Take Note

Fridays at noon 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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Goldie Blumenstyk is a senior writer and editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She talks to WPSU about how colleges can better serve the growing number of adult learners.
Min Xian / WPSU

Goldie Blumenstyk is a reporter and editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She covers a wide range of topics and is known for her expertise on for-profit higher education, college finances and more. Her book, "American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know," talks about changing demographics in colleges and the rising cost of higher education.

Jason Wright headshot
Jody Barshinger

Jason Wright is an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. Wright is also a champion of the search for extraterrestrial life. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with him about whether he thinks there is other life in the universe, how we might go about finding it and why it matters.

Sarah Koenig spent a year inside Cleveland's criminal justice system for season three of the Serial podcast. Along the way, she met some interesting people and had a birds-eye view of what justice (and injustice) look like for lawyers, judges, defendants, police officers, and the countless others who pass through the building's courtrooms each day.

Antoine van Agtmael was the founder and CEO of the investment management firm, Emerging Markets Management, and now serves as a Senior Advisor at the Foreign Policy Group. He and Fred Bakker co-author the book, “The smartest places on Earth: Why rustbelts are the emerging hotspots of global innovation.” 

His work analyses how “emerging markets” across the globe grow and he spoke with WPSU about how the West could respond to the challenges they bring.

 

Clio Andris, assistant professor of geography, leads the Friendly Cities Lab in Penn State's Department of Geography. She and graduate student Xi Liu are in the WPSU studio for an interview.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Clio Andris, an assistant professor of geography at Penn State, and graduate student Xi Liu are using artificial intelligence to study how people around the world decorate their homes. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with them about that and other research, including what a town needs to support romantic relationships.

Charles Fergus' "A Stranger Here Below" is set in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, but draws from the author's real-world experiences.
Charles Fergus

A writer and native of central Pennsylvania, Charles Fergus is best known for his books and articles about nature and wildlife. But, his latest book is a mystery novel and period piece.

Set in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, “A Stranger Here Below” is the story of Sheriff Gideon Stoltz trying to understand what would lead the local judge to kill himself. The book draws on Fergus’s expertise as a nature writer and his personal experience with murder. 

Carol Thomas Cissel in ministerial robes and stole.
Carol Thomas Cissel

Carol Thomas Cissel is the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College. She served in various roles at Unitarian Universalist congregations in Maryland, California, Washington, Oklahoma and New Jersey for more than 15 years.

She believes that social justice work is at the core of the church. She's passionate about travel, art collecting, family, interfaith activism and building community. 

Marjorie Miller, a two-time cancer survivor, volunteers and speaks about her personal experience to raise awareness for cancer survivors.
Min Xian / WPSU

Marjorie Miller is a writer and editor for Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development. A two-time cancer survivor, she was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 12 and with breast cancer at 26. Through genetic testing, she discovered she has Li Fraumeni Syndrome, a mutation that increases her chance of getting cancers.

By now, you've no doubt heard all about the report issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But, if you only focus on the information about collusion and obstruction in the Trump administration, you are missing a whole other part of the story about Russian interference in democracy leading up to the 2016 election. Laura Rosenberger and her colleagues at the bipartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy have been working to raise awareness about this threat since the 2016 election.

Sixty-five years ago, the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court decision found that separate was not equal. We’ll talk with the organizers of a Penn State conference on the historic case, about school segregation then… and now. 

Crystal Sanders is an associate professor of history and director of the Africana Research Center at Penn State. Erica Frankenberg is associate professor of education and demography and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State.   

Shidan Majidi directed and co-produced the documentary “Me, the ‘Other,’” which has won numerous awards. The film addresses issues of hatred and prejudice, telling the stories of twelve individuals from diverse backgrounds attending colleges and universities in Michigan.

We talked with Majidi about his documentary, how to overcome prejudice and what it means to be the “other.”

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman
Min Xian / WPSU

The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, has been crisscrossing the state to hear what people have to say about legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. The “listening tour” follows Fetterman’s election as lieutenant governor. Before that, he had begun to serve in his fourth term as mayor of Braddock. Fetterman is known for his unconventional approach to politics, winning his first term as mayor by one vote. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Fetterman about legalizing marijuana, Gov.

Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor is an associate professor of history at Smith College, whose work includes the paper “The Etymology of the N-Word: Resistance, Language, and the Politics of Freedom in the Antebellum North.” She recently visited Penn State Altoona to speak about her research. And, she spoke with WPSU's Anne Danahy about the history of the N-word, how she discusses it with students and what it meant to her father, the comedian Richard Pryor. 

