The fourth annual showcase of experiential learning demonstrates the progress on the Kenyon 2020 goal that all students have at least two high-impact experiences before graduating.
High-impact practices can be research projects, artistic performances, internships, community-based research, senior honors theses, off-campus study or collaborative assignments. These types of experiences get students to think rigorously outside of the traditional classroom and are called “high-impact” because data shows they improve student learning and prepare students for success after graduation.
Kenyon students already benefit from close collaboration with supportive faculty members. The presentations at this year’s showcase illustrate how rigorous work that happens around a seminar table is being extended to include independent work outside of the classroom, collaborative research and experiences that empower students to put ideas into action.
Katie Stapenhorst '21, Nadine Hemming '19, Salome Shubitizde '22, Gabe Buyske-Friedberg '20 | Julie Brodie
A few years ago, Kenyon students started a creative movement class, bringing together kids of all abilities for a weekly, free, community class. This is the continuation of that class: the original teachers graduated, but the class, now in its fifth year, continues to run. It still remains completely organized by Kenyon students, and free and open to all community members.
Some of the Kenyon students teaching this class have taken “Directed Teaching,” a class in the dance department that teaches students how to effectively plan dance curriculum and implement it in dance classes for young children. We (the current teachers of the creative movement class) develop lesson plans based on our practice, blending modern, ballet, jazz, and guided movement exploration. The result is a class where children learn basic dance technique as well as are given a space to explore creative movement. Local kids benefit by learning dance skills and having positive interactions with Kenyon students, while Kenyon teachers get a chance to implement teachings outside of the classroom in a local setting. Both Kenyon student-teachers and local kids who attend the class benefit from the direct interaction that occurs every week.
Alejandra Colmenares '19 | Hewlet McFarlane
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a class of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by repetitive behaviors, deficits in social interaction, and heightened anxiety levels. Exhibiting many of these cardinal features, the BTBR T+tf/J strain of mice are widely used as a model for autism. With mounting evidence suggesting that heightened stress reactivity may promote excessive voluntary ethanol intake in certain strains of mice, this study investigated whether exposure to a specific stressor — the Tail Suspension Test (TST) — would affect voluntary ethanol intake in male BTBR and B6 mice. Following a test of the validity of the TST as a means of eliciting an exaggerated stress response from the BTBR mice (Exp.1), the “Drinking in the Dark” drinking paradigm was used to model the effects of exposure to a stressor on binge-like ethanol consumption in group-housed (Exp. 2) and individually-housed (Exp. 3) mice. Experiment one showed that following stress exposure, BTBR mice exhibit heightened stress reactivity compared to B6 mice. Additionally, the results of experiments two and three suggest that although exposure to acute stressor does appear to have a disruptive effect on voluntary ethanol intake, the nature of this effect on both strains varies over time and housing conditions.
Cassie Hudson-Heck '19, Catherine Gouchoe '19, Elly Zhang '21 | Patrick Bottiger
As the U.S. industrialized in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, economic growth relied upon the resources, land, and labor of the peoples living in the American southwest and Mexico. Scholars recognize that the U.S. control over and attempts to regulate these regions has resulted from a series of events and policies designed to regulate agricultural systems including the Bracero Program in 1942 that brought millions of guest workers into the United States and, more recently, the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 that sought to regulate trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This effort to regulate agricultural production has also resulted in the silencing of Indigenous peoples and their histories who have long called the southwest their homeland. Why is it that in discussions about NAFTA and border regulations, policy makers rarely engage the Indigenous communities that have called these places home for several centuries? What role has race played in the formation of these policies?
Herbert Dittersdorf '19, Gustaf Chial '19, Dani Huffman '19 | Patrick Bottiger
The systematic study and mechanization of agriculture from the 1500s to the contemporary moment continues to be an object of discussion among historians of agriculture and science. Many wish to understand the factors that led to a body of knowledge which, in part, now feeds and sustains many of the world's seven billion inhabitants. Yet why do scholars so rarely turn to Indigenous people (women, in particular) when evaluating agricultural history? What about American culture and epistemological practices limits our appreciation of Indigenous agricultural science? By evaluating the contributions and knowledge of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa agriculturalist, in relation to the more stereotypical farmer as celebrated in the twentieth century, this project evaluates the relationship between memory and culture to reframe our understanding of agricultural science.
Meg Ellingwood '20 | Kimmarie Murphy
Perceptions of local food among customers at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market and Yellowbird Food Shed were evaluated and compared to a similar study done in 2006-07 to identify changes in people’s attitudes toward local food. Data was collected on demography, motivations for shopping locally, and behaviors related to the purchase of local food. In 2006-07, the most common definition for “local” was within Knox and adjacent counties, but in 2018 it was more common to define “local” as central Ohio. Previously, the most important reason for buying local food was to support local farmers, followed by sustainability. In 2018, supporting local farmers was also important, but it was followed by the perception that local food tastes better. Vegetables were the most frequently purchased item in both samples, and freezing was the most season extending practice. In 2018 more respondents were willing to spend extra money on a local product than in 2006-07. More 2018 respondents thought local food was pricier than supermarket food than in 2006-07. Respondents in both samples agreed, however, that local food was higher in quality than supermarket food. Recommendations for future improvements included a greater variety in the products available, especially fruits and baked goods.
