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Steinman ’19: Rescue the Urban Environmental Lab
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 17, 2017
“Brown announced potential plans Saturday to destroy what has become a second home to me and many others on campus — but you have to read between the lines to notice it . In an enthusiastic statement, the University publicized a new performing arts center that was approved last week at the Corporation’s yearly winter meeting. But in the statement, administrators gave short shrift to the planned location of the center between Angell St. and Waterman St., which is “currently occupied by a parking lot, three residential structures and two academic buildings.” One of those academic buildings is the Urban Environmental Lab, which passersby might know as the farmhouse-style building with a community garden. The UEL serves as home to the environmental studies department, the Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown initiative, Bikes at Brown, Brown Market Shares, emPOWER and its associated organizations — invaluable members of the Brown and Providence communities.      
This is not the first time the UEL has come under threat. Plans were drawn up to demolish the building in 2006 to make way for a Mind Brain Behavior building. At the time, students and faculty mobilized to preserve the space, and it was listed as the most endangered building in Providence by the Providence Preservation Society. By early 2009, the University had abandoned its plans due to finan cial concerns. But nearly a decade later, we have come full circle.
The UEL’s storied life traces the history of Brown and of the environmental movement itself. Built in 1884 as a carriage house designed by the architect of Sayles Hall, the building was later used as a home, a Pembroke dorm and a garage before it was purchased by Brown in 1966 and given to the environmental studies department’s founding in 1978. The building was renovated by students into one of the very first “green” buildings in the world, heated almost entirely by convection from the greenhouse. Far from being an inefficient use of space, the UEL is designed to “showcase the maximum of what can be done in an urban environment,” in the words of a student involved in its founding .
The UEL is a home in the way that a newly constructed building never will be — certainly not in the way that the sleek, chilly Building for Environmental Research and Teaching lounge would be as a replacement. The residential feel of the UEL allows for an intermixing of professors and students that has come to define the department. I have a closer relationship with my advisor, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies Kurt Teichert, than almost any of my non-environmental studies friends do with theirs, and I attribute at least part of this to the fact that our meetings take place inside the UEL. Losing the familiarity of this community center would change what it means to be an environmental studies student at Brown. This is not sentimentality: The UEL is the type of synergistic, interdisciplinary space that architects try to create. Nor is it a niche issue. Already, a Facebook page dedicated to saving the UEL has garnered almost 200 likes, and a petition for sharing memories of the space has over 170 responses, 59 percent of which are from current students outside the environmental studies department. Many of the responses came from music and performing arts students who feel a real need for a performing arts center but object to losing the UEL first and foremost.
This decision comes at perhaps the most inopportune time for Brown’s environmental studies program to lose its heart and soul. Students signing a petition to save the UEL recall seeking solace in the space the morning after the election, watching Hillary Clinton’s concession speech and literally leaning on professors’ shoulders for support. It is the incubator for student activism and organizing around one of the most important political and social justice issues of our time. When I was a prospective student, the sight of the UEL in the center of campus was, to me, a symbol of Brown’s commitment to sustainability. As the lowest energy density building on campus by a long shot, outperforming even new “green” buildings like the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts and BERT, the UEL is more than just a symbol of that commitment — it is its most successful manifestation.
The performing arts are a valuable part of Brown, and I don’t want to discredit them. But even Brown’s own promotional material makes it unclear what distinguishes this new, state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary performing arts center from our other new, state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary performing arts center just across the street from the UEL: the Granoff Center, which opened just six years ago. Professor of Music Joseph Butch Rovan, who directs the Brown Arts Initiative and sees the hypothetical new center as “central” to the initiative’s mission, envisions the new space as a place to “advance new forms of knowledge and new methods of creative expression across all departments and art forms.” Meanwhile, the Granoff Center, according to its own website, is a place where “creative thinkers from across disciplines can come together to work collaboratively, exchange ideas and create new art forms.” The lesson to learn here is that though the need for a full-sized theater is real, the need for an entire new arts center may not be — particularly not one placed 10 feet over the bus tunnel on Thayer St.
