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Bridget Terry Long named dean of Harvard Ed School

Posted: 02 May 2018 07:25 AM PDT

Bridget Terry Long, A.M. '97, Ph.D. '00, a leading economist and internationally recognized scholar on the economics of higher education, will become the next dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Harvard President Drew Faust announced today.

Currently, Long is the Saris Professor of Education and Economics at HGSE. She was the School's academic dean from 2013‒2017 and the faculty director of the research doctoral program from 2010‒2013. She will assume her new role on July 1, succeeding James E. Ryan, who will step down to become president of the University of Virginia.

"Professor Long brings the energy and imagination to create an environment that will nurture new ideas and inspire solutions to some of the most-pressing problems in education," said Faust. "HGSE's commitment to producing research and to creating usable knowledge is central to its dedication to students everywhere. Improving educational opportunities for all will mean moving forward with the School's ambitious agenda to change the methods by which practitioners are trained, while simultaneously deepening understanding of the conditions necessary for learning. Professor Long is extraordinarily capable of leading the School toward these goals."

"I came to know Bridget Terry Long during my time in residence at the Graduate School of Education," said President-elect Lawrence S. Bacow. "We share a common interest and passion for improving access to higher education for talented students from families of limited means. I look forward to working closely with her to achieve this goal and to advancing the important work of the School. I could not be more excited about her appointment."

Long's research concentrates on the transition from high school to college and beyond, with a special focus on issues related to academic success and affordability. In her scholarship, she has studied the role of financial aid in increasing access to higher education, the effects of postsecondary remediation, and the impact of institutional initiatives aimed at reducing inequality in college outcomes. She is currently studying the influence of information on college preparation and enrollment activities.

President Barack Obama appointed Long in 2010 to the National Board for Education Sciences, the advisory panel of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. She chaired that board from 2011-2013. She is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a board director for MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research organization. Long has testified before congressional committees on educational issues.

"I start this new role with gratitude for all that HGSE has given me and a strong sense of purpose that centers on the mission of our School," said Long. "I'm here because I believe in this community and what we can do together. You can't help but be inspired by the faculty, students, and staff, who are all working toward the goal of improving the world through education."

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Midwest, Long received her master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard and her bachelor's from Princeton University.

She joined the Harvard faculty as assistant professor in 2000. She was promoted to associate professor of education and economics in 2004, and to professor of education and economics in 2009. She was named the Saris Professor of Education and Economics in 2011. At the School of Education, Long has taught courses on the economics of higher education and the role of policy in college access and success.

She is board director at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School. Then-Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts appointed her to the state's Public Education Nominating Council, and she has also been a visiting fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Long has won numerous major research grants and awards, including from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation. She received the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

"Bridget brings a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the work and mission of the HGSE community, thanks to her experience as academic dean and her many years on the faculty. She is also an exceptional and influential scholar, as well as a remarkably effective teacher and communicator," said Ryan, who is also Charles William Eliot Professor of Education. "I'm thrilled about this appointment because I know that Bridget will be a wise, caring, and inspiring leader for HGSE in the years ahead."

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Harvard’s Elizabeth Hinton named 2018 Carnegie Fellow

Posted: 02 May 2018 04:00 AM PDT

Elizabeth Hinton, assistant professor of history and of African and African American Studies, has been named a 2018 Carnegie Fellow.

Hinton, who was among 31 awardees who will each receive $200,000 for research focused on Stockton, Calif., home to one of the highest crime rates in the country, called the recognition "overwhelming."

"Whenever you begin a new research project, you are unsure of exactly how it will be evaluated and if it's interesting to anyone else. I'm incredibly passionate about this work, so to receive recognition in this way is a tremendous validation," she said.

Said Dean of Social Science Claudine Gay: "Elizabeth is doing path-breaking work on the history of the carceral state. This award not only is a fitting tribute to what she has already accomplished in her career, but also speaks to the extraordinary promise of her future work on criminal justice."

Hinton's award-winning book, "From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America," studied racism and related law-enforcement policies on a large scale. This award, which will support her next, to-be-named book, zeroes in on Stockton as it works to turn around policies and programs that caused the spiral.

"Stockton provides a powerful lens to examine political and economic transformations in the late 20th century, as well as the dimensions of contemporary racism," she wrote in her research prospectus.

During her 2016‒17 sabbatical year, Hinton assisted Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones in reforming the police force.

"Widely regarded in the law-enforcement community as one of the most progressive police chiefs in the country, Jones has taken important strides to improve policing and public safety in the city under the National Network's guidance. He is the first police chief in the U.S. to begin a process of 'racial reconciliation' in his department, whereby officers hold listening sessions with black and Latino residents and take action on grievances," she wrote.

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corp. of New York, said in a statement about all of the winners, who were recognized for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences: "The response to the fellows program gives me great hope for the future of the study of the humanities and the social sciences as a way for this country to learn from the past, understand the present, and devise paths to progress and peace."

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Harvard analysts recount legacy of ailing Sen. John McCain

Posted: 01 May 2018 02:52 PM PDT

There are few people who can say they've spent a lifetime, more than 60 years, in service to the United States.

John McCain is one of them.

Like his father and grandfather, who were both admirals, McCain, 81, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and then he went into combat during the Vietnam War. A decorated pilot, he flew bombing missions until the North Vietnamese shot down his plane over Hanoi.

For 5½ years, McCain was held captive under brutal conditions, and tortured. He was released in 1973. After retiring from the Navy because of permanent injuries from his imprisonment, McCain entered politics in 1982. He served two terms in the U.S. House before winning election in 1986 to the U.S. Senate, where he has served six terms representing Arizona. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2000 and was the Republican Party's nominee in 2008.

Last July, McCain announced that he had glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He has been in and out of the hospital undergoing treatment ever since. In an excerpt from an upcoming memoir, he announced this week that this will be his final term in the Senate.

Known for his sometimes-irascible demeanor and salty humor, McCain often bucked both Republican Party dogma and conventional political wisdom, earning him a reputation as a maverick. Though his independent streak could rub some people the wrong way, few have ever questioned his sacrifices and commitment to serving the nation.

The Gazette spoke with Harvard-affiliated analysts about the man they know, his longtime influence, and the legacy he will leave behind.

The McCain they knew

DAN BALZ

Chief political correspondent for The Washington Post; Institute of Politics 2017 fall fellow

I think he's operated with a different compass than many politicians do. He's always been willing to be outspoken, to work across party lines in ways that not everybody is these days. He has an independent streak; there's no question about that. He had a very good working relationship with Ted Kennedy. They couldn't have been more different, but he was motivated by a desire to get some problems solved rather than always scoring political points. He can be partisan, certainly, and he would be the first to say he's not a saint, in terms of politics. He's not afraid to offend people, sometimes to a fault. I suppose when you've lived the life he lived, particularly the years in the prison camp in North Vietnam, you come out of that with a different sense of how you'll operate than somebody who might not have that experience. I think he probably realized that all your days are short and, if you're in a place where you can accomplish things, you ought to do whatever you can to do that.

ASH CARTER

 U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2015‒2017; co-director of the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

I think he is regarded, certainly by me, but also by everybody else in the Defense Department I knew, as an authentic American hero and, second, as someone who has always put the institution of the Department of Defense and the U.S. military first. He holds it to high standards. He's demanding, but integrity and accountability were important to him. There were times in which that stung, because when we made a mistake, he would be critical. But that was always fair. I have had a good personal relationship with him for many years. We had disagreements about what to do, but it was never personal. He was demanding because he thought the military of the United States of America ought to uphold up the highest standards, and he's absolutely right.

E.J. DIONNE Jr. '73

Author; columnist for The Washington Post; William H. Bloomberg Visiting Professor at Harvard Divinity School

The difference between a maverick and a disrupter like [President] Trump is McCain has actually wanted to drain the swamp. One of the consistencies that's flowed through McCain's career is a frustration with lobbying, with big money in politics — the major reform bill over the last 20 years, McCain-Feingold, bears his name for a reason. And so while some Trump officials might want to paint McCain as "establishment," he's actually in many ways a more authentically anti-establishment figure than they are.

Second, McCain has frustrated liberals over the years because he is essentially a very conservative man. Liberals have been frustrated with him over, for example, the war in Iraq and foreign policy. But no matter how frustrated liberals have ever been with him, there's no one I know — other than Donald Trump — who downplays McCain's heroism or the contributions he made to his country. In a deep way, I'm a McCain fan despite disagreements I've had with him over the years on certain issues, because he was authentic, and he is an authentic hero. The sacrifices he made are not a one-off; they reflect something that's deep inside him. I've always liked McCain for how much the word "honor" matters to him.

DAVID GERGEN, L.L.B. '67

Former aide to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton; director of the Center for Public Leadership at HKS

The John McCain story is ultimately one of inspiration, not legislation. He did, and has, in his later years, obviously become a figure of admiration because of the leadership he's shown on health care and other issues.

He was here at the Kennedy School during the George W. Bush years. The students were curious about hearing him, but before that they just wanted to touch him. There was something that was magical about that presentation. And I think it was mostly about his heroism and the war. He was a POW, and there was the fact that the North Vietnamese knew who his father was and came to him early on to offer him a way to go home. And he said, "I'll only go if my men go with me."

Does he have a roustabout quality to him? Absolutely. Did he have some playboy qualities to him early on? Absolutely, although I don't remember him ever treating women dishonorably … He was a guy's guy there for a long time. He was a fun person to go out with. Hillary Clinton loved to go out and knock down a few drinks with him.

John McCain is escorted to Hanoi's Gia Lam Airport on March 14, 1973, after his release as a POW.

AP Photo/Horst Faas

The military watchdog

JASON CHAFFETZ

Former U.S. Rep. (R-Utah); IOP 2017 fall fellow

His dedication and unwavering commitment to the U.S. military, his push to make it as strong and viable as it possibly can be — he has a long record of consistency in that category. He cared about how we use our military, weapons systems that we pursue, and how we use our military overseas. How many Sunday shows has he been on talking about the problems in the Middle East or Iraq and Afghanistan, and what should the strategy be? And the way he carried himself, he's been a perennial power.

CARTER: He has influenced the department and secretaries of defense now going back several decades, so it's not just me. First, he was a strong supporter of my efforts to reduce waste and improve the performance of the weapons-buying process. The Air Force tanker competition, which had been the largest procurement in DoD history, had been botched, and it was my job to handle that in a way that didn't involve waste or corruption. It was a competition in which the two contenders, Boeing and Airbus, were running ads in the Washington, D.C., subways, somehow imagining that that would affect what I did. We don't run our system that way, but I needed protection for the integrity of the procurement system, and John McCain provided that from Congress. And I'm very grateful for that.

The joint strike fighter — it was a mess. When I came into the department in 2009, John was extremely critical about it. He agreed with me that it was a mess, and he was very demanding. But I welcomed that because even when he was standing over you and breathing down your neck, if you were doing the right thing, he was a tremendous source of support. Over the last eight years, nine years now, DoD never had a budget. He wanted an adequate defense budget, but he also wanted to make sure there was no waste. He was for stability in how the government conducted itself, and I was really glad of that.

The foreign-policy strategist

PAULA DOBRIANSKY

Former U.S. ambassador; senior fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at HKS

I came to know Sen. McCain when I was undersecretary of state for global affairs. This began with his pivotal involvement in dealing with Ukraine's 2004 flawed presidential elections. Since then, McCain has played a major role in highlighting the strategic importance of Ukraine and the need to counter Russia's revanchist actions, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing aggression in eastern Ukraine.

Sen. McCain will long be remembered for his fierce and passionate defense of universal freedoms and the need to pursue a foreign policy that incorporates those core values. He has also been a tireless advocate of upholding the international rules-based order, which has preserved peace, stability, and security post-World War II.

CARTER: Where McCain has been extremely influential his whole career is in the Asia Pacific. Unlike the Middle East, the Asia Pacific is America's future. It's half of the world's population, it's half of the world's economy, and it has been peaceful, by and large — the sole exception being the Vietnam War, which was an insurgency, not a major-power war.

It was America's consistent military presence there that provided the balance wheel for the Koreans, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Indians — despite their differences among themselves, there was stability there. John McCain was one of the architects and consistent supporters of that. He traveled to the region. He would meet with the leaders there through many administrations. Administrations turn over. John McCain didn't turn over [laughs]. So he was a sign and a symbol of American commitment to something that I thought was very important: that we remain committed to in a world where the Middle East, which is fundamentally much less consequential, grabs the headlines all the time.

With respect to the war on ISIS, which is one of the principal things I had to do as secretary of defense, John was constantly prodding and pressuring the administration and President [Barack] Obama. We needed to get serious about destroying ISIS. He hauled me up, and [Gen.] Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, eight or nine times. These were difficult sessions, but I actually welcomed them because they prodded us and probed us to do more. Of course, we had a country that was tired of Iraq and tired of Syria, and we had a president who had campaigned on getting us out. But that wasn't possible because barbarism had taken root, and people were attacking our people, and it had to stop.

And so I was grateful for all those hearings. They were not pleasant, but he was doing the right thing. He was overseeing us in an area where he believed — and I shared his belief — that we had to do something and the country had to be pulled in the direction of war.

The candor with the press

BALZ: He would disagree that he has always been the press' favorite. He certainly did not feel that way about the 2008 presidential campaign [when McCain was the Republican nominee]. He felt that then-Sen. Obama got much more gentle treatment by the press than he got. But he has always been quite accessible to the press for as long as I've known him, which is 30 years, I guess. And particularly back in the '80s and '90s. McCain is the kind of person who wasn't one to hide behind being off-the-record or anything like that. You interview him, you ask him questions, and he answers them, and generally in a forthright way.

When he did the "Straight Talk Express" in New Hampshire in the late summer of '99, he would invite reporters to ride the bus with him. He would sit in the back, and he would take questions for as long as people wanted to ask them. He didn't go off the record much, if at all. And for reporters that's a refreshing thing to deal with, politicians who cooperate that way. So for that reason, he got to know a lot of reporters. Reporters were friendly with him. Unlike many politicians, you didn't have the feeling that he was constantly guarded in the way he was dealing with reporters.

McCain's got a wicked sense of humor, and often a sarcastic sense of humor, and he uses it to rib his staff and rib reporters, so there was a give-and-take that everybody enjoyed. But the more important thing is you could ask him anything and he would answer it. I remember one day, I realized I had to write a story, and so I had to get off the bus because he would go on and on and on. You'd never get any work done! Sometimes he'd say something witty or sarcastic or not perfectly politically correct.

I asked him some years later: If he were running today, would he do the Straight-Talk Express, and he said no, because the nature of politics has changed, the nature of political journalism has changed, and social media magnifies any tiny misstep and overwhelms the bigger body of ideas or opinions or thoughts that a candidate has. He felt it would not work in the age of Twitter.

The pick of Palin, fellow maverick

BALZ: I think you could certainly draw a line from Sarah Palin to Donald Trump. He picked Palin as vice presidential nominee because they were desperate. They needed to shake up the race. And to be fair, I think McCain didn't know her well but nonetheless saw something in her of himself. Which is to say, a maverick politician who was willing to take on the political establishment, which she did in Alaska when she ran for governor.

And some of the policies that she pursued went against embedded interests. And in addition, she was a woman. All of that added up to a choice that would change perceptions of the race at a time when he desperately needed that to happen. But did his picking her lead to Trump? I don't know. I'm not sure I would credit, or whatever, him for bringing us into the Trump era. There was a political stirring in the country, and she took advantage of the platform he gave her.

DIONNE: McCain could be impulsive, he could be impatient, and I think that is one of the worst choices he made both for the country and for his own interests. But I think that also reflected the fact that even after he'd won the nomination, he still had not nailed down the right wing of his party and felt that that might do that. But it was a terrible mistake, and I suspect he regretted it.

The legacy of a leader

 GERGEN: I do think he's going to leave a leadership void, certainly from his generation. It's so rare now to find anybody on Capitol Hill who will stand up as firmly as he has for what he thinks is right as opposed to what is politically convenient. I think the attacks on him by [Steve] Bannon and Trump only enlarged his reputation because he stood up to them. He's a devout conservative, but there were a lot of liberal people standing up and saying "Thank God for John McCain."

I think he wants to go out with all flags flying. I think he's determined to leave a mark. He's not trying to get people to salute him or to romanticize him. Patriotism, to him, extends way beyond party. It has much more to do with country. He's one of the few people who still believes that. I think that he's had the most impact upon our sense of honor. In his public life, he has taken the honorable road again and again, and people admire him for that.

DIONNE: I don't think there will be anybody else like McCain. He will be remembered — some will honor him, and some will disagree with him — for his consistent hawkish foreign policy. That has been a through line of his career, that's what he believes in, and that has been unchanging. He will be remembered as a reformer, and while the Supreme Court gutted McCain-Feingold, I don't think we are finished with political reform. I think that when people look at the Trump years, they'll see McCain as one of the very few in his party who was willing to take on Trump. Some of us wish he had voted against the Trump initiatives even more often. But nonetheless he was willing to be one of two, three, four Republicans in the Senate to really say, "There's something wrong here," and I think he'll always be remembered for that.

And I think he'll be remembered, like Ted Kennedy, as representing an earlier time when party divisions did not lead people to an utter disrespect for the other side — not just "regular order," but basic decency for the people you disagree with.

These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

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Harvard symposium examines ways to tackle road conditions that took 1.25 million lives in 2013

Posted: 01 May 2018 01:30 PM PDT

When Piyush Tewari heard that his 16-year-old cousin had been struck and killed by a car while walking home from school in India, he wanted to understand better what had happened, so he went to the scene.

What he found was so disturbing that it prompted him to create an India-based nonprofit and dedicate his life to fighting what has become a worldwide epidemic of road-related injuries and deaths.

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This week, the Harvard Global Health Institute joined the fight against road tragedies, partnering with Tewari's nonprofit, the Safe Life Foundation, in an effort to combat global traffic deaths, which took 1.25 million lives in 2013. Such accidents are the leading cause of death for young people age 15‒29.

According to accounts that Tewari gathered, his cousin had been walking home on a clear afternoon and had looked for oncoming traffic before he started across the street. He was hit after he crossed the center line by a speeding driver who'd pulled onto the wrong side of the road to pass other cars. Worse, the driver panicked after the accident, and in his haste to get away ran over Tewari's cousin a second time.

As badly injured as the boy was at the time, he might have survived if emergency response had been prompt, but bystanders neither tried to help him nor called police. After 45 minutes, the boy died of blood loss.

Instead of just condemning the passersby, Tewari traveled around the country, talking to police, lawyers, victims, and their families. He heard that police investigation of traffic accidents was often pro forma, with blame assigned routinely to the larger vehicle. In addition, he found that bystanders who render assistance may become immersed in the investigations and subsequent legal actions, which can drag on for years. It's also not unheard of for them to be treated as suspects and blamed.

That realization prompted Tewari to spearhead efforts to pass a "Good Samaritan" law, shielding those who offer assistance to people injured in traffic accidents. The now five-year-old law was just a first step, and the organization has embarked on a program to study and analyze traffic accidents on India's most notorious stretch of highway, the 60 miles between Mumbai and Pune.

Tewari told his story as a keynote speaker at Harvard's Tsai Auditorium on Monday. The "Road Safety for All: Innovations in Road Traffic Injury Prevention and Response" symposium featured speakers on a host of issues, from ways to make roads safer to the promise and problems of self-driving cars to how to improve emergency response to accidents.

The symposium, sponsored by the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Lakshmi Mittal South Asian Institute, and the Safe Life Foundation, opened with comments from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Michelle Williams.

"It's hard to imagine a public health challenge of greater magnitude and geographical range than that of road traffic injuries," said Dean Michelle Williams in opening remarks. "The toll of road traffic injuries is staggering."

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Williams said it is tempting to view traffic deaths as a "cost of doing business" for the fast, convenient transportation vehicles offer. But the promising results gained by seat-belt laws, the designated-driver campaign (pioneered at the Harvard T.H. Chan School's Center for Health Communication) and Sweden's Vision Zero program, which has halved the rate of traffic fatalities and is being replicated in other countries, show that road-related deaths and injuries often don't have to happen and shouldn't be accepted.

Traffic accidents cost society greatly, Williams said. More people die from crashes than from either AIDS or malaria. In 2015, traffic fatalities were the 10th leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause among 15- to 29-year-olds. Without new steps to reduce it, projections are that by 2030 it could be the seventh-leading cause of death worldwide, Williams said.

Accidents impose an economic toll as well, Williams said, costing most countries as much as 3 percent of their gross domestic product. And, as with many global health disparities, the burden falls disproportionately outside of the industrialized world, with 90 percent of fatalities occurring in low- and middle-income countries, even though they have just half the world's vehicles.

"It's hard to imagine a public health challenge of greater magnitude and geographical range than that of road traffic injuries," Williams said. "The toll of road traffic injuries is staggering."

Speakers at the event highlighted several steps countries can take to make their roads safer. Helmet laws would make a big difference in places where motorcycles are widely used as a family's only transportation. Lower speed limits, seat-belt laws, and tough restrictions against drunk driving are also effective, as are improved emergency care and reduced response times, as well as engineering solutions that make vehicles and roadways safer.

For example, Tewari spoke of removing a poorly designed bridge pillar and concrete roadside flower pots on the Mumbai to Pune highway that had been involved in past crashes. Overall, Tewari said, their investigation of the roadway revealed 2,150 engineering errors. His foundation fixed 922 of them last year, he said, and in 2017 fatalities on the road dropped 30 percent, while those involving infrastructure fell 78 percent.

Overall, the speakers advocated an evidence-based approach, where analysis of the causes of traffic accidents in various locations can lead to effective solutions.

"This problem of road traffic injuries is massive. It feels complicated because it is complicated," said Harvard Global Health Institute Director Ashish Jha, the K.T. Li Professor of Global Health. "We can take bits of it and pieces of it … and make progress on it in ways that dramatically reduce the suffering that it causes. This [event] is our commitment at the institute to beginning that journey and going down that path."

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Successful brain surgery gives Lindsay D’Amato yet another story to share

Posted: 01 May 2018 11:30 AM PDT

This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard's stellar graduates.

On Dec. 20, Lindsay D'Amato woke up and put on her glasses. She was relieved when she could see normally. It told her the brain surgery had gone well.

The surgery brought an end to a scary and uncertain chapter in D'Amato's life, one that flipped her customary role of caring for others, and made her the one being cared for.

Five months on, and D'Amato will graduate — on time — from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). Despite the fear and disruption caused by the tumor and subsequent surgery, D'Amato acknowledged that its timing was serendipitous: The surgery occurred right before winter break, giving her several weeks to recover.

She wound up missing just three weeks of her community health externship at a community dental clinic, and was able to make up missed time over the ensuing weeks.

Though her recovery went smoothly, it was not easy. The surgery left her with constant, severe headaches as the brain healed. Though nearly nonstop for the first three weeks of recovery, the pain has subsided, leaving the scar on the left side of her head the most prominent remaining reminder.

The episode was the latest in what D'Amato called her "so weird" life. She grew up in St. Louis nurturing a budding interest in the sciences. Her high school AP biology and physics teachers had a particular influence on her and she went on to study biological engineering at the University of Missouri.

Though contemplating a career in engineering after graduation, she was also attracted to the Peace Corps. She joined a civil engineering master's degree program that combined a year of study at the University of California, Davis, with two years in the field doing hands-on water and sanitation work.

After her year in California, D'Amato left for rural Panama, where she raised money and installed a solar-powered electric water pump in a community whose diesel pump only ran for 15 minutes a week because of the cost of fuel. She later coordinated with the Colorado nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity to put in a bridge so people heading to work and school could cross a nearby river that regularly swells in the rain.

While in Panama, D'Amato began to reconsider engineering as a career. She realized that she liked interacting directly with people and began to think about other options, including dentistry, which an uncle with a private practice had recommended she consider. She applied to HSDM and was accepted, arriving in Boston in the fall of 2014.

Once here, D'Amato immersed herself in her studies and in her clinical duties at the Harvard Dental Center and her externships. But she also found time to join the Crimson Care Collaborative and bring her dental skills to men held at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston. Dental care was badly needed there, she said, as the overwhelmed prison dentist mainly saw the most advanced cases: men in pain for whom care often involved extraction.

"Lindsay was a delight to work with. Like many of the volunteers we're lucky enough to have, she has a keen understanding of the social determinants of health and how incredibly vulnerable many of our patients are," said Lisa Simon, a fellow in oral health and medicine integration and attending dentist of the jail and dentistry program. "It was really wonderful to watch her clinical skills and clinical confidence grow and to see her really connect with patients who may have had bad dental experiences in the past."

Aram Kim, instructor in restorative dentistry and biomaterials sciences at HSDM and D'Amato's adviser, said the engineering background that she and D'Amato share will serve her in good stead in the future.

"Lindsay's engineering background has made her an excellent problem-solver," Kim said. "As a dentist, you need to be a doctor, a scientist, an engineer, a mechanic, and an artist. … I'm excited for her future and her patients are very lucky to call her their dentist."

It was last August, while doing an externship at Massachusetts General Hospital, that D'Amato noticed problems with the vision in one eye. She had been working long hours, so she initially attributed it to fatigue, and then, when rest didn't cure it, to an out-of-date eyeglasses prescription. When a new prescription didn't do the trick, additional tests indicated the problem was with her optic nerve.

By then, it was late November and D'Amato was increasingly fearful she had multiple sclerosis, which mirrors some of her symptoms. She went for an MRI and asked the doctor not to call her with results before the following Wednesday, because she was going to be in New York interviewing for residencies on Monday and Tuesday and had to sit for a board exam on Wednesday. They called Monday night.

"I asked you not to call," D'Amato recalls saying into the phone. "I'm standing on Fifth Avenue with a suitcase."

"I didn't think this should wait," the doctor replied. "There's a mass on your brain."

D'Amato spent a tearful evening in her hotel room and called a friend in Australia whose husband is a neurosurgeon. He looked at the MRI files her physician sent over and told her that the tumor was in all likelihood a meningioma, which was treatable and, as brain tumors go, relatively good news.

By the end of the first week of December, D'Amato had returned to Boston and been scheduled for surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The operation took 7½ hours, but was a success.

"When I woke up, I reached for my glasses and I put my glasses on and I could see again, which was crazy," D'Amato said. "They had said that … it looked like the optic nerve was intact, so we might know fairly quickly if it was going to get better afterward, so I was curious to find that out."

Now, she is looking forward to graduation and a residency in the Bronx at the Jacobi Medical Center.

"After the year that I had?" D'Amato said. "I am so excited."

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Celebration of Scholarships dinner brings together students and donors

Posted: 01 May 2018 11:05 AM PDT

For most Harvard College students, picking up a book at the library is as routine as getting dressed in the morning or grabbing a cup of coffee.

In Durban, South Africa, where Mfundo Radebe '20 grew up, it was a potentially deadly undertaking.

Radebe, a Quincy House resident with concentrations in African Studies and Economics, addressed a crowd of nearly 400 on Friday evening at the annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner, which every year brings together students who benefit from financial aid and donors who support it.

Describing an upbringing "forged by an oppressive apartheid regime that believed people like me did not deserve an education" Radebe, a recipient of an Edwin H. Fox '44 Undergraduate Scholarship, recalled being confronted by thieves after one trip to the library, an hour's walk from his home.

Shuya Gong '18 spoke about her discovery of entrepreneurship at Harvard and reflected on her brief experience as a recent graduate.

Photo by Tony Rinaldo

"I found myself standing still on the treacherous path," he said. "I surveyed the peripheries wondering how I could escape or tame the knife ahead of me, pointed at me. In that moment, I offered my shoes, hoping that would pacify them and allow me safe passageway."

Radebe lost his shoes, but kept hold of "The Chronicles of Narnia." It was the beginning of a journey of learning that eventually brought him across the globe to Harvard.

Once in Cambridge, in his freshman year Radebe started an organization that provides books for primary school children in South Africa. He hopes it will give others the same sense of possibility he has.

"If I can just reach one child with a book and they hold onto that book more than anything else, more than the loss they might have experienced, more than the lack of opportunity they have been afforded, I would have succeeded," Radebe said.

This year's dinner, the 12th scholarship celebration, was held in the Northwest Science Building and co-hosted by Tim Barakett '87, M.B.A. '93, and Michele Barakett; Lloyd C. Blankfein '75, J.D. '78, and Laura Blankfein P '16, '10, '08; Ken Griffin '89; and Jerry Jordan '61, M.B.A. '67, and Darlene Jordan.

Financial Aid co-chairs Ken Griffin '89 (center) and Lloyd Blankfein '75, J.D. '78 (right) welcomed students and fellow donors to the 12th annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner.

Photo by Tony Rinaldo

One of four co-chairs for financial aid, Tim Barakett detailed the success of the campaign, and the generosity of donors.

"As of this week, we have reached our campaign goal of $600 million," he said. "To give you an idea of how generous this community is, just six months ago we were short of our goal. We made an appeal, you responded, and we still have until June 30 to continue to build on our success. I am so grateful for the generosity of everyone in this room."

Co-chair Jerry Jordan said he has seen the event he helped inaugurate in 2007 come full circle.

"Today, we are already seeing graduates from that year among our donors and here with us tonight," he said. "This event represents a truly virtuous cycle."

Kicking off the student portion of the program, recent graduate Shuya Gong spoke about discovering entrepreneurship at Harvard and reflected on her brief experience as a recent graduate.

Harvard senior Zarin Rahman, a native of South Dakota who receives aid through the Radford D. Lovett Family Scholarship Fund, spoke of her passion for helping children.

Photo by Tony Rinaldo

"My life had been pretty normal when I arrived at Harvard, but I didn't really know what was next," she said. "Mechanical engineering exposed me to the concept of creating something out of nothing. That really inspired me and really invigorated me to get up every morning and go to the lab."

She credited her professors with building on the concept of creation to encourage her to pursue entrepreneurship.

"Harvard put a lot of pressure on me to grow as a person, to learn things I didn't know previously, and to step outside my comfort zone," Gong said. "But it never put pressure on me or my family financially, and because of that I had room to grow and thrive."

Senior Zarin Rahman, a native of South Dakota, receives aid through the Radford D. Lovett Family Scholarship Fund and plans to apply to medical school to become a pediatrician. She thanked the many donors in the room who helped make her education possible.

"My love for children and my motivation to work with them has been one of the few constants in my life," said the Mather House resident, who concentrated in neurobiology. "There is so much to learn from them: creativity, curiosity, positivity, kindness, and the purest forms of joy.

"Beyond being affordable for both me and my family, Harvard has opened doors to explore my interests more than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams," she said. "I look forward to taking these experiences and the knowledge Harvard has armed me with and trying to make the world a better place."

Cape Cod native Matthew Cappucci '19 has always been interested in weather. So when he found there was no concentration in atmospheric sciences at Harvard, he decided to create one.

"I'm a department of one pursuing my very own special concentration," said Matthew Cappucci '19. "It took months, a 30 page application, six recommendation letters, and more signatures than it would was I to run for president, but I finally got approval to pursue the first ever Atmospheric Sciences concentration at Harvard."

Photo by Tony Rinaldo

"I'm a department of one pursuing my very own special concentration," he said. "It took months, a 30-page application, six recommendation letters, and more signatures than it would were I to run for president, but I finally got approval to pursue the first-ever atmospheric sciences concentration at Harvard.

"Being a department of one has its challenges," said Cappucci, who received a Gerald Jordan Family Scholarship. "I anticipated the path to be a lonely one. I could not have been more wrong. Harvard has given me everything and I will never be able to repay them for the incredible doors they've opened and the gifts they've given me. Thank you all for what you have done, and the support you continue to give."

The evening also featured comments from Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons, both of whom extolled the financial aid program as among Harvard's most important.

"I am incredibly grateful to everyone here tonight for the powerful legacy of opportunity that you have helped to build here at Harvard," Smith said. "As tonight so wonderfully demonstrates, financial aid empowers the next generation. Financial aid frees our students to follow their passions, and it accelerates the development of tomorrow's leaders."

"Tonight is one of the greatest nights of my life," Fitzsimmons said. "I believe in equality of opportunity, and if we are any kind of world or society, we need to guarantee equality of opportunity for every generation. This mission and this event defines who we are."

Ken Griffin, who in 2014 made the largest gift to financial aid in College history, agreed that providing opportunity for all is a core value.

"People often ask me why I am so committed to financial aid," he said. "Financial aid speaks to a principle that all of us hold dear as Americans. You cannot be the greatest institution in America if you do not represent the belief in equality of opportunity in your actions."

"The Harvard that we know today was made by financial aid," said Lloyd Blankfein. "And the gratitude flows in both directions: [to and from] the donors who help worthy students realize their potential, and the worthy students [who allow] Harvard to realize its potential."

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