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MIT Global Connections

MIT recently announced a program with schools in Beijing and Shanghai to office a new master of science management degree. Boston’s academic atmosphere is such that it can make these types of connections with other global cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Boston’s institutions are global, and on par with the top universities around the world. This program will help foster creative business managers who will undoubtedly work with academics and industry professionals to bring research to industry. 

 

MIT Sloan to partner with world’s top business schools in new degree program

Joint global initiative creates master of science in management studies degree

Patrick Gillooly, News Office
October 29, 2008

 

With the current economic upheaval making even clearer the links between global and national economies, the MIT Sloan School of Management is launching a collaboration with a select set of the world’s top business schools to offer highly talented management students a chance to supplement their learning — and to earn a degree at MIT.

“The world needs more, not fewer, smart people who are trained to be leaders in management, especially now,” said David Schmittlein, the John C. Head III Dean of MIT Sloan. The new program, which creates a master of science in management studies at MIT, “will enable students to supplement the broad-based management education they receive in the outstanding MBA programs at the schools they already attend with the additional knowledge and management tools they can acquire at MIT.” The degree program, Schmittlein added, is an important component of MIT Sloan’s ongoing efforts to build broad-based relationships with leading management schools, including the four participating in the program.

The new MIT degree designation will begin in the 2009-2010 academic year, with approximately 15 international students and an eventual enrollment of 50.

MIT already offers several master of science specifications. The new addition builds upon MIT Sloan’s deep and varied ties to leading educational institutions around the world. “We are pleased to partner with MIT Sloan in this new double-degree program, which will enhance the capacity of our institutions to be the leading international players in educating truly global business leaders,” said Bernard Ramanantsoa, dean of HEC Paris, a leading European business school.

The new degree program, said MIT Sloan Senior Associate Dean Alan White, “supports our global collaborations, which are all about insuring our continued presence as a global university.”

Robert C. Klemkosky, dean of the SKK Graduate School of Business at Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University, termed the new program “one of the most significant events in the development of management education, not only at SKK GSB, but in Korea. It further strengthens the five-year collaboration between MIT Sloan and SKK GSB.”

MIT Sloan Deputy Dean Steven D. Eppinger said MIT Sloan faculty and students will benefit as well. “With business more global than ever, we need to do all we can to encourage connections between our faculty and students and those of some of the best management schools in the world,” he said. “This initiative will offer our partner schools the opportunity to provide their students, who have received their MBA education in one region of the world, with additional specialization in business education at MIT Sloan.”

Participating institutions in the new degree program also include Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai. Schmittlein noted an additional benefit for both Sloan and its academic partners. “This new degree program further strengthens our relationships with four of the most distinguished educational institutions in the world,” he said. “It is a win-win for the partner schools, for MIT Sloan, and for all of our students and faculty.”

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November 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

$125 Million Gift from Harvad Grad, Entrepeneur

 

Hansjorg Wyss is a living example of the proptype of the Boston education-industry system. He graduated and became an innovator in his field, and took his work to industry where he experienced phenomenal economic success. His gift will bring to together scientists, engineers, and clinicians who will create an innovative and collaborative atmosphere at Harvard. This interdisciplinary attitude will contribute to the Boston area as a whole. 

Alumnus’ gift to advance the field

OCTOBER 5, 2008

Engineer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss MBA ’65 has given Harvard University $125 million to create the Hansjörg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Investigators at the Wyss Institute (pronounced “Vees”) will strive to uncover the engineering principles that govern living things, and use this knowledge to develop technology solutions for the most pressing healthcare and environmental issues facing humanity. Wyss’ gift is the largest individual gift in the University’s history.

“I am deeply grateful to Hansjörg Wyss for this gift, which will allow Harvard to make a transformational investment in powerful, collaborative science,” said Harvard President and Lincoln Professor of History Drew Faust. “The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering will form the bedrock for Harvard’s emerging efforts in this critical area and will affect research, teaching, and the training of future leaders in this field.

“We regard this gift as an enormous vote of confidence by a donor who is both extraordinarily generous and extraordinarily knowledgeable in this field,” Faust continued. “This gift underscores Harvard’s ability to lead and to make very significant contributions in a field that is of increasing importance to scientists in a number of areas, and to science more generally.”

