E-News - June 1, 2020


Coe College E-News — Updates and information for alumni, parents and friends of Coe

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Coe College campus to reopen for fall 2020 term

Since its inception in 1851, the Coe campus has opened every fall in the tradition of a residential setting and a liberal arts model. While recent months have challenged this framework, the college is developing a safe campus initiative with plans to reopen the campus this fall for residential living and in-person classes. The safe campus initiative and our plans to reopen this fall are based on the facts as we know them today with the flexibility to address necessary changes as they arise.

The safe campus initiative draws on Coe’s culture of caring, collaboration and, above all, being student-centered. Our goal as a college is to maintain as much of the normalcy at Coe as possible.

“We appreciate the uniqueness of our times and acknowledge the degree of planning and effort required to safely provide our educational mission,” President Dave McInally said. “I am confident we have created a robust initiative to address the health and safety needs of our students, faculty and staff.”

While numerous safe campus initiatives were already in place, such as heightened sanitizing and disinfecting, the college has added a host of new protocols to protect all Kohawks. This initiative uses a holistic approach to considering the needs of the entire Coe community as well as unique individual circumstances. Social distancing practices, COVID-19 testing and treatment, classroom setups, academic schedules and housing and dining logistics have all been considered.

This summer, the college will share with all students, faculty and staff a range of measures in compliance with the Iowa Department of Public Health, federal agencies and our partners in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District that will ensure the well-being of everyone in our community.

The college plans to begin the fall 2020 term in August as scheduled. The start date of the spring term is flexible and will be decided in early November at the latest. This allows for the potential to shorten the term length of the academic year and modify class schedules as necessary.

We are sensitive to the fact that Kohawks have been and will continue to be impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations to the Annual Fund have helped numerous students throughout this challenging time. The caring and support received from Coe’s alumni and friends is second to none. Your continued support will allow the college to continue to financially care for our students in need.

Click here to make a gift to the Annual Fund.


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2020-2021 Coe College Clark Merit Scholars revealed

Five Coe students have been selected as Clark Merit Scholars for the 2020-2021 academic year. This prestigious scholarship carries an award equal to one year's tuition.

Clark Merit Scholars are chosen each year by a committee of two faculty members and one member of the Board of Trustees. Award recipients are chosen based on demonstrated qualities of character, integrity, intellect, leadership and social responsibility.

This year's Clark Merit Scholars are:

  • Kay Beer ’21, nursing — “In a period where nurses are stepping up and fighting on the front lines, I’m so thankful to Coe for seeing my potential and investing in my success as a future health care professional.”
  • Emani Brinkman ’21, economics and business administration — “This award shows my hard work has paid off and Coe believes in my future. It's also an honor to receive this award because I know that this will help me focus more on my final year and motivate me to make it one of my best years at Coe.”
  • McKenna Greenwalt ’21, sociology and social & criminal justice  — “This scholarship has allowed me to see my last three years of hard work come full circle. Coe has provided me with endless opportunities that have paved my way to securing a job, post-graduation with the U.S. Department of Justice.”
  • Julia Rodkey ’21, music education  — “I deeply appreciate the opportunity to be a recipient. I have been shaped by the myriad of experiences and people I have come to know at Coe.”
  • Priscila Santiesteban ’21, physics and computer science — “Being recognized for an award that highlights the qualities I have consistently strived to enhance is incredibly empowering and encouraging. This scholarship will lift a large financial burden from me and thus allow me to more fully invest myself in the next steps of my education.”

The Clark Merit Awards are funded by an endowment created in 1995 by the late Coe alumnus K. Raymond Clark ’30. Clark’s gratitude and loyalty to his alma mater were unequivocally and magnificently evidenced by his service as a member of Coe's Board of Trustees from 1966 until his death in 2005 and by his unparalleled record of personal giving to the institution. The Clark Racquet Center and Clark Field, the Clark Alumni House, the Contemporary Issues Forum and the Clark Endowment for Merit Awards have significantly enhanced the Coe educational experience and greatly strengthened the institution.


Tieranny Keahna
Tieranny Keahna ’20

Keahna awarded Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative Undergraduate Summer Internship

Tieranny Keahna ’20 recently was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Undergraduate Summer Internship. Keahna was one of three students chosen from a nationwide pool of candidates for this summerlong paid internship.

Keahna’s internship will take place at the American Philosophical Society Library and Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Interns will have the opportunity to conduct research, explore career opportunities in archives and special collections and learn about advanced training in Native American and indigenous studies and related fields.

“The NASI opportunity perfectly brings together and expands on the interests, knowledge and talents Tieranny cultivated during her time at Coe — from her classes in history, anthropology and classical studies to her hands-on learning experiences in Greece and with various Cedar Rapids-area public history projects,” William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Associate Professor of Humanities Dr. Brie Swenson Arnold said.

In addition to hands-on research, Keahna’s internship will include mentorship and networking opportunities. In collaboration with a mentor, Keahna will develop an archives-based project or pursue research projects identified by the indigenous communities with which the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) interacts and collaborates.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to participate in the NASI internship,” Keahna said. “As a Native American student-athlete, Coe has provided opportunities for me to interact with my advisor, professors, peers, work-study supervisor, coaches and fellow athletes at a very personal level. These opportunities helped with my academic and personal growth, and I am thankful for my time at Coe and the relationships I have built.”


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First College Possible coaches finish terms, new coaches welcomed for 2020-2021 academic year

Two years after the College Possible Catalyze program began at Coe, the first two near-peer coaches are wrapping up their terms and a new pair of recent Kohawk graduates are stepping in to support at-risk students.

