In the News



“Robots may not do the laundry or prepare dinner as they did on The Jetsons. But they could be on the way to protecting houses from fire. Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn., held its 13th-annual robot-firefighter competition last week, in which teams of students built robots designed to travel quickly through a model of a house and extinguish a candle. More than 120 teams participated, drawing students from around the world. The small robots, which had to be completely autonomous, were required to find their way through a maze meant to resemble the floor plan of a typical house. Once the robots found the burning candle, most of them blew it out, using techniques that included a small propeller and a CO2 cartridge. David J. Ahlgren, a professor of engineering at Trinity and director of the competition, hopes to pave the way for larger robots that can protect real buildings. ‘In 10 years we'll have a commercial firefighting robot,’ he said … Regardt Schonborn, a Trinity senior who is majoring in electrical engineering, helped develop a team of six robots that fearlessly — and mindlessly — rushed to the simulated fire. ‘They pretty much just bumped around in the maze looking for the candle,’ he said … ‘It gets pretty competitive,’ said Mr. Schonborn, who said he enjoyed the contest and seeing the different types of robots people from all over the world had built. ‘It's a funny group of people who come together for robots.’”

“Students Compete to Build Firefighting Robots”
April 21, 2006,
Chronicle of Higher Education


“For a group of folks with dirt under their fingernails, gardeners have become a bunch of snobs. At least so says cultural anthropologist Jane Nadel-Klein, a Trinity College professor who is making the modern-day garden and its rubber-clogged inhabitants the subjects of her latest research. A hobby as common and universal as gardening may seem an odd province for a social scientist … But to Nadel-Klein, an avid gardener, an examination of the garden-club lady can contribute to our understanding of humankind in much the same way that studies of isolated civilizations in New Guinea can … Nadel-Klein's assessment of gardeners as elitists might sound a bit harsh. But her observation comes not from the ivory tower of academia but from visits to garden shows and garden club meetings and from years of reading garden magazines simply to indulge her own passion. At the flower and garden show … Nadel-Klein noticed a T-shirt for sale emblazoned with the message: "Friends don't let friends buy annuals." She laughed at first. But then she wondered why people who plant pansies and petunias are not considered real gardeners. ‘It has a definite class bias,’ she says. ‘Annuals are not associated with serious gardeners.’ … With a grant from Trinity, Nadel-Klein plans to spend the next several months visiting garden shows, studying horticulture magazine content and interviewing gardeners in an attempt to formalize her observations … But what will that teach us? … Nadel-Klein sighs. ‘To encourage us to have more respect for what other people do and be less exclusive,’ she begins. ‘If we think of art as only belonging in a museum, then we don't see the beauty of graffiti. If we think of music as only being in the symphony hall, then we don't appreciate the guy outside the Bushnell playing the trumpet.’

“Garden-Variety Snobs: Anthropologist Studies How
Some Gardeners Cultivate Rather Elitist Airs”
April 13, 2006, Hartford Courant


“A Chinese team on Sunday garnered three gold medals in the 13th Annual Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest in Hartford, Connecticut. The contest, held annually in Trinity College, is the biggest event for home robot enthusiasts worldwide. More than 100 robots from five countries entered this year's competition, with 15 of them from China. Du Tengfei and Dong Xiaojun, both students from Shanghai, won golds respectively in the junior and high school entry categories. Pan Yaojun, a teacher from Shanghai, seized the title in the expert category. Chinese robots made its (sic) first international debut in the 2001 Hartford contest, snatching two golds, and then won three golds in the 2003 contest. In Yingjie, leader of the 25-member Chinese team, said this year's competition was more challenging for contestants after adoption of harsher rules like the addition of stairs and carpets to make the movement of wheel-driven robots more difficult.”

“China seizes 3 golds in fire-fighting robot contest”
April 10, 2006, People’s Daily (China)


“Regardless of how you pay for your higher education, the rewards can be priceless. Ask Michele Carter who took 10 years to get her bachelor's degree in economics from Trinity's flexible Individualized Degree Program for Adults. Her employer, The Hartford, reimbursed her for the cost of tuition. Carter was 18 years old when she joined the financial services company, with only a diploma from Bulkeley High in Hartford and six months of computer training under her belt. Fantasy or not, she kept telling herself she wanted to be a lawyer one day … Debbi Breaux, 52, whose ambition was to be no more than a secretary after high school, also marks 30 years at The Hartford this year. Breaux, now an assistant vice president in technology services, also took advantage of the individualized program at Trinity, earning a bachelor's degree in English literature in 2002, with the company reimbursing her tuition. ‘I'd study Saturday afternoons and Sundays. It was a commitment my husband and I both had to make, and he was very supportive,’ says Breaux of Cromwell. … ‘We want to make sure we give them ample time because of all the different things that hit the lives of adults," says Denise Best, Trinity's director of graduate studies and special academic
programs.’”

