With much of the world debating how to reverse climate change during a sweltering summer, two Kalamazoo College faculty members are examining whether national attempts at combined trade and environmental policies might provide a key strategy.
The analysis by Patrik Hultberg, K’s Edward and Virginia Van Dalson Professor of Economics; and Darshana Udayanganie, a K assistant professor of economics, will be published soon in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy. Among their findings, it will note that Europe and the U.S. are talking about adopting border-adjustment taxes by 2026, targeted toward influencing foreign countries’ carbon emissions.
“The best thing would be for countries to work together and come up with those international agreements,” Hultberg said. “But countries have an incentive to violate those agreements. One might think, if other countries change their behavior, maybe I don’t have to change mine. In addition, environmental-policy authority does not reach into foreign countries.”
As a result, Udayanganie said one alternative to environmental policies would be to calculate the amount of carbon content a good’s production creates to add a tax, imposed on the producing nation, that thereby increases the product’s global price, incentivizing actions that benefit the environment. That’s the idea behind Europe and the U.S. exploring border-adjustment taxes.
“When we just use stricter environmental policies, some of these firms could simply go to another country,” she said. “That means the pollution being created is not going to be reduced; it will just be produced somewhere else. Such border-adjustment taxes might encourage nations to adjust their environmental policies to avoid the environmental taxes from us.”
However, one consequence from such a plan could be wealthier nations taking advantage of developing nations by placing the most policy hardship on the developing nations.
“Europe and the U.S. are trying to tell a story that we’re trying to do this, not because it’s good for us, but because we want to save the global climate, while telling other countries, ‘You need to change your behavior to help us do that,’” Hultberg said. “A developing country might look at that border-tax adjustment and say, ‘You are doing something to make us worse off while benefiting your own consumers and producers.’ It is true that by changing the international price, we are making ourselves better off at the expense of producers who might be in developing countries.”
Therefore, a strategy that combines environmental and economic action, could provide the best option in fighting climate change. Such a combination, Udayanganie said, could force firms to clean up the environment in one country or stop relocating and produce where they are. The thought leadership behind these ideas could go a long way in stopping concepts such as carbon leakage, which is the relocation of emissions from regulating countries to countries with weaker or no environmental regulation.
The Model as a Teaching Tool
The work of Hultberg and Udayanganie may prove beneficial to students completing Senior Integrated Projects at K and in the College’s environmental economics and international trade courses, not to mention at other institutions. “One of the comments we got from reviewers mentioned that he could use models like these to teach students how to combine these policies and implement their own,” Udayanganie said. “That way we could convince environmental policy agencies, or the people who work them, to educate themselves on how to use those policies.”
“The problem we have in most of economic literature is that the models used are so abstract and so mathematically challenging that we can’t really use them at the undergraduate level, both in terms of economics and in mathematics,” Hultberg added. “One goal we had with this paper was to use the model that we teach in intermediate microeconomics, for example, a core course for our majors. That’s why Darshana and I are able to use these ideas in our courses.”
The publication date for their article has yet to be determined. Yet this was not the first project on which Hultberg and Udayanganie have combined their efforts, and don’t expect it to be their last.
“It motivates me to work with Patrik,” Udayanganie said. “We both like microeconomics and mathematical models, so it helped us to work together.”
“It’s more fun to work together,” Hultberg added. “The other people I work with are all around the world and we often work on things like educational policy, and when COVID hit, it took me away from what I really want to work on, which is international trade. This was a real opportunity for me to do the economics I enjoy doing.”
Kalamazoo College again is featured in a global guide to institutions of higher education that has been trusted by students, families and guidance counselors for nearly 40 years, the Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Edward B. Fiske was the New York Times education editor for 17 years. During that time, he thought college-bound students needed better information in selecting a college or university. He wrote the Fiske Guide to Colleges to help them and updated it annually with an editorial team.
The guide now includes a selective, subjective and systematic look at more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and the UK along with indexes that break down schools by state; academic, social and quality-of-life ratings; financial aid availability and acceptance rates.
In the 2023 version, available now, the publication says K students “pursue a liberal arts curriculum that includes language proficiency, a first-year writing seminar, sophomore and senior seminars, as well as a senior individualized project—directed research, a creative piece, or a traditional thesis—basically anything that caps off each student’s education in some meaningful way.”
In addition to senior integrated projects promoting independent scholarship opportunities, the guide praises other tenets of the K-Plan, the College’s integrated approach to an excellent education, including:
Academic excellence. The flexibility and rigor of K’s curriculum provides students with a customized academic experience. According to the guide, professors rate highly for their enthusiasm and accessibility while giving students the individual attention they need.
Experiential education. Students connect classroom learning with real-world experience by completing career development internships or externships, participating in civic engagement and service-learning projects, and getting involved in social justice leadership work.
International and intercultural experience. Students choose from 56 study abroad programs in 29 countries across six continents. The guide quotes a biology major as saying, “Kalamazoo College does study abroad so well that it seems ridiculous not to take advantage of this opportunity. They make it financially accessible and ensure that you won’t fall behind by going abroad.”
“K’s academic terms may be fast-paced and the workload demanding, but students are given the flexibility to pursue their interests through individualized projects and off-campus exploration,” the publication says. “The result is a student body defined by open-minded, global citizens.”
