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Ted Buchanan

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Two students win Sykes Award recognizing nontraditional abilities and interests

The Timothy Skyes Daytrading Award for the Talented recognizes individuals connected to Tulane whose abilities and accomplishments exist outside traditional areas of interest. 

May 8, 2012

Michael Joe
mjoe@tulane.edu  

Recognized for their unique interests and passions, Tulane University junior John Tiebout III and senior Colin Kemper were recently announced as the winners of the 2012 Timothy Skyes Daytrading Award for the Talented. Tiebout will spend the summer studying what happens when urban farms replace industrial space in Detroit, and Kemper will work with a professional string quartet to perform a music piece he composed.   

The annual cash prize award recognizes individuals connected to Tulane whose abilities and accomplishments exist outside traditional areas of interest.   

Tiebout, an English and psychology major, told the Sykes selection committee that urban agriculture has only recently become a passion. He was inspired by two things: the ugliness of Phelps Hall, a student residence building facing Bruff Quad, and a study on the psychological effects of tending to plants. Last spring, he began a successful beautification program for on-campus sophomores, providing them with materials to make flower boxes for their balconies.   

Tiebout spent the summer on a farm in western Tennessee, an experience that opened his eyes to the rewards of farming. And last fall, he conducted a semester-long study of rooftop community gardens in a crime-ridden borough of Copenhagen, Denmark. “My research showed me the power of urban agriculture to transform the social and economic barriers to growth in our cities,” Tiebout wrote in his application to the selection committee.   

In Detroit this summer, Tiebout plans to spend several weeks volunteering at two urban farms and talking to community leaders. The two farms have radically different approaches. One farm has an entrepreneurial vision and earns profits while still depending on volunteers, and the other takes a more community-oriented approach to bringing together and nourishing the city’s African American community. “I hope to see how the farms’ divergent visions strive for similar goals and economic empowerment,” Tiebout told the committee.   

Kemper, a history and music major, has been working on a one-movement composition since fall 2011, dedicating five to 10 hours each week to research, analysis and writing. “The composition piece is not finished after the piece is written. The last step is working with performers,” Kemper wrote to the committee.     

Kemper initially applied for the award because he needed money to hire professional musicians. However, the music department was able to raise enough funds to hire the Razvan Constantine String Quartet to perform Kemper’s composition and the works of other student-composers at a concert on May 7.   

Kemper will submit the recorded performance for entry in national competitions. He is saving the prize money to support a future performance while he is studying music composition in graduate school at Tulane.   

Tulane music professor Barbara M. Jazwinski told the committee that Kemper is a talented composer and musician. “Colin has several pieces for various ensembles that have not yet been performed. These works deserve to be heard,” she said.   

The award was established in 2003 by Tulane alumnus Tim Sykes, the author of An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund.   

Michael Joe is a writer in the Office of Development Writing.

 

 

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