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A daily look at Bowdoin and the world
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Video: A Bowdoin Summer

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:03

A Bowdoin Summer from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Each summer, students on campus take a break from their busy schedules of work, studies, and recreation to gather at a cookout hosted by President Mills. We asked them to tell us about what they’re up to – and what they enjoy most about a Bowdoin summer.

Video by Catherine Yochum ’15 (who’s spending her summer as a multimedia reporter in Bowdoin’s Office of Communications).

To learn more about what students are doing at Bowdoin and all over the world this summer, check out this interactive map by Nina Underman ’15.

Categories: Bowdoin

Here’s How To Make That Vacation A Permanent One (Fast Company)

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:02

Beach chairIn 2009, Bianca Forzano took a kite surfing trip around the world — and never came back. Instead, she brought her business to the beach, tapping into a profitable industry by offering kite surfing lessons in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. She found a business environment very different from desk jobs, and quickly looked to fill another niche that she saw was lacking: effective sports bikinis that could endure a good kite surfing session without causing a wardrobe malfunction. She began making them by hand, but expanded to an Italian factory when demand grew more rapidly than she had anticipated. Fast Company offers tips based off of her inspiring experience on how to get out of a job that makes you unhappy and get off the ground in a new environment.

Categories: Bowdoin

Bowdoin Alumnae Come in 1,2 at Maine Kayak Race

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:01

Jane Koopman ’10 competing. Photo: Maine Mountain Media

Two Bowdoin graduates came in first and second in the women’s division at the third annual Maine Whitewater Championship Series‘ Kennebec River Race, held in June. Becca Austin, class of 2010 and assistant director of the Bowdoin Outing Club, raced the approximately three-mile course in 11:33, followed by Jane Koopman ’10 in 11:45.

Koopman was the top competitor for of all the women’s races in the championship, which included the Kennebec River Time Trials, Kennebec River Mass Start, Penobscot River Time Trials and Penobscot River BoaterX. Races took place on the Kennebec River and the West Branch of the Penobscot River, through intermediate and advanced rapids.

Several other Bowdoin students and alumni competed at the competition, including Mark Nelson ’80, Kelsey Freeman ’16, Ryan Peabody ’14 and Jeff Tillinghast ’04.

“These races are a really great way to gather the Maine/New England paddling community — and some of our friends farther afield — for a fun weekend of paddling, friendly competition, camping and hanging out,” Austin said.

Categories: Bowdoin

Infographic: Productivity — Work-Life Balance Realities, Threats and Motivators (

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:00

We hope you’ve enjoyed the infographic series on productivity. We wrap things up with a look at the various aspects of what threatens and motivates our productivity. View all of the infographics from the two-week series.

Click image to view full-size

Click image to view full-size

Categories: Bowdoin

Bowdoin Grad’s Start-up is Changing Sports World (Boston Business Journal)

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:41

Photo: Boston Business Journal

A new online business that matches private coaches with athletes has raised $6.7 million in a recent round of fundraising. The company, founded in 2012 by Jordan Fliegel ’08, currently pairs athletes and coaches who play team sports, but is expanding into dance, yoga and fitness.

Point Judith Capital of Boston and General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge led the new round of fundraising, according to Boston Business Journal. Sean Marsh ’95, of Point Judith, has also joined the CoachUp board. The new funding “will continue to support our core mission of helping athletes reach the next level in their training and athletic pursuits,” Fliegel said in a news release.

CoachUp serves more than 15,000 coaches and more than 42,000 athletes. Based in Boston, the company employs 18 full-time staff, and completed the 2012 MassChallenge program and the fall 2012 TechStars Boston accelerator.

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Passwords Are Still In, But Strong Ones Are Out (The Guardian)

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:38

Cyber securityThe (pass)word is in from Microsoft researchers, who say you’re wasting your time crafting unique passwords for all the sites you use that don’t really hold any secure information. Save your memory for the important ones, and use your pet’s name for everything else. Additionally, password managers might create problems rather than solve them, since the managers could always be hacked – or you could forget the password to all your passwords.

Though inconvenient, don’t expect the internet to phase out passwords anytime soon — most options for password replacement makes only “marginal gains” that aren’t worth the extra effort.

Categories: Bowdoin

Parenting Around the World (TED)

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:34

ChildrenAmerican parents pursue the goal “to raise the happiest, the most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future,” Amy Choi writes for TED. Mothers in this country turn to websites, books and their friends for parenting advice, but not to their mothers, seeking only the most current child-rearing strategies.

