Atlanta-based electronic/funk/instrumental outfit Space Kadet is a culmination of members from different bands and projects, coming together to creat something greater than the parts of its whole. Space Kadet explores genres on the spectrum from abstract dub to funk, drum and bass, chill downtempo electronic and more, all with the accompaniment of live instrumentation. Space Kadet came together to form a always changing, never ending, space odyssey.Today, this electrofunky group have released a brand new single, much to our delight. Stream “Generations,” below:Space Kadet originated in late 2014 in Auburn, AL and is now based out of Atlanta, GA. The band includes Rohan Prakash (Higher Learning) on drums and samples, Blake Catrair (Rodeo Trio) on Keys and Synth, Alex Etheridge (The Juice) on Bass and Production, Kyle Gissendaner (Ickybob) on Guitar and samples, and Phil Ordonez on Percussion. Having shared the stage with artists such as Stratosphere All-Stars, Zoogma, The Nth Power, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Werks, Dynohunter, The Nadis Warriors, the band is certainly posed for big things. With a full album in the works and performances at festivals like the Zen Awakening in Orlando and Reunion Campout at the Spirit of Suwannee in Live Oak, FL, things are looking good for Space Kadet fans.Don’t miss them at Montgomery, AL on Friday April 29th at The Sanctuary and Saturday April 30th at Green Bar in Tuscaloosa, AL! More information can be found here.[Single artwork via Josh Hamby, Cover photo via Arielle D’Ornellas]
One aspect of Prince’s rich legacy was his 50,000 sq. ft. recording studio/home, Paisley Park. Situated just outside of Minneapolis, Paisley Park played host to some of Prince’s greatest moments, including late night dance parties, artist collaborations, studio efforts, and more. The Park was seemingly symbolic of Prince’s larger-than-life abilities; if he can do it all, why wouldn’t he have a home that had it all?Fortunately, fans of the Purple One may soon get the opportunity to peer into Prince’s mansion. According to a new interview with Prince’s brother-in-law, Maurice Phillips, the family has plans to turn Paisley Park into a museum. “We will turn Paisley Park into a museum in Prince’s memory,” said Phillips. “It would be for the fans. He was all about the fans — this would remember his music, which is his legacy… Prince was always private but would have wanted his music remembered.”The plan would be something similar to that of Graceland, which is a public museum devoted to the late great Elvis Presley. As of now, a timeline on the Paisley Park Museum is unclear, but opening Paisley Park would serve as an important memorial to such an enormous legacy. RIP, Prince. You will be missed.[Via The Sun]
For those planning to attend some or all of Phish’s 13-night run at Madison Square Garden in NYC, make sure to check out Our Official Guide To Phish Baker’s Dozen Late Nights.[photo by Andrew Blackstein] Phish‘s summer tour rolled through Philadelphia, PA around this time last year with two shows at the beautiful Mann Center For Performing Arts. Trey Anastasio, a New Jersey native and longtime Philadelphia Flyers fan, is always quick to rave about how much the band loves playing the classic shed (as he did during the first show of the run, to the delight of the hometown crowd).Crosseyed And Mannless: Phish Debuts Three In Philly FinaleOne certain highlight of the run was the 6/29/16 fan-favorite “Llama”. The classic tune, usually played at blistering speeds, was performed in half time, turning the rocker into a slow, dripping, super-funky jam for just the second time, following last summer’s “Raleigh Llama” from Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.You can watch the performance below, thanks to YouTuber LazyLightning55a:
Load remaining images The incredibly talented Icelandic group Sigur Rós rattled Detroit’s beautiful Fox Theatre this past Saturday, October 1st, playing a sold out show to an excited crowd. The band’s previous performance in the city was back in 2013, so many Michigan fans highly anticipated this show.That 2013 show featured the previous year’s Valtari release, and the then-upcoming Kveikur release. Unlike their previous visit, which included an orchestra full of violinists and choral singers among others, the group had a much more intimate show this time around, with no musicians accompanying them on stage. This is also Sigur Rós’ first tour as a trio, as Kjartan Sveinsson, the keyboardist for the band for well over a decade, left the band after their last tour.Despite these changes, the trio performed just as flawlessly, resoundingly and incredibly as in years past, and the audience’s constant captivation proved just that. In all of my years of attending various concerts and festivals, I don’t believe I have ever witnessed an audience so engulfed in the performance as this past Saturday’s. Barely any phones could be seen pulled out, as most attendees were simply too taken aback by all of the beauty to remember that the outside world even existed.The evening consisted of two sets of performances, with a 20 minute intermission in between. No opener was scheduled, and Sigur Rós went on at 8:30pm sharp as planned. Each set consisted of a blend of new songs, off of their upcoming album whose name is still a mystery, and various adorned classics from their two-decade discography. “Saeglopur” off of Takk was a favorite, as Jónsi’s piercing falsetto silenced the venue while a bow graced along the strings of his electric guitar, creating hauntingly beautiful tones.Equally mesmerizing to the evening’s music were the light and stage setup that accompanied it. LED lights and a massive backdrop created scenes of natural beauty, far off galaxies, thunderstorms and vibrant colors which splashed the high ceilings of the historic theatre, and with it, perfectly choreographed explosions of stage lights during each dramatic strike of Orri Páll Dýrason’s drums. In the group’s second set, the trio played the first two songs behind a semitransparent visual screen, while deep, darker lights set the tone, as their instruments resonated around the entire venue.The performance had a faultless balance of calm, devastating beauty created by the band’s many serene pieces, and the dramatic, vibrant contradictory pieces that shook each member of the audience back awake from a tranquil daze. The segue from one song to another was unforgettably fluent as well, leaving no time for much clapping until the very end, at which point the audience wasted no time in jumping up for a standing ovation following the band’s last song, “Popplagið”.Don’t miss Sigur Rós in a town near you! Check out their full US tour schedule below.Sigur Rós Tour DatesOctober 3 – Toronto, ON @ Massey HallOctober 5 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music HallOctober 6 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kings TheatreOctober 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of MusicOctober 10 – Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe AuditoriumOctober 12 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland TheatreOctober 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre-Words and photos courtesy of Katie Laskowska. See the full gallery below!
Last month, Bozeman, MT-based bluegrass outfit Kitchen Dwellers announced a full slate of Fall tour dates, with a headlining gig on Friday, November 11th at New York City jam-friendly venue American Beauty. Today, the group, who was recently on tour with Twiddle, announced that Kung Fu guitarist Tim Palmieri will be joining them for an acoustic support set.In addition to Palmieri, Hudson Valley-based Appalachian soul outfit Upstate Rubdown will also perform an opening set for the Dwellers. The show promises to be a solid night of music with plenty of opportunity for collaboration and jams.Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased here.For additional event information and updates, check out the Facebook Event page.Kitchen Dwellers “Guilty” – Grand Junction, CO:Tim Palmieri performing Ween’s “Transdermal Celebration”:Upstate Rubdown – Otis Live:
Last night, jam-bluegrass veterans Railroad Earth brought their annual Horn O’ Plenty Getaway back to Stroudsburg, PA’s Sherman Theater for its sixth year. Neal Casal and Circles Around The Sun opened the show before Railroad Earth welcomed Casal onstage to sit in twice during their headlining slot.First, Casal joined the band during set one for a cover of JGB mainstay “My Sisters & Brothers”. Then, after an impressive, heavily improvised “1759” > “Goat” segment, the Circles Around The Sun guitarist lent some guitar to a “Warhead Boogie” > “Wayfaring Stranger” pairing to close set two. Railroad Earth had one more surprise up their sleeves for the encore, busting out Sam Cooke classic “Keep Movin’ On” for their first time since their tenth anniversary show at The Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ on 5/7/11.Thanks to taper Bill Goldberg, you can listen to the full show below:The Horn O’ Plenty Getaway continues at the Sherman Theater tonight with special guest Boris Garcia.[h/t – JamBase, photo by Sam Watson]
[H/T OffBeat Magazine] A few days ago, we reported that Snoop Dogg hit the studio with George Porter Jr. of The Meters, vocalist William Bell, and drummer Cody Dickinson for a mysterious musical project. Now, the full extent of the project seems to have been revealed.It turns out that the artists had gathered in the studio for a recording session, apparently for the film Take Me to the River – New Orleans, a follow-up to the 2014 documentary Take Me to the River. The original film focused on the musical histories of Memphis and Mississippi Delta, and, in the film, members of the blues and R&B world that emerged from those cities reunited to create new music. Snoop Dogg and Dickinson were heavily involved in the first film, with Dickinson providing the score.The info comes from an Instagram post by Silverback Music Management, which is embedded below. In the photo, you’ll see rappers Snoop Dogg and G-Eazy in Snoop’s studio in Los Angeles with a giant collection of New Orleans legends. George Porter Jr., Cody Dickinson, and William Bell are there of course, alongside other legends like Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, Cyril Neville, Terrence Higgins, “Big Sam” Williams, and Khris Royal.We can’t wait to hear the music that this group creates!
Dead & Company brought sunshine daydreams to a rainy sky in Burgettstown, PA on Thursday night at the KeyBank Pavilion. Both sets were laced with Grateful Dead classics that were superbly played through, exemplifying the tear the band has been on this tour. Eleven shows into summer, the band used the evening to introduce a few tour debuts to the mix.With the forecast set for rain and thunderstorms all night, the band kicked off the show with purpose. The set started off with a funky “Feel Like a Stranger” and “Easy Wind.” Guitarist John Mayer rocked it, with his blues guitar and vocal prowess matching the song perfectly. Pictures of Pigpen flashed on the screen towards the end of the song, with the crowd approving mightily. It was during this song that the torrential downpour hit. It didn’t last long, but left the place wet and muddy enough to add some extra fun to the lawn.“Cumberland Blues” had percussionist Mickey Hart playing what appeared to be shoes, clapping them together throughout the song. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti shined on his solo, tickling the ivories for the song’s solo. “Throwin’ Stones,” played at a slower tempo, allowed a euphoric peak to be hit by Mayer. The jam was heavy on the energy and that brought the set to a great closing. It was also the song’s tour debut.As the sun was setting, the grooves ensued for a second-set opening “Jack Straw” that was monstrous. Mayer kept insisting that they delay the guitar chords, and when they finally sang “Jack Straw from Wichita…,” the place erupted. It was an amazing version.“Viola Lee Blues” kept the place dancing. Besides his playing, Mayer’s stage demeanor was entertaining. The way he was moving and shaking with his own groove was impressive. “He’s Gone” was wholesome to hear. “The Wheel” had a nice jam that turned reggae, with Mayer really belting out the outro lyrics before getting incredible dark.All of the sudden, a low rumble roll escaped Oteil Burbridge’s bridge, each note increasing in tone, culminating in the beginning of “The Other One.” The way he perfectly executed it was distinct to his own playing while still reminiscent of others who have done the same thing. “Drums” and “Space” were out there, and eventually landed in the conclusion of “The Other One.” The band finally played fan-favorite “Wharf Rat” on this tour, and it was soulful as ever. “Casey Jones” ended the set with a bang. The final tour debut of the evening was the encore-appropriate “Liberty.”Watch the first few songs from the first set below, courtesy of nugs.tv.Setlist: Dead & Company | Burgettstown, PA | KeyBank Pavilion | 6/15/17I: Feel Like A Stranger, Easy Wind, Cassidy, West LA Fadeaway, Row Jimmy, Cumberland Blues, Throwin’ StonesII: Jackstraw, Viola Lee Blues > He’s Gone > The Wheel > The Other One v.1 > Drums/Space > The Other One v.2, Wharf Rat > Casey JonesE: LibertyEnjoy the gallery below, courtesy of Daniel Ojeda.Dead & Company | Burgettstown, PA | KeyBank Pavilion | 6/15/17 Load remaining images
Angélique Kidjo is releasing a track-by-track cover of Talking Heads’ groundbreaking 1980 album Remain In Light. As noted in a series of recent interviews, the Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, and political activist was inspired by the album’s utilization of West African musical ideas when she first heard it many years ago, and her forthcoming release reimagines the songs with that in mind. Speaking with NPR, Kidjo explains:I discovered the album [Remain in Light] when I arrived in Paris in 1983. In the middle of the ’70s, we had a communist dictatorship that took place in Benin, and suddenly the radio we used to listen to Fela [Kuti], listen to The Beatles, listen to all kinds of music, becomes a place of darkness.And when I arrived in Paris, I was determined to catch up with the music I didn’t have. I became a music junkie. I went to a party with some friends of mine and somebody started playing the song of the Talking Heads called “Once in a Lifetime” and everybody was standing and dancing weird, and me, I was grooving. And I told them, “This is African music,” and they go, “Hell no, this is rock and roll. You Africans are not sophisticated enough to do this kind of music.”Kidjo’s take on Remain In Light dials back much of the original album’s sleek new wave production in favor of a style that puts more emphasis on the record’s West African influences, even incorporating lyrics from the Yoruba and Fon languages. Nevertheless, the recreation also features appearances by American artists like Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and British acts like Blood Orange, in addition to prominent African musicians like Fela Kuti drummer/musical director Tony Allen and Black Panther score percussionist Magatte Sow. “I always say, when you are inspired by a music, and you acknowledge that source of inspiration, it is cultural expansion,” Kidjo tells NPR. “But when you deliberately take somebody’s music and put your name on it, it’s not even cultural appropriation, it’s stealing — period. Cultural appropriation doesn’t exist.”“The Talking Heads, when they released this album, in the press release they acknowledge the fact they were listening to Fela when they did this album,” she continues. “They were reading the book [African Rhythms and African Sensibility] of [John Miller] Chernoff, and they tell people, ‘You want to understand our album? Listen to Fela and read the book.’”Kidjo’s Remain In Light will officially drop on June 8th—just 13 months after she hosted a May 2017 tribute to Talking Heads at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. However, you can listen to the full album via NPR‘s First Listen for the next few days. You can also check out a new WNYC interview in which Kidjo and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne discuss the making of the original album, Fela Kuti, and more.Angélique Kidjo – “Once In A Lifetime” (Talking Heads cover)
Today, Colorado-based hydro-funk trio SunSquabi announced their spring 2019 tour dates. This new run of shows marks the third leg of their Instinct Tour and the first stretch to be announced since the release of their newest album, Instinct.Related: Sunsquabi Releases “Biological-Themed Journey Of Evolution” LP, ‘Instinct’ [Listen]Upcoming tour stops will take the band through the midwest and the eastern U.S. with scheduled stops in Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and more, with support from Defunk. Scheduled SunSquabi festival stops also include appearances at Bonnaroo, M3F Fest, SweetWater 420 Fest, and Buku.$1 per ticket sold on the tour will go to the Can’d Aid Foundation, which aims to keep music and instruments in the hands of children across America. SunSquabi has partnered with the foundation and hopes to continue to inspire youth across America with instrument donations.You can check out the newly announced dates on the poster or view a full list of SunSquabi’s upcoming shows below. For information on ticketing, head to the band’s website here.SunSquabi Tour DatesJan-30 Boise, ID NeuroluxJan-31 Seattle, WA NeumosFeb-1 Bellingham, WA Wild BuffaloFeb-2 Portland, OR Wonder BallroomFeb-5 Bend, OR Volcanic Theatre PubFeb-6 Eugene, OR Wow HallFeb-7 Reno, NV Crystal BayFeb-8 Berkeley, CA CornerstoneFeb-9 Santa Cruz, CA AtriumFeb-15 San Diego, CA Winston’sFeb-16 Los Angeles, CA The MorrocanMar-2 Phoenix, AZ M3F FestMar-15 Avon, CO AgaveMar-16 Avon, CO AgaveMar-17 Crested Butte, CO Public HouseMar-22 New Orleans, LA BukuMar-27 Iowa City, IA Blue MooseMar-28 Indianapolis, IN MousetrapMar-29 Detroit, MI MajesticMar-30 Cleveland, OH AgoraMar-31 Buffalo, NY Iron WorksApr-3 Boston, MA Brighton Music HallApr-4 Philadelphia, PA FoundryApr-5 Washington, DC Union StageApr-6 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Music HallApr-7 Harrisburg, PA Club XL LiveApr-11 Milwaukee, WI Miramar TheatreApr-12 Minneapolis, MN CaboozeApr-13 Madison, WI Majestic TheatreApr-14 Des Moines, IA Wooly’sApr-20 Atlanta, GA Sweetwater 420May-23-25 Chillicothe, IL Summer CampJun-13 Manchester, TN BonnarooView Tour Dates
In an era when big-time college football too often is tarnished by tales of disrepute – Tennessee this week dismissed two players charged with attempted armed robbery – Murphy and seven Harvard teammates who are bound for medical school represent not only the glory of The Game but the spirit of amateur football as the Ivy League has played it for more than a century.“Sometimes there’s a myth that you can’t compete in Division 1 football and aspire to things like medical school,’’ Crimson coach Tim Murphy said as he prepared for the 126th Harvard-Yale spectacle. “We’re very fortunate to have a bunch of kids doing it. It’s a great tradition…’’Read more here (The Boston Globe)
Robert Pozen, a Harvard Business School lecturer, poses long-term solutions for solving the problems of now. From the housing slump and the stock market to the big bank bailout, this book is a blueprint for reform.
In life, David L. Halberstam ’55 cherished his days as a student writer for The Harvard Crimson, a gig that jump-started his legendary career as an investigative journalist whose efforts eventually won the Pulitzer Prize. Now, the late Halberstam has been memorialized near his former Plympton Street stomping grounds with the unveiling of the new Halberstam Square at the intersection of Linden, Bow, and Mount Auburn streets.Rain deterred the Oct. 6 outdoor festivity, which would have involved installing the official Halberstam Square plaque. Instead, Cambridge Mayor David P. Maher hosted the public dedication inside The Harvard Crimson, where alumni, city councilors, and Halberstam’s many admirers packed the house.“Halberstam used his education and narrative skill to expose state-sanctioned injustice and to challenge untruths coming from powerful people. His relentless questioning of individuals and institutions took immense personal courage,” said Maher, who applauded Halberstam’s lasting legacy in the Cambridge community.At Harvard, Halberstam was a sports editor and managing editor of The Crimson. Though he was a history concentrator, “David majored in the Crimson … it was his life,” said classmate Stanley Katz ’55, Ph.D. ’61.Halberstam’s daughter Julia said that, faced with a lack of an engagement ring, her father proposed to her mother instead with his Crimson medal. “The Crimson was where he learned to take the kind of risks that shaped the rest of his career,” she said.After leaving Harvard, Halberstam took a post at the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Miss., where, said Katz, Halberstam was a reporter, a photographer, and even sold advertising. There he covered the Emmett Till murder trial, and later, at The Tennessean in Nashville, wrote about the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. The New York Times later recruited Halberstam, who, at the age of 30, won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Vietnam War.Harvard Crimson President Peter Zhu ’11 said Halberstam “stands out as someone to whom we can all aspire towards.”The author of more than 20 books, including “The Children” and “The Best and the Brightest,” Halberstam was an avid sports lover, and also wrote books on Michael Jordan and the NFL. He died in a 2007 car crash in Menlo Park, Calif.Halberstam’s daughter read an excerpt from the lecture on journalism he gave at the University of California, Berkeley, the night before he was killed. “There is, I think, craft. I think you can keep learning for those of you who are starting out. How do you do it? Knowing where to look. Knowing how to build steam. Knowing how to sustain a narrative drive. How to keep a reader interested, this is a real challenge. You have to make it accurate, then you have to learn how to dramatize it, to bring it alive, to find the people and the events to make it real. So you’re not just a reporter, and you’re not just a historian. You’re a playwright, too. You’ve got to bring the drama. Impress on people why they need to know it.”
