Archives

Matt Brynildson ’93

Matt is like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps? Absolutely, according to “Imbibe” e-magazine. The comparison is apt because Matt is America’s most decorated beer brewer; he’s won awards multiple times in multiple categories at the annual Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado. In the feature profile, Matt credits his Kalamazoo College experience in a number of ways. His health science major provided the organic chemistry experience that came in handy during his first job after graduating–in the hops lab at Kalsec (Kalamazoo Spice Extraction Company). At K he met K alumnus Larry Bell ’80, whom he credits for getting him interested in craft brewing. Larry is the founder of Bell’s Brewery. And during his K years, Matt studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, which gave him the opportunity to experience the beer cultures in Belgium and Germany. Matt’s brewing career featured early stops at the Siebel Institute (Chicago), Goose Island Brewery (Chicago), and SLO Brewing (Paso Robles, California), which was eventually purchased by Firestone Walker. The firm soon recognized his talent and made Matt a brewery partner in 2010.

Peter Erdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies

In September Peter delivered the 2016 lecture at the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science. The title of his talk was “Complex Systems Perspective in Neuroscience–historical and current approaches.” It provided a general perspective of various approaches of neuroscience systems to an understanding of the complexity of the brain. Peter also is the head of the Theoretical Neuroscience and Complex Systems Group at the Wigner Research Centre for Physics, a research institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. And he is the founding co-director of the Budapest Semester in Cognitive Science study abroad program. Peter is a highly regarding computational neuroscientist with a background in chemical cybernetics.

Lor Vang ’14

Lor is one of some 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) from the U.S. Department of State. CLS participants spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in one of 13 countries. Lor spent the summer in China focusing on the study of Chinese language. CLS Program participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Joe Brockington, Ph.D., Associate Provost for International Programs

Joe died on August 12, 2015. In addition to his post in the Center for International Programs, he also served as professor of German language and literature.

He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Michigan State University, and began his career at Kalamazoo College in 1979 as an instructor in German language and literature. During his 35-year career at K, Joe served in several roles in the Center for International Programs before being named associate provost in 2000. He was recognized internationally as a safety and risk management expert in study abroad programming. During his career he served in various positions of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, including chair of the Section on U.S. Students Abroad and member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Committee. He also served as a member of the founding board of the Forum on Education Abroad, the Association of International Education Administrators. Joe published and presented numerous papers on modern German literature as well as a variety of study abroad topics, including orientation and re-entry, international programs administration, and campus internationalization. He led best practices workshops in legal and risk management issues and co-edited the third edition of NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad for Advisers and Administrators.

“Joe interacted with generations of K students,” said President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, “and increased their opportunities for independent research and service learning abroad. He was a faithful advocate for international students at K, working with colleagues to ensure a full and productive K educational experience. Joe significantly expanded K’s reputation as a leader in study abroad and international programming. He will be missed by many in the K family and throughout the world.”

In the fall of 2008 Kalamazoo College celebrated its 50th anniversary of sending students abroad. Joe devoted his career to that important educational tradition. Some 80 percent of K students have studied in programs ranging from China and Japan to India and Israel; from Kenya and Senegal in Africa to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, and Mexico in South and Central America. Their options have included European programs in Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, and England as well as the opportunities that have continued (since the program’s origins) in France, Spain, and Germany. Most students study in a foreign language and live with host families. And most participate in an Individualized Cultural Research Project that requires them to get out into a community, participate in a service project, and write a report about the experience. All of that is part of the legacy of Joe Brockington. “The goal,” he once said, “is to help the student look at other cultures, other peoples, and say ‘we’ instead of ‘they.’”

Sarah Smith ’17

Sarah at work in Hamburg, Germany.

Sarah at work in Hamburg, Germany.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) announced in October 2015 that Sarah had been accepted into the Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE Germany) for the summer of 2016. RISE Germany offers summer research internships in Germany (about 300 a year) for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Students are matched with doctoral students, whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. Interns receive a monthly stipend. Sarah returned to Europe this past summer (she had studied abroad in Spain during the fall and winter terms of her junior year) to spend 12 weeks in Hamburg working on her Senior Individualized Project, the scientific focus of which is Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. In Hamburg, the senior biology major maintained her own malaria cell cultures, no small feat given the difficulty of working with the parasites, which require about an hour or more of daily care and monitoring. Much of the time Sarah spent imaging the parasites, which is the basis of her project.

“I learned how to use two different types of microscopes, fluorescence and confocal, and the software to edit the images from them,” she wrote in her wonderful blog, “Sarah Goes to Hamburg.” “Typically, I could only image the parasites for about an hour before they become too unhealthy. I also had to wait for the parasites to be at the right stage to image them, which made collecting data a tricky and lengthy process.” However, the summer experience was not all work. Sarah learned to played Bubble Soccer and participated in a wattwanderung (mud walk), a fascinating three-hour trek across North Sea mud flats exposed at low tide. These adventures, including visits to Heidelberg and Copenhagen and other northern European sites of interest, are memorably described in her blog.

Sarah continued work on her SIP during her senior fall term. Its working title is “Myosin II localization in Plasmodium falciparum trophozoites suggests role in hemoglobin uptake,” and she will present her research at spring term’s Diebold Symposium. Sarah noted that she received two fellowships from Kalamazoo College–the Beeler Fellowship (through the Center for International Programs) and the Crittenden Fellowship (through the biology department). “They were very important in funding my experience, especially the flight to Germany,” said Sarah.

Paul Guenette ’74

The Center for Strategic and International Studies recently featured Paul’s work in its column “Careers in Development.” Paul is executive vice president for communications at ACDI/VOCA, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth, higher living standards, and vibrant communities in low-income countries and emerging democracies. Paul’s career in agriculture, food security, and global development spans 40 years and has taken him to 70 countries, including long-term assignments in Senegal, Mauritania, Indonesia, Barbados, and Kenya. In those locations he headed agribusiness programs that incorporated activities in policy reform, business group strengthening, commercial marketing, equity financing, and investment promotion. Paul earned his B.A. at K in theatre arts and studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. He earned a M.B.A. at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Tyler Greene ’07

Tyler is the assistant house manager for National Public Radio’s quiz show, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” in Chicago. He’s also events coordinator for all of public radio station WBEZ’s live events in Chicago and producer for “The Moth – Chicago StorySLAM.” At K he earned his B.A. degree in theatre arts. He also studied abroad at the University of London, Goldsmiths College and participated in an internship as a production assistant on an off-Broadway play in New York City directed by Terry Kinney, one of the original founders of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. After graduating from K, Tyler spent a year teaching English in South Korea before moving to Chicago.