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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

October 15, 2008

2008 ELECTION SOURCES AVAILABLE — Wake Forest faculty members are available to comment on the 2008 election. Experts are available from a wide range of areas, including political science, debate, religion, law and business, covering topics such as campaign ads, presidential debates, health care, banking, political scandal and young voters. Visit for a searchable list of experts and issues.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


ELECTION REFLECTS CHANGING STATE DEMOGRAPHICS – Tight races in North Carolina’s 2008 election reflect a state that is undergoing significant political and economic changes, according to Jack Fleer, professor emeritus of political science. Fleer says the changing state demographics include a more urban population, a large influx of non-native voters who tend to be more middle class, and college-educated, professional employees with more moderate and non-ideological political views. Fleer notes that new voter registrations are giving the Democratic Party an advantage this year, although he says Republican voters tend to be more dependable in going to the polls. “Registered independents are almost one-fourth of the electorate, and will determine the outcome of most elections,” Fleer says. “Voter turnout will be key in the major contests.” Fleer does not rule out Republican gains in the state, even though the party is being outspent 8-to-1 in political advertising. “The Republican Party has shown superior get-out-the-vote efforts in recent elections, has the agent of change status at the state level and will put up a strong fight up and down the ballot,” he says.  Fleer is watching to see if historical patterns hold this year, with Republicans winning federal seats and Democrats winning state posts.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: CHANGE COMING? — After two debates in which both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama stuck to familiar talking points and avoided serious mistakes, will either break with that safe strategy for the final debate tonight?  Wake Forest experts are available to analyze the risks and potential rewards facing each candidate.

  • Allan Louden, associate professor of communication, regularly analyzes political ads and provides commentary on political debates for national media outlets. He posts debate analysis on, a Web site devoted to encouraging lively analysis of political debates.  This fall, he is teaching courses on political communication and digital politics. He also studies negativity in campaigns and recently taught a course on that topic.
  • Ross Smith, director of debate and a debate coach at Wake Forest since 1984, guided Wake Forest’s team to the national championship at the National Debate Tournament this April.  Smith has qualified more teams to the elimination rounds than any other coach in the nation during the past decade.  He recently appeared on the nationally broadcast morning show “Fox and Friends” to comment on the vice presidential debate.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.


DOES OUR ENVIRONMENT MAKE US FAT? Dr. Barry Franklin will present a free lecture, “The Downside of our Technologic Revolution:  An Obesity Conducive Environment,” at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 in Reynolds Gymnasium, Room 308. Franklin has been director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., since 1985. He teaches family medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and is former president of the American College of Sports Medicine. A prolific writer, he has authored or co-authored more than 300 scholarly papers as well as several books, including “Take a Load off Your Heart:  109 Things You Can Actually Do to Prevent, Halt and Reverse Heart Disease” and “101 Frequently Asked Questions about Health and Wellness and Nutrition and Weight.”

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


WATAUGA HIGH STUDENTS HAVE FIELD DAY WITH SCIENCE — About 40 high school chemistry and anatomy students from Watauga High School in Boone will visit Wake Forest Oct. 21 to view cutting-edge research and equipment and meet faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral students in the chemistry, physics and biology departments.  The field trip is part of Wake Forest’s STARS (Science & Technology Access for Rural Students) program.  During the visit, small groups of students will rotate among research teams, where researchers can share their excitement and results, emphasizing how their work fits into the ‘big picture.’  Wake Forest’s scientists also get a chance to explain how the core concepts students are learning in high school fit into advanced scientific study, and they will encourage high school students to study science and technology in college and to pursue research-based careers.  Organizers of the trip and participants will be available to talk about the program.

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.


