Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Katelin Shugart-Schmidt wins Virginia Tech Graduate Woman of the Year award

A 2010 alumna has won a prestigious award in graduate school at Virginia Tech.

Katelin Shugart-Schmidt was named Virginia Tech’s Graduate Woman of the Year. The annual award recognizes students who are deeply involved in the graduate community, contribute new knowledge through their research and teaching, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity.

Shugart-Schmidt said she was honored to receive the award, and that she traces her success in graduate school back to her undergraduate days. “It all came out of my experiences at Randolph,” she said.

Shugart-Schmidt, from Logan, Utah, majored in environmental science and minored in mathematics and biology during her time at the College. She participated in several research opportunities, including a summer internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She went to Hawaii to study algae blooms, coral reefs, and conservation efforts on Waikiki beach. For that project, she won Best Oral Student Presenter at the Hawaii Conservation Conference in Honolulu.

She also held leadership roles in Randolph’s honor system, which opened doors for her to be involved in the Virginia Tech honor system. She now serves as chief justice in that program.

Today, Shugart-Schmidt is studying methods for predicting how fishing regulations will affect fish populations, considering variables such as the weather and gas prices. She hopes to graduate in December. After graduation, she wants to help make conservation policies become more effective.

“I would really like to work in the intersection between policy and science,” she said. “I would love to take scientific information and translate that into a language that our policy makers and managers can understand and deal with correctly.”

Student Center Renovation: February 28, 2012

Foundation work is beginning on the area behind the current facility. An expansion of the Student Center will be housed here.

Windows in what was originally the Skeller are being enlarged. The new windows will allow people eating in the dining area of the Student Center with nearly floor to ceiling views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

View of the main area of the Student Center.

The framing for one of the glass vestibules is in place. A balcony will overlook the area.

Construction of Randolph College's $6 million Student Center renovation continues at a rapid pace. The existing windows in the structure are being expanded in order to accommodate larger, energy efficient windows. Framing for restrooms and other parts of the main area of the Student Center are in process, and flooring work continues throughout other parts of the building. The building's expansion on the back side of campus is also progressing as construction crews prepare the area for the foundation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Society of Physics students wins national recognition for the sixth year running

The annual Science Festival, where Randolph College students lead science demonstrations
and activities for children, teenagers, and adults, helped the Randolph chapter of the Society
of Physics Students win an Outstanding Chapter designation again.
Randolph College's physics students stay on the move: Throughout the year, you can find them fine-tuning potato guns, riding roller coasters to explore the physics at play, or helping Cub Scouts perfect their Pinewood Derby cars.

Those activities and outreach efforts have again caught national attention. The national office of the Society of Physics Students national office has just awarded the Randolph College Chapter with the Outstanding Chapter status for the sixth year in a row.

The Randolph College Chapter of the Society of Physics Students works on a variety of projects. Its largest activity is the annual Science Festival, when the College hosts science activities and demonstrations for people of all ages with the help of more than 90 student volunteers. This year's Science Festival will take place March 22 - 25.

This year, the group also plans to build a canon that will shoot T-shirts out to fans at Randolph College athletic events. They just do not stop!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bunny Goodjohn wins poetry prize

Bunny Goodjohn teaches English, writes poetry
and fiction, and recently won a poetry prize
Bunny Goodjohn ’04 answered what she thought was a routine phone call, only to find out about an exciting honor she had not expected.

“I answered the phone and discovered I was on a conference call with the Reed Magazine editorial staff,” said Goodjohn, who teaches English and directs the College’s writing program and tutoring services. “The editor told me the good news.”

Goodjohn learned that she had won the Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry, a prize sponsored by Reed Magazine and San Jose State University. The award comes with a $1,000 prize and publication in the magazine. Then the editors added to her surprise and delight by reading the remarks that the contest’s judge, Kim Addonizio, had written about Goodjohn’s work. (Addonizio is a poet whose work Goodjohn admires.)

Addonizio praised Goodjohn for “an ability to tell a story not just for the sake of narrative, but to get at a deeper truth; sentences that were complex and layered, as well as musical; and a sense of real presence on the page.”

“To have her consider my work and find it worthy is such a tremendous honor,” Goodjohn said.

Goodjohn submitted several poems to the contest, including two that she wrote during graduate school, one that she wrote after a camping trip in West Virginia two years ago, and one inspired by Paula Rego’s painting Family. The newest poem she entered, titled “Running 24 North,” came to her after she saw two stray dogs stop traffic outside Rustburg, Virginia.

