The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Mariam Hayrapetyan (Page 1 of 5)

Venturing into entrepreneurship

This past Saturday April, 1st, was the annual competition known on campus as Bobcat Ventures. Bobcat Ventures is an entrepreneurial student competition that gives Bates students the chance to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas in a competitive setting.

Winners of the competition are granted up to $9,000 to invest in pursuing their entrepreneurial or innovative idea. In addition to the monetary value of placing in the top three of the competition, students also gain valuable experience in working with Bates Alumni who have found success in entrepreneurial roles or industries.

According to Ali Rabideau ‘17, who was granted this year’s competition winner on Saturday, “the Bobcat Ventures program is supposed to spark innovation and entrepreneurship among Bates students, while also providing students with mentorship opportunities from successful alumni.”

Rabideau expressed that the Bobcat Ventures program also provides feedback for students during the months leading up to the process. This gives students a chance to work with peers, professionals in fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, and notable alumni in order to understand the processes of pursuing an innovative and entrepreneurial idea.

Rabideau also found that the the Bobcat Ventures competition was a way to engage more closely with the local community. The idea she pitched was for a product called “Herban Works”, a variety of teas and body-care products all made from locally sourced herbs and medicinal flowers in Lewiston. Rabideau worked worked with the Center for Wisdom’s Women, an all-women support center located in Lewiston.

In addition to working collaboratively with organizations in our local community, Bobcat Ventures is also a way for students to gain entrepreneurial experience. Since Bates does not offer a business or entrepreneurial program, or even classes, this competition is a great way for students to understand how entrepreneurial ventures operate, and some of the resources that students may be able to use in achieving their goals of creating innovative products and ventures.

Rabideau, who before the competition did not consider herself an entrepreneurial person, said, “if you are passionate about your idea you can go really far with it, and I think that adding a social value to my enterprise allowed me the chance to explore entrepreneurial possibilities.”

Students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities at Bates may certainly explore the possibility of partaking in next year’s Bobcat Ventures program. Rabideau expressed that the program is a great way to sharpen presentational skills, while also understanding what it takes to take on an entrepreneurial project. In addition, it is a great way to meet notable and successfully alumni. For more information about the Bobcat Ventures program, please visit: http://bobcatventures.me.

A year’s work in education

Education minors across all class years presented their yearly work at the Education Symposium on Thursday, March 30 in the upstairs of Commons. In addition to poster presentations, there were numerous presentations by seniors who chose to complete a capstone rather than a thesis.

The Education Symposium program offered a schedule, and featured various internship opportunities in the field of education, food and snacks. Adorning the walls were numerous posters, which described the responsibilities students carried in their internship positions.

One such intern was Jacques Shepherd ’19, who was involved with the 21st Century Program at Martel Elementary in Lewiston. His responsibilities included “work[ing] with staff to ensure smoothly run programs, engag[ing] with student’s ideas and inquiries, help[ing] students with homework and studying, [and] work[ing] with coordinating with parents.”

The common theme among the poster presentations was working with the Lewiston/Auburn community and helping students who struggle with English, time management, and other academic tasks. Claire MacKay ’20, under the mentorship of Professor Buck, stated, “I’ve learned my strengths lie in building relationships and making students feel comfortable to open up and be as productive as possible,” thus showing that the interns were also learning.

In addition to the poster presentations, seniors were presenting their capstone projects during the allocated two sessions, which ran from 4:30-5:30pm and from 5:30-6:30pm. In the first sessions, 5 groups were presenting their research with 3 people in each group speaking for 20 minutes. Jenney Abbott ’17, an Education Studies Minor, talked about the “Perceptions of Mental Illness within the Refugee Community,” while Jess Wilson ‘17 described her project which examined different English Language Learner programming structures and whether or not they were successful with Somali students in Lewiston and Minneapolis. In the second session, one of the students, Olivia Voccola ’17, explored whether or not the competition created by the voucher improves school performance.

The students all looked at certain systems and methods affecting education, while also exploring the region of the school, religion, and the arts, thus connecting their research to various other points. Each group of students had their own moderator that served as their guide through the research.

