Newsletter of the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program
Editor: Dr. Richard England
Student editor: Melyssa Malinowski
Writers: Harry Pippin, Jennie Wollenweber, Dr. Whall
December 8, 2000 Vol. 5 No. 1
Welcome to the Saunterer
||Like Thoreau in Walden, we
will record our sauntering here, remembering that "if one advances
confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live
the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success
unexpected in common hours."
The Thoreauvian Legacy Saunters On...
By Jennie Wollenweber
Jennie Wollenweber (1997, MA 2000) records here
her journey from being a student learning about Thoreau in Honors
courses to teaching the same honors class, and leading a trip to
Six years ago I began the first of my journeys at Salisbury
University. As a transfer student, I was lucky enough to be placed
at Dr. Whall's advising table where he was eager to tell me about
Salisbury's Thomas E. Bellavance Honor's Program. Ready to try
anything, I decided on two honors courses: Dr. Francis Kane's core
course on "the hero," and Valorie Gilbert's core course about
"modern genetics." Dr. Kane's approach to the course led me to major
in philosophy, as the readings and discussions called me to wonder
about matters of critical concern: What is a hero? What do we make
of the Greek hero Odysseus' treatment of his slave girls, his wife's
fidelity and his infidelity when tricked? Val's course called my
attention to different questions: is genetic engineering ethical?
Should it be used for medical purposes or to enhance food
productivity? What will happen to the ways of nature that have taken
so many years to develop if we begin altering her order? Val also
explored with us new ideas about our relationship with the natural
world: Gaia theory, for example. These questions and explorations
were the beginnings of my environmental interest that I continue to
pursue today through my study of Nature Literature as part of my
doctoral study at George Washington University.
Having enjoyed the learning opportunities of my first two honors
courses, I was eager to undertake a third: Dr. Tony Whall's core
course. It always amazed me exactly how many insights Dr. Whall
could help us discover as we made connections between our lives, the
world of ideas, and such great works of literature as Henry
Thoreau's Walden. And Dr. Whall would let you know when you
made a connection or achieved some kind of revelation by his
excitement level in class. I'll never forget his "Yes, that's it!"
as he fell to his knees and looked up at a student struggling with
an idea from Dostoyevsky's The Underground Man. "What a
weirdo," I thought, but now as I teach I find myself full of the
same excitement, ready to make a fool of myself if only I can help
students "get it" too. My particular revelation from that course,
still quite alive in my current study, is the myriad of Thoreau’s
ideas presented in Walden - about work, the truly lived life,
and our connections with the rest of the natural world.
I was to graduate in 1996, finishing my bachelor of arts in
English Literature in three years. However, I still had to complete
one more honors course and a thesis to graduate with Bellavance
Honors. Besides, Henry Thoreau said "the mass of men lead lives of
quiet desperation," and men have become "tools of their tools." What
was my rush into that world? My decision was made; I stayed at
Salisbury University for another year and took classes I was
interested in because of my newfound love of learning. I wanted to
"suck the marrow out of life" and get all I could out of my
One course I took was the Honors elective, "American Wilderness
Experience," taught by Joe Gilbert. The course involved a weekend
camping trip which I was both eager for and apprehensive about. The
last time I had been camping was when I was about five -and then in
a camper! On the camping trip, it was cold and it poured! The rain
didn't stop until it was time for us to return to Salisbury. But it
was wonderful! Never would I have gone camping on my own, much less
on a cold and rainy weekend, but I learned that there is nothing
like waking up to the sound of rain just inches from your head as
you increasingly appreciate the warmth of a sleeping bag. It was a
That's what I was missing - experience! My honors classes thus
far had been wonderful, but this course offered me what I needed to
round out my education. Again, I return to Thoreau when he
considered his college days - offering all of the branches, but none
of the roots. Salisbury was giving me the roots, the experience I
needed to truly begin to understand the significance of the natural
world! Here was the final push I needed to accelerate my
environmental interests so much that I decided to make my life's
work revolve around environmental endeavors.
Not needing the credits that spring, I opted to take only three
courses and spend my free time volunteering at Pocomoke River State
Forest and Park where I later became part-time naturalist and
education coordinator. Joe Gilbert taught me that I can learn from
books, but also through experience, and that is what my time at the
park offered. In fact, through these trips and my time at the park,
my desire for more natural experiences only increased, leading me to
study with Joe and fifteen Salisbury University students at The
Thoreau Institute, just outside of Concord, Massachusetts. At the
Institute, experiential learning was an integral part of our
educational pursuits. Classes were held by the fire at night and
days were left for study, reading, and exploring the town of
Concord, Walden Woods and Pond, the North Bridge, the Concord and
Merrimack Rivers, Boston, and many other historical sights.
Following in the footsteps of Henry Thoreau, we sauntered
everywhere, except for a train to Boston. In addition, we
participated in many group trips and lectures, such as an Indian
musician concert, lectures by authors like John Hansen Mitchell,
Parker Huber, and Roger Fouts, climbs up Hawk Mountain, Mount
Washington, Mount Monadnock, Mount Wachusett, Mount Ktaadin, a visit
to a peace abbey, and a walk on the shore of Cape Cod. While part of
this special studies program in Massachusetts, I finished my
undergraduate honors thesis, "Henry Thoreau's Environmental
Relevance to the Twenty-first Century." In addition, I now had the
direction for my future environmental pursuits. I had enjoyed my
educational pursuits so much that I decided that I wanted to help
others explore and learn about Nature through environmental
A few months later and a few more student loans paid off, I
returned to Salisbury University where I undertook graduate study in
English in the hopes that I could one day teach environmental
literature, writing, and humanities. Little did I know that the
honors program, the history department, and Joe would make this
dream come true sooner that I thought possible. Having finished the
course work for my master's degree in English Literature after my
third semester, I was offered the opportunity to teach three
environmental studies courses. Two courses I taught were through the
history department: "Environmental History" and "American Wilderness
Experience" - the second of which was the same course Joe taught me
through the honors program before retiring. I was so excited!
The third course I was to teach was "The Life and Times of Henry
Thoreau," a course I had taken during my time at The Thoreau
Institute. This course was to be taught through Salisbury's honors
program and, with the program's support, I would be permitted to
undertake numerous experiential learning trips with my students.
Through the honors program, we received funding to take a local
canoe trip and undertake a volunteer project at Pocomoke River State
Forest and Park. We traveled to Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, where
we practiced simple living as practiced by naturalist Cindy Ross
with whom we stayed on this trip. And finally, we were funded for a
spring break trip to Concord, Thoreau's beloved home, where we
followed in Henry's footsteps! Students also developed their own "Thoreauvian
cause" projects, including raising money for and purchasing an acre
of rainforest land, participating in Earth Day, organizing and
implementing a canoe trek that raised over one thousand dollars for
the Assateague Coastal Trust, developing a slide show to share their
experiences, and volunteeringto help children
on a ropes course, among other projects.
None of this would have been possible without the honors
program's generous support, and that includes opportunities to take
and teach honors courses as well as the monetary support for trips.
Who I am and where I am right now depends greatly on Salisbury
University's Bellavance Honors Program. Without the classes and
experiences I have had through the honors program, I may have
become, as Henry Thoreau writes, one of the masses that "lead lives
of quiet desperation." Instead, I am "going confidently in the
direction of my dreams," now pursuing my doctoral degree in American
Literature with a concentration on Transcendentalism and
Environmental Literature. And continuing to dream a little, I see
myself one day back at Salisbury University, teaching honors courses
that enlighten and change the lives of my students as much as my
honors professors used their talents to help me question my ideas,
to enjoy reading, to undertake new experiences, and to embark on a
romance with learning that will never end.
My spring break adventure at Walden Pond was the most profound
and influential learning experience encountered at Salisbury
University. It helped me make a solid connection between book
reading, and real life. Thus, Henry David Thoreau was truly brought
to life for me! – Lindsey Clime
The class entitled "The Life and Times of Henry David Thoreau"
has definitely changed the Life and Times of Andrew Stuhl....
Through this class, I have learned to live more simply, question
myself and my society, and become an individual. I have absorbed the
energies of the Transcendentalists and now I believe that I am ready
to share with others my new found knowledge. - Andrew Stuhl
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How I spent my summer
by Melyssa Malinowski
Honors student Melyssa Malinowski finds excitement
at the summer Center for talented youth.
During the summer of 1999, I worked at the a Johns Hopkins Center
for Talented Youth Summer camp. These camps provide academic
enrichment courses for kids who get top scores on standardized
tests. As a ‘Programs Assistant’, I was in charge of 12 girls and
boys, all 9 and 10 years old, for three weeks.
I HATED IT.
It was not the job, or the people I worked with. It was children.
They were awful. Never before had I had a job where I dreaded
getting up in the morning. This was an entirely new experience for
me and not one that I was eager to repeat.
So, when the application for summer 2000 came, I had misgivings.
The only program that tempted me was the marine program, which
involved camping and boating with students in their early teens . To
me that sounded like so much fun. I’d get to be outside, on the bay
and camp! All that and I’d get paid! I went ahead and filled out the
In February, I received an e-mail version of a contract. I nearly
fell out of my chair with excitement! I got the site I wanted and I
was eager for summer to come.
In June I moved to the Inner Harbor to live at our land-based
headquarters, the USCG Cutter Taney, the only remaining
survivor of the attack at Pearl Harbor. Commissioned in 1936 and
virtually intact, the Taney is a permanent docked vessel that
is now a museum. Wow, I thought, a 64-year-old war vessel.
Let’s just say that the first three days on board were very hard
and the Taney smelled it’s age. Some days I thought myself
insane. What had I gotten myself into? Why was I living aboard this
relic? Was it August yet?
Then the kids arrived. I met my class. They were there to study
oysters. Seeing them, some of my original enthusiasm returned. That
was until I had to give them the "if you don’t listen" speech and
the site director had to reprimand them on the first night. They
hadn’t even been there for six hours and already there were
troublemakers! This class was scheduled to stay ashore for the first
half of the three week period. I began to fear a repeat of the
previous summer and this time I was stuck for six weeks instead of
Finally it was time for us to meet our boat. First, though, we
met the crew. I liked them right away. They accepted no nonsense
from the children and they treated me like part of their team. Once
again, I let my hopes rise, maybe, just maybe, this summer’s
experience would be a positive one.
My next moment of pure joy was on seeing our shipboard home for
the next nine days. She was docked at St. Mary’s College dock and
she was beautiful. Her name was Sigsbee, originally built 101
years ago (though only the wheel is left from the original), and she
was a skipjack.
The next nine days flew by. I developed a very close relationship
with my kids. They even told me that they hadn’t realized that I was
so cool. We set up tents, raised sails, and docked the boat.
Basically, we enjoyed ourselves, despite all the wearying work we
When that trip concluded I bid my kids a fond farewell and
prepared for the next group to come in. This time I was going to
camp and boat first and I was with the class studying crabs.
This trip was even better. I did not enjoy the boat trip as much
(aboard a motor boat) but the children were great from day one. They
were fun, helpful and just great people all the way around. I felt
that I could be their friend and they would still respect me as an
authority figure. I was not disappointed.
The most memorable experience of that trip was the infamous "Lake
Taylor " incident. We had just been drenched on the boat. Everyone
was cold and wet. We went ashore for the night and the kids set up
tents without grumbling. They even performed a minor miracle by
erecting a canopy over the dinner table by sheer power of
determination. That night I woke up every hour because of the
torrential downpour that assailed us. Now, experts say that there is
a way to set up a tent so that no water can get under it. Well,
obviously these experts have never experienced rain like this. When
I woke around 3:30 am, I realized, in my frozen sleepy haze that
there was water under ¾ of the tent. I tried to sleep, but two hours
later I got up, stepped into 3" of cold water, then jumped my way
across several "islands" to make my way to the bathroom. There I
found half of my students up and cheerfully drying their belonging.
