Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We’ve moved!

We’ve moved! Notes Along the Way has relocated to The Bell. Find all your Gordon news and stories at http://stories.gordon.edu.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finding Hope in Russia

Hope Johnson enters a classroom, 4,676 miles from home. Everyone stands. She looks into the eyes of ten Russian faces, full of expectation. The students are only a year younger than she is, but for the next nine months her task is to acquaint them with the English language at the Elabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University.

The '13 alumna, 23, was equipped with the experiences of five previous trips to Russia when the Fulbright Program dropped her off in the small town of Elabuga, within the Republic of Tatarstan, where the population is split 50-50, Russian and Muslim. Fresh out of Gordon and the only young American Protestant for miles, she buffed up on Russian news and TV dramas to ready herself to enter the Russian education system to teach English as a second language.

“The Russian university system is chaotic,” Johnson said. “You have lots of student buying grades instead of earning them. It’s a hard system to come into, having a very different perspective on education in America.”

As she began her first lesson, a student raised her hand and informed Johnson that the class had already covered that material. Instead, she turned the classroom into a space for students to ask questions, which often involved grammar that was not in the textbook. Johnson soon realized that it would be a year of improvising.

Although her approach to education differed from what the Russian students knew, it was profitable in that it contrasted with the system’s shame-based culture. Erring on the side of grace, Johnson credits her time as a Gordon College peer mentor for providing the ability to connect with students by empowering them.

“I approached the teaching from different angle, and I found that it resonated well with my students to encourage them and focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses,” she said.

Johnson fell in love with Russian culture at age 12 when an exchange student lived with her family in Maine. The student gave Johnson connections with a sister church in Russia, and after a few missions trips there, she discovered her knack for languages. Johnson took night classes to learn the language. Her friends assumed it was merely a passing phase, but she was determined to become fluent.

Although Gordon did not offer a Russian language studies program, Johnson found ways to live out her passion by studying abroad during her sophomore year, through Best Semester. It was on that trip working alongside an English teacher that she realized her love for education.

Despite the differing styles of education, Johnson felt comfortable with the language and culture, and confident in her teaching abilities. The real challenge, she says, was loneliness. Trips abroad generally include groups and peers, which creates an environment of empathy and solidarity, she said. However, Johnson found herself alone for this trip, and her only encounter with a Protestant church was a manipulative and spiritually unhealthy parish.

“The hardest thing wasn’t teaching, but dealing with loneliness and trying not to let it get me down,” she said. “The first three or four months I didn’t have friends or a church community, which was difficult after being at Gordon and growing up in a Christian family.”

Though most advised Johnson to resist calling home too often, so that she could immerse herself in the full foreign experience, she decided that in order to be in the moment, she needed the emotional stability of calls home. In addition, she connected with other Fulbright teaching assistants through Skype. Soon she made two close friends: a fellow American scholar living an hour away, and a secretary at a university.

Johnson cites a proverb that she found to ring true: “Russians are like a coconut—they have a hard shell, but you break through and they have a very soft center. Americans are like a peach—they have a soft exterior, but very hard pits.” It was that sort of enigmatic attitude that first drew Johnson to Russian culture all the way back at 12.

“In Russian culture it is very hard to get to know people,” Johnson said. “They often seem to have cold, harsh exteriors, but once you break through that, which can take a long time, you can make some great friends. I made some pretty deep friendships. I found that there were people who wanted to have deep conversations about life and meaning.”

“It was the mystery of the place that grabbed me at first,” she said. “It was a new place that had such a rich, deep history. People are in tune with souls and emotions in a way that I haven’t seen elsewhere.”

This fall Johnson began work toward an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, online through Biola University. She hopes to find an internship in ESL, but ultimately wants to start a night school in Maine for those who would like to learn Russian, she says.

“The experience really confirmed that I this is what I want to do.”

Mary Hierholzer ’16 is a communication arts major and history minor, and Editor-in-Chief of the Tartan. She hopes to study history and political science in graduate school, and to pursue a career in writing for intellectual publications. In the rare moments when Mary is not writing or conducting an interview, she enjoys good conversations, drinking coffee, exploring great literature, admiring art and discovering music.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Twese Hamwe: How 15 Students Became One

At the end of the spring semester, advertisements for a summer seminar in Rwanda began showing up all over campus. For the next few weeks Dr. Carter Crockett, head of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and the trip advisor, gave information sessions and Chapel announcements promoting the trip. The entire experience seemed unbelievable, so the night before the applications were due I sat on the floor of Bromley 105 coming up with three adjectives to describe myself. After a week Carter held interviews for the applicants. Although the two of us connected through a love of the developing world, I received an e-mail informing me that I was wait listed for the trip.

With a mission to make Summer 2014 worth every second, I began looking at an internship in Arlington, VA. A few nights later, while I was working on another summer application, I received another email from Carter, this time with more positive news. Someone had dropped out of the trip and he offered me the open position in the cohort. Now, the internship paid $15 an hour and I would be paying $5,000 for this trip, so obviously the choice was simple: I was going to Africa.

Prior to leaving the U.S. most of us met to discuss the culture and economics of Rwanda, and what we should expect. Walking into the room I knew two people closely and another three through the grapevine, but the rest were strangers and would probably have otherwise stayed that way to me.

A month later we met at Logan Airport, where Carter handed us course readers larger than my anatomy textbook. After our bags were checked we headed through security and began a 24-hour journey. After a grueling layover in Amsterdam and countless inflight movies, we landed in Kigali, Rwanda, and met Noella Shankuru, our program assistant. We piled our luggage into the bus and met our driver, Gaga (little did we know he would turn out to be the coolest guy in the country), and headed out for pizza.

The first week was spent getting our feet wet, which was overwhelming to say the least. As we got used to the moto-taxis and cold showers we also started settling into certain roles. Some of us were debaters while others were careful listeners, but one thing we began to notice was that we were all critical thinkers. When we would visit cooperatives, like a group of artisans working with Kate Spade, we asked the hard questions: how do you keep the culture preserved? how does this project empower rather than just support?

Usually, when people think about development they focus on its genuinely positive, beneficial actions. When we thought about development, we questioned the organization’s ethics and how they treat their local workers. Questions about how Americans made it to Rwanda surfaced, but not until we figured out the companies’ intentions. “We were constantly shown examples of Westerners who worked in Rwanda without understanding the culture and ended up hurting the Rwandese instead of helping,” said Natalie Assaad ’17.

As we became aware of how much each student in the group cared for the Rwandese, we began growing together, in class and during free time. Our first weekend was spent out west at Lake Kivu, the largest lake in Rwanda, or according to Josh Hill ’16, “about seven size units.” The trip was straightforward and had one rule: no homework, all play. And after a surprise hike through Bat Island (appropriately named) we had a pick-up game of futbol, with a ball made of contraband plastic bags, and made friends with a local primate.
Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills
Upon returning to our hotel, we dove right back into articles on development theory and visits to hardworking organizations. We spent a day at a coffee farm and saw it processed from berry to beverage. The rest of the week was spent visiting tilapia farmers and groups building location apps for smartphones. But even though the days began to feel consuming, the nights were relaxing, because that’s when the group would be all together, not to mention we’d get a short nap in. We would all find some time to be together, whether it was during a FIFA game or over a 200,000 Rwf meal (divide by 690 and you’ll get a price estimate). While we might have gotten annoyed at times, we made up in a matter of minutes (see: Second Week Debacle between Anna Hadorn ’16 and Jesse Steele ’15).

After Dr. Ruth Melkonian joined us for morning ice cream we headed back to Kigali for our final week. Most of us (everyone except myself) were placed inside one of the organization we visited to get a better picture of how it worked. While Sarah Goss ’15 was able to do an accounting project for the company Acacia, some (Clint Broderick,’15, Nick Colleran,’16, Kara Fuller ’15 and Jamie Shore, ’17) weren’t as utilized, but did get the same experience as the normal interns.

Our last trip together took us west for a safari in Akagera Park, where the hotel came with an omelet bar, and a guard to keep away baboons. But even with the immmersion and course reading behind us, there was still one more assignment to be done before we left. During the second week Carter had introduced a project: create and pitch a business idea for Rwanda. To up the stakes he even invited some of the people from the companies we visited. No surprise: the teams that came together did incredible jobs, and, with 60 minutes before takeoff, the team made it to the airport to head back to the states.

To say we all took something away from this trip doesn’t adequately express what our time in Rwanda meant to us. Each member of the group has learned something new about development, about another culture, and about how they view international aid. Oh, we also got some new friends out of it. Watch out for the Fellowship of Twese Hamwe, coming to a campus near you!

Jesse Steele ’15 is a communication arts major focusing on journalism with a minor in kinesiology. After attending this seminar, he remained in Rwanda to intern for the rest of the summer with the International Justice Mission. 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Introducing our Student Writers

Photo credit: Mark Spooner

Reporting from inside Frost Hall and as far away as Rwanda, four student writers contribute a large portion of material to Notes Along the Way. John Buckley ’15 (left), Mary Hierholzer ’16 (right), Marina Lavender ’15 (center) and Jesse Steele ’15 (not pictured) offer perspectives on the ins and outs of Gordon, covering the stories of students, alumni, professors and the College community.

John, a business administration and communication arts double major, draws insight from his 2013–14 experience as a former Presidential Fellow mentored by Rick Sweeney, Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications. This fall Marina is Sweeney’s teaching assistant in his marketing class, as she looks toward graduation with a double major in business administration plus an individualized Pike major.

Mary, a history major who wrote for College Communications over the summer, is serving as The Tartan’s editor-in-chief during her junior year, and as an apprentice for the Center for Faith and Inquiry. Jesse, who is studying communication arts, reported for the College from afar in the summer of 2014 as he travelled and worked in Rwanda.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On the Front Lines of Capitol Hill

A few months ago Amnoni Myers ’14 stood before her classmates, friends and family for her college graduation. Just a few weeks later, she took the stage for another significant moment, but before a rather different audience: Congress.

Myers was one of 12 students from across the country to spend the summer on Capitol Hill in the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Foster Youth Internship program. Drawing upon their experiences as former or current foster youth, the interns worked alongside members of Congress to influence policies. Myers worked in the office of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, focusing on child welfare issues.

 “It was an opportunity to work alongside Congress and to be on the front lines,” Myers said. “Being in the foster care system I wasn't always able to see that the state or government was working for me. But now to be on the other end, knowing that there are senators and representatives fighting for these issues, has been important to see. In a way, it's been a healing process.”

When she was born, Myers became a ward of the state. Since her parents were unable to provide for her, she became especially concerned with advocating for the needs of children and at-risk populations.

“As I reflect back on my time in the foster care system I think about how I could have easily been another statistic,” she said. “My time in care was not the most positive, but I am now able to see how those experiences are shaping my path. This gives me passion to want to help those who are experiencing some of the similar things I have.”

But Myers did not just observe from the sidelines. The internship allowed participants to hone in on an issue impacting children in foster care, that they want to see changed in the system, by writing up a policy report. At the end of the summer, the interns presented their reports to Congress in a briefing session. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, past years' reports have generated both local and national attention to the critical issues facing over 400,000 children currently in the United States foster care system.

In her report, Myers advocates for implementing a state-standardized trauma-informed childcare curriculum for foster parents. She says that foster parents, without realizing it, sometimes perpetuate trauma from the youth's past.

“There are currently no federal guidelines for training for foster parents,” Myers said. “Nine out of ten foster youth have experienced traumatic circumstances, so foster parents need to know how to properly care for these children. My project is a push for Congress to recognize the importance of equipping the parents.”