If this is something you want to be a part of next year, contact the education chairs at educ-chair@bates.edu.

 

It’s not too late!

At this point in the academic year, students may feel that prospects for a summer internship are dwindling. While Short Term approaches, students should not feel as if they are running out of time and resources to secure an internship for the coming summer.

Resources made available by the Bates Career Development Center indicate that many opportunities are still available for Bates students, and more are continuing to be uploaded regularly to the BCDC’s online resources. In fact, hundreds of internship opportunities are uploaded and posted to online resources such as Handshake and the Liberal Arts Career Network on a weekly basis.

The BCDC urges students to continue searching within these online resources as many internships are still available for students to apply to. While the Purposeful Work deadline to apply to opportunities with core employers has passed, many of the internship opportunities uploaded regularly to Handshake are not part of the Purposeful Work Internship program, and as a result are still open for application submissions.

For students who wish to participate in the Purposeful Work Internship program in some form, the deadline to apply for funding has not yet passed. Students have until April 9 to apply for funding through the Purposeful Work Internship program. This opportunity can be extremely attractive to companies who are looking to hire students but cannot provide a paid internship, as students can secure an unpaid internship but receive some funding through the BCDC’s program.

Another deadline to keep in mind approaches on April 3, when environmental internships will be posted. These internships are not exclusively open to Bates students majoring in Environmental Studies, and offer internships in various roles and facets of the environmental industry.

The Bates Career Development Center in recent years has worked to greatly increase the number of Bates students applying for and securing internship. Statistics provided by David McDonough, director of the BCDC, indicate that 80% of students participated in an internship in 2016, which saw two times the amount of students participated in internships in comparison to involvement five years ago (40%).

Securing an internship as an undergraduate is an important part of preparing students for professional life after Bates. Internships not only allow students to gain experience in a certain field or industry, but also build upon the education students receive at Bates, ultimately adding to the multidisciplinary and multifaceted education of Bates students.

For students who wish to understand what internship opportunities are still available for this coming summer, it is recommended that they make an appointment with the BCDC, or stop by during walk-in hours. For more information, students may visit the Bates Career Development website at http://www.bates.edu/career/. Happy hunting!

 

Picking your new room

Amidst the excitement of Gala and the approaching finals week, students were asked to pick their residence for the upcoming academic year. To learn more about the housing selection process, The Student interviewed Molly Newton who is the Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Health Education.

Mariam Hayrapetyan: Why did Bates switch to HouseCat?

Molly Newton: Bates has been considering a switch to an online housing system for a number of years. Online systems like HouseCat allow us to make the housing selection process more flexible and less stressful for students. For the past several years we received feedback from students identifying that participation in the in-person housing lottery provoked anxiety and was not flexible enough for students who were away from campus, studying abroad, or taking a leave.

Using this feedback, we worked with our student steering committee to build both HouseCat applications and the online selection process. During the fall semester, we offered open meetings and opportunities for students to test the system and offer feedback. This feedback was a very important part of developing HouseCat as students experienced it during room selection, and is directly responsible for options such as roommate groups and housing profiles. We will continue to work with returning members of this group and others on campus to make improvements to the HouseCat system.

MH: What are the changes to housing for next year?

MN: Housing changes every year in response to all sorts of different factors. Renovations, use changes, and other factors can all impact the way we use buildings. Acknowledging that it is difficult to predict with certainty what small changes may impact availability of specific buildings, there are currently no plans to make significant changes to housing options or processes.

MH: What is the process of selecting an off-campus house?

MN: Our process for off campus housing remains the same. Groups are approved to live off campus via the Off Campus Lottery. Rising seniors are eligible to apply for 125 off-campus spaces, which are filled based on randomization. Because we do not break up groups, the actual number of students living off campus is usually a few above 125. Currently, there are no plans to reduce the number of students living off campus below 125. It is important to know that students do need to apply for off-campus housing, and that in some years not every group receives a position off-campus via the lottery.

MH: Will Bates continue using HouseCat the next year?

MN: Yes! We will continue to use and fine-tune HouseCat next year. Every time we use HouseCat, we learn more about how we can adapt it to better-fit student needs. So far, we have made adaptations based on feedback from Winter Placement (for students returning from abroad) and the Off Campus Lottery. After the recent housing selection processes, we have more adaptations in the works. For example, this year students were not able to form groups of two after housing selection was in progress. We heard from students that this was an option that they would like to have, so we are working on adapting the process for next year.

Unlike the old in-person lottery, HouseCat gives us the flexibility to make these types of changes. Our staff in the tech support room during the lottery worked with many students during this year’s housing selection. The feedback they received in the moment was overwhelmingly positive! Our goal is to continue to use all feedback we receive to continue to fine tune the housing selection process to minimize stress and anxiety while maintaining a fair system for selecting housing for the next year.

 

New coffee in Commons

Commons make a switch in coffee providers. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Commons make a switch in coffee providers.
JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Commons has recently changed their coffee provider to Seacoast Coffee Company. The process of selecting coffee was collaborative, for Commons workers organized three coffee tastings for students and staff—there were two during lunch and one during dinner. It was hard to miss the coffee tasting, for there were large posters by the entrance and the warm smell of coffee struck one by the entrance.

The preference determined through sampling was the Seacoast Coffee Company which is located in Portland, Maine where “they artisan roast their beans in small batches and deliver them within days of roasting to ensure freshness.” Further, the company practices sustainability by “minimizing the use of cardboard in their packaging, recycling and composting and they are members of MOFGA – the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association.” The company is socially responsible and makes it their goal to contribute to non-profit groups that support the well-being of the environment, people, and animals.

To learn more about the new coffee provided, please contact Cheryl Lacey and be sure to try the coffee.

 

We couldn’t do anything but enjoy our stay

There are three things a Batesie must do before graduation: jump into the Puddle in February, climb Mount David, and complete a thesis. The first two tasks are relatively easy and short. A person could accomplish the former in under five seconds and the latter in fifteen. But thesis is different. Surmounting that last hurdle requires time, dedication to the subject, and a drive to finish.

Laura Pietropaoli ’17 is a double major in Dance and Rhetoric who just performed her Dance thesis entitled, Enjoy Your Stay. Her project was a culmination of countless hours of research, choreography and rehearsals that ultimately gave the audience a captivating thirty minute show.

For any student undertaking a project on the thesis-level scale, the first step to success is a solid foundation. In an interview Pietropaoli remarks, “I’ve learned from a wide range of teachers and artists who all have a myriad of methods for creating, different instincts and preferences, and varied philosophies about performing arts.” That knowledge and experience led this senior to choreograph her piece in a slightly different way.

Pietropaoli did away with the normal hierarchy found in the dancer-choreographer relationship. Danielle Ward ’20, a member of the six-person ensemble notes “Laura’s thesis is unique because it engages the dancers as choreographers.” Instead of standing in the front of the room chanting steps in an eight-count rhythm, the choreography of this piece was collaborative.

“My cast had an equal voice throughout the making of the work. Most of the choreography in the piece was generated by the cast. I did not come up with the movement but rather directed the preexisting movement that they created based on the prompts and tasks I gave them,” said Pietropaoli.

The way in which this particular thesis was designed is not the only unique thing about it. Dance theses have both visual (the performed piece) and written components (the stereotypical thesis). The process is more than just writing a long research paper or performing a study and analyzing its results. With Dance, in addition to the time and effort spent creating a live work, students also have to complete the stereotypical written work. As Pietropaoli states the physical, written thesis is a “…more verbal look at the creative process.”

But the aspect of research goes into both the performed and written piece. Trying to decide on a topic, Pietropaoli “did some intensive research on film directors and composers…[like]…Wes Anderson, Christopher Guest, John Ford, Terrence Malick…” Ultimately, Pietropaoli took all those perspectives, and more, into account, but relied heavily on the John Ford quote: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The cast and their choreographer spent a lot of time untangling that quote, all posing different hypotheses about what it could possibly mean.

