Penn Current | Top Stories http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/rss en-us Penn Current: News, Ideas, and Conversations from the University of Pennsylvania http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/images/penn_logo.gif http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/ 140 46 Staff Q&A with Erin Cross http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/interviews/staff-qa-erin-cross Less than two decades ago, Erin Cross was a graduate student in a doctoral program at Penn State University. Throughout her studies, she found it wasn’t the actual program she was most drawn to—it was the student life activities within the LGBT community on campus that she found most fulfilling. Maria Zankey 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/interviews/staff-qa-erin-cross Coding at PAS http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/coding-pas A group of students at Penn Alexander are hacking parents’ classic warning that video games turn brains to mush. In a course developed by Yasmin Kafai, a professor of teaching, learning, and leadership at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), a group of 12 sixth to eighth graders are working not only to understand how video games work, but to actually create the games themselves. Maria Zankey 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/coding-pas Penn seeks Philly Science Festival submissions http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/latest-news/penn-seeks-philly-science-festival-submissions As part of Penn’s participation in the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, University organizers are putting out a call for students, faculty, and staff to host an event or activity at the spring extravaganza. Held from April 24-May 2, the Science Festival of discovery and innovation, organized by The Franklin Institute, is a collaboration involving area universities, research centers, museums, and high-tech companies. Jeanne Leong 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/latest-news/penn-seeks-philly-science-festival-submissions Student Spotlight with Sydney Stipanovich http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/interviews/student-spotlight-sydney-stipanovich SHOOTING STARS: Skimming sophomore women’s basketball center Sydney Stipanovich’s resume, it’s difficult to believe she’s only been at Penn for less than two years. Maria Zankey 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/interviews/student-spotlight-sydney-stipanovich New Penn MOOC provides intro to American law http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/new-penn-mooc-provides-intro-american-law It is next to impossible to open a newspaper, browse the web, or watch television without coming across an item of consequence related to the law. Be they criminal laws and civil laws, contracts and expiring contracts, property and deeds, marriages and divorces, or lawsuits and custody disputes, the law is pervasive in American life, even if not always overtly, and decides some of society’s most central issues. Greg Johnson 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/new-penn-mooc-provides-intro-american-law Penn's 20th annual MLK Symposium begins Jan. 15 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penns-20th-annual-mlk-symposium-begins-jan-15 This year marks the 20th anniversary of Penn’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative Symposium for Social Change. Robert Carter, co-organizer of the Symposium and associate director of the University’s African-American Resource Center, says Penn has made a quantitative commitment to honoring King’s legacy and keeping his dream alive by providing two decades worth of funding, space, and programming. Jacquie Posey 2015-01-15T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penns-20th-annual-mlk-symposium-begins-jan-15 A more perfect criminal justice system http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/more-perfect-criminal-justice-system America’s system of criminal justice is supposed to be equal, exact, and colorblind, but it is not without its flaws. Created by human beings, it is at the mercy of human error, usually made in good faith, although occasionally with ill intent. The National Registry of Exonerations maintains a list of nearly 1,500 people who were wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all charges. The Registry catalogs exonerations only since 1989, leaving potentially thousands of other innocent people languishing in prison while the truly guilty roam scot-free. Greg Johnson 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/more-perfect-criminal-justice-system Looking for sewage on the waterfront http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/looking-sewage-waterfront Philadelphia is home to many beautiful waterways, from the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers to the Wissahickon and Cobbs creeks. A visit to their banks affords city dwellers a chance to escape the concrete jungle to fish, hike, picnic, or let their dogs romp and roam. Yet after a heavy rainfall, these may not be the safest places for urbanites to get their nature fix. The reason? Sewage. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/looking-sewage-waterfront Wharton program helps close America’s vast racial wealth gap http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-11/latest-news/wharton-program-helps-close-america%E2%80%99s-vast-racial-wealth-gap Keith Weigelt, the Marks-Darivoff Family Professor at the Wharton School, aims to help reduce the “racial wealth gap” by teaching financial literacy classes to people in Penn’s surrounding community. The “Building Bridges to Wealth” program, a Wharton initiative, is currently offered to high school students and adults in underserved communities. Jeanne Leong 2014-12-11T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-11/latest-news/wharton-program-helps-close-america%E2%80%99s-vast-racial-wealth-gap Coding at PAS http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/coding-pas A group of students at Penn Alexander are hacking parents’ classic warning that video games turn brains to mush. In a course developed by Yasmin Kafai, a professor of teaching, learning, and leadership at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), a group of 12 sixth to eighth graders are working not only to understand how video games work, but to actually create the games themselves. Maria Zankey 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/features/coding-pas Twitter can predict rates of heart disease http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/research/twitter-can-predict-rates-heart-disease Twitter has helped to launch or torpedo careers, bring cute animal pictures to millions, and document social movements from the ground up. Now, the social media site can be considered an accurate predictor of rates of atherosclerotic heart disease in communities across the United States. Heather A. Davis 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/research/twitter-can-predict-rates-heart-disease Penn seeks Philly Science Festival submissions http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/latest-news/penn-seeks-philly-science-festival-submissions As part of Penn’s participation in the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, University organizers are putting out a call for students, faculty, and staff to host an event or activity at the spring extravaganza. Held from April 24-May 2, the Science Festival of discovery and innovation, organized by The Franklin Institute, is a collaboration involving area universities, research centers, museums, and high-tech companies. Jeanne Leong 2015-01-22T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-22/latest-news/penn-seeks-philly-science-festival-submissions Penn's EAP offers legal and life help http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penns-eap-offers-legal-and-life-help Every day, Penn employees purchase new homes, navigate landlord and tenant issues, adopt children, and act as caretakers. Life can get complicated, but the University offers services that can help ease the burden of balancing work and home. Maria Zankey 2015-01-15T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penns-eap-offers-legal-and-life-help Penn Science, Lightbulb cafés spring forth http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penn-science-lightbulb-caf%C3%A9s-spring-forth On many a Tuesday this semester, Penn will gladly shine a spotlight on University research in the sciences through the Penn Science Café, and showcase research in the social sciences, the arts, and the humanities by way of the Greg Johnson 2015-01-15T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/penn-science-lightbulb-caf%C3%A9s-spring-forth New graphene-based biosensor a triple threat http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/new-graphene-based-biosensor-triple-threat Biosensors—electronic devices that can detect the presence of proteins and other biological molecules—have a wide variety of applications, from medical diagnostics and food safety, to security and law enforcement. But current biosensors need to be custom-built to detect a specific target. Evan Lerner 2015-01-15T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2015-01-15/latest-news/new-graphene-based-biosensor-triple-threat Q&A with Charles Kane http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/interviews/qa-charles-kane Charles Kane’s world is filtered through a geometric lens. He calculates and stores information in a mental grid, sorting each bit away in pictures that blend together as beautifully as they do harmoniously. Maria Zankey 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/interviews/qa-charles-kane Penn adds Native American studies minor http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/latest-news/penn-adds-native-american-studies-minor In the northern and southern hemispheres of the Americas, there are more than 600 Indigenous nations—also called Indians, American Indians, and First Nations—each with distinct tribal identities, forms of kinship relations, and social and political alliances with other groups. Sarah Welsh 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/latest-news/penn-adds-native-american-studies-minor Wharton prof gives advice on integrating work and life http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/research/wharton-prof-gives-advice-integrating-work-and-life Twenty-four hours does not seem like enough time for people to juggle their professional responsibilities while also raising their children, engaging with the community, and taking care of themselves and their home. The population at large, in the United States and abroad, finds it increasingly difficult to manage their work and private lives, and achieve harmony between the two. Greg Johnson 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/research/wharton-prof-gives-advice-integrating-work-and-life ICA commission shows increased understanding of HIV/AIDS http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-11/latest-news/ica-commission-shows-increased-understanding-hivaids The first clinical observation of AIDS occurred in 1981, a time when very little about the disease was understood by medical professionals, and public misconceptions were rampant. After more than three decades of research, medical advances, and general public awareness, understanding of the disease has drastically changed since the early days of HIV/AIDS. Maria Zankey 2014-12-11T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-11/latest-news/ica-commission-shows-increased-understanding-hivaids HUP dept. delivers precious bundles of joy http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/hup-dept-delivers-precious-bundles-joy The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) delivers more than 4,100 babies each year, slightly less than its older sibling, Pennsylvania Hospital. Obstetricians and perinatologists at HUP are in charge of deliveries, and provide expecting mothers with state-of-the-art prenatal care, expertise during labor and delivery, and comprehensive post-delivery care for moms, newborns, dads, and families. Greg Johnson 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/features/hup-dept-delivers-precious-bundles-joy Penn Engineering plan filters wastewater produced by fracking http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-04/latest-news/penn-engineering-plan-filters-wastewater-produced-fracking Contaminated wastewater produced during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a major environmental concern associated with natural gas extraction. Fracking involves pumping large amounts of water into underground rocks to release the natural gas stored within. When this water returns to the surface, it brings with it contaminants, including oils, salts, and heavy metals. Natural gas companies typically deal with wastewater by pumping it back into the ground, but this process is expensive and raises concerns about geologic instability. Madeleine Stone 2014-12-04T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-04/latest-news/penn-engineering-plan-filters-wastewater-produced-fracking Student Spotlight with Erica Ball http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/interviews/student-spotlight-erica-ball [youtube]http://youtu.be/8dUYVvIdhCY[/youtube] EARLY START: Erica Ball was just 3 years old when she begged her parents to let her play the piano. Ball doesn’t remember exactly what sparked her interest, but she says her fluency grew quickly as she progressed from playing on a tiny keyboard to a baby grand by middle school. Ball, now a fourth-year graduate student in composition in the Department of Music, also plays the violin. “I learned to read music probably a few months before I learned to read words,” she says. Heather A. Davis 2014-12-18T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-18/interviews/student-spotlight-erica-ball Penn Vet looking for volunteers to babysit newborn horses http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-04/latest-news/penn-vet-looking-volunteers-babysit-newborn-horses This past March, tens of thousands of people around the world tuned in to the School of Veterinary Medicine’s “foal cam” to welcome Boone, a leggy colt born to mare My Special Girl at the New Bolton Center campus in Kennett Square, Pa. For these viewers, watching over the internet was the next best thing to being in the stall. But for animal lovers wanting to get more up close and personal, there is an opportunity to do so this spring. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-12-04T00:00:00 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-12-04/latest-news/penn-vet-looking-volunteers-babysit-newborn-horses Penn Museum program takes Philly students back in time for hands-on tour of ancient world http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-10-30/features/penn-museum-program-takes-philly-students-back-time-hands-tour-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-10-30/features/penn-museum-program-takes-philly-students-back-time-hands-tour-ancient-world WDC alum Bretagne begins new career as diabetes alert dog http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-13/latest-news/wdc-alum-bretagne-begins-new-career-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-13/latest-news/wdc-alum-bretagne-begins-new-career-diabetes-alert-dog Q&A with Antonia Villarruel http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-20/interviews/qa-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-20/interviews/qa-antonia-villarruel Arthur Ross Gallery unveils ‘12@12’ lecture series http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-13/latest-news/arthur-ross-gallery-unveils-%E2%80%981212%E2%80%99-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-13/latest-news/arthur-ross-gallery-unveils-%E2%80%981212%E2%80%99-lecture-series Student Spotlight with Joyce Kim http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-20/interviews/student-spotlight-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-11-20/interviews/student-spotlight-joyce-kim Penn's new AddLab boasts 3-D printers for a 3-D world http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-10-02/latest-news/penns-new-addlab-boasts-3-d-printers-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 http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/2014-10-02/latest-news/penns-new-addlab-boasts-3-d-printers-3-d-world