Category: Campus Events

Theatre with the Barnstormers’


Name: Maura Kanter

Year: Class of 2017

Majors: History, Theatre Studies minor

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Theatre with the Barnstormers’

There are so many amazing clubs and organizations here at Hopkins. And though I would say my primary activity here on campus is acting in Barnstormers’ productions, I split my time between working in Undergraduate Admissions, giving tours for Blue Key Society, and dancing with Listen-Up Tap. I have been a performer all my life. I started tap dancing when I was two years old and have intermittently done so since then. I’ve acted in school and community theater productions since I was in first grade and I was a figure skater for five years in middle and high schools. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to do theater and dance in college. I am so glad I changed my mind! I spend a lot of my time preparing for Barnstormers’ productions. The Barnstormers’ put on a total of 6 shows a year here on campus. We have two main-stage productions, the Fall play and the Spring musical. For these shows we hire a professional director. I had never worked with a professional director in any capacity before being cast in my first Barnstormers’ production, last year’s musical Carousel. The experience that the cast and crew gains from working with actual members of the professional theater community is invaluable. I was not expecting such a vibrant theater community at Hopkins. Though we aren’t the most prominent group on campus, we are always excited when new people join our casts and crews.DSC_1203

This year I have been lucky enough to have been cast in three of our Barnstormers’s productions this year, the Fall play, the Intersession play, and the Spring musical. In the Fall, we put up a production of Is He Dead?, a comedy by Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives, for our Fall play. It is a very entertaining show, very loosely based on the life of the French painter Jean-Francois Millet, filled with hoop skirts, cross-dressing, and mistaken identities. I played Madame Caron, one half of the comedy duo, The Mesdames, two fairly ridiculous women who are friends with Millet. To say I had fun being one of the Mesdames would be a gross understatement. My partner in crime was Kathleen Lewis. We decided to do our hair in such a fashion as to invoke thoughts of poodles and other dogs. Our eccentrics and bizarre synchronized lines were so much fun to play. The Intersession show was of a slightly different nature. We put up a production of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. I played Kate Jerome, the matriarch of Jewish household in Brooklyn in the 1930’s. The show is a somewhat intense Dramadey about this struggling household and their relationships. The more emotional moments are helpfully pocketed by Eugene’s, the protagonist, lines about his struggles with puberty. Our Spring musical this year is Company, by Stephen Sondheim. It is a fantastic musical all about a group of married couples and their mutual, and perpetually commitment-phobic, friend Bobby. I am playing Joanne, a very acerbic and drunk woman who is, needless to say, fairly unhappy by the way her life has turned out. I’m so excited to be able to play Joanne. She’s the kind of character I can just sink my teeth into. I don’t think there are any limits to her. I could do pretty much anything and it would be acceptable within the range of her possible character actions.  DSC_1046

There are a lot of wonderful aspects to the theater community here at Hopkins. The Barnstormers’ are such a huge part of my Hopkins experience in general, and I have been so fortunate to be a part of this community. I love how we constantly strive for excellence, whether it be in our sets, costumes, lighting, sound, or acting. The people in the theater community are what really make it special. Audiences never realize what people are doing backstage, most of the time right before they step onstage. Often we are adjusting our costume pieces, hoop skirts always present a rather interesting challenge, or drinking as much water as we can before we go on stage. Someone almost always realizes that they forgot they had to use the restroom, and they don’t have another break until intermission. Quick changes are hysterical backstage, and the source of a great deal of our laughter backstage. There is often a group of cast and crew members interpretive dancing to the songs being performed on the stage. I always think the best parts of the show are happening backstage. I would not trade my theatrical experiences here at Hopkins for anything. I was not expecting to be involved with theater to this extent in college, but without it, my experience at Hopkins would be woefully lacking.DSC_0004

RELAY the Message


Name: Alexa Mechanic
Year: 2014
Hometown: Amawalk, New York
Majors/Minor: Writing Seminars & English majors, Psychology minor

On hearing the group name “Relay For Life,” many people ask me how I can possibly run all night long, even for such a great cause. Well, if you’re one of those people who has evaded Relay For Life in the past out of a fear of having to run for twelve hours, you’re in luck. Relay For Life actually requires no athletic ability at all – it is an annual, all night event full of ceremonies, games, entertainment and food, and the purpose is to fundraise as much money as possible to support the American Cancer Society. Teams generally take turns sending one member to walk the track so that one person from every team is walking at all times. Relay For Life is, internationally, the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraiser. 100% of donations go to the ACS, where they are divided up into funds that help support Hope Lodges, provide rides to treatment centers for cancer patients, connect cancer patients with survivors who can relate to them, sponsor scholarships for cancer survivors, and, of course, contribute to the search for a cure.