Bryan Stevenson is a renowned lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that “is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” The Equal Justice Initiative represents prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced or otherwise mistreated by our criminal justice system.

courtesy of the McCourtney Institute at Penn State / McCourtney Institute

NPR Political Commentator E.J. Dionne is also a Washington Post Columnist, and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  He is an author of 7 books, and most recently co-author of “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported.”  Dionne says President Trump has flouted the norms of democracy and the presidency.  And he offers ideas about renewing civic engagement, and how the U.S. can move forward after the Trump era.

Srdja Popovic is an activist and author of the book “Blueprint for Revolution: how to use rice pudding, Lego men, and other non-violent techniques to galvanise communities, overthrow dictators, or simply change the world.” Popovic was a founder of the student movement “Otpor!” or “Resistance!” The movement helped oust the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, who was later charged with war crimes. Popovic served in the Serbian parliament and in 2003 founded Canvas, a nonprofit focused on teaching the use of nonviolence to promote human rights and democracy.

Five people participating in panel discussion
Min Xian / WPSU

As part of the WPSU series on School Safety efforts in central Pennsylvania, we invited a group of parents, students and educators to discuss school safety, what it means and what we should be doing to get there.

Lori Bedell moderated the discussion. Bedell teaches rhetoric at Penn State and is part of Deliberation Nation, which guides students through discussions, and she serves on the State College Area school board.

State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman
Min Xian / WPSU

WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman about issues ranging from recreational marijuana to the prospects of raising Pennsylvania's minimum wage. Corman represents the 34th district, which includes Centre, Mifflin and Juniata counties and parts of Huntingdon County. He has served in the Senate since 1999, and won reelection last year. In 2014, Corman became Senate majority leader, making him second in command in the Senate.

Jonathan Haidt
Jayne Riew

These days, political polarization is on the rise as support for democracy declines in the U.S. and around the world.

Why is it so hard for us to get along? And, what can we do about it?

We talked with social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt about the moral foundations of politics and how our kids can play their way to a better democracy.  

John Champagne standing
Penn State

WPSU's Anne Danahy talks with John Champagne, a professor of English at Penn State Behrend, the Erie campus, chair of the Global Languages and Cultures program and this year's Penn State Laureate. They talk about politics in art, the difference between meanings and messages in art, and the role of art in fascism.

Mark Focht is the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for New York City Parks.

He previously worked in Philadelphia for more than 15 years, including serving as First Deputy Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

He talks with us about his passion for improving the quality and accessibility of urban environments and how green spaces help our health and well-being.

Take Note: Two Former Staffers Remember Fred Rogers

Feb 8, 2019
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. 

The next census won’t start until 2020, but the U.S. Census Bureau is already hard at work on preparing to count the more than 325 million people in the United States. The census is one of the few democratic norms that’s required by the Constitution, and the data collected has wide-ranging uses.

Powell Watts described her novel as "'The Great Gatsby' set in rural North Carolina, nine decades later, with desperate black people." Stephanie Powell Watts is a writer and associate professor of English at Lehigh University. Her debut novel, "No One Is Coming to Save Us," won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and was the inaugural selection by Sarah Jessica Parker for the American Library Association's Book Club Central.

We talked with Powell Watts about representation in literature and how her debut novel draws on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby."

Ron Haviv
Adrian Whipple

Ron Haviv is an Emmy nominated, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of the photo agency VII, which is dedicated to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe.

Shawn Morelli
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State graduate and retired U.S. Army Major Shawn Morelli took up cycling after an explosion during her service in Afghanistan caused brain trauma, blindness in her left eye and severe damage to her spine and neck.

Katharine Hayhoe
Ashley Rodgers / Texas Tech University

An atmospheric scientist and evangelical Christian, Katharine Hayhoe is known for her ability to communicate science to everyday people, including skeptics of climate change. She is an award-winning professor at Texas Tech University and is involved in a number of educational initiatives, including hosting "Global Weirding," a public media program on YouTube.

Tanya Wright is a familiar face to television audiences. She appeared in ER, NYPD Blue, 24, and The Good Wife. She completed 7 seasons on HBO's cult hit True Blood as Deputy Kenya Jones. And she currently plays Crystal Burset on the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. 

She's also the writer, director and star of Butterfly Rising, a feature film that was a finalist in many competitions. She wrote a book of the same name. 

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley / Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

In this edition of Take Note, WPSU’s Kristine Allen speaks with Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, the great, great, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens.  Hawksley is also an author in her own right.  One of her many books, “Dickens’s Artistic Daughter Katey: Her Life, Loves and Impact,” has recently been updated with new information.

Seria Chatters is the director of diversity and inclusivity for the State College Area School District.
Cheraine Stanford / WPSU

Seria Chatters is the first-ever director of diversity and inclusivity for the State College Area School District. She draws from both her personal and professional experiences to inform her work.

Before taking her current position, she was an assistant professor in Penn State's Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education. 

Chatters talked with WPSU about her first semester on the job and what she hopes to accomplish in the position. 

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