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Benjamin and Leann Asma, the parents of freshman Benjamin Asma, who died Thursday, remembered their son as kind, outgoing and compassionate at a memorial service on the Marvin Center terrace. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Benjamin and Leann Asma, the parents of freshman Benjamin Asma, who died Thursday, remembered their son as kind, outgoing and compassionate at a memorial service on the Marvin Center terrace. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet news editors Chloé Sorvino and Brianna Gurciullo

The 19-year-old freshman who was rushed to the hospital Tuesday afternoon has died after an apparent suicide, his parents said Thursday evening.

Benjamin Asma, a biomedical engineering major who lived in West Hall, was remembered by family members and friends as a compassionate and kind person with a “contagious smile” who became fast friends with many of his classmates.

A native of Lake Bluff, Ill., Asma was a member of the University Honors Program, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the club swimming team. He had wanted to become a doctor like his grandfather and uncle, and he was an active runner and swimmer, his family said Thursday at a memorial service on the terrace of the Marvin Center.

“What a sweet and kind and easygoing and brilliant boy he was, and we were so excited he was here,” his mother, Leann, told more than 100 friends, family members, administrators and faculty.

Benjamin Asma. Photo Courtesy of Leann Asma.

Benjamin Asma. Photo Courtesy of Leann Asma.

Asma’s mother said her son will remain on a ventilator in the GW Hospital until Friday so his organs can be donated, which she said would help others find “miracles.”

The service was also held to remember Lynley Redwood, a senior who also lived in West Hall, who was found dead in her fourth-floor room on Tuesday morning. Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Araz Alali said officers are not investigating her death as a homicide, but could not yet release additional information.

Campus police officers had found Asma unconscious in his second-floor West Hall bedroom on Tuesday afternoon.

He is survived by his parents, Leann and Benjamin, and his two siblings.

- Sarah Ferris contributed reporting.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 2:18 p.m.

Research days connect student researchers to vendors

by admin
Senior Emmeline Ha presents a poster at research days in the Marvin Center this week. Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Emmeline Ha presents a poster at research days in the Marvin Center this week.
Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jacqueline Thomsen.

More than 150 students pitched their research ideas, ranging from the effect of listening to music on memorization to the nationalization of local political campaigns, to top administrators and companies this week.

Surrounded by big posters of data and diagrams, students showed off their months-long research projects at the annual exhibition Tuesday and Wednesday in the Marvin Center.

Vendors from more than 30 technology companies lined up inside each presentation room, many looking to offer potential partnerships to student researchers.

Andrea Phillippe, an outreach coordinator for the the Office of the Vice President for Research, said students who practice presenting their research on campus will be more comfortable in front of bigger audiences, such as national conferences where there are hundreds of researchers, foundations and companies.

“If you’re going to continue on in any research field poster presentations are very much typical so this is great exposure,” she said. “This is experience in a non-threatening environment where it’s your peers, it’s your faculty members.”

Senior Hillary Hecht, a double major in dance and organizational sciences, placed first in a psychology division for her study looking at how dancers apply networking skills in their careers.

“The experience of doing research and thinking in such a strategic way has been a very different aspect to the information and learning I’ve been doing in the classroom,” Hecht said.

Hecht, who worked with Nils Olsen, an assistant professor of organizational sciences, will present her work at a conference in San Francisco next month held by the Association for Psychological Science.

Brian Dumbacher, a third year graduate statistics student, combined his full-time job at the U.S.Census Bureau with his studies to estimate the results of a survey on public employment and payroll in D.C.

“This research is part of my overall dissertation research,” he said. “I thought it would be a good idea for me to help organize my thoughts and meet people with similar interests.”

Dumbacher also said that it was an opportunity to improve his communication skills and present his work to those who normally wouldn’t be exposed to statistics research.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:26 p.m.

West Hall freshman remains in critical care unit

Campus police officers found a 19-year freshman unconscious in his West Hall bedroom on Tuesday afternoon. He remains in critical care. Hatchet File Photo.

Campus police officers found a 19-year freshman unconscious in his West Hall bedroom on Tuesday afternoon. He remains in critical care. Hatchet File Photo.

Updated: Thursday, April 3 at 12:48 p.m.

The freshman who was found unconscious in his West Hall room on Tuesday remains in intensive care at GW Hospital, a University official confirmed Thursday late morning.

The 19-year-old was rushed to the hospital at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday after campus police officers found him in his bedroom with “substantial” injuries, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Araz Alali said.

Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine, who was with the student’s family in the hospital, said the family did not wish to provide additional information at this time.

The freshman is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the University Honors Program. The University Counseling Center and Center for Student Engagement have offered support to the chapter and program this week.

West Hall, a tight-knit community on the Mount Vernon Campus of about 300 freshmen and upperclassmen, has been touched by tragedy this semester. Senior Lynley Redwood was found dead in her room early Tuesday morning. In January, the residence hall was shaken by the suicide of freshman Sean Keefer.

About 680 students live on the 25-acre Mount Vernon Campus.

University counselors are available to West Hall residents between 4 and 7 p.m. through Friday.

- Brianna Gurciullo contributed reporting.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Bridget Hughes and Rachael Gerendasy.

A petition pushing back against a potential merger of two neighborhood schools topped 1,000 signatures this week and prompted a meeting with the school’s principal.

Francis Stevens Education Campus in 2012. Hatchet File Photo

Francis Stevens Education Campus in 2012. Hatchet File Photo

Francis-Stevens Education Campus, an elementary school on N Street, was saved from closure in 2012 after it was paired with School Without Walls high school. Two years later, the schools share a principal and some faculty as well as an auditorium, athletic fields and a gymnasium. No students at School Without Walls currently take classes at Francis-Stevens.

Richard Trogisch, who serves as the shared principal for the two schools, held a meeting with parents at School Without Walls on Wednesday, and tensions flared as parents debated what path the two schools should take next.

The petition, created about two weeks ago, demands separate principals and budgets for the two schools, a “clear, coherent and workable plan” for the merger if it does occur and a plan to ensure that no students from School Without Walls will take classes at Francis-Stevens.

Trogisch said Wednesday no decision about fulling merging the two schools would be made without input from parents, and that any merger would likely not happen for three years since a plan for combining the two schools has not been presented.

“There will not be a change in education or the ability of students to get into schools they want to,” Trogisch said.

School Without Walls has 585 students currently enrolled, far more than its capacity of 450. Trogisch said about a dozen students from School Without Walls have completed internships at Francis Stevens and said sharing faculty saves about $300,000.

But parents at the meeting slammed Trogisch for ignoring their concerns and said D.C. Public Schools have not adequately communicated plans for the school or its budget.

“When the budgets are merged, there is no transparency. It’s not fair to the parents, the students, or the teachers of either school,” said Sara Parker, a School Without Walls parent. “No one from [D.C. Public Schools] is communicating. We would all appreciate communication, transparency and a plan.”

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Muriel Bowser won the city's Democratic primary with 44 percent of the vote. Jamie Finkelstein | Hatchet Staff Photographer

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser won the city’s Democratic primary with 44 percent of the vote. Jamie Finkelstein | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for mayor Tuesday, defeating incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray. Here are some highlights from the night at three of the candidates’ watch parties.

Bowser’s supporters dance, celebrate
By Hatchet reporter Sam Morse

About 250 people gathered in Southeast D.C., where they danced and chanted “All eight wards” while eating chicken and macaroni and listening to songs by LL Cool J and 50 Cent.

“We need freshness, and she has that,” campaign volunteer Deborah Johnson said.

Bowser pulled in about 44 percent of the vote, besting Gray and a field of candidates that included three other D.C. Council members. She brought her family onstage for her victory speech.

“I will run a campaign of integrity and vision and energy and inclusion. I promise that the values of our campaign will reflect the collective values of those of us in all eight wards,” she said.

Gray concedes defeat
By Hatchet reporters Brandon Lee and Laura Porter

After starting their day at 6 a.m. to draw voters to the polls, an effort that failed overall in an election with low turnout, Gray’s campaign volunteers mingled with supporters at his watch party.

With 32 percent of the vote, he conceded defeat and congratulated Bowser a little after midnight.

“I want to thank everybody who worked with us. This will not be an experience where we drift into the end of this administration. We will work very hard,” Gray said.

Terry Shelton, a Ward 4 resident who voted for Gray, said federal prosecutors’ accusations that Gray knew about the more than $600,000 shadow campaign, which buoyed his 2010 bid, cost him the election.

“[Residents] feel very reluctant to cast a vote for fear that the other shoe would drop,” Shelton said. “Had it not been for that, then perhaps we may have won.”

Foggy Bottom's Council member Jack Evans watches results come in at Stoney's Lounge. Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Foggy Bottom’s Council member Jack Evans watches results come in at Stoney’s Lounge. Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer

An early night for Evans
By Hatchet reporters Rachael Gerendasy and Kristen Barnes

Evans arrived at Stoney’s Lounge on P Street at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. He circled the room to shake hands and hug supporters, with Michael Jackson and Prince songs blaring from the speakers.

“We went out there today and we covered the polls and we knocked them dead. It was a great scene as I drove around our city and saw all of our supporters. Let’s hope this goes our way, but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and I will be eternally grateful,” Evans said, addressing about 100 supporters before leaving the restaurant.

After finishing with less than 5 percent of the vote, Evans made a quiet exit at about 10:30 p.m.

