Senior Honored in Speech Contest

Vageesha Liyana-GunawardanaVageesha Liyana-Gunawardana ’15 won the Special Prize in the annual Michigan Japanese Speech Contest, held at the Japanese Consulate in Detroit. Vageesha’s speech was titled “The Policeman I Met That Day Does Not Know My Name.” According to his Japanese language teacher, Assistant Professor of Japanese Noriko Sugimori, the speech is based on his study abroad experience in Tokyo, during which Vageesha was questioned by the police on thirteen different occasions. Inspired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester Pearson, Vageesha’s reflection upon these seemingly negative experiences reaffirmed the importance of meeting people and making an effort to understand each individual at deeper levels in order to work toward world peace. His talk, of course, was delivered in Japanese. Vageesha is a chemistry major at Kalamazoo College. He is a United World College alumnus (he attended high school at Pearson UWC in Victoria, British Columbia) and a Davis Scholar. At K he also works in the Center for International Programs.

Kalamazoo College Faculty Members Achieve Outside the Classroom

Kalamazoo College faculty members not only teach, also advise students, and serve on numerous committees that help direct the College’s academic programs, they publish books, essays, scientific papers, and other writings, and they receive awards, grants, and countless other accolades. Below are recent achievements by just a few K faculty members. Well done, professors!

(By the way, K has a very low (13-1) student-to-faculty ratio. Of the nearly 100 full-time “resident” faculty, 96 percent hold a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree.


Bob Batsell, professor of psychology, received a 2014-2015 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant, from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee, for his project “Test Enhanced Learning in the Psychology Classroom.”

Jeff Bartz, professor of chemistry, received a $220,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project entitled “Photodissociation Dynamics Studied by Velocity-Mapping Ion Imaging.”

Lisa Brock, academic director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership and associate professor of history, co-edited a special issue of the Radical History Review on the global antiapartheid movement.

Henry Cohen, emeritus professor of romance languages and literature, published the article “The river, the levee, love and confession: The thematic of Grazia Deledda’s L’argine” in Forum Italicum.

Kiran Cunningham, professor of anthropology, received a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee, for her project “An Assessment of Transformative Learning through Change-Oriented Research.”

John Dugas, professor of political science and Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership associate, published two book chapters. “Old Wine in New Wineskins: Incorporating the ‘Ungoverned Spaces’ Concept into Plan Columbia,” appeared in U.S. National Security Concerns in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Concept of Ungoverned Spaces and Failed States. “Colombia” appeared in Politics of Latin America.

Peter Erdi, Luce professor of complex systems studies, co-authored Stochastic Chemical Kinetics, a book published by Springer.

Dennis Frost, Wen Chao Chen associate professor of East Asian social sciences, published “Sporting Disability: Official Representations of the Disabled Body at Tokyo’s 1964 Paralympics” in the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science. He also received a 2014-15 scholarship of teaching and learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for his project “Acquiring the Gift of Gab: Demystifying Public Speaking.”

Laura Furge, Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney professor of chemistry, published two papers with student co-authors: “Mechanism-based Inactivation of Human Cytochrome p450 3A4 by Two Piperazine containing Compounds” appeared in Drug Metabolism and Disposition; “Molecular Dynamics of CYP2D6 Polymorphisms in the Absence and Presence of a Mechanism-based Inactivator Reveals Changes in Local Flexibility and Substrate Access Channels” appeared in PLoS One. Also, her article “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education” was published in Social Ecology of the Classroom: Issues of Inclusivity

Adriana Garriga-Lopez, assistant professor of anthropology and Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership associate, published “Azucar dura y melaza vaga” in the online journal 80grados.

Menelik Geremew is the new Stephen B. Monroe assistant professor of money and banking, a chair held by the faculty member within the Department of Economics and Business who teaches in the field of money and banking. Charles J. Monroe established this chair in 1966 in honor of his father, Stephen B. Monroe.

