Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


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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, 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 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
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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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Stephens to host 'Suits & Sneakers' basketball game

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

The Stephens College basketball program will show its support of Coaches vs. Cancer this Thursday  when the team hosts Harris-Stowe State at Silverthorne Arena. Tip-off for the American Midwest Conference (AMC) contest is set for 7 p.m.

One event unique to the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative is the “Suits & Sneakers” Event. Different from normal gameday attire, Stars’ head coach Chris Duncan and assistant Jessica McConnell will join several coaches across the country in sporting a suit and sneakers during their Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to help promote cancer awareness.

Fundraising and awareness events that focus on the fight against cancer have become a norm at all levels of sport. For some, it hits closer to home. And for Stephens basketball head coach Chris Duncan, this game means a great deal to him.

“This is near and dear to my heart because I lost my mom to cancer four years ago,” Duncan said. “Every year when the Suits & Sneakers event comes around, it reminds me of how cancer affects so many people, especially my family. This is a great opportunity to represent and show support for Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society.”

With next week’s “Suits & Sneakers” fundraising event, pink cotton candy and balloons will be given out to all in attendance. At the door, fans can make a $2 donation for a sneaker cut-out to honor someone who is battling or has battled cancer.

Another option for fans is to print out a copy of the sneaker prior to the game for free admittance, while making a donation to Coaches vs. Cancer. All sneakers will be displayed on our Coaches vs. Cancer Wall of Support.

Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), which empowers basketball coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
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Genealogist encourages students to research past

Students work on a service project for MLK Day.

International genealogist Kathleen Brandt encouraged Stephens students to learn more about themselves by learning more about their ancestors during two special Martin Luther King Day presentations on Monday.
“Who you are is not necessarily what you think,” she said during a morning workshop. Genealogists “bring the dead to life. We give them stories. They’re more than a date, more than a family tree. Explore them to find the pioneer in you.”
Brandt, who graduated from Stephens in 1981, spent nearly 20 years in international business before discovering she had a rare medical condition that doctors said would be fatal within months. She ultimately defied the odds, but that’s when she began researching her own family lineage in hopes of learning more about the disease.
She developed a passion for studying the past and by sharing what she’d learned about genealogy on a blog quickly became known as an expert. She’s since been called on by networks and cable channels to conduct work for shows such as the History Channel’s “How the States Got Their Shapes” and TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” Brandt has done work for celebrities including Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw and Ashley Judd.
Brandt encourages most people to do their own genealogy using local and online resources, although she warns that only about 20 percent of data can be found online. For her clients, she is adamant that she includes everything she finds in her report, even if it’s not what the client wanted to know.
“I refuse to change history,” she said. “I refuse to sterilize it.”
Brandt’s visit was part of a daylong MLK celebration on campus. Students also volunteered during the day, conducted service projects and enjoyed a cultural presentation by Giving Voice, a theatre troupe from Missouri State University.

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International genealogist to deliver MLK Day keynote

An international genealogist and writer will deliver the keynote address on Martin Luther King Day Monday.

Kathleen Brandt ’81 will present “The Invisible Staircase” at 3 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom at Lela Raney Wood Hall. The talk is based on King’s observation that one doesn’t have to see the whole staircase in order to take the first step.

Brandt will also conduct a workshop at 9 a.m. for students using a historical case study on how early pioneers forged ahead, regardless of obstacles.

Brandt is a consultant who has worked with corporations on historical, cultural and genealogical projects. She has researched for television episodes of TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” series, researching the genealogy of celebrities including Reba McEntire and Ashley Judd; and has provided research for The History Channel’s “How the States Got Their Shapes.”  

Brandt is also the author of a3Genealogy, an educational and skill building blog that explores various cultural and ethnic issues and provides genealogy research tips.

MLK Day activities also include an interactive program for students and a service project.
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Stephens English professor creates new world in upcoming web series

Sometimes when Kate Berneking Kogut, assistant professor of English/Creative Writing, talks about Daffodil Township, you forget it’s a made-up world.

She knows the history, the town secrets, who’s who in the community. She knows the town’s seven parks, six primary businesses and all about the annual event that’s the backdrop of the first season of her new web series.

Kogut is writing, directing and producing a new online series about a Missouri community gearing up to benefit from global warming after the town psychic predicts the community will someday become coveted oceanfront property.

“American Riviera” will unveil the history and future of the fictional town through a variety of media.

With the help of Assistant Film Professor Steph Borkland, Kogut filmed the first season of the web series this summer, and the series should start appearing online in the coming months, although pieces of the program are already online. The main website can be found at and will soon include a link to the town’s faux newspaper and Facebook and Twitter accounts of some of the main characters.

“This project really allows me to explore a variety of storytelling techniques,” Kogut said. “And by exploring them myself, I’m better able to teach my students how to take advantage of all of the communication resources out there.”

