September 15, 2022

New & Notable

Keeping the heart close

Some people wear a hat or a T-shirt to show their love for their alma mater. Thea Clarkberg ’22 got a permanent tattoo instead.

“To me, it just feels like a comforting hand or an angel on my shoulder,” she said about the fresh ink on her right shoulder. The tattoo is a map of campus sidewalks that radiate from what the Earlham community knows as The Heart, the circular sidewalk in front of Earlham Hall.

“Earlham is home to me. Whenever I’m feeling down, it’s a reminder than there are people who love me and are there for me,” she said.

Thea Clarkberg getting a tattoo of "The Heart"

“Earlham is home to me.”

Thea Clarkberg ’22

Teaching teachers for twenty

Twenty years ago, Debbie Rickey and Randall Shrock ’68 launched Earl-ham’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, a degree program guided by the same Quaker principles and practices that have served Earlham for 175 years: Respect for persons. Simplicity. Peace and justice. Integrity. And community.

Rickey, a former educator in Oregon, and Shrock, a professor of history and education at Earlham, wanted to create something distinctly new.

“What attracted me to this program was that there was nothing like this in the country,” said Randy Wisehart ’75, who served in Earlham’s Graduate Programs in Education for 14 years, first as assistant director and then as director. “Debbie and Randall realized they could create a program that met all the required standards for educators but do it in a more intensive way that didn’t have all the overlap of other programs. The M.A.T. program they designed emphasized blending educational theory into practice and included extensive work in schools over an entire school year and was firmly grounded in Quaker principles.

”Today, Earlham’s Graduate Programs in Education have expanded beyond the M.A.T. to offer two more tracks, a Master of Education with a focus on leadership and a 3+1 program that lets undergraduate students earn a bachelor degree and the M.A.T. in just four years.

In all of the programs, students learn the value of reflection, lifelong learning, and relationship building—and begin student teaching long before they finish their coursework.

“Our programs are evolving so that our teachers are equipped to disrupt inequities in education.”

Camilla Fulvi ’12 M.A.T. ’13

They also learn the importance of Earl-ham’s Principles and Practices, Wisehart said. “Students can’t graduate from this program unless they show evidence of using Quaker principles and practices in their teaching or their place of employment.”

While the cornerstone principles of the program remain the same, a sharper focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has become part of the curriculum.“

Our programs are evolving so that our teachers are equipped to disrupt inequities in education,” said Camilla Fulvi ’12 M.A.T. ’13, who was hired in the spring to be the director of Earlham’s Graduate Programs in Education after serving as assistant director since 2019. Earlham’s education students are challenged to ask questions like, Are the systems equitable? Is the curriculum inclusive? Does the school have dress codes that are sexist and racist? “We show our students how they walk the line of doing their job without compromising their moral standards.”

The 3+1 program, which launched five years ago, is now one of the Graduate Pro-grams in Education’s signature recruitment and retention initiatives. Earlham’s “ Teachers Like Us” scholarship, which is awarded annually to students of color, fortifies these efforts.

“One of the trends we’re seeing is that students are coming to Earlham specifically because of our 3+1 program,” Fulvi said. “Admissions has done a really great job of getting the program in front of prospective students and connecting us with them.

”Students in the 3+1 program can major in programs from across the College’s under-graduate curriculum, including art, biology, chemistry, English, exercise science, French and Francophone studies, Earth and environmental science, history, math, music, physics, politics or Spanish and Hispanic studies.

“So many students, so many applicants are worried about taking on more debt,” Wisehart said. “The 3+1 program is very practical. We thought we could make the program more attractive and still keep all the essential elements that we know have been successful but do in a such way that is more affordable. Two degrees, four years.”

More than 300 Earlham-trained educators are now working in communities around the world and have made an impact in every school in Wayne County. Dozens have been named teachers of the year.“

The beautiful thing we’ve seen is our alumni serving as mentor teachers for our current students,” Fulvi said. “A lot of our alumni still feel really connected to the program and their professors. To us, that’s the ultimate stamp of approval.”

Earlham students in the graduate programs conversing
Earlham’s M.A.T. and M.E.d programs combine cohort-building, principled reflection and practical experience.

Chasing her dreams

L.A.-based Briá Robinson ’17 is getting on her feet as a singer-songwriter. Robinson’s music can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify under the name of BriaLeon. Her most recent album is called GEMIN-EYE Untamed.

Robinson is also teaching theatre arts and working as a TV extra. Her passion for performance and creativity would be no surprise to those who knew her at Earlham, where she was a triple threat—acting, singing and dancing her way to graduating as a theatre arts major and a business management minor.

Bria posing in a doorway

Up before sunrise

Ornithological field research is not for sleepyheads. The days can be long, and they often begin just before sunrise, the optimal time to observe birds singing and protecting their nests.

Earlham professors Jaime Coon and Wendy Tori are traveling again with a team of Earlham students to the Grand River Grasslands in southern Iowa, home to some of the last remaining tallgrass prairies in the United States. This is the second year these professors have taken a team to Iowa.

“Being in the field takes some passion and motivation and grit,” said Coon. “You are working in the heat, in the rain and must be ready to walk long miles. But it’s also so incredibly rewarding. In addition to testing hypotheses and creating new knowledge, you get to see the sunrise every morning, stroll through fields of wildflowers, and get to know native bird species on a very personal, deep level. There’s nothing like it.”

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students interested in field ecology.”

Wendy Tori, associate professor of biology

Each day of the project, the team conducts bird surveys, searches for nests, and sets up cameras to record parental and nesting behavior. The team finishes each day with an assessment of vegetation structure and composition near nests.

The project is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Earlham and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, private landowners and researchers from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.“

This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students interested in field ecology. There are not many places you can go where there are relatively large expanses of tallgrass prairie in the United States and experi-mental management strategies already in place,” said Tori, who is Earlham’s Martha Sykes Hansen endowed chair in biology for ornithology. “Conservation cannot rely only on state parks because those are only tiny islands. The only way to be successful is to bring private owners into the conservation effort. I think this long-term project in southern Iowa has the right vision, all stakeholders working together towards a common goal.”

Wendy Tori working with students in Iowa
Wendy Tori with students in Iowa.

More online

To read more about what Earlham faculty members are writing, researching and presenting, visit

Campus Pride Index

Earlham College has received a four-star rating on the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmark-ing tool for creating safer and more inclusive campus communities.

Nearly 450 institutions of higher education are scored on the index, based on a one to five-star rating system. Earlham ranks in the top half of Indiana colleges and univer-sities included on the index.

Earlham receives high marks on the index for LGBTQ policy inclusion, academic life, housing and residence life, and campus safety.

Earlier this year, the Office of Human Resources announced the expansion of its employee benfits program to include transgender healthcare, which includes counseling and hormone therapy. A new policy from Earlham’s Title IX office and the Department of Athletics was also finalized to reaffirm support for transgender students’ access to and participation in intercollegiate athletics.

Earlham’s Office of Events is also preparing to open a dedicated space in Runyan Center in fall 2022 in support of LGBTQ-centered programs and events. Supported by a major gift from Kate ’99 and Miguel Wolbert, the new space will maintain an open, safe and inclusive space honoring gender and sexual diversity on campus.

On the list

Earlham College has earned a spot on The Princeton Review’s “Best Value Colleges” list for 2022.

The College has been featured on this list for five years in a row. It recognizes institutions with the highest return on investment. The rankings are based on 40 data points from surveys of administrators at more than 650 colleges in 2021-22. Topics covered everything from academics, cost and financial aid to graduation rates and student debt.

The educational services company also factored in data from its surveys of students attending the schools as well as data from’s surveys of alumni about their starting and mid-career salaries and job satisfaction.

“The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2022 are a select group: they comprise only about 7 percent of the nation’s four-year undergraduate institutions,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. “We commend their administrators, faculties, staff and alumni for all they are doing to educate their students and guide them to success in their careers. These colleges are also exceptional for the generous amount of financial aid they award to students with need and/or for their comparatively low cost of attendance.”

Take a bow

The Alumni Council and Athletics Department have announced this year’s alumni honorees.

