Author Archives: Hannah McKenzie

Article: Why the Coronavirus Hits Kids and Adults So Differently

COVID-19 is much less severe in children, and it could have to do with a child’s still-developing immune system.

By Sarah Zhang May 15, 2020

Only after New York City passed its current coronavirus peak did pediatricians notice a striking, new pattern: Dozens of kids who had been exposed to COVID-19 were coming in sick, but they weren’t coughing. They didn’t have severe respiratory distress. Instead, they had sky-high inflammation and some combination of fever, rashes on their hands and feet, diarrhea, vomiting, and very low blood pressure. When ICU doctors around the world gathered for a weekly online COVID-19 call on May 2, doctors elsewhere began sharing similar observations. “The tenor of the meeting completely changed,” says Steven Kernie, the chief of critical-care medicine at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, who was on the call.

Until then, the news about children and COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, had been largely good: Kids can get seriously sick, but they rarely do. They can spread the disease, but they do it less than adults. Study after study–in China, Iceland, Australia, Italy, and the Netherlands–has found children get less sick and are less contagious.

But a very small number of children seem to have a delayed reaction to the novel coronavirus–one that takes many weeks to manifest. What pediatricians first saw in Europe and New York is now named “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome” (PMIS) or, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.” Since the New York City Health Department issues an alert on May 4, 82 such cases have been confirmed in the city. Most patients have recovered or are recovering, but one child has died. Across the country, doctors are finding similar cases. PMIS does seem to be a phenomenon unique to kids.

But the virus is the same, whether it infects adult or child. The question is, why does COVID-19 affect them so differently? Both striking patterns in kids–the fact that most do not get very sick but a small number still end up with a delayed inflammation syndrome–may be rooted in a child’s still-developing system. And although COVID-19 is a new disease, these patterns are seen with other viruses too.

Immune systems change with age, becoming weaker or stronger in different ways. An adult’s body might be better armed against familiar threats, but more inflexible against novel ones. The two human viruses most closely related to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are the ones behind SARS and MERS–both also coronaviruses, a large family that infects many animal species. SARS likely jumped from bats to civet cats to humans in 2002, and MERS from camels to humans in 2012. Both have a much higher fatality rate than COVID-19 and neither exploded into a pandemic on the current scale, giving us smaller numbers from which to draw conclusions. Still, they too seemed to have largely spared children.

Like COVID-19, SARS and MERS were caused by viruses entirely new to humans, and adult immune systems were unused to dealing with entirely new viruses. By and large, the ones that sicken adults year after year are altered versions of viruses they’ve encountered before, such as seasonal flu. Children, on the other hand, are constantly dealing with viruses that are not necessarily novel but are novel to them. “Everything an infant sees, or a young child sees, is new,” says Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University. Thus, their immune system is primed to fight new pathogens in a number of ways.

Babies are born, for example, with a complete repertoire of immune cells called T cells. Every T cell has a unique receptor, and taken together, the pool of millions of T cells can recognize virtually any hypothetical pathogen. As the child begins encountering pathogens, though, their immune system winnows this diverse repertoire. It keeps the T cells involved in fighting off pathogens as a pre-stocked arsenal of “memory T cells,” should those pathogens appear again, but it begins losing the others. This is why adults are able to mount a rapid immune response to previously encountered pathogens, but also why they might have trouble fighting a new one. Diseases such as rubella and chicken pox are also, for various reasons, more severe in adults than in children. The pattern with seasonal flu is different, Farber says, but that may be because immunity against previousu strains of the flu offer some crossover protection in adults.

The same may actually be true for coronaviruses, too, only in children. Another hypothesis for why most kids are spared is that they are frequently infected with the four coronaviruses that cause some common colds. They cold coronaviruses are not as closely related to COVID-19 as SARS or MERS, but they still share some similarities. Immunity against these cold coronaviruses wanes over time, so children who have been recently exposed might have some protection that adults don’t.

Yet another hypothesis has to do with the receptor ACE2, which the new coronavirus uses to enter a cell. The number of ACE2 receptors in the lungs seems to decrease with age, at least according to data in rats. Why would having more ACE2 decrease the severity of COVID-19? No one is quite sure, but ACE2 also seems to have other functions in the body linked to decreased inflammation and scarring, which may protect against severe disease. And in fact, viral infection decreases levels of ACE2. “It’s not going to be as black-and-white as more receptors equal more virus infection, simply because this receptor does other things in the body,” says Kirsty Short, a virologist at the University of Queensland. The story is rather complicated–and illustrative of how science is only starting to understand the virus behind COVID-19.

