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Non-traditional Stephens graduates among growing group of adult learners

Jennifer Hrebar-Ihler will graduate from Stephens College with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and legal studies tomorrow—just a month shy of her 50th birthday.
While she knows she pushes the bounds of “non-traditional” at Stephens—her daughters are older than most of her classmates—she is among a growing group of adult students who are changing the face of college campuses across the country.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 15 percent of those attending college in the country in 2011 were what most consider “traditional” college students—18- to 22-year-olds living on campus at four-year institutions.
Five graduates who will walk across the stage at Stephens’ May Commencement tomorrow are “non-traditional.” Most agree they came to Stephens for the programs—and because they were ready to pursue their passions.

Hrebar-Ihler enjoyed a successful career in interior design before relocating from Alaska to Columbia for a fresh start. When the economy crashed in 2008, she found herself without a job but also the opportunity to reconsider her priorities.
“I decided to do something different—to pursue a career where I could feel like I was making a difference,” she said.
After exploring the counseling programs in the area, she chose Stephens because of the personal attention.
“I liked the idea of being more than just a number,” she said.
To her surprise, that translated into her social life, as well. This year, she served as senior class president.
“I was surprised that I forged connections with these women,” she said. “I was very happy that women younger than my daughters would consider me a friend.”

Michelle Marcum and her children.

Michelle Marcum was also active on campus even as she balanced being a mother of two off campus.

A graphic design major, Marcum was on the staff of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm, and designed this year’s cover of Harbinger, the literary magazine.
Marcum delayed going to college after having children. While she found success in the workforce—easily moving up the ranks to manager at factories and restaurants—she decided in her mid-20s to pursue her passion for art.

After earning a certificate and some college credits elsewhere, she transferred to Stephens.
“Stephens offered the experience and connections you need to work in graphic design,” she said.Experiencing college elsewhere, she said, gives her a greater appreciation of her experiences at Stephens.
“Students at other schools do fine, but here, students excel,” she said. “We push each other, and there’s nothing that gets in the way.”
In June, Marcum will begin her job as a graphic designer at a local photography company.
Tera Eckerle is moving to Los Angeles after graduating in hopes of fulfilling her dream of being an actor. She was a financially independent mom when she decided to attend Stephens.
“I was bar tending and waitressing, but I didn’t want that to be my path,” she said. “I wanted to do something else.”

Tera Eckerle and her son

When she had her second child in 2012, Eckerle left school, but she was determined to come back and complete the program.
“The faculty said ‘you can do this,’” she said. “They helped me tremendously.”
In addition to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, Eckerle also is minoring in business and dance. 
Through alumnae connections in L.A., Eckerle plans to find work and relocate her family to California.
As for Hrebar-Ihler, she’s not quite finished with her studies and is now preparing for a master’s program.
“People ask me, ‘Why would you go back to school this late in the game? Is it worth it?’” she said. “It’s a personal decision everyone has to calculate, but I couldn’t see myself working in the same business anymore. To me it was worth it to gain invaluable new skills. I’ve learned so much, I think the next 20 years will be much more satisfying. The best way to stay young is to keep pushing yourself. 
“And studying alongside young women in their late teens and 20-somethings keeps you young, too. That’s a nice side benefit.” 

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Students complete R.A.D. courses at Stephens

Last night, 12 Stephens College students and two female security officers completed the final phase of the R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) course offered on campus this semester.
The final exercise put participants in realistic scenarios through role playing, testing their response and reactions.
“It was intense,” said Tony Coleman, director of security. “Some of the students reported feeling scared, but that’s good. It allowed them to experience the real feelings associated with a dangerous situation without actually being in danger.”
Coleman and Security Officer Tasha Williams served as instructors of the eight-week course after completing their own training to earn nationally recognized R.A.D. Instructors Certification.
The program is designed to teach women to depend on themselves for protection. R.A.D. courses educate women in basic confrontational principles such as understanding reaction time, risk awareness and avoidance techniques. 
“We had some fairly timid young women at the beginning of this program, and they’re now saying they feel more confident,” Coleman said. “This program is a perfect fit for Stephens—it goes hand-in-hand with our mission of empowering young women in all aspects of their lives.”
Coleman will offer four sections of the eight-week course in the fall semester, offering both morning and evening sessions.
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Junior education majors show off teaching lessons

Junior education majors yesterday showed off the lesson plans, activities and assignments they used during their two weeks of teaching preschool and elementary classes at the Stephens College Children’s School.
The Junior Showcase allowed the students to explain to their instructors—as well as to family members and friends who stopped by—how they taught basic concepts through creative, interactive lessons.

Megan McQuillen based her lessons on the idea of inventions. She required her elementary-aged children to discover who invented the items they use in their daily lives, from pencils to sinks.

Karlie Gore and Megan Dascyznski

One highlight was teaching students about the Wright brothers, McQuillen said. 
After learning about the invention of the airplane, students had a chance to blueprint their own design for an airplane—requiring math and simple geometry—and make a variety of paper airplane styles to see which traveled farther.
Finally, students had a chance to create their own inventions. Many students opted to build robots that would assist with daily chores, including homework. One student turned a pizza box into a working pinball machine.
Karlie Gore and Megan Dasczynski worked in the preschool during the junior teaching clusters and based their studies on the concept of jobs. Students learned about a variety of careers and even had a chance to test one out when they built and ran a play post office.
“It was interesting to see how they changed their minds” about what they want to do when they grow up, Dasczynski said. “It was great to see that they understand they have so many possibilities.”
“And they know they don’t have to choose something now,” Gore added.
This year’s junior cluster projects were especially creative, said Dr. Leslie Willey, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

“I was really impressed with all of them,” she said. “We have some very talented young teachers at Stephens.”  

