What's New at Admissions?

Although it did not become public knowledge until the summer, the spring of 2013 was a tumultuous time for the college admissions department. Due to a number of ill conceived decisions, misunderstandings, and miscommunications, the College found itself dangerously under-enrolled for the fall of 2013. A series of emergency responses managed to heal much of the damage over the course of the summer and fall, but budgetary scars still remain. With this in mind, The Point News sat down with St. Mary’s new Dean of Admissions, Gary Sherman, to discuss this year’s college acceptance season.

Sherman’s first order of business has been analyzing the mistakes made last year. One of the biggest that he identified was a misinterpretation of applications coming through the Common Application (Common App), which St. Mary’s first began accepting for the class of 2017. Not all applications are equal. Some come from people who are very likely to enroll if accepted while others come from people who are less likely to enroll if accepted. The mathematical representation of this likelihood is what Sherman refers to as an application’s yield. Yield is affected by a great many factors such as academic history, financial status, and the type of application. According to Sherman, the common app has a far lower yield than traditional applications for the simple reason that it is easy to fill out and send to a large number of schools. Traditional applications, in contrast, are more likely to come from people who are specifically interested in attending St. Mary’s. When the common app swelled applications last year, the admissions process failed to account for the less reliable nature of these applications and so accepted too few students.

Sherman is determined to avoid any such errors this year. In addition to avoiding the mistakes of last year, he pointed out that changes to the Common App fee have likely made it slightly higher yielding; an important piece of information for someone who is committed to avoiding over-enrollment as well as under-enrollment.

In addition to the Common App, SMCM has a unique application process that is receiving renewed attention this year. As every student who applied to the College before last year remembers,the  St. Mary’s application was known for its open-endedness and eclectic focus. In keeping with this tradition and style, the unique application this year asks for an essay on “the seven wonders of your life,” a prompt that is meant to offer a wide variety of responses which will also provide uniquely interesting information about applicants to reviewers.

There have been several nuanced shifts in the policies of the Admissions Department over the past year. For one, Sherman claims that the Department is putting considerably more effort into applicant outreach. Application reviewers are now more actively providing advice and support for prospective students. One-on-one interviews are now standard for virtually all applicants, a process that used to be available to only a portion. The college currently employs six student counselors, all of which are SMCM alumni, who focus on easing the enrollment process for applicants. Five of these counselors work with potential first-years while the sixth is exclusively focused on coordinating with potential transfer students. In addition to dedicated counselors, certain prospective students have been linked up with faculty members who can provide insight and advice regarding specialized tracks of study. For example, during the interview, Sherman pointed out that St. Mary’s Artist-in-Residence Brian Ganz was on his way to meet with a promising student in Annapolis. The Department has also modified the campus tour guide program by shrinking the size of tour groups and increasing the frequency with which they run. The hope is that this will enable prospective students to get a better sense of the campus and interact with their guide more.

Looking to the future, Sherman described several long term goals for his Department and the admissions program as a whole. He sees considerable value in making sure that the College continues to attract minority and first-generation college students. On the subject of diversity, he also wants to expand the number of out-of-state students enrolled at St. Mary’s. Out-of-state students not only expand the geographical diversity of the school but also provide considerably more tuition than in-state students. He acknowledged that this goal faces an uphill battle as the overall number of out-of-state St. Mary’s students is falling.

Overall, Sherman is highly optimistic. At present, the College has received 125 deposits from accepted early decision applicants, up from 78 this time last year.

Edit: The original version of this article misidentified the organization in charge of the Common Application, it is the Common Application Inc.

FUSE Presents Annual 'Vagina Monologues'

On the evenings of February 14 and 15  in the auditorium of Montgomery Hall 25, the student group of FUSE, Feminists United for Sexual Equality, hosted their annual production of The Vagina Monologues, a recital of various excerpts from Eve Ensler’s original play drafted in 1996. Every year around Valentines Day, a small group of about twenty students performs their own renditions of Ensler’s diverse soliloquies based on women of varying ages, backgrounds and feminine experiences, accompanied by the performances of the St. Mary’s co-ed a capella group, Interchorus.

Every year, the production seems to draw a crowd of both women and men eager to see the performances of their peers. The production begins with an introduction of the monologues as being a collection of interviews from women of all walks of life, slowly taking audiences through the throes of awkward “first times,” childbirth, and the tragedies of sexual abuse. Performed in the first person, these pieces seem to rope the audience into the most intimate perspectives of self-discovery and appreciation as a woman, whether they are indeed women or not.

One particularly gripping monologue is that of “The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could,” performed by sophomore Emi Petrillo. The monologue itself, though full of heartbreaking and cringe worthy moments, proves to be one of a woman’s triumphant recovery from sexual assault as a child. Through her lifetime of self-loathing and fear, she finally comes to love herself as an adult. “I honestly really love it,” said Petrillo of her monologue. “In a lot of ways I feel like I related to my character in the sense that loving your vagina is something that people have to learn.”

However this event is not only one of promoting a feminist awareness about women’s experiences, but also one of charity for local women in the community. This year’s proceeds from the performances were donated to Walden Sierra, a local nonprofit agency of Southern Maryland dedicated to mental health services and treatment for trauma. This alignment to Walden Sierra is just one of the many ways by which FUSE uses The Vagina Monologues to both help and entertain its audiences. Senior Emma Kaufman, President of FUSE, explains what she hopes to be the positive influence of the show and its opportunities to help the students who come out to see it.

“The Vagina Monologues is a safe space in which many taboo topics are touched on that are usually kept under wraps,” said Kaufman. “Not many people are aware of the healing benefits of discussing these issue, but that’s what makes the Monologues so important–they offer a venue for that healing and understanding to take place.”

Through the various soliloquies performed during The Vagina Monologues, both the performers and audience alike are taken on an emotional journey, with humorous and sobering elements along the way. The combination of theatrical performance, therapeutic moments, and the dedication to a good cause make the event one of the more interesting ones that come to this campus.

Baseball Season Off to a Smooth Start

The SMCM baseball team started their season off right with a win over Christopher Newport University. The final score was 4-3 with this being their first win in conference games. The team was led by captains Sam Beatty, Alex Lenovitz, Luke Green, and Sam Coe. Along with the captains, the team consists of eight first-years, six sophomores, nine juniors, and seven seniors. This first win against Christopher Newport University brings hope for this season that the team will continue to bring home wins for St. Mary’s as the team will be looking forward to rectifying last season’s record of 14-24.

The recent trend of winter weather has thrown a wrench into the scheduled season for the baseball team.  Head Coach Lew Jenkins announced that the home-opening series against Gwynedd Mercy University which would have taken place over the weekend of February 15and 16 has been cancelled. While this cancels the team’s first three-game series, their next three-game series will be against Mount St. Mary’s on February 22. The team’s next conference game will be on March 7 against York College of Pennsylvania. The game against York will be important to the team in that they won one out of three games played against them last season, but if the first game is any indication, this will be a great season. Before their next conference game, the team will face Randolph-Macon College on February 27, McDaniel College for a two-game series on March 1, and Gettysburg College on March 2.

For those who are interested in attending any future games, visit the homepage for St. Mary’s College of Maryland athletics to be up to date on times and events for future games. Also be sure to look out for emails about future games and go out to support our team!

Pop Culture: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

When I heard on Feb. 3, that the world had lost one of its greatest talents the day before, we on The Point News staff reminisced. Philip Seymour Hoffman, born in Fairport, New York, and most recently known for his work in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (the movie adaptation of Book Two of The Hunger Games series) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (the two-part movie adaptation of Book Three of the same series), in the role of Plutarch Heavensbee, was found dead in an apartment in New York City, New York, at age 46.

Hoffman received his Bachelor’s degree in Drama from New York University (NYU) and started acting almost immediately – it only took him two years to get from average college graduate to his first TV spot. He developed his own trademarks, things that would let everyone know who he was, including his very particular speech and facial expressions. Over the years, he would enjoy success in over 60 roles on the big and small screen.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was always one of my favorite actors, because I liked everything he did. In fact, no one I have spoken to said that they did not enjoy the performances he has put on, whether they saw him in a movie or got lucky enough to see him on the stage. A few people said that even if they did not understand or like the movie, they could appreciate Hoffman’s role and performance; everything he did was very well done. There are very few actors I can say that no matter what, they are good. It has gotten to the point where I look at a cast list for a movie I think looks interesting, see Hoffman’s name, and think, “Hey, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s in it, it must be good,” and even if the movie didn’t turn out to be very good, I always thought he was.

His television/film career began when with a guest spot on Law & Order in 1991 (in an episode titled “The Violence of Summer”), and from there his success skyrocketed, as his talent was discovered. What makes Hoffman so unique? Among his many trademarks, the reason he was considered so great was that he really could do anything. It is the reason people love him; he is not the type of actor that can only portray one type of personality, and therefore all of his/her characters need to be similar to that personality. He could be anyone he wanted his audience to believe him to be, running through a very wide range of emotions (often while playing a single character in a short span of time), a talent that is very rare – while many actors are typecast, it would have been impossible to typecast Hoffman, because he was not good at only one thing.

In addition to his role as Plutarch, Hoffman is best known for his roles in The Big Lebowski (1998), Capote (2005), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Doubt (2008), and The Master (2012). In addition to acting in movies, he acted on stage (most recently known for Death of a Salesman) and directed theater productions. He was nominated for a large number of awards, winning more than 60 awards, 23 of which were for his role in Capote and included a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

Eric Schroeder Named Student Trustee for 2015-2016

Eric Schroeder, a sophomore, was named last week as the Student Trustee-in-Training for the 2014-2015 academic year. During this time, Schroeder will be trained by next year’s Student Trustee, junior Taylor Schafer, before taking over as the official Student Trustee in 2015. Schroeder is the treasurer for the class of 2016, a senator for Lewis Quad (LQ), a staff writer for The Point News, and a student conduct board member. He is double majoring in Political Science and American Public Policy and minoring in Economics.

The Student Trustee is a position designed to facilitate communication between the student body and the College’s Board of Trustees. Students use the Student Trustee as a sounding board for all of their questions and concerns regarding the direction of the College’s comprehensive plans for the coming years, and the Student Trustee will then voice these concerns to the Board of Trustees.

“I plan to give the student body a voice to the Board of Trustees, because I believe that is the most important aspect of my position,” said Schroeder of his role in serving the College. “This means that I want get more opinions from those who are hyper-connected on campus. I want to get the voices and opinions of those who regularly might not be able to voice their opinions whether because of sports practice, rehearsals, study groups, or any other commitments.”

Considering the College’s unstable financial situation last spring following the unexpected shortage in accepted students, Schroeder plans to make the College’s finances one of his priorities. “This is a problem that the whole campus should have input on and I will work to make that happen,” he said. “I understand that this is something that is hard for any Student Trustee to accomplish, so I want to make sure that this is something I actively work on.”

Schroeder will be introduced to the Board of Trustees at their general session meeting on Saturday, Feb. 22 in Glendening Annex at 8:30 am. The meeting is open to the public, including all students, faculty, and staff.

Stephanie Strickland Presents Electronic Poetry at VOICES Reading

By Danielle Fullerton

On the night of Thursday February 6th, Stephanie Strickland came from New York to the St. Mary’s Boyden Gallery. Strickland has recently written her seventh poetry book, Dragon Logic, and has worked on electronic poetry.

The VOICES Reading Series with Strickland filled Boyden Gallery, so much so that more chairs had to be brought in to accommodate incoming guests. Along with a mix of faculty members from various departments, there was a diverse audience of students from physics and computer science to art and English. Her presentation covered a variety of interests around the room and resonated with the students.  The first half of the presentation, she read from her book Dragon Logic and the other half included, the Sea and Spar, Between.

Strickland has not always been a poet. She started out as a librarian at Sarah Lawrence before joining the Society of Literature and Science and Arts (SLSA).  The SLSA allowed Strickland to combine her love of science and arts, in order to make her digital poetry. The digital poetry is truly poetry of the future and visually stimulating.

When I had the chance to interview Strickland, she explained to me her inspirations for her innovative poetry.

“I have always loved science and I always wanted to bring together the real world and the most adventurous ways of representing it that I know about.”

She has always been fascinated with how language interacts with the real world and science.

The question of “How does language hold its own on a world of images and movement?” is answered through her electronic poetry, which involves nature and film to display it. She recently collaborated on the electronic poem, Sea and Spar Between with Nick Montfort. The electronic poems can be found on Stephanie Strickland’s website:  www.stephaniestrickland.com

'Double-A Cabaret' Back for More

On Friday, Feb. 7, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland music department hosted The Double A Cabaret, an evening of live music in the big band style, complete with an orchestra and several student singers. The event took place in Bruce Davis Theater, where the venue had been filled with extra seating and special guest tables for a restaurant cabaret feel. Dressed to the nines, students sang a variety of jazz pop, show tunes, and crooner favorites, from “My Funny Valentine” to “Mack the Knife,” ending with a group finale rendition of “Somethin’s Gotta Give.”

The evening, directed by John McFarland and Larry Vote, was accompanied by the musical talents of professionals and students alike. Several performers from the Navy band, including Don Stapelson and Jordan McRae, were there to play. Big Band pianist Jerry Ascione was a delight throughout the evening. Overall, Double A Cabaret was the delightful outcome of weeks of work on the part of the performers and the band, and a shared love of the music of greats like Sinatra and Bobby Darin.

Humor Column: A Guide to Getting Someone to Go Out with You

Did this Valentine’s Day end with you crying over a big box of Russell Stover as you shoveled whipped cream in your mouth in the soft glow of The Notebook on DVD? Then you, like me, failed to get closer to completing your biological imperative this year. Again. However, to prevent a repeat in the coming 364 days, I’ve created an ingenious guide for getting attractive singles to notice you. This is my guide to getting creative while asking someone out on a date.

1. Stage a Robbery

How to: Have a friend dress up in the latest vagabond fashion. These days, it would probably be an eye mask and a stripey shirt, or a soiled orange jumpsuit for that real sense of fresh-out-the-pen desperation. Have them confront your potential lover with a water pistol, and threats of “Gimme your cash, see! I’m a wanted man, see!” Then simply approach your chum and give him the ol’ one-two. Observers will naturally assume that your assertive, no-nonsense approach gave the robber second thoughts, which is why he didn’t discharge his weapon. Several reputable TV shows have proven that a person is then obligated to go out with you, as their rescuer. It’s basically the law.

Cons: There a slight risk of failure with this approach which can lead to some embarrassing results. First of all, the rescue can fail. Maybe your love interest develops Stockholm syndrome and ends up beaning you when you show up. Maybe your friend punches back and it turns into an actual fight, all because Steve thinks he’s so funny.  Finally, maybe someone, either victim or bystander, calls the actual police. If you don’t turn yourself in at the scene, you can bet that doink Steve is taking you down for a lighter sentence. As you can imagine, getting arrested for masterminding your crush’s mugging is slightly more embarrassing than just asking your crush out on a date straight out.

 

2. Fake an Accent

How to: People dig an accent. It masks your mundane existence in a shroud of exotic intrigue and romantic possibility. It’s also a suggestion of casual eroticism, something that screams “Why yes, I have been to a nude beach.” Simply choose a country (real or fake), and craft an accent. We suggest using Inigo Montoya as the foundation of your accent. While you’re at it, why not pretend you’re exiled royalty? You’re already a dirty liar, so what do you have to lose! Simply charm your lover into that outing!

