First Full-Day mlk celebration at Bryn Mawr Offers Reflection and Opportunities for Service icon

First Full-Day mlk celebration at Bryn Mawr Offers Reflection and Opportunities for Service


January 17, 2008

First Full-Day MLK Celebration at Bryn Mawr
Offers Reflection and Opportunities for Service

Although classes will not be in session on Monday, Jan. 21, the Bryn Mawr campus will be far from quiet during its first full-day celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Since President Nancy J. Vickers announced in November that the College had rescheduled the first day of classes in honor of the holiday, a committee of staff and faculty members has been hard at work creating a program of activities that invite members of the community to put King's ideals into practice.

"Although it is a holiday for staff members, the College made the decision to treat this as a day of activity," said Dean Chuck Heyduk.

Director of Intercultural Affairs Christopher MacDonald-Dennis was pleased with this decision. "I am thrilled that there will be no classes because this is an opportunity for us as a community to come together and celebrate Dr. King's life. Most importantly, we reflect on how much of his vision has been actualized and can hopefully recommit to finishing the vision he had of a just society," he said.

Bryn Mawr Dining Services will offer meals on a slightly modified schedule, and students as well as members of the faculty and staff are being encouraged to take part in one or more of a variety of activities. Download a schedule here.

Among the offerings are several opportunities to engage in community service, both on and off campus. There will also be a "service fair" featuring representatives of agencies that serve the local community and hope to recruit longer-term commitments from volunteers, says Civic Engagement Office Co-Director Ellie Esmond. 

"Our office is happy to offer service opportunities for the day," says Esmond, "but our overall focus is on developing lasting, reciprocal relationships with our partner agencies.  We're excited about this opportunity to introduce these opportunities to faculty and staff as well as students."

One off-campus opportunity will take advantage of the College's relationship with the Main Line Martin Luther King Society, which traditionally hosts a Sunday program in Goodhart Theater (see related story). The Society's Monday-morning programming at Cooperstown Elementary School is open to faculty and staff members and their families.

On campus, a new program inspired by NPR's popular Story Corps, will establish "an intimate space where community members can share their experiences, hopes, and dreams relating to civil rights and social justice," says Vanessa Christman, program coordinator in Intercultural Affairs.

Faculty Chair Liz McCormack has organized a panel discussion of King's continuing impact on education. The panel will include Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Kalala Ngalamulume, Professor of Sociology Mary Osirim, Professor of Sociology Bob Washington, and Professor of Chemistry Susan White. They will be leading a discussion of Dr. King's legacy and how it has shaped and continues to shape academic work in their research areas of history, science, and sociology.

Jackie Fleming '08 will lead a workshop on injustice in the prison system. Alice Lesnick of the College's Teaching and Learning Initiative will screen the documentary ^ Women of Summer, which focuses on the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry that Bryn Mawr hosted in the 1920s, and lead a discussion of the College's social-justice legacy and its relationship to efforts on campus today.

An interfaith gathering and dessert in the Campus Center Main Lounge will round out the day.

The committee developed the programming with the help of a survey of community members.

"This is a transitional year for us," says Civic Engagement Office Co-Director Nell Anderson. "Because we've never offered a full day of programming before, we aren't sure what the turnout will be like. The responses to this year's activities will help us begin planning for next year, and we'll be keeping our eyes and ears open to suggestions. "

For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact the Civic Engagement Office at x6591.

^ Main Line MLK Association to Honor Vickers, Holland
|During Annual Celebration This Sunday

Bryn Mawr College President Nancy J. Vickers; Wendell F. Holland, chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; and the organization "Men in Action" are being honored at this year's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day program hosted by the Main Line Martin Luther King Association in conjunction with Bryn Mawr College.

The program, to be followed by a reception, will be held in Goodhart Hall at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20. Admission is free and open to the public.

The event will be emceed by NBC-10 reporter Monique Braxton and feature guest speaker Bilal Abdul Qayyum, Economic Development Administrator for the Department of Commerce of the City of Philadelphia, president of the Father's Day Rally Committee, and co-chair of Men United for a Better Philadelphia.

Entertainment will include performances by the Main Line Interdenominational Choir and the Bryn Mawr Mainliners. The winners of the Main Line MLK Association's 2007-08 academic collegiate scholarship will be recognized.

Vickers will be stepping down as president of Bryn Mawr College on June 30 after leading the College for 11 years. During her tenure, the College has substantially increased its recruitment of students of color. Vickers was recently honored by the Posse Foundation for her support of that program, which began partnering with the College in 2001. The Posse program allows a group of about 10 students recruited from Boston public schools to attend Bryn Mawr each year on full scholarships. Vickers has also been an outspoken supporter of affirmative-action policies in admissions and worked to increase cross-cultural communication on campus.

Holland is a former judge and has held several executive positions throughout his career. He has served on the board of several Main Line organizations, including the Agnes Irwin School and the Bryn Mawr Trust. His professional and volunteer efforts have been recognized by many groups, including Rutgers Law School, which awarded him the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Champions for Justice and Equality Award, and the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Chapter, which presented him the 2007 Whitney M. Young Service Award.

