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March-April 2018 Newsletter

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Mary GillilandI am still basking in the lovely glow of this year’s Asilomar conference, held over Presidents’ Day weekend at one of my favorite locations in Monterey County. Deirdre Frontczak again did a superb job of coordinating the event, with presentations to interest every attendee. She has given a full report on page 4; here is a quick review. Friday evening began our weekend of amazing speakers. George Anders introduced us to The Provocative Fu-ture of Work. Who knew that the humanist’s perspective is actually becoming more valuable, even as technology marches forward?

Saturday was packed with great speakers: Dr. Fred Lawrence, Secretary (CEO) of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, rejoined us to discuss Free Speech and Civility. We need to accept free speech on campus, but not intimidation and threats. Following him was Dr. Kathleen Lawrence (yes, they’re a couple), who gave us some fascinating, and unknown to me, stories about How Walt Whitman Transformed Henry James. A lively discussion followed. That evening, Breck Parkman, a retired California State Parks archaeologist, dissected artifacts found at Olompali State Park from a commune established there during the “Summer of Love.”

Sunday afternoon (having had the morning to explore Asilomar’s beach and woods), Jason Klocek, a Ph.D. candidate and one of our Scholarship Recipients, led us through his research on religion, politics and conflict. Saturday evening Dr. Dan Fernandez described his work on collecting water from fog. Given climate change, this is a field in need of expansion.

Finally, on Monday morning, Laura Bogar, another of our Scholarship Recipients, discussed fungi-plant interac-tions. I hadn’t realized how much excitement occurs underground! As usual, a good time was had by all. (See page 4 for further information.)
As often happens at this time of year, members of our Board leave to pursue other activities, and new members step up to keep us going forward. We thank our departing Board member, Recording Secretary Stacey Croll, who is returning to school in San Diego for her RN. Board members for the 2018-19 year will be elected and installed at the Annual Meeting, to be held Sunday May 7, 2018 at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley. Check the ΦBKNCA website or page 3 of this Newsletter for more information.

I look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming activities, and I thank you for your continued support of Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association.

Mary Turner Gilliland President 2011-18

UPCOMING EVENTS including the Awards Dinner

Upcoming Events – click the links

Silent Film San Francisco. Tour Locations Used in the Days before the “Talkies”
Saturday, April 14, 2018

ΦBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Be sure to read this important information about our enrollment, refund and cancell­ation policies.  Most events can accommodate you and any friends or family you'd like to bring along. Occasionally an event will have a limited enrollment, in which case we may not be able to accommodate more than one member and one guest per enrollment. As for refunds, if you call in advance they may be avail­able unless ΦBK-NCA will lose scholarship money – that is, unless we are financially committed, based on your enrollment, to an organization at which the event will be held. If we can find someone to fill your space we may be able to refund your payment, but that is not always possible. Members who do not come to an event for which they have registered will not receive a refund. The ΦBK-NCA Board is most grateful to those who prefer to donate the program fee to the scholarship program in lieu of a refund. You will not receive written confirmation of your reservation for the events. Directions are available from the event websites, Google.com, your GPS, or on the day of the event by calling Judy at (707) 696-9498.
Judy Hardardt, First Vice-President, Programs

Silent Film San Francisco. Tour Locations Used in the Days before the “Talkies”
Saturday, April 14, 2018

ChaplinDescription: Going back over 125 years, San Francisco provided the settings for hundreds of silent films & starring the Chaplins, Valentinos, Pickfords and more.  We will walk through the Barbary Coast, Chinatown and the Financial District and Union Square.  Along the way we’ll learn about the eccentrics, the stars, and the barriers filmmakers faced, and the greatest scandal of the silent era.
Note:  We will start at the southeast corner of Pacific Avenue and Kearny Street -- across from “The Station” cafe.

        Date:                   Saturday, April 14, 2018       
        Time:                  11:00 am
        Minimum:          12        Maximum:     18
        Deadline:            April 4, 2018
        Fee:                     $18.00

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BancroftHotelTablesPeopleΦBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner - Sunday, May 6, 2018

Get out your calendars!  It’s time to make sure that you have this year’s ΦBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner blocked out!

Our meeting in May will be held from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm at The Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley, the same location as last year’s meeting.  As you are aware, the annual meeting is the occasion when we celebrate ΦBKNCA’s primary mission—the awarding of  scholarships and teaching excellence awards to deserving scholars and professors, fulfilling ΦBKNCA’s objective to enhance scholars’ educational and research activities and to honor those who are teaching our next generation.

For those of you who have not been able to come to the Annual Dinner before, we encourage you to do so.  In meeting some of these outstanding honorees and learning about their academic interests (as well as renewing old friendships and perhaps getting more involved in our vibrant organization, ΦBKNCA), you will be able to more fully appreciate the value of the programs we offer throughout the year: the funds generated through the Asilomar conference, the many monthly events and the direct contributions you make! 

Enjoy the food, wine and, best of all, wonderful fellowship of kindred spirits.

Social hour begins at 4:00 p.m. with a cash bar; dinner, including your choice of entrées (seafood, chicken, vegetarian), white or red house wine, will be served at 5:00 p.m.  Coffee and tea will be served with dessert.

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2018
Deadline: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Time: 4-8 pm
Cost: (per person including tax, gratuities):  $65.00

The “Meeting” portion will consist of election of officers for the 2018-2019 year.

The slate will consist of : Mary Turner Gilliland, President; Judy Hardardt, First Vice President – Programs; Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President – Scholarships; Patricia Kenber, Third Vice President – Membership; Duncan Missimer, Treasurer; Susan Jenkins, Corresponding/Recording Secretary.

Nomination Committee shall be Judith Hardardt, Chair; Gerald T. Richards; Maria W. Norall; Elizabeth D. Archambeault.

Bios of all nominees are at https://www.pbknca.org/bios/2018-2019.phi.beta.kappa.pbk.php

Addendum:  From the Bancroft Hotel's website:  "we are located across the street from UC Berkeley at 2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. Our phone number is (510) 549-1000.  From Interstate 80, take the University Avenue exit into Berkeley, heading east toward the U.C. campus. At the University, turn right on Oxford Street and then left onto Durant Avenue. Cross Telegraph Avenue, turn onto College Avenue, and left again onto Bancroft Way.  The Bancroft Hotel is the second building on the left-hand side."
Their website:  http://bancrofthotel.com/directions/   includes a decent map locating the hotel's location on Bancroft Way.  Parking structure is across the street from the hotel’s entrance.

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The 32nd Annual Asilomar February 16 – 19, 2018


"All life is but a canvas to our imagination," Henry David Thoreau

Some have called this the best Asilomar ever!

A review of 2018 Asilomar speakers:

Friday evening, George Anders, Stanford, B.A., Economics
George Anders

Work's Provocative Future

George Anders is a contributing writer at Forbes magazine and the author of five books, including his latest, You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a Useless Liberal Arts Degree. Earlier in his career, he worked as a staff writer or bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Bloomberg View. He is a ΦBK Stanford graduate with a B.A. in economics and a transcript that includes brief journeys into everything from Slavic literature to genetics, constitutional law and the history of film. In 1997, he shared in the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Saturday morning, Fred Lawrence, J.D., Public Policy / Secretary, Phi Beta Kappa Society

Fred LawrenceThe Contours of Expression: Free Speech and Civility

Frederick M. Lawrence is Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, where he has focused on advocacy for the arts, humanities and sciences, and on championing free expression, inquiry and academic freedom. He is also a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center and Visiting Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Previously he served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School.

Saturday afternoon, Kathleen Lawrence, Ph.D., Georgetown, Literature

Kathleen LawrenceELDEST BROTHER OF MY OWN: How Walt Whitman Transformed Henry James

Kathy Lawrence is an associate professor affiliated with the English department of Georgetown University, and has also taught at Brandeis University and George Washington University. Lawrence received her M.A. from Yale and her Ph.D. from Boston University in American Studies, as well as post-doctoral fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian, and the American Academy of Rome. She has published widely on Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, and is currently working on a book about James’s relationship with Walt Whitman.

Saturday evening, Breck Parkman, M.A., Archaeology, California State Parks (ret.)

Breck ParkmanSequel to the Summer of Love: An Archaeological Perspective of the 1960s

E. Breck Parkman is recently retired from 36 years as a Senior State Archaeologist in California; his award-winning research has also spanned Kodiak Island, Alaska; the Canadian Plains; the South Coast of Peru; and Central Siberia. Breck earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology at CSU Hayward, and is former Director of the UNESCO-sponsored Fort Ross ~ Global Village Project. His research interests include rock art studies, shamanism, contemporary archaeology, Russian America, and Native American resistance movements. He has appeared in numerous films and documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, BBC, and PBS.

Sunday afternoon, Jason Klocek, Ph.D. Candidate, U.C. Berkeley, Political Science

Jason KlocekWhat Do We Really Know about Modern Religious Conflicts?

Violence in the name of religion dominates our headlines. Coverage often centers on Islamist groups, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Yet, religious hostility is not limited to one faith tradition, as evidenced by the increased activity of militant Buddhist monks in Southeast Asia. Nor, is it confined to distant locales, as the latest attacks in the UK and France remind us. How are we to understand such violence?

In this talk, we will discuss the central questions that challenge contemporary scholars of religious conflict. Are these disputes more about religion, or politics? How does religion shape the way rebels fight? How do state forces respond to religious uprisings? And, why do these conflicts seem so difficult to resolve? We will explore these questions in the context of both ongoing and resolved conflicts, with particular attention to my current research on British counterinsurgency campaigns during the early postwar period.

Jason Klocek, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Berkeley, is a ΦBKNCA scholarship awardee for 2017. His research and teaching examine the role of religion in conflict, state counterinsurgency and repression, and civil wars and political violence more broadly. His published work is forthcoming or has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and St. Antony’s International Review, among others. He holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and served with the U.S. Peace Corps in Turkmenistan from 2003 to 2005.

Sunday evening, Daniel Fernandez, Ph.D. Stanford, Electrical Engineering

Dan Fernandez Dan Fernandez

Water collection from fog:  Some Recent Studies and Research Efforts

Daniel Fernandez, Ph.D. Stanford, Electrical Engineering. As a professor in Monterey, a region, like San Francisco, well-known for its abundance of fog during the summer months, Dr. Fernandez has been engaged in the work of fog water collection over the past 12 years or so. Both on his own and with the collaboration of others, he continues to study a number of topics related to water collected from fog. These include the spatial and temporal variability of fog water collected, the effects of fog and changes in fog on ecosystems, the effectiveness of different types of mesh on the collection of fog water, the presence of various elements, ions, and chemical compounds within fog water (including mono-methyl mercury), and the possibility of fog water capture for human use.

Monday morning, Laura Bogar, Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford

Laura BogarUnderground negotiations: How plants and fungi negotiate symbiosis – and why we care

Humans have trouble cooperating, even with plenty of dialogue. So, how can organisms cooperate when they can’t even speak? Plants and fungi must do this all the time. My research focuses on how they manage it.

Nearly all land plants – our basic nutrition – rely on fungi to help them extract nutrients from the soil. The plants provide carbon resources (like sugar) to feed the fungi, and in exchange the fungi provide resources like water, phosphorus, and nitrogen to the plant. This cooperation, called mycorrhizal symbiosis, requires the plants and fungi to decide with which trading partners they want to associate, and what quantities of resources they want to exchange. In this talk, I will share some of my dissertation work, highlighting experiments that use next-generation sequencing to figure out what makes some plants and fungi more compatible than others. How do plants and fungi decide who their symbiotic partners will be? Answering this question will illuminate details of carbon and nitrogen cycling, improve our understanding of forest ecology, and provide insight into the evolution of cooperation itself.

A fifth year Ph.D. student at Stanford and winner of the Hendess scholarship from ΦBKNCA (2017), Laura focuses her research on the symbiosis between plant roots and soil fungi – a partnership essential for many temperate forest trees. She is interested in how ectomycorrhizal plants and fungi choose their partners and negotiate interactions, using genetics and physiology to understand small-scale mechanisms that influence large-scale ecological processes.

Asilomar Chair, Deirdre Frontczak


ΦBK Board July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Mary Turner Gilliland, President
 Menlo Park, (650) 321-9966, Mltg@aol.com
Judy Hardardt, First Vice President – Programs
 Davis, cell (707) 696-9498, hardardtj@gmail.com
Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President – Scholarships
 Oakland, (510) 339-1352, joannes@berkeley.edu
Patricia Kenber, Third Vice President – Membership
 Danville, (925) 838-2296, kenber@sbcglobal.net
Duncan Missimer, Treasurer
 Mountain View, (408) 368-0835, Duncan.missimer@ieee.org
Stacey Croll, Recording Secretary
 San Ramon, (925) 355-1771, stacroll@gmail.com
Susan Jenkins, Corresponding Secretary
 San Jose, (408) 532-6550, sjenkins4@yahoo.com
Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair
 Santa Rosa, (707) 546-4238, dfrontczak@santarosa.edu
Amanda Sanyal, Chapter Liaison
 Campbell, (650) 520-5419, a_derry@yahoo.com
Ray Hendess, Communications Officer
 Petaluma, (707) 763-2072, Ray@pbknca.org
Narcinda Lerner, Teaching Excellence Chair
 Woodside, (650) 851-0137, nrlernern@netscape.net

I wish to thank Dr. Larry Lerner for proofing this newsletter.
 Ray Hendess, Editor