Just a cool side note – Relay For Life stems from the efforts of one dedicated man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, who actually ran for 24 hours around a track in 1985 – for more than 83 miles – to raise money to fight cancer. Over 300 of his friends watched and donated as Klatt proved that, cliché as it is, impossible is nothing. He raised $27,000 in 24 hours. If one man can succeed at such a feat, imagine what we can do as an entire campus.

When I first arrived at Hopkins and attended the awesome and very overwhelming Student Activities Fair, I signed up for the Relay For Life e-mail list; my town at home never had a Relay, so I was excited to become a part of the group and apply to be marketing & publicity co-chair. So many people in my family and so many of my friends have lost people close to them to this horrible disease, and its prevalence in our society terrifies me – I wanted to join Relay to fight back. Fortunately, I became marketing & publicity co-chair, and I loved being on the executive board so much that I reapplied and still hold the position. Our event co-chairs and the executive board work extremely hard all year to create, plan, and fundraise for this event, and our goal is to get the entire campus and the Baltimore community to come out and support this amazing cause (while having fun and making a difference simultaneously).


Relay For Life at Hopkins takes place on the upper Quad (unless it rains, in which case we move to the indoor track at the Rec Center – equally as fun), and I can vouch that the entire night is beautiful in a million different ways. Despite the fact that I helped plan the event last year, I had no idea what to expect. After finishing set-up and successfully constructing a balloon arch, we watched as people started streaming in. The night was crisp, clear and a little bit windy, as we later learned in the Luminaria ceremony. Teams pitched their tents all around the quad, fundraising stations popped up everywhere (think tons of bake sales, inflatable jousting, video game stations, cotton candy, etc.), and the quad truly came to life with the community’s collective enthusiasm. The cancer survivors at the event start off the night with the kick-off lap; it is a remarkable sight to watch them walk together, reminding us why we Relay in the first place. This part of the night comprises the “celebrate” aspect of the “celebrate, remember, fight back” slogan as we seek to celebrate the lives of these strong, inspirational cancer survivors.

Next is the Luminaria ceremony, which is aesthetically beautiful – the quad is lined with paper Luminaria bags that each hold a burning candle, and we usually try to spell out “Hope” in Luminaria bags on the Gilman steps. These bags honor individual people touched by cancer, and the mere number of bags present at the event has a huge emotional impact on everyone in attendance. Last year, it was so windy that some of the bags lit on fire… it was almost disastrous, but we were luckily prepared with back-up electric candles! Luminaria is part of the “remember” ceremony – we remember the lives of those who lost their battles, but it is also motivation for the “fight back” ceremony for those in the midst of cancer. In the actual “fight back” ceremony, everyone makes a personal commitment to save lives by joining the fight against cancer.

Relay at JHU was a blast – my friends and I had a great time while supporting an outstanding cause. My favorite part of the night was when my friend Lindsay and I sprinted around the track at two or three in the morning due to the insane amount of sugar we consumed (how can you say no to a cupcake that will support the fight against cancer?). I stayed almost all night – my spring allergies were in full throttle so actually sleeping outside was not looking too promising – and I groggily returned to the quad very early on Saturday morning to help clean up. The most dedicated Relayers were welcoming the morning from their tents, and I took a moment to take in what I had been a part of the night before. It feels good to take a stand against cancer, and it feels even better when you see all of your hard work come together between the Gilman steps and our good friend Milton E. Eisenhower, culminating in this rare unification of the community with one goal in mind: stopping cancer in its tracks.

There is no doubt that Relay For Life at JHU will be even better this year. To top the crazy dance party that broke out in the middle of the night last year, Relay has invited some of the campus’ top entertainment groups to come and perform. Some groups include Adoremus, S.L.A.M., the Eclectics, Vivaz, JOSH, the Sirens, the Octopodes, the Vocal Chords, the Allnighters and JHEC. If that doesn’t convince you, what if I told you that Miss Maryland will be here to help out with the notorious Miss Relay Pageant? You do NOT want to miss this.

