The Power of Music

St. Olaf College - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:50am
Beginning his 30th year as conductor of the world-renowned St. Olaf Choir, Anton Armstrong ’78 is keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the future.
Categories: Colleges

Birding in the winter

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:28pm

Many bird species found in the arboretum during the early spring to late fall have flown South for the winter, though there are species who stay in Minnesota during the cold winters. One advantage to birding in the winter is that there is a much more manageable number of species to identify, perfect for the casual or beginning birder. Some of my favorite birds to observe during the winter are listed below.

One popular and easy bird to identify is the Northern Cardinal. You have probably seen them before: they have bright red bodies and a tuft of feathers extending from their heads, making them an eye-catching and brilliant bird to observe. This species displays sexual dimorphism: the male birds are bright red all over, whereas the females are dull brown with red wings.

Another fantastic bird to view is the Cedar Waxwing. These magnificent birds have yellow markings and red waxy secretions on their tail and wing feathers respectively, have a silvery yellow body, and have black markings around their eyes that look like masks. Their main source of food comes from berries, so look for them hanging out in packs around bushes with winter berries. You may hear their high-pitched trill before you see them.

The American Goldfinch is often found around backyard bird feeders. The birds’ color will appear more dull during the winter, but will still be identifiable by their black and white striped tails and dull yellow heads. Listen for their po-ta-to-chip sounding call while you walk across the prairie in the arb, a place where you are likely to come across them.

The Downy Woodpecker is a common, but beautiful, species seen year-round in the Arboretum, and all across the United States. They can be identified by their black and white-checkered body and distinctive red tuft on the back of their heads. Listen for their singular bright chirps, or their beaks knocking against dead wood.

Birding can be a very joyful experience during the long winters, and listening to bird song and seeing their playful spirits will implore you to get outside!

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Categories: Colleges

okay, boomer

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:25pm

So little attention has been focused on toxic youthfulness that many people—the current reader perhaps included—still mistake the term for a satire or parody based on related terms such as toxic masculinity. It’s time for a change, and this article is a step in the right direction.

Toxic youth culture thrives on college campuses, primarily due to their alarming homogeneity. Admissions offices in particular do little to promote age diversity; a 2019 study found that most students at undergraduate institutions were fewer than three to four years apart in age. (This landmark research was published in the provocative journal Obvius.)

Its ingenious name, a Latin adjective meaning literally “on the path,” represents the journal’s tireless mission to block our habitual paths with revelatory findings that force us to challenge our assumptions and take our lives in new directions.) Such small age ranges defeat the purpose of college, whose purported aim in separating students from family and friends is to isolate them from like-minded people who may validate their misconceptions.

Some readers may already want to ask for a definition of toxic youthfulness. They should be reminded of the kind of people who engage in such behavior, so that they see the danger in imitating it. When informed of their participation in toxic youth culture, most young people express appropriate guilt, and some even show an admirable and poignant longing for change.

There are others, however, who accuse a peer or elder of having made some “accusation” against them; a few even ask for a definition of toxic youthfulness, protesting that they should not face blame without being told what they have done wrong. By feigning confusion and distracting themselves with a mere phrase, they refuse to recognize the harm they have caused throughout their lives.

Despite the self-interested motives of those who want a definition of toxic youthfulness, it cannot hurt to give an example. The epitome of our toxic youth culture is a dangerous phrase whose recent invention and popularization by young people should be enough to raise suspicion. With this phrase, young people judge an argument by its proponent rather than by its content; some even perpetrate this offense against members of their own generation. As my friend and I made lunch one day during winter break, the microwave prompted us with repeated bleepings of self-satisfaction, the more infuriating for their habit of stopping for a minute or so and then starting just when I was sure the misery was over. Having had enough, I grumbled that technology was so gleeful dominating our lives. My friend’s response was short and unforgivable: “okay, boomer.”

Overlooking such clear proofs that their own generation is against them, some members of Generation Z presume to express a wish to fight toxic youthfulness. “Think after you speak” is such a commonplace that we cannot reasonably judge it—critically or favorably—without showing disrespect for the wisdom of our own culture. I will take the liberty, however, of observing that the maxim is particularly helpful to these idealistic people who believe that they as individuals can influence society. It is only once the damage is done, so to speak—after the “okay, boomer” is said—that we can hope to cultivate an appropriate sense of guilt for participating in toxic youthfulness. And guilt, of course, is the root of all positive change.

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Categories: Colleges

Women in Psychology

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:23pm

A newly-formed student org on campus seeks to address uneven gender dynamics at play in the Psychology department. Women in Psychology (WIP) was started by two senior Psychology majors as an “attempt to provide a space where women can feel comfortable discussing topics in Psychology,” as described on the club’s website.

The club follows in the tradition set by a few long standing clubs at Carleton, including Women in Economics, Women in Math and Science, and Lovelace (named after 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace). These groups work to amplify the voices of women in academic spaces often dominated by men.

“It’s not that we feel excluded from the major community,” said Psychology major and club founder Michelle Gazer ’20. “Carleton profs do a great job of fostering healthy learning environments. It’s just that there are some things you can get from a 100%-female discussion that you just can’t get from, say, a 96%-female discussion.”

Annie Shoemaker ’21 and Lucy Rae ’20 attended the first WIP meeting, which was held last week. “It was really cool to be in that kind of space,” said Shoemaker. “I mean, I love my Psychology classes, don’t get me wrong. But male voices are often prioritized. Well, maybe not prioritized, because there are usually only a couple of men. But still, they’re there. So that’s something.”

“When we talk about things like object permanence, or the role of potassium in action potentials, it can be hard to listen to a single man speak,” continued Shoemaker. “Again, and I want to be clear about this, classes are almost entirely female. But when there are even three or four men, it really changes the dynamic. Or, to be more precise, it slightly changes the dynamic, a little bit.”

“It’s really exciting,” said Rae of WIP. “Women supporting each other like this. In a department that’s so overwhelmingly female, it’s really great to have a space that’s actually, 100%, exclusively female. The exclusion of those handful of men, who care about Psychology just like we do and often make insightful contributions in class, really makes all the difference.”

