The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: February 2013 (Page 1 of 4)

“New” face on campus: An interview with Father Paul Dumais, Bates’ Catholic chaplain

The Bates Student: Tell us a little bit about youfather paul picr upbringing and your educational/vocational background?

FP: I grew up in Maine’s most northern town: Madawaska. Madawaska is a small border town on the St. John River at the northern tip of Aroostook County (what Mainers call “The County”). I graduated from MHS and attend Franciscan University in Ohio where I studied in a cross disciplinary program and graduated with a B.A. in Theology. I worked on a farm for three years: the farm in Kansas was devoted to organically raised open pollenated varieties of wheat, corn and milo. I also raised large gardens and learned to drive a tractor on a conventional wheat and corn farm. I taught middle school for a year before entering St. John’s Seminary. While in Boston from 1999-2004 I earned a M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College as well as completing the academic requirements (M.A. in Theology) and pastoral internship requirements at the seminary before being ordained in May of 2004.

BS: What brought you back to your home state of Maine?

FP: After high school I lived and worked in a few locations and always felt a strong pull back to Maine: its natural beauty, people, places and seasonal rhythms seemed to be embedded in my psyche. When I made the decision to study as a priest for the Diocese of Portland, I was also making the commitment to live and work in Maine because the diocese and the state are coextensive and I could be asked to serve anywhere in Maine. I try to maintain an active lifestyle in my free time by enjoying sports that correspond to the season; for example, Nordic skiing in the winter and hiking in the late winter and early spring; cycling and camping the spring and summer. You might be surprised to discover that I am in the middle of restoring a 1973 VW bus which has turned out to be an adventure!

BS: What motivated you to pursue priesthood?

FP: One key moment was when I was in Denver, CO for an international youth pilgrimage and I took to heart the words of Pope John Paul II who prayed that young people: “Would have the courage to give a definitive ‘yes’ to the service of God.”

BS: I understand you also work at Central Maine Medical Center? How do you split your time between the hospital and Bates? What is the nature of the work you do at CMMC?

FP: Together with my time at Bates, I work at CMMC as the Catholic priest-chaplain which allows me the opportunity to visit with patients and families as I make daily visits to Catholic patients. Often my conversations are cordial and marked by empathy and encouragement; many times I have the opportunity to offer patients Holy Communion or the Sacrament of the Sick, which is a special anointing and prayer for those who are seriously ill or infirm due to age. A great many times I am edified by the deep faith of people facing suffer with peace and courage. Half my week is spent at CMMC and other time is split between Bates, where I wish I could be more often, and parish responsibilities. I lovingly describe my time as split between the aged and infirm on the one hand and the young and vivacious on the other.

BS: I believe you’ve worked on college campuses before. What draws you to this kind of a community?

FP: College-aged students are in the midst of discovering their vocation in the Church and the world and I consider it an important time to walk among you as a kind of older brother willing to offer my perspective as a disciple of Jesus in the company of young people assimilating the faith offered them by their families. I find the hope and generosity of young people an inspiration to me and a challenge to keep striving to live an authentic life measured by the love of God and neighbor.

BS: What are your impressions of Bates thus far?

FP: I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bates since arriving in August. I have been personally grateful for my welcome by the Multi-faith chaplaincy and staff (Bill, Emily, and Liana). I have found the students to be friendly, considerate and respectful. My interaction with faculty and staff has been cordial and I applaud the sense of mission and professionalism I have observed. My interaction with the Catholic students would make any parent proud and is a source of deep gratitude for the generosity of young people who have “their feet firmly planted on the earth and their hearts and minds raised to heaven.”

BS: How do you hope the Catholic Program at Bates will grow? What do you envision over the next several years?

