Medical Role Models Matter

Dr. Aaron Franzen has been curious for years about the “hidden curriculum” of medical schools — the undercurrent of norms and expectations for behavior that medical students learn outside their official curriculum. “It’s the social water in which all of them swim, so it matters — whether they recognize it or not,” he says. Until … Continue reading “Medical Role Models Matter”

Rhetoric, #MeToo and Television

Dr. Sarah Kornfield likens the cultural effects of television to a distorted reflection from a funhouse mirror, and she doesn’t mean it in an amusing way. When she thinks about TV’s reflective light, she does so as a rhetorician who studies the portrayals of gender in mass media. Using that lens to look closely at … Continue reading “Rhetoric, #MeToo and Television”

Telling Past Lives, Tracing Cultural Effects

In 2016, when Boston magazine ranked the “100 Best Bostonians of All Time,” Isabella Stewart Gardner came in fourth — just behind John F. Kennedy and right before Malcolm X. The wealthy, influential Gardner (1840–1924), whose eponymous art museum is a Boston must-see, transformed the city’s cultural landscape more than a century ago by being, … Continue reading “Telling Past Lives, Tracing Cultural Effects”

Mathematical Nature and Natural Math

On a table in his office in VanderWerf Hall, a popular recent memoir about hiking the Appalachian Trail sits alongside Dr. Brian Yurk’s mathematics papers and journals. The presence of each offers empirical evidence of how the applied mathematician’s love of nature is combined with his love for his work. He’s a backpacker, climber, skier, … Continue reading “Mathematical Nature and Natural Math”

One Musician’s Global Mixology

Almost any instrument has the capacity to express a variety of musical genres: classical, jazz, folk, blues, Latin, pop. It’s a musician’s choices of style and repertoire that let the variation out. For instance, take the violin — or should we say fiddle? To differentiate them, don’t look; just give a good listen. At the … Continue reading “One Musician’s Global Mixology”

East and West, Body and Mind, T’ai Chi and Philosophy

When Dr. Andrew Dell’Olio was a senior at Rutgers University, a professor there taught t’ai chi ch’uan in the campus square. Though Dell’Olio didn’t join in, he recalls observing the meditative martial art; he found it quite beautiful. Within a year, the budding philosophy professor, by then a graduate student at Columbia, had enrolled in … Continue reading “East and West, Body and Mind, T’ai Chi and Philosophy”

Translating Classical Latin, Decoding Gender and Power

Converting one language into another isn’t just a utilitarian task; a good translator conveys the voice and linguistic nuances of the person whose words are being translated. But what if you are a 21st-century man translating the writings of a 17th-century woman? What challenges does a modern man encounter when decoding the thoughts and words … Continue reading “Translating Classical Latin, Decoding Gender and Power”

Finding a Brain Cell Fix

About 2 percent of a person’s body weight is mostly responsible for the way the other 98 percent of it functions. The complex human brain, which usually weighs in at about three pounds, is the ultimate multi-tasker of human organs — processor of senses, memory and knowledge; coordinator of heartbeats, breaths and motor skills; releaser … Continue reading “Finding a Brain Cell Fix”

Finding Meaning in the Storms

“Why did this have to happen to me?Where is God?How could God let this occur?What am I going to do?Who am I going to be?” Those massive life questions — uneasy, uncomfortable, overwhelming — are smack dab at the heart of Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren’s prolific research and writing. The scholar of experimental social psychology … Continue reading “Finding Meaning in the Storms”

Human Form and Function in Costume Design

The silken bodice of Cinderella’s gown, the furry makeup on the Big Bad Wolf’s face, the crimson woolen cape over Little Red Riding Hood’s shoulders — each element helps bring to life Stephen Sondheim’s amalgamated fairy tale Into the Woods. Professor Michelle Bombe and two student assistants designed every character’s costume from head to toe … Continue reading “Human Form and Function in Costume Design”

For All of God’s Good Earth

According to a recent Yale University survey, only 18 percent of American evangelical and born-again Christians believe that caring for the earth is part of their faith. When environmental theologian Dr. Steve Bouma-Prediger hears a statistic like that, he matter-of-factly responds, “I have a lot more work to do.” That work, which he has undertaken … Continue reading “For All of God’s Good Earth”