Microbial Social Equity

Amber Benezra, assistant professor of science and technology studies, is a member of the Microbes and Social Equity (MSE) Working Group, which seeks "to understand the interplay of microorganisms, individuals, societies, and ecosystems."

Integral to health and development, microorganisms link humans to the natural world. Sociopolitical contexts, however, dictate an individual's engagement with microbiomes, as access to clean air, food and water, safe shelter, social interactions, and beneficial medicine affect microbial wellness.

In their recent article published by mSystems, these authors "outline opportunities for integrating microbiology and social equity work through broadening education and training; diversifying research topics, methods, and perspectives; and advocating for evidence-based public policy that supports sustainable, equitable, and microbial wealth for all."

Released on Nintendo Switch

On August 6, The Last Survey, a narrative visual novel created by Nicholas O'Brien, assistant professor of visual arts and technology, will become available on Nintendo Switch.

In this game, the player must encourage their virtual employer "to reconsider the consequences of his actions that have a devastating influence on our planet." A total of 1,500 hand-illustrated sketches make up its black and white animations, and this game of choices inspires players to keep an eye on environmental crises. 

Be sure to watch the game's trailer, released by publisher

Ranked Choice Voting

In this summer's elections, New York City residents used ranked-choice voting for the first time. This system enables voters to preferentially list up to five candidates, and if no candidate appears as the majority's first choice, the vote is recalculated using voters' rankings.

The Washington Post recently published an article, written by Lindsey Cormack, assistant professor of political science, and Jack Santucci, that explains the new system and considers its promise to eliminate "spoilers." 

Read the piece today to learn if this new voting system can truly end the "spoiler effect."

Meet The College's Class of 2021

stock photo of DNA

Madison Gemma

Graduating from the science, technology and society program, Madison Gemma completed the capstone project, "The CRISPR Crossroad: A Cure for Genetic Disease or Beginning of 'Neo-Eugenics?'".

The project explores ethical questions about CRISPR, a "genetic scissor" that enables researchers to edit genomes. "Using the history of eugenics as a starting point, I argue that CRISPR replicates and is an extension of the foundation of eugenics under the definition of ‘neo-eugenics,'" wrote Gemma. "‘Neo-eugenics’ is the theoretical and clinical approach to manipulating physical and mental attributes for a desired outcome on a molecular level via gene editing."

Learn more about Gemma's research.

stock photo of people voting

Laina Emmons

Graduating from the social science program, Laina Emmons completed the capstone project, "COVID-19’s Impact on the 2020 Election: Turnout in Hotspots."

"Constitutionally, each state is responsible for handling its own elections," explained Emmons. "This setup has enough hurdles and discrepancies, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, differences between state capacity and willingness were starker."

See how Emmons' research uncovered "the relationship, if any, between a county's COVID-19 death rate and its subsequence impact on voter turnout."

Summer Events

Upcoming Webinars

The Writing & Communications Center's webinars help attendees develop fundamental communication skills, and graduates, undergraduates, staff, faculty, and alumni are all invited.

Find webinar descriptions, registration details, and Zoom links on

Employment-ready Resumes
August 4 — 3 p.m.

Crafting The Perfect Cover Letter
August 11 — 3 p.m.

Edit Like A Pro
August 18 — 3 p.m.

Is Information Everything?

Astrobiologist Caleb Scharf, director of the Astrobiology Center at Columbia University, is a leader in the quest to find extraterrestrial life. In this upcoming Center for Science Writings talk, he will discuss the theme of his acclaimed new book, “The Ascent of Information,” which argues that the fundamental stuff of reality is not matter but information. Lee Billings of Scientific American says that Scharf presents “a transformative new way of looking at our increasingly data-driven existence.”

Wednesday, September 29 — 4 - 5 p.m.
Location: TBA


Can We Avert Climate Catastrophe?

Journalist David Wallace-Wells, who writes for New York Magazine and other media, is the author of the bestseller "The Uninhabitable Earth," hailed by The Washington Post as "this generation's Silent Spring" and by The New York Times as "a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.” Wallace-Wells will discuss this book in the upcoming Center for Science Writings talk.

Wednesday, October 20 — 4 - 5 p.m.
Location: TBA

Announcements & More

Keep in Touch!

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