Grants to build on science success
A four-year $1.2 million grant from The Howard Hughes Medical Institute will allow Bryn Mawr College to launch initiatives that build on its extraordinary record of success in preparing women for graduate education and careers in science.

The grant, awarded in May, will allow the College to increase and enhance summer-internship opportunities in science for undergraduates, train a postdoctoral fellow in teaching and researching computational methods, support faculty development in new computational methods, renovate laboratory facilities and the biology curriculum, and expand the highly successful Summer Institutes outreach program for local precollege teachers. Haverford College will collaborate with Bryn Mawr in a new outreach initiative anchored by the Summer Institutes.

The HHMI grant will support two important curricular initiatives at Bryn Mawr. A new minor in computational methods in the sciences will involve the development of five new courses: Bioinformatics, Ecological Modeling, Emergent Systems, Visualization: Art and Science, and Geographic Information Systems and Science. A revision of the undergraduate biology curriculum is designed to reflect the connections among subdisciplines of biology and levels of biological organization. Three new yearlong courses will g ive biology majors the time and flexibility needed to integrate concepts and underlying principles across subdisciplines and to allow lecture, discussion and laboratory components to be more effectively united. These initiatives will include renovation of facilities and equipment.

Bryn Mawr has also received a $484,438 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to purchase equipment for undergraduate curriculum development and research opportunities in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental studies, neural and behavioral sciences, and materials and surface analysis.

The new instrumentation will be shared among the biology, chemistry, geology, physics and psychology departments and used to investigate scientific problems from multiple disciplinary perspectives. It will also enhance Bryn Mawr's capacity to provide students with exposure to sophisticated research equipment, methodologies and processes of inquiry to address broadly relevant questions grounded in real-world problems and at the forefront of research.

Leaders in science education
Associate Professor of Physics Elizabeth McCormack is one of four principal investigators for a three-year, $1.3 million national effort to develop an infrastructure of leaders to support long-lasting improvements in science education.

The project, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is part of Phase Four of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), a nationwide network devoted to reforming college-level education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Bryn Mawr scholarships open to alumnae
During their time at the College, many Bryn Mawr students busily apply for all sorts of grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Some of these same opportunities exist for alumnae-and indeed often alumnae, with their more developed and more focused interests, may be ideal candidates.

One scholarship administered by Bryn Mawr that has frequently been awarded to alumnae is the Elizabeth Gray Vining Scholarship. The Vining Scholarship was established in 1974 with funds raised by Bryn Mawr's many distinguished Japanese alumnae in honor of Elizabeth Vining '23, Newbery Medal winning author and tutor to the Japanese Crown Prince following World War II. The Vining Scholarship provides funds both for those seeking to do academic study and research in Japan (up to 10 months) and for those seeki ng "direct contact with Japanese culture" (three to six months). In the 30 years since its establishment, the Vining has funded an apprenticeship with a "living treasure" master ceramicist, the study of Japanese traditions of musical composition, ethnographic research on the effects of internationalization on Japanese kinship patterns-and many more topics.

Alumni/ae from both the undergraduate college and the graduate schools interested in applying for the Vining should contact Assistant Dean Michelle Mancini. The deadline will be in March 2005. Inquiries about other scholarship opportunities for alumnae are also welcome.

BMC's first All-American
Joanna Simonis '05 placed third in the 800-meter run in the NCAA Division III Track and Field championship meet held May 29 at Millikin University in Decatur, IL. She is the College's first All-American and medalist in track and field.

Simonis, who was competing in the national championship meet for the second year in a row, ran a 2:12.62 qualifying heat at nationals on May 28, breaking both her Bryn Mawr College record and the Centennial Conference record. In the finals on May 29, she ran a 2:14.67 race and finished third overall.

"Joanna did a tremendous job this year," said Dan Talbot, track and field coach. "She took her training to the next level and she really learned how to race. She's been an inspiration to her teammates and coaches and I'm really proud of her."

Melissa Leedle '05 also ran a provisional qualifying time for the championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, but decided to take a rest and begin training for next fall's cross-country season.

Simonis, Leedle and Mali Petherbridge '04, who won this year's Anne Lee Delano Award as Bryn Mawr's top scholar-athlete, have led the track team in a stellar season, said Talbot. On April 22, Leedle became the first member of Bryn Mawr's team to compete in an individual event at the Penn Relays.

