Monthly Archives: January 2014

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer


The New Era for U.S. Global Health Diplomacy
A Lecture by Jack Chow (C’82), Former U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Health and Science

Date: Tuesday, February 4th
Time: 4:30 PM 

Professor Chow will discuss the progress and forward vision of U.S. global health diplomacy, the context of such diplomacy within the evolution of U.S. foreign policy, why this diplomacy matters at home, as well as the outlook for private sector efforts.

Currently serving as distinguished service professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Jack Chow has been involved with health public policy both domestically and abroad. Chow was the first U.S. diplomat of ambassador rank appointed to a public health mission. He has worked with esteemed politicians including U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Representative Silvio O. Conte, and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter.  To read more about Professor Chow, read his Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative Alumni Profile. ne Access: A link to the webcast will be sent to registered attendees prior to the event.

Register Here


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Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumnni Education, Events, Lisa Marie Patzer, Penn Clubs, Wharton

We’ll never forget art

Author: Carlos Dos Santos, C’17

There was smoke coming out of their mouths. Sometimes it was subtler, like heat waves. It hurt, penetrated through us, watching, and burned us. Then came the second stanza, the smoke changed in texture and shape as it drifted across to the crowd, through the blue and red glowing lights. I felt at once as if it were burdening me, pressing me to the ground–the unbearable bittersweet weight of a passionate literary form being performed to perfection, holding us steadfast. We marveled at the power they held over us: we cheered and cried and praised at their whims. I am an atheist. But in that moment I felt as I had always imagined a Baptist feels as the spirit of his beloved Christ washed over him and keeps him whole, and fighting on, for just another day. It was powerful, intense, comical, horrifying, depressing, and hopeful all at once. This is spoken word.

I love literature. And these people, these strangers, took every novel and poem I’d ever read and burned them in my face, released the thousands of pages over which I’ve pored over in the last ten years and released them to the wind, and that’s when I saw something I had missed before, something light-hearted and pure. It was truth–a truth that could only be perceived by mouth, not by sight. I learned, then, that literature doesn’t have to be heavy. It can be light—it can flutter. It can burn, not with a flame that kills, but one that enlivens and brightens every fiber and element of our world.

It is art in its purest form, and I never would have experienced it had it not been for the people I’ve come to know at Penn. More specifically, the Arts House Residential Program at Penn. It’s a collective group of students living in Harnwell College House that are in this program simply because they all love art, and express their love of art in different ways. I think it’s an element of Penn for which I’ll always be grateful. Penn students know how to have fun, and how to misbehave. But when it comes down to it, we never forget the important things in life. We’ll never forget art. Instead, we’ve come to Penn with our own preconceived notions of what art means to us, and from that point we continue to grow. We learn from what others have to say and never forget those words, just as I’ll never forget the words spoken by those master poets (of which, coincidentally, three are Penn alumni). The best part of it all is that we Quakers know how to have fun in style—whoever thinks that a last-minute trip to the Big Apple, to watch a spoken word performance and to then catch a red-eye bus trip back to campus, isn’t fun, doesn’t know what fun is.

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Filed under Campus Life, Clubs, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

“We will find a way or we will make one!”

Author: Lisa Ellen Niver, C’89

Do you ever wonder how you will make your dreams come true? I find inspiration from the gate at the University: We will find a way or we will make one. In December 2012 on the beach in India, I said I think we should have a contest on our website, We Said Go Travel. George said, “Great! Let’s start in January and end on February 14.” Immediately I had several objections. I could not possibly be ready so fast to run a writing contest.
We were in Konark, India at the Sand Art Festival near the UNESCO Sun Temple. I was musing that 30 years ago when the festival began, someone probably said: “Sand Art Festival! You must be nuts!” But here we were, thirty years later and it was a large festival with many international sand artists!

In January 2014, we began our fourth travel-writing contest. (Travel Writing Contest:

Over the course of 2013, over five hundred writers from over fifty countries entered our contest. It was truly fantastic! I love all the stories and getting to email with people from all over our planet. We hope you will choose to join us by sharing a story or reading one from someone else! We did our first live announcement of the winners for our contest on google hangout on air.

WSGT gratitude 2013 google hangout (2)

Watch the hangout:

See the winners:

We had some technical issues and had to link one judge in by skype but it worked. We found a way to make it work! I learned many life lessons at the University of Pennsylvania but the message from the gate always rings in my head: “We will find a way or we will make one!”

I remember the contest really took off when I wrote to our friend, Richard Bangs from the PBS Travel Show, “Adventure with Purpose,” who offered to be a judge.  Sometimes all you need to do is offer to participate: by joining in a contest, being the judge or simply showing up. I was honored in October 2013 to share our travel knowledge in a webinar for the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Travel. George and I talked about our journey for 27 days in Myanmar (Burma). We were invited to participate and we said YES!

I hope that you make your resolutions for 2014 come true by taking a first step! I would love to hear about your progress.




