May 2016 Articles

Anassa Kata


Jessica Todd Harper ’97 was among the photographers recognized by the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, held by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. As a commended artist, Harper will be part of the exhibition The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today, on display at the National Portrait Gallery from March 12, 2016 to January 8, 2017. Harper, whose work was featured in the Bulletin’s Feburary 2014 issue, draws on childhood memories of wandering around museums with her mother, captivated by Vermeer, Sargent, and Cassatt. She says, “I wanted to be just like … Cassatt and … Sargent; those were the artists I would copy a lot as a child. I think those images got very much stuck in my psyche.” Above: Becky, June Jessica Mary, 2013, pigment print. Courtesy of Rick Wester Fine Art.


Sheila S. Walker ’66 delivered the keynote address to the UN General Assembly on its annual observation of the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. She spoke of the vital importance of remembering the critical role that enslaved Africans played in shaping the modern world.

Photograph by UN Photo/Manuel Elias.

Photograph by UN Photo/Manuel Elias.

For the first 300 years of the 500-year history of the modern Americas, the overwhelming majority of the population had been of African origin, and between 1650 and 1850, they produced 75 percent of the commodities traded in the Atlantic world, fueling the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, many of those Africans were enslaved for their knowledge of mining and rice cultivation—a critical transfer of technology from Africa to the Americas.

She went on to describe a conversation with high school students who asked why their textbooks did not tell the whole story of the African people and, rather, focused excessively on the atrocities of slavery. Emphasizing that it was necessary to teach the horrors of the slave trade, Walker argued for educational materials that highlight the many contributions of people of African descent.

Walker is the executive director of Afrodiaspora, a nonprofit designed to educate the public about the global African diaspora.


Rebecca Jordan-Young ’86, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Barnard College, has been awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship for science writing. Her current project, a book titled T: The Unauthorized Biography, is a collaboration with Stanford’s Katrina Karkazis that began with research into the ethics and science behind rules restricting women athletes with naturally high testosterone levels from elite competition.

“I am intrigued (which is to say, obsessed) with testosterone: its diverse physical capacities, its rich social life under the guise of ‘the male sex hormone,’ and the way these two realms co-produce knowledge about this overburdened steroid. Since graduate school, I’ve been hooked on T—I follow it everywhere and have found that it’s a great medium for studying the complex entanglements of bodies (at multiple levels including chemicals, cells, synapses, processes, organ systems, and more), behaviors, scientific practices, beliefs, and large-scale cultural formations (such as gender, sexuality, and race, to name the most obvious).”


AranitaIt’s a long way from modern-day Hawaii to ancient Rome, but Kiki Aranita ’11 and Chris Vacca are making the trip. Co-owners of Poi Dog, a Philadelphia food truck that serves Hawaiian-fusion fare, the pair are now exploring ancient Roman cuisine.

For Aranita, the idea has been on the back burner since her undergraduate days when she and a friend threw together a Roman-themed beer tasting but really got cooking during some recent travels to Greece and Rome. For the recipes themselves, Aranita and Vacca turned to the writings of Cato, Apicius, Galen, and Pliny the Elder; among the dishes they’ve prepared are roast pork in fruit ragout, olive tapenade and pounded herbs with curd cheese, a honey cheesecake called Savillum, and eggs poached in wine and garum.

Aranita and Vacca have been sharing their newfound knowledge of ancient cuisine in a number of classes around Philadelphia, most recently at the Free Library.

To find out more about what the two are up to, visit


Bryn Mawr alumnae recently gathered for lunch in Hong Kong. From left: Babita Bhagwan Bharwani ’88, Ruth “Tulsa” Kaiser Nelson ’58, Fiona Sui ’90 (standing), Shirley Hsu ’88, and Betty Wei Liu ’53.


Pen-Pen Chen ’02, president and CEO of Penguistics Solutions, has been named to TED-Ed Innovative Educators, a global professional development program for K-16 educators. Chen writes, “To me, innovation in education means not being confounded by limitations, financial or otherwise…. I am a firm believer in Coach John Wooden’s quote, ‘You haven’t taught until they have learned.’ I am also a proponent of Bruce Lee’s approach to martial arts, which is to not subscribe to one particular school of thought, but rather to take learnings and effective methods from wherever you may find them, and incorporate them to achieve the desired results.”… In celebration of International Women’s Day, Suzanna Keith ‘88 moderated the Women in Emerging Digital Media Leadership panel, which included Tina Exarhos, former CMO of MTV; digital and venture capitalist Fran Hauser; Mogul founder/CEO Tiffany Pham; Shenan Reed, president of MEC Digital, and Johanna Zeilstra, founder of Keith is the sales director at Buzzstarter and writes the blog…. Hasta con las uñas: Mujeres Cineastas de Nicaragua will be screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Directed, produced, and edited by Tania Romero ’05 for her doctoral research, the documentary showcases women filmmakers in Nicaragua. Her documentary short, Just Flow, will be shown at the 2016 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival in Austin…. Mary Ann Cohen ’62, chair of WPA Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry, is the recipient of the 2015 Eleanor & Thomas P. Hackett Award. The award is the highest honor bestowed annually by the Fellowship & Awards Committee of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine…. The Philadelphia Business Journal has named Kimberly Blessing ’97 as one of its 2016 Tech Disruptor Honorees. Blessing is a senior director at Think Brownstone…. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell ’78 has been named chief judge of the D.C. court. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Howell was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by President Obama in 2010…. In AIA Dallas’ Columns magazine, Dean of the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs Nan Ellin ’81 shared her definition of good urbanism: “Good urbanists identify the existing physical and social assets in any given place, including the principal stakeholders who they bring to this table to build on the strengths by envisioning collectively while rallying resources to realize the vision. In contrast to the architect Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, the designer is not a sole hero or lone star. Instead, we co-create as a constellation of stars.”