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Reed Announces President’s Summer Fellows

Linguistics major Knar Hovakimyan ’16 will travel to Armenia to translate contemporary poetry.

Reed is proud to announce the latest winners of the President’s Summer Fellowship: eight outstanding projects that combine intellectual pursuit, imagination, adventure, personal transformation, and service to the greater good.

Inaugurated by President John R. Kroger, with generous support from trustee Dan Greenberg ’62 and his wife, Susan Steinhauser, the fellowship attracted scores of creative proposals. The winners will be awarded $5,000 each to pursue their projects during summer 2015. Here they describe their projects in their own words.

President Kroger Seized by Owl Frenzy

President Kroger catches Owl Fever during epic struggle in the Quad.

A furious fight erupted in the Quad Friday night as scores of students struggled for possession of the Doyle Owl, a 300-lb slab of concrete statuary that has become a monumental Reed mascot, in an exuberant mêlée that eventually engulfed President John Kroger.

As rival student factions vied for victory, Kroger dodged elbows, copies of the Iliad, and overzealous rugby players to plant a hand on this remnant of Reed’s history.

The chaos began at 7 p.m., when students discovered an owl near the Reed reactor. A frantic scrum took place as students wrestled for ownership until word filtered through that the object at the center of the mayhem was actually a decoy—one of two fakes planted to maximize confusion.

Two Reedies Win Watsons

Reed students Watson Fellows.

Reed students Sasha Peters and Rennie Meyers won Watson Fellowships to pursue a year of independent study after graduation. Photos by Chris Lydgate

We're thrilled to announce that two Reed seniors have won Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for purposeful, independent study outside the United States.

Environmental studies-history major Rennie Meyers ’15 won a fellowship to study the formation of artificial coral reefs and history/literature major Sasha Peters ’15 won a fellowship to explore abandoned sites and cities in the Soviet sphere through the medium of radio.

Coral Reefs

Class of 2014 Begins Quest for World Domination

Snapshot of the class of 2014 six months after graduation, based on a study by the Center for Life Beyond Reed. The knowledge rate for the survey is 85%; in other words, the destinations of 15% of the class remain unknown.

Like wildflower seeds on the wind, the class of 2014 has dispersed to the far reaches of the globe in search of work and opportunity.

According to a survey conducted by the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR) six months after graduation, of those who responded that finding a job was their primary destination, 76% had found full-time or part-time employment, 10% were in grad school, and 4% were doing service work such as AmeriCorps.

Their activities span everything from monitoring human rights in Mexico, to working in the district attorney’s office in Portland, to promoting sustainable textiles in Tibet. More than 30 are doing research of one kind or another and about two dozen are teaching or tutoring.

Reed Alumni Go to Hell

Dante Alighieri, author of the towering Inferno.

President John Kroger and Reed alumni gathered in Prexy last week to discuss a burning issue—Dante’s Inferno.

Balancing copies of the Divine Comedy and glasses of wine, alumni listened intently as President Kroger shared his thoughts about this 14th-century masterpiece of allegorical verse.

Like many Reedies, Kroger read the Inferno in college. (It's currently on the syllabus for Hum 210.) Recently, however, he committed some leisure time to exploring not just Inferno but its two lesser-known companions, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso.

Reed Arts Week (RAW) 2015: Might Now

Students gather at the RAW banquet/theme reveal Image by Jade Novarino '16

This year, Reed Arts Week (RAW), March 3–8, takes a turn for the understated and the peculiar, with the highlight of the opening exhibition being a fist-sized rock. The rock displays a smiley face on its surface, and its owner is attempting to sell it for $1 million on eBay, despite never having received a bid.

Other installations include a camera obscura inside Vollum lounge, which uses vibrations from Eliot Circle to create a subdued shadow world, and captures students walking to class in the form of indistinct silhouettes.

The Gray Campus Center features a “quiet room,” or traceless environment; the space is light and soundproof, completely cut off from the rest of campus. The intent of the room is to give students an experience of being entirely solitary, while still in the heart of campus. The sports center is home to the opposite effect, with an audio system set up in the racquetball courts that records the sound in the room and then plays it back a minute later, simultaneously with all of the sound that has been recorded previously. The cacophony will increase relentlessly throughout the week, resulting in a complete audio record of the room during RAW.