The UEL is irreplaceable. Yes, professors’ offices and classes could be relocated. Clubs could find other meeting rooms. But the UEL’s destruction goes beyond what would be the tragic loss of a historic building with a truly extraordinary second life as a model sustainable home. Rather, the demise of the UEL would represent nothing less than the gutting of a tight-knit, often-overlooked activist community. If the University wants to demonstrate a commitment to environmentalism — and indeed, “Sustaining Life on Earth,” which is one of the seven pillars in the 2014 strategic plan “Building on Distinction” — it will have to come to terms with the fact that the UEL’s demolition will be a serious setback to the student environmental community and will hinder that commitment going forward.
Clare Steinman ’19 can be reached at  Please send responses to this opinion to and other op-eds to”

Mayor discusses redevelopment of Kennedy Plaza
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 17, 2017
“Mayor Jorge Elorza held a meeting to discuss the development of Kennedy Plaza, the city’s main center, at the Department of Planning and Development Thursday.
“This is a historic moment for Kennedy Plaza,” Elorza said, noting that a final undeveloped parcel of land in the city center will soon be completed. A “citywide discussion” on the issue, the event offered citizens of all perspectives and backgrounds to propose their own ideas for the plaza — from transforming the plaza into a European-style open-air market to tearing down the historic terminal building to facilitate the creation of an elaborate water feature.
Elorza spoke to the current amorphousness of Kennedy Plaza’s future and asked attendees to share their own visions for what that space will ultimately look like.
“Since the beginning of our city, Kennedy Plaza has been the heart of Providence, a hub of civic space,” said Bonnie Nickerson, director of the Providence Department of Planning and Development. Nickerson emphasized her point by showing a slideshow of historical photos and renderings of the city, charting its development as a transportation center.
But this development has not always been salutary, Nickerson said, drawing attention to the 1960s and 70s when the plaza began to “deteriorate.” This image of a city space in decline has been invoked times over as an argument for a drastic reimagining of Kennedy Plaza and its role in the city. While there has been some consensus on a need for change, the nature of that transformation has yet to be determined — something made clear by the meeting’s facilitators.
Nickerson presented a number of possible options for development of the plaza. One plan would see Kennedy Plaza and Burnside park joined to form a contiguous space, while another proposed a diversion of traffic directly through Burnside. Another entailed a relocation of some bus activity from Fulton Street to Exchange Terrace to relieve the flow of traffic at the perimeter of the plaza.
Even though the final direction must still be mapped out, Nickerson said some of the plaza’s future attributes have already been decided — for example, that the number of bus berths will be lowered to three or four in each direction.
  Additionally, a multi-purpose transit center at the Amtrak station will reach completion in the next three and a half years, Nickerson said. The finalized center would involve a movement of some bus services to the train station. The city is also repurposing a grant for streetcar funding to finance a transit connector between Providence Station and the hospital district, she added.
Following the presentation, multiple groups broke out to discuss options for and concerns about the plaza’s direction. As people abandoned their seats to pour over details and stencil features onto blank maps of the plaza, one woman sat alone, holding above her head a sign that read “Keep the bus where the people are, SAVE Kennedy Plaza.”
“I am a citizen who uses the bus service at Kennedy Plaza on the regular,” said Deborah Wray, president of Direct Action for Rights and Equality, a community service and advocacy organization. “I am worried because nobody here is dealing with the concerns of the average person.”
Barbara Freitas, director of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, said she also attended the meeting to represent the worries of those who stand to lose the most in the event of Kennedy Plaza’s redevelopment.
“I’m more concerned now than ever before that this is really going to impact the homeless,” Freitas said. Any relocation of transit from Kennedy Plaza could also affect the location of Providence’s homeless population, possibly impacting the work of advocates trying to service the city’s displaced persons. “If they keep getting pushed away, it’s going to be harder and harder for us to reach them,” she said.
Freitas pinned a great deal of blame on Former Mayor of Providence Joe Paolino Jr. P ’17, now a managing partner of Providence-based Paolino Properties and board chairman of the Downtown Improvement District. Even while out of office, Paolino has been central to debate over the plaza, and his plans for its development have drawn attention .
“I don’t call it Kennedy Plaza anymore because I think he’s the one running the show,” Freitas said. “Now I call it Paolino Plaza.”
