Students, faculty take action on unsafe dietary supplements

first_img Read Full Story Massachusetts may become the first state to regulate sales of dietary supplements marketed as weight-loss and muscle-building aids, thanks to a bill promoted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. These products, which are not tested for safety by the federal government, have been linked to serious side effects including liver damage, heart attacks, and death. The new bill, now awaiting a vote by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Public Health Committee, would ban sales to minors and would also require retailers to move the products behind the counter for sale to adults.Bryn Austin, director of the School’s Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED), spearheaded the effort. Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, joined with community partners at the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to gather research on the health risks posed by these supplements, as well as stories of those affected by their use and abuse. Their efforts impressed Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton), who signed on to sponsor what became MA House Bill 3471.Widespread access to these supplements is particularly risky for young people, who may be unable to weigh the potential side effects of these products, Austin said. Among teens nationwide, 11% have used weight loss supplements and 5% have used creatine, a supplement marketed for muscle building that has been linked with testicular cancer, according to STRIPED.last_img read more

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A revitalized Science Center

first_imgThere are places in which you linger and places you leave as quickly as you can. Libraries, coffee shops, museums, and parks seduce you to stay. Crowded train stations, noisy restaurants, and too much concrete convince you to keep going. For many passersby, the promenade of the Science Center has become a place to pass through, without pausing. But that’s about to change.“We want to change the pace and feel of it. Go back to the original intent when the building was built, so it’s less of a Grand Central Station for people rushing through and more of a place you want to linger and look at things, and collaborate in,” said Professor Jeffrey Schnapp, chairman of the faculty committee involved in creating the design brief for renovations set to start after the next Commencement.The main floor of the Science Center, including the Cabot Science Library, the Greenhouse Café, and exterior spaces, will be transformed to create a dynamic, 24-hour student commons and a technology-integrated library, changes directed in part by input from undergraduates. Where there are walls, there will be windows, or no walls at all, to open up a flexible space connecting the library, a coffee shop, food services, study space, and, most importantly, the people who make the Science Center one of the most actively used buildings on campus.The goal, said Mack Scogin, Kajima Professor in Practice of Architecture and former chairman of the Harvard Department of Architecture, is to create “a place of learning and a place of sharing and accessing information and knowledge and ideas.” Scogin and his partner, Merrill Elam, are the lead architects on the project. Their design creates spaces easily adapted to meet changing student needs.“Everything moves, comes apart, transforms,” said Scogin.There are social areas and study spaces, places to be alone and spaces that enhance and encourage collaboration among students, among students and faculty, and more, all of whom will be able to move across the hall and around the building to continue conversations that start in the classroom.“In the Science Center particularly, once classes are over, you have to leave the room to allow in the next class. But students and faculty are looking for collaborative, comfortable spaces where they could easily move for further conversation. What better place than a library to continue the learning outside of the classroom?” said Susan Fliss, associate University librarian for research, teaching and learning, and director and librarian of the Monroe C. Gutman Library.A generous gift from Penny Pritzker ’81, as part of The Campaign for Arts and Sciences, propels this project at one of the most iconic buildings on campus. It was built in 1973 and designed by Josep Lluís Sert, then dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The renovation is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.For the Cabot Science Library, the effort will mean a metamorphosis. For one thing, people will be able to see into the library. Instead of solid walls and tiny windows that make the library easy to miss, there will be glass walls and open spaces with new technology redefining how the library and its users interact.Schnapp, professor of Romance languages and literature at GSD, director of metaLAB (at) Harvard, and director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, explained: “All of us are striving to make this project not just about renovating and upgrading a library of key importance to the Science Center, in a key building on campus, but also to make it a state-of-the-art library that really attempts to implement new functions, new kinds of spaces, new kinds of opportunities to really begin to answer the question of what a library is and what a library could be in the 21st century.”Fliss said students now turn to a variety of information sources. “Students will have their laptop in front of them working on documents and they may be sitting in front of computers that belong to the library reading articles online. They may have books or notes spread out across the desk or table. There’s information in every single one of those things, and they’re pulling information and their ideas together, sometimes in text, sometimes in multimedia, sometimes in objects or computer programs or visualizations of a concept map — in expressions of knowledge that they’ve created.“Students want everything,” she said. “They want the quiet spaces to be alone with their thoughts. They want collaborative spaces to work with others. They want collaborative spaces to be near others but work alone, and they want to do this in spaces that are like libraries with books around them. They want it all and use it all.”The new Cabot Science Library aims to provide it all, as part of one flexible, collaboration-focused open space. Students will find the different kinds of environments they want, not to mention different kinds of coffee, with integrated learning support through technology and a research staff dedicated to helping them apply this technology to meet their changing and challenging needs.Near the entrance to the reimagined library will be a mobile discovery bar where students can sample new technologies, try novel mobile apps, assess online tutorials, and participate in student project testing. The lower level will include a new entrance to the Harvard University Information Technology lab, as well as group study rooms, media production labs, a large classroom for workshops, and collections in mathematics and across the sciences. There also will be dedicated space for students to meet with staff for research, teaching, and learning support.During the renovation, library services will be offered and staff will be located on the second floor, where there also will be open study space, computers, and staff from the library and information technology.When the center commons reopens, it will be a place that reflects its past but works toward the future, like the space around it.“The notion of a library as a fundamentally social space, where ideas are animated and engaged in collaboratively, is really an ancient idea,” said Schnapp.“Libraries always have had a mix of functions. The notion of a library as a place of contemplation, silence, reflection, always has coexisted with the notion of a library as a social space where ideas are activated by communities, and knowledge is performed and not just produced,” Schnapp said. “In a contemporary context, we need to bring back to the fore some of those more collaborative, social aspects while recognizing that the ways in which collaboration is happening today are changing.”last_img read more

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First admissions to Class of ’20

first_imgHer high school football team was playing in the 2014 state finals, but Audrey Maghiro didn’t get a ticket to the game. She wasn’t sure she’d be in the mood to go because the day before the game she expected to learn whether she’d been accepted to Harvard College under the Early Action program.“I knew this is where I wanted to go,” she says now. “And I didn’t want to wait until April to realize this dream wasn’t supposed to happen.”Audrey said her mother got her two cards. One said, “Congratulations.” The other said, “It’s OK.”“She wasn’t there when I opened the email from Harvard,” Maghiro said. “The email told me I had something updated to my account. I clicked the button but closed my eyes and turned around because I didn’t want to see it. Then I just saw ‘C’ and started screaming.”The “C” started the word “congratulations.” Just as Maghiro, now a member of the Class of 2019, experienced last year, 918 students opened similar emails this year and learned they had been accepted for admission under the Early Action program. Related First-generation students are 10.2 percent of those admitted through Early Action this year. Students admitted early this year are 24.2 percent Asian-American, 9.4 percent African-American, 9.6 percent Latino, and 1.8 percent Native American and Native Hawaiian.Harvard’s new Theater, Dance & Media Concentration is attracting more students to the humanities. This year, 16.7 percent of Early Action students admitted will concentrate in the humanities, compared with 14.8 percent last year. Also this year, more Early Action students will head to the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: 11.1 percent for engineering (up from 9.4 percent last year) and 5.9 percent for computer science (up from 5.1 percent last year).For admitted students, Harvard’s leading Financial Aid Initiative is likely to play a key role in their decision to attend. The program started more than a decade ago and has been expanded and enhanced under the leadership of Harvard President Drew Faust and Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith.Over that time, Harvard has awarded undergraduates $1.4 billion in financial aid. Even when the economic crash of 2008-’09 forced major budget cuts across the University, Harvard protected and increased financial aid, since the downturn left families and students needing more help.Under the Financial Aid Initiative, one in five undergraduate families pays nothing for tuition, room, and board because their annual income is $65,000 or less. At higher income levels, families pay between zero and 10 percent of their annual income for tuition, room, and board (for example, $12,000 for a family with $120,000 a year in income and typical assets). This 10 percent limit holds for families earning up to $150,000 a year. Need-based aid is also available to families with incomes of more than $150,000 a year. Families with significant assets in all income categories are asked to contribute more.“A Harvard education costs the same or less than a state school for 90 percent of American families, based on their income and because of Harvard’s financial aid,” said Sally C. Donahue, Griffin Director of Financial Aid. “And every Harvard undergraduate can graduate debt-free because our financial aid is loan-free, providing only grants.”Harvard pays for more than tuition, room, and board even when classes are not in session. Harvard financial aid helps students pay for books, travel home, attend events, performances, activities, and more, so that every student can engage deeply in the Harvard experience.“Harvard’s Net Price Calculator, a simple one-page application available on both the admissions and financial aid websites, provides families with an estimate of their eligibility for assistance under Harvard’s generous, need-based financial aid program,” said Donahue.In addition to the 918 admitted students, 4,673 students were deferred and will be considered again in the regular action admissions, while 464 students were denied, 12 withdrew, and 106 submitted incomplete applications. The regular admissions process concludes in March, with notification to students on March 31.Faculty, staff, undergraduate recruiters, and alumni will use personal notes, phone calls, emails, regular mailings, and social media to reach out to admitted students with information about Harvard. Many Harvard clubs will host information sessions during the winter holidays and in April. All admitted students will be invited to visit Cambridge on April 16-18 for a comprehensive program that enables them to experience life at Harvard firsthand.Maghiro’s advice to students accepted under the Early Action program: “You’ve gotten in! Enjoy your senior year of high school.” Interest in early decision is on the rise. The number of students applying to the College’s Early Action program has grown in each of the past five years. This year’s Early Action applications totaled 6,173, compared with 5,918 last year and 4,228 five years ago. But the number of students whom Harvard has admitted early dropped again, for the third year in a row. This year’s early admissions of 918 compare with 977 last year and 992 the year before.“As always, a significant nucleus of the next year’s class has been admitted early, and we recognize this is an important option for a wide range of students,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “But we are committed to preserving the principle that those who apply under regular action are afforded the same opportunity for admission as those who apply early.” A record 37,307 students applied for regular admission last year.“We work hard through many different channels to reach outstanding students in every corner of the nation and around the world. We want to be certain that students from all backgrounds and different life experiences understand how to apply to Harvard, whether through Early Action or regular admission,” said Fitzsimmons.Noting the Undergraduate Minority Recruiting Program, the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, the Harvard First-Generation Program, the Undergraduate Admissions Council, and the Harvard College Connection, Director of Admissions Marlyn E. McGrath said, “Recruiting continues to be the cornerstone of our efforts to reach out to students from all backgrounds.”“The undergraduates who help us in these programs are crucial to our success,” said Roger Banks, senior associate director of admissions. “Throughout the year, they reach out to prospective students in every way possible — by email, telephone, personal meetings — to share their experiences at Harvard and answer questions from students unsure of what to expect and eager to hear from someone who’s really experienced Harvard College life.”The interaction with current students can help ease the concerns of prospective students, especially those with little exposure to what college is all about, including students who are the first in their families to attend college. The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Range of backgrounds among prospective students 977 admitted to Class of 2019 under Early Actionlast_img read more

