Professors show of unique talents

As a way for students to interact outside of the classroom with professors, Legends of Notre Dame hosted the fourth annual ‘Professors Unplugged’ event Tuesday night. This event gives freshmen a chance to see their professors’ unique talents. ND Ignite, a program in the First Year of Studies, organized this year’s event to increase interaction between professors and freshmen, professor and event coordinator Sean Wernert said. “We planned and worked with them [the students] to make the event something that they can be proud of and informative,” Wernert said.  “As we continue the event each year, we work with first-year students to remake and design the event as something that they will find interesting.” “We want students to see the path that professors have taken in their careers – what brought them to their chosen academic field and how they got to Notre Dame,” Wernert said. “We also want students and faculty to interact outside the classroom in an informal environment.” Hugh Page, dean of the First Year of Studies, kicked off the event by reading three personally written poems. The first of those poems, entitled ‘First Book,’ stressed the importance of embracing and examining self.   “We are the first book we are ever given, but the one we read last and least attentively,” Page said. Following Dean Page, Abby Palko, professor of gender studies, chronicled her journey to Notre Dame, which included an eight-year stint as an 8th grade teacher.   “When I finally went to Notre Dame for my Ph.D after teaching I couldn’t believe I was being paid to read,” Palko said.  “It was incredible.” Many of the professors revealed musical talents.  Professors Annie Coleman and Josh Kaplan performed a duet together with an ukelele and a trumpet.   Sociology professor Eugene Halton impressed with his harmonica playing skills.  His music style was varied, ranging from Beethoven on a miniature harmonica to train sounds on a traditional harmonica.  Between songs, Halton recalled his time at Princeton as a track and field athlete and the road that led him to Notre Dame. Others, such as Professor Anre Venter, amused the crowd with wit and sarcasm.   “My talent is to use ridicule and sarcasm as the basis for good teaching,” Venter said.  “It is always done with love and respect.” Students who attended the event said they felt the event was a success. “I’m really glad I went,” freshman Sophie Loftus said.  “They were all really talented and had great life stories.” Contact Drew Pangraze at [email protected] read more

Chef honored with award

first_imgIn an age of cooking shows and celebrity chefs, it can be easy to forget the culinary profession has not always been respected, let alone glamorized, by American society. But Notre Dame Executive Chef Donald Miller received the American Culinary Federation National Chef Professionalism Award this month in honor of his continued efforts to elevate the status of chefs in the United States through education and training. Although he did not actively seek the award, Miller said it was greatly humbling to be recognized for fostering increased respect for chefs as working professionals. Miller said he was inspired to enter the culinary profession by childhood visits to his grandmother’s house, where he sat for hours watching her make strudel, ribbon candy and Austrian delicacies. “Whenever I got bored, I would go back into the kitchen where my grandma was cooking,” Miller said.  “She was incredible, I was fascinated by it. I’m sure that’s what impressed me.” However, Miller said his eventual decision to pursue his dream and enter the Culinary Institute of America infuriated his parents. “My folks were incredibly upset,” he said. “They just couldn’t see it, but it was something that I wanted to do. You get your shot, and you either take it or you let it pass you by.” After working as the executive chef at a series of hotels and resorts, as well as serving as a culinary arts instructor at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill., Miller said he came to Notre Dame because of its emphasis on education and academic benefits outside the kitchen. “There’s an appreciation here at Notre Dame that education and research are important parts of the game,” he said. “I could sense they wanted to take their food service to where I wanted to take it.” Miller said his day-to-day responsibilities as Notre Dame’s executive chef are extensive and time-consuming, reaching far beyond food production itself. “To assure the highest quality culinary integrity through product development, research, demonstration, and audit. To provide leadership and guidance in reaching the correct culinary formula,” he said. “Those are my responsibilities.” Administrative duties aside, Miller said his favorite part of the job is still escaping into the kitchen to cook. “Cooking is an art, that’s the fun part of it,” he said. “When you’re cooking and you really get into a rhythm, it’s a beautiful thing.” Miller said he plans to work for a couple more years before retiring to pursue his passion for sailing. “I’m not going to be one of those chefs who die in their kitchens,” Miller said. Miller said he would warn people considering becoming chefs that the Food Channel is not an accurate representation of what their careers will be like. “The Food Channel is a good thing, but it’s also a bad thing because a lot of kids go to culinary school thinking their jobs are going to be glamorous, and then wash out when they have to work on weekends, holidays,” Miller said. “The adage is when everybody else is having fun, you’re usually working. Know what you’re getting into.”last_img read more

