UniversityPlace

Steve Sartori
borders
Documentary photographer Wendy Ewald, pictured here at the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, was the first guest of “Syracuse Symposium 2005: Borders.”

Transcending Borders

Wendy Ewald began to understand the teaching power of visual symbols when, as a child, she created drawings that helped cheer her brother after he had a debilitating accident. She translated that early lesson into a 35-year career as a documentary photographer and educator, using creative collaboration to focus on questions of identity and cultural diversity. Her work encourages children to use cameras to create portraits of themselves and their communities, and frees them to explore their visual imagination and express the internal landscape of their dreams and fantasies. “I wanted to challenge categorical distinctions between art and documentary photography,” says Ewald, a MacArthur Fellow who has traveled the world, working in communities in India, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere. “Art is not a realm where only the trained and accredited can dwell.”

 Ewald spoke on campus in September as the first guest of “Syracuse Symposium 2005: Borders.” This year marks the fifth for the symposium, a semester-long intellectual and artistic festival hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences that celebrates interdisciplinary thought, imagination, and creativity. “Throughout the semester we explored ways in which borders, both visible and invisible, impact humankind in profound ways—socially, politically, culturally, artistically, intellectually, and personally,” says Kandice Salomone, College of Arts and Sciences associate dean for administration, who leads the Syracuse Symposium Committee.

The symposium consisted of lectures, performances, exhibitions, and other special events—many of which were co-sponsored by programs and departments across the University—and was complemented by several courses that explored themes related to examining and crossing borders. Guests this fall included Dr. Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning organization Doctors Without Borders, and Mira Nair, an internationally acclaimed film director, writer, and producer. “As an independent filmmaker in an industry dominated by large studios, Nair emerges as a unique voice through her examinations of the invisible borders associated with culture, race, and class,” Salomone says.

Artist, storyteller, and businessman Sharad Devarajan ’97 returned to his alma mater in October as a Syracuse Symposium guest. Devarajan is one of the creators of Spider-Man India and founder and CEO of Gotham Entertainment Group, a leading publisher of comic books in southern Asia. “He describes his work as a ‘transcreation,’ in which Western characters have been recreated to reflect the local customs, culture, and mythology of India,” Salomone says.

Syracuse Symposium performances included a Pulse presentation by the vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock; Ulali, a First Nations a cappella trio; and a production of Little Red Riding Hood by Chinese Theatre Works. In addition, a panel discussion, “Imposed Borders: Haudenosaunee Perspectives,” explored historically imposed borders and current land claims of indigenous peoples in Central New York.

“Each year, the Syracuse Symposium provides the entire campus with a lens through which both the familiar and unfamiliar can be viewed in ways that change our perceptions lastingly,” says Cathryn R. Newton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “By creating a common conversation, the symposium catalyzes alliances that transcend the borders of our typical patterns of thought and action. Each of our themes thus far—poetry, beauty, journeys, humor, and borders—has had this enriching effect.”

—Amy Shires


Enhancing Science in the Classroom

As a doctorial student in mech-anical and aerospace engineering, Tamanika Martin ’01, G’03 conducts research to develop a morphing micro-air vehicle wing that automatically changes its shape to withstand the effects of atmospheric turbulence and wind gusts. As a graduate fellow in the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 project, she leads Earth science students at Syracuse’s Nottingham High School in an experiment that uses dandelions and bark chips to measure channel flow velocity at Meadowbrook Creek on the city’s east side. “I like getting students interested in science,” Martin says. “I like to show them, ‘Hey, you can do this. It isn’t as hard as you think.’”

Martin is one of 10 SU graduate students participating in the GK-12 Syracuse University/Onondaga County Schools Partnership for Improvement of Science Education. Led by biology and science education professor Marvin Druger, the project is part of a national effort that links science, technology, engineering, and mathematics scholars with teachers in grades kindergarten through 12. It also supports the newly established Syracuse University and Syracuse City School District Partnership for Better Education that was launched this fall through a pilot program at Nottingham. “We’re focusing on helping teachers bring new and more accurate science into the classroom,” says School of Education professor Tiffany A. Koszalka, one of the GK-12 project’s co-principal investigators. Working with area high schools, the fellows are required to spend at least 10 hours a week in the classroom with a partnering teacher and an additional 10 hours a week developing activity-based lessons and support materials that are shared with a wider audience of Onondaga County teachers. “The fellows have done lessons on water quality, measuring samples from Onondaga Lake,” Koszalka says. “They’ve done activities related to noise pollution and solar power, and studied genetics in the elephant community at the zoo. Their lessons cover everything from chemistry and physics to life sciences and Earth science, all centered around the idea of environmental sciences.”

Integrating technology in the science classroom is another aspect of the project—one Martin particularly enjoys. “I made a step-by-step instruction worksheet that showed them how to graph a cyclic event—a curriculum requirement—on the computer instead of on graph paper,” she says. Martin works with Nottingham science teacher Patricia Doney, who has benefited from Martin’s technological expertise. “Tamanika spent enormous time and patience teaching me how to take something off the web to make a PowerPoint presentation,” Doney says. “I can’t say enough about how much I love having her in the classroom.”                   

—Amy Shires



Drawing Women to Design

Chi Lee
Lee
Members of Women in Design work with young artists at Edward Smith Elementary School in Syracuse.

When Chi Lee ’06 and Kathryn Walsh ’06 were assigned by architecture professor Lori Brown to design a center for gender equality, they were inspired to question the experience of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Their concerns about the issue also led the pair to found Women in Design (WID), a student organization that supports females in all design disciplines at SU, raising women’s issues related to the profession through lectures, gallery exhibitions, mentoring programs, and networking opportunities. Brown serves as advisor for the group, which was honored by the University in its first year as the best new student organization. “There was no student organization that addressed the needs of female design students,” says Walsh, who has led the group with Lee since fall 2003. “We wanted to establish something that was community based and encouraged student involvement, and would also link female design students from different majors and develop more awareness across the University about the design work being done by women.”

One of the most popular and successful projects for the group, which is open to both male and female design students from disciplines across campus, is a mentoring program at Edward Smith Elementary School in Syracuse. Last spring and again this past fall, WID members worked with 20 to 25 third- through sixth-graders in a five-week after-school program that introduced children to various aspects of design and culminated in an exhibition in the Slocum Hall atrium. “In planning the curriculum, we set simple goals and tried to keep it loose,” Walsh says. The mentors’ first project incorporated a “Landing on the Moon” theme. “To teach industrial design, we asked the kids to develop a concept for their own moon shoes by picking one thing that would make their shoes special,” she says. The moon landing theme was extended to lessons in ad design, surface pattern design, and architecture.

“I loved being a mentor,” says Walsh, who especially enjoyed bringing students to campus with their parents for the exhibition and a certificate ceremony. “Working at Ed Smith provided me with a real emotional release from academics. In the studio atmosphere, our work is constantly being judged and evaluated. These kids don’t care about anyone’s opinion. They just have fun using their imaginations and do whatever they think is cool. That sense of freedom really inspires me.” The most rewarding moment for Walsh was when one little girl said to her, “I want to be an architect now.” “That’s what this is all about,” Walsh says. “To open up that kind of possibility.”     

—Amy Shires

Studying City Boundaries

In an application for a University Vision Fund grant, architecture professor Lori Brown and geography professor Alison Mountz posed the question, “What boundaries are at work in the daily lives of Syracuse residents?” Their curiosity was rewarded with a $5,000 grant and the go-ahead to teach the interdisciplinary course, The City of Syracuse: Gender, Geography, Architecture. “We saw there had to be crossovers, and we wanted to make them more apparent,” Brown says. The two wanted students to understand the boundaries—whether built environments or societal factors—faced by city residents and to strategize ways to help residents overcome those obstacles. Students also worked with community organizations to learn about the daily lives of a diverse array of residents.

The issue of boundaries is readily apparent in Syracuse. One prominent example: Interstate 81, which cuts through the city’s center and divides neighborhoods. “Other boundaries are less visible, such as poverty and income levels,” Mountz says. To increase student awareness about some of the issues, Brown and Mountz—through the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service—met with community organizations to learn what kind of research would be helpful to them. Students then conducted research for the agencies, hearing firsthand about residents’ difficulties.

One group of students interviewed Liberian women immigrants for the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program, discussing such topics as employment, health care, and day care, and learning about the women’s experiences and history. They also did research for the Community Folk Art Center, Home Headquarters, Planned Parenthood, and SU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center. The class culminated in a presentation of the students’ work to the organizations. “What is great about this course is its humble transformative engagement with the community,” says doctoral student Ping Xu. “We continued to be excited about the projects and their implications for our understanding of geographical and architectural boundaries.”

—Elizabeth Van Epps and Kathleen Haley

 


Tuning Up Hearing Aids

Steve Sartori
hearing aids
Communication sciences and disorders professor Karen Doherty, left, and electrical engineering professor Jayant Datta look on as Lauren Calandruccio, an audiology doctoral student, tests a sound clip.

Communication science and disorders professor Karen Doherty of the College of Arts and Sciences and bioengineering professor Laurel Carney of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science have teamed up to improve how people with hearing impairments perceive speech and to advance digital hearing aid technology. As a physiologist and bioengineer, Carney does the basic research, using physiology, computer modeling, and psychophysics to develop models that depict the different ways healthy and impaired ears process signals. Doherty, an audiologist and hearing scientist, works with people with hearing impairments and conducts research on speech perception and hearing aids. “This is the first time we took the physiology models and applied them to human subjects,” Carney says. “I’ve been researching how to fool an impaired ear into responding like a healthy ear by changing the signal we present to it. Karen brings an expertise that allows us to test these models out on hearing-impaired listeners.”

Thanks to a computer processor developed by electrical engineering professor Jayant Datta, the researchers can filter the same sound clip through different parameters in real time, allowing listeners with hearing impairments to provide feedback to the researchers. The sound level and frequency can then be altered to create a more appealing reception for the listener. Improving the sound is not simply a matter of amplification, but of enhancing a variety of qualities that the researchers can test for effectiveness. “Even if you make everything audible, people with hearing impairments still cannot process speech the same way as people with normal hearing,” Doherty says. “We’re altering the speech signal to enhance the quality of the sound for hearing-impaired people.”

Their most recent work has shown evidence of improving listener comprehension of speech and creating a more pleasing sound. The researchers have applied for a patent, which they expect will attract the interest of hearing-aid companies. Hearing aids are not being used to their maximum capacity, because scientists are struggling to figure out how to alter speech—other than through amplification—to enhance the quality of sound for hearing aid users, Doherty says. “Theoretically, we could add our program into a digital hearing aid and have it as one of the settings that a user could choose,” Doherty says. “This is maximizing technology to help people with hearing impairments."

—Margaret Costello

 

 

Schooling School Librarians

According to Barbara Stripling,director of New York City’s school library system, the vast majority of the city’s 650 elementary schools have no choice but to assign teachers with no training in library science as their school librarians. As a result, collections are not properly maintained, opportunities for new technologies are missed, and these important resources are squandered. “Syracuse University has shown singular leadership in addressing this problem,” Stripling says. “It is a great credit to Ruth Small and her colleagues that they recognize the particular challenges that urban libraries face and are providing a solution to the problem.”

Leading a team of nationally recognized information science faculty from SU, Drexel, Pratt, and Rutgers, Small was awarded a $1 million  grant last summer by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a librarian training program designed to serve high-need urban schools. “We will train 40 working teachers for M.S. degrees in library and information science,” says Small, a School of Information Studies professor who provided the city with 31 trained librarians in a previous project she implemented with funding from the Robin Hood Foundation. “All candidates must be accepted by SU and by the New York City Board of Education, our partners in this project.”

