Whether you come across her casually informing students on every detail of genius philosophers, or nestled in her desk space translating an entire book from French to English, Samantha Bankston has a wide array of knowledge and is eager to share with an open mind.
“I love to teach a class where it’s egalitarian, so I’m not seen as an authority figure but rather guiding the students and helping them acquire knowledge through their own means,” said Bankston about her ideal classroom.
Bankston teaches a variety of subjects in the Humanities at Sierra Nevada College, including French, Philosophy, English, Composition and Literature. She completed her undergrad in her hometown of Boulder at the University of Colorado, and achieved her PhD in Philosophy at Purdue University in West Lafayette, an outstanding achievement in her life.
“Getting a PhD in Philosophy is probably my greatest accomplishment, that was a lifelong process,” said Bankston.
Bankston specializes in the works of Gilles Deleuze, a French philosopher who wrote pieces regarding philosophy, literature, film and fine art.
“I’m currently writing two books on him, one called ‘Deleuze and Becomings’ with Bloomsbury, the publisher that did the Harry Potter books. I’m also writing a book on Deleuze and Zizek with Powell Grave McMillen, which is another international publishing house,” said Bankston.
Along with the two books she is currently working on, Bankston has published a book that she translated entirely from French to English. Starting French language at age 4 in private school, she continued through her undergrad studies. She went on to study abroad in France, eventually teaching at a university in the Alps the year prior to coming to SNC.
“It was an amazing experience and it was interesting seeing a different university system as well, the French university system is a lot different than ours,” said Bankston
After her travels, Bankston felt a pull to the West Coast, and during grad school, she realized she wanted to work at a small private liberal arts school.
“It’s like Dead Poets Society, a small community where you can get to know each of the students better, and they really value their education. I wanted to work at a school like that, so SNC was perfect,” said Bankston.
Knowing from the start that she wanted to be involved in the Philosophy department, she decided the best way to go about that would be to get a job in the field.
“The job market in philosophy is fairly difficult, so someone is just lucky to even get a job as a philosophy teacher,” said Bankston. “I’m especially fortunate to have this job in such a beautiful place in the west, and I identify in the west and the mountains so I’m content with where I’m at.”
A lover of both snowboarding and hiking, Bankston appreciates the outdoors and the beautiful surroundings of Tahoe.
Although her life may sound hectic and work filled, she loves being outside, relaxing, hanging out with friends, taking naps, art, and reading for leisure.
“There are so many books that I love, it’s more like authors that I love: Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Deleuze, so many people. I try to bring all my favorite authors into class as much as I can. I love all of Salinger’s books, that’s why I’m teaching an English class specifically on him.”
Bankston loves a classroom where all of the students have completed the reading and are fully involved and engaged and passionate about the subject.
Having a really dynamic classroom atmosphere is ideal in her mind, and she thrives to help individuals understand the complex interworking of the minds of philosophers.
SAMANTHA BANKSTON has a PhD in Philosophy and enoys teaching in an egalitarian setting, where she is mentoring an engaged class.
Name: Marina McCoy
Hometown: Rutland, Vermont
What brought you to SNC?
I used to be on the snowboard team in High School, through which SNC did a lot of advertising through and seeing as SNC had a snowboard team out here, that’s what drew me out here. But then when I got here there was just so much more than what I expected, I didn’t even know about how awesome the summers and the lake were and I just fell in love, so it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What are the main differences that you have noticed between the two areas?
They have some similar aspects. The thing about here is that there is such a solid group of friends that are always willing to do something. Out here everyone is so down to go hiking in the morning or go climbing at night. There is just always something to do to. Even just hanging out by yourself and going down to the lake is pretty incredible. The people here are really awesome.
What is your major and what drew you to it?