Theatre Major Goes down the Rabbit Hole

Thesis production "Here, Now" by Marisa Kanai ’15 is an interactive performance with an "audience" of two. Here the enigmatic Rabbit offers tea to a member of the audience. Fiona Wiedermann

I’m standing in the middle of an old-fashioned living room, surrounded by empty suitcases, tea cups, overflowing bookshelves, and a Twister mat, attempting to communicate with a dapper rabbit brandishing a tennis racket.

This could only happen at Reed—to be precise, onstage at Here, Now, a remarkable thesis production by theatre major Marisa Kanai ’15, which is performed for only two audience members at a time.

Marisa is working with her faculty adviser, Prof. Peter Ksander [theatre 2011–], to explore immersive environments and interactivity in performance, inviting the audience to engage in an intimate relationship with the actors, the space, and the content of the event itself.

Reed's Prince of Fashion Makes Splash at Art Museum

Reed College grad Pucci at his work table surrounded by hanging garments.

Thinker, tailor, soldier, spy. Emilio Pucci '37 at work.

You may associate Reedies with conspicuous non-consumption, yet we have cut a distinctive swath (both high and low) in the fashion world, with none more celebrated than Emilio Pucci ’37. After graduating from Reed, the legendary fashion designer led a fascinating life of international intrigue and was tortured by Nazi interrogators. His original designs are included in the exhibition Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 showing at the Portland Art Museum through May 3, 2015.

Italian Style documents Italy’s dramatic transition from post-war devastation to burgeoning industry. Sumptuous displays include more than 100 ensembles and accessories created by leading Italian fashion houses, including Pucci, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Prada, and Versace. As Emilio Pucci propelled Reed into the world of alpine sport, as founder of the college ski team, his breathtaking designs propelled Italian fashion onto the world stage.

For its presentation in Portland, the only West Coast venue, the museum has organized a variety of programs for the general public, as well as a private tour for alumni led by docent Nancy Johannsen Morrice ’78 in April (stay tuned for dates!). In addition, Reed students are eligible for a $5 discount (show your ID at the box office). Reed alumni, staff, and faculty are eligible for a $5 discount by using the code REED when purchasing a ticket online

Working Weekend Connects Seekers with Knowers

Data scientists Ross Donaldson '06, Allison Morgan '14, and Melissa Lewis '13 share career advice with Reed students at Working Weekend.

Building a career is dependent on both what you know and whom you know, as Reed’s fourth annual Working Weekend proved. The event, organized by the Center for Life Beyond Reed, attracted a record 336 students and young alumni who came to network with more experienced alumni and gain job-seeking skills.

Reed alumni created Working Weekend three years ago to help students transition from college to career. The two-day event brings alumni panelists from around the country to mentor students, answer questions and provide a window on the world of careers such as banking, law, medicine, technology, music, writing, and food.

The campus buzzed with notable alumni, including:

Bio Prof Wins $444K Grant from NIH

Prof. Erik Zornik works with students in his lab

Prof. Erik Zornik works with students in his lab

Prof. Erik Zornik [biology 2012–] has been awarded a $444,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to support his research on mechanisms in the brain that generate rhythmic behavior—with the goal of finding new treatments for neurological disorders.

Prof. Zornik is interested in how behavioral variation is encoded in neural circuits. His research investigates a hindbrain central pattern generator (CPG) that generates the courtship vocal behaviors of African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis.

“Adults of this species exhibit a rich vocal repertoire of at least seven call types that range from rhythmically simple to temporally complex,” Zornik explains. “Xenopus vocalizations are sexually differentiated; males and females produce calls with distinct temporal characteristics that are regulated by steroid hormones during development and in adulthood. This makes their vocal behaviors an ideal subject for understanding the neural basis of behavior and behavioral plasticity.”

Philosophy, Star Trek, and the Glass Plate Game

Reed students play the Glass Plate Game at Paideia 2015. The game was adapted from Herman Hesse's famous novel, The Glass Bead Game, by Dunbar Aitkens, pictured on the right.

There were nine of us gathered in the classroom in Vollum. We chatted in hushed tones among coffee cups with brown rims and the winter sunlight filtering in through the blinds. We were alert, we were prepared—although a few late stragglers had the distinct look of an unmade bed—and we began.

