This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.For the past year, Lilia Aguilar led a double life.Every week, Aguilar flew to her native Mexico to resume her political campaign to become a national congresswoman. She sold her house there to finance her whirlwind plans, while balancing studies for a master’s in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School.“As soon as I got back to Cambridge I was the student, with a lot of papers to write, discussing issues with amazing people like Amartya Sen,” said Aguilar. “Two days later, I was in Mexico, wearing heels and suits, speaking in the media. … But I believe in putting theory to practice, so I was doing both things because I thought it was possible to bring great change to my state.”Born and raised in the northern state of Chihuahua, Aguilar grew up in cramped quarters without running water with her mother and 20 other children, whom she knew as siblings. Aguilar was one of the younger ones (“the pets,” she said), and her duties involved feeding the roosters that her mother’s husband used in cockfights. Aguilar and her siblings “carried water for two kilometers to take a shower in a tub in the middle of the street,” she said. “So I hated showering.”Then one day when Aguilar was 10, she arrived home from school and faced two strangers — who turned out to be her real parents. Aguilar had been unknowingly living in hiding since she was an infant. A family friend had taken in Aguilar and her five blood siblings because their real parents were outspoken political activists involved with Mexico’s burgeoning labor party, and “it was not safe for us to be with them.”“I didn’t know anything about my real parents. They came and took me away from what I knew as my family since I could remember. They were highly educated, and I went from doing all these physical chores. But with my real parents, there were only intellectual chores,” she recalled.They demanded nothing short of academic excellence from Aguilar, who was being groomed to follow in their political footsteps. “My mother was a teacher, she was very rigorous, and she was a feminist,” said Aguilar. “She told me, ‘You need to excel because you’re a woman.’ That’s all I ever heard: ‘You are going to change the world, because when you’re educated, you need to give back.’ ”Aguilar, who graduated at the top of her class, relinquished scholarships to local universities. She moved to El Paso, Texas, to live with an aunt and uncle, and enrolled at the University of Texas, El Paso, vowing to become, of all things, an astronaut.“I studied physics and math, and then I discovered that I didn’t want that for my life. I came back, but I was reluctant to get into politics. I was doing a lot of activism in youth groups, though,” she said. She enrolled at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education to study financial administration. After graduating, Aguilar was hired by a financial consultancy company.While on an assignment installing financial software for state governments, Aguilar said, she was asked to hide some shady dealings. “I worked with two different governments, and all they asked us to do is to cover up their big mess. I was really disappointed, and I wanted to do something,” she said. “So, I quit and went home, and said, ‘OK, dad, now I’m going to be a politician.’ ”At age 23, she became a state representative for conservative Chihuahua. Aguilar’s youth and open character deterred many people from taking her seriously. But she had big ideas about reforming the state’s outdated constitution, and successfully helped to establish new laws for youth, women’s equality, and government transparency. “In politics, everyone likes to be in the media, but no one likes to do the work. So I took advantage of that,” she said. When she finished her term, journalists and fellow congressmen recognized Aguilar as the most productive representative.In December, Aguilar returned to Mexico and got the offer to run for Congress. “It was not easy … there’s a lot of people scared of women, and women coming from Harvard especially.” Now she’s second in her party’s proportional representation list (the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received), and is likely to win a seat in the Mexican National Congress during the July 1 election. Still, leaving Cambridge will be bittersweet.“What I like most about Cambridge is the energy. But above all, I love the river. It’s where everything happens in this town. I live in Peabody on the 19th floor in front of the river. So I have a view of all sunsets, and I can see the rowers and how they are yelled to push and push harder, the runners, the college kids having picnics when it’s warm, and the couples walking hand in hand. The river is for me the view of peace, the example of the unknown, and an example of the extra mile that Harvard is.”
