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Bottom Line

In the Office of Preprofessional Advising at Homewood, advisers Mary Catherine Savage and Ronald Fishbein each year work closely with more than 200 students and recent alumni whose sights are set on med school or other health professions. The duo's brand of individualized advising appears to be paying off. Hopkins' medical school acceptance rate is nearly twice the national average.

93: Percent of Hopkins students (90 total) in the undergraduate class of 2001 who applied and were accepted to medical school on their first try.

50: Rate of acceptance to medical school, nationally.

89: Percent of Hopkins "re-applicants" (those who had applied previously to medical school and been denied) who were accepted in 2001.

70: Total number of Hopkins alumni applying to medical school in 2001 for the first time. Number accepted: 58.

3.62: Mean GPA of Hopkins students/alumni accepted into medical school in 2001.

31.2: Mean MCAT total for Hopkins students/alumni accepted into medical school in 2001.

7: Number of Hopkins students/alumni who applied and were accepted to schools of dentistry in 2001.

7: Number of Hopkins students/alumni who applied and were accepted to schools of osteopathic medicine in 2001. --SD

Here and Abroad

The Hopkins men's lacrosse team will head to Japan for the first time since 1989 to attend the 13th International Friendship Game in June. The weeklong trip, which will include scrimmages with lacrosse club teams, an alumni bash, tours of the city of Kamakura, and a game against the Japanese National Team, is meant to promote friendship among the world's young people through lacrosse. "Lacrosse has been growing by leaps and bounds, and this is an opportunity for Hopkins to have its name associated with the game, not just nationally but internationally," says head coach Dave Pietramala '90.

... The Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is helping Great Britain create a new National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, similar to the intensive summer programs founded at Hopkins in 1979. CTY, which has helped develop programs in Spain and Ireland, will work with the University of Warwick to create courses for the top 5 percent of English elementary and secondary students. Lea Ybarra, executive director of CTY, says the collaboration "shows a seriousness at the highest levels to ensure that England's brightest children do not fall through the cracks."

... At Homewood, Ralph Johnson, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, has won a Fulbright to attend the U.S.-Germany International Education Administrators Program in the spring. Johnson, who led Hopkins students and staff on a study tour of Ghana during Intersession, is searching for ways to encourage more minority students to study abroad, a topic he addressed in his Fulbright application.

... Have American journalists become too pro-U.S. in their reporting? That was part of the debate at a recent forum, "Continental Drift: U.S. and European Media Coverage of the War Against Terrorism," co-sponsored by the new Center for Transatlantic Relations at Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The center's mission: to foster analysis of changing U.S.-European relations. "What I've seen is that American journalists have become more patriotic," says Lilli Gruber, a visiting fellow at the center and news anchor for Italy's RAI Uno television station. --Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson


Course: "Stress Management for Relief Workers"

Instructor: George Everly, International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Course Description: Everly draws upon his experiences in the field (in occupied Kuwait, Oklahoma City, and at ground zero in the days after September 11) to address the question of how to form a mental health response to mass terrorism events. The course focuses on the emotional stress faced by health workers providing assistance in emergency situations. Students learn about the signs and symptoms of stress disorders and how to prevent these disorders from having long-term mental health consequences. Also discussed: how the events of September 11 will change the way disaster response is handled.

Reading List:

Critical Incident Stress Management: A New Era and Standard of Care in Crisis Intervention, G.S. Everly and J.T. Mitchell (1999).

The International Journal of Emergency Medical Health 3:133-135, "America Under Attack: The '10 Commandments' of Responding to Mass Terrorist Attacks," G.S. Everly and J.T. Mitchell (2001).

The International Journal of Emergency Medical Health 1:151-154, "Toward a Model of Psychological Triage: Who Will Need the Most Assistance?" G.S. Everly (1999).

Terrorism and Medical Responses: U.S. Lessons and Policy Implications, Y. Alexander and S. Prior (2001).

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook, G. Schiraldi (2000).


With the creation of each new center, program, and institute at Johns Hopkins--not to mention renamings of existing schools and divisions--the university's alphabet soup of acronyms gets richer. A sampling:

ICE: The Institute for Cell Engineering is actually an incubator for some of the hottest research in medicine. Can Hopkins scientists figure out how to regenerate tissues-- and, ultimately, entire organs? Stay tuned.

KSAS: In the years since the School of Arts and Sciences was named to honor big donor Zanvyl Krieger '28, a new shorthand has evolved.

PELP: Policemen on campus packing books? The Hopkins Police Executive Leadership Program, the first of its kind in the nation, offers top cops the skills they need to maintain an effective presence in a changing world.

WYPR: The university-owned radio station formerly known as WJHU-FM changed hands on January 31 and is now owned and operated by Your Public Radio Corp., a community-based nonprofit.

SPSBE: Known in earlier permutations as McCoy College, the Evening School, and most recently, the School of Continuing Studies, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education was renamed in 1999 to reflect its evolving emphasis on, well, business and education.

UHI: The nation's premier medical research center sits in a community with some of the worst health indices in the world. How can Johns Hopkins' considerable resources best be tapped to improve health in East Baltimore? That's the mission of the newly launched Urban Health Institute.

CTY: It's ba-ack. After a brief stint as the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth (IAAY)--an unwieldy acronym if ever there was one--the Center for Talented Youth is once again the moniker for the Hopkins program dedicated to challenging really bright kids. --SD


A New Camera for Hubble

NASA has done well in three previous missions to upgrade and service the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, operated by the Hopkins-based Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Hopkins astronomers hope a fourth service call will prove as successful.

At press time, astronauts from the shuttle Columbia were about to install the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), an assembly of three electronic cameras and other instruments that should dramatically increase the range and sensitivity of Hubble's vision. Astronomers hope to use ACS's high-resolution instruments to obtain much more detailed images of quasars, speed up the ongoing deep-sky survey, and perhaps even record the first images of planets orbiting other stars. A team of scientists from Hopkins, the Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace Corp., and STScI spent five years building ACS, which is about the size of an old-fashioned telephone booth.

Launched in 1990, Hubble has proved to be an extraordinary source of stunning images and valuable data in its 12-year existence. Most of the telescope's astronomical heavy lifting has been done by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Compared to that camera, ACS should cover double the area, and provide double the sharpness and five times the sensitivity to light. Holland Ford, Hopkins professor of astronomy and the leader of the team that built ACS, describes the instrument's power: "If you had two fireflies six feet apart in Tokyo, Hubble's vision with ACS will be so fine that it would be able to tell from Washington, D.C., that there were two fireflies instead of one." --DK

Environmental Major Gets Green Light

Growing international concerns about air pollution, global warming, soil contamination, and other environmental issues- -as well as student interest--have led Johns Hopkins to create a new undergraduate major in environmental engineering.

"You can open the newspaper on any given day and see a story that deals with environmental engineering," says Marc Parlange, chairman of the Whiting School's Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering (DoGEE). "With growing populations on the East and West coasts, there are air- and water-quality concerns that affect people's quality of life. Solutions will be dealt with by well-educated engineers who have a broad understanding of their role in society and what they can do."

DoGEE, which previously offered a minor in environmental engineering, will be welcoming its first majors next fall. Students will focus on such areas as environmental management and economics, and environmental health engineering. Nationwide, the field's popularity is also increasing: American colleges and universities awarded 697 bachelor degrees in environmental engineering in the year 2000, up from 168 in 1991. Currently, fewer than 40 U.S. schools offer such degrees. --JCS


January 31, 2002

As winter melts into spring at Hopkins, the Career Center at Homewood really starts humming. Should a Hopkins student "shadow" the center's assistant director, Nancy Sutherland, for a day (a practice often recommended by career placement counselors), here's what she'd find:

8:30-9 a.m.: Get Logged In, Check E-mail

9-10 a.m.: In Touch and Following Up
Confirm that alum from the Securities and Exchange Commission will speak on the February 26 "Break Into Government" panel. Alumni are an invaluable resource: Many host students at their companies, speak on panels, and set up internships.

10-11:30 a.m.: Weekly Staff Meeting
The center's two recruiting coordinators offer an update: Reps from 27 companies and organizations--from Teach For America to Goldman Sachs--will recruit on campus throughout the semester. Talk turns to the February 7 Job and Internship Fair. Reps from 38 prospective employers will set up camp in the Glass Pavilion, handing out candy, pens, and pamphlets to the 450 students expected. Number of employers there to recruit engineering majors: 15. Employers seeking humanities majors: 1.

Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch
Time out for a "Gilman" sandwich (turkey and greens on focaccia bread) at Levering Hall.

1-1:30 p.m.: Publicity
Work up a "Break Into Science and Engineering" flier to be posted on bulletin boards across campus.

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Check E-mail
Plow through dozens of new e-mails. Slightly more than half are from students: Can you help me edit my resume? I'd like to enroll in the interview workshop. The rest: prospective employers hashing out details for upcoming campus visits. Over the course of a year, the center will serve about 3,800 undergrads and 1,200 alumni, and will offer 80-plus workshops on 22 topics.

2:30-4 p.m.: Student Appointments
Back-to-back meetings with students who want one-on-one counseling. The center offers many online resources-- Hopkins' InternCenter site,, and HopkinsNET, a Web site with access to 145,166 searchable alumni contacts. But sometimes the human touch is what's needed most.

4-5 p.m.: Workshop
Check in to see how the resume and cover letter workshop is going. A frequent offering aimed at jump-starting students on their internship and job searches, today's session stresses the three cardinal rules of resume writing: be clear, concise, and consistent. --Jocelyn Kelly '02

Up & Comer

Name: Sean Greenberg
Age: 30
Assistant professor of
philosophy, specializing in early modern philosophy, with a strong interest in moral psychology

Stats: BA from Amherst College, 1994; PhD from Harvard University, 2001

Scouting Report: Greenberg's analysis is strong in two ways, says J. B. Schneewind, Hopkins professor of philosophy: He has "careful and detailed ideas for the explanation of difficulties in particular historically important texts, and large-scale ideas about narratives that put such works in new kinds of relation to one another and to what's going on now."

Day Job: Examining the relation between conceptions of mind, nature, and human freedom from Thomas Aquinas to Immanuel Kant. Has begun a book on the development of the problem of free will in early modern philosophy.

Why Philosophy?: "[Because] it was really hard. It was a way of thinking that was intriguing because of what it could open up, by virtue of its crystalline purity."

First Love (Philosophically Speaking): Ludwig Wittgenstein, a 20th-century Austrian-born English philosopher noted for his philosophy of language and theories of logic. "He [tried] to look at the roots of philosophical problems, rather than grappling with them directly, to uncover what sort of presuppositions they depended on. His work has a hypnotic quality to it."

Hero: Again, Wittgenstein. "After writing Tractatus Logic-Philosophicus [1922], he believed that he had definitively resolved all philosophical problems, and he left philosophy. He returned and submitted his earlier work to its most thoroughgoing criticism. The courage and intellectual honesty that he manifested is exemplary."

Most Frequently Misinterpreted Philosopher: Descartes. "Cartesianism is often vilified, yet it is rare for readers to examine Descartes' own texts."

What He'd Be Were He Not a Professor: Museum curator. --DK

Vital Signs

Zeroing In on Early Detection of Colon Cancer

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a stool test that reliably detects colon cancer in its earliest and most curable stages. Their findings, published in the January 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are the culmination of 10 years of work to identify and detect the genetic mutations associated with colon cancer.

Kenneth Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein earlier developed genetic tests for inherited forms of colon cancer. The new test detects the more common non-hereditary form by pinpointing cancer-linked APC gene mutations in the DNA shed into the feces. More than 130,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed each year with colon cancer. Detected early, it can be cured up to 90 percent of the time.

In studies, the stool test detected the APC mutation in 61 percent of those with cancer, 50 percent of those with pre-malignant tumors, and in none of the subjects who were disease-free.

"We still have a way to go before we can confidently use such a screening test in the general population, but we are encouraged by the fact that we've detected mutations in a significant fraction of the patients with early-stage tumors and never in people free of disease," says Kinzler. Investigators expect it will be three to five years before the test is available clinically. --JK

Mistrust of Medicine Runs Deep

Persistent mistrust of doctors and hospitals, and religious misconceptions, might explain why more people, especially minorities, do not become blood and organ donors, according to a report by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The survey, aimed at evaluating donor interest, found that African American women were least willing to donate blood, with only 41 percent reporting they would. African American men were least willing to become organ donors upon their deaths, with only 19 percent reporting they would. Mistrust of hospitals and concerns about experiencing discrimination in hospitals were the primary reasons for not giving blood; religious beliefs explained most of the reticence in organ donation. The study results appeared in the February issue of Medical Care.

"African Americans have traditionally been leery of research settings, in part because of the ethical lapses in the Tuskegee experiment," says L. Ebony Boulware, lead author of the study. "More work needs to be done to examine how to engender trust in the populations less willing to donate. Maybe by partnering with churches or other faith-based organizations we could better educate people about organ donation."

Forever Altered

Mentor, hero, inspiration...
Hopkins teachers who have left their mark.

"I was in the first graduating class when the School of Nursing reopened in 1984 as a division of the university. Dr. Stella Shiber was my clinical instructor in psychiatric nursing. She would tell us to reach out to the healthy part of the patient. Don't focus on what's wrong with the patient; find out what's right and use that as what you build on. Her approach had an indelible impact on me. People tell me that I'm able to work well with extremely psychotic patients. I'm able to reassure them and defuse the situation, by looking beyond their sometimes bizarre words and behavior to the emotion inside.

"A number of years ago I was mentoring a recent Nursing school graduate. He said to me, 'You keep saying Dr. Shiber said this and Dr. Shiber told me that.' I was just as a matter of course quoting her. When I think of all the students whose lives Dr. Shiber has touched during her 40-plus years at Nursing--there've been something like 2,000 graduates--and then I think about the patients those nurses have come in contact with, and the students they may have taught themselves -- Dr. Shiber's influence has been exponential."

Bernie Keenan (Nurs '86, MSN '93) is a psychiatric nurse clinician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a clinical instructor in psychiatric nursing at the School of Nursing, as well as president of the School of Nursing Alumni Association.

The new Hopkins Torah: The Hebrew inscription reads, "It is a tree of life for those who grasp it."
Photo by Tamara Hoffer

On Saturday mornings, Jewish students preparing to worship at Homewood must navigate past a laundry room, through the labyrinthine corridors of the AMR I basement, to a door that reads simply "0117." Inside the old kosher dining hall, there are couches, pastel carpets, and an oak cabinet that holds the university's first Torah.

"It's hard to describe what having our own Torah has done for our community," says Elisabeth Baron, president of the Jewish Students Association/Hillel. "Jewish students of all affiliations came together when the book was donated. It's amazing how much symbolism and respect this one object holds, and that crosses all lines." On the richly embroidered velvet cover that rests over the Torah scroll, the tree of life is created in magenta, royal blue, and moss green. Gold thread outlines the curling roots; beneath them an inscription reads, "In loving memory of Ida and Jack Sekulow and Sophie and Carl Weil by their children."

The Torah, or five books of Moses, has been inscribed by hand on lambskin parchment by an expert scribe. During this Shabbat service, it is brought out from the curtained interior of the cabinet and a young man carries it, resting against his shoulder, around the room. As he passes, students reach out and touch or kiss the Torah.

At the front of the room, the Torah is placed on a table so that students may take turns reading sections. Each reading is an exercise in memorization, proficiency, and tone. Normally, small notations above and below written Hebrew characters contain vital information about the vowels and intonations used to pronounce each word. But the Torah's text contains none of these cues. Since accuracy is paramount, two "spotters" stand on either side of the reader to alert him if he needs to reread a word or phrase correctly. Should a mistake ever be found in the actual text, the Torah will immediately be sent to a scribe for correction.

Some students are visibly tense as they approach the Torah, but as they deliver the Hebrew words in a melodic half-song, half-chant, a calm befalls both reader and listeners. When each section is over, students shift in their chairs, solemn faces break into smiles, and handshakes are traded around the scroll.

It takes a year to read the entire Torah. As sections are completed, they are wound to the right; the new text is unwound from the left. At the fall holiday Simchat Torah (The Joy of the Torah), the Torah reading is completed and immediately begun again. Last fall's Simchat Torah brought with it the new Torah and bright prospects for the Hopkins Jewish community: Hopkins Hillel, which coordinates programming and activities for the school's estimated 400 Jewish students, plans to begin construction on the Smokler Center for Jewish Life, where students of all faiths can meet to learn more about Jewish culture. The new center, in the 3100 block of Charles Street, is part of an ongoing $10 million campaign for Hopkins Hillel.

By Simchat Torah 2003, the students now meeting in the old kosher dining hall hope to meet in their new home for worship. Says Rabbi Joe Menashe, the university's first full-time rabbi, "The Torah is a symbol of growth. As we grow, we can build on the ideals of history, of social justice, and of community that the Torah represents." --JK

JHUniverse information_about_hopkins/about_jhu/ hopkins_songs/

[Note: You can also go to and use the keywords "hopkins songs" to search for the page.]

Hopkins' heritage has never sounded so good. With a little help from the RealPlayer sound application, you can sample the university's great old college songs, from fight songs ("Johnny Hopkins on to Victory") to the university ode ("Veritas Vos Liberabit") and even a song for barbershop quartet. Peabody's David Fetter, associate dean for performance activities and placement, wrote the arrangements and organized the recording of these Hopkins classics. --JK

Looking for the latest news on NASA's X-33 space plane? Just consult the Chemical Propulsion Information Agency, a highly specialized Hopkins resource created in the years after World War II to provide centralized rocket information for the U.S. Navy. Initially part of the university's Applied Physics Laboratory, today's expanded information agency is centered in Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering. While many documents are restricted, as many as 17,000 unclassified citations on space and gun propulsion technology are available via the agency's home page, which also features a calendar of propulsion events, technology reviews, and propulsion news. --JCS

Return to April 2002 Table of Contents

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