“The “Greening” of the Past – “The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” on December 9 at Washington College

Share

Illustration of the French Religious Wars between Catholics and Huguenots by a contemporaneous artist Frans Hogenberg (1535 – 1590)

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The human casualties of four decades of intermittent civil “Dominion and Domain: The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” will discuss this question and the development of a history of modern eco-consciousness–the “greening” of the past. Jeff Persels, associate professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures, will lead this conversation of 16th-century France’s potential contributions to that history.

The French Wars of Religion, also known as the Huguenot Wars, lasted from 1562-1598 — 36 years and one month — although there was not constant fighting. It began in the era of Catherine de Medici, the queen-mother of France, and was the second deadliest European religious war. (The deadliest was the Thirty Years’ War, 1618 -1648, which took over eight million lives in what is now Germany.) But there was more than religion at stake.

The talk, sponsored by the William James Forum and the Center for Environment & Society, is set for December 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Hynson Lounge and is free and open to the public.

Persels’ research interests focus on early modern French prose and verse polemic. He teaches courses in early modern French literature and culture, French theater, contemporary French culture and society and European Studies. He also stages student and amateur French-language plays, most recently an original co-authored creation at the Columbia Museum of Art, Tableaux vivants, tableaux parlants (March 2013). He and his wife Brigitte write, produce, and perform puppet shows in French based on classic children’s tales. His publications include FLS 39. The Environment in/and French and Francophone Literature and Film (editor and introduction, Rodopi 2012), and he is currently working on a manuscript called Man Bites God: The Ludic Quality of Early Modern French Religious Polemic, as well as an adaptation for the English-language stage of Montaigne’s Essais.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

###

The Sky is Literally the Limit as Washington College Students Learn Astrophotography

Share

Students look up at the night sky at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Photo credit: Brian Palmer.

In a dimly lit classroom at Washington College, students are examining a photo of the night sky that Brian Palmer has just brought up on a big screen. Everyone’s faces are aglow in the weird projected light.

“There are three streaks here in the sky,” says Palmer, director of Digital Media Services, which oversees IDEAWORKS, a multimedia resource for students. “Do you know what they are?”

Planes, answers one student, and he’s right, at least partly. When Palmer zooms in on one of the streaks, the repetitive blips of white, green, and red stitched across the sky reveal the navigation lights of a plane that the camera’s open shutter captured. But when Palmer zooms in on the other two, the colors and patterns definitely aren’t coming from something that took off from planet Earth. They are meteors, scorching a luminous furrow across the black field of space.

The Milky Way, as seen at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Photo credit: Brian Palmer.

“Why is the color different?” asks Charlie Kehm, chair of the Department of Physics and a physics and environmental science and studies professor. “It’s in the ice, or the minerals. Potentially different materials burn in different colors.” The stars, too, have different colors, he says, and when Palmer zooms in some more, what were once little white dots become clear individuals of blue, red, yellow. “Oh, yeah!” says another student.

The night sky, always wondrous, starts to reveal its mysteries in this collaboration between Kehm and Palmer, who introduce students in Kehm’s beginning level astronomy class to astrophotography. The students and teachers spent several hours one night this fall at the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC), using cameras and gear provided by Digital Media Services, shooting the night sky. Tonight, they’re in a lab learning how to use Camera Raw and Photoshop to process their images and, while doing so, get a closer look at the objects of their class’s study.

“It was the first time I had ever seen so many stars in one place,” says sophomore Kate Voynow, an American studies major and history minor, who’s taking the class because she’s always been intrigued by astronomy, and it fulfilled a distribution requirement. “It was surreal. There was something really magical about it.”

The Andromeda galaxy, shot during the astrophotography lab at the River and Field Campus at Washington College. Credit Brian Palmer.

The class surveys the universe, starting with Earth and moving through space and time to galactic clusters, supernovae, and black holes. Kehm says this is the second time that he and Palmer have collaborated to bring the art of photography into the science of astronomy.

“For students, this is one of the most enjoyable experiences of the semester,” Kehm says. “Most students already have an affinity for photography. Very quickly Brian can bring them up to speed in the use of SLR cameras and techniques for night photography. The lab gives us an opportunity to spend some time with the night sky, view constellations, observe the Milky Way, and sometimes see some planets. We even get to see some evidence of stellar colors in our long-duration exposures.”

Indeed, as the students processed their images back on campus, they found galaxies—including Andromeda, a swirl of gauzy white—meteors, and star clusters as they tweaked color, contrast, clarity, and other options to create scientifically publishable photos— what Kehm calls “an honest portrayal of the sky”—as well as versions that pushed into art photography.

“What I like most about the lab is the way it inspires the students,” he says. “There’s something about that pursuit of the aesthetic and the immersion under the starry sky that activates imagination and gets students excited about the subject. And even after doing this for many, many years, I’m still in awe every time I go out.”

For Voynow, who says she’s “not that good at STEM,” the class has been fun, if challenging at times. But the astrophotography lab and the night sky at RAFC were a revelation.

“As a history student, it’s kind of interesting because we learn about societies and we learn about the rise and fall of empires or how the United States began, all the things you learn about in history classes,” she says. “This is like Big History. Uber History. It’s fun to look at it that way. ‘Now, let’s look at the history of everything.’ And it kind of makes what I’m learning, it puts it into perspective. Look at all this fighting, look at all this war. What’s the point? It’s not Big History. The universe is so big, and how small we are compared to it. I take comfort in that. There’s something nice about it.”

The night sky at the River and Field Campus, photographed and processed by students Kate Voynow and Madi Shenk.

Kehm says RAFC “offers some of the darkest skies in the region, and it’s only minutes from campus. It is an absolutely fantastic resource for us. One of my long-term goals is to develop a permanent observing platform at the River and Field Campus, which would make it easier for us to use telescopes more routinely at the site. The property offers a lot of promise for astronomy at the College. We’re only starting to realize that potential.”

Palmer says the lab is fun for him because it lets him teach students how to use cameras and technologies supplied by IDEAWORKS that help them imagine new possibilities for their work.

“I love to see the students light up when they explore the power of these newly acquired skills,” he says. “Whether it be centered around discovery, expression, or problem solving, I think programming we can offer the students through IDEAWORKS is truly a unique and valuable addition to their undergraduate experience.”

 

Mid-Shore Education: Radcliffe Creek School’s Molly Judge Takes a Bow

Share

As Radcliffe Creek School director Molly Judge enters her last year leading the private school she founded in Chestertown as a regional hub for bright students who learn differently, it is safe to predict that what took place at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s annual awards lunch last Friday will be repeated quite a few times before she officially steps down at the end of June.

And that is because, as Buck Duncan, president of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, noted in his remarks to the overflow crowd in presenting Molly with the Foundation’s Town Watch Society Award, Molly has, “changed the educational landscape on the Mid-Shore forever.”

The Spy caught some of Buck’s comments and raided the Radcliffe Creek School’s Facebook page for some images of the school and its students.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School please go here

 

Radcliffe Creek School Launches Founders’ Fund with $1 Million Goal

Share

Radcliffe Creek School Students

In front of an enthusiastic audience attending its Fall Soirée on Friday, October 20, Radcliffe Creek School  announced the establishment of The Founders’ Fund and its goal of raising $1 million to create an endowed scholarship for students  needing financial assistance.

The Founders’ Fund honors the final year of Radcliffe’s Founding Director, Molly Brogan Judge, as well as the other dedicated original  advisors and investors of the school. Opening its doors 22 years ago with 13 students in grades one through seven, Radcliffe’s goal has  always been to create a learning environment where bright children, who learn differently, could succeed. The school today thrives under  Judge’s visionary, dedicated leadership and with the support from a committed group of staff, parents, grandparents, and friends the  vision continues. The kindergarten through eighth grade program currently enrolls 82 students, while Little Creek, Radcliffe’s preschool,  serves 52 students from infancy through pre-kindergarten.

Radcliffe’s Founding Director, Molly Brogan Judge (right) with Radcliffe Creek friend and supporter Barbara Thomas

Radcliffe Creek has truly changed the educational landscape of the Eastern Shore, and beyond, with students traveling from seven  different counties in Maryland and Delaware to attend the school. Many students come to Radcliffe unsure of themselves not just as  students, but as individuals. Because of the small class sizes, compassionate teachers, and hands-on learning, these students leave  Radcliffe Creek with an understanding about what it takes to succeed. And succeed they do.  Radcliffe alumni go on to college, the  military, graduate school, and beyond. Many alumni point to their Radcliffe Creek School education as the turning point in their  academic career.

“This is the most significant fundraising effort ever undertaken by the School,” said Radcliffe’s Board of Trustees President, Susan  Newton-Rhodes. “The Board of Trustees knows the goal is high, but believes it is only fitting. This new fund will address the Board’s  highest priority – financial aid for worthy students – by creating a lasting fund for those families and children who need Radcliffe the  most.”

For the last 22 years, Radcliffe’s Board of Trustees has allocated as many financial resources as possible to families who cannot afford a  Radcliffe education without assistance. This year alone, $350,000 has been distributed in financial aid to kindergarten through eighth  grade students. As the school continues to grow, so will this need.

“This effort will be a big challenge, but I’m passionate, as well as confident, that we can accomplish this goal to establish a $1 million  legacy in honor of the many creative minds that united together to build Radcliffe Creek School,” said Judge. “My hope is that others will  learn more about our past, embrace the goal of the fund, and continue to develop this endowment for years to come.”

Radcliffe Creek School is an independent day school with the mission of empowering children in a dynamic environment that celebrates  unique learning. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School or Little Creek, the school’s preschool, which includes programs for  children from infancy through pre-kindergarten, please call 410-778-8150 or click here.

###

 

Kent School Launches Fall Mini-Term Classes

Share

Alyesha Williams and Carter Groh work together on a Nature Buddies lesson

Each academic year, Kent School offers two selections of mini-term classes for Middle School students. The mini-terms, called Explorations last for six weeks and occur in the Fall and Spring Semesters. Explorations offers opportunities for students in Grades Five through Eight to explore an interest, develop a hobby or even discover a potential future vocation. Each Exploration class meets Friday morning to work collaboratively on their project.

Michelle Duke, Assistant Head of School for Academics said, “The Explorations sessions involve a small group, usually six to eight students from across our middle school grades. It is a wonderful way for our students to work collaboratively with students from outside their typical classes. They get to see their peers’ talents and interests and maybe discover a new talent of their own.” Duke continued, “I really value the Explorations Program at Kent School because it reinforces our commitment to multiple modality teaching. It also offers our teachers another opportunity to observe the many ways our students learn. They can take these observations back to the classroom and perhaps incorporate a technique into a lesson or an alternative form of assessment.”

This term, students are exploring their creative side with music, photography, graphic design, painting and more. Students in the Photography session, taught by Michelle Cerino, explore the fine art and techniques of digital photography. They venture into classrooms or around the scenic campus to capture images for use on the school website or in the school yearbook.

Ms. Whitaker holds ukulele song sheet for Ellie Macielag

For those with an interest in music, Amanda Whitaker, Grade Seven and Eight Math teacher, is leading a ukulele class. The students will learn songs as a group and one of their choice to perform at an upcoming school assembly.

Hannah Richardson, Middle School Science teacher leads Nature Buddies. Nature Buddies is a unique, cross-grade session in which middle school students prepare lesson plans for Preschool students and then put those lesson plans into action with those children in nature-themed science projects.

Mural Design allows Grade Eight students the opportunity to design and paint a legacy mural. Throughout two Explorations sessions students select a theme, lay out the design and then get set to paint. Their mural is then installed in a prominent location on campus.

The object of “The Great Escape” is for the students to use logic and sequencing to design and build an escape-proof room. Students are collaborating to develop intriguing clues, designed for the Middle School teachers and students. Unlocking these clues will lead to escape from the room.

For students interested in journalism, video production or graphic design, there are two options. Students may elect to join the Kent School News team to produce a weekly video news segment. Kent School news includes student-led interviews, athletics updates, and the weekly “Word-on-the Street” segment in which students are asked a pertinent question on a current event or upcoming holiday. The second option for media enthusiasts is Yearbook Design in which students take on the job of creating the theme, design, text and layout of the annual Kent School Yearbook.

Finally, Fondant Fundamentals, taught by Librarian Julia Gross, gives interested students the opportunity to learn about the wonderful world of cake decorating. Students learn how to color their fondant to build creative toppings for cupcakes and cakes.

For more information about the Explorations program at Kent School or any other facet of the school visit the school website or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110.  Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The school’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

 

 

 

St. Anne’s Episcopal School Offers Merit Scholarships

Share

St. Annes-Middle-School Outdoor-Chapel

Planning for Middle School in 2018-2019?  St. Anne’s Episcopal School is offering two Merit Scholarship awards of $8,000 per year for each new student thanks to generous donor support. These awards are designed to attract new, engaging 5th to 8th grade students who will benefit from and add to the school’s community.  Each scholarship will be awarded for the term of the student’s enrollment at St. Anne’s, through graduation (up to four years).  Families may learn more at Open Houses this Sunday, November 12 at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, November 16, at 6 p.m. and at weekly Wednesday tours at 8:30 a.m. (call 302-378-3179 option 1 to RSVP).  Merit scholarship candidates may also apply for need-based financial aid.

“We are extremely grateful that our child was a recipient of the generous Merit Scholarship.  It has allowed us to provide her with a truly outstanding educational opportunity,” said the parent of a recent Merit Scholarship recipient.  “St. Anne’s offers a unique educational experience, academically challenging, spiritually conscious and the opportunity to be a student athlete.  She has been embraced by her classmates and is thriving at St. Anne’s.  Each day offers a new learning opportunity.  She has thanked us multiple times for sending her to St. Anne’s.”

St.-Annes-Sports-Boys-Soccer

The school is also seeking nominations and applications for one U.S. Service Scholarship for $7,500 to be awarded to a new student entering 5th to 8th grade who has immediate family in the U.S. Military.  This award is drawn from a donor-supported fund to help make a St. Anne’s education accessible to students whose immediate family member is serving in or retired from any of the five (5) branches of the U.S. Military and their Reserve and National Guard units: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. It will continue for up to four years while the student is enrolled at St. Anne’s.

The U.S. Service Scholarship recipient must have a demonstrated need for financial assistance in meeting the annual tuition obligation for St. Anne’s. The vision of its donors is to attract new students who may not otherwise be able to attend the school.  Immediate family member is defined as a mother, father, legal guardian, step-mother, step-father or sibling.  Recipients may also qualify for additional financial aid.

“St. Anne’s donors are making it possible for students to enroll in our Middle School program to become part of a small, diverse community where students feel safe to explore challenging academics, athletics, the arts, a spiritual life, and service learning – all part of our Episcopal school tradition,” said Head of School Peter Thayer.

The Scholarship application process includes a family tour, admissions forms due January 3, 2018, and a student visit day at St. Anne’s. Applicants for grades 5-8 must also complete admission exams which are administered at St. Anne’s using the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) CTP Online tests on one of the following Saturday mornings:  January 27February 24, or April 14, 2018.  Details are available on the school’s website.

Candidates for all scholarships may also apply for need-based Financial Aid which requires an online application by February 1, 2018.  Recipients must maintain academic and community standards which will be reviewed annually.

U.S. Service Scholarship candidates must also apply to St. Anne’s Financial Aid program to qualify for the scholarship by no later than March 26, 2018.

There is no area residence requirement for the scholarships.  The St. Anne’s Selection Committee is comprised of faculty and administrators.  Recipients must maintain academic and community standards which will be reviewed annually

Recipients will be notified confidentially by the selection date of Friday, April 27, 2018. Those who are selected will have until Friday, May 11 to make a decision to enroll at St. Anne’s for the coming academic year. St. Anne’s is choosing to keep the selection of the recipient’s confidential due to the young age of the applicants, and the small size of the school.

“My words could never fully express the gratitude I feel when I consider the fact that my son has the privilege to attend such an outstanding educational institution,” writes the parent of another scholarship recipient. “St. Anne’s has challenged him academically, socially, and intellectually beyond all of our expectations, and has greatly contributed to his sense of confidence in his ability to succeed in all his endeavors. In addition, the community in which he receives this excellent level of education is filled with joy and peace.  A place where he feels free to explore his world with ease and excitement.”

For more details about the Admissions Process and our online applications please visit our website.

Film About Laotian Refugee at College Nov. 8

Share

Safoi Babana-Hampton

Safoi Babana-Hampton, whose award-winning film “Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” follows the story of a Hmong-American from Michigan as he traces his past, will visit Washington College for a screening of her film, followed by a Q&A. Babana-Hampton will join one of her producers, Dan Dapkus, on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. in Goldstein 100, for the film screening and audience discussion afterward. The event is free and open to the public.

“Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” is an award-winning 2015 production of Michigan State University in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Babana-Hampton is the producer, executive producer, writer, videographer, and director.

A former Fulbright fellow and a two-time recipient and Senior Principal Investigator of the UIUC Humanities Without Walls Award, Babana-Hampton is an associate professor of French at Michigan State University. She has also written articles on topics relating to conceptions of multicultural citizenship, the postcolonial condition, historical memory in a global context, interfaith relations, and artistic hybridity in the literary and film productions of French cultural minorities, Moroccan Sephardic literature, and other Francophone literary and filmic narratives from North Africa and Québec.

A synopsis of the film: Liachoua Lee, a Hmong-American from Rochester Hills, Michigan, revisits his past as a former refugee and son of Hmong veterans of the French Indochina War (1946-1954), and of the American Secret War in Laos (1961-1975). He travels to places that carry traces of his personal history and the emotional scars left by the war. Lee’s story begins in Detroit, Michigan, then takes him to France, where he and his family sought asylum before immigrating to America, and ends in an emotional return to the homeland Laos for the first time in 40 years. The film documents Lee’s re-reading of key chapters of his refugee history, re-creating memories of wartime as experienced by the child he was then. The film follows Lee’s journey of remembrance, which brings his personal story into conversation with others’ stories in the Hmong community, American Vietnam veterans, French Indochina War veterans, historians and government officials in the Midwest and France. Click here for more about the film.

Gunston Students Sent Balloon to Near Space

Share

Balloon looking down on Gunston launch team

On Friday, Oct. 20, the Gunston Science and Engineering Club launched our fifth mission to “near space”—the region above where aircraft fly, but below the orbits of satellites. The payload included cameras, tracking devices, and instrumentation to measure temperature and pressure. A weather balloon was used to carry the payload to the stratosphere. The balloon then burst as expected and the payload returned gently to Earth by parachute. The balloon was launched from the Gunston campus and landed near Laurel, Del. a little more than 2 hours later.

The balloon reached an altitude of 19.44 miles, a record high altitude from past missions. The lowest pressure measured was less than 1% of the barometric pressure at the Earth’s surface. Preliminary results indicate that the science payload detected the tropopause with a temperature around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon was approximately 6 ft in diameter when launched and 20+ ft in diameter when it burst.

Dr. Mariah Goodall and Mr. Tom Chafey led two chase cars that beat the payload to its landing site, enabling them to observed the payload descending on its parachute—another Gunston first. Mr. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston alumni Jay Wegner, set up the tracking for the chase cars and several tracking stations for students who were not part of the chase.

The science and engineering club is led by Alli Webb ‘18 President, Jack Morrison ‘18 Vice President, and Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 Secretary. The Mission Commander for the balloon launch is Brynne Kneeland ‘19. In total, 21 students assisted in preparing the payload, launching the balloon, and recovering the balloon. They divided up into seven teams for different jobs: launch, payload, imaging, science, trajectory, tracking, and recovery. The club mentors are Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall.

Centreville as seen by the Gunston balloon

Kent Island viewed from the troposphere

Gunston Sends Balloon into Near Space

Share

On Friday, Oct. 20, the Gunston Science and Engineering Club launched our fifth mission to “near space”—the region above where aircraft fly, but below the orbits of satellites. The payload included cameras, tracking devices, and instrumentation to measure temperature and pressure. A weather balloon was used to carry the payload to the stratosphere. The balloon then burst as expected and the payload returned gently to Earth by parachute. The balloon was launched from the Gunston campus and landed near Laurel, DE a little more than 2 hours later.

Balloon looking down on launch team

The balloon reached an altitude of 19.44 miles, a record high altitude from past missions. The lowest pressure measured was less than 1% of the barometric pressure at the Earth’s surface. Preliminary results indicate that the science payload detected the tropopause with a temperature around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon was approximately 6 ft in diameter when launched and 20+ ft in diameter when it burst.

Dr. Mariah Goodall and Mr. Tom Chafey led two chase cars that beat the payload to its landing site, enabling them to observed the payload descending on its parachute—another Gunston first. Mr. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston alumni Jay Wegner, set up the tracking for the chase cars and several tracking stations for students who were not part of the chase.

The science and engineering club is led by Alli Webb ‘18 President, Jack Morrison ‘18 Vice President, and Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 Secretary. The Mission Commander for the balloon launch is Brynne Kneeland ‘19. In total, 21 students assisted in preparing the payload, launching the balloon, and recovering the balloon. They divided up into seven teams for different jobs: launch, payload, imaging, science, trajectory, tracking, and recovery. The club mentors are Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall.