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SCU is No. 3 on the planet
Six new members join SCU's board
Making the lists
Forging a warrior
Can we talk?
Let it snow, let it snow...and not melt too soon
Making the case in Hungary
Take it to the ridge
Social media & SCU
In Print: Faculty Publications
Breaking ground for the new Paul L. Locatelli Student Activity Center
With a cloud of dust and a mighty cheer, 16 shovels plunged into the earth between the Leavey Center and Buck Shaw Stadium on the afternoon of Sept. 28 to mark the symbolic beginning of construction of a new edifice to rise on campus: a student activity center named in honor of Chancellor Paul L. Locatelli, S.J. ’60. As president from 1988 to 2008, Fr. Locatelli exhibited a boundless energy and deep concern for students (a fact noted by more than one speaker at the ceremony), so it’s only appropriate that the hub of student activities on campus bears his name.
The new building was made possible thanks to a $7 million donation from Mary Matthews-Stevens ’84 and husband Mark Stevens, a partner in the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The family was on hand for the groundbreaking, and Matthews- Stevens wiped back happy tears at the podium. “It was a stretch financially for my parents to send me here,” she acknowledged. “But it was a worthwhile stretch. Thank you, Mom and Dad.” She encouraged all the “lucky students” out there who would use the new center to enjoy their time at Santa Clara, to value the bonds of friendship they were building, and to “give back when you can.”
Santa Clara Trustee Mike Carey ’74 emceed the event. Among the dignitaries present was Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who said that “we are gathering the dust on our shoes today” to celebrate a “great gift that will last for decades and decades to come.” Speaking on behalf of SCU students was Sean Brachvogel ’10, student body president. He welcomed the move from the basement of the Benson Center to the new building, whose second floor will be home to the Center for Student Leadership, Associated Students, the Santa Clara Community Action Program, and the Activities Programming Board. The ground floor in the new center will be a 6,000-square-foot open hall where student organizations will be given priority to schedule events.
Back from Rome for the occasion, Chancellor Locatelli called the building “the next in a long line of construction projects that have changed the University,” buildings that together serve as important gathering places for “students, scholars, and friends.” He thanked a number of those present— including members of the Locatelli family and his Jesuit brothers—and shared appreciation for students who not long ago rounded out his education by introducing him to In-N-Out Burger.
New for alumni too
The new building has been some five years in the planning. In terms of architecture and engineering, it raises the bar on campus for energy efficiency. Central skylight shafts bring sunlight through to the ground floor, trellises and overhangs reduce direct solar gain, and building water runoff is diverted to planting areas. These and other features will allow the building to exceed California energy-efficiency standards by 25 percent. Construction is slated for completion in June 2010.
The new construction brings one notable change for alumni: a renovation of Kerr Alumni Park, which will be relocated next to the new student center. Originally created in 1975, the park was designed, built, and landscaped by alumni and volunteers and has hosted barbecues, reunions, student receptions, and numerous other events. In 2003 it was renamed in honor of former Alumni Association Director Jerry Kerr ’61 in recognition of his more than 30 years’ service to the University. Alumni Association Executive Director Kathy Kale ’86 expressed hopes that the many people who had created and cherished the park will “join us later this year as we begin to create new memories at our new outdoor gathering spot.”SBS
Embracing a new academic year—and the Jesuit School of Theology
President Michael Engh, S.J., began his first convocation by acknowledging that we are living in “sobering times,” when neighboring universities are cutting faculty and staff positions and turning away students. But in his Sept. 15 address he went on to describe much happening on campus and in the greater Santa Clara University community that should lift hearts.
Faculty and staff gathered in the Mission Church on a warm afternoon for a talk focused on the future, both long and short range. The merger of the Berkeley-based Jesuit School of Theology (JST) with Santa Clara is one very positive achievement of the year, Fr. Engh said. JST officially became a graduate school of SCU in July. Joint lectures, programming, and classes will benefit religious education of students of JST and other schools of the University.
A big part of Fr. Engh’s talk emphasized the University’s commitment to sustainability. The latest University Strategic Plan, still in development, articulates this commitment, he said, noting that sustainability is part and parcel of a Jesuit humanistic education.
In his inaugural address last April, President Engh called for Santa Clara to be a champion for environmental justice. He noted that some have asked for a “clearer focus and definition” of what he meant. In terms of its connection to SCU’s strategic planning, he said the notion of sustainability is rooted in “contemporary widespread concerns about the environment and the future of the Earth; the very nature of a Jesuit humanistic education; the theological and philosophical traditions that inform both Jesuit and Catholic teaching on sustainability; and Ignatian spirituality that sees God at work in all things and that calls human beings to a reverence for creation.” He also said, “Santa Clara offers a distinctive academic approach to sustainability as an issue related to longstanding Jesuit and Catholic commitments to social justice, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Concerns for the immediate future focused on finances. And Fr. Engh acknowledged the challenges this year posed for staffing and populating the incoming undergraduate classes. He noted that the University has allocated more than $857,000 in emergency financial aid for students whose families have been negatively affected by the economic downturn.
President Engh also commended staff and faculty involved in developing the new Core Curriculum. More than 350 courses have been approved along with 19 Pathways, which are themed course groupings that allow students to make cross-discipline connections.
The president said he’d learned a lot during the past nine months in 37 “listening sessions” he hosted, asking the groups of faculty or staff gathered, “What do you want the president to know?” He heard many positive things about the warmth, creativity, philosophy, and integrity of SCU. He also heard concerns about budget, staffing, overextension, new programs, school identity, and tradition.
He paused after listing staff and faculty concerns to announce: “All has been addressed and all problems have been solved!” There were cheers and applause. It was a light moment in a speech that addressed consequential matters with optimism, enthusiasm, and gratitude.Lisa Taggart
Michael B. Sexton joins SCU as the new vice president of enrollment management.
When Mike Sexton moved into his office in Varsi Hall this September, he was in familiar territory. A decade ago, his daughter Lauren Sexton Formo ’02 was an undergrad at the Mission campus. Now Sexton has augmented his status as proud parent with a new role: SCU’s vice president of enrollment management, charged with helping chart the course for student recruitment, enrollment, diversity, and financial aid. How he directs these efforts will play a large part in the University’s future success. And it will determine which students will be shaped by—and, in turn shape— the University for years to come.
This summer, SCU’s Director of Marketing Margaret Avritt interviewed Sexton for SCM to get a handle on his approaches and philosophy of enrollment management. Here is an edited transcript.
How do admission professionals go about shaping the incoming class so that it reflects the institution’s goals and mission?
Getting the right information to the right person at the right time. Our identification of potential in students is much more than what their SAT score is, what their grade point average is. GPA is the spongiest number in the world these days. Context is the important part. We get applications here from more than 2,000 different high schools, and we’ve seen every conceivable grading scale and weighting scheme you can imagine. What’s behind the number is more likely to tell us the person’s chances for being academically successful and for flourishing in this kind of a rigorous environment.
How do you figure out what’s behind those numbers?
It’s a very labor-intensive process. It’s curriculum, where the students went to school, what’s been available to them, what they chose to take, how well they did, and what the trend line was like from ninth through 12th grade. All of that can be masked by a cumulative GPA. You need human eyes on this. So there’s a lot of staff time spent looking at what’s behind the numbers.
After prospective students fill out the Common Application and the supplement, they have to ask themselves, “Is there something else Santa Clara should know about me that there wasn’t a blank for?” If there is, they need to get it in their application files—by writing about it in their essay or their short-answer questions.
After we’ve answered whether we can predict academic success for students based on what we see, then we get to ask: How is that student going to contribute to the Santa Clara campus? How is that student spoken of by his or her high school counselor, by his or her teachers? What kind of citizen has that person been? That’s not a formula.
What do you think about rankings as guides in the college search?
That’s an interesting question. Many guides and their websites do contain valuable information—everything from objective data that the colleges report to single student quotes, sometimes taken out of context. Statistics-laden guides are a great place to start, but I advise against letting someone else decide which of those statistics should be most important to you in your college search.
I’m now on a committee for the National Association for College Admission Counseling that is meeting with U.S. News & World Report. We had our first meeting this fall. I went into this letting them know that I’m kind of a skeptic about this. I’m also on the board for the Education Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to overcome commercial interference in college admissions by affirming educational values and looking more at outcomes.