Her English students aren’t the only ones who are benefiting. This summer, she let film students help on the production side; and she’s teamed up with a faculty member in the Integrated Marketing program to assist with the community newspaper.

Kogut, herself, will contribute as the voice of the psychic—who is never seen in the series—and Columbia resident Paula Carter stars as the town’s acting mayor.

“It was irresistible,” Carter said, referring to the opportunity to be involved. “This is a perfect format—it’s so accessible.”
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Sophomore competing in CFDA/Teen Vogue contest

InspirationStephens sophomore Britta Bell is competing this semester in the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Teen Vogue Scholarship Program.

The invite-only contest challenges student designers to come up with a collection worthy of the runway but at the department store prices found at Target.

For her line, Bell selected designer Tom Ford as her inspiration.

“He’s a pretty fantastic designer—sophisticated, classy, iconic, but also minimalistic,” she said.

A jury of faculty and professionals selected Bell’s designs this fall to compete in the international scholarship completion. The designs—including dresses, trousers and jackets—as well as swatches of her proposed fabrics, have since been submitted to contest judges. CFDA is expected to announce the results this spring.

Designing with someone else’s style in mind was beneficial because it required her to step out of her comfort zone, Bell said.

“I learned a lot designing through someone else’s lens,” she said.

Bell described her creations as sophisticated, but edgy; forward-thinking but timeless.

This is the first year Stephens has participated in CFDA competitions.

“It’s a small group of invited schools, and because we’re a part of that means we’re in an international spotlight,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion & Design. “We’re able to compete with the very best schools, making our work more intensive.”

In addition to the CFDA/Teen Vogue contest, students have had the chance to create designs for three additional competitions, all worth $25,000 in scholarship funding. Those contests will be held this spring.

Bell, 23, realized she wanted to design fashion after taking a break from college, where she originally wanted to pursue a creative writing degree. To make extra money, she began designing purses.
Through that circuit, she found a passion for fashion.

She discovered Stephens through relatives living in the area. She’s been able to develop her creative and technical skills since.

“Every step of this process has been surprising,” she said. “Since I’ve started at Stephens, it’s been full of surprises. I’ve learned more in two years than I’ve ever learned.”

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Stephens student creates winning design

Junior Mary Eifert has been named one of nine winners in the Denali Design-a-Throw Competition.
She’ll find out next month what place she won. The Grand Prize is worth $1,000, plus a throw blanket featuring the winning design.
The Design-A-Throw Competition is a nationwide pattern design contest open to college students studying fashion, graphic, interior or other design. Eifert is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and production.
A total of 177 students entered the competition. All nine winning designs could be knit into a Denali Home Collection throw blanket. Students were asked to create a nautical or hunting themed print design and pattern. Eifert’s blue and green throw features seahorses.
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Gingerbread by petition: SCCS classes make cookies, houses

Preschool and elementary classes at Stephens College Children’s School have spent the past few weeks reading various books about gingerbread men and women.
They even had a chance to create their own paper gingerbread people and were challenged to give their characters back stories.
But that wasn’t quite enough for fifth-grader Natalie James. She wanted her classmates to get the entire gingerbread experience. So she wrote a letter to her teachers about why they should actually bake gingerbread men.

The petition

James argued that her teachers could bake them and the students could decorate them. James even offered to write a grant to help purchase ingredients—that, or parents could just donate them.
But she didn’t stop there. James, unbeknownst to teachers, posted a petition on a classroom wall asking students “Do you think we should bake gingerbread men? Then sign below.”
The sign-up sheet quickly filled up.
Teachers later discovered the note and petition.
“You can hardly say no to that,” elementary teacher Beth Watson said.
So on Thursday, James and her classmates had a chance to decorate fresh-out-of-the-oven gingerbread men.
Asked how she got the idea, James said she just really likes the baking process and knew her friends would enjoy the project, too.

“A lot of the kids here like to create and decorate,” she said.

Children over in the preschool benefited from James’ activism, too. They got to decorate tiny gingerbread houses made out of graham crackers. 
See more photos of the project here.

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Lee, Stephens children's school students visit President's Home

Kindergarteners from Lee Elementary School and students from the Stephens College Children’s School got a chance to write letters to Santa—and deliver them to the big man himself—at the President’s Home on the Stephens College campus today.

Santa talks to a SCCS student.

But visiting Santa was only half the fun. The children also got to see artwork they created this semester on display in a sitting room on the first floor, which is used for public events.
And that was really exciting, said Lindsey Clifton, an elementary teacher at Stephens College Children’s School.

“It really demonstrates to children the importance of their art projects when the works are put on public display,” Clifton said. “They’re excited about Santa, but for us as teachers, that’s really what makes this experience so valuable.”

