Photo by Jeffrey Fehder
Two Palestinian girls
Two Palestinian girls pass through an opening in the West Bank security wall near Abu Dis, an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Documentary Photography

Photojournalism Student Captures International Competition

Two years ago, Newhouse photojournalism graduate student Jeffrey Fehder G’07 traveled to the West Bank for a firsthand look at the Israeli security barrier and to document its impact on the lives of the people there. His brief stop in Qalqilyah, a Palestinian city completely encircled by a 30-foot-high concrete wall that is part of the barrier, made a lasting impression. “You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it,” Fehder says. “This area, formerly known for its thriving farmland, is now devastated, and its 28,000-plus residents are at the mercy of the Israeli government.”

This summer Fehder returns to Qalqilyah as the student division winner of the 2007 Alexia International Photography Competition, sponsored by the Alexia Foundation for World Peace and Cultural Understanding and hosted by the Newhouse School. Fehder submitted a proposal of his plans to document Qalqilyah and a portfolio, which included photos of the West Bank and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For winning, he received a scholarship to study at SU’s London Center this fall and $1,000 to produce a photo documentary of his project. His win marks the fourth time an SU student has received the top award.

The annual competition was founded in 1991 by Dr. Peter Tsairis and Aphrodite Thevos Tsairis in remembrance of their daughter, Alexia Tsairis, an SU student killed in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, whose dream was to connect the world through documentary photography. Newhouse professor David Sutherland, the Alexia Tsairis Chair in Documentary Photography, oversees the competition. “People from all over the world submit work,” Sutherland says. “A majority of the students are from leading photojournalism institutions, so it’s a tough competition. This year 53 students from 41 universities applied.”

Fehder, who interned at The Post-Standard in Syracuse and previously worked as an assistant to legendary photographer Arnold Newman, will complete his master’s degree after his semester in London, and plans to continue working in Europe as a freelance wire photographer. “Winning the competition has given me an opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do,” Fehder says. “I only hope my work reflects how appreciative I am of the scholarship. It’s a tremendous opportunity that I’m more than honored to have received.”

—Courtney Allen


Professional Development »

Social Worker Embraces Training with Children Oncology Patients

Jessica Scanlon G’07 wasn’t sure what to expect when she applied as a graduate student for an American Cancer Society internship grant to work as a clinical pediatric oncology social work trainee. She was terrified of hospitals and pictured herself passing out in the hallway. But her love of children and fascination with medicine compelled her to face her fear. She quickly embraced the work and the people at the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “You don’t just see patients once,” Scanlon says. “These kids are in treatment for years sometimes, so you form close relationships with the children and their families.”

Scanlon worked with patients and families, assessing their needs, referring them to resources, and maintaining a supportive relationship through the course of oncology treatment. The M.S.W. internship provides an intensive clinical mental health experience for students, whose duties include documenting psychosocial information and working with an interdisciplinary team to provide the best patient care. Scanlon also worked with the pediatric bereavement council, planning its annual remembrance ceremony for children treated at the center. “You’re dealing with difficult issues, so you have to be passionate about the work,” she says. “It takes a lot of personal strength to sit with a parent or family in the midst of their personal crisis, but the kids make the work worth doing.” Some of Scanlon’s most enjoyable moments were the simple conversations she had with the children. She remembers chatting with one 14-year-old girl with leukemia about the colorful and funny socks both own, and getting hip hop dance pointers from a 12-year-old boy with sickle cell disease.

The 20-hours-per-week internship is funded for the academic year by a $12,000 American Cancer Society grant—$10,000 for the student intern and $2,000 for continuing education for the hospital’s pediatric oncology staff. Mark Buttiglieri G’91, director of social work at the hospital, and Mark Clauss G’80, social work supervisor on the pediatric oncology unit, submitted the grant proposal after working on the details with Elizabeth Brown Thoreck ’92, G’93, assistant director of social work field instruction at the College of Human Services and Health Professions.

This was the first time the grant was awarded to University Hospital—one of only 11 hospitals nationwide to receive the grant. One requirement is that the hospital must have a long-term affiliation with an accredited school of social work offering a health care concentration. “The School of Social Work has been placing social work students at University Hospital as interns since 1964,” Thoreck says, noting 90 percent of employees in the hospital’s Department of Social Work are SU alumni.

While serving the internship, Scanlon furthered her interest in pediatric oncology and completed an independent study on pediatric death, dying, and bereavement. The internship opened her eyes to a profession she wants to continue in. “Every day was different,” she says. “That was one of the things I enjoyed most about it.”

—Kathleen Haley and Meghan Hynes

Downtown Initiatives

Revitalizing Syracuse: A Real Education for Architecture Students

Photo courtesy of the School of Architecture
SU Trustee Michael J. Falcone ’57 (left) and his son, Michael P. Falcone, of the Syracuse-based Pioneer Companies, review work created by students in the Pioneer Studio, a collaboration between their company and the School of Architecture.

In collaboration with the School of Architecture, developer Michael P. Falcone and University Trustee Judith Seinfeld ’56 have created two innovative learning opportunities for students that support revitalization efforts in downtown Syracuse. Falcone, CEO of the Syracuse-based Pioneer Companies, established the Pioneer Studio, where architecture students can work under realistic conditions on design scenarios for a new commercial project downtown. The Seinfeld Housing Initiative involves students in housing design and commercial development for a former manufacturing area west of downtown.

The Pioneer Studio was created after School of Architecture Dean Mark Robbins G’81 approached Falcone about introducing students to the world of private development through participation in the design stage of a multimillion-dollar project involving two Pioneer properties. “I’m excited about the prospect of engaging with innovative approaches to housing and the potential of this studio to create new built work in the City of Syracuse,” Falcone says.

The studio was co-taught during the fall semester by Lindy Roy of Roy Design, New York City, and architecture professor Ted Brown, the studio director. They met regularly with the 10 architecture students, who presented their design concepts and received feedback, and Falcone was a frequent visitor to the class. Although the students did not design buildings for the sites, they made use of experimental software to create digital design images, which are valuable to Falcone and Roy as they move the project forward. “This is one of the most exciting downtown projects in years,” Brown says. “The studio work exposed the students to market forces, budget constraints, material cost analysis, and zoning ordinances that are rarely a part of regular coursework. They learned how to respond to a problem, conduct historical research, test design strategies, and conceptualize mixed-use scenarios.”

Graduate student Bruce Davison credits the studio with providing lessons about balancing an architect’s intentions with the economic and procedural realities of real estate development. “Having the opportunity to engage accomplished designers with a successful developer was the ideal studio arrangement,” he says. “The studio’s focus on software as a tool—which, when used thoughtfully, can enable complex, flexible, and elegant architecture—was consistent with my interest in digital design.”

Through the Seinfeld Housing Initiative, students can explore housing design, commercial development, and architecture-marketplace interdependence as they work with developers, finance experts, and designers. The inaugural site for the three-year initiative is a warehouse complex at the western end of the Connective Corridor. Successful development could link the site to Armory Square, one of the city’s most vibrant areas. Students will develop ideas for the site that may include artists’ housing and workshops, retail venues, and community spaces. Visiting architect Julie Eizenberg, founder and principal of Koning Eizenberg Architecture in Santa Monica, co-taught the studio course during the spring semester in collaboration with architecture professor Julia Czerniak.

“Syracuse University is a superb institution, and the city itself has great potential for revitalization,” says Seinfeld, a principal with Heritage Management Company, a real estate firm in Ridgewood, New Jersey. “I hope this program will help generate a productive dialogue between architects and those in the development, finance, and real estate fields, which will ultimately benefit not only the University, but the larger community as well.”

Dean Robbins is pleased with the educational opportunities Falcone and Seinfeld have enabled at the architecture school. “Students have direct access to the most progressive ideas about the intersection of the marketplace and architecture,” he says. “The programs build on the traditional design strengths of our school and enhance student understanding of what can be accomplished in a development setting.”

Photo by Steve Sartori

Presidential Visit

Mary McAleese, president of Ireland, and her husband, Martin McAleese (center), meet with longtime friend, College of Law professor Michael Schwartz G’06, whom McAleese called a “living legend” in Ireland for his advocacy work that changed the future of deaf education there. McAleese visited campus on May 1 as a guest of the School of Education. In a keynote address culminating the school’s centennial celebration, she spoke about disability rights and inclusion, and the role of education in creating an inclusive society. She lauded the University as a pioneer in the inclusive education movement, and cited the School of Education for developing programs that embrace diversity. “You have something truly wonderful and humanly redemptive to celebrate,” she said, “for you have become champions against the waste of human life and human potential, champions of opportunities offered rather than opportunities missed.” 

Student Excellence

Truman Scholar Committed to Serving the Public Good

Marc R. Peters ’08, a newspaper and policy studies major in the Newhouse School and the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as a 2007 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. He was one of 65 Truman Scholars chosen from among 585 nominees from colleges and universities nationwide. “This award is a tremendous honor,” says Peters, a resident of Laurel, Maryland. “I am passionate about making my life one of service because I feel a debt of gratitude to the teachers, professors, and mentors who enabled me to overcome obstacles in my life. I’m excited to be part of the Truman Scholarship legacy and the expansive scholar community.”

Truman Scholars are recognized as “future change agents,” possessing the passion, intellect, and leadership that demonstrate their potential to improve the ways that public entities serve the public good. As a Truman Scholar, Peters will receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school.

“Marc approached me as a freshman full of ideas on things he could do to improve conditions for the less fortunate,” says Professor William D. Coplin, director of the Public Affairs Program and faculty representative for the Truman Scholar program. “I was impressed by his drive and his commitment to citizenship, but a little worried that he was an over-the-top freshman trying to save the world and would burn out quickly. Instead, he has done several important things on this campus, including helping to build the Skills for Success program [which prepares Syracuse school district students for college or the workforce] and arranging a forum on Sudan.”

Peters has been involved in numerous organizations and initiatives, including volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and serving as vice president of A Men’s Issue, a student organization dedicated to exploring issues about masculinity and sexual violence.

“Marc’s enterprising attitude, deep engagement, and commitment to helping others are highly visible examples of Scholarship in Action,” says Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “His selection as a Truman Scholar is a testament to what sets SU students apart.”


Campus Collaboration

Sport Management Program and SU Athletics Score in Winning Partnership

Photo by Steve Sartori

Former NBA great Bill Walton signs a ball at the second annual SU Charity Sports Auction, organized by the Sport Management Club. The event featured a speech by Walton and raised funds
for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Syracuse.

When SU track and field coach Chris Fox asked sport management major Daniel Lehane ’09 to come up with ideas to promote the team, Lehane saw the possibilities in using sports to benefit the community. He developed Getting on Track, a reading program for local elementary and middle school students that will award top performers with SU memorabilia and visits to track and field events to meet student-athletes. Lehane is working on the project as part of Syner-Cuse, a partnership between the sport management department in the College of Human Services and Health Professions and the athletic department that provides yearlong internships to sport management students to apply classroom lessons to real life. “This gives me hands-on experience on planning an event, from the idea stage to putting it into action,” Lehane says. “You have to think outside the box. Football and basketball have established fan bases and sponsors, but working with track and field offers more of a challenge. It’s a great experience.”

Syner-Cuse students are paired with SU teams and assigned tasks ranging from generating publicity to creating service activities for the teams. This past year, students worked with track and field, volleyball, softball, women’s lacrosse, and soccer. They helped with short-term tasks, such as getting the crowd involved on game day, and long-term projects, including organizing sports camps. Both the students and teams benefit in the process. “The more well-rounded and versatile students are, the more prepared they will be in their future jobs,” says Professor Michael Veley, director of the sport management department.

Another Syner-Cuse student, Lena Dubensky ’10, worked with the soccer teams, helping to increase attendance, make games more entertaining, and find a corporate sponsor. “It was interesting because these are real-world situations we must deal with,” she says. “I hope to take this experience and carry it with me throughout my career.” Lehane expects his project to begin this fall with support from the athletic department, SU Literacy Corps, and the Syracuse City School District. “We feel if we can support the community, more of the community will support us,” Lehane says. “If that means greater attendance, that’s wonderful. If not, I can’t consider it a loss because we’ve helped out the kids.”

