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News from the Reed College public affairs office

Bashir and Rock get creative with their latest projects

On Thursday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Eliot chapel, the Reed College creative writing faculty Samiya Bashir [2012 - ] and Peter Rock [2001 - ] will read from their latest published works, Field Theories and Spells, respectively. The pair talked about their latest projects and their admiration for each other as colleagues.

Field Theories is Samiya Bashir’s third book of poetry, along with Gospel, and Where the Apple Falls. She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as Poet Laureate, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she received two Hopwood Poetry Awards. She is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, residencies, prizes, and is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer's festival for LGBT writers of African descent. Visit Samiya Bashir Dot Com for multimedia content about Field Theories.

Sociology major wins Truman Scholarship

Elea Denegre ’18 won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, recognizing leadership potential in public service.

Sociology major Elea Denegre ’18 was named a national Truman Scholar today in recognition of her potential to be a “change agent” in the field of public service.

A passionate believer in restorative justice, Elea has compiled an impressive track record of service in her time at Reed. During freshman year, she became a SAPR (sexual assault prevention and response) advocate and later became the student program coordinator, managing the support hotline. She joined the Honor Council and developed a proposal to incorporate restorative justice into Title IX violations. She volunteered at the Raphael House, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence and was a counselor at Camp Hope, a summer camp serving kids whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. She also volunteered with Reed’s SEEDS program and studied abroad in Japan.

Elea, who hails from Billings, Montana, said she was “shocked and honored” to learn she had won the prestigious award, which provides $30,000 for scholars to go to graduate school in preparation for a career in public service. “It didn’t feel real until I called my mom,” she said. “Then we both started to tear up.”

Alumni Give “In Honor Of” Reed

Honor is making a comeback.

Last month, Reed launched the In Honor Of campaign to encourage friends of the college to honor their favorite professor, tradition, or place on campus. In the twilight hours of the campaign, momentum crested and a total of 1,226 donors gave $219,728, exceeding the donor goal that triggered an additional $50,000 match from trustee Linda Matthews ’67.

Podcast: Prof. Mark Burford on Chuck Berry’s legacy

Mark Burford

Professor of Music Mark Burford Daniel Cronin

On March 17, pioneering rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry died at the age of 90. Berry’s hard-driving guitar riffs, car and party songs, and fluid lyrical style helped usher in a new genre of music that inspired a generation of rock bands from the Beach Boys to the Rolling Stones. Berry had hits on the Billboard charts in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and performed live shows almost up to the time of his death. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Berry’s music tugged at a universal thread of teen culture and drew integrated audiences to his music and live performances at a time when the Supreme Court was deciding the watershed case Brown v. Board of Education that found racial segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause. I invited Associate Professor Mark Burford [music 2007–] to talk about Chuck Berry’s influence on music and culture of the 1950s.

Burford is a music historian with expertise in 19th-century Austro-German concert music and 20th-century African American popular music. His work on European art music and popular music of the Americas has appeared in the Journal of Musicology, 19th-Century Music, Current Musicology, Notes, and Musical Quarterly.

The Last of Reed’s Fantastic Four Passes Away

Sue Cooley

Sue Cooley, a generous benefactor who greatly enriched Reed College both academically and artistically, died on February 18. She was one of the Fantastic Four, two dynamic couples—Ed and Sue Cooley, and John and Betty Gray—who stepped in to provide leadership and direction in the 1970s when Reed was struggling, and instead of just treading water, imagined something great.

Sue was born March 31, 1923, to Waldo and Marguerite Davison in Brazil, where her father worked for the YMCA. The family moved back to the U.S. when she was six, settling in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Sue attended Wilson College and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1944 with a degree in psychology. That same year, she married Edward Cooley, also from Swarthmore, whom she’d known since high school. At Harvard Business School Ed met John Gray, who suggested that he come to Portland and help with his chainsaw company, Omark Industries. The Cooleys moved to Portland in 1950 where they raised three children, Susan, Douglas, and Caroline. Ed started Precision Castparts, which originally provided cast parts for Omark. It grew into a giant casting company that provided parts for the aerospace industry.

Many of Sue’s ancestors were artisans who valued working with their hands, and she developed a lifelong passion for painting as a child. As a young woman, she worked for a ceramic artist, and later volunteered at the Ceramic Studio in Portland. That active interest in the arts and painting informed her service on the board of the Portland Art Museum, and on Bainbridge Island, where she helped fund the Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network (BARN). She also supported many artists in the Northwest and Maui.

Looming Debacle in Education?

We now know that the central causes of the 2008 financial meltdown were the transgressions of Wall Street. Over three decades, beginning with President Ronald Reagan, financial regulation was steadily reduced, both overtly (through changes in the laws) and covertly (through increasingly lax enforcement). As a result, the housing market became riddled with fraud.

