Posts Tagged blog
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.
Maia Majumder, E12, spends her days working at Tufts’ downtown campus, but she makes time to explore her passion for fashion on the side. Majumder, who graduated from Tufts as an engineer last May and will receive her MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics this spring, recently started “Beantown Beauties,” a blog covering fashion and style in the greater Boston area.
The idea for the blog is simple – Majumder photographs well-dressed Bostonians she encounters on the street, at work, in Starbucks, or wherever else she happens to be, and then shares the photos with her online followers. She says:
The idea is very simple. I ask beautifully dressed people I see on the street if I may quickly photograph them and their outfits for this blog. As most of us who dress beautifully tend to do so (at least partly) to make an impression on those around us, most say yes. (Plus, what a better way to make someone’s day than to note his or her excellence?)
She also provides links to affordable fashion sites and suggests some of her favorite local spots. Check out Beantown Beauties here, and get a glimpse into the fashionable side of Boston.
In an economic climate where a bachelors degree no longer guarantees a job after graduation, one Jumbo has taken it upon herself to go above and beyond in the hiring process – she created a blog, ”How to Market to Me: Your Guide to the Millennial Market.”
In her blog, Lindsey Kirchoff, A12, profiles select Boston companies, talks marketing, and breaks down what makes millennials tick with insights that could only come from from being part of the hard-to-reach generation herself. One of these insights came from an unlikely source: superhero movies:
It seems strange to think of movies as narratives for our time, but hey, I’m an English major. In response to the hardships of the Great Depression, escapist movies, such as The Wizard of Oz dominated the 1930s. Superhero movies provide an ideal narrative for a generation facing enormous challenges.
Think about it. Millennials were raised in the time of everyone-gets-a-trophy parenting. We were told that we were being special just for being our unique selves. Social networks, like Facebook, encourage us to promote our inherent individuality for the world to see. In short, we were told to believe we were special because we were ourselves.
Now, take superheroes. With the exception of self-made heroes like Batman and Iron Man, the majority of superheroes received their powers for chance, not merit. Whether it’s a spider bite or a gamma ray accident, the origin of most powers are through no action of their own, but rather an event beyond their control. Superheroes are ordinary people randomly granted extraordinary abilities. The merit wasn’t earned, but they use it for greatness.
Despite the Great Recession, high unemployment rate, polarizing political division and climate change, millennials remain a surprisingly optimistic generation. Whether it’s naivete, ignorance or just the faith in ourselves, we plan to take on this great responsibility–even if we don’t necessarily have great power.”
You can check out Lindsey’s blog here.
Rising senior Charmaine Poh, A13, lives international relations: spending her time between Singapore, New York City, and the hill, and she has even fit in a few trips to Nepal, India, and Burma. She’s merged her life experiences around the world with the Jumbo focus on active citizenship and shared her thoughts via her personal blog.
She recently attended a few exhibitions mixing art and social change:
And she was inspired to bring what she saw to the hill:
Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to put what I’ve learned into practice at Tufts…. What I’ve managed to do is miniscule in scale in comparison to what could happen in the future, but I’m nevertheless optimistic.
I’d like to see the corporate and the non-profit world team up, breaking down the stereotypes each industry sees in the other, and in turn focusing their eyes on a common cause. I’d like to see fashion entities, arts festivals, museums and the like adopt this into their corporate social responsibility strategy, knowing that it can benefit them. And likewise, non-profits need to know that creativity does not necessarily mean a waste of funds. If anything, it’s time to think relevant. You need no further proof than charity:water to see the truth of this.
Check out more of Poh’s moments of inspiration here.
At some point in every Jumbo’s life, students are faced with an all too familiar dilemma: life without a meal plan. Without the convenience of salad bars, healthy options, and a myriad of protein choices, what’s a Jumbo to do!? In an effort to deal with this mid-college crisis, Lydia Jessup, A13, and Alex Testa, E13, started Feastie Girls, a community driven food blog for college students focusing on cooking healthy, quick, inexpensive, and fun dishes. Jessup sums up their mission stating, “We wanted to create a place where college students could share ideas and get inspired in the kitchen.”
From recipes that would only be acceptable in college (Frat bread, anyone?) to the more sophisticated Zesty Cucumber Gazpacho, The Feastie Girls cover it all! Keeping with their community-driven focus, the girls allow for anyone currently in college (and those who remember recipes from their college years) with a love of healthy, delicious food to contribute. One of their contributors is Jeff Marvel, A13, who gives us a taste of his personal experiences as a newbie in the kitchen along with a recipe for his easy Chicken, Broccoli, and Pasta:
If you’re like me, then growing up was defined by delicious home cooked meals by mom. Coming into college, I knew how to to scramble an egg and toast a bagel. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much. The inevitable threat of cooking was delayed for a few years by this beautiful thing called the unlimited meal plan. But now it’s summer, I’m on my own and faced with the daunting task of creating reasonably nutritious meals at minimal cost.
Faced with this challenge, I settled on a childhood favorite: broccoli. This superfood is one of the more nutrient dense vegetables on the planet, according to CNN, and has proven cancer prevention abilities. It’s cheap, yummy, healthy and easy to cook. Sounds about right.
I decided to make chicken and pasta because, well, I’m not really sure. They just seemed like reasonable things to cook. But together, chicken, broccoli, and pasta create a cheap, nutritious dish that’s easy to make for someone just starting out. Hope you enjoy!
It may be summer, but that doesn’t mean that minds are not a-churning on the hill! Aside from students in the always enlightening Tufts Summer Session courses, the hill is bustling with students taking part in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies. The Institute is an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar that brings together advanced graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from diverse fields of study. For those wishing to take part in the Institute outside the class, one of their main lecturers, Peter Levine, has taken to the blogosphere to give us an insider’s peek into his summer course. Check out a snippet from his lecture on Roberto Unger:
Here is a little fable (mine, not Unger’s) that illustrates how his theoretical position relates to everyday civic efforts:
A group of middle class students has volunteered to serve meals at a homeless shelter. They love the experience. During the reflection session later, one remarks, “Serving the homeless was so great! I hope that shelter will still be open in 50 years, so my grandchildren can serve.”
A progressive educator cries, “No! Our goal must be to end homelessness. You need to think about root causes, not just serve free food once a week. What are the fundamental causes of homelessness?” Chastened, the students do serious research and determine that homelessness results from poverty, which, in turn, is a byproduct of late capitalism.
They are trying to figure out what to do about capitalism when Roberto Mangabeira Unger happens to walk by. “No!” cries Unger. “You are assuming that the link between poverty and homelessness is natural or inevitable. You have seen patterns in our limited experience and have derived ‘lawlike tendencies or deep-seated economic, organizational, and psychological constraints’ from the data; these now limit your imaginations. We human beings have made the social world and we can change any part of it–not only the parts that you have identified as deep structures, but also any of the other elements or links.
“Your ‘confining assumptions … impoverish [your] sense of the alternative concrete institutional forms democracies and markets can take.’ By focusing on the biggest and most intractable factors, you guarantee defeat, whereas any part of the picture could be changed. It would be possible to have a capitalist society with poverty but no shortage of homes. What if we got rid of all zoning rules and rent control but gave everyone a voucher for rent? What if public buildings were retrofitted to allow people to sleep comfortably in them at night? What if some houses were shared, like ZipCars, and homeless people occupied the temporarily empty ones? What if …?
Peter Levine is the Research Director of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and Director of their CIRCLE oranization, The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. For more of his lectures, check out his blog on the Tufts Roundtable Commons.
There is so much beauty here. Beauty in the scenery, and in tricks of the light. Beauty in the wedding of two staff members, and all of the staff’s incredible commitment to the hospital. Beauty in the resilience of the patients who walk for hours in the morning to get their treatments, and then walk hours back at night to go work in their fields. Beauty in the son who stays by his mother’s side as she struggles through MDR TB, and in the kid that pulled through from a case of Kala Azar.But there is also hardship here in Achham. In the patients who we can’t help and who don’t make it back home.This is a land of beauty that deserves beauty. That is why we do our work.
In her first semester at Tufts, Alexa Stevens, A13, enrolled in Arabic 1 completely unaware that a subject as unfamiliar as Arabic would change the course of her life. Throughout her time at Tufts, her intellectual curiosity towards the Middle East grew into a love and respect for the area that led her to major in Middle Eastern studies, visit Iran the summer after her sophomore year, and study abroad in Jordan the fall of her Junior year. She keeps a blog chronicling her intellectual journey exploring the Middle East that begins days before she departs for Iran and continues through her college experience in which she explains what, or rather who, inspired her to follow her dreams overseas:
I could tell you that a semester in Jordan sparked my interest in the Cause, or maybe the weeks of travel to Israel and Palestine that I did after that semester, or that perhaps it was my intense study of the Middle East that brought me to delve further into the tightly-wound knot that is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. But I would be lying, because really the thing that pulled me into a situation which has become highly academic, polemical and esoteric was its most essential element: a person. Namely, my second-year Arabic teacher Suhad. She told us about her family’s home in Gaza, about her experiences during the Second Intifada at Birzeit University, about the fifty-two days she spent between the Israeli and Jordanian borders as a stateless person, about coming to the US and re-doing her entire college education, and about the uphill battle she’s been fighting since birth. Her eyes pulled me in, right back to the center of this thing–the people whose lives will never be entirely their own, but rather a part of the intractable conflict in the Holy Land.
Check out the rest of her post and where her studies at Tufts have taken her here.
With International Relations being one of Tufts’s most popular majors, odds are most Jumbos have had at least some exposure to basic economic principles. But whether you’re an econ-savvy Jumbo or one who chose another path, you’re bound to enjoy Tufts Economics Society’s new blog. In it, they discuss the current economic climate, things they learn in their classes, and musings on how economics affect our daily lives. Pierre Chalon, A14, wrote one of these posts and chose to focus on the Big Mac Index, common knowledge in the world of economics that simplifies our understanding of exchange rates.
“Here’s the interesting part. To simplify this theory and make it more accessible to people not necessarily knowledgeable about currency fluctuations, in 1986, The Economistmagazine published the ‘Big Mac Index,’ essentially a data table with prices of a single Big Mac burger in many countries in local currencies. The idea was to make the basket of goods merely a McDonald’s Big Mac burger so as to determine whether currencies were being over or under valued. How? Let me give an example. Let’s say the average Big Mac in America costs US$3.22 and 509 Kronur in Iceland (US$ 7.22 at the market exchange rate). This implies a PPP of 158 Kronur for a dollar (where they would equalize). We then compare the exchange rate of the currencies to the cost of a Big Mac to see where it would be cheaper overall to buy it. In this case, the actual dollar exchange rate is 68.4, meaning that the Icelandic krona is currently being over-valued by 131% and it should (in theory), depreciate against the US dollar.