Friday, July 31, 2009

Dr. Greg Keller Featured on Boston Globe Video!

Dr. Greg Keller, associate professor of biology, got to show off his “road kill” collection to a reporter and a videographer from The Boston Globe recently. On Thursday, July 30, 2009, The Globe featured Dr. Keller on its website (which you can watch by clicking the video below or linking to The Globe). Keller uses the creatures for hands-on instruction with his students and, as he points out in the video, as part of Gordon’s growing collection for the museum of natural history. (Most other collections build their museums with road kill animals as well.)

But Dr. Keller and his students have also been involved in an exciting summer research project documenting LIVE animals in the woods along the North Shore. Who knew studying biology and other sciences at Gordon could be so intensely academic and, well, so cool?!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pirates Come to Pioneer Village in Salem!

Saturday, August 1, Pioneer Village—a recreation of 1630 Salem—will be invaded by a troupe of 20 pirates and wenches between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m Fortunately this pirate entourage is no more dangerous than any other group of guest interpreters wishing to present history in a dynamic way. The Gordon College Institute of Public History, which manages Pioneer Village, is welcoming a group of guest interpreters to use the site as the venue for a pirate attack. “A coastal colonial village has been temporarily taken hostage by a pirate crew,” said David Goss, codirector of the Institute of Public History.

Pioneer Village is a living history museum located in Forest River Park, just one mile from Salem’s city center. Admission fees have been altered for this special pirate event, featuring a discounted price of $5 for adults, students, seniors, and free for children under the age of six. “Pirates at the Village portrays what a village would be like if pirates ran it,” said Goss.

Throughout the afternoon pirates will perform a number of family friendly discussions and demonstrations including period cooking, blacksmith demonstrations, music, and fortune telling by the casting of old bones. Children will have an opportunity to sign up as crew members as well. For those hoping to acquire their own booty, a range of 17th-century pirate and colonial goods will be sold at the Pioneer Village gift shop.

Additional events will include banishment to the stocks for a few unruly pirates and the careful guardianship of stolen treasure. As pirates revel over their loot and serenade one another with an occasional sea shanty, visitors will gain a better feel for the lifestyle of their burly comrades. Pirates at the Village also conveys the history behind pirating.

While pirates have long been considered infamous renegades and hooligans,Pirates at the Village hopes to communicate the surprising truths about pirates—such as their staunchly democratic society and invention of the first form of health insurance. Pirates at the Village is also relevant to local history. New England was a prime recruiting ground for pirates due to shipbuilding. Goss said a tremendous amount of privateer and pirate activity occurred in Beverly, Salem and Marblehead. For more information visit


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coming to America

Gordon College professor of youth ministries Bob Whittet is on his way to Bolivia with videographer Joe Sommers of Bethany Church in Greenland, New Hampshire, to personally welcome a student to American academics. Bob has been leading groups to Bolivia over the last 10 years for the purpose of constructing the Zuriel School in the city of Tarija, Bolivia. Zuriel has become a major Christian school over the years, and for the first time a graduate of Zuriel is coming to Gordon College.
Bob shares this post from the boarding zone at Logan International Airport:

"Joe and I will be bringing incoming freshman Naara Arnold back to the states when we return next Tuesday. It will be Naara’s first trip to the U.S. and the beginning of her dream of getting her college degree at Gordon. The College has provided Naara with a grant to study at Gordon, and Bethany Church is supporting the remainder of her costs as part of its missions budget.
Years ago Gordon students began the construction of the Zuriel school in an empty cornfield. Today it is a thriving campus. Who would have thought when the group walked into that field that someday a graduate of Zuriel school would be attending Gordon? Naara will be the first Bolivian ever to attend Gordon College."


Look East

When Brook Berry returned East to a new post as vice president for enrollment and marketing at Gordon College, he knew he was picking the right job on the right coast. See a recent interview with journalist Alan Burke of The Salem News, reflecting on his days in Hollywood and his excitement about working for Gordon College.
Read the entire Salem News article HERE.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Practicum Experiences Take the Classroom to the World

After their junior year, every youth ministries major must complete a 400-hour guided practicum in the type of ministry they intend to pursue after graduation. These focused ministry opportunities take place under the guidance of both an approved site supervisor and a member of the youth ministry faculty. Lauren Irlbeck ’10, a native of Canyon, Texas, has taken on a practicum at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Castle Rock, Colorado, ministering to middle school and high school students.
She has been involved in Bible studies, campouts, weekly meetings and a mission trip to South Dakota, sharpening her skills in leading and discipling young high school women in their faith. During his site visit, Bob Whittet, youth ministries faculty, was thanked by the senior pastor of New Hope. “Lauren has been a blessing to the young people and to the congregation as a whole," the pastor said. "She is very talented and brings a true servant’s heart.”
Lauren is one of a number of Gordon College students doing ministry this summer, in locations from nearby Hamilton, Massachusetts to Modesto, California.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dorothy Boorse Gets Her Hands Dirty . . . Again!

Associate professor of biology Dorothy Boorse is known for her “active” field work around Coy Pond and the woods behind Gordon. But five years ago she and students mapped out the native plant garden in the shadow of the Chapel. Now she volunteers as “often as I can” to weed their beloved garden. This summer she’s devoting as many lunch hours as she can (when it isn’t raining!) to weeding so visitors can enjoy the Christmas ferns, purple cone flowers, asters, violets, and Solomon seals, among other native plants. She even found some interesting fungi and a unique blue pearl Jacob’s ladder. In between gardening, Dorothy’s been writing and researching.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the Other Side of the Fence

By Heather Smith (summer intern)
When Judd Meche ’08 was invited to Young Life Club as a high school freshman, he had no idea his life calling was waiting for him. Years later that initial connection fostered a passion for full-time youth ministry.
Keeping the connection alive as a youth ministries major at Gordon, Judd served as a volunteer leader at a local Young Life branch. And just two weeks after graduation he accepted a position as a full-time Young Life staff member in Ridgefield, Connecticut.“I was brought on to oversee day-to-day operations in Ridgefield as the current area director transitions into an area developer role,” he explains. “The bulk of my responsibility is direct ministry planning; executing club meetings, campaigner Bible studies, camp trips; and building relationships with high school and middle school kids. Other responsibilities of my job include communications, recruiting and caring for leaders, and fundraising.”
As he stands on the other side of the fence propelling the ministry he once received, Judd says “I’m learning a lot about being a leader, being an adult, and managing time and resources. I’m in a unique place in life: learning how to be an adult and still relate to teenagers.”
Within his unique placement, Judd says, “I feel honored to be a part of God’s work. He could have sent anyone here to do this job—He could have even done it Himself, but He chose me. I feel like I have a purpose in His Kingdom.”


Monday, July 13, 2009

Cling—An Inspiring Internship

This month Cling—which began as a senior thesis project developed by Gordon communication arts student Nick Shultz—achieved nonprofit status. Now he is hosting a fashion show in Boston to raise money for children in developing nations. “Gordon has been really good at fostering the development of this nonprofit,” Shultz said. He established Cling as his final communication arts project and is finishing up a business plan for the hospital and orphanage as his final two credits before receiving a diploma.

Read the Salem News article.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Philosophical Psychology Lab

Natalie Ferjulian ’10 (communication arts major, summer student worker) writes:

Though working for the Office of College Communications is always an adventure, I never imagined spending an afternoon rigged up with a light-sensitive backpack computer, light-proof goggles and buzzing headphones, all part of a research project called the Philosophical Psychology Lab, coordinated by assistant professor of philosophy Brian Glenney.“We’re researching philosophical perceptions which pertain to what it’s like to experience the external world,” said Glenney. "Practically, my hope is to develop a device for the visually impaired that informs them of their surroundings via sounds.”

The study mimics one done by Harvard professor Sean Kelly. My experience of the device consisted of trying to tag a heart-shaped light attached to my opponent’s chest by relying on the camera on my head, which transmitted sounds to my headphones. A sound in my left ear meant the light was to my left while a sound from my right ear meant the light was on my right.At the same time a low-pitched sound meant the light was below me, a high-pitched sound above me.

Aside from the confusion of signals from the necessary “exit” signs, my ears informed me well as I earned a six for six winning record (not to brag or anything). But upon completing the Marco-Polo-style experiment, Glenney said that my efforts had just been a warmup for the real experiment.“A little friendly competition is the best way to get you ready for the big game,” he said.

