Colleges

Former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses brings his passion for cooking and nutrition, along with his culinary expertise, to Carleton

Carleton College News - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 2:39pm
Bill Yosses, the official executive pastry chef at the White House from 2007 to 2014 and coauthor of the book “Desserts for Dummies,” will visit Carleton College January 15-18 to participate in a residency with the College’s Firebellies Cooking Club and to present a variety of workshops for students and community members.
Categories: Colleges

What if society treated mental illness as a physical illness?

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 1:22pm

Looking around my Facebook newsfeed, I come across multiple friends posting a Huffington Post article entitled “What if Physical Illnesses Were Treated Like Mental Illness?” As someone who has suffered from multiple mental illnesses in my lifetime, I was curious about this article. I clicked on it and received a huge surprise.

The page shows a comic strip by artist Robot Hugs depicting pictures of people suffering from physical ailments, including cancer, diabetes, cuts, the stomach flu and severed limbs. It shows other people talking to these victims in an unsupportive and downright ridiculous way. Would a person ever say, “Have you tried not having the flu?” when someone is vomiting, or, “You are not even trying to get better” when someone is bleeding profusely from an injury? Of course not. These phrases are demeaning to those with physical illness. So why do we treat mental illnesses any differently?

People who suffer from mental illness hear these comments every day. I can attest to this from personal experience. I have had people tell me that I am not trying hard enough to get out of bed, that I don’t want to get better because I sometimes sit on the couch all day and that I waste time with TV because I have no motivation. I have been told that I need to just “get over” my anxiety already and that it is not actually that hard to talk to people. I have been told that if I just changed my frame of mind, all my fears would go away. But this is not how mental illnesses work.

You cannot tell someone with cancer to “get over” his pain in the same way that you can’t tell someone with a mental illness that she should forget hers. Mental illnesses are very prevalent in this society and should be taken seriously. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four adults experiences mental illness in any given year. There are so many suffering people who are not being validated, loved and treated with respect. Instead, they are shunned and forced to remain silent about their mental health to avoid being called attention-seekers. This shame and silence can be potentially dangerous and life-threatening.

Another misconception about mental illnesses is that they only exist in the individual’s head, as some individuals do not experience physical symptoms. However, this is simply untrue. Yes, everyone who suffers from depression or anxiety has a different experience, but there are people who experience physical symptoms as well. I know I certainly have. Headaches, fatigue, nausea, stomach pains and joint pain are all symptoms that I have had to deal with in my life. And whenever I suffer from a panic attack, I experience lightheadedness, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing and chest tightness. It is a terrifying experience, and I am sick and tired of people telling me that I have nothing to worry about or that the challenges I face are not real, because they are incredibly real. My mental heatlh conditions are important and should be treated with empathy and kindness, just like how my friends who struggle with physical illnesses are treated, and not with the scrutiny and disregard they are given now.

The next time you encounter someone with a mental illness, validate that person’s feelings. Tell them that you are proud of them for opening up about their mental health, because that is a very difficult thing to do. Listen to what they have to say and only give advice if they ask for it. Take everything that they tell you about their illness seriously. Be their support when they need it and encourage them with every small step they take toward recovery. Tell them that they matter and they are loved.

But most importantly, just treat them with respect like you would any other human being. You never know what someone is truly feeling or whether or not a person is  suffering. Please remember that everyone’s mental health concerns are just as important as the next person’s, and treat them with respect, empathy and dignity.

Bella Mosqueda ’17 (mosquedi@stolaf.edu) is from Maple Grove, Minn. She majors in Psychology and Environmental Studies.

Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

Biology professor named Fulbright Alumni Ambassador

St. Olaf College - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:14am

St. Olaf College Professor of Biology Anne Walter has been named a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador by the Institute of International Education.

The Fulbright Scholar Program supports more than 800 U.S. faculty and professionals each year to teach or conduct research in 125 countries around the world. To increase the diversity of the scholars who participate in the program, the Institute of International Education launched the Fulbright Alumni Ambassador Program.

Each year, Alumni Ambassadors are selected competitively to present information on their Fulbright experience at campus workshops, academic conferences, and other venues. Over a two-year period, they play an important role in raising the visibility of the Fulbright program.

