National best-selling author of The Red Tent, Anita Diamant, MA '75, will sit down Oprah-style with the director of Harpur College’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities for a freewheeling conversation about her work, her opinions, her writing process and whatever else comes up at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Anderson Center's Osterhout Concert Theater. The program will conclude with a Q&A with the audience.
A book signing and reception in the Anderson Center Reception Room will follow. Both events are free of charge, and open to the public.
Diamant, who received her master's degree in creative writing from Harpur College, is a Boston-based writer and lecturer whose first novel, The Red Tent, won the 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Award. A national bestseller, published in 25 countries and 20 languages, The Red Tent is based on the biblical story of Dinah. Diamant's new book Day After Night is set in 1945 and tells the story of four female Holocaust survivors who meet in the British internment camp of Atlit and befriend one another as they grapple with a new life in a new land.
Diamant's non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life are standard reference books in homes across America and include: The New Jewish Wedding, How to Raise a Jewish Child, Saying Kaddish, Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends, Living a Jewish Life and The New Jewish Baby Book.
She is also the author of two other novels, Good Harbor and The Last Days of Dogtown, and a collection of personal essays, Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship and Other Leaps of Faith, which contains many reflections about Jewish life. For more about Diamant's work, see her website.
An award-winning journalist, Diamant's articles have appeared in Boston Globe Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Parents, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine, Yankee Magazine and the webzine JewishFamily.com.
This program is sponsored by the Department of Judaic Studies, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, Binghamton University Alumni Association, Hillel at Binghamton and the Division of Student Affairs.
Also, Harpur College is on Facebook! Stay connected to Harpur through its new Facebook page. Read the latest headlines about Harpur in publications from all over the world and receive advance invites to special events, such as the Diamant talk, in your area and on campus.
Briloff Lecture to feature award-winning fund manager
By Steve Seepersaud
Charles R. Dreifus will be the speaker at the 24th Annual Abraham J. Briloff Lecture Series on Accountability and Society at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31, in the Anderson Center's Chamber Hall. This event is open to the public.
Dreifus is portfolio manager and principal for Royce & Associates, a New York-based firm that focuses on small-cap value investing. He manages the firm's special equity products and has 42 years of investment industry experience, with 29 years as a small- and micro-cap value portfolio manager. In 2008, Dreifus was named Morningstar's Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year.
The annual lecture series is named in honor of Briloff, the Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Bernard Baruch College and Presidential Professor of Accounting and Ethics at Binghamton University. Over his distinguished career, Briloff was recognized as the ethical conscience for business and the accounting profession. Through writings and lectures, he emphasized the need for ethical business practices and influenced others to make the highest ethical standards the basis of their work.
The School of Management sponsors the Briloff lecture series, which brings members of the accounting profession, businesses and campus communities together to contemplate topics of business ethics. For more information, contact Debbie Standard.
Binghamton engineers recognized for top digital watermarking
By Gail Glover
The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA), the international alliance of industry leading organizations delivering valuable digital watermarking solutions, has awarded its 2010 Best Paper award to a team of electrical and computer engineers from Binghamton University.
Doctoral student Tomas Filler and visiting scholar Jan Judas, under the guidance of Jessica Fridrich, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Watson School, earned the top spot for their paper that, according to DWA, demonstrated the highest level of originality, creativity, clarity and potential impact on the field of watermarking.
Announced at the IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging Conference held in January, the winning team received a cash prize of $1,500, and its paper will be publicized in this year's conference proceedings.
The Binghamton University team's winning paper, titled "Minimizing Embedding Impact in Steganography using Trellis-Coded Quantization," proposed and developed a practical algorithm to minimize the average embedding distortion in steganography.
Serving as a modern-day version of writing with invisible ink, steganography enables additional hidden information to be exchanged during regular communication without anyone knowing. In today's world of technology, this means hiding secret communication data in digital media files.
"A digital picture of a dog may contain an entire PDF document even though the image itself may look completely innocuous to most people," said Fridrich. "I like to call this research a 'Swiss-Army knife' for steganographers. It's a very general and elegant framework to build stego systems that work in the best possible way and hide the maximum amount of information without creating any artifacts that someone might use to find out that secret communication is taking place."
According to Fridrich, the research also extends to what is referred to as a 'lossy' compression of data, an example of which is the commonly used JPEG image format. Lossy allows a user to store an image in a compact size at the price of slightly distorting it.
"Our paper describes a method that could be used to optimally encode the image so that we could get the smallest sized file possible," Fridrich said. "And the way to do that is by allowing each pixel in the image to be distorted by a specified amount."
A leading authority in the field of steganography, Fridrich credits her doctoral student, Filler, for helping the team achieve this year’s top DWA honors.
"The research was conceived by Tomas and he deserves all the accolades," Fridrich said. "He is an unbelievably brilliant student who has made numerous contributions and revolutionized the field."
For Filler and Fridrich, this is the second time they have received DWA's top recognition. They were both members of the 2009 Best Paper award-winning team that was honored for theoretical work on the secure capacity of practical stego systems.
