Ladd and Cooper win All-American


To cap off their team’s stunning season, two wrestlers represented the scots at the national level. Brendan Ladd (’20) and Zach Cooper (’20) both achieved status as All-Americans while at the competition in Roanoke, Virginia.

While this was a fantastic way for the two athletes to end their season, it was a long road in order to get there.

“After another great season of lifting, wrestling and grinding with my teammates; I knew my coaches, the best in DIII, had me prepared,” said Ladd.

“I finished 38-3 tying the Alma college record for most wins in a season after finishing 5th at the division three nationals,” said Cooper.

“I think besides hard work and dedication, having fun was the most important ingredient to my success,” said Cooper.

While Ladd and Cooper were two individuals who excelled at the end of their season, the whole team had a lot of work to put in all year as well.

“There isn’t a secret formula for one team or one individual. I assess the student-athletes on a priority needs basis,” said Fletcher Roberts, Assistant wrestling coach and head athletic trainer, who helped the wrestling team get into peak performance shape in order to best succeed on the mat.

As for Ladd and Cooper, being All-Americans is nothing new.

“It felt great to finish as an All-American for a second time. I didn’t finish with the result I wanted, but there were returning All-Americans who did not place this year so I’m happy to still be one of the few,” said Ladd.

“This was actually the fourth time I have earned AllAmerican honors in college,” said Cooper, who previously competed for Muskegon Community College and Grand Valley State University.

“I am happy but not satisfied with my finish, my dream, my goal and my expectation was to be a national champion for Alma College,” said Cooper.

Now that their season is over, Ladd and Cooper have the whole off-season to get ready for next year.

“With less than 365 days left in my career, I look to make very little changes in my preparation for next year’s championships,” said Ladd.

“All I can do is stay the course, continue working hard day in and day out to achieve my goals,” said Ladd.

“Next season starts today, I will be weight lifting, running, wrestling and dreaming, not necessarily in that order,” said Cooper.

“I of course could not have been as successful without the meaningful efforts taken by my teachers, coaches, teammates, and TKE brothers who helped me accomplish my goals along the way,” said Cooper.

“We must continue to work hard on and off the mat as team. As a staff, we must continue to challenge our student-athletes so that they do not become satisfied,” said Roberts.

Alma students are scholarship ready


The Alma College difference is its ability to help and support students even after they graduate.

Alma College prides itself on being one of the top producing small liberal arts school in the country when it comes to preparing students to apply and win national scholarships. This program has been helping and prepping students for many years.

“It was created almost twenty years ago, as an effort to identify opportunities for students to compete for these scholarships and to work with students the minute they step on campus to be competitive because they don’t win these at the last minute,” said Derick Hulme, a professor of political science and the Nationally Competitive Scholarship advisor.

From the minute students set foot on campus, they are given opportunities to start preparing them for future scholarships concerning any major or study. Programs, such as P-Global and Model United Nations, create opportunities for students to grow in their field of interest.

“We created the opportunities and then work very closely with students through the application process,” said Hulme. Depending on the scholarship, students work through fifteen to twenty drafts at a time with professors as well as doing mock interviews.

Faculty and students work together diligently and learn as they go in order to provide students with not only the best chance of winning, but the ability to take away a valuable experience from applying. The odds are always against you in the application process, but that does not mean it is not worth trying.

“You come out of it feeling like you have grown and developed. It is about selling the process and the product,” said Hulme about the application process.

Alma College’s goal is to not only help students win scholarships, which it has produced a total of 51 winners, 36 finalists, 9 semi-finalists and 6 alternates since 1989 with an estimated value of scholarships won being around $2,426,000, but to create an experience that students can cherish and learn from for future endeavors.

“It is part of our mission to help students with it whether it is additional support in college or give them the resources to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. These successes enhance the reputation of the college, which is helpful for all students and alums,” said Hulme, who visited a conference in Alabama in order to learn how to better prepare students for scholarships and understand what scholarship applications truly want to see from students.

Thanks to efforts from professors like Hulme, not only are enrolled students successfully winning scholarships, but Alma College alums are as well. Most recently, Alma College alum Marianna Smith (’17) won the Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship scholarship, which is offered by the US Agency for International Development.

This is not the first scholarship Smith has won due to her winning the Gilman scholarship in 2015, but the Payne Fellowship scholarship put her on the right track for her career.

“The Fellowship provides up to $96,000 of support for graduate school. As a Fellow, I will also have two internships, one on Capitol Hill this summer and one at a USAID mission in another country next summer,” said Smith.

Following her graduation, Smith plans to serve for five years as a Foreign Service Officer, where she will have a job in Washington D.C, as well as work on development projects in different countries.

