Ideas Magazine_Volume 3

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VOLUME 3

Ideas Magazine

A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: REFLECTING AND PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE


CONTENTS

iii THE TEAM

iv ABOUT THE VISITING SCHOLARS PROGRAM

02 ISSUE 1 : SHOSHANA MAGNET 03 BIOMETRICS AND THE DISABILITY JUSTICE MOVEMENT / ABI CLICK

07 ISSUE 2 : ADAM HOWARD 09-11 THE MERIOTOCRACY TRAP / ADAM MA 12-14 EPISTEMIC BUBBLES IN AFFLUENT CIRCLES / VIRGINIA PIECZYNSKI

15 ISSUE 3 : STONE SOUP SHAKESPEARE 17-19 COVID-19 PANDEMIC INCREASES ACCESSIBILITY TO THEATER PERFORMANCES / KATELYN M. BIGGS 20-22 THE VIRTUAL PERFORMER-AUDIENCE RELATIONSHIP / ANNIKA LARSON 23-25 REPEATING THE HISTORY OF THEATER CLOSURES DURING A PANDEMIC / YOONHEE (EUNICE) SONG

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26 ISSUE 4 : COLONEL RICHARD COVEY 28-30 ASTRONAUT OR ASTRO'NOT'? / DAVID GUSIS 31-33 A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MAKING OF AN ASTRONAUT / SHARON KULALI 34-36 THE BIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF SPACE TRAVEL / MADILYN REID

37 ISSUE 5 : MARCELO J.S. DE LEMOS 39-41 COVID-19 VACCINATIONS IN BRAZIL / ANASTASIA PINOPOULOS 42-44 COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE IN BRAZIL / MARIA PAOLA MACHADO RUIZ

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TEAM

FACULTY INSTRUCTOR

DR. ASHIMA KRISHNA

CO-EDITORS STUDENT AUTHORS

JADA JOHNSON KATELYN BIGGS

ABI CLICK

Jada Johnson is a third-year student majoring in

Creative

Writing

and

minoring

in

Psychology and Theatre. She is involved in the DAVID GUSIS

SHARON KULALI

ANNIKA LARSON

Fencing club, the French club, and the String Orchestra. She is a co-editor for the Fall 2021 Issue of Ideas Magazine. She also works as a UTA and UTA Co-Coordinator in the Writing Lab and as a Fall 2021 intern for Arthuriana.

ADAM MA

VIRGINIA PIECZYNSKI

ANASTASIA PINOPOULOS

FAYTH SCHUTTER Fayth

Schutter

is

a

senior

at

Purdue

University, double majoring in Professional Writing and Mass Communication with a

MADILYN REID

MARIA MACHADO RUIZ

minor in Psychology. She has been working at Purdue’s Writing Lab since January 2020, and has had multiple experiences in content

EUNICE SONG

writing. She is a co-editor for the Fall 2020 issue of Ideas Magazine.

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About the Visiting Scholars Program Ideas Magazine is an exhibition catalog meant to contextualize and illuminate the work of the researchers, leaders, and creators who visit Purdue’s Honors College as part of the annual “Visiting Scholars” series. Content of the magazine is created by members of the Visiting Scholars seminar class and the magazine’s student editorial staff. The Visiting Scholars Program features an international group of scholars and creators from varied disciplines, representing various methodologies, viewpoints, and experiences, and it is open to all members of the Purdue community. Students who enrolled in the course attached to the speaker’s series were tasked with bringing the experience to an even broader audience. We asked them to seek a deeper understanding of our visitors and their work, and then to create online ‘artifacts’ inspired by that understanding that would help others to a more ready engagement with the contributions that our visitors bring to their fields of study and creativity. We called for pieces that were brief, informative, and accessible to a general audience. Ideas Magazine is also an experiment in pandemic-era pedagogy and outreach. It was imagined and developed in Fall 2020 (Volume 1) by Dr. Kristina Bross, Associate Dean for Research and Creative Endeavor in the Honors College, and her team of student editors, Katelyn Dehn, Daphne Fauber, Catie Gilhooly, and Jannine Huby. Volume 2 in Spring 2021 semester was developed by Dr. Emily Allen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and student editor Jannine Huby. Everything about the magazine is a collaborative effort, and we hope that the collaboration will extend outward, to other people and conversations. Volume 1 : A History of Ideas Volume 2 : Ideas in a Time of Crisis page iv


Volume 3 of Ideas continues the work of past volumes, introducing a different cohort of students to a new line-up of visiting scholars, activists and artists; it also brought together editors Fayth Schutter and Jada Johnson to co-produce this magazine, making it a truly collaborative effort. The theme for this semester challenged our visiting scholars and students to reflect on how to prepare for a future after the pandemic, and provided an ideal vehicle through which to challenge conventional ideas and wisdom, break down stereotypes, and thoughtfully explore and understand the lived experiences of others. The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the massive gaps and fissures that exist in society both globally and right here at home in Indiana. Challenges of inequity, health, economic and employment opportunities, racism, sexism, ableism and others have widened existing divides, and left large swathes of communities struggling. The preparations for interactions with visiting scholars this semester provided a welcome opportunity for students to examine these challenges and allowed them to appreciate different perspectives presented by both the visiting scholars and their peers. Throughout the semester, VSP students discussed and debated the ideas of the distinguished visitors who presented their perspectives in both in-person and virtual formats. In addition to engaging with each visiting scholar, students also worked in small interdisciplinary teams to focus on one visitor and produce content for Ideas Magazine. This course and the magazine provided an ideal platform for students to explore crosscutting and interdisciplinary themes of social equity and justice, particularly through the lens of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Students drew on assigned readings, personal experiences, speaker perspectives, and in-class interactions; they also conducted additional research to supplement any knowledge gaps to produce thoughtful and introspective essays that grapple with, and also explore in novel ways the ideas presented by the visiting scholars. These ideas have culminated in the Ideas magazine, presented in two formats. The first is a consolidated magazine layout, and the second is our traditional epubs database with downloadable files. Dr. Ashima Krishna Associate Director, Purdue Policy Research Institute Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

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A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: REFLECTING AND PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

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ISSUE 1

VISITING SCHOLAR: DR. SHOSHANA MAGNET

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Shoshana Magnet Associate Professor Feminist and Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences University of Ottawa, Canada

Website

NOTE FROM THE CO-EDITORS

Dr. Shoshana Magnet is a professor of feminist and gender studies at the University of Ottawa. Her previous works focus on large systemic issues such as sexism, homophobia, racism, and ableism as she studies the new media of surveillance through a feminist lens. In her book When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity, she discusses the rigidity of current biometrics coding, and how this code enforces harmful stereotypes and systemic oppression. Biometric technologies often code sexist and/or racist understandings of the human body, failing to understand that not all bodies function the same. This causes this technology to often fail. Magnet’s studies on the moments where biometrics do in fact fail emphasize the use of biometrics and technology to “control and classify” marginalized communities. With the continued COVID-19 pandemic, Magnet turned to how her past studies on biometrics and their attempts to code the human body can relate to trying to code human emotions. With biometrics highly focused on automatic (and rigid) emotion recognition despite the impossibility of such a narrow understanding of emotions, some emotions are left out from this code, bringing Magnet to the codification and diversity of the often overlooked concept of loneliness and what she calls feminist loneliness studies. Loneliness, as a concept with multiple definitions and multiple different ways to experience it, cannot be codified, but can be better understood through emotional justice and listening, according to Magnet. Emotional justice, as a movement focused on understanding emotion to appropriately fight for social justice, cites listening as something necessary for connection, which can limit loneliness. Uninterrupted listening, or what Magnet refers to as Joshua Whitehead’s “fierce listening," can become the antidote to loneliness. Magnet mentions how teaching this ability to listen can be possible through picture books. As reading meant to be said aloud and connected over audibly, Magnet seeks to use picture books to help further emotional understanding and listening practices. She currently writes a listserv of feminist picture books that focus on heavy topics such as divorce or grief, as well as books that focus on social justice movements, all of which can be found under #picturebookstogrow. To learn more or sign up, check out https://www.picturebookstogrow.com/.

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Biometrics and the Disability Justice Movement

Abi Click What does it mean to be disabled in today’s world? Some would argue that it means that you are put at a disadvantage compared to the abled bodies around you. Others would say it is simply a burden you carry. I would argue that disability means that, in some way, society is not set up for you. The disability justice movement, in its current form, came to be in 2005 when queer disabled activists of color began to discuss the ways in which societal isolation, enforced by ableism and capitalism, had failed the disabled community. [1] Meetings among such activists led to the current working framework that is centered around four main tenets: “1) All bodies are unique and essential, 2) All bodies have strengths and needs that must be met, 3) We are powerful, not despite the complexities of our bodies, but because of them, 4) all bodies are confined by ability, race, gender, sexuality, class, nation-state, religion, and more, and we cannot separate them.” [2] In their video, “My Body Doesn’t Oppress Me, Society Does,” disability activists Patty Berne and Stacey Milbern explain that a diagnosis alone does not define a disability. Instead, the societal implications of a diagnosis do. Stacey Milbern explains this by saying that the current model of disability blames a wheelchair user when there is no ramp to a building, whereas the blame should be placed on the building design for a lack of access, and for functionally disabling wheelchair users. [3] Therefore, there is evidence to suggest that the definition of “disabled” changes from situation to situation. This is a concept that the disability justice movement has been pushing for, for years. Unfortunately, this is just one example. We see trends like this across major systems, leading to an inherently ableist society.

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NYC DOT joined the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities in the first-ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Source: New York Department of Transportation

Disability in an Ableist Society

Neurodivergent

Our educational system is made for the neurotypical mind, while the neurodivergent mind is often either left behind or isolated. The categories of neurotypical versus neurodivergent were created by Judy Singer in the late 90s in hopes that it would shift the way we think about conditions such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Dyslexia, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc. As a sociologist with ASD, she hoped to shift the discourse from viewing such disorders as conditions to seeing them simply as different ways of thinking or learning pieces, summary reviews, or scholarly reviews. [4] However, the neurotypical mind is the framework upon which society has built systems, including the educational system. A typical classroom setup expects students to stay silent and concentrated for long periods of time. These are things that neurodivergent people find incredibly difficult. In the current disability model, the blame is put on individual students instead of the educational system. The current solution is to isolate diagnosed neurodivergent

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people from their neurotypical peers as opposed to adjusting the system that disadvantages them. It is also worth noting that many neurodivergent people, especially women, people of color, and people of low socioeconomic status, are not officially diagnosed until adulthood. This often results in these people being left behind in the classroom.

Biometrics

The classroom is not the only public domain in which disabled individuals are disadvantaged. Newer technologies, including biometrics, have been set up in ways that do not serve the disabled community. Dr. Shoshana Magnet discusses the most recent repercussion of our ableist society in her book When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity. Biometrics is a relatively new and quickly growing field that is not likely to disappear anytime soon. In simple terms, biometrics is the use of biological data for security purposes. However, biometrics are not easily or equally accessible to everyone, including but not limited to black indigenous people of color, non-cis gendered people, and disabled people. Dr. Magnet discusses specific examples of people being misgendered due to the technology’s reliance on outdated characteristics of gender, such as long hair. [5] She also speaks on the limitations the technology places on wheelchair users by not putting things such as iris scanners at accessible heights. Testing for these technologies is largely representative of ablebodies and unfortunately, not engineered to the needs of disabled bodies making, them inaccessible. Biometrics are also being used to identify things such as emotion by “rigidly coding them,” according to Dr. Magnet. A common characteristic of many neurodivergent people is stimming (including “abnormal” hand or facial mannerisms) which could easily be misinterpreted by a “rigidly coded” system. This could lead to the discrimination of neurodivergent people.

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A representation of the disability justice movement including various types of disabilities. Source: Molly Walker, 2021

Looking Ahead

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have come to terms with privileges they did not know they possessed. One of these privileges has been that of an able body. Many people are now being restricted to their homes as many disabled people have been before the stay-at-home orders. Similarly, people have been forced to practice hyperawareness of their immune system and learn to self-monitor their symptoms in a similar fashion to the disabled community. Now that many people have realized this privilege, how do we begin to rectify these issues? Dr. Magnet suggests that we begin to do so through education. In her presentation to Purdue’s Honors College in September of 2021, Dr. Magnet walked through several picture books that discuss a myriad of topics, one of which deals with the disability justice movement. Magnet herself is the mother of a neurodivergent child and uses these methods with her children. She suggests that this is how we as a society begin to combat the intense loneliness resulting from oppressive systems. These picture books are the next step in unlearning and unpacking oppressive systems for both children and adults in a post-pandemic world.

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NOTES

[1] Patty Berne, “What is Disability Justice?”, Sins Invalid, posted June 16, 2020, https://www.sinsinvalid.org/news-1/2020/6/16/what-is-disability-justice. [2] Berne, Patty, and Stacey Milbern. My Body Doesn't Disable Me, Society Does. Youtube. Bernard Center for Research on Women, 2017.https://youtu.be/7r0MiGWQY2g. [3] Disabled World. “What Is: Neurodiversity, Neurodivergent, Neurotypical.” Disabled World. Disabled World, August 14, 2021. https://www.disabledworld.com/disability/awareness/neurodiversity/. [4] New York City Department of Transportation. (2015). Disability Pride Nyc Parade. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/nycstreets/19667922485/in/photostream/ [CC BY-NCND 2.0]. [5] Magnet, Shoshana. When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

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ISSUE 2

VISITING SCHOLAR: DR. ADAM HOWARD

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Adam Howard Charles A. Dana Professor of Education Colby College

Website

NOTE FROM THE CO-EDITORS

Adam Howard is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Education at Colby College. He has taught at elite institutions in order to study privilege. He has done this as a way to understand experiences with poverty, including his own. He has written several books and articles about privilege. In his talk, Howard explains how privilege has arisen in America. He says that the idea of the 99 percent and the 1 percent comes from the financial crisis. This resulted in anti-elitism sentiments, which Nick Hanauer unintentionally inspired. Howard says that those who are in privilege have to continually convince those below them of this idea that they are somehow better. They do this partly through the way they craft their self-image. He also believes that education plays a part in this. These issues of privilege have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are wealthy and privileged are still doing well during the pandemic as opposed to those less well-off. He says the privileged were able to shift the United States' focus away from public health officials' recommendations to what they said the economic impact would be if the U.S. did not reopen. During this reopening, they may have been able to continue working from home due to the types of job they have, unlike the less privileged who were more likely to have to physically go into work. Howard says that people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos as well as institutions, such as Colby College, display this. He says that Musk and Bezos have made money during the pandemic due to their goods and services that were increasingly utilized. In regard to institutions, Howard says that Colby College has more 1 percenters than students from low income backgrounds and has been able to remain open while small liberal arts schools have had to close down due to the pandemic. He says that while Americans want to diminish this wealth disparity, they do not state it as a top priority. Howard points out that it has not been all bad for those less privileged because with the financial relief given during the pandemic, there has been a reduction in child poverty. However, more will have to be done to overhaul these disparities.

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The Meritocracy Trap

Adam Ma Welcome to the United States, known for its

position solely based on how hard they work and

promise of equity and the American Dream,

how far they can reach in their academics. [5]

which tells the classic rags to riches story that

While on paper this looks good, it only promotes

says if anyone tries their best, they could make it.

competition and will create a new kind of elite:

[1] The American education system plays a crucial

those with intelligence and a strong work ethic. It

role in this idea. It has tried to solve the problem

also creates a reason to discourage and limit

of inequality by standardizing education and

those who do not make it far, because they did

providing it to all regardless of race, religion, and

not work hard enough or they are not smart

income. However, the goal of education and its

enough although this is not always the case.

purpose has not been met anywhere in the

Therefore, these people do not deserve to be

country. The differences in funding between

discouraged and limited. We can already see

private and public schools, along with the

evidence of this attitude today, although we are

discrepancies among public schools when it

not fully meritocratic. [6]

comes to property tax is quite startling. [2] Public schools with a higher income property tax have an ACT average of around 23.6, while those in lower income areas are around 19.5 [3] This is rather ironic, considering that the United States is supposed to be one of the leading countries in having an equal and equitable society. Many social studies around the world use

Use your privilege to help those without

the United States to gauge how effective or ineffective an egalitarian democratic society functions in a world superpower. [4] While there are many benefits to our current society, like freedom

of

entertainment,

speech, democracy,

expression, and

a

sense

and of

ownership and property, our competitive system

Source: Canva stock graphic.

and meritocracy has created new groups of elites

The solution to this problem of inequality is not

and autocracies that keep others down.

introducing higher levels of competition to bring others down to advance one’s own position. It

A well-known proposition to the problem of

creates a mentality that one needs to outclass

inequality is to tear down natural privilege and

and compete against everyone, and will only

create a completely meritocratic society where

further increase the inequality we see today. [7]

everyone starts the same and ends up in their

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of power, they can use that power to help the disadvantaged. The aristocracy of this semi-meritocracy and the issue of competition among the affluent is the major contributing factor to the inequality we see in education today. The solution, however, should not be to fight and point fingers. People do not change their minds this way. Instead, to solve this problem of inequality, it is necessary to reach out A representation of why meritocracy is not always the best, though it may feel right on paper. Source: Nazan Akpolat, 2019

and meet the privileged where they are, and try to teach them lessons of compassion and empathy.

Dr. Adam Howard has been researching this issue for more than a decade. [7] His studies and findings about the affluent are quite eye opening. In one of his studies, he taught a class of ten seventh-grade boys in a relatively affluent area. When he asked about homelessness and if the boys had seen anyone homeless around the city, they said they had not. After some discussion, he discovered that they actually had seen someone homeless, they just had ignored them. It is astonishing to see students reach a point of ignorance where they cannot remember if they noticed another human being or not. While Howard’s studies show the widening inequality occurring around the country, his solution is not through revolution and tearing down privilege. Instead, Dr. Howard proposes teaching the affluent about privilege and how to use privilege to help the disadvantaged. He also proposes teaching them why this is more important than competition and amassing more wealth. [7] This is a difficult lesson to teach the affluent, and one cannot simply point a finger and tell them to do better. Dr. Howard proposes getting to the affluent early and when they are young, teaching them lessons of love and empathy, rather than competition and winning. [8] This way, if the privileged grow into positions

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NOTES

[1] Jim Cullen. The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). [2] Krista Mattern, Justine Radunzel, Matt Harmston, ACT Composite Score by Family Income (ACT.org 2016). 1 [3] John Winters V. “Variation in Teacher Salaries in Georgia: Does the Property Tax Base Matter?” Journal of Education Finance 35, no. 2 (2009): 157–171, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40704383 [4] James Kurth, The United States as a civilizational leader, (Routledge 2009), 33. [5] Peter Sacks. Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007): 33-35 https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520932234. [6] Nicholas Lemann. The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy. New York City, (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007). [7] Adam Howard, Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling (Routledge, Taylor & Francis 2007), 14, 33. [8] Howard, Learning Privilege, 35, 37 [9] Akpolat, Nazan. "Race and Rivalry Disadvantage" Pixabay, June 2019

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Epistemic Bubbles in Affluent Schools

Virginia Pieczynski In his research, Dr. Adam Howard has discussed

Considering this mentality, it is easy to see how

at length his efforts to introduce new ideas and

any questions or differences of opinion might

encourage questions among his students at

quickly be dismissed before they were even

affluent private schools. [1] Dr. Howard has had

discussed. Dr. Howard began to understand

to find innovative ways to get through to his

privilege as an identity, and “as an identity,

students because these school communities may

privilege is a lens through which one understands

exist inside what is called an epistemic bubble. C.

not only oneself, but also oneself in relation to

Thi Nguyen describes an epistemic bubble as “a

others.” [6] Most affluent private school children

social epistemic structure in which other relevant

fall under the identity of privilege, and so it

voices have been left out, perhaps accidentally."

becomes a part of the group fabric, a common

[2] An epistemic bubble occurs when a social

thread weaving these people together. It can be

group does not circulate diversity of thought or

hard to look outside of this or challenge it

idea, leading to one prevailing way of seeing

because it is comfortable and so deeply ingrained

things. Structures like these do not encourage

in the community itself.

critical thinking, which is a vital skill for students to learn, especially considering the sheer volume of information they ingest daily.

How Are They Formed?

Affluent

private

schools

offer

an

ideal

environment for epistemic bubbles to form. For one, it is hard to be exposed to diverse ideas and worldviews when the majority of those around you have similar backgrounds and experiences. Most students in private schooling are white. [3] The typical white student in private school experiences very little diversity; on average, their class is made up of about 4/5ths white students. [4] Another contributing factor is the culture built around failure. In his teaching experiences, Dr. Howard found that his students were afraid to give incorrect answers because they saw it as a failure, and to fail was unacceptable. [5] This fear of being wrong can be associated with a fear of being different—if we all agree, then no one can be on the 'wrong side of a discussion.

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Source: Canva stock graphic.

What Can We Do?

To combat these structures, the most important thing we can do is work to introduce new ideas. Simply sharing varying perspectives on a topic encourages others to think about why they hold the opinions they do. When there are multiple avenues of thought out in the open, students must back up their perspective with evidence beyond what everyone thinks. However, this is all easier said than done. In his published works, Dr. Howard provides a few specific examples on how he expanded the thought processes of his own students.

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One of the biggest ways he created change was in encouraging his students to ask questions. Dr. Howard offered up his own writings for critique by his students, and eventually asked them to critique the work of their peers. At first, students were uncomfortable questioning an established authority figure, but after some time, began to grow into the role, becoming less competitive and more

open

to

constructive

feedback.

[7]

Encouraging students to not accept things at face value, even when they are presented by a figure of authority, is an important step in growing critical and independent thinkers. People are more likely to consider new ideas if they are unafraid to question the ones they already hold.

Looking Ahead

Epistemic

social

structures

leave

prevailing

viewpoints unchallenged. This does not mean that every idea within these structures is inherently bad — the harm comes from the lack of exposure. Epistemic bubbles prevent those inside them, especially youths, from developing the skills necessary to thoughtfully analyze contrasting opinions and engage with issues outside of their immediate community. Encouraging students to think critically about their lives in relation to the rest of the world and to consider how they fit into the bigger picture forces them outside of that bubble and into the real world where they can begin to participate in a diverse and global community.

Source: Canva stock graphic.

Another step Dr. Howard took was creating situations

in

the

classroom

that

grounded

theoretical discussions in reality. His privileged students were unable to understand discussions on discrimination beyond hypotheticals, so he staged a simple simulation in which only some students were allowed the privilege of sitting down, sparking frustration and anger in those left out. [8] This experience gave students the ability to contextualize some of the social issues they discussed, and even prompted them to engage with these issues within their community. [9] These students had no real understanding of what discrimination felt like because they had never had to acknowledge it before, and even this watered-down version sparked a change in their worldview.

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NOTES

[1] Adam Howard, Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling (New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2008), 2. [2] C. Thi Nguyen, “Echo Chambers And Epistemic Bubbles,” Episteme 17, no. 2 (2020): 141–61, https://doi.org/10.1017/epi.2018.32. [3] Jongyeon Ee, Gary Orfield, and Jennifer Teitell, “Private Schools in American Education: A Small Sector Still Lagging in Diversity,” UCLA Civil Rights Project, March 5, 2018, 13. [4] Ee, Orfield, and Teitell, "Private Schools in American Education...", 27. [5] Howard, Learning Privilege, 3. [6] Howard, Learning Privilege, 11. [7] Howard, Learning Privilege, 3. [8] Howard, Learning Privilege, 7. [9] Howard, Learning Privilege, 7.

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ISSUE 3

VISITING SCHOLAR: STONE SOUP SHAKESPEARE

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Stone Soup Shakespeare Created in 2010 by Julia Stemper Chicago, Illinois Website

NOTE FROM THE CO-EDITORS

Stone Soup Shakespeare is a theater company that does improv during their performance in order to create an interactive environment that promotes community. They do this by incorporating elements of the community they are performing for into their show, which makes each show unique. As an example of their connection to the community, they created a version of Hamlet that 3-year-olds would be able to understand, called for them to interact with the story, and taught them a lesson about emotions. This idea of community is at the core of their company and its creation. This is conveyed through “The Tale of the Stone Soup.” This story is about how a community can come together and can make something great that benefits that community. They were originally going to perform Hamlet for their 10th anniversary tour; however, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their plans for that show and tour before rehearsals had even started and they instead had to adapt. At the beginning, they thought it would only be a couple of weeks and then they could continue. One way they attempted to do this was by testing their modified version of Hamlet over Zoom, but it did not work out, so they tried other ways to interact with their audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They tried a play by mail, which did not work but served as a learning experience. Julia Stemper says it is important for artists to have these learning experiences. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the George Floyd tragedy and the Black Lives Matter movement brought attention to issues of racial discrimination that have unfortunately been around for a long time. This also impacted Stone Soup Shakespeare and the theater community as a whole as displayed in the release of “We See You, White American Theatre.” By the time Stone Soup Shakespeare could start again on their 10th anniversary Hamlet show again, they had to recast. When it came to rehearsing, they took precautions against spreading COVID-19, including quarantining, staying home when sick, getting vaccinated, and monitoring the situation with the Delta strand. They are excited to be touring and performing for many communities again.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Accessibility to Theater Performances

Katelyn M. Biggs While the pandemic put theaters on the brink of

play in the mail. [1] These options created some

complete closure, alternative options created by

revenue, but theaters were still left with a large

theaters allowed the industry to become more

amount of financial strain. While this is a loss for

accessible and recruit a wide range of audiences.

theaters, there are still some benefits to online

This included those who could not afford the

productions. The adaptations made by the theater

theater pre-pandemic, and those who have a

industry has made watching live performances

disability that does not allow them to enjoy the

more accessible for those who could not afford to

“classic” live theater experience. Because of this

attend a live show and those who have a

extended

disability that limits them from going to the

accessibility,

the

theater

industry

should continue to offer these options in the

theater.

post-pandemic world. Financial Accessibility

During the pandemic, there was much financial instability; many pre-pandemic theater patrons could not afford elective activities such as theater performances. However, this is not a new

Source: Canva stock graphic.

concept. The Guardian states that, “Even at the best of times, the theater is often sadly out of

Reshaping Theater

The pandemic left live theater performances struggling to find a place in the new virtual world, leaving a lasting impact on the idea of a “classic” theater experience. Initially, the stage was shut down, leaving theater companies struggling due to minimal income and little financial support. They had two options: remain closed or alter the theater experience. This resulted in innovations within theaters that allowed performances to continue during the pandemic, ultimately making the industry more accessible to those who did not have access before the pandemic. To create other forms of income, theaters brought performances to

the

people:

touring

with

outdoor

performances, plays on streaming services, Zoom productions, and receiving a recorded version of a

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reach for many Americans.”[2] The pandemic highlighted the need to make live performances more financially accessible. Even before the pandemic,

the

theater

experience

was

not

accessible to many people because of high ticket prices. Due to the newfound affordability, online theater options recruited patrons who might have never been able to participate in viewing theater performances before. A live, in-person Broadway performance can cost anywhere from $20 to $175 for one person depending on the popularity of the performance and location of seats, [3] while many of the newly innovated theater options are free (with the option to donate) or are minimally priced like Disney Plus, which is $7.99 per month. [4] Theater groups such as Stone Soup

PAGE 17


other

sensory

disorders.

A

live

theater

performance might be too loud for comfort, making online theater a more suitable option because the volume of a TV can be controlled at home. [7] This has allowed many to have access to theater performances as they can have a broader range of access to the shows.

The Future of Theater

After the pandemic, the theater industry will A performance of Stone Soup Shakespeare at Purdue University in October, 2021. Source: Katelyn M. Biggs

likely return to an in-person post-pandemic

Shakespeare

have

offered

opportunities

normal, but the adaptations that the theater

of

industry had to make should remain available.

accessibility by traveling and performing free

Theater has a rich history and has been present in

outdoor theater performances (Figure 1) across

cultures for centuries. Live theater performance

communities. [5] The low cost opens doors,

in the United States has survived a Civil War, the

allowing for a wider audience base.

Great Depression, and both World Wars, meaning that it will be able to reform in some way for live performance

Disability Accessibility

aspects

after

the

pandemic;

Further, those who might have had a disability

however, with the doors that the online theater

that kept them from enjoying the theater are now

component has opened, it should not return to

able to enjoy performances with the alternative

strictly in-person aspects because it would lose a

options

large audience that it gained from becoming more

the

pandemic-time

theaters

have

provided. Those who are deaf experienced limited

accessible. [8]

access to in-person performances as most live theater performances do not have a sign language interpreter. They are now able to have a more enjoyable

theater

experience—many

of

the

streaming services that include plays and musicals have

closed

captioning

options.

Further,

according to Voice Magazine, some theaters are still not equipped for wheelchair users, so the athome viewing option, as well as accessible outdoor theater performances (such as the Stone Soup Shakespeare), opens doors for many more viewers. [6] These new theater options also increase accessibility for people who have noise sensitivities due to autism spectrum disorder or

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PAGE 18


NOTES

[1] Mark Loewenstern, “How Live Theater Is Innovating Its Way through the Pandemic.” Barron’s, last modified October 15, 2020, https://www.barrons.com/articles/how-livetheater-is-innovating-its-way-through-the-pandemic-51602599501 [2] Jeremy O. Harris. “American Theater May Not Survive the Coronavirus. We Need Help Now.” The Guardian, January 25, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/25/american-theater-coronavirusfederal-help. [3] Broadway, “Guide to Buying a Broadway Show Ticket.” accessed October 22, 2021, https://www.broadway.org/info/guide-to-buying-a-broadway-show-ticket. [4] Disney+, “Stream the Best of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, and More,” accessed October 22, 2021, https://www.disneyplus.com/welcome. [5] Stone Soup Shakespeare, “Tour". accessed October 22, 2021, https://www.stonesoupshakespeare.com/tour.html. [6] Mary Strickson. “Limits to Access in Theatre: The Disabilities That Aren't Covered.” Voice Magazine, accessed October 22, 2021, https://www.voicemag.uk/blog/5398/limits-toaccess-in-theatre-the-disabilities-that-arent-covered. [7] Strickson. “Limits to Access in Theatre.” [8] Lunden, Jeff. “What Will the Future of Theater Look like? 'Our Artists Are Going to Lead Us',” NPR, September 20, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/09/20/914251681/what-willthe-future-of-theater-look-like-our-artists-are-going-to-lead-us.

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The Virtual Performer-Audience Relationship

Annika Larson The pandemic has posed an unprecedented

plague activities is a hopeful reminder for a

challenge for the theatre industry. The resilience

modern post-pandemic world.

of young actors and actresses who are just beginning their careers but have had them

Stemper’s love for live audience connection is far

abruptly halted is inspiring to both myself and

from unique and certainly isn’t a new concept.

others. Theatre groups and performance venues

When surveyed, viewers of a 2016 livestream of

have found countless creative ways to continue

A Midsummer Night’s Dream were excited about

entertaining audiences amidst a pandemic, which

the opportunity to stream this performance,

has allowed the show to go on, but certainly will

specifically because of its unique communal

leave a lasting mark on the industry. Audience

nature, as it was shown in real-time. [1] In my

members can easily weigh the pros and cons to

opinion, understanding that the present audience

determine whether they want to stay at home on

is the only audience experiencing the specific

the couch and watch a musical-turned-movie or

show makes it more special and provides both the

venture out into a crowd and risk potential health

performers and audience with a greater sense of

risks. However, as a performer, I imagine the

community. In the example of Stone Soup

same choice would be a lot more difficult to

Shakespeare, each audience gets the chance to

make. In this article, I will explore how performers

see a different show due to the variety of

have felt about the popularization of virtual

audience interactions.

replacements and how the audience-performer relationship is affected by these alternatives. Julia Stemper and her theatre company, Stone Soup Shakespeare, offered their perspective. This modern adult theatre group provided insight into how detrimental the pandemic was to a local theatre company. Stemper explained that the opportunity to interact with an audience is the main reason she loves live theatre so much. She likes to ask for audience participation in the

View of a theatre. Source: Canva stock image

company’s storytelling, which is quite difficult on

Additionally, the forcing of an audience out of a

Zoom and makes it an ineffective replacement for

shared

in-person

a

automatically divides them into separate entities,

historical connection to the show Hamlet, which

no longer holding the same strong cultural frame

was originally set to be performed during a

provided by experiencing the event together in

previous plague outbreak, the Black Plague. The

each other’s presence. [2] A 2019 study found

Shakespearean theatre’s resilience and ability to

that audiences enjoy performances more when

eventually make a successful return to their pre-

they feel the performance is directed specifically

performances.

Stemper

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made

space

such

as

a

theater

building

PAGE 20


towards them. This unique feeling comes much

career, overall feelings of excitement and hope

more naturally in a theater setting. However, it is

seem to prevail. One study conducted by

a lot more difficult for performers to actively

performers during and post-pandemic regarding

engage a virtual audience who is not present

virtual performance methods examined success

during the actual performance. [3] In a virtual

using puppetry. This study found that, “…using

performance,

a

bodies or ordinary objects to playfully represent

relationship with the virtual audience by looking

something other than what they literally are—

directly into and interacting with the camera,

helps the puppet’s performance transcend the

which immediately becomes a challenge due to

screen and manifest that essential exchange that

the conflicting focuses of attention. When an

defines live theatre.” [4]

the

actors

must

create

actor must change their focus of attention from the audience to a camera, it breaks the intense

While

bond that can be created within a performance

newfound way to connect virtual audiences, the

between

performer

Additionally, prominently

and

having a

live

the

importance

of

this

live

audience.

performers in this study still find this moment in

camera

displayed

history

be

an

opportunity

for

the

transformation of live theatre. They agree with

the

Stemper’s argument that the live setting can

storytelling. My own prior acting experience

never be fully replaced. These study results

allows me to understand that the goal is always to

specifically connect to Stone Soup Shakespeare,

take the audience out of their personal realities

as they too “manifest that essential exchange”

and into your story. If a performer must

using single bodies playing multiple characters, as

disengage with the present audience to focus on

well as perform in an outdoor setting with few to

a virtual one, this special connection between

no props. This type of imaginative innovation

performer and audience member can easily be

challenges the audience to be more involved and

broken.

engaged than they would in a typical live theater

diminish

performance

to

could

automatically

in

a

emphasizing

the

intimacy

of

setting. Stemper’s opinions on live theatre reflected a cultural trend that dates to Shakespearean times. As a community, it is crucial that we prioritize the importance of getting our theatre companies back to their pre-pandemic opportunities and must find a safe way for them to perform in front of live audiences again. At the same time, we must creatively move forward and continue to progress Puppet and puppet scenery presented at the International Toy Theater Festival over Zoom. Source: Elena Araoz, 2021

the theatre world by utilizing the many creative, newly discovered resources to make theatre accessible to more types of audiences. Although

When looking into opinions of performers like

many may at first enjoy the idea of completely

Julia Stemper, who have lived through the

digitizing the theatre, Stemper and others believe

pandemic and are beginning to reflect on what

that it will never replace the true connection of a

the future of the industry will look like for their

live audience with a live performer.

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PAGE 21


NOTES

[1] Kai Padberg. “New Forms of Communities? The Constitution and Performance of Audiences in Digital Theater During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Pamiętnik teatralny 70, no. 3 (2021). https://doi.org/10.36744/pt.861 [2] Sullivan, Erin. “Live to Your Living Room: Streamed Theatre, Audience Experience, and the Globe’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Participations: Journal of Audience & Receptions Studies, 17, no. 1 (2020). https://www.participations.org/Volume%2017/Issue%201/7.pdf [3] Brittany Bergeman. “The Performer-Audience Relationship During Live and Remote Musical Performances”. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, (2019). https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/performer-audience-relationship-duringlive/docview/2316523728/se-2?accountid=13360. [4] Araoz, Elena, Miranda Allegar, and Katharine Matthias. “Puppeteering Liveness: Reimagining Theatre for a Virtual Space.” Theatre topics 31, no. 2 (2021). doi:10.1353/tt.2021.0033

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Repeating the History of Theater Closures During a Pandemic

Yoonhee (Eunice) Song The

COVID-19

brought

As the Spanish Flu began to spread globally,

innumerable economic and mental challenges to

causing suffering and death, the government of

the global community. Among the various kinds

Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan, Canada,

of businesses that were affected, the theater

ordered all entertainment facilities to close down

industry experienced a substantial change, either

on October 16, 1918. The result of the closure

by closing down operations or changing its

caused

system of delivery. Although this global pandemic

$200,000 after two weeks, which is about $3.5

seems to be unprecedented, the Spanish Flu, a

million today. Furthermore, the managers lost

deadly event in the early part of the twentieth

about 8 to 10 million in 2020 dollars. [1]

century,

similarly

pandemic

caused

has

nations

to

the

theaters

to

lose

approximately

close

industries for public safety. The theater industry

Likewise, COVID-19 caused the theater industries

was also affected during the Spanish Flu in a way

to set safety precautions to their performance by

that resembles the current COVID-19 pandemic.

conducting performances on Zoom, wearing masks during performances, or cancelling shows. For instance, Dreaming Zenzile planned to begin its series of musical performances on March 18, 2020, but had to cancel a week before due to the rapid

spread

of

the

virus.

Broadway

also

experienced a sudden shutdown of shows, which significantly affected New York City’s economy as Broadway had been supporting 96,900 jobs and $14.7 billion in revenue. [2]

Inequality Issues

"Caring for Spanish flu victims 1919: American Red Cross volunteers carry a Spanish flu victim, 1919. " by British Red Cross. CC BY 2.0. Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/ photos/britishredcross/3525486602

Not only did economic issues arise due to the pandemic, but inequality issues arose as those with privilege in society were able to resume their daily lives without being significantly influenced by the pandemic-related changes, while others were greatly affected.

Economic Issues

Both the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 led to a sudden loss of jobs and revenue to the theaterrelated workers, causing economic difficulties.

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During the Spanish Flu, the Regina Theater, which had 700 seats, was ordered to close due to public health concerns, while the Auditorium Rink,

PAGE 23


which had—at most—3,000 people gather for an

As a result of the increased attention toward

evangelistic service, was allowed to remain open.

these inequities, society at large, and the theater

[3] The ironic situation where the place with a

industry

greater number of seats remained open despite

opportunity

having a higher probability of spreading the

overcoming discrimination and inequity issues.

in

particular to

take

has the

been first

given

step

an

toward

disease conveys the inequity that existed during the Spanish Flu.

Final Repeat of History

It is now clear that although innumerable changes occurred to the theater industry during the Spanish Flu, life began to return to normal as facilities reopened and as the public enjoyed live performances once again. In Regina, it was reported that hundreds of people were asked to come

back

another

time

due

to

the

overpopulation in the Rose Theater on November 29, a day after the pandemic restrictions were Source: Canva stock image

The COVID-19 pandemic also led to situations that revealed that inequity issues existed in society. For instance, theater-related workers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have been historically underrepresented in the theater industry; 85% of the directors at nonprofit New York theaters and 94% on Broadway were represented by White Americans.

lifted. [6] There is no doubt that today’s society nationwide is also eager to return to the lifestyle before COVID-19 occurred, where all facilities reopen. There is hope that a day will come, just as it did with the Spanish Flu, when every restriction regarding COVID-19 is lifted and everyone returns to the mask-free days, repeating the final step of history that the global pandemic in 1918 went through.

[4] As the pandemic continued and the difficulties in sustaining one’s job became more evident, about 300 BIPOC workers decided to take a stance against this inequitable distribution of theater-related jobs by beginning a campaign titled, ‘We See You, White American Theater’ (WSYWAT). In this ongoing campaign, the BIPOC community demanded a minimum of 50% BIPOC to have equitable presence in theater-related jobs both on and off stage. [5] Both pandemics exposed inequities that have long existed in society, such as the unfair privilege given to evangelical events during the Spanish Flu and the underrepresentation of BIPOC in theater-related jobs during COVID-19.

IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

PAGE 24


NOTES

[1] Charlotte M. Canning, “Theatre and the Last Pandemic,” American Theatre, March 24, 2020, https://www.americantheatre. org/2020/03/24/theatre-and-the-last-pandemic/. [2] Alisa Solomon, “How Covid Transformed US Theater,” The Nation, April 20, 2021, https://www.thenation. com/article/culture/ nonprofit-theater-covid-wpa/. [3] Ashley Martin, “History Repeating: Entertainment Suffered During Spanish Flu in Regina,” Regina Leader-Post, April 22, 2020, https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/historyrepeating-entertainment-suffered-during-spanish-flu-in-regina/. [4] Solomon, “How Covid...” [5] “Principles for Building Anti-Racist Theatre Systems,” weseeyouWAT, accessed November 8, 2021,https://www.weseeyouwat.com/. [6] Martin, “History Repeating...”

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PAGE 25


ISSUE 4

VISITING SCHOLAR: COL. RICHARD COVEY

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PAGE 26


Col. Richard Covey Former NASA Astronaut Retired President and CEO of United Space Alliance

Website

NOTE FROM THE CO-EDITORS

Former NASA astronaut Dick Covey, a Purdue graduate and previous CEO of United Space Alliance, has clocked 646 hours in space on multiple space flights. Covey graduated from Purdue University in 1969 with a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and began his time as an astronaut ten years later. With four space shuttle missions under his belt, Covey took to giving his thoughts on the state of space exploration, operations, and tourism in a post-pandemic world. The first aspect Covey spoke on was space exploration, or the discovery of parts of the universe for the first time. There has been a focus on robotically crewed space expeditions, such as the Mars Perseverance Rover. Additionally, Covey mentioned the Lucy spacecraft, which is operating off solar power to visit asteroids within Jupiter’s orbit. He used Lucy as an example of how unpredictable space travel can be; Lucy’s solar panel array did not launch properly, resulting in NASA attempting to fix the problem to keep Lucy from returning to Earth. As Covey said, “You’ll never know what’ll go wrong or what you’ll have to fix.” While space base and robotic space exploration operations have prospered, human exploration has taken a bit longer. Particularly, Covey discussed NASA’s Artemis program. Artemis I, an uncrewed Orion spacecraft planned to fly around the moon, is a test mission for Artemis II, which will send men and women around the moon as early as 2023. This could lead to “the next man and the first woman” on the moon as soon as 2024, although Covey is doubtful of this timeline. He described an abundance of caution regarding sending living beings to the moon, but stated that this caution has slowed things down. He said, “There’s always going to be risk riding rockets.” To close out his talk, Covey spoke on space operation and tourism, mentioning the imminent Space X launch. Both Space X and NASA are vying to get a crewed mission around the moon in 2023, and Covey put his money on Space X making it first, speaking to how effective commercialized and personal space travel initiatives can be. Finally, Covey quickly addressed the challenges facing space exploration. He mentioned both the high cost of reaching low Earth orbit or beyond, as well as the difficulties of reaching the velocities needed to get to space due to the limitations of modern propulsion systems. Overall, despite the risk of space flight being “nothing more than controlled explosions,” Covey believes that post-pandemic space exploration is ripe, and will be led by commercial entities using their own money to get to space, resulting in the market continuing to grow.

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Astronaut or AstroNOT?

David Gusis For as long as many of us can remember, kids

As an astronaut, Covey flew 4 different space

have dreamed of becoming astronauts, dressing

flights for a total of 646 hours in space,

up in orange or white overalls with an empty

accomplishing tasks such as reorienting a

fishbowl on their heads for Halloween or building

satellite. [2] He is the epitome of a ‘traditionally

model rockets and visiting the Kennedy Space

trained’

Center in Florida. Becoming one of the elite

numerous flight hours logged, he was an integral

astronauts has always been an elusive dream for

part of every single one of those space flights.

astronaut.

With

many

years

and

children worldwide. Now, billionaires, who have likely grown up with the same dream, are finding ways to go to space without going through the same grueling and extensive

training

that

‘traditionally

trained’

astronauts go through. While to many this is an exciting

development,

it

does

leave

many

questions unanswered. One very important one is whether these new inductees into the 50-milehigh club would be considered astronauts or not. A Traditional Astronaut

At the beginning of human spaceflight, the only way to become an astronaut was to go through

Modern Definitions of an Astronaut

In

recent

years,

the

Federal

Aviation

Administration (FAA) released specific regulations for a way to define whether someone should be considered an astronaut. In 2004, the FAA stated that a person would be eligible to receive Astronaut Wings if they met the requirements for flight crew qualifications and training and flew 50 miles above the surface of the Earth in an FAAlicensed vehicle. [3] According to a statement made by the FAA, this was done to further the “FAA’s mission to promote the safety of vehicles designed to carry humans.” [4]

specific training in the military as a pilot while

With the rapid advancement of private space

also achieving a master's or doctorate in an

enterprises in 2021, the FAA amended their

engineering or science field. A ‘traditionally

definition to include one more provision for

trained’ astronaut would then eventually rise

qualifying. The person in question must also have

through the ranks as a test pilot until they were

“[d]emonstrated activities during flight that were

selected as an astronaut candidate. Colonel

essential to public safety, or contributed to

Richard “Dick” Covey is one of the veterans of

human space flight safety.” [5] The goal has now

this process, having studied first at the Air Force

evolved

Academy in Colorado Springs. He went on to

commercial

receive a master’s degree in Aeronautics and

updated requirements, people who simply pass

Astronautics from Purdue University, trained at

the 50-mile height requirement, such as Jeff

an Air Force base, and flew in combat for many

Bezos, will not be eligible for Astronaut Wings.

years until eventually becoming a test pilot. From

There is however an option for an award of

there he applied for the NASA astronaut program

Honorary Astronaut Wings that is given at the

and was eventually accepted. [1] Various times he

discretion of the Associate Administrator for

recalled that if you wanted to be an astronaut,

Commercial Space Transportation. [6]

to

“protect space

public

operations.”

safety

during

With

these

this was the only way to go about it at the time. IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

PAGE 28


Additionally, the FAA announced on Friday, December 10, 2021, that the Commercial Space Astronaut Wings program would be discontinued at the end of the year. Due to the increase in human spaceflight, the FAA is retiring the award of Astronaut Wings. Instead, they will be added to the FAA’s official commercial astronaut list if they reach an altitude of 50 miles on an FAAsanctioned launch. Notably, NASA Astronauts will still receive their pins. [7] This furthers the

commercial space flight just an opportunity to claim the title of astronaut? Space historian and author Andrew Chaikin argues that the true goal in space tourism is the experience and that those wealthy enough to fly up into space with SpaceX, Blue Origin, or Virgin Galactic will still gain some sense of prestige even without the astronaut title. He also argues that as space flight becomes more and more common and accessible, all our terminology will eventually have to evolve. [8]

argument that government organizations want to limit the number of people who are considered astronauts—at least in the traditional sense. However, does it make sense to define an astronaut by whether or not you have received a pin

from

a

government

institution?

Going

forward, does this mean that anyone who isn’t funded by a government institution isn’t an astronaut? Professional Opinions

SpaceX is one of the main private corporations with a growing space presence. "SpaceX Dragon 16" by Astro_Alex is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Retrieved from: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/d56fac422029-4926-9773-35d8b23ae6a1 Astronaut or Space Tourist

While the FAA has set forth quantitative and

Overall, who does and doesn’t merit the title of

qualitative requirements for how to receive

astronaut is still up for debate and will continue

Astronaut Wings in the past, there still isn’t a

to be until a relative equilibrium is reached for

decisive answer to what qualifies an individual as

space travel as it has for air, land, and sea travel.

an astronaut. With the increasingly autonomous

As commercial space travel continues to expand

nature of spacecraft, crew members are less like

and more passengers earn the privilege of

pilots and more like “space flight attendants,” as

experiencing the world from farther away, giving

Colonel Covey joked during his presentation. This

all of them the title of astronaut would actually

distinction between the actions of the crew

take away from its distinction. Maybe it would be

members in relation to the actual piloting of the

worth considering limiting the title to the

spacecraft now as opposed to at the start of the

pioneering heroes who inspired us to venture to

human space flight program is another important

the stars in the first place.

factor in who is and isn’t an astronaut. Covey

For now, the answer might be to refer to

himself stated that if you wanted to be an

everyone else as Chaikin does: “Anybody who

astronaut today, you should just study something

flies in space, whatever their capacity, is a space

in a related field that you really enjoy and become

traveler. In years to come, people might go up to

an expert—a stark contrast to what he was told to

space not for science but just as a requirement to

do as a young man. If we were to only consider

do their job. Maybe it's a manager of an orbiting

someone who pilots a spacecraft an astronaut,

hotel. I don't know that you would call that

would this term become obsolete until space is as

person an astronaut. But you would call them a

accessible to us as air? Furthermore, is the goal of

space traveler.” [9]

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PAGE 29


NOTES

Summary

[1] Jennifer Ross-Nazzal. “Richard O. Covey Oral History.” NASA, November 1, 2006. https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/CoveyRO/CoveyR O_11-1-06.htm. [2] “Biographical Data Sheet - RICHARD COVEY.” NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. Johnson Space Center, November 15, 2006. https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/CoveyRO/CoveyR O_Bio.pdf. [3] Astronaut Wings, part of the Commercial Space Astronaut Wings Program, are ceremonial awards given by NASA, the US Military, or the FAA. While NASA and the U.S. Military can only give these awards to their employees, the FAA can give this award to whoever meets the qualifications or they can give Honorary Astronaut Wings to those who may have not reached the qualifications but have achieved an exceptional feat related to commercial advancements in space. Jeff Foust. “FAA Revises Criteria for Commercial Astronaut Wings.” SpaceNews, July 21, 2021. https://spacenews.com/faa-revises-criteria-for-commercial-astronaut-wings/. [4] Foust. “FAA Revises Criteria for Commercial Astronaut Wings.” [5] Wayne R Monteith. “Order 8800.2: FAA Commercial Space Astronaut Wings Program.” Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation, July 20, 2021. https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA_Order_8800.2.pdf. [6] Foust. “FAA Revises Criteria for Commercial Astronaut Wings.” [7] Marcia Dunn. “FAA: No More Commercial Astronaut Wings, Too Many Launching.” The Washington Post. thewashingtonpost.com, December 10, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/faa-no-more-commercial-astronaut-wings-too-manylaunching/2021/12/10/ff673d22-59fb-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html. [8] Denise Chow. “Who Gets to Be Called an Astronaut? It's Complicated.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, July 24, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/getscalled-astronaut-complicated-rcna1499 [9] Chow. “Who Gets to Be Called an Astronaut? It's Complicated.”

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A Brief History of the Making of an Astronaut

Sharon Kulali As we enter a new era of space exploration, the

flights in total and logged over 646 hours in

question of who is and isn’t considered an

space.

astronaut arises. More specifically, are individuals

qualifications to be an astronaut have varied from

who travel to space for recreational purposes

the beginning of NASA, when he entered the

through

space

agency, and after he retired from both the agency

SpaceX,

Virgin

tourism

(via

Galactic,

companies

and

Blue

like

Origin)

It

is

interesting

to

note

that

the

and the Air Force in 1994. [1]

considered astronauts? Given this debate, it is worthwhile to delve into a brief history of this unique

profession.

The

independent

United

States federal agency known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has set the requirements to be an astronaut for decades. Throughout history, requirements have changed based on the goals and missions of NASA.

Evolution of the Astronaut Selection Process

MERCURY When NASA started seeking members to be astronauts in 1959 for the Mercury mission, they were looking for individuals less than 40 years old, less than 5 ft. 11 inches tall, in excellent physical condition, with a bachelor’s degree in

One of the astronauts who was able to meet the requirements to be an astronaut and complete missions in space was Colonel Richard O. Covey, who has received several distinguished honors for

engineering or equivalent, a graduate of test pilot school, qualified jet pilot, and at least 1500 hours of flying time. [2]

his services and experiences. He was born in

GEMINI AND APOLLO

Fayetteville, Arkansas, and received his Bachelor

In 1961, NASA modified the requirements to be

of Science in engineering science in 1968 from

an astronaut to meet standards for the new

the United States Air Force Academy with a major

Gemini and Apollo missions. Education and

in astronautical engineering. He later went on to

experience in flying high-performance aircraft

receive his Master of Science in 1969 from

were still stressed. Although the age requirement

Purdue

was lowered to less than 35, the maximum height

University

in

aeronautics

and

was raised to 6 feet, and qualified civilians were

astronautics.

able

to

apply

instead

of

just

individuals

As an operational fighter pilot in the United

specifically from the United States military

States Air Force, Col. Covey flew 339 combat

services. NASA also began to consider scientists

missions during two tours in Southeast Asia. This

as astronauts. [3]

resulted in over 5,700 hours flown and in more

THE SHUTTLE ERA

than 30 different types of aircraft.

In 1972, NASA developed requirements for an Col.

Covey

was

selected

astronaut

astronaut that could fly and operate the space

candidate by NASA in 1978 and became an

shuttle. They could be military personnel or

astronaut in 1979. He completed four space

civilians such as engineers, scientists, or

IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

as

an

PAGE 31


physicians. A test pilot qualification wasn’t necessary

but

preferred

to

maintain

high-

performance proficiency.

During this era, from 1986 to 2011, Col. Covey was a pilot for space flights STS-26 in 1988: the spacecraft commander for STS-38 in 1990 and the spacecraft commander for STS-61 in 1993. Through all his space flights, he was able to log over 646 hours in space. Furthermore, in 1989, he was the Chairman of NASA’s Space Flight Safety

Panel

and

performed

technical

assignments with the Astronaut Office as well as served as Acting Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office and Acting Deputy Director of the Flight Crew Operations. Col. Covey retired from NASA and the Air Force in 1994 but continued to hold several leadership roles. [5]

PRESENT Current astronauts are selected for missions to the International Space Station, Artemis missions First NASA Astronaut to Fly Untethered in Space Source: Robert Sullivan, 2017

Col. Covey became an astronaut during the Shuttle era, 1978-1986. His qualifications included: military personnel at the time, a background in engineering, specifically aeronautical engineering, and several flight experiences from being an operational fighter pilot in the Air Force. When it came time to select an astronaut to pilot the shuttle, he was the perfect candidate. During this time, Col. Covey’s flight experience includes being a T-38 chase pilot for the second and third Shuttle flights and support crewman for the first operational Shuttle flight, STS5 in 1982, serving as the Mission Control spacecraft communicator for Shuttle Missions STS-5, 6, 61-B, 61-C, and 51-L, and being a pilot for the STS 51-I space flight in 1985.

to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars. Criteria include: being a U.S. citizen having a master’s degree in a STEM field from an accredited institution; two years of work towards a doctoral program; a completed medical degree or completion of a nationally recognized test pilot program at least two years of related professional experience or 1,000 hours pilot-in-command on jet aircraft be able to pass the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical present non-cognitive skills in leadership, teamwork, and communications. [6] Furthermore,

individuals

require

extensive

experience and up to two years of training to

POST-CHALLENGER SHUTTLE ERA

become fully qualified astronauts. Thus, as the

After the Challenger accident in 1986, the Space

debate continues whether individuals who travel

Shuttle program didn’t resume until 1988, when a

to space for recreational purposes through space

new era began with the joint program of the

tourism are considered astronauts, it is worth

International Space Station and the Russian Space

remembering the extensive standards NASA has

Agency. The criteria at this time additionally

held

included proficiency in the Russian language. [4]

qualifications. [7]

IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

throughout

its

history

for

astronaut

PAGE 32


NOTES

[1] NASA. 2007. Biographical Data: Richard O. Covey. September. Accessed October 25, 2021. https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/covey_richard.pdf. [2] NASA. Accessed November 9, 2021. https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/history/earlyastronauts.txt. [3] The Evolution of the U.S. Astronaut Program. 2011. Preparing for the High Frontier: The Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era. National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13227. [4] The Evolution of the U.S. Astronaut Program, Preparing for the High Frontier. [5] NASA, Biographical Data. [6] Brian Dunbar. "Astronaut Requirements." NASA. April 08, 2015. Accessed November 08, 2021. https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_ Requirements.html. [7] Brian Dunbar. "Astronaut Requirements." NASA. April 08, 2015. Accessed November 08, 2021. https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_ Requirements.html.

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PAGE 33


The Biological Problems of Space Travel

Madilyn Reid Colonel Richard Covey is a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut who retired in 1994 and made many notable achievements during his time with the space agency. Covey was born in 1946 in Arkansas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1968 and his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1969.

Covey is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Air Force Association,

and

the

Association

of

Space

Explorers to name a few. He has also received many awards, including but not limited to the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the American Institute of Aeronautics

The STS-26 Return to Flight crew are, in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist Mike Lounge, Mission Specialist David C. Hilmers, Mission Specialist George D. Nelson. Front row: Pilot Richard O. Covey and Commander Frederick H. Hauck. The crew is pictured wearing their orange Launch and Entry Suits (LES). The mission emblem is displayed in the background. Source: NASA, CC BY-SA. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_STS26_Return_To_Flight_Crew_-_GPN-2000001174.jpg#/media/File:The_STS-26_Return_To_Flight_Crew_-_GPN2000-001174.jpg

and Astronautics Haley Space Flight Award for 1988, among many others. The -Omics

As of August 1, 1994, Colonel Covey retired from

Genomics

NASA and the Air Force. He had served on four

By sequencing the genome, problems in the other -

space flight missions and logged over 646 hours

omics are able to be seen more clearly. This is why

in space. [1] Over the years, NASA has been

NASA created their GeneLab database; they wanted to

concerned

health

collect as much data as possible on those who had

impacts of time spent in space by astronauts like

about

the

biological

and

been flown to space or experienced similar stressors in

Colonel Covey. These complications can include

order to provide access to this information. [2] The

problems with metabolism and protein synthesis,

GeneLab database is proof that changes in the

muscles, and the amount of radiation that is

transcription or translation in our bodies are able to

accumulated from time spent in orbit that could

make a significant impact on the way we are able to

potentially be combatted with more research and

function.

advancement in current technology.

Transcriptomics Transcriptomics is the study of all the RNA transcripts in our bodies. Silveira and his colleagues link the IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

PAGE 34


DNA were altered. They also found traces of oxidative stress by increased urinary markers. Previous to this, NASA had found similar results during

their

Twins

Study,

ensuring

that

mitochondrial dysfunction is a contributor to biological

complications

in

space.

[6]

The

implications of an altered metabolism can lead to a decrease in energy for the individual.

Muscular Atrophy

Figure 2: Astronauts experiencing zero gravity. Extended periods of time spent in zero gravity can lead to muscular atrophy. “Astronauts Experience Weightlessness in the KC-135” by NASA. CC BY 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/iip-photoarchive/41931795832/

stresses seen in the muscles, tissues, and mitochondria to changes in the RNA. [3] These changes in the RNA can cause anywhere from minor effects to disastrous consequences for the astronaut depending on how the changes affect protein folding and function.

It is a well-known fact that an astronaut’s muscles are weaker after spending extensive hours in space. This is due to the loss of gravity experienced in space, which allows the heart to not have to pump blood as hard, thus leading to deoxygenation of the muscles. In a study done by Grimm and colleagues in 2016, it was reported that calcium is released from the bones

during

spaceflight,

which

can

cause

detrimental effects to the individual. It was also found that the Wnt-β-catenin signaling pathway, a known oncogenic pathway, is activated and can

Proteomics

lead to bone degradation during space flight. [7]

In NASA’s Twins Study, a set of male twins, one on a space flight for a year and one grounded, were analyzed via a systems biology approach to determine the effects of space travels on the omics. Their -omics were analyzed pre-flight, inflight, and post-flight. [4] It was found and confirmed by Silveira and his colleagues that alterations

in

ribosomal

translational

pathways

led

assembly to

changes

and in

maintaining the functionality of the proteome, which is the entire scope of all the proteins in any given cell, tissue, or organism. [5]

Metabolomics In a study done by Silveira and colleagues, it was found that mitochondrial dysfunction was a prominent phenotype in those engaging in space travel. They found that the levels of metabolites

Effects of Radiation

As space flight durations increase, astronauts accumulate

radiation

damage.

The

radiation

damage accrued during spaceflight is similar to that accrued on Earth but is more harmful due to their closer proximity to the sun. Prolonged radiation exposure can potentially delete bases within

the

DNA,

causing

mutations.

These

mutations can either be incredibly harmful or have no effect depending on what has been changed in the DNA. If these mutations cause major consequences to the cell, DNA repair mechanisms are initiated. New technologies are being

made

to

prevent

the

complications

discussed so that space travel can be safer for astronauts. [9]

associated with the mitochondria and nuclear

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NOTES

Summary

[1] NASA, “Biographical Data: Richard O. Covey,” September 2007,

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/covey_richard.pdf. [2] Daniel C Berrios et al., “NASA GENELAB: Interfaces for the Exploration of Space Omics Data,” Nucleic Acids Research 49, no. D1 (October 20, 2020),https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa887. [3] Willian A. da Silveira et al., “Comprehensive Multi-Omics Analysis Reveals Mitochondrial Stress as a Central Biological Hub for Spaceflight Impact,” Cell 183, no. 5 (November 25, 2020): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.002. [4] Francine E. Garrett-Bakelman et al., “The NASA Twins Study: A Multidimensional Analysis of a Year-Long Human Spaceflight,” Science 364, no. 6436 (April 11, 2019),https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aau8650. [5] Da Silveria et al., “Comprehensive”. [6] Garrett-Bakelman et al., “The NASA Twins Study…” [7] Daniela Grimm et al., “The Impact of Microgravity on Bone in Humans,” Bone 87 (March 24, 2016): 44-56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2015.12.057. [8] Satoshi Furukawa et al., “Space Radiation Biology for ‘Living in Space,’” BioMed Research International 2020 (2020): 1–25, https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4703286.

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ISSUE 5

VISITING SCHOLAR: DR. MARCELO J.S. DE LEMOS

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Marcelo J.S. de Lemos Professor, Fellow ASME, Fellow RAeS (UK), Associate Fellow AIAA Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, Brazil

Website

NOTE FROM THE CO-EDITORS

Professor Marcelo J.S. de Lemos earned a PhD at Purdue and is serving as a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) in Brazil. Dr. de Lemos is a mechanical engineer. Dr. de Lemos has and is looking at what technology can be made to keep people safe during the COVID19 pandemic and in the event we have another pandemic in the future, so that we will be prepared. The example given was about looking at how far sneeze droplets traveled when sneezes were covered vs. uncovered and then evaluating what items could help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as face shields or tested masks that proved effective. Dr. de Lemos gave a personal perspective of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil titled “Reflections on Current and Future Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Brazil.” This was a personal perspective from a citizen of Brazil because Dr. de Lemos does not specialize in public health. This talk began with some background on Brazil’s relations with the United States, including geographical, historical, and political relations. Dr. de Lemos also discussed the cultural difference between Americans’ and Brazilians’ attitudes toward vaccines. Professor de Lemos said that Brazilians like getting vaccinations. When the polio vaccine was available in Brazil, 10 million Brazilians got vaccinated in one day. Dr. de Lemos said that the only thing preventing Brazilians from getting vaccinated en masse like with the polio vaccination was the amount of vaccine available. Dr. de Lemos discussed this in relation to the way that the COVID-19 pandemic was handled by Brazilian government officials and the turnover that resulted from that mishandling as well as their spreading of misinformation. Dr. de Lemos spoke about how the casualties could have been greatly reduced had COVID-19 been handled a different way and said that college students’ generation will have to discover ways now to prevent future pandemics.

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PAGE 38


COVID-19 Vaccinations in Brazil

Anastasia Pinopoulos The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted

(SUS), which provides free healthcare to those in

a vast number of countries in all regions of the

need. According to Dr. de Lemos, any Brazilian

world. Brazil was one of the countries that was

citizen could go to a clinic and receive over

most

highest

twenty vaccines for free. Having programs like

number of COVID-19 related deaths, exceeded

this instills a strong public confidence in vaccines.

only by the United States. Brazil has a high overall

A survey was done in mid-June 2021 where

global death toll represented as a proportion of

Brazilian citizens were asked whether or not they

the Brazilian population. Compared to other Latin

will raise their sleeves for shots. Ninety-four

American countries, Peru has the higher number

percent of people said that they would get

of

vaccinated. [2]

impacted,

deaths

having

based

off

the

of

second

population.

[1]

Vaccinations, however, have proven to help prevent future deaths from occurring, but Brazil has faced various challenges in this endeavor.

COVID Vaccine Numbers

As of December 2021, Brazil has vaccinated

Dr. Marcelo J.S. de Lemos, a Brazilian academic and scholar, is currently Purdue University’s first Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies. In Brazil, he serves as the head of the Department of Energy at Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica in São José dos Campos. Dr. de Lemos talked about the Brazilian response from his lived experience. He mentioned how he never really encountered any vaccine hesitancy in his

approximately 75% of its population—which is well over three million doses. The current rate of vaccine rollout is a few thousand doses short of one million doses being administered every day. In order to vaccinate another 10% of the population, it will take roughly forty-three days. With vaccinations increasing across the nation, positive cases have been steadily decreasing as well since June 22, 2021. [3]

home country. He also stated that all vaccines were free and anyone could go up to a clinic and receive an immunization. It’s fair to say that vaccines were and still are easy to get, albeit, depending on supply. In the long run, Dr. de Lemos believes that Brazil should not have any vaccine hesitancy regarding COVID.

Brazil’s Vaccine History

Brazil’s

National

Immunization

Program

was

created during a military dictatorship in 1973. The purpose of the program was to help vaccinate rural citizens and create trust in the science of immunizations. This program led to the Unified Health System or Sistema Único de Saúde IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

Source: Canva stock image Vaccine Rollout

Initially, Brazil’s vaccine rollout was subpar. It was very slow compared to other countries. President

PAGE 39


Bolsonaro’s administration was in charge of

large doses of COVID vaccines was a very

supplying the country with an adequate number

important accomplishment.

of doses in the shortest amount of time possible. Unfortunately, they did not succeed in this job and did not try to. They purposely delayed the purchase of the vaccine because of politics. Bolsonaro’s political opponents advocated for the vaccine. There were several allegations regarding corruption in a COVID-19 shot agreement. [4] Pfizer,

a

biopharmaceutical

company

one

hundred

emails

to

who

Bolsonaro’s

administration but they did not respond to Pfizer. All of this information came to light in a congressional investigation of the administration. [5] This scenario illustrates that there wasn’t a shortage

in

vaccines

but

a

shortage

Even though Brazil is known for little hesitancy when it comes to immunizations, there was a lot of misinformation spread throughout the country stemming from the President, Jair Bolsonaro. He publicly questioned the safety and the efficacy of

manufactured one of the COVID vaccines, sent over

Vaccine Misinformation

in

government action.

the vaccines. He even told citizens that he was not going to get vaccinated because he thought having COVID naturally was better for the body. The spread of misinformation is quite dangerous, so several social media platforms acted by deleting Bolsonaro’s posts. [7] The acceptance of the vaccine would have been higher if people didn’t trust the misinformation spreading on the internet.

A Source of Hope

For many individuals, the COVID-19 vaccine serves as a source of hope for a return to normality. The pre-pandemic life might never return to its fullest potential or it may come back but may take many years. As of right now, we are experiencing a new normal. Hopefully there will not be another huge wave of cases that strikes Brazil. Source: Canva stock image

Only time will tell. With an increasing

vaccination rate, Brazil might become the country with the highest vaccination rate and it will be

THE IMPACT

interesting to see how fast they will achieve it.

Having vaccines readily available in Brazil from

Other countries can look at Brazil for some

the very beginning would have changed the

pointers on how to increase the general public’s

number of deaths in both Brazil and the rest of

trust in vaccines.

the world. There was a COVID variant that was spreading worldwide that originated in Brazil. [6] If more people were to have been vaccinated, would that variant have emerged? Would it have spread around the world? It is hard to know what would have happened but regardless securing

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PAGE 40


NOTES

Summary

[1] Jake Horton, “Covid Brazil: Why Could Bolsonaro Face Charges?” BBC, October 27, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56663217. [2] Kiratiana Freelon, “In Brazil's Successful Vaccine Campaign, a Lesson for the U.S.” Undark, October 14, 2021, https://undark.org/2021/10/14/in-brazil-successful-vaccine-campaignlesson-for-us/. [3] Gurman Bhatia, Prasanta Kumar Dutta, and Jon McClure. “Brazil: The Latest Coronavirus Counts, Charts and Maps.” December 8, 2021, https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirustracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/brazil/ [4] Judy Stone. “Covid-19, Brazil's Bolsonaro, and Herd Immunity.” Forbes, November 6, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/11/06/covid-19-brazils-bolsonaro-and-herdimmunity/?sh=6b8001f95af6. [5] Lise Alves. “Health Experts Welcome Brazil COVID-19 Inquiry Findings.” The Lancet 398, no. 10312, (November 6, 2021): 1674-1675. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02398-9. [6] Lise Alves. “Health Experts Welcome Brazil COVID-19 Inquiry Findings.” [7] Judy Stone. “Covid-19, Brazil's Bolsonaro, and Herd Immunity.”

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COVID-19 Pandemic Response in Brazil

Maria Paola Machado Ruiz In 2020, the world was struck with a pandemic no

tegy might be legitimized as a response to other

one saw coming—a crisis that has affected every

epidemics.”[3]

single sector in the world. As the world has tried to combat the pandemic, every country has found a different way to approach the situation. As we learned more about this virus, scientists started to work on vaccines, and the goal was to get rid of the virus through the fastest, but also least damaging way possible. However, like everything else, many people and country leaders had different perspectives on what was the best way to approach the problem. Going against the World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts’ recommendations, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, considered that it was best to go through the pandemic by letting everyone get COVID-19 antibodies from getting the virus itself. This is one way of achieving herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when a large proportion of a population

becomes

immune

to

a

disease,

whether by getting the antibodies due to infection or by vaccination, making the spread from one person to another less likely. [1}

that herd immunity by vaccination would be the best solution to overcoming the pandemic. Many leaders

followed

these

recommendations and advised their countries to get vaccinated. However, in the case of Brazil, the president believed that it was best to achieve this by everyone getting infected instead of getting vaccinated. He said it was better to get COVID19 than to get vaccinated, and saw this as the solution to the problem. [2] This was not a popular approach by specialists: “the biggest fear those of us who study pandemics have is that the use of the herd immunity through infection stra-

IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

Being the Epicenter of the Pandemic

Many health specialists criticized Bolsonaro’s plan of action; he delayed the purchase of vaccines, gave false statements about the virus, and campaigned for unproven medical treatments, all to incentivize obtaining herd immunity through widespread infection. [4] Brazil’s government allegedly let the virus rip through the country with the aim of achieving widespread immunity,

Many health specialists and organizations found

countries’

Source: Canva stock image

which led to unnecessary deaths and infections. [5] There was never a national lockdown, and the president blocked local leaders’ efforts to impose restrictions, calling the governors and mayors “tyrants” for trying to stop the spread of the virus. [6] This resulted in Brazil being one of the countries with the most cases of infection and deaths in the world, and also resulted in a collapsed healthcare system, even though in the past they had proven to have a great one. They have by far the highest overall death toll in Latin America and the second highest in the world, and have the second highest rate of deaths per 100k population in the world. [7]

PAGE 42


Brazil usually has a robust vaccination culture, comprising of vaccination campaigns and vaccine production. However, since the president did not agree with the idea of COVID-19 vaccinations, Brazil did not produce their own vaccines, so they had to depend on imported vaccines from China and India, which meant they did not have enough vaccines for the whole population. Thus, their vaccination campaign was slow and it was not a priority like it was in other countries, which was a challenge for the Brazilian Health System (SUS). Brazil did not show an effort for testing either, and we can see this in the 1 million tests per month that they have been doing since the pandemic started, in comparison to the 20-30 million tests the United States does. [8] In countries such as the United States, vaccines were a priority once they were approved. Everyone was incentivized to get vaccinated, and this is why the current situation in the U.S. and Brazil is different.

The latter was running out of resources and still pushing for herd immunity without actually being able to treat their citizens. The lack of treatment also widened the inequality gap between social classes. Brazil has a lot of inequality between its citizens, and clearly only the ones with resources had access to the necessary medications and treatments. This left lower class people to deal with the virus on their own, especially indigenous groups in the Amazon, who were more vulnerable to getting infected. In the United States, masks were mandated in order to stop the spread of the virus. The U. S. also put a lot of effort into creating vaccines and getting their population vaccinated. By developing their own vaccines, they had primary access to them. Both Brazil and the United States have a large population, so it was reasonable that they had high numbers of cases. However, letting your country get infected on purpose when there is another way brought significant consequences to Brazil, mainly making them the epicenter of the

Brazil vs. the United States

In comparison to other countries, such as the United States, we can see how Brazil’s actions led them to be the epicenter of the pandemic. By attempting to end the virus through herd immunity, the president let his citizens get infected,

which

caused

many

fatalities

and

suffering, and did not incentivize vaccination, which is perhaps the clearest and most successful way to currently get rid of the virus. While Brazil was ignoring the virus to keep its economy from collapsing, countries like the United States were facing it by incentivizing vaccination and social distancing, which is why, even though the U.S. also had a high number of cases and deaths in

pandemic. They were having unnecessary deaths by a virus which already had taken too many lives. It is not only illogical but also immoral to let people die when there is another way around it. Bolsonaro viewed the virus that had swept the whole world as a “measly cold,” saying that “all of us are going to die one day.' [9] This even led them to having travel bans in other countries, because the rest of the world was making an effort to stop the spread. As of November 2021, we saw vaccinated populations in the U.S. start experiencing normal life without masks, while Brazil is still in a high peak of the pandemic and has not experienced that yet.

total, they were able to get it under control and get the healthcare system up again. Also, the U.S. has more resources, which is why they were able to treat more people than Brazil. IDEAS MAGAZINE / VOL.3

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NOTES

Summary

[1] Mayo Clinic, “Herd Immunity and Covid-19 (Coronavirus): What You Need to Know,” Aug. 28, 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/herd-immunityand-coronavirus/art-20486808. [2] Manuela Andreoni, “Coronavirus in Brazil: What You Need to Know.” The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/article/brazil-coronavirus-cases.html. [3] Judy Stone, “Covid-19, Brazil's Bolsonaro, and Herd Immunity,” Forbes, November 6, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/11/06/covid-19-brazils-bolsonaro-and-herdimmunity/?sh=5e223afd5af6. [4] Lise Alves, “Health Experts Welcome Brazil Covid-19 Inquiry Findings,” The Lancet 398, no. 10312, Nov. 6, 2021:1674–1675., https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(21)02398-9. [5] Jake Horton, “Covid Brazil: Why Could Bolsonaro Face Charges?” BBC, 27 Oct. 27, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56663217. [6] Andreoni, “Coronavirus in Brazil.” [7] Horton, “Covid Brazil...” [8] Andreoni, “Coronavirus in Brazil…” [9] Andreoni, “Coronavirus in Brazil…”

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1101 3rd St. West Lafayette, IN 47906 (765) 494-2929 honors.purdue.edu honorscollegemedia@purdue.edu


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