Known as A+ (A PLUS) for New York City’s Libraries, the program will conduct courses at city locations as well as online, with a week of training in Syracuse designed to acquaint students with new technologies and introduce them to faculty and students. The IMLS grant and SU will each pay one-third of tuition costs, with the board of education and the student paying the balance. In September, the Robin Hood Foundation announced plans to provide funding to increase the number of teachers in A PLUS from 40 to 65 during the three-year project.

Small has also initiated A PLUS programs with IMLS funds in conjunction with school districts in Syracuse, Rochester, and Binghamton. Laurie LeFever G’97, G’06, a teacher at Syracuse’s Frazer School, recently completed the requirements to earn an M.S. degree. “After 11 years as an English teacher, I was getting bored,” she says. “I enjoyed learning these new skills and I’m excited about teaching my students to become information-literate. I’m embracing my job again and loving it.”                                                                  

—David Marc

 

Examining Immigration Enforcement

In a time of national debate about the flow of illegal immigration and the threat of another terrorist attack, the work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the agencies charged with securing the country’s borders has largely gone unexamined—until now. In 2004, immigration cases referred for prosecution by DHS jumped 65 percent as compared to the previous year, according to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an interdisciplinary research center of the Whitman and Newhouse schools. A closer look, however, reveals the surge is tempered by numbers from the Southern District of Texas, where prosecution referrals jumped from 4,062 cases to 18,092, greatly surpassing other U.S.-Mexican border districts. These and other statistics derived from information provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. courtsare part of the first report from a new study by TRAC looking at immigration enforcement. “This area is the focus of a lot of public interest,” says TRAC co-director Susan Long. “And, it is amazingly difficult to sort it all out.”

TRAC set about collecting immigration enforcement data this summer through a jointly funded grant from the JEHT Foundation ($283,000) and the Ford Foundation ($150,000), with contributing funds from SU ($131,000). Long, a managerial statistics professor at the Whitman School, and co-director David Burnham, an investigative writer and research professor at the Newhouse School, proposed the two-year study to look at the federal government’s enforcement activities, an area of intense debate due to the entry of illegal immigrants at the Mexican border and the country’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks in the wake of 9/11. In addition to collecting data from DHS, researchers are scouring statistics from the justice department and other federal agencies and the federal courts, as well as public defenders and immigrant organizations.

Researchers are examining the government’s administrative enforcement powers in border control, as well as criminal immigration referrals. Administrative enforcement includes sending border-crossers back to their home countries and deportations based on green card violations—both without hearings. “These powers are so vast and complicated that it’s hard to judge their effectiveness and fairness,” Burnham says.

TRAC, founded in 1989, also has a web site database that includes free access to thousands of government statistics and a portal where subscribers can access more comprehensive data. While interest in these statistics remains high, the directors note that information gathering is not always easy. Freedom of information lawsuits brought by TRAC in separate studies are pending against the justice department and the Internal Revenue Service. “David and I and those who work here—and most Americans—believe that democracy works best if people have the information they need,” Long says. “Our goal is to make information about what the federal government does more accessible to the public.” 

—Kathleen Haley

 

 

Sensing Form

Gail Hoffman
adjaye
Music professor Joshua Dekaney discusses the creative process and connections between music and visual design.

First-year students in art and design are learning to “hear” visual design. Jill Doscher and Gail Hoffman, professors in the art foundation program at the College of Visual and Performing Arts, begin their Two-Dimensional Creative Processes course with “Four Black Strips,” an exercise suggested by Manfred Maier in Basic Principles of Design.  Students are asked to make a design on white paper of four evenly cut strips of black paper, paying close attention to such characteristics as interval, repetition, movement, and density, qualities that Doscher and Hoffman realized are also basic to musical composition. “We are trying to teach students to understand the creative process through formal design elements and principles,” Doscher says. “We point out that visual artists, like musicians, work with rhythm, beat, and harmony.” If this is so, can a musician recognize the characteristics of a design and express them aurally?

