Fall/Winter 2023 Issue

Feature Story Teaching Through Turmoil

These public-school educators teach, lead, counsel, nurture and care.

Education for All

Rat Pack Mentor

Professor Julio Ramirez’s outsized impact on Alzheimer’s research and the lives of his students.

Not Just Neural Networks

Shaping Davidson

Over the past 50 years, women have served as leaders across campus, pioneers into the unknown, champions of change and advocates for a better future. Their stories reflect the ever-evolving Davidson community and forge a path for generations to come.

Shattering The Glass Ceiling

Officer, Felon, Democracy Crusader

The cast and crew of the new Disney + and Hulu series, Sam—A Saxon visited Davidson in September and urged vigilance against rising authoritarianism.

The Union



J. Blanton Belk: It’s an unfinished world, and it’s still in the making… by J. Blanton Belk Jr. ’46 (2020, Pediment Publishing). The memoir by the founder of Up With People is a narrative that encapsulates the upheavals of the 1960s, weaving together Cold War tensions, civil rights struggles and anti-Vietnam War sentiment. Belk’s remarkable vision to channel the youthful energy of that era into a positive force for change is at the heart of this story. 

Tell It True by John Pruitt ’64 (2022, Mercer University Press) follows the shocking murder of an African American serviceman who is gunned down on a rural Georgia road in July 1964. The murder ensnares a wide range of characters, including the journalists who cover it, the lawmen who must solve it, the civil rights leaders who capitalize upon it, the politicians who exploit it, and the Atlanta magnate who fears its impact on the New South image he desperately wants to protect. 

Exploring the Philosophy of R.G. Collingwood: From History and Method to Arts and Politics by Peter Skagestad ’68 (2021, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc). The book sheds light on the profound contributions of Robin George Collingwood, a pivotal figure in 20th century philosophy. By exploring Collingwood’s expansive body of work encompassing various philosophical domains, including knowledge theory, metaphysics, art, history, and social and political philosophy, Skagestad underscores Collingwood’s enduring relevance in the contemporary world.

Business Development Stories and Lessons: Forty Five Years of Tech Industry Tales by Allen C. Shay ’76 (2023, self-published) shares valuable insights and stories from Shay’s extensive career as a tech industry entrepreneur and business development executive spanning 45 years. The book is a practical guide aimed at assisting both business development professionals and entrepreneurs in enhancing their chances of success. 

Lights on Lancaster: How One American City Harnesses the Power of the Arts to Transform its Communities by John R. Gerdy ’79 (2023, Top Reads Publishing, LLC) offers an insightful exploration of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, showcasing the city’s distinctiveness in fostering a thriving arts culture. Gerdy’s work serves as an inspiring blueprint, demonstrating how communities can embrace and harness the transformative power of the arts. 

The Plinko Bounce by Martin Clark ’81 (2023, Rare Bird Books) is a riveting legal thriller that follows Andy Hughes, a dedicated public defender, as he grapples with a high-profile murder case in rural Virginia. Clark, lauded as “the thinking man’s John Grisham” by the New York Times, paints a vivid portrayal of a flawed justice system and its intricate workings, exposing the complexities and moral dilemmas faced by those within it. 

Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Yero ’07 (2023, Atheneum Books for Young Readers), is set in a dystopian future and intricately weaves a poignant narrative of love and societal inequality. The star-crossed romance between Rumi and Paz unfolds amidst the harsh backdrop of a divided world, making readers both ache and hope for their survival in a world plagued by environmental devastation and social disparities.

Add yourself to the shelf!

To submit your book for this column, as well as to E.H. Little Library’s Davidsoniana Room, please send a signed copy to:

Davidson Journal
Box 7171, Davidson College
Davidson, NC 28035-7171

Faculty Notes

Africana Studies

Takiyah Harper-Shipman has received a Fulbright Teaching and Research Award for the 2023-2024 academic year. She will be spending that time in Senegal.