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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Guest blogger, Lisa Ellen Niver, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

Making my own deliciousness!

by Rachel Stewart, C’16

I’ve always loved baking. Probably because, come holiday season, my mother turns into an obsessive cookie-making machine. Every year our house fills up with dozens of cookies (lemon ricotta being my favorite, apricot rugelach my least), and, as an only child, I grew up helping my mom measure, mix, and drop cookies from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.

It’s much more difficult to find the same homemade goodness at college. Oreos from FroGro satisfy some late night cravings, and the occasional pastry from Metro or a donut from Federal Donuts is great, but none of these purchased goods have the same soul-satisfying deliciousness that I feel when I bite into a homemade chocolate chunk cookie.


During my freshman year I suffered from a serious lack of deliciousness in my life. I subsisted on a diet largely of toast with peanut butter and cereal. But now, I’m lucky enough to have a kitchen in Harnwell, and a group of friends who love to bake (and eat, of course). Lately, we’ve been spending these wintry days holed up with flour and butter, improvising when we need to and substituting expensive ingredients for ones we have lying around the apartment (who has $8 for a small tub of mascarpone cheese?) My favorite creation so far: a chocolate marshmallow peanut butter banana Biscoff pizza, inspired by Max Brenner’s chocolate pizza (but way tastier, in my opinion).

Look back for more baking adventures this semester!

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Filed under Rachel S., Student Perspective

Spring Webinars with Penn Faculty

Author: Alyssa D’Alconzo, GSE ’03, GRD ’11

Office Hours start tomorrow! Are you registered?

Office Hours Logo

Just as they do for current students, Penn Alumni Office Hours provide an opportunity to ask in-depth questions and explore points of interest with professors outside of the classroom. This spring, Penn Alumni Education is hosting 4 of these virtual events, each featuring one of Penn’s dynamic faculty members, who will focus on a topic or issue of his/her choice.  These live, interactive webinars offer Penn alumni an exclusive opportunity to engage in dialogue with Penn professors without leaving their homes or offices.

Please join us for one or more of the following events:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Promoting College Access and Success for all Students
featuring Professor Laura Perna
12:00 p.m. ET Register Now!

Although once leading the world, the United States has fallen behind many other nations in terms of the educational attainment of its population.  The U.S. cannot achieve the levels of educational attainment required for international competitiveness without raising overall attainment and closing gabs in attainment across groups.  Yet, despite substantial investment by the federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and many other organizations, college access and completion rates continue to be lower for students from families with lower-incomes and racial/ethnic minority groups.  This talk discusses trends in college enrollment and completion, identifies forces that perpetuate gaps in these outcomes across groups, and discusses strategies for effectively closing the gaps and improving college access and success for all students.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Face Transplant Surgery and Identity Transfer: Decoding the Debates
featuring Professor Sharonna Pearl
12:00 p.m. ET Register Now!

Why did the plastic surgery makeover show The Swan have a therapist on staff?  Does changing our appearance so drastically change who we are that it challenges our notions of self – and is this a reason not to do it?  I take this question one step further by exploring what happens when one person is given not just a new face, but the face of someone else entirely.  Drawing on film and literary explorations of the question of identity transfer, as well as the history of face transplant surgery, I ask: what makes us who we really are?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Contested Boundaries: The Road Toward Compromise in the Battle Over Nurse Practitioner Scope or Practice — Lessons from Pennsylvania featuring Professor Margo Brooks Carthon
12:00p.m. ET Register Now!

The road toward removing scope of practice restrictions for non-physician providers (Nurse Practitioners) is fraught with long held turf battles over who can provide which health care services. Caught in the middle of this war are medically underserved communities sorely in need of health care services. Using narrative interviews from key policy makers, this talk will provide preliminary data from ongoing research, which details the events leading up to and through the passage of health care reform in Pennsylvania in 2007 under the Edward Rendell administration. Attention to key aspects of the negotiations between nursing and physician advocates will be highlighted. Results from this research will provide the foundation for future investigations examining how the removal of restrictive scope of practice laws may impact access to health care in minority communities.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative
featuring Professor Mark Duggan
12:00p.m. ET Register Now!

This talk will provide an overview of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI).  Launched in September 2012, PPI operates under the broad mandate of marshaling the University’s resources to foster better-informed policy making on issues that affect business and the economy.  To this end, the Initiative aims to get policy-relevant, nonpartisan research by Penn faculty more “in the mix” in DC; to encourage public service among students by creating new opportunities for them to explore public policy through course work, lecture events, and internships; and to engage alumni interested in public policy, especially in the DC area.
In addition to detailing the achievements and aspirations of the Penn Wharton PPI, the talk will delve more deeply into some of Professor Duggan’s current research exploring the effect of Medicare Advantage (MA) program.  The federal government contracts with private insurers through the MA program to coordinate and finance health care for approximately 15 million of the nation’s 51 million Medicare recipients (the remaining 36 million are in traditional free-for service Medicare).  Reimbursement to and regulation of these private MA plans is changing substantially as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

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Filed under Alumnni Education, Alyssa D.