Article: Graduating into the job market? Here’s what every college senior should be doing now

Rhania Kamel April 21, 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic bringing much of the country to a standstill, many colleges and universities have decided to cancel or postpone their graduation ceremonies indefinitely. And with a discouraging job market, it can be hard for seniors to stay afloat.

“I think my biggest fear is finding a good job that I’ll be able to support myself with,” Gabriella Craig, a senior at New York’s Hofstra University, told TODAY. As for her college experience, it’s upsetting that her senior semester was cut short, though she’s trying to put a positive spin on it.

“I think it’s proof of just how much resilience and how much strength everybody in the class of 2020 has because we’re all facing the same issue but we’re working together to figure out how to make the most out of it,” the 20-year-old from Hershey, Pennsylvania, said. It’s comforting for her to know she’s not going through this alone.

Indeed, if you’re a college senior who is entering the job market and worried about your professional future, you’re not alone. TODAY spoke with education and career experts to get tips on how to stay focused, keep your skills sharp, and make the most of your time at home.

What should I do if my job offer has been frozen or rescinded?

A harsh byproduct of the pandemic is that students who received job offers months before graduation are now seeing them rescinded, delayed, or frozen. If you find yourself in this boat, try the following:

1. Ask the employer if it’s a permanent decision.

Don’t just accept the news without trying to get more information. Is there an opportunity for an opening once economic conditions improve? There is a huge difference between having an offer rescinded or delaying your start date, according to Rick Hearin, executive director of career exploration and success at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

2. Inquire about referrals or other opportunities.

If it’s a permanent move, ask the hiring manager if he or she knows of other employers, departments in the same company, or individuals who may still be looking for candidates. Chances are, the employer will be eager to help under the circumstances; after all, they chose to hire you in the first place.

3. Stay in touch.

Even if the hiring manager doesn’t have any referrals, Hearin recommends waiting a while and then reaching out to see if anything has changed. Staying in touch signals your interest to these hiring managers, who then know they can reach back out to you later, said Alison Sullivan, a Glassdoor career trends expert.

4. Brainstorm other fields or positions.

If all else fails, Fran Berrick, founder and coach at Spearmint Coaching, recommends that students take a step back and access their transferrable skills that can translate well into any field. That can open your eyes to other opportunities or industries you’ve never considered before.

How can college seniors make the most of their time at home?

The market is changing very fast and already looks very different from the one seniors were preparing for a month ago, said Sullivan. And it will likely be even more different a month from from now. Now that you’re homebound, try the following tips.

1. Maintain your standard routine.

Being at home for extended periods can make it possible for anyone to lose focus. It’s important now, more than ever, to be disciplined with your schedule. “Stick to your knitting and try to make sure that you’re focused, and your productivity levels stay high,” said Berrick.

Also, beware of distractions! Keeping everything by your desk or study area can help with productivity. Different techniques work for different people; taking this time to see what works for you can up your productivity.

Setting short-term goals can also help, Sullivan said. Reflecting on yourself and your situation can be daunting; by setting small but achievable goals, you can carry yourself through this unknown time and maintain focus.

And if you need help with mental health or how to stay on top of your mental wellness, which can be key in keeping focus or maintaining a sense of normalcy, there are lots of apps and resources available to you. Wisdo, a mental wellness app, helps connect people with others who have similar experiences. The company recently announced free membership to U.S. college students so they can make the most of the app’s resources and even meet 2008 college graduates who have advice on navigating the post-grad world.

2. Brush up on your “weaker” skills.

“Brushing up on those skills that you will actually be using once you’re going into work which would be important,” said Hearin, “and what it also shows prospective employers is that you’re committed to developing the types of skills that would work in your mutual best interest.”

In addition to developing weaker skills, you can learn a language or take one of the many online courses, like on remote learning platform Coursera (hey, it’s good enough for Shakira), now being offered at free and discounted prices.

3. Network, network, network.

Starting a virtual job club with students from your neighborhood or college can be a source for contacts and reassurance during an uncertain time, Hearin said. Remember to keep it virtual and maintain social distancing, though. Don’t forget to tap into your network, including your family, friends, former bosses, co-workers, or former internship supervisors.

