WINTER 2014 / Connecting the University of Maryland Community
nirBhaya THE FEARLESS ONES A New Play Headed to India Breaks Silence on Sexual Abuse Against Women P. 30
9:30 CLUB’S GUARDIAN ANGEL 10 / FOSSIL’S IMPRINT ON HISTORY 20 / D.C.’S MIXTRESS OF THE NIGHT 26
LETTER FROM THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION WINTER 2014 / VOL. 11, NO. 2
P U B L I S H E D BY
Peter Weiler VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY RELATIONS A DV I S E R S
Ralph Amos EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Brian Ullmann ’92 ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Margaret Hall EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CREATIVE STRATEGIES M AG A Z I N E S TA F F
Lauren Brown UNIVERSIT Y EDITOR
John T. Consoli ’86 CREATIVE DIREC TOR
Amy Shroads ART DIREC TOR
Liam Farrell David Kohn Karen Shih ’09 WRITERS
Megan Blair Joshua Harless Jeanette J. Nelson M.b.a. ’14 Catherine Nichols ’99 DESIGNERS
Kelsey Marotta ’14 INTERN
Gail Rupert M.L.S. ’10 PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT
Letters to the editor are welcomed. Send correspondence to Managing Editor, Terp magazine, 2101 Turner Building, College Park, MD 20742-1521. Or, send an email to email@example.com. The University of Maryland, College Park is an equal opportunity institution with respect to both education and employment. University policies, programs and activities are in conformance with pertinent federal and state laws and regulations on non-discrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
ONLINE VIDEO NEWS
THE UNIVERSITY of Maryland has come so far, so fast,
and it continues to add value to the diploma that hangs on your wall. (It’s hanging proudly on your wall, right?) More than ever, we’re working to expand the participation and engagement of over 320,000 alumni and friends because you have the power to make our university stronger and even more relevant. The work of your alumni association is to “deliver Maryland to alumni and alumni to Maryland.” Here’s our plan for moving forward: • Become a more professionally facing organization. •D eliver content and information that help alumni to live more productive, meaningful, contemporary lives. • Grow the reach and influence of Maryland Alumni throughout the world and within our communities. Some of the work ahead for you, as an alumnus, will be quite easy to do. Other facets will be more complicated and will take time to advance. Here’s what you can do now: • Show your Terp pride! When you’re on a business trip, wear Terp gear (check out the spread on page 9 for ideas) on the plane. Fly your Terp flag in your neighborhood. Place a sticker on your car. Easy… done! • Open the emails from Maryland. We try hard to share interesting and relevant stories from all corners of the university, money-saving offers and special event invitations. There’s surely something important to you in there! Here are some ways we hope you’ll connect with your alma mater down the road: • Whether it’s a basketball game at Comcast Center or a performance at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, participate at a Maryland event. (If you’re going to one or two events annually, step it up to three.) • Make a financial investment in something you care about at Maryland at least once per year (and if you’re already a supporter, then we thank you). • Share good news from the university with your own friends and family. Use your social networks. The reputation of the university rests with all of you! The next time I’m visiting Maryland alumni, I’ll look for you in your University of Maryland gear. And then and there, I’ll say, “Go Terps!” You do the same!
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IN BRIEF ASK ANNE CLASS ACT CAMPUS LIFE INNOVATION FACULTY Q&A PARTING SHOT
Deep Impact’s Greatest Hits
FAC E B O O K .C O M /UnivofMaryland F L I C K R .C O M /photos/wwwumdedu T W I T T E R .C O M /UofMaryland V I M E O.C O M /umd YO U T U B E .C O M /UMD2101
COVER ILLUSTRATION BY MARGARET HALL
Ralph Amos Executive Director
16 Waste Not CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: JOHN T. CONSOLI; JOSHUA HARLESS; BALL AEROSPACE & TECHNOLOGIES CORP.; JOHN T. CONSOLI; MEGAN BLAIR
IMPRINT ON HISTORY
A doctoral student identifies a tiny 120 million-year-old fossil that raises new questions about plant evolution. It also leads back to a shameful chapter in Civil War history. By karen shih ’09
26 D.C.’S MIXTRESS OF THE NIGHT
Gina Chersevani ’99, ’00, owner of a D.C. hipster bar and retro-themed soda shoppe, creates drinks that reflect— and set—the trends of the city’s nightlife. By liam farrell
30 COVER STORY: THE FEARLESS ONES
Following the fatal gang rape of a Mumbai woman, an alumnae-turned-Bollywood star, a graduate student and a famed director launch a play that dares Indians to rethink their views on sexual violence. By brian ullmann ’92
TERP ONLINE GETS THE [RE-]BOOT Your favorite university magazine has a new home at terp.umd.edu
Photo galleries and videos
Expanded print features
READ. SHARE. CONNECT. AND STAY AWHILE. WE LIKE COMPANY.
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
Famed Arts Management Institute Takes Center Stage at Maryland A world-renowned training ground for arts administrators will soon make its home at Maryland, offering a variety of new programming, courses and degrees. The DeVos Institute of Arts Management, founded by Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser (right), will relocate to the campus in September, when he steps down from his 13-year post at the nation’s busiest arts center. He and co-director Brett Egan (left) will continue the institute’s work of educating and advising individuals, organizations, governments and foundations—thousands across more than 70 countries—and assist the university in its strategic planning for the arts. “Michael Kaiser and the DeVos Institute are the international gold standard in arts management education and consulting,” says UMD President Wallace Loh. “To have them on our campus is an extraordinary boost to excellence and innovation in the arts at the University of Maryland.” Kaiser says this partnership will enrich the institute and Maryland: “There’s already wonderful work in the arts being done at the university. This is one more dimension. It’s a very strong complement to what already exists.” He and Egan envision launching DeVos’s first academic program, a master’s degree in arts management, in Fall 2015 or 2016. It will provide the opportunity to combine practice and theory with research and scholarship, and it is expected to draw on the university’s expertise in nonprofit management, business administration and finance as well as its galleries and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, which hosts more than 1,000 events annually. Maryland’s technological capabilities, they say, can support the institute’s long-distance
learning programs and elevate their fellowship program by offering a certificate from an accredited university. Egan expects arts professionals to make up much of the clientele, but hopes the institute forges new connections with Maryland alumni, too. “There are alumni working in the field who could not only engage with our work, but who could also reconnect with the university,” he says. Since 2001, the DeVos Institute has offered nonprofit programs to train executive managers, artistic directors and their boards in areas including artistic planning, fundraising, marketing and board development. Kaiser and Egan also offer private consulting to arts organizations, foundations and government agencies. Once the DeVos staff moves into the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), it intends to conduct a seminar series on arts management for the UMD community this fall, intensive summer and winter fellowship programs for international arts managers and a conference for directors of American arts organizations. ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill foresees opportunities for the university’s performing and visual arts programs to collaborate with these organizations. “The DeVos partnership will enlarge our expertise, broaden our audience and help elevate our standing as a university at the forefront of preparing for the future of the arts,” she says. “We can engage them in some of the things we’re doing, and learn from them and be enriched by them. It’s a wonderful opportunity for mutual learning and growth.”—LB
There’s already wonderful work in the arts being done at the university. This is one more dimension.
—michael kaiser, founder of the devos institute of arts management
TERP 2 TERP .UMD.EDU WINTER 2014
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI; ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY MAROTTA
SMOKE DETECTORS RESEARCHERS AWARDED $19M TO STUDY TOBACCO’S TOXICITY, BACTERIA, ADDICTIVENESS THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR: Smoking is bad for you. But which cigarette brand is worst? And are newer products (such as electronic cigarettes and the snuff variant snus) any safer? Answers are on the way. A five-year, $19 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health has helped launch the University of Maryland Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science to study these topics. Led by the School of Public Health’s Pamela Clark, researchers at UMD, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, George Mason University and the nonprofit research organization Battelle will investigate the chemical and physical properties of tobacco products, and the attributes, such as menthol filters, that may contribute to consumer appeal and addictiveness. They will also study products’ bacterial makeup—tobacco contains high levels of bacteria, and researchers suspect that ingesting these microbes causes health problems. “The tobacco industry is putting out new products all the time, and tweaking old products to make them more appealing,” says Clark. “We need to understand what’s out there so we can reduce the harm.”—DK
OF 5- AND 6-YEAR OLDS IN BRAZIL, CHINA, INDIA, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN AND RUSSIA CAN IDENTIFY AT LEAST ONE CIGARETTE BRAND LOGO, ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY FROM PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCHERS AT UMD AND JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY.
Best Actor in a Supportive Role Actor and author John Lithgow, known for roles ranging from the Trinity Killer on “Dexter” to Lord Farquaad in “Shrek,” hosts a master class on Nov. 18 before speaking to the campus about the value of the arts and humanities. Here he critiques theatre students performing works by George Walker. Watch his full lecture at http://ter.ps/lithgowvideo.
WINTER 2014 TERP
We had a helluva run.
—astronomer jessica sunshine
Deep Impact’s Greatest Hits
JULY 4, 2005: The impactor crashes into 9P/ Tempel, providing data that helps scientists conclude that many comets form without violence—the material eases together, rather than crashes. 2007: Photos shot of Earth from 30 million miles away offer insights on what scientists should look for when searching for other Earth-like planets. 2007–09: Images show that a thin layer of water molecules forms on the Moon’s surface every day and then dissipates. 2010: Observations reveal that dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is the fuel for comet Hartley 2, refuting the theory that water vapor powers comets. An artist's rendering shows the impactor crashing into the comet, with the Deep Impact spacecraft in the distance.
AUG. 11, 2013: Software aboard Deep Impact malfunctions in a Y2K-esque glitch, and its computer gets stuck in a loop of constant rebooting. Scientists can’t reach the spacecraft, and its battery runs out. It is now a dead machine, orbiting the Sun.
Spacecraft Goes AWOL, but Leaves “Deep Impact” Eight years after Deep Impact was launched into deep space, NASA in August lost contact with the spacecraft. But over its longer-than-expected life, the probe, conceived and managed by University of Maryland astronomers, left a long trail of discoveries about comets and other celestial bodies. Deep Impact is most famous for its first mission in 2005, when it sent a washing machine-size “impactor” into the path of the comet 9P/Tempel. The crash left a crater on the comet the size of a football field, and gave scientists a wealth of new data about comet structure and content. “It dramatically changed the way we look at comets,” said Maryland astronomy Professor Michael A’Hearn, who led the mission. Data from Deep Impact proved, for instance, that many 4 TERP.UMD.EDU
comets are mostly porous, as fluffy as a bank of powdered snow. After the first mission ended, Maryland scientists convinced NASA to keep using Deep Impact rather than let it spin off into space. Its later missions led to discoveries about comets’ chemical makeup, formation locations and surface changes. For the UMD team, the loss of the spacecraft was an emotional blow. “When something is taken away for good, you suddenly realize how much it’s been there,” says Professor Jessica Sunshine, who along with A’Hearn helped write the 1998 proposal that led to the mission, and worked on the project to the end. “We had a helluva run.”—DK Watch a slideshow of images taken by Deep Impact at terp.umd.edu.
The Deep Impact launch vehicle awaits liftoff at Cape Canaveral, Fla., in 2005.
DEEP IMPACT ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF BALL AEROSPACE & TECHNOLOGIES CORP.; ROCKET PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA/KSC/JPL-CALTECH/DC AGLE
Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist
I WAS RECENTLY BACK ON CAMPUS AND NOTED THAT THE TOP-OF-THE-HOUR CHIME FROM MEMORIAL CHAPEL
IS NO LONGER THE OPENING BARS OF “MARYLAND, MY MARYLAND” AS IT WAS DURING MY UNDERGRAD DAYS. DO YOU KNOW WHEN AND WHY THIS CHANGE WAS MADE? —THOMAS R. PHELPS ’88
A: The switch to our alma mater occurred in the ’80s, sometime after 1982. In the last four years, we have updated the carillon and have retained the alma mater as the primary song, although we do have the capability to play hundreds of other selections and to program other music. ➳ Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or @ UMDarchives on Twitter. ONLINE
BLOG umdarchives.wordpress.com FAC E B O O K
University of Maryland University Archives
Q: BOTH MY PARENTS COME FROM MARYLAND FAMILIES, WITH MY MOTHER’S FAMILY GOING BACK TO THE ARK AND THE DOVE. IN FACT, MANY OF MY UNCLES ARE UMD GRADUATES. MY GRANDMOTHER, FLORENCE DUKE, MADE NEWS WHEN SHE EARNED HER MARYLAND DEGREE AFTER HAVING EIGHT KIDS. WOULD YOUR ARCHIVE HAVE ANYTHING ON HER? —JAMES L. GATES JR.
A: Your grandmother (right) was
quite a remarkable lady. I found a Washington Post article from June 1950 on how the 51-year-old mother of eight was about to graduate with honors while “keeping up with housework and giving music lessons” to help pay for her education. One of our student publications, Old Line, also featured a story about her and your aunt Katherine, and she appears several times in the 1950 yearbook. She eventually served as a member of the alumni association board.
Q: I’M FROM CAMPUS RECREATION SERVICES, AND I AM TRYING TO DETERMINE WHEN Universit y Terps bowl at the 1947. Bowling Alleys in
INTRAMURAL SPORTS FIRST STARTED ON CAMPUS. CAN YOU HELP US OUT? —ALISON WHITTY
A: Before 1931, most intramural sports activities were unstructured, with the
exception of interclass games and interfraternity leagues. That year, the Student Government Association created a more formalized intramural program, open to all male students (women played in a league sponsored by the Women’s Athletic Association). Intramurals continued during World War II as a mandatory activity for male students. After the war, intramurals fell under the auspices of the new College of Military Science, Physical Education and Recreation. The first intramural handbook was published for the 1947–48 school year.
BOWLING PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES; ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY MAROTTA; DUKE PHOTO COURTESY WINTER OF2014 JAMESTERP L. GATES JR.
ALUMNI PROFILE / MARY SCHULMAN ’97
Savory Success FOUNDER OF KIDS’ SNACK COMPANY FILLS NEED, AND TUMMIES Snikiddy founder Mary Schulman ’97, shown with two ”taste testers”—daughters Sunny, 8, and Sadie, 7—sells her all-natural snack foods in more than 4,000 U.S. grocery stores.
There was no Velveeta or Wonder Bread in Mary (Owings) Schulman’s lunches. Her mom sent her to school with sandwiches on a hearty, healthy round bread that she declared “awful.” Now that she’s a mom herself, the 1997 alumna packs her kids’ lunchboxes with her own all-natural—but much tastier—fare: cheese puffs and baked fries that she created and built into the multimillion-dollar Snikiddy snack food company. The name comes from Schulman’s mother and company co-founder, Janet Owings, whose own health-conscious mother disdained the processed school I wanted to offer lunches of the 1950s and sent off her four something that children with simple, fresh alternatives. A teacher once called her brother “perparents could be snickety,” and soon they were all nickpleased to give to named the (easier-to-say) Snikiddy kids. their children. And “There was no possible solution I love snack foods. other than to call the company —mary schulman, Snikiddy,” Schulman says. snikiddy founder After earning her degree in finance from Maryland, Schulman went into sales in the banking industry. But a decade later, pregnant with the first of three children, she began thinking about starting her own business in natural foods. “I wanted to offer something that parents could be pleased to give to their children,” she says. “And I love snack foods.” In a deliberate fashion, she scouted out manufacturers who could meet her criteria of creating a kid-friendly, low-insugar snack with no trans fats, chemicals or preservatives. Soon she was pitching her product to retailers with just zip-lock bags of her cheese puffs and photos of her planned packaging, and the first shipment of the snacks and cookies (which were later dropped) went out to Sam’s Club and Whole Foods Market in early 2007. A few years later, she launched the baked fries and Eat Your Vegetables, a chip made from sweet potatoes, carrots, navy beans, kale, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms. Now the Snikiddy line is sold in 4,000 stores nationwide including Giant, Target and Safeway, and Schulman expects that number to balloon to 6,000 by the end of this year. She has 12 employees based at the company’s headquarters in Boulder, Colo., (a natural-foods mecca and home of her CEO), while she works out of her house in Bethesda, Md. Her husband, Brett Schulman ’95, has just as hectic a schedule as CEO of the Cava Mezze Grill restaurants in the metro area, but she still proudly says she doesn’t miss her kids’ school events. “We work all hours, but we also know what the most important thing is in life,” she says.—LB
PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: JOHN T. CONSOLI; SHUTTERSTOCK; COURTESY OF THE JOHN D. & CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION; COURTESY OF GOV.GD; COURTESY OF GALACTIC VIRGIN; SHUTTERSTOCK
ALUMNI TRAVEL July 27–Aug. 8, 2014
Iceland and the North Sea
Explore fjords, volcanic landscapes and Viking lore on this cruise of a lifetime, with visits to Iceland, Scotland, Denmark and other fairy-tale islands. For more about this and other trips, visit alumni.umd.edu/travel or contact Angela Dimopoulos ’07 at 301.405.7938/800.336.8627 or email@example.com.
CLASS NOTES Submit your class notes and read many more at terp.umd.edu.
Atomic physicist ANA MARIA REY PH.D. ’04 won a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the Genius Grant. Rey is an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder and a fellow of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics. She will receive $625,000 over five years, and hopes to advance her research on ultra-cold atoms.
CÉCILE LA GRENADE M.S. ’86, Ph.D. ’90 was last year named the first female governor general of Grenada. A food scientist, she previously managed the family’s company making liqueurs, jellies and syrups. Now called Dame Cécile, she represents Queen Elizabeth, who is Grenada’s head of state.
JOHN GRAVES ’77, owner of the software company NetComm Inc. in Rockville, Md., and married grandfather of five, has signed up for a coveted flight into space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo later this year. “After meeting (Virgin founder) Richard Branson, I have taken up kite-surfing — at my age,” he told Space.com. “He has inspired me.”
TOP 3 AUTO INSURANCE MYTHS brought to you by Nationwide Insurance®
1. Red cars cost more to insure. Insurance companies don’t even ask about color in calculating a premium. Instead, here’s what they look for: • The make, model, body type, engine size and age of your car • Driving records of the drivers on your insurance policy • Where the vehicle is garaged 2. One speeding ticket will make your rates skyrocket. Some states don’t allow insurance companies to raise premiums based on a single, minor moving violation. Your insurance company likely will not raise your rates after one ticket if you’re a longtime customer with a previously clean driving record. 3. Moving always affects your coverage. When you move, especially to a different state, contact your auto insurer, so an agent can update your policy and confirm that coverage is offered where you live. For more information, call 1-888-889-4322, visit your local agent, or go to nationwide.com/UMDAlumni. Nationwide may make a financial contribution to this organization in return for the opportunity to market products and services to its members or customers. Products Underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide, Nationwide Insurance, the Nationwide framemark and Vanishing Deductible are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2013 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Nationwide Insurance is proud to partner with the University of Maryland Alumni Association. Join the Nation today and see what you could save with a special discount—just for being a graduate of the University of Maryland!
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO CREDITS
WINTER 2014 TERP 7
ALUMNI PROFILE / JAIME JURADO ’83
Engineering a Better Beer ALUM CHAMPIONS SUSTAINABILITY THROUGHOUT BREWING WORLD AS A BREWING APPRENTICE in Germany 30 years ago, Jaime Jurado ’83 couldn’t use his chemical engineering degree to get out of dirty work. “Being a brewing apprentice is all about learning to clean,” he says, like climbing into and scrubbing fermentation vessels for inspection. It’s not what most engineers end up doing after graduation. But a trip to a Baltimore brewery junior year with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers sparked Jurado’s interest in brewing as a career. “I thought, I like beer, and I truly like the possibilities and the history and pride of making beer,” says Jurado, who in November became director of brewing operations for the Abita Brewing Co., based north of New Orleans. After his 10-month stint in Bavaria, he found work in England, then Ireland, and since then, he’s traveled all over the world, going as far away as India, opening breweries and working his way up to Master Brewer status. For most of the last two decades, he was at the Texas-based Gambrinus Co., and in 2005, he served as president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. “Making beer is no different than baking a cake,” he says. “It’s a learnable science. I don’t need someone else’s formula, but I need to know if I’m making angel food cake or cornbread. A baker has the tools to do that, and a brewmaster is pretty much the same.” In addition to creating great new beers, he also has a passion for sustainability, which starts with better quantifying the energy and water used to make each barrel. Many small breweries merely pay lip service, he says, touting modest actions that may make little real impact on the environment. Jurado has traveled the country making presentations on best practices, and his goal is for every brewery to put a greenhouse gas statement on its beer. At Abita, he’ll build on the company’s already-strong sustainability initiatives, as well as launch new beers that will hit stores this spring. “It’s really exciting and we’ll be throwing all sorts of stuff out there,” he says. Can he pick a favorite? “That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child.”—KS
Maryland Day Goes Global CAN’T MAKE IT TO MARYLAND DAY on April 26 to “Explore Our World of Fearless Ideas”? No problem! This year, the university wants to explore your world, too. While 100,000 people are expected to attend the campus’s annual open house, Terps around the globe can now take part through Maryland Day—Our World. Terps are invited to shoot video or photos of the ordinary and extraordinary moments of what they’re doing April 25–26. We want to see what’s important to you: Your work. Your family and friends. Your passion. How you’re being fearless in your lives and communities. Later, at marylandday.umd.edu/ourworld, we’ll post details about how to upload your videos and pictures by May 11, then we’ll compile the footage to produce a mini-documentary about the impact of Terps on the world. We can’t wait to see what you’re up to.
BOOKSHELF JENNIFER HOLLAND M.S. ’98
follows up her New York Times bestseller Unlikely Friendships with Unlikely Loves, a celebration of love between species. In it, she shares stories like the Dalmatian who mothers a newborn lamb, the fox and the hound that become inseparable, and orphaned animals who find family-like ties in unexpected combinations.
In Raising Autism: Surviving the Early Years, KIMBERLEE RUTAN MCCAFFERTY M.ED. ’95 writes a heartfelt, humorous memoir about the joys and challenges of parenting two children on the autism spectrum. Read her blog at autismmommy therapist.wordpress.com.
TOP LEFT PHOTO PROVDED BY JAIME JURADO; MARYLAND DAY ILLUSTRATION BY BRIAN G. PAYNE
S S E N D A M H M E RC
AS YOU CHEER ON THE TERPS THIS MARCH, step up your own game— with style. Go beyond your tees and hoodies to show your loyalty at the office or on the go. Find all these items at the University Book Center in the Stamp Student Union (umcp.bncollege.com) or the Comcast Center store (shop.umterps.com).
� SILK TIE
Keep Testudo close to your heart with this mascotpatterned tie.
RALPH LAUREN HALF-ZIP FLEECE
CABLE-KNIT HAT AND INFINITY SCARF
Metalic thread adds a shine to your winter outerwear.
Be the most fashionable Terp in town in this longsleeve pullover with soft, lightweight cotton fleece and an embroidered logo. PUFFER VEST
Think of this vest as your own warm shell: It has an embroidered Terrapins graphic on the front chest and back neck, red interior lining and two front zippered pockets.
LEATHER LAPTOP MESSENGER BAG
Take your fandom on the road with this elegant bag, which features a subtle, embossed logo on the front. It also has a durable design and lots of storage space.
Stay warm—and connected—with touchscreen-compatible gloves that have an appliqued Testudo on each wrist.
CANVAS RIBBON BELT �
Adding a little Terp flair is a cinch!
Maryland style extends to your toes when you wear socks with a state flag theme.
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
WINTER 2014 TERP 9
Remembering “That Guy” SCHOLARSHIP HONORS PILLAR OF D.C. MUSIC SCENE A first-time concertgoer at D.C.’s 9:30 Club would likely have had two thoughts when seeing the tattooed, pierced, 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame of Josh Burdette ’98, the iconic venue’s manager and crew chief: First, “I better not make any trouble.” Then: “If there is any trouble, I’m glad he’ll be around to deal with it.” In a city known for its monuments, Burdette was the sentinel of V Street. With metal tusks protruding from his nose, and earlobes stretched with huge gauges, he was widely known as “That Guy” and the club’s guardian angel. A psychology graduate, Burdette died last fall and is being remembered at Maryland with a new scholarship fund. Since he was part of Student Entertainment Events (SEE) as a student and often helped the programming board as an alumnus, the scholarship in his honor will support a SEE student leader in financial need. So far, about $30,000 has been raised. Weighing more than 10 pounds at birth, Josh was often told that his physical size came with responsibilities, says his father, Robert Burdette ’70. “He learned it well,” he says. “He was a person who would look out for other people. … He was compassionate.” Josh also was willing to wink at the imposing image that greeted D.C. fans at the venue since 1997. On his
Facebook page, entitled “That Guy at the 9:30 Club,” his love for the Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection”—“probably my favorite song of all”—would be just above articles about Goth punk songs. “Everybody got the real Josh,” says Eric Lichtfuss ’02, a close friend who knew Burdette at Maryland and worked with him at the 9:30 Club. “He liked to challenge people’s perceptions but do it in a gentle way.” His job could be difficult and unpredictable—for example, Burdette’s father says one of the worst fights his son ever broke up was between a dentist and a physician. But Lichtfuss says Josh found it rewarding to be in charge of keeping people safe and making sure they had a good time. “He was someone who exuded so much of himself … that you really ceased to see the exterior,” he says. Robert Burdette, who was a longtime chaplain at Maryland and taught family studies courses, said the university is an appropriate place for Josh to be memorialized. “We’re a Terrapin family,” he says. “It was part of who he was, to be a Terrapin.”—LF Share your stories about Josh Burdette at terp.umd.edu.
PHOTO BY SORA DEVORE FOR THE WASHINGTON POSTCREDITS PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO
DIGGING IT SOIL-JUDGING STUDENTS GET DOWN AND DIRTY TO DEFEND NATIONAL TITLE JESSICA RUPPRECHT ’14 CLIMBS OUT of a 5-feet-deep pit in the woods somewhere 10 miles south of Frederick, Md. She sits on an overturned five-gallon pail, running a chunk of soil between her fingers. She presses it between her thumb and forefinger. She spritzes it with water. She scribbles on her scorecard, a small smile on her face. This is the Northeast Regional Collegiate Soil Contest, and it’s the most unlikely Friday you never had at Maryland. To most of us, what we plant in and build on is dirt. To a tiny subgroup of avid environmental science students such as Rupprecht, it’s soil. And it tells a complex, fascinating story. Seven undergraduates make up Maryland’s soil-judging team, which in May will defend its third national title; it won the right to return to nationals after placing second at the regional contest in October. “Soil is beautiful to begin with,” says Rupprecht (below). “It’s like a painting. When I go into a pit, it’s like looking at the beautiful colors that have formed over millions of years, and it’s magical, almost.” During soil judging, students examine, describe and interpret the soil profiles and landscapes at a variety of sites. They have to identify the different horizons, or layers, which can be subtle or striking, and then they describe their properties: color, texture, structure and wetness. The soils are the product of tens of thousands of years of biological, chemical and physical processes. One horizon in a pit might be made up of a deposit caused by a landslide 15,000 years ago. Another near the surface might have been created by soil discarded during road construction 50 years ago.
Then the students have to determine appropriate uses for the soil, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) classification scale. Is this a good place to dig a basement? Place a wastewater system? Start a farm? “It’s a tremendous educational experience,” says Professor Martin Rabenhorst ’75, who alternates coaching the UMD team annually with Professor Brian Needelman. “They get to travel around the region or the country and see this vast array of soils. They
Soil is beautiful to begin with. It’s like a painting. When I go into a pit, it’s like looking at the beautiful colors that have formed over millions of years, and it’s magical, almost.
JESSICA RUPPRECHT ’14
develop these wonderful field skills that make them highly marketable.” Nobody goes to college to study soils, Rabenhorst admits. He didn’t. He came to Maryland for conservation, and maybe to become a forest ranger. Like many of the students he’s coached in the last 30 years, he stumbled onto soil judging. “I went out to a practice on a Saturday, and they threw me in a hole before I even knew what this was,” he says. Turns out he had an eye for it, and his team won the 1972 national competition. Today, environmental science and technology majors are required to take an introductory soil science course, and that reels a few judgers in each year.
“I like the real-world application, the experience of it,” says Tyler Witowski, who graduated in December. “It’s hands-on rather than in the classroom, droning over lectures and looking at pictures. The team aspect is great, too.” He wore a teal, faux-fur Russian hat to the regionals. His teammate, Sara Mack ’14, donned a Viking-style horned helmet. Nearly everyone was bundled up in Carhartts and hoodies. And every competitor’s pants were caked with dirt. Er, soil. The family of former soil judger Mark Matovich ’12 welcomed the students from colleges from Rhode Island to Ohio to their farm, but the event was an unofficial UMD soil judging reunion. Graduate students, USDA and state conservation officials, soil scientists and consultants all came out to serve as pit monitors, advisers and scorecard judges and even to manually pump out pits flooded by rainwater the previous week. For three days, the students practiced in pits all across Western Maryland before hopping into the competition ones, freshly dug by a backhoe on the 150-acre property. The contest itself was oddly silent, except for the rustling of leaves, squawking of birds and scraping of knives and shovels in the pits. Victory loosened things up. The UMD team members broke out in a sort of twirling dance when they learned they’d qualified for nationals. That was nothing compared to their reaction after winning it all last year. They drove all night from Wisconsin, arrived home as Maryland Day was in full swing, and began an impromptu parade across campus with their 3-feet-tall (and exceptionally heavy) trophy. “Really, it’s not about winning. But when you have this intense and fun and transformative experience with these students, and then you come back and have to say, we came in fifth, it doesn’t capture it,” Needelman says. “As anticlimactic as it is to say that, it’s the opposite to say we won.”—LB
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
WINTER 2014 TERP 11
Power From Down Under
ELITE AUSTRALIAN GYMNAST BRINGS WORLD-CLASS TALENT TO UMD SQUAD At age 16, Nikki Chung was among a handful of gymnasts in the world who could land a double-twisting Yurchenko vault, shown below. A round-off, back handspring off the vaulting table, twisting twice through the air, body stretched out with arms tucked in and legs straight, and bam, two feet planted on the mat. The native of Perth was considered a lock for the 2012 Australian Olympic team. Then, on her first practice vault at the trials, she turned off the vault too early, rupturing her ACL and several ligaments in her ankle upon landing. Her estimated recovery time after surgery was one full year. Chung had to decide: Focus full-time on gymnastics, waiting another four years for the Olympics in a sport that’s dominated by teenagers? Or put that dream to rest, concentrating on college instead? “I realize I loved the sport and didn’t want to give it up, but I also loved studying,” she says. The daughter of a doctor, she had always
been a good student. She tried the local university for a semester, juggling that with outside training because Australia doesn’t have an NCAA-type system. Ultimately, she looked to the United States as the best way to do both. But by the time
COME CHEER THE TEAM ON AS IT COMPETES AGAINST NORTH CAROLINA 7 P.M. / FEB. 21 / COMCAST CENTER ADMISSION IS FREE
she reached out to American colleges in July 2013, she was almost too late. “Other schools told her right off the bat, ‘This is impossible,’” says Terps gymnastics Coach Brett Nelligan. He petitioned the NCAA and appealed twice to get Chung eligible to compete, just days before the start of the school year.
Now, she’s more than 10,000 miles from home, part of a squad that has steadily improved over the last decade. Under Nelligan’s leadership, the team ranked No. 14 in the nation last year, losing the ACC championship by .075 point. Chung’s elite competition experience is invaluable—she’s considering returning to international competition this year and hasn’t given up her Olympic dreams—and the elite skills she brings can push her teammates to reach higher. She hasn’t yet picked a major, but she’s considering cell biology or physiology and neurobiology. Reflective and earnest, with a tendency to downplay her achievements, she reveals what she dislikes about the American system: a mandatory general education curriculum that means she has to take English, her least favorite subject. Otherwise, she’s adjusting well. “I miss home, but it’s less hard being here, since the squad is like my new family,” she says.—KS
Watch videos of Chung in action at terp.umd.edu.
PHOTO BY GREG FIUME
Food for Thought NEW COURSE TEACHES STUDENTS THE NOT-SO-SWEET DETAILS OF THEIR DIETS
A LEAP Forward CAMPUS PRESCHOOL CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF HELPING CHILDREN WITH SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DELAYS AT NEARLY 3 YEARS OLD, Stefano Senserini would point to a cupboard when he was hungry. When he wanted his mom’s attention, he’d grab her chin. And on the playground, he’d visibly shrink from chattering children. “He was a very frustrated little person,” says his mother, Stephanie Tadlock M.A. ’05. “He couldn’t make the words come out.” He was diagnosed with apraxia, meaning he had trouble putting sounds and syllables together to form words. The specialist recommended LEAP, the Language-Learning Early-Advantage Program in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. Two years later, Stefano has enrolled in a local school with his peers, another of the many success stories in the LEAP Preschool, marking its 20th anniversary this year. Department Chair Nan Ratner started the program after struggling to find more intensive help for her son, who also had speech and language delays. His success after meeting a few hours a week with two other late-talking boys encouraged her to try the model on a larger scale. Children with speech and language delays may need to hear a word 10 more times than a typical child to understand it. LEAP has them act out stories through dramatic play, visit museums for hands-on experiences and more, as well as individualize lesson plans to cater to each child’s interests, whether it’s firefighting (above) or fishing. Graduate students help develop lesson plans and conduct individual speech and language therapy sessions, and undergraduates shadow the preschoolers, so there’s usually a one-to-one ratio in the classroom. Parents are invited to observe through one-way mirrors. “You see your child in a new light,” says S. Joyce, whose son, E.J., is in his first year at LEAP. “Kids with speech delays can’t always tell you about their day.” The program is overwhelmingly male—some years, there are no girls at all— because 75 percent of speech and language disorders occur in boys. “It’s a brain-based problem, but it’s very poorly understood,” Ratner says. There’s sometimes a family connection, indicating it might be hereditary. With more research, the hope is to start diagnosing babies at 1 year old for earlier interventions. Ratner and Handy also want to expand the program to create a separate class for children on the autism spectrum, but are constrained by their budget and physical space. “I wish they had the facilities and capacity to help more children,” Tadlock says. “It changed my life and my son’s life. When Stefano began, he had, literally, just a handful of words. Now, I can have a conversation with him.”—KS FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LEAP, CONTACT DIRECTOR DIANNE HANDY AT DHANDY@UMD.EDU OR 301.405.4229.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEAP; FOOD ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOSHUA HARLESS
For students with high metabolisms and short budgets, Doritos, doughnuts and the dollar menu might sound like reasonable food options. Animal sciences lecturer Charlie Apter challenged students to question such choices in his new course, “Eating With Eyes Wide Open.” During the semester, undergraduates canned vegetables, purged sugar from their diets, considered the ethics of lab-grown meat, and more. Excerpts from their journal entries offer a taste of their experience:
48-HOUR SUGAR FAST “ The worst part of my day was when someone … gave me a free cupcake. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to get a free cupcake, until I realized a couple seconds later that I couldn’t eat it.” –MARYBELA MANUEL
THE REAL COST OF JUNK FOOD
“ Not only does food hit your wallet pretty hard, it hits your body pretty hard. One second you’re wiping ice cream off your face, and the next you’re wiping tears off your scale.” –CHLOE ROCK
FAST FOOD DAY
“ We eat very quickly, hoping somehow to catch up to the original idea of a cheeseburger or french fry as it retreats over the horizon. And so it does, bite after bite, until you feel not satisfied exactly, but simply, regrettably full. This is exactly how I felt after consuming so much fast food in about a 12-hour period.” –RUSLANA MILIKHIKER
GARDENING FOR THE FIRST TIME “ I knew eggplant was a plant but to see the different stages of how an eggplant comes about was BEAUTIFUL!” –SHEREEN IBRAHIM
WINTER 2014 TERP 13
Monroe’s Doctrine : USING ATOMS TO CREATE SUPERFAST COMPUTERS
As a teenager growing up just outside Detroit in the late ’70s, Chris Monroe did what a lot of his friends did: He bought an old car and fixed it up. His was a ’72 Ford Thunderbird, that quintessential muscle car; one summer he rebuilt the entire engine. Thirty years later, Monroe is still tinkering. Now, though, instead of wrenches and clamps, he uses an array of lasers, mirrors and lenses. He monkeys with atoms, trying to get them to sit still and follow instructions. A physics professor as well as a fellow at the Joint Quantum Institute, he is a leading researcher in the field of quantum computing, which uses arrangements of atoms rather than silicon chips to process information. In 2012, his team used 20 atoms to construct the most complex quantum device yet; it successfully modeled a complex physics problem, describing the interactions between 20 different magnets. The problem itself was not especially difficult: a regular PC checked the atoms’ work, although it needed 48 14 TERP.UMD.EDU
hours to finish, while Monroe’s device ago proved that atoms can simultaneously required only a few minutes. But the be in more than one place and in more experiment was a crucial step on the than one state. This is known as “superway to constructing machines that can position,” and it means that in the right calculate and store data exponentially situation, particles can hold and convey faster than is now possible. Experts say much more information than traditional that in theory, quantum computers could microprocessors, which are limited to one perform unimaginably complex tasks—for place and one state. example, breaking every cryptographic About 200 groups around the world code ever devised. (That’s one reason that are working in this area, which is espefederal agencies such as the Department cially intriguing now because engineers of Defense and the Intelligence Advanced are approaching the limits of how small Research Projects they can make Activity help fund silicon chips (the Monroe’s work.) smallest are now I’m a knob-turner. Monroe, who 14 millionths of It’s all duct tape this month began a millimeter). moving into Monroe’s strategy and epoxy. state-of-the-art is to use precisely labs in the new calibrated lasers to $128 million Physical Sciences Complex, trap and control charged atoms—ions—in is confident that quantum computing will a vacuum chamber, where they become eventually move from theory to reality. “It processors for the quantum computer. will work,” he says. “It’s a question of time The difficulty lies in corralling the and money.” atoms: Not only are they small, but the act Quantum computing gets its name of observing them changes their nature from quantum mechanics, which 60 years and thus makes it hard to evaluate the PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
information they hold. Trying to solve these issues, Monroe says, is “21st-centuryquantum mechanical weirdness.” So far, Monroe has proven a match for this weirdness. Four years ago, he successfully transferred information from one atom to another 3 feet away. In doing so, he essentially turned the second atom into the first, something he and others have described as “teleportation.” This experiment made use of a key tenet in quantum theory, “entanglement”: two atoms that become entangled will, from that point on, behave alike, no matter how far apart they are. If this experiment could be scaled up, Monroe says, atoms could be used to transfer information very quickly over long distances, creating a sort of quantum-Internet. With his close-cropped hair and retro glasses, Monroe, 48, looks hipper than your stereotypical genius physicist. He talks about his work as if he were still messing around with the Thunderbird in his garage. Describing how he keeps the ions under control, he says, “I’m a knobturner. It’s all duct tape and epoxy.” He oversees a squad of 20 post-docs,
grad students and undergrads who work in his five labs. Each of the labs looks similar: a sprawling Rube Goldbergian maze of lenses, mirrors, cables and lasers. The lasers (each lab has five or so) are the workhorses of the operation: They create the ions that store and calculate the data, make sure these atoms stay where they should, and then grab the data once it’s tabulated. At the center of this seeming disorder is a steel chamber the size of a softball, which holds the computing atoms. The chamber is vacuum-sealed and cooled by a laser to within a thousandth of a degree of absolute zero. This slows down the atoms—if the temperature were higher, they’d be zooming around like kindergartners on Red Bull. Monroe estimates that within five years, he and his team will succeed in loading the chamber with 50 to 100 wellbehaved atoms; at that point, the calculations they make will be near the limits of what current high-level computers can do. “That’s our aim,” he says. “We want to put quantum mechanics to use in the real world.”—DK
NEWSDESK University of Maryland faculty are the source news media turn to for expertise.
“At 30 meters you start to see things a lot more clearly.” –MATTHEW HANSEN, geographical sciences, on the
high-resolution interactive map he helped create using satellite images to illustrate changes in global forest cover, in The New York Times, Nov. 14, 2013.
“What teenagers are watching can make a really big difference in what they think, and ultimately how they behave and really important life decisions.” –MELISSA KEARNEY, economics, on her study that
shows that MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” contributed to the decline of teen birthrates, on NPR, Jan. 13, 2014.
“The eurozone is no family, except possibly a Chekhovian one. At best, it is a “family,” a dysfunctional agglomeration of humans rather like the Simpsons or the Bunkers, but without the comedy.” –MICHAEL JUSTIN LEE, finance, in a column in The
Washington Times, Oct. 28, 2013.
New Space for Research OVER WINTER BREAK, Chris Monroe and
about 200 other scientists began moving into the university’s 160,000-square-foot Physical Sciences Complex. It houses the physics and astronomy departments, the Institute for Physical Science and Technology and the Joint Quantum Institute. Astronomers will be housed on the first floor because they study the heavens, while physicists will be housed on higher floors because they look down at smaller particles. Highlights include:
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI; ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN BLAIR
• Extra staircases between floors to
encourage collaboration between researchers.
• Extra-thick concrete floors to
minimize vibration which can damage experiments.
• Highly precise temperature controlin
labs—within a half-degree Fahrenheit.
• A multistory elliptical glass cone that opens to the sky and provides ample natural light.—DK
HEAR FROM MORE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA AT TWITTER.COM/UMDRightNow.
WINTER 2014 TERP 15
PROFESSOR CREATES RENEWABLE ENERGY FROM AN UNPLEASANT SOURCE
STEPHANIE LANSING’S RESEARCH REQUIRES a love of renewable energy, along with a weak sense of smell and a strong stomach. Cow manure from a Pennsylvania farm, chicken droppings from Maryland’s Eastern Shore or even human waste in Haiti: The assistant professor of environmental science and technology is working on capturing it all to heat homes, cook food and generate power—while keeping methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from escaping into the atmosphere. “I see waste as a resource for renewable energy creation,” she says. Anaerobic digesters are systems that break down biodegradable material and produce gas and other byproducts that can be trapped and used. Washington, D.C., for example, is building one at its wastewater treatment plant so it can become self-sustaining. Lansing’s focus is on shrinking them so even individual families can obtain and afford them. She’s working, too, to see what cost-efficient materials and mix of microbes could help farmers throughout the Mid-Atlantic harness power from manure and food waste year-round, even at low temperatures that can kill microbes traditionally used in digesters.
The former Peace Corps volunteer is also creating systems that locals in Haiti can be trained to operate. “Two-thirds of the country does open defecation,” she says, because the country doesn’t have an adequate waste management system. Lansing’s system links communal toilets to the digester systems, then pipes the gas back into homes, hospitals or other buildings, which improves sanitation and saves fuel costs. Eventually, she hopes to combine the digesters with new technology called microbial fuel cells, which directly create electricity and water from waste, for maximum efficiency. Despite the nature of her studies, undergraduate and graduate students clamor to work with her, and she’s brought both to conduct research in Haiti. “She was the only person I found doing work in this area with applications outside the United States,” says Andy Moss M.S. ’12, who now owns a digester company in Baltimore. “To very quickly and decisively make a difference, environmentally, for public health and quality of life, there are very few options as appealing as this field.”—KS
UMD LAUNCHES LANGUAGE CENTER WELKOM, BIENVENUE, Huānyíng guānglín and Dobro požalovat: before,” says center Director Colin Phillips. The university has opened a research center that will create the For instance, the Center for Advanced Study of Language has largest group of language scientists in North America to examine a worked for years to improve how adults can quickly learn new lanrange of questions including: how to improve early identification of guages. Working with the center’s researchers the project will now language disorders in babies; how to create better language recogni- also focus on language learning among children.—DK tion systems; and why adults learn languages less efficiently compared with children. The Maryland Language Science Center Translation Program Takes Off brings together more than 200 researchers THIS FALL, the Department of Commuhelp meet the demand for linguists at the from 17 departments and centers, as well as nication inaugurated only the second United Nations, U.S. Department of State six colleges. This group will include comprogram of its kind in the nation to train and European Union and in diplomatic, puter scientists, linguists, neuroscientists, graduate students in translation and inter- legal, health care and community careers. education researchers, psychologists and preting. With significant financial support Director David Sawyer expects enrollother specialists who will collaborate to from Jack Cassell, then-CEO of Visual Aids ment to jump from 24 last fall to 60 later solve such global language problems. Electronics, the Graduate Studies in Interthis year. “This is a high-growth profes“Our goal is to put together all of the preting and Translation program seeks to sion,” he says.—DK different pieces of language science in a way that no one else has ever done
ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN BLAIR
FACULTY Q & A
He’s Big in India For a popular author, Arnab Ray can eat at a College Park restaurant with few interruptions. With more than 18,000 Twitter followers, it’s not that Ray isn’t well known—it’s that he lives 8,000 miles from his fan base. A senior research scientist at Maryland’s Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, he offers wry takes on Indian culture and politics on his blog, “Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind” (greatbong.net), and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Now he’s finishing a third book, following 2010’s “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss,” an expanded collection of his blog ruminations, and the 2012 psychological thriller “The Mine.” —LF Q: YOU HAVE YOUR SOFTWARE
Q: WHAT’S A GOOD ENTRYWAY FOR
ENGINEERING SIDE AND YOUR
SOMEONE IN THE UNITED STATES TO
BLOGGING SIDE. HOW DID THAT
UNDERSTAND INDIA’S CULTURE?
A: Get an Indian friend and watch a few movies with him. Let him explain to you the different things. It’s not just getting the subtitles. You should start with “Sholay.” It’s one of the best Bollywood movies ever made. If you watch “Sholay” alone and depend only on the subtitles, you risk not getting how smart and snappy the dialogue is. Once you are done with “Sholay,” maybe “Lagaan,” which got an Oscar nomination.
up in India in the ’90s, there weren’t a lot of career options. Everybody who was somebody was either an engineer or a doctor. But I have always written on the side. It was only in 2004, after I graduated with a Ph.D. and started working (which meant I had my evenings free, for the first time in my life), that I started blogging. No one read it at first, but then a few posts became popular, and then it all grew organically. Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE HAVING LIVED IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1999 AND HAVING PUBLISHING
Q: WHAT DO YOU SEE
AS THE BIGGEST SHIFT IN
It allows me independence. I can write whatever I want to. I don’t think about what’s popular and sales. This is a hobby, and I firmly want to keep it a hobby. I can comment independently as a political commentator on Indian affairs because I am here. If I was in India, if I was working for a newspaper, all the newspapers are politically slanted one way or the other—but I am dead center. Being in the U.S. allows me to speak my mind.
INDIAN CULTURE BETWEEN
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP AND NOW? A: A lot of people are more tuned into the world. Wikipedia is the single biggest reason for that. There’s a little bit more of irreverence, a little bit more of brashness. You can see it in our national sporting pastime: cricket. The newer stars are more brash and aggressive than the ones who came before them. Of course, they had once been criticized as being “too soft” and for not having the killer instinct.
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These are the values that have elevated the University of Maryland to become one of the world’s top academic and research institutions. These are the values that unite our alumni, students, faculty, staff, families and friends—a community committed to Fearless Ideas that improve the lives of millions around the globe. / With your support, we can encourage the next inspiring leader, launch the next great business, make a world-changing research breakthrough and strengthen passion and pride in our university. INSPIRATION. BOLDNESS. CURIOSITY. PASSION.
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STUDENT’S FOSSIL DISCOVERY SHEDS LIGHT O N P L A N T E VO L U T I O N — A N D A C I V I L WA R T R AG E DY ESCAPING THE TORTURE of the whip and chain, hundreds of former slaves trickled into Roanoke Island, N.C. It was 1862, Union troops were invading the South, and slaves found safety from the Confederates—and their former masters—in this military outpost. These ragged men, women and children created a thriving colony with homes, a school and churches. ¶ But two years later, their community was thrown into chaos when the Union Army abruptly conscripted all the men—young, old or disabled— sending them nearly 200 miles away from their
families. Their job: to dig a 500-foot-long canal out of clay-heavy soil. ¶ They were promised pay and rations that never appeared. Their pleas to military leaders were ignored. And when the war ended and they were released from their forced labor, their story was forgotten. ¶ Nearly 150 years later, UMD graduate student Nathan Jud stumbled upon a dime-size leaf fossil, uncovered in the earth those men exposed. He’s brought their story to light—and is also using that plant to change our understanding of one of the longstanding conundrums of evolution. »
BY KAREN SHIH ’09
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO CREDITS
U N I O N S O L D I E R S A N D B L AC K L A BO R E R S AT D U TC H GA P C I RCA 18 6 3 .
PHOTOS FROM LEFT: JOHN T. CONSOLI; COURTESY OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES
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T H E “A B O M I N A B L E M Y S T E R Y” Two decades after Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species,” one major problem still confounded him: the relatively sudden appearance of angiosperms, or flowering plants, in the fossil record and their near-complete takeover of the planet. Writing to a friend, he called it an “abominable mystery,” and it has remained so. This was the problem Jud sought to tackle in his work toward a doctorate in biological sciences. Flowering plants first appeared in the fossil record 130 million years ago, but plants have existed on Earth for 400 million years. “It’s like they showed up in the fourth quarter and dominated the game,” he says. While dinosaur and human fossils get most of the attention, plant fossils could help scientists refine their views of how life on earth evolved. “We should care more about plants than we do,” says Charles Delwiche, a member of Jud’s dissertation committee. He’s also a professor of cell biology and molecular genetics who studies the early evolution of photosynthetic life. “These organisms profoundly affect every aspect of our daily lives.”
“Everything we eat is either a plant product or an animal that ate plants—or an animal that ate animals that ate plants,” he says. “All of our clothing is either a plant product or made from fossil fuels, which were either plants or algae. The vast majority of the energy industry is dependent on plant products. We have oxygen in the atmosphere because of the activities of plants and algae.” The proliferation of flowering plants doesn’t follow the spread of other species throughout Earth’s history. At least five times since our planet’s formation, mass extinctions have created a space for new species to fill, giving rise to the age of dinosaurs, and most recently, mammals. Flowering plants didn’t have the advantage of a mass die-off. Unraveling the mystery of angiosperms—identifying the characteristics that helped them adapt and the environments in which they thrived—could advance scientists’ knowledge of climate change, conservation, biodiversity and our own evolution. “You can’t understand how life on earth got to be the way it is without understanding the history of the flowering plant,” says entomology Professor Charles Mitter, Jud’s UMD co-adviser, who studies the co-evolution of flowering plants and insects.
DOCTORAL S TUDENT NATHAN JUD IN THE S TACKS AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM O F N AT U R A L H I S T O RY. W I T H 1 M I L L I O N SPECIMENS, IT HAS THE LARGEST FOSSIL P L A N T C O L L E C T I O N I N T H E WO R L D .
t bout wha a n o i t s e e qu t an arcan ears ago. It’s how is.” s ju t o n y it “It’s a million ot to be the way d e n e p p g ha we live in O F F O S S I L P L A N T SM, U S E U M L the world R AT O R TIONA S NA G, CU TION’ T WIN STITU N — S C O T I N A SONI RY SMITH HISTO TURAL A N F O
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
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A PA L E O B O TA N I S T ’ S ROSETTA STONE Jud is the first student in UMD’s Graduate Program in Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics to be jointly advised by a scientist from the National Museum of Natural History. He was given full access to the Smithsonian’s resources, was awarded funding through the museum’s predoctoral fellowship program and participated in excavation trips with its researchers. But he didn’t have to go far to make his discovery. The museum has the largest fossil plant collection in the world, housing about 1 million specimens, some of which date back 2 billion years. In its back halls, where scientists have carefully labeled and stored them for the last century and a half (“Think of a cross between a research lab and that scene in ‘Indiana Jones’ where the Ark is stored away in that big warehouse,” Jud says), he found something everyone else had missed. His focus was on the Early Cretaceous, from 100 million to 145 million years ago. It was during that time that conifers, tree ferns and plants with palm-like fronds gave way to flowering plants, which grew to dominate in many environments by the end of that period. As part of his research, he truly left no stone unturned, flipping over each rock in that collection to make sure no fragment had gone unidentified. A tiny, brightly colored plant fossil caught his eye. It was 120 million years old, yet the leaves looked like those of a modern plant, the bleeding heart. “It blew my mind,” Jud says. Since the 1970s, scientists had believed that only the most primitive flowering plants existed 120 million years ago. The oldest known eudicot flowering plants, or the highly sophisticated ones that make up 70 percent of the flowering plants we see today, were 105 million years old. Jud’s tiny leaf, so modern and complex, has all the markings of a eudicot and indicates that flowering plants evolved quickly by geological standards. He compared the fossil to living plants on the evolutionary
tree, citing features such as “teeth” at the tips of the leaves and interlocking “veins” within the leaves. He went on to create a list of 14 characteristics that can now be used to distinguish the leaves of flowering plants from those of non-flowering plants. (In the past, fossils like this one were often mistaken for small ferns.) “It’s a new Rosetta Stone” for paleobotanists, says Scott Wing, Jud’s Smithsonian co-adviser and curator of fossil plants at the National Museum of Natural History. “We have a new tool to recognize this group very early in its evolution.”
A NAME WITH MEANING The fossil was among hundreds gathered in the 1970s by Leo Hickey, a leading paleobotanist who worked at the Smith-
sonian Institution and Yale University, and his colleagues. It came from Dutch Gap, an area just south of Richmond, Va., which contains the oldest known fossils of flowering plants in North America, dating back 120 million years. Jud, like all scientists who discover a new species, had the privilege of naming it. Shortly after his discovery, he went up to Yale for a conference and heard Hickey speak about the Dutch Gap area. Hickey knew just the basics: The area where the fossil was collected was exposed during the creation of a canal connecting two parts of the James River. He told a funny story about how the clay-heavy soil thwarted efforts to use explosives to clear the canal, because the dirt simply settled back into the blast hole. What most intrigued Jud was Hickey’s mention of how former slaves had been conscripted to work at the site. “I wanted to name (the fossil) after
A SHORT BUT
FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP Doctoral student Nathan Jud was honored to report his findings on a 120 amillion-year-old fossil with its discoverer, internationally known paleobot short. cut was hip partners their nist Leo Hickey. But In just their second meeting to outline their paper, Hickey revealed he had melanoma, and the prognosis wasn’t good. “He told me, ‘I want to do this with you. It’s very important that it gets published, but I may or may not make it until the end,’” Jud says. Hickey, renowned for melding geological and botanical approaches to evolution, worked until he died last February, making notes from his hospital bed. Jud, meanwhile, took his words to heart and poured his energy into his research and the paper. “I feel fortunate he was around as long as he was,” says Jud.—KS
PHOTO COURTESY OF YALE UNIVERSITY
the people who made this available to us,” Jud says. He set out to learn more, scouring the Internet until he found Steven Miller, co-editor of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project—right in Maryland’s Department of History.
FREEDMEN, BUT NOT FREE
To be a freedman during the Civil War often meant trading one master for another. After a few early incidents in which Union soldiers returned slaves to their owners, the military soon realized it could bolster its ranks with the mounting numbers of escaped slaves. In the summer of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln started circulating a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, and though it wasn’t made official until Jan. 1, 1863, the Union Army started accepting black men. Women and children, and men who weren’t fit to serve, were sent to “contraband camps,” similar to refugee camps, to wait out the war. Roanoke Island, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, held the first of these camps, which was overseen by the Union Army. There, according to Patricia Click’s book “Time Full of Trial: The Roanoke Island Freedman’s Colony, 1862–1867,” the former slaves fished for shad and planted gardens, and many even learned from missionaries how to read and write (something forbidden by Virginia state law). In 1864, at least 45 black men—many of whom already worked without pay on fortifications for the army—were tricked into leaving their families with promises of $16 a month and rations. “Every time the Union or the Confederate army needed hard work done, they would try to find black men to do it,” Miller says. Union Gen. Benjamin Butler wanted to circumvent the Confederate Army stationed along an eight-mile stretch up the James River that Union ships had to pass to reach the heart of Virginia. At Dutch Gap, only 500 feet separated one curve of
MAP BY BRIAN G. PAYNE
the river from the next, making it a perfect place for a canal. Black soldiers did the digging at first, but as the project continued, more workers were needed—and the men of Roanoke Island were easy targets. Miller obtained from the National Archives a firsthand account of their “recruitment,” written by Ned Baxter and Sam Owens on behalf of 43 other men, in a letter to Butler, reproduced with its original spelling and punctuation: “guards were then sent over to the Island to take up every man that could be found indiscriminately young and old sick and well. the soldiers broke into coulored people’s house’s taken sick men out of bed. men that had sick wives, and men that had large family’s of children and no wife or person to cut wood for them or take care of them, were taken, and not asked one question or word about going.” When they arrived at Dutch Gap, they faced a gargantuan task: shoveling out 67,000 cubic yards of soil, or the volume of more than 20 Olympic-size swimming pools. The black soldiers who worked on it were on the military payroll, at least, despite rampant discrimination. The freedmen could only hope their letter reached the right place and that the military would act honorably. “we have not been paid for our work don at Roanoke, consequently our wives and family’s are there suffering for clothes. ... its no uncommon thing to see weman and children crying for something to eat.” It was a virtual return to slavery for six months—until Butler was relieved of his duties in January 1865 and the project was abandoned. The war ended a few months later, and it wasn’t until he became a U.S. senator in the 1870s that Butler oversaw the canal’s completion.
DUTCH GAP CANAL
er James Riv
HONORING A LEGACY Potomacapnos apeleutheron. That’s the Greek name Jud chose for the new species. The first part is straightforward: Potomac, for the area where the fossil was collected, and “kapnos,” which means smoke, to connect it to the plant’s modern-day counterparts, like fumitories, with similar scientific names. The second part, apeleutheron, means “freedmen’s.” It honors all the freedmen who made it possible for Jud to challenge long-held assumptions about the earliest flowering plants in North America. Jud and Hickey wrote a paper that was published in December in the American Journal of Botany. As scientists continue to refine their understanding of the evolution of flowering plants, Jud hopes they’ll spare a thought for the men who inadvertently made their work possible. “This fossil belongs to the freedmen,” Jud says. “I want to bring light to a little bit of history, dug out from obscurity.” TERP
Take Jud’s “Fern or Flower?” quiz at terp.umd.edu.
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26 TERP.UMD.EDU WINTER 2014
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO CREDITS
RISING BUSINESS OWNER SHAKES UP SCENE BY CREATING DRINKABLE ART
here was a time when the path of a drink Gina Chersevani served was simple. It started and ended in a tub full of other light beers at Terrapin Station. On a chilly morning last November, she began that same journey in a more sophisticated—and unlikely— locale: a Northwest D.C. tea shop. “What’s a stronger version of English breakfast?” Chersevani ’99, ’00 asked two women behind the counter at Teaism. “I want something darker, but that kind of flavor.” She ended up with Keemun and Ceylon (respectively described by Teaism as “bright, wirey, tippy” and “with a slight smokiness and notes of sugar cane and red wine”), two flavors to combine into homemade syrup for the cocktails she has become famous for in the nation’s capital. Chersevani is D.C.’s “Mixtress,” an award-winning mixologist who has captivated the city’s cocktail scene since concocting a cucumber cosmopolitan a decade ago during the “Sex and the City” craze. (When The Washington Post wrote last March, “Ask anyone who cares about what slips over their lips to list the leaders of the pack,” “Gina” was No. 3.) Now the owner of The Eddy Bar inside Hank’s Oyster Bar restaurant at Capitol Hill and the Buffalo & Bergen soda shop at Union Market, Chersevani has aided and been aided by a nightlife evolution that has seen rounds of tequila shots turn into craft brews and 1930s-era drinks. With plenty of customers rejecting mass production and embracing the ethos of goods that are local, hip and unique, a cocktail can now begin in a Chinatown store that sells so many varieties of tea it is impossible to single out the smells. It’s been quite a trip from college bars to working at
BY LIAM FARRELL PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO CREDITS
WINTER 2014 TERP 27
the 2013 Preakness, where Chersevani oversaw the mixing of 30,080 hand-shaken cocktails in a single day. Her success is an open rebuttal to the idea that she is "just a bartender." Chersevani’s job requires an understanding of the science involved in combining ingredients to create something new, and the artistry to make it appeal to the eye and the palate. In a male-dominated arena, she is a rare female entrepreneur hoping to pave the way for other women. "I definitely want to be an inspiration," she says.
“A HARD PATH” Chersevani got an early education in mixing ingredients. She grew up outside New York City, where her father was a chef in a restaurant serving northern Italian food. Besides observing his work ethic, she got an introduction to his recipes. Her mother (whose childhood address in Brooklyn provided the intersection name for Chersevani’s soda shop) would put out a dozen bottles and give her daughter directions on making salad dressing, stressing how each ingredient affected the others. Even today, the Mixtress says the best guide to creating a cocktail is famed chef Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food.” The quality of what Chersevani mixes has changed significantly since her days at Maryland. Back then, a signature concoction for her friends was a “Hop, Skip and Go Naked,” which involved an ice chest, cheap vodka, light beer and Country Time lemonade mix. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in fine art and psychology, Chersevani got a job at Penang in D.C. She had taken a bartending class, and a borrowed copy of “Difford’s Guide to Cocktails” helped spark an idea of how to lure in customers. Her next stop was at 15 Ria, a restaurant opened in 2003 by chef Jamie Leeds. Chersevani, who says at the time she was a
CANNOT TELL A LIE
28 TERP WINTER 2014
RASPBERRY EGG CREAM
“I MUST HAVE HEARD IT A THOUSAND TIMES: ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’ [SUCCESS] JUST STARTS TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU NEED IT TO.” culinary “bull in a china shop,” credits Leeds with teaching her the value of proper technique, fresh ingredients and custom-made syrups. “She was a fast learner,” says Leeds, who notes that muddling fruit was an early mixology lesson. “She’s incredibly creative. She’s always coming up with great ideas.” Chersevani bounced to other restaurants in the area and learned different skills at each stop: how to grow your own ingredients at Poste Moderne Brasserie, the different uses of spices at Rasika, even how to incorporate fat and meat into cocktails at Tallula. (That’s not necessarily the oddest combination in her repertoire; she once demonstrated a drink involving milk and apple juice to a stunned cocktail class.) The job-hopping would burn out a more corporateminded person. But the restaurant industry has heavy turnover, and Chersevani says her ambition necessitated soaking up as much knowledge as she could from one venue and going to another before her skills became stale. “It’s a hard path. That’s the nature of the beast,” she says. Chersevani says it was also difficult to gain respect in the culinary world as a woman, and she tried to prove herself again and again in competitions, like when she won the Beacon Hotel’s Best Martini in D.C. contest in 2010. What sustained her was the determination to be the best and the belief that what ultimately mattered was her own fulfillment. “It puts a fire under you to be even better,” she says.
NOT QUITE A HALF & HALF
PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI / PHOTO CREDITS
Try some of Chersevani’s cocktail recipes at terp.umd.edu.
A parallel story runs alongside Chersevani’s journey to becoming a cocktail expert. That’s the creation of a demand for a cocktail expert. For lack of a better word, the “hipsterization” of America clearly lent her a helping hand. The appeal of a more “authentic” lifestyle to 20- and 30-somethings has put a farmer’s market mentality—buy things with homegrown, boutique quality—into everything from beer to denim and furniture. In this subculture, chain stores are acceptable only if they have maintained a cultural cachet (Japanese clothing company Uniqlo), are a guilty pleasure (Target) or have the closest supply of light bulbs (Wal-Mart). And these people don’t just live in Brooklyn or Portland, they live in Indianapolis, Houston and Washington, D.C. “It’s changed dramatically,” Leeds says. “People are going out and enjoying the variety. Our clientele at Hank’s is a clientele who cares about what they eat and where it comes from.” This ethos is visible in Chersevani’s businesses: the original 1930 soda counter from a Chicago Woolworth’s in Buffalo & Bergen, the clean white design of the Eddy Bar, the 1960s Airstream trailer she refurbished to sell frozen drinks during the summer in front of Union Market. It’s more than nostalgia—it’s the reclamation of a less banal brand of quality. For the bagels at Buffalo & Bergen, Chersevani gets dough from New York because there was no other way to replicate her hometown’s taste. (“We tried. The water is just not the same.”) At the Eddy Bar, Chersevani and her crew don’t buy
packs of pre-cut ice cubes; rather, they buy it in blocks and break it into pieces themselves. Holding a frozen chunk in one hand and an ice tapper in the other, Chersevani talks about how a good bartender can break it without any shards flying away. It’s an art derived from the experience of analyzing the ice’s fissures and anticipating where it’s going to snap apart. More importantly, properly broken ice produces a superior clarity. If done right, it makes the ice as transparent as the surrounding glass and liquid. “As silly as it sounds, it makes really beautiful drinks,” she says. By now, Chersevani is so familiar with each ingredient that goes into a cocktail—she calls the line of bottles behind the Eddy Bar her “spice rack”—that she can come up with new recipes without even tasting them. For a while, that has been a necessary skill, as she is pregnant with her first child, due in February. She still surpasses 70 hours a week on her feet, but recognizes that her days of staying up late in bars are numbered. Chersevani is developing syrups and sodas that can be sold in stores like Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. “I can’t be everywhere,” she says, “but retail can be.” Though she relishes the opportunity to share her creations with a wider audience, she fears losing control over something she’s so passionate about. “You created it, you love it, and you want to see it through,” she says. “If you are not afraid, then you are really doing something wrong.” TERP WINTER 2014 TERP 29
CAN ART CHANGE THE WORLD? WORKING WITH A RENOWNED DIRECTOR, TWO ALUMS TAKE ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN INDIA
the Fearless Ones poorna jagannathan was any girl on any bus
in New Delhi. Between the ages of 14 and 17, she was sexually violated every day as she rode to school. Men touched her, groped her, snaked their hands up her skirt. Years before, she’d been sexually assaulted by a neighbor, a friend of her parents. Her experience was not unique in India. “Every girl I know has a story about sexual violation,” she says. But Poorna, who graduated from the University of Maryland in 1996 with a degree in journalism and went on to become a popular actress in India, remained silent about her abuse.
BY BRIAN ULLMANN ’92 | ILLUSTRATION BY MARGARET HALL ’84
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“The truth is, BEING SILENT ABOUT
seXual violence MAKES YOU PART OF THE CAUSE OF THAT VIOLENCE. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I COULD DO, BUT I KNEW I HAD TO
Break my own silence.” —POORNA JAGANNATHAN ’96
Then in December 2012 she heard about another young woman on a Delhi bus. Six male passengers attacked a 23-year-old medical student heading home with a male friend after seeing the film “Life of Pi.” She was raped by each one of them, sexually assaulted with an iron rod, and thrown with her beaten friend from the moving vehicle. The woman, who had desperately fought off the rapists with her teeth and her fists, died two weeks later. Because in India it is illegal to identify victims of sexual crimes, the media called her “Nirbhaya,” or the “Fearless One.” The brutality of the attack made headlines around the world. And, to Poorna, it brought forth a shattering truth. “My silence contributed to the creation of this culture of unaccountability,” 32 TERP.UMD.EDU
she says. “My silence perpetuates sexual violence. What if I, and every other woman who had been sexually violated, had stood up for ourselves? “The minute you know that you are the cause of something, it becomes very personal,” Poorna says. “The truth is, being silent about sexual violence makes you part of the cause of that violence. I didn’t know what I could do, but I knew I had to break my own silence.” She reached out to noted director Yael Farber, and together, with the help of Rob Jansen M.F.A. ’12, a play was born to lift the veil of silence on sexual violence in India. Premiering to huge acclaim in Edinburgh and opening later this year in Mumbai and Delhi, the play bears the name “Nirbhaya.”
The Weight of Her Past
A new case of rape is reported every 20 minutes in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, though most agree that incidents are grossly underreported. Marital rape, for example, is not considered a crime. In addition, a staggering 53 percent of children in India are sexually abused, according to Human Rights Watch. There is a culture of not even calling sexual violation by its real name, Poorna says. Instead, many use the term “eveteasing,” a phrase that seems to imply these acts are little more than innocent fun. “Go to your parents and they’ll tell you, ‘You need to wear more clothes,’” she says. “Go to the officials and they won’t believe you. Your parents will say, ‘Don’t bring it up, you’ll bring shame to your family.’”
Poorna and “Nirbhaya” director Yael Farber wanted their play to showcase the first-person accounts from seven victims of sexual abuse in India, including Poorna herself. The cast includes, from left, Ankur Vikal, Priyanka Bose, Sneha Jawale, Rukhsar Kabir and Japjit Kaur. In the play, Jawale offers testimony about how her husband and brother soaked her in kerosene and set her on fire, severely burning her face and neck.
Poorna attended Maryland when her parents, who were diplomats, were stationed in Washington, D.C. She complemented her journalism work with minors in women’s studies and theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York and worked in advertising. Though she still maintains her own brand consulting firm, Poorna’s passion had always been acting. She enrolled in the master’s program at the Actor’s Studio and landed roles on “Law & Order” and “Rescue Me” and will be a series regular on HBO’s forthcoming “Criminal Justice.” She is perhaps best known for her role in the hugely popular 2011 Bollywood movie “Delhi Belly.” She was in Vietnam, largely cut off from world news, when she first heard of the Delhi attack. “My husband told me there was ‘something crazy’ happening in Delhi,” she says. “At the time we didn’t have much information, and yet I remember feeling like there was something in his words that meant something to me. “It was such a huge event that was
going to change the course of my life. Although I didn’t know what it was, I felt it. Without having any information, it still carried weight.” It was the weight, she says, of her shared experience on that bus. Poorna knew immediately that she wanted to do something, to speak out. “If you don’t confront the problem,” she says, “how can you find the solution?” Knowing Nirbhaya
Yael Farber, an award-winning director from South Africa who had earned acclaim for a searing testimonial portrayal of apartheid in her London production of “Amajuba,” was the perfect collaborator. Poorna had recently seen the play and was drawn to the director’s blend of art and social activism. “There was no one who can deliver the truth in a more compelling way,” Poorna says. “She is an iron fist in a velvet glove.” Shortly after the attack, Yael posted a status update on her Facebook page with the words: “My mother, my daughter, myself.” Poorna read these words and
TOP PHOTOS BY WILLIAM BURDETT-COUTTS; FARBER PHOTO BY VINNA LAUDICO
contacted Yael, quickly finding in her the same sense of urgency to produce a play around Nirbhaya’s story. To smash the “cone of silence” that often envelops victims of sexual abuse in India, Poorna and Yael wanted to showcase first-person testimonials from seven different women, Yael Farber all real victims of sexual assault, including Poorna herself. In the spring of 2011, Yael had visited Maryland at the invitation of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. There she met Rob Jansen, a master’s student in performance. “I was impressed by her focus,” Rob says. “I felt invigorated and challenged as an artist. I knew then I wanted to work with her.” Rob reconnected with the director after completing his degree and was invited to WINTER 2014 TERP 33
join the production team. A few weeks later, he was on a plane to India. “Rob Jansen is one of those exceptional people who—at whatever level he is operating within a team—brings his full, fierce intelligence,” Yael says. “His involvement permeated many aspects of our work.” Working from a script penned by Yael, the cast and crew gathered for rehearsals in a place called Zorba the Buddha, an artist colony of sorts. Rob, as assistant director, worked with the women—most of whom had never been on stage before— on the fluidity of their stage movements. It was important for them “to move naturally so the story felt natural,” he explains. The crew walked the streets of Nirbhaya’s neighborhood. They learned that she wanted so badly to go to college that she implored her parents to give her the money they had saved for her wedding. “I will fight for the life that I want,” she told her brothers.
“If we were going to tell her story,” Rob says, “We really wanted to know her.” The play, featuring dramatic reenactments of each woman’s sexual abuse, opened to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts festival. Lauded by the Sunday Herald as “one of the most powerful and urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made,” “Nirbhaya” won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. The Guardian wrote, “In an intimate venue with the opportunity for discussion afterwards, ‘Nirbhaya’ could start to change the world.” But it was the reaction of the audiences that Poorna and Rob felt even more strongly. Rob says, “We had a woman come up to us after a show in Edinburgh and say, ‘I’ve never told this to anybody before, but I was the victim of a sexual assault.’ That was the power of this play, to break
THE POWER OF ARTIVISM
Leigh Wilson Smiley
In the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS), a master’s student used a dance-based curriculum to teach conflict resolution to incarcerated teens. A performance on LGBT issues created a constructive dialogue around sexual roles and preferences. A recent M.F.A. grad taught traditional African dance to at-risk inner-city Baltimore students, which led to better behavior in and out of school. They’re all examples of artivism, the melding of the arts and activism at the heart of so much of the school’s work, including by Rob Jansen M.F.A. ’12, assistant director of “Nirbhaya.” The play, he says, is proof that art has the power to open dialogue, transform lives and influence society. “It can ask questions of an audience,” Rob says, “which hopefully can lead to change.” TDPS Director Leigh Wilson Smiley agrees with that approach. The master’s program in performance emphasizes independent thinking, risk-taking and innovation. “In order to create great art one must take great risk,” she says. “In TDPS our students understand the power of the arts to both entertain as well as to motivate social change.” Rob found this curriculum unique and inspiring. “There is an energy in working directly with faculty who are also artists,” he says. “It just goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. There is a belief in what theater can do, what it can be for our audience.”—BU
down their own cone of silence. And this is from people all over. It’s not just about India, it’s global.” Poorna adds, “After the performance there was a standing ovation, but before that was a lull of silence. It was in that space that something very sacred happened. Audiences have consistently said the same thing: ‘Nirbhaya’ was like a revolution in the air.” A woman Named Fearless
After the trial of the attackers, the woman’s parents decided to go public with her identity. She was Jyothi Singh Pandey, a Delhi medical student. “No victim should remain silent,” her mother told the media covering the story. Of her six attackers, one committed suicide, four were convicted and sentenced to death, pending appeal, and a sixth, a juvenile, was sentenced to three years in a detention center. In delivering its verdict, the court said it “cannot turn a blind eye on the rising cases of sexual assault against women” and that the case shook the “collective conscience of the society.” The wave of protests that swept across India following the rape has continued in the trial’s aftermath. A prominent political party in India has called for stricter laws on crime against women. The Indian Penal Code has introduced several new offenses, including sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism. “Our aim is to locate shame and honor’s loss with the perpetrator rather than the victim,” Yael says. “Speaking out, declaring what has happened to you is a way of refusing to be silenced for fear of the stigmas attached to suffering from sexual violence. ‘Nirbhaya’ the production is the gesture at various levels of breaking silence.” Yael, Poorna and the producing team are working now to stage the play throughout India, starting in Delhi. A Kickstarter campaign launched to support the production there surpassed its $80,000 goal. “‘Nirbhaya’ is a protest play,” says Poorna. “There was a revolution that happened here. The streets erupted in protest. The play tries to capture that energy. We need to bring it home. The play needs to come home. We are ready for change.” TERP TOP PHOTO COURTESY ROB JANSEN; BOTTOM PHOTO BY MIKE CIESIELSKI
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Dig further into Hambrecht’s collection of bones at terp.umd.edu.
What Did the Bishop Have for Dinner? The answer to that question can be found among these bones, cleaned and drying on newspaper in the lab of George Hambrecht, assistant professor of anthropology. The 17th-century leftovers were taken from an archeological dig at Skálholt, an Episcopal cathedral and bishop’s residence in southern Iceland. Hambrecht, who says “most archaeology is concerned with garbage,” studies animal remains to reconstruct past ecological conditions and understand how humans interacted with the environment. He stands where “archaeology meets climate science.”—LF
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
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