Compass - Temple University€¦ · Compass fAll 2013 the ... 5 Just the Facts, Ma’am In 2013,...

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1234 Anderson Hall 1114 Polett Walk Philadelphia, PA 19122 U.S.A. Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Philadelphia, PA Permit No. 1044 THE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS / TEMPLE UNIVERSITY COMPASS COMPASS FALL 2013 Documenting Art with Temple in India Jawun Dream Painting is a hand-painted Indian miniature used in Rhett Grumbkow’s documentary, Speaking Stones & Singing Stones. Grumbkow’s film tells the story of Professor Jayasinhji Jhala’s ancestral homeland.

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Transcript of Compass - Temple University€¦ · Compass fAll 2013 the ... 5 Just the Facts, Ma’am In 2013,...

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    t h e M A g A z I n e f o r A l U M n I A n D f r I e n D S o f t h e c o l l e g e o f l I b e r A l A r t S / t e M P l e U n I v e r S I t y

    C o m p a s sC o m p a s sf A l l 2 0 1 3

    Documenting Art withTemple in India

    Jawun Dream Painting is a hand-painted Indian miniature used in Rhett Grumbkows documentary, Speaking Stones & Singing Stones. Grumbkows film tells the story of Professor Jayasinhji Jhalas ancestral homeland.

  • college of liberal arts fall 2013 1

    t h e M A g A z I n e f o r A l U M n I A n D f r I e n D S o f t h e c o l l e g e o f l I b e r A l A r t S / t e M P l e U n I v e r S I t yf A l l 2 0 1 3

    C o m p a s s

    Temple University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations. The university has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. This policy extends to all educational, service and employment programs of the university.

    From the 12th Floor2 D e A n S W e l c o M e2 f A c U lt y M e e t I n g

    4 b l A S t f r o M t h e P A S t5 J U S t t h e f A c t S

    Parliament Profiles22 A l U M n I AWA r D S23 W h At D I D y o U D o W I t h y o U r D e g r e e24 S t U D e n t P r o f I l e

    DeanTeresa S. Soufas

    Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni RelationsFrances Hollingsworth

    Assistant Director of Communications and Compass EditorShannon McLaughlin Rooney

    Development CoordinatorAshley Grubb

    Editorial AssistantNicholas Santalucia

    ContributorsCelia ProulxMaggie Tuesday ReynoldsCharlotte TuckerDaniel Wisniewski

    DesignFrank Baseman, tyl, mfaBaseman Design

    PhotographyRyan BrandenbergRhett GrumbkowJoseph Labolito(uness otherwise noted)

    CorrespondenceAttn: Compass EditorCollege of Liberal ArtsTemple University1219 Anderson Hall1114 Polett WalkPhiladelphia, PA 19122-6090

    [email protected]

    Copyright 2013by Temple University

    12 Anthropology student Rhett Grumbkow snapped this image of a panel dedicated to the Lord Kalki while shooting his documentary in Patan, India.

    16S t U D e n t r e S e A r c hFrom the Studio to a Park in the SkyTwo School of Environmental Design graduates took a senior studio project and turned it into momentum for a citywide park along the formerly abandoned site of the Reading Railroad.

    12P r o g r A M f e At U r eExhibitions on India: More than Study AbroadSince 2001, Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala has taken nearly 200 Temple students to his home in India. Under his guidance, the Temple in India program opens doors and creativity.6f A c U lt y P r o f I l eForaging for Answers: A look at CLAs Decision Making LaboratoryPsychology Professor Donald Hantula works with students to answer some

    tricky questions: Why do we make the decisions we make? And how do we explain seemingly irrational behavior that occurs over and over again?



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    5 Just the Facts, MaamIn 2013, CLA awarded more than $145,000 to 113 different students. Take a look at the breakdown.

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    Awarding Students and Honoring Alumni Contributions

    ach year on the evening before commencement, the best and brightest students,

    faculty and staff from the College of Liberal Arts gather to celebrate a year of academic success. The Baccalaureate Awards ceremony is an annual highlight for me because it offers the Deans Office the opportunity to commend students and faculty alike for their outstanding research and scholarly achievements. As you will read in this issue of

    Compass, this year we awarded nearly $150,000 in prizes and scholarships to 119 of our top students.

    I am delighted to bring you this issue of Compass because it highlights so many areas of expertise Im proud of at the College of Liberal Arts. We explore one of the Psychology Departments most interesting labs and meet Professor Donald Hantula and some of his student researchers. We also take a trip to the abandoned Reading Railroad and describe how two of our School of Environmental Design alumni have helped the city with its plans to turn the historic site into an elevated park. We travel all the way to India with Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala for a look at some marvelous art. In addition, we bring you news of congratulations to a number of distinguished faculty retirees.

    I am so proud to share news of our accomplishments with you and I hope you will consider supporting these and so many other achievements at the college by making a gift to sustain scholarship and research. To learn more about the ways in which you can help support CLA, visit I look forward to sharing more news with you in the next issue of Compass.



    Teresa S. SoufasDean, College of Liberal Arts

    CLA Congratulates Retiring Professors

    Anthony Ranere retired from the Department

    of Anthropology this

    year after a career of

    archaeological research

    that took him all over the

    world. Most interesting

    to Ranere was his work in Panama, where he

    worked with his colleagues at Temple and the

    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to

    explore the peopling of the American tropics.

    We wish him the best.

    After a distinguished

    career in African and

    African-American Litera-

    ture, Abu Shardow Abarry retired from the African

    American Studies Depart-

    ment, where his work

    earned him merit awards for outstanding

    teaching, research, and service. His expert

    voice in African folktale was an asset to the

    college and will be missed.

    The college is sorry to say Ciao to Mariquita Noris, a professor of Italian in the French, German, Italian and Slavic department, as

    she retires. Since 1971 Noris has taught

    students of Italian in her trademark fun and

    friendly manner and has also served as presi-

    dent of Gamma Kappa Alpha National Italian

    Honor Society.

    D e A n S W e l c o M e f A c U lt y M e e t I n g

    college of liberal arts fall 2013 3

    After over four dedicated

    decades with the college,

    the Thaddeus Lincoln

    Bolton Professor of

    Psychology, Willis Overton retired this year. Overtons

    research spans the field

    of psychology and his students have found

    him intellectually stimulating. During his time

    at Temple, Overton served as president of the

    Jean Piaget Society.

    Marilyn Silberfein, a professor with the

    Department of Geogra-

    phy and Urban Studies

    since 1968 has retired.

    Silberfeins research

    specialized in the rural

    economic development of sub-Saharan Africa

    and brought her knowledge of rural develop-

    ment to the U.S. Agency for International

    Development. Silberfein also enriched the

    academic careers of her students while acting

    as her departments undergraduate adviser.

    The Department of Psychology was sorry to

    see Diana Woodruff-Pak retire this year. Since joining the college in 1975, Woodruff-Pak has

    focused primarily on the Alzheimers disease

    and the effect of aging on memory. In 2006

    her work earned Woodruff-Pak the Paul W.

    Eberman Faculty Research Award.

    The Undergraduate Chair of the criminal jus-

    tice department, Alan Harland, retired this year. Harlands most recent work has focused on

    a series of policy, program, and technologi-

    cal reforms in the court system of Delaware

    County, Pennsylvania. His students remem-

    ber his deep understanding and the field and

    sharp sense of humor. ]

    Since 1992, 28 of the 55 Temple University Fulbright Scholars have been CLA alumni.

    D I D yA k n o W ?


    Just married? Have you recently moved? Stay in touch! Don't miss out on the exciting news and events

    at the College of Liberal Arts. Update your contact information today.


  • 4 c o M P A S S temple universit y

    b l A S t f r o M t h e P A S t

    April 18, 1958 College of Liberal Arts students compete with counterparts from then-College of Business (now Fox School of Business) and Teachers College (now College of Education) in the annual Penny Preakness. Colleges competed to see which students would be first to arrange an unbroken line of pennies stretching from Berks Street to Montgomery Avenue along North Broad Street. Proceeds benefited the Salvation Army.

    The penny preakness

    Can you believe it? It would take a stack of 19,665 pennies to reach the top of the Bell Tower and 53,094 to reach the top of Morgan Hall.

    college of liberal arts fall 2013 5



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    J U S t t h e f A c t S

    Each year on the eve of graduation, the College of Liberal Arts gathers to honor the best and brightest students and faculty. Awards and scholarships are supported by donors from around the country. Student winners are encouraged to invite a faculty mentor as well as family and friends. In 2013, CLA awarded more than $145,000 to 113 different students. Heres the breakdown:

  • 6 c o M P A S S temple universit y college of liberal arts fall 2013 7

    f A c U lt y P r o f I l e

    Foraging for answers:A look at CLAs Decision

    Making Laboratory

    By Dan Wisniewski,SMC, 12





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    Psychology Professor Donald Hantula works with students to answer some tricky questions: Why do we make the decisions we make? And how do we explain seemingly irrational behavior that occurs over and over again? His answers may surprise you.

    picture Jim, your typical Temple freshman. Like all students, Jim wants straight As, and hes promised himself hell study every night after classes to get there.

    That worksfor a while. But one night Jim gets a call from his friends. Theyre going out to dinner and then a movie. Does he want to come?

    If you guessed that Jim might go out like countless other students might in his situation you wouldnt be wrong. You also might consider that a bad decision on his part. But psychology professor Donald Hantula doesnt see it that way.

    That decision isnt irrational or stupid, said Hantula. Its normal and it happens all the time. We need to under-stand it rather than explain it away.

    Thats exactly what Hantula has been trying to do for the last 20 years. Once a week in Temples Weiss Hall, volunteer undergraduate and graduate students gather in Hantulas Decision Making Laboratory to conduct research in pur-suit of answers to some of psychologys stickiest questions: Why do we make

    the decisions we make? And how do we explain seemingly irrational behavior that occurs over and over again?

    Its no easy task. Hantula and his students are trying to reverse years of economic and psychological theoryas well as basic human thought.

