Take Note

Fridays at 12:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m.

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.

(Transcripts available upon request.)

Kelly Holder is the Director of the Office of Professional Mental Health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center. She talked about mental health challenges and what people can do to to keep their minds active and positive during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TRANSCRIPT:

Nancy Thomas is the Director of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. She discussed the challenges student voters could face in the upcoming presidential election, and what colleges and universities can do to eliminate barriers and motivate students to get out and vote. 

This interview is from the Democracy Works podcast, a collaboration between WPSU and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. The Institute’s Jenna Spinelle interviewed Nancy Thomas.

Janet Williams is the Director of Community Outreach for the mid and South Atlantic regions at Autism Speaks. In her latest article, "Making Progress Toward the Dream: Autism in the Black Community," Williams shares her thoughts about the barriers to autism diagnosis in the Black community. She recently started Autism Speaks' newest interfaith initiative called "Blue Blessings" to help faith-based communities create more inclusive spaces for people with autism.  

 

   

Kim Ruocco is the Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, better known as TAPS, an organization that provides comfort, care, and resources to those grieving the death of a military loved one. She is the surviving widow of Marine Corps Major John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.

Kim uses her education, personal experience and information gathered from thousands of survivors to help others more fully understand suicide and serves as an advisor to WPSU’s Speaking Grief initiative.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, many students are returning to colleges and universities across the U.S. 

In central Pennsylvania, that includes Penn State, Pitt Bradford, and Juniata College. 

Kevin Kinser is a Penn State professor and head of the Department of Education Policy Studies. He’s a senior scientist at Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and has written several books about higher ed. 

Divine Lipscomb talked with WPSU about how his own experience turned him into an advocate for better supporting those reentering society.
Courtesy of Annemarie Mountz

Divine Lipscomb is a formerly incarcerated student studying rehabilitation and human services at Penn State. He also works as a special projects coordinator for the Restorative Justice Initiative in the College of Education, where he creates dialogue around the intersection of race, institutional barriers and trauma associated with incarceration. He’s the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Adult Student Award and Stand Up Award from the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State.

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

School districts across Pennsylvania are finalizing plans for reopening classrooms and teaching students remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell and school board President Amber Concepcion about how that district is preparing for the fall.

TRANSCRIPT

Mack Brady was two weeks shy of his ninth birthday when he died unexpectedly from a blood infection on New Year’s Eve in 2012. In the time since, his parents, Elizabeth and Christian Brady, have both used writing as an outlet for their own grief and as a way to help others who are grieving. 

Click here to read some of Elizabeth’s essays. 

Read an excerpt from Christian’s new book, Beautiful and Terrible Things: A Christian Struggle with Suffering, Grief, and Hope:

Terry Engelder, professor emeritus of geosciences at Penn State, holding a large rock.
John Beale / Penn State

In 2007, Terry Engelder, then a professor of geosciences at Penn State, estimated how much natural gas could be accessed in the Marcellus Shale formation using hydrofracking. That calculation led to a drilling boom across the Marcellus region in Pennsylvania.

Widely recognized for his work, Engelder has advised state agencies and received funding from companies in the industry. Now retired and a professor emeritus, Engelder is working on a book called “A Frackademic from Appalachia.” 

On May 25th, a police officer killed George Floyd while arresting him by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Videos of Floyd’s killing have led to weeks of protests across the country and calls for police reform.

Penn State professors Eleanor Brown and Ben Jones recently wrote an OpEd that ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer about barriers to police reform and State College’s own police killing of a Black man with schizophrenia, Osaze Osagie. 

 

Dr. Tashel Bordere is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research focuses on grief and loss among African American youth. She’s authored numerous publications focused on black youth affected by homicide, gun violence, and race-based trauma and has identified the term suffocated grief to describe when normal grief reactions among marginalized populations are not only dismissed, but punished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This interview originally aired Dec. 6, 2019. 

Veteran law enforcement officers Damon K. Jones and Cariol Horne are speaking out against police brutality and calling for reform.

They talked with WPSU about the challenges they have faced as minorities in the police force, their thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement and why change is necessary.

Transcript:

MIN XIAN/WPSU

Sandra Charles is the Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Health Services for the Library of Congress, a position that combines her medical expertise with her passion for educating others. She talks with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford about her life and why she thinks we need to talk about mental health as openly as we do about cancer or diabetes.

Pre-K-12 schools in Pennsylvania were closed for the last three months of the school year that just ended, due to coronavirus concerns. Gov. Tom Wolf told schools to move to a digital learning model.

We talked about the effects of the shutdown on students with Ed Fuller, an associate professor in the College of Education at Penn State.   

TRANSCRIPT:

Emily Reddy:

Candis Watts Smith and Tehama Lopez Smith.
Candis Watts Smith and Tehama Lopez Smith

We’re bringing you an interview to give some context to the discussions about racism and inequality that are happening in the U.S. right now.

We’ll talk with Tehama Lopez Bunyasi and Candis Watts Smith, coauthors of a book called “Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making all Black Lives Matter,” which looks at the history of structural racism in the U.S. and gives people information and tools to become antiracists.

Courtesy Brandon Ogbunu

Brandon Ogbunu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. He uses experimental evolution, mathematical modeling, and computational biology to better understand diseases. He is interested in the interactions of epidemics, evolution, and society.

He talked with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford about his latest novel coronavirus research and the interactions between race, social justice, and COVID-19.

Sascha Meinrath, the Palmer Chair in Telecommunications at Penn State, talked about the digital divide in the time of COVID-19.
Photo provided

Increasingly, our daily lives are online, especially during the coronavirus shutdown. But access to the internet is not always equal, which was exacerbated by the shutdown. And the privacy implications of our online lives are sometimes an afterthought.

PATRICK MANSELL

Daryl Cameron is an assistant professor of psychology and a research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. His work focuses on the psychological processes involved in empathy and moral decision-making. He looks at the reasons behind people’s empathic emotions and behaviors toward others, including their responses to significant crises like the coronavirus pandemic.   

Jenny Van Hook is the Roy C. Buck Professor of Sociology and Demography at Penn State and a former member of the Census Advisory Board.
Jenny Van Hook

The COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. intensified just as the 2020 Census was getting underway in earnest. As Americans fill their days with news about the new coronavirus, the Census Bureau is doing everything it can to spread the word about completing the Census online while grappling with how to do critical in-person follow up during a time of social distancing. As our guest this week explains, the consequences of an undercount directly impact public health in significant ways.

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, grief advocate and author of It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand. She's the founder of Refuge in Grief, an online community that helps people understand grief and navigate loss.

Interviewer Lindsey Whissel Fenton worked with Devine on WPSU's multiplatform project Speaking Grief.  

Erika Saunders is the chair of psychiatry and behavioral health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health.
Erika Saunders

The coronavirus pandemic has brought sharp awareness to physical wellbeing, shelter-in-place orders and social distancing practices aim to keep our bodies safe and healthy.

But what about our minds? What effects might longterm shelter orders and social distancing have on our mental health?

We talked about this with Erika Saunders, the chair of psychiatry and behavioral health at the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Andy Grant:

John Davis / Speaking Grief

Speaking Grief is a multi-platform project that aims to create a more grief-aware society. The public television documentary, Speaking Grief, premieres Tuesday, May 5th at 8pm on WPSU-TV.  It will also air on public TV stations around the country starting this month.

Bernice Hausman is chair of the Department of Humanities in the Penn State College of Medicine. She’s recognized for her research on vaccines and breastfeeding, including why both can be controversial in the United States. She has written several books, most recently "Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy," which was published last year. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Hausman about what we can learn from past vaccine controversies about the COVID-19 epidemic.

Courtesy Jodi F. Solomon Speakers Bureau

Robert Bullard has spent four decades shining a light on issues of environmental racism and fighting for environmental justice. He talks with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford about how the coronavirus pandemic is highlighting existing social inequalities and why he thinks climate and environmental justice are essential issues for the upcoming election. 

TRANSCRIPT: Cheraine Stanford:

Penn State assistant professor of biology Nita Bharti.
Nita Bharti

On this Take Note, we talked about public health messaging, specifically how the U.S. government has communicated about and reacted to the coronavirus outbreak. Also, how dealing with a pandemic is different in a democracy than in an authoritarian country.

Our guest was Nita Bharti, an assistant professor of biology and the Lloyd Huck Early Career Professor in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State.

Courtesy Matthew Ferrari

Matthew Ferrari is an epidemiologist and associate professor of biology at Penn State who studies infectious diseases and how they spread across populations. He uses mathematical and statistical tools to understand patterns of disease incidence. He talked with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford about the new coronavirus, what we know, what we don’t and what it means for our community and our country.

Carol Kuniholm sitting in the radio studio
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Among the things Pennsylvania is known for in politics is being home to some of the most gerrymandered legislative districts in the country. Carol Kuniholm is one of the people trying to change that. Kuniholm is chairwoman of Fair Districts Pennsylvania, and she’s leading an effort to permanently change how voting districts in Pennsylvania are drawn. She spoke with WPSU's Anne Danahy about the group's push for change in time for the state's upcoming redistricting.

In her book, “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore,” Elizabeth Rush takes readers around the country to see rising tides . Rush talks with people around the country who have lost their homes and communities; with scientists who study what’s happening; and with conservationists trying to find ways to restore wetlands. Rush’s book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Rush, who will be in State College March 23 to give a talk at 7 p.m. at Schlow Library to celebrate Earth Day.

Penn State associate professor Dr. Darryl Thomas and professor Dr. Gary King, who wrote "More Rivers to Cross: A Report on the Status of African American Professors at Penn State University."
Min Xian / WPSU

A new report titled "More Rivers to Cross: A Report on the Status of African American Professors at Penn State University" finds that there's a shortage of black faculty at the university and offers some reasons for why that is.

Penn State professor Dr. Gary King, and associate professor Dr. Darryl Thomas prepared the report with the input of other black faculty.

Bill Doan is a professor of theatre at Penn State. The university selected Doan to be the 2019-20 Penn State Laureate, a role that spotlights the arts and humanities. For Doan, that means performances, drawings and talks focused on anxiety and depression and how art, science and health can work together. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Doan about his work and his own struggles with anxiety, depression and loss.

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