Film Depicting Indigenous Struggles Has U.S. Premier at K

Movie Poster for Minga Voices of Resistance Film Premier
The documentary film “Minga” Voices of Resistance” had its U.S. premier at K’s
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

A documentary film that had its U.S. premier at Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is illuminating the struggles of indigenous people from Patagonia to Mexico.

Tony Nelson, the assistant director of student engagement in the Center for International Programs, hosted the showing last month of Minga: Voices of Resistance, an international production by Pauline Dutron and Damien Charles. Together, the acclaimed co-directors help denounce the destruction of indigenous territories, spotlight cultural heritage and show how indigenous peoples are organizing themselves to inspire solutions.

The film, Nelson said, does an excellent job of raising awareness around two issues: the strategic and patterned violence perpetrated against indigenous peoples throughout the Americas and worldwide, and the resistance of those peoples, while calling for others worldwide to take up the fight against it.

“Sometimes intentionally, and sometimes accidentally, we don’t hear enough from people who have been marginalized historically and economically,” he said. “The more we can give amplification to the voices of folks who are being strategically ignored, censored or silenced, the better, in my opinion. I hope documentaries like this, as well as testimonies from students, can make those voices louder so more people are aware and more people get involved.”

For seven and a half years, Nelson ran a study abroad program in Chiapas, Mexico, where he met the filmmakers.

“They were in San Cristobal for a particular event called the National Indigenous Congress, so I got to meet them when they stayed at my friend’s house,” he said. “They had traveled from Belgium all the way to the southern tip of Chile and South America via sailboat by volunteering to work the sailboat, and then traveled only by bus all the way up to Mexico.”

Nelson said that while he was skeptical at first of the filmmakers’ intentions, he’s impressed with the end product.

“I was nervous about them accessing indigenous communities in a way that might feel exploitive, but I stayed in contact with them,” he said. “They spent a year transcribing all of their interviews, and then a year translating all the different languages into Spanish and English. I saw the film and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. They really did this. They did an amazing job.’ They did all these travels, and stayed focused on the voices of the communities in a way that centered voices that don’t get amplified often.”

The film is now available to anyone through a Creative Commons license, which allows it to be shown for free, although it was special to have the premier at K.

“The film is moving and well done,” Nelson said. “Regardless of my involvement or even knowing the filmmakers, I would have been speaking to people about it to raise awareness. They’re activists in Belgium, and they have a long-term goal of trying to inspire more people to resist and stand up for what’s right.”

Co-director Charles, speaking from his home in Belgium, said he wanted to share something important in the world through Minga, a film that took more than six years from concept to completion.

“When I came in contact with these communities, I saw their point of view,” Charles said. “It’s not just the idea, ‘We have this territory we depend on and if someone wants to destroy it, we want to defend it.’ Of course, they want to defend it, but it’s much deeper than that. It also talks about how the Western world imposes its views of ‘development’ on communities that have other projects for their diverse societies. These deeper goals really impacted me and made me question a lot of things about our way of life, about our society and about the way we see the world around us. I wanted to share that experience of being in contact with people who actually have a different vision of their place in the world. I think being in contact with something so different makes you understand yourself better.”

Nelson hopes many will see the film, understand themselves better and be inspired to act alongside voices that are traditionally marginalized or silenced.

“In my opinion, change can only come with serious pushback and pressure,” Nelson said. “That’s why, I think, they’re highlighting the communities they are. I hope people draw motivation from this and see that these incredibly repressed communities have found a way to fight, stand up with dignity and stick up for their rights, even if it means going up against a Goliath like Chevron or Coca-Cola. These companies are picking fights and threatening these people’s livelihoods; threatening their way of life. If they can stand up for themselves, we can definitely fight against the XL Pipeline or communities being redlined. There are many struggles we can join with in fighting the systems that are threatening us, our neighbors, and loved ones.”

Three Faculty Members Earn Tenure at K

Three Kalamazoo College faculty members from the history, sociology and physics departments have been awarded tenure.

The tenure milestone recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and service to the College, and signifies its confidence in the contributions these professors will make throughout their careers.

The following faculty members were approved this spring by the Board of Trustees for tenure and promotion to associate professor:

Christina Carroll Earns Tenure
Assistant Professor of History Christina Carroll has
earned tenure and will be promoted to associate professor.