MIDDLE EAST NATIVE/SCHOLAR TO SPEAK ON LIFE IN U.S. — Akram Khater, associate professor of history and director of International Programs at North Carolina State University, will present a lecture, “Becoming ‘Syrian’ in America:  A Global Geography of Ethnicity and Nation,” at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at Wake Forest University’s Scales Fine Arts Center, Room 102.  The lecture, sponsored by the Wake Forest history department, is free and open to the public.  A native of Lebanon, Khater earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, and holds master’s and doctorate degrees in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.  Before coming to N.C. State, he taught at Ball State University in Indiana.  His books include “Inventing Home:  Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921” and “A History of the Middle East:  A Sourcebook for the History of the Middle East and North Africa.”

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.


MICROSOFT EXEC TO DISCUSS CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP — What do Fortune 500 companies really think about green and social initiatives?  Are they taking them seriously, or do they think they are fads that don’t really merit a lot of attention?  Dan Bross, senior director of corporate citizenship at Microsoft, will address those and other questions about corporate social responsibility at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 in Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312.  The event is sponsored by the Babcock Graduate School of Management’s Net Impact chapter. The event is free and open to anyone with an interest in corporate social responsibility.  Bross works with a virtual team across business groups and subsidiaries worldwide to advance the company’s commitment to corporate citizenship.  He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Catawba College, where he serves on the board of trustees, and a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, or (336) 441-0027.


Examining the culture of pornography — The Porn Wars Symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum, Room 111. Participants will examine how the proliferation of pornographic imagery reaches into the daily lives of Americans. Matt Ezzell, board member of the Stop Porn Culture organization, will speak on masculinity and pop culture;Ann Scales, visiting professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, will discuss new legal remedies to address the harm caused by pornography; and Jane Caputi, professor of women’s studies at Florida Atlantic University, will show her film, “The Pornography of Everyday Life.”

  • The series will continue at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in Brendle Recital Hall with a multimedia presentation by Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College, on pornography’s effects on society, relationships and individuals.
  • A symposium on free speech will follow at the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1309, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 31. Students in the course “Teaching Feminist Activism and Creating Feminist Activists,” taught by Activist-in-Residence Patricia Willis, are taking the lead in organizing the event.

All events are free and open to the public. The Porn Wars Symposium and the multimedia presentation are limited to individuals 18 and older. Willis, her students and the presenters are all available for advance interviews.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


20 YEARS OF PROJECT PUMPKIN MAGIC — Nearly 2,500 children from 40 community agencies have been invited to participate in Wake Forest University’s “Project Pumpkin,” a Halloween celebration from 3 – 6 p.m. Oct. 28 on Hearn Plaza between Wait Chapel and Reynolda Hall. The theme for this year’s event is “20 Years of Magic,” an anniversary celebration with a fantasy theme. Wake Forest students have been visiting participating agencies to interact with the children before they arrive on campus, and to help the children create decorations for Hearn Plaza. Interviews and morning show segments with Project Pumpkin organizers and participating agency representatives can be arranged. At the event, media representatives must check in at the media table in front of Wait chapel to receive a press kit and find out which children cannot be photographed.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


HONEY, I SHRUNK THE LABORATORY! — Researchers at Wake Forest University are using nanotechnology to search for new cancer-fighting drugs through a process that could be up to 10,000 times faster than current methods.  The “Lab-on-Bead” process will screen millions of chemicals simultaneously using tiny plastic beads so small that 1,000 of them would fit across a human hair.  Each bead carries a separate chemical, which can be identified later if it displays the properties needed to treat cancer cells.  One batch of nanoscopic beads can replace the work of thousands of conventional, repetitive laboratory tests.  “This process allows the beads to do the work for you,” explains Jed Macosko, project director and assistant professor of physics at Wake Forest.  “By working at this scale, we will be able to screen more than a billion possible drug candidates per day as opposed to the current limit of hundreds of thousands per day.” Other members of the research team at Wake Forest include co-principal investigator Martin Guthold, an associate professor of physics, and Keith Bonin, department chair and professor of physics.  The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has provided funding for the research.  Contact the News Service to arrange an interview with the researchers.

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.

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