Cons: If you succeed in eliciting a date from someone while faking an accent, you will of course have to keep up the pretense of having this accent for the rest of your relationship with this person, and then in any further casual interaction you have. Worse, if you choose to go the ousted monarch route, there is a million percent chance they will tell someone, and that person tells everyone, and then you’ll have to deal with that cretin Steve calling you “Your Highness” and prostrating himself at your feet every time you want to leave your damn room.

 

3. Pretend to Drown at the Beach

How to: This is a seasonal dating technique, specially favored for summer loving. When you spot your squeeze at the shore, simply sneak off into the water, and pretend you can’t swim. Flail your arms, throw in a mention of how you wish you could seen the orphans and puppies you volunteer with one last time. Your crush will pull you from the water and perform CPR, like any decent, upstanding citizen. After performing mouth-to-mouth and realizing how minty fresh all those Mentos have made your breath, they won’t be able to resist getting coffee with you.

Cons: So, maybe it turns out your crush is less decent and upstanding than you might have imagined. Maybe it is like you always feared, and they don’t even know you’re alive, even if that may soon not be the case. Or worse, maybe the actual lifeguard has spotted you first, and knowing that mouth-to-mouth is an outdated technique, proceeds to pound furiously on your chest until you’re coughing for mercy. Why, oh why did Steve have to be a lifeguard?

 

4. Give Up

How to: Realize that this person is never going to give in to your obvious advances and swear that you will never love again. Seal yourself in a cage of in-your-face loneliness and sorrow. In time, this person you’re interested in is bound to ask you what’s wrong, at which time you will moodily answer with a passive aggressive “Nothing. Just…nothing.” Your love will surely be sorry then. The remainder of their nights on this earth will be spent lying awake wondering what could have tormented you so, thinking, “If only I had gone out on a date with them or something. Then our lives would have been so much more complete.”

Cons: The setback with this is that’s it’s literally the stupidest thing on Earth. The only person who will ever know or care that you didn’t get what you want will always be you, if you don’t even bother to ask. I’m being so serious right now. And I know you’re mad right now because you’ve heard this all before, but there’s literally no other option. Be like, “Hey, can I take you out sometime?” and if they say no, say, “No worries, let me know if you change your mind.” Is having to get over someone who rejected you really any better then having to get over someone you’re too afraid to take a shot at? No? Then for Pete’s sake, Steve, will you please just go get some gelato with me? I’ve been manufacturing these fake dating scenarios with you as my accomplice for months just so you’d notice me!

Zombies Invade During the Valentine’s Day Weekend

During the Valentine’s Day weekend, while lovers were dining out or exchanging gifts, zombies and humans were fighting a fierce battle for survival…at least they will be until the end of the mini-game on Sunday, Feb. 16. Humans versus Zombies (HvZ) is a popular tag-based survival game popular on college campuses throughout the United States.

People sign up to be humans, while one or two people are assigned the role of Original Zombie (OZ). The OZs tag people, turning them into zombies. As the game progresses, zombies try to “eat” as many humans as possible, and the humans fight back with weapons that range from socks stuffed with more socks, to nerf guns. It gets very involved and as you walk through the campus, you can see zombies (wearing bandanas around their heads) waiting behind bushes or pillars and their human counterparts (wearing bandanas on their arms) alert and ready to send a sock flying to stun the zombie for just long enough to flee.

HvZ is a club on campus that is headed by sophomore Hannah Dickmeyer, sophomore Dalton Haber, sophomore Orion Hartmann, junior Erik Fisher and senior Katie Boyle. Usually games last a week, so the special three-day mini-game (from Friday, Feb. 14, to Sunday, Feb. 16) was especially packed with missions to allow players to get the most out of the experience. The theme was medieval in nature and the humans had to protect their emperor as well as accomplish objectives. If the human emperor died, the zombies would get a queen who could make the zombies active again and, therefore, make it a lot harder for the humans to win. Sophomore and executive board member of HvZ Orion Hartmann said, “The best part of the game is that you’re always playing. Everyone starts out as a human and when you die you just switch teams and have different objectives. It’s an entirely different playing style and it’s fabulous.”

