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Roanoke College News Blog The Official News Blog of Roanoke College Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:07:34 +0000 hourly 1 Shop online, give to Roanoke Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:00:29 +0000 rcnewsblog Like shopping at You can make your purchases count for Roanoke College through the online retailer’s charitable giving website, AmazonSmile, especially if you shop now through March 31.

Here’s how it works. Click here, and sign into your Amazon account to access AmazonSmile’s Roanoke College site. Now, start shopping.

Once you buy an eligible item via AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate .5 percent of the total purchase price to Roanoke, excluding taxes, shipping and handling, service charges or gift wrapping fees. The items eligible for the AmazonSmile program are marked on each product description.

There is no cap on the amount of money that can be donated.

Also, from now through March 31, Amazon will give an extra $5 to a charitable organization of your choice, in addition to its .5 percent donation.

The AmazonSmile Foundation administers the AmazonSmile program, which launched in October.

5 Questions with: Dr. Monica Vilhauer, RC professor and folk singer, guitarist Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:46:57 +0000 rcnewsblog
Dr. Monica Vilhauer (left) performs alongside Erin Hunter (right).

Dr. Monica Vilhauer, an associate professor of religion and philosophy at Roanoke College, prefers to sing her way through life.

Vilhauer enjoys playing guitar and singing in the folk duo, Erin and Monica, in her free time. Her music inspiration comes from her father who taught her how to play the guitar when she was 15.

Vilhauer and her music partner, Erin Hunter, perform at local bars and restaurants in Salem and Roanoke. Monica grew up singing all different genres of music.

You can find event information on the duo’s Facebook page and website.

RC News Blog: When did you first realize that you loved to sing, and when did you start to play the guitar?

Monica Vilhauer: I have loved to sing since I was a little girl, around when I was 5 years old. I started playing guitar at age 15, taught by my father. He plays by ear, and he taught me to play by ear. It was a great side skill to learn as a teenager, and a good therapeutic outlet for me through my academic life.

RC News Blog: Tell us about Erin Hunter. How did you both start singing together?

Monica Vilhauer: Erin Hunter is my music partner, and she plays violin and sings. We’ve been playing together for five years, and we met about seven years ago. She lives in my neighborhood, and we met through common friends. Jessie Griffin [director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Roanoke College] and Erin were playing music in a trio together, and we met mutually through him. We started to play all the songs that we loved growing up since we are the same age, and we like the same music.

RC News Blog: What types of music do you sing?

Monica Vilhauer: We always focus on folk music. That is one of the things we have in common. We do all kinds of rock songs but in our style. We make other genres that we like into folky versions. We both have a broad interest in lots of different kinds of music, but folk music is where we really connect.

RC News Blog: Where do you sing?

Monica Vilhauer: We’ve played at a number of different bars and restaurants in Roanoke. We’ve played a number of times at the Village Grill [in Roanoke]. We also play at the Grandin Village community park at the farmers market. We’ve also played at a number of special events that occurred at restaurants in our neighborhood. We also play at corporate events and weddings.

RC News Blog: In what way does your work at Roanoke College tie into your music?

Monica Vilhauer: Here my work is in philosophy and gender studies. I would say that the songs that I’m most attracted to are pretty philosophical and gender focused too in their lyrics. I think that there is quite an overlap between the kinds of things I study and the kinds of lyrics that really interest me. It’s a different life with academic life. It is so cerebral in the head, and musical life is all heart. I’m so glad to have that to offset all the intellectual stuff.

-By Shelby Sacco ‘14

Roanoke College professors lead forum to discuss Ukraine crisis Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:18:12 +0000 rcnewsblog
(Left to right) Dr. Rob Willingham, Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef and Dr. Martha Kuchar were featured speakers during a recent panel discussion about Ukraine.

A room full of Roanoke College students, faculty and staff gathered recently to discuss the unfolding events in the Ukraine. Among the topics discussed were the implications of this conflict for Europe, the motivations of Russia and what is next to come.

