Times research suggests links between high estate agent fees and over-valuations.

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Times research suggests links between high estate agent fees and over-valuations. previous nextAgencies & PeopleTimes research suggests links between high estate agent fees and over-valuations.Newspaper’s researchers looked at 200,000 recent sales transactions and concluded that some agents with high fees tend to over-value homes.Nigel Lewis8th April 201902,546 Views Research among 200,000 recent house sales listed on Zoopla has revealed a link between how much agents charge to sell a home and the valuation they give in order to win the instruction.Over the weekend The Times said its research suggested that several leading estate agents including Foxtons, Chancellors, Hamptons International, Romans and Barnard Marcus have been over-valuing homes by a up to a fifth to win instructions while also charging some of the highest percentage fees.Foxtons, which charges a 3% sales fee, is highlighted the most within the article which reveals that two thirds of its listings are reduced prior to a sale.The report also claims that the ten agents which overvalue the most charge twice as much on average as the ten agents who overvalue the least.Two of the agents named in the report, Foxtons and Chancellors, both said they ‘price properties competitively’ and ‘strive to get the best price for their customers’.The NAEA told The Times it agreed that the research did not ‘put the industry in a good light’.But Marcus Bradbury-Ross (below) of buying agent The London Resolution thinks the criticism is unfair.“The first time any property is accurately valued is by a valuation surveyor at any future point of mortgage, or for tax reasons, or divorce, or another time when a professional opinion is required,” he says.“Therefore, to blame estate agents outright is partly unfair. There are some estate agents who are disreputable, unscrupulous and out for every last buck.“There are also some very decent and fair estate agents. The fact that it has been discovered that there is a great number of seemingly “over-priced” property only illustrates the need for greater checks and balances.”Read the article in full.  home valuations hamptons internatinal Marcus Bradbury-Ross NAEA chancellors The Times estate agent fees April 8, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

‘Brevity is the soul of wit’! Could you write property descriptions like Shakespeare?

first_imgDo your property descriptions have a lyrical quality to them? Then perhaps you should have entered a competitor run last week by The Spectator magazine which asked its readers to write descriptions in the style of their favourite writer.Hundreds were received including brochure details written in the style of novelist Ernest Hemingway, playwright Harold Pinter, authors Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen as well as poets Sam Taylor Coleridge and Dylan Thomas. And the results are in.Five winners were picked including arguably the best one by David Silverman, who wrote his brochure blurb in the style of the greatest writer England has produced –  William Shakespeare.Here at The Negotiator we thought it was worth reproducing should any of our readers wish to polish up their writing style and emulate the bard:Oh, what a treasure and a bargain’s here!A little more than bijou, less than big;A little more than shabby, less than chic.The finest architects in all the world,Whether for modern, rustic, period-rustic,Edwardian-Mock-Tudor-period-modern;The décor’s quirky — yet there’s method in it:Kelly Hoppen never more refined,Llewellyn-Bowen ne’er more beautified —(That’s an ill, a vile phrase: ‘beautified’ ) —Yet now, since brevity’s the soul of wit:A plague! A plague on all the other houses!If it were sold when ’t’is sold, then ’t’were wellIt were sold quickly: Yea — cash buyers only,For neither borrowers nor lenders be.Exchange the contracts and, upon our charge,Cry ‘God! I’ve bought an overpriced garage!’To read more literary prose in the style of a property description, read the other entries here.property details property descriptions Val Shakespeare September 9, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’! Could you write property descriptions like Shakespeare? previous nextAgencies & People‘Brevity is the soul of wit’! Could you write property descriptions like Shakespeare?The Spectator magazine has asked its readers to sell property in the style of their favourite author. Would your property blurb pass muster?Nigel Lewis9th September 20190637 Viewslast_img read more

