Early in the Fall of 2012, when I was still brand new at Luther, this sophomore approached me after my Global Politics class and asked: "I want to be your research assistant. Do you have anything that you need help researching right now?"
I didn't. I was prepping my first classes at Luther, I think I was still finishing up my dissertation, and was still trying to figure out which keys opened my office. But Emily clearly wanted to get involved in Political Science research, so I came up with some things that could get done and officially hired my first student assistant.
Fast forward to 2015. Instead of going to watch a panel at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference I was driving Emily to Urgent Care, so she could figure out if her foot was broken. It wasn't. Just a bad sprain. But she was still going to have to be on crutches for a few days. That did not stop her from, two days later, presenting the paper she, Jordy Barry (another great Luther alumna), and I wrote on how the U.S. media covered Dilma Rousseff's 2014 presidential campaign.
Now Emily works in Amman, Jordan. Before she left we were able to catch up and have a really great talk about her life before, during, and after Luther College. It was great to learn more about my first research assistant, talk about her time at Luther, about her adventures in D.C., and her plans for the future.
This is the first time I ventured out of College Drive and into the city of Decorah. My first interview of the year (since Todd Pedlar's interview is a later release of an interview we did this summer) was with Mike Blevins, Assistant Manager atJava John's Coffee House. If you know Mike as the Java John's barista but you do not know much more about him, get ready for a great story full of ups and downs and full of turns. We are privileged to have someone like Mike in the community, and I hope this interview helps some of you get to know him a little more. Here it is:
In this episode I interview Todd Pedlar, physics professor here at Luther College. We talk a lot about the liberal arts education and students at Luther College. Todd does some exciting work with his physics students at Luther, and he is also one of the biggest Paideia cheerleaders out there.
It was really interesting to hear about his path, and to talk to someone so committed to Luther College and the liberal arts experience. So here it is, enjoy!
On the fourth episode of my podcast I interview Guy Nave, Professor of Religion here at Luther. While this episode was recorded in the summer, and the timeline to post the episode was November anyways, Ben Jerke (the student helping me with the podcast) and I thought that this episode is coming out in a very propitious time.
As protests against racism on college campuses gained national attention, the debate between freedom of expression/speech and the oppression of minorities on college campuses spread throughout college campuses nationwide. Here at Luther students, faculty, staff and community members organized a Blackout/Walkout on Friday, November 13. The expression of solidarity started with Guy Nave's sermon during Luther College's Chapel and culminated with a walkout at 12:30 where around 150 members of the community showed their support to students of color who experience racism on college campuses around the country. While the event was a powerful show of solidarity, like in most campuses in the country such demonstrations led to broader discussions that includes dissenting voices. We hope that these next months we can continue to discuss these issues, and we hope to hear all sides of the debate.
Guy Nave's episode is timely not just because he is one of the main voices against racism on Luther's campus. Guy Nave's story is timely because it shows us how far we have come in the past 40 years, but also how far we still have to go when it comes to racism in America. In the episode we talked very openly about race and racism, and he shared many instances where the color of his skin played a major role on how he interacted with society and how society interacted with him. This is just one story of one man, but we hope that it can shed some light on some of the issues people of color have faced in the U.S. in the past, and help contextualize the issues we face today.
The talk is not only about race. Guy Nave's path to Christianity is an interesting one, especially when you realize that today he talks and writes about religion for a living. I thoroughly enjoyed Guy's stories about how he encountered Christianity, how that eventually led him in the academic path, and how that path eventually led him to Luther College.
You can catch Guy Nave's writings in his blog Clamoring for Change , and on his contributions to Luther College's Ideas and Creations Blog as well as to Sojourners.net.
I hope you enjoy listening.
This is the third episode of my podcast called Here. In the podcast, I interview people from Luther College asking them how they got here and what the do here. This time I talked to Holly Moore, professor of Philosophy here at Luther. This was a great talk. I really appreciated how Holly was open about her struggles, some struggles that students today also face when coming to college. I also really hope her mother listen to this podcast, I am curious if she agrees with Holly on some of the stuff that was shared.
So here is is, I hope you enjoy. Please share your opinion and comments either here or on the Soundcloud page.
Here is the second episode of Here. For this one I brought John Moeller to the KWLC studio to ask him about his life pre-Luther and his long history at the college and in Decorah. I am really excited about this one. It was a lot of fun to talk to John, get to know more about the guy who picked me up at the airport when I came to Luther for a job interview. John is in my department (Political Science) and I see him almost every day, and yet I had no idea he was a Russian Studies major in college (one minor spoiler here, sorry).
I am especially excited about this talk because we spent a good time talking about Luther and Decorah today and in the 1980s, when John first arrived in town. There are a lot of "shout outs" throughout the episode, from businesses to people in the region.
I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please post some comments below if you have any questions or comments about John Moeller or the interview. And if you got to this blog post as a lark (a word John used a few times in the podcast and I had to search the word's meaning to make sure I knew what he was talking about), welcome!
Okay, finally the first episode is up! I am pretty excited to share with all of you. I this pilot episode I interview Dave Grouws and Dave Grouws interviews me. We kept trying to find the commonalities of growing up in Brazil and in the Midwest. This is our first foray into editing, so it is still pretty bare bones. Soon we hope to add some music or other sounds to it, as Ben Jerke and I get a little more acquainted with the equipment. But in the end, it's all about the talking, all about people's lives. Please check it out and leave comments either here on the blog or on the SoundCloud page.