That was also another bonding point for the ensemble. Cast member Alex Eaton ’17, noted that his favorite part of the process was “exploring our relationships with one another through the dance, I’ve formed some really amazing friendships.” When a group of people comes together for such an extended period of time, grappling with interesting questions and themes they form tight bonds.

Sitting in the audience, the chemistry among the cast was easily seen in the easy chit-chat the dancers wrapped up before the show began. Pietropaoli wanted her dancers to feel comfortable and, by association, for the audience members to feel that ease. “The title is Enjoy Your Stay for a reason; I want people to feel comfortable just existing in the room and taking in what the cast is offering them. They’re giving up a little bit of themselves for the audience, and at the very least, I hope the audience can just appreciate what the cast is doing,” Pietropaoli states.

At a liberal arts school such as Bates, one of the main things we learn is how to learn. A graduate of a liberal arts school, no matter the major, can be thrown into almost any environment and succeed based on that core lesson. Particular for a Dance major, Pietropaoli states that “[e]ven if I’m not a professional choreographer or dancer, I know that dance will always effect the way I make decisions and think about things.” Taking tools learned at school in the classroom or on the stage, Batesies such as Pietropaoli and her ensemble will go far.

 

Summer funding opportunities

Unbelievably, second semester is quickly approaching the home stretch. It is an exciting but stressful time with Short Term and summer just out-of-reach behind impending finals. While it is important to stay focused on the present semester, it is also necessary to look ahead and plan for summer. Often, everyone is so worried about what internship they’ll be involved in, where they’ll be travelling, who they’ll be seeing, and what they’ll be doing that they forget an integral component to their summer plans: summer funding.

Bates offers a variety of options for summer funding, and it’s easy to find one that fits your plans and needs.

Perhaps the most well-known source of funding is the Purposeful Work Internship Program which offers up to $4,000. To be eligible you do not need to have an internship with a Purposeful Work Core Employer, but you do need an internship offer. Although the initial deadline has already passed, there is a second deadline coming up on April 9. Go to the www.bates.edu/career and click on “Job Shadows & Internships” to find out more about Purposeful Work Funding.

The Harward Center also offers amazing opportunities for summer funding. The Harward Summer Civic Fellowships are open to anyone with an internship in the US or abroad. This fellowship requires a grant application, and is considered highly competitive. Those who receive the fellowship are awarded $4,000. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 27th.

The Harward Center also offers the Summer Community Work-Study Fellowships. This fellowship is available to those working for nonprofits on environmental or social issues within the US. Students must also qualify for the federal work-study program to be eligible to receive this fellowship. The deadline to apply was Wednesday, March 15th, but applications will be accepted until the funding is gone. To apply to either the Summer Community Work-Study Fellowships or the Harward Summer Civic Fellowships visit the Harward Center’s website and contact Peggy Rotundo (mrotundo@bates.edu).

Amongst many other responsibilities, Peggy Rotundo is Bates’ contact person for community-based non-profits. She helps students come up with a plan for the summer and formulate ideas for internships with local organizations. Ms. Rotundo was explicit, “I am here to help students figure out what they might want to do for the summer. They do not need to have a specific internship in mind when they come see me.”

In addition to the Purposeful Work Funding and the Harward Center, there are various miscellaneous funding opportunities offered by Bates. These include the Bouley Fund for Geology, C3 Undergraduate Fellowship, Hoffman Research Support Grant, Rawlings Grants for Math, STEM Faculty-Student Research Grants, Otis Fellowships, Phillips Student Fellowships, and Technos International Week in Japan. Furthermore, keep an eye out for professors looking for research assistants. History professor Joe Hall is offering an opportunity to earn up to $3,500 researching western Maine environmental and American Indian history. The deadline to apply for this position is Friday, March 17th.