Physician- Hematology/Oncology -133

first_imgPhysician – Hematology / OncologyThe Organization: This community based oncology practice atWheeling Hospital has a long history of serving the Wheeling andnorthern panhandle with excellent patient care. The center hasrecently initiated a collaboration with WVU, allowing fornetworking and access to University resources in the communitypractice to enhance patient care and experience. The practice hasexperienced continued growth and expansion of oncology services.There are available radiation oncology and surgical servicesassociated with the hospital as well.The WVU Cancer Institute is one of the country’s top USNWR ratedcancer treatment centers. Multidisciplinary medical teams use thelatest cancer therapies, sophisticated technologies, andpatient-driven research to deliver the best possible treatment instate-of-the-art facilities. We offer treatment to those in WestVirginia as well as patients from five bordering states. We have avery active clinical trials program, pharmaceutical studies, andemerging statewide clinical trials network.The Opportunity: West Virginia University School of Medicine andthe Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology and theMedical Oncology Division of the Schiffler Cancer Center areseeking a Hematology/Oncology Physician to join our team (ranksavailable: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor).The successful candidate will provide excellent patient care,clinical service, as well as teach medical students, residents, andfellows within an academic health system. The position will beprimarily based in Wheeling, West Virginia. Successful candidatemay also be assigned to provide services at other worksites,including but not necessarily limited to, West Virginia UniversityHospitals, Inc., West Virginia University Medical Corporation doingbusiness as “University Health Associates,” [etc.] located in WestVirginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.The Candidate: Applicants must have an MD, DO degree or foreignequivalent and be eligible to obtain state medical licensure.Candidates must have completed an accredited internal medicineresidency and hematology/oncology or oncology fellowship and beboard certified/eligible in oncology at the time of appointment.For appointment at the Associate Professor or Professor ranks, ademonstrated track-record of leadership, excellent communicationskills, research activities, and publications in high-impactjournals are required. All qualifications must be met by the timeof appointment.The Community: From the region’s largest trail system, to nationalschools of excellence, to a reorganized municipal government, theCity of Wheeling offers a dynamic environment for you and yourfamily.There are many features that are unique to this area and we areproud of them! The area boasts year-round entertainment, leisure,sports, music, festivals, dining, shopping, and much more.From our nationally ranked schools to award-winning hospitals,Wheeling is an exceptional place to raise a family. There are aplethora of year-round recreational activities including golf,boating, water sports, snow skiing, biking, hiking, tennis,skateboarding, swimming, and many more. Year-round entertainment isanother amazing feature of the city including local, regional, andnational concert series, festivals, pro sporting events, or tryyour luck with all of your favorite slots and table games.79 miles from Morgantown, WV55 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh120 miles from Columbus, Ohio130 miles from Cleveland, OhioBuild your legacy as you serve, teach, learn and make a differencefrom day one. To learn more, visithttp://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/medicine/sections-of-medicine/hematologyoncology/and apply online at LINK TBD.For additional questions, please contact Mariana Ford, Sr.Physician Recruiter and Talent Advisor [email protected] Virginia University & University Health Associates are anAA/EO employer – Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran – and WVU isthe recipient of an NSF ADVANCE award for gender equity.Notes To Applicants Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals withDisabilities.Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided byOFCCP here .The contractor will not discharge or in any other mannerdiscriminate against employees or applicants because they haveinquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay ofanother employee or applicant. However, employees who have accessto the compensation information of other employees or applicants asa part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay ofother employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwisehave access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is(a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtheranceof an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including aninvestigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with thecontractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR60-1.35(c)last_img read more

Seeing Eye Volunteer Group Visits OCFD; Seeks Puppy Raisers

first_imgThe Ocean City Fire Department hosted the local volunteer group People and Puppies at Work for Sight 4-H Club, or P PAWS at Station 2, 2901 West Ave recently, drawing a large number of visitors and residents. Those in attendance had the opportunity to meet a group of special dogs.The event was designed to raise awareness of the Seeing Eye organization, which trains and provides guide dogs for the sight-impaired, and to recruit volunteers to help raise the pups.Captain Bernie Walker (center) of the Ocean City Fire Department greets Seeing Eye puppies with firefighters Walace Gilchrist (left) and Ryan KampmeyerPuppy raisers are assigned a dog, typically a German Shepard, Labrador or Golden Retriever, and serve as “foster home” for the animal. Volunteers receive the dogs at seven or eight weeks of age and keep them until they reach 13 to 16 months of age, according to Amy Stover of P PAWS who organized the event.Approximately 70 percent of the dogs in the program complete their training successfully and go on to become Seeing Eye dogs.Ocean City’s Magi Kernan (right) meets a future Seeing Eye dog and Amy Stover from P PAWS.“Taking part in this program is a great way to give back to the community,” Stover said. “For families, it is a great way to teach children responsibility.”Volunteer puppy raisers teach basic commands, socialization and take the animals on “field trips” alone and with other dogs in the program to places such as the airport, the mall and other settings the animal and the blind person are likely to encounter. The recent visit to the fire station was the latest example.Members of P PAWS, a puppy raising club representing Cape May and Atlantic counties, arrives at Station 2 of the Ocean City Fire Department for a recent event.Captain Bernie Walker hosted the group as part of the OCFD’s policy of community outreach. For more information on the program or to volunteer to raise a puppy, please visit www.seeingeye.org.last_img read more

Birmingham’s Sloss Music & Arts Festival Announces Decision To Terminate Event

first_imgSloss Music & Arts Festival organizers have announced the decision to end the event. The Birmingham, AL music festival saw a number of exciting and high-profile performers over the festival’s last four years.Over the summer, the 4th annual Sloss Fest saw performances from a diverse spread of headliners, including Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and GRiZ. St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Vance Joy, The War On Drugs, Moon Taxi, Louis The Child, Vic Mensa, Lany, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and Margo Price also performed.Read the festival’s note via their Facebook below:Dear Sloss Fest Family – After several weeks of examination and thorough consideration of the unique challenges we face in producing Sloss Fest, we have come to the decision to end the event.This decision was not made lightly and the team of people behind this festival are as disappointed as anyone.It has been a labor of love and we are extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish during our four-year run.We would like to thank our sponsors, vendors and all the fans that have supported us!Thanks for the memories!last_img read more

Harvard probes the final frontier

first_imgIf you gaze at the night sky and sometimes wonder, “What’s out there?” you’re not alone. Harvard scientists have asked the same question for centuries.These days, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) are pondering weighty questions involving exploding stars and collapsing black holes, the nearby sun and distant galaxies, the Big Bang Theory, and the next big question: Is there life beyond Earth?Harvard’s stargazers have craned their necks skyward almost since the University’s founding. They have made many major discoveries and now stand on the cusp of what may be the most tantalizing one: finding planets like Earth, orbiting stars like the sun. Scientists are poised to use astrophysics to show not only what’s out there, but also what’s in here: Is life on Earth exceptional, or does it develop on some planets orbiting particular stars?Astronomy professor David Charbonneau, who has searched for such orbiting planets — called exoplanets — since he was a Harvard graduate student a decade ago, has pioneered ways to find them, as well as to read their atmospheres. With the launch last year of the Kepler space telescope, the aim of which is to find small, rocky exoplanets similar to Earth, Charbonneau is on the hunt for signs of life.“I would love, by the end of my career, to be a biologist rather than an astronomer,” Charbonneau said.The initial findings from the Kepler telescope — which has several CfA researchers on its scientific team — are promising. Scientists recently announced they had discovered more than 700 candidate planets that are being re-examined before official results are announced, probably early next year.Though the search for other Earths may soon grab the headlines, that’s just one of the projects involving CfA researchers. In another example, two asteroids that recently nearly brushed the Earth sent specialists from the CfA’s Minor Planet Center scurrying toward their computers, where they quickly determined that the asteroids posed no danger. Meanwhile, scientists arrayed across six research divisions continue their research, which includes examining the sun for threats from coronal mass ejections, peering at distant stars and more-distant galaxies, and even probing the nature of the universe.Harvard scientists conduct their research through instruments scattered across the globe — including in Arizona, Hawaii, Chile, and the South Pole — and above it through satellites such as NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the planet-finding Kepler. Given the collaborative nature and outsized costs of modern astronomical science, most instruments are built and managed with other institutional partners, including NASA, the European Space Agency, and other universities in the United States and overseas.The CfA is an unusual institution. Founded in 1973 when the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory joined forces, it has benefited from the academic and research strengths of Harvard, its faculty, fellows, and students, and the research prowess of the Smithsonian, whose scientists study and design missions, build instruments, and manage operations for an array of satellite- and ground-based observatories, including Chandra, whose scientific operations are run by the CfA.Chandra has greatly increased scientific understanding of the universe’s X-ray sources, including the giant black holes at the center of galaxies. The Milky Way’s central black hole, for example, is a few million times more massive than the sun, and its X-ray emissions are far lower than they could be because little of the available interstellar gas falls into its gravity well.Yet Harvard’s impact on astronomy can’t be measured just in terms of instruments, institutions, or even discoveries, according to astronomy professor and science historian emeritus Owen Gingerich. Through its long history, Harvard has trained future astronomers, many of whom have taken leadership roles in the field. In recent decades, research at the Harvard College Observatory and the CfA in areas such as radio astronomy, solar physics, and exoplanet research has attracted students, fellows, and visiting researchers from around the world.“For a long time, more Ph.D. astronomers were trained here than any other institution in the country. As a consequence, Harvard graduates were populating the directorships of observatories all over the country,” Gingerich said. The Harvard College Observatory “has had a very seminal role in training astronomers.”Surveying the starsHarvard’s first telescope, three-and-a-half-feet long, arrived in the 1670s, a gift of Connecticut Gov. John Winthrop, and was used to observe Halley’s Comet and the comet of 1680, which was so bright that it could be seen during the day. Though astronomy instruction continued, it took more than a century and a half before the Harvard College Observatory was founded in 1839.The observatory soon became home to the 15-inch “Great Refractor,” a 20-foot-long telescope that reigned from 1847 to 1866 as the nation’s largest and still stands atop the observatory, imposing in its copper dome and featuring a unique track-mounted chair.In the 1850s, Harvard astronomers ushered in the era of stellar photography with the first photograph of a star other than the sun, an advance that allowed astronomers to conduct much more detailed investigations by freezing images of the sky in time.