We are less than 15 days away from the event – we are looking to raise over $80,000, and we are only at a little over $27,000! Relay is Friday April 13th at 7 PM – Saturday April 14th at 7 AM – you don’t have to stay the whole time, but we hope that you come out and support Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society. You can sign up at by either joining an existing team or creating your own team. Check to see if your favorite student group has a team – if they don’t, start one! There is a $10 registration fee that goes directly to the American Cancer Society – it’s easy to find $10 floating around, and you can even skip out on coffee for a day or so to come up with the money! When it comes down to it, it’s one night, one fight – spending your Friday night on D-Level is not an excuse to skip out on this event. Cancer’s prevalence in our society is alarming, and there is no reason that Hopkins cannot surpass our past fundraising goals and become a top fundraising school.

One night, one fight. Relay the message, and I hope to see you there.

Joining Greek Life: Perspectives from a Senior


Name: Danielle Nemzer

Year: 2012

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA

Major: Public Health Studies


In my opinion, one of the reasons why spring semester is the best semester here at Johns Hopkins is because sorority and fraternity recruitment happens during the first week back on campus! About 25% of students are involved in Greek life here, and just two weeks ago we invited 192 new women into the Panhellenic sorority community. This year we had some of the highest numbers of women go through recruitment – all four chapters handed out invitations to 45-plus women to join their group. I’ve been involved in Greek life since I was a freshman, when I joined Phi Mu. It has given me the opportunity to take on a bunch of leadership roles; last year I assumed the Assistant Membership Director role for my sorority, and this year I’ve acted as the President of the Panhellenic Council, which is the organization which overlooks all of sorority life on campus. As Panhellenic President, I got insight into the sorority and fraternity recruitment process like I had never seen it before. It was a really fun start to the semester.

Sorority recruitment is different here at Hopkins than at other schools. It happens during beginning of the spring semester, only spans about 4 days, and is really an exciting time for both the current sisters and the potential new members. Everyone who goes through recruitment makes a ton of new friends, even those who decide not to join a group. The best night of recruitment, however, is the final night – Invitation Night – that’s when “bids” to join a specific sorority are given out. The way that Invitation Night works is that we arrange a room with almost two hundreds chairs in the middle of it. Every chair has an envelope which will contain an invitation to join a sorority for the women who have decided to go through recruitment start-to-finish. Women from each sorority come into the room and are cheering and dancing and yelling (and wearing matching t-shirts), and then there is a big countdown for the potential new members to open up their envelopes and see which sorority they have the opportunity to join! It’s very loud, exciting and the energy in the room is absolutely electric. After the women open up their envelopes, they run to their new sisters and there is a lot of hugging and happy tears. Writing this out doesn’t come close explaining how much fun this evening is – I guess you’ll just have to experience it next year!

Fraternity recruitment is less formal, and it is going on right now as I write this blog. Fraternities will host events, like Wings and Pizza Night or Duckpin Bowling to get to know boys who are interested in joining. Fraternities are a lot smaller that sororities here at Hopkins, and most of them invite around 20 students to join each year. The events that fraternities will plan range from “Duck Duck Goose Night” (still unsure what that means) to heading down to DC for a Wizards basketball game.

If you decide to come to Hopkins, I highly recommend checking out Greek life. It’s one of the most vibrant, exciting, and involved communities we have here on campus!

Outdoor Pursuits Pre-Orientation


Name: M.C. Berger
Year: Class of 2014
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Major: History of Art
If you ask me what my best decision has been so far at Hopkins, I think I’ll surprise you in saying that is was also one of my first. When I was a mere pre-frosh, I decided to go on one of the Pre-Orientation trips offered by Outdoor Pursuits. Going on Pre-Orientation, or PreO in Hopkins jargon, was an adventurous decision for me. To put it lightly, I was a city girl. Born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, my idea of spending “a week outside” was going to the beach everyday with warm hot showers at night in a hotel.
Nevertheless, I decided that I should try something new and make some friends before I was caught in the whirlwind that is Freshman Orientation. Somehow, I not only survived, but actually loved my week in the backcountry on Canoeing and Hiking Pre-Orientation. For four days we paddled the Potomac River, and then hiked the Appalachian Trail for three days. It was the first time I had slept outside for more than a night at a time, and it was definitely the first time I went a whole week without showering. I don’t want to get all tear-jerker on you here, but I met my to be best friend and now roommate, Jen, on PreO, and I looked up to my leaders like idols. My leads told me all about what to expect from classes, dorm life, parties, etc., and each night Jen and I would get in our sleeping bags and wonder what our new lives were going to be like.
I think the best thing about PreO is that it doesn’t end when the week is over. When we got back to campus, my group got our cell phones back (finally!) and we immediately all exchanged numbers. The first few weeks of school, my leaders would check in on me regularly, asking how I liked my classes, letting me know what they would be up to that Saturday night, and telling me the best places to eat near campus. About a few weeks into school, my leaders approached me and asked if I was interested in becoming a leader myself. Had they forgotten that I was the girl who showed up in a white dress and leather boots to the first day? Well, needless to say I applied.
I was selected as a Canoeing leader, and a few months later I picked up Kayaking too. Outdoor Pursuits has become like a family to me. When people ask me why I love PreO, my answer is always the same: the people. I can go out into the backcountry any weekend, but only during that one week of the year does the PreO spirit come alive. So make the best decision you’ll make at Hopkins before you even get here, and join me and forty-six of my best friends/fellow leaders on Pre-Orientation 2012.

Reading All About It


Name: Katherine Simeon

Year: Class 0f 2014

Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ

Major: Cognitive Science


One of the more overwhelming events during Orientation would be the Student Activities Fair. Although the color-coded map may help, it does not completely alleviate the feeling of getting lost in a sea of tables and eager upperclassmen passing out fliers and urging you to sign their email list.

So after a couple hours of wandering around the recreation center, signing around 20 or so email lists and listening to a student talk about his organization for half an hour, there is still no chance to drop by the Quidditch Team’s table. And even after collecting enough fliers to feel like an orgo textbook is weighing down your arm, you do not know which of the five clubs meetings to attend that all happen to be next Monday at 7 p.m.

The Cover-Letter, an annual edition of the News-Letter specifically for freshmen

Fortunately, I’m going to make the answer easy for you: The News-Letter, Johns Hopkins’s student newspaper.

As a premier research university, many students come to Hopkins to become doctors (both M.D. and Ph.D.), to learn from Nobel Prize Winners, and to discover brilliant things. Many seem to forget about the publications that are not research journals –the News-Letter, the Black and Blue Jay (Hopkins’s humor magazine), Thoroughfare (one of multiple literary magazines on campus), and others– which make a significant contribution to campus life.

Joining The News-Letter was one of the most rewarding decisions I made during the first semester of my freshman year. Although I was relatively experienced with news publications and journalism during high school, The News-Letter pushed me into an entirely new atmosphere where I had a lot to learn. When doing my research for stories, I encountered some amazing organizations and people on campus that I might have neglected otherwise. By writing feature articles, I have seen the diversity of the great clubs on campus, from the Ultimate Frisbee team to S.E.E.D. (Students Educating and Empowering for Diversity). Through my interviews, I met a fellow student who is a national ping-pong star and a senior who just wrapped up her research as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. I’ve had great conversations with professors from all different disciplines –from chemistry to policy studies. In fact, one of these professors will now be my advisor as I enter my sophomore year as a Cognitive Science major.

The News-Letter Office

Working for a publication was a great break from stoichiometry and integrals. I receive valuable feedback from editors and fellow students that I have great respect for without having to worry about a grade. Plus, you do not need to be a writer to make a contribution. A strong publication requires work in art and photography, business and marketing, management, and technology –it is truly a multi-disciplinary activity and a team effort.

Through The News-Letter, I immersed myself in a new environment and embraced many different perspectives that I did not expect to find when I started college. I always hope that through my writing, I can give my readers a similar experience. Campus publications give great insight to what is going on at the university, both academically and socially. They reveal the interests, values, and opinions of the students. I realize that working in writing, art, marketing, and other aspects of a publication will not be of interest to everyone. But while you decide what clubs to join at the beginning of the school year (or, if you are a prospective student, wondering what to make of all the stops on the grand college road trip), perusing The JHU News-Letter –or any other campus publication for that matter– may prove to be helpful.