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What’s next for climate change policy

first_imgRegulations to fight climate change likely will be casualties of the incoming Trump administration, but environmental experts taking stock of the changing American political landscape said that work in the field will continue elsewhere and that a broad-based rollback of U.S. environmental protection will prove easier said than done.Though President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet announced an environmental agenda, his campaign claim that climate change is an expensive hoax, his blanket support for the fossil fuel industry, and his criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have environmentalists worried.In addition, Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate, and they generally believe that environmental regulations can harm economic growth and improperly extend the reach of government. So environmentalists foresee a broad attack on the nation’s framework of environmental regulations.Still, Harvard environmental experts forecast a complex mosaic for the years ahead, one that has problems and likely is rife with litigation, but that also continues momentum toward a cleaner world because of a combination of market forces, economic factors, and continued efforts by other nations, states, and local governments.“Trump could unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, renouncing U.S. leadership on international climate negotiations. And he could try to rescind or weaken some important regulations, like the Clean Power Plan,” said Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor of Law and director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program. “But any effort to fully unravel the substantial and meaningful regulatory initiatives of the last eight years will be long, complicated, and difficult, and in the end likely only partial because of the significant legal, political, and practical barriers to doing so.” For President Trump, the road ahead Related Harvard analysts ponder changes across the American and global landscapes Federal environmental agencies likely are in for tough times, even without new laws being passed or existing ones repealed, the analysts said. The power to make political appointments and set budgets means an agency easily can be slowed by underfunding or new leadership hostile to its mission.Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, and head of the Harvard University Center for the Environment said it’s hard to project just what effect Trump’s presidency will have on global climate efforts. The effects of climate change are so enormous that the actions of any one nation over four years will have limited impact.“It’s a long march to a low-carbon world,” Schrag said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Being successful means being able to weather setbacks like this one.”It’s even possible, he said, that a federal agenda the public sees as too hostile to climate change action could spark a backlash that leads to new reforms.“I don’t know how you get from here to there,” Schrag said. “[But] there’s always a path forward.”Freeman acknowledged there is a “long list of worst-case scenarios” but cautioned against taking campaign rhetoric at face value. It doesn’t appear the president-elect has been fully briefed on climate science or fully considered the impact that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change would have on our relationships with other nations, she said.“The truth is, we don’t entirely really know what President Trump will do on climate, energy, and environment,” Freeman said. “His positions on other issues have changed, and that might happen here too. It is entirely possible that he will conclude that he can achieve his domestic energy agenda without jettisoning Paris, and he might even be persuaded that it makes more sense to embrace the international goal of emission reductions, but say he has a better way to get there than by Obama-style regulation. In other words, we must wait for the dust to settle.”Here, then, is the tote board for what so far seems likeliest to happen on climate change issues:Clean power and ParisThe most probable casualties of the incoming administration are recent U.S. steps to fight climate change in the energy sector, and the United States’ leadership in the international community on the issue.Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to shift electricity generation in the United States away from polluting sources such as coal, is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. If its decision supports the plan and is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it would likely fail, since Trump has said he will appoint a conservative justice to fill the current high court vacancy.A simpler solution might be for the administration to withdraw the Clean Power Plan and replace it with a less-stringent version, which would be within the new president’s power, Freeman said in an analysis of the environmental ramifications of a Trump presidency.Another probable target is the Paris Agreement, which Trump said he would cancel. While upending the entire agreement, negotiated by 195 countries, is beyond his power, Trump could withdraw the United States’ participation. Since the agreement has taken effect, that process would take four years to accomplish, according to Robert Stavins, the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and head of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.Alternatively, Trump also could submit the plan to the U.S. Senate to ratify, where it most likely would fail, Stavins said.The most dramatic option for a Trump administration would be to try to remove the United States from the underlying Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by President George H.W. Bush and ratified by the Senate in 1992, Stavins said. That would remove this nation from the Paris Agreement in just a year. But there are serious questions with that approach