Through the internship, Myers connected with some notable figures, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Trinity Forum president Cherie Harder, a Gordon trustee. But the most remarkable encounter, Myers said, was with Victoria Rowell, author of The Women Who Raised Me.

“I met her at luncheon and she gave me her card, and I gasped when I read it,” Myers said. “On the card she listed a book that my mentor urged me to read during a difficult time in my life. I was flabbergasted. I never thought I'd meet the author.”

Without hesitation, she credits Gordon with the preparatory education in her majors, sociology and social work. Her Gordon years also led to many resources. When she attended the 2012 Urbana conference on the urging of a mentor, Laurie Truschel (now the director of the College’s Student Discovery Initiative), another of Myers’ mentors, Ivette Diaz, connected her with the programs that made this summer’s internship possible.

“Gordon provided the experience of being able to grow intellectually and personally,” she said. “It prepared me for graduating and being on Capitol Hill. I feel adequately prepared and confident. Even in secular spaces you don't have to compromise your faith or values. That's been really important to know.”

Myers took advantage of her time at Gordon, serving as a resident advisor, an orientation leader and a Gordon in Lynn intern and leader. She was a Gordon delegate to the 2013 National Conference for College Student Leaders in D.C., and her college experience took her as far as Swaziland and South Africa. Her final semester was spent in San Francisco through the Westmont Urban Studies program  for her social work practicum.

Her internship immersed Myers in the world of Washington D.C., meeting politicians and visiting the FBI Headquarters—and she recently became the proud owner of boating license. Every morning, the walk to Capitol Hill was surreal, she says. The nation’s capital was a significant location for a crucial point in Myers' life, as she sought insight to determine career options for the future.

“Something I've been trying to figure out is if I want to work on a micro level with individuals, or on a macro level working on policy issues,” she said. “It's given me a good instruction for what I'd be doing if I wanted to come back. It's a really good starting place.”

Photo courtesy CCA: Amnoni Myers on Capitol Hill.

Mary Hierholzer ’16 was a summer intern. She is a history major and Editor-in-Chief of the Tartan. Mary hopes to study history and political science in graduate school, and to pursue a career in writing for intellectual publications. In the rare moments when she is not writing or conducting an interview, she enjoys good conversations, drinking coffee, exploring great literature, admiring art and discovering music.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Research Tries to Fight World Hunger

For some, deciding a major is the biggest decision of their college career. But for Austin Drukker ’15, when his advisor told him ‘just do what you love,’ the choice was easy: math. And what started as a few equations has evolved into a double major in economics and math, and a research project to battle world hunger.

Dr. Michael Veatch, head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, approached Drukker at the end of the third quad of this past academic year and presented the idea to him. Veatch reached out to a colleague at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to see what projects he had underway, and soon the MIT professor sent Veatch something he was working on for the World Food Program (WFP).

The WFP is an agency of the United Nations that responds to natural disasters or civil conflicts and provides food to people in need. Its programs continue after the crisis has ended in order to assist in rebuilding the community affected. But if there isn’t enough food available on the market in that region, how can the agency respond? That is where Drukker’s research will come in.

Currently, the WFP is working in Darfur region of west Sudan to establish a food voucher program similar to the United States’ SNAP (food stamp) program. In order to accurately predict prices and quantity of food, the program will use a mathematical model that takes into account factors including wholesale prices and transportation costs. “We’re not completing the model, but contributing to it,” said Drukker.

Since about 80 percent of the model had been completed when Drukker became involved, his research this summer has focused on how seasonality—the changing of weather—can affect food supplies. He also researches whether there is even enough food in the market to meet the needs of the planned Darfur program, using harvest reports from previous years to assess how many people the voucher program can assist.

In an office in the Ken Olsen Science Center this spring, Drukker surrounded himself with maps of the country and literature on the topic. “I spent the bulk of two weeks just reading information,” he said. “I hadn’t done work like this before, but it’s good to experience what research is.”

Drukker’s 10 weeks of work on this project are funded by an undergraduate research grant he and Veatch applied for before the summer. “It’s a great opportunity for people who want to do research,” Drukker said.

Students wishing to pursue further study in a specific area have multiple options, including the Undergraduate Research Council (URC). The council exists in order to provide students at Gordon with the funds to cover the costs of attending or presenting at conferences. “If this is something you want to do the funds are out there,” said Drukker.

Jesse Steele, ’15, is a communication arts major focusing on journalism with a minor in kinesiology. He plans to attend grad school for public health to work in Central America, growing mangos and fighting disease.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gordon Alumna Gives to The Giver

Venetia (second from the left) with her Walden Media colleagues. 
From a small town called Surrey, London, to an international relations program at Lafayette College, Venetia Breene ’14 struggled to find the right path towards her vocation. But after transferring to Gordon and diving deep into the communication arts major, Breene has found herself at Walden Media, working in the marketing department for the new film, The Giver.

Venetia always knew that she wanted to work in a setting that involved meeting new people and in which she would focus on the relational side of her job. “I also always had a creative flair that was waiting to break out,” she said, “but I always just assumed that my creativity had to be suppressed in my career path, and things like photography would just be a hobby.”

Early in her college career, Venetia discovered "cause-related marketing," a system that pairs for-profit businesses with non-profit organizations with the hope of generating a wide network of supporters for outreach efforts. Within this field, she saw herself using her love for images to get people to stop and think about how they can change the world. Thinking long-term, Venetia says, “I’d like to be the creative director of a non-profit campaign, like (RED) or MADD, or something along those lines.”

As her time at Gordon came to a close, Venetia began to look toward finding a job. In the summer of 2013 she had interned with Arnold Worldwide, assisting in its advertising department. This gave her the concrete direction she needed. “I was finally able to attach abstract learning to practical skills and prove to someone that I was willing to put in the long hours to learn and grow,” she said. “I had already decided to go into cause-related advertising and Arnold gave me some structure to organize my abstract thoughts.”