Ann Curtis | The Observer ESPN prepares for College GameDay at Notre Dame on Saturday. The show, which will be broadcast from Library Quad, recaps and previews football games each weekend during the football season.In addition to being able to watch the show’s taping Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon from Library Quad, there are several other associated activities available to community members in conjunction with the visit. ESPN senior publicist Anna Negron said in an email that on Friday, there will be three events with prizes for winners, taking place from noon to 4 p.m. at the set on Library Quad. Events include the Home Depot Corn Hole Challenge, Know Your Stuff Trivia, a photo booth, Coca-Cola product sampling, Bucket Pong, Skee-Ball and Giant Jenga. College Football Live, a national radio broadcast, will broadcast live from the set at 3:30 p.m., Negron said.Notre Dame associate athletics director Monica Cundiff said while ESPN handles the details of the program, the visit is important for the campus community.“ESPN chooses the sites,” she said. “We have nothing to do with the fact that they are here. I think they pick the sites based on team’s records, how big the game is. Anyway, in just looking at this game and Michigan and Notre Dame haven’t played for a few years, it’s a huge game. It didn’t surprise us they chose to come here. We are definitely very welcome to have them.”The first live look at the pit will be at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, Cundiff said. Students will be allowed into the pit starting at 6 a.m.Cundiff said her role has been primarily to coordinate logistics. She said usual gameday traditions and procedures, including the player walk, will not be affected by the ESPN set’s presence on South Quad. She said it was an “advantage” that the game is at night since most of the set will be cleared away by 4 p.m. on the day of the game and will allow gameday procedures to continue as normal.“We’re not even going to know their footprint is out there,” Cundiff said.She underscored the unique nature of the visit from the University’s perspective.“It’s certainly something we’re not going to say ‘no’ [to],” she said. “This is national exposure for our University. We want that kind of thing to happen.”The location of the set on Library Quad directly across the street from the stadium is the same as it was in 2012. When ESPN came for a site visit to decide where the set would be located, they came with the intention of considering several campus locations for the set before deciding Library Quad was all “they wanted to see,” Cundiff said.“Just the proximity to the stadium, and then, on game day, we all know what the campus looks like on Saturdays, so it’s a great path of fans coming towards the inner part of campus or going to see different spots,” she said.Though ESPN has an increased presence for this game weekend, NBC remains Notre Dame’s broadcast partner. Cundiff said College GameDay’s visit did not present a problem to the NBC staff.“NBC is our partner,” she said. “We’re going to take care of them. NBC also understands who ESPN [is] and what GameDay is all about. It’s just as much exposure for them as it is for us. We definitely restrict ESPN on things, and that’s because of our partnership with NBC. … I think at the end of the day we’re all in it together, to make a great experience for the nationally televised audiences as well as the fans here on campus.”Cundiff lauded ESPN for its cooperation this week, noting that Notre Dame has made things a little somewhat trickier for the broadcast company.“It’s been great for me working with ESPN this week, in the sense of from their perspective we have made it a little more difficult then they typically have seen from city to city that they go to, but it’s because we follow proper protocol,” she said. “I’m not just making a decision on electric, or water, or they wanted to cut some trees … they have a cooking segment on the show. Putting them in touch with the fire chief, putting them in touch with landscape services, with our utility department. They go to a lot of other campuses and they don’t do that, where I think that’s another example of Notre Dame having pride in itself. They’re the experts in their field. We’re not going to do something that affects any department on campus negatively. It actually makes me feel good that ESPN says, ‘You guys do it right. You’re tough.’ But at the end of the day we’re in it to do it the right way.”On the whole, Cundiff expressed a hope that the publicity that comes with College GameDay’s visit will further brandish Notre Dame’s image.“It’s great national exposure. Everyone, from students, to alums, to the subway alum [Notre Dame fans who didn’t actually attend the University], we are all proud of this University,” Cundiff said. “So any national exposure in a positive light, we want to see that and embrace that. Because we know that 12-year-old kid watching the football game may have dreams of either being a student athlete or student at Notre Dame. So this is another one of those opportunities to get some good positive exposure. And if the Irish can win at the end of the day, it makes it even better.”Tags: ESPN, ESPN College GameDay, gameday, Notre Dame-Michigan Rivalry While every Notre Dame home game represents a large event, this weekend’s season opener against the University of Michigan will feature a rare visit from ESPN’s College GameDay, the ESPN program that visits the site of each weekend’s biggest matchup. It will be College GameDay’s first visit to Notre Dame since the fall of 2012. ESPN College GameDay’s first ever broadcast was from Notre Dame’s campus on Nov. 13, 1993, ahead of the Irish’s matchup that day against Florida State.
Washington D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall for popular blood pressure medications because they contain a chemical known to cause cancer.Officials say the presence of NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) in the popular drug, Valsartan, is na surprise and thought to be due to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.A Valsartan recall was announced weeks ago but did not include the United States and was only for the generic version.Here is a list of the recalled drugs compiled by FDA officials:Valsartan – Prinston – Pharmaceutical Inc.Valsartan – AvKAREValsartan – A-S Medication Solutions LLCValsartan – Bryant Ranch Prepack Inc.Valsartan – HJ Harkins CompanyValsartan – Major PharmaceuticalsValsartan – Solco HealthcareValsartan – Northwind PharmaceuticalsValsartan – Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Proficient Rx LPValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Remedy RepackValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Solco HealthcareValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Teva Pharmaceuticals Injustries Ltd.The FDA has also compiled an updated list of medications not included in the recall:Amlodipine and Valsartan – Alembic Pharmaceuticals LimitedValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Alembic Pharmaceuticals LimitedValsartan – Alembic Pharmaceuticals LimitedByvalson (Nebivolol and Valsartan – Allergan Inc.Valsartan – American Health PackagingValsartan – Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLCDiovan and Valsartan – Aphena Pharma SolutionsValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Apotex Corp.Amlodipine and Valsartan – Aurodindo Pharma LimitedValsartan – AcPAKValsartan – Cardinal HealthDiovan – Carilion Materials ManagementAmlodipine and Valsartan – Gavis Pharmaceuticals, LLCValsartan – Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc.Valsartan – Lucid PharmaAmlodipine and Valsartan – LupinValsartan – Macleods Pharmaceuticals USAAmlodipine and Valsartan – MylanValsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Northwind PharmaceuticalsDiovan – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.Amlodipine and Valsartan – Novel Laboratories Inc.Valsartan – Ohm Laboratories Inc.