State Association Honors Heidi Carl

Wabash’s Director of Financial Aid Heidi Carl was recently honored by the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association.

CarlCarl, in her first year at Wabash, was presented April 22 with the Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to formally recognize those who have made exemplary contributions to the financial aid profession and to the association..

Carl came to Wabash hoping to increase the profile and strengthen communication with students at Wabash. She has also been an instrumental voice in the re-shaping of the ESH, or student employment, program.

The award honors leadership activities and achievements within the financial aid profession or higher education community.


Bachelor Students Reflect on NY Times Visit

Patrick Bryant ’16 – As I prepare to take over the Editor-in-chief position for the 2014-15 production of The Bachelor, it meant a great deal to me that I had an opportunity to attend the “Inside the Times” Student Editors’ Conference that welcomed college students from a number of universities to The New York Times building in Manhattan.  We had the opportunity to hear from a number of Times editors, including senior editors in copy editing, an associate managing editor responsible for weekend content, and editors who have responsibilities in newer multimedia areas.

GuysTimesSquareBefore I share with you some of what we learned, I want to first share some anecdotes from what I observed in conversing with students from other publications.  At our table, we were joined by the Editor-in-chief and two section editors from Brigham Young University and an Editor-in-chief and section editor from Queen’s College in New York City.  I get used to thinking of the size and reach of The Bachelor staff as the norm for most collegiate publications, forgetting that many universities have journalism programs with a few thousand students.  These editors are very insulated from the writing and page design that each and every member of our staff has to concern themselves with.  Where one could call that a drawback, I see it as the liberal arts at work.  Where I have friends and classmates from my high school newspaper publication having to wait until their junior year to begin writing for the paper, our guys have the opportunity to start writing from the first week on.  I made a comment to the editors from BYU that often times the new staffers for The Bachelor do not have prior experience and that some of us higher-level editors take time to teach them how to use InDesign.  How did they respond?  Turns out that they did not really know how to use InDesign either.  They had designers who were insulated from their position and responsible for the page design.  Again, this is a testament to the well-rounded men that are learning everyday inside and outside of the classroom.  Elsewhere there are formal journalism programs teaching less than what our extracurricular group teaches peer-to-peer.

When I think of the nature of the staff, I am quick to think that our prime responsibilities are generating content: coming up with story ideas, interviewing, writing, copy editing, page layout, and distribution.  I was enthused by this conference and the testimonials we heard that there are ways that we, with our manpower, can find ways to innovate.  One way is copy editing.  We received a great deal of literature for copy editing “tips and tricks” and got some practice in proofreading and headline writing.  Also, we talked about the evolving media and the variety of forms it’s taking place in.  Recently, The Bachelor started a Twitter handle @WabCoBachelor.  Testimonials from editors in the realm of social media lead me to believe that we can do a better job in engaging our audience through social media.  Sending out links and referencing stories is one thing, but creating a dialogue where users can generate content and conservation.  Ideally, through this avenue, this could be a marketing tool for the print edition for The Bachelor, but also a supplementary forum for print content.

These opportunities to learn are invaluable to the on-campus collaboration and innovation that are taking place on a consistent basis.  Taking time to ask questions and hear the testimonies of peers at other universities allow the smaller publications like The Bachelor to demonstrate our prowess as an efficient, savvy on-campus resource, but also give us a chance to learn from peer publications in order to improve ours.

Alexander Appreciates Chance to Dive into Journalism

Adam Alexander ’16 – I’ve always wanted to see the Big Apple, but I have never had the opportunity. Thankfully, The New York Times invited The Bachelor to their offices and the College agreed to fund our trip. Patrick Bryant and I learned a great deal on our trip – just as much from the other college editors in the room as from the Times editors.

