Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


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Stephens strives to get women working in film

Before the Citizen Jane Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, more than one reporter asked Director Paula Elias why we need a festival featuring all female filmmakers.
It’s simple. The entertainment industry is lagging behind other industries when it comes to gender equality. Of the top 250 domestic grossing films made in 2012, women accounted for 9 percent of all directors, according to a report from Celluloid Ceiling.
“This is an industry based on confidence, and women haven’t felt as confident because culturally they have no representation in the profession,” said Kerri Yost, director of programming.
Predominately male film schools and the notion that women could not handle elaborate equipment contributed to the problem, keeping many would-be female filmmakers away.
Enter Stephens College.
For nearly a decade, the Digital Filmmaking program at Stephens has been giving young women the chance to explore all aspects of the industry—the production, lighting, audio, editing and directing. The program culminates with seniors creating their own short films from start to finish.
So what do you get from a woman with a camera that you might not get from a man? An entirely new way of looking at things.
Assistant Professor Chase Thompson predicts moviegoers will start seeing those types of innovative ideas when more women are put in charge.
“We need a fresh perspective,” he said. “Everything we’re seeing now, they’re all remakes of the same old story told again and again from the same perspective. We need to get cameras in the hands of women.”  The digital filmmaking program at Stephens began in 2004, but it has deep roots on the Stephens campus. Women have been working in the two large Patricia Barry studios on campus for decades, previously as part of mass media and broadcast journalism programs.
Digital filmmaking was born out of the College’s goal to keep up with changing market trends and a desire to send more females into a growing industry that wields a lot of influence.
“Stephens is always focused on careers, and we’re small and nimble enough to adapt to changing times,” Yost said. “We started the digital filmmaking program strategically. We reaffirmed the women’s college mission, and there aren’t enough women in film. Our mission is to get more women in front of and behind the camera.”
Because the program was built for the times, Stephens was one of the early programs to adopt digital technologies.
“Others have tried to evolve with the industry, and some are now scrambling to get everything digitized,” Yost said. “We went digital early, and that was a smart decision.”
But while technology allows anyone to film from anywhere in the world, mid-Missouri isn’t exactly a mecca for moviemaking. That’s why Stephens launched the Citizen Jane Lecture Series alongside the major. The series brings women working in the film and television industry to campus, allowing students to see career potential and make connections in the field.
Again, Stephens proved to be ahead of her time: A study earlier this year from the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles found that mentorship is crucial if show business is going to achieve equity.
As an extension of the lecture program, Stephens in 2008 launched the Citizen Jane Film Festival, a three-day festival showcasing the works of female filmmakers from around the world. What started as a symposium has nearly doubled every year since and is now a full-blown festival, giving women a chance to screen and discuss their works.
“Citizen Jane Film Festival does a good job of championing the idea that women’s voices are powerful and need to be represented,” Thompson said. For students, here are people—women like them—doing what they want to do and showing them it’s not just a hobby.”

At Stephens, digital film faculty members don’t just teach filmmaking, they make films. Yost has directed several documentaries that have received national recognition. Thompson’s short film, “Threshold,” received a nod at an international film festival earlier this year—and he was back on set this summer with a new feature project. Assistant Professor Steph Borklund, the most recent addition to the team, spent the summer working on her new short film, “I Am One,” co-produced by Assistant Creative Writing Professor Kate Berneking Kogut.
“It is imperative for our digital film faculty to be working filmmakers,” Borklund said. “The digital filmmaking world changes so rapidly—new cameras, new codes, new recording formats. Being working filmmakers helps us relate to the students. We understand the stress and complications that go with making a film.”
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Student project could lead to fewer deworming treatments at stables

Horses at Stephens College could see fewer unnecessary deworming treatments in the future thanks to a study conducted recently by two students.

Caroline Schwerzenbach, who graduated in May, and Katie Sharp, a junior, teamed up to determine whether the horses at the equestrian center need to be dewormed twice a year, as was routine, or whether they could get by with fewer treatments.

One problem with deworming routinely is that horses can build immunity to the vaccinations over time.

Sharp and Schwerzenbach tested 51 horses by counting eggs in fecal matter. They discovered that three horses had especially high egg counts, with one being abnormally high. After deworming, the latter horse was the only to have egg counts in a follow-up test, indicating that the horse is especially vulnerable. Schwerzenbach presented the findings at an external conference, and Sharp gave a presentation on the work during Family Weekend at Stephens this past weekend.

By using the egg count method, Stephens can reduce treatments, saving money and improving the overall health of the college’s horses.

Students in the sciences at Stephens will likely to build on this study, conducting egg counts for the stables while also adding other research components to the tests, said Tara Giblin, dean of the humanities and sciences.

“This is a great example of the collaboration that happens at Stephens,” she said. “Students benefit from working in real-world settings, and they benefit by being exposed to other disciplines on campus.”

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Freshman coordinates dinners for fellow first-year students

Stephens freshmen last week had a chance to get to know one another better at back-to-back dinners at the President’s Home.

The events were the brainchild of Freshman Jenna Westra who talked to Stephens President Dianne Lynch after noticing students in the dining hall whom she hadn’t yet met.

“I wanted a way for people to meet everyone,” she said.

Westra is studying Event and Convention Management, a new major this year, so the project doubled as a way to get some first-hand experience. While Lynch’s office took care of logistics, Westra was in charge of coming up with icebreaker games, creating nametags and making sure attendees felt comfortable.

“I didn’t do everything, but it was certainly a step in what I want to do,” she said. “Everyone had a great time. There was really no pressure, people just got a chance to know more about one another.”

