Alfred University News

Alphadelphian 2022

To be good leaders, we must recognize when tradition inhibits growth; then, we must diversify our lives by empathizing with others, and having the courage to walk our own paths.

About the Editors 1

Letter from the Director 3

WGST Faculty and Classes 6

Isolation 7

Staff Update: Kautzman and Ryan 8

Roundtable: Jenni Sorkins 8

Riley Lecture: Emily Van Dette 9

Staff Update: Porter 10

Roundtable: WGST Minor Capstones 11

Abigail Allen Awards 11

Editor’s Note 13

Riley Lecture: Mona Hanna Attisha 13

Rape, Recovery, Resilience Essay  15

Riley Lecture: Kim Iwamoto 17

Staff Update: Crosby 18

Roundtable: Kizzy Sparks 19

Staff Update: Szymanski 19

Visit from SaraBeth Post 20

Riley Lecture: Katrina Smith Korfmacher 21

About The Editors

Dale Mott Slater is a graduating senior of Alfred University. She’s finished her independently structured major in Sustainability and Food Systems Journalism to be a science teacher in Colorado through Teach for America. Dale won a graphic design award for the layout design in her booklet It’s Food, Dude, which was her senior project. She discovered her interest in layout design as a co-editor for last year’s Alphadelphian. When she isn’t designing books Dale enjoys hiking, organizing game nights, and cooking.

Emilia Smith is from north of Chicago. She transferred to Alfred University in the fall of 2020 to continue pursuing a double major in physics and art. Glass art is her calling; how- ever, she’s fascinated by the underworkings of the physical world. Emilia’s favorite part of AU– which was entirely unexpected– is the dance program. She feels entirely comfortable and empowered to be a woman, an artist, and an intellect in that space. Her favorite part of the village of Alfred is the supportive com- munity. In her free time, you can find Emilia hiking the Pine Hill Trail and finding a nice tree to sit in and read!


As I sit down to write this letter during my final weeks as a faculty member at Alfred University, I can’t help but reflect over the past twenty-five years and all the people who have enriched the Women’s and Gender Studies program during this time.

By the time I arrived at Alfred in 1997, the Women’s Studies program, as it was then called, had already been going strong for fifteen years. Created in the early 1980s, when only about 10% of the faculty were women, the Women’s Studies minor was an exciting addition to the offerings of a university that was founded on the principles of gender equality. Thanks to the leadership of faculty like Lou Lichtman, who chaired the committee to develop the minor, and Gail Walker, who served for five years as the first Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Minor, the emerging Women’s Study Program grew quickly.

Co-curricular offerings soon supplemented the academic component. When I arrived at Alfred, a student organization called the Women’s Issues Coalition (WIC) was thriving and we had regular gatherings with the members of WIC and the WMST faculty. The Women’s Studies Roundtables, which began as informal gatherings of faculty to discuss feminist topics in the late 1980s while Susan May- berry was Director of the program, became formalized as a monthly lecture series in 1991 under Vicki Eaklor’s watch and continued for decades—much of the time thanks to Sandra Singer’s leadership—until recently when COVID prevented in-person gatherings. The Roundtables were so important to my generation of incoming faculty, not only for the intellectual simulation they provided, but also because they helped us to become part of the Alfred community and to develop strong relationships with fellow faculty members of all generations.

The Elizabeth Hallenbeck Riley and Charles P. Riley Lecture in Women’s Studies began in 1996, thanks to the generous support of Pamela Riley Osborne, Patricia Riley and Melissa Riley in honor of their parents, who were Alfred graduates in the 1930s. This lectureship has provided us with an exciting annual event that brings many of us together both in the planning stages and at the event itself, while providing visibility to the program throughout the Alfred community. Too many people have contributed their time and energy to the Lecture over the years for me to acknowledge them all. Many thanks to all who have nominated speakers, contacted them, made travel plans, helped organize the lecture as well as all the related events (meals, receptions, class visits), and introduced the speakers.

