Monday, April 27, 2015

What is Diabetes? What are my options to avoid Diabetes?

Medically speaking, Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
Quick Reference on Diabetes
·         Diabetes is a long-term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.
·         Type 1 Diabetes - the body does not produce insulin. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
·         Type 2 Diabetes - the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.
·         Gestational Diabetes - this type affects females during pregnancy.
·         The most common diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, intense thirst and hunger, weight gain, unusual weight loss, fatigue, cuts and bruises that do not heal, male sexual dysfunction, numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
·         If you have Type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life.
·         Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels.
·         As the risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for a diabetic, it is crucial that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are monitored regularly.
·         As smoking might have a serious effect on cardiovascular health, diabetics should stop smoking.
·         Hypoglycemia - low blood glucose - can have a bad effect on the patient. Hyperglycemia - when blood glucose is too high - can also have a bad effect on the patient.

Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin (insulin resistance).
Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease - it gradually gets worse - and the patient will probably end up have to take insulin, usually in tablet form.
Overweight and obese people have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight. People with a lot of visceral fat, also known as central obesity, belly fat, or abdominal obesity, are especially at risk. Being overweight/obese causes the body to release chemicals that can destabilize the body's cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Being overweight, physically inactive and eating the wrong foods all contribute to our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking just one can of (non-diet) soda per day can raise our risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%, researchers from Imperial College London reported in the journal Diabetologia. The scientists believe that the impact of sugary soft drinks on diabetes risk may be a direct one, rather than simply an influence on body weight.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is also greater as we get older. Experts are not completely sure why, but say that as we age we tend to put on weight and become less physically active. Those with a close relative who had/had type 2 diabetes, people of Middle Eastern, African, or South Asian descent also have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Men whose testosterone levels are low have been found to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, say that low testosterone levels are linked to insulin resistance.
Diabetes Is A Metabolism Disorder

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is classed as a metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood - it is the principal source of fuel for our bodies.
When our food is digested, the glucose makes its way into our bloodstream. Our cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present - insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells, as soon as glucose enters the cells blood-glucose levels drop.
A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. This excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements.
Diabetes can take a toll on nearly every organ in your body, including the heart and blood vessels; eyes; kidneys; gums and teeth; and the nervous system.
Heart disease and blood vessel disease are common problems for many people who don’t have their diabetes under control. You're twice as likely to have heart problems and strokes as people who don’t have the condition. Blood vessel damage or nerve damage may also cause foot problems that, in rare cases, can lead to amputations. More than half the legs and feet removed are not lost because of an injury, but as a result of this disease.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new vision loss in the U.S. in adults 20 to 74 years old. It can lead to eye problems, some of which can cause blindness if not treated: Glaucoma, Cataracts, Diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in adults in the U.S., accounting for almost half of new cases. You might not notice any problems with early diabetes-related kidney disease. In later stages it can make your legs and feet swell.
Over time, high blood sugar levels can harm your nerves. As many as 70% of people with diabetes get this type of damage. Peripheral diabetic neuropathy can cause pain and burning or a loss of feeling in your feet. It usually starts with your toes. It can also affect your hands and other body parts. Autonomic neuropathy stems from damage to the nerves that control your internal organs. Symptoms include sexual problems, digestive issues (a condition called gastroparesis), trouble sensing when your bladder is full, dizziness and fainting, or not knowing when your blood sugar is low
Having diabetes puts you at higher risk for gum disease. Your gums might be red and swollen and bleed easily.
Controlling Diabetes - Treatment Is Effective And Important

All types of diabetes are treatable. Diabetes type 1 lasts a lifetime, there is no known cure. Type 2 usually lasts a lifetime, however, some people have managed to get rid of their symptoms without medication, through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control.
What are your choices?
1. Do nothing and suffer, then die.
2. Diet and exercise. Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented by a person being a normal body weight, physical exercise, and following a healthful diet. Dietary changes known to be effective in helping to prevent diabetes include a diet rich in whole grains and fiber, and choosing good fats, such as polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, vegetable oils, and fish. Limiting sugary beverages and eating less red meat and other sources of saturated fat can also help in the prevention of diabetes. Active smoking is also associated with an increased risk of diabetes, so smoking cessation can be an important preventive measure as well.
First STEPS:
1. If you are overweight, you should have a blood test taken to determine your A1C and fasting plasma glucose levels.  The lab results will determine the proper course of treatment recommended by your physician.
2. It may require that you lose weight, moderate your diet, and begin an exercise routine.

The choice is yours.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

If you are over weight - do you have Type 2 diabetes ?

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious medical conditions affecting our nation today. The number of people who have it has been rising alarmingly.

Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as “adult onset” diabetes, but no longer. In recent years, the incidence among children and adolescents has exploded. Much of that surge is due to the dramatic increase in the last 20 years in the number of young people who are physically inactive and overweight or obese.

The statistics are sobering. An estimated 25.8 million people in the U.S., or about 8 percent of the population, have diabetes. That’s up from 2.5 percent of the population in 1980. Despite the increase of the disease among the young, older people are still the largest age group affected with nearly 11 million people 65 or older afflicted with diabetes. And about 1.9 million adults are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year.

But despite widespread attention to the diabetes epidemic, about one in three people who have diabetes — some 7 million people — have not been diagnosed and do not know they have it. And many of those who have been diagnosed are not getting adequate treatment. A quarter to a third of the people who have been diagnosed with diabetes fail to receive the medical care and medicines that research has shown to be effective.

Why is diabetes of such concern? For starters, diabetes more than doubles the risk of developing and dying of heart disease and other problems. Indeed, the condition is as potent a predictor and risk factor for heart disease and heart attack as are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In 2004, the latest year for which data is available, heart disease was a factor listed on 68 percent of diabetes-related death certificates among people 65 or older.

Diabetes also significantly raises the risk of a host of other problems. These include: stroke, nerve damage, kidney damage; damage to the eye as well as total blindness; impotence, poor wound healing, and susceptibility to infections that can worsen and require amputations of toes, feet, or part of a leg.

In addition, people with diabetes are very likely to have other dangerous health conditions. One study found that 47 percent of people with diabetes had two other heart disease risk factors (such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol), and 18 percent had three or more.

Overall, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability. Women have the same prevalence of diabetes as men, but they are much more likely to die from it. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and the indigenous people of Alaska are more prone to develop diabetes (due to genetic and environmental factors) and to become disabled or die from it (due to multiple factors, including that they are less likely to get good care).

