Clark Whelton ’59

Say Your Prayers and Take Your Chances — City Journal

Clark Whelton ’59 compared his recollections of the 1957–58 global influenza pandemic — which he experienced at Bates firsthand — to what’s transpiring now. 

“Today, I look back and wonder if an oblivious America faced the 1957 plague with a kind of clueless folly,” writes Whelton, a former speechwriter for New York City mayors Edward Koch and Rudolph Giuliani.

“Why weren’t we more active in fighting this contagion? Could stricter quarantine procedures have reduced the rate of infection and lowered the death toll? In short, why weren’t we more afraid?”

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Jenna Armstrong ’15

Duke medical student Jenna Armstrong named Gates-Cambridge scholar — Duke Today 

Duke University announced that Jenna Armstrong, Bates ’15, won a Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, a prestigious award that funds the full cost of a degree at Cambridge University. 

Jenna Armstrong ’15, a student at Duke Medical School, will earn a doctorate at Cambridge University through the prestigious Gates-Cambridge scholarship. (Courtesy of Jenna Armstrong)

Starting in October 2020, Armstrong will earn a doctorate in physiology, development, and neuroscience. She plans to study “human metabolic resilience in older individuals through the lens of mitochondrial function and malleability,” according to Duke — in other words, she’ll study aging, and how to ease its effects, at the cellular level. 

Armstrong majored in biological chemistry and mathematics at Bates and was a rower all four years. 

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Mike Nelson ’06

Nelson eager to be another kid’s lighthouse — The Wanderer 

Southeastern Massachusetts’ The Wanderer reported that Mike Nelson ’06 was appointed superintendent of the Old Rochester Regional School District. When he takes the job on June 30, he will be the youngest superintendent in the state. 

Nelson, who studied politics at Bates, always knew he wanted to work in public education, he told reporter Mick Colageo. He has served as director of student services and assistant superintendent in the same school district. 

“I really thought about ‘Why am I applying for this position?’” said Nelson, who is currently developing remote learning opportunities for the students who are staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. During his interview for the post, “I shared comments about the analogy that educators can be lighthouses for children.

“I thought about how fortunate I was not only to have one lighthouse but many different lighthouses who were educators throughout my life. And I said, ‘That’s the reason why I believe I ended up interviewing for this position,’ because in some ways it helps me come full circle in terms of what people gave to me.” 

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Katie Dobkowski 

Parasitic sushi worms have quietly been on the rise, study says — New York Post 

Hannah Frishberg of The New York Post covered a new study, co-authored by Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Katie Dobkowski, which found that the number of parasitic worms humans can ingest by eating raw or undercooked seafood is on the rise. 

Dobkowski worked on the paper, which studied the prevalence of Anisakis, or “herring worm,” as a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington. 

While herring worms — which also infect other species — pose more of a danger for marine mammals, the parasites can cause symptoms of food poisoning for humans who eat contaminated sushi. 

People up and down the supply chain do their best to remove the worms before they make it to a diner’s plate, but the researchers recommend that, to be extra sure their roll doesn’t contain a little something extra, sushi lovers should inspect every bite for worms before chowing down. 

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Rakey Drammeh ’14

‘Squash gave me the tools to pick and choose my way to exist in the world at large,’ says StreetSquash graduate Rakey — Squash Mad

Squash news site Squash Mad editor Alan Thatcher covered a dinner celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Squash and Education Alliance, a network that combines squash, academics, and college preparation for underresourced communities. 

Rakey Drammeh ’14 speaks at the Squash and Education Association’s 25th anniversary celebration. (Rob White Photography)

During the event, Rakey Drammeh ’14 gave a “show-stopping speech” about her experience with the affiliated program StreetSquash. An environmental studies major, she was captain of the women’s squash team at Bates and is now a software developer at Citibank. 

“SEA introduced me to a world that I never imagined knowing or being part of,” Drammeh said in her speech. “But more than that, it gave me the tools to pick and choose my way to exist in that world at large.”

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Bates College

Bates College breaks record for Fulbright award winners — Sun Journal 

The Lewiston Sun Journal shared the college’s February announcement of a historic year for the college’s Fulbright Student Award program.

Andrew Chen ’19 (left) used his Fulbright research grant to study with the Neuroimmunologic Response to Surgical Aggression and Anesthesia laboratory in Barcelona, Spain. Chen is now back in the United States. (Photo courtesy Andrew Chen ’19)

With 24 young alumni receiving Fulbright-sponsored awards for teaching and research worldwide in 2019–20, Bates is the No. 1 producer of Fulbright Student awards among U.S. liberal arts colleges. The college’s two dozen awards are the most ever going to a U.S. liberal arts college.

(Subsequent to this article, in March, the U.S. State Department suspended all Fulbright Programs due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.)

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Clifton Daggett Gray 

Insight: When Clarence Darrow came to Maine — Portland Press Herald 

For the Portland Press Herald, U.S. District Court Senior Judge D. Brock Hornby wrote about a curious episode for Bates, Maine, and legal history: the time Bates President Clifton Daggett Gray, after boasting that college debaters could best legendary attorney and orator Clarence Darrow, had to put his money where his mouth was. 

Clifton Daggett Gray, the third Bates College president, debated Clarence Darrow in 1927. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

In 1927, Darrow, known as the fierce defense lawyer who litigated the “Scopes monkey trial,” came to Maine to debate Gray on the question, “What and why is man?” The debate would be a friendly clash of worldviews: Gray, who held a doctorate from the University of Chicago, was an ordained Baptist minister; Darrow was thoroughly agnostic. 

The two debated first in Boston and again two days later in Portland. Of the Boston contest, The New York Times wrote, “If the scholarly shield of Dr. Gray shone with a higher polish, the ironic lance of Mr. Darrow smote with a sharper point.”

And the Press Herald, on the debate in Portland: “The contest of wit and logic rested at the conclusion without decision.” 

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William Worthy ’42

William Worthy — a radical, intrepid journalist and activist — Amsterdam News 

Herb Boyd of Amsterdam News profiled William Worthy ’42, a journalist and activist whose dedication to his work led him to flout U.S. travel restrictions during the Cold War. 

Image likely taken on Feb. 13, 1980 in Tehran, Iran. William Worthy '42 (center) setting up a question-answer session at a Tehran hotel with Hossein Sheikholislam (left) and Massoumeh Ebtekar (right), spokespeople for the students who held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days. Ebtekar, often interviewed by U.S. journalists during the crisis, was dubbed "Screaming Mary" by the media. Now a professor of immunology in Tehran, she talked to Matt Lauer of the Today Show last September about the status of women in her country. Sheikholislam, meanwhile, became Iran's deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Syria. In February 2008 he received the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism from Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism.
In a photo likely taken on Feb. 13, 1980, in Tehran, William Worthy ’42 (center) sets up a Q&A session with Hossein Sheikholislam (left) and Massoumeh Ebtekar (right), spokespeople for the students who held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.

Defying a U.S. ban on travel to China, Worthy made a reporting trip there in the late 1950s, after which the State Department declined to renew his passport. He later traveled to Cuba without a passport, was convicted for returning to the United States without one, and had the conviction overturned. His trip to Cuba was the subject of “The Ballad of William Worthy” by folksinger Phil Ochs. 

Boyd praised Worthy’s courage and ability to stand up against injustice no matter who perpetuated it, whether on the political right or left. “Worthy not only courageously lifted his voice for the oppressed, he did it no matter where he ventured — China, Cuba, Russia, or the four corners of the world,” he wrote. 

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Francesco Duina 

Flyover 2020: What does patriotism mean? — MPR 

Professor of Sociology Francesco Duina joined Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild and Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio for a discussion about what patriotism means and how it will affect voters’ decisions in the next presidential election. 