GuysNCopsAs a prospective student, one of the biggest downsides of Wabash was the lack of a journalism program. I’ve wanted to at least pursue a minor in journalism for many years. But when I saw how other schools with established journalism programs run their newspapers, I became very grateful for Wabash’s unique journalistic opportunities. Editors from the other schools with whom we spoke all seemed to indicate that to even be considered for the newspaper staff, you had to be a sophomore. The editors at our table from Brigham Young University said that they recruit the best students from introductory-level journalism courses; very few of them ever have the chance to become an editor. I, on the other hand, was able to walk onto The Bachelor staff and fill the role of Copy Editor at the beginning of my freshman year. This is a tremendous example of the benefits of a small school like Wabash over bigger universities.

The other editors also seemed to be a bit removed from the whole process of putting the newspaper together. While Patrick and I write stories every week, most of the students at the conference had not written a story the entire year. In addition, very few of them knew how to use Adobe InDesign, the program used to create the actual pages of the paper. When we talked about having to teach each other how to use InDesign, one of the editors in the room said, “That’s what we pay the designers for.” I feel as if they identified significant drawbacks within their own system – they were all so specialized that they did not know how to operate any other part of the paper.

Of course, the Times editors themselves were very helpful. I personally took away great copy editing advice through the use of examples. I learned to be more vigilant of a writer’s math; in one example, an increase from 75 to 90 was cited as a 15% increase. This seems relatively minor, but I believe the whole point of copy editing is to make our stories seem as credible and professional as possible. Little things like typos and math errors undermine The Bachelor’s credibility, so it is my job fix those. We also were given several pieces of general advice for writing stories.

In addition to my personal takeaways of new editing techniques, I think we really learned where we have to take The Bachelor in the future. In order for it to be a sustainable voice of the student body, we are going to have to put a website together. This is not going to be overnight, but I think we can begin discussion now and at least have an online presence (beyond a mere Twitter account) by the time I graduate. We will definitely need more manpower though – as well as an infographic designer.

Kesling ’02 Cites Liberal Arts in Diverse Career Path

Scott Morrison ’14 – Ben Kesling ’02 ha spent his entire life “finding his major” with his liberal arts perspective on life. Monday evening, Kesling gave the fourth and final talk in a series called “The Liberal Arts at Work.”

Ben Kesling ’02 talks about his career journey.

I was privileged to have dinner with Kesling and a few of my fellow current students and then attend his talk titled “Don’t Bury the Lede, A Few Thoughts on the Liberal Arts.”

Kesling’s career has embodied the utility of a liberal arts education. A religion major and member of Sigma Chi Fraternity at Wabash, he went on to attain a graduate degree from the Harvard Divinity School.

About that time, the war in Iraq was beginning, and Kesling was faced with a decision. “I sat and watched the initial invasion of Iraq on a television in a common room in grad school housing,” Kesling said. “I was able to wrestle with these questions of war, politics, and humanity thanks in large part to the liberal arts mindset that I had been able to build. I was able to think not only to the arguments being made prima facie but to the motivations behind those arguments.”

Kesling made up his mind to serve his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. After deciding that a career in the Marine Corps was not for him, Kesling went to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern on the GI Bill. He left Medill before graduating in order to pursue his career opportunities and now works for the Wall Street Journal.

His message to students was focused on the importance that liberal arts has had on his life. To Kesling, the liberal arts is not simple dilettantism which entails mere dabbling in subjects in a superficial way.

“A liberal arts approach to life is having the ability and willingness to study a variety of subjects, the capacity to focus in on one when need be, and the humanity to make connections between everything,” Kesling said. “[It is] Like a good physician who knows all of the various organs and muscles in the body and can tell you a great deal about any single one of them but realizes also that the whole physical enterprise ceases to function without the sinews, tendons, and ligaments that connect those parts together.”

Kesling’s liberal arts background and his desire to learn and explore new subjects helped make him be successful as a graduate student, a member of the Marine Corps, and a journalist.

His message was comforting and inspiring as a 22-year-old senior who knows that life may hold a lot of twists and turns ahead. As Kesling never thought he would be a Marine or a journalist while he was at Wabash, I do not know what I may be pursing five to ten years from now.
I would like to thank Dr. Herzog and Wabash College for bringing alumni like Ben Kesling back to Wabash to share their advice and perspectives.