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Junior reflects on internship at Missouri State Capitol

By Amber Surdam/Stephens College senior
Stephens junior Emily Marchant admits she never thought politicians had much of a sense of humor, but her internship this semester revealed the truth—politicians aren’t the rigid people she thought they were.

In fact, Rep. Jeff Pogue, R-Salem, and Rep. Randy Pike, R-Adrian, are laid-back and friendly, said Marchant, who is interning in their office at the Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City this semester.

“My first day at the capitol shocked me,” she said. “I expected to be in a stern setting, but I found the representatives’ office to be a comfortable environment in which to work.”

Tomorrow is Marchant’s last day of her internship, which she began in January after securing it through the career services office at Stephens. Her job consists of answering phones, writing grant letters and speaking with citizens from multiple districts. Hearing about people’s concerns and helping them with their situations has been eye opening, she said.

“I see now how important representatives are to a community,” Marchant said.

A native of Oregon, Marchant found Stephens through a visit from an admissions counselor. She wanted to attend a liberal arts college, but found that ones near her were out of her price range. 
At Stephens, she’s worked on Stephens Life, the student-run magazine; served on the staff of Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm; and this year was co-editor of Harbinger, the award-winning literary journal.

She is graduating in December with a degree in integrated media, which she hopes to use to return to the capitol as a legislative assistant.

“I never realized I’d want to be a legislative assistant,” she said. “I didn’t consider it going in, but I really enjoy the work and the environment.”

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Commencement ceremonies to be held this weekend

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch will confer 119 bachelor’s degrees, 41 master’s degrees and three 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 video is really a highlight of the ceremony,” said Dr. Annette Digby, vice president of academic affairs. “We decided a few years ago that the best way to celebrate our graduates was to let them hear from one another and from the professors who shaped their education here at Stephens. Attendees can expect lots of laughs and, perhaps, a few tears.”
Patrika Brown of Columbia is the class speaker, and Jennifer Hrebar-Ihler, president of the senior class, will also share some remarks.
Melody Parry, an instructor in the Master in Strategic Leadership program, will deliver the keynote speech at the graduate ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall. 
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McConnell named to Capital One Academic All-District Team

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

Stephens College student-athlete Jessica McConnell has been named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District® Softball Team, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday.
McConnell was one of 48 athletes named to the College Division Academic All-District® Teams, which is comprised of NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools.

As a first-team honoree for District 3, McConnell will be placed on the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

She is the first Stephens student-athlete to garner Academic All-District honors since the softball trio of Ashton Mixer, Emily Park and Andie Young in 2012.

A four-year starter for the Stars’ softball program, McConnell made an impressive 144 career starts in 144 appearances. She finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in hits, doubles, triples, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage.

As a multi-sport athlete, McConnell has racked up several awards in her time at Stephens. She is a four-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, seven-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree and earned 2010 AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention.

This season, she ranked among leaders in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) in several categories and ranked in the top 50 nationally (NAIA) in triples and assists/game.

At Stephens, McConnell, an Edwardsville, Ill. native, has already received her bachelor’s degree in business & marketing and will soon have her Master of Business Administration later this May. 
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Graduating senior selected to participate in Disney College Program

Senior Jessica Morgan has been selected a second time to participate in the Disney College Program, a paid internship program that will let the technical theatre major get more experience in the world of entertainment before applying for a permanent position.

After Commencement next weekend, Morgan will head to Disney in Orlando, where she will take theatre courses and rotate through recreational roles, working at stations such as lifeguarding and boat rentals. 
When she completes the internship in January, she hopes to apply for a position as a production assistant in the theatre program there.

Morgan originally came to Stephens to pursue acting but discovered that she was really a star behind the scenes.

“I started volunteering in the shop and turned out to be really good at it,” she said. “I went on to be a technical director at the [student-run] Warehouse Theatre my freshman year. That really helped me gain leadership experience. I fell in love with it.”

Morgan participated in Disney College—which is “extremely competitive,” according to the program’s website—once before working on the merchandising side.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I enjoyed it so much, I had to go back.”

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Psychology students present results of mindfulness, texting studies

Guided mindfulness can decrease anxiety and dysfunctional thoughts, senior Erica Bonnot discovered while researching the effects of purposefully clearing your head.
And for those who tend to operate on “auto pilot,” guided mindfulness such as yoga or meditation can have even greater effects.
Those were some of the conclusion she drew from her senior capstone, “The Effects of a Guided Mindfulness Intervention on Students’ Perceived Stress.” She, along with senior Jennifer Hrebar-Ihler, presented her capstone project Tuesday in Dudley Hall.
For her study, Bonnot worked with Stephens faculty to identify students who were about to take an exam or who had an upcoming performance of some sort. She gave them each a survey gauging their anticipatory stress levels. She then gave one group a five-minute Guided Mindfulness Intervention session from the University of California-Los Angeles, asking a separate control group to sit in silence for five minutes. Both took the survey again to determine whether stress levels had changed.
As she hypothesized, the experimental group experienced a drop in stress and an increase in positive attitude, while the control group experienced a slight increase in stress and anxiety.
“If five minutes can make a difference, what about 10 minutes or 45 minutes every day?” Bonnot challenged.

