After a hard day, Danielle Jensen 04 likes to sit down at
the piano and unwind with classical music. A College of Arts and
Sciences graduate who majored in biochemistry, Jensen admits that
a rigorous class schedule, long hours in the chemistry lab, and
numerous volunteer activities have made her fingers a bit rusty
at the keyboard, yet she always tries to squeeze in time for her
favorite hobby. Theres a challenging Mozart concerto
that I love practicing, she says. I know Im capable
of playing it well, so when I get frustrated I keep that in mind
and stick with it. Jensens intrinsic motivation extends
far beyond her musical talents. Whether researching molecular interactions
for her honors thesis, tutoring organic chemistry students in the
Learning Resource Center, or serving as a College of Arts and Sciences
student peer advisor, Jensen is accustomed to giving everything
her best effort. I dont ever want to be a mediocre person,
she says. I set high expectations for myself and I always
try to meet them.
done a good job so far. A University Scholar and a Remembrance Scholar,
Jensen was honored for her academic achievements and dedication
to the community during Remembrance Week, which she helped plan
last fall. As president of Alpha Chi Sigma, SUs coed professional
chemistry fraternity, she helped organize volunteer activities at
the International Young Scholars Day at Hendricks Chapel and National
Chemistry Day at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and
Technology in Syracuse. A member of the fraternity since her freshman
year, Jensen petitioned the University in 2001 for funding to purchase
supplies that enabled the group to present chemistry demonstrations
to Syracuse Boys and Girls Clubs, community recreation centers,
and local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. There are so many
fun things we do, says Jensen, who refers to the demos as
chemistry magic shows for kids. We show the kids
color-changing reactions, blow things up, set things on fire, and
then explain in simple terms how it all works. Its so rewarding
to see their faces light up when they get excited about science.
same excitement was what drove Jensen to major in biochemistry. When I came to SU, I became interested in chemical structureshow
a little molecule can cause your hair to be brown, or your eyes
to be blue, or why somebody would have diabetes and somebody else
wouldnt, she says. That fascinated me. The
quest for the how and why in chemistry led
Jensen to chemistry professor Philip Borer, with whom she spent
the past year researching technology for discovery of drugs that
could be used to treat patients with HIV. Whats unique
about Danielle is her willingness to go above and beyond,
Borer says. She finished her research and lab work for her
senior honors thesis a semester early, andinstead of stopping
to write her papercame to me and asked, What can I do
the fall, Jensen will enter the biological and biomedical sciences
doctoral program at Harvard University, where she plans to focus
on developing pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of serious
diseases. My research at SU has allowed me to see that what
Im doing is paying off, Jensen says. I feel like
I have a solid chance of making an impact in the lives of others.
Mother Natures Helper
morning, molecular biology professor Ramesh Raina awakens eager
to check on the progress of his experiments at SUs Biological
Research Laboratories. The key to successful research is patience
and persistence, says Raina, who joined the SU faculty last
July. There are few things that give me more pleasure than
performing research and teaching my students. Both roles drive
him to advance humankinds understanding of the world and to
translate that knowledge into something that has societal value.
I may be doing a small piece of that puzzle in my lab,
he says. Some other person may be doing a small piece in another
part of the world. Eventually, by gathering all this information
and knowledge, we start to make big pictures.
Raina, the big picture is plant defense, specifically in how plants
protect themselves against pathogens. If the $100 billion worth
of crops lost annually to pathogens could be saved, there would
be no hunger in the world, according to Raina. This is especially
important in developing countries, where starvation and malnutrition
have devastating effects, he says. The long-term goal
of our research is to understand how plants protect themselves against
pathogens. These studies should help us develop strategies to create
plants that are resistant to pests.
with 17 researchers, including the students in his lab, Raina is
attempting to identify, at the molecular level, how Arabidopsisa
small flowering plant of the mustard familyperceives and responds
to its environment. The research is supported by a two-year grant
from the National Science Foundation and a three-year grant from
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the central research
and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The goal of this project is to explore the possibility of
developing plants that can be used as sentinels to sense chemical
or biological weapons, he says. If the project is successful,
the genetically modified plants would be clandestine, yet decorative,
weapons detectors that could be placed in airports, government buildings,
major tourist areas, or other large venues that terrorists may target.
Such genetically altered plants could be used to sense TNT or other
explosives to indicate where land mines are buried, or they could
simply help a farmer detect which part of his field is plagued by
research in Rainas field has been called into question. Genetic
engineering has become a big issue, he says. Opponents believe
it has the power to create organisms that do not normally exist,
which might behave abnormally or evolve into super organisms.
I believe genetic engineering gives researchers more control
over, say, developing the tastier, redder, and disease-resistant
tomato, he says. By creating these genetically modified
organisms, we can also reduce the use of pesticides and other environmental
addition to being an accomplished researcher, Raina earns the respect
of his students as an engaging and supportive teacher. He
always has time for his students and coworkers, says Shahina
Bano Maqbool, a research associate in Rainas lab. I
feel comfortable asking him for advice about making progress and
achieving my goals. Dr. Raina welcomes new thoughts and ideas. I
have learned many things that have improved my skills as a plant
molecular biologist, and I know I will be successful while working
Raina completes his first year at SU, he hopes to continue sharing
his enthusiasm for hard work and exploration with his students. Its important to generate an interestto light
the sparkbecause you cant force students to learn,
he says. At the end of the day, he says he rests easy with the
satisfaction of having learned something new today and having a
new idea to pursue tomorrow.
James R. Jacobs |
James R. Jacobs, the Universitys director of health services,
was enjoying a successful career as a college professor when he
decided to push the envelope on the concept of vocational retraining.
Upon completing a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University
of Alabama in 1987, he joined the faculty of Duke University. While
there he taught in the engineering school, conducted research in
anesthesiology at the medical school, and published frequently in
professional quarterlies, including Anesthesiology and the
Journal of Pharmacological Science. In 1992, while still
teaching biomedical engineering, he became a medical student. Medicine
is actually a second career for me, though not far removed from
my first, he says. I found the biomedical research I
was doing to be so clinically oriented that I came to a fork in
the road with it. To continue, I had to become either a clinician
or more of a pure engineer. I had to make a choice.
a Duke medical student, Jacobs went through two difficult transitions:
professor to student and research scientist to practicing physician.
The rote memorization of early medical training proved difficult
for Jacobs, who was accustomed to following hunches in the lab.
He became more comfortable as he advanced to interaction with patients,
discovering an appreciation for the art, as well as the science,
of medicine. While we like to think of medicine as a science,
the messiness of the human body can really be a challenge to scientific
minds, says Jacobs, who received a medical degree in 1995.
Patients tend not to follow the rules of the laboratory very
to Syracuse from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,
where he served as medical director of the Brocker Health Center,
Jacobs sees three roles for himself as director of health services:
physician, administrator, and teacher. He finds SU students to be
generally well-informed on health issues, despite the stereotypes
about drugs, sex, and other lifestyle issues attributed to college
students. As evidence, he cites the fact that the leading cause,
by far, of student visits to health services is the upper respiratory
infectionthe good old common cold.
are several areas of concern in which he plans to spearhead efforts
to supply more wellness information to students. There is
still a phenomenal amount of naivete about sexually transmitted
diseases. But we see a lot more patients who are concerned about
STDs than who have them, he says. This is important
to me. Its a teachable moment and that kind of opportunity
for one-on-one education is one of the most gratifying parts of
my job. According to Jacobs, who is board certified in emergency
medicine, SU Health Services distributes some 75,000 condoms each
year. Do students use them? Do they leave them on the nightstand?
Throw them away? We dont know. We cant dictate behavioral
changes, but we can make sure students are educated on the consequences
of their behaviors. The same is true of tobacco, alcohol, pot, exercise,
and eating habits, he says.
member of the board of directors of the American College Health
Foundation, Jacobs has set high goals for Syracuse in student health. The bottom line is simple: to be North Americas preeminent
university health service by striving to meet the health and wellness
needs of as many students as possible, as efficiently as possible,
at the lowest possible cost, and all in a way that engages the student
as an adult consumer of health care, he says.