As graduation approached, Venetia found a job opportunity during Gordon's annual Celebration of Faithful Leadership dinner. She attended the dinner as one of the College's student ambassadors. Her father sits on the Board of Trustees, so during the pre-dinner meeting her family introduced Venetia to Micheal Flaherty, founder of Walden Media. Founded in 2001, Walden is known for bringing Christian themes and educational content into Hollywood films, producing movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Waiting for Superman. By the end of their conversation, Flaherty had offered Venetia a job for the summer.

So for the past several months she has done marketing for The Giver, which entered theaters on August 15 and features Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. The movie follows Jonas, a boy living in a seemingly perfect world who learns a deep secret hidden in his community's past. Venetia has monitored social media for the film, organized private screenings and focus groups to test the movie, and worked to get the word out to anyone who could spread positive buzz about the film (such as newspaper columnists, radio hosts and media personalities). While balancing all those tasks, Venetia must also manage Flaherty’s schedule and supervise Walden’s interns.

Being in charge of marketing right out of college might seem impossible, but Venetia found herself pulling resources from her past experiences. Principles from her marketing class helped in ensuring screenings were attracting Walden's target audience. The information she learned in Media Criticism helped as she looked through different movie cuts or adjusted the scripts. But even with her solid educational foundation, Venetia's first job out of college is taking her skills to the next level.

As the movie unfolds, Venetia future lies in limbo. Already she has received a job offer for the fall at Arnold Worldwide in its New York offices, and the possibility that she might continue her work with Walden still lays open. With this important decision awaiting Venetia she is able to stay calm, knowing the connections she has made at Walden will be very helpful for her in the future. “For now," Venetia says, "you could say I’m living life on the edge.”

Jesse Steele ’15 is a communication arts major focusing on journalism with a minor in kinesiology. He's right off the plane from a summer in Rwanda where he interned with the International Justice Mission.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lacrosse Leads Alumnus to Eastern Orthodox Ministry

By Mary Hierholzer ’16

Believe it or not, lacrosse teams and the Eastern Orthodox Church are not completely unrelated entities, especially if you’re Gordon alumnus Mike Tishel ’08. Twenty-seven years old and engaged to be married in October, Tishel is the director of the CrossRoad Summer Institute and a student program coordinator at Hellenic College in Boston.

But Tishel, who hopes to serve as a priest in the Orthodox Church, was drawn to Gordon for one reason: lacrosseHe was accepted at plenty of colleges, but Gordon won him over one picturesque day in July: Tishel toured the campus with the lacrosse coach, Kevin Dugan, and knew it was the right choice.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

STEM^2 Summit: Lighting the Fire For Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

By Mary Hierholzer, ’16

“A little bit of desire is worth a whole lot of opportunity.”

Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur and advocate for science and technology. He, the man responsible for the Segway, was one of about 200 proponents for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at the STEM^2 Summit, which took place this past Wednesday in Gordon College’s Ken Olsen Science Center.

Hosted by ’04 alumnus Francis Vigeant of KnowAtom and Gordon Associate Professor of Education Priscilla Nelson, the STEM^2 Summit provided an opportunity for elementary school educators and administrators to hear from nine distinguished speakers who stressed the importance of immersing students in STEM from a young age.

"We need to start students young, get them involved, and light a fire beneath them,” Massachusetts Congressman John F. Tierny said in the opening remarks. “Elementary educators are the ones to make this happen."

After receiving a grant of $10,000 grant in 2013 from the Northeast Regional Readiness Center housed at Salem State University, STEM^2 held five monthly free workshops at Gordon. Now, the program has established a collaborative business model consisting of elementary educators, professors (those training teachers), education students, inventors and over 75 community school systems. It is being said by participants that this collaborative approach offers the very first networking structure with potential to be a model for other states across the country—one that can be replicated easily and adopted immediately.

Mr. Kamen and Dr. Bernard Gordon, inventor of modern analog-to-digital conversion, served as the summit’s keynote speakers. Also in attendance as lecturers were audio equipment designer Lewis Athanas; computer programmer, engineer, businessman and philanthropist Mark Gelfand; sports technology inventor Corky Newcomb; founder and President of 3D Printsmith LLC Sean O’Reilly; software programmer Jim Starke; and founder and CEO of Playrific, Inc., Beth Marcus. 26 North Shore STEM organizations were present to join in the dialogue with attendees.

The presenters shared personal stories of their childhood experiences—both lighthearted and heavy—with STEM, education and discipline.

“It isn't enough to teach kids about technology,” Starkey said. “Kids have to learn about technology change and, ultimately, innovation. I don't know whether or not innovation can but taught, but I do know it can be inspired.”

“It’s one thing to teach people about things, and another to improve their abilities to think,” Gordon said in his presentation.

Even for the non-scientifically-inclined, STEM^2 proved inspirational. The lessons of discipline, bravery and opportunity are applicable to anyone, no matter the stage of life or range of interests.

Attendees noted the recurring theme of parenthood. Nearly every speaker showed images of their parents to speak about the positive, challenging influence. Many also spoke of memorable educators from their own experiences. Those recurring themes left everyone thinking about their influences, a little more grateful for the hours set aside for homework after school, and even those pesky third-grade quizzes.

In his keynote talk, Kamen spoke of how in his business model for his nonprofit, he strove to replicate for the STEM community the encouraging, celebratory nature of athletics . This core idea became hugely successful, partially due to the countercultural nature of its approach: Culture does not celebrate inventors and engineers, he said.