“It opened up the floodgates of what was to come,” Gingerich said.That flood began in earnest in the 1880s, under observatory director Edward Pickering, who mounted a mammoth effort to photograph the skies. The resulting images, taken on photographic glass plates that now are being digitized, number more than half a million and form an archive of stellar positions and luminosities that is a treasure trove of data.Pickering also supervised compilation of a major catalog of the spectra of 225,000 stars, later expanded to more than 350,000, named after prominent astronomer Henry Draper. It was the first large-scale effort to catalog stellar spectra, and its classification system is still in use.Pickering is also credited with opening the doors of astronomy to women. He hired female “computers” to study the photographs of the skies and catalog the findings. Several researchers, such as Henrietta Leavitt, became famous for discoveries of their own. Leavitt worked out a characteristic of a kind of variable star, the period-luminosity relationship, that proved instrumental in later work on the size and shape of the Milky Way and in the debate over whether the universe held one galaxy or many.Another female astronomer, Cecilia Payne, received the first astronomy doctorate granted a woman by the Harvard observatory, and also transformed assumptions about the composition of stars. At the time, the prevailing wisdom was that stars were made of iron, but her studies paved the way for the modern understanding that they are largely made of hydrogen and helium.Study of the sun blossomed at Harvard under Donald Menzel, who began teaching at Harvard in 1932 and served as observatory director from 1954 to 1966. His successor, Leo Goldberg, conducted pioneering work on solar physics from space-based platforms, including satellites and the first American space station, Skylab.Recently, solar astronomer John Kohl devised an instrument on the SOHO sun-observing satellite, and Leon Golub and colleagues originated extremely high-resolution solar X-ray imaging telescopes. Kohl says that the explosive outbursts of the sun’s corona, which can disrupt communications, endanger satellites, and threaten astronauts, have fueled the need to understand it.Kohl said the major technical difficulty was observing the relatively weak light of the corona in the presence of the extremely bright light of the sun itself. Together with his colleagues, Kohl designed an instrument that blocked the sun and allowed the corona to be seen.“This is the region where the solar wind forms, and also the region where coronal mass ejections form,” Kohl said. “There’s lots of interest in understanding the physics of this region of the solar atmosphere. These experiments we put together were the first to be able to produce a detailed description.”Stars as measuring sticksAstronomers study stars not only to understand them, but also to divine what they can reveal about the universe. In 1998, CfA researchers were part of two teams surveying distant exploding stars as part of their research on the universe’s expansion. After checking their data repeatedly, they announced an unexpected finding: The expansion was accelerating.That presented a problem. Theories of how the universe worked at the time didn’t include a mechanism for expansion at an ever-faster rate. Scientists had known for decades that the universe was expanding because of the Big Bang’s enormous explosion that got everything started. The question, they thought at the time, was whether there was enough matter in the universe that the force of gravity would one day slow that expansion enough to make it reverse into a cosmic “big crunch.”For the expansion to accelerate, that meant something must be driving it outward faster and faster, something that science so far had overlooked. That something was dubbed “dark energy,” a force that acts opposite gravity.The picture of the universe that has emerged since then is humbling. Ordinary matter that people understand and see every day — the Earth, the stars, other planets, ourselves — makes up a tiny fraction, just 4 percent, of all mass and energy in the universe. The rest of the universe is composed of matter and energy that scientists do not understand. Dark energy makes up 74 percent of the total. The rest is undetectable material, dubbed dark matter, whose particles have yet to be found but whose gravitational effects can be viewed.Robert Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science at the CfA, was part of the High-Z Supernova Team whose work revealed dark energy’s effects. The researchers found their subject supernova to be 10 to 15 percent farther away than theories at the time could explain. Kirshner said his first thought on seeing the 1998 finding was, “Oh, I hope we’re not wrong.”“I was really afraid we’d forgotten something,” Kirshner said. “I was nervous about it. It was very much in the public eye. There was a lot at stake, because it is such an important scientific result.”Follow-up surveys by Kirshner and his colleagues, using the Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the findings, as have studies by other scientists. “It points directly at a gap in our understanding of very basic physics,” Kirshner said.Scientists around the world are working to understand this mysterious dark energy. One project involving CfA scientists is based at the South Pole. In collaboration with the University of Chicago, researchers are examining shadows left by ancient clusters of galaxies in the uniform rain of microwave radiation that constantly falls on Earth. Called the cosmic microwave background, it is believed to be a remnant of the Big Bang.“The main piece of data is simply a census of clusters. The formation of a cluster is a tug-of-war, with gravity pulling it together, and dark energy blowing it apart. So the number of clusters you get at any given age of the universe is very sensitive to the amount of dark energy. The more clusters, the less dark energy,” said CfA researcher Tony Stark.Since it began operating in 2007, the South Pole telescope has found hundreds of clusters, each containing 100 to 1,000 galaxies. The CfA team, Stark said, focuses on data analysis and is making follow-up observations with the Magellan telescopes, located on a mountaintop in Chile and operated by a group of institutions, including the CfA. Followup observations are also being conducted at X-ray wavelengths using the Chandra telescope, which is probing masses of the clusters.That Chilean mountaintop will soon be the home of a new cutting-edge telescope. Dubbed Giant Magellan, the new telescope being built by an international consortium led by CfA researchers, including director Charles Alcock, may help to solve some of the current astronomical mysteries. Scheduled for completion in 2018, it will contain seven mirrors that will have the resolving power equal to an 80-foot primary mirror — larger than any previous telescope.With 10 times the resolution of the Hubble, it will be able to view details currently hidden to instruments. Those details just might provide clues that unlock the secrets of planets circling other stars, of black holes, of other galaxies, of dark matter, and of dark energy.“If it really works,” Kirshner said, “this will be fantastic.”last_img read more

The human side of Shariah

first_imgThe sentence was terrifying, death by stoning.In 2002, Amina Lawal, a young Nigerian woman, was tried for adultery under Shariah, Islam’s traditional law. She was saved the following year with the help of Hauwa Ibrahim, a Harvard scholar and visiting lecturer on women’s studies and Islamic law at Harvard Divinity School (HDS).Ibrahim, the first female lawyer among a population of 250,000 in northern Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim Gombe region, used Shariah law to fight the Shariah system, but she also had to battle society.You have to win these cases in the courts, said Ibrahim, but you also have to “win the hearts and minds of the villagers.”As a 2008-09 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Ibrahim explored the theoretical foundations of Shariah penal code and examined its impact on the legal practices and the human rights of women in West Africa.Currently she is working on a book telling the story of the Shariah system through the eyes of her clients, the women, children, and men whose lives have been affected by Islamic law. She discussed her new project during a Thursday (April 7) lecture at HDS titled “Humanizing Shariah — A Memoir of the Human Face of a Legal Practice.”With her new work, Ibrahim said she hopes to convey the importance of common humanity, written in a familiar style with a language accessible to lawyers and laymen alike.I can do that, said Ibrahim, because “I am an insider, I am a daughter of the soil.”Calling her own education an accident, Ibrahim said she takes clients on for free because it “is her passion.” While her husband disagrees with much of what she does, he supports her. The problem for so many of her clients, she said, is that they are poor, illiterate, and powerless.“They don’t have a voice.”With her new work, Ibrahim said, she hopes to tell their stories, and to shed light on Shariah. In working on the cases, she said she learned that Shariah is never about stoning, flogging, or amputation, but that it is actually “a path to peace.”“Are there opposing forces against this? Yes, of course … Are there verses in the Koran contradictory? Without a doubt, just like any other religious book. But let me tell you finally I am seeking to do what is right … through Shariah.”last_img read more

Students, staff volunteers visit 17 community sites for HKS Serves

first_img Read Full Story A cadre of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) students, staff and faculty — led by Dean David T. Ellwood — took to the streets, schools and neighborhood centers across the region on Aug. 26 as part of a School-wide day of service. HKS Serves brought out approximately 400 volunteers to 17 locations across Boston, Cambridge, Newton, and Somerville — from the Long Island Shelter to Winter Hill Community School.The day began with a presentation by Tim McCarthy, adjunct lecturer on public policy, who reminded participants that while they may think globally, they should act locally. Moments later the student teams and staff leaders dispersed, heading in multiple directions — some armed with garden gloves and tools, others with trash pickers, and all equipped with the good will and determination to help local citizens and organizations.“We are a school of government, and most students are focused on international service or nationwide [service] and this is to remind people that there is a local component to any kind of service,” said Peter Brooks, M.P.P. ’13, who was one of dozens of volunteers at Cradles to Crayons, a Brighton-based nonprofit that collects and distributes clothing, toys, and other goods for children in low-income families. “We are reaching out to students below the age of 12 in needy situations, and for a lot of us whose focus has been big picture this is a fun way to get involved at the local level.”last_img read more

Learning about research

first_imgWith the help of her faculty mentor, Debra Chang ’12 discovered during the summer that good research sometimes requires a little dancing.Chang, a sociology concentrator, participated in the new Behavioral Laboratory in the Social Sciences (BLISS) program for the chance to work on a research project with a member of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). She was paired with Nicole Newendorp, a lecturer and assistant director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Social Studies, on a study of elderly immigrants in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. Newendorp sent Chang — who speaks Mandarin — out to collect data from a number of social groups, including one for retirees who enjoyed ballroom dancing. She soon found that the best way to get the seniors to agree to interviews was to join them on the dance floor.“I always wanted to learn ballroom dancing at Harvard, but because I was doing this research, I decided to sign up for a summer class,” Chang said. “I went back to Chinatown every week and danced with the people there to get to know them. Then I would ask if they would like to be interviewed. I got to ballroom dance with all the people that ended up speaking to me for the study.”Chang and nearly 150 other Harvard undergraduates spent 10 weeks last summer learning the nuts and bolts of academic research — from ethnography to techniques for culturing living tissue — from faculty in three immersive programs: BLISS, the Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE), and the Program for Research in Markets and Organizations (PRIMO). Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds says that the programs give students the same type of close interaction with faculty in the lab and library that freshman seminars provide in the classroom.“Like the freshman seminars, the summer research programs allow undergraduates to have formative experiences working with faculty,” Hammonds said. “Because there are no term time responsibilities, students can focus on the research enterprise itself and collaborate with some of Harvard’s leading scholars. In so doing, they learn about the sciences and social sciences and also get a view of Harvard that is different from the one they get in the classroom.”The growing emphasis on an intensive faculty research experience for undergraduates began with PRISE in 2006. The program was created in response to the 2005 report of the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering, which recommended the development of a summer residential community for undergraduate scholars in the sciences. Any undergraduate in good standing may apply to PRISE, and admitted fellows receive room and board on campus, as well as a small stipend. Faculty and investigators from FAS, Harvard Medical School, and other allied research enterprises across Cambridge and Boston work with students in astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, and many other fields.Greg Llacer, director of the Office for Undergraduate Research Initiatives and of PRISE, said the goal of the program is to expand students’ academic interests by placing them in a “lively and energetic community of scientists.”“PRISE gives undergraduates the opportunity to work closely with faculty and peers and to focus on research, which is very conducive to having a positive experience in the sciences,” he said. “It allows students to pause and to think about what they may want to pursue. As a result, we now have PRISE fellows who have gone on to graduate school who may have not taken that road if they had not worked with faculty in research.”Alice Li ’14 spent last summer working with Professor Lee Rubin, director of translational medicine for the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, on ways to improve stem-cell therapies for older patients. She said the most valuable research skill she developed during PRISE was the ability to ask better questions.