Goodjohn studied writing and wrote a novel during her time at Randolph, and then she completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern Maine. She then returned to the College as an English professor.

Her work has also been published in The Cortland Review (in 2002 and again in 2004), The Texas Review, Connecticut Review, and Zone 3.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shakespeare meets Carnival in WildCat Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream has made its rounds through the Lynchburg area, but this weekend Randolph College students will present production that promises a new spin on the classic tale.

Randolph College presents
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Feb. 23-27, 2012
7:30 p.m. (2 p.m. on Feb. 26)
Tickets: $10 general admission, $8 faculty/staff/seniors, $5 students
“Our version will be markedly different. It is inspired by Brazilian Carnival,” said Mace Archer, a Randolph theatre professor directing the show. “It's set during the festival during our production.” It takes place aboard a Carnival float with samba dancers and other celebrators. “It’s like you’re watching Carnival,” Archer said.

The fairy royalty Oberon (portrayed by Matt Cornpropst ’14) and Titania (Marian van Noppen ’12) become the king and queen of the Carnival festival. Puck (Emily Perry ’12) is more of a snappy, snazzy Vegas showgirl than the natural woodsprite of most Midsummer productions, but she plays the same tricks that cause mayhem and disrupt the course of the young lovers who have left the nearby city.

Student actors rehearse a scene from A Midsummer Night's
on the Thoresen Theatre stage in early February.
Other leading cast members include Brian Yarger ’15 as Lysander, Anne Morris ’12 as Hermia, Erin Sudol ’12 as Helena, Tory Brown ’13 as Demetrius, and Robert Santmyer ’15 as Bottom. The cast consists of 30 students, including about 10 from the Randolph College Dance program. Isabelle Dom ’12 choreographed the dances for the show.

“We have all the right actors to fit the parts of this play,” Archer said. “The energy they bring to it is phenomenal. This is the third time I've worked on Midsummer, and it’s the most energetic.”

Emily Perry '12, right, portrays the role of Puck in
an original way, combining Shakespeare with Carnival.
This is also the third time A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed in Lynchburg in the past year, after having a round of several performances two years ago. But the story will not be old, partly because of the Carnival setting, and partly because of the fun versatility of the story. “You could do Midsummer every year, because there are so many different ways you can do it," Archer said.

The language and storyline of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also very accessible, allowing actors and audience members to enjoy the humor. “It’s getting really funny,” Archer said.

Producing a play in a short time period while also keeping up with demanding academic programs at the College is no easy feat, but Archer said it is preparing students for careers on stage. “Figuring out how you can do really good quality work in a compressed amount of time is part of the profession now,” he said. “They’re learning how to do that.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colton Hunt earns spot on Academic All-American team

A Randolph College junior has earned a high honor recognizing his achievements on the basketball court and in the classroom.

Colton Hunt ’13 has been named to the Capital One Academic All-American Third Team, an accolade few receive. Hunt is one of only 15 men in Division III basketball to earn that rank this year, and he is the only player in Virginia or in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference on that team.

Hunt, an economics major from Whittier, N.C., is no stranger to great accomplishments. While holding a 3.93 GPA, he recently became the first male basketball player at the College to score 1,000 career points. Last month, the college Sports Information Directors of America named him to the Academic All-District first team.

His accomplishments provide one example of how Randolph College fosters academic and athletic excellence. Athletic programs help students develop leadership abilities and push them to do their best in the classroom, too.

Hunt said he owes his success to others. “It’s always nice to be recognized, but this award really goes to the wonderful professors at Randolph, my teammates and coaching staff—really anyone that has pushed me to do well both on and off the court,” he said.

The Randolph College athletics website has more information about Hunt’s accomplishments and the College’s men’s basketball team.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Students, professor prepare for Carnegie Hall performance

Twenty singers at Randolph College will follow in the footsteps of many famous artists this spring by performing in Carnegie Hall.

Randolph College conductor and music professor Randall Speer will conduct a concert in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium on Easter Sunday. He will be joined by the Randolph College Chorale, a high school choir, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble, for a performance of Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore (Solemn Vespers). The concert was organized by MidAmerica Productions, a company that produces concerts in New York and around the world.
Randolph College Chorale and Randall Speer
Performance in
Carnegie Hall
Sunady, April 8, 8:30 p.m.
Discount tickets are available but must be ordered through MidAmerica productions by March 14.

