War Without EndSeptember 11, 2014
13 years later, we’re still fighting the war against terrorism, with no real end in sight. Today, September 11, we remember once again the horror, sorrow and losses of that terrible day. Yesterday, September 10, another U.S. President vowed once again to eradicate the terrorists. Who actually believes that this will be the last time we’ll hear a U.S. president take that vow?
13 years and one day ago, on September 10, 2001, most of us had never heard of Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. We had vague ideas about bad things happening far, far away at the hands of terrorists who immolated themselves while blowing up markets, restaurants and buses thousands of miles away in places most of us would never occupy. Too bad, we might say as we turned to the morning comics, but it could never happen here.
13 years ago, on September 11, 2001, it did happen here. Even now, those images of planes flying into the twin towers are almost impossible to see. On the 4th floor of Main we watched as smoke rose from the Pentagon. I remember standing in the middle of Social Hall that morning as students, faculty and staff streamed in and crowded around the television — only 13 years ago, we did not have the ubiquitous smartphones, tablets and pervasive wifi access to the internet. We had one television in Social Hall and the entire Trinity community crowded in to watch. Rumors of bombings all over Washington shook the crowd. “What will we do? Where will we go? How will we be safe?” students were asking. I did not have a clue. The Trinity community managed through that moment with as much grace and common sense as we could muster, and by the end of the day everyone on campus made it home safely. That was not true for about a dozen members of our extended Trinity family, relatives and friends who perished at the World Trade Center or Pentagon or on the planes. We remember them especially today.
Over the course of the last 13 years, we’ve come to know the cast of characters all too well, the leaders of terrorist organizations with murderous intentions and deranged goals. We’ve heard presidents and politicians proclaim Shock and Awe, Mission Accomplished, Bring ‘em to Justice, etc. etc. etc. We’ve watched the flag-draped caskets of thousands of military service members arrive at Dover. A war to end madness may be madness, itself.
I wish I could feel confident about President Obama’s promise last night to “degrade and destroy” the terrorists in Syria. I wish we could stop hearing about “degrade and destroy” and all of the other words of war that, in the end, only serve to inflame the terrorists even more. Unlike conventional war, fought like some kind of sporting contests, where two sides go at it until one side gives up and surrenders or runs away, the war against terrorism is not against a clearly defined opponent in a nation-state, and what constitutes “winning” is an elusive notion. Terrorists are individuals who act much like viruses, and rather than eradicating the virus hostile actions can actually cause the disease to spread. Terrorists are everywhere, even here in the United States. We sometimes forget that one of the most appalling acts of terrorism occurred in Oklahoma City, committed by an American veteran, Timothy McVeigh.
On this September 11, perhaps the best thing we can do to honor those who died that day is to pray for peace, and then to use our advocacy to insist that our political leadership do more than promise to keep dropping bombs, which may be necessary but seems almost like a hopeless gesture in the face of evil. Our leaders cannot keep waging war without end. We must insist that they find a way to more lasting peace.Read comments (0) Add Comment
Voices of Trinity: Amazing Summer Experiences!September 8, 2014
I asked Trinity students to send me some essays on their summer internship experiences. Wow! Here are their amazing reports:
Senior Megan Tarr (above, left, with some of her summer camp friends), a Business major, has two exceptional experiences to report:
“This past summer I took part in a program called CISV (Children’s International Summer Village). This is a 100% volunteer based organization that teaches children the importance of building global friendships by learning about the world. I was a camp counselor for three 11 year old children from the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. We ventured to the Philippines, where 12 other countries from around the world learned and grew with us for one month. This experience taught me that no matter the age everyone can teach and everyone can learn. In helping these children learn about making friends, open minds, and positive attitudes they helped me see how much I have grown and learned about the world. For this I thank the friends and professors I have come to love at Trinity.
