Alumni and Donor News from the Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to extraordinary artists, scholars, scientists and spaces, and we have been busy this past year — from welcoming a dinosaur to Orton Hall to launching our new Arts and Sciences podcast to the Department of Theatre's vibrant production of "Legally Blonde, the Musical." I am thrilled to share some of 2018's high points as we look ahead to another year of innovation and excellence.
2018 High Points
I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to connecting with you in 2019!
Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier
In this Issue
Dance and English alum brings ballet to the big screen in "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms"
Alumna Lindy Goldstein (BA, BFA, 2000) helped bring a dose of holiday magic to the movies this season. The dance and English graduate is the executive producer of Disney’s "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," which stars Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Misty Copeland and Mackenzie Foy.
But before she was walking red carpets, Goldstein was a busy double major at Ohio State, spending her days on campus buried in books and rehearsing at Sullivant Hall.
“I would study and create 25 hours a day, eight days a week,” Goldstein said of her time at Ohio State. “But I loved every second of it.”
A lifelong dancer, Goldstein was drawn to Ohio State for its top-rated dance program, as well as the sense of community she felt from the moment she auditioned.
“Right after my audition, I remember thinking, ‘Yes! These are my people,’” Goldstein recalled.
“It was also incredibly inspiring to be in a conservatory like Ohio State’s amazing dance department, within the framework of a large university, with all of the opportunities and resources a large university provides,” she said.
Telling stories on stage and screen
After graduation, Goldstein moved to Los Angeles because she was interested in making dance accessible to a larger audience. She began her career as a dancer and choreographer, and her award-winning choreography has been performed across the United States and honored by both the National Foundation for Advancement in The Arts and the acclaimed dance center Jacob’s Pillow.
Eventually, Goldstein began to pursue film and television.
“I fell in love with storytelling through film and television, working with writers and directors, artists of all kinds, and actors,” Goldstein explained. “In many ways, it was just a different version of choreographing a show.”
Goldstein got her start in the entertainment business by working at a major talent agency before moving to the production side, where she learned “the nuts and bolts of moviemaking.”
Goldstein knew she wanted to start her own production company someday, but it wasn’t until she spoke with Laura Ziskin, a producer known for "Lee Daniels’ The Butler" and "Spider-Man," that she felt ready to strike out on her own.
“She told me I needed to bet on myself, take a leap of faith, and see if I could make it work,” Goldstein said.
Since its inception in 2013, Goldstein’s production company has worked on projects for Walt Disney Pictures, ABC, Freeform, ABC Studios, Amazon Studios and Sony.
“It was terrifying at the time, but now my company is busy and growing and ready to grow more,” she said.
Producing 'The Nutcracker'
Goldstein’s dance education at Ohio State prepared her to work with some of the best artists in the industry, particularly when executive producing "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms."
“It is wonderful to be able to talk about Labanotation with Misty Copeland and our brilliant choreographer Liam Scarlett. [Department of Dance professor] David Covey’s light design classes helped me appreciate the work of our Oscar-winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren and gave me a sense of why he was picking certain lights,” Goldstein explained. “Music for dance classes and working with the accompanists gave me the appreciation of the way James Newton-Howard varied the themes of the Tchaikovsky score and created his own rich elements on a much higher level.”
Offering a twist on the well-known holiday tale, "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" follows Clara, a young girl who must adventure through four mystical realms to find a gift from her late mother. Along the way, she meets the leaders of the realms, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Knightley) and Mother Ginger (Mirren), and finds that not everything is as it seems.
Goldstein said it was important to the filmmakers to portray Clara as smart and capable.
“Depicting a very intelligent young woman who is the hero of her own story was important to us,” Goldstein said.
“If you can see it, you can be it. We want people to know they can be anything they want to be.”
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a film that is exceptionally close to Goldstein’s heart, due, in part, to her passion for dance.
“It was a dream come true to be able to take one of the very first ballets I’d ever seen, and be part of bringing it to the screen” she said.
The legacy of late professor and female physicist Bunny Clark
A common response when introducing herself, Dr. Bunny Clark wasn’t just out of the ordinary when it came to her uncommon first name. Clark, before becoming a well-known and respected professor in the Department of Physics — renowned for her research in theoretical physics — also stood out as a woman in a field previously led by men.
“Physics was not supposed to be women's work,” Clark said in her 2001 commencement address to Ohio State graduates.
However, I figured that intelligence was not linked to the Y chromosome.”
Born and raised in Texas, Clark represents the hard work, determination and unwavering persistence required to make it as a female physicist during her education and career. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1958 and master’s degree in 1963 — both in physics — from Kansas State University and eventually, her PhD in theoretical physics in 1973 from Wayne State University. Clark published dozens of papers throughout her life, made wildly successful contributions to her field of nuclear theoretical physics, headed countless committees on science and physics, and was continuously a pioneer for women and minorities in science. Clark retired in 2007 and passed away in October 2015.
Outside of the incredible work and research she completed throughout her long career, Clark’s main passion was mentoring students and faculty in all stages of their education and careers — whether aiding financially, or providing one-on-one mentorship, Clark never turned down the opportunity to help others.
Years before her retirement, Clark and her husband, Tom, established the Bunny and Thomas Clark Scholarship Endowment Fund, which awarded scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a focus on women and minorities.
But the scope of Clark’s generosity ranged much further than creating her own scholarship fund. If someone needed something, anything, she was always there to help.
“If our students needed a refrigerator in their room, she bought them a refrigerator,” said Robert Perry, professor and vice chair of undergraduate studies in the Department of Physics. “She used her money to support people in whatever way seemed necessary if it wasn’t something you could get from the grant or department.”
Clark with Ohio State Physics Professor Robert Perry
The impact of Clark’s generosity was not lost on her friends and colleagues. This past March, less than three years after her passing, Robert Mercer and the Mercer Family Foundation established an endowed scholarship in Clark’s memory — the Bunny C. Clark Student Support Fund.
Mercer, a computer scientist known for his work in artificial intelligence and data analytics, was a long-time friend of Clark’s. Mercer and Clark met early on in their professional careers, sharing a mutual love of physics and coding, and kept in contact through the years.
“They vacationed together … She was at his daughter’s wedding. They were close friends,” said Perry, “even if Mercer's name is allowed to be on the fund, he’s doing it for Bunny.”
The fund, which was awarded for the first time this past summer, aims to support both undergraduate and graduate students in physics conduct research.
“The [research] helps them get into graduate school. This helps them get jobs.” Perry said.
Mitchell Walker, one of the first two recipients of the Bunny C. Clark Student Support Fund and a third-year physics and German double major, is one of the students who was able to partake in research because of the Mercer Foundation’s generosity. Over the summer, Walker studied experimental condensed matter, which happened to be one of Clark’s areas of study during her graduate education at Kansas State University.
“I had never before worked on my own research project, so this was an important step in coming closer to a decision about future career and postgraduate plans, since becoming a physicist is an option I'm considering,” Walker said.
Bunny Clark’s legacy lives on through the now two existing scholarships in her name, and through her countless contributions to the field of physics and the many strides she took on behalf of women and minorities in the science world — most important is the positive impact she had on those she knew personally.
By fifth-year strategic communication and marketing student Emily Kapp
Alum wraps up third season of hit podcast "Serial"
It’s been a fun grind for Emmanuel Dzotsi.
For four years, “Serial,” the award-winning, investigative journalism podcast, has captivated listeners, meticulously guiding them through notorious crime stories and cases. In its third season, however, the program changed its approach, providing audiences an in-depth look at the typical criminal justice system of a run-of-the-mill American city: Cleveland.
This season, “Serial” host Sarah Koenig is joined at the microphone by Dztosi (BA, political science and strategic communication, 2015), who embedded himself within Cleveland’s Justice Center Complex for a year gathering material and reporting on various cases.
“I would just sit in these courtrooms for hours on end and weeks at a time,” Dzotsi said. “I would just follow the interesting things.”
Working within, observing and reporting on Cleveland’s criminal justice system has led to “Serial” season three garnering critical acclaim, netting 50 million downloads and being named TIME magazine’s best podcast of 2018.
Dzotsi’s journey to filling the digital airwaves began as a student intern for “All Sides with Ann Fisher” on WOSU. Though he’d never considered a career in broadcast journalism, he pursued strategic communication as a second major after taking Communications 101. After helping produce “All Sides” for three months, Dztosi had a revelation.
