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Saying "Yes"

(03/13/12 3:31am)

The first thing I did when I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa last October was buy a car, and the first thing that car did was break down. Just after 8 p.m. one evening, I was driving down an unlit highway off-ramp when my newly purchased 1987 Toyota Corolla shuddered, heaved and then lurched to a dead stop. At the time, I had been the owner of this fine vehicle for approximately 35 minutes.


(05/02/11 9:00am)

It begins with saying goodbye. Goodbye to your weird artsy high school and to your weird artsy high school friends. Goodbye to the lanky, sarcastic boy who was the first to ever pay attention to you, to the way that sunsets look sprawled out against the Rocky Mountains, to your parents’ joint custody and to your fat black dog. This is goodbye (although you don’t know this yet) to the days when words like “Shooters” and “boat shoes” meant nothing to you. Nothing at all.

Portrait of a Yearbook

(03/16/11 8:00am)

Before Elizabeth Dole was North Carolina’s first female senator, before she was a would-be first lady and, in fact, before she was even Elizabeth Dole, she was the president of the student government of Duke’s Women’s College. In the 1958 issue of The Chanticleer, the Duke yearbook, she sits front and center in the photograph of the Women’s Student Government Association Council, wearing a blazer and a single strand of pearls and flashing a toothy smile. Elsewhere in the book Dole, then Mary Elizabeth Hanford, folds her hands primly in her lap as she poses with her sorority Delta Delta Delta, sits robed in black with the rest of the women’s judicial board and finds herself scrunched between “Hanes, Elizabeth” and “Hankins, Robert” in the senior class portraits. And in every one of the photos, she’s wearing those same pearls.

Party of one

(01/18/11 11:00am)

“I am not interesting,” I said firmly in French, my syllables clipped and assertive. The Senegalese salesman dangling fabrics in front of my face looked at me curiously. “Look, I said, I’m not interesting,” I repeated and turned sharply away, back into the bustle of the market.

Mind the (Gender) Gap

(09/22/10 8:00am)

The gender gap in math and science is not hard to find—just scroll through the mathematics department’s faculty roster, where out of 28 tenured professors, just one is female. Or take a jaunt across the E-quad--less than a third of Pratt undergrads are women. MIT even has a popular saying about this phenomenon. For female students seeking boyfriends, the odds are good…but the goods are odd.

The Haiti Lab: An atypical lab aims to understand the country

(06/30/10 10:22am)

For the heads of a laboratory, Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson have an unusual set of credentials. Yes, you can call them “doctor,” but look closely: those PhD’s are in history and French. They spend far more time combing Caribbean archives than mixing chemicals and they know more about Haitian Creole than the periodic table.

Ladies First

(04/23/10 8:00am)

In the Fall of 1972, 900 students packed into Page Auditorium to listen to President Terry Sanford deliver his opening remarks to the inaugural class of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. In many ways, the group of fresh-faced first-years gathered that night resembled those who had come before them—privileged, white Southerners at a regional university whose star was beginning to rise nationally. But there was one characteristic that made this class different: among their ranks were 300 women who would attend Duke alongside their male colleagues for the first time.