“In addition to an amazing summer travel experience, I also landed an internship in the Office of Web Communications at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In applying for this internship I used a writing sample from my senior seminar last semester. In this writing sample I explored the business structures of the company Duke Energy, while highlighting their relationship with the EPA. Immediately I thought of the push and pulled of information shared in my discussion style seminar, and the writing sample that emerged as a result.”
Junior Brittany Joyner, a Psychology major, has this amazing report:
“This summer, I was chosen to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in June held at the University of Maryland campus. I was honored to be among so many extraordinary and talented women who want to make a difference in the world. I was even more excited that I was going to be representing my college, Trinity Washington University. I was a bit nervous about attending a conference for the first time, especially since I was the only student from my college that was chosen to attend, but I had a blast! I was given the chance to meet some incredible women and share with them stories of struggle and success. While at the conference, I met members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization dedicated to advancing the equity of women. I also listened to powerful speeches from keynote speakers such as Hilary Clinton (daughter of former President Bill Clinton) and Deanna Zandt (media technologist and author). I attended a Graduate College Fair where I spoke to college representatives about my interest in career fields that include Psychology and Education. I also attended several workshops, one of my favorites being the This I Believe workshop which focused on the art of storytelling, how to use it as a tool to connect with others and enhance student organizations or corporate businesses. After attending the workshop, I realized the importance of storytelling, its impact on individuals and how it draws people closer together and decided to utilize the storytelling tool as a way to enhance my student organization, Women on a Mission. When I return to campus, I will be sure to use all of the knowledge and resources that I gained from the conference and share it with my Trinity sisters. I hope that next year more of my Trinity sisters will be able to attend the conference. I’m certain that all of the women could benefit from attending the event and will leave feeling inspired, motivated and empowered. I also hope to establish an AAUW chapter at Trinity so that my sisters can get involved in the advocacy for women’s rights.
“I spent the remainder of my summer working as an intern for the United Planning Organization Youth Services Division. I was offered an opportunity to be employed as an Assistant Program Director for a youth summer program sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund called Freedom Schools. With this opportunity I was able to explore my teaching interests by assisting in the classroom, organizing educational activities, communicating with parents and working with children with ADHD, ADD and other learning/behavioral disorders. I was also able to enhance my leadership skills by helping my director run the facility and display my creativity by planning and decorating for events.
“The Freedom Schools program is deeply rooted in the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964 which promoted the educating of African-American voters and eventually led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act Bill of 1965. I assisted in teaching the kids at the program about the importance of voting so that they could understand how it affects their future. I also accompanied the children on a field trip to the U.S. Supreme Court Building, where they hosted their second “Lets Read! Let’s Move!” event created by First Lady Michelle Obama. The children listened to a book entitled “Marshall The Courthouse Mouse: A Tail of the Supreme Court” which was read by a few of our nations officials including, Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Supreme Court Marshal Pamela Talkin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell. In return, the children promoted a National Day of Social Action where the children presented a showcase about the importance of voting for early childhood education resources and their parents filled out pledge to vote forms.
“At the end of the summer program, I hosted a Finale Showcase which was a compilation of the students’ talents and knowledge. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity to serve and cater to the needs of children in struggling urban communities, while working for an organization that has such a deep, historical purpose. This experience opened my eyes up to the importance of early childhood education and the need for more great teachers to guide and educate our youth. It also helped me recognize my personal capabilities as a leader and a teacher. I am so proud of myself and all that I’ve gained—effective tactics for working with children with learning/behavioral disorders, a strong sense of self and a great deal of patience. I’m also proud of all the children I encountered in the program and all that they’ve learned and retained at such a young age. They give me hope that they will be the voices of change in the future!
“Everything I experienced this summer directly aligned to my involvement on Trinity’s campus. This summer helped me to appreciate new endeavors and reminded me that everything is a learning experience and that there is always room for growth. I am determined to return to Trinity this semester eager to learn, lead, inspire and grow!”