Paolino’s “priorities are not totally aligned with the vast majority of users,” said Sam Rubinstein ’17. Rubinstein also made note of Paolino’s support for stricter panhandling laws — which some argue could disproportionately impact homeless panhandlers.
Rubinstein came to the event as part of Visiting Associate Professor Robert Azar’s class, URBN 1870T: “Transportation: An Urban Planning Perspective.” He explained that Azar, who also serves as assistant city planner, brought the class to the event to contextualize material from the course.
Aaron Zhang ’17 also came to the event as part of Azar’s class. “We learned about how with city planning there’s just a lot of politics,” he said. “We definitely felt that today.”
Nickerson said that, in the end, all were working toward a common aim.
“Our overall goal is to ensure that Kennedy Plaza is an active, vibrant, safe and attractive city center,” Nickerson said. “It’s hard to disagree with that goal.””

Ken Miller ’70 talks politics of science denial
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 17, 2017
“As part of the “Reaffirming University Values: Campus Dialogue and Discourse” series, Professor of Biology Ken Miller ’70 examined science denial Thursday, discussing the scientific facts and theories people often disagree with despite overwhelming supporting evidence, such as climate change, vaccinations, genetically modified organisms and evolution.
Miller highlighted the political aspect of science denial throughout his talk, noting that people deny scientific facts on both sides of the political spectrum.“Why is it (that) depicting yourself as anti-science has become a viable political strategy?” Miller asked the audience. “Science is powerful. Science can be misused by people on the right and people on the left.”
Miller argued that on the left, some politicians use scientific denial to impose regulation, while on the right, some use it to oppose regulation. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that GMOs are not harmful to humans, those to the left of the political spectrum call for a ban or regulation of them. Those on the right use a similar denial tactic regarding climate change, despite extensive evidence proving its existence.
In order to fight science denial, Miller proposed a number of solutions. “The reflexive way that most of us in science want to overcome science denial is with a torrent of facts,” he said. But Miller argued against this path, citing studies that show people often become more firm in their opinions when flooded with evidence that contradicts their beliefs.
“Winning people over to science isn’t a matter of facts — it’s a matter of identity,” Miller said. High school teachers, he suggested, should be used as a model for getting people to feel like they are part of the scientific community.
Miller also promoted integrating science into popular culture. He cited the Big Bang Theory and Neil deGrasse Tyson as effective communicators of science and enthusiastic promoters of the scientific pursuit of knowledge.
Miller discussed a number of values that universities should promote as well, such as embracing an “open intellectual culture under which science thrives” and presenting science not just as “a technology but as a genuine liberal art.” A university should also encourage both STEM and humanities students to reach outside of their discipline and expand their breadth of knowledge, he said. “To be ignorant of science is as profound of an intellectual gap as to be ignorant of the literature or the history of our country and its people,” he added.
The event was open to the public and attended by a number of students and professors. Attendee Willoughby Britton, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, said she felt that Miller’s speech ran counter to the other “Reaffirming University Values” lectures because he promoted science as an existing power structure while other lectures have sought to fight existing power structures. “People think that science is an incumbent power structure and feel oppressed by it. (The lecture gave the) complete opposite message than we’re getting from all of the other talks.”
Kristina Eichel GS noted that educational strategies from Germany, where she received her education, allow students to personally interact with scientists more often and could help build relationships with the scientific community.
After the event, Miller described his desire to speak to the Brown community. Speaking to the community is “important because you really want to motivate people to … stand up for science in the university community and also in the real world,” he told The Herald.
To summarize his points, Miller concluded, “The key to winning acceptance of science in the political and economic sphere … is to let people know this is the most exciting time in the history of science and all of us, whether we are professional scientists or not, are and can be a part of it.””

Mike Daly brings winning history to Brown lacrosse
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 17, 2017
“After building a Division III dynasty from the ground up, Head Coach Mike Daly faces a different sort of challenge — taking over a men’s lacrosse program coming off its best season in school history.
Daly was introduced as head lacrosse coach July 1, just weeks after Lars Tiffany ’90 announced he was leaving Brown to take the head coaching position at the University of Virginia. In many ways, 2016 was a banner year for Brown lacrosse as the team posted a school-record 16 wins, earning the Ivy League regular season title and winning two games in the NCAA tournament before falling to University of Maryland in the national semifinals.