John Corso-Esquivel was one of three guest speakers for the Cranbrook Academy of Art symposium, “Shared Histories: 25 Years of Cranbrook Fiber.” He delivered a talk entitled, “Crafting Identity: Exploring Subjectivity in Fiber Art Studies, 1997–2023.” 

Joelle Dietrick exhibited her project “Chasing the Sun at the Shirley Project Space” in Brooklyn from September through November. She also presented the project on a panel titled “Artist as Agent in the Age of Climate Crisis” at the 2023 SECAC conference at Virginia Commonwealth University in October.


Karen Bernd and Cindy Hauser (chemistry) were awarded an NIH AREA award for $410,141 to support their research project titled, “Identifying correlations between the physico-chemical properties of waterpipe tobacco smoke and its impact on lung cell health, as a function of shisha flavor and smoking topography.” The three-year project continues their collaborative laboratory project providing biomedical research experiences for approximately 40 students, including stipends, software and research supplies. The award also provides support for their professional development efforts to continue and expand inclusive recruiting and mentoring approaches.

Communication Studies

Amanda R. Martinez and her honors thesis advisees (Class of 2020), Daniel Bunson (Communication Studies) and Mariana Crespo (Sociology), coauthored a chapter, “Grounded in Community: Sustainability and Collective Actions,” in the recently published book, Strategic Social Media as Activism: Repression, Resistance, Rebellion, Reform (Routledge).

Computer Science

Mark Sample and Raghu Ramanujan were selected for the National Humanities Center’s Responsible AI initiative. They received funding to develop a team-taught course in the humanities that explores the ethical use and irresponsible misuse of AI in the arts, literature, and in our daily lives. That course, “Critical AI Studies,” launches in spring 2024. Meanwhile, Sample’s digital poem “One for Grundy” was published in the Spring 2023 issue of the digital art and poetry journal Taper.


Alison Bory’s “Fostering Love: Mothering as a Practice” was published in Dancing Motherhood, written and edited by Ali Duffy (Routledge, 2023).


Caleb Stoup’s paper, “Macroeconomic Research, Present and Past,” was just published in the Journal of Economic Literature.


Brenda Flanagan won a Fulbright Specialist Award to collaborate with teachers to develop curricula in post-colonial African Literature in Cape Town, South Africa, in the fall of 2023. 

Cynthia Lewis has published a literary essay, “What Happened to the Apple-Ipecac Pie?: The Coen Brothers and Shakespearean Tragedy,” in the Spring 2023 edition of Literary Matters

Alan Michael Parker had two stories published and a third longlisted for a prize. “Ella’s Letter to the Editor of the Universe,” was an Editor’s Choice selection at LITRO, “Speculative Fiction” was published by Necessary Fiction (UK), and “Miniatures,” was longlisted for the FISH Flash Prize (UK). Three of Parker’s cartoons—“Arlo the ant’s To-do list,” “Business Attire Makes Pam Feel Like a Sausage,” and “Monica Gave Him The Look”—were accepted into a juried show, Comic Crossing: The Art of the Graphic Narrative, at Livermore Arts in California. His 75th cartoon—weekly, since January of 2022—has been published in Identity Theory

Ann Fox led a recent session of “Drawing Together,” a monthly virtual meet-up where members of the world-wide Graphic Medicine community gather to draw, support one another and share. Fox also has been appointed to the national steering committee for the proposed National Disability History and Culture Museum, a project to create a museum about American disability history and culture as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

German Studies

Burkhard Henke has been appointed chief reader for the AP German Language and Culture exam. Chief Readers help develop the test, then plan and oversee the scoring (or “reading”) of the free-response section of the test.


Rose Stremlau and Hilary Green participated in a roundtable on “Teaching the History of Sexual Violence in the Age of #MeToo” at the recent meeting of the Organization of American Historians. Stremlau has been appointed to the North Carolina Historical Marker Commission.

Latin American Studies

Russell Crandall reviewed the book The War on Drugs: A History in the Summer 2023 issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Crandall’s new book is Forging Latin America: Profiles in Power and Ideas, 1492 to Today (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023). 