Once you’ve developed your skills and improved your résumé, it may be worthwhile to tap into that network to have them review your work, whether it’s parents, friends, or mentors, Sullivan suggested. Digital collaboration tools like chat, email, or video conferencing make networking possible even when we’re told to stay apart.

4. Polish your résumé and practice interviewing.

In addition to maintaining productivity and developing new skills, seniors can take this time to improve their résumés, cover letters, and interview skills by again tapping into their networks. Building one’s narrative and narrowing your focus is something that Berrick suggests. Seniors should also develop an online presence and market themselves there.

Research the companies you are interested in and have a firm understanding of their mission and practices. Identifying what you want to apply for, customizing your material around that organization or role, and paying attention to the finer details can take your résumé to the next level, Sullivan said.

5. Turn to your college career center.

Career professionals who want to connect with students will typically filter through your campus career center, so beginning your job search here might save you the stress of connecting on your own through other means, Berrick said.

Career centers try to be as accessible and as down to earth as possible, according to Hearin, because they understand that this is an intimidating experience for a lot of students. So, if you’ve never thought to contact your career center or participate in their events, now may be the time to do it, especially when you still have access to their resources.

HOT Research Assistant Positions

Research Assistant (Vascular Cell Biology), Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 15, 2020

The Schaffer lab studies diabetes and its cardiovascular complications. We are using genetic, biochemical, cell biological, and physiological approaches to elucidate mechanisms through which abnormally high levels of metabolites cause cell dysfunction and cell death. Current areas of focus include non-canonical functions of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), regulated RNA degradation, and translational regulation in response to metabolic stress. Our goal is to discover fundamental mechanisms of metabolic stress responses and to translate our findings in ways that inform development of approaches to improve the lives of patients with metabolic diseases.

An opening is available for a graduate with an interest in basic and translational studies with high relevance to important human diseases. The position will afford the opportunity to learn a broad range of techniques and gain first-hand experience in design, execution, and interpretation of experiments.

Research Assistant I Ortho Trauma, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 19, 2020

The Harvard Orthopedic Trauma Initiative is one of the most successful fully-integrated cross-campus clinical programs. The Initiative has a very robust clinical research patient-reported outcomes programs that have grown substantially during the last five years.

The Research Assistant I position offers exposure to clinical, operative, and academic aspects of Orthopedic Trauma Surgery. This position offers terrific opportunities to both work with expert Orthopedic Trauma surgeons and contribute to cutting-edge innovations.

Working independently and under general supervision from the Senior Project Manager and/or Principal Investigator, the Research Assistant I will provide support to clinical research studies and outcomes data collection. He/She may be responsible for the following activities: gathering data from the clinical record; recruiting and enrolling subjects into clinical protocols; developing and implementing patient recruitment strategies; and recommending changes to protocols.

Research Assistant- Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 27, 2020

Working independently, under the general supervision of Principal Investigator(s), provides support to clinical research studies. The position may include being responsible for the following activities: making independent judgment of suitability of potential research participants, developing and implementing patient recruitment strategies, recommending changes to protocols, and undertaking data collection and analysis.

Dermatology Clinical Assistant, Seacoast Dermatology, PLLC, Portsmouth, NH

Opportunity expires May 29, 2020

Opportunity to apply for our Clinical Assistant Gap Program. Become certified as a dermatology clinical assistant and work with several well-known, personable, and experienced dermatologists and advanced practitioners. You will learn all aspects of patient care and become a key member of the provider’s day-to-day team. This includes scheduling, scribing, managing clinic flow, assisting with dermatology procedures, counseling patients, and all patient care follow-up.

Clinical Assistants also have the opportunity to assist with literature research, writing, and clinical photography for the original articles or international best-selling dermatology textbooks published in our practice. There may also be an opportunity assist in surgery and the Mohs surgery lab processing tissue.

This program is ideal for candidates with an undergraduate degree and interest in the sciences/healthcare who have already applied or plan to apply to medical school or PA/NP programs. It is also an excellent opportunity for someone wishing to learn the business side of a medical practice.