“He just wanted to be at home and rest with his family. He has worked very hard these past two and a half weeks, so after celebrating with his supporters here, he went to go be with his family,” fundraising events coordinator Robert Leming said.

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The Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education earned a $10,000 grant to improve resources and outreach for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, the University announced Wednesday.

The three-year grant, awarded by Transforming Youth Recovery and the Stacie Mathewson Foundation, will add GW into a network of 48 schools focused on recovery and will give CADE money to develop more resources for addicts.

“This generous grant will move GW into the national conversation on ways to serve this emerging college student community,” CADE Associate Director Alexis Janda said. “We will focus on raising awareness of the experience of students at various stages of recovery through education and activities.”

GW has had the student group, Students for Recovery, provide students with a safe place to discuss their issues in weekly meetings and plans dry social events since 2012. Last year, the University Counseling Center also has a free group therapy session that meets once a week.

“CADE will use this funding to enhance resources and provide additional direct support to identify and address the needs of students in recovery,” Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine said. “We recognize the importance of expanding and promoting the SFR community in order to reach students who are in need of these services.”

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 4:03 p.m.

Senior who died in West Hall identified

Hatchet File Photo.

West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus. Hatchet File Photo

The senior found dead in her West Hall room Tuesday was 21-year-old Lynley Redwood, according to police records.

Redwood, whose family lives in Lutherville, Md., was a chemistry major in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. She was a 2010 graduate of Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore.

As an undergraduate, Redwood was selected to work for a biology lab called Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, according to its website. She was also a member of a health care advocacy organization called Health Leads D.C., which is located at the Children’s National Medical Center.

“In the aftermath of this tragic loss, I urge all of us to take care of ourselves and look out for one another,” University President Steven Knapp wrote in a message to the GW community Tuesday evening.

Officers from the University Police Department found her unconscious in her room Tuesday morning around 7:30 a.m., after her mother told police she had not heard from her daughter. Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Araz Alali said detectives did not find evidence of criminal activity, but could not provide additional details.

She had lived on the fourth floor of the Mount Vernon Campus building, which houses about 300 freshmen and upperclassmen.

Her mother, Sherri Redwood, did not wish to comment.

Students can speak with University counselors in West Hall rooms 121 and 125 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Members of the community may also contact the University Counseling Center at 202-994-5300. UCC is open for walk-in services from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

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Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy said the global advocacy program will give the college another niche. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy said the global advocacy program will give the college another niche. Hatchet File Photo

A new master’s degree in the Graduate School of Political Management will teach students how to take lobbying tactics from K Street to foreign governments.

The advocacy in global environment degree program, which the college will also offer as a graduate certificate, will include a series of courses on global perspectives and week-long study abroad trips to different major cities around the world. Students will take courses about Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.

“This is the first program that will teach students not just how to engage your own state capital or Washington, but how you engage Beijing, Brussels or Brasília,” Mark Kennedy, the school’s director, said in a release.

Kennedy first pitched the program in a strategic plan for the school in 2012, which cited the need for new programs to draw in students after a 13 percent enrollment drop.

The program is geared toward students seeking jobs as lobbyists, consultants and in international agencies.

The master’s degree will require 39 credits, while the certificate will require 18. The certificate is more tailored to those seeking to become communications professionals.

This post was updated on April 2, 2014 to reflect the following:
Correction appended

Due to an editing error, the headline of this story said the program would be on environmental lobbying. It’s on lobbying in the global environmental. We regret this error.

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duques_file

Duques Hall. Hatchet file photo.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jacqueline Thomsen

An adviser in the GW School of Business mistakenly emailed a spreadsheet of graduating master’s students’ grade point averages and GWID numbers to three dozen students last week.

About 36 students received the email, which included information about all master of business administration students intending to graduate this spring.

Dustin Carnevale, a spokesperson for the business school, said students who received the email were quickly asked to delete it and that students were given the option to change relevant GW information.

A PIN or password is also required to access GW systems – not just a GWID number – creating “limited risk,” interim dean Christopher Kayes wrote in a letter to students.

“We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. The university is committed to protecting the security and privacy of your personal information,” he wrote.

Tapan Bhargava, an MBA student and senator in the Student Association, said students were still unhappy despite the apology from Kayes.

“Many want personal apologies and want descriptions of safeguards they are putting into place,” he said.

President of the MBA Association Greg Vallarino declined to comment, but said the group would release a statement this week.

About 1,000 students are in the school’s MBA program.

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Police arrested a homeless woman after she was discovered sleeping in the basement of JBKO Hall on Monday.

GW had previously barred the woman from campus, and police arrested her for unlawful entry, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said.

University Police Department officers arrested the woman at about 8 a.m., according to the department’s crime log. A report from the Metropolitan Police Department was not immediately available.

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