Around Campus

Society for Neuroscience honors Eve Marder ’69 and Timothy O’LearyPosted: Nov. 11, 2014

Eve Marder ’69, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience, and Timothy O’Leary, a postdoctoral fellow in the Marder lab, will be honored this weekend at Neuroscience2014, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference.

Marder will be presented the Award for Education in Neuroscience for her work at Brandeis and across the country promoting neuroscience programs at all career levels. She established one of the first undergraduate neuroscience programs at Brandeis, in 1990, and has trained more than 20 PhD students and 35 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom are women and underrepresented minorities.

Marder is sharing the award with Richard Olivo of Smith College.

O’Leary will be presented the Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award in Neuroscience, which recognizes promising young scientists for outstanding research and educational pursuit in an international setting. At Brandeis, O’Leary, who is Welsh, is working to develop accurate models of individual neurons and neuronal networks maintaining homeostasis.

O’Leary will share the award with Nicolas X. Tritsch of Harvard Medical School.

Child Opportunity Index outlined at Health Affairs eventPosted: Nov. 11, 2014
Photo/Bob Stevens, ©rlstevensphotography

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia speaks at the National Press Club in an event held by Health Affairs.

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, the Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and director of the Institute for Child Youth and Family Policy, was among a group of featured authors from the November issue of Health Affairs to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

Acevedo-Garcia discussed her article, “The Child Neighborhood Opportunity Index: a tool for improving the collaboration between community development and public health," co-authored with researchers from the Heller School and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.   The Child Opportunity Index is a new measurement tool that rates the quality of opportunities for children on a neighborhood and regional level, based on indicators such as availability of quality early childhood education,  healthy physical environments, and supportive socioeconomic environments.

Analysis of the Index across the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas found that high concentrations of black and Hispanic children live in the lowest-opportunity neighborhoods within their metropolitan areas. Forty percent of black and 32 percent of Hispanic children live in very low-opportunity neighborhoods within their metropolitan area, compared to 9 percent of white children. This inequity persists across metropolitan areas but is greater in some areas, especially those with high levels of residential segregation.

The diversitydatakids.org website features a number of ways to explore and utilize the Child Opportunity Index.  Interactive maps allow users to overlay Census population data on the Child Opportunity Index, showing where children of different racial and ethnic groups live and how these patterns correspond with levels of neighborhood opportunity. Users can also create interactive rankings and bar charts to gain further insights into the differing geographies of opportunity that children face in their neighborhoods.

“Policy makers increasingly recognize the concept of neighborhood opportunity in the development of housing for low-income families,” Acevedo-Garcia said. “Through its web-based mapping system and database, the Child Opportunity Index offers a valuable new tool to the housing and community development fields that is unique both in its focus on children and in its ability to facilitate analyses of racial and ethnic inequities.”

Kate Moran awarded Humboldt FellowshipPosted: Nov. 11, 2014

Assistant professor of philosophy Kate A. Moran has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship to support her work on a book that explores how dependence and interdependence fit into Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, especially his theory of autonomy. As part of her fellowship, Moran will work with Andrea Marlen Esser, a Kant scholar and professor of philosophy at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, from January 2015 until the summer of 2016.

“It’s a great honor to receive the Humboldt Fellowship,” says Moran, who speaks German fluently. “I’m very excited about the chance to live in Germany and to work on my research. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to get to know the philosophical community in Germany better.”

The Humboldt Foundation grants more than 600 research fellowships for postdoctoral and experienced researchers each year. The foundation makes its selections based on a researcher’s proposal as well as their past work. Though the foundation allows for long-term projects, the timetable for research is flexible and allows as many as three stays in Germany within three years.

Brandeis partners with Waltham High to bring guidance counselor to national meetingPosted: Nov. 3, 2014
Brandeis University has joined a national campaign to enable more public high school guidance counselors, especially those who work with underserved students, to attend the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual meeting in San Diego next October.

Brandeis was the third school pulled into the social media campaign, the High School Counselor Challenge, which encourages colleges and universities to pledge to cover the cost of a high school guidance counselor to attend the conference. Bates College kicked off the campaign by announcing it accepted the challenge and then called out Pitzer College to follow suit. The California college, in turn, tapped Brandeis to do the same.