No one can know the “best” institution for a student unless you know the student. Each student does have to do college research—but each student also needs to do an honest self-assessment before deciding where he/she might want to wake up for the next four years.
Remember, knowledge is power.
Your daughter, Lauren, is associate director of admissions at Eastside Preparatory School in suburban Seattle. How did you experience SCU when she was here?
Probably in a way that no other admissions officer knows. It was a great insight to know her before she got here and then to watch the maturing that took place. Most telling, when she was home on break, or even since she’s graduated, has been hearing her say phrases that didn’t come from our house. They didn’t come from her high school. They occurred from her learning here.
Before she moved to Seattle, where she married Jason Formo ’02, she spent three years in San Jose working with students at a nonprofit called Friends Outside. The work that she did was, in large part, because of exposure to the Eastside Project in San Jose. It resonated with her. We never expected that part of her to blossom the way it did and for her ultimately to choose a career in education.
C.V. for the VP
Education: B.S. in mathematics, State University of New York, Buffalo; M.A. in college student personnel, Bowling Green State University
Experience: Four years teaching high school mathematics followed by 30 years in enrollment management for Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.; Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.; Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.
By the numbers
Amid a tumultuous year for college enrollment across the country, a record number of students applied to Santa Clara again this past year. Here are the numbers and what they mean.
10,226 applicants for the Class of 2013—about 100 more than the year before.
1,085 freshmen enrolled— 130 fewer than the year before.
242 transfer students enrolled— about 100 more than the year before. With this mix of incoming freshmen and transfer students, along with strong retention, the overall enrollment target was met.SBS
SCU is No. 3 on the planet
Team California’s Refract House shines at the 2009 International Solar Decathlon.
A team of students from Santa Clara and California College of the Arts set out to show that green living is not a compromise. They wanted to prove that a solar-powered house can be a thing of beauty and a marvel of engineering and a place you would want to call home. They named themselves Team California and called what they wrought the Refract House. Over the course of nine days, tens of thousands of folks came to the solar village on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to see their house and 19 others. The consensus of visitors to the Refract House end of the Solar Village: Fabulous—when can we move in?
Finally, on the drizzly morning of October 16, when the contest points were tallied in this year’s International Solar Decathlon, when 20 teams of students and scores of fans and well-wishers crowded into a tent and it was time for the envelope, please, there they were: Team California—with a house lauded as “beautiful in every way”—No. 3 on the planet. The crowd went wild.
The biennial competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, is open to universities around the world. Ten contests comprise the competition, including engineering, architecture, hot water, appliances, and net metering— which tracks whether the houses produce enough power to be selfsufficient or, better, give power back to the grid. More than 250 students worked to construct the Refract House on the SCU campus before it was taken apart and hauled to Washington for the final leg of the competition.
In the 2007 decathlon, a team from Santa Clara earned the No. 3 spot despite scoring 18th out of 20 in architecture. This year the team earned first place in architecture, dazzling folks with a C-shaped house with cantilevered wings that seemed to float above the ground. The team also earned the top spot in communications. Engineering is one of the key contests, and there the innovations earned the team second place. The team also earned second in appliances and home entertainment and third in market viability and hot water.
Overall first place went to a team from Technische Universtät Darmstadt in Germany, with second place going to University of Illinois.
While in Washington, Team California members met with senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as with representatives Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren J.D. ’75, and Sam Farr, who attended law school at Santa Clara. Team project manager Allison Kopf ’11 shared with the members of Congress one important lesson the team had learned (in addition to how to get engineers and architects to talk to one another): “We now, as a team, look at every problem as a challenge, and we look at how to solve it.” This bodes well for the future.Molly Gore ’10 and SBS
Six new members join SCU's board
Richard Justice ’71
Executive vice president, Worldwide Operations and Business Development, Cisco Systems Inc.
Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.
President, Saint Joseph’s University
William Leahy, S.J.
President, Boston College
John Ocampo ’79
Co-founder, owner, and president, Gaas Labs LLC
Stephen Schott ’60
President and owner, Citation Homes Central
Former teacher and administrator
Making the lists
In the 2010 edition of The Best 371 Colleges, the Princeton Review’s annual rankings tome, you’ll find Santa Clara University listed as a top school for undergraduate education. In addition, as in the 2009 survey, SCU scores 96 out of 100 for sustainability efforts. And the Best 371’s narrative section observes that SCU’s Jesuit ethos “develops better-rounded students who are more aware of the world around them” and that there is a “large emphasis on immersion trips and getting students to volunteer and to go out into the community.”
There’s a bit of whimsy in the “Survey says …” column, where SCU students report: “Athletic facilities are great. Career services are great. School is well run. Students are happy.” (It also reports student fondness for beer and other beverages.) The “Inside Word” listing gives kudos to SCU’s enrollment efforts: “Each year, the Santa Clara admissions office works hard to assemble a diverse incoming class. The result is a student body with large Asian and Hispanic populations; this isn’t your typical lily-white private school.”
The report from U.S. News
The 2010 edition of the granddaddy of rankings, America’s Best Colleges, published by U.S. News & World Report, singles out SCU as among “Top Up-and-Coming Schools.” This category was the result of a survey of college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans asked to list 10 schools making “improvements in academics, faculty, students, campus life, diversity, and facilities.” In addition, U.S. News hints that this category is meant to help make up for some of the shortcomings of the methodology used in the general survey.
But SCU doesn’t fare badly in overall rankings, either. Santa Clara is again ranked No. 2 among 115 master’s universities in the West, and the University is singled out in a number of other ways:
Forging a warrior
Top cadet Benny Tran ’10
Every summer thousands of Army ROTC cadets descend on Fort Lewis, Wash., for the grueling 29-day Leader Development and Assessment Course. Known as Operation Warrior Forge, it’s the capstone training program for future Army lieutenants. They learn how to identify and defeat improvised explosive devices. They jump 30 feet from a rope bridge into water, and they take on the slide for life. This summer the cadet who earned the top spot among the 400-strong 1st Regiment was SCU student Benny Tran ’10.
The recognition marks Tran as one of the top cadets in the nation. He’s a Honolulu native studying biology with a biomedical emphasis, and last summer he volunteered for Airborne School and jumped from a C-130 at 1,250 feet. He was also part of the “heavy team” in the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon at White Sands, N.M., completing the marathon with army combat uniform, boots, 35-pound rucksack and water. This year he was captain of the “light team,” which took third place./p>
Tran was joined by a dozen other SCU cadets in Warrior Forge. Their creed says they are scholars and apprentice soldiers enhancing skills in the science of warfare and the art of leadership. They ask, “May God give me the compassion and judgment to lead and the gallantry in battle to win.”SBS
SCU scores high salaries for grads, and No. 2 for marketing majors
Is the high cost of private-university tuition worth it? Along those lines, a new survey provides some food for thought where Santa Clara is concerned: Undergraduate degree recipients from SCU earn salaries that rank in the top 20 nationwide.
Earlier this year, Pay-Scale, a compensation database that evaluates salaries worldwide, looked at self-reported salaries from graduates of more than 600 universities in the United States, comparing median salaries at starting level (two years’ experience) and at midcareer (15 years’ experience). The median entry level for Santa Clara grads was $58,000. At midcareer, Broncos are bringing in a median $111,000. That’s in the top 4 percent of universities surveyed and higher than schools such as Columbia, Brown, and the University of Chicago. Survey results were reported in the New York Times blog Economix.
The survey also ranked Santa Clara as the second-most popular school for marketing managers. Professor Shelby McIntyre, chair of SCU’s marketing department, said that statistic should come as no surprise. Just locally, he notes, there is “an army of SCU grads behind virtually every Silicon Valley company.”
In related news, a story in BusinessWeek in September reported that nationwide—and particularly at schools including SCU and Emory University—the business major is seeing a surge in popularity. At SCU, that’s meant a 13 percent increase in enrollment at the Leavey School of Business. Drew Starbird, interim dean of the business school, told BusinessWeek that “many families look on [higher education] as an investment. It can pay off in a lot of different ways, and one of the ways it pays off is in a job and a higher salary down the road.”Katie Powers '09
Can we talk?