SMC screens documentary on girls’ education

first_imgThe film “Girl Rising,” which tells the stories of nine girls from different parts of the world all seeking education, will be shown today at 5:15 p.m. in the Vander Vennet Theatre of the Saint Mary’s Student Center. Connie Adams, administrative director of Belles against Violence (BAVO) said the film is well suited to the mission of Saint Mary’s as a women’s educational institution.   “The featured film is about the strength of the human spirit and the power of education that will work to transform societies,” Adams said. “As an institution, we are dedicated to the empowerment and education of women. Saint Mary’s is the perfect venue to feature this film and provide a space for dialogue on the importance of education for girls and women.” The documentary illuminates the general prevalence of the gender issues in countries around the world, where females are commonly neglected educational opportunities, simply because of their gender, Adams said. Adams said admission to the screening is free and she hoped it would be well-attended by students, especially those unfamiliar with global education issues and education policy.  “We have a passion for equality and women’s issues, and we want to be active in spreading this interest. Our goal is to support, empower, educate and challenge our fellow students,” Adams said. “What if there are females in the world not obtaining an education? Who will fight for them if you don’t?”  Adams said the idea to sponsor a showing of “Girl Rising” originated among the members of BAVO.  BAVO is sponsoring the film screening in collaboration with the women’s education organization She’s the First and Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry, Adams said.  Contact Chelsey Fattal at [email protected]last_img read more

Professor examines causes of civil wars

first_imgIn a talk Thursday, professor of political science at University of Colorado Boulder Jaroslav Tir said preventing civil war and the horrors that come with it require a change of perception.Academia’s study of civil war is often not as in-depth as its study of interstate war, which leads many experts to overlook the most important aspects of these conflicts, Tir said.“We [Tir and colleague Johannes Karreth] think of civil wars as not just something where you pull a switch, flip a trigger of some sort and then you suddenly have a civil war,” he said. “This is something that is actually a process that builds up over time. So we’re thinking about looking at civil wars from a developmental perspective.“Incidentally, this has been done in the context of interstate war, but it hasn’t really been applied before to civil war all that much.”Tir said the goal of his research was to find the most effective way to prevent civil wars from breaking out because ending the violence of war is much more difficult once the fighting begins. Caroline Genco | The Observer Professor of political science Jaroslav Tir discusses civil war and how to prevent its outbreak. Tir said the key to preventing civil war lies in the work of intergovernmental institutions.“Some of the consequences of civil wars actually turn out to be predictors of civil wars as well, which means that countries that have experienced one civil war find themselves in this business of what’s called a civil war trap, or a conflict trap,” Tir said. “… Basically, Ms. Taylor Swift would be disappointed by these countries that cannot just ‘shake it off’ and that get caught over and over again [in civil war].”Tir said one reason nations continue to fall into civil war is because of the distrust between civil war rebels and the governments they are fighting against. Tir described this lack of trust as the “credible commitment problem,” which impedes peace efforts.“The rebels [in a civil war] worry and fear that the government won’t hold up its end of the bargain, and this is the story why peace deals may be difficult to reach or why they ultimately fall apart,” Tir said. “… So if we’re going to come up with a way to prevent civil wars, we have to tackle this really tricky problem.”While traditional intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) often lack the tools to influence their member states’ policies, particular organizations known as highly-structured intergovernmental organizations (HSIGOs) hold the key to tackling the credible commitment problem and preventing civil war, Tir said.“What it takes to qualify as one of these highly-structured IGOs is that they have independent administrative monitoring bodies – which means the government of these member states can’t just shut the organization down if the organization is doing something the government doesn’t like,” he said. “So they have some authority, some oversight, basically, that is independent from the member governments.”These organizations, which include the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, are able to influence the political policy of member states because they provide the aid on which many nations that struggle with conflict rely. This pushes governments to respond peacefully to rebel groups and even prevents violence from the rebel groups themselves, Tir said.“If the rebels were to overplay their hand … what would happen is that these HSIGOs would probably stop constraining the government or at least release some of their constraints,” he said. “… So we argue that the rebels are actually better off playing along in this structure of interactions, which actually constrains the government indirectly and the rebels as well, which basically pushes their preferences toward peace and away from public escalation.”Tags: civil wars, Jaroslav Tir, Preventing civil wars, University of Colorado Bounderlast_img read more

