Rebecca Levine ’01 of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service during her September deployment in Sierra Leone. (Courtesy CDC)
In July, Rebecca “Bex” Levine ’01 started a new job as an officer in Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. She spent one month in training and then began working as a disease detective on one of the most significant health challenges in recent years: the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Levine was deployed for a month in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with a CDC team that supported local partners in epidemiology and contract tracing, finding the people who’ve come in direct contact with sick Ebola patients. She will be heading back for another 30-day stretch beginning in mid-December.
The Ebola outbreak’s size and scope has presented significant barriers for public health officials, according to Levine. “It does sound like a major undertaking for us, as we sit here in the United States,” she said. “Take all of that and put it in a context where computers are not regularly used, where power is not reliable, where resources are so incredibly limited.” What we might think of as easy tasks, she said, become “immense challenges” in Sierra Leone. Continue reading
Ken Buck ’81 (Wikipedia)
The GOP dominated the midterm election results, which was good news for at least one Princetonian: Republican Ken Buck ’81, the district attorney for Colorado’s Weld County, will head to Washington, D.C., as a freshman representative from the state’s 4th district, the Denver Post reported. Buck ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and lost narrowly in the statewide election, but voters in his home district backed him this fall with more than 65 percent of votes cast in his favor.
Greg Orman ’91 (Courtesy Orman for U.S. Congress)
Other alumni challengers did not fare as well. Greg Orman ’91, running for Senate as an independent in Kansas, lost in a tight race to incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman gave Roberts “the strongest challenge of his three-decade congressional career,” according to The Wichita Eagle.
Republican Nan Hayworth ’81, a former congresswoman attempting to regain her seat in New York’s Hudson Valley, trailed incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney — but as of Wednesday morning, she had not yet conceded, according to The Journal News. (Update: Hayworth did concede Wednesday afternoon.) Paul Clements *92 *96, D-Mich., won 40 percent of the vote in his state’s 6th district but could not unseat Republican Rep. Fred Upton. Republican Peter Theron ’78 won 31 percent of the vote in Wisconsin’s 2nd district and fell to incumbent Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan. Continue reading
Last December, when former All-Star pitcher Chris Young ’02 came to Princeton to speak on a panel of alumni baseball pros, he said in a PAW interview that he was ready to get back on the mound in the major leagues after missing nearly all of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. “I’ve always said I want to play as long as I possibly can,” Young said. “I’m 34 right now, and I feel like there are still some good years ahead of me.”
Young’s peers agree: Last week, the Seattle Mariners righthander was voted the American League Comeback Player of the Year by a group of more than 100 players surveyed by Sporting News. Young finished the season with a 12-9 record and a 3.65 earned-run average in 29 starts. He pitched 165 innings, the most since his All-Star season in 2007.
Young had surgery in the offseason to correct a nerve injury that affected his pitching arm. “To think he won as many games as he did, and made 29 starts, coming off the type of surgery and the injuries that he had, I think it’s just tremendous,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Sporting News. “He is a tireless worker and showed his determination with his performance.” Continue reading
Richard Preston *83 (Nancy Jo Johnson)
Twenty years ago, Richard Preston *83’s best-seller, The Hot Zone, introduced readers to the Ebola virus in what was billed on the cover as a “terrifying true story.” When Ebola returned to the headlines in recent months, Preston came back to the story, reporting for The New Yorker, the magazine for which Preston first covered the Ebola story in 1992.
In August, Preston told the story of Daniel Bausch, an American doctor in an Ebola ward in Kenema, Sierra Leone. This week, the magazine published “The Ebola Wars,” Preston’s in-depth look at the situation on the ground in Sierra Leone intertwined with reporting on scientists at MIT’s Broad Institute who are working to understand Ebola’s genome. He also traced the stories of American Ebola survivors Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, and U.S. hospitals’ first encounter with the virus. “We weren’t prepared,” Preston told CNN on Monday. “I would say that many health workers in Africa were more prepared for Ebola than people in the most sophisticated hospitals in the U.S. This is a learning curve, but they’re coming up fast on that learning curve in the United States, and I have confidence that they’re going to be able to handle it.” Continue reading
Greg Orman ’91 (Wikipedia)
A few months ago, Greg Orman ’91 was a little-known independent candidate in the race for a Senate seat in Kansas, where the entrepreneur and investor lives. But as Orman has picked up momentum, endorsements, and some promising poll numbers — along with an assist from Democrats, who withdrew their candidate to avoid splitting votes — he’s earned some new titles: “Stormin’ Orman” (via The Economist); “the most interesting man in politics” (according to NBC’s Chuck Todd); and, if he were to defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, perhaps the “Senate kingmaker” (The New York Times).
By PAW’s count, there are at least nine alumni running for Congressional seats this fall — five Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent — and Orman’s race is by far the most closely watched. Poll trackers believe that Orman, who has said he’ll caucus with the majority party, could block the Republicans’ bid to claim a majority in the Senate (the latest New York Times odds put the probability of that outcome at 14 percent).
Orman, an economics major at Princeton, hinted at his political independence in his senior yearbook entry, which included a quote by independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. While he seems destined to be wooed by both parties, for now he’s being critical of both and pushing for bipartisan cooperation. “We’re still sending the worst of both parties to Washington — people who seem more interested in getting reelected than they do in solving problems,” he said last month, according to The Atlantic. “They draw childish lines in the sand, they refuse to cooperate, and as a result, inaction has replaced leadership when it comes to solving our most pressing problems.” Continue reading
Eli Harari *73 (Courtesy SanDisk)
Eli Harari *73, a Princeton engineering Ph.D. and computer-hardware pioneer, will receive the 2014 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the White House announced Oct. 3. Harari is one of 19 honorees in the fields of science and technology who will be honored by President Barack Obama later this year.
Harari’s idea for “system flash” memory sparked the creation of SanDisk, a Milpitas, Calif.-based company that began with three employees and now has more than 5,000. SanDisk technology is used in thousands of devices, from memory cards and USB drives to mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. “We’re now connected in ways that would not be possible without the technologies that Eli helped pioneer,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk’s co-founder, president, and CEO, in a news release.
Fellow graduate alumnus Arthur Levinson *77, a former CEO of Genentech and Princeton’s 2006 James Madison Medal recipient, also will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Levinson was our Tiger of the Week three years ago when he took over as the non-executive chairman of Apple following the death of Steve Jobs. He currently heads Calico, a research and development company in California, and works with former Princeton professor David Botstein, Calico’s chief scientific officer.
Video: Eli Harari *73 on engineering after Princeton, courtesy of Princeton Engineering Continue reading