A food and drink innovation centre has launched in London, with bakers high up on the priority list for business support.The Park Royal Food Inno-vation Centre, at Dephna House in north-west London, offers free technical, business and marketing support to food and drink production SMEs in London. However, places are limited, so companies are being urged to apply now. To qualify, businesses need to be London-based, have 250 or fewer employees, have been trading for more than a year, and have revenues no greater than e50m (£44.7m).Prior to the opening, a study mapped the types of food and drink businesses based in Park Royal and surrounding areas. It found that, of the 870 businesses in the area, bakery was the largest single-category food product.
For many, writing a senior thesis is the ultimate academic challenge of College life. About half of Harvard students undertake this weighty endeavor, which is required only for honors students at most Schools. On deadline day, their original research, writing, and tortured all-nighters are sometimes rewarded with interdepartmental parties featuring cake and champagne.More tributes follow the March filings — at least for a lucky few — in early May with the announcement of the Hoopes Prize, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate research. A few days later, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) holds its annual Design & Project Fair, where dean’s awards are bestowed for outstanding engineering projects.Lyra Wanzer ’19, who built an electroadhesive treaded microrobot, was one of this year’s four winners. She was delighted. “I put so much work and time in this,” said Wanzer, a Vermont native who fell in love with robotics in high school. “So many hours for a whole year.”Students in the engineering bachelor’s program at SEAS are required to work on a capstone project, similar to a thesis, which aims to solve a real-world problem. Wanzer built a 6-centimeter-long microrobot with treads like a military tank. It can stick to conductive surfaces and could be used for search and rescue operations or inspecting pipes, engines, and other places where the human hand can’t reach.Across the University, the thesis is a rite of passage that students approach with mixed feelings. There is dread about the amount of work involved — each thesis must be between 10,000 and 20,000 words, 60 to 100 pages, and involve original research — but also a deep feeling of accomplishment once it’s finally done.Such was the case for David Shayne ’19, who is concentrating in social studies with a secondary in visual and environmental studies. Shayne handed in his thesis on the history of the American economic crises one hour before the deadline. He was tired after sleeping little in the previous 48 hours, but mostly overwhelmed by pride and joy.“I’m exhausted and stunned that the thesis exists and that I produced so many pages [about 100],” he said, looking a bit disheveled on the March 13 deadline. “I did my thesis by the sheer tyranny of will. It’s a weird and wonderful feeling.”,In most Schools a thesis is optional, but it is a requirement for students on the honors track. About half of all students across the College pursue honors within their concentrations; the numbers vary according to Schools and departments. Lauren Bimmler, undergraduate program administrator in the English Department, said 34 out of 48 seniors there are on the honors track.A lower percentage of SEAS students write senior theses. This year, 42 out of 140 computer science concentrators wrote one, as did 30 out of 100 students concentrating in applied mathematics.For Hyo-Won Jeon, who is concentrating in social studies, working on her thesis meant sacrifice. When she handed it in, she felt relieved.“Every day was truly a test,” said Jeon, who spent the night before the deadline at the library working on her paper on intercountry adoptees who don’t have U.S. citizenship. “The hardest part was not being able to spend time with my friends because I was working.”Students don’t undertake the challenge alone. The University offers tutorials, seminars, and workshops on how to choose a topic, do research, and write the thesis, and assigns advisers who guide students through the whole process. They may also apply for grants for research and travel.For seniors in the S.B. engineering program, SEAS requires the two-semester capstone course “Engineering Design Projects” (ES 100). This year’s projects showed a wide array of interests, from a 3D-printable implant to replace part of the ear’s canal wall to a wearable device that provides early detection of infection in pediatric patients to a portable gadget that measures atmospheric mercury levels.Seniors concentrating in applied mathematics also demonstrated a broad array of interests, said Sarah Iams, assistant director of undergraduate studies in applied mathematics.Hyo-Won Jeon (right) hands in her thesis to Nicole Dejong Newendorp. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“It’s a cool, wide range of topics, from sports theses to economic questions to decoding Inca quipus,” said Iams.In the English Department, students can write critical or creative theses. Bimmler said creative theses, such as collections of poems or short stories, novellas, and screenplays, are on the rise. Two years ago, Obasi Shaw ’17 turned in “Liminal Minds,” the first rap album ever submitted at the English Department.This year, there were 13 creative theses and next year officials anticipate 23, said Bimmler.For many students the best part of tackling a thesis is that they can choose any topic, depending on their interests or fields of study. Among this year’s Hoopes Prize winners are works on female judges and crime in India, American country music in Italy, Nazis in America, gang violence in El Salvador, and the spread of the invasive strawberry guava in Madagascar’s rainforests.Schools have different deadlines for students to turn in their theses. In the Social Studies Department, it’s always the Wednesday before spring break to allow students enjoy the recess without any thesis-related concerns. At SEAS, it’s the last Friday of March.On deadline day, some Schools hold small parties with champagne, cake, and hors d’oeuvres to cheer on students as they arrive with the product of their labor. It’s a well-deserved celebration, said Anya Bernstein Bassett, senior lecturer and director of studies in social studies.“They take on an independent project and go through the ups and downs because there are always challenges,” said Bassett. “Your interview subjects won’t talk to you, you go to a field site and it’s not what you expected, and they have to manage through that. It says so much about who they are and how committed they are.”Senior lecturer Anya Bassett (from left) accepts theses from Layla Siddig, Rohan Shah, and Anwar Omeish. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerJuliana Rodrigues ’19, who’s concentrating in social studies, shared the sentiment.“It’s a capstone for your educational experience at Harvard,” she said. “It’s a way to reflect back on everything you’ve learned in your time here and bring that all together that speaks to who you are and what you value.”Anna Antongiorgi ’19 is concentrating in English with a secondary in Theater, Dance & Media. Her creative thesis was both an intellectual and emotional enterprise. She wrote a collection of 120 poems inspired by her love of writing and dancing.In many ways, the paper didn’t feel like homework, said Antongiorgi, who began dancing at age 5 and started writing poems in high school. At times, it was cathartic, at times overwhelming, but mostly it was enjoyable. The process has led her to ponder new possibilities.“I’m still writing,” said Antongiorgi. “It felt like it was just the beginning. I don’t feel finished.”
Listening to Purdue quarterback Brandon Kirsch speak, you’d never get the sense he wasn’t in complete control.Sitting at a round table surrounded by reporters at the Big Ten’s annual Media Day in Chicago, he fields questions about everything from the new freshmen, the returning defense, even Penn State recruiting practices, without a single hint of anxiety or uncertainty, like he’s been doing it forever. Truthfully, it’s impressive listening to Kirsch answer questions. He’s honest, funny and gives no hint that his answers are rehearsed or un-genuine. He’s in complete control.And that’s the way he likes it.It’s easy to understand Kirsch’s affinity for control. The Lebanon, Pa., native has waited patiently for three years to get his chance at being the top signal-caller behind center.“I take it as a challenge,” Kirsch said of finally getting his chance to start.Kirsch had the misfortune to join the Boilermakers the year after Purdue great and current Chicago Bears quarterback, Kyle Orton. Kirsch gave Orton a brief push for playing time during his true freshman year, starting four contests and amassing 1,067 yards before ceding the starting role to Orton and watching him become one of the top passers in Purdue history.But this year, the tables have turned, and it appears Lady Luck is finally smiling down on the patient Kirsch. He couldn’t wish for a better situation to step into if he tried, as the senior is set to lead a Boilermaker squad that boasts 20 returning starters and 32 total seniors.But with such a veteran squad comes exceptional expectations, set forth first and foremost by head coach Joe Tiller.“One would suggest with the pieces of the puzzle in place, for the most part, we’ll go as the quarterback position goes,” Tiller said. “If we perform well at that position, we feel like we’ll have a better team this year than we did last year.”Kirsch won’t refute his coach’s statements; instead, he agrees wholeheartedly that this season’s success rests on his shoulders.“Coach Tiller is right in that aspect that we have 11 proven starters back on defense, seven proven starters back on offense and the rest are kind of fill-in positions: receivers that have played a lot in the past, running backs that have played in the past and the linemen that have played in the past,” Kirsch said.“I think my playing in the past wasn’t that consistent and, at the quarterback position, you need to have consistent playing time to understand what’s going on, so I guess the only question mark on the field this year is me, and he’s right in that aspect.”While much of the returning talent will be on the defensive side of the ball, Kirsch will be far from alone on the offensive side. Joining Kirsch on his own side of the ball will be a club almost identical to the crew directed by Orton last year. Gone are linemen Tyler Moore and David Owen, as well as the NCAA’s all-time leader in receptions, Taylor Stubblefield, but the rest of the team remains intact. Kyle Ingraham, Dorian Bryant and Charles Davis, Purdue’s second, third and fourth leading receivers last year, all return, as well as fifth-year senior Jared Void at running back.Kirsch will also have a pair of highly touted freshman targets to help him through the season in Greg Orton and Selwyn Lymon. Lymon was rated the No. 22 player in the nation by SuperPrep, while Orton was rated the No. 19 best receiver in the nation by the same publication.“I think Greg Orton is going to be very good,” Kirsch said. “He’s got a good body on him, great hands and he gets down the field for you. Really didn’t get the opportunity to see too many other freshmen when I got out of school this year, but Greg Orton really impressed me.”But make no mistake about it: the self-proclaimed “crazy gambler type” knows that even with many of the same targets his predecessor possessed at his disposal, he still needs to prove he can be as effective as the last two Purdue quarterbacks.“I’m an experienced new guy, meaning I’ve been there before and I know what to expect,” Kirsch said. “I’ve played in big stadiums and on big teams and I welcome the challenge, and I’m very anxious to get started.”