F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 6
Editor: Philip Tang, A&S '95
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Living in close quarters, pulling all-nighters to finish assignments, being pitted against intense and hyper- competitive peers. Sounds more like Johns Hopkins than show business.
"It was like living in a sorority house — in our
case, a frat house," says Leslie Sanchez, a 36-year-old
Texas native who made her reality television debut last
fall, clambering her way through several grueling episodes
of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
|Leslie Sanchez says The Apprentice taught her that "it's OK to laugh at yourself."||
"You're thrown together with people you do not know,"
Sanchez says, shortly after her elimination aired on NBC.
"There's no interaction with the outside world. We would
lose track of time, we would lose track of what day it was.
It's almost like Vegas — they're pumping in
Sanchez — a marketing consultant with experience working for a congressman, the Republican National Committee, and the White House — was selected last spring to compete in Martha Stewart's version of the Apprentice series. Over six weeks of shooting, Sanchez pushed designer wedding cakes, hawked retractable garden hoses on QVC, and — in her final, fatal task — oversaw the awkward design of a showroom for a luxury car.
"I come from a very serious background — politics and important issues," Sanchez reflects. "An important lesson to me was that it's OK to laugh at yourself."
That's especially true in the unreal world of reality television, where you wear a microphone 24 hours a day and are watched constantly by cameras. And where, despite the genre's moniker, you can easily come off very unlike your real self.
Sanchez had been a spokesperson for a national political campaign, and had been a talking head on media outlets such as Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. ("Drop the Chalupa," she said of Al Gore's courting Latino voters.) Ironically, that experience may have resulted in her being overshadowed by brasher competitors on The Apprentice.
"I think I was always editing myself because I have an understanding of how things can get edited. I was always cognizant of the camera," she says. Shortly after Sanchez's last show, a party was arranged for the contestants, which she dived into organizing. "People were laughing," she says. "They said, 'We had no idea you were so animated and effervescent. You are two totally different people.' I definitely think there's a more gregarious side."
Sanchez came by her gregariousness out of necessity. When she was in high school, her parents divorced, leaving her and her mother in a one-bedroom apartment in a working- class Houston neighborhood. To earn money for college, Sanchez began selling P.F. Collier encyclopedias door-to- door. She wound up selling books in 23 states, becoming a field manager, and earning enough cash for separate apartments for herself and her mother. Meanwhile, she learned "how people live, what matters to them, and how to talk to them with respect and courtesy."
After earning a journalism degree from George Washington University, Sanchez became an aide to Congressman Henry Bonilla, the first Latino in Texas to be elected to a Republican House seat. She was eventually appointed to head the RNC's national Hispanic vote strategy, running the party's first multi-million-dollar advertising campaign aimed at Latinos.
In 2001, Sanchez was appointed executive director of President George W. Bush's Hispanic education initiative. During that time, she was also busy completing her MBA at the Johns Hopkins School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. ("Of all the concepts I learned at Johns Hopkins," she says, "the one that stands out is the ability to bring a diverse group of people together and build them into a team for a common purpose.") In 2003, she founded the Impacto Group, a communications and market research firm that specializes in studying attitudes among Latinos and women.
Reality television doesn't quite seem a logical next step. But Sanchez saw it as a way to reach out to the world, Martha-style.
"I believed I could help Martha build relationships, particularly with the Hispanic market," she says. "If I did really well and lost, I thought, look at all the connections I will have made."
Sanchez did do well, lasting 10 episodes before Martha gave her what many viewed as a harsh send-off. ("I would prefer to hire the doer rather than the talker," Stewart said.) Sanchez, however, doesn't see it that way.
"I think I got one of the nicest send-offs," she says. "She said focus on what you do well, which is marketing and communications. She's right."
Sanchez now has a legion of young female fans, and her Apprentice role attracted more consulting business — not to mention a book agent. She is working on a proposal about the effect of immigration and border issues on U.S. elections. And, of course, there is always the possibility of television.
"I would love to do another reality show," she says, "from the production side." —Sara Clemence, A&S '96, '98 (MA)
Ask John P. Watkins about the high points in his life, and he'll name 42 of them — starting with Nevada's Boundary Peak at 13,147 feet. At 74, Watkins set out to climb the highest peak in every state and now, at 85, has tackled all but eight.
He's always been up for something different. In 1955, Watkins, who was raised in Southern California, was the first urologist to launch a practice in Las Vegas. Now retired, he fearlessly treks on — despite pin implants in his knees (due to mishaps when skiing, not climbing), a pacemaker, a shoulder in need of repair, and a mysterious loss of appetite at high altitudes. He's decided to pass on the 20,320-foot Denali in Alaska. Even Watkins has his limits.
Watkins is no stranger to climbing. He tackled the 12,000- foot mountain near his home in Las Vegas at least 30 times prior to reaching his mid-70s and joining the Highpointers Club, a nonprofit group whose members aim to reach the top peaks of all 50 states.
What keeps him and all the Highpointers headed upward? "It's just that wonderful feeling that you've accomplished the climb . . . the exhilaration of getting up on the peak," Watkins explains. "You kind of feel closer to God." —Marlene England
Where the Southern Cross the Yellow Dog, On Writers
and Writing, by Louis D. Rubin Jr., A&S '49 (MA), '54
(PhD), University of Missouri Press (2005)
They're notorious for busting grade curves, nailing college admissions, and dominating pre-med ranks. The notion that Asian-American students tend to be academic overachievers, though stereotypical, is rarely dismissed as unfounded.
"It's something people wonder about — are Asian kids
naturally smarter or gifted?" says 32-year-old Soo Kim
Abboud, a surgeon and clinical assistant professor at the
University of Pennsylvania. "We definitely don't think
we're any smarter. I think that what a lot of people need
to realize is that it's the way we were raised."
|Sisters Soo Kim Abboud (left) and Jane Kim tell parents how to raise high-achieving children.||
"We" is Abboud and her 29-year-old sister, Jane Kim, the
daughters of Korean immigrants who worked their way from
penniless to prosperous. In October, Berkley Books released
Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers
— and How You Can Too, the sisters' prescription for
rearing children to achieve as they did, in academics and
Abboud and Kim had a traditionally strict and academically focused Asian upbringing. Candy was withheld until they each had finished reading a book; television and hanging- out time were limited. After college, Jane's parents gave her a year to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. When a magazine job proved elusive, they pressed her to attend law school, and she now is an attorney and immigration specialist at the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania.
The sisters believe that traditional principles helped turn them into highly successful — and fulfilled — professionals. In a book heavy with personal anecdotes (it does not draw upon academic research), they reveal 17 Asian "secrets" for creating a similar environment where children will excel. There is a chapter on cultivating respect for elders and educators, another on encouraging children to pursue financially lucrative careers rather than "whatever will make you happy." The first section is about instilling a love of learning; a later advises parents to prize not just effort, but results.
Top of the Class began two years ago, when Abboud read an article that said Asians make up just 4 percent of the U.S. population but comprise 20 percent of Ivy League students. (In fall of 2004, Hopkins had an undergraduate population that was 22 percent Asian or Pacific Islander). It sparked what seemed like an obvious book idea. Yet, as the sisters quickly discovered, just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's already been done.
"We thought nothing about our upbringing, but I think a lot of people would see it as quite different," Abboud says. "Every Asian American could have written this book; we were just the first ones."
Armed with the concept, they quickly found an agent, who was able to sell the idea within a week. Abboud and Kim, who live 10 minutes away from each other in the Philadelphia area, spent six months writing the book in their free time, distilling personal experiences into lessons — the time the entire family pitched in to raise Abboud's advanced chemistry grade, a cautionary tale about an acquaintance who left school to become an artist and is now attending community college.
Some Asian-Americans may chafe at the idea of perpetuating immigrant stereotypes, or even at advocating child-rearing ideas that led them to feel trapped, misunderstood, or pushed too hard. Abboud and Kim devote their final chapter to "Where Asian Parents Go Wrong" and acknowledge that "some of our Asian friends and colleagues view their childhood as nothing more than an endless series of lectures, homework assignments, and competitions." Abboud, who says she was more adept at academics — especially math and science — than her sister, is quick to point out that like anything else, it's a question of balance.
"I think the key is that our parents were pretty good at knowing who their audience was," she says. "You can't have the same approach for every kid. I think that when parents push their kids regardless, they are going to have kids who are going to implode."
Even before Top of the Class hit the shelves, it was clear that Abboud and Kim had found an attention-getting topic. The New York Times ran a feature on the book, and the pair was scheduled to appear on Good Morning America. Their parents, Abboud says, are excited about their success, but the enthusiasm is tempered by practicality.
"They're quick to say that we shouldn't take too much time off work to do publicity," she says. "They love it, but to them, being a lawyer or operating on somebody is important. And I think that's a great perspective. They're into hard work." —SC
Switch on a television — anywhere in the world — and you're bound to tune in to the influence of John C. Malone.
Known for his pioneering efforts in the 1990s, Malone's
ideas and energy galvanized the concept of modern cable
television. From his early support of digital set boxes and
service, to his holdings in 21 of the top-50 cable
stations, Malone helped nurture nearly every aspect of the
industry in his various roles, including today as the
chairman of media-investment firm Liberty Media.
Liberty Media chairman John C. Malone, shown here with
JHU trustee Robert L. Johnson, founder, chairman, and CEO
of Black Entertainment Television.
Photo by Harold Porter
When Malone entered the business in 1973 as president of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), he began what has become a 35-year run as an industry leader and innovator. He championed the burgeoning digital cable technology in its infancy, predicting the service would transform the home into a multimedia center of information, entertainment, and commerce. Malone is also known as a savvy dealmaker, at least in part for negotiating the 1999 sale of TCI's core cable infrastructure business to AT&T for $54 billion. Today he sits at the helm of Liberty, the Denver-based corporation that controls some of the globe's biggest media brands, including the QVC home shopping network and Court TV.
In December, Malone was presented the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award by President William R. Brody at a ceremony in Malone's hometown of Denver.
"John Malone has had a tremendous influence on the direction and development of cable television, and a profound affect on the viewing opportunities for millions of Americans," Brody said.
Before studying at Hopkins, where he earned a master's degree in industrial management in 1964 and a PhD in operations research in 1969, Malone studied electrical engineering and economics at Yale University. He also holds a master's degree from New York University. —Nora Koch
In December, Aneesh Chopra, A&S '94, was appointed Virginia's secretary of technology by Governor Tim Kaine. Chopra, who was previously a managing director of the Advisory Board Company, a firm that provides information technology to the health care industry, is the first Indian American appointed to a cabinet-level position in Virginia. In his new role, Chopra will be responsible for the state's multibillion-dollar technology needs.
Helene Gayle, SPH '81, a leading strategist in the global fight against AIDS, is leaving the Gates Foundation as director of HIV, tuberculosis, and reproductive health to become president and chief executive officer of CARE USA. Gayle will oversee the anti-poverty humanitarian organization's annual budget of $624 million and a staff of 12,000 in 70 countries when she officially takes the helm this spring.
Andy Barth, A&S '68, a veteran Maryland news reporter, and Peter Beilenson, SPH '90, Baltimore's health commissioner for the last 13 years, are both campaigning to be the Democratic candidate for the state's Third District congressional seat. Come Election Day, Maryland's Senate race could also pit two alumni against each other if Republican Michael Steele, A&S '81, and Democrat Kweisi Mfume, A&S '84 (MLA), win their respective primaries. Steele is Maryland's lieutenant governor, and Mfume is a former congressman, past NAACP president, and current Johns Hopkins University trustee.
Leadership Weekend took place October 20-22, 2005, at Johns Hopkins. The three-day event in Baltimore included the annual meeting of the Alumni Council, the governing body of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association; meetings of school-specific alumni groups and advisory committees; a meeting of the university's Board of Trustees; and a gala celebrating the success of the Knowledge for the World campaign. Each year, Leadership Weekend allows alumni and friends to come together, reconnect with the university, and set a course for the year ahead.
2005-2006 Alumni Council officers: Mal Buchner, Engr '61, '65 (PhD), vice president; Sonia Singh, SPH '99, secretary; Jim Miller, A&S '64, first vice president; Ellen Oppenheimer, SPSBE '79, treasurer; Rick Carr, Engr '78, president; and Geraldine Peterson, Nurs '64, vice president.
Joseph Strohecker, Engr '53 (pictured second from right with Tom Wheeler, Engr '53, Jane Cassidy, and Carolyn Wheeler), was presented a Heritage Award for his longstanding commitment to Johns Hopkins. A former member of the Alumni Council and past president of the Atlanta Chapter of the Alumni Association, he is responsible for the annual crab feast held in that region. Strohecker is treasurer of the Society of Engineering Alumni and recently served on his 50th reunion committee.
On October 21, 2005, during Leadership Weekend, Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody presented Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the Alumni Association's Woodrow Wilson Award for his distinguished public service.
Zerhouni, who completed his residency at Johns Hopkins, served as executive vice-dean of the School of Medicine, chair of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Marin Donner professor of radiology, and professor of biomedical engineering. Previously, he served as vice dean for research. Zerhouni also helped create the School of Medicine's Institute for Cell Engineering and steered Johns Hopkins' efforts to redevelop 80 acres north of the East Baltimore campus into a biotechnology park.
Brody explained how Zerhouni and his wife, Nadia Azza, emigrated from Algeria in 1975 — 27 years before President George W. Bush appointed him director of the NIH — with a total of $300 between them. In introducing Zerhouni, who delivered the Leadership Weekend keynote speech, Brody said, "Elias Zerhouni spends every day parlaying his success and intelligence into work that supports the present and future health of every person in the United States."
In his speech, Zerhouni shared a valuable lesson from his service in Washington: "You're only there for a few years — make a difference and leave things better than you found them.
"This is what I am trying to accomplish at the NIH," he explained. "My dream has been to remove all barriers to innovation in an era when we will have to completely transform medicine from a curative paradigm — in which one intervenes only when disease has already struck — to a preemptive paradigm — where our science will allow us to strike disease before it strikes us."
Zerhouni also shared lessons he learned from his "generous mentors and friends" at Johns Hopkins. Following are excerpts from Zerhouni's remarks:
"Lesson 1: The world of knowledge is without borders and without boundaries. Science will go to the place it is most welcome, and it is there that science serves the age-old human quest to understand the universe and our destiny as human beings. Johns Hopkins is one of those places.
"Lesson 2: Talent is the most precious resource. Wasting someone's potential talent is the worst offense.
"Lesson 3: Johns Hopkins is generously nurturing but ruthlessly demanding of excellence. Public service is ruthlessly demanding but not always generous or nurturing!
"Lesson 5: Believe in individual merit with strong values and collegiality.
"Lesson 6: Avoid the beaten path. Always invent a new game, be creative, and the sky is the limit — but you have to build your own ladder to it. These are the fundamental American values of self-reliance and entrepreneurship. "These lessons are steeped in the Hopkins tradition of being the first to invent a new way of seeing the world," Zerhouni said. "Johns Hopkins has celebrated many firsts: The first research university in America, the first to change medical education, the first to break the taboo of cardiac surgery, the first to open a global school of public health." —Philip Tang, A&S '95
On October 22, 2005, more than 700 guests gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, and students — and to honor those whose support makes so much of their success possible. In a black-tie gala held at the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center, Board of Trustees Chair Raymond A. "Chip" Mason initiated the evening by announcing that the Knowledge for the World campaign had surpassed $1.9 billion toward its goal of $2 billion.
Commenting on the campaign's success, President William R.
Brody said, "While those numbers are gratifying, we can all
take even greater pride in the many achievements in
medicine, nursing, and public health; in music, the
humanities, and adult education; and in engineering and
international relations that your gifts have brought
"Cast members" from the "Crossroads of Knowledge" film
share personal stories of their experiences at Johns
Photo by Robert J. Smith, Jr.
The evening's program included a video, "Crossroads of Knowledge," which tracks 11 students and patients as they pass through Hopkins and continue on with their lives, as well as live appearances afterward of several "cast" members who offered personal testimony about their experiences at Johns Hopkins.
John Kellermann, a patient who underwent deep-brain stimulation surgery to stop the debilitating tremors associated with Parkinson's disease, spoke movingly of the care he received. "I thank you, this gathering of Hopkins donors, for all you have done for me through your generosity to this institution — not only for myself, but also for my family — for keeping alive my dream of dancing at my daughters' weddings," he said.
The evening saw some of Johns Hopkins' most generous donors recognized and also included a performance by Charity Sunshine, a graduate student in voice at the Peabody Institute. President Brody accompanied Sunshine on the piano for her final piece.
The gala concluded on a high note with the surprise announcement of C. Michael Armstrong's $20 million commitment to the School of Medicine. The gift from Armstrong — who is a university trustee, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees, and a new co- chair of the Knowledge for the World campaign — will support the construction of a new medicine education building. Chip Mason thanked Armstrong — and all in attendance — reminding them "what a dynamic institution this is, and how lucky all of us are to play a role in shaping its future."
This spring, the campaign will turn in a more public direction as university leaders bring Johns Hopkins to six cities across the country. Between March and June, alumni and friends in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Boston will get the chance to reconnect with Hopkins through a program that examines contemporary issues and shares stories of discovery.
"The regional campaign is a way of re-engaging thousands of alumni and friends by informing them, inspiring them, and inviting them to join with us in moving Johns Hopkins forward," said trustee J. Barclay Knapp, a gala host and chair of the regional campaign. —Nora Koch
Margaret Nuttle is recognized for her $1 million gift to establish the Barksdale Dabney Nuttle Family Fund for Patrick Henry Scholars in the Krieger School's Departments of History and Political Science. Seated next to Nuttle is trustee Wendell Smith. Photo by Larry Canner
C. Michael Armstrong, a new co-chair of the Knowledge for the World campaign and chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees, was honored for a $20 million commitment to fund a new education building at the School of Medicine.
President William R. Brody accompanies Peabody student Charity Sunshine, a candidate for the Graduate Peformance Diploma at the Peabody Conservatory.
Longtime Hopkins supporters Lou and Nancy Grasmick, honored at the gala for their second $1 million gift to the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute in two years, with Dr. Benjamin S. Carson and his wife, Candy.
|Photo by Will Kirk||
In December, David D. Flinchbaugh joined Johns Hopkins as
the executive director of
comes from Bucknell University, where he was director of
the Office of Alumni, Parents and Volunteers. Philip Tang
asked Flinchbaugh what Hopkins alumni should expect.
What drew you to Johns Hopkins?
What is your vision for the Alumni Association?
You've been called a national leader in alumni
relations. How did you achieve that recognition?
You belong to a national group of alumni directors. What
does the group do?
What is the most important lesson you have learned as an
alumni director that you will apply here at Johns
The Johns Hopkins alumni travel program took more than 500 travelers around the world last year. Join alumni, family, and friends for this year's exciting opportunities to travel abroad. Select from these destinations:
New this year: Travelers receive a trip-related book from the Johns Hopkins University Press on selected tours. To request a catalog of all the tours or a specific travel brochure, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at 800-JHU-JHU1 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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