Along with Tiffany and the rest of his coaching staff, a decorated class of seniors departed from last year’s team. But if Daly’s past credentials — a 244-83 record and three Division III national titles over 18 years at Tufts University — are any indication, Brown lacrosse’s winning ways are not likely to fade away with the cast of last year’s squad.
Brown was not the first Division I program to reach out to the decorated coach. But in Daly’s eyes, Brown was the right choice.
“There were a couple of other opportunities, but this felt like the right fit from the beginning,” Daly said. There was a “real apparent commitment from (Director of Athletics) Jack Hayes and the University. The entire place has been wonderfully supportive. It’s a great fit for our family. It’s been everything we hoped for and more.”
“The search for a new head coach was a positive one,” Hayes wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “Mike Daly was the ideal candidate because he had tremendous success at an excellent school. He developed a model program for success” at Tufts.
Daly brings a few significant connections to the new position. Ryan Molloy, the older brother of Dylan Molloy ’17 — the defending Tewaaraton Award winner as college lacrosse’s top player and the anchor of Brown’s attack— was a captain on Daly’s 2011 team at Tufts and won a National Championship on the 2010 squad.
But Daly will also take over a team that has been primed for his own distinct style of play — a frenzied, high-paced approach to the game that has proven wildly successful at both Tufts and Brown. Sean Kirwan worked as an assistant coach under Daly at Tufts before coming to Brown in 2014 as offensive coordinator under Tiffany, bringing Daly’s style with him.
In 2016, with Kirwan pulling the strings, Brown had Division I’s most potent scoring offense at 16.32 goals per game. The Division III leader? Daly’s Tufts team, which scored 17.32 goals per game and won its seventh consecutive NESCAC title before falling in the national title game.
“We certainly didn’t invent any of this,” Daly said. “We won with it, so that’s why some of the attention came to it.”
Watching Syracuse and Virginia play a similar style in the ’90s was highly influential for Daly. “That game every year was 22-21 or 19-18, so it just was one of my earlier imprints of what the game should look like,” he said. “That’s really what we were emulating.”
Kirwan has since moved on to Virginia with Tiffany, but the similarities of Daly’s scheme have helped with the team’s adjustment to the new staff, said defenseman Alec Tulett ’17, one of three returning All-Americans from last year’s team.
But Tulett also said the team is not content with the speed of last year’s team, a point which Daly reiterated himself.
“We want to play just as fast, if not faster,” Tulett said.
“The guys had a taste of playing that way and they did not want to go back to a regimented, slowed-down kind of style,” Daly said. “The guys have really just embraced it. It’s fun, and it’s definitely the way we think the game should be played.”
Despite a different recruiting timeline between Division I and Division III, the academic prestige and location of Tufts seem to present a near-identical challenge for Daly at Brown.
“Our goal in the recruiting process is always to get the right guy, at the right place, for the right reasons — and they’re out there,” Daly said. “It’s about finding the right guys and the guys who embrace what we’re doing to work their tails off and improve.”
All similarities aside, Daly has not hesitated to shake things up for his new team. For example, players are now required to keep their individual lockers neatly organized and in order, Tulett said.
“It used to be a mess,” he added. “It’s more of a metaphorical thing, but perfection starts at home.”
“There were some personality changes and some cultural changes,” Daly said. “The guys have been great. They’ve been unbelievably receptive — they just needed to adjust to (the new staff) and vice versa.”
Daly was able to bring his assistant coaches from Tufts, but he worries little about managing a locker room full of players brought in by the previous staff. While such a dynamic might divide some teams, Bruno’s run to the final four has the team hungry for more, embracing Daly and his staff in the process.          
“Everybody around here had a great taste of success last year and they want more; they’ll do whatever it takes,” Daly said. “If that includes adjusting to a new coaching staff, they’re doing it. They’re doing everything we ask.””

Panel discusses diversity in STEM fields
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 17, 2017
““How can you create black scientists if there’s no black scientific community?” asked William Massey, professor of operations research and financial engineering at Princeton, during this week’s “Celebrating Excellence in Science” event.