Jennnifer Hrebar-Ihler discusses texting as part of her capstone project.

For her capstone, Hrebar-Ihler studied whether increased use of text messaging negatively impacts face-to-face communication. After all, those who send and receive texts don’t get the verbal cues and body language that signal whether someone is being sincere.
To her surprise, Hrebar-Ihler discovered that teens and young people who reported heavy text usage showed no measurable differences in emotional intelligence than those who text less. As for older subjects in her study, she actually discovered a positive correlation between high text usage and emotional intelligence.
Hrebar-Ihler acknowledged that her study might have been flawed because it was based on self-reported surveys, but other studies have found similar results. She concluded that those who already have emotional intelligence and strong communication skills would use whatever form of communication is available to them, including text messaging.

Both Bonnot and Hrebar-Ihler said there’s more work to be done in both research areas and outlined some possible next steps for future studies.

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Reunion weekend celebrates Stephens spirit, friendships

Alumnae returned to the Stephens College campus this past weekend for Celebrate Stephens, the annual reunion weekend packed with events, friendships and memories.
“Everyone really enjoyed being back on campus and connecting with friends,” said Meichele Foster, vice president for institutional advancement and initiatives. “That’s what it’s all about. They come back here—back home, so to speak—to connect with their friends, and our role is to create opportunities for that to happen.”

The event attracted about 150 visitors from across the country, including a few from the Class of 1954 who were celebrating their 60th reunion. Marguerite “Peggy” Saville Leiter was the oldest alumna, having graduated from Stephens in 1949.

Celebrate Stephens events included an Alumnae Association Board’s Leadership Conference, held Thursday and Friday; a Welcome Party and Crossing the Bridge Ceremony, which allowed alumnae to welcome graduating seniors into the alumnae community; a Happy Hour at the President’s Home; and the President’s State of the College Address.
A Performing Arts Cabaret and Alumnae Bistro was a highlight of the weekend, Foster said.

“The bistro was a wonderful way to showcase all of our extremely talented alumnae and students,” Foster said. “We enjoyed singing, dancing and recognizing some of our special alumnae and friends.”

Helen Lewis Moore '77 performs at the bistro.

Virginia “Ginny” Hawley McSwain from the Class of 1973 was recognized with the Alumnae Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed on alumnae. McSwain is a successful voice director and actor. 
Teresa Peacher Maledy from the Class of 1978, president and CEO of Commerce Bank in Columbia, received the Jean Clinton Roeschlaub ’44 Alumnae Service Award, in part, for her service to the Board of Trustees.
Alumnae also attended campus events throughout the weekend, including the Senior Capstone and Portfolio event showcasing graphic design and marketing students’ works; the New Works dance concert; and The Collections, the student-designer fashion show.
But without question, Foster said, Celebrate Stephens was about celebrating the Stephens spirit.
“The ties that bind Stephens alumnae are very unique,” she said. “They’re amazing women—absolutely amazing—and we loved hearing the stories they shared and about the accomplishments they’ve made since leaving Stephens. I’m so happy they choose to come back.”
View more photos from Celebrate Stephens here.  

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Innovative, avant-garde designs emerge as top runway trends

New engineered, custom, fabric design, innovative design lines and avant-garde fashions emerged as the top runway trends featured Saturday at the 70th annual Stephens College fashion show.
Called The Collections, the event showcased the best weekend wear, career wear, swimwear and dresses, all designed and made by students in the School of Fashion and Design. Each garment was judged and chosen by a Jury of Selection comprised of industry professionals from the likes of California, New Mexico and Italy.
“The Collections did not disappoint,” Dean Monica McMurry said. “We were thrilled with the turnout and thrilled with audience members’ reactions. This was, perhaps, one of our best shows yet.”

Senior Effie Frank took home the Best Collection, as well as the Best Tailored Design and Award for Outstanding Surface Design. Her collection, "The Grammar of Ornament," featured a leaf print sheath dress with hand-dyed bands; a one-piece knotted swimsuit with an applique hem short; a two-piece floral swim suit; and a floral romper and a dress with engineered pleats and hand-dyed panels. The latter won the most points during jury, earning Frank the coveted Best of Jury Award.
Senior Holly Hmielewski also dazzled audiences with her collection, "Bioluminescence,  which included a long sleeve one-piece blue swimsuit with cutouts; a short, fitted dress with side peplum detailing; a black and blue jumpsuit with side peplums and cutout details;  and a mermaid fit gown with side peplum and fiber optic fabric details. The collection earned the Alumnae Choice Award and the Stargazer: Most Avant-Garde Award.

Kelly Ferguson models Hmielewski's black and blue jumpsuit.

Hmielewski also presented her Dallas collection, which debuted at Fashion Group International’s Night of the Stars event in Dallas last semester. The collection, which was not part of the judging, featured fringe and monarch-inspired swimsuits and dresses—garments well received by the audience.