Clinical Research Assistant I in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 31, 2020

This research assistant position offers an incredible opportunity to build research project management skills that will benefit any future career path. The research assistant will work closely with two pediatric otolaryngologists. The research focuses on pediatric otolaryngology, with a focus on airway disorders, rhinology, and head and neck cancers. This position offers tremendous education on the research process, database creation and management, statistics and manuscript writing. This role offers the opportunities to collaborate with a diverse group of clinical professionals and to attend medical conferences within the department and nationally.

Research Data Specialist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 31, 2020

The Research Data Specialist will support the Leukemia clinical research program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, under the auspices of the Principal Investigator, Dr. Coleman Lindsley, in the areas of data collection, computing, and database organization. These job duties will be primarily related to capturing clinical, genomic, and pathologic information on patients with hematologic abnormalities, including patients with acute leukemia and other blood cancers. Duties may include but are not limited to: interview/discussions with clinicians and scientists in order to develop and refine database architecture; examination, synthesis, and evaluation of medical records; the abstraction and recording of pertinent medical information; and the monitoring of patient status. The Research Data Specialist will be responsible for the collection, management, and quality assurance review of patient clinical and research data. The Research Data Specialist may work as a content expert by helping clinical and translational researchers develop data requests, and enhance database functionality.

AmeriCorps Health Fellows, Lifelong Medical Care

Opportunity expires May 31, 2020

LifeLong Medical Care’s AmeriCorps Health Fellows program is a community service and professional development opportunity wrapped into one. This experience enables individuals to increase the number of medically underserved individuals have access and utilize preventative/primary care services while getting the skills they need to pursue a career in the health care field.

Research Assistant in Neuroscience Lab, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Opportunity expires May 31, 2020

We are looking for a highly motivated individual to work as research technician in a neuroscience lab at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. This position is ideal for you if you would like to gain primary research experience in order to move on to PhD and/or MD programs in biomedical fields.

Our lab focuses on understanding how neural circuits in the brain mediate behavior. We are particularly interested in answering questions such as how learning occurs and how motivation influences behavior. We employ a multidisciplinary approach that includes neural recordings, optogenetic manipulations, molecular genetics, and computational modeling, and use Drosophilia as a model. Your responsibilities include assisting with experiments and maintaining common lab functions.

Research Assistant-Epidemiology Team, Fenway Health, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires June 18, 2020

Under the supervision of the Investigator and Project Director, the Research Assistant assists with the development and implementation of a randomized control trial to test an HIV prevention intervention targeting HIV uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM) who abuse stimulants.

Bioinformatician I (Neuroscience & Genetics/Genomics), Engle Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires June 30, 2020

Exciting opportunity at Boston Children’s Hospital in a cutting edge developmental neuroscience laboratory using emerging techniques in single cell sequencing (scRNA-seq, scATAC-seq, spatial transcriptomics, multi-modal sequencing) to understand the molecular mechanisms of motor neuron diseases, including congenital disorders of eye movement.

The primary focus of this position is the computational analysis and integration of single cell transcriptomic, genomic, and epigenomic data generated in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Engle. This computational position will also provide the opportunity to translate in silico findings to the bench in order to understand the fundamental biology of neuronal development and disease.

Research Assistant, New York Blood Center, New York, NY

Opportunity expires July 31, 2020

We are currently seeking candidates to investigate mechanisms of iron-altered hematopoiesis within the Iron Research Program of the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, the research brand of the New York Blood Center. In particular, candidates will study the impact of iron overload and deficiency on the pathogenesis of human hematological diseases. The candidate will perform cutting-edge research that integrates human biology and hematology with novel therapies using innovative technologies and approaches including classic molecular, cellular, and biochemical techniques, as well as modern imaging techniques, sequencing and single cell analysis techniques, bioinformatics, and preclinical in vitro and vivo models.

Remote Tech Summer Internships

Remote Web Production Internship, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, MA

Opportunity expires May 12, 2020

MassGeneral Hospital for Children is seeking an intern to assist with website production on

Working in templates in a content management system, the intern will edit web pages and create new web pages to help ensure the hospital’s clinical services, research, and other programs are accurately represented. There are also opportunities to study how content types on relate through taxonomy and recommend best practices to optimize visibility of pediatric services and to study and optimize site search as well as Find Doctor and other sytems.

Threat Analyst Intern-Behavioral Research Team (REMOTE), FireEye, McLean, VA

Opportunity expires May 30, 2020

Mandiant Security Validation (formerly Verodin) is looking for an intern with experience in computer science and/or cybersecurity. The intern will work as part of the Behavioral Research Team (BRT) as a Threat Analyst researching current and emerging adversary behaviors. As part of the internship, the intern will complete a project focusing on real-world attacks, replicating them with the Verodin Secuirty Instrumentation Platform (SIP).

If you are passionate about cybersecurity and are interested in learning more about real-world attacks and how security technologies detect and block them, the Mandiant Security Validation BRT is a perfect fit for you!

Summer Internship-Virtual, Synoptic Data PBC, Salt Lake City, UT

Opportunity expires May 29, 2020

Synoptic Data is an industry-leading green tech startup based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Its mission is to provide high quality real-time environmental and other scientific data sets to government, business, researchers, and individual users for use in Big Data applications. The company is growing and focused on expanding its sectors of interest, worldwide reach, and global impact. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Synoptic is committed to assisting research and educational organizations in increasing our understanding of Earth’s complex systems.

We review applications on a rolling basis and encourage you to apply as soon as you are ready because interviews can occur prior to the application period closing.

Data QA/Researcher, Thasos Group, New York, NY

Opportunity expires June 1, 2020

*Positions are located in remotely with an immediate start date (the office is located in Manhattan, but due to the coronavirus scare, employees are working remotely)

As a Data QA/Researcher, you will assist our research team in the collection and enrichment of alternative locational data. This includes analyzing our proprietary sources for new information in order to keep our database of information up to date. In addition to our proprietary sources, you would aggregate, normalize, and analyze both structured and unstructured data from publicly available outlets such as news and social media. Our sales team will also be in contact to help guide your research regarding specific locations.

Software Engineering Internship, Teamworthy Ventures, New York, NY

Opportunity expires June 1, 2020

*Due to the ongoing public health situation, this role is available as a 100% remote position. Our team has been working remotely for the last several months and our other summer interns may work remotely. We are also open to candidates interested in part-time remote work during their Fall semester.

We are looking for entrepreneurial computer science students and talented student software engineers to join our investment team to help us as we continue to add new capabilities to our internal research platform and tools. We invest in software and software-enabled services businesses with a strong interest in developer tools, APIs, and platform businesses. During the summer, you will work closely with our partners to prioritize and create new internal products. You will also work closely with our partner Evan Kaye, a software developer and medical doctor. You will visit our NYC portfolio companies and meet their product and engineering teams.

Article: What Your Social Media Posts Say About Your Stress Level Right Now

By Cathy Cassata April 30, 2020

As stay-in-place orders continue to stay in place, many people turn to social media outlets to connect with others and express their feelings about the pandemic.

But can our posts represent how we’re psychologically and emotionally handling the situation without us realizing it?

Amit Sheth, PhD, a professor and founding director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of South Carolina, says yes.

Since mid-March, Sheth has used artificial intelligence techniques to collect and analyze over 700 million tweets on Twitter and about 700,000 news articles about the COVID-19 pandemic.

His intention is to better understand how Americans are dealing with depression, anxiety, and addiction caused by COVID-19.

“The primary analysis shows the expected impact of triggers–increased cases and deaths, and school and business closings–that we capture as a Social Quality Index, which aggregates indicators of mental health and addiction,” he told Healthline.

By dissecting the data in different ways, such as by geography, time, and demographics, Sheth said patterns emerge.

For example, different generations show different responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He used algorithms to estimate age and categorize into three age ranges:

  • GenZ: Under 23 years old
  • Millenials: 23 to 35 years old
  • Other: Anyone older than 35

While teenagers and young working adults are experiencing the same objective threats, Sheth said they interpret and respond to them differently.

“Young working adults revealed a consistent initial negative reaction that tended to stabilize over time. Aggregated measures of mental health can mask underlying concerning patterns, particularly in teenagers. They may not explicitly demonstrate increased anxiety and depression content initially, but instead, compensate with substance abuse. Though maladaptive, this pattern may suggest a lack of self-awareness,” he said.

Carol Landau, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Brown University and author of Mood Prep 101: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Depression and Anxiety in College-Bound Teens, said rates of depression and anxiety have been rising in teens since before the pandemic.