regarding how the necessary legal steps and the political implications might play out.Stavins said that the simplest way to render U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement meaningless, however, would be to announce the country will not comply with the pact’s carbon emission reductions — which are essentially voluntary. Obama set the reduction target at between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.The international impactThe loss of the U.S. leadership internationally on climate change could convince other nations not to honor their own commitments, and will “certainly not encourage greater action,” Stavins said. But for those states committed to climate action, that wouldn’t necessarily slow their progress.Mike McElroy, the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies and head of the Harvard China Project, said China most likely will continue to reduce its emissions regardless of what the United States does, because Chinese action is driven in part by rampant air pollution that the nation’s leadership has committed to address. The solutions there overlap with those for climate change.A hazard for U.S. industry, McElroy said, would be that, in addition to climate impact, the country likely would cede leadership in developing the energy technology of tomorrow.The future for coalWhatever the eventual U.S. positions on climate and the environment, it will be tough for Trump to reverse the coal industry’s decline, the experts said, even though he has been a dogged backer of coal’s future. Market forces, not environmental regulation or political shifting, have hurt the industry most. Advances in fracking technology have brought vast new supplies of natural gas to the market, driving prices down and undercutting coal. In fact, Stavins said, Trump’s pledged support for fracking could wind up hurting coal further.Prospects for renewable powerAt least in the short term, wind and solar power generation likely will be shielded by existing tax incentives and state renewable energy policies. The federal incentives extend to 2019 for wind and 2023 for solar. The state policies include requirements that a portion of electricity supply come from clean sources, ensuring continued demand: “There is a broad national consensus that renewable energy is an important investment for the country,” McElroy said.In addition, windy states in the middle of the country — from the Canadian border down to Texas — will likely support a continuation of the tax incentives into the future, Schrag said.Regulation at lower government levelsA shift in the federal government’s stance on climate and energy also won’t automatically reverse local, state, and regional action, McElroy said. California, with the nation’s largest economy, has already adopted a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions and lower its carbon footprint.Cities are also taking steps to address climate change and have banded together to form a global climate action network, McElroy said.The Environmental Protection AgencyA likely target of the administration and Congress is the EPA, the federal agency charged with enforcing America’s environmental laws. It is unlikely that the EPA would be abolished outright, since Senate Democrats have enough seats to block such a move through filibuster, according to Stavins and Freeman.But a lot of damage can be done by naming leaders antagonistic to the agency’s mission and by starving it of funding, Schrag said. Trump has already named a climate change skeptic, Myron Ebell, to oversee the transition at EPA.Though attention is often focused on an agency’s top leadership, Stavins pointed out that there are also hundreds of political appointees who will take important positions within the administration and influence its work over the next four years.“That may be my greatest worry,” Stavins said.Funding for climate science researchFederal budgets have been tight for years, and funding constrained for all kinds of science. But if the new Congress adopts an anti-climate-change stance and seeks even deeper budget cuts, funding for climate research could be targeted, Schrag said.If that’s the case, Schrag said, there’s an opportunity for institutions like Harvard to pick up the slack, as the University did in supporting stem cell research and establishing the Harvard Stem Cell Institute during the Bush administration.“We’re not there yet, but if President Trump chooses to slash NASA, NOAA, NSF budgets for climate research, I think there’s an opportunity for universities like Harvard … to step up and say ‘This is important to the world,’” Schrag said, referencing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation. “Obviously, we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”Other environmental regulationsAnother important area of influence, Freeman said, is in promulgating regulations.The administration has the power to review regulations that implement environmental laws, and can decide to rescind them, Freeman said. That power, however, isn’t unfettered, as the administration has to justify its actions — in court if challenged — and must observe existing laws, even those that require it to issue environmental regulations.“There is no question that there will be a regulatory rollback, but its scope is still unknown,” Freeman said. “And there is no question that the rhetoric and politics of the next four years will not sound or feel anything like the eight years of the Obama administration, when climate change was at the very top of the domestic and international agenda. But while the environmental community should prepare for the worst, it should be open to the possibility that the most dire predictions may not come true, and help nudge the new president to a softer landing.”The uncertain future of energy and climate Harvard Professor Michael McElroy discusses a world without fossil fuels, the economics of changing energy systems, and the impact President-elect Donald Trump may have on the future of energy and climate.last_img read more

