Junior Scholar Meaghan Clohessy wins award at Sigma Tau Delta National Conference

Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society, held its annual national conference this year in Portland, Oregon. Members of the honor society around the country attend and present their academic and creative pieces at this conference. Chatham’s chapter of the society, Alpha Delta Lambda, sent four upper class women to present at the conference this year.

One of these women, junior Scholar Meaghan Clohessy, presented a nonfiction piece entitled “Revisiting the Laundromat” in the creative portion of the conference. She won second place in the nonfiction category at the conference.

Clohessy is a Creative Writing and History double major. Her nonfiction piece is a memoir that she wrote in which she details her reading of the book “Laundromat Blues,” which was written by a friend of her father’s who passed on a few years ago. Clohessy’s piece is both brilliantly crafted and realized, and Chatham University’s Scholars Program is proud to announce her accomplishment.

First Year Chatham Scholars Annual Warhol Trip

On Friday, March 1st, some of the first year scholars, a second year
cohort scholar, Dr. Lenz, and Dr. MacNeil took the annual trip to the Andy
Warhol Museum. After enjoying a delicious Middle Eastern meal at
Aladdin’s Eatery, the group headed over to the Warhol. Working our way
down from the top floor, we got to experience some of Andy Warhol’s most
famous prints, as well as many film pieces, paintings, works of
photography, and sculptures by a variety of artists. We probably spend
most of our time, however, in the room filled with silver mylar balloons
shaped like pillows, a favorite of the group’s. After a quick stop at the
gift shop, we headed back to campus, having enjoyed an exquisite evening
of art!

–by First Year scholar Ivy Kuhrman

First Year sholar Chloe Bell enjoys the Warhol Museum

First Year scholar Chloe Bell enjoys the Andy Warhol museum.

Scholars enjoy dinner at Aladdin's after the museum

Scholars enjoy dinner at Aladdin’s after the museum.

Scholar Abroad Presentations

     Chatham Scholars have gotten an early start this spring semester. Although only week two of the new semester, first year scholars Phoebe Armstrong and Rosemary Davies presented on study abroad experiences. The presentations, which occurred on Tuesday, January 15th at Chatham University, piqued the interest of fellow scholars.
Armstrong studied abroad in both Argentina and Germany, while Davies took part in an Arctic expedition. During her time abroad, Armstrong became fluent in German, and delved deep into the culture of both Argentina and Germany. Davies, meanwhile, had the opportunity to see the unique variety of animals and fish that inhabit the Arctic, and was especially fascinated by diatoms, a type of algae found in Arctic sea ice. The range of their experiences provided varied lenses through which fellow scholars could see the abroad trips of their peers, as well as consider their own potential future trips.

Armstrong presents Davies describes her experience in the Arctic

Scholar Summer 2012 Trips Abroad

One of the tenets that Chatham continues to uphold for students is travel and study abroad. Faculty and administration across campus stress the importance of taking a Maymester, summer, or semester abroad, citing that experiencing another culture can change the way one views and understands one’s own. This past summer 2012, Meaghan Clohessy and Seyhan Sagcan, both members of the Chatham Scholars Program, were two students to have a travel abroad experience.
Clohessy, who traveled across the pond to Cambridge University at Gonville and Caius College, discovered her summer abroad opportunity through one of those handy emails Dr. Lenz circulates among the students at Chatham. “I was going to ignore it,” Clohessy states, but in a turn of chance, “…[I] decided to look at it anyway. I looked at the University of New Hampshire website, the school through which this program was taking place, and realized that it was offering classes in both creative writing and history, the majors that I am completing here at Chatham.”
She applied to the program immediately and was accepted. Clohessy would be taking two classes during her time at Cambridge, which included Travel Writing and History of the British Monarchy. She wasn’t sure what to expect from this trip, her first time abroad alone, but found that any expectations she could have had were “far exceeded, as I did far more in England than I ever would have imagined.”
“When I was not taking a class, I was going on various excursions” she states about her adventures overseas. The Cambridge abroad trip offered a variety of opportunities: bus tours across England to Stonehenge, the Cliffs of Dover, the Canterbury Cathedral, and seeing Richard II at The Globe Theater. London, which was only forty minutes away from the university, became a frequent getaway during Clohessy’s stay. She even wandered off from the University of New Hampshire group to explore on her own, carefully planning and executing a trip to Wales, where she stayed at a bed and breakfast in Blaencwn, a village not far from Cardiff. She spent the weekend amongst the villagers, exploring the Welsh landscape, and scaling Cardiff.
Sagcan, meanwhile, took her 2012 summer abroad experience to Africa. She discovered the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa online, using the website Cross Cultural Solutions, which offers short-term volunteer abroad programs in 12 countries. She volunteered as a teacher’s aid for a 4th grade class of 70 students in the township of Athlone, in Cape Town. Sagcan also worked in a women’s shelter in Athlone, attending to the children in the crèche (daycare) while the women sought help for their individual needs.
Her experience abroad, however, did not end with her volunteer work. For the first three weeks after volunteering, her program provided a mandatory South African culture excursion. She explored Cape Town, dug deep into the history of District 6, learned about Islamic influences, the slave trade, and about current refugees. “I also had the opportunity,” she states, “to learn how to play a traditional South African drum, and learn a little bit of Xhosa,” which is the native language of Cape Town tribal communities. Sagcan also climbed Lion’s Head Mountain and took tours through Cape Point and Stellenbosch, rounding out her trip with plenty of volunteer work, lots of learning, and a little leisurely fun too.
There are also moments that stand out distinctly from her trip abroad. “One moment from [my trip] that I can never, ever forget is with this one lady I had a conversation with [one day during a free period at the women’s shelter].” Sagcan found herself connecting to a woman from a completely different culture as she explained her past hardships, and how the shelter had made a fundamental difference in her life. They spoke of how, someday, the woman wanted to learn how to use a computer and become a typist. “It was incredibly heart-wrenching to hear about everything that she has gone through,” Sagcan states. “She is a strong person, and all I can say is that I am so proud of her for being able to start back up at the shelter.”
For both Clohessy and Sagcan, their summer 2012 abroad trips are ones they aren’t likely to forget. Their experiences overseas did live up to what so many professors at Chatham stress: that once you return home, there is a fundamental change in how you view your own life and culture. For Sagcan, “this entire experience changed my perspective of everything…I think that learning about another culture and working with different individuals every day has allowed me to grow as a leader and a person…I can tell you that everyone will have a revelation after an experience outside of the United States.” Clohessy came to realize that she felt much the same way. “I have never felt so confident or independent in my life,” she says proudly. “The separation from what felt like ‘the real world’ helped to put my life in perspective. I will never forget the beauty of a rainy day in England…or the silence of the London streets during the Olympics. How do you experience these wonderful things and go unchanged? You can’t.”

All-Campus Author Yrsa Sigurdadottir Visits Chatham University

One of the beauties of writing is the complete freedom it provides. This year’s All-Campus Author Yrsa Sigurdadottir’s novel My Soul to Take is unrestricted in this same way as it breaches the constraints of labels. A mystery novel, but with parts spanning comedy, women’s issues, and politics, Sigurdadottir’s novel is a page-turner that readers cannot put down. On Monday, November 5th, the Icelandic author held a lecture and reading in Eddy Theater on Chatham University’s campus. Those in attendance were able to hear about the story from her perspective, and gain insight into her work as a writer. During the public reading on Monday, she read the prologue. Before, I had read those same words silently. When Sigurdadottir read them, the words came alive. The story was given a tangible edge illuminated by her discussion.

My own experience with My Soul to Take has been transformative. It has allowed me to go beyond the facts of Iceland, and into a deeper familiarity that was brought on by Sigurdadottir’s lecture. Now, I know more about the country’s people and culture. When Sigurdadottir spoke on Monday evening, she bridged the gap between the United States and Iceland. She clarified our comments, answered questions, and shared with us her perspective. At the end of her visit, she left me thinking of her country and people. I can still taste the shark and cod liver from Monday’s reception.

By Rosemary Davies

Scholars Ice Cream Social

The incoming Scholars class of 2016 was welcomed last Monday at the Scholars Ice Cream Social. The Mellon Dining room was packed with Scholars—from first years to seniors—and everyone was enjoying a nice cup of ice cream while mingling with their Scholar mentors. Dr. Lenz gathered us all in a circle, like every one of his classes, and made us go around the room to introduce ourselves. We are a very diverse group: there are women from as far away as California, the East Coast, and right here in Pittsburgh. Dr. Lenz talked to us about how important it was to be a part of the Scholars program because we raise the academic standard at Chatham but we remain humble at the same time, always remembering that we are here to find whom we are and what we want to do after these four years at Chatham University.
By the end of all the mingling and ice cream, a few first years were left—I being one of them—talking about the upcoming classes for the week and what events the Scholars program would be doing in the future. All my first year friends at Chatham and I decided that we were very happy to be in the program we are in and to be with the people we will spend the next four years studying with in class. The Ice Cream Social was a great way to start out our time here at Chatham and we can’t wait to go to another Scholars event.

Sook Yee’s Review of “As You Like It”

Ted Pappas has refashioned Shakespeare masterpiece for today’s audience just in time for Valentine’s Day! Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Ted Pappas, is a modern-day celebration of love, ranging from friendship to lascivious passion. In particular, the anachronisms in this theatre performance bridged the perceptions of love in the Shakespearian times with the modern times.
In addition to the 19th century attire, Pappas’ fusion of modern day mannerisms with the Shakespearian vernacular creates an intriguing way of relaying the play’s dialogue, which is sort of similar to speaking and miming, that made the lay more accessible to toady’s audience. For instance, Celia and Rosalind’s heart to heart conversations and bantering had features of today’s bold emphatic intonation. At some points, one can almost hear the voice of a friend saying something similar to “Oh no you didn’t (insert subject here.)”Also, Duke Frederick’s talk-to-the-hand gesture, which is a fairly recent non-verbal gesture, made it quite clear to the audience that he detested her, so his subsequent decision to exile Rosalind was not surprising. It was quite intriguing to watch the performers’ mannerisms clarify, reinforce, and translate for those who may not understand the dialogue. Hearing the words, observing the body language, and discerning the intonation accentuates certain sentiments, which also shows how open to interpretation theatre performances are and how a performance can emphasize a particular interpretation.
Hence, for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, Pappas has accentuated the scope and fundamental values of love. Audiences witnessed the love in true friendship between Celia and Rosalind, particularly when Celia decided to accompany Rosalind in the latter’s exile. Silvius’ obsessive and undying devotion to Phoebe earned much of the audience’s (and Rosalind’s) sympathy, particularly when the Silvius eagerly consumed Phoebe’s love letter to Ganymede (a.k.a. Rosalind’s male disguise persona) when the latter discarded the letter in disgust. Ultimately, the essence of Valentine’s Day shines through the mutual infatuation that Orlando and Rosalind had for each other. From Orlando, the audience identified with the feeling of butterflies in one’s stomach—that can also somehow clog one’s vocal chords as one tries to speak with the object of their affections. From Rosalind, the audience experienced the feeling of delight upon discovering that one’s infatuation was mutual—especially when one personally finds out by disguising as a member of the opposite gender in order to converse with the person of one’s dreams. As for the lascivious passion, neither Shakespeare nor Pappas approved of Touchstone’s (the jester) prurient love for Audrey (the witless shepherdess) and their precipitous wedding for Jacque refers to the pair by stating, “[H]ere comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools.”
Ultimately, Pappas’ modern day rendition of Shakespeare’s As You Like It compels the audience to identify and empathize with the fundamental values of love that have persisted from Shakespeare’s time till today.


Martin Luther King Jr. Honorary Brunch

By Shannon Ward

Though the day itself commemorates something somber—the life and legacy of a man who was killed fighting for equality—the atmosphere within the Mellon Boardroom was far from morose this Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Brunch. Beginning with tea, coffee, and a plateful of finger foods, a large group of staff, students, and guests of all backgrounds filled every seat in the basement of Mellon. The purpose of this assembly was simple: to honor a man who stood for the same thing Chatham stands for: equality and justice for all people without regard to inborn differences. In a display that can only be described as moving, the audience sat in contented silence, touched by the words of student speaker Shamin Mason who told the tale of racial inequality that still exists today. Her carry away message: no one should ever stop fighting discrimination, no matter what form it takes. Hearts and eyes were lifted during the two songs (Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing—“The Black National Anthem”—and Freedom) performed by the talented Amber Phillips. Her first piece, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, was introduced with polite applause, but by the time she left the podium for the second time, the approval from the crowd carried on for several minutes, some members of the audience climbing to their feet. Finally, the keynote speaker, Pastor Frank Tillman Jr. proved once again that good things come to those who wait. His speech displayed a colorful array of both Dr. King’s history and the contemporary ramifications that still follow in the man’s footsteps even today. In a closing statement that spoke for itself, Mr. Tillman asked the audience to stand, take hands, and join with him in a song of unity. Even those whose clumsy lips did not know the words filled the room with a unique and utterly powerful beauty. With that, the brunch ended in a gesture of race-less, gender-less brotherhood—the quintessence of what Dr. King fought for—that needed no further verbal conclusion.

Relay for Life: A New Tradition?

The scholar group covered their table in colorful neon confetti; prizes in the forms of slinkies, assortments of colorful markers, blow pops; a bucket full of water with an (empty) shot glass floating at the bottom; and a large sign announcing the scholars’ table in a friendly greeting. The Athletic and Fitness Center soon swarmed with volunteers, teachers, and pizza. 90s music reverberated across the open gym floor. We were ready for Chatham University’s first Relay for Life to begin.
The Scholars Advisory Board (SAB) recruited fellow scholars to welcome students, teachers, and guests to their table the evening of November 4, 2011, from 4pm that evening until the early hour of 4am. Ashleigh Fox, a sophomore at Chatham and a member of SAB and the Scholars Program, proposed the idea to the Board. This resulted in scholar participation at the event to raise money for cancer research and patients, and to honor those who fought and lost their lives to the disease. With little time to prepare, SAB came out with the idea of a simple coin drop—hence the bucket full of water with the shot glass at its center. The concept was simple: using nickels, dimes, or quarters, one would try to drop their coin directly into the shot glass while having to aim through a bucket full of water. The amount of money that landed in the shot glass dictated the prize one. This coin drop was harder than it sounds; I tried unsuccessfully several times, and most people often got splashed with water from the dropped coins. It was often the younger donators who managed to sink the most coins in the glass and walk away with the best prizes.
But besides getting a little wet, Relay for Life at Chatham University was a success. An amount of $12,000 was raised in twelve hours. Professor Mary Kostalos, a survivor of cancer who currently teaches at Chatham University, gave a speech on behalf of cancer research, survivors, families, and victims, and then led students, faculty, and guests for a lap around the gym their honor. Hopefully Relay for Life will continue at Chatham University and the scholar participation in fundraising can become a yearly tradition.

Taylor Gombar’s Thanksgiving Dinner with Chatham

Thanksgiving is a time of regrets and the beginning of a monthly long commitment to the gym. It requires hours of preparation to find the appropriate family gathering outfit that still expands with the vast intake of food. Flowy-tops are the ideal outfit of choice.

This year I stuffed my face with endless amounts of sweet potatoes not only once but twice. However, this year I found myself surrounded by my second-family stuffing my face with an almond bean platter at my home-away from home. Together we passed the gravy and shared our momentary seconds of relief from the future hours of English papers due the following day. It was the stress-free moments I shared with my fellow scholars at Thanksgiving Dinner that bonded our contradicting personalities together forming the second family I never could not be more thankful for.