Hoffman had adjunct music professor Joshua Dekaney show the class how he would “play” their black-strip designs. Dekaney, who directs the Brazilian Music Ensemble and the SU Marching Band’s drumline, arrived at art class accompanied by his music students and equipped with Brazilian percussion instruments. “The main elements we looked at were duration, pitch, density, and dynamics,” Dekaney says. “We used regular and free tempos in our compositions.” Lauren Moise ’07 enjoyed the musicians’ interpretations of her design and gained new understanding of visual rhythm. “Art and music students are generally segregated from each other, even though we share the experience of creating work from something innately within us,” she says.

A third element—architecture—played a role in the exercise. Hoffman invited Dekaney to class at a chance meeting in a Crouse College corridor. “There is a wonderful advantage in having art and music students take classes in the same building,” Hoffman says. “Voices and music of every type emanate from the walls, and those walls are covered with student art works. It’s a nice dialogue. We love bringing it into class.”

Doscher finds it appropriate that Crouse, home of the first American fine arts baccalaureate program, remains at the innovative edge of interdisciplinary arts education. “I love it that Josh and other brilliant musicians here give their time to our art students,” she says. Doscher has been contemplating ways of further exploring the relationships of sight and sound, such as a possible course that would focus on Goya, Kandinsky, and other artists who relied on music.  

—Erica Blust and David Marc

 

 

Access to Legal Aid

When Heidi White G’04 graduated from the College of Law, she had an outstanding student loan debt of more than $100,000. She resisted the temptation of finding a lucrative job that would pay the bills. Instead, she decided to advance her commitment to public interest law by participating in a yearlong position with Americorps/Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit organization that improves access to free legal services for those who cannot afford them. “Our justice system is only great when everyone has access to it,” says White, now executive director of the Family Law and Social Policy Center at the College of Law. “The public interest offices aren’t able to meet the legal-service needs of the poor population. As attorneys, we have an ethical obligation to ensure equal access and help with that work, pro bono.”

White’s involvement with Americorps initiated a domino effect of volunteerism at three law schools in upstate New York. She worked with Legal Assistance of Western New York (LAWNY) in Rochester to implement the Law Students in Action Project, a pilot program that matches law school students from Syracuse, Buffalo, and Cornell with volunteer opportunities at legal aid offices within LAWNY’s 14-county service area. She recruited 39 law students, including 15 from the College of Law, to assist her with a variety of projects for public interest agencies in the area. Some students worked directly with attorneys on client interviews, fact investigations, and courtroom support; others assisted with research or provided technical support.

For example, Chris Hite G’06 helped collect data on paternal rights in adoption proceedings in each U.S. state. The information will be compiled into a database and made available online to pro bono attorneys. Christina V. DeFeo G’07 served as an interpreter for a Spanish-speaking client and also translated a legal form used by LAWNY. “It wasn’t difficult for me, but it helped the client get the legal services she needed,” says DeFeo, who is continuing her work with Law Students in Action this year.

Judith Coon G’05 prepared a slide presentation that guides low-income clients step-by-step through the paperwork they need to file for uncontested divorces. Coon was recognized for her work with the Law Students in Action Project by receiving the New York State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award. “These clinics don’t have the resources to help everyone who comes in, and this was something I could do to help them, which, in turn, helps the clients,” Coon says.

White expects to continue encouraging SU law students to assist clients who cannot afford attorneys by working with her successor at LAWNY, Victoria King G’04. “For many students working in a legal services program is an eye-opening experience,” King says. “They come away not only with a great legal experience, but also with the personal awareness that what they do can and does make a tremendous difference.”

—Margaret Costello

 

 

Celebrating the Schine Center

Steve Sartori
schine

 

When the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center opened in 1985, it was considered a major step in developing the landscape of the SU community. After all, the University had attempted to establish a central student union for decades before the Schine Student Center was constructed, following a naming gift from Trustee Renée Schine Crown ’50, H’84 in honor of her parents. On November 12, the Schine Student Center celebrated its 20th anniversary with the 2005 Homecoming Showcase, an evening of dance and musical performances by student groups. The evening also featured the unveiling of “Symphony in Spray,” a mural by Brian Gaidry ’90, who began the original work as a student in 1988 and updated it this past summer.

