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This article was published as a part of the Data Science BlogathonIntroduction to Geometric Intuition of Logistic Regression
Hello folks! You may generally come across the term classification and regression in our data science or machine learning community, this two are the main pillars of machine learning. classification is all about predicting the label and regression is all about predicting the real-valued data. There are many machine learning algorithms which we will use for the classification tasks, generally, most of you use the naive Bayes, KNN, logistic regression. So, here we will discuss details of logistic regression works, what is geometrical intuition, what is mathematical intuition, etc… Before going ahead we will take a brief introduction to logistic regression for better understanding.
Image 1Logistic Regression
Here, the name suggests logistic regression that it is a regression algorithm but stop thinking that!!! in reality, it’s a classification algorithm. It is the most popular classification machine learning algorithm that is used to solve many real-world problems. It is called regression because its main assumption is to find the line or plane which linearly separates the classes label. As it separates linearly to the data points so it will term as a regression. It is a very very simple algorithm by geometrically we can easily understand the flow of the algorithm.
We can derive logistic regression from multiple perspectives such as from probabilistic interpretation, loss- function but here we will see how to derive the logistic regression from the geometric intuition because geometry is much more visual much more easy to understand the problem. We also go through the probabilistic and loss-function approach but not in deep.Understanding Geometric intuition of Logistic Regression
We didn’t have to forget our assumptions, the logistic regression is trying to find a line or a plane that linearly separates the class labels. on the basis of this assumption, we draw our plane and data points.
Imagine if we have two classes of points as you see in the image all the red points are our negative labeled points and all blue points are our positive labeled points, and draw a plane if it is in 2-D or if it is in N-D then draw a hyperplane. So, we draw a plane π which is linear separates the datapoints. as you can see in the image that on the plane there is normal W which is perpendicular to the plane.
We know that the equation of a plane in high dimensions is:
plane (π) = W^X + b
if the plane passes through the origin then b=0. overall we have to find or discovered the W and b which corresponds to the plane such that the plane π separates the +ve and -ve points.
Suppose we take a datapoint Xi as you see in the image which is our query point and we have to find a distance of that point from the plane (π). So the distance Di is written as:
So this is the distance of the point Xi from the plane but how would you determine that the current distance of the point is considered as positive or negative?
As you can see in the image that the one side our point Xi and another side there is point Xj and we have corresponding class label Y, the distance of Xi to plane is Di, and Xj to the plane are Dj. so we take constraints as:
* if Xj and its distance Dj are opposite of the normal W then we considered that the distance Dj< 0 or Yj is negative.
How you can say that a certain point is positively or negatively predicted? so let’s check some simplifying assumptions or cases:
2. if our class label is negative Yi = -ve(actual class label) and the W^Xi < 0 means point is opposite of the W then the classifier predicted the correct class label.
3. if our class label is positive Yi = +ve (actual class label) and the W^Xi < 0, So when this will happen then our actual class label is +ve and the classifier is predicted its -ve then the prediction is wrong.
So our conclusion from the above cases is that classifiers have to predict the maximum number of correctly predicted points and a minimum number of incorrect predictions. So we have to find that optimal plane that maximizes the correctly predicted points and having a minimum no, of incorrect points.
So our optimal Equation will be:How outlier will impact the model?
Generally, in our data, there are outliers are also present and they will impact our model performance, So let’s take a simple example to better understand how the model performance got impacted by the outlier.
Suppose, we take an example of two plans π1 and π2 that are used to separate the two-class label data points +ve and -ve.
As you can see in the image there are plane π1 and plane π2 which separates two class label data points positive and negative. These points are equidistant from the plane as you can see in the image and there is one outlier present which was farther away from the plane π1 as compare to other data points and very close to π2 as compare to other data points.
If we calculate the Yi * W^Xi of π1 then it will be negative and for the plane π2, it will be positive. So as per our calculation, we conclude that the plane π2 is best fit the plane that we are finding and plane π1 is a dumb plane, Don’t think that in reality if we see that our plane π1 gives use best accuracy then our plane π2. π2 didn’t correctly classify the more no. of point as compare to π1. So such outliers impact more on our model.
To preserving the model from the outlier we have to modify our optimal function W* = argmax( Σ Yi * W^Xi ). We will use Squashing.Modifying Optimal Function using Squashing
To modifying our optimal function we will use the squashing technique, the idea is that:
1. if signed distance or the distance of a point from the plane is small then we will use it as is.
2. if the signed distance is large that we saw in the previous example, then we convert it into a smaller value.
We will use some function over our optimal equation for preserving the model from such outliers. Below you can see that we will convert optimal term by applying the squashing technique.
We will use the sigmoid (σ(x) )function to optimizing our equation. If the distance of Xi is increased from the higher plane then our sigmoid function squash that distance into the value between 0 – 1. It provides probabilistic interpretations.
The sigmoid function is written as:
σ(x) = 1/ (1 + e-x )
maximum value of sigmoid function is: 1
minimum value of sigmoid function is: 0
And, if the distance of point Xi from the plane is 0 then its probability will be 0.5.
After applying the sigmoid function to our optimal equation then our function looks like this:
So, this is our optimal sigmoid function which will help for preserving the optimal equation from the outlier.End Notes
So this is the geometric intuition of the logistic regression, and further, we solve our optimal function by using some interpretation in part 2. So hope you like this article.
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As technology plays an increasingly integral role in sports, from athlete performance monitoring to fan engagement, the importance of cybersecurity in the sports industry has become prevalent.
While sports organizations have long been focused on physical security, the rise of cyber threats poses new challenges that must be addressed. At least 70% of sports organizations have experienced cyber incidents or breaches.
infrastructure that powers sports organizations
This article will explore the unique cybersecurity risks facing the sports industry and examine the strategies sports organizations can employ to protect themselves and their stakeholders from cyber threats.Why do we need cybersecurity in sports?
According to a report, nearly all sports organizations have websites, social media accounts, and digital files collecting the personal data of customers, employees, and volunteers. According to National Cybersecurity Centre, more than 80% of respondents have online business systems that provide clients the option to book, pay for, or make purchases online (see Figure 1).
Source: National Cyber Security Centre
Figure 1: Which of the following, if any, does your organization currently have or use?1- Protection of sensitive data
Sports organizations collect and store sensitive data, including athlete and fan data, financial data, and intellectual property. Cybersecurity is essential to protect this data from unauthorized access, theft, or manipulation by cyber criminals.2- Reputation management
A cyber attack on a sports organization can cause significant reputational damage, leading to financial losses and loss of fan trust. Cybersecurity measures can help prevent such incidents and mitigate their impact if they do occur.
Fans expect their personal data to be protected and their interactions with sports organizations to be secure. Sports organizations can build and maintain fan trust by prioritizing cybersecurity and increasing engagement and revenue. This is also crucial for reputation management.3- Operational continuity
A cyber attack on a sports organization’s infrastructure can disrupt operations and lead to significant financial losses. By implementing cybersecurity measures, sports organizations can ensure their operations’ continuity, minimize downtime risk, and increase revenue.4- Compliance with regulations
Sports organizations are subject to various data privacy and security regulations (such as GDPR). By implementing cybersecurity measures, sports organizations can ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid penalties or legal issues.Top 5 Cybersecurity use cases in sports 1-Protecting athlete data
Athlete data, such as medical records and performance statistics, are valuable information that can be targeted by cybercriminals. For example, in 2024, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was hacked, and sensitive athlete data was leaked.
Sports organizations must ensure that athlete data is properly secured and access is strictly controlled to prevent similar incidents. Education on phishing attempts is a good choice of defense against this form of cyberattack. Preventing these assaults may be accomplished by being aware of the appearance of phishing emails.2-Securing online ticket sales
Online ticket sales are a common target for cybercriminals. Hackers can use phishing attacks to obtain credit card information or use bots to purchase tickets in bulk and resell them at inflated prices. Ticket fraud reports have doubled since 2023, and resell value of online tickets for almost whatever sporting event is known to fluctuate extremely.
Sports events comprise the largest segment of worldwide event tickets, and it has a projected market volume of over $28 billion in 2023.3-Preventing game-day cyber attacks
Cyber attacks during the game day can disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and potentially endanger athletes and spectators. An example of such game-day disruptions happened most recently during the 2023 World Cup semi-final match between France and Morocco. Due to in-app loading difficulties, the outage caused problems for certain FuboTV subscribers in viewing the full game. FuboTV argued that the outage was because of a cyber attack.4-Securing broadcasting infrastructure
Broadcasting infrastructure is a valuable target for cybercriminals, which can disrupt live broadcasts or steal valuable intellectual property. For example, In 2024, the French broadcaster resulted in the shutdown of 12 channels and the leak of sensitive information.5-Protecting fan data
Sports organizations collect fan data through online purchases, loyalty programs, and social media interactions. Fans are prone to phishing scams via mobile apps, and remotely managed systems are open to hackers.
This data can be targeted by cybercriminals and used for identity theft or other malicious purposes. Sports organizations must ensure that fan data is properly secured and access is strictly controlled.
See Figure 2 for an overview of the attack trends.
