The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Author

Madeline St. John

Madeline St. John has 16 articles published.

mm
Madeline is an English/Spanish double major. She grew up in Hawai'i (no, she doesn't surf) and is happy to experience life on the opposite side of the U.S.. She is immensely glad to be part of the Q and proud of everyone who makes it run. You've probably seen her behind the library help desk in the Ath. Next time you do, please say hi.

Goucher Ranks High in Percentage of Students with Mental Health Conditions

by

 

 

Charts comparing percentage of students who screened positive for anxiety at Goucher in comparison to other schools that took the Healthy Minds survey. The red bar is Goucher. Photo Credit: Healthy Minds Network Data Interface

In the 2016-2017 school year, for the first time, Goucher administered a Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey that specifically examines mental health and the use of mental health services on college campuses nationwide. 49% of Goucher survey respondents said that they had a previous diagnosis of a mental disorder, higher than the national average of 36%. Goucher students are also more likely to have anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation than students at other universities and small liberal arts colleges.

In the 2016-2017 school year, 54 institutions completed the survey. Goucher had a student response rate of 30%, which is higher than the national average of 23%. Healthy Minds also receives demographic information on the entire student body, which enables the college to see if the students who responded are demographically similar to those who didn’t respond. This ensures that the data is more likely to be representative of the entire student body, and not only of students who took the survey.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s sixth annual survey, anxiety and depression remain the top two mental health conditions experienced by college students across the country. The Healthy Minds Study results show that 37% of Goucher students screened positive for anxiety and 43% for depression. These percentages are high in comparison with national averages of 26% for anxiety and 31% for depression. At Goucher, 14% of students also screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression. This news may be unsurprising for many students. “I know a lot of people on campus that generally suffer from trauma…depression…anxiety is a huge one for a lot of people,” said Katie Monthie ’19.

The percentage of Goucher students who reported suicidal ideation and non-suicidal self-injury is also higher than the national average. 15% of students reported suicidal ideation, higher than the national average of 11%. Of schools surveyed, Goucher also has one of the highest percentages of students who have self-injured in the past year, with 38% of respondents reporting self-injury, compared to 21% nationally.

These statistics are spurring action by the administration, although, due to a lack of publicity around these initiatives, students may be largely unaware of the steps being taken. “[Administration] should be saying, ‘this is what we’re going to do to address it,’” said Olivia Gallegos-Siegel, ‘18. “I don’t see that happening. Maybe I’m out of the loop…but you would think that, with what has happened on this campus, there would be a more immediate response.”

Administering the Healthy Minds Study is part of a number of steps Goucher is taking to improve mental health services on campuses. In January 2017, Goucher formed a partnership with the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. When the survey is administered again in 2019-2020, it will demonstrate whether or not there have been changes in the culture of the school and/or benefits from Goucher’s partnership with the JED Foundation.

 

According to Health Minds, Goucher students also rank low on The Flourishing Scale. This scale is used by the Healthy Minds Study to determine the percentage of students who are deemed to be “flourishing.” The scale is based on a summary measure of responses in eight categories, including relationships, optimism, purpose, and self-esteem. According to this scale, 32% of Goucher students met the criteria for “flourishing,” a lower percentage than the national average of 44%.

“My general perception of mental health for myself and my peers at Goucher is that I feel as though people often put their mental health second,” said Jacob Givelber, ‘19. “It’s usually done unintentionally and through no lack of effort on their part…It’s very easy I think to let life get you down and feel like you have nowhere to turn.”

Another section of the survey looks at how mental and emotional difficulties affect students’ academic performance. Of the survey respondents, 30% of students said that they had had 6 or more days in the past four weeks during which mental or emotional difficulties had hurt their academic performance. This is higher than the national average of 18% of students. Additionally, only 15% of Goucher students reported that they had had zero days in the last four weeks during which their academic performance was affected by their mental or emotional health, a significantly lower percentage than the national average of 26%.

Many Goucher students are, however, taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

The Healthy Minds survey also examines whether students use alternative routes to seek help for their mental and emotional health, such as talking to professors, academic advisors, or other staff. At Goucher, a high percentage (77%) of students reported participating in this kind of informal help-seeking. “I’ve really loved having a professor I can trust. This may not work for everyone, but I have a few professors I know that if something goes down, I can go talk to them,” said Monthie.

This statistic helps the counseling center to justify mental health-related trainings for faculty and non-clinical staff, which they refer to as “gatekeeper training.” Through this process, counselors train faculty and non-clinical staff in understanding warning signs and how to refer students to counseling services. “It’s a bigger bang for the buck,” said Monica Neel, Director of Student Counseling Services. “Whereas I can only work with one student who comes into my office, if I can train faculty…they have much farther reach than I do.”

Of students who had sought help through Goucher academic personnel, 95% of students found them to be “supportive,” or “very supportive,” greater than the national average of 91%.

