"From Field View," the honors project of Lily Turner '24

Maccolades is a monthly round-up of the most recent accolades and accomplishments earned by members of the Macalester community. Below are highlights from April 2024. 

Speaking up for libraries

Angi Faiks, library director, was nominated and elected to the Executive Committee of the Center For Research Libraries Board of Directors. 

“I am thrilled to be representing Macalester and colleges like ours on the board,” she said. The Center for Research Libraries is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries that focuses on preserving and making available to scholars rare and uncommon primary source materials from all world regions.

“It is crucial that colleges like ours have representation and voice on the future of library collections at a local, national and global level and this opportunity makes way for that,” Faiks said. “Our library staff are dedicated to ensuring access to quality collections for research and knowledge making, both within and well beyond the walls of our library.”

Angi Faiks

Honors project on the runway

With an individually designed major in fashion and costume design, Lily Turner ’24 showcased her honors project, “From Field View,” on campus and at Minnesota Fashion Week. 

“As a creative follow-up to my academic honors research into sustainability in the fashion industry and particularly local fiber growing capabilities for ethical textile production, I created a six-look entirely biodegradable capsule collection,” Turner said. “The garments were created out of a soil-to-soil framework, meaning they could be buried in the ground at the end of their lifecycle and serve as nutrients rather than pollution.”

Bringing the runway to life was a collaborative effort across theater and dance, studio art and the sustainability office. 

“This project was over a year in the making and was presented alongside professional designers at one of the largest arts events in Minnesota,” Turner said. 

Learn it by ear

Drawing on her expertise in music theory and ear training, music professor Dr. Victoria Malawey published an open educational resource: Multimodal Musicianship. Offering text, musical and audio examples, video content, application activities, and links to supplemental content, this resource is designed for students to learn and reinforce their knowledge according to their learning styles and needs.

“What excites me most is making this learning content I have developed widely available to anyone who has an internet connection, in the spirit of open access,” Prof. Malawey said. 

The Macalester digital liberal arts team, including staff from the library and Information Technology Services supported the creation and the hosting of this project. Prof. Malawey was a digital liberal arts faculty fellow from 2022-2023, an opportunity funded by the Making Meaning grant from the Mellon Foundation. Dr. Malawey also received a Macalester College Library Open Educational Resources stipend.

Professor Victoria Malawey

A deep dive into research

Anthropology major Lía Sanchez Valles ’25 was accepted to the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this summer. This prestigious research fellowship aims to increase diversity and inclusion in higher education, especially in regards to racial and ethnic identity. 

During this paid summer fellowship, students work with faculty mentors in an original research project, attend writing workshops, receive training in research communication skills, and participate in other professional development activities to prepare them for success in graduate school and academic careers.

A victory for the debate books

Macalester’s policy debate team advanced to the highest level of competition: the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament and was named the 20th team in the nation. Students Will Kochel ’27 and Sam Price ’25 represented the college on the national stage. 

“Sam and Will have worked so hard for this, giving practice speeches and researching the year-long nuclear weapons topic we were assigned in May from every angle we could find,” said Beau Larsen, director of forensics. 

Larsen expressed gratitude to Political Science Professor Andrew Latham for assisting with topic research; forensics coach Casey Moerer; and Kwudjwa Osei, who helped the team with arguments that deploy critical theory to analyze nuclear weapons. Macalester last advanced to elimination rounds in 1996. 

“This win is also a huge recruitment tool for the thousands of high school debaters who now know the name Macalester,” Larsen said. 

Will Kochel ’27 and Sam Price ’25

Echoes of the past

Michael Prior, English professor and Mellon ACM Faculty Fellow, was awarded a $20,000 (Canadian) grant from the Japanese Canadian Legacies Community Fund to co-edit a new anthology of Japanese Canadian Creative Writing. 

“This will be the first multi-generational, multi-genre anthology of this scope that focuses on the survivors and descendants of the World War II Japanese Canadian prison camps,” Prof. Prior said. “It’s an important opportunity to highlight a wide array of perspectives and voices and to trace the lineages and legacies of the wartime dispossession and displacement. I think the project is incredibly relevant: The racist and exclusionary systems and forces that led to the incarceration of people of Japanese descent in Canada and America during the War persist in contemporary North America, as evidenced by the rise in anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Professor Michael Prior

A scholarly slam dunk

Caleb Williams ’24, a guard on the men’s basketball team, was named an Academic All-American for the second year in a row by the College Sports Communicators.

“Congratulations to Caleb on this special honor,” Macalester head coach Abe Woldeslassie ’08 said. “It’s a credit to how hard he has worked in the classroom. He has represented Macalester so well and is the epitome of a successful student-athlete.”

A premier place to study ancient art

Dr. Serdar Yalcin, assistant professor in art and art history, received the Getty Residential Scholar Grant to support research at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles. 

“I am very excited to work at the Getty Villa, which has one of the most comprehensive ancient art collections in North America,” he said. I will investigate the formation of early Greek temples in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, and the impact of ancient Western Asian traditions in this process.”

Dr. Serdar Yalcin at an archaeological dig, examining an ancient pot

Summer research funded, safety goggles ready

Dr. Dennis Cao, associate professor in chemistry and student researcher Eliza Anderson-Lefort ’25 earned a grant from the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. This grant supports undergraduate research in summer 2024 and provides Anderson-Lefort with valuable experience working in Professor Cao’s lab on his research titled, “Rapid Construction of Electron-Deficient Aromatics by Cycloadditions of 3-Arylmaleimide with Maleimides.”

A game-changing book

Macalester graduate Georgia Cloepfil ’14 wrote The Striker and the Clock, set to release from Penguin Riverhead and Bloomsbury (UK) in July 2024. Written in 90 short passages — reflecting the 90 inexorably passing minutes of a soccer match — the book is a love letter to a maddening sport and a reflection on the way it has shaped a life. 

“I played soccer at Mac and that experience was the launching pad for my professional career, which is the foundation of the memoir,” said Cloepfil, who has played in South Korea, Australia, Lithuania and other countries. “It is a huge privilege to hear from both strangers and loved ones about how they have connected to what I wrote.”

Cloepfil will do a reading on July 18 at Next Chapter Books in St. Paul.

Orange book cover with THE STRIKER AND THE CLOCK in yellow text and artwork of a woman kicking a soccer ball

Digitally ever after

A team of four members of the digital liberal arts team — Aisling Quigley, Ginny Moran ’90, Brooke Schmolke and Louann Terveer — wrote a book chapter titled “Sustaining the Digital Liberal Arts: Institutional Challenges in Looking Beyond Grant Funding,” in Digital Humanities in the Library, Second Edition.

“We wrote this chapter because we have shared experiences working on grant-funded initiatives in higher education settings and wanted to address the pressing concern of sustaining grant activities, and particularly digital initiatives at Macalester, after the period of grant-funding has ended,” the team said. “We share a collective desire to shift digital humanities work from being grant-funded, temporary, and project-based to institutionally integrated, supported, and sustainable through initiatives that move beyond individually cultivated relationships.”


Leadership development across continents

Macalester graduate Matt Landers ’06 received the Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund. 

“I first learned about the German Marshall Fund and this fellowship while at Mac, about 18 years ago,” he said. “I saw it at the time as a stretch goal for professional achievement, and to actually receive this highly competitive fellowship is a longstanding dream come true.

Landers participated in six months of online learning and then spent three weeks in Europe (Munich, Sofia, Madrid, and Brussels) as part of a five-person cohort of Americans learning about civil society, transatlantic relations, and democracy in action. Meetings included the Munich Security Forum, Bavarian high schoolers, the Bulgarian Minister of Justice, LGBTQ activists, Madrid city councilmembers, and refugee journalists. 

“It brought me back to the Macalester foundations of internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society within an interconnected world,” Landers said. 

Matt Landers

Shakespeare as a teaching tool

Dr. Penelope Geng, associate professor of English, co-facilitated a pedagogy workshop for the Guthrie Theatre’s “A Shakespeare Symposium.” The workshop included an interactive and community-building set of activities that enabled the participants (K-12 teachers, university professors, graduate students, and members of the public) to explore teaching strategies and challenges related to Shakespearean drama.

The symposium explored the importance of Shakespeare’s history plays in their own time (of the 1590s) and in the present moment. This event coincided with the Guthrie’s production of “A Brittle Glory.” In March, a college course development grant allowed Prof. Geng’s “Shakespeare’s History Plays” course to see all three plays on three successive weekends. 

“We were deeply impressed; Shakespeare is meant to be seen, not just read!” Prof. Geng said. 

Shakespeare Symposium program

Biomedical research powered by competitive fellowship

Hannah E. Gilbonio ’20 was awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000.

“This fellowship will financially support me in conducting biomedically relevant research,” said Gilbonio, who is pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

“With this funding, I will investigate how to restore blood flow in the context of stroke by modulating the biophysics of pericytes,” she said. 

From the approximate 12,000 students who applied this year, 2,037 applicants were awarded the fellowship. 

Hannah Gilbonio

Birdsongs and brains

Ilse Dippenaar ’18 was awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program to support her ongoing PhD work in computational neuroscience. Dippenaar studies how muscle memory is developed using birdsong as a model. 

“Throughout their adolescence, songbirds learn to sing through a process of trial-and-error as they attempt to copy their parent’s song,” she said. “When they are adults, they can perform their song with amazing accuracy. This impressive feat begs the question, how does the brain learn to control muscles so precisely?” 

Examining the notion of variability, Dippenaar plans to model how the brain uses trial-and-error to learn how to sing. 

Ilse Dippenaar

A place for all alumni

Macalester received the 2024 Alumni Association Inclusive Excellence Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. This award honors alumni association’s programs, culture, and initiatives that encourage and support diversity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging for all alumni, regardless of racial or ethnic background, sexual or gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, world view, and more. Macalester will be featured in the June 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine. 

“We know that alumni associations are not always recognized for their dedication to diversity, inclusion, and belonging,” said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “We are proud to honor these college and university alumni associations as role models for other institutions of higher education.”

Sealing the deal on prevention education

Macalester received the 2023 Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention from Vector Solutions. This award recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated leadership in digital prevention programming focused on student safety, well-being, and inclusion. Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. institutions earned this distinction. Each recipient has taken action to create a safer, more inclusive campus through comprehensive, evidence-based digital prevention education on issues such as sexual assault, alcohol misuse, mental health, and discrimination. 

How to be considered for future Maccolades

If you or someone you know recently earned an award, fellowship, or honor and would like it to be considered for inclusion in next month’s Maccolades, please let Communications & Marketing know by filling out this Maccolades form. For recent book publications, please use this book publication form

April 30 2024

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