Crystal Mendoza ’23 is the 2022 recipient of the scholarship through the American Chemical Society. The scholarship provides a minimum of $1,500 funding toward tuition, books and lab fees for a female undergraduate student majoring in chemistry or a related discipline and beginning her junior or senior year.
Mendoza and the 2021 recipient of the scholarship, Ola Bartolik ’22, have both worked in the lab of Blakely Tresca, the Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
When Mendoza received the scholarship announcement, her reaction was, “Wow, oh my goodness, I actually got it,” she said, “because I really didn’t think I would get it. It was a little bit later than when they announced it the previous year, and in the back of my mind, I didn’t think they would give it back-to-back to someone from the same college.”
Once the news sank in, she called her mom to celebrate and sent Tresca a message.
“I was really surprised two students from the same school got the scholarship back-to-back, especially since they only award one each year,” Tresca said. “I’m not surprised, though, that Crystal earned it. She has worked really hard in research and at school, while at the same time doing so much for the department and the community at K helping mentor the next generation of chemists.”
The scholarship has both practical and intangible benefits for Mendoza. Not only does it cover Mendoza’s out-of-pocket costs for tuition, books and fees for her last year at K, it also provides a feeling of belonging.
“It was rewarding that the Women Chemists Committee posted the announcement on Twitter, Facebook, all their socials,” Mendoza said. “Seeing my face and the significance of the scholarship and what it means to the community of women chemists made me feel like I’m actually a part of this community. I feel like I can continue in the field of chemistry with support and inclusion.”
Finding her community and niche has been a journey for Mendoza. Arriving on campus in fall 2019, she intended to declare a biology major and follow the pre-med track. Her first term, however, she found herself not taking any biology courses and struggling through Chemistry 110. Her STEM journey could have ended there had it not been for Jeff Bartz, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Bartz invited Mendoza to come to his office hours and introduced her to Alex Cruz ’21, a chemistry major and fellow Los Angeles native. Cruz agreed to tutor Mendoza—the start of a mentoring relationship that continues to this day.
“She wanted to succeed,” Bartz said. “She was willing to ask for help and that’s sometimes the hardest thing for all of us to do, especially as a beginning college student among your peers where you want to look like you have it all together. I had enough of a relationship with her, because of the kind of place K is, to have a sense of what help she needed and who in our program could provide that help to her.”
Cruz introduced Mendoza to Sukuma Dow, a peer-led organization for underrepresented students in STEM, her first year at K. She has been an active participant ever since, serving last year and this coming year as a group leader.
“I did feel discouraged at some points my first year,” Mendoza said. “After taking some biology courses, I didn’t think STEM was for me. I doubted myself and it wasn’t until I got into the support group and talked more with Alex, Dr. Bartz and Dr. Tresca that I got myself out there and found what I truly enjoy. It has been a journey. I found what I like, I like being in a lab, and it took a lot of conversations, tough love and discipline to see that.”
Bartz, Cruz and Tresca all encouraged Mendoza to apply to Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer programs through the National Science Foundation. She ended up performing research on electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide reduction at the University of Southern California, where she scrapped any lingering thoughts of med school and committed wholeheartedly to a chemistry major and future goal of a doctorate in chemistry.
“I came back from that summer and immediately started looking for opportunities for this summer,” Mendoza said. She prioritized research abroad, as the COVID-19 shutdown had pushed her to delay courses she wanted to take in person until her junior year, taking study abroad off the table for her.
As a result, in mid-June, Mendoza arrived in Karlsruhe, Germany, to take part in a Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) through the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), or German Academic Exchange Service. RISE offers undergraduate students the opportunity to complete a summer internship at a top German research institution. Students are matched with a host university or institute according to their area of interest—Karlsruhe Institute for Technology for Mendoza—and DAAD provides students a monthly stipend to help cover living expenses.
German professor Kathryn Sederberg helped Mendoza arrange housing, and the DAAD funding is supplemented by the Nahrain Kamber and Ralph Griffith Endowed Student Research Fellowship benefiting female science students at K. Together, the two funding sources fully cover Mendoza’s living expenses and provide her with a small stipend as well.
Mendoza will remain in Karlsruhe until early September, conducting 12 weeks of research into photocatalysts for carbon dioxide reduction for her Senior Integrated Project.
“I’m learning even more than I thought, because I thought there would be some repetition from last summer, but it’s totally different,” Mendoza said. “I’m doing more synthesis, learning to read scientific literature for myself, and it’s more hands on.”
Catalysts are substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction without undergoing any permanent chemical change. Electrocatalysts speed up electrochemical reactions, while photocatalysts absorb light to create energy that accelerates chemical reactions. Mendoza’s research involves attempts to artificially re-create photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates.
“We take what’s happening in nature and try to find the optimal way to do it in solution in the lab,” Mendoza said. Currently, she is building three major components of the process—a photosensitizer, an electron donor and a catalyst—in different ways. Once she has built the library of different catalyst and photosensitizers, Mendoza will test the different components to see which perform the best for carbon dioxide reduction and turnover numbers.
At Karlsruhe, Mendoza has two Ph.D. student mentors, whom she describes as “helpful” and “very sweet” and who have given her independence to conduct her own project in the lab.
“At first, it was a little intimidating, but once I got the hang of it, it’s the best lab experience,” Mendoza said. “I’m just in awe at every reaction that I do, whether it’s successful or not, because I did it myself.”
Research into catalytic reduction of carbon dioxide could eventually have implications for reducing environmental pollution in the world, a topic of interest for Mendoza. Regardless, her time in Germany is proving enlightening.
“I had a really different perspective on what I thought the lab would be,” she said. “I thought it was going to be down to business, only doing experiments, let’s only talk about chemistry. My mentors have shown me otherwise. You can have fun, you can sing, you can dance, or you can enjoy a bottle of soda outside the lab.”
In addition to research and classes, Mendoza has worked as a chemistry teaching assistant.
“I really enjoy that,” she said. “It gives me more time in the lab and a chance to connect with people who want to do STEM and say, ‘Hey, you’re good at this, have you considered this major?’”
In 2021, K started a PRIME (Promoting Research, Inclusivity, Mentoring and Experience) Scholars program, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, and Bartz asked Mendoza to be a peer mentor for the 10 incoming first-year PRIME students.
“It’s been amazing seeing their progress from when they first came to campus and I met them during orientation,” Mendoza said. “It’s always rewarding after every meeting, one-on-one or in a group, to think that I was once in their place, not knowing what I wanted to do, and now being so accomplished in my discipline and helping them get there, too. I’m grateful that Dr. Bartz thought I was the right person for that.”
From mentee to mentor, doubt to confidence, Mendoza is thriving at K with guidance from strong mentors, support from peers, and opportunities for exploration and growth. With one year left at K, she’s looking ahead to her own future while extending a hand back to those coming behind her.
“We talk about certain students as having figured it out,” Bartz said. “What got them here is not what will get them through here. Early on, Crystal recognized that she didn’t have it figured out and was willing to ask for help. Now she’s one who figured it out and is willing to share that with others.”
Regina Stevens-Truss, Kalamazoo College’s Dorothy H. Heyl Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2023 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education.
The ASBMB is a professional organization of science, one of the largest of its kind in the world. The award, instituted in 2005, credits an individual who encourages an effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology while demonstrating a commitment to pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation. As one of 14 professionals from around the world being honored by the ASBMB, Stevens-Truss will give a presentation about her teaching and learning trajectory at the society’s 2023 annual meeting, Discover BMB, in March in Seattle.
“Being selected for this honor surfaces all of my humble bones,” Stevens-Truss said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee being nominated and even less being selected for this award. My imposter syndrome persona is in full bloom right now, and I can hear all of the voices that tell me regularly ‘accept a compliment, Regina.’ This award means the world to me, I am honored and humbled, and can’t believe the list of pioneers that my name will be listed with.”
Stevens-Truss served on the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC), now known as the Maximizing Access Committee, as well as on the Education and Professional Development (EPD) Committee of the ASBMB, where she was part of the steering committee that created the concept-driven teaching strategies that laid the foundation for the organization’s certification exam. She also was the principal investigator in 2012 of a National Science Foundation grant that supported a STEM K-12 outreach initiative by the society called Hands-on Outreach to Promote Engagement in Science (HOPES – see pages 37-38 at this link).
Since joining the faculty at K in January 2000, Stevens-Truss has been teaching Chemical Reactivity, Biochemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Infection: Global Health and Social Justice. Current research in her lab focuses on testing a variety of compounds (peptides and small molecules) for antimicrobial activity. She is also the College’s director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence grant, which was awarded to K’s science division in 2018. In 2016, she received K’s highest teaching honor, the Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching.
Stevens-Truss earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Toledo. She held two fellowships at the University of Michigan between 1993 and 1999, one of which was a lectureship in medicinal chemistry.
“I joined the faculty at K in a department with the BEST team of educators and students that I could have asked for,” she said. “From day one, my chemistry and biochemistry department colleagues have supported every hair-brained idea I have come up with. They make me think hard about teaching by always keeping our students front-and-center in our conversations on this topic. My students have pushed me to be better, to care more, to guide them through their journey of learning and growth. And, without all of these folks, this award would not have happened. This award is not just for me, but for all who have been in my life in the last 20-plus years. You know who you are!”
The Senior Integrated Project (SIP) of Grace Hancock ’22 has encouraged Associate Professor of Biology Santiago Salinas to extend Hancock’s inquiries overseas.
Salinas has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award, allowing him to go to his native Argentina this fall. There, he will study whether global warming could threaten fish with temperature-dependent sex-determination. In these species, cold waters tend to produce more females, and warm waters tend to produce more males.
Hancock, in Salinas’ fish ecology lab, studied temperature-dependent sex-determination in the Atlantic silverside, which are saltwater foragers that grow to be no longer than 6 inches in length. Salinas, in a similar way, will research Argentine fish such as pejerrey, which are freshwater residents.
“I’m excited to go and expand my professional network, and without Grace, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity,” Salinas said. “I was not really working on temperature sex determination until she wanted to.”