While the counseling center has internal statistics on the students who use their services, the benefit of the Healthy Minds Study is that it creates a picture of all the students in the college, and not just the ones who are seeking out services. This allows the college to better target their outreach, create more effective programming, and to justify the increase of funding around these areas. “To some degree its important how we compare nationally, and to some degree it doesn’t matter, because we need to just be dealing with what’s happening in our campus community,” said Neel.

To read more about the initiatives emerging from the partnership with the JED Foundation, including the construction of a new, larger space for the Counseling Center, look for an article in the next issue of the Q. Future issues of the Q will also include more on student experiences and mental health resources on campus.

For more information about the JED Foundation, visit: https://www.jedcampus.org/our-approach/

What is the Green Fund?

by
Goucher’s Renovation plans. Photo credit: Goucher Blogs

The Green Fund was created in 2013 with the goal of making the college more environmentally friendly. Every student living on campus pays a Green Fund fee of $18 a semester or $36 a year, for an approximate $50,000 a year, depending on the number of undergraduates living on campus. The money from the fee also rolls over from year to year if not all of it is used.
Every year, $5000 of the fund is allocated for student projects. Students can access this money through a grant-style application process, for which applications are processed by GESAC. Previous Green Fund grants have funded research on bicycle use in Towson, and the purchase of beekeeping supplies.
A portion of the fund goes to the GESAC itself for administrative costs such as advertising for the Green Fund, and the fulfillment of reporting requirements for sustainability initiatives, such as the President’s Climate Commitment. Money from the Green Fund fee also pays for consultants and for Goucher’s memberships to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Education (AASHE) and the President’s Climate Commitment.
GESAC also acts as a link among representatives from various sectors of campus (IT, Communications, and Bon Appetit, for example), who report problems and discuss problem-solving strategies in their different areas. For example, GESAC and FMS are currently working on an interactive online user interface to monitor our energy and water usage in near real-time, called Energy Dashboard.
The remaining funds of the Green Fund fee go to Facility Management Services (FMS) to support campus projects related to sustainability, like the Energy Dashboard.

Click here to read about decisions involving the sustainability coordinator position, or here, to read about the new student environmental coalition.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article published the Green Fund fee as being $84 a year when it is in fact $36.

Sustainability Coordinator Position Approved

by

In the fall of the 2016-2017 school year, Matt Harmin was hired as the sustainability coordinator. As sustainability coordinator, his main role was to facilitate environmental action on campus, serve as a resource person, and collect data for annual reports. Harmin was paid an annual salary in the low $30,000 range, using funding from the Green Fund fee.

Now that Matt Harmin is no longer at Goucher, the Goucher Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council (GESAC) has been discussing whether or not to retain the position. Part of this discussion includes determining whether or not it is ethical to pay a salary from a fund created through student fees, as it may not be feasible as a long term source of funding. The newly formed student organization of environmental clubs, the Goucher Green Coalition, planned to petition for the position to continue, but before they could send out their petition, the position was approved by the administration and sent to be reviewed by Human Resources.

It remains a question, however, whether or not the coordinator will be paid through the Green Fund. In response to this, Grosso stated, “I think that I speak for a lot of students when I say that I would vastly prefer a Sustainability Coordinator paid via the Green Fund than no coordinator at all,” in an email conversation. She envisions the sustainability coordinator as essential in connecting environmental clubs and spearheading environmental action on campus.

For the year and a half that Matt Harmin was Goucher’s first sustainability coordinator, he chaired GESAC, acquired grant funds to support Energy Dashboard system, and worked with students on Green Fund projects, among other responsibilities. He also organized events like mushroom hunting, and instated a discount for students who brought their own bottle or mug to the dining halls.

Having a staff position entirely dedicated to sustainability also makes Goucher’s commitment to the environment more evident. The petition leverages this, bringing up the fact that Goucher is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and that President Bowen has signed the President’s Climate Consortium, and positing that hiring a sustainability coordinator will help Goucher uphold its commitment to these agreements.

Another reason for hiring a sustainability coordinator is for increased continuity of leadership around environmental issues. However, the salary may be detrimental to this proposed goal. Sophia Hancock, ’18, expressed concern that if a coordinator is paid a salary of around $30,000, they won’t stick around. How long would it be, she wondered, before they found a higher-salary position? If the sustainability coordinator were only in the position for a couple years, they would not be at Goucher longer than most of the student population. While the question of continuity may remain difficult to answer, if the position is renewed, Grosso is considering applying for it after graduation, and she encourages other students to do so as well.

To find out more about the Green Fund, click here.

If you’re interested reading a full job description for the sustainability coordinator, or in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu.

Environmental Clubs Create Coalition

by

On Tuesday March 27th, a group of student leaders met to discuss the future of environmental action on Goucher’s campus. The group, currently named the Goucher Green Coalition (GGC), hopes to enact greater positive change through increased connectivity and communication among environmental clubs on campus. Because some of the clubs involved rely heavily on volunteers, such as Food Recovery Network, one goal of GGC will be to create a network through which clubs can ask for volunteers. The coalition also hopes to organize its own events, such as an Earth Day Campus Clean up on April 18th, and a Call-A-Thon for students to contact their representatives.

