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Honors

 

Holloway Hall
Saunterer

 

 

Newsletter of the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program

Salisbury University

Editors:  Mickey Burke, Becki Lee, Dr. Richard England    

Writers: Mickey Burke, Eric Colvin, Tim Dowd, Josh Gotwalt, Becki Lee, Melyssa Malinowski , Dr. Tony Whall

May, 2002  Vol. 7 No. 2

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."

Articles

THINK!

By Richard England

    

 

 

At a recent conference students introduced me to Cranium, a game which combined an array of mental activities to maximize fun and noise output. It seems an apt symbol for a common theme in this term’s Saunterer: the joy and necessity of thinking!

We’ve got articles on thesis and junior research projects, a report from the thesis symposium, reflections on poetic thought in Tim Dowd’s interview with Nancy Mitchell, and picks for provoking summer reading from yours truly. Even the lighter fare makes us think about thought: baffling brain teasers for eight year old Armenians, and blindingly daft (and humorous) instructions.

One might think that the social reports don’t fit the theme, but even they are designed to promote the growth of an Honors community in which ideas can be grown and shared. After all, the noise and pleasures of parties and outings are superficial if they don’t help forge friendships which will help us travel beyond our current selves and mental walls. “Think Salisbury!” is more than a University marketing motto; it implies the importance of a society of learners.

When I was an undergraduate, I would end my “to do” lists with the self-admonition “Think!”. As such lists get longer, it becomes easy to drop that one extra imperative and to simply “do.” I hope that this issue of the Saunterer will spark a little thought about how rewarding thinking and learning can be. In her retrospective essay, graduating senior Melyssa Malinowski emphasizes that college is a place to “enjoy.” In the midst of end of term busy-ness both students and faculty can forget that. But in summer one can remember, reflect, dream, perceive things again with a renewed clarity. Welcome to the latest Honors newsletter. And while you’re at it - ”Think!”

 

Vivere est cogitare
(the essence of 
life is thinking)

Cicero 
 

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Delirious Doctors, Delicious Desserts, and a Digital Camera:

The HSA takes a trip to see Jekyll and Hyde

By Becki Lee

 

 

 

Eleven people, three cars, two hours of driving, Three Little Bakers, and an infinite amount of food – sounds like an HSA outing!

On April 13th, the Englands escorted eight other students and myself to the Three Little Bakers Theatre and Country Club to see a showing of Jekyll and Hyde. Having never been on an HSA trip before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

We piled into three cars and began the trek up to Wilmington. And only two cars got lost! Hooray! Best of all, I got to play with the digital camera on the trip, which kept me giddy with preoccupation. Two and a half hours (and many pictures) later, we all met up again at the Three Little Bakers Theater and Country Club. Dinner was already waiting, which was good because we realized that the pre-show didn’t start until 7 p.m., and the play itself didn’t start until 8 p.m.. We elected to stuff our collective faces during the two hours before the pre-show.

And stuff we did! The food was fantastic. Maybe I’m just used to the “gourmet food” at the Commons, but the Three Little Bakers definitely knew how to please our palates. The crowning point, however, was the dessert tables – they were debatably the best part of the night, next to catching the Englands dancing to the “Electric Slide.” (Well, alright, they weren’t actually dancing to the “Electric Slide,” but they happened to be onstage during it.)

I’ve never seen so many delicious treats in such close proximity! Chocolate cheesecake, Heath bar cream pie, chocolate truffles, peanut butter pie…you name it, they had it, and they wanted you to take it off their hands. In fact, they informed us that there was a two dessert minimum. The HSA gained about five pounds per member that night.

As if all the food wasn’t enough, Nick of the Three Little Bakers decided to entertain us before the show. We determined that (1) Acrobats are nifty, (2) God bless the USA, and (3) Nick is a dirty old man. Thankfully, the show started before we were subjected to much more of Nick’s depressing babble.

The show itself was quite impressive. While the orchestra had been pre-recorded, the actors and singers performed beautifully. The scene changes were fascinating because some were done while the show was being performed. It was interesting to watch how they worked with the set, because it was a rather awkward setup. The set was very small and at the very back of the stage, and the rest of the stage was prop-free for dancing and acting. Regardless, the show was a delight. All of the actors were wonderful, but Dale Martin Jr. in particular, the man who played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, was superb.

High points of the show: a soulful duet between Lucy and Emma; the transformation of Jekyll to Hyde; the “Electric Slide” during the intermission; and the climax of the show, Martin singing a duet with himself as Jekyll and Hyde. (Low points: the lack of an orchestra, and Nick asking to dance with another woman seven inches taller than him.)

All in all, it was quite the excursion – the only thing missing was Wrinkles. (And a photo of the Englands dancing.) My first outing with the HSA was a blast – and I have the pictures to prove it!

Dessert number three? Let’s do it!

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RESEARCH NOTES

 

 

Mickey Burke, a junior majoring in English, and Josh Gotwalt, a senior philosophy major, write to their fellow students about Honors research. Alumni are invited to send us their memories of research and thesis projects for inclusion in the next Saunterer.

