Student behavior prompts investigation into Florence program

first_imgFacebook The College of Science and Engineering Dean, Phil Hartman, retires after 40 consecutive years Students debut performances of drag personas as part of unique new course Previous articleNational Night Out encourages community cooperation to curb crimeNext articlePi Kappa Phi pushes for change Alexa McBride RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR TCU Alumna talks success of owning a local boutique printBehavior that TCU officials warn could have resulted in student arrests has prompted a review of the study abroad program in Florence, Italy.“The program began with behavior not becoming of our students,” wrote Jane Kucko, director for the Center for International Studies, in an email.Some of the students studying in Florence confirmed there have been problems. But they also said their overall experience has been enriching and they don’t want to see the university change it.“One incident happened the first night we were here,” wrote one junior TCU student who is currently abroad in Florence and asked not to be identified. “There was maybe 10 people on the rooftop and someone knocked a wine bottle off the roof and it fell and hit an umbrella and then fell onto a patio below.”The female student responsible for knocking the bottle off the roof was said to have been drinking beforehand, the student said.“Her arm accidentally hit the bottle after she had had half a glass of wine,” wrote the junior.After the bottle fell, management at the hotel the students were staying at became angry, the student added.“The TCU students and the hotel staff began arguing and were getting frustrated with each other,” wrote the junior TCU student.This event, along with general student behavior abroad, has sparked a reaction from the study abroad office.“Because of our concern for all our students and our expectations of appropriate behavior, TCU is conducting an investigation on our TCU in Florence program,” Kucko wrote.In an email sent to prospective students for the Florence spring 2016 program, study abroad adviser Susan Layne wrote that the students who are in Italy this fall have been “indulging in disruptive, drunken behavior that could have led to prison in Italy.”The advisers in the study abroad office are concerned with the possibility of TCU students studying abroad for the wrong reasons, wrote Layne.Layne wrote the advisers are worried that students are having an American experience in Europe with their closest friends instead of receiving an authentic cultural experience.“Overindulgence can result in very superficial touristy experiences that are not only missing the rich academic and cultural learning we strive for, but also are unsafe,” wrote Layne.After reaching out to multiple TCU students in Florence, many felt as if they were not in a position to comment about the issues taking place.A second junior studying abroad in Florence wrote she couldn’t comment on what happened because she wasn’t a part of it. She added, “Everything did get blown out of proportion.”“Whatever incident did happen doesn’t reflect the current students in a negative way, and it would be a shame for TCU to take away a program that enriches students culturally and academically,” wrote the junior TCU student in Florence.Junior journalism major Bailey Kirby who is also in Florence wrote that her trip to Florence is going well.“So far, there isn’t much I would change about this trip,” wrote Kirby via email.“Yes, at times it has been challenging because I don’t speak Italian and I had never been to Europe before coming here,” Kirby wrote. “But for the most part, it has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had.”The tentative group of students for the spring 2016 trip to Florence is anticipated to be the largest group that TCU has ever sent to Italy. Because of the number of students that have shown interest, students studying abroad in Florence next semester will have classes four days a week instead of three.Other than the amount of days students will have class, the program has not announced any further changes that will be made to accommodate all of the students in Florence next semester. The TCU study abroad program in Florence, Italy – home of Il Duomo di Firenze pictured here – is under investigation after concerning student behavior. Facebook Linkedin The Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop comes to Fort Worth Paschal High School students discuss owning a clothing company Alexa McBride + posts Alexa McBride Rodeo Purple ticket package sold out Alexa McBride Twitter Alexa McBride is a junior Journalism major and Film, TV, and Digital Media minor from Orange County, California. She is an Academics reporter for TCU 360. Linkedin Alexa McBride Alexa McBride ReddIt Twitter ReddIt Condensed semester, lost week to snowstorm adding to some students stress during finals weeklast_img read more

Blood test for depression?

