Coe College E-News

July 17, 2017

College for Kids keeps Coe active in the summer

College for Kids, an enrichment program for area gifted and talented students, has seen record enrollment again this summer with more than 1,000 students enrolled between two sessions at Coe.

The summer program for sixth- through eighth-graders in seven area counties aims to provide children with opportunities to study subjects not usually offered during the school year. Two of the most popular subject areas - which College for Kids tries to emphasize - are art and science.

"College for Kids gives academic exposure to content areas that students might not otherwise experience," said Grant Wood Area Education Agency Student Program Specialist Susie Green. Like a summer day camp, the program also gives students a social experience with their peers and the opportunity to learn to maneuver on a college campus.

College for Kids was launched in 1987 by the Grant Wood AEA, and found a home at Coe around 2000. "I feel so supported by Coe with this program," Green said. "I love it here."

During College for Kids, students take three classes every morning for two weeks. Students can choose classes in core subjects like science, history, math, art, writing and world languages, as well as topical issues like climate change, anime, mythology and dissection. "We try to keep up with the times while holding onto core subjects," Green said.

Most classes are developed and taught by current or retired teachers or professional artists, including some Coe faculty.

Many students return to College for Kids for three summers and some attend both sessions. Green said she hopes the lessons "plant seeds" for students when they start to think about possible careers. Some program alumni have been known to attend Coe after experiencing the college during middle school.

"Many students over the years have cited College for Kids as the reason they first learned about Coe," said Vice President for Admission and Marketing Julie Kleis Staker '93. "It's a meaningful partnership that creates early and fond memories in students' minds that eventually may make Coe a more comfortable and appealing college option."

Coe also partners with Grant Wood AEA to host Open Minds, Open Doors - a half-day conference intended to encourage middle school girls to pursue career fields with foundations in science, technology, engineering and math - and a Young Writers' Conference for fourth and fifth grade students.

The programs are among several hosted by Coe during the summer and throughout the academic year. "I feel like we've developed more partnerships instead of doing a ton of camps," said Director of Campus Life Laura Van Buer. "The more people we can expose to our campus, the better it is for everyone."

In its 30th year, College for Kids brought more than 1,000 middle school students to Coe again this summer.
In its 30th year, College for Kids brought more than 1,000 middle school students to Coe again this summer.

NewBoCo partnership spawns student fellowships

Under a newly formed partnership with Coe's Center for Creativity and Careers, the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is employing two Kohawks in fellowships this summer.

Cara Lindell '18 and Brady Anderson '18 were selected for the fellowships through a competitive application process. At NewBoCo, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 to accelerate world-changing ideas, they work alongside David Tominsky '98, managing director of the Iowa Startup Accelerator, the state's first and only tech-based startup accelerator program.

Lindell, a business and public relations major, and Anderson, an economics major who is minoring in math, are both also Spellman Summer Research associates. Lindell is researching the use of plus- and average-size models in advertising vs. the "thin ideal." Anderson, an All-American Kohawk tennis player, is studying new tennis metrics that assess the skill level of all tennis players.

Lindell's fellowship focuses on marketing, giving her experience in website development, graphic design and event planning. "I think it’s the greatest experience," she said. "A lot of stuff we do I'm able to pull from classes I've taken."

Anderson's fellowship is targeted at the Iowa Startup Accelerator and Corridor Angel Investor network, screening, researching and reviewing applications by start-up companies. He credits Coe for partnering with local businesses to provide students with real-world experiences outside of the classroom.

Tominsky said he was impressed that the students were able to quickly adapt to the NewBoCo culture and add value to the organization. He said he appreciates the interest Coe officials have shown in getting students connected to the community.

The Iowa Startup Accelerator recruits teams from all over the world to come to Cedar Rapids and establish their business. That's not so different, Tominsky said, from Coe's mission to recruit students from all over the world for a transformative college experience.

"Coe is extremely pleased to partner with the innovative team at NewBoCo," said Executive Director for External Partnerships and Annual Giving Barb Ernst Tupper '89. "The experiences that Cara and Brady are getting this summer are just two examples of invaluable hands-on internship experiences that allow students to apply and articulate what they are learning in the classroom, gain new skills and set themselves on a path to success after Coe. Our students are gaining these types of experiences this summer in a variety of internships, many of which are right here in the Creative Corridor."

