Profiles & Narratives

Malli Gupta, whose beat is food, profiles Rick Nichols, the venerable food columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Clair Mullaney completes her work on health issues with a portrait of a Bryn Mawr student who has had to wrestle with anorexia most of her life.

Harper Hubbeling, whose beat is science, takes a look at Bryn Mawr professors who live at the intersection of faith and science.

Kaori Hatama, who covers international students, has a series of mini-profiles detailing how Asian-American students come to grips with their dual identities.

Mriganka Lulla, who covers fashion, has a narrative profile of Lamees Tanveer, a classmate who is a shopping maven. 

Rachel Park, who also works the fashion beat, gives us the definitive guide to being a hispter.

Drinking the Ocean

For Inquirer columnist Rick Nichols,  food is just the beginning of writing about food

By Mallimalika Gupta

Rick Nichols starts his day with a bowl of freshly made Irish oatmeal. He grinds the oats, toasts some pecan and walnuts and adds them into the mix. Then, some maple syrup made by friends in Vermont, a dash of cinnamon from Vietnam (“It is the best cinnamon there is.”), and just a tiny bit of milk.
For lunch, Nichols will sample three different kinds of oysters – a Wellfleet, Chinqueteague and Penniquid, have a bowl of fish chowder, and a little toasty roll stuffed with fried Ipswich belly clams. Over the course of the day, Nichols will also eat Chaat at an Indian restaurant, sample spring rolls and nibble on grape leaf-covered beef, among other items on the BBQ platter at a Vietnamese restaurant.welfleet-oysters
At Sansom Street Oyster House in Philadelphia, Nichols tips open a deep-cut Wellfleet oyster from his plate. He takes the top off, cuts the muscle. Holding on to the bottom cup of the oyster ever so delicately, he tips it into his mouth, taking in the salty, protein-y liquid with a slight whoosh sound. “It’s like drinking the ocean”, he says.
Rick Nichols is food columnist for Philadelphia Inquirer and drinking the ocean is part of his job.
For someone who writes, talks, thinks and breathes in food, Nichols is not very interested in the actual “food” part of his job. “It’s not what’s on the table,” he explains, “It’s who’s around it.” For Nichols it’s the baker that kneads his dough, the soup maker who cuts the carrots for his soup, and the elementary school children who grow mint leaves for a chocolate shop. It is the people and issues connected to food that matter to him.
From Sansom Oyster House, Nichols walks to the Inquirer office on North Broad Street, the one that is, as he puts it, “white like a wedding cake”.

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Learning to Live with Anorexia

Looking in the mirror was torture for Hannah Crawford

By Clare Mullaney
It wasn’t until Hannah was staring at a half-eaten Greek salad that she admitted she had a problem.
It was her first night in the outpatient program at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, the United States’ first residential facility for the treatment of eating disorders. Before coming to Renfrew, Hannah Crawford, whose real name she prefers not be used, had been following a strict diet of two apples and seven pretzel sticks a day. She was, in effect, starving herself.
Of the two meal options offered that night, Hannah, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College at the time, chose the Greek salad, believing it to be the “safer choice” and healthier selection. But to make up for the minimal calories offered by the anorexia1206lindsay-lohanlettuce and raw vegetables, the salad contained a few extra ingredients.
Petrified, Hannah gazed down at a hard-boiled egg, a half a cup of cottage cheese, a tablespoon of nuts, and whole pita bread.
She had 45 minutes to finish the salad along with a bowl of ice cream that was quickly melting.
Hannah was so nervous that she couldn’t stop shaking. “I could barely hold my fork to put food in my mouth,” she recalled.
Hannah had the urge to separate each of the items in her salad and eat them one at a time, but at Renfrew, any abnormal food rituals were prohibited. She couldn’t cut up her lettuce into tiny pieces or dissect the salad’s contents to make sure they weren’t contaminated.
By the end of the meal, Hannah had only eaten some of the salad. Before coming to Renfrew, she thought she could finish a meal if she wanted and that turning off the fears surrounding food would be easy.
It was so much harder than she imagined. “I was so overwhelmed by all the food,” she said.
An estimated one-half to nearly four percent of American women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Individuals with anorexia typically weigh no more than 85 percent of their expected body weight.
Hannah’s story describes the journey of many of these women.

