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July, 2019

Summer Postcards:
Where Scholars Go When the Grades Are In

Catholic University’s students and faculty often travel during the summer break between semesters to do research, work as interns or take some time away from the bustle of city life in Washington, D.C. To follow are a few short reports from student and faculty who got off campus and into a new routine during the summer months.

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Students Learn about U.K. Politics and British Grit While Studying in London

Eight Catholic University undergraduates were introduced to the British political system and the country’s policy issues while working at the House of Commons in London during a 10-week summer parliamentary internship — offered through an annual Study Abroad program run by CUA and the English Speaking Union. Much of the students’ experience was hands-on: “Parliamentary offices are much smaller than those of the [U.S.] House of Representatives, so the participation level was high,” said rising senior politics major Greg Kowalski, who interacted with his boss, MP Nigel Waterson, on a daily basis.

CUA student interns in London line up with British MP Sir Patrick Cormack. (From left:) Eddie Carreon, Mary Fox, Paul Stepnowski, Shannon Mertz, Cormack, Rebecca Hough, Greg Kowalski, Kristen Murphy.
The students were thrilled to be a part of “so much happiness and rejoicing” upon the announcement of London’s winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics, according to rising junior history major Paul Stepnowsky. But he said the city’s mood turned somber the next day when terrorist bombs struck a bus and three subway trains, killing 56. “My first reaction was fear — I just had a gut feeling that it was something more than [the originally reported] power failures,” Stepnowsky wrote in an e-mail from London. Despite an “overall sense of astonishment” that their city had been attacked, Londoners resolved to continue with their daily business, Stepnowsky wrote. “The solidarity they showed will not be forgotten. They were not going to be stopped from living their normal lives,” he added. None of the CUA students was injured by the attacks.

— John H. Tucker

Professor Bruhweiler Finds Big Stars in France

Fred Bruhweiler in front of the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg in France where he spent six weeks analyzing data related to very young, massive stars.

Fred Bruhweiler
, professor of physics and director of CUA’s Institute for Astrophysics and Computational Sciences, spent six weeks in Strasbourg, France, analyzing data about expanding high-velocity shells of gas and winds surrounding very young, massive stars.  The stars are 30 to 40 times more massive than the sun and more than 100,000 times as bright. Working at the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg with a longtime French colleague, Bruhweiler examined data obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Far Ultraviolet Space Explorer. Though focused primarily on astronomie, Bruhweiler says he managed to find a little time for gastronomie during his stay in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France, which is renowned for its wines and cheeses.

— Catherine Lee


Professor Klein Finds Dramatic Extremes in Alaska and California

Jon Klein, assistant professor of drama, worked the extremes this summer, teaching playwriting and screenwriting in both the Land of the Midnight Sun and Southern California. He was a featured artist and lecturer at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, from June 18 to 25, and taught screenwriting in the Summer Professional Program at UCLA in July and August. While the two locales are drastically different in winter, both Alaska and Los Angeles were the same temperature during Klein's visits, in the 70s. Klein says it was disconcerting to look out the window in Alaska at 3 a.m. and find it as sunny as at noon.  While he’ll be in D.C. this fall writing, teaching and seeing two of his plays performed locally, he’ll return to the West to see his play Bunnicula — about a vampire rabbit — on the boards at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., and also at Childplay in Tempe, Ariz.

— Richard Wilkinson

Jon Klein during his Alaska trip, enjoying a cruise to Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound.

Professor Schneck Studies Democracy and Deploys His Umlauts in Germany

Politics Chair Stephen Schneck (at right) poses with Professor Klaus Stuewe in front of the former summer residence of the Eichstätt archbishop at the Catholic University of Eichstätt.
Stephen Schneck
, associate professor and chair of the politics department, spent much of the summer in Germany, where he worked at a Tübingen University library, doing research for a project on the political right and democracy theory. While abroad, he gave lectures at a political theory conference and at the Political Science Institute at the Catholic University of Eichstätt — a partner in a faculty/student exchange program with CUA. Schneck, who speaks German, derived his lectures from similar talks he gave at the Smithsonian Institution earlier this year and jokes that the only major change he incorporated into the updated versions was his usage of the umlaut (in German, a grammatical way of combining two vowels to make a unique sound).

— John H. Tucker


Philosophy Student Shelves Plato, Takes Up Power Tools in Damascus, Md.

Philosophy graduate student Jamie Spiering repairs the siding of a home she's helping renovate as part of a construction team.
During the school year, philosophy graduate student Jamie Spiering studies the ancient, modern and medieval philosophers, with a special emphasis on Thomas Aquinas. During the summer she straps on her tool belt and works construction. This year she’s been doing home repairs — painting, power-washing, cutting boards, replacing shutters — for the Dan Himmelfarb Company in Damascus, Md. Last summer she wore a hard hat, wielded a jackhammer and built buildings in California. “I love working construction because it’s so different from academia,” Spiering says. “Construction is tactile and it’s out of doors.”

— Anne Cassidy




Nursing Student Helps Care for Neurosurgery Patients at Renowned Mayo Clinic

Rachel Yates (standing center right next to the “patient”) and her fellow interns learn to operate a patient lift system at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Rachel Yates
, a rising senior in the School of Nursing, secured a summer internship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where she worked on the neurosurgery floor of the prestigious teaching hospital from June 5 through Aug. 11. Assigned a registered nurse as a “clinical coach,” Yates helped provide patient care about 72 hours every two weeks, and was able to observe her coach caring for patients after brain and spinal surgery, tumor removal and recovery from traumatic injuries. “[The Mayo Clinic’s] neurosurgery department is ranked number one in the country,” she says, referencing the Rochester facility’s top placement in the “Best Hospitals 2005” ranking by U.S. News & World Report. “So I have a chance to see a lot of unique and rare diagnoses come through the floor, which provide excellent opportunities for learning.”

— Chris Harrison


Father Wiseman Walks on the Quiet Side of an English Moor and the Colorado Rockies

Father Wiseman (right) walked on the English moors next to Buckfast Abbey (above), location of the quadrennial general chapter meeting of the English Benedictine Congregation held July 5 to 10.
The Rev. James Wiseman, O.S.B.
, associate professor of theology, spent his summer in two of the more quiet locations on earth – a monastery in a small village located in Devonshire County, England, and along the remote front range of the Colorado Rockies.  In England, he attended a meeting of his religious order held at Buckfast Abbey, built near heather-studded Dartmoor on the site of an 11th-century medieval monastery. In Colorado, he saw more buffalo, elk and sheep than people while staying (and sometimes backpacking) near Rocky Mountain National Park. As for the difference between cultivated old England and wild Colorado, he reports both places have one major thing in common:  “The peace and tranquility — very different from living in Washington, D.C.”

— Chris Harrison






To read about more faculty research, conferences and publications from the summer months, read this issue's
"Notables" section. For guidelines on submitting a note about your own summer research and conference travel for publication in the "Notables" section of the October issue of Inside CUA, read  Guidelines for Submissions.

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Last Revised 26-Aug-05 02:01 PM.