They’d been up for two hours because their tents had flooded, yet
they were in a great mood! We packed up camp and ate breakfast on
the boat that morning. Nobody complained; they just did what they
had to do and smiled through it. I was so very proud of them and I
made sure that they knew it!The
Sigsbee under sail! What a classroom! What a summer job! (Image
courtesy of the Living Classrooms Foundation)
I have so may other stories I could tell and an album of pictures
to show. Yet, I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the
other part of the camp, whose boats and staff provided the crews and
instructions for this summer educational experience. Many thanks to
the Living Classroom Foundation, based at the Drum Point Light house
on Pier 5 and the Weinberg center on East Caroline Street, for the
best summer I’ve had so far!!!
Anybody interested in working with Johns Hopkins Center for
Talented Youth (they have sites all over the country), or in more
stories, come talk to me. I’d be more than happy to share the info!
(Disclaimer: If you don’t like children do NOT even consider this
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This Year's Honors Course Offerings
Here are the courses and faculty that current
Honors students were able to choose from among this year
IDIS 111, "Critical Thinking and Writing" (1 section) - Scott
IDIS 111, "Critical Thinking and Writing" (2 sections) - Richard
IDIS 211, "Western Intellectual Tradition II" (3 sections) - Tony
IDIS 260, "Environmental Perspectives: Tropical and Temperate
Forests" - James
Hatley, Jill Caviglia, Richard Hunter
IDIS 311, "American Musical Theater" - Michael Weber
IDIS 490, "Honors Thesis Preparation" - Tony Whall
IDIS 495, "Honors Thesis" - Tony Whall
IDIS 112, "Western Intellectual Tradition I" (2 sections) -
IDIS 112, Western Intellectual Tradition I" (1 section) - Scott
IDIS 212, "Scientific Knowledge" (2 sections) - Richard England
IDIS 311, "Spirituality and Literature: A Latin American
Perspective" - Brian Stiegler
IDIS 311, "Music in American Culture" - Cherie Stellaccio
IDIS 490, "Honors Thesis Preparation" - Tony Whall
IDIS 495, "Honors Thesis" - Tony Whall
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College Mock Presidential Debates
by Harry Pippin
On November 2nd, three of the political organizations
on campus, the College Republicans, Democrats and Greens,
participated in a debate to help increase awareness of the
presidential candidates’ stands on the issues. It was hoped that by
having this debate, students would become more interested in the
2000 presidential race. An audience of about 150 students gathered
in Caruthers Hall Auditorium to watch. by Harry Pippin
The debate started with introductions of the two representatives
of each of the three groups. A series of questions directed by the
moderator to each group began the proceedings. Each team made an
impressive showing; it was clear that the organizations had well
prepared, articulate representatives.
The second set of questions came from people in the audience, and
topics ranged from affirmative action, abortion, and taxes to
Internet commerce. The representatives from each group often chose
to use their time to rebut opposing arguments. The debate grew in
intensity, but at all times the members of the organizations
maintained a mature, civil tone. The closing arguments that the
groups made were impressive, and in my opinion served to conclude a
I represented the College Republicans at the debate and I think
that each group did equally well. It was a worthwhile way to
experience American Democracy in action. It is rare that political
groups have meaningful debates about the issues, and I think that it
was an important event for the students of Salisbury University.
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New Assistant Director: Richard England
At a recent Honors program committee meeting I was
introduced as last year’s project – their hunt for a new assistant
director had been a lot of work apparently! Now settling in to help
with this year’s projects, I offer this brief introduction of myself
to the wider Bellavance Honor’s program community.
The assistant director until 1999, Anna Marie Roos, was a
historian of science, and so am I. My undergraduate degree was in
zoology, with three blissful summer trips to the Canadian High
Arctic for geomorphological and wildlife field work. In my fourth
year a particularly zealous evolutionary theorist insisted that
every organism at all times is seeking to maximize its LRS (life
reproductive success). No seagull wheeling by the window was merely
idling! I began to wonder how Darwin’s theories arose and how they
could prompt such extreme views as my professor’s. Enter graduate
study in the history and philosophy of science at the University of
Toronto. After wrestling with courses in the history of science,
technology and medicine, the philosophy of science and of biology, I
escaped with my Ph.D. in 1997. My thesis explored the assimilation
of natural selection by a group of Anglican neo-Hegelians in
Victorian Oxford, and I hope to publish an expanded version of it as
a book called Darwin and the Dreaming Spires.
This curiously interdisciplinary education fitted me for a
variety of teaching jobs. I received a Dibner post-doc at St.
Michael’s College in Vermont, where I taught introductory courses in
philosophy as well as the history of science, and science and
religion. At Franklin and Marshall College I taught environmental
studies and the history of medicine. At the Ontario Science Centre
in Toronto I branched out into science education for K-12 students
(it is wonderful to be paid for blowing things up and playing with
Lego!) Finally my sojourning brought me here to SU where I will be
teaching introductory core courses (particularly Scientific
Knowledge) and learning the art and science of running an Honors
program from Dr. Whall.
I’ve been here about three months now, and am beginning to get
the hang of things. Presidential debate screenings (very instructive
for showing my Critical Thinking students how not to do it), open
mic nights, and campus colloquies are keeping me busy and giving me
a chance to learn from my students about the unprinted secrets of
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great help I have
received from my wife, Charlotte, with organizing and advertising
extracurricular activities. The more ambiguously helpful member of
our family is a basset hound, Rip van Wrinkles, who narrowly lost
the contest for VP of the H.S.A. Wrinkles has become a great
favorite among certain students who are apparently susceptible to
his stoical, droopy, odiferous charm.
What else can I tell you? Despite being a white male I have a
certain multicultural makeup as a Canadian born in England, raised
in Scotland, and baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. I
occasionally write poems and am an inveterate doodler. I sing, but
not as often as I’d like. The Honors program seems a great place to
exercise my various interests and I am looking forward to getting to
know everyone. I am up here on the second floor of the house –
please drop by!
Wrinkles checking out the rented threads of Dr. England -"Someone
once stored hors d’oeuvres in those sleeves..."
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The News from Lake Wobegon: Past Assistant Director Anna Marie Roos
writes from Duluth Minnesota
Well, for those of the older guard who were
wondering, here is an update on our much-missed Dr. Anna Marie Roos.
Lets see . . . What have I been up to . . . here
In August of 1999, I started my position as an assistant
professor of history at the University of Minnesota of Duluth. For
those of you not familiar with Minnesota geography, Duluth is in
Minnesota's Northland on the shores of Lake Superior. When I drive
to work everyday, I see the largest freshwater lake in the world on
the horizon, along with ships coming in to dock in our international
port; the lake is so blue that it is sometimes difficult to
distinguish the horizon, so the ships sometimes look like they are
floating in the sky. The seasons are also quite different here than
they are in Salisbury. We have long extended falls with spectacular
colors and some unbelievable winters where we get several feet of
snow; hockey is king up here, as are other more arcane winter sports
like curling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. There is also a large
Scandinavian population here in Northern Minnesota, and so we are
treated to lingonberry pastries and cardamom bread (good), and mushy
casseroles (called hotdish up here) and lutefisk (very, very bad!)
Any of you who listen to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion
on NPR are hearing about the culture of the Midwest where I now
UMD is more than double the size of Salisbury University (though
the campus is not half as pretty as SU's), and we have students who
attend from all over the Midwest. UMD is primarily known as more of
a science-engineering university, with doctoral programs in
engineering and biology and a medical school. So, the liberal arts
programs tend to be a bit smaller, and there is no honors program
(though I might change that in the future!) I'm the only professor
who teaches European history before 1815, so I teach a wide variety
of classes including some about the Renaissance/Reformation, History
of Science (of course!), Tudor and Stuart English History, and
graduate courses for the Masters of Liberal Arts program we have
here at UMD. Other than teaching, I'm busy being advisor for the
History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, and doing my research. My first
book about how people in England perceived the sun and the moon from
1420-1700 is coming out in a few months, and I also have just had a
history of medicine article published by Johns Hopkins University
Press; I'm also going to be giving a symposium for graduate students
and colleagues about my research down at the Twin Cities campus in
January. I hope to be in England most of this summer doing research
for my next book about how different cultural factors affected how
science was presented in early English Newspapers of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries.
I do miss all of you and the Honors Program at SU very much, and
I think of you often. However, I've heard that Dr. Whall and Dr.
England are doing a good job keeping all you guys in line and
steering the Honors ship. If any of you want to know what I'm up to,
take a look at
www.d.umn.edu/~aroos. There is an email
link on there where you can get in touch with me. My very best to
all of you.
Anna Marie Roos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor,
History Department, University of Minnesota.
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Big Apple Culture Vulturing -- On November 18th
New York city was the destination for 23 honors students with Dr. &
Mrs. England. With strict instructions to absorb metropolitan
culture and be back at our rendezvous for the bus, we scattered into
the area around Times square. Rush-tickets were acquired by various
students for Rent, Les Miserables, and Riverdance
- some diehards even suffered the hardship of standing-room only
spots! Others spent time in the Museum of Television and Radio,
bought videos from street-vendors (who could probably tell they
weren’t police officers), and browsed the boutiques. One student
complained that the $1200 tank-tops at Saks looked tacky. Really,
where can one shop for stylish clothes these days!? A few
were dropped off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where only the
awareness that it was really an awfully long walk back to Salisbury
tore them from their adoration of the Dutch masters. On the way back
we took along two additional SU students who had come on their own
by Greyhound. So far from losing any students, as had been Dr.
England’s fear, we actually gained two! A pity these gains aren’t
bankable against any future losses. And despite tales of past
interesting bus experiences we got back shortly after midnight
without encountering anything worse than a cacophonous barrage of
How not to do it: — Dr. England invited his classes
to watch the presidential debates this semester, and threw open the
honors classroom to the campus for screenings of these events. While
the debates did improve in quality as they progressed, they were
generally poor models for the style of thoughtful opposition of
ideas that Dr. England encouraged in his Critical Thinking and
Writing classes. Still, we enjoyed the political theater and the
logical fallacy count, and students can still be heard telling their
peers to go "put it in a lockbox".
How to do it: -- In the same context Dr. England noted
the following facts and asked his students to draw some conclusions.
Time elapsed between polls closing and final decision on who won
Nov 7th U.S. presidential election: 4 weeks so
Nov 26th Canadian general election: 1 hour.
Open Mic Night Continues -- The Beat Generation
lives on in the Open Mic nights hosted by Honors sophomore Michelle
Burke and senior Jim ("Smokey") Frazier. Every two weeks there is
another featured artist, and lots of open mic time. Last time there
was actually a microphone for the song, poetry, and impromptu jam
sessions which developed over the course of the evening! Keep the
creativity happening, cats!
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The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked
readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding,
subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are some recent winners:
Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
doesn't get it.
Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously.
Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's
Glibido: All talk and no action.
Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when
they come at you rapidly.
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which
lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
The same paper published a contest for readers in which they were
asked to supply alternative meanings for various words. The
following were some of the winning entries:
Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Carcinoma (n.), a valley in California, notable for its heavy
Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have
Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you
absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.
Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.
Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a
proctologist immediately before he examines you.
Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish
Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
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Mind Shrapnel and Cookies
That’s how we’re advertising our Honors Student
Association Campus Colloquies, a forum for sharing ideas about a
wide variety of matters. The first colloquy was on the recent
"Ballot Box Blues" with Dr. Dean Kotlowski from history introducing
us to the history of disputed U.S. election results. About 20
students and faculty gathered to discuss the current odd situation,
attacking the Electoral College and mulling over the role of the
media in this latest politico-legal sensation.
