Dr. Nettie Maria Stevens
Carnegie Institution of Washington / Creative Commons

A pivotal but unheralded scientist is getting a building named after her at Westfield State University on Friday.

More than a hundred years ago, Westfield alum Nettie Stevens was studying beetle chromosomes when she noticed a critical difference between males and females.

"She noticed that one chromosome was smaller than the other, and because of that research, we were able to then apply that to the human genome as well," said Westfield biology professor Jennifer Hanselman.

UMass Amherst denied Kalsang Nangpa's request to carry the Tibetan flag during a special part of the university's commencement ceremony.
Submitted Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Graduation at UMass Amherst is less than two weeks a way. One senior, a public health major from Medford, wants to carry the Tibetan flag in a parade of flags, but the university says no.

Debating Gender and Body in the Epic Mahabharata

May 2, 2017
Lancaster University

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is professor of comparative religion and philosophy at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

In this talk, Ram-Prasad examines an excerpt from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic poem. In the poem, a female who has renounced the world in order to attain spiritual enlightenment challenges a king, who argues that real spiritual enlightenment is achieved only while still engaged in the normal duties of life.

Biologist Patricia Brennan examines an orca whale penis in her lab at Mount Holyoke College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The national March for Science on April 22 – and satellite events around New England – mark a departure for many scientists. Until recently, they did not consider political activism part of their job.

Patrice Rushen
Ben Alman / Creative Commons

Patrice Rushen chairs the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Although her early training was in classical music, she is a jazz pianist and R&B singer perhaps best known for her popular music of the ‘70s and ‘80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, Rushen has also composed scores for television and film.

Rushen was invited to Amherst College to talk about why USC started the Popular Music Program and how it fills an underserved artistic need in America.

A promotional graphic used by UMass in the two days between Pat Kelsey agreeing to become the new head basketball coach -- and when he backed out of the deal.
Screen Shot / Email from UMass Athletics

UMass officials seem to have a learned a lesson, after the school's first choice for men's basketball coach backed out of his deal.

Shortly before his introductory press conference last month, coach Pat Kelsey told UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford that he'd changed his mind and didn't want the job.

That evening, a clearly distraught Bamford told reporters that Kelsey had signed a memorandum of understanding -- essentially a pre-contract -- and might owe UMass a lot of money for backing out of the deal.

Fighting Dialect Prejudice In Courtrooms And Beyond

Apr 11, 2017
John Rickford
L.A. Cicero / Stanford News

John Rickford is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University, where he studies the relationship between language and social structure.

In this talk, he delves into vernacular English to show how differences in language can lead to distrust and disregard between communities. Rickford concludes by offering solutions to help bridge linguistic gaps across cultures.

He is the author of several books on language and culture, including "African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource."

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news.

What made The Short List this week?

The Lord Jeffery Inn is owned by Amherst College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

With the selection of the Mammoths as the new school mascot, Amherst College has mostly closed the book on the controversial "Lord Jeff." One exception: a hotel owned by the school.

It's been 14 months since Amherst College decided to get rid of the mascot and rename the Lord Jeffery Inn, which sits next to the town common.

Lord Jeffery Amherst was a British general who suggested biological warfare against Native Americans.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Amherst College said its new mascot will be the Mammoths. The selection replaces Lord Jeff -- which the school's board banished from campus 14 months ago.

The search for a new mascot followed protests on campus last school year. One demand from protesters was to get rid of Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British General who suggested using biological warfare against Native Americans.