“It can be hard to be a woman in STEM,” continued Rae. “But it’s even harder being a woman in Psychology, when there are already so many other women studying Psychology too.”

“In my Psychology of Gender class, all the students are women,” noted Shoemaker. “And class discussions are great. But it reaches a whole new level of awesome when those exact same people gather together for WIP and talk about the exact same topics — it’s like, our normal class, but this time we’re there as women Psych majors, not just as Psych majors. I don’t know, I just think there’s something pretty powerful about that.”

“Women Psych majors, you know? I mean, it just has a nice ring to it,” said Gazer, an ambitious glint in her eyes.

Nareen Dickson-Halto ’20, a male Psychology major and one of the department’s Student Departmental Advisors (SDA), commented: “I don’t know. I’m happy that women are empowering each other. But it’s kind of awkward when my prof announces that there’s a WIP meeting after class in the same room, to which every member of the class except for me is invited. They basically just ask me to leave. I usually spend that time planning cool Psych bonding events, so I guess it’s good to have the extra hour free. But it’s still kind of weird to hear them laughing through the wall while I send out an email to the major listserv seeing if people would wanna go bowling.”

A few new clubs have been inspired by WIP. Women in Educational Studies, as well as Women in Women’s and Gender Studies, are expected to hold their first meetings next Monday.

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Categories: Colleges

“Snow” solution to housing shortage: igloos

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:22pm

From the start of this academic year, administrators have been brainstorming solutions for the winter term housing shortage. The college, in an effort to find space for 40 beds out of thin-air, offered creative solutions. Popular proposals were moving SHAC out of Burton’s basement, converting study rooms into dorms and encouraging students to live in (frat) houses. However, as is the case for every important decision regarding student life, the college has been indecisive.

Debates surrounding the housing crisis came to a boiling point during one meeting of college employees when the college’s president, fed up with the inaction, yelled “Why don’t we just build igloos!” Surprisingly, the group readily agreed to the plan. The college president was just joking, but they didn’t want to seem like a weenie and gave the final approval for construction. Ice sculptors were brought to campus the following week and constructed an entire village of igloos, which are ready for students to inhabit.

The lucky students to move into the igloos and live out their childhood Club Penguin fantasy are the residents of CANOE house, who claim to be the most outdoorsy despite living in a mansion. While other housing pilot programs (aka the mysterious learning community) have had mixed success, the “cold community” is expected to be a hit.

College officials have boasted that the igloos offer enticing amenities for students. The igloos are located in the heart of campus, nestled next to the Bald Spot ice rinks. As the igloos are made of pure Minnesotan snow, they are ethically sourced and the most environmentally friendly living option. The igloo village does not have an RA and will be outside the jurisdiction of residential life, making it as lawless as the wild west or farm. Perhaps, the best feature is the noise cancelling properties of the snow bricks. Unlike the paper thin walls of Watson and other dorm buildings, the igloos muffle the sounds of your bad music taste among other noises…. Every igloo is outfitted with a sleeping bag, thermus and wool socks.

One junior resident stated: “The igloos are honestly great. There’s this fireplace in the center that makes my room warmer than most dorms on campus. I think the only downside is the occasional yellow snow…”

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Categories: Colleges

Convocation Review: Economist Tim Leunig discusses the importance of creativity in education

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:21pm

Creativity in education is a topic incredibly relevant to Carleton as a liberal arts college. On Friday, the economist Tim Leunig gave a convocation about the importance of cultivating creativity in education.

Tim Leunig is a world-renowned professor at the London School of Economics’s Department of Economic History. Currently he is on sabbatical to serve as a Ministerial Policy Adviser at the Department for Education in the United Kingdom.

During his convocation, Leunig explained various data he’s been able to put together at his current government post. One of the most compelling parts about his presentation was a graph of how much money different academic “majors” in the UK made. Some of the results were surprising. In the UK, business majors made the third most money after graduating despite the general cultural disdain for a business major. Meanwhile, those who majored in a foreign language earned almost exactly the same amount as if they had not gotten the education in the first place. Fine arts majors ended up making less than if they had not attended University at all. Interestingly, this sort of correlational data was only possible due to the UK’s highly centralized education system that collects extensive information about its students and the fact that in the UK an academic major is much more singularly focused on their topic than in the United States.

Although these data were very interesting, the main takeaway from the convocation is how instrumental education is to shaping the history and success of a country. Leunig gave various examples of countries that have had economic success stories and how those could be traced back to widespread and rigorous education. For example, the United States, which, in its infancy had one of the most widespread and rigorous educational systems in any country.

Overall, it was an interesting and enjoyable convocation.

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Categories: Colleges

Journalism ethics: the implications of CNN’s sloppy reporting

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:19pm

Aren’t CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, with all of their pundits, all-star journalists and millions of dollars in resources, supposed to do their homework before reporting? As giant professional news networks, should they be relying so heavily on social media platforms like Twitter? With CNN’s latest lawsuit settlement, it seems the answer to these questions are no longer obvious.

Nicholas Sandmann, a student at Covington High School in Kentucky, found himself in the middle of a confusing, bad-optics firestorm during an anti-abortion March For Life event on January 18, 2019. He was caught on video wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat staring and standing directly in front of member of the Omaha Nation Nathan Phillips, who was attending the Indigenous Peoples March. Immediately, millions of members of the “moral police” took to Twitter to express their disapproval of Sandmann. All the ingredients were there: A young white student wearing a MAGA hat and attending a March For Life demonstration staring at a Native American playing a drum.

Soon after the first video and following outrage, the full footage was revealed, showing a group of Black Hebrew Israelites chanting hurtful statements toward the Covington High School students. By then, an investigation cleared the students of any wrongdoing. However, the news sources had already opted for the initial story of Nick Sandmann and his peers being insensitive and racist toward Native Americans.

