S p r i ng • 2 0 1 0
PlayMakers Reaches Out Acting, Teaching and Engaging the Community
Also inside • Football Fallout • Lensing Lessons • ’Hotel Rwanda’ Revisited
T h e
U n i v e r s i t y
N o r t h
C a r o l i n a
C h a p e l
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From the dean F r om t h e D e a n
Carolina Arts & Sciences
Opening doors through learning, discovery and outreach
eff Meanza (MFA ’04) must be a master multi-tasker. As the director of education and outreach for PlayMakers Repertory Company, our professional theater company in residence, he juggles multiple roles. As an actor, he played five characters in the ambitious production of Nicholas Nickleby. And as an educator, he has helped PlayMakers open its doors wide to the community in new and exciting ways — including teacher artists in the schools, Karen M. Gil open discussions with artists in public venues like the library or local bookstore, and the Summer Youth Conservatory. Through the SYC, young actors train with professionals and put on a full-scale production; my son Elliot is one of many local students who have participated in this amazing opportunity. In the College, part of our ongoing goal is to reach out to the community, the state and the world through learning and discovery. These are not separate objectives, but rather an interconnected part of our mission, which is illustrated in several stories in our spring ’10 issue of Carolina Arts & Sciences: • Twenty undergraduate students, led by political science faculty member Donna LeFebvre, went on a Burch Field Research Seminar to study and volunteer in Rwanda last summer and had a life-changing experience. They came back to UNC committed to forming an organization to support the Rwanda school where they had learned about that nation’s tragic past while serving its survivors. • Exercise and sport science researchers Kevin Guskiewicz and Fred Mueller are studying the long-term impacts of football players who suffer multiple concussions. Their work is gaining national attention and raising awareness across all levels of play, including the NCAA. • English professor George Lensing is living proof that teaching, research and service are energizing. As the former head of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships, he has helped many UNC students to land Rhodes and other prestigious scholarships. These bright students leave Carolina with bold ideas that will change the world. • We profile Erin Burns, one of the first graduates of UNC-BEST, our partnership with the UNC School of Education that enables science and math majors to simultaneously earn N.C. teaching credentials with their undergraduate degrees. Burns is now teaching biology at an inner-city Charlotte high school. • You’ll read about beloved music professor and tenor Stafford Wing, who retired after 40 years in the College. His many former students — including performers, teachers, musical directors and others — have benefited from his leadership, teaching and service. We appreciate the support of our alumni and friends more than ever before as we continue to face ongoing economic challenges in the year ahead. Many of our learning, discovery and outreach initiatives would simply not be possible without their commitment. Our door is always open to you — come see us and find out about all of the exciting things going on in the College of Arts and Sciences. — Karen M. Gil, Dean
College of Arts & Sciences • Karen M. Gil, Dean • William Andrews ’70 MA, ’73 PhD Senior Associate Dean, Fine Arts and Humanities • Michael Crimmins Senior Associate Dean, Natural Sciences • Jonathan Hartlyn Senior Associate Dean, Social Sciences, International Programs • Tammy McHale Senior Associate Dean, Finance and Operations • James W. May Senior Associate Dean, Program Development; Executive Director, Arts & Sciences Foundation • Bobbi Owen Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education
Arts & Sciences Foundation Board of Directors • James L. Alexandre ’79, Haverford, PA, Chair • Vicki Underwood Craver ’92, Riverside, CT, Vice Chair • Karen M. Gil, Chapel Hill, NC, President • William L. Andrews, ‘70 MA, ‘73 PhD, Chapel Hill, NC, Vice President • Tammy J. McHale, Chapel Hill, NC, Treasurer • James W. May, Jr., Chapel Hill, NC, Secretary • D. Shoffner Allison ’98, Charlotte, NC • Ivan V. Anderson, Jr. ’61, Charleston, SC • R. Frank Andrews ’90, ’95 MBA, Washington, DC • Valerie Ashby ’88, ’94 PhD, Chapel Hill, NC • Constance Y. Battle ’77, Raleigh, NC • Laura Hobby Beckworth ’80, Houston, TX • William S. Brenizer ’74, Glen Head, NY • Cathy Bryson ’90, Santa Monica, CA • R. Duke Buchan III ’85, Amenia, NY • Jeffrey Forbes Buckalew ’88, ’93 MBA, New York, NY • Sunny H. Burrows ’84, Atlanta, GA • G. Munroe Cobey ’74, Chapel Hill, NC • Sheila Ann Corcoran ’92, ’98 MBA, Los Angeles, CA • Steven M. Cumbie ’70, ’73 MBA, McLean, VA • Jaroslav T. Folda III, Chapel Hill, NC • Gardiner W. Garrard, Jr. ’64, Columbus, GA • Emmett Boney Haywood ’77, ’82 JD, Raleigh, NC • Lynn Buchheit Janney ’70, Butler, MD • Matthew G. Kupec ’80, Chapel Hill, NC • William M. Lamont, Jr. ’71, Dallas, TX • Edwin A. Poston ’89, Chapel Hill, NC • John A. Powell ‘77, San Francisco, CA • Benjamine Reid ’71, Miami, FL • Alex T. Robertson ’01, New York, NY • H. Martin Sprock III ‘87, Charlotte, NC • Emily Pleasants Sternberg ’88, ’94 MBA, Greenwich, CT • Eric P. Vick ’90, Oxford, UK • Charles L. Wickham, III ’82 BSBA, London, UK • Loyal W. Wilson ’70, Chagrin Falls, OH
Table of Contents T a b l e of Co n t e n t s Carolina Arts & Sciences
De p a r t me n t s inside front cover
From the Dean
Opening doors through learning, discovery and outreach
F e at u r es
The College’s professional theater opens its doors wide to the community
6 • PlayMakers Reaches Out
Undergraduates explore the aftermath of atrocity
New international experts join the College, gifts from retired geologist move mountains, pinpointing the causes of “runner’s knee,” celebrating firstgeneration college students, heading off “home-grown terrorism,” single atom controls how bacteria “walk,” and more
31 College Bookshelf
15 • Football Fallout UNC research examines the long-term effects of concussion impacts
18 • Lensing Lessons Teaching, research and service are energizing
UNC-BEST graduate Erin Burns is born to teach; Beloved music professor Stafford Wing leaves UNC on a high note.
10 • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Revisited
Two Rhodes Scholars, literary prize for Asian studies professor, kudos for teaching, chemist wins polymer prize, biologists tapped for science association, computer graphics work honored, and more
Fiction exploring the segregated past, an international adoption and celebrity encounters with animals; reflections on secret interviews with President Clinton, growing up Jewish in N.C., raising a child with autism and why Muhammad matters; and more
inside back cover
Cover photo: PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Jeff Meanza (MFA ’04) poses with Allison Press of Chapel Hill High School, who portrayed Helena in the SummerYouth Conservatory’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Photo by Steve Exum)
Final Point Lady Mechanic, a poem by senior English major Michelle Hicks of Lafayette, La.
Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 1
High Achievers H i g h
A c h i e v e r s
Asian studies scholar wins literary prize
Sahar Amer, a professor of Asian studies, won a top prize from the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). Amer received the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies for her book, Crossing Borders: Love Between Women in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). The award is presented annually for outstanding
involves at least two literatures. Amer is a member of the MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American societies in the humanities. At Carolina, she is
seniors Elizabeth Blair “Libby” Longino and Henry Lawlor Spelman have won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. They were among 32 American college students selected Nov. 21 for the prestigious honor, perhaps the world’s most competitive in higher education. Longino of Dallas is double-majoring in English and public policy analysis. Spelman of Swarthmore, Pa., is majoring in classical languages with a minor in creative writing. Longino will pursue master’s degrees in forced migration and comparative social policy at Oxford. She plans a career in human rights advocacy. Spelman will pursue a master’s degree in Greek and Latin languages and literature. His ambition is to become a professor. Both students came to Carolina on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship — a full, four-year merit award that includes four summer enrichment experiences. That’s not the only thing they have in common. They met during their first year at Carolina, reconnected about two years later on a research trip to Turkey, and then later started dating. They are looking forward to exploring Oxford together. Longino has interned with a microcredit program in Vietnam, helped start a group combating child prostitution in Cambodia and completed an Outward Bound Wilderness Expedition in the Pacific Northwest. Longino spent one of her MoreheadCain summers in Vietnam, interviewing clients of a small microcredit project. One day, she heard a Vietnamese mother’s pleas for a heart treatment for her daughter. The experience resulted in an invitation later from Vietnamese colleagues to help start a foundation in Cambodia addressing child prostitution in Phnom Penh’s Vietnamese community. Steve Exum
scholarly work that
Two for the Rhodes
also an adjunct professor of French and international studies. She focuses her research on cross-cultural relations between the Arab world and Europe throughout the centuries; Arabs and Muslims in France and in America today; and cross-cultural constructions of gender and sexualities. •
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In Taiwan, she taught English and computer skills at a shelter for Vietnamese victims of human trafficking. In Israel and Turkey, she conducted interviews and attended conferences to research tensions that arise between religious minority groups and their governments. As part of a fall 2008 study abroad in Switzerland, Longino traveled to BosniaHerzegovina to research human trafficking after the country’s civil war. At UNC, Longino is president of the Carolina chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student think tank. This year, Carolina’s was named the most outstanding chapter among 75 nationwide. Spelman has worked in refugee camps in Tanzania, tutored underprivileged high school students and trekked more than 125 miles in Washington’s Olympic Mountains. He is proficient in conversation in Swahili and in conversation and reading in German. He has won five competitive academic prizes from the classics department since 2007, including the Herington Scholarship twice. In addition to that scholarship, his classics awards include The Eben Alexander Prize in Greek, The Epps Prize in Greek Studies and The Albert Suskin Prize in Latin. Working to help Burundian refugees in Tanzania last summer — Spelman’s second time there with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees on a Morehead-Cain summer experience — he read himself to sleep at night with the ancient Greek poetry of Pindar. Spelman edits the Cellar Door, UNC’s undergraduate literary magazine, and has written a poem accepted by the internationally circulated Southern Poetry Review. He won the prize for the best poet in the junior class from UNC’s creative writing program. With Amnesty International, Spelman has participated in national planning sessions and a steering committee, coordinated activism by about 30 high school students in the Triangle and led the UNC chapter. •
High Achievers H i g h
A c h i e v e r s
Kudos for teaching Sixteen College faculty and graduate teaching assistants were recognized with 2010 University Teaching Awards, the highest campuswide honors for instructional excellence.
