BY danny kern
Ann Marie Brown, Sierra Nevada College professor and accomplished writer, will be the focus of the next Wednesday Reading, hosted on Oct. 15, in the Prim Library.
Each semester of the 2014/2015 school year, there are two Wednesday evenings set aside for an SNC faculty member to read his or her published work in the Prim Library. These readings began two years ago when SNC librarian Betts Markle began selecting faculty members to share their work with the students and faculty on campus.
“It started off with a couple of the newer full time faculty that we have,” Markle said.
The Wednesday readings are a great opportunity for students and other faculty to learn about the featured reader’s lives outside of the school.
“Particularly students who are new here and even faculty and staff, don’t always know what people’s backgrounds are or what their area of expertise is. They may be teaching in one area, but there may be a lot more going on in their lives,” Markle said.
Brown is without a doubt one professor that has much more going on in her life outside of SNC. She has more than a dozen travel guidebooks in print, mainly focused on outdoor travel and recreation in the West.
“I’ve written books on Yosemite, Tahoe, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and the Southwest deserts. I’ve also written some oddball titles that are no longer in print, like guidebooks to Fiji and the Hawaiian islands,” Brown said.
This is one of the main reasons why Markle selected Brown to do one of the readings.
“She’s written a lot of hiking and travel books, so people in this area might have already seen some of her books, might even own them, might have used them, and not even realized that she is the author,” Markle said.
Brown enjoys many different kinds of writing. Her journalism background combined with her passion for creative nonfiction and the outdoors allows her to produce informative stories that can take readers on the journeys she’s experienced.
“I write a lot of travel and adventure stories that fall under the category of creative nonfiction. I love writing travel pieces that let me stretch my creative muscles. But I’m obsessed with getting my facts right, too,” Brown said.
Brown has a strong love for nature and literature, and is able to use the outdoors to find herself while expressing these discoveries through her work.
“I’m happiest when I’m outside, sauntering along a trail, totally absorbed in my surroundings. That’s when I know exactly who I am,” Brown said.
I’d like to address my concerns regarding the building of a presidential residence on campus. I, along with many other students whom I’ve spoken to on this subject, have grave concerns regarding the impact of this project. These include the environmental impact on the proposed building site, the image of our college that such an endeavor will alter, the economic concerns regarding the use of donor funds, and the hypocritical nature of such a project as it goes against the core values of this school.
The project’s “focus on marketing and branding” [sic] has the potential to be a detriment to the students. This focus detracts from providing a better environment for the students, faculty, and staff to live, work, learn, and play. Rather than presenting an image of affluence and prestige, the energies spent on “marketing and branding” should involve creating actual affluence and prestige. There are several ways in which this generous donation can be used that do not involve a fancier place for faculty and Lakeshore Blvd. residents to party – “a president’s house on campus would be a place to easily host potential and current students, faculty, donors and visitors.”
A couple examples for better use of donor funds may include:
– Increasing budgets across all departments would help to provide for a better education for the students that are already here. This could take the form of better equipment and infrastructure, and/or more campus events (i.e. film festivals, Writers in the Woods candidates, etc).
– Increasing faculty salaries and creating more full time/tenured faculty positions. This would increase the level of educational expertise this school can provide, which in turn would improve this school’s image in the academic community.
The Third Wednesday Readings taking place in the Prim Library are a way for faculty and guest speakers to informally interact with the students at Sierra Nevada College. On Wednesday Sept. 17, Thomas Wade Brown, instructor of Humanities and Social Sciences at SNC, led a presentation in the back of the library that attracted 25 people as he discussed “Delay Discounting”, or different forms of behavioral psychology. Brown’s presentation marked the first of two that will take place this semester as a part of the series.
The crowd of over 20 people consisted of faculty members, SNC students and even some high school students from Incline High.
“The turnout was incredible. I think at one point the head count got to 25 people, which was really unexpected. It was touching to see so many of my students and colleagues come out and show support,” said Brown.
During the one hour presentation Brown was enthusiastic about the psychological concepts he discussed.
“It is gorgeous!” Brown said, after switching through different graphs being presented on the projector.
“I am not a psychology major but the way Wade explained the different studies made me want to learn more about them,” Senior Rebecca Roberts said. “He has a good sense of humor that makes psychology more appealing.”
Brown finished his presentation by opening the floor to questions from the audience. It was an opportunity for the crowd to learn more about the topics he had discussed during the presentation.
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.
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.
Rhythm, rhyme, sound, words and meaning encompassed the second of the Writers in the Woods series. The
evening included a one hour spoken word presentation followed by an open mic on Friday, Sept. 20, at Sierra
Chris Anderson has been teaching English composition at Sierra Nevada College since August, but he has quickly become an inspiration to some of his students.
Sierra Nevada College was significantly represented at the 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP) from March 6-9 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, with seven undergraduate English students, four Masters of Fine Arts students and 10 professors spanning SNC’s English department