In 1997, Megan Allen, class of ’98, produced the first issue of the Alphadelphian under the guidance of Karen Porter, who was then Director of the Women’s Studies Program. Since then this newsletter has lived through many different incarnations, from the original Honors Thesis project to a credit-bearing course taught for several years by Fiona Tolhurst and Melissa Ryan. Our current editors, Dale Mott Slater and Emilia Smith, like Talulla Torthe before them, are putting the newsletter together on a purely volunteer basis. I can’t say how grateful we are for their service to the program!

The Abigail Allen Awards began in 1999 while Susan Morehouse was director of the WMST program, allowing us to recognize the many students, faculty and alumni who embody the spirit of Abigail Allen by contributing to the quality of women’s lives on Alfred University’s campus and in the larger community. English Professor Carol Burdick, better known as CB, and 1998 alumna Megan Allen were the first recipients.

The Women’s Leadership Center (now the Judson Leadership Center) opened its doors in 2005 thanks in part to a generous do- nation by Beth Robinson Judson, an alumna of Alfred University, and Amy Jacobson became its first director. The Women’s Leadership Academy began several years later. Though the WLA is independent of the WGST program, the courses it offers have greatly enriched the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and many students complete both programs. The Women’s Leadership Academy has been instrumental in helping so many students develop strong leadership skills at Alfred. I am happy to see the JLC up and running again after a short hiatus due to the pandemic and excited to see how the new coordinator of the JLC, Abigail Hurley, develops the center over the next few years.

The change from Women’s Studies to Women’s and Gender Studies came in 2014, reflecting a radical change that had been occurring over the years from a primarily woman-centered field to a more inclusive and diverse discipline. Many courses in the program such as Karen Porter’s Sociology of Sex and Gender and Beth Johnson’s Psychology of Gender had already made the shift long before the program as a whole. The core course followed suit several years later, changing from Women in Society to Women and Gender in Society when Sandra Singer started teaching it in 2017. Sandra also brought new creative ideas to the course, like the billboard project, which was a favorite of mine.

While the program has undeniably suffered from the pandemic, notably from the difficulty of bringing people together in person for roundtables and for the Riley Lecture, one positive development has come out of these difficult years: the new Riley Lecture Series. The past two years, we have organized several online lectures throughout the year on topics related to the main themes of the Riley Lecture. I have very much enjoyed working with so many people this year preparing these talks. I am so grateful not only to the Riley sisters for their continued generosity in supporting this lectures, but also to all the people on campus who have helped with these lectures.

I realize I haven’t been able to acknowledge everyone who has made a mark on the WGST program over the years in this quick overview of our history. Please know that I am grateful to you all!

Finally, I want to celebrate all the new faculty as well as the students in the program. We count on you to help us keep the program fresh and up-to-date. It is critical that we all continually reexamine our own beliefs and perspectives critically, that we continue to question authority, and that we remain faithful to Abigail Allen’s call to be radical to the core in our struggle for gen- der equity and social justice. I look forward to seeing how Women’s and Gender Studies at Alfred evolves over the coming years thanks to your participation and soon—I hope—your leadership.

— Cecilia Beach

WGST Faculty and Classes

Mallory R. Szymanski, Women and Gender in Society

Meredith P. Field, Sociology of Sex and Gender Race and Reproduction

Mojca Kuplen, Gender In Art

Louis Jack Lichtman, Parenting Seminar

Bethany C. Johnson, Human Sexuality

Maureen Elizabeth Weiss, Stage Makeup & Theory

Abigail Grace Griffith, Gender and Leadership

Abigail C. Hurley, Women’s Leadership Academy Practicum



This year the Cohen Gallery showed I50LATION: A portfolio of 50 drawings by 50 women sculptors during COVID-19. The show was curated by AU’s Professor of Sculpture Coral Lambert and Sculptor Cynthia Handel when they found that they and many of their peers during the pandemic had turned to drawing. The portfolio represents an international collection of women sculptors from the USA and Europe. All of the women in the portfolio are over 50 years of age, whose highly collaborative practice was dramatically changed or stopped altogether when the pandemic hit. The exhibition is currently traveling to Germany where it will be on exhibition at ProjekTraum in Fredrickshafen. It will travel afterwards to Berlin for the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, where cast iron sculptures will be shown alongside their drawings.




Kerry Kautzman and Melissa Ryan co-edited and each contributed essays (“Learning Outcomes of Nondisposable Assignments: An Approach to Measuring the Results” and “DEI, NDAs, and the Value of Literature: Dismantling Educational Privilege with Nontraditional Assignments”) to Beyond the Traditional Essay: Increasing Student Agency in a Diverse Classroom with Non- disposable Assignments for the Vernon Press Series in Education. With colleagues from Haverford College, they will present a “Nondisposable Assignments for Inclusive Pedagogy” roundtable at the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LA- COL) consortium workshop at Davidson College this June 2022.



Jenni Sorkin was asked to give a talk titled Doing Inclusive and Revisionist Ceramic History. As an associate professor of History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Sorkin studies the intersections of gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her research focuses on women in under-represented media.

Sorkin’s talk highlighted the historical minority of women in ceramic arts programs in America. With a photo of AU from 1952 Sorkin walked through how she analyzes the body language of the single woman in the photo, standing with her five or more male peers. Her wisdom on reconstructing the craft’s history to include women was appreciated by attendees, and resulted in a spirited set of questions after the talk. She urged the audience to go through their University’s archives to look at attendance records for names that might have belonged to forgotten artists. She also wondered if AU had ever maintained a Home Economics department, as craftwork by women was usually allowed only in those programs. Perhaps there’s a question for our resident Archivist… Jenni Sorkin.



Emily Van Dette is an English teacher in Fredonia, New York. She gave her Riley Lecture on the work and life of a woman named Elizabeth Wright. Wright was one of the first women to author book length treaties on nature in North Ameri- ca. Her most famous work of literature is titled Lichen Tufts, which is about the Allegheny mountains, which consists of four nature es- says and forty poems. One day, Van Dette stumbled upon a gravestone in her hometown with the name Elizabeth Wright on it. She did some digging, and although it is not the gravestone of the author of Lichen Tufts, she became fascinated by the life and work of Wright.

Back when Alfred University had Jonathan Allen as president (1865-1892) and his wife Abigail as a professor, Wright attended and graduated college. It was on a camping trip led by the Allens where Wright was inspired to create her book. The Allens were known for their progressive beliefs, particularly for that of equal education rights for women and men. Alfred is the second co-educational university in the nation, and was the first to allow women to speak at graduation. Van Dette cited this information when explaining Wright’s activism career; she read a poem of hers entitled “A Word to the Weary” aloud at the 1873 anti-slavery conference, and engaged in a debate with a man about individual ethics and responsibilities around slavery. Wright was also one of the first women to hold an executive role in the American Temperance Union, which was an important space for discussion for women whose husbands were alcoholics and abusive.

Wright interwove her intellectual, ahead-of-the-curve feminine ideology and her ideas about nature’s effects on the human together. Van Dette read writing of Wright’s that discussed the limited freedom women had to explore nature – it was expected to be constricted and contained. Wright described immersive experiences in nature to “elevate consciousness, and release the shackles of societal beliefs.” Into her late life she still studied the natural land around her, and her writing was published in journals. In 1869 she wrote Something About Fungi, which was a specialty topic of hers.

A woman ahead of her time, Elizabeth Wright was at the fore- front of intertwining her radical feminist and naturalist theories. She wrote poignantly about the environment, ethics, equal rights, and abolition. Teaching until she passed away in 1882, Wright made her way in a world that held very little space or patience for her. Regardless, she held her own, and with the help of Alfred found a place to share her wisdom. Van Dette still teaches Lichen Tufts in her classes, and was thrilled to get to speak about Wright to her alma mater.



Karen L. Porter (she/her), Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, will return in the fall to co-direct the Women’s and Gender Studies Program with Professors Sandra Singer and Susan Morehouse. Porter first directed the “Women’s Studies Program” from 1995 to 1999, when, under her leadership, the Alpha Delphian was launched, as was the annual Riley Lecture in Women’s Studies. Porter’s current course offerings include introduction to sociology, sociology of families, social welfare institutions, and her newest course, “Power, Privilege, and Inequality” being offered this fall. Cross-listed with social justice studies, Porter developed the course to expand the sociology offerings covering intersectionality theory and its application to the study of systems of oppression and privilege. Currently Porter is working on a research project that explores pedagogies for teaching the sociological significance of intersectional identities.



