Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Anthropology and Psychology Students Present Research at Statewide STEM Conference

Three Bloomsburg University College of Liberal Arts students presented their 2014 Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (URSCA) -sponsored summer original research at the PASSHE Undergraduate Research Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Conference at Slippery Rock University, November 21-21, 2014.

Laurie Ganey, Psychology,  presented "Development and Assessment of a Neuroscience-inspired Psycho-educational Workbook".  Her faculty mentor is Dr. Mary Katherine Duncan.

Lacy Marbaker, Anthropology, mentored by Dr. Conrad Quintyn and Dr. Faith Warner, was awarded second place in the Undergraduate Research Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics competition for her poster, “The Effects of Susquehanna River Water Pollution on Decomposition of Sus scrofa domesticus: An Application of Forensic Anthropology”.

Jaimee Saemann, Anthropology, also mentored by Dr. Warner, presented “The Cochlear Implant: A Technological Miracle or Cultural Supressor?”

Congratulations to all involved!

Laurie Ganey
Lacy Marbaker (photo courtesy John Nass)
Jaimee Saemann (photo courtesy John Nass)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gender Studies Minor Students Present Research

On Tuesday, November 11, five students minoring in Gender Studies presented their research projects to the campus community in the Schweiker Room of the Andruss Library.

In its second year, the research event was well-attended by about sixty students and faculty. 

English major Matthew Boyarsky delivered his presentation "Masculinity and Its Effect on Language" in which he reflected on the origins of gender-biased language and the way it perpetuates a dated and heavy-handed male culture. Through his research, he invited an open dialogue for any alternative ways of addressing language and using its power to create environments that are comfortable for all genders.

Next to present was Anna James, whose research entitled "Feminine Figures and Their Roles: Comparison between Ancient Society and Nineteenth Century Society" led her to many theories as to why women in the ancient society of Egypt were treated as equal to men. "Women in that society were breaking rules and becoming leaders, while women in the 1920s and earlier had lesser rights than those of a child or even a slave. One of the most credited theories relates to Egypt’s worship of many Gods and Goddesses and the reflection on how these Goddesses were seen; they mostly represented fertility and nurturing, while 1920s American society had Greek and Christian influences that has included the worship of male figures," said James in her abstract.
from left: Sarah Tessarvich, Anna James, Matt Boyarsky, Brian Molk and Albra Wheeler
(not pictured: Karli Miller)
photo courtesy of Ferda Asya
Anthropology major Bryan Molk presented research on gay and lesbian views from an African perspective at universities in the United States. His research assisted Molk in securing and completing an internship with Global Rights: Partners For Justice, where he helped to develop and support aspects of their Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) and Women's Rights programs.
His presentation "Gay and Lesbian Rights from an African Perspective: Applying The Research" included ethnographic research surveyed forty-one African students, who were studying in the United States, on their views and opinions of gay and lesbian rights. His data showed an overall positive receptiveness for gay and lesbian people, with a clear influence of Western ideology as a result of these students' studies and experiences at the institutions in the United States. 
Theatre major Sara Tessarvich's presentation "Portrayal and Representation of Transgender Individuals in Popular Media" dealt with how those who identify as transgender are portrayed in television and movies and how they are represented in media such as magazines and reality shows. Tessarvich discussed the overarching number and nature of the representations in recent television shows and by providing examples of media containing transgender individuals in Transparent and Orange is the New Black. She then discussed reality shows and magazines that feature transgender individuals such as Time magazine, Dancing With the Stars, and TRANSform Me.
Albra Wheeler, a Communication Studies major presented "Getting Bi in a Hetero World: Myths and Stereotypes of Bisexual Individuals." Wheeler's research and workshop are a celebration of bisexual identities. "In my presentation, I expose the audience of the diversity of the bisexual identity while covering stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions of the LGBTQA community; particularly those who identify as bisexual and non-monosexual," said Wheeler in her abstract.
English and Communication Studies major Karli Miller was unable to present her research "Fifty Shades of Grey: Unfortunate Facts about Unrealistic Fiction" due to illness.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

BU Theatre Grad Leaps from Academics to Professional Work through an Apprenticeship

Though I only just graduated from Bloomsburg this past May, I am lucky enough to be working in my field of study, especially a field as competitive as theatre.  I am currently employed as a Stage Management Apprentice at the People's Light and Theatre in Malvern, PA.  I am honored to be a part of their 40th anniversary season.