Previous Bates students have received summer funding while working with organizations that include Maine Immigrant Refugee Services, School Square, Raise-Op Housing cooperative, Alaska Arts Southeast, the California Conference for Equality and Justice, and so many more. Josh Caldwell ‘19 interned with the Kennebec Land Trust this past summer and said, “The summer funding I received through Bates made the internship possible. I did not have to work another summer job and I could devote all my attention to the work I wanted to be doing with the Land Trust.”

It is important to note that all of the opportunities mentioned here do not even scratch the surface. There are so many opportunities for summer funding for Bates students who are involved with, and interested in, any and all kinds of fields. The Bates College website has a complete list of opportunities with all of their requirements. Just web search “Bates College Summer Funded Opportunities” and the first hit is the right page.

 

Commons cups get eco-friendly makeover

Commons is switching from 7.5 ounce cups to reusable 12 ounce mugs. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Commons is switching from 7.5 ounce cups to reusable 12 ounce mugs.
JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

 

Bates Dining Services has announced that starting this Short Term, there will be no more paper cups in Commons. The 7.5 ounce plastic cold beverage cups will be replaced with 12 ounce cups, reusable 12 ounce hot-beverage mugs will be made available for in-Commons use, and each student will be given a mug for taking beverages out of Commons.

During the last week of February, a link to a survey was emailed to all members of the Student body, was promoted on the Bates Today and was made available in-person in Commons. Students were invited to choose which mug they preferred out of two stainless steel hot/cold reusable containers, one of which will eventually be distributed. About 1200 students responded.

Following the results, which will be published during 2017 final exam week, every student will be given the mug for which the majority voted. If students prefer a different mug, they can elect to receive a voucher for any mug in the school store valued at the same price. If the item the student wants to purchase costs more than the Commons-issued mug, the student will have to pay the difference.

In response to the reasons leading to the Commons cup changes, Christine Schwartz, Assistant Vice President for Dining, Conferences, and Campus Events, pinpoints two concurring events that took place last fall. Firstly, Dining Services found out that Commons paper cups could no longer be recycled and that it would be more cost-effective to create new cups than to recycle old ones. At the same time, the Committee on Environmental Responsibility was reviewing the Campus Green Initiative Grants and found that four of the proposed initiatives concerned elimination of paper cups in Commons.

To devise solutions to these environmental and monetary concerns about Commons paper cups, a Mug Committee was created, comprised of five students, along with Cheryl Lacey, Director of Dining, Schwartz, and Tom Twist, the Environmental Coordinator.

These new initiatives will have drastically positive environmental impacts. About 750,000 paper cups, which since last fall have been sent to the landfill instead of being recycled, will be eliminated from the Common’s waste stream. This will significantly decrease Bates’ carbon footprint. While this is a great first step in making Bates a greener campus, there are always further improvements that can be made to further reduce our carbon footprint.

Madeline McGonagle ‘18, a member of the EcoReps, a group of students working on similar campus-wide sustainability projects under the direction of Twist, reminds students to “be conscious of energy usage” and to also keep in mind “food/other waste production.”

McGonagle advises students, and the general public, to always turn off lights when they are not needed, close windows when heat or air conditioning is on, and to pay attention to not only what one consumes but also to what one wastes.

To find out more about or to get involved with other sustainability initiatives on campus, read the monthly EcoReps newsletter either posted around campus or delivered through email by contacting ttwist@bates.edu. Anyone can also attend events hosted by EcoReps such as those in the current Sustainable Ethics Week, held March 14-18, 2017.

Teach for America

Teach for America is a non-profit organization dedicated to recruiting undergraduate students to devote two years after college to teaching impoverished children. The reality of the American education system is that “children in extreme poverty are half as likely to graduate from high school and one-tenth as likely to graduate from college as students from the most affluent communities,” according to the Teach for America website. “There are numerous forces behind this injustice—racism, outdated policies, lack of resources, and much more;” however, this can be fixed through educators, students, and politicians coming together to create solutions, which will get rid of inequality.