The beginning
In fifth grade she began to monitor what she was eating, but by the beginning of middle school her anorexia took hold of her. To help her cope with the anxiety of starting at a new school, she became determined to lose weight.
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Women of Science & Faith

Three scientists struggle to reconcile science and belief in God

By Harper Hubbeling

“Fine. I quit,” said Judy Owen.
It was a brassy move. Graduate students don’t usually march into their advisors’ offices and threaten to resign.
But Owen was mad. Norman Kliman, Owen’s thesis advisor in the biology graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, had just threatened her belief system.
“He said he was deeply troubled by my being a churchgoer and – this is a direct quote – he said: ‘Your capacity to accept anything on faith is detrimental to your progress as a scientist,'” recalls Owen, in a heavy English accent.
“I told him that I felt my spiritual life was my guide,” she says, “it was my moral compass. It was a part of who I was and I could no more cleave that from myself than I could cut off a finger or an arm.”
As far as Owen was concerned, if Kliman felt she could not succeed as a spiritual scientist, she “needed to get out of science right then.”
But Kliman backed down. Owen did not quit.creation-of-adam
Thirty-one years later, Owen, a professor and researcher of immunology at Haverford College, is still in science. And she is still spiritual.
Owen is not alone. According to a 2007 study from the University of Buffalo, 48% of U.S. scientists report a religious affiliation. Yes, this is less than the 76% of the general population that claims affiliation. But it still raises eyebrows.
Half of U.S. scientists don’t see a conflict between faith and science? Why not?
Kliman wasn’t just some crazy old spiteful professor. He’s hardly the first to suggest that science and the church might clash – the two don’t exactly have a history of getting along. Witness the long and continuing dispute among Creationists and scientists over when and how life began on earth.
But 48% of scientists have found a way to live in both worlds. Three Haverford scientists, Owen and her colleagues Jenni Punt and Fran Blase, are among those living with the tension between science and faith. Listening to their stories, how they’ve wrestled with being “believers” in science, we see that embracing both worlds is possible – but not always easy.
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Between Two Worlds

Asian-American women must learn to deal with their dual identies

By Kaori Hatama
Clara Wang remembers dying the hair of her Barbie doll black with her mother’s mascara when she was young.
“Barbie dolls all come in blond and blue eyes and I really remember distinctively I took my mom’s mascara and dyed her hair black,” Wang laughs. “That was not a good idea. My mom was not all that happy either. She was like ‘my mascara, your Barbie -two things completely gone.'”
Wang’s experience is not an unusual one. Born as an Asian-American from immigrant parents, Wang – and other Asians – realize their bi-cultural identities while growing up. What is it like to be brought up in the United States, but born to immigrant parents? What kind of awareness does being brought up in two cultures bring? Four Bryn Mawr College undergraduates hong-kong-flagshared their experiences of growing up as Asian-Americans.
Wang’s parents, who were born in Hong Kong, came to the states for college in mid 1970’s. Wang was born in Philadelphia attended a Catholic elementary school on weekdays and Chinese school on weekends. Except Wang and one African-American girl, the rest of the students at her Catholic elementary school had brown hair, hazel
eyes or blond hair, blue eyes.
“In elementary school I wanted people to acknowledge me like a person. It was
more like ‘Can you stop looking at me like I’m Asian and look at me like an equal?'” said Wang. She felt she was not treated as normal by the others, which annoyed her.
“The fact that I have different cultural background should not affect how to interact with people but it did. That was kind of annoying” said Wang.
She and the only African-American girl were specifically called to have their photos in the front of the school’s pamphlet in the center.
“At that time I was like ‘that’s cool’ but when I look back at it I thought the school was promoting diversity even though we were the only two in the entire school,” said Wang.
Her family moved to California due to her father’s job. Her middle school and high school had 50 percent of Asian students. Because she looked similar and shared similar jokes, she felt comfortable hanging out with Asian-Americans.
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The Six Degrees of Hipster

Being a true hipster is not an easy thing.

By Rachel Park

It is a pure, unadulterated, no-way-around-it fact: hipsters are ubiquitous in the City of Brotherly Love. They can be seen toting a messenger bag, either on foot or on a fixed-gear bike – never in a car. Their penchant for flannel and skinny jeans is irrefutable. Associated with young 20- to 30-year-olds, hipsterism is an amalgam of fashion, music, and artistic tastes that do not follow the norm.
According to Dana Rich, a student at Philadelphia University, the ratio of hipsters per square mile appears unusually high because Center City and environs is so small.
“Everyone’s connected,” Rich, 21, said. “It seems there are so many because you are basically one degree separated from someone; it’s not even six degrees.”
The many art schools is also a factor. “Hipsters are related to the art type,” said Rich. “They]want to be different from other people.”
Characterizing hipsterism is not difficult. In fact, it can be whittled down to six degrees.

The First Degree: Skinny Jeans
Hipsters own many skinny jeans. It seems nearly impossible to envision a hipster not wearing a pair. Jog one’s memory back to high school and one may recall the goth kids wearing black clothing with chains hanging from their Continue reading

Annals of College Life

Here are four pieces about modern college life.

Jessica Watkins, who covers student health issues, has a piece about how college students handle their busy academic and social sechedule.  They don’t sleep much.

Alex Stratyner, who is covering campus mental health, has a story about a neglected minority at many schools — students who don’t drink.

Mara Miller, who is covering the arts, has a narrative story about a day in the life of two members of the Humtones, one of Haverford’s many a cappella groups.

Jordon Schilit, who covers non-traditional sports, went to find out what Haverford athletes do off season.  The answer can be found indoors.