“I learned to ask questions the way that a good scientist would,” she said. “Poking my head around my postdoc’s desk to ask why a particular molecule would be our best choice for positive control was just as much a learning experience as, for instance, my practice with tissue culture techniques. I also got to see how Professor Rubin posed questions. He made me feel both challenged and inspired at the same time. I wanted to continue research long after the summer had ended.”Students have responded enthusiastically to PRISE — which included more than 120 undergraduates in 2011 — and expressed high levels of satisfaction with the program on surveys. In light of this success, the College last year launched BLISS and PRIMO to offer immersive research experiences with faculty in the social sciences and at Harvard Business School (HBS). Participants in the new programs dine at Dudley House with their cohorts in PRISE, and join them for the popular faculty lecture series, open to all summer research students. But whereas PRISE fellows leverage faculty expertise and support for their own research, BLISS and PRIMO participants are matched with faculty on existing projects.Newendorp, Chang’s BLISS faculty mentor, said she accompanied her student into Chinatown each day, teaching her the techniques of ethnographic research, and helping her to get acquainted with the community. In return, Chang gathered data from immigrants who spoke Mandarin Chinese that complemented Newendorp’s data collection from those who spoke Cantonese.“In general, the seniors we met liked Debra, who reminded them of their own grandchildren” Newendorp said. “One time, however, a woman criticized Debra’s Chinese, saying that it wasn’t fluent enough. Debra turned that criticism into a learning moment by sticking with the conversation and finding out in the process that this woman was very upset that one of her sons couldn’t speak Chinese. Another time, a man involved in the ballroom dancing group found it easier to talk about his migration experience with Debra, as someone of Chinese descent, than with me, the Harvard professor and outsider.”The opportunity to work with bright young students such as Chang was one of the reasons that HBS partnered with the College to launch PRIMO, according to Mihir Desai, Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance and senior associate dean for planning and University affairs at HBS.“We created PRIMO to give students exposure to academic life in business schools,” Desai said. “More selfishly, our faculty has benefited from interacting with a remarkable pool of talent in the undergraduate population, and we hope we have addressed our longer-run problem — the scarcity of talent from which we can draw the next generation of business academics. So far, PRIMO has far exceeded our expectations.”Stephanie Havens ’14 said she didn’t know what to expect when she applied to PRIMO last spring. Then the economics concentrator met with HBS Assistant Professor Eugene Soltes, who told her about his ongoing project on business ethics. She was hooked. Havens partnered with Soltes and did intensive background research for the project, which centered on the former CEO of a major U.S. corporation. She said that her most memorable experience of the summer came when she accompanied Soltes on a trip to meet and interview the CEO — in prison.“There were barbed wire and motion detectors,” Havens remembered. “It was kind of surreal. A lot of times, research feels a little remote. You’re looking at this information, and it doesn’t have really strong context. It feels far off. Meeting with this CEO in prison brought the work into the real world and gave meaning to what we were doing.”Soltes — who graduated from Harvard College himself in 2004 — said that Havens’ work over the summer was so strong that he asked her to continue her involvement with the project during the academic year.“Stephanie spent a lot of time getting an understanding of our subject’s experience at the firm,” he said. “She also spent a lot of time in the Business School and Law School libraries. It’s because of the fantastic job that she did that I’ve asked her to continue her efforts on the project this fall.”Although BLISS and PRIMO will stay small — between 12 and 18 students each — during the second year of their pilot phase in 2012, College officials say they hope eventually to put the programs on equal footing with PRISE and establish all three as an ongoing summer research village.“The success of PRISE, BLISS, and PRIMO demonstrates the value of developing a community of researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines,” said Hammonds. “The fact that many students carry on with their work during term time, and even into graduate school, is an indication of the programs’ impact. Our hope is that, one day, every Harvard College student who wants to explore research will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive summer program.”last_img read more