To honor its commitment, Brandeis offered to cover the cost of a Waltham High School guidance counselor to attend the conference. This includes travel, hotel, meals and conference registration. Brandeis also continued the challenge by asking Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., to participate.

“Brandeis is thrilled to participate in the high school counselor challenge,” said Jennifer Walker, executive director of admissions. “By funding a counselor from Waltham High to attend the conference, we are investing in both the counselor and the students. These counselors are advocates who work tirelessly to provide support and resources to college-bound students, and their voices should be heard in the national dialogue about school counseling. At its core, this is about social justice in the work of higher education; it aligns perfectly with who we are as a university.”
Anita Hill and Mark Bradford pack the RosePosted: Oct. 29, 2014
Courtesy, Department of Fine Arts

Artist Mark Bradford and Brandeis Professor Anita Hill pose in front of Bradford's painting, "Sea Monster."

Artist Mark Bradford and Brandeis Professor Anita Hill held a conversation on blackness, art and their life experiences and approaches to their work in front of a standing room only crowd at the Rose Art Museum Oct. 24.

More than 200 people gathered in the Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery, its walls covered by Bradford's "Sea Monsters" exhibition, to hear the discussion. Bradford also met with a small group of students for lunch before the event.

"You have to step out of your expertise, and partner and collaborate with other people who have expertise in areas you don't," Bradford said to the audience. "It will humble you and it will give them a sense of purpose and strength."

The conversation was part of an on-going series on art, blackness and diaspora funded by the Brandeis Arts Council and presented by the departments of Fine Arts and African and Afro-American Studies, and the Rose Art Museum.

New England Philharmonic to premiere David Rakowski symphonyPosted: Oct. 21, 2014

David Rakowski, the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition at Brandeis, will have his fifth symphony premiered by the New England Philharmonic Orchestra on Oct. 25.

David Rakowski"Dance Episodes" will be performed at the Tsai Performance Center in the opening show of the orchestra's 2014-2015 season. Each year, a composer in residence writes a piece for the orchestra and works with conductor Richard Pittman on the score. Rakowski is currently serving as composer in residence for the orchestra. Rakowski is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in music and has had his compositions played around the world.

The performance of "Dance Episodes" will be the world premiere of the symphony and played as part of a two-part program titled "Shall We Dance" that also includes the world premiere of Bernard Hoffer's "Ligeti Split."

The show and the upcoming season for the orchestra were recently featured on WBUR's The Artery.

More information on the performance can be found on the New England Philharmonic Orchestra's website.

Princeton Review names Brandeis IBS a top business schoolPosted: Oct. 10, 2014

For the seventh consecutive year, the Princeton Review has named Brandeis International Business School (IBS) as one of the best business schools in North America.

Student feedback acknowledged the MBA program’s high academic rigor and invested faculty, noting that the professors at Brandeis IBS are “friendly, extremely smart, and concerned that we graduate with a great job.” Other input touched on the quality of peer-to-peer experiences at the school, identifying the student body as “diverse” and “collaborative.” One student noted the environment as an “excellent cultural mix” with “terrific exposure to other cultures.”

Graduate-level programs at Brandeis IBS have been consistently recognized by worldwide rankings publications, including The Economist and the Financial Times.

"We are pleased that the quality and dedication of our faculty, our community of talented and innovative students, and our global focus and multi-cultural environment has been recognized by the Princeton Review," said Brandeis IBS Dean Bruce Magid, P '15.

The Princeton Review released its 2015 edition of “The Best 296 Business Schools” on Oct. 7. The annual guide is compiled from a survey of more than 21,000 students at the selected schools, and asks them to rate and report on their experiences.

Lemberg Children's Center officially unveiledPosted: Oct. 7, 2014
Photo/Mike Lovett

The recently finished Lemberg Children’s Center hosted its formal dedication and unveiling on Tuesday morning, Oct. 7. Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence, Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, Provost Steven Goldstein '78, and Lemberg Executive Director Howard Baker as well as parents, teachers, and staff were on hand for the event. Mayor McCarthy honored the center and President Lawrence with aproclamation, praising their service to the children and families of both the Brandeis community and Waltham. At the end of the unveiling, the center’s children sung “The Garden Song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with the help of Lemberg teachers and Associate Director of Music Education Scott Kepnes, who joined along with his guitar.

