Professional Notes: November 2010

Several students and members of Hartwick's science faculty presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, held in early November in Denver, CO. Among the presentations attendees took in was "Geochemistry of the Susquehanna River and Pine Lake Area, NY, USA," by Andrew Parisi '11, Kathleen Watson '12, Assistant Professor of Chemistry John Dudek, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad. Professor of Geology Eric Johnson presented "The Not-So-Dry Ottawan Orogeny: Fluid-driven Reactions During Late-stage Deformation Along the Carthage-Colton Shear Zone," and "Effect of Vegetation on Soil Water Chemistry at Pine Lake, West Davenport, USA" was presented by Watson, Parisi, Dudek, and Balogh-Brunstad. Johnson and Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Sciences David Griffing presented "Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Designing Undergraduate Field Experiences to Significant Regional and National Geologic Destinations with Limited Resources." Nearly 6,000 scientists attended the meeting.

Professor of English Robert Bensen has had work published in three consecutive issues of the Icfai University "Journal of Commonwealth Literature" (India), most recently a poem, "Unbeloved," spoken by a 12-year-old girl who was killed after being struck by a car in Trinidad. JCL previously published Bensen's essay on the Nobel laureate from St. Lucia, Derek Walcott, and a book-length poem "Orenoque," set in the Orinoco River region of Venezuela. His essay, "The Book as Village," was published in the October issue of a Native American online journal, "River, Blood, and Corn." He will be Featured Poet in an upcoming issue of "The Hardy Review," from the United Kingdom. Bensen read his poems with colleague and collaborator Phil Young at Hartwick College in October. His poetry was awarded a Commendation in the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition this fall, and will appear in the Aesthetica arts magazine, U.K.

Brian Hagenbuch, Director of the Pine Lake Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Studies, has had a busy few months. He and his colleagues participated in the following professional activities:

  • Brian Hagenbuch: The Idea and Practice of Sustainability: A SENCER First Year Seminar on Living and Learning. Poster presentation. Tenth Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) Summer Institute, Asheville, NC. July 28-August 2.
  • Brian Hagenbuch and Amy Shachter. Integrating SENCER and Sustainability on Campus. Panel presentation. Tenth SENCER Summer Institute. Asheville, NC. July 28-Aug. 2.
  • Brian Hagenbuch, Mark Kuhlmann, Peter Fauth, Stan Sessions, and Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brundstad. The Robert R. Smith Environmental Field Station: Living and Learning For A Sustainable Future. Poster presentation at Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) Annual Meeting, University of Michigan Biological Station, Pellston, MI. September 23-26.
  • Brian Hagenbuch. Idea and Practice of Sustainability: A First Year Student Experience. Poster presentation at Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) meetings. Denver, CO. October 10-12.
  • Dan Morse, Brian Hagenbuch, and Sandy Huntington. Sand, Clay, and Straw: Green Building By and For Students. Poster presentation at Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) meetings. Denver, CO. October 10-12.
  • Brian Hagenbuch, Mark Kuhlmann, Peter Fauth, Stan Sessions, and Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brundstad. The Robert R. Smith Environmental Field Station: Living and Learning For A Sustainable Future. Poster presentation at Catskill Environmental Monitoring and Research Conference. Belleayre. November, 17-18.

On November 9, Laurie Herrick '84 addressed the Women in Philanthropy of Western Massachusetts breakfast meeting. She engaged and challenged "WIP members and guests to examine how language and cultural awareness can either empower or shut down their organization's fundraising possibilities."

So far, 2010 has been a very productive year for Professor of Biology Stanley K. Sessions. He continues his collaboration with eco-artist Brandon Ballengée, producing two chapters in a Si-Art book called Malamp devoted to deformed amphibians. This year he also was invited to contribute to a book on the "Philosophy of Evolution," in which his contribution was a collection of vignettes about the relationship of science and religion, why most prominent scientists are atheists, the emerging new field of biological research called Evolutionary Development ("EvoDevo"), and the significance of the human genome project.

In terms of peer-reviewed published articles in 2010, Sessions and collaborators produced their latest paper in an ongoing struggle with "people who believe that deformed frogs are caused by chemical pollution, even though there is no evidence for that." Instead, their research (along with that of other researchers) is showing that frog deformities have natural causes, including parasites and predation. Human activity (even pollution) does have an impact, but it is indirect at best. One of their latest papers also reports the ecological aspects of parasite-caused deformities in frogs. Finally, they have published a summary of their collaborative work on SciArt, with a focus on how to make images of salamanders that are of interest to both art and science.

