SMC dual degree program grows

first_imgThe enrollment in college engineering programs around the nation has reached its highest level in 30 years, according to the American Association of Engineering Education, and Saint Mary’s College is no exception. The Engineering Dual Degree Program at Saint Mary’s has grown since its establishment in 1977. Four students completed the program within a period of 13 years between 1993 and 2006, but most recently, in the three-year period from 2007 to 2010, three students completed the program, Dr. Toni Barstis, Saint Mary’s Chemistry professor and engineering program director, said. Currently, there are six fifth-year students finishing the program at Notre Dame and 25 second through fourth-year students in the program. The number of first-year students who have shown an interest is about 17, Barstis said. “We are increasing the number of female students in each graduating engineering class at Notre Dame by 10 percent,” Barstis said. Barstis attributes part of the growth of the program to her collaborative efforts with Cathy Pieronek, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the Women’s Engineering Program in the College of Engineering, to promote the program, advise students and provide support through the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Other key factors were the support of the students for each other as well as the growing awareness of young women for the opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, otherwise known as STEM fields. The Engineering Dual Degree Program is designed as a five-year joint program through Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame in which students earn a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s in four years and finish their fifth year at Notre Dame with a second bachelor’s degree of science in engineering. The majority of students enrolled in the program major in mathematics — computational or standard — or chemistry; however, one student majored in philosophy, Barstis said. Junior Taylor Chamberlain, a chemistry and chemical engineering major, said she was drawn to the program for the opportunity of a small college experience while offering the engineering major available at larger universities. Chamberlain believes the growth in the program has to do with the changing attitudes of women towards engineering. “I think you have to take into consideration that more women in general are realizing that, yes, engineering is something they can do and enrollment is up for engineering programs across the country,” Chamberlain said. “It’s just more noticeable with [Saint Mary’s] because we are a much smaller program. Where six to 10 more girls might go unnoticed in a larger school, four to five is a big deal for us.” Not all students who initially show interest in the program complete it fully, but those statistics are not yet available, according to Barstis. After being encouraged as second- and third-year students to explore the engineering field through classes, a few students who find they are not passionate about engineering decide to leave the program. A smaller number of students are unable to continue with the program due to insufficient grades. “Due to the amount of work required to earn two degrees from two institutions, it is simply too much unless the student is 100 percent dedicated and committed to the program,” Barstis said.  The course load for the program is intense as the students are working for two bachelor degrees. “I think probably the most challenging part of the program is the class schedule,” Chamberlain said. “In order to finish two technical science degrees in five years, we have to take a lot of classes very close together that might have usually been more spaced out.” The Engineering Dual Degree program’s success may be another reason for the growing interest — 99 percent of the students who reach their fourth year in the program graduate continue the program to graduate from Notre Dame with a B.S. in Engineering. One hundred percent of students of the program have obtained a job within the first few months of graduation, Barstis said. Mary Zahm, a 2010 Saint Mary’s graduate who is currently continuing her education at Notre Dame, is not surprised that the program is growing. “It’s a gem of a program,” Zahm said. “It’s great that other girls are learning about it and seeing it as an opportunity for them to pursue their interest in engineering.” Chamberlain agreed. “It’s truly an amazing program and we’re all glad that it’s growing the way it is,” Chamberlain said.last_img read more