Christine Hahn, assistant professor of art and art history, has begun a three-year term on the College Art Association’s (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices, one of CAA’s nine Professional Interests, Practices, and Standards Committees. Her committee supports the development of global perspectives on art and visual culture; promotes artistic, curatorial, scholarly, and institutional practices; and assesses and evaluates the development and implementation of curricular innovation, new research methods, curatorial and pedagogical strategies, and hiring practices that contribute to the realization of these goals. The Committee is committed to organizing conference sessions that address issues concerning race and ethnicity.

Autumn Hostetter, associate professor of psychology, had three articles published recently. “Gesture-speech integration in children with specific language impairment” appeared in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders; “Gesutre in Reasoning: An Embodied Perspective” appeared in The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition; and “Action Attenuates the Effect of Visibility on Gesture Rates” appeared in the journal Cognitive Science. She also received a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for her project “Test Enhanced Learning in the Psychology Classroom.”

Patrik Hultberg, associate professor of economics, received a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for his project “Assessing the Flipped Classroom.”

Andrew Koehler, associate professor of music and director of the Kalamazoo Philharmonic won the American Prize in Orchestral Programming – Community Division.

Maksim Kokushkin, assistant professor of sociology published “Standpoint Theory is Dead, Long Live Standpoint Theory! Why Standpoint Thinking Should Be Embraced by Scholars Who Do Not Identify as Feminists?” in the Journal of Arts and Humanities.

Amy Lane, visiting assistant professor of sociology, received a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for her project “An Assessment of Transformative Learning through Change-Oriented Research.”

Charlene Boyer Lewis, professor of history, was selected into the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program.


Sarah Lindley, associate professor of art, had an exhibition at the Lansing Art Gallery titled “Of Consequences: Industry & Surrounds.” She also received a Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Expanding Collaboration Initiative titled “Surrounding Industry and Environs: An Intellectual Resource Collective.”

Amy MacMillan, L. Lee Stryker assistant professor of business management and her co-authors received the award for best conference refereed paper from the Marketing Management Association for their paper “Improving the Collaborative Online Student Evaluation Process.”

Simona Moti, assistant professor of German, had her essay “Between Political Engagement and Political Unconscious: Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Slavic East” published as a chapter in the edited volume of German Literature as World Literature.

Andy Mozina, professor of English, published Quality Snacks, a book of 15 short fiction stories.

Stacy Nowicki, Title IX coordinator and library director, was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to the Library of Michigan Board of Trustees.

Jennifer Perry, visiting assistant professor of psychology, received a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for her project “Test Enhanced Learning in the Psychology Classroom.”

Taylor Petrey, Lucinda Hinsdale Stone assistant professor of religion, published his article “Semen Stains: Seminal Procreation and the Patrilineal Genealogy of Salvation in Tertullian” in the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

Di Seuss, writer in residence and assistant professor of English, received residency at Hedgebrook, a writing retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Wash. Her essay/prose poem was published in Brevity and several of her poems have been selected to be published in the Missouri Review. Her piece “Wal-Mart Parking Lot” received the “½ K Prize” from the Indiana Review and her piece “Free Beer” was selected to be included in Best American Poetry 2014. Di is now in a tenure track position at K.

Mike Sosulski, associate provost and chair and associate professor of German, won 2014’s Best Article Award from the journal Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German with his article “From Broadway to Berlin: Transformative Learning through German Hip-Hop.”

Noriko Sugimori, assistant professor of Japanese, received a grant from the GLCA Expanding Collaboration Initiative for the project “Bringing East Asia to the Great Lakes Region: An Intergenerational Cross-Cultural Digital Oral History Project.”

Amanda Wollenberg, assistant professor of biology, was a recipient of a 2014-15 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant, from K’s Teaching and Learning Committee for her project “Assessment of Student Experiences in the Cell and Molecular Biology Lab.”.

Margaret Wiedenhoeft, associate director for the Center of International Programs, was selected as one of three co-editors of the forthcoming 4th Edition of NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad for Administrators and Advisors.

Michael Wollenberg, assistant Professor of biology, co-authored “Propioniobacterium-Produced Coproporphyrin III Induces Staphylococcus aureus Aggregation and Biofirm Formation.” a paper titled in mBio.