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to develop gradually over time and include:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Infections and slow healing of wounds

These symptoms can also be mild and/or intermittent for years. If you experience any of these — and especially if you experience two or more, for even a few days — you should see a doctor.

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms may be nonexistent. That’s unfortunate because the damage to organs occurs even in the absence of symptoms. For this reason, it’s important for people who may be at risk for diabetes to get their blood sugar levels checked regularly. Those at risk include:

  • People 65 and older
  • People who have a condition called metabolic syndrome
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • Anyone with a parent or a sibling who has diabetes
  • People who are African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, or Alaskan Natives
  • Women who have had diabetes during pregnancy or a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth

If you are in one of these groups and have never had a blood sugar check, get it tested as soon as possible.

There is a disagreement in the medical community about whether all adults should have their blood sugar checked periodically. The American Diabetes Association advises that everyone aged 45 and over have a blood sugar test once every three years. But the highly regarded U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says not enough scientific evidence exists to show that such broad screening has benefits or is worth the cost.

We think the decision rests with you and your doctor, and depends on an assessment of your overall health, risk factors, weight, and family history. Some doctors are inclined to check the blood sugar levels of most people over age 45 or 50, especially if they are 10 or more pounds overweight. Other doctors may be more conservative.

Blood sugar tests are inexpensive and easy, though they may have to be done a few times to yield a conclusive diagnosis. One type of test is done after an overnight fast. If your blood sugar is 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or greater after being checked on two or three different occasions, you are considered to have diabetes. Another type of test can be done at any time (not just after an overnight fast). If this test indicates your blood sugar level is 200 mg/dl or above, you are considered to have diabetes.

Your doctor may also talk to you about a blood test known as “hemoglobin A1c” (pronounced hemoglobin “A,” “one,” “c”; usually abbreviated in print as HbA1c and often referred to by diabetes patients as “my A1c”). This is a commonly used test to evaluate blood sugar control after treatment is started. But your doctor may order this test to make the diagnosis in the first place. There’s more about this measure in the next section.

But proper treatment can keep people with diabetes healthy. In fact, all people with diabetes who receive proper and consistent care live a normal life, and can work and carry out daily activities.

Given that all the diabetes drugs have the potential to cause side effects and lifestyle changes have benefits to your health beyond controlling blood sugar, most doctors will recommend you try diet and lifestyle modifications first — before you try a drug.

Many people with diabetes, however, also have high blood pressure and/or elevated cholesterol, or have been diagnosed with coronary artery or vascular disease. If you are in this category, your doctor may prescribe a diabetes drug when you are diagnosed, along with diet and lifestyle changes and classes in diabetes self-management.

Indeed, so many people with diabetes have other conditions and heart disease risk factors that doctors commonly treat them as “multi-disease” patients whose care and various medications must be managed particularly closely. Because heart disease risk factors, including diabetes, take a cumulative toll, medical groups and physician organizations have set aggressive goals for people with diabetes who have multiple conditions. Table 1 below presents these.

The aim of treatment with lifestyle changes and medications is to get your HbA1c lower (and keep it low) and to reduce your symptoms. As mentioned already, the HbA1c test is the one your doctor will use to track treatment success (or failure). It measures glucose levels chemically bound to hemoglobin, a protein carried by red blood cells. Over time, high blood sugar levels cause more glucose to bind with hemoglobin, so a high HbA1c percentage indicates that blood sugar levels are high on average.

Many experts believe that an HbA1c level below 7 percent is associated with a lower risk of diabetes complications, such as kidney disease and eye disease that can lead to blindness. However, there is no definite proof that maintaining HbA1c below 7 percent helps prevent heart disease and premature death because most studies of the oral diabetes drugs have only looked at the affects on HbA1c for a year or less.

Although aiming for an even lower HbA1c level — below 6.5 percent — that’s closer to the range found in healthy people who don’t have diabetes has been promoted in the past, it’s now unclear whether that is better for most diabetes patients. In the largest, most well-regarded study of this issue, people with diabetes who achieved an average HbA1c level of 6.4 percent over 3.5 years had an increased risk of death and no reduction in heart attacks or deaths from heart disease compared with patients whose HbA1c was maintained at 7.5 percent.

Goals for People with Diabetes
Measures                             Recommended Goal
Blood Sugar*  
Fasting blood glucose               70-130 mg/dL
Post-meal (2-hour) blood glucose   Below 180 mg/dL
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)             Below 7.0%
Total cholesterol                   Below 200 mg/dL
LDL (“bad”) cholesterol             Below 100 mg/dL
HDL (“good”) cholesterol           Above 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women
Triglycerides                       Below 150 mg/dL
Blood pressure                     Below 130/80 mmHg

* These goals may be individualized based on your specific health situation and circumstances.
Sources: American Diabetes Association; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; International Diabetes Federation; National Cholesterol Education Program; Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure; recent studies.
Definitions: LDL= low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; HDL= high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; mg = milligrams; dl=deciliter of blood; mmHg = millimeters mercury.

Two other studies did not find an increased risk of death in patients who maintained their HbA1c below 6.5 percent. But these studies were consistent with the one described just above in that they also failed to show a reduction in cardiovascular events (like a heart attack) or deaths.

Given these results and the evolving science, the American Diabetes Association and other diabetes experts now recommend keeping HbA1c around or below 7 percent for most patients, but not below 6.5 percent. Also, a higher HbA1c goal may be appropriate for certain patients, including those with a history of repeated episodes of low blood sugar, coronary heart disease, stroke or limited life expectancies.

Managing diabetes is complex because it requires care ful, sometimes daily attention to diet, monitoring blood sugars, and sometimes frequent adjustment of medication doses. It is also very important to get regular foot and eye exams, and, if necessary, treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol — all of which are proven methods to reduce complications of diabetes.

A formal program or a conscientious primary care doctor can help you manage diabetes appropriately.

Consumer Reports. December 2012

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Attention CSU-Northridge Math and Science majors: Paid Summer tutors positions available

The Summer Institutes are the cornerstone of Project GRAD Los Angeles’ college readiness curriculum. The Institutes offer a multidimensional approach to preparing students for college. The goals of the Institutes are to: bolster academics; explore career options; and develop critical thinking, goal-setting, and leadership development skills. By collaborating with local colleges and universities, Project GRAD provides a “college experience” for students so that they are introduced to college-level work, become familiar with a college campus, and can envision themselves enrolled in college.  If you are presently enrolled at CSU-Northridge majoring in math, engineering or applied science, $11-$12/hour tutoring positions are available for the summer session.

Application deadline is May 22.

Please note the applications can be submitted to:
Project GRAD Los Angeles
c/o Melinda Hess
10200 Sepulveda Blvd Suite #255
Mission Hills CA 91345

Or via fax 818 810-5034

Or the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, CSU Northridge, Special Projects office, Education Building, room 1202.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The System – Two new histories show how the Nazi concentration camps work

Prisoners break up clay for the brickworks at Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg camp, in 1939.

A review by Adam Kirsch

One night in the autumn of 1944, two French women - Loulou Le Porz, a doctor, and Violette Lecoq, a nurse watched as a truck drove in through the main gates of Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women. "There, was a lorry," Le Porz recalled, "that suddenly arrives and it turns around and reverses towards us. And it lifts up arid it tips out a whole pile of corpses." These were the bodies of Ravensbruck inmates who had died doing slave labor in the many satellite camps, and they were now being returned for cremation. Talking, decades later, to the historian and journalist Sarah Helm, whose new book, "Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler'sConcentration Camp for Women" (Doubleday), recounts the stories of dozens of the camp's inmates,  

Le Porz says that her reaction was simple disbelief. The sight of a truck full of dead bodies was so outrageous, so out of scale with ordinary experience, that "if we recount that one day, we said to each other, nobody would believe us." The only way to make the scene credible would be to record it: ''If one day someone makes a film they must film this scene. This night. This moment." Le Porz's remark was prophetic. The true extent of Nazi barbarity became known to the world in part through the documentary films made by Allied forces after the liberation of other German camps. There have been many atrocities committed before and since, yet to this day, thanks to those images, the Nazi concentration camp stands as the ultimate symbol of evil. The very names of the camps-Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Auschwitz-have the sound of a malevolent incantation. They have ceased to be ordinary place names Buchenwald, after all, means simply "beech wood" - and become portals to a terrible other dimension.  

To write the history of such an institution, as Nikolaus Wachsmann sets out to do in another new book, "KL: A History of the NaziConcentration Camps" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), might seem impossible, like writing the history of Hell. And, certainly, both his book and Helm's are full of the kind of details that ordinarily appear only in Dantesque visions. Helm devotes a chapter to Ravensbruck's Kinderzimmer, or "children's room," where inmates who came to the camp pregnant were forced to abandon their babies; the newborns were left to die of starvation or be eaten alive by rats. Wachsmann quotes a prisoner at Dachau who saw a transport of men afflicted by dysentery arrive at the camp: "We saw dozens ... with excrement running out of their trousers. Their hands, too, were full of excrement and they screamed and rubbed their dirty hands across their faces."   

These sights, like the truck full of bodies, are not beyond belief - we know that they were true-but they are, in some sense, beyond imagination. It is very hard, maybe impossible, to imagine being one of those men, still less one of those infants. And such sights raise the question of why, exactly, we read about the camps. If it is merely to revel in the grotesque, then learning about this evil is itself a species of evil, a further exploitation of the dead. If it is to exercise sympathy or pay a debt to memory, then it quickly becomes clear that the exercise is hopeless, the debt overwhelming: there is no way to feel as much, remember as much, imagine as much as the dead justly demand. What remains as a justification is the future: the determination never again to allow something like the Nazi camps to exist.  

And for that purpose it is necessary not to think of the camps simply as a hellscape. Reading Wachsmann's deeply researched, groundbreaking history of the entire camp system makes clear that Dachau and Buchenwald were the products of institutional and ideological forces that we can understand, perhaps all too well-indeed, it's possible to think of the camps as what happens when you cross three disciplinary institutions that all societies possess-the prison, the ·army, and the factory. Over the several phases of their existence, the Nazi camps took on the aspects of all of these, so that prisoners were treated simultaneously as inmates to be corrected, enemies to be combated, and workers to be exploited. When these forms of dehumanization were combined, and amplified to the maximum by ideology and war, the result was the Konzentrationlager, or K.L.  

Though we tend to think of Hitler's Germany as a highly regimented dictatorship, in practice Nazi rule was chaotic and improvisatory. Rival power bases in the Party and the German state competed to carry out what they believed to be Hitler's wishes. This system of "working towards the Fuhrer," as it was called by Hitler's biographer Ian Kershaw, was clearly in evidence when it came to the concentration camps. The K.L. system, during its twelve years of existence, included twenty-seven main camps and more than a thousand subcamps. At its peak, in early 1945, it housed more than seven hundred thousand inmates. In addition to being a major penal and economic institution, it was a central symbol of Hitler's rule. Yet Hitler plays almost no role in Wachsmann's book, and Wachsmann writes that Hitler was never seen to visit a camp. It was Heinrich Himmler, the head of the S.S., who was in charge of the camp system, and its growth was due in part to his ambition to make the S.S. the most powerful force in Germany.  

Long before the Nazis took power, concentration camps had featured in their imagination. Wachsmann finds Hitler threatening to put Jews in camps as early as 1921. But there were no detailed plans for building such camps when Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany, in January, 1933. A few weeks later, on February 27th, he seized on the burning of the Reichstag-by Communists, he alleged - to launch a full-scale crackdown on his political opponents. The next day, he implemented a decree, "For the Protection of People and State," that authorized the government to place just about anyone in "protective custody," a euphemism for indefinite detention. (Euphemism, too, was to be a durable feature of the K.L. universe: the: killing of prisoners was referred to as Sonderbehandung, "special treatment.")  

During the next two months, some fifty thousand people were arrested on this basis, in what turned into a "frenzy" of political purges and score-settling. In the legal murk of the early Nazi regime, it was unclear who had the power to make such arrests, and so it was claimed by everyone: national, state, and local officials, police and civilians, Party leaders. "Everybody is arresting everybody," a Nazi official complained in the summer of 1933. "Everybody threatens everybody with Dachau." As this suggests, it was already clear that the most notorious and frightening destination for political detainees was the concentration camp built by Himmler at Dachau, in Bavaria. The prisoners were originally housed in an old munitions factory, but soon Himmler constructed a "model camp," the architecture and organization of which provided the pattern for most of the later K.L. The camp was guarded not by police but by members of the S.S. - a Nazi Party entity rather than a state force.  

These guards were the core of what became, a few years later, the much feared Death's-Head S.S. The name, along with the skull-and-crossbones insignia was meant to reinforce the idea that the men who bore it were not mere prison guards but front-line soldiers in the Nazi war against enemies of the people. Himmler declared, "No other service is more devastating and strenuous for the troops than just that of guarding villains and criminals." The ideology of combat had been part of the DNA of Nazism from its origin, as a movement of First World War veterans, through the years of street battles against Communists, which established the Party's reputation for violence. Now, in the year before actual war came, the K.L. was imagined as the site of virtual combat-against Communists, criminals, dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Jews, all forces working to undermine the German nation.  

The metaphor of war encouraged the inhumanity of the S.S. officers, which they called toughness; licensed physical violence against prisoners; and accounted for the military discipline that made everyday life in the K.L. unbearable. Particularly hated was the roll call, or Appell, which forced inmates to wake before dawn and stand outside, in all weather, to be counted and recounted. The process could go on for hours, Wachsmann writes, during which the S.S. guard were constantly on the move, punishing "infractions such as poor posture and dirty shoes."  

The K.L. was defined from the beginning by its legal ambiguity. The camps were outside ordinary law, answerable not to judges and courts but to the S.S. and Himmler. At the same time, they were governed by an extensive set of regulations, which covered everything from their layout (including decorative flower beds) to the whipping of prisoners, which in theory had to be approved on a case-by-case basis by Himmler personally. Yet these regulations were often ignored by the camp S.S. - physical violence, for instance, was endemic, and the idea that a guard would have to ask permission before beating or even killing a prisoner was laughable. Strangely, however, it was possible, in the prewar years, at least, for a guard to be prosecuted for such a killing. In 1937, Paul Zeidler was among a group of guards who strangled a prisoner who had been a prominent churchman and judge; when the case attracted publicity, the S.S. allowed Zeidler to be charged and convicted. (He was sentenced to a year in jail.) 

In "Ravensbruck," Helm gives a further example of the erratic way the Nazis treated their own regulations, even late in the war. In 1943, Himmler agreed to allow the Red Cross to deliver food parcels-to some prisoners in the camps. To send a parcel, however, the Red Cross had to mark it with the name, number, and camp location of the recipient; requests for these details were always refused, so that there was no way to get desperately needed supplies into the camps. Yet when Wanda Hjort, a young Norwegian woman living in Germany, got hold of some prisoners' names and numbers - thanks to inmates who smuggled the information to her when she visited the camp at Sachsenhausenshe was able to pass them on to the Norwegian Red Cross, whose packages were duly delivered. This game of hide-and-seek with the rules, this combination of hyper-regimentation and anarchy, is what makes Kafka's "The Trial" seem to foretell the Nazi regime.  

Even the distinction between guard and prisoner could become blurred. From early on, the S.S. delegated much of the, day-to-day control of camp life to chosen prisoners known as Kapos. This system spared the S.S. the need to interact too closely with prisoners, whom they regarded as bearers of filth and disease, and also helped to divide the inmate population against itself. Helm shows that, in Ravensbruck, where the term "Blockova" was used, rather than Kapo, power struggles took place among prisoner factions over who would occupy the Blockova position in each barrack. Political prisoners favored fellow-activists over criminals and "a socials" - a category that included the homeless, the mentally ill, and prostitutes - whom they regarded as practically subhuman. In some cases, Kapos became almost as privileged, as violent, and as hated as the S.S. officers. In Ravensbruck, the most feared Blockova was the Swiss ex-spy Carmen Mory, who was known as the Black Angel. She was in charge of the infirmary, where, Hehn writes, she "would lash out at the sick with the whip or her fists." After the war, she was one of the defendants tried for crimes at Ravensbriick, along with S.S. leaders and doctors. Mory was sentenced to death but managed to commit suicide first. 

At the bottom of the K.L. hierarchy, even below the criminals, were the Jews. Today, the words "concentration camp" immediately summon up the idea of the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis; and we tend to think of the camps as the primary sites of that genocide. In fact, as Wachsmann writes, as late as 1942 "Jews made up fewer than five thousand of the eighty thousand KL inmates." There had been a temporary spike in the Jewish inmate population in November, 1938, after Kristallnacht, when the Nazis rounded up tens of thousands of Jewish men. But, for most of the camps' first decade, Jewish prisoners had usually been sent there not for their religion, per se, but for specific offenses, such as political dissent or illicit sexual relations with an Aryan. Once there, however, they found themselves subject to special torments, ranging from running a gantlet of truncheons to heavy labor, like rock-breaking. As the chief enemies in the Nazi imagination, Jews were also the natural targets for spontaneous S.S. violence blows, kicks, attacks by savage dogs. 

The systematic extermination of Jews, however, took place largely outside the concentration camps: The death camps, in which more than one and a half million Jews were gassed - at Belzec, Sobibar, and Treblinka were never officially part of the K.L. system. They had almost no inmates, since the Jews sent there seldom lived longer than a few hours. By contrast, Auschwitz, - whose name has become practically a synonym for the Holocaust, was an official K.L., setup in June, 1940, to house Polish prisoners. The first people to be gassed there, in September, 1941, were invalids and Soviet prisoners of war. It became the central site for, the deportation and murder of European Jews in 1943, after other camps closed. The vast majority of Jews brought to Auschwitz never experienced the camp as prisoners; more than eight hundred thousand of them were gassed upon arrival, in the vast extension of the original camp known as Birkenau. Only those picked as capable of slave labor lived long enough to see Auschwitz from the inside. 

Many of the horrors associated with Auschwitz - gas chambers, medical experiments, working prisoners to death had been pioneered in earlier concentration camps. In the late thirties, driven largely by Himmler's ambition to make the S.S. an independent economic and military power within the state, the KL. began a transformation from a site of punishment to a site of production. The two missions were connected: the "work shy" and other unproductive elements were seen as "useless mouths, "and forced labor was a way of making them contribute to the community. Oswald Pohl, the S.S. bureaucrat in charge of economic affairs, had gained control of the camps by 1938, and began a series of grandiose building projects. The most ambitious was the construction of a brick factory near Sachsenhausen, which was intended to produce a hundred and fifty million bricks a year, using cutting- edge equipment and camp labor.  

The failure of the factory, as Wachsmann describes" it, was indicative of the incompetence of the S.S. and the inconsistency of its vision for the camps. To turn prisoners into effective laborers would have required giving them adequate food and rest, not to mention training and equipment. It would have meant treating them like employees rather than like enemies. But the ideological momentum of the camps made this inconceivable. Labor was seen as a punishment and a weapon, which meant that it had to be extorted under the worst possible circumstances. Prisoners were made to build the factory in the depths of winter, with no coats or gloves, and no tools. "Inmates carried piles of sand in their uniforms," Wachsmann writes, while others "moved large mounds of earth on rickety wooden stretchers or shifted sacks of cement on their shoulders." Four hundred and twenty-nine prisoners died and countless more were injured, yet in the end not a single brick was produced.  

This debacle did not discourage Himmler and Pohl. On the contrary; with the coming of war, in 1939, S.S. ambitions for the camps grew rapidly, along with their prisoner population. On the eve of the war, the entire K.L. sys tern contained only about twenty-one thousand prisoners; three years later, the number had grown to a hundred and ten thousand, and by January, 1945, it was more than seven hundred thousand. New camps were built to accommodate the influx of prisoners from conquered countries and then the tens of thousands of Red Army soldiers taken prisoner in the first months after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the U.S.S.R.  

The enormous expansion of the camps resulted in an exponential increase in the misery of the prisoners. Food rations, always meager, were cut to less than minimal: a bowl of rutabaga soup and some ersatz bread would have to sustain a prisoner doing heavy labor. The result was desperate black marketing and theft. Wachsmann writes, "In Sachsenhausen, a young French prisoner was battered to death in 1941 by an S.S. block leader for taking two carrots from a sheep pen." Starvation was endemic and rendered prisoners easy prey for typhus and dysentery. At the same time, the need to keep control of so many prisoners made the S.S., even more brutal, and sadistic new punishments were invented. The "standing commando" forced prisoners to stand absolutely still for eight hours at a time; any movement or noise was punished by beatings. The murder of prisoners by guards, formerly an "exceptional event in the camps, now became unremarkable. 

But individual deaths, by sickness or violence, were not enough to keep the number of prisoners within manageable limits. Accordingly, in early 1941 Himmler decided to begin the mass murder of prisoners in gas chambers, building on a program that the Nazis had developed earlier for euthanizing the disabled. Here, again, the camps' sinister combination of bureaucratic rationalism and anarchic violence - was on display. During the following months, teams of S.S. doctors visited the major camps in turn, inspecting prisoners in order to select the "infirm" for gassing. Everything was done with an appearance of medical rigor. The doctors filled out a form for each inmate, with headings for "Diagnosis" and "Incurable Physical Ailments." But it was all mere theatre. Helm's description of the visit of Dr. Friedrich Mennecke to Ravensbriick, in November, 1941, shows that inspections of prisoners - whom he referred to in letters home - as "forms" or "portions" - were cursory at best, with the victims parading naked in front of the doctors at a distance of twenty feet. (Jewish prisoners were automatically "selected," without an examination.) In one letter, Mennecke brags of having disposed of fifty-six "forms" before noon. Those selected were taken to an undisclosed location for gassing; their fate became clear to the remaining Ravensbriick prisoners when the dead women's clothes and personal effects arrived back at the camp by truck.  

Under this extermination program, known to S.S. bureaucrats by the code' Action 14f13, some sixty-five hundred prisoners were killed in the course of a year. By early 1942, it had become obsolete, as the scale of death in the camps increased. Now the killing of weak and sick prisoners was carried out by guards or camp doctors, sometimes in gas chambers built on site. Those who were still able to work were increasingly auctioned off to private industry for use as slave labor, in the many subcamps that began to spring up around the main K.L. At Ravensbruck, the Siemens corporation established a factory where six hundred women. worked twelve-hour shifts building electrical components. The work was brutally demanding, especially for' women who were sick, starved, and exhausted. Helm writes that "Siemens women suffered severely from boils, swollen legs, diarrhea and TB, "and also from an epidemic of nervous twitching. When a worker reached the end of her usefulness, she was sent back to the camp, most likely to be killed. It was in this phase of the camp's life that sights like the one Loulou Le Porz saw at Ravensbruck - a truck full of prisoners' corpses - became commonplace.  

By the end of the war, the number of people who had died in the concentration camps, from all causes -starvation, sickness, exhaustion, beating, shooting, gassing - was more than eight hundred thousand. The figure does not include the hundreds of thousands of Jews gassed on arrival at Auschwitz. If the K.L. were indeed a battlefront, as the Death's-Head S.S. liked to believe, the deaths, in the course of twelve years, roughly equaled the casualties sustained by the Axis during the Battle of Stalingrad, among the deadliest actual engagements of the war. But in the camps the Nazis fought against helpless enemies. Considered as prisons, too, the K.L. were paradoxical: it was impossible to correct or rehabilitate people whose very nature, according to Nazi propaganda, was criminal or sick. And as economic institutions they were utterly counterproductive, wasting huge numbers of lives even as the need for workers in Germany became more and more acute.  

The concentration camps make· sense only if they are understood as products not of reason but of ideology, which is to say, of fantasy. Nazism taught the Germans to see themselves as a beleaguered nation, constantly set upon by enemies external and internal. Metaphors of infection and disease, of betrayal and stabs in the back, were central to Nazi discourse. The concentration camp became the place where those metaphorical evils could be rendered concrete and visible. Here, behind barbed wire, were the traitors, Bolsheviks, parasites, .and Jews who were intent on destroying the Fatherland. 

And if existence was a struggle, a war, then it made no sense to show mercy to the enemy. Like many Nazi institutions, the K.L. embodied conflicting impulses: to reform the criminal, to extort labor from the unproductive, to quarantine the contagious. But most fundamental was the impulse to dehumanize the enemy, which ended up confounding and overriding all the others. Once a prisoner ceased to be human, he could be brutalized, enslaved, experimented on, or gassed at will, because he was no longer a being with a soul or a self but a biological machine. The Muselmanner, the living dead of the camps, stripped of any capacity to think or feel, were the true product of the K.L., the ultimate expression of the Nazi world view.

The impulse to separate some groups of people from the category of the human is, however, a universal one. The enemies we kill in war, the convicted prisoners we lock up for life, even the distant workers who manufacture our clothes and toys - how could any society function if the full humanity of all these were taken into account? In a decent society, there are laws to resist such dehumanization, and institutional and moral forces to protest it. When guards at Rikers Island beat a prisoner to death, or when workers in China making iPhones begin to commit suicide out of despair, we regard these as intolerable evils that must be cured. It is when a society decides that some people deserve to be treated this way that it is not just inevitable but right to deprive whole categories of people of their humanity - that a crime on the scale of the K.L. becomes a possibility. It is a crime that has been repeated too many times, in too many places, for us to dismiss it with the simple promise of never again.

By Adam Kirsch. The New Yorker, 6 April 2015.


We demand an end to death-by-cop.

When we consider specific issues of discrimination, race still trumps class.
by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington. The Crisis, Winter 2015

"Something happening here / What it is ain't exactly clear" sang the Buffalo Springfield, in a song that become definitive of the cultural shifts of the 1960s. The Obama years - meaning the period since 2008 - have also sent ripples, even shock waves through the cultural lives of most Americans. Something indeed is happening here and now in America. I don't mean that it is the "hope and change" Obama sloganized in 2008, and yet Obama's election has inadvertently been a catalyst. I don't mean that this awakening is leading us toward the light; indeed, that's happening is that we have been peering more honestly into the abyss. I do mean that, despite so many frustrations, setbacks and strange twists, the past seven years created fertile ground for the reconsideration and excavation of two perpetual themes in American public and intellectual life. They're not new themes. They've always been with us, however obscured, coded or politicized.

Haven't you guessed them yet? The themes that have always brooded beneath the surface, conveniently glossed over until they are roused by public outcry against a new recession, or another incident of police brutality. Class exists. Race matters. Class creates, or diminishes opportunity. Race impacts lives, and minority citizenship at the bottom of the social ladder has destroyed lives. These should be old truism. These should be stark naked truths. Yet it has taken colorblind idealism, triumphant joy, reactionary racism and widespread shock to seriously begin to unclothe them. It has taken shock after shock throughout the Obama years to begin to make Americans consciously aware of the truths that should be self-evident.

The first shock was that a Black Man with a moderately reformist agenda won the hearts of millions of voters.  How could America be racist, if a Black Man ascended to the White House? How could the country not be the land of equal opportunity? In a wave of enthusiasm, hypnotized by Obama's eloquence, for a brief post-election moment the questions appeared rhetorical. In fact, they were starkly answerable.

People remembered that in 2008 Obama had delivered "A More Perfect Union," a speech in which he tendered the possibility that America could resolve its problems with class and race  together, ignoring the distinctions and refusing to play "a zero sum gain." But while he spoke the upper echelons of the White working class were experiencing unprecedented economic disenfranchisement. The housing mortgage crisis made relatively secure middle-class Americans aware of the worsening gap between themselves and the truly insulated wealthy. The financial sector reeled; the troubled banks and corporations were bailed out while, in the words of the Occupy Wall Street movement, "We got sold out!"

The Occupy movement sharpened the American critique of the financial sector by posing a very broad critique of class. From its beginnings in New York City's Zuccotti Park, where the outraged Occupiers camped out and parodied Wall Street bureaucracy, its main meme was "We are the 99 percent!" But the meme that underscored class was itself annoyingly classist.

It referred to the statistic that a privileged one percent of Americans owned 40 percent of the national wealth; in other words all the collected wealth of 99 percent of Americans amounted to substantially less than a privileged one percent.

Occupy camps spread across the country. If the middle class was unhealthy, and lacked chances of upward mobility, so the message went, then they would do whatever they had to do to take back public space and political power. Although Occupiers were usually legitimately struggling, they were playing at being hoboes. The movement's failure to respect the cultural and economic diversity within the 99 percent became a weakness.

Perhaps the initial Occupiers honestly believed, with the characteristic presumptiveness of White privilege, that a great victory in race had been summarily achieved. Such thinking suggested that class obviously trumped race, if a Black president was undercutting the middle class and bailing out the banks. Hence, they reasoned, the time was ripe to sharpen the distinction between opportunities offered the super wealthy and rest of us.

For Black Americans considering the Occupy movement, this was problematic. First of all, the Occupy camps suffered from troubles along race lines. Blacks were often in conflict with others in the movement over how to deal with the truly poor and the homeless. Difficulties accumulated as the indigent joined the movement, or in some cases flooded the camps. Many Occupiers were simply embarrassed by them. Efforts were made to expand the objectives of the movement to incorporate issues of gender, sexuality, race and homelessness. But they by and large remained ineffectual.

The Occupy Movement asked Blacks to look at the power dynamics emanating from above, and critique a corporatocracy whose influence was rampant, unmerited and had to be reigned in by structural changes. But when Blacks in the movement looked at who really subsisted at the bottom of the 99 percent, was the overwhelming preponderance of people of color only a coincidence?

For all it merits, Occupy failed to appreciate that there could not be an end to racial politics without addressing the structural issues that had afflicted Blacks long before the housing crash. The question that haunted politically conscious Black Americans was not how could race still matter with Obama in the White House. The conundrum was how could a country that elected a Black president still passively let segregated ghettos, and large oases of socia-economic 'hopelessness remain intact? And turn a blind eye on the rates of Black child poverty and Black incarceration? How could Black people and Native Americans remain the most afflicted of the 99 percent? When we consider specific issues of discrimination, race still trumps class. How could America deny that Black lives mattered?

Black youth in America led the way in encouraging activism that refocused attention away from the clout of the super wealthy and toward systemic racial oppression, particularly in the criminal justice system. Irrational tragedies, provoked them. Trayvon Martin's murder. Eric Garner's murder. Mike Brown's murder. A new challenge was born out of the outrage that escalated after each of these killings was legally sanctioned. "Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks' contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression" writes Alicia Garza, a cultural worker in Oakland, California who founded Black Lives Matter alongside Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. In the same way that Occupy had socially transformative ambitions beyond reforming banking practices, Black Lives Matter, writes Garza, "goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within some Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black. Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity."

Facebook Activism

It's important to distinguish between a hashtag, a movement (singular) and many movements. Black Lives Matter is an organization (singular) founded in 2013 shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Black Lives Matter soon found that its social media and Twitter hashtag resonated, a banner with broad appeal. Other equally dedicated organizations, were founded in the wake of the failures of grand juries to indict the police officers responsible in the deaths of Garner and Brown. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" is often used as a convenient banner encompassing the groups that responded to recent events by disseminating protest - both online and in the streets. They include Dream Defenders, The Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, Millennial Activists United and other youth-oriented groups in Ferguson, Mo.

