Artists & Scholars

Winter 2017


Eleanor Raulerson Sayre ’02, associate professor of physics at Kansas State University, was awarded an NSF grant for her research project on PhysPort (, an online professional development tool used by physics professors internationally. Sayre’s project, in collaboration with the American Association of Physics Teachers, investigates the effect PhysPort has on the practice of teaching physics. Kansas State University and the association jointly designed the tool to support physics faculty in using research-based teaching and assessment methods through expert recommendations, teaching method guides, assessment resources, and online workshops. “PhysPort is already a great resource for physics faculty, and this new grant will enable us to more carefully measure faculty needs around professional development and data analysis for education,” Sayre says. 


Kathryn Jagow Mohrman ’67 had a one-person exhibition of 20 photographs shot in Cuba at MITRE Corp.’s Atrium Gallery in McLean, Va., Sept. 20–Oct. 31, 2017. She also won first prize in an online juried exhibit, Global Perspectives, organized by the Maryland Federation of Art. See her work at

Randye Jones, Burling media room supervisor, sang a program of all-American composers during the inaugural IowaStock Music and Arts Festival in St. Charles, Iowa. She took the stage Sept. 3 before Simon Estes, renowned opera singer and Iowa native.


William W. Dressler ’73, professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, published  Culture and the Individual: Theory and Method of Cultural Consonance (Routledge, 2017). His work focuses on the intersection of culture, the individual, and health; and his research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

John Capouya ’79, associate professor of journalism and writing at the University of Tampa, published Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band (University Press of Florida, Sept. 2017). When recalling the roots of soul music, most people are likely to name Memphis, Detroit, New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, or Macon. But Florida also has a rich soul music history — an important cultural legacy that has often gone unrecognized. Capouya draws on extensive interviews with surviving musicians to re-create the excitement and honor the achievements of soul’s golden age, establishing Florida as one of the great soul music capitals of the United States.

John Pfitsch (1919–2012), coach at Grinnell College for 50 years, and Barbara Waite, former chair of the Sport Psychology Program at the University of Iowa, square off to scrutinize theories and philosophies behind “100 percent performance,” Pfitsch’s term for the best his athletes had to offer. Using Pfitsch’s typewritten manuscript from the 1980s, hours of recorded interviews, and a little imagination, Waite crafted a conversation between herself and Pfitsch to reveal more than just how to win athletic contests. Pfitsch’s ideas, developed throughout his career at University of Kansas, Midland College, and Grinnell College, come alive through his extraordinary stories and lively conversation in From Underdog to Winner: In Pursuit of 100% Performance.

Alissa Nutting, assistant professor of English and writer-in-residence, published Made for Love (Ecco/HarperCollins, July 2017) to rave reviews. The novel tells the story of Hazel, who has just run out on her marriage to Byron Gogol, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, a monolithic corporation hellbent on making its products and technologies indispensable in daily life. For more than a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. As she tries to carve out a new life for herself in this uncharted territory, Byron is using the most sophisticated tools at his disposal to find her and bring her home. 

Mary Hartnett ’80 and Wendy Williams co-wrote an authorized biography/autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My Own Words (Simon and Schuster, 2016) is Ginsburg’s first book since becoming a Supreme Court associate justice in 1993. 

Grant Faulkner ’87, executive director of National Novel Writing Month, has written Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo (Chronicle Books, October 2017). In July he served as the Aspen Institute’s writer-in-residence. 

Natazha Raine O’Connor ’84 attended Grinnell College as Bunny Connors. Her book Rescued by My Breath depicts a “real-life respiratory fairy tale” illustrating that how we relate to our breathing can either kill us or fulfill us.