College Possible is a nonprofit organization that helps low-income students succeed in college using a structured curriculum and near-peer coaches who are recent college graduates. Coe is one of six schools to start a College Possible Catalyze program, which brings the coaches and curriculum onto campus to partner with the college’s existing support services to better serve students.

The outgoing coaches are Kyrsha Balderas ’18 and Steven Sharkey-Dye ’18, who will finish their terms in August. Like all coaches in the Catalyze program, they are AmeriCorps members who work full time in exchange for a small living allowance through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Balderas and Sharkey-Dye each were assigned a group of 100-120 students they communicated with on a monthly basis. These students qualified for the program based on their financial status or because they are the first members of their families to attend college.

During their tenure, Balderas and Sharkey-Dye increased enrollment in the program, increased the retention rate of College Possible students, provided numerous programs and resources for their students and had thousands of meetings, texts and calls at all hours of the day and night. “The College Possible students benefited from their insight, guidance and mentorship, and Coe benefited from their experience and perspective,” said Director of the Academic Achievement Program Tom Hicks. “We are very lucky to have had them in these roles as the first coaches, and they will be missed by so many students, faculty and staff.”

Both Balderas and Sharkey-Dye will miss being coaches as well. Balderas has appreciated the opportunity to remain so closely involved with Coe. “Being a College Possible coach reinforced how much I love working with and being a part of the Coe community. I am thankful to have a place like Coe to call home” she said. Sharkey-Dye is grateful for everything he has learned at Coe, both as a student and as a coach. “These past six years have been nothing but a growing process for me and I thank Coe for that opportunity,” he said.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, Coe welcomes Jaylah Roberts-Coleman ’20 and Alexis White ’20 as the new coaches. Roberts-Coleman graduated in May with a major in communication studies and a minor in creative writing. She is originally from Chicago and was involved with KCOE Radio and Black Self-Educated Organization (BSEO) as a Coe student. White graduated in May with a major in business administration and English. Also from Chicago, she was involved with BSEO and was a caller for the Phonathon. Both Kohawks will bring their unique strengths and perspectives into their roles as coaches and will serve as valuable resources for many Coe students.


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#KohawkDay is June 11

The countdown is on! #KohawkDay is a day to celebrate what it means to be proud alumni, students, friends, faculty and staff of Coe College. Though the world looks a little different now, we look forward to this celebratory day when we will share, give and connect like we have in years past.

Your involvement in our annual day of giving is key. Here are some ways you can celebrate:

We are all more connected now than ever before. We hope you will join us on June 11 to share your Kohawk pride and join as one Coe family!


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Homecoming 2020: Home sweet Coe!

Coe’s 2020 Homecoming celebration is October 15-18, and we hope to see you back on campus for a memorable weekend filled with activities and fun.

Signature events include the All-Alumni Celebration and Brat ’n’ Beverage, as well as the Alumni Awards and Hall of Fame programs. The annual Homecoming Showcase Concert will be held, as well as athletic contests including Kohawk football versus the University of Dubuque.

In addition to these traditional activities, we will be recognizing the Class of 2020 with special events. All alumni, friends and community members are invited to join them as they ring the Victory Bell and experience a Commencement celebration.

Reunion celebrations will include those from the classes of 1970, 1980, 1989-1991, 1994-1996, 2010, 2014-2016 and 2020. Affinity gatherings will be held for Phi Kappa Tau and the Coe College Black Alumni Association.

We are continuing to monitor information from public health officials, and Homecoming only will be held if it is deemed safe for all attendees. For the most up-to-date information, go to alumni.coe.edu/homecoming20.


Upcoming Alumni Events

June 11 — Coe From Your Couch: Coe College's Art Galleries and Permanent Collection — Have you ever wondered about the art at Coe College? You’ve likely seen sculptures around campus and paintings in the library. If you want to know more about the galleries and collections, this is the webinar for you. Assistant Professor of Art History Ranelle Knight-Lueth will talk about the Student Art Gallery, the Sinclair Art Galleries and the Permanent Collection, as well as share a quick overview of the notable artworks that have been showcased at Coe and the famous artists who made them.

June 16 — Coe From Your Couch: How to Read a Pauline Letter: A Basic Introduction — In the New Testament, 13 letters are attributed to Paul, one of the most important figures in early Christianity. However, they are dense and difficult to understand. In this webinar, Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion Meira Kensky will provide some basic guidance for approaching these letters. She also will discuss Greek epistolography — the theory and art of letter writing — and talk about how the study of epistolography can help us decipher and interpret Paul’s letters.

June 18 — Coe From Your Couch: COVID, the Economy, and Keynes — The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been disastrous. Estimated unemployment figures are quickly approaching 30 million, with the unemployment rate heading toward Great Depression levels. In this webinar, Assistant Professor of Economics Drew Westberg will discuss one of the most influential economics books of the 20th century, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” by John Maynard Keynes. Westberg will focus on the essential lessons from this text and will conclude with a discussion that relates Keynes’ work to the COVID economy.

June 25 — Coe From Your Couch: COVID and “The Deficit Myth” —  In his second webinar, Assistant Professor of Economics Drew Westberg will discuss deficit spending and the book “The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy” by Dr. Stephanie Kelton. Westberg will explain the basic MMT framework and will conclude with a discussion that connects Dr. Kelton’s arguments to the deficit spending that will be necessary to bring the economy back in a healthy and sustainable way.