Britta Crandall and Russell Crandall also have published “The Monroe Doctrine Turns 200. Why Won’t It Go Away?” in the summer issue of Americas Quarterly.


Two of Jennifer Stasack’s works for women’s chorus were performed by MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Choir on their 40th Annual Spring Anniversary Concert, Hope is an Action. Closing the first half of the program was Stasack’s SSAA/piano arrangement of Holly Near’s Something About the Women, MUSE’s first commissioned arrangement for women’s chorus (1987). The second half of their program included Wage Peace, Stasack’s setting of Judyth Hill’s poem in response to 9/11.


Kristen Thompson coauthored “GNOMES II: Analysis of the Galactic diffuse molecular ISM in all four ground state hydroxyl transitions using AMOEBA” in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia

Anthony Kuchera was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation ($210,000) titled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Study of Neutron-Rich Nuclei and Neutron Detector Response.” He and his students will continue their participation in the Modular Neutron Array Collaboration and perform experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. Another three-year grant from the National Science Foundation ($362,494) titled “Collaborative Research: Equipment: MRI Consortium: Track 2 Development of a Next Generation Fast Neutron Detector” will allow Kuchera and his students to build part of a neutron detector with other members of the MoNA Collaboration to ultimately be used at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. 

Michelle Kuchera and Raghu Ramanujan were awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation ($599,836) titled “Elements: Portable Machine Learning Models for Experimental Nuclear Physics.” This work will continue to support the efforts of their ALPhA (Algorithms for Learning in Physics Applications) group, where students will apply cutting-edge AI tools to address important problems in nuclear physics.

Political Science

Katherine Bersch’s book, When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America, won the 2023 Herbert A. Simon Book Award from the American Political Science Association Public Administration Section. Bersch also published “Neoliberal Reform of Transport Institutions in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile: The Tortoise Beats the Hare” in State Making and Nation Making in Latin America and Spain.

Psychology and Neuroscience

Julio Ramirez has been appointed to the editorial board of The Neuroscientist, which is a prestigious journal publishing state-of-the-art reviews at the interface of basic and clinical neurosciences. The international editorial board is composed of Nobel Prize laureates and experts from top institutions from around the world.

Public Health

Kata Chillag and colleagues from The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University, were awarded a contract from the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) to lead a multi-site evaluation of electronic case reporting for public health surveillance/ data modernization. This project will involve collaboration with CSTE, CDC, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and other public health agencies.


Gayle Kaufman received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for their research with colleagues at Purdue and Ball State universities on “Attitudes about Parental Leave-Taking for Single and SameGender Parents.” Kaufman also published an article with Molly Bair ’19 entitled “Gender, LGB status, and attitudes toward traditional wedding practices” in the Social Science Journal.

Aarushi Bhandari published an article with Rebekah Burroway of Stony Brook University: “Hold the phone! A cross-national analysis of women’s education, mobile phones, and HIV infections in low- and middle-income countries, 1990–2018” in Social Science and Medicine

Gerardo Martí presented his Presidential Address in Philadelphia at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, an international scholarly association committed to the advancement of theory and research. Drawing on his current Lilly Endowment funded research on religiously-motivated antiracism, his plenary lecture was titled, “Racial Justice and Racialized Religion: Are White Progressive Christians Getting It Right?” The address will be published in Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review.


Sharon Green was awarded a fellowship from the Eugene O’Neill Foundation to spend two weeks as a Travis Bogart artist-in-residence at Tao House, O’Neill’s former residence in Danville, California. While there she worked on her documentary play, “Teaching and Learning in Pandemic Times” based on interviews with K–12 teachers, and did a preliminary reading of excerpts for the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Green’s article, “Pandemic Pedagogy: Snapshots from a Year of COVID-impacted Teaching in Three Artefacts,” was published in a special issue of the journal, Performance Matters. The special issue is titled, “The Syllabus is the Thing: Materialities of the Performance Studies Classroom.” 

Writing Program

Fangzhi He published an article, “Negotiating Polycentric Power Dynamics in China through Digital Multimodal Composing,” in TESOL Quarterly.