Duina’s 2017 book, Broke and Patriotic, explores why the poorest Americans are the most patriotic. The radio discussion turned to a meaty question: whether patriotism requires an uncritical, love-it-or-leave-it attitude, or if a self-defined patriot can still be critical of U.S. policies.

Duina said many Americans’ ideas of patriotism combine contribution to the nation, whether through military or another type of service, with a sense of hope for the future.

“Those are essential elements of American patriotism,” he said during the discussion, an entry in Miller’s call-in “Flyover” program. But “some people feel that the ability to live up to the notion of giving back with hope is vanishing because of a confluence of various long-term racial trends, economic trends, political trends.” 

“Some people feel that you can be patriotic — but you’re up against insurmountable challenges.” 

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Nathan Tefft 

New study suggests raising taxes on e-cigarettes could encourage traditional smoking — Forbes 

Kelly Phillips Erb of Forbes reported on a new study, co-authored by Associate Professor of Economics Nathan Tefft and funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, that found raising taxes on e-cigarettes can lead to a corresponding rise in consumption of traditional tobacco products. 

That’s a problem — when it comes to so-called sin taxes, which prices are raised in a bid to discourage bad behavior, you don’t want people to swap one behavior for another. 

“Because smoking is known to have substantial negative health impacts,” Tefft said in an interview with BatesNews, “policymakers should be aware of this potential tradeoff when contemplating e-cigarette control policies.” 

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Cameron Hamilton ’12

Lessons from ‘Love Is Blind’ for socially distanced daters — NPR

Cameron Hamilton ’12 and wife Lauren Speed — who met on the breakout Netflix hit Love is Blind — spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin about their unique perspective on social distancing. 

The premise of Love is Blind is that contestants date without ever seeing each other’s faces, at least until they become engaged. Fan favorites Hamilton and Speed have been married for more than a year. 

The pair spoke with Martin about their own relationship and how to date at a distance — but some of Hamilton’s advice can apply to relationships more broadly, romantic or not. 

“I think the power of communication is key here and truly listening to what the other person has to say,” he said. “I mean, it’s easy to hear them, but to really focus in and take a beat and try to process what they’re saying and respond to that.” 

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Jessica Anthony ’96

Political satire Enter the Aardvark is wonderfully weird — Time 

For Time, Annabel Gutterman reviewed Enter the Aardvark, a new novel by Jessica Anthony ’96, a lecturer in English at Bates.

The novel starts with Alexander Paine Wilson, a young Republican politician, receiving a taxidermied aardvark on his doorstep. The story follows the politician as well as two friends in 19th-century England, all of whom have to hide the fact that they are gay.  

“Though Enter the Aardvark is certainly satire, Anthony’s depiction of Wilson’s repressed sexuality cuts beneath the surface,” Gutterman wrote. 

“Her dissection of Wilson’s political beliefs, particularly his anti-abortion stance, isn’t just sharp commentary on polarization, identity, and power in the U.S. It’s also a poignant examination of what happens when we deny ourselves the ability to love and be loved.” 

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Amy Bradfield Douglass

Questions loom over the future of police lineups — 

Australia’s Flinders University announced that a review of studies on eyewitness identification in criminal cases resulted in revised and new recommendations for setting up identifications, in the hope of avoiding false or faulty evidence. 

A day in the life of Pettengill Hall, featuring staff, faculty and students engaged in learning, studying, and working, with both internal and external images.

Amy Douglass teaches “Psychology and Law,” G12
Professor of Psychology Amy Bradfield Douglass teaches a course on psychology and the law in January 2019. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Professor of Psychology Amy Bradfield Douglass was part of the team that modified four existing recommendations and created five more, including recording lineups on video and having police put in writing the reasons behind suspecting someone of a crime. 

The review led one of the co-authors, Flinders’ Neil Brewer, to write a paper advocating for getting rid of traditional lineups altogether. 

