June 22, 2017

News about Brandeis University

Noted in November, 2015

Alumni Achievement awards recognize alums who have made distinguished contributions to their professions or chosen fields of endeavor. Thomas Friedman was a past winner.

Last month, Roy DeBerry ’70 and Susan Weidman Schneider ’65 received such awards. Both credit Brandeis with encouraging their academic and activist pursuits.

Prior to arriving at Brandeis in the fall of 1965, Mr. DeBerry had taken part in the civil rights movement in his home state of Mississippi. While president of the Brandeis Afro-American Society, he helped lead the 1969 takeover of a building on campus by black students who were dissatisfied with the racial climate on campus. There was an 11-day occupation by about 70 students. As a result of their demands, the African-American Studies department was established, additional black faculty was hired, and more students of color were recruited. Over the years, Mr. DeBerry has served as an executive in state and local government as well as higher education. He also co-founded an initiative which created an oral history that documented the civil rights movement of his native Mississippi.

Ms. Schneider, who grew up in Canada, thought Brandeis was an interesting place to be a female student in the 1960s. She felt that students were given the tools for serious inquiry and were inspired by the role models on the faculty. She said, “I was taught by people who were interested in the “back story” what was behind the obvious.”Since its inception in 1976, she has served as editor-in-chief of Lillith, an award winning magazine with the tagline “independent, Jewish and frankly feminist.” Also, she is the author of two books – “Jewish and Female” about the effects of feminism on Jewish life and “Intermarriage: the Challenge of Living with Differences between Christians and Jews.”

Perhaps a future award recipient ……Nyah Macklin, a Brandeis senior from New Haven, CT majoring in African and Afro-American Studies, is this year’s Student Union President. Before her sophomore year, she transferred to Brandeis from Goucher College to take advantage of the academics as well as the students’ and administration’s commitment to facilitating positive social change. She’s the first member of her family to attend college and is very passionate about using the enrichment the Brandeis experience provides to make a meaningful contribution to the world.

For almost 10 years, Don Katz, a Brandeis associate professor of psychology, has been investigating the interconnection of smell and taste in rats. In 2009, he showed that when rats lose their ability to taste that it also alters their sense of smell. Two years later, he found that smell as much as taste helps rat determine the food they like. Then, just last month, he discussed when a rat lost his sense of taste, it greatly affected the neurons handling smell. With such an interdependence of smell and taste, Prof. Katz is speculating that there may only be one single sense, which he calls the chemosensory system. Other researchers had found that sound, touch, and sight were very connected. His research will continue. In the future, we might find that rather than 5 senses, we have only one.

Noted in September, 2015
Out of 380 schools, the Princeton Review ranked Brandeis #1 for student engagement in community service. The largest student community service organization on campus, The Waltham Group, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. During the last academic year, there were over 1,500 students serving as Waltham Group volunteers and logged over 45,000 hours of community service. Other student-led organizations also logged hundreds of hours of service.

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