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.)

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.

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.

This interview is from the Democracy Works podcast, a collaboration between WPSU and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy 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.

Documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand in the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

In 1995, one of the deadliest heat waves in the United States killed 739 people in Chicago. Why was the death count so high? And why were the deaths concentrated in poor, mostly African American neighborhoods? In her new documentary "Cooked: Survival by Zip Code," filmmaker Judith Helfand says it wasn't the heat that killed these people, but generations of institutional racism. 

Doug Wentzel, program director at the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, and retired Penn State researcher Greg Grove sitting in studio
Anne Danahy / WPSU

A recent study published in the journal Science found the number of birds in North America is plummeting. The bird population dropped by more than a quarter over the past 50 years. Grassland birds, shore birds and songbirds are all affected. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Greg Grove, editor of Pennsylvania Birds, and Doug Wentzel, president of the State College Bird Club, about bird watching and those trends

Shaheen Pasha is launching a prison journalism program in central Pennsylvania.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State assistant teaching professor Shaheen Pasha is an advocate for more journalism courses to be taught in prison.

She talked with WPSU about a reporting class she taught to both prisoners and journalism students in Massachusetts, the benefits of learning about our mass incarceration system from the people who are living it and her plan to create a program here in central Pennsylvania. TRANSCRIPT:  

Min Xian: Welcome to Take Note on WPSU. I'm Min Xian.

Maxwell King talks about his books that tells the story of Fred Rogers.
photo provided

Maxwell King is the best-selling author of "The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers." King talks about why he wrote the book and gives insight into the life of Mister Rogers, the unfailingly kind, compassionate namesake neighbor of the beloved "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

To learn more about Rogers' legacy visit the Fred Rogers Center and Fred Rogers Productions.

TRANSCRIPT:

Brian Wray discusses his books that focus on issues related to children's mental and emotional health.
Min Xian / WPSU

Brian Wray is an award-winning children’s book author for his book “Unraveling Rose” about a toy bunny rabbit with OCD. His latest book, “Max’s Box,” talks about what happens when negative emotions are suppressed. Both of his picture books focus on children’s mental and emotional health.

TRANSCRIPT:

Kirsten Tekavec: Welcome to Take Note on WPSU, I'm Kirsten Tekavec.

Underground cartoonist R. Crumb and Penn State Professor Jerry Zolten sitting in the WPSU studio
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Robert Crumb is best known as an underground cartoonist, whose work, including Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, remains controversial. But Crumb is also a collector and celebrator of old blues records. Jerry Zolten is a professor of communication arts and sciences and integrative arts at Penn State Altoona. His work includes the book “Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music.” WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Crumb and Zolten about their love of old blues music and records.

Shih-In Ma
Cheraine Stanford / WPSU

Shih-In Ma is a social justice advocate who works to promote diversity and inclusion in Centre County. 

The State College native and Penn State alum, left a corporate career at IBM to begin a journey of spirituality, self-reflection and meditation. Her journey has taken her around the world and included spending four years in India with Amma, who's known as the hugging saint.

Shih-In Ma teaches meditation and shares opportunities for others to gain better insight and understanding of those around them.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jessie Sage, left, and James Tison talk about the stigma their communities face.
WPSU

Jessie Sage is a sex worker who writes and speaks publicly on issues related to sex work, feminism, and social justice. James Tison is a stand-up comedian in New York who uses humor to fight stigma against his LGBTQ identity and life with HIV.

Sage and Tison recently spoke at an event at Penn State called “Facts not Fear: A Night to Fight Stigma,” and talked with WPSU about fighting the sigma their communities face. 

This Take Note interview talks about sex work and might not be suitable for children to hear. 

Peter Forster talks with WPSU about why cybersecurity shouldn't be an afterthought in today's world.
Min Xian / WPSU

Peter Forster is an associate professor who teaches security and risk analysis at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. His research focuses on cybersecurity, counter-terrorism and social networks. Forster has worked on improving law enforcement’s situational awareness of issues such as drug and human trafficking. He also oversees a research project on better understanding of how extremist organizations recruit Americans in cyberspace.

Molly Melching sitting in front of microphone
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Molly Melching first went to Senegal in 1974 as an exchange student from the University of Illinois. But, instead of returning to the United States, she stayed on, eventually creating a nonprofit organization to educate and empower women and communities. That organization Tostan created and implemented educational programs focused on human rights, health, literacy, financial management and childhood development. It may be best known for leading thousands of communities in Africa to end female genital cutting and forced childhood marriage.

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:

Take Note: Lacresha Berry On Bringing Vulnerabilities Into Her Art And Her One Woman Show, "Tubman"
Min Xian / WPSU

Ben Wideman is the campus pastor for 3rd Way Collective. He helps Penn State students grapple with big questions that lie at the intersection of faith, peace, and social justice.

Wideman talked with WPSU about his Mennonite background, how he came to do this work, and what it means to find a third way in a country that often wants us to choose sides.

Lacresha Berry talks about her most recent show, "Tubman," with WPSU.
Courtesy of Lacresha Berry

Lacresha Berry is a singer, actor, writer and educator living in Queens, New York. Her work infuses her life experiences into a broader, historical context. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. Her most recent one woman show, "Tubman," reimagines Harriet Tubman, the famous underground railroad conductor, as a 21st century student in Harlem, New York. 

Berry talked with WPSU about why she think Tubman's story still resonates with today's audience and how her career in teaching influence her art work, and vice versa.

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