Duke Digest — December 10, 2014

In Today’s Issue:

  • DC Event, Dec. 11: Snapshot on Tsunami Recovery: Indonesia, A Decade After
  • Law School Prof to Testify on Executive Action on Immigration
  • Nicholas School Prof Testifies on Super Pollutants Act in Senate
  • White House Event: Duke Announces Commitment to Expand College Access
  • Hill Briefing: Big Data and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Duke Student Codes WH Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Duke Unveils Guidebook for Integrating Ecosystem Services into Federal Resource Management
  • Fmr. National Security Adviser Tells Students to Take on World Challenges
  • Dukies on the Move

DC EVENT, DEC. 11: SNAPSHOT ON TSUNAMI RECOVERY: INDONESIA, A DECADE AFTER
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, an event that devastated communities and led to a massive, international effort for community and population recovery. On Thursday, Dec. 11, please join Duke University for a presentation and discussion evaluating the overall recovery of the communities and population of Aceh and North Sumatra, with data from Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR). The discussion will be led by the Elizabeth Frankenberg, director of STAR and associate professor of public policy at the Sanford School of public policy. This study was designed to provide evidence on the immediate and longer-term consequences of the 2004 Sumatran-Andaman earthquake and tsunami and the recovery efforts initiated in its wake. Dr. Frankenberg will provide an overview of the project, describe its key findings and policy implications, and preview the next phase of the study.  There will be ample time for discussion.

For more details and to RSVP, please click here.

LAW SCHOOL PROF TO TESTIFY ON EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION
Professor Christopher H. Schroeder will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Dec. 10, regarding President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration.

Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies, will testify in a hearing titled, “Keeping Families Together: The President’s Executive Action on Immigration and the Need to Pass Comprehensive Reform.” The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Dirksen 226.

Read More:
Schroeder testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee on executive action on immigration (law.duke.edu)

NICHOLAS SCHOOL PROF TESTIFIES ON SUPER POLLUTANTS ACT IN SENATE
Drew T. Shindell, professor of climate sciences at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on December 2 about the environmental, economic and human health benefits of reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) under the Super Pollutants Act of 2014.

Air pollution linked to methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone and other SLCPs “is literally killing people,” Shindell told the committee. “It is the leading environmental cause of premature death, leading to more than 7 million premature deaths per year globally.”

Read More:
Shindell Testifies Before Congress on Benefits of Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants(Nicholas.duke.edu)

WHITE HOUSE EVENT: DUKE ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT TO EXPAND COLLEGE ACCESS
Lee D. Baker, associate vice provost for undergraduate education at Duke, joined President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders last week to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

Duke aims to increase underrepresented minority student science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degree completion by 8 percent. To achieve this commitment, Duke will partner with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create a Collaboratory On Mentoring, Persistence, Assessment, and Student Success (COMPASS).

Read More:
Duke Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event (duke.edu)
College Opportunity Day of Action: Ensuring There’s No Limit to What We Can Achieve(whitehouse.gov)

HILL BRIEFING: BIG DATA AND EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH
Duke in Washington, Duke University’s Office of Federal Relations, and DUHS’s Office of Government Relations hosted a briefing and reception in the Capitol Visitors Center on December 4 to highlight the Duke Information and Child Mental Health Initiative. The interdisciplinary project seeks to harness the power of information science to revolutionize the early childhood mental health disorders, like autism and anxiety disorders, are diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Helen Egger, Dr. Guillermo Sapiro, and Robert Calderbank briefed an audience of congressional staff, agency representatives, and child mental health advocates on The Duke Information and Child Mental Health Initiative and its efforts to overcome barriers to effective diagnoses and treatment.

Read More:
Event Brief: Big Insights into Little People (governmentrelations.duke.edu)

DUKE STUDENT CODES WH CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
The White House Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony follows a long tradition, but this year the event received an update. A.B. Duke Scholar Brittany Wenger and other coders lit the White House Christmas tree with code, on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Celebrities Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson introduced Wenger, and she described how coding can be used to fight cancer and in a variety of ways to improve life.

This year’s ceremony was hosted by Hanks and Wilson and featured remarks by President Barack Obama.

For more on Brittany’s coding efforts, including her project to use artificial intelligence to read and interpret data about cancer cells, see the links below.

Read More:
Duke Scholar Lights White House Christmas Tree, with Code and Tom Hanks (OUSF.duke.edu)
Decking the Nation with Codes of Jolly (whitehouse.gov)

DUKE UNVEILS GUIDEBOOK FOR INTEGRATING ECOSYSTEMS SERVICES INTO FEDERAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
new online guidebook providing federal resource managers a consistent approach to account for ecosystem services’ benefits will be unveiled this week at the A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference in Arlington, VA.

The guidebook, which was jointly developed by the National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP), an initiative of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy; federal agencies; and other partners, allows resource managers to better communicate with people about the positive and negative effects of natural resource management decisions. It also helps them explicitly consider how to balance outcomes that matter to people and to avoid unintended consequences.

FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TELLS STUDENTS TO TAKE ON WORLD CHALLENGES  
Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor under President George W. Bush, discussed current challenges facing the Obama Administration from China to the Middle East.  He also reviewed what he considered to be the successes of the Bush Administration, but expressed disappointment that major issues, including immigration and climate change, were left unresolved., in a visit to campus on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

In his speech, which was hosted by the American Grand Strategy Program run by Peter Feaver, Hadley said students had to be prepared to take leadership in a changing world that was significantly different from the one he grew up in.  “There will be new challenges, but there will also be new opportunities,” he said.

Read More:
Former National Security Adviser Tells Students to Take on World Challenges (sanford.duke.edu)

DUKIES ON THE MOVE
On Thursday, November 20, Cary Pugh (T ’87) was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a Judge for the United States Tax Court.  Tamara W. Ashford (T ’91) was also confirmed to the U.S. Tax Court at the same time.  Pugh was nominated for the post by President Obama back in June, and Ashford was nominated in September 2013.

Are you or other Dukies you know making a move in DC?  Please send tips to Landy Elliott –landy.elliott@duke.edu.

Read More:
President Obama Nominates Cary Douglas Pugh to the United States Tax Court (whitehouse.gov)
President Obama Nominates Tamara W. Ashford to the United States Tax Court (whitehouse.gov)