In the past year, my Big Data journey has evolved into a successful, revenue-generating, innovation-enabling solution. How did I get here and what recommendations can I offer?First, properly set expectations for Big Data. One executive asserted, “If you get enough data together in one place, it automatically generates answers to questions you didn’t know to ask.” He believed that a primordial soup of data would simply spring to life. As you invest, emphasize that the goal is to answer questions that had previously been too complex or expensive to answer.Second, avoid Data Scientists initially. They will be useful later, but not at the outset. There are two types of Data Scientists. The first know how to set up a huge Hadoop or Elasticsearch cluster or a big NoSQL database. The latter know statistics, the ‘R’ programming language, and graph theory. In both cases, they’re a solution in search of a problem.Third, listen to parts of the company that lack a voice. Big Data reduces the cost or complexity of solving problems. Look for areas where the business has been unwilling or unable to invest. Our journey to success began when a support engineer observed that we could use Big Data to predict within 90 days that a Data Domain would run out of capacity. He was tired of taking support calls about “failed backups” because the backup teams were not trained to monitor storage capacities. He knew EMC could do better, and Big Data allowed us to do it without a huge investment.Once you have properly set expectations, avoided the pitfalls of gratuitous investment, and have found a critical but underappreciated problem to solve, there are three success factors:1. Be Open – Too often organizations will create a Big Data Lake, but prevent people from accessing the data. Innovation comes from bringing creative people and data together. Governance is important, but don’t let IT lock everyone out.2. Revenue vs. Optimization – Many people want to optimize a process (e.g. fewer support calls or faster bug triage), but optimization is difficult to quantify and even harder to justify investment. Instead, focus on ways that Big Data can augment your revenue. At first, we futilely tried to get funding by demonstrating “reduced support case load.” Interest and funding expanded when we tracked the revenue generated by selling additional Data Domain storage and systems to customers who were about to run out of capacity.3. Generalist vs. Specialist – At the beginning, you don’t need a hyper-optimized Big Data infrastructure. You need somebody who understands the business problem, what data they need, how to access the data, and how to deploy basic Big Data tools. In short, you need a problem-solving generalist who can learn quickly. As the solution expands, hire specialists to optimize each part of the process. At the beginning, though, generalists win.As with most business/technology transformation, the challenge with Big Data is not one of technology. To succeed with Big Data, manage business expectations, avoid technology hype, and embrace revenue-generating ideas from underfunded areas. If you keep your Big Data Lake open and accessible, you’ll unlock the innovative passion of parts of the company that have been desperate to do more.Often, starting small – especially when it comes to Big Data – can have the greatest payoff.For more insight into my big data journey and lessons learned, check out The Business Impact of Big Data podcast series.
Imagine what the world would be like if we could harness the multitude of data generated each day to catalyze positive change. What if we had the ability to predict and stop crimes before they happened, or could apply these same methodologies to save lives with better healthcare? Sound like the plots of many familiar movies? With recent advances in artificial intelligence, these outcomes are not only possible, but an exciting reality!As we move swiftly into this new year, media, analysts and just about everyone is thinking about what will be ‘the next big thing’ in technology. Looking back at 2017, this was a hallmark year for AI enthusiasm and awareness. More industries and organizations embraced digital transformation and have come to value their data as a critical corporate asset. Now, building off of that momentum, 2018 will be the year that AI adoption reaches critical mass among organizations and professionals!In speaking with customers over the past year, I’ve learned that many have already begun to experiment with machine and deep learning and artificial intelligence; some proactive customers have put AI-enabled capabilities into production, and nearly all are expected to make investments in the coming months. By the end of the year, we expect most enterprise customers will have one or more AI-enhanced services or products in production, and that the majority of smaller and mid-size companies will be executing AI technology evaluations and pilot programs (with some already in production as well).When deployed strategically, AI technologies equip organizations to derive actionable data insights across virtually all industries, including energy, transportation, education, research, entertainment, hospitality, and so many more. In 2018, we predict the financial services, retail, healthcare and life sciences, and manufacturing industries will realize quick results with human-machine partnerships. Why is this the case? Optimizing Financial DataFinancial services companies already possess vast data sets and conduct advanced analytics on business and customer trends. This expertise fosters an ideal culture for evaluating and adopting more powerful methods, as data becomes fuel for deep learning approaches. Artificial intelligence can be used to optimize all facets of financial data reporting, from risk assessments and growth projections to client satisfaction and fraud prevention. The ROI of attracting