Archive for the ‘In the Spotlight’ Category

Stanford’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar on what borders tell us about the world

July 28th, 2014

When Stanford law Professor MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR was tapped for the California Supreme Court by GOV. JERRY BROWN, many of the news stories about his nomination mentioned that Cuéllar, who was born in Mexico, walked across the border to attend school in Brownsville,Texas. With the nation grappling with how to handle a recent influx of children crossing the U.S. border from Central America, a talk Cuéllar gave at TEDxStanford in 2013 has particular resonance.

Four Stanford scholars have won fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies

July 25th, 2014

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Four Stanford scholars in music, history, art history and anthropology are among the 2014 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) cohort of fellows.

A federation of 72 national organizations, the New York-based ACLS awards fellowships and grants annually to scholars at all career stages and from countries around the world. The council also supports conferences and publications that advance scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences.

This year, ANNA SCHULTZ, assistant professor of music, and doctoral candidates GRANT HAMMING (art and art history), KOJI HIRATA (history) and ADAM JOSEPH NAZAROFF (anthropology) join the 64 Stanford faculty members and doctoral candidates who have been ACLS fellows in the past decade.

“All of our fellowships are awarded through a rigorous peer-review process to ensure that humanities scholars select those fellows deemed to represent the very best in their fields,” said MICHAEL GOLDFEDER, director of fellowships for the ACLS.

Schultz, an ethnomusicologist who researches the music of South Asia, Indo-Caribbean music and music transmission, was selected to the central ACLS Fellowship Program, which is supported in part by contributions from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For 12 months, Schultz will be able to focus full time on her project “Performing Translation: Indian Jewish Devotional Song and Minority Identity on the Move,” which explores how devotional music impacted the cultural dialogue between the Bene Israel (Marathi Jews) in India and other social groups during the past two centuries.

Hamming says he anticipates “a fruitful year of travel, research, writing and, most important, contemplation” while completing his dissertation, which is titled “Amerikanischer Malkasten: American Art and Düsseldorf,” during his time as one of 10 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellows in American Art. In his dissertation, Hamming argues that the colony of American artists working in Düsseldorf, Germany, during the mid-19th century contributed to stronger cultural connections between American and European intellectual life than previously thought.

Hirata will travel to China as part of his Luce/ACLS Predissertation Summer Grant in China Studies to conduct research for his dissertation, “Steel Metropolis: Developmental State, Technology Transfer and Urban Space in Northeast China, 1906-1966.” Hirata examines how the steel industry transformed the city Anshan in the first half of the 20th century.

Nazaroff, whose research focuses on the origins of materials traded in ancient Anatolia, will be completing his dissertation, titled “Entanglement: A Study in Neolithic Resource Exploitation in the Middle East,” during his time as a Mellon-ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow. Nazaroff examines how access to particular resources shaped the relationship between economic practices and community development in Neolithic communities in the Middle East.

—VERONICA MARIAN, The Humanities at Stanford

 

 

Late Stanford climate expert to be inducted into California Hall of Fame

July 24th, 2014
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Stephen Schneider (Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service)

Renowned Stanford climate scientist, the late STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, GOV. JERRY BROWN announced recently.

Other individuals who will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 1 in Sacramento include basketball legend

KAREEM ABDUL JABAR, author JOAN DIDION and film director FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, as well as civil rights hero CHARLOTTA BASS, community organizer FRED ROSS SR. and social activism innovator MIMI SILBERT. The newest class will join 81 Californians previously inducted for exemplifying California’s spirit of innovation.

At the time of his death in 2010, Schneider was a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford. Well known for his emphasis on science communication and a world expert on interdisciplinary climate science, he consulted with federal agencies or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era.

Schneider first alerted the public to climate change in 1972. He was a leader in the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was part of the three groups of IPCC authors who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 (equally with former Vice President AL GORE). He founded the interdisciplinary journal Climatic Change and continued to serve as its editor-in-chief until his death.

Schneider’s widow, TERRY L. ROOT, will accept a Spirit of California medal from the governor and first lady on behalf of her husband during the official ceremony in Sacramento on Oct. 1. Root is a Stanford biology professor, by courtesy, and also is a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute.

“I was so thrilled when I got the call from the governor’s office telling me that Gov. Brown had decided to induct Steve into the California Hall of Fame,” Root said. “This is truly a great honor for Steve. I just wish he were here to receive it himself.”

In announcing the awards, Gov. Brown said, “These talented pioneers represent the very best of California. Their determination, intelligence and creativity continue to inspire us.”

In addition to the ceremony, inductees will be commemorated with an exhibit of personal artifacts highlighting their lives and achievements. It will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2 at The California Museum in Sacramento.

—  TERRY NAGEL, Stanford Woods Institute

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

Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike make history as first sisters to participate in WNBA All-Star Game

July 18th, 2014

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Former Stanford stars CHINEY and NNEKA OGWUMIKE became the first pair of sisters ever selected to participate in the WNBA All-Star Game, which takes place Saturday, July 19, in Phoenix. Chiney, ’14, will be a reserve for the East, while Nneka, ’12, will come off the bench for the West.

The sisters continue to make history after becoming only the second set of siblings selected No. 1 overall in an American professional sports draft. Nneka was taken with the top pick in the 2012 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, before Chiney went No. 1 to the Connecticut Sun earlier this year. Chiney’s all-star selection in her rookie season comes during Nneka’s second all-star-worthy season and third year in the league overall.

Nneka is averaging 14.8 points per game, a career high, and grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game for the Sparks to rank 13th in the league in both categories. She has started all 20 games so far in 2014 and 87 of 88 during her three years in Los Angeles.

Chiney ranks in the top 10 in scoring (8th, 15.4 points per game), rebounding (7th, 8.4 per game) and blocks (6th, 1.2 per game) in the WNBA. She leads the league in offensive rebounds with 86 on her way to nine double-doubles, good for second-best in the league. She has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including a 25-point, 10-rebound outburst at Minnesota in her second career game.

Reserves were chosen by the WNBA’s 12 head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. They selected reserves by voting for six players within their own conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players and one player regardless of position.

Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game at US Airways Center in Phoenix will be nationally televised on ESPN, with tip-off at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Read more on the Athletics website.

 

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.

Cardinal football players grab attention

July 16th, 2014

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Stanford players continue to be named to watch lists for a host of annual football awards including senior TY MONTGOMERY, above, who on Tuesday was selected to the list for the Bilentnikoff Award, which recognizes the outstanding receiver in college football. Montgomery has previously been named to watch lists for the Maxwell Award (player of the year) and the Hornung Award (most versatile).

As of Tuesday, 10 Cardinal football players have been named to preseason watch lists for various awards, several for more than one honor. They are:

Maxwell Award (Player of the year)
Kevin Hogan
Ty Montgomery

Bednarik Award (Defensive player of the year)
Henry Anderson
Alex Carter
Jordan Richards
A.J. Tarpley

Hornung Award (Most versatile)
Ty Montgomery 

Rimington Award (Most outstanding center)
Graham Shuler

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (Most outstanding place kicker)
Jordan Williamson

Bronko Nagurski Award (Outstanding defensive player)
Henry Anderson
Alex Carter
Jordan Richards
A.J. Tarpley

John Outland Trophy (Outstanding interior lineman)
Henry Anderson
Andrus Peat

Jim Thorpe Award (Best defensive back)
Jordan Richards

Rotary Lombardi Award (Lineman of the year)
Henry Anderson
Andrus Peat
A.J. Tarpley

Butkus Award (Outstanding linebacker)
A.J. Tarpley
James Vaughters

Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding receiver)
Ty Montgomery

Read more about the honors on GoStanford.com.

Man on a mission: Working to help veterans who have lost limbs

July 14th, 2014

 

DAN BERSCHINSKI lost both of his legs in 2009 when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan. His immediate thought, the West Point graduate told CBS news, was that his life was over, but soon came to realize that a whole new chapter had begun.

“Look, I was an officer,” he told JACQUELINE GENOVESE, assistant director of the Arts, Humanities, and Medicine Program in the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, who interviewed Berschinski for the School of Medicine’s SCOPE blog.

“I couldn’t sit there feeling sorry for myself. My soldiers were still in Afghanistan, still getting killed. And the hospital was full of guys with injuries as bad or worse than mine.”

In January, Dan Berschinski (MBA ’15) introduced Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former leader of the Joint Special Operations Command who also led all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, when the retired military leader visited the Graduate School of Business.

In January, Dan Berschinski (MBA ’15) introduced Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former leader of the Joint Special Operations Command who also led all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, when the retired military leader visited the Graduate School of Business.

Now an MBA student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, he is learning how to develop a company he started, Two-Six Industries, which distributes manufactured products to military bases, into a thriving enterprise that employs other veteran amputees.

Genovese writes that the fact that Berschinski is able to walk on his prosthetic legs is a stunning achievement.

“Let’s just say that nobody with my injury has ever walked out of Walter Reed,” the Army veteran told her.

“Berschinski’s right prosthetic leg attaches to his hip – there was nothing left of his leg to salvage. On his left side, he must force the portion of his thigh that is left into a sleeve…Berschinski is quick to point out that he feels lucky. Pointing to his left hand, which is missing a finger and is marked by a large portion of a skin graft.

“The use of IEDs and the length of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mean that there are veteran amputees in numbers not seen since the Civil War. But in a society where only less than 1 percent of the population participated in those wars, these veterans are somewhat invisible. Berschinski is out to change that by raising the visibility of veterans who have lost limbs. In addition, he wants to shine light on civilian amputees, particularly children, who often cannot afford prosthetics. He serves on the board of the Amputee Coalition, using what he describes as this ‘new change in my life’ to help others who he believes aren’t as fortunate as he,” Genovese continues.

“I have the advantage of being cared for by the government. I have access to cutting edge prosthetic limbs and care. Most people don’t have that,” Berschinski said.

Read the full post on the SCOPE blog.

 

 

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.”