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Oct
20
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Breaking the Pattern pink dresses now on display



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Karina Palencia works on a window display.

Dresses made of pink wine corks, tissue paper and other recyclable items are now on display throughout Columbia’s Downtown District as part of the annual Breaking the Pattern campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.
The project challenges students to research breast cancer stories of hope and survival and create dresses with messages to reflect those stories. The dresses are made of recyclable materials in Tina Marks’ Creating Sustainable Communities course and are installed as window displays by students in Caroline Bartek’s Visual Merchandising class.
Seniors Rachel Ballew and Karina Palencia were charged with putting Emily Horner’s flower-themed dress on display at Makes Sense custom fragrance shop on 9th Street.
“We’ve never done a window display before,” Ballew said earlier this month during the installation process. “We met with the designer and talked about what she wanted to portray and then went to Pinterest for ideas. We decided to portray a garden.”
Butterfly cutouts and hung paper tissue decorations filled the backdrop of the window.
“It’s something to add to our portfolio,” Palencia said.
Makes Sense Owner Christina Kelley participates in the project every year, saying it’s a great experience for designers to have their work shown in actual stores. It’s also an eye-opening experience for those installing the window displays, she said.
“That’s incredibly important,” Kelley said. “That’s the first impression the public has of your business. It’s what draws people in.”
Display2Kyla Cherry and Elana Jones put Kara Henry’s “Beauty Beats the Beast” dress up in the window of Calhouns, where it’s now lit at night. The dress is made of table cloth, paper plates, ribbon and deer antlers to contrast the ugly disease with the beauty of hope.
Typically, faculty judges select the best of the dresses made in Marks’ class to be displayed downtown. This year, all 13 dresses were chosen and are now on display.

The public will have another chance to see them in the spring. Each of the dresses will be worn at The Collections student designer fashion show in April.

See more photos from the project here.

 
Oct
17
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Safe Trick-or-Treat, other campus events celebrate Halloween

The Stephens College campus is revving up for the Halloween season with a number of activities scheduled over the coming weeks.
Mortar Board will host its annual Safe Trick-or-Treat event for the Columbia community from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28. Children are invited to come in costume and trick-or-treat for candy at various stations in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall. Stephens students are encouraged to participate, as well.
Other events are for the Stephens community, including Sigma Tau Delta’s annual Spook-a-thon. That event is slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at Historic Senior Hall Recital Hall. The English Honor Society invites students, faculty and staff to wear costumes and enjoy readings and prizes.
Then, on Monday, Oct. 27, longtime faculty member Margaret Campbell will tell some tales about Stephens’ supposedly haunted past. She will begin her ghostly storytelling at 7 p.m. in the second floor lobby of Wood Hall.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, Alpha Lambda Delta is sponsoring a Scary Movie Night featuring the movie “Hocus Pocus” from 8 to 10:30 p.m. in the Student Union. Popcorn, snacks and drinks will be provided. Sophomore Jenna Westra is organizing the event as part of her advanced event planning course. The assignment challenged students to host their own event, and Westra recruited the honor society to help sponsor hers. The assignment required her to reserve the space, stick to a budget, work with a food vendor and market the event.

"There's a lot going on over the Halloween season at Stephens but hopefully we'll have a good turnout," she said. "It will be a nice way to relax, watch a good movie and enjoy some snacks."
 
Oct
16
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CFDA reps visit Stephens, critique student work

Neil Gilks sat in front of a dozen or so sketches of swimsuit and resort garments designed by Stephens senior Logan Blagg.

“This is a feast for the eyes,” said Gilks, director of Educational Initiatives at the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

It was high praise from a highly respected designer and consultant.

Gilks went on to help Blagg narrow down the best of her designs to be presented to a Jury of Selection this spring.

The critique of student work was part of Gilks’ two-day visit to campus along with Sara Kozlowski, senior manager of professional development at CFDA. The council representatives also toured the School of Fashion and Design and met with Stephens administrators during the trip.

The visit marked a pivotal moment in the College’s and school’s history—it recognized Stephens’ progress toward becoming a partner school of the CFDA.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of more than 400 U.S. designers, including Vera Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Oscar de la Renta — essentially the who’s who of fashion. Stephens is one of few Midwestern colleges and the only women’s college to be associated with CFDA, a partnership that began last year.



On campus, Gilks and Kozlowski critiqued senior designs and helped students select the garments they will ultimately create and take to the Jury of Selection in hopes of seeing them on the runway at The Collections, Stephens’ annual student designer fashion show. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors were also invited to listen in.


Blagg’s designs were inspired by nature and the idea of transitions. She envisions her customer being a 20-something who’s in the process of finding herself. Her designs were soft with muted colors and strategic cutouts and knots.

After discovering that she also creates custom jewelry, Gilks encouraged Blagg to incorporate pieces into her garments.

Audrah Davidson’s collection was based on modern art and architecture. She also customized her own fabric by pulling threads and replacing them with gold foil before lamenting the fabric.

“I love fabric manipulation and what you can do it with,” she said prior to the critique.

The technique was a hit, with Gilks encouraging her to use it in her senior collection.

Tonya Pesch’s designs were based on her love of both fashion and the equestrian world. Her line featured stylish denims, leathers and prints that could be worn at professional rodeos. Her color base, blue and teal, was chosen to complement any color of horse, she said, and fringe was added because it looks “beautiful when you’re riding.”

While Gilks acknowledged he didn’t know much about the rodeo circuit, he encouraged her to find a signature look for each design to make the collection her own.

Designing with one’s career in mind was common advice throughout Gilks’ critiques. He asked several students where they see themselves in the professional world and challenged them to create pieces they could later use to launch their own lines. He also gave some personal opinions—exposed zippers, for instance, are definitely no-nos.

“We are so grateful for the expertise and honest, professional feedback,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design. “They provided tips, expert opinions and advice that all of our students and faculty will benefit from hearing.”

In addition to providing critique and other educational support, CFDA hosts four scholarship competitions a year in conjunction with Geoffrey Beene, Liz Claiborne and Teen Vogue/Target. The organization also hosts a Fashion Education Summit and has a program for recent graduates from participating schools. Avenues to Industry is an advisory-based program that highlights varied career tracks and supports graduates transitioning into the industry.