In addition to Hancock, Salinas credited K faculty members such as Professor of Romance Languages and Literature Enid Valle, Professor of Biology Ann Fraser, William Weber Chair of Social Science Amy Elman, Wen Chao Chen Professor of East Asian Social Sciences Dennis Frost, Margaret and Roger Scholten Associate Professor of Political Science John Dugas, and Jo-Ann and Robert Stewart Professor of Art Tom Rice for offering their application assistance and sharing their previous experiences in successfully seeking Fulbright honors.
“I’ll be interacting closely with Latinx biologists, and one of my hopes is to set up a network whereby scholars there who struggle with English can connect with classes here at K,” Salinas said. “My students would help with the scientific writing and offer advice to the biologists in a real-world way.”
The opportunity also is expected to begin a long-term collaboration with a faculty member at the Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús, create a course on evolutionary ecology for that institution’s undergraduate and graduate students, and establish connections that would allow Argentine biologists to serve as potential research mentors for K students.
Salinas is one of about 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research or provide expertise abroad for the 2022-23 academic year through Fulbright. Those citizens are selected based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and demonstrated leadership. The awards are funded through the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s international education-exchange program designed to build connections between U.S. citizens and people from other countries. The program is funded through an annual Congressional appropriation made to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also support the program, which operates in more than 160 countries.
Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals in a variety of backgrounds and fields opportunities to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute solutions to international problems.
Thousands of Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 61 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 89 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 76 MacArthur Fellows. For more information about the Fulbright program, visit its website.
Kalamazoo College has appointed 10 faculty members as endowed chairs, recognizing their achievements as professors. Endowed chairs are positions funded through the annual earnings from an endowed gift or gifts to the College. The honor reflects the value donors attribute to the excellent teaching and mentorship that occurs at K and how much donors want to see that excellence continue.
The honorees are:
Francisco Villegas, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership junior chair;
Leihua Weng, the most senior faculty member in Chinese;
Cyndy Garcia-Weyandt, an endowed chair in critical ethnic studies;
Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, the Marlene Crandall Francis Endowed Chair in the Humanities;
Kathryn Sederberg, the Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Endowed Chair;
Regina Stevens-Truss, the Dorothy H. Heyl Senior Endowed Chair in Chemistry;
Blakely Tresca, the Harriet G. Varney Endowed Chair in Natural Science;
Amy Elman, the William Weber Endowed Chair in Social Science;
Autumn Hostetter, the Kurt D. Kaufman Endowed Chair; and
Richard Koenig, the Genevieve U. Gilmore Endowed Chair in Art.
Villegas, an assistant professor of sociology at K, was a sociology lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough from 2014 to 2016 before arriving in Kalamazoo.
Villegas specializes in the topics of immigration, race, citizenship, deportability and illegalization. He has a doctorate in sociology in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in Mexican American studies from San Jose University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior from the University of California Irvine.
Kalamazoo County launched a community ID program in 2018, allowing residents to obtain it, including those otherwise unable to get a state ID, with Villegas serving as the ID advisory board chair. At this point, more than 3,000 residents have obtained one.
Weng, an assistant professor of Chinese language and literature, has taught at K beginning Chinese and advanced Chinese, as well as different content courses in English, such as women in China, urban China and Chinese films.
Weng’s research interest includes (trans-)nationalism and globalization in literature and films, traditions and modernity, and postmodern literary theories. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of South Carolina, a Master of Arts at Peking University, and a Bachelor of Arts at Zhejiang University. She taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Pacific Lutheran University before she came to K.
García-Weyandt, an assistant professor of critical ethnic studies, has taught courses at K in environmental studies such as Body, Land and Labor; and Plant Communication Kinship, as well as courses in critical ethnic studies such as Argument with the Given, a writing seminar exploring dreams, storytelling, poetry, art activism, memoir, and personal narratives as sources of knowledge and social change. She is coordinator and co-founder of Proyecto Taniuki (“Our Language Project”), a community-based project in Zitakua, Mexico.
In the Taniuki, she collaborates with urban indigenous communities in language revitalization efforts. Her research areas include indigenous knowledge systems, land pedagogy, urban indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous art and performances, and ontology. García-Weyandt’s ancestral homeland is in San Juan Sayultepec Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, México. She is a poeta, an immigrant, a first-generation college student, and former community college transfer student. She has a Ph.D. and master’s degree in culture and performance, and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, all from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Maldonado-Estrada, an assistant professor of religion, 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 teaches classes at K on religion and masculinity, urban religion, Catholics in the Americas and the religions of Latin America.
Outside K, Maldonado-Estrada is a co-chair of the Men and Masculinities Unit at the American Academy of Religion and is an editor of Material Religion: The Journal of Art, Objects, and Belief. She also was chosen for the 2020-2022 cohort of Young Scholars in American Religion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.
Earlier this year, Sacred Writes—a network of religion scholars committed to helping a broad global audience understand the significance of their work—selected Maldonado-Estrada to be one of 24 scholars from around the world receiving a Public Scholarship on Religion for 2021. Maldonado-Estrada received her doctorate in religion from Princeton University and her bachelor’s degree in sociology and religion from Vassar College.
