Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

September, 2019

Monday, September 09, 2019 - Special Program
Sophomore Class (2022) Dinner

The Class of 2022 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for guided discussion as you and your classmates pose and answer these big questions at the beginning of your sophomore year.

This dinner program is hosted by the Dean of Students Office and is designed exclusively for the Class of 2022. As we approach our College’s 75th Anniversary in 2021-22, we honor our origins by taking responsibility for our future—your future. As sophomores, you return to campus with a rich year of experience. Yet, you undoubtedly have large questions about how best to contribute to and take advantage of the next three years of your shared CMC experience. What are the questions you’d like to answer with your classmates? Do you feel free to make decisions about the courses you take, the summer experiences you pursue, the friendships and community you seek to build?

Are you concerned about missing opportunities or over committing yourself? What are your long-term dreams and how are you preparing to realize them? What are you learning—the lessons small and large, academic and professional, social and personal—that you will draw on in the future? Most critically, how can we each support one another through our social warmth and close relationships of our community? The Class of 2022 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for guided discussion as you and your classmates pose and answer these big questions at the beginning of your sophomore year.

You can sign up online for the Sophomore dinner on Monday, September 9.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - Special Program
First Year (Class of 2023) Dinner, Night One

The Class of 2023 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for insight about Aldous Huxley's Brave New World from an expert, followed by guided discussion with faculty and student facilitators.

This dinner program, offered on two consecutive nights (students choose one) is hosted by the Dean of Students Office in collaboration with the Faculty Writing Committee and is designed exclusively for the Class of 2023. Since it appeared in 1932, Brave New World has been recognized as a literary classic and a landmark of speculation about the character and direction of modern culture. Huxley portrays a world in which a technocratic elite has designed a social order and a population in which universal happiness of a certain kind has been systemically achieved, but only at the cost of human freedom and dignity.

That is a frightening trade-off, but instead of simply rejecting it, Huxley explores its ramifications with intellectual subtlety, irony, and humor, in the process raising important questions about science, technology, art, love, sex, drugs, power, and the nature of happiness. The Class of 2023 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for insight about the novel from an expert, followed by guided discussion with faculty and student facilitators.

You can sign up online for the First Year dinner scheduled for Tuesday, September 10.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - Special Program
First Year (Class of 2023) Dinner, Night Two

The Class of 2023 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for insight about Aldous Huxley's Brave New World from an expert, followed by guided discussion with faculty and student facilitators.

This dinner program, offered on two consecutive nights (students choose one) is hosted by the Dean of Students Office in collaboration with the Faculty Writing Committee and is designed exclusively for the Class of 2023. Since it appeared in 1932, Brave New World has been recognized as a literary classic and a landmark of speculation about the character and direction of modern culture. Huxley portrays a world in which a technocratic elite has designed a social order and a population in which universal happiness of a certain kind has been systemically achieved, but only at the cost of human freedom and dignity.

That is a frightening trade-off, but instead of simply rejecting it, Huxley explores its ramifications with intellectual subtlety, irony, and humor, in the process raising important questions about science, technology, art, love, sex, drugs, power, and the nature of happiness. The Class of 2023 is invited to join faculty and staff at the Athenaeum for insight about the novel from an expert, followed by guided discussion with faculty and student facilitators.

You can sign up online for the First Year dinner scheduled for Wednesday, September 11.

Monday, September 16, 2019 - Evening Program
Educated: A Memoir
Tara Westover

Born to Mormon survivalist parents opposed to public education, Tara Westover never attended school. Instead she spent her days working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. Taught to read by an older brother, her education was erratic and incomplete—until, at the age of seventeen, she decided to get a formal education and experience the world outside of her isolated Idaho community. Spanning many powerful and universal themes, her bestselling book, Educated, is an account of the struggle for self-invention and gets to the heart of what education is and what it can offer as a powerful tool of self-invention.

Tara Westover spent her childhood and teen years preparing for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches, stewing herbs during the summer for her mother—a midwife and healer— and in the winter, salvaging in her father’s junkyard.

Self-motivated and driven, she then taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. Without a primary education—without even a birth certificate or exact birth date—she was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education—which was both uplifting and devastating—she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a Ph.D. in history in 2014.

Educated was long listed for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and had spent 32 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Former President Barack Obama named Educated as one of the books on his summer reading list of 2018.

Ms. Westover’s Athenaeum presentation is jointly sponsored by the Athenaeum, the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, and the President's Leadership Fund, all at CMC.

Photo credit: Lorentz Gullachsen

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - Evening Program
What Can Brain Stimulation Tell Us About Being Human?
Nolan Williams

Major mental illness is perhaps the most disabling medical problem in the world and the global health community has responded to this crisis with increasing technology. While these technologies may truly change the problem, the side effect may be that these same technologies change who we are as humans. Nolan Williams, M.D., assistant professor within the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the director of the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab, will explore how novel neuro-technologies challenge our conception of who we are and how they may have a role in human evolution.

Nolan Williams, M.D., is an assistant professor within the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the director of the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab at Stanford University.

Williams has a broad background in neuropsychiatry, completing residencies in both neurology and psychiatry. In addition, he has specific training and clinical expertise in the development of brain stimulation methodologies. Themes of his work include (a) examining the use of spaced learning theory in the application of neurostimulation techniques, (b) development and mechanistic understanding of rapid-acting antidepressants, and (c) identifying objective biomarkers that predict neuromodulation responses in treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions.

He has published papers in many journals including Brain, American Journal of Psychiatry, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He has also contributed to two reviews related to novel therapeutics for neuropsychiatric conditions that have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Current Opinion in Neurobiology.

Results from his studies have gained widespread attention in journals such as Science and New England Journal of Medicine Journal Watch as well as in the popular press and have been featured in various news sources including Time, Smithsonian, and Newsweek.

Williams received an NIH R-series grant within two years of completing his residencies as well as two NARSAD Young Investigator Awards in 2016 and 2018 along with the 2019 Gerald R. Klerman Award. He started the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab in 2015. He has received several merit-based travel awards to attend and present at the annual meetings for American College of Neuropharmacology, Society of Biological Psychiatry, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neuropsychiatric Association.
 

View Video: YouTube with Nolan Williams

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - Evening Program
Saving Magic Johnson: The Long and Complicated Race for Cures
Paul Beninger ’73 P’09

Paul Beninger ’73 P’09, associate professor of Public Health & Community Medicine at Tufts University, shares his long perspective on the early years of the HIV epidemic when he was a medical officer at the vanguard of the Food and Drug Administration’s reviewing division for HIV infection and HIV-related diseases. From research and development to reviews and approvals, from the maze of regulations and pricing to—in the case of HIV—the stigma and politics, finding cures for devastatingly fatal diseases is a long and complex road in a system inherently unprepared for such challenges.

Paul Beninger ’73 P’09 is an associate professor of Public Health & Community Medicine at Tufts University where he also directs the MD/MBA and MBS/MBA programs. He has more than three decades of experience as a regulator and member of the Senior Executive Service in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as a manager and executive in the pharmaceutical industry, including pharmacovigilance, and as a member of the academic community. 

Beninger began his career in drug development in 1987 at the FDA, first as a reviewer and manager for drugs to combat HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infection and then as a division director for medical devices. He joined Merck & Company in 1995 and developed experience in regulatory affairs, medical affairs and drug safety in the areas of anti-infective drug and biological products, vaccines, anti-diabetic drug products and oncology drug products, before joining Genzyme as vice-president of pharmacovigilance in 2006 where he worked until 2017.

Beninger has published and spoken extensively on regulatory science, drug and vaccine safety, and pharmacovigilance. He is a topics editor (pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology) for Clinical Therapeutics, and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Disease Society of America.

A 1973 graduate of Claremont McKenna College where he studied mathematics, biology, and psychology, Beninger received his M.D. from the University of California, Davis and subsequently trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He also holds an MBA from St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a graduate certificate in epidemiology from Tufts.

View Video: YouTube with Paul Beninger '73 P'09

Thursday, September 19, 2019 - Evening Program
The State of the World: A Global View
Samantha Power

Drawing on her most recent book, The Education of an Idealist, Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, war correspondent, and the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School, will chronicle her years in public service and reflect on the role of human rights and humanitarian ideals in contemporary geopolitics.

Due to high demand for this event, CMC students, faculty, and staff will have priority for any open seats for the lecture. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for President Obama, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, war correspondent, and the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School, spent half of her career explaining complex geopolitical events and eight years at the UN helping to shape them.

As the 28th U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, and helped mobilize global action against ISIL. From 2009 to 2013, she served on the National Security Council as special assistant to the President and senior director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights.

Called “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy” by Forbes, Power was named one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” The American Academy in Berlin awarded her the 2016 Henry A. Kissinger Prize. “She has an excellent and analytical mind,” said Kissinger, “I admire the way she has faced our challenges.”

Her book, A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. 

Before joining the U.S. government, Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a columnist for Time, and a National Magazine Award-winning contributor to the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books.

At the age of nine, she immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Beginning her career as a journalist, Power reported from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Ambassador Power’s Athenaeum presentation is jointly sponsored by the Athenaeum, the Lecture in Diplomacy and International Security in Honor of George F. Kennan, Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, Mgrublian Center for Human Rights, and the President’s Leadership Fund, all at CMC.


Food for Thought: Podcast with Samantha Power

Monday, September 23, 2019 - Evening Program
Translating Evidence into Practice: Research and Community Perspectives on Adapting Treatments for Diverse Children and Families
Anna S. Lau

When a family seeks mental health care for a child in their community, it should not be presumed that the treatment offered has been shown in research to be effective. There is further concern that the research on effective mental health care has often not included children from diverse racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. Anna Lau, professor of psychology at UCLA, is a child psychologist working to integrate information from treatment research and community mental health providers to address this "research-to-practice gap.”

Anna Lau is a child clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research spans the areas of disparities in children’s mental health services, cultural variation in risk and protective factors for child psychopathology, and community implementation of evidence-based practices. Lau’s work on risk and protective factors for youth in immigrant families has guided her treatment research with Asian American and Latinx children. Another major research effort involves understanding factors that promote the use of evidence-based practices by therapists in community mental health clinics in Los Angeles County.

View Video: YouTube with Anna Lau

Food for Thought: Podcast with Anna Lau

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - Evening Program
Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Pork Barrel Spending and Back Room Deals Can Strengthen Our Democracy
Jonathan Rauch

What's causing the dysfunction in our government and the chaos in our politics? Jonathan Rauch, senior fellow at Brookings and a contributing writer for the Atlantic, argues that well-intentioned efforts to clean up politics backfired, and that party hacks and smoke-filled rooms are part of the solution.

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, is the author of seven books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50.

In 2013, he published Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul, a memoir of his struggle with his sexuality, brought out as an ebook from The Atlantic Books. His previous book was Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, published in 2004 by Times Books (Henry Holt). His most recent ebook is Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy (Brookings, 2015). Although much of his writing has been on public policy, he has also written on topics as widely varied as adultery, agriculture, economics, gay marriage, height discrimination, biological rhythms, number inflation, and animal rights.

A graduate of Yale University, Rauch become a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina before moving to Washington in 1984. From 1984-89 he covered fiscal and economic policy for National Journal. In 1990 he spent six months in Japan as a fellow of the Japan Society Leadership Program.

In addition to the National Magazine Award, his honors include the 2010 National Headliner Award, one of the industry’s most venerable prizes. In 1996 he was awarded the Premio Napoli alla Stampa Estera for his coverage, in The Economist, of the European Parliament. In 2011 he won the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association prize for excellence in opinion writing. He has also won two second-place prizes (2000 and 2001) in the National Headliner Awards. His articles appear in The Best Magazine Writing 2005 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 and 2007. He has appeared as a guest on many television and radio programs. 

Mr. Rauch’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.
 

View Video: YouTube with Jonathan Rauch

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - Evening Program
Crashing Out: Will Britain Leave the EU on October 31?
David Andrews

Three years have passed since the British public voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. But so far the British parliament has been unwilling, and a succession of Conservative governments unable, to deliver Brexit. David Andrews, professor of international relations at Scripps College, will assess the continuing deadlock in British politics, identify the United Kingdom's remaining Brexit options, and survey the prospects for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

 

David Andrews is a professor in politics and international relations at Scripps College, where he holds the Jungels-Winkler Chair of Contemporary European Studies. His areas of expertise include Atlantic political, security, and economic relations; the European Union and European integration; international relations, diplomacy and statecraft. 

Andrews received his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has held appointments at Georgetown University, the London School of Economics, the University of Southern California, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His books include The Future of Transatlantic Economic Relations: Continuity Amid Discord  (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 2005), The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: U.S.-European Relations After Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Orderly Change: International Monetary Relations Since Bretton Woods (Cornell University Press, 2008). In 1998 he became the founding director of the European Union Center of California.  In 2009 the European Commission appointed him as a Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Studies.  

Professor Andrews' Athenaeum talk is sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

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