Although our culture is endlessly fascinated by technology, society tends to celebrate the inventions, rather than the inventors. Is that a good or bad thing? Should we be celebrating the inventions or the inventors? Kamen suggested that more credit may be due to technological innovators, and that such encouragement could yield even greater advances in STEM fields. Dr. Gordon echoed in his lecture that engineers have a deep desire for recognition. Yet we rarely stop to think about the minds behind our computers and amazing new headphones that lay down a beat oh-so well.

What became so remarkable about the STEM^2 summit was the scope of its impact. As Kamen reflected on his experience as a misunderstood student, his story took on new life: It will not only influence his own path. It will not only influence the roughly 200 educators in the audience. The testimony will change the lives of each student that each teacher encounters in the future. One boy’s challenges will bring support and encouragement the lives of an incalculable number of scientifically curious children. And so it was with each of the dozens of innovative approaches to STEM education introduced at Wednesday’s gathering.

Even before any new educational model has been instituted, before the system has been reformed from top to bottom, STEM^2 has already done its job.

Mary Hierholzer ’16 is a communication arts major and history minor, and Editor-in-Chief of the Tartan. She hopes to study history and political science in graduate school, and to pursue a career in writing for intellectual publications. In the rare moments when Mary is not writing or conducting an interview, she enjoys good conversations, drinking coffee, exploring great literature, admiring art and discovering music.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sentimental Intellect: An Education in Teaching and Deep Thinking​

By Mary Hierholzer ’16

Ian Corbin wants to bring more clarity, understanding and happiness to the world. He often writes cultural and literary criticisms for publications like The Wall Street Journal, First Things, The Weekly Standard, Commonweal, The New Criterion and The American Conservative. But the ’06 Gordon alumnus, 32, gives a wry laugh when asked about his treasury of fellowships and scholarships. A true philosopher, he would rather discuss life over coffee than rattle off a list of achievements.

Corbin’s Gordon experience was not the typical four-years-and-La-Vida. After two years at Salem State University, a professor recommended that he transfer to Gordon for the Oxford program abroad. His junior year, Corbin came to Gordon as a political science major, and found himself in the first cohort of the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF). The seminar came at a time of transformation in his education, when Corbin had “just discovered Christian intellectual tradition beyond C.S. Lewis.”


Monday, May 19, 2014

From Triple Major to Double Internship

By Jesse Steele ’15

Dave Hicks, ’14, had a tough choice to make: attend Gordon College on the East Coast or another Christian college in the Midwest. In the end, it came down to a coin toss. And while the initial decision may have been left to chance, today Hicks is happy with where his luck landed him. Last weekend he received his college diploma alongside the rest of Gordon’s Class of 2014, and goes on to a summer full of exciting career opportunities.

Before college even started, Hicks had studied the student handbook and figured out a way to fit in a triple major in philosophy, English, and history. Over his four years he held positions on student government, Gordon College News Service, and the Gordon Presidential Fellows. Yet, this past spring, he still found the time to co-chair a Model United Nations committee in Russia. 

Taking everything he has learned Hicks will head to Washington D.C. for two internships—the first in the Capitol with Pennsylvania congressman Jim Gerloach, and the second two blocks away in a public defender’s office.

“Gordon taught me how to be networking. I saw on the congressman’s website they may be hiring interns and submitted my resume,” said Hicks.

As Gerloach’s term will end in January, many of his staffers have been leaving to find new positions, and with so much left to do, Hicks will be taking on more than a normal intern.

“I don’t know a lot about politics but I’m hoping to learn about it this summer,” said Hicks. “I’m hoping to meet other people and see what it’s like.”

His month-long internship with the congressman will be followed with a criminal law position for another three months. During this time Hicks will be interviewing witnesses to crimes and doing the legwork for the lawyer he is staffed to. This internship is the pinnacle of his’ summer work, since he hopes to become a federal prosecutor in the future.

Hicks’ goals began with a dream to become a trial lawyer. The blend of public speaking and debating drew him into the position, but the prospect of prosecuting petty theft and minor drug possession didn’t much interest Hicks.

“From trial lawyer you move to being a district attorney,” Hicks said. “The higher you go the higher the crimes and the more you deal with issues that are black and white, clearly right or wrong.”

This past year as a Presidential Fellow working in the office of Gordon President D. Michael Lindsay, Hicks had the opportunity to connect with someone working as a prosecutor. The meeting offered Hicks a better picture of the career he had been considering and solidified his intentions.

As a Presidential Fellow Hicks gained sensible knowledge for himself, but also practical experience he could use in the future, like the importance of researching information ahead of time. “If you’re meeting someone, Google their name and basic facts about them,” he said.

Hicks’ experience in the program is only one part of how Gordon has prepared him for what’s to come this summer.

Back in high school when Hicks was applying to colleges, he knew he wanted to study philosophy. As Hicks learned more about Gordon he realized its philosophy department could be a perfect fit.

“Even though it was a Christian worldview, at the end of the day [the department] explored other thinkers without Christianizing it,” he said. “We would read Nietzsche as Nietzsche, and not Christians against Nietzsche.”

The way he has learned to think has been grounded in an understanding of the importance of seeing both sides.

With the public defender Hicks will be going door to door in lower income neighborhoods, gathering information from possible witnesses. Being in this new environment will expose Hicks with a new kind of leadership and teach him to interact with his community in ways he’s not used to. “It will help to be a more well rounded person, talking to people from all walks of life,” he said.

Hicks also hopes that this environment will help ground him, reminding him of the importance of being profession yet relational—something he wishes he had known as a freshman. 

While post-summer is still a mystery to Hicks, and law school remains a couple years away, he is hopeful that this real world experience will be the sort of supplementary learning he needs for his graduate school application. For now, Hicks is playing with the idea of one more internship, working with International Justice Mission in India to fight human trafficking.

Jesse Steele, ’15, is a communication arts major focusing on journalism with a minor in kinesiology. In the coming years he will be attending graduate school to study public health, concentrating on community education. He loves attending basement concerts, roaming the streets of Salem and overcommitting himself.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Harvard’s Model United Nations Delegates to the World

Gordon’s Model UN students had a very successful weekend at Harvard University participating in a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly, for which enrollment, guidelines and participation acceptance are set by Harvard. Gordon's delegation consisted of 18 students enrolled in political scientist Paul Brink’s International Diplomacy course.

The Model UN experience challenges students to think and work in new ways concerning an assigned country and the issues facing that society, and to develop skills required in international diplomacy. Class time is devoted to research, public speaking, practicing simulations, and strategizing. Though Harvard makes the country assignments, the Gordon team is able each year to send its top 10 picks. "We typically seek African states, because I want our students to get a taste of representing states that are not superpowers," said Brink, a native of Canada with extensive research in liberalism and pluralism. "This year, though, there weren’t many African states with delegation sizes large enough, and we received Saudi Arabia."
Brink calls the annual Harvard event "the Superbowl of Model UN competitions." Among Gordon's team successes this year, one special highlight was Dawn Cianci '14 (a double major in philosophy and political science) winning the Best Delegate award among students representing Arab League nations. "This recognition is a very high honor in Model UN simulation," said Brink. Cianci, a native of California, is the first Gordon woman to win a Harvard National Model UN award and one of a small handful of Gordon students to win such recognition from Harvard's awarding committees.

Over 3,000 college/university students participated in the Harvard competition this year; student teams from the U.S. and other nations represented 73 different countries. Last year, Gordon represented Tunisia. Other countries represented by Gordon students in the past include Angola, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Gabon. Gordon also offers a Model UN Club for students interested in competing at international club level.
Photo: Best Delegate honoree Dawn Cianci.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Beauty in Fugue - Deep Faith Week 2014

By John Buckley ’15

Lux Aeterna 2 by Makoto Fujimura

im age noun \’i-mij\ : a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing; especially: and imitation in solid form: exact likeness.

Before The Black Keys, or the swinging keys of jazz, were the black keys of Johann Sebastian Bach.

When Andy Crouch took the stage last week at the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel, so did the baroque-era composer. It was Deep Faith Week 2014, after all. Crouch was playing the "Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major," the tones striking a chord that came to string together the themes of the annual spiritual emphasis week. Consonance transforming through dissonance into beautiful crescendo.

“When you play through the arpeggio of the piece, you go through the harmonics toward the tension of the minor keys,” said Crouch as he took helm of the Chapel's grand piano. “Even dissonance is a part of God’s creation, even tension is part of what God intends as he calls us to be fruitful and multiply.”

Crouch is the author of CultureMaking: Recovering Our Creative Calling, the executive editor of Christianity Today, and (not of the least of these) a prolific writer. His pieces have appeared everywhere from Time to the The Wall Street Journal. He and his family, all classically trained musicians, live in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

As the keynote speaker for Gordon’s annual Deep Faith Week, Crouch encapsulated the week in this fugue. Beginning at the beginning, Crouch re-introduced us to the creation narrative of Genesis. God creating the good of the earth for the cultivation by the very good: us.

He was introducing the compelling themes brought together in his most recent book, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. Power is humanity’s special inheritance from God, to be as a tool for meaning-making. Crouch calls these image-bearers, “a special kind of creature that doesn't merely follow instinct, but has this kind of quest to make something of the world.”

But power must be redeemed. The narrative from Genesis is only Bach’s beginning chord—the 1st 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th. You can't continue with the piece without dissonant chords. The composition continues as we forget our role as image-bearers and drift down a different harmonic path, one filled with tension. But it is all purposed as the same piece.

In our evening chapels, Crouch described how our power was forgotten, even abused. How we forgot the very good of humanity. How we began playing God and running to other gods. “We continued our talk about the joy and responsibility of bearing the image of Christ,” Said Gordon sophomore Mary Hierholzer. “Andy talked about how we have the choice between either living in full authority by abusing our power, living in full vulnerability by ignoring our power, or living fully in our vulnerability and authority.” 

Gordon students and staff responded to this call by turning to a time of prayer after one of the chapels. We were being reminded what it meant to live as Christ, to live like him in vulnerability and authority. “Being able to pray with student after student and connect with their deep pain but also say to them, 'God loves you and he cares for you and he wants to comfort you in that pain,'” said Gordon Chaplain Tom Haugen, “that was a real highlight for me.”

This moment was only a vignette of the week. Friday night, students had the opportunity to participate in a 12-hour worship service lasting into Saturday morning. The service welcomed several student groups representing a diversity of different student worship styles. Like the evening chapels, it brought a renewed call toward the gospel (even for the students who couldn’t stay up). Gordon senior Ben Boossarangsi collaborated with the groups to make it possible. “Deep Faith Week is a great way to spend an entire week diving into different ways, traditions, and spiritual questions we either wrestle or take something away from,” said Boossarangsi.

The week of spiritual renewal was as raw and transparent as it was thematically deep. The vulnerability that Gordon's community experienced grew out of the week's guiding themes of power, injustice, and idolatry. “I find at Gordon an amazing combination of engagement in the community and engagement in ideas,” said Crouch. “The questions I’ve gotten have been great, but also just the personal interactions have been incredibly encouraging.” The call as image-bearers doesn't end at Gordon. “My hope is that each one of us that leaves here,” said Haugen, “brings that into the world, that we’re here for a season but then we’re sent out as God’s image-bearers.”

In his last talk, Andy concluded the narrative of the image-bearers. Just like the arpeggio of Bach’s fugue, “The story is not just from good to very good. It’s from good to very good, to suffering, and then glory.” If you want to know where the real ending is, read Revelation 21. Instead of a garden God creates a city. The streets are of transparent gold, covering over the old blemishes of our image-bearing before the Cross. As Crouch succinctly put it, “God is not making all new things, he is making all things new.”