 
Oct
14
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Students part of winning team at Startup Weekend

Two Stephens students are now part of a company formed after their team took third place at Columbia’s Startup Weekend event earlier this month.
Juniors Brianna Jackson and Hannah Bilau are working with The Wandering Turtle, an app that helps people discover new vacation destinations based on their personal interests.
Startup Weekend allows community members and college students to pitch business ideas. All participants then form teams to help develop the winning pitches. The Wandering Turtle was the brainchild of local entrepreneur Anna Swacker who chose Jackson and Bilau to be part of her marketing team. During the 54-hour event, Jackson helped with data collection and research, set deadlines for the business plan and wrote the final presentation. Bilau designed the green turtle that is now the company’s mascot.
The Stephens duo was recruited to participate in Startup Weekend by alumna Natalie Stezovsky, a vice president at Influence and Co. in Columbia.
“For me, it was nice to work with professionals and get a feel for working with different mindsets,” Bilau said.
It also gave her experience with collaborating as a part of a team and designing on a deadline, she said.
Both agreed Stephens and being part of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm, prepared them for the event.
“I’ve worked with clients before, so I was calm,” Bilau said. “I never felt overwhelmed. I knew I was capable of the work.”
Jackson, who is Student Government Association president, said she already had experience with business plans, creative briefs, event planning and other skills needed for the competition. She was also able to anticipate questions from the competition’s judges so the team would be prepared.
“Everything Stephens has taught me has made me able to think fast and critically,” she said.

The third-place win gives the company space at a local business complex, where The Wandering Turtle will continue to meet and work out details of the business. Jackson is assisting with social media, which now includes a Twitter and Facebook account.
 
Oct
9
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Freshmen take to Vine to explore self and society

Students taking First-Year Experience classes were challenged last month to create six-second videos articulating their sense of self in society.

Students used the social app Vine to express themselves through images, videos and text.
“The basic idea was that students were to make a Vine that represented their take on the FYE’s theme of self and society,” Associate Professor Mark Thompson said. “Individual classes gave further guidance. My students were required to make a Vine that articulated how the past has shaped their self of self in society. Students were also required to keep a journal that recorded their creative process and reflected upon the final product.”
Freshman Kyra Skinner used her Vine to show a historical photo of men working in the fields with the disclaimer “My grandfather’s education.” She contrasted the image using photos and videos of herself at Stephens. “Don’t take your education for granted,” the video concludes.


Hannah Dorey used her six seconds to piece together a puzzle, sans one missing piece.
“One of the worst parts about modern society in my eyes is that no matter what you have in life, how successful you are, how happy you are and how complete you feel your life is, it’s never ‘enough’ for everyone else,” she wrote in her accompanying reflection. “There is always something ‘missing,’ something you haven’t achieved yet, something you don’t have or something somebody else has better. There will always be someone who will find a flaw or an imperfection, and it’s something that I’ve always disliked.”


Janelle Sardis’s Vine shows her transformation from a fresh face to a fully made-up face.
“My video Vine symbolizes self and society because the world has this standard image of what beauty is and often we think we have to look like the girls in the magazines,” she wrote. “It’s important to understand you are beautiful no matter what you look like.”


That was a theme in several of the videos, Thompson said.
“A number of the Vines focused on the issue of burdensome social expectations for women,” he said. “A number explored the idea of what it means to be beautiful.”
Thompson held a showcase of the videos, and students were asked to talk about their Vines.“We were very pleased with the results,” he said. “Students were very enthusiastic about each other’s work.”


 
Oct
8
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TRYPS Institute at Stephens teams up with fire safety tour

Elementary-class
At Ridgeway Elementary.

Members of TRYPS Institute at Stephens College have teamed up with the Columbia Fire Department to make fire safety training fun for area schoolchildren.
Dressed as characters from the animated hit “Frozen,” the TRYPS kids and fire marshals are visiting 16 schools over two days as part of the National Fire Safety & Prevention Week tour. Yesterday, the cast performed at several schools, including the Stephens College Children's School. 
TRYPS has been part of the fire safety tour for 12 years, said Jill Womack, executive artistic director of TRYPS. Each year, she writes an original script and songs to teach a specific fire safety lesson. This year, the performance included several songs about the importance of working smoke alarms.
Dressed as Elsa, Rachel Doisy put the finishing touches on her hair and make-up prior to the tour yesterday in the newly renovated space that now houses TRYPS at Hickman Hall. The college freshman said it was the first time she’d been part of the fire safety tour, “and I’m really excited.”
Keegan Atkins, 12, is somewhat of a fire tour veteran, having been on two prior tours.
“When the kids laugh, it’s really awesome,” said Keegan, who portrayed the lovable snowman Olaf. “Students afterwards have come up to me and said I was their favorite and have given me hugs. It’s a lot of fun.”

TRYPS became a part of Stephens College this summer and now holds all programming and performances on the Stephens campus. Classrooms, prop and costume shops and offices occupy three floors of Hickman Hall. The young members agreed the new space is “really great.”

 
Oct
7
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Stephens launches new physician assistant, screenwriting programs