This year’s nominee for the UNC System Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is Rachel Willis, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor in the department of American studies. One recipient is selected each year by each of the 16 institutions in the UNC system. The UNC-Chapel Hill recipient is also the University’s nominee for the CASE U.S. Professors of the Year competition, a national award for outstanding undergraduate teaching. Winners of Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are: • Claudio Battaglini, assistant professor of exercise and sport science; • Robert Cantwell, Townsend Ludington Professor of American Studies; • Brian Hogan, assistant professor of chemistry; • Elizabeth Jordan, lecturer and associate director of undergraduate studies, psychology; • Greg Gangi, assistant professor, curriculum for the environment and ecology. Winners of Johnston Teaching Excellence Awards for undergraduate teaching are: • Daniel Wallace, J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor, English and comparative literature; Lars Sahl
• Albert K. Harris, professor of biology. Awards for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction are:
• Thomas Hill, Kenan Professor of Steve Exum
Winners of Distinguished Teaching
Philosophy; • Robert MacCallum, professor of psychology. Winners of Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants are: • Stacey Treat, communication studies; • Ben White, religious studies; • Pablo Maurette, Spanish; • Andrew Pennock, political science. In addition, religious studies professor Omid Safi won the J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award, awarded to a professor teaching first-year students, and political science professor Michael Lienesch won the University Professor of Distinguished Teaching Award. This three-year term professor-
ship was established to recognize career-long excellence in teaching. •
Simpson lauded for literature contributions
land Simpson, a creative writing professor, author, composer and lyricist, was recognized for his significant contributions to North Carolina literature. Simpson, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor, received the R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Simpson has taught in the College since 1982 and directed the creative writing program from 2002 to 2008. He is the author of numerous books about North Carolina, including The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir, The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey: A Nonfiction Novel, Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering and The Inner Islands: A Carolinian’s Sound Country Chronicle. He has been a member of the Tony Award-winning string band, The Red Clay Ramblers, since 1986. He has collaborated on or contributed to almost a dozen musicals, including Diamond Studs, King Mackerel, Kudzu and the Tony winner Fool Moon. •
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High Achievers H i g h
A c h i e v e r s
Brodey wins language association book award
Inger Brodey received the 2009 South
Atlantic Modern Language Association Studies Book Award. Brodey is associate professor of English and comparative literature and Asian studies. Brodey won the award for her 2008 book, Ruined by Design: Shaping Novels and Gardens
in the Culture of Sensibility. The book on landscape gardening and the history of the novel features the work of Laurence Sterne, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Jane Austen. “Inger Brodey has written a book of remarkable vitality about the fascination with ruins across eighteenth-century Europe,” said
Two juniors receive Carson Scholarships
Juniors Caroline Fish and Chase Jones have been named Eve Carson Scholars at UNC. The scholarship will provide half the cost of their senior year studies, plus $5,000 each for a summer enrichment experience. Fish, of Raleigh, is double-majoring in psychology and English, with a minor in creative writing in the College of Arts and Sciences. Jones, of Greensboro, is majoring in business administration at Kenan-Flagler Business School, with a minor in exercise and sport science in the College. Carson, a senior from Athens, Ga., and UNC’s 2007-2008 student body president, was killed in March 2008. One of what she called her “Big Ideas” as president was to create a merit-based scholarship for UNC juniors. The scholarship was established in her memory to honor balanced, ambitious students who have shown strong involvement in leadership roles at Carolina and have at least a 3.0 grade-point average in their first three undergraduate years. Fish is a 2007 graduate of Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. She has worked toward solving the problems of sexual assault and domestic violence. She is working with campus colleagues to produce a documentary to raise awareness about sexual Caroline Fish Chase Jones violence. She also has studied abroad in France, where she worked to help victims of sexual assault. “Caroline is an incredibly motivated person and inspired the committee with her drive to bring about positive change in this area,” said Thomas Edwards, a senior biology major who directed the scholarship program this year. Jones graduated from Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, N.C., in 2006. He has worked with patients at the N.C. Children’s Hospital and next year will lead the Carolina Dreams Program, which connects athletes to children in the hospital. A varsity baseball player, he overcame brain cancer during his first year at Carolina. “He took this devastating event and turned it into both a positive personal experience and motivation to work diligently to ease the burden of children in similar situations at the N.C. Children’s Hospital,” Edwards said. •
Wu Hung, a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago. Brodey has won national awards for her scholarship, including a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities. She was recently awarded an Earhart Foundation Research Grant to complete a book-length comparison of cowboys and samurai in film. She also is working on a study of representations of Jane Austen in Asia. She won a 2006 UNC Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. •
Davenport wins award for Cobb program
Randi Davenport, executive director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence, received a statewide award for her leadership in the Connected Learning Program (CLP) in Cobb residence hall. The North Carolina Housing Officers Organization (NCHO) tapped Davenport for its Faculty Partnership Award. The new award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an academic faculty member to the Randi Davenport housing and residence life department at their institution. The Connected Learning Program in Cobb, a joint project of the Johnston Center and Housing and Residential Education at UNC, was created in 2004. The program offers students the chance to shape their own learning experiences outside the traditional classroom. During the academic year, CLP students work in teams to develop projects of their own design — ranging from research trips and lecture series to music performances and film-making workshops. The participants live together in Cobb hall. Davenport is an adjunct faculty member in the department of English and comparative literature. Her memoir, The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes, was published by Algonquin in March 2010. [see page 31.] •
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High Achievers H i g h
A c h i e v e r s
Chemist awarded polymer prize
Chemist Michael Rubinstein was awarded the 2010 Polymer Prize from the American Physical Society. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in polymer physics research. Rubinstein, the John P. Barker Michael Rubinstein Wenbin Lin Distinguished Professor, has been at UNC since 1995. He is a lead investigator in the new Solar Most of the materials around us (from Energy Research Center, a project principal plastics to tires) and inside us (DNA and investigator of the Carolina Center of Cancer proteins) are made of polymers — giant, Nanotechnology Excellence, and a member chain-like molecules. The goal of Rubinstein’s of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive research group is to understand how Cancer Center and the Institute for Advanced polymers move through a tangle formed Materials, Nanoscience and Technology. by their molecule neighbors and how they are deformed if attached to each other in a network, then pulled apart (like stretching a rubber band). UNC researchers are modeling Computer scientist Dinesh Manocha polymers in the lungs with the goal of was honored by the world’s largest developing treatments for diseases such as educational and scientific computing society cystic fibrosis. for his contributions to geometric computing, Rubinstein received his bachelor’s computer graphics and robotics. degree from the California Institute of Manocha, the Phi Delta Theta/Matthew Technology and his master’s and doctorate Mason Distinguished Professor of Computer degrees from Harvard University. Science, was named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is an expert in computer graphics and geometric modeling. His research on Chemist Wenbin Lin was named to mathematical foundations and applications a top 10 list by a British publication for the has been used in scientific computations, number of citations per article published. robotics, 3-D computer graphics and virtual The London-based Times Higher reality by the scientific community, the Education, named Lin among the “Top Ten computer industry and the entertainment Chemists of the Decade.” From January world. 1999 through June 2009, Lin published 106 original research reports and review articles, which were cited a total of 6,685 times, averaging around 63 citations per paper. Biologists Joseph Kieber and Mark A. Lin’s research group works on a Peifer were named fellows of the American variety of interdisciplinary projects from Association for the Advancement of Science. catalysis to supramolecular materials to The association honors fellows’ nanobiotechnology. His research efforts are scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to relevant to important societal issues such as advance science. environment and sustainability, alternative Kieber was recognized for his renewable energy, biofuels and solar cells, contributions to plant hormone biology. and human health. Hormones influence virtually every aspect Lin holds joint appointments in the of plant growth and development. He was College and UNC’s Eshelman School of also cited for his service to the international Pharmacy. community of arabidopsis researchers.
Computer graphics, robotics work honored
Lin named to top 10 chemists list
Biologists tapped for science association
Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant, is widely used as a model organism in plant biology. Studying model species can help provide insight into the workings of a wide variety of other organisms. Peifer, the Hooker Distinguished Professor of Biology and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, was recognized for his contributions to the understanding of interactions between cells and of cell signaling during development. Disruptions in this cellular machinery contribute to various diseases, including cancer. His work, which explores how cells turn into tissues and organs, focuses on epithelial tissues such as skin, lung, colon and breast tissue.
Graduate student wins Intel Fellowship
To his adviser, Rahul Narain “is an exceptional student in every regard.” Narain, a UNC College graduate student in computer science, received an Intel Ph.D. Fellowship, the only recipient in North Carolina. The Intel PhD Fellowship Program selects students who are conducting leadingedge technology research. Students must focus on research in hardware systems technology and design, software technology and design, or semiconductor technology and manufacturing. Narain specializes in efficient animation of complex phenomena, such as human crowds, while also retaining small-scale detail. “Due to his rare combination of excellent analytical skills and unparalleled programming skills, Rahul is able to achieve impressive results that have never been seen before,” said his adviser Ming Lin, the Beverly W. Long Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. •
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PlayMakers PlayMakers yMakers
Reaches 6 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
sReaches Out ReachesReaches Out B y
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W e a v e r
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The College’s professional theater opens its doors wide to the community
Talk about juggling multiple roles. Meanza (MFA ’04), PlayMakers’ director of education and outreach, also plays five characters ranging from a middle-aged womanizing dandy to a 14-year-old boy in the epic two-part production that casts 25 actors in 150 roles. Since their inception in 1984, these educational matinees have reached nearly 100,000 area youth. Sue Scarborough, who teaches acting and theater at Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh, has been bringing her students to PlayMakers’ weekday matinees for nearly 20 years. “PlayMakers is our closest and best theater that showcases outstanding acting and technical [work],” she said. “It’s important for me as a teacher to know that they create everything there, from the costumes to the sets.” “It lets me as a teacher show my students the possibilities.”
Out Possibilities and partnerships
The educational matinees are just part of the many partnerships PlayMakers is exploring in an increasing effort to reach out to the community. The company is bringing dramatic performances to a wider audience through cultural programming both inside and outside the theater’s walls. A couple of years ago, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jumpstarted an initiative to take PlayMakers artists into the schools. Through its teaching artists program, PlayMakers offers two residencies per year to area schools at no cost. “We want to be as supportive as we
It’s 10 a.m. on a December morning and Jeff Meanza quickly heads backstage after greeting teachers and students in the lobby of UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art. He will make a fast change into costume for a performance of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
ABOVE: Oliver! music director Ernie Scarborough rehearses with students. LEFT: Jeff Meanza (MFA ’04), director of education and outreach at PlayMakers, played multiple roles in the epic Nicholas Nickleby.
can to keep the arts alive and well in their schools,” said Kathy Williams, a PlayMakers company member who heads the program. Joy Jones, an MFA candidate in the Professional Actor Training Program, led a workshop for the artists on creating lesson plans, warm-up activities and addressing different themes. A Google e-mail group allows the artists to continue to share ideas. The partnership with the schools — which has stretched from the Triangle to Fayetteville, Yanceyville and beyond — is one of the initiatives Meanza is most proud of since joining PlayMakers’ staff in 2007. “We’re there to help augment anything they need — whether it’s using the arts to teach English or history or science, or to help students understand what a professional
theater is like,” he said. Meanza was 5 years old when a local theater production of Annie in his hometown of Modesto, Calif., first sparked his interest in dramatic art. He went to theater summer camps, studied the oboe for 14 years, played in bands and symphonies — but when he got to college at the University of California at Berkeley, he initially felt like he needed to pursue a more “secure” liberal arts degree. While in college, a trip to see an offBroadway play re-lit the theater spark. He changed his undergraduate major to theater, then went on to pursue his MFA at UNC. Meanza is quick to point out that the skills learned in theater cross disciplines. “Having been a theater artist from a very c o n t i n u e d
Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 7
Reaches Expanding the CLOCKWISE FROM BELOW: (From left), SYC
students Alexander Daly and Karl Kopcynski rehearse a scene from The Music Man. • (From left), Joy
A creative collaboration For the past three summers, Brian and Mary Stokes of Pittsboro have supported their 15-year-old son Henry’s participation in the Summer Youth Conservatory (SYC), a unique partnership between PlayMakers and The ArtsCenter of Carrboro. In an intensive, five-week experience, 40 children from elementary to high school learn from PlayMakers’ professional staff all the aspects of putting on a full-scale production — including training in acting, movement, voice and technical theater. And they perform it in the Center for Dramatic Art’s Paul Green Theatre, where PlayMakers puts on its main-stage shows. Students have to audition for a spot in the conservatory, which is tuition-based. Full and partial scholarships are available. “No matter what you end up doing … you learn to express yourself creatively and with confidence, and those are probably the most highly sought-after skills in any field.”