The Wyss Institute will be a collaborative enterprise bringing together experimentalists, theoreticians, and clinicians with expertise in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, robotics, medicine, and surgery from Harvard’s Schools and affiliated hospitals, as well as from neighboring universities.

The multidisciplinary effort will function as the cornerstone of Harvard’s broader efforts in bioengineering, and will build on many elements of theHarvard Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which was created with seed support from the Harvard University Science and Engineering Committee in response to a faculty-developed plan for this burgeoning discipline.

Wyss’ gift will provide funds for seven endowed faculty positions, as well as major operating funds for the institute. The locus of the Wyss Institute will be in the first science complex currently under construction on Harvard’s campus in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to efforts that I firmly believe will change the future course of science and medicine,” Wyss said. “Little did I dream when I began my career in engineering that we would reach a point where engineers and biologists would be using nature’s templates to create solutions to our medical and environmental challenges.”

President Faust and Provost Steven E. Hyman, together with Dean Jeffrey Flier, Dean Michael Smith, and former Dean Venkatesh Narayanamurti — of the Harvard Medical School (HMS), Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), respectively — announced that Donald Ingber, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School andChildren’s Hospital Boston, and professor of bioengineering at SEAS, will serve as the Wyss Institute’s founding director.

“Hansjörg Wyss’ vision for the potential inherent in newly emerging areas of bioengineering will allow Harvard to integrate the worlds of biology and engineering to develop nontraditional solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges,” said Hyman. “Don Ingber’s leadership and commitment to exploring these possibilities will make this vision a reality.”

Hyman noted that the establishment of the Wyss Institute follows Harvard’s “commitment to the overall growth of engineering at Harvard — exemplified by changing the status of the former Division of Engineering to a School of Engineering — but in the context of a liberal arts-focused research institution. With respect to bioengineering in particular, we are at a wonderful intellectual inflection point where we’re beginning to see a new generation of bioengineering in which I think no one has an advantage, and where we will provide very substantial intellectual partnerships for such activities as ourStem Cell Institute and for the Systems Biology activities. Those partnerships might, for example,” he said, “enable us to convert new basic discoveries into a host of treatments for human beings suffering with illnesses.”

In expressing his gratitude to Wyss, Ingber said that “Hansjörg Wyss is a visionary engineer and entrepreneur who understands that transformative change requires risk-taking and breaking down boundaries among existing disciplines. We are indebted to him for his generosity, which will enable engineers, scientists, physicians, and industrial collaborators to work across institutions and disciplines at a level never before possible in an academic setting.”

David Mooney, Gordon McKay Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS and co-chair of Harvard’s bioengineering working group, said, “I am particularly excited that this gift will allow us to create an interdisciplinary community of scholars who will work together to both develop novel technologies and create a foundation for bioengineering based on a fundamental knowledge of how living systems function.”

PURPOSE AND MISSION

The mission of the Hansjörg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is to discover the engineering principles that nature uses to build living things, and to harness these insights to create biologically inspired materials, devices, and control technologies to address unmet medical needs worldwide and bring about a more sustainable world.

Over the past decade in particular, engineering, biology, medicine, and the physical sciences have increasingly converged.  Through revolutionary advances in nanotechnology, genetics, and cell engineering, it is now possible to manipulate individual atoms, genes, molecules, and cells one at a time, and to create artificial biological systems. Simultaneous progress in materials science, molecular biology, and tissue engineering has enabled scientists to develop synthetic materials, microdevices, and computational strategies to manipulate cell function, guide tissue formation, and control complex organ physiology. As a result of these developments, the boundary between living and nonliving systems is beginning to break down.

The Wyss Institute will leverage these advances and facilitate new breakthroughs by advancing the science and engineering necessary to develop biomimetic materials, microdevices, microrobots, and innovative disease-reprogramming technologies that emulate how living cells and tissues self-organize and naturally regulate themselves.  A deeper understanding of how living systems build, recycle, and control also will ultimately lead to more efficient bioinspired ways of converting energy, controlling manufacturing, improving the environment, and creating a more sustainable world.

FACULTY AND PROGRAMS

The Wyss Institute will form a community of engineers, scientists, and clinicians, and provide them with the resources necessary to pursue innovative, multidisciplinary, forward-looking research that will spur the development of transformative new technologies and therapies.

The institute will focus on fundamental, science-driven technology development in the newly emerging fields of synthetic biology, biological control, and living materials.