My main role as an apprentice is to serve as the assistant stage manager for half of the shows in this season.  However, in the downtime between shows, I am expected to put in time as a Production Assistant.  So far, I've assisted the carpenters, the scenic artist, and the props master.  Being able to transition seamlessly into the different departments is definitely a big asset and, I am sure, helped me to earn this position.

Becca Kestel (second from right) with the cast and stage management team
on the set of Row After Row at People's Light and Theat
I was able to gain these multi-disciplined skills during my time at Bloomsburg University.  While in school, I was fueled with a constant yearning to learn about every aspect of theatre, and I made a point of seizing any opportunity for a new experience. All of my professors supported my yearning and provided me with new challenges and guidance. I was blessed with incredible professors who not only guided me, but serve as examples of great theatre artists.

I took nearly every theatre production class offered (some more than once at an advanced level) and once I gained the basic knowledge I was able to use it through practical experience.  I was offered leadership roles in the form of stage managing or designing for the Bloomsburg University Players' (BUP) main stage productions. In addition, I held a work study job in the scene shop from my sophomore year until I graduated.

In my senior year, I was offered the role of stage manager of the BUP production of 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.  I accepted, not fully realizing the personal impact the show would have on me.  This show provided new challenges that appealed to me: working with a guest director from New York (Kevin R. Free), a collection of completely student-written pieces that were constantly being edited, and a staging that changed for each performance.  Though the work was intense at times, I loved every second I spent on this show.  It highlighted the beauty of theatre to me.  With my group of peers, underneath the fabulous guidance of Kevin R. Free, we created this truly unique theatre experience that was able to move the audience each night.  It was during this show that I made the decision to pursue stage management fully.  Also, my work on this show was honored with a Certificate of Merit from the Kennedy Center for American College Theatre.

It is so exciting to be able to put all that I've learned to use in the professional theatre world. I am so grateful to have my position here at People's Light and Theatre. To add to the excitement, I was surprised and delighted to see a familiar face during my first week of work here.  It turns out that my counterpart for the season is none other than Liz Nugent, another alumna from Bloomsburg University, whom I've had the fortune to work with during school. Clearly, Bloomsburg is doing something right in their training of stage managers.

—Becca Kestel, Theatre and Anthropology, BU Class of ‘14

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mass Communications Alumna Reflects on BU Experience

Julie Gould '14
May 2014:  I woke up to rain hitting my window and my phone buzzing as my family was letting me know they were on their way, but all I could think about was graduation day. It was a day that I remember thinking about 4 years earlier when I entered Bloomsburg as a freshman, and thinking how far away it was in time, but in reality, college is the fastest four years of life. My time at Bloomsburg taught me a lot about myself and everyone around me; I’m glad I was able to spend my time with the College of Liberal Arts and graduate with a Journalism major and English Minor.

Within days of graduation, I was already moved out of my hometown of Hamilton, NJ, and moved in with my boyfriend in Newtown, PA. During winter break of my senior year, I began to apply for jobs and interview in hopes of landing something shortly after graduation. Well, needless to say … it worked! I walked across the stage on that rainy day May 10, a couple weeks later I received a job offer, and June 9 was my first day on the job.

Through a lengthy process of a phone interview, face-to-face interview, reference check and about a month wait-time, I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation waiting to hear if I got the job or not. I applied to work with a company, Vantage Labs (USA), LLC, as their Proposal Writer. Although it wasn't directly reporting much like Journalism is known to be, it was still a writing position that would use the skills I learned through the Mass Communications/Journalism and English departments.

The Mass Communications department at Bloomsburg was by my side for the entire journey. They were the ones who pushed me to go and apply early because they knew I had it in me to land a job quickly. Many fears ran through my mind because you go through school and hear things about how hard it is to find a job, but with the right support, anything can happen.