The forum, held March 14, highlighted the extreme political tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a region located on the coast of the Black Sea and connected to Ukraine.

Three Roanoke professors - Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef, an assistant professor in the Public Affairs department, Dr. Martha Kuchar, chair of the English department, Dr. Rob Willingham, an associate professor in the History department - were the forum’s featured speakers.

The forum was held in a room in Miller Hall. Some attendees sat on the floor or stood at the door to hear the discussion.

Each professor approached the issue differently, giving an overarching view of the conflict, its roots and its direction.

Kuchar and Willingham highlighted the conflict’s social and historical perspectives. They spoke about Russian identity and views of Ukraine as the birthplace of Russian culture and identity.

Kuchar, whose family immigrated from Ukraine, also discussed the violence and abuse exercised by Victor Yanukovych, former president of Ukraine. Kuchar explained in depth the protests on the Maidan, the square where the majority of the protests took place, and elsewhere within Ukraine.

Mihalache-O’Keef explained the relations between Russia and surrounding nations.

After the initial introduction to the issues, the speakers answered questions from the audience.

Some of the questions posed included: Who might intervene in this conflict? Would Ukrainians fight for themselves? Is there unity among the people? What are the political implications of this conflict for Europe?

The forum allowed students and faculty to discuss the issues and the implications that they have for the world, and its affect on United States and Russia relations.

Other professors in attendance included Dr. Joseph Rubongoya, chair in the Public Affairs department and Dr. Michael Heller, a professor in the English department.  Additionally, Tatyana Munsey, a senior lecturer in Roanoke’s Modern Languages Department, gave a personal account of the issues in Ukraine.

“There is a lot of fear in Ukraine,” she said. “People are afraid of conflict, however, there is also hope.”

-By Alejandro Menjivar ‘15


RC Model UN shines at the United Nations Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:18:29 +0000 rcnewsblog
Roanoke’s Model UN Club: (left to right) Laura Lee Wight, Wesley Knowles, Anas Almasri, Emily Crane, Brynn MacDougall, Dr. Joshua Rubongoya and Matt Modlin.

The Roanoke College Model UN club returned from the National Model United Nations annual conference in New York on Thursday, April 3 with a renewed appreciation of multilateral methods of conflict resolution.

Each year, the Roanoke team represents a country and this year Roanoke represented Palestine. Having only observer status at the UN, the delegation experienced the frustrations of not being able to vote.

However, the delegation also experienced the opportunity of thinking about and contributing solutions to global challenges ranging from hunger and poverty to provision of clean water and eradication of diseases, such as malaria.

The delegation was led by Model UN club President Laura Lee Wight. The Roanoke delegation was comprised of: Wesley Knowles, Human Rights Council; Emily Crane, General Assembly (GA) First Committee; Brynn MacDougall, GA Third Committee; Matt Modlin, GA Fourth Committee; and Palestinian exchange student Anas Almasri, GA Second Committee.  The delegation participated in writing resolutions, speech making and caucusing as part of the process of multilateral diplomacy.

In addition to participating in the conference, the delegation visited the National September 11 Memorial.

Dr. Joshua Rubongoya, faculty advisor to the Model UN club, accompanied the delegation to and from New York.

Submitted by Dr. Joshua Rubongoya

New signpost displays Roanoke’s international reach Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:42:56 +0000 rcnewsblog
Diego deSalterain of Uruguay and Angela He Chen of Peru hold the Peruvian flag.

A new feature on Roanoke College’s campus symbolizes its connection to the world.

Last month, Roanoke’s International Education office spearheaded the installation of a new post that displays cities around the world and total mileage to each one from Salem. The cities on the post include London, Paris, Nairobi, Lima, New Delhi, Rome, Canberra, Mexico City, Seoul and Tokyo.

The cities were selected based on the home countries of the College’s international students and the popular destinations that Roanoke students visit when studying abroad.

The post faces Roanoke’s back quad, behind Trout Hall.

It symbolizes the connection and awareness that the Roanoke College community and its students have with the rest of the world.

