Round-up of Recent Work

by jbloodwell

I had a busy 2019, though as usual you wouldn’t know it by monitoring this blog. A quick round-up of some of my favorite pieces and projects from the year:

-I had the pleasure of working with Root + All on a series of blog posts for Remake Learning, focused on the Personalized Learning Squared project, which uses artificial intelligence to help dedicated mentors overcome entrenched inequities in working with their students. I got to visit a range of interesting school programs and to talk to Ken Koedinger and Cassandra Brentley, who are spearheading PL Squared. Here’s an overview of the project, and “field reports” from Propel Homestead, UPrep, Shaler Reserve Primary School, and Elizabeth Forward School District.

-A feature story for Pitt Nurse, the magazine of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing. The story covers some important and weighty subject matter and after realizing how amazing nurses are during the birth of my two daughters, it was great to talk to some nurses and nursing-school faculty members and have that impression confirmed.

-Three feature pieces for momacs, an incredible institute within Pitt’s School of Computing and Information. (“momacs” stands for “modeling and managing complicated systems.”) I was fortunate to speak with three scholars who were excellent at translating their work so a layman like me could understand it. I spoke to Tomek Loboda for a piece on probabilistic relational agent-based models; and to faculty members Seong Jae Hwang and Xulong Tang about their very interesting work at momacs.

-In 2019, too, I continued to really enjoy writing for Pitt Magazine, the University of Pittsburgh’s flagship alumni magazine. Of the work I did there, I’m especially proud of this piece on the artificial intelligence–driven work of Justin Kitzes, assistant professor of spatial macroecology. (The article explains more about what exactly spatial macroecology is!) It was also great fun to sit in on a student announcer calling a women’s soccer game that was streamed via the ESPN-affiliated ACC Network and write this “Commons Room” piece for the magazine.

-Last but not least, I was immensely pleased to begin writing for Pitt Med Magazine, the alumni publication of Pitt’s School of Medicine. The magazine has been a staple in my household for most of the last decade as my wife is a Pitt Med alumnus and I’ve always admired how interesting and engaging its stories are, even to a non-medical person like myself. Of a number of stories there, I’m especially proud of this one, “Nitty Gritty,” about some amazingly interesting research into life span versus “health span” carried out using  the worm Caenorhabditis elegans (so named because of its consummate elegance).