living and learning in miniature: mini courses

Saturday, February 17, 2024

9 – 9:50 a.m.: Mini-Seminar A

Available mini-courses include:

Tom Bowman ’78 JC and Alva Svoboda ’77
Title: “Decarbonization Now”
Location: Hall of Letters 100 Available virtually at JOHNSTON RENEWAL 55

An exploration of what is now achievable, and what we as Johnston students and alumni may achieve, to prevent global temperatures rising above the COP 1.5 degrees C target. Three questions are asked of participants ready to promote a lively discussion: Who speaks for climate now? What is your highest and best purpose in response to climate change? What is your climate change story?

Michelle Romaneli ’93 JC
Title: “Renewing Our Connections: Resting the Mind, Engaging the Heart”
Location: Orton Center

Reunions can be an overwhelming, heady affair that can often leave people wanting a deeper sense of connection. Are you wanting to connect or reconnect with others in a way that bypasses the biographical narratives that drive much of our renewal interactions? Would you like to feel a deeper sense of community and belonging with other Johnstonians? We invite you to join us in co-creating an experience where we explore being with each other in a more emotionally intimate way through individual, paired, and large group encounters. Come, rest your mind, open your heart, and join us in creating a renewed sense of belonging.

Everette Davidove ’15 JC and Professor Daniel Kiefer
Title: “Queer As We Are”
Location: Holt Lobby

We invite everyone to an open discussion—graduates, friends, students, staff members, faculty members, and all. What questions are we facing these days about gender, sexuality, politics, work, families, and fun? Everette and Daniel will lead off with something about current LGBTQ+

studies and social lives in Johnston. Then the conversation might begin with this: "Where do we find queer joy?" For the past five Renewals there have been similar workshops, each more exciting than the last. It's just great to get together.

Grace Easterby ’17 JC
Title: “Organizing 101 & the Starbucks Workers United Campaign”
Location: Duke 108

You’ve probably heard that Starbucks’ workers are unionizing. What is going on? Why is it all over social media? Who cares? After giving a brief overview of this historic campaign, National Field Coordinator for Starbucks Workers United, Grace Easterby '17, will discuss the basics of modern workplace organizing. You’ll learn common techniques organizers use to encourage and empower workers in their fights against management, and leave ready to move the people in your life. Luckily, support for unions has risen sharply over the past few years. However, some of the basic concepts are still unfamiliar to many. Here’s a venue where you can ask a real-life labor organizer: What even is a union? Why do workers fight for one? What is a contract? And who exactly are you “organizing”? This will all culminate in an opportunity to participate in some collective action: signing the No Contract No Coffee pledge to support the Starbucks Workers United Campaign. Free merch for all who attend!

Katie Ferrell ’11 JC
Title: “Interest-Directed Attention: Demystifying, Living with and Guiding ADHD”
Location: Hall of Letters 105

ADHD is based around attention and motivation turned on under specific circumstances—interest, novelty, crisis, challenge. Some of the most obvious signs pointing to ADHD (or similar brain wiring) are depression, anxiety and behaviors such as substance use, scrolling, shopping and video games that walk the line of problematic. The standard symptom list addresses a small fraction of people with this misunderstood difference in how a brain can operate. And yet everyone does not have ADHD. Come learn more about how to recognize the patterns connected to ADHD and discuss ways to navigate and advocate for those of us with invisible differences and strengths. About the presenter: Katie Ferrell, LMHC operates a Seattle-based therapy practice for ADHD-identified adults with chronic mental health conditions.

10 – 10:50 a.m.: Mini-Seminars Block B

Available mini-courses include:

Melanie Herzog ’78 JC and Tom Boman
Title: “Seeing Life Differently: Strabismus, Mono-Vision, And Johnston”
Location: Hall of Letters 105

A surprising number of Johnstonians have conditions like mine: lifelong strabismus. That means cross-eyed, wall-eyed, lazy-eyed, etc., and the effects on our educational journeys (can you read easily?), career choices (what's worth the effort?), lifestyles, sports (how can you do it?), relationships, and feelings of belonging or exclusion are profound. Neurologists and vision specialists say that if you see with "normal" binocular fusion, you can't imagine what it's like to never have seen the word in 3D depth...and vice versa. Having lived nearly my whole life without depth perception, I was guided to a type of vision therapy that literally creates binocular vision. I'm one of those who has seen both sides of this divide, literally, and the differences I've discovered are more profound than I could have imagined. The goals of this mini-course are to present some basic info and insights and than facilitate a conversation about Johnston, education, and life.