WGST Minor Capstones — Jaron Cheatham: Same-Sex Adoption

Cheatham is a sociology major whose research centered around equal rights and opportunity for LGBTQ+ individuals when adopting children. Of the eight adoption facilities he contacted in Erie County, NY only one of them had representation of LGBTQ+ couples on their website and responded to him. Reproductive Justice, a term defined as the ‘human right to maintain bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities’ was integral to his research.



Beth Miller: The Non-Binary Experience

Miller is a ceramic artist whose work and research focuses on the non-binary. Binary, defined as separation of male and female identities, is a large societal belief that humans have propagated and continue to embody. Miller’s research uncovered a creation story from the middle ages involving a single Adam/Eve individual, whose existence is referred to as angelic androgyny. Using symbolism, pattern, color, and words, Miller’s work shows viewers that the binary is not the end-all-be-all. Beth Miller is one of the two student Abigail Allen Award recipients.

Ash Gregory: Gender Perceptions Effects on Mental Health Diagnosis

Gregory is graduating with a degree in psychology and a concentration in counseling, along with their WGST minor. An aspiring therapist, Ash did their research on the effect of gender perception in mental health diagnoses. Their research concluded that from the perspective of the individual who was diagnosed, those who identified as female did not experience a gender bias, but those who identified as transgender did. Gregory looks forward to incorporating unconscious bias training into the mental health care field after grad school. Ash Gregory is one of the two Abigail Allen Award recipients.

Dr. Becky Prophet

This year’s Abigail Allen Faculty Award goes to Dr. Prophet, Professor of Theater in the Performing Arts Division. Dr. Prophet has always encouraged participation from a wide range of students through her selection of plays, playwrights and designers’ works. Dr. Prophet created a course on Women in Theater emphasizing the increase in women’s involvement and accomplishment in theater. She was the first female Chair of the Division of Performing Arts. Dr Prophet’s contributions to the Alfred community are equally impressive, serving for nearly 20 years on the Village Boards, four years as Mayor, and decades as an EMT.



As I began collecting pieces for the Alphadelphian I realized a motif: growth. At the roundtables Kizzy Parks told us how her own growth from a psychology undergrad to a prolific business woman gave her a foundation for success. Jenni Sorkin high- lighted growing within institutions to celebrate the art of women. We see an example of that change in I50lation and throughout the lectures and classrooms of Alfred University, and in the people who make Alfred their home. Seeing a mantra of growth in the pages of this newsletter helped me notice the ways that I’ve changed, too. For four years I’ve loved Alfred. I have grown here. When the classloads were light I lazily unfurled. When they were heavy I was stubborn, like a weed. As I prepare to uproot myself I’m collecting the elements that helped me most: leadership, ambition, empathy. These qualities and the lessons behind them are sewn into the WGST program. I admire its leaders because they are not afraid to grow into unfamiliar places. This is why we chose to use my co-editor’s quote on the cover, and my poem on the back. It’s why we chose to use flowers. While this newsletter is a snapshot of AU today, I know this program will never stop growing.

- Dale Mott Slater



With an animated voice Dr. Mona radically advocated for health equity, environmental justice, and honest communication from the government regarding the Flint Water Crisis and beyond. Dr. Mona is a teacher, pediatrician, activist, and author of the memoir What The Eyes Don’t See. This spring she motivated AU students and faculty to use lessons from history to change the world. “If you want to solve the problems in this world, look back first,” she said.

Dr. Mona did just that. She took us back to when Flint was a central production location for General Motors, before the financial crash of 2008 left the people of Flint in a socio-economic crisis. The government, starting in 2014, switched from delivering water from lake Michigan to the local river. The pipes installed were lead. GM soon noticed that their auto parts were corroding from the new drinking water. They switched back to getting water from lake Michigan while the people of Flint were still drinking water that corroded car parts.

Dr. Mona explained that lead is a neurotoxin. It lowers cognition, growth, and development in children. As a pediatrician she felt called to advocate for the kids of Flint. She testified before congress holding a piece of the lead pipe. She spoke of the ethics and failure behind the public health infrastructure in Flint. When someone asked about a safe level of lead in water she said, “Do not use the word safe. There is no safe level.” Over 20,000 patients are under long term surveil- lance. She has remained connected to the community after the initial role she played in uncovering the truth subsided. In the morning of her Riley Lecture, she had a meeting with the mayor of Flint.

A spirited question and answer session filled Dr. Mona’s talk, and the most common subject was the parallel between the Flint Water Crisis and the Coronavirus. She noted the parallel between the lack of immediate action the government took, disrespect towards science and scientists, and the disinvestments in public health infrastructure. She also drew a parallel to the mistrust of the government the people of Flint have to the mistrust of the black and brown communities around the country.

Her final messages were on water, and to students. On safe drinking and cooking water, she gave three tips: flush your water cold before using it, clean the mesh that fits into the faucet opening monthly, and do NOT use hot tap water. To students, she says to find your passion, find why you wake up in the morning, and it’ll keep you grounded.



I was violently sexually assaulted by an ex-boyfriend of mine my freshman year of college. We had been best friends for three years before we dated, and after we broke up, we had pledged to go back to being close friends. When I decided to visit a group of high school friends on spring break, and he happened to be there, this boy who I thought I could trust went on to strangle and force me to perform sexual acts on him. Something in me shattered that night, and from that point on I was ruled by fear.

It took me months to share what had happened to me with my family, and even with their love and support I could no longer conjure any self-love. I left college and returned home to face the trauma I had incurred. I lived with my grandma and spent my time cooking, reading, and swimming with her, as well as introspecting into my turbulent headspace. With intense, consistent effort, I was able to let go of the anger and hurt I felt because of my ex-boyfriend, and forgive him for what he did to me. (I want to emphasize here that it was essential for me to be as magnanimous as I could!) My forgiveness allowed me to shed my aggressive and hateful emotions, and construct in its vestiges a burgeoning personal security and love.

Even though I began building up a strong self-confidence, I was still scared of men. A conversation with my dad where I disclosed that I was considering buying a knife and pepper spray led to a discussion at dinner that inspired my step-mom, Meg (I call Meggie), to research the offerings for a women’s self defense course in the Chicago area. The next time I saw her, she told me about the IMPACT Core Program, a three day women’s self defense intensive. She said that she was brought to tears when she watched videos of the Program, and wondered if I wanted to take it with her. I replied an enthusiastic “Yes!”

On Friday, April 11th, me and Meggie parked our blue Volvo station wagon on the west side of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. It took us a couple tries to find the right entrance, but we eventually hit the black button next to a heavy, wooden door and were buzzed inside. Through another wooden door and up a wooden staircase we went, and we found ourselves welcomed by smiling women instructing us to check in and make a name tag. The room we were situated in was a long rectangular space, with a painting of Jesus on one end of the wall.

Now I am not one to feel awkward, however in this moment I started to feel nervous, awkward, and uncomfortable. Would I be ostracized for being raped? Was it too soon to take a course like this, after my experience? Am I capable of defending myself? As the door buzzed and as fourteen other female faces, old and young, filled the room, my anticipation grew. Then the lead teacher beckoned us all over to the side of the room with Jesus, where the floor was covered in blue gymnastics mats. We sat in a circle, and within the next twenty minutes my awkward feeling completely disappeared. Right off of the bat, Margaret and the other teachers fostered a safe, inclusive environment where all of us were able to freely share our thoughts and emotions.

And so I began to learn something I had not been taught before. I learned that the strength of a woman’s body lies in her hips, and I practiced playing to these strengths to protect myself from an assailant. I learned how to operate under adrenaline, and fight for my life. And this is where my emotional transformation occurred: by learning how to fight for my life, and then by fighting using my full force, I had to decide that my life was worth fighting for. When I looked my assailant in the face, called him by my ex-boyfriend’s name, and delivered kick after unforgiving kick, I overcame my fear. Not only did my physical self defense skills evolve, so did my verbal boundary setting skills. As my kicks got stronger, my voice got louder. Now when I tell someone not to touch me, there is power behind my words. One of the most empowering aspects of this program was my peers. During each of my fights, I could hear them cheering me on, encouraging me to be brave. No matter our body type, ethnicity, or age, we all wholeheartedly supported one another. After each fight, we sat in a circle to debrief and express our reactions. In these circles I felt listened to, understood, and like I was not alone in my experience.

