Conversations


Massachusetts Drought Forecasts a Turbulent Future

Brittle yellowed leaves cluttered Harvard Yard in early August, well before they typically change color. The fallen leaves are a symptom of a much larger problem: the significant drought currently affecting Massachusetts.


James Coleman’s Campaign of Necessity

When James H. Coleman returned to South San Francisco in March, he once again found himself faced with the inequalities that had shaped the city he grew up in. This time, he felt armed with the tools to change them.


The Digital Mental Health Revolution

“How do you immediately increase access to medical healthcare in a scalable, reliable way?” asks John Torous, the director of the digital psychiatry division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It really does have to come down to a technology in the smartphone.” Meet the man at the forefront of the digital mental health revolution.


Harvard's Billionaire in a Lab Coat

In April, Moderna shares skyrocketed when the company became one of the first in the U.S. to begin human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. Timothy Springer, a professor at Harvard Medical School and founding investor in Moderna, made headlines. His shares had made him a billionaire.


Research at the Intersections of COVID-19 Crisis Response

The AAPI COVID-19 Project, housed at Harvard’s Department of Sociology, comprises a team of eight researchers from multiple universities. Under Shaw’s leadership, they seek to investigate how COVID-19 — as both a virus and a social construction — is impacting Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities.


Empathy in Pandemic Fashion

Bodhi Parts is a progressive-branded fashion start-up founded by Kelsey Chen '22 that is working to stop stereotypes about Asian-Americans amid the Coronavirus pandemic and instead encourage people to empathize with others.


Professor Elizabeth Bartholet's Call for a Presumptive Ban on Homeschooling

Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law School professor, recently published a letter calling for stricter regulations on homeschooling, sparking a debate about issues ranging from government intervention in schooling to Harvard elitism.


Thrifting with They.Them.Their Closet

Only a few hours after Celine Cuadra ’22 and James N. Garavito ’22 launched their Instagram-based thrifting business venture @they.them.their.closet, they were darting across campus to meet new customers in dining halls, study spaces, and even their suite in Mather House. By the end of the night, they’d sold more than $100 of thrifted clothing.


Locked and Loaded Against COVID-19

“I think a lot of this has to do with a fear of the indeterminacy and the effect this pandemic will have on civil society,” says  Caroline Light, a Harvard senior lecturer on studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality whose research focuses largely on Americans’ relationship to lethal self-defense. Spikes in civil gun purchases often accompany moments of uncertainty or instability, such as periods of economic distress or widespread layoffs, Light explains. “As we see the social capacities of the government eroding, we see more and more people asking this question of, ‘How am I going to survive?’”


The Stuck at Home Edition

Before California’s statewide lockdown, Kader’s day job was as a children’s motivational speaker, traveling to elementary schools across California to speak about the importance of self-esteem and an active lifestyle. Following the ongoing shutdown of most California schools since March 18, Kader’s in-person assemblies are no longer possible.


A Harvard Epidemiologist's Reminder of Our Common Humanity

Nancy Krieger is a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Krieger is known for her theory of ecosocial disease distribution, which examines how different historical, societal, and ecological conditions are made manifest in the health outcomes of different social groups — in other words, how factors like economic inequality affect public health. Fifteen Minutes spoke with her about how the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the social determinants of health inequality and  what we can do to alleviate those inequities. This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.


A Global Comorbidity

When you zoom out, the interaction between the coronavirus pandemic and climate change is complicated and often reveals a dismal picture. New evidence suggests long-term exposure to air pollution may have made the disease more lethal, potentially exacerbating existing inequalities, while fossil fuel companies have attempted to leverage this moment to their advantage.


Seeking Asylum in a Pandemic

For 30 years, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a program administered by the Law School, has represented asylum-seekers and those at risk of deportation. Fifteen Minutes spoke with the clinic’s director, Sabrineh Ardalan, to discuss the impact of the recent changes on their clients.


A Harvard Handwashing Expert Weighs in on Corporate Responsibility Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Myriam Sidibe has a Ph.D. in handwashing. Well, almost. “If you look at it very literally, I don’t have a Ph.D. in handwashing: I have a doctorate in public health that is focused on handwashing with soap, and I spent the last 20 years thinking about handwashing with soap. That is the reality,” Sidibe clarifies.


A Harvard Scientist's Search for a Coronavirus Vaccine

Levy predicts that there will be a spectrum of reactions to the pandemic once it is over, ranging from demands for stricter border controls to calls for increased global cooperation. He hopes that the public doesn’t forget the crisis, but instead strengthens its dedication to public health, research, and vaccine development to prepare for future pandemics. He warns, “The next one is just around the corner.”


How Co-Teachers and COVID Transformed Ec 10

For Laibson, teaching Ec 10 is not merely an academically enriching experience but a morally significant one as well. “I see a profound moral obligation to help the next generation of leaders understand the most basic economic principles that they will deploy in all the realms of leadership that they will find themselves in,” Laibson explains. “Whether it’s running an NGO, or whether it’s serving in Congress, or whether it’s serving as the superintendent of a school district, or whether it’s being the president of the United States, many of whom came from Harvard.”


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