Since the mini-game has a medieval flare, there are lords and relics in addition to the human and zombie emperors. One of the missions that took place on Saturday, Feb. 15 was an excavation to find holy relics, in the form of pool noodles – if the excavator was tagged, the relic would go to the zombies and they would be able to use the relic against the humans. The excavator was surrounded by humans going to and from the excavation site, as well as while they were there. While at the site, the excavator had to “dig up” the relic, staying there for a certain amount of time before taking them back to where all the humans would meet again. The relics were then purified in another mission that day, allowing the humans to use them as weapons against the zombies. Sophomore Acer Lewis thought that “it was awesome, and it is somehow fun to be terrified all the time.”

Keep an eye out for the full-game coming up either in late March or early April, and be sure to sign up for an exciting, post-apocalyptic tag game where you can get exercise, a history lesson, and the camaraderie of being a surviving human or a still-active zombie.

Yummy's Korean and Japanese is…Yummy

Every time I drove down Great Mills Road last semester on my way to tutoring sessions at Carver Elementary, I was always intrigued by a tiny gray shack with a sign for “Yummy’s Korean and Japanese.” In my experience, restaurants with adjectives for names – especially adjectives promising that the food is good – are always a little dubious. After considering the fact that it was located in a small standalone building  in front of a trailer park, however, I was convinced that this place had to be good – a diamond in the rough, if you will. How else would it still be in business?

Don’t let first impressions fool you; Yummy’s is the real deal. On the recent Thursday evening that my friends and I went to dinner there, we were the only eat-in customers in the restaurant’s small but very clean dining area with red and black oriental decor. It’s definitely a family-owned place. The cook’s kids were sitting in the corner doing their schoolwork, which made the place feel very home-y, as if we were eating in their family dining room. A family dining room punctuated by steady phone calls for take-out.

The first thing we concluded after browsing the menu is that Yummy’s is cheap, which made our college-student wallets breathe a sigh of relief. On their sushi menu, you can get an avocado or cucumber roll for $2.95, and their most expensive rolls (caterpillar or baked scallop, the latter of which my friend ordered and enjoyed, and he’s not a huge sushi fan) were only $6.95.

The main meat dishes here were Korean bulgogi beef and Japanese chicken teriyaki,  which you can have served on a plate with a side of seaweed salad, squid salad, or kimchi (spicy Korean cabbage). You also had the option of putting these meats in a burrito or a sub.

Yummy’s also had a few specials written up on a whiteboard behind the counter, and from these choices I ordered the bibimbap. It’s a popular Korean dish made with of clumps of beef, steamed spinach, cucumber, broccoli, fried egg, rice noodles, and shredded carrots over a bed of rice and some spicy red chili sauce on the side.  Mix it together and bibimBAP. Deliciousness. The different colors and textures of the dish make for a meal that is pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds. Another positive aspect of the bibimbap was the fresh ingredients, which complimented each other without a hint of the gummy MSG usually found in Asian take-out.

One friend ordered a side of lumpia, beef-filled Filipino egg rolls that she appreciated for their crunchy savoriness, as well as the Las Vegas sushi roll, deep-fried with avocado, salmon, cream cheese, and eel sauce, which she said was equally delightful. Another dining partner ordered the special of yaki soba noodles and vegetables, as well as an avocado roll, and he left feeling very full and happy indeed.

We decided that a return trip to Yummy’s is definitely in order, as we are growing tired of other Asian take-out options in the County. If you yourself would like to give this hidden gem a try, I advise you to plan accordingly: Yummy’s closes at 7 p.m. (earlier than most restaurants). After all, those kids have to get their sleep. But if you go for a filling, tasty, and cheap early dinner, you will not be disappointed.

Yummy’s Korean and Japanese Fusion Cuisine, 21009 Great Mills Rd., Lexington Park, MD 20653, (301) 737-0191