Alumni News from Reed Magazine, September 2016

Maybe the place to begin a dip into What Is a Reedie?, the Sept. 2016 issue of the Reed magazine, is by asking, “what is summer?”

  1. The time of year when it rains on Portland’s annual Grand Floral Parade.
  2. A time when the highly improbable – two consecutive 100 degree days in Portland – becomes, if not exactly likely, at least a distinct possibility.
  3. The season when Reed faculty catch up on their reading.
  4. All of the above.

If you answered #4, you are right! Parade day began in a distinctly soggy way, and even though the Parade was just two weeks ago, the skies have turned the corner and 100F has been bouncing in and out of the Sat/Sun forecasts for today and tomorrow. And, of course, this is the season when I kick back with my pile of Reed magazines, beginning with the Sept. 2016 issue, What Is a Reedie?

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Janet Gunzner-Toste ’93 is an ACS Hero of Chemistry!

The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently announced its Heroes of Chemistry for 2017 and the list includes Janet’s team at Genentech. The Genentech heroes were recognized for the discovery and development of ERIVEDGE® (vismodegib), the first medicine to be approved for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced basal cell carcinoma.

The ACS describes its Heroes of Chemistry awards Continue reading

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Chemistry Grads return for 2017 Reunion

Over a dozen Reed chemistry graduates of all vintages returned to campus last week for 2017 Reunions. Prof. Arthur Glasfeld and Alan Shusterman (that’s me) were on hand to greet them when they stopped by the Chemistry building, and we joined several for the reunion march and dinner on Saturday night. It was a joy to get back together with old friends, meet their families, and even get acquainted with the friends they used to hang out with. We love you all!

Chemistry attendees included:

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Prof. Geraldine Richmond, 2017 Vollum Awardee

The recipient of the 2017 Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology is University of Oregon chemist, Prof. Geraldine (Geri) Richmond. Prof. Richmond is one of those very special scientists who can work on a broad scale, achieving international recognition as an advocate for women in science (she is the founder and director of COACh, a grassroots organization that has been assisting in the advancement of thousands of women scientists around the globe since 1997) and as a global leader in surface science, in particular, environmentally and technologically important processes that occur at water, semiconductor, and mineral surfaces. (UPDATE: The American Chemical Society has just announced that it is awarding its top honor, the 2018 Priestley Medal, to Prof. Richmond for “her pioneering contributions to our understanding of the molecular properties of liquid surfaces and her extraordinary service to chemistry on a global level.” C&EN, 7 Jun 2017)

Prof. Richmond will be delivering a special lecture, “Empowering Global Scientific Engagement,” on Tuesday, August 22 at 4:30-6:00 pm, Psychology 105.

Previous Vollum Awardees from the chemical sciences have included: Continue reading

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Rose Gonoud ’17 Tackles Drug-Resistant Malaria

What is a Reed thesis? Search online and you might come across:

The Reed Thesis

During your final year, you will plunge headlong into an intellectual adventure—the senior thesis. Undertaken with support from a faculty adviser, the senior thesis is your opportunity to explore a problem or answer a question that holds particular significance for you. (read more)

For some seniors, this adventure may be more than ‘intellectual,’ it may also involve coming face-to-face with a life-threatening disease that attacks millions of humans every year: malaria.

This year one member of the Class of 2017, Rose Gonoud, took advantage of a special opportunity to synthesize anti-malarial drugs in the experimental chemotherapy laboratory of Prof. Michael Riscoe at OHSU. You can read more about Rose and how this came to pass at “Chem major battles malaria parasite (Sallyportal blog, 24 Apr 2017).

Rose Gonoud '17

Rose Gonoud ’17

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Take Your Dog to Graduation Day

Q: What follows 9 months of Portland winter?
A: The 2017 Reed graduation ceremony, of course.

Reed’s ceremony took place during a one-day break from the rain and clouds last Monday, May 15. Our graduating class contained very flavor of chemistry: analytical, environmental, biochemical, inorganic, organic, physical, and even theoretical/computational. Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

You can watch the ceremony here. Or you can just admire the coolest-looking dog to ever graduate from the College, and its owner, freshly minted environmental chemist, Annelise Hill ’17.

Annelise Hill '17 (environmental studies-chemistry) and shaggy companion receive diploma from Pres. John Kroger

Annelise Hill ’17 (environmental studies-chemistry) and shaggy companion receive diploma from Pres. John Kroger

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Alumni News from Reed Magazine, June 2016

The Reed Magazine always carries a broad spectrum of articles, and Within Reach, the June 2016 issue, is no exception. There are articles on a diverse set of alumni pursuits (can you say, “emergency planning – gunpowder – prosthetic limbs” three times fast?), class notes, Reediana, and updates on Reed’s academic programs. A particularly exciting development in the latter category is a new academic program in “computer science” that will be formally launched in September (see Reed to Launch Computer Science Program, p.7 and Eliot Circular). The new program features courses in “computer science, computational biology, digital art, and internet culture,” and I confess that I would like nothing better than to see a regular offering in computational chemistry added to this mix. [Alumni, you can help make this happen. Just ask me how. – Alan]

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Jeremy Waen ’06 On a Sustainable Path

Two days ago a group of Reed faculty got together to discuss how we could do more to help our students succeed after graduation. A widely shared concern was the “Graduate School or Bust!” mentality that seems to dominate student thinking. A few hours later I found myself chatting with Jeremy Waen ’06, the chemistry department’s invited seminar speaker. As Jeremy sketched his story for me, and then expanded on it later during his seminar (“From Thinking Small to Acting Big: One Reedie’s Atypical Career Path in an Era of Climate Change and Trumped-Up Politics”), I experienced first-hand the student dilemma that my colleagues had been talking about.

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Alumni News from Reed Magazine, March 2016

The cover article for the March 2016 issue of Reed magazine carries the title, Patterns of Power, which alludes to the relationship between fashion and society. I would also encourage readers to check out What is a Successful College Education? There are, naturally, as many answers to this question as there are days in the lives of our students, but here’s something that has been on my mind: We are living in a world blanketed by information and misinformation. “Facts” are being shot at us from all directions, 24 hours every day, 7 days a week. The traditional roles of experts and reporters as the producers and conduits of “facts” are being challenged more and more, not just by interest groups trying to advance a particular agenda, but also by the ways we, the consumers of information, operate, that is, we increasingly rely on methods for information sharing that bypass the authentication that traditional information channels once afforded. In this “fact-filled” climate, a college education, it seems to me, must not only teach students how to think critically about the quality of the information they will receive, it must also teach them to appreciate the subconscious ways in which facts influence human thought. We are not the rational creatures we believe ourselves to be.
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Alumni News from Reed Magazine, December 2015

Sculpting the City, the December 2015 issue of Reed magazine, is an eclectic affair covering topics as diverse as intellectuals working for the CIA, the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683, muckraking journalism, the design of urban spaces (cover story, p. 24), and still more.

Perhaps the most striking essay in all this is a “letter from the editor,” Chris Lydgate ’90, titled Return on Investment. In just eight paragraphs Lydgate describes the life story of one of Reed’s most accomplished graduates and comments on the recent trend to monetize the value of every experience. The graduate in question was the late Ken Koe ’45, whose life spanned Depression-era poverty in Astoria and on Portland’s west side, and the highest level of medicinal chemistry as a co-inventor of the antidepressant Zoloft (see In Memoriam: The Architect of Zoloft below). Koe was able to escape his humble beginnings when Reed awarded him a full scholarship ($250) on the eve of his high school graduation. Koe described his Reed education as an “exhilarating intellectual journey,” but, even with a full scholarship, it was a challenging one: to make Reed’s financial gift stretch as far as possible, Koe arranged his schedule so that he could graduate in just three years, even while commuting across the Willamette each day, and working weekends in a Chinatown restaurant. To be sure, Koe hoped that his Reed degree would lead to a better life, but what that might look like, no one could say. Lydgate offers this comment,“We hear a lot of questions these days about the ‘return on investment’ of a college degree, typically framed in terms of your earning power five or 10 years after graduation. It’s a useful, important discussion. But to my mind, this definition of ‘return’ is far too narrow. The point of getting an education at a place like Reed is not to fatten your wallet but to sharpen your mind and prepare yourself for the intellectual challenges that lie ahead.”

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