While young adults have maintained some life structure while working from home, Landau says teens have been isolated from their friends, which is a major motivator for going to school.

“Teens often turn to substances; it may not be a lack of ‘self-awareness’ so much as a lack of access to care,” Landau told Healthline.

Tweets point to self-medicating

Sheth’s analysis showed increases in addiction and substance use-related content, which indicates that the public may be self-medicating.

“This suggests a future increased need for treatment, against a worrisome lack of treatment resources prior to the outbreak. The increase in substance abuse content that we see in social media also anticipates an increase in domestic violence, which is, in fact, being reported in some police precincts and domestic violence hotlines,” he said.

“This is exactly the kind of warning that we aim to provide responders so that they can predict rather than merely react to surge,” Sheth added.

Landau agreed that the pandemic has revealed barriers to mental healthcare. She said it’s also shown that unemployment and poverty are barriers to getting help.

“Isolation is one factor that makes intimate partner violence [IPV] worse, so this type of severe isolation may make it much, much worse for victims to get help. And more children are being exposed to IPV as they are home with their families,” she said.

Posts vary from state to state

While mental health has worsened nationwide due to the impact of COVID-19, Sheth said the response isn’t uniform.

His analysis shows more negative indicators and trends for states that are more harshly impacted by COVID-19.

However, he said it’s more informative to observe a change over time within a state rather than absolute values.

“For example, in Michigan, mental health among the younger population went from moderate to alarming in the weeks of March into April. Among working adults, we observed worsening in terms of indicators for mental health,” he said.

He further explained that depression-related content in Michigan became more prevalent, which highlights the financial impact on businesses, government response, and documented shortages in medical supplies, such as ventilators, drugs (e.g., chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine), and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals.

Sheth noted significant correlation between social media posts and mental health concerns in Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, and Idaho.

Findings from other states include:

  • Arizona: Younger population maintained much better mental health compared to the adult working population.
  • Georgia: The young population has largely remained vulnerable and highly affected in their mental health, while the older working population improved over time.
  • Iowa: Adult population improved their mental health conditions over time, while the younger population worsened.
  • Wisconsin: Working population showed a significant decline in mental health indicators while the young population deteriorated more significantly.

“The reasons for these differences are not yet well understood. Some of it is circumstantial. Some of it may be demographic. Some of it may be related to differential access to mental health treatment,” Sheth said.

The fact that young people are having a hard time in most states except Arizona may have something to do with sunlight, Landau said.

“Speaking as a person living in the Northeast, I know my mood is vastly improved when I can get outside and get physical activity, a known buffer to depression. In Arizona, young people have the time and ability to do this,” she said.

Which posts are signs that someone is struggling?

Sheth uses a tool called a knowledge graph to associate the language people use with relevant medical knowledge in mental health and addiction.

This allows him to filter different ways a user could talk about mental health concepts, often in an indirect way.

Examples of tweets might include:

  • “All the things are being shut down by #Covid19 but my anxiety & depression.”
  • “You believe I have any pleasure in this chaos? Jeez. I’ve been despairing for 2 months.”
  • “A feeling of hopelessness. Seems I am in a dark age. #coronavirus #COVID19
  • “Self-isolated for two weeks and depression becoming unbearable. This coronavirus is worsening my anxiety a lot and I am terrified.”

Landau said other posts and tweets that contain words or phrases like the following may be an indication of mental health concerns.

Article: Just How Dangerous is the ‘Murder Hornet’?

Its sting is excruciating to people, but it is a bigger threat to honeybees vital for agriculture

By Paige Embry on May 6, 2020

Credit: Alastair Macewan Getty Images

The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) has arrived in North America. In the past several days photographs and videos have surfaced showing how viciously this insect has attacked honeybees: it crawls into hives and rips off the heads of bees in large numbers–making its supervillain nickname, “murder hornet,” feel disturbingly apt. Government agencies and local beekeepers have sprung into action, hoping to eradicate the hornet before it can consolidate a foothold in the continent. Success may lie in how predator and prey interact naturally.

V. mandarinia is the largest hornet in the world. A female worker may grow to a length of nearly four centimeters (an inch and a half), and the insect has large biting mouthparts that enable it to decapitate its victims. Hornets are usually solitary hunters. But between late summer and fall, V. mandarinia workers may band together to conduct mass attacks on nests of other social insects, notably honeybees. This behavior even has a name: the slaughter and occupation phase. U.S. beekeepers supply billions of honeybees each year to help pollinate at least 90 agricultural crops. And they are worried that this new raider could further worsen already deep losses in important pollinator populations.

The hornet is native to Asia, ranging from Japan and Russia down to Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma). The first confirmed U.S. sighting was a dead specimen in Washington State last December. But several of the insects had previously been seen on nearby Vancouver Island in British Columbia in the late summer and fall of 2019. No one yet knows whether the hornet is establishing a North American beachhead in the Pacific Northwest or if it will spread from there. If it does advance, that could mean trouble.

Early colonists brought the iconic honeybee (Apis mellifera) to North America from Europe. It contributes an estimate $15 billion each year to the U.S. economy through its pollination services, far more than any other managed bee. Asia is home to a handful of other Apis species, including Apis cerana, the Asian honeybee. In parts of that continent, A. cerana is managed for pollination alongside A. mellifera. And it seems that the Asian variety has much better defenses against V. mandarinia‘s slaughter-and-occupy efforts.

All V. mandarinia workers are female. After one finds a likely target bee colony she places a pheromonal mark on it that says, “Sister, come help me get the goodies here.” When this scent is placed on an Asian honeybee hive, the bees all hunker down indoors. If a hornet gets into the nest, nearly 400 worker bees will quickly surround it, forming a ball of buzzing insects. They vibrate their flight muscles, raising the temperature to 45.9 degrees Celsius. Carbon dioxide levels also go up within the ball. The bees can handle the harsh conditions, but the hornet dies. If enough hornets respond to the pheromonal call, however, they can overwhelm the bee defenses. When they are done, the hornets have a food bank–immature bees still in their little waxen cells–which provides and excellent protein source for their own young larvae.

Unlike their Asian kind, European honeybees do not respond to the scent marker or form bee balls; they are at the mercy of V. mandarinia unless humans step in. Beekeepers can help by installing entrance traps over the doorways of managed hives that have holes large enough for a bee to pass through but not a hornet. Beekeepers may also put out baited traps to lure the hornets to their death. “Beekeepers in Asia do use entrance traps,” says Jeff Pettis, former research leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee lab in Beltsville, Md. “Additionally, labor is often cheap, so some use mechanical means–most often tennis rackets, really–to swat the large hornets as they come to the hives.”

Another potential U.S. defense that is not available now is increasing the genetic diversity of managed honeybees. At least 29 subspecies of honeybees live naturally in Eurasia and northern Africa. Most U.S. bees are descended from the Italian subspecies, noted for its gentleness and honey-making ability–and, regrettably, its lack of resistance to some common honeybee problems. Brandon Kingsley Hopkins of Washington State University says that problems such as V. mandarinia show why countries should be preserving genetic diversity in European honeybees, because some subspecies have the ability to create bee balls.

Q & A with Alums in Publishing Industry

Are you interested in a publishing career? There’s more to the industry than screening submissions and marking up manuscripts.

Four Middlebury alumni who have worked as editors, agents, reporters, and writers shared their insight into the multi-faceted world of publishing. They opened up about the most relevant trade publications worth following, their best advice for interviews, and getting the most out of any experience.

Isabelle Bleecker ’88, Founding Agent, Nordlyset Literary Agency

Krista Karlson ’17, Managing Editor, Active Interest Media

Peter Knobler ’68, Writer

Carolyn Kuebler ’90, Editor, New England Review

I asked Isabelle, Krista, Peter, and Carolyn about the the best strategies for entering and succeeding in the field. Take a look at their tips!

Hannah: What trade publications should students follow to understand the current trends?

Carolyn: Literary Hub and Publishers Weekly

Isabelle: Publishers Weekly is the best for the American market and The Bookseller for the UK. Both also have free daily newsletters. Online, Publishers Marketplace is a terrific resource for jobs. Also, Michael Shatzkin has a blog about changes in the industry. And last, Shelf Awareness is a free e-newsletter primarily for booksellers but with some industry news.

Krista: Columbia Journalism Review and the New York Times media column

Hannah: What books should students read regarding the history and future of the industry?

Carolyn: If you really want to dig deep into literary magazines more specifically, there are some really interesting books on the subject: The Little Magazine in America (1979), The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (2015), Paper Dreams (2013)–there are others!

Isabelle: Andre Shiffrin’s The Business of Books and Jason Epstein’s Book Business. Though both are a bit old now and lament the loss of a more golden time, they give some lively history and are by great editors. I don’t think there’s any book that describes what’s going on now well, especially the growth of the self-publishing and electronic and audio books. For the future of the industry trade magazines are better.

Krista: It really depends what your goal is. Letters to a Young Journalist by Samuel Freedman is decently helpful for people who want to work at a newspaper, although somewhat outdated since the media landscape has since changed dramatically. Congratulations, Who Are You Again? by Harrison Scott Key is good for people who want to write a nonfiction book or to freelance. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is meant for novelists but has some good, transferable advice that could apply to freelance journalists.

Hannah: What are some digital/technical skills you look for in entry-level candidates?

Carolyn: While we don’t expect everyone to have experience working with the same programs we work with, we do like to see a demonstrated ability and interest in learning new technologies. Software we use includes the usual Office suite; some Adobe programs, like InDesign, Photoshop, etc.; and website publishing, such as WordPress. More and more we’re interested in audio editing experience, too. As for editorial work, a familiarity with the Chicago Manual of Style is nice, but not expected, for newcomers. For being a manuscript reader, participation in creative workshops is helpful.

Isabelle: The general Microsoft Office software set–Word and a familiarity with how to use the review tab is helpful. Excel, for the business side of things. It’s helpful to have some database experience as there’s a lot of data on the nuts-and-bolts side of the business. It may seem obvious, but if you want to be in the book business, first and foremost you need to be a reader. Ideally of the genre in which you want to work. And the more, the better.

Hannah: Do you have an interview dos or don’ts?

Peter: It’s most effective to be direct and candid. I try to control the impulse to be crafty; the most productive interviews I ever gave or took were undisrupted by calculation or doubt. Say what you’ve got to say; if your interviewer doesn’t want the person you are, you’re best not to waste your time at that job.

Isabelle: Be ready to talk about what you’re reading and to pitch a book (depending on what you’re going for). Present yourself as a problem solver. And in looking at job listings, think beyond editorial. There are lots of great opportunities in book publishing in sales, marketing, publicity, subsidiary rights. I started out in editorial and production and then moved to selling subsidiary rights–this is the business side of publishing and it entails licensing book content to other publishers, which earns money for the publishers and authors beyond book sales. Becoming an agent is a great combination of those experiences–I develop projects with my authors and also sell their book rights to print and audio publishers around the world, as well as for film and TV rights, among other rights. It’s dealmaking and creative work that makes every day stimulating.

Hannah: What is one key to success in the industry?

Krista: Persistence. You’re going to receive a lot of rejection. This was really hard for me to adjust to at first. It’s not personal. The more you push through rejection and learn from it, the more rewarding it will be when you have a success.

Carolyn: Willingness to try your hand at marketing or other areas of publishing, even if what really drives you is editorial acquisition and content shaping.

Isabelle: Publishing is not a well paid industry, but there is rarely a dull day or dull colleagues and that makes it very satisfying in the long term. It does often demand long hours and a willingness to jump in and take more things on. Putting in extra time can lead to success. Also, be deliberate in your choices. Aim to work for a publisher–or website, or news outlet–whose publications you really admire and can support.

Hannah: Any final tips to share?

Isabelle: Publishing jobs are very competitive. Internships give you a definite edge. Also, participation in any kind of book or writing-related activities–staffing a journal, working at a bookstore, interning for an agent. Those will give you a leg up.

Krista: Every experience is a learning experience. I worked for a year and a half as an editor at a fishing magazine, even though I had very little interest in fishing. But I had an amazing mentor and I learned a ton about journalism. I came out of the experience with very tangible, transferable skills, and way more confidence than when I started.

Carolyn: Don’t be afraid to ask people you know to ask people they know to help you locate some leads. A personal note from someone can help a hiring manager who’s looking at a lot of equally qualified (and overqualified) applicants. You could also contact literary magazines (or presses) who are looking for volunteers and get some experience that way. Also, more and more nonprofit presses are offering what they call editorial fellowships, for entry level candidates, in an attempt to diversify the field of publishing. Look for these, and ask around!

If you’d like to get in touch with these accomplished alumni and others, you can reach out to them on Midd2Midd.