An outstanding runner and student in high school, Simonis felt "burned out" and skipped cross-country season the first semester of her freshman year. That spring, however, she started indoor track and her times have soared. A psychology major, she plans to apply to graduate schools.

Her twin sister Flori Simonis '05, also a runner in high school, decided not to run competitively in college.

Commencement honors
Conferred at Bryn Mawr's 115th Commencement on May 16, 2004 were 155 graduate degrees and 299 undergraduate degrees, including four Katharine E. McBride Scholars, students beyond traditional college age. Graduate degrees comprised 19 doctorates, 35 masters of arts, 82 masters of social work, and 19 masters of law and social policy.

The Gertrude Slaughter Fellowship was awarded to Jennifer Jaye Vaughan '04, who graduated summa cum laude with a double major and honors in mathematics and physics. She will enter a doctoral program in theoretical physics at Cornell University.

The European Traveling Fellowship was awarded to Kathryn Anne Kleppinger '04, who graduated summa cum laude with a double major and honors in French and mathematics. Kleppinger also received an M.A. in French. She will teach English in Strasbourg, France.

The Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching was presented to Gary McDonogh, professor and director of the Growth and Structure of Cities program.

The Rosalyn R. Schwartz Teaching Award for faculty contributions to curricular development at the College was presented to Assistant Professor of English Bethany Schneider, and to Lecturer in Education Alice Lesnick.

The Mary Patterson McPherson Award for excellence and community service among faculty was presented to Azade Seyhan, Fairbank Professor in the Humanities and professor of German and comparative literature.

Retiring and graduating to the status of emeritus was Nancy Dersofi, professor of Italian and comparative literature. David Rabeeya also retired after 33 years as lecturer in Hebrew and Judaic studies. Additionally, Rabeeya spent many hours teaching Arabic to students through independent studies courses.

Doris Sill Carland Awards for Excellence in Teaching were awarded to three graduate student teaching assistants: Laura Hall in mathematics, Deanna Hamilton in psychology, and Michael Jay McClure in history of art.

Mary Patterson McPherson Awards for Outstanding Community Service in the undergraduate college were presented to Jessie Johnston '04, Amalia Petherbridge '04, and Meredith Stoll '04; and in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to James Schweppe in chemistry and Victoria Tsoukala in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology.

The Alumnae Regional Scholars selected this year are: Charlotte Rahn-Lee '05, Alexandra Schutz '05, Shuba Sunder '05, Elizabeth Carter '06, Erika Fardig '06, Lucy Hu '06, Shadia Bel Hamdounia '06, Emily Madsen '06, and Jessie Posilkin '06.

Among outside awards, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships for the 2004-05 academic year went to two juniors: chemistry major Kirbi Krisfalusi '05 and Cordelia Stearns '05, a biology major with a concentration in neural and behavioral sciences.

Fulbright Fellowships were awarded to Alice Goff '04, as a teaching assistant in Germany, and to Emily Bass '95, for AIDS research in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Bass also received the Commonwealth Africa Scholarship.

Roaming 'homemakers'
In her May 15 Convocation address, celebrated actor, playwright, and activist Anna Deavere Smith urged graduating students to take on the woman's work that is never done-housework. Deavere did not mean domestic chores, but the making of figurative houses from which to reach out and draw others in.

"My generation created what we called safe houses of identity," said Deavere, who graduated from college in 1971. "There are women's houses, black houses, Asian houses, black women's houses, the old women's house, the house for battered women, the lesbian and bisexual houses, mothers with children, single women, non-mothers, white women, poor women, CEOs, incarcerated women, 20-year-olds, women over 40, women with cancer, women with AIDs. And I worry about which house I seem to be in because of the houses I have failed to list."

One of the problems with safe houses is that they don't teach mobility, Deavere said. "My goal is that instead of making houses, some of you will determine instead to carry tents and pitch them not in safe environments but in what I call the crossroads of ambiguity. This is where we need to be to learn, to engage, where we must use languages, where we must use empathy.

"If you go out of your safe house, I promise you, you will not be welcomed back. And if you go into another house or knock on another door, you may not be welcome. What is required here is resilience, not the expectation of safety."

To create her plays, Deavere has taped interviews with hundreds of Americans, which she then performs verbatim, recreating individual voices and mannerisms.

After delivering a monologue by oral historian Studs Terkel on the increasing failure of Americans to connect with one another, Deavere presented three characters to illustrate "what you need in your tool box along with your folding tent: creativity and problem solving; searching for justice, even if you must question the official truth; speaking out with passion on what you believe."

She enacted a Hasidic housewife, one of the 29 people in her Obie Award winning play, Fires in the Mirror, who talk about the 1991 Brooklyn Crown Heights race riots; a Korean woman whose liquor store was burned to the ground during the riots over the Rodney King trial (from Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, also an Obie winner); and finished by performing part of an 8-hour conversation between African-American author James Baldwin and anthropologist Margaret Mead, which they published in 1971 a s A Rap on Race.

"Pay attention to the people with whom you do not agree and look for an active and intimate engagement with strangers whenever you can," Deavere said. "Take what you have learned from this intellectual home of the last four years and begin the task of making house and home for larger and larger circles of difference."

Founder of the Institute on Art and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, Deavere is a professor at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and affiliated with the New York University Law School. The MacArthur Foundation awarded Smith a fellowship in 1996, saying that she "has created a new form of theater-a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism and intimate revery."

She plays a recurring role as National Security Advisor Nancy McNally on the NBC series, The West Wing. Included among her film credits are "Dave," "Philadelphia," "The American President," and most recently, "The Human Stain."


Julie Painter
Julie Painter '59, who retired last year after more than 40 years working at the College and more than 30 as its Registrar, died at her home on June 7 after a long struggle with cancer. Painter oversaw the implementation of the first computerized registration system at Bryn Mawr and saw the College through several conversions to new systems. A memorial tribute will appear in the November issue of the Bulletin. At her request, there will be no service. For more information, please contact the Edito r.

Michael Powell
Michael Powell, assistant professor of history, died at his home on June 8 after after a long battle with multiple myeloma. Amedieval historian who was also an accomplished musician and liturgist, he joined the faculty at Bryn Mawr in 1999. He was 42 years old. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a soup kitchen or food pantry of your choice. A full obituary will appear in the November issue of the Bulletin.

Hayley Samantha Thomas
Hayley Samantha Thomas, the much-loved assistant dean and acting director of institutional diversity at Bryn Mawr, died on March 20 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Thomas was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the end of January. She was 32.

"Many of us at Bryn Mawr have worked closely with Hayley and have admired her warmth, sense of humor, sharp intellect and the direct honesty of her conversation," said President of the College Nancy J. Vickers. "She gave generously to her students and colleagues, and this community benefited greatly from her presence. Hayley seemed so clearly meant to become a leader in higher education. Her death is a great loss and very hard to accept."

Thomas came to Bryn Mawr in 2000 as an assistant dean. In 2003, she was named the acting director of institutional diversity as well. As dean, she became an invaluable resource for all students, especially those involved in mentoring programs for students of color.

Hundreds of young women benefited from her tireless dedication to their academic success and personal development. She worked with the On-Target mentoring program for students of color. Last fall she spearheaded the planning of a yearlong series of events called "Making Sense of Diversity: A Conversation at Bryn Mawr College," which continues to bring faculty, students and staff together to discuss issues of difference. Thomas also taught college seminars on the intersection of oral and written narrative t raditions.

"Hayley was an extraordinarily gifted young woman who made great contributions to the Bryn Mawr College community," said Karen M. Tidmarsh '71, dean of the undergraduate college. "We are devastated by this loss."

Born in Guyana, Thomas came to the United States in 1978 and grew up in Queens, New York. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 1993 with a B.A. with honors in history and a minor in English literature. Thomas earned her M.A. in 1997 and Ph.D. in 2002 in folklore and folk life at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, under the supervision of Roger D. Abrahams, was titled "Critical Mas': Reading Folklore in West Indian Literary Criticism."

From 1999-2000, she taught and conducted research at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, on the Ann Plato Fellowship. She was also awarded Penn's Fontaine Fellowship, which supports outstanding minority doctoral students. She received the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship while attending Swarthmore College and was the recipient of the Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Humanistic Studies while attending the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas sang with the Swarthmore College Alumni Gospel Choir, and she often visited high schools in communities where the choir performed to encourage students to continue their education. She was active in MANNA, which provides nutritional support to people living with AIDS/HIV.

Thomas is survived by her mother Hazeline Thomas, sister Golda Thomas, stepfather Herbert George, six aunts, six uncles and more than 25 first cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to charities in Philadelphia and New York. For more information about supporting these organizations, please visit

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