Blogs

GlobeMed Looks Back

GlobeMed at Tufts, a group on campus that is “committed to improving the lives of people in impoverished communities around the world through better healthcare,” recently took a look back on their impressive fall 2012 semester. Their “Photo Review of Fall Semester” chronicles fundraisers, new members, and new adventures. Visit their blog for complete look at their year in photos.

What will they tackle spring semester?

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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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theSkimm

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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Tufts Professors on “Academic Minute”

In the past year, several Tufts professors have been featured on “Academic Minute,” a series broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that focuses on the academic innovations coming out of colleges and universities around the world. In August, the series featured Tufts Music Professor Dr. Joseph Auner, who spoks about the technology behind modern electronic instruments. “Academic Minute” has also spoken with Dr. Gregory Crane, editor of the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts, who researches the importance of Arabic translations of documents from Ancient Greece.

Professor Crane explains the significance of Arabic translation:

Many scientific terms such as algebra and chemistry come to us from Arabic. European culture rediscovered ancient sources like Aristotle and Euclid via Latin translations from Arabic translations of the Greek originals.”

The “Academic Minute” podcasts reach a wide audience on a daily basis. For more information, check out the podcast’s Facebook and Twitter Pages.

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Tufts in Spain Gets Comfortable

While Jumbos on the hill are a month into their classes and beginning to feel the semester pick up, Tufts in Spain students are just getting acquainted with Madrid and Alcala, the two cities where the program resides. The getting-acquainted process was aided by the introduction of the program’s newest event, the “Finde de Intercambios” or “Exchange Weekend.”

The weekend kicked off with a fiesta de intercambios, a casual party in which students met their intercambios, Spanish students at the University of Alcala and Autonomous University of Madrid who were assigned to Tufts students as pen pals so they could foster relationships and practice their language skills before heading to Spain. The weekend continued with guided tours of both Madrid and Alcala.

For an insider look at their Exchange Weekend, check out these pictures and videos from the fiesta de intercambios in Madrid:

 For updates on how the group is doing adapting to Spanish culture, keep an eye on the program’s blog - but be warned, most entries are written in Spanish!

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World Damba Festival 2012

The World Damba Festival, a 3-day conference highlighting the music, dance, and traditions of Northern Ghana, was held at Tufts this year from September 14-16. The festival was free and open to the public, and it featured a wide variety of events, many of them supported by the Tufts Department of Music, as well as several other departments and offices throughout the university. Highlights included a folk music concert, lectures on the history and sociology of Ghana, a performance by Tufts’ Dagomba Drumming Ensemble, and a fashion show featuring members of Tufts’ African Students Organization.

While the festival attracted participants from around the world, Tufts students and faculty were a significant presence at different events throughout the weekend. It was a festival filled with tons of energy, plentiful Ghanian food, lively drum circles, and stimulating discussions–a great way for Tufts to forge a connection with the Ghanian community at large.

Here’s a video from the event:

 

 

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A Modern Hippocratic Oath

On Saturday, more than 200 students at Tufts Medical School were welcomed into the medical profession during the annual White Coat Ceremony. The Class of 2016 came together at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston to receive their white coats and then celebrated at a reception at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

Common Health, a WBUR blog, wrote about the ceremony and also about the Hippocratic Oath that all medical doctors take. Although many people know of this oath, most don’t know that the modern version has a Tufts connection. The modern oath was written in 1964 by Dr. Louis Lasagna, who later became Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. This updated oath emphasizes a “holistic and compassionate approach to medicine” and has been adopted by many medical schools.

Take a look at these excerpts from the old and new oaths (from the Common Health blog):

Hippocrates:

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant.

Modern version by Dr. Louis Lasagna:

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

Congratulations to the newest Tufts medical students on receiving their white coats!

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Market to Lindsey

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.

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Exhibition and Social Change

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:

Photo by Charmaine Poh, "You've Got a Fast Car"

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.

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Green Trips for All!

Thanks to Tufts Recycles!, anyone can decrease (or completely remove) their environmental footprint while on the road. Basing their tips from the movie YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip, Christopher Ghanny, A15, drops some knowledge on sustainable traveling. From basics like using your own dishware to lesser-known techniques using smartphones, their environmental wisdom offers ideas we can use both on the road and in every day life:

Tupperware is your best friend.

Instead of wasteful food containers and plastic bags, bring reusable plastic bins with you to hold your leftovers and food scraps. When shopping, use your tupperware to stash fruits, granola, or nuts bought from bulk bins (Whole Foods has them, and they’re less pricey than you probably think!). Locking containers like the ones pictured above also prevent flies and animals from getting into your food supply.”

Keep these tips in mind when you go on your next trip or adventure and for more helpful environment-friendly tips, be sure to check out Tufts Recycles! on Twitter and Facebook.

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