Thursday, July 31, 2014

NYMF's "Best New Musical" Prize Goes to BW Grad

Photo courtesy Micah Joel
A new musical by BW music theatre grad Dan Marshall '02 was a big winner at this summer's New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Marshall co-wrote the book and lyrics for ACADEMIA NUTS which was chosen by the festival's 2014 Awards for Excellence jury as the "Play-by-Play Best New Musical" out of 26 shows.  ACADEMIA NUTS also picked up awards for acting, directing and writing, both book and lyrics.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is billed as "the preeminent launching pad for stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals."

Described as a "nerd-rock musical," ACADEMIA NUTS is set at the National High School Quizbowl Championship where "dreamy-eyed brainiac Maggie McCutter hopes to win a scholarship so she can escape her controlling mother. (But) Maggie’s world is hilariously turned upside down when she falls for Tyler O'Neil, a football-loving opponent from (a) rival team."

"I was so excited to work alongside our talented cast, award-winning director and designers," Marshall said. "The experience of hearing audiences laugh and cheer at our jokes and songs made the effort of creating an original musical well worth it."

ACADEMIA NUTS also is the first New York Musical Theatre Festival project to receive a grant from the Kevin Spacey Foundation: America. Marshall and his writing partner started on the project in graduate school at NYU. 

Dan Marshall '02 (3rd from left) and his his ACADEMIA NUTS co-creators celebrate their NYMF "Best New Musicial" award. Left to right are Charissa Bertels (producer) Julian Blackmore (composer), Dan Marshall (lyrics/book) and Becca Anderson (lyrics/book).

Art Education Major Interns with Smithsonian's "Portraits Alive"

Aspiring art teacher Gloria Collins '15 is spending a "seriously amazing" summer in Washington D.C. interning at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, Office of Education. Collins, who is studying art education at BW is involved in a program called "Portraits Alive." She works with high school students, ages 14 to 16, who write a monologue and dress up as a historical figure from a portrait within the museum, from Audrey Hepburn to Bruce Lee.

Collins says that the most rewarding part of the internship is seeing shy teens “blossom and embody a character and I think they learn a lot about themselves but also about historical figures.” Collins also is gaining valuable experience learning how to incorporate museum education into the classroom.

To hear more about her experiences, check out this Smithsonian video interview featuring Collins and a fellow intern from Vanderbilt University. 

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex with 137 million objects in its collections. It was founded in 1864 and consists of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery shares America’s history through poets, presidents, actors, activists and many more that have shaped our culture and story.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BW Grad and Filmmaker Wants to Make Movies in Cleveland

BW film studies and business marketing grad Steven Caple Jr. '10 is living his dream, producing stories near and dear to his heart for small and big screens. A recent Indiewire profile, "How Emerging Filmmaker Steve Caple is Growing His Talents by Working With HBO and With Urban Youth," shines a light on this "up and comer" in the indie film business.

Caple, who went on to graduate school at the USC School Of Cinematic Arts after graduating from BW, produced the short film, "A Different Tree," as a grad student. The film, about a young girl yearning to meet her biological father, won the HBO® Short Film Competition when it debuted at the 2013 American Black Film Festival, has been applauded on the festival circuit since then and is slated to air on HBO this year.

Caple, who is now in pre-production for "a drama about inner-city kids who take to drug dealing to finance their skateboarding passion," told Indiewire he wants to come home to make movies.

"As of right now I'm trying to push to have a lot of my films made in Cleveland, Ohio. Which is where I grew up at. Not just because they have great tax incentives, but because I actually want to go back and make movies about Cleveland."

Watch the trailer for A Different Tree.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

English Professor's "Book of Duels" Takes Off

 BW English professor Michael Garriga is enjoying great success with his debut work, The Book of Duels, which sold out its first printing and has a second edition coming out from Milkweed Editions in the fall. Stories from the book also have been published by, The Southern Review, Oxford American, along with 
"The 10 Greatest Duels in Literature" on the Huffington Post site.

Publishers Weekly  praised The Book of Duels as a "riveting" flash fiction collection that tells the stories of duels, both historical and imagined, from three different perspectives. The book also landed on the summer "must-read" lists of Cleveland Magazine and "Sound of Applause" public radio host Dee Perry.

Garriga joined Perry in the WCPN/ ideaStream studios this week to talk about his inspiration for the book.  If you missed the interview, you can listen to a replay via the WCPN website. Or, tune in for an excerpt on the Friday edition of NPR's "All Things Considered."

Better yet, catch Garriga reading from his work LIVE August 8, from 7-10 pm at the Tremont Artwalk where he'll appear at Visible Voice with BW's own Front Porch band!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WBWC Host "On the Air and Living His Dream"

Courtesy: SUN Newspapers

WBWC-radio host John Basalla '76, was the focus of a recent "Faces of the Sun" feature in the Northeast Ohio Media group's Sun Newspapers. Basalla hosts an alternative rock show on 88.3 FM, "

The Sting" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and plays music from 1900 to 1930 on the award-winning "1900s Yesterday," airing 5-5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Basalla, who serves as the station's alumni programming consultant and has been involved with the station in various capacities since his freshman year at BW, also told the newspaper he's gearing up for WBWC's annual Beatles Marathon, which broadcasts from 7 a.m. Aug. 7 to to 1 a.m. Aug. 8. "The Beatles Marathon started with two students in 1981, and I took it over in '84 and have been doing it ever since."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rising Senior Making a Difference in Costa Rica

Maddy Simboli '15 is spending part of her summer interning with a nonprofit in Costa Rica. The BW International Business and Spanish double major is volunteering for the San José-based Rahab Foundation, which helps rehabilitate men, women, and children that have been affected by or involved in the sex trade.
Maddy is also "Crowdrise" fundraising for a Rahab Foundation youth camp that focuses on preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. "My work here has been very fulfilling, and my Spanish has improved a lot," she tells us via email. "I am very excited to return this fall and share my experiences with everyone at BW."

As part of her International Study Abroad (ISA) experience, Maddy, who hails from Grafton, Ohio, has also enjoyed some time exploring Costa Rica and interacting with the wildlife. "I am enchanted by the wildlife here," she writes.

Maddy even went for a hair-raising bungee-jump while sporting her best Baldwin Wallace gear. You'll need to read the BW inscription on her sweatshirt upside down in the YouTube video linked below!

Current BW students intrigued by Costa Rica as a study abroad destination should note that BW Explorations/Study Abroad is currently accepting application for the Spring 2015 Discover Costa Rica program that will be led by BW Biology professor Dr. Chris Stanton in conjunction with ISA.

Pressuring Putin: BW Professor Weighs in for Washington Times

As the west turns up the pressure on Russia to aid the Ukraine plane crash probe and rein in separatist rebels there,  BW professor Judy Krutky tells The Washington Times today that it's not clear how much influence Russian President Vladimir Putin has on the rebels.

“Since technically Russia isn’t in Ukraine, the question is would sanctions impact Putin and his advisers and cause them to try and change the behavior of the separatists in eastern Ukraine who want more freedom from the Ukrainian government?,” Krutky told the paper. “Putin seems to have some influence on them, but how much isn’t clear. The connections between all these actors are tenuous at best.”

Dr. Krutky, who heads BW's international studies program, including the national security track, also works as an adjunct scholar for RAND Corp’s International Security and Policy Group.
Professor Judy Krutky in her international studies classroom with guest speaker USCG Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger '77

Physics Major Impresses NASA - Extends Space Center Internship

BW physics major Gil Montague '15 has put in such an impressive performance in his summer internship at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Fla. that he's been asked to stay on for 16 weeks in the fall. The physics major and co-founder of BW's Problem Solving Club has been working on a swarming robotics research project funded by the NASA/KSC Innovation Fund.

"I really think the field of robotics and artificial intelligence will positively impact the future of mankind so I applied to this opportunity at Kennedy Space Center to be a part of that change," Gils says.

"Gil loves a challenge," says Professor Ed Meyer, who chairs BW's physics department and advises the Problem Solving Club, "When tackling a hard problem, he is absolutely relentless in his pursuit of the answer. I expect that is what impressed the folks at NASA."

Gil tells us that the NASA project has implications for future space missions. "It's a collaboration between the KSC Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations group, the University of New Mexico Biological Computation Lab, and the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group and focuses on the development of software algorithms for possible use in future NASA extraplanetary robotics missions."

Fortunately Gil has already satisfied his physics major requirements and can stay the additional 16 weeks to on this exciting project.

Friday, July 18, 2014

BW Senior Helps to Lead Special Camp He Attended as a Child

BW senior Cory Svette has come full circle as he takes over as music director at a summer camp that made a difference to him as a child. Camp IDEAS (Individually Developed Educational Activities in the Summer) has been helping special-needs children in Lorain County for 17 years. The Lorain Morning Journal featured the month-long camp in a recent article, focusing on Svette as "a testament to (the camp's) success."

Svette first attended Camp IDEAS at age 8 following an autism diagnosis. At the time, he says he found it difficult to be in front of people or to communicate with them. “What really brought me out of it were the arts and music programs offered at camp. I really got attached to them,” the vocal music major told the newspaper.

Now, at 24, Svette leads the camp's choral and theatrical program—along with fellow BW students Alexander Healy, Joy DeMarco and Mikhayla Wilkins.  “It has really helped me, and the kids that have followed, to open doors and realize what our potentials are.”

That potential certainly played out in last spring's BW opera production of the Hansel & Gretel, when Svette "stole the show" playing the witch (pictured below) according to a Cleveland Classical review.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Big Dogs on Campus Pass Therapy Dog Exam

Two dogs that trained on campus with BW psychology department students are now certified therapy dogs.  Luca, the Great Dane, and Chloe, the Sheltie, passed the Therapy Dog International (TDI ™) test this summer. The dogs will begin working with OhioGuidestone clients as soon as the licenses are in hand. OhioGuidestone's Rivienne Levin says Luca has already been identified to work with an autistic client,  as well as a client diagnosed with anxiety.

That success doesn't mean the BW community won't continue to benefit from canine companionship. OhioGuidestone's Lori Hanson and Levin will be assessing dogs who belong to current OhioGuidestone licensed therapists in the next few weeks. Once dogs are selected, they will be looking for volunteer BW students to again train the dogs in the upcoming academic year.

And, the gentle giant, Luca, and little Chloe also will continue to make appearances on the BW campus in order to keep their public access skills sharp. Levin says student trainers will gain new insights as they evaluate and work with dogs who are in the beginning stages of learning, as well as experienced dogs that need continuing supportive training.

Congrats to our student trainers and good luck to Luca and Chloe as they embark on their new roles as healing helpers!

Read more on BW's therapy dog training program.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Student Researcher Wins National Neuroscience Grant

The research of one BW Summer Scholar has received additional recognition and funding from Nu Rho Psi, the national neuroscience honor society. Biagio Niro '16 is one of just two student researchers nationwide to receive a 2014 Nu Rho Psi Summer Research Grant.

With the support of neuroscience chair and faculty mentor, Dr. Jackie Morris, Niro's work is aimed at helping scientists to better understand the role of the PAD-2 gene in the normal development of the nervous system. The PAD enzyme has been the focus of research in cancer and autoimmune diseases, in particular multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The BW neuroscience-biology major is using a new gene editing system to delete a portion of the PAD-2 gene in zebrafish. After editing the genes, he analyzes the mutated fish to determine if nervous system development has been altered.  According to Niro and Morris, "If we understand the normal role of the PAD gene, then we might understand why it reappears during disease states."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Political Science Prof at All-Star Conference on Women in Politics

BW political science professor Barbara Palmer's passion for women and politics took her to Washington D.C. this month, where she was featured as a speaker on the history of women running for office during the Young Women's Leadership Summit sponsored by Running Start.

She's pictured here with Krystal Ball, host of MSNBC's The Cycle, and Jayne Atkinson, who plays Secretary of State Catherine Durant on the popular Netflix original series House of Cards; both appeared on a panel exploring the way women in power are portrayed on TV.

Palmer, who also co-authored Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change, is on the advisory council for Running Start, which aims to increase the participation of women in elected leadership roles by educating young women and girls about the importance of politics.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Poli Sci Prof Weighs in on Cleveland Landing RNC Convention

WCPN ideaStream
With the news that Cleveland will host the Republican National presidential convention in 2016, Baldwin Wallace political science professor Tom Sutton weighed in on the big news with WEWS-TV and WCPN radio.

Sutton, who recently returned from a semester in Ghana as a Fulbright Scholar, told the ideaStream NPR station that Cleveland is an appealing choice for the RNC convention.

“We’re talking about an open seat race for the presidency with no incumbents running,” Sutton told the station. “We’re talking about a state with a sitting Republican governor, One with one Republican and one Democratic senator.  And a vast majority of our 16 congress people, 11 of them being Republicans. Despite the fact that we did vote for President Obama.”

Sutton says he is eager to plug BW students into the front-row learning opportunities that the national convention will bring to the University's backyard.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taking Music to New Heights

No doubt, Annemarie Kulbis’ students will look up to her one day. 

Not only because she is six feet tall, but also because she will be providing them with a valuable education resource that will help them succeed.

As a 2014 Baldwin Wallace Summer Scholar, Kulbis ’16, of Euclid, is in the process of creating a resource guide that K-4 music teachers can use for working with children with autism.

A music education and music therapy major, she has found that “music educators don’t have many classes that deal with this disability.” Her goal is to “bridge the gap by creating a music curriculum they can use. Her project lends itself to her career plans. “One day I plan on opening my own academy that emphasizes the use of music on the mind and body."

Annemarie Kulbis works with Professor Lalene Kay as part of her Summer Scholars research project. Kulbis credits BW with providing her hands-on experiences that make her more marketable than students from other schools.

July in Paris S'il Vous Plaît

July in Paris means a stop for une crème glacée!
April in Paris? Au contraire!

Nine BW students, led by BW Art History professor Dr. Marc Vincent, are spending July in Paris, seeing the "real" City of Light in a 4-week language and culture intensive program offered by BW Explorations/Study Abroad.

This is the first faculty-led summer exploration for BW; such programs usually run in the spring or fall. "A Summer in Paris" is being offered in conjunction with MICEFA's summer program at the Institut Catholique.

MICEFA is a consortium of 14 French universities created "to promote cultural and scientific cooperation between France and Anglophone North America."

The BW contingent will return to the Ohio on August 1.

Monday, July 7, 2014

BW Jobs Analysis Challenges and Makes News Headlines

An assessment by BW economics department chair and professor Veronica Kalich that "Ohio has yet to regain at least 120,000 jobs it lost since the recession began more than six years ago" made front page news in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday.

Following the trumpeted release of improved national unemployment figures last month, Kalich looked at Labor Department data for Ohio from the start of the recession through May 2014. "The big headline was that the U.S. was back," Kalich told the newspaper. "I am sorry, but Ohio is not back to where we were in December 2007."

Kalich and other economists interviewed for the report say "education is key to Ohio not only recovering jobs lost during the recession, but creating new jobs as well. Throughout the recession and recovery, people with the highest education levels had the lowest unemployment rates."

Read more about Kalich's Ohio unemployment analysis at

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

BW Musicians Featured at PlayhouseSquare Summer Series

Student and faculty musicians from the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music continue to take advantage of BW's strong ties with Cleveland's vibrant arts community, appearing downtown in the BW Summer Garden Music Series - presented by PlayhouseSquare District Development Corporation.

A saxophone and piano duo kicked off the live instrumental performances, which continue to run on Mondays at noon, through August 18 at U.S. Bank Plaza. The mix of duos, trios and ensembles includes a guitar and viola duo on July 7, a saxophone ensemble on July 14, the faculty bluegrass and folk group, Front Porch, on July 21 and the Riverfire Trio on July 28. August features a trio of duos: violin and guitar  on August 4, trumpet and horn on the 11th and guitar and clarinet on August 18.