Garments from Holly Hmielewski's Dallas collection.

Kali Pewitt and Taylor Barber received top honors from the event, as well, receiving Awards for Outstanding Performance as a Model, winning Jurors’ Choice and Students’ Choice, respectively.

Here is a list of all of the awards from the show:

Outstanding Fashion Design Freshman Student: Kathryn SingerOutstanding Fashion Design Sophomore Student: Brittany BellOutstanding Fashion Design Junior Student: Logan BlaggOutstanding Fashion Design Senior Student: Breosha WilliamsAward for Outstanding Surface Design: Steffanie FrankBest of Jury Awards:(highest score in each category)Best Childrenswear – Sonja TabbBest Patternmaking Dress – Brittany BellBest Swimwear – Alayna NietersBest Weekend Wear – Audrah DavidsonBest Career Wear – Logan BlaggBest Tailored Design – Steffanie FrankOutstanding Workmanship – Ariana JaimeOverall Technical Excellence – Kayla GibsonAlumnae Choice Award: Holly HmielewskiStargazer: Most Avant-Garde Award: Holly HmielewskiMost Marketable Award: Breosha Williams

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Equestrian students host, participate in Sho-Me Horse Circuit show Saturday

The Stephens College Equestrian Center hosted the Sho-Me Horse Circuit Horse Show this past weekend, attracting both Stephens students and outside riders.
It was the first show of the season for the Sho-Me Horse Circuit, the governing body of as many as 18 shows a year.
Stephens had 16 horses compete in addition to 30 horses brought in from the public, said instructor Karen Craighead, whose Equestrian Events Management class hosted the event.
“That blend of school horses and outside horses made for a nice show,” she said.

Students had the opportunity to not only compete but also plan and execute the event, said Michelle Humbert, a junior in the class.
“This event combines saddleseat and western, which typically each have huge shows in the area,” she said. “It’s unusual to have them both in one show.”

That allowed each discipline to see and interact with the other, she added.
Junior Hayley Upton typically competes as a huntseat rider, snagging the championship in her division at the Irish Fox Show in St. Louis earlier this semester. On Saturday, she took 2nd place in Class 2 American Saddlebred Horse Driving. Jessica Rauls took 1st place.

Cordy Brannan with Sons First Glance

Following is a complete list of Stephens students who placed at the show.
Open NoviceWestern Pleasure:
1st- Radical Rendezvous and Jessica Rauls
Green Western Pleasure:
1st MM’s Mr Joe and Emily Payne
Adult Horsemanship:
2nd Nevertoomuchchocolate and Megan Hasemann
Novice Walk/Trot Horsmanship
1st Alexis Hudson and Legends Diamond Chip
2nd Cheyenne Jones and Kids Double Joe
Egg & Spoon:
2nd Radical Rendezvous and Jessica Rauls
Walk/Trot Pleasure ages 14-18
1st Sheiks Aritfacts and Marge Sheldon
Novice Walk/Trot Pleasure
1st Legends Diamond Chip and Alexis Hudson
2nd Cheyenne Jones and Kids Double Joe
3rd Radical Rendezvous and Jessica Rauls
5th  Nevertoomuchchocolate and Rachel Cummings
6th MM’s Mr Joe and Emily Payne
 Novice Walk/Trot Trail
1st  Nevertoomuchchocolate and Megan Hasemann
2nd Docs Music Dancer and Julia Abegg
3rd  MM Mr Joe and Erin Cumming
4th Sheiks Artifacts and Marge Sheldon
5th  Charmed By Chance and Ashley Duke
Bareback Pleasure
2nd  Nevertoomuchchocolate and Megan Hasemann’
3rd  Teddy and Kerry Miller
4th Kids Double Joe and Cheyenne Jones
1st Magellen and Chanielle McLaren
2nd  Cool Down Papa and DeLynn Uttech
1st Adrienne Markle and The Top Shelf
2nd  Sir Elegance and Cara Wolf
3rd  Son’s First Glance and Rachel Cummings
4th Showboat’s Gambler and Jocelle Davaust
3 Gaited/Park
1st Count and Ashley Duke
2nd Undalata’s Health Nut and Taylor Bernstein
3rd  Uptown New Yorker and Erin Cumming
English Pleasure:
1st Just Special and Megan Hulse
2nd Timeline and Adrienne Markle
3rd  Sir Elegance and Cara Wolf
Academy Walk Trot
1st Neon Deon and Kerry Miller
2nd Sons First Glance and Cordy Brannon
1st Magellan and Jessica Rauls
2nd  Count and Haley Upton





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Filmmakers screen best works at annual showcase

