As the annual job search for seniors and graduate students heats up, employers in green tech fields are leveraging alumni connections and flocking to Harvard to court students for jobs.“Green” employers are zeroing in on candidates who have the right mix of talent and flexibility to find success during difficult economic times.“The threat of budget cuts definitely looms large over our sector, as it does over many sectors, but we’re optimistic,” said Walter Frick, communications manager at New England Clean Energy Council.“It’s great to have a technical student who can also communicate to a lay audience,” said Frick. “That’s one of the big things that we think Harvard students are likely to be able to do.”Frick’s organization was among more than 30 that filled the Radcliffe Gym on Feb. 25 at the Office of Career Services’ (OCS) second annual Energy and Environment Expo, all of them eager to tap Harvard’s thinkers, communicators, and innovators for full-time positions or internships.The alumni connectionThe economy may be suffering, but success stories are not difficult to find. In fact, several of the company representatives at the expo were recent Harvard graduates who found their first jobs at last year’s event.Molly Bales ’10, for example, is now a business development associate for Waltham-based Harvest Power, a fast-growing company that recycles organic waste. As an undergraduate, Bales studied history and science; this year, she stood on the other side of the company table.At Harvard, “I had some science classes and some history, writing, and research skills,” she said. “It’s been really important for me to have the technical background to be able to understand our technology, but also have the people skills and the writing skills to do all the other pieces of the job.”Passion helps, too.“We’re a pretty small company of about 25 at the corporate level, and everybody’s very committed to what they’re doing,” she said. “A lot of people have environmental backgrounds, and they’re really interested in our mission. If people really believe in the company, then they’re going to work harder, so that’s something that we value.”Jennifer Popack ’10, another recent graduate, landed a job at ThinkEco (itself founded by Harvard alumni) in New York City as a result of last year’s expo. The company sells a device that cuts power usage by appliances left on standby.“At a start-up, everything is changing constantly, which is what makes it so amazing,” she said. “Harvard prepares you to be able to deal with managing multiple things at the same time, and taking things as they’re thrown at you, and making the best of it.”ThinkEco’s president and CEO, Jun Shimada ’93, A.M. ’99, Ph.D. ’02, studied philosophy, chemistry, and chemical physics at Harvard; chief business officer Mei Shibata ’95, S.M. ’99, M.B.A. ’03, was a physicist and medical engineer here. The company welcomes applications from Harvard students because, as Popack put it, “you kind of know what you’re getting.”When Popack joined ThinkEco last year (having studied environmental sciences and public policy), she was the sixth employee. Now the company is up to 20 and preparing for its commercial launch.“It’s all hands on deck, and the more capable hands on deck, the better,” she said. “We’d love, love to have more engineering undergrads come and apply.”Testing the waterJunior John Yusufu was excited to learn about Digital Lumens, a company that makes “smart” LED lighting systems for industrial settings, aiming to replace high-intensity fluorescent lamps, which consume more energy.“I like them a lot; they’ve found simple ways of achieving the same results with less of an effect on the environment,” said Yusufu, who studies mechanical engineering at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “That’s what I’m looking to get involved with.”For students such as Yusufu who have not taken the plunge into the hectic world of recruitment, applications, and interviews, the expo provided an opportunity to test the water.“I know eventually I’m going to have to get out in the real world,” said Daniel Bruder, a junior concentrating in mechanical engineering. “I just want to see what’s out there and get my feet wet a little bit.”Bruder moved from table to table, engaging with company representatives, asking them about how they run a start-up, how they market their products, and how they figure out what people are going to want to buy.“I just learned about a new product that’s incredible, that I’d never even heard of before,” he said. “But more than just what these projects are, it’s how people are going about doing them in the real world that I’m learning about.”Decision time“It’s a really daunting period,” said senior Patricia Florescu. “Now is the time to start thinking about what to do next year, but it’s so hard to decide.”Florescu, who will graduate with a concentration in applied mathematics, had interviewed with one of the companies at the expo earlier in the week. The OCS event provided her with a chance to find out more about her prospective employer’s work and the options that are available.“This expo was a good opportunity to talk to various employers and see that even if we’re from a liberal arts college and we’re interested in a technology or engineering job, we have the skills that employers are looking for,” she said. “This is the most reassuring thing.”
