January Series presents timely, topical ideas

Talks include psychology of technology, local food systems, urban school reform


Spring 2012

Deborah Lew ’00 described her journey from Calvin student to Broadway actress for a January Series audience, sometimes in words and sometimes in song. Having appeared in Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, The Threepenny Opera, West Side Story and more, she interspersed her speaking with the singing of show tunes from her various roles.

Her journey, she said, was typical of most aspiring actresses, going from audition to audition by day and to her “survival job” as a restaurant hostess at night—throughout it all, touched by the grace of God.

Lew was one of 15 presenters at this year’s series, brought in to challenge audience members to “listen, learn and discern.”

Sherry Turkle, an expert on mobile technology and social networking, opened the series with a talk on the social and psychological effects of technology.

Pedro Noguera spoke on urban school reform; Jennifer Pharr Davis recounted her adventures of hiking the Appalachian Trail in record time; Joel Salatin defended small farms, local food systems and the right to opt out of the traditional food paradigm; and Ralph Edmund explained how businesspeople can break the barriers of social and economic class through mentoring in Haiti.

This year 34 sites hosted the January Series remotely, along with the local presentation in the Covenant Fine Arts Center auditorium. “We are excited to be able to share this ‘piece of Calvin’ with more people each year,” said series director Kristi Potter. “Both the diversity of the topics and the quality of the speakers contributed to making this year’s series one of our best.”