    The way the world looks at decision making is that peoples choices should be consistent and that their preferences shouldnt change, Hantula said. And when seemingly irrational choices are made, theyre dismissed as being stupid. But that makes humans look incredibly foolishand as a long-time member of the species, Ive always found that a little objectionable.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    h o W D o W e M A k e D e c I S I o n S ?how do people decide what to buy? Who to vote for? What to eat?

    One popular theory states that we make decisions that are consistent, future-oriented and that maximize util-ityin other words, we do things that help us the most and hurt us the least.

    The modeltermed rational choice theory won economist Gary Becker a Nobel Prize in 1992. But Donald Hantula isnt totally convinced it does the best job explaining day-to-day human deci-sion making.

    Rational choice theory may be a good theory of how we should make decisions, said Hantula. But in terms of a theory on how we actually make deci-sions, it fails terribly.

    Hantula, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and whos dipped his toes into the fields of psy-chology, religion, human resources, and management and information systems, sees great value in looking at human decision making through the lens of evolutionary psychology.

    Of particular interest: foraging theory, which states that unconscious motives drive us just as they drive ani-mals and that peoples life decisions can be explained by the search for more and better resources.

    Foraging theory predicts a lot of the allegedly irrational behaviors youll find, said Hantula. After all, weve survived a few millennia, so we must be doing something right.

    The support for that comes in part from his work in the Decision Making Laboratory. With its computers and large round conference table, the two rooms that house the lab in Weiss Hall might not look like a classic laboratory. But its here that some of the most excit-ing research at Temple takes place.

    Heres how it works: Once a week, volunteer graduate and undergraduate students meet as a group with Hantula to talk about study and research ideas. The members of the lab discuss theories, throw around research ideas and lay out pitfalls in potential study techniques. Undergraduate students volunteer to collect data for graduate students who are working on their dissertations. The stu-dents also participate in and contribute to studies Hantula is working on as well.

    Some of those studies have produced astounding results.

    In one, Hantula hypothesized that, like in nature, men would seek out mates who were good-looking (indicating reproductive ability) and women would seek out rich men (indicating resources to care for children).

    By interviewing alumni who had participated in a marriage game that some Temple students completed in the 1980s, current students found that men who chose very good looking as the person theyd most want to

    marry in the 1980s marriage game end-ed up with the most expensive homes in adulthood. So did the women who chose the richest partner as their ideal mate.

    The results, Hantula concluded, lent support to Charles Darwins theory of sexual selectionthat each sex asks and offers different characteristics in order to secure a mate.

    Other studies examined the theory of the escalation of commitmentask-ing why people throw good money after bad. When people reach any level of success, Hantula and his students found, its because of certain actions that were reinforced. When things start to go bad, those people are more likely to keep doing the things that brought them suc-cess in the past rather than change their tactics.

    Ongoing studies are just as interest-ing. One graduate student is currently conducting research into the usageor lack thereofof the crosswalks on Temples campus. Are people crossing at

    f A c U lt y P r o f I l e

    Professor Donald Hantula specializes in organizational behavior and evolutionary behavioral economics.

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    Volunteer graduate and undergraduate students meet weekly to talk about study and research ideas for the Decision Making Lab.





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    For the students whove worked their way through many data sets to gain research experience, participating in the Decision Making Laboratory has been particularly valuable.

    Theres a lot of stuff you cant read in a textbook, and Ive gotten a real feel for what its like to do research, said Alsaadi. You see for yourself all the problems you can run into. Ive learned to be flexible.

    Even students whove decided not to pursue a career in psychology have learned a lot.

    The Decision Making Lab really helped me see the benefit of looking at things from different points of view, said Epelle, whos currently pursuing her law degree from Temple. If youre looking at a court decision, you need to be able to see all the ways the case could have turned another way. I got a lot of experience in that type of analysis in the lab.

    For Hantula, the Decision Making Laboratory serves as a great primer for life after college.

    the light or outside the light? And what can be done to get people to use the crosswalks properly to avoid accidents?

    The list of past and ongoing studieshow to break the habit of social media use, why and when people choose to date someone online and moreshows both the breadth of the topics and how the results are relevant to everyday life.

    What drew me to the Decision Making Laboratory was the real-world

    In getting involved in doing research and the nitty-gritty of how all this stuff is done, students are learning the very real skills theyll need to go on to graduate school, said Hantula. If they dont go on to grad school, then theyre learning about manning projects and people. Thats why I hope students would come to a research university like Temple, to have those opportunities. i

    applicability of the work, said student Glory Epelle.

    Its all coordinated by the director Hantula, who gives his students a wide berth.

    My perspective has always been that you find good people, give them the resources they need and get out of their way, he said. Our graduate and under-graduate students are perfectly capable.

    For the participating students, the laboratory serves as an important learn-ing experience.

    Its a very relaxed environment, and Don has an endless well of knowledge, said psychology major Rend Alsaadi, 13. He really helps his students move on to the next level.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    h A n D S - o n r e S e A r c h o P P o r t U n I t I e Swhat does the future hold for the Decision Making Laboratory?

    I hope to keep looking at decisions that people make that appear to be wrong and finding more rational reasons for them, said Hantula.

    And when seemingly irrational choices are made, theyre dismissed as being stupid. But that makes humans look incredibly foolish and as a long-time member of the species, Ive always found that a little objectionable.

    If they dont go on to grad school, then theyre learning about manning projects and people. Thats why I hope students would come to a research university like Temple, to have those opportunities.

    f A c U lt y P r o f I l e

  • Exhibitions on

    I N D I AMore than

    Study Abroad

    12 c o M P A S S temple universit y college of liberal arts fall 2013 13

    Since 2001, Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala has taken nearly 200 Temple students to his home in India. Under his guidance, the Temple in India program opens doors and creativity.

    By Charlotte Tucker

    P r o g r A M f e At U r e

  • 14 c o M P A S S temple universit y college of liberal arts fall 2013 15

    n January 2001, a devastating earthquake rolled beneath parts of northwestern India.

    More than 20,000 people were killed and 600,000 were left homeless. It was his students who broke the news to Temple anthropology professor Jayasinhji Jhala in the hours afterward.I

    That their own government didnt come but these crazy Americans were there to console them and soothe them, that had a really big impact on communities, Jhala said.

    Visual anthropologist Jayasinhji Jhala has been taking students to his native India for more than a decade.

    Jhala was born in Indias Gujarat state before moving to the United States for his graduate studies, and hed been teaching visual anthropology at Temple for about 10 years when the earthquake struck. Visual anthropology is the study of the culture of a people by examining their communications. A visual anthro-pologist learns about the people he stud-ies by looking at photography, music, art, dance and, increasingly, new media.

    Anthro- is the study of man, and so visual anthropology is the propensity to look at the aspect of human culture that can be seen and heard, Jhala said.

    Eager to help in India after the quake, Jhala and a pioneering group of students set out for Gujarat. Their trip marked the beginning of what would become an an-nual pilgrimage. It also began a cultural exchange that has shaped the lives and careers of dozens of students.

    Within the field of visual anthropol-ogy Jhalas particular focus is on fourth-world populations. He estimates that 800 millionpossibly even a billionpeople worldwide are members of the fourth world. They are people who have identity, but not nationality. They might live within the borders of a recognized state, but they do not see themselves as citizens of that state.

    Through art, they can express themselves and tell the stories of their ancestors, and visual anthropology is the study of that expression.

    In Gujarat, the students found that many of the villages that had been af-fected by the quake had become media invisible, Jhala said, because the news media and government officials atten-tion were focused elsewhere. Because theyd been largely overlooked, people in those villages welcomed Jhala and his students, who entertained them with American songs.

    That their own government didnt come but these crazy Americans were there to console them and soothe them, that had a really big impact on communi-ties, Jhala said.

    It also had an effect on the students. Since 2001, more than 150 students have made the journey to India with Jha-la, using it as an opportunity to conduct independent studies in fields including film, architecture and philosophy.

    For at least one such student, the trip was transformative.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    S P e A k I n g S t o n e S & S I n g I n g S t o n e Srhett grumbkow joined the visual anthropology department in 2004 and became fast friends with Jhala. Grumb-kows focus on ethnographic filmmaking, or the use of film to study and compare cultures, meshed with Jhalas ongoing project involving telling the story of a his ancestors, the Jhala warrior clan who presided over much of Jhalas ancestral homeland.

    I thought of it as a visual excava-tion, Grumbkow said, envisioning a film that would focus on details of nine centuries of ruins and architectural sites with historical significance to the clan. He filmed the documentary in June and July of 2005 and was working on the music to accompany the images and voiceover when he realized the film needed something more.

    Plenty of documentaries rely on ac-tors to recreate the events of historical significance, but to Grumbkow that idea rang false. He didnt want modern-day actors sparring under the ruins of an ancient arch. It was inauthentic. Instead, Jhala found a professional painter to craft the images.

    For the job, they chose Vijay Chau-han, Jhalas friend in India whose family has been painting in miniatures in the Rajput/Mughal style for generations. (The term miniature can be misleading, but in this case it serves to differentiate murals that are painted on walls from smaller images, or miniatures, such as those that are often framed in homes or museums.)

    (Left) Jhala and a clan historian speak with student Rhett Grumbkow and alumnus Sam Pack.(Right) Jhala looks out over the famed Rani-ki-Vav (The Queens Stepwell) in Patan.

    P r o g r A M f e At U r e

    It took years for Chauhan to complete the paintings, but by 2011, 60 were ready to go. All told, Grumbkow incor-porated 30 into his film, titled Speaking Stones and Singing Stones.

    The images were displayed in an ex-hibit titled Painting Story of the Float-ing Desert, featured at CLAs Center for the Humanities at Temple in early 2013.

    They blend the old style and stories with newer methods of storytelling. The characters are clad in traditional clothing featuring bright colors and jewels. In many pieces, the subjects gather around a king or other exalted figure with a crown of light. But they also borrow from contemporary comic book culture, Jhala said.

    In one painting, for example, two male figures sit at the bottom of the canvas. One is a storyteller or poet, and in an oval bubble over his head, the artist has painted a man riding on a horse. The poet is telling a story to the











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    king, Jhala said. You know which story is being told. It is the story of a man understanding his tradition and warrior ancestry.