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Emily Kane

How to raise feminist boys — The Week

For The Week, Claire Gillespie wrote about her own, often-difficult, efforts to raise her two boys to accept and promote gender equality. 

Gillespie wrote that she makes a wide variety of toys, colors, and opportunities available to her children; with her husband, tries to model equality — and worries that sexism and gender roles are so entrenched in the world around her that harmful patterns will prevail anyway. 

A day in the life of Pettengill Hall, featuring staff, faculty and students engaged in learning, studying, and working, with both internal and external images.

Professor of Sociology Emily Kane meets with Eliza Statile '19 (in black jacket) and Sydney Howard '19 (In gray sweater) in her second floor Pettengill office, Room 269, about plans for the sociology club they founded this year.
In January 2019, Professor of Sociology Emily Kane meets with Eliza Statile ’19 and Sydney Howard ’19 in Kane’s Pettengill Hall office. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Professor of Sociology Emily Kane had some words of wisdom for Gillespie. “When parents enforce gendered expectations, it is often out of fear their children (especially their sons) will be teased, ostracized, or otherwise excluded if they don’t fall into line with those expectations,” she said. 

“We can all help by avoiding judgment, and those small, everyday assumptions about what a kid will enjoy or be good at based on their gender.”

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Mary Wheelwright Mitchell, Class of 1869

The ‘unconquerable’ Mary Wheelwright Mitchell — Sun Journal 

Steve Collins of the Sun Journal profiled Mary Wheelwright Mitchell, Bates’ first female graduate, whose refusal to leave the college helped keep it true to its founding commitment to coeducation. 

Mary Wheelwright Mitchell was the college's first female graduate, in 1869. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)
Mary Wheelwright Mitchell was the college’s first female graduate, in 1869. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

Bates was the first Northeastern college to admit women, and for that reason surrounding colleges looked down on it. This kind of pressure and others caused the first female Bates students to withdraw without degrees. Mitchell was the first to stay the course. 

Bates founder and president Oren Cheney secured Mitchell a scholarship from the state of Maine to help her through her studies. Reflecting both her independent spirit and, perhaps, how dramatically a college education’s price point has changed in the ensuing 150 years, Mitchell famously refused to take the help. 

“I cannot take that, Mr. Cheney,” Mitchell said. “Give it to the brethren. I can take care of myself.”

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Matt Charest ’20

After thousands of miles in the same pool, this Maine swimmer is moving on — 207, WCSH-TV

News Center Maine’s show 207 featured the uplifting story of Matt Charest ’20 of Lewiston, Maine, whose entire swimming career has been based in Bates’ Tarbell pool. 

Head swim coach Peter Casares started giving Charest private lessons when Charest was 8 years old, and when he was old enough, he started attending swim camps at Tarbell. When it came time to go to college, it was only natural for Charest to keep swimming, and to swim for Bates. 

“While no one keeps track of such things, it’s possible that in his 13 years of swimming in Lewiston he has spent more time in the college pool than any other human being,” reporter Rob Caldwell pointed out. 

“It’s definitely a home,” Charest told the news program. “I feel at home when I’m in the water.”

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Rebecca Herzig 

Why women feel pressured to shave — CNN 

Rebecca Herzig, professor of gender and sexuality studies, talked to CNN style reporter Marianna Cerini for an in-depth piece about how hairlessness in women came to be a beauty ideal in the United States, and how society’s views of body hair vary by time period and geography. 

Herzig said that an early example of the United States’ current ideal of hairlessness is none other than Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man, which associates body hair with primitivity and regards hairlessness as “more evolved.” 

Now, American culture considers body hair, at least for women, “abject,” or worthy of disgust and shame. “It’s worth noting that those are ideas about cleanliness, contingent social norms, rather than about actually removing ‘dirt,’” Herzig told CNN. “Most hair removal practices tend to introduce new opportunities for abrasion and infection.” 

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