When I submitted my proposal for my self-designed co-op over the winter quarter, the project I had in mind looked very different than what it has evolved into. Initially, I was hoping to spend the entirety of my time immersed in a creative project. My original idea was to write a new piece of flash fiction every day of the week from the start of the term to the end, resulting in 75 works that I would self-publish. While I am still undertaking this project, it is now only adjacent to my co-op.
Upon receiving my co-op fellowship letter, I discovered that there was no mention of my creative project, the focus of my proposal. Instead, my passing mention of potentially offering tutoring help in the Writing Institute was latched onto with the determination of a tick. My ESL qualifications in conjuncture with my willingness to offer tutelage morphed my desired co-op into the position of the ESL Services Coordinator at Antioch College.
While I am not frustrated with my co-op experience so far, it would be disingenuous to express a lack of frustration overall.
Currently, I spend most of my week in the writing institute, with open office hours available for any student who needs writing tutoring. A good deal of my time is spent detailing how Antioch can assist students who are English language learners. My first project was writing a recommendation for admission policy in regards to English language proficiency in applicants who are learning English. I also recently began to develop a low resource support plan that the college can implement in its current mainstream classrooms with minimal difficulty.
Outside of writing policy recommendations, I have gathered resources so that the Writing Institute can better assist English language learners. As of right now, the existing resources are all materials offered free online; however, there are select resources that ought to be purchased that I have identified. Unfortunately, I was not given a budget allotment and I am unable to purchase them.
For more updates on my work, please visit my website here.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience such a beautiful term. It has been incredibly eye-opening and inspirational to be around so many wonderful people who are so dedicated to their work. I was given the special offer of being able to take two co-ops at once, and I simply could not refuse the offer; I have had the pleasure of working at both Heartbeat Learning Gardens and the Glen Helen Raptor Center.
Heartbeat Learning Gardens is a non-profit organization that revolves around farm work. For eleven weeks, I lived in a small room in a farmhouse there, sharing the kitchen with two other people who lived in separate trailers, while I worked with the land. Pulling weeds, planting, and preparing beds were my main responsibilities, and I loved every minute of it. In fact, after the first few weeks, I began to love it so much that I developed a deep attachment to the land and the success of the plants. I found myself actually worried when the weather was suboptimal for growing conditions, and I crossed my fingers when temperatures abruptly dipped so low that they could’ve potentially killed off the crops we planted.
My passion for the work is only amplified by the fact that it’s all done for the sake of improving people’s living circumstances—none of the food we grow is for profit! Nearly all of the crops are donated to families in need. The social justice aspect of the work really gave me a sense of pride on harvest day, knowing that what I was doing was going to help improve the lives of hundreds of people.
The Glen Helen Raptor Center was a very different experience, as the work I was doing revolved around birds. The Raptor Center is a rescue center that takes in injured raptors and nurses them back to health before releasing them into the wild. We take in around 200 birds a year and successfully release a majority of them. My job mostly consisted of caring for the birds by feeding them, cleaning up after them, and even handling some of them. I have developed a bond with each and every bird I’ve worked with and I see them as the most beautiful creatures.
These places have given me so much, not only in terms of appreciation for the respective work I engaged in while being a part of each organization but also life skills and an ability to build and be a part of a community of people who can rely on each other and work together. As my co-op starts to wind down, I have been thinking back to all the great times I’ve had and all the life-long friendships I’ve made, and even all of the lessons I’ve learned during my time at both places. It fills me with so much joy to think about how I’ve grown and all the challenges I overcame in order to become a more mature person overall this term.
The Antioch College Board of Trustees announced the selection of Dr. Jane Fernandes as the third president. Fernandes — most recently president of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina — will join Antioch College on August 16. She will be the second female (and first deaf) president of the College and the third president since its relaunch as an independent institution in 2010.
The search for a new president began in early 2021 after Dr. Tom Manley announced his departure from Antioch in 2020 with a Search Committee composed of Antioch College trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Yellow Springs community members.
“Dr. Jane Fernandes brings broad academic experience, scholarship, and a solid record of active engagement in social justice and diversity,” said Board of Trustees Chair Maureen Lynch. “Her appreciation for shared governance and cooperative education are additional valuable assets. Given the challenges faced by small institutions of higher education across the country, and by Antioch College specifically, we are acutely aware of the need to move boldly and with purpose into this next chapter. We firmly believe that Jane Fernandes is the leader the College needs at this moment.”
“Dr. Fernandes possesses the entrepreneurial savvy as well as the administrative expertise necessary to augment and enhance Antioch’s fiscal and human capital,” said search chair Ro Nita Hawes Saunders. “She understands that leadership is not the prerogative to command and control but an opportunity to enlighten and empower Antiochians with the skill and the will to realize the vision and achieve the mission of the College.”
“I am excited to be joining Antioch College,” she said. “This is an especially important time in the history of the College. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with the dedicated and talented faculty, staff, trustees, students, and alumni, as well as reaching out to community members and businesses. As we continue to assess what the higher education landscape will look like following the pandemic, this is our opportunity to create together a bright future and build on the creation of a new Antioch College that is already underway.”
See Dr. Fernandes’ message to the Antioch College community here.
Photo credit: https://www.diverseeducation.com
For this winter co-op, I was able to continue with a small but significant part of my life goals. I came to Mexico City—and traveled to other parts of Mexico—to work on a documentary discussing Mexica dances and their part in war.
This film will show just a part of the full scope of purposes that pre-Hispanic dances have. They are used to heal people, to exercise, to celebrate, to bless the land, to ask for permission to do certain things like engaging in war, etc. These dances can be found all over the central and southern parts of Mexico and were crucial to many cultures, such as the Mayans and Mixtecas.
This is a personal project for me and therefore I am in charge of how I spend my time, which has given me the opportunity of exploring and traveling whenever I need in order to learn more about my culture. On a usual day, I investigate where I can find information about these dances, whether that be in museums, with friends and family, or with inhabitants of central Mexico. Then, whenever I have time, I cut and edit the videos I have taken of dancers, seeing in what ways I can make it look more interesting for everyone.
When I am done with my documentary in the spring, I plan to show it on campus and make it public on social media and YouTube so that everyone can enjoy seeing some fragments of my culture. This has been a really rich and liberating experience for me that will help me move towards my goal of making a career out of filming movies and series about my culture, history, and the arts. Though this was not the perfect co-op and was just the beginning of a long journey to fulfill my dream, all great things start from something so small and humble.
My co-op story started with one passion in mind: media production and the arts.
Of course, that wasn’t the only deciding factor in my decision. I knew going into the spring term that I didn’t feel comfortable traveling, but also needed a place to stay. Antioch College is my only home at the moment, so I needed to find a co-op that would help me cover my room and board payment. It was a very scary and stressful situation for me. I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d go from here if I couldn’t find a place to live that I could afford and, unfortunately, due to differences in beliefs, I wasn’t welcome back with family. Thankfully, my co-op advisor, Luisa Bieri, found the perfect job opportunity that relieved my biggest fear just in time. I give her my sincerest thank you!
Right now, I am working with James Lippincott and Anna Robinson in video post-production. Our main goal is to produce video content for both the main Antioch YouTube and Vimeo channels, as well as the Antioch alumni YouTube channel. I’m currently working on a few projects, including a video highlighting actor John Lithgow’s moments at the Antioch Under the Stars Virtual Gala event. Additionally, I have been editing a series of short videos of students thanking staff, alumni, and other people in their lives, which is being dubbed the “Thank-A-Thon Event.”
For anyone interested in viewing a video I have completed, check out the one down below, which is of Antioch College’s 2020 Reunion’s Open Mic Event! It was a really fun video to edit, and one of the first I got to work on.
Working on video post-production has been an incredibly exciting opportunity for me. Media, and art in general, has been a big passion of mine ever since I was young. I remember waking up every morning to watch cartoons, then heading to school and drawing those exact same characters on my homework just a few moments later. My introduction to animation opened up a rabbit hole that has led to who I am today, and has introduced me to other means of media production such as music and video!
