Discover Your 'Authentic Voice': 2021 SVA Commencement Highlights and Marilyn Minter's Keynote Speech - SVA - SVA Features

Discover Your 'Authentic Voice': 2021 SVA Commencement Highlights and Marilyn Minter's Keynote Speech - SVA - SVA Features Discover Your 'Authentic Voice': 2021 SVA Commencement Highlights and Marilyn Minter's Keynote Speech - SVA - SVA Features Posted: 23 May 2021 12:00 AM PDT One of the last projects the great  Milton Glaser —the legendary graphic designer, longtime School of Visual Arts faculty member and acting chairman of the SVA Board—was working on before his death last year was "Together," an effort to encourage fellow feeling despite the isolation brought on by COVID-19. As always, Glaser was reminding us of our shared humanity, which transcends borders, circumstances and physical space. And while we weren't together in person to celebrate the School of Visual Arts' 46th annual commencement exercises, in spirit, we were. The 2021 Commencement—which took place onl

Second series of Mele Masters begins on May 23rd - The Garden Island

Second series of Mele Masters begins on May 23rd - The Garden Island

Second series of Mele Masters begins on May 23rd - The Garden Island

Posted: 16 May 2021 03:05 AM PDT

LIHUE — The Kaua'i Chorale announced the second springtime installment of The Mele Masters Series, online presentations featuring several musicians, beginning May 23.

All events are free to the public, suitable for all audiences and available on Zoom, with registration available at The event begins at 2 p.m., and closed captioning is available.

"This is a terrific opportunity for not only our neighbors in Kaua'i, but for everyone, to spend time with some very entertaining and super-talented musicians with roots in their own communities," said Morris Wise, chorale artistic director.

"We are fortunate to have them share their knowledge and experience with us." "Overcoming Adversity and Inspiring Others with Music" is the theme of the May 23 installment. Amy Wilson shares her insights and experiences overcoming adversity and inspiring others with music.

Wilson was born visually impaired, but that hasn't stopped her from becoming an accomplished music conductor, advocating for underrepresented classical musicians and leading ensembles. She is music director of the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor of the Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble.

"A Musician in the 21st Century" is the May 30 presentation, by clarinetist Mark J. Cramer. He will discuss his experience in the ever-changing world as a musician in 2021, including modern conservatory training, music research, entrepreneurship and life working in the recording industry.

Cramer is on the faculty of the Tennessee Tech University School of Music as assistant professor of clarinet, where he teaches studio clarinet, leads a clarinet choir, is a member of the Cumberland Quintet and performs as principal clarinetist of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra.

"When We Embrace Again: On the Beauty of Singing Together" is the presentation June 6 by Dr. Jonathan Talberg, director of choral activities at California State University at Long Beach. Talberg has earned various awards in choral music education and performance, and will share his experiences from his long career, on why choral music is so important, and the current trends and expected future changes.

For over 50 years, the Kaua'i Chorale has performed choral music from a wide variety of genres, from jazz to classical to Hawaiian and more. The group celebrates the talents of Kaua'i residents, and often collaborates with Kaua'i Community College instrumental ensembles, Chiefess Kamakahelei bands, musicians from Kapa'a Middle School, and an assortment of local soloists.

Its mission is to enhance the cultural life of the people of Kaua'i.

Changing a life trajectory: Community Music School provides powerful benefits of music education -

Posted: 16 May 2021 05:11 PM PDT

For more than two decades, Melanie Doerner has worked as an arts leader and fundraiser in the performing arts. It's a career that began when Doerner was a young corporate lawyer in Toronto after she met her husband, Michael, then a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada.

"I fell in love with the arts, literally and figuratively," she tells me. "As a powerful advocate for the arts, I have been working to support arts organizations and artists ever since."

The couple moved to Raleigh from San Jose, Calif., in 2010, drawn by the economy, more affordable housing, good public schools and robust arts community. For the last decade, Doerner worked as development director for the North Carolina Theatre. And in March, she went in a new direction, becoming executive director of Raleigh's long-running Community Music School, which provides affordable music lessons to kids in need. "I am so inspired to be part of this organization that empowers young people through music," she shares.

Doerner lives in north Raleigh with her husband and their three children. I checked in with her to learn more about the Community Music School and the work it does. Here's a Q&A.

Melanie Doerner, executive director of the Community Music School

Go Ask Mom: What's the history of the Community Music School? Why did it get started?

Melanie Doerner: Community Music School was founded in 1994 by former Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary Cates. Her vision was to remove the financial barriers to high quality music education, so that all young people had access to the life-changing benefits of a music education. Imagine a city where every student who had a passion for music, could learn to play an instrument. For over 25 years, Community Music School has been committed to that work in Raleigh.

GAM: Tell us about the program. Who does it serve, and how do you do that?