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A film to ‘unpack’ Vietnam

first_imgAmerica has yet to recover fully from the Vietnam War, says documentarian Ken Burns. On Thursday evening, Harvard got a preview of his and Lynn Novick’s powerful 18-hour film, “The Vietnam War.”Interviewed before the screening, Burns told the Gazette why now is an appropriate time to proceed with “unpacking” the war. “You need the passage of time, the triangulation of scholarly information. You need people to have reached a certain age where they can offer some wisdom. We still suffer today from the divisions that took seed in Vietnam. So maybe the virus we caught then will be serviceable for a vaccine now.”“It seems particularly acute in this exact moment,” Novick added. “When you see the rancor and indignation that people felt during the war, and the lack of trust in leaders, that does resonate today. In fact it’s a little uncanny.”The film doesn’t underline parallels with the present, says Burns. “History is a set of questions that we in the present ask of the past. Each war is particular and unique, but war itself is always familiar. If we could transport someone from the Peloponnesian War to Vietnam, they’d still recognize their brothers in battle.“This is a film dealing with a White House in disarray, which is furious about leaks and huge drops of documents,” he said. “Yet we started work in 2007, so we had no idea it would become so resonant. Human nature always remains the same. But we didn’t have to put in giant, didactic neon signs saying ‘This is like Edward Snowden’ or ‘This is like Iraq.’ It was more important to tell a good story.”Burns, Novick, and producer Sarah Botstein were present to show about an hour’s worth of excerpts from the series, which debuts on PBS-TV on Sept. 17, before a capacity house at the Harvard Art Museums. Included was a good amount of vintage footage that was likely considered too strong to broadcast at the time, including scenes of graphic carnage in the Tet Offensive, and police brutality during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.“Each war is particular and unique, but war itself is always familiar,” said Burns. “If we could transport someone from the Peloponnesian War to Vietnam, they’d still recognize their brothers in battle.” Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerBurns’ creative use of music remains a trademark. One montage of soldiers’ first arrival in Vietnam was set to Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” and Stephen Stills’ voice singing “There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear” from Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” rang out during the Chicago sequence.But one of Burns’ strengths is his ability to tell the smaller human stories within the larger drama: A Vietnamese woman calmly recalls how she’d shot a soldier who threatened her family; a U.S. soldier, still haunted by guilt four decades later, admits he was part of a group who accepted a Vietnamese woman’s desperate offer of sex in exchange for C-rations. The brightest moment in Thursday’s screening was an American POW telling how it felt to be set free, and vividly recalling every sensory impression of that moment: the miniskirt on a TV interviewer, the breath and hair texture of the general who greeted him. This was cut with footage of an Air Force plane carrying freed POWs away from Vietnam.In a panel discussion moderated by Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, Novick said that the direction of the documentary became clearer once the filmmakers found the interview subjects. “I used to think history was boring because it lacked a human element,” she said. “By talking to people, we found the stories we needed to tell, and we really learned as we went along.”Burns compared the process to the folk tale about six blind men who touch an elephant, with each describing a different creature. “If you use the good, old-fashioned narrative and do it right, maybe you can pull back and see all of it.”The film has a Harvard connection in that Tom Vallely, the senior adviser for mainland Southeast Asia at the Ash Center, and Ben Wilkinson, executive director of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam, were both on its advisory board. They provided the filmmakers with important contacts in Vietnam. Vallely is also one of the veterans interviewed in the film, and he provided titles for two of the episodes. As Burns told the crowd, “Nobody was more important than them, for opening our eyes to the kind of film we could make.”last_img read more

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Online learning offers limitless opportunities to expand

first_imgHave you ever wanted to make a career change, gain a skill, or just learn something new? On March 1, a group of community members gathered at the Harvard Ed Portal to find out how online learning could help them accomplish these and other goals at “Learn Anything: Exploring the World of Free Online Courses from Top Universities.” Casey Roehrig and Shilpa Idnani of the HarvardX Instructional Development team talked about the free online learning opportunities available.At the event, local residents registered for an edX account and learned how to sign up for and take an online course. Attendees browsed through the more than 100 HarvardX courses available for free, while others expanded their search to the almost 2,000 online courses available on the edX platform. One community member was interested in learning about investments and found an edX course that would help him gain foundational knowledge. Another community member found courses related to programming and computer science.While this HarvardX 101 event has been offered on a semester-basis at the Ed Portal as part of the HarvardX for Allston initiative, this session had a special community guest, Melanie Goshgarian of Burlington, Massachusetts. She spoke about how online courses are changing her life. A frequent attendee of events at the Ed Portal, she is in the process of making a career change.“The edX courses are helping me do that,” Goshgarian said. “I can take the courses anytime, anywhere — everything is right there for me. This makes all the difference in the world.”Goshgarian took a Clinical Trials course from HarvardX that helped prepare her to present at a medical conference, where she was invited to speak to the attending doctors. “Everyone was asking me questions. I sounded like a superstar explaining the different clinical trials. People were like, ‘How do you know all of this?’ It’s because of the Clinical Trials course that I took.”Community members took time to think about their learning goals and to make a learning plan. People take online courses for a variety of reasons, including making a career change, becoming knowledgeable on a subject to discuss with clients, gain a professional certificate to put on their resume and LinkedIn profile, join a community of lifelong learners, or continue a pattern of lifelong learning.HarvardX courses are free to sign up. For a fee, you can also receive a certification upon completion of the course. Members of the Harvard Ed Portal or Allston-Brighton residents can receive a “scholarship” which waives the certificate fee by filling out an application. The next round of applications are due March 30, 2018.last_img read more

