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Bates in the News: Sept. 15, 2017

Christopher Petrella ’06

Well-educated elites are no strangers to white supremacy — The Washington Post

After the violence in Charlottesville, Bates faculty lecturer Christopher Petrella ’06 contributed an op-ed to The Washington Post saying that our conventional wisdom that “it’s impossible to be both a white supremacist and a well-educated white American” is “both dangerous and historically inaccurate.”

In fact, he says, white supremacy has “not gestated on the fringes of American politics” but “flourished as a social movement grounded in respectability politics and led by elites.”

Christopher Petrella ’06 makes a point during a meeting of the college’s Justice and Equity Reading Group on Sept. 13, 2017. Petrella, faculty lecturer and associate director of programs for the Office of Equity and Diversity, is the group organizer. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Believing otherwise “allows middle-class and college-educated white Americans to escape responsibility for extirpating this stain on our society.”

Petrella, who is also an associate director of programs in the Office of Equity and Diversity at Bates, is completing his first book, on the history of white supremacy in 20th-century New England.

Dan Mills

Social activism thrives in Maine’s fine art world Portland Monthly

For Portland Monthly, art critic Dan Kany interviews several Maine “art agitators,” including Bates Museum of Art Director Dan Mills, who “represent the range and reality of Maine artists who dare to disturb, incite, and stir social engagement.”

Mills, who co-curated the first exhibition of Saudi contemporary art in New England, Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston, is also an artist whose work has been exhibited in leading galleries in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Mills’ “large-scale paintings on maps….use nuanced visual systems to redirect and provoke deeper understanding of demographic and map-related data,” Kany says.

Mills says that art “is only one facet or tool” for social change. “Unless the art rises to being culturally embraced beyond the art world and covered in the media, its scope is limited.”

Dan Mills’ painting “Current Wars and Conflicts Killed by Continent, Book 02,” ink, watercolor, and gouache on atlas, 15 1/4 x 22 1/2 x 2 inches.

Laura Faure

Retiring Bates Dance Festival director Faure “put Maine on the map” — Portland Press Herald

Laura Faure, who retires Nov. 30 after directing the Bates Dance Festival for 30 of its 35 years, is known as “a fierce advocate for choreographers and dance in its many forms,” said Aimee Petrin, executive and artistic director at Portland Ovations.

Faure, who was profiled by Portland Press Herald staff writer Bob Keyes, said that the “life of a dancer is a tough life, and what we offer is support and a safe space.” She added, “We support artists through the arc of their career, and I am so proud of that.”

Retiring Bates Dance Festival Director Laura Faure poses with noted South African dancer and choreographer Vincent Mantsoe during one of her visits to Africa. Mantsoe has taken part several times in the festival’s International Visiting Artists Program. (Bates Dance Festival)

Keyes said that Faure “helped establish the festival as a destination for dancers and choreographers to refine, perfect and expand their skills, establish new work, and experiment with ideas and collaborations.”

“We have created an environment that didn’t exist in the dance world and that is based in the democratic and egalitarian model that is Bates College,” Faure said.

Faure will be succeeded by Shoshona Currier, who began her work in August.

Ben Shaw ’00

Shaw’s veterinary health tech firm secures $223 million investment — Portland Press Herald

Vets First Choice of Portland, founded by CEO Ben Shaw ’00, received a $223 million investment in July that will “accelerate the company’s growth and hiring, launch new services and begin a global expansion effort into Europe and Asia,” according to Portland Press Herald staff writer J. Craig Anderson.

Father and son entrepreneurs David Shaw and Ben Shaw ’00 consult before their May 5 talk, “Adventures in Business and Social Entrepreneurship,” part of the spring’s “Purposeful Work: Voices in Entrepreneurship” series. David Shaw returned to Bates at Commencement to receive an honorary degree. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“The venture capital funding represents the largest sum invested at one time in a privately held Maine company in at least two decades, and possibly ever,” Anderson reported.

Vets First Choice offers e-commerce pharmaceutical services to veterinary clinics.

Also in July, Shaw was recognized by Ernst & Young as a New England Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nathan Lundblad

Atomic physicists will soon make ultracold states of matter on the space station — Science

When NASA’s $70 million Cold Atom Laboratory arrives at the International Space Station in early 2018, it will carry out a select few research experiments, including one designed by Associate Professor of Physics Nathan Lundblad.

In its Sept. 8 story, Science reporter Adrian Cho described a few of the projects, including Lundblad’s, noting that the Cold Atom Laboratory will “take advantage of weightlessness to attain record-low temperatures and break ground for ambitious studies of quantum mechanics and gravity.”

Physics major Dan Paseltiner ’16 narrates this short film about the Bates experiment that will be aboard the Cold Atom Laboratory.

Weightlessness, plus the lab’s near-absolute-zero temperature, will “produce a long-predicted state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate, in which the atoms shed their individual identities and crowd en masse into a single quantum wave.”

