Bwog Science is back with CU Women in STEM, where we highlight the amazing women in science at Columbia. Today’s profile is from Briley Lewis (CC ’18), astrophysics major and Pluto enthusiast!
What subjects are you interested in? Exoplanets and planetary science
How did you get interested in your subject? Can you remember the moment that got you hooked? When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a vet. But in middle school, when you have to dissect frogs and everything, I realized that I am INCREDIBLY squeamish – so, being a vet wasn’t quite an option, and I needed to find a new interest. One of my best friends ended up giving me the book Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I absolutely loved it. I wanted to learn more about space, and I just kept on learning until I got to where I am now.
Most important research/extracurricular experiences so far: I’ve been a part of two research projects as an undergrad, and both were incredibly important to me. First off, I’ve worked at the American Museum of Natural History for two years (since the summer after sophomore year) as a part of Dr. Rebecca Oppenheimer’s group; we work with an instrument called Project 1640, built at the museum and operated on the Palomar Hale Telescope in CA, which surveys nearby stars to discover new exoplanets through direct imaging. Secondly, I spent last summer at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD, working with data of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons mission.
What are your career goals? I want to continue pursuing research, earning my PhD and eventually either becoming a tenured professor or maybe a civil servant at NASA. At the same time, I hope to be actively involved in shaping policies about space exploration and astronomical research funding, and also to continue doing lots of outreach and teaching.
Favorite science building on campus? I totally have to pick Pupin; it’s basically where I’ve lived the last four years. Also, it may not have the best classrooms, but it TOTALLY has the best roof – go there when the department does public outreach events to see one of the best views!!
Written by Danielle Mikaelian
Is your ability to get internships better than your ability to get a girlfriend/boyfriend?
Did cuffing season come and go, with you still being single?
Did your two best friends start dating, making you an awkward third wheel?
If so, you aren’t alone! Columbia is known for its hookups, and not everyone can be in a secure relationship. While it is important to be supportive of your friends’ relationships, not everyone is prepared to do this, especially if your cuffing season went from a hopeful start to a disgraceful end. To ensure that you’re prepared for your new role, I asked Columbia students for opinions on how to properly third wheel. Here are their responses!
If all else fails…you have a few other options. Why not break them up, so being a third wheel isn’t an option? Or, you can always find a significant other of your own…and make it payback time.
(Quick shoutout to two of my best friends, who inspired this post. If I have to be a third wheel to anyone, I’m glad it’s you.)
Written by Dassi Karp
Last night’s Barnard Student Government Association Rep Council meeting was officially about the budget for the upcoming school year. While the gathered reps were treated to a vary detailed slideshow of budget requests, allocations, and projections, most of the action came earlier in the hour, when SGA Executive Board spoke about responses to the recently passed referendum.
First, though, kicking off their messages of support for student activist groups, President Angela Beam read a statement of support for 24/7 Columbia, which is currently staging a sit-in in Lerner Hall to advocate for accessible round-the-clock student healthcare. “We stand with them,” said Beam, and encouraged everyone to sign the group’s petition.
Members of Exec Board then took turns reading parts of a statement in response to President Beilock’s recent email to the student body about the referendum results. In the email, Beilock explained that acting on the referendum would “risk chilling campus discourse” and would be “inconsistent” with the college’s mission. She also noted that there is “clearly not a consensus across the Barnard community on whether or how to address the issue.” Because of these reasons, she does not plan on moving forward with the results of the referendum, though students and student groups are of course free to continue the discussion.
Tags: all my classes are in churches this week, are we really going to do this for another year?, can I opt out of student activities fee? I don't read the Barnard Bulletin, CUAD, did anyone think that the administration was bound to referendum results?, don't worry, grandma, greek games are such a waste, hi boo, I was wrong the microphone isn't worth it, is a lerner sit-in effective at all?, let's replace midnight breakfast with...morning breakfast, referendumb, sga, thank you for reading those numbers off of the screen., unpopular opinion let's end bacchanal
Written by Sarah Harty
What’s Happening In The World: A van in Toronto rammed into a crowd on Monday, killing ten and injuring 15. The driver has been identified by police as Alek Minassian, a 25 year old Toronto resident. He is currently in police custody. (BBC)
What’s Happening In The US: Mike Pompeo is about to get confirmed as the new Secretary of State. Overview: He’s like Trump – bigoted and gross – but he’s probably not crazy? More than we can say about the woman who might replace him at the CIA… (NBC)
What’s Happening In NYC: What do we want? Better subways! What are we getting? Double decker buses…on Staten Island. Only slightly less inconvenient than going to London to ride the OG. (Patch)
What’s Happening At Columbia: Former Attorney General Eric Holder (CC ’73) will deliver the 21st Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum Keynote Address. Miller Theatre, 6 – 7pm, but probably best to get there early!
Overheard: “Stacks? ;)”
Written by Thomas Saenz
Blaze it and raise it! Friday marked 4/20, every stoner’s favorite holiday. Columbia students were festive for the occasion, lighting up in honor of the one day a year people don’t care that you’re smoking. Here, in no particular order, are the best stories from this weekend. If you have any stories that you want to add, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you may just see your story added onto this!
Bwog and 4/20:
You’ve probably received an email from Provost Coatsworth about the “possible strike by student teaching and research assistants.” If you attend CC or GS, you also probably received a message from Deans Valentini and Rosen-Metsch about how the strike would affect classes. Perhaps you’ve heard directly from your TAs or research assistants about their plans to strike. Perhaps you’ve seen posters from either the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC) or by Student-Worker Solidarity (SWS) about events taking place.
Even with all of this information floating around, it’s quite possible you still have questions about the upcoming graduate workers’ strike that will take place unless administration negotiates a contract before Tuesday morning – which currently seems unlikely. In order to clear things up, we here at Bwog thought that it would be useful to provide answers to some FAQ about the strike.
1. What are graduate workers demanding, specifically? Graduate workers will be striking because Columbia administration refuses to recognize the union they formed nearly a year and a half ago.
A brief rundown on the union’s history:
Written by Abby Rubel
Columbia had a rough weekend. Sports Editor Abby Rubel gives you the deets.
Men’s Golf: The Lions performed poorly this weekend, finishing in last place at the Ivy League Championships with a score of 944. Yale took first place since the first time since 2011 with a score of 880. Columbia particularly struggled in the first round, scoring 332 where the other teams scored in the low 300s. (Princeton, which came in seventh place, scored the next-highest with 319.) And because their second and third round scores were on par with the other Ancient Eight teams, they couldn’t catch up. Individually, first-year Arjun Puri lead the team with a score of 24 over par.
Women’s Golf: The women’s team had a successful weekend at the Ivy League Championships, coming in fourth thanks to a strong performance from senior Nancy Xu. Xu tied for seventh place individually and shot a 73 on Saturday, keeping Columbia’s score that day low and putting the team within range of third-place Brown. But Brown shot 303 on Sunday to Columbia’s 307—good enough to hang on to fourth place but not good enough to catch the Bruins. Princeton won the tournament after a tie-breaker hole with Harvard.
Heavyweight Rowing: Columbia lost the race for the Doc Lusins Trophy for the eighth year in a row on Saturday. The Lions came in third place in all three of the day’s races, losing to both Boston University (the current holder of the trophy) and Syracuse. In the Varsity Eight race, Boston beat out Syracuse by just half a second, while Columbia came in eight seconds later. The other two races went similarly poorly, with the Light Blue coming in third by five or more seconds each time.
Men’s Lightweight Rowing: beat Cornell and MIT, beat Dartmouth
Baseball: won 2-0, lost 10-5, lost 7-6 against Princeton
Softball: won 9-1, won 9-0, lost 9-0 against Princeton
Men’s Tennis: won 4-0 at Brown, won 4-0 at Yale
Women’s Tennis: won 5-2 against Brown, won 6-1 against Yale
Lacrosse: won 14-12 against Brown
Editor’s note (1): Updated on 4/23 at 2:03 pm to address factual errors in President Beilock’s letter, as well as to correct inaccuracies regarding SGA’s and the College’s actions.
Editor’s note (2): Updated on 4/23 at 4:24 pm to add statements from Nas Abd Elal, a member of CUAD, and Aryeh.
Editors’s note (3): Updated on 4/24 at 12:30 pm to correct mathematical errors in a previous version of this post, which had stated that more than 30% of the Barnard student body voted for the referendum (our corrected number is 28.5%). Also, updated to include information regarding SGA’s response to this email.