Source: National Cyber Security Centre
Figure 2: Attack Trends – Percentage of organizations reporting attack activityWhat are the cybersecurity challenges in sports? 1- Rapidly evolving threats
Cyber threats constantly evolve, making it difficult for sports organizations to keep up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Attackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit system weaknesses, making it challenging for sports organizations to maintain strong cybersecurity measures.2- Complex supply chains
Sports organizations often work with many vendors and partners, creating a complex supply chain. This can make it challenging to ensure that all parties have adequate cybersecurity measures and that there are no vulnerabilities in the supply chain.3- Limited resources
Many sports organizations have limited resources to devote to cybersecurity, especially smaller organizations or those with limited budgets. This can make it difficult to implement and maintain strong cybersecurity measures.4- Legacy systems
Some sports organizations may still use legacy systems not designed with modern cybersecurity practices in mind. These systems can be difficult to secure and more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.5- Lack of awareness
Not all members of a sports organization may be aware of the importance of cybersecurity or how to practice good cyber hygiene. This can lead to human error or unintentional vulnerabilities.6- Cultural challenges
Some sports organizations may have a culture that does not prioritize cybersecurity or may see cybersecurity as a hindrance to innovation or operations. Implementing strong cybersecurity measures or getting stakeholders’ buy-in can make it difficult.
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He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and he received his master’s degree in International Politics from KU Leuven .
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Not everyone believes blockchain technology is the future, and these concerns shouldn’t be taken lightly. If blockchain tech isn’t adapted as a widely used standard, it won’t be useful enough to stick around in the long term. Here are the biggest reasons why it might eventually fail.Blockchain uses a lot of resources
Just one bitcoin transaction takes an amount of power equal to what the average American household uses in a month. Replacing Visa transactions with a bitcoin transaction increases the carbon emissions by a factor of roughly 1.78 million, according to Digiconomist. One bitcoin transaction is also estimated to be equal to the carbon footprint of more than 130,000 hours of watching Youtube. These costs will increase with time, too.Just one bitcoin transaction takes an amount of power equal to what the average American household uses in a month.
The total annualized carbon footprint of all bitcoin back in 2023 was 68.98 Mt CO2, or about the same as the country of Israel, while the annual electrical energy was 145.21 TWh, comparable to the power consumption of Ukraine, and the total annual electronic waste was 7.08 kt, or about the same as that of Luxembourg.
Switching to renewable energy can reduce carbon emissions while maintaining the same energy consumption. Lowering the amount of bitcoin mining through local regulation can also help, as China has shown: The country dropped from 75.5% of the power used for bitcoin mining globally in September 2023 to just 46% in April 2023. But even impressive measures have limits, and as bitcoin use grows, that environmental impact grows with it.Difficult to scale
The more nodes that join a blockchain network, like a bitcoin network, the slower that network becomes. The records (also called blocks) have built-in limits on size and frequency of use. How slow? Bitcoin can manage 4.6 transactions per second currently, compared to a centralized system like Visa, which can do 1,700 transactions per second.Bitcoin can manage 4.6 transactions per second, while Visa can do 1,700 transactions.
There are some adjustments that could help blockchain networks scale up to an extent — for instance, bitcoin’s block size is set to 1MB right now, but could be reset as high as 4MB, and block generation time can also be decreased — but there’s no fix that can get rid of the hard limits surrounding blackchain scalability.Backend isn’t 100% secure
Blockchain enables total transparency, which gives users transactional integrity. So why isn’t it totally secure? Well, blockchain needs to work with other, less secure software, and hackers can get into the backend of an implementation system: Hackers successfully stole $460 million from one bitcoin exchange site in 2010 with this method.Opportunistic fraudsters are a concern
Those operating behind the scenes might not be trustworthy, either. Some cryptocurrencies have already collapsed due to fraud: Centra coin was one, with more than $25 million raised in order to go public in 2023 with an initial coin offering (ICO), until the cofounders were arrested by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for fraud. One cofounder has been sentenced to eight years for the debacle.
It’s worth noting that the FBI owns 1.5% of the world’s total bitcoins — this doesn’t mean they’ll be able to track them or prevent fraud, but it’s a sign that governmental powers aren’t looking the other way when it comes to cryptocurrency.A built-in security flaw: the majority attack
The “majority attack” is one major flaw built into how blockchain works: It refers to the fact that if a group of attackers can gain the majority of control over a blockchain (owning 51% or more), they will be able to control the distributed ledger and confirm fraudulent actions as if they were secure transactions. This is possible because the tech uses a consensus model rather than a single arbiter.