My journey doesn't end there; I have also applied and been accepted to many different contributing writer sites to have personal work published on different websites. Currently, I contribute to Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Quirky Daily, and I even have a piece featured on USA Today College. I have been contacted through some of my articles to join other sites as well, and it is a rewarding feeling to know that out of the thousands of viewers reading my posts, it does make an impact on a few.

When I sat in my classrooms during my four years at Bloomsburg, I never thought I would be this far along in my life in such a short time after graduation. I have to thank the support of everyone around me while there at Bloomsburg because I wouldn’t have made it this far without them. Since graduation, I have also had the opportunity to come back to Bloomsburg and speak to an underclassmen lecture for professor, Dr. David Magolis. I was able to go back and share my personal experience with the students and also give them tips about what they should be doing, and what they will be doing in their future; it is important for them to learn these things now before it is too late down the road.

I left Bloomsburg Univeristy with the confidence that I can do and accomplish anything that stands in my way. I also left with many connections that I know will last a lifetime between professional connections through professors and also those of my peers. My biggest dream and aspiration is to publish a novel for young adults, and although I have submitted a manuscript for a children’s book, I hope to turn that into bigger things. I know that Bloomsburg is always there behind me, and I still have many professors and friends that I can turn to when needed.

- Julie Gould, Mass Communications Alumna ‘14

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spanish majors help migrant children of Central PA through summer internship

Sarah Jeffrey with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
Spanish majors Amber Stanton, Jenny Lipps and Sarah Jeffrey were hand selected by Dr. Amarilis Hidalgo-DeJesus to participate in a summer internship at the Central Pennsylvania Migrant Program in Hazleton, through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.

The students worked with children from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico to provide bilingual lessons in science, mathematics, reading and writing.

All students must be Spanish majors to be eligible to participate in the program, but some also focus their studies in education, communications, sociology, business and speech pathology.

“It was a great opportunity to experience working with children in grades 1 and 2 and also experiencing a co-teaching classroom design. The director, Sandra Medina, was incredibly helpful. We all were invited to teach as paid teachers for the upcoming summer program next year,” said Jeffery.
Jenny Lipps participates in Zumba with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
In addition to being the sole teachers most of the time in the program, the interns also created extracurricular activities and art projects to engage students in learning as well as participated in field trips and Zumba classes with the children.

As many of the migrant children were still in transitional stages of their ESL education, the interns developed activities to help them gain confidence in their speaking skills.

Jeffery, Lipps and Stanton also mentored high school students and worked more closely with them due to the level of difficulty in learning a foreign language as an adult.

“My experience as an intern of the migrant program was one of the memories that I will always value. It reminded me my own experience coming to this country at a young age,” said Lipps.
Amber Stanton with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus

Lipps also participated in a science program in which she translated science terminology of the human body from English to Spanish and created accompanying bilingual activities to foster better understanding of her lessons.
Other interns also helped to translate documents and gained experience in interpretation work through their communications with parents of the children and other teachers. According to Hidalgo-DeJesus, this experience will help the students in their post-grad work, specifically regarding the Federal Court Interpretation Program.

“The evaluations were excellent. Every year, the directors are very happy with our students and some of them get hired at the end of it, which is a great thing from our program,” said Hidalgo-DeJesus. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theatre Alumna Puts Her BU Learning and Connections to Work

Guest blogger Lauren Shover '13
Since May 2013, when I graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, I have worked professionally as an actor, assistant director, assistant producer and associate producer on several different theatre projects. Everything I have been able to accomplish in these past two years is thanks to Bloomsburg University’s extraordinary theatre program. 

Shortly after graduating I moved myself to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to work on my first production outside of Bloomsburg, The Last Plot in Revenge written by Brian Grace-Duff and produced by Brat Productions.  I worked as Assistant Director to John Clancy, a well-known director in NYC as well as one of the key founders of the NYC Fringe Festival.  I had the opportunity to work with John on a production my junior year in college; our school brought him in as a guest director.  Working with him at BU created a bond and a network between the two of us that continued after college and has continued to expand ever since.  Creating connections between the college level and the professional world is something Bloomsburg University’s theatre program excels at. 

