Angella Irwin

Angella Irwin


Goethe, Nature, and Correspondences

Thursday, January 31,  at 4 p.m.

Professor Angela Rose will report on a year-long foundation course she is taking on Goethean science. She will discuss Swedenborg’s influence on Goethe and parallels between Goethe’s approach to nature and the science of correspondences. Her study is sponsored by the E. Bruce Glenn Fund, and will be presented in the Pendleton Hall Auditorium at Bryn Athyn College (2945 College Drive, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009).


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Professor Bryntesson Speaks at Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust

“Protecting the Ghost Bird”

The Chipola River Wildlife Sanctuary (1950-1952), managed by the National Audubon Society, was a refuge for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Florida. At that time, many ornithologists believed the bird to be extinct or dangerously rare. Our story features a number of prominent ornithologists, many of whom were very protective of the species and elected not to share information for fear of endangering any remaining birds. Therefore, the published literature contains relatively little information about the history of the sanctuary. Fredrik Bryntesson (Bryn Athyn College) will talk about the findings from his and William C. Hunter’s (US Fish and Wildlife Service) research that has located primary archival evidence such as fieldnotes, reports, and correspondence. This work has enabled them to reconstruct the history of the searches for the bird, the story of the sanctuary itself, and establish where it was located. The Chipola River Wildlife Sanctuary provides an excellent example of the change in mindset in the early to mid 1900s that led to increased awareness of the need to conserve wildlife and their habitat. Our story is not just about a bird; it is also about the people who were enchanted with the ghost bird and their dedication and passion to search for and protect this species.
Professor Fredrik (Figge) Bryntesson will talk on this topic at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust’s (PERT) visitor center on Tuesday, January 22, at 7 p.m.
Seating is limited (49 seats) so please pre-register by calling PERT at 215.657.0830 or signing up online.
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Managing Food Allergies at School

“One in 12 students has a food allergy.”

SAGE Dining Services ® has done some research and found that about 8% of their client population suffers from food allergies. Bryn Athyn College is one of these proud clients, and it’s comforting to know that SAGE® is looking out for us all along the way as our food is sourced, stored, prepared, and presented.

As some of us know all too well, a food allergy is not just dangerous, but it can also make even the simplest daily eating events stressful or worrisome. SAGE® takes many precautions to mitigate allergen contamination, and they also do a great job of keeping you informed and helping you navigate your options.

If you’re wondering how to handle your allergy while eating away from home, check out the blog post that SAGE® put up about their commitment to keeping you safe in our dining hall. You can also download their free mobile app, “Touch of SAGE” for Android or iOS systems, which will allow you to filter their menu according to your dietary needs.



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Business Program Making Strides

Honoring and encouraging difference-makers of the future.

A chapter of Sigma Beta Delta has been established at Bryn Athyn College, with Bergen Junge as president, Elizabeth Rogers as vice president, and Ethan King as secretary and faculty advisor. The aforementioned have been inducted, and in the fall the chapter will welcome its first student members.

Sigma Beta Delta is an international honor society based on a mission that is very much aligned with that of Bryn Athyn College. Sigma Beta Delta encourages and recognizes scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management, and administration. Furthermore, it encourages and promotes aspirations toward personal and professional improvement and a life distinguished by honorable service to humankind. Recognizing those similar core values, BAC business major Nikita Klinisovs enacted the process of joining the society.

Membership in honor societies such as Sigma Beta Delta can serve students in a variety of ways: Scholarships and career support are available to members, in addition to the legitimizing effect of one’s membership on a resume or CV. Nikita likes that the opportunity for induction gives students in the business department an additional achievement to strive for. He adds that it brings extra appeal to the College for students who are considering attending. Nikita continues, “I believe this is a major milestone…It is the first step in the long journey of establishing the Bryn Athyn business major as a well-known and successful program that develops and educates true difference-makers of the future.”

Students interested in this opportunity can find out more by contacting Ethan King:


call or text: 215-470-8895

Stay tuned for this fall’s induction date so you can plan to attend and support our dedicated students!


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10 Years of Formal Presentations on the BAC Deer Study

The April 7 meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America marked Bryn Athyn College’s 10th anniversary of formal presentations on the Deer Study. The Deer Study is a collaborative research and education project between Bryn Athyn College and the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT) that began in 2006. The main focus is to track the movements of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fitted with high tech GPS/GSM radio collars in the suburban oasis of the beautiful Pennypack Creek valley, which is surrounded by residential and industrial development.  The study fuses the fields of biology, ecology, and environmental science together with advances in geospatial science. The purpose of the Deer Study is to learn more about the ecology, behavior and movements of suburban white-tailed deer in time and space. 

Three posters were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America on April 7. The conference, which was held at Rutgers University-Newark, was well attended and the Bryn Athyn College  posters received lots of attention.

The posters presented include:

 Rath, S., G. McMackin, E. Higgins, F. Bryntesson and E. Potapov. 2018.  Human activity and animal movement: are they connected? The 2018 Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. April 7, 2018.

