Moving In to Tufts


One of my favorite parts about working for Tufts University is the opportunity to showcase students who might not otherwise get the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong — There are a lot of extremely talented students here that are often the first ones highlighted by the folks in marketing and admissions, and they’re almost always the exception compared to the average student. When it comes down to finding relatable personalities, I often look elsewhere.

This year, I was able to work on a joint project with my colleague, Alonso Nichols, as we highlighted the journey of two students, Anna Rodriguez and Mateo Galeano. Both of these students are part of the BLAST (Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts) and BEST (Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts) programs, respectively, which cater to underserved high schools, first-generation students, and/or college placement programs. Anna was coming 15 minutes up I-93 from Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, getting dropped off by her parents before they had to go to work, while Mateo was hopping on a Greyhound bus by himself from Queens, N.Y. – both neighborhoods that might otherwise be foreign to the typical Tufts University undergraduate.

Our goal was simply to show Anna’s and Mateo’s journey to Medford.

Richard House for Printers Row Journal

7/24/14 — PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Richard House, author of novel "The Kills," poses for a portrait in his studio at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on July 24, 2014. House is spending six weeks at the artist colony as he works on his latest project. (Kelvin Ma)

7/24/14 — PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Richard House, author of novel “The Kills,” poses for a portrait in his studio at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on July 24, 2014. House is spending six weeks at the artist colony as he works on his latest project. (Kelvin Ma)

There’s something special about being able to retreat into the woods to escape from the hustle of every day life. That’s the concept behind the artist colony — it’s a place where artists of myriad disciplines can gather and work in relative isolation while enjoying the support and collaboration of their peers.

When a friend of mine, an editor at the Chicago Tribune’s book review, Printers Row Journal, tossed a an author portrait assignment my way and told me the guy was working out of an artist colony in New Hampshire, I was psyched. That’s where I met Richard House, a British thriller writer who was staying in a small cabin at the foot of Mount Monadnock in the MacDowell Colony. It was such a cool place to just hike around while making some portraits. I can see why so many artists apply to stay there.

7/24/14 — PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Richard House, author of novel "The Kills," poses for a portrait in his studio at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on July 24, 2014. House is spending six weeks at the artist colony as he works on his latest project. (Kelvin Ma) 7/24/14 — PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Richard House, author of novel "The Kills," poses for a portrait outside his studio at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on July 24, 2014. House is spending six weeks at the artist colony as he works on his latest project. (Kelvin Ma)

7/24/14 — PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Richard House, author of novel "The Kills," poses for a portrait outside his studio at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on July 24, 2014. House is spending six weeks at the artist colony as he works on his latest project. (Kelvin Ma)

Jonathan Gitlin for the Chronicle of Higher Education

7/21/14 — WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Jonathan Gitlin, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, poses for a photo on the docks of the MBL's Woods Hole campus on July 21, 2014. Gitlin led the charge to affiliate the MBL with the University of Chicago in 2013 and now has several undergraduates rotating through his research laboratory in the summer. (Kelvin Ma)

7/21/14 — WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Jonathan Gitlin, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, poses for a photo on the docks of the MBL's Woods Hole campus on July 21, 2014. Gitlin led the charge to affiliate the MBL with the University of Chicago in 2013 and now has several undergraduates rotating through his research laboratory in the summer. (Kelvin Ma)

I headed down to Woods Hole last month for a quick portrait of Jonathan Gitlin, a scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, to accompany a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the growing trend of major universities partnering with independent research institutions. In the case of Gitlin, he led the charge for MBL to partner with the University of Chicago.

Gitlin talked up the partnership big time, and was enthusiastic with his praise for the U of Chicago students he had interning for him over the summer. Having the beautiful waterfront campus as a backdrop, and Gitlin hamming it up big time, was a nice bonus, too.

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