Penn Current | Top Stories en-us Penn Current: News, Ideas, and Conversations from the University of Pennsylvania 140 46 Student Spotlight with Farzana Shah PULITZER FELLOW: Farzana Shah, a master’s student in the School of Nursing, was recently awarded a Pulitzer International Student Reporting Fellowship from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Repor Greg Johnson 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Penn Vet’s Best Friends Bash brings awareness to craniofacial differences It wasn’t long ago that Maria Soltero-Rivera learned an important lesson: “Different is good.” Lauren Hertzler 2015-07-02T00:00:00 Penn takes checkered flag at international racecar competition Penn Electric Racing took home the gold at an international competition in mid-June. Automotive engineering society SAE International hosts an annual series of racing events designed to spur creativity, innovation, and problem-solving in the next generation of engineering students. The Formula SAE competition, which pits custom-built, high-performance racecars against one another, brought in more than 100 teams this year, hailing from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan. Evan Lerner 2015-07-02T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Anne Tiballi This past semester, Anne Tiballi taught a freshman seminar in Penn’s Department of Anthropology in the School of Arts & Sciences. Lauren Hertzler 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Penn roboticists test their mettle at DARPA challenge In early June, Penn engineers were among the 23 teams that brought the world’s most advanced humanoid robots to Pasadena, Calif., for the ultimate test: the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals. There, robots had to pass a gauntlet of eight tasks that simulate what a rescue robot might be called on to perform in a crisis situation. [youtube][/youtube] Evan Lerner 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Penn updates and expands paid sick leave policy On May 13, the City of Philadelphia’s Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Law, also known as the Philadelphia Sick Leave Law, went into effect. The legislation requires employers in the city to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours an employee works. Jacquie Posey 2015-06-04T00:00:00 Penn telescope hunts for planets orbiting small, dim stars Penn astronomers are celebrating the dedication of a new planet-hunting telescope known as Minerva-Red. Installed at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona, Minerva-Red is part of the Minerva project, an array of low-cost telescopes that are designed to discover planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Evan Lerner 2015-05-28T00:00:00 Franklin Field track closed for the summer Monday’s Commencement marked the last event at Franklin Field for a while. Lauren Hertzler 2015-05-21T00:00:00 Wharton experts talk business on the radio In a little less than an hour, listeners learn how to take their companies public—or build their brands—thanks to advice from Amanda Miller Littlejohn. The Washington, D.C.-based personal branding coach made the trek to Penn’s campus at the end of April to chat with Laura Zarrow, a host of “Women@Work” on SiriusXM’s Business Radio, powered by the Wharton School. Lauren Hertzler 2015-05-14T00:00:00 Penn grad student identifies new dinosaur, a relative of Velociraptor Anyone who has seen Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film “Jurassic Park” likely has an image of a Velociraptor—depicted in the movie as large, aggressive, green monsters with razor-sharp claws and teeth—seared in their brain. Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-05-14T00:00:00 Penn recognized for commitment to economic inclusion For more than two decades, Penn has had a strategic and systematic approach to economic inclusion. In that time, the University has worked to expand economic opportunities for minorities and women in the areas of purchasing, human resources, and construction by setting annual goals for engaging local, minority, and women-owned businesses and workforce participation. Heather A. Davis 2015-07-02T00:00:00 Study shows consumers resigned to give up data for discounts Companies collect information about you each time you use their store loyalty card to get a discount on a purchase. And when you visit a store and use its free Wi-Fi, your online activity is being monitored. Jacquie Posey 2015-07-02T00:00:00 Penn Vet researchers find better way to measure blood glucose Point-of-care glucose meters, or glucometers, have revolutionized the landscape for diabetics and practitioners. Using only a small drop of blood to measure blood glucose in an instant, they make it easier for people with diabetes to maintain their levels in a healthy range. Pet owners, too, sometimes rely on glucometers to monitor their diabetic animals. Glucometers are also used in human and veterinary hospitals to monitor emergency and critical care patients. The only problem?  Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-07-02T00:00:00 Eliminating food deserts may not lead to healthy eating According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 23.5 million people in the United States live in food deserts—urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. More than half of these individuals live in low-income households. Americans who live in these areas may have no access to food at all, or only fast food or convenience stores with limited healthy options. The USDA says living in a food desert contributes to a poor diet and can lead to increased obesity levels and other diet-related diseases. Greg Johnson 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Simple type of evolution not so simple after all When most people consider the concept of evolution, they may imagine a process by which an organism adapts to a new environment, envisioning, for example, the varied beaks of Darwin’s finches. But the vast majority of evolutionary processes don’t act to change an organism—they try to keep it the same. This type of selection pressure is known as purifying selection. Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Faith leaders team up for triathlon to support mental health On Sunday, June 28, Chaz Howard will kick off the triathlon with a 1,500-meter (slightly less than a mile) swim. Josh Bolton will keep spirits high with a 24.8-mile bike ride. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad will bring the team home with a 6.2-mile run. Lauren Hertzler 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Penn team blitzes nature reserve for data on living species With only one semester of graduate school at Penn under her belt, Heather Kostick is about to complete her first phase of research for her capstone project. “It’s kind of unusual for people to be thinking about their capstones until after their first year,” she says. “But I came into this program with lots of ideas, and I knew who I wanted to work with.” Lauren Hertzler 2015-06-04T00:00:00 Penn acquires rare book printed by Ben Franklin Penn Libraries is now home to a very rare copy of what’s believed to be the final book printed by University founder Benjamin Franklin. Jeanne Leong 2015-06-04T00:00:00 Penn Vet students visit Italy for European take on animal welfare Seven students from the School of Veterinary Medicine are traveling to Italy this week to see how European societies ensure that their animals—and the foods those animals produce—remain healthy and safe. “Europe is known for its progressive animal welfare laws,” says Kate Very, a rising third-year student at Penn Vet. “We wanted to put together a trip that would focus on animal welfare and also the legislative aspects of public policy, which are areas we don’t get that much exposure to in school.” Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-06-04T00:00:00 Encouraging a ‘tobacco-less’ culture at Penn This summer, Penn will begin rolling out additional initiatives that aim to foster a healthier campus through reduced tobacco use.  Heather A. Davis 2015-05-28T00:00:00 Bidding farewell to a familiar voice Two-and-a-half decades ago, Michaela Majoun accepted a DJ job at the fledgling WXPN 88.5 radio station. Heather A. Davis 2015-06-11T00:00:00 Q&A with Paul Offit [youtube][/youtube] At the tender age of 5, Paul Offit, a native of Baltimore, spent several months in 1956 in the city’s Kernan Hospital for Crippled Children while recovering from a clubfoot operation. Housed with him were around 20 children crippled from polio, a debilitating and paralyzing disease for which there was a new vaccine, but one which had not yet reached popular use. Greg Johnson 2015-05-14T00:00:00 Penn researcher developing new treatments for neglected tropical disease Leishmaniasis is far from a household word in the United States, but in the tropics, this disease affects roughly 12 million people, with about 2 million new cases every year. The cutaneous form causes unsightly skin ulcers that take months or even years to heal, and can cause major tissue damage. Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-05-21T00:00:00 Storied carriage makes return to Penn The year was 1870. Napoleon III and his troops had just surrendered to the Prussians in the Battle of Sedan. As news of the emperor’s capture spread, mobs formed in Paris, aiming to dismantle the old government and form a new one. The life of Napoleon’s wife, Empress Eugenie, was in danger. Thankfully for Eugenie, a trusted confidant formed a plan to spirit her out of the Tuileries palace to safety in England. That confidant? Her dentist, Thomas W. Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-04-30T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Eugene Janda Eugene Janda’s office in the Division of Public Safety building on Chestnut Street is full of memorabilia from a career dedicated to fire safety. Heather A. Davis 2015-05-14T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Heston Berkman STARTING UP: Heston Berkman, who recently graduated from Penn as part of the Class of 2015, is a managing partner at Dorm Room Fund (DRF). Lauren Hertzler 2015-05-14T00:00:00 Penn urban studies class takes new look at century-old Italian Market In a new urban studies class in the School of Arts & Sciences, professor Kushanava Choudhury and his undergraduate students use the classroom as a lab for doing original social science research. The class of six asked: How are immigrants playing a role in the city’s revitalization? Lauren Hertzler 2015-05-07T00:00:00 Netter Center expands pipeline program to serve each high school year [Editor’s note: This story is part of a series celebrating National Public Health Week by featuring stories that highlight public health efforts across the University. Follow along at‪ #‎PennOneHealth.] Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-04-09T00:00:00 Philly's Science Festival puts Penn expertise on display The fifth annual Philadelphia Science Festival will be held from April 24 to May 2, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about science through dozens of interactive events. Once again, Penn students, faculty, and staff will be well-represented at the festivities. Sarah Welsh 2015-04-16T00:00:00 Q&A with Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw The “Gwendolyn” in Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw is a salute from her parents to Gwendolyn Brooks, the celebrated poet who in 1950 became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize. She was given the name DuBois in honor of W.E.B. Du Bois, the esteemed scholar, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the NAACP. Greg Johnson 2015-04-16T00:00:00