Parents and Families
The U.S. is currently suffering from the highest levels of income inequality since the 1920s, and nearly 40% of college graduates are “underemployed” — working service jobs that don’t require a college degree. For the first time, many expect the next generation to have lower standards of living than the current working generation. Thomas A. Kochan, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and author of the book, Restoring the American Dream: A Working Family’s Agenda for America, lays out his solution for reversing this downward trend.
From wealth distribution and whose voices are seemingly loudest to the balance of “hard” and “soft” news, check out Salon‘s list of “8 Shocking Facts the Media Doesn’t Have the Courage to Tell You.”
Seven Bowdoin faculty members have been promoted from the rank of associate to full professor: Aviva Briefel (English, Film Studies), Philip Camill (Environmental Studies; Earth and Oceanographic Science), Kristen Ghodsee (Gender and Women’s Studies), Samuel Putnam (Psychology), Patrick Rael (History), Shu-chin Tsui (Asian Studies; Film Studies), and Tricia Welsch (Film Studies).
“I am delighted to recognize each of these talented, respected, and dedicated faculty members,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd in announcing the promotions. ”Promotion to full professor highlights the tremendous contributions that these seven teacher-scholars have made to the Bowdoin community, and particularly the opportunities they provide to our students,” Judd said. “It’s invaluable for students to work with such extraordinarily gifted and committed teachers who are at the same time distinguished scholars, engaged in shaping their fields of study nationally and internationally.”
In an article published by Columbia Journalism Review, news literacy experts express concern that news consumption through social media platforms comes with a high risk of readers taking parody news articles seriously. By sharing or retweeting links they haven’t even read, people are perpetuating the spread of fake news and exacerbating the long-standing problem faced by satirists: that some people just won’t get the joke.
Bowdoin’s most recent Santagata lecturer, an anthropology professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, teaches courses with titles like “Humans,” “Quasi-Humans,” “Non-Humans,” and “Culture, Politics, and Nature.” So what is Hugh Raffles’ academic focus, exactly?
“While you call him an anthropologist, that label doesn’t really fit,” said President Mills in an introduction to the talk. “He studies people, animals, and objects, and the relationships among them, and his writing crosses interdisciplinary boundaries of anthropology, life science, history, economics, philosophy, and other subjects.”
Author of the award-winning book Insectopedia, Raffles is known for the unconventional perspectives he brings to his work. In this spring’s Kenneth V. Santagata Memorial Lecture, he presented a reflection on the history of Manhattan neighborhoods like Marble Hill, inspired by a long walk in the company of two friends last summer. Read more about Raffles’ talk.
The ‘lead’ in your pencil is actually graphite — the stablest element of carbon, the element that makes diamonds. Researchers at Stanford recently discovered that, by controlling the structural transition between carbon atoms at the nanoscale, they can actually turn graphite into diamonds.
Competition for admission to the country’s top colleges and universities is more anxiety-inducing than ever, reports The New York Times in the article, “Best, Brightest and Rejected: Elite Colleges Turn Away Up to 95%.”Stanford University accepted only five percent of its applicants, a new low.
The Times includes Bowdoin, along with Amherst, Williams and others, in a list of competitive small colleges also seeing lower acceptance rates these days.
Lonnie Hackett is not yet a college graduate, but already he is the founder of a healthcare nonprofit in Zambia that provides free medical treatment to children.
To further his work, Hackett has received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant. He’ll use the funds to serve more children through his humanitarian organization, Healthy Kids/Brighter Future. Philanthropist Kathryn Davis set up the Projects for Peace foundation to support motivated undergraduates who are implementing community projects around the world. Read the full story.
What happens in your brain when you take a giant bite into an ice cream cone? What happens if you couple this bite with an ambient music in your ears? A field of science called neurogastronomy studies exactly this, inspring companies such as Starbucks to pick up on the research.
Since then, Starbucks has compiled a playlist to improve the coffee-drinking experience. Hear the sound associated with bitterness and the sound associated with sweetness on Marketplace.
Click for full-size table and the full story of who gets tipped and why.
Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and the Amernet String Quartet will premiere Bowdoin composer Vineet Shende’s new song cycle Thin Bits of Evidence, in a program that also includes Gabriela Ortiz’s Incan-based Balkaah, Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters,” and Grieg’s String Quartet No. 2 in F Major at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in Studzinski Recital Hall.
Shende’s music is set to a prose poem series by poet Julie Gard, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, who wrote the series after her house was set on fire in an arson attempt by a disturbed neighbor. Gard explains that writing poetry was her coping mechanism in the aftermath of that event, which took place in North Dakota in 2006:
Our neighbor had worked part-time at a thrift shop in town, and I went there one fall afternoon and filled a basket with objects that I felt drawn to in that moment, that connected in my gut to what had happened. At times I felt morbid to write about the fire, to dwell on it, but I also felt powerful whenever I picked up an object from that basket and composed a prose poem.
