Archive for July, 2010

Finding romance by commuting on the VTA

July 29th, 2010
Maria Frank

Maria Frank

Sure, commuting is good for the environment and good for the pocketbook. But who would ever expect that commuting to Stanford would lead to romance? Well, it did for MARIA FRANK, student services officer in the Physics Department, and Jose Guadalupe.

The story was revealed when the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority recently profiled Frank on its “MyVTA” website, which is designed to promote the VTA’s bus and light rail services as a form of alternative transportation to driving alone. Given Stanford’s decreasing drive-alone rate, it’s not surprising the VTA came looking at the university for good stories to tell. According to a recent survey, more than half of Stanford employees on the main campus walked, rode bicycles, shared rides or boarded buses or trains to get to work in 2010.

They certainly found a good story with Frank, who confided to the VTA, “I met my boyfriend at the bus stop near my house.”

The VTA also profiled TESS DE GUZMAN, a systems administrator in the WorkLife Office who rides the VTA every day to work from her home in Mountain View.

Read the profiles of both at the “MyVTA” archived stories website.

Astrophysics graduate student wins San Francisco Marathon

July 28th, 2010

KEITH BECHTOL, a graduate student in astrophysics, won the San Francisco Marathon this past weekend. Local news outlets reported that this was his first road marathon. Not only did Bechtol win the race, but he also set a course record, finishing in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported this:

“I find it’s a really good balance for me,” said Bechtol, referring to his running and his work on a NASA satellite project. “It would be really hard for me to just study.”

He told Channel 5 News, “I was just taking it one step at a time, and I wasn’t expecting that this one would go as well as it did. I guess I’ll have to look at the calendar and see what [upcoming race] looks fun.”

Read more about his win in the San Jose Mercury News and Palo Alto Online.

Panel moderated by Tavis Smiley now online

July 26th, 2010

Clayborne Carson

If you were unable to attend the peace and justice conference sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute on July 16 and 17, you still have an opportunity to hear some of the dialogue that took place that day. Audio of the session hosted by television and radio personality Tavis Smiley on July 16 is now available online.

Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley

The panelists included Vincent Harding, adviser to the Rev. King and director of Veterans of Hope; Dorothy Cotton, former director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Citizenship Education Program; Mary King of Costa Rica’s University for Peace; educator Kiran Sethi, founder of India’s Riverside School; Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolent Education in Berkeley; Eric Mann, director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles; and Clayborne Carson, director of the King Institute.
The theme of the panel was “Achieving Global Peace with Justice in a Sustainable Environment.”

Carson noted that often activists view their work through separate lenses—peace, civil rights or the environment, instead of viewing them as interconnected movements.

“I just really thought that it would be productive to bring together some people who have spent their lifetimes working with these issues and see what they have to say. How do we have a holistic conversation about the issues that are very important for our collective destiny?” Carson said.

The full two-hour conversation is available on the Tavis Smiley Show website.

‘What on Earth?’ cartoon features Stanford science

July 26th, 2010

Cartoon characters Bebbo, a polar bear, and Kito, a puffin, referred to a recent Stanford study in Neil Wagner’s comic strip/blog “What on Earth?” which is featured on National Public Radio’s “Science Friday” website. Wagner’s recent post includes a link to the article written earlier this month by MARK SHWARTZ of the Woods Institute for the Environment titled “Heat waves and extremely high temperatures could be commonplace in the U.S. by 2039, Stanford study finds.”WOE_136Hot1stHalf2010

What’s new in ‘The Book Haven’

July 22nd, 2010

sst-wanderings-iconIn her blog, The Book Haven, Stanford News Service writer Cynthia Haven writes about L. Peter Callender, who plays the title character in the Stanford Summer Theater’s performance of Wanderings of Odysseus, which opens tonight at the Nitery Theater. The Trinidadian actor, who was trained at Julliard and the Berkeley Rep, also is the founding director of San Francisco’s African American Shakespeare Company.

The “L” at the beginning of his name? Stands for “Lear.” Fitting.

Read the full post and more in The Book Haven.

‘Florence turns 50′

July 20th, 2010

florenceStanford’s overseas program in Italy celebrated a milestone birthday in June – 50 years. According to IRENE KENNEDY, executive director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program,   450 alumni and guests were on hand to celebrate in Florence.

A feature in the latest Stanford magazine also dropped a few names of alumni who had participated in the program as students: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian DAVID KENNEDY, ’63; Yale University President RICHARD LEVIN, ’68; former U.S. Ambassador to Austria SUSAN RASINSKI MCCAW, ’84; and founder RICHARD BURTON, ’89.

Read the full article in Stanford magazine.

Rikhil Bhavnani and Hilary Chart win Clayman Institute graduate essay prize

July 15th, 2010

RIKHIL BHAVNANI and HILARY CHART, graduate students in political science and anthropology, respectively, are the recipients of this year’s Marjorie Lozoff Graduate Essay Prize from the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

Marjorie Lozoff

Marjorie Lozoff

The prize, established in 2002, is given to a graduate student conducting research on issues related to reproductive rights for women, equal rights for women, and protections for women, aging and the family. It is named for the late MARJORIE LOZOFF, an author, lecturer and social worker who conducted research on student development and student life at Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry.

Hilary Chart

Hilary Chart

Chart’s essay, titled “Child Care and the Commodification of ‘Women’s Work’ in Botswana: New Perspectives on Three Critiques of Capitalism,” results from her research in and around Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone. A graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, Chart studies women’s micro-enterprise, and in particular the rapid expansion of for-profit daycare centers.

Rikhil Bhavnani

Rikhil Bhavnani

In his essay, “Do Electoral Quotas Work After They Are Withdrawn? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India,” which was published last year in the American Political Science Review, Bhavnani looked at evidence from an experiment in India, where randomly chosen seats in local legislatures are set aside for women, one election at a time. He found that women were five times as likely to win office when the constituency was reserved for women in the previous election. While the mechanisms require further investigation, Bhavnani believes that reservations work in part by inducting “new” women into politics, and by giving parties the opportunity to learn that women can win elections.

The full story on Lozoff and the essay prize are available on the Clayman Institute website.

‘The Scientist’ names Stanford one of the best places to work

July 14th, 2010

In the eighth annual Best Places to Work in Academia survey of The Scientist, STANFORD is ranked 13th out of 119 possible U.S. academic and non-commercial organizations for employment.

Through the survey, The Scientist purports to determine how tenured, permanent or tenure-track life scientists at academic and non-commercial institutions rate the quality of their experience in their place of employment. Respondents were asked to assess their working environments by indicating their level of agreement with 38 statements in eight different areas, as well as indicating which of those statements were most important to them. There were more than 2,300 qualified responses and 119 institutions represented.

The full article can be found in the July issue of The Scientist.

Photographing Stanford one day at a time

July 13th, 2010
At the Arizona Cactus Garden

At the Arizona Cactus Garden

Alumni relations officer CINDY PEARSON has been taking a photograph of Stanford a day, chronicling the life of the university in delightful and unexpected ways. From busy bees at the Arizona Cactus Garden to students bedecked in rain wear to colorful wild flowers, her daily blog offers a slice of life that often goes unnoticed in the rush to work and classes. We’ve shared some photos here, but you should visit the blog titled “Every Day Stanford.” It is one of several offered by the Alumni Association.

Pearson says she started the project after having joined a Flickr group in which group members took and posted a photo a day for a year.

“I found myself bringing my camera to work a lot and taking photos around campus on lunchtime walks. And as I did, I started noticing and discovering things I hadn’t ‘seen’ before,” she said. “As fall approached, I started thinking about whether or not I’d carry on with the 365 project for another year. The Alumni Association blogs were launching, and 2010 is also my 30th reunion year. So, all those things sort of merged into an idea that I’d take a photo of Stanford every workday, starting at Dinner on the Quad at Reunion Homecoming 2009 and ending at my 30th reunion at Reunion Homecoming 2010. It was a way to celebrate my reunion year—sharing a bit of Stanford today with my classmates and anyone else who was interested!”

Pearson ventures out a noon, picking a different part of the campus each day to peruse. She searches for a subject that will somehow illustrate that particular day. Sometimes she’s happy with her work, sometimes she’s not. She posts either way.

“I’ve had to get over being too self-conscious about my work and just put it out there. And funny enough, some of the photos that I’ve been least happy with have generated the best responses.”

She adds, “With my reunion and my own Stanford memories in the back of my mind, I try to show both some of the new as well as what hasn’t changed much over the years.”

Visit her blog.



Campus wildflowers

Campus wildflowers

At the Cantor Arts Center

At the Cantor Arts Center

Law professor to be appointed by President Obama to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

July 12th, 2010

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

President Barack Obama has announced his intent to appoint law Professor MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR, an expert on federal regulatory policy, public safety and international security, to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent agency charged with improving the efficiency and fairness of federal agencies.

Cuéllar, who is the Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar, has been on the faculty at the Law School since 2001. He recently returned from a leave of absence he took in early 2009 to serve as special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council. Among other issues, Cuéllar worked on improving food safety and public health policy, expanding support to state and local law enforcement, enhancing transparency in the regulatory process and strengthening border coordination and immigrant integration. He negotiated key provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and represented the Domestic Policy Council in the development of the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Earlier, Cuéllar co-chaired the Obama Transition’s Immigration Policy Committee and served as a Treasury official in the Clinton administration.

As part of the ACUS Council, Cuéllar will join leading lawyers such as former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Wald and former Solicitor General Ted Olson in overseeing the work of the ACUS and setting its priorities. With the appointment to the ACUS Council, Cuéllar will draw upon his scholarly expertise in how institutions manage complex regulatory challenges as well as his experience in government.

See more information on the Law School website.