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Dr. Jan Low Fights Global Malnutrition With Sweet Potatoes

While undertaking her doctoral research, in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Jan Low, M.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’94 realized a switch in sweet potato varieties could make major differences in the health of those living in sub-Saharan Africa. This realization, and her subsequent work for the International Potato Center on the orange-fleshed sweet potato led her to recently be named a 2016 World Food Prize co-laureate. Dr. Low — who will share her $250,000 prize with two colleagues at the CIP and Howarth Bouis at HarvestPlus — credits her time as both a masters and a doctoral student in Cornell’s Agricultural Economics program as an important stepping stone to her work in global agricultural and nutrition. More specifically, she points to her ability to minor in nutrition — while pursuing her Ph.D. in agricultural economics — for giving her the ability to work “multi-sectorally,” which, for her, entails “focusing on integrating nutritional concerns into agricultural project and program design.” It was the work of her department’s chairperson, however, that started her thinking about the projects she would eventually set out to tackle. Dr. Daniel Sisler — Low’s chairperson throughout her doctoral studies — was interested in vitamin A thanks to his work with Helen Keller International, a New York-based non-governmental organization that works to combat the causes and repercussions of blindness.

A model depicts a prototype of PALLAS as it collects samples

Student Team Crafts Tools to Collect Rocks From Asteroids

In the ongoing quest for space exploration, an asteroid base like Magneto’s Asteroid M from the X-Men universe seems like a distant dream. If NASA hopes to replicate the sophisticated structures built on the asteroid, it’s going to need tools. Plenty of them.  And there’s one team at Cornell that could certainly engineer a few. Cornell University MicroGravity team, one of Cornell’s newest clubs, is collaborating with NASA to create a ‘Float Sample Grabber’ a device that the team hopes will help astronauts safely and securely retrieve rocks from asteroids.

UGARTE | Trigger Warnings: Wrong place, Wrong Time

Arbitrarily, the entire premise of college is to expand one’s knowledge of the world and gain new perspective, both of which can be inhibited without open, uncensored dialogue about controversial topics. While such topics can be difficult to digest for many individuals, certain provoking topics such as sexual assault, cancer and war are the brutal realities of the world in which we live. Although it is not innately effortless to immerse oneself in discussion related to such matters, it is vital that students participate to broaden their educations and perspectives. Thus, while professors should be mindful of the ways they expose students to controversial materials (and perhaps caution students of universally graphic material), they should not be required to administer trigger warnings or options to “opt out” of “triggering” topics. College is not the time nor the place to evade disconcerting topics; allowing students to disengage with materials on the basis that they are not rationally capable of handling such discussions is inimical.

Photo Courtesy of Maria Chak

NDLOVU | Highlights of Asia Night: The Journey 2016

What were you up to this weekend? Besides the occasional mini panic attack over prelim season (which has finally come upon us) and carefully planned procrastination schemes, which I will regret later this week, the highlight of my Saturday night was actually doing something constructive and worthwhile – attending “Asia Night: The Journey” hosted by Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Union’s (CAPSU) in Duffield Hall on March 5th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. As a freshman, this was my first time attending this annual event dedicated to showcasing diverse Asian cultures. I will definitely be attending Asia Night next year, and so should you! The event was alive with many people in Duffield taking the opportunity to visit the myriad of booths, drink bubble tea, savor different foods and learn more about on-campus organizations such as Business Asia Journal and Cru Cornell. The colorful traditional attires, posters and on-point sound system made Asia Night a memorable event where Cornellians could unite to take pride in and share their heritage.

World Health Organization Partners With Cornell to Create Public Health Policy

The World Health Organization has designated Cornell University’s division of nutritional sciences a collaborating center — the organization will partner with the University on the creation and implementation of the public health policy, the University announced last week. Cornell will be one of over 700 WHO collaborating centers in over eighty countries working on areas such as nursing, occupational health, nutrition and health technologies, according to the WHO website. This four-year long partnership will further Cornell’s involvement with the WHO, going beyond the current collaboration, which includes the “Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making” — a two-week training program for policy makers that was launched in 2014. “The WHO Center will provide opportunities for Cornell faculty and their students to be more directly involved in assisting the World Health Organizations meet the needs of the member states of the United Nations who seek policy guidance based on rigorous scientific research and evidence evaluation,” said Patrick Stover, director and professor of nutritional sciences. Stover indicated that the University’s role in the partnership will center around addressing issues of global public health.