“Fireside” with Northwestern Students

The final event during my recent Chicago trip was a joint effort with author Cheryl Bardoe. She and I learned of each other’s work when Cheryl’s husband, Matthew, reviewed Growing Patterns in draft form. Upon further acquaintance, Cheryl and I discovered we both write nonfiction books for children on science and math topics and we both graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism (she’s younger than I am by enough years that our paths did not cross in Evanston).  When I was invited to present an informal talk, or a fireside, for current NU students at the Communications Residential College, I invited Cheryl to join me. I was an active member of the Humanities Residential College during my years at NU and helped form the Residential College Board. It was a lot of fun to be back in a residential college setting.

Before the fireside, I joined the students in the dining hall. Though I had taken some meals in that very place as an undergraduate, I noticed several changes for the better: an elimination of trays (for environmental reasons) and a stir fry bar, where I ordered a mixture of vegetables on a bed of brown rice.

Sarah Campbell and Cheryl Bardoe at NU's CRC

Communications Residential College students gather around to see the snail

Many of the CRC students are journalism majors, but a few come from other disciplines, including biology. Cheryl, the author of Gregory Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas and Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age, chronicled her path from journalism school graduate to public relations work with nonprofits to museum marketing to museum curatorial/education to children’s book author. She is now working on an MFA in writing with a concentration in writing for children.

Growing Patterns and Wolfsnail

Growing Patterns and Wolfsnail on display at NU's CRC

Though Growing Patterns is the new book (and therefore the focus of much of my current marketing), the star of this particular event was clearly Wolfsnail. College students are just as taken with the idea of a predatory snail as kindergartners. In fact, when the students learned over dinner that I had brought a live wolfsnail, the word spread on the internet and swelled attendance. We had gathered in a nice circle to talk, but when I started reading Wolfsnail, the students to my right and left scrambled into position up front. Unfortunately, the snail stayed inside its shell. At least, the slugs provided some entertainment.

I thank Roger Boye, the CRC master, for the invitation; Nancy Anderson, from Residential Life, for helping arrange accommodation in a guest suite; Julie Kliegman, the CRC academic chair, for arranging the fireside; and Ariana Bacle, a social chair, for taking the photos in this post.

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