Students Gather for State of Union Discussion

Scott Morrison ’14 – The frigid temperatures did not stop roughly 50 enthusiastic Wabash students from attending a flash discussion on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night.

The event co-sponsored by the College Republicans and Democrats as well as the Political Science and Rhetoric Departments, provided students with a unique opportunity to view the address while having a little fun.

Nathan Manning ’14 joins the post-speech discussion.

“I think it’s a great experience,” Derek Andre ’16 said. “I would feel pretty silly if I was clapping while watching sitting in my dorm room by myself, but it’s just good to be able to come and be with your buddies and those who both agree with you and disagree with you on this sort of thing. It was just neat to be able to watch it together to get at each other and also figure out why people think like they do.”

The flash discussion featured two screens for those in attendance. One featured the President’s address, and the other featured a constantly refreshing Twitter feed started by the sponsors with the hashtag #WabashFD.

The Twitter feed was a unique twist to the discussion which had never been used before at such an event. “The great thing obviously by going through Twitter we had some alumni comments,” BKT Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Sara Drury said. “They weren’t here with us, but they were able to be part of the conversation happening on campus which is cool.”

Many of the students in attendance enjoyed the ability to communicate with the world via Twitter as well. “I liked the fact that we had the tweets going at the same time because you had people giving their concerns like ‘well the President really addressed this’ or maybe he addressed foreign policy a little bit more than people thought,” Fabian House ’16 said. “I wasn’t surprised by any means by the speech itself, but I did appreciate the interaction of the people to give me a little bit more information.”

Professor of Art Stephanie Rossi and Chemistry Professor Laura Wysocki joined the evening’s discussion.

Individual political science and rhetoric classes have had flash discussions before, but this was the first time that such an event was College-wide. “I think that there is something to be said for bringing people together to watch and respond to the issues of the day,” Drury said. “I think that event of bringing people together and watching it together and having conversation as it’s happening and afterwards is the beginning. I am confident that those conversations then continue beyond the event. I think that is really the benefit of having it as a central event on campus. That’s part of the reason that those of us in the Political Science and Rhetoric Departments wanted to team up and meet to keep doing these flash discussions for relevant contemporary political events, because it brings people together to talk about the things that are happening in the world around them.”

Overall, the atmosphere of the event was fairly lively. Pounding of desks for approval and hisses of disapproval were common with a bit of occasional laughter at the Twitter feed. See more student reaction below:

“The reason why I came is not only just to watch it in a group of people while live tweeting it, but also the discussion afterwards. It gives you a deeper understanding and more perspectives on the different issues and everything that he was talking about in his speech.” – Carter Adams ’15

“I could have just as easily sat in my room and watched it, but being able to have the environment is a good idea. The State of the Union is a give and take I suppose. It’s not going to be exactly what you want to hear, but it’s also not going to be a total insult. It’s been better than in some years. He seemed to have toned it down a little bit on who he was trying to make upset. There are some things that can be worked on, but there are other things that pretty much are dead on the water. Time will tell.” – Nick Freeman ’15

“The people who stay behind are able to get a lot of insight on what other students have to say especially with the conversation we have. It really allows for a lot of bipartisan consideration and deeper discussion of the issues. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises. Like Dr. Drury said, you can lay a lot of these State of the Union speeches on top of each other and they would make up pretty well. With that being said, there were a couple of surprises that are pretty significant. There were a lot of omissions in certain areas that are highly contentious including the ACA and work force and unemployment rates that misled some Americans, and he didn’t do a great job of providing some of the proper statistics and information that he should have.” –Nate Manning ’14


GM’s Davlin ’85 Talks Pricing with Econ Students

Howard W. Hewitt – Jim Davlin ’85 told a large group of Wabash students Friday that pricing any consumer product has many variables, some obvious and some less so.

Davlin ’85 talking with students after his lecture.

Davlin, a Wabash Economics major, is now General Motors Vice President Finance/Treasure. The Wabash Trustee used the stops of his career to illustrate the differences. Before joining GM, Davlin had worked at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and John Deere.