For the real deal I was put in a square room with push lights on three of the four walls. My task? To locate and shut off the three lights as quickly as possible by relying on my sense of hearing, not touch. It was frustrating until I made the connection that by getting the sound to play at equal volumes in both ears I would be on the longitudinal plane of the light. While I spent only one afternoon participating in the project, Glenney and four other students have been working on the project since spring semester and are now completing their four-week summer research.Student Zachary Capalbo, a sophomore computer science/philosophy major, has even programmed his own device that translates color into sound. Along with the experiment I participated in, “The Sensory Substitution Device,” Glenney is working with shape consistency, the moon illusion and double vision.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Sustainable Farm on Fellows Road

In 2008 Fellows Farm was created by Erika Gorgenyi ’97, Amie Charland ’05 and another friend because of a shared interest in healthy, local foods and a desire to serve and educate the community on healthy living. Tim Laird—full-time farmer with The Food Project—has served as a consultant for Fellows Farm.The farm, located in Ipswich on Fellows Road, was acquired after the three put an ad on Craigslist looking for space to farm. A family responded, offering two and a half acres of their land. “We love growing food for the community,” says Gorgenyi. “It’s so good to see our members week after week, getting to know them and showing them how their food is grown and who is growing it. It’s such an important connection that has been lost in our society. We also like being able to educate people. Members not only learn about food and healthy eating but also about the land and responsibility. We give opportunities for our members to walk around the farm, we offer recipe ideas for their produce, and we’ll also be offering a canning and preserving workshop so they learn how to not waste any of their food.”
Our driving principles are community, locally and organically grown produce, and sustainability. We are committed to growing organically—not using chemicals, synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. We are committed to restoring nutrients to the soil with practices such as crop rotation, planting crops that are beneficial to the health of the soil, and using compost. Additionally, we have a strong commitment to the surrounding community and donate to a local shelter at least twice each week. We seek to provide our shareholders with as much information as we can about their food, including ways to cook and preserve it and the opportunity for our members to get out in the fields with us and experience the farm firsthand.”
Gorgenyi explains how a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm works: “People pay for their season of produce up front. This money helps us cover the costs of running the farm—buying seeds, equipment, etc., as well as working the land. Then the shareholders pick up their food weekly throughout the season. Members recognize they are sharing both the risks and rewards of farming since it is always subject to forces beyond our control—weather and pests. In this sense it is much more a community endeavor—sharing in the understanding of healthy food production and also investing in/supporting the local economy.”
Many members from the Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell communities have volunteered at Fellows Farm, and this past spring Ming Zheng, professor of biology, took a class to help with the construction of a new “hoop house,” a nonheated greenhouse.
Gorgenyi continues: “The produce is local and seasonal, meaning that we will have what grows well in this region at each stage of this growing season. So in early summer you’ll see lots of greens and the crops that do well in cooler temps. As the summer goes on you’ll see increased quantities and lots more variety—many of the more standard or familiar crops like tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, etc. Then as we get into the fall we’ll be back to some of the cooler weather crops and autumn veggies as well as pumpkins, winter squashes and the like. The growing season runs from late June through October (18–20 weeks).”
For more information email


Monday, July 6, 2009

The Institute for Public History Receives Grant

At the Park Plaza in Boston, David Goss (center), assistant professor of history, represented Gordon’s Institute for Public History (IPH) on the day the IPH received a $75,000 Partners in Preservation Grant for Salem’s Old Town Hall from Mayor Thomas Menino (2nd from right) and the American Express-National Trust for Historic Preservation Grant Committee. The grant will be used to help make renovations to Old Town Hall and Pioneer Village. Gordon’s Institute for Public History placed 2nd in a contest with 25 Massachusetts historic sites seeking grants from the committee!

(Photo by Nathan Fried-Lipski.)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

From the NBA to the Fighting Scots

For a man who’s played basketball since he was 5 years old, moving to New England to coach the Gordon College men’s basketball team is no big surprise. “Basketball is in my blood,” he says.

This is Tod Murphy, former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and current assistant coach for the University of California at Irvine, his alma mater. So how does a former NBA athlete come to coach at Gordon? “For six years I’ve led UCI’s men’s basketball team as the assistant coach and was the top assistant for the last three. I’m ready to be a head coach, and Gordon has an amazing level of athletic talent on their court,” says Murphy. He’s excited that academics are important at Gordon and knows the players on his team will not only care about improving their game but also about excelling academically and growing spiritually. “I’m looking forward to being a mentor to my players and getting involved with discipleship. I’m also excited about the quality of individual I get to coach—I know my team will be willing to learn.”

Read more.