When Evan Barnathan, A08, M14, became a Boston Schweitzer Fellow, the choice of what to do for his year of service was obvious. As a former member of the Tufts Amalgamates and current music director of his beloved group, he spent the year launching Josiah Quincy Upper School‘s first choral effort: Attuned, an a cappella group that offered students the opportunity to both explore their musical creativity and develop positive self-identity and behaviors. Barnathan worked with students who were “‘unable to sing ‘Happy Birthday’” and through weekly rehearsals, private lessons, and field trips (to see the Bubs!), transformed them “into a formidable a cappella ensemble performing everything from pop to soul with pieces ranging from ‘Unwritten’ by Natasha Bedingfield to ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.”
Boston Schweitzer Fellows focuses on addressing unmet health needs and is one of thirteen program sites across the US. Their site boasts, “Since the program’s inception, Schweitzer Fellows in Boston—competitively chosen from health-focused graduate student applicants in a variety of fields—have worked tirelessly to address health disparities and the social determinants of health throughout the greater Boston and Worcester areas.” Despite the program’s large scale success, Evan’s personal goals for his project focus on individual students: “I hope that this encourages the students to further engage in music education—and hopefully higher education, including college and beyond.”
For more on The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, be sure to check out their blog.
Every summer, after tiring of the beach and the heat, we flock to movie theaters to delight in the relief of air conditioning and a good flick. This Friday, our summer at the movies can take a break from superheroes, talking teddy bears, and pop stars to bear witness to a truly fascinating story brought to you in part by two Tufts alumni.
In their controversial film Ballplayer: Pelotero, Trevor Martin, A08, and Casey Beck, A07, bring us the story of Miguel Angel and Jean Carlo, two excellent Dominican baseball players. The boys are on the brink of turning 16 (the age in which they can be signed to a Major League Baseball farm), which could lead them to the majors.
Martin and Beck along with their crew, spent two years in the Dominican Republic filming and preparing their movie. The film “sheds light on some of the most pressing issues regarding the export of Dominican baseball players to the US: age and identity fraud, exploitation, and the opaque role Major League Baseball plays in determining the fates of young players and their families. However, at heart, the film is a story about two gifted young men with a shared dream, doing their best to navigate a mercenary world with the hopes, fears and burdens of their entire families riding on their success or failure.”
The documentary has received much criticism from the MLB for its controversial topic–the organization itself did not did not cooperate in the making of the film. Martin explains to the Boston Globe, “We took pains not to have the film come across as a heavy-handed indictment [...] It’s a complex issue. We leave value judgments up to the viewer.”
To make those judgments yourself, check out Ballplayer: Pelotero this Friday, July 13, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. If you’re not in the area, check out the movie’s website for a complete list of showing locations.
Evan Weinberg, E03, discovered his passion for teaching through a resident tutor in math and physics he maintained while at Tufts. The fall after graduation, he began teaching math at the ninth grade level through the New York City Teaching Fellows program. Nine years later, Evan proudly praises one of his first students’ recent graduation from his alma mater, explaining the special connection two Jumbos share across generations:
It isn’t a miracle that he will cross the stage to receive his Tufts diploma today. Far from it – he did the hard work to get where he is, and I can’t take credit for the great things he learned both in my presence and away from it. And his story is far from over – I hope he (like many other students I’ve told this) keeps me in mind if I ever need a job. His story, and those of the rest of his class earning degrees this month, make me incredibly proud to be a teacher.
That said, there is something special about our story. The unique way that Tufts now connects us is unlike any I’ve ever had with others, even with my own Tufts classmates in the class of 2003. I hope that he can look back fondly to his times on campus as I do from time to time. For whatever small part I served in getting him there, I am glad to have helped him out.
Evan currently teaches Advanced Algebra/Algebra 2, Geometry, Calculus AB, Physics, and a robotics elective for both middle and high school students at the Hangzhou International School, currently serving 300 students K-12 from around the world. The excerpt above was taken from his personal blog about teaching, learning and technology.
Yamila Irizarry-Gerould, A11, is recording her time in Cairo, Egypt with her blog, Traveler in an Antique Land. She received a fellowship from the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) to continue her Arabic studies for the next year in Cairo. She says,
As my Arabic improves, Egypt and the Middle East undergo tumultuous changes. This blog is my attempt to chronicle and share the country’s transformations, as well as my own.
She’s written about the recent Egyptian election, offering an inside view on the country during this pivotal time. Check out Traveler in an Antique Land for updates on Yamilia’s time in Cairo.
Dr. Michael Robb, A02, has been working at the Fred Rogers Center to develop the online community Early Learning Environment (Ele). Ele is one of the only digital media resources created for children from birth to five years old. Using Ele, early educators and those who care for young children can find online and mobile educational activities especially designed for adults to share with children. Ele helps teachers and family members find different kinds of media to “learn about helping children improve their language and reading skills.” Dr. Robb says that “talking is teaching” and that their goal is to have people view media the same way they would view a book: as a way to spend time with and talk with a child.
Check out this video where Dr. Robb talks shares details about Ele:
John Banas, A85, has a sports legend in his family tree. His grandfather was Lefty Gomez, the New York Yankees pitcher who won the very first major league All-Star Game. John was the force behind the new book, Lefty, An American Odyssey, and he recently appeared on a local Arizona television show to talk about his grandfather and the book. Check out this clip: