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June 2020 Newsletter

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Accordion plusTeaching Excellence Awardee Video Presentations from the virtual "Annual Luncheon"2020 Teaching awardees composite

Accordion plusScholarship Awardee Video Presentations from the virtual "Annual Luncheon"

2020 Award Winners

From the President

Mary GillilandAs I begin my eleventh year as President of Phi Beta Kappa – Northern California Association, I thank the membership for its confidence in me. I have enjoyed serving ΦBKNCA these past terms and look forward to an equally pleasant experience in 2020-21.

Our Board this coming year consists mostly of returning officers and chairs. I am pleased that so many were willing to “re-up” for another term, and I welcome Melissa Stevens as the new Chair of the Teaching Excellence Committee. These people are a delightful group with whom to associate and they make my job very easy, as they do all the work! The 2020-21 Nominating Committee consists of six members: Judy Hardardt – Chair, Elizabeth Archambeault, Gerald Richards, Maria Norall, Megan Carlucci, Megan Winkelman, and O'Neil Dillon. If you should feel a yen to participate in the governance of ΦBKNCA, please contact one of these people to discuss the various openings we may have in the future.

I thank our Program Chair, O’Neil Dillon for creating “no contact” programs for us during this COVID-19 pandemic. He is getting us involved in Zoom - helping members set up book clubs, presenting talks and honest information about the pandemic.

This spring we awarded $7500 scholarships to eight graduate students from five universities in our region. We also gave four Teaching Excellence Awards to faculty members from three different campuses; these professors were nominated by previous students for their outstanding ability to make learning interesting. It is not too early to nominate a teacher who had a great impact on your life for the 2021 TE Award; see the Teaching Excellence Awards section our website.

Unfortunately, the pandemic forced us to cancel our Annual Awards Luncheon, but Communications Officer Ray Hendess has reached out to the awardees, asking them to create videos in lieu of their talks at the luncheon. These videos are available in the Awardee Video Presentations from the virtual "Annual Luncheon" section of this newsletter.

Funds for our scholarships and awards come from your membership fees and gifts (all fully tax-deductible), also from any contribution for our online events. Please support ΦBKNCA however you are able by donating to our Scholarship and Teaching Excellence funds

Mary Turner Gilliland President 2011-2020, Mltg@aol.com

Event Reservations and other Important Information

In light of the public health recommendations to increase social distancing and reduce the incidence and spread of COVID-19, Phi Beta Kappa Northern California is suspending all in-person events and meetings for the foreseeable future.

Program Chair O'Neil Dillon has created a number of online events that sound exciting. If you agree, we would appreciate a contribution to the Scholarship fund online at https://www.pbknca.org/membership/payments/scholarship1.contribution.form.php

Or send a check to: Ms. Patricia Kenber VP Membership PBKNCA, 1073 River Rock Lane, Danville CA 94526-4001


EVENT - Saturday June 20, 10 AM “Working to Improve the Health of The American Indian” Member Stories #1 - Zoom invitation


Presented by  Elaine Brinn

Date: Saturday June 20, Time: 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Length: 1 hour

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is a little-known treaty obligation of the U.S. Government to provide health care to Native Americans. PBKNCA member Elaine Brinn will do a presentation based on her work in the IHS.

Join Zoom Meeting a few minutes before 10 AM, Saturday June 20. Go to www.pbknca.org, click “Explore Our Upcoming Events” and get access from there or by clicking this link.

If you don't have Zoom, join by phone at 1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose). When asked, enter the Meeting ID: 838 7844 3734 followed by #, you do not have a participant ID so skip that, then enter the password 001914 followed by #




EVENT - Saturday, July 25, 10 AM “How the California Housing Shortage Developed, and What We Can Do About It” - Zoom invitation


HomelessJuly 25 at 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time we will have a panel presentation. 

Dr. Fred Collignon, Dr Elizabeth Tyler and Shawn Rowles will be our panelists. Two of these three expert Urban Planning panelists are members of PBKNCA.

Join Zoom Meeting July 25th, a few minutes before 10 AM. Go to www.pbknca.org, click “Explore Our Upcoming Events” and get access from there or by clicking this link. If you don't have Zoom, join by phone at 1-669-900-6833. When asked, enter the Meeting ID: 830 2221 0394 followed by #, you do not have a participant ID so skip that, then enter the password 530327 followed by #



EVENT - PBKNCA Book Clubs are in the process of formation
If you wish to join one, e-mail oneilsdillon@gmail.com


EVENT - Important Science-Based Risk-Management Information to Protect Your Health

BromageDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, Associate Professor Erin Bromage (UMass Dartmouth, Biology) created a blog to help friends and family understand the practical ways that the virus can spread through a community. On May 6, 2020, he posted “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them”, an explainer that showed how people breathing and talking spread particles in the air in common locations like restaurants, churches, and offices. As the world grapples with how to safely reopen society, Dr. Bromage’s post started to become widely shared on social media. Fast forward a week and the post has been viewed more than 13 million times and Bromage has become a fixture on national nightly news shows. 

Get access by clicking this link or go to the web, www.pbknca.org, upcoming events

Summary of the conclusions in the article:

“Indoor spaces, with limited air exchange or recycled air and lots of people, are concerning from a transmission standpoint. We know that 60 people in a volleyball court-sized room (choir) results in massive infections. Same situation with the restaurant and the call center. Social distancing guidelines don't hold in indoor spaces where you spend a lot of time, as people on the opposite side of the room were infected.

“The principle is viral exposure over an extended period of time. In all these cases, people were exposed to the virus in the air for a prolonged period (hours). Even if they were 50 feet away (choir or call center), even a low dose of the virus in the air reaching them, over a sustained period, was enough to cause infection and in some cases, death.

“Social distancing rules are really to protect you with brief exposures or outdoor exposures. In these situations there is not enough time to achieve the infectious viral load when you are standing 6 feet apart or where wind and the infinite outdoor space for viral dilution reduces viral load. The effects of sunlight, heat, and humidity on viral survival, all serve to minimize the risk to everyone when outside.

When assessing the risk of infection (via respiration) at the grocery store or mall, you need to consider the volume of the air space (very large), the number of people (restricted), how long people are spending in the store (workers - all day; customers - an hour). Taken together, for a person shopping: the low density, high air volume of the store, along with the restricted time you spend in the store, means that the opportunity to receive an infectious dose is low. But, for the store worker, the extended time they spend in the store provides a greater opportunity to receive the infectious dose and therefore the job becomes more risky.

“Basically, as the work closures are loosened, and we start to venture out more, possibly even resuming in-office activities, you need to look at your environment and make judgments. How many people are here, how much airflow is there around me, and how long will I be in this environment. If you are in an open floorplan office, you really need to critically assess the risk (volume, people, and airflow). If you are in a job that requires face-to-face talking or even worse, yelling, you need to assess the risk.

“If you are sitting in a well-ventilated space, with few people, the risk is low.

“If I am outside, and I walk past someone, remember it is “dose and time” needed for infection. You would have to be in their airstream for 5+ minutes for a chance of infection. While joggers may be releasing more virus due to deep breathing, remember the exposure time is also less due to their speed. Please do maintain physical distance, but the risk of infection in these scenarios are low. Here is a great article in Vox that discusses the low risk of running and cycling in detail.

“While I have focused on respiratory exposure here, please don't forget surfaces. Those infected respiratory droplets land somewhere. Wash your hands often and stop touching your face!”
PBK Board July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

Mary Turner Gilliland, President
Menlo Park, (650) 321-9966, Mltg@aol.com
O’Neil Dillon, First Vice President – Programs
Berkeley, cell 510-207-8761, oneilsdillon@gmail.com
Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President – Scholarships
Oakland, (510) 339-1352, joannes@berkeley.edu
Patricia Kenber, Third Vice President – Membership
Danville, (925) 838-2296, kenber@sbcglobal.net, Duncan Missimer, Treasurer
Mountain View, (408) 368-0835, Duncan.missimer@ieee.org
Susan Jenkins, Corresponding and Recording Secretary
San Jose, (408) 532-6550, sjenkins4@yahoo.com
Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair
Santa Rosa, (707) 546-4238, dfrontczak@santarosa.edu
Amanda Sanyal, Chapter Liaison
Campbell, (650) 520-5419, a_derry@yahoo.com
Ray Hendess, Communications Officer
Petaluma, (707) 763-2072, Ray@pbknca.org
Melissa Stevens, Teaching Excellence Chair
Playa del Rey, (530) 933-1550, melstevens@berkeley.edu