Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island & New 1993) wins Democratic primary in Rhode Island gubernatorial race

Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has won the state's Democratic nomination for the 2014 gubernatorial race. She earned 42 per cent of the vote, with her opponents, Angel Taveras and Clay Pell, earning 29 and 27 per cent respectively. Raimondo will run against the Republican Mayor of Cranston, Allan Fung, in the general election. If she prevails, it will be the first time a Democrat won an election for governor since 1992. She will also be the first woman elected to governor in the state's history.   

For more information about the election, click here for Politico's coverage

Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson (Iowa & Brasenose 1981) recognised as Auxiliary Woman of the Year


Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, recently received the 2014 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award during the ALA National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Johnson is the 30th recipient of the award, and she was chosen for her positive impact on the lives of service members and their families. 

The ALA's National President, Nancy Brown-Park, said of the award: "General Johnson's work throughout her military career aligns perfectly with the mission and programs of the American Legion Auxiliary. She exemplifies the best of America's military and it is an honor to recognize her as the American Legion Auxiliary 2014 Woman of the Year."

Read more about the award on the U.S. Air Force Academy website.  

To read Michelle Johnson's profile interview with the Rhodes Project, click here

Dr Pardis Sabeti (Florida & New College 1999) leads team mapping ebola genome

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Dr Pardis Sabeti, MD/Ph.D., Professor at Harvard University and MIT's Broad Institute, led a team that has sequenced the RNA of 99 ebola viruses collected during the first weeks of the virus' outbreak in Sierra Leone earlier this year. 

Dr Sabeti explained the sequence to the L.A. Times: 

"The genome sequence of a virus is the blueprint on which that virus is built. Diagnostics are built on knowing that sequence; vaccines are also built using genome sequences. And if you want to build those as best you can, you want to know what the virus looks like today." 

To find out more, read the LA Times' piece on the genome.  


Shalini Randeria (India & St Anne's 1977) Appointed Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences

Professor Shalini Randeria has been appointed as Rector of the Institute fur die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Institute for Human Sciences) in Vienna. She will take office in January 2015. 

She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a Visiting Professor at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB). She has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state and social movements.

  For more information, read IWM's press release here.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall (California & Balliol 1981) nominated to be Deputy U.S. Secretary of Energy

President Obama announced Tuesday that he would nominate Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall as Deputy Energy Secretary. Currently, Ms Sherwood-Randall is the most senior officer working on nuclear proliferation and defense policy for the National Security Agency, and previously built a career in foreign policy focusing on Europe, Russia and Turkey.

Ashton B. Carter, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, said of her:    

"She Has been the White House point person on the nuclear weapons complex, and it's been a complicated task because it's where the Energy Department and the Pentagon meet. She's a superb organizer, and she'll need that skill - both in the nuclear complex and in the management of the tremendous changes brought about by the new exploitation of petroleum, and its consequences."

Jeni Klugman (New South Wales & New College 1988) leads the creation of a new World Bank Report on gender, entitled: “Voice and agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity”

The World Bank today published a new report on the voice and agency of women. The production of the report was led by Jeni Klugman, Director of the World Bank Gender and Development Team.


From the report’s Executive Summary:


Voice and Agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity is a major new report by the World Bank that shines a spotlight on the value of voice and agency, the patterns of constraints that limit their realization, and the associated costs, not only to individual women but to their families, communities, and societies. It highlights promising policies and interventions, and it identifies priority areas where further research and more and better data and evidence are needed. Underlining that agency has both intrinsic and instrumental, concrete value, this report puts advancing women’s voice and agency squarely on the international development agenda.”


For more coverage of the report, and to see Jeni Klugman speak about it, see this article on the Devex website:

Sylvia Mathews-Burwell (West Virginia & Worcester 1987) appointed as the next United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

"Sylvia is from a small town -- Hinton, West Virginia.  So she brings the common sense that you see in small towns.  She brings the values of caring about your neighbor and ordinary folks to some of the biggest and most complex challenges of her time.  She’s a proven manager who’s demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships, and deliver excellent results at the highest levels.  And she’s done it both in the public and private sectors." 

- President Obama on his nomination of Sylvia Mathews-Burwell (April 11, 2014)


Read the full press release on her nomination here

Jennifer Welsh (Prairies & St Anne's 1987) is tonight presenting a Trudeau lecture entitled 'The Individualization of War: Protection, Liability and Accountability'

Jennifer Welsh, professor of international relations at the University of Oxford, will present her lecture, at 5 p.m. March 25 in Conron Hall, University College 224. 

