The Blame Game

By Katherine Duke '05

A certain current Amherst student—let’s give her the pseudonym “Cassie”—and her friend made a decoration for Family Weekend this year: a pumpkin with an A carved in it. “We put a strobe light in it,” Cassie says. “I was so proud of it. All my friends said it was the coolest thing they’d ever seen.”

The Game Plan

Story and photos by Katherine Duke '05

As an innocent Amherst first-year in the fall of 2001, I developed an addiction that has a hold on me to this day. I got sucked into a strange world that’s difficult to explain to those who haven’t visited: a world where we know each other by first and middle initials, last name and class year (I’m kdduke05); where “snooping” and “snitching” are not only socially acceptable but appreciated; and where people who have never laid eyes on each other regularly engage in vigorous debates and develop lasting friendships.

The Infiltrator

Writer Marjan Hajibandeh '09E never had an orientation to call her own. So she found one to crash.

What I did last summer

Some students flipped burgers. Others interned on Wall Street. Still others traveled near and far to  build houses, take pictures or  mentor young children. Last week, we posted a message inviting all students to pen a few lines about how they spent their summer vacation. Here are the replies. Please log in (at upper right) to post your own summer-vacation story.

Close to Home

By Katherine Duke ’05

One of the many reasons I chose to attend Amherst College was that it was far away. Or, far enough away.  My parents could do the three-hour drive fairly easily when I wanted them to—but only when I wanted them to. The other serious contender, Vassar, was only an hour from my hometown. I cringed when I realized it got the same radio stations. I have nothing against my family or my high school, but I wanted my college experience to feel separate from them. So Amherst it was.

The Almost Olympian

Shauneen Garrahan ’07, a standout runner during her four years at Amherst, took first place in the steeplechase at the Canadian Olympic trials in July. But it was a bittersweet ending for Garrahan. After capping her collegiate career with wins in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs at the 2007 Division III National Championships and being named the Outstanding Female Athlete of the competition, she had set her sights on competing at the U.S. Olympic trials and narrowly missed the cut. Though she performed impressively at Windsor, because she is not a Canadian citizen, she could not go on to the Olympics. John D’Angelo ’10 interviewed her shortly after the Beijing Games began.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Submitted by Caroline J. Hanna

It is 1:45 p.m. one muggy July afternoon at the Amherst Survival Center, 15 minutes before its doors are supposed to close for the day, and there’s a line about 20 long stretching into an un-air conditioned back room. Among its many other services, the agency has a food pantry that provides a month’s worth of nutritional staples to families who meet certain income criteria, and the people here are queuing up for fresh vegetables, bread and canned goods.

Journalist Turned Physicist

Submitted by Marjan Hajibandeh

This summer, Campus Buzz writer Marjan Hajibandeh ‘09E will sit down with each of the seven Amherst professors who’ve just earned tenure. First up: Jonathan Friedman, associate professor of physics.

There’s no way around it; Jonathan Friedman looks exactly like what I imagined a physicist to look like. He has tousled curly hair and wire-rimmed glasses. When (in an early draft of this article) I described them to be circular, he corrected me and said that they were more stadium-shaped. If he were any more empirical, I would have guessed that he lived in the lab. And, boy, was he eager to chat about his research. But I wouldn’t let him—at least not right away.

Docents Enlightening the World

Submitted by Katherine D. Duke

“You see these little rolls of fat?” Jessica Ball ’09 points to the plump figures in an oil painting on the wall. “That’s Rubens!”

Ben Bishop ’09 Answers: What Is Jeopardy!?

Interview by Katherine Duke '05

Since its first, black-and-white incarnation, created by Merv Griffin in the early 1960s, Jeopardy! has built a reputation as the thinking person’s game show. Amherst has helped prepare many trivia geeks to do battle with the big blue board: As a senior, Gwyneth Connell ’00 represented the Jeffs in the 2000 College Championship. Novelist and attorney Scott Turow ’70 towered over the competition in Celebrity Jeopardy! in 2006. And even though I ultimately came in a distant third, I consider my own Jeopardy! game, which aired in April 2008, among the luckiest and most fascinating experiences of my life.

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