Opera, Hollywood, and Food Science: A Sampling of 2017 Spring Courses

Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen

As the second semester of the school year kicks off, students will be taking an operatic excursion, screening classic Hollywood films, and making their own ice cream. We sat down with faculty members from three different departments to discuss their distinctively interesting course offerings for the spring semester.

Making ice cream with liquid nitrogenCH 122: Chemistry of Food (Chemistry Department)

In a world where a new diet comes out every week, only one class can provide the knowledge to interpret the science behind them; Dr. Carolyn Weinreb’s Chemistry of Food.

Similar to Alton Brown’s popular show Good Eats, this course focuses on the fundamental science behind everyone’s favorite foods. Students will learn about everything from the acid-based chemistry behind milk and cheese to the physical properties and biological components of baking bread.

The course is especially popular with non-science majors, as it fulfills both the Scientific Reasoning and Writing Intensive core requisites. How else can you earn academic credit for making your own ice cream?

Dr. Weinreb explains that “students often don’t realize how much science they’re doing” in her class, which she has been teaching for five years. By examining the correlation between science and food, students of any major gain immediate real-world application to their lessons.

Her semester-long goal is “to help students gain scientific literacy,” a skill students can use to read, understand, and evaluate any scientific articles or data they encounter.

“I want my students to have a basic knowledge of science so they can appreciate [it] in their daily lives,” the chair of the Chemistry department elaborates.

MU 344: Opera and Gender (Fine Arts Department)

Did you know that a group of Saint Anselm students have been exploring the world of opera every Wednesday afternoon this semester? They are studying the art form and exploring gender through the medium with Professor Parr in the Fine Arts department.

The course will be an introduction to opera through the lens of gender. According to Professor Parr, “Throughout its four-hundred-year history, [opera] really plays with gender in a profound way.”

One example of a topic the class will explore is castrati, men who were castrated at a young age to preserve their high voices. This is a practice that lasted for almost 300 years and it is relevant to the class because, according to Professor Parr, “It is really interesting to think about how voices can sound one way and not match with what you see on stage.” The students will discuss this gender crossing and ambiguity within operas and how audiences react to it.

Johanna Materazzo, an English major from the class of 2017 is taking the course and said “I’ve learned so much about history and culture in this class, as well as gender traditions and stereotypes. Each class teaches me something new.”

The class will be attending a live performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Boston and will also be viewing five other recorded operas throughout the semester.

HI 150: History and Hollywood (History Department)

Reading historic records and listening to the speeches of the past might not interest all students, but Professor Moore is hoping that the joy of watching movies will draw history majors and non-history majors alike to his History and Hollywood course. Students taking this class will be looking at movies as more than merely a source of entertainment, they will be viewing them as historical primary sources from which to learn about the time period during which they were created.

Students will be watching movies including The Jazz Singer, Casablanca, Rebel Without a Cause, and Saturday Night Fever. Professor Moore shared that although written and oral texts are typically used as historical primary sources, films can also be used to analyze the experiences and the beliefs of people from a certain time period. “Movies reveal what people were thinking, or feeling, what they were concerned about, what they hope would happen.” From this basis, the class will explore American beliefs and how they are either questioned or perpetuated in the films they will watch.

The students in this course will also write a paper about a director or popular movie star. They will analyze that person’s body of work in regards to its social, cultural, and political context. This will hopefully allow the students to delve into a historical period or theme in which they have an interest.

Jonathan Burkart '18 contributed to this story.

Winter Club Sports Update

Saint Anselm Dance Team

Saint Anselm College is gearing up for a host of club-level athletic events this semester. Club sports provide the perfect outlet for competitive students seeking the thrill of intercollegiate competition without the time commitment of a varsity sport. These student-run organizations rely on physical activity to help develop leadership skills and promote lasting social bonds.

Student Activities reports that there are ten club sport teams active during the semester. Although the majority of these athletes will be active later in the spring when temperatures are warmer and fields are greener, a few dedicated clubs remain active throughout the winter months.

Saint Anselm Dance TeamDance Club

The Dance Club is also gearing up for a busy semester full of performances. Under the tutelage of President Brittany Voto, the club practices four times a week in order to rehearse for their big finale – the end of semester dance showcase.

The showcase will be held on April 9 in the Dana Center, and is open to all students. The theme for the showcase is Party like Gatsby, and 35 members of the club are signed up to participate. With routines ranging from tap to hip hop to lyrical, the show promises to be both diverse and entertaining.

On top of the club practices, Captains Maggie Walker, Emma Bishop, and Emily Wojtowicz are responsible for leading Dance Team rehearsals. The squad is composed of 16 Dance Club members, and they run separate practices three days a week in order to prepare for their “jazz and high kick pom routines” at home basketball games, according to Voto.

Club Ultimate

One of the most popular groups on campus is Club Ultimate (Frisbee), which boasts a membership of around 40 students drawn from all four grade levels. With four tournaments already planned for the semester, the team is set for their busiest season yet.

Nine members of Club Ultimate recently represented Saint Anselm in a ‘magic hat’ tournament at Brandeis University. The Hawks were split up and mixed with players from other colleges to form diverse teams.

Club President Gregory Williams said that the tournament was an excellent opportunity for the team to meet new people. As a relatively new club, contests like Brandeis’ provide an invaluable opportunity to network and coordinate future matches.

The club also plans to participate in a tournament on February 25 in Portsmouth, NH. The tournament (aptly named Live, Freeze, or Die) will be played against local teams, including UNH and Franklin Pierce.

After February, the team does not plan to compete again until April, when they will participate in two tournaments. One of those competitions will be the New England Open, a large-scale contest against a host of teams in the region, including Boston College, Tufts, and Northeastern University.

Men’s Club Hockey

The Men’s Club Hockey is currently closing off a terrific 2016-2017 campaign. The team, which competes in Division II of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), has accrued an impressive 13-3-1-1 overall record.

Sophomore Thomas Royer has paced the team offensively this season. The forward has tallied 34 points from 16 goals and 18 assists (both team-highs) across 18 games played. His presence on the ice has played a key role in the club’s victories this year.

The 29 members of Club Hockey compete in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association (NECHA) Conference. The conference is composed of 38 teams from schools across the region, including Boston University, Providence College, and Harvard University.

The Hawks have clinched first place in their division (American North), and are currently ranked fifth overall in the ACHA. Club Hockey returns to competition on February 10 with an away match against Boston College.

Other clubs that will compete during the spring semester include Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, Track, Women’s Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Rugby, and Softball.