Even though he is at a corporate level now, he has had “a lot of line development for products.” He used the example of dish soap or laundry detergent to start his talk. The components of cost, competition, are relatively simple, he suggested, but packaging can also have a huge impact with consumer goods.

While at Lilly, he learned pricing of drugs is very different. “The insurance market clouds the cost of health care,” he said. “The raw materials cost very little to make one pill. What’s expensive is all the cost that went into the drug (research) to make it successful. One in 10,000 compounds will be a successful drug.”

The market is fickle. Drugs can greatly aid one healthcare affliction while causing other patients side effects. The customer, Davlin said, must weigh price against result in unique ways no at all like buying dish soap.

Davlin ’85 talking about GM finance.

Davlin’s time at John Deere gave him a new-found respect for agriculture. “Farmers are dramatically underestimated for their financial savvy,” he said. He explained farmers will weigh the benefit and gain of buying new equipment, its impact on harvest, prices, and labor in determining what they will pay for a new tractor.

He jokingly noted that most of the young men probably wanted to hear more about selling Cadillacs than tractors so he used Cadillac’s 2013 introduction of its new ATS as an example. He explained how the company tried to position the vehicle in comparison to a similar BMW.

But the other factor for pricing in the auto industry isn’t just market demand, raw materials cost, and the other components.   Auto manufacturers also must consider how a vehicle price-wise fits in its own lineup.

Students peppered the GM executive with questions for the remainder of the hour. He talked about targeted advertising, GM’s downsizing, and the company’s substantial financial turnaround since 2008.

Claxon ’06 Talks Behind the Theater Curtain

Brent Harris – Wabash College students peeked behind the theater curtain Tuesday afternoon thanks to a visit from Donald Claxon ’06.

Donald Claxon ’06

Claxon returned to his alma mater to discuss the duties and responsibilities off stage in both theater and opera productions. He also brought a wealth of experience and personal stories from his work in Chicago.

After graduating from Wabash, Claxon attended the Yale University School of Drama, earning his masters in stage management in 2009. He has worked at various theaters in Chicago since 2009, most recently serving as the stage manager for the Grant Park Music Festival, assistant stage manager and production manager at the Chicago Opera Theater, and assistant stage manager at the Court Theater.

After listing the various technical theater positions, Claxon focused on more specific day-to-day responsibilities.

“When I was at Yale, some production managers were only known by the color and number of post-it notes on their desks,” Claxon said. “I enjoy being back stage and getting to know the actors. My job is to assist them in any way possible so they can focus on their role.

Claxon sharing experiences with Wabash students

“Part of an actor’s job is to be perceptive. They know if you are assisting them. I worked with an actress who was diabetic. She wore an insulin pump during rehearsals, but it would have been impossible for her to wear it in performances due to her movements on stage and her costume. I asked her if it would be helpful to have some glucose tablets on both sides of the stage just in case she needed them. She told me no one had ever asked her that, and she was grateful that I considered that option.”

Claxon, who worked as a production assistant with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in “The Addams Family: A New Musical” in 2009, talked about the different challenges created by different types of shows.

“Working with the Grant Park Music Festival, we have a different performance every night. We have roughly 21 hours to change out the set and prepare everything for the next performance. In some theaters, you might have two different shows in the same day. You have to take all of those things in consideration when preparing the budget and planning the design and construction of the set. What might work perfectly for a show that will run over a series of days or weeks might not work at all for a traveling production.”

Morrison ’14 Lives the Possibilities in One Week

Scott Morrison ’14 – At Wabash we pride ourselves on how dedicated our alumni are. We boast on how they give back to campus, how they often return sharing insights and stories, and how they try to help students along as they venture into the “real world.”

Saying that stuff to prospective students or people who know nothing about Wabash is all well and good, but I recently had a week that shows the alumni connections we have and the Wabash experience you can get here better than anything else. Now, I will preface this by saying that I never expected to have these opportunities in one week’s time, nor are they the norm. But, they are possible.