Sederberg, a co-chair in the Department of German Studies, will be honored in a virtual ceremony November 20 by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) as one of five national recipients of the Goethe‐Institut/AATG Certificate of Merit. The honor recognizes her achievements in furthering the teaching of German in the U.S. through creative activities, innovative curriculum, successful course design and significant contributions to the profession.
Sederberg teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced German as well as Contemporary German Culture and the senior seminars on varying topics. She holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Stevens-Truss, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has taught at Kalamazoo College since 2000. She teaches Chemical Reactivity, Biochemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Infection: Global Health and Social Justice.
Research in her lab focuses testing a variety of compounds (peptides and small molecules) for antimicrobial activity. She is also the current director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence grant awarded to the College’s science division in 2018.
Stevens-Truss earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Toledo. She held two fellowships at the University of Michigan between 1993 and 1999, one of which was a lectureship in medicinal chemistry.
Tresca, an assistant professor of chemistry, has been at K since 2018. He’s a supermolecular chemist with additional research interests in organic chemistry. He co-leads the College’s annual Kalamazoo American Chemical Society networking event, allowing students to discuss chemistry careers with industry professionals.
Tresca holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the Molecular Foundry.
Elman, a professor of political science, has taught a variety of courses within the political science, women’s studies and Jewish studies departments. During her tenure at K, she has also been a visiting professor at Haifa University in Israel, Harvard University, SUNY Potsdam, Middlebury College, Uppsala University in Sweden and New York University.
Elman has received two Fulbright grants, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a grant from the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Hebrew University. She has written three books: The European Union, Antisemitism and the Politics of Denial (2014); Sexual Equality in an Integrated Europe (2007); and Sexual Subordination and State Intervention: Comparing Sweden and the United States (1996). She also edited Sexual Politics and the European Union: The New Feminist Challenge (1996). She has a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from New York University.
Hostetter, a professor of psychology, has expertise in cognitive psychology—specifically, the psychology of language and spatial cognition. She has taught classes at K including Cognition, Experimental Research Methods, the Psychology of Language and Mind, and the first year seminar Harry Potter Goes to College.
She maintains an active research lab on campus exploring how we use our bodies to help us think and communicate. She provides many opportunities for Kalamazoo College students to participate in research, both as participants and as research assistants. Some recent publications have appeared in journals such as the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Psychological Research, the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Teaching of Psychology, and the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. Many of her publications feature Kalamazoo College students and alumni as co-authors. Hostetter earned a bachelor’s degree from Berry College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Koenig began teaching art and photography courses such as Digital Photography, Analog Photography, Alternative Photographic Processes and several seminars at K in 1998.
His fine art work, Photographic Prevarications, was shown in six one-person exhibits in as many years (from 2007 to 2012). Koenig’s long-term documentary project Contemporary Views Along the First Transcontinental Railroad spawned four articles (between 2014 and 2019). In 2020, Koenig collaborated with four others on a multi-media exhibit, Hoosier Lifelines: Environmental and Social Change Along the Monon, 1847-2020, which was shown this year at the Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University and the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana.
Koenig received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and his Master of Fine Arts from Indiana University.
Sederberg will receive the Goethe‐Institut/AATG Certificate of Merit for her achievements in furthering the teaching of German in the U.S. through creative activities, innovative curriculum, successful course design and significant contributions to the profession. Recipients each year are nominated by their peers.
“This is a great honor and I am glad to be recognized for my work,” she said. “I am grateful to the amazing community of German students here whose energy and enthusiasm motivate me as an educator. Teaching at K has enabled me to be creative, take risks, and try new things, like the ‘Babylon Berlin’ course designed around the hit TV series, or a unit on the forest with a field trip to the arboretum. It’s in part because of the culture at K that I have been able to experiment in my classes and develop interdisciplinary material with connections to gender studies, environmental studies or Jewish Studies. I really enjoy teaching in a small program where I can work with students from 101 to the advanced seminars, see their growth and even stay in touch with them as alumni.”
Sederberg teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced German as well as Contemporary German Culture and the senior seminars on varying topics. She holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and is one of five educators between high schools and colleges from around the country to earn the honor this year.
“With their dedication to excellence in German language instruction, these award recipients promote the transatlantic friendship between the U.S. and German‐speaking countries and foster the much-needed intercultural awareness so their students lead successful lives in a globalized world,” AATG President Doug Philipp said.
Kalamazoo College is pleased to welcome the following faculty members to campus this fall:
Assistant Professor of Spanish Tris Faulkner
Tris Faulkner, who is originally from Jamaica, lived in Chile for about two years, working as a translator and interpreter at a prominent law firm before earning a Ph.D. in Spanish linguistics from Georgetown University. She also has professional experience as a translator and interpreter at the Embassy of Venezuela, and in similar roles at a legal firm and a business school in North Carolina.
Faulkner has lived in Spain and visited various Spanish-speaking countries, experiences which have helped her to observe the diversity that characterizes the Spanish language. Her research investigates the semantics and pragmatics of variation in verbal mood, tense, and aspect, as related to the Romance language family, English, and Jamaican Creole.
In addition to her Ph.D., Faulkner has master’s degrees from Georgetown (M.Sc. in Spanish linguistics) and Wake Forest University (M.A. in interpreting and translation studies), and a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University (B.A. in Spanish language and literature and international studies). She will teach seminars in Spanish linguistics, as well as various other courses in the upcoming academic year.
