Category: Of Special Interest
Stephanie Quezada-Valenzuela (SAR’17)
Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the country, and Anesha Jones (CGS’15, CAS’17) is a key player in the Boston University women’s rugby football club.
“In the first game I ever watched my rookie year, I saw a girl run off the field with a finger injury,” says Anesha Jones (CGS’15, CAS’17). “At that point, rugby was just a scary foreign tale to me.” Now, Jones is a forward player, called a prop, on the rugby club.
The club was founded in 1998 and consists of 30 to 40 members who practice three nights per week. They are divided into two teams: A-side (varsity) and B-side (junior varsity). The club also competes in the Northeast Women’s Rugby Conference.
BU’s team emphasizes that women’s rugby is just as intense as men’s. Coach Nick Hildebidle (SED’13) says, “It’s the only sport where the rules are the same for men and women.”
Featured in a video on BU Today and Bostonia, Jones continues: “It’s pretty high intensity. There’s days where it’s like practice last night was rough. But at the end of the day, we know that the hard work we put into practice is definitely worth it in the game.”
This fall, several College of General Studies alumni were inducted into the Scarlet Key Honor Society for their phenomenal leadership in Boston University organizations and activities. The Scarlet Key Honor Society at Boston University was founded in 1938 as a society that commended students for their involvement in organizations and activities in their individual school or college. The selection process is based on their leading commitment and involvement in student clubs and activities during their time at Boston University.
Anushka Pinto (CGS’15, CAS’17) has exemplified a dedication to leadership through her various roles at the university. During her time at CGS, she held many leadership positions including sophomore senator on the CGS Student Government executive board. She was also a Dean’s host and a CGS student advisor for orientation. Anushka has continued onto BU College of Arts and Sciences, where she has proceeded to become editor-in-chief of the International Relations Review, one of BU’s premier academic journals. Anushka says she is honored to have been recognized for her leadership and she hopes she has left a legacy at CGS and BU.
Similarly, Chad Bell (CGS’15, Questrom’17), continues to lead amongst his peers. Currently, Chad is in Questrom School of Business, studying finance with a specific interest in investing. As student senator during his junior year, Chad represented student-athletes on campus and helped with the transition to the new student constitution. He is part of the captain’s council for the Men’s Lacrosse team, where he runs the community service activities with Christian Carson-Banister (CGS’15, CAS’17), another Scarlet Key inductee and outstanding student-athlete and leader. Like Chad, Justin C. Flynn, (CGS’15, Questrom’17) has continued onto Questrom, where he is concentrating in finance. He balances his time as vice president of finance on the BU Student Government and as captain of the BU’s Men’s Track and Field Team. He is also the co-coordinator for Brothers United, a community group run from the Howard Thurman Center.
Conor Rault (CGS’15, CAS’17) is a member of CGS’ Dean’s Host Executive Board and serves as a student advisor for current CGS students. He currently serves as an operations assistant at the George Sherman Union. Lastly, Hallie Armstrong (CGS’15, SED’17) is studying English education. Hallie balances her duties as captain of the Varsity Cross-Country and Track and Field teams along with a teaching job at Bigelow Middle School where she teaches two eighth-grade English classes. She also participates in the Janssen Leadership Academy, run by BU Athletics, where she receives feedback on her leadership skills and guidance to help her develop her leadership abilities.
Members of the Scarlet Key Honor Society are voted in, or tapped, by existing members and are nominated by BU faculty and staff. Eligible candidates are about to begin their senior year. These CGS alums and Scarlet Key Honor Society members have dedicated tremendous time and effort to these student organizations. Their continuous involvement and commitment will not go unnoticed as they complete their time here at BU. CGS faculty and staff thank these students for their leadership and wish them continued success.
Thanks to the internship programs at Boston University, College of General Studies alumni served in nonprofits and government agencies across the United States last summer. Through the Yawkey Nonprofit Internship program and the Santander Sophomore Internship Program, six CGS students were awarded stipends that gave them the opportunity to work in unpaid internships.
Demeisha Crowley (CGS’16, SAR’18) participated in the Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Program, a fund that supports student internships at nonprofit organizations. Crowley worked in Boston as a summer advocate with Health Leads at Massachusetts General Hospital, a program that connects patients to food, transportation, and healthcare benefits. The internship was energizing, Crowley said: “One of my biggest takeaways from my Health Leads Summer Fellowship is that every action taken as an advocate, volunteer, or healthcare professional, whether big or small, is important and meaningful.”
