Tufts Hybrid Racing is Back!

The Tufts Hybrid Racing team is excited for 2013, and especially to get back to work on their race car, the THR 13.

The team was founded in 2008 under the leadership of Matt Liberatore, E09,  and with support from School of Engineering Dean’s Office and the Peter and Denise Wittich Family Fund for Alternative Energy Research. They have competed in the annual Formula Hybrid competition, where university students design, build, and race high-performance hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Tufts Hybrid Racing team created this short promo video during winter break to get everyone excited and ready for the work ahead. Check it out!




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Winter Break, Fletcher Style

On The Fletcher School’s Admissions Facebook page, you can see photos of Fletcher students on winter break adventures. From skiing in Colorado to visiting the sand dunes of Khimsar, check out their  Facebook page to see what these students are up to!

Here’s a sneak peek:


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Kitty Calendar Stars

Each year, veterinary students at the Cummings School create a cat calendar that raises money for events on campus, like seminars and labs on feline topics. featured some of the great photos included in this year’s calendar, including 10-year old Velcro who has “a disregard for personal space” and a former foster kitten named Furby who is a  “sassypants diva.”  Some of the cute calendar stars are below, but check out the whole gallery on

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“Derp” Gets an Update

Nearly three years ago in Ming Chow’s Game Development class, Richard Mondello, A12, and Philip Tang, E12, created an app they called Derp. Derp is a “fast-paced two-ball pong-inspired game that you play with a someone sitting directly across from you.”

Ming Chow’s Game Development class, in the Department of Computer Science, teaches students how to create complete computer and video games from start to finish. The class focuses on the different elements to a game,  user interfaces, sound, animation, and game hacking.

A new version of Derp, that now supports the iPhone 5, was released after the new year. Check it out!


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Admissions on Reddit: Ask Me Anything

The application deadline for undergraduate admissions was Friday, January 3. On New Year’s Day, Dan in Admissions took to Reddit to challenge Redditers to ask him anything about the college admissions process.

The nearly 400 comments on the post ranged from questions about legacy students and financial aid to inquiries about horse-sized ducks and Dan’s t-shirt. Check out the AMA for Dan’s inside look at college admissions.

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Professor Roger Fielding on Sarcopenia

Tufts Senior Scientist Roger Fielding recently sat down with Andrew Dudley, a specialist on Sarcopenia, to discuss Fielding’s research innovations. Sarcopenia, which involves the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a hotly researched field, and Fielding’s work at Tufts has paved the way in recent years.

As the Director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, a branch of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Fielding works to understand how nutrition and physical activity may help prevent or reverse physical dysfunction in adults. Fielding explains that:

We study the factors that influence the age-related changes in muscle mass and muscle strength, and we try to examine interventions that could potentially slow or reverse the process.

Check out the video below, and learn more about Sarcopenia on Facebook and Twitter.

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M.A. / Ed.S. in School Psychology

The Tufts Department of Education offers a unique graduate program in School Psychology, which seeks to engage its diverse group of students in critical conversations regarding race, class, culture, language, gender, and sexuality in schools. The hallmark of the program is its pre-practicum experience: students are placed in urban school systems, where they complete a year of supervised fieldwork and gain a thorough understanding of school psychology for today’s diverse educational environments.

In the department’s new video, current students and faculty highlight the department’s collaborative environment, commitment to clinical skill-building, innovative developmental approach, and focus on professional development.  Check out the video here, and read some quotes from faculty members below:

Professor Silas Pinto:

“We’re trying to think about school psychology in a holistic way”

Professor Erin Seaton:

“In the school psychology program, there’s such a strong emphasis on understanding the ways race, class, gender, economics, and culture all impact the student’s experience.”

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Colony Collapse Disorder in Environmental Preservation and Improvement

This semester Will Russack, A14, enrolled in the “Environmental Preservation and Improvement” course taught by Associate Professor George Ellmore. The course’s goal is to “energize students’ desire to work for positive and measurable environmental change” by highlighting solutions to current environmental problems.

Little did Russack know, the two-and-a-half hour environmental studies seminar would inspire him to write a series of posts on his personal blog on the topics discussed in class. He writes: “So far I’m really enjoying the class because every week I come away with a plethora of knowledge about a new topic and the confidence to talk about it.”

One of those topics was “colony collapse disorder,” the phenomenon of the sudden disappearance of honey bees in the United States:

“We investigated the potential for multiple factors to be working together to create these massive die-offs, as the research has been unable to find a clear culprit. The first factor discussed is the usage of systemic pesticides. Systemic pesticides spread throughout all the tissues of a plant, including the nectar and pollen. This means that adult forager bees are receiving direct exposure to the pesticides, and that entire colonies are experiencing indirect exposure when the foragers return. Systemic pesticides are known as neonicotinoids, which have been shown to have significant effects on the central nervous system.

A study by Pettis et al. demonstrated that honey bees exposed to a systemic pesticide known as imidacloprid were significantly more susceptible to infection from the gut pathogen Nosema (figure 1). A second study by Henry et al. showed that exposure to systemic pesticides decreased foraging success in honey bees. The bees were fitted with radar tagging devices to track their position (figure 2). The bees experienced significant“homing failure,”  with up to 31% of bees exposed to pesticides unable to find their way back to hive after foraging. Mortality due to homing failure was even higher when the bees were unfamiliar with their foraging area, as one would expect. Here we can see how just 1 factor, pesticides, is able to have multiple effects on bee health and how these factors could interact to weaken colonies.”

For more on Russack’s presentation, check out his blog post.

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The Robot that Played the Violin

For Professor Rogers’ Introductory Robotics and Mechatronics (ME 84) class, students were required to design a robot to play a musical instrument.

Upon hearing their assignment, Emmanuel Runes, E13, Alexander Metzger, E13, Brad Nakanishi, E13, Bronson Wongkew, E14, and Nate Goldsberry, E13, decided to challenge themselves and take on the violin. Why is the violin a challenge, you ask? “Basically, the difficulty is not only being able to hit the various strings for pitch difference, which by itself can be a difficult problem, but the hardest issue is the bowing motion: you need to apply the correct amount of force and correct amount of speed for bowing because too slow or fast causes squeaking from the violin and negatively affects the sound,” explains Metzeger.

After more than 130 hours working on the project, the group debuted their masterpiece at a special Robot Concer in Distler Performance Hall on December 6. Check out the fruits of their labor in the video below!

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Keeping up with the news, whether it’s politics, pop culture, or anything in between, can be tough, especially as a young professional on the go. Just ask Danielle Weisberg, A08, and Carly Zakin, two ambitious twenty-somethings who know that “skimming the headlines” can be confusing and difficult, particularly with the advent of so many online media outlets. Weisberg and Zakin decided to take on the responsibility of keeping their generation in the know: enter theSkimm, an innovative and fun take on the daily headlines with the promise of “we read, you skimm.”

Zakin and Weisberg met on a semester abroad in Rome, and they both worked at NBC after college. In an interview with Business Insider, they explained:

[theSkimm is] for someone who’s smart, career-minded, and social. They might be going to a cocktail party or wedding, where news stories come up in conversation.  We want our readers to be able to start the conversations. theSkimm is meant to be a confidence booster.

Weisberg majored in American Studies at Tufts, and has worked in broadcast journalism for NBC News, as well as in editorial positions at The Daily Beast and Boston Magazine.

For more information, check out TheSkimm on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure to sign up theSkimm, new editions come out every weekday.

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