Take Note

Fridays at 1pm and Sundays at 7am

Listen to conversations about issues that matter. WPSU’s weekly community affairs radio program features in-depth interviews with central Pennsylvania newsmakers.

Subscribe to the Take Note podcast.

Cory Geishauser and Joanne Peacock Loebig both worked on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
Carolyn Donaldson / WPSU

From the first time Fred Rogers, known to his fans across generations as Mister Rogers, walked through that famous door and into our living rooms on February 19, 1968, his warmth, his kindness, and ability to talk to children on their level was television magic.

By changing from his dress shoes into sneakers and donning one of his many cardigan sweaters–each knitted by his mother–welcoming us as he fed the fish, Mister Rogers made us feel that he was talking directly to us when we were children. 

"Eat First, Cry Later" author Mimi Brash Coppersmith.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

In State College in the late 1950s, she was a rarity: a progressive, a business owner, and a woman.

Mimi Barash Coppersmith celebrates her 85th birthday with a newly published memoir, "Eat First, Cry Later: The Life Lessons Of A First-Generation College Graduate, Penn State Alumna and a Female CEO." It recounts 48 life lessons drawn from an exceptional life brimming with triumphs and tragedies. She talked with Patty Satalia for WPSU's Take Note. 

Karen Washington is a community activist and the co-owner of Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York. She’s been working to improve city living and promote urban farming since 1985.

WPSU's Lindsey Whissel Fenton talked with her about the importance of access to fresh, quality food, about some of the challenges facing 21st century farmers, and about getting community projects off the ground.

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

This episode of Take Note is part of "State of Emergency: Searching for solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioids epidemic." State of Emergency is a combined effort of newsrooms across the state to draw attention to programs, therapies and strategies that are actually showing promise in the fight against this public health crisis.

Take Note: Find Out How TV Can Be Good For You

May 25, 2018
Robin Nabi
Robin Nabi

What we consume is directly linked to our health and it's been that way for a long time. Consider the phrase, "You are what you eat." Or think about the term: "Junk Food."

But what about your media diet? Can TV actually be good for you? Dr. Robin Nabi of UC Santa Barbara thinks so.

WPSU's Bill Hallman talked to her about that and her 20 year career studying emotion.

Tommie Smith, Wyomia Tyus and Dr. Harry Edwards.
WPSU

At the 1968 Olympics, gold medalist Tommie Smith took the podium and raised his fist in what became one of the most iconic sports moments of all time. Wyomie Tyus dedicated her '68 gold medal to Smith. Sociologist Harry Edwards helped organize the protests. WPSU's Lindsey Whissel Fenton talked with Smith, Tyus, and Dr. Edwards about the lasting impact of the 1968 Olympic games.

Iraqi citizen Basim Razzo and Penn State professor Sam Richards.
Min Xian / WPSU

In a TED Talk at Penn State in 2010, sociology professor Sam Richards put forward a challenge of empathy. He showed the audience a picture of two captured Iraqi insurgents and asked them to put themselves in these men’s shoes – to think about their lives, their families and why they were fighting.

Not long after, on the other side of the world in Iraq, Basim Razzo saw that video and got in touch with Dr. Richards. Razzo has since been a frequent speaker at Richards’ classes – via Skype – and now Richards’ students have raised the money to bring Razzo to Penn State.   

Lindsey Whissel Fenton / WPSU

Wade Davis is a former professional football player turned writer, public speaker, and educator. Davis, who publicly came out as gay in 2012, is the NFL’s first LGBT inclusion consultant.

He also works with other professional sports leagues and Fortune 500 companies to build more inclusive corporate cultures and address issues related to sexism, racism, and homophobia. As part of his work, he urges viewers to reconsider their definitions of "masculinity." 

John Urschel is a PhD candidate in applied mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author of several peer-reviewed papers.

Urschel is also a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and the Penn State Nittany Lions. He graduated from Penn State with a bachelors and master’s degree in mathematics all with a 4.0 grade point average.

He was also awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy in 2013, which honors the top college football scholar-athlete in the nation. In 2017, he was named one of Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in science.

2017-18 Penn State Laureate Andrew Belser
Cody Goddard / Penn State

What does aging mean to you?  It probably depends on how old you are.  That is exactly what Penn State Laureate Andy Belser had in mind when he created his award-winning video installation: "FaceAge.” It is a three-screen experience that guides viewers through "cross-generational encounters." The filmed interactions between millennials and aging adults are captivating and compassionate and they have a way of making the viewer think more deeply about what it means to get old.

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

Danielle Dormer is a mother and Army veteran in long term recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. She uses her experience to help Penn State students, serving as the Assistant Program Coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Community. She is also earning her Masters of Education in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at Penn State, where she completed her undergraduate degree in 2017 earning a 4.0 GPA and the Outstanding Adult Student Award. She spoke with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford for Take Note. 

Lisa Ko, author of "The Leavers."
Lisa Ko

Author Lisa Ko's debut novel, "The Leavers," won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. The novel explores issues relating to immigration and identity after Polly Guo, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to work one morning and never returns home. Her 11-year-old son, Deming, is placed in foster care and eventually adopted by a white family that changes his name to Daniel.

Ky Dickens filming "Zero Weeks."
Ky Dickens

Ky Dickens’ 2017 documentary “Zero Weeks” explores the paid leave crisis in the U.S. Dickens debuted the film at the “White House Summit on the United States of Women” hosted by Oprah and Michelle Obama. She spoke with WPSU’s Lindsey Whissel Fenton about the film, which screened recently in State College.

Penn State Child Study Center director Karen Bierman and SCASD superintendent Bob O’Donnell.
Sarah Khalida / WPSU

Bullying is an issue in K-12 schools across the country. Live on Facebook and armed with questions submitted ahead of time by parents, we talked with a school official and a researcher tackling the issue here in central Pennsylvania.

Bob O’Donnell is superintendent of the State College Area School District and Dr. Karen Bierman is director of the Child Study Center at Penn State and a professor whose 35 years of research focus on prevention programs that promote self-regulation and positive peer relations. 

You can watch the full Facebook Live interview here: 

This interview originally aired on May 6, 2016.

Richard Biever and Tammy Miller.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

WPSU's Carolyn Donaldson talked with FUSE Productions' Producing Artistic Director Richard Biever about the theater company's upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along." He was joined by community leader Tammy Miller, who is part of an auxiliary project, "Dreams Don't Die," where community members share stories of pursuing their dreams.

Harold Shapiro

“Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” is a book that looks at how African American leaders–with the best intentions–made choices that eventually helped create mass incarceration.

Twenty years ago, Penn State professor Michael Bérubé wrote a book about raising his young son Jamie, who has Down syndrome. Jamie is now 26 years old. Michael has written a follow-up book, “Life as Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up,” which explores Jamie’s growing independence, his difficulty finding a fulfilling job, and more. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Michael and Jamie about the book.

Farmland on the road that runs between Titusville and Corry School Districts.
Kevin McCorry / Keystone Crossroads

In the past, the Keystone Crossroads reporting project, which WPSU is a part of, has looked at the issues facing education in cities. Kevin McCorry is the education reporter and the editor of the project.

original photo: Paul M. Howey

B.J. Leiderman wrote the theme music for many public radio shows, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Marketplace and Science Friday. After decades in the music business, as a composer and performer, Leiderman has finally released his very first album of songs.  On Take Note, BJ Leiderman talks with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about his album, his obsession with the Beatles, and how to write catchy theme music. We also hear a bit of music from the album.

Seth Miller is the Executive Director of The Innocence Project of Florida, a non-profit that aims to free wrongfully convicted and incarcerated people. He is also President of the Innocence Network, a collection of more than 70 innocence organizations around the world. Miller discusses what it takes to free wrongfully convicted people from behind bars and how he works to reform the criminal justice system.

photo: courtesy of Scott Sackett & Paul Lamont

On Thursday, January 4 at 8:00pm, WPSU-TV will broadcast the PBS documentary, “Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam” about the history of the Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pennsylvania. 

This interview originally aired Sept. 25, 2015.

Tina Williams Brewer with a collection of her story quilts.
Mark Stitzer / WPSU

Tina Williams Brewer is a Pittsburgh-based fiber artist who specializes in making story quilts. Her work has been displayed in more than 50 major venues in the U.S. and at international venues such as the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. Known for her artistic exploration of African-American history, her quilts often focus on family, women and children, and spirituality. Brewer is one of four artists profiled in the WPSU-TV program “Pennsylvania Folklore: Woven Together,” which airs on WPSU on Thursday, Dec.

Take Note: Aija Mayrock On How To Survive Teen Bullying

Dec 14, 2017
Carolyn Donaldson with Aija Mayrock, the author of “The Survival Guide to Bullying.”
WPSU

As the victim of bullying since childhood, Aija Mayrock fought back writing “The Survival Guide to Bullying” in her teens.  As she says today at 22, “I realized that I had to create a little, yet powerful survival guide that any kid could use as a life-saving device when they were being bullied in the gym, the cafeteria, the locker room, the class room, the hallways — anywhere.  A guide that could be a road map, a flashlight, or a friend. So here it is. This book is my gift to you.”  WPSU’s Carolyn Donaldson talked with Mayrock for “Take Note.” 

A staff writer for the New Yorker and a professor of journalism at Columbia University, Jelani Cobb writes about politics, culture and race. He brings both historical insight and an eloquent writing style to topics ranging from football players kneeling during the national anthem to political battles over bathrooms. His writing has won awards and appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of several books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He is also known for his appearances on national television and radio programs.

Dr. Holmes Morton
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Dr. Holmes Morton is a Harvard-trained doctor and McArthur “genius award” winner. He has dedicated his life to working with the Pennsylvania “Plain” people and is working to build a new clinic in Belleville, Pennsylvania. This largely Amish and Mennonite community about 40 minutes southeast of State College deals with a number of genetic diseases that are Dr. Morton’s specialty. Dr.

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch is the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch's career in museums spans nearly thirty years. Prior to his current position, Bunch worked at the National Museum of American History, the California African American Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. WPSU's Cheraine Stanford talked with Bunch about the ten years it took to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its importance to the American story.

This interview originally aired May 27, 2016.

The State College Area School District has proposed changes to the school day. The elementary school day would be longer, and middle and high school would start later.

To talk about these proposed changes and some of the research behind these recommendations, I’m joined in the studio by superintendent Bob O’Donnell, and Penn State researchers Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, who studies the effects of sleep on cognitive performance, and Dr. Ed Fuller, who’s Director of the Penn State Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis.    

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