  • The Synthetic Biology Program will develop genetically engineered component parts and circuits necessary to build programmable self-assembling nanomaterials and integrated multifunctional living microdevices.
  • The Biological Control Group will devise control strategies that can “reboot” diseased tissues and organs, as well as biologically inspired algorithms for robotic control.
  • The Living Materials Program will harness the design principles that govern how living cells, tissues, and organs exhibit their novel material properties and coupled biocatalytic functions, with the goal of fabricating self-organizing biomimetic materials and devices for both medical and nonmedical applications.

The Wyss Institute will also incorporate an Advanced Technology Core, composed of technical experts with extensive expertise in genetic engineering, nanotechnology, microfabrication, materials science, and other critical technologies, who move among different faculty laboratories pursuing problems until they are solved and useful technologies are created. The institute’s faculty will translate these new technologies into commercial products and therapies through partnerships with industrial and clinical collaborators. The Wyss Institute also will support clinical faculty researchers who will identify critical clinical challenges, conduct research and development activities necessary to solve these problems, and help to bring these technologies back into the clinic. Such an environment, free of disciplinary boundaries, will foster the training of a new generation of students and fellows who fully understand how to work across disciplines, and how to learn from the power of nature’s innovations to advance bioengineering and medicine.

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Updated Profile

Boston: A Center of Education, Research, and Innovation

Early Settlement and Historical Significance:

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest and most historical cities in the United States. The city was founded in 1630 and was host to several important events in the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. The historical significance of Boston has created many tourist attractions and brings 16.3 million visitors each year to experience historical attractions like the Freedom Trail, which is a walking path that snakes through sixteen historical sites throughout the city.

Post-Revolutionary Development:

After establishing itself as a prominent colonial city, Boston developed into a major shipping and manufacturing center. The city was home to many elite families, which helped the city as an international trade base. In the 1800’s, Boston, like many other cities on the eastern seaboard of the United States, experienced massive immigration from Europe. Immigration served to create ethnic neighborhoods and enclaves that remain in the city today. Extensive immigration from Ireland has helped label Boston as an Irish and Catholic city. The Catholic religion has also been prominent in Boston history and politics.

Physical Geography:

Boston is located along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, and is therefore a port city. Boston Harbor and the Charles River are the important nautical areas of the city. The city encompasses roughly forty-eight square miles of land, which is a relatively small amount and therefore makes Boston a very population-dense city. The city rests just above sea level. Boston sits about 215 miles north of New York City and just 51 miles north of Providence, Rhode Island.

Founding of Great American Universities:

Harvard University was founded in 1636 and is the oldest college or university in the United States. Its rich history and influence in the world of higher education has made it a renowned worldwide institution. Other prominent institutions followed Harvard in establishing Boston as a center of higher education. Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded in 1863 and 1861, are two more valuable institutions that add to the rich academic atmosphere of Boston. Boston University was charted in 1869 as well. Numerous other liberal arts colleges are situated in Boston as well. The tradition of academic innovation and successful teaching and research continues today, and will be the primary subject of my research of Boston.

Demographics:

There are about 600,000 residents in Boston proper. The greater metropolitan area has 4.4 million residents, the 10th largest metro area in the United States. Population density is about 12,000/sq. mi., less than only New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. The Irish are the largest ethnic group in Boston, at 15%. About 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. For racial breakdown, see table below.

Racial Composition of Boston Population, 2000

Race

% of Population

White, non-Hispanic

49%

African-American

25

Hispanic

14

Asian American

8

Native American

1

Other

4

Data from 2000 U.S. Census

Gentrification:

Gentrification in the core of Boston has been a significant development in recent years. Rent control laws were relaxed which led to an increase in the prices of previously controlled units. They opened up to consumers willing to pay market-price, and higher-income residents subsequently moved into those units. Housing affordability in the city-center and some surrounding areas has created many problems for urban poor and homeless residents. Like in so many other major cities, dislocation of lower-income residents has occurred frequently.