Senior Scott Morrison

So two weeks ago, Jeremy Bird ’00 came to campus to participate in two full days of talks, meetings, and discussions with students on campus. He had around 12 events in two days. If that is not dedication I do not know what is. On his second day on campus, I had a very special opportunity to have dinner at the Elston Homestead with Jeremy, President Hess, Mrs. Hess, and a few others.

Now that is Wabash. Sitting around a simple dining room table with the College’s president and the National Field Director for President Obama’s second campaign who helped found 270 Strategies, a private company built to organize grassroots campaigns for successful presidential campaigns. Wow.

From talking about the Colbert Report to lacrosse to my future career aspirations, it was a great evening. To see the interest that Jeremy and President Hess took in me and the advice and help they offered were honestly thrilling. That might make me sound like a bit of a nerd, but it is true. It was not my average Wednesday evening.

While that was happening, Ryan Smith ’03, field producer for CBS’s 48 Hours, was arriving in Indianapolis and Bachelor advisor Howard Hewitt and President Hess’ Chief of Staff, Jim Amidon, were plotting how to get me in contact with Ryan. Both of them know that I am hoping to enter a career in journalism and the media, and they saw this as another great opportunity for me. Not to mention, Ryan has been really interested in meeting Wabash guys and helping them in any way he can. So fast forward four days, and I am having dinner on Sunday evening with Ryan in Indianapolis.

Obviously being a producer for a hit show on a national network is a job that keeps Ryan very busy, but he took time on his day off to meet with me and share stories and advice for four hours. I was in awe and couldn’t express how grateful I was that he was taking the time to get to know me.

I think, and I hope, that in meeting Jeremy and Ryan, that I have formed a bond as a Wabash man hoping to have an impact on the world. Of course, I hope these guys may be able to help me as I make my way into the professional world, but if nothing else, I know that I have the privilege of having these guys as Wabash brothers and friends. Both Wabash men insisted that I reach out to them and stay in touch moving forward.

Thank you Jeremy and Ryan, and every Wabash alumnus who makes the effort to give back to current and future students, in whatever form that may be. That is what really makes this College special.

Morrison is a member of Sigma Chi, Sphinx Club, member of the golf team, and is Editor of The Bachelor.

Soller ’12 Hits Goal to Bring Students for Visit

Jeff Soller’s Senior Advisory group.

Howard W. Hewitt – The power of social media and the tenacity of a young Wabash alum has been a great story throughout the summer and fall.

Jeff Soller ’12, a Lambda Chi, campus leader, and now a Teach for America participant in Houston, Texas, will be bringing four high school seniors to visit campus thanks to the generosity of more than 50 supporters. Soller used an online fund-raising website to generate $1800 to bring students to Wabash. The students are part of his advisory group.

Jeff Soller ’12

“I have 12 senior male students that I mentor throughout their time at the school,” Soller explained. “Last year, when they were juniors, I told them about Wabash, what it did for me, and what makes it a special place. It is unlike any school they had been exposed to during their time, and they were intrigued. One of my former students, Alex Reyna, is a current freshman at Wabash this year, and once my boys heard of Alex’s success, they were interested to go on a visit.

“I wanted to offer my students an opportunity to visit a school that would push their thinking about what their 4 years of college needs to be. I asked my advisees to heavily consider their interest in the College and think about whether they are truly interested or not. The result of those conversations was having 4 young men tell me they wanted to visit and apply.”

But it’s a long way from Texas to Crawfordsville so Soller turned to the web and social media. He got a lot of Wabash help along the way.

“A few proud alums were extremely instrumental in our effort. Greg Castanias ‘87 and Greg Estell ’85 were excellent advocates through social media, reaching out to their personal networks in support of the project. Also, Jeremy Wentzel ’14 was a great advocate for the project as a voice among the current student body. The Alumni Affairs office was happy to help and helped maintain the flow of donations through the summer, thanks to the help of Seton Goddard ‘14. My fraternity brothers, from multiple generations, were a huge help in creating buzz about the project.”