Digital filmmaking students at Stephens College screened some of their best films Saturday night at the annual Senior & Best of Student Film Showcase.
Audience members were treated to a mix of genres, including comedy, science fiction, animation and documentary.
“These films represent a year’s worth of work by these talented young filmmakers,” said Kerri Yost, associate professor of film. “We’re proud of all of them, and we’re happy they were able to share their work with family, friends and community members.”
Kirsten Izzett had attendees laughing when she screened her documentary short, “Rice, Rice Baby,” which took second place at the GimmeTruth contest at the True/False Film Festival. She entertained audience member again when she screened “The Scootist,” which she created with fellow film student Livvy Runyon about the benefits of using a scooter as a mode of transportation.
Izzett and Runyon teamed up with Haley Padiliia and Clara Canfield to produce “Wayward,” a short about a father who hires a man to investigate the death of his drug-addicted son. And LeeAnn Lowery and Hannah Bilau took on a love story that began with a prank involving a snake in their short, “Snake Charmer.”
Senior films this year included “Exodus” by Florian Clunie. The science fiction short revolved around a young woman who had to choose between two very different mothers.
Emily Collette screened her short, “Forgetting Renz,” about her investigation of the abandoned Renz prison near Jefferson City. Collette contacted a former inmate of the prison, which closed after the 1992 flood, who wrote back and shared his experience there. 
Jordan Laguna tackled the topic of eating disorders in her short, “Muffin Top,” about how a young woman’s new obsession with dieting threatens her friendship with her best friend.
And Jackie Barrows screened the first scene of Gizmo!, an animated short about a robot who’s about to alter the lives of two young girls.

A Q&A with seniors followed the showcase.
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Playhouse Theatre Company presents 'Respect: A Musical Journey of Women'

The Stephens College School of Performing Arts will take audiences through a musical journey of women’s history when the Playhouse Theatre Company presents “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women” by Dorothy Marcic.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. on May 2-3 and May 7-9 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on May 4. Click here for ticket information.

St. Louis-based director and choreographer Millie Garvey is directing the show, which will feature eight Stephens women.
“It is perfect for Stephens,” Garvey said. “We have some great voices; it's a really great blend.”
The show begins in the early 1900s and traces the evolution of women throughout the decades. In the 1930s, expect depression-era blues such as “God Bless the Child.” In the 1940s, fashion icon Coco Chanel will make an appearance, showing how she changed the rules of women’s wear.
The second act opens with the 1960s and takes audiences through the Civil Rights era, showing how Rosa Parks made a difference. Protests, women’s rights and songs of liberation—think “These Boots are Made for Walking”—will follow, proceeded by some emotional reflection.
Performers include Emma Marston, Graham Galloway, Emily Blake, Katie Pautler, Mycah Westhoff, Ryan Tucker, Natalya McDaniel and Rebecca Munoz. Each will be on a platform with a cutout above them where screen projections will help tell the story.
This is Garvey’s 19th Stephens production, which includes the sell-out hit “Legally Blonde” last year. She got her start working with the College through an alumna.
“It was a nice fit for me,” she said. “I had just started directing and choreographing and it allowed me to utilize my skills in the professional world.”
Outside of Stephens, Garvey has worked on more than 100 productions, winning a Herald Award for the Little Theatre production of “Me and My Girl,” and a 2003 Arizoni for Broadway Palm West’s production of “West Side Story.”
As audiences enjoy the nostalgic musical journey “Respect” takes them on, Garvey said she hopes attendees “remember that the power of music not only transforms our moods and feelings but reminds us to respect other’s human rights along the way.”
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Graphic design, marketing students show off work at senior portfolio event

Seniors getting ready to earn degrees in integrated marketing and graphic design yesterday showed off portfolios of their best work during The Connections, the Senior Capstone and Portfolio reception, yesterday.
But the work wasn’t that of college-level quality, Assistant Professor Kate Gray said.
“Everything in here is professional,” she said during the event held at Stamper Studio in Windsor Lounge. “This work is at the level of someone with one to two years of professional experience—and a lot of them do have that because they worked for Creative Ink.
“From my perspective, our seniors have reached a level where when they graduate, they’re not just ready to walk across the stage. They’re ready to walk into a job and start making a difference.”
Bree Martino used the event to showcase her span of work from print pieces to digital designs, all with her signature style.
“I like a clean aesthetic,” she said.  “Everything is deliberate. I pride myself in doing something very true to each project—nothing extra unless it’s necessary.”
Martino received two “Awards of Merit” for her work.
Andie Albin showcased 314, the innovative app she designed. The app is tailored for young adults wanting to find specific venues and events in the St. Louis area.

Andie Albin showcases her 314 app.

“It allows the user to design what they’re looking for,” she said.
Designing an interactive application is tougher than designing a still print piece, Albin said.
“You have to think about the interaction—users moving forward and backwards and how they navigate different places,” she said.
Albin also received an Award of Merit.
Other award recipients were:

  • Aubree Schlepp
  • Moki Blanding
  • Michelle Niewald
  • Jennifer Pestle
  • Kaylyn Crane
  • Michelle Marcum





Marcum received two awards, including one for her overall portfolio.