We have all come to expect such a gut reaction from platforms like Twitter. However, we should not expect such behaviour from legitimate news outlets like CNN, who was shortly sued for defamation by Nick Sandmann. Professional sources like these should not be relying this heavily on social media platforms, especially Twitter—a melting pot of knee-jerk reactions to misinformation. CNN’s settlement of Nick Sandmann’s $275 million lawsuit is proof.

Why is this mistake so important? The timing of the settlement could not be worse for democrats. President Donald Trump has already successfully branded the left-leaning news media as fake news and a settlement like this one, which is basically an admittance of wrong-doing on behalf of the media, is only proving Trump and his supporters right. The Iowa caucus is weeks away and the democrats desperately need to make their case to undecided and disillusioned Trump voters for their spot in the White House in 2020. The democrats and the media cannot afford to make such a mistake. Twitter and Instagram are not legitimate news sources. Therefore, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post need to treat them as such, so as not to repeat history and help Trump win another four years.

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Categories: Colleges

Alum perspective: toward a more inclusive progressivism

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:17pm

It’s November 2017. I’m walking back from Farm House to my townhouse at 4 a.m. My last fall term at Carleton is over, and I just need to catch the Northfield Line bus at 5:30 a.m. I just said goodbye to the girl whom I went on screwdate with at the bridge by the lake. I’m thinking about what had happened in her room at Farm House. We had sex. I feel violated. But how can that be? I’m an Asian guy. How can a white girl pressure an “international student” from Japan into sex? And that’s how I had been handling what happened at Farm House until recently: I could not have been raped because I am a guy. Plus, I’m Asian with an accent, and she is a white girl from a hyper-rich, privileged family.

I have this visceral need for the perpetrator to know how I felt violated.

Two years later, I’m in a seminar on critical race theory with Gary Peller at my law school. We are discussing prison abolitionism. My classmate, who supports prison abolition and presumably re-formative prison systems, says that she once was pressured into sex by a guy. She does not want the perpetrator to be criminally accountable, or anything. But she does want him to know that she felt violated and how it caused distress to her. Then I suddenly realize that that is exactly what I feel as well.

It took me two years to realize that I was sexually assaulted. When white liberals talk about sexual assault, they are usually imagining a white woman. As an Asian guy, I still feel weird saying that I was sexually assaulted—the only time a straight guy usually says he was sexually assaulted is when he was sexually abused as a child. Had what she did to me happened to a white girl, it would be surely a sexual assault—although she did ask, she asked multiple times in a forceful way, she was already undressing herself, there were elements of social power dynamics, and it happened in her room, etc. And people would understand factors that led to the power dynamics and subtle nuances of the situation that made her feel like she could not say no. But unfortunately, I am not a white woman. And all the extraneous factors—that we ended up dating briefly, that I’m one of those Asian guys with an accent, that she is a hyper-privileged white woman–made it almost impossible to gain empathy or even credibility. After I realized the gender and racial aspects, I reached out to the perpetrator, only to be ignored. I believe she would be decent enough to respond if she were a male and I a female with the same facts.

Fifty years ago, there was no such thing as marital rape or date rape. And the term would confound men who would wonder why a woman would keep dating or stay married to her “rapist.” Even the raped woman would not have realized that she was raped—as Catherine MacKinnon or Gary Peller showed, public precedes private. I hope someday, society and my perpetrator will realize that it is possible for a woman to rape a man, even if the woman is white and the man is a person of color from a foreign country, even if the woman belongs to the powerful ruling class, and even if the woman is a liberal.

When Kimberly Crenshaw, a legal scholar, coined the term “intersectionality” twenty years ago, she used the term to describe how traditional formal-equality feminism—feminism usually associated with Justice Ginsberg, failed to capture the experiences of black women. Now, liberals have completely flipped the meaning and use the term as a positive nomenclature. Carleton is full of anxious people trying to prove themselves or distinguish themselves with politics or ideologies. And that’s partially why I am writing this—to point out that traditional progressive students often ignore, or even contribute to, the oppression of a subset of disempowered people. I will not write about how much the incident and her subsequent display of racism have traumatized me. But I do want to caution the progressive students at Carleton not to be insensitive to non-traditional socially oppressed groups of students on campus. And of course, if liberal students would believe a white woman’s claim of having been raped, they should believe Black, Latina, and Asian women, and yes, Asian men as well.

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Categories: Colleges

Carleton Men’s Basketball pulls away from St. Olaf for 82-74 win

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:15pm

Kent Hanson (Sr./St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy) and Alex Battist (So./Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) both posted double-doubles as the Carleton College men’s basketball team secured an 82-74 victory at crosstown rival St. Olaf College. This victory means the “Goat Trophy” will be in play when the teams meet again on Feb. 15.

Carleton (7-7, 4-5 MIAC) shot 57 percent overall and 56 percent (9-of-16) from beyond the arc in downing the Oles (6-7, 3-5 MIAC). St. Olaf shot 42 percent for the game and was 12-of-32 (38 percent) from 3-point range.

Hanson continued his ascent up Carleton’s all-time scoring leaderboard With his dunk right before the first half expired, Hanson moved past Ivan Grimm (1,440 points) and into sixth place. With 10:38 remaining in the second half, Hanson drained a 3-pointer to climb over Kyle Beste (1,445 points) and into fifth place. With 26 points on the afternoon, Hanson is now only seven points behind Dan Forkrud (1,467 points).

Hanson also secured 10 rebounds for his 19th career double-double and third on this season. Meanwhile, Battist notched his fourth double-double of the campaign—and his career—by scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with three blocked shots. Jeremy Beckler (Fy./Lino Lakes, Minn./White Bear Lake) also sunk 18 points on the day, including 8-of-9 shots from the foul line.

Carleton did not trail in the first half with Battist tallying 12 points before the break. Beck Page (Fy./Longmont, Colo./Longmont) provided a spark off the bench as he drained three consecutive 3-pointers in helping the Knights open up a 23-10 lead midway through the opening stanza.

