Penn Current | Top Stories en-us Penn Current: News, Ideas, and Conversations from the University of Pennsylvania 140 46 Q&A with Antonia Villarruel Antonia Villarruel was in eighth grade when she made a decision that would shape her entire professional life: She decided she was going to be a nurse. Heather A. Davis 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Sara Solomon What exactly does the term “public health” encompass? Sara Solomon, deputy director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives, has perfected her spiel. “It can be confusing, and it’s something I have to explain to my mom often,” Solomon says with a laugh. Maria Zankey 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Joyce Kim EARLY ELECTION DAYS: In elementary school, College senior Joyce Kim got her first taste of running for student government when she was elected historian. Heather A. Davis 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Penn Museum program takes Philly students back in time for hands-on tour of ancient world Seventh-grade students across the School District of Philadelphia can travel back in time and explore Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt through the Penn Museum’s new “Unpacking the Past” program. Greg Johnson 2014-10-30T00:00:00 WDC alum Bretagne begins new career as diabetes alert dog November is American Diabetes Month—a time to raise awareness about the chronic disease, which is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, affecting one in 12 Americans. For Bretagne—the first diabetes alert dog to come from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (WDC)—her new career has instilled constant vigilance of the potential pitfalls of the disease. Maria Zankey 2014-11-13T00:00:00 Arthur Ross Gallery unveils ‘12@12’ lecture series Billed as “a tasty art nugget in 12 minutes flat,” the new Arthur Ross Gallery (ARG) program “12@12” aims to whet the public’s appetite for art through quick, informal talks with curators, artists, and gallery staff. ARG Gallery Coordinator Sara Stewart says that the title is more than just a catchy phrase. “How could you forget ‘12 @12’?” she says. “It’s a 12-minute program that starts promptly at 12 noon.” Jacquie Posey 2014-11-13T00:00:00 Penn researcher studies how regional airport planners can help airports grow sustainably Many planners seek to expand major airports in the United States, despite the significant socioeconomic and environmental impacts. In an expansion of the Philadelphia International Airport, for example, city officials must take into account the substantial environmental impact on nearby residents, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, and the Delaware River. Jeanne Leong 2014-11-06T00:00:00 Penn's new AddLab boasts 3-D printers for a 3-D world Thanks in part to an anonymous $250,000 gift, Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is opening the AddLab, a new facility that will feature a suite of state-of-the-art 3-D printing tools. The “add” in AddLab is for “additive manufacturing,” a catch-all term that encompasses the different techniques now available for making three-dimensional objects by building them layer by layer.   Evan Lerner 2014-10-02T00:00:00 People of Penn 2014-07-17T00:00:00 Four-part multimedia series explores robotics at Penn 2014-05-01T00:00:00 Africana studies prof gives brief history of American slavery Heather Andrea Williams, a Presidential Professor and professor in the Department of Africana Studies in the School of Arts & Sciences, opens her latest book, “American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction,” in 15th century Portugal during the reign of Prince Henry. Greg Johnson 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Try Penn+Box, a file-sharing service for the Penn community Students, particularly grade schoolchildren, are absolutely overjoyed with snow days and the “staycation” they bring from classwork, pop quizzes, and homework. Adults may not share the same sense of glee, as they know that, snow or no snow, office work must still be completed.  In the event of a snow day and the rare instance when Penn closes due to weather, the University provides a number of services that make it fairly easy for employees to work remotely from home. Jacquie Posey 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Taking action toward an even greener future Five years on the heels of the University’s wildly successful Climate Action Plan, Penn recently announced its intention to embark on an even more ambitious venture: Climate Action Plan 2.0, a roadmap for environmental improvement and sustainability on campus to 2019 and beyond. Maria Zankey 2014-11-20T00:00:00 Penn Dental researcher treats multiple sclerosis in mice George Hajishengallis, a professor of microbiology in the School of Dental Medicine, spends most of his professional energy on research that concerns the mouth; specifically, he studies a severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. But, as he notes, “the mouth is not an isolated entity.”  Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-11-13T00:00:00 Eleven Penn apps in running for $50K prize The AppItUP Challenge, the app development contest run by the Penn Center for Innovation and its business incubator, UPstart, has a new slate of semi-finalists. Evan Lerner 2014-11-13T00:00:00 Penn's all-female computer science program encourages women to embrace coding While gender gaps are narrowing in most science, technology, engineering, and math fields, the share of women studying computer science has declined from a peak of roughly 35 percent in the mid-1980s to less than 20 percent today. But at Penn, budding female computer scientists are making their presence known through the Women in Computer Science (WiCS) residential program. Madeleine Stone 2014-11-13T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Alex T. Williams DREAM TEAM: Alex T. Williams, from Arlington, Texas, is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Annenberg School for Communication. Greg Johnson 2014-10-16T00:00:00 Sniffing rotten coffee beans for the sake of history In 1793, people walking around what is now known as Old City in downtown Philadelphia may have been subject to an unpleasant odor permeating the air. A shipment of coffee beans had been dumped on Water Street between Arch and Race streets, along the Delaware River, and left to rot. The stench was apparently so great that Benjamin Rush—a Founding Father, well-known physician, and professor of medicine at Penn at the time—believed it was to blame for a devastating epidemic of yellow fever that struck the city that year. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-11-06T00:00:00 Penn urges University community to ‘ReThink Your Footprint’ Throughout the month of November, Penn is encouraging faculty, staff, and students not just to recycle their coffee cups, but switch to reusable mugs as part of a campus-wide waste minimization awareness campaign. Maria Zankey 2014-11-06T00:00:00 Penn expands campus dining and retail options Several leading Philadelphia retail stores—a ramen noodle restaurant, a gift boutique, and a coffee house that also sells clothes—have expanded or relocated their businesses to Penn. Nom Nom Ramen now has an outpost in the food court at 34th and Walnut streets. Nom Nom specializes in authentic, Japanese-style ramen noodles, pork buns, and shaved ice. The Center City-based restaurant won a 2012 “Best of Philly” award for ramen. Jacquie Posey 2014-10-09T00:00:00 Q&A with Dorothy Roberts When Dorothy Roberts was 3 months old, she moved with her parents from Chicago to Liberia, where her mother, Iris, had worked as a young woman after leaving Jamaica. Greg Johnson 2014-10-16T00:00:00 New website highlights PIK professors A recently launched website,, provides a way to stay updated with the ongoing, world-changing work of the University’s 15 Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professors—a figure Penn President Amy Gutmann plans to grow as part of the Penn Compact 2020 initiative. 2014-09-11T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Alex T. Williams DREAM TEAM: Alex T. Williams, from Arlington, Texas, is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Annenberg School for Communication. Greg Johnson 2014-10-16T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Elsa Amaral Some might consider Elsa Amaral’s role as a physical therapist at Penn to be an accidental career. In 2001, while living in Hoboken, N.J., and working for Macy’s in Manhattan, she injured herself during a skiing trip and wound up in physical therapy. Maria Zankey 2014-10-16T00:00:00 Penn professor pieces together jigsaw puzzle of violence Adrian Raine, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Perelman School of Medicine, has been conducting groundbreaking resear Christina Cook 2014-10-30T00:00:00 Reinventing the language of coastal resilience When Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha, professor and adjunct professor of landscape architecture, respectively, at Penn’s School of Design, were asked to devise strategies that would build resilience in the face of rising sea levels in Norfolk, Va., they Christina Cook 2014-10-16T00:00:00 For the Record: Penn Boathouse Rowing, one of the oldest sports at Penn, began in 1854 when 10 freshmen founded the University Barge Club (UBC). Jeanne Leong 2014-10-16T00:00:00 Dalits overcome caste barriers to become self-made entrepreneurs The dehumanizing system of racial segregation that flourished in the American South from the end of Reconstruction through the 1970s has a friend in the former caste system in India. Both were callous, heartless, and cruel, and marginalized an oppressed people. Greg Johnson 2014-10-16T00:00:00 Rethinking STEM courses REINVISIONING STEM: Penn is one of more than 30 colleges and universities tasked with rethinking the way science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses are taught in the classroom, especially at the introductory collegiate level, by replacing lectures with active student engagement in discovery and problem so Maria Zankey 2014-10-16T00:00:00 'Hush-Puppy' device rewards dogs for quiet time For many dog owners, incessant barking is the bane of their existence. Some resort to using “shock collars” that deliver a jolt when their animal barks. The brainchild of a School of Veterinary Medicine student, however, may one day help pet lovers quiet their pets using positive reinforcement in the form of food rewards. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-10-09T00:00:00