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Bono wins Goldwater, Backlund gets honorable mention

Posted on Mar 28, 2008

Michael S. Bono '09 in lab

A junior with a knack for interdisciplinary exploration has been cited by a national foundation that promotes promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians. His classmate has received an honorable mention.

Michael S. Bono Jr. ’09, a mechanical engineering major from Clifton Park, N.Y., has won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. A Union Scholar and visual arts minor, Bono is a member of the College’s Aerogel Research Team, an interdisciplinary group of chemists and mechanical engineers that investigates the ultra-light materials, which are used as insulators, catalysts and sensors.

He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and to conduct research in advanced materials, nanotechnology, alternative energy and sustainability. He is a 2005 graduate of Shenendehowa High School. At Union, he is also a member of the College’s track team, kendo club, and ballroom dancing club.

Chemistry major Christopher J. Backlund received an honorable mention. Backlund, also a member of the Aerogel Team, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and then conduct research in pharmaceuticals and drugs and teach at the university level. A native of Tannersville, N.Y., he is a 2005 graduate of Hunter-Tannersville Central High School.

Bono’s selection brings to seven the number of Union students to be so honored since 2002. Others are Fatima Mahmood ’06, David Olson ’06, Shira Mandel ’05, Mark Hoffman ’03, Desiree Plata ’03 and Will Johnson ’02. Bono is the third Goldwater – along with Mandel and Plata – who was a member of the Aerogel Research Team, according to Prof. Ann Anderson, who co-directs the program with Prof. Mary Carroll.

 “I’ve always enjoyed learning about science and creating art,” Bono said. “These may seem different, but both are fundamentally about creating something. I’ve always admired people like DaVinci and Franklin, who pursued science, art and politics. When you explore between different fields, that’s when interesting things happen.”

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation recently announced 321 scholarships nationwide to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

The scholarship, named for the man who served for 30 years in the U.S. Senate, was established in 1986 to provide a source of highly qualified scientists, engineers and mathematicians by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in those fields.

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Arlene Baker to show works at Humanities Gallery

Posted on Mar 27, 2008

“Silk Spaces”

Works from the “Silk Spaces” series by Schenectady artist Arlene Baker will be on view in the Aesthetic Division exhibition at the College’s Humanities Gallery beginning Tuesday, April 1, with an opening reception set for Wednesday, April 2, 4-6 p.m.

The show, which runs through June 12, is free and open to the public.

In “Silk Spaces,” Baker explores horizons, color and veils with the application of opaque layers of gouache on paper that are then mounted on foam core board. These paintings are literally veiled; the surfaces are layered with diaphanous material, or “painted” with silk using a uniform 8” x 20” format. 

Baker has called her veiled paintings “explorations of the aesthetics of the sublime on an intimate scale.”

Born and raised in New York City, Baker studied art at City College of New York, completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota. There she studied with Peter Busa, a founding member of the abstract expressionist movement and good friend of Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner.

She earned master’s of art and master’s of fine art degrees from the University of Iowa, where she was influenced by the German experimental Plexiglas artist, Hans Breder.

Baker did post-graduate training in London. She has exhibited in London, Detroit, New York City and the Capital Region and regularly returns to London to work with the Barbican Arts Group, an artists’ collective. She began the first Silk Space painting in 1990 while working with the collective. Recent additions to the series have been shown as part of the Albany Center Gallery’s “Weaving Meaning” exhibit.

Baker is a former artist-in-residence at Union.

The Humanities gallery is on the second floor of the Humanities Building, opposite the entrance to Memorial Chapel. The gallery is open weekdays 2 to 5 p.m.

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Alumni hit the road to help find a cure

Posted on Mar 27, 2008

Marty O'Brion '06 and Noelle Beach ’05 will be part of a caravan of BMWs travelling across country this year to raise money for breast cancer research.

Marty O'Brion in Birmingham, Alabama next to one of the BMW cars used in last years fleet. The car has over 40,000 signatures from last years participants.

Beach and O'Brion, who is also a young alumni volunteer, are part of the BMW Ultimate Drive to support Susan G. Komen for Cure, a foundation that advances breast cancer research. For every mile driven, BMW will donate $1 to support research leading to a cure, with an overall goal of $1 million.

"Being a Union volunteer has helped me in my role with BMW by fueling my driving passion to get up everyday and work towards an overall goal, whether it be raising funds to support cancer research or a college endowment," O'Brion said. 

As Union students, O'Brion and Beach were involved in community service projects including a service trip to New Orleans aiding Hurricane Katrina victims and marketing efforts for Union’s yearly fundraiser fashion show.

Noelle Beach '05, a fleet manager for the events, has been involved with the Ultimate Drive since 2006.

The BMW Ultimate Drive began in the southern states in February and is moving north throughout the year. At each of the roughly 200 tiur stops, BMW will honor people who have made outstanding personal efforts in the fight against breast cancer.

Check the BMW Web site for more details: http://www.bmwusa.com/theultimatedrive.



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PBS documentary by alumna to air Friday

Posted on Mar 26, 2008

Sally Squires 74

“Triumph at Carville,” a documentary by Sally Squires ’74 that chronicles leprosy on a Louisiana plantation, will air on PBS Friday, March 28 at 10 p.m.

An award-winning, syndicated health columnist for The Washington Post, Squires produced and wrote the film with John Wilhelm. The original music was composed and performed by Grammy Award-winner Béla Fleck.   

Squires, who received support for the project while a media fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, calls leprosy “one of the most feared diseases in the world and one of the most misunderstood.” The film tells the story of a group of caregivers who dealt with this public health issue over many decades, beginning in 1894, at the Louisiana leprosarium known as Carville.

Squires made the first of many reporting visits to Carville in 1989, m aking numerous friendships with patients traditionally wary of outsiders. Using contemporary interviews, as well as old radio shows, movie news accounts and other archival materials, including an exclusive trove of photographs taken by a longtime patient, she documents the struggle of patients, nuns, doctors and staff who lived and worked there.

Over the years, the once prison-like facility evolved into a hospital and later into a gated community. From its dedicated researchers came a multi-drug therapy that is considered a cure. Today leprosy is known as Hansen’s disease, named for Gerhard Hansen, the Norwegian discoverer of the bacteria that cause it.

Squires has covered health, medicine and science in Washington since 1981, first for Newhouse Newspaper and later for the Post’s Health section. She serves as a regular television and radio commentator on local and national programs and has been an invited speaker at many national health conferences.

She is the author of “The Secrets of the Lean Plate Club: A Simple Step-by-Step Program to Help You Shed Pounds and Keep Them Off for Good” (2006; based on the weekly column she writes) and “The Art of Healing” (1999). Her articles have appeared in many national publications including Woman’s Day, Modern Maturity, Parade and Reader’s Digest.

Squires holds master’s degrees in journalism and nutrition from Columbia University. In 2004, she became the first journalist named an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Public Health Education.

“Triumph at Carville” is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. For an interview with Squires about the film, go to: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/hcast_index.cfm?display=detail&hc=2520

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Bioethics Conference set for this weekend

Posted on Mar 26, 2008

The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins (Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Panels, workshops, discussions and a Bioethics Bowl are among the activities to be featured on campus Friday and Saturday as part of the 11th annual National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC).

Planned and organized by students, NUBC covers issues of current interest in the field of bioethics with discussions led by experts from across the country.

This year’s theme, “The Human Use of Human Beings in Medicine and Science,” reflects the ideal of "medical humanities" encompassed in the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) name by embracing art, drama, literature, films and the media, as well as the humanities and the social and natural sciences.

“This is a celebration of undergraduate research and an opportunity to introduce a new generation of students to the field of bioethics,” said Robert Baker, chair of the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative and the William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy. He also directs the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School Medicine Bioethics Program.

Tod Chambers, president of ASBH and author of “Narrative Bioethics and Prozac as a Way of Life,” will open the conference with a talk on “Witches, Punks and Bioethicists.”

Susan Lederer, chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and author of “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature,” will discuss “The Myth and Metaphor of Frankenstein.”

Other speakers include award-winning journalist Harriet Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.”

The Bioethics Bowl will draw teams from Dartmouth, the National Hispanic University, University of Miami and other schools for formal debates.

Union is the first liberal arts college chosen by ASBH to host the conference. Previous hosts included Princeton University, the University of Virginia, University of Notre Dame, Emory University, Boston University, Texas A&M, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University.

For more information, go to http://ethics.union.edu/nubc.html

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