Dr. England will lead the next colloquy on the fate of Napster
and its interplay with intellectual property rights, freedom of
speech, and the mutagenic effects of technology on culture. All
colloquies feature a speaker who introduces a topic for 20 minutes
and then open discussion of various issues which arise from it. We
are attempting to reproduce the play of ideas that characterize
honors classes in a way that reaches out to the entire campus
community. All students and faculty are invited to propose topics
for a colloquy. We hope to host a range of subjects which will serve
as "mind shrapnel" for people with many different interests. The
"cookies" are a lure which we enjoy baking. Check the website
(q.v.) for information about upcoming
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National Honors Conference in Washington D.C.
National Honors Conference in Washington, DC
Over 1500 faculty, administrators and students
from Honors programs nationwide attended this year’s National
Collegiate Honors Council conference held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
in Washington, DC, October 18-22.
Representing the Bellavance Honors Program were
students Tim Reese and Amanda Elzey, and program directors Richard
England and Tony Whall. Tim and Amanda, both "alumni" of the NCHC’s
"Honors Semesters" program (Amanda spent her semester in Greece, Tim
in the Grand Canyon), attended reunions of their semester groups.
Dr. England attended several workshop sessions to learn as much
about Honors administration and pedagogy as could be learned in four
busy days. Dr. Whall co-presented two symposia, one with Paul
Strong, Honors director at Alfred University on the poetry of Seamus
Heaney, and another on traditional and post-modern readings of
Robert Frost with Hugh Egan, Honors director at Ithaca College.
The Spring regional conference is being held this
year in Brooklyn, and the national conference, in the Fall, will be
in Chicago. Drs. Whall and England will be sure to be there, and
they’re always looking for interested students to accompany them on
these adventures. How about you?
Back to Top
The Saunterer Online
The Saunterer Online
Just in time for the tech stock meltdown and the Napster sellout,
the Honors program brings you a glimpse of hope for the future of
the wired world. You can now view issues of the Saunterer
online, with color pictures which should help you decipher the black
and white images you get in your paper copy. The Saunterer is
accessible on the revamped honors program website,
, At the moment last December’s and the current issue are the only
copies online, but we’ll keep adding issues. Any suggestions for
improving our web presence can be directed to Dr. England at
Back to Top
Hi Dr, Whall! Alumni News.
Michelle Keeney - - 1993
"I wanted to let you know that I have moved to Durham, NC to start
my internship. I graduated from Villanova University School of Law
in May 1999 and took the bar exam in July. My internship in clinical
psychology is for the completion of my Ph.D. It is jointly sponsored
by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Federal
Correctional Institute in Butner, NC. I spend half my week at the
hospital and the other half at the prison doing various
psychological tasks (testing, therapy, etc.).
"It seems as though I really am going to enjoy the work I will be
doing. We just finished orientation on Thursday so this coming week
will be my first "real" week of rotations. I love the area where I
am living. I am squeezed between Durham and Chapel Hill and Raleigh
is only 20 minutes away. It is nice after ten years of
post-secondary education to actually have weekends and evenings
free. I still have my dissertation to complete, but that is nothing
compared to my normal workload.
"Things are going very well. I am beginning to feel a little more
content and to realize that I have many interesting and challenging
opportunities awaiting me. I hope all is well in Salisbury. Perhaps
there will be a position opening in the Psychology Department
sometime in the future--you never know. Take care, Michelle."
Stephanie Havenner (Kastle) - - 1994 "I just received my copy
of The Saunterer. Excellent work! It was nice to read about some of
my fellow HSA friends.
"When we last spoke I was a marketing representative for a
commercial construction company. After a year, I removed the hard
hat and now work for United Way of Central Maryland in Baltimore. I
absolutely love it! My heart has always been in the non-profit
world. Remember adopting a family for the first time?
"I am in my final year at Johns Hopkins University. I will have
my MS in Marketing in May 2001. Although I believe in continual
learning, I cannot wait to graduate.
"Shawn Kastle (SU, 1995) and I have been married for 4 ½
years and are living in Columbia with our cat Cody. We wish you all
the best in 2000. Drop a line anytime."
Heather Carr - - 1995 Heather stopped in for a visit during
the Thanksgiving holidays. She received her PhD in Chemistry from
the University of Wisconsin this year and is now working on a
post-doctoral research project at the University of Utah in Salt
" My new job is in a lab that studies how cells get metal ions to
the enzymes that need them. I'm studying a gene that appears to be
responsible for delivering copper to a specific site in the complex
that generates energy for aerobic life in yeast. This gene, cox11,
has homologs in humans, but yeasts are much easier to study in a
"Utah is a beautiful place, but in the last week it's snowed
every day, and I've seen more snow than in all 4 years at SU. More
even than Madison Wisconsin usually got in a month during winter.
It'll probably be great for me to learn how to cross-country ski,
but I'm focusing right now on getting started in the lab."
Jennifer Gabb Frey - - 1995 "Upon receiving the Honors
newsletter, I thought I needed to write in with an update. First
things first...the name has changed. Back in the good ol' SU days I
was Jennifer Gaab. As of August 21, I have become "Frey" upon
marrying Jay in Lexington, Virginia. He is an alumnus of Virginia
Military Institute, a Captain in the Marines, and flies the FA-18
(Fighter "Hornet" Jet) out of Miramar MCAS (outside of San Diego,
CA.) This is the base where "Top Gun" was filmed. I went to the
Officers' Club there on a lark during a business trip to San Diego.
And there he was, my own "Tom Cruise"- only much taller!
"I have been out here since January 1999. I moved from South
Carolina, where I completed my masters at USC in May 1997. I then
went to work for Roche Laboratories, as a pharmaceutical
representative. I now work for Merck, in a similar position in
Southern California. Jay and I spent a glorious week in Bora Bora
for our honeymoon, and I have settled into life as an officer's wife
and new house owner. I am working on an Interior Decorating program
on the side, and also stay busy with the Officers' Wives Club, and
as a National Staff Member for my SU sorority. My husband is
currently deployed to Kuwait until June (yuck!)- but so goes the
price of freedom. My pug, Hoffmann, and I eagerly await his return.
