For Starters: Spring 2018

Socrates. Angela Davis. Community.
The Deathh of Socrates

1. What Would Socrates Do?

For the answer, L.A. Review of Books critic Andy Fitch turned to Philosophy Professor Joel Alden Schlosser, who wrote a book of that name. Long identified as the quintessential dissenter, Socrates, in Schlosser's telling, emerges as a far more complex figure.

“Taking Socrates’ practice as a guide,” Schlosser says, “you cannot do philosophy sitting alone in a room, nor can you think constructively without beginning from the culture that you inhabit. When you read about Socrates, you read about his conversations with others. ... To describe Socrates as a quintessential dissenter ignores how this dissent does not so much refuse as engage, how it is much less solitary than associational.”

2. Angela Davis Speaks

Author, academic, and activist icon Angela Davis delivered this year's Commencement address.

The author of 10 books, Davis focuses on the social problems associated with incarceration and the criminalization of communities most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early 1970s, when she spent 18 months in jail and on trial after being placed on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted List.”

Davis is “an electrifying speaker,” President Kim Cassidy noted. Davis is currently Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

3. Fast Track

The fastest woman in Bryn Mawr indoor track history has been racking up the honors this year. After wins in the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles at the Centennial Conference Championship meet, Jennica Terry ’21 was awarded Outstanding Track Performer of the Year and Outstanding Rookie of the Year honors. It is the first time ever in conference history that a student-athlete has claimed both honors in the same season.

Terry also took third place in the 200-meter dash at the meet.

All season long, Terry has been burning up the track. She’s reset the College record six times in the two 60-meter events, posted a new school record of 9.04 seconds in the hurdles, and shattered the old 60-meter dash record by almost two-tenths of a second.

4. It's an Honor

Raymond Albert, a 38-year veteran of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, is the 2018 recipient of the Helen Taft Manning Award for valuable service to Bryn Mawr.

In presenting the award, President Kim Cassidy cited his leadership, his commitment to institutional diversity and inclusion, and his work in conflict resolution. Albert is known for his work as a mediator, as a critical figure in the Diversity Leadership Group, and as staff issues liaison.

In his honor, mediation benches—designed for two people to face each other for conversation and true listening—are being placed at two sites, one at the GSSWSR and the other outside Guild.

5. Anything but Democratic

Writing in The Washington Post before the recent elections in Egypt, Political Science Professor Sofia Fenner took a look at the baffling state of politics there, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s campaign, and an opposition reluctant to participate in an election that is, in Fenner’s words, “anything but democratic.”

“More than four years after the 2013 military coup, public politics remains risky,” she writes. “Open confrontation can mean a quick ticket to prison, or worse. The resulting public quiescence can make the status quo seem permanent. But within these organizations—in ways that rarely make it into Western media—Egyptians are continuing to fight.” 

6. 9 to 5

Nina Yung ’19 spent her winter break in Bangkok, where she shadowed intellectual property lawyer Eliza Stefaniw ’94.

A U.S. patent attorney, Stefaniw is working as an intellectual property specialist at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand. Her work there involves internationalizing the university’s patent portfolio and technology transfer policies and practices.

During her time with Stefaniw, Yung explored the field of intellectual property law and exactly what goes into contracts and patents. She also got the chance to practice interacting with clients and networking.

Directed by the Leadership, Innovation, and Liberal Arts Center, the extern program gives students a firsthand look at their desired field. Over break, externs shadow professionals—usually Bryn Mawr alumnae/i— through the workday and receive advice from sponsors.

Says Yung, a psychology and East Asian languages and cultures double major, “Eliza gave me resources to further my outside education and my general knowledge about law. I gained a lot more than I thought I was going to.”

7. Community

Dean Jennifer Walters led the closing session at the fourth-annual Community Day of Learning. This year, more than 650 community members attended nearly 50 sessions devoted to the past, present, and future of Bryn Mawr.