    One group of paintings features a se-ries of warriors fighting on the edge of a long sword that stretches from one side of the canvas to the other. The pictures tell the story of how the warriors live their lives on the edge of a knife. They have to be ready to die at any time in the defense of their culture, tradition and heritage, Jhala said. They live and die by what is right and wrong.

    The warriors in the stories are famous characters in generations-old stories. They sacrificed themselves for what they knew was right, Jhala said.

    The process of creating the paint-ings was a collaboration that began with Grumbkow and Mangals dreaming up

    the idea and ended with the delivery of the paintings years later, Jhala said. Collaboration is part of the miniature painting tradition going back to the days of kings. Back then, the king or emperor would order a painting and one artist would be tasked with painting the figures heads while another focused on the clothing and still another painted backgrounds or flowers. In the same way, Jhala would send his students ideas and sketches to the artist would might recre-ate them faithfully or add his own twist and then consult with the students to see if it fit the bill.

    Grumbkows film has been well re-ceived in academic circles and he hopes to have the opportunity to show to a wider audience soon. He said making it in India gave him a unique perspective on global issues, particularly in the way Hindus

    and Muslims were able to live peacefully together so many centuries ago.

    In one part of the film, he focuses on a pair of gates, one next to the other. The first is constructed in the quintessential Hindu style, while, right next to it, is the other, built in the Muslim style. At a time when Muslim values were being run through the gauntlet of mainstream media under the war on terrorism, our team were unraveling a deep intertwin-ing of Hindu/Muslim indicators appar-ent in the architecture of the kingdom, he said. In the midst of another period of upheaval, here were longstanding symbols of inclusion and plurality.

    The Temple in India program was also transformative for anther of Jhalas students. John Infante came to know Jhala through an undergraduate class and went to Gujarat. He visited Jhalas

    family home in Gujarat and began an art project that involved rehabilitating a building on the homes grounds that had fallen into disrepair.

    It was the dry season, and he pulled up weeds and invasive growth and transformed the area into a meditation space and garden. But Infantes art is ephemeral by design. When the mon-soon season came, the weather undid his work, taking the space back to its state of disrepair. It was a study in temporari-ness and it fed into inspiration for a new project: The Jhalavad Sanctuary for the Arts. The Sanctuary, which is set to host its first artists this year, is a nonprofit field school offering residencies for art-ists. It strives to provide an affordable way for artists to remove themselves from their everyday lives as a ways to gain inspiration.

    Its about the fostering of creativity in an environment thats really shocking and draining for those who arent used to it, Infante said. Its about transform-ing the artists themselves.

    It is precisely that transformation that Jhala hopes to encourage in his stu-dents. Opening them up to a world they normally wouldnt get to see allows their creativity to flow. From there, anything can happen.

    In addition to being a professor, a filmmaker, a mentor and a friend to his students, Jhala himself is also an artist. He created a series of mobiles that was put on display at Rowan University in April. Made of eggs, papers, feathers and porcupine quills, they move because of the volume of the air moving around them, so Jhala calls them breathings.

    He eschews the limelight, encourag-ing a reporter to focus on the work his students create and what that art says about them and the world they live in. But spend just a few minutes talking to those students and it becomes clear that his encouragement and openness is foundational to their work. Infante said Jhala opened doors in India that students normally would never have had access to.

    Hes able to facilitate all of these creative minds, he said. When youre there, you really have the entire country at your disposal. i

    Jhala, Grumbkow and the production team shot parts of Speaking Stones & Singing Stones at Jhinzhuvada Gates as well as at the Queens Stepwell at Patan.

    P r o g r A M f e At U r e

    Within the visual anthropology field, Jhala focuses on fourth-world populations. By his count, some 800 million people live in the fourth world with identity but no nationality. Despite living in the borders of a recognized state, they do not see themselves as citizens.

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    Two School of Environmental Design graduates took a senior studio project and turned it into a successful exhibition featuring student ideas for creative ways to reuse the abandoned site of the Reading Railroad.

    By Maggie Reynolds (SMC 13)

    From the studio to a park in the sky

    Amy Syverson (left) and Diana Fernandez (right) stand along the publicly accessible portion of the Reading Viaduct.

    for many students, completing a senior project is the final hurdle before graduation and a move into professional life. Though the project may be a point of pride, its life usually ends at graduation. For landscape architecture alumni Diana Fernandez and Amy Syverson, a senior studio project turned into an important building block for their professional lives and careers.

    The fall after graduation, the two women used the work produced in the senior design studio project as a jump-ing-off point to a larger collaboration with Penn architecture student Susan Kolber. The trio produced Above Below Beyond, an exhibition of student design work inspired by the site of the former Reading Railroad. The exhibit showcased ways to reimagine the abandoned rail-road viaduct that traverses Center City. The three-mile area also known as the Reading Viaduct stretches about 55 city blocks, plunging below the residential Fairmount neighborhood and stretching beneath the John F. Kennedy Parkway, connecting Center City to a veritable museum row.

    Many Philadelphians who live near the metal expanse of elevated lines and extensive underground labyrinths of the former Reading Railroad know very little of the history in their backyards. Though overgrown and largely forgotten by even those living steps away, the line served P



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  • college of liberal arts fall 2013 2120 c o M P A S S temple universit y

    Philadelphias industrial transit needs until 1984. Today it stands empty, a fixed example of Philadelphias changing rela-tionship with industry. While portions are open to the public, much of the railroad is locked up under private ownership.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    g r A S S r o o t S I n t e r e S t I n t h e v I A D U c t g r o W Swhen school of environmental Design (SED) assistant professor Stuart Appel suggested the Reading Railroad site as a design studio project, interest in the abandoned site was already growing. Several groups had recognized the poten-tial that the land presented for Philadel-phia, and disparate plans for creating a functional space out of the railway were already in development.

    In 2003, a group of Philadelphians led by Sarah McEneaney and John Struble founded the Reading Viaduct Project. The groups mission was to develop the elevated portion of the railway also known as the SEPTA spur. The University of Pennsylva-nias School of Design consulting group, Penn Praxis, joined the effort soon thereaf-ter. Despite a successful weekend-long de-sign competition, the group was eventually thwarted by funding challenges as well as disinterest from property owners, includ-ing Reading International and SEPTA. The project nearly ended before it began.

    Then in 2010, ViaductGreen another grassroots organization released plans to combine development efforts for the elevated portions of the railroad with the underground passageway. When the Center City District conducted analysis, the civic organization found that renovat-ing and developing the abandoned land would be less expensive than demolishing it. Renovations would also preserve the historic site.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    A f r U I t f U l c o l l A b o r At I o n A S S t U D e n t S A n D A l U M n Iwhile syverson, fernandez and their fellow landscape architecture seniors were working on the viaduct plans for their senior project, Penn architecture studios Susan Kolber approached Appel and landscape architecture Professor Lolly Tai about the possibility of the studios collaborating on the project.

    The Penn studio focused on the aboveground sections of the railroad. The Temple studio created a master plan for the entire site, which allowed the students to play with bigger ideas, Fernandez said. At that phase, the students werent yet thinking about budgets or other obstacles.

    Several months after graduating, the three studentsFernandez and Syver-son now alumnicontinued working together and talking about their project.

    We had been inspired by the site and were still passionate about it, and there was just so much potential for what it could be, said Syverson.

    The women began meeting after work at Fernandez and Syversons office at Wells Appel in Center City. Both women now work as landscape designers at the firm where their former assistant profes-sor was a principal. Appel passed away that fall, and his loss is still felt at the Am-bler campus where landscape architecture and design classes are held.

    When ViaductGreenwhich has since reformed as Friends of the Rail Parkproposed an international ideas competi-tion for the site, Fernandez said she knew immediately that work from students like her and others would be an excellent fit. She thought student work could have an important place in innovating for the site. In the fall of 2012, they created Above Below Beyond, an exhibition of Temple

    and Penn student design work focused on the sites development.

    We were thinking of doing an exhibit that would bring all of the student work out of the woodwork and get it some-where, said Syverson.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    t h e e x h I b I t I o n tA k e S f o r Mideas firmly in shape, the next step was finding a place to show off their work and a way to fund it. The women were able to take advantage of free space offered by the urban innovation think tank Next American City. The group was offering space to artists who were interested in producing locally relevant work. The women gladly accepted a storefront ex-hibit space, which students quickly set to work transforming into an otherworldly version of the viaduct itself.

    The [viaduct] was just so exciting, Fernandez said. There was just so much texture. With the excitement that you got from being there - you needed an artistic representation to capture those feelings.

    It was a challenge for the students to convey the sense that exhibition visitors were exploring the underground portion of the viaduct. Virtually beneath what is now a Whole Foods, the underground section boasts 30-foot-high ceilings that are barrel vaulted. It was even more challenging for students to convey a sense of the under-ground station in the same space where they were simultaneously trying to repre-sent the elevated section of the viaduct. In the end, the students strung 200 Ball jars from the ceiling of the storefront. Each jar was lit with tiny red lights and filled with different elements taken from the viaduct.

    S t U D e n t r e S e A r c h

    To help fund the exhibition, the group launched a Kickstarter campaign in September 2012. They surpassed their funding goal of $5,850 and eventually raised $6,165 from 104 donors in a mat-ter of weeks.

    The purpose of the exhibition was to expose visitors to a series of creative ideas for ways to use the three-mile site. It was important to Syverson and Fernandez that guests realize how important student ideas can be.

    We really wanted to show the world that student work is really valuable and all of this analysis and these ideas are cata-lytic things to get the community excited, to get people invested, Fernandez said.

    In addition to the suspended and illu-minated jars, the walls of the exhibit space were lined with student projects and ideas. They included drawn plans for a camera obscura projection in the underground portion of the site as well as ideas for walkways on the elevated viaduct. Guests at the exhibition, which ran for about six weeks in the fall, were encouraged to draw and write their own ideas for the viaduct on cards that were part of the exhibition.

    Its not necessarily telling you what its going to be, she said. Its putting forth the fact that student work is valuable in furthering a project.

    ] ] ] ] ]

    t h e v I A D U c t t o D Aythe exhibit was a success. in tandem, recognition of the Reading Viaduct as an important potential open space corridor has evolved. Today, the Philadelphia 2035 plan includes a redeveloped Reading Rail-road. It provisions a park on the elevated portion of the viaduct and an under-ground rapid bus transit route. The Center City District has also raised funds for the Septa Spur and Studio Bryan Hanes has completed a master plan. The civic plan-ning and engineering group Community Design Collaborative provided (former) ViaductGreen with a grant to further ana-lyze and create plans for the underground portions of the railroad.

    Its exciting to see how things have re-ally picked up momentum in just the last year, Syverson said. Now is the moment that we need to get it out there.

    This is one of the most rewarding things Ive ever worked on, Fernandez said. Seeing it come to life, and to take all of that student work and expand it into something thats useful to the community as a whole is just really exciting. i








    Open to the PublicPrivately Owned Land

    Noble Street

    12th Street

    v I A | P h I l A D e l P h I AThe School of Environmental De-signs landscape architecture pro-gram requires students to complete a sequence of design studios. Students work in six studios for six credits each over the course of six semesters. Dur-ing their senior year, students work on a large-scale urban design project in order to gain real-world experience using the lessons they have learned throughout the course of their studies.

    Professors at Temple made a great attempt to choose projects that were currentand in which we would be treated as design professionals tasked with a job, Fernandez said.

    Students in the spring 2012 se-nior landscape architecture design studio were required to create a master plan for the entire three-mile railroad corridor. Their plan, titled Via|Philadelphia, resulted in a 385-page book that included detailed analysis of the site, four separate master plan options and 17 additional detailed designs for five separate areas of the site. Students also produced case studies based on similar sites worldwide.

    Via|Philadelphia was published online at syverson/docs/via_philadelphia

    SEDs Spring 2012 Senior Landscape Architecture Studio Class, all of whom participated in the Above Below Beyond exhibit: David Bilinski; Holly Bona-cum; Cindy Culp; Felicia di Pietro; Nickia Dixon; Marquita Heard; Aaron Karnas; Johnny Keiser; Peter Ma-rotta; Dennis Murphy; Matthew Nelson; Leah Purdy; Kelsey Stan-ton; John Tallon; Patrick Whealton.

    The Divider between Public and Private Space

  • 22 c o M P A S S temple universit y college of liberal arts fall 2013 23

    Like many Owls before her, Turners

    journey at Temple University began as a com-

    munity college transfer student because she

    was drawn to the diverse and thriving campus

    life. As a student, the English Departments

    Associate Professor Shannon Miller inspired her. She also read Russell Conwells semi-

    nal speech, Acres of Diamonds, and was

    moved by his emphasis on how greatness

    and accomplishment can be achieved with

    little meansa hallmark of Temple students.

    Temple was really a transformative experi-

    ence, Turner explained. It was where I

    learned how to drive positive change and find

    a place for myself.

    After graduation, she started her career

    in public service working at YouthBuild

    Philadelphia Charter School. She served as

    an AmeriCorps National member, supporting

    high school students in a vocation program

    for nursing. YouthBuild was really helpful

    to see how I can best drive change. Approxi-

    mately 80 students graduated despite being

    up against significant challengeseven

    incarceration, Turner said. And I realized

    that I could help and support young people to

    be more active in their community.

    Working at YouthBuild motivated her to

    continue her work in public service as the

    outreach and program manager at Global

    Citizen. The nonprofit is known for boasting

    the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day event

    in the nation and for running MLK365, which

    supports year-round volunteer programs.

    For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Turner ef-

    fectively organized approximately 75,000

    volunteers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey,

    and Delaware. She worked with more than

    3,000 dedicated project organizers to support

    1,300 projects, engaging 21 schools with

    more than 1,100 students. Turner also serves

    as a consultant for organizations interested

    in developing community programs and as

    an advisory board member for the Womens

    Way Young Womens Initiative in addition to

    serving as the president of the Philadelphia

    AmeriCorps Alums Chapter.

    Its no surprise that the White House took

    notice of Turners work and invited her to

    Washington, D.C. in January 2012 to receive

    a Champions of Change award. In addi-

    tion to being honored for her determination

    in leading volunteer efforts that reflect the

    legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., she received

    the Presidents Volunteer Service Award (also

    known as the Daily Points of Light Award).

    Global Citizen then recognized Turners hard

    work and promoted its rising star to be the

    director of programs and partnerships. In the

    spring of 2013, Turner was recognized by

    her adopted hometown of Philadelphia as the

    Outstanding Nominee for the Mayors Award

    for Distinguished National Service.

    Turner advises students and alumni to

    begin their own public service by volunteering

    for a nonprofit with which they feel con-

    nected. Having a degree in liberal arts is also

    an advantage, she said. According to Turner,

    her education allowed her to understand

    where people are coming from and to look at

    an issue from various viewpoints. That skill is

    crucial to the work that she does.