“It’s a symbol of the intention to be a college that is graduating global citizens,” said Pamela Serota Cote, director of International Education. “So in this day and age we would be doing a disservice to our students if they graduated and didn’t know how to speak another language, had never traveled to any part of the world, didn’t understand the cultures.”

The International Education office searched for a company to build a quality design to match the College campus architecture.

-By Morgan Conroy ‘14

April’s Theatre Roanoke College show to feature all-female monologues Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:08:58 +0000 rcnewsblog This month, Theatre Roanoke College will perform “Talking With” by Jane Martin. This is a well-known play that has garnered acclaim in London and America. It features 11 monologues by different women.

The monologues cover a range of topics, from love and loneliness to identity and gender. Each woman depicts a different character, bringing comedy and drama to the stage.

Some of the monologues are touching, displaying a breadth of emotions but also the nuances in each woman’s life. “Talking With” touches on a variety of issues, whether it is the life of an immigrant to a fast food worker.

Performances will be held April 9-12 at Olin Theater. The shows start at 7:30 pm.

General admission tickets are $7 and $5 for students and senior citizens. Click here to order tickets or call (540) 375-2333(540) 375-2333.

-By Alejandro Menjivar ‘15

5 Questions with: Justin Tuma ‘11, assistant men’s lacrosse coach Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:37:59 +0000 rcnewsblog
Justin Tuma (left) coaches during lacrosse practice at Kerr Stadium.

Former Roanoke College student Justin Tuma has discovered a knack for coaching the game he loves.

Tuma, who graduated in 2011, is the College’s new assistant men’s lacrosse coach. He came to work at Roanoke last summer from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., where he was an assistant lacrosse coach and worked under Coach J.B. Sheraton.

Before that, he lived in England for a year and earned a master’s degree in management at Durham University. He also played lacrosse for Team Durham, which had an undefeated season and won the British Universities & College Sport Cup (BUCS) Championship.

Tuma was a standout lacrosse player at Roanoke, where he was a three-time USILA All-American from 2008-2011. His senior year, he also was named the VaSID State Player of the Year and ODAC Player of the Year. The Michigan native was also named the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as USILA Scholar All-American.

As Roanoke’s men’s lacrosse season reaches its midpoint, we spoke with Tuma about this year’s team and his experiences since graduating and returning to Roanoke as a coach.

RC News Blog: How is the transformation from player to coach? Is it difficult?

Justin Tuma: No, it’s not that bad. Obviously a lot of the time you wish you could be out there doing the drills, instead of telling them you can show them. I find that part especially difficult, when I see something I want to improve it but you have to find a way to verbalize it or show it without you actually playing. That’s the most difficult part I find but other than that I feel like I’ll be a better player now that I’m coaching, just because you learn a lot more intricacies of the game while coaching.

RC News Blog: Now that you’ve played lacrosse in two different countries, United States and most recently England, how does the game compare?

Justin Tuma:  They have a league over there, kind of like the NCAA but not nearly as big called BUCS (British University and College Sports). It’s based on a point system so all the universities that are in BUCS compete for a point total. They add up all the points of all the sports at the end of the year, and there’s one winner. The English National team is pretty good. They’re probably the best in Europe. We were pretty good. We had a lot of American guys that had played college lacrosse so we dominated. It was an awesome experience. We got to teach, coach a little bit and play.

RC News Blog: Do you plan to continue coaching lacrosse in the future?

Justin Tuma: That’s the goal right now to be a head coach. I think coaching is something I very much enjoy I’d like to continue doing it as long as I can. It’s kind of weird having a master’s degree in business and thinking I want to go a business route, and then doing something completely different but I’m enjoying it.

RC News Blog: What are you looking forward to most this season?

Justin Tuma: It’s cool to coach guys that I played with. A lot of the seniors were here when I was a senior. Obviously they were freshman. It’s kind of cool to see how much better they’ve gotten already just from the time I was here playing. I’m friends with them, and it’s a balancing act trying to maintain friendships but still be a coach. I look forward to hopefully competing in another conference championship and NCAA. That’s my big goal- to coach them to the national championship.