Assistant Professor of History Christina Carroll

Carroll is a historian of modern France with research and teaching interests in empire, memory and nationalism; she teaches a variety of classes at K on modern Europe and its empires, along with a class on the modern Middle East.

In her new book, The Politics of Imperial Memory in France, 1850–1900, Carroll examines how the memory of European imperial conquest under Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shaped French debates over colonial expansion during the second half of the 19th century, and explains how and why French Republicans embraced colonial conquest as a central part of their political platform. She is now beginning a second book project, which focuses on historical figures who were transported from one colony to another, or from the French metropole to a colony, for political crimes.

Carroll holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Vassar College. She was a visiting assistant professor of history at Colgate University before arriving at K in 2016. She also served a three-year appointment at K from 2018–2021 as the Marlene Crandell Francis Assistant Professor of History.

Francisco Villegas Earns Tenure
Arcus Social Justice Leadership Assistant Professor of
Sociology Francisco Villegas has earned tenure and will
be promoted to associate professor.

Arcus Social Justice Leadership Assistant Professor of Sociology Francisco Villegas

Villegas specializes in the topics of immigration, citizenship, social movements, deportability and illegalization, and teaches courses in these areas along with qualitative research methods.

In the community, Villegas serves as advisory board chair with the Kalamazoo County community ID program, which began in 2018. The program allows residents to obtain an ID issued by local government regardless of their ability to obtain a state ID. He is also one of three K faculty members—joining Associate Professor of English Shanna Salinas and Professor of English Bruce Mills—behind a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant provides new learning opportunities for K students and faculty seeking solutions to societal problems and promotes the critical role of the humanities in understanding and responding to social problems. The $1.297 million three-year grant funds the College’s Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL) project, which is building student coursework rooted in K’s commitment to experiential learning and social justice to address issues such as racism, border policing, economic inequities, homelessness and global warming, while examining history, how humans share land, and the dislocations that bring people to a communal space.

Before joining K, Villegas was a sociology lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough from 2014– 2016. He has a doctorate in sociology in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in Mexican American studies from San Jose University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior from the University of California Irvine.

David Wilson for tenure
Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Assistant Professor of
Physics David Wilson has earned tenure and will
be promoted to associate professor.

Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Assistant Professor of Physics David Wilson

As a biophysicist who studies virology, Wilson first arrived at K as a visiting assistant professor in 2014. During his time at K, he discovered that all spherical viruses place their protruding spike proteins in a common set of locations. That work later continued in three publications, including one with Danielle Roof ’22, titled Viral Phrenology.

Wilson was a visiting assistant professor at Albion College in 2015–2016 and Grand Valley State University in 2016–2017 before he returned to K in the same role in 2017. He became an assistant professor of physics at K in 2018. He has taught courses including quantum mechanics, applications of physics in the biosciences and introductory physics, and often generates 3D printing in his research.

Wilson has been invited to share his work at Calvin University, Northwestern University, Denison University and soon at the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) Virus Structure and Assembly Conference in Southbridge, Massachusetts. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan, where he also was a postdoctoral research scientist in chemistry from 2010­ –2013. He spent two years at the University of Washington doing master’s work before transferring to the University of Michigan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Michigan Technological University.

To date, Wilson has worked closely on research projects with more than 34 students at K from biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and mathematics.

Fulbright Selects Four K Reps for U.S. Student Program

Rebecca Chan for Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Rebecca Chan ’22 will spend a year in Taiwan
through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Four recent alumni of Kalamazoo College are receiving one of the highest honors the federal government provides in regard to scholarship and international exchange, as selectees for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Rebecca Chan ’22, Libby Burton ’22, Matthew Flotemersch ’20 and Kiernan Dean-Hall ’22 are among about 1,900 students, artists and young professionals who will represent the U.S. in about 140 countries for one academic year.

Chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, students and recent alumni participate in the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program, which places English-teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas.

Associate Professor of Biology Santiago Salinas will also represent K through Fulbright this year, as a U.S. Scholar Program selectee in Argentina.

Since its inception in 1946, Fulbright has provided more than 380,000 participants with opportunities to exchange ideas and contribute to solutions to shared international concerns. The program is funded by an annual appropriation from Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed through the U.S. Department of State.

Libby Burton for Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Libby Burton ’22 will return to Germany
for one academic year through the
Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

K consistently has been identified in recent years as one of the country’s top-producing Fulbright small colleges. Here’s what K’s representatives plan to do abroad.