"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God."
-Romans 8:19-21 (ESV)
John Buckley ’15 is a business administration and communication arts double major at Gordon College and the Presidential Fellow for Rick Sweeney, Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications. Depending on the weather, his interests are theology, photography, a good read of Sherlock Holmes, longboarding, or treasure hunting for lost historical artifacts.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Great Minds Think Together

By Hee-Kyoung Park

We’ve all heard about how “great minds think alike.” But as a new social enterprise competition at Gordon College is demonstrating, perhaps “great minds think together.”

The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) has set a stage for the great minds of Gordon College to come together with new ideas for business, non-profit or hybrid enterprises. Currently in its very first year, the CEL exists to provide a new kind of space for innovative thinking and world-shaping action at Gordon College. "The CEL is on a mission to animate deep convictions and to instigate impact in the hope that more Gordon students will dig deep, reach out and start something,” says CEL Director Dr. Carter Crockett.

Upon the announcement for its first annual Social Venture Challenge, the CEL put out a call for students to gather, share, and refine adventurous plans for these new endeavors . Leading up to their final presentations on April 23rd, experienced peers will help contestants to hone their ideas into a ten-minute pitch and a two-page executive summary. The top three proposals will receive $10,000 to split in order to set their enterprise in motion, and each team will also benefit from professional mentoring as they work to make their idea a reality.

In serving the adventurous thinkers who do not yet have an idea or a teammate, CEL headquarters acted as matchmakers during a mixer event late last semester, which served to connect them with other interested participants and share potential proposal ideas. The CEL has also been hosting a weekly event series every Thursday morning at nearby Gusto Café, where attendants have the opportunity to hear from a local entrepreneur and join in the discussion that follows. In all of its outreach, the CEL works to build up a community of innovation and ambition committed to developing the types of ideas that will serve the common good.

Dr. Crockett says this competition, specifically, encourages that community of students to be bold and to think creatively—whatever the outcome. “We should be less afraid of failing. In my experience, it can be good to fail fast, fail often and fail hard... Those unafraid to fail are the ones that learn the most. Enter the Social Venture Challenge, because the world may need your idea, and breakthroughs aren't discovered by those afraid to try.”

Photo 1: Dr. Carter Crockett (center right) collaborating with CEL instigation team members and a local leader.

Photo 2: Thursday morning conversations at nearby Gusto Café.

Hee-Kyoung Park is a student in the Graduate Education Program at Gordon College, studying elementary education and moderate disabilities. She loves working with children and youth, and enjoys nature walk, exercising, singing and playing the piano.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

National Recognition in Science & Green Chemistry

Last night in an awards ceremony at the American Chemical Society's (ACS) national meeting in Dallas, student Brittany Marshall '15, a chemistry major and president of Gordon's ACS Chapter accepted two awards: Outstanding Chapter [2012-13 academic year] in higher education; and recognition as a Green Chemistry Chapter.

The ACS national meeting attracts 12,000 chemical professionals and includes 1,066 student chapters at colleges and universities. Outstanding Chapter is the highest honor in higher education chapters by ACS. Only 30 chapters in the nation received both of the Outstanding Chapter and Green Chemistry awards and recognition. For the past two years Gordon has received the highest set of honors possible—fewer than 3% of student chapters receive those combined honors.


Monday, February 24, 2014

New Chaplain Brings Gordon Lessons on Unity

By Sarah Tang ’16

This semester, Gordon welcomed a new member into its community. In a short period of time, he has already established many relationships with students, regularly meeting with them and mentoring them, ready for visitors to drop by his office any time for a conversation. This is our new chaplain, Tom Haugen.

Previously, Tom had served in churches in Atlanta, Georgia, on Boston’s North Shore, and most recently Zurich, Switzerland, for over 6 years. Why would someone living in beautiful Switzerland move back to the United States, I wondered. “I had sensed God asking me if I can dream big, what my dream job would be,” Haguen said. “And the one job that rose on top was to pastor a liberal arts Christian college.”

Tom prayed persistently and consulted his wife, who had attended Westmont College in California, and she told him he would be perfect for the job. Along with their three daughters, the family then decided to move back in 2010, having faith that God would provide them with the right opportunities.

For the next 3 years, Tom began working toward a Ph.D. in homiletics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In September 2013, the position for chaplain at Gordon opened up, and Tom went for it. He was chosen, and then began working part-time in November alongside then Dean of Chapel, Greg Carmer, who has since taken on the dual role of Dean of Christian Life and Theologian-in-Residence. To this day Tom says he still has Dr. Carmer on speed dial and has learned immensely from him.

“What excited me the most was the opportunity to invest in and pastor college students at a place in their lives where they are hungry for someone to teach them and point them to Jesus,” Tom continued to say, “being able to shepherd students to do what God has put on their heart through pastoral counseling and mentoring is exactly what God has put on my own heart to do here.”

Tom’s first task was to come up with a chapel theme for the semester, and as he prayed through the themes, one concept kept coming into his mind: unity. “I am committed to this: I believe that God has created us to be joyful beings glorifying God and enjoy him forever, and I want to bring this idea to campus through my genuine commitment to it and have it overflow,” Tom explained. Combining unity and joy with Tom’s commitment to preach through God’s Word, Philippians emerged as the perfect book to build the semester’s chapel program: Together as One: A Walk through Philippians. Written by the Apostle Paul, Philippians addressed the first congregation in Europe. In the text, Paul aimed to encourage and guide this church to grow as one in the name of Jesus Christ—just the same as Tom’s vision for the Gordon community.

The semester’s chapel schedule interweaves Tom’s series on unity with many other speakers and themed weeks. The seven separate messages on connection, purpose, humility, compassion, hope, joy, and contentment will work together to empower and motivate the campus to go through scripture together and trigger conversations and reflection.