Rachel Grosso, ’18, was inspired to organize the coalition after attending the first annual Baltimore Student Environmental Conference, which brought together student leaders of environmental organizations from colleges and universities in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins and Loyola University both have an umbrella group that coordinates collaboration among environmental clubs, and this organizational structure inspired Grosso to start something similar at Goucher. Grosso noted that since Goucher Energy Action Revolution club, or GEAR, dissolved 3 or 4 years ago, Goucher has not had a “strong environmental presence,” which is something she hopes to change. As this is her final semester at Goucher, however, the continuance of GGC will rely on other students.

To form the group, Grosso made a list of people she had spoken with at the conference and looked for related clubs on the club page on Goucher’s website. As she began talking about her plan, more students became interested who were not already involved in a particular environmental group.

In this first meeting, which only lasted a half hour, the GGC discussed their purpose, vision, and concrete goals. Most of the meeting was spent discussing a petition to hire a new sustainability coordinator, but club leaders also made announcements about what they are working on.

Food Recovery Network (FRN) leader Allie Sklarew, ’17, stated that FRN will be hosting a Move Out for Hunger event at the end of the semester. This event encourages students to donate any leftover non-perishable food they have in their dorm rooms to be delivered to food banks, homeless shelters, and/or other organizations fighting hunger.

In a similar vein, Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, ’17, announced plans organize the “free store” at the end of the semester. A large project, the end-of-the-semester Free Store involves maintaining an on-campus space where students can bring items that they no longer want or need (clothing, books, electronics, etc.). The items brought to the Free Store can then be taken up by other students, or, if they remain in the “store” at the very end of the semester, be delivered to Goodwill. While there is a Free Store throughout the semester located on the top floor of Mary Fisher between Hooper and Dulaney, the Free Store at the end of the semester is much larger.

Because this Free Store project only operates at the end of the semester, unlike FRN, there is no consistent pool of student volunteers to pull from. For this reason, the Free Store exemplifies exactly the kind of project for which an organization like the Goucher Green Coalition can be helpful.

The Goucher Green Coalition had their second meeting on Monday, April 2nd.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu. And if you’d like to volunteer to help with the end-of-the-semester Free Store, contact Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, at brrap002@mail.goucher.edu.

Featured Image: The Second Meeting of Goucher Green Coalition. Photo Credit: Rachel Grosso

Goucher Students Published in Charm City Stories

by

On Friday, April 6th, Charm City Stories, Baltimore’s first student literary and art magazine of mental and physical health, will release its first publication. The magazine will feature the work of at least four Goucher students: Donché Golder, Natasha Hubatsek, Michelle Cheifetz, and Ruth Diaz-Rivera.

Print copies of the free publication will be released at Johns Hopkins University at a gallery exhibition in the Second Decade Society Room of the Center for Visual Arts from 7-9pm. The publication will also be available online at charmcitystories.com.

Charm City stories is inspired by the field of Narrative Medicine, the idea that effective and humane healthcare relies on the ability to interpret and be moved by the stories of others. The first annual publication builds on the collaboration of writing departments at Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Loyola, UMBC, University of Maryland College Park, and Morgan University. The first annual publication of the free magazine is sponsored by the Mellon Arts Innovation grant from Johns Hopkins University.

One day, Goucher writing professor Katherine Cottle asked her writing students to submit at least one piece for publication before they left class, and this was the assignment that led to the publication in Charm City Stories for Donché Golder. Golder, ’18, submitted a poem, entitled “This is what you need to hear, and why.”

Through his poem, Golder explores themes of healing and accountability. “Without beating around the bush,” he said, “the poem is about sexual assault. The bulk of the poem addresses the agony of those who have been effected by sexual violence/abuse and the last four lines drive the point home: ‘I could have inserted a name, but this poem isn’t for one person./ This poem is directed at “you,” whoever “you” may be,/ wherever “you” are, for whatever “you” have done wrong./ This is what you need to hear, and this is why.’”

Golder, a 4th year English Major, Professional Writing minor, was inspired to submit for Charm City Stories because, he admitted, he hadn’t been published since seventh grade. “I’ve come a long way since then and I think it shows in my work,” he said.

To find out more, visit charmcitystories.com.

Poetry as Community

by

It is not so frequent an event that speakers are introduced as having created oceans. Oceans with “clear and clean water,” into which one can be submersed, “with no part left dry.”
On Thursday, February 15th, poets Airea D. Matthews and Ladan Osman visited Goucher for an evening of dinner, conversation, and, most importantly, poetry. They were the first in a series of poets whose visits will be sponsored by the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College.
Typically, the Kratz Center sponsors one visiting writer event in the fall semester. For example, last semester Elizabeth Strout made a visit, and in previous years, other big names like Sherman Alexie, Seamus Heaney, and W.S. Merwin have come to Goucher. Then, in the spring semester, the Kratz Center sponsors a visiting writer to teach a course. This semester H.G. Carrillo is leading a fiction writing workshop. Goucher alumni Edgar Kunz is also visiting and teaching creative writing. In addition to these annually-run programs, however, the Kratz Center is also sponsoring something new this year—an “experiment,” in the words of Bill U’Ren, current Kratz Director and Goucher creative writing professor.
The Poetry Series is the experiment. Although U’Ren is the acting Kratz Director, the go-ahead for this experiment was given by last year’s co-directors Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires. Meant to work in conjunction with this semester’s theme of “community,” the series involves creating several smaller events with visiting writers, rather than try to acquire big-ticket names. The series is also an attempt to organize a variety of readings which may not be the most traditional. For example, Matthews and Osman both employed mixed media presentations, using images along with their work. Future visiting poets include The Black Ladies Brunch Collective, a group of poets who work collaboratively.
Goucher poetry and peace studies professor Ailish Hopper was the curator of the series (and the author of the lovely introduction at the Thursday night event). As the curator, Hopper reached out to poets in the broader Baltimore community and asked for their help in creating the events. To create a pair for a joint reading, she would first contact one poet, and then ask whom that poet would like to read with, be it “a friend, or mentor or poetry-crush,” as Hopper put it. The poets were then asked what the phrase “poetry as community” meant to them. The focus, or subtitles, for each event, came from their answers to this question. Aptly, Hopper used a metaphor to describe her involvement as curator in this process: “I was like a sail on a sailboat, and all these winds came along to push the sail,” said Hopper, miming the movement of blowing winds to represent the various people who made the series possible.
At the event on Thursday, throughout the evening Matthews and Osman showed their friendship and respect for each other, each sharing stories about the other. At the end of the night, Hopper thanked both for their time, their poetry, and, ultimately, for their togetherness. Matthews and Osman laughed and looked at each other. “We really love each other,” said Matthews.

The Poetry Series has already been building connections between members of the poetry community. Of the 40-50 people at Thursday night event, there were a number of local poets, who teach in colleges, high schools, and afterschool programs. One outcome of this community-building is co-publicity and the creation of a master list of all the poetry events happening this spring. If you’re interested in attending poetry events on or off campus, check out the list below!
The final visiting poet of the semester, Rudy Francisco, who specializes in spoken word poetry, will lead a master class at Goucher in the morning but will perform in the evening at the DewMore Baltimore Poetry Festival. Hopper hopes that Goucher students connect with Francisco and make an effort to travel into the city for the festival.
Upcoming events at Goucher feature Poets Jenny Johnson and francine harris on March 29th, 7-9 in Batza Room and The Black Ladies Brunch Collective on Thursday, April 12th, 7-9, also in Batza.

On a final note, the Q is hoping to publish poems and spark poetry-centered conversation this semester in connection with the idea of poetry as community and poets as truth-tellers.
Go to an event and compose a response. Or be inspired in any other way. Write a poem… passionate, reflective, heart-breaking, fast, slow, rhyming, free verse…whatever your style is and wherever your heart is, just write.
Then send it into the world.

Poetry as Community

by

It is not so frequent an event that speakers are introduced as having created oceans. Oceans with “clear and clean water,” into which one can be submersed, “with no part left dry.”
On Thursday, February 15th, poets Airea D. Matthews and Ladan Osman visited Goucher for an evening of dinner, conversation, and, most importantly, poetry. They were the first in a series of poets whose visits will be sponsored by the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College.

