Coe College E-News

January 31, 2017

Shared love of environment brings Pearls back to Coe

Coe sweethearts Dish Dobson Pearl '05 and Sean Pearl '04 have married their environmental concerns with their love for Coe.
Coe sweethearts Dish Dobson Pearl '05 and Sean Pearl '04 have married their environmental concerns with their love for Coe.

As love stories go, this one comes full circle. Since meeting at Coe in 2001, Sean Pearl '04 and Dish Dobson Pearl '05 fell in love, got married and had a child. Their shared love for the environment prompted their new business venture, Sustainable Landscape Solutions, the company now contracted by Coe to landscape and build a rain garden outside of newly remodeled and expanded Hickok Hall.

A four-year varsity wrestler, Sean was a 2004 Academic All-American at Coe. After graduating with a bachelor's in business, he went on to earn his MBA at the University of Dubuque. He honed his business and landscaping skills for eight years at Quality Care in Coralville.

Dish excelled in Kohawk cross country and track, becoming an All-American in 2004 as the anchor leg of the indoor sprint medley. She earned dual degrees in biology and molecular biology at Coe before receiving her master's in environmental engineering from the University of Iowa. An environmental engineer at Veenstra & Kimm, she moonlights designing the landscaping projects Sean installs by day.

Married in 2010, they have a two-year-old daughter, Amelia, and live in Coralville, Iowa. They launched Sustainable Landscape Solutions over the summer.

"Six years ago is when we really started thinking about sustainable practices which got us interested in what has grown into the business today," Sean said. "Dish's environmental engineering background helped jump start it. Coupled with my landscaping and business background, it paved a unique path for a really good partnership well beyond the walls of our home."

When the opportunity came this fall for a landscaping project outside of newly expanded and remodeled Hickok Hall, the alumni where all-too happy to return to their Coe roots. The project, begun this fall and to be completed in the spring, includes the installation of a 400-square-foot raingarden southwest of Hickok.

"The raingarden itself is going to treat and infiltrate over 66,000 gallons of water every single year," Sean said.

Additional work includes repair of existing landscaping and installation of new deep-rooted perennials that also treat rainwater. When complete, Hickok will be surrounded by a four-foot landscape bed with sustainable plants that offer color all year.

The $8,000 project is being offset by a $2,000 grant from the city. The Cedar Rapids Stormwater Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program offered to residents in 2014 was expanded last summer to include businesses.

The project is one of the sustainability initiatives the college plans to undertake to transform campus into an Urban Field Station as outlined in Coe's strategic plan, "A Bolder Coe."

In this video, Sean discusses the project and how the seeds of his relationship with Dish were planted at Coe.

Coe Sweethearts 2017

At Coe College, most students will find their careers. Some will discover their sport, some will find their hobby, and yet others will find their social affiliations. Some Kohawks came to Coe and found one another.

As Valentine's Day approaches, the Coe College Alumni Office is again featuring those who submitted their Coe love stories. Click here to read about Coe Sweethearts.

Helen's clock back in Voorhees

Helen's clock can again be found on the lobby of Voorhees Hall.
Helen's clock can again be found on the lobby of Voorhees Hall.

The grandfather clock given to Coe in memory of Helen Roberts '22 has returned home to Voorhees Hall.

Roberts, a freshman from Strawberry Point, Iowa, died in Voorhees on Oct. 19, 1918 after the worldwide epidemic of the Spanish Influenza struck campus. Reported sightings of Helen's ghost began a year after she died in the residence hall's makeshift infirmary, and have persisted ever since.

Helen's ghost is said to live within the clock donated in her memory by her parents. It was originally housed in Voorhees where, according to legend, Helen roamed the halls at night and played the piano in the Voorhees lobby.

In the 1960s, the clock began to do strange things. The time was often wrong and it would chime at unexpected times. Some have reported that the clock's hands often stopped at 2:53, the time that Helen died. Many attempts were made to fix the clock, but it eventually stopped working altogether.

The clock was moved to the president's office in Stuart Hall in the early 1970s. It was then moved with the college administration to McCabe Hall when that building opened in 2005.