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The Collections teaming up with MU's iBeacon

The 70th annual Stephens College Student Designer Fashion Show, The Collections, will be bringing new technology to the annual runway event today.
Students from the iPhone Application Development course at the University of Missouri reached out to The Collections crew to test the mockup of a newly developed mobile application, Runway Radar.
This application will be tested at the 4:30 p.m. show and uses iBeacon, a new technology that extends Location Services in Apple iOS 7. The iOS 7 device given to random test participants in this showing can alert the app when garments approach. In addition to monitoring the proximity, the app will allow the user to track favorite looks and receive designer biography and contact information.    "The garments will each be programmed into a beacon that will enable those with the iPhones that have the app to vote for favorites and read information about the designer of the garment," said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design.
She said the idea is to give fashion show attendees a greater sense of participation.
"Stephens College is excited to be part of this partnership and hopes to continue advances in technology toward the fashion industry," McMurry said. "We look forward to continuing our great relationship with MU and other local partnerships. We are thankful for the sponsors, designers, students, press, and all of our fans who make our show possible."
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Columbia life coach touts benefits of being positive

Success doesn’t make you happy, rather being happy makes you successful.
That was the main take-away of Carolyn Sullivan’s keynote address during a leadership luncheon today at Celebrate Stephens Alumnae Reunion Weekend.
“Happiness doesn’t follow success,” Sullivan, a Columbia life coach, told a group of Alumnae Association Board members and other alumnae attendees. “Happiness leads to success.”
She pointed to research that has indicated the more positive someone is, the more productive and successful they are.

And contrary to popular belief, you can only control 50 percent of your happiness level—the other half is predetermined. That said, Sullivan offered some ways to best use the part you can control.
Practice gratitude, she said, and keep a journal. Those who exercise and meditate are also statistically happier, as well as those who take time to “play.”
And be kind, Sullivan said, not just to friends and family but also to strangers.
The AAB Leadership Luncheon also recognized outgoing AAB members, including Kathleen Brandt and retiring Board President Shatenita Horton, who turned the gavel over to the new president, Aimee Davenport.
Celebrate Stephens continues with a welcome party this afternoon, the annual Crossing the Bridge ceremony welcoming graduating seniors into the alumnae community and a happy hour event at the President’s Home.
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Juniors prepare, deliver lessons during 'clusters'

Stephens junior Dawnavyn James has spent the past week teaching elementary students about the Harlem Renaissance, an era of history often overlooked in social studies curriculum, she said.

But the children ended up teaching her a few things, too.
“I learned not to underestimate them,” she said. “They definitely guided me and my lesson plans, expanding on my ideas.”
James and fellow juniors studying education have spent the past two weeks teaching at the Stephens College Children’s School. The annual “clusters” event lets juniors take over classrooms, preparing and delivering lesson plans, as master-level teachers observe.
James made her lessons interactive, allowing students to rotate through roles. Students got to portray famous people from the Harlem Renaissance era while other students interviewed them with classmates filming “The Harlem Show” on tablets.
Last week, James taught weather at the preschool, letting children make tornados in bottles and fly kites to learn about wind patterns.
Fellow junior Katelyn Rush is teaching elementary students this week about architecture, a lesson that includes building a play house.

“They decided as a group on what they would consider a dream home and what would be included,” elementary teacher Lindsey Clifton said. “It’s been a collaborative effort.”

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The Collections; Expect 'stunning' designs, McMurry says

It’s a year of celebration for The Collections, Stephens’ student designer fashion show, which celebrates its 70th anniversary.
“The colors and feel of the show will have a luminescent quality,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design, which hosts the show. “There is a sense of heritage and the artisanal.”
The Collections this year—inspired by illumination, elegance and celebration—will take place at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. in Windsor Auditorium, 1405 E. Broadway. Preferred seating can be purchased for $25 and general admission tickets can be purchased for $15. Student tickets are available with a valid school ID for $10. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at http://stephensfashion.eventbrite.com
The event corresponds with Stephens' alumnae weekend and shows often sell out, so advanced tickets are encouraged.
Junior and senior designers will present garments in the categories of swimwear, career sportswear, weekend wear and tailored design, as well as fair trade clothing and the “Breaking the Pattern of Breast Cancer” pink dresses created in the Crafting Sustainable Community course this past fall. The senior design students will present their individual collections they have been conceptualizing, designing and constructing throughout the entire year.
“If you love fashion or Project Runway, we do it everyday. The show is a culmination of that year-long experience. Most people do not have any idea of the skill that all of our fashion students have right here in Columbia. We are ‘What You Un-expect,'” McMurry said, referring to the Columbia Visitor’s Bureau tagline.
The garments being presented during The Collections were chosen by a jury of selection on March 15. Michelle Fifis, textile designer and founder of Pattern Observer and The Textile Design Lab; Sandra Nannini, worldwide sales and merchandising director of Nannini Firenze SRL; Gaia Polli, department coordinator of fashion and accessories studies and technology at Florence University of the Arts; and Kristy Whitehouse, senior technical designer at Abercrombie & Fitch, were among prominent industry experts who selected the student designs to be featured in the show.
“Several of the jurors said the collections and garments in general blew them away at how professional they looked,” McMurry said.





Attendees can expect lots of “stunning” engineered prints and garments with LED lights embedded for a “glowing” runway effect.

Designed by Hannah Bilau


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Designers discuss inspiration behind Collections

This is the final installment of the Scene's Collections video series.

Catch the designs on the runway at the 70th annual student designer fashion show, The Collections, Saturday. Showtimes are 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. You can purchase tickets here.

In this video, senior Chelsay Russell talks about how Western movies—think Clint Eastwood—inspired her designs this year and will soon emerge as a national runway trend.