“I realized, ‘Oh, I really, really like making things,” he said. “I liked the creativity of coming up with ideas and thinking them through in that sort of way, and I was interested in telling stories.”
As Dzotsi neared graduation, he applied for a fellowship at “This American Life,” the public radio program and podcast that “Serial” spun off from. Dzotsi was granted an interview and traveled to New York, where he was encouraged to apply again after gaining more experience. After Dzotsi graduated from Ohio State that summer, he moved to Chicago, where he interned at WBEZ radio and freelanced for various community newspapers.
“It was fantastic,” he recalled. “I was just banging out three stories a day every day. From a 15-second spot to a 30-second copy to a two-minute feature — all the things you need to learn how to do to be a daily news reporter on public radio.”
For six months, that’s what Dztosi did, slowly gaining the experience he needed for the “This American Life” fellowship.
“I reapplied and was like, ‘Look at all this stuff I’ve done!’ and they hired me,” Dzotsi said.
Dzotsi moved to New York, where he was thrust into “This American Life’s” fast-paced production. From mixing audio to reporting to producing shows, he was doing a little bit of everything. It caught the eye of “Serial” executive producer Julie Snyder, who needed a reporter to go to Cleveland.
Everything lined up. Dztosi had talent and was a hard worker. “Serial” season three was headed to Ohio, where Dzotsi grew up. It just made sense, so Dzotsi was brought aboard.
From left: executive producer and Julie Snyder, Emmanuel Dzotsi, host Sarah Koenig and "This American Life" creator Ira Glass. Photo credit Sandy Honig.
He left for Cleveland in February 2017, and for the better part of the next year, he dissected Cleveland’s justice system from within. He recorded trials, interviewed judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and defendants, listened to conversations in the clerk’s office, and helped craft the framework that “Serial” season three was built around. His reporting gave listeners an inside look at what made ordinary criminal cases extraordinary and unveiled the complex and sometimes unpredictable way justice is handed down.
“We wanted to take you out of the jury box into a judge’s chambers, into proceedings, into the prosecutor’s office when they’re deciding whether to indict somebody," he said. "We wanted to make people look at their justice system as more than just the usual building and the defendant as more than a usual [criminal]. … There’s so much happening, even behind the most boring docket. If you picked a random case and saw it had been dismissed or that somebody pled to a misdemeanor, you now know what that means. It means there’s more to the story, and I think that’s the thing I feel like I came out of this season understanding more than anything."
"Serial" executive producer Julie Snyder (left), host Sarah Koenig (middle) and co-host and reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi. Photo credit Sandy Honig.
Dzotsi credits his career so far to his education at Ohio State and the plethora of resources available to students on campus. He says WOSU is a great place for someone interested in broadcast journalism, radio or podcasting to get started, and urges students to leverage professors’ wisdom and professional connections to shape and attain their goals. He also encourages anyone to reach out to him at his student email address for advice.
“Find a way to practice what you want to do while you’re in school,” he said. “You’ll be all the more prepared for when you apply for jobs, and when you do apply, don’t be discouraged.”
Make a difference during our annual Day of Giving
You can change the world — by starting right here. On Friday, March 22, Buckeyes from all over will come together to help Ohio State tackle the local and global challenges that affect us all. Save the date to join us for the most remarkable 24 hours of the year. Read more.
An easy way to deepen your connection with Ohio State
An up-to-date estate plan is your most effective tool for protecting the security of your loved ones. But did you know you can also use your estate plan to support the College of Arts and Sciences? When you include a gift to The Ohio State University Foundation in your will or trust, you join a group of instrumental supporters. Read more.
Department of Dance Winter Concert
Jan. 31-Feb. 2
Barnett Theatre, Sullivant Hall
Feb. 14-Feb. 24
Roy Bowen Theatre, Drake Performance and Event Center
Middle School Honor Band Festival
Feb. 16, 4 p.m.
SCIENCE SUNDAYS: Mobility Matters — Why Sustainable Transportation is Essential for our Future
Feb. 17, 3-5 p.m.
Ohio Union, U.S. Bank Conference Theatre
Popular Culture and the Deep Past 2019: Fairies and the Fantastic
Hagerty Hall and the Ohio Union