The Year in Review: 2012

Posted January 17th, 2013 at 2:37 pm.

Click to view the 2012 Year in Review slideshow.

As the spring semester gets underway, we take our annual look back at the year that was.

Faculty News

Fellowships. Prestigious fellowships included a Sloan Research Fellowship awarded to Assistant Professor of Physics James Battat, a Guggenheim to History of Art Professor Lisa Saltzman, and two fellowships awarded to Associate Professor of Anthropology Amanda Weidman.

Research and Publishing. The work of Professor and Chair of Anthropology Richard Davis was featured in Science. Associate Professor of Psychology Marc Schulz and Emily Weiss, Ph.D. ’08, are among the authors of a new study on the role empathy plays in relationships. Creative Writing Program Director Daniel Torday published a well-received novella. Associate Professor of Biology Tamara Davis received a $300,000 NSF grant. Geologists Pedro Marenco and Arlo Weil both had research published. Associate Professor of Political Science Jeremy Elkins co-edited Truth and Democracy. GSSWSR Professor Thomas Vartanian’s research questioned the link between food stamps and long-term government dependency. Assistant Professor of Biology Thomas Mozdzer’s latest research looked at the effect of climate change on invasive plants. Associate Professor Ellen Stroud’s book Nature Next Door: Cities and Trees in the American Northeast was named one of the top five history books of 2012 by the History News Network. English Professor Katherine Rowe was the co-creator of a Shakespeare app for the iPad. For more faculty research, see the Hot off the Presses blog.

Other News. David Ross testified before Philadelphia City Council in support of the Clean Air Act. In September, the College mourned the passing of Professor of Anthropology Philip Kilbride. Chemistry Professor Michelle Francl treated students to liquid nitrogen vanilla ice cream to end the fall semester.

Student Achievements

Seven Bryn Mawr students received Fulbright Fellowships. Brielle C. Stark received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience.  Students were recognized for a variety of achievements at the 2012 student awards ceremony.

A team of six geology majors and their faculty adviser, Assistant Professor Selby Cull, went to Houston to take part in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program.

The more than 40 Bryn Mawr students who took part in the College’s Summer Science Research Program displayed the results of their research in the Campus Center.

Yashaswini Singh ’13 spoke at “A Global Conversation: Women Leaders Responding to the United Nations General Assembly,” hosted by the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) and the U.N. General Assembly.

Two students traveled to the Arctic Sea to do research with Geology’s Lynn Elkins.

Administrative and Academic News

Facilities. The Deans Office and several other offices that serve students moved into the revamped Eugenia Chase Guild Hall. A new Geochemistry lab opened in Park Science. Bryn Mawr earned a slot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction and was named a “Tree Campus USA.” The Office of Intercultural Affairs was officially renamed the “Pensby Center.” The College managed to weather Hurricane Sandy. Solar panels were installed along Cambrian Row.

Programs. The mathematics department was awarded the American Mathematical Society (AMS) annual award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. New academic programs include an International Studies major and a new program with Penn that enables Bryn Mawr students to earn a masters of engineering with only one additional year of study.

Honors and Other Initiatives. The College took the top spot in Washington Monthly’s annual ranking of colleges and universities that contribute the most to society. Bryn Mawr and the Posse Foundation announced that the College will be hosting the very first “STEM Posse” in the fall of 2013. Bryn Mawr announced it is taking part in an initiative to provide scholarships to students affected by violence in Syria. The College produced a video in support of the “It Gets Better” project. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded Bryn Mawr a $1 million grant to help the College build on its already-impressive history of preparing young women to become leaders in science research and medicine. An extraordinary gift by Jacqueline Koldin Levine ’46 and Howard Levine reinvigorated the College’s art collection. The SEADS initiative was officially launched.

New Faces. Several new faces were welcomed to campus including College Curator and Academic Liaison for Art and Artifacts Brian Wallace. Rachel Heiser joined the community as the College’s first academic support and learning resources specialist.

Presidential Activities

In an October Chronicle of Higher Education commentary centered around the shooting in Pakistan of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe wrote about the need to “dedicate ourselves anew to the goal of women’s empowerment and the critical role that education must play in that process.”

