Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Students show appreciation for Randolph staff member

Students took a few minutes at lunch today to honor a Randolph employee who was instrumental in creating the new Student Center.

They surprised Bobby Bennett, director of capital projects, with a cake bearing his picture and a large banner signed by many students.

Zara Sibtain ’13, the student government president, said students decided to honor Bennett because they were aware that he had worked long hours for many months on the Student Center renovation. “We love the new Student Center, and it is a wonderful space,” she said. “We would not have been able to have this if it wasn't for him and his hard work.”

Bennett was completely surprised when everyone in the dining hall erupted into applause and cheers as he entered the room. After a few minutes of thanking the student government leaders who organized the event, he cut the cake and began serving slices to people around him.

Scientist who helped discover the Higgs boson to kick off Randolph Science Festival

A scientist involved in one of the most important recent scientific discoveries will headline the Randolph College Science Festival in March.

Don Lincoln, a Fermilab scientist, will present the Science Festival’s keynote address, “Fireworks in July – An Insider’s Account of the Discovery of the Higgs boson,” at 7:30 p.m. on March 21. It will kick off four days of events that help people of all ages learn about—and have fun with—science.
The Randolph College Science Festival helps people discover the science that powers innovations we all love. Find out more on the Science Festival website, or read a detailed list of events below.

Lincoln worked on the team of scientists that used the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to test for the existence of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that is important to scientific theories about the beginnings of the universe. Last summer, the team announced that it had discovered what appeared to be a Higgs boson.

“The discovery of the Higgs boson is probably the biggest scientific discovery of the century,” said Peter Sheldon, a Randolph physics professor who organizes the Science Festival. “The large-scale science Dr. Lincoln is here to talk about impacts everyone, and he is able to really bring it to life.”

Lincoln is known for explaining deep scientific principles in a way that is easy for non-scientists to grasp—for example, he has written books and delivered a TED Talk about the Higgs boson, and also has a YouTube video with more than a million views. “He is able to show the beauty and express the importance of this and other discoveries,” Sheldon said. “He is a speaker you do not want to miss.”

After Lincoln’s keynote address, Science Festival will continue on Friday when Lincoln leads a class at Randolph College at 11:30 a.m. Members of the public may attend if they contact Sheldon in advance as seating is limited.

Other Science Festival events this year include:

Friday, March 22

The Center for Student Research Open House—Come learn about student research opportunities and achievements at Randolph College. 2:30 p.m., West 106
Women in Science Panel—Learn about how the College’s alumnae have built careers in science. 3:30 p.m., Nichols Theatre, Student Center
Poetry Competition Reading—More than 1,000 students have submitted science-themed poems to this year’s contest. 6:30 p.m., Wimberly Recital Hall, Presser Hall
A Scientist Goes to the Movies: The Avengers—Randolph mathematics professor Marc Ordower will dress as Nick Fury and offer scientific commentary about this popular film. Wear your own superhero costume for a chance to win a prize! 8 p.m., Nichols Theatre, Student Center

Saturday, March 23

Science Day Fun for Little Scientists—Randolph students will lead children in age-appropriate science-based activities at the Randolph College Nursery School. Noon and 1:30 p.m. (Requires pre-registration.)
Science Day—This popular event will include science-based activities for students in grades 3–6. (Requires pre-registration.)
Star Party—View stars, planets, and other astronomical bodies at Winfree Observatory. In the event of rain, a slideshow will be shown. 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 24

Art and Animals Drawing Contest—Draw animals from the College’s collection of birds and mammals. 1–3 p.m., Martin Science Building
Drop-in Science Activities—Science demonstrations including robots, lasers, nature, and more. 1–3 p.m., Martin Science Building
Pinewood Derby Regional Competition—We host this annual race for the Cub Scouts again. 1–4 p.m., Houston Memorial Chapel

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Randolph hosts communication studies academic conference

Topics ranging from the British Monarchy to Harry Potter to breast cancer awareness campaigns were discussed this past Saturday when Randolph College hosted the Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) Conference. In its 11th year, SURF brings together communication studies students from area colleges to present about a variety of field related topics.

Ryan Blackwell '13 explains the role that cultural citizenship
plays in the popular NBC television show Community.
In addition to sharing knowledge about communication studies, the conference offers a unique opportunity for networking among students, professors, as well as the general community.

Three Randolph College students presented at the conference:

Ryan Blackwell ’13, discussed the role of cultural citizenship in the NBC show Community.

Kaitlyn Kolster ’15 talked about her analysis of Hollywood’s portrayal of C.S Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia.

Samantha Wittie ’13 recounted her research about the Bravo television network and it’s presentation of the gay and LGBT community through the lens of the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Jennifer Gauthier, a communications studies professor who helped in organizing the conference, praised the Randolph students’ use of theory and the relevancy to important issues such as race, class, gender, and sexuality. “Our students presented high quality research that represented our department’s expertise in critical media studies,” she said.

Kaitlin Kolster '15 analyzes the portrayal of the Chronicles of Narnia in film.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly worship and prayer services aim to strengthen spiritual life

The Randolph College community has two new opportunities for engaging in spiritual life with community members of all faiths.

Beginning Feb. 14, the College is hosting a weekly worship service on Thursday afternoons and a weekly prayer service on Tuesday mornings. Liz Ecklund, the campus chaplain, organized the new events.

The Rev. Ron Litten, of Booneseboro United Methodist Church,
reads from the Bible during his sermon which opened the new
series the worship services at Houston Memorial Chapel.
The worship service is held each Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel. Last week, the Rev. Ron Litten, from Boonesboro United Methodist Church, delivered a sermon about love to begin the worship service series. He read John chapter 21 from the New Testament and explained its message of love and service.

“It’s easy to say I love you; it’s hard to show it,” Litten said. “It’s easy to like someone; it’s hard to love them. If you love them, you might have to give them what they need instead of what they want.”

In coming weeks, religious leaders of various faiths in the community will deliver sermons for the worship service.

The weekly prayer and devotional meeting, called Prayer for Randolph, is held at 8 a.m. each Tuesday in the large conference room on the third floor of the Student Center. Each week, participants will spend a half hour in devotion, prayer, and meditation for the College, the students, faculty, and staff, and any specific prayer requests brought by those who attend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Colton Hunt '13 earns All-American basketball honor

A Randolph College senior has earned top honors for his exceptional achievements on the basketball court and in the classroom.

Colton Hunt was surrounded by professors and staff members as Dean of the College Carl
Girelli notified him of his latest award honoring his athletic talent and academic excellence.
On Tuesday, the College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) named Colton Hunt ’13 as the Capital One CoSIDA Division III Men’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year. He was selected from among more than 7,000 other players.

Hunt is majoring in economics and has two minors—business and physics. He currently holds a 3.94 GPA while also leading the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in points scored, averaging 24.8 points per game. This year, he has led the men’s basketball team to a 20-5 record.

Hunt said the honor is something he achieved only with the help of his teammates and others at Randolph. “It’s really about the relationships that you build here. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some very great classrooms,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed to have professors and other students who invested in me and pushed me along the road.”

Read more about Hunt’s accomplishment and this latest honor on the Randolph athletics website.

Asa Bright Valente '90 featured on Good Morning America

Good Morning America recently featured one of our alumnae in a story about recovering after bone marrow transplants.

Asa Bright Valente ’90 was one of several people who spoke in a segment to welcome back Robin Roberts, a Good Morning America anchor who is returning to the show this week five months after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat aplastic anemia. Focusing on the challenge of returning to work following, Valente talks about surviving leukemia, receiving a stem cell transplant, and finding renewed purpose when she returned to her school classroom.

You can watch the Good Morning America segment here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winfree Observatory continues Star Party series

Many will be hoping for clear skies this Saturday as the Winfree Observatory opens its doors for its monthly Star Party. The popular stargazing event is open to the Randolph community as well as the general public.

Star Party

Saturday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m.
Winfree Observatory is next to the Bell Hall parking lot above the Dell. See it here on our interactive campus map.
During each Star Party, Randolph students help visitors observe stars and planets through the Winfree Observatory telescope. Typically, two to three objects are viewed every time, said Hart Gillespie ’15, a Randolph College physics major who frequently assists with the star parties. Aspiring to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics, Gillespie said that working with the telescope helps him better understand how the equipment works and also what people enjoy looking at, which he thinks will help him in achieving his degree goal.

Even if your goals do not include an astrophysics degree, a Star Party is an eye opening experience. When the sky is too cloudy for stargazing, many people still enjoy the social aspect of the event.

Katrin Schenk, a Physics professor at Randolph, organizes the Star Parties with the help of students such as Gillespie. In addition, the Blue Ridge Astronomy Club also attends many of the events to help offer additional insight.

This Saturday’s Star Party begins at 7 p.m. Star Parties also  will be held on the following Saturdays:

March 23, 2013 - 8:30-10 p.m.
April 13, 2013 - 9-10:30 p.m.
May 11, 2013 - 9:30-11 p.m.

Refreshments are served and admission is free.

Bradley W. Bateman selected as 10th president of Randolph College

This morning, Randolph College announced that Dr. Bradley W. Bateman has been selected as the 10th president of the College.

For more information on the president-elect, see the official press release from Randolph College, and view this video message from Bateman.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Miss Representation" to be screened at Randolph

A popular documentary coming to Randolph College this weekend challenges viewers to consider media’s power to affects how society views women and girls view their futures.

The College will screen Miss Representation at 7 p.m. Sunday in Nichols Theatre, on the third floor of the Student Center. The 90-minute film documents how media’s portrayal of women has led to fewer women serving in prominent positions in politics and modern culture.

The event aims to encourage people to start “thinking about the language that we use to talk about women, especially about young women and their aspirations in society,” said Jennifer Gauthier, a Randolph communication studies professor.

Gauthier noted that the representation of women in the media has become a more widespread topic of discussion in recent times, but that the actual language being used to describe them is not given as much attention. The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion about language used in the media, featuring Dean of the College Carl Girelli, who has a Ph.D. in linguistics, and Pattie Wilson, an alumna who anchors Good Morning Virginia for WSET, a local ABC television affiliate.

Since its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Miss Representation has been shown at numerous other film festivals, aired on television, and screened in schools worldwide. It features powerful interviews with women such as Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, and Gloria Steinem.

The screening is part of the Ruth Borker Gender Studies Film Series.

Speaker describes how to prevent academic cheating

The best way to prevent academic cheating has nothing to do with ensuring students do not use their cell phones during tests or cleverly detecting plagiarism in a paper, Eric Anderman said at Randolph College Tuesday. Instead, cheating is best prevented when students value learning more than they value grades.

Randolph College's student judiciary committee met with Eric Anderman for
dinner and a discussion about promoting academic honesty and integrity.
“Statistically, the student in the classroom where they’re just focused on the grade is much more likely to cheat,” said Anderman, one of the country’s foremost scholars on the subject of why people cheat. “If the take-home message is learning, you’re not going to have a lot of cheating in your class.”

Anderman spoke at Randolph to share insight gained from his years of research about cheating. Academic dishonesty is extremely common, he said, with 86 percent of high school students admitting to cheating at least once. That is a low estimate, Anderman said.

Students engage in cheating by sending text messages to notify friends of test content, making copies of tests using a smartphone, plagiarizing published articles, buying term papers, and even hiring others to take college readiness tests for them, he said. Meanwhile, some teachers have been caught cheating to garner higher standardized test scores for their schools.

Although students in some demographics are more likely to cheat than others, cheating crosses cultural, ethnic, economic, and religious lines. “Whether you do it and whether you think it’s right or wrong are not the same thing,” he said. “There are people who think cheating is wrong, who still do it.”

Anderman shared quotes from high school students who have been interviewed by him and his graduate students at The Ohio State University. Asked about their motivations for cheating, all cited extrinsic motivations: qualifying for a scholarship, getting admitted to a good college that would lead to high-paying jobs, and garnering grades that would please the students’ parents.