I have two different degrees; I am working towards a BSBA in Ski Business and Resource Management and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability. What drew me to the Ski Business degree was when my dad took me to Snowsports Industries America Snow Show when I was a Senior in high school and I just fell in love with the Ski Industry. When I came out here I took a class called Eco-Psychology, which used to be a CORE class and I think it still should be, and it really inspired my environmental awareness. In high school, I won a lot of environmental awards, but it never clicked that it was my passion until I came out here and took that class. It really changed my idea of what I wanted to do and then I added on that degree as well
How has your major changed your perspective of the world around you and how you live your daily life?
Well, I used to want to be Miss America. I used to compete in beauty pageants and I modeled when I was younger. I was raised with a completely different perspective. That all changed when my parents divorced and I moved in with my dad. My mom used to model and it was sort of pushed on me, because every girl wants to be like her mom for the most part. So I used to want to do that and I never really felt comfortable in my skin. We would go shopping and I used to have so much stuff. I would be putting on lots of makeup before going to school and I was very materialistic. Now that I have studied sustainability more, I have become more of a naturalist and I am trying to live more simply; to minimize all of the stuff that I have. I don’t really do anything to my hair. I don’t wear makeup or any of that stuff. I’m not saying that it’s bad for people who do, as it’s their decision, but I just feel much more confident and I like becoming more comfortable with myself. I really love realizing that you are sacred and worthy of everything that comes your way. I think that it helped me in an extremely positive way.
Where do you see those two degrees taking you in the future, personally and with your career?
I want my career to be in sustainability more than in the ski industry, though I did do an internship for Protect Our Winters last year and I really enjoyed it. My other main passion is music. I am all about live music and concerts. So I like being able to take something, like a festival that has a huge carbon footprint, and trying to minimize it as much as possible. I see myself working in the music industry in the sustainability aspect, because there is something about music that just takes me over. It’s just awesome.
CORBIN USINGER / EAGLE’S EYE
SENIOR MARINA MCCOY enjoys the wooded environment around Lake Tahoe.
Every year the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) hosts the largest gathering of publishers, poets, novelists, memoirists, editors, and schools that have programs dedicated to creative writing. Just about anyone who supports the creative writing process attends this event. This was my second year, and it was one of the most important and intense experiences in my young career as a poet.
It is hard to describe the scope of AWP. With over 13,000 writers of all genres, several acres of conference space, hundreds of discussion panels whose topics range from “Race, Gender, and Machine Translation,” to “Practical Information for Post-MFA Writing Life,” as well as the little secret pockets of off site events that are said to be the real heart of AWP, the four days that encompass this grand adventure are daunting.
This year’s panels were a little disappointing, at least from my end. This lackluster can be summed up by the fact that on the panel “Women Writing War,” there was not a single female veteran that presented their work. The panel was designed to highlight tensions that have long existed in war writing, tensions between man and woman, civilian and veteran. Yet, the absence of writers who can remove the question of authority on writing war left me and a few others with a bad taste. How can they effectively have a discussion on long held stigmas within the writing community without showing how these tensions are changing, or even being eliminated? This left me in a somewhat dejected mood, and I decided that this was going to be a year for off-site events, and more focus on the book fair.
The book fair and expo was held in a space that spanned several acres, with booths set up by universities, small publishing collectives and large publishing firms. A company that creates tabletop games with complex story lines hosted another booth. There is something for every one, for poets and all others alike.
Sierra Nevada College’s booth was probably the best in terms of aesthetics. With red curtains, a wooden frame, and copper light fixtures, it resembled a Moroccan tent. All we needed were beanbag chairs and a hookah, from which we would have been able to channel William S. Burroughs, sans opium. The New School had their booth set up across from ours and I went over on Friday afternoon to say hi, and check out their wares. I was greeted with a warm smile by Eli Nadeau, the out-going editor for LIT, The New School’s literary journal, and she told me about their off-site event that evening, a poetry reading by Paul Cunningham, Sade Murphy, Eunsong Kim, & Jasmine Wagner. Since it was held at MAYDAY Books, an anarchist information collective based in Minneapolis, I knew I had to attend.