Because of IMPACT I no longer let fear control me, and this has changed my life. I feel more free and empowered by my identity as an independent woman. I do not feel held back by my past, and instead I am a strong advocate for women’s rights and equality in my everyday life. Nine months later, I am successfully setting and enforcing boundaries with men. When I am walking alone in unfamiliar places, I replay my learned self-defense techniques, just in case. Most importantly, I live each day as Emilia, unapologetically.

— Emilia Smith



Luanne Crosby, Professor of Music Emeritus has been enjoying the first year of retirement in Costa Rica. She and newfound friend, Robin Butler organized an International Women’s Day Walk and Dinner for their local Costa Rican community. The gringas (foreigners) came from Canada, Belgium, France, Poland and USA and prepared to speak in Spanish about their families with the Costa Rican sisters. The dinner was preceded by a “walk” in the jungle on a trail built especially for the event. When she returns to Alfred in May she will be featured as soprano soloist with the Finger Lakes Chorus and Orchestra in performances of Vivaldi “Gloria” and Beethoven “Choral Fantasie”. Plans are to spend part of each year in Costa Rica and part back in Alfred. Luanne continues to teach private voice in person when in Alfred and via Zoom while abroad.



In a comfortable, girl-talk virtual atmosphere, AU had the pleasure of meeting Kim Coco Iwamoto, a politician in Hawaii, activist, and the first openly transgender elected state official. This conversation was facilitated by Dr. Meredith Field, our assistant professor of sociology, and was titled The Intersectionality of Race, Gender, and Class in Local Activism.

Iwamoto began by sharing her story, which began with her family’s agrarian lifestyle in Hawaii. Their farming endeavors were successful, and when Iwamoto was ready to fly the coop, she was able to chase her passion for fashion. But her move to NYC to work in the fashion industry was stunted when she was fired for being transgender. Iwamoto discovered that the law protected an employer’s right to discriminate against LGBT employees, and it prompted her to pursue a life of law and activism instead.

After completing law school, Iwamoto began her legal career as a public interest attorney, coordinating free legal clinics in homeless shelters and community centers. As a certified therapeutic foster parent, she opened her heart and her home to gay and/or trans teenagers, some of whom were previously homeless and/or incarcerated.

As a politician now, Iwamoto is most concerned with public education advocacy, which garnered her honors from the Obama White House in 2013 as a Champion of Change. She’s also focused on environmental issues like water supply, and socio-economic issues for Hawaiians. She talked about this at the end of her lecture when she brought up gentrification in her home state. She explained how wealthy Americans are buying and building extravagant homes in Hawaii, which forces the costs of all the homes in the area to increase. This pushes Hawaiians out of their homes. Iwamoto suggested restrictions on tourism as a partial solution, as were observed during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Less tourism would also reduce the mass amounts of waste and reduced farmland that the islands have to handle.

Iwamoto noted her supportive family as a boon in her life. Her gender was seldom an issue growing up, which inspired her to create more spaces like the ones she had when faced with heartbreak in New York. Her family’s identity as Japanese-American caused some obstacles early in her career, but her friendly demeanor and hard work helped her overcome. Ultimately, Iwamoto took stock of the areas in her life where she was uplifted more than the ones where she struggled. Her identity was a place of pride that she sought to share.



The entrepreneurial spirit of the 21st century is clever, quick, and smiling. Kizzy Sparks exudes all of these and more. An AU alum her- self, Parks came back to campus this year to hold a roundtable talking about the opportunities and challenges of female business owners, and to offer her advice for preparing today’s students to be leaders.

