November 2016 Articles

Anassa Kata

Briefs_Anassa Kata_Life Saver_ShresthaA Life-Saver

In April 2015, Nepal was hit with a devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people; just five months later, an unofficial blockade, staged by the minority Madhesi ethnic group, effectively closed the Nepal/India border.

The twin events created a humanitarian crisis that stirred one entrepreneurial Mawrter to action. As founder of a volunteer-run health initiative called Medication for Nepal (MFN), Sumana Shrestha ’07 has sent more than 9.5 tons of life-saving drugs to 15 districts in Nepal, effectively saving thousands of lives and reaching 2.5 million of the poorest Nepalese citizens.

As Shrestha explains on the MFN website, “I started Medication for Nepal with a single belief—basic health care should be accessible to everybody. It is great to see such a sense of compassion among people. It gives me a lot of hope. Together with everyone’s engagement and social innovation, we will change rural Nepal.”

MFN’s peer-to-peer network captures data sets about medicine shortages in remote areas of Nepal and delivers donated medication by coordinating with numerous organizations, volunteers, and district health communities.

A web-based platform also allows micropayments for as little as 15 cents, which enables broader participation
and reach.

“The strength of MFN lies in the use of technology to be transparent and reduce the cost of service delivery, in addition to a method of social innovation that takes an inclusive approach to engage people to help,” Shrestha says. “The key lies in collaboration and empowering locals
to take charge of their problems.”

In June, MFN was one of the eight participants from Nepal at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by President Barack Obama, who gave the organization a shout-out in his speech to the program attendees.

The Toxic Stress of Childhood

ace_pyramid_lrgReggie Jones, M.S.S. ’01, is worried.

And at a recent community event that focused on children and toxic stress, Bryn Mawr’s director of counseling had the chance to voice her concerns.

Sponsored by Malcolm Kenyatta and the National Organization for Women, the event, called Unleashing North Philly, brought together educators, civil servants, community members, and social workers interested in changing outcomes for children managing trauma.

A licensed clinical social worker who grew up in North Philadelphia, Jones spoke about resiliency strategies that can help young people to thrive.

Jones worries that some students who come from poor neighborhoods succeed in college but do so by relying on a short-term coping strategy. Too many of these young people, Jones said, “put the trauma on a shelf and move forward. And it works for a while, but the disservice that we end up doing to folks is that we don’t allow them to have other coping strategies available to them. So when that breaks down, they’re stuck.”

One suggestion? Jones offered that focusing on small achievements or personal changes—simple tactic such as employing mindfulness in daily life—can make a huge difference.

Making the List

BotinThe first woman to head the largest bank in the Eurozone, Santander Group Chair Ana Patricia Botín ’81 rose to No. 10 on Forbes Magazine’s list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016. Forbes described her as “one of the most powerful banking executives in the world.” Botín is focusing on customer service by remodeling branches and unrolling new products. “Thanks to her efforts, the bank is the first to trial faster bitcoin-based money transfers and has introduced innovative and more profitable checking schemes.”


FaustWeighing in at No. 39  on the Forbes’ list was Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust ’68. Forbes cited the leader of “the world’s prevailing university” for some groundbreaking stands. “With an endowment of $37.6 billion, Harvard has been increasingly involved in conversations around sustainability. It is also challenging some long-held traditions. In May, Faust announced that members of single-gender social clubs cannot hold leadership positions in campus groups or sports teams. In her letter announcing the change, Faust wrote that fraternities and sororities ‘play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values.’”

Suitable: Julia Fahl ’12 was featured in Suited, the HBO documentary about Bindle & Keep, the New York bespoke tailors for gender-nonconforming clients. Take a look at Fahl’s look, featured on the firm’s Instagram page.

News Maker: Ariel Hart ’91 was part of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution team that broke the story of physician sexual abuse nationwide. “When a physician is the perpetrator, the nation often looks away,” the article says. “Physician dominated medical boards gave offenders second chances. Prosecutors dismissed or reduced charges so doctors could keep practicing and stay off sex offender registries. Communities rallied around them.” Read more at

A Classic: A scholar of the art of ancient Greece and Rome who has been on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University for 37 years, Jenifer Neils ’72 will be taking up the directorship of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the first woman director in its 135-year history. Neils, who will step into the position at the end of the academic year, also won the 2017 Baker-Nord Center Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Humanities.

Adoption: As a new board member of Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans, Lynn Swanson ’89 has a very personal connection to an organization dedicated to helping those in need. “My husband and I adopted our phenomenal children through the Volunteers of America Adoption program, so we know firsthand the amazing impact the organization has,” she explains.

Higher Ed: “Some colleagues view pre-professional colleges and liberal arts colleges as adversaries…. Nothing could be further from the truth. In today’s world, they need to be seamlessly intertwined.” So wrote Georgette Chapman Phillips ’81, dean of Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics, and Donald Hall, her colleague in the College of Arts and Sciences, in a recent Washington Post op-ed. The two deans teamed up to argue for a holistic education that graduates job-ready students who have the tools to tackle the big questions.

It’s History: A historian whose research focuses on the history of HIV/AIDS, Andrea Milne ’09 has been awarded an American Association of University Women American Fellowship in support of her dissertation about the nurses who formed the first AIDS ward in the United States. A doctoral candidate at the University of California, Irvine, Milne says that the best scholarship is accessible and public-facing and, to that end, maintains a personal blog on her website,

Homecoming. Nikki Lopez ’10 has been named executive director of GALAEI. She served previously as youth program coordinator for the Philadelphia nonprofit, which works to cultivate leadership in queer Latina@ communities. Speaking to Philadelphia Magazine recently, she said: “I envision a center in which the queer Latinx community can come and address the needs of their holistic health and garner the skills, tools, and resources to empower themselves.”