Archive for July, 2011

Trustee Goodwin Liu tapped for California Supreme Court

July 28th, 2011

trustee_liuStanford trustee and alum GOODWIN LIU, whose nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was thwarted by a Republican filibuster, has been tapped for another bench. California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Liu, a UC-Berkeley law professor, to the state Supreme Court.

In announcing his pick, Brown called Liu “an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher. He is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law and has experience in private practice, government service and in the academic community. I know that he will be an outstanding addition to our state supreme court.”

Liu’s interest in public service dates at least to his days as a Stanford undergrad when he was a student program assistant at the Haas Center for Public Service and later served on the center’s national Advisory Board. He received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Stanford in 1991, studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and received his law degree at Yale.


Bing Overseas Studies Program directors gather in Santiago

July 27th, 2011
Stanford BOSP directors

The nine Stanford directors of BOSP programs recently met at the Stanford Santiago center.

The nine directors of the Bing Overseas Studies Program recently gathered at the Stanford center in Santiago for the program’s annual director’s meeting.

They were joined this year by ADRIENNE JAMIESON, the MaryLou and George Boone Centennial Director of Bing Stanford in Washington.

According to DAVID BOYER, associate director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program, the annual gathering gives the directors a chance to “discuss issues of common concern and new developments.”

Following are Stanford’s BOSP directors:

KAREN KRAMER, Stanford Program in Berlin

TIMOTHY STANTON, Stanford Program in Cape Town

ERMELINDA CAMPANI, the Breyer Center for Overseas Studies in Florence

ANDREW HORVAT, Stanford Program in Kyoto

SANTIAGO TEJERINA-CANAL, Stanford Program in Madrid

ALEXANDER ABASHKIN, Stanford Program in Moscow

GEOFFREY TYACK, the Montag Center for Overseas Studies in Oxford

ESTELLE HALEVI, Stanford Program in Paris

IVAN JAKSIC, Stanford Program in Santiago

Visit the BOSP website for more information about Stanford’s study abroad programs.

Pakistani interns Ping SLAC

July 26th, 2011

Sadia Rehman, left, and Amber Madeeha Zeb

When AMBER MADEEHA ZEB and SADIA REHMAN arrived at SLAC from Pakistan in April to work on the PingER project, they knew they would be beginning quite an adventure. To their delight, it has been entirely positive, both technically and personally.

Both women are studying for their master’s degrees in communications systems at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Islamabad, (SEECS) part of Pakistan’s National University of Science & Technology. They’re the first women to come to SLAC as part of a seven-year joint project funded by the Pakistani government that is aimed at improving their country’s Internet connections. A key feature of the project is sending two graduate students annually to SLAC to work with PingER director LES COTTRELL.

The PingER project sends short electronic messages to 760 Internet nodes around the world and measures the time it takes to receive the automatic reply. Unusual delays or inconsistent “round-trip times” can indicate problems in the network.

When the head of SEECS, Arshad Ali, nominated Rehman and Zeb to come to SLAC, both were quite surprised.

“Are you kidding me?” Zeb said she thought at the time. After discussing it with their families, they agreed to make the journey. “Coming over here would make us better people, both technically and personally,” Zeb said.

So far, they say their experiences have exceeded their expectations.


Read the full story on SLAC Today.


— Mike Ross


SLAC’s Lance Lougée gives local firefighters tours of the lab

July 21st, 2011

LANCE LOUGÉE, assistant fire marshal/emergency management coordinator at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, spent the early part of this week showing firefighters from local organizations such as the Woodside Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as Cal Fire, around the lab. Lougée’s tour included some of the usual SLAC highlights such as the Klystron Gallery, but also included places that would not make the cut during a typical tour.

Lougée’s tours were intended to familiarize the firefighters with SLAC’s  unique environs and its risks and resources. He pointed out gates, water supplies, hazards and internal response capabilities. These special tours have a very important purpose – should a fire break out or a natural disaster strike, these are the people SLAC will turn to for help, in addition to the on-site Palo Alto Fire Department.

“We’re just trying to make this a safer place for everyone,”Lougée said.

Read the full story on the SLAC News Center.

— Lori Ann White


Stanford hosts students from Asia in new summer program

July 20th, 2011
Richard Saller

Dean Richard Saller

Twenty-five women from South and Southeast Asia are spending the next month on campus studying the history of women in Western civilization and experiencing Stanford student life as they prepare to become leaders in Asia and beyond.

“Educating women for leadership roles is both just and beneficial to society,” said RICHARD SALLER, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, who will teach the group this summer. “Stanford is delighted to welcome these students.”

The women are first- and second-year undergraduates at the Asian University for Women (AUW), a new liberal arts college in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The residential university, which will graduate its inaugural class in 2013, admits students entirely based on merit and provides need-based financial aid. AUW seeks to provide an elite education leading to a bachelor’s degree to women from diverse backgrounds, including those who are the first in their families to attend college.

The university’s 412 students come from 12 countries and regions: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Eventually, the student body is expected to grow to about 3,000 women.

Most undergraduates first attend a yearlong program called the Access Academy, which provides education in calculus, English, world history and geography, computing and karate to boost the students’ ability to succeed in college.

Stanford, which is expanding its presence in the region through its reinvigorated Center for South Asia, has been associated with AUW since 2007, when founder KAMAL AHMAD met Provost JOHN ETCHEMENDY.

In 2008, Stanford agreed to send post-doctoral fellows to teach core introductory courses at AUW. Last fall, for example, autism expert LUCINA UDDIN, an instructor at Stanford’s School of Medicine, designed and taught an interdisciplinary course called The Mind that examined the relationship between language and thought. This spring, SE-WOONG KOO, a fellow at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, taught Introduction to Asian Religions through Art.

Saller will teach a four-week course at Stanford titled The History of Family and Women in Western Civilization. Teaching assistants will hold daily discussion sections and writing workshops. The students also will learn about leadership from scientists such as PERSIS DRELL, director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and from ecologist GRETCHEN DAILY, director of the Center for Conservation Biology, who will speak to students.

“The idea is to expose the students to faculty thought leaders on campus,” said Saller, a member of AUW’s International Council of Advisors. “Unlike vocational training, a liberal arts education is about creative and analytic thinking that prepares students to address challenges and to lead.”

More facts about the Asian University for Women:

  • A hallmark of AUW’s institutional identity is its charter, the first of its kind in the region, which the parliament of Bangladesh approved and ratified in 2006. The charter guarantees institutional autonomy, academic freedom, policies of non-discrimination and independence from political interference.
  • The Stanford summer program is funded by an AUW board member.

- – Lisa Trei


Successful Jasper Ridge burn helps research efforts

July 19th, 2011

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) conducted a small, prescribed burn at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Monday morning. According to PHILIPPE COHEN, administrative director of the preserve, the burn went perfectly.

Burn at Jasper Ridge

Cal Fire oversaw a small, prescribed burn at Jasper Ridge Monday morning. (Photos by Dan Quinn)

The burn was designed to test how climate change affects grassland restoration and probe whether wildfire can improve the ability of restored grasses to resist invasive species, particularly the widespread yellow star thistle.

The burn is part of a multi-year project supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant received in 2009. The burn encompassed 1.2 acres of land that are part of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment (JRGCE), which was launched in 1988 to illustrate how a typical California grassland ecosystem might respond to future global environmental changes.

The JRGCE uses grasslands as a model for understanding how ecosystems respond to such variables as elevated carbon dioxide, rising temperatures, increased nitrogen deposition and changing rainfall patterns. Grasslands are easily tended and have short life spans that allow for accelerated study. At Jasper Ridge, researchers control for those four aspects of climate change on land that has been broken into about 150 plots, each about nine square feet. Each plot represents a miniature complete ecosystem.

In July 2003, an accidental fire at Jasper Ridge opened the door to studies of the relationship among wildfire, climate change and ecosystems. The burn was accidental, but it affected an area perfectly suited to experimentation. About half of the JRGCE plots burned, meaning that all of the variables of climate change encompassed in the overall experiment were equally affected.

The significance of wildfires became clear the next spring when researchers observed the obvious differences in biomass production and plant distribution in each burned plot.

The NSF grant and burn take the JRGCE in a new direction. Researchers, led by staff scientist NONA CHIARIELLO and CHRIS FIELD, professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science, are moving beyond observation to apply their knowledge to the actual management of a grassland ecosystem.

Burn at Jasper Ridge

“Many of the most challenging questions in environmental science involve the interaction of ecological processes with major disturbances like wildfire,” said Field. “We are very fortunate at Jasper Ridge that the combination of great infrastructure, the chance to collaborate with outstanding local fire agencies and excellent relationships with neighbors gives us the opportunity to conduct experiments that are innovative and important.”

Scientists from Stanford, the Carnegie Institution for Science, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Cruz and several other institutions are studying the site before, during and after the burn to maximize what can be learned about fire management under present and future conditions.

In many ways, the planning of the experiment was prescient. Regional climate change predictions for Northern California estimate a 90 percent increase in fire intensity and frequency, making it crucial that the relationship among fire, native grasslands and climate change be better understood.

Last year, the first year of the NSF-supported study, JRGCE researchers focused on the role of climate change in encouraging the replacement of naturalized grassland with native perennial grassland. In this—the second year—they are focusing on the role of wildfire in restoration. Next year, they will encourage the spread of yellow star thistle to test what effect climate change and restoration efforts have on invasion.

The yellow star thistle, first introduced to the United States in the 1800s, is native to the Mediterranean region. The plant grows quickly and aggressively crowds out native species. It is especially toxic to horses and is considered one of California’s most annoying weeds, having eliminated the native perennial bunchgrasses and annual forbs that thrived before the arrival of Europeans and their livestock.

The weed spread uninvited at Jasper Ridge, presenting another fortuitous opportunity for JRGCE researchers, who hope to better understand what characteristics apply to native species most likely to be successfully restored, given the realities of global climate change. They also hope to immediately offer insights into how Californians can best curb the invasion of yellow star thistle.

Recent MBA grad appears on ‘The Price is Right’

July 18th, 2011

Joseph O'Brien (second row, far right) and friends took a road trip to Hollywood for a shot on "The Price is Right." Photo courtesy of CBS/ The Price is Right.

JOSEPH O’BRIEN may be a newly minted Stanford MBA, but he also gets bragging rights for appearing on daytime game show, “The Price is Right.” According to a recent article in the Menlo Park Almanac, O’Brien said he walked away with a bedroom set, a mattress, some E-readers and a flat-screen TV.

He also got a ribbing from the program’s host.

“Drew Carey made fun of me a lot for having a Stanford MBA and being on the show,”  O’Brien said.

The show aired June 14.

Read the full article in the Almanac.


Bowlsby and Ogwumike sisters to attend ESPY awards

July 13th, 2011

From left, Chiney and Nnemkadi Ogwumike


Athletic Director BOB BOWLSBY and women’s  basketball stars NNEMKADI and CHINEY OGWUMIKE will accept the inaugural Capital One Cup trophy on behalf of Stanford women’s athletics as part of the ESPY Awards, which will be televised live on ESPN Wednesday evening, July 13. The award will be presented by performer JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, who has recorded a humorous video promoting the event that has gone viral.

The Capital One Cup trophy was created in 2010 to honor NCAA Division I athletics programs for their performances across 13 men’s and 13 women’s sports. The Capital One Cup is different from the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which recognizes the top overall collegiate Division I sports program. The Cardinal has won that award 17 consecutive years.

The new Capital One Cup trophy includes a $200,000 donation to fund student-athlete graduate-level scholarships. Stanford women beat out runner-up Texas A&M by nine points. Cal placed third. The men’s trophy was won by the University of Florida, with the Cardinal men placing fifth. Points are earned throughout the year based on final standings of NCAA Division I Championships and final official coaches’ polls.

To win the Capital One Cup, Stanford women placed in the top 10 in nine championships, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming and diving, lacrosse, tennis, softball, outdoor track and field and rowing—the most top 10 finishes of any program.

The Cardinal’s victory earned praise from BRANDI CHASTAIN, a former World Cup soccer player from Santa Clara University who sits on the Capital One Cup Advisory Board.

“The Stanford women and everyone who follows the athletics program should be proud of this accomplishment,” said Chastain. “Winning the Capital One Cup requires commitment, dedication and hard work at all levels of a Division I college athletics program, and the Cardinal rose above all other schools to claim the trophy. With nine top 10 finishes they are extremely deserving of this award.”

The ESPY Awards are presented annually by ESPN to recognize amateur and professional individual and team athletic performances throughout the year.

Learning Mandarin with iPad apps

July 12th, 2011

About two dozen rising ninth graders who will attend Palo Alto and other neighboring high schools in the fall have been participating in a month-long immersion program in Mandarin Chinese language and culture using iPad apps. For the past four weeks, five hours a day, the beginning Mandarin speakers, who have elected to study Mandarin as their high school language next year,  have been learning to read and write commonly used Chinese characters and becoming familiar with the complex tones and phonology of the spoken language.

“This program is designed to ‘front-load’ the students with the kind of preparation that will enhance their learning experience in the fall,” said DUARTE SILVA, director of Stanford’s California Foreign Language Project, which is co-sponsoring the program with the Palo Alto Unified School District.

“We believe that this experience will greatly increase their ability to learn Mandarin during the academic year,” said Silva.

Read the full announcement on the School of Education’s website.

A clean shot

July 11th, 2011

During the summer months, even the roof tiles get a little sprucing up. University Photographer LINDA CICERO recently captured a moment when the tiles atop a Building 10  got a pressure wash. The roof tile cleaning project in the Main Quad is scheduled to be completed by August.