We started with Species-Specific Norms, and reasoned our way to The Need Not to Judge and from there Emergence. After a discussion of the philosophical underpinnings of the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” we rejected Emergence as a suitable logical connection with The Need Not to Judge. Instead, someone posited Nature Tending Towards Perfection, which we accepted. Someone else posited Death as a counterargument, which led us to Emotional Manipulation, Unwanted Relationships, Agency, Music, and, finally, Hidden Potential.

Though it might sound like we were crowdsourcing a philosophy paper, we were in fact playing a round of the Glass Plate Game. The game has no winner or loser, and no score is kept. Instead, players engage in cooperative reasoning, and progress across a series of cards covering different topics.

Life of the Mind (and Legs)

The running diary of Russian major Timmy Straw ’17 provides a glimpse into the creativity of Reed students. Alex Krafcik ’15

People often ask me what today’s Reed students are like. A dozen adjectives spring to mind. They are brilliant, creative, curious, passionate, idealistic, committed, intellectual, and iconoclastic. And yet there remains an elusive X-factor about them that seems impossible to capture, no matter how many times I scan the thesaurus.

From time to time, however, I stumble across something that conveys something of the essence of Reed. Today it is a running log that was kept by Russian major Timmy Straw ’17 last quarter for a PE class. As readers may know, all Reed students have to complete six quarters of physical education; for the running class, they’re supposed to maintain a log of their runs. This is strictly a bookkeeping requirement, akin to logging hours on a timesheet.

In true Reed fashion, however, Timmy took a mundane assignment and turned it into a virtual art form.

Reed Declares New Majors

Decisions, decisions. Reed has added a new comp lit major, plus two new concentrations: math-computer science and math-statistics.

The perennial sophomore’s dilemma—What should I major in?—just got harder.

In November, the faculty voted to broaden Reed’s curriculum by approving a new major in comparative literature, and two new concentrations in the mathematics department: mathematics-computer science and mathematics-statistics. All three tracks will be in place by fall 2015. (And it looks like a standalone dance major is also on the way.)

The mathematics-computer science concentration may seem like the most radical addition. After all, are computers really compatible with Reed’s emphasis on the humanities? The answer is a resounding yes. Reed has pioneered the use of computing in the liberal arts and sciences amid growing recognition that computer science constitutes a distinct intellectual discipline, bristling with unsolved problems, theoretical debates, and recursive paradoxes.

Film Focuses on Enigmatic Psychologist

Psychologist, veteran, holocaust survivor, and jazz fanatic Frank Wesley '50 is the subject of new documentary by David Bee.

Like a jazz movement, the new documentary Frank’s Song, by Portland filmmaker David Bee, is at times languid, at others staccato, and sometimes a little drawn out.

Truth is, it’s a tall order for any film to capture the protean life of Frank Wesley ’50, who survived the holocaust, worked in the shipyards, became an influential psychologist and author of many books, and still, at the age of 95, cuts a distinctive figure in the Hawthorne district of southeast Portland.

Frank also is obsessed with jazz. The grizzled, diminutive, always-smiling nonagenarian is often caught on camera sitting in a chair, clutching and absentmindedly repositioning his brass wind instrument, much like a father with an infant. That is, when he’s not blowing into his sax with everything he’s got. “Jazz doesn’t let me die,” he says in his accented, soprano English.

Jump for Joy! Reed Wins $800K Grant for Dance

With a leap and a bound, the swift Reed students fly through the new Steiner Dance Studio. Leah Nash

Reed has won an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen its dance program with more classes, more workshops, and—pending approval from the faculty—a freestanding dance major.

“I am thrilled by what the Mellon Foundation's support will mean for dance at Reed,” says Prof. Carla Mann ’81 [dance 1995–].

The grant will allow the college to expand faculty positions in the dance department from 2 to 2.5, enabling professors to teach 12–13 courses a year. It also sets the stage for us to offer a dance major—something Reed dancers have long hoped for. Reed will launch a search for a new tenure-track professor to begin in the fall of 2015. After that, the dance department, including Prof. Mann and Prof. Minh Tran, will devise and propose a major. If the faculty approves, Reed would be the only college in Portland that offers a dance major (although Lewis & Clark and Portland State University both offer a dance minor).