In December it was moved back to the Voorhees lobby to make way in McCabe for the Center for Creativity and Careers.

Tiedt develops wellness-themed app to promote health and fitness

Head Women's Tennis Coach Kris Tiedt.
Head Women's Tennis Coach Kris Tiedt.

Coe College Head Women's Tennis Coach Kris Tiedt recently released a wellness-themed app called KT23Fit. The app aims to provide a simple measure for daily physical well-being and track total wellness via dimensions beyond physical.

Each day, the user can earn up to 23 points: one point is earned for each hour slept, each eight-ounce serving of water consumed, and the consumption of one of the 23 superfoods on Tiedt's favorites list. Tiedt believes that a consistent score of more than 18 physically prepares the end user to present their best self for the potential demands of an academic test, athletic practice, parenting and life in general.

The app is currently available on the App Store for iOS systems for $0.99.

Tiedt has designed the app to be totally customizable for each user. There is a list of her 23 favorite superfoods; however, if a user has a dietary restraint or personal preference they are allowed to substitute the item with a different superfood.

"This places the responsibility for the research on the user," said Tiedt. "It's not just me telling the user what is good for them. They have to actively seek out, and thus acquire knowledge of superfoods themselves."

There is a workout component to the app as well. Users can follow along with a guided workout session focused on the work-to-rest ratio. Coe student Nate Ackert '19 created the music track for this feature. Currently, there is one track available, but Tiedt and Ackert are working on getting more tracks for users to have versatility in the music selection.

Although the app was developed independent of Coe, Tiedt uses the app for fitness classes she teaches at the college, as well as strength and conditioning sessions, given her role as a strength and conditioning coach for seven Kohawk athletic teams on campus. She has found that the work-to-rest ratio has increased the intensity demonstrated by participants since happy hops (burpees) or sprints, for instance, are performed for only 25 seconds.

"We set up the strength and conditioning sessions with seven different stations, demonstrate it, then press play in the app," said Tiedt. "Coe student Keegan McIntosh '17 has been instrumental in bringing new ideas for stations, assisting with technique, and serving as an example with regard to his intensity and positivity."

Another bonus feature of the app is a compass that includes physical well-being, but also highlights additional dimensions such as emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and occupational. The focus is to educate users that well-being is more than just nutrition and fitness. Tiedt credits fellow members of the Coe faculty/staff Wellness Committee for educating her over the years on the various dimensions, and positively encouraging total well-being across campus.

Looking forward, Tiedt plans to update the app early this year.

"I'd like to simplify the introduction and tutorials by removing much of the text and making it image based. We are also looking to add social networking capabilities such that there can be groups, and heightened accountability, within the app," said Tiedt. "Finally, I have ideas to gamify the app in hopes to make it more fun to use on a daily basis."

Additional Kohawks who assisted in the creation of the app include Cedar Rapids attorney Steve Howes '83 and longtime Head Men's Tennis Coach Eric Rodgers. Howes performed legal work, while Rodgers invested in the project.

Wilson named finalist for Rhodes Scholarship

Malika Wilson '17 became Coe's third finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.
Malika Wilson '17 became Coe;s third finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Coe College senior Malika Wilson '17 was recently named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, which is generally considered the most prestigious academic award available to American college graduates. The Rhodes is the oldest and best known award for international study. Wilson was one of 230 applicants from 95 different colleges and universities across the country who reached the final stage of competition.

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for up to four years of study at the University of Oxford in England. In Coe history, only three students or alumni have been Rhodes finalists, including Wilson. Paul Engle '31 in 1933 and Darryl Banks '72 in 1972 both received the award and went on to study at Oxford.

At Coe, Wilson is a neuroscience and biology major with a minor in chemistry. She is applying to medical school and would like to specialize in emergency medicine. Wilson is also passionate about improving accessibility for health care.

During her sophomore year, Wilson first learned about the Rhodes Scholarship. She was strongly encouraged to apply for the national fellowship award by Provost and Dean of the Faculty Paula O'Loughlin during a meeting last May.

As Wilson began the application process in June and wrote the first drafts of her essay, she and O'Loughlin stayed in communication throughout the summer. Wilson also received guidance from Coe English Professor and National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw. Describing it as a "terribly long but rewarding process," Wilson submitted the application in early October.

Wilson was then chosen as a Rhodes finalist, one of just 15 in her region. From the 16 Rhodes regions across the U.S., 32 students were named as Rhodes Scholars.

In Wilson's case, she and the other finalists from the central region of the country were interviewed by a seven-member panel in Salt Lake City. While there, she had the opportunity to interact with the other finalists, with approximately half of them graduating from Ivy League schools. According to Wilson, all of the Rhodes finalists had impressive backgrounds.

Wilson said the Rhodes interview gave her additional confidence in her abilities and the value of the Coe educational experience.

"People who graduate from Coe can be really, really competitive when applying for national fellowships," said Wilson. "I feel like we (at Coe) are more competitive than we make ourselves out to be."

As an additional benefit, Wilson says that applying and interviewing for the Rhodes has served to make her a better-prepared candidate for the medical school admission process.

"I've spent six months talking about what I want to do with my life, so that experience helped me rock my medical school interviews," said Wilson.

With the Rhodes process seemingly daunting at times, Wilson is now encouraging other Coe students to apply for national fellowships.

"You've already told yourself 'no' if you don't do it, so what do you have to lose?" said Wilson. "Even when I didn't win the Rhodes, it's an honor to have made it that far."

Although she initially expected to enroll at a large university, Wilson believes that Coe was the best place for her undergraduate studies. She is convinced Coe has prepared her well for success in medical school.

"While I've been able to take a lot of classes and learn a lot, I've also had the opportunity to do my own individualized learning, which made Coe the best place I could have gone for my undergraduate career," said Wilson.

Wilson has been an active member of Coe Student Senate and served as the president of the Coe student body. Among many other co-curricular activities at Coe, Wilson has served as president of the Coe Student Ambassadors, BSEO treasurer, a violinist for Coe orchestra, a Coehort mentor and a resident assistant. She was named outstanding sophomore for STRATA.

A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Malika is a graduate of East High School and she is the daughter of Catherine Wilson.

Coe student honored at MLK celebration

Hassan Selim '19 received the 2017 Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris "Who is my Neighbor" Award at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
Hassan Selim '19 received the 2017 Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris "Who is my Neighbor" Award at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

As Coe students, faculty and staff partnered with community organizations in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one of the college's own was honored for putting his stamp on Cedar Rapids and uniting various religious groups.

Hassan Selim '19, a student at Coe and imam at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, received the 2017 Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris "Who is my Neighbor" Award during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Jan. 16 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The award recognizes Linn County residents who show exemplary care and compassion, seek justice, and act from a religious faith base in making the community a better place.

Selim is a native of Egypt who moved to Cedar Rapids in 2012. He also serves as vice president of the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County. Click here to read the Cedar Rapids Gazette feature story about Selim receiving the award.

The St. Paul's celebration was one of several MLK Day events sponsored by the Coe Committee on Diversity and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Members of the Coe community also participated in a workshop exploring diversity and unity through spoken word and poetry, a community dinner at St. Paul’s, a workshop to make beads and cards for cancer patients, and a letter-writing campaign in support of wounded military veterans.

On the Sunday before MLK Day, Coe hosted a performance of readings by diverse local and nationally known Iowa writers (including Coe students and faculty) around the topics of resistance, social justice, compassion and free speech.

Race commentator Cobb to speak at Coe Contemporary Issues Forum

Jelani Cobb is the 2017 Contemporary Issues Forum speaker.
Jelani Cobb is the 2017 Contemporary Issues Forum speaker.

One of America's leading commentators on race, Jelani Cobb, will be the speaker for the 14th Coe College Contemporary Issues Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. Cobb is an award-winning writer at The New Yorker magazine, where he has penned a remarkable series of articles about race, the police and injustice. He is regarded as one of the country's top scholars in African American history and teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Tickets are available at no charge here, or by calling the Coe College Box Office at 319-399-8600, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In 2015, Cobb received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, in which he combined "the strengths of an on-the-scene reporter, a public intellectual, a teacher, a vivid writer, a subtle moralist, and an accomplished professional historian." His best-known articles include "The Anger in Ferguson," "Murders in Charleston," and "What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations."

