April 21, 2008

Volume 2, issue 34
April 21, 2008
The Fountain

Whitman community turns out for Undergraduate Conference

In 12-minute allotments, spoken quickly but with surprising clarity, approximately 150 students shared details of their research at the 10th Annual Whitman Undergraduate Conference on April 15, well-attended by students, faculty, staff and a few parents.

Student researchers took center-stage to discuss endeavors that included a new antibiotic that may spell doom to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the history of the Whitman mascot, the meaning of life, how Whitman students cope with stress – and just about any topic in between. Musical performances throughout the day provided a relaxing contrast to the intensity of the presentations. Although the faculty sponsors graciously retired to the audience as their protégés took to the stage, they were not forgotten. Student presenters invariably ended their sessions with notes of thanks for the inspiration and help provided.

Provost and dean of the faculty Lori Bettison-Varga noted the intellectual teamwork that the conference displays. "The undergraduate conference is a celebration of our vibrant intellectual community, which cherishes inquisitiveness, both in the drive that motivates these students to ask questions and seek answers and in the role that their mentors take in helping and inspiring them to create new work and ideas."

Click here for a photo gallery from the 2008 Undergraduate Conference.

Construction Update: Sherwood Athletics Center

The Sherwood renovation project is on schedule with the demolition portion well under way, says Dan Park, director of the physical plant. The demolished Sherwood steps on Park Street, one of the most visible signs of the remodel, will be replaced with a narrower version, he said, in order to add office space to that side of the building. And although the entire project will take 16 to 18 months, the gymnasium/training room area will be available by the mid-August, enabling the volleyball and basketball teams to start training for the Fall 2008 season. The fence around Sherwood will be temporarily taken down for Commencement but will go back up and remain until completion of the project, which is scheduled for Fall 2009.

Earth Week at Whitman continues with films, Low Carbon Diet Day

Wrapping up Earth Week on campus are two films and the introduction of Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Diet:

  • Monday, April 21 – "Ke Ke Xi Li: Mountain Patrol," a feature film set in China’s Kekexili, the country’s largest animal reserve, will be shown at 7 p.m. in Olin 130, courtesy of the Earth Week sponsors, which include the Campus Greens and the Peace Coalition.
  • Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22 – during the noon hour, Bon Appétit will present its Low Carbon Diet. The café and dining halls will highlight food choices that illustrate a key principle of reducing climate change. Bon Appétit also will debut its online Low Carbon Diet Calculator to help diners determine the impact of individual food choices;
  • Tuesday, April 22 – "Black Sea: Voyage of Healing." 7 p.m., Olin 130. The film tells the story of scientists and religious leaders meeting to find the solution to the Black Sea in crisis.

New phone system: 7+ number for external line

Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments staff and faculty will need to make with the new phone system is accessing an outside line. With the new phones, you must press 7 then the number as opposed to 9. Another key change is reaching emergency services. Press 9-1-1 directly, without a prefix. Questions? Visit the WCTS phone support site

Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

The scholarship of Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership, was cited last week in Justice Stevens’ concurring opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol. Questioning whether execution by lethal injection satisfies the public’s desire for vengeance, Justice Stevens quoted from Kaufman-Osborn’s "Regulating Death: Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State," which was published in the Yale Law Journal (2001). There, Kaufman-Osborn points to the existence of "a tension between our desire to realize the claims of retribution by killing those who kill, and… a method [of execution] that, because it seems to do no harm other than killing, cannot satisfy the intuitive sense of equivalence that informs this conception of justice."

Although Justice Stevens did not vote to reject the Kentucky protocol, his opinion "provides an extensive account of the reasons why many have now concluded that capital punishment violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments," Kaufman-Osborn says.

Students in the picture, from left to right, are: Jake Ginsbach, Venessa Cox, Chantal Stieber, Jessica Bruhn

Marion Götz, assistant professor of chemistry, and Frank Dunnivant, associate professor of chemistry, recently returned from the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in New Orleans, where they and students Jake Ginsbach ’09, Chantal Stieber ’08 and Jessica Bruhn ’09 presented their research. "It was a pleasure experiencing the students at this cutting-edge research meeting," said Götz. "They eagerly visited seminars and poster sessions given by chemists from all over the world, and gave stellar explanations of their own research to other scientists." For her part, Götz delivered her research on potential cancer therapeutics in the medicinal section of the conference. "Whitman’s student travel money was well spent," said Dunnivant. "You should have seen the wide eyes of the students when they entered the exhibition hall containing 1,600 vendors of chemistry-related books, glassware, modeling software and instrumentation." Other Whitman students who presented under different advisers were Venessa Cox ’08 and Brian Woods ’08. Dunnivant and Ginsbach are now busy uploading their new Ebook on gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy – the subject of Ginsbach’s presentation – to the Internet. It will be the first product of the Instrumentation Center in the Hall of Science.

Kevin Pogue, professor of geology, will take part in the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance’s signature event, Vintage Walla Walla, June 6-7. Pogue will lead a "Terroir Tour" in which he will help participants discover Walla Walla’s distinct terroir and visit several of the valley’s unique vineyard locations. He also will lead a panel discussion about the unique and varied terroir of the Walla Walla Valley and why its wines are so distinctive. He will be joined by a panel of local winegrowers.

Mike Osterman ’96, middleware analyst in Technology Services, reported to The Fountain that Beth Hoppe, reference and information literacy librarian, Penrose Library, is a co-submitter and co-recipient of the $12,980 grant (reported last week) from the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education to conduct a workshop on "Integrating Library Resources and Sakai." Hoppe and Osterman submitted the proposal along with members of the staffs of Willamette University and Claremont Consortium Libraries. NITLE is a non-profit institute that provides opportunities for teachers in liberal arts settings to create transformative learning experiences through emerging technologies. It is largely funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Kari Tupper, lecturer of English and general studies, organized a panel discussion of the college’s Whitman Institute for Summer Enrichment program as part of the Pacific Northwest American Studies Association’s annual meeting, which was held at the Marcus Whitman last Friday and Saturday. The theme of the meeting was "Migrations, Translations, Relocations: The Global Within," and the panel included Maggi Banderas ’05, WISE program coordinator, office of the president, as well as students Aisha Fukushima ’09, Melissa Navarro ’10, and Russell Caditz-Peck ’10, who are all associated with the program.

Dalai Lama is practical, spiritual and has a sense of humor

The focus was compassion and education when the Dalai Lama received an honorary doctorate last Monday from the University of Washington, said Jan Bestwick, visiting instructor of psychology. Bestwick and four other faculty members attended the event, thanks to complementary tickets given to Whitman by the UW. (President George Bridges was among the college presidents and chancellors in attendance.) Adam Kirtley, Stewart Religious counselor, Zhao Wencui, adjunct professor of Chinese, Sam Witt, visiting assistant professor of English, and Chas McKhann, professor of anthropology, also attended. The Dalai Lama, said Bestwick, is practical as well as spiritual, and it was an honor to be able to hear him speak. "The Dalai Lama is quite a presence and has a great sense of humor and the crowd was very happy to see him" said McKhann, and even though the talk itself didn’t have a lot of "substance," the protests outside made the experience quite interesting. "The event was completely non-political on the surface but pretty obviously political underneath. Certainly one wonders about the timing of the whole thing and the organization behind it – on both sides," he said.

Coming Events
All events free unless otherwise noted

Monday, April 21
Film: "Ke Ke Xi Li: Mountain Patrol," part of Earth Week activities; 7 p.m., Olin 130.

Tuesday, April 22
Award presentation: The 2007-2008 Dublin Award presentation; 5 p.m., Olin Hall 157. Gaurav Majumdar, assistant professor of English, and Nani Gilkerson ’08, will present the results of their research project, which was funded by the college’s Adam Dublin Award for the Study of Global Multiculturalism. The presentation will consist of a lecture followed by a discussion. Majumdar will introduce the project and Gilkerson will explore the ways in which "Foe," "Wide Sargasso Sea" and "Beloved" make an ethical demand upon the reader to engage with issues of multiculturalism.

Tuesday, April 22
Film: "Black Sea: Voyage of Healing," part of Earth Week activities; 7 p.m., Olin 130.

Wednesday, April 23
Recital: Whitman College Music Department presents a Studio Cello Recital. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Thursday, April 24
Reading: Whitman College’s Visiting Writers Reading Series presents Christian Wiman. 7 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Thursday, April 24
Lecture: William M. Allen-Boeing Lecturer Sandy McDade ’74, vice president and general counsel for Weyerhaeuser Company, will present "The Potential of Trees." 7 p.m., Gaiser Auditorium, Hall of Science.

Friday, April 25
Recital: Whitman College Music Department presents Fridays at Four: Whitman Music Faculty Piano Recital, with Laura Curtis, Jackie Wood and Kristin Vining-Stauffer. 4 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Saturday, April 26
Recitals: Whitman College Music Department presents Student Recitals with seniors Jenny Gilbert, viola; Emma Wood, cello; and Chelsea Young, soprano; with piano accompanists Nathan Shiu and Kristin Vining-Stauffer. 4 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Sunday, April 27
Concert: Whitman College presents the Whitman Symphony Spring Concert, conducted by Edward Dixon. 7:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Undergraduate Conference
Sherwood Update
Earth Week
Dial 7
Faculty and Staff Accomplishments
Dalai Lama
Coming Events

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at thefountain@whitman.edu. Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Managing editor: Lana Brown. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain