The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50

first_imgSociologist Lawrence-Lightfoot’s inspiring book says that ages 50-75 are prime time for adventure. Forty interviews with people living in their “third chapter” show how fulfilling life can be then.last_img

A sort of homecoming

first_img The pride of Adams House An Adams House contingent weaves through the Yard. Meese and love Dunsterites Anissa Mak ’13 (left) and Melody Wu ’13 display their affection for the Dunster moose. Welcome, freshmen From atop the John Harvard Statue, groups from Lowell and Mather Houses serve as beacons for the incoming sophomores who will be joining their Houses. Scream! Leverett House supporters lose their voices outside Matthews Hall. ‘Throp it like it’s hot Winthrop House members Ruo Chen ’12 (left) and Carl Malm ’12 get loud inside Annenberg Hall. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer Housing fair Students swarm inside Annenberg Hall to meet their new Housemates. Not even cold weather or the threat of rain could keep Harvard students down. Nay, actual precipitation might galvanize them further, making them stronger.After all, today (March 10) is Housing Day, the day of fantastical Mardi Gras-like costumes and parades, of yelling until your voice is gone. And if you’re a freshman, Housing Day means a sleepless night awaiting that early morning letter assigning your living quarters for the next three years.Soundbytes: Sounding off on Housing DayAmid frantic cheers audible from the subway station, friends Kyle Krueger ’14 and Rose Bailey ’14 were making their way through the Yard to Annenberg Hall to meet up with others assigned to Pforzheimer House. “PfoHo!” the pair yelled in unison when asked where they’ve been assigned. “We’re really excited,” said Krueger. “We’ve heard good things about PfoHo and they have a lot of House pride.”Outside of Annenberg Hall, Devon Williams ’11 of Mather House was caught sitting down for a rare breather, a “Mather Haus” banner rippling behind him. Decked out in red shirt, red jeans, and ’80s sunglasses, he’d probably been awake all night, readying himself for pouncing into the freshman dorms to deliver the news “that they’ve just won the housing lottery,” he said.Joined by his rhyming-named roommate Nevin Britto ’11, the pair described just what exactly it felt like to be a part of Housing Day: “It is the most fun I’ve ever had at 7 a.m.,” said Williams. “Everyone in the House treats 7 a.m. as if it were midnight.”There’s the ecstasy of Housing Day, and then there’s the agony.Maura Church ’14 and Danielle Ithier ’14 were less than enthused to learn they’d be moving to Cabot House, even when the Cabot welcoming crew arrived with Swedish Fish and free sunglasses.“It was number 12 on my list,” revealed Church.“But it’ll be a good year,” chimed Ithier.Yolanda Borquaye ’14 and Renee Motley ’14 were also assigned to Cabot.“I really like the historical factor of houses like Eliot or Kirkland,” said Borquaye. “But I’m looking forward to making history in Cabot!”Shelbi Olson ’14 and Jessica Perillo ’14, two softball players, were bummed about their PfoHo assignment because it’s far from where the team practices.Olson and Perillo said they misheard what the PfoHo greeting party was chanting that morning — thinking they were saying the name of another House. “Then they ran in screaming and we were sad,” said Olson.“They told us that they cried last year, too,” said Perillo.But most students are eventually won over by their House and its offerings. And next year they’ll be the ones touting their House’s awesomeness to bleary-eyed freshmen.Sophomore Corinne Wee ’13 of Quincy House did just that.“It was so fun to deliver the letters and see everyone so excited,” she said. “Last year I was so excited to receive my assignment, but it was nice to be on the other side, jumping up and down!”Hip, hip, hooray![audio:]“The foundation of the Harvard College experience is the idea that living together means learning together,” said Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds. “The Houses are vibrant intellectual communities where students encounter new ideas, explore creative and cultural activities, and form relationships that last a lifetime. I congratulate the newest members of our undergraduate Houses.” Charge! Mather House residents flock wildly in the Yard. Skull candy Sweatbands might’ve gone out of style decades ago, but these Adams House dwellers don’t care. Moose crew The Dunster House moose leads its crew in a high-energy cheer. Housing fair Students swarm inside Annenberg Hall to meet their new Housemates. Making a House a home Sound the bazooka A group of students in Grays Hall appeal to the masses down below. Acceptance bunny Lavinia Mitroi ’12 sorts through acceptance letters for Leverett House in University Hall as Graham Frankel ’12 (left) of Pforzheimer House takes a photo of the goings-on.last_img read more

High-tech tools for change

first_imgWhen the electric light was invented, education reformers thought the school day would be transformed. After all, that new technology offered the possibility to educate students at any time of the day or night.Not much has changed on that score since Thomas Edison’s creation, however — nor since the invention of the automobile, the telephone, television, or any other transformative technology of the past 100 years. For all the hopes of technophiles, most children’s school days still follow the agrarian calendar and run from 9 to 3.It’s easy to get excited about the possibilities afforded by 21st century technology, from mobile phones to cloud computing to social media. But when it comes to truly transforming broken education systems at home and abroad, said IBM Foundation President Stanley S. Litow, one thing is clear: “We need a little humility.”“You open one great restaurant, and everybody will want to copy you,” said Stanley S. Litow (right), former deputy chancellor of the New York City schools. “You have one terrific school, and everybody will give you 10 or 20 reasons why it won’t work for them.” Seated to the left is David Barth of the U.S. Agency for International Development.“Technology is a critical tool,” Litow said Thursday (March 31) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). “It’s people who make the change.”With that in mind, Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) brought together dozens of education leaders and entrepreneurs, including Litow, for a three-day think tank, “Educational Innovation and Technology: Leveraging Technology to Enhance the Relevancy and Quality of Education,” held March 31 through April 2.Technology’s ability to transform education “is still very much a promise,” said the event’s organizer, Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and co-chair of the Advanced Leadership Initiative. To explore that promise, more than 40 speakers convened to talk about everything from online learning to training teachers in technological tools to the role of gaming and “edutainment” in the classroom.In many places, technology, particularly widespread Internet access, has “opened up the world,” Reimers said, by helping people to access information about how their school compares with others by allowing students, parents, and activists to organize to demand improvements in their school districts.But in some ways, “technology and innovation [in education] have had a very long infancy,” Reimers said. Most school systems lack the revenue to experiment with innovative technological tools in their schools, and few high-profile leaders have stepped up to show the way to the schools of the future.Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and co-chair of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, organized the three-day think tank, “Educational Innovation and Technology: Leveraging Technology to Enhance the Relevancy and Quality of Education.”The think tank will help build a community of leaders and ideas by allowing business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and activists to collaborate, said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, HBS’s Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration and the chair and director of the initiative.“Just as ‘health’ isn’t just the hospital, or the ‘city’ isn’t just city hall, ‘education’ isn’t just the school,” Kanter said.America can’t simply bulldoze every public school and start from scratch, Kanter said. Modern technology, with its ability to connect students, teachers, and ideas across continents in an instant, “gives us a chance to do some reinvention without having to tear down the whole system.”The conference is using technology to take its ideas global. In the run-up to the think tank, Harvard Business Review hosted a three-week series on the topic of innovations in education, which drew 27,000 readers. The public can also watch the conference live on the ALI website and participate in a real-time discussion on the ALI’s Facebook page.Building a collaborative atmosphere around issues in education is the first step, many participants agreed, in overcoming the bias against experimentation that can pervade schools. Often the most innovative and creative schools, such as the highly individualized, technology-laden School of One in New York, become “islands of excellence,” Litow said, rather than successes that can be replicated and taken to a larger scale.“You open one great restaurant, and everybody will want to copy you,” said Litow, former deputy chancellor of the New York City schools. “You have one terrific school, and everybody will give you 10 or 20 reasons why it won’t work for them.”When it comes to mobilizing support for change, he said, “technology might be the answer.”U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller offer the introductory remarks at the three-day Advanced Leadership Initiative think tank at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.last_img read more