Shakespeare acting group visits ND classes

first_imgRosie Biehl | The Observer A few members of the AFTLS perform a Shakespeare play on campus. Members of the group visited classes this week.Members of the Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) group visited Arts and Letters classes at Notre Dame this week, holding workshops while they were on campus for their five-person performance of “Macbeth” this week.Peter Holland, associate dean for the arts and professor of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT), said Notre Dame has been the United States home to AFTLS for more than 15 years.“We had booked their tours to visit us regularly before that, but when they were looking to shift from their previous home, we were thrilled to be able to take it on,” he said. “We have the responsibility for creating the tours, working with the Associate Directors [in London] who cast the shows and organize the rehearsal period.”Holland said AFTLS members act as ambassadors for Notre Dame as they travel across the country for their U.S. tours.Ben Warwick, one of the actors, visited Holland’s Shakespeare and Film class, where he gave feedback on students’ performances of scenes from “Much Ado About Nothing.” Holland said this workshop is offered every semester, and it is always a class favorite.“Every semester, when I ask my students what have been the most useful and enjoyable sessions in the semester, they pick the AFTLS visit — and that after 31 sessions with me,” he said. “That stops me feeling too good about my own teaching.”Holland said the experience was useful because it offers a unique perspective for students.“I think they get the insights into how to turn text into performance that only an experienced theatre professional, like Ben, can provide,” he said. “Of course I’d love it if he could come back many times in the semester but they’re on tour.”The actors didn’t just visit FTT classes; Warwick also led an acting workshop in Fr. Kevin Sandberg’s theology class titled Discipleship: Loving Action for Justice. Sophomore Catherine Wagner, a student in Sandberg’s class, said it was a nice break from the usual class format.“I really enjoyed how he made connections between [Martin Luther King Jr.], Hamlet and Job — not three topics easily intertwined,” she said.Wagner said it was interesting to see the theatrical side of her classmates, and she loved the advice that Warwick gave them.“It praised the art of acting because while it can be nerve-wracking being on a stage in performance, it is because of this vulnerability that we enjoy the theatre,” she said. “Our class today experienced a small bit of this vulnerability by trying new things, but we came out better because of it.”The last AFTLS performance of “Macbeth” will take place tonight in Washington Hall, and $12 student tickets can be purchased at performingarts.nd.eduTags: Actors from the London Stage, AFTLS, Ben Warwick, Catherine Wagner, FTT, Macbeth, Peter Holland, Shakespearelast_img read more

Associate provost named finalist in Miami University (Ohio) president search

first_imgMiami University (Ohio) has named former William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science and current associate provost and University vice president Gregory Crawford as the finalist in its search for a new president, according to a press release Thursday.“On behalf of the trustees, we wish to thank the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members from all of Miami’s campuses who contributed to this important process. We especially want to thank those who also served as members of the search committee,” Chair of the Board of Trustees David Budig said in the press release.Crawford served as dean of the College of Science from 2008 to 2015. As an associate provost and University vice president, Crawford led the Notre Dame California Initiative, which aims to develop Notre Dame’s presence in the state through increased internship and employment opportunities, as well as greater recruitment of California high schools students to Notre Dame.Notre Dame declined to comment on the announcement until the search process is complete.Tags: College of Science, Greg Crawfordlast_img read more

SUB hosts 58th annual collegiate jazz festival

first_imgThe 58th annual Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF), which celebrated women in jazz this year, was held Friday and Saturday in Washington Hall.This year, the panel of judges was made up of five female jazz musicians, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, alto and soprano saxophonist Christine Jensen, pianist Helen Sung, string bassist Marion Hayden and drummer Allison Miller. This lineup is a change from years past, sophomore Karen Chen, this year’s Student Union Board (SUB), programmer for the event, said.“In the past, there have been 171 male judges but only nine female judges,” she said. “So we wanted, with the female empowerment movement going on in society, to acknowledge that there are so many other talented female musicians in the jazz field, too.”While the festival featured performances from the Notre Dame Jazz Band 1 and the Notre Dame New Orleans Brass Band, as well as groups from Lee University, Roosevelt University, Western Michigan University, Alma College, Columbia College and University of Mississippi, the highlight of the festival was the Judges’ Jam on Saturday afternoon, Chen said.“The judges were all so amazing, and it was great watching the way they kind of all interacted onstage, and they’d like turn to each other and smile,” she said. “I had a lot of fun watching them because you could tell they were having a lot of fun, too.”Senior Maddie McHugh, an alto saxophonist in the New Orleans Brass Band, said the Judges’ Jam surpassed her expectations as a first-year member of the New Orleans Brass Band.“They were absolutely incredible musicians,” McHugh said. “I kept watching the drummer [Allison Miller]. She just looked like she was having so much fun while she was playing that I wanted to pick up a pair of sticks and try a drum set for the first time.”Senior Adam Henderson, a trumpet player in the Jazz Band 1 and the New Orleans Brass Band, said inviting a new group of judges each year creates some variation in the judges’ performance.“The Judges’ Jam was different, and it was good in a very different way than last year’s was, just because they played a different type of jazz than last year’s did,” he said. “It [was] not confined to the traditional type of jazz that you usually think of, and so it [was] very fun and interesting to listen to, whereas the type of jazz that they played last year was a little bit more standard and what you would think of when you would think of jazz.”Henderson said another difference between this year’s and last year’s festival was attendance, particularly at the event’s preview Thursday night in the LaFortune Ballroom.“SUB did a great job of promoting the event this year,” he said. “People were really buzzing about it and preview night this year … they had a chocolate fountain and everything, so this year in comparison to past years has been awesome. … We had a lot of people at preview night on Thursday, where last year it was dead, there was no one there.”Chen said attendance was high enough to cause a program shortage, a phenomenon unheard of before this year.“We’ve printed the same amount of programs every single year for the past couple years [and] we ran out of programs within the first half of the first night,” she said. “I believe the final count for audience members, not including the bands that were watching, was somewhere around 260 on the first night.”McHugh said the CJF served as an opportunity to explore a different side of her instrument and music.“I feel like jazz is so much more personal than anything else,” she said. “[In] marching band, concert band, you sort of play what’s on the page … Jazz is just everyone putting their personality through their instrument and sort of communicating with each other.”Henderson said the New Orleans Brass Band chose to play without sheet music onstage to allow even more flexibility.“For our performance, the trumpets, we [did] not have a folder in front of us because we like to be able to just listen to everyone else and play what the spirit moves you,” he said. “Being able to get up there in front of a packed house, in front of people and just have fun, sing, dance around, move, interact with each other, that’s what makes it fun.”Tags: Brass Band, Judge’s Jam, Notre Dame Jazz Bandlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s receives $6.2 million gift

first_imgSaint Mary’s has received a gift of $6.2 million — one of the largest donations in the College’s history — from the trust of 1958 alumna Mary Lee Sheftic, the College announced Thursday. According to a press release, the gift will be used for a scholarship in Sheftic’s name, as well as to provide resources for the renovation and expansion of the Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex.“We are blessed by the generosity of our alumna Mary Lee Sheftic, President Carol Ann Mooney said in the release. “I wish that I had known her and had the opportunity to thank her personally for such a transformational gift.”Sheftic passed away in May of 2015 at the age of 78. She graduated from the College with a degree in commerce and a minor in speech and drama. She taught school in Virginia before working as the vice president of the Peoples Bank and Trust and serving on the First Commonwealth Financial Corp. Board of Directors.Julie Schroeder-Biek, director of athletics, said in the release that the gift “helped make our dreams of the new Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex a reality.”“Our generous donors have helped us get up a mountain, and this gift allowed us to put the flag at the summit.”The construction and renovation is set to be completed by fall of 2017.Tags: donation, Mary Lee Shefticlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s to hold second College Assembly

first_imgThe second College Assembly will take place Friday from 3-4 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall, according to an email College President Jan Cervelli sent to the Saint Mary’s community Wednesday.Cervelli said in the email that all members of the community are welcome to attend, as this event will offer guests the opportunity to learn new information about the College’s strategic initiatives.“The Assemblies offer an opportunity for faculty, students and staff to discuss strategic priorities and policies in a forum that encourages the sharing of information and exchange of ideas,” she said. “The monthly meetings are open to all.”The assembly will involve updates from members of the administration on topics such as enrollment, budget and academics.Tags: Assembly, College Assembly, Enrollmentlast_img read more

Family owned hair salon offers haircuts to Notre Dame community

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Zak Emmons The University Hair Stylists, in the basement of the LaFortune Student Center, is run as a family business by the Emmons family. Jeff Emmon’s founded the salon in 1979. His son Zak is the current owner.“Years before I was born, he got his cosmetology license and was doing hair at a place off campus and happened to cut a couple of gentlemen’s hair who were working in the administration here,” Emmons said. “ … They were like, ‘Hey Jeff, I’m thinking about opening up like a salon, like, you know, the barbershop or salon. We’re interviewing potential proprietors, and you should throw your hat in the ring.’ So he did, and he had the references, so he got the space. Basically they just threw up a wall in the middle the barbershop in Badin Hall and it kind of grew from that.”Since Notre Dame had opened its doors to women for the first time in 1972, Zak Emmons said this change and addition of the salon was needed to fulfill the changing needs of the University.Zak Emmons did not always know he wanted to take over his father’s business and initially used doing hair as a way to put off going to college. Growing up, he frequently worked in the salon, and about 10 years ago officially purchased the business from his father.When LaFortune was being redone in the mid 1980s, University Hair Stylists was able to expand when it moved to the space it now occupies across from Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the basement. However, Emmons said even with the normal change that comes with an establishment, the salon still primarily cuts men’s hair.“One thing that’s similar is that we still do more guys’ hair,” Emmons said. “We’re a barbershop that does color and eyebrow wax and that sort of thing … about 75 percent of our business is still guys. That’s kind of one thing that’s never changed I suppose. I would say like every year we probably get a little more of a female clientele.”According to Zak Emmons, there are nine employees that currently work at University Hair Stylists, many of whom have varying talents other than giving a simple haircut. He said the business does not have much turnover, and a handful of employees have been with the business for over a decade. Emmons also has three sisters, two of whom have worked in the salon at varying points.“We’re in this interesting spot and conundrum where it’s hard to do both really well or at least appeal to both really well as far as like offering certain services,” he said. “We’re a barbershop by and large, but we do have some talent. For example, Diana [Roop] does excellent updos for weddings and stuff. In a dream world, I’d love to have a dedicated salon space and more of a haircut and barbershop space as well so you could have a little more privacy.”Roop, who has worked for University Hair Stylists for 26 years, said working on a university campus differs from working in a normal salon because of the constant changes in clientele.“I would say our clientele changes a lot more over the years,” she said. “While you get new students every year, every four years your students are gone. So you lose students, and that’s kind of sad because you don’t keep track of them as long, but it also keeps our clientele young and fresh.”Roop cited a change in what people want from getting their hair cut as a help in the salon’s growth over the years.“We have definitely picked up business over the years. I think more students are used to stylists and not just barbers, so that’s helped us improve,” Roop said.Zak Emmons also said working on a university campus is a unique experience, and that it feels like an “oasis.”“I love being on campus, especially coming from South Bend, a smallish Midwest sort of community. It’s pretty homogenized,” he said. “Especially with grad students or teachers, you end up getting to know them for like five, six, 10 years. You just end up knowing their names and you talk about kids and family and that sort of stuff. I just think it’s super interesting and fascinating to be here in this oasis of culture in South Bend that I would never have experienced otherwise.”Tags: LaFortune Student Center, LaFun, University Hair Stylists Cutting hair ran in the family for Zak Emmons, who has been the owner of University Hair Stylists in the basement of LaFortune Student Center for the last decade. University Hair Stylists, in some form, has been around for about 39 years and was originally owned by Emmons’ father, Jeff Emmons, who opened the salon in 1979.Jeff Emmons, who is currently described by his son as being “by and large mostly retired” from working at the salon, happened upon the Notre Dame position when he was cutting the hair of a couple Notre Dame faculty who were trying to find someone to open a salon alongside the existing barbershop in Badin Hall that would cater to both men and women.last_img read more