Welsh, a Fellow of Somerville College and a special adviser to the secretary-general of the United Nations, will examine the dramatic ways in which war has changed since the beginning of the First World War in 1914.

To read more about this fantastic lecture, please click here.

Dr Pardis Sabeti (Florida & New 1999) conducting groundbreaking research into Iranian genetics

Dr. Pardis Sabeti MD/Ph.D., professor at Harvard University and MIT’s Broad Institute, has had the opportunity to study the genetics of many different populations throughout her storied career. But one population missing from the genetics research done by Dr. Sabeti and others is her own - the Iranian population.

Genetics research has advanced medicine in many ways - from identifying new drug targets to allowing scientists to identify the cause of some cancers. Understanding the genetics of the Iranian population would be the first step to ensuring Iranians are a part of the personalized medicine that has resulted from genetics research. “We are in the midst of a revolution in the fields of genomics and medicine, and it is thrilling to bring this to bear for my own heritage,” said Dr. Sabeti.

Read the full article about Dr Sabeti's new research here

Dr Sara Sewall (Maine & New 1984) appointed as US Special Coordinator For Tibetan Issues

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday designated the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Dr. Sarah Sewall, to serve concurrently as United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

As Special Coordinator, Under Secretary Sewall will coordinate the U.S. Government's policies, programs, and projects on Tibetan issues globally, and particularly within the context of the United States' bilateral relationships with China, India, and Nepal, where there are significant populations of Tibetans.

Read more about Dr Sewall's recent appointment here

Naomi Wolf (Connecticut & New 1985) 2012 book "Vagina: A new biography" to be adapted for a screenplay in conjunction with the Irish Film Board

NAOMI WOLF, the American author of The Beauty Myth, is to work with the Irish Film Board (IFB) on a screen adaptation of her controversial book Vagina: A New Biography.


Bonnie St John (California & Trinity 1986) is interviewed about her Paralympic success and experiences in business

"With the Winter Olympics in full swing, many of us are watching as world class athletes push the limits of what’s possible. The commitment, focus and stamina of those elite competitors hold lessons for the rest of us, says entrepreneur, consultant and author Bonnie St. John."

Read more at 

Amy Wakeland (Michigan & Wadham 1993) steps up for family and medical leave

The wife of Mayor Eric Garcetti made her first policy appearance before the City Council on Wednesday as part of her effort to raise awareness about paid family leave benefits available to Californians.

Amy Elaine Wakeland’s public comments before the council came in response to a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Nury Martinez that advocates for the FAMILY Act, a federal bill that would “provide workers across the country partial income when taking leave from work.”

Read more at:

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall (California & Balliol 1981) on shortlist for new Pentagon policy chief

On the shortlist to become the Pentagon’s third-ranking civilian leader are a senior Defense Department official and a top White House national security adviser, multiple sources say.

Read more at:

Chrystia Freeland (Prairies & St Antony's 1991) discusses the implications of her move from journalism to politics

Every age has its fight between the cynics and the true believers, the pessimists and the optimists, the naysayers and the cheerleaders. In its latest incarnation, thanks to a witty Gawker post on the virtues of the no-bullshit approach of calling things as you see them, we begin the year with a war between “snark” and “smarm”—and the deck would seem to be pretty heavily stacked in favor of the snarkers.

Read more:


Dr. Ilse Treurnicht (South Africa-at-large & Balliol 1979) named one of Canada's most powerful women for the fourth time since 2009

MaRS Discovery District is pleased to announce that CEO Dr. Ilse Treurnicht has been named a recipient of the Women's Executive Network's (WXN) 2013 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards. As a four-time recipient of the award, and in recognition of her longstanding contribution to Canadian innovation, she will also be inducted into WXN's Hall of Fame this year.

Read more:

Ethnographer Sarah Schulman (Texas & Trinity 2005) is interviewed by Axiom News about her current projects and working style


Ethnographer and social systems designer Sarah Schulman espouses a rare emphasis on continually asking reflexive questions rather than boasting about her achievements through innovative start-ups.

What is good? What is quality? Her blog ideates through these tough lines of inquiry.

Read more at 

Dacia Toll (Maryland and DC & Mansfield 1994) opens new Achievement First Mayoral Academy in Providence, RI

The Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy celebrated the launch of their new school with a ribbon cutting Friday.

Parents and scholars stood out in the blustery October day to watch mayors from several local communities a wide red ribbon on the school’s front steps.

Read more at: