Posts Tagged ‘tufts’

I love stories about young people who have an impulse to help people in need. And I like that they often have creative ideas about how to do so that an older person might never have considered.

At the Boston Globe, Astead W. Herndon recently covered a high school student, now at Tufts University, who got her creative idea in a rather unusual way — while watching reality television.

Herndon reports, “Before Hannah Steinberg had a day named in her honor and was recognized by a US senator, the Tufts junior was just another high school student watching reality television.

“On that day about four years ago, Steinberg’s show of choice was ‘Extreme Couponing,’ the cable program that follows discount-obsessed shopaholics who go to supreme lengths to buy ultra-cheap items regardless of whether they need them.

“But as she watched the show’s stars proudly hoard their deeply discounted prizes, Steinberg said she had a thought: What if she could coupon with a conscience?

“These days, the 20-year-old Steinberg has a registered charity that has donated more than $100,000 worth of household items, canned goods, and electronics to homeless shelters and hospitals by using the couponing tricks she observed on the show. …

“Steinberg uses the example of a chocolate bar priced at $1.19. If she finds a buy one, get one free coupon, and pairs it with a buy two, get one free coupon and a $4 off any $10 purchase discount, Steinberg said she can purchase 30 chocolate bars for only $6.

“To fund her purchases, Steinberg solicits donations to Our Coupons Care, her federally recognized nonprofit charity. By mixing that money with her coupon magic, Steinberg said she can make “every dollar count for four to five dollars.” More here.

Although this seems like a lot of work, to me that’s not the point. Here’s a young woman who is transforming a consumerism that has run amok — until it is almost an illness — into something positive. And she is demonstrating that people with kind hearts and compassion continue to be born.

Photo: John Tlumacki/Globe
Tufts student Hannah Steinberg surrounded by the coupons she collects to buy goods to donate to charity.

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Andrew Joseph writes at the Globe’s new national health publication, Stat,  about the potential of silk worms to solve people’s joint problems.

“When Dr. Ailis Tweed-Kent was an internal medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital,” he writes, “she saw arthritis patients who were sometimes unable to work because of the pain. She could prescribe pain relievers, but she felt frustrated that there wasn’t more she could do. …

“In 2013, she founded Cocoon Biotech Inc. to come up with a way to treat the actual cause of arthritis, the loss of cartilage in joints. For the therapy, she turned to a biomaterial that has been used for thousands of years: silk. …

“What makes silk so special, researchers and entrepreneurs say, is its versatility, something that a synthetic material has not yet replicated. Silk has the added benefit of being naturally biocompatible, meaning it’s safe to use in the body.

” ‘It’s a simple protein, basically, and yet it’s all in the way it’s processed and used,’ said David Kaplan, chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts University, who has studied silk for more than two decades.

“Cocoon is one of a number of biotech companies that have licensed silk technology from Tufts. The microscopic spheres it has developed are meant to be injected into joints where they can lubricate the bones’ surfaces as a stand-in for lost cartilage.”

More here.

Photo: Aram Boghosian / Boston Globe
Silk worm cocoons at professor David Kaplan’s lab at Tufts in Medford.

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