The dinners are just one example of how students can create their own opportunities at Stephens, parents were told during a Family Weekend event this past weekend. Lynch is always available to students who have ideas, Tina Parke-Sutherland, a professor of English/creative writing said during a faculty panel discussion.

"Our president is an amazing resource," she said.

And Westra didn't hesitate to take advantage of that. She's now working with Lynch on ideas for Halloween events at Stephens. She'd also like to coordinate another freshmen dinner.

Westra and fellow Event and Convention Management students are also getting real world experience in their courses. The class recently visited SC Events, the office that coordinates weddings, business meetings and other external and internal events on campus, getting a behind-the-scenes look at event planning.
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Fashion students design pink dresses for Breast Cancer Awareness

Logan Blagg explains her dress design.

Last Wednesday, Logan Blagg had a green towel and an idea.

The Stephens College junior wanted to create a ball gown using the towel as the bodice and a cut wicker basket to create the skirt. By Friday, the basket she’d ordered hadn’t come in, and Blagg had to revert to Plan B, using pieces of foam and wire to create the skirt instead.
Troubleshooting is one of the main lessons embedded in the annual Pink Dress project at the Stephens School of Fashion and Design.
“It’s an engineering feat,” said Tina Marks, who is teaching the Creating Sustainable Communities course. The project challenges students to create dresses using non-traditional materials. It doubles as a Breast Cancer Awareness project, and several of the dresses will be displayed in store windows downtown during the month of October.
Engineering wise, it’s one of the toughest designs students will work on, Marks said. Students can sketch imaginative works—but sometimes those ideas go awry in the design stage.
“I learned that I need to do a lot more preparation and planning and to make room for troubleshooting,” said Kelly Ferguson, a junior who also had to come up with an alternative plan when her original idea didn’t work.
Ferguson used a circle-patterned shower curtain to remind women to “Spot Cancer Early” through self-screenings in the shower.
The women presented their dresses to Assistant Fashion Communications Professor Lisa Lenoir this afternoon. A Visual Design class will now judge the dresses to determine which will be displayed downtown. This spring, a professional Jury will also judge the dresses, and the top designs will be modeled at the annual student designer fashion show, The Collections.
Junior Audrah Davidson is hoping her delicate fall-themed design survives the numerous moves. Her dress is a shower curtain base embellished with decorative leaves painted pink, a reminder to “Leave Cancer Behind.” The dress is designed to celebrate remission.“It’s fun,” she said Wednesday while gluing leaves. “It’s so much fun. I’m learning a lot—this gets your creativity going.”

Melinda Thiedig and her cork themed dress.

Jessica Yuhouse used plastic bags and tissue paper to create her strapless dress. She works in retail and wanted to find a use for the materials that often end up on a landfill. Her dress—which she was able to try on herself—is themed: “Don’t get wrapped up in breast cancer.”
Melinda Thiedig also was able to try on her dress, made up of hundreds of donated wine and  Champagne corks painted pink. The dress, which featured the pink ribbon design on the back, wasn’t as uncomfortable as one might imagine, Thiedig said.
Other designs featured water bottles, insulation foam and parts from old high heel shoes.
Although she put in some long hours after her initial plan fell through, Blagg was also ready to show off her finished dress during presentations today. Her dress’s theme, “Uncage Your Inner Strength,” was a play on the birdcage-like skirt. She covered the towel in pink pillow stuffing and Himalayan salt.
The students had just two weeks to design and create the dresses, Marks said. “I’m impressed. I really am.”

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Faculty discuss first-year challenges

Having tenured professors teach and advise freshmen gives students numerous advantages, but it can also be intimidating for young women just out of high school.
That’s one challenge first-year students face as they transition to Stephens College, said Annette Digby, vice president of academic affairs. Digby joined a faculty panel Saturday morning to talk to parents of first-year students about adjusting to college. The event was part of Family Weekend.
At Stephens, students work alongside tenured and tenure-track faculty all four years, meaning they’re working with professors who have decades of experience and long lists of scholarly accolades. That’s unique to Stephens—at most colleges and universities, students don’t begin working with tenured faculty until their junior years, and graduate assistants teach most freshmen-level courses.
Freshmen here just need to realize that they should take advantage of that, Digby said. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, share ideas or ask for advice or help.
“Everyone here wants to see you succeed,” said Jim Terry, association professor of art history. “Pester us. This is what we do.”
While college is sometimes portrayed as a “non-stop party” in the media, Stephens students quickly realize that it requires work.
“Stephens College is a job,” President Dianne Lynch said. “You work as hard as a young professional college student as you would as a young professional in the office.”
And students are welcome to contribute to the workplace as much as anyone.

“This is a place where ideas become possible—where anything is possible,” Lynch said.
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Children's School project focuses on collaboration, beautification of grounds

Preschool and elementary children enrolled in Stephens College Children’s School worked together this morning to create mosaic stepping stones that will be placed in the new butterfly garden in the playground.
The school has been working on the garden since last year. The stones will lead to the tent-shaped trellis, and butterfly bushes and milkweed will be planted in the spring, elementary teacher Lindsey Clifton said. She also envisions vines eventually growing up the trellis.
“They’re learning that it’s a nurturing process that takes time,” Clifton said.
The project is also a way to let preschool and elementary students work more closely together. Children worked in multi-age groups of 10 to design and create the mosaics.
The Children’s School already offers multi-age classrooms to allow students to progress at their own pace, but the preschool and elementary grades are located in two separate facilities.
“One of our goals is to help students see the school as one,” said Beth Watson, elementary teacher. “Our preschool students are learning from the older kids. They’re seeing them as role models.”
Junior education majors at Stephens who serve as teachers’ aides also got in on the action this morning, assisting with the mosaic project.
“It’s a good example for them to see community building within a school,” Watson said.