Walter received a Fulbright scholar grant to spend the 2009-10 academic year as a visiting lecturer in the Zoology Department at Madras Christian College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

One of the key reasons Walter applied to teach in India is because she is the advisor for St. Olaf College’s Biology in South India program, which each year offers 10 students a chance to work on two independent research projects at several sites in southern India. Research topics range from rural health care and diseases such as leprosy and tuberculosis to wildlife and mountain ecology.

Walter, the Paul and Mildred Hardy Distinguished Professor of Science, joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1994. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Grinnell College, her master’s degree at the University of British Columbia, and her doctorate at Duke University.

Categories: Colleges

Knights Weather the Storm to Get Back in Win Column

Carleton Sports - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 9:29pm

The Carleton College women’s basketball team notched it’s first victory of the new year as the Knights raced out to a 14-0 lead en route to a 70-55 non-conference triumph at Crown College. Skylar Tsutsui was one of three Knights in double figures as she matched her season high with a team-best 16 points.

Categories: Colleges

Zabin Receives NEH Grant for “A New History of the Boston Massacre”

Carleton College News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 2:37pm
Serena Zabin, associate professor of history at Carleton College, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant worth $52,500 in support of her project, “A New History of the Boston Massacre.” Zabin is a historian of early America and the early modern Atlantic world. Her book project maps the connections between British military families and civilians in the streets of Boston that led to the Boston Massacre in 1770.
Categories: Colleges

“Art Works” highlights alum’s donations

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:34am

Currently set up in Dittman’s Flaten Art Museum is an exhibit titled “Art Works.” At first glance, the exhibit seems like a random collection of pieces, however all have one thing in common: they were donated to the school.

The donors, Dan Schneider ’69 and Nancy Schneider, have given more than 250 pieces of artwork to St. Olaf over the past few decades. The donations span a variety of styles and media. In the exhibit alone, the pieces range from pottery and sculptures to photographs and paintings. The wide array of artworks reflects the Schneiders’ adventurous taste and curiosity in art. Some of the pieces may look familiar, as many of them have been displayed throughout campus, in public areas as well as staff and faculty offices. Other donations have been frequently used for student research.

“The exhibit is engaging, both in terms of the eclectic art pieces that are featured in addition to the thoughtful text labels that accompany many of the works,” said Ola Faleti ’15, one curator of the exhibit. “There is a lot to take in with the Schneider exhibit, but not in a way that is overwhelming.”

The exhibit features a few of the Schneiders’ most prominent donations, each very unique. “Still life with a striped cloth” pops against the white wall. The oil on canvas painting can usually be found in the advising and student activities office in Tomson Hall, but currently resides in the gallery.

“Zbor Interziz” portrays a colorful and abstract scene with watercolor and ink on paper. The piece is usually found in the office of Assistant Professor of English Rebecca Richards. Professor Richards describes her feelings for the artwork on a plaque beside it:

“I immediately loved this piece because of its ability to make me feel peaceful and introspective. It elicits this emotional response because, like all well-constructed texts, it is always evolving,” she said.

Dan Schneider’s comments on the work are written below Richards’s. He describes the artist, whom he met in Bucharest, as “quiet and contemplative, but also emotive and charismatic, with a thick, assertive mustache.”

“[His works] are imaginative, dream-like visions,” said Schneider. “The artist says his dream-based imagery comes from anxiety, not reverie.”

A series of three acrylic paintings titled “Window Series 1-3” lines the back wall of the gallery. The paintings are normally found gracing the walls of the office of President David R. Anderson ’74 in Tomson Hall. The paintings are simplistic scenes of shapes, but they provoke thought in their own, ambiguous way.

“What draws me most to ‘Window Series 2’ (the middle painting) is the light. The yellow-gold blurred light in the shape of a ‘U’ contrasts and complements the two white thin ellipses that levitate in the center of the painting,” Kristen Schowalter ’15 said.

Faleti talked about the selection process, because after all, there were hundreds of pieces to choose from.

“Narrowing down the pieces for the exhibit was a task that took time, and even towards the end changes were still being made,” Faleti said. “Much of it wasn’t only a matter of picking quality works that are captivating, but also works that would fit in with the overall layout and aesthetic of the exhibit as a whole.”