Tatiana Diaz G05 grew up in a country at war with itself.
But when the 36-year Guatemalan civil war ended in 1996, she realized
what a profound impact it had on her life. Being Guatemalan
defines the kind of woman I am right now, says the Fulbright
Scholar and College of Human Services and Health Professions masters
degree student. Growing up in a country with so many struggles
defined my interest in mental health and the healing professions.
I worked with refugees and people who lived the conflict to find
out how the war affected them. Seeing these people sufferingregardless
of which side of the war they were ondefined my search for
high school, Diaz volunteered with a non-governmental organization,
working with terminally ill children and youths institutionalized
for a variety of reasons, including being gang members, runaways,
or domestic violence victims. This government-run home was
like a jailvery sad, she says. Sometimes I could
see no hope for their lives. Then one day she walked in and
the children were singing a Latin pop song that celebrates lifes
beauty, even in the face of adversity. That really moved me
because their lives were filled with so much pain, yet they could
see hope for themselves, she says. It was a very big
lesson in my life. You can always find positive things. I always
keep that in mind when I do my work.
earning a psychology degree at the Universidad Rafael Landivar,
Diaz ran her own clinical practice in Guatemala City for three years,
mostly working with children and teenagers. She enrolled in the
marriage and family therapy program at SU to broaden her focus from
individual therapy to group conflict resolutionand to fulfill
a dream of studying abroad. Being an international student has forced
her to examine her own beliefs and find a balance in maintaining
her identity while assimilating into another culture. I needed
to see another culture to contrast and evaluate my own values,
she says. Among the greatest differences between Guatemalan and
American cultures are those found in family relationships and dynamics.
For example, I am 27 and live with my parents, and that is
expected, she says. Being part of the family is considered
a strength. Here, people are more independent.
experiences in a multigenerational family unit are an advantage
in the classroom as well as the clinical setting, says Professor
Jonathan Sandberg, chair of the marriage and family therapy department. Her perspectives help other students and clients expand their
views of the family, find new solutions for problems, and identify
ways to build on strengths, he says. She brings a wealth
of experience and is compassionate with clients. She also always
wants to learn, which is probably why she is such a tenacious reader.
Ive never met anyone so widely read.
admits books constitute half of her diet. The rest is made up of
makeshift Mayan dishes. I miss my family and friends, but
the food is the part I miss most, she says. Yet distance from
the things she loves has also allowed her to identify and face her
own fears. My first goal in coming to the United States was
professionalto get my masters degree and learn from
my wonderful professors, she says. But now that Im
here, I am discovering more about myself than I ever imagined. My
goal now is to know me better so I can be a healer to others.
Anne Munly began preparing to become an architect long before she
even knew the field existed. As a child she taught herself to draw,
inspired first by Disney cartoons and later by Washington Post political cartoonist Herblock. I drew everythingthe
human figure, spaces, objects, says Munly, a School of Architecture
professor for nearly 15 years. My father was a submarine commander,
so we moved around a lot. Drawing helped me get in touch with the
places we went. It wasnt until high school that she
discovered the field of architecture. At the time, girls were
not allowed to take drafting or shop courses, Munly says.
We were required to take home economics instead. I remember
seeing a guy carrying around a T-square and asking him how to use
it. I was into math, science, and philosophy; architecture seemed
to bring out my interests perfectly.
passion for architecture is still as strong as ever. In addition
to her primary focusarchitectural designher teaching
and research interests center on utopian theory and its influences
on American urbanism. Once you analyze the early structure
of a town, you can study how it changes and mutates in relation
to formal and social ideals, Munly says. Her research found
a local focus in Rome, New York. In 1999, Munlyalong with
architecture professor Mark Linder and geography professors Don
Mitchell and Anne Mosherwas awarded a Vision Fund grant for
an interdisciplinary research project to create digital mappings
of the towns infrastructure, geography, history, and development.
Part of the project asked Rome residents to create maps of how they
view the town. Munly and Mosher are now analyzing the maps to understand
how residents perceive Rome, reflected in the information they felt
was necessary to include or exclude on their maps. Munly is also
creating an interactive web site to post the results of the cognitive
map analyses as well as new digital maps of Rome, which can be used
by residents. The project is about whats important to
the people who live in this community, Munly says. I
like to think of our work as grass rootsstarting with the
people of Rome and working from there.
Vision Fund grant isnt the first time Munly was given an opportunity
to study in Rome. In 1995, she was awarded the prestigious
Prix de Rome, or Rome Prize, which earned her a year to research
in Italy as a fellow of the American Academy of Rome. For her academy
project, she critiqued the 1762 Campus Martius map of Rome by artist
G.B. Piranesi. I just cant get enough of Rome,
Munly jokes. Or of Italy, it seems. As an undergraduate at the University
of Virginia, Munly spent a summer in Vicenza analyzing architectural
sites and working on design problems. She also served as director
of SUs architecture program in Florence from 1996 to 1997.
shes not teaching or conducting research, Munly enjoys fly
fishing and ice fishing with her son and husband. Sometimes
youre casting a line into water, and other times youre
walking on ice and drilling through it, Munly says. Either
way, it gets us into really beautiful environments in all seasons.
Munly also rows and used to race in college and with the Syracuse
Chargers, a local rowing club. Rowing is a real passion,
she says. Its very technical, and aesthetically pleasing
as well. When I rowed I remember thinking, This is like architecture.
For Senior Lieutenant Grant Williams, life is like a treasure hunt.
Whether hes working to protect SU students or pursuing his
hobby as a self-taught upholsterer, Williams has a talent for looking
beneath the surface to discover buried gems. I like finding
pieces of furniture that have been tossed because they are seen
as having no value, says Williams, a 34-year officer in the
Department of Public Safety. I build new life into them by
refinishing the wood or adding springs or a cushion. Then I give
them away as gifts that last a lifetime. Williams brings that
same patience and caring attention to his interactions with students,
especially those who may be in some kind of trouble. I always
look for the goodness in everybody, he says. Even if
a kid is 99 percent bad, Ill find that other 1
percent. That gives you a base to start growing from.
from Maryland, Williams worked in the departments canine unit
when he joined public safety in 1969. He has held many positions
since then, including patrol officer, shift supervisor, and director
of patrol. Currently the coordinator for campus crime prevention
programs, he often speaks to student groups and staff about safety
and crime prevention issues. Everything we do is geared toward
keeping studentsand all members of the campus communitysafe,
says Williams, who recently earned a bachelors degree, graduating
summa cum laude in criminal justice, through a distance learning
program at St. Johns University in Springfield, Louisiana.
Williams enjoys all aspects of his work, his favorite part is interacting
with students. There are students who get off the straight
path sometimes, and I think they are looking for someone they can
talk to and identify with to get them back into the rhythm of things,
he says. Thats the role I play. Williams often
receives letters from students, even years after they leave Syracuse,
thanking him for the positive impact he made on their lives. Sometimes
they send pictures of their kids, and thats better than anything,
better than raises, he says. Ive always tried
to be an advocate for students. You have to know what is bothering
them so you can understand why they might be causing problems. And
you find that out by listening, not by being judgmental.
is a member of several professional organizations on campus and
at the state and national levels. In his free time, he enjoys playing
basketball and spending time with his family. He and Maxine (Jones) 79, G81, his wife of 45 years and a principal at Webster
Elementary School in Syracuse, have three sons. Steven and Rickey
are detectives with the Syracuse Police Department, and Grant III
89 is a banking executive in Maryland. They have a 12-year-old
granddaughter and a 4-year-old grandson. The familys newest
addition, Grant IV, was born in March.
also has a talent for drawing. His pen and ink illustrations have
been showcased in the Universitys On My Own Time exhibition
and during I Have A Dream Week 2003 activities. Drawing
is another thing I sort of taught myselfa gift from God that
I expanded on, he says. But the gift he values most of all
is peace of mind. Ive never been one to want what others
have, so I travel through life without much excess baggage,
he says. People know that, with me, what you see is what you
get. Im happy with the way I am.