Kalamazoo College Announces Fall 2023 Dean’s List

Congratulations to the following Kalamazoo College students who achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or better for a full-time course load of at least three units, without failing or withdrawing from any course, during the Fall 2023 academic term. Students who elect to take a letter-graded course on a credit/no credit basis (CR/NC) are not eligible for Dean’s List consideration during that term. Nor are students who receive an F, NC or W grade for that particular term. Students with incomplete (I) or in-progress (IP) grades will be considered for the Dean’s List upon receipt of their final grades. Dean’s List recognition is posted on students’ transcripts. Kudos to the entire group for Fall 2023.

Upper Quad with students in hammocks surrounded by fall color for fall 2023 dean's list
Congratulations to the students who qualified for the Fall 2023 Dean’s List.

Fall 2023

A

Shannon Abbott
Amirat Adebiyi
Fuzail Ahmed
Maya Alkema
Caleb Allen
Randa Alnaas
Mahmoud Alsafadi
Altanshagai Altankhuu
Fanny Alvarado
Lana Alvey
Farida Amini
Zahra Amini
Paige Anderson
Eleanor Andrews
Unayza Anika
Michael Ankley
Connor Anspach
Madison Anspach
Maya Arau
Peyton Arendsen
Kaelyn Arlington
Alexandra Armin
Emily Auchter
Edith Aviles
James Azim

B

Annalise Bailey
Poppy Balkema
Elizabeth Ballinger
Evan Barker
Ethan Barnes
Brianna Barnes
Shyane Barnes-Taylor
Lena Barrett
Gabriella Barry
Joseph Basil
Nathan Bauer
Emma Becker
Justin Beckrow
Saniyah Bedell
Conner Bell
Shelby Bennett
Aubrey Benson
Jane Bentley
Thomas Bentley
Alexandrea Bernal
Eleanor Bernas
Jonah Beurkens
Thalia Bills
Katherine Black
Henry Black
Douglas Blackwood
Preston Blanzy
Axel Bodeux
Lukas Bolton
Alexandra Bonebrake
Dylan Bonnett
Jack Boshoven
Sotirios Bougioukos
Eleni Bougioukou
Juliette Bournay
Jaylen Bowles-Swain
Yvette Boyse-Peacor
Allison Bozyk
Aerin Braunohler
Jay Breck
Chloe Briggs
Avery Brockington
Blair Brouwers
Jonathan Brunette
Chloe Bryant
Jaden Buist
John Bungart
Leah Bunnell
Victoria Burnham
Ian Burr

C

Erendira Cabrera
Isaiah Calderon
Kennedy Campbell
Eleanor Campion
Olivia Cannizzaro
Luis Castro-Limon
Emma Caulkins
Abigail Caza
Daniel Celedon
Ashley Chance
Josetta Checkett
Yongwan Cho
Trustin Christopher
Noah Chun
Eva Clancy
Thomas Clark
Maya Clarren
Kai Clingenpeel
Mai Elise Code
Madeleine Coffman
Logan Coller
Quinn Collins
Courtney Cotter
Cate Cotter
Holden Coulter
Lucy Cripe
Maeve Crothers
Gwendolyn Crowder Smith
Chase Cummins
Isabel Curtis

D

Erik Danielson
Claire Davis
Hillary Davis
Jasmine Davis
Zachary Dean
Tara Dean-Hall
Shruti Debburman
Lillian Deer
Carson Deines
Jacquelline Del Raso
Jair Delgado
Enrique Delzer
Lina Denney
Olivia Depauli
Maansi Deswal
Zachary DeVito
Devi DeYoung
Alexander Di Dio
Michaela Dillbeck
Mariam Diouf
Shane Dong
Alexia Dowell
Jordan Doyle
Charles Doyle
Isaac Duncan

E

Matthew Edwards
Sally Eggleston
Abigail Eilertson
Sara Elfring
Evelyn Ellerbrock
Owen Ellis
Marvin Ernst
Dilynn Everitt
Caleb Ewald
Chad Ewing

F

Blake Filkins
Bridget Finco
Sara Finks
Ava Fischer
Morgan Fischer
Vincent Fodale
Robyn Foley
Kirsten Formell
Daniel Foura
Hillary Fox
Kinga Fraczkiewicz
Emma Frederiksen
Matthew Freels
Landrie Fridsma

G

Dillon Gacki
Lucy Gallagher
Ethan Galler
Ana Garcia
Aliza Garcia
Brynna Garden
Grey Gardner
Ingrid Gardner
Roberta Gatti
William Geiger
Grace Getachew
Maira Ghaffar
Aidan Gillig
Abigail Gilmore
Georgios Gkolois
Samuel Gladhill
Laura Goia
Maxwell Goldner
Lukas Graff
Cecilia Gray
Natalie Greene
Cameo Green
Kaitlyn Grice
Natalie Gross
Fiona Guikema-Bode
Kendra Guitar
Oliver Gutierrez

H

Sophia Haas
Marissa Haas
Aiden Habboub
Emily Haigh
Blu Haney
Alison Hankins
Geneva Hannibal
Abel Hansonbrook
Madeline Hanulcik
Rachel Harman
Sophie Hartl
James Hauke
Isabelle Hawkes
Pauline Hawkes
Willow Hayner
Jacob Hazlewood
Zachary Heikka
Megan Herbst
Litzy Hernandez
Sophia Herold
Maya Hester
Ashlen Hill
Hadley Hilner
Bijou Hoehle
Jacob Hoffman
Annika Hokanson
Olivia Holmes
Julia Holt
Ronin Honda
Jaelyn Horn
Joseph Horsfield
Tyler Houle
Gavin Houtkooper
Ethan Huebsch
Alek Hultberg
Megan Hybels
Kennedy Hynde

I

Carson Ihrke
Jasmine Ivy

J

Gloria Jackson
Angela Jacobo
Colton Jacobs
Teddy Jacobson
Kai James
Rex Jasper
Morgan Jenkins
Halley Johnson
Anne Catherine Johnson
Cloe Johnson
Johe Newton Johnson
Hayden Johnston
Zane Jones

K

Amalia Kaerezi
Jessica Kaplan
Eliza Karlin
Samuel Kartes
Isabelle Kastel
Emilia Kelly
Alyson Kemery
Mphumelelo Khaba
Harriet Khamisi
Hibah Khan
Hyunwoo Kim
Dong Eun Kim
Vivian Kim
Lily Kindle
Caleb Kipnis
Kendyl Kirshman
Claire Kischer
Alexander Kish
Kathryn Klahorst
Noah Kleiner
Mart Klenke
Steven Kloosterman
Melody Kondoff
Maxine Koos
Daniel Koselka
Emma Kovacevic
Julia Kozal
Jason Krawczyk
Jack Kreckman
Molly Kreibich
Loden Krueger
Annabelle Krygier
Clayton Kryszak
Kieya Kubert-Davis
Ealin Kubicki
Laryn Kuchta

L

Rylee Lambert
Olivia Laser
Annmarie Lawrence
Elijah Layne
Grace Leahey
Huin Lee
Margaret Lekan
Kelsey Letchworth
Kael Lewicki
Sage Lewis
Luis Lizardo-Rodriguez
Alex Lloyd
Alondra Lopez
Jose Lopez Bernal
Grace Lounds
Teresa Lucas
Lee Lum
Jacob Lynett

M

Ellie Mace
Lauren MacKersie
Brett Manski
Lesly Mares-Castro
Ana Marín Vintimilla
Ariadne Markou
William Martel
Cassidy Martini-Zeller
Isabelle Mason
Hollis Masterson
Virginia Matta
Lillian Mattern
Matthew Matuza
Zachary Maurice
Benjamin Maurice
Cedric May
Carter Mayne
Lauren McColley
Vincent McCollum
Grace McGlynn
Kira McManus
Ethan McNertney
Raven Medina
Rachel Meston
Eva Metro-Roland
Estelle Metz
Gabriel Meyers
Allison Meyers
Carter Miller
Brittany Miller
Ella Miller
Jade Milton
Gloria Mireles
Lauren Mitchell
Elana Mitchell
Lina Moghrabi
Jana Molby
Jacques Monchamp
Dylan Montross
Eliana Moreno
Wyatt Mortensen
Sarah Morton
Maren Mosher
Lorelei Moxon
Fadi Muallem
Mary Ellen Muenzenmaier
Claire Mullins
Anna Murphy
Madison Murphy
Braden Mussat
Ella Myers

N

Elias Nagel-Bennett
Nailia Narynbek Kyzy
Blagoja Naskovski
Ryan Neihsl
Chloe Nelund
Robert Newland
Nguyen Nguyen
Vinh Nguyen
Yen Giang Nguyen
Joshua Nichols
Theodore Niemann
Dustin Noble
Savannah Norman
Will Norwood
Haleigh Nower

O

Ileana Oeschger
Amara Okoro
Gabriel Olivier
Alexander Olsen
Reece Omodio
Kevin Oneill
B Osborne
Aryka Ostroski

P

Chelsea Paddock
Maren Palmer
Astrid Parker
Eleanor Parks-Church
Hannah Parsons
Rachael Pashturro
Juniper Pasternak
Eric Paternoster
Audrey Pegouske
Mia Pellegrini
Isabella Pellegrom
Kaitlin Peot
Alex Pepin
Addison Peter
Maya Peters
Noah Peters
Margaret Peters
Paige Peterson
Indigo Philippe
Mia Pierce
Isabella Pimentel
Madison Pisano
William Plesscher
Alex Plesscher
Madelyn Portenga
Bea Putman

Q

Suha Qashou
Matthew Quirk

R

Elizabeth Rachiele
Savera Rajendra-Nicolucci
Leah Ramirez
Sara Reathaford
Emily Reece
Liam Regan
Lissette Reynoso
Maxwell Rhames
Claire Rhames
Cody Rigley
Sheldon Riley
Narelle Robles
Jocelyn Rodriguez
Ash Rodriguez
Olivia Roncone
Amelia Rooks
Luke Rop
Brigid Roth
Elizabeth Rottenberk
Oliver Rubin
Nathaniel Rulich
Elliot Russell

S

Sophia Sajan
Richard Sakurai-Kearns
Abigail Samson
Ryan Sanborn
Leslie Santos
Olivia Schleede
Sophia Schlotterer
D.J. Schneider
Annika Schnell
Cyanne Schuitema
Arden Schultz
Ava Schwachter
Amalia Scorsone
Keven Sedano Ordonez
Jacinda Servantes
Alison Settles
Brendon Shaffer
Morgan Shearer
Tillie Sheldon
Riley Shoemaker
Cassidy Short
Clara Siefke
Mo Silcott
Zachary Simmons
Colby Skinner
Dawson Skupin
Maja Smith
Grace Snyder
Anoushka Soares
Allison Sokacz
Harry Spark
Jonah Spates
Ella Spooner
Sophia Sprick
Florian Stackow
Marlee Standke
Adam Stapleton
Joseph Stein
Taylor Stephens
Molly Stevison
Helen Stoy
Donovan Streeter
Abbygale Stump
Drake Suggs
Hannah Summerfield
Kaleb Sydloski
Brandon Sysol

T

Madison Talarico
Levi Thomas
William Thomas
Minh Thu Le
Jayden Thurmond-Oliver
Emily Tiihonen
William Tocco
Jose Torres-Rios
Phoebe Tozer
Vincent Tran
Vincent Tremonti
Danielle Treyger
Frances Trimble
Maria Tripodis
Joshua Troxler
May Tun

U

Zachary Ufkes
Hannah Ulanoski

V

Tony Vaisanen
Anthony Valade
Lucy Vandemark
Hannah Vander Lugt
Cameron VanGalder
Cate VanSchaik
Laila Vincent
Madison Vrba
Jessalyn Vrieland

W

Kaytin Waddell
Ava Wagle
Ipsa Wagle
Annslee Ware
Charles Wester
Jack Wheeler
Benjamin Whitsett
Jay Wholihan
Alicia Wilgoren
Hannah Willit
Siona Wilson
Zoe Wilson
Reagan Woods
Maximilian Wright
Emma Wrobleski

Y

Yan Yazhuo

Z

Jacob Zeller
Sofia Zeller
Maggie Zhu
Rebecca Zoetewey
Margaret Zorn
Lee Zwart

Report Shows K Among National Leaders in Study Abroad

An annual report released last month from the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that Kalamazoo College remains among the top higher-education institutions in the country for study abroad opportunities thanks to student participation.

The Open Doors Report surveys more than 2,000 institutions including doctoral universities, master’s colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, associate’s colleges and special-focus institutions, and ranks K 18th among baccalaureate colleges for having 233 students abroad in 2021-22. The College is also ninth among baccalaureate institutions across the country for the percent of undergraduates who went to international sites in the same year.

K students choose from 58 study abroad programs of varying lengths and emphases in 29 countries on six continents over three, six or nine months. The ventures allow students to challenge their assumptions about themselves and other cultures in a rigorous experiential education environment.

“It’s thrilling to see the College’s strong study abroad placement in the Open Doors Report as it reflects the strengths of our global programs, our commitment to international immersion, and our dedication to worldwide partnerships,” Center for International Programs Executive Director Margaret Wiedenhoeft said. “This is a solid showing, especially considering that programs in the period analyzed were still affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions. We’re proud that our faculty and staff remain resolute in continuing our long-valued tradition of ensuring overseas experiences for our students.”

Kalamazoo College study abroad students outside a school in Spain
Kalamazoo College students on study abroad pose outside the main building at the Universidad de Extremadura in Caceras, Spain. Photo by Resident Director Victoria Pineda.

IIE shares the Open Doors Report yearly through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The organization, founded in 1919, is a private, not-for-profit leader in the global exchange of people and ideas as it creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors in collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors. Those programs include the Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the Department of State.

For more information on this report, visit the study abroad section of the Open Doors website.

Good Business ‘Scents’: K Triple Major Launches Fragrance Company

Darsalam Amir examining the supplies that go into her scents
Darsalam Amir ’24, a triple major in business and economics, biochemistry, and religion, is launching a natural fragrance company based on her family’s heritage from her dorm room.
Students test samples of scents
With the help of a student team from Amy MacMillan’s Principles of Marketing class, Amir held a fragrance testing in Hicks Student Center to narrow down which scents she should produce and sell first.
Darsalam Amir holds operculum onycha shells in her hand
Operculum onycha shells from Chad are a key ingredient in the handcrafted perfumes and incense Amir makes in her dorm room and sells at oudalsalamscents.com.

Darsalam Amir ’24 started pondering the idea of launching a fragrance business based on her family’s cultural heritage in high school.  

At Kalamazoo College, she found the support she needed to bring that dream to life before she graduates. As of November 15, Oud Al Salam is up and running, offering body oil, incense and perfume in two different sandalwood and musk scents at oudalsalamscents.com.  

A triple major in biochemistry, economics and business, and religion, Amir was born in Sudan. Her mother is Sudanese, and her father’s family is from Chad. The two African nations share a border, and Amir’s parents grew up in similar cultures. 

After living in several different African countries, Amir’s family settled in Ghana when she was 3 years old. When she was 11, they moved to Lansing, Michigan—both times for educational opportunities for Amir and her siblings. At the same time, her father insisted that they speak only Zaghawa at home and maintain connections to their cultural background through food, dress and music. 

The creation and use of natural scents represent a big piece of that cultural connection for Amir. On the Oud Al Salam website and on her Instagram at oud_al_Salam, Amir shares both updates about her scents and insights into their cultural significance.  

“The scents and fragrances I create are a direct reflection of the cultural significance of perfumes and incense in my community,” Amir said. “They have held a special place in our lives for generations and have been a part of our traditions and rituals. The art of crafting perfumes and incense is a communal activity in my family and community.” 

In Ghana and in the U.S., Amir’s mother found Sudanese communities that gathered often at each other’s houses. 

“I vividly remember the gatherings, the sharing of fragrances, and the discussions about formulas and tweaks to create unique scents,” Amir said. “This cultural practice fostered a sense of togetherness, identity and appreciation for our heritage. By sharing these fragrances with a broader audience through my company, I am preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of my family and community. The scents are not just products; they are a bridge that connects people to our roots, evokes memories and fosters an understanding and appreciation of the beauty of diversity.” 

Having completed an early college program, Amir came to K with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in pre-health studies. She planned to earn a bachelor’s in biochemistry and proceed to medical school. 

“I came to K thinking, ‘I know exactly what I want, I’m going to get in and out,’” Amir said. “I only needed a few courses to get my degree. Then the K culture got me and I wanted the full experience.” 

Darsalam Amir ’24 worked with a student team from Amy MacMillan’s Principles of Marketing class
Amir worked with a student team from Amy MacMillan’s Principles of Marketing class to help launch her natural fragrance business. Pictured at the end-of-term presentation are (from left) James Dailey ’26, Helen Le ’26, Amir, Francesca Ventura ’26, Zach DeVito ’26 and Eric Paternoster ’26.
Students participate in photo shoot with fragrance products in front of them
Principles of Marketing students James Dailey ’26 (left) and Eric Paternoster ’26 stage a photo shoot for the natural fragrance business launched by Amir.
Promotional image for fragrance and scents business
Amir’s Principles of Marketing student team staged a photo shoot to create this promotional image for her website.

Amir realized business classes at K might help her budding entrepreneurship more than her years of unsatisfying internet research had. She started with introductory economics classes and basic accounting—which she found fascinating—before working her way up to marketing classes with L. Lee Stryker Associate Professor of Business Management Amy MacMillan. She found inspiration in MacMillan’s Principles of Marketing course, where students work with clients to build a marketing plan. 

“Our client was in nonprofit work,” Amir said. “She wasn’t making any money, but she was running this business, and I thought, ‘If she’s doing it, I could do it, too.’ It was a real-world situation. I had thought I was doing market research by watching YouTube videos and reading online articles. Now we were doing real market research and it was so impactful.” 

Amir had been working in a pharmacy and saving as much as she could to invest in her company. When she finished the Principles of Marketing course as an enrolled student consultant, she approached MacMillan about returning as a client. 

“I knew Darsalam to be a very dedicated student, so I knew that she would follow through and make it a worthwhile project,” MacMillan said. “I was also intrigued with her idea. When you introduce a new product, you want to make sure it is truly something new and different that meets a meaningful need. In this case, the idea of this high-end perfume that would incorporate ingredients from Chad seemed like a unique positioning that would have appeal.” 

While the class has had a few past clients who are current K students, that happens rarely—and MacMillan gets excited about it every time. 

“What I love about it is students supporting other students, and the recognition that you don’t have to wait until you’re grown up to be an entrepreneur; you can be an entrepreneur now and have these great ideas,” MacMillan said. “What really excites me about this is that peer-to-peer experience.” 

Working with Amir provided her team with real-time, hands-on experience. 

“The student teams work with the client the whole term,” MacMillan said. “The final presentation is usually a plan the client can execute sometime in the next six to 12 months. What is just wild about this project is that they’ve actually been off and running. They did fragrance testing in Hicks where they helped test both the appeal of certain fragrances and which ideas resonated most to help Darsalam understand not just how to choose the fragrances, but how to position and market them. It’s unfolding under their eyes, a business using their input in real time.” 

Darsalam Amir visiting Chad while surrounded by sheep
During summer 2023, Amir traveled to Chad for the first time since her family settled in Ghana so many years ago. While conducting interviews, visiting museums and translating texts in service of her Senior Integrated Project examining how the Zaghawa people of Chad embraced Islam and synchronized it with their pre-Islamic beliefs and practices, Amir also spent time with family she had never met and visited local markets, with a cousin as her guide, to buy fragrance ingredients.
Fragrance ingredients for Darsalam Amir's scents
Amir’s ingredients for her fragrances include musk stones, sandalwood and operculum onycha shells she purchased in markets in Chad.
Darsalam Amir tests the scent of a fragrance
Amir is launching a natural fragrance company, Oud Al Salam, to share an important aspect of her family’s culture. “My work is a tribute to the traditions I cherish and a means of sharing the richness of my Sudanese-Chadian heritage with the world.”

Helen Le ’26, a member of Amir’s Principles of Marketing student team, agreed. 

“Everything we have learned in class we apply immediately to our project,” Le said. “I feel like it is a more authentic experience and perspective. This class allows me to quickly apply the knowledge I’ve learned in practical situations.” 

The project experience taught Le about handling workload, working in a group, time management, how to promote and execute ideas, and more. 

“Darsalam’s energy and attitude will bring her and the business more success in the future,” Le said. “‘Where Fragrance Becomes a Cultural Connection’ is one of my favorite Oud Al Salam mission statement sentences. This is the part I like the most about this start-up; it is not only about selling a product, but also the experiences and the cultural promotion.” 

“It’s exciting when you see a student take an idea and make it into a reality, especially when it aligns with a passion of theirs,” MacMillan said. “It’s a way for Darsalam to blend her business skills with her cultural heritage and to bring something new and different to the market.” 

The student team has provided crucial marketing research, surveys, product testing and pricing assistance, Amir said. Her friend Amalia Kaerezi ’25 helped design the logo. An entrepreneurship workshop with David Rhoa, visiting assistant professor of economics and business, has helped inspire and shape Oud Al Salam. Her chemistry knowledge and lab experience proved invaluable in the process of developing the fragrances. Even her religion major has played a role, as a summer 2023 trip to Chad in service of her Senior Integrated Project in the religion department offered an opportunity to learn from family, practice perfumery and purchase ingredients—musk stones, sandalwood and operculum onycha shells. 

Other supplies, such as bottles and labels, have been purchased online.  

“One of the main hurdles has been finding reliable vendors who understand and share my vision for designing unique and appealing product packages,” Amir said. “This process has taught me the value of persistence and the importance of building strong partnerships with suppliers who believe in the same aesthetic and quality standards that I uphold. Balancing my business with my other commitments both on and off campus has been another significant challenge.” 

In addition to her three majors and her pharmacy job, Amir works in the College library and as a residential assistant for Trowbridge and Dewaters halls. She also serves as president of Kalama-Africa and as an active member of the diversity committee for Kalamazoo College Council of Student Representatives. 

“Sometimes we walk behind Harmon past the K buses that say, ‘More in four,’” Amir said. “Whenever my friends see that, they’re like, ‘That’s you, Darsalam! They said more in four, you said more in a lifetime, and you’re doing it.’ That slogan speaks to me right now. I tried to get all the experience that I could in these four years.” 

Amir plans to graduate in spring 2024 and take two gap years to develop Oud Al Salam before beginning medical school. She is looking into fellowships that could help her travel around Africa to learn more about the art of perfumes and incense. 

Launching Oud Al Salam is just the beginning of the dream. Amir wants to explore sustainable and eco-friendly packaging, collaborations with local artisans, support for the communities where she sources ingredients, and classes for people interested in learning more about perfumery. 

“I’m genuinely excited about the future of my company,” Amir said. “My primary goal is to see it thrive and reach new heights, with our scents becoming household names that people trust and love. I envision physical stores opening up across Michigan, offering our customers a tangible and immersive experience with our fragrances. 

“My goal is not just to sell products but to create a brand that resonates with people on a deeper level and contributes positively to society.” 

Logo for Darsalam Amir's fragrance business says Oud Al Salam
Amir said her fragrance company’s name is derived from the Arabic word for “comes from wood” as well as from her name.

New Scholarship Noteworthy on National Philanthropy Day

If National Philanthropy Day, celebrated every November 15, enables the country to recognize big and small acts of generosity—through giving, volunteering and charitable engagement—there’s plenty of room to recognize our own engaged Kalamazoo College communities such as the class of 1973. 

Volunteers from the alumni group connected with their classmates as a part of their 50th reunion to secure more than $300,000 from 64 of its members to endow a scholarship supporting K students.  

Scholarships open the doors to K’s transformative education and experiential opportunities. This year’s recipients of the Class of 1973 Endowed Scholarship include Shannon Abbott ’24. She recently reflected on her time abroad in Japan, an experience that she says broadened her horizons.  

“I love language learning and wanted to try a new language while studying at K,” she said. “I chose Japanese because I already had an interest in Japanese culture and thought it was a unique language to have the privilege to learn. Upon taking my first Japanese classes, I made close friends and had lots of fun, so I continued to study Japanese. Although Japanese is difficult, I find it to be a very rewarding language to learn and practice.” 

The six-month study abroad experience allowed Abbott to meet new people through a homestay and an internship where she studied tea culture by learning sadou, a tea ceremony, and working in a tea shop. She also visited relevant sites in Kyoto before returning to K and applying her knowledge toward Japanese department events and its official social media. 

Abbott added that she gained a clearer sense of independence that classroom experiences wouldn’t have provided. 

“I think that being in an environment where you completely surrender to being a student—as a foreigner to the language, customs and norms—opens one up to new ways of thinking and thriving,” she said. “I believe I gained more life experience and experiential knowledge during those six months than I have throughout most of my adult life. I am extremely grateful for the funds I have received because they allowed me to live a dream. I made so many connections and friends in Japan, and I plan to go back and continue building those relationships.” 

National Philanthropy Day is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the contributions of alumni and friends who support Kalamazoo College through their time, talent and charitable giving. 

“The generosity of individuals and groups like the class of 1973 not only enhances educational opportunities for our students, it also inspires others to contribute to the growth and success of future generations,” Vice President for Advancement Karen Isble said. “This day serves as a reminder of the vital role that philanthropy plays in shaping a brighter future for students at K.” 

Shannon Abbott on Study Abroad in Japan for National Philanthropy Day
Shannon Abbott ’24, pictured here on study abroad in Japan, is one of this year’s recipients of the Class of 1973 Endowed Scholarship.
Class of 73 check presentation
A group of volunteers connected and engaged with their classmates to secure more than $300,000 from 64 members of the class of 1973 to endow a scholarship for Kalamazoo College students.

K Honors First-Generation Students, Graduates

National First-Generation Day celebrates students, faculty and staff around the country who are the first in their family to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree. November 8 was identified as the date because it honors the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which expanded college opportunities for low-income and first-generation populations. 

Championed by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Center for First-Generation Student Success, the day brings awareness to the strengths of first-generation students. At Kalamazoo College, we seek to affirm those strengths and the assets they bring to us by supporting, elevating and increasing their visibility on campus. 

Here are a few stories of our students and staff. We asked them about their involvement and activities, why they chose K and their advice for other first-generation students.


Lizbeth Blas-Rangel ’24

Involvement and activities: During my time at Kalamazoo College, I have actively engaged and volunteered in several initiatives on campus and within the local community. I am currently a part of GEMS (Girls Empowered and Motivated to Succeed), an impactful mentorship program that mentors newcomers and refugees. I’ve volunteered in ESL classes at Milwood School and volunteered at Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK). I’ve also dedicated my time to the County ID program, providing essential identification services to residents of Kalamazoo.

Why I chose K: I chose to attend Kalamazoo College because of its open curriculum and small environment. The open curriculum has allowed me to explore a variety of classes and truly find what I am passionate about. Also, having small classes has allowed me to directly engage and connect with my professors and classmates, which has fostered a deeper understanding.

My advice to other first-generation students: Embrace your uniqueness; your background is a strength! Never be afraid to ask questions and seek help. Remember, you belong here!

First-generation student Lizbeth Blas-Rangel
Lizbeth Blas-Rangel ’24

Finn Brent ’24

Involvement and activities: During my time at K, I have been involved in Ultimate Frisbee, the soccer team and the Aspiring Law Student Organization at different points throughout. I have done two community building internships that were offered through the Center for Civic Engagement.

Why I chose K: I chose to attend K because I liked the idea of attending a smaller school that prioritized academic success, and to make use of the Kalamazoo Promise, which I am a beneficiary of after attending Kalamazoo Public Schools.

My advice to other first-generation students: My advice would be to seek resources to be prepared to become accustomed to the differences between high school and college because it can be a big change with limited prior knowledge and there are plenty of resources available.

Portrait of first-generation student Finn Brent
Finn Brent ’24

Yaire Cisneros Tovar ’26

Involvement and activities: I’m involved with the Latinx Student Organization, Sukuma Dow, and I occasionally volunteer at El Sol Elementary.

Why I chose K: I chose to attend Kalamazoo College because of the school’s flexible curriculum which allows me to explore different interests in majors and minors. 

My advice to other first-generation students: My advice to first-generation students is not to be afraid to ask for help. Finding resources in college can seem overwhelming but they are there for a reason and can help open doors to opportunities. 