Rebecca Chan ’22

Chan, a theatre arts major at K, finished her degree requirements in winter 2022, allowing her to study abroad in Strabourg, France, this spring. As a Fulbright scholar, she will visit Taiwan.

“I was interested in Taiwan specifically because my paternal grandfather spent some years on the island as he left mainland China in the 1940s and later came to America,” Chan said. “Some of his siblings stayed in Taiwan and raised their families there, so at every family reunion, we discuss Taiwanese history, culture and politics. I’m interested in experiencing Taiwan for myself and connecting with my East Asian heritage.”

Chan will make her language skills her primary focus while she’s overseas.

“I took two years of Mandarin Chinese at K, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to use that language abroad,” she said. “I’d also like to better understand Taiwan’s complex history of colonization by various European and Asian nations. Because of my family’s history, I have received only a very one-sided account of the relationship between Taiwan and China and the debate over Taiwanese independence. Being there, talking to locals, and working in the schools will give me a much richer understanding of Taiwanese identity.”

Matthew Flotemersch ’20 has earned a Fulbright for a
second time. He will spend the upcoming academic year in Innsbruck, Austria.

Libby Burton ’22

Burton participated in study abroad as a senior in Erlangen, Germany, and will return to Germany as a Fulbright scholar, seeking an opportunity share her knowledge of philosophy and the humanities.

“The Fulbright will be a wonderful way for me to gain experience in the field and prepare me for graduate programs,” Burton said. “I also have a particular interest in German philosophy, so studying German has helped my understanding of the books I read. The program makes sense for me because I can practice German, deepen my understanding in my fields of interest, and gain experience as an educator.”

Matthew Flotemersch ’20

Flotemersch, a German major and philosophy minor at K, had a formative year of study abroad in Erlangen, Germany, in 2019 and was accepted into Fulbright’s English Teaching Assistant program in Hamburg, Germany, in 2020.

Kiernan Dean Hall
Kiernan Dean-Hall ’22 will spend a year
in Germany on a Fulbright in the English
Teaching Assistantship program.

The Hamburg program was pushed back a year because of COVID-19, yet still provided a positive experience he finished this spring, leading to yet another opportunity as he will represent the U.S. this year in Innsbruck, Austria.

Flotemersch said he hopes to adjust to regional dialects, explore the country by train, ski and settle on a graduate program he will begin in 2023 while he’s in Austria.

Kiernan Dean-Hall ’22

Dean-Hall—a chemistry and German major, and physics and philosophy minor with a concentration in film and media studies—was among the K seniors who studied abroad in Erlangen, Germany, for the fall 2021 and winter 2022 terms. He will return to Germany on a Fulbright in the English Teaching Assistantship program.

“I sought a Fulbright because it sounded interesting, and like a good opportunity to broaden my horizons,” Dean-Hall said. “I expect to benefit from the lived experience of cultural exchange.”

Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at K Welcomes Newest Inductees

Phi Beta Kappa logo says, 'Dec 5, 1776'
The Delta of Michigan chapter of Phi Beta Kappa celebrated
41 Kalamazoo College inductees from the class of 2022
on June 8.

The Delta of Michigan Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Kalamazoo College welcomed 42 inductees for 2022 at an induction ceremony on June 8, 2022. 

The mission of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought and recognize academic excellence. Founded on December 5, 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. Around 10% of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and these chapters select only 10% of their arts and sciences graduates to join. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court justices and more than 150 Nobel Laureates.  

Phi Beta Kappa inductees for 2022 include:  

  • Isaac Agranoff
  • Natalie Barber 
  • Aleksandra Bartolik 
  • Irie Browne 
  • Gabriel Walker Chung  
  • Rachel Cornell
  • Haley Crabbs 
  • Shayla Dailey 
  • Eva Deyoung 
  • Jake Fales 
  • Faith Flinkingshelt 
  • Lena Gerstle 
  • Katie Gierlach 
  • Abigail Gray 
  • Ella Griggs 
  • Madeline Guimond 
  • Emiley Hepfner 
  • Sam Hoag 
  • Joseph Jung 
  • Mikayla Kindler 
  • Marissa Lewinski 
  • Ellie Lotterman 
  • Isabella Luke 
  • Ruicong Ma 
  • MacKenzy Maddock 
  • Clara Martinez-Voigt 
  • Grace McKnight 
  • Mihail Naskovski  
  • Udochi Okorie 
  • Eve Petrie 
  • Molly Ratliff 
  • Lily Rogowski 
  • Tommy Saxton  
  • Lia Schroeder 
  • Isabella Shansky-Genovese 
  • Abby Stewart 
  • Hayden Strobel
  • Rina Talaba
  • Omar Thaj  
  • Annie Tyler 
  • Megan Vandyke 
  • Carter Wade 

