J U N E 2 0 0 6
Editor: Philip Tang, A&S '95
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Nights when Chris Coppola was awakened by the sound of helicopters, he would begin counting. Separating the soft pounding of each machine beating the warm Iraqi air, he could tell how bad things were.
"Sometimes it was like a parking lot in the sky," he says. "That meant we'd be very busy."
For Coppola, a pediatric surgeon deployed by the Air Force to a dusty tent hospital about 40 miles north of Baghdad, more helicopters meant more surgery than the doctor on duty could handle. So he and the four other off-duty surgeons would trudge to the operating room, where they would begin the process of putting soldiers back together again.
"I worked in an urban hospital and handled gunshot wounds, but an [improvised explosive device] is different," Coppola says. "You could have 40 to 50 fragments in their body and a leg torn off. There might be four or five people working on one of these guys at a time."
His experience ranged from repeatedly cleaning gaping abdominal wounds or reattaching the limbs of young men, to treating cystic fibrosis or cancers in young Iraqi children, whom Coppola and his team treated even though it wasn't their responsibility.
"I fell back on my training, turned off emotion, and hoped for the best," he says. "Sometimes it really bothered me. You would see something that would surpass what you had seen, even though you did not think that was possible. Later I just could not sleep, so many nights I would write."
Most of that writing took shape as e-mails to friends and family, including his wife, Meredith, who compiled the notes in a book called Made a Difference for That One: A Surgeon's Letters Home from Iraq.
Coppola, 38, a native of Washington, D.C., received his MD from Johns Hopkins in 1994, did his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, and received free medical training from the Air Force in exchange for four years of military service.
The book clearly shows how his assignment in Iraq both distressed and moved him as he worked through 24- or 36-hour days and faced one gruesome scene or heartbreaking story after another.
In one e-mail he wrote about his experience caring for a 2-year-old who was burned over a third of her body when insurgents fire-bombed her home because of her father's allegiance to the new government:
In spite of heroic efforts from the team of doctors, nurses, and techs taking care of her, she passed away tonight at 18:50. I knew her long enough to learn that her favorite stuffed animal was a pink bear, she loved chips and snacks, and her giggles brought joy to her mother and father. . . . For the past four days she has been critically ill on life support. Her young heart gave out after enduring much more than one with less will to live could. . . . She is not the first child I have seen die, and I know I am not so fortunate that she will be the last. Tomorrow I will go back to work and try to help the others who come my way. But tonight I am broken.Though Coppola worries about the country's future — and about both the reasoning behind and the conduct of the war — he admires the Iraqi people. "It was so dangerous for them to even vote, but they came out anyway. It can stop me [from voting] if there is too much traffic. These people were getting shot at."
His admiration is also heaped on the soldiers who he says exuded patriotism, support for their mission, and especially, a bond with their fellow soldier.
"We would have four guys all injured badly in a Humvee, and when they came in they would argue with us over whom to treat, insisting that we work on their buddy first."
Coppola developed a bond with one patient, helping to mend his many wounds and reattach his arm — even giving him blood. The soldier came to visit Coppola in Texas, where he is now deployed at Lackland Air Force Base.
"It was amazing to see him up and about," Coppola says. "With that arm, which had been hanging off with a little bit of muscle, he reached out and gave me a very hearty handshake."
A portion of the book's proceeds will go to the Fisher
House Foundation, which helps families stay near loved ones
at military hospitals.
|Emily Horgan with Dusty Springs||
We're used to stories about graduates of the Johns Hopkins'
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies traipsing
across the globe. But driving 4,000 miles in a donated
clunker, across Europe and desolate parts of Africa, to
raise money for charity? And then doing it again? That's
Meet Emily Horgan.
In January, Horgan, who works as a consultant to the International Finance Corp. in Washington, D.C., finished her second tour on the nonprofit Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, a car rally created to poke gentle fun at the famous Paris-Dakar Rally, a professional off-road rally that follows a similar route.
The races couldn't be more different: Auto enthusiasts pay six figures to participate in the prestigious Paris-Dakar, supported by road crews. The Plymouth-Banjul race stipulates that drivers spend no more than $200 on their wheels, plus $25 in spare parts, and compete without support across some of Africa's toughest terrain. Drivers have competed in ambulances, ice cream vans, school buses, and taxis. Once teams arrive in Gambia, the vehicles are auctioned off to support local charities.
In 2005, Horgan joined chums Vivi Mellegard and Javier Diaz, Bol '00, SAIS '02, in a 1991 Ford Fiesta for the trip. The trio raised $2,500 for Santa Yalla, a Gambian charity that supports people living with HIV/AIDS. The rally raised $267,000 for Gambian charities. "I wasn't planning to do it again," Horgan says. "But things happened."
This year, joined by boyfriend James Warner, SAIS '06, Horgan partnered with the U.S. charity YouthAIDS to raise awareness about the disease. Driving a $75 Mercedes Benz Saloon named Dusty Springs, the team — called the Terranauts — traveled 4,000 miles, handing out military-style dog tags bearing HIV/AIDS messages. In addition to raising more funds for Santa Yalla, Dusty Springs pulled in $1,725 at the auction for local charities and has a new life as a taxicab in Gambia. (For more on the race, visit www.terranauts.com.)
An encore? Horgan recently took a few weeks off from work
to drive an old bus through 14 European countries and
deliver a wooden gymnasium floor to needy Chechnyan
dancers. Horgan and friends dismantled the two-ton floor,
laid it in the bus, and ferried it to Georgia. There,
friends drove it over the Georgia-Russia border to the
dancers. "It's amazing what you can do when you combine a
love of travel with helping people," Horgan says.
The Future of the Wild: Radical Conservation for a
World, by Jonathan S. Adams, A&S '86 (MA), Beacon Press
The Devil Is a Gentleman: Exploring America's
Fringe, by J.C. Hallman, A&S '97 (MA), Random House
"Ignorance is to science as economic opportunity is to capitalism."When it came time to pitch the camp of his scientific career somewhere along the millennia-long river of evolutionary history that leads to humanity, Chris Beard knew where he wanted to go: the place where almost no one else was.
Beard, who is one of four curators of vertebrate
paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in
Pittsburgh, specializes in paleoanthropology, the study of
the origins of humanity and its closest evolutionary
relatives, apes and other primates.
|In Myanmar, Chris Beard (far right) with paleontologist Laurent Marivaux (second from left) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Montpelier, France, and two local villagers they hired to help dig for fossils.||
Instead of focusing his studies on the headline-grabbing
period when early humans first developed from apes, though,
Beard set his sights on the origins of primates.
"The fossil record has actually become good enough in the last 10 to 15 years that we pretty much know the big picture of the steps that led to the development of humans," Beard explains. "There are giant questions, though, if you head back about 45 to 50 million years, two-thirds of the way back to the age of the dinosaurs, and the first appearance of primates."
In the first decade of his career, Beard gave this area of research a considerable jolt by suggesting that the earliest primates came from Asia, not Africa as scientists had long thought. With colleagues from the U.S. and China, Beard has gathered fossils from China that support his theory. And he's analyzed modern-day populations of primitive primates like tarsiers and lemurs in Asian nations to further buttress his ideas. For his groundbreaking efforts, Beard was recognized in 2000 with a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (known as a "genius grant").
In 2004, Beard published The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (University of California Press), which put his research into a historical context for a lay audience. The book won the American Anthropological Association's 2005 W.W. Howells Book Prize in Biological Anthropology and, more recently, the 2006 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.
"It's given to recognize the best book meant to convey science to a general audience in that particular year, so it was a great honor to be recognized out of the 200 to 300 that get nominated every year," says Beard, who is not a member of the society. "Unfortunately, I found out I had won the award just before I had to leave to do some field work in Myanmar, so I couldn't be there for the awards ceremony."
Beard enjoys shuttling off to distant, exotic parts of the world to look for fossils. His book begins with a detailed description of the discovery of a key fossil find supportive of his theories in 1995 in a ravine near the Yellow River in China.
Fieldwork, other research, and the grant writing necessary to sustain it are about 50 percent of Beard's job at the Carnegie. Other duties include attending fundraising functions for the museum and giving speeches and presentations to members, politicians, the general public — and the occasional celebrity or two. "Mick Jagger came by last autumn to see the museum while the Stones were on tour," he notes.
Beard and his fellow curators are currently in the midst of a multiyear, $40 million revamping of the museum's dinosaur exhibits. "We're tripling the floor space devoted to the dinosaur galleries, taking each dinosaur apart and putting them back together again," he says. "It's quite the engineering task to safely suspend, for example, the pelvis of a Diplodocus, which weighs about 3,000 pounds, and to do so in a dramatic fashion that will entertain and interest our visitors."
He notes that the Carnegie's historic dinosaur collection includes the first specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex and Diplodocus ever discovered, and points out that the Carnegie is the only major paleontological museum to display not epoxy casts of fossil bones but the actual bones themselves.
"When it opens in late 2007, it should be about the best dinosaur exhibit on the face of the earth," Beard says. For Beard, the most important part of the museum's mission is promoting basic science literacy. When he mentions the recent evolution vs. intelligent design trials in nearby Dover, Pennsylvania, there's a wince in his voice: It was bad enough that such a trial happened at all so long after the Scopes Trial seemed to put the issue to rest, but having it so close to one of the nation's premier national history museums made it doubly galling for him.
"It's shocking to me that issues like this still reverberate," he says. "If large sections of the public don't know that evolution occurs and is a fact and is not up for debate anymore even if we don't know the full pattern, that shows that not only K through 12 but secondary education has failed in America."
The indignation doesn't linger long with Beard, though. He's a veteran at winning over skeptics.
"Maybe museums can be plan B for more traditional
educational institutions," he says. "If K through 12 fails,
maybe we can grab the public with our exhibits and make
them understand a little bit more about science. Our big
goal has to be having something along those lines that is
appropriate for all age groups — pre-K to
Many of us can relate: It's the height of flu season, and
your coworkers' coughing makes the office sound like an
emergency room. Sure, you care about your colleagues'
health, but you don't want to get sick, too. "Most
companies want you there, even if you're sick," says Cheryl
Rosell. "If you're hacking, coughing, and sneezing, we need
to make sure you aren't spreading germs."
Rosell, who has her own health consulting firm in Toronto, has turned her attention in recent years to teaching people how office hygiene can prevent the spread of illnesses. She has good training: A former health executive who ran Ontario's organ transplant program, Rosell was a quarantine officer for Health Canada during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
The SARS incident, along with the threat of pandemics such as the spread of the avian flu, has companies taking office hygiene seriously, she says. In January, Rosell launched "Lunch and Learn Programs" aimed at teaching workers about the nuts-and-bolts of battling germs. Her first lesson: Know the difference between bacterial and viral infections. Bacteria live on their own. They are treatable with antibiotics. Viruses must invade a cell to stay alive. They are smaller, but they can kill you.
So what's the best strategy for reducing office-bred infections?
Invest in good cleaning supplies, including disinfectants with virocides.
Buy the medical-quality hand sanitizers, even though they are more expensive.
Teach employees to wash their hands frequently during the day.
Avoid sharing keyboards, phones, cell phones, and other equipment.
Use tissues to cover mouths for coughs and sneezes, then dispose properly by placing them in double-lined plastic bags.
And if possible, when you're feeling sick, stay home in
Based on my experience as a history major, the sophomore through senior years are the most formative, critical years of an undergraduate education," says Rosalind Resnick, A&S '81 (BA/MA). "Not only are students mastering information and doing research, but they are also developing a refined knack for individual inquiry that will serve as the foundation for their professional careers."
To support students during this three-year period of their Johns Hopkins education, Resnick was one of the first donors to commit to the Hopkins Fund Scholars, a special recognition program for individuals who pledge $10,000 or more per year for three years to the Hopkins Fund.
Resnick has long been an early adaptor. She built an Internet marketing company, NetCreations Inc., from a two-person home-based start-up to a public company that generated $58 million in sales. She then founded and is CEO of Axxess Business Centers Inc., a leader in strategic consulting, business plan development, and outsourced financial and marketing services for start-ups and emerging businesses.
Why make a long-term commitment to the Hopkins Fund? "For
me, it's a great way to give back to the place that did so
much to shape the way I think, write, analyze problems, and
make decisions," Resnick says. "My years at Hopkins have
enriched my life beyond measure. I look forward to making
the Hopkins experience possible for a deserving
|Tony Anderson: "It made all the difference."||
Another early Hopkins Fund Scholar supporter is Tony
Anderson, A&S '76, who tells a story to explain why he
gives for financial aid. "I came to Johns Hopkins in the
fall of 1972 to study international relations," he begins.
"Expenses were higher than I anticipated, and I had no
financial aid, so I went to the financial aid office to ask
for permission to take part in a work-study program. After
I explained my family's circumstances to the aid officer,
she asked for time to work on my request. When I returned,
she had secured financial aid for the spring semester,
which led to support for my final three years at
"It made all the difference," he continues. "I still worked during my sophomore, junior, and senior years, but I had time to devote to my studies and much more. I took part in the Black Student Association, my fraternity, and the Barnstormers stage crew. Thanks to that assistance, I got so much more out of my Hopkins education."
Anderson, now a partner in the Washington law office of
Thompson Coburn LLP, specializes in federal mass
transportation, Americans with Disabilities Act,
disadvantaged business enterprises, and federally assisted
|Current students Jason Rothhaupt and Ashlyn Schniederjans say they have benefitted from Hopkins Fund support.||
Predictably, student recipients of financial aid are most grateful. "Without the support of the Hopkins Fund," says Jason Rothhaupt, Engr '06, "I never could have stepped foot on the Hopkins campus."
Ashlyn Schniederjans, A&S '06, echoes those thoughts by saying, "In order to afford my education here, I needed that financial support. I'm very grateful for it."
Gifts for Hopkins Fund Scholars help the university as well. When admissions officers can offer financial aid packages to the very best applicants, those students choose Hopkins, and once they are here, they accomplish great things. The last two Hopkins Rhodes Scholars received financial aid.
Increased financial aid helps make the student body more diverse. "As one of the relatively few women at Hopkins back in the '70s," says Resnick, "I believe that the more diverse the student body becomes, the more the university benefits from diverse viewpoints, cultures, and backgrounds. Diversity makes a Johns Hopkins education better."
Donors like the idea of underwriting a particular individual. "By supporting a Hopkins Fund Scholar for three years, I am making a commitment to a particular student," says Anderson. "This is a greater commitment than saying, 'I'll give you $10,000 this year and we'll see how you do.' I want that individual to take full advantage of a Hopkins education — inside and outside the classroom — and not to have to worry about the money."
Hopkins Fund Scholars and their benefactors are invited to an annual Scholarship Luncheon, where they sit together. Scholarships can be named for three years in memory or in honor of someone, and donors have the opportunity to further the relationship by serving as an adviser and networking resource.
For Anderson, this meeting cannot come soon enough. With a
broad smile, he says, "I can't wait to meet my first
Hopkins Fund Scholar."
The Alumni Association has affiliated with the Penn Club to provide Johns Hopkins alumni with a home to socialize, network, and conduct business in New York City. As of July 1, all alumni will be able to join the Penn Club as affiliate members.
In affiliating with the Penn Club, Johns Hopkins joins other universities — such as MIT, University of Chicago, and London Business School — that have sought to establish a formal gathering place for alumni in the Big Apple.
Alumni who join the Penn Club are eligible to attend Penn
Club events, which range from business forums, industry
panel discussions, and career development seminars to
culinary feasts, book groups, and art tours. Members can
also attend inter-Ivy events co-hosted with nearby clubs
such as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Williams, Cornell,
"I am thrilled that we now have a relationship with a club
as prestigious as the Penn Club in New York," says Wayne
Matus, A&S '72, president of the New York Metro Chapter,
which plans to hold meetings and an annual event at the
club. "This partnership is a natural fit for us, given the
long-standing relationship between Hopkins and Penn."
Last year, Johns Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business celebrated the 20th anniversary of their joint MA/MBA degree program.
The Penn Club affiliation is the culmination of a year's work for the New York Metro Chapter's executive committee. Brian Carcaterra, A&S '00, chaired a search committee to research and interview 10 university clubs for affiliation. Along with Adam Bergman, A&S '95, and Matthew Sóla, SAIS '86, Carcaterra led the efforts that eventually whittled the short list down to one. Now he is excited that alumni can begin reaping the benefits of Penn Club membership.
"This is more than just a benefit for local alumni," Carcaterra says. "Any alum doing business or just visiting New York could make great use of this club. The rooms are reasonably priced, and overnight guests get free use of the fitness center. Members even get to use the squash courts at the Yale Club."
Kenneth H. Keller, Engr '63 (MS), '64 (PhD), has been named director of the SAIS Bologna Center, effective August 1. Keller returns to Johns Hopkins from the University of Minnesota, where he served as president from 1985 to 1988. Most recently, he was the Charles M. Denny Jr. Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the university's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Keller was a professorial lecturer and visiting professor at the Bologna Center during the 2003-2004 academic year.
President George W. Bush has nominated Anne E. Derse, Bol '80, SAIS '81, to be the next ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan. President Bush has also nominated Robert S. Ford, A&S '80, SAIS '83, to serve as ambassador to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. Both Derse and Ford are career members of the Senior Foreign Service.
The Bush administration has also named Camilla P. Benbow, A&S '77, '79 (MA), SPSBE '80 (MS), '81 (PhD), vice chairwoman of the National Math Panel, which will examine how U.S. school districts teach the subject, and make recommendations designed to improve American achievement in math. Benbow is currently dean of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.
In April, 30-year police veteran William McManus, SPSBE '98 (MS), was sworn in as the chief of police for San Antonio, Texas. McManus, who was most recently police chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, has previously served as police chief in Dayton, Ohio, and assistant police chief in Washington, D.C.
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