The butterfly garden is one of several projects improving the looks of the grounds around the Audrey Webb Child Center off Windsor Street. The school, with the assistance of Stephens Project Manager Richard Perkins, teamed up with the City of Columbia to create a rain garden on the edge of the property. The layout of the design was finalized earlier this month and planting will begin this spring.

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A Royal victory: Students place at American Royal

A Stephens College sophomore picked up a big win at the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City this past weekend.

Shelby McCoy won the large Open Adult Western Equitation showing Radical Rendezvous.  With 21 riders, it was a competitive class of advanced riders, equestrian instructor Karen Craighead said.

“It was a huge win,” she said. “We’re proud of Shelby and all of our students’ accomplishments this past weekend.”

The American Royal Horse Show is one of the largest, most prestigious events in the Midwest. It opened earlier this month and continues through November and features livestock exhibitions, professional rodeos and barbecue contests alongside the horse shows.

The show hosted more than 1,200 entries this past weekend with classes running to nearly midnight on Saturday, Craighead said.

McCoy wasn’t the only Stephens equestrian student earning accolades at the event. Junior Candis Miner placed 3rd in Novice Adult Western Horsemanship showing Sheiks Artifact (also known as Arthur), and Kyla Szemplinski showed Private Timin, or Tarzan, to a 4th in Novice Adult Western Horsemanship and a 5th in Novice Adult Western Pleasure.
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Panel explores One Read selection at Stephens

President Dianne Lynch, left, moderates the faculty panel.

A faculty panel at Stephens College last night explored in depth gender and cultural themes in “The Ruins of Us” by Keja Parssinen.
The novel is Columbia’s One Read book selection this year. It follows the story of an American woman, Rosalie, whose Saudi Arabian husband of more than 20 years has taken a second wife. The family dynamics get even more complicated as the couple’s teenage son becomes more radical in Islam and daughter becomes more Westernized.
The book provided plenty of fodder for the Stephens panelists who offered a range of areas of expertise. Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design, shared how technology and mobility are influencing culture, both at the micro and macro levels. Muslim garb that Rosalie wears, for instance, is not simply “ethnic,” but rather becoming more common in Islamic communities across America. McMurry also explored the notion of expression through fashion—even through subtleties such as wearing an eggplant abaya rather than a traditional black headscarf.
Tina Parke-Sutherland, professor of English/creative writing, took a broader view of the book, warning readers to view it as a love story rather than a portrayal of life in Saudi Arabia. Although Parssinen herself lived in the Kingdom as a child, the book is from the perspective of a 21st Century American woman, Parke-Sutherland said.
In the novel, Rosalie’s daughter manages an anonymous blog that ultimately plays a critical role in the climax. Although it’s possible to get required permissions to use social media in Saudi Arabia, it’s not commonplace, said Laura Flacks Narrol, assistant professor in the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication. In other areas of unrest in the Middle East, however, Twitter and other instant online media are contributing to social changes, said Flacks Narrol, who has traveled through the Middle East.
“We really appreciated the opportunity to be part of this community discussion, to share the breadth of knowledge we have here at Stephens, and to engage our students and the community at large in so many inter-related issues of community, culture and gender,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said.
Sponsored by Daniel Boone Regional Library, One Read is a community-wide reading program that encourages the public to read the same book and attend discussions and events about the book throughout the month of September.

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Stephens firm to help Columbia Regional Airport with re-branding

A student-run marketing firm at Stephens College has been selected to help the Columbia Regional Airport come up with a new brand.
Airport staff finalized the contract with Creative Ink last week. Students who work at the firm now have the semester to come up with a logo, tagline, marketing campaign and style guide that will be used by airport staff.
“I’m so excited for Creative Ink,” said Bree Martino, the firm’s creative director. “This is such a good thing for the firm and a huge opportunity for the college.”
Columbia Regional Airport is a division of the City of Columbia’s Public Works Department and currently offers direct flights to Chicago and Dallas.
“This is an exciting period of time at Columbia Regional Airport,” said Steve Sapp, public information officer for Columbia Public Works. “Our new relationship with American Airlines and new destination cities, significant upgrades to the runways and taxiways and, recently, conceptual images of a future new terminal—working to re-brand the look of Columbia Regional Airport was a natural next step. Working with Creative Ink brings a youthful insight and enthusiasm to our re-branding and marketing efforts.”
The airport has been using the tagline “Fly COU—Why drive when it’s so easy to fly?” The Creative Ink staff anticipates an entirely new look and feel that is “forward moving,” said Michelle Niewald, firm director.
Creative Ink will roll out preliminary ideas this winter. Sapp said the city is looking forward to “hearing and seeing their ideas like children waiting to see what Santa has brought them.”
Although the largest client to date, this isn’t the first time Creative Ink has partnered with the community. The firm has also designed materials for the Office of Cultural Affairs, Ronald McDonald House and the Heidelberg. This year, Creative Ink is also working with the Men’s Minority Network.
“Regardless of the size of our clients, we strive to put out the best possible work,” Niewald said.
That said, Niewald and Martino agreed it’s overwhelming to think the firm will have a hand in shaping the look and feel of the city’s airport. Martino remembers checking into flights at the Columbia airport when she was coming to Stephens as a freshman.
“I would never have imagined being a part of helping develop a logo for the airport,” she said. “I’m excited, and just as excited for Creative Ink.”
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MU veterinary program teams up with Stephens

A University of Missouri professor is on the Stephens College campus this week collecting blood samples from horses at the equestrian facilities.