Education, Research, and Innovation

The focus of my research is the sector of education and research in Boston. The city hosts many prominent educational institutions, with thousands of students enrolled. Considering its relatively small urban population, Boston has a disproportionately large amount of education, research, and development within the area. The large amount of high-tech academic and industry activity increases Boston’s linkages throughout the world. Of course, there are financial and business connections with other cities. But there are also thousands of networks through which academics and highly skilled technology employees and information moves through. With regards to Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class, Boston is one of the most successful cities in terms of creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for the creative class. Important to note is that Florida’s creative class includes highly educated and highly paid engineers, scientists, and technology professionals. These professionals thrive in and around Boston and contribute invaluably to the local and regional economy. These professionals occupy the highest levels of the economy. They make up the tertiary and quaternary sectors of the economy. We have often discussed the necessity for global cities to have strong flows of information and communications, in response to the loss of manufacturing in the cities. Students and professionals are highly mobile, educated, creative, and dynamic (Rose, 2002). These are important adjectives in describing the populations that serve the global economy well in the 21st century. The large collection of universities complements the high-tech industries. Without one, the other would not thrive as much as they have. Boston ranked ninth in human capital and the seventh-best city to earn a degree in the 2008 global cities index. The human capital ranking shows how industries of knowledge are prominent in Boston. These types of industries are crucial for success in the global economy.

Universities can be critical players in economic development of regions. In Boston, universities have played a critical role in helping to development one of the largest clusters of biotechnology in the world. Biotechnology firms and the industry as a whole rely on university-based lab research, and the industry-university relationship is important in “commercializing university research” (Breznitz, 2008). MIT has been one of the leaders in promoting the industry-university partnership. When compared with Yale University in Breznitz’ 2008 study, MIT has spent more money on research and development ($374,680,000 vs. $224,939,000) and registered more patents per dollar (99 vs. 16) (Breznitz, 2008). MIT has produced and kept more biotechnology companies in the greater Boston area, while Yale has produced less and a higher percentage have left the area.

At MIT, practical and applicable research has been encouraged, while at Yale (before 1995, the beginning of the new university president’s term) was much more conservative with regards to research and consulting applicable to industry. 90% of biotechnology firms that are ‘spun out’ by MIT remain concentrated in the geographic area in and around Boston. A term described by Breznitz, “academic entrepreneur”, is very accurate in describing the MIT attitude towards teaching and research. Students and faculty are encouraged to develop applicable solutions to research problems, and to use these solutions in local industry. The Technology Licensing Office at MIT is an organization that captures the attitudes at this institution. They encourage scientists to quickly patent their work and also do an assessment of the market-value of their invention or solution. This is important because it makes the process move very quickly and encourages the process of university to industry movement. In addition, these ventures are often in very profitable areas of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, so it is important for the economy that these innovations become a reality in the industry.

Boston’s status as a mid-level global city is important for building and retaining talented pools of scientists, researchers, lawyers, business people, etc. The fact that institutions like MIT and Harvard are set in and around a major city like Boston is crucial for retaining talented graduated. These graduates work in the highest sectors of the economy and contribute to the knowledge transfer. They are highly skilled and highly paid individuals. There is a strong, supportive surrounding environment for graduates of these prominent Boston-area universities.

Major Colleges and Universities

In the Boston Area

College/University

Enrollment (Including Graduate Students)

Harvard

19,139

MIT

10,220

Boston College

14,395

Northeastern

15,339

Boston University

29,808

Tufts

9789

Brandies

5,088

Works Cited:

Breznitz, Shiri (2008). ‘University Commercialization Strategies in the Development of Regional Bioclusters’, Product Innovation Management.

Kearney, A.T. (2008). ‘2008 Global Cities Index’, Foreign Policy.

Rose, Daniel (2002). ‘Servicing the Global City’, Real Estate Issues.

Sable, Michael (2006). ‘The impact of the biotechnology industry on local economic development in the Boston and San Diego metropolitan areas’, Science Direct.

Sieber, Tim (2002). ‘Growing income and housing inequalities in Boston’, Symphony of a City.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Global City Profile

Boston: A Center of Education, Research, and Innovation

Early Settlement and Historical Significance:

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest and most historical cities in the United States. The city was founded in 1630 and was host to several important events in the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. The historical significance of Boston has created many tourist attractions and brings 16.3 million visitors each year to experience historical attractions like the Freedom Trail, which is a walking path that snakes through sixteen historical sites throughout the city.

