Past Dimmitt Fellows
Last updated April 13, 2018
Mohana Rajakumar: Spring 2018
Born in India and raised in the United States, Mohana Rajakumar holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Peace College in North Carolina, an M.A. in English from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and has spent the past decade living, teaching, and conducting research about gender, writing, and race in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. Her relocation to the Arabian peninsula in 2005 was fortuitous in many ways, since this is where she became a writer. Having previously taught fiction and writing at Northwestern University in Qatar, she currently writes full-time and has published eight e-books, including a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011. Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Though banned for sale by the Qatari government, her novel Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. Rajakumar has also published many papers in peer-reviewed publications and lectured at institutions of higher learning around the globe. A former associate editor for Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine, and host of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio, Rajakumar is a lively presence on social media and looks forward to interacting with the students, faculty, and staff here at Morningside College in the coming months.
Lorenzo Sandoval: Spring 2017
Playwright, stage and film actor, community leader, college professor, IPTV host, and entrepreneur in the arts and public service, Lorenzo Sandoval attended Morningside College in 1970-71, later completed his B.A. at Grandview College, and earned his M.F.A. in playwriting at the University of Iowa’s internationally acclaimed writing program as a Patricia Roberts Harris fellow. Sandoval, who now resides in Des Moines, has written, directed, and acted in more than 156 plays and has also performed in more than 90 training films and independent films. An avid teacher, Sandoval has taught more than 140 courses at the University of Iowa, Grandview College, Des Moines Area Community College, and Upper Iowa University — most frequently courses in public speaking, theatre history, composition, playwriting, and Hispanic culture. Sandoval was selected as the first Dimmitt Fellow at Morningside College to be in residence for an entire semester.
Sandoval’s fellowship, with its interdisciplinary nature, encompassed several disciplines, including literature, history, the performing arts, and politics. During his residency, he team-taught a Shakespeare in Performance course with Project Director, Dr. Marty Knepper, taught his own public speaking course, and spoke to many other classes at Morningside. He also led workshops for the local Area Education Agency (AEA). During a Lunchbox Series, Sandoval drew on his theatre and non-profit expertise to talk to local non-profit leaders about the issues they face, including building diversity in productions, audiences, castings, and volunteer bases; creating meaningful collaborations using the arts and humanities as platforms for expression; and empowering Latinos to be catalysts for change. Finally, he casted and directed two of his plays, Thrice Told Tales and Juanito and His Tales, at Morningside's Klinger-Neal Theatre, as well as brought them to area high schools, elementary schools and the Betty Strong Encounter Center. Sandoval became a popular figure here on campus during the course of his residency, ultimately interacting with more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, and Siouxland residents.
Robert Koopmann: Fall 2016
Since 1975, Fr. Robert Koopmann, O.S.B., Professor of Music and President Emeritus at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota, has taught piano, music literature, and courses on creativity and the creative process. He has performed as a piano soloist, accompanist, in chamber ensembles, and with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, including Japan, China, Europe, South Africa, Chile, Kenya, and Tanzania. He has also released a number of recordings, including those of classical piano and improvisations. Koopmann earned his doctorate from the University of Iowa and conducted postdoctoral work with faculty from The Royal Academy in London and The Juilliard School in New York City. He served as president of Saint John’s University from 2009 through 2012.
In the fall of 2016, Koopmann was named a Dimmitt Fellow at Morningside, where he completed a two-week residency. During his residency, Koopmann gave guest lectures in several courses, led a Friday Is Writing Day workshop, and performed a recital as part of the renowned Morningside College Piano Recital Series.
Juarez Patricio de Oliveira, Junior: Fall 2016
Juarez Patricio de Oliveira, Jr. is a professor of agronomy at the Federal University of Goiás in central Brazil and director of a radio and television educational and cultural foundation. Previously, he also served as director of an agronomy school from 2006 to 2014. Patricio de Oliveira graduated from the Federal University of Goiás in 1988 with a degree in agronomy and received his master’s degree in soil science from the Federal University of Lavras in 1992. He then returned to the Federal University of Goiás, where he earned a Ph.D. in agronomy in 1998.
Patricio de Oliveira was in residence at Morningside College for four weeks during the fall semester. While on campus, he visited several classes to discuss cultivating a global perspective on agriculture and addressed a group of faculty regarding the importance of international communication. Patricio de Oliveira also gave a public lecture, “Brazil’s Cerrado: A Story of Innovation and Determination in Agriculture.”
Eleanor Clift: Spring 2016
Eleanor Clift’s career follows the trajectory of the American Dream. Newsweek magazine hired her as a secretary in 1963, but Clift’s talent as a writer and a 1970 lawsuit that fought for women to be able to write for the magazine led her to pursue an internship within the company. That internship, along with her resilience and strong work ethic, opened the door to a long and illustrious career in journalism. An opportunity to cover Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign proved to be Clift’s ticket to Washington, where she served as Newsweek’s White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations. Clift also reported on Bill Clinton’s campaign and was named Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for the publication in 1992. She has covered watershed moments such as Hillary Clinton's senatorial runs in 2000 and 2006 and President Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008. Clift joined the Daily Beast’s political team in 2013, where she reports on the White House, Congress, and those diverse personalities who inform the political landscape of America's capital state. She is also the author of several books, including Selecting a President.
During Eleanor Clift’s residency at Morningside, she gave multiple well-received lectures during which she discussed the political climate in the United States and her path to becoming a journalist. Her public speaking engagement, “Picking a President,” was attended by many members of both the campus and Siouxland communities and was covered in the local press.
Frances Cairncross: Spring 2016
Frances Cairncross is the former Rector of Exeter College, Oxford University. Prior to her decade at Oxford, she was a journalist, spending thirteen years at The Guardian as an economics columnist and twenty years at The Economist magazine as a senior editor. Cairncross is the author of a number of books, including The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Is Changing Our Lives and Costing the Earth: The Challenge for Governments, the Opportunities for Business. She chairs the executive committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and from 2001 until 2007, she chaired the Economic and Social Research Council. Cairncross holds an M.A. in History from St. Anne's College, Oxford, and an M.A. in Economics from Brown University. She has also received honorary degrees from Trinity College Dublin, City University, and the universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Loughborough, and Kingston. In June of 2015, Cairncross was made a Dame of the British Empire (D.B.E.) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list for services to education and in recognition of her career as a leading British economist, journalist, and academic.
Cairncross was the first fruit of the Dimmitt Fellowship and arrived in Sioux City during one of the most severe blizzards in the city’s history. In spite of these odds, Cairncross gave several large lectures to political science, economics, history, sociology, and first-year seminar courses during her residency at Morningside, as well as addressed individual classes in English and mass communication. She also gave a wonderful public lecture, “Five Global Trends that Have Influenced the 21st Century,” and attended her first presidential caucus. Her visit has served as the inspiration for many of the subsequent events and activities with which Morningside's Dimmitt Fellows have engaged.