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Helen Mohney ’15: Enabling the Disabled to Make Beautiful Art

Art in Action: Helen Mohney ’15 at Spindleworks from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Helen Mohney ’15 is combining her interests in art and mental health this summer, right here in Brunswick, ME. Mohney is spending her summer at Spindleworks, a non-profit art center for adults with disabilities. More than 40 artists sell their work in the Spindleworks store, receiving 75% of the profits, and their work has been exhibited both locally and nationally.

A Visual Arts and Sociology major, Mohney provides daily support for Spindleworks’ artists, helps set up for shows in the Whatnot Gallery, and manages the blog she created for Spindleworks. She is supported by the Preston Public Interest Career Fund.

“It’s really cool to get invested in a project with someone and then see it through,” Mohney says, “and to see how happy they are and how proud of the work that they make.”

Students Harness Tech Tools for History, Art, Literature, Education, Politics, and More

Media technologies conceptOne pair of Bowdoin students has spent the summer creating a stop-motion animated film telling the story of how Huntington’s disease works at the molecular level. Two others have developed mobile apps to enhance the experience of visitors to the Bowdoin Museum of Art and Arctic Museum. Another has devised a way to scrape campaign tweets during next fall’s campaign season, and several more have been mapping information such as language spread in Africa, 19th-century shipbuilding records in Maine, and 18th-century literary landmarks in London.

The list goes on: in all, sixteen Bowdoin students have been harnessing digital technology in impressively original ways through this year’s Gibbons Summer Research Program, and the caliber and creativity of their projects was evident in a recent presentation of their work. Take a look at the elevator versions of each project.

Gibbons presentations 2014

Funded Interns Pursue Business Training in Diverse Fields

katherine_gracey-1The Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internships Fund, which supports students wishing to develop business skills, is one of the many summer grants available to Bowdoin students. This summer eight students received the grant, choosing to work in diverse fields and locations. We managed to catch up with two Goodfriend recipients: Christa Villari ’15, who is interning for a neuromarketing firm in Boston, and Katherine Gracey ’16, who is with Christie’s in Hong Kong.

The Ascent of Instagram (Fortune)

One of among 500+ photos on @bowdoincollege's Instagram feed

One of among 500+ photos on @bowdoincollege‘s Instagram feed

 

It’s a social media platform that seems to engage and addict people more than many others. By incorporating a few filters and an old-timey square frame, Instagram has turned average web users into photographers. Recently, these insta-photographers have been showing their dedication through InstaMeets — large gatherings of instagrammers who come together to meet and photograph one another in locations like London, New York and South Africa — mixing digital media with some “old-school socializing,” if you will.

So how did Instagram become so popular? How does parent company Facebook play into how Instagram is run? And what plans does the free application have to increase its profits?  Learn more from Fortune

People Who Like Instant Coffee Better Than the Good Kind (Time)

CoffeeDo not mess with a person’s coffee — especially before they’ve had their first morning cup. Coffee drinkers, a formidable lot, generally are creatures of habit, with biases about their brew. That said, would you believe that half the world prefers clumpy instant?

I mean, gag me with a coffee stirrer.

Time magazine looks at this phenomena in its aptly headlined article, “These Maps Show Why Half the World Prefers Kind of Gross Coffee.

Parenting Around the World (TED)

ChildrenAmerican parents pursue the goal “to raise the happiest, the most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future,” Amy Choi writes for TED. Mothers in this country turn to websites, books and their friends for parenting advice, but not to their mothers, seeking only the most current child-rearing strategies.

Yet, looking at how other cultures approach child rearing indicates there is no one golden formula to raising a successful child. The common Norwegian child raising strategy, for example, is “strongly institutionalized.” Most parents think toddlers should begin daycare at 12 months (where they are regularly bundled up and set outside in the Scandinavian winter to nap). Japan tries to instill independence in their children, setting young ones off to do things alone early, such as walking to school.

In the Netherlands,  parents emphasize rest, food and a pleasant environment for their kids rather than pushing them too hard at school. And Spaniards are horrified at the thought of kids going to bed at 6:30 p.m. and missing out on family life in the evenings. “We should be learning from each other,” Choi quotes a family expert, “and recognizing that there are very different successful pathways to raising children.”

 

So Smooth: Seven Steps to Mastering the Art of Conversation (Time)

Speech bubbles256

 

Some people just have it — the gift of gab. And not just small talk; they really just seem to innately know how to be engaging. If you’re not the sparkling conversationalist you would like to be, check out these seven tips to being smooth, culled by Time magazine from Catherine Blyth’s The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure.

What You Get When You Teach An Old Dog A New Language (New York Times)

words-256“I used to joke that I spoke French like a three-year-old,” New York Times contributor William Alexander jokes, “until I met a French three-year-old and couldn’t hold up my end of the conversation.” Alexander picked up a language in his late 50s to assuage his fears about deteriorating mental capacity — but blundering through new sounds, words and phrases he could never seem to master did not ease his worries. Nonetheless, his efforts themselves yielded astounding benefits, notably huge increases in verbal and visual memory. Read more to find out why learning a language in adulthood is like “drinking from a mental fountain of youth.”

Read Like Bill Gates (Farnham Street)

booksIn addition to his numerous other contributions, Bill Gates offers an annual summer reading list to the world. This year’s six picks are all books that Gates read earlier this year. The topics include business, science, history — and even a novel. John Brooks’ Business Adventures also comes recommended by Warren Buffett (who recommended it to Gates himself).

Arctic Museum Wins Two First-Place Awards

The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum has taken home two first-place awards in the New England Museum Association’s 2014 Publication Award Competition.

Award-winning invitation for Arctic Museum's "Pop-Up Museum: Your Favorite Things" event.

Award-winning invitation for Arctic Museum’s “Pop-Up Museum: Your Favorite Things” event.

The Museum’s invitation to its “Pop-Up Museum: Your Favorite Things” event won first place in the Invitations category and the Museum’s brochure “Spirits of Land, Air, and Water” won first place in the Exhibit Supplementary Materials category. Fifty-seven museums submitted 168 publications to this year’s competition.

“We are gratified by the recognition of the thought, care, and humor that went into developing both pieces,” said Susan Kaplan, director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, “and we are thrilled that our colleagues in the museum world chose to recognize our work.”

Both publications were developed by Arctic Museum staff in consultation with Bill Fall of Fall Design. The brochure features Inuit art from the Robert and Judith Toll Collection, photographed by Dean Abraham. Penmor Lithographers printed both pieces.