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New exhibit, “Degas’ Contemporaries” opens

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

Artists who lived during the time of famed impressionist Edgar Degas produced works of striking visual richness and breadth, a fact not lost on the organizers of Union’s newest exhibition.

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Environs de Rome, 1886, etching, 11 3/8” x 8 3/8”

“Degas’ relationship to music was a unique phenomenon, but it is wholly at home in the complex artistic world of 19th century Paris,” said David Ogawa, chair of the Visual Arts Department. “We hope to reveal some of this complexity through our exhibition.”

“Degas’ Contemporaries,” which opens Saturday, coincides with the “Degas & Music” show currently on view at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls. It includes 11 prints by the French artist’s peers. The works, from the College’s permanent collection, will be displayed in Schaffer Library’s Lally Reading Room through Oct. 16.

Similar events are also being hosted by more than 40 other regional organizations, all of which are participating in the “Season of Degas” event that revolves around the show at the Hyde.

Degas knew all the artists whose pieces will be highlighted at Union, and in many cases, he maintained close personal relationships with them and collected their work.

Artists featured in “Degas Contemporaries” include Felix Bracquemond, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Honore Daumier, Charles-Emile Jacque, Edouard Manet, Charles Meryon, Jean-Francois Millet, Auguste Raffet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

For more information about the exhibit, curated by Ogawa with assistance from Kelly Craparotta ’09, please click here.

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Union among top schools for salary potential, study says

Posted on Jul 27, 2009

Nott Horizontal

A Union education gives graduates one of the top salary earnings potential among liberal arts colleges, according to the latest study by PayScale Inc., a Seattle-based compensation analysis firm.

Union alumni have an average starting salary of $47,200 and a mid-career median salary of $97,100, according to the study, which used data from surveyed employees.

This marks the second straight year the College has placed among the top colleges in the survey of which colleges offer the best return on investment.

“Our 2009 report shows that a degree from the right college or university in the right major can have huge and lasting benefits, from the start of a career to the mid-point," said Dr. Al Lee, of  PayScale. “This is especially important to remember today, when the economic fundamentals are so weak and job prospects are so uncertain.”

To view the list, click here.

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EDGE: Inspiring a future generation of women engineers

Posted on Jul 22, 2009

Genesis Bonds, 15, of Queens, N.Y. and XYZ, Age, of CBD, share a laugh during an EDGE computer programming class.

The process of creation, that jubilant moment when a problem’s finally solved, the excitement of knowing what makes a talking toy talk – these are all things Rebecca Swartz likes about engineering. But what she values, perhaps even more, is the opportunity to make a difference.

“Women, we’re really a minority in engineering, so to have the chance to help change that is great,” she said.

Swartz, a 16-year-old high school student from Schenectady, is one of 17 young women participating in Union’s eighth annual “Educating Girls for Engineering” camp.

“The low percentage of females in the engineering profession results in the lack of an important perspective among the teams that are making decisions about our human-made world,” said Cherrice Traver, dean of engineering. “The EDGE workshop was designed to give young women an opportunity to explore this career, and to understand the contributions that engineers make to society.”

Eve Marenghi, 16, of Somers, N.Y., works with Rebecca Swartz, 16, of Schenectady and Jessica Rivetz, also 16, of Dix Hills, N.Y. The girls are developing a toy for a child with auditory and visual disabilities.

According to the Society of Women Engineers, females make up just over 11 percent of the engineering workforce.

During the two-week residential program, supported this year by the Jerome A. Schiff Charitable Trust, students also learn to apply engineering principles outside the classroom.

Academic Counselor Gale Keraga’s communication module, for instance, teaches effective public speaking and presentation skills. Additionally, a robotics course guides the girls as they adapt toys for children with special needs. This class is instructed by Computer Science Lecturer Linda Almstead and Electrical and Computer Science Lecturer James Hedrick.

On Friday, the camp’s final day, the girls will present the modified toys and speech devices to children at Northwoods at Hilltop in Niskayuna, a part of the Northwoods Health System network.

Allison Teevan, 16, of Delmar, N.Y. and Marietou Haidara, 18, of Bronx, N.Y., work with Electrical and Computer Science Lecturer James Hedrick during an EDGE class.

“Our child, Butch, has a brain defect that hinders his fine motor skills,” explained Gabrielle Watson, an 18-year-old student from Jamaica who attends school in Connecticut. “So we made a toy for him that makes noise, lights up, or vibrates when he places different shaped blocks in the correct slots.”

“The problem-solving aspect of making this for him has been great,” she continued. “I’ve gotten a real feel for what it’s like to actually do some engineering, instead of just learning the theory behind circuitry or computer programming.”

The hands-on, real-world nature of EDGE also means a lot to Aileen Jiang of Montgomery, N.J. It’s allowed the 16-year-old to combine two of her favorite interests.

Nicole Bleuel, 16, of Stamford, Conn. is part of a group of EDGE campers developing a mechanized Barbie toy for a young girl with disabilities.

“I’m involved in a lot of community service in my town and I really wanted to come here to help kids with disabilities,” she said. “The definition of engineering, to me, is using what you know in science and math to help society. I love giving back and I love science and math, and that makes engineering the perfect path for me.”

Union has been educating engineers since 1845, when it became the first liberal arts college to offer courses in the field.

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Christopher Hayen named director of Campus Safety

Posted on Jul 22, 2009

Chris Hayen, director of Campus Safety

Christopher Hayen, a longtime member of the campus community, has been promoted to director of Campus Safety, College officials recently announced.

Hayen had been acting director of the 40-member department since William Sickinger retired in January after 10 years. Hayen was promoted following an extensive national search which attracted more than 200 applicants.

Hayen began his career at Union in 1988 as an officer in the department. Over the years, he has held a number of positions, including traffic manager, access control administrator and assistant director.

"During his time here, Chris has earned the respect of his colleagues, as well as faculty, staff and students, for his professionalism and commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for all of us," said Steve Leavitt,  dean of students and vice president for Student Affairs. "He also has been instrumental in strengthening the College's emergency response plan and building solid relationships with members of the local law enforcement community."

Hayen attended Herkimer County Community College and holds a number of professional certifications related to campus safety, including from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Hayen and his wife, Linda, have two children: Hillary, 18, and Jarod, 16. The family lives in Duanesburg. 

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Adam Grode ’05 quoted in New York Times

Posted on Jul 20, 2009

Adam Grode ’05 is living and teaching English in Xinjiang in the western region of China, where Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese were clashing. He was quoted in a July 5, 2009, article in the New York Times about riots in his neighborhood. “This is just crazy,” Grode was quoted in the article. “There was a lot of tear gas in the streets, and I almost couldn’t get back to my apartment. There’s a huge police presence.” As a Watson Fellow, Grode studied longed-neck lutes in Central Asia in 2005 and 2006. The following year, he received a Fulbright grant to extend his studies of the musical traditions of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

To read the article, click here (registration may be required).

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