Lauren being interviewed by Fox News about
Trapped in a Room with a Zombie
Devised work is an area I knew very little of when I came to Bloomsburg University in fall 2009.  However, this past April I worked as an assistant producer on a devised piece produced by Simpatico Theatre Company that spoke on the stigma related to Craigslist.  The skills and understanding I learned from working on devised theatre at BU allowed me to jump right in with the other members.

Exploring other forms of theatre at BU helped me to open myself up to new experiences in theatre world.  For the past six months I have worked as the Associate Producer for a Room Escape Adventure, Interactive Theatre show called Trapped in a Room with a Zombie.  The show demanded me to work as an actor, director, stage manager, makeup artist, producer and stage hand.  Bloomsburg University gave me confidence to believe in my abilities as a leader.  This production has gained huge success and is now present in 13 cities in the United States as well as Madrid, Spain and London, England.

As a student at Bloomsburg University, not only did I create a lot of professional connections but I left with a lot of peer connections as well.  Recently, a fellow alumnus and I have started up our own theatre company, Elephant Room Productions, consisting of several other Bloomsburg University Alumni.  We are planning to debut our company in the New York City as well as Philadelphia Fringe Festivals of 2015 producing a play written by Dano Madden, yet another connection made during my time at Bloomsburg University.
-        Lauren Shover, Theatre Alumna ‘13

To learn more about Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2009 Grad Waxes Philosophical in PhD Program

The following was contributed by Josh Cruz, Class of 2009: 

I graduated from Bloom in the spring of 09 with a degree in philosophy and English liberal arts. When I started in 05, I was in English and education, and my parents were concerned about my career options when I dropped the ed portion and took up philosophy. Given my majors, I suppose I didn't leave myself much of a choice but to go off to graduate school. So I did. And while philosophy isn't generally seen as a “practical” course of study, there is no field that has been more informative and helpful for the things I've been doing in my years post-Bloomsburg. The point of this piece is to give a few specific examples of the real-world, real practical value that my philosophy degree has.

The most salient examples come from the last month of my life. At the beginning of August, I started a PhD program at Arizona State University in language, literacies, and technology (it's part of the college of education). They're “training” us to be educational theorists and researchers.

So let's look at some of the classes I'm taking: on Mondays, I have research ethics. The first assignment had us reading Mill, Kant, and Aristotle. I am one of two students in that class with a background in philosophy; guess which two students were really comfortable discussing Aristotelian ethics and started an argument about whether virtue is contingent upon social perceptions. I have another class, qualitative research methods. Currently, we are working on our epistemological identity statements, which are reflective pieces about what we think can and should be considered knowledge. Our beliefs, presumably, will inform the ways that we go about conducting research and designing studies. A quick list of words and phrases that regularly appear in this class: epistemology, phenomenology, (post)positivism, ontology, metaphysical assumptions, discourse analysis, constructivism, truth, power dynamics, lived experiences, post-modern... you get the idea.

And let's not even talk about what I'm doing with my research advisor (okay, let's talk about it a little). We're trying to 1) figure out if it's possible for schizoanalysis (of Deleuze and Guattari fame) to be a legitimate kind of research method and 2) apply a Foucauldian genealogy to capoeira, the Brazilian martial art (think Eddy Gordo from Tekken). The point here is that philosophy not only underpins these activities, but it is present—in very obvious ways—in just about everything I'm doing. I could talk about how philosophy has helped me discover myself as a person and how it helps me live more fully and all that other generic, non-tangible kind of crap, but at the end of the day, in the really-real real world, some of my classmates are already struggling with these classes because they don't have a philosophical background.

This post is getting long—I would love to talk about how Marx, Bourdieu, Horkheimer, Freire and other critical theorists are huge figures in education too, but you'll have to take my word for it. Bottom line: there are places where the philosophy degree is not only valuable but absolutely critical for success. I could never have known how practical it would be to get a BA in philosophy, but at this point, in hindsight, it is possibly the best educational choice I could have made for myself.