Following Wednesday’s concert, Gard will present a reading of her works in the faculty room in Massachusetts Hall at 4 p.m. Thursday April 10. Read more.
Large food corporations may be able to generate a new tide of healthier, more nutritious consumers. A study published earlier this year suggests that 16 of biggest food firms in the U.S. “have reduced the number of calories in their products by over six trillion in five years,” four times the original target.
Companies like Kellogg’s, Campbell, Nestlé and General Mills have all been researching and developing new products that have fewer calories but still reach a broad customer segment.
Even so, the American food and beverage industry reportedly spent $17 billion to make people think drinking soda all day long is normal — meaning that the corporate pursuit for profits may not coexist with improving public health.
However, evolutionary theorists have recently discovered spite can have some benefits.
In a study testing game theory, researchers determined that the presence of spiteful players influenced others to behave more fairly. In other words, witnessing spite can trigger a greater commitment to altruism and human decency.
Maine ranks first among “Top Cat-Loving-Dog-Haters” (What? This cannot be true.) owing to statistics that show 46% of households having cats, 35% with dogs.
By contrast, southern states, including Alabama and Louisiana, seem to prefer dogs to cats. See how your state stacks up to the rest of the country.
There have undoubtedly been colder winters and snowier winters in Brunswick, but the winter of 2013-14 will be remembered for being experienced as a long and unpleasant one. Snow came early and fell late, midwinter thaws were comparatively brief interludes in a weather pattern that drew Arctic air southward. What we did not have on campus this year was the formation of a shallow lake on the quad, which in previous years inspired commentary in The Occident, the early April spoof of The Orient newspaper. Improved drainage systems underlying the grassy areas of the campus have made “Lake Bowdoin” an infrequent feature of the early spring landscape these days. As alumni can attest, it was not always thus.
Three years after the College opened, the Trustees voted on October 23, 1805, “That the President be authorized to cause a plank way to be made from the college [Massachusetts Hall] to the chapel, and also from his house to the chapel.” The chapel was an unheated wooden building that faced Massachusetts Hall; President McKeen’s house was located where Searles Science Building now stands. The plank walkway was a practical solution to traversing a campus where the only three buildings might be separated by standing water, ice, or mud, depending on the season.
College officials took advantage of the construction of the railroad line through Brunswick in the late 1840s to try to remedy the drainage problems on the campus and to enhance the fertility of the sandy soil, which had defied attempts to establish ornamental shrubbery and trees. Cartloads of clay and loam removed from the construction of the railroad bed were spread across the campus, marginally improving the quality of the soil, but not lessening the tendency for heavy rains falling on frozen ground or the remnant snows of winter to create impressive pools of water.
It wasn’t until the mid-1880s that the College and the town began to address the cumulative health risks posed by surface wells, the lack of a sewer system, and the sluggish natural drainage of swamps and wetlands from the railroad tracks to the Androscoggin River. In a sharp-edged summary of Brunswick’s “Golden Age,” Professor of History Edward Kirkland pointed out that in 1886 Brunswick’s death toll from diphtheria, typhoid, and diarrhea was unequalled in New England: “…a man from the Middle Ages would have felt at home amidst the dirt and smells of Brunswick.” The situation was greatly improved within a few years, and in 1899 Bowdoin took steps to install a drainage system to reduce the likelihood of standing water on the campus quadrangle.
Health issues were clearly in the mind of the author of an Orient article in December of 1915: “The present flooded condition of the campus is but mild prophecy of inundations to come…when spring comes we will be again forced to sit in the drafts of Adams and Memorial trying in vain to keep back the snuffles that come with wet feet and consequent colds. Why doesn’t the college invest in a set of board walks to bridge the deepest channels? The cost would not be exorbitant and the services of a pontifex maximus would not be required…That George Rogers Clark and his backwoodsmen waded through icy waters up to their middles is no proof that wet leather is conducive to regular attendance at chapel.
Periodic floods followed each attempt to improve the situation by expanding the network of drains or by paving walkways. Boardwalks (better known to students as “duck-boards”) worked under some conditions to keep feet dry, but they were difficult to keep clear of snow and ice over the course of a winter. The comparative certainty of dry feet with the duck-boards was counterbalanced with an increased risk of falls and injuries. I have an early-1960s recollection of duck-boards covering the topographically “low” walk from the Packard Gate to Massachusetts Hall, but no memory of the wooden walkways on the campus quad since then. Perhaps the liabilities and costs of hand-shoveling the wooden walks outweighed the advantages.
Nearly every appearance of the seasonal lake in recent memory has attracted one or more adventurous souls in a canoe or kayak to ply the uncharted waters.