The children were also asked to draw a picture of their day at the President’s Home, which President Dianne Lynch plans to collect in an album.

Stephens is a Partner in Education with Lee Elementary, and the holiday event is one of several collaborations between the two. On Sunday, Lee’s third-grade class joined other area choirs for a community holiday concert. And during the spring and fall seasons, the students use the house’s lawn for soccer games, to run and as a playground.

This is the second year Lynch has hosted the holiday event at the historic home, which reopened in December 2011 after a successful campaign to restore it.

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Choirs perform during Stephens holiday concert


West Middle School students perform under the direction of Hilary Myers.


The Rock Bridge High School Women's Choir under the direction of Mike Pierson.


The Velvetones, Stephens' a cappella ensemble, performs.

Choirs from Lee Elementary School, West Middle School and Rock Bridge High School joined the Stephens College Velvetones on Sunday, Dec. 15, to present a holiday concert for the community.

The first-ever Stephens College Friends & Family Community Holiday Concert attracted roughly 300. The event was such a success, Stephens President Dianne Lynch said she hopes to continue it in future years.

“We wanted a way for Stephens to give back to the community this holiday season,” said Breanne Pickering ’13, who helped organize the concert. “We think the concert was a great way to do that. The music was wonderful.”

With Stephens music instructor Tom Andes accompanying, the third-grade choir from Lee Elementary, under the direction of Elizabeth Tummons, performed Jubilate Deo by Michale Praetorius and Noel Nouvelet, a traditional French carol.

The all-female West Middle School concert choir performed Shalom, Pacem, Peace by Ruth Elaine Schram and Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights under the direction of Hilary Myers.

Breanne Pickering and Rob Doyen.

The Rock Bridge Women’s Choir performed a traditional Austrian carol, Still, Still, Still and a traditional German carol, Kling Glocken, Kling. The Rock Bridge choir is under the direction of Mike Pierson, with Janet Mathews accompanying.

The Velvetones, under the direction of Pam Ellsworth-Smith, performed several traditional carols, including Winter Wonderland, O Christmas Tree and Deck the Halls.

Stephens Theatre Professor Rob Doyen also performed a solo.

“We hope the community enjoyed this event as much as we did,” Pickering said. “It was really a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.”

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Stephens launches Bachelor of Health Science degree

Stephens College is launching a new Bachelor of Health Science program next fall for students who want to enter the rapidly growing health industry.

The interdisciplinary degree will provide a core curriculum in health-based coursework and electives designed to prepare students to work at public health agencies, hospitals, clinics, laboratories and other health-related organizations.

“This program is a response to student demand and to the allied health professions workforce shortage,” said Dr. Tara Giblin, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. “It’s an interdisciplinary degree designed to prepare students for health careers who aren’t necessarily headed to medical or professional schools.”

The Health Science program takes a holistic approach, blending physical and biological sciences with behavioral and social domains of health.

Graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of careers such as health educators, health information specialists, nutritionists, community outreach coordinators or health generalists.

The demand for health professionals is growing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, a response to global concerns about aging populations, the need to promote healthier lifestyles and emerging diseases. 
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Seniors show off behind-the-scenes theatre work

Polly Mytinger knew two things when she came to Stephens College three years ago.

She knew she enjoyed theatre, and she knew she wanted to pursue a business career.

What she didn’t know was that the two worlds could be combined.

Then, during her first semester on campus, an opportunity came up to be an assistant stage manager at the student-run Warehouse Theatre.

“I ended up working as the stage manager and haven’t stopped,” Mytinger, now a senior, said. “That completely altered my career path.”

Kelsey Looney's floral crowns and display board.

Today, Mytinger is confident running an entire production, from making sure rehearsals go as planned to making sure every show is as fresh and exciting as opening night. She makes sure props, sets and special effects work properly.

Once, she remembers pulling off a scene involving a trap door, where an actor rose from the dead, a scene that also required a fog effect, audio and visual lightening effects and the video projection of a ghost.

“The end product was brilliant,” she said. “That’s what makes it worth it.”

Mytinger was one of several theatre seniors showcasing their talents yesterday during an open house in the lobby of Macklanburg Playhouse. Set and costume designers joined theatre management majors to give visitors insights into what happens behind the scenes to making a show successful.

Kelsey Looney showed off her costume designs, including floral crowns, clay horns and sketches of a dress she made that was being used in “Inspecting Carol” last night. Stephens is a good place to study costume design, she said, “because of the good theatre and fashion departments and the way the two intersect.”

A visitor admires Antonia Howard's displays.

Lucy Connolly-Brown agreed. While she prefers making costumes, especially Victorian-era gowns, she is also grateful for the opportunity to learn to work with a variety of fabrics in her patternmaking and other fashion courses.

