Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writer and actor teaching at Randolph hopes to inspire playwrights

According to playwright Adam Pasen, a play is never finished until it is performed. So when he gives a public reading at Randolph College next week, he plans to include a performance.

He also is challenging his playwriting students at Randolph to prepare scripts that are ready for the stage by March.

“I’m here to teach an appreciation of forms, and hopefully inspire some new writers to start doing some of their own works,” he said. “I hope they'll want to write some plays of their own.”

Pasen, the Randolph Writer-in-Residence for the spring 2014 semester, wrote his first play in eighth grade. A spy parody called James Bonbon, it won a contest to become the school play. After that, he was hooked. He has had plays produced or workshopped by American Theater Company, the Kennedy Center, and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. One of his 10-minute plays is included in the 2011-2012 edition of Best American Short Plays.

Although he has found success in writing, he admitted that the process is somewhat difficult for him because he would rather be performing.  “I’m so much of an actor that every second I’m writing, I wish I was on stage instead,” he said. “But I also love playwriting, because I get to create the types of roles on stage that I would like to play.”

Pasen has played roles including the title character in the classic play Tartuffe, Edmund in Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Curly in Oklahoma. “I love playing villains, because it’s a nice departure from being the pathologically nice guy that I am,” he said.

Pasen will present a public reading of his work at 8 p.m. on February 5 in the Alice Ashley Jack Room in Smith Memorial Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Pasen will have actors read two of his 10-minute plays as well as a scene from his full-length play Tea with Edie and Fitz, which imagines authors Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald meeting for tea.

While at Randolph, Pasen is teaching Exploring the Creative Process, a one-quarter class that he has transformed into a playwriting workshop. After a week of classes and one assignment, he was pleasantly surprised by his students’ attitude and ability, he said.

“They are happy to be there, and they’re remarkably knowledgeable and talented,” he said. “Their two-page skits showed a lot of promise, so I’m excited to see what they can do over the quarter.”

He plans to organize a showcase where the student writers’ short plays will be produced. “Because plays are meant to be performed, I think it completes the playwriting experience to see some of the work up on its feet,” Pasen said.

Randolph professor named archaeologist of the year

A statewide organization of archaeologists has recognized a Randolph professor as the Virginia Professional Archaeologist of the Year for 2013.

Lori Lee, the Ainsworth Visiting Professor of American Culture, received the award for her years of research at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, where she has helped discover, document, and analyze the lives of slaves who lived on the plantation.

The Archaeological Society of Virginia (ASV) attempted to present the award to Lee at its annual meeting last year, but she was not present due to family commitments. When the organization notified her of the award, she was out of the country. She finally received the award in the mail recently.

“It was a great honor to be selected for this award,” Lee said, adding that her membership in ASV has helped her grow as an archaeologist. “I am very proud of this award and the social relationships and exciting collaborative work projects that resulted in receiving it.”

In addition to the honor of receiving the award, Lee was delighted that she was nominated by a professional archaeologist who was once a student in one of Lee’s archaeological field schools at Poplar Forest. “It was very meaningful to be nominated by someone who I worked with in an educational environment who has gone on to pursue a career in archaeology,” Lee said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Randolph College welcomes riders for open house

Student riders who would like to continue riding while in college can visit the Randolph College Riding Center this weekend to learn how the College’s riding program can help them meet that goal.

The Riding Center is holding a spring open house for the second year in a row on February 1. Riders who visit on Saturday will be able to ride horses from the Riding Center barn, work with Randolph riding instructors, learn about the College’s equine studies academic program, and more.

“This is a great opportunity for students to come and see a hands-on riding session so they have a very good understanding of how well they are going to work with their instructors,” said Christopher Mitchell, Randolph’s director of riding. “That’s a very important part of riding in college.”

There are two sessions of the open house on Saturday. The first session begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Riding Center. The second session begins at 10:45 a.m. on the College’s main campus.

In the afternoon, open house visitors can learn about the College’s equine studies minor, which was created for students who are interested in working with horses, whether as riders, owners, barn managers, veterinarians, or in other careers.

Riders interested in attending the open house should contact Mitchell at by the afternoon of Friday, January 31.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spring semester 2014 sustainability speaker series

Throughout the spring 2014 semester, Randolph College will host speakers addressing topics on sustainability, ranging from environmentally conscious parenting to launching a career in sustainability.

Six speakers, including two of the College’s alumnae, will participate in the new sustainability speaker series.

