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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

January 19, 2010

“CELLSIDE STORY” PREMIERS AT WAKE FOREST --  Meet Kenny Twist and D'Na the DNA girl, two characters in “Cellside Story,” a short animated film that will have its first screening Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. in Room 107 of Olin Physical Laboratory at Wake Forest. The film was developed by students at Atkins Academic and Technology High School in Winston-Salem in cooperation with Wake Forest and other community partners to teach high school students the basics of biotechnology.Inspired by “High School Musical,” “Cellside Story” is a love story of sorts featuring male and female animated characters to show the inner workings of cells.Kenny Twist represents kinesin, a motor protein found within cells.DNA girl is the nucleic acid that tells the cells what to do. The Atkins students will share the film with Wake Forest students in a biophysics class taught by Jed Macosko, assistant professor of physics and director of the project. It will then be made available to high school students across North Carolina to help teach them how biotechnology harnesses cellular machinery to cure diseases, detect biohazards and manufacture new materials. “This has the potential to be a trend-setting catalyst for how biotechnology is viewed by young people everywhere,” Macosko said. “We hope this leads many of them to consider training for careers in biotechnology, which is so important to the 21st century.”

Media are invited to attend the screening and talk with the local artists, high school students, and teachers who worked on the video, as well as Wake Forest faculty and students involved in the project or critiquing it as first-time viewers.

COMPARING FIRST LADIES:  MICHELLE OBAMA MOST LIKE LAURA BUSH --Michelle Obama may be the first African-American first lady, but she’s really not that different from previous first ladies, says Kathy Smith, professor of political science at Wake Forest University and an expert on first ladies. For all the comparisons with Jacqueline Kennedy, she’s more like Laura Bush, Smith says. “Michelle Obama offers continuity to the past with her traditional interpretation of the first lady role. She’s of a different color, but not of a different style.For some, that has been a surprise.” Michelle Obama is much more like Laura Bush than the wives of the most recent Democratic presidents, Hillary Clinton and Rosalyn Carter, she says. “She has received praise from both sides for being a unifying person.” Her areas of advocacy—national service and helping military families, have put her in a safe area for the American people, Smith adds. Smith studies contemporary first ladies and is the author of the chapter on Rosalyn Carter in the book “American First Ladies” and co-author of two books on the American presidency.

STUDENTS RETURN FROM SERVICE TRIPS WITH NEW INSIGHTS -- Wake Forest students who traveled to Santarem, Brazil, and Calcutta, India, over winter break have returned with a wider worldview and a deeper understanding of the lives of others. Richard Mayer, the student leader for the Brazil trip, said building a community center for the children in Santarem was like building a Habitat for Humanity house. “People in the neighborhood who will use the center actually helped us build it, and we saw the faces of the kids who would be benefiting from our work.” Jordan Brewster, the student leader for the Calcutta trip, talked about the kinds of volunteer work students performed in the homes run by the Missionaries of Charity, including washing linens and clothing by hand. “No one picks the situation into which they’re born,” she said,” but everyone wants to know that someone cares about them.” Student leaders are available for interviews.

REUSABLE TO-GO FOOD BOXES, CAR-SHARING PROGRAM AND SOLAR BUS MAKE CAMPUS MORE SUSTAINABLE -- More than 7,000 Styrofoam to-go boxes leave Wake Forest’s dining facilities every week. As part of an “Erase the Waste” campaign, the University is introducing a reusable to-go container program that lets students get their food to go and then return the container, which is washed and sanitized and ready to be used again. The University is also introducing a new solar bus this semester and a shared-car program. The 14-passenger bus is the newest-model solar-electric hybrid shuttle, designed by Cruise Car Inc. The shared-car program will make available two cars – a hybrid Honda Insight and a Honda Civic – that can be rented by the hour by students, as well as faculty and staff. It is estimated that every shared car means 15 to 20 fewer student-owned vehicles, reducing congestion and the need for parking. The shared cars will be on display at Wake Forest, on Manchester Plaza, on Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. University officials will also be on hand to talk about the reusable to-go boxes.

WHAT WOULD SHAKESPEARE DO? -- To truly experience Shakespeare’s genius, some scholars say his works should be performed as they were in his lifetime and in his playhouse. Lord Butler of Brockwell, Master of University College, Oxford, and a one-time student of the late Shakespearean expert Ronald Watkins, will discuss Shakespeare and Wake Forest’s Ronald Watkins Collection—an extensive treasure of personal correspondence, annotated prompt books and recorded lectures that offer rare insight into how Shakespeare’s plays were performed in Elizabethan times. The discussion will be held on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m. in the Rare Books Room in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Lord Butler will be joined by Wake Forest Provost Emeritus and Professor of English Edwin G. Wilson (’43). Lord Butler has also served as a cabinet secretary under Prime Ministers Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084

Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

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