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A Sunny Delightful Writing Center Conference

Poster group
I work in Coe's Writing Center.

And we do some pretty amazing things.

One of the coolest things we do is attend conferences that bring together other writing centers. We meet for three days to discuss the issues our centers are facing, what triumphs and discoveries we have made, and engage in a never-ending dialogue of our job as tutors/consultants.

Chloe, myself, Ariana, and Ashley at the zoo
I've been fortunate enough to attend several writing center conferences for the past three years. I've traveled to Baltimore as a freshman, Madison as a sophomore, and now, San Diego as a junior.

Thirty-nine writing center consultants made the trek to California, leaving at various times last Wednesday. I flew in a group of six, arriving in San Diego around 8 PM. Thursday and Friday were spent at the conference and then Saturday was my adventure day!

What is neat about these conferences is that we undergraduates are rare. Most writing centers across the United States employ graduates as their tutors. If colleges with undergraduate students do attend the conference, it's usually their director and maybe a few consultants. When Coe College arrives at this conferences, people usually just smile and anxiously await their chance to talk to us and how we conduct business.

We also had the opportunity to present in a poster presentation. My group discussed our move from Stuart-Peterson to the Gage Annex. We had an hour long time slot where people came up and talked to us. It was fun to talk to new people and articulate what happened before and after our move.

On Saturday, I spent the day the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. After dinner at a Thai restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter, a small group of us headed to Pacific Beach to see the ocean. Then our time in San Diego was over and I got back to campus around dinner time on Sunday night.


It was a FANTASTIC trip. I got the opportunity to bond with my fellow consultants as well as have many discussions about my job as a consultant and the writing center as a whole. The Coe College Writing Center is a place to be very proud of and I'm so happy to be working here.

View from the plane
Balboa Park


CoeFest 2012!

Last year, Student Senate sponsored CoeFest for the very first time. It was a great success (as you can read about in my blog post from last year). This year, Senate organized the same event: an all day music concert outside on the PUB patio. We had it two Saturdays ago and it was a big success! Seven bands were brought in and students could enjoy the variety of music all day. Senate teamed up with the cafeteria to provide lunch (walking tacos) and dinner (pulled pork and vegetarian options) so students could picnic outside while the different bands played. We tried to hire bands from around the area, such as Diplomats of Solid Sound (they played when I went and saw Obama) or OSG, a funk band from Iowa City. Our closing band was Ryanhood. Although not local, Coe has brought them to campus before and they have developed a good fan base here. They were fantastic. The other neat thing about CoeFest was that it allowed Senate to pair up with E-Club. They handled all the recycling and composting that day and promoted their various programs. 

Awesome E-Club members (and my friends) Alexis and Peter
On somewhat of a tangent, E-Club is a fantastic club on campus. They are doing great things and have lots of members who are extremely passionate about the environment. I would call them dreamers and that is in a positive tone. By thinking big, they are able to be movers and shakers and motivate other students on campus about being activists for the environment.   

Whitney and I getting ready for some great music!
The other cool thing that happened this week was that my dad, brother, and sister came to vist. My brother actually plays on another IIAC soccer team and they were playing Coe! My dad and sister decided to make a trip of it and come see the both of us. So in between listening to bands, I headed over to Clark Field to watch some soccer. Once the game was over, my dad, sister, and I went back to CoeFest. I introduced them to a bunch of friends and we all listened to Ryanhood. An excellent Saturday.


Defining Moments Capital Campaign

A NOTE: The story below is an article I wrote for my journalism class and a version of this story appeared in last week's Cosmos. This event was fantastic; it was so great to see Coe doing amazing things. For another perspective, check out this article

Coe College students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and friends filled Sinclair Auditorium on Thursday night to celebrate a successful seven-year capital campaign that raised 90 million dollars for the college.

Members of the Coe community arrived at Sinclair before the program to enjoy refreshments and to listen to the Coe College Jazz Band. Sinclair Auditorium was artfully decorated with crimson and gold colored lights as well as a backdrop of twinkling blue stars.

The hour-long program featured Coe alumni from five decades as they explained what the campaign was and how the money was and would be used. Between these speeches, more Coe alumni and current students were featured in musical numbers. Pictures and video footage were also displayed on the three screens above the center podium.

Coe alumnus and Fox NFL Sunday talk-show host, Curt Menefee, emceed the program. Although two teleprompters were placed at the front of the stage, Menefee was extremely comfortable, not afraid to throw in a joke or two before returning to the written script.  

The Defining Moments Campaign was Coe’s largest capital campaign, publicly kicking off in December 2008. The goal of the campaign was to raise 80 million dollars to increase the college’s endowment, to enlarge and improve the science facilities, to expand the physical size of campus, and to grow the Coe Fund.   

“This will benefit Coe students for years to come,” said Shirley Hughes, a 1967 graduate who gave a general overview of the campaign.

Once the sections of the campaign had been introduced, Gene Henderson, a 1968 graduate who was the chairman of the campaign, came to the stage to announce the final number. A drumroll began and Henderson proudly stated how much money had been raised. The audience rose to their feet while 90 million flashed on the screens and walls of Sinclair.

“This puts Coe in the strongest and most secure financial position,” said Henderson.

President Phifer made the concluding remarks of the program, saying, “Coe College is a special place on this planet.” He emphasized the transformation that occurs at Coe during a student’s four years. “In this place, lives are changed for the better,” he said.  

As the lights came on and the audience began filing out of Sinclair, there was a buzz in the air. Not only was this a celebration, but also an educational experience. “It was interesting to see [alumni] perspectives and learn about the Coe Fund and endowment,” said sophomore Peter Madsen. “I didn’t know how those worked.”