    So whats next on her agenda? Turner

    is excited about two new programs that

    Global Citizen launched: Mission365, which

    helps veterans return to the workforce, and

    Neighbors in Action, a partnership program

    with United Way to help citizens become

    community leaders and give them resources

    to increase civic engagement. To get involved

    with Global Citizen 365, visit globalcitizen365.

    org for more information. i

    Leading the Call to VolunteerBy Celia Proulx, SMC, 13

    ot long after Rachel Turner (CLA, 07) arrived in Philadelphia to attend Temple University,

    she and her new friends visited the renowned Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to look out at the skyline. Just a few years later, Turner would become a community leader in Philadelphia who was responsible for the citys largest volunteer effort for Martin Luther King Day and would be recognized by the White House for her achievements.

    Nallery of Success honorees are chosen in recognition of their significant professional achievements. Their

    photos and biographies hang in the Gallery of Success in Mitten Hall for one year to inspire the student body.


    J A M e S l A S S I t e r , b A 8 7 james lassiter joined forces with entertainment powerhouse Will Smith in 1998 to create the production and management company Overbrook Enter-tainment, named after the Philadelphia high school they both attended. Lassiter, who be-gan his career in the music industry, guides Overbrooks films and television projects from development through production and

    has successfully incorporated a global scope into every project.

    Lassiter earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from the College of Liberal Arts in 1987. He is a member of the colleges Board of Visitors and recently es-tablished a scholarship to support students with financial need who graduate from public high schools in West Philadelphia.

    Some of Lassiters recent successes

    James Lassiter honored at Gallery of Success

    A l U M n I AWA r D S W h At D I D y o U D o W I t h y o U r D e g r e e ?


    OCTOBER 1820


    Compass_ad.indd 1 7/9/13 10:37 AM

    include, Karate Kid, Hancock, I Am Legend, and The Pursuit Of Happyness. Lassiter produced the romantic comedy Hitch, the award-winning film Saving Face, and the critically acclaimed and award nominated film, Ali. Other notable achievements include his work as executive producer on the soundtracks for Wild, Wild West and Men In Black, which both won American Music Awards for favorite soundtrack, as well as the 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award for Jitney, an off-Broadway play written by August Wilson. i














    ce o

    f Civ

    ic E



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    er S



    Rachel Turner stands beside Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at the Mayors Award for Distinguished National Service Program.

  • 24 c o M P A S S temple universit y

    Perseverance Pays off for CLAs White House InternBy Nicholas Santalucia, CLA, 13

    As a sophomore, Williams began volunteering with LIFTa non-profit organization dedicated to helping its clients secure em-ployment, safe housing, and other necessary services. His work there changed the entire direction of his life, he said. At LIFT, Williams had the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients who were working hard to improve their stations in life. Working so closely with those clients, Williams learned how important it is to provide help to those who ask for it. With every story of lives sidetracked by drop-ping out of high school or a facto-

    ry closing, Williams saw that the hardships his clients were facing were only symptoms of a larger problem. He wanted to identify that problem and work on solving it.

    This drove him to apply for an intern-ship with City Councilman Darrell Clarke, a position he held through the spring of his sophomore year. It was while interning for the councilman that he learned what was necessary for a career a public service: a desire to help despite the thankless nature of the job. That summer, he continued working in City Hall, now as an intern with

    the Mayors Office of Education. His work there brought him to dozens of summer programs around the city where he spoke to more than 2,400 Philadelphia high schoolers about FAFSA and other grants and student loans. Williams relished the role of working on the front lines of public service. But he still had a desire to work on the root of the inequality he saw.

    Williams thought that an internship at the White House would help him find a position where that was possible. At first, second, and third, the White House didnt think he was up for it, but Williams improved each application so that it was better than the last and eventually, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue relented. He rushed to organize last-minute housing, andwith the aid of a generous grant from Temple Universitys Insitute for Public Affairshis semester in Washington, D.C. was within his reach.

    He was placed in the Office of Presi-dential Correspondence, where he was responsible for reading the 400 to 500 letters sent to President Obama every day. From there it was his job to determine ap-propriate responses for each. Williams was shocked to learn that even those letters addressed merely Obama somehow made it to the White House. During his 13-hour work days, Williams read a personal side of America, one in which everyday citizens opened up to the president about their fears and concerns, as well as their hopes in even the most desperate situations. Walking home across the National Mall, Williams said that he felt like he knew the stories of everyone he saw.

    Williams came back to Philadelphia after a semester of being immersed in public service still curious about how to close the inequality gap. But this time he was optimistic. i






    : Max




    I knew growing up that I wanted to pursue a career in law. I believed that the most important skills a lawyer could possess were the

    ability to reason (philosophy!); effective communication (English!); and an understand-ing of how the law has evolved (history and political science). Not only did CLA prepare me for a career in law, it opened my eyes to the world that extends beyond our city. I learned to appreciate other cultures and where I fit into the grand scheme of life. Which helped me as Ive traveled the globe working in Asia and Europe. I owe it all to the liberal arts and to Temple. Ed Buthusiem (CLA 82)
















    e was rejected the first three times, and the fourth time he applied, he was wait listed. Max Williams

    (CLA 13) was a month away from studying abroad in Rome when he was finally accepted into the White House Internship Program. He put down his Italian flash cards and began preparing for what would be the most remarkable experience of his college career.


    Max Williams spent a semester interning in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, reviewing some of the 400-odd letters sent to President Obama each day.

    S t U D e n t P r o f I l e