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News from the Reed College public affairs office

Senior wins Watson Fellowship to study coral reefs

Environmental studies-history major Rennie Meyers ’15 has won a Watson Fellowship to pursue a year of independent study after graduation. Photo By Chris Lydgate

Environmental studies-history major Rennie Meyers ’15 has won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the formation of artificial coral reefs.

Rennie's project is titled Deep Water, Horizons: Artificial Reef Communities, Above and Below the Water Line and she will pursue it in the Canary Islands, Fiji, Brunei, and Japan.

"From oil rigs to submerged eco-art to coral farms, coral growth occurs at the hands of humans with or without their intent," her proposal states. "By exploring interactions between human and non-human communities above and below artificial coral habitats in four island nations, I will engage artificial or anthropogenic reef habitats and the humans who have (sometimes accidentally) created and lived with them. I hope to better understand the ways in which humans continue to alter the marine landscape, to photo document those landscapes, and to consult with the human communities responsible for these new habitats in the face of global climate change."

Philip Roth, Trigger Warnings, and the Day I Brought My Lawyer to Class

Prof. Roger Porter (right) taught English and humanities at Reed for more than 50 years.

Ed. Note: This is the text of a speech Prof. Roger Porter [English 1961-2015] gave to the Foster-Scholz Club on June 13, 2015, after teaching at Reed for more than 50 years. As faithful readers know, my posting something on Sallyportal doesn't imply any kind of institutional endorsement. This is simply one professor's approach to the issue—no more, no less. However, I do think Prof. Porter's remarks will be of interest to many in the Reed community.

It’s a great pleasure to speak to the Foster-Scholz Club, and since I just became an honorary Reed alumnus yesterday, I’ll now be able to join you in future meetings and listen to my colleagues—if I don’t feel I’ve listened to them in too many faculty meetings. I do feel greatly honored by your invitation, and I’ll take advantage of the occasion by indulging a little is some reminiscence—that is after all the Nestor-like prerogative given to retirees--but mostly I want to speak about what it felt to say goodbye to Reed in the teaching of my last class. Well, I cheat a little in this, since I will be teaching an emeritus course this fall. Whether that’s to ease the transition, or because I simply can’t stay away, I’m not sure. But for the moment I’ll assume that last month the game, after 54 years, was over.

Reunions ’15 Opens with Fanfayre

Cheered on by Reunions attendees, retiring professors and staff were inducted into the ranks of honorary alumni. Photo by Leah Nash

More than 1,500 Reed alumni and allied life forms descended on campus last weekend for Reunions ’15and the celebration began with Fanfayre, the formal-informal opening ceremony that took place this year in the Cerf amphitheatre.

The event began with a charmingly odd welcome by musician Paul Anderson ’92, the composer of Reed classics such as “Sensitive Guy” and “On the Night Bus.”

Paul’s offbeat presentation set the tone for the afternoon: President John Kroger made quips about Reed lacking a football team, raising a rousing cheer from the audience, while Scott Foster ’77, the outgoing president of the alumni board, assured the crowd that his cowboy hat he sported was legitimate because he does in fact own livestock.

Reedies March with Pride

Reedies of all stripes marched in the 2015 Portland Pride Parade (yes, that's a giant griffin on the right-hand side.) Photo by Maddy Wagar

Wings adorned with rainbow streamers, a gargantuan Reed griffin joined the Portland Pride Parade on Sunday, as dozens of students and alumni of all vintages waved flags and sported rainbow-striped “Love Reed” pins that glinted in the sunlight.

The Reed contingent joined a diverse parade that included communities from the Portland Oregon Lesbian Choir to various church groups. Reedies and members of the ACLU swapped temporary tattoos, sharing griffins and hearts in a late morning bright with unity and camaraderie.

The demonstration of love and support began with a memorial bike ride to honor Mark Angeles ’15, who was killed in a traffic collision nine days after graduation. At that memorial, Kirsten Hawley ’16 described the way Mark moved through life: “In Mark’s eyes, love and respect were not things another person had to earn; they were a given just because that person was a human being.”

A Bike Ride for Mark

Beloved friend and classmate Mark Angeles ’15 was killed in a collision just nine days after he graduated from Reed. Photo by Eren Veziroglu ’16

Friends and classmates of Mark Angeles ’15 are organizing a memorial bike ride to honor his memory on Sunday, June 14, at 9 a.m. at the Reed Bike Co-Op.

Mark was killed in a collision with a tow truck less than a mile from Reed on May 27--just nine days after he graduated. He was 22 years old.

Mark cut a distinctive figure at Reed. He majored in chemistry and wrote his thesis on the role of organometallic catalysts in neutralizing toxic pollution. He ran the Reed Bike Co-Op and was partly responsible for the installation of the bike maintenance stations on campus. He was deeply committed to serving the community, worked closely with SEEDS, and volunteered as a mentor for underprivileged youth at Lane Middle School. He fixed bikes for free and taught bike safety to kids in northeast Portland. He served as a Paideia czar and sang with Reed’s a cappella group, the Herodotones. He was even a house adviser.

One Month After Quake, Reedies Support Nepal

Aasha for Nepal co-founder Shreya Shrestha ’10 (left) set up mobile health care clinics in Kathmandu after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015.

Reedies around the globe have mobilized in response to the earthquake and aftershocks that have caused mass destruction in the Kathmandu Valley.

One month since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, the country still seeks support during a time of hardship. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the temblor severely impacted fourteen districts in Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and destroying roughly 500,000 houses.

Members of the Reed community have jumped to the aid of the Nepalese with fundraising, activism, and on-the-ground action. Suraj Pant ’11, for example, runs the Twitter account @nepalnews, which gives frequent updates on the news and events in Nepal. Reedies like Suraj hope to generate sustained support in ways both big and small as the media shifts its attention elsewhere—as it inevitably will.

Tragic Loss of Beloved Alumnus

Mark Angeles ’15, beloved friend and classmate.

Dear Reed,

It is with great sorrow that I report the tragic loss of a 2015 Reed alumnus, Mark Angeles. While riding his bike near SE Gladstone and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, Mark suffered fatal injuries in an accident involving a tow truck on Wednesday, May 27. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mark graduated with a major in chemistry just last week. As a result of his many accomplishments, he was recognized as one of Reed’s “12 for 15.” He was well-known and well-loved throughout campus.

Mark's family is mourning in private and at some point will likely want to include members of the Reed community in a celebration of Mark's life. We will provide information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we extend to Mark’s family and his many friends our deepest condolences.

As the Reed community grieves, I want to make sure you're aware of the various resources available to help students, faculty, and staff.

Chinese Major Wins Unrue Award

Chinese major Joan Guldin ’15 (center) won the Unrue Award for her thesis. She is flanked by members of the Unrue family, who created the award to honor Greg Unrue ’84. Photo by Raymond Rodriguez

Chinese major Joan Guldin ’15 has won the newly-minted John Gregory Unrue ’84 Memorial Award for her thesis, “Abandoned Trails and False Peaks: A Journey Through the Xiyouji.”

Her adviser, Prof. Hyong Rhew [Chinese 1988–], praised Joan’s thesis as an “original work with masterful reading and beautiful writing.”

Xiyouji, also known in English as The Journey to the West, is a 17th-century Chinese novel about a pilgrimage to the “Western Heaven” to obtain Buddhist scriptures. Joan combed through early records to trace historical and literary depictions of one of its main characters, the Monk Tripitaka. In the course of her research, she also translated an early chantefable which had never before been translated into English—“a remarkable achievement,” according to Prof. Rhew.

History Major Wins Lankford Prize

History major Kalina Hadzhikova ’15 won the Lankford Award for her thesis on Rome and Byzantium. Photo by Matt D'Annunzio

History major Kalina Hadzhikova ’15 has won the prestigious William T. Lankford III Humanities Award.

The award recognizes accomplishment in both history and literature and is given to students with outstanding academic records and strong potential for further achievement.

The award committee praised Kalina's senior thesis, Rome against Romans: Configurations of Imperial Authority in 12th-Century Germany and Byzantium, hailing it as "an exceptional thesis" and "an impressive and original achievement."

Econ Major Earns Meier Prize

Econ major Mat Olson ’15 won the Meier Award for outstanding achievement. He wrote his thesis on the decoy effect and the conjunction fallacy.

Mat Olson ’15 has won the celebrated Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics, given by the economics department for outstanding achievement.

Mat's thesis was titled "The Relevance of Irrelevance: Exploring Decoy Effect and Conjunction Fallacy" and his adviser was Prof. Jon Rork [economics 2010–].

"Mat's thesis explored two phenomena in behavioral economics—the conjunction fallacy and the decoy effect—that explain why people make suboptimal choices in certain scenarios," Prof. Rork told us. "One thing Mat wanted to look at was whether people exposed to certain types of academic approaches (statistical, logic, linguistic, etc.) were less likely to succumb to these fallacies.  No such luck, showing that our innate decision making processes cannot be 'taught' away."

Seniors Grasp Philosophy Prize

Philosophy major Eliya Cohen ’15 explains a metaphysical dilemma at the Reed pool. She won the Garlan Prize for her thesis on the problems of time and tense. Photo by Jenn McNeal ’14

Philosophy majors Eliya Cohen ’15 and John Mills ’15 have both won the exalted Edwin N. Garlan Memorial Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarship in philosophy. 

"It was quite an honor to receive the Garlan Prize," says John, whose thesis is titled “Revealed Peer Disagreement and The Equal Weight View.” His advisor was Prof. Mark Bedau ’76 [philosophy 1991–]. He hails from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Eliya’s thesis is titled “Some Considerations on Problems of Time and Tense.” Her advisor was Prof. Mark Hinchliff [philosophy 1991–]. In addition to her philosophical leanings, Eliya worked as a lifeguard at the Reed pool, where she figured out an innovative way to pursue the metaphysics of swimming. She hails from Piedmont, California.

History-Lit Major Wins Lankford Prize

History-lit major Kieran Hanrahan ’15 won the Lankford Award for his thesis on poetry and the Iraq War.

History-lit major Kieran Hanrahan ’15 has won the prestigious William T. Lankford III Humanities Award.

The award recognizes accomplishment in both history and literature and is given to students with outstanding academic records and strong potential for further achievement. It honors Prof. Bill Lankford [English 1977–83], a beloved teacher and scholar of the works of Dickens whose life was cut short by devastating illness.

Kieran’s thesis was titled: “Writing in Water, Building with Sand: American Military Strategy and the Soldier’s Experience in the Iraqi Environment during the Iraq War.” His advisers were Prof. Pancho Savery [English 1995–] and Prof. Josh Howe [history 2012–].

Lit–Theatre Major Nabs Class of ’21 Award

Leah Artenian ’15 won the Class of ’21 award for her senior thesis adapting "The Year of Silence" for the stage

Literature-theatre major Leah Artenian ’15 has won the illustrious Class of ’21 Award for her senior thesis, an adaptation of Kevin Brockmeier’s short story “The Year of Silence” for the stage.

The award recognizes “creative work of notable character, involving an unusual degree of initiative and spontaneity.” For her thesis, Leah wrote the script, assembled the cast, and directed the 90-minute production, which played to packed houses at the Blackbox Theatre in Reed's Performing Arts Building.

In nominating Leah for the award, her advisers Prof. Peter Ksander [theatre 2011–] and Prof. Gail Berkeley Sherman [English 1981–] wrote:

Math Major Zeroes In on Class of ’21 Award

A semester abroad in Hungary got math major Maddie Brandt ’15 interested in the Erdos-Ko-Rado theorem.

Mathematics major Maddie Brandt ’15 has won the illustrious Class of ’21 Award for her senior thesis on the Erdös-Ko-Rado theorem.

The award recognizes “creative work of notable character, involving an unusual degree of initiative and spontaneity.”

Maddie’s thesis carries the rather imposing title “Intersecting Hypergraphs and Decompositions of Complete Uniform Hypergraphs.” Scratching our heads, we turned to Prof. David Perkinson [mathematics 1990–] for an explanation. He wrote:

Reed Students Reach Peak of Mount Hood

STEP BY STEP. Chinese major Joan Guldin ’15 was part of the Reed expedition that reached the top of Mount Hood. Anton Zaytsev ’18

Nine intrepid Reedies climbed to the top of Mount Hood last week in an adventure that surely represents a peak experience.

The expedition was a cooperative enterprise uniting two different groups. The first was sponsored by the Reed Outing Club (ROC), consisting of Joan Guldin ’15, Nick Irvin ’15, Helen Spencer-Wallace ’15, Ian Connelly ’16, Vincent Griffith ’18, and Giovanni Corti ’18, and led by climbing instructor Rod Sofich.

Class of ’15 Takes the Stage

Proud Reed grads march at commencement.

