Katherine Follette is an assistant professor of astronomy. She earned a B.A. in physics and Japanese at Middlebury College, and an M.S. and Ph.D., both in astronomy, at the University of Arizona.

Six students from Professor of Biology Alexandra Purdy’s research laboratory attended the Pioneer Valley Microbiology Symposium on Jan. 15 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The laboratory’s work focuses on interactions between bacteria and their hosts on the molecular level, and students researching these topics presented their work at the day-long event.

Manuela Picq is a Karl Loewenstein fellow and a Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science. She attended Pierre Mendes-France University, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. She received her doctorate degree in international studies from the University of Miami.

In a talk titled “The Trump-Putin Connect: What We Imagine and Why,” prominent Russian journalist and activist Masha Gessen spoke of the similarities between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Johnson Chapel at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Gessen, who was invited by President Biddy Martin to speak at the college, was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish family in the former Soviet Union, and has moved several times between the United States and Moscow.

An event titled “Dr. MLK Jr. Symposium: Moving Toward Collective Liberation” brought together a panel of experts to speak on community, engagement and the role of masculinity in the current civil rights movement.

The talk was held in Johnson Chapel on Jan. 28 and was free and open to the public.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addressed the Amherst community in Johnson Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 31, covering issues such as immigration and education reform.

The talk was free and open to members of the public, and streamed online and in Stirn Auditorium for overflow audiences.

Bush served as the 43rd governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007 and is now the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization that works on education reform throughout the United States of America. He was also a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School last fall.

President Biddy Martin announced the selection of Sandra Genelius as the college’s chief communications officer in an email to the college community on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Genelius will replace Pete Mackey, who resigned from the position last August.

“We selected Sandy after an extensive national search, through which she emerged as the top choice for this important position,” wrote Martin in her announcement. Chief Finance and Administrative Officer Kevin Weinman chaired the search.

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