The cab dropped me off in front of the bookstore about 15 minutes before the reading. Not knowing anyone, I decided to lubricate my social gears with the free wine and introduce myself. This is where I serendipitously met two graduate students from Notre Dame’s MFA program, who I will be working with in the fall. This made me quite literally jump with joy, and we instantly had a profound connection. It was one of those indescribable life-affirming moments that few people get to experience. We often talk about networking, making connections, and building contacts within our respective fields. This was nothing so crass and vulgar as trying to meet someone for the advancement of your career. We gathered on common purpose, to share the most intimate and darkest pieces of ourselves, to learn, grow and heal with each other. This is what AWP is about. It is not the tossing around of business cards, of schmoozing with potentially useful people to advance our own careers. Nor is it about competing with others in a frantic and fast paced environment. It is about building a community of like-minded people, of regaining trust in humanity, with cooperation, love, and art coming before the self and individual desire.
After the wonderful readings by the fabulous poets who touched my heart, we all decided to dine at a local Ethiopian restaurant. The bonding continued as the drinks and food flowed from the kitchen to our stomachs, and from our hearts flowed our stories. As the dinner conversation continued, there came the sounds of club anthems (circa 2005) from the adjoining building. It became obvious that we were destined to dance the night away.
In an alcoholic haze I remember having conversations about eco-poetics, continental philosophy, gender and queer theory, lived experiences, and other subjects with some of the most brilliant and beautiful people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. The night was wasted away gloriously with the music, the booze, the food, and the people all churning my very being. It was inspiring and, quite honestly, a little intimidating. I was removed from my sheltered position at Sierra Nevada College into the broader reality that is often forgotten.
The next day was mostly a hungover blur, as my mind and body were both near an irrevocable collapse. I chose to spend the day huddled in the hotel room reading through the pile of poetry books that I had acquired the day before. My heart was too heavy for anything academic, and I let myself soak in poetry, bathe in the words of countless other artists that I know had had a similarly profound experience. AWP 2015 was an absolutely necessary life experience, and the connections I made there, and will continue to grow as I leave for graduate school, will remain with me until the day I die. I’d like to close with a piece of advice. To all the new creative writing and English students here at SNC, go to AWP next year! I’d better see you there.
Veteran Patrick Maxwell received a flurry of media attention during the past few months. The New York Times, NPR, and the Texas Standard all vied for interviews, and the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” Reddit, was awash in speculation about Maxwell’s recent activities.
Although Maxwell’s term of enlistment in the United State Marine Corps ended in 2011, he recently put a real estate career in Austin, Texas on hold to return to the Middle East as a volunteer troop.
Maxwell paid a visit to Incline Village this April to spend the weekend with his friend and fellow veteran, Sierra Nevada College Sophomore Anthony Martin. Martin said that they first met a few years ago.
“I went down to visit some buddies in Austin, and he lives in Austin,” said Martin. “So we all decided to meet up and get some beers. It’s kind of funny. Marine Corps infantry is so small that you can know one person and kind of know everybody.”
But before Maxwell, a Texas native, came to visit the Tahoe Basin, he decided to embark on a much longer voyage, to the northern region of Iraq also known as Kurdistan. Prior to this trip, Maxwell had deployed on several occasions to Iraq during his eight-year term of service. His experience informed his decision to make a return trip in early December of 2014.
“I just wanted to get away for a while, away from my job. I was kind of burnt out,” said Maxwell. “I saw all of the atrocities happening in Kobani, and I thought it would be kind of cool to get over there and join them before it became another Alamo.”
Maxwell took the money for travel and equipment expenses out of his savings account. He bought life insurance that would cover him in the event of a tragedy. This brought his total trip cost up to approximately $7,000.
“Once you disclose that you’re doing something like that all that you find is pretty pricey,” said Maxwell of his search for life insurance.
