Saint Mary’s student earns Gates scholarship

first_imgSaint Mary’s freshman Clarisa Medina stands at 4-foot-11 but her short stature does not hinder her plans for a big future.  “There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’m going to be successful,” she said.  In May 2012, Medina found out she was accepted to become a Gates Millennium Scholar. Of the 26,000 high school seniors who applied for the distinguished scholarship, she was one of the lucky 1,000.  “Students apply annually from all U.S. territories and states.” Medina said. “The program is more prestigious than any university’s admission process, including Harvard.”  Medina applied online in December 2011 and wrote nine essays discussing community service, activities she engaged in during her weekends and summers and the type of courses she had taken to prepare herself for college.  “We also had to write about things that have happened in our lives that we had to overcome to get to the point where we want to be, she said. “There are three rounds and in the final round they determine if you can become a Gates Scholar based off of socio-economic need. If you are chosen you get up to 10 years of education at any university of our choice.”  Medina is the first Gates Millennium Scholar to enroll at Saint Mary’s College. The financial aid office had never heard of the scholarship before Medina.   Medina was first introduced to Saint Mary’s through her sister and current sophomore, Cecily Medina.  “She loved it so much here and she strongly encouraged me to come,” Medina said.  “When I came to visit I liked the classroom size, it was very appealing to me. I feel as if I have so many opportunities here. I get to double major and go abroad. It’s the ideal place to master the basics and go on to a higher level of education, perhaps a PhD.”  Medina, a double major in global studies and political science intends to minor in justice education and Spanish as well as earn her MBA from Notre Dame during her last year of college.  Medina finds another advantage of Saint Mary’s is her ability to participate in two different sports. “I run cross country and play softball here,” she said. “It’s a great stress reliever for me and my team provides me with an additional support system.” The second of eight children, Medina relies on her sports family to help her transition from her home environment. “It is really difficult coming from a Hispanic family because we are very close knit and dependent on each other,” she said. “It’s so loud at home and here everything has been pretty quiet. I know I just have to remind myself to sacrificed that for a reason and that reason was to get an education and to have an opportunity that my parents never had.”  “I am very proud of [Clarisa],” Cecily Medina said. “When she won the scholarship it wasn’t just her winning, it was our entire family winning.”  Despite engaging in an enriched athletic and academic life, Medina has not forgotten her background in service. “I plan to open a camp here that I created back home,” Medina said. “It’s called Run the World and I believe that it is the reason why I got the Gates Scholarship.” Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edulast_img read more

A Welcome Outlier in the Age of Ultralite: High Sierra Lightning 35 Pack

first_imgIt’s happening again. It’s only a day-hike with the family, you say, pulling that ultralight daypack out of the closet. Yet here you are, struggling with a bag full of diapers, granola bars, cartoon-shaped fruit snacks, rain gear (just in case the 0% precipitation forecast is wrong – because your partner insisted), your 10 essentials (good for you, seriously), and maybe some dog food since Ruffwear doesn’t come in SilNy under 1 lb.And this lightweight daypack is not cutting it. You might as well be using a bindle because your hip, ultralite bag has about as much structure and all those diapers, clean and dirty, are sitting right on your shoulders.Lightning strikes. In the age of ultralight, the High Sierra Lightning 35 is a stalwart workhorse that makes no compromise to cut weight, and for the $60 price tag currently available on High Sierra’s site, I shouldn’t have to say more. This “full-service” pack served me well on a dozen daytrips to the crag as well as a few overnights. I cannot find any significant fault, and if I’m being honest, I hit the trail looking for trouble because I have my own loyalties within the pack industry.The Lightning boasts pockets in all the right places including my favorite snack stash on the hipstrap, a built in rain fly so you can think about more important things, and a hydration system pocket. There are even a few extras you don’t really need like the classic shoulder-strap camera/phone pocket for all the dad’s out there who realize you can’t wear a pack and a fannypack at the same time. These are pretty standard features. But most importantly – the lightning has the structural support to carry heavy loads despite being a lower volume pack. It is overpowered in a good way. At 4 pounds and change, it doesn’t pretend to compete with that GoLite Jam that you brag about to friends (leaving out the part about how sore it makes you every time). That extra weight more than makes up for itself on the trail in terms of support. I’ve owned a number of daypacks in this volume range but none of them could hold a candle to the grace with which the lightning held heavier loads.Some of that weight, too, comes from sturdier materials. I dragged this bag all over Appalachia, probably threw it around a few times, and might even have given it a few kicks for kicks. All I’ve been able to do to it is separate the sheath from a drawstring – a simple fix, remove the sheath, the strength of the cord is in the core anyway – and put a small tear in the bag cramming a rack of cams deep in the bag. At $60, I’m not complaining and neither is my back.High Sierra Lightning 35 Backpack, MSRP $60last_img read more