Since its founding, the Schine Student Center has provided valuable meeting and lecture rooms, performance space, a comfortable place for students to relax, and a headquarters for numerous student organizations. It has hosted speakers ranging from then-First Lady and now U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to author Isabel Allende, such popular musical acts as the Dave Matthews Band and Matchbox Twenty, and numerous other performers. The center receives an average of 13,000 visitors each day and is home to 43 recognized student organizations and 14 University administrative departments. Last academic year, the Schine Box Office sold 72,950 tickets for center events.

As the Schine Student Center enters its third decade, the University hopes to expand its space and integral role in campus life, according to Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. In the coming months, a student center advisory board will be formed to forge academic and social collaborations among students, faculty, and staff. The central focus will be University-wide learning that draws on academic curricula, student life, technological resources, auxiliary enterprises, and entertainment. “We hope members of the University community will partner with us as we begin our journey to create a dynamic space that will serve multiple constituents and purposes, employ cutting-edge technology, and merge academic and student life elements,” Wells says.

—Carol Kim

 

Capturing Cultures on Film

Mixing documentary filmmaking with anthropological techniques seemed like a natural match to Newhouse professor Larry Elin ’73. “Ethnographers go out in the field and interview, report, and gather information about people and cultures, and then share their studies in the written word,” says Elin, who teaches courses in writing and production for TV, film, and multimedia. “But a more exciting storytelling technique is to shoot it all on video.” In fall 2004, Elin teamed up with anthropology professor Maureen Schwarz of the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences to offer Ethnomentary, a course that unites documentary filmmaking and anthropology.

With a $5,000 University Vision Fund grant to purchase cameras, and lighting and editing equipment, Elin and Schwarz applied their combined expertise to develop the interdisciplinary course. Schwarz, a cultural anthropologist specializing in Native North America, taught students the fundamentals of ethnographic inquiry, including ethics, fieldwork, and observation techniques. Elin covered the technical skills of filmmaking. “I taught students how to use the cameras and editing equipment, how to light properly, and how to make shots look pretty,” he says.

The course attracted a diverse group of students who produced films individually and in collaboration. Jeremy York ’05, a dual major in anthropology and photojournalism, created a documentary about the military photographers and videographers who attend a special one-year program at the Newhouse School. “Most of them had served in Iraq, and told haunting stories of capturing violence and death on tape and film, in real time, on the battlefield,” Elin says. College of Visual and Performing Arts student Ife Olatunji ’06, who minors in anthropology, produced a film about the influence of hip-hop culture on minority groups during the 2004 presidential election. “Many of her interviews featured SU students who had been influenced by hip-hop role models to become politically engaged, and to vote for the first time,” Elin says. 

Anthropology doctoral student Dwayne Scheid believes the skills he learned in the course are relevant not only to his studies, but also in his daily activities. “I constantly find myself using the perspective provided in the course about the importance of visual representations,” says Scheid, whose film chronicles the conflict often faced by communities choosing between economic progress and historical preservation. “I think about how I would frame a shot, or how I would edit scenes together to tell a more effective story.”

The course also provided a new professional tool for School of Education professor Susan Hynds, who audited the class. Hynds, director of graduate programs in English education, created a 15-minute mini-documentary that she presented at the National Reading Conference in San Antonio last December. Her film focused on a young man who rose from childhood poverty to become a middle school social studies teacher working on a doctoral degree. “The presentation provoked a strong emotional response from people, which I hadn’t experienced before in a national conference,” Hynds says. “Reading research provokes a certain type of discussion, but seeing is totally different.”  

Elin and Schwarz plan to offer the course annually. “What excited me was how great the films turned out,” Elin says. “The work was beyond the beginner stage, and students were able to layer the two disciplines well. I was proud of them.” Anthropology professor and department chair Christopher DeCorse is also enthusiastic about the course. “This type of interdisciplinary class, bringing together the concerns of different schools, is precisely the kind of course we would like to see developed,” he says.

—Christine Mattheis  

 

Wright School Embraces South American Sister School

Courtesy of the College of Human Services and Health Professions
school
Students at the No. 72 nursery school in Corentyne, Guyana, are benefiting from a relationship between the school and SU.