“As Joe McCabe use to tell me, ‘It’s a great day for Coe Jim, a great day for Coe’” said Phifer.


Hello readers!

I would have to say this is the busiest semester to date. So much going on all the time. Makes it a bit hard to blog, now doesn't it? But never fear, I'm back! I've got several posts in the queue waiting for you to read them. Here's what coming up this week. Make sure to check back!

  • Defining Moments Campaign Recap
  • CoeFest 2012
  • Writing Center Trip to San Diego


We have our 15th president!

Good news!!

It's now official, David McInally will succeed President Phifer as Coe's 15th president. The Board of Trustees met today and after a presentation by myself and the rest of the search committee, the board unanimously elected Dave as Coe's next president.

Dave and his wife, Janice, arrived on campus this morning in time to meet the board, have lunch, and then the decision was announced to the whole campus. Dave made a small speech and Max and I presented Dave and Janice with Coe College sweatshirts (the first of many Coe items).

It was exciting to finally announce the decision to campus. Everyone seems extremely happy. We are ready to celebrate President Phifer's time at Coe and also prepare for Dave to start in July 2013. To read more about this good news, check out Coe's coverage or the Cedar Rapids Gazette.


Happy Fall Break!

This post is from sunny Wisconsin because it's Fall Break! We're about halfway through the first semester and have a nice four-day weekend to catch up on sleep, homework, family, and friends. On Saturday, my dad and sister picked me up and we headed two hours north to another IIAC school to watch my younger brother play soccer (he's a freshman). I got home late that night .

I spent Sunday getting some sleep, working on some paper due after break, and just relaxing. It was raining all day so it was a perfect day to spend inside.

Today I'm running around Mt. Horeb and Madison going to appointments and running a few errands. This afternoon I plan to hit the books again and keep working on that homework!

Got a busy week ahead of me; the board of trustees will be in town so I have some Presidential Search Committee obligations. Should be fun yet always busy!


Learning outside the classroom

As I'm out on tour, one statistic I love to highlight is small class size. I usually say something along the lines of, "The average class size at Coe is 16 but last semester I had a class of five and a class of six." I then launch into why I love having a class of six English majors. Let me tell you, it's a party. Of literary awesomeness. 

Not only does the small class size allow me to get to know my peers better, I also create solid relationships with my professors. Case in point would be Monday. 

My friend, Ashley, and I are Writing Fellows for our English professor, Melissa Sodeman, and her History of English Literature class. We've had her for History of English Literature, Literary Analysis, and now, 18th century literature. She emailed us and said she'd like to take us out to coffee to thank us for being her writing fellows. 

After class on Monday, the three of us, along with another classmate, Chloe, headed over to Brewed. We grabbed some coffee, sat down at a circle table and started chatting. The conversation began on our class, moved through other literary topics, and then turned down the "let's talk about our lives" path. 


Suddenly, an hour and a half had passed and Melissa had to go teach another class. It was such a nice break from my non-stop busyness. I was ready to conquer the rest of my Monday, inspired and hyped up on coffee.

And, not only do I know my professor better, but Ashley, Chloe, and I had a nice bonding session! It's these sorts of things that I really believe makes Coe unique and a great place to be. 


Successful Weekend!

Definitely a good weekend on campus. Saturday morning was Campus Visit Day and boy, did I have fun. Started the morning off in the library, chatting with families before heading over to Hickok for a student-faculty panel. I love being on panels; I love getting asked questions because they change for every group you talk to. And this panel definitely brought some good memories of Iowa's Private College Week back!

Once the panel was done, it was time for the tour. My escort was Loxley, a sophomore art major. We had two students in our group, Autumn and Dana. Autumn was a prospective art major and Dana was a prospective English major. So a perfect combination. The tour was so much fun and Dana and I got to geek out about English things. I also made sure to set her up with information about our theatre productions, New York Term, and issues of The Coe Review. That's probably my favorite part of working with prospective students -- being able to give them things that they are interested in. Makes their experience at Coe even more enjoyable.

Slept in on Sunday to make sure I'm well rested for this week. Lots going on so I'll be on my toes. Nothing new though.

Stay tuned for more! :)


Just another crazy week

I seriously don't know where this past week has gone. It's Friday and I don't know what to do with myself. I'm just happy for the weekend where I can attempt to relax and catch up on a few things.

For some, it's no surprise I've been so busy. For others, you're probably scratching your head and thinking, "Who is this girl and what is she doing?"

Let me explain.

This week, two candidates for the next president of Coe visited campus. Since I'm on the committee, it meant a lot of running around to make sure the visits went smoothly. It definitely kept Max and I on our toes but it was totally worth it. We got some great interactions with the two candidates, from giving them a campus tour to having several meals with them. There will be one final candidate next week and then it will be up to myself and the rest of the committee to decide on who we would like to nominate as our next president to the Board of Trustees. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

But running around campus means that homework has taken a bit of a back seat this past week. I did stay up pretty late Tuesday night to attempt to catch up. I will not share how long I slept but let's just say it should not have been enough for me to function properly the next day. Somehow though, I made it through Wednesday (with a little help from caffeine of course).

Also, yesterday the First Year Experience (FYE) Committee (a committee that I'm on) hosted a FYS Faculty Workshop. I attend as the student representative from the FYE Committee and it was a lot of fun. I got to hear about how professors put together a paper prompt and what they're thinking about as they are reading our papers. Being the only student means your opinion is sought out after; it was nice to hear about the other side and attempt to explain to my professors what the students are thinking. It's awesome that I get these student-faculty interactions; it really opens my eyes to Coe as a whole from myself as the student to my professor.  

Happy Friday! I think I need to get some reading done and maybe even take a nap! I deserve it! :)