Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

Professor Paul Gronke: Just in Time for Early Voting

Paul Gronke  Early Voting Expert

Prof. of Political Science Paul Gronke

As the last debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle approaches, we asked Professor of Political Science Paul Gronke, "what should we be looking for?"

Gronke strongly hopes the moderator Chris Wallace and candidate Hillary Clinton “push Trump on his accusations that the election is being rigged,” said Gronke. “His unfounded claims are threatening to the legitimacy of the system.”

Political observers both ardent and casual can arrive at the bipartisan agreement that this campaign season has been both unpredictable and unprecedented. For the first time in American history a woman was selected to represent a major political party, and her opponent has been a lightning rod for controversy.

For the Reed community one familiar voice can be heard among the tumult, attempting to make sense of voting trends and strategies. Whether you’re listening to NPR or reading the
Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Time magazine, or Bloomberg news, Professor of Political Science Paul Gronke is fueling the political conversation with accurate data and measured commentary.

During previous elections he has appeared nationally on CNN and the
Today Show, and he has been featured in the New York Times. Stories highlighting his research and opinions have been republished in hundreds of news sources around the world.

In 2004, Gronke created the Early Voting Information Center, a non-partisan academic research center based at Reed College. Gronke and his team conduct research on early voting and election reform, predominantly in the United States. In addition to their scholarly research, the group has worked on projects with the Pew Center on the States, the Federal Election Assistance Commission, and a number of state and local elections offices. Most recently Gronke has teamed with the Democracy Fund, which was established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that the American people come first in our democracy.

For Gronke, his interviews with fellow Chicago Cub’s fan, NPR’s Scott Simon, are among his favorites. His most recent can be heard
here, but his favorite personal story about Simon came from an accident that happened after his first interview. Gronke left the studio and believed he was texting a friend, “Just left my interview with Simon, on my way to Valois,” which is a restaurant in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Paul accidently texted Simon, who texted back, “Order the blueberry pancakes!”

Gronke also suggested watching the debate on split-screen with the Cubs vs Dodgers playoff game. “I hope the debate won’t be as ugly as the last Cub’s game!” he said as he left to prepare to watch both.

Balls in the Air—Jugglers Converge on Reed

A focused performer gives the pins a spin at the Portland Juggling Festival Adam Brewer

It’s the ultimate balancing act. Poised ever-so-precisely on an overgrown skateboard that wobbles atop a rolling cylinder, Cate Great draws ooohs from the audience when she crowns her act with an eye-popping stunt—juggling no fewer than six balls while spinning in a circle.

Welcome to the 26th Portland Juggling Festival, a weekend of workshops, live shows, and community-building held at Reed College. Jugglers from around the world flock to the event, whose mission is not only entertainment but also education.

Since 1992, when the festival was founded, the highlight of each year is the Juggling and Vaudeville Extravaganza Show, featuring local professionals alongside national and international acts. Twelve acts graced the stage last week, with Anni Küpper from Bonn, Germany, bringing down the house with a dazzling performance art/juggling fusion.

Reed Run Raises Cash for Public Schools

More than six hundred dashing locomotorists took part in Reed’s annual 5K Fund Run, which raised more than $41,000 for local Portland public schools.

Undeterred by the gloomy sky, the runners set off from the Old Dorm Block, huffed and puffed their way up Woodstock Boulevard, recovered their breath on Cesar Chavez Avenue, and then raced back down Steele Street. All proceeds from the event went to local elementary schools Duniway, Grout, Lewis, Llewellyn, and Woodstock.

First across the finish line was Ethan Linck ’13, who posted the blazing time of 17:09. (The last time we wrote about Ethan, he set a record for circumnavigating Mount Rainier!)

Student Body President Apologizes for Email

Reed’s student body president has apologized for a mass email he sent to Reed students under an anti-Semitic subject line.

The student body president, who is a senior, sent the email at 10:55 p.m. on September 21, under the subject line “SB Info: Hasidic Jews are like the Jewish version of ISIS.”

The subject line was unrelated to the content of the email, a twice-weekly newsletter known as SB Info, which contains routine information about campus events and committee meetings. Indeed, it is not unusual for SB Info to carry surreal or nonsensical subject lines.

Protest Amplifies Discussion of Race on Campus

Student organizer Addison Bates ’18 leads protestors in a march across campus inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

A day of student protest inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement amplified the ongoing discussion about race on campus last week.

More than four hundred Reed students boycotted classes Monday and joined a campus demonstration to protest police brutality, black lives lost, and racial inequality in the wake of Isaiah Washington’s call for a nationwide boycott to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Students organized a peaceful but boisterous “Noize Parade,” complete with drums, kettles, pots, pans, and pails. Chanting “Black Lives Matter, Black Reedies Matter!” they marched through campus (briefly disrupting a Hum 110 lecture) before rallying in the Quad.