Men in Action is a local group created several years ago to share issues and concerns of importance to African-American men. The group is devoted to self-empowerment, and creating a positive presence in the neighborhood. Its outreach activities have included a Sunday-afternoon father-and-son baseball program, a father/son and men-and-boys swim time at the Ardmore Ave. Pool, Saturday community clean-ups, and trips to local sporting events. Men in Action currently provides a mentoring program for middle-school boys that meets twice a month to enhance self-esteem, encourage academic excellence, and introduce them to activities outside of the neighborhood.

Thanks to theories of relativity, science has developed ways to explain the relationships among energy, gravity, and mass, and with the rise of quantum physics, we have gotten a glimpse into the workings of subatomic particles. These hypotheses and laws have proven extraordinarily useful in expanding humankind's understanding of the universe and of the individual parts that the universe comprises.

There's just one problem.

"It's for some of the most interesting questions that you don't have this nice separation between relativity and quantum mechanics," says Bryn Mawr theoretical physicist Michael B. Schulz. "What is the earliest history of the universe? What are black holes, really? What is matter made up of at its most fundamental level? Are the elementary particles fundamental or is there something else that's more fundamental? These are, I think, the most exciting questions."


Relativity is concerned with gravitational forces, and applies to more sizable bodies, while quantum mechanical theory describes the interplay among individual particles, the tiniest bits of matter yet discovered. Applying the former to the latter produces contradictory results. Reconciling these incompatible theories to explain all matter and forces in the universe in a uniform way is the goal of string theory, Schulz's primary research interest.

"We don't have a consistent theory that explains all observations," says Schulz, who joined the College in 2007 as an assistant professor of physics. "The minimum goal of string theory is to incorporate everything that has been explained, all the successes of those other theories, into one consistent theory."

String theory is an approach to quantum gravity in which the "point particles" of elementary particle physics—fundamental to all matter and all forces—are replaced by small vibrating strings.

"An electron, if you look at it very closely, is just a small vibrating string, vibrating in one particular way. A photon, the quantum of light, if you look at it really closely, is a little string vibrating in a different way. Everything is made up of strings in string theory," Schulz says. "There is every indication that this modification cures the short-distance problem of quantum field theory plus general relativity in a consistent way."

A big challenge for string theory is that for realistic particle physics to be extracted from it, the theory must account for six unknown dimensions. In applying string theory and its applications to quantum field theory, cosmology, and particle physics, much of Schulz's work seeks to broaden the understanding of "compactifications," the condensation of these theoretical dimensions to help explain in a more realistic way the physics of the four known dimensions of height, width, depth, and time. Within the framework of string theory, Schulz is interested in constructing a consistent gravitational quantum theory encompassing an extension of the standard model of particle physics together with general relativity at sufficiently large distances.

"The different solutions of string theory lead to different quantum field theories," Schulz says. "My work seeks to generalize the toolbox through which realistic quantum field theories like the standard model and its extensions can ultimately be realized as large-distance limits of string-theory solutions."


Prior to Bryn Mawr, Schulz pursued postdoctoral research at Caltech and the University of Pennsylvania, and held positions at the Linear Accelerator Center and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stanford University, where he obtained his Ph.D. A small liberal-arts college might seem an odd choice after so many years at large research universities, but Schulz has found Bryn Mawr to be an excellent fit.

"Bryn Mawr is a unique place," he says. "As a liberal arts college that takes research very, very seriously, it has graduated an impressive number of women who go on to get Ph.D.s in physics. That was very attractive. The physics department faculty members have a terrific research record. It's also a very nurturing place, and I wanted to be part of the close personal interaction between faculty members and students that Bryn Mawr is known for. That was something I was not finding on the same level at research institutions."

It is not hard to see why Schulz was drawn to the College. As immersed as he is in the highly arcane and technical details of his discipline, there is something of the philosopher underneath his empirical exterior. In a specialty packed with data and driven by the search for quantitative evidence, Schulz seeks "an interpretive, qualitative understanding, which perhaps is just as exciting" as the models physics has provided to explain the world's workings.

"What I hope to accomplish is to better understand some of these great mysteries of the natural world," he says. "What was the physics of the earliest universe? What exactly are the building blocks? For the progress of science, I hope to contribute to making connections between string theory and observable physics. Despite the fact that string theory has been around for 25 years, there are some very basic things that we still don't really understand.

"If you're got a finite amount of time here on earth to learn the mysteries of the universe," Schulz adds, "it seems to me the most attractive pursuit is to seek answers to the most fundamental questions."

^ Owls Defeat Rival Haverford in Hoops Overtime

The Owls picked up their first Centennial Conference win of the season with a 54-47 overtime victory over rival Haverford Tuesday night in Schwartz Gymnasium.

Leading the way for Bryn Mawr was junior co-captain Jessica Allen with her game-high of 29 points and team-high 12 rebounds. In addition to Allen's sixth double-double of the season, she had a team-high two blocked shots and four assists. Sophomore Shanika Bridges-King netted 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while classmate Caroline Heffernan posted a game-high five steals.

Bryn Mawr took a 28-27 lead into the half, but the Fords battled back in the second, tying the game with 1:15 remaining on a Brittany Lattisaw free throw. In the extra frame, Bryn Mawr's Katie Driscoll '08 made the first bucket from beyond the arch at 3:23, securing the Owls their first conference win of the season. Lattisaw netted the Fords' lone basket of the overtime period with 10 seconds left.

The Owls outshot the Fords 37 percent to 31 percent for the game despite being outrebounded 49-45. Free-throw shooting proved to be the downfall for both teams as the Owls shot 31 percent(6-17) while Haverford did not connect on a shot from the charity stripe all night (0-7).

For Haverford, Lattisaw bucketed a team-high 20 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Erica Juliano and Sara Cram both hit double digits with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Lattisaw recorded a game-high five blocked shots.

Bryn Mawr improves to 4-9 overall and 1-6 in conference action as Haverford falls to 3-9 overall and 0-6 in Centennial play. The Owls return to the hardwood on Thursday as they host Dickinson at 7 p.m. in Schwartz Gymnasium.

^ Fall Sports Wrap-Up

As the fall season wound to a close, several Owls scored points and earned honors. A brief recap:

Cross Country
The year was capped off with a 21st place finish at the NCAA Division III Regional race. Junior Katie Weng led the Owls with her 41st finish out of 249 runners. Giovanna Hayward '08, Julia Lustick '09, Kyla Quillin '08, Jessica Varney '10, and Weng were all named to the 2007 Centennial Conference Honor Roll. To be eligible for this award, a student must be a starter or key reserve on the team, a sophomore or higher in class standing, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher.

^ Field Hockey
The Owls finished the season 2-12 with wins over Hood College (1-0) and Smith College (1-0). Bryn Mawr defeated Smith in double overtime in the opening game of the annual Seven Sisters Tournament. Sophomore Caroline Heffernan netted the game’s lone goal at 96:29 to give the Owls their second win of the season. Ashley Dawkins '08 and Laura Alexander '11 each registered goals on the year. In the gage, Caitlin Evans '10 posted 152 saves, making her the conference leader in saves and saves per game (11.69). Evans and Sarah Marcus were named to the 2007 Centennial Conference Honor Roll.

Sara Matteson '11 was named All-Centennial Conference Second team for her hard work and dedication on the field. She totaled one goal and an assists on the year but lead the Owls defensively with quick reactions and smart play. Leading Bryn Mawr with nine points (four goals and 1 assist) was senior Wallis Romzek '08. Emily Wiseman '11was second on the team with 7 points (two goals and three assists) while Akua Nyame-Mensah '10 boasted six points (three goals). Four Owls posted two goals, while four more registered 1 goal. Collette Pullion '09, ranked third in the conference in saves (124) and saves per game (7.29), posted three shutouts and will return next year for her senior campaign. Zoe Fuller-Young '08, Romzek, Stephanie Vrakas '10 and Krystin Wessner '08 earned Centennial Honor Roll accolades.  Bryn Mawr finished the year 5-11-1 and ended the season with a 1-0 win over Washington.

The volleyball team ended its 2007 season on a high note as it defeated both Rowan University and Delaware Valley College 3-2 at the Rowan Tri-Match. Leading the Owls this year was Julia Harris '09 with 326 kills, 28 aces, and 81 total blocks. Emma Wisniewski-Barker '11 dished out 6,087 assists and 21 aces and tallied 255 digs as Katie Kronbergs '08 totaled 164 kills, 16 blocks, and 14 aces. Ashton Shaffer '11 and Elizabeth Sinclair '09 each registered 30 aces. Shaffer also added 380 digs, while Sinclair led the team with 405 digs in addition to 186 kills. Christina Avgerinos '09, Hannah Davis '10, Sinclair, and Katheryn Solook '10 were all named to the Centennial Conference Honor Roll. The Owls finished 10-15 on the season.

The rugby team finished third at the DIII National Tournament held at Stonehill College in Boston, Mass. The Bryn Mawr-Haverford Horned Toads lost 10-15 to Marist College in the semifinals before blanking Canisius 10-0 in the third-place game. The Toads were named the EPRU (Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union) Champions while going 6-0 during league play. The Toads finished the season 7-1 and look forward to what the spring schedule has in store for them.

All-Conference in Sportsmanship
Ashley Dawkins '08 (field hockey), Katie Kronbergs '08 (volleyball), Maggie Lloyd '10 (cross country) and Sarah Simons '08 (soccer) were all named to the 2007 Fall All-Centennial Conference Sportsmanship team.  This award recognizes those athletes who exemplify the best in sportsmanship on their team that season.

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