Before winning the Payne Fellowship scholarship, Smith graduated Alma with a degree in Communication and Spanish while being involved in multiple on-campus programs.

“I was involved in Model UN, Public Affairs, Amnesty International, Alternative Breaks, and the Hispanic Coalition. I participated in two Posey Globals, to Costa Rica and India, studied abroad in Chile and interned at the US Embassy in Bolivia with support of the Donald J. Yehle Internship Award,” said Smith.

Smith’s time at Alma not only helped her win scholarships, but allowed her to build lasting relationships with faculty, who are dedicated to students’ success whether they are currently enrolled or not.

Smith was able to use faculty, such as Dr. Hulme, to provide constant feedback on her personal statement and application, while also doing mock interviews with him.

“I also had my statement reviewed by an Alma alum who currently works at USAID, one of my closest friends from Alma, and a friend who is an English teacher,” said Smith.

Because of the connections Smith built while at Alma and Alma College’s dedication to providing students with the best opportunities, students like Smith are always welcome to turn to the college’s close-knit community for help.

Faculty are often willing to help students achieve their goals whether they are a current student or an Alum. “The Alma community is eager to help and students looking into these opportunities should take advantage of the support and guidance,” said Smith.

Smollett’s story under scrutiny


The Almanian covered a story last month regarding the alleged hate crime that occurred against the Empire actor, Jussie Smollett. Since then, a change in the story has been brought to the attention of the media.

Smollett told the police he was attacked by two white assailants wearing ski masks in Chicago, who beat him with their fists, feet and teeth, doused him in chemicals and tied a noose around his neck. He claimed these acts were an alleged hate crime against him; Smollett is not only an African American actor on a show with a cast of predominantly African American actors, but he is also a homosexual man.

Smollett also reportedly received a threatening letter prior to the supposed attack, where a stick figure was drawn and the letter read, “Smollett, Jussie. You will die.” The word “MAGA” was also written on it, as Smollett is quite vocal about being against the Trump Administration.

However, Chicago police say that there was no reasonable ground for believing that [the hate crime] had been committed against Smollett.

Two African American brothers even came forward and claimed that Smollett paid them to pretend to carry out these acts. These men worked as extras on the show, Empire, and were seen at a store buying ski masks and other supplies before the incident allegedly happened. The brothers also reportedly asked if the store carried MAGA hats.

With this new break in the case, Smollett is pleading not guilty of 16 felony counts of false reporting: 8 for the alleged false reports he gave to the police the night of the incident, and 8 for “lies” he later told the detective in the case.

Because The Almanian broke this story when it originally was in the media, the paper decided to touch base with those that were interviewed initially, and see if their outlook on the case has changed.

“I’ve been reading up on [the changes in the case] trying to find relatively unbiased information which is unsurprisingly pretty difficult with something this heated,” said Blake Jonassen (‘22).

Jonassen said he has been having a difficult time finding information on the case that does not swing one way or the other.

“I think it’s difficult to find a believable side to the story because most media sites these days all have a political side they believe over another or tend to be more critical than others,” said Jonassen.

Some broadcasting companies are known for wording their information to appeal specifically to the far left or the far right.

“[Because of this,] a lot of information is reported in different manners which causes some information to be misconstrued or ignored,” said Jonassen.

Many are not dismantling Smollett’s claims until anything is proven by more than heresay or he says so himself.

“It’s unsettling when there are so many other people being believed from the beginning,” said David Parnell (‘21).

Smollett’s case has been questioned since it first broke, and many have been quick to claim he made up the hoax in order to be paid the amount of money he may believe he deserves.

“The amount of energy put into disproving victims is kind of unsettling,” said Parnell.

“I am not going to be fully against Smollett until all of the information is presented,” said Jonassen, agreeing with Parnell’s claim.

The case is still being investigated, and Smollett is back in the courtrooms on April 17.

Cases like this are thought to be why hate crimes are only taken with a grain of salt, no matter how serious.

“I hope that his egregious act–if proven–doesn’t translate to people that they should not come out and seek repercussions for assaulters and abusers, because that act is disgusting,” said Parnell.

The contradictory Captain Marvel


At its core, Captain Marvel is a story of empowerment. The film’s protagonist, Carol Danvers, is both a strong yet nuanced woman, capable of tearing apart entire spacecrafts, yet she is also capable of showing a personal side when interacting with her best friend. It helps that the star of the movie, Brie Larson, is an incredibly outspoken feminist herself. This combination of factors led to Captain Marvel being the highest-grossing movie with a female lead of all time.