In keeping with its commitment to excellence in the creative arts and health sciences, Stephens College announces the launch of two new graduate degree programs: a Master of Physician Assistant degree to be offered in collaboration with local and regional healthcare facilities, and a new Master of Fine Arts in Television and Screenwriting, a low-residency program with 10 days of intensive on-site classes each semester at the Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles.
“We have been working for more than a year with outstanding professionals in both health sciences and television and screenwriting to ensure these programs are cutting-edge and highly attuned to current market demands,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “We’re committed to investing in facilities, partnerships and faculty to ensure that both programs are the best in their markets right from the start.”
Physician Assistant Program
The Master in Physician Assistant program will be designed to prepare physician assistants to work in primary care settings, to embrace the rapidly changing healthcare environment and to become adept at the use of interactive technologies to provide high quality healthcare in rural communities.
“Physician assistants are in high demand,” said Dr. Richard Oliver, former dean of the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri, who is serving as a consultant in the sciences and for the program. “Stephens’ location in a city with a strong healthcare infrastructure, the college’s low faculty-to-student ratio and its historic commitment to the sciences make Stephens an ideal campus for this program.”
Stephens is partnering with local and regional healthcare facilities to provide clinical rotations. Confirmed to date are Boone Hospital Center, the University of Missouri Health System and Capitol Regional Medical Center.
“We look forward to working with our prestigious neighbor as they launch this program,”  said Jim Sinek, president of Boone Hospital Center. “Our hospital and medical staff have a history of clinical success at Boone Hospital, and we're happy to share our knowledge and expertise with students pursuing careers as physician assistants at Stephens.” 
“We’re thrilled to work with Stephens to provide facilities for clinical rotations,” said Stevan Whitt, chief medical officer for the University of Missouri Health System. “We need more highly qualified health professionals in Missouri and across the country, and we’re happy to support programs in our own community that will serve that need.”
Sampson Hall, located on Broadway at the western edge of the Stephens campus, will be the site of the college’s new Center for Health Sciences, which will house the PA program, among others. Extensive renovation will begin immediately to ensure the new facilities are completed in time for the program’s first class in 2016.
Like all of the College’s graduate programs, the PA program will be co-educational.
Low-Residency M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting
While all other low-residency M.F.A. programs in the country require students to study multiple narrative formats, the Stephens College M.F.A. in writing will focus exclusively on writing for television and film.  Online courses and mentoring will be supplemented by 10 days each semester in Los Angeles, where students will engage in workshops with working television and screenwriters, visit studios, connect with agents and managers, and learn the business of Hollywood from executives and producers.
It’s a first-of-its-kind program aimed to boost the number of women working in the film industry.
“While the program is open to men, the lens is focused on women,” said Ken LaZebnik, an accomplished scriptwriter and founding director of the program. “We want to give women writers the inspiration and skills they need to successfully compete for screenwriting jobs in film, television and online media.”
LaZebnik has strong ties to Stephens. He grew up in Columbia, where his father, Jack, taught English and creative writing at the College.  In 2005, LaZebnik returned to Stephens for a brief period to serve as the dean of the School of Performing Arts. In L.A., he’s written for multiple television programs, including “When Calls the Heart,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Army Wives,” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.” LaZebnik comes from a family of screenwriters; his brother Rob is co-producer of "The Simpsons," and his brother Philip is best known for screenplays "Mulan" and "Pocahontas." 
The new degree programs are being launched on the heels of a historic $15 million gift to the college and the unveiling of a new brand this year.  Lynch says they won’t be the last of the exciting announcements from Stephens in the months ahead.

“It’s a great time to be a Stephens Woman,” Lynch said. “We are proof positive that there are women’s colleges in this country that are thriving.”
 
Oct
6
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Stephens alumna to be featured on PBS 'Makers'

A Stephens College alumna is scheduled to be featured on an upcoming episode of PBS’s “Makers: Women Who Make America” documentary series.

Wally Funk—a pilot, member of the Mercury 13 and future space traveler—will be interviewed on “Women in Space” airing on Oct. 14. The series began Sept. 30 and concludes Nov. 4 with an episode on “Women in War.”

“I’m really excited about that one,” Funk said. “Several women I trained are in Afghanistan now.”

Funk is also scheduled to be among a panel of speakers at The New Yorker Festival this month. She will join Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of an organization that aims to colonize Mars; Bill Stone; whose company is attempting to commercialize human space exploration; and Burkhard Bilger, a writer for The New Yorker. “Fly Me to the Moon: Personal Space Travel” will be held on Oct. 12.

Last month, Funk presented at the Acadia Night Sky Festival in Bay Harbor, taking a group flying over the Acadia Forest.

It’s a grueling schedule but nothing new for Funk who has given nearly 20 public speeches this year, including being part of Wally Funk Day at Lockheed Martin, which makes the F-35.

She’s also waiting to be among the first to take advantage of commercial space travel.

“It will happen,” Funk said. “If I don’t go with Richard (Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic), I’m trying to get somebody who will sponsor me for the SpaceX trip to the International Space Station in 2017.”

Funk was a member of the “Flying Susies” at Stephens, where she earned her pilot’s license. In 1961, she volunteered for the “Women in Space” program and became one of the Mercury 13, a group of women NASA initially pegged for space travel. Although Funk and her peers scored as well on the tests as their male counterparts (Funk even beat John Glenn’s scores), the program was grounded before they had a chance to fly.

Funk went on to become the first woman to successfully complete the FAA General Aviation Operations Inspector Academy course, the first woman promoted to specialist in the FAA Systems Worthiness Analysis Program, and the first female to serve as air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C.
 
Oct
3
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Students share summer internship experiences

 

Carlota-the-gorgeous-wolf
Carolita, a wolf at the Endangered Wolf Center.

Senior Alexandra Hoffman thought she wanted to work in zoo management until completing internships at both the Dickerson Park Zoo and the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis this summer.

“I actually prefer working with endangered animals,” she said. “It was a smaller center and had a close-knit feel.”

Getting a better understanding of what they want to do after graduation is one of the main purposes of summer internships, said Debbie Brunner, interim director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at Stephens.

“Internships allow students to test drive a career,” she said. “They experience daily life within their chosen field and find out if that’s really what they want to do.”

Hoffman, a biology major, was a keeper at the center, making sure endangered wolves had food and water, and overseeing tours of the facility. The center manages and breeds Mexican gray wolves to reintroduce them into the wild.

“Stephens prepared me well for the work,” she said, adding that the College’s partnership with the University of Missouri allowed her to take a specialized course in animal management.

Senior Mallory Patton conducted her internship at Irish Fox Stables in St. Louis this summer. There, she was responsible for working the horses, namely a Thoroughbred that hadn’t been ridden in a while, helping out with shows and assisting during a summer camp.

“I pretty much knew what I was doing,” Patton said. “The equestrian program at Stephens definitely prepared me.”

Patton hopes to someday own and manage her own barn.

Senior Alayna Nieters spent her summer in London interning with the Josh & Nicol brand.

“I worked with the designers, cutting garments made in house that were going to be sold on a new e-store,” she said.

Nieters said her internship prompted her to consider continuing studying abroad after graduation.

“I’d like to get a little more experience internationally,” she said, adding that she’s considering graduate school at the London College of Fashion.

For senior Kala Jones, a summer internship at Columbia Home magazine solidified her desire to work at either a magazine or ad agency. The internship entailed designing materials promoting the magazine’s social media presence and a mini campaign for a swim team fundraiser.

“I was really fortunate to get an internship so close to what I want to do after graduation,” she said. “To work in the real world—creating real things for real people—was a lot of pressure. But I did it. And it was a great experience.”