Award presentation: Oct. 14

Simone Leigh '90

Outstanding Alumni


Simone Leigh ’90, artist

Michael Merryman-Lotze '99

Outstanding Alumni


Michael Merryman-Lotze ’99, Middle East program director at the American Friends Service Committee

Sunghee Tark '16

Outstanding Young Alumni


Sunghee Tark ’16, co-founder and CEO of Bean Voyage

Ikumi Doucette '13

Hall of Fame Class of ’22


Ikumi Doucette ’13, women’s soccer

Melissa Johnson '03

Hall of Fame Class of ’22


Melissa Johnson ’03, women’s basketball, player and coach

Joy Doucette '13

Hall of Fame Class of ’22


Joy Doucette ’13, women’s soccer

Chad Wertman '11

Hall of Fame Class of ’22


Chad Wertman ’11, track and field, football

Matt Rayl '88

Hall of Fame Class of ’22


Matt Rayl ’88, football

Labor of love

Summia Tora ’20 has been selected for the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship, the same fellowship awarded to former First Lady Michelle Obama in 1991.

Echoing Green Fellows earn $80,000 and additional support to give global leaders the resources they need to bring bold ideas to life. Tora’s fellowship will help expand the Dosti Network, which she began while evacuating her family out of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Tora graduated from Earlham as the first Rhodes Scholar from Afghanistan. The Rhodes supported her enrollment at Oxford University where she earned a master’s of public policy.

Summia Tori sitting at a table


Summia Tora ’20

The Dosti Network provides humanitarian relief, financial aid and immigration support to afghans around the world.

New retail near campus

A new retail center is coming on College-owned land that will feature new dining and shopping options within walking distance of campus.

The development, which is expected to open late this year or early 2023, will be located at the intersection of National Road West and College Avenue, just west of Needler’s Fresh Market.

Up to four tenants could occupy the future shop-ping center.

Richmond-based Thor Construction Company and DeMao Retail Consultants have agreed with Earlham on a 60-year lease for the property. Under the provisions of the contract, Earlham has influence on the architectural design of the development and the ability to reject tenants that do not live up to the vision of the project.

Site work began on the property in spring 2021 with the razing of three vacant college-owned houses and a former Domino’s pizza location. This project is the first of many planned for the next five years to improve the student experience and revitalize Earlham property along College Avenue.

Japan-U.S. goodwill

Day Lancaster ’76 has been awarded a commenda-tion by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for his work improving economic and cultural relations between Japan and the United States.

Lancaster has been working in commercial real estate for the past 30 years. “I work with Japanese companies who need warehouse or office space to expand their operations,” he said. “I’m their representative, a welcome wagon, if you will.” He is also among the founders of Japan-Fest, an annual two-day celebration of Japanese culture in Atlanta that exposes Americans to what Japan has to offer. The award is in recognition of both his JapanFest efforts and his decades of facilitating business.

Climate Defender

Sophomore Isao Sakai, who co-founded a popular youth climate movement in Japan, was recognized on Forbes Japan’s year-end “30 under 30” list for 2021.

A peace and global studies major, Sakai’s academic pursuits are focused on the causes of climate change. “I feel a sense of obligation as a person from a privileged country like Japan,” Sakai said. “I believe climate change is inherently a problem of oppressive dominance, colonialism, exploitation and patriarchy, and I believe we cannot structurally solve this issue without addressing these underlying problems.”

Before arriving at Earlham, Sakai had already been a spokesperson for numerous climate strikes which drew thousands of youth and environmental activists to the streets of Japan’s largest city. He also did public relations with nongovernmental organizations, hosted training events for activists and planned strategies to challenge the government’s energy policy.

Isao Sakai standing in suit

“I feel a sense of obligation as a person from a privileged country like Japan.”

Sophomore Isao Sakai

Engineering degree on the way

Joining Earlham’s nationally recognized pre-engineering program, the College plans to launch an engineering major in fall 2023 pending final approval from the Higher Learning Commission

This program builds on Earlham’s traditional strengths in physics, computer science, mathematics, environmental sustainability and the liberal arts to create a distinctive engineering curriculum. With this addition, Earlham will become one of only a handful of national liberal arts colleges to make four-year en-gineering degrees available to students.

Earlham’s approach to engineering—with a focus on designing for a better, more sustainable and equitable world—distinguishes it from more specialized programs and provides students with a broad perspective, strong communication skills and critical thinking that a liberal arts environment fosters.

Earlham professors are working with the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) to ensure full accreditation of the first cohort of engineering graduates.

New fulltime faculty, including a program director, will be hired this coming academic year to support areas not already available in the curriculum. A focus of these new hires will be recruiting a wide range of students, especially those who have been historically underrepresented across engineering disciplines.

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For Good.