Five Faculty Earn Tenure

Five Kalamazoo College faculty members from the Spanish, religion, mathematics, computer science and East Asian studies departments have been awarded tenure along with promotion to associate professor.

The tenure milestone recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and service to the College, and signifies its confidence in the contributions these faculty will make throughout their careers. The Board of Trustees-approved tenure recipients are:

Assistant Professor of Spanish Ivett Lopez Malagamba

López Malagamba currently serves as a co-chair in the Department of Spanish Language and Literatures. In her time at K, she has taught beginning through intermediate language courses, and advanced courses on Latin American literature and visual culture topics including indigeneity, contemporary women writers, fiction and documentary film, visual culture practices, and representations of nature. In fall 2019, she took 27 students to the Dominican Republic as part of K’s first faculty-lead experiential study abroad program.

Lopez Malagamba’s research centers on 20th– and 21st-century Latin American literature and visual culture. Her publications explore questions around exclusionary social and political practices and discourses in contexts of armed conflict, migration, and forced displacement. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Peninsular and Latin American literatures and Latin American Studies, and her Ph.D. in Hispanic language and literatures from the University of California, Berkeley. López Malagamba’s experience extends to the non-profit sector. Before earning her Ph.D., she worked with Latinx youth in Southern California facilitating educational programs to prepare them for college. López Malagamba sees her work at K as a continuation of her commitment to help youth access and successfully navigate higher education.     

Assistant Professor of Spanish Ivett Lopez Malagamba (middle) with Spanish 101 students.

Marlene Crandall Francis Assistant Professor of Religion Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada

Maldonado-Estrada serves as the editor of the journal Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, a co-chair of the men and masculinities unit at the American Academy of Religion, and an editorial board member of the journal American Religion.

At K, Maldonado-Estrada has taught courses on religion and masculinity, Catholics in the Americas, urban religion, and religions of Latin America. As an ethnographer, her research includes focuses on material culture, contemporary Catholicism, and gender and embodiment. In 2021, Sacred Writes—a network of religion scholars committed to helping a broad global audience understand the significance of their work—24 fellows from around the world to train in public scholarship on religion. She was also chosen as one of the Young Scholars in American Religion at IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture.

Maldonado-Estrada is the author of Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an ethnography about masculinity and men’s devotional lives in a gentrified neighborhood in New York City. She also is working on projects about the technological and sensory history of prayer, and Latinx art and religion in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Tenure recipient Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada
Marlene Crandall Francis Assistant Professor of Religion Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Stephen Oloo

Oloo served K as a visiting assistant professor from 2015-2017 before earning his current position in which he teaches a variety of pure math classes such as Calculus I, II and III, Number Theory, Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra.

Beyond teaching he has served in various roles by directing the Math and Physics Center, being in charge of the George Kitchen Memorial Lecture, and running the math club MathletiKs.

Oloo’s Ph.D. work was in topology of algebraic varieties and geometric representation theory. He is currently applying his knowledge of geometry and representation theory in a collaboration with physics professor Dave Wilson in which they are studying how viruses change shapes as they undergo maturation. He holds mathematics degrees including a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Tenure recipient Stephen Oloo
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Stephen Oloo

Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sandino Vargas-Perez

Before arriving at K, Vargas-Perez worked as an adjunct instructor at Western Michigan University, where he earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic.

Vargas-Perez has taught courses at K in data structures, algorithms, parallel computing, computing for environmental science, object-oriented programming, and programming in Java and web development. His research interests include high-performance computing, parallel and distributed algorithms, computational genomics, and data structures and compression.

Tenure recipient Sandino Vargas-Perez
Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sandino Vargas-Perez

Chinese Endowed Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Leihua Weng

Weng has taught first-year Chinese, advanced Chinese, Women in China, 20th Century Urban China, and Chinese Films at K. She taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Pacific Lutheran University before joining the College.

Weng holds a bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University, a master’s degree from Peking University and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests have spanned the receptions of classical texts, modern and late imperial Chinese literature, and gender studies. She is currently engaged in research on late imperial Chinese literature and is working on a book about the reception of Plato in modern China.

Chinese Endowed Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Leihua Weng
Chinese Endowed Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Leihua Weng

K Announces Lucasse, Ambrose Recipients

Kalamazoo College announced today that one faculty member and one staff member have earned two of the highest awards the College bestows on its employees. Rosemary K. Brown Professor of Computer Science Alyce Brady received the 2023–24 Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching, and Custodian Laura Weber was named the recipient of the W. Haydn Ambrose Prize for Extraordinary Service to Kalamazoo College.

Brady, a co-chair of the computer science department, has served K for nearly 30 years. She teaches a variety of courses from introductory classes to advanced classes on programming languages, data structure, dynamic Internet apps and software development in a global context. Her research interests have included the application of computer science to social justice while serving as the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Faculty Fellow from 2013–2015.

Over the past decade, Brady has supervised 72 Senior Integrated Projects and is currently guiding five more. She is also credited with championing student reflection through growth journals, applying a flipped-classroom format that started even before the pandemic, and receiving previous recognition through the Outstanding First-Year Advocate award.

A ceremony to confer the Lucasse Fellowship traditionally occurs in the spring term, where the honored faculty member speaks regarding their work.

Nominators credited Weber, a 10-year staff member in Facilities Management, for volunteering at student events such as Monte Carlo and Cafsgiving. She also hosts international students and refers to her former visitors as her “children,” while former students refer to her as their “mum.” One nominator wrote, “Her love language is inclusion.” Another said, “she treats everyone like family.”