 
Oct
1
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Thompson article to be published in French Historical Studies


Mark Thompson, an associate professor of liberal arts, has had an article accepted for publication in French Historical Studies, the leading journal on the history of France. The paper explores French decisions and motivations during the Indochina War following World War II.
“The French were concerned about their status,” Thompson said. “Britain and the U.S. were forming a strong alliance, and France was worried about being a member of that club.”
The article also looks at France’s failed troop surge and the political consequences of war.
“The big take-away has less to do with France and more to do with considerations elsewhere,” he said. “Think about American involvement in war and if it’s not going well, why are we still there? We have to think beyond the battleground. It’s hard to get out of war. So this is a cautionary tale.”
Thompson presented an abbreviated version of the article at a conference in Charleston two years ago. The chairman of the panel was the editor of the journal and suggested Thompson expand on his ideas and submit an article.
“I’m very excited about it; it’s a big achievement for me,” he said.

Thompson, who teaches history and the sophomore core courses (Government and Economics and Global Village), started at Stephens as a Sara Jane Johnson Scholar and expressed gratitude for her investment in faculty.
 
Sep
29
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Stephens Scholars Plan faculty induct 36 freshmen



pinning-ceremony1The Stephens Scholars Plan inducted 36 freshmen during a pinning ceremony Saturday that corresponded with Family Weekend.
The ceremony, held in Historic Senior Hall, gave inductees and family members a chance to celebrate high-achieving students and to meet honors faculty. Although it’s changed name and scope over the years, the honors plan dates back more than 50 years at Stephens. It allows academically talented students to take honors-level courses together in a challenging yet supportive environment.

Junior Khyneesha Edwards, a former scholar who has since received a Dorothy Martin Endowed Scholarship, urged inductees to share their successes and take leadership roles.
pinning-ceremony2“Kudos to you all for having recognizable talent and owning it,” she said. “As women, sometimes it is easy for us to downplay our talents and shrink in the background while someone else takes the light. … Keep recognizing your inner potential and bring it to the forefront in everything you do.”
After outlining a list of hilarious “What Others Think I Do at Stephens College,”—highlighting inaccurate stereotypes about women’s colleges—sophomore Juliana Hitchcock challenged first-year students to finish the meme.
“Avail yourself of the academic and social opportunities, reach out to make new friends, test your theories and ideas in a roundtable discussion one night and write your own segment of the ‘What I really do at Stephens College’ meme,” she said.
The hour-long ceremony was just one highlight of Family Weekend, which welcomed parents, siblings and other family members to campus. Visitors also enjoyed presentations from students about leadership opportunities on campus, Study Abroad and internship experiences and Stephens Stars Athletics.

The weekend concluded with a campus-wide barbecue at the President’s Home.

 
Sep
26
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Students help out with upcoming convention

 

Sandi-works-with-students
Sandi Strother works with students on convention materials.

Students studying event and convention management at Stephens this week had the opportunity to do hands-on work for a convention taking place in St. Louis next month.
Students were charged with assembling name tags for the Veterinary Cancer Society’s upcoming conference. That might sound simple, but it was critically important, said Sandi Strother, executive director of the society. Each tag had to include the correct information, tickets, labels and other identifying information for every one of the hundreds of attendees and speakers coming from around the globe.
Hands-on experience is a cornerstone of the Event and Convention Management program at Stephens. Throughout the year, students have a chance to tour area hotels, work with professional planners and help plan on-campus events.

But the work leading up to an event is as important as the actual event, and attention to detail is a necessary skill set, Assistant Professor Cindy Hazelrigg said. That’s why classroom experiences such as creating name tag packets are so important.
“One mismatched name, room location or time can ruin an entire conference,” she said. “Even if you catch the mistake in time, it can create large amounts of overtime. I pose these situations to students and ask them how they would handle those types of challenges, but avoiding problems in the first place is ideal. Event planning is all about paying attention to minuscule but vital details.”

Event, meeting and convention planning is growing much faster than the average career, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s because these are well-paying, fast-paced and rewarding careers with lots of opportunities and lots of demand. Stephens launched the three-year degree program last fall in response to that market demand. 

 
Sep
26
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Bach's Lunch event kicks off monthly series


Bach’s Lunch kicked off its fall semester series yesterday with performances by the Stephens Concert Choir and the Velvetones, as well as several solos.
Hosted by the School of Performing Arts, the monthly lunchtime series gives the Stephens community and public a chance to enjoy talented vocalists and students another opportunity to perform.  
Yesterday’s event featured Ally Cat Love Song by Paul Carey and Dana Gioia performed by the concert choir and “What’ll I Do” from “The Music Box Revue of 1924” performed by the Velvetones.
Soloists included Rebecca Munoz, who performed "Breathe" from "In the Heights;" Mycah Westhoff singing "Crossword Puzzle" from "Starting Here, Starting Now;" "Perfect" from "Edges" performed by Chelcie Abercrombie; "How Can I Win" from "The Goodbye Girl" sung by Elyse Bertani; and Emy Blake, who gave a wildly popular performance of "My Party Dress" from "Henry and Mudge."

The next Bach’s Lunch will be at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Historic Senior Hall Recital Hall.
 
Sep
25
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Artist urges students to take fresh look at world of comics



A visual artist and writer from Salt Lake City urged English/Creative Writing students yesterday to take a fresh look at the world of comics.
Nick Francis Potter, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri, stressed the importance of imagery during the semester’s first Writers on the Edge lecture.
“Language is important and essentially—I love language—but it has improved properties when combined with images,” he said.
Potter, who has published comics and prose in a number of journals and reviews, became interested in comics at a young age. He discovered that he could easily follow a story line through a series of images better than in text-only books.
“When you’re looking at a series of images, you’re actually reading,” he said. “You read” comic strip panels "left to right, top to bottom the same way you read, and images are repeated in the same way names and pronouns are. I have small boys who understand this. It’s accessible at a lower-level but there’s something extremely intelligent about the way we can tell a story through a series of images. …Just because it’s available to a young child does not mean it’s not a powerful tool for all of us.”
Potter shared examples of how comic formats have been used to explain complicated subject matter, such as a comic-like version of the 9/11 Report and a visual guide to the economy. Images aren’t just easier to understand and process, he said, they’re also proven to help readers retain the information. 
He also pointed to a rise in infographs and other graphic designs that accompany text on websites, billboards, textbooks and other media.
Potter also encouraged the writers in the room to embrace images, even if they aren’t trained artists. He had several examples of remedial sketch work that ultimately turned in to published comics.
“I want you all to make comics, and I want to read them,” he said.

The Writers on the Edge series brings professional writers to campus throughout the school year. Past guests have included Toni Morrison, John Irving and Margaret Atwood. 
 
