Jeanne Cavelos Discusses her Fantasy Writing Workshop

Jeanne Cavelos teaching

Jeanne Cavelos teachingJeanne Cavelos, editor, author, former astrophysicist and part-time English professor, led her 14th Odyssey Fantasy workshop this summer at Saint Anselm College. The workshop brought together 16 writers hoping to improve their skills and dazzle the publishing world with their stories of zombies, vampires, and living on the moon.

These students of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, flew in from as far as Australia and Singapore, leaving behind their families and quitting their jobs to spend six weeks with Cavelos. They all hope to eventually be published authors.

In this podcast with Jeanne Cavelos, she discusses the workshop, her students, science fiction, and the world of publishing.

To read more about Odyssey, visit this previous blog post.

Photo credit: Greg Wallace '10

In Context: Dr. Daly Discusses End of Life Medical Decisions

Professor Dan Daley

Video Transcript

Welcome to a new feature on the Saint Anselm blog. From time to time, we will ask faculty members and others to shed light on issues in the news, and post their answers either as text or short videos. Health care reform is making headlines these days, so we have started with a professor of medical ethics, Dr. Daniel Daly, assistant professor of theology.

President Obama raised the concerns and costs of end of life care this spring, when he discussed the treatment of his late grandmother, who received a hip replacement after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. "If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting,” Obama told The New York Times.

We asked Professor Daly to outline an ethical framework for making the often wrenching decisions about health care that can come in the final stages of life. He discusses the difference between ordinary and extraordinary care in the context of Catholic theology.

The Office of College Communications and Marketing welcomes suggestions for In Context interviews. If you would like to suggest a topic or have something you’d like to discuss, please contact Barbara LeBlanc or Doug Minor.

Chasing the Mourning Warbler; Dr. J Explains Four Song Regions

Mourning Warbler Range

This is our second of two podcasts with professor Jay Pitocchelli; in our first podcast, he discusses his research and life in the field tracking the Mourning Warbler.

Mourning WarblerOn the Saint Anselm College campus, Jay Pitocchelli is known for his biology and ornithology classes. But off campus — and among readers of his blog, — he is known for his body of scholarly research on the Mourning Warbler.

In our first podcast of this two-part series, Pitocchelli described the his research, travels, and innovative uses of technologies. In this podcast, he discusses the four regions of Mourning Warbler song that he has observed. His current research examines the birds' ability to identify Mourning Warblers from other dialects, or regiolects. He also let us listen to his audio recordings from each of the geographic and dialectic regions: Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Eastern, and Western.

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

Chasing the Mourning Warbler; Dr. J on Doing Research in the Field


This is our first of two podcasts with professor Jay Pitocchelli; in our second podcast, he discusses the four song and geographic regions of the Mourning Warbler.

Mourning WarblerWhen nature shows the first signs of impending summer, migratory birds that have wintered in southern habitats begin growing fidgety and restless for the biannual journey northward. In his Goulet Science Center office, with a window overlooking the quad, biology professor Jay Pitocchelli experiences a similar sensation.

Saint Anselm College’s resident ornithologist packed his jeep this spring to continue his research on song variation in the Mourning Warbler. Pitocchelli, the preeminent expert on this olive-green and yellow warbler, named for its black bib and grey hood, has identified four regions with specific variations on the species’ song. This summer alone, he has observed and tracked the Mourning Warbler in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

While he drives the estimated 4,000 miles by himself, he keeps students, colleagues, and family updated on his blog, He also posts audio, digital video, and photos of flora and fauna.

In this podcast, we asked him about his research, use of technology, and the art of bringing the two together in pursuit of science.

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

Time's Mark Halperin Meets With Students and Lectures at NHIOP

Mark Halperin and Saint Anselm College Students

Mark Halperin and Saint Anselm College StudentsOn February 23, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) welcomed Time editor-at-large and political analyst Mark Halperin to campus for a full day of activities and an evening lecture.

Halperin began his day meeting with a small group of Student Ambassadors and members of the college faculty to discuss program ideas and political journalism. After an afternoon writing articles for Time in the NHIOP Research Center, Halperin met with a group of students and staff to discuss possible future civic education initiatives. He then participated in a video interview with Jennifer Donahue in the NHIOP Studio on President Obama’s first 100 days and then a dinner  hosted by President Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., with guests from the campus community.

