Exploring religion, building a life of service

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Using her head and her hands, Haley Curtin ’18 has built the foundation of a meaningful life. Meaningful first of all to her.Curtin commutes to Harvard from her home in Waltham, Mass. The daughter of a carpenter, she has spent most of her time outside the classroom working construction to help pay for college. Inside the classroom, studying religion has provided her scholarly work with deep consequential relevance. Appropriately, she sees her studies in religion as an addition to her toolbox.“This degree is an incredible tool and such a gift, and will hopefully allow me to effect bigger change down the line,” said Curtin, 22, who completed that degree in three years. She will work next year in a high school on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota through an AmeriCorps service program. “My impact on rural impoverished America could be bigger than just home repair projects, though I would be content to do that.”Early in her time at Harvard, Curtin’s path was less clear as she struggled to find social and academic communities. Taking the advice of her sophomore adviser, Curtin, who grew up a Roman Catholic, took her sophomore spring and junior fall semesters off, spending the first six months on Nazareth Farm, a faith-based West Virginia service community in rural Appalachia. Twenty miles outside cellphone service, Curtin worked with people some of whose homes lacked running water or floors.“It’s a pretty stark contrast, growing up in a Boston suburb and being at Harvard, to seeing what rural poverty looks like. It was a culture shock, but I really fell in love with it,” said Curtin, who followed her time at Nazareth Farm with interning at a homeless shelter in Clarksburg, W.Va. “I lived on a salary of $100 a week, bringing small groups of residents to help families in the southern part of the state who had lost homes in a devastating flood.”,Helping to create stable homes for those in need brought clarity to the direction of her education, and Curtin returned to Harvard, changing her concentration from environmental science and public policy to religion with a focus on Christianity and Islam.“Being in the religion department has been a big game changer of my Harvard experience. It’s super small so I’ve had the chance to get to know and build strong relationships with many of the other students in the department. Also, it’s been great to really get to know the awesome professors and to have them as mentors and advisers,” she said.“From an ideological perspective, studying religion also changed my relationship with my upbringing,” Curtin said. “It taught me to be appreciative, but critical, and it’s given me more ways to consider why I’m drawn to certain parts of the Catholic faith while other parts frustrate me. Now I have more ways to think about the ideas underlying the beliefs and practices.”Courtney Bickel Lamberth, director of undergraduate studies for the Committee on the Study of Religion, said it’s been energizing to watch Curtin grow.“She’s incredibly warmhearted and so easy to talk to about absolutely everything. Beloved by her peers, she’s incredibly wise, but not in a pedantic way. She’s had an unusually broad and deep set of experiences for a college senior,” Lamberth said. “There’s a wisdom about her that is very subtle and unassuming, but it’s inspiring.”Curtin works for Page Associates, a building and design company in the MetroWest region outside Boston, doing home finish carpentry and remodeling three days a week. “I love being active and I really like the guys I work with,” she said. “I wanted to learn more skills so down the road I could do more home repairs. I think there’s value in being self-sufficient and having the ability to help others in this way.”She also plays on the Harvard women’s ice hockey club team and volunteers as a tutor through Evkids, and said commuting (an hour by bike) and paying for school herself has made her more intentional about her time at Harvard.“I have felt less pressure [to be] involved in a hundred activities. I have really had to choose what is fulfilling and what I want to be on campus for,” Curtin said. “It’s taught me to value everything — the meals I get with my friends mean so much to me. I could easily not be here so I try to make the most of it, not in the sense of building a LinkedIn page or networking, but investing deeply in the relationships I have with classmates and professors.”last_img read more