FP: I am very encouraged by our attempt to reintroduce Mass on Campus at the Peter J. Gomes chapel. I hope this effort will grow and develop. I hope that I will be able to meet students “on their own turf” in order to hear their questions and hopes. I hope that my interaction with students would be characterized by the virtues of a true friendship. I truly hope that Catholic students at Bates would develop as much religiously as they are intellectually and socially. In particular, the compatibility of faith and reason is a challenge that can be met by young Catholics in a way that is both a source of personal growth as well as formation for a lasting contribution to every sector of noble human activity. I urge young Catholics at Bates and all to hear and respond to the appeal of Blessed Mother Teresa: “Make of your life something beautiful for God.”

Warm Bodies gives the vampire genre a run for its money

Got brains? Warm Bodies, directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, is a zombie romantic comedy based on the book by Isaac Marion, the creator of the genre that at least seems a bit more heart-warming than the Twilight series.

A lonely and conflicted zombie named “R” (Hoult) lives the life of the living dead in an abandoned airport with his fellow zombies in a post-apocalyptic world. R is conflicted about his diet of human brains, and, much like a pre-apocalyptic cave man, wonders if there isn’t something more to existence then wandering about aimlessly grunting. He fills his airplane-turned-apartment with eclectic tokens of humanity, including an antique collection of old records, which he uses to fill his lonely days with music and meaning.

On the human side of the film’s species spectrum, people are hunkered down inside their city fortification on a constant search for a cure to the zombie infection and a way to combat the spreading attacks of “bonies” (ruthless zombies who have lost all hope and what is left of their souls).

Things start to change when R rescues Julie (Palmer) from a zombie attack on her excursion party. Predictably, as R and Julie are dealing with attacking zombies, things don’t go so well for them. Having eaten the brains of Julie’s boyfriend, R thinks his first date with Julie could have gone a little smoother.

This is, of course, because eating human brains gives zombies flashes of their victims’ memories and emotions which keep them sustained. From eating Julie’s boyfriend’s grey matter, R comes to know more about Julie, with whom he is rapidly falling in love. R then hides her away in his airplane (what’s a lovestruck zombie to do?), where he makes his best efforts to be human. Out of their young love for one another, Julie and R become the key to the cure that starts to reverse the apocalypse, and bodies start warming up.

Warm Bodies is an endearing, albeit quirky story of a love that saves the world. What the script at times lacks in imagination it makes up for with pitch-perfect comedic timing. Hoult’s brilliantly acted awkward tenderness brings his character to life (literally). His face-forward, honest attempts to be acceptable to Julie are touching and reminiscent of all those moments in life when connecting with others (especially romantically) can be nerve-racking and beautiful at the same time.

Palmer’s performance as Julie, while not as deep and multidimensional as Hoult’s (after all, she’s only human), is one of a tough chick with underlying sensitivity as her feelings develop into a steadfast belief in R.

Warm Bodies avoids the potential clichés of its genre by utilizing a fresh approach,” praises Cole Christine, an independent Maine filmmaker.

The 80s retro-vibe soundtrack to the film is catchy and fun, with such songs as John Waite’s 1984 classic Missing You. The ghoulish zombie make-up is not over-the-top, and the level of gore, while necessarily present, is minimal.

Although special effects proliferate throughout the film, Warm Bodies, unlike many new movie releases, doesn’t over-emphasize production values; it focuses instead on the storyline and character relationships. The supporting actors maintained standards on par with the leads, including Julie’s likable best friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton) and her militaristic father, played by John Malkovich.

“I thought it was a really cute twist on Romeo and Juliet,” remarked Lauren Halligan, a Lewiston High School student.

“It was really funny,” says Angel Gendron, another student at the high school. “There were a lot of ‘awww!’ moments, but it was also a movie guys could go see without being dragged along by their girlfriends.”

Warm Bodies is not a Twilight-style chick-flick. It has elements of romance, comedy, and action films all wrapped up into a funky, zombie-ish message of finding love in odd places and using it to rescue humanity from the brink. This zombie reel is a feel-good movie for everyone.

Men’s basketball falls to 1st place Amherst, clobbers Trinity

IMG_6897Bates men’s basketball had a good road trip this weekend, performing well in an 86-69 loss to the undefeated 10th ranked Amherst Lord Jeffs before unleashing a 72-55 domination of the Trinity Bantams. By splitting the two-game road trip, the Bobcats move into eighth place in the NESCAC.

This is the first time in program history that Bates has defeated Trinity on the road in a NESCAC game.

Against Amherst on Friday, the Bobcats were flying out of the gate, opening on a 15-4 run behind hot shooting. Junior guard and captain Luke Mattarazo, sophomore guard Graham Safford, and senior captain Mark Brust combined to hit four of seven three point attempts in the first half. Brust led the Bobcats in scoring with eighteen points, while also contributing five rebounds and five assists, while Matarazzo added thirteen points.

While Bates took a one-point 38-37 lead into halftime, they proved unable to contain Amherst’s prolific offense in the second half. Interior scoring from senior center and captain Ed Bogdanovich, who scored fourteen points for the Bobcats, temporarily kept Bates on pace with Amherst. However, the Lord Jeffs went on a 10-0 with about eight minutes remaining to take a 70-58 lead, and never relinquished control of the game.

A late Bates charge proved to be too little, too late, and the Bobcats fell 86-69.

When asked about the game, Matarazzo commented, “We played great against Amherst in the first half, but they just made more plays and took advantage of our mental lapses in transition in the second.”

“Although we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, I think we made a statement to the league that we are a true contender in the NESCAC after starting the game up 15-4 and having the lead at half,” added Bogdanovich.

On Saturday, Bates traveled to Trinity to face the Bantams in a game that the Bobcats needed to win to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Against the Bantams, Bates took an early lead behind efforts from Safford (12 points), Bogdanovich (11 points), and Brust. Brust again led the Bobcats in scoring with sixteen points on 7-11 shooting from the field.

The Bobcats were simply too talented for the Bantams, especially in the backcourt, as Bates’ guards were effective in penetrating toward the rim, and Bates led 32-22 at the half.

“Against Trinity, we knew our season was on the line, and we never stopped attacking. Teams always want to be playing their best ball at the end of the year come playoff time, and that is exactly what we are doing,” explained Matarazzo.

In the second half, the Bobcats were propelled by stifling defense and impeccable free throw shooting. The Bobcats shot an impressive 25 of 28 from the line overall, and the Bantams never even came within 10 points of the Bobcats’ lead for the remainder of the game. The Bobcats ultimately won 72-55.

“It was great to see the effort against Amherst carry over into Saturday’s game against Trinity,” commented Bogdanovich, “We got an early lead in the game and never looked back. It’s great to see that we’re starting to peak at the right time of the season and I don’t think any team in the NESCAC would want to run into us in the playoffs.”

With the win, the Bobcats are a game within fifth place in the NESCAC. A fifth place finish would mean Bates would avoid the three-headed monster of Amherst, Williams, and Middlebury in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs. All three teams are currently ranked in the top 10 nationally.

The win moves Bates to 9-13 (3-6) on the season. Bates’ last NESCAC game before the playoffs will come when the Bobcats host Hamilton College on Friday in Alumni Gym.

“Go Beyond” the Bates bubble to explore Frontier’s

Gelato 2Punch “best restaurants in Brunswick” into the Google search box and one of the first options that flashes before your eyes is Frontier, a sleek, socializing-oriented restaurant and bar representing a plethora of world cultures.

Part of Frontier’s motto is “Go Beyond,” which refers to the founder’s mission to create “a destination where people could gather to enjoy and explore food, film, music, and art inspired by the world,” according to the Frontier website. Michael Gilroy, the founder of Brunswick’s restaurant-meets-art-space, was inspired to make his business “reminiscent of a traveler’s crossroads” after his own travels as an expedition leader in several world countries.

Like Frontier’s culturally dynamic environment, its menu is nicely varied. In accordance with the theme of travelling and crossroads, it encompasses numerous world cuisines, including Italian, French, Mediterranean, Indian, Spanish, and upscale American fare. Meats such as Jamaican jerk chicken, German bratwurst, and Thai ginger chicken also populate the menu, and General Tso represents China in a vegetarian tofu dish.