The samples serve as comparisons for Dr. Philip Johnson, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, and others at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

“Stephens' horses tend to be young, healthy and athletic,” Johnson said. “They’re good, normal horses and are easy to work with. At the hospital, we’re working with sick horses, so we use the blood samples as controls.”

The Stephens College Equestrian Studies program has been collaborating with veterinary faculty and researchers at MU for years. The proximity of the Stephens stables to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine makes for convenient partnerships. And that especially comes in handy when a hospitalized horse is in need of a blood transfusion.

“If a horse needs blood to save its life, we have an arrangement that lets us collect from the Stephens horses,” Johnson said, adding that he logs the horses’ blood types in advance. “That’s a great resource.”

Stephens’ equestrian faculty and students have also assisted in lameness locator research, as well as a study determining the benefits of resveratrol—the antioxidant found in red wine—in horse supplements.

For Stephens, the partnership means giving students a broader educational experience, said Becky Clervi, program coordinator.

“Students get to learn from it,” she said, noting that there are currently four research projects happening at the stables. “They’re getting to observe and work alongside researchers and make new types of connections.”
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Swan, Kushner kick off Writers on the Edge Series

The process of writing is a lot like the premise of a joke: A man riding a horse rushes by another man who asks where he’s going. “I don’t know,” the rider replied. “Ask the horse.”
“Sometimes we’re on that horse and we’re on a mission that we don’t know about yet,” Wisconsin writer Dale Kushner said. “As an author, it’s so important to trust the horse, the process of discovery.”
Kushner and well-known Columbia author and artist Gladys Swan kicked off this year’s Writers on the Edge Series at Stephens College. The series brings guest writers to campus to talk to English/creative writing students about their careers.
Yesterday’s event also drew more than 30 community members to the Penthouse at Hugh Stevens Library. 
The authors spent more than an hour talking about the writing process and reading selections from their respective books. 
Kushner was an established poet before writing her debut novel, “The Confessions of Love.” 
“Being a poet greatly influenced my fiction,” she said. “But it’s also why it took forever. Every word has to count—not only count but sing.”
The book, published earlier this year, traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she navigates family ties, friendships and relationships. 
Swan described her first novel, “The World of Carnival,” as a comic fantasy.
“After my first novel, I didn’t think I’d write a second because the book included everything I knew,” she said. “I was empty.”
The book, however, would go on to spawn four more. Swan also has several collections of short stories. 
“My stories have, in some ways, created me,” she said. “They allow me to articulate the things that are important in my life.”
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Panel to discuss why so few women work in film

Film industry experts will convene on the Stephens College campus next week to discuss why there are so few women working in Hollywood and what can be done to boost the number of females in film.

“Where are the Women?” is the first Citizen Jane Summit, although similar discussions have happened in the past. The Summit, which is free and open to the public, will kick off the Citizen Jane Film Festival, a three-day festival highlighting the work of female filmmakers.

“What’s exciting to me is that we have always had these conversations happening organically at the festival because we have these amazing women around the world here,” said Paula Elias, director of Citizen Jane. “People naturally start talking about why women are so poorly represented behind the camera and begin strategizing ways to make it better.”

The summit begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in Historic Senior Hall on campus. At 3:15 p.m., Melissa Silverstein, author and blogger, will discuss her new book “In Her Voice.” She will be followed by a short presentation on how women tell their stories hosted by Joanna Demkiewicz and Kalyen Ralph, journalists and founders of the new feminist magazine The Riveter.

Two Academy Award nominees will also participate in the summit. Julia Reichert, founder of New Day Films, will talk about women in independent cinema, and Yvonne Welbon will explore gender and race in cinema.

At 4:30 p.m. all of the guests will participate in a panel discussion about storytelling.

The summit will be interactive, and Elias anticipates heavy audience participation, especially at 5 p.m. when attendees will break into small groups to strategize ways to improve the status of women in film. Solutions will then be presented to the entire group before the event wraps up with a 6 p.m. reception.

“We hope the community takes advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and work with these amazing women,” Elias said. “The summit is going to be really fun and interesting and inspiring.”
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Theatre students tackle cold-hearted comedy

The Warehouse Theatre Company presents “The Smell of the Kill”—a dark comedy that will leave audience members with chills.

The play by Michele Lowe opens the company’s four-show season. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26-28 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Sept. 29. Get ticket information here.

Settled in the North Chicago suburb of Wilmette, the play follows three wives who have tolerated one another for years as their husbands, former college roommates, get together regularly for dinner. This time, though, while preparing dessert, the women exchange confidences, revealing that all three marriages are on the brink of disaster.

When the men mistakenly lock themselves in a basement meat locker, the women are faced with a life-or-death decision. Should they let them out?

“This show is about friendship,” Director Becca Hudgins said. “It highlights how important friendships are in times of crisis.”

The Warehouse Theatre Company is a student-run company under the School of Performing Arts that provides unique opportunities for students to participate in all aspects of production, management and direction.
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Stephens celebrates Talk, arg, Write Like a Pirate Day

Talk-like-a-pirate-day1Talk-like-a-pirate-day2International Talk Like a Pirate Day might have been Thursday, but Stephens College students weren’t quite finished celebrating.

About 75 English, creative writing, theatre and other students gathered in the Penthouse at Hugh Stephens Library today to celebrate “Write Like a Pirate Day,” Stephens’ twist on the nontraditional holiday.

During the lunchtime event, students shared pirate-themed haiku, sported pirate costumes and yelled “aaarrrg.” A lot.

Assistant Professor Kate Berneking Kogut created the writing-themed celebration to draw campus wide attention to the English and writing program, but also to give students a chance to explore different types of writing.

In addition to haiku, they were also challenged to create chain stories—each student contributed a line to a story without knowing what classmates would be adding to it.

“It’s a way to play with language and words,” she said.

Chelsea Wherry was one of five winners of the haiku contest. She wrote:  

All of the lasses 
And rum in the world could not 
Take me from the sea.

The event also included this pirate parade:

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Civil Rights activist shares leadership advice with students

Civil-Rights-speakerThe woman who helped Ted Turner nearly succeed in a hostile takeover of CBS in the 1980s encouraged Stephens students yesterday to be fearless, courageous and, most importantly, active.
“Do something,” Civil Rights leader Xernona Clayton said. “You’ve heard ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?' I say if it ain’t broke, break it so you’ll have something to do.”
This was the second time Clayton has visited Stephens this year. She was also on campus in January to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Clayton served as a close advisor to King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
During yesterday’s presentation, “The Power of One,” Clayton talked about how one individual has the ability to spark change.
Clayton worked as an assistant corporate vice president for Turner Broadcasting when she was tapped to help Turner in his bid for CBS ownership. She remembers traveling the country finding groups of viewers tohelp the company make its case.
“I took on the leadership role fearlessly because Ted Turner thought I could,” she said. “He had faith in my ability. When people believe in you, make it happen.”
Clayton's resumé is full of examples of her leadership abilities. She was the first black woman to have her own television show in the South, formed a friendship with a former KKK leader and led agroup of black doctors to Washington, D.C. to petition President Lyndon Johnson to desegregate hospitals in Atlanta. 

“People ask ‘When will we get another Martin Luther King?’” Clayton said during her hour-long address in Firestone Baars Chapel. “I say ‘What about you?’ If Martin Luther King had waited for someone else to do what he did, we would not have come as far. Leadership is simple. It’s ‘I will do something about whatever it is that’s a thorn in my side.’ You get up and do it.” 

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Inside Columbia creative director offers critique

Assistant Professor Kate Gray discusses the critique process.

The creative director for Inside Columbia magazine visited Stephens today critiquing student work and offering constructive criticism.

Carolyn Preul spent more than two hours with students in Kate Gray’s Information and Promotion Design class, showing them specifically what design elements worked and which did not.

Students were asked to design a four-page spread, similar to one they might see in Inside Columbia magazine. They were given a headline, body copy and photos of Cardinals baseball star David Freese to arrange in a magazine layout for the magazine's target audience. The assignment forced them to think about design elements such as the use of white space, graphics and fonts, in a real-world setting.

“This is really a great example of how we bring real clients and experiences into the classroom,” Gray said. “The students heard constructive feedback from someone who does this on a regular basis.”

Following Preul’s intensive critique, students were then asked to discuss what they liked about their classmates’ layouts before deciding what they might change within own spreads.

The exercise was held in the new Stamper Studio in Windsor Lounge. Formerly an open lounge*, the renovated studio includes a Mac lab with 24 computers, as well as a sectioned off classroom with display space.

*A previous version incorrectly described the space as an auditorium. 

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Stephens welcomes new professors

She’s been a fashion reporter and editor, as well as travel and society editor, at the Chicago Sun-Times; has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she helped develop the fashion journalism curricula; and has recently completed a Master of Science in International Public Service from DePaul University, where she graduated “With Distinction."

In short, Lisa Lenoir will be a perfect fit on the Stephens School of Fashion and Design faculty, said Dean Monica McMurry.

“We are very pleased to have Lisa join the fashion program as she brings with her both talents as a fashion journalist and reporter and strong skills with writing and the English language,” McMurry said. “Additionally, she has a engaging personality that will immerse students in new conversations about fashion, the world and how to bring that to the public. Plus, they are just going to want to be around her!"

Lenoir and Dr. Carrie Whittle joined the Stephens faculty last month as tenure-track professors. Whittle is teaching College Algebra, Calculus I and a physical science course this semester.

Lenoir is assistant fashion communication professor, bringing with her not only extensive experience but also familiarity with the program. Lenoir served on an advisory committee to help Stephens develop its fashion communication program, and has served on the Jury of Selection, helping judge student designs.

“Monica called me one day and told me about Jury and said they were looking for some different voices,” Lenoir said. “I came down and just really loved it. It was such a different environment.”

So when McMurry called her earlier this year asking whether she knew anyone who might be interested in the vacant faculty position, Lenoir decided to apply. After meeting Stephens’ administrative team, Lenoir said she felt a connection.

Lenoir has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a minor in graphic design from Indiana University. She spent seven years as a reporter before becoming fashion editor and reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, a position she held for seven years before becoming travel editor at the paper.

At Stephens, Lenoir wants to empower students to be “super smart about what they write,” she said. “Social media provides different ways for students to get their voices heard, but they also need to be responsible. I’ll be teaching journalistic standards from a traditional journalism background.”

Whittle recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas, where she taught College Algebra as a graduate assistant. She has a master’s degree from Missouri State University and a bachelor’s from Truman State University.

Stephens is a good fit, Whittle said, because the focus is on teaching. “During my phone interview, I really liked what I heard,” she said. “Then I had an in-person interview and when I got here and met the students, faculty and administrators, I was blown away. I thought, ‘This is fantastic.’ The emphasis is on helping students learn.”

Whittle also likes the small classes, allowing her to give students individualized attention. She describes her teaching style as interactive, making sure students learn through discovery.