Friday, August 29, 2014

White House "Correspondence" in Summer US Gov't Class

Two students from Dr. Sheng Ding's summer US Government class recently received letters from the White House in response to a writing assignment. Says Dr. Ding: "I have always encouraged my students to apply their classroom learning to real-world politics and develop their independent thinking and communication skills. In my US Gov’t class, I require my students to complete an essay 'Letter to President Obama.'"

The assignment asks students to "Write a letter to President Obama telling him what he has done right and what he has done wrong in his five-and-a-half-year presidency." Students are encouraged to mail their completed essays to the White House.

English major Mary Heffner wrote to the president about the conditions of Veterans Administration Hospitals, based on the experiences of her brother, a Vietnam-era veteran. President Obama's response reads in part as follows: "Where we find misconduct, it will be punished. Those responsible for manipulating or falsifying records at the VA-and those who tolerated it-are being held accountable, and some have been relieved of their duties. At the same time, we are working to get every one of our veterans off wait lists so they receive the care they have earned."

Ashley Rivera, a student in the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology program, wrote to the president expressing her concerns about the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare," welfare reform, and the NSA scandal, writing in part, "... my own government doesn't trust its own citizens enough to let them have their own privacy to the luxury of the Internet and social media. In my eyes, this is in direct violation of the fourth amendment ..."

Thanks to Mary Heffner, Ashley Rivera, and Dr. Sheng Ding for providing the above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Why do I need to take this class?"

In her "From the Editor" column in the Summer 2014 issue of Diversity & Democracy, Kathryn Peltier Campbell writes the following:
The idea that components of one’s education are boxes to be checked seems most fitting if higher education is simply a series of training modules preparing students for the workforce. But higher education must be so much more than this. As Michael S. Roth recently recounted in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2014), American luminaries from Thomas Jefferson to Martha Nussbaum have conceived of liberal learning in college as necessary to prepare students for the messy unknown that is life, not simply the specific requirements of a job. As Roth argues, a narrowly practical approach to higher education will do nothing less than “impoverish us.”
 Last Saturday a colleague and I were discussing how society has lost sight of education as a public good. In higher education, so-called "general education" has been the chief casualty, its erosion hastened by budgetary challenges and--more importantly--by the hesitation of its professed proponents to accept the challenge of asserting its relevance.

We in the humanities, arts, and social sciences need to accept that challenge. We may not see ourselves as agents of "workforce preparation" as such, and we are certainly not just that. But let's not shy away from it either. We know that in the "messy unknown that is life" our future leaders--including those sitting in our classrooms next week--will need to make decisions drawing not only on their own experiences but on an unpredictable collection of facts, ideas, and dreams to which we introduce them, the experiences of historical figures and of those who never existed outside the pages of a novel. In response to challenges we cannot even imagine, they will need to exercise the creativity that was nurtured and challenged on our stages and in our classrooms and studios. They will need to apply the intellectual rigor they sharpened against scientific and abstract philosophical concepts as well as the compassion that comes from understanding the plights of others.

The future depends on it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gender Studies Student Wins "Emerging Scholar Award" at Feminism Conference in Akron, Ohio

Wheeler (left) and Whitman (right) with keynote speaker Vanessa Valenti (center)
(photo courtesy of Ferda Asya)
Albra Wheeler and Jacqueline Whitman, two Gender Studies Minor (GSM) students, presented their papers at a conference titled The Multiple Faces of Activism: Feminism in the 21st Century, at the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. Both students are recipients of the student professional development awards from the College of Liberal Arts.
Wheeler's paper, "The Wonderbra: Oppression vs. Liberation in a Patriarchal Society," traces the evolvement of modern brassieres and looks at the bra through historical and feminist perspectives and aims to establish whether the “Wonderbra” signifies submission to or emancipation from the patriarchal society.

Whitman's paper, "Womanhouse: Opening the Closed Door," is a study of three bathrooms, “Nightmare Bathroom,” “Lipstick Bathroom,” and “Menstruation Bathroom,” which symbolically represent the anguish women endure in their private lives.