“When I’m not in class, I’m always in the costume shop,” she said. “You always have a new project, something new to learn.”

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Graduating senior begins career in Columbia

By Amber Surdam/Stephens College Senior

From an undecided declaration to a graphic design major, graduating senior Taylor Hill found her place among children, art and teaching.

During her sophomore year, she decided she wanted to be an artist and a teacher, so she changed her major to liberal arts with concentrations in visual arts and early education. Hill started working as an art teacher at Montessori Children’s School in Columbia earlier this month.

Hill discovered Montessori Children’s School through Stephens’ Career Services office. She needed to find a job, but she didn’t want to do just anything. After weeks of searching, numerous phone calls and persistence, Hill got an interview in October. Two months later, she received a phone call, letting her know she got the job. She will now take nine months of additional classes to obtain a teaching certificate.

Hill credited courses she’s already taken for preparing her to draft lesson plans.

“My advanced printmaking and independent class really helped me understand different methods to teach hard techniques to children,” she said.

She did a lot of practicums with the Stephens College Children School and learned through trial and error what works best with young children. She knows they want to play, make things and paint and  knows children think being creative is “cool.” But she also knows with 20- to 30-minute attention spans, keeping children interested is a challenge. Still, Hill sees it as an adventure.

In her art classes at Stephens, she worked on a variety of pieces, including a mask that she created in October. The mask isn’t for Halloween but it instead represents the troubling environment, she said. Another one of her pieces is a transparency project made from silk, thread, and picture and word clippings from a magazine.

Hill created a technique to teach young children cubism, impressionism and basic color theory. She started with cotton and muslin fabric squares. She used Vincent Van Gogh’s the Starry Night, Camille Pissarro’s Fields, Claude Monet’s the Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog), and Barnett Newman’s End of Silence as models for her technique study. Using the original works of art, she recreated them using a basic color palette.

From St. Louis, Hill attended an all-girls high school and said Stephens felt like her second home immediately. She wanted to do something creative and declared herself as undecided while she tried out different classes to see what fit. Hill decided she would try graphic design but discovered the world of graphic design is a bit too competitive.Unable to work at someone else’s pace, she discovered her passion for visual arts and early education.

Her first day at the Montessori Children’s School went well. And while she said she couldn’t wait to do more than small lessons, she knows for right now she’s still learning.

Someday, Hill hopes to teach in St. Louis and live closer to her family.
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Class challenges students to illustrate popular novel

Students in Sara Fletcher’s Topics in Art class had a chance to combine literature and visual arts this semester with a focus on Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”

Students were tasked with reading the novel before illustrating it using a variety of media and models who wore pieces from the college’s costume shop.

“I think the students learned a lot about drawing human figures in relation to each other,” Fletcher said. “Having the story element was a good focus and reason for getting the arms, for example, meaningful and right.”

During the first month of the course, students discussed the novel every Tuesday. They also watched two versions of the movie to get different perspectives.

Students experimented with watercolor, ink, pencil and other tools to create various ways of stylizing and drawing naturally, as well as how to compose the illustrations in a meaningful way.

“Each student had a different perspective on the story,” Fletcher said. “It was interesting to see it from her vision. And because each was at a different angel to the models, that told the story differently, too.”

Fletcher pitched the idea of having a course theme to Dr. Tara Giblin, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, who was supportive of incorporating it into visual arts.

“I chose the Jane Austen theme because I am a great fan of hers and love to incorporate illustrating with fine art, and the way pictures can complement a beautiful story,” she said.

Next semester, she is teaching an eight-week course, “Women as Children’s Book Illustrators and Authors,” during which they’ll study artists and authors. Each student will illustrate a fairy tale, either an existing one or one she writes herself.
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Students inducted into Psychology Honor Society

Five students were inducted into Psi Chi, the national Psychology Honor Society, yesterday during a ceremony in the Penthouse of Hugh Stephens Library.

To become a member of the prestigious group—founded during the 9th International Congress of Psychology in 1929—students must be at least second-semester sophomores and have taken at least 9 semester hours of psychology courses, be in the top 35 percent of their class and have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average in their psychology classes.

Once inducted, Psi Chi members are members for life and can compete for research grants and scholarships as both undergraduate and graduate students.

Inductees included Erica Bonnot, Gera Parks, Jennifer Hrebar-Ihler, Jennifer Pestle and Hillary Schneider.

This is the first class to be inducted into the Stephens Chapter for several years. In the future, members will be inducted in the spring, said Dr. Tara Giblin, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.

“Psi Chi is one of the largest student psychology organizations in the world, so we’re excited to breathe new life into our chapter,” Giblin said. “Women have been studying psychology at Stephens for more than a century, and we’re pleased to see students are still interested in pursuing it as a major and career.”
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