CUE THE CUBOID. Physics major Aiman Absar ’19 is on a quest to help Bangladesh cope with devastating floods with a cheaper, more sustainable brick.
A Reed physics major hopes to curb the devastation caused by floods in Bangladesh with a new twist on one of humanity’s most durable inventions—the humble brick.
Aiman Absar ’19 and two Bangladeshi friends have created a startup to manufacture a new kind of brick that is both cheap and environmentally sustainable.
With a population of 156 million people packed into an area the size of Iowa, Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world. During the monsoon season, heavy rain combined with poor drainage cause the rivers to flood their banks, inundating the countryside and destroying the makeshift houses of the impoverished rural population. When the waters subside, the farmers and fishermen begin the Sisyphean task of fashioning another abode from sheets of corrugated steel, mud, and thatch.
Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri is one of the foremost scholars on the history of Islam.
Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion], an expert on the history of Islam, will address the City Club of Portland on the threat of Islamophobia on Friday.
When politicians call for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States and for Muslim citizens to be registered, it is clear that Islamophobia has become an increasingly common aspect of national conversation.
Prof. GhaneaBassiri will join educators, community organizers, and other scholars at the Sentinel Hotel to discuss how the rise of Islamophobia is playing out in the Pacific Northwest on Friday, January 8 at 12:15 p.m.
It’s quick, it’s painless, it’s free, and it cuts HIV infection in men by up to 60%.
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a powerful tool for combating HIV in areas with high prevalence rates of the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
Nonetheless, men aren’t typically pounding down the door to get the operation. So government agencies, health workers, and NGOs in South Africa are trying to find ways to encourage more men to undergo the procedure.
Nine intrepid Reed students won fellowships to pursue projects around the globe over Winter Break. (And yes, the guy in the sport coat is President Kroger.)
Nine intrepid Reed students will travel the globe this winter as part of Reed's Fellowship for Winter International Travel.
The nine fellows won $3,000 each to pursue a passion, develop a professional skill, or perform service for others over Winter Break.
Chemistry major Joohee Bang ’16 will learn about carbon fiber in South Korea through a program offered by Korea Mirae Technology. "As a chemist who is pursuing academic career in materials science and engineering, I hope to gain further insights into new materials with industrial purposes and their applications," she writes.
Hannah MacKenzie-Margulies ’16 was one of the winners of the Jim Kahan Fellowship.
Dance/music major Hannah MacKenzie-Margulies ’16 and art/dance major Grace Poetzinger ’16 are first-ever winners of Reed’s new Jim Kahan Performing Arts Fellowship.
The purpose of the fellowship is to provide students with the means to be able to spend their summer working on a music, dance, or theater project, which is performed at Reed during the following year.
Both students took creative risks with their projects. Grace travelled to Vienna to study an obscure but influential modern dance movement. Hannah, a talented dancer, spent the summer learning the clarinet. They performed a joint concert (or was it a Kahan-cert?) of music and dance in October.
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT. Students, professors, and staff can now get professional childcare for their kids on campus. Photo by Tom Humphrey
To the merry sound of shrieks and giggles, a childcare center opened on the Reed campus this semester, serving about 50 kids from infants to preschoolers, spread over five classrooms.
Located in the northwest corner of campus (near the site of the former Eastmoreland Hospital), the new center is operated by Growing Seeds, an independent provider that runs two other centers in Portland, and employs several Reed students as part-time teachers.
Professors, staff, and students have long lamented the shortage of affordable childcare in the neighborhood. In fact, the center is the result of almost 20 years of planning, led by a faculty/staff committee that included Prof. Gail Berkeley Sherman [English], Prof. Jennifer Corpus [psych], Prof. Elizabeth Drumm [Spanish], Prof. Kathryn Oleson [psych], Prof. Paul Silverstein [sociology], communications guru Stacey Kim, and stats master Mike Tamada.
Vast. Vegetative. Vibrantly orange. President Kroger admires the gargantuan gourd bestowed upon him by a fleet-footed band of students.
