Archive | July, 2010

Greetings From Panama! – Summer Student Checkin

26 Jul

UHP sophomore Bryan Pratt emailed last week with a few pictures and an update on his summer work and travels.

I have been interning in Panama with the United Nations Development Programme Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean  (UNDP RCLAC). I’ll be here until August 2nd.  The pictures included are of the views from a friend’s apartment building in Panama City,  and me inside the ruins of the tower of a church from the first settlement of Panama City (Pacific Coast) looking toward the current metropolis…

Would Squinting Help?

23 Jul

Professor Lynette Osborne sent me this fun optical illusion. It seems that UHPers might really get a kick out of something like this.

Can you untangle this mess and find the hidden message?  Click the image to see the answer.

Can you see the message?

What? Too easy?

What’s Up Alum? – Mirielle Eaton

22 Jul
Mirielle Eaton - UHP Alum, 2009

Mirielle Eaton - UHP Alum, 2009

Yesterday marks one month that I have been in Sierra Leone.

Our embassy is very understaffed which makes things hard on everyone but I have been extremely fortunate in the fact that my bosses have made a big effort to make it possible for me to get out and about. I have visited the college in Freetown, met several ministers and foreign ambassadors, had an interview with Valentine Strausser (ex head of state of Sierra Leone during the civil war), been to a private diplomatic dinner, been to an event in another district regarding FGM, visited IMATT (an international military organization) for a lecture, and represented the American embassy at the French embassy’s Bastille day event.

Sometimes I go across the street to the neighbors house (a big unfinished cement structure with relatively few walls and no plumbing or electricity). There are several families living in the structure (a total of about 10 or 15 kids) and other frequent visitors. I seem to have been accepted by the people there, and I spend long periods of time sitting around, chatting with the adults (mostly women) and playing with the children. On several occasions they have braided my hair and tried to teach me to dance. I am also starting to learn how to carry a bucket on my head, tie a baby to my back with a cloth and have tasted some local cooking.

I’m taking weekly Krio classes at the embassy. It’s a funny language because it’s a lot like English… but its not the same! The official language of Sierra Leone is English but the lengua franca is Krio, also supplemented by various tribal languages. It is lots of fun learning to speak and great practicing with the neighbors and the local staff at the embassy.

A little bit of insight on the situation in the country: The population is about 5 million. Sierra Leone is ranked last out of 177 countries by the United Nations in the Human Development Index. An 11 year civil war ravaged the country until 2002, during this war rebels frequently amputated civilians arms and hands. The country has many direct links to the North American slave trade (most slaves taken from Africa did not go to North America). The fertility rate is 5.1 children per woman. Life expectancy is 41.8 years. The median age for a woman to have her first child is 19 years. 37% of married women are in polygamous relationships. One in seven children dies before the age of 5. 75% of births are delivered outside of a health facility and less than half are delivered with the help of a health professional. 21% of children are underweight. 43% of households include foster and or orphan children. 91% of women have undergone FGM (female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision). Less then 25% of women are literate (about 45% of men are illiterate). Per capita GDP is $806, more than half the population lives on less than one dollar a day. About 68% of the population cannot find enough food to eat. The average household will have only one meal a day (around 3 or 4pm). 12% of homes have access to electricity for lighting. 31% of children are involved in child labor. Corruption is one of the most significant obstacles in Sierra Leone.

The “Drudge Report” for Humanities

22 Jul

Our director, Maria sent me this interesting bit to share with you all:  a website she best describes as the “Drudge Report” for humanities.  It’s added now to our Honor’s Roll on the left hand side of this blog, but I wanted to draw special attention to this fantastic site.  Click through to check it out and you’ll almost immediately be clicking like mad on any number of fascinating articles from around the web.  (I got a kick out of this one, as I dream of turning our front office into a steampunk playhouse.)

Check out Arts & Letters Daily here:

Election of Two GWU PBK Honorary Members, July 12, 2010 [PBK]

21 Jul

I’m happy to announce the induction of two new honorary Phi Beta Kappa members (including our own director, Maria Frawley!)  Read on to find out a little bit more about these two new members to the prestigious PBK!


Election of Two GWU PBK Honorary Members, July 12, 2010

Steven R. Lerman
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
A. James Clark Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The George Washington University

Steven Lerman became provost of The George Washington University on July 1, 2010. Dr. Lerman joined The George Washington University from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he served as vice chancellor and dean for graduate education, acting as the chancellor’s chief deputy and working to develop strategic initiatives across the units of the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Division for Student Life.    Dr. Lerman brings to GW more than 35 years of experience as a leader and scholar at one of the nation’s most prestigious research universities. He began at MIT as a student, earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. in Transportation Systems Analysis. He joined the faculty in 1975 as assistant professor of civil engineering and rose through the ranks, serving twice as chair of the faculty and then as dean of graduate education since 2007 and as vice chancellor since 2008. His awards and honors have included the Advisor of the Year Award from the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, the Maseeh Teaching Award for best departmental teacher and the Class of 1922 Distinguished Professorship.

GWU Membership election approved by MIT PBK Chapter, June, 2010.


Maria Frawley
Executive Director, University Honors Program
Professor of English
The George Washington University

Maria Frawley became the Executive Director of GW University Honors Program in July 2009.  Her tireless efforts to make the curriculum more flexible, recruit outstanding new faculty members, and enhance the course offerings to include courses taught by University Professors have enabled the program to attract outstanding new students and dramatically increase the retention of current students in the program.   Professor Frawley’s research focuses on nineteenth-century British literature, social history, and print culture. Her earlier work on the culture of invalidism led her to an interest in “transient illnesses” of Victorian Britain and to histories, narratives, and representations of institutional care (e.g., workhouses, asylums) in this period. She is currently working on a book titled Keywords of Jane Austen’s Fiction as well as on a variety of shorter projects related to her interest in Victorian women and social reform.


(1991) Ph.D., University of Delaware
(1985) M.A., University of Delaware
(1983) B.A., Bucknell University

GWU Membership election approved by Bucknell PBK Chapter, June, 2010.