Although he had originally planned on going to the city of Kobani, a battlefront in Syria, Maxwell got in touch with a Kurdish army lieutenant through Facebook, and packed his bags shortly thereafter.
“I ended up not going to Syria, but to northern Iraq instead,” said Maxwell.
Prior to traveling, Maxwell met a Canadian veteran named Dillon Hillier, who was also in touch with the Kurdish lieutenant and en-route to the region.
“Dillon got there about two weeks before me,” said Maxwell. “I wasn’t really worried about it being a trap, but once he got there and didn’t have his head cut off, I knew it wasn’t.”
Kurdistan is a large region spanning several Middle Eastern countries including Turkey, Iran and Syria. The Kurdish military in Iraq, also known as the Peshmerga, have been highly effective and instrumental in the conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
When Maxwell arrived at the airport in Sulaimaniya, Iraq, Hillier and the Peshmerga lieutenant he had contacted through Facebook were there to meet him.
“On the day I got there, we attended a change over ceremony where one shift left and another shift came on,” said Maxwell. “About 200 meters away, right across the river, there was a flag and a block house with three or four ISIL militants in it, and 600 to 700 meters back was their main base. They had a little watchtower right there.”
The date was December 17, and it was Kurdistan’s flag day.
“They were like ‘Hey we’re going to take that flag down with machine gun fire because it’s our flag day,’” said Maxwell.
U.S. citizens have a history of traveling to fight in foreign wars. During the Spanish Civil War, a coalition of nearly 3,000 American men and women formed the Abraham Lincoln Battalion to help fight fascism alongside the soldiers of the Spanish Republic. During World War I, American pilots volunteered to serve with the French Air Service in a detachment called the Lafayette Escadrille.
When Maxwell and Dillon arrived in Kurdistan, they were given a shipping container to sleep in. The Peshmerga gave them weapons, ammunition and food, but the pair were both acting in a voluntary capacity with no compensation. They fought alongside the Kurdish army for a period of seven weeks, but the atmosphere began to change.
“A few westerners started trickling in here and there, but we didn’t really deal with them a lot. We had our own routine down,” said Maxwell. “They were civilians that didn’t have any military experience. Me and Dillon were trained combat veterans.”
Maxwell also said his American status made it difficult to be viewed as an equal by the native army.
“These guys were more worried about our safety than they were about treating us like one their guys and putting us on the front lines,” said Maxwell. “They were too distracted by us.”
In late January, Maxwell returned to New York, but not before receiving a warning from a few U.S. Special forces troops he had encountered in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
“They took us aside and told us that what we were doing was ballsy, but that the consulate advised us to stop and go home, and lawyer up,” said Maxwell. “That’s when I talked to Thomas Brennan.”
Brennan, a Marine Corps veteran and graduate student at the Columbia Journalism School in New York, advised Maxwell to come and stay with him.
“He told me, ‘If you get your story out there first before they have a chance to write their narrative, they can’t cast you as some kind of home grown terrorist,’” said Maxwell.
Upon arrival in New York, Maxwell expected to be detained. He was surprised to walk out of the airport unimpeded. From there, he went to stay in Brennan’s apartment.
Before long, Brennan took the story to the New York Times, and a tidal wave of media attention befell Maxwell.
“NPR asked me if I was a Tea Party redneck that was going to fight them [ISIL] over there so I didn’t have to fight them over here,” said Maxwell.
But Maxwell didn’t fit neatly into his prescribed demographic. With nearly a decade of military experience under his belt, including time served in Iraq early on in the conflict, Maxwell had formed his own opinion about U.S. involvement in the region.
“They want more U.S. military involvement,” said Maxwell. “As someone who’s seen the effects of all thirteen years of war, we’re just killing a bunch of 18 to 20-year-old men for no reason. There’s no point to this. Let’s stop doing that.”
Lounging on a black leather sofa in Incline Village and nursing a half-empty Icky IPA, Maxwell reflected on his motivation for returning to the war-torn region.