Cho said that Lundblad’s experiment hopes to create “hollow shells of BECs,” like bubbles, something “that gravity squashes on Earth.” If successful, the shells might allow researchers “to probe the wave nature of the BEC in a new way.”

The other experiments were designed by scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the universities of Colorado, Michigan, Rochester, Virginia, and California at Berkeley.

Emily Kane

Commentary on why parents shouldn’t be told the sex of their fetus — Journal of Medical Ethics

Professor of Sociology Emily Kane, the author of The Gender Trap: Parents and the Pitfalls of Raising Boys and Girls, joined a sociological discussion about the common practice of parents learning the sex of their unborn child.

In an article published last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Tamara Kayali Browne of the Australian National University argued that parents should not be told the sex of their unborn child.

Disclosure of the sex, she said, invariably leads parents to anticipate a child’s gender. Since “the conflation of sex with gender is implicit” when the sex of a fetus is disclosed, “it may be more accurate to refer to [disclosure] as misinformation.”

Professor of Sociology Emily Kane delivers her Convocation address, “Summer Posts, Fall Possibilities,” on Sept. 5, 2017 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

In Kane’s invited commentary, she said that while other experts can weigh in on the feasibility of withholding such information, she agrees with Browne that both child and society would benefit by postponing “the gendered anticipation” that prenatal sex information encourages.

Given what we now know about the vast difference between gender and sex, postponing might “chip away productively at the vast network of social processes that constrain children and conflate sex with gender.”

Roland Davis ’92

Harvard names new diversity dean — The Harvard Crimson

Harvard Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair announced the appointment of Roland Davis ’92 as associate dean for diversity and inclusion, reported the Harvard Crimson on Aug. 31.

Roland Davis ’92 is the new associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Harvard.

Davis “brings to Harvard a deep and nuanced understanding of the social, cultural, and psychological factors that impact communities around the issues of diversity and inclusion,” she wrote.

Davis’ appointment, the Crimson said, “coincides with the implementation of…penalties on members of single-gender social organizations,” such as barring members of these groups from “campus leadership positions, athletic team captaincies, and certain prestigious fellowships.”

A former dean in Student Affairs at Bates, Davis served as the college’s founding director of the Office of Intercultural Education from 2010 to 2012.

Ben Schippers ’04

Building products that people want to use — The Silicon Review

In its review of the 10 fastest-growing software companies, The Silicon Review features HappyFunCorp, a software engineering firm co-founded by Ben Schippers ’04.

The Review said that in the “ocean” of apps that exists today, Schipper’s company “is generating its mark by building thoughtful products” that “people want to use.”

Ben Schippers ’04 is co-founder of the Brooklyn-based software engineering firm HappyFunCorp. (Phyllis Graber Jensen)

One of HappyFunCorp’s recent products was an app allowing Twitter to present its live video content onto TV-based platforms, including Apple TV.

Andrew Taylor ’03

Portland’s restaurant  boom reflects the “simplicity of living here, and honoring individual ingredients” — American Way Magazine

Portland, Maine, is home to 672 dining establishments, according to American Way Magazine, “giving it a human-to-restaurant ratio of roughly 96-to-1,” which is lower than “almost every other city in America (San Francisco can make a similar claim).”

For insights on the boom, writer Alexandra Hall turned to award-winning restaurateur Andrew Taylor ’03, who said that it’s about the “simplicity of living here, and honoring individual ingredients.” He said, “People here are averse to big: big corporations, big restaurants.”

Taylor and Mike Wiley are chef/co-owners, with their manager, Arlin Smith, of Eventide Oyster Co., The Honey Paw, and Hugo’s. The pair won a 2017 James Beard Award, considered an Oscar of the food world.

James Beard winner Andrew Taylor ’03 poses at his restaurant Eventide with Matthew Moretti ’06, president of Bangs Island Mussels and Wild Ocean Aquaculture, on Sept. 26 2016. Bangs mussels are featured at Eventide and exemplify Taylor’s commitment to the local food economy. (Josh Kuckens/Bates college).

Dylan Rasch ’18

Preparing for the football season and for what’s ahead after graduation — WMTV-TV

WMTV-TV sports anchor Travis Lee profiled football offensive lineman Dylan Rasch ’18, a chemistry major from Cumberland Center, Maine, who plans to enter the medical field after graduation.

Over the summer, Rasch traveled to Haiti with International Medical Relief to “get involved in some sort of medical experience outside the U.S. in a culture that I’m not used to.”

Rasch says that football, specifically a lineman’s job to communicate with teammates during “drastically changing circumstances,” will help him down the road. “I am able to communicate with people in a large group and help get people on the same page.”

“Whatever I do for a living, I want to make sure that it has a good deal of purpose. That way I can dedicate myself fully to it.”