Liana Valin '21, Fielding Fischer '21 | Kathy Gillen
The year-long "Introduction to Experimental Biology" course (BIOL 109-110) concludes with a mentored independent research project conducted by pairs of students. These projects provide students with a platform to apply skills they acquired during the course of the year. Previous 110 projects explored the regenerative abilities of L. variegatus, an annelid worm capable of regrowing both anterior and posterior body segments after bisection, but no one had characterized this at a molecular level. Hox genes code for transcription factors that help establish positional identity during animal development and regeneration, so we sought to study the expression of Hox genes during L. variegatus regeneration. As a first step we cloned portions of six homeodomain containing genes from L. variegatus and deposited the sequences into GenBank. Four of the characterized homeodomains are associated with known orthologs including Xlox (MH591123), Scr (MH591124), Lox2 (MH591120), and Lox5 (MH591119). Two sequences do not show high similarity to any homeodomains: protein 1 (MH591121) and protein 2 (MH591122). This survey of homeodomain genes opens the door for further exploration of the roles of these genes in the regeneration of L. variegatus via protein knockout and expression studies.
Samuel Canseco '21, Celeste Díaz Ramírez '22, Betania Escobar '22, Jorge Spagnuolo '21 | Clara Román-Odio
Becoming: First-Generation and Latinx Experiences centers on personal experience as a subject of analysis and a means to facilitate the construction of new social knowledge. Students in the "Contemporary Latino Literature and Film" (SPAN 381) class captured, in digital story form, the experiences of first generation and/or Latinx students at Kenyon and explored, together with Mount Vernon high school students in the Kenyon Academic Partnership (KAP) Spanish class, the themes of bilingualism, cultural contact zones, and nepantlismo (“the land in the middle”) through literature and digital stories. Using oral history, community-engaged learning, and storytelling, project participants documented the role of radical resistance that first-generation and Latinx student played in the emergence and sustainability of their identities. In this presentation, students will showcase their digital stories and answer questions during the Q&A period. Complete stories and materials can be accessed at digital.kenyon.edu/celspan381.
Ansley Grider '22, Kira Lancz '21, Sierra Smith '22, Emma Coffman '22, Hannah Petrich '21 | Rob Alexander, Jim Skon
Over Spring break, a group of Kenyon students traveled to Belize and installed solar panel systems on six local schools. This partnership between our students and local community leaders in Belize reduces the electricity expenses of each school, allowing them to spend more on direct educational investments, such as books and equipment. Students enjoyed a rich cultural experience while also developing hands-on skills and learning how solar power systems work.
Devin Bean '20, Teahelahn Keithrafferty '20, Emma Tolley '20 | Patrick Bottiger
In Gilbert Livingston Wilson's 'Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden,' Buffalo Bird Woman also known as Waheenee, reflects upon her peoples' shifting culture by recounting her experiences with agriculture as a young woman — noting the many changes to agriculture brought about by generational divides, technological developments, U.S. Indian policies, and a changing material existence. At the heart of this narrative is an inextricable link that bound agriculture to greater Hidatsa social structures. For example, singing and thus Hidatsa music was central to this process for it allowed Hidatsa women to connect with their crops spiritually and to also reinforce kinship networks. Even today, agricultural practices by the Hidatsa at the Fort Berthold reservation allow for the continuance of these social connections through the revitalization of Hidatsa foodways.
Adam Quinn '20, Charlotte Smithson '19, Elizabethy Boyle '19 | Pattrick Bottiger
Magazines, railroads, and wolf hunts played central roles in the construction of an idealized American West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sunset Magazine, first published in 1898, served as the promotional arm of the Southern Pacific Company's Sunset Line railroad and created as one scholar argues, “some of the finest iconography and image-making dealing with Western life. Across scores of covers was achieved an almost utopian presentation of landscape, people, and pleasures of the Far West.” To a similar degree, railroads and wolf hunts also allowed white Americans to manage western spaces both by annihilating it via the systematization of geographical space through travel and the regulation of time and by the mass extermination of wolf populations as conservationists sought to protect the West’s “natural” beauty.
Tucker Bennett '20, Delaney Ambrosen '19, Joseph Woody '19, Simon Fruth '20 | Jon Chun, Katherine Elkins
An algorithm that can learn an optimal policy to execute trade profitable is any market participant’s dream. In the project, we propose an algorithm that does just that: a Deep Reinforcement Learning trading algorithm. We designed our algorithm by tuning the reward function to our specified constraints, taking into account unrealized profits and losses (PnL), Sharpe ratio, profits and transaction costs. Additionally, we used a short 5-month moving average replay memory in order to ensure our algorithm bases its decision on the most pertinent information. We combined the aforementioned concepts to make a theoretical Deep Reinforcement Learning trading algorithm.
