Three Faculty Members Earn Tenure at K

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

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

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

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

Assistant Professor of History Christina Carroll

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

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

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

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

Arcus Social Justice Leadership Assistant Professor of Sociology Francisco Villegas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIP of Water Grows Crops in Tanzania

Sam Meyer and Father Evarist Thadei Mngulu in Tanzania for water irrigation project
Sam Meyer ’21 visited Tanzania last summer to help
Father Evarist Thadei Mngulu and his mission
build a sustainable irrigation system.

When you need inspiration for celebrating Earth Day, a Kalamazoo College student will often provide it. Take Sam Meyer ’21, a physics major. His Senior Integrated Project (SIP) has applied gravity and physics theories not only to designing, but building—through in-person, international volunteerism—a sustainable irrigation system in Pawaga, Tanzania, that conserves the region’s scarce water resources.

Both on location and off, Meyer surveyed Tanzania’s Consolata Missionaries site, researched and studied fluid mechanics, aided the system’s design and installation, and secured project funding through K’s Collins Fellowship—which helps fund student projects abroad—and donors from GoFundMe.

The project was still ongoing as Meyer returned home from Tanzania last summer after he spent about seven weeks there. In that time, he said, Pawaga didn’t receive even a drop of rain. However, the system he created now sustainably irrigates about 3 acres of soil and has yielded a successful season of crops. In fact, his work might hold solutions for areas around the world that have trouble with implementing their own agriculture as Meyer’s system fills elevated reservoir tanks during the day through solar power, thereby powering an electric water pump, and using gravity to irrigate the fields in the evening when the sun is low and the land is cooler, mitigating evaporation.

“Not only has the system limited the labor involved in the agriculture, it’s maximized itself to a point that the mission can grow crops regularly and have excess crops to share with a nearby elementary and primary school,” Meyer said. “Those students come to the compound every day, so the system promotes their education and combats malnourishment, which I think is just amazing.”

Tanzania is one of several African countries that lies along the East African Rift Valley (EARV), which features an arid and rocky ecosystem, causing frequent droughts, despite water’s general availability through lakes and rivers. Tanzania is one of the most developed countries in East Africa, but outside of its capital and urban centers, the villages and vast wilderness leave some populations isolated outside of schools and religious groups that offer some support. Scarcity causes national authorities to impose taxes to control water with some irrigation practices limited to restrictive or wasteful practices such as flooding fields or bucketing water by hand.

Sam Meyer with Children Who Benefit from Water Irrigation Project
Children from a nearby elementary and primary school are among the people who benefit from an
irrigation system Sam Meyer ’21 installed last summer in Pawaga, Tanzania.

Challenges from climate change to wildlife demand improving the nation’s sustainable approaches to agriculture. However, volunteer organizations such as the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) nurture agricultural practices to tackle these challenges in Tanzania. The organization’s worldwide movement links visitors, also known as WWOOFers, with organic farmers, promoting a cultural and educational exchange, and building a global community conscious of ecological farming and sustainability practices.

WWOOF has one chapter assisting Father Evarist Thadei Mngulu, whose Tanzania mission had failed in previous attempts to integrate an irrigation system and couldn’t afford an engineer’s estimate of $16,000 to install one. That lead Father Evarist to seek help from WWOOF, and WWOOF to finding Meyer while he was searching for SIP ideas.

Between the Collins Fellowship and GoFundMe, Meyer raised about $3,200, which funded his entire project. Even with a language barrier and Father Evarist being the only fluent English speaker among the Tanzanians who generally speak Swahili, the project was successful.

“Father Evarist wants to use the system as a way of educating other farmers in the area in irrigation practices because their practices now are to flood a field, which can produce a lot of runoff and waste, or bucketing water there,” Meyer said. “Through the system, he helps to strengthen the community through this new technology, which is a new aspect of the mission. That makes me very happy.”

Sam Meyer with assistant and water pipes
Sam Meyer ’21 helped install the irrigation system
he designed for a mission in Tanzania.

As Meyer reflects on the irrigation system’s implementation, he has an offer on the table from an engineering firm in Austin, Texas. Mears Group Inc.—an infrastructure-solutions provider that offers engineering, construction and maintenance services to the oil and natural gas, electric transmission and distribution, telecommunications and wastewater industries—took notice of Meyer’s SIP, the work he performed in Tanzania and his interest in environmental engineering. Now, Meyer will begin life after K in a role that promises more opportunities to improve communities, while he continues to eye the progress he began in Tanzania.

