Ruth was awarded the Faith Award this year for recognition of her leadership and work in creating safe and affirming spaces through a faith lens. Ruth advocates for the LGBTQ community from the pulpit (she serves as the pastor of Christian Church-Disciples of Christ in Kalamazoo), in everyday life, and as chair of the Faith Alliance. During her time at Kalamazoo College, Moerdyk helped found the first LGB student organization at K and went on to provide leadership for the LGBTQ student organization at Chicago Theological Seminary. She earned her bachelor’s degree in religion and studied abroad in Sierra Leone.
The National Science Foundation awarded Regina a conference grant she will use to support a Science and Social Justice Think Tank to be held on the Kalamazoo College campus in April.
Denise is the new Estes Valley Restorative Justice Program (EVRJP) Coordinator. EVRJP is part of the Estes Park (Colorado) Police Department and offers restorative justice services through community group conferences, community circles (parolee re-entry), and restorative community mediation. Its goal is to assist in identifying and repairing harm, preventing wrong-doing, and allowing citizens the opportunity to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner. Denise majored in international and area studies at K and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador.
Max is one of four persons in the country honored with the prestigious Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. He is spending this year as a research resident at Duke University and working in the Kenan Institute for Ethics. His work focuses on human rights, specifically the ethical challenges created by “externalized” state border controls: policies that try to prevent migrant arrival by projecting or outsourcing a nation’s authority over migration beyond its regular territorial borders. He gave an interview at the Kenan Institute explaining his research. Max earned his bachelor’s degree at K in philosophy and studied abroad in Nepal.
Sarah has won a 2015 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award to study how race/ethnicity, gender, and family income are linked to career success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The CAREER Award provides multi-year support for especially promising junior faculty members. Sarah is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg). A key component of her research will be interviews with more than 100 undergraduate students in STEM and non-STEM majors at Virginia Tech and focus groups with peer interviewers. Over the next five years, Sarah and a team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants will follow up with these students as they complete their degrees and begin their careers. The grant is expected to total $453,359 over the five years. Sarah’s scholarly interests have primarily focused on educational inequality by race and gender using qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry. Other research interests include immigration, Latino/Latina populations, and undocumented students.
She recently published an article in the journal Gender & Society that examines trends in Latinos’/Latinas’ postsecondary pathways and life course decisions over a two-year period. She is completing work on a book titled Race, Class, and Choice in Latino/a Higher Education: Pathways in the College-for-All Era under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.
Amy is a fellow in the 2015-2016 Capital Executive Fellowship Program administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. The sociology and anthropology major was selected last spring and has joined other fellows working as full-time staff members in California’s state assembly, state senate, executive branch or judiciary. They participate in policy making, program development, and program implementation and gain first-hand experience in governance and leadership. As part of her K experience Amy studied abroad in India and did an internship in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She received the College’s prestigious Senior Leadership Award and also received awards from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Department of Theatre Arts.
Mary Helen is an award-winning teacher in the Livonia (Michigan) Public Schools. She and two colleagues are planning a trip to the House of Hope Orphanage in Montrois, Haiti. They will bring and distribute school supplies, clothes, and shoes to the children there. The three also will guide enrichment camps focusing on sports, art, and dance. Their work expands a program that previously resulted in the provision of four goats for the village, used to supply milk and cheese to the community.
Jon received the 2015 Visionary Award from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Jon is founder and president of the Arcus Foundation. He also serves on K’s board of trustees. In honoring Jon, GLSEN noted that “Jon Stryker has been a philanthropic pioneer, ensuring LGBT people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Since founding the Arcus Foundation in 2000, Mr. Stryker has become a leading funder and supporter of LGBT issues [and] Arcus has become one of the world’s largest LGBT-focused grant makers, leading the way in the U.S. and pioneering funding for LGBT issues globally…” Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The GLSEN Respect Awards showcase the work of students, educators, individuals, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Previous GLSEN Respect Awards honorees include actress Julia Roberts, Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffery Katzenberg, film producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and former NBA player Jason Collins.
Beverly was honored in April with the 28th Annual YWCA Mohawk Valley Outstanding Woman Award. It was the first time the award was conferred in the social justice category. Beverly is professor emerita of criminal justice at Mohawk Valley Community College. At K she majored in French and studied abroad in Caen, France. She earned a M.A. in sociology from Cleveland State University. She started law school but did not like it and left after her first year. Beverly is grateful for her varied work history (internships at training schools for delinquent girls, social work, bank teller, Kelly girl, development officer, staff on projects including women’s equity, national security, and the Cleveland Martin Luther King celebration) and travel (living in France and even taking a ride on the Marrakech Express). She directed the Criminal Justice Program at Notre Dame College of Ohio and was an adjunct instructor in Cleveland-area colleges. In 1989, she decided to take a leap into the unknown by applying for a position at Mohawk Valley Community College. At MVCC she developed courses in restorative justice, mediation, juvenile delinquency, and ethics in criminal justice and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Beverly has served on the boards of The Peacemaker Program, YWCA Mohawk Valley, New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Justice Studies Association, Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State, Women’s Employment and Resource Center, the MVCC Professional Association, and WomenSpace. “Kalamazoo College has been incredibly important to my development as a person (and, eventually, as an academic),” she wrote. “I spent my career service quarter at the Michigan Girls Training School in Adrian. This experience was transformational, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I did my senior project on the treatment of delinquent girls at the Institut Saint-Jean-Eudes in Caen, France, comparing my experiences and making observations. Kalamazoo College is about social justice, and so are its graduates!”
Paloma works for the U.S. Department of State as an information officer on the organization’s foreign disaster assistance response team. She is based out of Washington, D.C. and has an apartment there. She has been in Liberia and Sierra Leone for most of the past 10 months working on the Ebola response. The photo shows her in Liberia crossing the river from Bong County to Gbarpolu County to visit a community care center. She still had a hour hike once she hit the shore. She writes a blog about her work.
Recently Paloma wrote her alma mater about one of those K connection moments she experienced in Africa. “Do you remember Deogratias ’Deo’ Niyizonkiza, who spoke at Kalamazoo during the Spring of 2011? Wanted to tell you that I met the co-founder of Deo’s organization, Village Health Works,–Dziwe Ntaba–here in Liberia, Dziwe accompanied Deo to Kalamazoo and remembers receiving a cozy. big black K sweatshirt. He is here as an employee of the NGO International Medical Corps that we (USAID) have funded and that has contributed an amazing amount to the Ebola response.”
Paloma also visits Kenya whenever she can. She did her K study abroad in Nairobi and returned to the country for her SIP. During those sojourns she got to know seven children whose education and care she continues to support. “I’ve been granted two weeks leave to fly to Kenya to spend with the seven kiddos,” she wrote last June. “They remain my personal priority–I still speak to them every few weeks and they are growing fast. They are doing well, studying hard, and I can’t wait to hug them for a few weeks.”