Basilian Bread: A Fresh-Baked Tradition on Campus

How can you bring together the campus community while honoring the tradition of Catholic Basilian hospitality? The idea took a bit of kneading, but before long, Assistant Resident Director Lynn Wales and Campus Ministry had cooked up a plan. It all started as a conversation in Residence Life over how to celebrate—and learn about—the many diverse cultures that come together at Manor College. Bread baking was an idea that gained traction thanks to its versatility—students can learn to make everything from Ukrainian Easter bread, to Indian naan. And with the help of CulinArt staff, it’s an activity that takes place right in the heart of campus—the dining hall. Wales noted that the most rewarding part of the experience might be the interactions students have not only with each other, but with staff and faculty as well. “You’re making bread next to someone you’ve never met before, asking questions and measuring out ingredients. While it takes a lot of planning and effort to make this event happen, it’s worth it for the moments of joy it creates on campus,” she explained. “It’s everyone coming together, and working together.” “It’s everyone coming together, and working together.” Not only have students been learning about different cultures, but they’ve also been catching on to an even simpler lesson—how to cook. Developing healthy eating awareness is a focus of Residence Life, and many students have never baked bread before. “Students are asking questions and learning hands-on skills,” said Chrystyna Prokopovych, curator of the Ukrainian Heritage Museum. Prokopovych donates her time and expertise, helping to lead Ukrainian-themed bread bakings. “Ukrainian culture revolves around bread,” she explained. “Ukraine has long been known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Europe.” Visitors to campus may have noted that an outdoor brick bread oven, used by the founding nuns, sits between Manor College and the Sisters of St. Basil the Great spirituality center. The Basilian bread team hopes that the oven can one day be repaired and used again with students—further cementing the ties to the school’s roots and Ukrainian heritage. So far, student participation has been high. “We’re seeing students come back each time, and it’s definitely a growing tradition,” said Prokopovych. “Ideally, one day the students may lead this activity themselves, teaching us about their cultural traditions—and I think that will definitely happen.”

Over 100 Students Walk the Stage for Commencement 2019

Manor College celebrated Commencement on Thursday, May 23, 2019, graduating 116 students from its Summer 2018, December 2018, and May 2019 terms. Montgomery County Board Commissioner Kenneth Lawrence addressed graduates in his first ever Commencement speech. He shared his personal academic journey and how his struggle to find the right scholastic path allowed him to find his purpose and to use failure as a temporary stop that doesn’t define oneself. He encouraged the graduating class to build and maintain their networks, to keep learning, and to show appreciation for those who help them in their journey to success. Lynette Lark, Class of 2019 Basileiad Scholar delivered the Commencement oration in which she urged her classmates to be the best versions of themselves, to use what they’ve learned at Manor to move outside of comfort zones, to take ownership of life’s decisions, and to never give up on their dreams. Anna Melnyk Allen, of the Manor College Board of Trusties, was the Master of Ceremonies, while the invocation was given by Father John Ciurpita, Manor Chaplain. Dr. Jonathan Peri, College President, and Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Calandra Lockhart conferred the degrees. Anna Melnyk Allen conferred the trustee awards, while Brendan Gillespie, Class of ’11 and Alumni Association President welcomed the new alumni to the Manor alumni community. The Dylan Band Saxophone Quartet contributed live music to the event. To view more photos from this event: go to our Flickr album

First Blue Jay Weekend Ushers in a New Tradition

This year, several events that traditionally happened during the spring were combined into one Blue Jay Weekend in order to unite the Manor College community in school spirit. The week started with the Graduation Prayer Service and the graduation picnic. Students, faculty and staff came together and enjoyed picnic-style food and numerous games and activities, including a bounce house race, giant jenga, and a photobooth with props. On Friday, everyone got into school spirit for “On Fridays, We Wear Blue.” Accepted Students Day followed, during which new students, along with family and friends, were introduced to faculty and staff, toured the campus, and participated in numerous fun activities – DJs played music while current students helped serve cotton candy, and everyone had a chance to spin the prize wheel. Vice President of Admissions Stephanie Walker confirmed that it was a highly successful event, with a high yield of students committing to Manor. The weekend wrapped up with the Athletic Reunions, with soccer, volleyball, and basketball alumni returning to campus to catch up with old friends and play several competitive games along with current students. To view more photos, visit Manor’s Flickr albums.

Alumni Story: Danene Birtell

Responding to wildlife emergencies, and improving the care protocols for dealing with injured animals – this is part of Manor alumna Danene Birtell’s everyday routine. Danene now works at the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center. “I was always interested in working with wildlife,” Danene explains. When Danene decided to enroll at Manor, she already had a B.S in Biology and Marine Sciences and was working in California. But she realized that she didn’t always understand the reasoning behind what she was doing. “I wanted to know why we were using certain techniques, and expand my medical knowledge,” she says. Danene worked in the field while studying at Manor, an experience she recommends to current students – especially those who are visual learners, like her. “It is so helpful to work part time [with animals], or volunteer while you’re in school. It puts things in perspective, opens doors, builds relationships, and allows you to apply what you’re learning.” After graduating, she went on to work as a Vet Tech in a clinic for several years, and notes that her education at Manor gave her the hands-on experience she needed in order to feel comfortable suggesting new ways to improve the clinic’s day-to-day operations. “Manor did an excellent job of preparing us for our careers.” Danene is now a Readiness Coordinator who works with a team of veterinarians, coordinators, and care specialists. An average day consists of teaching students, educating member organizations, examining and improving protocol, and conducting research. Over the past several years she has contributed to multiple spill response exercises, training workshops, and response plans. People might be surprised that wildlife emergency rehabilitation isn’t always what one might expect after seeing commercials or documentaries that condense the experience. “Although we do a lot of admin, there is urgency when emergencies happen,” explains Danene. “And it’s important to stabilize them first.” In fact, after an oil spill, animals are typically not cleaned off for the first 48 hours – during this period they receive a full health exam and initial care to ensure they are strong enough to survive the stressful cleaning process. Danene was part of the team that responded to the infamous Deepwater Horizon/BP spill, the largest marine oil spill in history. “Careers in wildlife and exotic care are obtainable, and they are available.” Vet Tech students today may wonder whether these types of opportunities are available to them, and Danene assures them that the answer is yes. “Careers in wildlife and exotic care are obtainable, and they are available. Zoos and rehabilitation centers are more medically-focused than ever, allowing for numerous opportunities for veterinary technicians to get involved.” Have an alumni story to submit? Contact!

2019 Student Awards Ceremony Honors Exemplary Students

On April 29, 2019, Manor College honored many students, as well as several staff and faculty members, who upheld the college’s mission statement and showed impressive leadership in sports, academics, and student organizations over the past academic year. To view more photos from this event, visit the college’s Flickr album.