features and interviews

I appreciate a good press release or news report,
but when it comes to journalism, my heart lies in feature reporting.
I love diving into a research topic or really getting to know a person.
And most of all? Well, I love telling a great story.

Sefa Aina Feature: Staying Inspired

Sefa Aina is unable to sit still. When he thinks, he taps his fingers on his leg; when he listens, he nods along intently; when he speaks, his face breaks open in a smile as his hands paint vivid pictures in the air around him. Being around him is invigorating, but he asserts just the opposite: for Aina, being here, at Pomona College and surrounded by “students who actively want to take leftover dining hall food and feed it to people, or go mentor low-income kids, or spend their summer working for the PAYS program” is how he stays inspired.

A prominent activist and educator in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, Aina came to Pomona from his alma mater, UCLA, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history and went on to serve as both a counselor and instructor at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. He recalls his time at UCLA fondly, but remembers being taken aback as a new student by the beautiful buildings, nice statues, fancy food and proliferation of squirrels.

“It’s these sorts of things that make you feel a little awkward,” he explains. “You wonder whether or not you belong . . .

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David Haley Feature: “Here, Let Me Show You . . .”

If you are ever offered a tour of the new Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall with David Haley as your guide, take it. A 21-year veteran of physics departments, he has an enthusiasm for his subject that is nonstop and infectious. Completely at ease in the corridors of Millikan’s new underground laboratory, he misses no opportunity to point out the fascinating creations of Pomona students and faculty.

“This one is a sonoluminescence project,” he says, referring to one of the many capstone projects he’s kept over the years. “It uses sound to compress a bubble, which produces light. And this—” He gestures to a nearby rolling chair contraption. “—Is a fire-extinguisher-propelled rocket cart. You sit on it and you squeeze the handle and you launch yourself down the hall. It’s for talking about Newton’s laws.” Before exiting a workroom, he pauses to flick on a homemade air hockey table, explaining: “I’m trying to convince one of the students to create 3D shapes that we can print and use to teach conservation of momentum.”

Haley, who has been working at Pomona since the summer of 2001, describes himself as a “physics roadie.” . . .

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Suzanne Schultz Reed Feature: Reaping What She Sews

Suzanne Schultz Reed’s classroom is not your typical seminar room. Upon entering, visitors are immediately greeted by a costume rack boasting dozens of hangers and garments in various states of completion. Long project tables dominate the open space, ringed by smaller workstations furnished with bright white sewing machines and strips of fabric. The walls are covered in color sketches of period dresses and men’s breeches; visible in the supply cabinets are buckets of buttons and thread and pincushions. Today is Wednesday and the room is uncharacteristically quiet, humming only with the sound of sewing machines and soft conversation between Schultz Reed and her student worker, Amy Griffin (Scripps ’18). “On Fridays, I have six students working in the shop,” Schultz Reed explains. “It’s very social. Everybody’s chatting, everybody’s doing something, music is on. And—” here she grins wickedly—“I bring brownies on Fridays.”

Schultz Reed has been the Pomona Theatre Department’s costume shop manager for nearly 25 years, producing the costumes for every production the department puts on and teaching sewing to her nine to 16 student workers in the process. She has been sewing for over half a century, since learning from her mother, a sewing teacher, at the age of six . . .

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