Veley and members of the athletic department meet with Syner-Cuse students twice a month to discuss projects and brainstorm ideas. “Syner-Cuse is an experiential learning component, and students do not receive academic credit,” Veley says. “Instead, they gain valuable insight and experience, and examples of their work to place in their portfolios. There are a lot of great results from Syner-Cuse, but what it does best is create a hard-work ethic, and that is what will carry them furthest in their careers.”


International Collaboration

Addressing Social Issues Through Writing

When writing and rhetoric professor Steve Parks first explored the idea of an international course partnership, he didn’t imagine it would develop into a transatlantic exchange that deepens with each semester. His original goal was to provide students in his spring 2006 civic writing class with opportunities to connect with people in another country on topics related to social politics and language. He initiated a partnership with the United Kingdom’s Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP), a nonprofit organization that serves as an umbrella for writing and publishing groups around the world, and challenged his students to develop an online writing group with its members ( “The intent was to create a discussion board focused on the interconnections among issues related to economic class, educational access, and the acquisition of literacy skills,” says Parks, who teaches in the Writing Program at the College of Arts and Sciences.

The online partnership attracted participants from across the United Kingdom and resulted in writings about education, class, and the impact of disabilities on the educational experience. The collaboration also led to an invitation to attend FedFest ’06, the FWWCP’s annual international writing festival. With financial support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Gifford Foundation of Syracuse, students attended the April 2006 conference in Leicester, England. While there, they offered a presentation, led a collective writing exercise, took part in a public reading, and participated in a workshop to draft a global vision for education that was published in the FWWCP’s Federation Magazine.   

Last fall, students in Parks’s Studies in Language and Politics class collaborated with FWWCP members and Syracuse residents to create a book from the writings that grew out of the partnership. The class also welcomed British guests from the FWWCP to campus in November, and held a public reading. “The reading made me realize how special this project is,” says Brendan Abel ’07, an English and textual studies major who helped establish the online writing group and participated in FedFest. “It also inspired us to continue the dialogue, and make it more accessible to others by publishing a book.”

This spring, additional civic writing students joined the project, and four members of the first class returned as interns so they could stay involved. Carissa Smith ’07, an information management and technology major who minored in writing, created a film and web site related to the project, and Melodie Clark ’07, an anthropology major with a minor in writing, put together a photo collage illustrating how the class worked with Syracuse community members. Some members of the writing group spoke at a writers’ conference in Atlanta about their collaboration with FWWCP, and Abel was invited to run for FWWCP’s executive board. He believes the project was transformative for everyone who participated, and credits its success to the strength and passion of the group’s members. “This was one of the best parts of my undergraduate experience,” he says. “It has become a very personal project for a lot of people.”

Media Literacy Day

An Edward Smith Elementary School sixth-grader works on a classroom project during Media Literacy Day, hosted by the Newhouse School on April 27. The event is designed to increase primary school students’ understanding of communications. About 90 students attended classes on newspapers, television, and advertising/public relations taught by Newhouse professors.

Photo by John DowlingSU Ed Smith


Photo by Ursula ZabaLou Reed

Arents Honor

Rock ‘n’ roll legend Lou Reed ’64 and his partner, Laurie Anderson, confer at an SU event honoring Reed at the W Hotel Union Square in New York City on April 26. Reed received the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest alumni award, for excellence in the arts. In addition to celebrating Reed for his contributions to music, writing, and photography, the University announced the establishment of the Lou Reed/Delmore Schwartz Scholarship for English majors interested in creative writing. Schwartz, an acclaimed poet, was Reed’s creative writing teacher and mentor at SU. Among those in attendance were Bono, David Bowie, and novelist Oscar Hijuelos. “I hope, Delmore, if you’re listening, you are finally proud, as well,” Reed told the gathering. “My name is finally linked to yours in the part of heaven reserved for Brooklyn poets.”

Professional Development

Mirken Practicum Guides Students on Career Paths

Few college students have a chance to meet major leaders in their fields in one of the world’s great cities. Thanks to Alan Mirken and his late wife, Barbara “Bobby” Richman Mirken ’51, students of art history, creative writing, and social work have opportunities to do just that through Syracuse University’s Mirken Practicum.

The program began five years ago when Bobby Mirken funded an educational trip to New York City for social work students. They visited Bellevue hospital, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and Goddard Riverside Community Center, meeting with experienced professional social workers and gaining personal knowledge in a diverse field. Sadly, Bobby Mirken died suddenly before the first trip, but Alan Mirken continued to fund and expand the program. That should come as no surprise, because Mirken is a veteran supporter of worthy causes. A graduate of Colby College in Maine, he endowed the Mirken Curator of Education Fund for the Colby College Museum of Art, whose board he chaired. He also serves on the board of Beth Israel Hospital and the Goddard Riverside Community Center. Mirken believes the Syracuse program provides unique opportunities. “It’s a question of opening students’ eyes to a wider horizon,” he says.

“Mr. Mirken is very generous, kind, and interested in young people,” says social work professor Diane Young, who has coordinated the trip since it began in 2002. “You can read about things in the classroom, but actually seeing people who do that kind of work is much different. Many students have said this is the highlight of their SU experience.”

With the success of the first social work trip, Mirken has endowed yearly social studies trips and programs for art history and creative writing students. Semi-retired from a successful career in the publishing industry, Mirken says he was excited to share his connections, knowledge, and experience through the program. Last year, creative writing program director Christopher Kennedy G’88 and Professor George Saunders G’88 took a group of creative writing graduate students to Manhattan to visit publishing houses, The New Yorker magazine, and the Janklow and Nesbitt Literary Agency. “This trip allows students to see the publishing world firsthand and from different points of view,” Kennedy says. “I enjoy the opportunity to have a bonding experience with the students a few weeks before they graduate. It is a great way for them to end their careers at Syracuse.”

Art history students are usually surprised to discover how many opportunities there are for them in New York City, says Meredith Professor Gary Radke, who coordinates the fine arts part of the program. “It gives students a heads-up,” he says. “I’m watching students have their career possibilities change before my eyes.”

Mirken, who meets each group of students, finds fulfillment in seeing young people succeed. “The faculty have really handled these New York visits in such a way that the students have gotten tremendous value from them,” he says.

Social work major Angelia Mack ’07 agrees. “The program opened my eyes to the diversity of opportunities this field has to offer,” she says. “I am confident that there is a place for me.”


Q & A

Making It as a Memoirist

Photo by Steve Sartori

Frank McCourt, the 77-year-old best-selling author of Angela’s Ashes, ’Tis: A Memoir, and Teacher Man, delivered the 2007 Commencement address, telling graduates to “find what you love, and do it.” He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. He spoke to contributing editor Rob Enslin in his inimitable Irish brogue.

You became a Pulitzer Prize-winning author after 38 years as a New York City public school teacher. How has celebrity changed your life?
People look at you differently. My wife and I were in a coffee shop once, when a woman came up and said, “I know you. Are you somebody?”  

Does adulation bother you?
It’s a very Irish characteristic—and a writer’s characteristic—to think that people are going to find out that you’re a big fraud. At the same time, you have this experience of writing about yourself, when other people are dying, sinking into rocking chairs, or giving up.  

What did you learn from your students?
To open up. To be human. Teenagers demand honesty.  

Did you ever feel like a writer trapped in a teacher’s body?
I found my voice as a teacher. But as a writer, I had no voice whatsoever. I imitated everybody else. I’m still working on finding it.  

What’s the hardest part about writing?
Knowing if I’ve written a true sentence. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I just write letters to people. It gets me going.





Heptathlete and Sprinter Grab All-America Accolades

Two SU student-athletes collected All-America honors at the 2007 NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Sacramento, California, in June. Jillian Drouin ’08 placed third in the heptathlon, and Michael LeBlanc ’09 finished fourth in the 100-meter dash. It marked the first time since the 2000 season that the Orange has had multiple All-Americans.

Drouin, who also finished ninth in the high jump, scored 5,822 points in the heptathlon competition, becoming the first SU student-athlete to earn All-America status in a multiple-event contest. The heptathlon includes the high jump, 100-meter hurdles, shot put, 200-meter dash, 800-meter run, long jump, and javelin throw. En route to the NCAA championship, Drouin won the Big East heptathlon title, establishing SU and conference championship records with 5,890 points. She was also honored as the Big East Most Outstanding Field Performer and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Northeast Division Field Athlete of the Year.

LeBlanc, who became SU’s first All-American in the 100-meter dash since 1986, clocked in at 10.22 seconds in the men’s 100-meter dash final. He also sprinted his way to the Big East’s 100-meter dash title.


Big East's Best

The women’s lacrosse team had its best season ever, setting school records for wins (13) and total goals (288), and advancing to the NCCA quarterfinals for the first time. The Orange won the inaugural Big East tournament, defeating Georgetown at the Carrier Dome on April 29, with goalkeeper Amber Pardee-Hill ’09 named the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player. Lisa Miller, Big East Coach of the Year, announced her departure in June, after 10 seasons as head coach at SU. She takes the helm at Harvard, leaving the Orange a wealth of talent, including Katie Rowan ’09 (first-team All-American and All-Big East) and Halley Quillinan ’10 (All-Big East and third-team All-American). Ashley Pike ’07 was also a third-team All-America selection.


News Makers

U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will deliver the keynote address at the dedication ceremony of the Newhouse III building on September 19. 

Maxwell School professor Christine L. Himes, chair of the sociology department, was named the 2007 United Methodist University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SU. Her teaching and research interests focus on the demography of aging, obesity and health, and family care giving.

Rosemary O’Leary G’88, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and co-director of the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at the Maxwell School, was named the inaugural holder of the Maxwell Advisory Board Chair. The new endowed chair, which carries a renewable five-year term, was established through generous contributions from the school’s advisory board members to recognize exceptional faculty.

John Bul Dau ’08, a policy studies major, was named a member of the 2007 class of National Geographic Explorers. The former Sudanese refugee, featured in the documentary God Grew Tired of Us, is author of a memoir of the same title. He was cited for his humanitarian work, including efforts to establish a health clinic in Sudan.

David Taylor Jr. ’08, a biochemistry major, was named a 2007 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The one-year scholarship carries a $7,500 award toward tuition and other expenses.

Laura Plentus ’08, a fashion design major, won the first-ever Noxzema national fashion design contest. As the winner, she will attend New York Fashion Week this fall.

School of Art and Design professor Hope Irvine, who led the art education program since 1982, received the Distinguished Service Within the Profession Award from the National Art Education Association (NAEA). Irvine, who was the NAEA’s Higher Education Art Educator of the Year in 1990, retired following the spring semester and received professor emerita status.

The Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflict (PARC) at the Maxwell School will celebrate its 20th anniversary on September 27-28 with a conference, “Cutting Edge Theories and Recent Developments in Conflict Resolution.”

Photo © A. Golden, 2005

Two College of Arts and Sciences professors received prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards.  Chemistry professor Tewodros “Teddy” Asefa was awarded $504,000 over five years for the development of novel multifunctional nanomaterials for efficient catalytic productions of various synthetic and pharmaceutical products and other applications. Biology professor J. Albert C. Uy will receive $536,421 over five years for his research on the evolution of multimodal signals in the chestnut-bellied flycatcher in the Solomon Islands.

Earth sciences professor Donald I. Siegel was a finalist for a 2006 Gourmand Award in the “Best Asian Cuisine Book” category for his kosher Chinese cookbook, From Lokshen to Lo Mein: The Jewish Love Affair with Chinese Food (Gefen Publishing House). His daughter, Esther Siegel ’08, a College of Visual and Performing Arts student, illustrated the book. Newhouse professors Tony Golden and Sherri Taylor provided the cover photography and cover design, respectively, and Earth sciences doctoral student Li Jin contributed the calligraphy. 



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