Balancing Both Sides of My Mind: Lyndsey Scott '06

Submitted on Thursday, 11/15/2018, at 10:46 AM

“Maybe one day the world will stop underestimating Black women, but until then Lyndsey Scott ’06—actress, Victoria's Secret model, first Black woman to receive a contract with Calvin Klein at New York Fashion Week, and a noted iOS coder— is here to put the haters in their place,” xoNecole wrote in a recent interview with Scott.

Jumping off from a fall incident where Scott clapped back at online trolls who scoffed at her coding abilities, xoNecole spoke with Scott about her modeling accomplishments and her work in tech, which dates back to her days at Amherst.

“Doing what I love motivates me,” she said. “And I feel fortunate that I've been able to structure my life in a way where I have the freedom to do everything I love. I wrote a screenplay earlier this year that tells a true story that's very important to me, and it's currently in pre-production. Since I've been in Los Angeles, I've had the freedom to produce, audition, and go to my weekly acting classes, while still being able to code at home for 20 hours a week; working on cool technologies with great clients. I enjoy the balance that comes from using both sides of my mind.

1,000 Years in Tahoe with Jonathon Keats '94

Submitted on Thursday, 11/15/2018, at 10:24 AM

Tahoe Weekly recently spoke with “self-titled experimental philosopher and conceptual artist” Jonathon Keats ’94 about his latest project, photographing the future of Tahoe, California with pinhole cameras designed to last 1,000 years.

“After he graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts, Keats moved back to San Francisco to do a series of experimental art projects with an emphasis on shifting people’s perspective on change and social responsibility. In 2010, he teamed up with Good Magazine to create a simple box pinhole camera in an attempt to capture a 100-year-old exposure. The results are set to be published in Good’s January 2110 edition,” Tahoe Weekly’s Kayla Anderson wrote.

The four millennial cameras are set to be placed at Sand Harbor State Park on the East Shore, Eagle Rock on the West Shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort on the South Shore and Tahoe City on the North Shore, accessible to the public.

“I want to get people to see these cameras in space and time, extrapolating futures, engaging the past and present,” Keats said.

UPDATE: Popular Photography featured Keats in a Nov. 7 interview, which included his comments on the work falling somewhere between documentary photography and surveillance photography:

“In this case, it isn’t the Walmart, or the US Government, or your neighbors spying on you,” he said. “It’s the far future generations, not yet born, who will be deeply affected by the decisions that we make collectively today.”

Niahlah Hope '16: Stunts and Superheroes

Submitted on Wednesday, 11/7/2018, at 3:41 PM

The Shadow League recently spoke at length with Niahlah Hope ’16 about her trajectory from child gymnast to college athlete to Hollywood stuntwoman, most notably for her work as Black Panther star Lupita N’yongo’s stunt double.

“My gymnastics background gives me a lot of confidence," she said. "There's a lot of choreography in gymnastics and it's about knowing your body and where you are in time and space. Because all of that has been ingrained in me from when I was younger, I know how to ride a wire. I can fall off buildings. I can do anything they need me to do. And I've hit the ground so much from being a gymnast that its second nature."

She spoke about having to sport many many different hairstyles for her roles, which have included stunt work for “Orange is the New Black,” “Night School,” and “What Men Want,” so shaving her head for Black Panther was no big deal. 

“I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a lot more women who are shaving their heads recently,” she said. “I think we started something.”

On Choosing The Chair: Sarat

Submitted on Wednesday, 11/7/2018, at 3:37 PM

On Nov. 2, Tennessee double-murderer Edmund Zagorski was executed by means of the electric chair, which he chose over lethal injection.

The Washington Post turned to Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, for context on why a convict would select an older method.

The prisoner’s decision to revert to an older method of punishment, Sarat said, “signals what we know to be happening — the breakdown of this idea that lethal injection would be any kind of magic bullet."

“Lethal injection was supposed to be the fulfillment of a century-long quest for a method of execution that could be safe, reliable, and humane,” Sarat said. Sarat makes the case in his book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty, more than seven percent of lethal injections have been botched.

Running With Olivia Polischeck '21

Submitted on Wednesday, 11/7/2018, at 3:36 PM

In preparation for a run in the the 26.2-mile New York City Marathon, Olivia Polischeck ’21 was interviewed by hometown newspaper Palos Verde Peninsula News on how living with Type 1 diabetes does not hold her back from athletics.

"The misconception (about me having Type 1 diabetes) is that I can't do something," Polischeck said. "Every race, I have a pod that gives me insulin and patches on both arms…diabetes is not a setback for me, it's a motivator."

Polischeck, ran alongside twenty members of Beyond Type-1, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and education on diabetes. She is currently a member of the Amherst College cross country team.

Fact-Checking Trump With Javier Corrales

Submitted on Thursday, 11/1/2018, at 12:13 PM

Javier Corrales, Dwight W. Morrow 1895 professor of Political Science, recently was cited in the New York Times “Fact Check of the Day,” in making the case that President Trump’s frequent claim that single-payer healthcare would send the US into an economic tailspin a la Venezuala, is a false claim.

Venezula’s health care system —which does allow for private medical care— “played a minimal role in Venezuela’s epic crisis,” Corrales told the Times. Rather, he said “the main culprits were the government’s mismanagement of the economy, soaring deficits, declining oil production, debts racked up by the state oil company, and price controls.”

“Venezuela’s system is collapsing mostly because of regime type — corrupt semi-authoritarianism — rather than choice of health system,” Corrales told the Times.

Diversity at the Head of the Classroom: Travis Bristol '03

Submitted on Thursday, 11/1/2018, at 12:11 PM

Travis Bristol ’03 recently spoke with Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers Podcast about the importance of attracting, hiring, and supporting teachers of color.

“[The] research is pretty convincing that children of color benefit and perform better in school when they have a teacher of color,” said Bristol a former public high school English teacher in New York City, currently assistant professor at the University of California Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. 

“Not only do children of color benefit from having a teacher of color, but white children who are going to be global citizens deserve and are missing out on the opportunity to have a teacher of color teach them,” he said. “We are living in a global society, and if we are preparing children to be global citizens, then we have to have people in front of them who do not look like them, who bring different perspectives to the world, who can prepare them to be global competitors.”

Pawan Dhingra Gives "Dear Abby" Some Advice

Submitted on Thursday, 11/1/2018, at 12:08 PM

When “Dear Abby” columnist Jeanne Phillips recently advised a reader against giving their child a “foreign” name, Boston Globe writer Jeneé Osterheldt spoke with Pawan Dhingra, professor of American Studies at Amherst, to call this out.

“Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but they can also cause a child to be teased unmercifully,” Phillips wrote, responding to a parent who had misgivings about giving their new baby a traditional Indian name. Phillips urged the parent not to, adding, “Sometimes the name can be a problematic word in the English language. And one that sounds beautiful in a foreign language can be grating in English.”

Sikh activist Simran Jeet Singh called out the advice as “whitewashing,” and Pawan Dhingra agreed.

Dear Abby is encouraging a world that denies us our individualism, our differences, and our right for self identity,” he said. “People who cannot name themselves lose who they are. And it’s very sad that America is a place where you are told by some reputable elite, Dear Abby, that America is a place you have to give up who you are to be told you belong.”

“I don’t regret my name,” he said. “In some ways, it is a hassle. In other ways, it is my opportunity to share. That’s how I carry it. Names are a really important part of your culture, and to deny someone their name is oppressive.”

Amherst Week on The Academic Minute

Submitted on Thursday, 10/25/2018, at 3:00 PM

Amherst College was recently the featured institution on WAMC’s The Academic Minute, and included brief talks by some of our faculty:

The Academic Minute features researchers from colleges and universities around the world, keeping listeners abreast of what's new and exciting in the academy.

When Professor Todd Listened to Mars

Submitted on Thursday, 10/25/2018, at 2:58 PM

For an article about the ongoing Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program, Venture Beat related the story about the very first modern SETI experiment, carried out in 1924 by astronomer David Peck Todd, Amherst College Class of 1875, and who taught astronomy and served as director of the observatory here from 1881 to 1917.

Todd set about on the endeavor with inventor Charles Jenkins, who had invented a “radio photo message machine … an early version of a television transmitter and receiver, a device that could transmit photos over radio waves,” Venture Beat wrote.

The pair set out to aim the device at Mars, and listen.

“Their search was conducted at too low of a frequency to see through the ionosphere, which they didn’t know at the time. But it speaks to this partnership which continued to develop throughout the 50s and 60s, and continues to this day, between electrical engineering and astronomy in searching for technology beyond the earth,” the article summed up.