Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Crescent Loom, a neuroscience game invented by Wick Perry ’13, lets you animate rudimentary creatures by wiring up neurons, muscles, and sensors. Along the way, you see how simple circuits can generate complex behavior.

My creature is flailing.

It’s a slapdash concoction of tendon and bone, with floppy appendages and mismatched eyes. Its pathetic brain consists of nine—count ‘em—nine neurons. I have armed it with stingers, harpoons, and suckers, but this arsenal has so far proven utterly worthless, because I haven’t yet figured out a much more basic problem-- how to get the damn thing to propel itself through this alien ocean. Meanwhile, a sleek six-flippered monster (dubbed “the Kraken”) darts dangerously near, pulsing with menace. Unless I can find a way to rewire its brain, my creature (the “Mike-crobe”) is headed for extinction.

Students Explore Careers by Shadowing Alumni

Biology-CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 shadowed NASA systems engineer Arwen Davé ’89 to learn more about careers in science and engineering.

Reed students are finding new opportunities to explore careers before they graduate, thanks to an initiative at the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

More than 100 Reedies participated in the college’s Winter Shadows program, which pairs students with alumni, parents, and friends of the college who work in their field of interest. The students spent anywhere from two to 10 days at the jobsite getting their hands dirty and learning more about everything from particle physics to photojournalism.

Biology/CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 spent three days shadowing Arwen Davé ’89, a mechanical/systems engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain Park, California. Amy Rose explored a botany lab where biologists see how plants will react to zero gravity and low light and a robotics lab where Arwen is working on the next Mars rover.

Radiolab Founder Chases the Antelope

Jad Abumrad, co-creator and host of the hit podcast Radiolab, lives his life according to two principles, he revealed to a crowded Kaul Auditorium on Saturday: “chase the antelope” and “follow the odds.” If the juxtaposition of a plains-dwelling ungulate and a poker game seems absurd yet intriguing, then you have a sense for who Abumrad is.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Abumrad got his undergraduate degree from the Oberlin Conservatory. It was on the long drives from Nashville to Oberlin that he fell in love with broadcast journalism. The best known product of that love, Radiolab, has earned Abumrad a MacArthur Grant and a Peabody Award.

Jad began the Radiolab project in November 2003, during a breakfast with his friend and fellow Oberlin alum Robert Krulwich. Since then, the show has exploded in popularity with an average 1.4 million listeners tuning in each week. Their most listened-to piece is also their most recent—an exploration of financier Bernie Madoff’s “Ponzi Supernova.”

Reed Honors Life of Mara Gibbs ’19

Family and friends mourn Mara Gibbs, who died after a fire broke out in her SE Portland apartment.

Hundreds of Reedies who knew and loved Margalit “Mara” Gibbs ’19 crowded into the Student Union on Wednesday night to celebrate her life.

Mara died Tuesday, February 7, after sustaining extensive injuries in a fire that raged through her Southeast Portland apartment early Sunday morning. Awakened by the fire, she managed to dial 911, but passed out from the smoke and the heat before she could finish the call. Two other people survived by jumping from the second floor window.

Lauren Gibbs, Mara’s mother, said her daughter hated ceremony, and even avoided her own high school graduation. “She would not have wanted a ceremony to celebrate her,” Lauren said. “But we are going to because she loved Reed, she loved the friends she made here, she loved her classes and her professors, her internships with GlooPen and Reed's Software Design Studio, and she loved Portland.”

Olde Reed Rises From Grave in Last-Minute Rally

STRETCHING THE LIMITS. Impressive jumping by student team (gray jerseys) was not enough to keep the grizzled veterans of the alumni team (black jerseys) from pulling out an upset win. Photo by Alejandro Chavez ’17

Olde Reed and New Reed battled for supremacy on the basketball court Friday in a nail-biter of a match between students and alumni. But when the dust settled, the old-schoolers came out on top 57-56.

In its first game of the semester, the Reed team, coached by Ried Woodlee, started strong. By the end of the first half, the students were up 30-19 with point guard (and English major) Ciaran Short ’20 claiming 8 points. With 11:15 left in the second half, the students pulled ahead 44-29 and seemed poised to trounce the grizzled elders.

But In the next 10 minutes the alumni went on a remarkable 22-10 run, and with 1:20 left in the game, the students were struggling to hold onto their 54-51 lead.

After a foul, alumni powerhouse Kasra Shokat ’14 found himself at the free-throw line. He made his first free throw, bringing the score to 54-52. His second throw hit the rim but was successfully rebounded by Lars Fjelstad ’92. Lars threw it out to Colin Daniel ’00, who shot the go-ahead 3-pointer and put the alumni in the lead 55-54.

Reed Opposes Immigration Ban

Photo: Jolie Griffin

Reed President John R. Kroger today announced that Reed will ask Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to review President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East.

In a message to the Reed community, Kroger said that the order “deeply offends” the values of the Reed community and is in direct conflict with Reed’s commitment to educate thinkers from a broad range of nations, faiths, and races.