— Brian Stokes
(NCTC), the statewide service organization for theater arts and artists, recently awarded the SYC its Constance Welsh Theatre for Youth Award. Angie Hayes, the executive director of NCTC, called the conservatory “a model program for youth theater in North Carolina.” Seventeen-year-old Allison Press of Chapel Hill has participated in SYC for two summers. She admits that at first it was intimidating to think about doing Shakespeare; now she loves it. She played Helena in Midsummer. “The experience just gets richer and richer and more fun every year,” she said. “Once Tom and [dramatic art professor] Julie Fishell helped us to unlock the language, it was fun to build a character off of that.” Last year for the first time, SYC offered an apprentice program called TheatreTech. Six students signed up for the program and learned about different technical aspects of theater, including set, costume and lighting design, and stage management. They could then focus on one area. “Everything in theater is one huge problem-solving exercise — even if the show goes off fairly smoothly,” said Kaitlyn Rogers, 18, of Chapel Hill, a TheatreTech apprentice. This summer, SYC will expand from a half-day to a full-day program, allowing for more in-depth classes. Participants will perform The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Jeri Lynn Schulke (MFA ’99), director of the Youth Performing Arts Conservatory at The ArtsCenter, said the partnership with PlayMakers has been very rewarding. “The staff at PlayMakers are inspiring people to work with,” she said. “Nobody’s in it for ego; we’re all focused on doing the best we can for these students.” Echoed Allison’s dad, Dennis Press, who is the controller at UNC, “The ArtsCenter and PlayMakers individually do great things, but collectively it proves the expression that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’”
“Henry will never forget some of these people,” Brian Stokes said. “No matter what you end up doing … you learn to express yourself creatively and with confidence, and those are probably the most highly soughtafter skills in any field. … The kids are also learning how to work with deadlines and achieve certain milestones.” The SYC participants performed Oliver! and The Music Man their first two seasons. Last year, they took on Shakespeare. Henry Stokes played a major role — Lysander — in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In his first two seasons, he played ensemble roles, and he found those just as valuable. “Being in an ensemble role was amazing, Fostering a love of Dickens because Tom [Quaintance, the director] really With its production of Nicholas Nickleby, makes those roles special and uses them to PlayMakers took the idea of engaging the develop the world of the play,” he said. community to a new level. The North Carolina Theatre Conference An NEA grant helped the company to 8 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
Jones and Jeff Meanza in Nicholas Nickleby. •
SYC participants took on Shakespeare last summer.
young age, after graduate school, I became the national director of graduate programs for the Princeton Review,” he said. “All of the skills I learned as an actor were completely applicable in that job.”
create “The Dickens Initiative” — expanded programming around the play that was offered in area bookstores, a library, schools, an art museum and more. Playwright David Edgar came to campus for a week in residence, a master class and public lecture. Marian Fragola, who got her master’s in information and library science from UNC in 2008, is the humanities coordinator at the Durham County Library. She has been involved with bringing PlayMakers’ artists to the library since The Glass Menagerie in 2008. With Nicholas Nickleby, she brought in directors, actors and designers to the library’s main branch and The Regulator Bookshop to talk about adapting, directing and designing an epic. “People are fascinated to get that behind the scenes [look],” she said. “One of the attendees said, ‘like the extras on a DVD, these lectures helped me to appreciate the massive undertaking of Nicholas Nickleby.’” Tom Quaintance, a Los Angeles-based director who has led each summer’s SYC performances and who co-directed Nicholas Nickleby with producing artistic director Joseph Haj (MFA ’88), enjoyed participating in the outreach events. “When we were producing the play, we wanted to peel away some of the layers, to show how we were doing this,” he said. “There was a joy in this process that had to do very specifically with the building of a community.”
Out Conversation The Ackland Art Museum presented the original drawings, illustrations and prints of Dickens’ England. Drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, the temporary installation in the new second floor study gallery included works by Dickens’ chief artistic collaborators. The exhibition featured one of artist George Cruikshank’s original 1838 drawings for Oliver Twist. English lecturer Marc Napolitano gave a lunch-time talk on Dickens’ art in the “Victorian popular consciousness.” A Wilson Library installation in the Rare Book Reading Room showcased the original serial editions of Nicholas Nickleby (18381839) and two early theatrical adaptations of the novel. More about the installation and Napolitano’s talk were posted online on PlayMakers’ Web site. “It was very exciting working with PlayMakers, to use our collection to bring together faculty and resources from across campus to help extend the life of Nicholas Nickleby beyond the event itself,” said Rob Colby, coordinator of academic programs at the Ackland. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Program in Humanities and Human Values was founded in 1979; the program
has collaborated with PlayMakers productions since 1980. The program’s 2009 Richard A. Soloway Seminar, supported by private funds, focused on “The Victorian World,” with UNC and Duke scholars discussing different aspects of Victorian life. Participants attended a performance of Nicholas Nickleby. For teachers, the tickets were free. “This collaboration brings the humanities to life in ways that we don’t often experience,” said Eve Duffy, director of the program. “It’s a conversation that just gets started in the theater, and then you keep it going.”
concert attendance between 2002 and 2008 for adults 18 and older. “When you learn how to appreciate [theater], you learn the subtleties and then you’re more likely to want to take part because you see the real value,” he said. “With the PRC² series, Joe is saying, ‘we’re going to entertain you, but we also want you to feel stretched beyond your comfort zone.’” “We just believe strongly at PlayMakers that this theater belongs to the community it is charged to serve.” — Joseph Haj
The “Mindplay” discussions offer another avenue for community participation. While the program has existed for about a decade, attendance has been growing in recent years, Expanding the conversation according to Meanza. Since Haj came on board as producing On select nights after each of the mainartistic director in July 2006, he has made it stage productions, a psychoanalyst leads a a key focus of PlayMakers’ strategy to extend 50-minute discussion about characters and that conversation with the community. themes in the show. He created the second-stage PRC² “Modern psychoanalysis is the deepest series where the company could explore socially and politically relevant work in a more study and treatment of human character and emotion that we have, and so it’s a powerful intimate setting — shows are performed in lens for looking into a drama,” said Peter the smaller Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre. And he added post-show discussions with the Perault, a Chapel Hill psychiatrist who has led several discussions over the years. “I think audience and the creative artists. people find that the give-and-take with the With the main-stage season this year, PlayMakers introduced the free “Vision Series: audience after a performance always enriches their experience of the theater.” Directors in Conversation.” A week before In the coming year, PlayMakers will each show opens, the public is invited to explore new partnerships with the North the theater to learn about the production in Carolina Symphony, Kidzu Children’s process, meet the director and get a behindMuseum in Chapel Hill and UNC’s Sonja the-scenes peek at the show. Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and “If you ask a dozen different artistic History, among others. directors, you’ll get different ideas about Quaintance, the guest director, has what’s important to them,” Haj said. “We just believe strongly at PlayMakers that this theater known Haj for about 20 years. Haj has rallied his team around the idea of embracing the belongs to the community it is charged to community, he said. serve. It’s not up to us to sit in an ivory tower “There’s a sense of shared purpose and wave the artistic flag.” in that building,” he said. “Joe hasn’t just Tariq Nasir, a documentary filmmaker surrounded himself with people who agree and a member of PlayMakers Advisory Council, has supported PRC² discussions from with him; he’s surrounded himself with people who are willing to fight for what’s right the beginning. and work for a higher purpose.” In this day and age when it may be “That’s a recipe for success.” easier to turn on the TV than visit the theater, Nasir believes an educational mission is even Online Extras: More on PlayMakers at more crucial. A study by the NEA found a www.playmakersrep.org and college.unc.edu. noticeable decline in theater, museum and Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 9
‘Hotel Rwanda’ Undergraduates explore the aftermath of atrocity B y
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he 20 undergraduate students who headed to Rwanda last summer knew it would be a very different kind of study abroad experience.
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Led by UNC political science senior lecturer Donna LeFebvre and Tessa Bialek, an alumna teaching assistant, the group returned to the scenes of a massive massacre that occurred 15 years ago. Nearly a million Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days in 1994, in a bloody ethnic clash when Hutus turned on their Tutsi neighbors. Hollywood brought the genocide to light in the 2004 award-winning film, Hotel Rwanda, the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who sheltered over a thousand Tutsi refugees. Required reading for the UNC students included New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch’s book, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. Carolina students met survivors and perpetrators face to face; took classes on genocide, reconciliation and international law; taught children orphaned by the slaughter; visited churches and schools where people were slain; lived with Rwandan families and sat in on international criminal court proceedings. Through a Burch Field Research Seminar, they spent a few days in Arusha, Tanzania, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; four weeks in Kigali (including week-long home stays with Rwandan families); one week in Butare at the National
I felt a tinge of discomfort as we landed on the runway and pulled into the airport …my inability to grasp the atrocity that happened here. To me it is a scene from a horror movie, a page from a book … I surely could never imagine such hell. — Sarah Stoneking’s blog, May 21, Kigali
Most of the students at College Doctrina Vitae (CDV), a secondary school near Kigali, are genocide orphans. (Left) The skulls of hundreds of genocide victims are stored in a church at Nyamata.
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Doug Harris’ camera. • Sparsely equipped science lab at CDV.
CLOCKWISE from top left: Kigali kids check out UNC student
As I hope the people who read this understand, no part of Rwanda was left untouched by the genocide. The National University of Rwanda’s narrative is one of immense sadness: professors turned on professors, students against students, professors against students. Over five hundred people were killed on this campus, on a typical college day. When we sat in a lecture room, the only thing going through my head was: Who was sitting here, in this chair? — Matt Karkutt’s blog, June 14, Butare
• Donna LeFebvre in Arusha
National Park, Tanzania.
University of Rwanda and one week in The Hague at the International Criminal Court. In addition to academic coursework, they went on field trips and volunteered at various schools and nonprofits in Rwanda. “A lot of us couldn’t process what we had seen,” said Sarah Stoneking, a senior chemistry major from Greensboro, who is pursuing a double minor in anthropology and music. “In a lot of ways, I felt like I didn’t have the right to understand what I had seen, because there were stories that were being told that were not mine — and never will be mine.” The memorial gave me, and I believe others, truth. It not only gave me facts, it gave me the reality. It not only gave me the names, it gave me the faces. It not only gave me the written accounts, it told me the stories. It gave me the people. The women, the men and the children. — Menna Mburi’s blog, May 21, Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
For Menna Mburi, a senior political science major and journalism minor, it was a journey back to her family’s roots in neighboring Tanzania. She grew up in Raleigh, but lived for a couple of years in Tanzania when she was 5. She was there in 1994, at the time of the genocide in Rwanda, but wrote in her blog that she doesn’t remember hearing about it then. At the memorial center, the impact of the killings hit home for Mburi when she stumbled upon a glass case, illuminated by a single light bulb, that contained a piece of clothing worn by one of the victims. “It reminded me of something that my mom had worn [as a young adult],” Mburi said. “There’s this picture of my mom, my favorite from when she was younger. She has on this green fabric, and she’s at my grandmother’s house, kneeling on the ground with a cow. It triggered something in my mind, and I made the connection that this could have been my mom, my dad, my brother. It touched me in a way that I can’t even explain.” 12 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
The university was one of many memorial sites the students visited. At two churches in the Kibuye district of Rwanda, students saw blood stains, holes left by bullets and grenades, piles of clothing worn by the victims and pews scattered with everyday objects they carried — toys, purses, hats, ballpoint pens, ethnic identity cards. Skulls and bones of the dead lined shelves of the sacred places, surrounded by the musky smell of earth, death and age. We went to Nyamata where 10,000 people were killed in a church. … I thought about everyone I knew, and how that would only be a drop in the bucket of even this one massacre. I thought about my hopes and dreams and how those of the victims were cut down, right then and there for no reason. — Thomas Ginn’s blog, May 30 Memorial in Butare, where the skeletons are preserved in limestone. This one brought me to tears, wondering why I had been born into such privilege, security and opportunity. — from Ginn’s Facebook album of the trip
Thomas Ginn said it wasn’t just at memorial sites that the students felt the impact of the genocide. Because of the length of their stay, they were able to immerse themselves in the daily life of Rwanda. Everyone they met had a story to tell. “We were sitting in a restaurant one night and we started talking to a guy sitting by himself,” recalled Ginn, a senior math and economics major from Atlanta. “He talked to us for three hours about his life, how his entire family was killed in the genocide and how he was still trying to figure out a way to cope. … You couldn’t have learned this in a classroom.” During the genocide, bodies were dumped in the Akagera and Nyabarongo rivers — both tributaries of Lake Victoria. As per the custom, the UNC students wrote messages to the survivors and victims while walking across the river bridges. Matt Karkutt, a junior English and interdisciplinary studies major from Gray’s Creek, N.C., chose to offer up this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien while on the bridge of the Akagera: “Little by little
Exploring global climate change in Iceland and more
his summer UNC students will travel to Iceland and Alaska to study global climate change, thanks to a new Burch Field Research Seminar. The rotating roster of semester- and summerlong seminars allows UNC faculty to lead groups of undergraduates on extensive field research trips in the U.S. and around the world. The program is supported by Lucius E. Burch III, a 1963 Carolina graduate who wanted to encourage professors and students to engage their intellectual curiosity together
CLOCKWISE from top left: Brick wall with broken bottles in the Niboye neighborhood in Kigali. • Sorting coffee beans Bruce Siceloff
one travels far.” Karkutt added in a blog entry: “I travel with the Rwandan people, always.” Karkutt, who is involved with an anti-genocide activist group on campus, had read “obsessively” about Rwanda before the trip. Still, he said the experience of actually being there was “intense — but that’s an understatement no matter what.” “At the memorials it was very raw,” he said. “It wasn’t polished, it wasn’t clean. It could be difficult sometimes, because we want to put barriers around ourselves with death, but there you couldn’t do that. You knew that wherever you stood, someone was probably murdered there.” “But what I would do is look around me, and I would see life continuing, kids playing and people moving on and trying to look forward to the future.” LeFebvre, who has a UNC law degree, got interested in international criminal law about 10 years ago. In the summer of 2006, she interviewed staff and attended hearings at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Rwandan genocide court in Arusha, Tanzania, and the new International Criminal Court in The Hague in the Netherlands. She decided to create a Burch seminar, an off-campus study program that showcases the relationship between UNC faculty research and undergraduate education by combining traditional coursework with experiential learning. The seminar program is supported by a gift from UNC alumnus Lucius E. Burch III. Each year between five and seven seminars are offered in both domestic and international locations. “Overall what I wanted them to get from the experience is that you can make a difference, that things like genocide don’t have to happen — and when they do happen, you can do something about it,” said LeFebvre, who has won 13 teaching awards at Carolina. “They have a duty to do something because they are global citizens.” Students found the voluntary service learning component of the Burch seminar most meaningful.