Yet, looking at how other cultures approach child rearing indicates there is no one golden formula to raising a successful child. The common Norwegian child raising strategy, for example, is “strongly institutionalized.” Most parents think toddlers should begin daycare at 12 months (where they are regularly bundled up and set outside in the Scandinavian winter to nap). Japan tries to instill independence in their children, setting young ones off to do things alone early, such as walking to school.

In the Netherlands,  parents emphasize rest, food and a pleasant environment for their kids rather than pushing them too hard at school. And Spaniards are horrified at the thought of kids going to bed at 6:30 p.m. and missing out on family life in the evenings. “We should be learning from each other,” Choi quotes a family expert, “and recognizing that there are very different successful pathways to raising children.”


Categories: Bowdoin

Infographic: Work Engaged, Work Inspired (

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:33
Click to view full-size

Click to view full-size

Categories: Bowdoin

Adam Kommel ’09 Launches Company to Track Short-Selling Campaigns

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:03

Adam Kommel ’09

Short-selling is like “betting against a company,” says Adam Kommel ’09; investors will short-sell when they believe that the price of a company’s stock is dropping rapidly. That is, they sell stock with the expectation of buying it back at a lower price and pocketing the difference.

Short-sellers often target companies that they believe are overvalued, are part of a dying industry, or are committing fraud. Some of these short-sellers, known as activist short-sellers, will then put out reports after short-selling a large quantity of stocks, causing the targeted company’s stocks to drop further. Therefore, this practice can be very influential in the stock market.

Yet Kommel calls short-selling an “underserved” area of finance, admitting that even some people working in the financial industry are not clear on the concept. He created Activist Shorts Research, a database of research tracking short-seller campaigns to fill this niche — it is the first database of its kind. Kommel serves as president of the company, and Joseph Babler ’10 is also involved as a research analyst.

The information provided by Activist Shorts Research benefits many different players in the financial field: for example, companies can research short-sellers who target their stocks, investor relations firms can glean background information on short-sellers to better protect a targeted company, and auditors can prepare themselves for short-sellers who might allege accounting fraud.

“It’s been very exciting” to start Activist Shorts Research, Kommel told the BDS in a phone interview, “we’ve gotten an even better response than we expected.” Read more in The Wall Street Journal.

Categories: Bowdoin

Bowdoin Blogger’s Summer Goal: Visiting Every Town in Rhode Island

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:02


This summer, Michael Colbert ’16 is on a mission to travel to every town in his home state of Rhode Island.

The rising junior was inspired to take on this challenge after reading a Boston Globe article about a couple who visited all 351 towns in Massachusetts in two weeks. Their effort appealed to Colbert’s enthusiasm for exploring — and for checking things off lists. “Anybody who knows me well knows that I’m obsessed with lists: to-do lists, bucket lists, travel lists,” he writes on his travel blog, Misadventures with Michael. “He dubbed his project RI39, for the 39 municipalities in the state.

 Read the full story.

Categories: Bowdoin

In Defense of Selfies (Mother Jones)

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:01

Man taking a self portraitWhile the ardor with which many young people take ‘selfies’ makes some adults cringe at the seemingly blatant narcissism, Mother Jones argues that the selfie has a “noble heritage in high art.” Rembrandt, for instance, finished more than 60 self-portraits. Of course,  taking a selfie these days, with a smart phone, takes just a second, while Rembrandt likely spent weeks if not months laboring over his works.

Categories: Bowdoin

Infographic: How to Focus (

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00

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Categories: Bowdoin

Linda Kinstler ’13 Shares Russia-Ukraine Insight on CNN, MSNBC

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:35

Former Bowdoin Orient editor Linda Kinstler ’13, now managing editor of The New Republic, has recently been featured in multiple news broadcasts to share her expertise on the situation between Russia and Ukraine. In 2013, Kinstler was one of eight students selected internationally for a prestigious Google Journalism Fellowship. She formerly wrote for Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and contributed more than 80 articles to the Orient during her time at Bowdoin.

Below, Kinstler discusses next steps for Ukraine after the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Her segment begins at 9:50.

In the following clip, Kinstler joins congressman Gregory Meeks to discuss new evidence about the plane crash, as well as President Obama’s remarks following the tragedy, with Reverend Al Sharpton. The interview begins at 3:00; Sharpton directs questions at Kinstler starting at 4:40.

You can read the transcript from Kinstler’s appearance on CNN here.


Categories: Bowdoin

Video: Tracing Thoreau’s 300-Mile Journey Through The Maine Woods (CBS Sunday Morning)

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:30

In 1864, at the height of the American Civil War, Henry David Thoreau published “The Maine Woods,” a volume describing his travels to the backwoods of Maine in 1846, 1853, and 1857. One hundred and fifty years later, a group of adventurers retracing Thoreau’s steps finds a landscape that is largely the same and equally magnificent.

Categories: Bowdoin

So Smooth: Seven Steps to Mastering the Art of Conversation (Time)

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:29

Speech bubbles256


Some people just have it — the gift of gab. And not just small talk; they really just seem to innately know how to be engaging. If you’re not the sparkling conversationalist you would like to be, check out these seven tips to being smooth, culled by Time magazine from Catherine Blyth’s The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure.

Categories: Bowdoin

Infographic: Time Spent on Facebook (

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:25

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Categories: Bowdoin

Whispering Pines: Discovering a Prodigal Son

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:25


Once again, what appeared to be straightforward connection between an object and a Bowdoin alumnus has led me on an endlessly fascinating journey through history. It started with an eBay listing for a somewhat blurry, sepia-toned stereopticon card showing a young man in a chair in what looks like a dormitory room. On the back of the card, written in pencil, is “Photo by S. A. Gűrdjian. Bowd Coll. ’77.” The gauntlet had been thrown down.

A quick check of the General Catalogue of Bowdoin College, 1794-1950 revealed that Seropé Armenag Gűrdjian was born in Talas, Cæsarea, Asia Minor, (central Turkey) on December 12, 1847. He was the first student to attend Bowdoin who had been born in Turkey. How and why he ended up in New Hampton, New Hampshire, in the mid-1860s is a mystery, but he had established himself as a photographer there and was a student at the New Hampton Literary and Theological Institution.

At nearly twenty-six years of age, Gűrdjian entered Bowdoin as the oldest member of his class in 1873. He followed the scientific course of study that had been instituted during Joshua Chamberlain’s presidency and was a member of the Bowdoin Scientific Society and a photographer for the Class of 1877’s Bugle. He also was an operator in the Bowdoin Telegraph Association (his “handle” was dash-dot-dash – the letter “K”), formed by a group of students who strung telegraph wires between the dorms and relayed messages to each other. Like many students in the 19th century, Gűrdjian set up a small business in his dorm room. His printed cards advertised imported carpets, Turkish embroidery, Ottar of Rose (perfume), and photographs of the interior of the Chapel for sale in 17 Appleton Hall.

As newspapers began to report on “the Eastern question” – the persecution of Armenians and others by the Ottoman Empire – Gűrdjian, an Armenian, began to offer public lectures on the subject, and was invited to speak to the Maine Legislature in February of 1878. Gűrdjian’s ambition was to raise funds to found a school of engineering, mining, and industrial technology in Turkey so that Armenian Turks might develop greater economic independence. He had assured donors that the school would not be in direct competition with the well-known Robert College in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which had been founded by Cyrus Hamlin of the Class of 1834.

Gűrdjian had been naturalized as an American citizen in March of 1874 and obtained an American passport in November of 1878, before sailing for Constantinople at the end of the year. That was his last contact with the College until 1900, when Boston bookseller Dana Estes H’98 reported to College Librarian George Little ’77 that he had seen Gűrdjian in Athens, Greece.


Stereoscopic card of picture taken by S. A. Gűrdjian ’77. Advertisement in “Bowdoin Songs” book. Portrait of the photographer as a young man.  Sachtleben Collection, Charles E. Young Research Library Dept. of Spec. Coll., UCLA.
Apparently the plans to establish a new college had fallen through. Details are very sketchy, but Gűrdjian may have been engaged in photography, selling photographic equipment, or some other mercantile pursuit in Constantinople. An Internet search showed that while he may have been incommunicado from the College’s perspective, he certainly had not faded into obscurity. American newspapers in October of 1890 were filled with stories about two Americans of Armenian ancestry who had been arrested by Turkish authorities, in violation of an 1830 Treaty between the U.S. and Turkey that clearly stated that U.S. had jurisdiction in handling alleged criminal conduct by American citizens. Gűrdjian had been arrested at night in his home, not allowed to dress, imprisoned, beaten, and denied access to U.S. officials for more than 24 hours. It became part of a major diplomatic incident that reverberated back and forth for a decade about the rights of naturalized U.S. citizens and the Ottoman Empire’s insistence that the Sultan must approve any Turkish national’s application for naturalization to another country. The name Seropé Gűrdjian became a familiar one in international case law.

As to the specifics of the case, Gűrdjian was accused of engraving a symbol for a secret society of radical Armenians who plotted revolution against the empire. Outraged American officials demanded an apology, and eventually received one. However, Turkey insisted on the right to deport any Turkish-born naturalized Americans, and while Gűrdjian’s long prison sentence was overturned, he was forced to leave the country and take up residence in Athens, Greece, and return to a career as a photographer.

In the winter of 1890-91 Gűrdjian met Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben, two recent graduates of Washington University of St. Louis who were preparing for a 7,000-mile bicycle ride across Asia. The three met regularly for coffee and eventually all shared an apartment in Athens, where they would engage in philosophical discussions and political debates. Allen and Sachtleben described their newfound friend as “cerebral and charismatic,” and they admired his fluency in English, Turkish, and Persian. Gűrdjian would go into a rage whenever he talked about Sultan Abdul Hamid II, reportedly telling the cyclists that “I wish that his damned carcass would rot in a place worse than hell.” If Seropé Gűrdjian had not been a revolutionary before his arrest (and torture, according to what he told the cyclists), he certainly counted expatriate Armenian radicals and anarchists among his close friends in Athens.

What have the fates against me…That I may be an eye-witness to the sufferings of my native countrymen, the Armenians!

The next bit of news about Gűrdjian came in an 1896 letter to Bowdoin President William DeWitt Hyde from a New York Tribune reporter in Athens: “An Armenian photographer, calling himself an American and a product of Bowdoin College, is fraudulently selling pictures from plates belonging to me, as special correspondent of the New York Tribune, at the International Olympian Games, just closed…The Armenian calls himself ‘S. A. Gűrdjian,’ last address rue Hermes in Athens. He may, however, have slunk away into some other corner ’ere this, after the manner of his kind.”  There is no record of Hyde’s reply to this invective, nor is there an easy way to verify or refute the charge.

The College (through Librarian George Little) kept sending letters addressed to Gűrdjian at No. 24 Hermes St. in Athens. One letter finally got through, addressed only to “S. A. Gűrdjian, c/o U. S. Legation, Athens.” Gűrdjian responded on November 15, 1901, saying that he had been sick in bed after returning from a mining expedition in the interior of Greece.  “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trouble you took in finding me out, your prodigal brother…I have never given up my adopted country, its institutions, associations, my alma mater, the thought of which all have been my consolation through all my wanderings in the East.”

The tone shifts dramatically: “What have the fates against me…That I may be an eye-witness to the sufferings of my native countrymen, the Armenians!…That I may gaze on the rivers of blood running throughout the whole [of] Armenia by the fiendish orders of the Great Assassin, encouraged by the Christian monarchs of Europe! That I may come in actual contact with the greatest house of prostitution in the world, called, in refined language, European Diplomacy, know its bloody machinations, brutal selfishness and criminal indifference towards a poor, neglected, and bleeding people!”

Then another abrupt shift: “Enough. I am not able to write more. I beg you to write me soon, I will write you again. Please give my best respects to Mr. Estes, and other inquiring friends. Again thanking you for your kind letters, I remain, very faithfully, Your friend and classmate, Seropé A. Gűrdjian.” The sending of this letter a month before his 54th birthday is the last event that I have been able to document in the life of Seropé Armenag Gűrdjian of the Class of 1877. I could find no information on the time, place, and circumstances of his death, and nothing about family or business ventures. He slipped into my awareness through a penciled notation on a faded photo, but after glimpsing the incomplete record of his life, I know that he’ll be turning up in my thoughts for years to come.


With best wishes,

John R. Cross ’76
Secretary of Development and College Relations

Categories: Bowdoin

Where Do People Really Live in the USA? (Business Insider)

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:23

Pushpins in map

Half of the U.S. population lives in just 146 of the country’s 3,000 counties. Some  — such as Los Angeles County and New York County — come as no surprise, but  take a look at a map compiled by Business Insider to see the nation’s other hotspots.


Categories: Bowdoin

What You Get When You Teach An Old Dog A New Language (New York Times)

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:22

words-256“I used to joke that I spoke French like a three-year-old,” New York Times contributor William Alexander jokes, “until I met a French three-year-old and couldn’t hold up my end of the conversation.” Alexander picked up a language in his late 50s to assuage his fears about deteriorating mental capacity — but blundering through new sounds, words and phrases he could never seem to master did not ease his worries. Nonetheless, his efforts themselves yielded astounding benefits, notably huge increases in verbal and visual memory. Read more to find out why learning a language in adulthood is like “drinking from a mental fountain of youth.”

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Infographic: Biggest Workplace Time Wasters (

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:18

OK, folks — it’s week-two of our productivity-themed infographic series, taking a look at issue such as finding focus and inspiration. This week kicks off with a look at the time wasters that distract us.

Click image to view full-size

Click image to view full-size

Categories: Bowdoin