“A lot of people asked me if it was about friends I lost in the war,” said Maxwell. “It wasn’t. It had nothing to do with 9/11 or my friends in the war. It was a personal motivation. It’s the one time I’ll have a chance to do something like this. I always wanted to work with refugees in war zones. This is the one time I’ll ever be able to take those guys on.”
He smiled and took another sip of beer, adding, “I’ve got the coolest story in the bar.”
Those in attendance of the forum presented questions to a panel of school faculty including Interim President Shannon Beets, Dean of Students Will Hoida and Dianne Severance, Development and Alumni Relations director.
SGA President Aaron Wiener led the forum through a variety of topics. The topics discussed included church facility use, statistics on parking, an update on the president’s house and the cost of lunch at the cafeteria. Before going into the featured topics of the night, the floor was open for any other issues or concerns that students had.
After students requested more information regarding NAIA contract standings, Beets said, “We had the accreditation visit a couple months ago back in February and we will be hearing back from them on April 15.”
Beets also mentioned that if this contract does go through, there would be a push for potential athletic facilities in the future.
The problem students voiced concern about is the potential influx of student-athletes in the already packed dorm rooms.
“We know that we need more housing on campus; that’s something we are looking at as a long-term issue,” said Beets. “Housing is very expensive. From financing to refurbishing is about a $6 million proposition for a dorm that’s roughly the same number of beds as one of our existing facilities. We don’t start capital projects like that unless we have full donor funding.” Beets also said that in the short term, the current facilities could manage an undergrad class of 200.
Sierra Nevada College and Cornerstone community church have a great relationship, according to Beets.
“We have partnered with them to access additional parking for the Holman Arts Center for any art events we have up there,” said Beets. “So the next step in that relationship is to talk with them about facility use and they have told us that they are open to having special events, lectures and other student events on campus.”
SNC is looking to get more access to music practice rooms and use of the sanctuary as an auditorium for potentially larger events that would otherwise be squeezed into the TCES 139/141 building.
While the church is a current short-term option for students looking for parking space, Beets mentioned that as a part of getting the Holman permits approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), the school has promised to not park on the side of the road on the dirt.
“This is actually a violation of our agreement with them,” said Beets. “So in addition to the environmental issues of compacting the soil, we do not want to get in trouble with TRPA.”
Original plans for a parking garage have been scrapped in favor of surface level parking.
“We have permission to build 104 surface level parking spots,” said Beets. “The cost for both sets of 52 is about $1 million because of TRPA and environmental issues related to that.”
There was discussion of potentially implementing permeable parking lots as a more green option to regular asphalt. But the consensus was that while this permeable parking lot option would be greener, the cost of maintenance to keep these parking lots in working condition would be unsustainable economically speaking.
President’s House Update
Severance began by saying that the construction of the house has been put on hold while the school looks for more donor money to restart the building process.
“While we are on this temporary hold, we have applications through Washoe County and TRPA that are still being processed, so the government entitlement piece is going forward, but the real costly pieces of it are on hold,” Severance said.
As part of the donation money for this president’s house, a portion was also set aside for an improved garden. The current additions to the future garden will be an upgraded irrigation system and electricity to control timers for water sprinklers.
Cost of lunch and Sodexo
The issue brought up was the gap of student meal prices versus teacher meal prices. While this has gotten the attention of the faculty, there is no clear-cut plan as of yet.
“It would have been nice to come to you today and say ‘cost of lunch is going to be this’,” said Beets. “But we’re not there yet.”
While there was no set plan for what to do about meal prices, a couple of things were made certain.
“I believe staff lunch prices will go up an
d walk-in student lunch prices will go down,” said Beets. “We will be working on programs to incentivize both faculty, staff and off-campus students to buy a certain number of meals to then receive bonus meals later.”
Another option that is being explored is a Grab and Go vending machine with organic and healthy options that can be bought any time during the day and not just during lunch hours. It’s a low investment option and will not violate the contract with Sodexo.
One other concern brought up was the lack of clarity of individual food prices. Many food options in the cafeteria have a singular item price that most students were unaware of. As of now, the plan is to make a more visible menu for the students looking to purchase singular items and not the meal plan.
FROM LEFT SGA President Aaron Wiener, Director of Facilities Brian Schultes, Dianne Severence, Development and Alumni Relations director, Dean of Students Will Hoida and Interim President Shannon Beets fielded a number of student questions during the forum.
Every Tuesday morning at 8 a.m., the Sierra Nevada College Student Government Association (SGA) meets to discuss how student life could be improved. However, after recent elections, new faces will soon fill the room.
“All of the candidates were introduced and gave speeches. Ballots were then emailed to every student and remained open for three days. The people who took initiative to vote made the elections possible and determined the upcoming board,” said Treasurer Austin Farina.
“Oh man, there are a lot of new faces on SGA this year. Now that is both a blessing and a challenge, but I have utmost confidence in our new board and think everyone will take to their new positions swiftly and with great enthusiasm,” said Farina.
According to Farina, the upcoming board is looking forward to assuming their new roles in the fall, and says that the new board members want to bridge the gap between on and off-campus students by holding events available to everyone.
“As SGA President, I would love to work on more events to include our off-campus students. I’ve lived both on and off-campus so I have experienced both points of view,” said President LeRoy. “Ultimately, I am on the board so that everyone feels as if they’re as much a part of this community as possible.”
If you want to get involved in SGA; all students are welcome to attend the SGA meetings in the SGA office on the 2nd floor of the Campbell-Friedman dorms. Please inform SGA officials in advance if you would like an item added to the agenda; the deadline is the Monday before each meeting at 4 p.m. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 14, at 8 a.m. according to the SNC SGA website.
The upcoming SGA Executive Board for
President: MeiLi LeRoy
Vice President: Marina McCoy
Treasurer: Austin Farina
Secretary: Ryan Donoghue
Sustainability Chair: Jack Witt
Director of Public Relations: Guilianna Crivello
Director of Events: Nicole Ross
Honor Program students, for the first time, will attend the Western Regional Honors Conference. As students present academic research, schools and organizations find time for recruiting prospective collaborations.
“It’s big. It’s crazy big. There’s going to be lots of students there,” Associate Professor Robert King said. “Primarily colleges are recruiting students for grad school.”
A symposium held on March 23 at Sierra Nevada College, offered conference participants practice to the presentations that will be given at the big conference. On the University of Nevada Reno campus, at the Joe Crowley Student Union building, UNR will host the Western Regional Conference on April 10-12.
In the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, 20 or more SNC community members filled room no. 139 to listen to Junior Juan Sandoval, Junior Estefania Rivera Gonzalez, Freshman Giuliana Crivello and Junior Courtney Potts speak. With complimentary cheese and drinks in hand, members of the crowd tuned in.
“These presentations are a culmination of work students have done this past semester in preparation for the conference,” said Assistant Professor Samantha Bankston.
Sandoval spoke first. His study delved into the nature of american peoples’ perspective on death. Sandoval research sources included palliative and clinical psychologist professionals. He concluded that “death is something we don’t look at in America. It’s memorialized.”
Gonzalez researched the development of Mexico and focused on its relationship with America. She questioned Mexico’s vulnerability, and how does America play a role in it.
“Mexico wants to continue growing economically, and the U.S. wants to continue using quick and cheap resources, so looking at the big picture, both countries win,” Gonzalez said. “But when taking a closer look, Mexico is more dependent on its neighbor to the north and less self reliant.”
Crivello pursued insights into “what it takes to be a manager.” To better understand managerial archetypes, she interviewed current manager and business owner professionals. One thing unanimous through out the mangers she interviewed was “people skills.”