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Harvard Campaign ends, providing enduring investment

first_imgWhen the clock struck midnight on July 1, it signaled the end of two milestones in Harvard’s history: Drew Faust completed her tenure as the University’s 28th president, and The Harvard Campaign came to a close.With the public phase launched by Faust in 2013, the campaign saw more than 153,000 households from 173 countries contribute more than 633,000 gifts. Yet these numbers tell only a small fraction of the story.“The support you’ve given to Harvard has allowed us to meet the central challenge we laid out when we publicly launched the campaign: to seize an impatient future,” Faust told an audience of donors and volunteers in April 2018. “This campaign has helped shape and secure Harvard’s future by investing in both the enduring and emerging — sustaining what we have always been, and indeed must always be, as well as challenging us and enabling us in who we must become.”Through philanthropic leadership, months and years of service, and their belief in Harvard’s mission, alumni and donors have made an enduring investment in the talent, knowledge, and community that defines Harvard.“As new challenges and opportunities arise in higher education and beyond, Harvard is well positioned to respond and adapt thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends,” said President Larry Bacow. “It is equally important that we lead by example as we seek to make the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship. We are enormously grateful to those who have supported us in this effort.”Expanding access to education is one of Harvard’s bedrock values. With this comes a commitment to ensuring cost does not divert students from pursuing their passions, to making certain that talented students, regardless of their geography or background, know that they are not only welcome at Harvard but sincerely wanted and sought after. Through the campaign, the University has opened wider the gates of learning. Of the $9.62 billion raised spanning all Schools, approximately $1.3 billion will support and expand financial aid. Scholarships and fellowships make it possible for extraordinary students studying in every discipline to become innovators in their fields and leaders in their communities, regardless of their financial circumstances.During the campaign, donors generously funded 142 endowed professorships University-wide to support current faculty and bring new scholars in a range of disciplines. This investment will fuel the transformative, critically important work of both junior faculty and tenured scholars and researchers — developing innovations, ideas that matter, and solutions that are key to addressing society’s most immediate challenges. Faculty now have even greater means to share their knowledge more widely and more effectively.Philanthropic support created and expanded Harvard programs that produce significant scientific research; this work is essential to spurring progress and solving the most complex issues, from climate change to cancer research.Other programs that benefited from support are helping to shape culture and society across the spectrum of fields, from enriching the arts and humanities to inspiring innovations in education, business, design, and government; and fostering cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange, expanding appreciation for difference and deepening an understanding of how to work and live with one another.Beyond campus, Harvard engaged its community of alumni and friends throughout the campaign. Thousands of volunteers served on 46 campaign committees; class fundraising committees, including the Harvard College Fund; dean’s advisory boards; and other development and alumni engagement committees across Harvard’s Schools. Thousands more alumni participated in programs and events — including the Harvard Alumni Association’s Your Harvard, which visited 17 cities around the world.“One of the many things that campaigns do — in addition to generating resources — is to foster volunteerism and create and build community in support of a shared purpose,” said Tamara Elliott Rogers, vice president of alumni affairs and development. “Our community of dedicated volunteers has been strengthened during the campaign, and our shared purpose is a commitment to Harvard and to serving society.”“Throughout the campaign the level of engagement among alumni was extraordinary — not only as donors, but also as volunteers and as active participants in events such as Your Harvard,” said Paul Finnegan ’75, M.B.A. ’82, University treasurer and campaign co-chair. “Our alumni community demonstrated a solid commitment to University initiatives that puts Harvard in a lot stronger position and affords President Bacow and the leadership an exciting opportunity to move us forward.”Perhaps one of the most visible impacts of the campaign has been the expansion and reimagining of the University’s physical campus. New and renovated facilities constructed over the past five years include spaces for teaching and research that encourage discovery and academic growth across the disciplines; facilities that support and expand Harvard athletics and the values of teamwork, discipline, and persistence; student housing renewal, helping to provide a student experience that is intellectually, personally, and socially transformative; spaces for performance, art-making, and community-gathering that facilitate and cultivate a wide range of creative, multidisciplinary collaborations; and labs that connect students and faculty in search of new and groundbreaking solutions, from engineers to designers, scientists to entrepreneurs.For detailed information on the impact of the campaign, please visit The Harvard Campaign website.last_img read more

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‘Hype Man’ comes to the A.R.T.

first_img Read Full Story American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University announces today that it will join Company One Theatre (C1) to present a reimagined digital version of C1’s critically acclaimed, Elliot Norton Award-winning production of “Hype Man: a break beat play” by Idris Goodwin. The story of friendship, hip-hop, and protest will be filmed this winter by The Loop Lab.The production will stream as part of A.R.T.’s Virtually OBERON series in Spring 2021. Tickets will go on sale in February at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/HypeMan.The new intimate and cinematic version of the world-premiere production directed by Shawn LaCount will be film-directed by John ADEkoje, who received the 2006 Roxbury Film Festival Award for emerging local filmmaker, and incorporate animation by Barrington S. Edwards.Original cast members Kadahj Bennett, Rachel Cognata, and Michael Knowlton will reprise their roles.Returning original creative team members include Kadahj Bennet for music direction, Lawrence E. Moten III for scenic design, Lee Schuna for sound design, and Cassandra Cacoq for costume design. Sean Pieroth for lighting design also joins the team. Misha Shields was choreographer and Jessie Baxter was the dramaturg for the 2018 production, respectively.last_img read more

