Sam Richards

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.   

Pictures of voters
Min Xian / WPSU

In a sense, Inauguration Day resembles the New Year: making resolutions and welcoming a new era with a concert and fireworks. Among State College residents, asked about the new administration, there’s hope, concern and everything in between.

Sam Richards teaches race and ethnic relations in the sociology department at Penn State.

“I think we are in for a very interesting four years," he said. "And I suspect that there’s never going to be a dull moment.”

Christy Carfagno is a senior also from the sociology department.