October 25, 2007
Former Campus Compact Director Elizabeth Hollander '61 to
Speak at Conference on Community Engagement
The Katherine Houghton Hepburn Center will host "Community Engagement and Learning: Within and
Beyond the Campus" on Friday, Nov. 9. This all-day conference is free and open to the public, but
registration is required. Participants have the option of signing up for a $10 lunch buffet. Anyone
interested in attending should contact Ann Ogle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-526-5010.
"Although service learning and community engagement have been practiced at some colleges and
universities for decades, they are now an important component of college life on virtually every
campus," says Hepburn Center Director Leslie Rescorla.
"One of the key aims of the Hepburn Center is to further the civic engagement of Bryn Mawr's
students, faculty and staff. What we hope to do with this conference is begin to take a critical look at
the service-learning movement as it reaches maturity. We want to examine how service learning
relates to academic mission and the education of students, to figure out what the hallmarks are of the
programs that work, and to look for ways to apply those successful practices to other programs. We
hope the conference will provide new insights into how colleges and universities can improve both
their own communities and the communities in which they are located."
8:30 to 9 a.m.: Registration
9 to 10:20 a.m.: Keynote Address and Discussion
Speaker: Elizabeth Hollander '61, senior fellow, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts
University, and executive director of Campus Compact, 1997-2006
Title: Doing Good Well: Seeking Excellence in Community-Engaged Learning
Response and discussion will be facilitated by Jane Eisner, vice president for national programs and
initiatives, National Constitution Center, and Katharine Houghton Hepburn fellow, 2006-07
10:40 a.m. to noon: Panel and Discussion
Facilitator: Alice Lesnick, senior lecturer, Education Program, Bryn Mawr College, with student and
staff participants in the Teaching and Learning Initiative
Title: Building Knowledge and Community Within the Campus: Reflections on Bryn Mawr's Empowering
Learners Partnership and Student-Mentored Staff Computing Programs
Noon to 1 p.m.: Lunch
1 to 3 p.m.: Invited Address and Discussion
Speaker: Nadinne Cruz, former director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University,
Eugene M. Lang visiting professor of social change at Swarthmore College, and executive director of
the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs
Title: Community-Campus Partnerships: What They Are and Why They Are Urgently Needed for Both
Educational Excellence and Community Justice
Response and discussion will be facilitated by Nell Anderson, co-director, Civic Engagement Office and
Director of Praxis and Community Partnerships, Bryn Mawr College; and Marcine Pickron-Davis,
assistant to the president for community engagement and diversity initiatives, Widener University
This event is being co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Campus Compact.
Peacebots Picket Robotic Violence
What do robots do in the real world? They vacuum floors, work on assembly lines, assist with
laparoscopic surgery and, as of last Saturday, march for peace.
The peacebots that demonstrated at the Franklin Institute on Oct. 20 were programmed by four
students from Associate Professor of Computer Science Doug Blank's introductory course in computer
science, which uses robotics to introduce the basic principles of the discipline. Calling themselves
People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots, they were a comical counterbalance to an event titled
"Robot Conflict," in which pairs of robots faced off against each other in a glass-walled arena to
"smash, toss or cut their opponents to bits," as the Institute's Web site said.
Robot Conflict, organized by the Northeast Robotics Club (NERC), was part of Robot Day, an exhibition
designed to foster local kids' interest in robotics technology. Robot Day was hosted by the Institute's
Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS) program, which works with
local middle- and high-school students.
Blank and his students organized the robotic picket line, which carried signs bearing mottos like "Make
code not war," "Thou shalt not press others' kill switch," and "Extendable arms are for hugging," partly
to give those attending the event a chuckle. But their tongue-in-cheek protest was also designed to
call attention to some serious issues.
As a computer scientist at Bryn Mawr and the director of the Institute for Personal Robotics in
Education, Blank is deeply committed to making the academic culture of computer science more
welcoming to women and other groups who are underrepresented in the field. He questions the ability
of a combat model to do that.
It's telling, Blank said, that of more than a hundred participants in the combat event, only one was
female. Although the students in the PACT program are quite diverse, he said, the NERC members
who entered the contest were overwhelmingly white and male.
"This kind of event appeals to a specific demographic," Blank says. "I think that using this as a
community-outreach activity just tends to perpetuate the current situation in science and technology
fields. Kids watching the battle bots see a lot of guys operating them, and little boys get the implicit
message that they could grow up to do something like this, but little girls get a different message."
Elena Stock and Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz, both first-year students who participated in the protest,
acknowledge that the robot combat was fun to watch.
"But," Rebhuhn-Glanz says, "If I were designing a robot, that's not what it would be doing. I'm not
sure it broadens the appeal of robotics. We had one of our robots drawing, and I think we reached
more of the little kids with that. There was also a dancing robot, and the kids loved that, too."