The Ambrose Prize is named after W. Haydn Ambrose, who served K for more than 20 years in a variety of roles, including assistant to the president for church relations, dean of admission and financial aid, and vice president for development. Ambrose was known for being thoughtful in the projects he addressed and treating people with respect. In addition to a financial award, Weber has earned a crystal award to commemorate the achievement and an invitation to sit on the Prize’s selection committee for two years.

Congratulations to both of the honorees.

Lucasse Award - Alyce Brady 1
Rosemary K. Brown Professor of Computer Science Alyce Brady was awarded the 2023–24 Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching.
Ambrose Prize Recipient Laura Weber
Laura Weber, a 10-year staff member in Facilities Management, received the Ambrose Prize, named after W. Haydn Ambrose.

Computer Science Internship Pairs Sports with Technology

When Jordan Doyle ’26 thinks about what prompted her love for computer science, she remembers a turtle from her childhood. The half-shelled protagonist was the star of a block-coding application that challenged her and children like her to send it across a screen in a number of moves.

“I got into it when I was little because it felt like a puzzle to me,” Doyle said. “I loved puzzles and coding was just a puzzle to solve.”

Since, she has continued seeking puzzles through computer science. Doyle built her interest and knowledge in classes throughout high school, while specialties such as cybersecurity piqued her interest even more. And now, Doyle is anticipating that she will declare a computer science major in the upcoming academic year at Kalamazoo College, where she also plays women’s lacrosse and participates in the Computer Science Society and the Eco Club.

This summer, she is building more technology experience away from Kalamazoo while working alongside a network of cohorts and professionals, thanks to a Women in Sports Technology (WiST) fellowship.

WiST is a non-profit organization that seeks to drive transformative growth opportunities for women in fields ranging from athletics biotechnology to sports gambling. The organization chose 22 fellows this year from 21 schools across the country, such as Duke University, Stanford University and—with Doyle’s fellowship—Kalamazoo College.  All of them serve in internships of up to eight weeks with a sports technology enterprise or innovative startup while receiving a grant of up to $5,000, plus travel stipends, if necessary.

Computer science major Jordan Doyle wearing a women's lacrosse jersey
Jordan Doyle ’26, a midfielder on the Kalamazoo College women’s lacrosse team, is interning this summer with through Women in Sports Technology.

As a rising sophomore, Doyle is interning remotely from her home in Troy, Michigan, on a software engineering team with, a group of sites that provides statistics and sabermetrics to sports fans.

“They look to democratize data,” she said. “If you look on any of their websites, you’ll see tables full of data for football, soccer, baseball—it’s a bunch of reference sites that can help you find the stats from almost any game. I focus mostly on finding and resolving bugs on the website, as well as doing some testing work and adding a couple of features on my own.”

WiST places interns like Doyle in positions that touch on both technology and sports because women are drastically underrepresented in sports-related and STEM professions, and in STEM majors in higher education. Women comprise only 28% of the workforce in STEM-related careers and just 19% of computer and information science majors in higher education, according to the American Association for University Women. That makes Doyle’s experience with even more valuable to her.

“It’s empowering to know that I’m getting opportunities to move forward in this career path,” Doyle said. “As women we are one of the underrepresented groups and I love having this opportunity to connect with other women who have similar interests so I can see their successes throughout their careers. I love the idea of having opportunities that create change in the world through technology.”

Her Future is so Bright, She Invented Shades

Jordan Doyle’s experience with technology and innovation doesn’t stop at computers.

Doyle was participating in a lacrosse match on a sunny fall day in seventh grade when she grew frustrated with EyeBlack, a substance that rolls on under an athlete’s eyes to reduce glare. The negative experience led her to research visors for her protective goggle, while only finding products for sports such as football and softball.

With necessity being the mother of invention, Doyle made her own visor, designing it with the plastic of a salad container and a clinging shade shield that is commonly put on cars. She worked more in high school innovation classes that helped her design it further, and a meeting with a patent attorney later yielded sketch drawings and a patent.

Since her high school graduation, she’s finalized her initial prototype for Sun Goggles, a project she continues pursuing. Hear more from Doyle in the video here.

Grant to Provide Students with Accessible Design Lessons

Associate Professor of Computer Science Pam Cutter will introduce the fundamental concepts and skills of accessible design and development to her Kalamazoo College courses thanks to the Teach Access Faculty Grants program.

Teach Access announced May 18 that Cutter will receive $2,500 to develop assignments, discussions, and activities that promote accessibility skills for students in her first-year seminar, Exploring Technology for Accessibility, while sharing her resources with other faculty members in K’s computer science program and submitting her materials to a curriculum repository.

The third Thursday of May, which was May 18 this year, annually serves as Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The day’s purpose is to promote the global awareness of digital access and inclusion for the 1 billion people worldwide who have disabilities or impairments.

In total, Teach Access is giving 19 college faculty members from around the country a combined $50,000 for their projects.

“Getting students to think about designing tools for accessibility early in their college careers would give them the opportunity to carry that knowledge into any discipline they choose,” Cutter said. “This might be computer science, where they can delve deeper into the technical aspects of designing more inclusive tools, such as websites and mobile applications, for accessibility, or it might be something like economics or political science, where they can be more informed advocates for helping their organization meet the demands of digital accessibility. Having an adult child with special needs, I’ve seen how the right tools, and digital tools designed with special needs in mind, can have an impact on the success of an individual. I’m excited to bring this topic to my classrooms and look forward to the contributions of my students.”

Pam Cutter will introduce the fundamental concepts and skills of accessible design and development to her Kalamazoo College students
Associate Professor of Computer Science Pam Cutter will receive a $2,500 grant to develop assignments, discussions and activities that promote accessible design lessons for students in her first-year seminar, Exploring Technology for Accessibility, while sharing her resources with other faculty members in K’s computer science program.

Leaders from Yahoo and Facebook founded Teach Access in 2015 while attempting to narrow an accessibility technology skills gap in recent graduates. Other companies experiencing the same concerns quickly joined the initiative including Adobe, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Intuit, Walmart and Apple.

Bringing together industry, education and disability advocacy organizations, the mission of Teach Access is to address the digital accessibility skills gap by equipping learners to build toward an inclusive world. Through targeting education institutions to provide opportunities for learners to gain accessibility skills, more candidates considering careers in technology are doing so with knowledge and commitment to designing and developing accessible technology.

Speaking on behalf of Teach Access, Rochester Institute of Technology Associate Professor Elissa Weeden, a past faculty grant recipient, said the grants also allow faculty to buy various assistive technology devices such as switches, eye trackers, adaptive controllers and a Braille notetaker to use in courses.

“Before the grant, I was only able to talk and show videos about how these devices can be used,” she said. “Now, my students are able to explore and interact with the devices to experience how they can be used to provide access and interaction with digital content.”

While Cutter does not plan to use her grant to buy any equipment, she plans to take her seminar students to visit the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Training Center and to meet with the Assistive Technology Team at Kalamazoo RESA to learn how technology is being used to assist members of our local community. She also plans to discuss the Americans with Disabilities Act and what it requires regarding digital accessibility.

K’s Banner Year Elates Faculty, NSF Fellows

Kalamazoo College STEM-related academic departments are celebrating a banner year as the overall number of current students and alumni receiving National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowships reaches four, the most since 2016.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding students who pursue research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. A five-year fellowship covers three years of financial support, including an annual stipend and a cost-of-education allowance to attend an institution along with access to professional-development opportunities.

About 2,000 applicants are offered a fellowship per NSF competition in fields such as chemistry, biology, psychology, physics and math. This is the first year since 2013 that two current K students, Claire Kvande ’23 and Mallory Dolorfino ’23, have earned awards. Two alumni also have earned fellowships, Cavan Bonner ’21 and Angel Banuelos ’21.

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is a highly competitive program that is only awarded to about 16% of the applicants, who represented more than 15,000 undergraduates and graduate students across all STEM fields,” Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney Assistant Professor of Chemistry Blakely Tresca said. “Approximately 2,500 awards were offered this year across all STEM fields and the vast majority of them go to students at large research universities and Ivy League schools. It is rare to see more than one or two awards at an undergraduate-focused college, particularly at a small liberal arts school like K. It is exceptional for schools in the GLCA (Great Lakes Colleges Association) to have one award in a year, and four awards is a truly outstanding accomplishment for these students.”

Claire Kvande ’23

Kvande has been a double major in physics and chemistry with minors in math and French at K. She credits faculty members such as Dow Distinguished Professor of Natural Science Jan Tobochnik and Associate Professor of Physics David Wilson, along with a wide range of courses, for preparing her to receive an NSF fellowship.

“I like the nitty gritty of sitting down and figuring out how to approach a problem within physics even though it’s often hard,” she said. “I really like work that is grounded in real-world problems and it’s part of why I’m interested in the subfield of condensed matter. There’s a lot that stands to be applied to technologies that I think could improve our world and help a lot of people.”

Kvande will attend the University of Washington this fall, where she plans to extend her Senior Integrated Project (SIP) work, which examined how charge-density waves relate to superconductivity within condensed matter.

“Superconductivity is a tantalizing physics concept,” she said. “If we could realize superconductivity at room temperature, it would allow us to do a lot with energy saving and revolutionize how we use electricity. There are schools of thought that say charge-density waves would be helpful in achieving that and others that say it would be hurtful. Since we really don’t know how superconductivity works, this is worth investigating so we can hopefully better understand this powerful phenomenon.”

NSF fellow Claire Kvande presenting her SIP
Claire Kvande ’23 will attend graduate school at the University of Washington as a National Science Foundation fellow.

Mallory Dolorfino ’23

Dolorfino, a computer science and math double major, also will attend the University of Washington, where they will pursue a doctorate in math.

“I didn’t really like math until I came to K,” Dolorfino said. “I took calculus in high school and I was just not going to take any more in college until one of my senior friends told me when I was a first-year student to take linear algebra. I took that and Calculus 3 online during the first COVID term and I just kept doing math, so I switched my major. It’s not like other subjects because you can work for hours and not get anything done. That’s frustrating at times, but it’s fun to understand it enough to prove things logically.”

Dolorfino credits several faculty members for their growth and success at K, leading to their NSF opportunity. They include Tresca, who helped students keep track of their NSF application timelines and materials; Associate Professor of Mathematics Michele Intermont, who provided letters of recommendation and application assistance for research opportunities and graduate school; and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Stephen Oloo, who provided invaluable feedback regarding their research proposal and many conversations about math.