As a practical matter, he said, the order will make it “difficult, and in many cases impossible,” for students and scholars from the seven nations to attend or teach at Reed and will have a “chilling effect” on the ability of students and scholars to travel to the region.

Reed Rallies Around Muslim Community

Professors and students write messages of support for members of the Muslim and Middle Eastern community at Reed in the wake of President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven nations in the Middle East.

Students, professors, and staff jammed the Hauser Library today in a show of solidarity with Muslim and Middle Eastern members of the Reed community in the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven nations in the Middle East.

“Look around this room,” Dean for Institutional Diversity Mary James told the crowd. “I want you all to remember that people at Reed care about our community and they care about you.”

Reed currently has no international students with visas from the seven banned nations, but it does have many students, professors, staff, and alumni with deep connections to the region. In addition, many students from all backgrounds feel threatened by the ban.

Reed Biologists Divide and Conquer

The eye of the zebrafish peers into your soul.

There’s a definite buzz around the Griffin Biology Building these days, and it’s not just the fruit flies. Like cells that keep dividing, the students, professors, and staff in the bio department keep generating news.

Prof. Derek Applewhite and Wick Perry ’13 published a paper in the Journal of Cell Science on a protein known as PIGS that has a dramatic effect on cytoskeleton organization. What, you ask, is the cytoskeleton? It’s the network of filament that gives a cell its shape and allows it to move. Prof. Applewhite’s research is focused on these fundamental structures.

Prof. Kara Cerveny and five of her former students published a paper in Development on the growth of the eye in zebrafish, and the role played by a mutant gene and retinoic acid in regulating the timing of this fiendishly difficult feat. The students were Terra Vleeshouwer-Neumann ’13, Amanuel Tafessu ’14, Audrey Williams ’14, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17. Also on the author list: bio lab manager Dayna Lamb.

Reed to Students: “We Stand With You.”

Dear Reed Community,

The news over the weekend of the Trump administration’s Executive Order calling for an immigration ban has caused widespread confusion and concern. We know that for some in our community, these developments are particularly troubling. 

We do not currently have any members of our international student community on visas from the seven countries subject to the immigration ban. Nonetheless, we know that for some students, as well as staff and faculty, and especially for those who identify as Muslim, this is a time of great fear and uncertainty. We want you to know that we stand with you.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates for our international students. In the meantime, I hope that we will focus on doing everything we can to come together as a community. Reed is undeniably and immeasurably enriched by the diversity of people who live and learn, work and teach here, together.

With hope and in gratitude,

—Mike Brody

Vice President for Student Services
Title IX Coordinator
Reed College

Dublin, Sligo, and Gort: See Ireland with Reedies

Join Prof. Jay Dickson and a merry band of alumni on the adventure of a lifetime—a trip to the  Ireland of James Joyce and W. B. Yeats during June 12-21, 2017. We’ll examine the Dublin of Joyce and experience the city on Bloomsday, June 16. But we will also enjoy special access to historic manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. Our trip will take in the Irish countryside as we explore important megalithic sites and stop to admire the miles of stone walls and learn to describe their different styles. On the west side of the country, we will be in Yeats country. And we will explore the areas that inspired his descriptive poetry including Rosses Point, Glencar Waterfall, and Thoor Ballylee. And for those wishing to explore other aspects of this great country, the program includes optional activities so travelers can take nature walks, ride bikes, or tour distilleries.

For details or to sign up, please visit Eventbrite.

Cost:

Reed Alum Perishes in “Ghost Ship” Fire

Peter Wadsworth ’02. "He was like our Dumbledore—our wise wizard."

We are sorry to report that Reed alumnus Peter Wadsworth ’02 perished in the catastrophic fire at the Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship” on December 2. The blaze claimed 36 lives.

The fire broke out during a party at the warehouse, which served as an artists’ collective. Neighbors had complained of people living in the building illegally, with trash piling up, and other unsafe conditions.

Bob Mule, Peter’s roommate in the Ghost Ship, told reporters that Peter had broken his ankle while trying to escape from the loft of his space. The oppressive heat and smoke forced Mule to abandon his attempt to pull Peter from the flames.

Response to Kimberly Peirce Protest

On November 11, 2016, at a public event on campus, Kimberly Peirce, the director and writer of Boys Don't Cry, was met with signs bearing profanity-laced slogans, and her talk was disrupted by a small number of Reed students.

John Kroger, Reed’s president, in response to the event, stated, “expressing dissenting viewpoints is central to intellectual debate, as is made clear in Reed’s dissent policy. All views, however, must be expressed in a way that does not deliberately obstruct others from sharing their ideas. Such conduct has no place at Reed College.”

Reed’s dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson, was present at the event and issued a statement to the campus community in the student newspaper, Reed College Quest (full text below). He stated, “[t]he principle that a speaker, any speaker, should be treated with respect was explicitly rejected.”

Nicholson also said of Peirce, “she was very gracious in the face of considerable hostility” and “did a remarkable job respectfully and patiently addressing the concerns of the protesters.” He said, “Many speakers would not have hosted a discussion under such pressure, but the resulting Q&A led by Peirce proved to be genuinely productive.” Nicholson called for the community to “reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.”

RAR Demands—December Progress Report

Dear Reed Community,

Just over a month ago I sent an email summarizing progress on the concerns students raised with President Kroger as part of the September 26 campus Black Lives Matter demonstration. Since that time a great deal has happened at Reed and beyond. Most notably, as a divisive election season came to a close, many people across the country as well as members of the Reed community have expressed their deep sense of anxiety about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Some students, staff, and faculty from historically marginalized groups have made it very clear that they fear for their safety. Incidents like the hateful graffiti found in the Reed library and anonymous threats made against students in social media amplify these fears.

RIP Ernie Bonyhadi ’48, Faithful Friend of Reed

"He had a sort of effervescence. He always spread light when there was darkness."

Prominent attorney, generous philanthropist, and steadfast Reed trustee Ernie Bonyhadi ’48 died on Thanksgiving Day while visiting family and friends in Australia. He was 92 years old.

Ernie lived an astonishing life. He escaped the Nazis as a boy, fled to the United States, then returned to Germany with the US Army to search for war criminals. After graduating from Reed, he pursued a long and distinguished legal career, arguing before the Supreme Court, and became a stalwart Reed trustee, serving on the board for more than 25 years and remaining an active trustee emeritus until his death.

“He was not a typical lawyer,” says longtime friend and legal partner Charles Hinkle, who argued several cases alongside him. “He had a sort of effervescence. Nothing discouraged him. He could see the good in everyone. He always spread light when there was darkness.”

Biology Prof. First Winner of Prestigious New Award

Involving undergraduates in award-winning research: Prof. Sarah Schaack (right) was recently honored by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.

Congratulations to Prof. Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] who is the first ever recipient of a new award from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust: the Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award.

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by something like this—an award unheard of in the sciences, especially for early career faculty," Prof. Schaack says. The foundation noted that Prof. Schaack “was chosen for her research in the nature of mutations, particularly those caused by mobile DNA, and for deeply involving her undergraduate students.” Named in honor of Dr. Lynwood Swanson, a prominent scientist, entrepreneur, and trustee for the Murdock foundation for 30 years, the annual award recognizes an emerging professor's scientific research.

"I have appreciated the Trust's financial support for my work as a scientist through their grant programs, but to be recognized by the Promise award not only for my work, but the work I endeavor to share with undergraduate and international collaborators, is more than a compliment-- it is motivation to do more," says Schaack.

RIP Prof. Frank Gwilliam

Prof. Gwilliam mentored generations of Reed students.

We are sad to report that Prof. G. Frank Gwilliam [biology 1957–96], who mentored generations of students for the better part of four decades, died on Sunday. He was 91 years old.

Prof. Gwilliam was born in 1925 and grew up in Salt Lake City. His father died of influenza when he was 11 years old. Following the outbreak of WWII, he joined the US Navy at the age of 17 and served as a hospital corpsman aboard the USS Doyen, an amphibious personnel assault vessel, which took part in numerous island invasions in the Pacific theater, including Kiska, Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Guam, Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, and Iwo Jima.

After the war, he earned a BA and PhD in biology from UC Berkeley and did a Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellowship in marine biology. He was recruited to Reed by Prof. Lew Kleinholz [biology 1946-80].

Religion Major Named Rhodes Scholar

Rhodes Scholar Pema McLaughlin ’16 wrote their senior thesis on American Buddhism. Photo by Tom Humphrey

Religion major Pema M. McLaughlin ’16 was named a Rhodes Scholar on Sunday, becoming the 32nd Reed grad to win the prestigious award.

Pema compiled an impressive track record at Reed, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and winning the Class of ’21 Award for their senior thesis, “Pointing at the Moon,” which traced the development of Buddhism in America and posed deep questions about the nature and definition of religion.

Pema has also conducted research on Daoism, the Nation of Islam, and studied Chinese, history, humanities, and Japanese sword arts. Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion], who served as their thesis adviser, called Pema “an extraordinary student.”

Kroger Declares Reed a Sanctuary College

We steadfastly support all members of our community regardless of their immigration status.

President John R. Kroger today declared Reed to be a sanctuary college.

I hereby declare that Reed College is a sanctuary college for the purposes of immigration. We steadfastly support all members of our community regardless of their immigration status.

As a sanctuary college, Reed will not assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the investigation of the immigration status of our students, staff, or faculty absent a direct court order.

Reed Calls on Trump to Condemn Harassment, Hate

Reed has joined scores of other colleges around the nation to urge President-elect Donald Trump to condemn the episodes of harassment, hatred, and violence that have erupted on college campuses, including Reed, since the election.

President John R. Kroger signed on to an open letter to Trump that reads thus:

Dear President-elect Trump,

President Kroger Responds to Reedies Against Racism

On Wednesday, November 16, President Kroger responded formally to the demands of the student group, Reedies Against Racism. While discussion of the demands are fluid, we want to share with you his formal response and his follow up email to the community yesterday.

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