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Stephens launches Women's History Month site

Stephens College is celebrating Women's History Month by honoring some of the women affiliated with the College who have made history over the years.

A new website, Stephens Celebrates Women's History Month, debuted today.
“We wanted a way to honor and celebrate our alumnae, trustees, administrators and others who have made significant contributions in their respective fields and communities,” said Rebecca Kline, director of marketing and communications. “Some of the women will be familiar to most people; in other cases, we'll be introducing lesser-known women who have made history.”
The website also allows readers to participate by submitting suggestions for additional women to profile. The site will be updated with new honorees throughout the month of March.

“As the second-oldest women's college in the country, we have a responsibility to share the amazing accomplishments women have made throughout history ... women who have all been a part of Columbia through Stephens College in one way or another,” Kline said.
Inaugural honorees include alumna Wally Funk, an astronaut and one of the Mercury 13; Vicki Russell, current Stephens College Trustee and first female publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune; and Lucy Wales, the first principal of Stephens College when it opened as Columbia Female Academy in 1833. 
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Stars soccer team volunteers at Midway Elementary









The Stephens Stars soccer team this morning headed to Midway Elementary to read to children as part of the school’s Literacy Week.
The service project ensures the team’s status as an NAIA Champion of Character, a program that promotes good sportsmanship on and off the field. The Stars soccer team is also a two-time recipient of the American Midwest Conference’s Fair Play & Sportsmanship Award.
While reading to children fulfilled a requirements, the Stars were happy to help out at Midway, said Head Coach Xander Kennedy, whose wife, Kristen, works as a school counselor at Midway.
“Our Stephens athletes really enjoyed it,” he said. “There was a nice buzz as we climbed back on the bus to return to campus. It is always satisfying to have others look up to you, and that’s how our Stephens women felt after working with the elementary children.”
Here are some photos from the event. 


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Stephens students take 2nd in Gimme Truth

Stephens students Kirsten Izzett and Livvy Runyon took second place at Gimme Truth, the documentary game show held during the True/False Film Festival this weekend.

The event challenges film professionals to decide whether one-minute short films are fact or fiction.

Izzett and Runyon’s film, “Rice, Rice Baby,” told the unbelievable story of Izzett’s real-life baby picture—a photo so epic, her family sent it to relatives in the Philippines who went to a print shop to have it blown up. The printmaker was also amused by the photo: He made a poster-sized copy of the photo and hung it in his shop.
Six years later, Izzett’s father visited the Philippines and saw the photo hanging in the print shop’s window.
Only one of the judges thought the story was true, earning them the second-place win. Prizes included passes to next year’s True/False Film Festival.
This is the second year in a row Izzett has claimed the No. 2 prize at Gimme Truth. Last year, she and LeeAnne Lowry took second for a true short about a Stephens student who carries her rib bone in her pocket.
Lowery also had a film accepted into Gimme Truth, along with Hannah Bilau. Associate Professor Chase Thompson also screened a short at the event, held Saturday at the Blue Note.
Watch Rice, Rice Baby:

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Senior designers showcase garments in Sunglass Hut Runway Show

Holly Hmielewski shows off her carousel dress.

By Michelle Niewald/Stephens College Senior

Two fashion design majors showcased garments in a prominent fashion show in Los Angeles last week.
Seniors Holly Hmielewski and Melinda Thiedig had pieces selected for the Sunglass Hut Runway Show at the Beverly Hilton. Among the garments was the carousel dress Hmielewski debuted at Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day last year.
Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design, found out about the fashion show opportunity from Stephens alumna Erin Stegeman. McMurry then asked faculty members to solicit photos from seniors of garments for possible use in the Sunglass Hut show. McMurry then compiled and sent the photos to Stegeman for consideration.
Associate Professor Kirsty Buchanan “came to the seniors and told us there was an opportunity for our garments to be shown in a fashion show for Sunglass Hut out in L.A.,” said Hmielewski. “We did not know much at all about this, but it was an opportunity. When we got to L.A. we found out that the show was a secret, and that’s why there was no information about it.”
Once Hmielewski and Thiedig arrived in L.A., they met with Stegeman and her fiancé, a Stephens performing arts alumnus. They spent most of Tuesday assisting with preparation for the event, styling garments with celebrity stylist Jen Abrams, helping decide the garments models would wear and completing fittings when they arrived.
While they were preoccupied with helping backstage on Wednesday, the day of the show, both Hmielewski and Thiedig were ultimately able to watch their designs modeled onstage from the audience.
Hmielewski said she felt comfortable working alongside professionals, thanks to the coursework she’s had at Stephens.
“Stephens prepared me to be professional, hard-working, and to take chances and go for dreams and opportunities. I felt so knowledgeable the whole time I was there,” she said. “When trends were being explained, I already studied them months ago. When styling tips were being taught, I felt like I was one step ahead of them. Stephens is always the first credit I give because I have been presented with so many opportunities. These dreams of mine are coming true.”
Columbia residents will have a chance to view Hmielewski and Thiedig’s work, along with other Stephens College fashion designers, at The Collections, the student designer fashion show, on April 24.