Senior Kelly M. Poole writes about her internship at Washingtonian Magazine:
“This summer I have been interning in Advertising and Marketing with Washingtonian Magazine. I’ve been lucky enough to assist in business plans and event planning for the magazine’s biggest event of the year “Best of Washington” which was held at the National Building Museum and had an Alice in Wonderland theme. I’ve always wanted to work for a magazine so this internship has been a dream come true. Attending Cathy Merrill Williams’ intern talk was also very enlightening as to how the magazine has evolved over time with her at the helm. I’ve been networking and making it a priority to represent Trinity in the best ways possible.”
If you have an interesting internship or other educational/professional experience you’d like to share with the Trinity community on my blog, send your essay to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Photos are welcome but please send them as jpeg attachments. Thanks!
See my blog on the Huffington Post “Perfect v. Good: Higher Ed Reform Edition”
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Promoting Respect and Freedom from Sexual ViolenceSeptember 1, 2014
I have sent this message to the Trinity Community on email, but it’s so important that I want to reinforce the message by posting it on my Trinity blog:
As we start the new academic year, I call upon all members of the Trinity community to work together to help ensure that Trinity is a model for respecting the dignity of all people, maintaining a campus free from violence of any sort, particularly sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and harassment in any form. As a university with long and deep moral roots in the Catholic faith tradition and Gospel teachings on social justice, we have a moral mission to uphold the dignity of human life. As a college founded in reaction to historic discrimination against women, and still emphasizing women’s education and empowerment, we are especially concerned about upholding the rights of women. Today, we welcome men in many programs and all faith traditions into the Trinity community, and we call upon everyone to express affirmative support for the fundamental imperative to respect the dignity of each person here.
From that perspective, I am writing this message as part of legally required annual notification to the campus community about our policies and procedures on sexual assault and harassment. Trinity complies with all laws on student safety and protection, including the Campus Safety Act known as the Clery Act, Title IX in all of its parts including those governing sexual harassment and violence, the Violence Against Women Act, and other federal and local laws on this topic.
We should not need the law to tell us what is right, but the law is necessary because in too many places in our society, including on too many college campuses, violence and degradation run rampant, particularly violence against women. Trinity must be a strong moral example to counter these conditions.
Each campus constituency has both rights and responsibilities to safeguard Trinity’s highest values for respect and safety for all:
For All Students in All Programs:
You have a right to be safe, free from fear of harassment or any kind of violence when you are on Trinity’s campus or participating in any program that Trinity sponsors. Trinity has policies and procedures that protect your rights. If you are the victim of sexual harassment or violence in any form, you can get help on our campus.
- Confidential Help: Contact Health Services (202-884-9615) (email@example.com) (confidentiality protected by law)
- Immediate Assistance: You may seek assistance with your dean or other staff member, and particularly the individuals listed below. Please note that the federal law requires reporting of criminal cases to these individuals may not be able to keep your case completely confidential, but they will do everything possible to protect your privacy and your rights:
- Security and Police Response: Trinity Department of Public Safety (202-884-9111) and Deputy Chief Kelvin Contee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You may find these policy statements on our website in these places:
Students also have the obligation to refrain from any acts of harassment or violence, and to act to prevent harassment or violence against other students through effective interventions and reporting. Trinity’s Honor System requires the active intervention of bystanders if you see someone committing an action that violates our community standards of trust, respect, honor and integrity. If you see something, say something — this is not only about outside crime but possible crime or offenses within our community.
You are also responsible for your guests. Visitors to our campus are governed by the same rules as everyone else. If your guest threatens or commits any act of violence against anyone here, that person will be banned and you may incur disciplinary action as well.
Trinity has ZERO TOLERANCE for any act of bullying, harassment or violence committed by one student against another, or against any other person. In addition to the policy statements listed above, students are on notice that violence of any form is prohibited by all of our student codes of conduct, as well as the Honor System. An act of violence, or the threat to commit violence, will result in your immediate separation from campus and likely dismissal from Trinity entirely.
