News & Features


The Sports Page - September 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar athletics in action over the course of September 2015.

Studying Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants

Ilaria Costanzini, PhD candidate at the Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia in Italy, is finishing her doctoral research on antioxidants under the guidance of Miriam Rossi, chemistry professor.

Summer Research in Singapore

Paige Abramowitz ‘16 and Paarul Sinha ’17 traveled to the island nation of Singapore over the summer with anthropology prof. Martha Kaplan to do independent research on water issues, the food distribution system, and public and private gardens.

All Families Weekend 2015

Parents, siblings, friends, and others came to Vassar's campus September 18-20 for All Families Weekend 2015. From campus tours and the Arlington Street Fair to live performances and faculty presentations, the weekend offered much for guests to enjoy.

Dog Day Afternoon

Faculty, administrators, and others brought their canines to campus on September 16 to participate in the inaugural VC Dog Day. Organized by Vassar's First Year Programs, the event succeeded in its mission to put a smile on freshmen faces.

In the Media - September 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for September 2015.

On Campus - October Preview

A preview of events on the Vassar campus for September 2015.

One Year Out: Samantha Smith ’14, Executive Director of Ashinaga Senegal

One year out of Vassar, Samantha Smith ’14 is the executive director of Ashinaga Senegal, a newly formed branch of a Japanese not-for-profit that provides support and scholarships to children in Japan and Africa who have lost their parents.

Time-Out Grant applications now available online

Linda Nochlin ’51: Women Artists

The recently published Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, a collection of essays from art historian Linda Nochlin ’51, brings together 45 years of work on the subject of feminism and art. Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”—which is included in the book—is still considered to be the seminal work on the subject.

Vassar Ranks Eighth on New York Times' College Access Index

Vassar once again ranked high on the New York Times’ College Access Index, which measures top colleges’ efforts on economic diversity. Vassar ranked first among private colleges and eighth overall. In addition, President Catharine Bond Hill was one of a panel of five higher education leaders to talk at the corresponding New York Times’ Schools for Tomorrow conference.

Short Tour of the Bridge Building

Take a tour of the construction site of Vassar's new bridge building—the centerpiece of the new Integrated Science Center.

Exploring Transfer at Vassar College

Now in its 30th year, Vassar's Exploring Transfer program has given over a thousand community college students the opportunity to experience a residential liberal arts college. One of this year's ET professors, Yolanda Martin, was herself an ET student over a decade ago. She went on to graduate from Vassar, earned her PhD in sociology, and is now a college professor in New York City.

Community Fellows Make a Difference at Local Nonprofits

Now in its 18th year, the Community Fellows program matches the interests of a select group of Vassar students with the needs of local nonprofit agencies. Meet Community Fellow Elijah Mondesir '16, director of the summer learning academy at the R.E.A.L. Skills Network in Poughkeepsie.

URSI: Emerald Ash Borer

With the emerald ash borer headed this way, an URSI biology project aims to protect a dozen ash trees on campus by deploying predator wasps.

URSI: Ashokan Reservoir Archaeology

The Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills supplies about 40% of New York City’s drinking water. During its construction in the early 20th century, about a dozen farming communities were impounded and about 2,000 residents lost their homes and means of livelihood. Today, the NYC Department of Environmental Conservation continues a program of land acquisition to fortify the buffer around the reservoir. A recently acquired parcel is the subject of an Undergraduate Research Summer Institute project to document the reservoir’s impact on local communities.

URSI: Hijacking Photosystem 2

If chemistry prof Chris Smart and his URSI fellow, Drew Needleman, can borrow (okay--steal...let's be honest) an electron from Photosystem 2, they can generate electricity. Find out how!

Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Program

Every summer, high school and college students from around the country come to Vassar for an intensive 10-week theater apprenticeship offered by the college in collaboration with New York Stage and Film. Hear what two of this year's apprentices have to say about the program.

Bridging the Culture Gap with a Love of the Game

VC Basketball Liberty League all-stars Caitlin Drakeley ‘16 and Colleen O’Connell ’16 spent most of the summer in Costa Rica training with the Costa Rican Women’s National Team and teaching the game to school children and Special Olympic athletes.

Ford Scholar Jamily Duarte ’16: Documenting Poverty and Alleviating Hunger

Ford Scholar Jamily Duarte ’16, a sociology major, spent part of the summer in Nicaragua, documenting barriers to education faced by children in a squatters’ community and helping to launch an anti-hunger organization founded by a former Vassar faculty member.

A Summer at Sea

With SEA (Sea Education Association) this summer, Ben Lehr ’16 sailed from Massachusetts to Ireland, and Katie Hoots ’18 sailed from Oahu to Molokai, HI. Both students say that their experiences were among the best of their lives.

Vassar ranks 8th overall--and first among private colleges--in the New York Times' College Access Index, released during the School for Tomorrow conference.

New Gallery Tackles Environmental and Social Justice

When award-winning filmmaker and photographer Evan Abramson ’00 and his collaborator (and spouse) Carmen Elsa Lopez moved with their young family from Brooklyn to Bridgewater, Connecticut in 2012, the couple seized on a different way to make and bring art to the community—creating a gallery with a “community education” component that teaches visitors about environmental and social justice—and offers patrons an opportunity to take workshops in the media in which presenting artists work.

Heinz Insu Fenkl '82 discusses his latest story with the New Yorker

The New York Times notes the reprint of Cheap Chic, the fashion touchstone co-authored by Carol Troy '66

Tour the New Bridge Building

Take a tour of the construction site of Vassar's new bridge building—the centerpiece of the new Integrated Science Center.

Fall Convocation 2015

During Fall Convocation, President Hill reminded students that it’s typically the difficult path that leads to greatness, Vassar Student Association President Ramy Abbady ’16 encouraged students to engage in social change, and Greek and Roman studies professor Bert Lott asked students to remember that their future will be predicated on how they interpret their present. View photos and read the speeches.

A New Cache of Vassariana

Packaged in cardboard, wrapped in bubblewrap, and labeled by number, 280 packages of glass plate negatives have occupied a significant amount of shelf space in the stacks of the Catherine Pelton Durrell ’25 Archives and Special Collections Library as long as anyone currently working there can remember.

“The Big Three”: The mass spectrometer, the X-ray diffractometer, and the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer

When the Bridge Science Laboratory opens this winter, Vassar will have state-of-the-art versions of three key instruments, thanks to more than $1 million in grants secured by chemistry professors Joseph Tanski and Teresa Garrett.

Guantánamo Diary Editor to Deliver Starr Lecture

This year’s freshman common reading, Guantánamo Diary, is Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s harrowing account of his imprisonment and torture in the infamous jail where he remains, despite having never been formally charged. Writer and activist Larry Siems edited Guantánamo Diary, and will deliver this year’s William Starr Lecture, which is traditionally given by the author of the common reading selection.

Ulysses Cylinders by Glass Artist Dale Chihuly

The work of Seattle-based glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, an innovative leader in the field of blown glass, will be on display in the Thompson Memorial Library from October 10-November 24. Titled Ulysses Cylinders, the exhibition features exquisite glass and gold leaf cylinders inspired by James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses.

Public Radio Program Hails Vassar Diversity Initiatives

This month, public radio Marketplace's Amy Scott covered three topics relating to Vassar: One praised the college's Transitions program, created to make first-generation students feel at home at the college; the second offered comments from President Catharine Hill on the impact of income inequality on tuition; and the third hailed the Posse Veterans Program, now in its third year. It's been a banner week!

Lydia Sisson '06 talks to the Boston Globe about her nonprofit, Mill City Grows

Freshman Move-In Day 2015

The 668 members of the class of 2019 arrived on campus for Freshman Move-In Day last week. The impressive crew includes 30 valedictorians, students from 46 states and 25 foreign countries, and 97 first-generation college students. Among them are also a nonprofit founder, three musicians who have performed at Carnegie Hall, and 10 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Michael Kimmel '72 discusses men and masculinity with the New York Times

In the Media – August 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for August 2015.

On Campus - September Preview

A preview of events on the Vassar campus for September 2015.

One Year Out: Estello Raganit ’14, Studio Assistant at Van Valkenburgh Associates

After a six-week course at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Estello Raganit ’14 landed a job at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a prestigious landscape architectural firm, where he’s gaining hands-on experience in the field he intends to pursue.

A Unique Vassar-Mayo Clinic Collaboration

Faculty statisticians from Vassar and the Mayo Clinic, along with two Vassar Undergraduate Research Summer Institute fellows, are developing new statistical models for cancer clinical trials and personalized medicine technologies.

One Year Out: Sebastian Herrador ’14, International Finance

After a year analyzing global markets for the Association for Manufacturing Technology, an American trade organization, Sebastian Herrador ’14 is pursuing an MA at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Author Alexis Landau '99 talks about her debut novel with Los Angeles Magazine

The Poughkeepsie Journal profiles entrepreneur and environmentalist Libby Murphy Zemaitis '08

The Albuquerque Journal talks to anthropology professor Emily Jones '96

One Year Out: Ben Wills ’14, Crisis Intervention Counselor

Cognitive science major Ben Wills ’14 spent the year after graduating from Vassar in Juneau, AK, running an intervention program for men who had assaulted their wives or girlfriends.

URSI: Sampling Catskill Peat Bogs

To track the history of air pollution in the Hudson Valley, chemistry prof. Alison Spodek Keimowitz and her URSI students hiked to the top of six peaks in the Catskills Mountains to extract cores from peat bogs and brought them back to Vassar for chemical analysis.

Community Fellows Make a Difference in Local Nonprofits

Now in its 18th year, the Community Fellows Program matches the interests of a select group of Vassar students with the needs of local nonprofit agencies to fill vital needs during the summer months. Meet three of this summer’s Community Fellows.

In the Media – July 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for July 2015.

URSI: Catskill Cores

Chemistry professor Alison Spodek Keimowitz and her URSI fellows are obtaining sediment cores from ombrotrophic (purely rain-fed) bogs in the Catskills Mountains and analyzing them for lead and mercury and other metals. Because they are purely rain-fed, these bogs can reveal the atmospheric depositional history of the region.

Vassar Welcomes New Leaders

New individuals have joined the Vassar family following exhaustive searches that began several months ago. Meet Michelle Walsh, who was selected as the Director of Athletics and Physical Education, and Andrew Ashton, who was named the new Director of the Libraries.

On Campus - August Preview

A preview of the events on the Vassar campus for August 2015

Malinda Kathleen Reese ’16: Singing a New Tune

Malinda Kathleen Reese ’16 puts her spin on popular tunes with the help of Google Translate. Reese submits a song’s lyrics into the app, translating them from one language to another—and a few more—before translating them back into English. She then uses her lovely voice to sing the new—and humorous—lyrics. Videos of her performances have received more than one million views on YouTube.

Vassar's New Science Building: Get a Preview

View a photo gallery highlighting the construction of Vassar's new bridge building—a centerpiece of the new Integrated Science Center. Scheduled to open in time for the spring 2016 semester, the bridge building adjoins Olmsted Hall and complements the recent and extensive renovations of Sanders Physics and New England Buildings.

URSI: Archaeology in the Catskill Mountains

At the turn of the last century, thousands of acres were impounded to create the Ashokan Reservoir and its surrounding watershed. What happened to the people who lived there? That’s the question Prof. April Beisaw and her students are investigating this summer.

URSI: Hijacking Photosystem 2

Chemistry prof Chris Smart and his Undergraduate Research Summer Institute fellow, biochem major Drew Needleman, are working with Photosystem 2 and carbon nanotubes developed by Smart and his colleague Stuart Belli in an attempt to generate electricity.

URSI: Nano Scale Thermodynamics

Associate prof Brian Daly and his three URSI students are using lasers to study the physical properties of tiny wafers, about one-millionth of a centimeter thick, used in microprocessors.

URSI: Studying the Tau Proteins Implicated in Alzheimer’s

In patients with Alzheimer’s, tau proteins cluster abnormally, but researchers don’t know whether these protein tangles cause Alzheimer’s or whether the disease causes the tangles. This URSI project seeks to learn more about how these proteins interact.

One Year Out: Alix Lowe-Server ’14, Legislative Correspondent for Kirsten Gillibrand

As a legislative correspondent for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Alix Lowe-Server ’14 answers constituents’ inquiries on bills that Gillibrand is sponsoring or cosponsoring and monitors the status of legislation as it moves through the committee system.

Linda Fairstein ’69: Writing Crime

Linda Fairstein ’69 talks about her crime novels—the latest, Devil’s Bridge, will be released in August—her career, and her current writing project, which has a Vassar connection. A former New York City prosecutor and head of the Sex Crimes Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Fairstein uses her writing to lead readers through the fictional courtrooms and city streets to uncover its criminal underbelly.

A Weeklong Dig at the Roosevelt Historic Site

Assistant anthropology prof April Beisaw has made an arrangement with the National Park Service whereby Vassar students, working under her supervision, have the opportunity to gain experience in archaeology at the Roosevelt Historic Site in Hyde Park.

The New York Times reviews book of essays by art historian and critic Linda Nochlin '51

The autism research of professor Marguerite O'Haire '08 is featured in the New York Times

Neshama: A Journal for Jewish Studies

Looking for a place to show off the works of Jewish Studies students, Bethan Johnson ’15 had a brainstorm—to create a new department journal. The result is Neshama: The Vassar College Journal of Jewish Studies—a 71-page journal that shares the original work of a dozen students.

Professor Hua Hsu pens The Fader cover story about comedian Hannibal Buress

An Intern Finds Her Passion

Nicole Wong ’15 began as an intern at Family Services last year, worked full time as a domestic violence counselor over the summer, and has now been named senior high-risk case manager at Domestic Violence Services even though she won’t graduate until May.


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