Breaking barriers

first_img Mahlet Shiferaw loved astronomy and physics, but had to overcome feeling like an outsider in fields that draw few women and fewer African Americans Making a place for herself Humble and soft-spoken, Deborah Washington Brown would never have described herself as a trailblazer.But as the first Black woman to graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1981 with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, she shattered the racial and gender barriers that still plague technology fields today. Brown was the first Black computer scientist to earn a Ph.D. in the applied mathematics program at  Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences , and also one of the first Black, female computer scientists to graduate from a U.S. doctoral program.Though she passed away on June 5 after a long battle with cancer, her achievements and legacy remain as an inspiration for those who have followed in her footsteps. Brown was born in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 1952. The youngest of four children, Brown’s mother worked as a hairdresser and her father was a taxi cab driver. Her parents, who had both grown up in the segregated south, worked hard to provide a better life for their children and encouraged Brown and her siblings to explore their passions.From an early age, Brown was passionate about math and music.“She was the family brainiac,” her daughter, Laurel Brown, recalls. “One time, when she was a young girl, she and her siblings went with their uncle on a cross-country road trip. Their uncle was a bit of a spendthrift, so he designated my mother to be his human calculator. She was in charge of calculating the gas mileage and making sure he wasn’t spending too much money on the road trip. She always had this propensity for math and numbers.”,She may have had a knack for math, but her true love was the piano. Brown started playing classical music at age 6 and quickly blossomed into an accomplished pianist, winning numerous piano competitions throughout the Capital Area.After graduating from the National Cathedral High School in Washington, D.C., she was admitted into the New England Conservatory of Music to study classical piano. Brown traveled to New England, ready to pursue her passion at the storied institution, but her dreams were soon derailed.“She never talked much about that time. I learned later that she overheard one of her teachers saying that they couldn’t expect much from her, especially given the fact that her father was a taxicab driver,” Laurel said. “So she dropped out. Her passion was music, and though her hopes had been dashed, since she was so good at math she enrolled at Lowell Tech instead.”Brown graduated with honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in math from Lowell Tech in 1975, and a prestigious IBM Fellowship to help pay for her graduate studies. But Lowell Tech (now part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell) was not a traditional feeder for Harvard graduate programs.Laurel still isn’t sure what motivated her mother to apply in 1974.Harry R. Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, who was then a first-year faculty member at SEAS, served on the Ph.D. admissions committee and still recalls Brown’s application (and her impeccable handwriting). Students admitted into the applied math/computer science Ph.D. program typically hailed from schools like MIT, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Berkeley, and a few reliably strong universities in China and Greece.“So when I glanced at an application from Lowell, I nearly set it aside without a second look. Then I saw the name, Deborah Blanche Washington, and considered it more closely,” Lewis recalled. “I learned later that [my mother] overheard one of her teachers saying that they couldn’t expect much from her, especially given the fact that her father was a taxicab driver.” — Laurel, Deborah Washington Brown’s daughter Related Laura DeMarco, Mihnea Popa, and Melanie Wood begin appointments in July When Tom Osborn arrived at Harvard, he was already an internationally recognized entrepreneur center_img Three new professors named in math Helping African teens thrive Lewis was impressed by Brown’s perfect transcript and the over-the-top letters of support submitted with her application. So he took the then-unusual step of inviting her to campus for an interview.“My recollection is that we were both scared since the situation was new to both of us, but that actually made the conversation quite pleasant,” he said. “She was admitted and came, and I advised her for a time.”Brown served as a teaching fellow for Lewis’ course, “Automatic Computing” (Nat Sci 110). At SEAS, her research focused on practical quandaries in computer programming. She eventually switched advisors and, in the lab of computer scientist Thomas Cheatham, completed her dissertation, titled, “The solution of difference equations describing array manipulation in program loops.” In addition to achieving academic success, she also earned the respect of her peers; Brown was elected to be a Commencement marshal in 1981. After earning her Ph.D., she joined Connecticut defense contractor Norden Systems, where she worked on missile defense technology. The bulk of her professional work centered on artificial intelligence and speech recognition technology. She spent more than a decade at Bell Labs and also worked for AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Speech-Soft Solutions as a speech scientist and speech technology specialist. During her career, she was awarded at least 10 patents, either individually or with collaborators. In 2013, she received a patent as the sole inventor of an AI-driven system to automatically categorize a speech transcription based on the context of its subject matter. Brown’s most recent patent was awarded in 2019.Though she spent her days tackling thorny computer science problems, Brown, who also taught math for a time at several colleges in Georgia, never lost sight of her passion for music. She continued to study — and teach — piano, winning numerous awards and performing all around the world, from Carnegie Hall to Italy and Germany. She also earned a level 10 certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music. But her first priority, even as she achieved success as a computer scientist and musician, was always being a good mother to her two daughters, Laurel recalls.“She always encouraged me. I also have a propensity for math, and, because of my mother, I didn’t even realize until I was in college that there was any type of gender or race gap in STEM,” Laurel said. “My mother was good at math and computer science. So I never had to second guess myself or my abilities because of the example she set for me.”And it was her mother’s support and encouragement that ultimately inspired Laurel to apply to Harvard Law School, from which she graduated in 2005.“I was born in 1980, so I was at her Harvard graduation, and 24 years later, she was at mine,” Laurel said. “I always felt so close to her because we shared that Harvard connection.”For Laurel, who works in economic development in New York City, the lessons she learned from her mother about perseverance and humility continue to serve as an inspiration.“She was so humble, and that’s what made her a powerhouse. That’s why people respected her so much,” Laurel said. “She was just this really soft-spoken, quiet lady who, by virtue of just living her life, made this impact, but wasn’t necessarily out to do so. She just did it.”last_img read more

Why the pandemic-prompted increased reliance on digital may be long-lasting

first_imgPerhaps the most apparent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in financial services is its amplification of the digital channel. Credit unions have been planning and budgeting for their “digital transformation” for years, but there is nothing like a little social distancing and widespread stay-at-home orders to fast track their readiness for it.In late March, SRM polled its credit union and bank clients to understand their early response and evolving operational strategies for combating the effects of COVID-19 in the United States. According to the survey, 82% rated their online and mobile channels as “vital” to operations during the pandemic and no respondent rated them “less than important.” Additionally, 79% of responding institutions have provided further education on the use of remote channels. The purpose of this education is to provide consumers unfamiliar or uncomfortable with digital channels a means for accessing and managing money and needed financial services during a time of high economic anxiety.In the past several months, credit unions have shifted priorities to determine how to best serve members in the wake of this “now normal.” Even as states solidify their gradual reopening plans and things begin to settle down, credit unions will face this “now normal.” This pandemic will likely have long-lasting impacts on consumers’ banking behavior patterns, and credit unions need to plan accordingly and reevaluate their digital investments.The question on everyone’s mind is how much reversion to old habits should we expect? Even as branches begin to open, will members visit them, or will they continue to rely on the digital banking platforms they used during the pandemic?Certainly, there will be a segment of those who have relied on digital channels for the first time who will stay. The concern about the highly infectious nature of COVID-19 may make this a large segment. Further, those who have been venturing out tend to be younger and they are not a demographic that tends to do most of their banking in the branch. The dynamics here cannot be ignored by credit unions. It has never been more the case that an optimal digital banking experience is a top priority.Members will expect this experience to offer every service available at the branch. The key here is not to despair any gaps that exist between a current digital offering and these expectations by members. If a credit union develops a path to that optimal experience and can deliver functionality often on its way to the goal, members likely will wait and see, rather than heading elsewhere. If there is no strategy . . . no roadmap . . . a credit union will quickly become irrelevant.The digital use numbers during the pandemic may recede somewhat as members adjust to this “now normal”, but rest assured the battle with COVID-19 is far from over. There will be “a next normal” and a next and a next and a next. As wave after wave washes over the financial services industry, digital will become the default for an increasing number of members. The temptation to ignore these facts in a challenging economic environment must be resisted. Investing in digital will be mandatory and to pay for it one strategy might be to shut down branches.The debate around the branch has been a red herring for the last five years. Biased and competing research, analysis and reporting has contaminated the ability to quantify trends. However, during the pandemic, anecdotal evidence has pointed to the demise of the branch. Credit unions have closed branches and are offering assistance by appointment . . . usually, these appointments concerned more “complicated” subjects.This is the future “branch”. The model already exists in other verticals, such as healthcare. We see our doctor when we think we may be sick and/or when a regular check-up is scheduled. There is no reason this model cannot work in tandem with the digital delivery of services. In addition, the elimination of the branch as a full-service channel will free up the resources – money and people – needed to address the digital transformation that is required to remain competitive.Quantifying the impact of the pandemic on the adoption of digital-first (or digital only) banking is not possible given the fluid situation in which we work. But, common sense is sufficient in this case. Digital delivery has never been more important in the effort to attract and retain members. For many credit unions, addressing what needs to be done to establish parity will require that senior management be willing to accept risk. Risk is a component of all decisions within a financial institution; as it should be. But, in this case, doing nothing is the greatest risk of all. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michael Carter Michael Carter is the executive vice president of SRM (Strategic Resource Management), an independent advisory firm serving financial institutions. Web: Detailslast_img read more

Silver lining for young and old athletes at Asian Games

first_imgThe Uzbekistan veteran missed out by one-tenth of a point on a gold medal, which went to 16-year-old South Korean Yeo Seo-jeong with 14.387 points. Yeo was born 10 years after Chusovitina made her Olympic debut and won gold in the team event in ’92 in Barcelona.At the other end of the spectrum, 15-year-old Shardul Vihan became India’s youngest medalist in shooting at the Asian Games when he took silver in the double trap final behind Shin Hyun-woo of South Korea.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Vihan attends high school in Meerut, where 16-year-old 10-meter pistol gold medalist Saurabh Chaudhary is from.China continued to dominate the podium across co-host cities Jakarta and Palembang and its medal tally hit 100 — including 51 gold — halfway through the fifth day of competition. Women’s vault gold medalist South Korea’s Yeo Sejeong, centre, stands with silver medalist Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitana, left, and bronze medalist North Korea’s Pyon Ry Yong during the medal ceremony for apparatus final at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)JAKARTA, Indonesia — Oksana Chusovitina continued her quest to compete at an eighth Olympics by winning asilver medal in the vault at the Asian Games at the age of 43.Chusovitina won the vault at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, and in between took silver medals in the event at the 1994 and 2014 editions of the continental games.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced That included golds in six of the day’s first eight rowing finals.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Peza offers relief to ecozone firms LATEST STORIES View commentscenter_img Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal China’s Asian Games medal haul hits 100 with 51 golds Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWslast_img read more

South African economic Ministers advance the position of the global South in BRICS trade discussions

first_imgNew Delhi, Friday 14 October 2016 – Ministers of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies and Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu today wrap up their pre-BRICS Summit engagements in New Delhi, India.Download the media statementThe Ministers were attending the 6th meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers that was held on 13 October, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The Trade Ministers meeting was preceded by the 13th meeting of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) which was held from 11-12 October, 2016. The outcomes of the Trade Ministers meeting will be submitted to the 8th BRICS Summit to be held on 15-16 October, 2016 in Goa, India.Minister Rob Davies, speaking about the significance of these engagements, noted that the BRICS Trade Ministers meeting is taking place at a time when the global economy is faced with challenges that include key economic developments such as continued slowdown in global growth and depressed global demand, low commodity and oil prices and volatility in the equity and currency markets. Of concern is that global trade is recovering at a slower pace.Intra-BRICS exports have been growing on average at 2.8% per year since 2010. South Africa’s export basket continues to be dominated to a large extent by primary products and low-value added products.The BRICS countries present opportunities for cooperation in establishing intra-BRICS value chains and linkages among the economies. This will contribute to the industrial objectives of the BRICS countries.A welcome development has been an increase in intra-BRICS investment in key sectors of the South African economy. For example, South Africa has seen a large investment in the auto-sector by Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) which amounts to R11 billion. Minister Davies emphasised the need to increase mutually-beneficial projects among BRICS countries.Minister Davies emphasised that BRICS is an important grouping of developing economies that accounts for 22% of global GDP and 42% of the world population. It is therefore critical that BRICS countries bring an emerging market view in global discussions on trade so as to promote development-centred and inclusive growth.Furthermore, Minister Davies stressed the need for BRICS cooperation towards identification of complementarities, sharing of experiences and capacity building in a number of trade and investment related issues. He also welcomed the joint studies to inform cooperation in a number of policy areas which will assist to develop coordinated position in the multilateral fora.Minister Zulu emphasised the importance of BRICS countries cooperation on the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). In this regard cooperation should be targeted towards promoting supplier development and participation of MSMEs in the BRICS countries value-chains, exchange of best practices on MSME development. She further stressed the importance of MSME in job creation.On the sidelines of the BRICS Trade Ministers meetings, the Ministers held bilateral meetings with his counterparts to discuss trade and investment issues of mutual interests.Follow the conversation on #SAatBRICS2016Brand South Africa will be pleased to facilitate any requests for interviews.last_img read more

Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan in ICU after 6-vehicle crash

first_imgState police say actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is in intensive care after the limousine bus in which he was riding in was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.Sgt. First Class Greg Williams tells The Associated Press that the vehicle carrying the 45-year-old former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member and six others was involved in a six-vehicle accident on the turnpike near Cranbury Township at about 1 a.m. Saturday.Pic courtesy: APA spokesman at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, says a patient named Tracy Morgan is in critical condition there.Williams says one person riding in the bus was killed. There was no immediate word on the condition of others involved in the accident.Williams says two tractor-trailers, a sports utility vehicle and two cars, along with Morgan’s limo bus, were involved in the accident.The 45-year-old Morgan joined “Saturday Night Live” in 1996 and was on the sketch-comedy program for seven years before leaving to star in “The Tracy Morgan Show” in 2003. That show lasted just one season. In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role in NBC’s hit show “30 Rock,” which was created by SNL co-star Tina Fey.last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: Costa Rica vs Serbia Preview

first_imgAdvertisement(photo credits: livescore)The first match of Group E sees Costa Rica take on Serbia. This will be the first time ever that the two teams meet each other.Costa Rica have won each of their opening matches in world cup competition with the only exception coming in 2006 while Serbia have lost their previous 2 opening encounters.Leaving out the penalties Costa Rica were the only unbeaten side 2014 apart from Germany. With Costa Rica being tipped to make it to the knockouts they will look to get past this Serbian side.Here are the teams for the following match.Who’s ready for the first match of the day? Here are the teams for #CRCSRB 👀#WorldCup— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 17, 2018Also Read : FIFA World Cup 18: Lionel Messi :’I take full responsibility for missing the penalty and letting the team down.’ Advertisementlast_img read more

Ranking The Best College Football Programs By Conference

first_imgPower 5 conference logos.Predicting every team’s first loss. Last week the six of us here at College Spun ranked every Power 5 college football program, No. 66 to No. 1.  ConferencesPower 5.Each of us gave every team scores from 1-10 in five different categories: on-field performance, recruiting prowess, head coach, future hope, and stability. The max score a team could receive is 300 with 60 being the most points a team could received in each of the five categories. The rankings basically answer this question: which college football programs are best positioned for success now and into the future? Now, we’ll show you how the programs in each conference stack up against each other. Who’s best positioned for success in the ACC? Big 12? Big Ten? SEC? Pac-12? And finally, how do the conferences stack up against each other?So we’ll show you the rankings for each conference and then a ranking of the conferences against each other. Start With The ACC >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7last_img read more

China files WTO challenge to US 200B tariff plan

first_imgBEIJING, China – China announced it filed a World Trade Organization challenge Monday to President Donald Trump’s latest tariff threat, stepping up its diplomatic efforts to counter U.S. pressure in a spiraling technology dispute.The Trump administration has criticized the WTO as unable to deal with the problems posed by China, suggesting a challenge there might have little impact in Washington. But it might help Beijing rally support from governments that criticized Trump for going outside the WTO to impose tariffs on Chinese and other imports.The move is unusually swift, coming less than one week after the U.S. Trade Representative proposed 10 per cent tariffs on a $200 billion list of Chinese goods. Those wouldn’t take effect until at least September.China’s lopsided trade balance means it will run out of U.S. imports for penalty tariffs before Washington does. Beijing is trying to recruit support, so far in vain, from Europe, South Korea and other governments.“We are unable to fight equally,” said Tu Xingquan, director of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.Monday’s move “indicates that we value the role of the WTO rules,” said Tu.Washington imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing responded immediately by imposing identical penalties on a similar amount of American imports.It has criticized the latest tariff threat but has only about $80 billion of annual imports left for penalties.As for why Beijing hasn’t retaliated, “there might be some adjustment in China’s approach to countermeasures,” said Tu.Economists and business groups have suggested Beijing might try to disrupt operations of American companies, especially service industries, in which the United States runs a surplus. But Chinese officials have tried to appeal to American companies as allies.A Commerce Ministry spokesman said last week Beijing hoped they would lobby Washington to protect their own interests.last_img read more

Judge approves eviction of protesters from camp near pipeline construction site

first_imgOne protester threatened to “drop kick” and “kill” a fire official and an official from the parks department was chased away, he said.Camp Cloud has grown since November from a single trailer to include a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, an outdoor shower, more than a dozen tents and multiple vehicles and trailers.City of Burnaby lawyer Gregory McDade told the judge that while the city supports peaceful protests, the camp violates several bylaws, trespasses on city property and constitutes a public nuisance.The city has had a positive dialogue with a separate protest group that gathers around a structure known as the Watch House, he said. McDade said when the city communicated the fire ban to the Watch House protesters, they conducted a ceremony and extinguished their own sacred fire. VANCOUVER, B.C. – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has granted the City of Burnaby an injunction forcing pipeline protesters to take down their camp outside a Kinder Morgan terminal.Justice Geoffrey Gomery said all structures, shelters and vehicles must be removed from the site known as Camp Cloud within 48 hours of the order issued on Friday afternoon.The judge also ordered that a sacred fire burning under very dry conditions and near a Shell aviation fuel tank farm must be extinguished. Camp Cloud spokeswoman Kwitsel Tatel, who is named as a defendant, said in a statement that putting out the sacred fire or removing any of the camp’s buildings would be a violation of not only the right to free expression but also deeply held religious beliefs.She posted a “call for solidarity” on Facebook, hours before the ruling.“Our camp is unified and centred around the sacred fire, which since time immemorial, has been central to the governance of Indigenous peoples,” the post said.“We are a peaceful coalition that is gravely concerned for the national interest, respect, dignity of public interest, public health and the protection of safe and clean water for all our generations to come on these sacred lands of so-called Canada.”She said the group is raising awareness about the “ecocide and genocide” that is continuing to take place against Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, due to ongoing threats to water.Asked what she would do if the judge ruled in favour of the city, ahead of the ruling, she said only: “Good question for all ‘Canadians!’ ”(THE CANADIAN PRESS)center_img However, peaceful protesting is still permitted, he said. Individuals are allowed on the site as long as they do not build more structures and camp overnight.No one appeared in court on behalf of the protesters, although half a dozen supporters watched proceedings from the gallery.In his judgment, Gomery noted that an argument based on Aboriginal title claims could have in principle qualified. However, he said the position the protesters have advanced through media on that subject, so far as he understands it, is not arguable.There is no evidence the individuals are associated with the Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, which claim rights to the land in question, he said.Gomery also said he believed the focus of Camp Cloud has shifted over time.“It is, unfortunately, clear that the goals of the defendants and occupants of Camp Cloud have evolved. While they established the camp for the purpose of protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, they’ve now begun to view the campsite as their land. They’re blocking a public right of way and members of the public have been made to feel unwelcome,” he said.last_img read more

Regional District will continue to advocate for open conversation in Southern Mountain

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – On December 4 the Peace River Regional District announced that the Southern Mountain Caribou Program Meeting had been cancelled.The purpose of the meeting, initially scheduled for December 7, was to receive a delegation from Assistant Deputy Minister Jennifer McGuire, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy regarding the current status of the discussions regarding caribou recovery activities west of Chetwynd.In a release, PRRD says the reason for the cancellation was that Provincial representatives were not willing to attend the meeting to provide an update on the program. “Provincial representatives were not willing to attend the meeting to update the Board on the Southern Mountain Caribou. The Province will not deliver any information in an open meeting setting at this time. Provincial representatives have advised that they will reschedule as soon as possible to share information with the Board and the public about caribou recovery efforts in the region. In the interim, the Province has advised that they will deliver a public information bulletin to update the Peace River Regional Districtresidents on caribou conservation.”The Regional District says they are continuing to advocate for an open conversation with the Province and local governments regarding the status of the discussions about caribou recovery activities west of Chetwynd.“The PRRD is very adamant that consultation with local governments, industry, First Nations, and recreational groups is required to fully inform any decisions made to protect caribou populations, with the least impact to local economies and resident lifestyles.”A reschedule date for the meeting has yet to be announced.For more information, you can visit prrd.bc.calast_img read more