An enormous pumpkin materialized in the office of President John R. Kroger last week, courtesy of a fleet-footed band of Reed students who wheeled the gargantuan gourd in on a handcart, installed it in the presidential suite, and promptly abstracted themselves from view.
Details of the shadowy operation remain unclear, but it appears that the stupendous squash—which weighs well over 100 pounds—was raised on the Flamingo Ridge Farm and resided in Commons for some time before its great migration to Eliot Hall. Students penned messages of holiday cheer on the colossal cucurbit, which now graces the president's coffee table.
The students also deposited a great pumpkin at the door of Community Safety Director Gary Granger in 28 West. Granger and his crew subsequently carved a face into the fleshy fruit and turned it into--what else?-- a gigantic Jack-o'-lantern.
Peckish? Ghrelin is probably flooding your hypothalamus right now.
A trio of Reed psych majors won a prize at a scientific conference last month for their research into ghrelin—sometimes known as the “hunger hormone.”
Biochem major Eliotte Garling ’18, bio-psych major Lia Zallar ’16, and psych major Hannah Baumgartner ’16 won the Neuroscience/Psychology Poster Prize at the 24th annual Murdock College Science Research Program held in Vancouver, WA, for their research into the mechanisms by which ghrelin affects appetite, metabolism, stress, and reward signaling.
Working with Prof. Paul Currie [psych], the students performed a series of experiments on rats to investigate the effects of ghrelin when injected into different parts of the brain.
Ken Koe ’45 won a full scholarship at Reed and pursued a stellar career in biochemistry, culminating in the discovery of sertraline--better known as Zoloft.
He was a quiet, scrawny kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Grew up during the Depression. Bounced around the Pacific Northwest while his parents hunted for work before settling in Portland. Washed shirts in the family’s Chinatown laundry.
Money was tight; he sometimes went hungry. Walking to Lincoln High School, past the knots of hollow-eyed men who thronged the streets of downtown Portland, Ken Koe ’45 knew that for a guy like him, college was not a luxury. It was an escape hatch.
The night before his high school graduation, he heard the sound of the escape hatch opening—Reed College had granted him a full scholarship.
So in the fall of 1942, he became a day-dodger at Reed, embarking, as he would later say, on an “exhilarating intellectual journey.” He read Homer in Literature 11 and took freshman chemistry from Prof. Arthur Scott [chemistry 1923-79]. After class, he hopped on the Eastmoreland trolley back to Chinatown, waiting tables and washing dishes at Hung Far Low. Somehow he managed to graduate in just three years, writing his thesis with Prof. Fred Ayres [chemistry 1940-70].
Math-econ major Ian Morrison ’17 won the Douglas Williams Tournament. Photo by Jordan Yu ’16
Math-Econ major Ian Morrison ’17 parried his way to victory last week when he won the 18th annual Douglas Williams Fencing Tournament.
The contest featured incisive attacks and lightning ripostes from all the participants, but once the masks were lifted, their steely competition turned to cheerful camaraderie. Fencing coach Miwa Nishi ’92 says her favorite part of the tournament is the way that every student improves from the first to the last bout.
The tournament was started by the late Douglas Williams ’63, who learned to fence at Reed and later said that it taught him to value a balance of mental and physical excellence. He began the tournament to promote interest in the sport and to give back to Reed. It includes a purse of $8,000 that supports financial aid. (Any Reed student can compete, but only students who receive financial aid are eligible for the prize money.)
The Reed College faculty unanimously approved a new major in dance at its November meeting, expanding the fields of study where students can pursue their passions.
“Dance is central to the liberal arts experience,” says Prof. Carla Mann ’81 [dance 1995–]. “It sparks innovation across disciplines through the way it teaches students to interrogate historical, aesthetic, and social issues; to engage kinesthetically with space, time, and movement; to approach solving problems with creativity and rigor; and to pursue productively both individual and collaborative endeavors.”
In January, Reed won an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen its dance program with more classes, more workshops, and now a major. Reed is the only college in Portland that offers a dance major.
The Reed team compared SOA emissions (crosses) with terpene emissions (shaded areas) to gain a better understanding of the impact of power plants on air quality,
Government regulators are not measuring the full effect of power plants on air quality, according to a team of Reed researchers, because they fail to account for the interaction of power-plant emissions with natural emissions from a surprising source—trees.
In some cases, the impact of these so-called “secondary organic aerosols” is almost twice as strong as the pollution that is currently measured at the smokestack, calling into question the adequacy of conventional methods for measuring air quality.
The study by Prof. Julie Fry [chemistry and environmental studies], Prof. Chrs Koski [political science and environmental studies], Kristin Bott [Instructional Technology Services], Marisa Hazell ’15, and Raphaela Hsu-Flanders ’16, published in the June 2015 issue of Environmental Science & Policy, shows that the impact of trees on air pollution is much more complicated than you might think.
The Monkey Bar Quadrocycle utilizes a distinctive forearm-driven propulsion unit.
Strolling across the Quad in the past couple of days, you might notice a bizarre contraption rolling by, propelled by a clutch of giggling students. The Monkey Bar Quadrocycle is the latest engineering marvel to emerge from the shadowy student group DxOxTxUx (Defenders of the Universe).
The Quadrocycle consists of a platform suspended on four bicycle wheels with a barrel-like cylinder perched on top that users spin with their hands. The cylinder is connected to a long bicycle chain that drives the vehicle’s rear axle, moving it backwards or forwards.
The principal players in the construction of the Quadrocycle were Evan Peairs ’16, Toria Ellis ’19, and Caroline Padula ’19. “It’s a logical extension of one of our earlier projects, the giant hamster wheel in the SU,” says Evan. “Now that there’d been one you power with your feet, the next thing to do was to make a hand-powered one.”
Captains Claire "Chainstomper" Michie and Josh "Shazam" Shalek led the Reed cycling crew to its third straight victory in the Bike Commute Challenge.
Led by a flying wedge of pedaling professors and mud-splattered staff, Reed College dominated its division in the Portland Bike Commute Challenge, taking first place for the third year in a row.
Reed clocked in with a participation rate of 10.2% in September, thanks to 81 riders who together logged 8,265 miles. An impressive 23 of those riders pedalled their way to campus every single workday.
Organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the annual challenge determines which workplace can log the most commuting trips made by bicycle during the month of September. (Student trips don’t count, unfortunately.)
The category Reed participates in is the “Non-Profit or Business with 500+ employees” and the college's perennial rivals for the winner’s crown are the admen and adwomen at Wieden+Kennedy.
Alumni volunteer coordinator Todd Hesse logged the most miles— a whopping 280. Another strong rider was Prof. Wally Englert [classics]. “One of the things I love best about Portland is how many people bike and how much has been done to make biking in the city as easy and attractive as possible,” he says.
The Reed squad was organized by captains Claire Michie, associate director of donor relations in college relations, and Josh Shalek, systems specialist in the admission office.
THINKING ON THEIR FEET. Reed runners take Portland Marathon by storm. Photo by Maddy Wagar ’16
As many as 50 Reed students, alumni, professors, and allied life forms turned out for the Portland Marathon and Half Marathon yesterday, proving once again that Reedies think on their feet.
Biochem major Trevor Soucy ’18 led the Half-Marathon team (“The Running Jokes”) and placed fourth among male contestants with the blazing time of 1:23:37. Other top Reed runners in the Half included Chinese major Aaron Finsrud ’16 at 1:27:12, poli sci major Megan Keating ’17 at 1:42:15 and Prof. Michael Pitts [psych] at 1:44:03.
"To be honest, coming into the finish line I was a bit surprised by myself, but also very proud," said Trevor, who sliced almost 5 minutes from his time last year. "I knew I had done more training than last year, but I did not expect such a big improvement. It can be hard to balance life as an academic and life as an athlete, but performances like this make all the extra time spent logging miles truly worth it!"
Prof. Peter Rock won a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation to work on Spells. Norah Hoover
The fragmentary novel Spells has its genesis when Prof. Peter Rock [creative writing 2001-] was working as a security guard in an art museum, amusing himself by making up stories for pieces in the galleries.
“I entertained myself by trying to make up a story for each photograph, painting and object in the museum,” he explained when he spoke on campus September 25. “However, we guards weren't allowed to write on the job. Bending this rule, I carried a scrap of paper and a little pencil and then, in the minute or so when I was going down the stairway to the next floor, I'd furtively scribble a few words, to remind me of the stories I'd made up in my head. When I got to the break room in the basement, I'd write down as much as I could, in the half hour, and then begin again. Later, I'd go home and work some more on it all."
The Spells project came from a desire to get back to that sense of play in writing, Rock says, “it allowed me to expand what I thought was possible in terms of storytelling.”
REUNITED. Hugh Porter, vice president of college relations, is reunited with his trusty steed thanks to two alert Reed students. Photo by Vikram Chan-Herur ’17
Poli sci major Nicole Thompson ’16 and psych major Sidney Buttrill ’16 foiled a bike thief in the very act of velo-appropriation today, leading to the arrest of the suspect and the recovery of the bicycle.
Thompson was hurrying past the bike stands behind Eliot Hall on her way to the Public Policy Workshop just before 10 a.m. when she happened across an individual with a pair of “huge bolt cutters” cutting through a cable lock “like it was string,” she said.
Trained in bystander intervention as a Night Owl, she confronted the would-be thief. “He mumbled an excuse about it being his dad’s,” she says, hopped on the bike, and attempted to pedal away. At this point, Buttrill, who was also passing by, sprang into action and held onto the bike’s rear basket, while Thompson alerted Community Safety to the theft in progress. The suspect then abandoned the bike and fled by foot across the Blue Bridge.
WAVY LINES. Dubious data, errant arrows.
Fall has arrived, and all that comes with it—shorter days, longer nights, pumpkin-spice product placement, and of course, the autumnal deluge of college rankings.
As I’ve written before, the business of ranking colleges has long been fraught with arbitrary definitions, incomplete data, misleading comparisons, and outright manipulation. Some 91% of college admission directors suspect that cheating is rampant. And only 2% of them think rankings are “very effective” at helping prospective students find a good fit.
Nonetheless, collegebound high-school seniors are hungry for something, anything, to guide them on their momentous decision. And for millions of readers, articles on rankings remain irresistible clickbait. Thus the ranking systems and rating schemes keep sprouting like dandelions—this year even the federal government has gotten into the act with a College Scorecard website.
Chemistry major Mark Angeles ’15 cut a distinctive figure on campus. He was killed in a traffic collision 9 days after graduation.
Several hundred people gathered in the Quad to witness the moving ceremony and listen to friends, classmates, professors, and staff share their memories of Mark.
“I’m never going to have another friend like Mark,” said Maren Fichter ’15, sounding a theme that reverberated through the occasion.
LEAP OF FAITH. Xander Harris ’16 seizes the day as Reed students triumph over alumni in epic Ultimate match. Photo by Jordan Yu ’16
The Berserk—Reed’s men’s ultimate team—narrowly defeated an all-star alumni team 9–8 on the sports field near Sullivan Hall, Saturday, September 5. The victors gave an impressive demonstration of speed, endurance, and determination that left the alumni panting.
The game was held to honor the wedding of two Reed ultimate coaches: Shane Rubenfeld ’06, who has coached the Berserk since 2011 and played ultimate all four of his years at Reed, and Whitney Mount, who coached the Reed women’s team last year. Alumni ultimate players converged on Portland to celebrate the occasion and decided to seize the opportunity to play a game against the students.
The alumni team was the odds-on favorite—last time they faced the students, they racked up a score of 17-8. But Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, was not on their side in this contest. While the alumni demonstrated superior skill and cunning, the students had the hustle and energy to run down the disc.