Post-Revolutionary Development:

After establishing itself as a prominent colonial city, Boston developed into a major shipping and manufacturing center. The city was home to many elite families, which helped the city as an international trade base. In the 1800’s, Boston, like many other cities on the eastern seaboard of the United States, experienced massive immigration from Europe. Immigration served to create ethnic neighborhoods and enclaves that remain in the city today. Extensive immigration from Ireland has helped label Boston as an Irish and Catholic city. The Catholic religion has also been prominent in Boston history and politics.

Physical Geography:

Boston is located along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, and is therefore a port city. Boston Harbor and the Charles River are the important nautical areas of the city. The city encompasses roughly forty-eight square miles of land, which is a relatively small amount and therefore makes Boston a very population-dense city. The city rests just above sea level. Boston sits about 215 miles north of New York City and just 51 miles north of Providence, Rhode Island.

Founding of Great American Universities:

Harvard University was founded in 1636 and is the oldest college or university in the United States. Its rich history and influence in the world of higher education has made it a renowned worldwide institution. Other prominent institutions followed Harvard in establishing Boston as a center of higher education. Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded in 1863 and 1861, are two more valuable institutions that add to the rich academic atmosphere of Boston. Boston University was charted in 1869 as well. Numerous other liberal arts colleges are situated in Boston as well. The tradition of academic innovation and successful teaching and research continues today, and will be the primary subject of my research of Boston.

Demographics:

There are about 600,000 residents in Boston proper. The greater metropolitan area has 4.4 million residents, the 10th largest metro area in the United States. Population density is about 12,000/sq. mi., less than only New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. The Irish are the largest ethnic group in Boston, at 15%. About 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. For racial breakdown, see table below.

Racial Composition of Boston Population, 2000

Race

% of Population

White, non-Hispanic

49%

African-American

25

Hispanic

14

Asian American

8

Native American

1

Other

4

Data from 2000 U.S. Census

Gentrification:

Gentrification in the core of Boston has been a significant development in recent years. Rent control laws were relaxed which led to an increase in the prices of previously controlled units. They opened up to consumers willing to pay market-price, and higher-income residents subsequently moved into those units. Housing affordability in the city-center and some surrounding areas has created many problems for urban poor and homeless residents. Like in so many other major cities, dislocation of lower-income residents has occurred frequently.

Education, Research, and Innovation

The focus of my research is the sector of education and research in Boston. The city hosts many prominent educational institutions, with thousands of students enrolled. Considering its relatively small urban population, Boston has a disproportionately large amount of education, research, and development within the area. The large amount of high-tech academic and industry activity increases Boston’s linkages throughout the world. Of course, there are financial and business connections with other cities. But there are also thousands of networks through which academics and highly skilled technology employees and information moves through. With regards to Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class, Boston is one of the most successful cities in terms of creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for the creative class. Important to note is that Florida’s creative class includes highly educated and highly paid engineers, scientists, and technology professionals. These professionals thrive in and around Boston and contribute invaluably to the local and regional economy. These professionals occupy the highest levels of the economy. They make up the tertiary and quaternary sectors of the economy. We have often discussed the necessity for global cities to have strong flows of information and communications, in response to the loss of manufacturing in the cities. Students and professionals are highly mobile, educated, creative, and dynamic (Rose, 2002). These are important adjectives in describing the populations that serve the global economy well in the 21st century. The large collection of universities complements the high-tech industries. Without one, the other would not thrive as much as they have. Boston ranked ninth in human capital and the seventh-best city to earn a degree in the 2008 global cities index. The human capital ranking shows how industries of knowledge are prominent in Boston. These types of industries are crucial for success in the global economy.

Major Colleges and Universities

In the Boston Area

College/University

Enrollment (Including Graduate Students)

Harvard

19,139

MIT

10,220

Boston College

14,395

Northeastern

15,339

Boston University

29,808

Tufts

9789

Brandies

5,088

Works Cited:

Sieber, Tim (2002). ‘Growing income and housing inequalities in Boston’, Symphony of a City.

Rose, Daniel (2002). ‘Servicing the Global City’, Real Estate Issues.

Kearney, A.T. (2008). ‘2008 Global Cities Index’, Foreign Policy.

Recreation

Neighborhoods/features/districts

Highways/airports/trains

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The case for science education

There are some relevant themes in this article surrounding education, academia, and the biotechnology industry. Boston has the second highest concentration of biotechnology businesses in the country.

The case for science education

By Lance Hartford September 25, 2008

WITH THE RELEASE of this year’s troubling MCAS scores in science, it is obvious that the state must try harder to engage students in science education if it hopes to fill future life sciences jobs.

Last year, 20 percent of high school students taking the SAT in Massachusetts indicated that they planned on STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) majors in college. That translates to roughly 12,400 students. But in 2006, there were more than 86,000 job vacancies in key life sciences occupations in the state, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

If Massachusetts high school students hope to fill this gap, consider the newly released 2008 science MCAS scores. Seventeen percent of high school sophomores failed. While that is better than the 25 percent who failed last year, it indicates that there is a long way to go to increase the scientific literacy of students.

The employment gap and the MCAS results leave the Commonwealth at a crucial juncture. The industry is growing and the demand for qualified employees will continue to rise. According to a new study by the University of Massachusetts’ Donohue Institute – “Growing Talent” – 88 percent of Massachusetts life sciences companies expect modest or substantial growth in their Massachusetts workforce over the next two years, and no employers project a decline.

The New England Economic Partnership predicts that employment opportunities in the life sciences cluster will increase twice as fast as Massachusetts’ overall employment growth. If students continue to lag behind in science comprehension, it puts the state’s future economic viability at stake and will force companies to look outside the state lines to fill those jobs.

Educators know that students can learn only so much from a book. Hands-on situations drawn from the “real world” give science tangible context for students. For example, the BioTeach program, which provides schools with financial, professional, and educational resources to teach interactive biotechnology labs, brings the same lab equipment found at a biotech company into classrooms. A three-year evaluation of the program, conducted by the education research organization TERC, indicates that BioTeach helped teachers increase their knowledge of biotechnology and had a significant impact on student interest in the life sciences.

Research shows that the best time to recruit students to pursue education and careers in the STEM fields is before they enter middle school. That means before they hit their teens. How can young students decide they want to work in the life sciences if they don’t know what that means or what those jobs look like?

To introduce life sciences to students at a younger age, the governor and Legislature introduced a promising program in the Life Sciences Bill. The plan is to develop a statewide system of mobile labs to provide interactive biotechnology experiences to schools that do not have access to needed scientific resources. The hope is to engage them, capture their imaginations, expand their knowledge of biotech career opportunities, and, ultimately, seed interest in pursuing a career in the STEM fields.

Through the science MCAS scores, students are showing that they are not prepared to join the burgeoning life sciences economy. The opportunities are plentiful, but the employees who are qualified to take on those opportunities will not be home-grown unless the state continues to invest in science education.

There has been a small improvement in the science MCAS scores, but more needs to be done. Industry, academia, and government must work together to help drive student interest in science and ensure there is a prepared workforce, both of which will contribute to the sustained growth of the life sciences industry in Massachusetts.

Lance Hartford is executive director of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Planting seeds of renewal in struggling Lowell neighborhood

This is an interesting article about the work that MIT’s Urban Studies and Planning program is doing in the community. They are developing plans to try to revitalize a struggling neighborhood in Lowell, Mass. It is a neat example of how the Boston college population is reaching out to the community and creating a tangible effect of their work.

Planting seeds of renewal in struggling Lowell neighborhood

By Jennifer Myers, jmyers@lowellsun.com

LOWELL —Seventeen graduate students from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning want to help. They have been in the neighborhood collecting data and observing what works and what does not.

Two weeks ago, they held a preliminary meeting with residents to collect ideas and feedback. A completed neighborhood-improvement plan is expected to be ready for a meeting on Dec. 3.

The Back Central plan marks the third time that MIT professor Terry Szold has brought a group of graduate students to the Mill City. In 2005, they completed a master plan for Centralville. In 2007 they returned to take on the Acre.”I love the city,” said Szold. “The diversity of places within the city is very intriguing for planning students, as are the challenges of maintaining the history and working, older neighborhoods that are subject to new pressures.”

According to Lowell Chief Planner George Proakis, an MIT alumnus, the cost of putting together a comparable plan through the use of hired consultants could cost the city upwards of $100,000.

Rea the rest of the article here.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Obama Returns for Harvard Love

This is from early last year, but it provides some evidence of the strong connection that Barack Obama still feels with Harvard and the city of Boston. Of course, he is a Harvard Law Graduate.

Obama Returns For Harvard Love
Law School profs hold fundraiser to welcome Senator back to Cambridge

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Published On Wednesday, March 21, 2007  3:20 AM
One of Harvard Law School’s most beloved sons swooped into Cambridge yesterday evening for an intimate, high-dollar fundraising event with about 150 of his former p
rofessors, classmates, and their friends.

“We love being in Boston,” Senator Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat and a 1991 graduate of the Law School, said as he entered the event.

“It’s nice to be back in Cambridge, particularly after I paid off all my parking tickets,” he added referring to his recent public reconciliation with City Hall.

Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law David B. Wilkins ’77 hosted the event at his Cambridge home, a forest-green Victorian with orange trim tucked at the bottom of a hill near Brattle Street.

The $2,300-a-person event, which was closed to the press and the public, featured no shortage of political heavyweights.

“I’m the most senior member of the party,” Henry Morgenthau III, the scion of the Morgenthau clan that served as advisers to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, said as he approached Crimson reporters. It was not clear whether the 90-year-old was referring to the Democratic Party or to the evening’s gathering.

Alan D. Solomont, a major Massachusetts Democratic operative and a former national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was one the last guests to arrive. When he was greeted at the gate by volunteers and an event organizer, one commented: “Now we can really get started.”

The political guns were no match for the academic ones. Obama’s former professors and classmates turned out in force, enthusiastically supporting the man who was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and later a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

One of Obama’s former professors, Loeb University Professor Laurence H. Tribe ’62, helped organize the event.

Tribe, who has called Obama “a political and rhetorical genius,” pulled up to Wilkins’ house in a red Toyota Prius just before 7 p.m. The law professor then proceeded to park illegally, facing the wrong way on a one-way street.

Boston College law professor Kent Greenfield, who organized an alliance of law schools to fight the military’s policy regarding openly gay service-members, said outside the house that “a Barack Obama presidency would do more to repair our broken reputation in the world than anything or anyone else.”

When asked if he knew Obama, Boston attorney Joseph L. Stanganelli, one of Obama’s Law School classmates, answered: “Everyone knew him, and everyone who knew him knows that he’s the real deal.”

—Staff writer Paras D. Bhayani can be reached at pbhayani@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Samuel P. Jacobs can reached at jacobs@fas.harvard.edu.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Barack Obama in Boston

This is a story/interview with Barack Obama when he was campaigning in Boston last year. It is noteworthy because there is an acknowledgment of the Boston college and university student population and their potential role in the election. The Boston students were important for Obama in terms of campaigning and advocating, especially in New Hampshire, because Massachusetts was not anticipated to play a big role in the election.

Obama in Boston

Barack Obama addresses 5500 people at a BU fund-raiser.
Barack Obama addresses 5500 people at a BU fund-raiser.

BOSTON – April 21, 2007 – Senator Barack Obama campaigns in New York today. Last night, he held what he called his biggest fund-raising event ever here in Boston. A sell-out crowd of 5500 people packed Boston University’s Agganis Arena. WBUR’s Fred Thys reports.

TEXT OF STORY

FRED THYS: The crowd was twice as big as the biggest crowds Obama has been drawing in New Hampshire in the last few weeks, and last night, they were paying to hear Obama.

BARACK OBAMA: Imagine what the crowd had been like if the Yankees and the Red Sox weren’t playing. Some of you know that I am a Chicago White Sox fan. Somebody tried to hand me a Red Sox cap to wear up here, and I don’t believe in that. There are some politicians who will do anything for a vote, including throw their team under the bus, but here’s one thing I will say, is that I dislike the Yankees more than the Red Sox.

FRED THYS: Obama spent about 35 minutes hitting on the main themes of his campaign, such as his opposition to the war in Iraq and his promise to bring about universal health care. Part of the idea of such large fund-raisers is to get as many small donors as possible, just to get them on the campaign’s database and then come back to them for more contributions.

BARACK OBAMA: We had people who gave 230 dollars. And we had people who gave 23 dollars.

FRED THYS: Many in the crowd came from area colleges and universities. Massachusetts probably will not play a critical role in either the primaries or the general election, but it is next door to New Hampshire, with its crucial primary, and its status as a swing state, and Boston-area students could play an important part in the campaign by volunteering there. Part of Obama’s message to the crowd last night was they should volunteer.

BARACK OBAMA: When we decide we’re not just going to be vote, but we decide to be involved in the issues, and we’re going to volunteer, and we’re going to participate, then things start happening.

FRED THYS: James Allers, a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and its Law School, was among those the campaign is hoping to get to New Hampshire.

JAMES ALLERS: It was very inspirational. He’s very plain-spoken, which I really appreciate. He’s very charismatic, but he speaks very directly. I think he speaks from the heart, and I really like the fact that he said: “I’m going to make mistakes, but I’m confident in my ability to lead the country,” and I think it’s high time we had some politicians who are willing to tell the people what we need to hear, and not what we want to hear.

FRED THYS: Allers says he and his wife, Tiffany, wanted to see Obama in person before deciding whether to commit to him. He says he’s pretty sold. There were also many young professionals in the crowd. Amy Boyd, an attorney in Boston, was signing a form registering to volunteer for Obama in New Hampshire.

AMY BOYD: I also lived in Chicago, and he actually is the first person I ever voted for who won anything, because I’m a Democrat from Texas. I’ve supported him for years, and decided tonight to go ahead and support him for president.

FRED THYS: The Obama campaign hopes to get many of the people who were there last night up to New Hampshire next month for the first door-to-door and phone canvas to determine exactly how broad and how strong his support is there.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Colleges scour China for top students

This might be one of the most exciting pieces that I have found thus far. It is about colleges like Harvard sending representatives to China to recruit their top students. It really shows how students from all over the world are competing for the spots at top schools in the country. The world of education and research has been profoundly affected by globalization and increased mobility. We witness this in Madison with our many international students.

Colleges scour China for top students

A star search that may affect US applicants

Students Li Taibo and Zhao Xinyue sought the attention of US admissions deans at a Beijing math competition.
Students Li Taibo and Zhao Xinyue sought the attention of US admissions deans at a Beijing math competition. (Doug Kanter for The Boston Globe)
By Tracy Jan Globe Staff / November 9, 2008

    BEIJING – Don’t be fooled by the teenager’s slender frame and wire-rimmed glasses. His name is Tiger – and he’s an American high school student’s worst nightmare.

    The 16-year-old junior, as adept at proving geometry theorems as he is at defending a soccer shot, has set his sights on Harvard University. And Harvard, on him.

    Just last month, Tiger and dozens of China’s brightest students gathered in a five-star hotel blocks from Tiananmen Square for the final round of a math contest that planted the Crimson flag firmly in the world’s most populous nation. They competed under the watchful gaze of William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s admissions dean, who has handpicked undergraduates for three decades.

    Students such as Tiger, or Li Taibo in Chinese, represent the future face of elite American colleges, their greatest hope as they vie to maintain international dominance. It’s especially true for Harvard, as it tries to elevate the profile of its math and sciences to be on par with its legendary humanities program.

    Eager to cultivate generations of students in this new frontier, admissions officers from premier American universities are scouring China to recruit top high school students who may dismiss such colleges as out of reach and unaffordable. In last month’s campaign during the contest, Harvard, Brown, and Stanford representatives touted liberal arts education, research opportunities, and American dorm life to students and their parents – even promising full scholarships.

    “There are no quotas, no limits on the number of Chinese students we might take,” Fitzsimmons told a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 students during a visit to Beijing No. 4 High School. “We know there are very good students from China not applying now. I hope to get them into the pool to compete.”

    That message is disconcerting for American students toiling to land a coveted spot in Harvard’s 1,660-student freshman class – and controversial among some educators. But Fitzsimmons and others say they had better get used to the idea. Applications from China have exploded in recent years as the Communist country opens up to the world, and they’re only going to increase.

    Even fifth-graders in Wellesley, Newton, and Brookline, who as adults will face international competition for jobs, should begin beefing up their academic résumés if they want a shot at an Ivy League education, Fitzsimmons said.

    “We’re trying to send a message to young people, as young as primary school, to make the most of their studies,” he said, “because they’ll be competing with students around the world later on.”

    The first Shing-Tung Yau High School Mathematics Awards, named for the Harvard math professor who organized it, drew more than 900 students from all corners of the country. The 40 finalists who assembled for three days in Beijing had spent the past six months preparing to shine – not only for the judges, which included three Harvard professors, but also for the admissions deans they would meet.

    Read the rest of the article here

    November 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment