Archive for February, 2011

OpenIDEO joins Stanford bone marrow effort

February 28th, 2011
Jennifer Aaker

Jennifer Aaker

The Haas Center for Public Service is working with Graduate School of Business Professor JENNIFER AAKER and a team of student advisers to develop a large-scale bone marrow registrant drive. One Hundred Thousand Cheeks is a Stanford-based student group dedicated to getting 100,000 people signed up with the national bone marrow donor registry by June. Specifically, the effort seeks to address the severe shortage of South Asian donors in the registry, as there is a meager 1 in 20,000 chance for a potential South Asian recipient to find a match.

To design and execute the effort, the organizers will be working with OpenIDEO, a crowd-sourcing platform dedicated to the generation of solutions to social issues and a project of design company IDEO. This collaboration will allow the group to tap a community of designers to solve the issue of donor diversification and help improve the lives of cancer patients.

For a full description of the effort, visit the Haas Center’s 100K Cheeks website.

—Katie Pfeiffer

Love coffee: Love your brain

February 25th, 2011

lovecoffee“Unleash your inner dork” and  “Love coffee: Love your brain” are slogans for today’s Helmet Hookup, an event designed to promote the benefits of wearing a bike helmet.dork

“I have been dreaming of a helmet event since the beginning of the year, when I started wearing my helmet routinely,” said ELISE MARIE GEITHNER, ASSU executive chair of campus organizing.

So from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on White Plaza, you can purchase a bike helmet at a significant discount, spruce up the one you have, get information about bike safety or just get in touch with your inner dork. (If it rains or snows, the event will move to the ground floor of Old Union.)

And if you wear your helmet in line at one of the campus locations of Coupa Café, you’ll get a free espresso drink.

Geithner added that she was inspired by Community Health Educator DONNOVAN YISRAEL and the “confidence with which he rocks his shark-fin and brain helmet while skateboarding on campus.”

The event’s supporters and sponsors include Vaden Health Center, ASSU, Parking & Transportation Services’ Bicycle Program, the Department of Public Safety, the Campus Bike Shop, BeWell and Coupa Café.

VanDerveer named finalist for Basketball Hall of Fame

February 24th, 2011

taraStanford women’s basketball head coach TARA VANDERVEER was named one of 12 finalists to be considered for election to the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hall announced last Friday in Los Angeles. The Hall’s Class of 2011 will be announced April 4 at a news conference in Houston prior to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game.
“I am very honored and humbled to be among the 12 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,” VanDerveer said following the announcement. “I am continually appreciative of the opportunities and support that I have received throughout my career from Stanford University, Ohio State University, the University of Idaho and USA Basketball. I am also grateful for the chances I’ve had to continue to work with amazing and wonderful student-athletes and players on both the collegiate and international levels, without whom I would not be in the position I am in today.”

Stanford scholars, alum appointed to educational equity commission

February 23rd, 2011

Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond


Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

School of Education Professor LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND, law Professor MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR and Hoover Senior Fellow ERIC HANUSHEK are among the 28 scholars, civil rights leaders, advocates and corporate executives who were appointed last week to the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission. The commission will examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunity and recommend ways school finance can be improved to increase equity and achievement.

School of Education alum and Netflix cofounder REED HASTINGS will serve as co-chair with Christopher Edley, dean of the UC-Berkeley Law School. The full announcement is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

‘Klepto Kitty’ visits Stanford Video

February 22nd, 2011

Dusty in the Stanford Video studio with owners Jim Coleman and Jean Chu

If any video equipment turns up missing at Stanford Video, the staff should look no further than Dusty, the “Klepto Kitty.” Videos of Dusty, a four-legged cat burglar, have gone viral on the Internet. He’s also been a hit on Animal Planet and the local news. Dusty, who lives with his owners in San Mateo, steals his neighbors’ belongings — swimsuits, underwear, shoes — upward of 600 items over the past three years, according to KGO-TV. Last week Dusty visited Stanford Video, where he and his owners — Jean Chu and Jim Coleman — recorded a live feed for the Fox News morning show Happening Now. According to KAREN SUTTON, executive producer/director at Stanford Video, Dusty wanted to run around the studio a bit but was otherwise pretty well behaved as cats go. Sutton, who also managed a job for the Medical Center on Friday, added: “Today my day was about cats and clinical trials. It’s never boring.”

President Hennessy dines with Obama

February 18th, 2011

President Barack Obama joins a toast with technology business leaders at a dinner in Woodside, Calif., Feb. 17, 2011. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

University President JOHN HENNESSY was among the guests who had dinner with President Barack Obama in Silicon Valley Thursday evening. Obama met with the tech industry’s über-pioneers to pick their brains about innovation. In addition to Hennessy, the guest list included alums REED HASTINGS, MS ’88, MA ’98, CEO of NetFlix, and STEVE WESTLY, AB ’78, MBA ’83, former California state controller who currently is managing partner and founder of the Westly Group. The other invited guests were John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Carol Bartz, president and CEO of Yahoo!; John Chambers, CEO and chairman of Cisco Systems; Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter; Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle; Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO of Apple; Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech; Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google; and Mark Zuckerberg, founder, president and CEO of Facebook.
“The President specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement issued after the dinner. “The group also discussed the importance of new investments in education and the new White House initiative Startup America, a partnership with the private sector aimed at supporting new startups and small businesses. The president expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States.”

Stanford psychologists receive grants from McDonnell Foundation

February 17th, 2011

Two Stanford psychologists are among 35 recipients of the 2010 21st Century Science Initiative grants from the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

Assistant Professors LERA BORODITSKY and NOAH GOODMAN each will receive $600,000 over the next six years for their work in understanding human cognition. The researchers were “identified by their peers as likely to continue to make important contributions to the ongoing effort to better understand the neural underpinnings and behavioral ramifications of human cognition,” the foundation announced.

Six researchers awarded Sloan Fellowships

February 16th, 2011

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has chosen six Stanford scholars to receive Sloan Research Fellowships.

FEI-FEI LI, MANUEL AMADOR, SEEMA JAYACHANDRAN, MICHAEL OSTROVSKY, NANCY RUONAN ZHANG and SEAN HARTNOLL are among the 118 early-career scientists and scholars in the United States and Canada to receive $50,000 in unrestricted research grants over the next two years. The fellowships, which have been awarded since 1955, are designed to help promising scholars pursue their research interests.

Fei-Fei Li is an assistant professor of computer science. She runs the Stanford Vision Lab, which focuses on computer vision and human vision.

Manuel Amador is an assistant professor of economics focusing on macroeconomics and international economics.

Seema Jayachandran is an assistant professor of economics focusing on development economics.

Michael Ostrovsky is an associate professor of economics who researches game theory, industrial organization and finance.

Nancy Ruonan Zhang is an assistant professor of statistics. Her current focus is on the detection of genomic variation from high-density SNP chips and next-generation sequencing experiments. 

Sean Hartnoll is an assistant professor of physics who has directed his research on general relativity, string theory, field theory and condensed matter theory.

Alum Christopher Tin makes history at the Grammy Awards

February 15th, 2011

Tin talked about his efforts to make it as a composer in a 2004 profile that appeared in Stanford magazine.

CHRISTOPHER TIN, BA ’98, MA ’99, won two Grammys Sunday night. His composition “Baba Yetu” won for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. The song features the Soweto Gospel Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. However, its biggest claim to fame is that the song is the opening music for the video game Civilization IV, making it the first piece of music composed for a video game that has ever won a Grammy. Tin’s debut album, Calling All Dawns, also won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album. Watch a pre-award interview on YouTube.

Alumnae from the ’50s share what it was like to be female students at Stanford

February 14th, 2011

Betty Friedan coined the term “the Feminine Mystique” to describe the ideal woman of the ’50s, educated or not, as one whose main fulfillment was marriage and family. Sociologist Mirra Komarovsky described the “best-adjusted girl” this way: “She is intelligent enough to do well in school but not so brilliant as to get all A’s … able to stand on her own feet and earn a living but not so good a living as to compete with men; capable of doing some job well but not so identified with a profession as to need it for her happiness.”

What was a bright, independent Stanford woman to do in the face of this ideology? Alumnae from the Classes of ’57 and ’58 shared their experience with the Stanford Historical Society in interviews conducted in 2007 and 2008 as part of its Oral History Program.

Some of the stories are disheartening:

JULIE OLSON BRAMCAMP, ’57, recalled a meeting she had with a journalism professor:

“‘Well,’ he says, ‘Miss Olson, we have found that women who majored in journalism are wasting their money and our time. All you women do is get married and have babies. So I would recommend you find another department.’”

SHARON HARRIS GRAY, ’57, remembers coming to Stanford precisely because it was coed and had a great engineering school:

“I came here because in the fifties, it was very impossible for a girl to get into an engineering school, especially if she wanted to be an electrical engineer. MIT, Cal Tech, none of these were open to girls. And yet Stanford was a coeducational school and had a very fine engineering department. So I came here and I wanted to be EE, but when I told Elva Fay Brown, who was our dean of women, she agreed that I was fully qualified and my test scores were certainly all high enough. But she said I would be taking a highly competitive position away from the head of a family and she could not recommend it. This upset me to no end.”

The interviews include funny stories about curfews and dress codes, mostly about getting around them. There also are stories of forward-thinking scholars.

Olson recalls that after her dreams of studying journalism were thwarted, she continued to work for the Daily, and she found a home in a new field.

“I was taking two units in Central American literature – something that was going to get me an A. And the guy teaching it was named RONALD HILTON. And he gets me after class and he says. ‘Have you considered changing your major and coming and majoring in my program?’ He was putting together his own little empire. It’s a multi‐discipline deal, which was innovative in those days, and in fact is an excellent way to do things. So he’s combining geography, history, literature and language in the study of Hispanic America and Spain – Hispanic American studies. Well, actually I was pretty interested in Mexico, certainly, and pretty much naive in thinking, oh, well, you know, this is going to be the coming thing in the future. We’re going to have North and South America much more involved economically, and perhaps – well, not politically – but just in the sense that they’re going to coexist. And because these guys over here didn’t want me, but this guy here is inviting me. So I’m going to major in that.”

To read more stories, download the PDF: Aspirations and Restrictions: Stanford Women in the Fifties.