ICYMI, Brian Cuban: Here’s the best piece from Penn State student media I’ve read this week: a profile of Brian Cuban ’83, a “recovered anorexic, alcoholic, drug addict, and bulimic” who is working to raise awareness by telling his story. The author is the the soon-to-be-managing-editor of Onward State, Tim Gilbert, and this story is the very definition of a good read.
‘Forbidden Food’: Restricting food from children may not be a productive way to teach them to eat healthy foods, according to work by Penn State researchers that warranted a story this week on the New York Times’ Well blog. (Aside: Great source for health and fitness and wellness news, with good comment threads, too.) Post-doc Brandi Rollins was lead author on the study, in which preschoolers were given the chance to “work” for food—clicking a mouse four times resulted in a cinnamon-flavored graham cracker. The concept: to study “reactive eaters,” who are highly motivated by food. As with most medical studies, this research doesn’t lend itself to a simple takeaway, so it’s worth it read the whole piece.
A new Paterno statue: Jessica Tully of Onward State reports that a Kickstarter campaign will begin in July to raise $300,000 to build a bronze statue of Joe Paterno in the brick alley near The Tavern. The restaurant’s owner, Pat Daughtery, expressed interest, and Kim Intorre got permission from State College, which stipulated that the statue be built on private property.
Weekly BOT election reminder: The election for three alumni seats on the Board of Trustees opened April 10, and so far, turnout is down. If you’ve not yet voted, check out our Three Questions project to familiarize yourself with the 31 candidates. Voting ends at 9 a.m. EDT, May 8.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Photo finish: At last year’s Boston Marathon, Erin Strout ’97, a writer for Running Times magazine, was in a media center one block from the finish line when two bombs exploded. She recounted her experience in our July/Augsust 2013 issue: “There was … an instinct to start reporting, absorbing reactions, setting aside my panic.” This year, the scene at the finish was much more celebratory for Strout, who posed for a photo with (American!) victor, Meb Keflezighi, and posted it to Instagram with the caption: “Sorry. Sometimes you gotta take off your professional hat for a minute & be a fan.”
She’s a morning person: It was announced yesterday that Good Morning America lifestyles anchor Lara Spencer ’91 has been promoted to co-host. Spencer nabbed the anchor spot in 2011, and since then, GMA has ousted Today as the No. 1 morning show in the country. Says ABC News chief James Goldston:”Lara is clearly an essential ingredient in the success we have enjoyed.” Way to go, Lara!
Instant mood boost: Everyone at Penn State Berks is happy — and we do mean everyone. A huge crew of students, faculty, staff, and a certain mascot all get down to the song of the moment in this fun YouTube video, created by Berks student Connor Hough.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
Smile, you’re in Beaver Stadium: Security is a major priority in the second-largest stadium in North America, and as our buddy Bill DiFilippo writes in today’s CDT, that means lots and lots and lots of cameras in the most prominent building on campus. Penn State’s director of physical security, Scotty Eble, says there are “approximately” 63 cameras in the stadium, a number he says is “constantly changing.” That of course doesn’t count the 100,000 or so phones and handhelds in the building seven Saturdays each fall.
The winds (and drought, and flooding…) of war: Retired Navy Rear Admiral David Titley arrived on campus last fall to direct the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, and as this story from Slate reinforces, there’s a very real impetus for his and the Center’s work: the growing threat of political instability caused or exacerbated by a warming planet. The story includes a Q&A with Titley in which he talks about striving not to politicize the climate change discussion while emphasizing that it’s not “just an environmental issue; it’s a technology, water, food, population issue.”
On the bench, and off: A couple of cool behind-the-scenes features on Penn State sports from student media outlets: The Collegian profiles Dwayne Anderson, a Nittany Lion basketball assistant coach who earned the respect and admiration of Pat Chambers when Chambers was an assistant, and Anderson a player, at Villanova; and Onward State introduces us to the women of Penn State’s nationally competitive club power-lifting team.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
No place like home? A team of astronomers that includes Penn State scientists might beg to differ after the discovery of Kepler-186f, the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star (not our sun) in a “habitable zone” that would allow for the presence of liquid water. Astronomy and astrophysics professor Eric Ford is co-author of a paper on the discovery, which utilized NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. It’s a big deal, although probably not somewhere any of us should plan on relocating to anytime soon: Kepler-186f is about 500 light years from Earth.
How their garden grows: Here’s a cool example of collaborative learning and making a positive impact in your community, compliments of students and faculty at Penn State Berks. Undergrads Melissa Sauer and April Moore, both future schoolteachers, were looking for a way to contribute to the local elementary school where both are student teaching. The decided to create a garden, and with the help of Berks faculty from social sciences and biology, as well as classmates majoring in biology, they turned the idea into reality. Now, the garden at Glenside Elementary is a hit, inspiring hands-on learning among a growing number of young students. Says Sauer, “some of the shyest, most withdrawn students are the most involved.”
Diamond days: The State College weekend forecast is 60s and sunny—not quite Blue-White Weekend warm, but still perfect weather for some baseball. The Nittany Lions, who host Illinois in a three-game series starting tonight at Medlar Field, are off to a great start under first-year coach Rob Cooper, including an 8-0 mark at home. I met Rob recently and came away impressed by his positive approach to building a winner in Happy Valley; he also claims to have beat James Franklin to the “dominate the state” recruiting motto, although, as he laughingly admits, “When Coach Franklin says it, they put it on the front page of the newspaper.”
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Space jam: It was a party yesterday afternoon at the HUB for the announcement of the Homecoming 2014 Honorary Grand Marshal. The lucky leader: Michael Paul, director of the Lunar Lion team. We told you all about Lunar Lion’s mission to the moon back in the fall (it was the cover story in our Nov./Dec. 2013 issue), and since then, the team has made huge strides, with 120 students now working on the project.
More than words: Here’s a feel-good story about a Penn State fencer who’s helping promote LGBT equality in college sports. Working with non-profit group Athlete Ally, Heather Nelson wants fellow athletes to understand the power of their words: “It can be hard to be an athlete who isn’t out to their team and be forced to listen to teammates make derogatory comments,” says Nelson. “It can drive you to feel less like you belong and less like a welcome member of the team.” Check out Athlete Ally’s Q&A with Nelson here.
Groovy movie: Well, this is… interesting. Ripped! is a psychedelic, sci-fi, musical film about a British rock group in space. Film profs Rob Bingaman and Maura Shea co-created the film, which premiered last night at the State Theatre. Penn State students and alums make up the entire cast and crew. Trust me — the trailer is worth your 2 minutes and 33 seconds.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
Herb Hand Pizza Crawl! I have no idea what kind of an offensive line coach Herb Hand is, although we’re soon going to find out, given that the Nittany Lions barely have enough linemen to fill a two-deep. But there’s no doubt that the guy is a social media genius. Hand tweeted in February about stopping at Canyon Pizza for lunch. This understandably shocked the Penn State corner of Twitter, many of whom had no idea Canyon served food before, oh, 11 p.m. or so. Soon everyone was tweeting their favorite pizza places at Hand, and then Onward State got involved, and now there’s a glorious result: the Herb Hand Pizza Crawl. For $20, on April 27 you can accompany Hand and, as Onward put it, “explore the State College pizza scene.”
You also get a limited edition T-shirt, which I very much hope looks like the logo (above) I borrowed from Onward State’s website, and the proceeds go to Uplifting Athletes and Bands 4 RAINN. I imagine this will fill up soon, so if you’re interested, sign up quickly.
Dare I hope that the next such charity event is a James Franklin Balloon Party?
Good writing alert: If I’ve got a “coaching tree,” consisting of the young journalists I’ve mentored when they were students, among the most excellent branches are Jenny Vrentas ’06 and former Penn Stater intern Emily Kaplan ’13, who are colleagues at Sports Illustrated‘s MMQB website. So when Jenny tweets a story written by Emily, I click. This morning’s offering is a piece that uses the upcoming film Draft Day as a look at female executives in the NFL. Spoiler: Real life isn’t quite as it’s portrayed in the movie.
Ready for prime time: The Nittany Lions are going to get significant exposure in prime time this fall: The Ohio State game on Oct. 25 will start at 8 p.m. That caps an odd October for the team, which has two off weeks (Oct. 4 and 18) and two prime-time games. The game at Michigan on Oct. 11, as previously announced, will begin at 7 p.m.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Monday Night Live: Kenan Thompson brought big laughs to Eisenhower Auditorium last night as part of the Student Programming Association’s Comedy Month. Thompson, who’s been a cast member on Saturday Night Live for a whopping 11 seasons, performed stand-up and answered audience members’ questions about SNL. Check out the Collegian’s coverage here (warning: some of Thompson’s material borders on NSFW). My favorite snippet: When asked which celebrity made the worst guest host, Thompson demurred—but admitted that her name just happens to rhyme with “Baris Milton.”
Coming soon: Here’s some cool news about a program coming to University Park in July: The “Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired” is a three-week program that helps visually impaired students transition to a life in a college setting, with networking workshops and career-planning help. The academy is spearheaded by Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; Penn State students in the College of Education will work as chaperones. Read more here.
Phoenix rising: Maggie Lucas is headed west: The Lady Lion senior guard was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st overall pick in the WNBA draft last night. The Phoenix Mercury last won the WNBA championship in 2009; this year, the team finished third in the West conference. Lucas, who’s coming off her own record-breaking season, shared her reaction on Twitter (below):
Mary Murphy, associate editor