Blank isn't entirely comfortable with using violence as a pedagogical tool, either. "Even though it's
robots that are fighting and people aren't hurt, the violence is real in a way that a video game, for
instance, is not. A lot of real damage is done to the robots."
"Robot parts were flying," says Stock. "The floor got all ripped up, and they had to keep sweeping it
up because there were little bot bits all over the place."
"We weren't really protesting robot violence," Blank says. "People have a lot of fun doing this, and
that's great. I don't have any objection to that, but if people are going to use it for education, they
ought to think twice. I think there are better ways to get kids involved in engineering, and to get more
kids involved in technology."
Stock says that she feels relatively unaffected by gender stereotypes and found the battle bots very
appealing, but she and Rebhuhn-Glanz agreed that the macho culture of science can be unwelcoming
to women. Both have friends who attend a technological institute with a high ratio of men to women.
"You have to be really competitive to survive in a situation like that," Rebhuhn-Glanz says.
As for Stock, she thinks Blank is onto something with his use of robotics to make computer science
more appealing to students.
"Coming from a background of absolutely no computer science, I was pleasantly surprised to find out
that we would be working with something that applies it. A robot does take what you're doing that's
very abstract and translates it into a physical reality, which is really satisfying. It's really diminished
my mathphobia and my computerphobia. I came in with the intention of majoring in either psychology
or international relations, and now I'm considering a major in computer science."
New Faculty: Monica Chander Feels at Home With Students and
Last year, when Assistant Professor of Biology Monica Chander learned that Bryn Mawr was looking for
a biochemist, she was pretty sure she felt the hand of fate giving her a nudge. For Chander, a
graduate of Mt. Holyoke, a job at a small liberal-arts college for women fits her professional
aspirations as perfectly as an alpha-2 receptor fits an adrenaline molecule.
As a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Chander enjoyed the rare
opportunities she got to work with undergraduates. She was fascinated by the research she did as a
postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, but she missed introducing students to the
marvels of biochemistry. She expressed her interest in teaching to her undergraduate adviser when
she ran into her at a professional conference, and the conversation eventually led Chander to a
temporary appointment at Mt. Holyoke.
"When I was ready to go on the job market, a lot of liberal-arts colleges were advertising for
biochemists. And then this job opened up at Bryn Mawr, and it was pretty much of a no-brainer that
this was where I wanted to be."
Now Chander can start her own research program to unlock the mysteries of how the body heals itself
and share her excitement about her work with bright, curious young women. Life is good.
Chander's lab is working with a protein produced by a bacterium called Streptomyces coelicolor, the
organism that, as Chander says, "makes earth smell like earth." Her work at Harvard dealt with a
similar protein in E. Coli bacteria, where she and her colleagues learned how the protein combats
damage done to the E. Coli cell by a particular type of free radical.
"Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can arise normally from biological processes or can be
introduced by environmental factors. Because they react easily with other chemicals, they can change
the chemical structure of molecules inside the cell so that they don't function properly. Cancer and all
sorts of other diseases are now being linked to damage done by free radicals."
The protein Chander studied senses the presence of an oxygen-derived free radical and responds by
initiating a cascade of chemical reactions.
"These reactions not only neutralize the free radicals, but actually repair damage that has already
been done by them," Chander explains.
Chander and her colleagues teased out the complex mechanisms that produce these effects,
increasing scientists' understanding of how organisms protect themselves against the ill effects of
oxidative stress. Her new research will pursue the same goal with a different organism.
"Similar proteins are present in a whole bunch of organisms," she says. "But there are differences in
the bacterium that lead me to believe that things are not going to work exactly the same way. So I
don't even know that this other protein is going to be doing the same thing in this other bacterium —
but that's why you do the research. You find out."
In the meantime, Chander is teaching two sections of introductory biology and a biochemistry course,
and she's delighted with her students.
"I don't know for sure if it's the effect of being at a women's college, but they have a wonderful sense
of confidence. They're very vocal and not at all afraid to ask questions. I'm teaching students at every
level — from first-years to seniors — and I have no trouble getting them to participate in class.
"Having shared the experience of going to a women's college makes teaching here really special for
me. I feel a strong connection to my students, and when they really get it, when they grasp a new
concept and get excited about it, I love being there. And they challenge me; I definitely feel
intellectually engaged by them, which is all a teacher could ask for, right?"
Roman Glass Exhibition Opens With Gallery Talk
The exhibition Shifting Sands: Roman Glass in the Bryn Mawr College Art and Archaeology Collections
will open in the Kaiser Reading Room of Carpenter Library on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. with a
gallery talk by the exhibition's curator, Joelle Collins.
Collins is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr
and is currently working on her dissertation, which examines art as a commodity in the Roman world.
She also holds a B.A. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in the history of art
from Bryn Mawr.
Following the talk in Carpenter Library, there will be a second gallery talk in the Rare Book Room of
Canaday Library for the exhibition Breaking Ground, Breaking Tradition; Bryn Mawr and the First
Generations of Women Archaeologists. The talk will be given by the exhibition's curator, Megan Risse,
also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology.
Drawn from the College's extensive holdings of ancient glass, Shifting Sands: Roman Glass in the Bryn
Mawr College Art and Archaeology Collections is organized around the theme of change. The invention
of glass blowing at the end of the first century B.C.E. revolutionized the art of glass manufacture,
turning glass from an elite luxury item into an everyday commodity for the masses. Shifting Sands
traces the evolution of glass-forming techniques from the second millennium B.C.E. to the late Roman
period and showcases the wide variety of uses to which glass was put in the Roman world.
The exhibition also explores change in another respect. Much ancient glass is altered in its physical
appearance over time, often as a result of natural deterioration but sometimes as a result of modern
restoration and conservation attempts. The process by which ancient glass acquires its iridescence is
explained and the recent conservation of one of the Collections' own vessels documented.
Also accompanying the exhibition will be a lecture by Susan Handler Auth, Curator Emerita of the
Classical Collection at the Newark Museum, entitled The Technology and Social Context of Ancient
Glass. The lecture will be Thursday, Nov.15, at 4:30 p.m. in Carpenter Library 21. It is sponsored by
the Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library.
The exhibition will run through January 2008.
Combined Workplace Giving Campaign Aims
to Strengthen College-Community Partnership
As a conference sponsored by the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center explores community-campus
partnerships through service learning, President Nancy J. Vickers is also encouraging members of the
College's faculty and staff to promote Bryn Mawr's partnernships with local community organizations
in another way: by making donations through the College's ninth annual Combined Giving Campaign.
Last year, the Combined Giving Campaign raised $17,512 to support a wide variety of organizations
dedicated to improving lives throughout the greater Philadelphia area. This year, the campaign
committee has set a goal of $20,000.
The campaign, which asks members of the faculty and staff to invest in Philadelphia-area community
organizations, begins this week, and will continue through
Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The Giving Turkey pictured to the right represents the campaign's
progress — as the campaign total mounts, the feathers will be filled
in with color. The closer the campaign gets to its goal, the more
colorful the turkey will become. Campaign organizers hope to
display a fully feathered turkey in time for Thanksgiving.
The campaign offers donors the chance to give through a
convenient payroll deduction that spreads the donation out over the
2007 calendar year. Donors may give to one of five umbrella
fundraising organizations, or they may earmark their donations for
specific agencies within some of the organizations. This year's
• AIDS Fund
• Bread & Roses Community Fund
• The Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania
• United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania , and
• Womens Way.
More information about the partner organizations, including the agencies funded by each one, is
available in a fact sheet that was distributed through campus mail (or download a PDF version here).
Packets of information will be available in Benham Gateway, the Campus Center, Canaday Library, the
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Human Resources, Ward and the cafeterias of
Erdman, Haffner and Rhoads.
All donors, regardless of the size of their gift, are eligible to be entered into a drawing for four $25 gift
certificates from Macy's. The College will also be giving away an additional four $25 gift certificates
just for first-time givers.
For information, please contact Joe Bucci in Human Resources. If you would like to find out more
about volunteering opportunities, please contact Ellie Esmond in the Civic Engagement Office at
On Campus: Diversity – That's Funny; Fond Farewells; Trick-or-
Treating; Second Flexner Lecture
Funny Haha? On Friday, Oct. 26, from noon to 1 p.m., the biweekly Diversity Conversation at the
Multicultural Center on Cambrian Row will tackle the thorny issues of multiculturalism, sensitivity and
humor with "Who Gets to Say What Is Funny? Humor, Satire and Living in a Diverse Community." The
conversation is open to all, and lunch will be provided.
Fond Farewells. Two longtime members of the Bryn Mawr community will be honored with
retirement parties this week. Sally Abruzzi '59, the administrative assistant to the president, will be
feted in Wyndham Alumnae House on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. On Thursday, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m.,
Wyndham will be the site of a valedictory salute to Associate Professor of Economics Harriet
Kids in the Halls. On Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the undergraduate Residence Council
will sponsor trick-or-treating in the residence halls. The faculty, staff, students and friends are invited
to bring their children to trick-or-treat in Denbigh, Haffner, Merion, Pembroke East, Pembroke West,
Rockefeller and Rhoads North and South. Those who wish to trick-or-treat in a group should gather at
the Campus Center plaza at 4:30 p.m. Campus maps are available at the Residential Life Office in the
After the trick-or-treating, there will be a Halloween party in Thomas Great Hall from 6 to 7 p.m.
featuring games, crafts, music and light refreshments. For further information, call Residential Life at
x7331 or e-mail email@example.com.
Khalidi Continues. On Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m., in Thomas Great Hall, distinguished Middle
East historian Rashid Khalidi will offer the second of the 2007 Mary Flexner Lectures on the United
States, the Middle East and the Cold War. The topic of the second lecture: "Oil, Strategy and the Cold
War in the Middle East ."