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Dance concert to feature ballet, jazz, mimedance

UPDATE: The Sunday matinee is now scheduled for 2 p.m. March 9.

Audiences can expect a wide range of performances next week when the School of Performing Arts at Stephens College presents its annual Dance Company Spring Concert.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 through March 1 and March 7-8 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on March 2 at Macklanburg Playhouse. Ticket information.
The annual concert features works by faculty members and guest artists.
Works will include “Swimming with Sharks,” a piece by Karen Grundy, artistic/executive director of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet, set to the music of Tom Andes, who is on the Stephens music faculty. 
Guest artist Karen Montanaro, a world-renowned dancer and mime artist from Maine, will showcase “mimedance,” a fusion of the two classical art forms. 
Faculty member Debra Carr has choreographed a piece, “Pondering,” featuring a cappella southern ballads, and Carol Estey, artistic director for dance at Stephens, has created a jazzy piece, “Coded,” which features the music of Radiohead and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.  
Rounding out the concert will be pieces from the classic ballet “The Firebird” featuring Kramer Pruitt ’14 and Michael Burke, a Mexico High School senior, in the male lead.
“It will be quite the show,” Estey said.
Montanaro will also be giving a mimedance lecture demonstration at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at Macklanburg Playhouse. That event is free and open to the public.
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'The Ten' recognizes those who embody Ten Ideals

By Michelle Niewald/Stephens College Senior

The values of Stephens College are no secret to the student body.
Each year, a secret society of 10 senior women team up to recognize those students who embody the Ten Ideals—10 core values Stephens women live by. President Dianne Lynch and her husband, Philip Coleman, are the only two who know the identities of those representing the Ten Ideals…but their presence is known across campus thanks to posters with messages such as: “We’re watching you … and have been since 1921.”
The group’s mission? To recognize others who demonstrate values such as respect, courage, independence and support. And when they “catch” faculty, staff and fellow students demonstrating the Ideals, “The Ten” leave elaborate gifts and displays for them in a public spot on campus, typically in Columbia Foyer.
“The Ten serves our community in extraordinary ways,” Lynch said. “Every college and university has a mission statement, and most have a set of values they articulate and point to. At Stephens — thanks in large part to the Ten—we live those values, we recognize those among us who best represent those values, and we are reminded of them on a daily basis. We walk the talk, as they say—and we do that because every year, an exceptional group of very special students is willing to do the incredibly hard work to make that possible.”

A poster recognizes those who demonstrate creativity

Being charged with nominating women who embody the Ten Ideals is no easy task. According to the student representing Responsibility, the group consistently works to nominate others outside of their familiar circle. “Responsibility” specifically nominates students who, in her opinion, are quiet, perhaps a student who does not hold a leadership position in an organization.
On the contrary, the student representing Leadership nominates those who take charge. “Being responsible or intelligent or creative is important, but being a leader and exemplifying these qualities inspires others to do the same,” she said.
Alumna Megan Tongue, a past member of “The Ten,” described the group as Stephens’ “private superhero club.”
“There was something heartwarming about seeing fellow students’ faces the morning of a reveal,” she said. “So many were so excited about being selected, and it made the late nights completely worth it.”
The confidence women gain from being recognized by “The Ten” is easily recognized when a display appears.





Essentially, “The Ten” hold themselves and others accountable for upholding the values and mission of Stephens College. As the role of women evolves and advances in the workplace, society and the world, “The Ten” agree it is important to empower others, especially when they may not realize anyone is watching.

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New musical theatre ensemble debuts at event

A new musical theatre ensemble debuted during the Bach’s Lunch Student Recital at Stephens College today.
The group performed “The Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Audra Sergel accompanied on piano and Cheryl Nichols directed.
The ensemble includes residential students as well as members of the Stephens College Professional Conservatory Training Program.
Bach’s Lunch is a monthly event held throughout the school year that gives musical theatre and other students interested in vocal performance an opportunity to share their talents with their peers and members of the Stephens and local community. Today’s event also included several solos and a performance by The Velvetones, Stephens’ a cappella ensemble.
Bach’s Lunch is free and open to the public. The next recital is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on March 20 in Senior Hall Recital Hall. The Spring Choral Concert, “Stephens Sings,” is set for 7:30 p.m. on April 13 in the Recital Hall and is also open to the public.
Watch a clip from the new ensemble’s performance below. 

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Stephens students, professor to screen films at Gimme Truth!

