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Water Matters Symposium Speakers

Kelly Alley

Kelly Alley

Associate Professor Kelly D. Alley is the Director of the Anthropology Program at Auburn University. Dr. Alley has carried out research in northern India for over ten years, focusing on public culture and environmental issues. Her book titled, On the Banks of the Ganga: When Wastewater Meets a Sacred River (University of Michigan Press, 2002) explores Hindu interpretations of the sacred river Ganga in light of current environmental problems. For three years, Dr. Alley and M C Mehta, an environmental lawyer from Delhi, directed a project to facilitate professional exchanges between environmental lawyers, scientists and NGOs to solve river pollution problems in India. Dr. Alley's current interest is to complete a book on environmental public interest litigation in India that describes how citizens use the courts to enter policy and decision-making on environmental issues. Dr. Alley is now working with Julian Crandall Hollick, NPR radio producer, on the "Ganga Radio Series," a series of features and documentaries about the culture and ecology of the river Ganges in India and Bangladesh. Click here for more information on that project. Dr. Alley received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990.

Susan Beers Betzer '65

Susan B. Betzer '65, currently the president of the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association, is a scientist/scholar, medical doctor, community leader, Mount Holyoke volunteer and MHC parent. She graduated magna cum laude in Biological Sciences from Mount Holyoke, where she was a Sarah Williston Scholar, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year, and received the Bernice MacLean Prize, the Sarah Williston Prize, and the Borden Science Prize as the highest ranking science major in her class. She earned her Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island in l972, did postdoctoral work at the University of Georgia, and served as a Research Scholar/Scientist in the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. In 1978, Dr. Betzer changed careers, earning an M.D. at the University of Miami. Since l982, she has been a solo practitioner of Family Practice and Geriatrics in St. Petersburg and has served as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of South Florida.

James Benning

James Benning

James Benning is a filmmaker and professor at the California Institute of the Arts and Bard College. Benning has taught filmmaking at Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin, University of Oklahoma and the University of California San Diego. In the past twenty-five years, Benning has completed fourteen feature length films that have been shown in many different venues across the world. Benning is one of the outstanding filmmakers of the structural film since the mid-1970s. Benning's artistic position has been strongly influenced by the creativity of mathematical thinking, perhaps as a result of Benning's undergraduate degree in mathematics. With his new project 13 Lakes, James Benning goes one step further towards reducing things to a minimum. The film focuses on thirteen large American lakes (including Salton Sea, Lake Powell and Lake Michigan) along with their geographical and historical relationship to the landscape. Benning’s unrelenting search for appropriate places and motifs and his relationship towards the landscape is clear in the work. In shooting 13 Lakes, Benning undertakes a process of "looking and listening" to find the perfect, subtle image for each of these unique bodies of water. Benning received a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin.

Steven Benson

Steven Benson

Steven Benson received his BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. His work is exhibited internationally including a solo exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris. He is the recipient of three Creative Artist Grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts and an NEA/Arts Midwest Regional Fellowship. His photographs are represented in numerous permanent collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Fine Art-Houston, Portland Art Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale and Centre Georges Pompidou. His many lectures have included the Peoples University of China School for Journalism in Beijing, Catholic University in Buenos Aires and the 1998 and 2000 National Conferences of the Society for Photographic Education. His photo essay on the Three Gorges Dam and the Yangtze River Valley was a featured exhibition at the FotoFest Biennial in Houston (2004). Benson’s new work,”Red,White and Blue in Black and White,” was a featured exhibition at the “First Argentinian Biennial of Documentary Photography” (2004). During December 2004, his work was the subject a thirty year retrospective in Paris at the Centre des Bords de Marne. In 2005, his new work will be exhibited in the international photography festivals in Lodz, Poland and Mannheim, Germany. He has been a freelance photographer and teacher for 25 years. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in the photography department at the College for Creative Studies where he has been teaching since 1999. Visit the artist's website.