“We hear from so many students who have an interest in sustainability, and we thought this would be an opportunity to let them know about it from all different angles,” said Sarah Lawson, a Randolph professor of environmental studies and physics.

The series kicks off on Monday, January 27, with Keye Chatterjee, the director for renewable energy and footprint outreach at the World Wildlife Fund. Chatterjee recently published the book The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby.

Lawson said that Chatterjee, a friend she met in graduate school, wrote the book after becoming a mother and exploring sustainable parenting herself. “It’s about making good decisions as a parent,” Lawson said. “Saving the planet is a great gift you can give to your children.”

Other events in the series include:

Sustainability @ Randolph

Learn more about Randolph College's commitment to sustainability.
February 17: Green Architecture
John Quale, a professor at the University of Virginia, will discuss the university’s ecoMOD / eco REMOD project, which works on developing economically-friendly and affordable modular homes.

February 24: Sustainable Communities
Kent White, director of community development for the City of Lynchburg, will discuss city planning and sustainability.

March 17: Corporate Sustainability
Megan Arnold ’06, process engineer and operations sustainability lead for Jacobs Engineering, will discuss how her employer embraces environmentally friendly practices.

March 31: Moving Sustainability from the Trash Room to the Corner Office
Megan Bloomer ’06 will share her experiences as director of sustainability for DaVita, Inc., as well as explain what practices are truly sustainable, contrasted with steps some companies take to appear more sustainable than they really are.

April 21: Careers in Sustainability
Corey Barnes, a senior consultant with Deloitte Consulting, will discuss career options for those who specialize in sustainability and environmental studies. He is the son of Rick Barnes, a Randolph psychology and environmental studies professor, and Tina Barnes, Randolph’s coordinator of disability services and the Learning Strategies Program.

Each event in the series will take place at 7 p.m. in Nichols Theatre on the third floor of the Randolph College Student Center.

Lawson said the topics will highlight ways that sustainability leads to a better life. “The biggest thing I hope people get out of this is an understanding of the way their activities impact the planet, and other people,” she said. “It’s really about the livelihood and well-being of people.

“People, planet, and profit all work together,” she added. “Hopefully, people will see the way in which their choices and their lifestyle will play into a more sustainable future.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

“Face the world with courage,” Randolph president tells students

During his keynote address at the College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, the president of Randolph College challenged students to learn about and follow the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Calling King “the greatest orator in 20th century America,” Bradley W. Bateman encouraged students to read King’s speeches and letters. “I hope you'll take the time to study an episode in his life. Find out how he lived. Find out about American society at the time. He faced more than you face, and he faced it with great courage.

“If we take his legacy seriously,” Bateman added, “we must name what we see and must be honest about the violence that we see in front of us.”

During the Wednesday service, Bateman cited several examples demonstrating that racism continues to affect American society, including threats of violence against African Americans, obstacles to voting rights, the acceptance of racial epithets, and the denial by many that racism exists.

“Race relations and race in America have changed since I was the age of you students,” Bateman said. “But much has not changed. I think we have to face that honestly, and we have to fight it.”

Several factors make it harder to discuss the issue of race, however. “It’s become much more difficult to deal with race in our country because of the mainstreaming of hate in the media,” Bateman said. “Hate is now used as entertainment. Hate is used for fun, and hate is used as a joke.

“Despite the mainstreaming of hate in the media, despite the complexities of race in the 21st century, we must face that hate with courage, strength, and nonviolence,” following the example that King set, Bateman said.

Bateman asked the College community to work together to help eradicate racism and its effects.

“We must go into the community together—students, faculty, and staff alike. We must work in this community to establish justice and equality,” he said. “We can work for voting rights. We can work against poverty. We can work against hunger, and we can work for educational access.”

“We depend on you greatly,” Bateman told Randolph students. “Face the world with courage. Fight for equality, fight for justice, and fight for peace.”

You can watch the full speech here.

Randolph and other Virginia colleges commit to use 100% renewable energy

Randolph College is joining with four other Virginia higher education institutions to provide 100 percent renewable energy to their campuses. This move will cut the colleges’ greenhouse gas emissions and save money as well.

Randolph has entered an agreement with Emory & Henry College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Sweet Briar College, and Collegiate Clean Energy (CCE), a company which provides colleges, universities, and businesses with renewable energy products.

CCE is an affiliate of Ingenco, Virginia’s largest landfill gas (LFG) to energy operator. The company generates electricity using methane that is emitted from landfills. Landfills account for 35 percent of all man-made methane emissions in the United States, and by capturing those emissions, LFG to energy projects preserve the environment while reducing the need for fossil fuel.

“LFG is 21 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide,” explained Thomas Loehr, president of CCE. “By converting LFG, we all enjoy a dual benefit of reducing greenhouse gases and at the same time producing renewable energy.

“Emory & Henry, Hollins, Lynchburg, Randolph, and Sweet Briar are showing they are leaders in environmental sustainability by taking action to make a real difference,” he said.

The schools are the first colleges in Virginia to commit to providing 100 percent renewable energy to their campuses.

As a result, the independent colleges are offsetting between 50 and 70 percent of their total carbon footprints and establishing a new standard for sustainability at colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. The colleges estimate a combined savings of between $3.2 million and $6.4 million over the next 12 years.

Electricity generated from LFG will be delivered to each college through the distribution system owned by Appalachian Power Company.

The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) coordinated the sustainability initiative. Robert Perrow, a partner with the Richmond law firm of Williams Mullen, represented CICV in negotiating and preparing the agreements.

“Virginia’s private colleges have always been interested in being at the forefront of sustainability and protection of the environment,” said CICV President Robert Lambeth. “Our members were open to investigating the opportunity to purchase 100 percent renewable energy produced in Virginia, and CICV was happy to provide the help needed to make these agreements a reality.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maier exhibitions feature work of student curators and art professor's paintings

This spring, the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College features two exhibitions created by the Randolph community.

Five students curated The Modern Woman: Roles or Reality?, an exhibition that explores how women are depicted in art. The exhibition Fear and Wonder includes 19 works that art professor Jim Muehlemann painted during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Both exhibitions will open to the public with a reception from 6–8 p.m. on Friday.

Last semester, art professor Leanne Zalewski taught a curatorial seminar designed to teach students how to curate an exhibition, from selecting a theme to hanging the paintings. Monica Varner ’14, Ainsley Hoglund ’14, Thea Ezinga ’15, Katie Vance ’14, and Hannah Neifert ’14 took the class and decided to explore artistic depictions of women and think about whether the art is true to women’s psychological and physical reality.

“I hope that we can create a discussion with our exhibition and get people thinking about how women are represented in art,” said Neifert.

Each student found several paintings and drawings from the College’s art collection that relate to the theme. Together, they chose which works to include in the exhibition, wrote wall text, and hung the paintings.

"Angels" is one painting in the exhibition Fear and Wonder.
The students appreciated getting to practice curating rather than only reading about it. “I was very excited to be able to work in a curation class, since this is the field I want to go into,” said Ezinga. “To get to do this, and get hands-on experience while still an undergraduate, is really amazing.”

The paintings in Muehlemann’s Fear and Wonder exhibition were inspired by Japanese art that often portrays striking beauty intertwined with fearful, violent images. Most of the paintings juxtapose graceful birds flying on alarming backdrops such as burning skyscrapers or flying arrows.

“While the birds in his paintings may evoke fear and wonder, they also appear hopeful,” Zalewski said in an essay she wrote in the catalog for Muehlemann’s exhibition.

The Modern Woman: Roles or Reality? and Fear and Wonder will be on view at the Maier through April 13.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Randolph holds Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration scheduled

Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman will reflect on the legacy of the great leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the keynote speech in the College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Wednesday.

The service will be held from 12:50 to 1:50 p.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

“This hour is a time for all of us in the community to come together in a peaceful way and remind ourselves about the importance of making a difference in the world as well as to really understand why Martin Luther King, Jr. was significant,” said Hermina Hendricks, Randolph’s director of multicultural services. “We all are part of Martin Luther King’s dream.”

Hendricks said  Bateman’s first Convocation speech prompted his invitation to present the keynote at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service. “His demeanor and philosophy reminded me of how Martin Luther King tried to bring about change, through his wisdom, words, and actions,” she said. “He reminded all of us that there is a place for everyone, and that we need to respect and treat everyone right, and we always have to make a difference.”

Music will be provided by Songshine and Voices, Randolph’s student a cappella groups.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faculty and students present research at national physics teacher conference

Three Randolph College students and one faculty member recently presented research at the American Association of Physics Teachers national meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Tim Slesinger '14, Chris Holingsworth '15, physics professor Peter Sheldon, and Jim Kwon '14

Chris Hollingsworth ’15 presented research he conducted with Zahra Adahman ’14, Alex Kwakye ’15, and physics professor Katrin Schenk. Their work delved into understanding communication deficits in mice as a way of understanding human communication disorders.

Jim Kwon ’14 presented research done with professor Evan Goulding at Northwestern University, in conjunction with a project involving other Randolph students and Schenk. His presentation, "Behavioral Analysis Techniques for Mobile Phone Collected Data," explores ways of using cell phone accelerometer data to determine the physical activity level of the person carrying the phone.

Kwon also presented research done by students Sydney Henson ’14 and Katherine Lesnak ’15, along with physics professor Peter Sheldon, education professor Peggy Schimmoeller, and biology instructor Amanda Rumore, "Science and Math Links: Research-Based Teaching Institute," is an annual project that looks at the impact of hands-on science teaching on learning.

Tim Slesinger ’14 presented "Investigating Traditional Methods of Inertial Navigation versus Using a Smartphone," research he conducted with Alex Tran '15, Kacey Meaker '08, and Sheldon.

Sheldon gave a presentation about Step Up to Physical Science and Engineering at Randolph (SUPER), a Randolph program that is helping to increase enrollment of students committed to careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. Funded with a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, SUPER provides some scholarships and additional educational activities for Randolph science students.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Maria Karos ’86 leads law firm Women's Forum

An international law firm has appointed an alumna to lead a program designed to help welcome more women to the firm and to the legal profession.

Maria Karos ’86
Sedgwick LLP named Maria “Kiki” Karos ’86, a partner in the firm’s Dallas, Texas, office as the chair of the Sedgwick Women’s Forum. She previously served as the Dallas office representative to the Women’s Forum. She will lead the forum along with Laura Markovich, a partner from the firm’s New York office.

“I am confident that our new Women’s Forum leaders will continue to raise the bar through their dedication to the cause and demonstrated ability to effect change within the firm,” said Sedgwick Chair Michael Tanenbaum.

Karos, who majored in economics at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, focuses her practice on high-stakes catastrophic injury cases and complex business litigation matters.

“The Sedgwick Women’s Forum was designed to revolutionize the way gender is addressed in the firm, and potentially within the legal industry,” said a news release from Sedgwick LLP.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Former astronaut, Lynchburg native Leland Melvin to speak at Science Festival 2014

Drone races, poetry and photography competitions, and a former astronaut, Lynchburg’s own Leland Melvin, will highlight the 6th annual Randolph College Science Festival.

The Science Festival is an annual series of free, public events that allow the public to discover and celebrate the beauty of science and its connection to many aspects of life. The multi-day event has grown significantly since it first began in 2009.

Leland Melvin
This year, the festival gets off to an early start with a 3.14 mile Pi Run at 6:30 p.m. on March 14 at WildCat Stadium.

The main series of events begins Thursday, March 27, when Melvin will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Hall Theatre. Melvin is an engineer, educator, and a former two-time space shuttle astronaut who serves as the associate administrator for education for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A graduate of Heritage High School, he also played professional football before joining NASA.

“We are really excited to have Lynchburg native Leland Melvin as our keynote speaker,” said Peter Sheldon, director of the Science Festival. “We are so lucky to have this hometown hero come back to speak on our campus.”

Science Day, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary, is scheduled for March 29. The popular event features an afternoon of activities for students in grades 3-6. Registration for Science Day opens on January 18. The Randolph College Nursery School also will host Science Day for Little Scientists, for children ages 3-7, for the second year.

Science Day provides an afternoon of science-
based activities for students in grades 3-6
Other highlights of the 2014 Science Festival include:
The return of the popular science poetry contest, and a new photography contest, for K-12 students; Entries must be submitted by February 14
A screening of the film Gravity with commentary about its scientific accuracy
The opportunity to race remote-control drones during the Drop-In Science Activities on Sunday, March 30
A regional Cub Scout Pinewood Derby

Visit for a full schedule of events and rules for the poetry and photography competitions.

The Randolph College Science Festival grew from Science Day, which was started by students in 2005. The popularity of Science Day, which routinely fills its registration early, led to the creation of an even bigger festival that would allow Randolph to share the beauty, fun, and relevance of science to all ages. The event has grown to encompass multiple days. It is organized and operated by the Randolph College Society of Physics Students and other student, staff, and faculty volunteers around campus.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year 2014 message from Randolph College president

Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman recently sat down to look back on 2013, reflect on all of the good news about Randolph College, and share his  thoughts looking forward to 2014. We hope you enjoy this message from him.