One quality that these youth-led movements share is a heavy investment in social media networking. A few years ago "Facebook activism" was often criticized for being an idle millennial generation pastime. But by now the evidence has gathered to the point of certainty that social media is a primary 21st century tool. From late last year to MLK Day 2015, "Facebook activism" efficiently organized thousands of marchers in protests against systemic racism and injustice in law enforcement. The leaders of the protests ubiquitously say the swift escalation of a nationwide Black Lives Matter movement would not have been possible without social media. Activist DeRay Mckesson has worked primarily from Ferguson, where police officer Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown to death. He calls social media the next step in the war against silence. "The history of blackness is also a history of erasure." Mckesson says.

Social "media has given protesters an amplified voice. Because of "Facebook activism," information about the killing of Mike Brown spread like wildfire alongside stories and facts about Black life in Ferguson. These authentic accounts of the prevalence of racism and apartheid-level disenfranchisement soon made Ferguson into a symbol of an America in which too little has changed. Mckesson says it happened because "We were able to document that in a way that we never could have without social media. We were able to tell our own stories. What was powerful in the context of Ferguson is that there were many people able to tell their story as the story unfolded."

In November 2014, activists from various groups protesting in Ferguson or marching against police brutality were granted an audience with President Obama. Participants in the meeting say being given 45 minutes with the president confirmed that their work had garnered massive support. The activists reported they presented Obama with a list of demands, including: 1) requiring the federal government to use its powers to prosecute police officers that kill or abuse citizens; 2) appointing independent prosecutors to handle cases involving police officers; and 3) establishing independent review boards to handle cases of police misconduct.

They reported that the president encouraged them but reminded them that change is slow. However there is nothing "slow" about this upsurge of protest activism dominated by youth.

Post-Racial Fallacy

In late 2014 I replaced the cover photo on my Facebook page. I put up a stark black image that stated BLACK LIVES MATIER, in contrastingly bright white lettering, Thousands-including people of all races-did the same; in other words people of all races have acted in solidarity.

This is Black Lives Matters' primary call to White Americans and other races - that they act in solidarity with the goal of eradicating racism in law enforcement and the school-to-prison pipeline afflicting Black communities. The writings of founding member Alicia Garza have clearly stated that she disapproves of the tendency of some progressive groups to "modify" the rally cry. "When we deploy 'All Lives Matter' as if to correct all intervention specifically created to address anti-Blackness, we lose the ways in which the state apparatus has built a program of genocide and repression mostly on the backs of Black people - beginning with the theft of millions of people for free labor - and then adapted it to control, murder and profit off of other communities of color and immigrant communities," she argues.

Black Lives Matter is a necessary corrective to false notions that we have a post-racial society, or that that successful progressive movements (such as Occupy Wall Street) can only build large coalitions if they are built on the fallacy that class always trumps race. In fact the issues of police brutality and prison industrial complex cannot be addressed without acknowledging a racial stigma. Furthermore, America has resisted acknowledging the plight of impoverished Blacks for so many generations that intentional ignorance has become a habit. Perhaps "All Lives Matter" dilutes the message. The power of the movement is that it is effectively forcing the reality of a racial stigma into the heart of the American consciousness.


Darrly Lorenzo Wellington is a poet and essayist living in Santa Fe, NM. His work recently appeared in the anthology, MFA vs NYC, edited by Chad Harbach.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Every man over 40 should

Men age 40+ need to:
Blood glucose screening; this test should begin at age 45 and take place every three years thereafter. The test will assess a patient‘s sugar levels for possible diabetes. Eye exam every two years regardless if you wear glasses for glaucoma. Heart test; a baseline EKG is recommended at age 40 to assess one’s heart health. A chest x-ray is recommended for smokers. An annual blood pressure screening should be part of an annual checkup, as should a blood test for good and bad cholesterol levels every four to six years.  Most important, have a prostate and testicular exam. African-American men over 40, especially those whom have a family history of prostate cancer, should have prostate and testicular exams.

Men age 50+ need to:

Colon screening; colonoscopies should begin after the age of 50 and be done every five years unless the patient has polyps or a family history of colon cancer. A colonoscopy detects colon cancer and other colon and rectal abnormalities. Urological exam: it is not uncommon for men over age 50 to experience problems with urination, sex drive or erectile dysfunction. Urological exams are recommended for men experiencing any of these symptoms. Prostate and testicular exam should be a part of the annual exam.

Monday, April 06, 2015

San Diego STEM Student Scholarship application - DEADLINE 4/8/2015

                                    MATHEMATICS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS

Application Information

The San Diego Education Fund oversees several scholarships to support students in their pursuit of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees. The three scholarship programs are:
  • Virginia Mashin Mathematics Scholarships
  • Jack and Virginia Mashin Mathematics and Science Scholarships
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarships.

  1.  Two Virginia Mashin Mathematics Scholarships will be awarded this year to one female student and one male student who will major in mathematics and attend a college or university in San Diego County.  In addition to the scholarship funds, scholarship recipients will receive counseling and mentoring from the San Diego Education Fund. 

2.       Two Jack and Virginia Mashin Scholarships will be awarded this year to one female student and one male student who will major in mathematics or science and attend a college or university in San Diego County.  In addition to the scholarship funds, scholarship recipients will receive counseling and mentoring from the San Diego Education Fund.

The Mashins left a gift of $688,000 for the principal to be invested and the income to be used to grant perpetual scholarships.  Virginia Mashin was district mathematics specialist and a calculus teacher at Kearny High School.  After her retirement, she tutored students in math.  She received numerous awards from the San Diego Mathematics Council.  Jack Mashin was a coach for over 60 years and is a member of the Coaches Hall of Fame.  The Mashins did not have children and lived a frugal life so they could leave a legacy for District students. 

3.       STEM Scholarships will be awarded this year to students who will major in science, technology, engineering or mathematics and attend a college or university in San Diego County.  In addition to the scholarship funds, scholarship recipients will receive counseling and mentoring from the San Diego Education Fund.  The number of scholarships will depend on the donations received for this program annually. 