Dolorfino remains in contact with a professor they worked with in a math-focused study abroad program in Budapest. The two of them conducted a monthlong research project in algebraic number theory, which is a foundation in applications such as encryption and bar codes. Their NSF application proposes group theory work, which is what she based some research on last summer at Texas State University. They hope their NSF work will help them become a college professor one day. “There are a lot of math institutions on the West Coast and specifically in the Northwest, so I will have really good connections there,” said Dolorfino, who agreed the award is an honor. “I was grateful for the people at K who helped me apply.”

NSF fellow Mallory Dolorfino
Mallory Dolorfino ’23 will attend graduate school at the University of Washington as an NSF fellow.

Cavan Bonner ’21

Bonner has spent the past two years working as a research staff member in industrial and organizational psychology at Purdue University. His NSF fellowship will take him to another Big Ten school.

“My area of research involves personality development and how personality changes over the lifespan,” he said. “It’s a pretty small sub field and there are only a few doctoral programs where you can study the topic with an expert. The University of Illinois is one of them.”

Bonner further hopes the fellowship will propel his career toward a tenure-track job at a research university. He said K helped prepare him well for that trajectory through a broad range of subjects, not only in psychology, but in adjacent fields such as sociology and statistics. Bonner also credits his experience working as a research assistant for Ann V. and Donald R. Parfet Distinguished Professor of Psychology Gary Gregg, and Associate Professor of Psychology Brittany Liu for training him in skills that he frequently uses in his research work after graduation. 

“I was drawn to personality psychology because it provides an integrative framework to study many of the research questions I have about human development, aging and change over time,” Bonner said. “My SIP and research assistant experiences at K helped me realize that I could address these questions from a personality perspective, but my professors also exposed me to so many other fields and perspectives that inform my research. I primarily identify as a personality and developmental psychologist, but ultimately I hope that this fellowship helps me contribute to the broader science of aging and development.”

Portrait of Cavan Bonner
Cavan Bonner ’21 will attend the University of Illinois as an NSF fellow.

Angel Banuelos ’21

Banuelos, a biology major and anthropology/sociology minor at K, is in his second year at the University of Wisconsin, where he said he studies genetics—specifically the construction of the vertebrate brain and face—under an amazing mentor, Professor Yevgenya Grinblat.

“Live beings are built by cells that are informed by DNA,” Banuelos said. “At the beginning of embryonic development, the cells split into groups. One of those groups is called the neural crest cells. Those cells go on to contribute to a whole bunch of things such as pigment cells in the skin, and cartilage and bones in the face. My project is trying to understand how neural crest cells contribute to stabilizing the very first blood vessels of the developing eye.”

Ultimately, when his graduate work is finished, he would like to steer his career towards education.

NSF fellow Angel Banuelos in the lab
Angel Banuelos ’21, a newly-named NSF fellow, is in his second year of graduate school at the University of Wisconsin.

“I would like to bring research opportunities to people who don’t have higher education experience,” Banuelos said. “I would imagine starting with programs for middle schoolers, then high schoolers and adult learners. I want to be part of research addressing community problems and conducted by the people who live there.”

Banuelos credits inspiration for his career goals to the many mentors he had at K. Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, former director of the intercultural center, and Amy Newday, who provided guidance in food and farming justice, served as role models for applying theory to meet material needs.

“In my NSF application, I described meeting community needs as a central component of my scholarship,” he said. “Natalia and Amy are people who literally fed me while I was at K. They saw the student and the human. They handed me books, handed me plates, even welcomed my family. During a very difficult transition to grad school, they were there for me. When I’m a professor, I want to be like them. I’m grateful for the growth opportunities I had at K through the Intercultural Center and food and farming.”

‘It doesn’t happen every year’

Faculty members as a whole across STEM departments are taking great pride in these K representatives earning fellowships as it speaks to the quality of students at the College and their studies, especially as the number of recipients stands out.

“At K, it is exciting when even a single student wins a fellowship, and it certainly doesn’t happen every year,” Professor of Physics Tom Askew said. “It’s special to have four in one year.”

Kalamazoo Promise Internship Helps K Student Look to a Higher Future  

For Natalie Gross ’24, the Kalamazoo Promise paved the way not only to Kalamazoo College, but also to a valuable internship experience. 

During summer 2022, Gross worked as an information technology intern at CSM Group through the Higher Promise program. 

The Kalamazoo Promise is a scholarship program that provides up to 100 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for post-secondary education for any student who graduates from Kalamazoo Public Schools. In the Higher Promise program, the Kalamazoo Promise facilitates job matching between regional companies and Promise scholars seeking internships.

Kalamazoo Promise scholar Natalie Gross interns at CSM Group
In her Kalamazoo Promise internship at CSM Group, Natalie Gross ’24 performed inventory and maintenance of software and updates on company devices.
Kalamazoo Promise scholar Natalie Gross interns at CSM Group
Kalamazoo Promise scholar Natalie Gross ’24 worked last summer as an information technology intern at CSM Group through the Higher Promise program. 

Gross applied to the program in fall 2021, received resumé building help from the Kalamazoo College Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), and interviewed with a Promise representative before being sent five options of regional business partners. While Gross ranked her interest in the options, companies also ranked their interest in the internship candidates so mutually agreeable matches could be made. 

In her IT internship at CSM Group, Gross performed inventory and maintenance of software and updates on company devices. She also helped with research into intranet options for communication within the company. 

“It was different every day,” Gross said. “IT is really a job where when something comes up, you deal with it. I would go in with a list of things to do, and I would work through those, and then there were also things that would come up more immediately that I would deal with.” 

Gross liked the variety of tasks as well as meeting many people throughout the company as they came to the department for help. 

“I appreciated how everyone treated the IT department,” she said. “It didn’t feel like we were there to just help you and then you’d leave. Everyone came in and they were interested in who I was and how I got there. It was an easygoing conversation and personal relationships with every employee.” 

Focusing on the IT side of computer science complemented Gross’ classroom experiences at K, which have focused more on programming and development.  

“This internship has been a great toe in the water for what life could be like post-grad,” Gross said. “It has given me a little bit of direction on where to go and to look to. I am still open to every side of computer science, but it’s helped me narrow down a bit and be a little more focused.” 

Her experiences at CSM Group along with the structure of the Higher Promise program collaborated to also provide Gross with practice and training for being part of a workplace. Higher Promise planned professional development classes every other week for the interns, which included resumé building with the CCPD, a diversity-and-inclusion seminar, and CliftonStrengths assessment with coaching on understanding your personality in the workplace. 

“There were a lot of fun things that we did,” Gross said. “I learned about how to be professional in a more personal way. I always had this idea that professionalism was something really stiff, and you didn’t have a lot of personality in it. I learned that you can be interesting and professional at the same time; it doesn’t have to be a trade-off.” 

Gross also learned about professional communication and speaking up for herself. Through the Higher Promise program, she was assigned a mentor at her internship, and she was also encouraged to reach out to anyone in the company and network. 

As a female student in a male-dominated field, Gross chose Alyce Brady, the Rosemary K. Brown Professor of Computer Science and computer science department co-chair, as her advisor at K. She appreciated that in CSM Group’s small IT department, there was a female employee. 

“It was nice to have that representation,” Gross said. “I was told there that they wanted to hear my experiences as a woman and they wanted to know what it was like for me in the IT department. They wanted our voices to be heard and they were interested in my opinions.” 

A double major in computer science and French, Gross plays on the softball team, works in the Office of Admission as a tour guide, and spent August to December studying abroad in Rennes, France. 

She thinks all K students should study abroad, visit the CCPD, take advantage of the opportunities that are advertised in College emails, and immerse themselves in the K community. 

“K has this environment where you’re able to connect with people outside of your major and your interests, which I think is not always the case in a lot of smaller schools,” Gross said. “A lot of my friends I’ve met just randomly. I have friends from the softball team and computer science and French classes, and yet I’ve also been able to open up and find friends outside of my immediate interests. I think K really gives you an option to have a more expansive social circle and to meet people outside of your interests.” 

K Student Earns Alpha Lambda Delta Scholarship

Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship recipient Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24
Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 is receiving a merit
scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, a Kalamazoo College student is receiving a merit scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), the honor society for first-year academic success.

Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 will receive one of 50 undergraduate scholarships worth $1,000 to $6,000 each, as the honor society issues a total of $105,000 nationally through the Jo Anne J. Trow Award.

Akhavan Tafti is a computer science major and German and psychology minor from Iran who is looking to expand K’s involvement in Alpha Lambda Delta while collaborating with the chapter at Western Michigan University.

The Jo Anne J. Trow Award was instated in 1988 to honor a past national president of Alpha Lambda Delta. The scholarship requires that applicants gather at least two letters of recommendation and maintain a 3.5 grade-point average on a four-point scale.

“One of the reasons my application stood out was my proposed plan to expand Alpha Lambda Delta’s presence throughout our campus,” Akhavan Tafti said. “I hope to do this with the help of this year’s new ALD initiates. The end goal is to create a self-sustaining ALD organization to facilitate academic excellence and engagement with ALD, which will allow more students from our College to receive ALD scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and study abroad funding in return for their contributions to ALD.”

Gift Will Create New Endowed Professorship in Computer Science

Judith and William Bollinger Endowed Professorship in Computer Science
Judith Bollinger ’77, a Kalamazoo College trustee, and her husband, William, are creating the Judith and William Bollinger Endowed Professorship in Computer Science with a generous gift to K.

A generous gift from a Kalamazoo College alumna and her spouse will support the institution’s students and its strategic plan, Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023, by funding the Judith and William Bollinger Endowed Professorship in Computer Science.

“We are deeply honored and grateful to the Bollingers for this wonderful gift,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said. “This endowment will strengthen our Computer Science Department and invest in its faculty while empowering students to attain more of the skills that employers demand. It will benefit students and their achievements beyond their years at K.”

The computer science program at K has experienced a greater than tenfold increase in the number of majors in the past 10 years, and the department’s offerings are also in great demand from nonmajors. The increased interest from students makes the addition of an applied computer science faculty member a valuable and vital investment to ensure students access to the classes they want.

“In computer science, we put a really high priority on issues of access and equity, and we have for a long time,” Computer Science Chair Alyce Brady said. “That means one of the aspects that we’re really interested in—thanks to this endowment—is expanding our reach to address students beyond just the computer science majors. With an additional faculty member, we would hope to provide for more students and continue our focus on developing a curriculum that allows everyone to thrive.”

Provost Danette Ifert Johnson noted that the gift “represents the value of what we do at K and the fact that there are folks outside the institution who believe in what we do. That speaks not just to the kinds of experiences that our students have, but the real impact that our students make in the world as graduates.”

One of those graduates is Judith Bollinger ’77, a Kalamazoo College trustee. After graduating from K with a B.A. in English, she earned her MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania before working at Goldman Sachs for more than 13 years. In 1999, she joined ABG Securities as a research director and executed the company’s merger with Sundal Collier as its CEO in 2001. Bollinger was the board chair of ABG Sundal Collier, before serving as the chair of its foundation for Women in Finance beginning in 2019.

Her husband, William Bollinger, co-founded Egerton Capital Limited, a London-based asset-management firm in 1994 and remains a limited partner. He attended the University of Texas, earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in business administration.

In designating the gift, the Bollingers noted that the knowledge and skills gained by a computer science education are applicable and necessary in nearly every discipline, and that all students can benefit from the attainment of such skills, regardless of their area of study. Says the couple, “Most disciplines today—from medicine to finance—require robust computer science skills.  We hope that our gift equips many generations of K students with the computer skills they need to flourish in their chosen fields.”

Honors Convocation Lauds Students’ Achievements

Honors Day Convocation
Kalamazoo College recognized outstanding achievements by its students Friday with the annual Honors Day Convocation.

More than 250 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. Watch the recorded event at our website.


Brian Gougeon Prize in Art

Awarded to a sophomore student who, during his or her first year, exhibited outstanding achievement and potential in art.

Elena Basso
Nicole Taylor
Camryn Zdziarski-West

Margaret Upton Prize in Music

Provided by the Women’s Council of Kalamazoo College and awarded each year to a student designated by the Music Department Faculty as having made significant achievement in music.

Katherine Miller-Purrenhage

Cooper Award

For a junior or senior showing excellence in a piece of creative work in a Theatre Arts class:  film, acting, design, stagecraft, puppetry or speech.

Jonathan Townley

Sherwood Prize

Given for the best oral presentation in a speech-oriented class.

Sedona Coleman
Cameo Green

Theatre Arts First-Year Student Award

Given to a sophomore for outstanding departmental efforts during the first year.

Milan Levy


LeGrand Copley Prize in French

Awarded to the sophomore who as a first-year student demonstrated the greatest achievement in French.

Tristan Fuller
Claire Kvande

Hardy Fuchs Award

Given for excellence in first-year German.

Ben Flotemersch
Elizabeth Wang

Margo Light Award

Given for excellence in second-or third-year German.

Ellie Lotterman
Noah Prentice

Romance Languages Department Prize in Spanish

Awarded for excellence in the first year in Spanish.

Emma Sidor
MiaFlora Tucci

Clara H. Buckley Prize for Excellence in Latin

Awarded to an outstanding student of the language of the ancient Romans.

Sydney Patton

Provost’s Prize in Classics

Awarded to that student who writes the best essay on a classical subject.

Jane Delmonico

Classics Department Prize in Greek

Awarded to the outstanding student of the language of classical Greece.

Nick Wilson


Allen Prize in English

Given for the best essay written by a member of the first-year class.

Shanon Brown

John B. Wickstrom Prize in History

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in history.

Helen Edwards
Sam Kendrick

Department of Philosophy Prize

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in philosophy.

Julia Bienstock
Emma Fergusson
Luke Richert
Teague Tompkins

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

Awarded to a sophomore who in the first year shows the greatest promise for continuing studies in philosophy.

Garret Hanson
Clarice Ray
Mikayla Youngman


Department of Chemistry Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in chemistry.

Abby Barnum
Marissa Dolorfino
Elizabeth Wang

First-Year Chemistry Award

Awarded to a sophomore student who, during  the first year, demonstrated great achievement in chemistry.

Thomas Buffin
Mallory Dolorfino
MiaFlora Tucci

Lemuel F. Smith Award

Given to a student majoring in chemistry pursuing the American Chemical Society approved curriculum and having at the end of the junior year the highest average standing in courses taken in chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Jennalise Ellis

Computer Science Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in computer science.

Eleanor Carr
Vien Hang
Aleksandr Molchagin
Erin Murphy
William Shaw
Hanis Sommerville

First-Year Mathematics Award

Given annually to the sophomore student who, during the first year, demonstrated the greatest achievement in mathematics.

Tolkien Bagchi

Thomas O. Walton Prize in Mathematics

Awarded to a member of the junior class for excellence in the work of the first two years in mathematics.

Joseph Jung
Tommy Saxton
Carter Wade

Cooper Prize in Physics

Given for excellence in the first year’s work in physics.

Oliver Tye
Blue Truong


Departmental Prize in Anthropology and Sociology

Awarded for excellence during the first and/or second year’s work.

Milan Levy
Milagros Robelo
Aija Turner

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Economics

Awarded annually to a student who has done outstanding work in the Department of Economics and Business during the sophomore year.

Kayla Carlson
Mihail Naskovski
Emily Tenniswood

William G. Howard Memorial Prize

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in economics.

Nicklas Klepser
Nathan Micallef
Sage Ringsmuth
Andrew Sheckell

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Business

Awarded annually to a student who has done outstanding work in the Department of Economics and Business during the sophomore year.

Lucas Kastran
Cade Thune
Alex Wallace

Irene and S. Kyle Morris Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s courses in the Department of Economics and Business.

Zoe Gurney

William G. Howard Memorial Prize in Political Science

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in political science.

Elisabeth Kuras

Department of Psychology First-Year Student Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first-year student’s work in psychology.

Violet Crampton
Sarah Densham


Division of Physical Education Prize

Awarded to those students who as first-year students best combined leadership and scholarship in promoting athletics, physical education and recreation.

Sam Ankley
Alexis Petty

Maggie Wardle Prize

Awarded to that sophomore woman whose activities at the College reflect the values that Maggie Wardle demonstrated in her own life. The recipient will show a breadth of involvement in the College through her commitment to athletics and to the social sciences and/or community service.

Camille Misra


Henry and Inez Brown Prize

Denise Jackson
Heather Muir
James Totten
Vanessa Vigier

Heyl Scholars (Class of 2024)

Lukas Bolton
Madeleine Coffman
Emily Haigh
Bijou Hoehle
Xavier Silva
Jordyn Wilson

Posse Scholars (Class of 2024)

Nicholas Davis
Nathan Garcia
Zy’ere Hollis
Tytiana Jones
Aaron Martinez
Udochi Okorie
Joshua Pamintuan
Anthony Peraza
Samantha Rodriguez
Rina Talaba

National Merit Scholars (Class of 2024)

Carter Wade

Voynovich Scholars
Awarded annually to a student who, in the judgment of the faculty, submits the most creative essay on the year’s topic.

Marina Bayma-Meyer
Yung Seo Lee

Alpha Lamda Delta

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.

Jez Abella
Hashim Akhtar
Cameron Arens
Tolkien Bagchi
Elena Basso
Cassandra Bergen
Thomas Buffin
Natalie Call
John Carlson
Mary Margaret Cashman
Cassidy Chapman
Nicholas Cohee
Violet T. Crampton
Lauren Crossman
Sarah Densham
Charles Pasquale DiMagno
Mallory Dolorfino
Marissa Dolorfino
Katia Duoibes
Hannah Durant
Carter Eisenbach
Benjamin Flotemersch
Caelan Frazier
Nathaniel Harris Fuller
Tristan Fuller
Grace Garver
Zoe Gurney
Yoichi Haga
Vien Hang
Garrett Hanson
Lucy Hart
Katherine Haywood
Marshall Holley
Audrey Huizenga
Ian Becks Hurley
Jonathan Jiang
Emily Robin Kaneko Dudd
Benjamin Tyler Keith
Isabella Grace Kirchgessner
Sofia Rose Klein
Lena Thompson Klemm
Rhys Koellmann
Elisabeth Kuras
Caroline Lamb
Am Phuong Le
Dillon Lee
Ginamarie Lester
Milan Levy
Thomas Lichtenberg
Cassandra Linnertz
Alvaro J. Lopez Gutierrez
Kanase J. Matsuzaki
Camille Misra
Aleksandr V. Molchagin
Samantha Moss
Arein D. Motan
Matthew Mueller
Erin Murphy
Maya Nathwani
William Naviaux
Sudhanva Neti
Stefan Louis Nielsen
Keigo Nomura
Rohan Nuthalapati
Jenna Clare Paterob
Sheyla Yasmin Pichal
Harrison Poeszat
Noah Prentice
Isabelle G. Ragan
Abby L. Rawlings
Katherine Rock
Skyler Rogers
Gi Salvatierra
Hannia Queren Sanchez-Alvarado
Madeline Gehl Schroeder
William Shaw
Hanis Sommerville
Alex M Stolberg
Kaleb Sydloski
Clara Margaret Szakas
Claire Tallio
Nicole Taylor
Abhishek Thakur
Kaia Thomas
Blue Truong
Oliver Tye
Duurenbayar Ulziiduuren
Chilotam Christopher Urama
Elizabeth G. Wang
Margaret L. Wedge
Ryley Kay White
Katelyn Williams
Skai Williams
Leah Wolfgang
Camryn Zdziarski-West
Sophie Zhuang
Nathaniel Zona

Enlightened Leadership Awards

Robert Barnard
Irie Browne
Rebecca Chan
Nolan Devine
Daniel Fahle
Grace Hancock
Julia Leet
Lia Schroeder
Matthew Swarthout
Jonathan Townley
Ethan Tuck
Ian Yi

MIAA Award

These teams earned the 2019-2020 MIAA Team GPA Award for achieving a 3.3 or better grade-point average for the entire academic year:

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

MIAA Academic Honor Roll
Student Athletes 2019-2020

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 academic year.

Max Ambs
Georgie Andrews
Grant Anger
Hunter Angileri
Samuel Ankley
Julia Bachmann
Travis Barclay
Elena Basso
Lillian Baumann
Alex Bowden
Austin Bresnahan
Jack Brockhaus
Pierce Burke
Annika Canavero
Raekwon Castelow
Claire Cebelak
Walker Chung
Nicholas Cohee
Thomas Cook
Noah Coplan
Rachel Cornell
Chase Coselman
John Crane
Cameron Crothers
Gwendolyn Davis
Riley Davis
Emmelyn DeConinck
Robert Dennerll
Sarah Densham
Eva DeYoung
Mallory Dolorfino
Marissa Dolorfino
Amanda Dow
Austin Duff
Alex Dupree
Hannah Durant
Thomas Fales
Dugan Fife
Gwendolyn Flatland
Payton Fleming
Matthew Ford
Clifton Foster
Luke Fountain
Sierra Fraser
Rachael Gallap
Brendan Gausselin
Katie Gierlach
Anthony Giovanni
Madison Goodman
Mya Gough
Matthew Gu
Rebekah Halley
Grace Hancock
Laura Hanselman
Lucy Hart
Katherine Haywood
Zachary Heimbuch
Alyssa Heitkamp
Daniel Henry
McKenna Hepler
Sam Hoag
Mathew Holmes-Hackerd
Matthew Howrey
Tre Humes
Aidan Hurley
Amiee Hutton
Benjamin Hyndman
Samantha Jacobsen
Jonathan Jiang
Jaylin Jones
Jackson Jones
Amani Karim
Lucas Kastran
Maria Katrantzi
Greg Kearns
Ben Keith
Will Keller
Jackson Kelly
David Kent
Hannah Kerns
Meghan Killmaster
Dahwi Kim
Alaina Kirschman
Lena Klemm
Allison Klinger
Ella Knight
Nicholas Kraeuter
Brandon Kramer
Matthew Krinock
John Kunec
Nicholas Lang
Juanita Ledesma
Jack Leisenring
Kathryn LeVasseur
Marissa Lewinski
Rosella LoChirco
Rachel Madar
MacKenzy Maddock
Deven Mahanti
Lauren Marshall
Samuel Matthews
Courtney McGinnis
Dylan McGorsik
Keelin McManus
Benjamin Meschke
Tytus Metzler
Nathan Micallef
Camille Misra
DeShawn Moore
Dominic Moore
Maxo Moran
Samantha Moss
Elizabeth Munoz
Alexis Nesbitt
Nikoli Nickson
Madeline Odom
Abigail O’Keefe
Marianna Olson
Michael Orwin
Ella Palacios
Cayla Patterson
Hellen Pelak
Calder Pellerin
Scott Peters
Eve Petrie
Nicole Pierece
Noah Piercy
Jared Pittman
Harrison Poeszat
Zachary Prystash
Erin Radermacher
Harrison Ramsey
Zachary Ray
Jordan Reichenbach
Benjamin Reiter
Ashley Rill
Molly Roberts
Katherine Rock
Lily Rogowski
Isabelle Russo
Justin Schodowski
Michael Schwartz
Darby Scott
Andrew Sheckell
Josephine Sibley
Elizabeth Silber
Nathan Silverman
Jack Smith
Katherine Stewart
Abby Stewart
Grant Stille
Alexander Stockewell
Alex Stolberg
Hayden Strobel
Thomas Sylvester
Jacob Sypniewski
Clara Szakas
Nina Szalkiewicz
Jack Tagget
Leah Tardiff
Emily Tenniswood
Cade Thune
Kaytlyn Tidey
Mary Trimble
Matt Turton
Oliver Tye
Damian Valdes
Madison Vallan
Naomi Verne
Alex Wallace
Maija Weaver
Margaret Wedge
Tanner White
Megan Williams
Madalyn Winarski
Hannah Wolfe
Brandon Wright
Tony Yazbeck
Julie Zabik
Christian Zeitvogel
Sophie Zhuang

K Recognizes Two with Lucasse, Ambrose Honors

Lucasse Honoree James Lewis
Professor of History James E. Lewis Jr. was named the recipient of the 2020-21 Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship, honoring his contributions in creative work, research and publication.

Kalamazoo College today awarded one faculty member and one staff member with two of the highest awards the College bestows on its employees.

Professor of History James E. Lewis Jr. was named the recipient of the 2020-21 Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship, honoring his contributions in creative work, research and publication; and Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics Office Coordinator Kristen Eldred was granted the W. Haydn Ambrose Prize, recognizing her outstanding service to the Kalamazoo College community.

Lewis’ scholarly record includes published essays and book reviews in addition to four authored books:

  • The American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood: The United States and the Collapse of the Spanish Empire (1998, University of North Carolina Press), which was recognized as a Choice Outstanding Book for 1999.
  • John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union (2001, Rowan and Littlefield).
  • Kristen Eldred
    The Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics departments cited Kristen Eldred’s cheerful attitude, strong work ethic and creative community building in nominating her for the Ambrose Prize.

    The Louisiana Purchase: Jefferson’s Noble Bargain (2003, Thomas Jefferson Foundation), which was commissioned by the Jefferson Foundation based on Lewis’ previously published work.

  • The Burr Conspiracy: Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis (2017, Princeton University Press), which was recognized as a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and long-listed for the Cundill History Prize.

Lewis has taught courses in U.S. history, Native American history, American environmental history, Revolutionary America, the American frontier and Western history, and more at K. He also is a professional member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

A ceremony to confer the Lucasse Fellowship traditionally occurs in the spring term, where the honored faculty member speaks regarding their work.

The faculty across the Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics departments cited Eldred’s cheerful attitude, strong work ethic and creative community building in her nomination for the Ambrose Prize. She works to support the Sukuma group, an organization for underrepresented students in the sciences, and Green Dot, a campus movement to stop power-based personal violence. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she also organized a weekly teatime for faculty and students, where students and faculty could informally have non-academic discussions.

The Ambrose Prize is named after W. Haydn Ambrose, who served K for more than 20 years in a variety of roles, including assistant to the president for church relations, dean of admission and financial aid, and vice president for development. Ambrose was known for being thoughtful in the projects he addressed and treating people with respect. In addition to a financial award, Eldred has earned a crystal award to commemorate the achievement and an invitation to sit on the Prize’s selection committee for two years.

Congratulations to both the honorees.