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FOR TUFTS UNIVERSITY Students who apply to Tufts today are superbly qualified and highly sought after; admission has become more selective than ever. But each year, Tufts cannot accept a portion of its applicant pool solely for the lack of sufficient financial aid resources.

The elephant that’s not in the room

News of G ivin g, Growth, and Grati tude

Spring 2012

Fund to help recruit, retain, and develop scholars, educators



he work being done in physicist Cristian Staii’s lab may one day help prevent disease, help a paralyzed person again use his or her limbs, or lead to a deeper understanding of the wiring of the nervous system. Generous support from the Knez Family Charitable Foundation helped recruit Staii to Tufts and start up his lab with an atomic-force microscope—capable of imaging neurons 10 millionths of a meter and proteins a billionth of a meter in size—that facilitates his research at the interface of biological physics and nanotechnology. [See story below] Now a new $1 million gift from the Knez Family Charitable Foundation will be used to recruit and launch the careers of additional talented junior faculty like Staii at the School of Arts and Sciences. The gift engineered by foundation trustees Debra Smith Knez, J82, A09P, and Brian Knez, A09P, establishes the Knez Family Faculty

Investment Fund, which will support salaries, startup costs, and laboratory renovations associated with the successful recruitment of junior faculty to Arts and Sciences. The Knez Family Fund will become part of a larger Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Research dedicated to faculty recruitment, retention, research, and career development in the School of Arts and Sciences. In the future, the university may expand the Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Research to other schools. “We hope the launch of the Fund for Faculty Excellence will serve as a catalyst, motivating others to invest in Tufts’ extraordinary scholars and educators,” Brian Knez says. President Anthony P. Monaco says: “I am most grateful for Deb’s and Brian’s leadership support, which represents an important milestone for me as the first transformative gift during my presidency of Tufts. Their gift significantly strengthens our ability to attract out-

Physicist thriving on balance of interdisciplinary research and undergraduate teaching Staii gestured in the direction of David Kaplan’s biomedical engineering offices across the foyer of the Science and Technology Center. “Good collaborators are vital, and I have a great deal of expertise right next door,” he said.

Cristian Staii, assistant professor of physics, launched his teaching and research career at Tufts in 2009 with support from a junior faculty professorship created by the Knez Family Charitable Foundation. He told Blueprint that Tufts has enabled him as a physicist to strike up valuable interdisciplinary partnerships with colleagues in both biomedical and electrical engineering, and to involve students in the resulting research enterprise. Of seven undergraduates who work in his lab, five have presented at international conferences.

He currently is partnering with Kaplan, Stern Family Professor and chair of biomedical engineering, on an exploration of how neurons grow and form the connections that enable them to communicate with each other. Neurons are cells that transmit electrical signals between each other, conveying messages governing learning, speaking, memory, and movement, among other things. The research has potential applications in the treatment of spinal cord injuries in which the connections between neurons have been severed but the cells are still alive. In other research, Staii is investigating how proteins—sequences of amino acids, which perform most biological functions in cells—change shape and function. “Most cancers and other diseases in humans result from misshapen proteins, which don’t perform the functions for which they are intended,” he said. “If we learn how the sequence of amino acids influences shape and function, we could, in theory, reconfigure the amino acids and prevent disease.”

standing young scientists who will build their careers here, and in doing so foster a robust research environment at Tufts.” The Knez Family Charitable Foundation supports education and children’s causes in the greater Boston area and Vermont. In 2007 the foundation gave $300,000 to establish two three-year term junior faculty professorships in the School of Arts and Sciences, used to recruit Clay Bennett, assistant professor of chemistry (profiled in a Blueprint feature, “Focus on New Knowledge,” Winter 2009), and Staii, assistant professor of physics. “As a Tufts graduate, I always have valued the caliber of the professors I had,” Debra Knez, a university trustee, has said. “Tufts believes in creating a great environment for its professors, an environment in which they are passionate about their teaching and research and feel supported by the university in their work. Who benefits? The students!”

Johnson to lead Advancement Eric C. Johnson has been named vice president for University Advancement, effective April 1. He has served as acting vice president since March 1, when Brian Lee left Tufts after 25 years to take a position as vice president for development and institute relations at the California Institute of Technology. Johnson has 28 years of fundraising experience, 24 of them at Tufts. He started his Tufts career as associate director of development for the School of Arts and Sciences and subsequently was promoted to director of development for the school. He helped lead successful capital campaigns to complete the Tisch Library and the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center as director of principal and leadership gifts and as executive director of development. He managed principal and leadership gifts, worked closely with the Board of Trustees and key volunteers, and worked in partnership with the president through the successful completion of the $1.2 billion Beyond Boundaries campaign last summer. For the record: An item in the Winter 2012 edition of Blueprint incorrectly reported that Tufts lacked a registered dietitian. It should come as no surprise to any reader who has enjoyed the many and varied healthy (and delicious) food offerings here on campus that Tufts Dining Services, of course, does have a registered dietitian on staff, and has for many years. Blueprint regrets the error.