From Junior Research Project...
By Mickey Burke

Like all of Dr. Whall’s guinea pigs, I registered for my junior research project without any idea what I was getting into. I had also signed up for an independent study research project with Dr. Stewart, and I was not sure how I would have to adjust one class for the other.

I took an independent study to learn about historical approaches to mythology. It may sound boring, but I was curious to see how many ways the same thing can be interpreted—and Dr. Stewart once told me my technique was a hundred years behind the times. One of the objectives that I set for my independent study was to write a paper for a conference.

Since I was already working with a professor and creating a paper to be presented at a conference, Dr. Whall didn’t have much to do. He was available to help if things got rough between Dr. Stewart and me, or if the subject became too daunting or boring. Fortunately everything went smoothly, so I never had to take advantage of Dr. Whall’s wisdom.

Overall the most difficult part of the project was trying to keep my paper within a reasonable length to present. I could have easily written 20 pages from the material, but instead I wrote 12. Before reading it, I had to shrink it into a six-page presentation.

Aside from the time limit, the presentation itself was painless. After much practice, I read my shortened paper and answered a few questions about why I chose the subject and what my reactions to it were. I only wish that I could have spoken for longer or answered more questions, and that I could have presented the paper at a conference on mythology.

After this one credit class, I was left with a two-inch binder of research, several drafts of my paper, a teacher that I know and work well with, and perhaps the confidence to begin my thesis.


...to Thesis
By Josh Gotwalt

If you are one of the those who has repressed the fact that this project looms in your very near future, then I am here to calm your trepidation. Although daunting, the Honors thesis is a very rewarding process. Start thinking now about interesting debates and topics within your field of study. If there is any one thing that might streamline the thesis project, it is choosing a topic that you find compelling. Once you have found this topic, the research is exhilarating and enriching. In essence you are creating a question for yourself and then working to articulate the best answer possible. Thus the project serves as a test of your ability to process large amounts of information, an introduction to the processes of the academic world, and a chance to work closely with your professors on topics that especially interest you.

Perhaps the most intimidating element of the thesis is its length requirement. Certainly it is the largest assignment you might face as an undergraduate. However, because of its scale, it represents a serious academic achievement and a milestone in your college career. I have spoken with alumni who have chosen to complete the Honors program by doing a thesis and those who have not. Those who have remember it with pride and a sense of accomplishment. Those who have not regret missing the opportunity to test their ability and expand their knowledge. So look forward to your thesis as a rigorous and demanding project that will be the culminating achievement of your undergraduate career.

Josh’s thesis, 60 very readable pages on post-modern cinema, shared the Roth thesis prize with Laura Eierman’s project on the phylogenetic analysis of Iridaceae.

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HONORS THESIS PROJECTS 2002

 

The following Honors theses have been accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation with Bellavance Honors - with Distinction.
LAURA EIERMAN, “Phylogenetic Analysis of the Genus Sisyrinchium (Iridaceae)”
		Dr. Kim Hunter, Mentor
		Dr. Ann Barse, Reader
		Dr. Miguel Mitchell, Reader

GREG FLORKOWSKI, “Measuring the Success of Strategic Alliances 
		   Using the Balanced Score Card"
		Dr. Karen Papke-Shields, Mentor
		Dr. Michael Garner, Reader
		Ms. Kathie Wright, Reader

JOSHUA GOTWALT, “What is Postmodern Cinema?”
		Dr. James Hatley, Mentor
		Dr. Thomas Erskine, Reader
		Dr. Francis Kane, Reader

MELYSSA MALINOWSKI and JACLYN RODRIGUEZ, “The Crisis and Rescue of
					 Science Education Today”
		Dr. Starlin Weaver, Mentor
		Dr. Edward Robeck, Reader
		Dr. Claudia Morrison-Parker, Reader
		Dr. David Rieck, Reader
		Dr. Gail Welsh, Reader

ANNE NEUBAUER, “Mothers and Daughters in the Spanish-Speaking World:
  		A Relationship of Struggle and Love”
		Dr. Brian Stiegler, Mentor
		Dr. Keith Brower, Reader
		Dr. Tony Whall, Reader

 

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Armenia:  Superpower in Training Helping with a GRE session recently, Dr. England was reminded of the joys of logical puzzles. Here are two from a book by A. Hakobyan and N. Khrimyan by Macmillan Armenia. This book has been adopted by many Armenian schools for use in grades three, four and five. Here are two of the easier ones (and to make it even easier, I will give you their translation from the Armenian!)

1. A problem has been proposed in class. At the end of the lesson it turned out that the number of boys who had solved the problem was the same as the number of girls who had not solved it. Were there more girls in the class than students who had solved the problem?

2. There is an incorrect arithmetic expression formed by matches in the picture. Move one match per digit, so that the expression becomes correct.

(answers here)

 

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 Honors Thesis Symposium

 

 

 

Thirteen presenters, a great buffet lunch, and good conversations about Honors theses and junior research projects that ranged from computer programming to Spanish literature, from gendered cultural scripts to the finer points of insider trading, from phylogenetic statistics to the horrors of the Inferno. Here are a few pictures....


Discussion is the order of the day...

    
Josh Gotwalt                   Laura Eierman explains flower phylogeny.


Greg Florkowski tries to explain business strategy to an English major (Tim Dowd).

Here’s a list of presenters and their project field (in parentheses): 
Sean Dukehart (computer science) 
Laura Eierman (biology)
Greg Florkowski (management)
Elisa Frank (communications)
Josh Gotwalt (philosophy)
Alex Johnson (business)
Mike Kelley (English)
Melyssa Malinowski (education)
Erin Meyer (film and gender studies)
Anne Neubauer (Spanish)
Aimee Parker (biochemistry)
Harry Pippin (business)
Gayle Raynor (biology)
Jackie Rodriguez (education)
Matthew Steele (biochemistry)

And a good time (and lunch) was had by all!

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In Retrospect

By Melyssa Malinowski

 

 

 

I can honestly say that until fairly recently, I was never sad about leaving college. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed college immensely, but ever since high school, I’ve been ready to get into the real world.

My first bit of remorse came during a post NCHC conference meeting with the HSA. We were talking about all of the incredible things that we learned and all of the plans we had for the program. As I sat there listening to my colleagues, a group of enthusiastic sophomores with much college ahead of them, I realized that I would not be around to help implement these fantastic ideas.

My second pang arose when I thought about The Saunterer. I have at least written an article for this newsletter ever since I came to college and I’ve had the privilege of being the student editor. In leaving college that is something I’ll also have to leave behind. I would like to think that I’ve been beneficial to the newsletter (though I doubt the people who I’ve hounded about deadlines would agree): I’ll certainly miss it.

In coming to college I had no idea what to expect. I knew that I wanted to be a chemistry teacher; I knew that I wanted to be a part of things. Well I’ve accomplished both of those goals. In retrospect I can say that without a doubt the organization that I found to be most beneficial is the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program. From here I’ve found some of my closest friends. And remarkably, I’ve seen the Honors Student Association come from nothing but three or four people to a group of students willing to put some work into creating an Honors community. On some small scale I’d like to think of myself as a part of that.

The only sage advice I have for my fellow students is to find something there that you want to put your energy into and enjoy being in college, so you leave with no regrets. But the most important thing is to enjoy; it’s the greatest time of your life.

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The HSA "Super Ball" Report

By Eric Colvin

 

 

 

Among the perks of being in the Honors program here at Salisbury is the privilege of being able to participate in the HSA “Super Ball,” an annual pool tournament held in the lower levels of the Honors House. The second year for the tournament kicked off with 16 participants and is single elimination, best out of three games. Despite progressing slowly, players are having fun and making good use of the new pool cues in the basement. Competitors this year include “Dr. Destructo” England and “Buffalo Fats” Whall, in addition to a wide range of Honors students. The tournament is still going on since players set their own schedules for matches, and it will probably last to the end of the year, so there is no winner to announce yet. The HSA hopes to expand this competitiveness in the future with a Ping-Pong tournament and possibly even a foosball tournament. Who knows, perhaps the entire country will soon be able to view these tournaments via ESPN Broadcast, and the Bellavance Honors Center will achieve national recognition as the elite table-top game place we all know it to be.

 

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Armenian Puzzle Answers

 

 

1. The number of students who solved the problem equals the number of girls who solved it plus the number of boys who solved it. But the number of boys who solved the problem is the same as the number of girls who did not solve the problem. So, the number of all the girls in the class equals the number of students who solved the problem.

2.

 

Does your brain hurt yet? The moral of the story. Teach your child Armenian and order this book Logical Puzzles (Macmillan Armenia, 2000) today!

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Interview: Nancy Mitchell

By Tim Dowd

 

 

 

Nancy Mitchell is an outstanding member of the Honors faculty, as well as a dominant figure in the English Department’s Creative Writing Program. She has just published her first book of poetry, titled the near surround, which has been received with great success within the poetry community. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her writing.

-When did you first start writing?

I can’t really remember precisely, but it was very early on that I started writing stories...I was a child with an inflamed imagination and writing was just one of the less overt outlets for it and got me into the least trouble. I started writing poetry much later in my life.

-What is it about your personality that you think makes you a good writer?

I hope I'm a good writer, but I'm afraid I have to leave that qualification up to time and my peers.  I think what I can answer is what it is about my personality that enables me to have a writing life.  Well, I don't mind spending long stretches of time in solitude. In fact, I often undergo what Jung calls a "willed introversion" in which I isolate myself for definite periods of time to think and write. I also am fascinated with the way that the mind along with the subconscious tries to make sense out of our emotional life through imagery.  I'm also very sensitive to the music, the sound and rhythm in daily life: an overheard conversation, background of trains, traffic, weather, etc., and how they inform the moment.

-Why do you teach while writing, as opposed to having some other job to support your "writing habit?"

The longer I teach, the more I learn about writing, and I also find that I learn so much from my students which informs my writing.

One of the biggest thrills for me in teaching creative writing is to have the opportunity to witness students get what it means to "show" through imagery sound and rhythm, etc., to reveal character through a character's action, what he says, thinks, etc. rather than "tell" with abstractions or editorializing.  

What's really great when that happens is that the writer has started to look to the world around him/her for authentic examples, and it signals more engagement with the world than before.  It's a big moment for a beginning writer and I'm happy when I'm present for it.  I am equally thrilled when students understand the connection between what I'm teaching and how it informs and enriches their own lives.

-Do you feel more confident as a writer, now that a book of your work has been published?


It's very validating, of course, for a press to think well enough of your work to invest time and money to publish it, but I'm not sure if that makes a writer more confident.  I try to trust my instincts and feel confident when I do and that trust is rewarded in work that is clear and moves the reader emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically.  But you know, my poems are not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it is my hope to write poems which bring readers some pleasure.

-Regarding the "Self" class that you teach for the Honors Program, how do the concepts involving the self intertwine with your writing?

Wow...how much time do we have?...you should take the class! Writing is just one of the means by which we can become most fully present in the moment, and I think it is in these moments that we get closer to knowing ourselves, the self.  But someone can have a very fully present experience pumping gas!  I guess writing has become for me a somewhat reliable way I can have those fully present moments.

Oddly, one becomes oneself by becoming oneself, or as the poet Theodore Roethke said "I learn by going where I have to go."

 

From Nancy Mitchell’s the near surround (Four Way Books, 2002)


For Years I Hid Things from Myself



The heart
on its chain,

I think, buried
in the yard

(when I'd lie on my back
the heart would lie

in the hollow
of my collarbone).

To the underside 
of a bed, a table, I nailed

a tarot deck, an undershirt,
a faceless plastic saint-- 

to stop looking at them,
to breathe.

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Being Social with the Honors Student Association

By Mickey Burke

 

 

This year the Honors Society Association (HSA) has sponsored many gatherings, trips, colloquies, and other social events. At the heart of all this activity has been Linda Grimmer, the HSA’s social director. With the assistance of Dr. England and the HSA board, she has hosted and attended many of the goings-on at the Honors House. In an interview on April 19, 2002, I asked her about the success of this year’s projects.

When I mentioned her title as social director, she laughed, “Which means I get to run around like a chicken with my head cut off.” That is not to say that she is not organized, but to suggest that there is much to do. “There is a lot of behind the scene stuff, making flyers, picking movies, making sure we have a sign in sheet. . .” etc.

With so much to juggle, things occasionally fall through the cracks. She admitted that on Kubrick Night she forgot to pick up the movies until just before the Movie Night began. “No one saw me running frantically through the movie store looking for A Clockwork Orange” only to find it was unavailable. Despite this difficulty the show went on. “I had two movies, just not the two that were on the flyer.” Even though A Clockwork Orange was not at the movie store, Jenny Good went home for a copy. This is just the helpful atmosphere that Linda likes about Movie Nights. “It’s like watching a movie with friends, people you don’t see except then.”

This close knit atmosphere is at the heart of HSA’s activities. “We are trying to build an Honors community through our social events.” Whether it is dinner theater in Delaware or a Christmas party in the Honors House, the HSA tries to organize fun activities that bring people together outside of the classroom.

Some functions like the Open Mic Nights and the Mind Shrapnel colloquies draw folks from across the campus, while others seem to attract students from the Honors program. All Honors events are open to the campus community. No matter which it is, Linda is sure to be there. Even when she doesn’t host it, she is “there 15 minutes before the event making sure the house is open and things are ready.”

There are still a few activities coming up this semester, but Linda is already looking forward to next year. There will be the New Orientation Program, Movie Nights, Open Mic Nights, a return trip to dinner theater in Delaware, an Ice Cream Social, and perhaps a Cheesecake Night.

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Readables

By Richard England

 

 

 

An Unexpected Light
Jason Elliot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cassini Division
Ken McLeod

Final exams have a way of making the idea of reading unpleasant, but as the first weeks of June draw on, summer demands books. Cicadas sing of prose over backyard hammocks, city subways rattle like yarns read by sleepy commuters, and summer job lunch hours were made to be read to. Even Assateague ponies peer over your shoulder to see what you’re reading beneath your beach umbrella. The hot silences of summer are waiting to be filled with the vicarious adventures of bound words. And so, I venture to make a few recommendations (with a promise to my students not to drag in Darwin).

Afghanistan remains in the news, tempting unwary readers into books recently penned by journalists. While these try to explain the tangled politics and recent history of that unhappy land, one gets too baffled by acronyms and dull prose to actually come away with much. A luminous exception to this rule is Jason Elliot’s An Unexpected Light (Picador, 2001) which describes two journeys the author made to Afghanistan in 1979 and the early 1990s. His reflections on the culture, politics and history of Afghanistan are beautifully crafted into a book which allows the reader to sympathize with a wild and alien land. He describes people who have never known peace, who are marked and menaced by the constant threat of land mines, and yet show incredible hospitality to strangers. His imaginative flights through millennia of Afghan history are enriched by his accounts of fantastic and rocket scarred ruins. He writes of the rise of the Taliban, and tells of Mujaheddin commanders dueling with tanks in a village square over the affections of a homosexual lover. An astounding and excellent read that compares favorably with such travel greats as Eric Newby and Wilfred Thesiger.

Bernard Lewis’s What Went Wrong? (Oxford, 2001) offers a more scholarly, historical approach to the relations between Islam and the West In a few lucid chapters Lewis lays out the history of the encounter between European and Islamic cultures from the 16th to the 20th centuries, and claims that as the despised Franks outstripped the heirs to the Ottoman empire, Islamic scholars and leaders sought to understand why they had fallen behind. I can’t help feeling that in simplifying history for a popular audience Lewis may have made his argument too stark, but this intellectual and social history of the Near East is apparently the product of a very knowledgeable and clear thinking scholar. This is a good brief introduction to a troubled and immediately relevant problem.

On the domestic front, you might try Daniel Lazare’s The Velvet Coup (Verso, 2001). There must be something wrong with America’s electoral system if it takes the acerbic diatribe of an angry communist to make me understand it. While Lazare comments on the infamous Gore-Bush election debacle, his larger concerns are the existence of the Electoral College, and the deleterious effect of the balance of powers in American government. You may disagree with his thesis, but his book is a great read, and offers some sharp insights into the American political system. Best of all, it makes me feel like dusting off my old Billy Bragg albums.

The last non-fiction book I’ll mention here is Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation (Houghton Mifflin, 2001). Blending cultural history with investigative journalism, Schlosser takes us from the first McDonald’s, through the landscape of franchises, flavors, slaughterhouses, and consumers of fast food. He describes how market analysts use Cold War satellite technology to place restaurants, how lab-coated flavorists tantalize our nostrils with food perfumes, how workers are exploited, and (horror of horrors) what you are actually eating. I found myself getting very interested in tofu by the end of this book. If any of you can read this book cover to cover over a McDinner somewhere, I’ll buy you a burger. Disconcerting, disgusting and highly recommended reading.

On a lighter note I’d like to recommend two fiction titles. The first is David Mitchell’s clever debut novel, Ghostwritten (Vintage paperback, 2001), which plays with the reader’s mind beyond the title in a set of nine linked but distinct tales. By gradually revealing the relationships between characters and plots, Mitchell unwinds a web of meditations on love, science, ghosts, politics and crime. The story leaps from Japan through Mongolia to St. Petersburg to a remote Scottish Island, but. Mitchell is doing more than showing off. The book proves animpressive first novel.

Lastly, for the science fiction buffs, I’d suggest the novels of Ken MacLeod. His first trilogy, The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, and The Cassini Division, is now out in paperback in the U.S. (Tor, 2001). McLeod writes of a near future in which artificial intelligences, governments and an anarchic cast of characters battle their way through ideological differences and subtle plots. A friend of fellow Scot Iain M. Banks, McLeod shares that writer’s taste for politically charged science fiction, but better realizes the complexity of a libertarian post-modern socialism. The prose is readable if not exciting, but the stories are weird and highly entertaining.

Please feel free to communicate your recommendations to me, and do have a happy, page-turning summer!

 

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Read Instructions Carefully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.

On a Sear's hairdryer: “Do not use while sleeping.” (damn, and that's the only time I have to work on my hair)

On a bar of Dial soap: "Directions: Use like regular soap." (and that would be how???....)

On some Swanson frozen dinners: "Serving suggestion: Defrost. (but it's "just" a suggestion.)

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom): "Do not turn upside down." (well...duh, a bit late, huh!)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: "Product will be hot after heating." (And you thought?)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron: "Do not iron clothes on body." (but wouldn't this save me more time?)

On Boot's Children Cough Medicine: "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.” (We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year-olds with head-colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid: Warning: “May cause drowsiness." (and I'm taking this because?)

On most brands of Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only." (as opposed to what?)

On a Japanese food processor: "Not to be used for the other use." (now, somebody out there, help me on this. I'm a bit curious.)

On Sainsbury's peanuts: " Warning: contains nuts." (talk about a news flash)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts: "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts." (step 3: maybe, uh...fly Delta?)

On a Swedish chainsaw: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."

(Was there a lot of this happening somewhere?)

(I did find some clip art for that last one but it was censored.)

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Alumni Notes

By Dr. Whall

 

 

 

It is such a pleasure to hear from so many alumni via e-mail, telephone, and U.S. Mail. And I hope all of you reading this, from whom I haven't heard in a while, or not heard from at all, will take the hint! Equally delightful is being surprised by former students who, for one reason or another, find themselves back on the Eastern Shore and drop in to visit and to bring me up to date on the adventures that are their lives. This past year I've been specially blessed to see so many of you.

JOANN (MCCARTNEY) WOOD (1991) dropped by the office in late October with her husband, David Wood and their gorgeous little son. Needless to say I got that "Grandfather rush." They were here to witness all the many wonderful, amazing changes that have taken place at SU--a great reason for all of you to come for a visit. Joann is an attorney in Leonardstown, Maryland.

I gave a presentation about the Honors Program to the Alumni Association's Board of Directors in February and was so pleased to discover two alumni of the Honors Program present and serving the University as members of that Board: ERIC MCLAUCHLIN (1992) and JIM HUDSON (1994). Jim is director of corporate support at Delmarva Online where his job is to oversee technical support and customer retention of business clients. Eric is an attorney with Gessner, Snee, Mahoney & Lutche in Bel Air, Maryland.

In mid-April, at the annual Philosophical Symposium (this year's topic: the religion of Islam), I had a chance to spend time with KATIE KIRBY (1999) and ELIZABETH GRANT (1996) who traveled to Salisbury to "recreate [their] intellectual [selves]" (surely you all remember John Farmer in Walden resting on his porch after a hard day's labor, listening to a flute which woke certain higher faculties which slumbered in him? No?). Katie is currently at work on her Ph.D. dissertation in Philosophy at Fordham and is also teaching philosophy which, she says, is thrilling and rewarding labor. Elizabeth is working for a Nature Conservation organization in Pennsylvania, combining her biology training and her devotion to the environment. It was a special treat seeing Elizabeth again because I had lost touch with her as she heeded the philosopher's peripatetic calling, moving first to Boston, then to Texas, and most recently to the vales of central Pennsylvania. (My dear friends: please remember to send me changes in your whereabouts so we can keep in touch--unless, of course, you're in a witness protection program or have gone undercover for the CIA.)

In February I had lunch with BECCA BROOKS (1998) who works for the University as principal archivist at the Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture. She promised that there would be a "mystery guest" dining with us, and, imagine my surprise when we were joined by ELVIS PRESLEY! I'm just kidding. I was checking to see if you were paying attention. No, it wasn't The King; it was KATIE GEORGE (1997). During our modest but tasty repast at Vinnie's La Roma, Katie told us about her adventures in Atlanta, from which city she has recently moved. As many of you will recall, Katie received an M.A. in puppetry from the University of Connecticut (how many of us can make that claim!?) and she has recently been given a grant by the Howard County library system to create children's shows for the libraries to bring stories alive with her puppet and acting arts.

Two weeks ago I was again surprised in my oak-lined lair, this time by KAREN ARCHAMBAULT-CRIM (1996). After leaving SU Karen studied for and received her M.A. in history at Old Dominion University. While studying for her degree she worked at Trinity College in admissions and as an academic counselor for UMBC Online. These experiences have led to her pursuit of a second master's degree in academic counseling focusing on student development in higher education. Also while studying at ODU she met and married her husband, Brian Crim, who has recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation in modern German history at Rutgers. While at ODU, Karen's SU Honors thesis won second prize in a paper competition sponsored by Virginia's Phi Alpha Theta chapter and the ODU Historical Review. First place went to a classmate named Brian Crim. . . .

And this past weekend, while slogging away at the grading trade, I was set upon by a quartet of recent Honors alums, KATIE PROFILI (2001), RAY HEER (2001), JULIA KNUDSON (2001), and Julia's fiancÚ, SCOTT SOUTHERN (2000) who roared into town to enjoy Salisbury Festival, Sun Fest at the beach, and to see the Sophanes production of Steve Martin's play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. All four had been involved in theater while studying at SU. Katie is teaching language arts to 150 sixth graders at Perry Hall Middle School and devoting her nights and weekends to grading their written masterpieces. Ray is teaching language arts and math to fifth graders at Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrill and, according to a few of his anecdotes, learning all sorts of neat new things about discipline and intimidation. Julia is a public relations associate with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, sending out all those announcements and press releases to entice music lovers to the majestic Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. She and Scott are house-hunting, and planning their nuptials for early next May.

Finally, I haven't heard from him in a while, and he hasn't dropped by in a long, long time, but I have read about LEN FOXWELL (1992) in the Washington Post. It was announced last week that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the current lieutenant governor of Maryland, will run for governor to succeed Paris Glendenning, and that Len will serve as her campaign press secretary. I'm just hoping that all those writing and speaking skills he learned in Honors classes haven't been forgotten over the past ten years. . . .

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More News from Honors Alumni JOSEPH HUTCHINSON (2001) After several months of searching and facing some ups and downs with the job market, I am happy to report that I have a career! On February 11th, I will begin a management training program with Chevy Chase Banks. The program runs for just under a year. At the successful completion of the program I will become a branch manager.

Throughout my job search, I have substitute taught. I have had the chance to experience the range of elementary through high school. Subbing has been a good experience for me. There was a time that I pondered teaching at the high school level. Of the classes that I have taught, I most enjoyed fourth and fifth grades. For them, everything is interesting, new, and fun. I still flirt with the idea of teaching at the college level, but for now I eagerly anticipate the experiences that banking affords.

In many aspects I miss Salisbury, in many ways I am ready to move on. I am confident that the skills I have learned while at SU have prepared me for this new role.


TERESA PIEKARSKI (2001)
Well, my grad school search is over and the final decision.... gulp, has been made. After carefully considering the programs and other factors (like money!), I have decided to attend Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was one of the two schools that gave me an early indication of financial aid, and since money is a huge consideration right now, I decided I would be a fool to pass up a free master’s. At Virginia Tech, the program seems pretty solid, touching on many different aspects of higher education. I love the town of Blacksburg...some small town action surrounded by beautiful mountains to explore and places to hike and camp. Also, they offered me an interesting graduate assistantship with the University's Center for Academic Excellence. Basically, I will learn to administer reading tests to undergrad students, score and interpret them, and then help the students improve their reading ability, comprehension, etc. Not a bad gig for an old English major! With the assistantship comes a tuition waiver and a $10,000 stipend each year.


LISA HELM (1997)
So, I got into medical school! I'll be starting on August 12th, up in Philly at PCOM. I'm a bit overwhelmed with all that this entails. I've decided to buy rather than rent due to the ridiculous cost of renting in the area. Why drop $800+ a month on rent when I could sink it into a mortgage and build a little equity? So that means getting approved for a loan and finding a good school district for Colin in a nice, reasonably-priced area, finding a preschool/daycare since he'll have only just turned four when I start, finding a church, a grocery store, my way around, scholarships and grants, etc. So much to do! Other than that, there’s not much going on!


SHANNA SIZEMORE (2001)
I've forgotten about things like "breaks." Well, I'm not really doing anything directly in biology now. I work for engineers doing lots of different things. Most of my work is in GIS, which, in its simplest form, is mapping on the computer. The program also allows for some pretty deep analysis. Our office is trying to become totally digital (which frightens me terribly, given the reliability of computer networks and their vulnerability to worms and viruses) and we're getting stuff off paper and onto the computer. I've also done a little bit of surveying (think of guys in the middle of the road with orange vests and the weird looking instruments). I'm hoping to go to Hopkins for their Environmental Engineering Master’s Program after I take differential calculus next semester. The master’s would incorporate both biology and engineering, which seems to be a good fit for me.
  Everything is going pretty well around here, glad to be out of school. I moved from Reisterstown to Bowie in October. Actually, I'm living with Brandi Griffin (2001). And to think we never would have known each other without the Honors Program. Anyway, I'd been interning with the City of Rockville for the last few summers and started a permanent position with them in October. The only thing I don't like about the job is the drive – 50 West toward D.C., then 495 for a good while – definitely not fun. Brandi is teaching sixth grade language arts in Edgewater. She likes it, but she doesn't get paid enough for what she does. I don't know how teachers do it.


SUMMER BLAIS (1997)
Thanks for the note in the Saunterer. I always like it when you dash off a personal greeting, despite the feelings of guilt for not writing to you that accompany it. I am doing well. I will go ahead and give you an update with the hopes you won't print it in the Saunterer. (Please forgive me, Summer!)

I got married last June to a guy named Mike. I've been dating him since my last year of college and you may have even met him on the Honor's cruise. You'd like him- he had a mohawk in high school. The wedding was pretty - out in a park, and the reception was in a garden atrium. We wrote the ceremony ourselves based on Native American ceremonies, and it included a hand-fasting. Agnes (Patkowski, 1997) was a bridesmaid, much to her delight. We took an amazing honeymoon in Costa Rica. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Back in 1998 we bought a house in Reston, Virginia, and we live there still with two fat cats.

I have been working at AOL since January of 2000, one week before the Time-Warner merger. I am a graphic artist in the creative design group. I find this highly ironic. It would have been my first choice to have majored in art in college but upon parental advice (and funding) was told to major in something practical, or else. Now, making a pretty good living doing art, I feel like I've come home. I don't know how to explain it but I am so much happier. However, I can't lose the lingering feeling that had I actually majored in art in college, I would be flipping burgers now, just like my mom predicted.


MICHELLE BULGER (1995)
I'm still happily employed at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire, halfway through my third year. Student activities is an ever-changing adventure that keeps me on my toes (my director calls it "managing chaos"). The students I work with are pretty energetic and motivated. They generally do a good job of getting things done. I have to be the bad guy occasionally, but not that often.

I'm also starting my third season as the assistant coach for the women's lacrosse team, which brings me in contact with an entirely different group of students than those I normally work with. The girls are great, but mostly brand new to the sport. Fortunately, they're willing to learn and have really come together as a team. It was also suggested that I could teach a science lab or two this semester (the Natural Sciences Dept. was a little short on instructors), but spring is way too busy for me to take on something else! Hmmm, maybe next semester! :)

I really enjoy living in New Hampshire. Last fall I climbed Mt. Monadnock three times (it's the most-climbed mountain in the world that doesn't have an auto-route to the top), once with the college and twice with visiting friends. It definitely gave me a feeling of having done something those days! I'm somewhat enjoying the mild winter this year (as opposed to last year's never-ending one), but it makes me wonder if Mother Nature has something more in store for us!

I still keep in touch with a number of people from SSU (I agree with Doug Zwiselsberger...I endured too many Salisbury Steak jokes to give up the "State" now!). A few of us are keeping our Algonquin tradition alive by heading to Canada for an annual canoe trip (dubbed the "Big Kids Trip"). Word has it that there may be an Algonquin reunion in honor of the program's 20th year during Homecoming next fall. Hopefully, it won't be some equally crazy weekend here, so that I can make it down for a visit. Some friends were down there for the Sea Gull Century, and I'm really curious to see all the changes on campus that they were talking about.


JENNIFER MARINER (1995)
I wanted to let you know that I finally defended my dissertation in October and I am officially Jennifer Mariner, Ph.D. Writing the actual dissertation and defending it was really not as stressful as I imagined. In fact, I enjoyed the experience. There were days when I felt I would die from lack of sleep, but other than that, it was fine.

I have another piece of good news. I am getting married in April. His name is George Kilbourne and we have known each other for over 10 years. We started seriously dating two years ago and we got engaged last February. I am very excited and I have never been happier. He is really a great guy.

I have also been thinking a lot about Salisbury lately. The Biology Department has an opening for an assistant professor in molecular biology. I know that these positions are tough to get, but I sent in my application to Dr. Holland and I have my fingers crossed. I also applied for positions in other small universities. If nothing pans out this time, I'll get a postdoctoral position in a lab and try again next year. I have been teaching at George Washington for three semesters and I really enjoy it. I think this is truly where my talents lie. Anyway, wish me luck.


JENNIFER (GAAB) FREY (1995)
We have moved! My husband was assigned to an F/A-18 Hornet squadron at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. He is hoping to be promoted to major this month. We returned to the East Coast from San Diego with a great souvenir—we had a baby boy in October. His name is Jackson Walker Frey, and he defines JOY. Labor?...not so joyous an experience. Mine was two minutes under 24 hours long. So what did I do with all of that education and those two degrees? Become a stay-at-home mom! Actually, I prefer the title "stay-with-son mom" since we are rarely "at home." I can fathom no better, more fulfilling job. I miss my interior decorating work, but now I get to work on our home! My husband Jay is not scheduled to deploy again until January 2003, but with the state of world events, that could certainly change. It is so important for us all to remember these servicemen and women as they defend our freedoms, and the families that they sometimes must leave behind. We love being back east and close to family, but are already missing quality Mexican food and the beautiful deserts and mountains of Southern California.


BROOKS TRUITT (1994)
We had just found out that Lisa was expecting the last time I wrote. Now she's entering her fourth month. It's hard to believe I'm soon going to be a father. I've already started reading to the baby. I started with a little book called What Daddys Do Best and a Dr. Seuss beginner book (not actually written by Theodore Geisel) called It's not Easy to Be a Bunny. I'm working my way up to Walden. I figure it'll be hard to impress him or her with the need to strip life to its essentials, while sucking its thumb and toes are a top recreational activity.

A lot has happened the past few months. We did a little bit of traveling this spring. We took two trips out to the Hill Country, including a camping trip to a ranch once owned by Willie Nelson that's been converted into a state park. We also took a week's vacation out to the desert in west Texas. We camped at Big Bend National Park and had an awesome time. Made me a bit curious to read some Edward Abbey. I've missed the mountains. It was nice to see some rugged, if barren, ones. I felt like I was on the set of an old western; I kept expecting a stagecoach or a band of desperados to rush by at any moment. Then we went up through the high desert where Lisa grew up. We actually passed through George W. land, in the Midland-Odessa area. Plenty of oil, but they can keep it. Tumbleweeds and sand everywhere, 10 mile views on the flat. We traversed the high plains through Abilene, onto Ft. Worth and Dallas. The next day we cruised into Houston. All told, about 1,950 miles. Quite a trek, but I loved it! So did Lisa. I'm glad that she is adventurous. I guess she needs to be to put up with my restlessness. We were going to drive up to Denver at the beginning of June, but Lisa's had a few complications. She's not allowed to travel long distances until we get another ultrasound, sometime in June. Nothing serious. So, I might fly up alone. I'm going to work from Gartner's Boulder office, look around Golden - Denver metro - Boulder to get a sense of the area, and maybe get a few hikes in. I'll be sure to send you some pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program

Bellavance Honors Center

1101 Camden Avenue

Salisbury, MD 21801