Reed Prof Lends Voice to Torture Debate

Reed Prof. Darius Rejali [political science 1989–] is internationally recognized as an expert on the subject of torture.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the use of “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA has sparked a national debate on the role of torture—a debate in which the voice of Prof. Darius Rejali has grown increasingly prominent.

Prof. Rejali is the author of the influential book Torture and Democracy, and is one of the world’s leading scholars on torture.

Last week, Rejali, Prof. Paul Gronke, and Peter Miller ’06 wrote an article for the Washington Post contending that U.S. opinion is still strongly opposed to the use of torture. "No, Americans aren't 'fine with torture.' They strongly reject it."

Econ Department Hails “Senior” Student

Reed economics student

Prof. Noelwah Netusil and long-running economics student Lys Carney.

The Reed economics department threw a party on Friday for lifelong student Lys Carney, a retired businessman who has audited a jaw-dropping total of 19 econ classes—the most in the department’s history.

Lys was already retired in 2005 when he took his first class at Reed, ECON 348, Economics in the Public Sector, with Prof. Noelwah Netusil. “I decided to study what I should have known all the time when I was in business,” he said. “I had a lot of experience, but I never knew the theory.”

He then proceeded to audit one class each semester for the next 10 years for a grand total of 19 (plus one class in the history of science with Prof. Ralph Drayton ’87.)

How to Conquer the Number Plane

An ascending 1-stair packing polynomial, which assigns an integer to each co-ordinate in the sector of the plane that has been cordoned off by the hobgoblin's velvet cord (in this example, the hobgoblin chose the sector bounded by a line with slope 8/5).

Imagine dashing into a vast, Borgesian concert hall just before the curtain rises. There’s an infinite number of guests and an infinite number of seats, neatly arranged in rows and columns. Unfortunately, a mischievous hobgoblin has roped off a section of the auditorium with a velvet cord, putting some seats out of commission. How do you, Guest N, figure out where to sit?

Okay, it’s a far-fetched scenario, but math major Maddie Brandt ’15 is the first person in history to solve it in her paper “Quadratic Packing Polynomials On Sectors Of R2,” which she will present at a national conference in January.

The problem of assigning guests to seats is directly related to the problem of mapping the non-negative integers (those friendly, deceptively familiar objects such as 0,1,2,3, and their ilk) onto the co-ordinate plane (defined by pairs of integers such (0,0), (0,1), (0,2), etc.—think of the game of battleships). How do you map the integers to the co-ordinate pairs in such a way that you count all the pairs one after another, without skipping any?

Eye of the Zebra (fish)

DON'T BLINK. Lateral view of a 40-hour-old zebrafish retina with the cells expressing the neurogenic gene, atoh7, highlighted with the green fluorescent protein (GFP). This image is a projection of 60 1 µm z-slices captured on the Nikon A1+ laser scanning confocal microscope in the Cerveny Lab.

Reed made a big splash at the annual Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, Washington, this month. Prof. Kara Cerveny [biology 2012–] and three students, Alison Bryant ’15, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17 presented the results of their summer research. We’re proud to announce that Will earned the John Van Zytveld Award in The Life Sciences for his explanation of how retinoic acid influences retinal growth and neurogenesis in the zebrafish retina.

Students in Prof. Cerveny’s lab explore fundamental questions such as how a single cell becomes a complex organism, how undifferentiated cells choose their fate, and why some tissues regenerate after injury-- all through studying zebrafish eye and brain development.

Congrats, Prof. Corpus!

Prof. Jennifer Henderlong Corpus [psych] was named Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Prof. Jennifer Henderlong Corpus [psychology 2001-] was named 2014 Oregon Professor of the Year last week by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in recognition of her innovative approach to teaching and learning and her ability to challenge students beyond the classroom.

“Each of our awardees, state and national, brings extraordinary leadership not just to their classrooms, but to their departments, colleges and universities, and their respective professional fields,” said Anthony S. Bryk, president of CFAT. “We honor them for upholding and guiding the aspirations of their students, advancing knowledge, and elevating and dignifying the profession of teaching. In recognizing their commitment and excellence, their contributions and their demonstrated passion, we support the centrality of teaching on campus and recognize its importance to the future of our country.”

Judges selected the national and state winners based on four criteria: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community, and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former students.

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