Fall 2014

Issue Archives


50 Years of Effort to Move A Campus Culture

Kevin Hannahoe ’07 was serving as academic liaison for the Student Government Association (SGA) in the 2004-05 academic year when he submitted a petition on behalf of the association to make the study of diversity a curriculum requirement. The Reading, Pa., native, then a sophomore, met with Provost and Dean of the Faculty Linda McMillin to explain the students’ concerns.

Two Worlds Becoming One

Su “Sandi” Aung ’13 grew up in the second capital city of Yangon (formally Rangoon) in the country of Myanmar (formally Burma). A former British colony, the Southeast Asian country has struggled with its national identity-and therefore, its name-for the better part of a century. Even present-day maps refer to the country by both names. But when it came time for college, Aung was fixed on another part of the globe-the United States, and specifically the East Coast.

Finding Direction Off the Beaten Path

As counterintuitive as it sounds, New York is reported to be one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. Just ask Nadia McCallum ’15, a Brooklyn native who sees the effects of this division every time she goes home. In fact, it’s been a driving factor in her professional pursuits.

Blind But Never in the Dark

Squint until your eyes are nearly closed. Your surroundings blur, your peripheral vision narrows. Now imagine seeing the obscured shapes around you in black and white-mere shadows coming and going from your field of vision. This is how Griffin Pinkow ’15 sees the world.

Leaving A Lasting Impression

When Theresa Palmer ’73 Tracy enrolled at Susquehanna University, a mere five years after the Civil Rights Act was signed and just one year after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., little did she know that she’d be blazing a trail that would ultimately create a lasting legacy for her on campus. As the first African-American woman to graduate from Susquehanna, Tracy has an almost legendary allure to today’s students thanks to the Theresa Palmer Society, founded by students in 2006 to bring women of color together to foster personal transformation and intercultural engagement.

Becoming a Force for Change

In the early 1980s, there were few interracial, bilingual students on the campus of Susquehanna University. Being a singular figure on a campus primarily consisting of “sameness” was difficult for a young girl from a small island in the Caribbean.

Shaping Cultural Competence

Although he calls Newark, N.J., home, Johnny Culver ’15 was more prepared for small-town living than one might think. He was somewhat eased into the idea after attending high school at Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School in the northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Kingston. Although somewhat more bustling than Selinsgrove, Kingston is pretty similar in size and demographic make-up. So, ironically, it wasn’t the rural setting or mostly homogenous population to which Culver had to adjust when he arrived at Susquehanna. His biggest challenge was learning to manage his time-an ageless challenge felt by nearly every college student at one point or another.

Teaching Tolerance

Students often gasp when Rabbi Kate Palley says the word “Jew” for the first time in her Introduction to Judaism class. “They’ve never heard it used in a nonderogatory fashion,” she says.

Finding a Home in a Foreign Land

Like most students, Mouluddin “Dean” Rahimi ’10 was nervous about going away to college. Naturally, he was apprehensive about relating to new people and fitting in, especially since he would be living on an American college campus. So he turned to Dale Carnegie and his 1936 bestseller, How to Make Friends and Influence People. He read the book three times before leaving his homeland for the United States. But the one thing Carnegie didn’t need to teach him was how to deal with the unexpected. That was a life lesson he had learned long ago as a child in Afghanistan.

Community Support Eases Transition

Annika Miller, Ph.D., came to Susquehanna in fall 2000 to teach math and computer science. A native Pennsylvanian who had been teaching at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., she returned with her partner, Kelly, their oldest son, and their second son on the way.

Also in this issue

Madeleine Rhyneer, a 36-year veteran in college admission, was appointed Susquehanna’s vice president for enrollment and marketing in March. Since then, she has been refining the university’s admission and financial aid operations to attract the best and brightest to Susquehanna’s doorstep. Susquehanna Currents recently talked with Rhyneer about her new role and how Susquehanna is faring in the competitive world of college admissions.

America: the melting pot. Or is it more like a salad bowl? American culture is a mosaic of different peoples and personalities. It is a culture of diversity.
Getting Americans to agree on political issues is difficult-sometimes even impossible. Getting Americans to agree on their frustration with politicians-well, that’s a much easier task. While we may not give such political disdain a second thought, Assistant Professor of Political Science Todd Makse does. His research explores the way the public views politicians. Particularly, he has studied the public’s expectations of legislative representatives and whether or not those expectations are reasonable.
No traditional map of the United States can accurately illustrate the geographic isolation of Hawaii. According to the National Park Service, the Hawaiian archipelago is the most remote island group on Earth, roughly 2,400 miles from California, its closest continental landmass, located about the same distance as Los Angeles is from New York City.
Admit it. When you play the lottery you don’t really think you’ll win. Deep down you know the odds are stacked against you. That, too, is the likely mindset of those who register to be bone marrow donors, as members of the Susquehanna community did last spring for the football team’s Be the Match bone marrow registry drive.
Susquehanna’s athletics program has boasted nearly 70 All-Americans over the course of its history. Eight of those All-Americans have been javelin throwers, all but two of whom received All-America status since 1998. This spring, two more javelin All-Americans were added to the list, Jared Minori ’15 and Gabby Alguire ’17.
For the second time in three years and the third in the last seven, Susquehanna University won the Landmark Conference President’s Cup, following the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.
Congratulations to seven former student-athletes who were inducted into Susquehanna’s Sports Hall of Fame during Homecoming-Reunion Weekend. The newest members are Kim Anderson ’02 (women’s soccer), Hugh Leahy ’01 (men’s golf), John Lunardi ’09 (football and baseball), Tom Lyons ’71 (football), Bruce Merklinger ’87 (men’s basketball), Megan Patrono ’03 (field hockey and track & field) and Randy Zook ’01 (football), who was inducted posthumously. The 2014 class was inducted during a banquet on Nov. 14.
Susquehanna University students in the Sigmund Weis School of Business’ London Program visited Bahrain in the spring to meet with Tim Murray ’93, CEO of Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), one of the largest aluminum smelters in the world. The group, comprising 24 students, along with Marsha Kelliher, dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business; Jerry Habegger, associate professor of accounting; and Ali Haji-Mohamad Zadeh, professor of finance and chair of the management department, toured Bahrain for five days.
Part of the college experience is learning to ask your own questions, but sometimes it takes more than a Google search to find the answers. Susquehanna provides students with many opportunities to answer their own questions and grow as research professionals. In the past year Susquehanna faculty members have received prestigious grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to pursue their research with the help of students.
Five members of the Susquehanna University community have been honored with Fulbright scholarships for 2014-15. Three of this year’s winners are from the recently graduated Class of 2014-Kirstin Waldkoenig, Nicole Powers and Andrew Budsock-while Ariana Stowe and Jackie Newell are members of the Class of 2013. This brings Susquehanna’s total number of Fulbright award winners to eight in the past two years, a distinction that ranks the university among the top liberal arts colleges for Fulbright placement rate in Pennsylvania and in the top 5 percent of all schools nationally.
The 86-year-old Blough-Weis Library underwent major renovations this summer to create more flexible and individual work areas and group instruction space. The library’s last major renovation was in 1989; since then, the nature of student research has changed dramatically. Much of the work students do is no longer paper-based or solitary.

From Our Own

First Word

Building a Campus Community

End Notes

For students, fall is always the best time of the year. It marks the beginning of a new academic year, providing the opportunity to renew friendships with fall colors, Homecoming and parties on the horizon. Fifty such fall seasons ago, I stepped onto the Susquehanna campus to begin my college career with the Class of 1968. Four seemingly fast years later, I departed with my degree but also with a bit of notoriety as the first African-American graduate of Susquehanna University.