The basis for selection shall include:
  • Graduating from a school in the San Diego Unified School District in the spring of 2015.
  • High academic achievement in all areas with demonstrated academic excellence in mathematics or science
  • Meet the UC/CSU University admission requirements
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Be a United States citizen or have permanent residency status
  • Love of our country and devotion to our form of government
  • Participation in both school and community activities
  • Plan to attend a college or university in San Diego County
  • Remain in contact with the San Diego Education Fund throughout college and for three years thereafter if selected as a recipient.
  • Provide information for the San Diego Education Fund to maintain a data base regarding its scholarship recipients
  • Participate in two SDEF scholar activities scheduled during the year if selected as a recipient. 

Criteria for Selection
Selection will be based on your high school record, your application, recommendations, demonstrated community service or leadership skills, participation in extracurricular activities, and/or work experience and financial need. Following a review of application materials, a panel of representatives from the San Diego Education Fund will interview finalists.

Funding Level
Funding for the 2015-2016 school year is a total of $2,500.00 paid in two installments of $1,250.00 each. Scholarships are renewable each year up to four years based on good academic standing and approved course of study. The amount of the award may change from year to year.

For more information, you may contact Mary J. Castleberry at or (858) 752-9771.

Application Material

Included in this packet you will find the following:

¨ Scholarship Application Form.  Please complete this form (type or print legibly).

¨ Application Essay Form.  Complete the essay using your own words.

¨ Two reference forms:  At least one reference must be from a mathematics teacher for the Virginia Mashin Mathematics Scholarships; at least one reference must be from a mathematics or science teacher for the Jack and Virginia Mashin Scholarships as well as the STEM Scholarships. The other reference may include a school principal, teacher, an employer, a religious leader, etc.  Distribute one form to each of your two chosen references and ask them to return the completed reference to you in a sealed envelope with their signature on the flap. Include these two references in your application packet.

¨ Application Checklist:  Before submitting your application, use the checklist to ensure you have completed all the necessary paperwork. You do not need to include the checklist

You must also include:
¨ Financial Need Evidence Form.  Attach copy of completed FAFSA including the section that shows family income.
¨ Your official high school transcript

¨ A wallet size head photo


Deadline for Receiving Application Materials

Application materials must be received no later than 5 p.m., Monday, March 23 2015.
Please note: The review committee will consider only applications received by the deadline.   Delay in mail service is not an acceptable excuse for lateness.

Time Line for Selection
Notification to applicants will be made by April 10, 2015.



Scholarship Application for
2015-2016 School Year
Applying for:
______Mathematics Scholarship    ____Mathematics/Science Scholarship    ____STEM Scholarship

Please type or print legibly

Name: ________________________________________________________________________
                        First                             Middle                        Last

Male/Female: ___________________________ Birth date: _____________________________

Ethnicity (Optional): ____________________________________________________________

High School:_________________________________Weighted grade10-12 GPA: _________

Home Address: _________________________________________________________________

City: __________________________Zip Code______________________

Home Phone#: ___________________________ Cell Phone #: __________________________

E-mail address: _________________________________________________________________

High School
Counselor _____________________________________ Phone: __________________

Local college or university you plan to attend: ________________________________________

Have you been accepted?______________________What is you intended major? ____________

Number of family members living at home: ___________ Attending college: _______________

Total family income:

____Under $20,000      ____$20,000-$35,000      ____$35,000-$50,000

____$50,000-$65,000  ____Over $65,000

Parents’ Education Level – Please check one for each parent that shows highest level of education obtained.

Mother: High School Diploma or Less___ Two Year College Degree___Four Year College Degree or Higher___

 Father:  High School Diploma or Less___ Two Year College Degree___Four Year College Degree or Higher___

List any community service activities in which you have participated (e.g., working for a charitable organization, church or other volunteer work):





List extracurricular activities you have been involved in and indicate your role (e.g., class treasurer, member of the Science Club, cheerleading, sports, clubs, etc.)





List any work experience below:

Name of                                                       Dates of                                                      Hours
Employer                                                      Employment                                                per Week





Is there something we should know about you that is not revealed in the preceding questions that would help us to decide to give you a scholarship?



My signature below certifies that all information on this application is true to the best of my knowledge.  I intend to pursue a course of study in mathematics or science. I agree to a possible selection interview, and if selected, I am willing to participate in news-related publicity.

Signature: ___________________________________________________Date:_____________

Signature of Parent or Guardian:  __________________________________________________

Return this form along with your essay, financial need evidence, references, and transcript by 5p.m. Monday, March 23, 2015 to:

Mary J. Castleberry
San Diego Unified School District
Eugene Brucker Education Center, Room 3251
4100 Normal Street
San Diego, CA  92103-2682



Name: __________________________________________________ Date: ________________

In the space below (or as an attachment), write an essay which describes how receiving this scholarship would bring you closer to achieving your goals.




The person whose name appears below has applied for a scholarship to begin studies towards a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree and has listed you as a reference. Please complete the information below and return this form in a sealed envelope with your signature on the flap to the student who requested this reference.

Applicant’s Name: ______________________________________________________________

Your relationship to the applicant__________________________________________________

How long have you known applicant? _______________________________________________

Signature: _________________________________________ Date: ______________________

In two or three short paragraphs, please indicate why or why not the applicant deserves a scholarship award. Your observations should be focused on those qualities possessed (or not) by the applicant necessary to achieve academic excellence and graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Overall recommendation (please check one):

____Excellent potential ____Good potential ____Fair potential


The person whose name appears below has applied for a scholarship to begin studies towards a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree and has listed you as a reference. Please complete the information below and return this form in a sealed envelope with your signature on the flap to the student who requested this reference.

Applicant’s Name: ______________________________________________________________

How long have you known applicant? _______________________________________________

Your relationship to the applicant?__________________________________________________

Signature: _________________________________________ Date: ______________________

In two or three short paragraphs, please indicate why or why not the applicant deserves a scholarship award. Your observations should be focused on those qualities possessed (or not) by the applicant necessary to achieve academic excellence and graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Overall recommendation (please check one):

____Excellent potential ____Good potential ____Fair potential

                                            SAN DIEGO EDUCATION FUND



Use this checklist to be sure you have completed all parts of the application process.

In your completed application packet, did you include?

¨ Scholarship Application Form

¨ Application Essay

¨ Financial Aid Evidence (FAFSA), including section that shows family income

¨ Two references with at least one from your mathematics or science teacher

¨ Official copy of your high school transcript

¨ Wallet size head shot photo

¨ Did you send the application packet to:

Mary J. Castleberry
*Eugene Brucker Education Center, Room 3251
4100 Normal Street
San Diego, CA 92103-2682
Due by 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2015