Now, a research team led by scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT has unearthed one of the key players behind such drug resistance. Published in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Nature, the researchers pinpoint a novel cancer gene, called “COT” (also known as MAP3K8), and uncover the signals it uses to drive melanoma. The research underscores the gene as a new potential drug target, and also lays the foundation for a generalized approach to identify the molecular underpinnings of drug resistance in many forms of cancer. “In melanoma, as well as several other cancers, there is a critical need to understand resistance mechanisms, which will enable us to be smarter up front in designing drugs that can yield more lasting clinical responses,” said senior author Levi Garraway, a medical oncologist and assistant professor at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute. “Our work provides an unbiased method for approaching this problem not only for melanoma, but for any tumor type.”More than half of all melanoma tumors carry changes (called “mutations”) in a critical gene called B-RAF. These changes not only alter the cells’ genetic makeup, but also render them dependent on certain growth signals. Recent tests of drugs that selectively exploit this dependency, known as RAF inhibitors, revealed that tumors are indeed susceptible to these inhibitors — at least initially. However, most tumors quickly evolve ways to resist the drug’s effects.To explore the basis of this drug resistance, Garraway and his colleagues applied a systematic approach involving hundreds of different proteins called kinases. They chose this class of proteins because of its critical roles in both normal and cancerous cell growth. Garraway’s team screened most of the known kinases in humans — roughly 600 in total — to pinpoint ones that enable drug-sensitive cells to become drug-resistant.The approach was made possible by a resource created by scientists at the Broad Institute and the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana-Farber, including Jesse Boehm, William Hahn, David Hill, and Marc Vidal. The resource enables hundreds of proteins to be individually synthesized (or “expressed”) in cells and studied in parallelFrom this work, the researchers identified several intriguing proteins, but one in particular stood out: COT. Remarkably, the function of this protein had not been previously implicated in human cancers. Despite the novelty of the result, it was not entirely surprising, since COT is known to trigger the same types of signals within cells as B-RAF. (These signals act together in a cascade known as the MAP kinase pathway.)While their initial findings were noteworthy, Garraway and his co-workers sought additional proof of the role of COT in melanoma drug resistance. They analyzed human cancer cells, searching for ones that exhibit B-RAF mutations as well as elevated COT levels. The scientists successfully identified such “double positive” cells and further showed that the cells are indeed resistant to the effects of the RAF inhibitor.“These were enticing results, but the gold standard for showing that something is truly relevant is to examine samples from melanoma patients,” said Garraway.Such samples can be hard to come by. They must be collected fresh from patients both before and after drug treatment. Moreover, these pre- and post-treatment samples should be isolated not just from the same patient but also from the same tumor.Garraway and his colleagues were fortunate to obtain three such samples for analysis, thanks to their clinical collaborators led by Keith Flaherty and Jennifer Wargo at Massachusetts General Hospital. In two out of three cases, COT gene levels became elevated following RAF inhibitor treatment or the development of drug resistance. In other cases, high levels of COT protein were evident in tissue from patients whose tumors returned or relapsed, following drug treatment. “Although we need to extend these results to larger numbers of samples, this is tantalizing clinical evidence that COT plays a role in at least some relapsing melanomas,” added Garraway.One of the critical applications of this work is to identify drugs that can be used to overcome RAF inhibitor resistance. The findings of the Nature paper suggest that a combination of therapies directed against the MAP kinase pathway — the pathway in which both B-RAF and COT are known to act — could prove effective.“We have no doubt that other resistance mechanisms are also going to be important in B-RAF mutant melanoma,” said Garraway, “but by taking a systematic approach, we should be able to find them.” The past year has brought to light both the promise and the frustration of developing new drugs to treat melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Early clinical tests of a candidate drug aimed at a crucial cancer-causing gene revealed impressive results in patients whose cancers resisted all currently available treatments. Unfortunately, those effects proved short-lived, as the tumors invariably returned a few months later, able to withstand the same drug to which they first succumbed. Adding to the disappointment, the reasons behind these relapses were unclear.
April is Earth Month at Harvard, an inaugural initiative featuring campuswide events and activities to celebrate and raise awareness about environmental issues. To bring it all together, the Office for Sustainability has launched its Earth [email protected] 2011 website. Earth Month culminates with national Earth Day on April 22, and events run through April 29. The second annual Green Carpet Awards will take place in Sanders Theatre on April 11. For more information on the monthlong series of events.
Nearly 900 children returned to schools in Boston and Cambridge this fall with a boost from the award-winning academic enrichment provided by the Summer Urban Program (SUP) at Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA).SUP, which is run by Harvard undergraduates and hosts 11 free summer camps in Boston and Cambridge, received the National Summer Learning Association’s 2011 Excellence in Summer Learning Award last month. The national organization supports summertime learning and rigorously assesses programs each year.Research has established that children lose academic skills during summer breaks, and low-income students are disproportionately at risk. Education experts point to summertime programs such as PBHA’s as a way to help bridge the gap.“PBHA’s SUP fits into a broader context. It’s helping Boston close achievement gaps by closing opportunity gaps in the summer,” said Christopher Smith, executive director of Boston After School & Beyond, a public-private partnership that supports, strengthens, and expands Boston’s after-school sector.Smith noted that the camps make a difference for the hundreds of students they serve and the often-underserved populations they benefit, including students from international backgrounds and those who speak English as a second language (ESL), who can struggle at school.The camps offer seven-week programs for children ages 6 to 12. Campers work on academics, including math and literacy skills, in the mornings and attend field trips, including visits to colleges, museums, historic sites, and the New England Aquarium, during the afternoons.PBHA’s summer learning data points to progress. According to SUP evaluations, 85 percent of ESL campers have improved scores after attending the camps. Nearly 80 percent of parents reported improvements in their children’s reading, writing, and math skills over the summer. Ninety-eight percent of junior counselors (children can spend years in a program, first as campers and later as paid junior counselors) plan to attend college.The camps are led by about 130 college students. Some are Harvard undergraduates and others are local students, most of whom participated in the program as campers and stayed on to teach or help run the camps. PBHA program directors say creating a sense of community at each camp and encouraging youngsters to be agents of change in their communities are important parts of SUP. This is why SUP offers opportunities for campers to come back as junior counselors, senior counselors, and even program directors (where they also earn a summer stipend). Harvard students and local college students work together to build that strong sense of community. “Students regularly worked 12- to 16-hour days during the program to make sure the next day’s session was as enriching and fun as possible. … The level of collaboration among students in planning the program is remarkable,” said Sarah Pitcock, senior director of program quality at the National Summer Learning Association.The program was also lauded for collaborating with other programs and being part of the communities they serve.“PBHA is building communities in three levels — among the students they serve, among their staff, and at the city level, with us and other partners. They serve as a satellite summer school for Boston,” said Smith.As for the students who plan and run the camps, being recognized among the nation’s top summer learning programs is an honor, but they say the recognition goes to all involved.“This award is such a big honor, but we couldn’t do what we do without the community organizations, parents, and children we work so closely with over the summer,” said SUP program director Diana Bartenstein ’12. “There’s a lot of energy in the program, and all involved are really committed to it, and that makes the difference.”SUP began in 1980 and runs day camps in the following neighborhoods. It partners with local schools and organizations to host the programs:Dorchester: the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment at the Marshall Elementary School and the Franklin I-O Summer Program at Frederick Pilot Middle SchoolChinatown: the Chinatown Adventure at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent AssociationCambridge: the Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program at the Benjamin Banneker Charter School, Fletcher-Maynard Academy, and King Open SchoolSouth End: Keylatch Summer Program at Blackstone Elementary SchoolMission Hill: the Mission Hill Summer Program at Wentworth Institute of TechnologyJamaica Plain: the Native American Youth Enrichment Program at the Curley K-8 SchoolRoxbury: the Roxbury Youth Initiative at Hennigan Elementary SchoolSouth Boston: the South Boston Outreach Summer at Condon Elementary SchoolIn addition to the camps, the program provides ESL training for immigrant and refugee teens. PBHA’s Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment and Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment have been recognized by the Boston Public Schools as alternatives to summer school. Its Native American Youth Enrichment Program is the only summer camp specifically for urban Native American youth in Massachusetts.SUP receives support from a number of Harvard groups, including the President’s Office, Harvard Public Affairs & Communications, the Harvard Achievement Support Initiative, the Office of Career Services, and the Institute of Politics. The program is also supported by many community partners and citywide by the Boston Public Schools, the Cambridge Public Schools, the Boston Youth Fund, Action for Boston Community Development, the Boston Center for Youth and Families, and the Cambridge Mayor’s Youth Fund.Each year, the National Summer Learning Association recognizes summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for young people. The PBHA program was the only entirely college student-run program among the five recognized this year.