Sep
25
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Designer, alumna critiques fashion students' work

 

Gantos-critiques-Danis-designs
Gantos critiques Dani Wilson's designs.

A creative director, designer and Stephens alumna is on campus this week critiquing student designs that will be entered into Jury of Selection for possible inclusion in the Collections, the spring runway show.
Carol Gantos worked one-on-one with students yesterday, giving feedback on sketches, fabric choices and designs.
Junior Britta Belle took inspiration from the Nantucket whale industry with colors, hardware, accessories and shapes based on whaletails, oil barrels and other associated shapes and symbols. Her line was designed for young working professional women who need to go from a daytime to evening look without having to change. Each two- or three-piece outfit included accessories and handbags.
The collection was a success. Gantos praised Belle for her designs’ versatility, her attention to detail and her sketch work.
“These have a polished, consistent look,” Gantos said. “And you used water color, which is admirable. That’s not an easy thing to do.”
Junior Dani Wilson created a collection for a woman in her 20s inspired by Indian wedding attire, with elaborate designs and gold accessories.
Each student had about 30 minutes with Gantos. The critiques were open to other students, allowing Gantos to use the opportunity to talk to groups about how to improve designs and sketches. She is teaching a master class today to go into more detail about sketching fabrics and details such as buttons and earrings.

After attending Stephens, Gantos went on to graduate summa cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She’s worked for Banana Republic, Halston Signature Collection and Randolph Duke Collection, all in New York, and more recently Neve Designs where her ensemble was featured in The Wall Street Journal. 

 
Sep
24
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Stephens joins Pack, new social site for dog lovers



puppy-with-booty-socks
Allison Rosenthal shows off Bentley on the Stephens feed.

Stephens College has joined the Pack as one of the website’s first Campus Packs.
Pack is a social media site that lets dog lovers create profile pages for their pups and share photos.
Campus Packs are available by invite only. Stephens is one of the first colleges and companies to sign up.
“We thought it was a great tool to be able to introduce and get better acquainted with the dogs living among us,” said Rebecca Kline, Stephens director of marketing and communications. “So far, our users have embraced it, posting adorable photos of their dogs on campus."
Stephens has been welcoming pets for a decade and today is ranked the most pet-friendly campus in the country by Dogster.com. The College also partners with Second Chance to allow students to foster dogs and cats on campus.

Since announcing the new Campus Pack, several students have suggested creating a directory that would allow all animal owners on campus to profile cats, pot-bellied pigs, ferrets and other pets. Kline is inviting student clubs to consider taking on a pet directory as a campus-wide project. 

 
Sep
23
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Girl Scouts visit Historic Costume Gallery exhibit


Girl Scouts from Troop 70311 visited the Historic Costume Gallery yesterday, exploring designer garments from various decades.
The girls, from the Ashland area, are studying careers, and many are interested in fashion. In addition to learning about dress shapes, accents and the history of women’s fashion, Girl Scouts asked Assistant Curator Jennifer Cole about the fashion program at Stephens, as well.
Historic-Costume-GalleryThe Historic Costume Gallery opened its latest exhibit with a reception on Thursday. Her Story features never-before-displayed garments that represent key points in women’s fashion. Among designers represented are Lucille, a British designer who originated the idea of a fashion show; Clair McCardell, a designer from the '30s through the '50s who is credited as the creator of casual fashion; and well-known designer Christian Dior.
“These are all very important designers in the history of female fashion,” said Monica McMurry, gallery curator and dean of the School of Fashion and Design. “The show is really a three-dimensional timeline of those who helped fashion evolve over the years.”
Also on display are two designs that debuted on the runway at Stephens in the spring: A dress by Effie Frank and a jumpsuit by Holly Hmielewski, both of whom graduated in May. The school this year also purchased a designer dress featuring an elaborate engineering print from Clover Canyon, a L.A.-based company where Hmielewski now works.

Gallery hours are noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13.

 
Sep
22
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Equestrian students head to National Charity Horse Show in St. Louis

Five equestrian students are headed to St. Louis today to compete at the National Charity Horse Show.
“This is an A-rated show for us, so it’s a pretty big deal,” Assistant Professor Kelly Hulse said. “Riders will come from all over the U.S.”
The show supports and highlights St. Louis-area charities. This year, the show is supporting Stray Rescue of St. Louis, which rescues abused, neglected animals, and Therapeutic Horsemanship.
Stephens is participating in the Saddlebred Week half of the two-week show. Students competing are: senior Cara Wolf showing A Silver Charm; senior Taylor Bernstein showing Undalattas Health Nut; freshman Gabby Zimmerman showing Sir Steve; freshman Rachel Cummings showing Just Special; and sophomore Erin Cummings showing Cool Down Papa.
“These are experienced horses,” Hulse said. “Four out of five are former World Champions or Reserve World Champions. And our students have been practicing since school started.
Hulse said she's optimistic about Stephens' performance at the show.

“I feel like at this level of competition if we come home with ribbons, I’ll be thrilled,” she said. “I think these ladies will represent Stephens well.”
 
Sep
22
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Warehouse Theatre season kicks off with 'Ride'


The Warehouse Theatre Company will take audiences for a ride next week with a coming-of-age story that promises teen angst, sass and lots of laughs.
“Ride,” by Eric Lane, is the tale of two high school students working at a farm stand who decide to embark on an impromptu road trip. Along for the ride is an 11-year-old little sister. The trip forces each character to confront their own personal demons, including a death in the family, an absent mother and a father’s mistress.
“There are a lot of comedic moments but also very poignant moments,” said Elyse Bertani, public relations director for the company. “And there are many moments that will make you think.”
Bertani said the company chose the play because of its strong female and age-appropriate characters.Portraying the leads will be third-year students Calli Rose Young, Xandra Prestia-Turner and Kat Amundson.
“All of the girls are fresh from” the summer at Okoboji Summer Theatre “and are ready to kick off a new season at the Warehouse,” Bertani said.
Set in contemporary times, the production poses new opportunities for scenic designer Savannah Bell. Because most of the play is set on the road, the set will have the look and feel of a moving car stopping at a variety of locations. Directing the production is Hephy Eniade.
The show will appeal to a college-aged audience, although Bertani encourages community members to see what the Warehouse Theatre is all about. The company is entirely student-run, which means students get to explore theatre in new ways.
“We definitely get a lot of creative freedom,” Bertani said. “It’s all about allowing us to test the waters and explore our own limits. We do a lot of coming-of-age shows and plays that are really appropriate for our peer group.”
This year’s season also includes “Precious Little,” a dark comedy; “What Every Girl Should Know,” a provocative drama; and “Hearts Like Fists,” a fast-paced comedy.
“Ride” begins at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25-27 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Sept. 28 at the Warehouse Theatre. Purchase tickets.

“Come see the show,” Bertani said. “It’s really a great way to kick off our season, and it will keep you coming back for more.”  
 
Sep
21
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Equestrian Center welcomes mules to the program

 

Poco-the-mule
Poco the female mule

The Stephens Equestrian Center has welcomed two new additions to the family this semester.
Poco and Sparky are two mules that have recently been donated to the College. Instructor Karen Craighead envisions them being used to help introduce riding to beginners enrolling in the program, as well as those who sign up for the annual summer camps.
“Mules are great for beginning riders who might be intimidated by the size of our horses,” she said. “They’re smaller and more gentle.”
Poco, a molly, and Sparky, a male mule, are used to being ridden and have appeared in parades.
“So I knew they were gentle and would be easy to work with,” Craighead said.
She believes they’re the first mules to ever be a part of the equestrian program at Stephens.

Mules are the offspring of female horses and male donkeys. They were introduced to Missouri in the 1820s and played an important role for farmers. Missouri lawmakers designated the mule the official state animal in 1995.

 
Sep
20
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Stephens unveils new Stars logo for Athletics teams



Sara-with-logo
Senior Sara Barnett with the logo she created.

The Stephens College community celebrated its athletic programs and unveiled the new look of the Stephens Stars during a Field Day event yesterday.
Students, faculty, staff and family members enjoyed games, music, food and prizes during the afternoon event. The celebration continued as the Stephens Stars volleyball squad picked up a conference win in Silverthorne Arena.
“This has been a great collaboration between athletics and marketing,” said Rebecca Kline, director of marketing. “Our student-athletes did a great job helping to plan the event. Everyone had a great time.”
The star of the event was the new athletics logo designed by senior Sara Barnett, who was recruited by Kline after she worked with athletics on preliminary ideas.
“They wanted something feminine but strong, clean and a look that expressed motion,” Barnett said.
The result complements the College’s rebranding effort that was launched in the spring, while also emphasizing competitiveness and athleticism for the eight NAIA sports teams.
“The Stephens Stars logo reaches forward and upward—just like our ‘dream up’ campaign,” Kline said. “Stephens is always moving onward and upward whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or on the court.”

Seeing the logo come to life on shirts, magnets, cups and other materials was “magical,” Barnett said.
“Just to see it go from an idea in my mind to a drawing to an image on the computer to a look that’s now on color-changing cups is amazing,” she said.
The logo will unify all of the sports teams with one look.

“We are thrilled about the new athletics brand,” said Adam Samson, sports information director. “From the reactions yesterday, I believe our faculty and staff, students and especially our student-athletes love the fresh look and bold statement made with the new logo. It’s a great representation of our athletics program, and I believe it will enhance our visibility in both the athletics and non-athletics realm.”

 
Sep
20
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Talk Like a Pirate Day sparks writing event


Talk_like_a_pirate_dayStephens College celebrated international Talk Like a Pirate Day today with a lunchtime event that celebrated the unique vernacular.
English and creative writing majors joined film, theatre and other students during Write Like a Pirate Day for a costume contest, haiku readings and ahoy-themed stories.
Associate Professor Kate Berneking Kogut created the writing-themed event several years ago to give students an opportunity to write using a somewhat unfamiliar language. Students wrote haikus in advance, and five were selected to read them during the event.
Write Like a Pirate Day also challenges groups of students to write pirate stories in a short amount of time. Each member of the group contributed a line or two to the story without being able to read what previous members wrote. The idea is to promote stream-of-consciousness writing.
“Too often we focus on self-editing,” Kogut said. “The idea is to not worry about figuring out what comes next in a story and to just go with the flow.”

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

 

 

 

 



 
Sep
18
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Stephens to unveil new Stars Athletics logo



Stephens College will unveil a new Stephens Stars Athletics logo today during a Field Day event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Willis Quad in front of Silverthorne Arena.

The event will give students, employees, alumnae and friends the opportunity to interact with student athletes and representatives from all eight NAIA sports, and to enjoy prizes and snacks.

The fun starts at 2 p.m. when the Soccer Stars take the field at nearby Cosmo Park and will conclude with the Volleyball Stars playing at 7 p.m. in Silverthorne Arena back on campus.

This new identity for Athletics is the next phase in the College’s rebranding plan, explained Rebecca Kline, director of marketing and communications. The new logo and related materials will complement the College’s “dream up” campaign while also bringing in a sense of competitiveness and athleticism.

“We listened to the Athletics team and worked together to create something that gives this amazing group of Stephens Women—as well as our many fans and supporters—a strong focal point to rally around,” she said.

That’s important to the athletic programs, Adam Samson, sports information director, agreed, saying it’s time for the College’s athletic programs to embrace the Stars, a symbol that has been affiliated with Stephens students since as early as the 1920s.

“We feel that the time is now to move forward with a specific brand for athletics,” Samson said. “This was an opportunity for us to create a brand identity that resonates with our current student-athletes and alumnae—and I believe we’ve hit a home run. The new Stars’ logo will encompass the ideals of true champions from the past, present and future.”

The Field Day event is the first opportunity to showcase the new brand identity, Samson said, stressing it’s important to show off the new logo with the Stephens family and Columbia community.

Guests are welcome to attend all or any of the Field Day festivities and to bring their families.

“We hope alumnae and our friends from the community join students, faculty and staff to celebrate the launch of this new brand,” said Deb Duren, vice president for student services and longtime athletics director. “It will really mark a new day in the history of Stephens sports, and we’re looking forward to seeing what else our Stars have in store for us in the coming year.”
 
Sep
18
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Exhibit tells 'Her Story,' showcases important fashion designers

 

Lucille-dress
Christian Dior dress

The latest exhibit at the Historic Costume Gallery will tell “Her Story” and will feature pieces from female designers such as Clair McCardell, Hattie Carnegie and Lucille that have not been previously displayed.
“Her Story: A Fashion Collection Speaks to Women’s History” opens at 4:30 p.m. today with a reception. The exhibit will remain open through December. 
“We wanted a way to showcase some of the latest garments that have been donated to us,” said Monica McMurry, gallery curator and dean of the School of Fashion and Design. “We realized we’d been getting some really great pieces, many of which happened to be from prominent female designers.”
The exhibit will feature a multicolored romper by McCardell, an American fashion designer known for designing functional but stylish sportswear in the 1930s through 1950s. McCardell is credited as the creator of America’s casual approach to fashion.

Christian-Dior-dress
Lucille dress

The exhibit also includes a 1920s dress with floral sleeves and a matching belt from Lucille, a leading fashion designer in the late 19th and early 20th century. Lucille, a British-based designer, was the originator of the “mannequin parade,” a precursor to the modern fashion show.
Additionally, the gallery will showcase one recently donated dress from Christian Dior, who, while not female, did have a significant impact on women's fashion. A navy jacket from Carnegie, a Paquin jacket circa 1908 and two Christain Lacroix suits are also among the never-before-displayed garments.
“These are all very important designers in the history of female fashion,” McMurry said. “The show is really a three-dimensional timeline of those who helped fashion evolve over the years.”

 

 

 


The exhibit will also feature items seen this past spring in The Collections fashion show, a jumpsuit designed by Holly Hmielewski ’14 and a dress by Effie Frank ’14. This marks the first time in the gallery’s history that garments created by Stephens students will be on display.


Gallery hours are noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays during the fall semester. The museum is located on the mezzanine level of Lela Raney Wood Hall.

Also in September, the School of Fashion and Design will showcase an exhibit of garments from the 1930s that women might have worn to the 1936 Olympics, as well as a U.S. flag from that period. The exhibit, just outside of the Historic Costume Gallery, is among One Read events featuring “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel Brown. That display will be open during gallery hours.

 
Sep
16
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Students create pink dresses for Breaking the Pattern challenge

 

Emily-Horner attaches-dried-flowers-to-her-dress.
Emily Horner attaches dried flowers to her dress.

Students in Tina Marks’ Creating Sustainable Communities course are coming up with clever ways to turn recyclable materials into pink-themed garments for the annual Breaking the Pattern challenge.
Designs will be presented in class Wednesday and nine of the 13 will be selected to be displayed in store windows throughout downtown Columbia. Students in Caroline Bartek’s Visual Merchandising Class will be installing the dresses later this month, and the window displays will be up during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“There are some really creative designs this year,” Marks, an assistant professor, said. “It’s going to be tough to choose.”
The Breaking the Pattern challenge requires students to use non-traditional materials to make dresses that will also be worn on the runway this spring during the student-designer fashion show. Students researched breast cancer and had to come up with a theme that tied their material choices back to breast cancer awareness.
Senior Jennifer Anderson has had family members affected by the disease and knows first-hand the importance of checking for lumps. To reinforce that, she is creating a skirt and bodice out of a bubble-textured bath mat.
Alayna Nieters decided to forgo the dress and opted to create an armored body suit, instead. She used foil and melted plastic bottles to create the look of armor with the theme of armoring oneself with knowledge about the disease.
“I liked the idea of something different, not traditionally female,” she said.
Sophomore Kalynn Coy took a global approach in hopes of emphasizing that breast cancer is a worldwide challenge. To reflect that, she used take-out menus from local restaurants representing different ethnic foods to create a paper skirt. She used Chinese take-out boxes to create the bodice, completing the look with lace trim made from the fortunes found in fortune cookies.
“Working with paper was really challenging,” she said.
Troubleshooting is one of the key lessons students learn from the annual project, Marks said. “It’s about creative problem solving,” she said, adding that not all of the students in the class are studying fashion design. “It definitely is an engineering challenge.”
Reagan Collins, a junior, used a bubble mix to create pink paint bubbles, which she popped to create a splattered pattern on her dress made from a shower curtain. “Breast Cancer Pops Your Bubble” aims to remind people that the disease interrupts lives.
And sophomore Julie Valentine used a trash bag skirt to celebrate women who have thrown away their fears and created a feather top to highlight freedom from fear.
Emily Horner’s dress shows the evolution of sickness to recovery using real, tissue and fake flowers. 

“It follows one’s journey from something that has faded into something that has reblossomed,” she said. 

 
Sep
16
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Heggemann named national Emil S. Liston Award winner

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Stephens College junior Dana Heggemann of Warrenton, Mo., has been named the female recipient of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA) prestigious Emil S. Liston Scholarship Award. 
Announced Monday as a part of the NAIA’s first National Awards Day, Heggemann was chosen from a pool of 23 Emil S. Liston award winners at the conference level. She is the first Star and AMC student-athlete to receive the prestigious NAIA honor.
The award, given annually by the NAIA and Daktronics, recognizes one male and one female basketball player based on scholarship, character and playing ability. Since 1950, the award has honored the memory of the NAIA’s first executive director Emil S. Liston.
“Dana is an athlete who sets the bar high for athletic and scholastic achievement at Stephens College,” Director of Athletics Deb Duren said. “She’s a wonderful leader on and off the basketball court who is very deserving of the Emil S. Liston Scholarship Award.”
As a junior, Heggemann carries a cumulative 3.88 grade point average in a very demanding biology program at the College. She is a two-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree and an active member of the Stephens community.
On the court, she has proved her versatile skill set, constantly switching between guard and post play. Last season as a sophomore and co-captain, she started every game and led the Stars in free throws made, rebounds, blocks and assists. She earned AMC Player of the Week honors on Dec. 2 after scoring a career-high 21 points against Missouri Valley College. On two occasions, Heggemann was one assist shy of a rare triple-double performance.
In 2013-14, she served as a resident assistant for a select group of Honors House Plan students. With her leadership and experience, she was selected to be head resident/resident director of an entire hall for 2014-15. As an officer in the Tri Beta biological honor society, she gained the respect of her peers and was elected to the role of president for the upcoming academic year.
“She wears many hats on campus, but first and foremost, she puts her role as a student first,” said Alissa Pei, director of residence life. “In my time working with her, she’s shown great leadership, initiative and intuition when dealing with matters in the residence halls. Her ability to be a high-achieving student, committed athlete and an involved Stephens woman has set Dana apart from most of her peers.”
Heggemann, along with the NAIA's male winner, Trae Bergh of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), was selected by the NAIA Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives from a field that included nominees from numerous NAIA member institutions. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship award from Daktronics. She has also been invited to a formal awards ceremony on April 13, 2015, during the NAIA National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The NAIA video presentation and full list of award winners can be found here.
 
