It’s been a good month for writing! Dissertation AND extracurricular, I’m happy to say. I’m almost a doctor!
But first, we’ve got some important science to talk about. After hatching the idea (ha) at Zoo Bar, a grubby box across the street from the National Zoo in Washington, DC, my favorite story of all time has finally become an actual piece of writing on the internet. I emailed the zoo’s information line and soon found myself Skyping with Chris Crowe, whose last name by the way is Crowe. This bird man had the sweetest, weirdest story I’d ever heard, and it was incredibly fun to spin the gold he was giving me in the interview. Walnut the Crane who fell in love with her zookeeper trended for like a whole Saturday on the Verge until some Game of Thrones episodes leaked and wrecked her lead. It was a good day.
Still high off crane love, I went up to the Lawrence Hall of Science to cover their STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities for the Berkeley Science Review blog. There, I got to meet Dr. Josh Miele, whose work I really admire. I first learned about him while researching the Sonic Eye for last fall’s issue of the BSR. He works on engineering smarter assistive devices for blind people, a field he got into out of plain necessity as he worked on his research in physics. Finding workarounds, and finding a community of people who knows workarounds too, is key to carving out a career when you have a disability. At the event, I talked with student attendees, panelists, and staffers at the Hall. The panelists shared so much of their passion and creativity with attendees who had faced similar challenges. I left the event excited about the work Miele and others are doing to make STEM careers more universally accessible.
Finally, the Spring 2015 issue of the Berkeley Science Review Magazine is out! It’s always nice to see in print: the design team does some truly stunning work, and I want to frame every page. For my last semester here as a grad student, I wrote a brief on how some people’s brains resist the buildup of plaques thought to be a marker of Alzheimer’s Disease. The piece is called Staying Sharp, and again I got to interview really nice people working on interesting stuff: Bill Jagust and Jeremy Elman. They were part of a team in Jagust’s lab whose results provide fresh evidence that the brain is plastic across the lifespah. Alzheimer’s Disease affects so many people, and as humans live longer, soon there won’t be so many young people to take care of the old people. Some days it terrifies me so much I think we should just dump the whole NIH budget into it. Anyway, enjoy the read!