Dr. Sarah Owens’ Article Receives Award

The Society for the Study of Early Modern Women has selected Professor Sarah Owens’ article “Crossing Mexico (1620-1621): Franciscan Nuns and Their Journey to the Philippines” for the award for best article in women and gender in 2015.

Busy Student-Athlete, Student Media Editor Thrives Under Pressure


5 May 2014 | 2:10 pm By:
Contact: Katie Dean Williams, assistant director for student life media & marketing, 843.953.5289

There’s a moment just before a competition dive when everything goes silent. That’s the part College of Charleston junior Nicole DeMarco loves most. The tense stillness, the sense that everybody is watching her, the pressure to perform.

Nicole DeMarco
Nicole DeMarco

“You’re standing up there and you get nervous,” DeMarco says. “It’s a rush.”

The pursuit of that “rush” propels DeMarco in many areas of her life. Student-athletes are famously time-crunched, but DeMarco has redefined the student experience by trying as many different activities as she can, including athletics, student media, student government, and a sorority.

And she’s no slouch in the classroom either. DeMarco is a double major in international studies and French with a minor in political science. She’s set to venture overseas this summer for a prestigious internship –– the third international trip of her college career.

As editor-in-chief of Cistern Yard News, the College’s student media organization, DeMarco oversees the content and publication of Cistern Yard Magazine and news website cisternyard.com.

DeMarco says she has always thrived under deadline pressure –– the rush that is synonymous with journalism.

At her high school newspaper in Shelton, Conn., the fluffy stories weren’t for her. She gravitated toward international news and weightier topics like gay rights and bullying. At the College, she has worked her way up through the news staff – from writer, to news editor, to managing editor, to her current position.

“Nicole is the type of student who is always busy, but you would never know it,” says Katie Dean Williams, assistant director of student life marketing and media. “She is dedicated to her staff.  Courteous, but a natural leader, she always meets deadlines and follows up with everyone to make sure they are on track.”

Along the way, Demarco has tried her hand at student government (a senator during her freshman year) and Greek life (Zeta Tau Alpha) because “it was something else to be involved in.”

She’s already completed two study abroad experiences – Paris during her freshman year and Morocco in the summer of 2013.

RELATED: Learn more about study abroad opportunities at the College.

“I’ve always been someone who has to be busy, doing as much as I can,” she says. “That can be good and bad.”

It’s good, because she’s always challenging herself with new experiences. It’s bad, because she can overcommit. To keep herself on track, she swears by the simplicity of a Moleskine calendar. Her friends tease her about this old-school calendaring method, but DeMarco finds that the act of writing things down on paper makes them stick.

Nicole DeMarco
Nicole DeMarco in competition dive.

Earlier this year, having published her first issue of Cistern Yard Magazine in February 2014 followed by the conclusion of the diving season in March 2014, DeMarco had been settling into a rhythm with her courses. That’s when she was struck by the urge to take on a new commitment.

She found it on the United Nations’ online career portal. What the heck, she thought, as she clicked the submit button on an application for an internship with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a United Nations court of law that deals with war crimes.

RELATED: Read more about the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

And what do you know? The life of this busy student-athlete just got a little busier. DeMarco ships out for the three-month internship in The Hague in May 2014.

She has a lot to do before then. But she welcomes the challenge.

“I work really well under pressure,” she says. “When I have too much time on my hands I can’t get things done. The pressure helps.”

5 Things College Students Need to Know about Ukraine-Russia Conflict

5 Things College Students Need to Know about Ukraine-Russia Conflict.

Posted on 21 March 2014 | 9:14 am

There’s something going on in Ukraine right now, and it also involves Russia, the U.S., our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and the European Union (EU). In other words, it’s a complicated situation fueled by numerous political motivations and hinged on delicate post-Cold-War relationships between many European and Eurasian nations.

Adjunct Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Eastern European scholar Max Kovalov has boiled down the five things College students need to know now about the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Max Kovalov, Adjunct Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Eastern European scholar

Max Kovalov, Adjunct Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Eastern European scholar

1. A little background

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until it disbanded in 1991. Ukraine borders Russia and was recently given a choice to sign a free-trade agreement with the EU or to join the Eurasian Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan when it is established (projected by 2015).

When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced his plans not to sign the free-trade agreement with the EU in November, the Ukrainian people took to Independence Square (known as the Maidan) in Kiev to protest and demand Yanukovych reverse the decision. Russia offered Ukraine a $15 billion bailout in December to incentivize the Eurasian Customs Union deal.

[Related: CNN’s 20 questions: what’s behind Ukraine’s political crisis.]