Overall, I don’t have any words other than that co-op has been great, and I thank everyone who has allowed me this opportunity!
I am currently out in California working for Visiting Angels, an in-home care franchise whose mission is to provide a workplace that gives caregivers love and respect while providing compassionate care to clients. They have been providing companionship and care to those in need since 1998, but our little Sacramento office has been open since 2015.
In the mornings, I tend to get to the office building a little before everyone else. I unlock the gate, go inside, turn on the lights, put on my badge, find my seat, and listen for the phone while waiting for the other staff to arrive. Lately, I have been sitting at the receptionist desk because my coworker Savannah’s computer hasn’t been working too well so she reclaimed her old office, but someone has to be at the front desk to greet people and transfer calls. Sometimes I still have to transfer the call to a different staff member so they can answer questions because, as an intern, I am still learning a lot.
My current role in the workplace is to make things just a pinch easier for everyone in the office. I answer the phone, take messages, keep up with the Visiting Angels social media and website, and handle filing or whatever other needs there are. For example, I spun our NOW HIRING sign on the corner of our block and walked between street corners playing classic rock to catch people’s attention. I stopped traffic twice, but we got a few calls from potential future clients while I was outside. I don’t feel as though I do much, though I am told that I am actually very helpful.
Overall, this experience has helped me get closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life and has maybe changed what I want to focus on for my degree. It has also given me the chance to become more educated about mental health, which leans into the psychology area of my degree interest. Since I am keeping up with caregivers and am involved with the behind-the-scenes work, I am learning more about the caregiving system and the reality of what happens to people when their family members cannot do it on their own anymore. Geriatric care is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, but it is something I feel like I need to know about with my long-term goal of going into social work.
Dr. Kevin McGruder, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of History at Antioch College, has recently completed his second, sole-authored book, Philip Payton: The Father of Black Harlem, which will be published next year by Columbia University Press. The book focuses on the life and successes of Philip A. Payton, Jr. who formed the Afro-American Realty Company in 1903 and, through the media, branded Harlem as a place where black people could live and assembled black investors to begin buying property in the then-predominately white, urban area. It is a follow-up to Kevin’s 2015 book, Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem, 1890 to 1920, and stems from his longheld interest in community formation and urban history.
Previously, he worked for many years in nonprofit community development, holding positions such as Program Director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Director of Real Estate Development with the Abyssinian Development Corporation, as well as embarking on two entrepreneurial ventures that helped celebrate Harlem.
Kevin was also recently featured in the PBS documentary Trump’s path to the presidency—and the remaking of the Republican Party, where he reflects on Donald Trump’s history with racial issues and how racist stereotypes helped him during his campaign and presidency.
Photo credits: Audrey Hackett, Kevin McGruder
Friends of Antioch College will be pleased to learn that Antioch Engaged, a journal of social practice and professional engagement for the Antioch community, will be receiving some much-needed attention during the 2020-2021 school year. My name is Sara Marsh and I have recently been hired as the first student blog editor for Antioch Engaged under the Antioch Works program, which provides meaningful campus jobs for every incoming student. Along with Richard Kraince, Luisa Bieri, and Beth Bridgeman, I will be working to edit and publish the backlog of student co-op stories, as well as write spotlight pieces to give students and faculty well-deserved attention.
Besides writing and editing, my interests include education, law, and gender studies, and I plan to pursue a psychology-focused self-designed major. Prior to Antioch, I lived in Lexington, Kentucky where I attended Bluegrass Community and Technical College while enrolled in high school. As is true now, when I wasn’t in class, I could be found in the library, writing and listening to music.
As a first-year Antioch student, I have not yet had the opportunity to go on a co-op, but I am excited about hearing all of your stories. I am looking forward to a great year and meeting many new people. Please feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions regarding Antioch Engaged or if you know of any interesting experiences that Antioch faculty and students are having!
Photo credit: https://ysnews.com