RC News Blog: Who has influenced you the most throughout your coaching experience?

Justin Tuma: A lot of people at Roanoke. Obviously Coach [Bill] Pilot has been awesome person to look up to, especially in his profession, and Coach [J.B.] Sheraton at Randolph Macon taught me tons. Learning from them about coaching is something I think will help me in the future.

–By Morgan Conroy ‘14

Historian to share lessons from Lewis & Clark Expedition Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:01:51 +0000 rcnewsblog This Wednesday, Dr. Dan Thorp, associate professor of history at Virginia Tech, will discuss the journey, the discoveries and the lessons learned from the historic Lewis & Clark Expedition.

This expedition involved Meriwether Lewis, personal secretary to Thomas Jefferson, who was chosen in 1803 to explore the recently purchased land of the Louisiana territory from France. He sought help from fellow frontiersman William Clark on this journey to discover the unknown land.

At Virginia Tech, Thorp, a colonial historian, teaches the history of the American West. He also has written two books, “The Moravian Community in Colonial North Carolina” and “Lewis & Clark: An American Journey.”

Thorp’s lecture, which is sponsored by Roanoke’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Colket Center Pickle Lounge. Admission is free.

 -By Allison Shannon ‘15

Got questions? Chat with a Fintel librarian online. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:31:31 +0000 rcnewsblog FintelscreenHave you ever wanted to ask a librarian a question without going to Fintel Library?

Now, you can chat with a Roanoke College librarian from anywhere, using a new feature on the library’s homepage.

Fintel Library’s website has undergone several changes, including the addition of Fintel Answers and Chat with a Librarian.

Fintel Answers is a knowledge-based program which allows librarians to map and track messages and questions from students or anyone. With this program, librarians can answer questions without a person needing to go to the library.

Chat with a Librarian is located on left hand side of the website. It allows people to send an instant message to any librarian at the Fintel reference desk. Librarians can also answer questions via text message at (540)318 0753(540)318 0753.

“These website changes came after librarians met to determine how to make the website and themselves more accessible to students,” said David Wiseman, who is the manager of Fintel Library information systems and the architect of the website’s new look.

“We kept the things that worked,” Wiseman said. “The additions were made to make the library website more functional and accessible to students.”

The new website functions using a content management system. It is a system that allows the librarians to control the entire website. It is now easier to make lib guides (research resources compiled by librarians) for classes, and ultimately gives more freedom in the design of the website.

“Librarians have to predict the future, whether it is for helping answer questions or figuring out which books or sources will become popular or useful,” Wiseman said.

Fintel Answers allows librarians to see what questions are frequently asked and post answers to previous questions or questions that a student might have later. They can tailor the answers to questions accordingly.

Along with Fintel Answers, other changes to the website include a concise search engine, an in-depth library calendar, and the addition of tutorial videos to help people navigate the library and its website.

The new website makes finding books and sources simple.

Chat with a librarian by clicking here

- By Alejandro Menjivar ‘15

Feminism advocate, author to headline Women’s Forum events Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:27:05 +0000 rcnewsblog Roanoke College’s 8th annual Women’s Forum kicks off on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. with author and sought-after speaker, Jessica Valenti.

She will speak about the topic “Feminism: Alive, Well and Changing the Game” in the Wortmann Ballroom at the Colket Center.

Valenti has been called one of the top 100 Inspiring Women in the world by The Guardian, and she is the author of four books on feminism, politics and culture. She also is the founder of, an online community for feminists and their allies that encourages activism.

Valenti also has appeared on numerous media outlets, including The Colbert Report and the Today Show.

When she is not traveling across the country giving speeches at colleges, organizations and conferences, she spends time with her husband and daughter at her home in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Read more about Valenti here.

Also, be sure to check out all of this month’s Women’s Forum events, which run through March 27, here.

-By Shelby Sacco ‘14