Week Ending February 24, 2017

Climate Change in Vietnam Spurs Students to Speak Up
Cornell Chronicle – February 22, 2017
Ten Cornell students spent two weeks of their winter break on a journey through Vietnam, listening to farmers and community members, and seeing the effects of climate change firsthand. The trip was part of an interdisciplinary course, “Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta,” led by Michael Hoffmann and Thúy Tranviet. In the fall, the students took classes that introduced them to global climate change and Vietnamese language, culture and history. “Vietnam grows much of its own food but is also an important agricultural exporter,” said Hoffmann, the executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions and professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The Vietnamese are resilient, but climate change will be a real test.” The Mekong Delta, where 17 million people live, is one of the most at-risk areas in the world from climate change, Hoffmann said. Farmers in the region depend on a stable environment to cultivate crops at 5 feet above sea level. Salt water intrusion, due in part to sea level rise, is already affecting agriculture in the region, as Marc Alessi ’18 saw firsthand.

UMBC Celebrates Launch of Hill-Lopes Scholars Program Focused on Supporting Women in STEM
UMBC News – January 26, 2017
Barbara Hill and Ancelmo Lopes were drawn to UMBC by the university’s commitment to providing holistic support for students from all backgrounds. On January 13, 2017, UMBC celebrated the launch of the new Hill-Lopes Scholars Program to support high-potential women in specific STEM majors where women remain underrepresented, with a reception for the first cohort of students, their families, and their faculty mentors. The new scholars program, made possible through a generous gift from Hill and Lopes, draws inspiration from the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, nationally-lauded as the “gold-standard” for supporting underrepresented minority students in STEM. To support students’ persistence and success, the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program provides financial assistance and connects participating scholars with faculty mentors and campus services that can propel them toward their degrees.

Black Arts Initiative Showcases Interdisciplinary Opportunities, Political Power in Artistry
Northwestern Now – February 21, 2017
“One of the things we talk about a lot in the Black Arts Initiative is how artistic disciplines talk to each other,” E. Patrick Johnson says. “Coming together to talk about an idea, with all these different vantage points represented, is what makes the initiative really interesting.” According to Johnson, the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies, chair of the African American Studies Department, and founder and director of the Black Arts Initiative, creating an understanding of the black arts here on campus honors its past and celebrates its potential. “Black arts have always played an integral part in the politics of this country,” Johnson says. “Just look at the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, 90’s hip-hop. And today there is so much work coming out of Black Lives Matter. Spoken word, music and visual arts are all powerful tools.” With BAI, Johnson and his colleagues bring together groups and individuals working across the African American arts — literature, dance, film and more — to collaborate on intellectual projects, civic engagement and creating art.

Wescoat Honored for Making the Ancient World Come Alive for Students
Emory News – January 23, 2017
Bonna Wescoat, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History at Emory University, has sent students combing the campus on scavenger hunts, helped them conduct an optical experiment about the Parthenon frieze, and directed excavations and created 3D renderings in a bid to unravel the mystery of a religious sanctuary important to Greek and Roman antiquity. For her success, Wescoat has been honored as the 2017 recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She recently received the award at the organization’s annual conference in Toronto. In accepting the award, Wescoat praised the ingenuity of her students and thanked Emory for “saying yes rather than no, for supporting archaeology, art history and classics without question, and for providing an environment in which they can thrive.” The national award recognizes individuals who, among other things, have developed innovative teaching methods or interdisciplinary curricula and are actively teaching. Her Emory team on the project is highly interdisciplinary, with students and scholars working in architecture, sculpture, epigraphy, ceramics, statistics, geology, geography, environmental sciences, conservation and more.

Rihanna named Harvard’s Humanitarian of Year
Harvard Gazette – February 22, 2017
Every year, Harvard University selects a leader in public life who’s dedicated themselves to service by honoring them with the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award. The popular singer Rihanna has been named the 2017 recipient for her charitable work across various disciplines, such as healthcare and education, in the Caribbean. “Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director. “She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today.”