Gov. Jeb Bush signs Civil Legal Justice Act Gov. Jeb Bush signs Civil Legal Justice Act Senior Editor State funding for legal aid programs moved to the brink of reality as Gov. Jeb Bush on May 30 signed the Civil Legal Justice Act.The only remaining barrier was that Bush must approve the state budget, which was not expected until after this News went to press. But with the signing of the act, it appeared likely its $2-million appropriation would also survive gubernatorial scrutiny.Six days before the signing, the bill was still very much on the minds of Bar leaders as President Terry Russell urged the Board of Governors to begin work now to expand the program next year. And he received an unexpected tribute for his work in conceiving and getting the legislature to approve the program.At the board’s May 24 meeting in Jacksonville, board member Sharon Langer, who also heads the Dade County Legal Aid Society, announced that the state’s legal aid groups had gotten together and created the Terry Russell Equal Justice Fellowship to honor the president’s efforts.“Beginning this summer and every summer, hopefully, for the rest of our existence, an outstanding law student will spend the summer in one of our programs,” Langer reported to the board. “We expect to produce a distinguished core of Terry Russell Fellows who will go on to honor you by being good lawyers.”Langer’s surprise announcement, and the board’s resultant standing ovation for the president, caught Russell off guard.“I am probably for the first time in my life speechless,” he said. “It’s a marvelous accomplishment for all of us. I didn’t do it alone. I am humbled and I appreciate it.”Janet Neris, a student at St. Thomas School of Law, will be the first Terry Russell Fellow, and will work with Broward Legal Aid this summer. Langer said each participating agency is assessing itself a fee to pay for the program.In his president’s report to the board, Russell reiterated that it was a team effort to pass the bill. He particularly cited the effort of Bar General Counsel Paul Hill and outside legislative consultant Steve Metz, adding, “It was well beyond the call of duty what Steve did on that legislation.”The success has brought both more opportunities and challenges, he said. One benefit is that at The Florida Bar Foundation’s Annual Dinner at the Bar’s Annual Meeting several legislative leaders who were key to passing the program will be in attendance. They are, Russell said, House Speaker-designate Johnny Byrd, Rep. Carlos Lacasa, chair of the Fiscal Responsibility Council, and Rep. Dudley Goodlette and Sen. Burt Saunders, who sponsored the legislation in their respective chambers. Others may also attend, he added.He said that would be a chance for Bar members to thank them for supporting the Civil Legal Justice Act — and to seek increased support in the future.“We need to let them know $2 million is not enough,” Russell continued. “One of the things I’ve learned about the legislature is you never stop asking them for more, because if you do, they give you less. I hope to get $10 million.”And that, Metz told the board, is likely to be a tough challenge.“The legislature used $1.2 billion of nonrecurring dollars in recurring programs [in the 2002-03 budget],” he said. “So next year they’ve got to have $1.2 billion of new money just to keep up.”He also said pushing the legal aid program was different than in recent sessions where the Bar was focused on preventing erosions to the independence of the judiciary and of the Supreme Court’s oversight of the legal profession. He recalled that Russell was involved before the 2001 session when Metz was hired as the Bar’s outside legislative consultant.“He said, ‘It’s not good enough to play defense, you’re going to have to pass something when I’m president.’”“When you play offense, you have to be pretty lucky sometimes. . . . Terry was fantastic. If you saw how he would walk into a hostile office and have the passion he did about providing legal services to the poor — it came from the heart and that’s why we won.“It was a year of trying to restore a lot of budget cuts,” Metz said. “It is extraordinary that Terry was able to come through in a tight budget year with a new program that required $2 million.” June 15, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News
Topics : The World Health Organization said on Monday that comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo citing “evidence” that the new coronavirus had emerged from a Chinese laboratory were “speculative”, and called for a science-based inquiry.Pompeo said on Sunday there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the virus emerged from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but did not dispute US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made.Dr Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, told an online press conference from Geneva: Ryan said science, not politics, should be at the heart of exchanges with Chinese scientists on the issue, warning against projecting an “aggressive investigation of wrongdoing”.The virus is believed to have originated in bats and jumped to humans via another species. Dr Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO specialist in viruses that make such jumps, said it was important to determine this intermediate host.As countries begin easing lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the virus, many hope to contain new clusters of infection through systematic contact tracing, helped by mobile phone apps and other technology.But Ryan said these did not make more traditional “boots-on-the-ground” surveillance redundant.”We are very, very keen to stress that IT tools do not replace the basic public health workforce that is going to be needed to trace, test, isolate and quarantine,” he said, praising South Korea and Singapore for their strategy.Ryan said the WHO welcomed recent clinical trial data for Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir, saying there were “signals of hope” for a potential use against COVID-19.”We will be engaging in discussions with Gilead and the US government as to how this drug may be made more widely available as further data emerges on its effectiveness,” he said.Steven Solomon, the WHO’s principal legal officer, said two countries had proposed consideration of letting Taiwan attend the WHO’s May 18-19 annual health assembly as an observer.Solomon said the WHO recognized the People’s Republic of China as the “one legitimate representative of China”, in keeping with UN policy since 1971, and that the question of Taiwan’s attendance was one for the WHO’s 194 member states.China, which views the island as a wayward Chinese province and not a country, says it represents Taiwan adequately in the WHO. “We have not received any data-specific evidence from the US government relating to the purported origin of the virus. So from our perspective, this remains speculative.”As an “evidence-based organization”, Ryan said, the WHO was keen to receive any information on the origin of the virus, as this was “exceptionally important” for its future control.”So if that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared,” he said.Scientists have advised the WHO that genome sequencing shows the virus to be of “natural origin”.