 Potapov, E., F. Bryntesson, E. Higgins, S. Rath, K. Roth and G. McMackin. 2018. Is there a gender conflict between male and female deer over territory? The 2018 Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. April 7, 2018.

 Snyder, E., F. Bryntesson, L. Clymer, K. Roth, S. Rath, E. Higgins and Eugene Potapov. 2018. Effect of ambient noise on the movement of white-tailed deer in a fragmented suburban landscape. The 2018 Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. April 7, 2018.

Students and professors present their research poster

Students and faculty at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Societies of America at Rutgers University, April 7, 2018. Left to right: Stefani Rath, Prof. Edward Higgins, Prof. Grace McMackin, Prof. Fredrik Bryntesson, Elizabeth Snyder, Prof. Eugene Potapov

The Deer Study first presented results (2 posters) on April 19, 2008, at a conference at Wilkes University. The Deer Study has now presented a total of 30 posters and given seven oral presentations at 20 different scientific meetings and published four articles in peer-reviewed journals. More than 30 students have participated in various aspects of the Deer Study and 21 of those have been co-authors on our conference and meeting presentations. To date, six BAC students have used the Deer Study as the basis for their senior capstone projects.

map of deer study presentations at scientific meetings

A more detailed look at the study and its findings can be found at There you will be able to view past papers and posters as well as related news stories and links. The core faculty team on this ongoing project includes principal investigator Eugene Potapov, Fredrik Bryntesson, Edward Higgins, and Grace McMackin. The late Sherri Cooper conceived the Deer Study while teaching a deer ecology class at Bryn Athyn College, and many students have contributed to this growing and vibrant legacy over the years.

President Brian Blair remarked, “The 10th anniversary is indeed a special milestone for this program, the science department, and the College. Developing this important research has benefitted the surrounding community while setting an example of academic excellence that the Bryn Athyn College family can point to with pride and admiration.”

Congratulations to all those who are and have been involved in this exciting project! May there be many more years of study, discovery, and scholarly contributions under the auspices of this collaboration.

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BAC Student to Run Summer Lacrosse Camp in West Philadelphia

Bryn Athyn College sophomore Chantal Farmer will run a week-long, non-profit lacrosse program in West Philadelphia this summer. The General Church in Bryn Athyn, via the New Church Service Grant Fund, has provided Chantal with the seed money to make this project happen, and Chantal is currently working to raise the final 30% of the funds, which amounts to $1,500.

Why a Camp?
Chantal says, “The inner-city neighborhoods of Philadelphia do not have access to lacrosse. I would like to provide kids with an opportunity they might never have because lacrosse is a rather expensive sport that many public schools do not have the funds for. I believe lacrosse can change the lives of the inner-city kids just as it changed mine.”

Chantal grew up in the city and went to public school and then a charter school that did not have sports or even a playground because it was not within the school’s budget. She recalls being a very timid child who barely cared about her education. Although she was shy she did have a very active lifestyle with her family, and she always enjoyed having outlets where she could direct her energy.

After moving out of the city and starting at a new high school in a semi-suburban area, she says things began to change. In her sophomore year of high school she was heading home one day and her sister asked if she wanted to go to a lacrosse open gym to see if she liked it. Chantal says, “I found that I was a quick learner in lacrosse. I was able to direct my spare time to something productive and fun without feeling stuck inside. Through my high school lacrosse experience I opened myself up, became more extroverted and found myself so happy and passionate about school.  This high school experience carried out into my college years.”

In February of 2017, Chantal and her family experienced a tragedy– her father was murdered. Chantal says, “I felt as if I would never be able to move past that moment and those feelings. I had been taking on a lot of work, class, and sports and did not think I would ever be able to catch up to where I had left off. I came back to school after spring break and lacrosse season was starting. I talked to my coach about how I was feeling, and she encouraged me to allow lacrosse to absorb all my stress; it was my time in my day to not have to worry or think about everything I thought was wrong and overwhelming in life. My team and my friends had my back, and lacrosse has been a bridge that has carried me through many tough times.”

The Project 
Chantal says that this program will give her the opportunity to give girls in her community the chance she was given. The non-profit summer camp will teach participants the basics for lacrosse including ball handling, attacking, and defensive skills. Participants will benefit from the exercise and from the constructive time in a safe environment. Chantal says, ” The summer is about having fun outside with people you love. This will hopefully create bonds that these girls can continue to develop each summer. I plan to expand the program with each subsequent year as interest grows. It will provide volunteer opportunities to the girls who have aged out of the program while continuing to increase their skill set. ”

Chantal will work closely with BAC women’s lacrosse head coach, Denise Roessler, to organize the particulars of the lacrosse training. Chantal has also met with Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, head coach of BAC women’s field hockey, and received a helpful outline of what it takes to run a sports summer camp. With this support, and that of the New Church Service Grant Fund, Chantal is well on her way to manifesting this project. The camp will use the Shepherds Recreation Center’s outdoor field, located at 5700 Haverford Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19131. Chantal’s budget estimate is $5,000, which covers the cost of equipment, insurance, promotion, and coaching. If you are interested in contributing to her project and helping her raise the final $1,500, follow the link below to her GoFundMe page. in a new window

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Professor Wong Publishes on Disability-Related Discussions

head shot of sara jin wongSarah Jin Wong, assistant professor of education and director of field placement, has recently published an article in Teacher Education and Special Education (TESE) available on Sage Journals titled “Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers for Disability-Related Discussions.”

