Mara Tieken 

School closures can hit rural communities hard — The Conversation 

Writing for The Conversation, Associate Professor of Education Mara Tieken argued that the closure of rural schools can devastate students, families, and communities.

Assistant Professor of Education Mara Tieken circulates among small groups of students as they discuss what makes good teaching. Through fieldwork and classroom work, education students learn about the field’s interdisciplinary perspectives and the practical realities today.
In a 2015 class, education professor Mara Tieken circulates among small groups of students as they discuss what makes good teaching. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Schools often close for reasons of poor academic performance, budget constraints, or declining enrollments. When they do, students’ relationships with peers and teachers are disrupted, absences go up, and involvement in extracurricular activities goes down, often because students have to commute longer distances. 

“In many rural communities, schools are the largest employer,” Tieken wrote. “They provide political power, and they tie people together. Once the schools are gone, the community loses all of these benefits.” 

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Bates Museum of Art 

Snow School: Bates College makes life drawing practical, if not easy — Sun Journal 

Amy Paradysz of the Lewiston Sun Journal covered a Wednesday-night fixture sponsored by the Bates Museum of Art: live figure drawing. 

Joe Klofas of Hallowell, Maine, studies a new pose by a model during a March 2017 Life Drawing session in Olin 259. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)
Joe Klofas of Hallowell, Maine, studies a model during a March 2017 life drawing session in Olin 259. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Artists come to campus, often traveling long distances, to draw models — some are Bates students, others community members — holding poses of various types and lengths. 

The exercise is valuable practice for a tricky but rewarding aspect of art. “It’s good for me to be reminded how challenging it is to observe and capture what I’m seeing,” said Mike Hickey of Yarmouth. “It’s good to be humbled.”

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Carissa Aoki

Racist housing practices from the 1930s linked to hotter neighborhoods today — NPR 

Neighborhoods that were subject to historical redlining — a racist housing practice that segregated cities and concentrated poor, minority, and immigrant residents — are hotter than non-redlined neighborhoods, Meg Anderson of NPR reported. 

Part of the reason for heat disparities of five degrees or more involves tree cover, according to a study coauthored by Bates Lecturer in Environmental Studies Carissa Aoki. 

“In 37 cities around the country, formerly redlined neighborhoods have about half as many trees on average today as the highest-rated predominantly white neighborhoods on those maps,” Anderson wrote. 

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Dorothy Foster Kern ’42

For these ‘three Dots,’ 100 years of friendship, fellowship, and fun — NPR

National and local news outlets have noticed a curious and happy occurrence: Three women named Dorothy, including Dorothy Foster Kern ’42 — all friends and all living in Auburn — celebrated their 100th birthdays in 2019.

Kern, Dorothy Buchanan, and Dorothy Murray all became centenarians in 2019, with Kern celebrating her 100th in September with a special luncheon at Bates. 

A graduate of Auburn’s Edward Little High School, Kern was inspired to attend Bates in part by a relative who taught at the college.

From left, James Jones '20 of Colorado Springs, Colo., Vanessa Paolella '21 of Dingman's Ferry, Pa., and Abby Hamilton of Yarmouth, Maine, joined Dorothy Foster Kern ’42 of Auburn, Maine, in Commons for a lunchtime conversation about what life is like on campus now vs. how it was back in the day.Kern turned 100 years old on Monday, Sept. 23, and was on campus today for her first-ever lunch in Commons, where the dining staff serenaded her with "Happy Birthday" and served up a specially-prepared birthday cake prepared by Head Baker Daisy Taylor and presented by Assistant Vice President for Dining, Conferences and Campus Events Christine Shwartz.
Dorothy Foster Kern ’42 thanks Bates dining staff and students for a birthday celebration at Commons in September. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“I’m just a kid,” Kern told Maine Public’s Susan Sharon, in a piece about the “three Dots” that NPR later picked up. “I don’t feel any different than I did at 16.” 

Down East magazine also featured Kern in collaboration with Maine Public. 

“My life is quiet and happy, and I’m doing what I like to do, but I miss people — everyone who is not still here,” said Kern, who has outlived two of her five children. “In that sense, it’s lonely. I miss the children that were, but I’m happy to have the ones I’ve got. I’m lucky.” 

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Muskan Verma ’21

South-Asian Americans protest India’s citizenship bill — NBC News 

Reporting on South-Asian Americans’ protests against a bill in India that excludes Muslim immigrants from a path to citizenship, NBC NewsMythili Sampathkumar talked to Muskan Verma ’21 of Shimla, India, a coordinator of the South Asian Students Against Fascism movement. 

“I can't believe I'm even having to protest this.”.— Muskan Verma '21 of Shimla, India, shares the frustration of inaction on global climate change after she addressed a crowd of at least 2,000 at Portland City Hall gathered for the student-mobilized Global Climate Strike, ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23..“I'm not from this country,” she said. “But that shouldn't matter. This is affecting us all. And whether we like it or not, we have to take action.”.A representative of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led movement for climate-change action, Verma is a double major in theater and in rhetoric, film, and screen studies. She joined a large contingent of Bates students and several faculty who attended the event, organized, in part, by the Bates Environmental Coalition..
Muskan Verma ’21 of Shimla, India, addresses a crowd of at least 2,000 at Portland City Hall during the Youth Climate Strike in September 2019. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Many South-Asian Americans, Sampathkumar wrote, see parallels between what is happening in India and religious and racial discrimination in the United States. Some are organizing protests in major American cities on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day holiday. 

Verma told Sampathkumar that her group wants to send “a very strong message not just to the [Indian] government, but to the people protesting that they are not alone and that protests are not happening in a void.”

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