Potts is currently writing a book that provides helpful information to troubled youth.
Her presentation included a partial dramatization from the book that participants in the crowd helped act out.
The symposium ended with a 15 minute Q and A. On the Western Conference Honors Council’s website, http://www.wrhc.nau.edu, last year’s conference program listed 34 different schools in the event. “I feel ready for the conference,” said Gonzalez. “Nervous, but ready.”
The projector flickered and a new slide appeared; spirals, diamonds and primitive renderings of natural objects were lined up next to each other on a white background. Professor René Agostini, of the University of Avignon in France, looked out over the room in silence.
“In the Boyne valley there seems to be a reservoir of primitive art,” Agostini said. “What do you think?”
On Thursday, March 26, Agostini held a lecture on his work with megalithic symbolism in the Holman Arts Center on Tahoe Boulevard. The audience was comprised of several students and faculty members from Sierra Nevada College, as well as many local community members.
“I’m seeing time,” said Senior Emily Provencher, upon inspecting the slide.
Junior Conor Jordan added that one of the symbols looked like a mitochondria.
Agostini was speaking about his research into the prehistoric monument of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland.
“Newgrange was probably a place of astronomic observation, religious ceremonies or rituals, initiation and meditation,” Agostini said. “It must have also been a center of political life. The hypothesis is that the political regime was something very much like the ancient Egyptians. There was something very hierarchical and very cruel probably.”
The circular structure is covered in grass. Inside are several corridors and tombs that have been well preserved by time. According to an Irish tourism site, the mound was constructed in approximately 3200 B.C., some 700 years prior to the construction of the Egyptian pyramids in Giza.
“Everything I will tell you tonight is a pale substitute for the direct experience of going there and being there and sensing the place as it is,” said Agostini.
Agostini, introduced by English Chair June Saraceno as a “poet, philosopher, scholar and translator,” may be working on a working relationship between the University of Avignon and SNC in the future.
“Rene and I are working on a connection between the two colleges, the University of Avignon and SNC,” said Saraceno. “So we might have some professor and/or student exchanges in our future.”
At the University of Avignon, Agostini teaches courses in World Literature, Translation and Philosophy. He critiques contemporary culture through the lens of primitive civilization.
“I think what is known as a civilization has blunted our perception,” said Agostini. “What I imagine is that those people were maybe more sharply sensitive, more acutely sensitive than us today to the elements. To the sky, to the sun, to the changes of the moon, the star studded sky. “
Agostini praised the precision of the structure and described corridors perfectly aligned with sunlight and free of weathering from the elements. However, he cautioned against drawing too many conclusions about the primitive site at Newgrange and others like it.
“We can only approach the truth,” said Agostini. “It remains a mystery.”
PHOTO BY JIMMY HARRIS
VIEW FROM THE NEWGRANGE BURIAL chamber in County Meath, Ireland.
Checking a small, gold pocket watch clipped to his waist band, he closes the door to the classroom, signifying that class shall now begin. The students shut their laptops and put away their cell phones almost immediately, classically conditioned to their professor. Dan O’Bryan, sporting his signature black, thick-rimmed, circular glasses begins his history lecture.
O’Bryan began teaching at SNC in 1992. “I responded to an ad in the paper for adjunct professors,” O’Bryan said. “I started teaching the World Religions course and then went on to teach Philosophy, History courses, and American Literature.”
When O’Bryan began at SNC, the dorms were trailer parks and the school was a small community of hippies. “Classes were much smaller. A class of six was a big class. A class today, of about thirty-five would be absolutely unbelievable; it just wasn’t done” O’Bryan said.
Since then, O’Bryan has come a long way from just an adjunct professor. He is now a full time professor as well as the Humanities Department chair and Associate Provost.