Tufts is full of remarkable students. In this issue of Blueprint you will meet eight of them.

Put simply, they would not be among us, were it not for financial aid.


cholarships made it possible for all eight of the students spotlighted in the following pages—and others like them—to bring their stories to Tufts. From here they will bring their unique talents to the world. While there are no “typical” financial aid students at Tufts, all share this in common: they contribute at least as much to the university as they receive. However, as you know, the rising cost of higher education has routinely outpaced the Consumer Price Index and today is an issue of national concern. Higher education has long opened doors for individual opportunity, and in our ­knowledge-based economy it is more important than ever, playing a critical role in the job market and national competitiveness. I share the concern that in the face of tuition increases, applicants and their families may find higher education out of reach. For many, indebtedness from student loans will be too significant a factor in deciding career choices. Unfortunately, we are not exempt here. Each year we must withhold the promise of a Tufts education from superb applicants—candidates like the students in the pages that follow—solely for lack of ­sufficient financial aid resources.

Though the challenge is national, some solutions may be local, and we are entirely committed to doing all that we can at Tufts to ease the financial burden on current and future students. We are taking a fresh look at our cost structures—so that we can ensure that as much as possible of the university budget directly supports our teaching and research, and keep tuition increases down while continuing to deliver the transformative educational experiences for which we are known. Student financial aid remains our number-one fundraising priority. It is a cause that is important to me personally: I was able to become a first-generation college graduate because of generous financial aid. Scholarship dollars are critical to closing the college affordability gap. Students arrive at Tufts each year from all corners of the globe and from all backgrounds, bringing rich and diverse perspectives that will enrich our ­educational community. Financial aid opens the door. We welcome your support—both for the students represented in these pages and for other students we will know in the future as a direct result of your continuing generosity. On behalf of all of us, thank you for all you do for Tufts. Best wishes, Tony Monaco

Chair, Board of Trustees James A. Stern, E72, A07P

Provost ad Interim Peggy Newell

President Anthony P. Monaco

Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson

University Advancement Tufts University, 80 George Street, 200-3 Medford, MA 02155 USA 617.627.3200 •



ngelo Yoder grew up separate from the world while also engaged in it. In the Amish Mennonite community in Kansas where his father is a senior pastor, he was raised with plain clothes, a tradition of nonparticipation in war, and no radio, television, or movies. “We had a sense we were a community apart,” he recalls. At the same time, their branch of the Amish Mennonites had a strong missionary tradition. His parents served in El Salvador, where he was born. His father now travels often to India. While no longer part of the community, he says, “I very much value— and always try to remember—where I came from.” His parents’ international work sparked a desire in him to experience the world beyond Kansas. After working for a time as a stone mason, he applied to community college—and then, successfully, to Yale. He was working in South Sudan with an international relief organization when he met his future wife, Anna, a nurse. “She came looking for cholera and found me.” Expecting their first child, they hope eventually to return to East Africa. “One of the things I love about Fletcher is that everyone has his or her own amazing tale,” he says. “I feel very fortunate to be here. A Fletcher Board scholarship covers 75 percent of my tuition. I was raised to be leery of too much debt, and thanks to this scholarship, I will leave with a relatively small amount. For that I am hugely grateful.” Bernard Simonin, professor of marketing and international business at Fletcher, says, “If ‘change is the only constant,’ as is often said, Angelo is the solid constant in the act of change. His own transformation is methodic and inspired. I cannot wait to see him enter the international business arena; he will make his mark with brio.”


“I very much value— and always try to remember—where I came from.”

Angelo Yoder is supported by the Fletcher Board Scholarship. ALONSO NICHOLS


Angelo Yoder F12

News of G ivin g, Growth, and Grati tude

Spring 2012

Spring 2012


N ews o f Gi v i ng , Grow t h , an d G ratitu de

n Kristen Davenport’s first day at Tufts, she didn’t have time to be nervous—the farm girl with a pet goat named Charisma had not only just wrapped up working the state fair and an internship, she had also just beat out 33 other girls to become the New York State Dairy Princess. With only a day to pack and get to the Hill, Davenport says “it was wild” but she’s used to diving into experiences head first—and keeping busy. “It’s sort of been a trend in my life,” she says. From Leonard Carmichael

Society tutoring to late nights with her biochemistry books; from playing piccolo and “crashing cymbals here and there” in pep band to giving campus tours; from applying to work in Facilities (“I missed mulching”) to making friends who constantly surprise and educate her (“like learning how to keep a Kosher kitchen”), “Kristen is perpetually in motion,” says Mitch McVey, associate professor of biology and Davenport’s advisor. “She approaches each of her experiences as a unique learning opportunity and embraces diversity.”

