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Dragonflies: great fliers, quick learners

Posted on Aug 27, 2003

Prof. Rob Olberg, right, with Rebecca Seaman '04 in the “Dragonfly Flight Cage”

The dragonfly, it turns out, is one of the most accurate
prey capturers in nature, and one of the best fliers too.

In an instant, it darts from a perch atop a cattail to
intercept a tiny insect – the mosquito – for a quick meal.

So you can imagine how difficult it is for researchers like
Prof. Rob Olberg and his students Rebecca Seaman '04 and Jon Jackson '04 to
capture the predators on film.

This summer, in the southwest corner of the Science and
Engineering Courtyard, they set up a “Dragonfly Flight Cage,” a contraption that
looks a lot like one of those screen houses favored by the lakeside party set.
But inside is a miniature ecosystem complete with a pond (read: kiddie pool) and
an assortment of vegetation that comes natural to Odonoatarium.

The researchers tempt the fliers with tiny glass beads to
replicate a mosquito, and record the action on high-speed video. Back in the
lab, they analyze the footage, paying special attention to head motion before
and after it catches its food. Their goal: learn as much as possible about how
the dragonfly can so effectively catch food in mid-air.

The project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Olberg notes that the experiment went well, except that they
had to change test subjects every few days. Besides being great predators, the dragonfly,
it turns out, can learn a thing or two about glass beads and researchers.

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The Union Bookshelf

Posted on Aug 25, 2003

The Union Bookshelf regularly features new books written
by (or about) alumni and
other members of the Union community. If you're an author and would like to be included in a future issue, please send
us a copy of the book as well as your publisher's news release. Our address is Office of Communications, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308.

Richard G. Hobday '49

Along the Way is Richard Hobday's second volume of poetry. He completed it mere days before he died. It is a moving legacy not just for his family (it is dedicated to his children), but for any reader who is fortunate enough to discover this tranquil little universe tucked between two covers.

Hobday and his wife of fifty-three years, Marjorie, collaborated on this final project, and Hobday's favorite paintings illustrate the book. A number of the poems were previously published in such venues as
The Writer's Journal, Countryman, The Poet's Pen anthology, and
Small Pond Magazine.

Along the Way quietly conveys many powerful and evocative images and emotions-love of family, God, nature, an abiding marriage. There is a hint of Frost, Dickinson, and maybe even the New England Transcendentalists, but this is not to say the poems are derivative-they remain uniquely Richard and Marjorie Hobday's because it is obvious that they are from the heart.

Along the Way and Hobday's first collection of poetry, Thoughts in Passing, are both available through Wendy Haugh, editor, (518)399-3070 or by writing to her at 5 Hollins Lane, Burnt Hills, N.Y. 12027.

Henry G. Moyer '50

Deterministic Optimal Control:
An Introduction for Scientists

From the publisher: “This textbook gives a geometric, visual presentation of optimal control. The material on conservation laws, geodesics on a Riemannian manifold and the quantization of a Hamiltonian system are particularly valuable for physics students.”

William C. Van Ost '50, M.D.

In 1987, pediatrician William C. Van Ost wrote a book for parents describing the warning signs of their children's drug experimentation.
Warning Signs: A Parent's Guide to In-Time Intervention in Drug and Alcohol Abuse was a great success. Van Ost and his wife/coauthor received requests from around the country asking permission to use it for teaching purposes. In 2002,
Warning Signs was updated, and the Van Ost Institute donated copies of the book to every pupil in the Bergen County, N.J., public school system-nearly 10,000 copies.

In reading this book, one of the first statements that will stop a reader cold is this statistic-the majority of children who later develop addictions often start experimentation in the fifth grade. The slim volume also provides chapter-by-chapter explanation of addiction dynamics and how the entire family is affected, not just the individual. For more information, visit www.vanostinstitute.org.

Richard T. Steinbrenner '58

Schenectady's sobriquet is “the city that lights and hauls the world.” GE continues to do the lighting and it was the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) that did the hauling, sometimes becoming a footnote in national historic events. Dick Steinbrenner has done a masterful job of documenting ALCO's history in his most recent book,
The American Locomotive Company: A Centennial Remembrance.

Steinbrenner has lived most of his life in New Jersey, and his love of trains and railroading lore is a lifelong passion. During Dick's Union years, ALCO was still a thriving industry, and, happily for him, a close neighbor. Since graduation, he had kept abreast of the company's activities and tracked down locomotives throughout North America and a surprising number of foreign locales. While maintaining his Schenectady ties, in 2001 he served on the city's committee for the celebration of ALCO's centennial. After the plant's demise, Dick decided to write the company's history. The actual writing process was three years, nearly 24/7.