Jackie Brookner

Jackie Brookner

Jackie Brookner collaborates with ecologists, design professionals,
communities, and policy makers, to create water remediation/public art projects for wetlands, rivers, streams, and storm water runoff. These projects demonstrate how the undervalued resources of storm water and other polluted water can be reclaimed and used to create lush environments, expressive and multifunctional public spaces. Brookner’s living sculptures, called Biosculptures™, are evocative, plant based systems that clean polluted water, integrating ecological revitalization with the conceptual, metaphoric and aesthetic capacities of sculpture. These projects raise community awareness about the urgency of restoring a world where human and other than human systems are mutually beneficial. Brookner's work helps create the public will to protect and restore these resources. For more information, visit the artist's website. Brookner's recent projects are near Dresden, Germany, in New York City, West Palm Beach, Cincinatti, and St. Louis. Solo exhibitions include Native Tongues at The Miro Foundation in Barcelona, Spain and Of Earth and Cotton which traveled throughout the United States from 1994-98. She is the recipient of numerous awards including The National Endowment for the Arts, The Nancy Gray Foundation for Art in the Environment, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. She completed her B.A. at Wellesley College and holds M.A.and A.B.D. degrees from Harvard University, and teaches at Parsons School of Design.

Penny Gill

Penny Gill

Penny Gill, acting dean of faculty, has been teaching European politics and comparative politics at Mount Holyoke for more than three decades. In 2001, the date of her thirtieth anniversary at MHC, Gill received the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Prize for Teaching. The citation noted Gill's "accessibility, concern for each student, love of her subject, and infinite patience." Gill's research interests focus on the European Union, its relationship to the larger processes of globalization. Gill recently participated in the Mount Holyoke College Lyon Lecture series, speaking to groups of alumnae in Rochester and Minneapolis on "Globalization and Its Discontents," which is also the title of a new first-year seminar she began teaching in 2003. Gill has been actively involved in reshaping the first-year curriculum. Following her graduate studies at Yale University in the 1960s, Gill went to Norway on a Fulbright Fellowship to research the Norwegian Labor Movement (1967–1968).

Julia Jean

Julia Jean

Julia Jean received her Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a minor in South Asian Studies, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her current research is an ethnography of ritual communities among Goddess worshippers in northern India and Nepal. On this side of the world, she is a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and the assistant director of the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Center in the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts at Mount Holyoke College.

Girma Kebbede

Girma Kebbede

Girma Kebbede, professor of geography, at Mount Holyoke College, has a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective on ecological problems seen in both his research and publications. Kebbede is the author of numerous articles and two books focusing on environmental and ecological degradation and development. His latest book is Living With Urban Environmental Risks: The Case of Ethiopia (School of Oriental and African Studies and King’s College, 2004) examines how economic and political conditions have harmed and degraded the urban, natural, and built environment in Ethiopia. In addition to his research and teaching, Kebbede is a member of the International Geographical Union’s Commission on Hazards and Risks.

Scott MacDonald

Scott MacDonald

Visiting professor of Film History at Bard College, Scott MacDonald is author of The Garden in the Machine: A Field Guide to Independent Films about Place (2001) and Cinema 16: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society (2002). He is currently working on the fourth volume of A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers. MacDonald is the recipient of the Clark Award for Outstanding Scholarship, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship and an Anthology Film Archives Film Preservation honoree. He has often programmed events and film series at Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, Robert Flaherty Seminar, Centre Georges Pompidou, NEH summer institutes. MacDonald is a contributor to Film Quarterly, The Independent, Wide Angle, Afterimage, ISLE. Scott MacDondald is also the editor of the Wide Angle Books Series, Temple University Press. (2000).

Romeo Melloni

Romeo Melloni

Born in Milan in 1963, Romeo Melloni began to study music at an early age. After attending Milan University where he studied musicology with Francesco Degrada, Mr. Melloni moved to Boston. In Boston he received his Master Of Music (1989) and the honorary Graduate Diploma in composition (1991) from the New England Conservatory. He continued his education in the DMA program at Boston University. His teachers include Robert DiDomenica, Theodore Antoniou and Giacomo Manzoni. Mr. Melloni has written seven sonatas for piano and various instruments, two piano trios, two piano quartets, two string quartets, four song cycles, two overture for orchestra, two symphonies, one piano concerto and several smaller works. His music has been performed in Europe and in the United States. In the United States his music has been performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall, in Boston at Jordan Hall and in several other cities of the east coast. In Europe his music has been performed in Prague at the Rudolfinum and at Martinu Hall, in Milan at the Centro Filologico Milanese and in other European cities such as Olomoc (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovak republic), Katowice (Poland). Mr. Melloni is a member of the panel for the appropriation of the state funds for the New Hampshire Council For The Arts. He teaches music theory at the Plymouth State University and at the Manchester Music School in New Hampshire. His own textbook Principles of Musical Composition is an innovative step-by-step approach to composition.