[Malllory Zink ’15, helped compile this list. Thanks, Mallory!]

Four Share Research on Japanese Culture

Four students sharing their research on Japanese cultureFour Kalamazoo College students presented their research at the annual Michigan Japanese Heritage and Culture Conference. The conference was sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Japanese Cultural Association, and attendees–some 50 students and teachers–shared their studies in Japanese culture, including Japanese relations within Michigan and contemporary issues affecting Japan and the United States. Several presenters were members of the Japanese community, including employees of government agencies, colleges and universities, and university organizations. The K presentations focused on food, fabric dyeing, cinema, and nontraditional romantic relationships. The four K students were classmates in Assistant Professor of Japanese Noriko Sugimori’s winter term class, “Intermediate Japanese II,” when most of their research was done. The students (and the titles of their research presentations) are (l-r): Anh Lam ’17 (“Mochi: Where Cultures Meet”), Jamie Heywood ’16 (“Shibori: Re-visitation, Reinvention, and Revival”), Penelope Owen ’16 (“Alternative Love”), and Edwin Salvatierra ’16 (“Kitano’s Gokudou: Reinventing the Yakuza Film Genre”). The three sophomores will study abroad in Japan during their entire junior year–Heywood and Owen in Kyoto, Salvatierra in Hikone.

Award for Japanese Speech a K First

Megan Davis and Katherine Ballew with Professor SugimoriSenior Megan Davis and first-year Katherine Ballew participated in the Michigan Japanese Speech Contest (held at Hinoki International School, Livonia, Mich.). The title of Megan’s speech was “A Moment in Which I Made a new Realization About the World.” Katherine’s speech, “Heading Toward a World Without Racism” was awarded an Honorary Mention. It was the first time a Kalamazoo College student has won award in the Japanese speech contest. The students attended the contest with Noriko Akimoto Sugimori, assistant professor of Japanese language. Pictured at left are (l-r): Megan, Katherine, and Professor Sugimori.

K Student Presents at Conference on Japanese Culture

In April, sophomore Adam Eisenstein joined Assistant Professor of Japanese Noriko Sugimori to present “Not Lost in Translation: Preserving Japanese Culture in Anime” at the inaugural Michigan Japanese Heritage and Culture Conference at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Adam developed his conference paper extending his analysis of English translations of Osaka dialect in Japanese anime/manga, “Azumanga Daioh.” His work originated in a K class titled “Japanese Language in Society.” Senior Kathleen Reno contributed to the presentation but was unable to attend the conference.

K Students Participate in Japanese Speech Contest

senior Pavan Policherla and sophomore Vageesha Liyana-GunawardanaThe 18th Michigan Japanese Language Speech Contest, sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, was held at the Novi Civic Center this winter. Two Kalamazoo College students, senior Pavan Policherla and sophomore Vageesha Liyana-Gunawardana, presented their speeches. Policherla’s talk was based on his study abroad experience in China and explored a challenging and important issue of China-Japan relations. Liyana-Gunawardana’s speech was an eye-witness account of the large tsunami that struck Sri Lanka in 2004.

Four K Faculty Present at East Asian Studies Conference

Rose Bundy, Japanese, was chair and organizer of a panel discussion at the Japan Study 50th Anniversary Conference: The Future of East Asian Studies at Liberal Arts Colleges. The conference took place at Earlham College in early October. The name of the panel presentation was “Passages to Asia: The Japanese Studies Curriculum–From Intro to Senior Seminar.” In addition to Bundy the panel included her fellow K professors Dennis Frost, history; Yue Hong, Chinese; and Noriko Sugimori, Japanese.

“K” Alum Travels to Japan Following Natural Disasters

Ethan Segal ’90, professor of Japanese history at Michigan State University, made two trips to Japan following the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that continues to dramatically affect the northeastern part of the country.

Segal earned his B.A. in biology and did his study abroad in Japan (Waseda University in Tokyo). He earned advanced degrees from the University of Washington (M.A.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). He is currently the 2011-12 Visiting Scholar at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. You can read his impressions from his recent visits to Japan here.