St. Olaf looked to hold the ball for the final shot before halftime, but the Oles’ Nate Albers missed his shot, Battist grabbed the rebound, and Henry Bensen (Sr./Roseville, Minn./Roseville) pushed the ball up the floor and found Hanson for a flush 0.6 seconds before halftime. That bucket allowed Carleton to carry a 39-33 lead into the intermission.

St. Olaf scored on its first four possessions of the second half and took its initial lead of the contest at 44-43 with 17:48 still to play. The teams exchanged the lead a handful of times over the next three minutes before Noah Beck’s pullup jumper gave St. Olaf a 50-49 advantage with 14:30 on the clock.

Less than a minute later, Page connected for his fourth 3-pointer of the afternoon and sparked the Knights on a game-changing 11-0 run. That spurt also included a Battist layup and back-to-back triples for Hanson. Carleton held the Oles scoreless for nearly six and a half minutes before Carter Uphus finally scored for St. Olaf at the 8:02 mark of the second half.

The Knights lead swayed between 8-12 points over the next seven minutes, but St. Olaf made one last push. Consecutive 3-pointers by Troy Diggins Jr. and Dominic Bledsoe pulled the hosts to within 77-73 with 0:42 left to play. Beckler and Hanson combined to make 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the Carleton victory.

Hanson scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half, and Beckler tallied 13 of his 18 over the same stretch. The Knights shot 61 percent after halftime, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Bensen and Isaac Tessier (Fy./White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake) combined for eight points, 12 assists, eight points, four rebounds, and three steals.

Meanwhile the Carleton defense limited Albers, who entered the day leading the Oles in scoring at 16.8 points per game, to only three points thanks to an 1-for-12 shooting day from the field and a 1-for-4 showing at the charity stripe.

Diggins Jr. paced St. Olaf with 20 points, and Jake Weber added a career-high 16 points. Bledsoe was the third Ole in double figures as he was 4-of-6 from long range for his 12 points.

The Knights have now matched their overall win total from a season ago and are now one conference victory shy of last season’s mark.

UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTS: Carleton, which began the season with 11 of 14 games away from West Gym, now heads home to play 8-of the next 11 games. That stretch begins with the Knights hosting No. 7-ranked University of St. Thomas on Wednesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m.

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Categories: Colleges

Men’s Diving looks forward to building program in 2020 season

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:10pm

Phil Donnelly ’22 stands calmly on the edge of the three-meter diving board, his heels barely dangling off the edge. He wiggles the fingers on his right hand. Then, all at once, he launches backwards into one and a half airborne somersaults with a half twist.

That’s a “back and a half, half” in diver lingo, and it’s one of Donnelly’s signature dives. After a three-year hiatus, Carleton’s men’s diving team is back in the pool. Donnelly and Luke El-Fishawy ’23 are posting points for Carleton for the first time since 2017 as the team looks to build its program.

While Carleton’s women’s diving team has had a steady presence, the men’s team has been in and out of existence, fielding a total of 12 athletes since Gabe Kortuem started coaching in 2003.

Carleton’s small team is consistent with the average MIAC tea,. According to Coach Gabe Kortuem, there are only 11 male divers competing in the MIAC this year and it’s common for a school not to enter any athletes. “It’s very specialized,” Kortuem said. “It takes a unique psyche, a unique skill set.”

In his college days at St. Olaf, Kortuem won the NCAA Division III title in the one-meter competition, and he still looms large in the MIAC. Donnelly and his former teammate Finnegan Keilty ’22 both noted that Kortuem was a major reason for joining the team. “Everyone respects him a lot,” Donnelly said.

“Sometimes kids will go up to their coach for feedback and then the coach will send them to Gabe for more feedback. I feel like the program is totally wasted on such a good coach without a bigger team.”

That’s not Kortuem’s outlook, though. No matter the size or caliber of the team, “just to be able to help athletes discover who they are in terms of what they can accomplish, if they find that belief in self and are able to push themselves beyond what they think is possible” keeps him enthusiastic about coaching, he said.

Neither Donnelly nor El-Fishawy were competitive divers in high school. Donnelly joined the team after taking a diving P.E. class with Kortuem last spring. From the start, he proved to be a fearless diver, pushing the boundaries of the class geared toward beginners. “I started really bugging [Kortuem] about letting me do some other stuff and so by week six or seven he was like, ‘do whatever you want.’ I was able to do the back and a half, half at the end of the P.E. class.”

At the end of the term, Donnelly and two others were invited to join the varsity team.

Kortuem finds most of his athletes on campus, as he did with Donnelly. “A lot of times the risk tolerance of divers and the academic side don’t always overlap,” he said. “That’s one of the big struggles. So what I have to do is find the risk takers that are here and then turn them into divers.”

The team started the season with four athletes, and is now down to just Donnelly and El-Fishawy. Some of the team’s difficulties with recruitment have to do with the time commitment required to participate in a varsity sport, especially for those who have not played a collegiate sport before or are involved in another time-consuming activity. Keilty joined the team along with Donnelly in the fall after enjoying the P.E. class.

Between weekly strength training and “two hours of practice that went from 6 to 8pm it was so much time spent in a sport that I didn’t want to commit to that particular activity,” Keilty said. He struggled to balance commitments to track and field and diving in the same season and ultimately chose track.

Donnelly and El-Fishawy have focused on self-improvement in a field that includes some novice divers like themselves and a few who are, in Donnelly’s words, “stupid good.” Donnelly especially noted Macalester as the MIAC diving team to beat this season.

“It’s a very constructive atmosphere, which I like a lot,” Donnelly said. The Carleton and St. Olaf teams practice together, sharing Kortuem as a coach.

Donnelly and his competitors frequently encourage each other when trying new dives at meets, giving each other high fives between dives. He said, “I did two new dives at the last meet before break and I ate it on both of them. As soon as I came above water everyone was clapping and cheering. I was like, ‘you’re happy, I’m happy, we’re good.’”

The team continues its run toward the MIAC championship with a meet at the University of Minnesota on Saturday.

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Categories: Colleges

Carleton professors, students, visiting speakers discuss recent Hong Kong events in panel

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:08pm

On Thursday, January 16, the panel discussion “Hong Kong in Vortex!” was hosted by Professor Seungjoo Yoon of the history department.

Filled with faculty, staff and students, Leighton 304 welcomed eight students and professors of Carleton, St. Olaf, Macalester and Vassar as members of the panel to reflect on how their areas of expertise intertwined with Hong Kong’s current situation.

After Carleton students “visited [Professor Seungjoo Yoon] over last fall to discuss Hong Kong demonstrations and related issues,” he decided to approach the idea of a formal panel to further these “semi-formal and informal,” discussions. Yoon hoped that through this panel covering a complex issue, students would “imagine a new possible [Hong Kong] through history.”

Since June of 2019, anti-government protests in Hong Kong have been commonplace in response to plans for the allowance of extradition to mainland China. Handed back to China in 1997 after long British rule, Hong Kong has existed under the motto “one country, two systems.” With the proposal of this extradition bill, Hong Kong citizens were concerned that their freedoms would be undermined and China would exert greater control over Hong Kong. The bill was eventually withdrawn, but the protests continued-demanding full democracy, and plagued by violence inflicted by the authorities.

Professor Chuen Fung Wong, a professor of music at Macalester and a native of Hong Kong, kicked off the brief presentations with a general background and history of Hong Kong and its recent protests. He articulated Hong Kong’s status as a “handoff between two sovreign states,” insinuating that Hong Kong simply went from being part of Great Britain to being part of China-truly obtaining little autonomy.

Having actually participated in a few protests while back home in Hong Kong, Wong describes the protests as “asking Beijing to keep its promises,” of the Basic Law, which allows Hong Kong to have its own judiciary and legal system separate from mainland China.

Professor Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak of St. Olaf proceeded to explain social movement theory and suggest what to look for in the protests that might hint at either success or failure. Central to Pak’s presentation was the number 3.5 percent-the amount of a population that typically needs to protest for it to be successful. She relayed the fact that since Hong Kong is trying to deal with Beijing, 3.5 percent of China’s entire population would most likely have to be in protest in order to reap the desired benefits.

Vassar professor Wayne Soon then presented the perspectives of Chinese communities overseas- mostly Taiwan. Soon described the relationship between Taiwan’s most recent election and Hong Kong as “deploying Hong Kong to win the election.” Although Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party used Hong Kong’s lack of democracy as an example and means for winning the election, Hong Kong and Taiwan share a “strong relationship and shape each other.”

Carleton professor of Asian Studies and History, Adeeb Khalid chose to take his presentation in a different direction by speaking about China’s extreme power and how they exert it in areas where “populations don’t see themselves as Chinese”-primarily the Uighur region of Xinjiang. Xinjiang is currently a “surveillance state,” where Uigyhers are not even afforded the opportunity to protest against the tight controls and restrictions placed on them either in “reeducation camps,” or outside of them. This alluded to what could happen in a place like Hong Kong, where as presented by Carleton Professor Kent Freeze, fewer and fewer Hongkongers are self-identifying as “Chinese.”

Carleton students Lydia Chau ’21 and Win Wei Ooi ’21 also gave unique perspectives about their experiences. Chau detailed her experiences participating in three protests while home in Hong Kong, one of which turned violent. Ooi then shared her perspective on the situation being an ethnically Chinese, Malaysian national.

Attendees of this panel were confronted with multiple perspectives of what is currently happening in Hong Kong, and Robin Rojas-Cheatham so eloquently put it, “were encouraged to think about this complex situation more deeply in ways not considered before.”

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Categories: Colleges

Perlman seeks new director to continue to further mission

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:06pm

Carleton’s Perlman Teaching Museum is looking for a new director who would continue exploring its mission to incorporate visual learning into Carleton’s liberal arts experience and spark conversation in the local community, as stated on its website.

The committee taking charge of the applicant review process is composed of Carleton’s Director of the Arts Steve Richardson, a faculty member from the Art History department, one from the Studio Art department and one from a non-arts discipline, according to Richardson.

When it comes to the criteria of selecting candidates, Richardson explained that the ideal candidate is someone who demonstrates an “open and welcoming posture” to partners across campus and who is willing to fully explore the potential of collaboration. On top of the directors’ solid background in art and curation, the museum expects applicants to reach out to different voices, to build bridges and to create meaningful works that enrich the curriculum, Richardson added.

As to the procedures, Richardson said that the committee will search for candidates through multiple job boards for academic curation and through connections of faculty in the Art History department. As well as submitting a resume and a letter of interest, candidates are also required to write a curatorial statement about what they aspire to do as director.

After an initial review of materials, the committee will invite the final candidates to give public presentations on campus and host lunches so that members of the Carleton community can interact with them. Students and faculty are encouraged to respond to the content of the presentations and share how they believe the candidates will integrate into the Carleton community. The committee expects to make its final decision during the first couple weeks of Spring term, after all the finalists finish their presentations, according to Richardson.

The Perlman, located in the Weitz Center for Creativity, debuted in 2011 to replace the art gallery in the basement of the old Concert Hall. Now extending its role far beyond an upgraded multi-media space for art exhibitions, the museum strives to provide opportunities for students and scholars from various fields to collaborate and to experiment with new themes and curatorial practices, according to its website.

In Fall 2017, for example, Professor Bill North from the History department curated a collection of icons and other religious objects from Russian, Greek, Ethiopian, and Coptic Orthodox traditions. Students participating in his class on the same topic had the chance to contribute to the exhibition’s development and presentation.

“The museum is a place for the whole curriculum and the whole college to be engaged with artwork and visual culture,” said Richardson.

Viola Li ’19 interacted with Perlman Teaching Museum in multiple ways during her time as an art history major. As well as visiting exhibitions with themes ranging from science and aesthetics to Japanese paintings, she also put up a show in Perlman museum with her classmates in a curation seminar with the previous director.

“For our class the museum becomes a concrete thing to handle and a space for real curatorial practice,” said Li.

Like all the other art programs in Carleton, the Perlman Museum is open to the public and has been actively building connections with the Northfield community. Last summer, the museum showcased an exhibition developed by the Minnesota Humanities Center and its statewide partners on the importance of local clean water. Local residents and their families came to visit and to participate in related events.

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Science database Sci-Hub to be blocked amid cybersecurity concerns

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:04pm

On Monday, January 13, all students received an email from Carleton’s information security officer Kendall George detailing several cybersecurity issues concerning Science-Hub, a popular online source for scholarly scientific information.

“It is becoming clear to law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals that, contrary to Sci-Hub’s stated purpose, the actual purpose of Sci-Hub is to steal user credentials in order to hack into colleges’ and universities’ information systems to steal unpublished data and documents,” George explained in his email. He warned that if members of the Carleton community had created login credentials for the website, they should assume that those credentials were compromised.

Sci-Hub functions as a free online database that contains over 80 million scientific studies and peer-reviewed journals from around the world. It was launched in 2011 by Alexandra Elbakyan, a former graduate student from Kazakhstan. Sci-Hub is a controversial website and has faced lawsuits because it publishes materials without regard to copyright law, according to Science magazine.

“We fight inequality in knowledge access across the world. The scientific knowledge should be available for every person regardless of their income, social status, geographical location and etc.,” states Sci-hub’s website.

According to a prominent Science Magazine article on the topic, Sci-Hub gets download requests from over three million unique IP addresses including university IP addresses, each of which can connect thousands more students.

Elbakyan, like many Sci-Hub users, was motivated to create the site because of the high costs of research. Purchasing access through jounal subscriptions or databases like JSTOR can become expensive; individual papers can cost around thirty dollars each.

“Students can get the articles without going through a shady website because Carleton will either buy the articles for students, or they can get access through the library. In most cases, if you really need a paper, your professors will have provided it to you,” said Ella Milliken ’22, biology major. Milliken added that she was not aware of anyone who used Sci-Hub at Carleton.

The Gould library at Carleton “subscribes to almost 400 databases that support all academic disciplines including the sciences. These databases give the Carleton community access to thousands of journals and the scholarly articles within them,” said Emily Scharf, Carleton’s head of reference and instruction for the library, and Brad Shaffner, Carleton librarian.

Information gathered through Sci-Hub cannot be cited in documents destined for publishing because the information is acquired illegally, writes John Bohannon for Science magazine.Information found through Catalyst, on the other hand, is obtained legally and can be used towards works that go on to be published.

If a student is unable to access sources on Catalyst, students can use “a service called interlibrary loan that students, faculty, and staff can use for free,” Scharf and Shaffner added. “You submit a request online and usually within a few business days you get an email that the article is ready.”

However, “many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead—for convenience rather than necessity,” Bohannon writes. “In fact, some of the most intense use of Sci-Hub appears to be happening on the campuses of U.S. and European universities.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Elkabyan may be working with Russian Intelligence, furthering skepticism of the website’s true purpose, reports the Washington Post.

“It’s unclear whether Elbakyan is using Sci-Hub’s operations in service of Russian intelligence, but her critics say she has demonstrated significant hacking skills by collecting log-in credentials from journal subscribers, particularly at universities, and using them to pilfer vast amounts of academic literature.”

“Elbakyan declined to say exactly how she obtains the papers, but she did confirm that it involves online credentials: the user IDs and passwords of people or institutions with legitimate access to journal content. She says that many academics have donated them voluntarily, ” reported Bohannon.

George explained that the site’s primary targets, or primary interests, would be defense department contracts, research around that or energy sector contracts. “Are they super interested in Carleton? Maybe not, because we’re not a major research institution, but we still have a responsibility to keep our faculty members’ data and research safe,” he explained.

“There are people on campus that have access to your personally identifiable information: your name, address, social security number, bank account information, academic records, health records. There’s a lot of sensitive data and we have a responsibility to keep that data safe.”
When asked if hackers using these stolen credentials could access students’ sensitive information, George stated “potentially.” Sci-Hub’s domain, as of yet, has not been blocked, so students can still access it if they wish and could continue to access it when using internet other than eduroam after it has been blocked.

While there is no evidence of Carleton being directly affected, George says, “Will the threat be different from Sci-Hub tomorrow? Maybe, probably. They’re not people I would trust.”

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Carleton students participate in Northfield Women’s March

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:01pm

On Saturday, January 18, 50 people convened at Ames Park at 11 a.m. for the Women’s March on Northfield. Despite low temperatures and heavy wind chill, the group marched across town with signs and banners, ending at Imminent Brewing for an after-party.

Julie Faulkner, one of the event’s organizers, detailed the preparation that led to the march. She said it was a “late start,” as the original six organizers connected through an online neighborhood group in early January and then met for coffee on January 7.

With the momentum of that coffee shop meeting, the march became the first Northfield-organized Women’s March. It was created in solidarity with the nation-wide Women’s March, which has been held each year since the inauguration of President Trump in January 2017.

The march was advertised through a Facebook event and throughout the Northfield community via flyers, airtime on KYMN and a news press release posted on

Faulkner said that she hoped the event would “create energy to keep Northfield excited about causes local-national.” Faulkner also added, “We are marching to create awareness and build a stronger community that works to protect our planet, our rights, future, choices and our Democracy.”

Ruthie Yankwitt ’22, a politically active student on campus and in the Northfield community, was contacted by Northfield City Council Member Clarice Grabau to speak at the march. Yankwitt began her speech on Saturday with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “The way to begin is to begin.”

Reflecting on the march, Yankwitt said, “There are so many things that I’m worried about or upset about or I want to change and it’s kind of hard to decide where to start when every issue matters so much.” She went on to say, “Doing something— doing anything—is so powerful. And even if you aren’t doing one hundred million things, at least you’re doing more than if you’re not doing anything.”

Greta Hardy-Mittell ’23 spoke with The Carletonian before the event, and said that she found out about the march from a flyer posted on campus. As a freshman, Hardy-Mittell has already become politically involved in the area, working on Davin Sokup’s campaign for State Senate along with Yankwitt.

Hardy-Mittell said she was excited about the march, especially because it’s local. She noted, “I think Carls have a lot to say, and I think it would be great to have people involved in town-wide activism.”

Yankwitt, as a full time student working two campaign jobs, spoke about the pressure to be politically engaged. “I think sometimes within the politically active community, there’s this sense of who’s more active?”

She went on to highlight the importance of small-scale local events like the Northfield Women’s March, explaining, “I think the goal of local marches is to get everyone engaged, reminding everyone that we’re here.”

Hardy-Mittell and Yankwitt also spoke about past tensions over inclusion. Hardy-Mittell stated, “I know the movement originally got some backlash afterwards from queer, non-binary idenitifying,and trans communities and so I think it’s tried to be more intersectional. Going forward, I think it’s still a little bit complicated.”

The march also hosted a Prevent Period Poverty drive and collected unused feminine hygiene products before the march, which were later donated to the Community Action Center in Northfield.

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SHAC shifts toward same-day appointments

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:59pm

This term, Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) at Carleton introduced several changes in its system for scheduling counseling appointments. Appointments are now scheduled for the current week only, rather than into upcoming weeks. Same-day appointments are also available. In response to student requests, online scheduling is now available for a portion of appointments. In addition, SHAC expects to move toward, on average, shorter appointment lengths.

“Each year the demand for counseling grows and SHAC strives to explore ways to meet the needs of the student body so that we can provide counseling support to as many people as possible,” explains Marit Lysne, Psy.D. LP, the director of SHAC. “Most college counseling centers in North America are grappling with the same issue and are experimenting with new models of scheduling and treatment approaches. SHAC is no different.”

In past terms, SHAC has been overwhelmed in the first few weeks with people scheduling appointments ahead of time, leading to all time slots being booked one to four weeks in advance. “In that system, the students who scheduled early got access to counseling that other students, who tried to schedule later in the term, couldn’t access as readily. That didn’t feel equitable to us,” said Lysne.

One Carleton student added anonymously, “I don’t usually schedule appointments ahead of time in regards to counseling or mental health help because I can’t predict when I’ll be in crisis. I go to SHAC when I need immediate help, but the counseling slots are usually full for about a week in advance.” She said, “I think most Carleton students go to SHAC’s mental health resources when they need it urgently [or] are in crisis, and SHAC often isn’t able to serve that need because of the limited resources.”

Under SHAC’s new system, appointments are reserved across counselors’ schedules for appointments scheduled that same day. Students can get same-day appointments by contacting SHAC each weekday to ask what appointments are available for that day. Appointment scheduling for the upcoming week opens on Friday afternoons.

SHAC’s counseling services will remain the same, except that individual counseling is available in both 25- and 50-minute sessions, and “as the term progresses,” said Lysne, “we will likely have more 25-minute appointments available throughout the week, in order to increase the number of appointments for students to access counseling support.”

All of the changes reflect an increasing demand for counseling by students in face of SHAC’s finite capacity to accommodate such demand. A 2017 study done by the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) found that 25 percent of students at Carleton screened positive for depression and 22 percent screened positive for an anxiety disorder.

Janet Lewis Muth, MHP, the Director of Health Promotion at Carleton, said, “SHAC is working very hard to meet the needs of as many students as possible within certain parameters. While having an unlimited number of counselors available might seem like a good idea, we know that it isn’t feasible here at Carleton, or in the community, or on any campus.”

In the past, students seeking consistent long-term sessions with a mental health professional were often referred by SHAC to counseling services in the local community.

“SHAC has been working under a short-term model for a long time,” said Lysne. That aspect of the services provided by SHAC has not differed with these new changes.

“Changing can be uncomfortable for everyone involved and we recognize the need to give this enough time to see if these changes lead to positive results,” said Lysn. “I welcome feedback as we explore new approaches.”

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Peer Leaders first to receive housing announcement update

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:55pm

On Saturday, January 11th, Dean Livingston and Tanya Hartwig, the associate director for the Office of Residential Life, delivered a housing announcement to 272 students who attended the Peer Leader Winter Conference.

According to one slide of the presentation, the announcement aimed to further define the housing recommendations of the 2012 Strategic Plan and 2014 Facilities Master Plan. Recommendations include “new independent living environments along Union Street and by the Recreation Center.”

Key project objectives include a “plan for repair or replacement of the older independent living houses, identifying a location for the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) and options to improve the use and quality of traditional living units without expanding their overall capacity,” according to the presentation.

During the presentation, Hartwig and Livingston referenced maps that focused on three main development areas with estimations of the number of beds they plan to add to each—34 to 54 beds by the Recreation Center, 88 beds by the townhouses, and 49 to 68 beds by Faculty Club.

“The estimates are just a way of saying, at face value, this is what we think,” said Andrea Robinson, director of Residential Life.

In response to a student question following the presentation, Dean Livingston said they were unsure exactly what the new buildings would look like, but they are not planning new residence halls.

Robinson confirmed, “we have no intention of building a large dorm – we’re not going to be doing Mussers or Watsons. Our focus is much more on smaller, thematic communities.”

“Our houses need more attention,” Robinson added.

During the Carls Talk Back Movement last February, students expressed concerns about interest house conditions in the areas targeted by this housing plan. Included in their demands and subsequent conversations with administrators was the installation of washers and dryers in two interest houses—Freedom House and Casa del Sol.

“I’m really excited about it,” Resident Assistant Alexis Tolbert ’21 said of the housing announcement. “I think a lot of houses are in need of some upgrades to make it so that it’s a more even living standard across the board.”

“A lot of interest houses happen to be in the funkiest buildings,” added another Resident Assistant. In addition to complaints about the lack of washers and dryers in interest houses, students and administrators also expressed concern about unsafe basements, mold and lack of disability access.

Other Peer Leaders were surprised by the announcement. “It felt incredibly random,” said Mica Bahn ’20, a Peer Leader with the Center for Civic and Community Engagement and a resident of Farm House. “I wasn’t totally sure if it would all be torn down and rebuilt, or whether some of them just needed certain repairs,” she said.

“Farm House has a very distinct culture that is rooted in the past, and a history, and a lot of built up stories over time, so I feel like that’s why this kind of thing is very concerning to us,” Bahn added.

Another Peer Leader, Caleb Rosen ’20, recalled feeling removed from the announcement. “She said this is a plan going forward long-term, and as a senior, long-term at Carleton doesn’t apply to me,” said Rosen.

Robinson explained that the announcement was vague because “we’re not there, it simply doesn’t exist yet.”

The housing plan discussed with Peer Leaders is in “the final stages of refinement and submission to the Board of Trustees for approval,” said Associate Dean of the College Gretchen Hofmeister.

According to the Carleton website, The Board of Trustees is responsible for “policy making and sound resource management of the College” and also determines “the general, educational and financial policies of the College.”

In these initial stages, the Office of Residential Life will continue to collect informal student feedback via responses to presentations like the one delivered to the Peer Leaders.

“We’ve got the one open session that we did over break, we’ve got the Peer Leader group, and we’re going to CSA on Monday. I think there’s one more session next week, then we’ve got a couple of other groups,” said Robinson.

As to why Peer Leaders were the first to hear, Hofmeister said, “Dean Livingston wanted to get student feedback on the Housing plan, and the Peer Leader meeting was a good opportunity to reach a significant student audience that knows a lot about housing on campus.”

This housing announcement came on the heels of a January 2 email from the Office of Residential Life that informed Residential Peer Leaders that Residential Assistants will replace the role of House Managers in Fall 2020. Both will bring changes to how interest houses will function in the coming years.

While the replacement of House Managers is set to begin in the fall, Saturday’s housing announcement gave no specific start date for changes.

“They were very ambiguous about the timeline,” said Tolbert. “I think here it’s really easy to tell the student body something and then five years later when everyone is gone, no one really knows what was supposed to be happening, and then they aren’t really held accountable for the promises they make,” she added.

“Right now, it’s all conceptual and we don’t know what will make the most sense once we get going,” Robinson said.

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Upcoming Laird renovation to improve accessibility

Carletonian - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:49pm

When it comes to accessibility, Laird Hall has long been used as a symbol for Carleton’s physical inaccessibility problem. This begins to change now.

In conjunction with renovations to transition Laird from steam to hot water heating, the building will be made fully accessible, complete with fire sprinklers, a new second exit to the building, an elevator, and new restrooms. The renovations will be begin at the end of Fall 2020 and be completed by the end of Spring 2021, according to Steven Spehn, Director of Facilities on campus. The changes should be completed during the summer of 2021, with the building’s upgrades for the 2021 fall term. According to Fred Rogers, Vice President and Treasurer of the college, the building will be closed for about six months.

“Because the renovation will be rather invasive, we thought this was the perfect time to make accessibility changes to Laird Hall,” said Spehn. “The renovation will include other mechanical upgrades, upgrading to a central air conditioning system, and updating the electrical system.”

“Since the new elevator will go through offices, there will be some reorganization there; that might mean that one office goes away or several offices go away to allow for these accommodations,” added Rogers.

Rogers explained that the basement level, which houses the Registrar’s office, will be connected to the rest of the building through the new elevator, which means that students will be able to enter Laird through the ground floor and travel throughout the building. Estimates for the cost of the upgrades have not been completed yet.

In addition to the changes to Laird, there is a committee looking into circulation changes on campus to improve accessibility, in particular to Goodhue.

“There’s been a committee studying circulation on campus for a while now and their report is actually just now going to the President and then to the senior leadership team next week,” said Rogers. “It’s a pretty wild idea. Basically, there would be a skybridge that goes off the bluff behind Goodsell at a slope. Whether that would happen or not, I have no idea. The idea is more conceptual right now and we haven’t looked into how much it would cost, what it would structurally entail, or how it would aesthetically appear.”

This circulation plan also includes the elimination of the street in front of Sayles.

“There would also be some minor changes to walkways and parking. The plan would be to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle circulation,” said Rogers.

“If you change that street in front of Sayles, there are a number of other things you need to change,” explained Spehn. “The bus pick-up would need to change and truck delivery would have to go to another street.”

Chris Dallager, Director of the Disability Office, voiced his support.

“I think it’s an exciting change that addresses one of the main campus buildings that has been lacking in accessibility,” Dallager said.

“The number of improvements in physical accessibility over the last few years has been impressive. From the updates to Scoville, the addition of an ADA-accessible, all-gender restroom in Leighton, the new Anderson Hall science building, the new hearing-loop in the chapel, and general summer renovations, Carleton is making fast improvements on physical accessibility,” added Dallager.

Anesu Masakura ’20, the CSA President based his campaign in part on improving accessibility on campus. “There are different kinds of accessibility,” said Masakura. “There’s physical accessibility; there’s accommodations. I decided to run for student body president because of my concerns for the lack of accessibility on campus and made it one of my biggest platform policies.”

“I was really excited to hear about these changes and I believe that it shows that they’re listening. You have students who don’t even apply to Carleton because it’s not accessible enough and who opt for other, more accessible colleges. These changes are very important for our college,” said Masakura.

He added: “Hopefully, instead of just making buildings accessible while renovating them, maybe the college in the future will make other buildings accessible regardless of whether or not they’re being renovated. That’s the dream.”

The post Upcoming Laird renovation to improve accessibility appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Everything’s Going To Be Okay

St. Olaf College - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 2:25pm
Take it from Ole experts: our future is bright! Here are six reasons for optimism.
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Lawyer in Training

St. Olaf College - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 1:59pm
Michaela Bolden ’16 is working toward a career practicing transactional law in her dream city of New York.
Categories: Colleges

Spotlight: Svoboda Scholar Gretchen Ohlmacher ’21

St. Olaf College - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 1:55pm
Gretchen Ohlmacher ’21 interned at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. It was a perfect fit for this history and Russian major.
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