Conner Lemma ‘19, Amelia Mott ‘21 | Yan Zhou
The Art History Department’s Visual Resources Center acts as a bridge between the art and artifacts of old and the modernized world today. We aim to inform the Kenyon Community about our ongoing projects in 3D printing and digitization of the department's collections. Our main goal is to broadcast the resources available upon request to Kenyon students and staff through the VRC, inspiring interdepartmental use of printing and digitizing services we offer.
Lauren Felleson '22, Abby Plone '21, Milo Eder '20, Andrew Lesak '19 | Aaron Reinhard
We will demonstrate a project that was completed as part of an independent study in Aaron Reinhard’s ultracold atomic physics lab. The presenters will use a homemade external cavity diode laser, along with a custom-built optical system, to measure the frequency differences among the atomic energy levels of rubidium to a precision of one part in 10^8. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to interact with a working laser spectroscopy system in real time. They also will have the chance to use specialized viewing equipment, similar to night vision googles, to see the infrared light scattered by the atoms.
Margo Goldfarb '20 | Kerry Rouhier
Amino acids serve several cellular processes outside of proteinogenesis that influence the growth and development of the plant, as well as the generation of metabolic energy. Here, we examine the contribution of branched-chain amino acid degradation to the production of β-alanine in the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana. β-alanine is a key intermediate in the synthesis of the essential molecules vitamin B5 and coenzyme A (CoA). Despite the importance, the current knowledge surrounding β-alanine lacks strong evidence for the primary biosynthetic pathways in higher plants. Previous studies found that polyamines, uracil, and propionate can all serve as sources for β-alanine. Given that the catabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) valine and isoleucine result in the production of propionyl-CoA (a derivative of propionate), we hypothesized that these BCAAs could also serve as a source of β-alanine. Propionyl-CoA is typically converted to acetyl-CoA via beta-oxidation, however, one of the intermediates, malonate semialdehyde, can react to form β-alanine. To trace the production of β-alanine from propionyl-CoA and the BCAA isoleucine, we treated wild-type and transgenic seedlings with isotopically-labeled precursors and analyzed extracts using 13C-NMR and GC-MS. We observed the production of both β-alanine and a key intermediate, 3-hydroxypropionate (3HP) in samples treated with propionate and isoleucine. Our data shows that the fed 13C-isotopes were efficiently incorporated into and recycled through propionyl-CoA metabolism, resulting in the production of 13C-labeled β-alanine. These findings suggest that while there is evidence for the production of β-alanine via polyamines, uracil, and propionate in other plants; isoleucine, and possibly valine, can also serve as a precursor to this metabolically important molecule.
Aaron Davis '19, Brandon Davidson '19, Nina Conover '19, Maddie McDowell '19, Isak Davis '20, Jesse Glass '21, Laura Grosh '21 | Miriam Dean-Otting
Students in RLST382, "Prophecy," have been studying poverty and food insecurity this semester. In their community engaged learning (CEL) they have been volunteering at Interchurch Social Services and the Salvation Army. In addition, they have spent an hour with the director of Job and Family Services and a local lawyer. They will be available to talk about their experiences working in food pantries, a thrift shop and getting to know various people at Hot Meals. They will also share resources about these topics with anyone who stops by the table.
Kathleen Duffy '20 | David Maldonado Rivera
Scholars have traditionally appraised women mystics in a markedly individualistic manner, focusing on the fleeting, ecstatic, and intimate relationship between mystic and God. This project seeks to recover the relational nature of the Early-Modern mystic’s spirituality, examining new conceptions of Eucharist and presence as Reformation movements emerged from different Christian groups. At the crux of this study are five mystics: Teresa of Avila, Aemilia Lanyer, Anne Bradstreet, Walatta Petros and Ursula de Jesus. Rather than transient, exceptional encounters with the sacred, we discover a sustained and relational mystical practice which, in its valorization of shared food, labor, and experience, diffuses sacred presence. Presence is political; earthly food and table become the meeting place of the mystical body of Christ and disestablish the separations imposed by hierarchies of gender, colonialism, race, and economic systems of power. Spiritual desire is found in the mundane, as everyday mysticism relocates Church and Eucharist as a performance amongst peoples.This presence is notedly real; it takes on agency of its own and engenders response. Herein women mystics ritualize and radically re-signify the domestic space, effectively subverting the power of both Catholic ecclesiastical claims to presence and subsequent Protestant Reformation denials of it.
Andrew Lesak '19, Phoebe Killea '20, Devon Nothard '20 and Vince Lewis '20 | Frank Peiris
Many physics students have at least one research experience by the time they graduate. What we show here is how we tie our research experiences into coursework and the national physics conversation. Four students will demonstrate how we use upper-level coursework and research to, literally, bring Kenyon physics students to the front-line of the national physics community by attending and presenting at the national meeting of the American Physical Society.
Masen Colucci '19, Jesseca Kusher '19, Lindsey Conant '21, Diego Farjardo, Dylan Hartman '22, Rita Carmona '19, Teddy Hannah-Drullard ' 21, Matthew Harrington '22, John Ortiz '22, Jackie Dicks '19, Will NIchol '19, Sarah Dailey '20, Will Sayegh '22, Oubadah Alwan '19, Jacqueleen Eng '20, Isaac Lipkowitz '21, Callie Gompf-Phillips '21, Lucy Friedberg '21, Tom Zaleski '20, Richie Carchia '22, Charles Cutler '19 | Jonathan Tazewell
"Gotta Get Down To It" is a feature film project written and directed by Jonathan Tazewell and made in collaboration with students, colleagues and alumni of the college. Students have been involved in this project from start to finish, working on all aspects of the movie, from script development and casting through the production and filming process and in all aspects of the post-production for the film. In addition to working with Kenyon faculty as creative partners, the students also had the opportunity to work along side professionals in the movie business, many of whom are alumni of the college. We hope to show a trailer of the film during the Kenyon Showcase.
Cat March '19, Jon Hammond '20 | Robin Hart Ruthenbeck, Kevin Peterson
This year marked the rollout of Green Dot, a bystander intervention program. Students who have participated in the program thus far have indicated it has positively shaped the way that they engage with peers and has increased their capacity to identify and navigate complex situations with increased confidence.
Our showcase display will provide visitors an opportunity to learn a bit about Green Dot and how they may become involved. They will learn from participants how they’ve applied the principles within their Kenyon experiences. Additionally, visitors will have a chance to consider the barriers that prevent them from acting to create a healthier Kenyon culture.
Mallory Richards '19 | Katie Black
Urban green amenities are proven to positively impact the health and wellbeing of nearby residents, however the increased desirability of green neighborhoods is associated with rising residential property prices. Associated premiums for living near public parks often displace long-term, low-income residents, who no longer can afford to be in an area offering green amenities. New York's High Line is no exception. In this project, I use a difference-in-difference regression to examine the relationship between green space and property values in Chelsea, Manhattan in order to understand how to equitably distribute green space, and how, in many ways, the High Line fails to do so.
Annika Ostrom '20, Paris Tully '21 | Christopher Yates
Students will present the art loan program and the efforts to share work with students across campus. They will also present images of conservation and collection maintenance efforts and information about gallery collection object talks highlighting their research and public presentations.
Quinn Adam '20, Gabrielle Bing '19, Roberto Vasquez '19, Cat Von Holt '19 | Christopher Yates
Students curated a show, "Beyond the Club," which will run from Jan. 17 – April 18. Students selected artwork, researched artists, wrote labels and designed layouts for the show, and they are producing a catalog/companion essay collection.
Erica Littlejohn '19, Annmarie Morrison '20, Daniela Grande '19 | Christopher Yates
Digital Outreach Associates will present a series of artist interview videos and art podcasts produced over the course of the academic year and also their efforts and strategies to produce social media buzz and Instagram story production for the Gund Gallery.
Claire Koelling '19, Chris Paludi '20, Emma Steinert '21 | Christopher Yates
Students will present "Pop-Up Show 3," a community-building art exhibition, which was produced this academic year. Students created workshops, planned exhibits, presented art and organized all aspects of the show. They will also present their work for family days and story times, for which they students selected books, planned activities, ran activities and read to pre-k students, and Late Night at the Gund events. Students have also been organizing social events around exhibition themes.
Sophie Mortensen '20, Elizabeth Cleveland '21, Gracie Gavazzi '21 | Rachel Kessler
Student ministers assist the priest-in-charge of Harcourt Parish in fulfilling the parish’s student outreach mission: “to build community with the students of Kenyon college, regardless of religious affiliation, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity in order to convey the unconditional love of a gracious God.”
It is the job of the student ministers to represent the diverse, generous, and welcoming nature of Canterbury Kenyon (the Episcopal campus community) and of Harcourt Parish. Student ministers seek to extend hospitality to any and all visitors to Harcourt Parish, and they supply sustaining and imaginative leadership to Canterbury. Student ministers conceive, plan and advertise social events, service opportunities, and discussions throughout the year. Student ministers function as “ambassadors” for Canterbury/Harcourt Parish to the wider Kenyon community.
Student ministers also serve not only their peers but also offer a vital leadership function within Harcourt Parish. Student ministers serve on the parish governing board helping to oversee budgetary decisions and the wider vision of parish ministry. They also regularly take turns preaching at mid-week services, serve on other important leadership teams within the congregation, and act as liaisons between the student and non-student congregation members. This role is a unique collaboration between Kenyon students and a non-Kenyon community in Gambier (Harcourt Parish).
Willa Moore '19, Schuyler Stupica '19, Melissa Skaluba '21, Cecily Graham '20, Jackson Fletcher '21, Bryn Reddiger '19, MaryGrace Detmer '19, Maria Breschia-Weiler '19, Sam Lipscomb '19, Jackson | Kathleen Fernando
We would like to share our experiences about participating in Kenyon's first prison exchange course. Taught in the fall of 2018 and modeled on the Inside/Out model of pedagogy, this literature course took place on the premises of the Richland Correctional Institution. For our class, ten Kenyon students traveled by van to Richland and we were joined by ten "inside" students (incarcerated individuals). We will have a power point with pictures and testimonies from our class but we will also be in attendance to speak about or answer questions about the various types of learning that took place during this course.
Arrin Marshall '22, Phu Duong '22, Moly Folks '22, and Sam Schaffner '22 | Matthew Rouhier
INDS 191 is a community-engaged course where students learn how to promote the understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to the general public of Knox County. The course revolves around a service-learning project with our community partner, SPI (where Science and Play Intersect!) of Mount Vernon. SPI is full of wonderful activities that deepen our understanding of the physical world, but many of these are directed toward younger learners. Therefore, our class collaborated with SPI to make “SPI missions” that could engage older children in a series of activities that reveal clues to direct them to explore all areas of SPI. The higher-level thinking required to solve these clues/puzzles can keep them challenged in a way the typical free play at SPI may not. Our goal is to maintain STEM exploration at SPI as children grow older and to encourage them to consider a future in STEM.
Weichen Zhao '20 | Wade Powell
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that controls the expression of a repertoire of genes. Multiple instances of crosstalk between the AHR pathway and other pathways have been reported. Noteworthy examples disrupted by AHR signaling include estrogen receptor, hypoxia-inducible factor pathway, as well as the NF-𝞳B signaling pathway. This lab has previously observed that co-exposure of TCDD and triiodothyronine (T3) can boost the expression of Krüppel-like transcription factor 9 (klf9), a direct target of thyroid hormone/thyroid hormone receptor (TH/TR) signaling pathway, more than mere addition of the expression elicited by TCDD and T3 exposure alone in the XLK-WG cell line. We thus hypothesized that there exists crosstalk between the AHR pathway and the TH/TR pathway. Given that a synergy module that supports synergistic transactivation of klf9 by T3 and glucocorticoid (GC) has been located upstream of klf9 promoter, we further hypothesized that a remote cis-regulatory mechanism responsible for TCDD/T3 synergy should also lie in the upstream region of the klf9 promotor. We employed luciferase reporter assay to scan the 5’ flanking region of the klf9 locus to locate the element responsible for such a phenomenon. Curiously, though synergy does not seem to be supported by any region of interest, we observed evidence that suggest potential interaction between AHR and TR. In light of these observations, we designed mutant sequences of a 2 kb upstream sequence that contains both dioxin response elements (DREs) and T3 responsive elements (TREs) to try to evaluate the necessity of each DRE to the TCDD-responsive expression and to understand potential interaction between AHR and TR.
Nate Gordon '20, Sigal Felber '21 | Howard Sacks
What’s it like to be Jewish at Kenyon? Under the direction of emeritus Professor of Sociology Howard Sacks and Jewish Chaplain Marc Bragin, Jewish Kenyon is a new project examining the Jewish experience at Kenyon College. Five students will conduct archival research and oral history interviews to address a variety of questions regarding Jewish life: How does being Jewish impact one’s academic experience? Which aspects of life at Kenyon — people, places, organizations — particularly affect one’s Jewish identity? How has the Jewish experience at Kenyon changed over time? Students will share their research publicly on a multimedia web site and in campus presentations, and the materials will be archived at the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives in the Olin Library.
Jewish Kenyon will document a significant but under-explored part of the college’s history. It will inform the administration and the faculty about the role of spiritual life in the collegiate experience and provide valuable insights for Hillel in its mission of serving the Jewish community’s needs and interests. This fascinating project also will be of interest beyond the Hill, reaching Jewish residents of Knox County, colleges and universities with Jewish populations and Jewish organizations in Ohio and beyond.
Araya Caba '21 | Jacky Neri Arias
The Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP) promotes excellence at Kenyon College — in the classroom, in social engagement, and in diversity and inclusion. To foster a network of support, KEEP builds a cohort of Scholars who commit to learning best practices for success and modeling them for others. In the KEEP Summer Experience, Scholars engage in several high-impact learning practices: intensive writing, collaborative work on solving authentic research problems, a common set of courses. At the same time they practice effective engagement outside of the classroom, through career workshops, community participation, discussions and explorations of difference, and a structured residential curriculum. After the summer program they continue to develop their abilities through continuous advising, periodic reflection, and mutual support. These benefits endure and accumulate, equipping Scholars to contribute, challenge, and lead in the College's intellectual, professional, and organizational life. They in turn serve as models of excellence for other students, while contributing their unique perspectives to campus discourse, and ultimately help the Kenyon community to understand the challenges of diversity and inclusion. Examples of engagement include the REACH and STEM mentoring programs, employment as teaching and community assistants, leadership in cultural organizations, and service as discrimination advisors and peer counselors.
Seth Colbert-Pollack '19, Nick Kaufman '19, Henry Williams '19 | Patrick Bottiger
Humanity is increasingly defined by corn. One need not look far beyond Knox County to see just how significant a role corn plays in shaping Kenyon’s local community. In 2016, with the help of the local Agriculture Extension Office in Mount Vernon, Knox County produced over 7 million pounds of corn, beating soybeans by almost 5 million pounds. By disseminating the most up-to-date scientific agricultural knowledge to local farmers, connecting the community to agricultural programs in local schools, and by serving as the center for the 4-H branch of Knox County, the Extension Office shapes the county on a daily basis. On a larger scale, Americans continue looking to corn-ethanol as a solution, however inefficient, to the nation’s dependence on petroleum. Yet why on one hand is the corn-ethanol industry seen as a boon but on another it remains so heavily subsidized? And with all the problems represented by this growing dependence on corn, why is it that China is now the world’s second leading producer of this grain? In a way, corn can stand as a symbol for modern China. When China eats livestock, they are eating corn-on-the-hoof. When China talks trade and diplomacy, they are talking corn agriculture.
Sarah McPeek '19; Miriam Hyman '21; Graham Ball '21; Anu Muppirala '19 | Robert Alexander
Lyceum was dreamed up by a group of Kenyon students who work at the nexus of the natural sciences and the arts. Together, we wanted to create a space to share our writing, artwork, and scientific fascinations with the Kenyon community and encourage others like us to do the same. The student group Lyceum was founded with the hope of cultivating a campus-wide community of curious, creative scientists, writers, and artists. Our mission as an organization is to provide an opportunity for students to share their fascinations and questions about the natural world and to discuss and explore each other’s passions. Every semester, Lyceum publishes student and faculty contributions of original science-inspired art and literature in a print publication and online at our website kenyonlyceum.wordpress.com. We also host science communication workshops and campus events related to writing, art, and public outreach. Lyceum is committed to communicating science with integrity and creativity.
Alex Freidinger '20 | Diego del Río Arrillaga
The digital map Mapa del exilio (Map of Exiles) was created by the students who took the special topics course SPAN 391: “Mapping Transatlantic Exiles” in the fall of 2018. This map displays the initial trajectories and biographical information of 12 Spanish writers, who left from different parts of Spain and arrived to various countries of North and South America because of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). We are proud to say that this map is one of a kind, there is no other map in existence that interactively shows the exile of these 12 Spanish writers. For the creation of the map, each student selected an author and researched the author’s biographical history, the author’s works before exile, the author’s works after exile, and his or her trajectory to the Americas. Once each student compiled the pertinent information on their chosen author, they input that information into the class map, and added several features (such as a timeline) to make it more user friendly. Constructing this map gave students a profound and interactive understanding of the phenomenon of the Spanish exile and provided them with the special learning opportunity of integrating literature and the digital world.
Grace Royster '19 | Gilda Rodríguez
This independent study/mentored research project examines masculinity in our contemporary context. Grounded conceptually in feminist theory, this work explores what being masculine is understood to mean today, in various contexts and as it intersects with race, class, sexuality, and other categories of identity, as well as the expectations, privileges, and limitations that go along with masculinity. Sources range from scholarly texts to journalistic accounts to the Masculinities exhibition series currently on display at the Gund Gallery. Topics include — most prominently — college fraternities, sports culture, and sexual assault.
Mark Fuller '19, Will Swain '19, Leah Dunbar '20, Eleanor Wellik '20 | Ted Buehrer
NoteWave was a music and science festival presented by Knox County Music Interactive, an organization created by MUSC 291: "State of the Art: Music and Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century" in the spring of 2018. The class, taught by Ted Buehrer, consisted of eleven students who planned the festival from the ground up: formulated the ideas, planned a budget, raised funds, reached out to the Knox County community (including visits to elementary schools), booked music acts from Kenyon and the broader community, organized student-run science demonstrations and developed marketing strategies (website, press kit, social media, signage, radio advertising).
The festival was dedicated to music and science for elementary children. Held at Ariel Foundation Park, it attracted 200-300 people over the course of the afternoon. In addition to constant live music, interactive acoustical exhibits, and food trucks, the event was able to give back to the community by organizing a free raffle with leftover funding, giving away instruments. The event allowed Kenyon students the opportunity to function in real-world roles as they planned and executed this event. NoteWave brought together the communities of Kenyon and Knox County to inspire musical and scientific creativity in students and families.
Tom Yoda '22, Ericka Florio '22, Ezra Moguel '21, Joe Lucaccioni '21, Max Green '20, Michelle Hanna '22, Paul Neubauer '21, Quinn Curren '22, Rachel Nguyen '19, Rand Burnette '21, Milo Eder '20, Hanna Simmons '19 | Maddie Wade, Les Wade, Paula Turner, Tom Giblin
The Physics department is involved in numerous outreach efforts that reach students from middle school all the way up through college. We have hosted middle school science Saturday outreach programs for the past 10 years. Recently, faculty and students in the department have begun an astronomy research collaboration with Mount Vernon High School. The department has also supported many cross-campus outreach events, such as Vera Rubin Day and events surrounding the 2017 solar eclipse. We are also engaging wider audiences by working with advanced high school students from a magnet school in Maine. We will be displaying some of our favorite outreach demonstrations and activities that help ignite excitement for science, make complex concepts simple, and provide a playground for exploring ongoing physics research concepts.
Aaron Lambert, Mia Harris, Fiona Guidos, J.J. Conway, Zach Manlin, Luis Sebastian Weekes, Hannah Bachman, Nick Becker, Raul Romero, Will Spohn, Kassie Rimmel, Evan Wagner, Florence Wu, Robert Kassees, Michael Trevallion, James Mazer, Emma Coffman, Ayla McBreen, Aaron Meuser, Mayo Amorello, Will Sayegh, Owen Fitzgerald, Erin Shaheen (all in the Class of 2022) | David and Lisa Leibowitz
What makes Quest for Justice a high impact practice are the lively debates that begin in the classroom, continue at lunch and dinner, and often extend late into the night with friends from inside and outside the course. Our aim in Quest is not to supply our students with answers to life’s great questions, but to help them begin thinking about them more rigorously and profoundly. And it is our hope that this thinking will continue long after the course is over. Our students would like to share this experience with the rest of Kenyon and the wider community. Come to our “Argument Clinic,” pick a topic, and start a debate with some of our students! See why Quest serves as an introduction, not only to political science but to liberal education generally — education that frees the mind, in part by focusing it on the handful of questions that matter most. Here is a video of the Monty Python sketch that inspired our idea.
Zoe Ali '19, Joe DeAngelo '21, Celina German '21 | Patrick Bottiger
From Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s to homesteading and the formation of the national parks after 1865, the American West was a colonized and bloody space where race and racism came to define American citizenship. In many ways, Bleeding Kansas was a precursor to the Civil War. it was a signal to the nation that sectional differences and disputes over slavery had become so entrenched that violence was possibly the only solution to remedy these disagreements. Yet at the heart of Bleeding Kansas was an assumption that the West would be for white Americans, an ideal entrenched both in the formation of the national parks and who would be allowed to homestead and settle in lands west of the Mississippi. This project looks beyond the Indian Wars to understand just how central racial violence was to the development of the American West.
Elise Tran '19 | Wendy Singer
After two decades of fighting, Saigon fell to the Communist North Vietnamese army in April 1975. The fall of Saigon prompted a mass exodus of Vietnamese exodus which peaked from 1978 through 1980 as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees fled the country by sea in specially hired freighters and makeshift boats ill-prepared for the journey (Chantavanich 67). Named the boat people, these Vietnamese refugees streamed into countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. My father was one of these boat people. Fleeing Vietnam in the early months of 1979, he and his family making up what Frank Frost calls the “fifth phase” of the Vietnamese refugee exodus. This is an oral history of my family's journey from Rach Gia to Air Raya.
Jaryd Jones '21 | Jacky Neri Arias
REACH is a peer mentoring program under ODEI dedicated to creating a smooth transition into college for students from underrepresented groups. College is already difficult, but being a minoritized student in a predominantly white space located in rural Ohio can add another layer of challenges. Our goal in REACH is to lessen the stress that first-year, historically marginalized students feel as they adjust to life at Kenyon. Ultimately, we hope that our students will enjoy their time and reach their full potential as Kenyon College students.
Retention: Our goal revolves not only around recruitment of underrepresented students, but their retention and success. We want students to grow and graduate at Kenyon, as well as use their role as underrepresented students to help the institution grow as well.
Mentoring: The relationship between upperclass students and first-years is a foundation of our program, especially as we work toward increasing access to resources. We believe new students become acquainted with what Kenyon has to offer better and faster when they are guided by people who have been in their position. This year we have over 50 mentor-mentee pairs, all matched based on interests and demographics. Through these pairings, we ensure every student has a point person for questions about student life at Kenyon.
Workshops: College is more than what you learn in the classroom. Kenyon always has different events and workshops about topics that could help students succeed in college, but there are many reasons why they may not reach students from underrepresented backgrounds. The REACH Calendar marks events that ODEI staff and REACH students coordinators encourage REACH members to attend in order to gain well-being and academic knowledge that may not be included in regular courses. As an added incentive, REACH students must attend two events from the REACH Calendar in order to go on social outings sponsored by REACH.
Events/Outings: REACH sponsored events can range from holiday parties, to amusement parks, to trips to Columbus. We believe part of the Kenyon experience is exploring what Ohio has to offer, so we do our part to make sure off campus trips to the Buckeye State’s most iconic locations are accessible to our students.
Birhanu Gessese '21 | Aimee Jenkins
The Reference and Research Intern Program is a promising opportunity for college students to get hands-on practice and tangible experience in the world of resources and information services. It is comprised of an array of opportunities for students to learn fundamental skills such as, professionally assisting a patron with research-based questions and understanding of the logic behind the categorization, distribution, and availability of resources through the Kenyon College Library and Information Services. This internship is particularly useful for the amount of time the intern gets to independently assist diverse patrons with varied questions and topics at the Research and Reference Desk. The intern program embraces a unique opportunity to facilitate the circulation of knowledge at Kenyon College.
Virginia Kane '22, Armiya "A" Shaikh '21, Jenny Tie '21, Emmy Roday '21, Trudy Wrona '20, Maria Peteet '21 | David Lynn, Tory Weber, Anna Duke Reach
The origin of "Sunset Press" came as a result out of an in-class experience with the Intro Poetry course offered last fall, taught by Professor Andrew Grace. After having such an incredible time in this one-of-a-kind intensive writing seminar, several students from the class were disappointed to have to wait a semester in order to take the advanced workshop. While Kenyon's literary community is robust, alongside the Kenyon Review and various literary magazines, there lacks a place where students can exhibit & experience long form work outside of creative writing classes. Sunset Press has been actively working to bridge that gap. The Press's goal is to produce and publish creative long form texts written, edited and designed by Kenyon Students. However, unlike other literary organizations, the Press is dedicated to focus on emerging and underrepresented voices. With our unique application process, we hoped to create a space which understands that the identity of the writer is intrinsically related to their work. This semester, we are grateful to be publishing two women, both producing collections which reflects their diverse identities. We look forward to introducing the Kenyon community to their stories and our efforts in creating a unique intersectional literary space.
Carter Powell '20 | Karen Hicks
Many plant species synchronize their sexual reproduction to coincide with environmental conditions most conducive to reproductive fitness. The shift from a vegetative to a reproductive phase is an essential step in plant development and is closely regulated by many environmental factors, such as temperature and photoperiod. To better understand the mechanisms that control reproductive timing and the evolution behind these mechanisms, we study the moss Physcomitrella patens, an early diverging land plant. The existing knowledge of seasonal regulation in angiosperms, such as Arabidopsis thaliana, is helpful in identifying homologous mechanisms of regulation in P. patens. However, such an approach can be biased and does not account for genes or mechanisms that may be not be shared with angiosperms. Thus, we performed a mutagenesis screen to identify unbiased and potentially novel genes that regulate seasonal reproduction in P. patens. Here we present the preliminary results of a screen for P. patens mutants that exhibit early formation of reproductive structures in semi-inductive conditions. Our initial screens yielded 28 putative mutations. Thus far, we have validated the heritability of three of these mutants and are testing others. The continuation of screening will likely yield even more mutants, and future work will aim to identify the genes responsible.
Devon Chodzin '19 | Katie Black
In rural and exurban communities, land development is hotly debated as cities expand. Urban sprawl encourages rural land to be converted into denser settlements, which some communities find undesirable. However, new development in these areas offer opportunities for the construction of amenities that may be in the best interest of the community. Policymakers seeking to maximize the quality of life in rural and exurban contexts often look to zoning regulations to provide order to the land development process. However, critics argue that zoning places inefficient restrictions on development. Studies have examined the effects of zoning on property values, development patterns, and land use allocation. I study the impact of zoning adoption on the amount of housing per acre of land under the expectation that zoning will increase the size of new houses to maximize the returns to developing residential parcels. I test this hypothesis using tax assessment data from rural and exurban townships across Michigan. Evidence suggests that developers in zoned communities are increasing the amount of housing they build per acre of land and this raises questions for fiscal public health and individual welfare which are crucial for guiding policymakers’ next steps for land management and community development.
Jorge Dumenigo '21, Sofía Alpízar Román '21 | Irene López
Community embedded experiences are a key component of the Latin@ studies concentration and a well-established high impact practice. As part of a service requirement for our Latin@ psychology class, we translated and created Spanish content for New Directions, a domestic abuse shelter and rape crisis center in Mount Vernon, Ohio. As we became aware, through our Latino psychology class and subsequent research, Latin@s are at higher risk of witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence, in comparison with other populations. However, despite their need, many domestic violence shelters still do not have readily available resources that are translated in Spanish. To address this unmet need, we used back translation and committee approach translation methods in order to translate available materials from English into Spanish. Additionally, we translated social media captions, created by a group of our peers in our class, and corrected and translated New Directions website’s Spanish section. Finally, we presented our results in person to key stakeholders at New Directions at the end of the semester. In our presentation, we will discuss the challenges that we faced, as native Spanish speakers, in conducting this project, and lessons learned from this experience.
Jorge Dumenigo '21, Sofía Alpízar Román '21 | Irene López
As native Spanish speakers, our main objective in our Latin@ psychology final project in the fall semester of 2018 was to translate and create Spanish content for New Directions, a domestic abuse shelter and rape crisis center in Mount Vernon, Ohio. We have become aware, through our Latino psychology class and consequent research, that the Latin@ population is at a higher risk of witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence, and that there is a language barrier that limits the Latin@ population’s access to information about helpful resources.
We used back translation and committee approach translation methods in order to translate photo voice image captions with testimonies from survivors of sexual abuse from Alaska and Mt.Vernon. Additionally, we translated social media captions created by the social media outreach group in our class and corrected and translated New Directions website’s Spanish section, specifically the red flags of abusive relationships webpage. Furthermore, a few challenges we faced in our project were correcting the Spanish version of New Direction’s website and translating English content to Spanish, specifically translating English references and terminology.
Taylor Hazan '19 | Sam Pack
This honors project is the culmination of several months of interviews with a young woman who arrived in the United States as a refugee from Somalia just over ten years ago. It will take the form of a collaborative, multi-media ethnography that combines text, audio, and visual elements to convey her story — as well as my anthropological analysis, potentially — in a comprehensive and enlightening manner. The point of the project is to share my collaborator’s story with some ethnographic analysis on my part that is valuable not just as an academic work, but as a conversation with a more general audience; as such, presenting this project at the Kenyon Showcase would be an ideal way to begin that sharing process.