Eight Heyl Scholars Choose K

Lillian Daniels for Heyl Scholars
Lillian Daniels ’26
Olivia Cannizzaro for Heyl Scholars
Olivia Cannizzaro ’26
Annaliese Bol for Heyl Scholars
Annaliese Bol ’26
Michael Ankley '26
Michael Ankley ’26

Eight Kalamazoo County high school students seeking to major in STEM-related fields have earned Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2022-23 academic year. 

The Heyl Scholarship Fund was established in 1971 through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.

Frederick Heyl was the first chemist at The Upjohn Company, later becoming a vice president and the company’s first director of research. He also contributed to about 80 research papers and patents while teaching chemistry at K. He maintained a lifelong passion for science and education and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from K in 1937.  

Anoushka Soares
Anoushka Soares ’26
Brigid Roth
Brigid Roth ’26
Alyssa Park
Alyssa Park ’26
Devi DeYoung '26
Devi DeYoung ’26
Abigail Houtrouw for Heyl Scholars
Abigail Houtrouw, WMU

Since then, Heyl scholarships have enabled hundreds of high school graduates from Kalamazoo County to attend Kalamazoo College for STEM-focused majors or Western Michigan University for nursing, with renewable benefits for up to four years that cover tuition, fees, housing and a book allowance. 

This year’s recipients of the scholarships, their high schools and their prospective majors are: 

  • Michael Ankley, Kalamazoo Central, physics.  
  • Annaliese Bol, Loy Norrix, biology. 
  • Olivia Cannizzaro, Vicksburg and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC), 3+2 engineering.  
  • Lillian Daniels, Loy Norrix, biology. 
  • Devi DeYoung, Hackett Catholic Prep and KAMSC, physics or biology. 
  • Alyssa Park, Portage Central and KAMSC, computer science. 
  • Brigid Roth, Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC, biology. 
  • Anoushka Soares, Portage Central and KAMSC, biology. 

A ninth Heyl scholar this year, Abigail Houtrouw, has graduated from Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC. She will attend the Western Michigan University Bronson School of Nursing.

Study Abroad Scholarships, Staff at K Spark Opportunities

Asia Bennett Enables Affordable Study Abroad
Asia Bennett, a study abroad and international
student adviser, helps students find affordable
overseas opportunities through study abroad

The number of students with limited financial means taking advantage of study abroad scholarships at Kalamazoo College will surge this fall thanks to a boost from K’s Center for International Programs (CIP) and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Asia Bennett, a study abroad and international student adviser in the CIP, was among the first higher-education professionals in the country named a Gilman Ambassador through a new program in the 2021-22 academic year. Gilman’s goal with naming ambassadors was to empower a cohort of professionals including Bennett to share best practices in the application process with students for the purpose of increasing participation.

That goal proved to be successful nationally as 200 panelists reviewed nearly 50 applications each, and K students submitted more applications than ever before. In fact, the effort is helping the CIP push the number of Pell-grant eligible K students earning Gilman awards, worth up to $5,000 each, upward from four in the past year to 18 in the coming year. That’s at least nine more than at any other Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) school, according to yet-to-be finalized numbers.

“I think we at K typically have about six Gilman applicants per cycle and maybe two to four recipients, so 18 is definitely a record for us,” Bennett said. “For just a year, I think we’ve been very successful and I’m excited for what next year will bring.”

Eliana Orozco ’24 is among the
Kalamazoo College students receiving
study abroad scholarships this fall.
Garbriel Coleman Study Abroad Scholarships
Study abroad scholarships are helping
underrepresented students such as
Gabriel Coleman ’24 go overseas.

About 33,000 students have received funds through Gilman, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad or intern overseas since 2001. By awarding funds competitively to students with limited financial means, the Gilman assures that students from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as Gabriel Coleman ’24, will take advantage of opportunities such as K’s long-term liberal arts program in Quito, Ecuador. Students in the Ecuador program enroll in fall courses at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the first private university in that country. The program includes a homestay with a local host family, which allows students to immerse themselves in Spanish-language and Ecuadorean culture, and travel to the Galapagos Islands.

“The opportunity to try something new encouraged me to apply for the Gilman scholarship,” said Coleman, a Spanish major and art minor with a concentration in environmental studies. “I felt that doing this, plus telling others about the follow-up service project, would help me tell others about my overall experience and encourage them to study abroad.”

The students’ application process involves three essays including a personal statement about educational and career goals, a scholarship essay about what they would hope to do as an American citizen abroad, and what they plan to do as a result of their study abroad opportunity when they return. That was undaunting for Eliana Orozco ’24, an anthropology-sociology and French double major and classical civilization minor, who will pursue foreign study in Lyon, France.

“I like to think of it as being similar to the experience of applying to colleges, when we had to write about ourselves,” Orozco said. “I think writing about ourselves is actually a lot easier than we assume it to be. It really didn’t take much time, and once I just sat down and focused on what I wanted to say, it developed pretty easily.”

Should students need other opportunities, Bennett notes that the Gilman scholarship program isn’t the only one available to students looking for study abroad funding. As a result, Bennett wants students—even first-year students—to talk with the CIP early and often.

“Sometimes these opportunities are based on financial need or identity traits,” Bennett said. “Sometimes they’re based on the place where the student is going. We always recommend that students come into the CIP or send us an email, even during the summer, so we can talk about what works best for them.”

Alumni Reflect on the Advice They Would’ve Given Themselves

Students, faculty and staff practice the procession for Commencement on the Quad
Graduates-to-be on Thursday rehearsed the processional they will execute during
Commencement on the Quad at Kalamazoo College.

Spring term finals are over. Kalamazoo College’s faculty and staff are preparing for Commencement. And seniors, through a traditional rehearsal, have received their last instructions for Sunday’s ceremony. To help smooth the students’ transitions away from undergraduate life, we asked some faculty and staff who are K alumni themselves to share what advice they would go back and give themselves as they graduated.

Here’s what they had to say of that advice. We hope it will be valuable for the class of 2022.

Professor of History Charlene Boyer Lewis ’87

“Remember that no matter how carefully you plan for the future, something is going to come along to change your plans—and sometimes that change will be amazing!”

Enrollment Systems Manager Dan Kibby ’91

“Looking back, I cannot remember a single instance where I later wished I’d been less kind.”

Kalamazoo College Chaplain Liz Candido ’00

Two male faculty and a female grad-to-be on Commencement stage during rehearsal advice
Graduates-to-be Thursday were advised they will
shake hands with President Jorge G. Gonzalez, receive
their diploma, move their tassel and have their picture
taken while crossing the stage.

“Be imperfect. Some of the best things in my life have come as the result of some screw-up or mistake. Lose your fear of doing it wrong or incorrectly, and let yourself blunder into something unexpected and wonderful!”

Web Content Specialist Martin Hansknecht ’20

“Know that the skills you developed while at K are deeply transferable across industries, and be open to the curve balls life throws at you. But before that, take time to celebrate all you have accomplished during your four years at K—even though it may feel self-indulgent to celebrate anything positive during the dawn of a pandemic.” 

Admission Counselor Lezlie Lull ’20

“Say yes. Visit your friends. Enjoy your weekends. As you transition into a new life stage, take your time and enjoy the small moments, and don’t forget to visit your parents!”

We’re excited for the class of 2022 to join the ranks of our alumni!

Commencement Returns to Campus Quad on Sunday

A female graduate wears a graduation cap that says Lux Esto during last year's commencement
Commencement for the Class of 2022 is at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, on the campus Quad.

For the first time since 2019, Kalamazoo College’s Commencement is returning to the campus Quad at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, with more than 350 students receiving their bachelor’s degrees. Here’s what you need to know about the weekend’s events surrounding Commencement and the ceremony itself. 


Seniors are required to attend Commencement rehearsal at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Dalton Theatre. Faculty and staff will provide graduating seniors with pertinent information including what to do during an intricate line-up and processional. Students who need to be excused from rehearsal should contact the Office of Alumni Engagement in advance at

Commencement Saturday 

Receptions for individual departments help families meet professors and see individual projects from selected seniors. Consult the department schedules for information on the time and location for each event. 

The day’s remaining events—including the Senior Awards Program, the Senior Music Recital and the Baccalaureate—will take place at Stetson Chapel. A livestream will be available for each of those events for those who can’t attend in person. 

Seniors receiving awards will get an invitation from the Provost’s Office after finals to attend the Senior Awards Program, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Contact the Office of the Provost by email if you have questions about the event. The Senior Music Recital is a public concert at 4:30 p.m. featuring performances by graduating seniors who have been involved in music. All seniors and guests are invited to attend. The Baccalaureate is a public non-religious service with student and faculty speakers and musical performances beginning at 8 p.m. 

An information desk will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the atrium at Hicks Student Center. The College’s bookstore will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Manns

Before the Ceremony on Sunday 

Commencement will take place rain or shine on the Quad. However, if there’s heavy rain showers or severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed by up to two hours. Communication about a delay would be sent through K alerts, social media and email no later than 8 a.m. on Sunday. Seniors should arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Dalton Theatre with their caps and gowns. No tickets or rain tickets are required for the ceremony, which will last about two and a half hours. The information desk and College bookstore at Hicks Students Center will open at 8 a.m. 


A limited number of handicapped parking spaces will be available on campus streets and in parking lots. Handicapped spaces are reserved for vehicles with a state-issued permit. With a limited number of spaces, a designated drop-off area will be available on Campus Drive, accessible from Academy Street, in front of Hoben Hall. Families may drop off guests for barrier-free access to the Quad and then find parking elsewhere on campus. 

All faculty, staff and student parking lots will be open for public use. Street parking on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods will also be available. Please observe any posted street-parking restrictions and avoid driving or parking on sidewalks or lawns, or next to a building entrance. A printable campus parking map is available. 

Class of 2022 Commencement Speaker Reyna Rodriguez
Reyna Rodriguez ’22

Keynote speaker 

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Manns will address the class of 2022 and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Manns oversees all Bronson services from primary care to critical care across more than 100 locations. 

Before joining Bronson, Manns was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston from 2018–2020, the president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus in Grand Rapids from 2013–2018, the Alameda Health System chief operating officer (Oakland, California) from 2005–2013, and Ascension Providence Hospital (Southfield, Michigan) chief operations officer and executive vice president from 1996–2005. 

Class speaker 

Reyna Rodriguez, a chemistry major and psychology minor, has worked for two years as a Civic Engagement Scholar at El Sol Elementary School in Kalamazoo through the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement. El Sol functions like a magnet school and offers instruction in English and Spanish while accepting students from all areas of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Through El Sol, Rodriguez has recruited, educated, interviewed and submitted background checks on K students, coordinated their schedules with El Sol, and participated in and led structured reflections to help literacy and math tutors along with classroom assistants. 

COVID-19 protocols 

Given the high vaccination rates between our students, faculty and staff and the low community-spread level in Kalamazoo, K will not require vaccinations to attend Commencement activities and masks are optional, although not required, throughout the weekend. Unvaccinated guests are strongly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test before arriving. Those who are ill should refrain from attending. 

More information 

The Office of Alumni Engagement maintains a website that offers more details regarding Commencement including a list of frequently asked questions, dining and lodging information, and ceremony accommodations. For more information, visit the site at

Signing Day Spotlights Students Headed to Graduate School

Amanda Morrison Signing Day
Amanda Morrison ’22
Annie Tyler '22 Signing Day
Annie Tyler ’22

Bright careers await the seniors graduating soon from Kalamazoo College, including those in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Six of them were spotlighted recently during a Signing Day, featuring some of the scholars who are moving on to graduate programs this fall.

Much like student-athletes would gather to sign letters of intent when selecting their collegiate destinations, the chemistry students met to officially declare their educational next steps. The event was first envisioned by Subi Thakali ’21, Alex Cruz ’21 and Angela Ruiz ’21, who desired an academic answer to the accolades a student-athlete might receive during a Signing Day. Professor of Chemistry Jeff Bartz organized it that first year and even borrowed a photography backdrop from the athletics department.

Now, grad-school bound chemistry students from K receive some brief fame through social media as their pictures and destinations are featured in the department’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. Suja Thakali ’23, a leader in the Higher-Level Education in Dow student organization, planned much of this year’s event with Bartz again borrowing a backdrop. The students among the honorees on the Signing Day were:

Lia Schroeder
Lia Schroeder ’22
Grace McKnight on Signing Day
Grace McKnight ’22
  • Annie Tyler, who is heading to Yale University for a Ph.D. in organic chemistry
  • Amanda Morrison, who will join the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis for a master’s degree in medicinal chemistry
  • Grace McKnight, who will attend the Grainger School of Engineering at the University of Illinois for a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics
  • Lia Schroeder, matriculating at Rutgers University for a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry
  • Faith Flinkingshelt, moving on to the University of California-Irvine for a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry
  • Ola Bartolik, who is seeking a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Michigan.

The chemistry department expects the tradition to continue next year alongside students from the biology department. But for this year, Tyler’s destination is especially noteworthy as she will be the first Heyl scholar from K to be awarded a Heyl Fellowship in more than 15 years. Heyl scholars are high-achieving high school graduates from Kalamazoo County, who receive full-tuition scholarships to attend K in a STEM program or Western Michigan University’s Bronson School of Nursing. K grads who successfully matriculate to Yale are eligible to apply for the Fellowship.

Ola Bartolik
Ola Bartolik ’22
Faith Flinkingshelt
Faith Flinkingshelt ’22

Tyler—a chemistry and religion double major, Kalamazoo Central High School graduate and Kalamazoo Promise scholar—said Yale wasn’t a graduate school on her radar until she realized the possibility of attending on a Heyl Fellowship.

“When I visited the campus and chemistry building, Yale was the only place I visited where I didn’t have an ‘I like this, but here’s this issue I have with it’ feeling,” Tyler said. “I liked everything about it. I liked that it was in a new place, and that they seemed really excited about recruiting students. I could very easily picture myself at Yale for the next five years.”

The Heyl Fund will cover up to four years of Tyler’s tuition and fees along with a stipend in the Fellowship. For the upcoming academic year, those costs add up to more than $80,000.

“I’m really honored that I was chosen for the Heyl Scholarship and the Heyl Fellowship,” Tyler said. “The scholarship allowed me to attend Kalamazoo College in the first place. To see that my last four years of work at K have allowed me to become a Heyl Fellow makes me really proud and excited to continue the work.”

Alumnus Fights World Hunger Through Nourish Bangladesh

Jesse Steed ’02

A Kalamazoo College alumnus is among the volunteers behind a non-government organization that is working to feed the impoverished people of Bangladesh as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have complicated the southern Asia nation’s fight against chronic hunger.

Jesse Steed ’02—a licensed real-estate broker in Northfield, Minnesota—got inspired when Faress Bhuiyan, an economics professor at nearby Carleton College and the founder of Nourish Bangladesh, asked him to get involved with the organization’s work.

“When there’s a need, and I’m personally asked, I tend to say yes,” Steed said. “I think that’s one of the main three pillars of philanthropy. It’s your own causes, the causes of your friends and the other causes that just present themselves at just the right time. This was definitely a friend’s cause, and we had been talking for a couple years about doing something along these lines. I’ve always had a global interest. I’ve never been to Bangladesh before but having lived abroad through K and then right after college, I see a lot of value in the concept of helping people who live outside my community or even outside my country.”

Steed is among the Nourish Bangladesh volunteers who seek donations and vet nonprofits in Bangladesh with the hope of helping worthy organizations provide money and food to people throughout the country. The organization seeks partners who use their funds directly in on-the-ground efforts, spending it efficiently to support under-privileged groups such as low-income households, women-headed households, transgender individuals, flood-affected households, refugees, children and victims of communal violence.

“With COVID, those of us who could work from home all of a sudden had a little more time on our hands to help because we didn’t have to drive anywhere,” Steed said. “Faress pulled together a group of people from around the world, including some students, some former students, some friends, some Bangladeshis to meet online and talk about what we could possibly do.”

World Hunger Day, observed every May 28 since 2011, was created by the Hunger Project to bring awareness to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who face chronic hunger, making it an excellent day to focus on organizations such as Nourish Bangladesh. According to the Hunger Project, 98 percent of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries, more than 60 percent of the people affected are women, and hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Nourish Bangladesh is fighting to reverse those trends by, according to its website, funding nearly 900,000 meals to nearly 45,000 individuals and more than 11,000 households to date.

“I think that consistency over the course of these two years shows that this organization is providing value and that people still want to donate to it,” Steed said. “We have ongoing drives and programs. We’ve raised quite a bit of money and we make a strong impact with the groups we benefit. The thing that I love hearing is that the work we do makes a personal impact or connection. It’s nice to hear some stories from the folks who we help and see that we’ve made a difference in their lives.”