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Olivia Baud - page 2

Olivia Baud has 12 articles published.

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Olivia Baud, a Senior at Goucher double-majoring in Spanish and International Relations, joined Quindecim in the spring of 2017 as a writer and now serves as Quindecim's Co-Editor-in-Chief. The interviews she conducted for a competition called National History Day led her to develop a passion for journalism, both in written, visual, and audio format. When she is not working on her next story, you will likely find her in the apiary tending to the honeybees, at the gym planning her next climbing project, or at her computer stressing over email etiquette.

Faculty Insider: Prof. Mary Marchand

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“Stories are like events best undergone as a group,” says Prof. Mary Marchand. “They help us broaden our perspectives on life and move past our individual assumption.” Photo Credit: Danielle Brundage

As students, we have all taken classes that have contributed to our understanding of the world at varying levels. Some have been better than others, depending on our interest in the subject matter. If we are lucky, however, we encounter a professor who completely reshapes our understanding of a subject, whether it initially interests us or not. For many Goucher students, Mary Marchand is one such professor.
For 22 years, Prof. Marchand has directed the American Studies program. Goucher was one of the first colleges to offer this radical, interdisciplinary program in 1949, only one year after Yale. With only one core course requirement, the little known major allows students to draw from three different programs in order to define the Americas- its history, its cultures- for themselves. In fact, Prof. Marchand was also the program director for Individualized Interdisciplinary Majors for 10 to 15 years. She thus teaches several literature courses, both as part of the program and the English department.
Prof. Marchand grew up in Minnesota, where she graduated from the University of St. Olaf with a major in English and minor in Philosophy. She earned her Master’s and PhD at the University of Wisconsin. Despite three job offers in very different parts of the country, circumstances brought her to Maryland, where she fell in love with Goucher. “There is a kindness and quirkiness to my students that I really value… like a sort of openness and curiosity,” she explains.
Prof. Marchand believes that literature plays a special role in developing broader perspectives on the world and bridging divides. “Stories are like events best undergone as a group,” she says. “They help us broaden our perspectives on life and move past our individual assumption.” When we delve into the literary world, she explains, “we often read and understand points of view we would normally see as unforgivable.” Literature is meant to break rules, as well as challenge the status quo and ourselves as individuals, a process that Prof. Marchand sees as integral to the college experience. In her opinion, it is especially important in our time when assumptions are being made by the left and right. To her, college is a place to bring conflicting opinions together and experience friction. Yet it also has to be a place where people have the opportunity to participate in open discourse. This is probably the greatest challenge for her as a professor: creating a safe enough space for everyone to have a say while still encouraging a diversity of opinions.
Despite this dilemma, Prof. Marchand’s courses are reputed for their engaging conversations- a term she prefers over the contrived word ‘discussion’. Through these conversations, she explains, “most of the classes kind of just reveal themselves.” For example, students find meaning in an American literary canon often written off as dull and impractical. The key is “to ask the types of questions that lead to better understanding or thinking,”  which is one of many lessons she learned from her favorite professor and role model: her dad. He was a professor of humanities and director of theater at the University of Minnesota. “My dad… loved his work so much. He thought that one of the most important things in the world was to make people fall in love with learning again,” she explains. “[His] special gift was to listen intently.” Just like her father, Prof. Marchand values everyone’s voice in the classroom, earning the appreciation of many of her students.
In addition to her father’s mentoring, teaching for the Goucher Prison Education Program for two and a half years deeply shaped Prof. Marchand’s teaching style. “It was life changing. It was the most meaningful work I’ve ever done.” Working with people largely shut out of education from a very young age, she had to find ways to increase their joy and confidence in learning, separating their anxiety from their coursework. “It made me a better professor.”
When Prof. Marchand isn’t busy teaching classes or grading papers, she loves to cook. “You can see my ribbons there,” she points to her office board, chuckling. “I entered the [Maryland State Fair] contest as a joke one year; my son at the time entered in a logo contest, my husband entered a photo contest, and it kind of became a quirky thing we started doing.” She envisions a Goucher cooking standoff between departments, though she ponders about whom might be the appropriate judges.
She also spends her time between classes researching for her newest project on crime scene photography. Fascinated by early forensics of late 19th century France, she examines how identity was determined at that time using biometrics. She is currently looking for student researchers to join her in this endeavor! Perhaps this is not your primary field of interest, but with the guidance of a dedicated and beloved professor it is sure to be a transformative experience.