In terms of grants, Sessions and company are finishing the first stage of a five-year NSF biotechnology scholarship grant on which he is the Principle Investigator, with Professors Bob Gann, Doug Hamilton, Laura Malloy, and Andy Piefer as co-PIs and members of the Faculty Management Team. The Administrative Management Team includes Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations Maggie Arthurs; Director of Enrollment Management and Marketing David Conway; Associate Director Ann-Lis Glenn; and Provost and VPAA Michael Tannenbaum. The grant provides $40,000 scholarships for two cohorts of six students each who are interested in pursuing careers in biotechnology. The first cohort is now on campus, and the group is gearing up for the next applicants for Fall 2011.

Sessions was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to study the possible effects of endocrine disruptors on sex differentiation in natural populations of endangered amphibians.

Book chapters:

  • Sessions, S.K. (2010). What Would Darwin Think? In: The Philosophy of Evolution (A.K. Purohit, ed.),Yash Publishing House, Bikaner ISBN: 818688235-9.
  • Ballengée, B. and S.K. Sessions (2010). The Case of the Deviant Toad: An Introduction to the proximate causes for limb deformities in amphibians. Pp. 40-43 In: Malamp, the Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians (B. Ballengée) the Arts Catalyst &Yorkshire Sculpture Park, London and West Yorkshire.
  • Sessions, S.K. and B. Ballengée (2010). Developmental Deformities in Amphibians. Pp. 62-71 In: Malamp, the Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians (B. Ballengée) the Arts Catalyst &Yorkshire Sculpture Park, London and West Yorkshire.

Peer-reviewed journal articles:

  • Raffel, T.R., J.O. Lloyd-Smith, S.K. Sessions, P.J. Hudson, and J.R. Rohr (2010). Does the early frog catch the worm? Disentangling potential drivers of a parasite age-intensity relationship in tadpoles. Oecologia (in press).
  • Warny, P.R., S.K. Sessions, and B. Ballengée (2010). Salamander SciArt. IRCF Reptiles and Amphibians. vol. 17 (no. 3): 26-28.
  • Sessions, S.K. and B. Ballengée (2010). Explanations for deformed frogs: Plenty of research left to do (a response to Skelly and Benard). Journal of Experimental Zoology (Mol Dev Evol) 314B: 341-346.

In late October, Professor of Art Terry Slade installed 12 drawings from the series titled "Small Things to Worry About" in the new library at the Albany College of Pharmacy in Albany, NY. Slade was invited to exhibit this work by Sarah Martinez, the director of the Albany Centers Gallery, who was hired by the College to install artwork in the recently completed library. This series of drawings of acrylic and watercolor on paper, was inspired by images of the world of micro organisms. The title of the series refers to the world-wide concern of a possible pandemic looming just around the corner, threatening the existence of the human race. Such a plague, if it happened, would certainly be caused by a virus or bacteria so small that they could be seen only with a microscope.

In Slade's opinion, the fact that a species can be devastated by something so small is ironic, given the vast number of species the human race has and continues to destroy; one might even say it would be poetic justice. The works are on long-term loan and will be on view for several months and may be viewed during library hours.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Stefanie Rocknak has been busy as ever of late. In late October she spoke before the Upstate New York Early Modern Workshop held at Syracuse University. Her topic was "Why Human Representation is not Replication." On the sculpture front, Rocknak was a Visiting Collaborative Artist at SUNY Purchase in October, and was invited to give a talk titled "Figures in Wood" while she was there. She also was awarded a Gold Medal in the Sculpture category from the National Art Museum of Sport at Purdue University in Indianapolis, IN.

Justin Wellman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, has co-authored an article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine titled "Placebo expectations and the differential detection of somatic information." The piece is currently on press.

Portions of Professor of Art Phil Young's essay, "Studio Sweeps and Rendering the Fatback," published in the anthology Sovereign Bones, will be used in the program by Diversity Works student organization and Amerinda Theatre at The New School University in New York on November 21 in celebration of Native American month. Young's work was featured in "Mostly Indian and Other Fables" at the Lawton Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay this fall. Young's "Cherokee Burger" and "Genuine Indian Quantum Box" were both included in the show, which ran from October 7 to November 4.