first_imgThe initial assessment of a blood test to help diagnose major depressive disorder indicates it may become a useful clinical tool.In a paper published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, a team including Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers reports that a test analyzing levels of nine biomarkers accurately distinguished patients diagnosed with depression from control participants without significant false-positive results.“Traditionally, diagnosis of major depression and other mental disorders has been made based on patients’ reported symptoms, but the accuracy of that process varies a great deal, often depending on the experience and resources of the clinician conducting the assessment,” says George Papakostas of the MGH Department of Psychiatry and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, lead and corresponding author of the report.  “Adding an objective biological test could improve diagnostic accuracy and may also help us track individual patients’ response to treatment.”The study authors note that previous efforts to develop tests based on a single blood or urinary biomarker did not produce results of sufficient sensitivity, the ability to detect the tested-for condition, or specificity, the ability to rule out that condition.  “The biology of depression suggests that a highly complex series of interactions exists between the brain and biomarkers in the peripheral circulation,” says study co-author John Bilello, chief scientific officer of Ridge Diagnostics, which sponsored the current study. “Given the complexity and variability of these types of disorders and the associated biomarkers in an individual, it is easy to understand why approaches measuring a single factor would not have sufficient clinical utility.”The test developed by Ridge Diagnostics measures levels of nine biomarkers associated with factors such as inflammation, the development and maintenance of neurons, and the interaction between brain structures involved with stress response and other key functions. Those measurements are combined using a specific formula to produce a figure called the MDDScore — a number from 1 to 100 indicating the percentage likelihood that the individual has major depression.  In clinical use the MDDScore would range from 1 to 10.The initial pilot phase of the study enrolled 36 adults who had been diagnosed with major depression at the MGH, Vanderbilt University, or Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass., along with 43 control participants from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, Mass.  MDDScores for 33 of the 36 patients indicated the presence of depression, while only eight of the 43 controls had a positive test result.  The average score for patients was 85, while the average for controls was 33.  A second replication phase enrolled an additional 34 patients from the MGH and Vanderbilt, 31 of whom had a positive MDDScore result.  Combining both groups indicated that the test could accurately diagnose major depression with a sensitivity of about 90 percent and a specificity of 80 percent.“It can be difficult to convince patients of the need for treatment based on the sort of questionnaire now used to rank their reported symptoms,” says Bilello.  “We expect that the biological basis of this test may provide patients with insight into their depression as a treatable disease rather than a source of self-doubt and stigma. As we accumulate additional data on the MDDScore and perform further studies, we hope it will be useful for predicting treatment response and helping to select the best therapies.”Papakostas adds, “Determining the true utility of this test will require following this small research study with larger trials in clinical settings.  But these results are already providing us with intriguing new hints on how powerfully factors such as inflammation — which we are learning has a major role in many serious medical issues — contribute to depression.”last_img read more

Emerging Case for a Puerto Rico Solar Grid

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Fast Company:The case for a shift to more renewables seems clear. Sunshine is more abundant in the Caribbean than in California or Spain. The amount of wind is competitive with states like Texas, which leads the U.S. in wind energy production. New renewable energy is affordable to build, and could help cut electric bills in a place where residents have been paying twice as much as Americans who live on the mainland.Still, the local utility has resisted solar and wind in the past. A renewable energy law passed in 2010 required Puerto Rico to get 12% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015; That year, the utility was only at around 3%. “They were flagrantly out of compliance,” says Cathy Kunkel, an energy consultant for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The utility, which was also heavily in debt, was pushing to invest millions in natural gas instead.But the hurricane may have altered that direction. “I think one of the things that has changed dramatically as a result of the hurricane is an interest by private solar developers in getting into Puerto Rico,” she says. “That interest from private capital in getting involved is one of the crucial pieces towards shifting the political landscapes in Puerto Rico around this issue . . . [the utility] has not been able to attract private capital for its investment plans, and so now the fact that there are private solar interests that are coming in and attempting to assist with the rebuilding could make a huge difference.”More: Can Puerto Rico Be The Model For A Renewables-Powered Energy System? Emerging Case for a Puerto Rico Solar Gridlast_img read more

Area Basketball Scores (1-23)

first_imgArea Basketball ScoresTuesday  (1-23)Girls ScoresJac-Cen-Del  56     South Ripley  50Batesville  45     East Central  37EC JV Won 23-12Franklin County  52     South Dearborn  43North Decatur  39     Hauser  28Rising Sun  43     Switz. County  31Waldron  58     Edinburgh  45Trinity Lutheran  66     SW Hanover  57Brown County  49     SW Shelby  42Boys ScoresMilan  52     East Central  51Morristown  64     Rushville  55last_img

Carroll faces most difficult challenge yet

first_imgNothing compares to the challenge facing coach Pete Carroll right now.Not preparing for an undefeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Not getting ready to face Vince Young in the Rose Bowl.His biggest challenge · Pete Carroll has faced many obstacles. Getting his team up for the end of the year may be his toughest yet. – TIm Tran | Daily TrojanNot convincing prized recruits to come to USC rather than another school. Not assembling one of the greatest offenses in college football history.No, nothing compares to what Carroll must do now.He must find a way to motivate a group of young student-athletes who are physically and mentally worn down to win two more regular season games and a meaningless bowl game.A tall task.This shouldn’t be a question for the game a week and a half from now. The Trojans shouldn’t need any extra motivation to prepare for this cross-town rivalry.There’s still something to play for in that game ­­— and there always will be.USC never wants to lose to UCLA, even if it were in nothing more than a knitting competition.But what is there to play for a week later against Arizona? The Wildcats still have a chance to win the entire Pac-10 Conference and get to Pasadena.They will be hungry.USC? The Trojans are playing for the Sun Bowl, the Las Vegas Bowl, the Emerald Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl or the Holiday Bowl.None of those games have the pageantry or the prestige of the Rose Bowl Game.They’re inconsequential.Of course, Carroll will never call any game as such, and definitely not a bowl game.But it’s hard to treat any of those games as more than insignificant, especially when he openly admits that the goal at the beginning of every year is to be in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.It’s no secret that the Trojans had designs to be there on Jan. 7.But those plans are all but a distant memory now, as are thoughts of New Orleans, Miami or Glendale, Calif.Say hello to Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego or El Paso, Texas.Not exactly bastions of college football glory.It would be hard to blame any of the Trojans for being unenthusiastic about the prospects of playing in any of those games.Do you think senior safety Taylor Mays signed up for this when he decided to come back for one more season? Do you think freshman quarterback Matt Barkley wanted to be playing in mid-December instead of early January?Probably not.And what about the rest of the Trojans? They’re in a world of hurt. They have enough injured players to fill an infirmary ward.It seems as if every Trojan has been banged up at some point during the season.Barkley and Mays missed USC’s loss to Washington.Senior tight end Anthony McCoy was absent for the Trojans’ defeat against Oregon.Junior wide receiver Damian Williams missed Saturday’s loss to Stanford and remains doubtful for the remainder of the regular season.The list goes on.And what about their mental state? It has been a draining season for everyone involved.One week after an emotional come-from-behind victory at Ohio State, the Trojans were on the road yet again at Washington.They had to stare across the field at two men who had been mentors — and treat them as enemies.They went on the road to Ohio State and Notre Dame, and played six of their first nine games away from the Coliseum.That is tough to ask of any football team, regardless of its caliber.Not to mention the results on the field, which have been unprecedented in the Carroll era.When USC finally made it home for good, it was too late — the physical and mental damage had been done.Now, Carroll must motivate his team for two more grueling football games.He must guide a worn-out team through uncharted waters toward a port of call they never expected to see.He must ready his team to bring the same intensity as they would with a Rose Bowl berth on the line — but in this case, with something less in the offing.This might be Carroll’s toughest challenge of all.“Thrilla on Manilla Paper” runs every other Thursday. To comment on this article, visit or email Grant at [email protected]last_img read more