ALCO was formed from eight locomotive builders during the nineteenth century's golden age of massive mergers, powerful trusts, and even bigger egos. Dick guides his reader through the corporate machinations while analyzing the vaster business implications and technical accomplishments. His writing style and organizational skills in dealing with such copious information result in a highly readable work that should appeal to a broad audience.

Daniel R. Schwarz '63

If you love anything to do with the history of New York City, Dan Schwarz has written just the book for you.
Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture is a fascinating look at the gritty nether world in which writer Damon Runyon lived and worked. For as much of a dandy as he was, Runyon loved the demimonde of the “city that never sleeps.”

Between the two world wars, Runyon wrote from an insider's view of the city's underbelly.
The high-rollers, the glitzy nightlife, the underworld characters, the palookas he wrote about transfixed his readers much as the gory photogravure tabloid shots by crime photographer “Weegee” (Arthur Fellig) who could find “beauty” even at a murder scene. If anything, Schwarz reasons, Runyon's oeuvre is the precursor of such popular culture hits as “The Sopranos,” the
Godfather films, and the film noir genre. Schwarz traces Runyon's career from sports writer to short story writer. The latter is the inspiration for the Broadway and movie hit,
Guys and Dolls.

Schwarz is a professor of English at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1968. His other books include Imagining the Holocaust and
Reading Joyce's Ulysses.

Antonio F. Vianna '66

March 2003 saw the publication of three books by Antonio Vianna, a businessman and human resources consultant who also writes fiction and nonfiction.

Vianna's Career Management and Employee Portfolio Tool Kit Workbook posits that your career is a dynamic process that requires constant reevaluation and fine-tuning as experience dictates. This cycle of “experiencing, reacting, judging, and adjusting” is how you continue to grow and adapt, he writes. It is through this process that organizations and individuals alike enhance their performances. This workbook is designed for the first-time job seeker, those reentering the workforce or changing jobs/careers, and the currently employed who seek advancement.

Switching to fiction, Vianna's A Tale from a Ghost Dance centers on the title's reference to the ancient Native America ceremonial dance where the spirits of the ancestors are called upon for their wisdom and advice. But in this tale, it is a young Anglo woman executive who has unwanted visionary powers. The protagonist, Victoria, is a high-powered marketing executive who will not accept her gift until she encounters a Native American elder, Joseph. However, some tribal members resent Victoria. There ensue intratribal conflicts as well as mysterious circumstances involving one of her clients that place her life and others in peril.

In The Interview, Vianna turns something as ordinary as a job interview into a life and death drama. Laura Simmons is interviewing for Fred Wheeler & Associates, when a disgruntled former employee bursts in and takes her and seven others hostage. As the action plays out, each character reveals his true self and demonstrates how each individual reacts under duress. It soon becomes evident that if they want to survive the ordeal, this disparate group will have to become a cohesive force.

Christopher L. Brown '78

Christopher L. Brown, a researcher at the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology, is the co-author of
Marine Ornamental Species: Collection, Culture & Conservation, a compendium of information on the growing marine ornamental industry. Brown's nearly 500-page book is designed to be read by governmental and conservation groups, scientists and biologists, aquaculture farmers, veterinarians and the advanced hobbyist. Brown earned his doctorate from the University of Delaware and is the University of Hawaii aquaculture coordinator for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. He is studying the potential application of hormonal regulation and hormonal supplements in ornamental fishes, as these practices have been successfully applied in edible species of fishes.

N. Scott Stedman '99

Scott Stedman, the 49th Union recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation grant, trekked through Europe during his fellowship, tracing the steps of writer/philosopher Walter Benjamin. Now Stedman is the one illuminating the routes less taken by other travelers.

Stedman is editor-in-chief of a pocket-sized bi-weekly, The L Magazine, which hit Gotham's streets on April 30, 2003. This convenient city guide for the 15 neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn serves up a pastiche of events, club and events listings, tours, and more. Although the publication is geared for ages 18 to 35, there are also listings for kids and families.

The inaugural issue includes fascinating historical nuggets and trivia. Regular features include stories about the city, a Q&A with cabbies, architectural treasures, fashion insights, and profiles of New Yorkers.

For more details, visit http://www.thelmagazine.com

Teresa Meade

After years of teaching, Teresa Meade, professor of history and director of the Women's Studies Program, pretty much knows which books cause her students' eyes to glaze over-“I know what is wrong with a book that I have assigned.” Her most recent book,
A Brief History of Brazil, was easy for her to write because she understands the textbook's role.

Her earlier book prompted Facts on File publishing to ask her to write A Brief History of Brazil. Many textbooks on Latin America can be, Meade explained, “horrendously political.”-
e.g., they go on monotonously “from one president to the next, or one military coup to the next, or one strongman to the next.” She said such texts don't structure the material from the bottom up, which makes the historical connections easier for students. Meade adapted her classroom style in writing the textbook by connecting the land to the people, from their daily life to broader political, economic, and historical implications.