COVID reinfections are possible. Should we worry?

first_imgThe patient walked into the Washoe County community testing station in the US state of Nevada on April 18 with a sore throat, dry cough and a headache, but no reason to worry.He was only 25, had no prior medical conditions, and although the PCR nasal-swab test for COVID-19 he took came back positive, he was soon feeling well again.Thirty five days later, he was rushed to the emergency room, short of breath and with a raging fever, and placed on oxygen support. Other viruses While it is hard to say for certain how widespread or frequent COVID-19 reinfections will end up being, scientists can look to similar viruses for clues.Lia van der Hoek, an expert on coronaviruses at Amsterdam UMC, has studied the pathogens for decades.She was the lead author on a paper published last month in Nature Medicine investigating the four other coronaviruses that humans can catch. The study charted 10 healthy individuals over the course of more than 30 years, and found that patients were infected multiple times with the virus. One patient was infected on 17 separate occasions over the study period. “COVID-19 will probably behave the same,” she told AFP. Shaman also studied the circulation of other coronaviruses, following 12 healthy individuals and proving they could be reinfected a second time. He said that evidence from other respiratory viruses suggested widespread reinfections of COVID-19 was by no means impossible. COVID-19 ‘never going away’ While many governments are basing their hopes of a full economic recovery on a vaccine, Van der Hoek said there may never be a single, entirely effective COVID-19 failsafe.”The problem with coronavirus antibodies is that they wane so quickly and you can get reinfected with the same strain,” she said. “So it could be that you need repeated [COVID-19] vaccinations all the time.”This one will never go away. There is no way we can get rid of it. It will stay with us for the rest of humanity.” Too soon to tell? Frederic Altare, director of Immunology at the Inserm Research Centre of Oncology and Immunology Nantes-Angers, said there was currently little evidence that COVID-19 reinfection was going to be a “major issue” given the low case figures.”With the number of people who have been infected there are only a dozen or so proven reinfections — that’s not much,” he told AFP.But others said it was difficult to accurately gauge reinfection numbers given the relative lack of testing during the first wave this spring. In other words, many people could have in theory been infected in March or April and remained asymptomatic, only to test positive later in the year when they were reinfected, but this time with symptoms. According to Jeffrey Shaman, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the main obstacle to ascertaining reinfection numbers is that SARS-CoV-2 — unlike other coronaviruses that circulate among humans — is brand new, epidemiologically speaking. “The world has only been dealing with this for a number of months,” he told AFP. “We don’t know if [reinfection] is going to be common or as likely to be equally severe as the initial infection.”It’s really important to understand what this virus is ultimately going to do and how challenging it’s going to be to make a universal vaccine,” Shaman said. He had become the first confirmed US case of COVID-19 reinfection. Up to now, there have been only a handful of similar cases worldwide, and experts say it is too early to draw sweeping conclusions from such a small head count.But the prospect of getting reinfected with COVID-19 — and getting even sicker the second time around — could have a significant impact on how governments chart the path out of the pandemic.In particular, reinfections may render the idea of herd immunity — that is, a sufficiently high percentage of people eventually becoming immune to COVID-19 — unrealistic.center_img “Reinfection cases mean that in some people, the immune response is not enough to protect them from infection or disease,” Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, told AFP.”Reinfections from SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] mean that immunity acquired through natural infection is not perfect.”Researchers who documented the Nevada patient’s case offered a number of possible explanations as to how he could have gotten sick twice.He may have been exposed to a very high dose of the virus the second time around, triggering a more acute reaction.Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus. The study, published this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, listed other confirmed reinfections in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. Topics : Herd immunity ‘dangerous’ On Monday researchers in the Netherlands released the case study of a 89-year-woman who died after contracting COVID-19 twice.She had been treated for cancer, and her immune system was damaged as a result, making her more susceptible to severe infection.As the world searches for a vaccine, Iwasaki said that any eventually safe and universal inoculation would need to generate higher levels and longer lasting immunity in people than through natural infection.”Fortunately, some vaccine candidates appear to do exactly that.”But reinfections likely meant that any hope of naturally occurring herd immunity “would not be possible”, Iwasaki said.”Based on what we know about COVID-19, it would be too dangerous to try to achieve herd immunity through natural exposure to this virus, as it can be lethal or detrimental in people of all ages.”There is also the grim prospect of so-called antibody dependent enhancement — when antibodies actually make subsequent infections worse, such as with dengue fever.While there is currently no proof that occurs with COVID-19, Shaman said he knows of no-one who can rule that out.last_img read more