Captain Marvel chronicles the journey of a tenacious Air Force pilot who battles sexist expectations as she demolishes her (both human and alien) enemies. The film’s themes go further than feminist empowerment with it’s second act twist, which reveals that the Skrull aliens, that Captain Marvel had been hunting down the entire movie, are actually victims of the very Kree soldiers that she had been working with. The Skrull leader tells Danvers that they are forced to live in ruins of their former communities because of frequent bombings by the Kree, contrary to what the Kree had told her. In the climax of the film, the super heroine changes sides and helps the refugee Skrulls escape the oppressive Kree forces and quite literally catches bombs out of the sky in order to protect the innocent civilians below. Captain Marvel’s final lesson is that we should be empathetic of people, even if they look different than us.

However, the film’s final message of peace strikes as inconsistent with its enthusiastic promotion of the Air Force.

The military has a long record of collaboration with Hollywood, working to maintain a positive image of its various branches by requesting changes to scripts, while in exchange letting movies use logos, props, and locations. From 1911 to 2017, more than 800 feature films received quid-pro-quo support from the Department of Defense.

One of the main reasons for collaboration is that movies can be a powerful recruiting tool for the military. The Air Force noted an uptick in sign-ups after the release of Top Gun and even set up recruiting tables inside theaters to catch people exiting the film. They now seem intent to recreate that success with the release of Captain Marvel, running ads for the Air Force before showings of the film in which a group of female fighter pilots narrate, “Every superhero has an origin story. We all got our start somewhere. For us: it was the U.S. Air Force.”

Todd Flemming, chief of the Community and Public Outreach Division at Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, told military issues website Task & Purpose that, “Our partnership with ‘Capt Marvel’ helped ensure that the character’s time in the Air Force and backstory was presented accurately. It also highlighted the importance of the Air Force to our national defense.”

The Air Force provided advisement, training, shooting locations, and even promotions for the film. In exchange, Marvel had Brie Larson star in promotional material for the branch aimed at recruiting more young women, and let Air Force pilots give testimonials during the film’s red carpet premiere.

Unmentioned during these mutual promotions was the Air Force’s grim record of civilian causalities. A 2018 report by the United Nations found that there had been 8,050 civilian causalities in Afghanistan as a result of U.S. Air Force led bombings of the region in nine months alone. From 2004, up to 3,224 people have been killed by U.S. Air Force drones in Pakistan. Just earlier this month, President Trump signed an executive order revoking the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes.

Today, drone operators outnumber any other type of pilot in the Air Force. Which means that young women recruited into the Air Force by Captain Marvel promotional material will most likely end up in a drone program which unaccountably racks up a completely unknown civilian causality rate.

Young women will have been encouraged to enter this program by a movie that told them that indiscriminately bombing people is bad, while simultaneously encouraging them to join an institution that seems almost dedicated to indiscriminately bombing people. They will be put into a job that requires them to feel no empathy for different-looking people because of a movie that asked them to feel empathy for different-looking people. They will help drop bombs on innocent civilians because of a role model who stopped bombs from dropping on innocent civilians. That is the contradiction at the core of Captain Marvel.

Only Robert Mueller can deliver the fatal blow to Trump, and everyone else is just there to support him as he collects all the evidence. While it’s important to hold powerful people accountable, the hinging of all hope on a prosecutor to possibly catch the President violating a law is an ineffective and unsustainable way to lead a resistance against someone in power. Even if Mueller does catch Trump, and Republicans in the Senate somehow decide to impeach, that is simply a return to the status quo. Without significant societal changes, we return to an America that has simply just reset the ticking time-bomb of another person like Trump rising to power.

True resistance is more than just finding a way to go back to the status quo when conditions get bad. It’s about examining and fixing the inherent problems and assumptions in the status quo that allowed conditions to get bad in the first place. Harry Potter may have been unable to, but reality is often stranger than fiction.

Students intern over the summer


For many students on campus, a summer internship is a great way to get career experience, personal responsibility and a new perspective within their desired field of study. Internship opportunities can often accommodate a broad spectrum of individual interests and personal goals.

The process of finding a summer internship doesn’t have to be a challenge. The first step to finding or refining the process can be as easy as making an appointment with the CSO, Center of Student Opportunity.

Alma College provides an outlet for students to get in contact with potential employment opportunities through the CSO. Instead of taking the process on alone, a team of professionals guide students toward success.

“Carla Jenson and Maddie Moenggenburg have been invaluable. Carla showed me the program and Maddie helped me figure out what I needed from an internship,” said Asiel Clark (’20).

Clark was approved to intern at CIE, which stands for the Council for International Exchange. Her internship will be based on a casting company in London, England.

“This internship is critical to me because I’ll have a chance to figure things out. This is something I’m interested in because I’m in theater and I’m interested in all aspects of theater production,” said Clark.

“Elon Brisette and Carla Jensen have both reviewed scholarship applications from me, and Maria Jones strongly encouraged me to apply. Everyone there has been incredibly kind to me as I’ve gone through the process,” said Clark.