In an email sent out earlier today to the Barnard community, President Sian Beilock wrote that, if requested, the College will not take action to divest from companies with ties to Israel. President Beilock wanted to inform students of the college’s intentions ahead of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) discussions this week following last week’s student body vote in favor of the CUAD referendum. According to President Beilock, the referendum’s requests do not meet the standards of consideration for the Board of Trustees.
The referendum, which passed last Wednesday by a margin of 28.6% with a voter turnout of 49.9%, could lead SGA to send a letter encouraging the college to divest from eight companies associated with Israel. This week, SGA will discuss their plans going forward. However, according to Beilock, whatever SGA decides is irrelevant, because the College does not intend to take action, as the referendum does not fulfill two standards required for any case presented to the Board of Trustees that’s related to Barnard’s endowment.
These two standards are first, upholding the mission of the College in promoting freedom of expression; and second, an obvious consensus among the student body. According to Beilock, an institutional stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict would “chill the discourse” in which members of the student body should feel encouraged to participate freely. In addition, she wrote that although the referendum did pass by a majority, those who voted to support the referendum represent less than 30% of the student body and thus cannot be considered a general consensus.
Although about 50% of the Barnard student body voted in the SGA elections, not all of these students opted to vote in the referendum. Thus, the 741 students who voted yes represent 28.5% of the student body. Those who voted no represent 15.8% of the student body, and 55.7% did not vote. These numbers are based on a Spring 2018 enrollment number of 2,604 students, provided to Bwog by the Barnard Media Relations department. Our calculations can be seen on the right.
Beilock’s email was initially written to the Student Government Association, then forwarded to the greater student body for transparency. In the email, she mentions thousands of alumnae who opposed the referendum, thereby stating that the College will not be taking action for divestment in order to “foster civil discourse.” In fact, the petition of those opposing the referendum is not composed solely of alumnae–at least 1,051 of the “thousands of signers” are simply listed as a “Friend and Ally” of the College (not an alumna, parent, or donor).
Bwog reached out to Nas Abd Elal, a member of CUAD, and Aryeh, for comments regarding the email. Their responses have been included at the end of the post.
The College has also prepared a Q&A for any questions on the referendum itself. A representative of SGA told us that the Executive Board will be responding to President Beilock’s email during external announcements during their regular Monday night meeting.
At the meeting following this email, the SGA Executive Board issued a statement emphasizing the board’s commitment to the democratic process and to “fulfill [the council’s] duty to advocate for students to the administration.” The SGA leaders expressed that the petition Beilock references does not represent the diversity of opinions held by Barnard alumnae, and that her email trivializes the council’s process and the voices of the students it represents. A past SGA referendum to divest from fossil fuel companies was not dismissed, this statement points out, even though it only received 565 student votes (almost 200 fewer votes than the CUAD referendum). Rather than working with SGA in an open dialogue to discuss divestment, as has been the process in the past, while “SGA was and is in the process of deciding how and whether to bring this issue to the administration, the President and the Board of Trustees have had their own dialogue and have chosen to dismiss the possibility of moving forward.”
Last night, SGA voted to write a letter of support to the Barnard administration for divestment from the eight companies associated with Israel listed in the referendum. The council also voted to write a “dissenting statement” regarding President Beilock’s response, and add it to this letter. During next Monday’s meeting (April 30), the council will vote on the wording of this letter; if it passes, the letter will be sent to the administration that night.
The SGA Executive Board’s full statement and more details on last night’s Rep Council meeting can be found in Bwog’s SGA coverage post for this week.
Written by Mary Welsh
Oh, Prezbo– it’s finally here. Spring is in the air and I am throwing up my arms and pretending that finals aren’t right around the corner. In my typical fashion, I have been off enjoying the weather and good food– like this veggie stir fry– rather than doing actual work. Please procrastinate with me and enjoy a simple, home-cooked meal– taking comfort in the fact it that costs basically nothing, while still managing to taste delicious.
Veggie Stir Fry
Miso (not necessary, but a nice touch)
Honey or brown sugar
Water or broth
Ginger, minced (about a knob)
Whatever vegetables you have on hand, bite size pieces (I used broccoli, kale, bell peppers and snow peas)
Rice, cooked (use your leftovers)
Eggs or cooked tofu
Heat up a large skillet with oil, soy sauce, miso, sweetener, chili flakes and water/broth. I use about a 1-1-1 ratio with the oil, miso and sweetener and then add in the soy sauce, chili flakes and water/broth to taste. (The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super easy to adjust the flavors. Fry your minced ginger until sizzling and then add your vegetables.) Cook until tender. Add the rice to reheat and meld all of the flavors together. Top with a fried egg and your other favorite toppings– like sriracha and kimchi.
*I would just like to take a moment to give a shout-out to the humble egg. It goes with basically anything and is a super easy way to amp up your protein intake without spending a ton of money. Plus, it’s just delicious– especially when you get that golden runny yolk that just makes everything so creamy.
Image via Bwog Staff.
Written by Nadra Rahman
The Satow Room held more than a few combative viewpoints last night. Bureau Chief Nadra Rahman brings you the deets, piping hot.
CCSC had an unusual number of guests last night—Deantini and Dean Kromm paid their semesterly visit, but their presence also drew protesters from 24/7 Columbia, a group that is demanding around-the-clock, in-person, unrestricted health care for all members of the Columbia community. The questions posed by members of CCSC to the deans were tame in comparison.
The protesters began by citing a re:claim article that reports administrative retaliation against students who seek help for health crises and sexual violence, such as suspension and expulsion. They asked how such retaliation could be justified, to which both deans responded they would need more details about individual circumstances; Kromm clarified, “That’s not my understanding of how things work here.”
Written by Thomas Saenz
Happening Around the World: Duchess Kate has given birth to her third child with Prince William, a baby boy. This child is now fifth in line for the British throne. (CBS)
Happening in the US: The hunt for the man who shot up a Waffle House in Kentucky, killing 4 individuals and injuring others, continues into its second day. Nashville schools have been placed on lockdown and police are attempting to trace the steps of the man convicted of the crimes. (Washington Post)
Happening in the City: Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that beginning in June, Central Park will become car-free, allowing for pedestrians and bikes to fully claim the drives below 72nd. Transverses that are used by cars and public buses on 65th, 79th, 86th, and 97th streets will not be affected. (NY Times)
Happening on Campus: “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Envisioning Change” will explore the development of sexual assault, specifically on college campuses, over the past 40 years and the response by administration to these issues, all while looking to the future in hopes to plan to eradicate the high percentages of sexual assault on campus. More information can be found on the Columbia Events Page.
Weather: Sunny and a high of 64 F / 18 C. Spring is definitely here!
Artist of the Week: Gian Lorenzo Bernini. How could you not love his sculptures and their intricate details???
Image via Recycled Bwog Images
Written by Timmy Wu
Bucket List represents the intellectual privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. We do our very best to bring to your attention important guest lecturers and special events on campus. If you notice any events that have been left off the list, or have a correction to make, please leave them in the comments.
Written by Alex Tang
We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.
For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:
Last weekend, a young prospie acquainted with Bwog told us that, during the infamous New York City bus tour, she and other students were given bingo cards filled with “typical NYC sights” and were told to fill them out as they rode through the city. The cards, she told us, included such wholesome items as “sirens” and “neon signs.” We thought these were giving prospies a far-too-reductive picture of the city they might be about to inhabit for the next four years, so we’ve compiled our own bingo card with our own list of typical Morningside Heights sights. Barnard prospies on campus today and tomorrow, and any other Columbia students who might visit in the next few months: use this link to print 30 randomized bingo cards to play with your friends, or check out one representative card below.
Tags: if you take a picture of alma but dont post it on instagram does it make a sound?, morningside heights, tag yourselves we're 'poorly concealed bottle of alcohol', tbt to that bingo meme on twitter last summer, thanks sophia for the unintended pitch!, the free space is left of center like much of the student body here
Written by Levi Cohen
Despite the best efforts of this grand university to crush everything and anything joyful about this place, the CU Marching Band… marches on, so to speak, releasing its first wave of flyers for Orgo Night. The time, as always, is at the witching hour of Reading Week; the place is somewhat up in the air. Wherever Orgo Night ends up, Bwog’ll be there; what about you?
All images via CUMB Ministry of Propaganda
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