On Sept. 28, at 11:55 a.m., Harvard will be conducting a University-wide MessageMe test. All MessageMe registered subscribers will receive a test message in the form of a text message, email, and/or voice mail message depending upon the delivery method selected by each subscriber. No action will be required as a result of this test.For more information, or to register.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of the British-based Guardian newspaper, will address an audience of students, faculty, journalists, and members of the public on March 6 at the Harvard Kennedy School. The program begins at 6 p.m. in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, 79 JFK St., Cambridge, and is sponsored by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.Rusbridger will receive the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism in recognition of his leadership in the Guardian’s five-year investigation and exposure of phone hacking by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. He also led the Guardian’s negotiations with Julian Assange and subsequent publication of WikiLeaks documents. Rusbridger has been instrumental in the Guardian’s “digital-first” business strategy.For more information.
Over two decades, childhood deaths have fallen significantly, from 12 million annually in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, a statistic that simultaneously gives cause for hope and motivation for the global health community to keep its shoulder to the wheel.“There are still too many preventable deaths,” Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Dean Julio Frenk said Monday. “It is within our grasp to make enormous progress to ensure the survival and development of small children.”Frenk told a gathering of more than a dozen ministers of health from various nations that this is a time of opportunity to make gains in child and maternal health. The reason, he said, is that the 2015 deadline for achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals is approaching, and many nations are realizing they’re not on track to achieve them, which could prompt renewed activity.The ministers gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Taubman Building for a dinner discussion that ended the first full day of the Harvard Ministerial Health Leaders’ Forum, an event sponsored by the Ministerial Leadership Program for Health, an initiative launched by HSPH and HKS in collaboration with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation last fall. The forum is designed to allow health ministers to learn from each other’s experiences, draw on the resources of Harvard faculty members, and help the officials to achieve their nations’ health priorities.The three-day forum mixed in speeches with small-group exercises, case studies, and discussions on setting priorities and learning how to work with finance ministers to get projects funded. On Sunday evening, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations undersecretary general for women and former president of Chile, delivered the keynote speech. Ministerial Leadership in Health Program Executive Director Michael Sinclair said the hope is that the forum will help to create a network of sitting health ministers who can serve as resources for each other, sharing best practices and getting advice from each other as they tackle the difficult health problems facing their countries.“The program is to recognize the extraordinary leaders from around the world and create an environment to begin building a network of shared learning and mutual support,” said Frenk, who served as Mexico’s minister of health from 2000 to 2006.On Monday, Frenk addressed the dinner gathering, followed by with Amie Batson of USAID and Mickey Chopra of UNICEF. Batson and Chopra spoke about an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C., a call to action on improving child health.“Child survival … is truly something that every country, every stakeholder, every family takes responsibility for,” Batson said.At the current 2.2 percent annual reduction in the rate of child death, Batson said the world will fall short of the international goals on child health, which call for a two-thirds reduction in childhood death from 1990 levels.“The question is what the world needs to do differently,” Batson said.Chopra said that rapid progress is possible if governments move maternal and child health up on their priority lists.“The gains we can make are just remarkable, if not miraculous,” Chopra said.The series of eight Millennium global goals include ending poverty and hunger; ensuring universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, and environmental sustainability; fighting HIV/AIDS; and creating a global partnership for development.Some discussion focused on how to best implement health programs. Frenk brought up smallpox as an example of an international success — perhaps the greatest one — though it left little improvement in overall health systems in its wake.Such a vertically oriented approach focused on a single disease and a horizontal approach focused on strengthening health systems have their drawbacks. Frenk advocated instead a “diagonal” approach, incorporating elements of both, using focused health priorities to drive broad improvements in the health system.William Hsiao, the K.T. Li Professor of Economics at HSPH, commented near the end of the discussion that we’ve known how to improve maternal and child health, and had the tools to do so, for decades. More recently, we’ve understood the best ways to deliver those tools and apply that knowledge to populations in need, through campaigns to encourage breastfeeding, to vaccinate children, and to improve hygiene. He challenged the ministers in the room, asking them to consider what the barriers are in their own nations to improving maternal and child health.
Even among Harvard faculty, few professors can claim the mantle of publicly certified “genius.” As of Tuesday, however, two University scholars — an economist who tackles public problems with hard data and a pediatric neurosurgeon whose innovative techniques have been put to use in everyplace from Cambridge to Uganda — can do just that.Raj Chetty ’00, Ph.D. ’03, professor of economics, and Benjamin Warf, M.D. ’84, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the Neonatal and Congenital Anomaly Neurosurgery Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, have received 2012 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, more commonly known as “genius grants.”Chetty and Warf are two of 23 recipients recognized by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their “extraordinary originality and dedication” to their chosen fields. The honor comes with no-strings-attached grants of $500,000, paid over five years, which recipients may use to fund the creative, intellectual, and professional pursuits of their choice.Nominations are anonymous, and recipients are not told in advance that they are under consideration — meaning that the phone calls notifying them of their awards come as a bit of a shock.“I was really surprised,” said Chetty, who was having lunch in downtown Boston with his mother at the time. “I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I ignored it a few times and eventually picked up.”Warf was at a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, planning to speak at a conference, when he received the news.“It was a little awkward. The [cellphone] connection wasn’t so great,” he said with a laugh. “I was floored.”Chetty is an up-and-comer who, at 28, was one of the youngest economists to be offered tenure in Harvard’s history. He has a history of precocious achievement: After graduating from Harvard College, he stayed on at the University and earned his doctorate in just three years. (He then spent several years as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, returning to Harvard to join the faculty in 2009.)His research agenda has been equally ambitious, touching on issues from taxation to teacher quality to unemployment. He hopes to steer public policy debate away from talking points toward data points, he said.Earlier this year, a finding by Chetty and his co-authors that the quality of a child’s teacher early in life can boost future income made national headlines and earned a mention in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.“We want to try to connect to the public discourse using rigorous scientific methods, so it’s not just public opinion,” Chetty said.The award frees up his time to pursue the next big ideas in public economics — such as an ambitious study of equality of opportunity in the United States that would track economic mobility from one generation to the next by ZIP code, pinpointing conditions that help to promote a level playing field.The MacArthur “has given me the freedom to pursue the types of large-scale projects that will take years,” Chetty said. “But it’s also a vote of confidence that people are interested in this type of research. I hope it’ll motivate our research team to do more of this type of work.”For Warf, the award is not a validation of a young career on the rise, but recognition of hard-won innovations made halfway across the world.In 2000, Warf, his wife, and their six children left his native Kentucky for Uganda, where he started a pediatric neurosurgery hospital under the auspices of the Christian medical nonprofit CURE International.While there, he noticed that the country’s poor children suffered an unusually high incidence of hydrocephalus, a fluid buildup inside the skull that puts pressure on the brain. He went on to publish groundbreaking research on the causes of infant hydrocephalus, linking it to prior brain infection.Warf also developed a novel technique for treating hydrocephalus. First-world doctors often rely on shunts, tubes that allow fluid to escape from the brain into the abdominal cavity — though half of shunts fail within two years of the procedure.In Uganda, where neurosurgeons are scarce and access to nearby hospitals is limited, Warf created a workaround procedure that dramatically lessened the need for follow-up emergency procedures. The technique, known by its shorthand ETV/CPC, cauterizes brain ventricle tissue so that less cerebrospinal fluid is produced, and with minimal invasion makes an opening inside the brain that reroutes the dangerous fluid buildup to the base of the brain, where it is supposed to flow.“That’s the interesting and quirky thing — a procedure that was developed and proven in terms of outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa is now starting to influence care in the United States,” Warf said. “It’s the way that I treat hydrocephalus in babies now here at Children’s. I think over the next decade or so, it’s going to increasingly become the first treatment for babies with hydrocephalus.”The family returned to the United States in 2006, and Warf came to Children’s, where he had been a fellow earlier in his career, in 2009. He has continued to oversee the Ugandan hydrocephalus project from abroad, including a program that has trained 20 neurosurgeons from developing countries in Warf’s methods. It has been an expensive and challenging juggling act that the MacArthur grant will make much easier, he said.“I feel a bit of a weight of responsibility,” Warf said. “There’s this opportunity that’s just fallen into my lap that I wasn’t expecting. I want to be able to be a good steward of that and make the most of it.”
