wait” or “stop.”

Nguyen said she was amazed at all of the support she received during the project and the responses she’s been receiving since.

“I was surprised by all of the help I got—but that’s the vibe I always get from Stephens,” she said. “I appreciate this community. Not only does Stephens give you the resources to do things quickly, everyone actually helps you execute your ideas. That’s what I really love about Stephens.”

Nguyen is now hoping to share the PSA with a larger audience. She hopes viewers think twice about making jokes about sexual situations and realize that sexual assault needs serious discussion.

View the video here.

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Student artists to host reception, exhibit

Students in Sara Fletcher’s “Illustrations From Around the World” class will show their final projects on Friday during a public reception and daylong exhibit.

The class spent the semester taking a photo tour of artists’ illustrations and paintings from six continents, finding common threads among a vast array of works.

“The idea was a broad exposure for the students of different approaches to illustration in different times and places,” Fletcher said.

Students then chose a story to illustrate in 10 panels using different artists as inspiration. They were instructed to visually communicate the story as best they could with compelling compositions and spent the semester brainstorming, revising and developing their pieces.

The final work will be on display in the Hugh Stephens Library Penthouse on Friday. A reception will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m., during which time the student artists will be on hand to answer questions. Refreshments will also be provided. The exhibit will remain up throughout the day.

“This exhibit is quite diverse,” Fletcher said. “I think the way each student delved into her own visual and story world is fascinating. Seeing the process sketches reveals a bit of the problem-solving process, and attendees will enjoy seeing the various influences that inspired these artworks.”

Among the pieces will be illustrations of Jane Eyre by senior Coral Hoelscher, who was inspired by the works of Shahzia Sikander, an American artist who grew up in Pakistan. Fiona Kerr wrote and illustrated her own story set in East Germany about a water nymph who falls in love with a human. Miranda Carlisle was inspired by Ancient Greek vase paintings and French neoclassical painting to illustrate the myth of Theseus and Minotaur. Tiawna Johnson illustrated “Alice in Wonderland,” and Dona Walker illustrated “The Wizard of Oz” from Toto’s point of view.

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Harbinger Night allows student writers to read works

English/Creative Writing students had a chance to showcase their works Friday at the annual Harbinger Night.

The event serves as the official launch of Harbinger, Stephens’ award-winning literary journal. This year, the issue, “Do It Yourself,” has a punk theme based on the “grrrl” movement of the 1990s.

Maya Alpert opened by reading an excerpt from her piece, “Write What You Know, Or Don’t,” a short fiction inspired by the notion that one must be an expert on a subject before writing about it.

Alpert shared the “Pittman Prize for Fiction,” with Jamie Warren, whose short story, “Karaoke Night,” is about transgender issues.

Emily Cross received the Pittman Prize for Non-Fiction for her story, “Old Wounds,” about her grandfather’s war scar—a scar as emotional as it is physical. And Rachel Cooper won the prize for Poetry for her poem, “Jazz,” comparing the music genre to rainfall.

Issues of Harbinger can be purchased online here.

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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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