from the editor
The three alumnae profiled in this issue—Marlene Bronstein Dubin ’62, Margaret Levi ’68, and Barbara Herr Harthorn ’73—have each pursued opportunities to see the world from a new perspective and in challenging ways. Their stories also affirm the value of collaborative efforts and of the natural world.
Through the sport of dragon boating and the support network it provides, Marlene Dubin mended her spirit and her body after illness and family loss, going on to accomplish a childhood dream of becoming an artist. Dubin became fascinated by the bridges that cross the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and has painted several series of them. She writes, “Paddling towards, through, around and beneath them at sunrise, twilight and in darkness allows me to see their soaring concrete and steel pillars, jutting beams, decorative ironwork, broad stone piers, dark wet footing and structural underpinnings.” (Dubin’s team, the Philadelphia Schuylkill Dragons, is shown on our front cover, competing in Boston, in a photograph by Rick Fredette.)
An accident enabled political scientist Margaret Levi to share with others a collection of works of Australian aboriginal art, which map an ancestral creation of both the earth and the laws that govern people and societies. Levi says that learning about the making and meaning of Aboriginal art has given her and her husband “access to a whole culture and a series of literal adventures that we would not otherwise have had. It’s a remarkable experience to be part of that process, to see it, to be allowed into that world.”
Anthropologist Barbara Herr Harthorn leads new research efforts by social scientists at the University of California-Santa Barbara, on the benefits and risks of emerging nanotechnologies, conducted at the level of molecules and atoms, that are likely to transform the world. Harthorn, who has studied how cultures perceive risk, says, “At the end of the day, I want to believe that knowledge and education and plenty of free, open discussion are the best way to protect all of us from the hazards in our changing world.”
In this issue, we also report on the momentum and spirit on the Bryn Mawr campus. We encourage readers to visit the website for Bryn Mawr’s new Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center as well as Athena’s web, the Alumnae Association’s new online community.