Posted March 9, 2021

Optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine trial and more stories featuring Temple in the media

Sonia Sanchez looked back on her life and career and an Owl pitched his company on Shark Tank.

Students studying in Charles Library.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg

A Temple doctor discussed the results of a coronavirus vaccine trial, Sonia Sanchez looked back on her career and an Owl talked about his invention, which millions use every day.

Owl entrepreneur appears on Shark Tank
Jared Cannon, FOX ’16, pitched his company Simply Good Jars, which sells meals in reusable jars, to the venture capitalists on Shark Tank. “You’re on this carpet with Sharks who don’t know anything about you. You get mere minutes to create a value proposition that gets them excited. I found it energizing, exciting, inspirational, and, yes, a little intimidating,” he said.
Philadelphia magazine|March 2, 2021 

Optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine trial
Jessica Jackson, MED ’16, an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, helped oversee the trial of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and has high hopes for it. “I think this has the potential to be a big game-changer for the world,” she said. “Across the world, it was 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe disease [and] 85% effective at preventing severe COVID infection.”
6ABC|Feb. 27, 2021

Treating patients with fragile lungs during the pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic began, Erin Cormac—a pulmonologist at Temple University Hospital who specializes in Interstitial Lung Disease—encouraged her patients to take extra precautions. “As the pandemic drags on, the light of vaccination finally dawning over the horizon, I fervently hope that our community can keep its doors closed for just a little longer, can hold out just a little further, protecting the most vulnerable among us,” she said.
Philadelphia Inquirer|Feb. 25, 2021

Using TikTok to take action
William Hornby, Class of 2022, has amassed a following on TikTok advocating for greater awareness of men’s eating disorders and encouraging people to recognize their problems. Hornby said he grew up around diet culture and realized he had an eating disorder as early as 10 years old. “Ideally, I don’t want to be completely on TikTok because I want this to be a movement of visibility for men with eating disorders, not just me on a TikTok platform,” he said.
Carroll County Times|Feb. 25, 2021 

The Owl behind an invention millions use every day
In 1962, James West, ENG ’56, co-invented the foil electret microphone, which forms the basis for technology that’s now found in everything from baby monitors to smartphones. He was working at Bell Laboratories at the time and had taken the job because other Black scientists worked there. “We need more diversity in STEM. Diversity has been shown to have an advantage. I used to worry about brainstorming sessions where all the white guys were over here, and I was over here. But guess where the solution was—somewhere in between,” he said.
WHYY|Feb. 23, 2021 

Twin Owls work to help patients advocate for themselves
Identical twin physicians Elana McDonald, CST ’96, and Delana Wardlaw, CST ’96, have advocated for patient empowerment in their community medical practices and on a state and national level. Last year they launched TwinSisterDocs, a website and accompanying social media accounts, to promote self-advocacy and address health disparities in underserved communities. “As trusted messengers,” Wardlaw said, “we provide culturally sensitive, accurate medical information, which translates into patients becoming active participants in their healthcare, and it leads to transformational outcomes.”
Philadelphia Inquirer|Feb. 23, 2021 

Sonia Sanchez looks back on her career
As readers look forward to her new poetry collection, Sonia Sanchez, HON ’98, Philadelphia’s first poet laureate reminisced about her life and career and her time at Temple. “I loved this place called Temple. My students were a very mixed group of people. Temple was a place that could stretch you a great deal,” she said. “I remember my first class, I said, ‘Good morning, my brothers and sisters,’ and everybody looked up in class, confused. I said, ‘Well, we’re all brothers and sisters.’”
Philadelphia magazine|Feb. 20, 2021 

Owl joins Philadelphia school board
Reginald Streater, CLA ’15, LAW ’18, is one of three new members of Philadelphia’s school board. “I want to identify institutional barriers to equity as it relates to race, class and neighborhood. I think these are things that are prevalent in the city, as it relates to the School District of Philadelphia,” he said. 
Philadelphia Inquirer|Feb. 19, 2021 

Rethinking the way the government measures poverty
Except for adjusting for inflation, the federal measure of poverty has remained largely unchanged since its adoption in the 1960s. The U.S. Census Bureau started using the supplemental poverty measure in 2011, which is more accurate but comes with its own challenges. “I think the complicating part is that you can’t just look at one group on paper and say, ‘Well, they’re living at income levels of x.’ But they don’t all have the same challenges,” said Heidi Grunwald, director of the Institute for Survey Research at the College of Liberal Arts.
Generocity|Feb. 16, 2021 

Philadelphia dealt with violence, a pandemic and protests against racial injustice—in 1918
More than a century ago, violence against Black people and protests against racial injustice erupted in Philadelphia as the city grappled with the 1918 influenza pandemic. The similarities between events then and racial conflicts today emphasize the importance of knowing the truth, said Kenneth Finkel, an instructional professor in the History Department at the College of Liberal Arts. “It’s really important not to just pat ourselves on the back and move on and forget the ugly chapters,” he said. “Those ugly chapters are very informative and useful and real.”
CNN|Feb. 16, 2021 

Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre
The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 was one of the most brutal acts of racial violence in U.S. history, leaving around 300 people dead, the majority of them Black, and nearly 10,000 Black people homeless. “After the Tulsa Massacre, there was death and massive devastation, including 35 blocks burned and 23 churches with piles of debris and twisted steel,” said Diane Turner, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. “Insurance claims were disallowed because of riot clauses. The courts sided with the insurance companies that refused to pay survivors/victims. Few were prosecuted for any crimes.”
Philadelphia Tribune|Feb. 14, 2021 

Temple researchers find link between COVID-19 lockdowns and gun violence
In a new study, a research team led by Jessica Beard, assistant professor of surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, discovered a correlation between measures the city of Philadelphia had taken to tackle the coronavirus and a rise in gun violence. “This research pretty empirically shows that the increase or the uptick in gun violence happened following the enactment of the containment policies,” she said.
6ABC|Feb. 11, 2021 

—Edirin Oputu