Author Archives: Karin Hanta

Author Tanya Lee To Speak about Girl Rising

On Saturday, February 22, Middlebury College’s student organization Sister-to-Sister is bringing renowned author Tanya Lee Stone from 2-4 p.m. at Hillcrest 103. A professor in the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College, Stone is the author of Girl Rising, a book that accompanies and expands upon the widely popular 2013 documentary of the same name. This documentary has spawned a whole movement. Around the world, the Girl Rising organization works with local partners. It provides customized tools and curricula to build confidence and agency in girls and to change attitudes and social norms so that entire communities stand up for girls and against gender discrimination. To illustrate her talk, Stone will screen one chapter of the movie, which includes narrators such as Alicia Keys, Meryl Streep, and Kerry Washington.

Around the globe, there are 130 million girls who are not being educated. What can we do about it? According to Stone, educating girls is the single most powerful tool we have to make our world a safer, healthier, more functional place. In her talk, she will unpack the major obstacles to education, including where and why they happen and how we can easily be activists.

Sister-to-Sister’s activities are normally only targeted towards female-identified 6th graders and middle schoolers. In a first in its 15-year history, the organization is opening this event to the entire community. The group hopes that this will stimulate an intergenerational dialogue about what it means to be a girl in Addison County. In an early celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the group will provide snacks from around the world. The event is co-sponsored by MCAB, the Center for Community Engagement, and the Feminist Resource Center at Chellis House.

For further information, please contact Karin Hanta by email at khanta@middlebury.edu or by phone at (802)443-5937.

Sat., Nov. 9: Sister-to-Sister Summit

The widely successful “Sister-to-Sister” Program is hosting its fifteenth summit for female-identified students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade on Saturday, November 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Middlebury College’s Kirk Alumni Center.

“Sister-to-Sister” brings together students from Bristol, Middlebury, and Vergennes with female-identified Middlebury College students. In a one-day summit on November 9 and monthly follow-up events during the rest of the school year, the students try out new things outside of the classroom (a-capella singing, hip-hop dancing, yoga, journaling, etc.). “Sister-to-Sister” also focuses on discussions of such topics as body image, relationships, and identity. A national program originally conceived by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “Sister-to-Sister” works to develop strategies that support female-identified students. The program recognizes that in addition to teachers and textbooks, achievement is affected by what happens in the hallways, between classes, and outside of school.  “Sister-to-Sister” strives to make a positive difference by giving a voice to the needs and interests of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The program provides a “safe space” to talk about the challenges that female-identified students face in this day and age. It enables them to develop friendships with other students, even if they don’t go to the same school. The program is supported by roughly 100 volunteers and financial sponsors such as Chellis House, Middlebury College’s Community Engagement Center, and the local branch of AAUW. “Sister-to-Sister allowed me to get involved in the Middlebury community by connecting me with fellow students, faculty, and staff members, volunteers and most importantly, middle schoolers,” says Grace Giles, a Middlebury College graduate, who was involved with the program for three years. “Every generation represented in our sisterhood is experiencing the environment we live in through a different lens. When we communicate our perspectives, our lives become so much richer.”

All events are free. Sister-to-Sister provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Please let us know of any food allergies. To register and reserve your attendance pack, please call Karin Hanta at 443-5937 or email khanta@middlebury.edu.

The 2019 Feminist of the Year Awards

Every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, the Feminist Resource Center at Chellis House celebrates all the nominees for the Feminist of the Year Award. On May 11, 2019, a large group of Chellis House friends gathered in the backyard to celebrate the strides we made during another successful school year. Integral to making these strides are the many feminist activists and knowledge producers who never tire of investing their intellectual and emotional energy towards making this world a more equitable place. After enjoying delicious treats and the poetry of GSFS major Sam Boudreau ’19, we honored the award winners. Language in Motion Coordinator Kristen Mullins garnered the prize in the staff category. Her nominator noted that “Kristen [had] devoted the past five years to promoting and deepening cultural understanding on this campus, in the local communities through her K-12 outreach, and in Japan through her Japan Summer Service Learning program. For years now she has led community-focused anti-bias response trainings. Students and staff alike have found them tremendously helpful.”

         This year, the committee decided to distinguish two professors in the faculty category. Eliza Garrison, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, was lauded for “consistently bringing a feminist lens to her classes in the Art History department. In particular, her class ‘Medieval Bodies’ in fall 2018 analyzed how women and other (literally) marginalized people were treated in medieval art and what the social and political ramifications of these representations were.” In all of her classes, Professor Garrison makes a point “both to assign feminist analyses of works of art and to discuss misogyny and othering in art.” The other professor who won the award was Lana Povitz, Visiting Assistant Professor of History. Her nominator highlighted her ability “to craft socially conscious and relevant syllabi in all of her classes, which require students to engage with the highly political world around them, allowing no one to remain apathetic or ignorant of the issues that dictate our lives. Her assignments allow students to self implicate, explore their own narratives, and counter traditional modes of history that sustain patriarchy.”