NewBoCo fellows Brady Anderson '18 and Cara Lindell '18 are gaining real-world work experience with Iowa Startup Accelerator Managing Director David Tominsky '98.
NewBoCo fellows Brady Anderson '18 and Cara Lindell '18 are gaining real-world work experience with Iowa Startup Accelerator Managing Director David Tominsky '98.

Corridor kids get fit at Coe

Fred Jackson '03 returned to his alma mater in June to help motivate area kids to stay active.
Fred Jackson '03 returned to his alma mater in June to help motivate area kids to stay active.

Several hundred kids got in shape on June 17 in Cedar Rapids. It was part of Hy-Vee KidsFit at Coe College.

Kids got to do different drills and learn from former NFL star and Coe College alumnus Fred Jackson '03. Jackson says staying active at a young age is a big part of living a healthy life.

"We're just trying to get kids to be active," he said. "Do whatever you can to stay in shape. We want to fight childhood obesity, heart disease and all that stuff, getting kids rolling in the right direction of staying healthy and being active."

The free event intended for kids ages 7-13 featured physical activities, agility games, mini races, celebrity speakers and more.

Participants had the opportunity to take photos with several area mascots. In addition to Jackson, Hy-Vee KidsFit director Daira Driftmier and Marvin McNutt, former Iowa Hawkeye football player and current head coach of the Cedar Rapids Titans, helped motivate the kids.

"Hy-Vee KidsFit is intended to help engage the whole family to move more, and we want to show kids how fitness can be fun," said Driftmier. "We're thrilled to partner with Coe for this event."

Breakout sessions were led by the Coe College football team, Cedar Rapids Metro YMCAs, the Cedar Rapids Titans, Hy-Vee dietitians, Little Sports and Prestige Dance Studio.

Coe invites visitors to campus for Iowa Private College Week

Event will highlight Cedar Rapids as the perfect college town for students

Iowa Private College Week: July 31 - August 4

Prospective students and parents who visit the Coe campus during Iowa Private College Week (IPCW) July 31 - Aug. 4 will learn about everything the college and the Cedar Rapids area have to offer. In addition, visitors will be eligible to receive special Cedar Rapids prize packages that will be given away each session during the weeklong event. Each prize package is filled with gift certificates, coupons and vouchers from nearly 30 metro businesses and organizations.

The event will feature tours and information sessions available beginning at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily. Each session departs from the new Coe Athletic and Recreation Complex. Along with highlighting the opportunities available for students on the Coe campus, participants will learn about the distinctive cultural, recreational, internship and career opportunities in the Creative Corridor.

"Iowa Private College Week provides a great opportunity for students to visit Cedar Rapids and see Coe for themselves," said Dean of Admission Josh Kite. "We are eager to share with our guests everything that we have to offer on our campus and highlight what makes Cedar Rapids the perfect college town."

For more information about tours and information sessions at Coe College during Iowa Private College Week, call the Admission Office at 319-399-8500 or toll free 877-CALL-COE. Students may also pre-register for the event online at

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.

Sponsored statewide by the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, 2017 marks the 19th year for the annual campus visit program, held at 25 participating non-profit private colleges and universities. Campus tours help students learn about strong academics, high graduation and job placement rates, and financial aid that makes private colleges an affordable and great option.

Arnold selected as Iowa Campus Compact fellow

Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson Arnold
Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson Arnold

Coe College Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson Arnold is one of three Iowa college and university faculty members who have been selected as Iowa Campus Compact 2017-18 Engaged Scholar Research Fellows. This marks the first year of the program, which builds on previous faculty fellowships with an added emphasis on the production of scholarship that moves higher education community engagement and the service-learning field forward. Each scholar will receive support for completing and publishing their research.

Arnold focuses her teaching and research on early America, the Civil War, African American history, women's and gender history, and public history. She collaborates with students, museums, schools and other partners to promote public understanding of the past. Recent projects include a walking tour developed with Coe students and the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI), and a historical markers project with Coe, the AAMI, the city of Cedar Rapids and others. Arnold's research will focus on her work incorporating service-learning projects of different scope and focus into history courses.

The Engaged Scholar Research Fellows will attend the 2017 Pen to Paper, a writing retreat focused on writing with, for and about service and engagement. This event is an academic writing retreat designed to provide time, space and resources to guide faculty, professional staff, graduate students and community partners working on (or planning for) journal manuscripts related to service- and community-engagement.

Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) is a statewide association of college and university presidents providing leadership for the civic mission of higher education. IACC strengthens the capacity of member colleges and universities to prepare all students to become engaged citizens.

Over the past few years, Arnold has received other recognition for her scholarly research. In 2016, she won the 2016 Mildred Throne - Charles Aldrich Award presented by the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) Board of Trustees. The annual award recognizes the author of the most significant article on Iowa history published in a professional history journal during the previous calendar year. Arnold's work was entitled "An Opportunity to Challenge the 'Color Line': Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Women's Labor Activism in Late Nineteenth-Century Cedar Rapids, Iowa." The article was published in The Annals of Iowa, Volume 74 (Spring 2015) by the SHSI.

The Midwestern History Association recognized Arnold as the winner of its annual Dr. Dorothy Schwieder Prize for the best article authored on a Midwestern history topic during 2015 for the same scholarly piece.

In addition, Arnold received the 2016 Langsdorf Award of Excellence from the Kansas Historical Foundation for an article that was "judged to the be most superior considering construction, evidence of research, and contribution to the advancement of knowledge." Published in Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Volume 38, Spring 2015), the piece was entitled "'To Inflame the Mind of the North': Slavery Politics and the Sexualized Violence of Bleeding Kansas."

Finally, Arnold was recognized with the Award of Excellence for the best scholarly paper at a symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression. The paper was entitled, "James Buchanan, Doughface Democrats, and Manliness in Northern Print and Political Culture."

Appler presents at microbiology conference

Kathryn Appler '17 presented her research at the American Society for Microbiology Microbe meeting in June.
Kathryn Appler '17 presented her research at the American Society for Microbiology Microbe meeting in June.

Recent Coe College graduate Kathryn Appler '17 presented her research at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe meeting and participated in the Microbe Academy for Professional Development, held last month in New Orleans. The opportunity came as the result of Appler being selected as a recipient of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

The fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who represent the best and brightest rising young scientists who wish to pursue graduate careers in biology. In April 2016, the ASM awarded fellowships to 42 of the 85 applicants, but only 12 of the students were from undergraduate and master's granting institutions. Each fellow receives a stipend of up to $4,000 and funding for travel expenses to the annual ASM Microbe meeting.

Appler graduated summa cum laude on May 7 with majors in biology and sociology. While at Coe, she completed the College Scholars Program, graduating with distinction in biology. Appler is also a member of several honorary societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta and Strata. At Honors Convocation, Appler received the Courtney Award in athletics, the DeJong Biology Research Award, the E.E. Erickson Award in sociology, and the Alpha Lambda Delta Maria Leonard Senior Book Award. While at Coe, she also participated in May Term study abroad trips to Belize and Southern Africa.

Outside of the classroom, Appler was a member of the Coe women's swimming and diving team, serving as captain and a member of the All-Iowa Conference, All-Championship and All-Academic Teams. Throughout her time at Coe, she has been involved as the secretary of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), was a supplemental instructor for biology, and served as vice president of Mortar Board. In addition, Appler was a Coe Writing Center consultant all four years.

As a freshman, Appler came to Coe intending to become a physical therapist, but also had some interest in marine biology. It was through her work with Coe Biology Professor Michael Leonardo that Appler realized research was something she wanted to pursue. Leonardo served as Appler's First-Year Seminar professor, advisor and mentor throughout her time at Coe.

"Before gaining experience in a Coe laboratory, I hadn't taken any microbiology classes," Appler said. "Dr. Leonardo really gave me a chance to conduct research. During my two summers of research with Professor Leonardo, I discovered that biological research is exactly what I want to study."

Appler's research involved the study of two different species of bacteria, and she studied how these aquatic microbes interact together. Her senior thesis was entitled "Impact on Vibrio parahaemolyticus Biofilm Formation and Architecture When Grown in Co-Culture with Various Shewanella Species."

"We are trying to better understand the communication pathways of bacteria, and this research helps us understand how bacterium work together," said Appler. "This makes it easier to target specific bacterium when treating disease."

To earn the ASM Fellowship, Appler submitted a proposal of her Coe research to the ASM Microbe fellowship committee. She was later selected to present her research as a poster and as a poster talk at the meeting based on her abstract.

Appler is especially appreciative of the help she has received from Leonardo. Among other things, he facilitated a research connection with Linda McCarter, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, who provided initial information and bacteria samples for Appler's research.

"Professor Leonardo brought the ASM award to my attention, and helped me through the process of completing all of the steps required for the fellowship," said Appler.