Five more CGS students participated in the Santander Sophomore Internship Program, a program that gives a stipend of $3,000 to a select group of students working on an internship during the summer following their freshman or sophomore year.
Kaitlin Cronin (CGS’16, COM’18) worked in the recruitment department as a intern at Year Up, a nonprofit that provides urban young adults with the “skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.” Courtney Hagle (CGS’16, CAS’18) worked as a district intern for Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D—CA) in Lowenthal’s office in Long Beach, California. Jade Williams (CGS’16, CAS’18) applied her sociology studies as a recruitment intern at Project Achieve, a project that works to “identify innovative and effective HIV prevention strategies.”
As a legislative intern in the Massachusetts State House, Lola Adeosun (CGS’16, CAS’18) conducted research for State Representative Carole Fiola, met officials in the Massachusetts government, and improved her research, public speaking and networking skills. “My summer experience interning in the House of Representatives was one of the best working experiences I have had thus far,” she said. “I learned to be more proactive in my goals, and I know that will serve me well in whatever career I find myself in the future.”
Kevin Chen (CGS’16, CAS’18), a history major, was accepted for an internship at the National Archives at Boston even though the internship is typically reserved for graduate students. Chen spent his summer in Waltham, Mass., caring for historical documents and helping researchers to access archival materials. It was exciting to be the first person to examine some of these documents in decades, he said, especially when it can “change the historical meaning of what we originally knew” and even affect our interpretation of history. He curated a Google Arts and Culture digital exhibit on Alert America!, a 1951 federal education program that counseled Americans on how to defend themselves from an atomic bomb.
For students interested in applying for the programs, deadlines are approaching! November 14 is the priority application deadline for the Santander summer internship program, and November 21 is the application deadline for the Yawkey internship. Attend Application Prep Day on Saturday, November 5 to find out more, or direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Dr. D. Lynn O’Brien Hallstein, Boston University College of General Studies associate professor of rhetoric, received the 2016 Outstanding Book Award at the 39th annual conference of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language & Gender. The conference was held from October 13th – 16th in Chicago, Illinois.
Professor Hallstein received this award for her recent book, Bikini-Ready Moms: Celebrity Profiles, Motherhood, and the Body (SUNY Press, 2015). The book discusses common requirements of good motherhood and the pressure to become bikini-ready immediately postpartum. Hallstein writes that she analyzes celebrity mom profiles and the ways that they encourage mothers to engage in body work as the solution for work-life struggles. The book helps readers understand the pressures mothers face to conform to intense mothering expectations.
OSCLG seeks to provide a forum for professional discussion, presentation of research and demonstration of creative projects in the areas of communication, language and gender. The organization also wishes to recognize those working in this field for their scholarship, teaching and mentoring, and creative activity. The OSCLG Book Award honors “an outstanding book concerned with communication, language and gender.”
On October 21, Boston University College of General Studies celebrated the outstanding students who received awards for their Capstone projects. The Capstone project is a 50-page research term paper that CGS students complete in their sophomore year. It draw on two years of interdisciplinary studies as they work together as a team to synthesize data into a meaningful whole. The Capstone award is given annually to the team of students who present the best overall Capstone paper and defense. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a General Studies student for an academic project.
Team R: Maritime Mayhem: Solving the Disputes in the South China Sea
Team R– Kyra Benavent, Alexa Cambi, Sandy Dumar, Nicole Ericson, Kevin Lee, and Cameron Sonn–examined the South China Sea, an area rich in resources and attractive to developing and established economies alike. The Team developed a proposal for the next administration that would limit the aggression of China and also allocate critical resources among the southeast Asian claimants to the territory. To resolve the conflicts peacefully, the group suggested that a council be created under the UN umbrella, including all the affected nations, to discuss the conflicts diplomatically. Faculty Susan Lee, Sally Sommers Smith, and Adam Sweeting said the group showed “thorough preparation and ability to think flexibly and creatively about the problems they had outlined.”
Team S: A Report from the National Security Council on United States Intervention in the South China Sea
Team S– Timothy Choi, Lavinia Fung, Juan Pablo Nava, Jill Sullivan, John Sun, Tyler Takata, and Alyssa Vanliere–also examined policy in the South China Sea. Taking on the persona of the National Security Council, Team S’s Capstone group explained the complex relationship between Washington and Beijing as both seek control over the $5 trillion annual trade that passes through the contested waters. Faculty members June Grasso, Kari Lavalli, and Robert Wexelblatt said that the “remarkably successful” project “offered a balanced approach that emphasizes multilateral discussions and a major role for the United Nations in protecting freedom of the seas.”
Team T: Solving the MBTA Disaster
Team T – Sarah Beaulieu, Max Biel, Sophie Collender, Dan Erdman, Albert Jiminez, Camilla Kempainen, Emily Kim, and Emma Rinaldi– took a deep dive into the economics, history and politics of the T. They conducted interviews with MBTA employees and managers, created a detailed financial plan, and according to their professors, went the extra mile in their research and writing. “Their plan was enormously impressive,” said professors Sandra Buerger, Jeffery Vail, and Thomas Whalen. “It was pragmatic, thorough, and brilliantly conceived. If only this group of students was put in charge of fixing the MBTA.”
Team U: Operation Cooperative Destruction: The Defeat of Isis
Team U — Lana Darwan, Daniel DeBernardis, Rana Kheradmandan, Serena Lipton, Cameron McMillan, Serina Mehrian, and Charles Morrison–constituted itself as a panel of experts advising the Obama administration and its successor on a strategy first to destroy the Islamic State and then to remove from power the Assad regime in Syria. Mostly complimentary but also somewhat critical of President Obama’s current strategy, these experts recommend an increase in the intensity of the air campaign and larger-scale support for the local forces fighting on the ground. Professors Kevin Stoehr and William Tilchin said, “This Capstone paper is characterized by extensive research, thoughtful and well-argued analysis, very good writing, and professional quality formatting.”
Team U: The South China Sea: A Policy Recommendation
The second winning team–Alyssa Chao, Rhea Kumar, Manting Li, Maria Lim, Phyllis Tang, Regenie Tee, and Jenny Trinh– constituted itself as the Research Committee for United States-Pacific Relations, advising Secretary of State John Kerry and his successor on a strategy for addressing China’s far-reaching claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea. To set the stage for its policy recommendation, this research committee discussed the historical background of the South China Sea issue and several nations’ strong desire for American diplomatic and military support. Faculty wrote, “This Capstone paper is notable for wide-ranging research, sober and sophisticated analysis, very good writing, and exceptional professionalism.”
Team V: Mitigating Food Insecurity: Using Kenya As a Pilot
Team V–Stefanie Anderson, Cassie Cohen, Hannah Freund, Aaron Lipp, Ashley Munroe, Elizabeth Pentikis– proposed innovative solutions to the lack of an adequate supply of healthy food. The team suggested the use of 21st century computing and telecommunications technologies–using “big data” to optimize the use of the scarce resources of the Kenya environment. Their proposal aimed to help feed a population living under challenging physical and political circumstances, in a way that is both scalable and transferable to other regions of Africa and elsewhere in the world. Faculty Gregg Jaeger, Michael Kort, and Joellen Masters said, “The group’s final paper was intelligently organized and beautifully written, and was strongly defended and supported in the oral defense phase under sharp questioning.”
Team W: Pivot or Quit It: Readdressing the US-Japan Alliance and the Growing Security Dilemma in the Pacific
Team W–Javier Barajas, Hal Edwards, Gabriela Falla, Ryotara Kusomoto, Sharon McDermott, Christian Tantoco, and Honoka Watanabe–examined the effect of China’s rise as a Great Power on the US-Japanese relationship, specifically its security aspects. The group began with a historical background and comprehensive overviews of each country’s interests in the Asia-Pacific region. After laying out the disagreements that exist between the three powers, the group constructed an intriguing and notably sophisticated policy proposal. Faculty Leonard Andres, Neal Leavitt, and Benjamin Varat said, “A massive joint research effort led to a broad and deep understanding of their topic, all of which underpinned an unusually subtle and realistic policy proposal.”
Team Y: Sustain Our Home
Team Y–Lily Hillstrand, Alana King, Kate Lawrence, Caroline Melville, Stefanie Rubin, Sophie Spare, and Emily Wiens–ambitiously tackled the difficult problem of food insecurity, focusing their efforts primarily on the Western Highlands region of Guatemala. After researching preexisting American food programs such as Food for Peace and Feed the Future, this group proposed its own program, under the auspices of their fictionalized non-profit organization called Sustain Our Home. Faculty members John Mackey and Robert Schoch said, “The members of Sustain Our Home demonstrated not only strong research skills, but also creative interdisciplinary thinking abilities and a high degree of originality.”
Can literature and stories help us to understand the human domination of the planet? On October 19, Rosalind Williams—Bern Dibner professor of the history of science and technology—delivered this year’s lecture in the Stanley P. Stone Distinguished Lecture Series. Her interdisciplinary lecture—Approaching the End of the World: Geological Age or Historical Epoch?—touched on history, geology, and how the literature of nineteenth-century romantics can help us to understand our own feelings of environmental doom.
Williams traced the “triumph of human empire” (a phrase borrowed from Francis Bacon) during the nineteenth century, when the furthest reaches of the world were being settled and explored. Maps from the time show “the closing of the frontier” and an “acceleration of human presence” across the world, Williams said.
Focusing on writers who were aware of these events and worried by them, Williams introduced the audience to Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and William Morris. All white males from central Europe, we might expect that they would only benefit from this new age of exploration—but instead, Williams, said, “They are very troubled by their sense of the closure of civilization in on itself.”
Verne’s romantic hero, Captain Nemo, declares, “I am not what you call a civilized man,” and retreats to the underwater because it is still unexplored and uncivilized. Verne’s stories focus on journeys, quests, and expeditions of uncharted territory.
“The more the human empire oppresses the individual and constrains the individual, the more humans need stories about finding identity, about rebelling,” said Williams.
As industry and factories spread, these writers worried about what would be lost. “Their belief in progress endures but is increasingly in conflict with their vision of history as a rolling apocalypse,” said Williams. “All of them are mourning what they see as an inevitable loss and they all have the feeling that what they most treasure in the world is doomed. They are not going to win. They are true romantics and they’re also true realists.”
This contradiction has become even more acute in our own time, said Williams, “where excitement about the latest software app coincides with a sense of environmental doom.” She summed up: This “deeply conflicted, inward experience of history” is the defining condition of human empire.
The Stanley P. Stone Distinguished Lecture Series brings notable, inspiring speakers to the College of General Studies, inviting the CGS and BU community to broaden their educational experience related to one of the College’s academic division areas: humanities, social science, natural sciences, or rhetoric. Lecture topic areas span the genres, from environmental change and violent conflict to the biology of viruses and public health; from racism in the U.S. to musical theatre and the American urban experience; from the evolution of goodness to American foreign policy. Instituted in 1989, the College is grateful to offer this enriching experience on an annual basis, made possible by the generosity of Stanley P. Stone (CGS’64, Questrom’66).
“As the new generation, we definitely know the effects of global climate change, and we know it’s an issue,” Eliandro Tavares (CGS’16, CAS’18) says.
Eliandro is a part of the climate research team lead by Michael Dietze, a CAS associate professor of earth and environment at BU. During the summer, Eliandro, Dietze and other researchers set out into the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire to study the effects of climate change by measuring the growth and height of trees. Their tasks included: recording the growth and health status of hemlocks, maples, and other tree species. In addition, they surveyed various plots for over a month to track the growth of the trees and observe the effects of climate change. Then, the results are put into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet records facts from the trees’ diameter and height and if it can be related to signs of damage and disease.
“By the end of this we’ll be able to tell you about tree number 7516, how much that has grown or not. It might seem like one tree, but no one’s ever done this before on this big a scale” Tavares states. Further, “Every tree is mapped, and they’re re-measured every year,” says Dietze. This project has enabled to monitor the effects of climate change. Measuring the diameters and heights allows Tavares and other students to truly understand the impact of human activity on the environment.
The Board of Trustees at Boston University has welcomed six new members. Members joining the board include: William Bloom (CGS’82, Questrom ’84), an ex officio trustee at the Board of Overseers, and Ahmass Fakahany (Questrom’79), also a former member of the Board of Overseers. Kenneth Z. Slater, principal of an asset firm, and Malek Sukkar (ENG’92), CEO of Averda International, have been elected to serve on the Board as well. Educator Ruth A. Moorman (CAS’88, SED’89’09), and J. Robb Dixon, a Questrom associate professor, have been selected to join as ex officio members this September.
With such diverse and distinguished backgrounds, these newly elected board members bring a variety of perspectives to the table, especially CGS alum, William Bloom. Bloom is now the chief executive officer of a private investment company, Jamacha LLC, in New Jersey. In addition, Bloom is also the founding member of Chelsea Property Group, a multi-billion-dollar, New York Stock Exchange–traded global developer of retail outlet centers.
BU Today reports that Bloom and his wife, Ruth, are trustees of the Jamacha Bloom Family Foundation. They both have provided support to Boston University and several other educational institutions. “Bloom earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Questrom and was captain of the 1984 Division I New-England Champion rugby team. He is a member of the Athletics Director’s Advisory Council,” writes BU Today.
Due to his involvement and passion for rugby at BU, Bloom, as a co-chair for the Campaign for Athletics, established the Bloom Family Leadership Academy with the help of his wife. This program enables student-athletes, coaches and staff to develop skills in leadership. Bloom also supported the development of the New Balance Field as well.
To help support the BU community as a former CGS and Questrom alum, Bloom has developed the William and Ruth Bloom Scholarship Fund, for student-athletes enrolled in the Questrom School of Business and the College of General Studies.
“Mr. Bloom has been very loyal and generous to his alma mater, and we are grateful to him and his entire family for their dedication to the BU community,” Natalie McKnight, dean at the College of General Studies, says. William Bloom and his wife’s constant support for BU and local communities reveals his unbridled support to help students through academics and athletics. The university is appreciative of Bloom’s dedication towards CGS and Questrom students. Now, as a board member, there is no doubt Bloom will continue to assist students and the community at BU.
Tyler Alexandra Ellis (CGS’05, COM’07) designs gorgeous, high-end bags for women—exotic luxury leather purses hand-made in Italy and sold around the world. Building a business in fashion takes energy and confidence—both of which Ellis fostered at Boston University.
At BU, Ellis entered and loved the College of General Studies, soaked up the college’s programs, and made and kept strong friendships that have lasted through the years. She then headed to the College of Communication, hoping—inspired by her mother, who worked in film and television—to make a career in LA. But soon enough, she realized that the media industry was not where she wanted to be after all. Thoughts about a career in design had taken root, and high-end purses were her passion. Tyler was shy about using her last name as a company brand—the late, renowned clothing designer Perry Ellis was her father—so she launched her brand using her own first and middle names. “My company was first called ‘Tyler Alexandra,’” she says.
Despite her early worries about that famous last name, she consulted her father’s friends and associates in fashion, whose advice proved invaluable as she developed her business. She moved to New York and went to work for the designer Michael Kors. Along the way, she learned a lot more about her father, who had died when she was just 18 months old. “It’s a neat story,” she says. “I found an envelope addressed to me, and it said ‘Miss Tyler Alexandra Ellis,’ in his own script. I used that as my logo for the initial name of my company, and now I use it with the new name of our company, ‘Tyler Ellis.’” The logo is printed on Tyler’s signature cobalt blue purse linings.
She has also spent plenty of time traveling, seeking inspiration for her collections. She says she especially loves being in India because the colors worn by Indian women are so vivid and varied. “I carry a sketchbook and draw thumbnails of my designs wherever I go, and then the factory develops the true-size models,” she adds. Her search for a skilled manufacturer led her to Italy, where craftsmen in a family factory today hand-make each of her leather bags.
Today, Tyler credits her experience at CGS and COM, along with her travels, for the confidence and inspiration on which she has built her business. “I loved being at CGS,” she says today. “I credit my years at BU for teaching me to be open to learning and confident about exploring my own interests.”
Story by Frances King. View Tyler Ellis’ handbags at www.tylerellis.com.
Natalie McKnight, dean and professor of humanities at Boston University College of General Studies, recently gave a panel presentation at the Dickens Society 21st Annual Symposium: Adapting Dickens. Held from July 11-13 in Reykjavik, Iceland, the conference featured scholars from around the world discussing the rich and varied adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novels. The presentations covered a wide range of Dickens adaptations– from stage readings, musical theater and ballet to Dickens on the Victorian stage and on film.
McKnight, who also serves as vice president and president-elect of the Dickens Society, spoke on a panel organized around the theme “Dickens and Animation,” with fellow panelists Patrick G. Fleming, Chelsea Midori Bray, and chair Meoghan Cronin.
McKnight’s presentation focused on Mister Magoo’s A Christmas Carol as a “gateway drug to Dickens” while her colleagues discussed Disney adaptations and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Mister Magoo’s A Christmas Carol first aired as an animated holiday show in 1962 and has been rebroadcast through the decades since. McKnight deems it one of the “most effective and efficient adaptations” of Dickens’ classic holiday novel.
“Everyone felt the conference was particularly good,” McKnight said. “The quality of the papers was exceptional, the venue was stunning, and the conference participants came from across the globe: U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, China, and Taiwan.”
The conference was held at the waterfront venue, Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Simon Vance, an award-winning audio book reader and lifelong fan of Dickens, read selections from Dickens and answered questions during the annual Dickens dinner.
McKnight will be presenting her paper again as part of a CAS WR 100 course this Fall semester.