University of Rochester Launches Online Exhibit of Largest Collection of AIDS Education Posters

Univ. Communications – When Edward Atwater, M.D.,’50 boarded a subway car on Boston’s Red Line in the early 90s he found himself staring at a poster unlike any he had seen before. It showed two hands, a condom wrapper, and text reading Prevent AIDS. Use One. Intrigued by what he saw, Atwater began to track how different societies viewed and responded to the worldwide epidemic through posters and other public messages, eventually gathering together the largest collection of AIDS posters in the world.

The Atwater collection of AIDS posters is now online, providing a visual history of the first three decades of the HIV/AIDS crisis from 1981 to the present. Launched in October during the 30th anniversary year of the identification of the disease, the online exhibit consists of more than 6,200 posters from 100 plus countries in 60 languages. While selections of the posters have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and other locations, the online collection provides the first opportunity to view the collection in its entirety.

“I started collecting the posters to chronicle the history of medicine but soon realized that they represent more of a social history than a medical history,” said Atwater, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a self-professed collector who lives in Rochester. That realization led the now 85-year-old retired physician to donate his collection to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University, with the stipulation that it be digitized and put online. By giving people around the world access to the collection online, Atwater’s hope is to show people the responses from various societies to a deadly disease.

Looked at chronologically, the AIDS posters show how social, religious, civic, and public health agencies tailored their message to different groups. Depending on their audience, they used stereotypes, scare tactics, provocative language, imagery, and even humor. “The posters also show how regions, cultures, and religions influenced the message,” said Atwater.

“The Atwater collection of AIDS education posters tells a great deal about different societies’ understanding of sexuality and raises questions about the politics of visibility over the past 30 years,” said Joan Saab, professor of art history and director of Rochester’s graduate program for visual cultural studies. “When thinking about the history of AIDS, the story needs to be told from every angle. This includes graphic and controversial topics like sex and drugs and the different responses of filmmakers who choose to communicate awareness through public service announcements and artists who lend their voice and work towards the cause,” said Saab.

Using the posters as a starting point, Saab and her colleagues have organized a series of events and discussions to draw attention to the relationship between AIDS and global culture in art, academia, and medicine. Looking at AIDS 30 Years On kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 27 with a talk by AIDS Pioneer Michael Gottlieb, M.D., ’73M who wrote the first report to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1981 identifying AIDS as a new disease.

Sponsored by the University’s Humanities Project, an interdepartmental endeavor that supports humanistic inquiry by Rochester faculty, the project’s events are free and open to the public. For more information and a list of upcoming events, visit www.rochester.edu/college/humanities.

To access the Atwater AIDS education posters collection online visit http://aep.lib.rochester.edu/. In addition to searching the posters, the site contains research conducted by Rochester students who have used the collections, an introduction to the collection by Alexander Breier Marr, a doctoral student in visual and cultural studies, and links to additional AIDS educational resources.

Article written by Valerie Alhart, University Communications. Photos courtesy of Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University.

Technology Interns Share Their Summer Projects

Univ. Communications – Nicole Tischenko ’10 was one of 16 students who shared their experiences and perspectives about working as a summer interns in the University’s Information Technology department. During the 3rd annual poster session, held on Monday, Aug. 8, in Hirst Lounge, Tischenko discussed her work with University IT’s communications team, where she helped create the department’s annual report.

The 2011 summer interns were:

Matt Augustyn, SUNY Brockport, Web Development

Peter Borrelli, Rochester Institute of Technology, Graphic Design

Keyur Chitnis, Rochester Institute of Technology, Software Development

Cody DeHaan, University of Rochester, Research Computing

Lauren Dornfeld, University of Rochester, Marketing

Sidney Epner, University of Rochester, Classroom Technology

Gregory Evershed, Rochester Institute of Technology, Data Warehousing

Peter Fogg, Oberlin College, Research Computing

Abraham George, Rochester Institute of Technology, Security

Matthew Kooy, Alfred State, Web Development

Brian Lewis, St. John Fisher College, Accounting

Mandana Marefat, Rochester Institute of Technology, Quality Assurance

Philip McGarvey, SUNY Brockport, Software Development

Adrian Palleschi, SUNY Brockport, Web Development

Erik Porter, Rochester Institute of Technology, Network Engineering

Nicole Tischenko, University of Rochester, Communications

Isthier Chaudhury ’11 Named Rochester’s Student Employee of the Year

Univ. Communications – University of Rochester senior Isthier Chaudhury has been named the 2010-2011 University of Rochester Student Employee of the Year. The award, which is given annually by the Student Employment Office, recognizes an outstanding student employee who has made valuable contributions to the department in which he or she works. Chaudhury, who works for University Information Technology as a classroom technology technician and printing support technician, was nominated by his supervisor Carol Amidon, classroom support technician.

As a member of the University IT team, Chaudhury’s responsibilities include the set-up and operation of all technology in the classrooms. He also is responsible for monitoring ink and paper supplies at public computing labs and libraries on campus to ensure they are well-stocked. In a letter nominating Chaudhury for the award, Amidon says a “defining quality for Isthier is his dedication to the job” and that his “consistently high standards of customer service” are only surpassed by his positive attitude.

Chaudhury, who is a chemical engineering and Chinese double major, was recently invited to Washington, D.C., to share his experiences studying abroad in Beijing, China. He studied abroad through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program at Peking University in Beijing as a Gilman Scholar during the 2009-2010 academic year. While in Washington, Chaudhury met First Lady of Michelle Obama and visited area middle schools and high schools to talk about his time abroad.

In celebration of Student Employee Week (April 10 through 16), the Student Employment Office will formally recognize Chaudhury, along with all of this year’s nominees, at a private reception on Tuesday, April 12. As Employee of the Year, Chaudhury will have the opportunity to compete at regional and state levels through the National Student Employee Association’s awards program.

This year, the following 25 students were nominated for the Student Employee of the Year award: Jennifer Alpern ’11, Kelley Beamish ’11, John Boule ’12, Isthier Chaudhury ’11, Oswald Codjoe ’14, Nicole Cragin ’12, Rachel DeAngelis ’11, Angelica Frausto ’13, Joseph Gardella ’11, Christina Gmyr ’11, Shaelom James ’12, Bin Qing Lin ’13, Kenneth Mansfield ’12, Chandler Moran ’12, Gabriella Morris ’12, Jenny Mosier ’11, Caitlin Redmond ’13, Sara Rothenberg ’13, Emily Schroeder ’12, Rachel Simeone ’13, Susan Virgilio ’12, Joseph Wang ’12, Hilary Wermers ’13, Wai Ling Ye ’13, and Shouling Zhang ’13.