Author: Noelle McManus, C’17

Being from Philadelphia, you could say I’m used to the snow. I’ve been around snow my entire life. I would look forward to snow days every year. Playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, plus no school! But after I finished high school I assumed that all the fun filled snow days were far behind me. So, you can imagine my surprise when on Tuesday we got so much snow in such little time that the university closed early! At 9 am on Tuesday morning I was walking to class and there wasn’t a snow flake in sight. By the time my class finished at 10:30 There was already snow on the ground. And it didn’t stop. By 1 o’clock there was enough snow to cancel classes for the rest of the day. It was one of the best feelings in the world. Being snowed in with my lovely roommates, watching TV, and drinking hot chocolate! It felt just like I was little again. And then, to my surprise, that night the univeristy actually cancelled classes for Wednesday too! It was such a treat and I hope I see one again sometime soon!


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Filed under Campus Life, Locust Walk Talk, Philadelphia, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

Snow Dazes

Author: Patrick Bredehoft


When it snows, you have two choices: shovel, or make angles.  

~Author Unknown (so it might have been Benjamin Franklin)

Yesterday, all of those desperate calls to 898-MELT finally paid off: the university was closed due to unprecedented weather woes, this time from a foot of snow brought forth by winter storm Janus.

Patrick 1-23

Janus, the two-faced Roman god, was believed to preside over transitions: the beginnings and the ends of conflicts, births and deaths, past and future—his domain is any gate or doorway leading to an unforeseen route.  Since January 1st, this Penn traveler has already journeyed along plenty of new roads: I’ve already flown more than 35,000 miles in 2014, across the country and around the world, and most of it was to celebrate and promote the university.  Traveling with the Dean of Admissions and the AVP of Alumni Relations, we celebrated historic levels of interest from prospective students, alongside phenomenal engagement from alumni across Asia.  When one is sitting on a different airplane each day, finding the time to make (or keep) a New Year’s resolution seems almost beside the point.

This Janus-sponsored snow day is therefore a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on the year that has passed, as well as the one to come.  Penn has much to be proud of, but there is also much more to be done.  How can we offer interviews all of these incredible new applicants to the university?  Is there some way we can get an army of sentient robots to help?  And why don’t meteorologists get a score based on the accuracy of their past weather predictions?

Ben did once comment that, “Some are weather-wise, some are otherwise.”  Here’s wishing for much wisdom and success in the New Year, and the occasional snow day to help us all ponder the open roads ahead.

Patrick 2-23

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Filed under Campus Life, Interview Program, Patrick B., Photos, Uncategorized

It’s an 898-MELT Day

Did You Know…that Penn closed at 2 pm yesterday and is closed today due to inclement weather (snow)? Many of you may remember calling the Penn weather line as a student to see if school was closed. If you’d like to listen to the official announcement, just like you did as a student, you can call (215) – 898 – MELT.

It was nice to see Mayor Michael Nutter, W’79, wearing a Penn baseball cap as he declared a snow emergency for the City of Philadelphia.

A colleague wrote about 898-MELT during Penn’s most recent snow day on January 3rd. You can read that here.

Since campus is closed, I’m not seeing many pictures posted of the snow, but The DP has one, and there’s a few on Penn’s Instagram account. I’m sure we’ll see many pretty photos of campus once everyone returns (hopefully tomorrow).

Posted by Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly – from the warmth of Penn’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles.

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Filed under Kiera R., West Coast Regional Office

Penn Commemorates MLK Day

Nicole Svonavec , GEd ‘09

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Penn is hosting a series of special events.  Faculty, staff, students, and community members will gather around Philadelphia to share in a day of service to celebrate and continue the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is greeted at the University Museum on "Law Day USA", May 1, 1965. (Photo by Bernato, courtesy the University Archives)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is greeted at the University Museum on “Law Day USA”, May 1, 1965. (Photo by Bernato, courtesy the University Archives)


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Nicole S.

Locust Walk Talk: I Remember When it was the Palladium

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Happy New Year, folks.

While I’m working on my resolutions to be more productive, to be more efficient, to response to phone calls and e-mail more timely, to manage my time better, to invest in more career development activities and to drink 64 ounces of water daily, I wanted to share with you some photos of the newly-revealed Arts, Research and Culture House (ARCH) from its 18-month renovation.  Locust Walk and 36th Street had been shrouded in fencing until this week.

I remember when the building housed the Palladium and the Christian Association. Now, after its renovations, it will be able to serve more of our students.


The Corner of Locust Walk and 36.


The Entrance to the Cultural Centers


Trying to sneak a peak in


Awww…. Palladium


A nice job on the windows

Come back from Alumni Weekend and you see the improvements for yourself.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Casey R., Locust Walk Talk