SearchDirectoriesHelpSite MapHome
Wake Forest University

News Releases

Stories this week at Wake Forest University

July 9, 2009

CHEROKEE YOUTH EXPLORE CAREERS AND TECHNOLOGY – Twenty-eight high school students from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will spend three and a half days at Wake Forest preparing for college in the context of Cherokee culture, values, history and community during the College Careers and Technology program July 19-22. During the program, the students will learn how to use technology-based research tools and develop problem-solving research skills in the sciences. Case studies will involve researching American Indian role models and how American Indians used plants, among other topics. The program is a collaboration among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL) and the Religion and Public Engagement initiative through Wake Forest’s religion department with support from American Ethnic Studies.

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

BUILDING FAMILY CONNECTIONS THROUGH A SERVICE LEARNING TRIP TO VIETNAM – Fourteen Wake Forest students will travel to Vietnam and Cambodia July 20-Aug. 15 as part of an annual service learning trip which combines cultural immersion and intensive study with a service project. The students will explore political economics and entrepreneurship within the communist political system of Vietnam. They will spend several days helping refurbish a schoolhouse in Kien Giang, as well as tour historic and cultural sites in Vietnam and Cambodia. Callistus Nguyen, a junior majoring in physics, will meet his Vietnamese extended family for the first time during the trip. His father served in the South Vietnamese navy. Kyle Bridges, a senior majoring in history, will be traveling to Vietnam as a student almost 40 years to the day after  his father went as a there as a soldier. “The Vietnam War has always been a very real thing in our family,” says Bridges, who will be working in the same region where his father served during the war. Peter Siavelis, associate professor of political science, and Betsy Gatewood, director of the University Office of Entrepreneurship, are teaching intensive courses in political economy and foundations of entrepreneurship as part of this service learning trip. Mary Gerardy, dean of campus life and associate vice president for student life, organizes the annual trip through the Pro Humanitate Center at Wake Forest.


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

RECENT SUPREME COURT RULING UNLIKELY TO STALL SOTOMAYOR NOMINATION – The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn an appeals court ruling concerning Connecticut firefighters is unlikely to end Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, according to Wake Forest political science professor Katy Harriger.  Harriger says the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case was the most likely outcome, “especially given the school desegregation case in 2007 which was also decided 5-4.” In both cases, Harriger notes that Souter was in the minority, so she says on this issue, Sotomayor isn’t a “game changer.” Even so, Harriger notes that the federal judicial nomination process has become a highly politicized one over the last several decades and there is every reason to expect that this nomination will face challenges from the opposing party and interest groups aligned with it. The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the Sotomayor nomination July 13 and a Senate vote on her confirmation is expected before the summer recess begins Aug. 7. Harriger is an expert on the Supreme Court and is available to discuss its history, trends and the nomination process.

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

PREDICTING THE EXTINCTION OF PLANTS IN THE AMAZON – As many as 4,550 of the more than 50,000 plant species in the Amazon  will likely disappear because of land-use changes and habitat loss within the next 40 years, according to a new study by two Wake Forest researchers.  The study appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is co-authored by Kenneth Feeley, post-doctoral research fellow, and Miles Silman, associate professor of biology at Wake Forest.  “We predict that 5 to 9 percent of the trees and other plant species studied here will become extinct by 2050 as more land is used to raise crops and livestock and habitat is lost,” Feeley says.   The researchers examined several hundred thousand individual plant records to map the distributions of more than 40,000 species found in the Amazon.  Using these maps in conjunction with predictions of future deforestation and land-use change, they estimate habitat loss and extinction risks individually for nearly 80 percent of all Amazonian plant species—something that has never been done.  “While previous studies have indicated that we are in danger of losing large numbers of species, they were limited in not providing specific enough results to aid in the design of conservation strategies,” Feeley says.   The current study provides detailed information that can be used to target conservation action toward individual species that are at high risk of extinction or at specific areas that are especially important to preservation of diversity.

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

PROFESSOR TO RUN IN SOLIDARITY WITH APACHES - Wake Forest has developed an ongoing relationship with the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona through the annual Feather and Stone Exchange. Steve Boyd, professor and chair of Wake Forest’s religion department, organized the exchange and frequently participates in activities with the tribe. On July 23, Boyd will participate in the Mount Graham Sacred Run, which he describes as part spiritual discipline, part political theater, part cultural recovery and part legal action. “Runners go through a purification ritual and sweat lodge prior to running,” he says. “A sacred staff, blessed by tribal medicine men, is carried from the starting point to Mount Graham, where a ceremony takes place and a group climbs to the top of the mountain to obtain water to be used in ceremonies from a spring considered holy.” Mount Graham was originally part of the San Carlos Reservation, but was separated from the reservation and control of the peak has been given to the University of Arizona for an observatory. Boyd says that as a result, the Apache must apply for a permit from the federal government to reach their most sacred site. This will be Boyd’s seventh run. “The Run is powerful, strenuous, fun, healing and magical. Through my experiences in San Carlos, I have learned that each and every one of us— no matter how different we may be— is necessary for the well-being of everyone else.”  Boyd is currently helping the San Carlos Apache in their efforts to prevent the federal government from giving away yet another portion of their traditional lands, this time to a British copper mining company.

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

IS INFLATION LOOMING? ECONOMIC HISTORIAN SAYS ‘YES’ –  As the so-called “Great Recession” drags on amid scattered signs of recovery, economists continue to debate whether deflation or inflation poses the greater threat.  While some haven’t made up their minds, Robert Whaples, department chair and professor of economics at Wake Forest is unequivocal.  “Deflation?  If you've never heard of it, you aren't alone,” Whaples says.  “My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and they’ve never lived through a single year of deflation.  Once the U.S. left the gold standard during the Great Depression, deflation was basically consigned to the waste bin of history.  With the recent ballooning of the money supply and massive borrowing by the federal government, it will be hard not to have a noticeable uptick in inflation in the not-too-distant future.”  Whaples is the former director of EH.Net, the Web site of the Economic History Service, and co-editor of the book “Historical Perspectives on the American Economy” and editor ofThe Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History.” His Modern Economic Issues course, a series of 36 half-hour lectures on issues ranging from global warming and Social Security to Wal-Mart and obesity, is available on CD and DVD from The Teaching Company. His article “Do Economists Agree on Anything?” is the most frequently downloaded article published in the journal The Economists’ Voice.

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

RATING ATTRACTIVENESS:  STUDY FINDS CONSENSUS AMONG MEN, BUT NOT WOMEN – Hot or not?  Men agree on the answer.  Women don’t.  There is much more consensus among men about whom they find attractive than there is among women, according to a new study by Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest.  The study, co-authored by Claudia Brumbaugh of Queens College, appears in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  More than 4,000 participants in the study rated photographs of men and women (ages 18-25) for attractiveness on a 10-point scale ranging from “not at all” to “very.”  Men’s judgments of women’s attractiveness were based primarily around physical features and they rated highly those who looked thin and confident.  As a group, the women rating men showed some preference for thin, muscular subjects, but disagreed on how attractive many men in the study were.   Some women gave high attractiveness ratings to the men other women said were not attractive at all.  “As far as we know, this is the first study to investigate whether there are differences in the level of consensus male and female raters have in their attractiveness judgments,” Wood says. 

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

Search News Archive

Wake Forest University • Winston-Salem, North Carolina • Information: 336.758.5000 | Feedback