Relay for Life Wraps Up Successful Year

On Tuesday, April 17 the committee for Relay for Life at St. Mary’s College held a meeting to discuss what has been accomplished throughout the year in their fight against cancer.

For the recent Relay for Life event that was held on Feb. 11-12 in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center, the team managed to raise $32,086, despite their original goal of $42,000.

“We were a little under,” said the newly appointed Event Chair, sophomore Colleen Hughes, “but we still try to raise the bar every year.” She continued to say that $32,086 is still a very significant amount that can help a lot in the fight.

After the big event in February, the team that raised the most money was Residence Life with $5,017. The Crew Team also received acknowledgement, as they had a large portion of their members participate, leading them to split themselves into two different teams that both raised a lot of money.

The largest individual fundraisers were Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Joanne Goldwater with $2,175, junior Will Dyer with $1,331, and junior Madailein Harrigan with $1,035.

The weekend after the wrap up meeting, the Relay for Life committee held a booth at World Carnival where they were taking donations, doing hair wraps, streaking hair purple, and selling raffle tickets for $5 for a chance to win a new Mazda.

On April 26, they also took part in the Remembrance Day event that took place at the James P. Muldoon River Center to hand out information on grief counseling related to cancer.

On Wednesday, May 2, which is a Reading Day, the group will be hosting Midnight Munchies at 7 p.m. on the Lewis Quad patio to help raise money.

Through all of these activities, the committee, which is now headed by Hughes and first-year Teresa Padgett as Event Co-Chair, is hoping to make Relay for Life a better known group on campus.

To get involved with Relay for Life, students and staff can email Hughes at cshughes@smcm.edu, or can attend any of the open meetings that will start back up next year. While they are always looking for people willing to be on different committees within Relay for Life (i.e. publicity, sponsorship, fundraising, mission and advocacy, etc.), they also are looking for anyone willing to join and lend a helping hand.

“Relay is a success because of all the people involved,” said Hughes, “from chairs of committees, staff sponsors, participants, donators, survivors, and caregivers!”

News-in-Brief: Dove Yearbook Available Before Graduation for First Time

The Dove yearbook for the 2011-2012 school year, which will be available for purchase by students and staff the week before finals, has chosen to take on the theme of “Apocalyptic.”

Filling up a total of 81 pages, all in color, this year’s yearbook reflects on the many trials and tribulations the student body has faced throughout the year, including the earthquake, hurricane, fire, the mold, hotels, the Sea Voyager, bed bugs, and power outages.

The yearbook will include such things as an introduction from President Joe Urgo, pictures of sports teams (both varsity and club) and non-athletic clubs, photograph collages, personal advertisements, and senior portraits.

The Dove, which was acquired by The Point News Publications last semester, is planning to be better than ever. The Point News Publications has been able to offer a larger access to photographs of on campus events, the use of a professional software program (InDesign), and a cozier financial standing. While the staff have only been able to put together the yearbook this semester, they are quickly working on completing it so that it will be available before graduation, which has never been done by The Dove before.

This early release date will allow time for students to have their friends sign their yearbooks before leaving at the end of the year. Photographs of World Carnival, the awards ceremony, senior week, commencement, and graduation, though, will not be placed in the yearbook, but The Dove staff plans to create a Final Events mini-book that will include those events and be released online at www.thepointnews.com for free after graduation.

The yearbooks, which will cost $49, are slightly more expensive than last year, but the higher price allows for all pages to be in color and for more flexibility on the cover design. Books that are purchased after graduation and need to be shipped to the buyer will cost $55.

Out of the entire graduating class, 196 seniors sat for their senior portrait, which was offered for free by The Point News photographers. In the past, students have had to pay for their photographs to be taken, but this year they were free and have been placed on The Point News website for a free download. But if students wish to receive a copy of their senior portrait in a different size or without the watermark, it will cost money.

Production of the yearbook has also been aided by the purchase of advertisement space by the Campus Store, Taylor Gas Company in Lexington Park, The Green Door, and fourteen families of graduation seniors paying for personal advertisements.

News in Brief: Library Announces New Laptop and Electronics Loan Policies

The College Library recently notified students via email about their newly updated policies on loaning out their electronic equipment.

Starting in early March, the Library has now begun to allow members of the College to borrow extension cords, Ethernet cables, headphones, flash drives, portable DVD burners, portable floppy drives, and headsets for a maximum period of six hours, rather than the original three hours.

Each of these items is allowed one renewal while it is checked out, allowing for a total possible loan of 12 hours.

A later email sent out after spring break revealed that the policies on borrowing laptops would also be changing. The original policy allowed members to use the Library laptops for a loan period of three hours. The new agreement will allow for students to borrow the laptops for up to two weeks at a time.

This new program will set aside five of their ten laptops for the three-hour loans, with the remaining five available for the two-week program. The Library staff requires no explanations as to why a student needs to borrow a laptop.

A $10.00 fee will be charged each hour that a laptop is returned late for whichever time period it is being loaned for. All other software and saving restrictions pertaining to the laptops for the three-hour loans also apply to those laptops being loaned out for the two-week period.

All laptops cannot connect to wireless internet and are not able to download any new software, such as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), so students have been warned that they must take these restrictions into consideration before borrowing the laptops.

“We believe that this change,” said Patron Services Librarian Conrad Helms in the all-student e-mail sent out with the new policy, “will allow us to better meet your needs. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

Panel Discusses Bringing Diversity to Museums

Four panelists were recently invited to take part in a conversation on Feb. 28 sponsored by The Museum Studies Program, The Africa and African Diaspora Studies Program, and The Maryland Humanities Council to discuss the topic of diversity within museums.

Hosted in Daughtery-Palmer Commons, “Diversifying the History Museum: A Panel Discussion” was put together by Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies Chair Julia King, and led by Deputy Director of Development and Museum Programs at Historic London Town and Gardens and Visiting Instructor of Museum Studies Rod Cofield, ’03.

The four panelists included Class of 2012 President Stephon Dingle, Historic Preservation Specialist for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Najah Gabriel-Duvall, Historian and Slave Life Interpreter at Historic Brattonsville Nicole Moore, and Historian and Curator of the National Museum of the American Indian Gabrielle Tayac.

A 2010 report published by the Center for the Future of Museums titled “Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums” has revealed that even though the United States is coming close to having 50 percent of the population identifying as non-Hispanic white and 50 percent identifying as part of a minority, there is still a huge divide within the country’s museums, as 91 percent of museum visitors are categorized as white.

“If museums cannot figure out how to attract non-white audiences, that is a major problem,” said Cofield, warning the Museum Studies minor students that this would be an obstacle they would soon have to tackle once in the field.

Since the panel related to diversity, King felt it was perfectly timed, as it followed soon after the College’s recent St. Mary’s Day discussions and was at the tail end of Black History Month.

Most museum audiences are generally white, college-educated, and older. The emails released promoting the panel discussion asked the question, “How can we keep this audience and expand the history museum’s relevance to audiences from all backgrounds?”

Dingle began this conversation by talking about his own experiences as someone who does not directly study or deal with museums. He tried channeling his attitudes as a kid from Baltimore City and how it felt to visit museums in Washington, D.C. as an elementary school student. He said he believes the key to diversifying museum audiences lies in the classroom.

Moore, who works as an interpreter of slave life, discussed the difficulties she has faced as a result of how slavery interpretation is seen as controversial and uncomfortable to many audiences.

“It’s hard to get your audience to come to you,” said Moore, “because of the stigma and fear…. It may be emotional for you, but you really have to see that this was a part of life.” She explained that using slave life interpreters could be a great opportunity for museums to find a way to diversify their histories.

Moore also stated that museum institutions should not wait for the masses to come to them, but they should go to the masses by doing things like visiting schools and teaching students about slavery.

Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Nation, brought a different perspective to the panel by discussing her work at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the perspectives of American Indians in the museum setting.

NMAI operates closely with American Indian groups and previously consulted the different nations while the museum’s newer building was built along the National Mall in 2004. The museum’s original collection, though, was started at the turn of the twentieth century in New York by George Gustav Heye, who believed that American Indians would soon vanish and that he needed to collect as many artifacts as he could in order to preserve their cultures.

Tayac stated that today the museum allows American Indians to reclaim their voices, reclaim their objects, and rewrite the narratives that have been put upon them by non-American Indians.

“Museums instill pride in one’s heritage,” said Gabriel-Duvall, who discussed the same topic but in regards to African-Americans. “African-American museums stand as a monument to the cultural heritage that they reflect,” she said.