Aneesh Chopra, the White House chief technology officer, joins lawmakers and tech leaders to assess the State of the Net.
“There is absolutely no reason on Earth we shouldn’t have the most innovative and effective government in the world,” Aneesh Chopra told a crowd at SCU on Aug. 5. Chopra is the nation’s first federal chief technology officer, and he was on campus as part of the third annual State of the Net West Conference. One of his priorities since taking office in May has been opening up government to more public input—which he acknowledged hasn’t been all roses.
Earlier this year, Chopra oversaw creation of a website where the public could post, vote on, and amend ideas for making government more transparent and inclusive. Naturally, not all results got the same consideration. The site made a tempting soapbox for UFO believers and “birthers,” the conspiracy theorists convinced that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen and is ineligible to serve as president.
But the site’s users separated the wheat from the chaff themselves, identifying and refining the best ideas with editing tools akin to Wikipedia’s. The resulting suggestions have since been added to the policy-making pipeline. The process offers one example of how government can—and should— use technology in transformative ways, Chopra said.
Representatives in the House
Sponsored by SCU’s High Tech Law Institute (HTLI) in conjunction with the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, the State of the Net West is a budding SCU tradition, bringing Washington leaders to Silicon Valley to talk with academics, industry insiders, and others. This year’s event featured three members of Congress. SCU alumna Rep. Zoe Lofgren J.D. ’75, chairwoman of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, who represents much of Santa Clara County, was joined by two gentlemen from Virginia, Rep. Rick Boucher (D) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R), co-chairs of the House Internet Caucus.
Discussions ranged from online privacy to broadband access in poor areas to immigration law. Lofgren is one of a handful of members of Congress to have practiced immigration law. While foreign-born high-tech workers with advanced degrees are essential in Silicon Valley, she said, tech-savvy immigrants are increasingly moving to other countries out of frustration with bureaucratic backlogs with visas.
“Ten years ago, if you asked immigrants in Silicon Valley, they would say this is the best place in the world to work,” Lofgren said. “Now there’s a lot of hesitation.”
The rock star
Formerly Virginia’s secretary of technology, Chopra was on his first visit to Silicon Valley as the nation’s CTO. His arrival brought out a scrum of reporters clamoring for interviews. Surveying from 100,000 feet, Chopra said national policy has not kept up with the rapid rise in use of technology in a country where cell phones are now more common than dishwashers. But smart technology policy must be part of the answer if America is to successfully tackle challenges like strains on the energy grid, health insurance reform, and access to higher education.
“No matter how you look at it, if we are to achieve our higher education attainment goals, we are going to have to find a way to harness online learning capabilities and other emerging technologies,” Chopra said.
Eric Goldman, director of the Santa Clara law school’s HTLI, assessed that the conference brought together two worlds that are often cocooned in their own concerns. “The real upside here is to help the Silicon Valley community engage the D.C. machine and hopefully interject our thought process into it,” Goldman said.
Sam Scott '96
Let it snow, let it snow...and not melt too soon
A nip in the air. Holidays around the corner. Best of all, those big, fat, soft white flakes floating down on the ponderosa pines up at Sugar Bowl, Heavenly Valley, or Mount Shasta. That lovely, neck-deep snowfall in the Sierras is part of the annual accumulation of snow in Northern Hemisphere mountains around the world, and it comes around as reliably as the New Year. But the elevation at which snow falls, and when snow melts, is changing.
Environmental Studies Professor Iris Stewart-Frey has been exploring seasonal snowpack over decades and trying to measure its variability. Drawing on mountains of data for an article that recently appeared in the journal Hydrological Processes, she describes the many factors that raise or reduce snowpack and snowmelt. Climate change appears to be key.
In midlatitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, warming temperatures have increased precipitation. That in turn boosts snowpack in high elevations, where temperatures remain cold all winter. But at lower elevations, warmer temperatures mean more rain and less snow, and what snow there is melts sooner.
More rain in mountain regions can be a short-term gain, as it immediately boosts streamflow, but that comes at the expense of streamflow in July. In the past, mountain snowpack has long served as an arid region’s essential cold storage unit—a natural reservoir that slowly releases much-needed water during warmer months to the dry, hot valleys below. And it provides “the primary source of water for large populations,” Stewart-Frey notes. Those populations will now have to cope with drier late summers and autumns.