Reed Welcomes Two New Trustees

Reed recently welcomed two new trustees, Mo Copeland ’82 and Amy Madigan, who bring experience from the fields of science, education, and the performing arts.

Mo Copeland, who graduated from Reed with a B.A. in physics, has been an educator for more than 30 years. "I am thrilled to have an opportunity to give back and support Reed as an alumna trustee," she says. "I chose Reed as a school I knew would engage me in an intellectual conversation with fellow students and professors—and it did."

She is the head of the Oregon Episcopal School (OES), a private, preK-12 college preparatory school in Portland that has a boarding program for grades 9-12. Prior to her work at OES, she was the head of Saint George’s, a non-denominational K-12 school in Spokane, Washington, and she served as dean of faculty at Lakeside School in Seattle. Mo has extensive experience as a teacher of physics and math and has taught at the Moses Brown School in Rhode Island as well as the Putney School in Vermont. She has served on numerous advisory boards and accreditation committees such as the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools Board, where she was president from 2007-09. Mo’s husband Chris is a stay-at-home dad with an interest in book collection, and they have two children: Daniel, who graduated from Reed in 2011, and Nick, who graduated from Lewis and Clark. Mo served as an alumni admission volunteer at Reed for 22 years and says, "Reed holds a unique place in higher education in terms of its commitment to genuine, deep learning through engagement. I hope that by serving the school as a trustee, I can be a part of preserving that into the future."

Riggs Hailed for Working Weekend

Adam Riggs ’95 brandishes the Babson Award, presented by Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner last week.

Digital entrepreneur Adam Riggs ’95 was honored with the Babson Society Outstanding Volunteer Award last week for his leadership in establishing Working Weekend, an annual conference that connects Reed students to alumni with similar career interests.

Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, presented Adam with the award, hailing Working Weekend as an inspiring event that helps Reed students connect with alumni mentors and explore career fields and paths. The success of the program was echoed by student testimonials and has proven so popular that it has now spawned a series of focused events such as Mindstorm, TechFayre, and the Winter Shadows.

The presentation took place at Reed’s annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner, which honors alumni volunteers who, through their generous contributions, help advance Reed and support student success. Trustee Dr. Deborah Kamali ’85 recognized many other individuals and groups who make a significant impact, including

Foreign Correspondent Looks Beyond Plato’s Shadows

Foreign correspondent Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has filed stories from more than 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

It seems safe to assume that few Reedies are familiar with Dinko Valev, a hulking, bearded semi-professional wrestler-slash-amateur vigilante who now styles himself a folk hero in his native Bulgaria.

Have you seen Dinko’s proud emblem of his allegiance to the Bulgarian Orthodox church, a pectoral tattoo that’s as big as a T-bone steak?

Didn’t think so.

Have you beheld the jacked four-wheeler that Dinko rode out to the Bulgaria-Turkey border in February, to subdue 16 Syrian migrants (12 men, three women, and a child), forcing them to lay prone on the dirt as he likened them all to “dogs”?

Well, journalist Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has watched the video of Dinko’s assault numerous times, along with the clip of the Bulgarian TV news anchor calling Dinko a “superhero.” He’s also interviewed the thuggish grappler—in Bulgarian. And in his recent profile for the BBC, he unraveled the nuanced import of Dinko, tracing Bulgaria’s nationalism back to the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, when the Bulgarians were ruled by Muslims and Christian Balkan states were clamoring for independence. He talked to an anthropologist who said they were “programmed,” he writes, “to view every representative of the Islamic world as a potential rapist and terrorist.”

Assembling the Freshman Class, One Student at a Time

Dean of Admission Milyon Trulove bears the awesome responsibility of assembling the freshman class.

School is back in session. First-year students roam the Quad clutching copies of the Iliad, frisbees arc across the Great Lawn, and Commons echoes with talk of teleology and telomeres. No one revels in that sense of exuberant possibility more than Milyon Trulove, vice president and dean of admission, who shoulders the formidable responsibility of assembling each year’s crop of new Reedies.

So how do you go about selecting students for one of the most rigorous and distinctive colleges in the nation?

When Trulove first arrived on campus two years ago, he asked his student tour guide how she first heard about Reed. Back in high school, she had been talking about her college search at a restaurant. The waitress overheard her conversation and wrote a suggestion on a paper napkin. It was Reed, of course.

Econ Major Wins Meier Award for Work on Preference

Sarah Brauner ’16 Won a Meier Award for Distinction in Economics for her thesis on preference theory.

“My thesis was a bit unorthodox for a math-econ thesis in that it was more 'mathy' than 'econ-y'—usually it's the opposite,” shares Sarah Brauner ’16, one of two winners of The Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics. After receiving this distinction for her exceptional senior thesis, Sarah is now headed to Smith College's Center for Women in Mathematics for a yearlong post-baccalaureate program.