Sep
15
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Playhouse presents 'She Kills Monsters'

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"She Kills Monsters" will showcase elaborate props.

Elaborate characters will come to life on the Macklanburg Playhouse stage this month when the Playhouse company presents “She Kills Monsters.”
“You’ve never seen a show like this before in Columbia,” said director Dan Schultz, assistant professor. “It’s theatre meets rock concert.”
Set in the 1990s, “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen follows the story of Agnes, an average 20-something who has just lost her family in a tragic car crash. In an effort to reconnect with the younger sister she barely knew, Agnes discovers the teen’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook and begins to play along. When the game comes to life, Agnes must navigate an entirely new and unfamiliar world.
“It has a lot of heart,” Schultz said. “It’s a really touching show.”
Expect a lot of action, too, among the assortment of elves, demons, dragons and other D&D characters that come to life.
“There are about 10 big fight scenes,” Schultz said. “It’s almost like a musical where there are 10 choreographed numbers but instead of dancing, it’s stage combat.”
The show—one of the most produced plays this year—debuted in 2011. The author is an artistic director for Vampire Cowboys, a theatre company known for over-the-top physical to the stage, Schultz said.
“They always feature women in the strongest roles, so it was perfect for Stephens,” he said.
Second-year student Emily Chatterson stars in the play. Second-year theatre tech student Ann-Elise Noens created the set, a map-themed game module, and senior Cheyenne Smith designed the costumes.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19-20 and Sept. 26-27 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Sept. 21. Purchase tickets.

 
Sep
11
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Alpha Lambda chapter earns gold, bronze awards

The National Council of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for First Year College Students has awarded the Stephens College chapter of Alpha Lambda a Delta Award at the Gold level for the chapter’s significant growth last school year.

In the 2013-14 academic year, the Stephens chapter initiated 69 new members, up 306 percent from the previous year.

“The growth of this honor society demonstrates that more academically talented students are drawn to your campus and that the successful transition of these students from high school to college has been supported by faculty and staff,” said Glenda Earwood, executive director of the national council.

She noted that the recognition of those academically talented first-year students “could not occur without the help of outstanding local chapter advisers led by Laura Flacks-Narrol,” an assistant professor in the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication.

Additionally, the Stephens chapter received an Alpha Award at the Bronze level honoring the increase in the number of students the chapter invited into the honor’s society.

“I was amazed at the wonderful support for our organization,” Flacks-Narrol said. “It just shows that Stephens women achieved the honor in mass, which shows how driven and determined they are. Our students crave involvement and took an organization that had lacked direction and made it into a very vibrant entity. I point to the student leaders as well that have helped to make this happen. This year we have a full leadership team, are going to national conference and have several events planned for first semester. It is fun to be part of a group with so much enthusiasm and drive. It is my privilege to advise them and help them grow.”

Only first-year students are invited to join Alpha Lambda Delta, an honor society founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois. Once a member, students remain in the group throughout their college careers as long as they maintain excellent grades.
 
Sep
9
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Stephens ranked 23rd by U.S. News & World Report

Stephens College has jumped several notches on U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” list.
The college this year is ranked the 23rd best regional college in the Midwest, up from No. 30 last year. The ranking system takes into consideration retention and graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio and peer assessments.
“We’re proud of the amazing educational opportunities we provide our students,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “While we know external rankings provide just one snapshot of data, we’re always pleased to be recognized as one of the best.”
Stephens was ranked highly, in part, for having small classes and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10.  

The ranking comes on the heels of Stephens’ inclusion in The Princeton Review’s 378 Best Colleges guide for the second year. That guide does not assign rankings to colleges but does recognize outstanding programs. In the 2015 Princeton Review, the theatre program at Stephens is ranked 12th.
 
Sep
5
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Fashion students explore fabrics in Chicago


Fashion design majors who traveled to Chicago on a fabric tour last week say the trip opened their eyes to the difference between everyday clothing and high-end pieces while also giving them a chance to start making fabric choices for their respective collections this year.

“For me, the greatest benefit was being able to touch high-quality clothing for the first time in my life,” said Ilia Siegwald, a junior from Concordia, Mo. “I was surprised by the difference.”

That was the experience for many of the 40 fashion students who took the trip, said Maureen Lowary, assistant professor of fashion and design.

“Not only did the students get the opportunity to see, feel and purchase good quality fabrics, but they also had the opportunity to get into some high-end retail establishments and get an up-close look at high fashion,” she said. “For many of our students, it was probably the first time that they have ever had the opportunity to see and touch better quality garments.”

The three-day trip, held Aug. 28-30, was the school’s first trip to Chicago, although the School of Fashion and Design has hosted similar trips to St. Louis and Kansas City.

The group visited Vogue Fabrics, Fishman’s Fabrics and Nordstrom, where they got a tour of the store.

“It was interesting to go to high-end stores and see garments that you actually see on the runway,” sophomore Hillary Henry said. “The construction and lining and details—they were very well constructed compared to the clothing we buy every day.”

Siegwald and Henry were able to purchase some fabric for the pieces they will design and create this year. Siegwald, who is planning a collection around the Tudor period, opted for crape and bamboo knit jersey, while Henry selected cotton blends and other natural fibers.

Seniors designing for Jury of Selection in hopes of competing in The Collections fashion show are scheduled to present designs and fabric selections to industry professionals during a series of critiques this semester. Even though they weren’t able to purchase fabric during the trip, senior Logan Blagg said it was extremely helpful to be able to collect swatches on site rather than ordering them online.

“This way we got to actually go to nice fabric stores, see the fabric and touch it so we know exactly what we’re getting,” she said.

All three students said they’ve been interested in fashion since childhood. Henry, who’s from Columbia, sewed as a part of 4-H activities, and Siegwald simply knew she wanted to design clothing as early as 8 years old.

The best part of studying fashion at Stephens, Siegwald said, is the competitiveness embedded in a supportive environment.

“It’s competitive, which prepares you for the field you’re going into,” she said. “But everyone is supportive of you.”

Henry and Blagg agree the faculty make the difference.

“Getting each faculty member’s opinion is helpful,” Blagg said. “Each has her own perspective and area of expertise—from tailoring to knowing the market—that it really helps you pull together your own style.”

“They’re all really knowledgeable and have been in the industry and know people in the industry,” Henry said. “They know what they’re talking about.”

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