The upstairs art studio has a unique, pungent smell today. The aroma of peppers and onions being pulverized overpowers the nostrils. In the back of the printmaking studio, Mary Kenny is whipping up a batch of chili. A few students work on projects, create artwork, and classes are in session. This place of organized chaos is home base for Kenny here at Sierra Nevada College, which might explain why she is cooking.
“This started with Laura Bennett, who started bringing fresh vegetables from her garden in Auburn. I looked at them and I just thought of chili. I make chili for finals sometimes,” Kenny said.
Kenny has been teaching art at SNC for 12 years. Her bubbly personality and laidback attitude make it easy for students to get along with her. Before her time at SNC, Kenny lived in Ohio for 22 years. She was born, raised and completed her undergraduate degree there. After graduation she moved to Eugene, Oregon for six months, but following a visit to Lake Tahoe, she returned to Eugene and immediately put in her two-week notice.
“I have kind of been here since. I was a nanny in Eugene but knew I wanted to get my masters degree. I started looking around for where I could do that in California. It is so expensive to live here. I tried to figure out how to afford to live in San Francisco and get my master’s at the same time, ” Kenny said.
That ended up being too large of a time commitment for Kenny. She attempted to work as a nanny while going to school in San Francisco, but she didn’t have enough time for studying and work. She ended up moving back to Ohio to complete her master’s degree.
“I basically lived in my studio. It didn’t really matter where I lived because I spent most of my time there,” Kenny said.
After graduate school, Kenny signed up for a summer printmaking workshop that was being held here at SNC. During the workshop, she learned that the printmaking teacher was retiring. That left a perfect opening for her and she became a permanent Tahoe resident.
“I have my master’s in printmaking. We have all this equipment here, the presses and everything else, I understand how to use it,” Kenny said. “My work has a lot to do with paper. I love paper. I love folding it.”
You enter and hear nothing but silence.In this dimly lit space, students gather and study. It’s a calming atmosphere of tranquility.Here and there among the library’s stacks, students grab books.
Often they’re greeted by SNC librarian Betts Markle. It’s a name that rings in everyone’s ear, from students to faculty members.
“I come from a long line of Elizabeths,” Markle said. “There has been Elizabeth, Beth, Betty, and Betsey. My parents didn’t want another Betsey, so they named me Betts.”
She never liked being called Betsey anyway as it was the name of an old childhood doll.
Markle has been working in libraries for more than 30 years. She is also a professor at SNC, teaching business and marketing classes this semester. She is also a writing instructor for graduate students, but she has never been interested in teaching English. “I don’t like teaching literature too much, but I could,” said Markle.
Whether she is traveling from building to building at Sierra Nevada College or traveling overseas to Afghanistan or South Africa, Mary Lewellen makes a mark everywhere she goes. As an associate professor of International Studies, Lewellen uses her experience and knowledge to encourage students at SNC to make the world a better place.
It’s 7 a.m. at the top of Diamond Peak Ski Resort and the sun is up, but its warmth has not come. The thermometer reads zero degrees, and a 15 mph wind chill bites through Gortex jackets like an Arctic alligator.
The Sierra Nevada College alpine ski team is holding practice, and Assistant Athletic Director Jon Cherry is right there with them. Skiing has been a part of Cherry’s life since he was a kid.
Henry Conover, the director of Academic Support Services at Sierra Nevada College, is in his office meeting with a student to help set up accommodations needed for classes. It’s in moments like these when Conover truly feels like he is doing what he does best; helping students succeed in their education.
The collection of poems in “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah,” embody the mid-century great migration of African American families northward. Her bold words speak of a young woman’s confessional renderings and personal complexities, defined in the voice of Motown melodies.
“It started to be a book about Motown; I loved Motown music,” said Smith. “After asking myself why I loved Motown so much, I realized it wasn’t so much a book about Motown as it was about my parents.”
During the mid 1900s, Smith’s parents were among the 6 million African Americans that left the rural South and migrated to the urban Northeast.
The collective culture of poems paints a picture of the hardships her and her family experienced in the new urban environment.