Fellows Summer Workshop

August 5, 2011 - August 07, 2011

2011 Summer Workshop at University of California, Santa Cruz

By Jane Wang and Todd Gingrich

More than 70 Fellows participated in the Third Annual Hertz Summer Workshop at Oakes College, University of California, Santa Cruz, August 4th – 8th. The Summer Workshop first began as an alternative to the Hertz Symposium and has become a place like “math camp,” where Fellows can get to know each other and work collaboratively on challenges big and small.  In this third iteration of the Workshop, it is clear that we are well on our way to supporting a more cohesive Hertz Fellows Community.

After a welcome dinner, the Fellows got reacquainted over the “Nuts Scale Up” puzzle led by current Berkeley Fellow, Shannon Yee.  In the puzzle, teams of Fellows navigated through a variety of brainteasers, engineering problems, and physical tasks. As usual, the Hertz Fellows were highly competent and creative in both solving these problems head on – or finding clever loopholes to circumvent the rules of the game.

This year’s Program included talks from visiting speakers, as well as from the Fellows themselves.  Groups of six to ten Hertz Fellows collaborated throughout the Workshop to prepare “TED Talks” proposing unique ways to tackle serious problems in the modern world like energy, feeding civilization, and genetic engineering.   Outside of the talks and collaborations, the Fellows also had the opportunity to explore the Santa Cruz coastline in a series of hikes and beach trips.  To top off the weekend, Wendy Cieslak, Board Member and Hertz Fellow, led a group of current Fellows in the first Hertz Musical Recital, reminding us that the creativity of Hertz Fellows extends outside of academics.

A number of senior Hertz Fellows were able to join in all or part of the workshop, further enhancing the interactions. “The workshop has done a really good job of creating a community for Hertz Fellows past and present, by giving them an opportunity to work together and appreciate each other’s strengths,” said Ray Sidney, Hertz Fellow 1991, and sponsor of the Workshops since their inception.

The gathering ended on a high note with a tribute dinner to Hertz Board Member, interviewer and mentor, Dr. Lowell Wood, for his work and dedication to the Foundation in over 38 years of service.  Hertz Fellows from around the country sent their favorite Lowell stories, pictures, and anecdotes – many of which were shared during the tribute.   Friends and Fellows donned tie-dye shirts as they recalled traumatic interviews, late nights at Livermore, lasers, and explosions.  Hertz creativity was again put on display when “The Legends of Lowell” were translated into song, verse, and superhero-inspired cartoons.  Through all mediums of expression, Lowell’s immense impact on the Foundation was made clear. Honoring his commitment and guidance was a perfect conclusion to a successful Workshop.

Workshop Video Montage