In awarding him the Hillman Prize, the jury wrote, "No one has done a better job of placing (the events in Ferguson, Missouri) - and similar happenings in other places like Sanford, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; and Staten Island, New York - in their broader context than Jelani Cobb. Cobb met the challenge of describing the turmoil in Ferguson in a way that cut through the frantic chaos of 'breaking news' and deepened readers' understanding of what they were seeing, hearing, and feeling. Ferguson was not an aberration, he showed, but a microcosm of race relations in the United States - organically connected to the complicated legacy of segregation and the unpaid debts of slavery itself."

On Feb. 19, Cobb will be the first recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writers Guild of America, East. Named in honor of one of the Guild's most distinguished and courageous members, the Bernstein Award is presented to honor writers who have demonstrated with creativity, grace and bravery a willingness to confront social injustice in the face of adversity.

Cobb's critically acclaimed "Frontline" documentary on PBS, "Policing the Police," explores the complexities involved in reforming the Newark Police Department and its fractured relationship with the community.

Formerly, Cobb was an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut, where he was director of the Africana Studies Institute. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford foundations. He is the author of "Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress," "To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic" and "The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays." His forthcoming book is "Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931 - 1957."

Established by the late K. Raymond Clark '30, the Contemporary Issues Forum presents the views of distinguished leaders whose work has shaped and altered the course of world events. The forum has featured former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Poland President Lech Walesa, deep-sea oceanographer Robert Ballard, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, ecology expert Jared Diamond, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, celebrated author Sir Salman Rushdie, former Senate Majority Leader and Special Envoy George Mitchell, Pulitzer Prize-winning global health expert Laurie Garrett, and legendary soccer player Abby Wambach.

Tupper, Fitzgerald win Student Senate run-off

Samantha "Sam" Fitzgerald '18 and Claire Tupper '18 were elected student body vice president and president for 2017-18.
Samantha "Sam" Fitzgerald '18 and Claire Tupper '18 were elected student body vice president and president for 2017-18.

Claire Tupper '18 and Samantha "Sam" Fitzgerald '18 topped Kyrsha Balderas '18 and Qierra Brockman '18 by 96 votes in a Jan. 20 run-off election to become Student Senate president and vice president for 2017-18.

In initial voting among three pairs of candidates, Tupper and Fitzgerald led with 46.2 percent of the vote to 25.8 percent for Balderas and Brockman. The other candidates for student body president and vice president were Zach Moya '19 and Hayley Luna '19.

Tupper is a biology, neuroscience and French major from Cedar Rapids. In addition to Student Senate, she is involved in Delta Delta Delta sorority, Panhellenic Council, Philanthropy Committee, Biology Club, Pre-Health Club, Dance Marathon, French Club, Wellness Club, Student Alumni Association, and she is an Ambassador for Community Engagement with a focus on education and immigrant/refugee concerns. Off campus, Tupper works as a patient care technician at Mercy Medical Center and volunteers at the Catherine McAuley Center and St. Luke's Hospital.

Fitzgerald is record-setting swimmer from Springville, Iowa. She is a chemistry major who is minoring in Spanish. In addition to Student Senate, she is involved in Habitat for Humanity, Alpha Phi Omega, Chemistry Club and Pre-Health Club. She works in the Writing Center and the Admission Office. Off campus, she is a volunteer at His Hands Free Medical Clinic.

Tupper and Fitzgerald ran on a platform to improve campus safety and accessibility while balancing the Student Senate budget and supporting more events at Coe.

WINSTEM group formed at Coe

To promote women in science, Coe students have joined together to form a new student organization called Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WINSTEM). Dahlia Baker '18, Hanna Koster '18, Sidniann Rummans '18, Tori Eng '17, Jane Been '19 and Izzie Sorenson '17 started the club as an interest group, under the mentorship of Coe Assistant Professor of Physics Firdevs Duru, who serves as the organization’s faculty advisor.