Stephens College film students and a faculty member have had their short films accepted into Gimme Truth!, a documentary game show held during Columbia’s True/False Film Festival.
The event, slated for 9:30 p.m. Saturday at The Blue Note, challenges local filmmakers to create shorts in an attempt to fool three seasoned film professionals who guess whether the one-minute documentaries are fact or fiction.
For their project, Kirsten Izzett and Livvy Runyon teamed up to create “Rice, Rice Baby,” about a supposed baby picture from the U.S. that caused such a buzz it’s now hanging in a printmaker’s shop in the Philippines. With supposedly factual interviews, old photos and clips from “South Pacific,” the story is made in documentary format. But is it for real?
LeeAnne Lowry and Hannah Bilau will also attempt to fool the judges when they screen their short film about a couple that supposedly ended up together following a prank involving a snake. And Associate Professor Chase Thompson’s film features an interview with a man who claims to have a pretty incredible story.
“It’s fun ‘competing’ against students,” Thompson said. “I’ve told them it would be awesome if we take first, second and third place with me being in third.”
Izzett and Lowry are Gimme Truth veterans. Last year, the two took second place for "Dem Bones," the unbelievable but true story about a Stephens student who carries her rib bone in her pocket.
Runyon is coming off a recent win, as well. She and her production team, under the direction of Stephens students Haley Padilla and Clara Canfield, won the Technical Achievement Award at the University of Missouri’s Valentine’s Day Film Fest. The prize? Rental of a Red Camera, a top of the line video camera.
Screening a film in public is nerve-wracking, Runyon said, but “also cool. It’s awesome to watch with an audience and see their reactions.”
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Somerville joins panel at AWP conference

Assistant Professor Kris Somerville is in Seattle this week presenting at the prestigious Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference. 
Somerville will present “Attack of the Beige Eaters” during a panel discussion, “Go Somewhere, Write Something: Teaching Influential Experience,” which focuses on giving students real-life experiences worth writing about. The conference is being held at the Washington State Convention Center through March 1.
The paper was inspired by a class project Somerville implemented two years ago in her advanced composition course. The class happened to be around the noon hour, and many of her students were bringing their lunches—think pizza, chicken, fries—with them to class. 
When Somerville, a guest food blogger for the Columbia Daily Tribune, mentioned that she was doing an article on sardines, students cringed. Of course they’d never actually tasted sardines, and that prompted an experiential learning activity.
Somerville decided to challenge her students to try new foods—including sardines. Every Friday, she would bring in an exotic fish, cheese or fruit and challenge them to describe what they tasted without using obvious details such as “salty.” Students could also write food-related memoirs if certain tastes brought up any particular memory. Not only did the exercise expose them to new foods, it also helped them develop writing skills.
The activity was so successful, she plans to implement it in her writing class again this semester.
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Stephens receives $15 million gift

An anonymous donor has given Stephens College a $15 million unrestricted gift—the largest in the school’s 180-year history.
“This is a historic contribution, and we are so honored and humbled,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “We will use the funding strategically. We will use it wisely. We will use it to make Stephens even better than she is now.”
Stephens will invest the resources in strategic, creative ways that will help build on the college’s national prominence in both traditional academic programs and new areas of high marketplace demand.
“These are not replacement dollars,” Lynch said. “This is funding that will help shape Stephens College into its next century.”
The donor’s generosity is further confirmation that Stephens is an exceptional institution with a mission and tradition that merit exceptional support, said Nikki Krawitz, chair of the Board of Trustees.
“It will allow us to invest in our campus, in our people and in our students—and just as important it confirms for the world that Stephens is an investment worth making,” she said.
The donor wishes to remain anonymous but hopes the contribution inspires others to invest in Stephens’ future.

“The next several years are going to be exciting,” Lynch said. “We have an amazing network of generous and involved alumnae. We also have so many community members who support Stephens. That’s the incredible thing about this place—whether you’re coming to campus for a film or play, visiting our stables, sending your children to our children’s school—you’re part of our family. You’re going to see amazing things coming from the Stephens campus thanks, in part, to transformational gifts such as this one.”
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Stephens to offer new self defense courses

Stephens College this semester will begin offering students R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) courses.
Two sections of the course—one in the morning and one in the evening—will be offered starting next month. Students can earn one credit for it or take it on a no-credit basis. Starting in the fall, the eight-week course will be offered twice during each semester.
“It makes perfect sense to offer such a course at a women’s college, and it goes hand-in-hand with our main goal here at Stephens—to empower our young women,” said Tony Coleman, director of security. “This is just one more thing for students to add to their life experience here and hopefully it will be something that will help them should they ever face a realistic situation during which they need to make decisions about their personal safety.”
The course educates women in basic confrontational principles such as understanding reaction time and knowing vulnerable target areas. It also teaches students about risk awareness and recognition and avoidance techniques.
Additionally, R.A.D. courses are designed to teach women to depend on themselves—not brothers, boyfriends or male friends—for protection, Coleman said. And it teaches women how to make decisions, such as when it’s best not to use force in self-defense.
Finally, the course creates opportunities for women to exert their physical strength through hands-on exercises.
Coleman and Security Officer Tasha Williams will be the instructors for the course. In December, they completed intensive training in Philadelphia to earn their nationally recognized R.A.D. Instructors Certification.  
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Artist talks crowdsourcing in contemporary issues course

Esteemed artist Paul Jackson gave Stephens students some tips on how to use crowdsourcing during a guest lecture this week in a new course being offered through the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication.
The class, Contemporary Issues in Strategic Communication, uses an innovative approach by having multiple faculty involved in teaching. 
Each faculty member is taking a two-week block to focus on a contemporary issue in his or her respective discipline. That allows students to be exposed to a variety of new ideas and topics, SOLSC Dean Susan Bartel said.
As part of her block, Assistant Professor Kim Stonecipher-Fisher is talking to students about crowdsourcing websites, which are used to solicit funding, information or insight from large groups.
Jackson—who designed the back of the Missouri state quarter—used Kickstarter to fund his coffee table book, “The Wandering Watercolorist.” The book is a collection of nearly 300 watercolor paintings from Jackson’s 30-year career as an artist. Jackson shared some of the advantages and disadvantages of using the site and introduced them to other crowdsourcing sites.