at a plantation near Butare. • Pink work suits identify
Stoneking was among a group of students who volunteered to teach at College Doctrina Vitae (CDV), a secondary school in Kigali. “I felt some sort of visceral discomfort with the fact that I was in Rwanda and I was learning and talking and meeting people, but I wanted something else I couldn’t really articulate,” said Stoneking, who taught chemistry, drama and English. “Once we started working at College Doctrina Vitae, it was amazing. … I ended up doing my research project on teaching science in developing countries.” Mburi worked at a local nonprofit, Mwana Ukundwa (“Beloved Child”), an organization started by genocide survivor Mukankaka Rose to provide orphans and widows with the knowledge and skills to re-integrate into society. On Mburi’s first day there, she helped plant, weed and hoe crops — pumpkins, squash and carrots. The weather was perfect. c o n t i n u e d
beyond the classroom. The first seminar debuted in fall 1998. Burch also funded the Burch Fellows Program, which allows talented Carolina undergraduates to design and pursue individual independent study projects anywhere in the world. Burch Seminars, which typically have between 12 and 18 students, provide 12 hours of academic credit in a mix of independent study and formal course work. They are open to all UNC undergraduate students who are in good standing and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Financial aid can be applied to the program cost, and students can apply for additional need-based scholarships. Information online at www.burchseminars.unc.edu. —
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adventurous,” said LeFebvre, Although they did not speak the who has hosted “reunions” of the same language, the Rwandan group at her house. “They just women and UNC volunteers leapt in … sometimes working 12 bonded through song. It was one or 14 hours a day. … They were of the moments she will never busy 24-7.” forget. The students came back “The sun had not risen yet; changed in different ways from it was behind the mountain, and the experience. Many of them it was very cool. … I remember hope to do further travel and they were singing Christian songs, studies abroad. Some say the trip and they asked if we knew any either affirmed or changed their Christian songs, and we started ABOVE: Donna LeFebvre and UNC students with teachers career paths. Karkutt hopes to singing ‘Amazing Grace.’ … We and students at CDV. The Carolina students are forming find a way to continue his dance started teaching them in English, an organization to support the Rwanda school. exchange. From LeFebvre he and they started teaching us in learned to ask the question: “What do I want to do next?” Kinyarwanda. … It was our way we communicated with each “When you open that book, you can’t realize what it’s like other.” to step off a plane in Kigali, Rwanda, until you do it,” Karkutt In addition to teaching at CDV, Karkutt took on an said. “Studying abroad opens your eyes and makes you see a lot of independent project of his own. A classically trained ballet dancer, things about your own country, and about yourself.” he decided to teach ballet to students at a primary school. In turn, they showed him intore, a native Rwandan dance. Once they returned to Chapel Hill, the students wanted to From Karkutt’s June 7 blog entry: It’s our last night of Kigali. I’m currently sitting at Bourbon Café, drinking continue their connection to Rwanda. They are forming an official student organization that will continue the partnership with College a short latte, taking in the city atmosphere … one last time. I’ve made several decisions … and one is that I’m Doctrina Vitae. They are arranging for letter-writing exchanges between U.S. and Rwandan students. They want to provide supplies coming back. to the school. And they were awarded a Nourish International grant to send six UNC students back to CDV this summer. Online Extras: Listen to audio clips of LeFebvre and Stoneking “I’ve never had a group of students like this — fearless, smart, talking about the Rwanda trip at college.unc.edu.
Thirteen’s a lucky number
olitical science senior lecturer Donna LeFebvre has won 13 teaching awards since becoming a UNC faculty member in 1984. That baker’s dozen includes two UNC Tanner Undergraduate Teaching Awards (in 1996 and 2004) and three Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Awards (in 1995, 2000 and 2006). She became the first person to win a second students’ teaching award, the only such honor directed and funded by Carolina students. Menna Mburi, a senior political science and journalism major who participated in last summer’s Rwanda Burch Seminar with LeFebvre, is not surprised by those accolades. She said in LeFebvre’s classroom, students are encouraged to voice their opinions and share their ideas. “Her instructional techniques go beyond the traditional lecture,” Mburi said. “Everything was about application and about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and about being able to examine both sides of the [Rwandan] conflict. … She pushes you to think beyond the subject matter.”
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LeFebvre is also committed to service learning, something a student nominator noted in 1996 when recommending her for the Tanner Award: “Through her variety of experimental class methods and her dedication to organizations and committees on campus, Donna LeFebvre is working to expand the definition and goals of university education.” LeFebvre has taught criminal law in Eritrea and through Semester at Sea, a floating university ship that travels around the world. In fall 2004, she led the university’s Honors Program in London. In fall 2010, she will direct the Honors Program in Cape Town, South Africa. Friederike Seeger, director of Burch Programs and Honors Study Abroad, believes LeFebvre’s background in leading international programs will help another group of students create meaningful experiences in Cape Town. With an intense study abroad experience like a Burch Seminar, “faculty directors need to wear many hats: you have to be not only a professor, but also a parent and friend. Donna excels at that because she really cares about the students,” Seeger said. —
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UNC research increases concern about long-term concussion impacts P
Football Football Fallout Fallout We are a sportscrazed nation.
how athletes who suffer multiple concussions can expect a bevy of problems later in life: depression, cognitive troubles and dementia. When football players take to the field each fall, about 10 percent can expect to sustain at least one concussion that season. Of these, 15 to 20 percent are likely to have We love celebrating the success of athletes a second concussion in the same season. And of all stripes — from the girl on the youth the recurrent concussions may be the most recreation team kicking her first goal to costly to a player’s lifetime health. the professional football player scoring his Kevin Guskiewicz’s UNC research umpteenth touchdown. We’re not so big on the long-term consequences of football on the injuries. We don’t necessarily ask to concussions is gaining national attention and know more about the sprained ankles, torn raising eyebrows across all levels of play, menisci, busted vertebral discs, broken ribs including the NCAA. or concussions that athletes suffer. But each Guskiewicz first became concerned year, in every sport, a steady stream of injured players trail off the football fields and ice-rinks, about concussions when he was an athletic away from the track and soccer fields, and into trainer with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early 1990s. He saw battered and bruised players in the offices of athletic trainers and physicians. the NFL put back in games, and he questioned Of all the common impact injuries an athlete might incur, concussions are the hardest if their health was being properly considered. “What bothered me the most was to detect. But we’d best figure it out, because the arbitrary nature in which return-to-play a body of research is building that shows
decisions were made after they’d taken a hard hit to their head,” says Guskiewicz, the Kenan Distinguished Professor who now chairs UNC’s department of exercise and sport science. “We needed a system to assess the damage.” So he set about creating one, based on careful measurements of an athlete’s postural stability, cognitive function and general symptoms. The research formed his dissertation at the University of Virginia where he earned a doctorate in sports medicine, but he did not stop there.
• Decoding a concussion’s impact Over the past decade and a half, Guskiewicz has accrued a body of published studies that seeks to untangle both the shortand long-term health effects that concussions wreak on athletes. His work has been published in numerous scientific journals and cited in major news media, from CNN and continued
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LEFT TO RIGHT: Kevin Guskiewicz’s research examines the long-term effects of concussions. • Accelerometers help researchers study head impacts. • Guskiewicz has worked with the UNC football team since 2004.
impairment or depression. About 5 percent of people with a concussion will have symptoms that last beyond might look like a minor hit six weeks. When this happens, it’s called as do those who receive post-concussive syndrome. Mild cognitive a big hit; second, that the impairment is a possibility if people are in this constellation of factors slim 5 percent. resulting in a concussion The NFL’s mild traumatic brain injury were a lot more nuanced committee sniffed at Guskiewicz’s work. They HBO Sports to The than people had assumed. attacked his sample size as too small. They New York Times and decried that some of the survey respondents New Yorker magazine. were self-reporting medical histories without After establishing criteria to assess an • The long reach of medical records to back them up. athlete’s concussion and monitor his recovery multiple concussions “They tried to poke holes,” Guskiewicz — he helped write guidelines that are now But what Guskiewicz found next was says. “We were disappointed, but not recommended by the National Athletic even more eye-popping. surprised.” Trainers’ Association and the American In 2001 he had helped found UNC’s But then Boston University medical College of Sports Medicine — Guskiewicz Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. One doctor Ann McKee began studying brain tissue next wondered if he could use the magnitude of the first things the center did was mail of deceased NFL players who had, while of a hit to predict the degree of concussion a health survey to 3,600 retired National an athlete might experience. In 2004, he Football League players. Little did Guskiewicz living, pledged to donate their minds to a “brain bank” at BU’s Center for the Study of connected with sports equipment company know, but he’d spend the next eight years Traumatic Encephalopathy. She found that SIMBEX to measure the magnitude of head mining data and publishing studies based on players who suffered severe or repeated blows impacts football players experience when more than 2,500 returned surveys. to their heads may develop a disease state tackling and blocking by rigging up special One of the first trends he noticed was a known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, helmets with a device called an accelerometer. disturbingly high correlation between retired where tau proteins precipitate onto brain The instrument fits snuggly within the helmet NFL payers who had suffered four, five or tissue. An excess of these deposits lead to and measures both the direction and location more concussions during their careers and brain dysfunction and dementia. Other studies of a hit, and the magnitude or g-force. the onset of severe cognitive problems and have shown that people who suffer from In 2004, UNC football players started depression later. In a 2005 paper, Guskiewicz Alzheimer’s have unusual deposits of betawearing the helmets and Guskiewicz’s team and his team described links between lipid proteins in deeper regions of their brains. began collecting the data. When a player’s recurrent concussions and mild cognitive head was impacted, the accelerometers impairment, or MCI, and Alzheimer’s disease. Disturbingly, retired athletes who suffered four, five or more concussions during their careers captured the hit and transmitted the MCI is a pre-dementia state. Sufferers begin information — tagged with a unique ID to slide into severe memory loss and lose their appear to be more at risk for developing these excessive beta-lipid protein deposits. matched to each player — to a computer executive functioning skills, like problemGuskiewicz’s current work delves on the sidelines. Guskiewicz also used video solving. It might sound like the normal dance of footage to analyze the hits and match plays to old age, but it’s far more troubling. Having MCI further into questions about sports-induced the data. He thought they’d uncover a linear is like being in a holding room for Alzheimer’s: brain injuries. He is the principal investigator on a clinical trial that seeks to uncover if relationship between the highest g-forces and 30 to 40 percent of people diagnosed with the worst concussions. But no such luck. MCI will develop Alzheimer’s. In a 2007 study, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement has the “There was no relationship between they also described links between the number nutritive power to break up beta-lipid proteins and prevent deposits from building up within the force and the severity of concussion,” of concussions suffered and the probability of the brains of at-risk individuals. The doubleGuskiewicz says. The seeming randomness told developing depression later. blind study (where the research team and him two things: first, that as much attention But not everyone who sustains a the participants are both blinded to whether should be paid to players who receive what concussion will develop mild cognitive 16 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
the supplement or a placebo is being taken) consists of performing before-and-after brain scans and testing the cognitive skills of 40 retired athletes who participated in the 2001 health survey. He is also investigating whether some players may be hardwired to develop dementia or MCI. • The darker side of sports Unfortunately, the healthy pursuit of sports can lead to catastrophic injuries and death in athletes of all ages. Fred Mueller, professor and director of UNC’s National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research, has been tracking these trends in high school and collegiate athletics since 1980, though the center has been issuing the report since 1965. He retired last June, but still directs the center. Mueller’s center issues a report annually that parses incidences of catastrophic injury and death within different sports. They also record the circumstances of the event. The data go to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA. Spikes of injury incidences within a certain sport have led to changes in equipment or education to prevent future injuries. “We see fewer deaths now, fewer direct injuries, and more indirect injuries,” Mueller says, discussing data trends over three decades. He recently finished co-authoring a book to be published by Carolina Academic Press in Durham, titled A Comprehensive Study of Football Fatalities 1931-2008. Guskiewicz says that Mueller mentored him when he first started at UNC, when
Mueller was the chair of the department of exercise and sport science. “My goal is that through our research and improving safety in sports, we’ll see fewer subjects showing up in Fred’s catastrophic injury database,” Guskiewicz says.