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2018: The Year Man and Machine Meld Together in the Data Center

first_imgIT, much like nature, abhors a vacuum. Businesses are more dependent on IT to drive innovation than ever. But the challenges associated with managing IT at the level of scale required to drive that innovation is simply too much for the average IT organization. Because of that gap between the expertise available and the needs of a modern digital business there’s now a lot of interest in employing machine learning algorithms and other advanced technologies to transform how the data center is managed.The goal is not to replace humans in the data center. Rather, there needs to be a melding of man and machine to take IT to the next level. Instead of always having to react to events advanced analytics infused with machine learning algorithms will enable IT teams to proactively manage data centers in a way most IT professionals could previously only have dreamt about. Because everything will soon be instrumented, application workloads will soon dynamically scale up and down across hybrid cloud computing environments with little to no intervention on the part of an IT administrator.None of this vision is necessarily all that new. It’s part of an ongoing march towards managing IT at a higher level of abstraction. But it’s not all magically going to occur overnight either. Pre-integrated systems based on converged and hyper-converged infrastructure are a critical first step. Machine learning algorithms require access to data to correlate and interpret events. Trying to aggregate data from IT environment made up of disparate components simply adds another layer of integration complexity to an already challenging task. Organizations that can more easily correlate events occurring across compute, storage and enterprise networks in context of their integration, in support of a workload are going to be able to significantly reduce their mean time to actionable intelligent IT operations. Armed with that data those organizations will be able to implement policies that automate almost every aspect of IT. Instead of focusing on turning knobs daily to optimize individual components in the hopes of wringing a few extra percentage points of performance, the most valued members of the IT teams will be those capable of customizing intelligent operations algorithms to perform those tasks on their behalf.Reliance on those algorithms won’t just be limited to performance optimization. Machine learning will also play a critical role in securing the environment. Increase in interconnected things leads to a wider attack surface. It will soon be possible for algorithms to spot outdated software or specific integrations that represent a mortal threat to the business. Cybercriminals are not just trying to steal money. They are engaged in everything from trying to purloin intellectual property to sabotaging manufacturing processes. These days all it takes is for them to discover one weak link to laterally spread malware across the enterprise. Algorithms coupled with advances in micro segmentation across the enterprise in the form of, for example, the advance VMware AppDefense security model deployed on top of converged systems leveraging VMware NSX as a network virtualization overlay.As powerful as algorithms can be, however, the policies on which those algorithms act still needs to be crafted by an experienced IT team. Algorithms will go a long way towards eliminating many of the biases that all too often result in sub-optimal outcomes based on flawed assumptions. But implementing these policies across a complex web of distributed systems represents a challenge that only a highly experienced human brain can effectively process. Naturally, this level of transition will have a significant impact on the careers of many IT professionals.  Organizations are already adapting to this today, as staffs transition from constructing teams that are designed to identify and resolve operations problems with manual intervention to teams that are assembled to find patterns.  These pattern identifying teams are tasked with taking what is found, determine an appropriate automatic operations response and activate that response leveraging intelligent operations tools.   We are on an increasingly important new shift in information technology where technology is the asset that is the fabric of the business. The skills to operate and maintain this vital asset are in short supply. Automation is the means to scale the skills that are in short supply.  Across Dell Technologies we are committed to advancing these capabilities to give the nights and weekends back to our colleagues who consume and operate the technologies we build for them.Our perspective has continued to be that “the cloud” is not a place it is method of operating modern information technology.  A foundational element of this modern operating model is technology companies building products that embed application programing interfaces (APIs) in the products they build. As enterprise IT continues to evolve IT organizations will dynamically stitch these environments together to optimally run various types of workloads. This brings way to what several refer to as a “mega cloud” where environments are interconnected with millions of gateways and trillions of endpoints to create unprecedented levels of distributed IT. All the data collected by those endpoints, gateways and the applications that operate throughout will be used to drive advanced analytic operations that are already transforming everything from the connected home to how aircraft engines are rented rather than purchased. In fact, there’s no better example of how the cloud, IoT, analytics and machine learning algorithms will all come together than Project Fire, an ambitious three-year, billion dollar distributed computing initiative spanning all of Dell Technologies.The good news is that managing IT is about to become a lot more fun than it’s ever been. A lot of the drudgery that makes managing IT hard and unnecessarily stressful is closer to disappearing. Not only will there be much fewer configuration errors but the number of alerts being generated by all systems will be radically reduced through intelligent aggregation or correlated suppression. IT professionals might even be able to enjoy a social event without having to worry about whether any given alert means they should immediately drop everything to find a quiet spot to focus and determine a manual response.Managing IT is going to gain new perspective for the administrator.  At the recent VMworld 2017 conference VMware previewed an instance of the vRealize management and automation platform being accessed via an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. It won’t be too long before IT teams are navigating across multiple global data centers in virtual and augmented reality! IT teams will be able to discover and resolve IT issues around the globe with new perspective. While that may sound too fantastic to believe the truth is that AR/VR interfaces will eventually become a requirement in the age of the mega cloud.None of this is happening simply because one new technology or another is now consumable. The entire relationship between IT and the business is being transformed. Business leaders in companies of all sizes now appreciate the strategic role IT plays in bringing organizations closer to the customer. Whether it’s simply a mobile application accessing a range of services or an application that leverages massive amounts of data to predict what customers are going to want next before they even know it themselves, the digital customer experience is now paramount. The real opportunity skilled IT professionals now have is to move closer the to the business than ever before.As we close in on the end of the second decade of the 21st century something truly profound is occurring across enterprise IT. We’ve employed IT to automate everything in the world except IT. Now the time has come to apply many of the concepts that have been employed across multiple other processes to make IT itself more efficient as true enterprise scale.You can read other predictions from Dell Technologies here: www.delltechnologies.com/2018Predictionslast_img read more