Students must also note that threats, bullying, harassment or other misconduct on social media will incur the same penalties as if the acts occurred in real time on campus.
For All Faculty and Staff
You also have the right to be safe, treated with respect and free from the fear of harassment or violence on Trinity’s campus or in the discharge of your duties on Trinity’s behalf anywhere. Trinity’s policies protect you in the same way that they protect students. While the federal law in Title IX is specifically intended to protect students against crimes committed by other students or campus personnel, the spirit of that law is incorporated into our Harassment Policy and general rules protecting all employees from harm.
You do have special obligations under Title IX and the Clery Act. All campus personnel who are in a position to hear about possible sexual harassment or assaults against students have a specific legal obligation to report those cases, and we have an institutional obligation to ensure that you get training on these issues.
Please DO NOT try to handle any reports of sexual assault on your own. Please note that you may NOT promise confidentiality to a student. You should report the case immediately to one of the individuals listed above.
Given the very small community that we have at Trinity, all full-time faculty, executive and administrative personnel are “campus security authorities” for purposes of reporting and training under the law.
The training is offered on a regular basis through the Trinity Institute programs for personnel continuing education. Ms. Tracey Prince, Director of Human Resources, oversees the training program and provides frequent announcements about the sessions.
ALL VENDORS and VENDOR PERSONNEL have the same obligations under Trinity’s policies as all other personnel.
Sustaining a Culture of Respect and Safety
Campus sexual assault is an issue that is in the news quite a lot these days. Unfortunately, on too many campuses, the culture of disrespect and violence has festered. Whether the causes are too much alcohol, unregulated fraternities, big time sports and the entitlement that some perpetrators of crimes seem to feel, the fact remains that even one case is too many.
Here at Trinity, we work hard to maintain a climate of safety and culture of respect. While we are a “dry” campus, have no fraternities or sororities or other kinds of clubs that foster problems at other schools, we cannot be lulled into thinking that something bad could not happen here. Too often, we do see cases where anger turns to bullying, and sometimes fighting. We also sometimes encounter guests, particularly in the residence halls, who act in ways that are antithetical to our values and environment. We must be pro-active about observing and intervening in every instance in which someone needs help to step back from the potential of doing harm to another person and herself.
We will provide more programming through the academic year, and I welcome your input on strategies that Trinity can adopt to sustain and even improve our campus climate for respect, dignity and safety for all members of our community, visitors and guests.
Thank you for your full attention and complete cooperation with this message.
See my blog on the Huffington Post: “College Presidents Must Lead on Sexual Assault”
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Welcome to Trinity’s 2014-2015 Academic Year!August 27, 2014
With great pleasure, I am happy to extend a warm Trinity, “Welcome!” to more than 600 new students, faculty and staff joining the Trinity community for the Fall 2014 semester, and a hearty, “Welcome back!” to all returning students, faculty and staff. 2014-2015 promises to be an amazing year for Trinity — already we can see tangible signs of change and growth, and so much more is on the agenda for our campus community.
We have many new faculty and staff joining our community, and new responsibilities for continuing faculty and staff, so in this message I summarize these changes, and please join me in welcoming and congratulating our colleagues:
- Interim Provost Dr. Carlota Ocampo
Dr. Ginger Broaddus, who had been Trinity’s Provost (chief academic officer) for the last five years, moved to Denver with her family in late July. We all miss Dr. Broaddus and wish her well out there in the Rocky Mountains! We are fortunate that our very talented colleague Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Psychology, agreed to step in as the Interim Provost for the fall semester. Dr. Ocampo is also co-chairing our Middle States Self-Study so she is very busy, and yet always ready to speak with students and provide helpful insights for colleagues. Please join me in thanking Dr. Ocampo for taking on this important additional role!