• Looking at HOCKEY
• Moving forward, safely Guskiewicz has just begun untangling the web of events that enmesh athletes in recurrent concussions and their associated long-term health effects. He’s helping to found a new clinical research lab, called the UNC Sport Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, which reflects the trajectory of his studies. “It’s going to focus exclusively on brain injury research, but will allow us to connect the dots between prevention, injury mechanisms, interventions for recovery and late-life complications. So it’s a natural progression,” he says. But he wants to make it clear he’s not seeking to fundamentally change the sport of football. “I have three boys of my own who play football. I care very much about the sport of football continuing,” Guskiewicz says. “I just want to be sure that as researchers, we are contributing to making it safer.” • Online Extras: More on research by Guskiewicz and Mueller at college.unc.edu.
impact of collisions sustained by youth
Kevin Guskiewicz is working with UNC visiting assistant professor Jason Mihalik in the department of exercise and sport science to monitor the playing hockey for the Carolina Junior Hurricanes in Raleigh. About 30 young boys have had accelerometers installed in their helmets, and the researchers are studying two age-groups: 13- to 14-year-olds, and 15- to 16-year-olds. They are in the middle of their fourth season of data collection, and they’ve logged more than 20,000 head impacts between the two groups. “We have not formally analyzed the data, but so far the trends seem to be showing us that the youth are getting hit in the average range of 18 to 22 g’s,” Mihalik said. This puts the force of their impacts on par with collegiate football players. Mihalik said this is worrisome for several reasons. First, sustaining a concussion at a younger age widens the window of time when an athlete may sustain additional concussions. But in general, kids don’t tend to know as much about the dangers of concussions, so they may be less likely to report them. Also, youth league teams rarely have a physician or dedicated athletic trainer, making it more difficult
LEFT: Fred Mueller heads the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research. ABOVE: Kevin Guskiewicz analyzes data from his research, which is gaining national attention.
to diagnose a brain injury. He hopes to expand the study to girls’ youth hockey because NCAA data indicate that female hockey players sustain concussions at nearly twice the rate of their male counterparts.
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George Lensing Jr., the Mann Family Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, volunteers to teach early-morning classes. Amazingly, given the nocturnal nature of many college students, his classes fill up. Each morning, as the students shuffle in, he’s there to greet them, handouts at the ready, notes already written on the white board. He brings enough enthusiasm to stir sleepy minds into thought without crossing over into annoying perkiness. “Wherever they are coming from, four hours of sleep the previous night and other things on their minds, if I don’t project some energy, I’m not going to engage them,” said Lensing, who is in his 41st year of teaching at UNC.“I’m energized because I love it.” Lensing has a deep well of energy and effort that he dips into to teach, to serve on an exhausting number of committees and, for the past seven years, to direct the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. (Psychology professor Linda Dykstra took over last September.) And then there’s the academic research he does on 20th-century poets and novelists, The Wallace Stevens Journal he edits, and the three books he has written on Stevens
Teaching, research and service are energizing
By Nancy E. Oates • photos by Steve Exum
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(the insurance executive cum poet). Lensing also works with students at the Catholic Newman Center and hosts an annual picnic at his house, serves as president of the InterChurch Council Housing Corp. in Chapel Hill and devotes time to hospice visits. In 2005, he was awarded the “Building Bridges Award” given annually by the UNC/ Community MLK Jr. Planning Corp. Two recent awards underscore his achievements and the esteem he has earned from colleagues across the University community.The Arts and Sciences Foundation gave him its inaugural William F. Little Distinguished Service Award, recognizing Lensing’s extraordinary commitment to the College. The late Little was a chemistry professor and founder of the Foundation. And Lensing’s faculty peers at the University honored him with the 2009
Thomas Jefferson Award, in recognition of his stellar teaching, scholarship and service. Faculty members nominate candidates for the annual award, created in 1961 to recognize the colleague who best exemplifies the ideals and objectives of Thomas Jefferson. Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean of undergraduate education, said Lensing embodies the characteristics that the University wants to see in all faculty members.“He is a good scholar, a good teacher and a good citizen of the University,” she said.“He’s the quintessential wellrounded person.” Owen said Lensing’s success benefits the University as well. “As Carolina students have won these prestigious scholarships and been competitive with elite private schools,” she said,“it lets more people know about UNC-Chapel Hill.” Libby Longino and Henry Spelman, who both won Rhodes scholarships this year — spoke of Lensing’s commitment to helping students impress the scholarship committees, even though he no longer directs the office. [see related story on Longino and Spelman on page 2.] He critiqued their essays and conducted mock interviews with them so they could sharpen their answers. During Lensing’s tenure as director of distinguished scholarships and his unofficial role in helping students last fall, 10 UNC students were named Rhodes Scholars and more UNC students received Luce Scholarships than did students at Harvard. In 2009, UNC nominated five students for consideration as Rhodes Scholars; all five were named among the 236 finalists. “I don’t think I would have won the scholarship without Professor Lensing’s kindness, experience and humor,” Spelman said.“But even if I hadn’t won, it was worth applying just to have gotten to know him better.” Longino was most impressed by Lensing’s “dedication and willingness to share [his] thoughts and advice” in critiquing drafts of her personal statement that the scholarship requires. He continued to communicate with her throughout her summer in Cape Town, South Africa, until she was satisfied with her submission.“He’s an expert in helping you think about how to frame
oversees the UNC Honors System, and for 15 years he made presentations on the Honor Code to the men’s basketball team. But it is in teaching that he found his calling. He received the Tanner Distinguished Teaching Award in 1984 and the John Sanders Award for Teaching and Service in 2001, and he held the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professorship for Distinguished Teaching from 2002 to 2007. Even while director of distinguished scholarships, Lensing had only a one-course reduction in his teaching load. Lensing gets out from behind the lectern as he teaches and walks through the aisles of the classroom, creating an interactive classroom environment, said Joseph Flora, his colleague in the department of English and comparative literature.“Not every student loves poetry,” Flora said,“not even English majors. He gives students a sense of why a poem has endured; while even though it’s tough, it’s still worth their time.” On a December morning, in the last class before finals began, Lensing talked through a William ButlerYeats poem about aging with his students, nearly all barely out of their teens. “It’s not fair,” he said later.“I grow older, and they stay 20 years old every year.” ABOVE: George Lensing and students examine Teaching keeps him young, he said.“I the works of Irish poet Seamus Heaney in the love the interaction with students.When I Rare Book Collection of Wilson Library. teach a class where their eyes are alert and they’re making responses and writing things down, I don’t know anything more satisfying. Dame in Indiana. He returned to the South You feel like you’ve given them something.” for a doctorate in English from Louisiana One of his former students, novelist State University, then went to Brazil as a Sarah Dessen, gave back in the form of giving visiting professor of English for a two-year him a cameo in one of her teen novels. Ever stint in the Peace Corps. From there, he modest, he didn’t let it go to his head.“I applied for teaching positions at universities don’t think many of my colleagues have read in the U.S. UNC had an opening in its Dreamland,” he said. English department. He came in 1969 and Over the years, Lensing has taught never left. everything from first-year English to graduate The list of administrative duties and seminars. He plans to teach only for a few committee involvements over the past four more years. He’ll continue to do his own decades takes up three pages on Lensing’s research — he has written more about curriculum vitae. He was selected as the December commencement speaker in 2004. Wallace Stevens than any other critic — and As secretary of the faculty, he wrote and read look for other ways to stay connected to the University. “It’s been such a big part of my a number of honorary degree citations for life,” he said. luminaries such as President Clinton, the “I learn by teaching.A great poem is Rev. Billy Graham and Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney. For 26 years he served inexhaustible.There’s always something I can on the Committee on Student Conduct that learn from it.” • your work and experiences in a way that effectively communicates who you are and how you fit the criteria for this scholarship,” she said. Lensing, while directing distinguished scholarships, worked with students applying for scholarships such as the Luce, Udall, Truman, Marshall, Mitchell, Goldwater and Churchill. He often came in on weekends as deadlines approached. He videotaped mock interviews, not to criticize but to say,“Here’s how you answered this question; you critique it.” Students came back a week later prepared with much better answers. Lensing has spent his entire career at UNC. Originally from a little town in Louisiana called Lake Providence, he left home in high school for boarding school in Arkansas, followed by an undergraduate degree in English at the University of Notre
Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 19
Profile P r of i l e
Erin Burns: Born to Teach By JB Shelton
eaching biology at West Charlotte Rap music in High School is much more than a career in the classroom education for Erin Burns, who graduated CSI lab from UNC in 2009 with a major in biology, a UNC-BEST minor in entrepreneurship and N.C. teaching trained her to break credentials. down complex “Even as a little girl, I understood the concepts into terms power of an educated mind,” she says. students could “Teaching fulfills my lifetime obsession to relate to. A senior, who’d flunked biology change the world for the better.” twice, told her, “Man, Ms. Burns, you’re The North Carolina Teaching Fellow the only teacher that makes it so that I can graduated from High Point’s Southwest understand.” (Yes, he passed.) Guilford High School and began teaching Deoxyribonucleic acid is multi-syllabic at West Charlotte in August 2009. She is genetic code mumbo-jumbo, but her indefatigably passionate and has perfect students get her point that DNA is their timing, as one of the first graduates of the bodies’ instruction manual. “We made and UNC-BEST (Baccalaureate Education in munched edible candy models of DNA Science and Teaching) program, an innovative and listened to ‘bio-rap’ — rap music with collaboration of UNC’s College of Arts and vocabulary about replicating DNA,” she says. Sciences and School of Education that enables “Their favorite lessons,” adds Burns, science and math majors to simultaneously “take place in our classroom CSI crime lab.” obtain their N.C. teaching credentials (Most teachers don’t start a school term and their simulating a crime undergraduate scene, complete “Even as a little girl, I understood degrees. with bloodied the power of an educated mind. Burns origiketchup walls. Most Teaching fulfills my lifetime obsession nally planned to teachers aren’t Erin to change the world for the better.” be an inner-city Burns.) “Students biology teacher, gather evidence becoming a missionary doctor by attendand predict which pretend suspect broke into ing medical night school. She admits to her my classroom. Every student is 100 percent naivete, “Little did I know there was no such engaged, realizing the importance of science, thing as medical night school.” imagining career paths toward forensics.” Instead, she’s creating a teaching career — in a school with a 99 percent minority Entrepreneur’s creative spirit population and a 75 percent poverty level — During the biotech unit, Burns where the kids consult her daily about health encourages students to think innovatively and personal issues. about creating solutions to world problems. “Teaching high-schoolers about their “I love to give them confidence-building bodies, genetics and science is similar to assignments where there are no ‘wrong working at a medical clinic,” says Burns. answers,’” she says. Her students vouch “Education is a powerful preventive medicine; that she makes them feel smart, developing students need to know about AIDS.” enough self-confidence to think finding a And they need to hear it from someone cancer cure could be in their futures. competent and comfortable in telling them. Burns minored in entrepreneurship and
20 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
ABOVE: UNC-BEST graduate Erin Burns ’09 uses creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit in teaching biology to West Charlotte High School students.