The faculty in the CSO are trained to help guide students towards the vast array of opportunities available for successful students.

“The CSO helped me revise my resume before I applied for my internship,” said Laney Alvarado (’20).

Alvarado was approved for her internship to work at CMH in Washtenaw County. CMH stands for Community Mental Health, which provides helpful services to individuals who suffer from mental health disorders.

“I’m going to be observing and shadowing social workers and phycologists,” said Alvarado.

Through the Psycology Department, Alvarado will focus on shadowing and personal research. One aspect of her research will take place at Oakland University, and the other will be with CMH.

“This research opportunity will help me figure out my path. I recommend everyone to go out into the real world and see how career paths work, beyond Alma College,” said Alvarado.

Students can also find great travel internship opportunities by applying for a Posey Global Scholarship, An Alma College Scholarship that funds students to pursue their passions on an international level.

“As long as a student has a good idea and strives to become a better global citizen, then the process of obtaining a P-Global is achievable,” said Alvarado.

A Posey Global is a perfect source for students looking for service opportunities, research topics and helping people from different walks of life. This scholarship opportunity helps it become more practical for students on campus to take on internships and not break the bank in the process.

“You can do anything. It’s a good way for students who have fewer resources to achieve larger, more impacting goals without having to be concerned about course credits or money,” said Alvarado.

The P-Global scholarship centers around what best works for students and how they want to travel. Students can apply alone or group up and engage in opportunities together. The preference lies with the interest of the individual and their plans to further their experience.

Second man cured of HIV


Two people are now in long term remission for HIV. The two men who have gone by the name, “Berlin patient,” have both been cured of HIV, years apart.

The second man has been HIV negative for 18 months, while the first man has been for more than a decade. Both of these men had more than just HIV in common; they also both had cancer.

Timothy Ray Brown, “Berlin patient” number one, was the first person to ever be cured of HIV/AIDS.

Some people are born with a mutation in their DNA, and this mutation can fight off HIV. This mutation is what helped to save both of their lives. Both men who have been cured were nearing the end of their life, as their cancer had progressed into its final stages.

Both of these men received a stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant.

In both cases, the bone marrow being transplanted has been from individuals with the specific DNA that is capable of fighting off HIV. For both, this transplant has been effective in saving their lives.

“The likelihood of getting a matched donor, in minorities especially, is very low because we don’t have as many minorities that are on the stem cell transplant donor list. These are two individual cases that had similar transplants with a specific gene formation that seems to have an anti-HIV component,” said Dr. Ruth Chaplen, the interim director of the nursing program.

It is a common thought that due to the immense pressure and stress that a stem cell transplant puts one’s body through, this way of fighting HIV may not be the best.

Many individuals with this disease are able to fight HIV with what is known as an, “HIV Drug Cocktail,” which is multiple medicines used together in an attempt to stop the replication of AIDS within the body.

Around the world, many doctors are attempting to find the cure for HIV/AIDS. Recently in China, a doctor by the name of He Jiankui has genetically modified babies using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR.

By using this technique, Dr. Jiankui has created children with the mutated genome capable of fighting off HIV. The father of these two children is HIV positive.

This type of genetic modification has received much backlash, as many people do not believe that modifying a human’s genes is ethical or safe–especially when this type of modification is actually a mutation.

Though there has been much advancement in the fight against HIV/AIDS since it was first discovered, many believe there is still much to be learned before a cure can be identified.

“I would be very cautious about thinking we have an HIV cure when the only two patients that have been recorded to be in remission are those that have received complete bone-marrow transplants,” said Dr. Eric Calhoun, the assistant professor of Biology. “These donors happened to contain mutations in the receptor that HIV uses to infect cells and is only present in a very small percentage of the population.”

STDs can seem very daunting, especially on a college campus. “Barrier protection is the most important [way to prevent STDs],” said Dr. Chaplen. “Birth control provides absolutely no protection against STDs and, in fact, people may acquire STDs at a higher rate because they’re not using protection if they’re on birth control.”

There are more ways than just using contraceptives to help fight off STDS, though. “Getting the HPV vaccine [is helpful]. HPV is associated with not only cervical cancer, but also head and neck cancers. It is also associated with people that smoke. They’re recommending it to both boys and girls now.”

Due to these cases many people believe that the cure to AIDS is just on the horizon. Others, though, feel as though there is more work to be done.

“I wouldn’t call it a cure for HIV because right now we’re not doing transplants for HIV. These are transplants for cancers. It’s possible that they can test blood and look for this CCR5 genotype and possibly do transplants with those people, but I don’t know how plentiful they are in the environment. It’s certainly not something they’re ready to do,” said Dr. Chaplen.

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