Airea D Matthews and Ladan Osman.
Photo Credit: Goucher College Events Calendar

Typically, the Kratz Center sponsors one visiting writer event in the fall semester. For example, last semester Elizabeth Strout made a visit, and in previous years, other big names like Sherman Alexie, Seamus Heaney, and W.S. Merwin have come to Goucher. Then, in the spring semester, the Kratz Center sponsors a visiting writer to teach a course. This semester H.G. Carrillo is leading a fiction writing workshop. Goucher alumni Edgar Kunz is also visiting and teaching creative writing. In addition to these annually-run programs, however, the Kratz Center is also sponsoring something new this year—an “experiment,” in the words of Bill U’Ren, current Kratz Director and Goucher creative writing professor.
The Poetry Series is the experiment. Although U’Ren is the acting Kratz Director, the go-ahead for this experiment was given by last year’s co-directors Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires. Meant to work in conjunction with this semester’s theme of “community,” the series involves creating several smaller events with visiting writers, rather than try to acquire big-ticket names. The series is also an attempt to organize a variety of readings which may not be the most traditional. For example, Matthews and Osman both employed mixed media presentations, using images along with their work. Future visiting poets include The Black Ladies Brunch Collective, a group of poets who work collaboratively.
Goucher poetry and peace studies professor Ailish Hopper was the curator of the series (and the author of the lovely introduction at the Thursday night event). As the curator, Hopper reached out to poets in the broader Baltimore community and asked for their help in creating the events. To create a pair for a joint reading, she would first contact one poet, and then ask whom that poet would like to read with, be it “a friend, or mentor or poetry-crush,” as Hopper put it. The poets were then asked what the phrase “poetry as community” meant to them. The focus, or subtitles, for each event, came from their answers to this question. Aptly, Hopper used a metaphor to describe her involvement as curator in this process: “I was like a sail on a sailboat, and all these winds came along to push the sail,” said Hopper, miming the movement of blowing winds to represent the various people who made the series possible.
At the event on Thursday, throughout the evening Matthews and Osman showed their friendship and respect for each other, each sharing stories about the other. At the end of the night, Hopper thanked both for their time, their poetry, and, ultimately, for their togetherness. Matthews and Osman laughed and looked at each other. “We really love each other,” said Matthews.
The Poetry Series has already been building connections between members of the poetry community. Of the 40-50 people at Thursday night event, there were a number of local poets, who teach in colleges, high schools, and after school programs. One outcome of this community-building is co-publicity and the creation of a master list of all the poetry events happening this spring. If you’re interested in attending poetry events on or off campus, click here for events and bios of the poets.
The final visiting poet of the semester, Rudy Francisco, who specializes in spoken word poetry, will lead a master class at Goucher in the morning but will perform in the evening at the DewMore Baltimore Poetry Festival. Hopper hopes that Goucher students connect with Francisco and make an effort to travel into the city for the festival.
Upcoming events at Goucher feature Poets Jenny Johnson and francine harris on March 29th, 7-9 in Batza Room and The Black Ladies Brunch Collective on Thursday, April 12th, 7-9, also in Batza.

A Sweet Treat

by

The Scoop on an Ice Cream Stall in Baltimore Where Six Alumae/i and Students Happen to Work

Rae Walker, ‘17, and Hannah Speigelman, ‘15, at the Little Baby’s Ice Cream Stall. Photo Credit: Sophia Hancock

The bustling upscale “food hall” R. House is home to a surprising subset of the Goucher community. Tucked into a corner of the marketplace, Little Baby’s Ice Cream sells handmade, small batch ice cream with unique flavors, like Earl Gray Sriracha. The slim, brightly lit stall also happens to be the workplace of six former and current Goucher students.
Perhaps you’ve seen the ad. Sitting in front of a black backdrop, a person who appears to be made of a thick white substance stares outward, wide-eyed. He reaches up, scoops at the top of his head with a large spoon, brings the spoon to his mouth, and licks it. A faint lullaby plays as a slow voiceover begins his hypnotic monologue by saying, “there’s good reason for my glistening skin.” The camera zooms out. At the end of the clip, a cheerful logo for Little Baby’s Ice Cream appears—a smiling ice cream cone holding a spoon and an ice cream scooper. While perhaps it is not the most immediately appetizing, the popular youtube ad certainly gets your attention.
My knowledge of this ad campaign, however, did not lessen my surprise when Goucher alum Rae Walker (’17) informed me, somewhat offhandedly, that in addition to teaching full-time and getting a Master’s degree in education, he also scooped ice cream at a place called Little Baby’s.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream (LBIC) was founded in Philadelphia in 2011 and has expanded over the years to offer catering services in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Baltimore, and Washington, DC., with stalls located in D.C. and at Baltimore’s R. House. The founders believed that that ice cream could “bring people together.” Classic. It gets a little weirder, however, in the next part of their mission statement, which states that they see ice cream as “a unique opportunity to subvert people’s expectations,” a goal which they achieve in their ads, flavors, and business model.
“Little Baby’s is known for its weirdness,” said Hannah Spiegelman, ’15, the current manager of the Baltimore branch. Spiegelman worked in ice cream shops during the summers. At Goucher, she studied history, with a minor in art history. After graduating, she was determined to go down a path that involved museum work. However, after working in Special Collections at Goucher, she realized that it wasn’t the right path for right for her. In December 2016, when she saw on Instagram that the Little Baby’s Ice Cream (LBIC) stall at R. House was hiring, she applied. Within a year, she would become the manager herself.
“I realized that food is my greater passion,” said Spiegelman. “When I graduated…I thought that whatever I decided to do now [immediately after graduation] would be my life, but the more I talk to people, I see people who’ve completely changed what it is they’re doing. It’s okay not to know. People say ‘you’ve had four years to figure it out,’ when actually, no, I’ve had four years to become a completely different person and now I need to take time to process it.”