This summer, Appler has an internship at the Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working in the Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory. With an interest in marine biology, Appler has the opportunity to work with different species of seals and sea lions, and is studying their metabolic capabilities, acoustics and sensory system characteristics.

Appler is currently applying to graduate schools and plans to earn a graduate degree in marine biology. She hopes to use both her undergraduate biology and sociology majors to help her study the interconnection between policy and science.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities.

Struthers receives poetry accolades

Retired Coe English Professor Ann Struthers
Retired Coe English Professor Ann Struthers

Ann Struthers, an accomplished poet who served as a Coe English professor as well as the college's national fellowship advisor before her retirement, recently had two of her chapbooks selected for publication. Most of the poems in both chapbooks have been previously printed in literary magazines, a distinctive achievement.

Struthers' winning chapbook, "The Kindness of Crocodiles," was recently named the first-place winner of the Wild Leek Press Inaugural Poetry Chapbook Competition and will be published by the Wild Leek Press. In addition, another chapbook written by Struthers - "Aleppo Burning" - was accepted by The Head & The Hand Press.

Struthers submitted "The Kindness of Crocodiles" earlier this spring. It is a collection of 27 different poems, all about the animals of Sri Lanka. As the winner of the competition, Struthers will be awarded publication and 12 author copies, which will be beautifully designed with hand-crafted covers.

"I've always been interested in animals and in the ecology that they represent, because so much is being destroyed so fast," said Struthers. "I was also influenced and wrote a dissertation on Marianne Moore, who wrote a great deal about animals."

Wild Leek Press (WLP) is an independent literary publisher based in Sugar Grove, Virginia, currently printing on the campus of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia. The chapbook contest included winners for both letterpress printing methods and modern printing methods.

"Aleppo Burning" includes poems about the current terrible situation in Syria where Struthers served for two years as a Fulbright Fellow, teaching at the University of Aleppo from 1996-98.

"We lived out among the people and got to know many of the locals, as well as developing many friends among the faculty and students," said Struthers. "I fear that many of my students are no longer among the living. I know that some have been fortunate to emigrate. Since all governments and military organizations in the Middle East seem to want to kill the Kurds, I fear that most of my Kurdish students are dead."

Struthers laments the photos that have come out of Aleppo since the Syrian conflict began, reflecting the awful destruction of the buildings and infrastructure, with streets filled with rubble.

"There is a terrible sadness about all of this. When my husband, Mel, and I lived in Syria, it was a magical place," said Struthers. "Although it was difficult to live under a dictator, the city was so beautiful, the area and country so historic and fascinating, the people so friendly and so helpful. It is one of the highlights of my life."

Based in Philadelphia, The Head & The Hand Press is a nonprofit, independent, craft publishing company and writers' workshop. The organization's main goal is to produce writing that shows a connection from the head to the hand by publishing stories that have the power to change and entertain.

An accomplished poet, Struthers is the author of three chapbooks and two collections of poetry. She has published numerous book reviews, articles in literature reference books, academic essays and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in The North American Review, Poetry International, The Iowa Review, The Hudson Review and others. Many of these poems have featured animals.

While at Coe, Struthers taught poetry classes and was also the faculty advisor for the Poetry Club. She also taught Middle Eastern literature. Struthers was also the faculty advisor for students who have applied for national fellowships in the Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes and Marshall programs. She had the opportunity to work with all seven of the 2017-18 Coe Fulbright recipients.

"They'll do such wonderful work abroad; it's fantastic what they do for the United States when they go abroad," said Struthers. "It enriches their lives and gives them many new opportunities."

In active retirement, Struthers stays busy with writing, reading and research. Currently, she is working on a series of translation of a ninth-century Arabic poet who also wrote about animals.

Struthers earned her bachelor's from Morningside College in Sioux City and her master's and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Struthers grew up on an Iowa farm, but has traveled extensively and won various fellowships throughout her career. Struthers treasures her Fulbright experiences that inspired her writing, especially her fellowship at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka for a year, and another fellowship for two years at the University of Aleppo in Syria.

Coe Presidential webcast available for viewing

Coe President David McInally
Coe President David McInally

Alumni and friends who have not already done so are encouraged to watch the archived webcast featuring Coe President David McInally. In the webcast, McInally discusses improvements made possible by Make Your Move - the Campaign for Eby and Hickok and progress on the college's five-year strategic plan, A Bolder Coe. To review the strategic plan, click here.

The webcast aired live on July 12 and runs approximately 45 minutes. To view the webcast, click here.

Johnson Reunion Tour update

After stops in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Jean Johnson Reunion Tour returns to Iowa with an event Thursday evening in Des Moines.

Enjoy tasting Jasper wines at this special event sponsored by the Alumni Office from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Jasper Winery, 2400 George Flagg Parkway in Des Moines. Coe will provide light hors d'oeuvres and water for this family-friendly, drop-in reception. Look for a canopy with Coe signage and bring lawn chairs if staying long to enjoy music, wine and beer while greeting Johnson.

After 28 years as alumni director, Johnson is retiring on Sept. 1. She is currently visiting various cities to celebrate her retirement and visit Kohawks who she has impacted at Coe.

The tour began June 13 at the home of Steve Kennedy '78 and Debra LaPour Kennedy '77 in Aurora, Colorado. The Twin Cities open house was held July 8 at Patrick McGovern's Pub in St. Paul. Bill Schalk '65 hosted an open house for Johnson on July 9 at his home in Racine, Wisconsin.

Chicagoland open houses are scheduled for Aug. 12-13.

  • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 at Tower West Barracks, Fort Sheridan, 264 Leonard Wood South, Apt. 108, Highland Park, IL 60035. Hosted by Meg and Don Dempsey '65. Phone 847-681-9157.
  • 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at Prairie District Homes Tower, Entertainment/Media Room, 1717 South Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL 60616. Hosted by Charles Davis '86 and Beth Cook '98. Phone 630-667-3846.

Additional alumni gatherings are planned for Aug. 27 in New York and Aug. 29 in Washington, D.C.

The reunion tour ends Oct. 13 at Homecoming with the All-Alumni Celebration Under the Big Top in celebration of Johnson's retirement. Johnson has also been named grand marshal of this year's Homecoming parade.

Among alumni joining Jean Johnson '17 for her reunion tour in the Twin Cities on July 8 were (left to right) Mary Schlaphoff '04, Liz Nickols '05, Tanner Curl '07 and Mo Bayles Moos '89.
Among alumni joining Jean Johnson '17 for her reunion tour in the Twin Cities on July 8 were (left to right) Mary Schlaphoff '04, Liz Nickols '05, Tanner Curl '07 and Mo Bayles Moos '89.

Upcoming alumni events

  • July 20 - Kohawk Night at the Kernels, TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!
    Gates open at 5:30 p.m., first pitch at 6:35 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Join area Kohawks for a night at the ballgame in the Arctic Insulation Plaza as the Cedar Rapids Kernels take on the Great Lake Loons. Tickets are $13 per person; however, kids 5 and under are free and do not require a ticket. The ballpark Thursday special is $2 for 12 oz. draft beer or 20 oz. bottled water.
  • July 22 - 7th Annual Football Golf Classic
    11 a.m. registration, 12 p.m. shotgun start at Kernoustie Golf Course, 203 Country Club Dr., Mount Vernon, IA 52314. Coe football alumni are invited to relive the glory days on the gridiron while spending time out on the greens. After golfing, enjoy dinner and a presentation by Coe coaches and players about the upcoming 2017 Kohawk football season. Individual players are welcome and will be grouped upon arrival. Dinner included for $75 per person.
  • July 24-26 - Alumni Gathering in Oxford, England
    The 9th International Borate Conference will be held in honor of B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics Steve Feller in acknowledgement of his unique contribution to the study of borate materials. To celebrate this extraordinary recognition of Feller's accomplishments, Coe College will host several alumni events in Oxford, the "City of Spires" and the University of Oxford.
    Join Steve and Barbara Feller and Physics Professor Mario Affatigato '89 for any or all of the planned activities. Alumni and friends wishing to attend these events will need to make their own travel arrangements to Oxford. A limited number of en suite rooms will be available at the University of Oxford; if interested please contact Senior Development Officer Debbie Green at

For a complete list of upcoming events at Coe, click here.

Amazon Smile

Shop online and donate

Shop at Amazon and support Coe College at the same time through its AmazonSmile program. When you shop at, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price to the eligible charitable organization of your choice.

You can sign up with your regular Amazon account info and select Coe College as the beneficiary. As you shop, watch for products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation."

Although there is no tax deduction, there's also no cost to the purchaser or to the college to participate in the program.