Faleti says that her favorite piece is Susanna Coffey’s “Self-Portrait.”

“I think self portraits in general are intriguing, and I like seeing how artists see themselves, but this one in particular is very exposed and honest,” Faleti said.

The exhibit will be open for viewing through Sunday, Dec. 14. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

Photo Credit: LIZ BRINDLEY/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

Turnovers Derail Knights’ Bid to Upset No. 6 St. Thomas

Carleton Sports - Sat, 01/03/2015 - 7:04pm

John Eckert and Shane McSparron had 12 points apiece to lead four Knights in double figures, but 21 turnovers proved to be too much for the Carleton College men’s basketball team to overcome in dropping a 74-69 result to No. 6-ranked University of St. Thomas.

Categories: Colleges

No. 6 St. Thomas Pulls Away From Knights

Carleton Sports - Sat, 01/03/2015 - 6:21pm

The University of St. Thomas proved worthy of its No. 6 spot in the national rankings, as the Tommies handed the Carleton College women’s basketball team a 74-42 defeat at home.

Categories: Colleges

No Child Left Out aims to put passion first, tests second

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 1:19pm

Those of us who are obsessed with the movie Black Hawk Down could not fail to notice a certain key phrase that echoes from the top commanding officers all the way down to the first-class soldiers: “No man is left behind.” As members of an institution that honors comradeship above any other political ideology, every single serviceman believes that everyone else is just as honorable and valuable, regardless of background, leading them to have a faith that is rooted deeply within this motto.

The same idea has been developed within the United States education system through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and the Race To The Top (RTTT) contest of 2014. NCLB requires all public schools receiving funding to administer a state-wide standardized test annually to all students, after which the funding will be given to those schools who have shown poor results based on the test. RTTT, on the other hand, offers competitive grants to states that are creating the conditions and implementing the plans in four core education reform areas: adopting assessments to prepare students for college and workplace, building data systems that measure student growth, informing teachers and principals on how they can improve instruction, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals and turning around the lowest-achieving schools.

Nevertheless, critics of these policies still claim that they have provided little headway in the progress of the U.S. education system. One of those critics is Diane Ravitch, a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She stated the following in a Huffington Post article about the problems created by the programs:

“[NCLB and RTTT have] hurt children, demoralized teachers, closed community schools, fragmented communities, increased privatization and doubled down on testing.”

As an alternative, she created a new system of her own. Called No Child Left Out, (NCLO), this system begins with discontinuing the use of standardized test scores as measures of quality or effectiveness. The tests will be used only when needed for diagnostic purposes, not for comparing children to their peers, nor to find winners and losers among children.

New measures will also be used within NCLO, such as: How many children had the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument? How many children participated in dramatics? How many children produced documentaries or videos? How many children engaged in science experiments? How many children wrote stories more than five pages long, whether fiction or nonfiction? The main idea on Ravitch’s mind is for future American schools to be places where creativity, self-discipline and inspiration are nurtured, honored and valued.

As someone who has gone through a more rigid education system and now is experiencing a liberal arts system where every student is given the chance to find his or her passions in a certain field and is free to speak his or her mind in the classroom, I believe that No Child Left Out could be the breakthrough that the American school system needs.

In his 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman, Davis Guggenheim depicted the grim reality of several lower-middle class parents who have to depend on pure luck to win a lottery number that will put their kids in a good public school, reflecting the failure of the public education system and the unwillingness – or inability – of schools to simply fire bad teachers.

This is a very ironic statement. In the heart of the land where many outsiders have come to find a new future, even many Americans themselves cannot afford to have their children follow a path that will lead to a good future. Ravitch’s idea might seem too simplistic, naïve or even unrealistic due to the complication of its implementation itself. But is it not the time to ask ourselves different questions? The questions usually asked are: “How well did you do on your last test?” or “What is your class rank?” Yet, we should be asking: “What do like to do the most?” and “What is your passion?”

Having been asked these questions by my father in my early days of high school, I can confidently say that my answer to that question led me to follow my own passion, not those of my father or my friends.

So, fellow Oles, what do you love to do the most?

Samuel Pattinasarane ’18 (pattin1@stolaf.edu) is from Jakarta, Indonesia. He majors in political science and Asian studies.

Categories: Colleges

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