Assistant Professor of Religion Sohini Pillai
Sohini Pillai will teach courses this academic year on religious traditions in South Asia. She is a comparatist of South Asian religious literature and her area of specialization is the Mahabharata and Ramayana epic narrative traditions with a focus on retellings created in Hindi and Tamil.
Pillai is the co-editor of Many Mahabharatas (State University of New York Press, 2021), an introduction to diverse retellings of the Mahabharata tradition in the forms of classical dramas, premodern vernacular poems, regional performance traditions, commentaries, graphic novels, political essays, novels, and contemporary theater productions. She’s also a member of the Steering Committee for the Hinduism Unit at the American Academy of Religion.
Pillai has a Ph.D. in South and Southeast Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley; a master’s degree in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies from Columbia University; and a bachelor’s degree in South Asia studies and theatre studies from Wellesley College.
Assistant Professor of Theatre Quincy Thomas
Quincy Thomas earned his Ph.D. in theatre and his performance studies certification from Bowling Green State University. His research centers on subjects including counter-storytelling, Black performativity in American culture, representations of the marginalized in popular culture, comedic and solo performance and performative writing. At K, he will teach directing, theatre history and playwriting, with further prior experience teaching theatre, performance studies and film.
His courses are informed on issues of cultural marginalization and misrepresentation in the arts, specifically of racial and ethnic minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. His work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals, including the International Review of Qualitative Research and Puppetry International, and presented at national conferences, including the Mid-America Theatre Conference, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association (MAPACA). He currently serves as president of MAPACA. His most recent directorial offering was Robert Patrick’s Play-by-Play: A Spectacle of Ourselves: A Verse Farce in Two Acts. Thomas also has a background in acting. Some of his favorite roles played include Christopher in Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange, Albert in Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, and most recently the role of Actor in Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit; Red Rabbit.
Assistant Professor of Economics Darshana Udayanganie
Darshana Udayanganie earned her Ph.D., with specializations in environmental economics and college teaching, and a master’s degree in economics from the University of New Hampshire. She also has a master’s degree in resource economics and policy from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Before joining K in 2017 as a visiting assistant professor, she taught at Central Michigan University from 2014 to 2017, Merrimack College in 2013 and 2014, and the University of New Hampshire’s global student success program from 2011 to 2014.
Her current research focuses on urban economics and environmental economics. She also has published book chapters on economic growth in relation to military expenditure and international trade.
Assistant Professor of Japanese Brian White
Brian White will teach courses in Japanese language, literature and culture at K. He specializes in contemporary (post-1945) Japanese popular culture and media studies.
He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where he wrote a dissertation on 1960s Japanese sci-fi literature and film, asking specifically, “What can a genre do?” He will delve into that history when he teaches a course in the winter term this year on Japanese science fiction and media history.
White earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Across his undergraduate and graduate careers, he has spent a total of two and a half years living in Japan, primarily in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto.
Assistant Professor of Chinese Yanshuo Zhang
Yanshuo Zhang’s research addresses multiethnic Chinese identities in literary and visual cultures produced in China and the U.S. Her research on multiethnic Chinese cultural productions helps diversify scholarly understanding of and teaching about modern Chinese national culture.
She was a lecturer in Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) from 2018 through 2020, where she designed classes on cross-cultural explorations of diversity, particularly in Asia and the U.S. She also has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Catherine University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Visiting Assistant Professor Vijayan Sundararaj
Vijayan Sundararaj leads a biology course this term in ecology and conservation. He has prior education experience as a lecturer, teaching assistant and topic lecturer between Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Canada, and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. His teaching interests include evolutionary ecology concepts, animal behavior, foraging behavior, predator-prey interactions, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, waterfowl ecology, mammalogy, spatial ecology, and introductory geographic information systems.
Sundararaj received a bachelor’s degree with a specialty in zoology from Gujarat University in India before earning a master’s degree in ecology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; a geographic information systems applications specialist graduate certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Canada and a doctorate in forest sciences and wildlife ecology from Lakehead University.
Visiting Assistant Professor Eunice Uhm
Eunice Uhm specializes in modern and contemporary art, with a transnational focus on the United States and East Asia. Her work examines the conditions of migration and the diasporic aesthetic subjectivities in the works of contemporary Japanese and South Korean art from the 1960s to the present. She has previously taught courses on modern and contemporary art, East Asian art, and Asian American studies at Ohio State University. She has organized panels and presented her work on Asian American art at national conferences such as CAA. She is an active member of numerous grassroots community organizations for Asian Americans and immigrant rights, and she is involved in immigrant rights campaigns such as Love has no borders: A call for justice in our immigration system. Her essay, “Constructing Asian American Political and Aesthetic Subjectivities: Contradictions in the Works of Ruth Asawa,” is forthcoming (Verge: Studies in Global Asias, University of Minnesota Press).
Uhm received a master’s degree and a doctorate in the history of art from the Ohio State University. At K, she teaches courses on Asian and Asian American art, art and race, and transnationalism.