In Halperin's evening lecture, entitled “The Obama Administration—The Story So Far,” he discussed both the successes and challenges confronting the Obama administration. He also used the opportunity to discuss his thoughts concerning the New Hampshire primary for 2012. While Halperin hesitated from making any predictions, citing past experiences of predicting Hillary Clinton would not be the choice for Secretary of State, he enjoyed the prospect of discussing politics with people who “were not only interested in politics, but who understand [it] well.”

He began his lecture discussing the positives that have emerged from the Obama administration. He believes that a great strength of President Obama is that he is well suited for pressure and never overreacts. Halperin described Obama as “even,” never overreacting when things are bad, but also never getting too excited when things are good. Obama, in Halperin’s view, has not been overwhelmed by the job and has not displayed any visible sense of panic. He argued that this personality type is extremely beneficial, especially during times of crisis.

Halperin also thought that Obama had made very good choices for his appointments, calling the members of his cabinet “impressive.” He described Obama as a great boss, managing his administration well and never displaying favoritism as many past Presidents have done.

On the flip side, Halperin discussed the Obama administration's negatives so far. While he cited a few examples, he believed the biggest issue was the concern of Democrats on maintaining their majority rather than solving the economic crisis in a more bipartisan fashion. He discussed the idea that Obama has allowed Republicans to say he is not being bipartisan, and thus creating tension on Capitol Hill. “Problems can’t be solved with party line votes,” says Halperin, congressional representatives need buy in both Washington and around the country, and this will not come without working across party lines. He was surprised Obama had let it get to this point so soon, and compared the process Obama was using to that of former President Geoge W. Bush — going to Nancy Pelosi and asking how to get members of the other party’s votes. Halperin believed this move came at the great expense of bipartisanship.

As for the New Hampshire Primary, Halperin argued that even if Obama were to be unsuccessful as president, he would likely not face any democratic opposition should he decide to run for a second term. Proposing that Obama will raise close to a billion dollars for the campaign, Halperin suggested that the large sum of money and the popularity of the President will deter both Democrats and Republicans from running. Halperin finished his lecture with some great news for New Hampshire. As the primary will most likely focus on the Republicans, there will be less chance that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status will be encroached upon, as the debate has risen historically from the Democratic Party.

Event Photos on Flickr’s Jonathan Martin Offers Insight on Changes in the Republican Party

On February 11, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) hosted a lecture by online political journalist Jonathan Martin. Martin is senior political director and White House correspondent for A podcast of his talk is available on the Saint Anselm College Blog.

In his lecture, “The GOP is Changing Too – The Republican Response,” he discussed the hesitance of the Republicans to outwardly oppose President Obama and yet vote against Democratic legislation. Before beginning his remarks, Martin complimented the political vigor of New Hampshire, calling the state a “neat place that holds a special place in the hearts of people in my business.”

Martin recounted a story of his recent travels on Air Force One.  He told of a recent flight where members of Congress (both Republican and Democrat) seemed star struck of the President; some were even spotted taking photographs next to Air Force One,  a scene Martin had never witnessed in his years of political journalism.

He argues that Republicans are flattered by Obama’s outreach; they enjoyed the lunch with Obama shortly after inauguration and were surprised by his early visit to Capitol Hill. Martin believes that many Republicans are anxious to see if these gestures are genuine, and while they will not oppose President Obama in public, they are more than willing to oppose the legislation he and his party created.

Besides discussing the current actions of the Republican party, Martin speculated where the party might go next. He believes the 2012 race will greatly depend on the economy and the popularity of President Obama. He projected America will see more issue-oriented candidates than the GOP has had in the past, and possibly a focus on governors as candidates like in the post-Clinton era (Martin cited names like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindall, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Gov. Sarah Palin, and former governors, including Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

In order to succeed, Martin believes the GOP must become more issue oriented, and come up with conservative solutions to problems of the 21st century.

Author Azar Nafisi Speaks at NHIOP


Nafisi speaking at NHIOPOn September 10, Dr. Azar Nafisi, scholar and best selling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. [Read more…]