Featured Events

Grinnell Swimmer

Oct 14

Swim/Dive Weekend
Oct. 14 - 16
Bear Athletic Complex

Sept28

Grinnell-in-Boston Reception
6 - 8:30 p.m.
Boston, MA

Oct17

Grinnell-in-DC Reception
6 - 8:30 p.m.
Washington D.C.

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News from Campus

Alumni News
Study Finds Copper Alloy Surfaces Reduce Bacteria, Possible Infection in Hospitals


Using copper alloy materials in a hospital setting substantially decreased the hospital’s bacterial burden, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. This study shows for the first time that copper maintains the reduced bacterial load in both occupied as well as cleaned, unoccupied rooms. These results could reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).  


Led by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, associate professor of biology, the study found significantly fewer bacteria on copper alloy products such as grab bars, toilet flush valves, IV poles, switches, keyboards, sinks, and dispensers.


HAIs are a serious concern in the medical industry. Of the 35.1 million discharges of in-patients in the U.S. each year, an estimated one in 25 patients admitted to a hospital contracts an HAI. In 2011, an estimated 10% of the 722,000 patients who contracted HAIs died from the infection.


The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has generated both enhanced scrutiny and added consequence to this alarming rate. Approximately 23% of the more than 3,300 U.S. hospitals evaluated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will lose some reimbursement from Medicare as a consequence of the Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HAC) or quality of care penalty mandated by law.


Queenster Nartey ’16 testing copper surfaces for bacterial growth at a local hospitalHigh-touch surfaces throughout a hospital can serve as reservoirs for pathogenic microorganisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci. These and other pathogens can survive from days to months on dry surfaces, such as those commonly found in hospital settings. Although several different cleaning regimens have been tested for their effectiveness, bacteria often repopulate hospital surfaces, making it difficult to maintain the current suggested standard for surface-level cleanliness.


“This study is the first to demonstrate that copper alloy surfaces maintain reduced bacterial numbers in unoccupied and occupied patient rooms,” said Hinsa-Leasure. “This is in contrast to control rooms, where bacterial numbers rebound following terminal cleaning to levels comparable to those found in occupied control rooms. This is key to protecting newly admitted patients from contracting infections through commonly touched surfaces, even when they are considered clean, and is integral to an effective infection-control strategy.”


The study was conducted over 18 months at Grinnell College and Grinnell Regional Medical Center. During the study, patient rooms were cleaned daily and subjected to a final, or terminal, cleaning upon patient discharge. High-touch areas were swabbed in occupied and unoccupied rooms and aerobic bacterial counts were determined for comparison purposes.


Petrie dish with bateriaTo decrease microbial pathogens, some hospitals have begun installing metal surfaces that are naturally antimicrobial, including copper alloy, which kill a majority of bacteria within two hours. Copper compounds have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, yet copper alloys were just recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as having antimicrobial effectiveness, driving the increased study and use of copper alloy surfaces.


“Although there is an increased cost for installing copper alloy products compared to stainless steel or porcelain, the lives saved and costs reduced by decreasing the number of HAIs far exceed the initial input,” Hinsa-Leasure said. “We have to remember that copper alloy surfaces not only kill bacteria on the surfaces but also damage their DNA, which decreases the spread of antibiotic resistance.”


Hinsa-Leasure’s research team for this project included undergraduate students Queenster Nartey ’16 and Justin Vaverka ’15.


Find further details of the research, as well as images and infographics noting key findings, at Copper Alloy Research.







Writers@Grinnell: Lynda Barry & Dan Chaon


Award winning authors Lynda Barry and Dan Chaon will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, September 29, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.


Dan Chaon imageDan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications.


Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.


Lynda Barry imageLynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as “among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips and novels, both graphic and illustrated.”


Barry has authored 21 books, including the beloved novel Cruddy, called “a work of terrible beauty” by The New York Times and the award-winning book What It Is, based on her now famous “Writing the Unthinkable” workshop.


Barry is currently Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and runs the Image Lab at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.


Barry has received numerous awards and honors for her work, among them two William Eisner awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Wisconsin Library Association’s RR Donnelly Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, and the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Outreach Fellowship.







Creativity Workshop Led by Lynda Barry & Dan Chaon


Author and artist Lynda Barry, along with author Dan Chaon, will lead a Creativity Workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, September 30, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.


Dan ChaonLynda Barry and Dan Chaon have been teaching together for the last three years and have developed a set of writing exercises that are part of their upcoming book, Workbook 52. This workshop is about a way of creating a sustainable writing practice for anyone at any level who may be interested in writing and is having a hard time figuring out how to start or continue a story. 


It’s based on using a common but extraordinary sort of memory almost of all of us have; the instant kind that ‘floods’ us when a certain smell or a song triggers a vivid image of certain place-in-time. It’s the kind of memory that is unwilled and vivid, something that feels somehow on-going and plastic, a living place where a story is happening. We’ll learn an easy method to create the circumstances for these kinds of images to come to us and set them down quickly in writing. We’ll start by using autobiographical memory, and then show how to apply it to writing fiction.


Lynda BarryLynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as “among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips, and novels, both graphic and illustrated.”


Barry has authored 21 books, including the beloved novel Cruddy which was called “a work of terrible beauty” by The New York Times and the award-winning book What It Is, based on her now famous “Writing the Unthinkable” workshop. Barry is currently assistant professor in interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and runs the Image Lab at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Barry has received numerous awards and honors for her work, among them two William Eisner awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Wisconsin Library Association’s RR Donnelly Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, and the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Outreach Fellowship.


Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.


The event is co-sponsored by Artists@Grinnell, Public Event series, and Writers@Grinnell.







Fall Forum on Global Engagement


Sahar RamadanThe Institute of Global Engagement presents the Global Engagement Fall Forum on Friday, September 23, at 4:15 p.m. in Burling Lounge.  International Visiting Arabic Instructor, Sahar Ramadan, will give a short lecture on her international experiences, followed by a panel of 3-5 students discussing study abroad, course embedded travel, and the Global Learning Program. Refreshments will be provided.


Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you plan to attend this event and need accommodation, please contact Burling Library as soon as possible to make your request.







Culmination of Chemistry's 2016 Summer Research Program


After training together, participating in group presentations, and working full time on research projects for ten weeks, the chemistry summer research students feel a bond with each other and with their faculty mentors. On July 22, 2016, all 35 summer research students in chemistry presented posters about their projects to the department. Following the department poster session, the group of students and faculty posed for this photograph in T-shirts designed by the students, and then they celebrated the end of the research period by having lunch together at a local restaurant.


Some of these students will also take part in the science poster session during Grinnell College's Family Weekend on September 17, 2016, and some will travel to an Undergraduate Research Symposium in physical sciences hosted by the Midstates Consortium for Mathematics and Science in November.







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