Monthly Archives: November 2012

Healthy Cities: Healthy Women Los Angeles

Author: Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

This week, I attended the Penn Nursing sponsored conference Healthy Cities: Healthy Women in Los Angeles. This is the fourth conference in this series of day-long discussions about the health of urban women (conferences on this topic were previously held in Philadelphia, New York and Miami).

Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn, visited Los Angeles in January and energized a group of Penn alumnae, parents and friends to organize a conference that addressed the needs of women in Los Angeles. Meeting monthly, this fantastic group of volunteers, led by conference chair Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12, amazed me with their enthusiasm, dedication and can-do attitude – and action! Their efforts led to a packed ballroom at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Wednesday, where local residents heard from experts about problems and solutions facing women in urban environments, and specifically Los Angeles.

Attenees check-in at the registration desk at the Loews Hollywood Hotel

Attenees check-in at the registration desk at the Loews Hollywood Hotel

Instead of summarizing the day, I’ll instead include this link to a blog post at The Family Savvy written by one of the conference attendees. In short, there are many challenges facing women, and the many speakers at the event represented city and county officials, non-profit leaders and academics. All shared their experiences, expertise and thoughts about how we can help women be healthy and care for their families in urban environments.

Local organizations in the Community Impact Area provided attendees information on their services and ways to get involved.

Local organizations in the Community Impact Area provided attendees information on their services and ways to get involved.

Johnathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, WG’77, Director and Health Officer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, opens the conference.

Johnathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, WG’77, Director and Health Officer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, opens the conference.

All the speakers were interesting, informed, and inspiring. Sue Dunlap, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, encouraged everyone to be “outspoken nurses,” and advocate for women’s health. Dean Afaf Meleis addressed the group from the future – 2022 – and talked about all the advancements made since we met here ten years prior. The last speaker, Dr. Robert K. Ross, C’76, M’80, G’92, President and CEO, The California Endowment, brought the room to a standstill when he read a poem from a survivor of incest. The poem was heartbreaking, but he shared that this young woman was now working to help others in similar situations. He said that women are the cohort that will help solve the sexual abuse and trafficking problem and charged us to help.

Penn Nursing’s Healthy Cities: Healthy Women conference is next going to Washington, DC, and London. If you live in one of those cities, I encourage you to get involved with the conference planning, to attend and encourage your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to participate.

Follow Penn Urban Women’s Health on Facebook or Twitter for more updates.

Thank you to the organizing committee:

Nancy Bergmann, C’89

Lisa Block Cohen, C’85, PAR’15

Gaby Cosgrove, C’91

Carolyn Enenstein, C’95

Jory Goldman Feldman, PAR’15

Terri Cox Glassen, Nu’91

Laurie Burrows Grad, CW’66, PAR’91

Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Beth Kean, ENG’89

Jodi Kirkbride, PAR’13

Gloria Lee, C’97, G’98, WG’07

Deborah Marrow, CW’70, GR’78

Ashley Damron Mohan, W’98

Donna Shralow Nadel, C’82, PAR’13, PAR’15

Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12 – Conference Chair

Pamela Petre Reis, CW’70

Kathryn Tong, WG’07

Lynn Wagmeister, PAR’13

Denise Green Winner, W’83

Melissa Wu, C’98

Thank you to the conference sponsors:

Keynote Sponsors:

Dean Kehler, W’79, and Elizabeth Kehler

Panel Sponsor:

 UCLA School of Nursing

 Gift bag donations:

The Planning Committee stocks gift bags before the conference.

The Planning Committee stocks gift bags before the conference.



Luna Bars

Neuro Drinks



Penn Nursing Science

Perky Jerky

Snak Club

Tempted Apparel

Volunteers distribute the bags to conference attendees.

Volunteers distribute the bags to conference attendees.

These organizations were showcased in our

Community Impact Area – engage with them and get involved!

American Red Cross

CAST LA (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking)


Girls and Gangs

Girls on the Run of LA

Impact Personal Safety

Inner-City Arts

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

L.A. Family Housing

Minds Matter LA

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

Providence Little Company of Mary, Community Health Department

Rape Treatment Center

Union Station Homeless Services

YWCA Santa Monica/Westside


Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumnni Education, Events, Kiera R., Photos, West Coast Regional Office

My Top Ten Penn List: Bookstore Gifts for the Holidays 2012 Update

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

While online starting to fill orders on my own holiday “nice” or “naughty” list, I was listening to NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center. The show opened with Maria Carey singing her 1994 hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The song came out the November of my senior year at Penn; I got all nostalgic for those wintery college breaks long ago with my family; knowing that those visits would become less frequent and oh too precious once I graduated and was off on my own.

Now that the 2012 holiday season is in full swing, it’s again time to share memories with loved ones and friends and to shop for presents.  As a poor college student, I could go to Steve and Barry’s and find some incredible Penn items to give as gifts. In our connected world of today, as I posted about last year, we have the Penn Bookstore to assist us in doing the shopping.

Here is my updated list of “Penn Stuff” that make great holiday gifts.

10. Penn College Vineyard Vines Tie for $65.00

While ties tend to be a traditionally male gift, for the men and women with panache, this one, dotted with the Penn shield and Dolphin makes an excellent gift.

9. Penn Pet Bandana for $7.98

Who says that Penn Pride should be limited to people? Make your cat or dog a Proud Penn Pet for the holidays.

8. Penn Metal Water Bottle for $17.98

Last year, I promoted the Penn Hydro Nalgene Bottle to be green and health-conscience. Now you can chose either a metallic blue or metallic red water bottle to hike with Penn Pride.

7. Penn Under Armour Celciis Full Zip Jacket (for men) for $109.98 or Under Armour Women’s Capture Half Zip for $64.98

These Penn performance apparel pieces will be great for the gym-goer or the soon to be gym-goer (New Year’s Eve and its resolutions will be here before we know it.)

6. Penn Quakers Legacy Adjustable Hat for $19.98

It seems that everyone loves a baseball cap! Always good for showing off your Penn pride at football games, basketball games or even family reunions with other Ivy graduates in attendance.

5. Penn All Acrylic Mug with Handle for $11.98

Some commutes are worse than others. However, armed with coffee or tea in your Penn travel mug, you have more reason to focus on Quaker and less one Fighting when stuck in traffic or on the train.

4. Penn Varisty BackSack for $35.98

Wouldn’t this be the perfect accessory, paired with either the Penn Under Armour Celciis Full Zip Jacket or the Under Armour Women’s Capture Half Zip?

3. Penn Adidas Knit Hat With Tassels for $17.98

All I have to say is: “OMG, this is too cute not to have!”

2. Penn Under Armour Impact Colorblock Polo (for men) for $64.98 or Penn Polo Ralph Lauren Women’s Big Pony Polo for $98.00

Though June is six-months away, help your favorite Penn alumnus or alumna to be fashionable for when casual Fridays are back in vogue this summer.

1. Penn Topsox Cozy Sock for $9.98

No matter what your budget, these fun Penn socks are great year round.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Top Ten

The New Penn Buses

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

I was walking home from work when I saw this Penn bus at 38th and Walnut. The new design looks Penn-tastic! Has anyone else seen the new buses cruising around campus?


1 Comment

Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Stephanie Y.

Take Part in Giving Tuesday

Author: Kelly Graf

#Giving Tuesday is the newest addition to the flurry of daily activity throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday lead you to the best deals, Giving Tuesday leads you toward philanthropy during this giving season! The Penn Fund has partnered with this effort to encourage our alumni to embrace a new tradition this fall.

Today – Giving Tuesday – is your opportunity to honor your Penn education by making your annual philanthropic commitment to The Penn Fund.

Your support will directly and immediately impact current and future undergraduate students at Penn. Make your gift today online or by calling 800.237.2655.

Thank you for celebrating #GivingTuesday with us!

Leave a comment

Filed under Giving Tuesday, Kelly G., The Penn Fund

What I’m Thankful For…

Author:  Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all enjoyed the holiday with your families and friends. This year, I hung out with family for the first time in five years, so my Thanksgiving was extra special.  It also made me realize I have a lot to give thanks for.  Here is a list of the top five things for which I am grateful this year:

5: Thanksgiving food.  Having lived abroad for the past five years, I could not wait to eat turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, and I encouraged my international friends to try this uniquely American holiday cuisine.

4: International friends. One reason I chose to study at Penn was the large international student population on campus.

3: My GSE cohorts.  I was so worried before coming to Penn: Would I make friends? Would I fit in with 22 year-olds after having been out in the work force for five years? Thankfully, my cohort is a fun, supportive group of people of diverse experiences, and I’ve made good friends both within and outside my cohort.

Members of my GSE cohort at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

2: Being accepted to Penn.  I never imagined I’d be an Ivey-Leaguer, and I wasn’t able to visit before I accepted my offer of admission.  My first week on campus, though, I was so glad I’d chosen to come here. Penn embodies the perfect blend of large-university-with-extensive-resources and beautiful-old-campus.

Fall leaves on Locust Walk.

1: My family.  Spending Thanksgiving with my family was truly wonderful this year, and I have to say thanks to my parents for driving me and a car-load of stuff across all of Ohio and Pennsylvania in August.  I bet they thought they were done with that two years ago when my younger sister finished college.  Thanks Mom and Dad, and I promise that after I graduate from Penn, you will never have to do that again!

1 Comment

Filed under Rebecca E., Student Perspective

This Time of Year

Author: Lisa Ellen Niver, C’89

This time of year in 1984, I was accepted via early decision into the University of Pennsylvania. My acceptance was binding, and I would be leaving for a campus I had never seen. My father and I had visited quite a few universities on the East Coast on a Spring break trip from Los Angeles, and I disliked most of the places we saw. None of them seemed to be the right fit.

As a Penn alumnus from the 1960’s, my dad remembered the Penn campus as a city school. When I started looking at colleges, he did not think it would be the right place for me and so we didn’t schedule it on our campus tour.  But then, my parents were on the East Coast visiting friends and they suggested that Penn had changed significantly over the years. After that, my dad said, “For all the reasons you did not like those other schools, you will like Penn.” I trusted his opinion and took the leap to apply early. Just a few short months later, I got my acceptance letter. I remember feeling so amazed and excited.

I had nearly the same feeling after graduation when I opened the big envelope from Penn inviting me to join the University community, and then again, when I learned I would have an article published in National Geographic magazine.  As a reader and a traveler, I have always loved the magazine with the golden yellow square and now in a small way, I am a part of it. I believe that my experience at Penn helped to shape my adventurous side. From coming to campus sight unseen as a freshman and then having such a great four year experience both in and outside of the classroom, Penn taught me that taking risks could lead to unbelievable, life-changing discoveries, such as those I made in writing the article.   I hope you enjoy reading  about the Royal Cremation in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The crowd at the cremation ceremony.

Travel writer Lisa Ellen Niver (Penn 1989) is spending the year in Southeast Asia with her husband (both of whom are members of the Traveler’s Century Club). Follow her adventures on their blog,, and on Twitter @wesaidgotravel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Perspective, Lisa Ellen Niver

MEAMpocalypse 2012

Author: Jonathan Cousins

I had heard the stories.  Everyone said junior year in Engineering was when everything ramped up.  But on the surface it was hard to believe.  In Mechanical Engineering we only needed to take 3 required courses, Fluid Mechanics (Fluids), Mechanics of Vibrating Systems (Vibrations) and MEAM Lab.  It didn’t look so bad.  Even with all of the horror stories from prior years whispering around me, I decided that this semester would also be when I took Mechatronics, a course that takes the most work of all the MEAM courses.  I also enrolled in a half-credit Rachleff Scholars Seminar in which we discussed the work we each did over the summer and wrote a paper for submission to journals or conferences about the research.  As I looked at the semester, I was only taking 4.5 credits, the fewest I had ever done in a semester.  I rationalized that Mechatronics would more than compensate for the missing half-credit, and that it would be a tough, but not impossible semester.

And for a long time, it was.  Fluids assigned a problem set each week, and Vibrations did so every two weeks.  The homework due dates were nicely offset by a few days.  MEAM lab started off pretty slow, and was easy to fit in with everything else.  Mechatronics took up the majority of my time, but it was ok and for the most part easy to balance with everything else.  There were a few days which foreshadowed what was to come, though.  October 15-17 were really tough.  Monday we had a Fluids exam, and Wednesday we had a Vibrations exam.  And of course in the middle of it there was a tough Mechatronics project.  I ended up getting through it ok, but my mind was scarred from the experience.

As the next few weeks went by my wounds healed.  I got more sleep, caught up on my other work, and got back into a groove with classes.  And just as I started to feel in control again, trouble started brewing.  Mechatronics started the final project, Robockey (Robots playing hockey), which was going to take up the rest of the semester.  To give you an idea of how complicated this assignment is, here is a video of the Robockey Tournament from the Spring of 2012.

There were significant deliverables due November 14th and 21st, a week apart.  I knew this would be a rough stretch, but I had no idea just how bad it would be.  MEAM lab switched to the most time intensive project, building a vertical-axis wind turbine, a project that had two deliverables per week, and a demo Monday night the 19th.  The first draft of my Rachleff Scholars paper was scheduled for Wednesday the 14th.  Fluids had their typical homework set due on Friday the 17th, but also added a Midterm on Monday the 19th, complete with a take-home question due Wednesday the 21st.  And finally Vibrations decided to assign a project due Monday the 19th, and just for fun added a homework assignment due Wednesday the 21st.

When this scheduling nightmare became public knowledge, it quickly became dubbed the “MEAMpocalypse.”  And there it was, the reason junior year was so painful.  There were going to be times like this.  Reporting now, most of the way through it, it has gone ok.  I have yet to not turn an assignment in, which is a good start.  I struggled through a difficult Fluids exam along with the rest of the class, and figured out the Vibrations project.  And by Wednesday night it will be over.  Thanksgiving will provide a much-needed break from school, and officially bring an end to the MEAMpocalypse.

As I look forward this semester, things will be hard, but nothing like this week.  Mechatronics will be a challenge, but it was expected to be.  We are making autonomous, hockey-playing robots after all.  There is another Vibrations exam the week after Thanksgiving, and the MEAM Lab demo has also been pushed back.  So there will be more struggles, but it would be hard to crush as much stuff into as short a time as happened the past 10 days.  People say college has ups and downs, and this was a tough few days, for sure.  But I think it brought the MEAM community together, and when we come back for our 5 or 10 year reunion, we will look back and say “Do you remember surviving the MEAMpocalypse?”


Filed under Jonathan C., Uncategorized

Autumnal Colors

Author: Sabrina Shyn, C’13

Wouldn’t you agree that the colors of these autumnal leaves look perfectly thanksgiving festive?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Photos, Sabrina Shyn, Student Perspective

Locust Walk Talk: A Tale of Two Cities – Dick Polman and the Election

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

As Dickens’s tale of London and Paris was set along a backdrop of political upheaval, our tour with Dick Polman was set against the political grumblings in the US.  With only a few weeks before the election and sandwiching the last president debate, Dick visited the UK and France to meet with our Penn alumni and friends to talk about who would win the election.

“Who Will Win… & Why?”

You’ll have to take this with a grain of salt since I’m reporting after the election, but I do have over 60 alumni and friends in the UK and France who will vouch for me. Dick analyzed the first two debates (and by Paris the third) and concluded that this upcoming election has many very similar characteristics to Bush W’s re-election against Kerry: a match up with an incumbent President with lowering approval ratings against a Massachusetts politician who is portrayed as an elitist and as out of touch with the American public.  Therefore he was willing to make the prediction that Obama would win, but he wouldn’t win the popular vote with as large of a margin as the first time.

Dick focused his discussion about the importance of the swing states.  The candidates’ battle for Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and even New Hampshire was telling about the newer nature of campaigning. In contract, Nixon campaigned in all states when he ran and now for our two candidates of 2012 it was all an all-out assault on Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Penn Alumni enjoying cocktails before the discussion.

The meat of the conversation was the questions from the audience.  While I was at the events, I tried, in 140 characters or less, to tweet some of the questions and some pictures from the evening to share with the Penn Alumni world at large.

If you are interested in getting updates from events that I attended, please feel free to follow me at  While I was running the logistics for the event, I was able to send off a few tweets about the conversation.  Please note that my commentary in italics are from my recollection and only represent my memory of the event and not necessarily that actual comments of Dick Polman.

The Shard (a.k.a. the London Bridge Tower)


Oct 22, 7:51pm: In #London with @Pennalumni in the UK for Dick Polman talking about the presidential race #GOP #DEM

Oct 22, 8:22pm: Question to Dick Polman from @Pennalumni Would the #GOP position on #immigration make #Texas & #Arizona go Purple? #DEM

(DP addressed that the urban centers in Texas and Arizona definitely vote Democratic but they are small population centers relative to the exurbs and rural areas)

Parliament at night

Oct 22, 8:50pm: Question to Dick Polman from @Pennalumni Since you like to predict; who will win in 2016? (DP says Obama in 2012) #GOP #DEM

(DP declined to make a prediction that far in advance, but offered to return to Europe in 4 years to answer that question.)

Oct 22, 8:36pm: Question to Dick Polman from @Pennalumni Will issues like abortion & healthcare still be on the table in 2016? #GOP #DEM

(DP believes that the policies on abortion and healthcare will not be charged by Congress in the future, so they may still be used as part of the political platform but they will not really be effectively altered in the next few years.)

The Palais du Tokyo in the 16e arrondissement


Oct 23, 6:57pm: reminds those @Pennalumni in London and Paris (and beyond) to visit Dick Polman’s blog

Oct 23, 7:04pm: In #Paris with @Pennalumni & Polman explains why incumbents don’t do well in their 1st debate. It’s their day job #GOP #DEM

Oct 23, 7:36pm: Question to Dick Polman from @Pennalumni What are #GOP voters in CA & #DEM voters in TX do due to the Electoral College?

(DP shared with the crowd the many movements that have tried to abolish the Electoral College, but in short many of the small states (in terms of population) wouldn’t favor losing their 3 votes and those movements probably will never pass.)

A detail of la Tour Eiffel at night

Oct 23, 7:42pm: Question to Dick Polman from @Pennalumni With the debates over what’s the game changer in the 2 weeks until the election? #GOP #DEM

(DP couldn’t specify what any game changer would be, but anything could come up and shadow the election.)

In the few hours that I had free, I was able to get some shots of London and Paris to add to this entry for your viewing pleasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Casey R., Locust Walk Talk

Warm Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving

Leave a comment

November 22, 2012 · 2:25 am