“I promoted this project during my application process and I believe it was a big part of me gaining the position,” Meyer said. “I mentioned the sustainability aspect of it and my potential interest in being an environmental engineer, and they were excited to hear about it. I think it was a huge piece in me getting that position. We took the professional design from the original estimate and implemented it into our own design and enjoyed going abroad while I did it. The people of Tanzania are so welcoming and friendly that I had a great time. I still have some connections with friends I made there including Father Evarist, and I’m still working on aiding him and with anything else that comes up.”

Donations Accepted

Sam Meyer ’21 is continuing to collect donations through GoFundMe that will go toward supporting agricultural efforts including growing crops and teaching other communities about building their own sustainable irrigation systems. Visit his fundraiser to donate.

K Professor’s Book Earns High Rankings Abroad

K President Jorge G. Gonzalez applauds Professor Peter Erdi at Rankings Presentation
Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez applauded Henry R. Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies Peter Erdi when Erdi presented his Lucasse Lecture in 2019, while giving a preview of his book, Ranking: The Hidden Rules of the Social Game We All Play.

If we compiled a list that ranks the coolest things Kalamazoo College faculty members have achieved as authors, Péter Érdi’s latest accomplishment would be on it.

Érdi, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies, wrote the 2019 book Ranking: The Hidden Rules of the Social Game We All Play. The book examines how and why humans rank certain aspects of our lives and how those rankings are viewed.

“We like to see who is stronger, richer, better and more clever,” Érdi said. “Since we humans love lists, are competitive and are jealous of other people, we like ranking. The book applies scientific theories to everyday experience by raising and answering such questions as ‘Are college ranking lists objective?’ ‘How do we rank and rate countries based on their fragility, level of corruption or even happiness?’ ‘How do we find the most relevant web pages?’ and ‘How are employees ranked?’”

The book has already been published in German and Chinese, both with simple and complex characters. Korean and Hungarian translations are in the pipeline. In Japan, however, Érdi’s book is creating the most buzz. Japanese officials have requested additional printings of the book and are negotiating the rights for an e-book.

Adding to that success is that Toyo Keizai, which is a weekly magazine about the Asian economy, and three large daily Japanese newspapers — Asahi, Nikkei and Youmiuri — have published reviews. Kalamazoo College Associate Professor of Japanese Noriko Sugimori notes that newspapers in Japan are extremely important to their society and it’s rare for all three papers to review the same book at the same time.

Youmiuri has a circulation just under 8 million, the largest in the world.

“Nowadays, accountability and transparency are emphasized, and society and companies tilt towards measurement and evaluation based on quantified index, including the use of ranking and pursuit of objectivity,” the Youmiuri review says, according to Sugimori’s translation. “This book touches on challenges of being objective consistently, but it does not deny the effectiveness of quantified index. The author advocates the rule of ‘trust, but carefully,’ and this is exactly the behavior pattern that is required in digital society.”

“Although it may contain something stupid, rankings are convenient in their own ways,” the Asahi review says. “Probably, we will cope with numerical estimations even more. Therefore, the author recommends that one should change the attitude of ‘not caring about evaluations.’ Whether you like it or not, evaluations are something one needs to self-manage. This book delineates such times and people who sustain the times.”

The Nikkei review states: “True rankings need to satisfy the following three requirements: Completeness, asymmetry and transitivity. Aside from a case such as the largest lake in the world, many actual rankings do not satisfy these requirements. Subjective standards intervene. There is a room to manipulate something to get the higher rankings. It is discernment that matters in handling with abundant rankings around them. Therefore, this book focuses on the rules of social games that are called rankings. This book showcases not only theories that are based on the rankings mentioned above, but also findings and discussions from human behaviors, cognition, social psychology, politics and computational neuroscience.”

Érdi has been a prolific researcher with more than 40 publications and two books published since joining Kalamazoo College. In that time, he has given more than 60 invited lectures across the world, and he received the 2018 Florence J. Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship, honoring his contributions in creative work, research and publication. He also has been the editor-in-chief of Cognitive Systems Research and served as a vice president of the International Neural Network Society.

“You can like it or not, but ranking is with us,” he said. “It is not a magic bullet that produces order out of chaos, but it is not the product of some random procedure. We are navigating between objectivity and subjectivity. It’s our very human nature to compare ourselves to others. The question is how to cope with the results of these comparisons. The reader will enjoy the intellectual adventure to understand our difficulties to navigate between objective and subjective and gets help to identify and modify her place in real and virtual communities by combining human and computational intelligence.”

Ranking: The Hidden Rules of the Social Game We All Play is available online through Oxford University Press.

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.

FINE ARTS DIVISION

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

MODERN AND CLASSICAL LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES DIVISION

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

HUMANITIES DIVISION

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

NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS DIVISION

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

SOCIAL SCIENCES DIVISION

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

PHYSICAL EDUCATION DIVISION

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

COLLEGE AWARDS

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.

Mom Inspires Son’s Medical Ambitions

Emergency Medical Technician Brandon Wright
Brandon Wright ’21 is working as an emergency medical technician for Life EMS in Kalamazoo. At age 14, Wright saw his mom endure breast cancer, inspiring him to one day attend medical school and seek a career in medicine.

Imagine, as a 14-year-old child, seeing your mother endure breast cancer. How might that affect you? For Brandon Wright ’21, it prompted him to attend his mom’s chemo and radiation treatments.

“She went through chemo and radiation for a year,” said Wright, a biology major and physics minor from Dexter, Michigan. “I went to her treatments to understand them better. I still remember them like they were yesterday. It was an early moment when I realized that something bigger than me was going on.”

Thankfully, Wright’s mom today is a survivor. And by the time she was cancer-free, her son was inspired to seek a career in medicine. A physical therapist by trade, Mom helped arrange some job shadowing with doctors for Wright during his high school years, and he plans to attend medical school after graduating from Kalamazoo College. In the meantime, Wright is embracing a role as an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Wright trained as an EMT after his first year at K, realizing he would need to spend hands-on time with patients to optimize his chances of getting into medical school. After more than 256 hours of accelerated coursework that summer—and several certification tests and clinical trials afterward—he was offered a part-time job working for Life EMS in Kalamazoo.

“I thought I would do something I knew I would like rather than something I thought I had to do,” Wright said. “The exciting thing is we can get a not-so-serious call, and then, in the next second, all of a sudden we’re called to treat a cardiac arrest. The unpredictable nature of the job keeps me on my toes because at any second, it could be something new.”

Cardiac arrest is among the most serious calls Wright responds to and he remembers the first time he responded to one in March 2019.

“I was still in training and the call was for an 8-year-old boy,” Wright said. “My trainer had me participate in CPR because I was brand new, and that shook me for a while. I’ve probably responded to 10 or more cardiac arrests since then and, thanks to my trainers and partners, I feel I’ve developed the skills and mental capacity to handle them. It’s relatively straight forward for me now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Wright on the job. Ambulance dispatchers began using a code over the radio to let EMTs know when they were responding to a scenario where coronavirus could be present. That typically means Wright and his colleagues wear face shields, gowns and N-95 masks in addition to normal protective standards during the call, and take special steps to wipe down the ambulance and change clothes afterward.

Wright and his colleagues have found coronavirus to especially be a problem in the homeless population in Kalamazoo. With that knowledge, and with additional experiences in responding to emergencies such as gunshot wounds and overdoses, Wright recognizes his privilege as a student, which has fueled his desire to be involved in the community and help others one day as a doctor.

“The biggest thing I’ve realized is how many emergencies there can be anywhere,” he said. “At any time, we might have 10 trucks out just to cover all the emergencies. That’s really opened my eyes to how many people need help. It has confirmed my desire to go into medicine.”

To further his community involvement, Wright in the 2020-21 academic year will serve as a President’s Student Ambassador. The student leaders serve as an extension of President Jorge G. Gonzalez’s hospitality at events and gatherings, welcoming alumni and guests of the College with a spirit of inclusion.

“Many students get caught up in going to school, but there are a lot of ways we can integrate more into the community,” Wright said. “I wanted to be an ambassador because I wanted to bring my experiences to the table to start that conversation about involvement. I also want to hear from alumni about their own K experiences and take those lessons back to other students.”

With the Day of Gracious Living expected soon, along with its traditions including community service, Wright reflected on what he’s been most grateful for in his time at K.

“I think I’m most grateful for the fact that K gave me the opportunity to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador,” he said. “Even further than my community experiences in Kalamazoo, I was able to compare and contrast them on a global level with what I experienced in the lower-income country of Ecuador. Learning about some of their disparities in public health allowed me to recognize some ways that the U.S. system is also failing many. It is no doubt an experience that I will remember and value as I pursue a career in health care.”

The K-Plan teaches students to adapt to the unexpected situations of our ever-changing world. When the Day of Gracious Giving is announced, please make a gift to support K’s robust academic and experiential learning opportunities that help prepare the leaders and problem solvers of tomorrow.

K Professor Addresses Forums in South Africa

Peter Erdi in South Africa
Péter Érdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies at Kalamazoo College, recently spoke at two conferences in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Péter Érdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies at Kalamazoo College, recently visited Johannesburg, South Africa, where he served as the keynote speaker at the sixth International Conference on Soft Computing and Machine Intelligence (ISCMI) and spoke at the Biomath Forum at the University of Pretoria.

The annual ISCMI conference Nov. 19 and 20, organized by the India International Congress on Computational Intelligence (IICCI), presented soft computing and machine intelligence research, and allowed delegates to exchange ideas while finding global partners for collaborations. Soft computing, inspired by the human mind, is an area of computer science that targets possible solutions to complex problems. Machine learning, related to yet different from artificial intelligence, enables a computer system to learn from inputs, rather than only by linear programming. Érdi’s keynote was titled The Reality, Illusion and Manipulation of Objectivity.

The Biomath Forum aids mathematical modeling and qualitative analysis to enable scientific understanding of biological processes. Érdi’s lecture, titled Dynamical Systems and Perspective in Neuroscience–Historical and Current Approaches, addressed systems of learning that use the human brain as a prototype. These systems are possibly uncovering some hidden links between epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Érdi has been a prolific researcher with more than 40 publications and three books published in addition to editing two books since joining K. In that time, he has given more than 60 invited lectures across the world and earned the 2018 Florence J. Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship, honoring his contributions in creative work, research and publication. Visit our website for more information on his career and achievements.

Honors Day Rewards Student Excellence

Honors Day Convocation
More than 250 students including Rebecca Chan ’22 were recognized Friday, Nov. 8, at the Honors Day Convocation at Stetson Chapel.

Family Weekend served as the backdrop for the Honors Day 2019 convocation. More than 250 students were recognized Friday, Nov. 8, for excellence in academics and leadership in six divisions: Fine Arts, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Physical Education. Recipients of prestigious scholarships were recognized, as were members of national honor societies and students who received special Kalamazoo College awards. Student athletes and teams who won Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association awards also were honored. The students receiving Honors Day awards or recognition are listed below.

FINE ARTS DIVISION

Brian Gougeon Prize in Art
Kate Roberts
Beth Schulman
Zoe Zawacki

The Margaret Upton Prize in Music
Sophia Yurdin

Cooper Award
Maria Jensen

Sherwood Prize
Rebecca Chan
Brianna Taylor

Theatre Arts First-Year Student Award
Rebecca Chan

MODERN AND CLASSICAL LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES DIVISION

LeGrand Copley Prize in French
Rebecca Chan
Thomas Saxton

Hardy Fuchs Award
Christian Zeitvogel

Margo Light Award
Daniel Fahle

Romance Languages Department Prize in Spanish
Emiley Hepfner
Hayden Strobel

Clara H. Buckley Prize for Excellence in Latin
Kelly Hansen

Provost’s Prize in Classics
Jessica Chaidez
Annabelle Houghton

Classics Departmental Prize in Greek
Lydia Bontrager

HUMANITIES DIVISION

M. Allen Prize in English
Abigail Cadieux
Jessica Chaidez

John B. Wickstrom Prize in History
Fiona Holmes

Department of Philosophy Prize
Mitch Baty
Julia Bienstock
Emma Fergusson

L.J. and Eva (“Gibbie”) Hemmes Memorial Prize in Philosophy
Max Bogun
Zoe Celeste Schneberger
Nick Wilson

NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS DIVISION

Winifred Peake Jones Prize in Biology
Natalie Barber
Abigail Gray
Madeline Harding
Grace McKnight

Department of Chemistry Prize
Aleksandra Bartolik
Grace McKnight

First-Year Chemistry Award
Robert Barnard
Saudia Tate
Andrew Walsh

Professor Ralph M. Deal Endowed Scholarship for Physical Chemistry Students
Leonardo Sota

