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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.

The Reluctant Philosopher: Prof. Darius Rejali Brought in for Questioning

John Perry, Ken Taylor, Darius Rejali

Prof. Darius Rejali flanked by John Perry (left) and Ken Taylor (right), hosts of NPR's "Philosophy Talk."

On Thursday, April 16, at approximately 8:35 p.m. Professor of Political Science Darius Rejali followed his GPS to an industrial zone along Macadam Avenue in southwest Portland.

Rejali traded the warmth of his SUV for the damp night air. He was wearing a silver crewneck shirt, a dark brown sports jacket, jeans, and black court shoes. Combined with his windswept hair and salt-and-pepper muttonchops, he was easily marked as an academic.

He ambled toward what looked like a glass and steel warehouse. Light radiated from within the building’s core, but it became dim as it reached the foyer, which obscured the image of the man waiting for Rejali. The doors swung open and a voice pierced the darkness, “Are you here to talk about torture?”

Avengers Cut through Blue Tape

Students in Sequoia won the 2015 Blue Tape Art Competition with this mural of the Avengers. Gary Granger

While many college students fret about tangling with red tape, Reedies like to tangle with blue tape.

Last week Reed’s Grove Dorms held their fifth annual Blue Tape Art Competition, which gives students a chance to decorate their dorms and demonstrate their creativity—without making headaches for the maintenance crew.

Students in Sequoia won the competition with a vengeance— or rather with Marvel’s Avengers. This year’s winning mural for the theme of “Sci-Fi” was a sequence of panels depicting six of Marvel’s Avengers including the Hulk, Iron Man, and their leader, Capitan America.

Digital Pioneers Help Reed Design CS Program

Computing experts converge on Reed to help the college design a computer science program.

A formidable array of computing brainpower converged on campus yesterday to help Reed think through a long-awaited computer science program.

The digital elders represented a full spectrum of computing expertise: mathematicians, cryptographers, AI gurus, network wizards, codeslingers, and technology innovators, all focused on a fascinating problem—how Reed can build a computer science program that dovetails with its academic mission.

Reed has a long and proud tradition of computing, but has never had a CS department or a CS major. Courses in computing are currently offered through the math department, but students’ ravenous intellectual appetite for the subject is overtaxing the department’s resources. Since 2007, the number of students enrolled in the introductory CS course has soared from 34 to 102. The college has recently created a computer science concentration in the math department and launched a Software Design Studio to give students more hands-on coding experience.

History Major Redefines “Student Athlete”

History major John Young ’15 ran the 50K Gorge Waterfalls ultra-marathon two days after turning in his thesis draft on the yellow fever epidemic of 1793.

While most Reed seniors spent their last precious hours of spring break polishing their thesis drafts, history major John Young ’15 was performing another impressive feat.

On Friday, John turned in a 100-page draft of his thesis on the yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793. On Sunday, he ran a heart-stopping 50 kilometers in the Gorge Waterfalls ultra-marathon.

This wasn’t the first time John has pushed the limits of his endurance. Last year he was the youngest runner to complete the 50-mile American River Ultramarathon, and in November he finished the Portland Marathon in 3 hours 14 minutes and 19 seconds.

From John’s own account of his achievement:

Tango Masters Tear It Up with Reed Orchestra

Tango ensemble Astillero, led by pianist Julián Peralta, performing live with students in the Reed Orchestra.

When the soundcheck wrapped up and the doors swung open, hundreds of excited music lovers swarmed inside, packing Kaul Auditorium for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Astillero, a highly influential band on the cutting edge of Argentina’s contemporary tango vanguard, spent a week at Reed visiting classes and rehearsing with the student orchestra, culminating in a performance of Soundtrack Buenos Aires on February 20. Led by pianist Julián Peralta, the band spent the evening alternately bantering with the audience in Spanish and delivering their revolutionary original music – urgent, aggressive, and bursting with rhythmic energy. By the end of the concert, the crowd was on their feet, cheering and shouting for more.

Astillero’s visit to Reed was co-sponsored by the departments of music, Spanish, political science, the office of the dean of the faculty, and the office of institutional diversity, and was made possible by donations from Christine Green, John Clark, Elizabeth Barringer, and James Richardson Clark ’14.

The event was presented by Tango for Musicians, North America’s leading tango workshop for musicians. Led by Prof. Morgan Luker [2010-present], the workshop takes place at Reed each June and attracts musicians from across the globe. It now boasts an artistic faculty coming directly from Buenos Aires that includes some of the most outstanding tango musicians and educators active today.

President’s Summer Fellows Travel the Globe

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.

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