Alumni in Service to Oberlin College: Fall Semester 2005

The English department and Alumni Association sponsored a September ASOC visit by singer and actress Karyn Levitt ’87, who captivated her Cat in the Cream audience with Lyrics by Shakespeare, a cabaret of Shakespeare’s sonnets set to music and interpreted by Levitt. Piano major Jacob Kidder ’07 accompanied Levitt as she brought the poet’s words and spirit to life. Having studied English, theater, and music at Oberlin, Levitt pursued voice and acting after graduation and began designing and performing cabaret shows that interweave music and theater. She has performed at such Massachusetts venues as Shakespeare & Company, the Charles Playhouse Lounge, and the Center for Arts. Check out her website at



Ashby Plant ’92 serves on the social psychology faculty at Florida State University, where her research on prejudice and stereotyping—particularly in perceptions of law enforcement officers—has been presented to several Florida police departments. She visited the psychology department in November to discuss her research on eliminating racial bias in decisions to shoot criminal suspects. Her visit accomplished three goals: exposing students to cutting-edge psychological research; talking about graduate school and the application process; and facilitating the summer and post-graduate employment of Oberlin students in psychology related fields. Ashby reflected fondly on her time at Oberlin, sharing that one of her greatest joys—mentoring and working with graduate students—comes from inspiration she received from Oberlin’s faculty.


As an independent choreographer and dancer, Lionel Popkin ’91 has performed around the globe. In November, he was a guest of Carter McAdams and the Oberlin dance department, who invited him to give a master class. By coincidence, his wife, classicist Alex Purves, was invited by the classics department to speak. An artist in residence in the dance department at the University of Maryland and a former member of the dance companies of Trisha Brown, Terry Creach, and Stephanie Skura, Lionel has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. His recent piece, And Then We Eat, premiered to critical acclaim at Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles before going on to successful runs at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and The Place Theatre in London. Also a certified teacher of the Skinner Releasing Technique, Lionel holds an MFA from Bennington College.



Criss Kovac ’00, a supervisory motion picture preservation specialist at the National Archives and Records Administration, visited the art department in November. Her double-tiered event included a screening of Decasia, a film collage assembled from decaying film stock by the filmmaker Bill Morrison, with a score by Michael Gordon. Students of studio art, art history, cinema studies, Timara, and composition were treated to a screening and a follow-up talk on film preservation entitled “Destruction—A Condition of the Art of Cinema.” Criss completed an MA in cinema studies at Nottingham Trent University before training at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and interning at the George Eastman House, where she worked as a curator and technician on their nitrate motion picture collection.

Other ASOC visitors this fall included Gloria Kim ’02, who spoke at a First Year Seminar, and Anita King ’75, who spoke on connecting music and movement.

—Laura Gobbi ’91, Executive Director, Alumni Association

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