Blog

Personal reflections from our Scholars and Alumni.

Callie Vandewiele

Callie Vandewiele

  • Alumni
  • United States
  • 2014 PhD Latin American Studies
  • Newnham College

Born in Utah, I was raised the oldest of six siblings first there and then just outside of Portland, Oregon. "Unschooled" until the age of 16 my foray into traditional education began with a handful of highschool classes, and then a dive into Spanish language, music and biology at the local community college, where I quickly developed a taste for academic work. As a non-traditional student I graduated first with an AAOT in General Studies from Clackamas Community College and then with honors from Pacific University in 2008, where I received a B.A. in Politics and Government. After graduation I lived and worked in the Alta Verapaz of Guatemala where I developed an interest in women's leadership education and the ongoing interactions between globalized western culture, local cultures and the evolution of ancient traditions.

Latest Blog

A peek into the world of pain

Understanding pain has been one of human beings’ oldest quests. Pain has been condemned as worse than death and celebrated as a validation to life. For centuries, prophets, scientists and artists have been trying to reduce pain with little success because of the many ways in which it is defined – Is it psychological? physiological? […]

Can we compare Trump’s USA to Nazi Germany?

With Donald Trump now sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America, many commentators have drawn comparisons between his polarising rise to power and the infamous emergence of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in interwar Germany. Some accuse this comparison of simply falling into Godwin’s law, which claims that if a […]

Defending American values

Over the last nine days, it seems the whole world has changed. The President played dirty to win, but once he did win, many of us thought he would calm down and abide by the laws and values that make the American dream so important to so many. Instead, each day since January 20th has […]

DNA sequencing in the palm of your hand

It is smaller than your smartphone. It plugs into your laptop with a standard USB cable. What is it? A new DNA sequencer. This week, it has been named amongst Science magazine’s top 10 breakthroughs of the year. If you imagine a technology that has improved tremendously over the course of your own lifetime, computers […]

Can coastal restoration slow climate change?

Can concern about climate change help stop coastal habitat loss? Will coastal restoration help stop climate change? A growing number of observers from California to Indonesia believe that the answer to both questions is yes. A little over a decade ago, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recognised that different land use activities, […]

Where radio meets the internet

In 2004, BBC journalist Ben Hammersley was hastily finishing up his piece on “Audible Revolution” and he was about 10 words short of the required length. So he wrote the following line: “But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?” The term “podcasting” went on to become an internet phenomenon, but its definition remains elusive. Last […]

The connectivity code

Brain wiring is complex. The brain is a large, interconnected network of information processing cells known as neurons. How do 100 billion neurons make 100 trillion connections? Are there instructions for these connections written in the genome? If such a code exists, what is its logic? Work over the past century has uncovered what appears […]

Becoming God

It is a well-known fact that genetic engineering can change a species forever. When we place a DNA fragment in the nucleus of an embryo, nature has been changed forever: the being we created will leave its offspring on the planet and a new species will arise. But have we humans a legitimate right over […]

Build the wall in Alaska

US coastal residents have joked with me that Donald Trump shouldn’t build a wall on the border – he should build it on their beaches. Building a barrier will stave off the worst impacts of the next storm. But walls aren’t long-term solutions. Like immigration reform, combatting sea level rise will take a lot more than concrete blocks from our next president to protect America […]

Conservation begins at home

Late last week, a study in the journal Current Biology made headlines by finding that 9.6% of global wilderness has been destroyed since the early 1990s with the most significant losses in South America (29.6%) and Africa (14%). The authors rightfully point out the myriad problems associated with these findings, such as the implications for mitigating […]