2.  The revolution

Yanukovych did not reverse his decision to agree to the Eurasian Custom Union trade deal. His actions denied the millions of Ukrainians who “seek to establish a new system of governance based on democratic rules that ensure political rights, civil liberties, and accountability of public officials,” Kovalov said.

After months of protests, Yanukovych fled Kiev and ultimately Ukraine for Russia in late February. The Ukrainian parliament has put out an arrest warrant for the former president on counts of “mass killings” of civilians, and declared a new interim government since Yanukovych fled.

3. The fight for Crimea

Until March, Crimean peninsula was universally considered an autonomous territory of Ukraine. It was a Russian territory from the 18th century until 1954, when Soviet Union Leader Nikita Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine to commemorate the 300-year anniversary of Russian-Ukrainian unity. Despite being part of Ukraine, Crimea is home to a large Russian population.

Crimea held a referendum March 16, 2014, during which its residents voted on whether to remain a part of Ukraine, yet with greater autonomy or to secede and join Russia. While much of the world claims this referendum is illegal, Russia has moved forward with plans to annex Crimea. “Russia is the only state that officially recognized Crimean secession from Ukraine,” Kovalov said.

4. What does the West think?

The EU and the U.S. have sanctioned dozens of Russian politicians as a means of convincing Russia to abort its plans for Crimean annexation. Russia has not given any indication that it will abandon those efforts.

The U.S and the EU hope to avoid continued political upheaval in Europe. The Western world contends that Russia “violated a series of international treaties and re-opened the question of territorial integrity, potentially resulting in instability, ethnic conflicts, and full-scale war in Europe,” Kovalov said.

The U.S. and the EU hope to aid the Ukrainian people as they work to build a democratic government. “The west has a moral responsibility to assist the democratic aspirations of Ukraine,” Kovalov said.

5. What will happen next?

President Obama has already added sanctions to include more politically influential Russian officials and he warned that if Russia continues to annex Crimea he will “impose additional costs on Russia,” according to his statement on March 20, 2014. Those additional costs will likely include added pressure on major Russian industries including energy exports.

The U.S. expects the EU to enact the same sanctions and warn of similar sanctions in the future.

For more information, contact Max Kovalov at kovalovm@cofc.edu.



Office of Media Relations

Mike Robertson
Senior Director of Media Relations

Melissa Whetzel
Director of Media Relations




Professor Lewis Calls Seeing Nelson Mandela “A Most Extraordinary Experience”


Posted on 9 December 2013 | 11:52 am

College of Charleston English Professor Simon Lewis saw Nelson Mandela in 1990 and calls it a most extraordinary experience. Lewis spent his teenage years in South Africa during apartheid and recalls the legendary 1994 election, and how these experiences impacted the course of his life.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Greeting Nelson Mandela

Tanzania was the first country Nelson Mandela visited after being released from prison in 1990. Simon Lewis was living in the country at the time teaching at an international school, and he and his wife were among the thousands that lined the route from the airport to the Government House in downtown Dar es Salaam.

“It was a most extraordinary experience,” Lewis says. “We were truly watching the story of African independence as Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Julius Nyerere rode in the back of a colonial era open-top Rolls Royce. We were standing on the road not far from the airport and as soon as the car passed us, the crowd burst into a chant of Man-del-a, Nye-re-re, Man-del-a, Nye-re-re.”

[Related: See photos from the visit.]

Mandela’s Impact

Lewis was the editor of Illuminations: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing. The 1989 and 1990 issues were devoted to South African writing and the difference between the two issues was remarkable Lewis recalls. The 1989 volume was full of anti-apartheid poetry and protest prose, then after Mandela was released from prison in 1990, the following Illuminations volume contained ecstatic poems – a true reflection of the feelings in that part of the world.

“My time in South Africa certainly had an impact on my career path,” Lewis notes. “My research interests include literature from South Africa, Africa and connections between South Carolina and the Atlantic world.”

Watching from the U.S.

Lewis was in the United States during the 1994 election, but he remembers watching nervously. He says, “It was mind-blowingly exciting to see the lines of people waiting to vote.”

Lewis was last in South Africa three years ago, but has been watching and reading all he can in the past few days. He predicts that the politics there will shift from a racial focus to a focus on social and economic issues.

“There’s a lot of talk that Mandela was the glue that held the African National Congress alliance together and with him gone and a new generation of voters that did not experience apartheid, I think we’ll see a shift in politics.”

[Related: Mandela’s Death Leaves South Africa Without its Moral Center.]

Simon Lewis can be reached at lewiss@cofc.edu or 843.953.1920.

Office of Media Relations

Mike Robertson
Senior Director of Media Relations

Melissa Whetzel
Director of Media Relations