IBM at Johns Hopkins


Name: Brian Shell

Year: Class of 2012

Hometown: Aberdeen, NJ

Major: Environmental Engineering

In this guest blog entry, I’m writing to talk about a really incredible opportunity that I was fortunate enough to be a part of last week.

I serve as an Alumni Student Ambassador here at Johns Hopkins – a role I picked up last year that allows me to help the Office of Alumni Relations with events and to meet some great Hopkins alumni in the process. Additionally, as a member of the Student Admissions Advisory Board, I’m heavily involved with all that you see here on Hopkins Interactive – from our message boards to blogs to our annual Insider’s Guide to Johns Hopkins.

The event was the IBM Centennial Lecture – the first installation in a nation-wide lecture tour commemorating IBM’s history and focusing on its development of leaders. I guess this was probably my first surprise – while I knew that IBM was a long-standing player in the technology industry, I don’t think I ever made the connection that they were turning 100 years old this year. The second surprising fact I learned was that the speaker, Sam Palmisano, President, CEO, and Chairman of IBM, was a Hopkins graduate. If you’re at all like me, you probably thought that Mr. Palmisano studied applied mathematics or one of our engineering disciplines. Another surprise – he was a history major!

So as is common practice, our Ambassador team helped to staff the event and engage with our visitors. I was asked to serve a special role – to work with IBM’s social media team to provide live-tweeting and blog coverage of the event. This came about from my involvement with Hopkins Interactive and all that we do here. I was put in contact with Jenny, an IBMer who works with their social media team. Jenny and I both live-tweeted during the lecture. All of our tweets have the tag #ibm100 and you can see a few of mine in the photo below.

The event itself was really cool – Mr. Palmisano spoke a great deal about what it means to be a leader. He included a few fun anecdotes about his time at Hopkins – including as a member of Blue Jays Football. I also really liked how he developed a message about IBM’s constant innovation through examples of IBM projects that were spun off or became other innovations themselves.

Mr. Palmisano also spoke about the future of IBM and the industry as a whole. One area where IBM is really innovating is using sensors and real-time data analytics to manage big time fields like law enforcement, medicine, and yes – water. As an environmental engineering major, I have to admit I do not immediately think of IBM when I think of water. Everyone knows water and computers don’t mix. But IBM has developed a fascinating software solution to manage water treatment facilities using sensors and analytics – there are more details here.

I have also been given the opportunity to guest blog on IBM’s Building a Smarter Planet blog, which is a tremendous honor. I’m hoping to write about the interface of leadership and IBM’s projects on water management, alongside my own education and development in this field.

This is certainly not something that I ever thought would have been part of my Hopkins experience when I was a prospective student three years ago. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity to be involved with the social media initiatives that are taking the ideas from the lecture and sharing them with the world. It really opened my eyes to the way we can use technology in all fields and the way leadership development is so critical to moving forward.

For more information about the lecture, check out the JHU Gazette’s coverage:

Behind the Scenes – Lupe Fiasco


Name: Brian Shell

Year: Class of 2012

Hometown: Aberdeen, NJ

Program of Study: Environmental Engineering


My involvement with the Hopkins Organization for Programming (the HOP) has an interesting story. I went to the Student Activities Fair during Orientation, just like every freshman does at Hopkins. I actually went with a friend from my floor, Jeff. We made our way through the tables and saw that one group was giving out t-shirts. T-shirts! The king of free stuff – we had to get one. So we waited in line and signed up to receive emails about the HOP so that we could get one. And now, entering my junior year, I’m co-chair of the HOP. It’s funny how things happen like that. Of course there are much better reasons for why I’m co-chair of the HOP than just the free t-shirts. But they do help.

The HOP is responsible for all of the student life and “fun” events on campus. Every other year or so, we are able to throw a big, large-scale concert for the campus community. On October 1st of this year, we were able to bring Lupe Fiasco and Big Sean to campus. Lupe is a rapper who has recently risen to pretty high levels of fame – his songs are on the radio, etc. It was an incredible undertaking and I’d like to give you a glimpse of what goes into the physical execution on the “day of” something like that.