Wheeler with her award
(photo courtesy of Ferda Asya)
At the conference, Wheeler won the "Emerging Scholar Award,” which is given in recognition of a student who displays exemplary scholarship as demonstrated in research, education, and related academic activities that seek to further feminist research, practice, teaching, and/or activism by the Committee for Research on Women and Gender of the University of Akron. This award also recognizes a student with a demonstrated commitment to women's and gender issues.

Wheeler's achievement is especially outstanding considering that the conference was open to graduate and undergraduate students from several states, including Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

“Frankly, when I conveyed the ‘call for papers’ of this conference to the GSM students, I expected them to deliver successful papers, but I did not predict that one of them would receive this prestigious award,” said Dr. Ferda Asya, associate professor of English and Director of Gender Studies Minor.

Congratulations, Albra and Jacqueline!

Friday, July 11, 2014

BU Prof Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Katherine Waibel Duncan of the Bloomsburg University Department of Psychology, recipient of a Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant in support of “Handmade Literacy for Our Hometown." Working with the BU Toy Library, faculty and students from the university’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will educate elementary and middle school-aged children about the needs of the community and engage the children in literacy-based service projects. The literacy projects will include fashioning inspirational banners to adorn the rooms of residents at assisted living facilities and nursing homes, handcrafting cards for displaced children and their families residing at local hospitality houses and creating informational posters to share the stories of animals awaiting adoption at local shelters.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was initiated in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the Society's mission "to engage the community of scholars in service to others." Drawing from a multi-disciplinary Society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and to the needs of their communities.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Scholarship Takes to the Stage

Scholarship takes many forms. For David A. Miller, assistant professor in the Theatre & Dance Division, scholarship includes directing professional theatre and this summer he is doing just that: directing The Nosemaker's Apprentice: Chronicles of a Medieval Plastic Surgeon for Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth, TX. The play, according to its authors, is part Monty Python and part Airplane. Fans of Mel Brooks and South Park will also delight in the particular brand of humor in this play.

 Alexandra Lawrence as Amelia and Scott Weinrich as Gavin
in technical rehearsals for 
The Nosemaker's Apprentice.
About The Nosemaker's Apprentice: "A father weaves a magic tale for his daughter to justify his unlicensed plastic surgery practice, tracing the origins of cosmetic surgery to craftsmen in medieval Europe. The hero of this tale is Gavin, a young orphan rescued from a dismal existence in the Ivanhoe Workhouse for Criminally Impoverished Boys when he is apprenticed with the local Nosemaker, and who eventually becomes one of the finest surgeons in Vienna, cradle of quack medicine." (Samuel French, Inc.)

It's not the first visit to Cowtown for Miller. Over the course of the past 10 years, David has directed 6 full productions and 4 staged readings for Amphibian. He first connected with Amphibian company members through colleagues in graduate school at Rutgers University, where he earned his MFA in Directing. His most recent Amphibian productions include a reading of On the Ceiling, about two artisans at work on the Sistine Chapel, and a production of Wittenberg, about Hamlet's senior year at Wittenberg University where his professors are Martin Luther and Doctor Faustus.

Bloomsburg University audiences will have a chance to see The Nosemaker's Apprentice when it is performed as part of the BU Players' 2014-15 season. For more about the BU Players' season, visit For more about the Fort Worth production and Amphibian, visit For more about David's professional work, visit

Photo: Alexandra Lawrence as Amelia and Scott Weinrich as Gavin in technical rehearsals for The Nosemaker's Apprentice.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Students Inducted into Anthropology Honor Society

On May 2, 2014 twenty-five Anthropology students were inducted into the Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honor Society in Anthropology in the Schweiker room of Andruss Library.  Gabrielle Vielhauer was recognized as Outstanding Senior in Anthropology, Erika Maxson was awarded the Wymer and Warner Anthropology Scholarship, and graduating seniors, conference presenters, and student scholarship and grant recipients were recognized in the annual anthropology honors reception and induction ceremony. 

Below are some photos of the event. Congratulations to all!