“It’s important for them to figure things out for themselves,” she said. “When they discover the underlying concepts themselves, it’s going to stick with them much longer than if I just stood up and tried to explain it.”
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Behind the scenes of 'Almost, Maine'

In this video, acting instructor Dan Schultz takes viewers behind the scenes of "Almost, Maine," now playing at Macklanburg Playhouse.

The show opened Friday and continues this weekend. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Almost, Maine, a romantic comedy by John Cariani, takes a look at the nuances of love through a series of vignettes. All of the stories take place during the course of one night in a small community in northern Maine.

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Terrace residents tour fashion exhibit

fashion-exhibitResidents from Terrace Retirement not only learned about Bohemian styles during a private tour of the Historic Costume Gallery yesterday, they also shared their own memories and knowledge of the garments.

One visitor had information about one of the oldest garments on display that she was able to share with curators, said Monica McMurry, dean of Stephens’ School of Fashion and Design. She now plans to send them a photo of her grandmother wearing a similar garment.

“Another person actually lived in a Bohemian society and had much history to share,” said McMurry said. “He remembered some of the styles on display looking like the styles worn in his home town as a child.”

The collection also features garments worn by singer Jane Froman, which are set up next to a garment owned by alumna and actress Patricia Barry, as well as a dressing gown owned by Matilda Magnus Price, a Columbia socialite after whom the historic fashion collection is named. A photo of a young Price is also displayed in the exhibit.

Bohemian Rhapsody is open to the public every Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Private tours are available, however, for groups that would like to view the collection at other times.

By scheduling a private tour, visitors get more behind-the-scenes narratives about the history of the garments, McMurry said, and the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a curator. To schedule an exhibit tour, call 876-7220.

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Stephens to be inducted into Boone County Hall of Fame

Stephens College is being inducted this year into the Boone County Hall of Fame.
Sponsored by the Boone County Historical Society, the honor is given to organizations and individuals that have contributed to the development, growth and preservation of Boone County. 
“We’re honored that the College is being recognized for its contributions to the community,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “Stephens has a rich history. We were founded in 1833—the city of Columbia essentially grew up around Stephens College.”
With rising enrollments, facility improvements and recognition by some of the top college guides in the country, Stephens continues to contribute to the community’s educational landscape.
“Stephens is in great shape,” she said. “We’re truly one of the few women’s colleges not just surviving but thriving.”
In addition to the College's educational mission, Stephens also contributes to the vibrant arts and performing arts culture that Columbia enjoys.
Other inductees into the Hall of Fame this year include Jane Duncan Flink, publisher emeritus of the Boone County Journal, and posthumously to Luella Wilcox St. Clair, president emeritus of Columbia College.
Honorees will be recognized at a reception and awards ceremony next month. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Boone County Museum and Galleries in Nifong Park. For ticket information, call 573-443-8936.
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'Our Nixon,' 'Citizen Koch' among anticipated films

The 2013 Citizen Jane Film Festival sets sail Friday, Oct. 4, with the screening of “Maidentrip,” a documentary tracing the adventures of a 14-year-old’s solo voyage around the world.

The film follows Laura Dekker, the Dutch teen who became the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone.

It’s an appropriate opening night selection for a festival that also set out to break barriers. Now in its sixth year, Citizen Jane is one of few film festivals shining a spotlight on works by female filmmakers.

But don’t let the focus on women fool you, Program Director Kerri Yost said. While some are designed to provide a female perspective, most are just “really good films,” she said.

Among the most critically acclaimed films this year is “Our Nixon” by Penny Lane. The documentary is a compilation of never-before-seen clips of Richard Nixon’s aids; footage from more than 500 reels of home movies confiscated during the Watergate hearings.

Also coming to Citizen Jane Film Festival this year is Tia Lessin’s Citizen Koch, a story about the way in which money and power interfere with America’s democracy. Originally titled “Citizen Corp,” the film had early support from public television, which later pulled funding for fear of upsetting Charles Koch and David Koch, billionaire conservatives and donors. Lessin and fellow filmmaker Carl Deal later used social media to raise funding for the project. “Citizen Koch” premiered at Sundance Film Festival.

Lessin will join other filmmakers at noon Friday for a panel discussion about how social media and online fundraising efforts are changing the way films are made today. That discussion, in Studio A of the Helis Communication Center, is free and open to the public.

Those wanting a head start on the action are invited to attend the CJ Summit, a workshop allowing audience members to interact with a distinguished panel of feminist filmmakers. Attendees can RSVP at [email protected] Guests include award-winning filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, New Day Films Founder Julia Reichert, authors and journalists. That event, also free and open to the public, starts at 3 p.m.Thursday, Oct. 3, at Historic Senior Hall.

Reichert and Welbon will team up again Saturday morning to present “From the Archives: Finding Identity” featuring rare clips from early feminist filmmakers.

Although passes giving access to all events and to all films are available, visitors can opt to attend a single film or event. A complete schedule is available at

“Citizen Jane is designed to be an easy and relaxing festival, something you can incorporate into your other plans that weekend,” Yost said. “Our box office process and venue sites are chosen to make it very easy to attend.”

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New storytelling class challenges students to think differently


Kate Berneking Kogut, center, explains an activity to students.