Hosted by the Science Center, this two-day lecture event aimed to foster greater representation for minorities in STEM fields as part of the University’s recognition of Black History Month. Consisting of a lecture from engineer and inventor Dr. James West and a panel of scientists from research institutions across the country, the event was a continuation of the “Seeing Myself in Science” speaker series.
Director of the Science Center Gelonia Dent said in her introduction, “The idea is that we want to bring a diverse set of scientists to Brown to share their expertise and advice about diversity, inclusion and excellence.”
West, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University, gave a lecture Tuesday on his work in acoustical science, which led to the development of technology now used in 90 percent of all contemporary microphones.
Beyond his scientific discoveries, West is perhaps equally renowned for his work in supporting minorities in science, technology and engineering. During his forty-year career at Bell Laboratories, West co-founded several programs aimed at providing mentoring and funding for underrepresented minorities studying science, including the Association of Black Laboratory Employees.
Wednesday, the Science Center hosted “How to Grow a Scientist” — a panel of scientists from top research centers across the United States — to discuss mentorship, diversity and inclusion in STEM. All of the panelists had worked at Bell Labs during their respective careers and cited the laboratory as a catalyst to their success as minorities in STEM.
The panelists included Benjamin Askew, vice president of research at SciFluor Life Sciences, LLC; Kaye Fealing, chair of the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and William Wilson, executive director of the Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard.
Fealing prefaced her discussion of “How to Grow a Scientist” by distancing herself from the pipeline model for including more minorities in STEM, which emphasizes early involvement in science for minorities.
“I don’t like the pipeline metaphor,” she said. “It sounds like there are no other ways of ‘getting in’ unless you get on the train early in life.” While Fealing herself had participated in a diversity-focused program like some in Bell Labs, she highlighted multiple pathways to STEM involvement.
Rather than identifying a program in which students should participate or a specific timeline for students to follow, Fealing pinpointed the broader needs for information, communication, scalability, sustainability and leadership. She cited mentorship and support from her family as instrumental to her personal success.
Likewise, Massey emphasized mentoring as key to expanding representation for minorities. “This is where it starts — bringing in the next generation,” he said.
“Everyone’s talking about pipelines, and no one’s talking about plumbing,” Massey said. “How do you connect those people who’ve gone through the pipeline?”
Instead, Massey said that scientists should focus on building community. Wilson also spoke to creating an environment where young scientists can make connections and collaborate.
Wilson said that he strives to achieve that kind of community at the Center of Nanoscale Systems, where he encourages his students to build upon a diverse and versatile array of research resources to tackle cutting-edge nanoscience research questions.
Echoing the words of William Baker, former president of Bell Labs, Wilson described his vision for his lab: “I’m going to build an ecosystem for doing science. We’re going to let people build science from within.””

PW brings campy style to Roman classic
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 10, 2017
“Production Workshop’s new play resembles a pop-up book come to life. The backdrop is clean-cut, cotton candy pink and two-dimensional. The music is upbeat and cheerful. The characters are loud and dramatic, popping out of the stage like jack-in-the-boxes — energetic, quick and attention-grabbing.
The show gently pokes fun of itself and lovingly recounts the tale of two young men captured in war and held prisoners by a rival region in ancient Greece. The play “The Captives” is the translation of the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus’ comedy “Captivi.”
Initially, the visual gap between the ancient storyline and the vibrant set and cast that portray it might startle viewers. Indeed, the flashy, almost plastic-like setting seems more appropriate for gossiping housewives at a suburban barbecue on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It is precisely that gap between Latin play and suburban America that makes the show all the more entertaining.
Plautus’ comedy is appropriated for the modern United States. The set and costumes are pointedly flat. The jokes and gags are accessible and funny. The actors are punchy and cheeky. The set and music are riddled with pop culture references.
In fact, the entire play is framed like a modern television show, which gives this Latin play a faintly familiar ring. “Roman and Greek comedies set up what we now see as sitcoms,” said Anthony DeRita ’18, director of “The Captives.”
“The Captives” is a very self-aware performance in terms of its kitschy decor and quirky feel. It leans into its kookiness, toying with the limits of the theatrical stage and television set. Represented on stage are characters that would not normally be featured in a traditional play or movie. The playwright Plautus himself is on stage and is the only character in a toga. The stage managers are seen around the set, performing their own off-beat silent sketches like human versions of Universal Pictures’ Minions. The main characters interact with these anomalous presences on stage.
Despite the liberties taken with the play’s presentation, the storyline of Plautus’ “Captivi” remains. The flashy set accommodates the twists of the original plot such that the director’s decision to make surburbia the backdrop of a story written two millennia ago — while still surprising — is not so much of a stretch.
In conclusion, PW’s “The Captives” is made most interesting by its modern, experimental twist. The show is defined by its campy style that colors its every aspect — a style that somehow fits with a classic play that doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Scientists measure well-being through words
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 10, 2017
“Ever wonder how much happiness a word contains? Data can be used to study aspects of our lives that people may have not previously thought possible — even the type of emotion that our words convey. Such applications are the focus of the conference sponsored by the University’s new Data Science Initiative.
Chris Danforth and Peter Dodds, professors at the University of Vermont, discussed the research and goals of their work at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab in two of the University’s data science colloquia Feb. 2. The first lecture was given by Danforth and centered around the team’s flagship program, which they call “Hedonometrics.” The team gathered the 10,000 most frequently used words from scans of Google’s books project, tweets , lyrics and the New York Times, Danforth said. Then, using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Project, people rated the words on a “happy-to-sad” scale.
The inspiration for the project came from Danforth’s desire to develop a more holistic approach to measuring people’s well-being. “Scientists tend to focus on measuring things that are easier. It’s hard to measure how well people are doing,” Danforth said. “Because it’s hard, (research on well-being) sort of diminished over time, and the focus tends to be put on these economic indicators.”
“Originally, our goal was to develop instruments that could quantify how well people were doing on a population scale so that investments could be made by the government in the right things,” Danforth said. There are not enough investments in research of mental health conditions, and data like this will allow people to develop software that can help in many ways, such as in diagnosis and medical treatment, he added.
Dodds, the other main researcher for the project, discussed the efforts of the Computational Story Lab to study the data of people’s stories — to algorithmically measure different aspects of these narratives through different systems like the Hedonometer, a tool that measures people’s happiness. He discussed the potential for lexical analysis to develop even more scales, such as the “Lexicocalorimeter,” which measures the number of calories people burned or consumed in an area by tracking the use of words that have been assigned caloric values, like “eating” or “butter.”
The lab wants to take this data and apply it to everyday life, Dodds said. For example, they are able to geographically map happiness by examining the locations from which words are sent. They can also chronologically view fluctuations in happiness through social media through methods like looking at a spike in negative words used during a tragedy.
Dodds also noted the ability of their methods to analyze literature. Using the Hedonometer, the researchers were able to track the mood of the text as the narrative progresses in various novels and movie scripts.
Danforth said that developing apps is a main priority for the future of the lab, adding that the researchers will pursue funding to build these tools that will be helpful in daily life. “Part of our goal is to show what is possible using this type of data and make the code available so that individuals can try and build tools that will be useful for public health applications,” he said. “We want to try and make technology that helps people be aware of what their phone knows about them.”
Brown’s Data Science Initiative, which offers a one-year master’s program, strives to create opportunities for students to engage with data science and learn about its applications in projects like those underway at the Computational Story Lab. “We’re trying to ramp up the different kinds of activities that we’re sponsoring on campus,” said Professor Jeffrey Brock, the director of the Data Science Initiative. “We’re using the colloquia as a kind of seminar series to build community across these departments … and engage local and nearby researchers in similar areas to come speak on campus.”
The four departments central to the Data Science Initiative ­— mathematics, applied mathematics, computer science and biostatistics — are trying to reach out to involve even more departments, Brock said. “We’ve been working maybe more in isolation than is appropriate, so we saw an opportunity … to build across these different units,” he said. Brock sees potential for Brown in the theoretical aspects of data science as well as the applied ones and hopes to emphasize applications in public health, neuroscience and physics.
Brock encourages interested students to take relevant courses, which include ECON 1660: “Big Data,” data fluency courses and APMA 0110: “What’s the big deal with Data Science?” The department is also planning to host a Hackathon and a Music Hack Day.
Brock emphasized the variety of companies moving to Rhode Island that may create opportunities for Brown students interested in data science. “It’s a very broad spectrum of career opportunities for students now if you’ve got just a little bit of technical know-how and an interest in a particular domain area,” Brock said. “It’s hard to find a field where (data analysis) doesn’t have some sort of impact.””

Indigenous people rights activists protest DAPL
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 10, 2017
“In the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would resume construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, indigenous organizers, tribal leaders and Providence community members protested the controversial pipeline in front of Citizens Bank Wednesday Feb. 8. Demonstrators argued that the DAPL would threaten area access to clean water, violate Native American tribes’ — specifically the Sioux tribe’s — treaty rights by unfairly impinging on tribal land and cultivating corporate greed at the expense of civilian welfare.
The protest was organized the day of an announcement that the Army Corps of Engineers would grant the final permission necessary to begin legal construction of the pipeline, which it approved Wednesday.
Trump’s revival of the pipeline does not come as a surprise. As early as December, he said that he supported completing the pipeline, which spans four states and may carry as many as 550,000 barrels of oil per day to Illinois from its starting point in North Dakota.
Trump owned stock in the company constructing the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, according to an article published in the New York Times. Though a Trump spokesman   announced last month that he had sold all of his stock in June, Trump has not provided documentation confirming the completion of the sale.
Protesters gathered at Citizens Bank, which has a revolving loan and an open line of credit in place with the company constructing the DAPL, said Nick Katkevich, one of the protest’s organizers and co-founder of the Fighting Against Natural Gas Collective. Organizers had attempted to meet with bank representatives earlier that day but were escorted out of the building by police, Katkevich said. He encouraged the public to withdraw their deposits from the bank to pressure Citizens to listen to public concerns.
Julz Rich, who demonstrated at Standing Rock in 2016 and was the first woman to chain herself to a construction vehicle there, spoke to the crowd about the intergenerational nature of the issue. The land on which the DAPL would be constructed has belonged to native people for hundreds of years and construction on it would violate a collective history, Rich said. She added that the DAPL threatens future generations of Native Americans who deserve clean water.
DAPL construction stalled during the final weeks of the Obama administration, with the USACE blocking construction Dec. 4.
“This a big gesture of (the Trump administration) not caring about the future,” said protestor Edward Foster. Desire to protect the environment and secure clean drinking water in the United States motivated him to join the protest, he said, as well as his opposition to the emerging policies of the Trump administration.
As the protest continued, police officers approached the protesters and asked them to move to a different spot in front of the bank.
“How’re you going to ban someone on land you stole? This bank doesn’t own this land. Those cops over there don’t own this land,” Rich said. Other speakers referenced more examples of stolen lands, emphasizing that the phenomenon is not limited to DAPL construction. The city of Providence itself rests on land that rightfully belongs to native tribes, multiple speakers said.
While protesters and speakers expressed fear at the Trump administration’s recently announced policies, one female protester expressed hope at the level of political engagement she has seen in recent weeks: “I’ve never been so blown away to see the power in the people.””

UCS briefed on proposed DIAP course designation
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 10, 2017
“The University may soon abandon its Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning course designation in favor of a new “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan” designation, announced Dean of the College Maud Mandel and Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum Besenia Rodriguez ’00 at the Undergraduate Council of Student’s meeting Wednesday night. Mandel and Rodriguez, along with five members of the College Curriculum Council, put forth the idea that the DIAP designation would have more stringent and specific standards than the current DPLL designation.
The CCC, which is chaired by Mandel and oversees the undergraduate curriculum, will vote on the changes Feb. 28. If the CCC approves the proposals offered by the Task Force on Diversity in the Curriculum, then the DIAP designation will appear in courses for the 2018-19 academic year. Faculty would have to submit courses for a DIAP designation regardless of whether the course is already DPLL designated.
Mandel began her presentation by describing growing concerns raised by the Task Force that the DPLL designation had become watered-down. The Task Force released a report in August 2016 that reviewed how the University could ensure “sufficient educational offerings on issues of race, ethnicity, inequality and social justice.” The Task Force found that the DPLL designation had failed to appropriately label courses that focused those topics, Mandel said.
According to the report, the guidelines to label DPLL courses are too broad. The current definition for the DPLL designation comprises three vague tenets, two of which speak to broad critical learning skills and only the third addressing power and privilege, Mandel said.
The lack of specificity led the Task Force to conclude that the current standards had become “too expansive to be truly meaningful” and that “it could be difficult to find a Brown course, regardless of topic or discipline, which would not meet the definition,” according to the report.
In response to these findings, the Task Force suggested replacing the DPLL label with a DIAP designation that will better reflect the University’s goal of educating undergraduates about diversity, Mandel said. DIAP-designated courses should go through a more rigorous review process in order to receive the designation, and larger DIAP survey courses should be created and marketed to incoming students, according to the report.
Rodriguez spoke to the importance of a DIAP designation in helping students find classes “across the curriculum.”
“We’ve seen a few courses that have received so much interest that students were lined up outside of the room during shopping period, (students) who (were) really interested in learning about racism, about inequality and about structures of power,” Rodriguez said.
The committee to review the designation would include the CCC, Senior Associate Dean of the College for Diversity and Inclusion Maitrayee Bhattacharyya and two faculty members with expertise in DIAP topics, Mandel said. Each approved class would be reviewed every five years to ensure that courses truly reflect the designation.
UCS members suggested using Meiklejohns to promote DIAP courses and asked specific questions about how to encourage departments to develop more DIAP courses, especially departments that have more difficulty integrating courses about DIAP topics.
Some in UCS argued that the University should create a DIAP requirement similar to the WRIT requirement rather than just a designation. Mandel responded by reaffirming the University’s belief that the most effective way to encourage students to delve into a subject is to create interest in the topic, not require the study of it. The creation of a DIAP requirement might also create a precedent and potentially lead to the creation of other requirements, which conflicts with the freedom of the open curriculum, she said.”

Olson ’18 wins all-around, tops career best at Yale meet
by Brown Daily Herald
Feb 10, 2017
“Going into the fourth meet of the season, the gymnastics team looked to grab its first win against Yale at the Pizzitola Center Saturday. Despite the fact they posted their second highest point total of the season, the Bears fell to the Bulldogs 192.225 to 193.500. Anya Olson ’18 won the all-around with a score of 38.550, surpassing her previous all-around career best of 37.650. She scored 9.475 on vault, 9.700 on bars, 9.600 on beam and 9.775 on floor. For her efforts and success in the meet, Olson has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
The Herald: Why did you choose to come to Brown?
Olson: A mixture of things — I had an old teammate from my gym at home (in Michigan) who came here first, and she was a junior when I came in as a freshman. She told me how everything was at Brown — how the coaching was. She just loved everything about the school, so that got me inspired.
What’s the most difficult part of being a student-athlete?
I never have enough time to do anything. It’s just a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. Preseason … we have early morning lift three times a week. So we wake up at probably 6:30 or 6:40 a.m.
How did you get into gymnastics?
I had a lot of energy when I was younger, and I would do cartwheels, headstands and stuff when I was really young. So my mom just put me in a mom-taught class — how most of us start — at 3 or 4 years old. I just went up the levels from there.
What was it like to sit out all of last year with a dislocated ankle?
It was really hard because I had gotten through basically all of preseason, and then I got hurt right before Christmas break. We start our season in January, so I went home for six weeks, and then when I came back I was not really able to do much. There was another freshman who was hurt with me. We didn’t get to travel to any of the flying meets like California or Nashville, so we missed out on really huge things.
How did you stay positive?
I was focusing on this year; that really helped me. I was more focused on rehabbing, and then when I started to do some skills it got better because when we stayed home we would just go into the gym and practice. Being there to cheer on everybody and support the team in any other way that we could helps a lot too.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
We all like to do our hair and makeup together — there’s one girl who’s injured who does everybody’s hair — so that’s always kind of fun. We play really loud music in the locker room, so that usually gets us in the zone.
What was it like to win the all-around? Were you in the zone?
I was trying not to focus on doing it because when I tend to focus on all four events, … thinking about that is a lot. I try to focus on one event at a time. I wasn’t expecting to do the all-around that meet, I was only going to do three events but then (Claire Ryan ’18) got hurt, so I had to stand in for the last event, so I was really surprised. I was supposed to be exhibition, so my score would not count (for beam), but I was going to compete anyway.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.”

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