MD: Community Music School is about access to high quality music instruction. We provide one-on-one private instruction to students — music lessons for piano, violin, guitar, drums, cello and harp to name a few. Our faculty, who are all paid artists and educators, have doctorates in music, masters in education, four languages spoken, and earn a living as professional musicians.

Because Community Music School is about access to that high quality music instruction, we charge $1 per lesson, which is $32 for a school year of weekly music lessons. And we provide all of the instruments, all of the violins, the keyboards, the cellos, the guitars, and other instruments, and we cover the costs of maintenance and repairs. Our students are exclusively those who are traditionally underserved, and all of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Community Music School student

GAM: How did COVID change everything for the school? And how did it respond?

MD: COVID did not change our programming, but it did switch our delivery as instructors pivoted to teaching virtually. Community Music School is proud to have maintained continuous uninterrupted programming during the pandemic. For more than a year, music lessons have continued on Zoom. And we were the Zoom the students were looking forward to, being able to see their music teachers. This is the one time they turned their cameras on because this was their creative time. Our staff did a lot of instrument deliveries in parking lots. We had meet-ups for violin tunings. We delivered strings and coordinated instrument repairs.

And now, we are working to safely bring our students and teachers back together. On May 16, we held our spring recitals, graciously hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Art at their outdoor amphitheater. This was the first time in over a year that students were able to see their teachers in person and perform for their families from a stage. Looking ahead, we are excited to resume in person instruction in the fall. We are open for enrollment and accepting new students for the 2021-2022 school year.

GAM: How can music education really transform a child's outlook, even if they don't plan on becoming a professional musician some day?

MD: The benefits of a music education are powerful and life-changing. I know first-hand that arts education can change a life trajectory. Every time I've seen a young person take a bow, they've come up a little taller.

The studies make clear the benefits are for all students, not just those who aspire to be professional musicians:

GAM: What are the school's biggest needs, and how can people help?

MD: Community Music School is growing and accepting new students if your readers know any young people interested in learning to play a musical instrument. We charge only $1 per music lesson or $32 for the year and provide the instruments. Students must be eligible for free and reduced Lunch. More information is available online at

It costs approximately $1,700 to provide professional music instruction for one student for a year, and we only charge $1 per lesson. That means our financial model operates on donations from individuals and through grants. People can help by making a donation at

Lastly, I invite your readers to celebrate with us by join our upcoming Virtual Celebration & Musical Event at 2 p.m., May 26. There is no charge to attend this virtual event, and the event features performances from Tift Merritt and special musical guests.

Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.

Catawba College Awards Degrees at Annual Commencement - Catawba College News

Posted: 15 May 2021 11:15 PM PDT

May 16, 2021

Category: Academics, Evening & Graduate, Events, Faculty, Students

grad21a.jpgCatawba College awarded baccalaureate degrees to 208 graduates, Class of 2021, at three separate ceremonies on May 15, 2021, in Keppel Auditorium on campus. The in-person ceremonies followed safety rules that the College has had in place for the past two academic years, while holding in-person classes during the pandemic.

The ceremony, billed as the 169th and 170th commencement, included the Class of 2020, who were invited to walk at this event, since the College was unable to have a physical ceremony in 2020. The 2020 graduates were presented first at each of the three ceremonies. The ceremonies, held at 10 a.m., for graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Performing Arts; 2 p.m., for graduates of the School of Education and the School of Health Science and Human Performance; and 4 p.m., for graduates of the Ketner School of Business. grad21c.jpg

The services in Keppel, for graduates and invited guests with tickets, were livestreamed in Tom Smith Auditorium, Omwake-Dearborn Chapel, and Leonard Lounge. They ae also online on the Catawba website, the College Facebook page, and the YouTube channel for those who were unable to attend. 

Three special awards were presented during the ceremonies, and two retiring faculty members were recognized for their service to the institution. 

oryanmalul.jpgalbertoborges.jpgOryan Malul of Rishon LeZion, Israel, and Alberto Borges of Nairobi, Kenya, were presented as the female and male recipients of the prestigious Whitener Awards. These awards have been presented each year since 1927 during the graduation exercises to honor the woman and man in the graduating class who embody, to a high degree, the qualities of good character, leadership, and scholarship. Recipients are nominated, with final selections made by the faculty. The awards are made in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, North Carolina, who served as a trustee of Catawba College from 1921 to 1966 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944. 

peterlozano.jpgPeter Lozano of Charlotte received the Barbara Andrews Medal, presented to the graduating senior in the Distance and Online Program who most successfully embodies the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship. This award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews of Salisbury, the first director of this Program at Catawba College. Selection for this award is made by the Catawba College faculty from the six graduating seniors in the program with the highest grade point averages. Students eligible are those who have attended Catawba for at least two years and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.

Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery, College Provost, recognized retiring faculty members Dr. James K. Stringfield, Jr., Professor of Education, and Dr. Douglas K. Brown, Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. 

Catawba Graduation WH 43.jpgDr. Stringfield joined Catawba in 1997 as an Associate Professor of Teacher Education and was named to head Teacher Education at the College in 1998. He was named Professor of Teacher Education in 2005. In 2009, he was named dean of the Goodman School of Education with responsibilities for both teacher education and physical education departments. A former high school science teacher, he came to Catawba from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of secondary education, Program Director of Science Education, and Director of the UPJ Center for Mathematics and Science Education. He holds bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. 

During his tenure at Catawba, he successfully collaborated with colleagues in leading the unit through two highly successful continuing accreditation visits from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). 

He also re-established science education programs in biology, chemistry, comprehensive science, and middle grades science in cooperation with faculty from science and teacher education and worked with Environmental Science faculty to establish a new major in Environmental Education in 2006-2007. Working with faculty and Academic Computing, he expanded the educational computing laboratory. He was also successful in collaborating with colleagues to win a number of grants, including those from the Proctor Foundation, Duke Power, and AT&T.

In fall 2006, the department received a $250,000 grant from an anonymous donor to establish the Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching. Dr. Stringfield was recipient of the Clifford C. and Lillian A. Peeler Professor Endowed professorship in 2006. Previous honors include being named North Carolina's Outstanding Biology Teacher, sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers in 1988 and honored as a "Teacher's Teacher" by area educators at a banquet sponsored by an ad hoc committee of colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1997. Dr. Stringfield has conducted numerous workshops as well as presented at local, state, and national conferences.


Dr. Brown has taught 13 years at Catawba, and before that, 19 years at the Altoona College of Penn State and three years at Livingstone College. His research is in Reverse Mathematics, the study of axioms necessary to prove the fundamental theorems of Mathematics. He has spent 20 years as a part-time paramedic. He holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. 

Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery, Director of the College Honors Program, recognized honor graduates Abigail Birkhead, Caroline Forrester and Alex Johnson. Dr. Vandergriff-Avery also presented the College Honors Program scholars and their thesis titles, including: Jordan Giffin - A Man Chooses: Examining Bioshock as an Extension of Political and Science Fiction Literature to Analyze and Critique Political Ideology; Brielle Jobe - Found in Translation: Multi-Lingual Theatre in the Fight Against Xenophobia; Heidi Mueller - Short-Term Effects of COVID-19 on Athletic Departments in North Carolina; Michaela Patterson - Shuns, Germs, and Meals: How Social Stigma Influences Disease Transmission in Human Populations; Hannah Ryan  - Are all Post-Colonial States with Ethnic Polarization Destined for Civil War?; Natalie Standard / Swimming with Autism: The Benefits Beyond a Good Workout; and Neha Sudhakar - Nostalgia for an Unknown Homeland: Bollywood Music and Second-Generation Indian American Identity.grad21e.jpg

Junior Marshals were Jennifer Chambers, Bailey Benton, Kimberly Betancourt, Victoria Hunter, Caleigh Kenna-Shadrick, Emily Phillips, Matthew Smith, Julia Southern, and Mary Wall. 

Also participating were the Catawba College Brass Ensemble, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Clapp, '70, Chaplain and Senior Vice President; Adwoa Ofori-Gyau, Senior Class President; William "Bill" Graham, '83, Chair of the Catawba Board of Trustees; Dr. Vandergriff-Avery, Faculty Senate Chair; and Johnathon Boles, '16, Staff Council Chair. 

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Class of 2021: From Math to Music, Jon Gómez Pays Attention to Patterns - UVA Today

Posted: 10 May 2021 01:26 PM PDT

"I've been programming since the fourth grade," Gómez said. "I pulled down a book on BASIC, a general, high-level programming language, and I taught myself. By the time I went to CNU, I knew multiple programming languages already. I always loved nerding out with the other programming students, and knew I wanted to be a programmer after college." 

After graduating from CNU in 2008, Gómez worked in a couple of different programming jobs before landing his current job with Silverchair, a Charlottesville-based company that delivers technology and publishing platforms to scientific, medical and technical publishers. He started out in programming and software development, and soon after joined an area Python meetup, where he developed a passion for data science. Gómez remembered it all clicking for him after attending the TomTom Founders Festival Machine Learning Conference. 

"Hearing from speakers and professional data scientists, it suddenly became real to me that data science was something I could do," he recalled. "I loved computer science and I loved math. Data science mixes these two passions of mine, but would open career opportunities."

Gómez chose the online Master of Science in Data Science program because he wanted to continue his work at Silverchair, and the program allowed him the flexibility to do both. It also allowed him to stay in Charlottesville close to his parents, both of whom work at UVA, and to complement his CNU degree with a UVA master's.  


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