The largest public health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease was announced unexpectedly during President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2003: $15 billion over five years to fund a new international AIDS effort. For AIDS researchers at HSPH, the program known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) offered the opportunity to dramatically scale up their efforts in African countries hit hard by the disease.“By the early 2000s, thanks to new drug discoveries, AIDS was no longer a death sentence in the developed world. But the vast majority of AIDS patients, who were (and still are) in Africa and Asia, didn’t have access to treatment,” said Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at HSPH. Kanki spearheaded the School’s application to PEPFAR— the largest government grant in Harvard University’s history. “PEPFAR was designed to address that gap. We couldn’t really go on thinking that we had addressed the AIDS epidemic if we didn’t do something to provide treatment to people in resource-limited countries.”The School received a total of $362 million from PEPFAR for work in Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania training health care workers, developing monitoring and evaluation systems, strengthening health care infrastructures, and collaborating with local hospitals and clinics that provide treatment for AIDS patients. HSPH’s PEPFAR grants wound down last year, and researchers at the School are now working with partner organizations to transition activities to full local ownership. Read Full Story
The Harvard takeoff uses the same music to ask “What Does the Spleen Do?” and speculates, through similar dance numbers and equally absurd lyrics, about the possibilities: secret male uterus, backup tongue, vestigial fin.“The Spleen” was created by a team that involved dozens of members of the second-year class in front of and behind the camera, Rome said. The spleen was selected because it’s a major organ whose functions — filtering the blood, among others — are a mystery to a lot of people.The video was created for 107th annual second-year show, which ran for three nights in December. After the show, Rome said, the creators posted the video online. Though participants mentioned the video to family and friends over Facebook, there was no effort to garner publicity. Despite that, within five days, the video had a million hits.Though dozens of students were involved, the video’s core team was Rome, Will Lewis, Lydia Flier, Eddie Grom, Ariana Metchik-Gaddis, Richard Ngo, Lenka Ilcisin, and Emily Simons, contributing writing, editing, filming, choreography, and costume design.Rome joined “The Spleen” project after helping out on a previous video, called “The Gunner Song,” a takeoff of 2012’s “Thrift Shop,” poking fun at overachieving students at HMS and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The videos, Rome said, are a lot of work, but they’re also a lot of fun and allow members of the class to interact in a different way.“It’s such a fun project,” Rome said. “The best part is to work with so many members of the class. It was a blast.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEi_4Cyx4Uw” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/aEi_4Cyx4Uw/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Who knew the spleen was so funny? And popular?A parody video by a group of Harvard Medical School students went viral in December, garnering a million YouTube hits in just five days and surpassing 1.7 million since.The video’s creators were astounded at its popularity, according to Ben Rome, a second-year student who filmed and edited the video. Rather than just basking in their 15 minutes of fame, however, the students are trying leverage the video’s popularity for a good cause: science education. They launched the HMS/HSDM Organ Challenge, a contest for primary and secondary school students to create a music video highlighting one of the body’s organs.The challenge, launched this month, runs through March 15. Entries will be posted online and judged by members of the second-year class, Rome said. Entrants will be judged according to accuracy and originality, not production values, so students, teachers, and families don’t need to spend a lot of money to win.“Technology today is so easy and accessible, you can make a video on your smartphone,” Rome said.The HMS student video “What Does the Spleen Do?” is a takeoff of last year’s “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” which itself was a music parody by a pair of Norwegian comedians, part of the comedy group Ylvis. The slickly produced original discusses animal sounds and the mystery of fox sounds, setting a catchy beat against simple and absurd lyrics. The video went viral, getting hundreds of millions of hits on YouTube.
Young women studying computer science were introduced to a group of potential role models as part of a weekend conference at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).The event, organized by Harvard Women in Computer Science, drew some of the most successful women in the field, along with sponsors such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. It included keynote speeches from entrepreneurs and senior executives, mentoring lunches, and an eight-hour “hackathon” Sunday at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Students from 40 U.S. colleges and universities were in attendance.“When I was growing up, I thought the gender war was over and women had won. But it’s still not over,” said Amy Yin ’14, co-founder of Harvard Women in Computer Science.“The biases may be more subtle now, but the statistics are not. When I interned at Facebook last summer, I was the only woman on a team of 12,” added Yin, who is concentrating in computer science. “There’s a saying that ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,’ which is why we wanted to develop a community of women in computer science.”The first keynote speaker was Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at ThoughtWorks, a Chicago-based software design firm. “Women bring a different perspective to solving problems,” said Parsons, who noted remarkable progress toward inclusiveness in her three decades in the field — which wasn’t to say the work is over.“I was told when I was in school that women were incapable of understanding math and science,” she said. “Today, saying something like that simply isn’t socially acceptable.“The biggest challenge now is that people may not fully recognize the kinds of subtle biases that still exist. When hiring, for example, people tend to look for someone like them, people they’re comfortable with.” This works against women. “If we can make talking about bias less charged, we’ll be much better off.”Margo I. Seltzer, the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science at SEAS, offered a similar viewpoint. “Underrepresentation leads to continued underrepresentation,” she said. “We all need to work toward making our workplaces and communities more welcoming.”Still, Seltzer has seen big advances at Harvard, where 28 percent of current computer science concentrators are women (the national average is 20 percent). “We’re delighted to see increased participation by women in our courses and concentration. I don’t think the problem is solved, but the messaging that all are welcome does seem to be helping.”Yin believes that eradicating cultural stereotypes about women and technology is a key part of the equation. “Harvard is doing a lot to encourage women to get into technology, and to be more technical in general,” she said. “It’s great, because a lot of women think you can’t be social if you’re in computer science, that people will stigmatize you as a nerd, that guys will be intimidated by you, that you won’t find a boyfriend or a husband.”And men need to be part of the solution, too, she said: “We’re about to start an ‘allies’ program based on what Harvard Business School has done. We want to get men involved in discussing their perceptions about women in computer science. We need to talk about gender-related problems, like why only 7 percent of venture capitalists are women and how this impacts what companies get funded.”David C. Parkes, the George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science and area dean for computer science, is focused on the work ahead: “We’ve managed to close the gender gap a bit, but I think I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we won’t be happy until” the gap is gone.Parkes, who helped judge the hackathon, pointed to the growing number of women in Harvard’s introductory programming course, CS 50. Women filled 37 percent of the seats in CS 50 this year — an all-time high. “Our target for the entire concentration must be 50 percent,” he said.Bringing more women to engineering and computer science is a priority for Dean Cherry A. Murray of SEAS. “We are creating a curriculum that is encouraging and embracing people from diverse backgrounds, rather than the traditional engineering school’s ‘weeding out’ atmosphere,” said Murray, who is also the John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a professor of physics. “We have seen an increase of over a factor of two in the percentage of women concentrating in computer science in the last five years, which I celebrate, but we’re aiming higher — to complete parity — because we want the very best minds coming into the field.”Stanford computer science graduate Kimber Lockhart delivered the second keynote speech Saturday at the Science Center. Increo Solutions, Lockhart’s start-up firm, was acquired in 2009 by Box, a Silicon Valley company with a valuation of more than $1 billion. Just six years out of college, she is now senior vice president at Box, where she leads software engineering teams.“I hope many of you become software engineers because you want to change the world that way,” Lockhart said. “I am sometimes unable to build diverse teams because of so many women opting out” of software engineering. When Lockhart asked who in the packed house was interested in launching a start-up, about half the audience raised their hands.A young woman asked Lockhart how to overcome the “impostor syndrome,” an internalized feeling that women simply don’t belong in tech. Lockhart acknowledged its existence, but added, “You need to make decisions as if it weren’t there,” because “once you get in the door, you’ll be able to learn” everything you need.
Read Full Story In wind farms across North America and Europe, sleek turbines equipped with state-of-the-art technology convert wind energy into electric power. But tucked inside the blades of these feats of modern engineering is a decidedly low-tech core material: balsa wood.Like other manufactured products that use sandwich panel construction to achieve a combination of light weight and strength, turbine blades contain carefully arrayed strips of balsa wood from Ecuador, which provides 95 percent of the world’s supply.For centuries, the fast-growing balsa tree has been prized for its light weight and stiffness relative to density. But balsa wood is expensive and natural variations in the grain can be an impediment to achieving the increasingly precise performance requirements of turbine blades and other sophisticated applications.As turbine makers produce ever-larger blades—the longest now measure 75 meters, almost matching the wingspan of an Airbus A380 jetliner—they must be engineered to operate virtually maintenance-free for decades. In order to meet more demanding specifications for precision, weight, and quality consistency, manufacturers are searching for new sandwich construction material options.Now, using a cocktail of fiber-reinforced epoxy-based thermosetting resins and 3D extrusion printing techniques, materials scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed cellular composite materials of unprecedented light weight and stiffness. Because of their mechanical properties and the fine-scale control of fabrication (see video), the researchers say these new materials mimic and improve on balsa, and even the best commercial 3D-printed polymers and polymer composites available.
On Nov. 18 the members of the Faculty Council approved the Harvard Summer School course list for 2016. They also heard a report on the legislated review of the Ph.D. program in Film and Visual Studies and a report on student diversity. Finally, they discussed proposed reforms to the General Education program.The council next meets on Dec. 9. The next meeting of the faculty is on Dec. 1. The preliminary deadline for the Feb. 2 meeting of the faculty is Jan. 19 at noon.
Read Full Story The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has selected eight journalists and media executives as Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows for the 2016 calendar year. Each will spend time at Harvard to work on an innovative project designed to advance journalism.The visiting fellowship program was established in 2012 to invite individuals with promising journalism research proposals to take advantage of the many resources at Harvard University and the Nieman Foundation. In 2015, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided a $223,000 grant to support the Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships. Those eligible to apply include publishers, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics, journalists and others interested in enhancing quality, building new business models, or designing programs to improve journalism.The 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows are:Maya Baratz, most recently head of new products at Disney/ABC TelevisionDavid Barboza, a reporter for The New York Times who most recently served as Shanghai bureau chiefBill Church, executive editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and southeast regional editor of GateHouse MediaFatemah Farag, founder and CEO of Welad El Balad Media Services in EgyptWalter Frick, a senior associate editor at Harvard Business ReviewPaul McNally, a radio journalist for Wits Journalism and director of The Citizen Justice Network in South AfricaAn Xiao Mina, director of product at MeedanTara Pixley, a freelance photojournalist
When he first encountered the work of Cormac McCarthy as a college student in the mid-’90s, Matthew Potts became spellbound by the novelist, whose dark and violent narratives have led readers deep into history (“Blood Meridian”) and forward into a post-apocalyptic future (“The Road”). Potts remained enthralled for almost two decades. Now, that feeling has gained shape and texture. The Harvard Divinity School professor and Episcopalian priest recently published an academic book about his favorite writer. “Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories,” draws on both postmodern theory and Christian theologies of sacrament to analyze McCarthy’s use of religious images and the moral significance of his stories.The Gazette spoke with Potts about his book and how McCarthy’s fiction helps him see the value of human goodness in the here and now. GAZETTE: You’ve said that McCarthy’s books are inflected with religion. What’s the role religion plays in his novels?POTTS: On the one hand, there are many places in his books where institutional religion is skewered and critiqued without much ambiguity. The novels show impatience with institutional religion at large and with certain forms of religious life or practices. In spite of that, the novels are also adorned with religious images, especially sacramental images, all over the place. Even at the same time that Christian religious institutions are being undermined or dismissed, when rare moments of tenderness or goodness arise, they do so alongside images or invocations of the Christian sacramental tradition: the sharing of food, baptismal imagery, images of washing, the Eucharist. For someone like me, who wants to write from a Christian theological standpoint, I can use these books because I think they expose aspects of the sacramental tradition that Christianity sometimes forgets or neglects.GAZETTE: What do you think sacraments represent, in the author’s view?POTTS: One of the things McCarthy helps me see is that Christian sacramental tradition raises the question of what it means for the holy to be present in the here and now. Take the Eucharist, for example. There are longstanding and intractable arguments in Christianity over what it means for Jesus Christ to be present at communion. Some say the bread and wine must go away to make room for Jesus, that they only appear to be bread and wine but have actually become body and blood. Others say the bread and wine can only be symbols, because how could God really be present in bread and wine? In either case, however, there is a worry over allowing these ordinary things, bread and wine, to be recognized as holy. I think McCarthy wants to challenge that worry, to ask what holiness without transcendence might look like.GAZETTE: How does all of this relate to his books?POTTS: McCarthy is often interpreted, in popular culture, as agnostic or a nihilist or an atheist, and he might be all of those things. It’s clear that he’s really impatient with institutionalized religion and doesn’t believe in any idea of a sweet hereafter or a great beyond. But I think he does want to insist that even if we can’t hold onto a notion of transcendent goodness, we can hold some notion of goodness in the here and now.GAZETTE: Where do you see that in his novels?POTTS: In “The Road,” the story is of a man and his son in a post-apocalyptic world. There’s nothing to eat, everything is dying, but they are traveling to get to the ocean because they have the idea that once they get there, everything will be fine, something good will be waiting there for them. But when they get there, it’s not any better than before, it’s just as bad.There is the common notion that a journey is redeemed by its end. That’s the way Christian theology often works, we endure the trying journey of life so we can end up in the sweet hereafter. But that doesn’t happen in “The Road.” Still, in the novel there are moments when the man and boy share bread and care for each other, and these are the moments that give meaning to their journey. The journey is not redeemed by its end, but by being with each other, that is what’s valuable. It’s not the great beyond that redeems the struggle; it’s actually the love for one another in the struggle. In my view, what he’s saying is that we don’t need to believe in the great beyond to believe in goodness.GAZETTE: Can goodness be achieved through religion? Or can someone be a moral person without religion?POTTS: Even though I’m religious, I believe that one can be perfectly moral without religion. In fact, because religion sometimes places all its concern upon another world instead of this one, I think it sometimes struggles to adequately attend to the moral problems of the world at hand. What I see in McCarthy’s novels is that he’s skeptical about the idea that the only source of goodness must lie beyond this world, and I happen to agree with that. If religion is to be of help in our world, it has to be to locate goodness in the here and now. Our task, as persons religious or not, should be to give attention to the world as it is, even if it’s broken, dying, or violent.GAZETTE: What do you make of the violence and cruelty in McCarthy’s books?POTTS: I’m unsettled by the violence because it seems gratuitous at times. I think that’s intentional, that McCarthy’s trying to unsettle us. Because although McCarthy’s violence is horrifying, it’s not fantastical. The things people do to each other in his books are things that people have done to each other in history and still do to each other today. I think McCarthy doesn’t see the value of testing the worth of goodness if the test is too easy or unrealistic. McCarthy creates the worst possible situations to make the point that if goodness still seems worthwhile under those circumstances, then maybe it really is worth the trouble. So I think he’s saying it’s worth the trouble, but it’s still trouble.GAZETTE: Would you consider McCarthy a religious man?POTTS: In an interview, when he’s asked whether he was religious, he said, “I wish I were,” which is interesting. It’s not no, it’s not yes. Michel de Certeau, the Jesuit scholar, said once, “The desire for faith is the same thing as faith.” For McCarthy to say, “I wish I were religious” raises the question whether or not he is. I wouldn’t call him religious or Christian just because I don’t know. I doubt he’d call himself one. But I think he’s useful to Christians and religious people.GAZETTE: What do you mean by that? How so?POTTS: He’s useful because of the way he manipulates the Christian tradition and exposes meanings that the tradition likes to ignore or neglect. A lot of Christians are troubled by his books and therefore put them aside or discount him as non-Christian, agnostic, atheist, or nihilist. … But in putting his books aside or reducing him to those categories, people who want to call themselves Christians may miss the opportunity to see what he’s exposing in the sacraments, miss recognizing how these sacraments might be meaningful to the Christian church and Christian lives today.GAZETTE: Could you elaborate on that? Are you referring to the value of being good?POTTS: It’s not only the value of being good, it also has to do with where the source of goodness lies. If you think about what happens at an altar, where the priest consecrates bread and wine, you could say that that ritual points to a heavenly banquet, and that what’s going on at the altar is just an imitation of that heavenly banquet. If you say that, you’re saying that the source of goodness and holiness lies outside this world. But if you say what happens at that altar is itself holiness, then you have to look at the people around you, regular people you may like or dislike, broken and fallible in all the usual ways, and maybe change your definition of what counts as sacred.In his books, there are moments when people risk a difficult thing for the sake of love, and even if they may not be rewarded for it, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. I think when he writes such violent things, what’s he’s doing is asking us to think seriously about what the stakes of goodness are. Just because you’re good doesn’t mean the world is going to be good, just because you do the right thing doesn’t mean all is going to be OK. He makes the world not OK precisely in order to ask the question, “Is this still worth doing?”GAZETTE: Many people consider McCarthy’s books very violent, but in your book you said that McCarthy defies violence and that he doesn’t celebrate it.POTTS: One way to read him is that he’s celebrating violence. I don’t read him that way. In “The Road,” again, for example, the main characters, who are father and son, love each other and care for one another, and what McCarthy is trying to say is that it’s still worthwhile for them to love each other even though the man is dying and the world is not going to get better. That’s not a celebration of violence, that’s a realistic appraisal of violence, a defiance of violence. It’s McCarthy raising the question of goodness. It’s about doing the right thing even though it might put us at risk, even though it might not save us, because it’s valuable in and of itself, not because it carries us into safety or up to heaven.GAZETTE: How do you think general readers should approach McCarthy?POTTS: Just read him. I think they should read McCarthy and not be put off by the violence. There are many moments in his novels when one might want to stop reading because there is too much violence. I’d encourage people to keep reading. I really do think that McCarthy is trying to ask questions of meaning in a violent world, and if we stop after reading the violent parts without asking the question of meaning, then the violence simply stands. If we keep reading, we may find a way to stand up to it.
On the first day of class, the instructor handed out spaghetti, string, tape, and marshmallows to the eight students gathered around a table and asked them to build the tallest possible freestanding structure and place the marshmallow on top, in 18 minutes.Created by the designer and author Tom Wujec to foster teamwork, leadership, and creativity, the “marshmallow challenge” was the perfect tool for Victor Pereira Jr. to start his “Introduction to Teaching Science” course on a summer afternoon.“Science is about problem-solving and collaboration,” Pereira, a lecturer in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), told the students. “Everything you need to know about science instruction is in the marshmallow challenge.”Students worked in groups to build the spaghetti structures. When time was up, their creations wobbled for a few seconds before collapsing under the marshmallow’s weight.“Is there something I could have done to help you succeed?” Pereira asked his students. After a brief conversation, one worried aloud that the teacher’s help would have limited their ability to learn on their own.Pereira, who has 14 years of experience teaching high school science in Boston Public Schools under his belt and who is also master teacher in residence of the Harvard Teacher Fellows Program, smiled knowingly. The answer is at the center of a long and passionate debate in education, with experts divided over whether freedom or structure is the best way to maximize learning.Irene Liu (from left), Eunice Park, and Sam Fogel use spaghetti and tape to support a marshmallow during an exercise. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer“Do we let students discover things on their own or do we give it to them?” said Pereira. “There is room for both. Are we training students to be scientists or are we helping them become scientifically literate and informed citizens?”Students take Pereira’s class in the summer, absorbing teaching pedagogy by learning how to design inquiry-based lessons, developing syllabi and curricula, and reflecting on their role as educators. In the fall, they take a full-time session in which they focus more on teaching science.Pereira’s is among the courses offered through the Teacher Education Program, an 11-month master’s program at HGSE that aims to improve teaching in urban public schools and help students become independent learners and critical thinkers.Open to both recent college graduates and mid-career professionals, the program offers hands-on teaching experience at schools in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea, with a special focus on social justice and equity issues. Along with classes on how to teach science, English, history, and social studies, future teachers also take courses on race and power in urban classrooms, urban youth, and teaching in urban schools.The social justice component was a big draw for Sam Fogel, who dreams of helping high school students examine biology and race, nutrition and health, and asthma and pollution.“The reason why I’m here is to learn more and be a better educator,” said Fogel. “Our role as educators is to make students aware of issues of inequity around the country and the world. I want my students to be aware of what’s going around us even if [it’s] not directly related to our material.”Pereira’s course also stresses the need to make science relevant to students’ everyday lives as opposed to asking them to memorize facts, theories, and formulas. Science is about making observations, finding patterns, and asking questions, all of which are applicable in any field, Pereira noted.The future teachers are sent into the field to co-teach with veteran educators and learn by doing how to prepare lessons and deliver them. For Emily Donaldson, this has proved a valuable step toward teaching with confidence.“We’re learning how to manage the classroom,” said Donaldson, who loves biology and teaching and is balancing the program with her senior year at the College. “Also, how to deliver inquiry-based instruction, facilitate discussion, and how to prepare for classes so that we’re able to anticipate anxieties.”The program has helped Erin Bleck be more mindful of the impact she can have as a teacher in city schools. “Harvard has pushed me one step further,” said Bleck, who taught before entering the master’s program, “and has made me think what it means for me and my students.”For Pereira, the program’s main takeaway is experience-based learning. In the marshmallow challenge and beyond, teachers have to help students gain the tools to discover things on their own.“Some beginning teachers, and even veteran teachers, like to be efficient and say everything to the students,” he said. “Our future teachers are learning that they have to design instruction where students are in charge of their own learning. They have to let students be the navigators in the classroom instead of the audience.”SaveSaveSave
Read Full Story The analysis of DNA extracted from archaeological remains has transformed the study of the human past. Until now the new insights have been restricted chiefly to “pre-history,” and to northern, cooler regions of the globe, where DNA is better preserved.DNA is now beginning to illuminate the period that saw the rise of civilizations in the ancient Mediterranean. Accordingly, the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard (SoHP) is delighted to announce the formation of a new center for the study of the Mediterranean using ancient DNA and other scientific approaches.The Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean (MHAAM) is a platform to engage colleagues and students in the discovery of new data which will prompt us to re-think and revise many of our contemporary perspectives on the history of pandemic disease, cultural engagement, migration and human health.The main research sites for MHAAM are the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany (Johannes Krause’s group), and the Initiative for the SoHP, with research groups including those of Michael McCormick, David Reich and Noreen Tuross.The new center will be inaugurated at Harvard University on Oct. 10, featuring a keynote lecture by Krause on his latest, unpublished research as well as by Reich and Iosif Lazaridis on new evidence for ancient migrations. The event will include the signing of the agreement between the Max Planck Society and SoHP. For more information, contact Lisa Ransom Lubarr at [email protected]
In the late 1980s David Brooks was reporting from Europe for The Wall Street Journal as a wave of reform swept the world. Across five years he would cover the fall of Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Maastricht Treaty, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the end of apartheid, and the Oslo peace process.It was “all good news,” Brooks said, except for the one story he mostly ignored: Civil war in Yugoslavia.“In retrospect, that was the most important thing that happened while I was there because that led to what we’ve seen ever since, and that’s tribalism,” Brooks, now a columnist for The New York Times, told a Harvard audience on Wednesday.The rise of tribalism in the U.S. was among Brooks’ topics during a talk at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. American tribalism and the appeal of President Trump, he said, owe largely to a shift from a community ethos to one of rugged and rebellious individualism.There are pros and cons to both, Brooks said. From 1932 to 1964, community was central to a sense of self and connectedness, and citizens put faith in big organizations — government, unions, corporations — to solve big problems.But if trust and “humility” were easier to find back then, Brooks said, so were rampant racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as more emotional distance in families, particularly between fathers and their children, and deeper conformity.The 1960s, Brooks said, produced a turn from “we are in this together” to a “free to be myself” sense of liberation that charged a range of social movements, including for expanded Civil Rights. But now, decades later, the country is “suffering a lot of the effects of individualism,” he said. Brooks pointed specifically to three social chasms: loneliness and isolation; a distrust of institutions; and a crisis of purpose.“What happens when you leave people naked and alone?” Brooks said. “Well, they do what anybody does with our revolutionary history — they revert to tribe.”,The Trump campaign understood that partisan conflict had shifted away from the size of government to a debate about the embrace or rejection of globalization. And he pounced. Deft with political theater, the future president “was good at exposing the holes of the old order … at picking every wound we have and sticking a red hot poker into it.”Brooks sees a moderating influence in organizations focused on missions such as civic education, rebuilding community, social mobility, and a better understanding of what our American purpose is “around the world.” The country needs to develop a better understanding of “why living in a democratic society is a better way of life,” he added. Perhaps most important, Brooks said, is that we look outward from our tribes in a spirit of “I commit to you.”Commitments, whether to a person or a profession, a community or a set of ideas, give us our identity, sense of purpose, higher definition of freedom, and moral character, Brooks said.Commitment to nation is the biggest challenge facing the country, he said, but it’s not insurmountable. The journalist sees hope in strong communities “rallying to action.”“People figure stuff out,” he said. “And the writers who say, ‘It’s the end of,’ ‘It’s the decline of’ — people like us, we are always wrong.”
Earlier this month the Graduate Commons community honored President Faust for her commitment as a leader and friend of the program. Throughout the program’s 10 years, organizers say, Faust has continued to put belonging and inclusion at the forefront of Harvard’s values.The Graduate Commons program is a unique interdisciplinary program that provides a “home away from home” for the Harvard graduate students, faculty, staff, and their families living in Harvard University Housing. President Faust was in attendance as the program thanked more than 60 participating Community Advisors and Faculty who support the program and host more than 400 events for the diverse residential community.In thanking Faust for her unwavering support throughout the years, Graduate Commons Program Director Lisa Valela, said, “Tonight as you prepare to move forward from your tenure as Harvard’s 28th President, we stop to recognize the gift you provided us 10 years ago, that enabled the Graduate Commons Program to begin, to grow, and now to flourish. Without your generosity and focus on building ONE HARVARD, we would not be sitting here today.”
The vegans are coming, and we might join them Nisha Vora was unhappy. A high-achieving daughter of Indian immigrants in California, Vora was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Law School. After graduation in 2012, the newly minted attorney landed what many would consider a plum job in corporate law, but she found the hours long, the work uninspiring.What to do? Two years in, she decided to take an around-the-world backpacking trip with her partner, fellow HLS graduate Maxwell Chapman. They journeyed through Europe and Asia, including a trek through the Himalayas and visits to Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.Vora decided to reset. She would continue in the law, but this time at a New York City nonprofit helping low-income tenants. Better, but still not quite right. “I started thinking about what actually makes me happy,” she said. “The answer always came back to food.”Recently, the lawyer-turned-food-blogger released her debut cookbook, “The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook,” which builds on her success as a chronicler of vegan recipes and photos on her popular site, Rainbow Plant Life.,“In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to write a cookbook,” Vora said. “I did not think I was qualified.”Published by Penguin Random House, the book has more than 90 recipes, many of which are accompanied by Vora’s photos.“I wanted to create a vegan Instant Pot cookbook that would be not only the bible of Instant Pot cooking, but also a beautiful book of photos inspiring you, a cookbook you share with family and friends,” Vora said.That sentiment recalls a story she tells about one of her favorite HLS professors, Todd Rakoff, himself an HLS graduate with the class of 1975. Currently the Byrne Professor of Administrative Law, Rakoff was Vora’s section leader for her first-year law classes. She remembers his advice to students: “At the end of the day, if you eat dinner with people you love, you’re doing something right.”Rakoff’s words resonated with Vora, and they remained with her. She said that the one thing that makes her happiest “is cooking for family and friends and eating together.”Around this time, Vora became a vegan after watching 10 different documentaries on the subject over several days. She said that after she learned about the meat industry — including factory farms — becoming vegan “seemed like a no-brainer.”,Vora’s renewed interest in food, and her decision to become a vegan, led her to start Rainbow Plant Life. “It was a hobby at the time,” she said, but the blog expanded to include Instagram and YouTube accounts. Readers began following Vora’s recipes and photos, and a New York healthy-food startup, Hungryroot, hired her to take all of its food photography.Many of Vora’s recipes were made with an Instant Pot, which she said “really helped me get healthier meals into my diet without having much prep. Penguin Random House noticed the recipes and contacted me.”She embraced the idea of a cookbook, but it came with a shorter-than-usual time frame.“Most cookbook authors in the U.S. are given a year,” Vora said. “My publisher wanted to fast-track it. The Instant Pot is so hot; vegan cooking is so hot. It took a little under six months to write, test the recipes, and [take] pictures.”Vora’s HLS background proved “surprisingly helpful,” she recalled, adding that her Law School experiences, including at the Journal of Law and Gender, made her a better writer. She said that HLS instilled the “nitty-gritty things” that came in handy as she worked to create “an easy-to-read, clean, easy-to-follow cookbook.”She infused the cookbook with recipes representing a unique blend of comfort food and vegan cuisine, including versions of lasagna, chocolate cake, and mac and cheese.Other recipes reflect food from around the world, including India, where her parents came from. (One of her favorites is tofu cauliflower tikka masala, a vegan spin on the popular chicken dish.) Although she describes her mother as a wonderful cook, she didn’t like much Indian food growing up. “It was the same dal, mixed vegetables, Indian bread,” she recalled, quipping, “As a child, I was already picky.”,However, she has grown to appreciate Indian food — as well as the fact that her parents’ homeland is a country of diverse regions and cuisine.“I kind of rethought my earlier, childish belief,” Vora said. “I tried Indian food when I would go back to visit my parents. I was excited to see my mother’s cooking.”The cookbook also features recipes from other parts of the globe, including Latin America (frijoles, or Mexican-style pinto beans, are among the “Satisfying Sides”) and Africa (such as the West African peanut stew).Vora says that she often cooks for non-vegans, many of whom say that the food is so delicious, it couldn’t possibly be healthy. She reassures them that not only does everything taste good, “everything’s plant-based” so “you feel good about what you’re eating.” Related How Harvard’s cooks serve up 5 million meals a year In replicating the look and taste of real meat, companies are appealing to the mainstream consumer Philosophy professor’s book asks humans to rethink their relationships with animals ‘There they are, on our dinner plates’ From plants to plates What we eat and why we eat it Ph.D. students explore the culture and science of food in the Veritalk podcast
Students reflect on the shift to online classes and unplanned move home “We talked with many friends and classmates who felt like so many changes were happening to us and that others were making significant decisions affecting our lives. That often happens in times of crisis, and we wanted to empower more students to respond and act. Students are very good at identifying needs and gaps, and we wanted to give them a platform to connect with others to innovate solutions,” said Gwendolyn Lee, who’s studying health policy at Harvard Kennedy School while also pursuing a medical degree at UCLA. Allie Lee is earning a master’s degree in epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.Even as the group confronts the immediate COVID-19 crisis, Gwendolyn Lee said it’s also building institutional knowledge so that it’s better prepared for future disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics.“More fundamentally, we would like to work toward building a model of prevention,” she said. “Students vs. Pandemics hopes to advocate for and help achieve preventive behavior so we won’t find ourselves in a situation like the one we face today.”Coming togetherIn times of struggle, many take comfort and refuge in religious and spiritual gatherings. With that currently out of the question, some religious groups at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) are considering alternatives. The HDS Disciples and United Church of Christ Worship have begun shifting the weekly worship services and prayer times online, connecting everyone via Zoom. The first online service begins today.Early last week, HDS students began contributing inspirational posts to the Office of the Chaplain and Religious and Spiritual Life’s Facebook page and Instagram accounts. So far, the posts have drawn on a variety of texts, from the Bible to Harry Potter.Design for living apartHarvard’s move to online teaching and learning presents challenges for disciplines where the work is almost entirely physical and doesn’t easily translate to 2D formats such as video — at least not without sacrificing essential components of the work.At Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Dean Sarah Whiting and the faculty have been taking advantage of the popular Zoom platform’s draw-over and annotation tools, particularly for “crits,” the one-on-one sessions in which a professor reviews and critiques individual student work, said GSD spokesman Travis Dagenais. Rather than hanging project renderings on the usual pin-up boards, they’re turning unused laptops into digital pinboards so professors can review the work on one screen while conducting the crit on another. “I was just so impressed that even though all of their lives were sort of cast into chaos … they still were really committed to building community and finding ways to continue to connect GSAS students.” — Jacqueline Yun, executive director, GSAS Student Center ‘Unsteady,’ ‘lucky,’ and ‘overwhelmed’ The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. The School is still determining how faculty juries will conduct final reviews, which typically involve models, large drawings, and other physical elements, without being able to see these components in real life.For those already tired of looking at home-office backdrops on Zoom, or who just want things to go back to “normal” even for a few minutes, a cheeky pair of Master’s in Design Studies students have created an assortment of colorful Zoom backgrounds from spaces in and around Gund Hall. The backgrounds have become a minor hit with students and even a dean or two.One unexpected positive is that prior to the campus closure, GSD offered only one online course, the popular “The Architectural Imagination” on edX. Now, suddenly there are dozens of GSD courses going online, adapted and produced in short order and being tweaked in an ongoing manner. It’s been a tall order. “That contrast in number and scope illustrates our challenge as designers: Design pedagogy is uniquely difficult to conduct in a purely digital format, and this shift has been nothing shy of fundamental for us,” said Dagenais.Festivities from afarFor fourth-year students at Harvard Medical School (HMS), the third Friday in March is a date they have dreamed about and worked toward for many years. On Match Day, the National Resident Matching Program notifies graduating seniors at medical schools across the country where they will serve their clinical residencies. At Harvard, the milestone usually takes place in the atrium of the Tosteson Medical Education Center at HMS, with students and their loved ones gathered, waiting for the dean of students’ traditional bell ringing at noon that kicks off the envelope-tearing, excited squeals, and hugs. This year, the matches will arrive via email, and Dean Fidencio Saldaña’s bell will be livestreamed to the approximately 165 seniors. The School has set up a social media account so students can share their celebrations, but from a safe distance. Medical School academic, research community responds to COVID-19 pandemic Harvard’s Lipsitch urges public to ramp up social distancing, increase coronavirus tests As everywhere else, Harvard’s graduate and professional Schools have had to adjust quickly to the new realities brought on by the rising coronavirus pandemic, halting normal operations, shifting to remote learning, and creating systems that serve their own unique needs and teaching missions.Supplementing the University’s dedicated COVID-19 information website, the dozen Schools have created special sections on their own sites to communicate regularly with students, faculty, and staff about the latest announcements from deans and other senior administrators, provide links to the rapidly changing public health news and safety guidelines, and offering detailed information about the resources and forms of assistance available to members of the Harvard community.Some Schools, such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Harvard Business School, are drawing on their expertise to gather COVID-19-focused faculty research and advice on their areas of health, K-12 education, and business to satisfy a voracious, fact-starved public. Other Schools are grappling with ways to continue critical services that aren’t so easily shuffled online. Here are some of the key shifts underway.Clinical training impactsDelivering vital medical and legal services to those who need them and providing students with essential, hands-on training are important, enriching aspects of the professional education at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HDSM), and Harvard Law School (HLS).But as School leaders grapple with federal, state, and local guidelines covering how best to protect students, faculty, and staff in high-risk settings or where close contact with others is unavoidable, clinical work for HMS and HDSM students has been temporarily halted or radically scaled back.Clinical rotations at Harvard’s teaching hospitals — including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Cambridge Health Alliance — were paused through Sunday, and may be delayed longer. The move is temporary, an HMS spokeswoman stressed, but will be long enough “to give the hospitals and the clinical faculty administrators time to devise a plan for the students where they can continue to train but won’t be involved dealing with COVID patients.”On March 16, the Dental School halted all clinical services except dental emergencies for existing patients “until further notice,” said German Gallucci, Raymond J. and Elva Pomfret Nagle Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Sciences and executive director of the Harvard Dental Center. The number of faculty, staff, and students handling emergency services has been cut back, with very few students assigned to the ER. The hiatus has dramatically reduced the clinic caseload, which had been logging 45,000 visits a year but has gone from seeing 200 patients a day down to just five for urgent care.,The scale-back will protect students, faculty and staff from exposure, while keeping emergency dental treatment going to ease the expected strain on hospitals and the health system in the coming weeks.Gallucci said that, given the pandemic’s many unknowns, he concurred with his colleague Jennifer Gibbs, director of the Division of Endodontics, who predicted, “This could be our new normal for an extended period of time.” Even when the spread of the coronavirus is under control, she said, people in dental medicine “will have to learn how to practice with this disease among us.”At the Law School, meanwhile, 44 clinics and student practice organizations continue to serve clients and work on cases, said Lisa Dealy, assistant dean for clinical and pro bono programs. The state trial courts have barred all in-person hearings and will take only emergency cases during the outbreak.Let’s keep in touch — no, reallyIn normal times, students at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) don’t have much chance to meet up what with research, teaching, studying and family obligations. So the GSAS Student Center, formerly known as Dudley House, has served as a vital social hub, hosting parties, offering arts and cultural programming, and sponsoring outdoor, athletic, and other activities to get students out of their academic bubbles and interact with students from other disciplines.After the University shift to digital learning, the 25 Ph.D. student fellows who host interactive events moved quickly to ensure that social distancing wouldn’t erode the grad students’ sense of community. Using Engage, a social engagement platform also used by the College, center fellows have begun ramping up a slate of options to gather virtually, including a weekly knitting and crochet circle, a photography workshop, and virtual exercise classes.“I was just so impressed that even though all of their lives were sort of cast into chaos in terms of moving and heading home and … maybe moving to new residence halls, they still were really committed to building community and finding ways to continue to connect GSAS students,” said Jacqueline Yun, executive director of the center.Sarah Kozel and Etha Williams, third- and sixth-year doctoral students studying historical musicology in the Music Department, decided to launch a podcast, “Distant Socialing,” after the campus closure put an end to a tongue-in-cheek “conceptual podcast” they had held over meals in the Commons dining hall, where they would discuss and rate the food and chat with whomever joined them.,“When the coronavirus crisis hit, we started trying to think about ways to maintain closeness and community amidst growing physical distance — both small-scale (social distancing and campus closures in Cambridge) and large-scale (as Sarah returned to Canada while I stayed in Cambridge),” Williams said via email. “We thought that making our conceptual podcast a ‘real’ podcast could be one way to do this.”In addition to their usual humor, the pair discuss the psychological aspects of coping with the pandemic and share some tips they learned in a Harvard University Health Services workshop, “Managing Emotions.”“I just love this because it’s so good for mental health and well-being,” Yun said of the fellows’ latest effort. “It’s hard enough to be a Ph.D. student; it is so incredibly isolating and our population has a tendency to isolate because the work that they’re doing is asking the big questions in lonely libraries. So I’m just so grateful that our students are trending forward trying to say, ‘We need to stay connected to each other during this time.’”Students vs. PandemicsWith so many feeling overwhelmed by the abrupt changes and confused by the rapid pace of information coming at them from so many disparate sources about the COVID-19 pandemic or where to find help for difficulties, graduate students Gwendolyn Lee, M.D./M.P.P. ’20, and her sister, Alexandria “Allie” Lee, M.S. ’20, thought students could use a central repository to find and share the most accurate, useful information and more easily communicate with each other. Ideally, they hoped this would empower students to take action to begin solving the many challenges of the current public health crisis.On March 13, the student-run group Students vs. Pandemics created a Google Sheet with sections on how to stay healthy, where to find resources, ideas for having fun or bringing about systemic change, and complain + fix, where problems are identified, and then go about trying to fix them. Students are encouraged to add ideas and share information on the spreadsheet. So far, more than 30 students have contributed, and they’re hoping to recruit others. Ideas include starting a COVID-19 hackathon for students to identify digital solutions, drafting policy memos to send to the Massachusetts Legislature, and helping other universities launch similar task forces. ‘Worry about 4 weeks from now,’ epidemiologist warns Officials detail University’s battle plan to combat coronavirus while education continues Q&A on Harvard’s move to online learning Homeward bound Related