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Newsmakers

01/23/08
The Write Stuff
USC College English professor Carol Muske-Dukes will be honored for her work as a poet and novelist at the second annual WriteGirl Bold Ink Awards to be held Jan. 24 in Los Angeles.

WriteGirl is a nonprofit creative writing and mentoring program for underserved teenage girls in Los Angeles. The program pairs professional women writers with teens for weekly one-on-one mentoring that focuses on creative writing.

Once each month, the group (which includes more than 200 members) gathers for full-day writing workshops, highlighting creative writing genres such as journalism, songwriting, poetry, fiction and screenwriting.

New Post for Lavery

Sharon Lavery, resident conductor of the USC Thornton Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble at the USC Thornton School of Music, has been appointed music director of the Downey Symphony.

While at USC Thornton, Lavery has collaborated with such guests as Sergiu Comissiona, Jorge Mester, H. Robert Reynolds, Stanislaw Skrowacewski, Carl St.Clair and John Williams. In addition, she has led USC Thornton ensembles in concert on many occasions and was music director of the USC Thornton Concert Orchestra for seven years.

Lavery has worked with some of the world’s most renowned conductors in many concert halls across the country, including Carnegie Hall in New York City.

She has held the post of cover conductor for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra of Orange County for the past four years. Previously, she served as associate conductor of the Herbert Zipper Orchestra of Los Angeles and as music director of the MUSE International Music Day festival in Chiba, Japan.

Lavery earned her bachelor of music education degree from Michigan State University and master of music in clarinet performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. She also earned a master of music in orchestral conducting from USC, receiving the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Scholarship for two consecutive years.

‘Genius’ Alum

USC Viterbi School of Engineering alumnus Paul Rothemund has received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and who show exceptional promise for enhanced creative work.

Rothemund, who earned his Ph.D. in computer science from USC in 2001, is a senior research fellow at Caltech.

He is a technologist whose research focuses on the fabrication of large molecules that self-assemble into complex, arbitrary, programmable shapes.

Ma, Mayne on Cities

USC School of Architecture Dean Qingyun Ma and architect Thom Mayne ’69 recently took part in a cultural forum at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.

Ma and Mayne examined whether cities should be preserved as built or have “expiration dates” like other organic entities. They also explored the lifecycle of built environments how cities can preserve their urban vitality and integrate sustainability, digital technology and economical systems as well as accommodate new trends in the way people live, work, play and communicate.

Mayne is the founder of Morphosis, an interdisciplinary and collective practice involved in experimental design and rigorous research based in Santa Monica.

Words of Wisdom

George Bekey, a retired member of the USC Viterbi School faculty and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, delivered the commencement address at the mid-year graduation ceremonies held in December for engineering and business students at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

In contrast to the conventional commencement congratulations and encouragement to change the world for the better, Bekey told the graduating students that the knowledge they had gained in school by itself would not bring them happiness, satisfaction or meaning to their lives.

He said there was a disconnect between university education, which provides knowledge, and the search for wisdom and meaning. He noted that Google and other search engines can find information but not wisdom.

“A man who has much knowledge, but no wisdom, is no better than a camel carrying a load of books,” he said, quoting an old Arab proverb.

Equity for WWII Vets

Annalisa Enrile, a clinical assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work, recently received an award for her nearly 10 years of service to Filipino-American veterans of World War II.

Given by UCLA’s Justice for Filipino-American Veterans and the People’s Coalition for Organizing, Reform and Empowerment, an Echo Park social service agency, the honor recognized Enrile’s long-term dedication and service to veterans whose benefits for fighting as U.S. soldiers in the Asia Pacific Theatre during World War II were later rescinded by the United States at the end of the war.

In what came to be known as the Bataan Death March, thousands of Filipino and American soldiers died or were killed during the forcible transfer of prisoners of war. Today, hundreds of Filipino-American veterans of World War II have yet to see their benefits. In spring 2006, Enrile served as the keynote speaker for the Veteran’s Equity Bill Conference at UCLA to address this issue.