Archive for the ‘Heard on Campus’ Category

Stanford welcomes Hollyhock teaching fellows

July 22nd, 2014

Nearly 100 teachers from high poverty, hard-to-staff high schools have been named inaugural Stanford Hollyhock teaching fellows.

The teachers, representing 39 districts in 17 states and the District of Columbia, arrived at Stanford Sunday for the beginning of their professional development program.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this cohort of teachers who are dedicated to teaching underserved populations,” said JANET CARLSON, executive director of the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, which runs the program.

Established this year, the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship for Teachers supports early-career high school teachers for two years with an intensive institute on campus during two consecutive summer sessions and year-round online coaching.

Irene Kim, David Hansen and Kyle Svingen of Oakland International High School in Oakland.

Irene Kim, David Hansen and Kyle Svingen of Oakland International High School in Oakland.

The fellowship, funded through a $4.5 million gift from an anonymous donor, is free for participants, and includes accommodations and meals during the two-week summer workshops on the Stanford campus.

The 99 teachers selected this year come from public and charter schools nationwide. On average, the teachers have 3.6 years of teaching experience and 78 percent have earned master’s degrees. The schools they teach in are low-resourced and more than 80 percent of the students they teach qualify for free or reduced lunch rates.

Research shows that nearly half of all teachers leave the classroom within five years, and in high poverty schools, the turnover rate is even higher.

Kristin Richardson and Frances Pasternik of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma

Kristin Richardson and Frances Pasternik of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Every year, thousands of early career teachers leave the classroom just as they are on the edge of developing more skilled practice and increasing their impact on student learning,” said PAM GROSSMAN, the faculty director of CSET. “If we are to improve outcomes for students, we must try harder to keep talented teachers in the classroom long enough to make a difference for their students. By treating teaching as a revolving door occupation, we shortchange both our students and our schools. This program is designed to stop the revolving door.”

The fellows, who will be on campus until Aug. 1, are broken into four subgroups: science, math, English and history. Each fellow applied to the program with at least one colleague from his or her own school to ensure school support and commitment.

Mayra Chavolla and Vivian Delgado of Latino College Preparatory Academy in San Jose, California

Mayra Chavolla and Vivian Delgado of Latino College Preparatory Academy in San Jose, California

Stanford instructors from the GSE and departments university-wide will teach in the content areas. They include: Carlson, Grossman, HILDA BORKO, BRAD FOGO and BRYAN BROWN of the GSE; NOAH DIFFENBAUGH of the School of Earth Sciences; CHRIS CHIDSEY of chemistry; DEBORAH GORDON of biology; and HELEN QUINN, emeritus professor of physics.

The fellows will also hear presentations from Stanford PRESIDENT JOHN HENNESSY on why teaching matters; Stanford’s dean of admissions, RICHARD SHAW, on how to better work with students applying to college; and others.

The fellows’ time on campus will be complemented with a day-visit to San Francisco where they will visit the Exploratorium, the de Young Museum, Alcatraz Island and other points of interest.

To read more about the fellows and their projects, visit the CSET website.

—  BROOKE DONALD, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Medical community mourns loss of leading international HIV/AIDS researcher

July 20th, 2014
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International AIDS researcher Joep Lange. (Photo: Peter Lowie/Associated Press)

Stanford researchers specializing in HIV/AIDS mourned the loss Friday of Dutch scientist JOEP LANGE, a leading AIDS researcher who died in the Malaysia Airlines crash Thursday in the Ukraine. Lange, a virologist, was particularly well-known for his work in helping expand access to antiretroviral therapy in developing countries. He was among dozens of people on the ill-fated flight who were heading to the 20th International AIDS Conference that opened Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.

“We are all in a state of shocked disbelief here in Melbourne at the tragic loss of one of the giants in the global fight against AIDS and HIV,” ANDREW ZOLOPA,  professor of medicine at Stanford, told RUTHANN RICHTER, director of media relations at the School of Medicine, in an e-mail from the conference site.  “I have known Joep Lange for more than 25 years – he was a friend and a colleague.  Joep was one of the early leaders in our field to push for expanded treatment around the globe – and in particular treatment for Africa and Asia… The world has lost a major figure who did so much good in his quiet but determined manner.  I am shocked by this senseless act of violence. What a terrible tragedy.”

DAVID KATZENSTEIN, also an HIV specialist at Stanford, learned of the death while in Zimbabwe, where he has a longstanding project on preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child. He said Lange, a friend and mentor, had been a “tireless advocate for better treatment for people living with HIV in resource-limited settings. He was universally respected and frequently honored as a real pioneer in early AIDS prevention and treatment.” In 2001, Lange founded the PharmAccess Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Amsterdam, which aims to improve access to HIV therapy in developing countries. He continued to direct the group until his death.

Lange served as president of the International AIDS Society from 2002 to 2004 and had been a consultant to the World Health Organization, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. He led several important clinical trials in Europe, Asia and Africa and played a key role in many NIH-sponsored studies, said Katzenstein, a professor of medicine.

“He was a gentle, thoughtful and caring physician-scientist with a keen sense of humor and a quick and gentle wit. He was constantly absorbing, teaching and thinking about the human (and primate) condition and psychology,” Katzenstein told Richter. “He was much loved and will be sorely missed.

Richter wrote the original post in the Medical School’s SCOPE blog.

 

Our war on food: Stanford lecturer Maya Adam offers a prescription for making peace

July 17th, 2014

MAYA ADAM is a medical doctor who has taught at Stanford since 2009. Her courses on child health and nutrition are offered through the Program in Human Biology. At TEDxStanford in May, she talked about our unhealthy relationship with food.

Stanford students get their hands dirty in ‘Science of Soils’ class

July 15th, 2014

In his perennially popular Science of Soils class, SCOTT FENDORF, professor in Earth sciences, encourages his students – from freshmen to graduate students – to get their hands dirty while learning about the essential properties of soil for life on Earth. In this video, courtesy of the School of Earth Sciences, Fendorf and his students share their experiences.

Acress Anna Deavere Smith talks education, poverty with Stanford scholars

July 11th, 2014

 

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, actress, playwright and New York University professor, performed parts of a work-in-progress and discussed her ongoing research for a new play she is writing on the subject of the school-to-prison pipeline at the annual Cubberley Lecture, sponsored by the Graduate School of Education(GSE). Smith’s performance was followed by a conversation with GSE Professors PRUDENCE CARTER and SEAN REARDON. Photo and video highlights of her visit are now on the GSE website.

Stanford undergraduate Eric Smalls imagines a different kind of learning environment

July 9th, 2014

As a child, ERIC SMALLS was an inquisitive kid who was fascinated by the world around him. But school was often a place where curiosity was not encouraged.

“If it wasn’t in the curriculum, I didn’t get my questions answered,” Smalls recalled during a talk he gave May 10 at the 2014 TEDxStanford conference.  Far from discouraged, he looked for ways to challenge himself.  In middle school he discovered CARL SAGAN in the library. As a teenager, he searched the Web and found a robotics group that met so far from his home that he took three buses to get to it. Appreciating the distance Smalls had come, the director of that program sent him home with a robotics kit. Within three hours he had build his first robot. Smalls found robotics enthusiasts on Facebook who helped him reprogram his design.

Before his arrival at Stanford as a freshman in 2012, Smalls participated in a six-week residential program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a contributor to Carnegie Mellon University’s Multi-Robot Research Project. He also had an internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory, where he developed computer vision software for autonomous drones. In 2012, President BARACK OBAMA featured Smalls in a campaign video about the importance of STEM education.

Soon after his arrival on the Farm, Smalls founded the Stanford Robotics Club, which now has more than 100 active members.

During his TEDxStanford talk, in which he was interviewed by the event’s co-host SHEILA DHARMARAJAN, the computer science major asked:

“What if we made learning more like a kitchen than a cafeteria? What if we made it more creative, where you’re engaged in the process? When I built the robot it was turning these math symbols that I’d learned in school and memorized into something that moved a robot, and that really inspired me.”

 

 

 

Stanford research team wins 2014 Eni Award

July 7th, 2014

ENI-award-medal_500

Three researchers from Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences were recently honored with a 2014 Eni Award, a prize aimed at promoting more efficient and sustainable energy sources, as well as inspiring future generations of researchers.

The researchers, TAPAN MUKERJI, associate professor of energy resources engineering and of geophysics, GARY MAVKO, professor of geophysics, and JACK DVORKIN, a senior research scientist in geophysics, were honored with this year’s Eni Award in “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” for their work in devising a way to obtain quantitative information about the rocks and liquids that lie beneath the Earth’s crust. This information is critical for research related to the production of oil and gas. DARIO GRANA, a Stanford alumnus who is now an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Wyoming, also was part of the prize-winning team, which was led by Mukerji.

The Eni Award is an honor bestowed by the Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. to recognize scientific research that advances our knowledge and ability to use more efficient and sustainable energy sources. The Eni Scientific Award Committee that selects the Eni Award winners is composed of Nobel Prize winners, researchers and scientists. This year, the 23-member committee received more than 1,400 applications.

Two prizes were given for “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” to acknowledge the research of two separate research groups. The other prize recipient was AMIR HOVEYDA, a professor of chemistry at Boston College, who has identified new and particularly efficient methods for synthesizing complex molecules with specific shape arrangements. The winners received their Eni Award medals at a special awards ceremony held in Rome on June 17.

— BY HOLLY MACCORMICK, communications assistant in the School of Earth Sciences

This is computer music: Ge Wang at TEDxStanford

July 1st, 2014

At TEDxStanford on May 10, GE WANG, assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, offered a primer on computer music. He invited the audience to join him in “geeking out,” as he wrote code. He showed the audience a speaker array created out of salad bowls from Ikea. He made a variety of sounds using parts of a gaming controller. He played chords with an iPhone.

Wang’s research focuses on programming languages and interactive software design for computer music, mobile and social music, laptop orchestras and education at the intersection of computer science and music. He is the author of the ChucK audio programming language, as well as the founding director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) and the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO). He also is the co-founder of Smule (which makes social music-making apps and has more than 100 million users) and the designer of the iPhone’s Ocarina and Magic Piano.

And while the technological aspects of his talk were compelling on their own, the overarching theme was about human expression and connection.

“Computer music isn’t really about computers.” Wang said in closing. “It is about people. It’s about how we can use technology to change the way we think and do and make music, and maybe even add to how we can connect with each other through music.”

In addition to being avialable on the TEDxStanford website, Wang’s talk now is available on Ted.com .

The art of saying goodbye: Isabel Stenzel Byrnes at TEDxStanford

June 23rd, 2014

ISABEL STENZEL BYRNES has lived with cystic fibrosis for 42 years. She received a lung transplant at Stanford Hospital 10 years ago. In a talk she gave at TEDxStanford May 10, Byrnes, a bereavement counselor, described her illness journey and the lessons she has learned about grief and loss. Before the death of her sister, Anabel, who also had cystic fibrosis, the twins, both Stanford alumnae, published a memoir titled The Power of Two, which inspired a documentary film of the same title. At the close of her 2014 TEDx talk, Byrnes played the bagpipes to celebrate her lung donor.

To view more of this year’s TEDxStanford videos, visit the YouTube playlist.

Four Stanford undergraduates win Taube Center for Jewish Studies short story contest

June 9th, 2014
The organizer, winners and judges of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies inaugural short story contest gathered at the Faculty Club to celebrate. From left, senior Kim Leon, Professor Tobias Wolff, sophomore Beatrice Garrard, writer Sarah Houghteling, freshman Max Weiss, senior Alberto Hernandez, Marie-Pierra Ulloa, associate director for academic programming and student outreach at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, and writer Maya Arad.

From left, Senior Kim Leon,  Professor Tobias Wolff, sophomore Beatrice Garrard, Sarah Houghteling a lecturer in Continuing Studies,  freshman Max Weiss, senior Alberto Hernandez,  Marie-Pierra Ulloa, associate director for academic programming and student outreach at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, and writer Maya Arad.

Submissions from Stanford students who entered the inaugural Taube Center for Jewish Studies undergraduate short story contest illustrate the depth, breadth and diversity of the Jewish experience.

The grand prize of $600 was awarded to Stanford sophomore BEATRICE GARRARD for her story, “A Man Without a Watch.” The seed of Garrard’s story comes from a Jewish folktale in which a clever trickster outwits a highwayman. Her prize also includes a one-year mentorship with SARA HOUGHTELING, a writer and lecturer in Continuing Studies

A history major and an avid student of Yiddish literature, Garrard used the contest as an opportunity to reframe a chapter from her working novel into a short story. She has received a Chappell-Lougee Fellowship to research and complete that novel in Lithuania this summer.

MARIE-PIERRE ULLOA, associate director for academic programming and student outreach at the Taube Center, developed the contest to encourage all undergraduates to explore the Jewish experience from a Jewish perspective or from the perspective of another culture.

“Among the many submissions we received, several stood out because of their compelling narrative and velocity, so we decided to award four prizes instead of three,” Ulloa said.

Contestants were asked to write a short story that draws on any aspect of Jewish life, history and culture, and addresses any aspect of the Jewish experience.

TOBIAS WOLFF, professor of creative writing at Stanford; MAYA ARAD, writer-in-residence at the Taube Center; and Houghteling judged the stories.

Houghteling, who presented the awards a Jewish Studies reception earlier this month, was impressed by the literary quality of the submissions.

“There was a wonderful range,” she said. “A lot of the stories had their foundations in Jewish literature, referring to Isaac Babel or to the teaching of the Talmud, and so there were a lot of echoes between the generations.”

Garrard set her story, “A Man Without a Watch,” in 1913 because during that period “many felt that traditional Jewish life was falling apart in the face of the modern era,” she explained. “I wanted to take the original comic scenario and transpose it into a setting that reflects the anxieties of the time.”

A second prize of $300 was awarded to freshman MAX WEISS for “Kasanov’s Bakery,” a story inspired by his grandfather’s memories of growing up in Boston.

Set in 1948 at the time of the narrator’s bar mitzvah, tensions erupt between narrator and father over whether he will carry on the cultural and professional traditions of his family.

“Max mixes humor and drama with an unerring sense of how to tell a good story,” said Houghteling. “We were delighted to discover that a writer of prose this assured was only a freshman.

Two third-prize awards of $150 each were given to senior ALBERTO HERNANDEZ for his work, “Tefillin,” and to senior KIM LEON for her story, “Babel.”

When asked if there is something specific that makes a story distinctly Jewish, the winners paused to reflect.

“It’s really the voice and the values,” Weiss said. “A lot of the best Jewish stories don’t directly address Judaism at all.”

The Taube Center plans to offer another short story contest next spring.

— BY TANU WAKEFIELD, the Humanities at Stanford