         This year, the selection committee decided to distinguish five students with the award although many more had been nominated. Throughout their four-year career at Middlebury, Miranda de Beer ’19 and Mika Morton ’19 often engaged in activism in tandem. By conceiving the “Middlebury 5K: Steps Towards Reproductive Justice” three years ago, they created an event with staying power. The event now draws close to 100 people who learn about reproductive justice through signs on the golf course while running or walking. They expand their knowledge at t-shirt making activities after the event where the event leaders are on site to talk about reproductive justice and hand-out pamphlets. Mika and Miranda also created a template for other students to continue their effort.

         Mika and Miranda often collaborated with Toria Isquith ’19, Grace Vedock ’20 and Rebecca Wishnie ’20. Toria raised awareness about the reproductive dangers associated with the proliferation of crisis pregnancy centers that pose as health care facilities to spread misinformation about pregnancy and abortion. For her senior project with Professor Carly Thomsen, Toria developed the “Bonefish” animation series, which brings to light the realities of abortion access and lived experience for women seeking reproductive healthcare.

In addition to being an activist against sexual violence and helping establish a digital archive for feminist activism at Middlebury, Rebecca Wishnie investigated the power dynamics of the Charles Murray visit throughout the past school year. In the course, “Gender and the Making of Space,” and at the student symposium, she examined how the architecture of McCullough helped to lend an air of legitimacy to Murray’s visit. For the 2018 Student Summer Symposium, Rebecca, together with Professor Sujata Moorti, investigated state-sanctioned violence and state-sanctioned mourning by comparing the film series The Handmaid’s Tale with the Charles Murray visit.

         Over the past three years at Middlebury. Grace Vedock has demonstrated a great passion for combating sexual violence. Tirelessly collaborating with Taite Shomo ’20.5 in the “It Happens Here” speak-out, she also testified before the Vermont State Committee on Education in favor of a bill that supports victims of campus sexual assault in Vermont. Grace also is a strong advocate on behalf of all queer students who were affected by this voices contesting their humanity on this campus.

         Please congratulate all the winners when you see them.

Caption: 2019 Feminists of the Year Toria Isquith ’19, Miranda de Beer ’19, Professor Lana Povitz, Grace Vedock ’20, and Mika Morton ’19. Not pictured: Professor Eliza Garrison, Language in Motion Coordinator Kristen Mullins, and Rebecca Wishnie ’10.

Sister-to-Sister Summit on November 10!

The widely successful “Sister-to-Sister” Program is hosting its fourteenth summit for middle school girls on Saturday, November 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Middlebury College’s Chellis House. “Sister-to-Sister” brings together middle school girls from Bristol, Middlebury and Vergennes with female Middlebury College students. In a one-day summit and monthly follow-up events during the rest of the school year, the students develop activities that encourage girls to try new things outside of the classroom (art, music, dancing, yoga, journaling, etc.). “Sister-to-Sister” also focuses on discussions of such topics as body image, relationships, and identity. A national program originally conceived by the American Association of University Women, “Sister-to-Sister” works to develop strategies that support girls. The program recognizes that in addition to teachers and textbooks, achievement is affected by what happens in the hallways, between classes, and even outside of school.  “Sister-to-Sister” strives to make a positive difference by giving a voice to the needs and interests of middle school girls. The program provides a “safe space” to talk about the challenges that girls face in this day and age. It enables girls to develop friendships with other girls, even if they don’t go to the same school. The program is supported by roughly 100 volunteers and financial sponsors such as Chellis House, Middlebury College’s Community Engagement Center, and private donors. “Sister-to-Sister allowed me to get involved in the Middlebury community by connecting me with fellow students, faculty and staff members, volunteers and most importantly, middle school girls,” says Grace Giles, a Middlebury College graduate, who was involved with the program for three years. “Every generation represented in our sisterhood is experiencing the environment we live in through a different lens. When we communicate our perspectives, our lives become so much richer.”

All events are free. Sister-to-Sister provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Please let us know of any food allergies. To register, please call Karin Hanta at 443-5937 or email khanta@middlebury.edu.

Sister-to-Sister Gal-o-ween on October 27

Middlebury College’s Sister-to-Sister program invites all middle school girls for a “Gal-o-ween” on Saturday, October 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Chellis House. We’ll decorate Halloween treats, make masks, and write our own ghost stories.

Please also mark your calendars for our annual summit on Saturday, November 10 from 9 to 4 p.m., which features various workshops (dance, yoga, STEAM science projects) and discussion groups.

Both events are free and include snacks (October 27) and breakfast and lunch (November 10)! To sign up, contact Karin Hanta at 443-5937 or khanta@middlebury.edu

DACA Panel on Tues, 2/20, 4:30 p.m., Wilson Hall

Please join us for panel on immigration and DACA in our current political climate with Viveka Ray-Mazumder ’11, Manager of Youth Organizing at Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Susana Muñoz, Assistant Professor at the School of Education at Colorado State University; and Tom Wong, Associate Professor of Political Science at UC San Diego at 4:30 in Wilson Hall. If you would like to continue the conversation with these expert, please join us for an Atwater Thai dinner immediately following the event at 6 p.m. If you are a student, please reply to CCSRE@middlebury.edu and indicate your ID number. If you are a staff or faculty member, simply send an email with your name.