Students in a new class at Stephens College were given an unusual task Monday.
“Don’t think,” Assistant Professor Kate Berneking Kogut challenged nearly 30 students.
It was tougher than it sounds. Asked for simple suggestions, such as girls’ names or types of clouds, most students blanked, struggling to come up with the perfect answer. By the end of the hour-long class period, students acknowledged that over thinking sometimes gets in the way of action.
The goal of the new course, Starting With Story, is to help students deconstruct the idea of a story, Kogut said. Too often, she’s found that students come with preconceived notions of how a story should read or sound—and that sometimes paralyzes the process, be it writing for book, stage or screen.
“Don’t get it right, get it written,” Kogut told the class. “Get it down, then go back and craft it. People who want to get it right don’t get it finished.”
The course combines writing with activities that force students to think differently. In addition to the word association exercise Monday, for instance, students also drew hands to help them visualize ways a question could be revised into a request or a demand.
They also participated in an activity requiring them to match similar sounds.
The physical activities aren’t combined with every classroom discussion, Kogut said, but they do help spark the creative process.
Over the course of the semester, students in Starting With Story will also learn character development, how to dramatize everyday dialogue and will complete a research project requiring multiple types of sources.

Kogut previously taught these concepts in her scriptwriting course. But Starting with Story is now a prerequisite for classes not only English/creative writing but also the film program and integrated marketing. And that makes sense because the lessons are so universal, she said.
“Story is how we make sense of ourselves and the world, and how we make sense of our place in that world.”

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Stephens opens new student workout room

Stephens College students have a new place to work out on campus.

The College this summer converted a space on the first floor of Stamper Commons into a gym, complete with weights, exercise balls and 21 exercise machines. 

Workout-center2Although some pieces of equipment are new, most had been available to students previously in Hillcrest Hall, which has since been sold.

The new exercise space is adjacent to the Student Union, which opened in 2012 and offers students a place to play Ping-Pong, video games or foosball or to watch television.

Administrators are hoping the more centralized location will boost the number of students taking advantage of the free gym.

“Students want to stay active but the fitness center was just not accessible,” said Deb Duren, vice president of student services. “This new location will let them easily get in a workout between classes and other activities.”

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Freelance designer shares life, work advice with marketing students

Freelance designer Kristen Brown gave Stephens students an up-close look at the fast-paced world of graphic design today, encouraging them to get experience at agencies before attempting to launch their own businesses.

Brown owns and operates Hoot Design Co., where she designs logos, custom prints, cards and other products. She started the firm when she returned to Columbia in 2010 after working at a large ad agency in Chicago for five years.

Brown, also an adjunct at Stephens, kicked off the Professional Lecture Series for Creative Ink, the student-run public relations firm at Stephens. The series brings in women working in marketing and design to give practical advice and share real-world scenarios. Brown also talked about the challenges of starting a family while staying active in the workforce. She has two children, a 2-year-old and an infant, whom she brought to the lecture with her. The baby slept through class, but Brown joked that that wasn't always the case and bringing children to meetings isn't always a positive experience. 

Brown wasn’t looking to start her own business when she began doing freelance work in Chicago. She had created a poster for a nephew and started receiving requests from others for reprints. Shortly after, she snagged additional work on the side helping a city department create brochures. It wasn’t a glamorous gig, she acknowledged, but it helped her build a client base.

She warned students that their first advertising or design job might not be a dream job but is necessary to get to the next position. 
That said, Creative Ink students have an edge, she noted. Most designers do not get to work with clients early in their careers, and it’s even more unusual to get that experience while in college.
Creative Ink, now in its sixth year, works with professional clients to come up with custom promotional materials. Current community clients and partners include the Men’s Minority Network and Columbia Public Schools.
“That interaction with clients and your strong portfolios are invaluable,” Brown said. “I love how Stephens teaches this program.”
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Columbia residents join students at opening of fashion exhibit

For Columbia resident Mary Ann Groves, the new Bohemian Rhapsody-themed fashion exhibit at Stephens College brought back a flood of memories.

The neckline on the 1960s gold jacquard coat and dress on display reminded her of her wedding gown. Inside the Historic Costume Gallery in Lela Raney Wood Hall, she stopped at a bed jacket displayed among the rare collection of vintage lingerie. Delicate bed jackets, she and a friend reminisced, were once considered proper gifts for women who were in the hospital.

“This is just exquisite,” she said, taking a moment to scan the gallery.

Groves was one of more than 30 visitors who stopped by the opening reception for Bohemian Rhapsody, a show featuring paisley, lace and floral prints that will remain open through Dec. 15. Gallery hours are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to the Bohemian looks popular in the 1920s and1970s, visitors can expect pieces with Asian and Egyptian inspiration, as well. Two dresses owned by singer Jane Froman are on loan from Columbia College. Stephens President Dianne  Lynch called the exhibit one of the most beautiful shows she has seen in the gallery.  

Freshman Kathryn McCarthy was drawn to a circus-inspired gown with dramatic sleeves, a cinched waist and lace trimmings.

“I would never wear it, but I love this,” she said.

Students joined community members at the opening as part of a class assignment. Monica McMurry, Dean of the School of Fashion & Design, is teaching a first-year experience course about fashion, culture and identity that challenges freshmen to think about clothing in new ways. Students at the opening had a chance to “claim” a displayed garment they will spend the coming weeks studying.

Freshman Taylor Barber selected a1920s gold flapper gown with floral accents.

“I always thought I should have been a flapper,” she said. “I’ve always loved the 20s. It was an important time in fashion. Lengths were changing; arms could be exposed. It was a powerful era for women.”
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Stephens chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta earns national nod

The Stephens College chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta has been awarded an Alpha Award at the Bronze Level, which recognizes the local group for a high initiation rate.

During the 2012-13 school year, the local chapter initiated 74 percent of students invited to join the group.

Only first-year students are invited to join Alpha Lambda Delta, an honor society founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois. Once a member, students remain in the group throughout their college careers as long as they maintain excellent grades.

At Stephens, membership is open to the top 10 percent of the freshmen class, meaning most inductees had a perfect or near-perfect 4.0 grade point average, said Meredith Jacob, outgoing president. Stephens members participate in community events, but mostly encourage one another to continue earning high marks, Jacob said.

Glenda Earwood, executive director of Alpha Lambda Delta’s national headquarters, praised Stephens for having an “outstanding chapter.”

“The growth of this honor society demonstrates that more academically talented students are drawn to your campus and that the successful transition of these students from high school to college has been supported by faculty and staff,” Earwood wrote in a letter to Stephens President Dianne Lynch.

“We’re thrilled to see the Alpha Lambda Delta chapter and our high achieving students recognized with this honor,” Lynch said.

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Performing Arts season kicks of with love story

This is a love story.

Well, almost.

"Almost, Maine," by John Cariani, provides a quirky look at the clumsiness of falling in and out of love.

The Stephens College School of Performing Arts will present the play at Macklanburg Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13-14 and Sept. 20-21, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Sept. 15.

The show opens the 2013-14 performing arts season. Get ticket information here. Set in a community so far north it’s almost in Canada, Almost is almost, but not quite a town because the residents never organized it. The play takes place on a moonless starry night during which friendships get complicated, feelings get hurt and love can either take root or fall on the floor … literally.

“It’s really nine small plays,” said Carol Estey, Stephens’ artistic director for dance and the show’s director. “Each is fully formed with a beginning, middle and end. They’re connected by location and are happening simultaneously over the course of one night.”

The Stephens production will feature an all-student cast from the theatre department, including four male students who will each take on multiple roles. Students also designed the set, which will suggest different locations across one community.

Although all about love, don’t expect everything to end happily ever after. Cariani “talks a lot about the magic and complications of being in love,” Estey said. “It’s sweet, but not all sweet. There are moments in the beginning of relationships, relationships ending and he leaves some of the stories open-ended.”

A play for date night and the lonely hearted alike, "Almost, Maine," is for anyone who has ever been in love—or almost.

Ticket information here.
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Pedestrian bridge work continues

A rendering of the completed pedestrian bridge over Broadway.

Work continues on the pedestrian bridges over Broadway and College Avenue, however the bridges remain open during construction.

The work includes adding a brick facade on both sides of the bridges, giving them an appearance that is more consistent with the look of the Stephens campus. Eight-foot high columns will also be added atop the piers and will match the historic columns near Historic Senior Hall.

Additionally, signage will let drivers know they’re crossing through Stephens College territory. The Stephens College name, as well as official seal, will span the sides of the bridges.

“We’re really excited about this project,” said Lindi Overton, vice president for finance and administration. “Not only is it good for Stephens, it also improves the look of what really has become an entryway into Downtown Columbia.”

This is the second phase of the bridge improvement project, which last year included replacing the bridge spans and adding wrought iron railing.
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Stephens students observe 9/11 Day of Service

9-11_service9-11_service2Stephens College students today vowed to spread kindness, be more positive and donate time and money to charities.

It was part of the campus’s participation in the national 9/11 Day, a non-profit movement aimed to pay tribute to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Stephens’ Staff Advisory Council, Student Government Association, Campus Life Unleashed and Leadership and Programming Office teamed up to observe the day locally by promoting service.

“It’s a way to turn Sept. 11 into something positive,” said Sandie Heckman, an accounting assistant and member of SAC.

Observing the day also helps college students remember the day, even though many were in their early teenage years when the attacks occurred.

Stephens pledges were posted onto a  “Wall of Remembrance for 9/11” inside Stamper Commons.

By mid-day, one wall near the campus bookstore was nearly filled with brick-like stacks of student pledges, some of which outlined specific goals. "I pledge…To call my mom," one student wrote, "and tell her I love you!"

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Stephens to join Women in Public Service Project

Stephens College has joined the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP), a program of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

Founded in 2011 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in partnership with the historic Seven Sisters Colleges, the WPSP is an innovative program that aims to boost the number of women in leadership roles. Stephens becomes the 12thcollege to become a full academic partner in the network, which also partners with the U.S. Department of State.
“WPSP provides strategic investment in and international visibility to women's leadership around the globe — a mission and set of commitments consistent with those of Stephens College,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said.  “Individually, each institution and every sector has a role to play in increasing women's influence and position. Collectively, we have the potential to help change the world—one political system, economy and culture at a time.”
The WPSP envisions a world in which women occupy at least half of political and civic leadership roles by 2050. To accomplish this goal, the WPSP challenges communities to advance a new generation of women committed to public service; brings together leaders, educators and public servants from around the globe who are committed to the goal; and makes recommendations to implement creative solutions to increase the number of women who aspire to public leadership.
The WPSP hosts symposiums that bring together emerging women leaders around pressing issues. The symposiums provide a platform for participants to discuss constitution-making, new developments, best practices and opportunities for changes in laws and policies in their communities and countries. This summer, Clinton delivered the keynote address at the WPSP Institute at Bryn Mawr College, a founding partner. Among other global institutes and symposia, the WPSP will host a Summer 2014 Leadership Institute with the Harpswell Foundation and Pannasastra University, Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
The WPSP also promotes two-way and peer-to-peer mentoring and publishes Journeys to Leadership: Narratives from the Ground to showcase the stories of WPSP global network members.
“By joining the WPSP as a full partner, Stephens College joins other leading academic partners and government entities in heeding an urgent call to action for women’s leadership in public service throughout the world,” said Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the WPSP, “and has positioned itself as a powerful platform for women’s leadership globally."
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