Students challenged in new at-home class environments

Caitlin Jefferson and Connor Severino
Transcript correspondents

As Ohio Wesleyan students wrestle with the new paradigm of remote learning after classes were canceled, some are doing well while others struggle with the tasks, getting work done on time and even remembering assignments.

More than 1,300 OWU students were ordered home last month to prevent infection from the highly contagious, rapidly spreading worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty and students alike scrambled to reconfigure and readjust to teaching and learning remotely.

It’s a work in progress.

Cole Hatcher, director of OWU’s Media and Community Relations, said the adjustments seem to be going well, for the most part. One of the most difficult tasks was working out logistics for international students.  About 50 students remain on campus, the administration has said.

“We just want to make sure everyone feels included and comfortable amidst everything going on,” Hatcher said. To help faculty, students and staff, OWU’s Office of Information Services on Thursday posted instructions on OWU Daily to download free Adobe products.

Still, while some work-at-home students do feel comfortable, others aren’t feeling it yet.

Freshman Eliza Richardson has been finding it difficult to focus on schoolwork while being home in Lakewood, Ohio during these uncertain times.

“It is hard to stay on top of my work and make my own schedule,” Richardson said. “I get distracted at home and I do not have as much structure here as I do at school.”

Two of Richardson’s four classes are live video sessions and the other two are pre-recorded, which makes it difficult for her to stay on task, she said.

“My biggest challenge has been getting all my work done on time and not forgetting an assignment, which happened with my chemistry homework,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she has stayed positive by painting, exercising, playing games and staying off of her phone as much as possible. She said she has also been enjoying this extra time with her family.

Sophomore Molly Mazabras, at home in New Canaan, Connecticut, mingles with family daily now too, another new paradigm for OWU students who would normally be on campus now. She said she puts the family on notice when she has school work to get after.

Her brothers start school early in the morning, so Mazabras said she tells her family when she has class or schoolwork so they don’t disturb her.

“I have my own room to do my work and my three younger brothers have their own spaces too,” Mazabras said. “My biggest challenge has been just learning material, especially for my stats class because I have to teach myself, which is really hard.”

She said her professors have been good at communicating, which has helped her stay on track in her classes.

“Keeping myself busy with schoolwork, spending lots of time with family and just knowing that eventually this will end have been some ways that I have tried to stay positive,” Mazabras said. “I don’t think remote learning has been too bad so far.”

Senior Peter Mihok, of New Town, Connecticut, said studying in the home work space has been a struggle along with dealing with a younger sibling.

“For me it is not the material I have to focus on, rather the issue is the space I have at home  which is inadequate to study the complex courses OWU offers,” Mihok said. “I never had good results studying in my room. My younger brother is 13, so he’s kind of a distraction as he’s bouncing off the walls.”

“It will be good to look back and see how students are able to change in rapid circumstances and adapt to sudden life alterations,” – Martha Wilson, part-time journalism instructor

Senior Alysa Grindlinger, home in Falmouth, Maine, said one thing she is not doing is sleeping in.

“I spend the time I would normally be in class studying or completing homework. I do this on weekends, as well,” she said.

On the other hand, Grindlinger does find time to talk to family and friends on FaceTime or Skype and playing board games with her parents. She said she’s also enrolled in a 30-day yoga challenge on her favorite YouTube Channel.

“I’m taking my dog on long walks to get out of the house, while maintaining social distancing,” she said. “I’m learning new recipes so that I am cooking in the time I would otherwise spend snacking.”

As for the remote learning part, she said she is having mixed results with professors from her classes, including having to wade through multi-page emails at times.

“Some teachers have a knack for this kind of teaching, others clearly do not,” she said. “Some professors seem to be having difficulty parting with the format of traditional classes and exams. As such, assignments or exams might seem unnecessarily overcomplicated from a student’s point of view.”

Faculty are learning too and doing what they can to alleviate student challenges and readjust course requirements, like Kyle McDaniel, an assistant communication professor.

“From a faculty perspective, I have made several attempts to ensure that students have enough time to complete assignments,” McDaniel said.

Eventually the whole state of affairs for OWU students caused by the virus will be interesting from an historical perspective, said Martha Wilson, a part-time journalism instructor.

“It will be good to look back and see how students are able to change in rapid circumstances and adapt to sudden life alterations,” Wilson said.

Vietnam War experiences traumatized nurses

Tiffany Moore

Transcript Correspondent

Claymore mines and booby traps blanketed South Vietnam during the war and wreaked havoc on U.S. soldiers.

Many of those young men who suffered horrifying wounds were treated in emergency setups by some of the nearly 10,000 women, a majority of them nurses, who also served in uniform. It was traumatizing for the wounded soldiers and those who treated them, said former Army nurse Mary Powell.

Powell, a Vietnam veteran, shared her storiesTuesday in the Bayley Room at a lecture titled “Our War in Vietnam,” sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s College of Republicans and Young Democratic Socialists of America.

Powell said she became an Army nurse when she was 23. As a native New Yorker, Powell attended Columbia University School of Nursing and graduated in 1969. During her senior year, she was unable to pay tuition. At that time, the Army needed nurses and offered to provide financial assistance with a two-year commitment to serve after graduation.

Powell became an internal medicine nurse and was stationed at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh for a year beginning in November 1970.

Powell said she can speak about her experiences today only because she worked in internal medicine, not in emergency medicine.

“Every nurse I knew in Vietnam who worked in surgery … is on 100% disability for PTSD,” Powell said, “One of the nurses who is on 100% PTSD, my friend Nancy, was in the room next to me. The first day she was assigned to neurosurgery, she took care of a 19-year-old without a face.”

Only two percent of the soldiers admitted to emergency treatment died, but the rest were in horrifying conditions, Powell said. It was routine for nurses to avoid admitting feelings toward the soldiers and about the war.

“When we say goodbye to the guys we would say goodbye, good luck, and we’d shut down on feelings,” Powell said.

About 15 students and staff members attended the lecture. Powell avoided speaking to the audience with a traditional mic and podium and instead herded everyone into a circle to engage in a more personal conversation.

Sophomore Jacob Delight said, “I came to this event because I was interested in joining YDSA. I hadn’t heard about Vietnam on a personal level. So it was interesting to be able to put a face to it.”

Senior Amanda Hays, played a big role in planning the event.

“It was great, she was a wonderful speaker. It’s important to hear these people’s stories while they’re still around,” Hays said.

YDSA meets at 7 p.m. Saturday in Stuyvesant Hall’s Fishbowl; College Republicans meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Welch Hall.

OWU appoints new director of admissions

By Jesse Sailer, Sports Editor

Jesse Sailer discusses the future progress of admissions with the new director of admissions, Joshua Stevens:

With the position of director of admissions having been vacant, new hire Joshua Stevens brings hope to Ohio Wesleyan University’s (OWU) declining enrollment as well as a fresh look into the college search process.

After previously serving at Earlham College as director of admissions, Stevens brings with him 15 years of experience in directly working with prospective students and families to help them realize their higher education aspirations.

Sailer: After working as director of admissions at Earlham College, why did you decide to come to OWU?

Stevens: Lots of reasons. I’m excited about the energy on campus at OWU – new athletic programs, housing options,academic majors and scholarship initiatives for students. I think the cultural and commercial environment of the Greater Columbus Region provides OWU students with unique connections to the world outside of college. I appreciate that administration and faculty members across campus seem to be working collaboratively and creatively as the college considers the changing higher education landscape, and I am excited to provide my perspective as a student recruitment professional to those conversations.

Before joining Earlham in 2016, Stevens worked for four years as the senior assistant director of admissions at the University of Colorado, the international admissions counselor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an assistant director of admissions at Lake Forest College in Illinois and an admissions counselor at Transylvania University in Kentucky.

Sailer: What is the most fundamental part of your job as it relates to incoming prospective students?

Stevens: The “most fundamental part of my job” is to supervise and mentor the recruitment team. These admission counselors work most closely with prospective students and families to help guide them through the college search process. It is important that these staff members be prepared do the very best job they can at every stage of the recruitment process so that families have the tools and resources they need to make well-informed choices about college. I think the other visible part of my job is to represent the recruitment team when creating strategic enrollment initiatives. These initiatives include creating digital and print marketing materials, designing on and off-campus recruitment events, building scholarship and financial aid models, reviewing applications, and managing the systems and operations of the office.

As a high school teacher, Stevens took a liking to the admissions process and felt he had a good understanding of what the thought process was of a prospective college student. His love for interacting with people and the idea of working on a college campus fortified his decision to follow the admissions career path.

Sailer: What are your plans to increase enrollment at OWU?

Stevens: Vice president of enrollment and communications, Stefanie Niles is bringing tremendous enrollment management experience to campus. I really look forward to working closely with Stefanie and the full enrollment team to assess current best practices and to develop new strategies to enroll the very best class each year.

Sailer: Is there anything new you’re bringing to the table in the way of altering or adding to the admissions process?

Stevens: There is a strong team of admissions professionals already in place at OWU and I will absolutely rely on the current members of the OWU family to provide me with institutional knowledge. I bring 15 years of admissions experience to the table and a perspective that comes from recruiting students for institutions with many different enrollment goals and challenges. I’m excited to get started

Faculty members are excited about Stevens’ arrival, including Niles.

“I am pleased to welcome Josh to the Ohio Wesleyan enrollment and communications team,” Niles said. “He brings strong experience in aiding prospective students and supporting all facets of the admission process, including implementing technology, managing and mentoring admission counselors, and collaborating with colleagues across campus to reach recruitment goals.”

Rowing team makes their debut

The Ohio Wesleyan rowing team made its intercollegiate debut on Saturday, competing in the Muskie Chase hosted by Marietta College.

In the Novice 4 competition, Marietta completed the 6000-meter course on the Ohio River in a time of 26:32.0. Cincinnati finished in 27:56.3, Case Reserve was third in 28:09.6, and the Ohio Wesleyan boat placed fourth in 29:56.5.

Ohio Wesleyan also competed in the 500-meter sprints, and finished second in the first Novice 4 flight. Marietta’s boat finished in 1:47.7, followed by Ohio Wesleyan at 1:52.7, Case Reserve with a 1:58.2, and Cincinnati with a 2:26.6.  In the second Novice 4 flight, Cincinnati won in 1:48.2, followed by Marietta 1:50.0, Ohio Wesleyan 1:55.4, and Case Reserve 1:58.3.

“Honestly I loved training with these group of girls. Being back on the water was a uplifting moment for me and being there with such an amazing group of girls made the experience even better.” said freshman Sana Hussain.

Head Coach Andriel Doolittle hopes to gain more rowers in the spring season so as to be able to compete in more events. With a roster of just eight OWU is not yet able to race a full eight, as an eight person boat requires nine people including the coxen.

“I’m excited to see our new rowing program finally get to be on the water in a competitive environment,” said athletic director Doug Zipp, “I know they had a great experience and it’s something to build upon, and I know they’re very excited for the spring season.”

Due to the newness of the program, it was decided to schedule one event late in the season so as to prepare the girls for competitive rowing.

“Knowing that we’re going to have a lot of new people to the sport, our goal was to have one event late in the season so that we would have lots of time to establish things, get into a good rhythm, make sure people knew how to row by the time we got to that point because the hardest thing to do is to put people that aren’t ready, out on the race course.” said Doolittle.

Doolittle explained that the Fall season is meant to be more of a training season to prepare for the primary season in the spring. It’s then, that championship events occur.

Muskie Chase completes Ohio Wesleyan’s fall schedule with the spring schedule beginning at the end of March, with several races already set for the spring.


Students fired up for OWU iron pour

Ohio Wesleyan University continues to offer unrivaled opportunities as being one of three schools in Ohio that bring together students and alumni for its biannual cast iron pour.

The cast iron event is the result of weeks of preparation and camaraderie between current OWU students, alumni and experienced metal-smiths.

OWU sculpture professor Jon Quick heads the iron pour and has been working on it’s development since its inception.

“The process is fascinating, there’s always more information you can learn about it and there’s a lot you can get from other schools when you go to different places and conferences. The body of information is just so immense, it’s always an adventure,” Quick said.

For both sculpture and 3D classes, the better part of a semester is spent preparing for the pour. Students are taught the process of mold making whether it be with sand or ceramic shell.

The process of making a mold requires an object or form to occupy a space in the mold before it’s coated in sand or ceramic shell. In the case of sand molds, once the sand hardens it’s split in two and the form in the middle is taken out leaving a negative space in the shape of the object.

The mold is put back together before cast iron is poured into the top, and after a short drying period, broken into two again to reveal the iron casting in the center.

The students that created molds are involved in every aspect of the process so as to experience creating your piece from start to finish.

The body of work casted at the pour not only includes the work of students, but the work of graduates and professors as well.

After a six hour preparation period, the fuel and iron is added to the top of the furnace to begin the heating process. Once the furnace is up to temperature, pieces of iron and additional fuel are gradually added through the top. As the iron melts, it collects around a tap at the bottom of the furnace. When enough iron is melted, the tap is opened and the molten iron flows into a ladle to be poured into molds.

Westin Short, a 2019 OWU alum has joined the group of graduates who venture back to Haycock Hall to take part in the time honored tradition. As a part of the pour crew, Short handles the iron directly and is tasked with filling the molds.

“You get to control the iron, you are the one making the art. The artists themselves make the molds and create the form, but the one who pours the mold is actually the one who puts in the substance and creates the art itself, we put the actual being in the body of it,” Short said.

The culmination of time and effort put into each individual piece of art as well as the prep for this semester’s iron pour can be described perfectly as a well choreographed team-effort.

Junior sculpture student Mo Meehan says,“ It’s really cool that we’re using a scrap material, it’s a relatively low cost to the students but it’s cool foundry experience. It’s pretty unique and not found at most other institutions or art departments.”