The fraud was rampant and extensive, in the sense that the whole chain—from buyers to bankers—was involved. At one end of the chain, buyers lied about their financial strength (their assets, their monthly pay, their current obligations). At the other end, banks traded credit default swaps based on bundled mortgages that were knowingly given grossly inflated credit ratings. One brazen employee at Countrywide Financial Corporation had a vanity license plate in 2005 that read “Fund’Em.” Banks extended loans to anyone willing to take them, because a new loan meant positive cash flow for everyone in the system, from the mortgage officers on Main Street all the way up to the high-level fat cats on Wall Street. Why worry about the consequences of default? The prevailing attitude was “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”

How widespread was this fraud? In one study of a typical bundle (a bank box full) of mortgages, the examiner found that about 33% of the loans were defective (in ways that were obvious and should have led to denial of the loans). This 33% (is a lower bound and) becomes the measure of fraud throughout the whole system, since these bundles were then passed up the chain. In this grossly simplified sense, we can say that this 33% fraud rate eventually led to the 2008 meltdown.

RAW Edges Closer to the Borderline

If you happened to be walking through through New York City’s Chinatown one night last August, you might have noticed the words “Gentrification is modern colonialism” projected onto the wall of M.S. 131. You might have stopped and watched as they were replaced first with animations, then song lyrics, then, a question: “Who did you displace to open your gallery?”

Earlier that evening, the Chinatown Art Brigade—an arts collective dedicated to defending tenants from displacement—had parked a van rigged with equipment next to the school. That night, they projected messages about gentrification and community resilience onto the wall as part of their “Here to Stay” project.

Artist Betty Yu, one of the Brigade’s founders, visited Reed on March 4 to talk about “Resisting Gentrification through Art, Culture, and Activism” as part of Reed Arts Week. This year’s RAW curators, Charlie Perez ‘17 and Daphne Lyda ‘17, organized the five-day festival around the idea of borders.

Theatre-lit Major Stages Spring Crisis

UP IN ARMS: Ashlin Hatch ’17 explores Reed culture and traditions in her devised theatre-lit thesis production, which opens March 2.

As every Reedie knows, spring on campus is the season of junior quals, sunshine deprivation, and the inevitable eruption of some campus controversy known as the “spring crisis.” In an original new play opening this Thursday, theater-lit major and former student body president Ashlin Hatch ’17 explores the spring crisis phenomenon in her production This Must Be the Place.

This Must Be the Place is a devised play that examines Reed traditions, stories, culture, and what happened on campus in the spring of 1972 after Nixon had sent B-52s to bomb Hanoi and Haiphong in his controversial escalation of the Vietnam war. That spring, waves of protest spread throughout the country: demonstrators were arrested at Stanford and the University of Michigan, tear gas and batons used against demonstrators at the University of Texas, and 800 Guardsmen were sent to meet demonstrators at the University of Maryland. Reed students were outraged and wanted to take action.

What happened next is the stuff of Reed legend.

Reed Welcomes New Trustees

Reed's board of trustees has elected two valiant new members to its ranks.

Nick Galakatos ’79 is a co-founder and managing director of Clarus Ventures, a global investment firm focused on healthcare, with $1.7 billion in assets under management. Nick has more than 27 years of experience in the sector, including the founding of three successful biotech companies: Millennium Predictive Medicine, Millennium Biotherapeutics, and TransForm Pharmaceuticals. Before becoming an investor and an entrepreneur, he served as head of molecular biology research at Ciba (currently Novartis). He has published over twenty scientific articles and holds several patents. Nick majored in chemistry at Reed and wrote his thesis on “Synthesis of bis(trimethylsilyl)difluoromethane as an intermediate in the preparation of difluoromethanedisulfonic acid” with Prof. Marsh Cronyn ’40. He went on to earn a PhD in organic chemistry from MIT under the supervision of Dan Kemp ’58 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He also taught organic chemistry at Reed in 1983-84. Nick grew up in Greece and came to Reed on the recommendation of Bill McGrew ’56, who was the President of his high school. He is married to Alice Balshaw Galakatos; they have two adult children.

Tom Daniel is the founding executive director of Catalysis Advisors, offering insight and consultation in the biotech field. He has also served as chairman of Celgene Research, chief scientific officer at Ambrx, vice president of research at Amgen, and senior vice president of research at Immunexx. Tom served for 14 years on the faculty at Vanderbilt University, where he was the Hakim Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Vascular Biology. He also conducted research for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the University of California at San Francisco. He earned his M.D. from the University of Texas, Southwestern and completed medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Tom and his former spouse, Susan Erickson, are the parents of Lyle Daniel ’18.

Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Crescent Loom, a neuroscience game invented by Wick Perry ’13, lets you animate rudimentary creatures by wiring up neurons, muscles, and sensors. Along the way, you see how simple circuits can generate complex behavior.

My creature is flailing.

It’s a slapdash concoction of tendon and bone, with floppy appendages and mismatched eyes. Its pathetic brain consists of nine—count ‘em—nine neurons. I have armed it with stingers, harpoons, and suckers, but this arsenal has so far proven utterly worthless, because I haven’t yet figured out a much more basic problem-- how to get the damn thing to propel itself through this alien ocean. Meanwhile, a sleek six-flippered monster (dubbed “the Kraken”) darts dangerously near, pulsing with menace. Unless I can find a way to rewire its brain, my creature (the “Mike-crobe”) is headed for extinction.

Nuclear Croquet

Rivalry. Dominance. Betrayal. Recurring themes both in international politics and, of course, croquet.

In POL 240 (Introduction to International Politics), Prof. Alex Montgomery [poli sci] gives students a taste of territorial expansion, temporary alliances of convenience, and operation without a central authority by engaging them in a game of croquet. "Within minutes, a group of generally pacifistic, cooperative Reedies turn into vigorously competing, aggressive countries," he says. "Often they adopt names characteristic of their behavior—North Korea and Iran are very popular. The feedback from this exercise has been overwhelmingly positive; it makes concrete completely abstract theories about the balance of power, hegemonic dominance, and alliance formation."

Here students from POL 240 observe as Sophie Naranjo-Rivera '14 takes a whack at disrupting a shaky alliance between two rival teams. (Professor Montgomery is holding the clipboard.)

Students Explore Careers by Shadowing Alumni

Biology-CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 shadowed NASA systems engineer Arwen Davé ’89 to learn more about careers in science and engineering.

Reed students are finding new opportunities to explore careers before they graduate, thanks to an initiative at the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

More than 100 Reedies participated in the college’s Winter Shadows program, which pairs students with alumni, parents, and friends of the college who work in their field of interest. The students spent anywhere from two to 10 days at the jobsite getting their hands dirty and learning more about everything from particle physics to photojournalism.

Biology/CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 spent three days shadowing Arwen Davé ’89, a mechanical/systems engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain Park, California. Amy Rose explored a botany lab where biologists see how plants will react to zero gravity and low light and a robotics lab where Arwen is working on the next Mars rover.

Radiolab Founder Chases the Antelope

Jad Abumrad, co-creator and host of the hit podcast Radiolab, lives his life according to two principles, he revealed to a crowded Kaul Auditorium on Saturday: “chase the antelope” and “follow the odds.” If the juxtaposition of a plains-dwelling ungulate and a poker game seems absurd yet intriguing, then you have a sense for who Abumrad is.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Abumrad got his undergraduate degree from the Oberlin Conservatory. It was on the long drives from Nashville to Oberlin that he fell in love with broadcast journalism. The best known product of that love, Radiolab, has earned Abumrad a MacArthur Grant and a Peabody Award.

Jad began the Radiolab project in November 2003, during a breakfast with his friend and fellow Oberlin alum Robert Krulwich. Since then, the show has exploded in popularity with an average 1.4 million listeners tuning in each week. Their most listened-to piece is also their most recent—an exploration of financier Bernie Madoff’s “Ponzi Supernova.”

Reed Honors Life of Mara Gibbs ’19

Family and friends mourn Mara Gibbs, who died after a fire broke out in her SE Portland apartment.

Hundreds of Reedies who knew and loved Margalit “Mara” Gibbs ’19 crowded into the Student Union on Wednesday night to celebrate her life.

Mara died Tuesday, February 7, after sustaining extensive injuries in a fire that raged through her Southeast Portland apartment early Sunday morning. Awakened by the fire, she managed to dial 911, but passed out from the smoke and the heat before she could finish the call. Two other people survived by jumping from the second floor window.

Lauren Gibbs, Mara’s mother, said her daughter hated ceremony, and even avoided her own high school graduation. “She would not have wanted a ceremony to celebrate her,” Lauren said. “But we are going to because she loved Reed, she loved the friends she made here, she loved her classes and her professors, her internships with GlooPen and Reed's Software Design Studio, and she loved Portland.”

Olde Reed Rises From Grave in Last-Minute Rally

STRETCHING THE LIMITS. Impressive jumping by student team (gray jerseys) was not enough to keep the grizzled veterans of the alumni team (black jerseys) from pulling out an upset win. Photo by Alejandro Chavez ’17

Olde Reed and New Reed battled for supremacy on the basketball court Friday in a nail-biter of a match between students and alumni. But when the dust settled, the old-schoolers came out on top 57-56.

