Dean's Message, April 4, 2022
April brings us two History/Heritage months that celebrate the diversity of our community: Deaf History month commemorates the founding of the first deaf public school (now the American School for the Deaf) in 1817, as well as the first deaf university (Gallaudet University) in 1864. The most famous deaf American scientist is Thomas Edison.
The recent success of the film CODA at the Oscars (it won Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur, the first Deaf man and second Deaf person to win) is a wonderful tribute to the deaf community. We can hope it will enhance awareness and opportunities for its members. At Tufts, we have a personal connection to the film; Mags Harries, Professor of the Practice at SMFA is the mother of Sian Heder, the film’s writer and director.
As scientists, we owe a great deal to Arab science, particularly that of the Golden Age. Many common words in our field, such as alkaline, algorithm and algebra, come from great Arab scientists. Two distinguished Arab American Scientists working in our fields include Joanne Chory (Salk Institute plant geneticist and Breakthrough Prize winner) and Ahmed Zewail (Cal Tech chemist and Nobel laureate). Last week, GSBS welcomed our newest program coordinator, Maya Zakharia, who comes to us from Lebanon. Finally, this month coincides with Ramadan and many (though not all) of our Arab community are Muslim. I wish all Muslim members of our community a generous Ramadan.
Dan Jay, Dean