Johns Hopkins Magazine -- February 2001
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FEBRUARY 2001
CONTENTS

O N    C A M P U S E S

Updates

"Shocked" student wins a Rhodes
A season of standouts and stars
Alumnus garners Nobel Prize
A boost for biomedicine
Early explorations in the field
Boxing's her bag
Q&A
Quiet acts of kindness



An elated Moore
Photo by Louis Rosenstock
"Shocked" student wins a Rhodes

Johns Hopkins senior Westley Moore is one of just 32 students chosen from among 950 applicants nationwide to receive a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The scholarship offers winners two or three years all-expense-paid study at Oxford University.

News in early December of Moore's selection was greeted with jubilation on the Johns Hopkins campus. The 22-year-old is the first Hopkins student to win a Rhodes since 1988, and is the only winner from Maryland in the 2000 crop of scholars.

"I wasn't actually expecting it," said Moore. "They pulled us all in and I was the third name called and I was totally shocked. I almost wanted them to repeat it to make sure they got it right."

An international relations major minoring in economics, Moore hopes to earn a master's degree in international relations. He says he is particularly excited at the prospect of doing research on refugee issues at Oxford's Refugee Studies Center.

Originally from the Bronx, Moore attended Valley Forge Military Academy, going on to complete his associate's degree at Valley Forge Military College before transferring to Hopkins in 1998.

At Hopkins he was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve and student representative in the undergraduate admissions office. As a wide receiver on this year's 5-5 Blue Jay football team, he caught eight passes and scored two touchdowns.

Moore has also worked closely with the Baltimore City defender's office to establish a mentoring program, Students Taking a New Direction (STAND), which pairs students from Hopkins and other colleges with juveniles who have been arrested.

While Moore finished his Hopkins degree requirements in December, he planned to remain working with STAND until April, before heading to Arizona to begin his Army Reserve active duty obligation at military intelligence school. The Rhodes Scholar will ship out to England in the fall.


 


A season of standouts and stars

It was a good autumn for Hopkins athletics. Two teams concluded their seasons with high national rankings, and a junior from picturesquely named Stormville, New York, set a national collegiate record.

The junior was standout soccer forward Matthew Doran (right), who scored goals in 15 straight games for a new NCAA Division III mark. Doran led Hopkins men's soccer to a 15-3-2 overall season tally, an undefeated Centennial Conference championship season, and the 13th spot in the final NCAA Division III rankings. He also set a conference record with 27 goals for the season.

Hopkins women won the Centennial Conference field hockey championship for the second consecutive year. The Lady Jays finished the season 17-5, advancing to the second round of the NCAA championship before being eliminated. In the final national rankings, the Jays finished 14th. Lauren Carney '01(left) and Ashley Robbins '02 were first-team All-Americans.

The women's soccer team finished 16-3, then won two more matches to garner the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Mid-Atlantic regional championship. The 18 total victories was a Hopkins record.

More star women: The Hopkins volleyball squad capped a 24-10 season by placing second in the ECAC Division III South regional championships. It was the fourth 20-win season in the last five for the Lady Jays. Mary Alexis Paul '01 became the school's all-time leader in kills (1,609), digs (1,419), and hitting percentage (.302). --Dale Keiger


Alumnus garners Nobel Prize

When Paul Greengard (PhD '53) was a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins, he was interested in the biochemistry of the brain. The problem was that no department specialized in such studies. There were physiologists, who studied the electrical properties of nerves; and there were biochemists, who studied specific chemical pathways, in liver or muscle cells, for instance, but rarely did the twain meet.

So Greengard created his own niche, using tools from both fields to study a special type of degeneration in nerve cells. In so doing, he became a pioneer, one of the first to found the field of neuroscience.


Greengard (l) at the Nobel ceremony.
Forty-plus years of research on neurons followed, work that earned Greengard a raft of awards and honors, culminating last October with the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Greengard, the Vincent Astor Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at Rockefeller University, focused his career on studying how nerve cells communicate. Specifically, he explored how neurotransmitters send messages to nerve cells via a mechanism called slow synaptic transmission.

His research included studies on the neurotransmitter dopamine-- which works through slow synaptic transmission--and it helped elucidate how abnormalities in dopamine cause neurological problems. Deficiencies in dopamine lead to Parkinson's disease, and excessive signaling by dopamine can contribute to schizophrenia. His work and other studies that built on it helped explain how anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac can compensate for these impairments.

A phone call at 5:15 a.m., on October 9, informed Greengard that he had won the Nobel. "I was surprised and I wasn't surprised," he says. "I know I've been a strong candidate for 20 years."

Greengard shares the Nobel with Arvid Carlsson, emeritus professor of pharmacology at the University of Göteborg in Sweden, who identified dopamine as a neurotransmitter; and with Eric Kandel, University Professor at Columbia University, for his research on how the pathways described by Greengard are involved in learning and memory.

His share of the $915,000 prize will go to a fund he established at Rockefeller University to support the training of outstanding women in biomedical research. "I've seen a lot of discrimination against women in my career," he says. "Also, my mother died giving me birth; I thought it would be a way to honor her."

Greengard is the 27th Nobel laureate with a Hopkins affiliation. --MH


A boost for biomedicine

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is launching a $125 million basic research institute that will support cutting-edge work in biomedicine.

The Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences will incorporate eight departments, including molecular biology, genetics and biomedical engineering. Currently an institute without walls, the IBBS will eventually be housed in a building containing dozens of labs, offices, and shared research instruments.

"The way science is going to be done is changing due to the enormous flood of information from the molecular biology revolution," says IBBS director Thomas Kelly '62 (PhD '68, MD '69). "We need to do things in a multi-disciplinary way. We've got to band together." Hopkins has begun a funding campaign to support the institute, and recently received $30 million from an anonymous donor. --MH



Illustration by Kevin O'Malley
Early explorations in the field

Hopkins sophomore Abigail L. McGuirk is interested in the dead.

As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and an undergraduate in the Near Eastern Studies Department, she is learning to analyze decomposition processes that affect how well artifacts are preserved. "In other words," she says, "I study how things rot."

McGuirk is spending a month this winter in Egypt working with Betsy Bryan, chair of Hopkins Near Eastern Studies Department, excavating ancient ruins in the precinct of the Temple of the Goddess Mut at Karnak. On her journey back in time McGuirk is also marking a most modern phenomenon--the emergence of the undergraduate research scholar.

As she puts it: "You are expected to have grand research projects when you are a graduate student, but when you are an undergraduate, it's different. You can do research without the full pressure of 'It's your career here.' You can say, 'I need help. How do I do this?'"

McGuirk, 19, is one of a growing number of Hopkins students pursuing research projects long before they contemplate a thesis or dissertation. Theodore Poehler, Hopkins vice provost for research, estimates that 80 percent of Hopkins undergraduates take part in funded research projects, one-on-one mentorships with faculty, or clinical and other studies in Hopkins labs. Many are preparing for grad school and beyond."There is this realization that being involved in research makes a difference," says Gary Ostrander, Hopkins associate dean for research. "They see it as a prerequisite and a requirement."

Increasingly, administrators say, prospective freshmen applying to Hopkins have pursued research in high school. And this isn't your standard science fair fare. "Many are veteran researchers by the time they apply to Hopkins," Poehler says. "A small, more precocious group is doing research with NIH."

At Hopkins, the undergraduate projects are as varied as thumbprints: one student spends a summer studying cathedral art in southern France, another looks at the molecular mechanism for learning and memory, a third explores Polish economic reform after the Cold War, and a few more have gone to China to study orphanages or HIV rates.

Partly in response to the demand, opportunities for such experience at Hopkins have boomed over the past decade, with the university increasing research funding, and fostering mentorships and international internships in Asia and Latin America. The Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards, $2,500 grants for student-proposed projects, were founded in the early 1990s. The Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Program, inaugurated in spring 1999, provides up to $10,000 per student--$2,500 a year to 20 freshmen and 10 sophomores--to pursue research while at Hopkins.

And in 2000, Hopkins awarded the first $20,000 postgraduate grant for a year of travel and independent study abroad. The Florence "Meg" Long Walsh/Second Decade Society Leadership Award, which evolved from a smaller SDS grant, was given to graduating senior Thach-Giao Truong, who is studying the impact of the global marketplace on younger generations of Vietnamese. (See Sept. '00 issue, p. 41).

"Many of these programs provide funding and mentors for non-science research," says Steven R. David, associate dean for academic affairs. "That's where the money is harder to come by." --Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson


Boxing's her bag

Rosalie L. Parker's bio is a bit eclectic.

A Harvard-educated former financial analyst in New York and Paris, Parker, at 26, is a graduate student at Hopkins's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. She likes scuba diving, speaks French and Spanish, and is learning Russian. She is also the U.S. amateur women's flyweight boxing champion.

"I'm not going to let other people's view of gender hold me back," says Parker, a compact 5 feet 2 inches, 112 pounds. "I'm going to reach my potential whether that be in athletics, in my career, or academically."


Parker in the ring.
Photo by Benjamin Hochbery
 

"I'm not going to let other people's view of gender hold me back," says Parker.
Photo by Louis Rosenstock
In late November, after having finished up a historic USA-Russia amateur women's boxing duel in Boston, Parker headed back to school on a Saturday, only to prepare for a midterm on Monday, and write a paper and study for a Russian exam set for Tuesday. "I brought my books to Boston to study, but I had very little time," she says. "There was a lot of pressure, a lot more media attention than I expected."

Parker, who has been featured in stories about women's boxing in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and elsewhere, has become a celebrity of sorts at SAIS, where her story has arched a few eyebrows, she admits. Yet her bio is not atypical for the vanguard of white-collar women boxers. They number among the 1,300 female boxers registered with USA Boxing, the Olympic amateur boxing federation that started admitting women in 1993.

Says Parker, "We have moms, we have civil engineers, I think more of us have college degrees than not."

Parker started her boxing career in the mid-1990s as a Harvard sophomore. She had run track, played tennis, and was a member of Radcliffe's women's rugby team. When injuries to both knees ended her involvement in those sports, she wandered into the school gym looking for a new challenge and saw a flier advertising a boxing club. She started sparring.

At first, her parents--Winifred Berner Parker (MD '70) and Leroy Parker (MD '69)--were a little thrown. "Initially they were a little worried," Parker says. "All they knew is what they had seen on television. But I am not stepping into the ring with a guy that weighs 200-plus pounds who is going to bite my ear off."

Like men's amateur boxing, Parker's duels follow rules different from those in pro matches. Amateur female boxers wear headgear and use more heavily padded gloves, and fight in shorter bouts consisting of two three- minute rounds based on a point system. Yet it's no sissy match. She has suffered stress fractures in her hands, and a few black eyes, bloody noses, and split lips.

After Parker won the inaugural New England Golden Gloves title in 1997, she went to work for an international investment banking firm in New York, then spent a year at PricewaterhouseCooper in Paris. She returned to New York in January 2000, and began training at the famed Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, where Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson once shadowboxed. In April, she competed in the Women's U.S. Championships in Midland, Texas, winning the flyweight title.

A student in SAIS's Energy, Environment, Science and Technology Program starting last fall, Parker hopes eventually to work in the U.S. government or private industry promoting investment in natural resources in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, she is training at the Charles M. Mooney, Jr. Academy of Boxing in Rockville, Maryland, where she spends her evenings jumping rope, shadowboxing, sparring with mostly male boxers, and jabbing bags. She is preparing to compete for a national flyweight title in September, and if she prevails, to take a semester off to train for the first world championship for women boxers, sponsored by USA Boxing, in November 2001.

Says Parker, "This is definitely a big chance to do something amazing." --JCS


Q&A

In October, Hopkins history professor Louis Galambos edited the final letter of The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, marking the end of a 37-year, 21-volume project to collect and annotate the important documents of Eisenhower's career as general and U.S. president. Daun van Ee served as co-editor.

You've both said this sort of scholarly work probably could not be done for more contemporary presidents. Why?

van Ee: The written word--the formal letter, the memo, the cable, or telegram--is so much less important as a medium of communication now. What has replaced it is the telephone, and now e-mail, which may or may not be captured for use as documentary records. Plus, things are shifting so fast in the electronic world; every 20 years you have machines that can't read things that were produced 20 years ago.

Galambos: My guess is that we will have short publications of certain documentary materials that are crucial. But I don't think we'll have any more presidential papers of this sort.

What stands out for you about Eisenhower the man?

Galambos: His ability to lead people. And that he was just tough as nails. He was very, very dedicated to cooperation. He believed that if you had disagreements, you should disagree when the policy was being decided, then everyone should line up.

van Ee: He had the perfect temperament to be president. He couldn't be shaken, he couldn't be rattled. He had a favorite expression: 'Don't make mistakes in a hurry.' After the Russians launched a satellite, there were tremendous cries that the U.S. was losing the technological war and was now vulnerable to Soviet missiles. Eisenhower decided that the health of the economy was more important and he would not unbalance things with deficit spending to gain what he considered only prestige objectives in outer space.

Galambos: One thing he found hard to accept about American politics was interest groups. Interest groups have only one interest--not the national interest but the interest of their members. It angered him all the time.
--Interview by Dale Keiger


Quiet acts of kindness

In Baltimore, connoisseurs of the quirky--and of tomato aspic-- know the Women's Industrial Exchange, a gift shop and restaurant famed for inexpensive entrees, like egg salad on white bread, that could have been served there by the same waitress 60 years ago. Among those connoisseurs is Lillian Bowers, a member of the Eisenhower Library support staff, who recently completed a documentary about the Exchange, titled Not a Lady Among Us!

Bowers co-produced and co-directed the 28-minute movie, working with Matt Pittroff, Jeff Schmale, and Jason Hubert, the principals of the TruckStop Motion Picture Company, which produces films and TV commercials in Baltimore.

A few years ago, Bowers read The Business of Charity: The Woman's Exchange Movement, 1832-1900, by historian Kathleen Waters Sander. The book details the history of a movement that created more than 70 exchanges around the country, shops in which genteel women who had fallen on hard times could sell handiwork on consignment. The Baltimore exchange, founded more than a century ago, still sells crafts as well as meals and baked goods. Captivated by the book, Bowers approached Sander and the two decided to collaborate on a film. Their project drew on $35,000 in funding from sources including the Ensign Markland Kelly Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, and Preservation Maryland.

One challenge: creating interesting film footage about people who practically define quiet self-effacement. The waitresses and other people who have worked for the Exchange for decades, some in their 80s, were not used to talking about themselves. "How do you make something cinematic that by its nature is a subject about quiet acts of kindness?" asks Bowers. "How do you tell a story from points of view of people who really just want to be quiet?"

Adds Pittroff, "We didn't realize this until the end, but there's no conflict in the film. Eight times out of 10, conflict drives any movie."

Not a Lady Among Us! had its premiere at Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre last November. Bowers and Pittroff hope that film festivals and perhaps the PBS television network will show their documentary, as well. Says Pittroff, "All of the people we interviewed were incredibly interesting and charming. Somehow, for 28 minutes, the film moves without having any real direction." --DK


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