The panelists further discussed how to reach out to local minority communities and what should be done to make museum attendance more closely reflect the diversity of the current United States population.

After each panelist was given roughly 10 minutes to discuss their thoughts, audience members were asked to join the conversation with questions or comments. It was then concluded that museums should aim to create a safe space for these types of discussions to occur, and that even if museum visitors enter a museum believing that they already know all of the information, they should still ask themselves if this is really true.

Though topics of discussion were extensive, one major question was left unanswered: Why are many museums broken up into different racial and ethnic identities when all human life is part of one large interwoven history? The audience was left to mull over this interesting question as they left the discussion.

College Announces New Opportunities for Student Research

This  summer the College will be initiating the St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellow (SMURF) program in which roughly eight students will be chosen to work closely with a faculty member of their choice in order to conduct research. The SMURF program will take place from May 21 to July 13, with each recipient receiving a $3,000 stipend for personal use and free room and board on campus for the eight-week duration of the program.

Formerly, the College hosted a similar program, the Program for Research Investigation at St. Mary’s (PRISM), but the funding ran out and the program was forced to cease. During the summer of 2011, members of the faculty took part in a workshop sponsored by both the Council for Undergraduate Research and the Consortium of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, where they were given the idea to bring back a summer research program for the student body.

“The workshop and the initiative [brought forward by faculty] were directed towards enhancing undergraduate research on campus,” said Associate Dean of Faculty Richard Platt. “This program is a major component of that initiative.”

The idea was brought forward to Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Beth Rushing; Assistant Professor of Biology Samantha Elliott; Professor of Biology Jeffrey Byrd; Professor of Psychology Wesley Jordan; Associate Professor of Psychology Aileen Bailey.

“We are really lucky at SMCM to already have a strong, established infrastructure in place for student-faculty collaboration on scholarly and creative projects,” said Elliott. “The summer allows the luxury of concentrating on our scholarly or creative projects without the distractions of other classes or obligations. This allows for more flexibility in what we can do in terms of projects, and provides an immersive experience for the person performing the work.”

The SMURF program is open to all rising juniors and seniors from any discipline, though rising sophomores may be considered if they have completed relevant coursework that has prepared them for such a project.

The projects chosen by the students accepted into the program can consist of answering their own research questions or working on their mentoring faculty member’s current research. The final results of the projects can range from artistic works to science experiments.

“Projects can vary in both scale and product,” said Platt. “Students in any discipline can participate and we plan for the program to be multi-disciplinary in nature.”

The students chosen for the program will attend weekly meetings led by Elliott, relay their research to others through a poster symposium at the end of the summer, and then present it to the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community in the Fall.

This summer’s SMURF program will be funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through an award that President Joe Urgo has received.

“The Mellon Foundation has a deep interest in helping liberal arts colleges thrive,” said Rushing, “and their support will help us get the program started again. We’ll find other ways to support it after the initial year or two.”

While the budget for the program is still unknown and in the midst of being finalized, Platt said that it should be enough to support the eight separate student projects. Elliott also stated that after this summer’s pilot program is completed, the SMURF program organizers will apply for grant money that may help to “expand and sustain the program in the future.”

Current budget limits for the projects are $1,000 each, while the estimated average budget is $400. Students must discuss and plan the budget for their projects with their faculty mentor.

In order to apply to become a SMURF, students must first reach out to a faculty member that is willing to mentor them for the duration of the project. Working with the faculty member to develop a project plan, the student must then submit a two page, single-spaced description that includes the purpose of the project, their intended methodology, a timeline, and any relevant coursework or experience that has prepared them to undertake the project.

All applications are due by March 9 to SMURF@smcm.edu, with all accepted applicants being notified by March 30.

“I think the types of projects conducted are going to vary,” said Elliott, “depending upon the interests of the students and the disciplines in which they work. Until we see the applications, I’m not sure what will be proposed, but I’m excited about the possibilities.”

Seniors Celebrate 100 Days Until Graduation

Taking part in one of St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s many time-honored traditions, the Senior Class of 2012 recently gathered together to celebrate having only 100 days left until their undergraduate graduation.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, a large amount of the graduating class gathered for the 100 Days event at the local bar, The Green Door, for a night of cheap drinks and old friends. With a large number of students starting to arrive around 9 p.m., The Green Door soon became packed full of college students by 10 p.m., with many staying right up until closing time at 2 a.m.