DWA is an international alliance of industry leading companies that delivers digital watermarking technology solutions to a broad range of customers and markets around the world. Member companies include aquaMobile, Civolution, DataMark, Digimarc, ISAN, MarkAny, MSI, Université Catholique de Louvain and Verimatrix.
Birthing simulator to help Decker students
By Eric Coker
A new birthing simulator will soon give Decker students an experience similar to a hospital delivery room.
The Noelle Maternal and Neonatal Birthing Simulator arrived in early January at Decker's Innovative Practice Center. The simulator features a full-sized, female mannequin and baby who, thanks to advanced software, can produce various complications for the students to learn from.
"Noelle is the first (simulator) in which we've been able to do any kind of labor and complications of pregnancy and delivery," said Susan Russell, coordinator of the Innovative Practice Center. "Students will be able to experience these things in the safety of the lab."
The birthing simulator was purchased as part of a $194,780 grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration ARRA-Equipment to Enhance Training for Health Professionals Program. Decker also received two more "SimMan" simulators, two CPR mannequins, a defibrillator and an electronic medication dispensing machine.
"It went a very long way," Russell said of the grant. "We were literally jumping up and down with glee."
Noelle is a plastic and rubber mannequin that includes a removable abdomen and a mechanical guide that slowly leads the baby through the birth canal. A fake placenta and umbilical cord are also provided, along with "Newborn Hal," who students can work with after the delivery.
The simulator's computer software allows Russell and others to program a variety of complications and delivery situations for Noelle. For example, Noelle can have a breech or C-section delivery; experience high-blood pressure, cord issues or shoulder dystocia; or even suffer a seizure during labor. The software also sets the length of Noelle's labor.
Some students will take on the role of lead nurse during the simulation, Russell said.
"We usually give them the comfort of each other," she said. "We put two nurses in, so they are not so pressured to manage the care."
But additional pressure can come from other students playing the roles of family members in the delivery room. This adds realism to the process, Russell said.
"We can give them ideas on how to act," she said. "A nervous husband could collapse and faint. Is the dad aggressive? Is the dad comforting? You can go any way you want to go. That's the beauty of simulation."
"A big part of this job is communication – communicating with the patient and family," said Patrick Leiby, instructional support technician and media specialist for Decker. "So it's good to have the family in the simulation."
The realism won't extend to full-length labor, though. Students won't be expected to help Noelle through a five-hour or 10-hour labor, Russell and Leiby said. Instead, they will focus on specific situations. For example, if Noelle has a bleeding complication, students may emphasize the remedy instead of the actual birth.
"You have to decide exactly what you want students to get out of this," Leiby said. "If students need to learn the first thing that happens after the woman gives birth and what they are supposed to do with the baby, we may just have the labor go for five minutes."
Decker faculty members have already had one training session with the simulator; a second is scheduled for April. Nursing students will get to practice on Noelle starting in May. They already get to practice various medical scenarios on SimMen at the Innovative Practice Center, where their work is videotaped and faculty members can observe through a one-way mirror.
For Russell, the acquisition of the birthing simulator is a big step forward for Decker and its students.
"To me, it goes to public safety and increasing the confidence of our students," she said. "They will experience this in a safe environment before getting into the hospital and real situations. It doesn't matter if you are the nurse during the scenario or you are the observer. All the students are getting the same information. You can't get that at a hospital."
Human Development Student Profile: Albert Sosa
From Staff Reports
Alberto Sosa, a graduate of the human development program, is pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University. During his time in CCPA, Sosa distinguished himself as a leader in the Binghamton community, working with deaf communities and American Sign Language (ASL). At Binghamton, he demonstrated superb academic achievements and was consistently named to the Dean's List. Binghamton faculty were very impressed with Sosa and particularly with the kind of intellect, hard work and enthusiasm that he brings to his work.
Sosa exhibited a truly exceptional caring and altruistic demeanor when working with the campus and Binghamton community. Fluent in ASL, he focused on work with deaf communities, serving as a teaching assistant for the ASL courses at Binghamton University. In addition, he has worked on ASL projects with students at Binghamton High School. Outside the classroom, he served as the community service chairman for Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. and participated in the New York City AIDS Walk, Community Awareness with the "Fresh to Deaf" Forum, CHOW Hunger Walk and the Special Olympics Tournament. Sosa intends to pursue a career as an ASL instructor and working in deaf communities.
Recent Lyceum course activity
From staff reports
Several Binghamton University faculty, both current and emeritus, have recently taught courses at Lyceum, a Graduate School of Education community partnership and lifetime learning association for adult learners more than 50 years of age:
- Nick Donnelly, professor emeritus of geological sciences - "Marcellus Shale"
- David Sloan Wilson, distinguished professor of biological sciences - "Our Lives, Our Genes and You"
- Bruce Lercher, professor emeritus of mathematical sciences - "Infinity"
- Zu-yan Chen, professor of Chinese and director of the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera; Silvia Ivanova, curator of education for the University Art Museum - "Aspects of Chinese Culture"
- Upinder Dhillon, dean and Koffman Scholar, School of Management - "Financial Markets - An Update"
- Harry Lincoln, professor emeritus of music - "Spring Concert Series"