Visiting Assistant Professor Fungisai Musoni
Fungisai Musoni has joined the history department where she will teach courses in African civilizations, decolonization in West and Southern Africa, and U.S.-Africa relations since World War II.
Musoni has prior teaching experience in African literature, American politics and global issues, and social studies between the Ohio State University, Georgia State University, Gwinnett County Schools in Atlanta and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education and Culture.
She fluently reads, writes and speaks the African languages of Shona and Manyika. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in economic history and Shona from the University of Zimbabwe, Harare; master’s degrees in political science and history from Georgia State University and Mercer University respectively; and a doctorate in African American and African Studies from the Ohio State University.
Visiting Assistant Professor Badru-Deen Barry
Badru-Deen Barry teaches Introductory chemistry and biochemistry at K this fall.
His education includes a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone, master’s degrees in chemistry from Northeast Normal University in China and Michigan State University, and a doctorate in chemistry from Michigan State.
He previously served Michigan State and Northeast Normal as a graduate research assistant, Société Générale de Surveillance in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as port supervisor and chemist, and Fourah Bay College as a laboratory and teaching assistant.
Visiting Assistant Professor Mikela Zhezha-Thaumanavar
Mikela Zhezha-Thaumanavar is teaching courses in Spanish this fall as well as a course in foreign language teaching methods. In addition, she serves as the coordinator for the Spanish Teaching Assistants at K. She received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in Spanish linguistics from Western Michigan University.
She has previously taught courses in Spanish at Western Michigan University, Davenport University, and Kalamazoo Community College. She also served WMU as a guest professor, teaching in the institution’s Summer Translation Program. She previously has worked in translation and speaks Albanian and Italian in addition to English and Spanish.
Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Mills
Jennifer Mills is leading courses including seminars in psychology and health psychology this term. Mills holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, master’s degrees from Georgia College and State University and Western Michigan University, and a doctorate from WMU.
She is working on an executive master’s in public health at Emory University with an emphasis in prevention science. For the past 10 years, Mills has owned and operated MindBodyWell, a private counseling practice that focuses on science-based approaches to stress, depression and anxiety.
Mills is an active member of the Institute for Public Scholarship, a local, anti-racist organization that works on issues of place and belonging. Her research interests focus on preventing and mitigating the impact of early childhood adversity on health.
Visiting Assistant Professor Robert Mowry
Robert Mowry is teaching two sections of Introduction to Society and Culture offered by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. His additional teaching interests include quantitative methods, disaster, the intersection of politics and the environment, and ways of seeing and knowing.
Mowry comes to Kalamazoo College from the University of Notre Dame, where he recently earned his Ph.D. in sociology. Previously, he earned master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Sheffield, and a B.A. from Earlham College.
As a teacher-scholar of disaster and politics, Mowry employs multiple methods to study the processes and outcomes of globally diverse, high-stakes political arenas—from post-disaster contentious politics in the U.S. and Japan to the gendered dynamics of protest participation in Europe. A related stream of research looks at how cultural processes of learning, memory, and thinking spur spontaneous laughter outbursts during Supreme Court oral arguments. His work has been published in Sociological Theory.
Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Perry
Jennifer Perry leads courses at K including General Psychology, Sensation and Perception, and Psychopharmacology in the Department of Psychology. Her credentials include a Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Perry’s research includes studies on the ethics of laboratory animal research and the role of impulsive behavior in drug abuse.
Pull your honey close and get ready for some facts about the super food and honey bees courtesy of Kalamazoo College Biology Professor Ann Fraser and her entomology class.
September is National Honey Month, which prompted us to ask Fraser’s students some questions about honey. As luck would have it, the students have been preparing to take an annual field trip to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, where they see an active hive of honey bees, courtesy of the Kalamazoo Bee Club. The students learn how honey is made, handle the casts where the honey is harvested from a hive, and occasionally see the queen among the thousands of bees.
“They become fascinated,” Fraser said of the experience. “Some of them are a little scared of bees at first, maybe because they had a bad experience at one point. But over time, as we’re there for the hour, they get closer to the hive. Eventually, they’re actually holding the frames from the hive. It’s surprising how heavy they can be with bare hands because each frame weighs about eight pounds.”
The number of honey bees around the world is dropping because of pesticide use, habitat loss, a drop in their food supply, and Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon that occurs when a combination of these factors and varroa mites, a honey bee pest, combine to kill the worker bees. That potentially could threaten the amount of honey available in the world’s food supply, and cause problems related to pollination and agriculture.
“Every year we see at least 30 percent of hives die off over the winter,” Fraser said. “It’s kind of a new normal in the beekeeping industry.”
The good news is citizens can help protect honey bees and support the creation of honey by planting a variety of native wildflowers.
“Honey bees aren’t native to North America,” Fraser said. “They were brought over in the 1600s from Europe, not for pollination, but to make honey and beeswax products. They’ve been here ever since. By planting wildflowers, we’re providing food resources for bees and other pollinators, so that we can help beekeepers keep them healthy.”
Fraser’s students were busy bees in helping us find more answers to our questions about honey and honey bees. Here’s what they had to say.
How long have humans been harvesting honey from honey bee hives?
The earliest records of humans consuming bee honey and wax are about 10,000 years old as shown in prehistoric drawings in caves. Drawings found in Spain, about 7,000 years old, depict the practice of beekeeping. According to Queen Bee Farms, there is also a 15,000-year-old painting of a woman climbing a rope ladder to collect honey on the side of a cliff. – Joergen and Jack
Why is honey important for the bees themselves and their colonies?
Honey is a great fuel source for bees. Large amounts of it are made and stored to be consumed during the cold months. Bees use stored honey and pollen to feed their larvae. It’s an energy-rich food source that gives the bees the energy they need to vibrate and take flight. – Molly and Camilia
Why is honey vital to the world’s food supply?
If not for honey, honey bees would starve in the winter months. This would be a major issue for world food security, as 71 of the 100 crop varieties that account for 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees, according to the Center for Food Safety. From the human perspective, the sweet taste of honey has made it a sought-after treat and sweetener for millennia. It can also be used to make a fermented drink, mead, which is making a comeback in the brewing industry these days. – Noah and Evan
What types of bees are there in a honey bee hive?
Worker bees can account for up to 60,000 individuals in a colony. They’re reproductively-underdeveloped female honey bees, performing all the work for the colony. Young workers stay inside to perform nest cleaning and nurse duties. They move on to become receivers and storers of incoming nectar and pollen. Near the end of their six-week life they leave the hive as foragers to collect nectar and pollen. The queen is a fully-fertile female that specializes in egg production. Typically, there is only one queen per colony and it produces pheromones that regulate the colony’s behavior. Drones are male bees that account for up to 500 individuals in a colony during the spring and summer. The drones fly from the hive and mate midair with the queens from other colonies. – Lia and Penny
Do other types of bees (i.e. non-honey bees) make honey?
Honey is a general term that refers to the nectar processed by insects. Humans generally consume only honey from honey bees because they form very large colonies that store it in abundance. – Zach and Rina
What variables affect the color and flavor of different varieties of honey?
Honey varies in taste depending on the flowers the honey bees visit to collect nectar. Clover honey is light yellow and has a mild and sweet taste. Eucalyptus honey, common in Australia, has a slight menthol aftertaste. Buckwheat honey tastes like molasses and is very dark in color. Dandelion honey has a sweet floral taste and is bright golden yellow. Manuka honey, from New Zealand, is a gold color and is used as a topical ointment for MRSA, stings, infections and burns. Sourwood honey has a buttery or caramel taste. Goldenrod is dark with a sweet, licorice-like aftertaste. Wildflower honey comes from many different flowers and can taste different each time. In general, the darker the honey, the bolder the flavor. – Maci and Gabby
What threats assail honey bees and the world’s supply of honey?
Common threats to honey bees include diseases such as American and European foulbrood, chalkbrood and nosema; some varieties of beetles and mites; wax moths, which can damage a hive’s structure; global warming and droughts; forest fires; and Colony Collapse Disorder, which could be caused by pests, pesticides, habitat changes, stressors, prolonged transportation, malnutrition or a combination of these factors. – Claudia and Kyle
What is significant about the honey bees we find in Michigan?
There are about 450 different types of bees in Michigan, most of them native to this the region. The honey bee is just one type of bee and it was actually imported from Western Europe. Bees are important pollinators of plants worldwide. Honey bees are especially important in agricultural settings because they can be kept in managed hives and have such large colonies. Michigan hosts about 90,000 hives, ranking the state eighth in the U.S. for its number of hives. Honey bees are especially important for fruit crops such as cherries, apples and blueberries, and vegetable or seed production for crops such as peppers, carrots and onions. In 2015, 50% of Michigan’s $2 billion crop industry was attributed to honey bees. – Lydia and Rachel
What can we in Michigan do to ensure we’re supporting the sustainability of bees and honey?
Make your yard or garden a bee-friendly environment. Plant bee-friendly flowering plants such as bee balm, milkweed, asters and sunflowers; and herbs such as mint, oregano, garlic, chives, parsley and lavender. It’s also important to limit pesticides in your garden or yard, especially during blooming periods. – Mikayla and Bella
What is ‘raw’ honey? Do we need to be concerned about the purity or cleanliness of honey we buy?
Raw honey is unprocessed and unpasteurized honey. It might include pollen, wax and a resinous substance called propolis that bees use to seal or repair the hive. While it may contain more vitamins and nutrients than unpasteurized honey, it also might trigger or aggravate allergies in people sensitive to pollen. Some claim raw honey is more nutritious, but consuming it may increase the risk of illness that can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting and a drop in blood pressure. – Mariah and Zaydee
Another analysis has placed Kalamazoo College as the top-ranked private higher education institution in Michigan as the U.S. Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2022 College Rankings list was released this week.
The report places K among the top 22 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities ranked overall with methodology that balances issues such as:
Resources, examining whether a college effectively delivers teaching through its finances, its student-to-faculty ratio and faculty research papers.
Engagement, as determined through the results of a Times Higher Education U.S. student survey, which scrutinizes each student’s engagement with their studies, their interaction with their teachers and their satisfaction with the college experience.
Outcomes, measuring each institution’s value, graduation rate and academic reputation.
Environment, including student, faculty and academic staff diversity, international populations and student inclusion.