“It was really awesome to see so many different people from our class all in one place, though definitely bittersweet,” said senior Echo Presgraves.

The event, hosted by the Class of 2012 executive board, consisted of students trying to beat each other at pool, darts, and beer pong; catching up with friends that they have met throughout their years at the College; and a few rounds of singing along and swaying to the song “Wagon Wheel.”

“I think the event was a great success!” said Vice President of the Class of 2012, Emily Gershon, who helped with the event. “Everyone I saw there seemed to be having a great time. I got a lot of thank you’s, which were really appreciated, and I saw my favorite professor and got to catch up with him!”

As part of the event, the Class of 2012 also sold pint glasses that displayed the College seal and the words “Class of 2012” written below it. Originally, the Senior Class was told that they would automatically receive their first pint free if they used their Class of 2012 pint glass while at The Green Door.

Confusion with this process soon struck later, as another Senior Class e-mail was sent out by Gershon saying, “In order to make 100 Days run as smoothly as possible we are changing the process a little bit. From now on with your purchase of a Senior Class pint glass you will receive a ticket which can be redeemed at the [Green] Door for your free pint.”

Unfortunately for those that had already purchased their pint glasses and had not received the ticket, they needed to respond to the e-mail in order to have their tickets sent to them.

For the students that arrived at The Green Door before 10 p.m., with pint glasses in hand, they were met with confused looks by the bartenders, who had not heard about the one free pint of beer deal.

“There was some miscommunication between the Class of 2012 Exec Board and The Door,” said Gershon, “but it was resolved as soon as the issue was brought to the Exec board’s attention, and tickets were redeemed for beer shortly thereafter.”

While the Executive Board of the Class of 2012 does not make money off of the event itself, they do gain the proceeds from the sale of the pint glasses. Out of the 288 glasses ordered, 255 were sold, allowing the Class of 2012 to gain a few hundred dollars as a profit.

“100 Days was a ton of fun and it was great to see everyone out together celebrating,” said senior Kathleen Tatem. “I still can’t believe we will all be graduating in less than 100 days now. It has all gone by so fast!”

The Class of 2012 will be celebrating again at The Green Door for only having 50 days left until graduation on Friday, March 23, in less than six weeks.

Sea Voyager Residents To Possibly Receive More Compensation

Starting on January 15 all residents of Caroline (CD) and Prince George (PG) Halls were allowed to return to their previous dormitory rooms after having been displaced for the majority of the fall 2011 semester to various other residences on campus, hotels throughout St. Mary’s County, and the Sea Voyager cruise ship docked in Historic St. Mary’s City.

The first experiences of St. Mary’s life for many first-year students were filled with unpacking, repacking, cramming into new rooms, traveling miles to and from campus, and trying to figure out what was going to happen next and how they would be compensated for it.

President Urgo stated in an all-student email at the beginning of this spring 2012 semester, “Throughout October, November, and December, daily acts of kindness and determination typified the campus and allowed our displaced students to endure upheaval and in the end, prevail over this period of disruption.” Despite this positive view on the situation, many of the previously displaced students are still advocating for more compensation, saying that they have been unfairly treated.

Due to the large number of students on campus who have been affected in one way or another by this most recent outbreak of mold, which range from mostly first-years and sophomores but include even juniors and seniors, it soon became evident that it would be pointless to give every single affected student extra housing credits for next year. “It would eliminate the benefit being offered” and “the remaining 425+ students in CH [Calvert Hall], DD [Dorchester Hall], and QA [Queen Anne Hall] would be unfairly disadvantaged because they were not assigned to a building with mold,” said Director of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students Joanne Goldwater in an all-student email sent out mid-November 2011.

Therefore it was originally planned that those students that were first affected (all of CD’s First Left hallway, PG’s First Right hallway, PG 224, and CD 112, 115, 116, 117, 118, and 211) would all receive 15 extra housing credits. For all others located in CD and PG it was decided that on Dec. 1 the seniors would be entered to win two non-alcoholic tickets to Senior Gala in May 2012, a townhouse would be raffled off to rising juniors and seniors (one townhouse being offered to CD residents and one to PG residents), and all other residents would earn a chance to win four Waring Commons (WC) suites (two available to CD residents and two to PG residents).

Various students complained about the compensation, pointing out that those that were displaced into forced triples and other on-campus residences were being financially compensated, while those placed on the Sea Voyager were not receiving anything, unless they won their respective raffle. Therefore, Student Government Association (SGA) President Mark Snyder, senior, sat down this past week with Assistant Director of Residence Life Kelly Smolinksy, Assistant Dean of Students Kelly Schroeder, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless, Goldwater, and Interim Director of Campus Technology Support Services (CTSS) Michael Gass in order to advocate for better compensation on behalf of the affected students.

“We want the people who moved onto the ship to feel like they got something. We don’t want this to have a huge negative impact on everyone else,” said Snyder. As a result, it was proposed by Residence Life at the Jan. 24 SGA meeting to give all students that had been displaced to the Sea Voyager would receive four extra housing credits for the room selection process which begins within a month.

He states that two credits felt like not enough compensation, while anything more than four would leave all those not affected by mold in Calvert, Dorchester, and QA an unfair disadvantage in the upcoming housing selection.

According to Snyder, a large portion of the credit for this new batch of possible compensation should go to Gass, as this proposal would not have happened without his help and the help of his CTSS staff.

“Right now we are just trying to see how people feel about it,” said Snyder, who also stated that he has been having informal conversations with those affected and hopes to have some more formal conversations with others in order to “make sure that this is something everyone is cool with, not just people in PG and Caroline, but in Dorchester, Queen Anne, and Calvert.”

New Mr. SMC Takes Crown

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the annual Mr. SMC competition was held during the final hours of brunch in the Raley Great Room within the Campus Center.

With the room almost full of students who came to watch the pageant, seven different male students from various years, competed in five categories: Introduction, Wacky Wear, Talent, Swimwear, and a Question and Answer portion.

Five judges, including the 2010-2011 Mr. SMC Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall ’11, sat alongside the stage to critique each contestant in all five categories. When introducing the event, Ruthenberg-Marshall said, “Every year we have Mr. SMC to find the most prettiest, most talented, and best male on campus.”

The seven contestants vying for the title were senior Raza Ahmad, first-year Tim Carey, sophomore Sam “Gucci” Uwahemo, senior Geoff Cooper, first-year Darrell Jackson, junior Josh Olexa, and sophomore Ben Vannest.

The introduction round consisted of contestants strutting around the center of the Great Room in nice clothes while the two masters of ceremonies (MCs), junior, Michael Bargamian and sophomore, Anuli Duru, gave short biographies that each contestant had entered.

Audience members were able to donate their spare change to whichever prospective Mr. SMC they supported, which would not only help them gain more points in the competition, but would also be donated to the Class of 2014.

“If you really want your friend to win,” said sophomore Shelby Perkins, Class of 2014 President, “throw in a quarter, throw in a dollar.”

Wacky wear followed the introductions, which involved fur coats, female clothing, spandex, belly dancing attire, a pajama onesie, a duck mask, and a tiara all being worn.

Ahmad kicked off the talent portion with his own Seahawk-inspired version of “Stu’s Song” sung by Ed Helms to Mike Tyson’s tiger in the film The Hangover. “I’ve never played the piano before, everyone,” Ahmad told the audience at the end of his performance. “I’ve never played the piano.”

Other talents involved the ability to give great hugs, dancing to “Teach Me How to Dougie,” a free-styling rap in another language, tying a knot with one hand, singing Katy Perry’s song “Teenage Dream,” a moment involving a contestant rubbing lotion into his skin while only wearing a towel, and a magic show.

Vannest introduced his magic show by saying, “Let me possibly let you understand my awesomeness by making people do stuff for me.” He then proceeded, with the help of some friends from the audience, to convince people to do things from creating a symphony and making a girl swoon. He even referenced the Harry Potter franchise by yelling “Accio Margaret Brent Hall!” Vannest then turned around, saw the recently placed Margaret Brent Hall through the windows of the Great Room and said, “Yes! Didn’t think that would work.”

The swimsuit portion of the competition followed next with two contestants wearing normal male swimming shorts, but the others wore everything from the Men’s Crew uniform, to a wetsuit accompanied by a snorkel and fins, to a grass skirt with a coconut bra and lei.

Staying in their swimsuit outfits, all the contestants were then called one-by-one onto the stage to answer a randomly chosen question. Questions ranged from typical ones, such as, “Do you prefer boxers or briefs?” to St. Mary’s College specific questions, like, “What’s your favorite cruise ship memory?” and “If you could chose one St. Mary’s professor to go on a date with – male or female – who would you chose?”

After a ten-minute break while the judges counted the donations made towards each contestant, along with their own votes in each category, all contestants were brought onto the stage to begin the crowning ceremony.

Third place went to Cooper, second place to Ahmad, and first place and the title of Mr. SMC 2011-2012 went to Olexa.

St. Mary’s College’s new Mr. SMC was pulled onto a special platform and handed a sash by former Mr. SMC Ruthenberg-Marshall, as well as a crown, a cozy, and a wand. Standing in front of the cheering audience, Olexa gave his acceptance speech by saying, “I guess you really like me!”

Winner of Sarah Michele Guineviere Pyles Memorial Scholarship Announced

The recipient of the Sarah Michele Guineviere Pyles Memorial Scholarship was recently announced as sophomore Shelby Perkins. With a double major in Political Science and International Languages and Cultures: Spanish, she fit all of the criteria of the scholarship, including a grade point average above 3.0, and having already completed at least one year at St. Mary’s.

Those competing for the scholarship were asked to write an essay detailing how they would change the world to make it a better place, since the namesake of the award, Sarah “Sadie” Pyles, who abruptly passed away while studying abroad in Alba, Italy last semester, wanted to better the world by improving international relations.

Perkins will receive the $1,000 award, which will go towards her school funds for the 2011-2012 school year.

“I’m honored to win this scholarship,” said Perkins, “and although I did not know Sarah, I hope to use this scholarship to help my cause of advancing the education of young women throughout the world.”

Ethnographer Talks Bongo Culture Loss

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, British anthropologist Judith Knight visited St. Mary’s College to present a lecture in Cole Cinema as part of the Department of Anthropology’s Visiting Ethnographer Series. Her presentation focused on her ethnographic study of the pygmy people of Gabon in West Africa.

While Knight stated in the beginning that, “pygmy,” is now considered a controversial term due to its disrespectful connotation for people of this culture, she explained that she, nonetheless, was at a loss of what other term to use and needed to describe this Bongo society as a group of, “pygmy people.”

Currently working as a fellow with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on the creation of a pygmy collection, Knight was described by Interim Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Professor Bill Roberts as a, “definite four-field anthropologist,” meaning that she dabbles in each subdivision of anthropology: cultural, archaeological, linguistic, and biological.

Her lecture, titled “‘Men are Like Fish, They Move …’ : Shifting Perspectives on Central African Hunter Gatherers Through the Forest Peoples of Gabon,” primarily focused on her aim to, “broaden peoples’ perspectives of Central African forest peoples because I believe they’re being very stereotyped,” said Knight.

These stereotypes over the ages have come about from exaggerated or false assumptions of the cultures of forest peoples and hunter-gatherers from around the world. The title of her talk, she said, was a quote from an old pygmy man she encountered, as he tried describing, “why he was where he was from.” The title was also a call for people to be more dynamic with how they view forest peoples.

Despite this new view of the different cultures of forest peoples, “these people [still] represent the earliest type of societies: the hunter-gatherer society,” said Roberts.

Much of Knight’s work within the area has not only been her ethnographic study of this culture, but also consists of projects focused on conservation, eco-tourism, and indigenous rights. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has even covered her work with the Bongo people, which has caused this previously unknown culture to come straight into a worldwide spotlight.

BBC states on a page of their website dedicated to the Bongo people that, “their expertise and knowledge of the forests is unique,” but that, “commercial logging is destroying [the forest] at an alarming rate.”

This logging industry has greatly decreased the amount of forest that they can live in. The forests have direct ties to their culture, since “types of initiations are completely integrated into the landscape,” said Knight. This means that their culture is also becoming greatly affected by commercial logging.

“I hope that I have given you some insight into the complexity of the situation of the pygmy forest peoples in Gabon,” said Knight as she concluded her lecture.

“I came to see Judith Knight because we had read her articles for my anthropology class,” said first-year Caroline Szendey, “and it really helped give a voice to her articles. However, I wish I could have heard more about her personal experiences.”