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

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 […]

Time to put on your 3D glasses

A diverse range of technologies today rely on tiny light-driven “nano-optical” devices for everything from the detection of trace chemical agents, to sensors for biomedical devices, light-trapping structures for solar cells and novel photo-catalysts for the chemical industries. Many of these applications rely on physics of metals like gold and silver. These metals are unique […]

Gotta catch ‘em all

In order to understand what all of my students are going gaga over, I downloaded the new Pokemon GO! app. Within a few minutes of starting the game, I had a formidable array of beasts under my command: Bulbasaur (an amphibian with a scallion strapped to its back), Pidgey (a pigeon), Spearrow (an angry pigeon?) […]

How close are we to a cure for blindness?

Has science finally discovered the “cure” for blindness? Just today, news sources have reported on the exciting breakthrough spearheaded by Dr Andrew Huberman at the Stanford University School of Medicine of using visual stimuli to encourage the regrowth of visual neurons in mice. Several other articles in the last month have similarly heralded the cure […]

In defence of quitters

I have been seeing the phrase “take your ball and go home” thrown around a lot these days, applied variously to Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or the UK Brexit vote. Then again, I might just be sensitive to the words because they were often applied to me while I was growing up. Though the expression has […]

How chickens can help the poor

On June 8, Bill Gates announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would donate 100,000 chickens to help extremely poor households in sub-Saharan Africa.  Describing the initiative, Gates stated: “It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens.”  According to my research on […]

A drought for science?

Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. I should make a confession here, I am a registered Republican and I voted in my state’s primary. I do not find myself aligning with many of the party’s policy positions and I am appalled at the language many Republicans have used this election season. I watched this […]

Canada: the side you probably don’t know

In the midst of the never-ending spectacle that is Donald Trump, nervous Americans fantasise about immigrating north, spurred on by earnest and satirical stories depicting Canada as a safe haven for left leaners should Trump win in November. Links to websites like Maple Match – which offers Americans a route to a Canadian partner – and […]