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Dell Technologies Partner Organization Works to Advance and Empower Women in Technology

first_imgAt Dell Technologies, we are deeply committed to driving human progress. Through our reach, technology and people we strive to create a positive and lasting impact on humankind and the planet. Cultivating inclusion and transforming lives are two areas of focus that will help us achieve our Dell Technologies 2030 social impact goals. Both inform our dedication to diversity and inclusion. Whether through internal employee resource groups or external programs, we strive to support inclusivity and diversity initiatives.One of these external programs is the Dell Technologies Women’s Partner Network (WPN), which is comprised of professional women and supporters from within both Dell Technologies and our global partner community. Led by Executive Sponsor, Cheryl Cook, Senior Vice President of Global Partner Marketing – and working in collaboration with Dell Technologies’ diversity and inclusion initiatives – the WPN is dedicated to advancing and empowering women in technology through access to resources, special events, and leadership and by creating a global community that facilitates relationship-building, mentorship, and business growth.The Women’s Partner Network champions diversity inclusion within the channel and global communityThe Dell Technologies WPN produces, attends and sponsors a number of industry and community events and give-back initiatives each year – most recently International Women’s Day, the Krewe of Amalee City Takeover for Good charity event and DeLand Dog Parade (which supported over 20 different charities and causes) and many of The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel events.We consider the Women of the Channel event series to be an integral driver of progress for women in our industry. These events include keynote sessions from inspirational women leaders, development and networking opportunities, and offer women in the channel a chance to lift one another as we advance. In December 2019, Dell Technologies was a Premier Sponsor of The Women of the Channel Leadership Summit East (WOTC East).In addition to the leadership and connection, these women are passionate about giving back and serving community. Over the last year, the Dell Technologies WPN donated more than $137,000 to charities. WPN has been a proud underwriter of Channel@Work (the charitable arm of The Channel Company) for many years, partnering with them to serve and give back at three volunteer events each year.One of our recent and memorable highlights was our give-back in December with chosen charity partner, Willow International.  Willow International’s mission is to “end human trafficking through restoration, prevention, and partnership.” Following an emotional session focused on Willow International’s lifesaving mission, attendees worked together to assemble more than 120 care packages for victims of human trafficking.Celebrating the exceptional Women of the Channel and their contributions to the IT channelOn May 11, CRN announced its 2020 Women of the Channel. We are honored to announce that this esteemed list includes 47 women from across Dell Technologies, including VMware. This represents the largest number of Dell Technologies women selected by the CRN editorial team to join its list of “exceptional women acclaimed for their contributions to channel advocacy, growth, thought leadership, and dedication to the IT channel.”“We are thrilled and humbled by the inclusion of 47 Dell Technologies leaders on CRN’s 2020 Women of the Channel list. Being able to honor these remarkable leaders for their outstanding accomplishments is at the heart of what our Women’s Partner Network stands for and is core to helping to drive our Dell Technologies 2030 goals,” shared Holly Delgado, Global Lead for the Dell Technologies WPN.Eight of these women – Dell Technologies’ Cheryl Cook, Erica Lambert, Joyce Mullen, Shawn Trotter, and Mary-Catherine Wilson; and VMware’s Jenni Flinders, Anna Dorcey, and Amanda Banker – were also named to CRN’s 2020 Power 100 list. The Power 100 is an elite subset of the Women of the Channel; and represents “the most powerful women leaders across IT channel organizations.Join the Dell Technologies Women’s Partner NetworkWe encourage our partners to join the WPN and to connect with industry peers and like-minded women, share best practices and access tools and resources to help grow their businesses and thrive with Dell Technologies.last_img read more

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