And in this video, senior Holly Hmielewski shares how deep sea creatures inspired her edgy, head-turning looks:

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'Hooked on Phonics' worked for her

It was a catchphrase that became a national sensation in the early 1990s, and sure enough, it worked for Stephens senior Emily Collette.
Collette was the voice of the national “Hooked on Phonics Worked for Me!” radio and television campaign when she was a tot.
In fact, at the time she recorded the phrase, it wasn’t exactly true—she was so young, she was barely reading. As part of her compensation, though, Collette received a full set of Hooked on Phonics cassette tapes and ultimately proved the company right.
Today, Collette is co-editor of the Stephens literary journal, Harbinger. This year’s edition, “Shadow box” debuted Friday during a standing-room only reception and reading at the Vault II.
Collette and co-editor Emily Marchant were pleasantly surprised by the large turnout and the event in general.
“I was really happy with the readers,” Marchant said. “They did a really good job.”
During the event, students read poetry and selections from non-fiction and fiction pieces. Collette, who is majoring in digital filmmaking, read part of her non-fiction piece about the Renz prison near Jefferson City. The prison is also the basis of her senior film, which debuts Saturday during the Film Showcase at 7:30 p.m. at Macklanburg Playhouse.
Earlier this year, she and Chase Thompson, assistant professor of film, created a video about her work in the national Hooked on Phonics campaign and entered it into Gimme Truth at the True/False Film Festival.
Collette got the gig through her father, who works in the voice-over industry in Minneapolis.

“They needed a kid’s voice and my dad suggested me,” she said. “I guess it really worked. I love reading, and I loved working on Harbinger.
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Film Showcase will feature variety of genres

Some of the best short films created by Stephens College students will be screened this weekend at the annual Film Showcase.
Films will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with doors opening at 7 p.m. at the Macklanburg Playhouse on the Stephens College campus. It is free and open to the public.
The event will showcase a variety of films produced over the past year, including a few that were finalists in the Gimme Truth competition at True/False Film Festival.
“There are a mix of genres, from documentary to animation to drama and comedy—a real mix of films that will appeal to all tastes,” said Kerri Yost, an associate professor of digital filmmaking. “It’s a fast-moving showcase and the film screenings will show off the various talents of student work at all levels.”
In addition to senior films, short films from younger students will also be shown, giving audience members a glimpse of “new voices and perspectives,” Yost said.
Senior films include a drama by Jordan Laguna titled “Muffin Top” about a hidden eating disorder that threatens to tear childhood friends apart just as they’re graduating from college. And a sci-fi film from Florian Clunie titled “Exodus” is about a young woman who must choose between two mothers and two very different ways of life.
A Q&A session with senior filmmakers will follow the screenings.
In addition to student films, the department will also screen a short, giving a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Stephens Film Institute.
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The Collections: Yuhouse discusses NY-inspired designs

Living in New York inspired senior Jessica Yuhouse's designs, which will be showcased at the 70th annual Collections April 26.

Showtimes are 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased here.

In this series, designers talk about the inspirations behind their collections. Watch Yuhouse discuss her work here:

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Fashion students set up photo shoots at airport, other local landmarks

Stephens fashion students got a chance to experience a different type of runway this month when they arranged a photo shoot at the Columbia Regional Airport.
The early morning shoot was part of a series of off-campus photo shoots students in Art Direction and Photo Styling have set up across Columbia this month. They’ve also been to the Tiger Hotel and Helmi’s Gardens.
At each location, students had a chance to rotate between roles as art director, stylist and photographer, Assistant Professor Amy Parris said. Directors were responsible for creating mood boards to create a consistent story for the shoot, selecting the model and pulling garments from local retailers to tell the story through photography. 
At the airport, junior Colby Elliott was modeling as a celebrity going from her private jet to an evening event, senior Lyndsey Pliske said.“She’s going from a street style to a more glamorous Red Carpet look.”
The off-campus shoots provided a more authentic glimpse into the world of styling and direction, Parris said.
“One of the benefits of being on location is that you have to work together as a team,” she said. “External factors come into play and you can’t always control your environment. Sometimes the scene controls us.”
That was the case at the airport when photographers, art directors, stylists and Elliott had to drop what they were doing indoors to arrange to get photos in front of a plane taking off. Only four students were allowed on the runway, but the skeleton crew managed to get some shots before the plane disappeared.
“They had to drop everything and change looks quickly,” Parris said. “That plane was not going to wait for us.” 

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The Collections: Gobel discusses sunset-inspired collection

The sunset inspired senior Brittany Gobel's senior collections.

The designs will be showcased at the 70th annual student designer fashion show on April 26.

Watch Gobel discuss her designs here:

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The Collections: Williams describes inspiration behind her fashion designs

Edgy, bold and bright—that's how senior Breosha Williams describes the collection she will be presenting at the 70th annual student designer fashion show this weekend.

The Collections is Saturday, April 26, in Windsor Auditorium. Show times are 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m., with premiere seating available at each. Purchase tickets here.
In this video, Williams talks about the inspiration behind her collection. This is the fourth of The Collections video series, which has also featured seniors Effie FrankNikkole Crow and Melinda Thiedig.

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New Works to feature student-choreographed dances

Stephens College’s Dance Collaborations will present its annual New Works Dance Concert this weekend featuring original pieces choreographed by seven dance students.
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on April 27. Ticket information can be found here.
New Works is produced entirely by students through Dance Collaborations. Two weeks ago, dances were presented to a panel of five adjudicators who selected the pieces that would go in the concert.