He said one way to decrease cheating is to focus more on intrinsic values such as mastery of a topic or the desire to learn more about it, and focus less on testing and grades. Students are less likely to cheat when they are given the opportunity to re-do assignments until they master the material, he said.

Another way to reduce cheating is to create a culture that discourages cheating. Honor codes help create that atmosphere, he said. “The evidence is pretty positive that they do work,” he said.

Anderman learned about Randolph’s honor code while touring the campus on Tuesday and while having dinner with Randolph College’s student judiciary committee, which administers the honor code.  He praised Randolph’s honor code for how involved students are in it and how important it was to each student he met. “Honor codes communicate core values to students about the institutions, but in some institutions, people are not aware of them,” he said.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Randolph students present at energy and sustainability conference

A recent statewide energy and sustainability conference included presentations by Randolph students that gave insight into ways to save energy.

Karin Warren, environmental studies professor and the Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies, took a group of students to the Virginia Commonwealth University Energy and Sustainability Conference. More than 600 students and professionals in fields related to energy, sustainability, and the environment were present. Randolph was the only liberal arts college with students giving presentations, Warren said.

Adam Eller ’13 presented the results of a research project he conducted with Brooke Edwards ’13 and Lauren Dees ’13. Their project, “Thermal Mass Artwork,” examined the possibility of using a sculpture to absorb heat from the sun. This helps to cool a home during a summer day or release heat to warm a home on a winter night.

Eller demonstrated this concept with a clay sculpture he made. The sculpture features the face of a native American and a village with homes and walls made of clay, honoring the fact that some native American villages made use of had a similar cooling and heating effect.

Ire Adeleye ’14 and Luisa Poveda ’13 presented a video about The Red Door, a student-run coffee shop that uses sustainable practices, serving fair-trade coffee and hot chocolate and encouraging customers to bring their own mugs.

Love at the Maier highlights life of Arthur B. Davies

One man, multiple lives. Perhaps not the traditional Valentine’s story, but this weekend the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College will host the 10th annual Love at the Maier event, focusing on the intriguing story of Arthur B. Davies. This two part program is traditionally held in February and focuses on love, what it means, and its relation to art, said Andrew Schaeffer ’14, president of Randolph’s student docent club F.R.A.M.E..

This year’s Love at the Maier is titled “The Loves of Arthur B. Davies,” and the plurality of “loves” is no mistake. Davies, the artist featured in the Maier’s current exhibition, is recognized not only for bringing European Modernism to America, but also for his uncanny private life with multiple loves revealed after his death.

On Friday, from 5:30 – 7 p.m., Randolph College students Stormy Clowdis ’13, Mariah Reed ’14, and Natalie Flores ’16, will give presentations about the women in Davies’ life and how they influenced his art. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available. The event is free for Randolph College students, $5 for Museum members, and $10 for non-members.

The second part of the program will be geared towards families and held on Sunday from 2 – 4 p.m. The public and Randolph community may drop in and meet Mac Cosgrove-Davies, the great-grandson of the artist. Children ages 5 –15, with an adult, will have the opportunity to create “sun print” valentines with Cosgrove-Davies and Randolph students. Admission for the family program is $4 for Maier members and $5 for non-members. (Please note: The exhibition includes works that contain nudity.)

Volunteers are still needed for this event. If you are interested in participating, please contact Schaeffer ( or Martha Johnson (

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Student Center Renovation Update: February 5, 2013

Randolph's new Student Center opened to the Randolph community for the first time in 20 months on Monday, February 4, 2013. Hundreds of community members gathered together for the ribbon cutting and dedication. They were then able to explore the newly renovated facility. For more on the Student Center, please see: Student Center news release

To see the latest slideshow, please go to:

For comprehensive coverage, please go to:
Gravely-Hampson Commons is now a popular gathering spot for the community

The new Skeller Dining Area seats 90-plus people.

Work continues on the new Michels Plaza.

The Bell Tower can be seen behind Randolph's new Student Center.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Student Center Renovation Update: February 1, 2013

Randolph's $6 million Student Center renovation is in its final days. The ribbon cutting and grand opening is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. on Monday, February 4.

Check out the latest slideshow at:

See comprehensive coverage at