We all arrived at the Rec Center in the pre-7 AM darkness. Soon enough, three tractor-trailers full of stage, lights, sound equipment, and other gear appeared. We formed assembly lines and began unloading the equipment piece-by-piece. Fortunately we had the help of some student groups and fraternities for the heavy lifting. And this year the trucks came with elevator docks on the back which made easy work. As the hospitality chair, I was responsible for obtaining all of the items requested by the artists and their crew. AKA, my SUV was jam-packed.

The gym begins to look less like a gym as the stage supports are brought in one-by-one.

There were three of these trucks full of equipment to unload

And my car full of hospitality supplies for the artists, their crews, and our dedicated volunteers.

Throughout the course of the day, more equipment was loaded in. Soon it was time for the artists to arrive for their sound checks. This was when my Hospitality team really kicked into action. We had to coordinate a catered meal for 30 crew members, attend to the dressing rooms, and get any last minute items. I also was off to pick up Big Sean and his crew at their hotel.

Lights up, security barriers in place.

Security lines established out front of the Rec Center.

This speaker weighs 1500 pounds.

Everything was ready to roll at this point. At 5PM, people began to show up and form lines outside of the Rec Center. After our security officers checked everyone’s bags and we scanned their tickets, they eagerly rushed in and found spots on the floor of the gym. The show was, in a word, awesome. More than 1800 people ended up filling the gym to witness a lively, entertaining show. There were even a few Hopkins shout outs from the performers. It made it all worth it.

The crowd in the Rec Center.

Members of the HOP with Big Sean.

What few of the 1,800 people realize though was all of the work also involved in the break-down of the stage and equipment. While setup isn’t fun, it’s not as bad as teardown. We were fortunate in that we were done by Midnight – normally we’re looking at 2AM or later for something of this scale. But many hands and a team that worked well together made for quick work.

It’s all in a day’s work.

Overall, the event was a great success. We sold some 1,300 tickets in our first hour of ticket sales and were completely sold out just 12 hours later. Dean Boswell, who is responsible for all Student Life activities, related to us that she had never seen an event go that well here at Hopkins. We are truly proud and are excitedly planning events for next semester. To learn more about the HOP, visit

Doggie Date Auction


Name: Anne Mumford

Year: Class of 2010

Hometown: Barnstable, MA

Major: Pyschology


On any given day, you’re likely to see tons of dogs running around the Hopkins. Families bring their children and puppies to frolic on the The Beach, older couples walk joyful golden retrievers along the brick pathways and a pair of adorable black and white Pomeranians are always chasing each other around the Decker Quad in front of the Admissions Office. However, despite the abundance of canine energy that tends to pervade the Homewood Campus, most students never actually get to hang out with a furry companion outside a perfunctory snuggle of someone’s friendly beagle on the way to Obamadogclass. Hopkins PAWS, the university’s first and only animal welfare group, is looking to change that. After all, everybody could use a big, wet, sloppy kiss… even if it isn’t from another human.

This March Hopkins PAWS (or the Pet and Animal Welfare Society) put on their second annual Doggie Date Auction in the Glass Pav. The concept is simple: one Hopkins hottie and one adorable dog dress up as a themed couple (such as Nancy Drew and her Detective Doggie, or Obama and his Presidential Puggle – see attached picture) and a date with the duo is auctioned off to the highest bidder, along with a picnic basket full of goodies.

The auctioneers, popular campus improv comedy troupe The Buttered Niblets, kept the audience entertained by cracking jokes and taunting the bidders to go higher. The offbeat group also performed a brief “half-time show” complete with acoustic guitar and Nibletsbubble-blowing, and even went as far as to auction off one of their in-characters MCs (sadly, the painfully awkward “Franklin” sold for less than two dollars). All the proceeds from the event were donated to BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, a downtown shelter where the PAWS students volunteer several times per week.

In addition to the Buttered Niblets, a number of Hopkins student groups and sports teams contributed to the success of the event, mostly by providing the human halves of the date pairs! Many of my sisters from Kappa Kappa Gamma both attended and were auctioned off at the Doggie Date Auction, including Sarah Mae, who represented the softball team as the “Sweet Slugger” (see attached picture). Another Girlgroup sister, Lydia, was not only auctioned off but played a large role in organizing the entire event! “President Obama” is actually a brother of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. The true stars of the event, however, were the hard-working students of Hopkins PAWS, who raised over $1,500 for BARCS animal shelter through the evening’s events including the silent auction, date auction and sale of event t-shirts emblazoned with “Bitches Love Me” and a picture of… a dog, of course! The dates were undoubtedly the most popular hot-ticket items: most pairs sold for around $60, and the most expensive date of the evening, the letter-clad Doggie Dominatrix (also known as Heather, the group’s vice Wholeroom president) sold for over $200!

Outside of the Doggie Date Auction, PAWS members help BARCS by promoting on-campus awareness about issues like the importance of spaying and neutering pets, as well as adopting instead of buying when looking for a new animal companion. During Spring Fair, members set up a booth on the Freshman Quad where adoptable shelter dogs greeted passersby and student volunteers collected donations. Students also help out at events around the city like the SPCA’s Walk for Animals, the World of Pets Expo and BARCStoberfest. A small group even left Maryland this March to spend their Spring Break caring for homeless pets in Puerto Rico!

Though Hopkins PAWS was only founded a few years ago, they have been enormously successful in supporting and promoting their cause since 2005. The Doggie Date Auction is their biggest event of the year and was more successful than ever this Spring, bringing in more than twice the donations of last year’s event. I guess it just shows that even in shaky financial times, everyone could still use a date!

Journal Excerpt: Empowering Change — Challenges in Urban Health


Name: Jermaine Myers

Year: Class of 2009

Previous Guest Blog Entries:

November 22, 2007: Jounral Excerpt: Research in South Africa, click here.

April 19, 2007: Journal Excerpt: A Day in the Life, click here.

December 12, 2006: You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea, click here.


3 March 2008Ben_carson

Three words: Dr. Ben Carson. To be honest, I had never heard of this world – renowned neurosurgeon before coming to Hopkins, and if it wasn’t for my Neuroscience Major roommate and the fact that Dr. Carson is a God like figure for most undergraduates (esp. Neuroscience Majors like my roommate), I would never have known about the great works of this inspiring man. If you’re like my high school self, and have no clue who Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson is, I’d recommend you read his books Think Big and Gifted Hands, about the struggles of growing up in inner-city Detroit and how he became one of the most prolific men in pediatric neurosurgery. (I am going to be honest: I have yet to read Dr. Carson’s books. Shame on my, right? What can I say, I have the MCAT to worry about).

Well, Dr. Carson came to the Homewood (undergraduate) campus to give the opening speech to the 10th Annual Minority Pre-Health Professions Conference (MPHC), organized by both the Office for Pre-Professional Advising and the Hopkins Organization for Pre-Health Education (HOPE), the minority pre-health club at Hopkins. This year’s theme could not have been better — Empowering Change: Challenges in Urban Health — since I have been working on a community outreach project to empower Baltimore youth about ways to develop “healthy relationships,” the theme for the entire week of events. As part of the Health Disparities Week Committee of HOPE, “Health Disparities Week” actually begins TODAY. As Volunteering-Chair for the Health Disparities Week, I, along with two other Hopkins undergrads, have been planning the educational event, which is this Friday at the Youth Opportunity (YO!) Baltimore community center (hopefully it turns out great!).

Anyways, I digress … This past weekend was the MPHC, and Dr. Carson gave the keynote address on Friday evening. It was my first time seeing him, in person, and so I was surprised by how down-to-earth he was (Then again, I shouldn’t have been … most Hopkins professors are really approachable). After he gave his speech, we were allowed to meet him, and take photos with him (note the fact that my two neuroscience buddies are beaming…I was in awe as well).

The main part of the Pre-Health Professions Conference was Saturday. Sadly, I missed the “breakfast/conference overview” parts of the program (but that’s another story … for another day). And, from 10:30 to 1:00, I attended three workshops — “Minority Men in Medicine,” “ACCESS ISSUES IN URBAN HEALTH: CLASS, RACE, AND ECONOMIC STATUS,” and “Spirituality in Medicine” — all of them moderated by health professionals from Hopkins and beyond. All of the workshops were eye-opening, and it was good to see what physicians, nurses and allied health professionals thought about the current healthcare system, and ways that our generation (yes, our generation) will improve it. Aside from learning more than I had planned to about urban health and advocacy, I got to meet some of the most interesting people in public health and medicine! (One of the doctors was a Black Panther, turned social activist and adolescent healthcare specialist. Her work was focused on adolescents living with HIV/AIDS, and she was even the head of an organization committed to the concerns of this special population).

After eating lunch with the other participants, along with the facilitators of the workshop discussions, there was a health professions fair with most of the major Public Health and medical schools in the country. I left the far with a binder full of information about public health and medical school.  I immediately took a nap after getting home from a tiring, inspiring, fun-filled and interesting day. (Do you blame me? I was on my feet for nearly nine hours!).

Now, I just need to catch up on the work that I neglected this weekend!

I <3 T-shirts…especially when they’re free!


Name: Liny John

Year: Class of 2009

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Previous Guest Blog Entries:

November 8, 2007 – Diwali: The Festival of Lights, click here.

April 26, 2007 – Spring Fair 2007: The Hottest Event on Campus, click here.

December 1, 2006 – Life as BME III: How it’s not so BME after all, click here.


Gb1_2I won’t hesitate to admit that I absolutely love free stuff.  If there’s any way I can get something for cheap or for free, I’m all for it.  Even if it means helping freshmen move in their stuff in the freezing rain or if it means standing in a line for an hour, I’ll do it if I get something free.  Due to my love for free stuff, I make it a point to go to any event where I get free t-shirts … seriously.

The free t-shirts at Hopkins officially start with orientation.  And if you decide to help the year after with move-in you get a t-shirt that year too!  I also got an Orioles t-shirt during my Orientation when we went to the Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards.

Gb2_2After you’re well settled into Hopkins, you get t-shirts for being in certain groups too.  For example, being part of admissions, I’ve received two free t-shirts to wear for open houses and another two free t-shirts for being in the Student Admissions Advisory Board. Also, as a part of CISSRS (a Computer Integrated Surgery society) I was a mentor for high school students in a robotics competition and got a t-shirt for that.  I also have a shirt and sweatshirt for my dance team, and another t-shirt and track jacket for being on the Spring Fair staff.  I also have two South Asian Society for Hopkins t-shirts (one plays on the UPS slogan and says “What can Brown Do for You?”).

Gb5A lot of t-shirts are also given out to promote a cause.  Some are free to just spread awareness and others you pay for with the money going to the charity you’re helping out.  One t-shirt I got was for volunteering in honor of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.  I also paid for a t-shirt to help raise money for India after the earthquakes that hit Gujarat.  There are other t-shirts that I got to help spread awareness of the poverty issue in Baltimore.  Free t-shirts are also given away for donating blood in the Red Cross sponsored blood drives on campus.

And I can’t forget the shirts you’ll get from the school and department you’re affiliated with.  Most of these shirts you have to pay for, but it’s Gb4_3definitely worth it.  Personally, I have a Hopkins engineering shirt along with three biomedical engineering shirts.  I love wearing the BME shirts, mostly because of how corny they are (I have one that says “Don’t you wish you could B ME”).  Haha get it, B ME … be me? Yea, told you it was corny.

Gb3_2There’s also a lot of free stuff beyond  t-shirts that you can get.  Ranging from post-it notes with department names, stress balls to helps students cope with the stress of finals, and simple pens, mugs, and Frisbees that have the Hopkins name on them. I even got free Hopkins flip-flops freshmen year after going to a pep rally for the lacrosse team.

I love getting free stuff and I especially love anything that helps me promote the awesome school I go to.  The t-shirts I mentioned are only a glimpse of the closet worth of Hopkins apparel I have.  I have over 30 t-shirts (majority of them being absolutely free) that I got from various events.  These are definitely clothes I want to keep for a long time.  Most of them I got from some fun event and the t-shirts will help remind me of some wonderful memories.

Photo Captions:
1 – A bunch of my tshirts laying around
2 – The latest BME t-shirt
3 – Showing off the back of the sweatshirt for my dance team, Shakti
4 – Me holding up a free lacrosse and Fall Fest t-shirt as I sport a Hopkins engineering t-shirt
5 – Some of my Spring Fair staff apparel