- Dr. Pamela Barnett, new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
We are so fortunate to have a remarkable new leader for the College of Arts and Sciences this fall. Dr. Pamela Barnett joins Trinity as the new CAS Dean from her work at Temple University where she was Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center since 2007. She has also served on the graduate faculty for Psychological, Organizational and Leadership Studies in Education at Temple. Prior to her work at Temple, Dr. Barnett was the Associate Director of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton, as well as a lecturer in English which is her primary academic field. Before heading to Princeton, she was a tenured associate professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina, and she also had teaching experience at American University and Emory University where she earned her Ph.D. in English. Perhaps equally important for Trinity’s CAS dean, Dr. Barnett is a cum laude graduate of one of the nation’s most distinguished women’s colleges, Barnard College in New York. Please join me in welcoming Dean Barnett to Trinity!
- WELCOME to New Faculty and New Administrative Appointments! In the College of Arts and Sciences:
- Dr. Rewa Burnham is now Assistant Professor of English! A 2005 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity in English and Public Affairs, Dr. Burnham joined Trinity’s teaching staff as an instructor in writing and critical reading two years ago. She earned her doctorate at the University of Maryland this past spring. Dr. Burnham was an amazing student leader and student government president during her student days here, and I am thrilled that she accepted Trinity’s offer to return to alma mater on the tenure-track faculty. Welcome, Dr. Burnham!
- Dr. Noel Voltz has joined Trinity’s History faculty from Ohio State University where she has earned her baccalaureate, masters and doctorate in African American History. As an instructor at Ohio State she taught a robust range of courses in American History and African American History. Welcome, Dr. Voltz!
- Ms. Dowan McNair-Lee, yet another outstanding Trinity alumna, joins the CAS team as a reading specialist this fall. Ms. McNair-Lee earned her master’s degree at Trinity in 2007, and just last year she received the very prestigious Rubenstein Award for her work at the Stuart-Hobson Museum Middle School Campus. Welcome back to Trinity!
In the School of Nursing and Health Professions:
- Dr. Denise Pope is Trinity’s new Chief Nursing Officer. Dr. Pope takes over the leadership of Trinity’s Nursing Program with strong prior experience with the University of Phoenix, Coppin State University and the D.C. Department of Health. She earned her BSN at Hampton, MSN at Catholic University, and Ph.D. in Nursing Administration and Health Policy at George Mason University. Welcome!
- Dr. Kristen Maisano joined Trinity earlier in the summer as the new Director of the Occupational Therapy Program. Dr. Maisano comes to Trinity with experience as an Occupational Therapist with the Department of Defense and INNOVA Alexandria Hospital. She earned her B.S. and M.S. at College Misericordia, and O.T.D. at Boston University. Welcome!
- Ms. Jennifer Dahlman, Assistant Professor of Nursing, has taken on the additional title of Assistant Dean for Nursing with responsibility for the Conway Scholars Program.
- Ms. Danielle Artis, Assistant Professor of Nursing, has taken the title of Assistant Dean for Nursing with responsibility for the NCLEX preparation program.
- Ms. Jane Brophy who has been an adjunct faculty member joins the full-time faculty in Nursing.
In the School of Business and Graduate Studies:
- Dr. Peggy Lewis — another amazing Trinity alumna, Class of ’77 — who has been here at Trinity as Program Director for Communication and Media Studies in the School of Professional Studies now becomes Associate Dean of the School of Business and Graduate Studies.
- Ms. Jeannette Frett joined Trinity last spring as Dean of the School of Business and Graduate Studies, a new unit that grew out of the School of Professional Studies. With strong experience at Howard University and Georgetown School of Business, Dean Frett will lead the effort to develop and expand our graduate programs.
In the School of Professional Studies:
- Ms. Beverly Lucas, who has been a writing instructor with the School of Professional Studies, is now director of Trinity’s program at THEARC, succeeding Ms. Candice Washington who departed over the summer. We are grateful to Ms. Washington for her years of service in building our program at THEARC and grateful to Ms. Lucas for taking on the leadership challenge.
In the School of Education:
- Dr. Bweikia Steen, Assistant Professor of Education, has taken on the role of Coordinator of Early Childhood Education.
- Dr. Luane Oprea joins the Counseling Faculty as Assistant Professor of Counseling.
In the Provost’s Office:
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- Ms. Sarah Wilson, who has been the Director of Academic Administration, becomes Assistant Provost.
Voices of Trinity: Charlene Valdez ’17 at the National Institutes of HealthAugust 19, 2014
In July, I published a blog about the remarkable trip of Junior Airen Washington to Israel. Her story generated a great deal of interest among other students eager to share their summer experiences as well — and what an ambitious, talented and interesting set of stories these are! In this blog I feature the report of Sophomore Charlene Valdez who spent the summer on a research program at the National Institutes of Health. For all the new first year students out there, listen up! THIS CAN BE YOU NEXT SUMMER! Charlene became a candidate for this program as a result of her fine work in freshman year with Dr. Moss.
Here’s Charlene’s report in her own words:
“Over the past few months, between June and mid-July, I was attending the Advanced Research Technology Corps program at the National Institute of Health, in partnership with Georgetown University. The program was brought to my attention by my amazing Biology 111 professor Dr. Patrice Moss, who throughout the entire time I’ve worked with her at the Ladies FIRST Math and Science Club has demonstrated her faith in me as a science student. As a rising sophomore at Trinity, the prospect of attending such a prestigious program made be a bit nervous at first. I had declared my major to be Biology during the spring semester, right before the start of the program. Needless to say, I was not ready for what was coming up next.
“The internship started off with a 1-week course schedule where students from UDC, Georgetown and Trinity, had come together to learn about Pluripotent Stem cells and how to differentiate them. We learned about Immunohistochemistry, Flow Cytometry, Protienomics, Cell Culturing, and many other amazing techniques that we could use for future internships or our own laboratory research. Following the 1-week long program, we were also given the opportunity to do a six-week internship following a poster session at the end of the program.
“After the lab and lecture courses were over, it was time to enter my practice internship. Lucky for me, I got a chance to work at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center with Dr. Jan K. Blancato as my P.I. Once at Georgetown, Dr. Blancato tasked my colleagues and I to work on Inflammatory Breast Cancer as a part of my official research project. The objective of my project was to find amplifications of a mutated gene called ALK1 in these IBC tissues using a technique called Fluorescence in situ Hybridization. This technique is often used when localizing specific genes of interest on intact chromosomes.
“My favorite part was the knowledge and insight I gained through this experience. I had always been unsure if Biology was the true path I wanted to take for the rest of my life, but I came to realization that I love it. I have a strong passion for doing work that can make a difference in humanity. My P.I. and my colleagues were a tremendous help when it came to explaining the science and techniques behind the work I was doing. They all taught me to be meticulous yet curious, and to accept any possible outcomes in my research results.
“I am currently in the process of completing the poster for my presentation at Georgetown and I will do my utmost best to make Trinity, my Mother, professors, and peers, proud of my work.”
(Charlene Valdez, ’17, Biology major, Undergraduate Research Scientist)
Charlene, we are so tremendously proud of you! Thank you for sharing your story!
PS: It wasn’t all serious science, check out the great friends Charlene made during her summer internship!
I will blog about another student in a few days. If you’ve already sent me your story and photos, rest assured it’s coming to this website! If you have a story of your summer work that you’d like to share in this space, send it to me via email at email@example.com Photos are always good to include with the story.
Future blogs: I will also be calling for your thoughts on the many issues involving Ferguson, Missouri, the shooting of Michael Brown and the police actions afterward, the issues of racism and race relations today, press freedoms and so much more coming out of that story. I will use that topic as the focus of this year’s Constitution Day observance in September. As I’ve done in the past, I will invite your comments and brief essays on the topics, so please start thinking about how you’d like to participate.
I wrote a blog about Ferguson on the Huffington Post this week, please see Ferguson’s Lessons for the Fall Semester
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