Weekend reads

Your favorite fictional professors, farewell to Drew Gilpin Faust, meet NASA's class of 2017

Kristin Tyndall's read

Who are your favorite fictional people in academia? The Chronicle of Higher Education recently asked that question of its readers, and the responses were delightful. The most popular choice was Indiana Jones, with runners-up Charles Kingsfield from The Paper Chase and Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter books. Reading the list, I reflected that administrators don't seem to be quite as popular in novels—this seems to me to be an oversight and an opportunity. I look forward to the next bestseller featuring a swashbuckling academic advisor, development officer, or provost. Who are your favorite fictional people in higher ed?

Seren Snow's reads

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, announced this week that she'll be stepping down next year. In her decade serving as Harvard's president, she's increased the number of low-income and minority students on campus, led a record-breaking fundraising campaign, and expanded academic programs. This article highlights some of her accomplishments and the challenges she overcame as Harvard's first woman president.

NASA has selected 12 people to be a part of its 2017 class of astronaut candidates. The candidates will start a two-year training program in August, after which they will receive the coveted title of Astronaut, a career that sparks even adults’ imaginations. Over 18,300 people applied, a record number. Jasmin Moghbeli, an astronaut candidate from New York, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Naval Postgraduate School before becoming a U.S. Navy Pilot. At the time of her selection, she was a quality assurance and avionic officer—testing helicopters for their efficiency. In this interview with NPR, Moghbeli says she wanted to be an astronaut since sixth grade. Her main advice to students interested in becoming astronauts is to study a STEM subject, but be passionate about it. She says that even if she hadn’t been selected, she would have still been extremely happy in the career she was already in. That piece of advice is applicable to students in any academic discipline.

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