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Kristian Bjørnard ’03

Kristian Bjørnard ’03Kristian is a new faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he will teach courses in advanced design, interactive media and graphic design. Kristian is a designer, thinker and “sustainabilitist.” He is the director of “The Office of Kristian Bjørnard,” a design studio focused on publishing in all its forms. Kristian holds an MFA in graphic design from MICA; he earned his bachelor’s degree in art at Kalamazoo College. The artist nearly became an engineer. His exploration of physics and mathematics filtered through the lenses of painting and drawing led Kristian to graphic design. Current research includes “sustainable graphic design” and new publishing utilities. This has resulted in various “sustainable” aesthetic exercises, a more purposeful interest into systems, exploring reusable processes, a focus on rules-based design concepts, and investigating vernacular design methodologies. Kristian keeps abreast of current web trends, standards, and technologies, and explores time and motion in both digital and print media. His myriad interests make for interesting insights and connections among science, philosophy and the practice of design—-both in the classroom and in his professional practice.

Megan Bonanni ’88

Megan Bonanni ’88Megan was named to the Michigan Association of Justice executive board for the 2014-2015 term. The Michigan Association of Justice, formerly the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, is a trade association of more than 1,600 personal injury, workers’ compensation, and employment attorneys. Megan is a partner with the law firm, Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, which is located in Royal Oak, Michigan. Megan specializes in employment, civil rights, and wage and hour law. She earned her bachelor’s degree at K in political science and studied abroad in Caen, France.

Doubles

Associate Professor of Psychology Autumn Hostetter

Associate Professor of Psychology Autumn Hostetter left high school equally interested in the double entendre and the double helix. She loved literature’s exploration of the human condition, and she also loved the precision of science and the scientific method.

It didn’t take long for these seemingly separate strands to intertwine. The epiphany occurred in her freshman-year, first-semester introductory Gen Psych class. “That course revealed for me psychology as the intersection of science and literature,” says Hostetter. “It is a way to study the human condition using the reason of science.”

It wouldn’t be accurate to say she never looked back. After all, she did earn a minor in creative writing along with her major in psychology (at Berry College [Mount Berry, Georgia], a small liberal arts school of some 2,000 students who enjoy the world’s largest contiguous campus [some 27,000 acres—K, by comparison, has 1,450 students on some 66 acres] and who’ve been known to quip the school has a 5-to-1 deer-to-student ratio). As commencement approached, Autumn considered an M.F.A. (as next step to a dual career of writer/writing teacher) or a Ph.D. (as a pathway to becoming a professor of psychology).

Psychology—the double helix of science and literature—carried the day. Autumn completed her Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and began her teaching career at K shortly after. “I always wanted to teach at a small liberal arts college,” she says. Not surprising, perhaps; nor is her academic and research interests: the psychology of language and communication.

What’s the best song ever recorded?
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens.

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
“The Ugly Duckling.” The idea that what you are now doesn’t determine what you will be in the future has always appealed to me.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“There are people here who will be very excited to see you.”

What’s your favorite word?
Crock-ah-doddle. My two-year-old son Oliver’s pronunciation of “crocodile.” I like his better.

What’s your least favorite word?
Tepid

What turns you on?
Sunsets

What turns you off?
Guns

What sound do you love?
Silence

What sound do you hate?
Oliver whining

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Being a writer, or something perhaps in advertising, which combines writing and psychology.

What profession would you not like to participate in?
Being on an assembly line, anything monotonous where you don’t use your mind.

What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
Probably that first college psychology class, discovering that the subject carried the DNA of both literature and science. The professor, by the way, was a truly gifted teacher, one of the happiest, most optimistic persons I’ve ever encountered.

Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?
Amelia Earhart, mostly to learn what happened.

What memory from childhood still surprises you?
When I was 10 my family took a two-week road trip west, driving from Georgia [Autumn grew up in Augusta] to Los Angeles, stopping at landmarks like the Grand Canyon. But mostly, I sat in the back seat reading Babysitter’s Club books that I’d already read.

What is your favorite curse word?
[The word] “badwords” [exclaimed with no pause between the parts]

What is your favorite hobby?
Baking. I love to make desserts.

What is your favorite comedy movie?
Earth Girls Are Easy, a film from the late 1980s starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, and Jim Carey. My grandfather makes a cameo appearance in one scene!

What local, regional, national, or world event affected you most?
Probably the September 11 terrorist attacks.

If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
The question’s udderly ridiculous.

Dan Slattery ’79

Dan  is a painter who specializes in watercolors. The former president of the Northern Indiana Artists, Inc. , had an exhibit in his hometown (Mount Morris, Michigan), his first one there. Dan is a graduate of Mount Morris High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a law degree from University of Michigan. He worked as an attorney for 18 years. Dan also teaches watercolor workshops with a focus on landscapes and seascapes. He also has worked in acrylic, oils, pen and ink, pastels, and ink washes.

David Kessler ’70

avidKesslerDavid is the subject of an article that supports one’s faith in human kindness. “A recipe for life: Bake. Swim. Give.” (Gretchen Kell, Berkeley News, 29 January 2016) describes David’s morning routine, centered around his morning swim for exercise. Or, is that actually true? Perhaps the swim is centered around the homemade sandwiches (with homemade bread baked three times a week, circa 5 a.m.) that David makes (sometimes up to 24 in number) to share with student lifeguards and fellow early morning swimmers. His actions are about much more than giving food–it’s a matter of touching lives and braiding different lives into shared stories. Several of those stories are mentioned in the article. One of his poolside beneficiaries calls David “the closest thing to a grandparent at Cal. He genuinely cares.” And another friend says, ““Who would do that? Nobody does something for nothing anymore. I thought there must be an angle, an ulterior motive. But it isn’t anything other than what we should all do. He’s making people’s lives better each day. He is being an example for others in a quiet, understated, unique and gracious way. And he doesn’t ask for a favor in return.” This is one article you definitely want to read. David makes K proud!

Dan Blustein ’06

Dan is the subject of “Member Spotlight” for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The article (by Laura Petersen) is titled “Dan Blustein journeys from marine biology to Hollywood and back again,” and it’s a good read, chronicling his interesting forays in the saga explicit in the title–though “back again” might more accurately refer to “marine robotics” rather than marine biology. Of particular note is the reference to Dan’s opportunities in K’s externship program. Those two experiences, one with octopi at the Seattle Aquarium and the other job-shadowing a physician, helped clarify what he wanted to do. Of course the article showcases that Dan’s path has been more spiral than straight line. How cool (and liberal arts!) is that.