Students have always found a way to turn a seasonal nuisance into a recreational or editorial opportunity. I’m not sure when the first Bowdoin student launched a watercraft onto the waters of Lake Bowdoin (not to be confused with a wildlife sanctuary in Montana of the same name), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the 19th century. Rowing was Bowdoin’s first intercollegiate sport, after all. In January of 1935 Crowell “Buzz” Hall ’37 and Bill Sawyer ’36 took a red canoe onto the quad in the area between the Chapel and the Walker Art Building. “Laughing students turned into an unsympathetic audience when they began to bombard the vessel with snowballs, the splashes drenching the occupants.” The accompanying photo shows an expedition by three members of 1944, with Roy LaCasce sitting between Richard Means and George Hebb. Nearly every appearance of the seasonal lake in recent memory has attracted one or more adventurous souls in a canoe or kayak to ply the uncharted waters.
Although sometimes the lake is a winter phenomenon, it is the spring version that draws the greatest editorial commentary in the Orient, especially in the pages of the April Fool’s Day edition. In 1928 a dragon-like monster was sighted off the coast of Memorial Hall; in 1930 “Esquimaux in kayaks” were sent out to rescue four freshmen marooned at the pediment of the Art Museum at Walker Bay. President Sills sent out the North Sea Fleet from the naval base at Searles Hall to search for twelve students who tried to walk across campus in 1938. Over the years there have been essays about a Venetian gondolier who would serenade a couple for a romantic tour of the lagoon, students swimming to classes, possible kickbacks to local businesses who sold rubber boots, entrepreneurially-minded students contemplating operating a campus ferry service, and the Green Hornet Construction Company’s 1970 installation project for a Lake Bowdoin Recreational Facility.
It has been some time now since the center of the campus was occupied by a lake, thanks to the effectiveness of the most recent drainage system, and to weather conditions that have not been favorable for its formation. Should a particular combination of snow, ice, and water conditions create another seasonal lake, I’m sure that Bowdoin students will discover ways to enjoy the experience, as previous generations of students have done, mindful of the sentiment expressed in Edward Page Mitchell’s “Phi Chi”:
“While pluck beats luck,
And Prex is stuck,
And profs are high and dry,
We will follow her to glory!”
With best wishes,
John R. Cross ’76
Secretary of Development and College Relations
Bowdoin’s new printmaking studio hummed with artistic energy during a recent visit from printmaker Susan Groce, chair of the art department at the University of Maine and an acclaimed artist whose prints and drawings appear in collections and exhibitions all over the world. Groce took part in Bowdoin’s Spring 2014 Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project, which brings one distinguished printmaker to campus each semester for a week of student workshops, public lectures, and collaborative printmaking.
Sponsored by the Marvin Bileck and Emily Nelligan Trust, the semiannual project is a win for everyone who participates, said organizer and Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga, Bowdoin’s resident printmaker. “The visiting artists get to work on their own professional pieces, and the students get to work side by side with them,” which gives students an opportunity to both pick up new skills and gain insight into the world of professional artists, Scanga said.
This semester, fifteen aspiring teachers — three current seniors and twelve recent alumni — are enrolled in the Bowdoin Teacher Scholars Program, a five-year-old certification program run by the College’s education department. In the intensive spring course, the group is learning what it takes to become a middle or high school teacher.
After they have been certified by the state of Maine, the new teachers will pursue a number of paths, from working in public schools to earning advanced degrees. While their career ambitions may vary, many of the Bowdoin Teacher Scholars say they are pursuing a career in education because they see it as a way to help others and to serve the common good. Read more about the program.
The John Booras Collection, which features iconic photographs of the schooner Bowdoin taken circa 1924, as it returned from an arctic expedition, can now be seen online. The 140 pictures were captured during a trip to Monhegan Island, and offer an exciting glimpse of the ship’s famed trip. Discovered by retired postman John Booras, the pictures illustrate Admiral Donald B. MacMillan and his crew aboard the Bowdoin.
Women’s Lacrosse - The Bowdoin College women’s lacrosse team shook off a slow start to defeat Connecticut College, 14-9, on Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field.
Men’s Lacrosse - The Bowdoin College men’s lacrosse team rallied from a seven-goal deficit to shock Connecticut College on Saturday afternoon, 10-9.
Softball - The Bowdoin softball team’s offense continued to roll as the Polar Bears swept Saturday’s doubleheader at Trinity.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field - Members of the Bowdoin College outdoor track and field team competed in a non-scoring meet at UNH on Saturday following the cancellation of a scheduled home meet against St. Joseph’s. Erin Silva led the way for Bowdoin with a school record in the pole vault, clearing a height of 3.74 meters to best her own school mark and place her among the top-10 on the NCAA Division III performance list for the spring.
Men’s Tennis - Bowdoin: 5, MIT: 4.
The University of Texas is taking a big risk: it’s auctioning off the Forster Flag, one of the oldest surviving American flags, for an expected price between $1 million and $3 million. The catch? This historic artifact is the centerpiece of the University’s new flag and iconography collection. Auctioneers are hoping that whoever purchases the famed flag will donate it back to the school as a gesture of goodwill – but they can’t be sure.