In December, the President’s Office hosted  “The Next Wave: Disruption, Transition, and a New Global Era for Women’s Advancement,” a day-long symposium that attracted hundreds to Goodhart and engaged thousands via social media.

McAuliffe was a speaker/panelist at a number of events including a “Working Group on Global Issues” at the Council on Foreign Relations; a conference on the future of liberal arts colleges; the 13th Transatlantic Dialogue; a gathering of ambassadors from across the globe at the Finnish Embassy; and a symposium on “Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education” at Boston College.

On campus, McAuliffe spent time with students at events including her annual Halloween pumpkin carving and the Pen y Groes seminars. She also held a series of town hall meetings for staff in which she discussed the college’s long-range strategic plan.

In addition to her many speaking engagements and other activities on behalf of the College,  McAuliffe spent much of her time traveling around the world to meet with alumnae and  to explore collaborative opportunities for the College.

Bryn Mawr in the Media

Featured articles. An April New York Times article on students going from community colleges to the nation’s top four-year colleges and universities focused on several women who are among the first group of students who will attend Bryn Mawr through new agreements with the Community College of Philadelphia and Montgomery County Community College.

The honor code was featured in this Philadelphia Inquirer article and also mentioned in a September Inside Higher Ed article.

Gertrude Makurumidze ’16, who in the span of just a few months at the age of eight lost her mother, a newborn sister, and her father to AIDS, was the focus of an October Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Excavation work by Associate Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archeology Peter Magee may have turned up evidence of the earliest known domestication of the wild camel, according to an article in The National, an English-language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates.

Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies Kalala Ngalamulume was interviewed by Jamaican news and current affairs radio program “Jamaica Speaks” about the “Kony 2012″ humanitarian video.

Inside Higher Ed looked at the leading role Bryn Mawr is playing in the use of “blended learning” by liberal arts colleges.

The Philadelphia Inquirer lent its ear to Katherine Rowe for an article on the Shakespeare iPad app she co-created. The app also was highlighted by The Atlantic.

NPR and The Wall Street Journal both dove into Bryn Mawr’s swim requirement.

Pakistani news-magazine Herald conducted a live discussion with Professor of Economics Michael T. Rock on the topic of corrupt governments in unstable democracies.

Psychology Professor Clark McCauley regularly penned a blog for Psychology Today.

Creative Writing Program director Dan Torday wrote a piece for The New York Times website.

Kelly Wilkinson ’14 appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” where she worked as an intern.

Media mentions. Bryn Mawr made the pages (web and print) of The New York Times several times in 2012. Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer Jenny Rickard was quoted in the blog post “An Indian Student’s Guide to the SAT and ACT Admissions Exams.” The Times cited Bryn Mawr Professor of Psychology Clark McCauley’s research for an article on the role disgust plays in survival. Bryn Mawr’s involvement with Posse was noted in a February blog post about the organization and again in an April article. Inside Higher Ed quoted Chief Information Officer Elliott Shore. President Jane McAuliffe was quoted in Times Higher Education. GSSWSR Professor James Martin and Jessica Lee ’13 were quoted in separate USA Today articles,  Professor of History Sharon Ullman was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The College was part of a SmartMoney article on financial aid.

Events on Campus and Off

It was announced that the The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College will present the 2013 Katharine Hepburn Medal to acclaimed musician, writer, performer, and visual artist Patti Smith at a ceremony on Feb. 7, 2013.

A workshop by performance artist Tim Miller hosted by Bryn Mawr’s Gender and Sexuality and Theater programs made headlines.

Computer Science Professor Doug Blank and students took part in a “Robot Circus” during the  Association for Computing Machinery Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education.

The year-long “Class Dismissed” initiative ended with an event in the Campus Center.

The end of the spring semester saw Mary Robinson, the first woman to serve as President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, give the Commencement address. The end of the school year also featured  May Day and Reunion Weekend.

Author Alison Bechdel visited campus as part of the Emily Balch Speaker Series.

Several noted authors and playwrights, musicians, dance troupes, and other performers visited campus as part of the popular Creative Writing Program Reading Series and Performing Arts Series, both of which will continue in the spring with readings by Robin Black, Bruce Smith, Daniel Alarcón, and Lydia Davis and performances by Susan Rethorst and Sheetal Gandhi.

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