Their approach is to enlist leaders from various backgrounds who will then leave lifelong impressions on the school and the students. In 2016, 3400 men and women joined the Teach for America team, where 48% were Pell Grant recipients and 34% were the first in the family to attend college. It is vital that Teach for America corps members come from diverse backgrounds and are able to contribute their stories to the classroom, for the final goal is for them to connect with the students. Teach for America has also identified Arkansas and Mississippi as high priority areas in need of good educators and leaders.

Often times, students from low-income backgrounds slip through the cracks and are unable to succeed in the classroom because they lack the foundation. As a way to combat that, Teach for America has partnered with numerous colleges across the country and hired Campus Campaign Coordinators to recruit students across grade levels to apply to the organization.

For those interested in applying, they must do so by April 21st of this year. It is vital that the student is a leader on campus and is involved in community service. Further, the GPA requirement is 2.5 out of 4.0. It is encouraged that all majors apply, for they can bring in their unique perspective and possibly use their skills to combat educational inequality through their job.

There will be numerous presentations across campus and tabling events in Commons for those interested in pursuing Teach for America after college. To learn more contact mhayrape@bates.edu.

 

Bates sees the light, Moonlight that is

Chiron: in Greek mythology he is the famed tutor responsible for teaching some of the great heroes, from Achilles to Hercules, Theseus to Jason. But the Bates campus learned on Wednesday, March 1 that Chiron could also refer to the protagonist in Barry Jenkins’ Academy Award winning film, Moonlight. Jointly put on by Filmboard and the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE), the Moonlight screening and discussion afterwards was a way for the Bates community to experience the film and then have a safe space in which to unpack their feelings, questions, or concerns.

In this film, the audience follows Chiron through his life and gets to see all the pivot points and experiences that result in his adult persona. Split into three parts, the movie follows a fairly simply chronological trajectory, posing hard-hitting questions with thought provoking themes.

Maddie Auvinen ’17, a biochemistry major and President of Filmboard, organized the event in conjunction with Julisa De Los Santos, Assistant Dean in the OIE. In an interview, Auvinen remembered, “Julisa and I had talked about showing Moonlight very briefly last semester. I had never heard of the film, but looked up a few trailers and reviews, and thought it would be great to show at Bates.”

After the screening, the audience was invited to stay for a discussion facilitated by Calvin Reedy ’17 and Rhetoric Professor Charles I. Nero. Reedy, an Art & Visual Culture major, often frequents the OIE and was happy when De Los Santos asked him to help lead the discussion. Reedy remarks that, “Julisa asked me specifically because she is very familiar with my studio art thesis work…My body of work in photography and video explores ways to rethink and re-present notions of black masculinity; focusing a lot on tenderness and vulnerability, both with oneself and with others.” Reedy was able to use his thesis knowledge base as a springboard to help propel, steer, and assist the conversation taking place after the credits rolled.

There is more to this movie than its overt tones and topics. Reedy wants the community to “realize that black films don’t have to be about racism to be worthy of being watched and celebrated. There are stories that deserve to be told as well, and that are moving for all people. There don’t need to be white saviors – or in the case of Moonlight, there don’t even need to be white people – for a black film to be excellent.”

Simultaneously, the film was able to bring out salient messages to the audience, be a popular attraction, and shake the foundation of Hollywood, even if just a little. By granting Moonlight the Academy Award, it joins the ranks of giants standing proudly beside Casablanca, Rain Man, and Schindler’s List, to name a few. Hollywood acknowledges that a small budget film with an all-black cast can make a prodigious impact. And by choosing to show it here at Bates and getting the huge turnout from our community illustrates that our college and its inhabitants share this sentiment. Auvinen noted that over one hundred people reserved tickets for the event, an almost unprecedented number for a Filmboard event.

Maybe it all goes back to the name. Chiron. He educates each and every person who sits down to watch the movie and maybe that is what drew much of our community to the Mays Center that Wednesday night. White, Black, Hispanic, Asia, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, immigrant, it does not matter. Once you sit down to watch this movie, Chiron teaches you about his world, about the world many Americans know, the work that many refuse to acknowledge, and about which many are content to forget.

 

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