LBIC has kooky initiatives like a Pay It Forward Board through which you might pay for ice cream for a cancer survivor or a single dad, or for someone to do ten push-ups in the shop. Their biggest competitor in the area is The Charmery, probably due to the fact that, in addition to selling small-batch high-quality ice cream, both the Charmery and LBIC cater to eccentric tastes, with flavors like the Charmery’s Old Bay Seasoning and LBIC’s Pizza flavor.
When the photographer and I arrived at Little Baby’s for the interview with Spiegelman, Walker, who was manning the stall, handed us samples of every flavor that they had in stock. Earl Gray Sriracha was unexpectedly delicious and had a nice kick to it. After the interview, we walked away with scoops of Lychee Lemonade, which was very lemony and similar to sorbet, and Chocolate Mint Cookie, which was like eating Girl Scout Thin Mints in ice-cream form. Both were vegan flavors but certainly did not taste “vegan.”
LBIC’s unusual offerings attracted Spiegelman. “I hate boring ice cream flavors,” she said.

During Spiegelman’s time at LBIC, the number of Goucher-affiliated employs has steadily increased. Many of them work at LBIC in addition to having other positions and/or applying for or saving money for graduate school.
For example, Yael Ben Chaim, ‘16, started at LBIC in April 2017, while she had an AmeriCorps position working at the Maryland Farmers Market Association at a nearby location. She appreciated the combination of the office-based AmeriCorps job and the customer-service. Currently she works at MOMs Organic Market and she plans to go to graduate school for social work within the next two years. Yael’s favorite flavor is Plain. “It is simple, sweet and easy to enjoy,” she says. “It also mixes well with any other flavor on the menu!”
Rae works at LBIC at night and on the weekends. During the week, he is a Special Education teacher in a Baltimore public school, and is getting his master’s in education through Teach for America. Rae is also a fan of LBIC’s plain ice cream, but will willingly try any of the more unusual options.
Emily Abramson, ‘18, self-described avid tea drinker, started at LBIC in July 2017. She’s currently at Goucher in her final year for a Masters in Management. She also works part-time as a graduate assistant for the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) and is an intern for AARP Maryland’s state office, working to coordinate a statewide food drive in April. Other than all of that, she’s a freelance artist.
Emily’s favorite LBIC flavor would either be “Pumpkin Curry for the sweet/savory combo [and] the currants and cream because it reminds me of picking currants from my backyard when I was a little kid” or the “Cherry Hibiscus because the strong bitter flavor of the hibiscus counters the sweetness of the candied cherries perfectly.”
After she was hired at LBIC, Abramson encouraged Sophie Anger, ‘17, who was still a student and was looking for a weekend job, to apply. Anger started in September, while she was student teaching second grade at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School. Her favorite flavor is Coffee Toffee, because “I just love coffee ice cream, but I also loved our seasonal crushed candy cane, and chocolate ginger.”
Goucher student David Hernandez, ‘18, also works at LBIC. A history major, he is currently working on an archeological dig on campus, called the Epsom Project. His favorite flavors are a tie between Cherry Hibiscus because he’s “never tasted anything like it,” and Vegan Thai Iced Tea, which is made with delicious coconut cream.
This little ice cream stall has turned into a mini-Goucher community outside of Goucher. They work hard together and enthuse about their coworkers’ positivity, passion, and inspiring desires to make positive change in the world.

Rae Walker, ‘17 scoops ice cream at Little Baby’s Ice Cream when he’s not working as a Special Education teacher at Dr Carter G Woodson Elementary Middle School. Credit: Sophia Hancock

Spiegelman’s job as a manager, however, is not without its difficulties.
“R. House oozes that white men built it,” said Spiegelman. At the time that Spiegelman started at the newly-opened Baltimore branch, LBIC was partnered with Blk//Sugar, a bakery owned by Krystal Mack, who was the only woman and only black person working as a manager at R. House.
“I love the people that work here,” said Spiegelman. “It’s just the people upstairs…When I go to meetings with them, I’m the youngest, I’m the only woman…Everyone else is a white male.” Spiegelman laughed, drawing connections between her awareness of her management situation and her experiences at Goucher. “You don’t realize everything you’ve learned until you’re put into a situation, and then you’re like oh, that was very Goucher of me.”
A Goucher education can be taken in many directions. In addition to reflecting on how Goucher had opened her to a certain way of thinking, Spiegelman also emphasized how proud she was of all of her co-workers. “When you hear about alums, you just hear about alums in law firms, but the majority of graduated students are working in food service or something like that…[they are] working five jobs…and it’s all valid and awesome,” said Spiegelman. “There’s a lot of pressure to get salary jobs right out of school, and it would be great to have a salary job right now but there’s nothing wrong with working just because you love it. People should be celebrated for making it in this crazy world.”

In addition to managing Little Baby’s, Spiegelman works part-time in Goucher’s Special Collections. And on the side, she makes her own ice cream, based on historical art, events, and people, etc.! (Follow her on Instagram: @asweethistory). Her favorite LBIC flavor is Maryland BBQ because “it is unexpectedly delicious” and she hopes to go to graduate school for food studies in the fall.

A Little Extra
As part of the interviews, I asked alums to write what they appreciated about their co-workers. They all had many lovely things to say. Emily Abramson’s comments were so sweet and individualized, however, that it was impossible to resist publishing them all.