First-generation student Yaire Cisneros Tovar
Yaire Cisneros Tovar ’26

Samantha Cuevas-Ramos ’26

Involvement and activities: Some student organizations that I’m involved in are WOCA ((Womxn of Color Alliance), QTPOCC (Queer and Trans People of Color Collective) and LSO (Latinx Student Organization). Currently, I’m an FYE (First-Year Experience) mentor and it has been amazing, I really got to connect with a lot of first-years who are also first-generation. I think it’s important for them to have someone who they can relate to and go to when they need help or just to talk. In my first year, I volunteered at EL Concilio as a tutor for elementary school students, and because of this, it drove me to become a CAPS tutor for the CCE. I hope for the winter term of my sophomore year I can go back to volunteering at EL Concilio.

Why I chose K: When doing my college search during my senior year of high school, I was nominated for the POSSE scholarship. Although I didn’t get chosen, I fell in love with Kalamazoo College, and when I got in, I was so happy, so I decided to accept my offer. But I do have to say it was also because of the financial aid offer they had given me. To this day, I don’t regret coming to K.

My advice to other first-generation students: Put yourself out there. I’m typically a shy timid person but after taking a few steps out of my comfort zone I was really able to achieve a lot of things. A few things that I learned were to ask for help, I realized that if I didn’t reach out for help, I wasn’t going to be able to succeed in my classes. K has a lot of resources, like the writing center it’s an amazing place to go if you’re struggling in writing your paper for a class, the learning support center will help you get organized they also provide amazing studying tips, and your professors I mean they are here to help you to succeed in their class.

Portrait of first-generation student Samantha Cuevas-Ramos
Samantha Cuevas-Ramos ’26

Abigail Gutierrez ’25

Involvement and activities: I’m a director in an acapella group on campus called ACAPOC (A Cappella People of Color). I have participated in the group since my first year on campus! I also am involved in The Cavern on campus where I am a student intern who works to create events on campus to bring the community together and I facilitate the Wednesday therapy dog visits in the cavern. I also am a mentor to first year students and I work to make their orientation and adjustment to campus as smooth as possible and make sure they know they are welcomed and cared for.

Why I chose K: Due to the incredible amount of financial aid the college was able to offer me, I knew that I would be able to come to college here. I also did lots of research on what the campus community was like and read that lots of professors knew their students by name. I knew that I would love to join a campus that was student run in many aspects as well.

My advice to other first-generation students: My advice is that no matter how much you miss home, it pays to stick it out and do something like attending college that has a chance of giving you better opportunities for your future. Also, when you get here, you will find that there are many people all around to support you, so reach out and know that you can always find someone who is on your team and wants you to succeed!

Abigail Gutierrez
Abigail Gutierrez ’25

Maxine Horton ’17

Involvements and activities: I was involved with the Classics Club, volunteered at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and I attended many of the events that were hosted on campus with my older sister, Hunter Brown ’16. However, I was busy working part-time for the Athletics Department and Facilities Management. Additionally, I was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta; attended a Fulbright Commission, Durham University Summer Institute 2014; and went on study abroad to Rome in the American University of Rome program fall-winter 2015.

Why I chose K: I chose to attend K because of the opportunities to study abroad and the flexibility of the K-Plan, which allowed me to be hyper-focused on my studies in art history, history and classical studies. K provided me with the experiences and opportunities to uncover knowledge, get to know my professors on a one-to-one basis, and grow into a confident young adult.

My advice to other first-generation students: Kalamazoo College has the resources and the capability to take you wherever you want to go if you only ask. Although this experience was new to me, it was also new to my family, and while there were many learning curves along the way, the folks here at K were willing to help navigate me through it all.

Maxine Horton in front of mountains
Maxine Horton ’17

Grace Leahey ’25

Involvement and activities: On campus, I am involved with student development as a First-Year Experience mentor, Hillel at K and the Biochemistry Club as the vice chair. 

Why I chose K: I chose Kalamazoo College because I really wanted the opportunity to foster connections with my professors and peers in a way I knew wouldn’t be available at a larger university. I also enjoyed the smaller campus size and the ability to start working on my degree without having to take general classes first.

My advice to other first-generation students: I would advise any first-gen students to always ask questions. There are so many resources just waiting to be tapped into and all it takes to gain access is to ask. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, but K has taught me that there will always be someone to help. The faculty and staff here really do want everyone to succeed. 

Grace Leahey
Grace Leahey ’25

Elizabeth Rottenberk ’24

Involvements and activities: On campus, I am on the softball team as one of the team captains, I am a math consultant at the Math and Physics Center, I am a First-Year Experience mentor, president and co-founder of Hacky Sack Club, and I am one of the chair members of the Monte Carlo planning committee.

Why I chose K: I was eager to go to Kalamazoo College because it is academically competitive and I was offered to play for their softball team. What really got me to choose K is the small class sizes and the opportunity to explore different classes which led me to my mathEnglish double major.

My advice to other first-generation students: As someone who has proven themselves amazingly by getting into a great college, do not feel like you need to keep proving yourself and go through your classes alone. Go seek help from others by collaborating with those in your class, going to office hours, going to helpful centers like the Math and Physics Center, Collaboration Center and more.

Lizzy Rottenberk Abroad
Elizabeth Rottenberk ’24

Sydney Salgado ’24

Involvements and activities: I am the upperclassmen co-president of our Latinx Student Organization. I am also a campus ambassador for my high school’s Schuler Scholar Program and the Departmental Student Advisor for the Spanish department. Additionally, I am very active in other student organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, the Arab Student Union and Que Chevre. I have been blessed to be a part of all these organizations and opportunities and I am grateful for the students on campus who attend and organize collaborative and meaningful events. 

Why I chose K: I decided to attend Kalamazoo College because K awarded me the most financial aid out of all the liberal art schools I applied to. I come from two hard-working immigrant parents, who have supported me in everything I do, so it was my goal to choose a college where they would not have to constantly worry about finding the means to help pay for my tuition. 

My advice to other first-generation students: Take up your space! Share your thoughts in classrooms, with professors and with other students/friends/acquaintances. Your voice and your words matter, and they make a difference. Branch out! Go to club meetings or events your college hosts, even if you go by yourself. I promise you will meet some really cool people by doing this! 

Sydney Salgado '24
Sydney Salgado ’24

Honors Day Celebrates Student Achievements

More than 300 students were recognized Friday during the annual Honors Day Convocation for excellence in academics and leadership. Students were recognized in six divisions: Fine Arts, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Physical Education. Recipients of prestigious scholarships were recognized, as were members of national honor societies and students who received special Kalamazoo College awards. Student athletes and teams who won Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association awards also were honored. The students receiving Honors Day awards or recognition are listed below.

Fine Arts Division

Brian Gougeon Prize in Art

Kennedy Campbell
James Hauke
Ix-Chel James
Morgan Jenkins
Eliana Moreno
Sophia Sprick

The Margaret Upton Prize in Music

Tyrus Parnell

Cooper Award
Max Joos

Sherwood Prize
Addison Peter

Theatre Arts First-Year Student Award

Isaiah Calderon
Helen Stoy
Max Wright

Division of Modern and Classical Languages

LeGrand Copley Prize in French

Eleanor Bernas
Shruti Debburman

Hardy Fuchs Award

Henry Black
Elizabeth Muenzenmaier
Mary Ellen Muenzenmaier

Margo Light Award

Noah Chun

Department of Spanish Language and Literatures Prize

Claire Kischer
Gabriel Olivier

Clara H. Buckley Prize for Excellence in Latin

Nick Wilson

Provost’s Prize in Classics

Rebecca Elias

Classics Department Prize in Greek

Nick Wilson

Humanities Division

O.M. Allen Prize in English

Madeline Moss

John B. Wickstrom Prize in History

Laryn Kuchta
Hollis Masterson

Department of Philosophy Prize

Anna Budnick
Nik Krupka
Madeline Lawson
Lina Moghrabi

L.J. and Eva (“Gibbie”) Hemmes Memorial Prize in Philosophy

Noah Chun
Adam Cornier-Bridgeforth

Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division

Winifred Peake Jones Prize in Biology

Michaela Dillbeck

Department of Chemistry Prize

Trustin Christopher
Kendra Guitar
Emma Newlove

First-Year Chemistry Award

CJ Aldred
Devi DeYoung
William Tocco

Lemuel F. Smith Award

Roman Ramos

Computer Science Prize

Zahra Amini
Zoie Banger
Narelle Robles
Minh Thu Le

First-Year Mathematics Award

Eva Clancy

Thomas O. Walton Prize in Mathematics

Joseph Horsfield
Tristan Uphoff

Cooper Prize in Physics

Eva Clancy
William Tocco

Social Sciences Division

Departmental Prize in Anthropology and Sociology

Jaylen Bowles-Swain
Isaiah Calderon
Dillon Gacki
Vrinda Girdhar
Gloria Jackson

William G. Howard Memorial Prize

Andreas Fathalla
Lukas Hultberg
Blagoja Naskovski
Sydney Pickell

C. Wallace Lawrence Prize in Business

Gavin Houtkooper
Jonah Spates

C. Wallace Lawrence Prize in Economics

Ethan DeNeen
Cole Koryto
Meganne Skoug

Irene and S. Kyle Morris Prize

Maya Alkema
Lucas Hanifan
Alek Hultberg
Vinh Nguyen
Sasha Olsen

Department of Psychology First-Year Student Prize

Brigid Roth

Physical Education Division

Division of Physical Education Prize

Ryar Rinehart
Ella Spooner

Lauren Rosenthal ’13 Memorial Prize

Savera Rajendra-Nicolucci

Maggie Wardle Prize

Jordan Doyle

College Awards

Gordon Beaumont Memorial Award

Anum Khan
Rojina Timsina
Jordyn Wilson

Henry and Inez Brown Prize

Madison Barch
Brynna Garden
Rylie Kipfmueller
Brett Manski

Virginia Hinkelman Memorial Award

Ana Ramirez

Davis United World College Scholar

Randa Alnaas
Asha Dawson
Millie Williams

Heyl Scholars

Class of 2027

Abigail Eilertson
Ava Schwachter
Pauline Hawkes
Anthony Valade
Jason Krawczyk
Benjamin Whitsett

Posse Scholars

Class of 2027

Estrella Barcenas
Marcos Perez
Lena Barrett
Ashley Rodriguez
Mary-Ava Gonzalez
Mo Silcott
Tyler Herrejon
Kennedy West
Gerardo Herrera-Sanchez
Alicia Wilgoren

National Merit Scholars

Class of 2027

Annalisa Bauer
Benjamin Whitsett

Voynovich Scholars

Beren Akpinar
Nico Lipton

Alpha Lambda Delta

Class of 2026

Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes excellence in academic achievement during the first college year. To be eligible for membership, students must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and be in the top 20 percent of their class during the first year. The Kalamazoo College chapter was installed on March 5, 1942.

Maya Alkema
Baylor Baldwin
Evan Barker
Yvette Boyse-Peacor
Avery Brockington
Eleanor Campion
Trustin Christopher
Noah Chun
Kai Clingenpeel
Shruti Debburman
Devi DeYoung
Michaela Dillbeck
Jordan Doyle
Sally Eggleston
Elise Elliot
Caleb Ewald
Vrinda Girdhar
Kendra Guitar
Sophie Hartl
James Hauke
Annika Hokanson
Alek Hultberg
Cloe Johnson
Jessica Kaplan
Emilia Kelly
Laryn Kuchta
William Martel
Hollis Masterson
Virginia Matta
Kira McManus
Brittany Miller
Lorelei Moxon
Elizabeth Muenzenmaier
Mary Ellen Muenzenmaier
Robert Newland
Emma Newlove
Theodore Niemann
Gabriel Olivier
Chelsea Paddock
Mia Pellegrini
Mia Pierce
William Plesscher
Bea Putman
Alyson Ramillano
Anoushka Soares
Ella Spooner
Molly Stevison
Abbygale Stump
Minh Thu
Le William Tocco
Hannah Ulanoski
Zoe Wilson
Reagan Woods
Maximilian Wright
Kathryn Zabaldo

Enlightened Leadership Awards

Performing Arts: Music

Emily Auchter
Josephine Bischoff
Axel Bodeux
Hillary Davis
Maansi Deswal
Isaac Duncan
Evelyn Ellerbrock
Owen Ellis
Maira Ghaffar
Rex Jasper
Ryleigh Jaworski
Dong Eun Kim
Annabelle Krygier
Nicholas Laframboise
Rylee Lambert
Elijah Layne
Alex Lloyd
Isabelle Mason
Cedric May
Raven Medina
Estelle Metz
Ella Myers
Amelie Sack
Tobin Schiller
Max Shawhan
Phoebe Tozer
Sebastian Vargas-Beltran

MIAA Awards

These teams earned the 2022-2023 MIAA Team GPA Award for achieving a 3.300 or better grade point average for the entire academic year:

Baseball
Men’s Cross Country
Men’s Golf
Men’s Lacrosse
Men’s Swimming and Diving
Men’s Tennis
Women’s Basketball
Women’s Cross Country
Women’s Lacrosse
Women’s Soccer
Women’s Softball
Women’s Swimming and Diving
Women’s Tennis
Women’s Volleyball

MIAA Academic Honor Roll

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association each year honors students at MIAA member colleges who achieve in the classroom and in athletic competition. Students need to be a letter winner in a varsity sport and maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average for the entire school year.

Fuzail Ahmed
Maya Alkema
Adnan Alousi
Paige Anderson
Eleanor Andrews
Samuel Ankley
Alexandra Armin
Aidan Baas
Madison Barch
Travis Barclay
Eleanor Bernas
Luke Bormann
Mairin Boshoven
Jaylen Bowles-Swain
Holly Bowling
Ella Boyea
Lukas Broadsword
Anna Buck
John Bungart
Ian Burr
Abigail Caza
Isabella Caza
Trustin Christopher
Madeleine Coffman
Zachary Connor
Mia Crites
Chase Cummins
Emma Curcuru
Erik Danielson
Jessica Dant
Claire Davis
Kyla Davis
Carson Deines
Ethan DeNeen
Sarah Densham
Olivia Depauli
Rorie Dougherty
Jordan Doyle
Ryan Drew
Alexander Dubin
Hannah Durant
Rebecca Elias
Elise Elliot
Sara English
Caleb Ewald
Peter Fitzgerald
Payton Fleming
Parker Foster
Andre Fouque
Emma Frederiksen
Aliza Garcia
Brynna Garden
Farah Ghazal
Lillian Grelak
Natalie Gross
Kendra Guitar
Sydney Hagaman
Ryan Hanifan
Alison Hankins
Madeline Hanulcik
Lucy Hart
Sophie Hartl
Zachary Heimbuch
Maya Hester
Jacob Hoffman
Garrick Hohm
Ronin Honda
Jaelyn Horn
Joseph Horsfield
Molly Horton
Tyler Houle
Gavin Houtkooper
Samuel Hughes
Alek Hultberg
Lukas Hultberg
Michael Hume
Madelaine Hurley
Carson Ihrke
Tristan James
Jonathan Jiang
Timothy Karubas
Blake Kelsey
Hunter Kiesling
Meghan Killmaster
Soussana Kimbouris
Kendyl Kirshman
Alexander Kish
Lena Klemm
Daniel Koselka
Toni Koshmider
Marissa Kovac
Aidan Lancaster
Louis Landreau
Annmarie Lawrence
Ilem Leisher
Jacob Lynett
Natalie Maki
Benjamin Maurice
Regan McKee
Amy McNutt
Rachel Meston
Gabriel Meyers
Luke Middlebrook
Brittany Miller
Cooper Mills
Camille Misra
Elana Mitchell
Jana Molby
Mackenzie Moore
Samantha Moss
Elizabeth Muenzenmaier
Mary Ellen Muenzenmaier
Anna Murphy
Lindsey Nedd
Justin Negrete
Alexis Nesbitt
Robert Newland
Emma Newlove
Dustin Noble
Jeremiah Ohren-Hoeft
Gabriel Olivier
Brenden Oprinski
Eric Paternoster
Alexis Petty
Sydney Pickell
Benjamin Pickrel
William Plesscher
Harrison Poeszat
Evan Pollens-Voigt
Grayson Pratt
Andrew Puckett
Elizabeth Rachiele
Savera Rajendra-Nicolucci
Julia Rambo
Sara Reathaford
Liam Regan
Keegan Reynolds
Mya Richter
Sheldon Riley
Jacob Robertson
Katherine Rock
Luke Rop
Alec Rosenbaum
Eli Routt
Charlotte Ruiter
Maxwell Saxton
Leo Schinker
Vivian Schmidt
Annika Schnell
Amalia Scorsone
Steven Shelton
Cassidy Short
Elizabeth Silber
Colby Skinner
Erin Somsel
Jonah Spates
Ella Spooner
David Stechow
Molly Stevison
Emma Stickley
Thomas Sylvester
Ella Szczublewski
Levi Thomas
William Thomas
Sophia Timm-Blow
Renee Torres
Jakob Torzewski
Frances Trimble
Oliver Tye
Alexis Valdes
Samantha Vande Pol
Hannah Vander Lugt
Cameron VanGalder
Mitchel VanGalder
Anna Varitek
Gabriel Vidinas
Joseph Wade
Ivy Walker
Riley Weber
Margaret Wedge
Dylan Wickey
Andrew Widger
Ava Williams
Tony Yazbeck
Hailey Yoder
Jacob Zeller
Sophie Zhuang
Margaret Zorn

A students shakes hands with faculty while receiving an award on Honors Day 2023
A student receives an award while shaking hands with a faculty member on Honors Day 2023
A student receives an award while shaking hands with a faculty member on Honors Day 2023
Honors Day 2023 attendees applaud a student recognized as a Posse Scholar
A student walks down an aisle at Stetson Chapel to receive her award on Honors Day 2023
A student receives applause while being recognized as a Heyl Scholar during Honors Day 2023

Festival Playhouse Opens 60th Season with ‘Playhouse Creatures’

The curtain will rise beginning Thursday on a production that’s based on historical figures, but not historical fact, at Kalamazoo College’s Festival Playhouse.

Playhouse Creatures begins in 1669 as theatres in England are reopening after 17 years of Puritan suppression under a regime led by Oliver Cromwell. The Restoration Era is beginning with a monarchy re-established under King Charles II, who declares that women—for the first time in England—should be the actors in female-identifying roles.

The play examines five of the most famous actresses of the English stage to provide a moving and often comic account of the trailblazers. The characters include Doll Common, played by Brooklyn Moore ’24; Nell Gwynn, played by Jericho Trevino ’27; Mrs. Mary Betterton, played by Abby Nelson ’24; Mrs. Rebecca Marshall, played by Cameo Green ’24; and Mrs. Elizabeth Farley, played by May Moe Tun ’25.

Playhouse Creatures is the first play slated for the Festival Playhouse’s 60th season, which features a theme of “Systems as Old as Time,” focusing on the harmful systems that hold back the oppressed and how people fight against them. It will highlight the ways that joy, laughter and solidarity can still exist and thrive despite those systems.

Actors rehearse for "Playhouse Creatures" at the Festival Playhouse stage
Jericho Trevino ’27 (left) and May Moe Tun ’25 rehearse for “Playhouse Creatures,” which runs Thursday, November 2–Sunday, November 5, at the Festival Playhouse.

“Nell Gwynn, our main character, became an incredibly influential figure in English society, but she starts the show in a very low place, and we see her rise,” said Max Wright ’26, who is serving as the play’s dramaturg. “We also see the difference between the young, new actors and the women who were older after acting early in the Restoration.”

Wright is stepping into a production role for the first time. However, they have been acting since fourth grade and they were a featured actor in the Festival Playhouse show of Othello last year. Their responsibilities for this production include a lobby display that provides basic historical context, a brief look back on women in theater, and a view into the lives that the real-life characters led.

“It’s a very heavy show, but I think a lot of it is about overcoming the constraints that are placed on you and still making your way in the world, while finding your own place despite someone else’s expectations and the hardships you have to go through,” Wright said. “It’s very focused on the community aspect of how women have leaned on each other and the sisterhood of feminism in history.”

The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on November 2–4, and at 2 p.m. November 5, in the Festival Playhouse Theatre at 129 Thompson St. Thursday’s show will include American Sign Language interpretation in a performance made possible with support from Theatre Kalamazoo and the James Gilmore Foundation. Tickets are available online or by calling the Festival Playhouse at 269.337.7333.  Audiences should be aware that the play’s content includes flashing lights and situations including abortion and simulated violence.

“Theatre in general is a wonderful experience because it tells stories in ways that can’t be done elsewhere,” Wright said. “The aspect of live theatre—of physically seeing a story played out in front of you—is a form of communication that we’ve had throughout history. That is how we share our culture. That is how we share our community. That is how we share the stories of ourselves in our past. This is one of the stories of our past and it was a crucial point in time for women and theatre in general.”

Math Meets Poetry to Form Distinctive Senior Project

A liberal arts education from Kalamazoo College gives students a chance to expand their academic interests with great opportunities to turn hobbies into academic involvement. A great instance of that practice is Lizzy Rottenberk ’24, who is double majoring in mathematics and English with a focus on poetry.

In high school, Rottenberk was sure that mathematics was her main academic focus, while she considered poetry to be her hobby. That changed after she took classes through the English department at the end of her first year at K.

“Personally, writing poems has always represented a good way to self-reflect,” Rottenberk said. “It’s a passion that allows me to see how I am feeling and learn more about myself.”

In fact, for her Senior Integrated Project (SIP), she is merging her two passions of math and poetry. Together, they form “Academic Tangents,” where Rottenberk integrates calculus theorems with poetry structures and contexts. The project consists of reflective poems related to academic struggles with five different math concepts represented: functions, limits, derivatives, sequences and series, and anti-derivatives.

All those collections of poems start with a definition of the theorems, followed by a free-verse poem that redefines the theorem in a poetic way. Finally, Rottenberk incorporates poems representing the theorem in the structure and context. The following is an excerpt from a poem titled Connected and Continuous in her SIP:

Editor’s note: This story was written by Blagoja Naskovski ’24. He serves as a social media ambassador for the College Marketing and Communications team. 

Lizzy Rottenberk Abroad
Lizzy Rottenberk ’24 is merging her two passions of math and poetry.

“Connected and Continuous” by Elizabeth Rottenberk

6:00 am
eyes widen
brain begins animation
embarking towards the serene kitchen
breakfast smells of sweet warmth and motivation
pecan almond syrup comforting slightly chewy waffles
leading to a freshly organized backpack filled with unlearned trig
to be explored when the sun peaks above tree lines through a wired window
the window that holds foreheads until listening and comprehension become equal
wielding a pencil like the sword of King Arthur as he is who you traveled to learn about
through the roughest of puddles, more ferocious of red lights but nevertheless, you arrived
to hear the educators chant the literary devices and warn us about math’s greatest complexities
and experience numerous “ah ha’s” that fuel flights into deeper TOK and AOK conversations
until exit from the essential castle known as the education system has been granted
headed home your mind becomes lured into a rooted nap as it shifts to autopilot
the time for learning discontinues as the sun hides behind the tree line
walking under the threshold to the kitchen where delicious
satisfying-smelling food needs your dining
fuel in the vessel that travels distances
to calculate and conquer problems
and write essays in MLA
eyes closed
6:00 am


Rottenberk is active not only in academics, but also in many on-campus and off-campus initiatives. She currently works as a consultant at the Math and Physics Center, where she provides academic peer support to K students for advanced math classes. Moreover, she is the captain for the softball team and president of the Hacky Sack student organization. She is also a First-Year Experience mentor, which allows her to guide students while they adapt to new academic environments.

Off-campus, Rottenberk is part of Sustainable Living Guide, an organization that provides educational support and resources for healthy and sustainable living. Her commitment to this organization includes organizing virtual classes for sustainability, writing for social media and a website, and conducting research on climate action, zero-waste lifestyle and other topics.

“Being proactive makes me feel better and more productive,” Rottenberk said. “While participating in many on-campus initiatives, I feel that that I am not only contributing to my personal and professional growth, but also to my community.”

Rottenberk said K’s liberal arts education has empowered her to push her boundaries while allowing her to apply creative thinking in her academics. Two of her most influential classes at K have been ENG210: Intermediate Poetry Workshop, where she expanded her knowledge of how to write poems, and MATH320: Real Analysis.

“I would encourage students to be independent with established critical thought,” she said. “More importantly, I strongly suggest students utilize every opportunity that K classes offer when it comes to critical thinking.”

Math and poetry expert Elizabeth Rottenberk in a Kalamazoo College softball uniform
Lizzy Rottenberk ’24 is a captain for K’s softball team.

Student’s Seminar Used Fashion to Spotlight Northern Michigan History

The "A Century of Fashion" at the Little Traverse Historical Society
Claire Mullins ’26 will offered a Zoom about her exhibit, “A Century of Fashion.”
Historical dress on display in fashion exhibit at Little Traverse Historical Society

Online Presentation

Claire Mullins ’26 worked as an intern with the Little Traverse Historical Museum this summer, researching and installing the display “A Century of Fashion.” Claire’s online presentation on October 26 discussed her work via Zoom.

Kalamazoo College student Claire Mullins ’26 told a Zoom audience about her summer internship while sharing her research on the history of northern Michigan fashion on Thursday, October 26.

During the online event, sponsored by North Central Michigan College, Mullins detailed an exhibit of her creation titled A Century of Fashion, which is now on display at the Little Traverse Historical Society in Petoskey. The exhibit includes about 10 dresses that were donated to the society’s museum over the years along with educational storyboards she drafted while working with a clothing and costume historian. Her presentation went over each time period the dresses are from, what they’re made of, and why they would be worn.

“I want to work for a big museum or on archeological digs one day, so I’m hoping a presentation like this can show I have museum experience and that I already know how to use some museum software while putting on a display like this,” Mullins said. “I also hope the presentation will not only lead to awareness of the Little Traverse Historical Society, but maybe lead to some visits and draw some donations.”

Mullins, a classics major, said she developed a passion for fashion when she visited the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and saw the dresses that First Ladies have worn over the years. However, she wasn’t necessarily thinking about fashion when she sought an internship through Handshake, the College’s platform for jobs and internships. She was more concerned about finding an opportunity close to her Lewiston, Michigan, home, leading her to the Little Traverse Historical Society. There, Mullins interviewed with Executive Director Jane Garver, whose daughter, Grace, graduated from K this year.

Black Harvey Berin dress reflects women's fashion from 1953
Mullins found this 1953 Harvey Berin dress valued at more than $4,000 in a storage area at the Little Traverse Historical Society.
Claire Mullins dressed in personal protective equipment
Mullins dressed in personal protective equipment to explore an old storage area and found one of the key additions to her exhibit, “A Century of Fashion.”
Olive green dress reflects women's fashion from the 1880s
An olive green dress that dates to the 1880s is among several historical dresses on dislay at the Little Traverse Historical Society in Petosky.
Harvey Berin tag from dress in fashion exhibit
Mullins uncovered a Harvey Berin dress valued at more than $4,000 during her internship.

“Our K connection helped in the interview, but I told her I was interested in history and that I wanted to specifically work at a museum,” Mullins said. “It went really well, we talked about K a lot, and when she called me back, she told me I got the job.”

Mullins started the internship by archiving some of the historical society’s collections in an online database until Garver mentioned that most of her interns undertake a project of their own choosing. About that time, Mullins visited her employer’s storage unit, where she found racks upon racks of clothing, dresses in particular.

With changing membership and management, along with a flooded old house that formerly served as a storage area, most of the items were undocumented, so Mullins took it upon herself to catalog as much as possible while arranging an on-display exhibit.

To secure her full exhibit, Mullins even went as far as donning personal protective equipment (PPE) to sift through a crawlspace once used for storage that contractors had haphazardly filled with spray insulation. That search—despite a frightening experience involving a mannequin arm suddenly appearing from under the insulation—proved to be fruitful: She found a 1953 Harvey Berin couture dress, custom made by hand in New York City and valued at more than $4,000.

“It wasn’t in our online database, which was the only way we could figure out where a lot of this stuff came from,” Mullins said. “Much of it was donated in the 90s and it wasn’t put in the computer system correctly. A lot of times, the person whose name was on it wasn’t even the person who donated it, so I’m also hoping that the presentation might lead someone to say, ‘My gosh, I remember my grandma wearing that dress,’ or ‘I think my mother wore that one time,”’so we can include that.”