In California, measurements in some areas show a trend of earlier and earlier spring runoff—a “spring pulse onset”—as much as 20 days earlier than 1948 levels. But that’s only the beginning. Stewart-Frey predicts that, if trends of early snowmelt continue, “streamflow timing might shift by 30 to 40 days by the end of the century.”
What scientists are discovering about coral reefs and arctic tundra— that some of our planet’s natural features are more fragile than others—appears to pertain to snow-capped mountains too. First, mountains get more precipitation than surrounding areas, as moist air rises when it reaches them. Also, mountain snowpack is very responsive to atmospheric circulation patterns. Then there is the important combination of temperature and precipitation: That wonderful ski-ready powder piling up at Lake Tahoe often remains relatively close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s very sensitive to small temperature increases. Finally, just as in the arctic, large areas of white snow cover reflect sunlight; darker earth or water absorbs light. So reduced snowpack equals increasing heat at ground level, resulting in what scientists call snow-albedo feedback. The warmer it gets, the warmer it gets.
California’s water woes are, of course, all too familiar. But Stewart- Frey notes that the political decisions affecting water will get even tougher. We will have to stretch less water to go further and will have to make some hard choices,” she writes.
And not only in California. Stewart- Frey researched measurements taken in the European Alps, Siberian uplands, and the Tibetan plateau. Many (though not all) studies point to reductions around the globe in levels of winter water storage. In Finland, greater precipitation has meant “greater maximum snow depth, but a shorter duration of the snow cover.” So even in places where accumulated snow still gets very deep, an earlier melt-out could still mean dried-up streams by early fall.
The worst danger areas? Central Asia and Chile. Some regions are “in the very precarious situation of experiencing large population growth, as well as a temporary increase in water resources due to glacial melt,” Stewart- Frey writes. “By the time water derived from glacial melt decreases, a larger population will be accustomed to a larger flow, without the resources or infrastructure that exist in California and the U.S.”John Deever
Making the case in Hungary
Making the case in Hungary Solving real-world business case studies is as essential to an MBA program as paprika is to Hungarian goulash. But not every MBA candidate heads for Europe to propose solutions—and rarely to the business owners themselves.
In June, a four-person team from the Leavey School of Business tied for first place at an international case competition held in Budapest by IAMA, the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association. Irene Cermeno MBA ’11, Michael Enos MBA ’11, Andrew C.S. Tseng MBA ’09, and Danielle Wenzel MBA ’11 defeated eight other teams from universities in Hungary, Canada, and Australia. They also beat large U.S. ag schools such as Purdue and Texas A&M.
In its first case, the Santa Clara team explored how Bánffi, an expanding family-owned Hungarian seltzer producer, could meet European Union regulations and extend its market beyond the provincial town of Szeged. Strategies proposed included revitalizing the product by adding flavor and investing capital in retooling the bottling systems.
Santa Clara went on to the finals against three other teams. All formed strategies for Green Care Amsterdam, a Dutch program serving the disabled, ex-prisoners, the homeless, and former drug addicts. Green Care transports its clients to 700 fully operational farms in the Netherlands, where they gain experience while providing farmers with free and much-needed labor. As the case study noted, “Working on a farm contributes to self-esteem, social skills, rehabilitation, inclusion, responsibility, physical health, and a sense of purpose.” The challenge was how to make the operation really take off.
“We recommended that Green Care form a strong board of directors,” SCU student Enos said. His experience in nonprofit management told him that an active board, representing many stakeholders, would offer useful oversight and guidance. “We also suggested an accreditation program so farmers could legitimize program operations,” Enos said. A cheese producer could affix a Green Care label to its products, and consumers could make purchases knowing they were supporting a program with important social benefits. The team also recommended that the board collect a variety of data, such as client recidivism rates, with metrics to show how people were being helped.JD
Take it to the ridge
National grant honors student environmental studies team
Seniors Kelly Ferron and Christina Hagerty are teaming up to study an endangered plant found only in the serpentine soils south of Santa Clara University. The duo were awarded a prestigious $6,000 grant from the Clare Boothe Luce Program last May to research Dudleya setchellii, a yellow-blooming perennial found in southern Santa Clara County.
Because of its limited range, the plant has not been the focus of extensive research previously. It was federally listed as endangered in 1995. Hagerty and Ferron plan to take a census and study its bloom pattern to map out a “life cycle”—key to understanding the plant’s role in the ecosystem of the low-mineral soils of Coyote Ridge, about 25 miles from the Mission campus.
“Basically, we’re going to try and figure out what’s going on in the hopes of providing an adaptive management system to the people who are managing the preserve,” Ferron said.
The Luce grant will cover supplies and transportation expenses for their research, which will be presented next spring at the Undergraduate Science and Engineering Symposium at SCU.
Both students are environmental science majors. They gained research experience two years ago on a field course in Costa Rica led by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Michelle Bezanson and Environmental Sciences Lecturer Sean Watts. Hagerty was so inspired by the experience that she switched her major from health care to environmental science. This award affirms that decision, she said, and her interest in the neglected but potentially very important plant. “You just have to be curious enough about something to want to ask questions,” Hagerty said.
Since its inception in 1989, the Clare Boothe Luce Program has supported more than 1,500 women pursuing scientific research across the United States. The research could have longterm preservation effects for the plant, said Bezanson—in addition to being “an extremely important honor for the students, for us, and for SCU.”Anne Federwisch
Four would-be governors come to SCU
Social media & SCU
One of the best things that comes from being passionate about a subject is having others with whom to share that zeal. So if you’re an SCU enthusiast—and who isn’t?—you can now join 6,000+ other fans in reading about events, swapping stories, giving advice, and commenting on everything from who makes the best local milkshake to where to buy a campus parking permit.
The official SCU Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ SantaClaraUniversity) was started by Lauren Michalski ’07, who handed it over to the Office of Marketing and Communications in April. This summer, it quickly evolved into a thriving community where thousands of alumni, students, and parents connect online. SCU Communications Director Deepa Arora and student interns maintain the page, posting info about on- and off-campus events, newsworthy articles, and engaging polls aimed at current undergrads and grad students, as well as alumni. Polls ranging from “What are you reading this summer?” to “What’s the best advice you have for recent graduates?” seem to garner the most responses. One such survey aimed at alumni—“Who was your favorite professor?”—amassed two dozen revealing answers within a few hours, among them this reply from Joseph Kirrene ’95 about English Professor Theodore Rynes, S.J., who received the most votes: “I never got an A in any of his classes, because I didn’t earn it, but I learned a lot. He was always a good and understanding person who didn’t dwell on your mistakes but encouraged your growth.”
This fall, with the countdown to classes beginning, SCU students posted 21 days’ worth of must-do activities for incoming freshmen. SCU’s Facebook page is also a way for students to cut through some of the red tape when needing speedy answers to simple questions: One inbound freshman asked when he should start to buy books for the upcoming quarter and was met with instant advice and a link to the bookstore.
Visit www.scu.edu/ communities to see other Santa Clara fan pages (including this magazine, naturally) and SCU groups on socialnetworking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr.KP
You can learn a lot about a professor by visiting his or her office. For instance, there’s Professor Gerald L. Alexanderson, pictured at right. The Valeriote Professor of Science in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, he has been teaching at SCU since 1958. Last spring he and nine other professors posed for student Midori Shibuya ’12 as part of a project she undertook for her black-andwhite photography class with David Pace.
After making prints, Shibuya returned to the professors’ offices and asked them to write below their pictures why they chose their fields and what they love about teaching. In Alexanderson’s case, within the frame was a snapshot of his late dog, Chyna, who used to travel with him everywhere—even to conferences. (The pooch, he notes, was “named for—but misspelled—for someone in rock music, Chynna Phillips, though neither named, nor misspelled, by me!”)
Shibuya found that Professor of English Diane Dreher, above, created a comfortable, homelike atmosphere in her office in St. Joseph’s Hall. “I want to make my students feel welcome,” Dreher explained. “The least I can do is create a homey office with plants, teapots, and cushions, so that the students don’t feel too bad when I am tearing apart their essays.”