participated in an internship in Beijing where she taught art to migrant children. “[The internship] gave her a whole new outlook on the world outside of North Carolina, with increased confidence in her talents and strengths,” says economics professor John F. Stewart, director of the entrepreneurship minor in the College. Her ultimate dream is “combining my passion for entrepreneurship with my teaching experience to create a nonprofit group or charter school where entrepreneurial spirit and creativity collide.” ‘Born teacher’ “From my first interaction with her, I knew Erin was a born teacher — unwavering, passionate, deeply committed to educating others and bringing about positive change through service,” says Ramona D. Cox, coordinator of teacher recruitment and retention licensure officer at UNC’s School of Education. Cox and Burns worked together on a two-year service-learning project for Durham Public Schools, where she, students and members of the UNC chapter of the Student N.C. Association of Educators refurbished a school’s exterior and built a new school store. “I know she will make a big difference in the lives of the students she encounters,” says Cox. Burns’ students are already living proof. •
P r of i l e
Colleagues and students celebrate tenor’s long career By Pamela Babcock
NEED TO CLEAN UP PHOTO
“The opportunity to teach while continuing to sing has been an incredible gift. The students have kept me young. I will always be interested in students and colleagues, and I hope to remain in touch with them.”
32 years, Wing retired in June 2009. Over the years, his teaching and singing amassed a large and loyal following in Chapel Hill and beyond. His poignant Lieder recitals (art songs ABOVE: UNC tenor Stafford Wing in German mainly from the 19th century), ike many of the classic songs he sang including Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, and taught, Stafford Wing’s UNC career ended Strauss and Mahler renditions, were highlights on a soaring note. of the concert season. Colleagues, former students, fellow He also taught and mentored a wealth performers and admirers closed out the music of successful graduates, not only performers, professor’s 40 years at Carolina with a musical but also teachers, musical directors and others tribute in Hill Hall. Metropolitan Opera who have prospered through his leadership, mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood ’83 was the performance, teaching and service. headliner for the October celebration. Sharing Terry Rhodes, UNC’s music department the stage with her was a host of Wing’s former chair and director of opera, met Wing when students from across the nation, from New York she was an undergraduate in the 1970s. to California, and Florida to Alaska. For the She has considered him a “dear colleague, finale of the show, all joined in singing Rodgers incredible friend and mentor” throughout her and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” 21 years on the Carolina faculty. from the musical Carousel: Rhodes described Wing as a beacon who led the voice area through periods of feast When you walk through a storm and famine with his “buoyant spirit, generous Hold your head up high nature, warm smile and unstinting wisdom and And don’t be afraid of the dark. guidance.” At the end of a storm Wing grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., Is a golden sky has degrees from Stetson and Louisiana State And the sweet silver song of a lark ... universities and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music. He came to UNC in 1969 from an The song fit the occasion with a couple of illustrious career that embraced both classical caveats. At the end of Wing’s busy and fulfilling and non-classical repertoire in concert, opera, career, the sky glowed not golden, but Carolina musical theater, television, radio and recording. blue. And the sound Rodgers and Hammerstein Wing has performed as a soloist in Europe, set at the end of the storm instead rang through the U.S and Canada, and has recorded with the all of Wing’s years on stage and in teaching — Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna Symphony, the “sweet silver song” of his lyric tenor voice. the Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra and with A well-loved voice professor who chaired Armor Artis in New York. He toured with the the voice area in the music department for Music Theater of Lincoln Center and performed
at Carnegie Hall in New York and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. In the early 1960s, as an ensemble singer, Wing pulled off nearly 1,000 performances as a member of the chorus at Radio City Music Hall — singing four and five shows daily. “I once did 22 straight weeks without a day off,” Wing recalled. He also performed in the ensemble for NBC-TV Opera productions, and with the New York Philharmonic in concerts and in recordings under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. At Carolina, Wing served as director of the UNC Chamber Singers in the 1970s, and in addition to teaching voice, taught general music appreciation, lyric dictions and the ever-popular opera appreciation. He received the Amoco Foundation Award for excellence in inspirational teaching of undergraduate students. During his teaching career, he continued to perform in recital, oratorio and opera not only on campus, but also in Europe and New York. Nurtured by music every day, Wing said he owes a great deal of his success to the love and support of his wife of 54 years, Janice Tice Wing, who also was his first accompanist in high school. “The opportunity to teach while continuing to sing has been an incredible gift. The students have kept me young,” he said. “I will always be interested in students and colleagues, and I hope to remain in touch with them.” Online Extras: Read the program from Wing’s retirement celebration at college. unc.edu. •
Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 21
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
Gifts from retired geologist support faculty and student research By Del Helton
ohn Rogers has left the classroom — graduate student but not the students. to help establish And although the William R. Kenan, seven of the Jr. Professor Emeritus of geology retired in stations now in 1997 after 22 years on the Carolina faculty, operation.” he remains engaged in research, both his Drew own and that of other UNC geologists. Coleman, associate His health prevents him from the physical professor, concurs challenges of geological field work, but his that Rogers’ gifts mind continues to explore with vigor. extend beyond the “The department has hired some checkbook. remarkable faculty in the past few years,” “John said Rogers. “While I can’t work in the has been a tremendous supporter of field, I can support faculty and students undergraduate and graduate research,” he with dollars for equipment and research.” said. “His interests are multidisciplinary in Through the John and Barbara a climate that emphasizes specialization. He Rogers Fund encourages a holistic for Geochemical view of science, mixing “The department has Excellence, Rogers research approaches, hired some remarkable directs his gifts to seed research areas and even funding for faculty in research disciplines.” faculty in the past few years. the department. This Coleman said While I can’t work in the money helps attract that Rogers has field, I can support faculty even larger private been a pioneer in and federal grants and encouraging geological and students with dollars for enables undergraduates techniques toward equipment and research.” and graduate students solving archaeological to conduct important problems. research that otherwise would not have “It is not unusual to begin working on been possible. For example, a recent a problem with a student and dig into the gift enabled a young faculty member to literature only to find a paper written by purchase a pellet press used to prepare John decades ago.” rocks for analysis, which led to a National Rogers, a native of Los Angeles, Science Foundation grant for a special enrolled as a chemistry major at the X-ray machine to analyze geological venerated California Institute of elements in detail. Technology (because it was within driving Rogers also stepped in with critical distance of his hometown, he jokes), but funding for assistant professor Lara Wagner, switched after he took a required geology whose research in seismology and tectonics course and then his geology courses began focuses on how the Blue Ridge Mountains to outnumber his chemistry classes. survive the ravages of time. He earned his master’s degree at the “I had funds for 10 broadband seismic University of Minnesota, returned to Cal stations, but no money for expenses like Tech in 1952 and completed his Ph.D. fuel, food and lodging,” Wagner said. there in 1954. His first job was to help “John provided this funding and made create the geology department at Rice it possible for four undergraduates and a University in Houston. 22 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
ABOVE: John Rogers. LEFT: Lara Wagner (left) and students have benefited from John Rogers’ generosity.
In addition to Rogers’ abundant scientific accomplishments — seven books, fellow and past president of the International Division of the Geological Society of America, fellow of the Geological Society of India, and honorary fellow of the Geological Society of Africa — he is a gifted administrator. While at Rice, he served for five years as Master of Brown College, a women’s residential college. Today, Rogers lives in Durham with his wife Barbara. They have two children, Tim, a newspaper editor in Wilson, N.C., and Peter, who studies wildlife conservation in Africa and is on the faculty of Paul Smith’s College in New York. Rogers recently completed coauthoring a college textbook on how human history has been influenced by earth and its processes, including climate changes and Hurricane Katrina. Rogers even maintains a Facebook page. “John actively seeks and funds students for all of his research ideas. Part of this is practical. He no longer has the physical abilities to follow through on ideas,” said Coleman. “The other [factor] is passion. John gets immeasurable satisfaction from working with students and watching them succeed.” And thanks to Rogers, they can move mountains. • Online Extras: More on Lara Wagner’s research and John Rogers at college. unc.edu.
