[New & Notable]

Dissertation of distinction The doctoral dissertation of Marion Katz, assistant professor of religion, won the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award at the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA) last month. She wrote "Purified Companion: The Development of the Islamic Law of Ritual Purity" for the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. MESA representative Julia Clancy-Smith called the work "an elegant study [that] traces the emergence and crystallization of the law of ritual purity through an analysis of juristic debates from the preclassical to the postclassical era" and praised it as "a scholarly and literary tour de force."

Holiday hospitality The Health Services staff started a new "tradition" this year for the holidays. In lieu of individual gifts, staffers donated money to a community agency. They selected Jessie's House, a family shelter in Northampton, and presented the organization with about $150. Health Services Director Karen Engell noted, "The staff seemed to feel good about this change, and no one really seemed to miss the gifts. I hope to continue this next year, and have named it Spirit of the Season."

You can never have too many: a gaggle of MHC anthropologists With paper topics ranging from polyandrous marriage among Tibetans in Nepal (Kimber Haddix '90), to perceptions of body image among Puerto Rican girls (Nitza M. Diaz '95), to healers who treat lovesickness in northeast Brazil (Linda-Anne Rebhun '81), to changes in the built environment of the domicile during the transition from feudalism to capitalism (Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Patricia Mangan), Mount Holyoke was well represented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in December. Faculty members Debbora Battaglia, Mangan, Lynn Morgan, and Beth Notar delivered professional papers, as did alumnae Haddix, Diaz, and Rebhun. Also in attendance were alumnae Jennifer Shaw '92, Emily Burrill '97, Cristina Huebner '98, Mary H. Moran '79, Margaret W. Conkey '65, and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Joshua Roth. "This may not be a complete list, but it does show a strong and vibrant Mount Holyoke presence among professional anthropologists," noted Morgan.

MHC students garner Japanese scholarships Weixin Shi '01 will spend this summer in Japan thanks to her first-prize-winning performance in the Sharp Speech Contest. Shi learned about the contest through Assistant Professor of Japanese Naoko Nemoto, who has been "very prompt in informing students of all kinds of activities pertaining to the study of Japanese," Shi said. The contest had two rounds of selection. For the first, she wrote a speech and sent contest organizers a recording of it. For the second round, which was held in December in New York City at the Japan Foundation, Shi delivered a speech entitled "Japan In My Eyes." She discussed her interpretation of Japanese culture through her own experience in learning about the culture and language, and bested eight other finalists. "It was a very good opportunity to improve my Japanese proficiency and to meet people with similar background, in terms of studying Japanese," Shi says. Shi is a native of China, and Japanese is her second foreign language.

When she journeys to Japan this summer, Shi hopes to find a summer program that integrates an internship with intensive language courses. By that time, she will be no stranger to Japan. Shi has also been selected as a winner of the Outstanding Students of Japanese Award by the Ministry of Education in Japan and will spend two weeks in March at an intensive Japanese language program at Kansai Foreign Language Institute in Osaka. Two other students received Japan-related scholarships recently. Amy Amenta '99 was awarded a scholarship to attend the summer seminar of Japanese language and culture at Nagoya Feminine Culture Junior College. Jennifer Madoka Connelly '00 received a one-year scholarship from the Ministry of Education in Japan and is currently studying at the University of Tsukuba.

MHC radio brings great scientific thinkers to life Jennie-Sue Nuccio '00, a student in the Great Ideas in Geology course, broadcasted "GeoRadio" on WMHC 91.5 December 14. In case you missed it, the program featured a debate on the topic of hypersea theory between people representing Charles Lyell, Alfred Wegener, Abraham Gottlieb Werner, Georges Cuvier, Vladimir Vernadsky, and Luis Alvarez. "These geological greats (plus one great physicist) were specially revived for this event and used the voices of Jennie-Sue's classmates," quipped Professor of Geology Mark McMenamin. "The tone of the debate was conversational, and the great scholars promised to be on best behavior. However when you get catastrophists and uniformitarians together in the same room, anything can happen. Jennie-Sue did a marvelous job of announcing (as well as representing Dr. A. G. Werner)." After being 'revived,' the great scholars were brought up-to-date on the current state of geological knowledge.

Up close and personnel Departures: Alice F. Crawford, Office of Development; Mary Jo Hartka, Office of Development; Kevin C. Hightower, Sr., Post Office and Mailing Services; Barbara L. Kenney, LITS; Christopher J. Marsh, Dining Services; Jane McManus, Office of Development; Elizabeth Power Robison, Office of Development. New Faces: Blanca I. Ayala, Registrar; Robert Cree, Public Safety; Aime B. De Grenier, LITS; Stephanie Hull, Office of the President; Charles D. Malone, Public Safety; Frank J. Palasz, Buildings & Grounds; Peggy Warwick, Health Center; Deborah Wright, Office of Communications.

Speaking up down under Associate Professor of Women's Studies Asoka Bandarage was the keynote speaker at an international conference on women and leadership hosted by Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. Her talk was titled "Global Crisis and Women's Leadership." She also gave two other talks at Curtin University in Perth: one was "Asians in America: Crosscultural Perspectives" for the Program on Multicultural Education, the other a talk on global population issues for the International Studies Institute.

Last semester she was also interviewed on a number of American radio talk shows about her book, Women, Population, and Global Crisis. In addition, her article, "Educated and Unemployable University Graduates in Sri Lanka," written as a diary piece from her last trip, was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education December 18.

Recent honors to MHC alums Katherine E. Brighty '78 will receive the 1998 Burlew Award from the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society on January 16. Brighty is being honored for her research into the discovery of new antibiotics, including the powerful new broad-spectrum antibiotic Trovan. She is principal research investigator for Pfizer.

Lila M. Gierasch '70, head of the chemistry department at UMass, has been named to the Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The group advises the NSF on scientific, educational, and governmental issues of importance to NSF programs in math and the physical sciences.

Author Isabel Allende, winner of the 1998 Sara Lee Frontrunner Awards, chose Lan Cao '83 as her "protégé." Each honoree selects a not-for-profit organization to receive a $50,000 grant in her name, and also selects a protégé, "a woman who, through her achievements and by her example, will lead future generations."

In memoriam Janet Brewster Murrow '33, former MHC trustee and longtime supporter of the art museum, died December 18 at the age of 88. Murrow was a CBS and BBC journalist in the 1930s and 1940s, and a pioneer in western Massachusetts public television. She met her future husband, CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, while she was president of the senior class at MHC. During World War II, Janet Murrow served as a war correspondent and chair of the London committee of the Bundles for Britain campaign. After the war, she moved to New York and became active in antipoverty work through the Henry Street Settlement House. After her husband's death in 1965, Murrow came to South Hadley and worked at the MHC art museum until her 1977 retirement. She served as the museum's director at one point, and also headed the museum's Friends of Art program. She also served as an MHC trustee from 1949 to 1959. Memorial contributions may be made to the Henry Street Settlement House, Henry Street, New York, NY.

We want your news - Send items of interest to Emily Weir, Office of Communications, or email eweir@mtholyoke.edu.