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.

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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.

Take Note: Pa. Fiber Artist On A Lifetime Of Making Story Quilts

Dec 15, 2017
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.    

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist whose work appears in the New York Times, National Geographic and TIME Magazine. She’s covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, the Congo and Libya. In 2009, she was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant and the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer was as a part of a New York Times team for coverage of areas of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Addario’s book “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” was the 2017 Penn State Reads selection. WPSU's Emily Reddy talked with her in front of an audience at Schlow Library in State College. 

images: courtesy of John Pielmeier

Actor, Broadway playwright, movie scriptwriter and now novelist John Pielmeier grew up in Altoona and got his MFA at Penn State.  He has recently published his debut novel, titled “Hook’s Tale.” The book is a fresh take on the familiar pirate, Captain Hook, and other characters created by J.M. Barrie.

photo: courtesy of NASA & Zena Cardman

In the spring of 2017, Zena Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and a Masters Degree in marine sciences.  Then  she was one of 12 Astronaut Candidates selected by NASA out of more than 18,000 applicants. She is now training to become an astronaut.

Cardman talks about her interest in creative writing, studying microbes, working in the Antarctic (where she played in a band), sailing on a tall ship, how she feels about going to Mars, and what the chance to fly in space means to her.

Savannah Zayas pushes her daughter Layla on a swing.
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

“Schooled” is a new podcast from Keystone Crossroads that takes listeners inside public schools. Season 1 follows Savannah Zayas, a teen mom in a tough area of Philadelphia who is determined to get a diploma. Kevin McCorry, WHYY’s Keystone Crossroads education reporter, interviewed Savannah over the course of more than a year in order to make the podcast. WPSU's Emily Reddy talked with McCorry and Zayas about "Schooled.  

DON'T MISS more of our conversation with potter Roberto Lugo.  He talks about his early graffiti career, the popularity of his work today,  and about how his early experiences influence his work.  

  SEE Roberto Lugo's work. 

Intact America executive director Georganne Chapin.
Intact America

Millions of parents decide to circumcise their newborn sons for any number of reasons—religion, hygiene, family tradition—but there's a vocal anti-circumcision movement growing in the United States. Georganne Chapin, director of Intact America, says parents should wait until their child is old enough to decide for himself.

Hear Rebecca Strzelec's perspective on the future of Arts Funding under this new administration.

Rebecca Strzelec finds inspiration in what other people throw away.  A professor of Visual Arts at Penn State-Altoona, and the 2016-2017 Penn State Laureate, she describes herself as a "rescuer of objects that are underappreciated."  Her sculptural jewelry, which is fueld by yard sales and made using 3-D printing, is prized on and off the body.

Welcome to Take Note on WPSU, I’m Patty Satalia. Longtime NPR sports commentator Frank Deford died on Sunday. WPSU talked with him in 2007. Among the most celebrated and versatile writers in the country, Deford's work appeared in virtually every medium.

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