Also absent from most texts is the “assumption that the world is made up of men and women.” Meade quotes historian Joan Scott, who argued that, “Gender is the field upon which history is played.” Meade said, “The narrative is incomplete if we omit gender from the analysis.”

Meade also examines the role of popular culture in forming peoples' identities. Brazilians take tremendous national pride in their World Cup-winning soccer teams. Surprisingly, evening soap operas (novelas), which are popular with both genders, routinely portray actual political events.

Meade said Brazil has a long tradition linking politics and the arts. Major writers, for example, might also play important roles as ambassadors, she said.

-By Monica Finch
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Continuing the tradition

Posted on Aug 25, 2003

This fall, the College will welcome sixty-nine legacies-students with family members
who graduated or attend the College. It is the largest legacy class ever. All told, there were
318 legacy applications for the Class of 2007, and 171 were accepted. The new first-year
students include:

Sarah L. Al-Husseuni
, Longmeadow, Mass., niece of JoAnn E. Haddad-Basel '79, Steven M. Haddad '77, and Mitchell B. Basel '78;
Daniel M. Amira, Williston Park, N.Y., son of Donald J. Amira '75, nephew of Stephen A. Amira '71;
Karyn A. Amira, Newton, Mass., daughter of Stephen A. Amira '71, niece of Donald J. Amira '75;
Steven A. Beauregard, South Hadley, Mass., nephew of Nancy B. Nastasi '78;

Susan E. Beckhardt, Valencia, Calif., daughter of David M. Beckhardt '76 and Kathleen K. Beckhardt '76;
James H. Benedict, New York, N.Y., brother of Charles P. Benedict '06; Jeremy D. Breazzano, Wayland, Mass., son of David J. Breazzano '78 and Mary E. Kelly '78;
Philip R. Brown, Schenectady, son of Paul C. Brown '83; Amanda B. Carpenter, Schenectady, niece of James M. Cowie '60;

Evan Cheng, Summit, N.J., nephew of Paul E. Breene '80; Casey M. Cronin, West Hartford, Conn., cousin of William F. Mack '58 and Katharine E. Mack '02;
Tess M. Crouss, Friday Harbor, Wash., daughter of William R. Crouss '71 and Darby M. Siegel '75; Jessica M. DiMarco, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., niece of David V. DiMarco '77 and the late Stephen D. DiMarco '51, cousin of Margaret A. DiMarco-Spanfeller '79;

Fields A. Donegan, Middleburgh, N.Y., sister of Evan F. Donegan '03; Peter D. Drake, Bolton Landing, N.Y., son of Richard L. Drake '70;
Zachary B. Fields, Natick, Mass., cousin of James L. Sawyer '88; Eric R. Giovannone, New Hartford, N.Y., son of Joseph R. Giovannone '76;
Benjamin A. Goldberg, Marblehead, Mass., brother of Rachel L. Goldberg '05;

Lindsay M. Guilz, Schenectady, niece of Marcia P. Hirsch '75; Elizabeth A. Gustafson, New Hartford, N.Y., cousin of Kate E. Gustafson '06;
Lisa L. Hagopian, Andover, Mass., sister of Lindsey A. Hagopian '05; Cooper B. Hammarlund, Newfane, Vt., nephew of John C. Woodward '70;
Keenan L. Hawkins, Webster, N.Y., son of William G. Hawkins '76, grandson of the late Thomas L. Hawkins '51;

Laura L. Hummer
, Schenectady, sister of Noah T. Hummer '04; Kate A. Isler, East Moriches, N.Y., daughter of Frank A. Isler '73;
Gregory B. Kanagaki, West Springfield, Mass., nephew of June C. Kanagaki '75;
Sean P. Kane, Ballston Spa, N.Y., nephew of Cornelius H. Kane '72; Emily L. Kaufman, Liverpool, N.Y., daughter of Dennis A. Kaufman '70;

Angelique R. Kelley, West Springfield, Mass., sister of Robert S. Kelley '03;
Ian C. Kennedy, South Royalton, Vt., son of Christopher B. Kennedy '75;
Charles P. Kinnett, Chelmsford, Mass., brother of Clewis Kinnett '00; Aaron C. Lasker, Newton, Mass., brother of Stephanie L. Lasker '02;
Matthew H. Lazarus, Bedford, N.Y., grandson of the late Marvin P. Lazarus '40;

Sasha S. Lunden
, Avon, Conn., sister of Garrett S. Lunden '06; Marc A. Magee, Madison, Conn., brother of Hillary E. Magee '05;
Josh E. Mayer, Great Neck, N.Y., son of Lloyd F. Mayer '73; Conor M. McCann, Little Falls, N.Y., nephew of Russell M. Wenner '83;
Brandon H. Means, Sewickley, Pa., son of John K. Means '75;