One year ago, MidAmerica Productions invited Speer to conduct a festival choir performance this season. Although he was not required to bring singers himself, he invited his students at Randolph to ensure that they would have the incredible opportunity. Connie Anderson Calhoun ’57 and C. Merrell Calhoun donated money to help cover the costs of the trip, Speer said.

“Being able to perform that on the Carnegie Hall stage is daunting a little bit, but more than anything else, it’s exciting,” Speer said. “This is an incomparable experience for these students, and once in a lifetime for most.”

Since it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has hosted some of the world’s most accomplished composers, conductors, and musicians, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Igor Stravinsky, Benny Goodman and his orchestra, and Judy Garland. That tradition continues today—in fact, Speer and the Chorale will take the stage in Stern Auditorium just a few hours after the acclaimed British composer John Rutter conducts a concert there.

Speer said he never expected to find himself leading his students for a Carnegie Hall performance. “Perhaps in my wildest dreams I might have wished for something like this,” he said. For it to become a reality, and to have the opportunity to stand in the same spot that some of the world’s greatest conductors have stood, is such a great honor.”

Mozart’s Solemn Vespers is a challenging but inspiring piece, Speer said. Mozart composed the music while working in Salzburg, Austria. “Right now, the students are experiencing the hard work that it takes to get into it, but they’re already getting a sense of just how glorious this music is,” Speer said.

The group will travel to New York a few days before their concert. Then they meet the high school choir and the orchestra that will join them for the Easter Sunday performance and hold several hours-long rehearsals.

While performing in Carnegie Hall is a rare opportunity, touring far and wide is normal for Randolph College music students. Chorale regularly tours, and has performed in Washington, D.C., California, eastern Pennsylvania, Jamaica, and the Midwest. “These are significant experiences, certainly, but the New York and Carnegie Hall trip is taking it to a whole other level,” Speer said.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Student Center Renovation Update: February 16

Progress on the Student Center renovation is happening rapidly. The inside of the facility is undergoing major visible changes as construction crews continue installing the remaining flooring and begin work on framing, among other projects.

One of the most exciting highlights this week was the the framing for the WWRM's new DJ booth. Now that the structure of the glass booth is in place, it is possible to visualize the dramatic effect this element will have on the facility. The booth overlooks an opening in the floor, which will allow student broadcasters to see the main floor below as they DJ for parties or for the student radio station. The seating areas on the floor below will be removable so that the space can be used for dances and parties.

Workers are also continuing work on the existing window openings. The new facility is filled with large, airy windows, which will fill the spaces with light and views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. The existing window openings are being enlarged to accommodate the new windows.

Work also continues on the outside of the facility. Framing for the glass vestibules on each side of the main building is complete, and workers continue to work on the rear section of the building, which will be expanded.

Keep checking back for updates on the project! See all of the updates at www.randolphcollege.edu/studentcenter.

View of what was formerly the Skeller. Workers are expanding the window openings to accommodate new, larger windows. This space will become the seating area for the Skeller, which will be located nearby on the right side of "The Street."

The new larger windows will be energy efficient and provide amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Workers have installed framework of the new student radio station booth. The booth looks over the opening in this photo to the floor below.

Another view of the new student radio station booth.

This is the view below from the WWRM booth. The floor below will feature seating, which can be removed  to offer dance space for parties and other social events.

View of the second floor.

Another view of the second floor.

Framework for one of the two glass vestibules.

View of the main floor. "The Street" will be located in the rear.

Another view of the main floor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You really should present in the Symposium of Artists and Scholars. Apply now.

It is time to dust off the project you are most proud of and submit it for Randolph College’s prestigious academic showcase.

Every year, the Symposium of Artists and Scholars brings together the best research projects and creative works produced by students at the College. You can submit a serious paper, a musical performance, a dance you choreographed, or art you created. It can be an independent project related to your major, or an assignment you completed for an elective course.

Bottom line: If it is a project that you are proud of, we want to see it!

The application deadline for the 2012 Symposium is looming. (It's February 24. Apply now.)

We recently asked a few students (and one 2011 graduate) why they were glad they presented in the symposium last year. This video summarizes their responses:

What are you waiting for? Apply now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Senior writing students present their work at Riverviews Art Space on Thursday

Here are just some of the Randolph College English and creative writing seniors whom you can hear live an in person Thursday night.

They will read some of their poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 16, at Riverviews Art Space at 901 Jefferson Street in Lynchburg.

Come support these students who have spent four years refining the art of the written word.

Presenting students include:

Jennifer Bundy
Sarah Fogle
Jamey Hagy
Alina Herron
Danielle Robinson
Karl Speer
Sara Taylor
Jerry Wells
Britni Wilson

Lynchburg alumnae and alumni send Valentines for first-year students

We love it when our alumnae and alumni share their love for the College with our current students. First-year students received a special treat this Valentines Day courtesy of the Lynchburg Chapter of the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College Alumnae and Randolph College Alumni Association.

The chapter donated red carnations and giant candy bars, which were placed in Main Hall for first-year students to enjoy.

Special thanks to our Lynchburg Chapter! (Chapter presidents are Laura Bullock Crumbley ’72 and Katherine Sabalis Miles ’98.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Local author, acclaimed historical preservationist to speak about Anne Spencer

One advantage of being located in Lynchburg is our proximity to many important historical sites, which means we also have connections to many local history makers—such as Anne Spencer, the well-known Harlem Renaissance poet who made her home just a few miles from the Randolph College campus.

Lessons Learned from a Poet's Garden
Featuring Jane Baber White
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 15
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Alice Ashley Jack Room, Smith Memorial Hall
On Wednesday, Randolph College will highlight its connections with Spencer by hosting Jane Baber White for a discussion of Lessons Learned from a Poet’s Garden, her recent book that details the process of bringing Spencer’s home and garden back to life as a museum. That 28-year restoration has attracted attention and praise from around the world.

The restoration process also unearthed many remarkable connections between Spencer and R-MWC. For example, Randolph College’s campus is surrounded by a red brick wall, which replaced a wrought iron gate—and that gate is now found in Spencer’s garden. White will discuss those connections and other lessons learned in the restoration process.

White is a lifelong resident of Lynchburg and has a passion for gardens and historic sites. She has led a number of restoration projects and received local, regional, and national recognition for her work at the Old City Cemetery, where she was director for 27 years.

Student Center Renovation Update: February 13, 2012

Construction crews are busier than ever bringing Randolph College's new Student Center to life. The facility is seeing rapid changes as workers put in floors, walls, and windows. On the main level, the framework for "The Street," can now be seen. The walkway will run from the Main Hall entrance of the Student Center through the facility to the outside. The new and improved Skeller (cafe/grille) will be on one side of "The Street," while seating areas will be on the other. An eating area will be housed where the old Skeller was located, and the rest of that floor will be filled with open seating areas. 

On the upper floors, workers have begun to expand window openings, and flooring has been placed. Other framework has also begun.

Keep checking the blog for more photos on the progress, and go to www.randolphcollege.edu/studentcenter to see previous updates.

This photo shows the upper floors of the back part of the Student Center facility. The Skeller can be seen through the openings in the flooring. 

Framing for restroom facilities on the second floor of the Student Center.

Workers are enlarging window openings. The new windows will add a bright, airy feel to the Student Center.

An eating area will take the place of what was once the Skeller.

Another view of the old Skeller facility.

A view looking up from the old Skeller level.

"The Street" will be between the metal framework shown here.

View of "The Street" from the Main Hall entrance to the Student Center. The wall in front will be removed in order to open the area.

The area below this opening will house seating and other social spaces. The furniture will be easily moved to provide areas for dances and other events. The WWRM (the student radio station) will be located above the opening and will look down on the dance floor.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Astronomy and literature meet in English professor's upcoming talk

On a clear, cold night in 1847, a shy young Quakeress named Maria Mitchell peaked through a telescope on the bank of Nantucket, Massachusetts. When she discovered a comet that night, she made scientific history—and also sparked an international controversy.

“Her sex, science, and celebrity combined to make a powerful statement, a statement that made its way into the American cultural expression of her time,” writes Heidi Kunz, an English professor at Randolph College.

On Thursday, Kunz will give a talk about the way contemporary literature reacted to the discovery of Miss Mitchell’s Comet.

She will present “Miss Mitchell’s Comet and the Nineteenth Century American Novel” at 4 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Alice Ashley Jack Room in Smith Memorial Hall. The presentation is part of the Works in Progress Series sponsored by the Randolph College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the Office of the Dean of the College.

While Kunz teaches courses in American literature and 18th century British literature, she also enjoys literary exploration of science, such as Mitchell’s scientific accomplishment that rocked common perceptions of gender roles in her time (and set her on course to be America’s first female professional astronomer). She also researches and writes extensively about F. Scott Fitzgerald, and was recently appointed to the editorial board of The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review.