I am thinking of returning to school for an MBA, but I am not sure
how much longer I will work because we are close to starting a
Christina Halter (Minkewicz) - - 1995 "I wasn't sure if my
original message got through or not. Glad to see it did. I have to
admit, my major was education. I enjoyed every minute of it in
college, but in the real world, it just has not worked out. I have
had approximately 10 different jobs since graduating in 1995, so I
have learned a lot about lots of different things. I am a database
expert, a Microsoft office expert, and I can answer the phone in the
most pleasant manner you will ever know. I work part time with
Prudential as a Marketing Associate and it has grown on me. I am
licensed to write Property and Casualty Insurance in the state of
VA. I deal mostly with people who are buying a house and need the
homeowners insurance to go with all of the rest of the closing
paperwork. I also write auto insurance and umbrella liability
policies. I cannot say that I've found my dream job as I always
hoped I would, but I have lots of time for that. As you may
remember, my dad found his "dream" job at 48 years and my mom is
working on her Masters right now at SU; she's getting her MBA and
loving it. Frank and I just bought a house here in Virginia
Beach.... The area has really grown on us.
"I really like the way you stated the difference between the
value of a good education and job training. I may not use my BS the
way it was intended, but I know that it was a wonderful opportunity
for me and I'm glad that I took advantage of SU and the Honors
Program. Who knows, someday in the future, I may decide to further
my education with a Masters degree.
"I don't know if you remember Frank (SU,1995),
but he has his Masters degree from Old Dominion University in 1997
and is using his talents as an agent with Prudential. He never
thought of himself as an insurance agent and financial planner in
college, but he is very happy and challenged by his job.
"Thanks for the response. We are up in Salisbury still quite
often to visit my family and we'll have to stop by and see the
campus soon. I know that it has changed quite a lot from when we
Mike Long --1995 "I was talking to Becca Brooks last night
and realized that it had been a while since I touched base with you.
Believe it or not, I am going to graduate with an MS in math (from
West Virginia University) in May and then I am going straight into
my doctoral program in mathematics education. I think I have finally
found out and am now willing to admit that the area that I love is
mathematics education. I am working with some wonderful people here
and want to continue to do so.
"...my new assistantship is awesome. I think you knew that I was
accepted into the middle school enrichment program. I am actually
writing a book for this. Imagine that...me...writing a book. I love
what I am doing and I love working with the teachers. All of the
feedback I have received has been very positive."
Jennifer Mariner - - 1995 "How are you?? It's been awhile
since we spoke and I thought I'd drop you a line. I am currently
working on my Ph.D. in Genetics at George Washington University and
the National Cancer Institute. I hope to be finished within the next
18 months, so cross your fingers. I will be very happy when I am
"I am not sure what I am going to do after school. Most
scientists go on to do post doctoral research. I would like to move
to Baltimore, so I will most likely look for a position at
University of Maryland or Johns Hopkins. I am also considering other
options. Many school systems up here are hiring Ph.D. scientists to
teach in their high schools. This would be a risky jump, but I might
enjoy it. I have been teaching a lab class at GW and I really like
it. I am also interested in finding a tenure track position in a
smaller teaching university. I know these are difficult to find, but
if I put my mind to it, I know someone out there would eventually
Agnes Patkowski - - 1996 "In your last message (written a
while ago) you told me a little about your Ph.D. comprehensive exams
and how exactly you studied for them. You also said that you passed
every section on the first try. After I read that, I couldn't write
to you until my comps (for the Ph.D. in Philosophy at Duquesne
University in Pittsburgh) were over and I knew how I did. And, after
six months of reading 6 hours a day for six days a week (I didn't
want to go completely insane, hence the one day off) I am very happy
(and shocked) to say that I passed. I felt okay about the Ancient,
Medieval and Contemporary parts of the exams but really believed
that the Modern did me in. The chair called me today, though, to
tell me. This exam really began to mean a lot to me. I felt if I
failed I couldn't really get my Ph.D., even though I would be able
to take the exams over for another try. I can't really explain it,
but I felt that I had to pass to prove to myself that I belonged in
a philosophy graduate department.
"Anyhow, now I'm trying to get my reading list together so that I
can start reading for my dissertation. I don't have my topic
concretely worked out at all, but it will have something to do with
ethics and literature. Not very specific, I know. Now that I think
of it, you probably have some reading suggestions you can give me
(we don't have much concern for literature or literary theory in our
department). So far, my very rough reading list on the literature
side consists of Nussbaum, Auerbach, Said, Forster, and Lukacs.....
"I'm teaching two sections of intro this semester. I am also
thinking of approaching the chair about the possibility of teaching
a philosophy of literature class, but I am not sure how responsive
he would be to that. Oh yeah, and I'm reading Middlemarch. I really
think your advice helped me pass these exams. I kept thinking that
studying methodologically helped you pass, and so that it might help
me. Obviously it did."
Christina Bach (Dryden) - - 1996 "Hello, this is
Christina Bach now known as Christina Dryden (I got married Dec. 31,
1997 to another SU grad). How are you? I have been meaning to write
to you. I really enjoy receiving the SU Honors newsletter. I always
think of you and the Honors program whenever I receive one in the
"So, what have I been doing? Well, besides getting married I have
been working on my Ph.D. in chemical oceanography at Old Dominion
University. My research is exciting and I have the greatest
dissertation advisor, Dr. John Donat. I have been at ODU since I
graduated in May 1996. I recently passed my Ph.D. candidacy exam so
now I am a Ph.D. candidate. Finally!! Now the only thing between me
and graduation is my dissertation research! My project is an
investigation of methylcadmium in the Elizabeth River, VA and the
Lower Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully, I will finish around December 2001.
Alison Carusi - - 1996 "Well, it's official. I am a
teacher...or at least that is what they call me...and in two
languages. Two days before school started, I was hired to be the ESL
teacher for Chatfield Elementary School, here in Grand Junction
(Colorado)! I teach K-5th graders during their literacy blocks. I
had two days to prepare and an empty room to fill with fun things
for kids to do! All of my students speak Spanish as a first
language, all 29 of them. I have one aide and another on the way, so
that's good, but I am BUSY to the max!!!"
Jennie Wollenweber - - 1996 "I'm busy at George Washington
University, studying in three classes for the Ph.D., writing a lot,
re-learning Spanish for my qualifying exam, studying for SU comps
for my Masters in English (I take them in the end of September), and
finding time to take a white-water rafting trip in October. I'm also
working in the Writing Center at GW. I decided not to teach my first
semester as a Ph.D. student, but I miss teaching already. I may be
teaching environmental courses at UMBC this summer and next fall.
Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing." (See
Jennie’s article on page. 1)
Brian Grover - - 1997 stopped in for a much-enjoyed
visit on Homecoming weekend. He's in his second year (in a four-year
program) of Pharmacy school at the University of Maryland at
Baltimore. He said this is the toughest year, but so far, he's done
well enough to look forward to graduation in 2 ½ years. Crass
materialist that I am, I asked him if pharmacy pays well (I'm always
on the lookout for rich alums!) and he said, "verrrry well! Tell any
of your students even considering pharmacy that it is a richly
rewarding profession in many ways!" Most excitingly, Brian is
singing with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. He sang with the SU
Concert Choir during his four years here, and came to this
Homecoming, in part, to sing with the choir at Homecoming’s
"Celebration of the Arts."
Lori Frei - - 1998 "Yes, I have moved out of my parents’
house and into my own townhouse. I am definitely enjoying living on
my own and "playing" homeowner (I'm renting, but it still has that
feel of being "mine!") Work is going very well. Wait. When was the
last time I "talked" to you? I graduated in May from University of
Maryland - Baltimore with my Masters in Social Work Administration
with a concentration in Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). (An EAP
is basically a counseling service for employees and their families.
The company either runs the program or contracts with a private
organization to run the program.) Throughout last year, I had an
internship at Employee Health Programs in Bethesda, MD. Well, they
hired me on, so I am still there! I work in the clinical services
division (we have an EAP program and a substance abuse program). I
really love my job and the people I work with. It's a perfect mix of
responsibilities for me - some client contact over the phone,
program administration type duties, database maintenance, account
Ben Hinceman - -1998 "Hope all is well in the 'Bury. I
bought The Magic Mountain but have not had a chance to read
it yet...but I have a long air flight coming up, so maybe then.
"I have just been accepted to study at the University of Hong
Kong Law School in the spring 2001! I'll leave for Hong Kong at the
end of January and attend the spring semester at the HKU Law School.
Then in June, I will travel to Singapore where I will study
A.S.E.A.N. (Association of South Eastern Asian Nations) trade and
investment law at the National University of Singapore Law School.
In July and August, I will intern at a law firm in either Kuala
Lampur or Singapore. I think this will be the coolest thing ever!
"I will also be applying to University of Hong Kong's LLM
(Advanced Law Degree) program in Chinese Investment and Trade law.
If I get in, I will remain in Hong Kong for the fall 2001 and spring
2002 semesters. I think this will be quite an adventure! I have a
lot to do to prepare, but I promise I'll visit the 'Bury before I
leave and pay homage to the place where it all began.
Carrie Miller - - 1998 "I just started a new job last week as
the Director of Marketing and Events for Bibelot, Baltimore's
largest independently owned bookstore... So far, I'm terribly busy,
but loving every second! It should prove to be a great career move.
After September, I should have the system down pat and be able to
have more fun with everything, rather than now, as I try to learn
Kelly Hardy - - 1999 "Hi Dr. Whall! I was so happy to see
your note on my copy of the honor's newsletter! You haven't
forgotten me! . Right now, I hold the prestigious title of Logistics
Management Specialist for the United States Navy at the Patuxent
River Naval Air Station. I'm still hoping to eventually go back to
school. I just don't know what I want to study (or how to fund it!).
I know what subjects I like to study, but those interests very
rarely coincide with careers I'm interested in pursuing. I think
I've finally decided that on January 30, I am going to win the
Publisher's Clearing House prize, pay off all my bills, and just
attend schools for the rest of my life. Not only do I plan to pick
up a few post-graduate degrees (history, international studies
perhaps), but I am also going to attend a few trade schools to
become a master chef, carpenter, and auto mechanic. What do you
"Anyway, things aren't so bad, but I do miss SU. How are things
going for you? I saw quite a few students had decided to go on for
their theses this year. My hat goes off to them! Well, one of these
federal holidays, I'll talk my old roommate into driving down to
Salisbury with me. When I do, I'll be sure to drop by and bother
you. It's been a long time since I've heard someone get REALLY
excited about Thoreau, and I think I'm going through withdrawal!
Todd Cooper - - 2000 who is studying for his MS in
Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara,
writes: "Everything's going pretty well here! I'm currently
taking courses in Earth Systems Science, Analytical Methods,
Microeconomic Principles, and Environmental Law. The quarter's
almost done. We have a week and a half of classes after
Thanksgiving, followed by a week of final exams. All of my exams are
take-home, so there's less pressure during finals week. I start a
Teaching Assistantship next quarter for the Environmental Studies
department. I'll be running 2 discussion sections for the class
"Aqueous Transport of Pollutants." Anyway, I'll be on campus for
Courtney Smith - - 2000 wrote to tell me how she turned her
thesis into a graduate program, to give all of those of you who are
skeptical about the value of doing a thesis something to think
""I began searching for a graduate school, not with the hopes of
continuing my undergraduate thesis, but hoping to look into a new
area. However, in the process of looking for a school, I mentioned
to a professor how I had done an undergraduate thesis on greenways.
Through a chain of people, I eventually got into contact with a
professor at Texas A&M University who conducts research on greenways
within the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences department.
Although this department was not where I expected to end up after
receiving a degree in biology, the program will give me the
flexibility to create my own series of coursework so that I can look
into ecological issues in design for greenways, and also for the
National Park Service."
Teresa Piekarski - - 2000 "I just wanted to drop you a line
to let you know that my job search is finally over (thank goodness).
After careful consideration, I have accepted a great offer from a
company in Bethesda, MD called Congressional Information Services
(CIS). Basically, the job entails a lot of reading and writing. As
an abstractor/indexer, my job is to take the transcripts from
congressional hearings taking place on Capital Hill and summarize
the witness's testimony so that it makes sense to the public. I am
pretty excited about the whole thing and even more excited about the
benefits, which include tuition reimbursement so grad school will
definitely be in the near future."
Suzanne Sharff - - 2000 "I am working as a Risk Analyst for
the Army chemical weapons demilitarization program, under contract
with SAIC. They analyze the chemical weapons disposal facilities
located around the United States to determine the risk to workers
and the public. I am living in sin with my fiancé, Doug, and when we
aren't throwing big keggers, this nerdy couple tries to plan a
wedding for next fall." (Question: what the heck is a "kegger"? Is
it like a discus?)
Veena Narang - - 2000 " I am in Phoenix, Arizona,
teaching social studies to seventh and eighth graders. It is above
all things, an adventure, very much like a roller coaster. I am
teaching through Teach For America, a program that places recently
graduated college students into under-resourced schools.
Under-resourced can mean many things. For me, that means I have 37
students in one class and almost all my students are very behind. I
have some seventh graders with 2nd, 3rd grade reading levels. I miss
literature, just being able to read and discuss, read and discuss!
What a great major, huh? But I have decided to go to grad school for
English secondary education. I will always teach in an
under-resourced classroom. I love these kids. When I tell people
where I work, they say "oh, you work there," like this is an awful
area or something, and to an extent it is, but I would not trade
this for anything. I do not want to be anywhere else right now in my
life. Anyway, If you know of any undergrads who are unsure of what
to do with themselves and want to do community-oriented work, making
a difference teaching, then have them email me. My address is
Anyway, I hope that all is well with you."
Heather Reavis -- 2000 ". . .On a more specific note, my
schools are going well. I'm at two elementary schools...around 400
kids....1st-5th grade general music and 5th grade beginning band. I
have fun every day teaching and seem to be handling the prospect of
putting together two (one at each school) Christmas programs (band
and chorus). I try not to think about the end product too much, and
just go day to day getting as many things planned as I can. I feel
like I'm "playing" most days because I have such a good time with
the kids....not that I don't have discipline problems...etc, but as
the year goes on, and the kids get to know me more, the discipline
problems are decreasing.
"I haven't gotten much further in The Brothers Karamazov.
I just finished "The Great Debate" about renouncing your faith in
the face of tortuous situations. I'm really enjoying reading someone
else's approach to such deep religious dilemmas."
Laura Keller -- 2000 Laura is studying for the M.A. in
Writing at Northeastern University in Boston. She wrote:
"Last quarter ended well. I only failed only one of my students.
All of the rest were in the A/B range. My own graduate classes ended
well also. I received an A in all three of my classes. I am in the
process of applying for one of seven STC (Society for Technical
Communication) scholarships. The tech writing dept. has only 3
full-time faculty, two of whom were my professors last quarter.
Those two professors have written my letters of recommendation,
something I was very worried about because I only knew them for one
quarter. I thought to myself, "Where's Dr. Whall when you need him?"
However, because the program is so small and there are so few
full-time students, I have developed a very good relationship with
them. They are both young, female professors, who really consider
students their colleagues. In fact, I can call them both by their
first names! The department is in the process of hiring a fourth
full-time tech writing professor, and I am on the hiring committee.
"I have really started to love teaching. Last quarter, I would
dread going to class, not because the students didn't respect me,
but just because I did not feel I was making any difference in their
education. However, after reading their evaluations, I now look
forward to teaching so much more than I did last quarter. I am aware
that anything I do may not have the exact, ideal outcome I want, but
at least I am making some difference, even if it's just having them
write more than they would without the class."
Sean Niner - - 2000 Sean is studying for his M.A. at
Emerson College in Boston. He wrote: "Boston is fantastic. Yes, we
have not only "discovered" our free MFA (Museum of Fine Art) pass,
we spent an entire Saturday afternoon using it. They're changing
exhibits fairly soon and we're going to head back. Laura (Keller
- - see above) sends her students there quite a bit, for class
"The first semester here we spent a lot of time walking
everywhere, discovering things on the weekends. It's such an amazing
place to simply walk around and enjoy the buildings and the
sights...not to mention the historical "feel" of the place. I worked
part-time at an insurance company (blah! double blah!) to make some
quick money first semester, and I was continually amazed that I
walked by John Adams' and John Hancock's gravesites every morning on
the way to work! I'm a big fan of history anyway, but anyone in
Boston has to feel the blend of old and new everywhere you turn.
Because you've been here, I'm sure you know what I mean.
"School is good. Emerson is very small - in contrast to
Northeastern - and my professors are all working professionals
putting aside time to teach a couple of classes. It's an interesting
change from my undergraduate experience, and I think a good one.
There are not many academic programs for publishing, and so I think
the faculty really helps us focus on the practical side as much as
any "theory" behind the discipline. I'm now working part-time at
Houghton Mifflin, a big publishing company downtown, and thus far
have enjoyed it very much (especially after the insurance ordeal
CHRIS Whitt - - 2000 "I just wanted y'all to know I am doing
alright down here at University of New Orleans (studying for a
Masters in Political Science). I'm surviving the bombardment of
quantitative methods and statistics. I am actually getting some good
grades in some of these hard classes. I'm taking two methods classes
and an African American Politics Class. I'm learning a lot that
would have made me have a much better Honors thesis! I'm sure my
dissertation will be up to par in four years."
The Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program
Bellavance Honors Center
1101 Camden Avenue
Salisbury, MD 21801