In its first game of the semester, the Reed team, coached by Ried Woodlee, started strong. By the end of the first half, the students were up 30-19 with point guard (and English major) Ciaran Short ’20 claiming 8 points. With 11:15 left in the second half, the students pulled ahead 44-29 and seemed poised to trounce the grizzled elders.

But In the next 10 minutes the alumni went on a remarkable 22-10 run, and with 1:20 left in the game, the students were struggling to hold onto their 54-51 lead.

After a foul, alumni powerhouse Kasra Shokat ’14 found himself at the free-throw line. He made his first free throw, bringing the score to 54-52. His second throw hit the rim but was successfully rebounded by Lars Fjelstad ’92. Lars threw it out to Colin Daniel ’00, who shot the go-ahead 3-pointer and put the alumni ahead 55-54.

Reed Opposes Immigration Ban

Photo: Jolie Griffin

Reed President John R. Kroger today announced that Reed will ask Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to review President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East.

In a message to the Reed community, Kroger said that the order “deeply offends” the values of the Reed community and is in direct conflict with Reed’s commitment to educate thinkers from a broad range of nations, faiths, and races.

As a practical matter, he said, the order will make it “difficult, and in many cases impossible,” for students and scholars from the seven nations to attend or teach at Reed and will have a “chilling effect” on the ability of students and scholars to travel to the region.

Reed Rallies Around Muslim Community

Professors and students write messages of support for members of the Muslim and Middle Eastern community at Reed in the wake of President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven nations in the Middle East.

Students, professors, and staff jammed the Hauser Library today in a show of solidarity with Muslim and Middle Eastern members of the Reed community in the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven nations in the Middle East.

“Look around this room,” Dean for Institutional Diversity Mary James told the crowd. “I want you all to remember that people at Reed care about our community and they care about you.”

Reed currently has no international students with visas from the seven banned nations, but it does have many students, professors, staff, and alumni with deep connections to the region. In addition, many students from all backgrounds feel threatened by the ban.

Reed Biologists Divide and Conquer

The eye of the zebrafish peers into your soul.

There’s a definite buzz around the Griffin Biology Building these days, and it’s not just the fruit flies. Like cells that keep dividing, the students, professors, and staff in the bio department keep generating news.

Prof. Derek Applewhite and Wick Perry ’13 published a paper in the Journal of Cell Science on a protein known as PIGS that has a dramatic effect on cytoskeleton organization. What, you ask, is the cytoskeleton? It’s the network of filament that gives a cell its shape and allows it to move. Prof. Applewhite’s research is focused on these fundamental structures.

Prof. Kara Cerveny and five of her former students published a paper in Development on the growth of the eye in zebrafish, and the role played by a mutant gene and retinoic acid in regulating the timing of this fiendishly difficult feat. The students were Terra Vleeshouwer-Neumann ’13, Amanuel Tafessu ’14, Audrey Williams ’14, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17. Also on the author list: bio lab manager Dayna Lamb.

Reed to Students: “We Stand With You.”

Dear Reed Community,

The news over the weekend of the Trump administration’s Executive Order calling for an immigration ban has caused widespread confusion and concern. We know that for some in our community, these developments are particularly troubling. 

We do not currently have any members of our international student community on visas from the seven countries subject to the immigration ban. Nonetheless, we know that for some students, as well as staff and faculty, and especially for those who identify as Muslim, this is a time of great fear and uncertainty. We want you to know that we stand with you.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates for our international students. In the meantime, I hope that we will focus on doing everything we can to come together as a community. Reed is undeniably and immeasurably enriched by the diversity of people who live and learn, work and teach here, together.

With hope and in gratitude,

—Mike Brody

Vice President for Student Services
Title IX Coordinator
Reed College

Dublin, Sligo, and Gort: See Ireland with Reedies

Join Prof. Jay Dickson and a merry band of alumni on the adventure of a lifetime—a trip to the  Ireland of James Joyce and W. B. Yeats during June 12-21, 2017. We’ll examine the Dublin of Joyce and experience the city on Bloomsday, June 16. But we will also enjoy special access to historic manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. Our trip will take in the Irish countryside as we explore important megalithic sites and stop to admire the miles of stone walls and learn to describe their different styles. On the west side of the country, we will be in Yeats country. And we will explore the areas that inspired his descriptive poetry including Rosses Point, Glencar Waterfall, and Thoor Ballylee. And for those wishing to explore other aspects of this great country, the program includes optional activities so travelers can take nature walks, ride bikes, or tour distilleries.

For details or to sign up, please visit Eventbrite.


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