Parents and Families
This summer, Bowdoin students Hannah Marshall ’16 and Alex Reisley ’16 trekked through the world’s deepest river gorge, visited Buddhist monasteries and investigated geological phenomena. They were part of the School for International Training’s Geoscience in the Himalaya program, which immerses students in Nepalese culture and trains them in field research methods and GIS technology before setting them off to pursue independent projects. Read the full story and check out what other Bowdoin students are up to this summer.
Around the globe, elements of each culture’s relational, behavioral and cognitive styles are numerous and nuanced. Erin Meyer, author of The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business, has compiled a quiz for Harvard Business Review that allows you to see where you fall on eight cultural dimension scales as compared to your own or other cultures.
Charles Darwin wrote of evolution that while the evidence is all around us, “we see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the lapse of ages.” However, biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant have witnessed major changes during 40 years of finch research on the volcanic island Daphne Major. Their living conditions alone make these researchers fascinating, not to mention their discoveries when a new finch hybrid landed on Daphne and began reproducing, visibly altering the finch population right before their eyes.
A paper written in the 1970s plays a major role in our association between omega-3 fatty acids — a nutrient found in cold-water fish, among other foods — and heart health. The researchers responsible were studying the Inuit population of Greenland. They found that, despite their diet based almost entirely around meat and seafood, they seemed to display lower rates of heart disease.
We as a society have internalized the benefits of omega-3 supplements and weekly fish intake without really being sure that this is true — the researchers relied on official Greenland medical records that may not have taken into account deaths in remote communities, skewing their views of Inuit heart disease rates. They did not actually examine any hearts, either, as they were nutritionists rather than cardiologists. To make matters more complicated, scientists have not been able to produce studies demonstrating clear benefits of 0mega-3 fatty acids on rates of heart disease.
When Scott Mitchell began his junior year away at Thayer Engineering School at Dartmouth College last fall, one of his first assignments was to design and implement a low-cost solution to a social problem. Mitchell is a five-year, dual-degree student at Bowdoin and Dartmouth, pursuing both a liberal arts and an engineering degree.
Mitchell knew from his experience as a volunteer with Medical Ministry International that clinics in developing countries often struggle to obtain equipment common in the United States. Read the full story.
A World Heritage site — one that is listed by UNESCO as in danger — the Belize Barrier Reef contains deep waters in and around its cayes and atolls that have never been explored. Since August 6, Mike Brennan ’04 has been leading an underwater mapping and exploration of the reef, using cameras mounted on a remotely operated vehicle to provide a live view of the deep-sea world. The crew has posted highlights of the expedition, including footage of a sunken German U-Boat and a vampire squid.
At Bowdoin, Brennan majored in geology and archaeology, and did an honors thesis under the direction of the late professor Leslie Shaw. Shaw conducted archaeological excavations at the Maya site of Maax Na in northwestern Belize, and Brennan was a member of the project staff. Several years ago, Shaw encouraged Brennan to explore and map the Belizean reef, and to include an archeological survey for Maya and historic shipwrecks.
Brennan earned a masters degree in archaeology in 2008 and a Ph.D. in geological oceanography in 2012 at the University of Rhode Island. He is now director of marine archaeology and maritime history at the Ocean Exploration Trust. His research focuses on environmental assessments of shipwreck sites from ancient times to World War II.
How often do you put off until tomorrow what should have been done today? Probably about as often as you do something on the spot that you know should wait until later (think ice cream before dinner). As it turns out, procrastination and impulsivity are two sides of the same coin, both channeling a lack of self-regulation. (You need to start that project… but all the ice cream in your fridge really should be eaten instead.) This affliction is nothing new – even in the 1400s, Egyptian hieroglyphics were warning against putting off work.
Luckily there are many effective strategies to get past procrastination. We work well against a deadline, right? So instead of saying, “I need to write,” tell yourself something concrete such as, “I will write 400 words by lunchtime.” We can also turn to the technology that so often distracts us, with apps that double-check with you before you click on your favorite games – or block them altogether for a certain period of time. Read more procrastination research and strategies from the New Yorker.
Helen Mohney ’15 is combining her interests in art and mental health this summer, right here in Brunswick, ME. Mohney is spending her summer at Spindleworks, a non-profit art center for adults with disabilities. More than 40 artists sell their work in the Spindleworks store, receiving 75% of the profits, and their work has been exhibited both locally and nationally.
A Visual Arts and Sociology major, Mohney provides daily support for Spindleworks’ artists, helps set up for shows in the Whatnot Gallery, and manages the blog she created for Spindleworks. She is supported by the Preston Public Interest Career Fund.
“It’s really cool to get invested in a project with someone and then see it through,” Mohney says, “and to see how happy they are and how proud of the work that they make.”
Thirty years ago this week, the women’s marathon made history as the first women’s running event in the Olympics. And when its winner, Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79, entered the tunnel that would take her into her final laps on the track, she knew that the world and her own life would be changed forever on the other side. The 1984 Olympics were held in Los Angeles – “the media capital of the world,” allowing Benoit Samuelson to prove to billions of viewers that women can rise to the “ultimate in courageous endurance” that a marathon represents – not to mention that she could win the event mere days after undergoing knee surgery. Read more about the what, when, where and who from Runner’s World.
One pair of Bowdoin students has spent the summer creating a stop-motion animated film telling the story of how Huntington’s disease works at the molecular level. Two others have developed mobile apps to enhance the experience of visitors to the Bowdoin Museum of Art and Arctic Museum. Another has devised a way to scrape campaign tweets during next fall’s campaign season, and several more have been mapping information such as language spread in Africa, 19th-century shipbuilding records in Maine, and 18th-century literary landmarks in London.
The list goes on: in all, sixteen Bowdoin students have been harnessing digital technology in impressively original ways through this year’s Gibbons Summer Research Program, and the caliber and creativity of their projects was evident in a recent presentation of their work. Take a look at the elevator versions of each project.
We know that grizzly bears have different dietary habits than humans (unless you’re reading this to take a break from churning berries and salmon into fat). But in light of the connection between diabetes and fat gain, it still seems like a miracle that bears are not affected by diabetes too, given how precipitously they put on weight before hibernation. Their secret? It may be the way their bodies respond to the hormone insulin.
When you give a pre-hibernation grizzly a normal human dose of insulin, something surprising happens, scientists found — a near-fatal insulin overdose. This means that unlike overweight humans, grizzlies at their heaviest are highly sensitive to insulin, which is a sign of health. Next, researchers aim to discover the mechanisms by which insulin sensitivity fluctuates throughout the year in grizzlies— as well as the implications for humans.
The Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internships Fund, which supports students wishing to develop business skills, is one of the many summer grants available to Bowdoin students. This summer eight students received the grant, choosing to work in diverse fields and locations. We managed to catch up with two Goodfriend recipients: Christa Villari ’15, who is interning for a neuromarketing firm in Boston, and Katherine Gracey ’16, who is with Christie’s in Hong Kong.