At 9 a.m. in the No. 72 nursery school in Corentyne, Guyana, students as young as 3 years old sit rigid in miniature chairs. Dressed in uniforms, their faces intent, the children recite the alphabet. The room holds no evidence of a typical preschool setting in the United States—no strewn building blocks, bustling playhouse, or boisterous toddlers. Instead, toys are tucked away in plastic containers, and crayons and finger paints are placed out of reach. In the Republic of Guyana, discipline and order form the foundation for preschool instruction, which focuses on basic reading and math skills. But thanks to a partnership with the College of Human Services and Health Professions’ Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School, that focus may broaden to offer children a richer, more play-based nursery school experience. “This is a commitment to sharing resources and exchanging information about how children live,” says child and family studies professor Jaipaul Roopnarine, who initiated the relationship between SU and the South American school. Roopnarine, who was born in Guyana, has worked with the country’s Ministry of Education for years, sharing research findings and educational materials. “I wanted to give something back,” he says. “This ‘sister’ relationship between the two schools provides an ideal way to connect.”

Launched in fall 2003, the collaboration seeks to enrich the lives of children and staff at both locations and increase opportunities for cross-cultural research and scholarly exchange. “Initially, we sent parent and teacher handbooks, curriculum information, and a school sweatshirt to No. 72,” says Daria Webber, director of the Bernice M. Wright School. Since then, parents, staff, and University faculty donated almost 200 books to the South American school.

As the project evolves, Roopnarine hopes to involve more students and faculty in the collaboration. “Many are working to change the focus of early childhood education in Guyana now,” Roopnarine says. “Globalization is enhancing living conditions and creating better living standards. Now, we want to bring democratic ways to child-rearing. We are trying to improve the free-thinking of children in Guyana.”

—Julie Andrews

 

 

Broadening Perspectives on Information Security

Whether a teen-age hacker is hoping to post pranks on a web site, a criminal is stealing personal information from electronic databases to commit identity fraud, or a spy is silently monitoring U.S. military movements via wireless technology, information and the computer networks that store data have become targets of a variety of attacks. “After 9/11, the U.S. government realized it didn’t have enough security to resist these kinds of attacks on its information systems, and decided it needed to broaden its capabilities,” says Professor Scott Bernard of the School of Information Studies.

In response, the U.S. government launched the Cyber Corps program to build a cadre of federal information security professionals to protect its information infrastructure. SU, one of about 30 U.S. universities educating students through the Cyber Corps program, has distinguished itself by producing graduates who look at security issues through a multidisciplinary lens. “Information security encompasses technical, legal, management, and policy issues, and it’s important for our students to understand the myriad influences that must be considered in solving a problem,” says computer science professor Susan Older of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. “You can have this wonderful technology that can get you into any network, but if it breaks laws or is impractical from a human behavior standpoint, then that technology won’t be effective.”

This was the message that SU shared last summer with 350 Cyber Corps students and 45 faculty members from across the nation during the “2005 Cyber Corps Symposium: Taking an Integrated Approach to Cyber Security.” “Many schools talk actively about the technical side of security, but we are really known for taking our technical expertise and considering the policy and management aspects,” Bernard says. “How are we going to take that technology and put it to work solving security problems without compromising privacy? What are the limits and controls that need to be established in using this technology?” These are the kinds of questions Syracuse Cyber Corps members are asking—and answering.

Teresa Nevens G’03, G’04, a former Cyber Corps scholarship recipient, now works as an information technology specialist for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the congressional watchdog agency that studies federal spending. Nevens, who holds master’s degrees from both Maxwell and the School of Information Studies, cites her interdisciplinary mixture of experiences at SU with helping her develop the skills to handle all aspects of the job. She returned to campus last summer to offer advice to current Cyber Corps scholarship recipients. As a GAO employee, she is charged with ensuring the government does not abuse its power in its efforts to protect its citizens. “I enjoy working at GAO,” she says. “My job is fast-paced and unique.”

—Margaret Costello

 

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