Essays: What Doesn’t Work



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Part 2 of 3. Application essays are an opportunity to speak directly to admissions officers and share meaningful insights and reflections. Unsuccessful essays miss that opportunity. Hannah and Mark share some of the ineffective choices that regularly appear in essays and discuss why each choice doesn’t work to the student’s benefit.


Cooking your way through the COVID-19 lockdown



Remaining productive while staying at home can be difficult for graduate students who live and breathe experimental science. In this episode, Mai Ly overcomes that challenge by exercising her scientific skills through the art of cooking. Similar to the scientific method, Mai Ly envisions a dish with certain characteristics, does some prior reading on ingredient substitution, designs a protocol, and systematically modifies variables to make her vision a reality. And just like any good experimentalist, Mai Ly makes sure that her products are reproducible!


Building a Writing Career with Leigh Bardugo, YC ’97



Leigh Bardugo, New York Times Bestselling Author of Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows, and Ninth House, discusses the joys and struggles of writing a first draft and the road to publication


Dr. John Francis, “The Planetwalker,” on how we treat one another is how we treat the environment:



John Francis was in his twenties when a 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay jarred his comfortable life. Even as he joined the volunteers who scrubbed the beaches and fought to save birds and sea creatures poisoned by petroleum, he felt the need to make a deeper, more personal commitment. As an affirmation of his responsibility to our planet, he chose to stop using motorized vehicles and began walking wherever he went.
Several months later, on his 27th birthday, fed up with the arguments his decision to walk seemed to create with friends, John took a vow of silence lasting for 17 years.
During that time, he founded Planetwalk, a non-profit environmental awareness organization, received a B.S. degree from Southern Oregon State College, a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana-Missoula, and a PhD in Land Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ending his silence, John served as project manager for the United States Coast Guard Oil Pollution Act Staff of 1990, in Washington, DC, where he assisted in writing oil spill regulations. For this work, he received the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Public Service Commendation.
Over the years, John Francis has walked across the US, walked and sailed through the Caribbean, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. He recently began a walk studying organic agriculture and sustainable development in Cuba, and is developing Planetlines, an environmental education curriculum based on the walking pilgrimage for high school, college and civic organizations. In 2005, he published Planetwalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time. The National Geographic Society will republish Planetwalker, April 2008.
Since John Francis began using motorized vehicles to return to and from his walking pilgrimage he speaks and consult with a variety of audiences around the world, including redefining environment for the travel and tourism industry, introducing the role of ethical advisor for civilian/military humanitarian operations, and encouraging diversity and inclusiveness within traditional conservation and environmental organizations.
On Earth Day 2005, he began a walk retracing his route back across the United States, looking for differences in the landscape and the conversations. His goal is to redefine the environmental problems we face into an inclusive concept, and to form partnerships among Native and non-Native people, cultures, businesses and organizations across America that might traditionally feel they do not share the objectives and values of environment and conservation. His thesis is that if we as human beings are an integral part of the environment, then how we treat each other and ourselves directly and indirectly effect the physical environment.
Today, Dr. Francis is visiting associate professor at the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is teaching both graduated and undergraduate seminars in environmental studies. He is also the first education fellow at the National Geographic Society where he has published two books, Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking, and The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World. They are partners in developing the Planetlines curriculum based on John’s walking experience that lasted over two decades.


YJBM Special Series: Racism and Health – Episode 1



In this episode of our special series, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast host Felicia interviews Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim about pathways to adverse health in African-Americans due to racism and police brutality as a public health concern. Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim is a Social & Behavioral Sciences lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health and a medical sociologist who studies racial and ethnic health inequities by examining the effects of social stratification, environmental justice, and police brutality.


Return of Dr. Verdolin: An Animal Biologist on how Animal Behaviors and Social Distancing are Interconnected



On this episode, Dr. Jennifer L. Verdolin returns to Heartwood, this time in the era of COVID-19. Dr. Verdolin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and an expert in animal behavior. The author of two books, including Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships and Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics, she draws on animal behavior to reveal how much we can learn from other species to improve our relationships, families, and lives. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, NPR, Slate, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. Jennifer was a featured guest on the D.L. Hughley Show from 2014-2018 and is a frequent media guest on other radio and podcast shows. She enjoys engaging the public and speaks at places like the 92nd St Y and universities around the country. She also consults for television production companies in the US and abroad.


Assisting in Trauma Recovery with Mick Hirsch, DIV ’03



Mick Hirsch, Executive Director of THRIVEGulu, discusses his experience as a chaplain specializing in trauma recovery, his work resettling refugees in Cambodia, and THRIVEGulu’s humanitarian efforts in Uganda.


The Convergence of the Built Environment, Racial Equity, and Public Health: A Conservation with Dr. Allison Mathews



Allison Mathews is Associate Director of Integrating Special Populations at Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. Her research interests include community engagement, the sociology of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, religion, HIV/AIDS, and social psychology. Her current research examines the use of crowdsourcing theory to implement community engagement activities aimed at facilitating discussion about the social and ethical aspects of curing HIV (searcHIV).

Allison Mathews’ postdoctoral work has developed the 2BeatHIV project, which is a research project focused on empowering local and global communities to shape the future of HIV cure research. The project hosts a series of crowdsourcing contests that encourage community members to use art, technology, and music to develop HIV cure marketing campaigns (see 2BeatHIV.org for more info). The project has reached over 1000 people at in-person events and over 350K unique users online. 2BeatHIV has also received local and national media attention, including volunteer interviews with Viola Davis, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bun B from UGK, Shirley Ceasar, David and Tamela Mann, Johnny Gill, and a host of Radio One Raleigh radio personalities.

She was a Humphreys Fellow and earned her PhD in Sociology in 2015 at UNC Chapel Hill. Her dissertation research focused on the role that stigma attached to being Black and gay played in Black gay men’s strategies to manage identity conflict while maintaining connections to churches. Allison was inducted into the Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Honor Sociology in 2013 for her service to the local community and university and received the Everett K. Wilson Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2014 for her excellence in teaching.


“We can’t protect the environment until we get DEI right.” – Marcelo Bonta of J.E.D.I. Heart



Marcelo Bonta was originally trained as a conservation biologist, and ended up shifting his career focus from biodiversity to people diversity after finding himself as the sole programmatic person of color at a national conservation organization. That experience was so bad that he didn’t want anything to do with the environmental movement ever again. However, he realized he could not abandon what he loved—those cute little puffy baby piping plovers and all my brothers and sisters having oppressive experiences with environmental organizations. Since the environmental movement could not be successful and sustainable until it got this J.E.D.I. thing right, he went all in. His experiences led him to co-create the Center for Diversity & the Environment, which he ran for a decade, providing transformational trainings for thousands of leaders and organizational change processes for dozens of institutions. He also co-founded the Environmental Professionals of Color, a network for leaders of color to survive, thrive, lead, and innovate.