Chamber Music Ensemble Concert



On Tuesday, April 28, an eager audience filled Presser Hall’s Maclean Auditorium nearly to capacity for the SpARC 2015 Chamber Music Ensemble Concert.

The Strings Ensemble (Karina Leung, violin; Anner Harris, violin; Sorena Campbell, cello) opened the program with a performance of Carazo’s Adagio in D Minor, followed by six Selections from 15 Petite Trios by Vanhall.

Briana Robinson (violin) and Courtney Anderson (cello) next took the stage to perform Arioso from Cantata 156 by J.S. Bach, followed by an Allegro by Loeillet. The duo next performed Traumerei from Kinderszenen (Op. 15, #7) by Schumann before concluding with Lynne Latham’s arrangement of Villoldo’s El Chocio.

The Woodwind Ensemble (Rachel Shower and Olivia Shull, flute; Jacquelyn Zbranak, alto flute; Taisha Likes, bass flute) presented Dittersdorf’s Fuga from Notturno.

Avanti Lemons (clarinet) and Carmen Jones (horn) performed Duo Para Flauto y Corno by Llamazares.

The concert’s final segment featured piano duets. Leandra Massei and Erin Balding began with Clementi’s Duettino in G Major.

Wanyuan Wang and David D’Ambrosio performed Little Plain Jane, Empress of the Chinese Nodding-Dolls from Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite.

Zheng Liang and Ruoyuan Shen offered Allegro Assai  from Clementi’s Sonata in C Major.

The concert concluded with Megan Do and Jiawen Wang’s performance of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance in A Major (Op. 46, No 5).

The strings ensemble is directed by Dr. Qiao Chen Solomon. The woodwind ensembles is coached by Prof. Jeana Mellili and Prof. David D’Ambrosio. Piano Duets are also directed by Prof. D’Ambrosio.

Bearly Moved


Affects of Enrichment and Pacing in Zoo Bears

By: Lora Beth Allen

Lori-Beth’s presentation on Sun Bears in the Atlanta zoo was an oral presentation given at the SparC presentations Tuesday to showcase a correlative study. She conducted a study to test the correlation between the pacing habits of Atlanta zoo Sun Bears and the presence of enrichments in their habitats. This study was an interesting one to take up, and one that mirrored my experience interning with the Georgia Aquarium.

In my time at the Georgia aquarium, I learned a great deal about aquatic animals, endangered species, animals’ habitats, and the use of enrichments to help stimulate the animals. Lori-Beth defines enrichments as devices used to simulate the natural habitat of the animal provided by the institution to encourage natural behaviors and instincts in the animals. At the GA Aquarium, for example, in the otter habitat this may look like bits of shrimp trapped in a toy designed to be cracked open in order to obtain. For the otters to eat lunch, they are given the task of obtaining their food as they would in the wild: by cracking open clams with rocks, belly up, as they float in the water and use their tummies as tables. In the Atlanta zoo, the enrichments for Sun bears employ similar strategies that mold the animal into engaging in instinctual behaviors for food, play, and interaction with other bears.

This established definition gave clarity to Lori-Beth’s dependent and independent variables in her testing: Independent- enrichment exposure, dependent-the pacing of the bears in their habitat. After explaining her variables, it was clear that this study was correlative, as she hypothesized that the use of enrichments would increase the pacing of the bears in their habitats. In her experimentation, she considered several other variables in her observations and recordings. Observationally, she took note of the time of day, the crowd size present at that time, and the presence of enrichments. In her recordings, she noted how those factors affected the Sun Bear’s pacing and the effectual behaviors of the bears. Here, I learned that Sun bears are naturally individualistic animals, though they can associate in groups and show high sociability at times.

She observed two different bears, and found a negatively correlated result in enrichment exposure and pacing. She found, contrary to her hypothesis, that the bears actually engaged in less pacing with the presence of enrichments. My understanding of these results was broadened by the explanation that these bears are generally solitary. This explained why her results showed higher activity earlier in the day with lesser crowds, and less interaction later in the day with growing crowds as the bears tended to hide away.

Through this research and its eloquent presentation, I did learn more about how correlative studies work and their usefulness. Though her hypothesis was disproved, Lori-Beth remained hopeful for further research into the matter and noted that the number of variables she observed may have skewed her results. Having so many factors affect her independent variable meant that the results of her dependent variable my not have manifested in expected ways. This, however, does not inhibit the usefulness of this data and the possible future outcomes of it. Through this, Lori-Beth intends to observe more of the Sun Bears, and possibly increase her sample size and the duration of her experimentation to give a fuller analysis. She also intends to look into the standards of zoos, as that is always a concern with researchers about practices of safety and comfort for the animals. And as a fun note, though these bears are typically solitary they show high rates of compatibility in the Atlanta zoo! This research stretched me outside of my English major comfort zones, but reaffirmed a lot of what I have learned in statistics as well as introductory psychology.

Research well done and well presented!

They Grow Up So Fast…


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A discussion on Sally Mann’s work this morning in the SparC presentation “Intent vs. Interpretation” dove deep into the sexualized impressions placed on certain images and the body. This concept was explored by students Ishara Agostini, Lauren Alexander, and Taylor Williams as they conducted a visual analysis on Sally Mann’s photo “Candy Cigarette” from her photo album Immediate Family.

The image explored is here:

The photo immediately struck the audience as complex and convoluted as the middle and main subject, Jessie, is placed in a very adult context, though she is clearly a child. Here, she is seen posturing as a woman and holding limply an unlit cigarette. After asking the immediate reactions of the crowd, the students began a complex and deep visual analysis of the image and offered historical and political context to help in understanding the image and its purpose.

It began with Taylor offering an interesting and insightful explanation of Sally Mann’s work, and the primary connection between the goals of her work and the aim of this picture. She reports that Mann’s photo album “Immediate Family” was a project released in 1992 and with the intent of framing her family’s everyday life and interactions. The album, and particularly this photo, also seek to politicize the connection between the body and children. Taylor explains through photo analysis that Jessie’s body language suggests that she is beyond her years, while the interaction with her siblings still puts her in a scene of play that reinforces her childhood. She also brilliantly points out that there may be a connection to the future in the facings of the children: Emmit (boy on stilts) and Virginia (younger girl to the right) face the same direction suggesting possibly similar, hopeful futures, while Jessie stares the camera head-on suggesting that she is headed in a different, possibly more challenging direction.

Lauren then follows with a historical context of the photo regarding cigarettes and how a culture of sex and cigarettes has been engrained in American history and culture. There is an inherent connection with sex and cigarettes as Lauren explains the historical propaganda imaging that make this photo inherently political. To continue that connection of sex and cigarettes, then, in a child makes this photo even more problematic and controversial.

But the ordering of this presentation is not only logical, but timely as Ishara finishes by explaining exactly why these connections are problematic and what that means to and for Mann as an artist. She comments that because of the push of those sexualized, smoking ads, the force of sex on cigarettes has become a subconscious effect of society, even when it is not intentional. Because Jessie is a child, there is nothing inherently sexual about the photo…other than that she holds a cigarette. Ishara then explains that the politics behind the body, crossed with the sexualization of cigarette use, creates a, “Sexually knowlegable young girl, but her innocence is a part of her allure.” This explains the audience’s initial repelling of the image, because our historically skewed gaze impresses sexual implication onto this young girl, while still trying to hold onto her innocence as a child.

It was a very deep and critical analysis conducted well and displayed creatively.   These ladies made the dissection of a larger than life image into smaller, digestible bits. This was not an easy task, but it was done with the ease of a clearly strong group effort and steady research practices. I learned quite a lot about the artist, as well as about the intersections of body politics, child imaging, and American sexualization.

Close, Dark, and Quick

“Close, Dark, Quick” are the three words Courtney Taylor begins her presentation with. These are the words her father, an ex-police officer for the Cincinnati police department, used to describe most police shootings as happening “in very close proximity to the target, very quickly, and very dark environments”.

Her project sought to explore “the untold story of slain black men and resurrect those silent voices.” She chose to explore suicides of two different black men, Lee Thompson Young and Lamar Hopkins, as well as three young men who were shot in a car for playing music too loud.

And finally she explores the story of her own father who worked to create change for minorities and women in the police department. She expresses her exploration through poetry in different forms.

A poem in email form from Emmett Till, a boy from Chicago who was murdered in Mississippi, to his mother, a Kendrick Lamar rap song carefully deconstructed to create a poem and story, a dictionary definition, and finally a piece about her own personal experience with her father’s need to protect her from the world by teaching her to use a gun, Courtney created an array of thought-provoking pieces.

Her goal of recreating the narrative was achieved through the poignant poems she read, touching on the problematic aspect of blaming black men for the violence, mental or physical, inflicted upon them. Ultimately, Courtney focuses on her father and “the intersection of privilege and oppression” he experienced as a black police officer.

Gender Wage Gap Differences Between the Government and the Private Sectors of the American Economy

The question economics major Karolina Klimczak has been asking is why is there a still a gender wage gap in the 21st century? While conditions have improved in the last 30 years, the gender wage gap is still noticeable.

In economics there are always phenomena which can be explained by experts but there is also always a gray area which is left unexplained. Karolina claims it is in these unknown phenomena that allow the most discrimination to occur.

In her research, she set out to observe the phenomena of the gender wage gap in the U.S. in 2013 and compare it to Paul Miller’s study “The Gender Pay Gap in the US: Does Sector Make a Difference?”, and perhaps also find an explanation along the way.

Because the subject of the gender wage gap is so broad, Karolina narrowed her research down and focused primarily on comparing the gap in the public and private sectors of the workforce.

She found that discrimination decreased in the private sector in 2013 in the U.S. There was also a bigger wage gap at the bottom of the wage distribution in the public sector, a phenomena known as the sticky floor effect.

Education was also an important factor in wage distribution, and Karolina found that if you graduate with only a high school degree you are better off in the public sector and if you graduate with the highest degree you are better off in the private sector.

Classical versus Pop Music: How Musical Experiences Shape Musical Preference

Author: Mingming Cui

“We break a lot of rules. It’s unheard of to combine opera with a rock theme, my dear.                                                                                                                                                                                      – Freddie Mercury

Thesis: Musical preference depends on the education/training ethnicity and functions. Classical is correlated to preference for classical music while those who prefer other genres mainly because of the symbolic value or for specific uses, such as relaxation or exercise.

After interviewing 167 students on Agnes Scott College and doing many hours of research, Cui drew some pretty interesting and possibly controversial conclusions.

I find that a lot of her data is best described by the pictures of her charts (below) and maybe it is because it is the end of the day and my brain is slightly fried; but I’ll also talk through a couple of her general findings.

She noticed some of the following things concerning college music programs, in particular the Agnes Scott College music program:

  • fewer people get training at the college level
  • when training before college occurs, the student is more likely to appreciate classic music
  • musical training positively affects the love of classical music
  • people with formal education tend to analyze music instead of just enjoying it
  • students are not taking applied music at ASC for two major reasons: socioeconomic status and that classical classes are primarily offered in the music program
  • for relax and sleep people tend to listen to classical music
  • for exercise most people listen to pop, rock and hip hop
  • music education, ethnicity and functions are three factors affecting musical preference

Cui admits that her limitations (gender, geography and amount of data) call for more research. Her suggestion to the ASC music department? Add different styles of music classes and give more financial aid for their applied music classes. I asked if she had shared her findings with them yet. Not yet…but maybe they’ll read this blog!

I’m signing off for the day. I enjoyed SpARC so much, thanks to all involved for their hard work.

Ethnicity and musical pref fav genre formal vs informal Previous training

Game Theory and Mathematics

Author: Chenghuiyun Xu

I have to admit, I came in late to this presentation. I had to eat lunch! But because author Chenghuiyun Xu was so prepared and well spoken, I quickly caught up. Well, as much as a Theatre/English person who never studied much math can catch up.

Xu’s project was on the game Nim, and the game theory surrounding it. She showed us different mathematics that would ensure you were a winner in this game. She asked, “Is there always a winning strategy?” In the game Nim, the answer is yes.

Xu, however, went on to create her own version of the game called Meow Game. In Meow Game, the first four rules are the same:

* Two piles of chips

* Each move consists of selecting one pile in one of the piles and removing chips from it

* Can only remove one or two chips each time in the selected pile

* The player who removes the last chip wins

She added three more rules that changed the game in a way where one’s mathematical strategy might be different:

* Three players take turns to move

* The previous player to the winner is called the runner up and wins half prize of winner

* The next player to winner is the loser and has no prize

In layman’s terms, the strategy to this game changes slightly. Instead of only focusing on the win, think to yourself, if I can’t win the whole thing, then I should make sure the person to my left is the winner, so I can win half of their prize. The goal is to determine which position is a winning position for which player and then to determine the winning strategy after we know which player can win the game.


I’ve attached a photo here, so you can see how Xu showed us the complicated mathematics she had to do to figure all these strategies out. Needless to say, I was impressed. And it made me realize how important SpARC is at ASC. I hope every student takes the opportunity not only to come to SpARC, but also to go to presentations that are outside of their discipline. Not only was I interested in her topic, I understood a lot more than I thought I would! It’s a treat to try something new – thank you SpARC!

P.S. I will not be challenging Chenghuiyun Xu to a game of Nim any time soon.

Dance Performance


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Choreographed by Peyton Nalley

This piece was developed over the course of an internship in the Department of Dance. The work explores power dynamics and juxtaposes ethereal movement in order to gain deeper understanding of the human condition.

The piece began in silence. Five dancers entered: two of them were in black pants and white shirts and the others were in the same white shirts, but with long gray skirts. After a short while, a sixth dancer entered also wearing the skirt/shirt costume.

It began with three of them on the floor moving low to the ground and three standing and moving. As the piece continued dancers exited and re-entered a number of times; however, the two in pants never exited. They flowed in and out of moving all together, moving in a staggered manner and all doing completely different things. Bodies provided both the characters and the environment of the piece.

When the music begins, it is with a few small whistles, then violins are added and finally a deep cello. The mood of the piece becomes more intense with the addition of music. The levels and flow of this modern dance piece was beautiful to watch. After the performance I asked Dr. Esther Lee what her reaction to the dance was. She said it made her teary and when I asked her why, she said she was particularly moved when an individual dancer would join and then disconnect from the group. As someone who rarely sees live dance performances, this was a delight to see!

Dance 2Dance 1

Bollywood Music’s Underlying Meaning

Author: Neeraja Panchapakesan

Research Question:
What meanings does the use of western musical traits in Bollywood convey the blending of eastern and western cultures?

Panchapakesan’s main research is on the globalization of Bollywood. Music has always been extremely important in Bollywood movies, musicians and dancers are just as important to Bollywood movies as actors and directors, and are often secured first.

In the 1990’s western ideas began to influence Bollywood – we saw this incorporated through characters, costumes and music. In the music, we saw this manifested through an addition of a general western style of music including: instrumentation orchestration, ornamentation and mode. For example, the use of keyboards was first introduced to Bollywood during that time.

Panchapakesan used clips from three Bollywood movies to display her research findings:
Lagan, Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham

Lagan was an example of very little blending of cultures. Traditional Indian music was used with the Indian characters and traditional western music was used for the western characters. In Mohabbatien, there were three couples with different levels of blended cultures displayed through costumes, dance style and music. It is clear in these examples that the eastern style is seen as more superior and the west is seen as more corrupt. The “rebel” Indian couple is dressed in western clothing and dances to western style music while the sweet Indian couple is completely traditional. However, Panchapakesan notes that it is not so black and white, and usually by the end everyone gets along. I took a little video of Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham. You’ll notice there are two families celebrating: the small village family and the rich city family. Notice the difference between styles of dance and clothing and music. All three movies use of western traits highlight the effect of globalization of western culture, but there are varying degrees of blending and are not necessarily always negative or positive.

Gender Differences in Ultimatum Bargaining Games


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What is an ultimatum bargaining game, and what does gender have to do with it? Sophomore Kayleigh McCrary explores this question.

An ultimatum bargaining game, as Kayleigh explains, is a situation in which one party proposes how to split a set amount of money, and the other party can either accept or reject the proposal or offer. Several factors contribute to the outcome of the game, including personal interests of the parties, or people, at play and the level at which they desire the money.

It is fascinating to see the connections that Kayleigh’s research makes to real world situations. The underlying questions are, why is there a gender gap? What is the cause of the disparity between men and women in society? The general population, Kayleigh addresses, believes that women tend to be more fair, and will accept lower offers as a result. This can include salary negotiations in the workplace and negotiating on a price when purchasing an automobile.

As part of her research, Kayleigh conducted two surveys using survey monkey. The surveys consisted of a sample of 10 men and 38 women. Each surveyor, or player, acted as receivers of an offer. Her hypothesis going into the research was that women would accept lower offers and men would accept higher offers.

From the results, Kayleigh concluded that women actually showed higher rejection rates overall to their male counterparts. However, men were found to have lower rejection rates, and there was a difference in rejection rates between their male and female proposers.

Kayleigh notes that the sample she worked with was not so random, and for further research, she hopes to be granted IRB approval to conduct her research at other local campuses such as GA State and Tech. She would also like to explore how other factors, like ethnicity and socio-economic class, play a role in the outcomes of ultimatum bargaining games

“We are Communal Animals”: The Search for Social Connections through Intentional Communities

Author: Adia Paulete

For the purposes of her presentation Paulete defined community as a group of people living interconnected with one another, benefitting from each other and acknowledging that everything done by an individual has an effect on those living with them. Her thesis: Living in an intentional community helps in the individuals awareness of themselves and their surroundings.

Ms. Paulete had the opportunity to test her thesis by spending some time at the Lake Claire Community Land Trust. She wanted her research to go beyond reading; she wanted it to be personal. She spent time with many different people within the community and also spent time at their many events, such as their bi-monthly drum circle.

Why would someone join an intentional community? Paulete found that the most common answers to this question were:

  • Disenchantment with the American Dream: People have been shown by media and society one way to live and it doesn’t work for them.
  • Desire to live in a community: They want to be close to their neighbors; including a deeper level of trust and understanding of one another
  • Need for a green space. Caring for the environment, animals, music and a common space helps connect with others. There is a symbiotic nature between people and their environment.

In a nutshell, intentional communities allow individuals to transcend norms in society and to feel connections that are lost in mainstream society. The respect and compassion that Paulete experienced at the land trust created a deeper connection between individuals. She also noted that there was more responsibility within the community; an understanding that lack of one individual can affect a whole community. Another outcome of intentional communities is consensus; decision making is important and everyone has a voice. The product of all of these things is a positive social dynamic and material access, increased social interaction and collective well-being.

Paulete ended by speaking about what is lacking in mainstream culture. First, she believes that stigmas surrounding intentional communities will need to be combatted. The mainstream is worried about stereotypes of a “cult” or “hippies”. She also believes that empathy and a lack of understanding of how we affect one another is missing in the mainstream culture . As someone who is very interested in an intentional community, I couldn’t agree more. It’s difficult to go against the grain, and it takes great care and time. But taking that time to find what your version of the American Dream is, seems to be well worth it.

Stereotypes of Musicians

Author: Courtney Anderson

The presentation began by Ms. Anderson asking her audience to shout out descriptors of violinists versus the trumpet. Answers were varied and heated, as most of the audience played an instrument. It was a great start to Ms. Anderson’s presentation; and really reminded me what strong opinions people have on this topic.

After showing some fun slides with stereotypes of different instruments (e.g. A picture of Will Ferrell as Anchorman with the caption, “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal.” – TRUMPET) Ms. Anderson went on to discuss her research of both the stereotypes of different instruments and sections, why they exist and why we should care.

She began by noting that most instruments are gendered. For example, the drums, trumpet and trombone are seen as masculine while the flute, harp and violin are seen as feminine. I knew there were stereotypes of instruments, having played in the band for many years, but I never really thought of those stereotypes as gendered. Research showed that instruments are often gendered this way both because of the way media portrays these instruments and also the way they are built. Tubas are big and potentially easier for a large man to carry, while a flute might be easier to play for a woman with small hands. The stereotypes of the instrument can often extend to the people playing them or the entire section. For example strings players could be seen as sensitive, caring and neurotic while brass players could be seen as gregarious, loud and macho.

Why does this matter? Research shows that having these perceptions about fellow musicians can lead to animosity between the sections and unrest within an orchestra. Also, children will often choose instruments that are typical to their gender. I know this to be true, because when I was in 5th grade, choosing my instrument to play in 6th grade band, I was told by the man at the instrument fair that I would be best at the trumpet. I loved it, but due to pressure surrounding me, I picked the clarinet. I stayed with that instrument until 10th grade, and always secretly regretted it. Finally, I decided to learn the trumpet on my own and switched to playing that for my last two years of high school. But it would have been hard to do it earlier because, as Ms. Anderson mentions, children picking an instrument not typical to their gender can lead to bullying. This was very true in my middle school, and I agree that it is a cycle that needs to stop. We went on to discuss some ideas on how to stop this cycle: Girls Rock Camp, Instrument “Petting Zoos”, involvement of music teachers on the subject. What do you think?

Healthy Lifestyles Theme House Experience


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Healthy Lifestyles

Martha Vorder Bruegge, Soleil Danet, Pinyan Xu, Xinyao Li, Ryland All, Jieyu (Arlene) Guo, Suzanne Onorato, and Jenny Hughes

Authors: Martha Vorder Bruegge, Soleil Danet, Pinyan Xu, Xinyao Li, Ryland All, Jieyu (Arlene) Guo
Advisor: Dean Suzanne Onorato

The Healthy Living theme house is a theme house on campus whose theme is healthy  living. In the house were 6 students and they had a budget of 200.00.
The authors’ purpose was to implement healthy living habits and to educate the campus on healthy life styles. In order to achieve their goals the six women did many activities. They had a smoothie night on  their weekly meeting night and also held several events: a haunted house night, and visited Fountain View Mental Health Center as part of their service project where they learned about mental health challenges such as Alzheimers. Other activities included a meditation event with Miriam Panton who works in the Center for Student Engagement.
One of the common themes amongst the presenters was learning  how to manage stress.  The theme house had a zumba night,  went hiking with  President Kiss, held a pool party, a body party, practiced yoga, went to Snap Fitness gym 3 nights a week, and also hiked with Dean Onorato.
All presenters spoke of  friendships gained (in spite of the the general campus feeling that  a theme house is where friendships go to die). The women also learned to cook healthy meals, got better sleep, lost weight, and gained leadership and communication skills.
Some of the challenges of the Healthy Living Theme House were balancing their academic schedule with events, becoming better collaborators, and communicating effectively with their fellow house mates.



Skeletons in Our Closet


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Where they male or female? Age? Where did they come from? When did they arrive? These are the questions that Lydia Lingerfelt and Dr. Pilger wanted to answer about the two skeletons that are owned by Agnes Scott College Biology department. They decided to use osteological information to learn about the biological history of the two  skeletons, historical records, catalogs, and surveys completed by Agnes Scott alumni to discover the year the skeletons arrived.

In addition to discovering the time the skeletons arrived, Lydia and Dr. Pilger wanted to find the age, sex, and health status of these two skeletons. They sent out surveys to Biology majors who attended Agnes Scott from the year 1965 and earlier years, looked at yearbooks dating back to the year 1889, and old catalogs to try to figure out when the skeletons arrived. It was discovered that one skeleton was used in a Physiology and Hygiene class in 1906 and the oldest alumni recalls seeing a skeleton when she attended Agnes Scott in 1931. Also, there is a reference to a skeleton in an Agnes Scott yearbook that was made in 1899 referring to the skeleton as Bonsey.

The sex was determined by using os coxae (pelvic bone) morphology and cranial features, It was discovered that one skeleton (skeleton A) was a male and the second skeleton (skeleton B) was a male. The age of the skeletons was discovered by using the dental development, bone fusion, and cranial suture fusion.

In conclusion, they discovered that the skeletons were both males and their age ranged from 35 to 55, one skeleton has been at the college since 1899 and the second arrived before 1931, skeleton A had servere periostitis of the left femur, and skeleton B had servere periodontitis and was a vegetarian.

Digital Storytelling with Middle School Refugee Girls


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As part of their Education 325 class, Neeraja Panchapakesan, Fikela Hill, Albertha Sabree, Dildora Sharipova, and Patience Shepard worked with middle school girls from the Global Village School (GVS) on a digital storytelling project. Their goal was to discover whether a digital storytelling project could improve language skills of the refugee girls. The project had three parts: first, the Agnes Scott students shared a personal story of their own. Then, the GVS students told their own personal stories. Finally, the GVS students turned their stories into fictionalized movies. The Agnes Scott students found that the project improved the GVS students’ written and oral skills and developed their technological skills.  The presenters developed bonds with the GVS students and hope to continue working with them.

Greenhouse Gases and Understanding your Carbon Footprint


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Meghan Franklin gave a sustainability talk on emissions inventories that track the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to or removed from the environment. In particular, she discussed Agnes Scott’s emission inventory with us. Although the 2013 and 2014 emissions inventories are not yet available, she pointed out that in two out of three categories our emissions have remained the same, and in the last category Agnes Scott’s emissions were greatly reduced from 2009 to 2012. This is great progress towards Agnes Scott’s goal of climate neutrality!

Her talk also sparked (or SpARC’ed, if you will) a discussion in the audience on several of Agnes Scott’s recent sustainability efforts. We learned that the power from the solar panels on the science center’s roof are actually sent to Georgia Power rather than powering buildings on campus. Meghan also told us about the geothermal wells on the science quad, which will provide heat and cooling to Campbell Hall.

Agnes Scott Dance Students


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Agnes Scott Dance 2

Agnes Scott Dance 1


The one thing that I love about Agnes Scott College is that I am able to witness different types of cultural events that are not available at some school. Dancing is a fun past time, but it is also a form of art that can be used to express emotions. These two videos consist of Agnes Scott dance students and they are performing dances choreographed by other Agnes Scott dance students.

L’académie Française: Upholding the Patriarchal Institution


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Macey Karr highlights the problematic aspects of the group charged with maintaining the pureness of the French language. L’académie Française was established in 1635 and preserves the French language from slang, new words, and the adoption of words from other languages into the French language. 

Macey makes the statement that when language is created and maintained by men then it becomes hard for a woman to be involved; this creates an environment that inadvertently maintains the patriarchy. The academy is currently 85% male with only one non-white member. Right off the bat, it is not very diverse for a group that has been around for 379 years. In these years there have been 25 female candidates for the academy and only eight have been elected. The first candidate appeared in 1874 and her name is unknown. The first female elected member of L’académie Française was Marguerite Yourcenar in 1980. The academy perpetuates aspects of French culture that are often seen as sexist. One example is the use of gender specific articles and when they pertain to words that imply higher education. In the case of the word <<Le Professeur>>, a male gender article is used regardless of the gender of the professor specifically. L’académie Française refuses the adoption of the female article when referring to a female professor and have offered the option of <<Madame le Professeur>>, but many still believe that because this translates to miss professor that there is still a negative connotation. Macey also mentions a quote from Benjamin Wasserman pertaining to how children who grow up with language that has more gendered vocabulary tend to have more sexist attitudes.

Although L’académie Française defends and upholds the patriarchy, there are some positive aspects for the future of the establishment. Because there is a growing number of women in the academy, there is hope for more equal representation within the group. So far, only female candidates have replaced previous female chairs. If this trend continues then the number of females is going to obviously increase. Another positive function of the academy is the preservation of the original French language, which is priceless. 

Two Talks on Cerenkov Radiation


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The physics room at SpARC started off strong with two presentations on Cerenkov radiation. Cerenkov radiation is light that is emitted when a charged particle travels faster than the speed of light in the medium it is in. Cerenkov radiation is used to identify charged particles at CERN and is also used for imaging in pre-clinical drug testing (called Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging).

The first presentation was from Melissa Hutcheson on Simulating Cerenkov Production from Radioactive Decays. This semester she simulated how decay mode would affect the imaging. Her model was a sphere of water with a radioactive isotope at its center, and she simulated the number of photons per decay for several different isotopes. Her results can then be used to select an isotope to use experimentally in Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging.

The second presentation was from Kim Luong on Cerenkov Radiation Detection using CCDs. Kim’s talk focused on the cameras that would be used in Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging. Her work was on checking the sensitivity of the CCD camera. She built a circuit with a blue LED as the light source and attached a power meter, and then graphed photons collected vs. distance.

Both Kim and Melissa work in Dr. Nicole Ackerman’s research lab. This work was part of the Physics 400 class, and they will both continue their work next semester.


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