Faculty Insider: Eric Singer, International Relations Department

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Olivia Baud, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

In the course of gossip and discussion on the Goucher campus, one question in particular is sure to surface: Who is Eric Singer? Professor Singer is a familiar figure of authority to most political and international relations (IR) scholars at Goucher. Yet he remains a figure shrouded in mystery even to his most admiring pupils.

Last semester, students enrolled in his International Scholars Program (ISP) took it upon themselves to learn more about him and delve into the internet treasure-trove; what they discovered only spurred more curiosity: “he was involved in the ownership group of Lear’s Princess [a racehorse] sold as a broodmare prospect for $2.7 million,” according to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Students knew him for his original sense of humor, his love for complex vocabulary, and his brutally honest grading, but horses? Famous racehorses? 2.7 million dollars? Imaginations ran wild.

Prof. Singer has a simple explanation for these seemingly incredible circumstances. “A friend from Jersey took me to a racetrack near Ohio State and introduced me to the world of handicapping.” Singer was studying for his Ph.D. at Ohio State University at the time. “I was really drawn to the density of data that existed to determine who was going to win.” Horse-racing became his hobby. “Later in life, I figured maybe I would try owning a horse.” It was in this way that Prof. Singer became involved in a horse racing partnership and an ownership group of Lear’s Princess, a Grade 1 winner that they eventually sold at auction. He emphasizes that as a joint-owner he was only privy to a small share, and he does not own stables as students have so joyously imagined.

While Prof. Singer’s equestrian ties may have been over-embellished, his Goucher history is far from dull. He first entered into the Goucher community in 1986, when he followed up on an ad for an IR teaching position. “It was a replacement position, but the person I was replacing, unbeknownst to me, was a very popular professor,” he recalls amusingly. “So when I walked in, everyone who had signed up for the course was expecting her, not me.” Prof. Singer’s entry also happened to coincide with Goucher’s transition to co-education. “Everyone was disappointed that the first male students would soon be arriving.”

What had originally been a two-year contract turned into 30 years. During the Cold War, IR and Russian studies had been some of the most popular programs at Goucher as students hoped to obtain jobs in the NSA, DIA, and CIA as translators, researchers, etc.. However, following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, a self-study of the Area Studies program revealed that it was losing luster as it suffered reduced enrollments. As a result, a new major, International and Intercultural Studies (IIS), was formed with the intention of supplementing Area Studies. Rivalries between IIS and IR soon took root as each competed over similar subject matter and student interest.

Prof. Singer came up with a solution for these tensions. “When Sandy Ungar became president, I suggested to him to eliminate the IIS major and to introduce a program that all students interested in globalization could participate in.” In 2005, as the college introduced its study abroad requirement and entered “full internalization mode”, ISP was born. To this day, all incoming students are invited to apply. When asked about what aspects of the program he is most proud of, Prof. Singer is quick to mention the “students who put themselves out their way in an effort to develop a perspective on globalization. They ultimately define the path that they want to take”.

In addition to founding ISP, Prof. Singer has taught for the Goucher Prison Education Program. “What I appreciated most about [it] was that it was a reminder of why I went into teaching in the first place. These were people that may not have been given the best background to succeed. Working with them to help them succeed re-energized my commitment to teaching”

While Prof. Singer taught courses in politics in a men’s prison, the experience wasn’t just about the teaching for him. “It’s easy-particularly in a private, liberal arts college- not to think about what kind of students are walking into your classroom, what their experiences with different facets of society is. The Jessup Students come from different backgrounds than your typical liberal arts undergraduate. They had a perspective on politics that was much more nuanced and mature-in some ways- than students from Goucher’s campus. And in some ways they’ve lived a life that’s more political than the average student I’ve had on campus.”

Since teaching at the men’s prison, Prof. Singer continues to figure prominently in the Goucher community. He is currently the Associate Provost for External and Experiential Programs. And no, he is not responsible for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s move to the Goucher campus.

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