Students in the new course are also learning about corporate and responsible social media, women’s leadership, content marketing and the use of storytelling in nonprofit promotion.
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Video: Senior discusses Faux Real exhibit at Historic Costume Gallery

For her senior capstone project, Chloe Willett put together this semester's Faux Real collection at the Historic Costume Gallery. The gallery is now open and a special reception is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Willett talks about the exhibit in this video:

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Blanding snags Silver at regional ADDY competition

Senior Moki Blanding is headed to the American Advertising Federation’s national conference in Florida this spring after snagging a Silver at the AAF-Kansas City regional ADDY award competition in Kansas City this weekend.
“This keeps me motivated,” she said of the win. “It’s a constant reminder that even though I’ve looked at my work and criticized it so many times, it’s still good and other people recognize that.”
In this case, Blanding is referring to the intricate owl she designed for a mock advertising campaign in her information and promotion design class last year. 
The owl was the main element on ads, labels and other materials promoting a fictitious brewery.owl “The feedback I’ve gotten about it has been amazing,” she said.
 The regional ADDY award competition, which has a student award component in addition to the professional awards, was held at The Midland. Blanding compared it to Red Carpet affairs.
“I felt like I was at the Grammys,” she said. “It was so awesome to look around and see what other people are coming up with and what was winning. Everybody’s work was amazing.”
Blanding will now submit her work to the national ADDY level during the AAF National Conference on Advertising May 28-31 at the Boca Raton Resort & Beach Spa in Boca Raton, Fla.

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Poets discuss merits of rhyme at Writers on the Edge event Monday

To rhyme or not to rhyme—that was the question posed yesterday during “Conventions of Rhyme in Contemporary Poetry,” a conversation with two area poets.
Melissa Range and Austin Segrest—both pursuing doctorate degrees at the University of Missouri—debated the merits of true rhyme during an hour-long forum at the Hugh Stephens Library.
Many writers dismiss traditional rhyming—the end-of-line true rhymes common in 19th century poetry—as being childish or too flowery. Range, however, encouraged students to be open to it. In-your-face rhymes, she said, aren’t merely decorative but rather add to the layers of meanings found in poetry. 
She also countered the notion that traditional rhyme is old-fashioned when she read Randall Mann’s “Queen Christina,” a contemporary sonnet about a dying man who unsuccessfully attempts to hide his declining state by dressing in drag.
Segrest said he favors more subtle, near rhymes—words that have a similar vowel sound or consonant ending—the sorts of rhymes one might find in popular music.
Both poets read selections that backed their preferences, as well as original works.
Range is the author of Horse and Rider, a 2010 poetry collection that won the Walt McDonald Prize in Poetry. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her poems been published in 32 PoemsThe Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Image, New England Review, The Paris Review and other journals.
Segrest’s poems have appeared in The Yale Review, New England Review, Shenandoah, Ploughshares and Threepenny Review, and are forthcoming in Harvard Review and Western Humanities.
The lecture was part of the Writers on the Edge Series at Stephens, which brings notable writers to campus. 
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Stephens students take home film honors

Stephens students took home two awards from this weekend’s University of Missouri Valentine’s Day Film Fest.

“There is a Light That Never Goes Out,” directed by Haley Padilla and Clara Canfield, received the Technical Achievement Award. The film was shot in the Hugh Stephens Library on campus last semester.

Madeline Carl’s “The Fox, the Crow and the Cookie” won the Special Effects Award.

The festival was held Sunday on the MU campus and also featured “Return of the Mimes” by LeeAnn Lowry.

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Writers on the Edge series presents two area poets today

Stephens College is hosting a conversation with two poets this afternoon.

Melissa Range, whose 2010 poetry collection Horse and Rider won the 2010 Walt McDonald Prize in Poetry, and Austin Segrest, who has been published in a number of literary journals and publications, will speak at 4:30 p.m. in the Penthouse at Hugh Stephens Library. The event, part of the Writers on the Edge series, is free and open to the public.

Range’s poems have appeared in 32 Poems, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Image, New England Review, The Paris Review, and other journals. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Originally from East Tennessee, she is finishing up her Ph.D. in English at the University of Missouri.

Segrest is finishing his Ph.D. in poetry at Mizzou. His poems have been published in The Yale Review, New England Review, Shenandoah, Ploughshares and Threepenny Review, and are forthcoming in Harvard Review and Western Humanities.

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Warehouse Theatre presents coming-of-age play, 'Crooked'

The Warehouse Theatre—Stephens’ student-run theatre company—is producing “Crooked,” a complex play with all the ups and downs that come with real life, Director Ryan Tucker '14 said.
Crooked starts at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 20-Feb. 22 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Feb. 23. Ticket information.
The play centers on Laney, played by Emily Chatterson ’16, a preteen who suffers from a muscle deformity that causes her to have a raised shoulder. Her shrug is both literal and figurative—when she and her mother move to a new town, she uses her defensive nature to deal with the challenges. When she meets Maribel, a devout Christian played by Heidi Womelsdorf ’15, the two discover essential truth about life and themselves, Tucker said.
“The Warehouse decided to include this show in the 40thanniversary season because it really is a coming of age story for these two girls—discovering themselves and their beliefs through religion, sexuality and relationships,” Tucker said. “This is a good fit for Stephens because in one way or another, I think everyone can relate to all of these characters.”
While the show is dramatic, Tucker said audiences can expect some lighter moments.
“It truly is a show that will make you laugh out loud and cry and everything in between,” she said. “The show is a beautiful piece of work that you won’t want to miss.”
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Stephens films to be screened at MU Film Fest this weekend

Three films made by Stephens College digital filmmaking students will be screened this weekend at the University of Missouri’s Valentine’s Day Film Fest.

“There is a Light That Never Goes Out” co-directed by Haley Padilla and Clara Canfield, “Return of the Mimes” by LeeAnn Lowry and “The Fox, the Crow and the Cookie” by Madeline Carl—all shorts—were selected out of a pool of submissions that also included films by MU and other college students. The films begin screening at 1 p.m. Sunday in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union on the MU campus. The event is free and open to the community. At 4 p.m., awards will be given to the best films in the festival and will include significant prizes.

“This is a great way to see what other schools and area filmmakers are submitting,” said Chase Thompson, an assistant professor in digital filmmaking.

For Canfield, a sophomore, it will be the first time she sees one of her films on the big screen. It’s exciting, she said, but a little nerve-wracking. The film, shot in the Hugh Stephens Library on campus, follows a somewhat disgruntled library worker who reluctantly journeys to the film archives in the basement and finds a curious peephole. When she stares into it, her world is forever changed ... or is it?

“I hope people see that imagination is not limited by our daily lives,” Canfield said. “At least that’s what I took away from it. It's up to audiences to figure out what happens next.

Finding out how films resonate with audiences is just one benefit of a public screening such as this one, Thompson said.

“The reason to make films is to get them out there; we need to get that initial feedback,” he said. “Students need to get comfortable defending their work. Plus, the film submission process can become daunting, so the more practice you get, the easier it becomes. So even if it’s a small festival—all the better to get your feet wet and work your way up.”

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Stephens students, faculty heading to Sigma Tau Delta convention

Stephens College will be well represented at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Savannah, Ga., later this month.
Professor Judith Clark will serve as a faculty moderator for three sessions at the national English honor society event, scheduled for Feb. 26-March 1. 
And four English/Creative Writing majors have been invited to read their works at the conference. Maggie Myers, Amber Surdam and Alexi Scharbach will make the trip; Arianne Kobler was invited but will not attend.
Scharbach, who will read a non-fiction piece, said she’s excited but a little nervous knowing she’ll be reading in front of the top English/Creative Writing students from across the globe. She did get experience, though, last year at the society’s convention in Portland.
Surdam will read her short story about a struggling marriage. What makes the piece unique is that both sides are told through first-person narrative.
“I’ve been practicing reading to myself in my room,” Surdam said.
Myers will read her collection of poetry and is most excited about sharing her poem about a dream.
“I’d never submitted before, so I was really excited when I found out over Christmas break” that her work had been selected.
The students agreed that studying English/Creative Writing at Stephens is unique because of the faculty.
“I looked at a lot of colleges,” Myers said. “The teachers here were really amazing. They’re so caring.”
Scharbach agreed, adding that professors also publish, edit and work on other external projects.
“They have so much experience,” she said. “They’re always working.”  
While at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention, Stephens representatives will also accept the Literary Journal of the Year Award for the 2013 edition of Harbinger.
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Fashion gallery explores contrast between real, faux

Kim Kardashian gets flour thrown at her for wearing it. Pop star Beyoncé caused a stir when she wore it to a vegan restaurant. Even NFL fans weighed in on the fashion staple when football legend Joe Namath sported the look at the Super Bowl.
Fur. It conjures up images of royalty, status and wealth. It also raises eyebrows and questions about the treatment of animals.
Stephens is examining the evolution of fur, leather and suede, as well as faux fur, pleather and animal prints in the Historic Costume Gallery’s Spring 2014 exhibit.
“Faux Real: Exploring Natural and Synthetic Fur, Leather and Animal Motifs” includes coyote, fox, mink and other fur coats, wraps and hats on display in the gallery, located on the mezzanine of Lela Raney Wood Hall. There are also more recent pieces that use acrylic, vegan leather and other synthetic materials and feature animal prints and animal-themed jewelry. 
The theme “Faux Real,” is a play on contradictions, said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design.
While faux fabrics might seem friendlier options on the surface, they aren’t without environmental damage. Synthetic fibers are made from harsh chemicals that damage the eco-system and emit harmful gases. They also aren’t high enough quality to be worn for more than a couple of years, but can take decades to degrade, senior Chloe Willett found in her research. The exhibit is part of Willett’s senior project for her self-initiated major combining fashion, art history and art.
Faux Real “might spark a conversation, and I hope it does,” McMurry said. “Not just about the use of fur and animal byproducts but also about the significance of animals in history and fashion. Why do we even wear animal prints?”
The exhibit is open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Feb. 15 through May 10. There will be a special reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26.



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Playhouse to present 'Uncle Vanya'

Stephens College is presenting a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s "Uncle Vanya," and according to the show’s director theatre-goers are in for a ride.

“Audiences can expect to laugh and cry and see much of their own behavior reflected in the delicate, amusing and touching world of Uncle Vanya,” Director Lamby Hedge said. The “emotional roller-coaster ride includes a climax involving a pistol and a bouquet of ‘sad, fall autumn roses,’ as rowdy and farcical as a Marx Brothers movie and as heartbreaking as one can imagine.”

A period piece set in 1899, Uncle Vanya centers on a pompous professor, Serebryakov (played by guest artist Michael Rapport) who is residing at his country estate with his much-younger wife, Yelena (played by Annie Malin ’14). A daughter from his previous marriage, Sonya (played by Mariah Larkin ’14) and his brother-in-law Vanya (played by theatre professor Rob Doyen) oversee the estate. When a dashing yet alcoholic doctor named Astrov (played by Ty Carter, a second-year conservatory student) comes for a visit, absurd competitions, disastrous flirtations and unbearable heartache soon follow.

“Considered a masterpiece of early realism, Chekhov draws a portrait of lives perilously teetering between tragedy and comedy: tragedy because at the end, so many dreams remain deferred, and comedy because it becomes abundantly clear that each ridiculous character is entirely to blame for his or her own maddening inability to seize personal happiness,” Hedge said.

This version of the classic by Andrew Upton was initially produced by the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia and recently produced in New York City as part of the Lincoln Center Festival (and starred Upton’s wife and award-winning actress Cate Blanchett).

“It garnered universal, rave reviews,” Hedge said, noting that she had been looking for a fresh translation of the classic.

“The production provides our student company an opportunity to explore rich and complicated characters who are infused with funny, sad, infuriating and endearing qualities,” she said. “These are beautifully honest character studies, which will seem very fresh and modern to a contemporary audience."

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14-15, 21-22 and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Feb. 16 at Macklanburg Playhouse. Ticket information.
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TRYPS joins Stephens family

TRYPS (Theater Reaching Young People & Schools), mid-Missouri’s acclaimed children’s theatre program, will this spring join the School of Performing Arts at Stephens College, officials from both organizations announced today.

As of April 1, TRYPS will become “The TRYPS Institute at Stephens College” and will occupy all three floors of the west wing of Hickman Hall on the corner of College and Broadway.

At Hickman Hall, TRYPS—entering its 15thseason—will operate “business as usual” and will continue to offer its existing roster of classes, camps and plays for mid-Missouri children, families and schools. As The TRYPS Institute at Stephens College, the company will create new children’s theatre classes, hands-on production experience and teaching opportunities for Stephens College students.

“We’re so excited to have a permanent home that lets us grow our programming,” said Jill Womack, TRYPS’s executive artistic director. “It just makes sense. The new space triples our classroom and rehearsal capacity. Stephens College provides a dynamic, creative environment that supports the arts.”

“We are delighted to offer our students the opportunity to develop an expertise in children’s theatre, one of the fastest-growing areas of the performing arts,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “Jill has built TRYPS into a professional company with a reputation for quality and integrity, and we are thrilled that it is becoming a member of the Stephens family.”

Lynch and Womack envision other collaborations on campus as well. TRYPS has recently launched a costume academy, Threads, that may offer classes to students in in both the School of Fashion and Design and the School of Performing Arts. 

“The possibilities are endless,” Womack said. “To connect our mission to Stephens College students and to show them new ways their theatre experiences can lead to viable, creative careers before they graduate is really invaluable.”  

Mimi Hedges, interim dean of the School of Performing Arts, said the school looks forward to collaborative opportunities with The TRYPS Institute.

“Our Stephens students will have the benefit of learning about children’s theatre through planned coursework and practical experiences,” she said. “This will add another training ground to our existing pre-professional programs with great potential for employment upon graduation.”

The TRYPS Institute’s first production at Stephens will be Willy Wonka Jr. April 4-6 at Macklanburg Playhouse. Future productions and recitals will also be held at Warehouse Theatre and in Historic Senior Hall.

Hickman Hall, which previously housed Columbia Independent School, is undergoing renovations. TRYPS families and community members are invited to take a construction tour of the facility from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 16.  

Founded in 1833, Stephens College has a history of innovative, experiential programming. The college’s theatre program is ranked 16th in the country by The Princeton Review.  

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SCCS students study germs at Pillsbury Science Center

Elementary students from Stephens College Children’s School had a chance to get a close-up look at germs on Friday using microscopes in the science labs at Pillsbury Science Center.
The hour-long exercise was part of the American Chemical Society’s Science Coach program, which lets college-level science professors team up with elementary schools to provide more in-depth science lessons. Stephens received a grant last semester to fund the partnership.
Second- through fifth-graders were tasked with viewing and drawing various bacteria such as e-coli, and Walker explained what ailments each caused.
Friday was the second time the class has visited the labs and “excitement was high,” SCCS elementary teacher Elizabeth Walker said. “They were looking forward to it. It brings a new level of excitement about science—and for students who wouldn’t normally be interested in science, as well.”
As part of the activities, students also saw first-hand just how quickly germs can spread. Students each got a bag of flour, with one bag laced with glow-in-the-dark powder. After just a few handshakes around the room, most students had acquired the powder.
The exchange between the science department and the elementary school benefits those studying education, as well. Kelsey Whitten, a senior education major, had a chance to see how to teach younger children using college-level equipment.

“That’s the beauty of having” the children’s school “on campus,” she said. “There’s so much cool stuff you can do that you couldn’t if it wasn’t here.”

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Harbinger wins Outstanding Literary Arts Journal Award

Harbinger, the literary journal at Stephens College, has received the 2013-14 Sigma Tau Delta Outstanding Literary Arts Journal award.
The 2013 Harbinger, “Bombshell,” is a collection of poetry, short stories and essays from students across the Stephens campus. It also features student illustrations.
“It’s wonderful to have talent and hard work recognized,” said Kris Somerville, who advises the student staff. “Bombshell was a wonderful marriage of fine literature in a well-designed format. It really reflects the wonderful range of talent we have at Stephens.”
Harbinger staff members spend the fall semester soliciting student work. They read submissions over winter break and reconvene for an official Harbinger class in the spring. That’s when they narrow down selections and come up with a unifying theme.
“It is a lot of hard work,” said Alexi Scharbach, who served on the Harbinger staff and is now a student in the Master in Strategic Leadership program at Stephens. “We get so much quality work, it’s hard to narrow them down and choose the pieces. It’s exciting to have that work pay off.”
This isn’t the first time the journal has won the Outstanding Literary Arts Journal Awards from Sigma Tau Delta. Harbinger also won in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 2012 Harbinger was disqualified from the competition after the organization made a rule that a journal could not win in consecutive years.
The award comes with a $500 cash prize, which will be used to support this year’s Harbinger. The 2014 journal, which has yet to be named, will debut at a community launch party later in the semester.
Readers can expect more great work, Somerville said.
“Bombshell did a wonderful job of showcasing art work, interviews, poetry, prose, drama and graphic design by our students, and this year’s journal will do the same,” she said. “I am always so proud of their work and honored that they take such interest in this odd little project we call a literary magazine.”
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Stephens' online MSL ranked No. 2

Stephens College’s Master in Strategic Leadership (MSL) is the second best online leadership degree in the country, according to GetEducated.com, a consumer advocacy group for online students.
That’s up a notch from last year’s ranking of No. 3. A “Best Buy” ranking indicates that the degree program has been independently reviewed and found to offer a high-quality online degree at a cost well below the national average.
Offered completely online, the Master in Strategic Leadership is designed for working adults who want to enhance their critical-thinking, communication and leadership skills in strategic and organizational management.
The MSL prepares students to become skilled problem-solvers who manage change, teams and whole organizations with confidence.
“We’re pleased GetEducated.com has recognized the value of our Master in Strategic Leadership,"  said Dr. Annette Digby, vice president for academic affairs. “Our program is designed to provide students with practical tools they can immediately apply in the workplace and with skills they need to advance their careers. It's exciting when outside entities take notice." 
Stephens College remains the second-oldest women’s college in the country, but accepts both men and women into the graduate and online course offerings.
The ranking follows several top rankings for Stephens on the undergraduate side. In The Washington Monthly, Stephens landed in the 28th slot and U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges guide rates Stephens No. 30 in the Midwest Regional College division. Stephens is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2014 guide to the 378 Best Colleges in the country.
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Senior snags regional ADDY Award

Senior Moki Blanding has won a regional ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City, a prestigious award she’ll accept at the Midland Theatre next month.

Although confident in her work, Blanding said she was “extremely surprised” when she found out, mainly because the Kansas City competition is considered one of the largest and most competitive regional ADDY competitions in the country. The other Stephens submissions alone were tough competition, she said.

“I was like ‘Me? Out of all of these people?’” she said, referring to her classmates.

Blanding’s award-winning design came from an assignment in her information and promotion design class last year. One of the last projects of the semester, the idea was to create a concept that combined strong promotional visual elements with information consumers need.

Blanding decided to create an entire product, a new type of caffeinated beer. It’s an idea that’s been tested on the real market and has flopped over safety concerns. Blanding researched those products, determining why they failed, and created her campaign around a safer alternative. After determining her target market would be people who stay up late, she decided to use an owl as the main design for labels, boxes and other materials.

“I researched other nocturnal animals, but the night owl was obvious,” she said.

After finding an image of a real owl, she designed the fictitious company's logo.

“Once I had a strong concept, the rest was cake,” she said. “It took me two to three hours to create the design that could be put on a bottle, box or poster.”

Moki Blanding

Although this particular project called on students to design for fictitious clients, many graphic design projects at Stephens connect student designers to real clients on campus and around the community. That's what makes the program so unique, she said.

Blanding is also a member of Creative Ink, a student-run marketing firm on campus that is doing work for Columbia Regional Airport and Columbia Public Schools.

“Creative Ink is such a great opportunity,” she said. “You work with real clients and learn the ins and outs. You get a feel of being independent while still working in a safe environment where you’re free to grow and learn and fail sometimes.”

Blanding praised her peers for being part of that nurturing environment. While students technically compete for awards, Stephens graphic design students support and encourage one another, she said.

“We lean on each other for advice,” she said.

Blanding is taking fellow Creative Ink staff member Michelle Marcum with her to the Feb. 15 event, where she’ll find out if her design wins a Gold or Silver, both of which would enter her into the national ADDY competition. 

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December graduate finds passion in handbags

By Amber Surdam/Stephens College Senior

During an internship that transformed into a job, Ami Beck designed her first large leather handbag. A December graduate, Beck immediately started her job as an assistant designer at Sandlot Goods, a Kansas City shop specializing in handmade androgynous leather merchandise. Originally from Kansas City, the commute was easy for Beck, and she moved back to the area after graduation.

After discovering Sandlot Goods through a former friend and the internet, Beck decided to reach out to the owner of Sandlot Goods through Facebook. They met the next day, and she got the internship. Beck had a previous internship with Maurices, but nothing had prepared her for the encounter with leather. At first, Beck helped create and design products; however, once she had enough confidence and knowledge, she decided she was ready to try and create her first masterpiece. She discovered working with leather was hard, but she found a process. She used Pinterest and Google to look up photos of bags for inspiration; then she began sketching. Her designs were complicated, and in the end, she learned finding the right design could take several attempts.

Beck used leather, denim, ecot fabric and twill. After much contemplation, she wanted her work to be classy, durable and simple. With a lot of trial and error, Beck hand sewed most of her work and used a machine for the rest. Working with leather was hard, she said, but it was also flexible and beautiful.

When Beck was a child, she was the only member in her family who cared about fashion, making her stick out. Fashion came easy to her, and she had fun. She wanted to pursue a degree in fashion; however, her family had a hard time taking her dream seriously. Her dad wanted her to go to law or med school, so Beck felt fashion was not an option. After four years at Northwest Missouri State, Beck graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She worked at Truman Medical Center as a legal assistant for two years.

Dissatisfied with her career, she still wanted to be a designer. Through Google, Beck happened upon Stephens College. After being accepted, she started as a fashion design major and then later changed to a new major called apparel studies. Beck decided that she would create her own purses, since she always felt dissatisfied with store-bought purses.

Working for Sandlot Goods has helped Beck define her goals. She wants to create purses for both men and women, though she focuses on an androgynous style. Beck thought about moving to New York City but decided to remain in Kansas City. In the next 10 years, she hopes to start her own line of purses.
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CJFF alumnae screen films at Sundance

By Arianne Kobler '13
Sundance had some familiar faces in their program this year, including Citizen Jane Film Festival alumna, Bella Wing-Davey, whose short Afronauts showed at Sundance 2014.
Kat Chandler’s film Hellion (starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul) and Madeline Olnek’s The Foxy Merkins showed in the features program.
Producer Mel Eslyn’s film The One I Love also showed.
“In a world where only 5 percent of major Hollywood directors are women it’s important that we continue to support women no matter where their career takes them,” CJFF Director Paula Elias said. “Congratulations to everyone. We expect great work from you in the future.
To check out the Sundance 2014 Festival Program and other work by Madeline Olnek, Bella Wing-Davey, Mel Eslyn, Kat Chandler, and Julia Reichert, visit http://www.sundance.org/festival.
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Lynch announces scholarship for 20 Under 40 honorees

Stephens President Dianne Lynch yesterday announced that members of the Columbia Business Times 20 Under 40 class this year are eligible for a $2,040 scholarship if they want to pursue an advanced degree at Stephens.

Lynch was the keynote speaker at the 20 Under 40 celebration in the Kimball Ballroom at Lela Raney Wood Hall. She praised the group for their varied accomplishments.

“Success is knowing what you want and going after it,” she said. “Leadership is a choice. It’s a choice to care that much and to work that much.”

This year’s class includes lawmakers, attorneys, business owners and others who have achieved success before the age of 40. A complete list of honorees can be found here.

For most of the recipients, the $2,040 scholarship can be combined with the Community Connections Grant worth $1,600 or more in tuition. The Community Connections Grant is available to those who live or work in Boone or Cole counties.
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