Sheetal Tallada

My mother was terrible at playing sick. A full six years old, I brandished my plastic, kid-sized stethoscope and faux-prescription pad, searching for the perfect diagnosis. Unfortunately, the perfect diagnosis was impossible because, well, my mother was perfectly healthy. Also, I had never been to medical school.

My passion for medicine spawned from wearing my career-day costume as a doctor in elementary school. I remember going to Costco. I was trying to decide between a hairdresser and doctor costume for my elementary school’s career day. A smile radiated from my face with my plastic stethoscope around my neck and my plastic auriscope in my hand. Since that day, I’ve tried to implement medicine in everything.

My mother tells me that your education is the only thing that cannot be taken away from you. As her daughter, it was a blessing to know that my desired career path was something that my family would accept and value. But a few questions still lingered in my head. “Am I just good at science, or do I love science? Is there more to medicine than just being capable of doing it? Will practicing medicine fulfill me?” I realized that the answers to these questions were not going to be found within myself. I would have to look at my surroundings, especially Medicine’s impact on other people.

Being an avid traveler (along with having many relatives in India), I have visited my parents’ hometowns multiple times. Culturally driven and exotic, these places satisfied me. However, they also had many poverty stricken areas, and it was evident that healthcare there was not well-regulated.

My grandfather suffers from multiple medical problems, including Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s causes a drastic reduction in dopamine levels in the brain and can emerge because of genetics, age, sex, enviroment, or a combination of these factors. If my grandfather lived in the United States, he would have access to medication, physical therapy, or even surgery. However, the only treatment option he has in India is medication, and the medication that he uses has many side effects, such as indigestion, tremors, and nausea. I have seen him before and after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I know how debilitating a neurological disease can be.

My grandfather isn’t the only one who emotionally affects me. When I travel, I always see someone suffering from a physical, medical problem. In the First-world, we recognize that many people suffer from medical issues, but we rarely internalize the severity of the disease or disorder and how it impacts their life.

By the time I was in high school, I realized that I wasn’t just ‘good’ at science, but I could also directly help people like my grandfather by practicing medicine. I started to do research on a specific type of protein (Alpha-synuclein) that causes Parkinson’s when misfolded. I spent two years on this research, testing various natural medications that would reduce the amount of Alpha-synuclein. I ended up presenting my findings at the Ohio State Science Fair both years.

I also researched alternative treatment options for Parkinson’s. I volunteered at the InMotion Parkinson’s Awareness Center in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, which is a non-profit that focuses on using exercise to slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Volunteering there inspired me to modify current treatments in disorders and to make treatments more accessible

At this point, I realized that medicine requires more than just competence and an extensive education; it requires compassion. In this path of self discovery, I was able to find my interests in my surroundings. My pathway towards finding my passion made me realize that even without the best resources, one is able to find their way to implicate their interests. From my grandfather to my project, I realized that I do have dedication and passion for medicine. I plan to take this same passion and implement it into my education in order to enhance my future career in medicine.

Yes, I am too old to play doctor with my mom now, and I cannot force my mom to play sick anymore, but I still would love to have a stethoscope around my neck—a real one. I want to have that same smile radiating from my face, but this time, I want it to stem from the satisfaction of helping others in need.

Rings by Elena Ruiz

Rand Burnette

Fragrant Love

Love as strong as an acid,
Love as organic as carboxylic.
Sweet as dilute alcohol,
As consensual as volatile.
In those hot days of summer,
And the world’s constant hygroscopy,
Our bodies would touch and cleave,
Bonds would break; pieces leave.
Remember I still do,
Of the way we reacted,
Releasing vapor as we condensed.
Both our bodies lose sourness
Esterify into fragrance
Exuding our holy scent
For others to bottle and perfume.
Only to undo the whole thing
To return to status quo 
All it took was for time
For time to add a trickle.

Happy Kassaye

Clair Boothe Luce at Kenyon

Yiyi Ma

There is a historic disparity between men and women PhD scientists in math, statistics, physics and chemistry—also known as the “physical sciences”. In a 2017 report released by Elsevier, of all of the US physicists and astronomers who published articles, reviews or conference proceedings, only 21% of these scientists were women. Despite the small number of women scientists, their publications tended to be cited and downloaded just as much as their male colleagues. For many disciplines in the physical sciences, the drop-off in women is most stark between undergraduate and PhD tracks. For some disciplines such as physics, the pipeline starts leaking even earlier. Although the problem is evident, the solution we are searching for is unfortunately complex. Questions we must consider include how the lack of women in academic administration influences the prospects of younger women interested in science, as well as the effect of deeply ingrained, gendered stereotypes of whether women belong in STEM or not. Oftentimes, the answer is not as clear-cut and quantitative as we would prefer to see. However, the most important truth is obvious: we must support our fellow women scientists as they pursue their paths—especially those who are interested in math, statistics, physics and chemistry.  

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The Women

How a Socially Conservative American Ambassador, Congresswoman and Feminist Playwright Funded Generations of Female Physical Scientists

India Kotis

In 1936, The Women, a satirical social commentary and comedy of errors, opened for the first time on Broadway. Penned by Clare Boothe Luce and featuring an all-female cast of forty-two, The Women shed light on a world rarely seen on stage in 1936: The menless, empty days of aristocratic Upper West Side women; their petty gossip, at times their woeful cluelessness, their lively comedy and their and messy, groping humanity–what Luce herself referred to as a “bedraggled bit of Park Avenue plumage.” Enjoying Broadway revivals in 1973 and in 2001, as well as a blockbuster cinema adaptation in 1938, the play was remarkable in and of itself for Luce’s quick wit and masterful manipulation of language. What made the show truly unique, however, was Luce’s voluminous, unilateral cast list.

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Chris Bechtol

Four days before May Day celebrations were to take place in the Soviet Ukrainian city of Pripyat’, the nearby Chornobyl (Russian: Chernobyl) nuclear power plant’s Reactor 4 melted down. As a result, extremely high levels of radiation were released into the air and into the Chornobyl reservoir, which was an offshoot of the Dnipro (Dnieper) River, which ultimately feeds into the Black Sea. The Soviet authorities initially tried to cover up the meltdown, and until Swedish weather personnel discovered the huge cloud of radiation migrating over towards Norway coming from close to the Ukranian-Belarusian border, the coverup worked. As 2019 marks the 33rd year since the meltdown, the remains of the towns within the Exclusion Zone offer a unique insight into how the environment reclaims lands taken by humans. 

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The Half Life of Marie Curie

Grant Holt

In 1920, Marie Curie developed cataracts. The first female professor hired at Paris’ elite Sorbonne had to write her lecture notes in huge letters and rely on her daughters to guide her around campus. We understand today that exposure to radiation can be harmful to the lens of the eyes. Marie, unfortunately, lived in a time where the hazards of radiation were not taken seriously.

 But Marie was not ignorant to radiation’s dangers. She advocated lead screens and blood tests for those working with radioactive materials. In her own laboratory, Marie tested her researchers’ blood counts. She firmly believed that only trained personnel should handle radioactive materials. At the expense of her own health, Marie’s efforts protected others from dangerous exposure to radiation. In 1934, she developed aplastic anemia, and her body stopped producing new blood cells. Marie Curie died on July 4, 1934, at the age of sixty six.

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