The Coach of Nigeria’s Basketball Team is From…Vermont

first_img“What are the odds,” said Fran Voigt, his father, “that a little white guy from a little town in Vermont who never played college or professional ball would be selected to coach the Nigerian team?”The odds of Nigeria winning a medal in Rio de Janeiro next month might be even longer. That would be the single biggest shocker in the history of Olympic basketball. As the lowest-ranked team, Nigeria’s goal is to become the first African country ever to get into the knockout round, and they’re aware of how improbable that sounds. “Obviously,” said captain Ike Diogu, “nobody believes we can come out of our group.”That they’re even playing in the Olympics is almost as remarkable as how the Nigerians ended up with a 39-year-old, soft-spoken, baby-faced American as their coach. This has been Voigt’s full-time job for the last year, and every day he asks himself the obvious existential question: “How the heck did I end up here?”It’s a wild story that continues in Rio after multiple stops in basketball hinterlands on several continents. And it began in a town that was rural even for Vermont. Voigt grew up on what used to be a dairy farm in Cabot, where he was one of 18 kids in the graduating class of his tiny high school, which was one of the smallest in the state. “There were more cows than people,” said his former coach Steve Pratt.Still, people in Cabot sensed that Voigt would do something interesting with his life in part because of who his parents are. His father, Fran Voigt, founded the New England Culinary Institute. His mother, Ellen Bryant Voigt, was Vermont’s poet laureate and won a MacArthur genius fellowship last year for her poetry. “The gene pool,” said his father, “would not have anticipated this.”Voigt went to Pomona College, a Division III school in California, where he played on the soccer team. His parents can still remember their response when they asked what he would major in and he told them he wanted to be a basketball coach: “Say what?” Fran Voigt said.But he once explained to his mother why he wanted to coach basketball rather than the other sports he played. “He was always interested in the strategy,” Ellen Bryant Voigt said. “He was the point guard on the basketball team, the catcher on the baseball team and the center striker on the soccer team. He wanted to be right in the thick of it and make strategic decisions—which clearly you can do and need to do in a basketball game.”Voigt’s surprising career in professional basketball began with an internship with the Los Angeles Clippers. It stalled during the 1999 NBA lockout, so he worked for a data-warehousing company. It continued with the Clippers when the lockout ended—but he still kept the job with the data-warehousing company.Then he moved to San Antonio to be video coordinator for the Spurs. At the time, the Spurs’ front office was stocked with future coaches and general managers, and many of them had peculiar backgrounds. Voigt’s was the most unexpected of them all.“It’s like me wanting to be a water-polo player,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.Voigt soaked up Popovich’s wisdom—but not only at work. They were roommates, too. Voigt found himself in need of a place to stay in the middle of the NBA season, and Popovich let him crash in his guest room for a month.He moved out, left the Spurs in 2001 and soon became a basketball nomad. For his first head-coaching job, Voigt went to Norway for what he thought would be a week. It turned out to be three years. He was lured back to the U.S. for a magical run with a semi-pro team called the Vermont Frost Heaves that was founded by Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff. He later relocated to China for a job with the Shanxi Brave Dragons.Voigt is now coaching Nigeria in part because of that peripatetic career. He coached the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA’s D-League from 2009 to 2014—the longest Voigt has stayed in one place since college—and had key Nigerian national players on his teams there.But even before then, Voigt became friends with Masai Ujiri, the Nigerian-born general manager of the Toronto Raptors. When Ujiri began setting up basketball camps in his native country, Voigt was one of the first volunteers. He worked camps in Zaria, Abuja and Lagos and impressed Ujiri by venturing to smaller cities hours away on his off days. “A lot of people ask a hundred questions,” Ujiri said, “which you’re supposed to do.” Voigt didn’t. “Will was just, like, ‘Let’s go,’” he said. “He’s one of those explorer types.”For all the rules in Olympic sports, there are none that govern the nationality of coaches, and the result is a lot of arrangements that make as much sense as the coach of Nigeria being from Vermont. It’s one of the strange realities of every Olympics that gets overshadowed by the spectacular theatrics on fields and courts, on the track and in the water: If you look away from the action, you find people whose paths to the Olympics were incredible in their own right.Voigt had been to Nigeria before and has been to Nigeria since, but the country’s basketball officials came to Dallas to interview him last year. He was offered the job in June. Olympic qualifying began in August. His contract ran through September. That meant Nigeria had to win the continental tournament known as AfroBasket or it would almost certainly have another new coach—and Nigeria had never before won AfroBasket.Africa typically only gets one basketball team in the Olympics. That team is usually Angola, which opened the Barcelona Games with a nightmarish loss to the Dream Team. The few people who remember the Nigerians’ first Olympic appearance in 2012 might recall them the same way. “When you think about us,” Diogu said, “all you think about is us losing to the USA by 80 points.” It was actually 83 points: Team USA won, 156-73, in the most lopsided Olympic basketball game of all time.But last summer, with Ujiri watching from a bar in Senegal and Voigt’s parents streaming the games on a computer in Vermont, Voigt and the Nigerians beat out 15 other nations for Africa’s automatic Olympic entry. One of his trips to Nigeria since then was for a celebration at Aso Villa—the country’s White House.Voigt’s job is part coach, part general manager. He cobbled together a coaching staff from Nigeria, Norway, and the NBA. He constructed a roster with current NBA players like Al-Farouq Aminu and Michael Gbinije and notable college players who are now scattered around the world. Then he had to figure out how they should play. Nigeria still plans to run and press, but Voigt wants the team to be more efficient in the halfcourt, too. “In the past, people would look at African teams and say they’re athletic, but they have no discipline and play wild,” said Voigt, wearing a Nigeria green polo shirt and matching G-Shock watch. “We’ve really worked hard to change that. That was our approach at AfroBasket, and that’s our approach for Rio.”There are 12 nations playing Olympic men’s basketball, and Voigt has the Nigerians convinced they could be one of the eight that get out of the group round. In the last two Olympics, no team ranked lower than No. 20 survived the group stage, and Nigeria enters the Olympics ranked 25th in the world. But it’s not impossible. Last week, in fact, Nigeria beat No. 4 Argentina.“This is not the Jamaican bobsled team,” Voigt said as he munched on a turkey sandwich afterward.But the difference between the Nigerian and U.S. teams is roughly equivalent to the difference between basketball and badminton. One day last week, Nigeria rolled into practice riding 15-seater vans. Team USA walked off Wi-Fi-enabled luxury buses to hundreds of fans waiting in oppressive heat for their autographs.Next week, Nigeria will play the U.S. in its last Olympic tuneup, a matchup of the only American head men’s basketball coaches in Rio: Voigt and Mike Krzyzewski. One of them has been a coach longer than the other has been alive.That game will begin like other U.S. and Nigeria games: with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Arise, O Compatriots.” Voigt’s parents were delighted last year by what happened after AfroBasket’s final buzzer. Nigeria’s players lifted Voigt in the air, climbed the podium and, with iPhones in their hands and medals around their necks, belted out their country’s national anthem. Voigt knew every word.“We’re going to sing the anthem with pride,” he said, “and I do.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram *How a former college soccer player ended up in the Olympic basketball arenaWill Voigt grew up in Vermont, played college soccer in California and moved to Idaho earlier this summer. But he hasn’t been home much since then, and he won’t be until after the Olympics. He’s been too busy working: Will Voigt is the coach of the Nigerian men’s national basketball team.This is more than the most unexpected job of Voigt’s career. It may be the most unusual marriage of any coach and any country in the entire Olympic Games.last_img read more