Granted, it’s unlikely that a majority attack will ever happen, given the huge amount of coordination required, but it’s an upsetting potential security hole given that it can never be prohibited.It can be inefficient and complex to set up
Small operations setting up bitcoin technology will face a few challenges, such as the bitcoin ledger, which can easily take up hundreds of gigabytes and grows in size with every update. Larger operations will face additional cost items including: hiring web developers, managing a team of blockchain specialists, and licensing fees for a software solutions.
All that can add up quickly, reducing the financial benefits that blockchain tech can bring in to a business.Blockchain Case Studies
The Kindle is the most popular e-reader currently on the market. As a result, most ebooks are available in the Kindle’s proprietary format accessible only to Kindle e-readers and Kindle apps. If you aren’t a Kindle fan, don’t worry. Different devices and different formats exist, giving you many alternative ways to read ebooks.
The epub format is the open ebook standard supported by most of the alternative e-readers. If an .epub file isn’t locked down, then it can be downloaded and used across any of these devices. Unfortunately, most ebooks purchased from the major online stores come locked down with Adobe DRM, meaning you are restricted to reading this book only on the device or account you used to buy it. Still, if you don’t want to invest in the Amazon ecosystem, the epub format is the best way to go.
Alternatives formats include PDFs and TXT files. The vast majority of ebooks sold in stores cannot be acquired in these formats, and they lack the easy formatting options that come with reading an epub on an e-reader or in an app.Pick a device
There are many e-readers to choose from, such as the NOOKs by Barnes & Noble, the Sony e-readers, and the Kobo e-readers.
The ability to read ebooks from the comfort of your browser is a new trend sweeping the e-reading landscape. While Google Books has had this functionality for years now, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both jumped on board and allow online access to your personal libraries. This makes it easy for you to read wherever you are, even if you are stuck at work while your e-reader rests on your bedside nightstand.Choose a store
eBooks can be found all over the Internet. Feedbooks is a bookstore with a wide selection of free and public domain material alongside a decent selection of current bestsellers. Smashwords and Lulu provide independent authors with a place to self-publish and distribute their creations. Project Gutenberg provides a massive selection of public domain material in a plethora of formats, including TXT and HTML. New initiatives such as StoryBundle provide regular exposure to new or independent authors. Occasionally even the Humble Bundle team will put out an ebook-centered bundle.Conclusion
If you want to read ebooks without using a Kindle, there is no shortage of options. You only need to know where to find them. Most alternatives use the epub format, and this format is an open standard that you can feel comfortable knowing it will continue to be around for quite a while. The ebook market is a highly competitive market with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple, and Sony all competing heavily with one another. One benefit of reading ebooks as opposed to traditional books is the wealth of indie content available to choose from, whether its tucked away inside the stores of these major players or lurking within indie-centric initiatives such as Smashword and StoryBundle.
Bertel King, Jr.
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Health Matters: Why Your Skin Hates the Beach Things to do this summer: wear sunblock, check your moles, see a dermatologist
A day at the beach is often considered the ultimate leisure activity, but for our skin, a day at the beach is no fun at all. And for people with fair skin and freckles, too much time basking in the sun can be downright dangerous.
“When you are sunburned,” says Niels Krejci, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine, “the genetic material in the skin cells is mutated and the cancerous cells can arise.”
Skin cancer is far and away is the most common type of cancer: each year, one million Americans are diagnosed with one of three types of the disease: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. While it grows relatively slowly, untreated basal cell carcinoma can extend below the skin and invade bones and nerves. Squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer, is a cause for greater concern, because it can spread more quickly to other parts of the body. Still, if basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are caught early and treated, there is a 95 percent chance of being cured.
Malignant melanoma, which kills about 8,000 people a year, is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 108,000 people are diagnosed with this fast-spreading cancer each year. Even with melanoma, however, early treatment greatly increases the likelihood that it will be cured, but early treatment requires early detection.
One way to check yourself is the ABCD mole test, recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology:
“A” stands for asymmetry. This means half of a mole doesn’t match the other half in size, shape, color, or thickness.
“B” stands for border irregularity. Check to see if the mole’s edges are ragged, scalloped, or poorly defined.
“C” stands for color. See a doctor if the mole is not all the same color — for example, if shades of tan, black, and brown are present, or if there is red, white, or blue color in the mole.
“D” stands for diameter. Moles should be no greater than six millimeters in diameter, or about the size of a pencil eraser.
In the summer, apply sunscreen vigorously half an hour before you go outside, even on cloudy days. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and look for sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, even more frequently if you’ve been swimming or sweating. Mid-morning until mid-afternoon is when the sun is strongest, so it’s a good time to sit indoors or under an umbrella. Krejci recommends wearing protective clothing, such as a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and a T-shirt. Don’t forget that a T-shirt, while covering you up, has a low SPF, and will not protect your skin as well as sunscreen.
The department of dermatology at BU offers skin cancer checks. Make an appointment, encourages Krejci, and you’ll be given a 15-minute slot in which doctors will check you “from the top of your head to in between your toes” for any irregularities.
Remember, you can still enjoy many days at the beach this summer while protecting your skin.
Amy Laskowski can be reached at [email protected].
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Tattoos: More Than Skin Deep The stories behind the ink
More Than Skin DeepThe stories behind the ink
Tattooing dates back to the Neolithic Age. Tattooed mummies have been found at dozens of archaeological sites from Egypt and the Sudan to Greenland, China, and the Andes. In the intervening millennia, tattoos have been both revered and maligned, often carrying a stigma.
But a Harris Poll released in February offers proof that our perceptions and acceptance of tattoos is changing. Today, nearly half of all millennials (47 percent) report having at least one, followed by Gen Xers (36 percent). Nearly 3 in 10 Americans (29 percent) sport a tattoo (up from 21 percent in 2012), and of them, 7 in 10 have 2 or more. According to the survey, 32 percent of adults would be OK with a presidential candidate with a visible tattoo. And the number reporting that tattoos make them feel attractive was up noticeably from 2012 (32 percent vs 21 percent).
With so many people getting tattoos, we reached out to the BU community, asking students, faculty, and staff to show off some of their tattoos and talk about the stories behind them.
Name: Danielle Enserro (SPH’17)
Number of tattoos: 4
All of my tattoos were created by an amazing artist, Eva Jean. I usually give her a word or two of inspiration and let her run with it. For example, the gypsy on my arm was created simply by asking her to incorporate a peacock feather into the artwork. The gypsy holds a bright red heart lock—my clever way of “wearing my heart on my sleeve.” However, my favorite is the “breathe” tattoo on my left forearm, which I had done in 2008. I am a survivor of an eating disorder and some other very dark personal events and I got that tattoo as a reminder that no matter what disasters happen in life, as long as I remember to breathe, everything will be okay.
Sometimes I’m asked what I do for work—when I explain I’m working on my PhD in a math-related field, there is usually a look of shock.
Name: Josh Ames (MET’13,’16)
Position: Environmental health and safety program manager, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories
Number of tattoos: 4
People are very interested in my arm tattoo. On several occasions I have had people come right up to me and grab my arm to look at it. It’s funny—although the tattoos are so public, it feels very intrusive when someone asks about them. They are all so personal, and it’s like sharing my life story with a complete stranger.
Name: Melissa Lund (CFA’12)
Position: Financial aid officer, College of Fine Arts
Number of tattoos: 4
I lived in Hawaii for a couple of years before moving to Boston, and I wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate that time. I wanted to avoid traditional designs so I wouldn’t be appropriating a culture I wasn’t raised in. An artist ended up designing my sleeve to include the state bird of Hawaii, the nēnē, which is a relative of Canada geese, which arrived on the islands thousands of years ago and decided never to leave—can’t blame them.
I also have a memorial tattoo for my dad, who passed away from melanoma in the fall. My sister and I took a sample of his handwriting to a tattoo artist in Phoenix, where he lived, and got tattoos in his handwriting that say, “Hang in there.” That was what he’d always say instead of “Good-bye.”
Someone asked me what I think that’ll look like on my arm when I’m 80. I replied that my arm isn’t going to look great when I’m 80 anyway, so what difference does a tattoo make?
Name: Aristotelis Ambatzidis (CFA’16)
Number of tattoos: 1
I got my tattoo the summer of my sophomore year. I had sketched the concept for the tattoo for quite some time, and finally I decided to pull the trigger and get it.
My father ran a restaurant in Greece called Xenomania, which translates in English to an obsession for foreign things. Being a citizen of two different worlds for so long, I decided to get the first part of the word, Xenos (foreigner), tattooed on my wrist. It represents a simpler time, but it also expresses how I connect with my heritage and how I have felt like a foreigner my whole life.
Name: Pamela Lightsey
Position: Clinical assistant professor and associate dean, community life and lifelong learning, School of Theology
Number of tattoos: 1
I got my one and only tattoo in 2004 at the urging of my daughter and goddaughter. They wanted to get tattoos and thought it would be cool if “we girls” just did something risqué. They have this way of enlisting me when they want to do bucket list–type things, but don’t have the nerve to follow through.
Usually people ask me if my tattoo stands for anything, as though I would have never gotten a tattoo that didn’t have some deeper mystical meaning. They’re surprised when I tell them, “Naw, it’s just a strawberry dipped in chocolate.”
The pain was just too much. But ask me about my piercings.
Name: Brendan Cobb (CFA’16)
Number of tattoos: 5
I got my first tattoo when I was 18 to symbolize some of the struggles I’ve been through, but I don’t always feel that tattoos need to have meaning. They are an art form in themselves and can stand alone as a piece.
I wanted to collect different works of art from different tattoo artists. Amanda Abbott from Brilliance Tattoo in Allston, Mass., did the large piece on my leg; I loved her work and wanted to collaborate with her.
I love having the ability to have a piece of art on my body forever.
Name: Christina Sanchez (CAS’17)
Number of tattoos: 1
I got my first and only tattoo when I was 19 years old to commemorate my brother’s life. When I was a second semester freshman, I got the dreaded news that my brother had passed away. He committed suicide.
The main things my brother and I bonded over were movies, music, and quotes from TV shows, so I immediately knew I wanted a tattoo that would relate to our relationship in that sense. When I re-stumbled upon the well known quote “I have been, and always shall be, your friend,” I felt like it said exactly what I had wanted to tell my brother after his first suicide attempt, but at the time, I didn’t know how to say it. With this tattoo, I feel like it tells him that I have always been there for him and loved him, even though he may not have felt it or seen it.
Name: Isabel Schnall (CFA’16)
Number of tattoos: 2
My first tattoo, on my wrist, is a design I created to represent my family. When I was growing up, my parents wore silver Hopi rings they had given each other before I was born. My mother’s had small waves on it, and my father’s had spirals. These symbols, though small, were so representative of my childhood to me because I saw them every day on my parents’ fingers. At first I was only creating designs that had waves and spirals in them, but then I thought it would be nice to represent my entire family. My tattoo has an “I” for my name, the wave and spiral design, and an “L” for my little sister, Lena. It represents the whole of my family, and the bond between us.
People often think it’s a tattoo of my own name, which is hilarious. In case I lost myself? But when I explain it to them, they find it unique and sweet.
Name: Arthur Martins
Position: Learning and event technology specialist, School of Law
Number of tattoos: 13
I got my first tattoo when I was 19. My daughter was just born and I wanted something that reminded me of her and kept her with me. My left arm is a Stephen King sleeve work-in-progress. King helped me find the world of books when I was a teenager. I fell in love with his multiverse and how the Dark Tower lives in the center of all existence. Artist Jason MacKenzie spent a lot of time on the detail. Also, I have a red Rebel Alliance symbol (I fell in love with Star Wars as a kid) on my right arm. Next sleeve? Star Wars.
Name: Renee Piper (CFA’18)
Number of tattoos: 1
All my life, I’ve really liked Harry Potter and reading in general. Harry Potter was special though, because it was the series I started reading in kindergarten all the way through “those magic changes.” Despite everything that was happening socially, scholastically, familially, Harry Potter was a constant. It taught me much more than schooling probably ever could: it’s quality over quantity when it comes to friends, political nuance, patience, what bravery can look like, how there isn’t one way to be a female, and all of the great lessons that school really can’t teach.
Name: Chimel Idiokitas
Position: Outreach and program director, School of Medicine
Number of tattoos: 8
I got my first tattoo 10 years ago. It is from the Bible, Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” I got it in remembrance of my grandmother, who had passed away a few months prior.
My favorite set of tattoos is probably on my upper left arm. “Believe” is my favorite word, because it reminds us to invest in ourselves no matter what. The chain link fence breaking into birds surrounding the word represents breaking away from the norm, not following the stagnant, but instead rising up and not only believing, but achieving, your dreams.
Name: Dalila Bennett (CFA’17)
Number of Tattoos: 7
The circle on my arm is a simplified moon. My sister and I both got this tattoo spontaneously in Denver, Colo., on a road trip across the country. The black half represents my sister being born during a full moon and the empty part represents me being born during a new moon.
The armband is my most recent tattoo. I got it about two months ago. There are three bands for my favorite number, and each line is half an inch apart so that I can measure anything, anytime. The top line is curved to be the outline of the top of Martha’s Vineyard because I grew up there and will always consider it my true home, regardless of where I end up.
Name: Jim Petosa
Position: Professor and director, CFA School of Theatre
Number of tattoos: 1
I got my tattoo in 2002, soon after 9/11. I was visiting a playwright friend in Brooklyn when we both thought of getting one. I went ahead, he chickened out. I knew I wanted a tattoo that would represent a symbol of idealism and optimism to me. Having gone through some difficult times, I’d learned to value the power of resilience. The woman who designed mine was terrific; we came up with the design (based on a number of existing ones) and once we worked through the drawing of it, we went for it.
After I got this one, I was eager to get a second. Apparently, that is not uncommon. But I decided to wait until I had a strong idea for what another one would mean to me. Apparently, I haven’t come up with that. In some ways, the meaning of the one I have has only deepened, so it’s probable I’ll just stick with it.
Name: Brenda Hernandez
Position: Associate director for academic and multicultural affairs, LAW
Number of tattoos: 9
The Roman numeral XVII (17) is my lucky number. I was born on July 17, my father on June 17, and one of my brothers on April 17. On my forearm is a version of the feminist symbol, but instead of the traditional woman sign, I incorporated the tree to symbolize the intersection between my feminism and my environmentalism. From people who recognize the symbol, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback. On each shoulder I have a tattoo of a cherry tree, which symbolizes the fragility of life since the tree’s existence is short-lived. I got one in full bloom, to represent my mother, and one that’s bare, to represent my father, who passed away.
Name: Ella Pestine (SAR’16, SPH’17)
Number of tattoos: 1
I got my first and only tattoo in August 2012, just before I came to BU. I had been planning to get it for a few years, but I wanted to make sure it was actually what I wanted.
My mom passed away when I was 15, just as I was starting high school. When I graduated and was packing to go to college, I was extremely nervous to be starting such a new chapter of my life without my mom. So, a few weeks before my flight to Boston, my sister took me to get my tattoo—my mom’s initials, JP. She had taught us how to sign her initials so she wouldn’t have to sign permission slips or homework for us; we would just do it ourselves. Her initials make a butterfly shape and are on my right shoulder forever, so I remember that my mom always has my back.
Name: Taylor Lawson (ENG’20)
Number of tattoos: 9
I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and home on Christmas break freshman year. I’d always abided by every rule possible and never done anything crazy. I needed some excitement in my life and had always wanted a tattoo.
Each tattoo I have has as specific meaning, whether it commemorates something I’ve overcome or something that was monumental in my life. My tattoos have been, and continue to be, a way for me to represent myself and the things I’ve been through.
Name: Brittany Costa (MET’14)
Position: Senior staff assistant, CFA School of Music
Number of tattoos: 12
My arm piece is my most recent tattoo (and my favorite). It is an original work by the wonderful Dia Moeller from Boston Tattoo Company. I didn’t really know what I wanted when I first met with Dia; I just knew that I wanted a woman’s face and vintage flowers, I wanted it on my arm, and I wanted it to be done by her. For me, this piece represents my feminist beliefs. I strongly believe in equality, especially the empowerment of women, so having this piece sketched and tattooed by a strong woman like Dia was important to me.
My back piece is probably the strangest tattoo I have, but it has the most meaning. It’s for my grandmother, Vavo Lourdes, who passed away about nine years ago. She helped raise me and was my best friend growing up. She was one of the strongest and most stubborn women I have ever known, and I have always looked up to her. This piece is an original sketch by Bryan Mullen at Art Freek Tattoo, and it represents a really old, beat-up stereo my grandmother owned when I was younger. She had to listen to her Portuguese talk radio show every day on 1400 AM and I had to help her get a good signal. Sometimes helping meant attaching forks, wire coat hangers, and aluminum foil to the antennas to get the station to come through. Now, her broken stereo—stuck on 1400 AM—will be with me everywhere I go.
Name: Bryan Stone
Position: E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism and associate dean, STH
Number of tattoos: 1
I had just gotten my niece and nephew tattoos 10 years ago, and I wanted to join them in that experience. They would come spend summers and holidays with my wife and me, and we grew very close. Getting a tattoo together was a way of marking that close relationship.
People rarely see it, but the responses are about equal between those who are surprised because I’m a faculty member and an associate dean, and those who don’t really think it’s that out of the ordinary at all.
I often think that what I’d really like to do is add some color—maybe some flames.
Name: Jennifer Beard (SPH’06)
Position: Assistant professor of global health, School of Public Health
Number of tattoos: 7
All of my tattoos are in places where I can see them, which was always an important consideration. I’ve never understood getting them on your back if you only have a few. All have some connection to British literature, which is what I did my PhD in. My armband and the woman on my leg are drawings by the poet Stevie Smith, who wrote funny, dark rhyming poems that have simple accompanying drawings that sit on the edge between sketch and doodle. The woman accompanies Smith’s famous poem “Not Waving but Drowning.” I got it the night before I defended my dissertation because I wanted to feel tough and resolute while defending and also because I wanted something to show for the pain of the dissertation process. It’s a pretty bleak poem. The speaker is basically saying: you thought I was happy all this time and waving at you cheerfully, but I was actually drowning. I’m usually a positive and happy person, but I really found the dissertation process to be painful, so the poem captured my angst. What I like about the drawing is that she is either coming out of the water or going down under. To me she is emerging.
Name: Katy Lazar (CFA’16)
Number of tattoos: 7
My side piece represents two things: my favorite holiday, Halloween, and my love for the fall. I like the symbolism of leaves falling off the trees. While spring is about renewal and birth, I think fall is about shedding negativity. You can’t renew yourself if you haven’t rid yourself of the things just adding weight to your life.
Beethoven’s signature is tattooed on my right arm. He’s my favorite composer, and I think his biography is extremely inspiring: he was losing his hearing as a composer of music and even at his darkest moments, when he contemplated suicide, art and music saved him. He had more music to share with the world and that wasn’t worth giving up, even though he was miserable. I think that’s incredible.
Name: Mike Flynn
Position: Staff electrician, Facilities Management & Planning
Number of tattoos: Probably around 35
Celtic symbolism is 90 percent of the work—mythical animals that symbolize protection and strength, the number 3, which symbolizes luck, the Holy Trinity, and Celtic knots, which most believe have an infinity connotation.
The remaining tattoos are Roman Catholic references—for example under my left upper arm, there’s St. Michael the Archangel with his foot on the head of Lucifer at the Gates of Heaven, a portrait of Jesus, a portrait of Mary holding baby Jesus. I have three angel cherubs that symbolize my three daughters, along with their names written in script.
I’m very proud of my tattoos. I’ve spent a great amount of time thinking and planning for each and every one.
Name: Amanda Gallinat (GRS’17)
Number of tattoos: 2
My first tattoo was a hyperparasitoid wasp, in the family Trigonalidae. I got it after spending several years identifying insects under a microscope, both for my personal insect collection and for my job. I thought bees, ants, and wasps in particular were really beautiful, so I started looking for an image that was both accurate and attractive for a tattoo. It took me three years to find this image; it comes from a book titled Wasps, Bees & Ants of Costa Rica (illustrated by Alejandro Herrera).
My second tattoo was about five years in the making. It’s a selection of my favorite flowering prairie plants: the purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), prairie clover (Dalea purpurea), and prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya), designed and tattooed by a California artist named Brücius in 2024. Both of my tattoos are more about aesthetics than any particular experience, but I do really love the Minnesota prairie—that’s where I first learned to love ecology and where I met my partner and many of my closest friends. I’m not originally from the Midwest, but I put down roots there, and it’s nice to have a reminder of that.
Occasionally someone will try to guess the species, and that can be fun if they’re either very good at guessing or very bad at guessing.
Name: Daniela Hernandez Sarinana (GRS’19)
Number of tattoos: 5
I got my first tattoo when I was in high school, because I was very curious about the experience. I did not have a design in mind. I just went to the parlor, chose one from the book, and did it. Years went by after my first tattoo—maybe 12 years or so—before I had the idea of getting a new one. After that I was pretty much hooked.
My fourth tattoo is related to Mexican culture; it is a set of symbols found in traditional textile garments made by the Amuzgo, an ethnic group found along the southwest Pacific coast of Mexico. Their traditional textile culture is very rich, colorful, and full of meaning. I am very proud of being Mexican, and I am always awed and impressed by so much color and story united in one country. This is my way to celebrate it and to always have it in my mind.
People are more open about tattoos now, but you can still hear expressions like: “You’re not getting a job with that; at least wear long sleeves to cover it” or “Remember, it’s something permanent and it can get boring” or the typical “How is it going to look when you are old?” My answer is: I am doing a PhD, so hopefully I will get a job; thank God it’s permanent; and it is going to look awesome in the years to come. Since I know that the story behind my tattoos is amazing, at least for me, they will never get boring. Every time I look in the mirror, I just like them more and more.
Name: Amy Fox (CAS’14)
Position: Administrative coordinator, College of General Studies
Number of tattoos: 2
My second tattoo is a dreamcatcher that starts behind my left ear, with feathers that run down my neck. I got it done when I was 20 years old, on my mother’s 50th birthday. She has a matching tattoo on her forearm. To her, the tattoo is a symbol of her connection with her family’s Native American history: her great-grandmother on her father’s side was a full-blood Native American. Growing up, that was always really important to her and resonated with her.
While my mother’s tattoo—a near carbon copy of my own—represents her connection with her heritage, mine represents everything my mother is that I hope to be. She’s the kind of person who would talk to a wall if it would listen, and so she’s always making conversation with people wherever she goes: receptionists, cashiers, you name it. She has always put others before herself, even to a fault. She has the patience of a saint. And when life throws a challenge at her, she smiles through the hardship. She is a wonderful role model of genuine kindness, stunning humanity, and incredible patience. My tattoo is a physical representation of all of the values my mom embodies, and a reminder to try to uphold them even half as well as she does.
Janice Checchio can be reached at [email protected].
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