new customers is easily measured, and in 2018, these organizations can further improve performance by better understanding customer needs and reducing fraud and security breaches. As AI enables automated financial decisions at scale, it will converge with another disruptive technology, blockchain, to secure and validate automated transactions.Maximizing Profit for RetailersRetail has many potential uses for AI, such as understanding the target markets of products, improving advertising with personal information, and detecting fraudulent online purchases and theft in brick-and-mortar stores. Next year, these capabilities will increasingly become mainstream for small and mid-sized retailers. Dell EMC retail customers will continue to maximize profits by promoting offerings to the most likely buyers and predictively purchasing commodities by time and location. These AI-enabled successes set the foundation for future advances in retail operations, like implementing fully-automated customer support and autonomous product delivery operations.Standardizing Efficiency in HealthcareOne of the reasons I love working in technology and for Dell EMC is the ability to help our customers leverage technology to advance human progress. In no field is that truer than in healthcare and life sciences, industries that are often the showcase examples for the power of artificial intelligence.From the discussions we’re having with our healthcare customers, it is likely that in 2018, initial research projects will evolve into standard operating procedures. There is an abundance of image data for many medical ailments, like tumors, which is being used to train AI models to detect these conditions earlier and more accurately. Early results are so promising, that many healthcare providers will regularly use deep learning solutions to support the diagnosis of cancer and other severe conditions this year. I believe the impact of AI in healthcare will be both wide and deep; as healthcare records become progressively digitized and input into deep learning methods, they will help researchers understand health risks, improve detection and monitoring of conditions, and even predict health issues before they arise. That’s incredible progress! Moving forward, I believe that the era of personalized medicine will be furthered by pairing AI technologies with increasingly comprehensive and blockchain-secured data from IOT and other sources that complement lab results and caregiver observations.Reducing Cost for ManufacturersCost reduction is of utmost importance to the manufacturing industry, whether the costs of components, failures, or maintenance. The ability to predict global supply chain costs and customer demand, and intercede before they occur, runs parallel to the advances in the financial services industry I wrote about above. Embedded within manufacturing facilities and complex equipment are sensors that measure item productivity and environmental conditions that impact reliability and maintenance, like power, temperature, and stressors. Our customers tell me that they are already benefitting from this data and leveraging it to develop AI-powered models to predict failures before they happen and improve customer satisfaction. For example, customers can be notified when firmware updates should be applied or support should be contacted, among many other use cases. Deep learning technologies are so powerful that we use it to bolster the reliability and support of our own offerings.To me it is clear – artificial intelligence and machine and deep learning will continue to grow as all types of organizations understand the incredible power offered by these technologies. That said, although revolutionary, the transformative results promised through artificial intelligence will not come without effort. To unlock the full capabilities of AI, organizations will have to do the heavy lifting of going “all in” on digital transformation, accelerating their computing methods, and embracing data sovereignty. It will be critical for data to be extensive collected, curated, and made available to all applicable uses cases.It’s About Knowing Where to StartAlthough artificial intelligence has been around for decades, it’s still difficult to understand and use effectively and requires the right expertise and technologies. Fortunately, Dell EMC is the premier vendor for data storage in the world, and we have decades of experience in managing data, enabling data analytics, and working with customers to design and deploy AI solutions for deeper insights. And, it’s about to get even better!In 2018, building on extensive work with customers and partners, Dell EMC will make simple AI solutions available to customers in all verticals. As we recently announced, our Ready Bundles for Machine Learning and for Deep Learning bring AI capabilities to the masses, including global companies, research labs, governments, and educational institutions. Our carefully designed, optimized, reliable, and scalable solutions integrate advanced processors, storage and networking technologies, and powerful AI-optimized software. These solutions simplify selection, deployment, adoption, and usage for our customers, thus minimizing the cost, effort, and frustration associated with DIY and public cloud solutions.AI is complex, but we’re focused on simplifying and accelerating the journey for customers and helping more organizations achieve its promise and potential in 2018. The revolution has begun, and we expect all businesses will use and benefit from AI-powered solutions as we close the decade. Dell EMC Ready Bundles for Machine Learning and Deep Learning will deliver these critical capabilities, empowering customers to innovate, compete, and change the world!Want to learn more about our thoughts on these topics? Read more about Dell Technologies’ 2018 predictions for artificial intelligence.
Sprawl (verb): to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint.”Sprawl can strike fear in the hearts of IT administrators everywhere. Adding resources to meet reactive business needs can create sprawl. On top of that, if the infrastructure is already siloed, adding more just complicates day-to-day operations and management, often forcing IT to buy more tools and waste more cycles.How have some companies’ IT teams been able to keep up with the demands of their business? New innovations have helped them be more flexible and modern. Their IT has grown ahead of silos and better managed sprawl. They have built a dynamic infrastructure that adjusts to applications and workloads. These Modernized companies have adopted Intelligent Automation, helping them to be more efficient and manage their data center easily.How significant is easier management for modernized IT organizations? 76% of modernized IT organizations using modular server infrastructures believe those servers are improving ease of management. They also report reducing server administration time by a third, on average.Recently, Dell EMC introduced the kinetic infrastructure as the IT solution to quickly adapt to new workloads and demands. The Dell EMC PowerEdge MX modular server is the first kinetic infrastructure solution to help companies become Modernized. It also brings along simpler management, built with intelligent automation. The Dell EMC OpenManage Enterprise – Modular Edition (OME-Modular) is the powerful, built-in management platform for PowerEdge MX to meet the needs for growing businesses.Managing more with lessA modular server platform has many components but each one is designed to talk with each other. Further, management that is optimized for modular servers ensures admins have full insight into everything inside the modular infrastructure. From installation to deployment and configuration, innovative management speeds up these repetitive cycles, while providing non-stop monitoring, alerting and sustaining operations.Made for PowerEdge MX servers, OME-Modular delivers an agile and comprehensive platform to manage modular servers, storage and networking. Now, IT can react faster to address new business demands, automate tasks, and use only one tool to reduce sprawl and underused resources.OME-Modular helps all organizations do more with less:Use a single interface and console to manage compute, storage and networks, making IT Teams more effective. Reduce staff’s learning curve, the need for multiple tools and wasted effort.Reduce repetitive tasks with simplified administration. Respond quickly to alerts. Secure operations, updates and management to protect servers while lowering costs and risks of downtime.Roll out changes and templates faster across multiple PowerEdge MX servers with agile, intelligent automation. Expand reach and function with a RESTful API to automate tasks and roll out applications faster.Flexible management capabilitiesOME-Modular also lets IT manage the PowerEdge MX at-the-box as well as remotely, thanks to the built-in Quick Sync 2 feature. You can access servers remotely with the Dell EMC OpenManage Mobile (OMM) application, installed on handheld wireless tablets or mobiles. With Quick Sync 2 and OMM, IT can easily configure PowerEdge MX nodes, view system logs and address any alerts at-the-chassis. Lastly, PowerEdge MX also offers a touchscreen LCD panel option which speeds up initial setup and resolving alerts.Scale management easilyOME-Modular makes it easy for IT to extend management and speed up server deployment across one or many PowerEdge MX groups, thanks to templates and server profiles that automate installs. IT can deploy new resources quickly, reducing repetitive cycles and wasted time configuring.In some cases, adding new servers into a larger managed pool can often lead to more silos and complex operations if management tools do not talk to each other. OME-Modular helps IT overcome these issues with a set of RESTful APIs that extend MX management. Data centers using Dell EMC OpenManage Enterprise share a common code base as OME-Modular, letting IT easily manage PowerEdge MX with only one tool and one interface. In fact, OpenManage Enterprise helps IT manage all PowerEdge servers, or up to 8000 devices. Reducing the number of tools and learning curve means much less sprawl and wasted resources.In specific environments like Ansible, Microsoft and VMware, IT can easily extend management and streamline operations, thanks to Dell EMC Connections and Integrations. OME-Modular and the RESTful API reduces the number of tools needed to manage PowerEdge MX within your custom environment. Take back control and easily manage your data center with OME-Modular.Increase effectiveness to accelerate operationsBecoming a modernized IT organization can be easily achieved with kinetic infrastructure. Further, kinetic infrastructure management reduces silos, sprawl and wasted time. Managing PowerEdge MX isn’t complicated because OME-Modular gives admins unified control of resources, simpler administration, and faster operations, all from a single console. Manage more with less and redirect IT efforts to boosting business results with OME-Modular.Get more information about OpenManage Enterprise – Modular Edition at dell.com/OME-Modular  Merriam-Webster online dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprawl Source: ESG Research White Paper “Insights from Modernized IT: Modular Compute can Have a Big Impact”, August 2018, URL.
I love talking to customers. I find that I always gain the most amazing insights and hear some great stories. Here’s a classic example. “Hello, my name is Jordan. I’m the CEO of Hark. I assumed back in 2016 that designing and shipping hardware was good for us. That assumption was dumb.”Hardware time anyone?I don’t know about you, but I admired Jordan’s honesty and wanted to learn more! For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hark Systems has a mission to build innovative energy management solutions to remedy real-world challenges.Jordan explained that Hark’s decision to enter the hardware area was driven purely by practical reasons. Quite simply, the company wanted to build hardware infrastructure to run alongside its cloud-based software. And so, Hark’s decision went something like this, if you want something done well, the only way is to do it yourself. As Jordan said, “We’re technical people and being accomplished software developers, we assumed hardware design would be relatively straightforward.”A horse of a different colour As Jordan admitted a couple of months later, while it had been an interesting journey, hardware design was way more complicated and costly than originally envisaged. ” Everyone thinks they can buy a CPU board or Raspberry Pi and off you go but there’s a lot involved. Selecting the right prototype platform, waiting for samples, the cost of moulding, resolving hardware bugs all take time, expertise and money.”Even when issues are resolved, it’s not easy to scale up to volume manufacturing. And as Jordan says, “There’s the whole regulatory side, where you need to gain certification to ship to different countries. That requires time and expertise.”Stick to what you’re good atThis is where yours truly gets to feature. When I heard the story, I interjected, “Hey, Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions has something you could use.” And the rest, as they say, is history – a partnership was born. Hark and Dell Technologies have now partnered on a number of successful retail projects including a major IoT win with a top four UK supermarket. More on that in a follow-on blog!Lessons learntDespite the challenges encountered, Jordan doesn’t regret the journey. “Designing hardware has made us even better at designing cloud software that talks to hardware. However, we quickly realized that we needed a partner like Dell to scale up. We needed a partner like Dell for supply chain, logistics and to manage regulatory certification. We needed Dell to take the complexity away, reduce lead-times, manage the certification process and allow us to focus on our own IP.”As Jordan says, “We built hardware because we needed to, we didn’t necessarily want to be a hardware company.”A two-way partnershipOf course, it’s not a one-way street. While Dell Technologies offers an amazing set of building blocks, we don’t make energy management solutions like Hark does. We might be one of the biggest IT infrastructure companies in the world, but we need partners like Hark with specialist expertise across a whole range of industries.Like our other partners, Hark is successfully disrupting the market, making solutions affordable and linking legacy, proprietary-based analogue systems with new platforms, which means customers don’t have to rip and replace existing, expensive infrastructure. This specialist expertise is hugely beneficial, allowing us to credibly enter key vertical markets and enabling our sales team to close projects quicker and more efficiently.Here to helpHark’s experience shows why a partnership with Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions pays dividends. The moral of the story is clear – stick to your core competencies and pick the right partners for the rest.On that note, allow us to take away the headache of handling the hardware and integration-related complexities that can drain your resources, wreck your head and cause delays in bringing your IP to market. We can help you select the right compute power for your solution, the appropriate system to optimally run your IP, certify it to industry standards or regulatory requirements, customise it, build it and ship it. And, of course, we can share some great stories together along the way!Learn more about Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions Learn more about Hark Systems Keep in touch. Follow us on Twitter @delltechoem and @mikehfay. Join our LinkedIn OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions Showcase page here.
No exhibition games and for some teams no action at all for 10 months has made for a sloppy start to the NHL season. It’s plenty entertaining with all the odd-man rushes and goals, even if the hockey resembles junior or college games more than the pros. Teams have shuffled their lineups more early because of injuries and protocols. That has led to less continuity and more mistakes and penalties all over the ice. But goaltenders have also stepped up and shaken off the rust quicker to keep from every game being an offensive explosion.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to grant some foreigners citizenship to this oil-rich nation home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It’s part of efforts to stimulate its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UAE previously gave citizenship to Palestinians and others who helped form the country’s government after its formation in 1971. Others have received it over time as well. Saturday’s announcement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, said the offer could apply to artists, authors, doctors, engineers and scientists, as well as their families.
The protestors arrested on campus during last May’s Commencement ceremony, known as the “ND 88,” have been offered a program to avoid trial by St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, according to a statement by University President Fr. John Jenkins.According to the press release, Dvorak will offer a pre-trial diversion program to those arrested, which would give them the chance to have their cases dismissed with no criminal record. To be eligible, the person must waive the right to a trial, have no criminal record and agree to obey local, state and federal laws for one year.Jenkins said he believes the Prosecutor’s Office’s decision is “balanced and lenient.”The protesters violated University policies regarding campus demonstrations and were given multiple warnings prior to their arrest, Jenkins said in the statement released Friday.“We require that any campus demonstration, regardless of the issue, be organized by a student, faculty or staff member, receive approval from the University through the Office of Student Affairs and be peaceful and orderly,” Jenkins said. “Those who were arrested last spring met none of these criteria.”The University has been in contact with Dvorak, who has been handling the prosecution of those arrested on campus last spring.“To be eligible, a person must waive the right to a trial, have no criminal record and agree to obey local, state and federal laws for one year,” Jenkins said of the pre-trial diversion program. “The program also includes the payment of a fee for cost.”In a letter to the University, Dvorak said his office will work with those who demonstrated a financial need to reduce or potentially eliminate these fees.The protesters took a pro-life stance, but Jenkins said their arrest does not mean the University does not value the sanctity of life.“We at Notre Dame embrace the Catholic position on the sanctity of life. We oppose abortion and support laws that protect life from conception to natural death,” he said. “In this respect, we fully agree with the protestors.“But the University cannot have one set of rules for causes we oppose and another more lenient set of rules for causes we support. We have one consistent set of rules for demonstrations on campus — no matter what the cause.”In the past, the University has banned those who were arrested for trespass. It will not take this action against the protesters given they complete the pre-trial diversion program, are acquitted of charges or plead guilty.Jenkins also said alternative pro-life demonstrations that met University regulations were offered last spring.“Those now charged with trespass could have joined these protests without interference or arrest,” Jenkins said. “These included a demonstration on April 5 in front of the Main Building, a Eucharistic adoration from May 16 to May 17 in one of the residence hall chapels and on Commencement day, a Mass, a rally and a prayer vigil on South Quad and a Rosary and meditation at the Grotto.“Nearly 3,000 people participated in the prayerful protest on the South Quad,” Jenkins said. “None of the participants in any of these activities were arrested.”Jenkins said the University welcomes debate about public issues, as well as protest.“We have great respect for people who engage in the long and noble tradition of civil disobedience and courageously accept the consequences to call attention to themselves and their message,” he said.But he said the University also has a responsibility to maintain an environment that allows students, faculty and staff to continue their work without interference.“It is this dual commitment to free expression and public order that has guided us in this case,” Jenkins said.
A Notre Dame freshman recently founded a news and opinion website that publishes content daily from universities across the country. NextGen Journal, the site that is geared toward college students, launched last week. Freshman Connor Toohill manages the site and currently serves as editor-in-chief. Toohill said he was inspired to start the news site for college students in 2009 when the national budget debate sparked interest in many of his classmates at his high school. “There were a lot of things being talked about that had a lot of impact on the next generation,” Toohill said, “but our voices were never really in the conversation.” Toohill said he wanted to create a forum for the opinions of the younger generation. NextGen Journal currently staffs over 50 college students from universities around the country, Toohill said. Students from universities such as Stanford, Georgetown, and Harvard, in addition to Notre Dame students, contribute pieces that submitted to a core group of editors. Freshman Brendan Moran is one of a core group of editors for the journal. “We went through about 75 college newspapers, picked out their best writers, and asked them to join our staff,” Moran said. According to Moran, this diversity gives NextGen Journal an edge over a single-campus publication. “We have that national focus,” Moran said, “not just only focusing on Notre Dame students and Notre Dame writers but branching out and trying to hear what’s going on and how people in other parts of the country interpret and perceive this content that is very pertinent to college students.” NextGen Journal publishes articles covering topics from international and domestic politics to music, sports and celebrities. “There’s a void out there in the national media lately for analysis and insightful content for college students,” Toohill said. “There is nothing for our generation other than the specific campus by campus content of college papers. So we’re trying to do something national with it.” Creating and developing the site was a long process for Toohill. He spent months laying the groundwork for the launch by contacting possible staff and finalizing the objectives and format of NextGen Journal. Toohill said much of the success of the recent launch to technical director and freshman Chas Jhin, who designed the website’s layout. Now that NextGen Journal has officially launched, Toohill and Moran said they are concentrating on publicizing and growing their venture. “We definitely want to expand as much as we can and focus on expanding it nationally and getting as many people aware of it as possible nationwide,” Moran said. Toohill said he shares this aspiration. “We want to become the foremost site for news and opinion by students for students,” he said. Toohill said students interested in contributing to NextGen Journal can visit the nextgenjournal.com and click on the “Join NextGen” page. “More than anything, [NextGen Journal] is interesting to the reader,” Toohill said. “There’s a lot of really great, interesting, cool, practical content.”
Reigning Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks begin training camp in the Compton Family Ice Arena on Thursday and will host public practices Saturday and Sunday, with a special student event Friday. Tom Nevala, general manager of the Compton Family Ice Arena, said Blackhawks’ General Manager Stan Bowman, a 1995 Notre Dame alumnus, wanted to bring the team to his alma mater to build community. “[Bowman] just happened to be in the area last February … and suggested that they might want to come to campus for training camp if we could work that out,” Nevala said. “They liked the idea of getting their guys all together to do a little team unity exercise instead of operating from their individual homes in Chicago and just coming to the United Center. They thought to spend a few days on campus with a facility like we have here would be a great way to start their next year.” Nevala said the Blackhawks would take advantage of Compton’s many amenities during training camp. “They’re bringing 60 players here so you have to have the locker space for 60 guys, and I think we were able to provide that compared to what they might be used to [at the United Center],” he said. “I think the opportunity to use both rinks [will be helpful] … Maybe they’re going to run practice on one side and the scrimmages that they’ve been advertising in the main arena.” During training camp, the Blackhawks will split up into three different teams and play two scrimmages a day, he said. The Blackhawks are also looking forward to experiencing Notre Dame’s campus for a few days, Nevala said. “I think they just like being in the campus environment, with Eddy Street [Commons] available,” he said. “They’re staying at the Morris Inn. I’m sure they’ll probably go play golf one day and we’re going to try to get them to football practice.” Blackhawks players will also attend a team dinner with the Notre Dame hockey squad Friday, Nevala said. Nevala said it was the Blackhawks’ idea to sell public tickets to Saturday and Sunday’s practices, which are currently sold out. However, Notre Dame was adamant about doing something special for its students, he said. “All along we were hoping we could do something unique for our students while [the Blackhawks] were here,” he said. “We said, ‘Well, how about we do a day with the students when you aren’t selling tickets,’ and it’ll be a unique opportunity for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students to get in and see them scrimmage if they have time during their lunch break or something. We don’t want anybody skipping class, now.” Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students can attend the Blackhawks’ practice for free Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. in the Compton Family Ice Arena with a valid student ID. Nevala said he hopes the Blackhawks cap off their visit to Notre Dame by bringing the Stanley Cup to campus. “We’re hopeful that the Stanley Cup might be on campus at some point during this visit,” he said. “I literally don’t know how long it would be here if it’s going to be here. We’re hopeful it makes its second visit because Stan did bring it here in 2010. After they won the Stanley Cup that year, he used his day with the cup to bring it to campus for the Notre Dame vs. Stanford football game. We’re hopeful it comes again.” Nevala said he hopes the Blackhawks decide to return again next year. “We hope [the Blackhawks] enjoy their time in South Bend and on campus, and maybe they’ll decide this is a good way to start their year again in the future,” he said.
In response to the Status of Girls in Indiana report, Saint Mary’s alumna Molly Bell, class of 1997, created the Bloom for Girls seminar, an opportunity for mothers and daughters to celebrate the gift of womanhood in a fun, open environment. The event will take place on Saint Mary’s campus on Sunday, July 13.Bell said she introduced the idea for Bloom for Girls, aimed at young women between the ages of 10 and 19, in the summer of 2012 at a reunion weekend at Saint Mary’s.“I was invited to present a lecture on the inundation of ‘pink’ into the marketplace targeting girls,” Bell said.After discussing the effects of the messages and images to which girls are exposed daily, Bell said she suggested moms start discussing this issue with their daughters before they enter high school.“Bloom for Girls workshops were the solution,” Bell said.Saint Mary’s contacted Bell six months after her discussion and asked if she would like to launch the program on campus, Bell said.“There could be no better fit to launch this program than a campus that supports women and where I spent four years building and harnessing my own power and voice as a woman,” Bell said.Bell said after graduating with a degree in communication, she spent ten years working as an advertising executive, an experience that showed her how companies market to young girls.“I became ingrained in the retail landscape for moms and tween girls when I worked with OshKosh B’Gosh on their national advertising campaign to launch a sub-brand called Genuine Girl,” Bell said.Bell said after attending focus groups, listening to moms all over the country and completing intense research on competitive brands, she thought she understood the market ⎯ that is until she had her daughter six years later.“I began noticing aisles of pink toys, sexy dolls, purple Legos themed with dog grooming and fashion shows and countless princess images, toys and books,” Bell said.Bell said she began to research this change in the market landscape and was able to justify her concerns with several books on the topic, in which she said she found terrifying statistics about the self-esteem and depression rates in American girls.“According to a study by NYU Child Study Center, the average American girl’s self-esteem peaks at age nine,” Bell said. “This was further reinforced by the Status of Girls in Indiana report compiled by Saint Mary’s College that showed Indiana girls have higher rates of depression and suicide attempts than boys.”Although the Bloom program is not connected to the Status of Girls in Indiana report, the event does promote a positive and action-oriented experience to counteract the high rate of depression among young girls.“Raising my daughter in an educated, upper-middle-class community, I naively thought my friends would be aware of these issues,” Bell said. “I quickly decided there was a need to start talking about some of the challenges our daughters are facing and to give our daughters the tools to maneuver through the pressures of technology, body image, friendship, stereotyping, gender biases ⎯ and the list goes on.”Bell said through art projects, interactive activities, skits and journaling, girls and moms are given the tools and conversation starters to build self-esteem.“Studies show that no matter how much extraneous ‘noise’ from the media peers and society surrounds our daughters with, it is within the family that a girl first develops a sense of who she is and who she wants to become,” Bell said. “A parent armed with knowledge can help her daughter reach her full potential.”Bell said the event starts with a few fun group activities that focus on the goals of the seminar. Participants also have the opportunity to share personal experiences in the workshops.Following the discussion, Bell said participants break for a catered lunch and then participate in a workshop called “Love Your Body.”“This workshop will address media images of our bodies versus a healthy body, inner beauty rather than outer beauty, a mother’s influence on a daughter’s body and our power over our own bodies,” Bell said.Bell said she hopes moms and daughters will leave the seminar with new knowledge and tools to spark conversation when friendship crises, bullying and other self-esteem challenges occur.“I’m thrilled to bring this program to my alma mater and to a place that offers countless empowering opportunities for women that extend far beyond Bloom for Girls,” Bell said. Tags: Bloom for Girls, Indiana report, moms and daughters, ndsmcobserver.com, seminar, SMC