In her thesis, Sarah used sophisticated mathematical modeling to analyze preference theory, the decision-making rationale that is the backbone of microeconomics. Preference theory evaluates how individuals “make decisions based upon an underlying set of preferences for certain goods,” explains Sarah.

“Suppose that you are trying to learn how I would rank apples, bananas and oranges. You know that I prefer apples and oranges to bananas, but you don't know if I favor oranges over apples or vice-versa,” Sarah demonstrates. Imagine you want to find out her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd favorite of the three; then imagine trying to decipher her ranked preferences with even more types of fruit. Only allowing two fruits to be compared at once, Sarah considered the question-asking process as a sorting algorithm using a “partially ordered set, or poset.” Ultimately, Sarah examined the question-asking processes required to learn an individual’s complete preferences.

Alumni Talk Elementary Education

The Alumni College focused on the subject of elementary education at Reunions ’16. Photo by Leah Nash

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer,” said Albert Camus.

For many alumni, Reunions week is a time to rediscover that invincibility as they gather to reminisce, recall their comrades in the quest, and take part in stimulating programs and activities.

Jim Kahan ’64 has long organized the Alumni College, which focuses on one topic in depth during the course of the reunion. This year’s focus was elementary education, attracting an array of professors, teachers, students, and parents.

Economics Grad Pursues Doctorate at Yale

THE WAYS OF FINANCE: Ahyan Panjwani ’16 won the Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics

“Indeed, the Bard knew his macroeconomics well!” declares Ayhan Panjwani ’16, an economist with a predilection for Shakespeare and a winner of the Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics. Ahyan will begin his doctoral studies in Economics at Yale this fall after receiving recognition for an exceptional senior thesis.

Referring to The Merchant of Venice while describing his research pursuits, Ahyan muses on the deal between Shylock and Antonio for “a pound of flesh and no blood,” highlighting that the character's concern lies within the collateral rather than the interest rate. Similarly, Ayhan will examine collateral and leverage as sources of systemic risk within the economy, moving beyond simply lowering interest rates during a financial crisis.

“Generally, my research interests lie in Macroeconomics with a bend towards finance,” he says. While at Reed, the mathematics-economics grad focused on finance in Brazil for his thesis. “The idea was to determine whether Brazil's current monetary policy is a feasible one given all their troubles in the past few years,” Ayhan details. Citing their failed efforts to maintain inflation, he proposed alternative policies for their economy. At Yale, Ayhan will continue to explore the ways of finance.

Physics Grad Focuses Energy at Cambridge

RELATIVITY AND QUBITS. Zuben Scott ’16 won a Sperling Studentship to study at Cambridge.

Upon hearing there is all sorts of “crazy research happening” at Cambridge from Prof. Joel Franklin ’97 [physics 2005–], Zuben Scott ’16 knew exactly where he wanted to head after graduating from Reed. Thanks to a Sperling Studentship, which is funded by Reed and Cambridge alumnus John Sperling ’48, he'll have the opportunity.

Zuben is now preparing for a year-long Masters of Advanced Study (MASt) in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. This is Part III of the Mathematical Tripos of Cambridge University, a world-renowned mathematics degree program focused on intense, independent coursework rather than research.

With 100 classes to choose from, Zuben will concentrate on “general relativity, quantum computation, and particle physics,” gradually zeroing in on a field as the year progresses. A lover of all aspects of physics, Zuben hopes that with “so many theoretical physicists crammed into one place” he will have enough exposure to confidently select a focused PhD program by the end.

Reed Champions Step Up to the Plate

HERE COMES THE SUN. Reed lovers gave more than $20 million to support the college during FY 2015/16.

Reed alumni, parents, and friends made a series of generous gifts totalling more than $20 million during the fiscal year ending June 30 to meet some of the college’s longstanding—and pressing—needs.

Thanks to their leadership, the college has been able to make progress on several big projects: launching a fully fledged computer science program; completing a long-held goal of a comprehensive program in environmental studies; and renovating the chemistry labs, the sports center, and the cross-canyon residence halls. Support for student research and for preparing for careers beyond college received significant contributions from alumni and parents who believe in Reed students’ talents. Donors also provided funding for Reed’s longest term aspirations: strong financial aid and general support for the endowment and the college’s operations.  

“Without philanthropy, Reed could not educate the wide range of students coming to the college nor provide them with the same rigorous academics, opportunities for research, small classes, and overall campus experience that it does today,” said President John R. Kroger. “I thank all of those who contributed. Their support enables Reed to create and recreate one of the finest and most distinctive educational programs in the country.”

A Rising Star Puts New Fellowship to Good Work

FORWARD LOOKING. Ashlee Fox ’19 won an Evan Rose Fellowship to study the efforts of Milwaukie, Oregon, to revitalize its downtown.

If you ask around campus about rising sophomore Ashlee Fox ’19, it is clear that in a short amount of time she has thoroughly impressed a lot of people. Recently, she was awarded the Evan Rose Fellowship for a 2016 summer research internship to study the efforts of Milwaukie, Oregon, to revitalize its downtown.  

“It's pretty unusual for a freshman to apply and win an award such as this,” says Jolie Griffin, faculty administrative coordinator for the undergraduate research committee. “Ashlee is going to be a student to watch. She's a rising star and everyone who has worked with her has been really impressed—including her sponsor with the city of Milwaukie.”

The fellowship, sponsored in part by Kevan Shokat ’86 and Deborah Kamali ’85, is named in honor of outstanding Reed alumnus Evan Rose ’86, and is one of many opportunities that Reed has for student learning beyond the classroom.

Adventure Begins for the Class of 2020

HAIL, HAIL, THE GANG'S ALL HERE. Class of ’20 converges on the Great Lawn at Convocation. Photo by Leah Nash

The trumpeting fanfare of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks marked the beginning of convocation on Wednesday, as Reed welcomed the Class of 2020 to campus. In addition to the robes and the regalia, there was both wordplay and swordplay, courtesy of Prof. Darius Rejali [political science 1989–], who delivered the year’s inaugural Hum 110 lecture on the question of friends and enemies in the Iliad, punctuated by the cut and thrust of a saber (Prof. Rejali is a fencing enthusiast).

Some 357 strong, the Class of ’20 boasts some formidable statistics: 10% were valedictorians of their high school classes and another 2% were salutatorians. 32% ranked in the top 5% of their class. The median scores on their SAT tests were 680 math, 710 verbal, and 680 writing, which puts them at the 96th percentile.

The class was drawn from the largest pool ever—5,705 applicants—and is the most selective in Reed’s history, with an admittance rate of 31%. Another 42 students entered as transfers.

Farewell, Prof. Thomas Gillcrist

We are sad to announce that Professor Emeritus Thomas Gillcrist [English and humanities 1962–2002] passed away this weekend.

Prof. Gillcrist taught at Reed for 40 years, arriving in 1962 after earning his B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. from Harvard University. Over the course of his career, he garnered many national honors and earned the admiration of his students and colleagues for his potent intellect and good nature.  

Drawn to Reed largely because of the humanities program, Gillcrist was known for his brilliant Hum 110 lectures, like this one on the Oresteia. He taught courses on William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, colonial and postcolonial novels, and on the Bloomsbury group. He is remembered for his infectious enthusiasm for his subjects, abiding influence on his students' lives, and love of fast cars. 

Sperling Studentship Winner off to Cambridge

Mimi Howard ’15 won a Sperling Studentship to get a Master of Philosophy at Cambridge University

“I’m most looking forward to re-inhabiting rainy environs, avoiding Trump, and studying conservatism in post-referendum Britain,” says recent grad Mimi Howard ‘15 who is headed to Cambridge University on a Sperling Studentship award.

The grant provides for a year-long Master of Philosophy program in Political Thought and Intellectual History at the institution and is funded by Reed and Cambridge alumnus John Sperling '48.

Studying reactionary thought in late 19th and early 20th century German aesthetic theory, Mimi is focusing on “the historical shift from the use of Greek words as organizing concepts to the introduction of distinctly German ones towards the end of the Weimar era.” Works by Nietzsche, Spengler, and more minor thinkers will provide the source material for the researched-based degree, in which all graduates are expected to make at least a “contribution” to learning through a written dissertation. By and large, Mimi is curious about when these works’ “engagement with the Classics” moves beyond the philosophy borderline and “produces a politics.”

Physics Grad Wins Wilson Fellowship

Woodrow Wilson Fellow Mike Sommer will teach STEM subjects in high-need schools

Working in the mailroom during his senior year, physics major Mike Sommer ’16 turned to his coworker and declared "Well, my life just changed forever."

Mike had just read an email with the news he had won the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, which helps pay for a master’s degree in return for a three-year commitment to teaching in a high-need public school.

Now, a mere two months after graduation, Mike agrees that his life has definitely changed—“for the better,” he chimes.

Seniors grasp philosophy prize

Elise Woodard ’16 won the Garlan Prize for her thesis on a pair of puzzles in moral philosophy.

Two seniors have won the Edwin N. Garlan Memorial Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarship in the field of philosophy.

Philosophy major Elise Woodard ’16 won the prize for her thesis on a pair of philosophical puzzles. Here’s how she explains her work:

In my thesis, I investigated two puzzles about moral knowledge. The first, a puzzle about moral forgetting, is to explain why it seems absurd to assert, “I used to know the difference between right and wrong, but I’ve forgotten it,” whereas claims to have forgotten facts and skills seem ordinary and unproblematic.

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Next >