Cathy Ransom ’87 JC
Title: “Run for Something”
Location: Hall of Letters 100 Available virtually at JOHNSTON RENEWAL 55

The Right has had a program of infiltrating school boards, city councils, county boards, state legislatures, etc., as well as judicial appointments, for well over 30 years. It's time Progressives took back the power of the people to support the rights of LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, women and all non-evangelical religious affiliated folks and defended the separation of church and state. About the presenter: In 2022, I ran for the AZ State Legislature on a slate of 3 Democrats in a district in which our odds of winning were somewhere around 2%. Why waste time and energy tilting as that windmill? Because we made extremist Right-wing candidates discuss topics beyond their comfort zone like gun regulation, public school funding and water. Arizona is now considered a "purple" state, in part, because we got out the vote in our red county. Progressives need to understand the value of running sacrificial campaigns in battleground states.

Jane Creighton ’73 JC and Mark Carlson ’74 JC
Title: “Johnston Collaborations: Poetry and Music”
Location: Duke 108

What is involved in creating a new work that conjoins the work of two different creators, in our case, a poet and a composer? An informal discussion about the ins and outs of setting an existing poem to music, setting words to existing music, and starting both from a brand-new idea. Jane will read and discuss some of her poems; Mark will play recordings of one or two of his songs. Questions and comments from the audience will happily be encouraged.

Natalie Wagner-Willis ’05 JC
Title: “Explore the Deeper Meanings of Money and Your Money Value Cycle™”
Location: Holt Lobby

Experience your money viscerally with an opening Money Breath Meditation©, connecting your awareness to value and forces beyond the numbers. We’ll then explore the Money Value Cycle™ and map your own cash flow and money life, revealing the energy lines of value from you to your money and back again. This unique perspective empowers you to view and manage your money-life through the lens of the energies and values that give meaning to the money in our lives.

Helena Karchere ’06 JC ’07 SBS
Title: “Designing Your Thriving and Meaningful Life's Work”
Location: Duke 102

Ikigai is the Japanese term for the convergence of four areas of life: what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. You'll have the opportunity to explore your own Ikigai (reason for being) at this time in your life, with guidance from a certified life coach who has been in diverse roles across non-profit, corporate and HigherEd contexts. The workshop will be spent in self-reflection as well as storytelling–with prompts to discover new insight and move ahead with more clarity and inspiration for your life’s work. Reflect on what you know about your personality, your motivations, where you’re drawn to serve, and what paths might support your financial goals. Share stories of times you have experienced that intersectionality, and where you have been disappointed, surprised, satisfied in your career path so far. What else is calling you now?

11 – 11:50 a.m.: Mini-Seminars Block C

Available mini-courses include:

Harper Obstfeld ’24 JC
Title: “Deconstructing the Rom-Com”
Location: Duke 108

What’s love got to do with it? Everything…and nothing. Confused? Then you’re in the right place. In Deconstructing the Romantic Comedy, we’re going to do just that. Students will get to spend some quality time exploring the depths of romantic love, in all its confusion, as it’s portrayed—for better or for worse—in the ever-popular rom-com.

Sadie Forkner ’25 JC and Professor Emeritus Bill McDonald
Title: “First Impressions: Reading and Re-Reading First Lines in Women’s Fiction”
Location: Hall of Letters 100 Available virtually at JOHNSTON RENEWAL 55

Would you read this book? Join Sadie and Bill for an entertaining and lighthearted group close reading of first lines and first paragraphs from books by women writers.

Anathea Woirhaye ’24
Title: “Dress History: Up Close and Personal”
Location: Hall of Letters 105

Chances are, you’re wearing clothes right now. Where did they come from? Why do we wear the things we wear? How can we situate clothing history in other historical disciplines? In this mini-course, we will be looking at and analyzing clothing items (including some I have made myself) and their relation to broader topics in world history, such as feminism and colonialism.

Emily Hernandez ’24 JC
Title: “Statues Also Die: Museums and Memory”
Location: Duke 102

We will be watching portions of a film and discussing the role of colonialism in museums.