2017 PTK Honors Institute

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Dr. Domenico Ferri

How the World Works: The History and Culture of Chicago
Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
Monday, June 5, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

picture of Dr. Domenico FerriDr. Domenico Ferri earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history from Chicago’s Loyola University. His dissertation, “Funk My Soul: The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Funk, and the Recasting of Black America,” reflects his focus on race, culture, and social identity. Domenico teaches United States and world history, American Social Problems, and History of the Chicago Metropolitan Area at Harold Washington College and co-chairs the Social and Applied Sciences Department. Domenico is a six-time winner of the Harold Washington College Employee of the Month Award.
Domenico will set the stage for our Honors Institute City As Text™ explorations by discussing the evolution of the Chicago metropolitan area from a frontier outpost to a modern metropolis along with relevant economic, social, political, cultural changes, and analysis of institutions.  Also included is discussion of current problems requiring solution in context of their historical background.



Ann Bancroft
Explorer, Educator

How the World Works: No Horizon So Far
Themes 2, 3, 6, 7
Tuesday, June 6, 9:00 am – 10:15 am

picture of Ann BancroftAnn Bancroft is one of the world’s leading polar explorers and educators. By sharing her stories about how the world works preparing for and executing polar explorations, she seeks to inspire people to pursue their dreams as she pursued hers of outdoor adventures. Highlights of Bancroft’s career include dogsledding 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories of Canada to the North Pole as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition, leading the first female team to the South Pole, founding the Ann Bancroft Foundation and co-founding Bancroft Arnesen Explore. Her expeditions have been followed by the BBC, CNN, TIME Magazine, National Geographic and USA Today. Bancroft was named Glamour Magazine’s 2001 “Woman of the Year” and was featured in Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century (1998).

Most recently, Bancroft led a team of six women from six continents on Access Water expeditions following the great waterways of the world, beginning with the Ganges, as the centerpiece of a global awareness and outreach program to encourage people to take action to solve the international water crisis. The effort culminated in 2016 with an expedition to Antarctica.



Maria Pinto
Fashion Designer

How the World of Fashion Design and Entrepreneurship Works: A Conversation with Maria Pinto
Themes 5, 6, 7
Tuesday, June 6, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

picture of Maria PintoMaria Pinto, a contemporary American designer and artist, creates beautiful, versatile fashions with a modern, urban edge. With a passion for creativity and the integrity of design, she brings those elements to her collections in innovative ways.

Pinto designs for the modern woman, taking into account her need for clothing that is stylish, versatile, and makes her feel gorgeous and confident. She has dressed some of the world’s most fashionable women, including Michelle Obama, Marcia Gay Harden, Brooke Shields, and Oprah Winfrey. She is often inspired by art, architecture, and urban environments, and she seeks out fabrics that marry functionality with luxury and quality.

In addition to running her own company and store for many years, Maria has designed fashions for the Joffrey Ballet and The James Hotel in Chicago, and the Skylark Bar in New York. Her work has been featured at the Field Museum in Chicago and is now part of the permanent collection there.

Now Pinto is returning to ready-to-wear with M2057 by Maria Pinto, a new capsule collection of modern dresses, jackets, and wraps. She recently launched the collection on Kickstarter, raising more than $270,000 to start her new line. Reflecting her desire to explore fresh and innovative ideas and techniques, Pinto is excited to be one of the first recognized designers to run a successful fashion Kickstarter project at this level and launch a collection on the crowdfunding website.


Dr. Rosie Banks, Monika Byrd, Cassandra Powell and Steve Schroeder

City As Text™ Introduction
Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Wednesday, June 7, 9:00 am - 10:15 am

On Wednesday, Honors Institute participants will explore Chicago with their seminar groups to discover how the world works in specific, assigned areas of the city. Prior to the trip in this morning session, Faculty Scholars and Honors Council Members from the Chicago area will introduce participants to the City As Text model and share insight on how to make the most of their educational journey of Chicago.



Ethan Uslan

“Chicago” (1927) with Ethan Uslan, accompanist
Themes 1, 2, 3, 8
Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 pm – 8:45 pm

picture of Ethan UslanEthan Uslan is a ragtime/jazz pianist based in Charlotte, NC. A three-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, he has performed all over the USA, Europe, and Cyberspace, where his jazzed-up Für Elise has gone viral.

Uslan has appeared with symphony orchestras, jazz bands, improv comedy groups, and even a clown show.  He began studying classical piano at the age of 9 and took jazz piano lessons as a teenager. At Indiana University, he studied classical piano and musicology.

At some point in college, Ethan had a musical identity crisis. He still loved Bach and Beethoven, but he realized he didn't want to devote his life to classical music. Ragtime and early jazz were luring him in. Something about the rhythms, the harmonies, the catchy melodies, and the improvisations brought him joy. So, he embarked on a plan to learn to play ragtime and early jazz styles, and he hasn’t looked back since!

Uslan plays locally in Charlotte but also travels to help pianos in need of syncopation treatment. His repertoire includes original arrangements of Civil-War era songs, New Orleans Jazz, 1920s Charlestons, blues, stomps, Harlem stride piano, swing, Cuban rumbas, jazzed-up versions of classical masterpieces, and one Hawaiian song called Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula.

A Phi Theta Kappa Honors Institute favorite, Uslan will accompany the silent film, Chicago, the original 1927 Roxie Hart story.



City As Text™

How the World Works: Presentations from City As Text™ Explorations of Chicago
Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Thursday, June 8, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

On Wednesday, Honors Institute participants will explore Chicago with their seminar groups to discover how the world works in specific, assigned areas of the city. At Thursday morning’s General Session 6, each seminar group will present a brief summary of its findings from walking around, observing and talking to people who live and work in these neighborhoods. Exploring different areas of Chicago and hearing from each seminar group will offer participants meaningful insights into one of the United States’ great cities.



iO Improv

The Whirled News Tonight
Themes 2, 3, 4, 5, 8
Thursday, June 8, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

picture of iO ImprovWidely considered to be the premier venue for long-form improvisational performances and classes, the iO Theater (formerly known as the ImprovOlympic Theater) was founded in 1981 by Charna Halpern and the late improvisational teacher and director, Del Close.

The iO Theater quickly became a hub of comic creativity that has helped inspire and train an entire generation of America’s best and brightest comedic actors and writers that include some of the most recognizable names in the entertainment industry like Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Amy Poehler, David Koechner, Cecily Strong, Adam McKay, Aidy Bryant, Tim Meadows, Seth Meyers, and many more.

iO Improv’s Whirled News Tonight team strives to not only provide a satirical turn on current events, but to provide another, human, point of view of those stories.