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
A College First
UNC alum creates first distinguished professorship in romance languages By Del Helton
achmaninoff and Ricky Nelson to recruit new shared 12-year-old Linda Moore faculty in a highly Pelletier’s hi-fi time, thanks to a supply of competitive classical music albums from her beloved environment.” uncle “Ardrey Lee.” Moore Long after the pop stars of the early earned four 1960s fell from the charts, Pelletier’s Carolina degrees, interest in classical music and art including ABOVE: Lee Moore as a student at Carolina. Through his estate, flourished. bachelor’s degrees Moore established a professorship in honor of a favorite French professor. “My uncle gave me culture,” said in chemistry Pelletier, a 1970 UNC alumna of Van and medical Wyck, S.C., and longtime teacher at technology in 1949, a master’s degree designating the gift in honor of a Carolina Charlotte Country Day School. “He was (1950) and a Ph.D. (1965) in public faculty member whom he held in great marvelous, educated, witty, and to the health. He was born in Davenport, Iowa, esteem. end, his mind was as sharp as a tack.” but grew up in Clinton, N.C., as the That was Jacques Hardré, a French Lucius Lee Ardrey Moore Jr. died oldest of four children. professor and mentor to Moore during his in September 2007 at 84, leaving another After completing his Ph.D., Moore student years. legacy, one that will influence generations moved to Atlanta, beginning a 27-year “He literally turned my uncle’s life of Carolina students. Through his career at the Centers for Disease Control around and made him realize his selfestate, he gave the College of Arts and as a consultant in parasitology and tropical worth,” said Pelletier, who coincidentally Sciences $880,000 to establish the Jacques medicine. He traveled often to the was a French major. Hardré Distinguished Professorship in South Pacific, Central America and the Hardré began teaching at Carolina Romance Languages, the department’s Caribbean to train local health agencies in 1945, was named a Kenan Professor first permanent professorship. The on treatments to prevent and detect in 1971, and retired in 1977. He died in Hardré Professorship qualifies for tropical diseases, including malaria. 1983 at 68. another $334,000 from the state’s A passionate chorister of church A native of Dinan, France, Hardré Distinguished Professors Endowment music, he joined Atlanta’s Cathedral of became a naturalized U.S. citizen in Trust Fund, making the total initial St. Philip in 1968, where he met his 1956. From 1942 until 1945, he served endowment $1,214,000. It will provide partner of 39 years, John Wilkerson. as a lieutenant with the legendary First the department with annual income of Wilkerson died just two months prior to Armored Division of the Free French, more than $60,000 for salary and research Moore’s death. earning a number of military awards for funds. Over the years, the two entertained his service. Hardré earned two degrees at “Lee’s gift honors a professor numerous friends and family in their Carolina, an M.A. in 1941 and a Ph.D. who was departmental chair at a very historic Ansley Park home, with annual in 1948. significant time of expansion, and at mint julep parties, Easter champagne For Pelletier, the gift is a lasting the same time brunches and reminder of her uncle’s remarkable will add to our New Year’s generosity and his devotion to a place “Ardrey Lee was so happy when he faculty a very Day dinners of he loved. could help others. And he absolutely distinguished traditional hog “Ardrey Lee was so happy when adored Chapel Hill — who doesn’t?” scholar of jowl, Hoppin’ he could help others. And he absolutely romance John, collard adored Chapel Hill — who doesn’t?” • languages,” said Larry King, department greens and Moore’s infamous stewed Online Extras: Read the 1983 UNC chair. “It couldn’t come at a more critical tomato casserole. Faculty Resolution memorializing Jacques Hardré time as several longtime members of our Moore had already named Carolina at college.unc.edu. faculty are retiring, and we will need in his will, but a friend suggested Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 23
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
By Joanna Worrell Cardwell (M.A. ’06)
Joanna Worrell Cardwell
New Frey Fellow uses art as a critical toolbox for viewing the world oss Barrett remembers his first art as American studies, exhibition. which has several other He was 7 years old when his parents faculty who work with took him to the Los Angeles County visual culture.” ABOVE: Ross Barrett is the first David G. Frey Distinguished Fellow of Museum to an exhibition featuring French Barrett came to American Art. He specializes in 19th and 20th century American painting. Impressionist paintings. Barrett recalls UNC following a being fascinated by the bright colors of Mellon Postdoctoral the paintings, especially Monet’s “Garden Fellowship in American Art at the “American society is increasingly at Sainte-Adresse,” with its colorful flags University of Chicago. Before that, he was visual,” he said. “I want students to engage and flowers on a seaside terrace. It was the a Wyeth Fellow at the Center for Advanced with that landscape critically — to see art beginning of a lifelong passion for art. Study in the Visual Arts at the National images as products of a deeper history, As the inaugural David G. Frey Gallery of Art. Barrett earned master’s bound with social, economic and political Distinguished Fellow of American Art, degrees in art history and museum studies structures and forces. The key is thinking of Barrett specializes in 19th and 20th century from Syracuse University after completing art as a lens on a moment, not a reflection. American painting. His interests include his undergraduate work at the University of It gives us access to the way Americans ideology, violence and power in American Notre Dame. He received his Ph.D. in art thought of major developments and crises of society and art. history from Boston University. their times.” Barrett says that the focus of the Frey Barrett says his favorite part of being a Barrett works to bridge the gap Fellowship played an important role in his professor is teaching college students. between the art the students are studying decision to join Carolina’s faculty. “I find the energy, enthusiasm and and the world around them. He often shows “No other schools had this type of inquisitiveness of students exciting,” ads, cartoons and popular prints from the commitment to American art,” he said. Barrett said. “It’s a wonderful time of life eras they study to help provide them with a “That was incredibly for people, a time critical toolbox for viewing the world today. exciting and set of discovery. It’s Barrett receives salary support and “American society is increasingly Carolina apart from exciting to be around research funding from the David G. Frey visual. I want students to engage other schools.” students when they’re Distinguished Professorship in American with that landscape critically — Mary Sheriff, bringing this energy, Art, one of three professorships established to see art images as products of art department chair spirit and enthusiasm by David Frey (’64 BA English, ’67 JD.) A a deeper history, bound with and W.R. Kenan, to the classroom. It banker by trade, Frey created professorships Jr. Distinguished buoys you.” social, economic and political in art, dramatic art and music because he Professor of Art In addition views the liberal arts as the foundation of an structures and forces. The key History, said Barrett’s to general survey undergraduate education. is thinking of art as a lens on a appointment comes courses on American Frey said he selected American art, moment, not a reflection. It gives at an important time art, Barrett currently specifically the period from the 1820s to us access to the way Americans for the department. teaches an advanced 1945, because of the recent growth in the thought of major developments “The addition course on the Civil field as well as his interest as a collector. of a specialist in War in American art. and crises of their times.” “American art is an emerging discipline, American art was He is also developing from a teaching, as well as a collecting, critical,” Sheriff said. “The area is not only a graduate course in American landscape standpoint. I’m excited that the university one of the most popular with students but painting, which he will teach for the first found a rising star in this area,” Frey said. is also a strong component of departments time in fall 2010. “It’s gratifying that students, graduate such as music, history and English. With In the classroom, Barrett works to help students and others on campus will be able Barrett joining the faculty, we have students understand the interconnection to have a higher and perhaps more thorough increased our offerings in American art as of art with other social forces and cultural appreciation of the artists spanning the last well as our collaboration with units such activities. two or three centuries of American art.” • 24 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
As the world’s
Study reveals winners and losers of ocean acidification
seawater becomes more acidic due to rising Justin Ries
atmospheric carbon dioxide, some shelled marine creatures may
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Blue crabs increased
actually become bigger
in mass under elevated CO2 levels. • Sea urchins
and stronger, according to a UNC study.
showed dissolution of their spines under high CO2. • Lobsters followed a similar pattern as the blue crab.
The finding, based on research by UNC marine scientist Justin Ries, could have
their shells out of calcium carbonate) at various levels of CO2
important implications for ocean food webs and the multi-billion
predicted to occur over the next several centuries. When CO2
dollar global market for shellfish and crustaceans.
combines with water, it produces carbonic acid, raising the
Previous research has shown that ocean acidification — the term for falling pH levels in the Earth’s oceans as they absorb increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere
of the carbonate ion used by organisms in their calcification. Seven species (crabs, lobsters, shrimp, red and green
— is likely to slow the growth or even
calcifying algae, limpets and temperate urchins) showed a
dissolve the shells of such creatures.
positive response, meaning they calcified at a higher rate and
However, the new study, published
ABOVE: Justin Ries
overall amount of carbon in seawater but reducing the amount
increased in mass under elevated CO2. Ten types of organisms
in the December issue of the journal
(including oysters, scallops, temperate corals and tube worms)
Geology, suggests that sediment-dwelling
had reduced calcification under elevated CO2, with several (hard
marine organisms may exhibit a wider
and soft clams, conchs, periwinkles, whelks and tropical urchins)
range of responses to CO2-induced
seeing their shells dissolve. One species (mussels) showed no
acidification than previously thought:
some may get weaker while others become stronger.
Such changes could have serious ramifications for predator and prey relationships that have evolved over hundreds of
Researchers also found that creatures whose shells grew
millions of years, said Ries, assistant professor of marine sciences.
the most, such as crabs, tended to prey on those whose shells
“There is no magic formula to predict how different species
weakened the most, such as clams. Researchers grew 18 different species of economically and ecologically important marine calcifiers (creatures that make
will respond, but one thing you can be sure of is that ecosystems as a whole will change because of these varied individual responses,” he said. • Carolina Arts & Sciences • Spring 2010 • college.unc.edu • 25
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
Growing global expertise
The College attracts scholars of Latin America,Asia,Africa and the Middle East
the College is to ensure that our students get a truly global education by studying with teachers and scholars who are experts in key regions of the world. That means maintaining our considerable faculty expertise in Latin America and Europe, while expanding the number of faculty who focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Thanks to a combination of public and private support, and interdisciplinary partnerships, the following international scholars joined our faculty in the fall.
politics in Latin America. For his doctoral dissertation in history at the University of California, San Diego, he focused on indigenous perceptions in Ayacucho, Peru, from 1940 to 1983, preceding the rise of the Shining Path guerilla insurgency.
Latin America • Zaragosa Vargas, a leading Zaragosa scholar in U.S. and Latino/a Vargas labor history, is the William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History and Latino/a Studies. He grew up in Michigan “in the shadow of the auto industry,” he says, where family members worked for General Motors. His doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan focused on early Mexican factory workers in Detroit and the industrial Midwest. The author Miguel La Serna of five books and numerous articles and essays, he previously taught at Yale University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. At Carolina, he is collaborating with oral historian Jacquelyn Hall, the Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History, on the early civil rights movement. • Miguel La Serna, assistant professor of history, is interested in indigenous revolutionary movements and the connections between culture, violence and
were affected by petroleum development. She is now studying how agrarian decisions in the lowlands of Bolivia are affected by changes in politics, institutions and production relations associated with land reform.
Asia Dan Sears
Editor’s Note: One of the top priorities of
Ahmed El Shamsy
He is a postdoctoral fellow at UNC and will join the tenure-track faculty July 1. • Gabriela Valdivia, assistant professor of geography, studies human-environmental interactions in Latin America. For her interdisciplinary doctoral dissertation at the University of Minnesota, she explored the political and environmental claims of Native Amazonians in the Ecuador who
26 • college.unc.edu • Spring 2010 • Carolina Arts & Sciences
• Yong Cai, assistant professor of sociology and fellow of the Carolina Population Center, is an expert on the impact of China’s social and political changes on fertility, mortality and gender inequality. Now considered a rising star in his field, he grew up on a farm in rural China and graduated from Peking University in Beijing, where he was a student during the Tiananmen Square protests. He has a Ph.D. in sociology and an M.S. degree in statistics from the University of Washington. Before coming to Carolina, he taught at the University of Utah. He is supported in part by a Freeman Foundation grant to help the College expand faculty expertise in Asia. • Xi Chen, assistant professor of political science, is completing a groundbreaking book about the increasing level of social protests in China and the government’s response to them. As a former attorney in China, he had extraordinary access to internal reports from police and political party sources in his native Hunan Province and was able to conduct in-depth interviews with police as well as protestors petitioning
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
A single atom — calcium (shown in blue) — can control how bacteria walk.
the government. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, had a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard and previously taught at Louisiana State University. • Sara Smith, a feminist geographer, conducted a landmark study of the complex politics of marriage and fertility along the volatile India-Pakistan border for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Arizona. During a year of intense fieldwork in the Ladakh region, she found that increasing tensions between Buddhists and Muslims have complicated reproductive decisions and choices regarding marriage, as individuals respond to pressures to enhance their population base for political purposes. Smith conducted 200 surveys, including in-depth interviews with members of Buddhist and Muslim households, and with political and religious leaders.
Africa • Anna Agbe-Davies, assistant professor of anthropology, focuses on the historical archaeology of colonialism in Atlantic Africa and slavery in the Caribbean and southeastern United States. Her research and teaching span African, African-American and American/ Southern studies. She obtained a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, previously taught at DePaul University and served as an archaeologist for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. • Colin Thor West, assistant professor of anthropology, is engaged in innovative research on the human impacts of development and climate change in Africa and Alaska. He has studied
how environmental change affects household sustainability in Burkina Faso and how fluctuations in salmon harvests impact communities in the Arctic. He graduated from the University of Chicago, volunteered in Africa for the Peace Corps, earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Arizona, and served as a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Africa/Middle East: • Ahmed El Shamsy, assistant professor of history, is considered a “trailblazing” scholar of pre-modern Islamic law and culture in north Africa and the Middle East. He is working on a book about the early evolution of Islamic law in Egypt. He grew up in Germany, received a B.A. with honors in Arabic and politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and earned a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. in history and Middle East studies from Harvard University. • — The College also recently hired a Chinese film expert as a lecturer-adviser in communication studies and five additional lecturers to expand our teaching in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean language and literature classes. This year we are seeking to recruit six tenure-track professors with expertise in areas such as British history, Brazil, Japan, sub-Saharan Africa, Korea, and peace, war and defense. We are also hiring a lecturer in international and area studies, and another in Arabic language and literature.