They dig the past

first_imgWith a shovelful of sod, a Harvard Summer School archaeology class kicked off its biennial journey into Harvard’s past on Wednesday (June 29), seeking clues about early life here among traces of the Indian College, which housed the School’s first Indian students and the continent’s first printing press.Class instructors Diana Loren, a lecturer on anthropology and associate curator at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and Christina Hodge, senior curatorial assistant at the Peabody, said this year’s dig will focus on what appears to be a foundation trench uncovered during the last dig, in 2009. They believe that the trench, which was associated with building material, marks the eastern wall of the Indian College, Harvard Yard’s first brick building.To mark its 375th anniversary and recognize its roots as a School dedicated to serving both colonial and Native youth, Harvard this year honored one of the Indian College’s students, Joel Iacoomes, with a special degree. Iacoomes, a Wampanoag, had completed his studies in the spring of 1665, but died in a shipwreck before he could graduate. Iacoomes’ death left classmate Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck as the first and only graduate of the Indian College.The Indian College was founded in 1655, just 19 years after Harvard itself was founded, and stood until 1698.During a brief ceremony to open the dig, Lisa Brooks, assistant professor of history and literature and of folklore and mythology, said the Harvard campus inhabited by early Native students would have had some similarities and many differences from today. Most of the Yard’s buildings weren’t built, and cows would have been grazing nearby. Horses would have traveled the nearby streets, and breakfast might have been bread and beer. Students looking around from that same spot would have seen the College’s first brick building, heard the continent’s first printing press working inside, and perhaps seen Indian and English youth studying together.The class, “The Archaeology of Harvard Yard,” will dig on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Whereas classes digging in the same area in prior years took great pains to slowly delve deeper into the Yard’s soil, Hodge said that because the area above the trench feature is mainly fill from earlier digs, this year’s class will be able to reach the trench level more quickly, allowing students to spend more time exploring the feature. Though the trench is a primary interest of the class, students are also seeking whatever artifacts they can find at that level that might illuminate what life at the time was like.Though Summer School wraps up in August, Harvard College students will continue the work when classes resume in the fall.Summer School Dean Donald Pfister, the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany, also spoke at the ceremony and said the class is a good example of how the Summer School reaches out to the surrounding community. Not only are community members welcome to take Summer School classes, but the dig will prove something of a tourist attraction, as people passing through the Yard ask questions about what the students are doing.Shelley Lowe, director of the Harvard University Native American Program, one of the dig’s sponsors, said the organization is excited to see what kinds of things the students find that can illuminate the history of Indians at Harvard.“We hope that students find something really outstanding and exciting,” Lowe said.last_img read more

Standing as a community

first_imgMore than 50 students, faculty members, and administrators gathered Wednesday night to commemorate National Coming Out Day and to memorialize the bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer (BGLTQ) students nationwide who committed suicide in recent years following brutal harassment and discrimination.The event, organized by the group Queer Students and Allies (QSA), began at Sever Hall and concluded with a candlelight vigil on the steps of University Hall that both honored the recent progress toward equality for the BGLTQ (bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer) community and the suffering many still face as a result of their sexuality.“On this day, the day after National Coming Out Day, we would like to celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, while simultaneously recognizing the discrimination and harassment that many BGLTQ people, and youth in particular, face,” QSA board member Sam Bakkila ’12 said. “We want to thank everyone here. Your efforts to make Harvard and the world a more welcoming place have transformed coming out from a scary process into something to celebrate.”Among the administrators who attended the event was Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds, who recalled the words of poet and essayist Audre Lorde in her comments, which urged students to continue efforts to make the BGLTQ community visible on campus.“Audre Lorde was one of the most influential people in my life,” said Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies. “One thing she said that was very meaningful for me was ‘your silence will not protect you.’ Those words made us feel that being open and out and expressing ourselves and claiming our identity was what would make our lives better.”“Harvard today is very different from the Harvard I came to in 1985,” Hammonds continued. “I think it’s very different in important ways. We still have a way to go, but only by your voices, your activities, and your visibility will we get to where we need to be.”Harvard President Drew Faust also attended, and reminded students, staff, and faculty that the University must be a shining example of a community where all sexualities are appreciated.“Every fall, when I welcome the freshman class to Harvard, I tell them to ‘make Harvard yours.’ But when I say that, I’m always aware of the groups for whom that was not possible for so many years,” Faust said. “One of my highest aspirations as president is to ensure that all the members of this community feel that they fully belong here.”“We at Harvard must strive to build communities, here on this campus and throughout our lives, that promote inclusion and encourage participation, and we must affirm to the world our commitment to ‘making it better’ for future generations,” Faust continued. “Bi, gay, lesbian, transgendered, and queer students, staff, and faculty are an integral part of Harvard University. Let’s all work together to create a future where no one asks, ‘Do I belong here?’ because the affirmative response to the question is already completely clear.”last_img read more

Clams, snails, and squids, oh my!

first_img In awe of the clam Olivia Lee (pictured) from Cambridge’s Martin Luther King Jr. School admires the giant clam on display in “Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm.” Beautiful hulls A variety of coned shells on display. Recognize any from past vacations? Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer Shelling out Mollusk man In a lecture at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Professor Gonzalo Giribet discussed how scientists are decoding the Mollusca genetic family tree to learn how they’ve adapted, survived, and thrived since the pre-Cambrian era. ‘Bearing foreigners’ Carrier snails, or Xenophoridae (which means “bearing foreigners” in Greek), on display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History.center_img Tentacled The wonder of the octopus. Behold! Mighty world of mollusks Curatorial Associate and Collection Manager Adam Baldinger speaks about the new exhibit “Mollusks” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Wondrous Carlos Alvarado (pictured) from the Kelly School in Chelsea admires some of the exhibit’s great wonders. Escargot, anyone?The Harvard Museum of Natural History is offering a molluskan feast — for the eyes, anyway — in the new exhibit “Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm,” which recently opened in the museum’s temporary exhibit hall.The exhibit, which will be on display for the next two years, presents a colorful depiction of the diversity of the mollusk branch of the tree of life, spanning everything from the giant clam — a 30-inch shell on display weighs 200 pounds — to the octopus.In between are the flat, orange, lion’s paw scallop; the tall, cylindrical, watering pot clam; an arthritic spider conch whose six splayed points extend from its shell; and a Venus comb murex, whose shell displays rows of long, comb-like, narrow spikes. The exhibit also includes a case holding specimens from the museum’s glass sea creatures collection, which was created in the 1800s by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, the same artists who made Harvard’s famed glass flowers.Beyond the specimens themselves, colorful exhibit panels explain the different types of mollusks, which also include snails and squids, provide a look at their commercial importance, and highlight ongoing Harvard research on them, which entails both genetic analysis and advanced imaging.Gonzalo Giribet, professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and curator of invertebrates in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, has collected mollusks and their shells around the world and is working to construct a mollusk family tree. Giribet, who curated the exhibit, said mollusks are easier to study than soft-bodied invertebrates because even after a mollusk dies, it leaves a shell behind for examination.When asked his favorite specimen, Giribet points not to one of the flashy shells, but to a nondescript, limpet-like mollusk that grows just a millimeter across. These monoplacophorans, Giribet said, were thought to have become extinct millions of years ago until one was discovered alive in the 1950s. It has been one of Giribet’s goals to obtain one, which he did four years ago during a research dredging in 1,200 feet of water off San Diego.“I didn’t want to die without collecting one,” Giribet said.Curatorial associate Adam Baldinger, who helped select specimens for display, made a flashier choice. His favorite is a carrier snail whose shell is several inches high, and onto which it sticks other shells, providing camouflage as well as an unusual display.If there’s one message Giribet hopes visitors take from the exhibit, it’s that mollusks are extremely diverse, with snails, the most populous branch, having an estimated 70,000 to 120,000 species, followed by clams and other bivalves, at 20,000. Mollusks range from the deep ocean to fresh water to land. And, should some visitors become inspired to find out more about this broad-ranging part of earth’s biosphere, there’s still lots of research to be done.“We know there are many species undiscovered,” Giribet said.last_img read more

