Tasting the earth

Brandeis Magazine, July 2011

Dan Goldfield ’79 was 16 when he first laid eyes on the Russian River Valley during the final leg of a 1,400-mile bike trip. He fell in love with the rolling hills and valleys of coastal California.

Thirty-eight years later, Goldfield is at home in that landscape, cultivating grapes into fullbodied wine as co-owner of Dutton-Goldfield in Sebastopol, Calif. Goldfield did not inherit a sprawling winery passed down through generations. But he has always possessed something perhaps more crucial: a passion for the product and the meticulous, natural process by which it is made.

As a Brandeis freshman, Goldfield had an epiphany after sampling a 1969 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg, now considered one of the world’s best Burgundies.

“I could taste the flavor of the land,” he says. “It was pure hedonism.”

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She’ll bring the wine

Brandeis Magazine, July 2011

Aimee Meyer ’95 was a senior when she realized her career goal was off-track. Hoping to become a marine biologist, she had spent the previous summer working in a campus biophysics lab by day and as a waitress at the Blue Room in Cambridge, Mass., by night. In the noisy Kendall Square restaurant it dawned on her that science might not be her calling.

“I found I did not like being alone in a lab, and I really liked working in a restaurant,” she says. “I realized I needed to work with people.”


A Small Miracle

Brandeis Magazine, March 2011

By all accounts, Tessa Venell ’08 should be dead.

At the very least, she should be in a vegetative state, tubes 
erupting from her, machines beeping insistently around her, her body sunken into the hospital bed — alive, but dead behind the eyes, her once-active mind wiped clean.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. On occasion, reality defies logic and probability.

That’s why she is sitting in her parents’ living room two days before Christmas, instead of in a hospital bed or a wheelchair. That’s why she can walk to greet you at the door when you enter her parents’ house and offer to pour you a cup of coffee.

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Have couch, will travel

Elevate, Syracuse University, June, 2008

As I tossed and turned in a bed I’d never slept in, staring at a ceiling I’d never once seen, and listening to the snores of the stranger sleeping next to me, a wave of panic hit: Where the fuck was I?

Literally, at 1:30 a.m. I could list off only three things I knew for sure: 1) I was somewhere int eh city of Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the country. 2) The potentially half-naked girl next to me was named Laura. 3) I wouldn’t be getting much sleeping that night.

Which left me with quite a few questions, namely: What possessed me to do this? Could this room get any hotter? And is Laura, in fact, topless?

But I guess we signed up for this. And by we I mean all 596,575 of us currently registered worldwide on couchsurfing.com. The launch of the site in 2004 sparked a trend that opened up couches, spare beds, and floor space all over the world. Th idea was to connect perfect strangers by opening up the homes of thousands to travelers. Naturally, I had to try it.



The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, February 15, 2008

Ben Cronin ducks his head and walks into the gym at Henniger High School and all eyes turn towards him.

Dressed in short white shorts, a white polo shirt and a matching headband, Cronin saunters across the gym toward the badminton nets.

“It’s over!” Cronin shouts playfully. “It’s over!”

He grabs a badminton racket and takes his place at center court. The other kids laugh but it’s hard to say what’s funnier, Cronin’s outfit or the fact that the badminton net tops off just above his belly button.

“All right, let’s go,” he says, fighting off a grin the whole time.

When you’re the 7-foot-1 senior on the Henninger basketball team, you’re used to the stares. This time, however, the setting is gym class and the onlookers are his classmates. More importantly, it is on of the few times he allows himself step into the spotlight. Most of the time he can’t get away from it.


Questioning the safety of synthetic field turf

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, November 20, 2007

Soccer player Liam Taylor, 12, of Westport, Conn., sometimes get benched for away games. It isn’t his coach making him sit, but rather his mother.

Patricia Taylor doesn’t worry about her son twisting an ankle or getting a concussion. She is more concerned about what is underneath his feet.

Taylor is troubled by the emergence of synthetic turf fields. These fields, which cost around $1 million depending on the size, have been installed across the country in high school and college stadiums as well as professional venues largely because of their durability through continuous play and unfavorable weather. However a recent study conducted by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, an independent environmental and agricultural science agency, raises concerns among some parents regarding the health effects these fields may have on their children.



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