Sarah started collaborating with her co-authors (Christa Bialka from Villanova University and Nicole Hansen from Fairleigh Dickinson University) in February 2017. She initially connected with Christa and Nicole within the realm of a Facebook group called CEC-TED Early Career Faculty Special Interest Group. CEC stands for Council for Exceptional Children (the nation’s largest special education organization) and TED refers to its Teacher Education Division. Sarah says, “When I found out about TED last year, I knew I had found my professional extended family outside of BAC. This group of colleagues who work in teacher-preparation programs all around the country are some of the warmest, most welcoming, generous, brilliant, and gracious people I have gotten to know!”

The idea of preparing pre-service teachers to have authentic conversations centered around disability is very important to Sarah. Especially now as the diverse needs of children in classrooms are increasing rapidly and as we prepare our pre-service teachers to become educators who are capable of supporting students with various learning needs in what is hopefully an inclusive classroom, this skill set becomes highly relevant. The theory is that if the pre-service teachers are able to have open and productive dialogue around these topics themselves, they are much more likely to be able to facilitate such important dialogue with their own students, thus creating a more authentic, inclusive climate classroom.  Therefore, this became an important objective for Sarah as she implemented the special education curriculum of the new dual-certification program at Bryn Athyn College. Sarah says, “Though we discuss disability-related topics in class, there are often ‘barriers’ that get in the way of our pre-service teachers having open and authentic dialogue around them.” Examples of barriers include novelty of the vocabulary and of the topics, uncertainty in word choice, often due to fear of offending, and even simply lack of experience.  Therefore, intentionally embedding practice of these kinds of dialogue through various assignments like the ones described in the article, helps build this critical skill set.  Sarah states, “Powerful human experience stories in the particular assignment that is described in the article have become such an effective tool that I use in the classroom to increase understanding and create connection.” So when she found that Christa and Nicole were addressing this need in similar ways in their respective programs, she was excited to establish connections with them, eventually leading to this publication.

Sarah says that she and her colleagues hope to turn this work into a more formalized research study, perhaps in the next year or two. They plan to gather both quantitative and qualitative data that will allow them to see the measurable ways in which the strategies discussed in the article are actually making a difference in the skill set of the teachers that they are preparing.

The abstract of the article is below. Click here to access Sage Journals and explore full article download options.opens in a new window

Teacher preparation programs play a seminal role in the development of prospective teachers, as they provide future educators with information regarding the rights of students with disabilities and the pedagogical means to support them in the classroom. Yet, few programs focus on how to discuss disability with students (Abernathy & Taylor, 2009; Cosier & Pearson, 2016). Once they enter into practice, many teachers hesitate to engage students in conversations about disabilities because they are unsure of what to say or fear offending students with disabilities (Crowson & Brandes, 2014; Gay & Howard, 2000). Because there is scant literature on how to best prepare pre-service teachers to hold disability-related discussions in their future classrooms, in this article, the authors aim to fill a void in current practice by providing examples of activities, assessments, and related materials that enable pre-service teachers to talk about disabilities.



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Chaplain’s Corner (2)

It’s Christmas season here at Bryn Athyn College.  You can feel the spirit growing with the students as we approach Christmas day.  Our chapel offering have been building up to the day of the Lord’s birth with special messages in our services, candle lighting, singing, and offering the deeper meaning of the Christmas story as it applies directly to our individual lives.

One of these deeper meanings is about the angels telling the shepherds that they would find the child, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).  New Church teachings tell us that, on a personal level, a “manger” represents instruction, and that “swaddling clothes” symbolize “first truths.” (See Apocalypse Explained, paragraph #706.)  A person is led to see the Lord in his or her life by learning of him, through instruction of the first truths, which are the basic doctrines about the Lord, love to the neighbor, and useful service.  The Lord is born into our hearts in this way, as we behold the Savior of the world.

Instruction in the spiritual teachings of the New Church gives each student an opportunity to come to Bethlehem, so to speak, and to behold him.  To sense the presence of the divine providence working in their lives, to turn toward the neighbor with love and kindness, and to learn in all instruction at Bryn Athyn College to find meaningful useful service in this world, is all part of this.  As ministers at the college, our interaction with students begins here, with these first truths from which to build upon, leading to deeper truths as students continue their progress through the terms and through the years.  Our calling is to  invite all to come to a place where they can connect with their God, and grow in a relationship with him and with one another that brings good into the world.  Our Christmas hope is that many will, as did the shepherds on that Christmas night, “return, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20).

Rev. Grant Schnarr, Chaplain

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