Card image

Greet a Gryphon: Softball Pitcher Throws Down

Kamaron McNair ’18 is as modest off the mound as she is fierce on the field. When asked about her record-breaking 2015 softball season, the Gryphon pitcher simply says, “I meshed with the squad right from the beginning, and my teammates made it easier for me to break those records.” Not surprising, coming from a member of the Skyline Conference All-Sportsmanship Team.

Last year, McNair pitched an incredible 142.2 innings and led the team with an SLC-record 30 runs batted in. “We had just one person pitching two games a day, three days a week,” she says. “But hopefully the team will continue to grow.” That looks likely, as a second pitcher stepped onto the diamond this spring, sharing firing duties with McNair.

Concentrating on creative writing, McNair is also studying history, law, and geography. While she takes softball seriously, she’s the first to say that academics trump all. “SLC is so unique,” McNair explains. “Even if you come here wanting to play sports, your primary interest still has to be in pedagogy, in conference work. You still have to fall in love with the school to succeed.”

Photo by Tony Correa

Card image New Face in Finance

New Face in Finance

With enthusiastic endorsement from the search committee and the Board of Trustees, Stephen A. Schafer has joined the College as vice president for finance and operations.

Schafer comes to Sarah Lawrence from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he served as associate vice president of finance and business affairs. Prior to Lafayette, he was director of finance, controller, and investment officer at the State University of New York (SUNY) Construction Fund. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Siena College and master’s degrees in accounting and business administration from SUNY Albany.

“In Steve, we have found someone who has both the financial skills and the communication skills required for this important position,” said President Karen Lawrence in announcing Schafer’s appointment.

Photo by Quyen Nguyen

Card image Radio Revolution

Radio Revolution

Why just revive radio drama when you can redefine it—and make it relevant for the next generation? That’s exactly what the new Sarah Lawrence International Audio Fiction Awards are designed to do. Co-founder Ann Heppermann (writing) has an ambitious goal: “I want The Sarahs to completely change the expectations of listeners and creators.”

Inspired by her students’ conference projects, Heppermann envisioned a competition that would spotlight excellence at the intersection of the narrative arts and technology. “We hope to expand the concept of narrative fiction made for the ear,” she explains. “We’re not just talking about works of fiction read out loud. We’re talking about dramas, mockumentaries, sound designed monologues, poetry—and forms we’ve never even heard before.”

A documentary artist, reporter, and producer, Heppermann’s Peabody Award-winning work has aired on numerous public radio shows. “In the world of podcasting, nonfiction is dominant,” she says. “And while there are many new initiatives in fictional programming, we have yet to scratch the surface of its potential.”

Conceived by Heppermann and co-founder Martin Johnson—a radio producer and creative director with Stockholm sound production company LjudBang—the inaugural competition drew entries from nearly 200 writers, producers, sound artists, and musicians. “The Sarah Awards are about celebrating, rewarding, and cultivating new talent while encouraging experimentation with a groundbreaking art form,” says President Karen Lawrence.

Heppermann puts it even more simply: “It’s time for audio fiction to have its own red carpet.”

The Sarah Awards are supported by the Academic Federal Credit Union, Martha Fleischman, Hindenburg Systems, The Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation, Public Radio Exchange (PRX), and KCRW public radio station.

Illustration by Vaughn Fender

Card image Career Connections

Career Connections

Sarah Lawrence alumni returned to campus last semester to share their working-world wisdom with nearly 100 juniors, seniors, and young alumni. Volunteers from class years spanning three decades participated in a daylong networking conference: Your Liberal Arts Connections. Chan Suh ’82, senior partner and chief digital officer at Prophet, kicked off the annual event with an inspiring keynote address. All in all, 25 Gryphon grads offered advice on careers in publishing, law, entertainment, finance, digital media, urban planning, marketing, and more. One student’s spontaneous response we overheard: “Our alumni, they’re so great! I feel very proud to be a Sarah Lawrence student.”

Photo by Dana Maxson

Research Rocks

In response to growing research in the sciences and social sciences, Sarah Lawrence has established an institutional review board (IRB) to ensure compliance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines. Thanks to the advocacy and leadership of Linwood Lewis (psychology), the College now benefits from having its own IRB with the authority to review and approve research involving human subjects.

“To conduct research that can be disseminated beyond the College—research journals or grant proposals, for example—IRB approval is necessary,” explains committee co-chair Elizabeth Johnston (psychology). “Going through the IRB process is also an important part of research training for our students, and having an internal review board allows us to tailor the process to our unique pedagogy.”

An undergraduate and graduate faculty collaboration, the committee includes participants from multiple disciplines ranging from anthropology to health advocacy, as well as an external reviewer and a non-scientist. Claire Davis, associate director of the Human Genetics Program, serves as co-chair. “The diversity of our backgrounds and opinions is vital in considering all aspects of the research proposals,” Johnston says. “We engage in healthy, vigorous debate. As colleagues, we help one another consider new perspectives, examine our assumptions, and stretch our ideas.”

Card image Broadway Bound

Broadway Bound

Thespians and theatre geeks, rejoice! Award-winning actor and alumna Tovah Feldshuh has created a fund that allows Sarah Lawrence students to attend live professional theatre performances—including Broadway, off-Broadway, opera, and ballet. The Tovah Feldshuh Broadway Ticket Fund honors her parents, Sidney and Lillian Feldshuh.

Acclaimed for her work on Broadway, in film, and on television (most recently, as Deanna Monroe in season six of The Walking Dead), Feldshuh is also a singer and playwright. She has garnered four Tony nominations for Best Actress and won four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, an Obie, a Theatre World Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress.

Illustration by Vaughn Fender

Card image Forward Momentum

Forward Momentum

It’s official: The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) has approved Sarah Lawrence’s Dance/Movement Therapy Program, making it just the seventh master’s degree program in the country teaching the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration.

Recognizing the College’s outstanding dance history and programs, ADTA President Jody Wager considers the addition a natural step. “As the newest program and one so steeped in the love of dance, independent learning, critical thinking, and cross-disciplinary opportunities,” Wager says, “it offers a unique and exciting training opportunity to those interested in entering the field.”

Jessica Young, chair of the association’s approval committee, adds, “The extraordinary dedication and hard work of program director Cathy Appel ’80, and the support of her faculty and Sarah Lawrence College, were crucial in receiving approval.” Congratulations to all!

Photo by Marilia Destot

Card image President Lawrence Honored

President Lawrence Honored

Citing her contributions to Yonkers’ revitalization, Groundwork Hudson Valley recognized President Karen Lawrence at its Urban River Party in September. At the celebration, Lawrence was touted for strengthening the College’s ties with the community, encouraging student involvement, and playing an instrumental role in creating the Center for the Urban River at Beczak.

Groundwork Hudson Valley has been a force for progressive change in distressed communities in the lower Hudson Valley for more than a decade. The organization strives to make neglected neighborhoods more livable and sustainable through on-the-ground environmental projects that directly involve local residents.

The Urban River Party raised funds to support several initiatives that are helping to transform Yonkers and the lives of those who live and work there. After leading a coalition to create a river park in the heart of downtown—where a parking lot used to be—the organization is spearheading the building of a rail trail for walking and biking.

Illustration by Vaughn Fender

LGBTQ Leader

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled on nationwide same-sex marriage, eCollegeFinder named Sarah Lawrence the most LGBTQ-friendly school in New York State. “Much can be done on a smaller scale. … Many colleges and universities [have] been making efforts to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ students on campus.” Noting The Princeton Review’s Top 20 LGBT-Friendly ranking of Sarah Lawrence, eCollegeFinder noted: “These colleges and universities serve as prime examples for schools making a difference."