Audiences can expect a range from ballet to hip hop to musical theatre, said Stephens senior Kramer Pruitt, president of the company.

Selections include “Variations from the World of Walt Disney,” choreographed by LeeAnn Davis; “The Enlightened and The Messiah: A Story about Jesus in India Befriending Buddha,” choreographed by Hydee Champion; and a piece titled “3 Heads are Better than One,” by Carrie Collins-Whitfield, which personifies in dance a personality disorder.
“Community members won’t want to miss this,” said Elizabeth Hartwell, adviser of Dance Collaborations. “A lot of hard work goes into the New Works concert, and it really allows our dancers to showcase their talents.”
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McCoy studying beefalo DNA for senior project

For her senior research project, Davielle McCoy is comparing the DNA profile of beefalo—a cross between buffalo and domestic cattle—to determine whether certain regions are more like one species or the other. McCoy is hypothesizing that beefalo are more akin to bovine, although she’s run into some troubleshooting issues with the DNA analysis in the lab.
McCoy’s family raises the hybrid on a farm in rural Missouri, and she’s been showing both beefalo and cattle since she was a child. Farmers have been crossing bison and domestic beef breeds since the 1960s because the result produces a superior animal that has the meat quality of bison and the ease of handling bovine cattle. It takes three generations to fully cross the animals, McCoy said.  
McCoy began collecting samples last semester and is currently wrapping up her project. She’s not sure whether she’ll be able to draw a firm conclusion before the semester is up—not uncommon for research projects with time limits.
McCoy came to Stephens primarily to play basketball but fell in love with the academic program.
“Basketball brought me here, but the biology department kept me here,” she said. “The faculty here help you do whatever you want to do. They do the best they can to get you to where you want to go.”
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Public invited to Harbinger reception, reading tomorrow at the Vault II

Students who contributed to this year's Harbinger will host a reception and reading tomorrow to showcase their works.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Vault II in the Tiger Hotel, 23 South 8th St. The event is open to the public, and the Vault will be offering hors d'oeuvres and drink specials. Copies of the magazine will be available for $6.

Harbinger has been named Outstanding Literary Journal by Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society, a record four times. This year, the publication includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and interviews. 
“We are excited to see two semester's worth of work come together in this magazine,” said Emily Merchant, a senior who co-edited the magazine with Emily Collette, also graduating in May. “We feel this is one of the strongest editions of Harbinger yet.”
For more information, contact Kris Somerville at [email protected]
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Before 'American Idol' debut, Malin awes solo recital attendees

Senior Annie Malin has been given the green light to appear before the judges on an upcoming season of "American Idol," and if the reaction to her solo recital on campus Saturday night was any indication, she can expect to move on to additional rounds.
Malin presented “Live Inspired” to a full house in the Recital Hall at Historic Senior Hall, and family members, faculty, staff and students gave her a standing ovation after the nearly two hour concert.
Malin performed a variety of pieces, including “Falling Slowly” from “Once,” featuring her brother, Patrick Malin, on guitar. She also performed “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from "Phantom of the Opera," a musical she says solidified her dream of performing as a career. 
And there was barely a dry eye in the room when she dedicated “Someone to Watch Over Me” to her grandmother, whom she credited for inspiring her to sing. Her grandmother was in the audience and celebrating her 80th birthday.
In her program, Malin also praised her theatre and music faculty.
“I am convinced that Stephens has the all-time best professors in the world, and it is such a privilege to have been taught by such incredible people,” she wrote. “You have inspired me immensely and helped guide me into the world of performance with wisdom I now carry with me for the rest of my life.”
The solo recital is a requirement of Applied Music 402 under instructor Pam Ellsworth-Smith.
Senior Katie Pautler will perform her solo recital at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, in the Recital Hall, and Emma Marston will give her senior recital at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, in the Parlors in Senior Hall. 
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Stephens forms new competitive dance team

Stephens College is forming a new competitive dance team that will begin competing in the 2014-15 school year.
The Stars Competitive Dance Team will allow those who have taken dance or participated on cheer squads to continue to compete on a collegiate level.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch and Athletic Director Deb Duren visited the NAIA Cheer & Dance Invitational competition in Oklahoma City last month to see “what it would take to make this happen,” Duren said.
It didn’t take long for them to decide to form a team on campus. “It is very Stephens,” said Duren, who is also vice president for student services.
Adding competitive dance to the roster of sanctioned sports benefits both dance majors and non-dance majors, Duren said.
“It gives those who have taken dance or participated on cheer squads a way to continue that even if they’re not pursuing a performance career,” she said. “For those who are in dance, it provides more performance experience to list on a resume.”
It also allows the College to provide athletic scholarships to dancers.
Stephens students have participated in pom and dance for years informally or through student clubs.
“I think it is absolutely wonderful that it is becoming a sanctioned sport,” said Michelle Niewald, a senior who has participated in the club.
With Stephens’ strong background in performing arts, it makes sense to have an official team, she said. “I think it can only get better from here.”
The NAIA considers competitive dance an emerging sport, and students will have the opportunity to compete regionally.
Tryouts for current students will be held on April 19 at Silverthorne Arena. Prospective students are being encouraged to submit an audition via video.
Once the program is up and running, Duren said she will begin the process of forming a companion competitive cheer program.
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