A Definite Maybe to the Future

first_imgThe fact that humans use machines is old news. Even as far back 4,500 years ago, the pyramids were built with the aid of machines; likewise, airplanes, excavators, and sewing machines didn’t just appear out of thin air. People have always developed certain ‘relationships’ with their machines out of necessity; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to use them.But machines are bringing something new to the table, and in doing so, redefining the relationship between humans and machines – they’ve now become ‘intelligent.’ Beyond the philosophical question of what intelligence means today (which experts can’t even agree on), we see that machines have already begun to take on very complex tasks — work that we were certain could only be carried out by humans until now. By this I mean cars that can travel independently through traffic, or software that can make diagnoses or draw up legal contracts – in other words, tasks of great significance. It seems clear that we will not only use and operate machines in the future, but also work alongside them. And that’s the fundamental difference.We wanted to know precisely where this new collaborative relationship between humans and machines now stands, and what it’s future may be. For that reason, Dell Technologies commissioned an international survey distributed to 3,800 managers. The survey results are now available. First of all, the numbers confirm the assumptions: 82% of managers anticipate that humans and machines will collaborate as ‘integrated teams’ within their companies in as few as five years.That’s hardly a surprise. Anyone who is exposed to digitization and the use of new technologies every day knows the potential. But how far those surveyed diverged in their assessment of this upheaval’s consequences was the real surprise. Here, a very strange picture was painted: Roughly half responded to the majority of questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ which means that we can actually speak of two main camps.No matter what question was asked, whether it was if automated systems will result in more free time, if work satisfaction will be increased by outsourcing unpleasant tasks to machines, if productivity will rise, or how the new technologies will influence the division of labor, the managers surveyed were resoundingly undecided about the future, and always split into two opposing groups. For that reason, there was no definite idea of how collaboration between humans and machines could look like.So are we steering full steam ahead into an uncertain future? It’s undeniable that humans will work in close collaboration with machines, but are we playing a game with an uncertain outcome, if even managers from key sectors don’t have a clear opinion? I don’t think so, because here is where the opportunity lies; the opportunity to actively determine the upheavals ahead of us, and make them an asset by using machines where they can sensibly support people and where they — as described in the introduction — adopt tasks that do not necessarily (or no longer have to be) carried out by humans. That also means that many job profiles will have to change considerably in the future, even those that we had never even anticipated. But to do so, we also have to coordinate our education system. I consider education the key to a successful future. If new job profiles are created, there must also be people who match those profiles in terms of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm.We still cannot say for sure where and how this great disruption to the working world will occur. But we’re the ones who hold sway over ensuring that technological progress has a positive effect on our working world and our everyday lives.* Doris Albiez is Senior Vice President and General Manager at Dell EMC Germanylast_img read more

University prepares to build research facility

first_imgSaturday, the University broke ground on McCourtney Hall, a “world-class research facility” to be located east of the Hesburgh Library, according to a Notre Dame press release.“McCourtney Hall creates a great opportunity for the research programs in science and engineering at Notre Dame,” Robert Bernhard, vice president for research at Notre Dame, said in a statement. “The building is designed as a collaborative and adaptive space to encourage cross-disciplinary research interaction along the entire continuum of basic and applied research. … We expect the building to be a game-changer for science and engineering research at Notre Dame.”Set for completion in June 2016, the building will house the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering from the College of Engineering as well as the department of chemistry and biochemistry from the College of Science. It will also feature about 100,000 square feet of laboratory and team spaces, 40,000 square feet of which will remain “unassigned to facilitate new hires,” the release stated.“McCourtney Hall is the first dedicated research building to be constructed in a planned larger East Campus Research Complex,” the release stated. “The research quad will create, for the first time at Notre Dame, a space for highly collaborative, state-of-the-art research that crosses the Colleges of Science and Engineering. The building will support research space needs that are currently unmet on campus and facilitate current Strategic Research Initiatives and the Advancing Our Vision hiring plans within the molecular sciences.”A $35 million gift from alumnus Ted H. McCourtney and his wife, Tracy, underwrote the construction of the building. Alumnus and Notre Dame trustee Thomas J. Crotty, Jr. and his wife, Shari, donated $10 million for the facility.Tags: alumnus, College of Engineering, College of Science, donation, engineering, gift, McCourtney Hall, research, sciencelast_img read more

Icy Flowers.

first_img Remove dead tissues soon. They can lead to infections when the weather warms. Tan, brown or black tissue won’t recover. If it’s half green, don’t bother it. Keep plants dry if you can. You can’t stop the rain, but don’t water or wash the plant. And don’t fertilize until spring. Give the wounds time to heal. Watch for disease signs such as shrinking stems, black areas or brown patches that grow bigger on leaves or stems. If you see them, check with your county agent for proper fungicide recommendations. Thomas offers these helpful hints: “Very little,” said Paul Thomas, an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.center_img What can you do if your landscape flowers are freeze-damaged or dead from the cold?last_img read more

UVM-IBM $590,000 “smart grid” research project using complex systems

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved a three-year, $590,000 project for complex systems research by the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center and IBM Research into the future reliability of the smart grid.  U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy secured an initial $500,000 for the UVM program, which then attracted an additional $90,000 in resources through the UVM-IBM partnership. Led by Drs. Paul Hines (RELATED STORY) and Chris Danforth, two faculty in the UVM Complex Systems Center and assistant professors in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), the UVM-IBM project uses complex systems modeling approaches to reduce the risk of large blackouts caused by cascading failure in the electricity infrastructure. The research will focus on the development of new methods, based on complex systems concepts and high-performance computing, for estimating and reducing cascading failure risks ‘invaluable information as Vermont actively develops the nation’s first, statewide smart grid infrastructure.”Implementation of a statewide Smart Grid holds tremendous promise to improve the daily lives of Vermonters,’ said Leahy, ‘The research conducted by UVM and IBM through this public-private partnership will improve the reliability of the power grid and help anticipate some of the unforeseen challenges posed by this new technology. Vermont is poised to lead the pack on Smart Grid adoption and this funding will help solidify that position.”‘IBM’s Vermont site has a long history of success working with UVM and we’re pleased that this collaboration has now been extended to include IBM Research, said Janette Bombardier, director, IBM Vermont site operations and senior location executive.  ‘IBM has used systems modeling and monitoring to improve energy use at its Vermont facility, and this research will focus on how to apply similar techniques to create a more stable and reliable electric grid for Vermont and nationwide.’”The growing UVM-IBM partnership in complex systems approaches and high performance computing on issues critical to the State of Vermont and our nation showcases excellence in both institutions,” said UVM Vice President for Research Domenico Grasso, “I sincerely thank Senator Leahy for his support of this important research and look forward to our faculty’s continued collaborations with IBM.”IBM will leverage the team’s development of computationally efficient complex systems of systems approaches and Hybrid High Performance Computing (HPC) implementations, to compliment its “Smarter Energy” research agenda. The computationally-rigorous field of complex systems is extremely well-suited to this research ‘ simulating complex interactions of technological, human, and environmental systems, among others.  Complex systems was recently identified by UVM as one of three transdisciplinary ‘Spires of Excellence’ for university-wide strategic investment.Professor Hines moved to the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences in 2007 after earning degrees in engineering and public policy from Carnegie-Mellon University.  He has been active in Vermont energy systems education efforts and, in addition to his position at UVM, holds an adjunct position with Vermont Law School. Professor Danforth, Hines’ co-investigator, moved to UVM from the University of Maryland and is an expert in the modeling of chaotic interactions.  Danforth is engaged in complex systems modeling studies ranging from the ‘emotional state of the blogosphere’ to blood coagulation and is also a national leader in math and climate system education both at UVM and through the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV) program for Vermont high schools. (Photo courtesy of David R. Tribble, used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License)RELATED:http://vermontbiz.com/article/november/qa-uvms-paul-hines-safety-electri…last_img read more

Onsite: Day one at The Financial Brand Forum 2016 – Las Vegas

first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Randall Smith Randall Smith is the co-founder of CUInsight.com, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust.As one of the co-founders of CUInsight.com he … Web: www.CUInsight.com Details The Financial Brand Forum has quickly become a must attend event for credit union and bank marketers and anyone interested in marketing, advertising, branding and retail delivery over the past four years. The Forum was specifically designed to help credit unions and banks tackle their biggest branding, marketing and retail delivery challenges. This year over 1000 people have made their way to Las Vegas for the event.Highlights from day one:“Creativity is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.” Jeffrey Pilcher, founder and CEO of The Financial Brand“Manage the culture of your business and the culture will manage your business.” Arkadi Kuhlman, CEO of ZenBanx and founder of ING Direct“75% of consumers are on social media. Be where your customers are.” Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand“Everyone one of us can be disruptors.” Luvleen Sidhu, CMO of BankMobile“It takes 6 months for a new employee before the culture of the new company outweighs the culture of their old job.” Garrick Throckmorton, AVP/Organizational Development at Allegacy FCU“You can’t nickel and dime millennials with banking. Be transparent and upfront on fees and cost.” Jason Falls, SVP Digital Strategy at Elasticity“People care more about their relative wealth, than absolute wealth.” Shankar Vedantam, social science correspondent at NPR and the author of The Hidden BrainFollow all the happening today at The Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas on Twitter at #FBForum.last_img read more

Great Portland pays out 18.7m for London Bridge sites

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COVID-19: Jakarta’s partial lockdown deals a heavy blow to ‘ojek’ drivers

first_img“For some drivers who usually transport only passengers, the decline must be much more drastic. Not all drivers can easily get an order for food or packages,” said the driver, who has been working for Gojek since 2016.He further said that delivering food and packages also had its obstacles as many streets were closed due to the partial lockdown, requiring drivers to take longer routes, which means extra costs for gas. He also reported that some shops and merchants had temporarily closed their business.Despite suffering a decreased income, he expressed his support for the city administration’s decision as it would help stop the chain of COVID-19 infections. Still, he hoped that both the government and ojek service providers would pay more attention to drivers whose financial conditions have now been affected.Online Driver Association (ADO) head Wiwit Sudarsono said drivers’ earning had been reduced up to 80 percent, especially for drivers who used to take only passengers.He also expressed his hope that Grab Indonesia and Gojek would compensate for the loss by cutting the usual 20 percent commission.“We need an immediate solution by the government and ojek service companies,” he said.Read also: COVID-19: Jakarta Police patrol streets, supermarkets during partial lockdownMeanwhile, app-based ojek association Two-Wheel Movement Union (GARDA) head Igun Wicaksono regretted that the Go-ride and GrabBike features had been disabled after the Jakarta administration prohibited drivers from taking passengers.“We want the administration to evaluate the regulation so that drivers can take passengers. Otherwise, please give compensation to app-based ojek drivers during the prohibition,” he said on Friday as quoted by tempo.co.Igun said ojek was a common, affordable mode of transportation among the general public for their daily commute.He added that the association had requested from the government an allowance of Rp 100,000 (US$ 6.30) for each driver or half the average daily income of app-based ojek drivers.Topics : Mohamad Usman, 45, usually transports up to 10 passengers a day on normal days. But ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Greater Jakarta, the app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver has experienced a significant drop in passengers and, therefore, income.“I’ve only had five passengers in the past two weeks. Lately, I’ve been sending packages, food and sometimes medicine,” Usman told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.He said the situation had been challenging ever since schools and companies started imposing study and work from home policies, as encouraged by the government. The challenges continued following large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) ordered by the Jakarta administration on Friday in its bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Effective for 14 days until April 24, the PSBB states that ojek drivers are only allowed to transport goods and not passengers, as stipulated in Health Ministry Regulation No. 9/2020 on PSBB guidelines and Gubernatorial Decree No. 33/2020, which is the legal basis for the implementation of large-scale social restrictions in the capital.To comply with the PSBB status, multi-service apps Gojek and Grab also temporarily disabled their ojek services. Jakarta-based customers are only able to hail a car and use goods and food delivery services.Read also: ‘Break the chain!’: Businesses brace for Jakarta’s social restrictionsUsman, who regularly transports goods and passengers around Cilandak, South Jakarta, said his income had dropped by 50 percent.last_img read more

Govt to provide US$1.68 billion stimulus package with hotel, airfare discounts

first_imgTopics : The government is set to provide a Rp 25 trillion (US$1.68 billion) stimulus package that includes airfare and hotel discounts to speed up the recovery of the travel industry after the pandemic subsides.Tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors by the current health crisis, with no fewer than 1.4 million workers within the sector having been laid off or furloughed.The Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Agency head, Febrio Kacaribu, said on Wednesday that the stimulus package, which aims to boost consumption among the middle class, would be effective by the third quarter when COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be relaxed. “If the public is eager to travel in the third quarter, we will provide a stimulus for tourism, restaurants and transportation,” Febrio told reporters in a teleconferenced briefing. “We are hoping that we will see [a surge in travel] in the third and fourth quarters to boost consumption.”According to his presentation material made available to reporters, the government would provide the support in the form of airfare and hotel discounts, as well as food vouchers via online applications.The plan is regulated under Government Regulation (PP) No. 23/2020 on the national economic recovery program, in which the government will carry out efforts to support a recovery after the pandemic eases.The projected scenario was that large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) would lower consumption significantly in the second quarter, but consumption would recover by the third quarter, Febrio said.center_img The economy grew 2.97 percent in the first three months of the year as consumption growth slowed while people stayed at home, businesses closed and travelers cancelled their travel plans.This has upended the tourism industry as the number foreign visitor arrivals plunged significantly by 64.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) in March to 470,898 visitors, a level unseen in a decade, according to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS).Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio urged travel agents to use digital platforms to help the industry regain its power after the pandemic, adding that he was coordinating with various stakeholders in tourism to be prepared for a surge in tourists by formulating promotional plans.“The first step is to incentivize Indonesian tourists by coming up with alluring travel packages,” he said. “The pandemic has brought new routines, a new normal.”He also noted new trends in tourism brought about by the outbreak, with health and comfort in particular seeing major changes.“For the next tourism development, we will focus on the principle things, namely hygiene and sanitation at tourist attractions, accommodation and modes of transportation,” Wishnutama said.“We will need strong cooperation to further mitigation and recovery efforts, during the pandemic and afterward.”last_img read more

LSE sells Russell Investments for $1.15bn to private equity firm

first_imgRussell Investments has been sold by the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group to TA Associates, the private equity firm that bought UK asset manager Jupiter Fund Management back in 2007.TA Associates said it signed a definitive agreement to buy Russell Investments, the asset management business of Frank Russell, in a deal valued at $1.15bn (€1bn).It is linking with Reverence Capital Partners in the deal, with the latter making a “significant minority investment” in Russell Investments.Xavier Rolet, chief executive at the LSE Group, said: “Until completion, LSEG remains firmly committed to Russell Investments, its global customer base, its exemplary client service and its innovative product offering.” The LSE Group said back in February that it was willing to sell the investment management arm of Russell Investments, after buying Frank Russell last year, having announced the deal in June 2014.It has since split the company into an indexing part and an investment management part.The indexing activities have been merged with FTSE, also owned by the LSE Group, to form FTSE Russell.FTSE Russell is unaffected by the sale of Russell Investments, and the indices provided by FTSE Russell will remain as they are, variously branded under the FTSE or Russell names.Todd Crockett, a managing director at TA Associates, said. “The breadth of Russell Investments’ investment and implementation operations, as well as its orientation to multi-asset and solutions investing, will continue to be a differentiator and driver of growth in the market going forward.”Goodwin Procter is providing legal advice to TA Associates and Reverence Capital on the deal, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is acting as legal counsel to the LSE Group.TA Associates and Reverence Capital are also being advised by G Broadhaven Capital Partners, while LSE Group and Russell Investments are being advised by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.The Russell Investments deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016, pending regulatory approval.Russell Investments has nearly $2.7trn in assets under management.TA Associates bought Jupiter Fund Management in 2007, backing a management buyout from the then owner Commerzbank, and sold most of its stake in the company in 2010 in an IPO.last_img read more