Rutherford Platt

Rutherford Platt

Rutherford Platt, a geographer and lawyer, is a professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writing, teaching, and research have focused on diverse issues in urban land use and water resource management, natural hazards, and urban ecology. Since 1999, Dr. Platt has been developing the Ecological Cities Project (ECP), a national program of research and outreach on urban greenspaces, urban watersheds, and urban habitat issues based at UMass Amherst. The ECP is currently conducting a study of comparative regional experience in urban watershed management under a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation. In 2001, Dr. Platt was named a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies in honor of his service on eight committees of the National Research Council (NRC), three times as chair. Dr. Platt is a graduate of Yale University and holds a J.D. (law) and Ph.D. (Geography) from the University of Chicago and is a Member of the Illinois Bar.

Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Foster's Pond Millenium by Arno Rafael Minkkinen,
Courtesy of Robert Klein Gallery

For thirty years, Finnish-American photographer, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, has been engaged with a single idea: to use his own body as a means of expressing the human relationship to nature. Minkkinen's work supposes that just as rocks and trees have not changed much over time, so our bodies are not much different today than they were five hundred years ago. His work aims for timelessness. All of Minkkinen's photographs are single exposure, to avoid looking fabricated or digital. The viewer of Minkkinen's work sees happening, what really happened. There are no multiple negatives in the darkroom; just the one negative that recorded what happened in front of the camera lens. Minkkinen considers himself a documentary photographer, treating the medium the same way a street shooter does. Instead of giving expression to the world's outer appearances and perplexities, his work has explored the inner world of our fears, hopes, and desires in an attempt to make communion with the one world we inhabit. Minkkinen is a National Endowment for the Arts regional grant recipient with exhibitions and book publications, including Waterline and Body Land worldwide. His major collections include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris, and the Photographic Museum of Finland. He is represented by Houk Friedman Gallery, New York City, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, and Nathalie Emprin of Paris, France. Minkkinen studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. For more information, visit the artist's website.

Mary V. Rickel Pelletier

Park River Watershed Map

Mary V. Rickel Pelletier initiates new types of landscape and urban design projects so as to revive cities. This work often involves forming new alliances that shape unprecedented design priorities. Currently she is working on parkriver.org, a project that bridges between neighborhood waterways and watersheds. During the 2004 winter-spring semester, Mary was visiting faculty advisor to the Cornell University project entry for the 2005 Solar Decathlon. Recently, in collaboration with Shauna-Gilles Smith and Thomas Starr, Mary was an Art and Community Landscapes finalist for the Chelsea Creek Restoration Partnership in East Boston. Mary has provided research, proposal development, and design coordination for Balmori Associates, Inc., a landscape and urban design office. This work included the green roof design at the Earth Pledge Foundation headquarters in New York City; design development of a scenic trail restoration at Kent Falls State Park, Kent Falls Connecticut; as well as a public plaza and sunken garden surrounding a bank in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bridging between the specialized interests of scientists, artists, engineers, private stakeholders, government agencies, and non-profit organizations is essential to the design process. Mary has a Masters from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rosamond Purcell

Ray Skeleton by Rosamond Purcell

Rosamond Purcell is a photographer whose acclaimed work includes Special Cases: Natural Anomalies and Historical Monsters, a Village Voice Book of the year, the award-winning Swift as a Shadow and, co-authored with Stephen Jay Gould, Crossing Over: Where Art and Science Meet (2000). Her photographs are featured in two recent books, A Long Look at Nature by Margaret Martin, and DICE Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck by Ricky Jay. Purcell has produced numerous volumes of photography and artistic wonder that invite the reader and the viewer to enter a world populated by museum artifacts and odd creatures. Recent work by Purcell will be on display at the Mount Holyoke Art Museum in February and March, 2003.