Recently granted Coe College Student Senate approval to become an official student organization, the members hosted their first official meeting on Dec. 5. Membership is open to all Coe students.

Promoting STEM education to students at younger ages is on the rise across the nation, as well as efforts to intentionally recruit more women in the field to promote equity in learning opportunities. Coe WINSTEM President Dahlia Baker is passionate about the goals of the STEM movement and the organization’s role at Coe.

"We wish to see more diverse images of women in STEM roles in the media and entertainment, more discussion of the breadth of STEM careers and societal impacts, and to debunk the stigmas around gender involvement in the STEM fields," said Baker.

The mission of the organization states "…This club aims to create a space for students to gather and support each other, to advertise opportunities that could help STEM student's careers, and to provide mentorship and role models to young STEM students who often do far better in their studies when they have the guidance of older professionals who has been through the same struggles. This club is not exclusive, and in fact welcomes all genders to hear the issues, express their own, and to benefit from the community resources."

As a part of the organization’s vision for participation within the Cedar Rapids community at large, club founders envision partnership with local elementary and high schools for mentorship of students who are interested in the STEM fields. The mentorship aspect of the club is patterned after, a non-profit that encourages the mentorship of women interested in a career path of STEM.

Currently, the club is establishing partnerships with area businesses to provide the necessary research and internship opportunities for Coe students.

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WINSTEM) is one of the latest student organizations to form on Coe's campus. The group's goal is to promote STEM education to students at younger ages, as well as efforts to intentionally recruit more women in the field to promote equity in learning opportunities.
Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WINSTEM) is one of the latest student organizations to form on Coe's campus. The group's goal is to promote STEM education to students at younger ages, as well as efforts to intentionally recruit more women in the field to promote equity in learning opportunities.

Coe theatre presents "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"

Coe students Ayman Handal '20 (as Schroeder), Aimee Hyndman '17 (as Lucy), Brenna Kerwin '20 (as Charlie Brown), Claire Tollefsrud '18 (as Sally) and Andrew Gunsch '19 (as Linus) are featured in the Coe College Theatre Arts production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown." Not pictured is Janelle Oster '19 (as Snoopy).
Coe students Ayman Handal '20 (as Schroeder), Aimee Hyndman '17 (as Lucy), Brenna Kerwin '20 (as Charlie Brown), Claire Tollefsrud '18 (as Sally) and Andrew Gunsch '19 (as Linus) are featured in the Coe College Theatre Arts production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown." Not pictured is Janelle Oster '19 (as Snoopy).

The Coe College Department of Theatre Arts will present the popular musical "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" based on the original comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schultz. Performances will be held Feb. 3-5 and 9-11 in Dows Theatre on the Coe campus. Each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the Sunday, Feb. 5 show, which starts at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased online here, at the door, or by calling the Coe College Box Office at 319-399-8600, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bursting with new life and fresh orchestrations, the beloved characters from the mind of Schultz will leap into song at Coe College. "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" follows the title character and his neighborhood friends Linus, Lucy, Schroeder and Sally - as well as his iconic dog Snoopy - through a typical year in the life of a young person trying to figure out the world. Watch Charlie navigate the existential crises that are the stuff of childhood: school, family, baseball, kites and even the dawning awareness of a Little Red Haired Girl. The musical features the original Clark Gesner songs with new arrangements along with two new songs by Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family").

The book, music and lyrics are written by Gesner, with additional dialogue written by Michael Mayer. Additional music and lyrics are written by Lippa. Featuring an all-student cast, the musical will be guest directed by Christopher Okiishi, with musical direction by Michelle Perrin Blair.

For more information, please call 319-399-8600 or visit online here.

Save the date for Day of Giving

Mark your calendars, Coe's annual Day of Giving is Thursday, April 6. Join us online to celebrate #Kohawkday. Want to get involved? Contact Coe Fund Director Mary Springer at or 319-399-8569. Visit for unfolding details.

For a complete calendar events at Coe, click here.