“When we made the transition from the mountain campus to this particular campus down here, lots of us were called upon to take on administrative roles as well. Administration has been certainly interesting as well as fulfilling because there’s so much to do and never enough time to do it. The number of challenges in a small school like this is quite unique. At a larger school, they would have huge administrations in place to take care of anything. Here, we’ve got to take care of everything ourselves and pretty much make it up as we go along.”
O’Bryan grew up in Reno, Nevada. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a B.A. in English Literature, O’Bryan went to the University of California, Berkeley to further pursue English Literature, graduating with an M.A. Following Berkeley, O’Bryan attended the University of Washington and received a Ph.D. in American Studies.
“Going away from a small environment like Reno to a much bigger environment like Berkeley or University of Washington shaped me,” he said. “Those were huge schools compared to UNR at the time I attended. That was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. Berkeley and Washington were highly interesting and also highly intellectual periods for me. Before that, I had only been exposed to Reno!”
Prior to teaching at SNC, O’Bryan taught as a teaching assistant at the University of Washington and taught at Old College in Reno, NV. “I taught there, and I was also the Dean of Studies there. Old no longer exists, through no fault of my own,” O’Bryan said.
Today, O’Bryan is well-known by most SNC students and highly respected as a wealth of knowledge and a great teacher.
“I have Dan for Ethics. He is very witty and has lots of knowledge about everything. He pretty much knows everything,” said Senior Aaron Wiener.
“He is an encyclopedia,” said Senior Summer Young.
“He definitely keeps your attention. He seems intimidating at first but he definitely gets the students to warm up to him. He knows what he’s talking about,” said Aryn Bordman, senior.
Despite so much experience at large-scale school environments, O’Bryan prefers SNC’s smaller size to larger schools. “I like the smaller environment better because at larger institutions, teaching is largely highly-specialized. For instance, my area that I did most of my work in at other schools was in Late 1700s Puritan Literature, and that’s a very narrow area. Here, I teach such things like Civilization—larger scale subjects. The faculty at SNC has that opportunity that you couldn’t even think of at Berkeley or University of Washington,” O’Bryan said.
Currently, O’Bryan is excited for the future of the college. Pointing at the headline of The Eagle’s Eye reading “SNC Faces New Year With New Leadership,” O’Bryan said. “I think that this is very strong leadership and this is an excellent transition for the next phase of the college. The history of the college has been in phases going all the way back to 1969. But this should be the most interesting phase because of the scale we’ve already achieved and the scale we would like to achieve in the future.”
DAN O’BRYAN sporting his signaure black, thick/rimmed. circular glasses
By Allison Perotti
The South Africa Service Learning Trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Sierra Nevada College students. With such a costly expedition, students turn to fundraising in hopes of minimizing the expense and to raise money in order to assist areas surrounding Thorny Bush, South Africa.
“I’m looking forward to the culture shock that will be involved with going on this trip, and I hope this gives exposure to those who have not yet seen something like this. Max Huff, a senior at Sierra Nevada College explains. It is really going to be an eye opener not only for me, but for all the students involved. I’m hoping this fundraising dinner will be a success so even more students have the opportunity to go.”
Henry Philips, a student from SNC who attended the South Africa Service Learning Trip last yearm said, “The best thing for me about my experience in Africa was being able to connect with people on a personal level, understand their lives and see where they come from. It was really special to be able to touch someone not just for a moment but be with them and walk in their shoes for more than a day.”
The goal of the South Africa Service Learning Trip is to participate in a community initiative that supports local organizations. Some of these include preschools, elementary schools, Food and Herb gardens for Aid orphans, Elephant awareness, and many others.
Dinner will be served from 5pm to 8pm and will be held in Patterson Hall, Sierra Nevada College 999 Tahoe Blvd. Incline Village, NV. Price of dinner will be $10 for adults and $7 for children under 12.
A Silent Auction along with presentations from the students will be held during dinner. Donations for the silent action are from local business and people surrounding Lake Tahoe. Contact Max Huff for ticket information, (415) 740-0665 or email@example.com.