VIDEO: At HLS, Solicitor General Verrilli describes ‘the greatest legal job’

first_imgAccording to U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the defining feature of his job—the most challenging, rewarding aspect—is grappling with what the position of the United States should be on an issue. Verrilli explained that this task is harder than it might seem, involving a balancing of interests and making considered decisions on whether the U.S. should modify a previously held position.Verrilli’s talk, held Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Harvard Law School, was sponsored by Law and Government Program of Study Faculty Leaders David Barron and Richard Lazarus.“I don’t know whether in my time in office, I have gotten that right, or I will get it right,” Verrilli said. “They’re exceedingly difficult and challenging judgments, but every solicitor general has described this as the greatest legal job one could have, and it certainly has been for me. And one of the main reasons why is dealing with this set of issues…often of great moment.”Francis Biddle, who was solicitor general from 1939 to 1940, once claimed that the solicitor general serves an abstract client, and has “no master to serve but his country.” But Verrilli said he has a somewhat different view. “Having been awakened more than once in the middle of the night by phone calls from angry general counsels from Cabinet departments about decisions I had made, [I think] the client is anything but an abstraction.”Watch a video of Verilli’s talk on the HLS website.last_img read more

Translating epidemiology research into real-world policy changes

first_imgTo ensure that public health interventions that can save lives and improve overall health actually reach people, epidemiologists must do two things. They must provide clear evidence of the need for such interventions. They must also convince policymakers to then take action on the evidence.This was the theme addressed at a symposium on “translational epidemiology” on February 20, 2013, hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Department of Epidemiology.Speakers included Anna Giuliano, director of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, who spoke about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and the need to offer it to boys as well as girls; and Cesar Victora, emeritus professor of epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, and president of the International Epidemiological Association, who discussed the importance of providing better nutrition to young children in low- and middle-income countries.In his opening remarks, HSPH epidemiology professor George Seage said members of HSPH’s Department of Epidemiology are increasingly focusing on translational work, which aims to apply research findings into real-world public health interventions. The challenge in many cases is to determine the most cost-effective approach to scaling up interventions, and how to best design studies to measure the long-term effectiveness of the interventions, Seage said. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Ph.D. graduate teaches new course on Persian Gulf history

first_imgThis fall, nine undergraduates and five graduate students took a new Harvard history course called “The Modern Persian Gulf Region: Politics, Economy and Society.” Developed and taught by Arbella Bet-Shlimon, a recent graduate of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies’ joint Ph.D. program in history and Middle Eastern studies, the course is one of few Harvard history courses in recent memory to focus on the modern Persian Gulf region. Gulf history, says Bet-Shlimon, is not a common topic in Middle Eastern studies in the U.S., where Egypt and the Levant are usually seen as the core of the Arab world, receiving the most attention in scholarship and on syllabuses. The Gulf is often treated as a side topic. That’s a mistake, according to Bet-Shlimon: “It can’t be marginalized any more. I think the Gulf needs to be centered rather than marginalized within the broader Middle East.” When the region is studied, it tends to be from the perspective of political science and security studies. “Historical perspective,” Bet-Shlimon maintains, “is really needed to contextualize contemporary studies.” Her course’s unit on oil, for instance, which is titled “The Political Economy and Social Life of Oil,” considers oil not just as an economic force, but as a political force as well, and also explores the social effects of the presence of the oil industry in Gulf countries. Read Full Storylast_img read more

In biostatistics, complexity rules

first_img Read Full Story When it comes to statistical analysis, “context matters,” according to Jesse Berlin. “Different people look at the same data and come to different conclusions.”This was one of the issues discussed by Berlin, ScD ’88, in a talk about challenges he’s encountered as a biostatistician on October 31, 2013 in FXB-G13 at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).Berlin was on campus to receive the Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes biostatistics alumni whose research in statistical theory and application, leadership in biomedical research, and commitment to teaching have had a major impact on the theory and practice of statistical science. The award was established to honor the career of Stephen Lagakos, an international leader in biostatistics and AIDS research, and former HSPH professor of biostatistics and chair of the department, who died in a car accident in 2009.Berlin has worked in both academia and in industry. He served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for 15 years, became senior director of statistical science at Johnson & Johnson in 2004, and now is vice president of epidemiology at Janssen Research & Development, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.last_img read more