In his sermon on Purpose, Tom focused on the teaching that God’s purpose is bigger than our circumstances. “Paul understood that hard things would come his way,” he preached, “But whatever happens, he says live a life that gives Jesus Christ the honor and the glory that he deserves; whatever happens, hold firmly to the truth of Jesus Christ; whatever happens, represent Christ well; whatever happens, allow God to use your suffering to advance the gospel; whatever happens, stand firm striving together as one, for the sake of the gospel.”

“I want students to come into chapel not knowing what to expect,” Tom said. He has done just that—whether through fresh expressions of corporate faith, like moments of silence for the student body to confess to the Lord together, or fun community experiences like a recent free t-shirt giveaway. And these small moments—praying together, noticing a couple classmates wearing the same t-shirt—will work to build the unity Tom is preaching about. Through his chapel sermons and outside of chapel, through Tom’s interactions with students, he is encouraging the student body to see the bigger picture of the Kingdom, together as one.

To watch follow Chaplain Tom Hauguen's chapel series on unity, visit the Gordon College YouTube channel here.

Sarah Tang '16 is a sophomore sociology and communication arts double major at Gordon from Hong Kong, China, and a writer in the Office of College Communications. She is a member of the Campus Events Council and works as a barista in Bistro 255. She is passionate about human trafficking and special needs orphans and has a burden for Southeast Asia.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MOMA Gallery & Pop Up Event—ACCESS, NYC

On Thursday, members of the Gordon community will head to New York City, where the Accessible Icon Project—an advocacy project to update the current International Symbol of Access—will go on display in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

As a thank you to Gordon College, a select group of Gordon College art students have been invited to an exhibit preview, and will observe as MOMA curators handle the final details prior to the gallery opening. Two faculty members, Brian Glenney (philosophy) and Tim Ferguson Sauder (art), will receive lifetime memberships as artists in MOMA's permanent collection as a result of their work as artists for the AIP icon.

Following the invitation-only viewing, the art students, under the director and curation of Peter Morse (manager, Barrington Center for the Arts), will create a one-day exhibit titled ACCESS in a New York City gallery on Saturday, February 15. The opening reception will begin at 5 p.m. at Ludlow Studios and the exhibit will remain open to the public until 10 p.m.

Throughout the trip Gordon alum Daniel Stevens '07, owner of In the Car Media—a video production company—will document events and travels of the Gordon crew by taking over the College's social media (SM) pages. Stevens will guest author Gordon's social communications Thursday, February 13 through Sunday, February 16. In addition to updates, he'll spread the word that on Sunday at 11 a.m., a Gordon representative will be at the MOMA entrance and will provide Gordon-sponsored free admission tickets (quantity limited) to anyone who says "Rush the MOMA 2/16." 


For twitter users, hashtag #RushtheMOMA216 will also provide updates through the weekend. 

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Photo: AIP co-founder Brian Glenney (philosophy) 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

An Audience with the Emperor

By Nora Kirkham ’16

The A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel traveled to imperial Japan on January 24 and 25, its stage transformed into a Japanese courtyard complete with rice paper doors and luminous red and orange lanterns. The occasion for this transformation: Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous comic opera, The Mikado.

The event was a collaborative effort presented by Gordon’s Theater Arts and Music Departments. Directed by Professor of Theater Arts Jeffrey S. Miller and Associate Professor of Music Michael Monroe, The Mikado featured both gifted musicians and skilled actors.

The comedic genius of Gilbert and Sullivan has been a favorite for Gordon’s winter productions in recent years, with the successes of 2011's Pirates of Penzance and 2012's H.M.S. Pinafore. The quick wit and improvisational freedom that infuse these scripts find a natural home amid the talents of Gordon’s Music and Theater Departments.

The opera follows the antics of Nanki Poo (John Cunningham ’14), the son of the Mikado (meaning "emperor," played by Ben Tuck ’16), who runs away from court to avoid marrying a frightening woman, Katisha (Mary Speta ’14). Disguised as a wandering minstrel, he pursues the young woman he does love, Yum-Yum (Christiana McMullen ’14), who is tied into an arrangement with the Lord High Executioner (Ryan Coil ’14). These characters’ fates become more and more entangled as the play progresses with quirky dialogue, song and dance. Naturally, the play was highlighted by impressive performances delivered by both cast and orchestra. The characters belted out a variety of ballads and humorous songs, and entertained us with their ability to improvise banter. Noble lords were played by Daniel Alvarado ’14 and Jonmichael Tarleton ’14.

Set in imperial Japan and first performed in 1885, The Mikado explores a ninteenth-century European fascination with Asia. Thanks to the production’s creative team, the stage was beautifully designed to reflect the culture of old Japan. The costumes, however, took on a contemporary edge. Characters sung and danced in an eclectic blend of colorful kimonos and modern Harajuku statement outfits, fluttering paper fans with Hello Kitty backpacks slung over their shoulders.

While the opera’s original object was to serve as a satire of British society, Gordon’s actors and directors were able to relate its content to a contemporary audience through minor script manipulations. One song in particular shed humorous light on Gordon’s core curriculum, Facebook and pop culture.

The Mikado’s cast and crew dazzled the audience with their sheer musical, theatrical and creative talent, and the play's finale was met with a well-deserved standing ovation. 

After the smashing success of The Mikado, we have Gordon's next theatrical production to look forward to: In April, Jeffery S. Miller will be directing Metamorphoses. Scripted by acclaimed playwright Mary Zimmerman and based Ovid’s epic poem, the play takes place in a real pool!

To view the full Mikado cast, orchestra and creative team members, visit http://www.gordon.edu/mikado.

Photo: The Mikado, performed by Gordon College student actors and musicians, transported the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel to imperial Japan.

Nora Kirkham ’16 is a sophomore history major at Gordon College and a writer in the Office of College Communications. She loves Portuguese culture and plants.