It all started with a $15 donation in May and ended Oct. 15 with an $85 donation from Greg Estell – honoring his class year and getting Soller to his $1,800 goal. The money came from 51 donors, including alumni and friends of the college. The fundraising page was shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times. The donation page had 650 visits in the short time frame. Alumni donors ranged from the class of 1955 to 2015.

“I have truly been blown away by the support of friends of mine, and friends of the College,” Soller wrote. “A large reason why I attended Wabash was because of the loyalty I saw from alumni, and I now have been able to tap into that resource and hopefully change the lives of students of mine.”

Soller and the students will be on campus Nov. 7-9.

Big Step in Understanding Chemistry

Richard Paige – Maybe it was the Nobel Prize, or my wanting to become a bit more familiar with things here on campus in what is week three for me at Wabash.  Perhaps it was the lure of free pizza.

No matter the reason, I swallowed hard, and climbed the stairs to Hays 319 for what was to be my first science lecture in a quarter century.

I was curious, and isn’t that half the battle?

West Virginia University’s Dr. Blake Mertz was giving a noontime talk on computational chemistry entitled, “Novel PIP2 Lipid Binding to Focal Adhesion Kinase Probed Through Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations.”

Computational chemistry is a branch of the science that uses the computer to help predict how molecules interact, which can be essential to understanding the nature of diseases and the production of medicine.

Last week, three scientists – Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel – shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry with pioneering work in this area, much of it dating back to the early 1970s.

“That (the Nobel Prize) is pretty amazing based on what others with their ideas,” said Dr. Scott Feller, the Howell Professor of Chemistry.  They developed a new approach to chemistry.”

Feller continued by saying that the average person just wants science to come up with a cure for cancer so to speak, but that Karplus, Levitt and Warshel, “enabled others to find that cure with a new way to think about and study a problem.”

Mertz’s talk opened with some basics, that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.  Check. I remember that from way back when. And much of what was discussed today, i.e. molecular dynamics, would be based on Newton’s second law of motion (F=ma).  Check.  I remember that, too.

From that point, much of what was discussed went clear over my head.  The simple thought is that one still needs to understand the theory behind the problem, how the forces change in an experiment, before all is plugged into the computer and the results are produced.

Before all of this can happen, four questions need to be answered:

1.)    Can I answer my question using simulation?  The simpler the question, the more likely that this is the case.

2.)    What is the timescale of what I want to observe?

3.)    How accurate does my model need to be?

4.)    Do I have a computer that can handle the calculations?

What I found as interesting was the fact that as these computer simulations become more powerful, there remains the potential that such simulations could render traditional experiments obsolete.

“I think eventually we’ll find a happy medium,” said Mertz.  “There is still huge bias toward experimental results in the scientific community, like ‘If I can’t see it, then I’m not going to believe it.’

“Certainly, these are questions that need to be answered,” he continued.  “The benefit of doing simulations is that you can really look at things on an atomic level.  Experimentalists are trying to get to that level where they can see atoms, but that level is so small that you can’t answer those questions with an experiment.  Ultimately, I think that computational chemistry is another tool for us to use.  What separates the men from the boys in the lab is how judiciously you use them.”

Now that’s language that I can understand.

Paige Joins Communications Team

Richard Paige has joined the Wabash College communications and marketing department as the associate director.

Richard Page

Paige comes to Wabash after 13 years at the University of Arizona, where he served as the associate director of athletic communications.   His primary responsibility was to manage all media-related activities for Arizona’s nationally ranked men’s basketball program, including all coaching staff and student-athlete interviews, press releases and web content, and credential distribution.

He also assisted in the supervision of the department’s daily activities, which included oversight of four full-time professional staff and 10 student assistants. Paige was also responsible for the coordination and implementation of all media relations policies and procedures throughout the athletic department, including copyright protections, social media policies, long-term solutions for video and photographic archival storage, and the presentation of on-line content.

In a career spanning more than two decades, Paige regularly served as a media relations agent at various conference and national-championship events, including the 2001 NCAA Final Four. He has been honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America with multiple awards for both writing and publication design.

Paige, and his wife Lydia Bell, reside in Indianapolis.  He has two children, Jake (12) and Cora (14 mos.).