Friday Levity

As you may have noticed, its been a light week here at the Pandora Report. With Siddha’s departure, we have been working hard on getting our new team up and running. It is my pleasure, for my first post as Managing Editor, to introduce myself–Julia Homstad–and two new writers–Alena James and Chris Healey. 

Alena Marie James is a Masters student in the GMU Biodefense program and a Staff Writer for the Pandora Report. Ms. James currently holds a BA in Political Science, a BS in Biology, and an MS in biology from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She serves as an adjunct instructor at Marymount University where she teaches microbiology and manages several life science laboratories. Ms. James is also currently working on her Masters Project regarding the role of intergovernmental organizations in preventing state actor pursuit of biological weapons programs. She represented George Mason at the 85th Annual Southern Political Science Association Conference this past January presenting preliminary research on the role of intergovernmental organizations in preventing state sponsored BW programs.

Chris Healey is a second-year GMU Biodefense Master’s student and a Staff Writer for the Pandora Report. He graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in communication and minors in biology and psychology. In 2013, Chris participated in an internship at the Virginia Department of Health’s Chickahominy Health District office. He was mentored by the district epidemiologist and assisted in foodborne illness investigations. His academic interests include vaccines, medical countermeasures, emerging infectious diseases, and foodborne illnesses. He is currently conducting his master’s project on the causes of success and failure of vaccine production for biodefense.

Julia Homstad is a Master’s student in the GMU Biodefense program and the Managing Editor of the Pandora Report. Julia graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government and International Politics from George Mason University. Julia also holds a Master of Arts degree in European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Toronto where she focused on the development of civil society in post-Communist countries. Since 2009, Julia has worked full-time at American Councils for International Education as a Program Officer for Secondary School Programs. With full funding from the U.S. Department of State, the programs Julia works on bring high school students from over 50 countries around the world to live in the U.S. with a host family for an academic year to help build mutual understanding between their home countries and the United States.

And since its Friday, I will leave you with a quirky video from Aimee Mann, David Wain and Dave Foley.

In her song titled “I’m Cured,” Aimee Mann plays the “common cold” who is forlorn after David Wain, a scientist, discovers a cure for her. The song is available as a digital download both as a single song and as a music video. This July, the song will be available as part of an album, 2776: A Millennium Of American Asskickery. Proceeds from the sale of the track go to OneKid OneWorld, an international organization that uses micro-loans to make a difference in the educational lives of impoverished children. Thank you to Annah Slack for bringing this song to my attention!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and I will see you back here next week for your regularly scheduled programming!

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