During the roundtable Parks discussed the qualities that helped her become a serial entrepreneur; she found that being friendly, out- going, and firm helped her build relationships with partners that she had very little in common with. She inspired the audience to build big ambitions and to face the problems that they come upon with a smile. Despite gender disparities in the world of business, Parks told the audience that she never allows her identity as a proud Black woman to stand in her way. The confidence she has in herself is what she guides herself by.

Kizzy Parks is the founder of K. Parks Consulting, Inc., AmPar Services, KParks-AMTIS, AdultFluent, and GovCon Winners. She has over 100 team members and $50 million in government contract awards.



Mallory Szymanski (she/they) taught Women and Gender in Society and participated in an independent study called Non-binary History with Beth Miller. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Szymanski works in a few public history realms. She published a piece in the Washington Post Making History series titled “Will Spring Cleaning Rituals Survive the Pandemic?” She serves as assistant producer to the podcast Sexing History, which showcases audio and original research to address current issues related to sexuality. She is co-editor at Clio and the Contemporary, a website that publishes work by historians about academia, popular culture, and recent events. She volunteers at the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. Dr. Szymanski’s students have taken on similar projects: they revived the Kanakadea Review, published original research and articles, and gave talks.



As a part of Black History Month Alfred University student Adeye Jean-Baptiste organized the first annual Black Glass Artist Series, and SaraBeth Post was the sole female visiting artist who participated. She grew up in Harrisburg, PA and now, residing in Pittsburgh, she works as an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice uses glass in sculpture, wearables and jewelry, and kitchenware. Her products and art explore youth, playfulness, spirituality, and human development using color and pattern. Post went to University of Louisville for her undergraduate degree, and still goes back to teach and reconnect with the community she found there.

During her visit Post’s confidence in the glassblowing studio permeated the environment, and uplifted the spirit of the women in the community. Utilizing the many resources Alfred has, she made an art piece honoring Adeye and her work for the Black community. She demonstrated a new technique to make a coil pot out of glass. In an interview with Post, she showed great enthusiasm about representing women of color in this series. At the artist talk she gave, she spoke about how she developed her brand Ultra Lit. She also showed a recent body of work that consisted of glass letters arranged to spell many words at once. For more information, and to look at her work, check out her website



Dr. Katrina Korfmacher, a professor at the University of Rochester, works at the intersection of environmental regulation and public health policy. She delivered an enlightening Riley Lecture entitled The Scoop on Poop: Waste Water Monitoring as A Tool for Public Health Equity, which taught about an under-the-radar, yet accurate and powerful indicator of the presence of coronavirus: our sewage.

The first story Dr. Korfmacher shared was Nancy Conn’s, who saved Edinburgh from an outbreak of typhoid in 1970 by tracing the illness back to the sick individual using sanitary pads to test the waste water. Dr. Korfmacher explained how during the first lock down in the spring of 2020 waste water was discovered to carry traces of coronavirus RNA five to seven days before an outbreak began in that population. The study began in the Netherlands, but soon picked up in the United States, where she joined a team at Syracuse University that was investigating the capacity of testing waste water. Universities around the country, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, now employ this method in order to prevent worsening surges.

After explaining the fortitude of waste water monitoring in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Korfmacher went on to tell us what other applications and implications this process has. Testing waste water offsets testing disparity because any neighborhood in a sewage system can be tested. This is a major step towards public health equity, for locations with the most amount of detected cases can then be allocated more resources to aid recovery and future prevention.

Among other detectables in waste water are influenza, and some opioids. She discussed how monitoring the waste water of a nursing home could prevent the spread of the yearly flu. There is hesitation from communities around using this system on a large scale for situations like detecting opioids, because of a potential cruel reaction that would isolate and inflate the problem. Dr. Korfmacher has hope that the New York State government has a positive and moral attitude behind these types of issues.

Dr. Korfmacher urges everyone to check their local waste water levels as one checks the weather.



I am the one

Who brings you life I am the one

Who causes strife

I shine for none

Not for birds or bees Nor for the humans On their knees

I simply shine It’s who I am And you adapt

With sweating glands

It’s up to you

You birds and bees If you choose or not To enjoy me


WGST Director Cecilia Beach

1 Saxon Drive Alfred University Alfred, NY 14802