Group to premiere advocacy video

first_imgThe 4 to 5 Movement will premier a new video tonight called “It Needs to Get Better,” which gives suggestions for creating an environment of inclusion on campus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. The video is based on the “It Gets Better Project,” a campaign to prevent suicide in LGBTQ youth. The campaign’s website,, provides personal videos to prove life will get better for them after high school, said sophomore Dani Gies, a member of the 4 to 5 Movement who appears in the video. Gies said the goal of the 4 to 5 movement, which is a Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) initiative, is to encourage the University to make greater strides toward inclusion.  “We feel that part of our Catholic identity is to create a welcoming and warm environment for all members of the community,” Gies said.  Senior Jackie Emmanuel, co-president of the PSA, said college life can be just as difficult as high school for some LGBTQ students. “Sometimes even college atmospheres don’t have structures in place to protect LGBT students in the ways that they need to,” Emmanuel said.  Gies said the 4 to 5 Movement’s video features many different members of the Notre Dame community, each of them explaining ways in which the University can change to promote inclusion.  “[The video is] addressing the University at large, telling them what the current campus atmosphere is, what the current campus policy is, and how that policy needs to change in particular ways in order for certain groups to actually feel like they’re a part of Notre Dame,” Emmanuel said.  The video advocates for a gay-straight alliance on campus and an amendment to the non-discrimination clause to protect LGBTQ students and faculty, Emmanuel said. Student Senate recently passed resolutions in favor of both additions, and Emmanuel said she hopes the video will alert the administration of student support for these measures. “We’re hoping that [the video] will support Student Senate’s resolutions … and then hopefully it will inspire the rest of campus to follow suit,” she said.  Undergraduate students, law students, faculty and staff appear in the video, Gies said.  Emmanuel, professors Peter Holland and Pamela Wojcik of the Film, Television and Theatre Department, law student Steve Baugh, and sophomore Alex Coccia, also co-president of PSA, are included.  “All of them volunteered to be a part of the video because they felt that putting a face to what we were saying was really important and all of them wanted their voices represented,” Gies said.  She said the video’s message is powerful because it presents such a variety of perspectives from the Notre Dame community.  “We feel that more can be done,” she said. “We’re ready to take a stand on not only a campus-wide level, but on a national level. Having people’s faces representing the movement, representing all different members of the community in this video was really crucial.” Gies said Senate’s resolutions have paved the way for the 4 to 5 Movement to continue advocating for the rights of LGBTQ students. “We’ve been gaining momentum as of late with the Student Senate passing resolutions on the gay-straight alliance and the nondiscrimination clause,” she said. “[The video] is another way to show we’re not going away. We’re looking forward to effecting more change and to things getting better.”   “It Needs to Get Better” premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. in the LaFortune Student Center’s Montgomery Auditorium.  Gies said the video will also be posted on the 4 to 5 Movement’s Facebook page and the group’s website, read more

Presentation covers local food options

first_imgAs a part of Food Week 2013 at Saint Mary’s College, two representatives from Purple Porch Co-op and Prairie Winds Farm spoke about healthy, sustainable and local food options available to South Bend residents. Dan Hicks, a member of the Purple Porch Co-op board of directors, said “local is everywhere” when it comes to food options. Representatives from Purple Porch co-op as well as Charlotte Wolfe from Prairie Winds Farm presented their healthy, sustainable food options available to local residents in the South Bend area. “Being a part of a local community even for a short amount of time, being an informed and inquisitive consumer and seeking out local businesses to support can be some ways college students can eat locally,” Hicks said.    Hicks said the Purple Porch co-op is a member-owed cooperative enterprise in South Bend, connecting people in the Michiana area with local growers who produce organic food. “It helps to create a transfer of food from producer to consumer [that is] more of a face-to-face transfer instead of just economic,” Hicks said. Hicks said the co-op is designed as a farmer’s market where producers set up their table and sells their locally grown food. Currently, he said there are 24 local producers who sell their food every Wednesday evening from five to seven at their location on High Street in South Bend. Charlotte Wolfe, the owner of Prairie Winds Farm, said her company’s farm is an educational farm in Lakeville, Ind., that aims to grow their own food and offer local residents the chance to see the sources of their food. “Our aim is to explore alternatives to show kids that farming is beneficial to our community,” Wolfe said.   She said the farm uses a step-by-step approach to engage children in a variety of practical farming and gardening skills. The farm recently partnered with Bertrand Farm, Inc., to provide internships to students interested in working on the farm to educate children about farming and where their food comes from. Stefanie Schwab, president of the Food Sustainability Committee at Saint Mary’s, said it’s all about the “real food.” “Advocating for real food and educating students about food issues and where our food is coming from is important,” Schwab said. Schwab said students interested in becoming part of the Food Sustainability Committee should contact her at [email protected] to help plan Food Week 2014. Contact Angela Bukur at [email protected]last_img read more

TBAB supports cancer research for 6th year in a row

first_imgObserver File Photo Former Notre Dame student Colleen Boyle gets her head shaved at last year’s The Bald and the Beautiful event. The club raises funds and spreads awareness for cancer research, with nearly 300 shaves per year.“The event has two beneficiaries, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, and Memorial Hospital, who cares for those inflicted with pediatric cancer right in our community of South Bend,” Soler said. “The money that goes to St. Baldrick’s is used to help fund their existing charity work, while Memorial has used the money to fund a new oncology renovation, which will help patients live more comfortably and fight their diseases with the newest technologies and medical care.”Soler said every year, roughly 100 girls show their solidarity in the fight against cancer by donating their hair.“Each year, we have close to 100 girls who generously donate their hair for Pantene Beautiful Lengths,” he said. “Additionally, we even have a few girls shave their heads. If girls don’t want to get their hair cut, every girl can get a hair extension, which is a great way to support and show solidarity.”Soler said planning the event is an ongoing commitment by the organization’s members.“We are continually confirming commitments for the next year from all sponsors, donors and participants,” Soler said. “As co-chairs, we are constantly in contact over the summer and throughout the semester.TBAB hopes to raise a record amount of money this year, he said.“TBAB has averaged anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 each year,” Soler said. “This year, especially after partnering with Notre Dame Baseball who fundraised over $18,000 in February, we’re hoping to make a TBAB record and raise $70,000.”TBAB recently became an official club whose members help run the event, junior member Amanda Buerger said.“The members of The Bald and the Beautiful work before the event and the day of the event to make sure that everything runs smoothly,” Buerger said. “A lot of work goes into making this event successful, from ordering the extensions, getting volunteer stylists, advertising [and] having various smaller events throughout the year.”Soler said club members were integral to the planning of TBAB.“We couldn’t have done it without the help of our fellow club members,” Soler said. “Each Sunday afternoon of the spring semester, TBAB members gathered to discuss and plan every aspect of the event. From dorm sponsorship to stylists who volunteer their time, everyone involved in TBAB is integral to making it all work.”Buerger said the event is powerful to witness.“The most meaningful part of helping with TBAB is seeing the kids from Memorial come to this event,” Buerger said. “A few patients from the hospital come in each year to meet the football team and see what this event is. To get a chance to see the kids that this event is aimed to help is really special.”Tags: Cancer research, TBAB, the bald and the beautiful, the history of the bald and the beautiful In 2009, 140 Notre Dame students participated in the first iteration of The Bald and the Beautiful (TBAB). Since then, senior and co-chair Frank Soler said the event has grown exponentially in size.“Students, faculty, members of the South Bend community and many other staff members participate in TBAB,” Soler said. “With close to 300 shaves per year and close to 2,000 participants in six years, TBAB continues to expand throughout the ND community.”Soler said his sister, junior Catherine Soler, and her friend from Duncan Hall started TBAB in response to a Notre Dame student they knew who died from cancer. In his memory, TBAB raises funds and awareness for cancer research.last_img read more

Tri-campus community comes together to speak out against sexual assault

first_imgStudents from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross will gather to pray, march and speak out in support of victims of sexual assault as a part of the 14th annual Take Back the Night on Thursday. The event, which was sponsored by the Gender Relations Center (GRC) with support from student government, is organized by students and faculty from across the tri-campus community.The event is scheduled to begin at Holy Cross College at 6 p.m., and there will also be a kick-off at Saint Mary’s at 6:30 p.m. followed by a walkover from Lake Marion to Dahnke Ballroom at Notre Dame for an event titled “Speak Out.” Later, students will march around the Notre Dame campus to raise awareness about sexual assault in the community, followed by a vigil at the Grotto.This year, the GRC is partnering with the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being (McWell) for an opportunity to reflect, relax and refocus through crafts following the event.Fifth-year student Pierce Witmer, one of the Notre Dame student representatives for the Take Back the Night Committee, said the event focuses not just on raising awareness about sexual assault but also on supporting sexual assault survivors.“The most important part of the event is to support survivors and to support the people who have been affected by sexual assault,” Witmer said. “Raising awareness about the issue is a very big, positive part of it, but that’s something that we do with a lot of our events that are geared towards sexual assault awareness at the GRC. This event specifically is unique in the way that it tries to make sure that survivors feel that they are not alone.”Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the GRC, said sexual assault is a much more prevalent problem on campus than many students realize.“We are vastly underreported. We know that … there are barriers to why students report, and some of it is they are afraid of the reactions of peers or administrators or retaliation,” Caron Gebhardt said. “ … Sexual assault is a crime of power and the greatest power around violence is isolation. So, if the system or people or the perpetrator isolates the victim, then they’re never held accountable. This is an opportunity for our survivors and victims to know that it is not okay and that we have to break the silence.”Student body president junior Elizabeth Boyle cited statistics from the University’s 2018 Sexual Conduct and Campus Climate Questionnaire Report, which stated 27% of female students and 7% of male students indicated they had experienced some sort of unwanted sexual contact while a student at Notre Dame.“It’s a big problem,” Boyle said. “ … More and more students are realizing that it is a problem here and they are reacting to it, which is really positive to see.”Caron Gebhardt said Take Back the Night is also a chance to move beyond just hearing the statistics and instead start to see how individuals are affected by sexual assault and take steps to support them.“If you’re skeptical about the statistics — which I get, I would not want anybody not to be a critical thinker, I think it’s important about what we do here at Notre Dame — but when you hear a person’s narrative or when you hear a person’s story, you can’t deny the impact that has happened in that person’s life,” Caron Gebhardt said. “ … It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people.”In previous years, one of the most popular events of the evening was “Speak Out,” which gives survivors of sexual assault a chance to share their experiences, Witmer said.“For many people that come to the event, this is the first time that they’ve opened up about their experiences,” he said. “Creating an environment that appropriately attributes weight and respect to those speakers is something that we want to try to protect. … It’s a healing time for people that have gone through something traumatic or who have had people in their lives affected by such a traumatic experience as well.”John Johnstin, assistant director for outreach at the GRC, said not all of the stories are necessarily about sexual assault, but sometimes students speak instead about the trauma that has been present in their life or the life of others as a result of such experiences. Witmer said this is also welcomed at the event, as not everyone feels comfortable to talk about it directly.“We want to make sure folks are able to find their voice and be able to share their story in a place and location that is supportive and caring and wants to make sure that they know that they are believed,” he said. “ … If we can simply have somebody feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their story and knowing that they are going to be believed, I think that we are making a huge change within our community.”Boyle, who also attended the event her freshman year, said “Speak Out” was a profound experience for her.“You’re sitting down, and you might not know it, but the person sitting next to you will jump right up and share their story. I think a really important tool is being able to share stories with each other and then grow and walk alongside one another,” Boyle said. “So, I really hope that students will learn from the speak out that sexual violence happens here in many different ways and it doesn’t discriminate on any sort of identity.”Caron Gebhardt said she encourages unsure students to attend Take Back the Night, get involved and support survivors to contribute to the well-being of the tri-campus community.“Even if you’re not sure, just come, because I think you will be compelled by the men and women who have been harmed and the burdens and the scars and the wounds that they carry, but also by the hope and the courage and the resilience that they manifest,” Caron Gebhardt said. “It both shows us the darkest aspect of who we are as a community but also offers the greatest hope for us as a community.”Tags: campus climate, Gender Relations Center, McWell, sexual assault, sexual violence, Take Back the Night, tri-campus communitylast_img read more

Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon hosts first-ever virtual marathon

first_imgCourtesy of Jessie Snyder Jessie Snyder virtually participates in the Saint Mary’s annual Dance Marathon following the cancellation of the in-person event.The marathon, originally planned for April 4, was canceled as a result of Saint Mary’s move to remote learning through Easter break and eventually the rest of the semester. The decision to move the marathon virtually was made by the executive team who felt there had to be a marathon, no matter the conditions, senior club president Clare Carragher said. According to Carragher, the team utilized social media platforms like Instagram, FaceBook, TikTok and an updated website to provide sources of entertainment and information throughout the day.“We went live on Instagram at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony — similar to the one held during a traditional marathon — explaining how people can participate throughout the day,” she said. Social media posts ran throughout the day on the same schedule as the traditional marathon. The posts consisted of Riley kid — patients at Riley Children’s hospital — miracle stories, video features of alumni nurses, pictures of participants’ 80’s decor to fit the theme of “Back to the ‘80s” and mini fundraising challenges. “The website was designed so people could come and go as they please and just provide some different forms of entertainment while we’re all quarantined in our houses across the country,” Carragher said.  The virtual marathon allowed for dancers, committee members and executives to participate in and experience a marathon from across the U.S. Carragher said the virtual marathon allowed for the message and mission of Dance Marathon to be spread to an even greater audience as it was all over social media all day. “A lot of good things came out of the day and a lot of things that, I hope, can continue moving forward,” Carragher said.  “Who knows where I will be a year or two down the road — so I would love for the option to check into the website and see the Riley family stories or watch the morale dance.”The committees worked in conjunction throughout the day to provide entertainment and keep the energy high, Carragher said. The morale dance, an eight minute line dance, is typically taught in segments throughout the day until it is performed by all participants at the end of the marathon. In lieu of this performance, the morale executives recorded themselves doing the dance all the way through. The morale committee girls then divided the dance into 11 mini tutorial videos that were posted throughout the day to social media. Participants were then invited to film themselves performing the morale dance and email the clips to the technology committee who then formed the final line dance with all the video submissions at the end of the night. Senior alumni relations executive Jessie Snyder was awarded this year’s Exec of the Year title by the president’s board for her success in leading the new committee. “Since it was a brand-new committee it gave me the opportunity to build into my own, I got to build it up from nothing,” Snyder said. The committee was formed in an effort to show thanks to alumni — many of whom have a passion and love for Riley that just doesn’t go away after graduation — and give them a way to still participate in Dance Marathon, she said. Participation in a virtual 12 hour event proved to be the biggest obstacle of planning the marathon, but both Carragher and Snyder commented on the pleasant surprise of seeing the community come together during an unprecedented time. “It wasn’t something we could have planned for but we were able to to turn a traditional marathon into something way bigger that was able to reach so many more people,” Snyder said. “If anything it brought us closer together and really proved the big impact that a small school like Saint Mary’s can have.”Tags: COVID-19, Riley Children’s Hospital, saint marys dance marathon, virtual The 15th annual Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon looked different from years past, as tri-campus community members gathered virtually Saturday rather than in Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex. The 12 hour marathon raises money for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.last_img read more

28 Local Businesses Receive Part Of County’s $10.5 Million CARES Act Money

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) WNY News Now File Image.JAMESTOWN – More than two dozen local businesses have received part of $10.5 Million in CARES Act money given to Chautauqua County for COVID-19 economic relief.The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency announced on Tuesday that 28 businesses and non-profit entities from various sectors received part of the funding.In total, around half of the 10 million was split between the businesses, which officials say is likely retain hundreds of jobs and create upwards of 100 new ones.Specifically, $5,736,293 in funding was given to Luscombe Aircraft; Merritt Estate Winery; The Original Crunch Roll; Pucci Carpet; Excelco/Newbrook; Artone; International Ordnance; Kimbert Manufacturing; Heritage Ministries; Uhl Ventures (Servpro); Ark Wholesale; SKB Auto Sales; Brigiottas; Billicki Law Firm; Advanced Production Group; Skate Shop; Corvus Bus & Charter; Webb’s Candies/Motel; Falconer Hotel; La Quinta/Holiday Inn/Hampton Inn; Big Inlet Brewing; Ivory Acres Weddings; Shawbucks; Cockaigne; Pace’s Pizzeria; and Webb’s Harbor Restaurant and Bowling Lanes. Those looking to apply for the remaining credit are asked to contact the CCIDA at (716) 661-8900.As currently established, loans of no less than $25,000, not to exceed $1 Million of a working capital, of up to $250,000 with an interest rate of 2.44%, the lowest allowed, are available.last_img read more

To Have and to Hold! Musical Revue Til Divorce Do Us Part to Play Off-Broadway

first_img The cast includes Fischer, Martin Landry, Erin Maguire, Dana Wilson and Gretchen Wylder. The Til Divorce Do Us Part creative team includes sets by Mitchell Greenberg, costumes by Tony winner Paloma Young and Ashley Rose Horton, lighting by Julie Duro and sound by Nevin Steinberg. Show Closed This production ended its run on April 13, 2014 Til Divorce Do Us Part features a concept, lyrics and choreography by Ruthe Ponturo and music by John Thomas Fischer. The comedy is inspired by Ponturo’s life—after many years of marriage she was left by her Broadway producer husband for a younger woman. Ponturo wrote the show while going through her divorce. Til Divorce Do Us Part Waldrop garnered a Tony nod for Just Between Friends. Other credits include Bette Midler’s Divine Miss Millennium tour, Bea Arthur, When Pigs Fly, Newsical, Game Show and Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.center_img In sickness and in health! Til Divorce Do Us Part, an original musical revue, will begin performances February 7 off-Broadway at the DR2 Theatre. Directed by Tony nominee Mark Waldrop, the production is set to open on February 18. View Comments Related Showslast_img read more

Watch Of Mice and Men’s Leighton Meester Sing

first_img View Comments Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on July 27, 2014 Of Mice and Men We won’t spoil it for those of you who have yet to see or read Of Mice and Men, but let’s just say things don’t end swimmingly for Leighton Meester’s character. That doesn’t stop the Gossip Girl star from singing her heart out online, though. Meester took to YouTube to perform the Fleetwood Mac hit “Dreams” alongside vocalist Dana Williams and musician Maxwell Drummey. The video has us thinking: what does Broadway have in store for Meester after she parts ways with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in Of Mice and Men? Is a musical in her future? Take a listen below! Star Files Leighton Meesterlast_img read more

This Is Our Youth, Starring Michael Cera, is Broadway Bound

first_img Originally produced off-Broadway by The New Group, This Is Our Youth opened at the INTAR Theatre in October 1996. The play later opened at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre in November 1998, starring Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager. The 2002 West End production of This Is Our Youth starred Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin. Other actors to subsequently appear in the London version include Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Summer Phoenix and Culkin. View Comments All three castmembers will be making their Broadway debuts. Cera and Culkin appeared in a different Australian production of This Is Our Youth in 2012. Cera’s screen credits include Arrested Development and Superbad, Culkin’s credits include Igby Goes Down and Gevinson, the 17-year-old brains behind fashion website Rookie, will be making her stage debut. Related Shows This Is Our Youth chronicles 48 hours in the lives of spoiled, drugged-out, rich kids living in Manhattan in the 1980s. Cera will play Warren, a depressed 19-year-old who has stolen $15,000 from his tycoon Dad, while Culkin will play his drug-dealer friend Dennis and Gevinson will appear as Jessica, a perceptive fashion student. The production will feature original music by Grammy winner Rostam Batmanglij and be staged in-the-round in Chicago, before being restaged for a proscenium theater on Broadway.center_img Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth is Broadway bound, starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson. According to the Chicago Tribune, the show, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, will play at the Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre in Chicago June 10 through June 27, with opening night set for June 18. The production will then transfer to Broadway’s Cort Theatre, with previews starting on August 18 and opening night scheduled for September 11. This Is Our Youth Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015last_img read more