Dai Qing

Dai Qing

Dai Qing was a recipient of the National Best Reportage Award by the Chinese Writer's Association in 1982, and the Golden Pen for Freedom Award by the World Association of Newspapers in 1992. She is the author of several notable essays. including, Wang Shiwei and the Wild Lilies, 1986, and over 15 books in Chinese. She is the author and editor of Yangtze, Yangtze, 1993. The award-winning journalist and activist spent the late 1980's speaking out against the proposed Three Gorges Dam, leading an unprecedented campaign against the dam on the Yangtze river. Dai Qing was jailed when the government took action against its critics following the 1989 massacre of democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square. The Three Gorges Dam, now in its last phase of construction, is set to be the world's largest hydroelectric project, generating power for China's expanding cities, and protests among critics. The adopted daughter of a high ranking official, Dai Qing trained and worked as a missile specialist before becoming a journalist and short story writer. She was a staff officer, Military Intelligence Department of the People's Liberation Army, Beijing, 1978-82 and an engineer in the First Inst. Astronavigation Department in Beijing, 1966-72. Stripped of all rights except her Chinese citizenship, she is now resident in Australia. Qing has been awarded several fellowships in the U.S., including her position as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, 1991-92, a Freedom Forum Fellow at Columbia University, 1993-94, and a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, 1998-99.

J. Ramachandran

Professor J. Ramachandran was recruited by Genentech, Inc. in 1984 where he pioneered the molecular cloning and expression of several important cell surface receptors, including the human insulin receptor. In 1988, he became Vice President of Research at Neurex Corporation in Menlo Park, California and spearheaded the development of highly selective neuronal calcium channel antagonists. SNX-111, a synthetic conopeptide, was shown to be highly effective in suppressing chronic intractable pain in cancer patients. Clinical trials were completed successfully and SNX-111 received approvable status under the name Ziconotide in June 2000. During the past fifteen years, Professor Ramachandran has been actively involved in the development of novel strategies to combat infection. In September 2000, Dr. Ramachandran started Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. to develop novel biotechnologies for the prevention and treatment of infection through medical, veterinary, and agricultural applications. Professor Ramachandran is a member of the Indian Academy of Sciences and serves as Honorary Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore. Between 1990 and 1992, he was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee on Tropical Diseases Research for the World Health Organization. He has authored and co-authored over 150 original research publications and 45 reviews. Dr. J. Ramachandran graduated from the University of Madras in India with Honours in Chemistry. He pursued graduate studies in the United States receiving the MS degree in Chemistry from De Paul University in Chicago and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.

 

Dr. Mary Scranton '72

Mary Scranton

Dr. Mary Scranton '72 is a professor of Marine geochemistry and biological-chemical
interactions in seawater at the Marine Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York. Her recent work includes studies of the carbon cycle in the Cariaco Basin, a large permanently anoxic basin on the continental shelf of Venezuela, because the sediments in the Cariaco preserve a high resolution record of deposition of material, including organic carbon, over more than 100,000 years. In the CARIACO (Carbon Retention in a Colored Ocean) program, Dr. Scranton is collaborating with several leading scientists in her field for this lengthy study, using a variety of techniques including measurements of potential oxidants such as sulfur species and forms of manganese and iron, as well as fatty acid concentrations and turnover rates. At present, the CARIACO program has been underway for over 8 years. Dr. Scranton also continues a long-standing interest in methane geochemistry. She has studied methane within the Hudson River, in seasonally and permanently anoxic basins, and most recently in the waters of the North Atlantic on and near the US North-East continental shelf. In this latter study, she is investigating the role of seeps and vents, and possibly of destabilizing gas hydrates, in controlling water-column methane concentrations. Dr. Scranton received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke in 1972 and her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1977.

Gay Tischbirek

Gay Tischbirek is the director of International Relations EPF Ecole d’Ingénieurs Sceaux, France. She works on development of international relations, creation of double diplomas and Study Abroad programs at the college. Tischbireck is the founder and coordinator of the International Institute of Women in Engineering. founder and director Cross-Cultural Consulting Paris, France, and currently a coordinator of the Nile Countries Hydro Management Project (NCHP). The NCHP coordinates the work being done on many aspects of water management throughout the ten Nile Basin Countries: Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt. The objective of the NCHP is to adapt currently existing water management software to the Nile River Basin Countries, making it flexible to suit community needs, and teaching the local populations how to use it for their maximum basin-wide benefit.



Margaret Van Deusen '76

Margaret Van Deusen, Esq., is deputy director and general counsel of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA). She was a former public defender, the assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Protection Division, and partner at Rubin and Rudman in Boston. Ms. Van Deusen directs CRWA's advocacy work, provides general legal representation, provides legal support to other environmental organizations, and aides in general staff management. She is a member of Massachusetts Bar, U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, MWRA Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee, and the Emerald Necklace Citizens Advisory Committee. Ms. Van Deusen earned her BA from Mount Holyoke College, and her JD from New York University School of Law.

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