Monday, June 30, 2014

We Make History, Part 2: History Professor Michael Hickey on his Fulbright Senior Specialist fellowship in Smolensk, Russia

Students stand up at their desks when the professor walks in to the classroom at the start of a lecture at Smolensk State University in the Russian Federation.  They then wait until the professor says “good morning” to be seated.  It is an old practice, a nineteenth century holdover no longer common in Russia’s main metropolitan centers like Moscow and St. Petersburg, but indicative of the strength of traditions in provincial Russia.   And yet the classrooms there are nothing if not modern, equipped with “smart boards” and various other computer technology.  It is one of the many contrasts one encounters in teaching at Smolensk State University—or SmolGU—one of Russia’s oldest public institutions of higher education.  SmolGU is the largest of the two dozen universities, colleges, and technical institutes in Smolensk, a city of about 300,000 people that this year is celebrating its 1,175th anniversary.
    Since the late 1980s I’ve spent so much time in Smolensk working on research projects that the assistant director at the regional historical archives jokes about my being a member of her staff.  I’d given public talks at SmolGU and occasionally sat in on the courses of friends who teach there, but I’d never formally presented a series of lectures there.  That is, until this May and early June, when I had the honor of being a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Smolensk State University.

Courses at SmolGU meet twice a week, for 90 minutes per session.  My hosts at the university organized my schedule so that I could sandwich lectures into my daily research visits to the region’s historical archives.  I presented two sets of lectures on very different topics to students in two very different programs—history students studying in the faculty of History and Law, and English language students studying in the faculty of philology and foreign languages.  Each lecture was followed by a long and spirited question and answer period, which sometimes had to continue in the hallway so that students and faculty in the next period’s courses could use their classroom.

In courses for the Department of History and Law, my talks focused on English-language historical writing about modern Russia.  These were divided into presentations on three different themes:  the events of 1914-1921 (World War One, the 1917 Russian revolutions, and the Russian civil war); the collectivization of agriculture and its consequences in 1929-1934; and the origins of the Great Terror of 1936-1938.  I presented these talks for students enrolled in “special topics” history courses, with about twenty students in each course.  Inevitably, students’ questions led to discussions of US-Russian relations during and since the Cold War.  After my first lecture, two students in particular pushed me to explain and defend what they described as “aggressive” and “inappropriate” US policy towards Russia during this year’s crisis in Ukraine—a moment that tested my ability to construct precise diplomatic Russian sentences.   After I explained that President Obama rarely calls me on the phone for advice on policy matters, the mood lightened considerably (and I faced no subsequent questions on the topic).  As a rule, students asked excellent questions about historiography and historical methods and sources, and were particularly interested in my own research.  More than anything, though, they wanted to know why an American would spend his entire adult life studying not just Russian history, but the history of their home town….

The second series of lectures, for students studying English, had a very different tone.  These lectures were open to all students, with the result that the room—which held 75 students--was packed past capacity for each session.  Since the students were studying English, I was asked to speak in English (which, frankly, was a great relief).  And because the students were preparing for general examinations that include sections on the American and British educational systems, I was asked to focus on education in the US.  I organized my presentations around three interrelated themes:  ethnic, racial and cultural diversity as a defining aspect of US culture; the constitutional division of power between federal, state, and local governments in the US; and the organizational and funding structures of K-12 and higher education in the US.  These talks led to very lively discussions in which students asked me, for example, to explain what is distinctly “American” about American culture.  Most of all, though, students wanted to know about college life in the US and about the relationship between their own experience and the experience of students at Bloomsburg University.

During my visit, BU and SmolGU began discussions towards setting up a new student exchange program.  So perhaps in a year or two, students from SmolGU can learn firsthand what life is like here in Bloomsburg—where they will find that students do not stand at attention when the professor enters the classroom.  And BU students will have the amazing opportunity to study Russian language and culture in the beautiful ancient city of Smolensk.

Michael C. Hickey
Department of History

Friday, June 27, 2014

We Make History: Student Receives Best Article Award

Congratulations to Rebecca Anderson, a "remarkable" student according to Dr. Jeanette Keith of the History department. Rebecca is finishing her M.Ed at BU and is currently enrolled as an undergraduate in the Nursing program(!). Rebecca was recently selected as the recipient of the Nebraska State Historical Society's James L. Sellers Memorial Award for 2014. An independent panel of scholars selected her article "'Grandma Gabel, she brought Ralph': Midwifery and the Lincoln, Nebraska Department of Health in the Early Twentieth Century" as the best article published in Nebraska History during 2013. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bloomsburg Explores Digital Humanities

This spring the Bloomsburg University Institute for Culture and Society’s Annual “Bloomsburg Explores” Symposium presents Bloomsburg Explores Digital Humanities. The symposium is a three-day series of discussions, lectures and other events centering on digital tools and projects relevant to faculty and student creative work and scholarship, and on the future of digital liberal arts.

The lineup for the symposium includes the following events:

Faculty Panel Discussion: “Digital Tools and Projects in the Arts and Humanities” (Monday, April 14 at 3 PM in Centennial 239) featuring Professors Sue O’Donnell (Art and Art History), Alla Myzelev (Art and Art History), Robert Dunkelberger (Library), Stephanie Schlitz (English), Christopher Podeschi (Sociology), Jennifer Whisner (EGGS), M. Safa Saracoglu (History)

Student Panel Discussion: “Digital Projects In and Out of the Classroom” (Wednesday, April 16 at 7 PM in Centennial 201) An all-student panel will discuss class-based projects, internship projects and student participation in University-related programs (e.g., the BU Writing Center, the Center for Community Research and Consulting, the University Archives, and the Magee Archives Project)

Professor William Pannapacker
Featured Guest Lecture: "Stop Calling it Digital Humanities, Start Calling it Digital Liberal Arts" April 21, at 7 PM, McCormick Center for Human Services Rm. 1303) from Professor William Pannapacker, Professor of English at Hope College and founding director of the Hope College Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities, which has become a model for the integration of digital technology into undergraduate research in the humanities.

The Institute for Culture and Society promotes research, scholarship, and the creative and performing arts in the College of Liberal Arts at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. The Institute organizes lectures, presentations, and performances that explore and elucidate aspects of human culture and society. Through such events, the ICS works to share the intellectual and creative achievements of COLA faculty and students with the Bloomsburg University community and with the regional community.

For more information, visit the ICS Symposiums page.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

History Student Presents Research at the National Collegiate Honors Council in New Orleans

Allison Huber, a BU senior double-majoring in History and Secondary Education/Citizenship, presented a research paper at the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference in New Orleans this past November on the topic of "The Nobles in the French Revolution."  Her presentation summarized findings from her year-long BU Honors Independent Study project, mentored by History professor Michael Hickey.

Allison Huber presenting at the National Collegiate Honors Council,
courtesy of Michael Hickey
Huber presented her work on a panel at the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference, which gathered on November 6-10 in New Orleans.  The event brought together hundreds of Honors Students from across the country, including seven BU students.  Huber was the group's only COLA representative and the only BU student to present a formal paper rather than participate in a poster session.  Her paper was selected by a NCHC research committee in a competitive process and was included in a panel on Student Interdisciplinary Research. 

Huber studied how aristocrats described and understood their own experiences during the French Revolution in their diaries, journals, letters, and memoirs, and used that information to make generalizations about how nobles viewed and reacted to revolutionary transformations of society. 

She found that many nobles in France initially supported the Revolution. In general, though, noble fear of the revolutionary government started soon after the abolition of privileges in 1789 and then multiplied as the moderate revolutionary government of 1789-92 instituted increasingly anti-aristocratic policies. Noble fear and hatred of the revolution peaked with the Jacobin Reign of Terror in 1793-94. Huber concluded that tracing the evolution of aristocratic attitudes in 1789-1794 helps us understand the nobility's actions during the Third, or Thermidorian, Phase of the Revolution in 1795-1799. 

The fifteen minute presentation focused on the sources Huber used and her research methods, her main conclusions, and possible areas for further research.  Her presentation was followed by questions from the panel discussant and the audience.  "It was an incredible experience and I was proud to represent the university and the Honors Program,” said Huber.