“Financing Higher Education”
April 2006, Hartford Magazine


“Trinity College sophomore LingYan Wang and Trinity alumna Karen Kupferberg, who graduated 33 years ago, share a friendship and common bond: Neither could have attended the private college without scholarships. Wang, an 18-year-old Chinese immigrant from New York City, is the recipient of various scholarships that pay virtually the entire cost of her education. That includes a grant from the Kupferberg family. ‘We were thrilled when [Trinity] picked her’ to be a Kupferberg scholar, said Karen Kupferberg, who expects to see Wang on the Hartford campus Thursday at a reception for donors and recipients of endowed scholarships. While the Trinity reception highlights the importance of such privately sponsored scholarships, private colleges across the state are planning a rally at the state Capitol today seeking greater public support for needy students. The 10 a.m. rally, sponsored by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, is intended to encourage legislators to increase support for a state scholarship program for students at private colleges. CCIC President Judith Greiman said such scholarships help bolster a future workforce that is crucial to the state's economic stability, particularly as federal student loans are expected to become more costly and support for some federal scholarships remains flat … For Wang, 18, the dream is a college education that could lead to a stint in the Peace Corps and, someday, a spot in medical school … Kupferberg … also knows what a difference financial aid can make. She started college in 1969 as a member of Trinity's first coed class. She came from a low-income family in Glastonbury and relied on scholarships and summer jobs, including picking blueberries, to pay for her education. Unlike Wang, she did not have her parents' encouragement to attend college, but ‘going to college pretty much transformed my life,’ she said. She met her husband, Lenn Kupferberg, at Trinity and, after graduating in 1973, worked as a securities analyst on Wall Street and later as a financial executive for various companies. Two years ago, the Kupferberg family made an endowment to Trinity in memory of Lenn Kupferberg's brother, Josh, who died in 1998. The endowment funds scholarships for students studying the natural sciences and mathematics.

“More Financial Aid Sought From State For Scholarships”
April 5, 2006, Hartford Courant


“‘Though Islam is viewed by many as a faith that restricts a woman's freedom, four of every five converts to Islam in America are women,’ says Jane I. Smith, who has studied the experiences of American Muslims in general, and American Muslim women in particular. Smith is one of several scholars attempting to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam this week during the first ‘Islam Awareness Week’ at Trinity College. ‘Bridging the Gap: Islam's True Colors’ includes daily events through Friday that explore topics ranging from the controversy over images of Muhammad to the pressures faced by Muslim students on college campuses. There is a real curiosity among non-Muslims about Islam and women, said Smith, a professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim relations at Hartford Seminary, and much of that interest is focused on the veil or the headscarf, and images of women in Afghanistan who are oppressed by society. ‘In America,’ Smith said, ‘Muslim women are not confined to the home, and they have all kinds of opportunities for participation in public life, in ways that women don't always have in other places. ... American Islam for the most part welcomes this, and encourages women to claim their role in society.’”

`Islam Awareness Week' Aims To Promote Understanding”
April 4, 2006, Hartford Courant


“Local Hip-Hop group, the Bataka Squad, is set for bigger things. The rappers will be performing at the inaugural Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, US next month. Babaluku, Krazy Native and Theila, make up the group. Krazy Native will link up with Babaluku who is already in Vancouver, USA (sic) while the other group member, Theila (the only lady) will not perform. The debut festival is slated for April 21 to April 23 at St. Vernon Circle (sic) at the intersection of Vernon and Broad Streets of Hartford. The city also harbours large African refugee/immigrant communities, specifically from Somalia and Ethiopia. It will be a weekend of celebration of diverse music, dance, film, and spoken traditions. The three-day event will feature performers from Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Mexico, Iraq, Korea, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Australia, France and Uganda. Performances will be in over seven different languages: English, Spanish, Swahili and Portuguese among others, while Uganda’s flag-bearers, the Bataka Squad, will sing in Luganda. ‘We call it Lugaflow (rap in Luganda). This is rap identified only with the Bataka Squad. We won’t rap in English because we have to promote Luganda and Uganda in the US,’ said Krazy Native. Several award-winning documentaries will be presented and screened by their directors.”

“Bataka Squad set for Hip Hop in United States”
March 24, 2006, The New Vision (Uganda)


“Samuel Kassow is not an easy man to please. While most moviegoers and film critics praised ‘Schindler's List’ to the skies, he was unimpressed. The acclaimed Italian comedy ‘Life Is Beautiful,’ Kassow says, was equally inadequate. When making a film about the Holocaust, Kassow insists, taking too many liberties with the facts - and trying too hard to make the audience feel good - are inappropriate. ‘‘Schindler’s List’ caters to an American need for happy endings, and while ‘Schindler's List’ had a happy ending for the survivors, for most Holocaust victims that was not the case,’ says Kassow, a Trinity College history professor and internationally recognized Holocaust scholar. ‘As for ‘Life Is Beautiful,’ too many things don't make sense, such as a child being able to be in a camp. ‘Trying to introduce comedy and irony is defensible,’ he says, ‘but you can't do it if you skew the facts.’ ‘Fateless,’ on the other hand, earns Kassow's praise. Lajos Koltai's adaptation of the book by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész is the centerpiece of the 10th annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival … at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, one of the film festival's several Greater Hartford venues … ‘The one-person point of view works. He only knows what happens to him,’ Kassow says. ‘There's the process of going from camp to camp, the progressive difficulty of the struggle to stay alive, the occasional moments of reprieve. The boy encounters some prisoners who try to take advantage of him, and others who inspire him to try to survive. There is no great attempt to moralize or draw major lessons, and there is no attempt at redemption through humor.’”

“No happy ending: Centerpiece of Jewish film fest is an
unsentimental look at the Holocaust in Hungary”
March 16, 2006, Hartford Courant
 

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