From Emily, on her co-workers:
Hannah: A sweet boss and always someone that is there for me. Both of us have this unique quality in which it can take one of us upwards of half an hour to tell a story, so there’s never a quiet moment when we’re working together.
Yael: An angel, and one of the sweetest people in the world. She brings out the goofy side in me, and we’ve heard reports from other R House staff that they can sometimes hear us laughing from across the building.
Efehi: I love Efehi for many many reasons, one of which being that she’s the only one that can keep up with me when I’m dancing in the stall.
Rae: Rae and I always manage to make each other laugh so hard we wheeze when we work together.
David: David’s smile always charms the older gay men into giving us lots of tips, which I appreciate. He’s so so sweet, and incredibly understanding.
Sophie: Through thick and thin, Sophie is a dear friend and a great person to work with. We spend slow days at work experimenting with weird flavor combinations and laughing at ridiculous college stories.
Zac: An impeccable fashion sense and such a down to earth dude.

Spiegelman also happily made it clear in her interview that Goucher students who visit Little Baby’s (while she is the manager, at least) will receive a discount.

First Years Spraypaint Drains to Prevent Pollution

by
Left to Right: Andrew Ackerman, Oliver Dillard, Luke DeWitt, Jolie Price, Erica Bulzomi, and Brady O’Neill Photo Credit: Dr. Cynthia Kicklighter

Earlier this semester, you might have seen groups of people huddling around storm drains, gazing intensely at the pavement. This was probably Dr. Cynthia Kicklighter’s First Year Seminar (FYS). They are learning about marine organisms, and what impacts marine environments. One of the topics they are covering is trash pollution in the ocean, and how trash travels into waterways through storm drains. This trash affects our drinking water, pollutes our oceans, and affects marine life.
In the Towson/Baltimore area, all water entering storm drains eventually arrives at the Chesapeake Bay. Because plastic cannot be digested and it can entangle marine organisms like fish and turtles, plastic trash (like grocery bags, snack bags, etc) is particularly harmful.
In order to educate people on campus about this danger and the fact that all trash from our storm drains will end up in the Chesapeake, Dr. Kicklighter learned how to stencil a storm drain. The training was organized Blue Water Baltimore, an environmental charity focused on restoring the quality of Baltimore’s aquatic systems. She then transferred what she had learned from the organization to her First Year Seminar students, who, in the middle of the semester, spray painted stencils of marine life around the storm drains on campus.
“It was freezing outside,” wrote Jillian Carsud (‘19). But the “hands-on experience” was enjoyable.
Jolie Price (‘19) agreed. “I liked the actual ‘doing’ aspect of spreading awareness instead of just talking about it in class,” she wrote. Both students hoped that their project would cause passersby to pause and consider the stencils, increasing awareness about where our trash goes and who it affects.

High Number of Goucher Grads Teach for America

by
Rae Walker ‘17 is is currently teaching at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle School (PK-8th). Photo Credit: TFA Baltimore

This past year, Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. With six alumni joining, Goucher contributed significantly to a nationwide network. This past year was also the first year that students were able to apply early to the program–during their junior year of college. Two Goucher students did so and were accepted.
Teach for America (TFA) is a national organization that certifies recent graduates and others without teaching certification to work as teachers in low-income communities. Applicants fill out an online application and complete a group interview online or in-person. Once accepted, applicants fill out a form with their location preferences from a list of 53 different regions across the nation. TFA teachers commit to teaching for at least two years as full-time salaried employees of the school in which they are placed.
As an organization, TFA focuses on understanding and combating educational inequity, an angle that tends to appeal to Goucher graduates. For Rae Walker (‘17) this was one of the reasons he decided to apply. “[As a public school student], the quality of your education literally depends on your zipcode,” Walker said in an interview. “In Parkville they have iPads while in Cherry Hill, we’re struggling for paper. And that’s needed for the curriculum, because they [the school] don’t buy textbooks.”
Walker graduated from Goucher as an English major with a concentration in creative writing. He knew he wanted to be a teacher, but he dropped his major in education because he believed that focusing on his content area (English) was more important than learning theory.
Walker is currently teaching special education at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary Middle School (PK-8th) in Cherry Hill, Baltimore. He is also working on his Masters in Education at Johns Hopkins and is on track to receive a doctorate in five years.
Walker was drawn to the field of special education because of its relationship to inequity, and the situation that results from the over-diagnosing of students, particularly poor black students. “For gen-ed teachers, [labelling students with an IEP or Individualized Educational Program] is like code for ‘I don’t want to teach you, so I’m going to put you in another class,’ and this can happen as early as 1st grade,” said Walker. Once students are labeled as in need of special education, the effects of that label are difficult to reverse. For Walker, one of the important aspects of teaching special education is advocating for his students.
Teaching in low-income communities requires teachers to be very committed and invested in their students. Lila Stenson (‘17) appreciates the connections she’s been able to make with her students, “learning about their lives and telling them about mine.” Stenson graduated with a degree in Sociology and Spanish and is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Spanish in Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s really fun to see [my students] grow and get excited when they can say new things in Spanish,” said Stenson.
Walker has also certainly become invested in his students. The Saturday after this interview, he was planning on taking one of his students to the movies because it was their birthday. “I’m a black male figure [in this student’s life], so we’re going to the movies,” Walker said. “On Friday, we’re going to celebrate with a cake.”
Because his special education classes are self-contained, Walker spends all day with the same nine students, who range from 5th grade to 8th grade. According to Walker, it is actually illegal to have over three grade levels together in the same class, but it often happens in Baltimore public schools because of understaffing. TFA works to combat understaffing in schools, but it is not enough. As Stenson states, TFA “really isn’t a long term solution to ending the problems in education.”

Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. Photo Credit: Teach for America

Stenson became interested in education in part because of her experience working at a summer camp called Breakthrough Collaborative that works with students from under-resourced urban schools. Stenson’s experiences working in local schools through the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) added to this interest.
Walker also mentioned one of CBL’s programs, Middle School Mentoring, when talking about what influenced his decision to stay in Baltimore and teach. Both Stenson and Walker highlighted the way in which Goucher encourages students to engage with equity and social justice.
One thing that TFA corps members seem to have in common is their passion for what they do. “I think it is really cool to have a lot of new energy in the teaching field, as a lot of teachers who have been teaching for a while are burnt out,” Stenson wrote in an email interview.
However, because many of the applicants for TFA are young and inexperienced, they also face extra challenges. Stenson has twenty-seven students, which she said is actually a pretty small number compared to some of her coworkers’ classes. She is fortunate to teach a subject (Spanish) that is not tested at the state level, because it comes with more freedom. On the flip side, however, there is also no pre-prepared curriculum for her to use. “I did not major in education and while TFA does pack a lot into their summer training institute, you are still pretty unprepared for teaching everyday on your own. Classroom management and behavior issues are something that I struggle a lot with,” Stenson wrote.
Eliezer (EC) Cartagena (‘18), who did study education and was one of the juniors who applied early to TFA last year, critiqued this aspect of TFA. “TFA tries to train teachers in the summer, which is literally impossible. A lot of people will be woefully unprepared,” said Cartagena.
Cartagena also critiqued the fact that many people use TFA as “a stepping stone,” and move on to other careers. Cartagena emphasizes that students need consistency. “Two years seems like an injustice,” he said.
While many TFA alums move on to other careers, there are also TFA alums who stay in the world of education. As Walker points out, some of the biggest changemakers in Baltimore public schools, the principals of “turnaround schools,” are TFA alums. Cartagena hopes to stay in the school system for at least four years, while Walker sees himself continuing to teach ten years from now.
One of the incentives for applying to TFA are the benefits that come with the program. In addition to offering the opportunity to become certified to teach, TFA offers a summer training institute, an extensive alumni network, affinity group networks with other TFA members, mentor partnerships, and online location guides. TFA also has partnerships with graduate schools. Regional programs either require or encourage TFA corps members to work towards a Masters in Education. Fellowships and awards are also available to help teachers get a financial boost. For Stenson, who was moving to an entirely new city, she appreciated having the support network that came with TFA. “Memphis is a new home, so it is nice to have other people who are new and trying to explore the city as well,” she said.
TFA tries to draw a diverse group of members, and they advertised that their 2017 corps was more diverse than ever. Cartagena highlighted that TFA considers diversity factors besides race, like gender identity and sexual orientation. Walker also mentioned the diversity of educational backgrounds of corps members: “you’ll meet people from across the gamut, from Harvard, Stanford, from your local community college.”
However, despite their diversity of backgrounds, many teachers will face the same challenges. “Teachers are overworked and undervalued, and you need to be really dedicated, because financially you won’t get much from it,” said Cartagena. “Only apply if you’re really passionate about making change happen in school systems.”
Stenson emphasized the importance of flexibility and adaptability. “Things will not run smoothly, materials will not be available, school schedules and student behavior are always unpredictable,” she said. “A lot of this experience is just trying to roll with things.” Walker seconded this. “If administration emails me tonight and says, ‘we’re teaching in the dark tomorrow,’ then I’ll say, ‘okay, I’ll bring a flashlight,’” he said. Walker suggested that teachers should have a “growth mindset”–not just believing that their students can grow, but that, as teachers, they can, too. “You can’t enter the classroom thinking about what happened yesterday,” he said.
Overall, Goucher’s recent graduates who are members of the TFA corps seem proud of the work they’re doing. “It’s a noble profession,” said Walker.
For the 2018-2019 school year, there are a number of TFA application deadlines approaching, through March 2018. If you are interested in applying, Cartagena, who asked several people to look over his application, advises other students not to be afraid to ask for help. “People think that they have to do things on their own, but that’s not true,” he said.
For assistance with the application, students can also take advantage of on-campus resources like the Career Development Office.

Go to Top