The former Lemberg Children’s Center, which was located inside the main campus, has since been remodeled to house the Crown Center for Middle East Studies. The new Lemberg Center, which is fully handicap accessible, is located on the other side of South Street. The university plans to further develop the center through landscaping, gardening, and constructing a playground for the children.

More information on supporting the Lemberg Children’s Center can be found online.

Aida Yuen Wong to give AHL Foundation LecturePosted: Sept. 10, 2014

Associate Professor of Asian Art Aida Yuen Wong will deliver a lecture in New York City on costume reform and Korean modernization as part of the AHL Foundation's 2014 public lecture series.

Wong's lecture will be based on the attire of Yu Kil-Chun, a 19th century scholar and political activist whose personal effects, including his clothing, are among artifacts belonging to the Peabody Essex Museum.

The lecture is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the Korean Cultural Service of New York at 460 Park Ave. in Manhattan.

Students return to modernized Foster ModsPosted: Sept. 5, 2014
Photo/Mike Lovett

The newly renovated Foster Mods were officially unveiled on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mohamed Sidique ’15 and Kelsey Segaloff ’15, Foster Mods community advisers, and Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel welcomed the 182 residents. They also introduced Department of Community Living Director Timothy Touchette, who recently joined Brandeis, and his staff before cutting the ribbon.

Renovations of the Foster Mods began in mid-May, soon after last year’s seniors left campus following graduation. Improvements were made to the residence halls’ exteriors and interiors, including installing colorful paneling on the outside of the residence halls and updating the living space with new bed frames, desks, refrigerators, stoves, and carpeting. This was the first major renovation of the Foster Mods, which were originally built in 1973.  

“Before these wonderful renovations, if you lived in the Mods or went there to visit friends or to attend a Mod ‘soiree’, you know that the look was very different, the feel was very different inside and out,” said Flagel. “The workers did an amazing job that has dramatically enhanced the experience of living in the Mods.”

Shostak, Cunningham honored at ASA annual meetingPosted: Aug. 15, 2014

Two Brandeis University professors will be honored at the 2014 American Sociological Association’s annual meeting on August 16-19.

Professor David Cunningham will be awarded the Outstanding Book Award from the Section on Peace, War, and Social Conflict for “Klansville, U.S.A,” his work on the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan. Additionally, the book received an honorable mention from the Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

Associate professor Sara Shostak will be awarded the Robert K. Merton Book Award by the Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology and the Elliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the Section on Medical Sociology for her book, “Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health.”

Read more about Shostak’s awards on Provost Direct

Students present at international environmental science summitPosted: July 15, 2014

Margaret Back ’16, Morgan Dashko ’15 and Tasneem Islam ’15

Three Brandeis University students recently presented research findings on nail salon air quality at the 2014 International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology in Houston.

Margaret Back ’16, Morgan Dashko ’15 and Tasneem Islam ’15 reported that workers in 15 nail salons in Greater Boston were exposed to high levels of harmful chemicals which are common in nail polishes, polish removers and acrylic and gel nails. 

The students’ findings were from a study they conducted with colleagues in professor Laura Goldin’s Environmental Health and Justice Program, which is offered through the Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS).

The Justice Brandeis Semester program is part of Brandeis’ commitment to creating and supporting intensive learning experiences with enduring impact, a central goal of the university’s strategic plan.

The students conducted their research in collaboration with Viet-AID, a Vietnamese-American community development organization based in Dorchester, Mass. (many of the estimated 350,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. are Vietnamese women and other immigrants), the Boston Public Health Commission, the Healthy Cosmetology Committee, and Talena Thu Ngo, a Vietnamese business directory.

The trio, the youngest to present at the conference, said their findings were well received. “The attendees were very impressed with our age and student status,” said Islam. “When we first got up to present, it felt as if people we skeptical, but after we started, people seemed to change their expressions to those of genuine interests.”

In addition to gaining experience presenting to a professional audience, the students met environmental health professionals from around the world, including the director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division. “It was such an exciting experience, [especially] hearing about all the environmental research that is being done in the world,” said Islam.