Jason T. Melville
, Honeoye Falls, N.Y., son of John H. Melville '77 and Ann F. Taub '77;
Caroline E. Nelson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., daughter of James E. Nelson '70, granddaughter of the late H. S. Hirst '37, niece of Jeffrey A. Hirst '74, cousin of Colin S. Hirst '06;
Wing Y. Ng, Brooklyn, N.Y., sister of WingPong Ng '06; Sarah E. Nunan, Brentwood, Tenn., niece of Kathryn M. Barbro '90 and Steven A. Barbro '90;

Gretchen L. Olney
, Rochester, N.H., sister of Heather W. Olney '05; Robert N. Oram, Jr., New Canaan, Conn., brother of Barbara J. Oram '04;
David K. Osei-Amoateng, Accra, Ghana, brother of Daniel K. Osei-Antwi '03;
David M. Papa, Clifton Park, N.Y., son of David J. Papa '76;

Vishal Patel, Williston Park, N.Y., cousin of Paras H. Shah '06; Brianne E. Phillips, West Hartford, Conn., sister of Aaron F. Phillips '06;
Benjamin J. Picone, Manlius, N.Y., son of Anthony L. Picone '71; Miriam M. Pina, New York, N.Y., sister of Jimmy R. Pina '02;
Matthew A. Roginski, Amsterdam, N.Y., nephew of John R. DeVries '84 and Martha K. DeVries '84;

Benjamin L. Sadler, Cambridge, Mass., son of Jane A. Sadler '73; Heidy L. Sanchez, New York, N.Y., sister of Leidy L. Sanchez '06;
Caitlin E. Sandusky, Meriden, Conn., sister of Christopher M. Sandusky '92;
Jaclyn R. Siedlecki, Madison, Conn., daughter of John P. Siedlecki '73, cousin of Susanne F. Fitzgerald '89;

Gordon W. Single, Jr., Queensbury, N.Y., son of
Gordon W. Single, Sr. '80 and Wendy E. Single '80, nephew of Gordon R. Ellmers '71;
Rachel J. Stern, Longmeadow, Mass., cousin of Michael F. Ginsburg '74;

Jason D. Stone, Colts Neck, N.J., nephew of Roslyn S. Pollock '81; Lauren R. Sylvetsky, Needham, Mass., sister of Julie G. Sylvetsky '04, cousin of Lindsay J. Goodman '02;

Kelly M. Testa
, Northborough, Mass., daughter of John M. Testa '79, niece of R. J. Stalker '70;
William J. Vacca, Niskayuna, N.Y., grandson of the late Joseph G. Vacca '34;
Brian D. Wade, Scotia, N.Y., son of Timothy P. Wade '83 and Esther Q. Wade '81, great-grandson of the late Alfred M. Wade '22, grandson of Alfred M. Wade, Jr. '50, nephew of David H. Wade '77 and Diane N. Wade '78, cousin of William D. Wade '79 and William T. Wade '79;

Bradley S. Wagoner
, Dover, Mass., grandson of Stewart C. Wagoner '33, nephew of Peter S. Wagoner '69;

Laura S. Walker, Huntington, N.Y., daughter of James T. Walker '74, granddaughter of William H. Walker '41, niece of John M. Walker '75 and William A. Walker '71;

Noah M. Wallace
, Exeter, N.H., great-grandson of the late G. E. Martin '28, grandson of David K. Martin '55;
Kristin R. Will, Wappinger Falls, N.Y., daughter of David A. Will '92GR, niece of Mark Scott '79;
Rebecca D. Winnick, Needham, Mass., daughter of David J. Winnick '75; Ashley L. Wyman, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., sister of Jessica M. Wells '02; Leah M. Ziamandanis, Albany, N.Y., cousin of Lea A. Ermides '96.

We try to list every alumni connection to an applicant.
If we have missed someone, please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@union.edu

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Athletic Hall of Fame names new members

Posted on Aug 25, 2003

The College's Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has named its 2003 members, who will be inducted Oct. 16 as part of Homecoming Weekend. The new members are:

  • George Daley, Class of 1892-football, tennis, track
  • Sam Hamerstrom '40

  • Ralph Semerad '35 football, baseball, basketball
  • Julie Benker '93 swimming
  • Bob Moffat '78 track
  • Greg Olson '67 soccer,
    basketball, baseball.

For more information,
call the Athletic Office at

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Sneddon to Vermont

Posted on Aug 25, 2003

Kevin Sneddon, head hockey coach at the College and a member of the coaching staff for the past ten years, is the new head hockey coach at the University of Vermont.

Athletic Director Val Belmonte said, “Kevin's successes at Union should be measured not only by his team's improvement on the ice, but also by their outstanding achievements in the classroom and in the community. A wonderful
representative of the College throughout his career, Kevin has been a respected member of Union athletics, and he will be greatly missed.”

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