Vegetarian and vegans are, in fact, well taken care of at Frontier. Don’t be fooled by the small number of entrees under “Vegetarian and Vegan;” even though there are only four dishes listed here, entrees for herbivores are scattered throughout the whole menu. These range from fish instead of chicken tacos for pescatarians to full-on vegetarian soups, salads, sandwiches, and “MarketPlates.”

MarketPlates are Frontier’s homage to open food markets around the world, each plate representing one country with various small bites of meats, cheeses, and bread and spread combinations. For example, the French MarketPlate boasts a baguette spread with grainy mustard accompanied by Brie, ham a la French style, and other treats for Francophiles. The Middle Eastern MarketPlate, by contrast, brings together falafel, feta cheese, red pepper hummus, and tzatziki sauce on grilled pita bread, catering to the vegetarian crowd.

Gluten-free dishes are denoted on the menu as well. All of Frontier’s delicious sandwich, wrap, and burger options can be made on gluten-free bread, and even non-celiacs are presented with several enticing bread choices.

The Frontier Burger is “scrumdiddlyumptious,” raves first-year Bailey Stonecipher, who ordered the house burger that came with fancy hand-cut fries.

First-year Hannah Gottlieb had a similar response to her mozzarella, tomato, and spinach sandwich, which on a surface of pesto-covered grilled naan bread becomes the most superior sandwich in the world.

“My meal was delicious. It was great to get off campus and go to a restaurant where I could enjoy some amazing food in a relaxed atmosphere with friends,” Gottlieb gushed.

The plate of chicken tacos, when it arrived steaming-hot at the table, also proved superior to tacos at most restaurants. Three blue corn hard taco shells wrapped Jamaican jerk chicken and lettuce inside them like a culinary present, and the accompaniments of spicy mango salsa and sweet onions were (excuse the mixed-food-metaphor) the ultimate cherry on top.

The jerk chicken was tender and seasoned perfectly, neither bland nor overly spicy. The warm and crunchy blue corn shells were a nice alternative to white flour soft shells, which are also available. The fresh mango salsa, its flavor bursting with a nice kick to it, took center stage as the best part of the dish and dimmed the lights on the chicken act.

At Frontier, it’s hard not to lick the plate clean, whatever cuisine is represented on it. The menu is somewhat reasonably priced. Entrees range from $9-$25, the least expensive options being entree salads, sandwiches, and burgers, with steak and other meat entrees occupying the expensive end of the spectrum.

Anyone seeking to create as many combinations between the flavors of Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia should cross over the Lewiston-Brunswick line to explore Frontier’s impressive fusion of world cuisines.

Women’s hoops falls to Amherst, wins shootout with Trinity on weekend road trip

Bates women’s basketball continued their strong season by playing hard in a 79-52 loss to No. 4 ranked Amherst before defeating Trinity 82-77 in an impressive offensive performance. The weekend moves Bates to 11-10 overall, and 4-5 in the NESCAC conference, which is good for fifth place.

Bates faced an extremely tough task in traveling to face the undefeated, first-place Amherst Lord Jeffs. Amherst was able to jump out to a quick lead, and while Bates kept pace for much of the game, they could not chip away at the Lord Jeffs’ lead.

Sophomore guard Molly Brown led the Bobcats in scoring with 10 points, including 2-4 from three-point range. Senior guard and captain Allie Beaulieu and sophomore forward Allaina Murphy both led the team with five rebounds. Additionally, senior forwards and co-captains Brianna Hawkins and Taryn O’Connell each added seven points for the Bobcats

Bates was dominated throughout the game on the boards, as Amherst achieved a 38-26 advantage in rebounding. Amherst also hit an otherworldly 9 of 17 three-point shots, and their accuracy from behind the arc proved to be the deciding factor in the game.

The Bobcats rebounded from their loss on Friday by winning a shootout with the Trinity Bantams on Saturday.

O’Connell set the tone of the game early by draining back-to-back three-pointers, the first of ten triples that Bates would hit on the day. Hot jump shooting would propel Bates throughout the game, as the Bobcats shot 44% overall from the field and 56% from three-point range. Bates also shot an impressive 89% from the free-throw line.