Lemuel F. Smith Award
Christopher Vennard

Computer Science Prize
Shruti Chaturvedi
Caroline Skalla

First-Year Mathematics Award
Haley Crabbs
Thomas Saxton
Carter Wade

Thomas O. Walton Prize in Mathematics
Lisa Johnston
Dahwi Kim
Samuel Ratliff

Cooper Prize in Physics
Revaz Bakuradze
Samuel Barczy
Kate Roberts

SOCIAL SCIENCES DIVISION

Departmental Prize in Anthropology and Sociology
Yuridia Campuzano
Mauricio Guillén
Jillian Lynk

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Economics
Rebekah Halley
Chaniya Miller

William G. Howard Memorial Prize
Georgie Andrews
Jade Jiang
Zachary Ray
Adam Snider

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Business
Nathan Micallef
Sage Ringsmuth

Irene and S. Kyle Morris Prize
Mihail Naskovski

William G. Howard Memorial Prize in Political Science
Ava Keller
Christian Zeitvogel

PHYSICAL EDUCATION DIVISION

Division of Physical Education Prize
Walker Chung
Kaytlyn Tidey

Maggie Wardle Prize
Darby Scott

COLLEGE AWARDS

Gordon Beaumont Memorial Award
Yasamin Shaker

Henry and Inez Brown Prize
Mya Gough
Mathew Holmes-Hackerd
Rosella LoChirco
Elizabeth Munoz
Erin Radermacher

Virginia Hinkelman Memorial Award
Jilia Johnson

HEYL SCHOLARS
Class of 2023

Samuel Ankley
Ben Behrens (’20)
Carter Eisenbach
Rachel Kramer
Rachel Lanting
Alexis Nesbitt
Suja Thakali
Elizabeth Wang

POSSE SCHOLARS
Class of 2023

Jayla Ekwegh
Naile Garcia
Devin Hunt
Juan Ibarra
Angel Ledesma
Milan Levy
Katharina Padilla
Milagros Robelo
Emilio Romo
Diego Zambrana

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS
Class of 2023

Donald Brown
Claire Kvande

VOYNOVICH SCHOLARS

Audrey Honig
Nikoli Nickson

ALPHA LAMBDA DELTA
CLASS OF 2022

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.

Elizabeth Abel
McKenzi Baker
Natalie Barber
Samuel Barczy
Aleksandra Bartolik
Mitchell Baty
Julia Bienstock
Alexander Bowden
Haylee Bowsher
Irie Browne
Elizabeth Burton
Abigail Cadieux
Rebecca Chan
Gabriel Chung
Haley Crabbs
Sofia Diaz
Adam Dorstewitz
Imalia Drummond
Daniel Fahle
Emma Fergusson
Kaitlin Gandy
Levon Gibson
Jessica Gracik
Madeline Guimond
Emiley Hepfner
Ellie Jones
Joseph Jung
David Kent
Yung Seo Lee
Marissa Lewinski
Donna Li
Isabella Luke
Deven Mahanti
Clara Martinez-Voigt
Mihail Naskovski
Rushik Patel
Houston Peach
Anthony Peraza
Lucas Rizzolo
Marco Savone
Isabella Shansky-Genovese
Caroline Skalla
Emily Smith
Abby Stewart
Emily Tenniswood
Carter Wade
Samantha White
Zachary Worthing
Christian Zeitvogel

ENLIGHTENED LEADERSHIP AWARDS

Performing Arts: Music
Marilu Bueno
John Carlson
Emily Dudd
Sarma Ejups
Peter Fitzgerald
Rose Hannan
Garrett Hanson
Koshiro Kuroda
Milan Levy
Matthew Mueller
Clarice Ray

MIAA AWARDS

These teams earned the 2018-2019 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 2018-2019

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.

Hayleigh Alamo
Georgie Andrews
Hunter Angileri
Lauren Arquette
Brooklyn Avery
Julia Bachmann
Sonal Bahl
Nicole Bailey
Lillian Baumann
Brad Bez
Rose Bogard
Jacob Bonifacio
Maria Bonvicini
Alexander Bowden
Molly Brueger
Jane Bunch
Pierce Burke
Alexander Cadigan
Gabriel Chung
Isabelle Clark
Noah Coplan
Rachel Cornell
Chase Coselman
Eva Deyoung
Alexis Dietz
Adam Dorstewitz
Amanda Dow
Sydney Dowdell
Thomas Fales
Colton Farley
Anders Finholt
Clifton Foster
Jakob Frederick
Brendan Gausselin
Sarah George
Jacob Gilhaus
Anthony Giovanni
Rachel Girard
Sophia Goebel
Preston Grossling
Garrett Guthrie
Rebekah Halley
Emily Hamel
Grace Hancock
Megan Heft
Alyssa Heitkamp
Mathew Holmes-Hackerd
Matthew Howrey
Benjamin Hyndman
Samantha Jacobsen
Benjamin Johanski
Jaylin Jones
Jackson Jones
Claire Kalina
Grace Karrip
Lucas Kastran
Maria Katrantzi
Greg Kearns
Jackson Kelly
Brandon Kramer
Benjamin Krebs
Matthew Krinock
Stefan Leclerc
Kathryn Levasseur
Rosella LoChirco
Molly Logsdon
Nicholas Ludka
Andrea MacMichael
Rachel Madar
Deven Mahanti
Cydney Martell
Samuel Matthews
Eliza McCall
Benjamin Meschke
Hannah Meyers
Nathan Micallef
Zachary Morales
Max Moran
Amanda Moss
Elizabeth Munoz
Kelly Nickelson
Nikoli Nickson
Ian Nostrant
Drew Novetsky
Michael Orwin
Dylan Padget
Paul Pavliscak
Calder Pellerin
Anthony Peraza
Erin Perkins
Eve Petrie
Zach Prystash
Daniel Qin
Erin Radermacher
Harrison Ramsey
Zachary Ray
Jordan Reichenbach
Benjamin Reiter
Lucas Rizzolo
Margaret Roberts
Scott Roberts
Lily Rogowski
Marco Savone
Ashley Schiffer
Nicholas Schneider
Justin Schodowski
Darby Scott
Justin Seablom
Sharif Shaker
Drew Sheckell
Nathan Silverman
Maya Srkalovic
Abby Stewart
Grant Stille
Shelby Suseland
Garrett Swanson
Jacob Sypniewski
Nina Szalkiewicz
Jack Tagget
Leah Tardiff
Emily Tenniswood
Cade Thune
Matt Turton
Madison Vallan
Zachary Van Faussien
Travis Veenhuis
Tejas Vettukattil
Vanessa Vigier
Maija Weaver
Megan Williams
Hannah Wolfe
Sophia Woodhams
Austin Yunker
Christian Zeitvogel

K Professor Serves Neural Networks Conference as Honorary Chairman

Neural Networks Conference Honorary Chairman Peter Erdi
Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez applauded International Joint Conference on Neural Networks Honorary Chairman Peter Erdi when Erdi presented his Lucasse Lecture this spring.

Peter Erdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies at Kalamazoo College, served as the honorary chairman of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in July. The conference, with 850 participants in Budapest, Hungary, aimed to build bridges between theories of biological and artificial neural networks, sometimes referred to as natural and computational intelligence respectively.

Artificial neural networks are a set of algorithms, inspired by functions found in the human brain, that recognize patterns. Such systems learn to perform tasks by considering examples, through processes such as image recognition, for example. The networks might learn about those images to identify similar images, then label them and organize them.

The conference featured plenary talks from world-renowned speakers in neural network theory and applications, computational neuroscience, and robotics and distributed intelligence. Along with poster presentations, the conference included special sessions, competitions, tutorials and workshops.

“The conference was a big success in many respects,” Erdi said, noting commendations he received from colleagues applauding the conference, the city of Budapest and the organizers.

Erdi received the 2018 Florence J. Lucasse Fellowship for Excellence in Scholarship. It is the highest award bestowed by the Kalamazoo College faculty, and it honors the recipient’s contributions in creative work, research and publication. His Lucasse Lecture was titled “Ranking: The Hidden Rules of the Social Game We All Play” after a nonfiction book he has in production. The book examines how and why humans rank certain aspects of our lives and how those rankings are viewed.

Erdi has been a prolific researcher with more than 40 publications and two books published since joining Kalamazoo College. In that time, he has given more than 60 invited lectures across the world. He is also serving as the editor-in-chief of Cognitive Systems Research and as a vice president of the International Neural Network Society.

Support for Erdi’s research program has come from varied sources such as collaborative National Science Foundation awards, NASA, the Hungarian National Research Council, Pharmacia, Pfizer and the European Integrated Project grant program. He has also helped to establish a popular study abroad program in his native homeland of Budapest, Hungary, where he holds a research professor position at the Wigner Research Centre for Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.