Davenport has given her all these past four years because it’s her nature and, says the future D.V.M. and microbiologist, because she was given a gift. “Being at Tufts surrounded by people your age but with totally different backgrounds,” she says, “that’s just a huge learning opportunity, and I think we need to make sure that everybody who deserves it can get their hands on it.” Kristen Davenport received financial aid made possible by the Tufts Fund.


Kristen Davenport A12 “Being at Tufts surrounded by people your age but with totally different backgrounds, that’s just a huge learning opportunity.”


News of G ivin g, Growth, and Grati tude


hours in the hospital eventually fueled Chan to pick up a stethoscope, with a focus on bridging the language and cultural gaps between recent immigrants and the medical system, and working with underserved immigrant populations. Mentorship as a Big Brother and time spent shadowing doctors in high school and as a Tufts undergraduate also pushed him to pediatrics. Financial aid is “amazing,” adds Chan. “It gives me so much more freedom. With the amount of money one pays for medical school, it’s hard to justify choosing family medicine or pediat-

rics as a career, but I have the option to pursue what I love.” Having this option will help this future family doctor keep families like his own healthy and whole. Says TUSM professor James Schwob, M.D., “Phil is simply a stellar individual—smart as a whip, hardworking, and a fantastic lab-mate/colleague. Tufts is lucky that he is on his way to becoming a ‘double Jumbo’.” Philip Chan has been supported by the Stern Family Endowed Scholarship, Paul and Elaine Chervinsky Endowed Scholarship, and the Charles J. Preefer, M.D., and Beatrice B. Preefer Scholarship.

Philip Chan A10,M15



hilip Chan didn’t have to look— or walk—too far to find his path to becoming a doctor; the son of Chinese immigrants, he grew up just down the road from Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) in the South End near Chinatown, Boston. Proximity to the medical issues that impact the Chinatown population has been crucial to understanding those he treats, as was the tragic passing of his father to cancer when Chan was only 12 years old. Helping to act as a translator for his mother during those long, strained

Spring 2012

“…it’s hard to justify choosing family medicine or pediatrics as a career, but I have the option to pursue what I love.”


Johanna Yvonne Andrews


aised in Honduras by two professors of agriculture, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables at the kitchen table, Johanna Yvonne Andrews from an early age not only understood the benefits of healthy living, but formed a passion for policy. At the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Andrews’s international roots and continenthopping (she gained a bachelor’s degree in Texas and a master’s degree in Sweden, as well as research experience in Central America) regularly come into play. “Johanna’s experience and knowledge of Latin America are proving invaluable to our research project on program sustainability in Bolivia,” says Dr. Beatrice Lorge Rogers, professor of economics and food policy, and director of the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition Program. “She was able to become an active, contributing member of the study team from her first day.” But her heart is still in Honduras. “One of my main interests is health policy in Central America, because I’m from the area,” she says of her doctoral studies as a Gerald J. Friedman Fellow. The fellowship was created by the Gerald and Dorothy Friedman Foundation to support future change agents like Andrews. “You hear a lot about Mexico and Colombia producing violence and drug lords, but if you look at a map of who’s in between and who suffers the most it’s actually Central America. I think we’re going to see many more issues that have to do with nutrition and access to health care there.”


“We’re going to see many more issues concerning nutrition and access to health care [in Central America].”


Johanna Yvonne Andrews is a Gerald J. Friedman Fellow.

Spring 2012

N ews o f Gi v i ng , Grow t h , an d G ratitu de


News of G ivin g, Growth, and Grati tude

Meagan Rock has received the Carlos P. Echeverria Scholarship and the Aurelio M. Caccomo Annual Scholarship.


“The shelter is a place where you can do something every day to make a difference.”





uring high school, Meagan Rock was required to perform community service to graduate. She resigned herself to doing her 80 hours at a nearby animal shelter. Fifteen years later, she recalls: “I never left.” By the time she graduated high school, the Stoughton, Mass., native had clocked some 1,600 hours at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) shelter in Brockton. She kept working at the Brockton shelter during her summers as a Tufts undergrad. After college she went to work full time for the MSPCA, eventually serving five years as director of the MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center in Boston. “At the Boston shelter we took in 6,000 animals a year, including sometimes more than 40 cats a day in the summer months,” Rock says. “It wasn’t just kittens. We literally saw every companion animal you could imagine: dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, huge birds, small birds, snakes, lizards. Each animal received individualized care.” Currently she is co-president of the Shelter Medicine Club at the Cummings School. “The shelter is a place where you can do something every day to make a difference,” says the owner of two pets from the Animal Care and Adoption Center, a Boston terrier, Rose, and a domestic longhair cat, Sprocket. Dr. Emily McCobb, V00, VG02, director of shelter medicine at Cummings, says: “Meagan is thoroughly committed to improving animal lives as a career. She also is a natural-born leader who can tackle complex ‘people’ problems with grace and style, and who jumps right in when there is work to be done.” This summer Rock will be working on a research project evaluating the nesting behavior of lab mice to ensure their conditions are comfortable. Animal welfare, she says, is “a huge part of who I am as a person.”

Spring 2012

Meagan Rock

“Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts gave me the confidence to do well even when courses are challenging.”


Alice Lee E15


lice Lee is heir to her parents’ American dream. Her mother and father, immigrants to Boston from China by way of Burma, didn’t have the opportunity of a higher education. “They always told me, ‘Work hard in school so you can get into a good college and get a good job so you can buy your own house,’” says Lee, who has wanted to attend Tufts since visiting campus on a sixth-grade field trip. Four years from now, she says, she imagines herself writing complicated computer code for the hot video games she loves to play. But before she lands Spring 2012

her dream job, she must first get past some pretty serious math, physics, and electrical engineering courses. Thanks to Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST), the computerscience major is well on her way. Lee was among 11“BESTies” in the Class of 2015 who enrolled prior to their first semester in the six-week summer program for aspiring engineering students from diverse backgrounds who would benefit from extra academic preparation. The aim is to attract and retain members of populations underrepresented at the School of Engineering, with a focus on first-generation college-

N ews o f Gi v i ng , Grow t h , an d G ratitu de

goers with high financial need. “BEST gave me the confidence to do well even when courses are challenging,” says Lee, who made the Dean’s List her first semester with a 3.2 grade-point average. Lee stands out for her great sense of humor and willingness to try the unfamiliar, says Travis Brown, who directs BEST as program manager of Tufts’ Center for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Diver­ sity. “Alice is an enthusiastic learner who takes challenges in stride,” he said. “She’s just the kind of student we look for.” Alice Lee receives financial aid made possible by the Tufts Fund.


“I want to pursue diplomacy in the Middle East, because I really want to be involved in the most constructive way.”


In only three years, Rafferty’s taken an independent research trip to Bangladesh to study poverty alleviation, participated in an Iraqi Parliament cosponsored trip to Kurdistan, and spent a semester abroad in Jordan. “Political science is my passion,” says the avid cellist who’s now proficient in Arabic. “I want to pursue diplomacy in the Middle East, because I really want to be involved in the most constructive way. And I’m really grateful to Tufts for these hands-on experiences.”

Says Kathleen Devigne, assistant director of the international relations program, “The first time I met Mark I was struck by his energy and enthusiasm for life and learning. That was three years ago and he continues to amaze me. Not only does he enroll in the most rigorous courses here at Tufts, he has made the world his classroom.” Mark Rafferty is a Martin/Bacow Term Scholar.

News of G ivin g, Growth, and Grati tude

Spring 2012



or Mark Rafferty sometimes the Hill just isn’t high enough; on a sunny day, you can usually spot the international relations major perched in the comfiest campus trees, where he often camps out to study, chat with fellow climbers, hum a tune from Anchord a cappella rehearsal, or literally, just hang. Since moving from a small town in Pennsylvania to Medford, Rafferty’s found a niche in making a place for himself in exotic locations.


Mark Rafferty

Spring 2012

N ews o f Gi v i ng , Grow t h , an d G ratitu de


Urvi Ruparelia



“With her patients she is personable and approachable. She is going to make a great dentist.”


physician’s daughter, Urvi Ruparelia decided to study biomedical engineering so she eventually could help cure or prevent illnesses at their source. “I wanted to find solutions that would help or treat more than one person,” she says. She first thought about dental medicine when she took a course on biomedical engineering in dentistry in which local dentists gave presentations on prosthetics, implants, and the like. Ruparelia had received an implant herself when she cracked a tooth down to the root her freshman year at Georgia Tech; she says she was “completely intrigued.” As a student at the School of Dental Medicine, she has taken that interest to new levels. In 2009 she was one of only two dental students nationally chosen by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to take part in the HHMI/NIH Research Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. Her independent research project on immunology was inspired by the medical courses at the foundation of Tufts’ dental curriculum. She says: “Tufts is really good about teaching you to not just look at the mouth.” Her next stop is the University of Washington, where she will be doing a general practice residency in dentistry this coming year. A Tufts faculty mentor, Dr. Kanchan Ganda, a physician who is professor and director of medicine in the department of public health and community service, says: “Urvi is critically astute, approaching questions in a scientific manner. With her patients she is personable and approachable. She is going to make a great dentist.” Urvi Ruparelia was awarded the Drs. Ann M. Sagalyn, D79, and Suzanne Rothenberg, D41, Endowed Scholarship.



University Advancement 80 George Street, Suite 200-3, Medford, MA 02155

An Advisor’s perspective… When Tufts created what is now the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Deb Jospin became a founding member of its national advisory board, which she now chairs. In this role she recently led a Deborah Jospin, university-wide appraisal of J80, E14P, chairs the Tisch College Tufts’ 10 Boards of Advisors, Board of Advisors formerly Overseers: the new name reflects members’ roles not only as advisors to the schools, but also as advocates and ambassadors for the university. A former director of AmeriCorps, Ms. Jospin, also a Tufts University trustee, lives the mission of active citizenship in both her professional and private life. She is a founding partner in sagawa/ jospin, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting group that provides expertise to foundations and nonprofit organizations. Ms. Jospin is president of the Daniel A. Dutko Memorial Foundation, established in memory of her late husband. Through its Dutko Fellowship program, outstanding Tufts graduates interested in public policy got their critical “first job” in Washington, D.C., working in politics, in media, or for a nonprofit organization. Ms. Jospin was also a leading force in creating Tufts’ Active Citizenship Summer program. While at Tufts, Ms. Jospin played varsity tennis and was a long-distance runner. She earned an M.Sc. in public policy from the London School of Economics in 1983 and a law degree from Georgetown in 1989. In 2009, Ms. Jospin received the Light on the Hill Award, the highest honor that the undergraduate student body bestows on Tufts alumni. Blueprint asked her to share her perspective on active citizenship.

Inspired partnership

Q. How does an idealist adapt to getting things done in Washington’s corridors of power? Sharp elbows?

A. Maybe I am the biggest idealist of all, but I still think a sharp mind gets you further than sharp elbows! Before you can get anything done in Washington, you need “hands on” experience with the issues that matter to you. You also need to do your homework, to understand all sides of the issue, including why people may disagree with you. And always be respectful—a little graciousness goes a long way these days.

Q. Public service can be an expensive privilege when one is tens of thousands of dollars in debt after college. What can we do to not only encourage but enable young people to put their talents to good works?

A. Tufts is already doing it. The Tufts Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) helps Tufts graduates working in public service repay a portion of their annual Tufts-incurred education loan debt. Believed to be the first university-wide program of this kind in the country, LRAP encourages and enables Tufts graduates to pursue careers in public service and reduces the extent to which their educational debt is a barrier to working in comparatively low-salaried jobs in the public and nonprofit sectors. I am super-proud of this program and the fact that we are a leader in this area.

Q. What is most gratifying about your work with the Tisch Board of Advisors?

A. The most gratifying thing about my work with the Tisch Board is getting the chance to support the amazing civic engagement work of Tufts students and faculty. I also love working with the talented and committed staff of Tisch College, and with my fellow board members, all of whom are the most active ­citizens—they inspire me every day.


story in Blueprint has helped inspire a $25,000 gift to the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy as part of a new partnership with an alliance dedicated to humani­tarian assistance to Africa. The story on the late Leah Horowitz, N06—a food-policy research analyst for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) who died tragically in Ghana and became the namesake of a humanitarian award created by the Friedman School Alumni Association—came to the attention of Aid for Africa, a partnership of charities devoted to promoting grassroots development in sub-Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa’s $25,000 gift establishes an endowed scholarship at the Fried­man School. The Aid for Africa Endowment for Food and Sustainable Agriculture will support a Friedman student’s research in Africa into the ways agriculture and nutrition may be used to improve food security and reduce poverty. “Like Leah, I had worked previously at IFPRI. At the time that I saw her story, we had been seeking a link with an academic institution. With its interdisciplinary focus on nutrition, agriculture, and policy, the Friedman School seemed a very good match,” says Barbara Rose, executive director of Aid for Africa. “The Friedman School is a school, not a department, yet it’s small enough that we can have a voice,” Rose says. “It’s unique, and we’re unique as well. We felt we could make a difference here.”

Tufts Blueprint Spring 2012  
Tufts Blueprint Spring 2012  

Tufts Blueprint Spring 2012