With five minutes remaining in the first half and Bates trailing the Bantams by a slim 25-22 margin, Beaulieu hit two three-pointers (two of her five on the day) that gave the Bobcats a lead that they would not surrender again. Beaulieu led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points on 5-7 shooting.

O’Connell and Brown each contributed 15 points, with Brown also leading the team with seven rebounds. Junior guard Meredith Kelly also chipped in with 14 points.

The Bantams mounted one last charge late in the second half, cutting the Bobcats’ lead to 67-63 with three minutes remaining. However, at this point Bates took advantage of their free-throw shooting prowess, and drew foul after foul from the Bantams. Bates’ last 15 points came from the charity stripe, and the Bobcats prevailed 82-77.

“We surpassed the Bates [Student’s] predictions of being ‘stock down’ this week and we’re looking forward to playing Hamilton at home this weekend,” commented Beaulieu, “A win would mean a home NESCAC playoff game, and we would love the continued support from our Bates community.”

Bates will play host to the Hamilton Continentals on Friday in Alumni gym, with the fourth seed in the NESCAC tournament at stake.

Zero Dark Thirty raises awareness of post-9/11 world

After giving the audience an explicit lesson on the origins of the term ‘waterboarding,’ CIA officer Dan (Jason Clark) stares into the eyes of the terrorist Omar and spits, “In the end, bro, everybody breaks. It’s biology.”

Dan then turns and slams the door on a defenseless and soon-to-be-broken Omar, attached to chains hanging from the ceiling. There is a visible ripple of shivers that creeps through the audience members in the movie theater as they fail to stomach, for the third time in thirty minutes, the grotesque torture tactics employed by CIA officers post-9/11. The motivating disgust and perilous fervor presented in the scene, as well as the engaging discomfort felt by the audience members, characterize Zero Dark Thirty as one of the most disturbingly immersive movie-going experiences of the year.

Brought to life under the sophisticated direction of Kathryn Bigelow and by Jessica Chastain’s satisfyingly brazen performance, Zero Dark Thirty presents as accurately as publicly possible the perilous hunt for and consequential killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The film, which gets its name from the military slang for a time just after midnight, primarily follows Maya (Chastain), an obsessed and gutsy CIA officer who is determined to pursue convincing leads contrary to the hesitation of her superiors. Even though the specifics of the real life operation are classified, the film presents the events with believable detail and appropriate respect for those who were involved in the hunt.

When it was announced fourteen months ago that Osama bin Laden was successfully executed by a United States Navy SEALS team, Americans embraced the news with pride and exuberance. There was a miniscule but undeniable sense of justice and closure that marked the event as a national victory. The patriotism associated with the story provides its potential to be an overdramatized portrayal of indomitable Americans swiftly murdering criminals à la Sherlock Holmes.

Thankfully, Bigelow’s controlled and disciplined direction tastefully portrays the events, and reconfirms, after The Hurt Locker, the respect she holds for individuals who risk themselves every day for the good of the country.

The pace slows in the second half of the movie, when Bigelow clearly wanted audiences to experience main character Maya’s frustration at Washington’s hesitation to take action on the lead she has developed throughout the film. Since the audience has been a part of the lead’s development up to this point, it is painful to spend half an hour in a movie seat watching the President’s advisees as they doubt and question the intelligence of a character that we have grown to empathize with.

During the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, viewers follow SEAL team members at crouched levels and maneuver through seemingly identical courtyards and doorways at a cautious but driven pace. The scenes do not have a glamorized feel of fast-paced action sequences in other Hollywood successes, such as The Bourne Supremacy. We experience the raid in a surprisingly steady manner that does not seek to overdramatize the action involved. While some question the accuracy of the film, former CIA analyst Nada Bakos confirmed that she thought the “SEAL scenes were fantastic” in an interview with Fox News.

Viewers should be warned that many scenes in Zero Dark Thirty are uncomfortably effective.

When Bates student Carly Peruccio considers the film, the only adjective that comes to mind is “disturbing.”

The film opens with numbing audible reminder of the September 11th terrorist attacks. By reconnecting audience members personally to the attacks, the opening successfully instills in viewers a fervor similar to that of the CIA officers assigned to the hunt. It validates their motivation in perilous situations and helps us to sympathize with their later frustration from any roadblocks they may face.

In recent months, the torture scenes have sparked debates throughout the country over whether the film makes the case for torture or not. It is important to remember that Zero Dark Thirty is a historical piece; it tries to portray an event in history as accurately as possible. It includes torture because it is an essential part of the story, and to not include it would mean creating a more watered down and less accurate portrayal of the hunt.

Bigelow herself has responded to the question in numerous interviews by stating that it is impossible to know whether CIA officers would have found bin Laden without intelligence gained through torture.

Bates sophomore Eliza Gabriel views torture as having a more concrete message in the film.

“I thought it was particularly interesting how, in the scene when the group finds out that torture will not be permitted as a result of Obama’s actions, it was portrayed as this huge roadblock that would slow the process immensely.”

In reality, Zero Dark Thirty is a small taste of the more complex operation to find bin Laden. It provides viewers with a powerful immersion in to the experience without documenting each detail. For those who are searching for an anally accurate account of the story, the new HBO show Manhunt, premiering this spring, will reveal real accounts from CIA officers once involved with the hunt themselves.

Zero Dark Thirty is still playing in many theaters.

Men’s squash has 2-1 week, takes third at NESCACs

The men’s squash team made an appearance in the NESCAC semifinals over the weekend, eventually settling for an impressive third place finish in the conference tournament.

Bates began the tournament in the quarterfinals against Wesleyan.

Led by freshman Ahmed Abdel Khalek, the Bobcats easily took down the Cardinals by a score of 7-2.

Khalek won in straight sets, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.

Bates also won 3-0 decisions at the No. 3 through No. 8 positions in a dominating performance.

Senior captain Walter Cabot, senior R.J. Keating, sophomore Andy Cannon, sophomore Nabil Saleem, freshman Filip Michalsky, and freshman Caran Arora all won their matches.

The win against Wesleyan moved the Bobcats into the semifinals, where they squared off with the Ephs of Williams College, seeded second in the tournament.

The skill of Bates’ freshman class was on full display in the match; the freshman trio of Khalek, Michalsky, and Arora were the only players to score wins in the match.

Khalek, playing No. 1, won easily in three sets, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3, while Michalsky and Arora both won four set matches playing at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

Cabot said, “we had hopes of beating Williams, and were pretty disappointed it didn’t happen. We’re definitely looking forward to getting another shot at Williams in nationals, it’s always a lot of fun playing them.”

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the conference finals, the Bobcats were still able to regroup for the third place game against Middlebury.

Avenging losses in the NESCAC tournament in 2011 and 2012, the men’s squash team flattened the Panthers on Sunday, taking the match 7-2 to clinch a third-place finish in the league.

Led by Khalek, the Bobcats, seeded #3 in the tournament, took down the Panthers, who were ranked #4.

Khalek scored an easy 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 victory at the No. 1 spot, continuing his outstanding freshman season.

Scoring four-set wins were junior Kristian Muldoon at No. 2 (15-13, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6) and senior captain Walter Cabot at No. 3 (11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Sophomore Andy Cannon (playing at No. 5) and freshman Filip Michalsky (playing at No. 7) also notched wins.

“Beating Middlebury 7-2 made the tournament a little sweeter,” said Cabot, also adding “it’s good to see that we’re coming into form at the end of the season.”

Having won five of their last seven matches, the Bobcats (12-9) will travel to Colby to play their final team match of the season on Wednesday at 6 PM.

The team will then have some time off to prepare for individual and team nationals.

Secretary of Defense nomination stirs controversy

On February 1, former Massachusetts Senator and Presidential candidate John Kerry was sworn in as the nation’s 68th Secretary of State.  He was approved by the United States Senate with a 94-3 vote.  Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton, who served under President Barack Obama throughout his first presidential term.

Following Kerry’s approval and swearing in, the Senate’s shifted its focus to Obama’s Secretary of Defense nomination.  Obama nominated former Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta.

Hagel, a Republican, has kept close ties with the Obama administration since 2008, when he was rumored to be on Obama’s short list of running-mates.  In 2009, he stepped down from his seat in the Senate.  He is currently a professor at Georgetown University, serves as co-chairman of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and is a member of the Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee.

The Senatorial hearings concerning Hagel’s nomination began on January 31, and have been a topic of much controversy since then.  He has been under fire from many Republican Senators for his positions on sanctions against Iran and negotiation between Hamas and Palestine.  Some of his views have been criticized as directly in conflict with those of both the United States and its allies.

Hagel’s views on United States relations with Israel have additionally been in question throughout the hearings.  He has previously been accused of anti-semitism and has been called a weak supporter of Israel.  Despite such criticism, a number of United States ambassadors to Israel have recently written letters of support for Hagel’s nomination.

Both the Obama administration and Hagel have maintained that as Secretary of Defense, Hagel would prefer to use militant force as a last resort only.  This, among Hagel’s other various views, have been challenged with politically charged questions throughout the duration of the hearing.

“They talked a lot about past quotes, but what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today?”  Panetta said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “What about the war in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering, what, what impact it’s going to have on readiness? …All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly, those were — we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues.”

While Hagel has been criticized as cracking under the pressure of the hearings, Obama stated that he was confident that Hagel would be confirmed by the Senate.

PALS Program helps students learn how to learn

To students majoring in the sciences who are beginning to feel the stress: you are not alone. Fortunately, Bates College may offer a lifeline in the form of the Peer Assisted Learning in the Sciences (PALS) Program.

Brought to Bates in 2003 by current Dean of Faculty Pam Baker, PALS is the college’s answer to Supplemental Instruction (SI), a program adopted by thousands of colleges worldwide. Both SI and PALS seek to increase retention of students in science, engineering, technology and mathematics courses. The Consortium for High Achievement and Success, which Bates is a part of, recognized SI as a highly successful program, especially noted for its inclusion of students from all cultural and academic backgrounds. Baker thought that SI would fit in well with the egalitarian culture of the college because of its mandatory sessions that allow students to decide if and when they need assistance.

The Bates version of the program retains many of the founding characteristics. PALS Leaders are assigned to classes with higher withdrawal rates and frequencies of lower grades, and are responsible for leading regularly scheduled, out-of-class review and study sessions with their peers. Sessions are open to all Bates students, as the program does not target any student individually. The point of the program is to integrate course material with better learning skills, creating a synthesis of information and application.

Being a PALS Leader is both a responsibility and a badge of honor. To be eligible for the position, a student must have successfully completed the course with which he or she wishes to assist. At the beginning of each semester, leaders receive training regarding how students learn, and also leadership and tutorial techniques. Over the course of the semester, leaders meet with their professors to discuss common problems with the subject matter and to develop worksheets and problem sets for their tutorial sessions. Each week, the entire PALS staff meets with an advisor to ensure that the program is running smoothly and to work out any issues. The total time commitment averages four to eight hours a week.

If you are enrolled in Biology 109, Chemistry 108, CHES 108B, Chemistry 218, Environmental Studies 203, or Physics 108 this semester, then you are lucky enough to have a PALS Leader attending your class sessions and devoting extra time for reviews. This semester, the PALS Leaders are Alison Travers, Hannah Whitehead, Sarah Cancelarich, Edwin Mapfuwa, Josh Zimmer, Filip Michalsky, Astrid Gleaton, Lianna Cohen, Hal Blegen, Brigette Chandhoke, Jocelyn Hoye, and Aliza Khurram.

Sophomore Hannah Whitehead joined the program as a leader this semester. Usually, her sessions involve herself, her co-leader, and ten to fifteen students looking to enhance their understanding of the material. Before a midterm or an exam, Whitehead said the sessions can grow to include 60 students out of a class of 120.

Being a Leader is a rewarding experience. “It’s very rewarding to help kids who might otherwise slip through the cracks. You build relationships with the kids who come every week, and get to know a lot of interesting people,” Whitehead said.

Similarly, there are academic advantages for the Leaders, who become completely comfortable with the material they teach. “I like relearning the material from a teacher’s point of view,” Whitehead said.

If you are interested in learning more about the PALS program, contact Seri Lowell, Writing Specialist in the Sciences.

The search for the perfect internship

BCDC picRight now, many Batesies are extremely busy, and not from midterms. Rather, students are preoccupied with finalizing their summer plans. For college students, February marks the height of the summer internship search process. Students pour over ads in pursuit of an internship that could lead to a job offer or shed light on a possible career option. So how do you secure the right internship for you?

First, the Bates Career Development Center (BCDC) is a pivotal resource for students looking for internships or jobs.

From September 1st to November 30th the BCDC saw 520 students in appointments and had 781 students attend workshops and information sessions. Taking advantage of the BCDC will not only make your search more successful, but it will also make your search far more enjoyable.

For instance, the Career Development Fellows Program is one of the BCDC’s many career and internship resources. This program primarily offers students peer review on internship and job application materials.

“Career Development Fellows are best for quick resume and cover letter reviews or other quick questions on Jobcat navigation or setting up a LinkedIn profile,” said David McDonough, new director of the BCDC.

The Fellows are dedicated to helping their peers navigate the often frustrating process of securing an internship or job.

“I decided to become a Career Development Fellow my junior year after spending a summer in New York City working for a Think Tank Policy organization called the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. Before I got that internship, I was already helping my peers look for internships and jobs that they might be interested in for the summer. Once there was an opportunity to do a much larger outreach at Bates I took it!” said senior Raina Jacques, one of this year’s seven Career Development Fellows.

Students interested in consulting with a Fellow should take advantage of walk-in hours. The Fellows have walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the BCDC and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the library outside of the Peer Writing Center. Jacques also welcomes walk-ins on Thursdays, upstairs in the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE).

The Fellows are just one of the resources offered by the BCDC. Many additional options exist.

“The Career Development Center makes an overall effort to put things in place for students to meet all of their needs. Mock interviews are available for practice, employers come on campus to recruit Batesies specifically and there are so many networking opportunities through alumni outreach,” said Jacques.

Specifically, students are advised to meet with a professional counselor. Also, students should check out online resources. Currently there are 162 internships posted on Jobcat and 2401 internships posted on the Liberal Arts Career Network. McDonough suggests students apply to at least eight internships to maximize their chances of landing an internship.

In addition, the BCDC also offers several services that students may not be aware of. For example, Bates now has an internship-for-credit program.

“We have made some changes and additions to the website http://www.bates.edu/career/ which will give students an overview of resources and services offered. We offer self-assessment (Strong Interest Inventory), downloadable career guides from Vault.com, career advice videos throughout the site and a great new practice interview site called IntervewStream,” said McDonough.

However, one of the most determinate factors of internship and job success is the student’s initiative. Batesies are encouraged to remain active in the search process.

“I would encourage students to start looking for internships now and to keep an open mind about the internships they are applying for. Internships are all about career exploration so students should look into industries that interest them but not be afraid to explore jobs/internships that do not seem to ‘fit’ with their major,” said Valerie Jarvis ‘13, a Career Development Fellow.

Internships are especially important in today’s job-market, which stresses practical experience as an indicator of future success.

“Real world experience is highly valued by future employers and can help you establish a network of contacts within your intended industry. Many employers are using the internship as a three month interview process – it has become increasingly common for employers to offer permanent position to former interns,” said McDonough.

So how do you secure that perfect internship? Taking advantage of the Career Development Fellows Program and the profusion of other resources available through the BCDC is an excellent start. Also, remaining proactive and open-minded throughout the search process is crucial. The perfect internship is out there but it requires an informed, active search process.

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