Joy reigned and jubiliation rang across the Great Lawn as 318 proud Reed graduates stepped up to the stage on Monday to receive their hard-earned diplomas at commencement.

Sporting robes and mortarboards, fancy shoes and running shoes—and accompanied in one case by an adorably enormous canine companion—the grads listened to an inspiring address from civil-rights leader Kathleen Saadat ’74.

“To live intentionally requires you to keep learning for the rest of your lives,” she said. “Building a better world requires compassion, forgiveness, immense amounts of courage, love, and delight in the process.” (Check out the audio recording.)

Bart Simpson and the Apocalypse

Apocalypse survivors reenact a Simpsons episode that revolves around cartoon villain Montgomery Burns in Anne Washburn's play. Photo by Joan Marcus

The highly-acclaimed Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, by Anne Washburn ’91, will have a regional premiere at Portland Playhouse, May 13–June 7.

The play leads us into an unlikely post-catastrophe, post-electricity future in which survivors pass the time recounting episodes from The Simpsons. As they are told, and told, and told again, these snippets from our pop culture become the stuff of epics, myths, and legends.

Prof. Peter Ksander [theatre 2012–] is scenic and lighting designer for the production. 

Linguistics Grad Wins Humanities Award

Esmeralda Herrera ’14 won a Humanity in Action fellowship to promote human rights. Matt D’Annunzio

Esmeralda "Momo" Herrera ’14 has been awarded a Humanity in Action fellowship—one of 43 U.S. students to be selected from a pool of 688 applicants at 253 colleges and universities.

Esmeralda is a first-generation American, born and raised in South Bronx, New York, who graduated from Reed with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and a strong command of the Chinese language. Currently living in Portland, she works as a student support specialist helping at-risk youths explore successful life options. In her spare time, Esmeralda conducts HIV testing at Cascade Aids, a nonprofit clinic that supports people living with HIV.

“As global citizens we all need to commit not simply to learning about the injustices of this world but being brave enough to stand against them,” Herrera says. “We need to be patient enough to listen and sincere enough to know when we are wrong. As a Latina, first-generation American from the South Bronx, I have to be ready to teach, to listen, and most importantly to love—to help not just those similar to myself but to everyone who demands and needs help.”

Reedies win grants for peace and understanding

Environmental studies-chemistry major Celebrity Nyikadzino ’17 won a $10,000 grant to help villagers in Zimbabwe lift themselves out of poverty.

Nine Reed students have won grants to pursue summer projects to promote peace and strengthen understanding.

Celebrity Nyikadzino ’17, an environmental studies-chemistry major, was selected for a Davis Projects for Peace for her project “A Step toward Hope: Education and Self Reliance.” Celebrity will be implementing the project this summer in Chivhu, her home village in Zimbabwe.

“I grew up with many talented kids by my side," she says. "Unfortunately, most of my friends had to drop out of school because they could not afford the cost of education.” Celebrity intends to use the $10,000 award to address poverty by teaching community members how to sew and also how to market and maintain a business using the finished products. Her goal is to create ways for families to have the means to return their children to school and to keep them there. “I also aim to bring my community together through cooperation in the project, and by creating a support group for sharing struggles and successes.”

Apuleius Prevails Despite Student Protest

Prof. Sonia Sabnis [classics] delivers lecture on Apuleius on steps of Vollum, while students voice protest against the Hum 110 syllabus inside. She is flanked by Prof. Michael Faletra and Prof. Steve Wasserstrom.

Student activists chalked slogans on the blackboard and engaged in a silent protest at the final Hum 110 lecture of the semester today to push for a more inclusive curriculum.

The protest posed a thorny dilemma for the lecturing professors. If you erase the blackboard, people might accuse you of censorship. But if you don't erase it, you appear—at least tacitly—to endorse the protestors' position. So Prof. Sonia Sabnis [classics], Prof. Steve Wasserstrom [religion], and Prof. Michael Faletra [English] hit on a creative solution. Following ancient tradition, they decided to hold the lecture outside, on the steps of Vollum, where they discussed the reading of the day: Apuleius and the Golden Ass.

It is somewhat paradoxical that the protest took place at a lecture on the Golden Ass, one of the most intriguing texts in the Hum 110 syllabus. Written by a North African intellectual, the story is a piercing critique of the Roman Empire in general and of slavery in particular.

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