Single atom controls motion needed for bacterial infection
researchers have discovered that a single atom — a calcium — can control how bacteria “walk.” The finding identifies a key step in the process by which bacteria infect their hosts, and could one day lead to new drug targets to prevent infection. Bacteria stroll along solid surfaces using tiny fibrous legs called pili.This motility enables some pathogenic bacteria to establish infections — such as meningitis — that can be lethal. By resolving the structure of a protein involved in the movement of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, scientists identified a spot on the bacteria, that when blocked, can stop it in its tracks. “When it comes down to it, a single atom makes all the difference,” said senior study author Matthew R. Redinbo, professor and chair of the department of chemistry in the College, and professor of biochemistry and biophysics. His findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Redinbo and his team have been collaborating with Matthew C. Wolfgang, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and a member of the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center at UNC.They are trying to figure out how bacteria move with their legs.They noticed that Type IV pili are long, dense fibers. “These pili act as grappling hooks — the bacteria extend the fibers out, the fibers attach or stick to a surface, and then are retracted back into the bacteria, pulling it along,” said Wolfgang. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. •
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Highlights H i g h l i g h t s Celebrating first-generation college students
on Bilbao was born and raised in Miami to immigrant parents from Venezuela and Colombia. Now a senior at UNC, he is the first person in his family headed down the path to college graduation. “My father had to actually drop out of college when he was younger to go to work, but [my parents] knew the value of an education and wanted to pass that on to their kids,” said Bilbao. About 20 percent of undergraduates who entered Carolina in fall 2009 are first-generation college students like Bilbao. New initiatives — including a Web site, student organization and graduation recognition — are celebrating the success of these firstgeneration students. “Nationally, the number of firstgeneration college students attending universities is on the rise,” said Cynthia Demetriou, retention coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Education in the College. “The goal of these new initiatives is to help retain first-generation students by further integrating them into the academic and social culture of the University.” The Web site (firstgeneration.unc. edu) features video interviews with firstgeneration students including Bilbao as well as alumni and faculty; information about the new Carolina Firsts student organization; a student blog; a photo gallery; tips for success; support services for students; and more. A new initiative beginning in May will recognize graduating firstgeneration college students with a pin that says “Carolina Firsts,” as well as a celebratory breakfast. In April, for the second year, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will hold an event for first-generation students who have been admitted for fall 2010. •
Pin poin t in g the cause of ‘runn er’ s kn ee ’
rom professional athletes to weekend warriors, the condition known as “runner’s knee” is a painful and potentially debilitating injury suffered by millions of people. Until now, it has been unclear just what causes it. New UNC research has zeroed in on what appear to be the main culprits of the condition, formally known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. The study is believed to be the first large, long-term project to track athletes from before they developed runner’s knee, said study co-author Darin Padua, associate professor of exercise and sport science. The research appeared in the November issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Runner’s knee — the bane of many types of exercise, from running to basketball to dance — affects one in four physically active people. If unchecked, it can lead to more serious problems such as patellofemoral osteoarthristis. Padua and his colleagues studied almost 1,600 enrollees from the United States Naval Academy. Researchers analyzed participants’ biomechanics when they first enrolled at the academy, then followed them for several years to see if they developed the syndrome. A total of 40 participants developed the syndrome during the follow-up period.
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The study found: • Participants with weaker hamstring muscles were 2.9 times more likely to develop the syndrome than those with the strongest hamstrings. • Those with weaker quadricep muscles were 5.5 times more likely. • Those with weak arches were 3.4 times more likely. • Participants with smaller knee flexion angle (those whose knees bent less on landing during a jump test) were 3.1 times more likely. The study appears to confirm that if people can change the way they move and improve their leg strength, they can prevent or correct the problem, Padua said. Everyday athletes can also spot for themselves whether they are at risk. For example, if their knee crosses over the big toe when squatting, if the arches of their feet collapse when landing from a jump, and if they do not bend their knees much when they land, they stand a greater chance of developing the syndrome, Padua said. The researchers are now looking into which exercises are best for improving the biomechanics involved. The study’s lead author was Michelle C. Boling, a UNC doctoral student at the time of the study, now an assistant professor at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. •
Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
Displaying works of heart
Report identifies strategies to head off ’home-grown’ terrorism The shootings at Fort Hood,
the recent arrests of five young men LEFT: Charles Kurzman co-authored a report on in Pakistan and last summer’s arrests of “home-grown” terrorism. RIGHT: Students terrorism suspects in North Carolina mark (from left) Natalia Davila, Hallie Ringle and a troubling increase in terrorism-related Gavin Hackeling co-founded The Artery. activity by Muslim-Americans. But a new report by scholars at UNC and Duke University, which analyzes the extent of terrorist violence by Muslim-Americans since 9/11 and identifies strategies to head off “home-grown” terrorism, says the number of radicalized Muslim-Americans is still small. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 139 Muslim-Americans have committed violent terrorist acts, been convicted on terrorism charges involving violence or been arrested with charges pending. Of that number, fewer than a third successfully executed their violent plots, and most of those were overseas. The report recommends that policymakers reinforce successful anti-radicalization activities now under way in Muslim-American communities to address this low — but not insignificant — level of terrorist activity. “Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends,” said co-author David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The report, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-American Communities,” was co-authored by Schanzer, associate professor at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and adjunct associate professor of public policy at UNC; Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at UNC; and Ebrahim Moosa, associate professor of religion at Duke. It summarizes two years of research in Muslim-American communities in Seattle, Houston, Buffalo and Raleigh-Durham.
“Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends.” ”Muslim-American communities have been active in preventing radicalization,” said Kurzman. “This is one reason that Muslim-American terrorism has resulted in fewer than three dozen of the 136,000 murders committed in the United States since 9/11.” The research shows that denunciations of terrorism, internal self-policing, community building, government-funded support services and political engagement can all reduce risks of radicalization. The authors noted that Muslim-Americans “are feeling the strain of living in America during the post-9/11 era” and policies that alienate Muslim-American communities in an effort to crack down on terrorism are likely to exacerbate, not reduce, the threat of homegrown terrorism. •
pieces from 20 artists were showcased at the November opening of The Artery, a new student-run gallery providing an opportunity for student artists to display their work. The Artery is located in the Bank of America Center at 137 E. Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill. Founders of the gallery include Hallie Ringle, a senior art history major; Natalia Davila, a junior art major and chemistry minor; and Gavin Hackeling, a senior double major in art and political science. Ringle and Davila are president and vice president, respectively, of Kappa Pi, the art and art history honors fraternity. When trying to find potential buildings to house the gallery, the trio sent letters to those that had vacancy signs. Soon after, the Bank of America Center agreed to let them use the space for free. The idea came as an inspiration from Jeff Whetstone, director of undergraduate art studies and an assistant professor in the art department. Whetstone told the students about a student-run art gallery that opened in 2003. Although that gallery survived for only a few months, the organizers of the new gallery see The Artery as a long-term project. The organizers hope that the gallery will also interest those not normally involved in art and those interested in art history and curating exhibits. •
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Highlights H i g h l i g h t s
Senior creates microfinance program for homeless W
hile some students may have spent last summer relaxing at the beach, UNC senior Maggie West created a microfinance program to help the homeless in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. West, a public policy and Latin American studies major from Raleigh, led the pilot launch, working with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF). The student-run organization, affiliated with the Campus Y and the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, gives loans to those who are already homeless or at risk of being in that situation and helps them build their financial assets. West was inspired to help from her involvement with HOPE (Homeless Outreach Poverty Eradication), a Campus Y group, which gave her the chance to form relationships with the homeless. She received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) from the Office for Undergraduate Research in the College to fund the
program and evaluate the results. “I will always be driven to this kind of work by the strength of the community itself and the courage and conviction I have witnessed in this community to overcome challenge after challenge,” West said. “I am driven to delve this deep and work for systemic change because I have been so humbled by all that I have learned from those whom I have met in the shelter and on the streets. I believe we all deserve a better system.” Volunteers and students served as loan officers for the new project. The funds were primarily used for housing deposits, starting a small business, buying cell phones or paying for bus passes for work. Last summer, CEF received 18 applications for the program, and approved five of them. Those five borrowers were eligible to receive initial loans from $100 to $300. When those were paid off, they would be able to receive loans from $600 to $1,000.
Progress made in turning methane gas into liquid fuel
costly to transport because it remains a gas at temperatures and pressures typical on the Earth’s surface. Now UNC and UW esearchers at UNC and scientists have moved closer ABOVE: Maurice the University of Washington to devising a way to convert Brookhart have taken an important step methane to methanol or other in converting methane gas to a liquid, liquids which can easily be transported, potentially making it more useful as a especially from “remote” sites where methclean fuel and as a source for making other ane is often found. The finding was pubchemicals. lished in the Oct. 23, 2009 issue of Science. Methane, the primary component of Study co-author Maurice Brookhart natural gas, is plentiful and is an attractive is W. R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemistry fuel and raw material because it is more in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. efficient than oil, produces less pollution Methane is valued for its high-energy and could serve as a practical substitute for carbon-hydrogen bonds, which consist of petroleum-based fuels until renewable fuels a carbon atom bound to four hydrogen are widely useable and available. atoms. The gas does not react easily with However, methane is difficult and other materials and so it is most often
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If borrowers had to defer their payment, they were able to work it off for a few hours as “sweat equity” through the Campus Y’s HOPE Gardens. The homeless plant and harvest their own crops, which are then sold at farmers markets and on the UNC campus. Applicants who were not eligible for loans were not denied assistance. CEF provided them with a connection to other services, such as food pantries, housing assistance programs, health care providers, as well as skill development such as resumebuilding, job-searching and computer literacy. Durham County is interested in replicating the idea. CEF is working with Duke University, the Durham Rotary Club and Durham County Department of Social Services to introduce a new pilot for the homeless there. • — By Kristen Chavez ’13
simply burned as fuel. Burning breaks all four hydrogen-carbon bonds and produces carbon dioxide and water, said Karen Goldberg, a UW chemistry professor and co-author. “The idea is to turn methane into a liquid in which you preserve most of the carbon-hydrogen bonds so that you can still have all that energy,” she said. Brookhart said carbon-hydrogen bonds are very strong and hard to break, but in methane complexes, breaking the carbon-hydrogen bond becomes easier. “The next step is to use knowledge gained from this discovery to formulate other complexes and conditions, which will allow us to catalytically replace one hydrogen atom on methane with other atoms and produce liquid chemicals such as methanol,” Brookhart said. •
Bookshelf Co l l e g e
Boo k s h e l f
The Box “I need you to understand how ordinary it all was. At night the phone would ring after
Author Minrose Gwin
supper. My father would say a few quiet words into the receiver. A three, he would say. Or a four. When he put down the phone, he’d turn and look right at me. There would be a strange pleasure in his look, a gladness. He would ask me to perform this one small task; he’d tell me to go fetch him his box. The hair on the back of my neck would rise up and I’d run down the stairs to the basement where the furnace was. The stairs were just planks nailed to boards, no backs or sides to them, and when I was younger I used to be afraid that I’d slip and fall through to the dark underneath … “The box would be where it always was, on top of a stack of Daddy’s old Citizens’ Council magazines piled up on a table and so covered in dust you couldn’t even read the print … “Tonight, when Daddy takes the box from my hands, I can see how he loves the exchange, the way I know how to bring him exactly what he wants. … Now he will hold the box to one side, kiss me hard on the top of the head, and slip through the front door into the night …” — Excerpted with permission from The Queen of Palmyra (Harper Perennial), a debut novel by Minrose Gwin, Kenan Eminent Professor of English. The story takes place in the segregated south of 1963 in fictional Millwood, where young Florence gradually comes to learn the cost of seeing and not seeing, knowing and not knowing. Barnes and Noble named Queen a “Discover Great New Writers” book, and author Lee Smith calls it, “the most powerful and also the most lyrical novel about race, racism, and denial in the American South since To Kill A Mockingbird.” Read an interview with Gwin about the book at college.unc.edu.
• Secret Daughter (William Morrow) by Shilpi Somaya Gowda ’92. This powerful braided drama unwinds from multiple perspectives: the impoverished Indian parents giving away their newborn girl, the comfortable American couple raising her, and the daughter exploring her roots. The author got the idea for her first novel as a UNC Morehead Scholar and undergraduate working in an orphanage in India. • To Right These Wrongs (UNC Press) by Robert R. Korstad and James L. Leloudis. Two College alumni and Southern historians who teach at Duke and UNC respectively have written the definitive story of the philanthropic North Carolina Fund. Then Governor Terry Sanford, another alum, established the fund in 1963 to provide a better life for the “tens of thousands whose family income is so low that daily subsistence is always in doubt.” Illustrated by photographer and alumnus Billy Barnes.
• The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes (Algonquin Press) by Randi Davenport, executive director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence. In this moving memoir a single mother navigates a broken health care system to bring her autistic son back from the brink of psychosis. Writer Lee Smith calls it “a brave and beautiful story by a born writer.” • The Clinton Tapes (Simon & Schuster) by Taylor Branch ’68. The Pulitzer Prizewinning Martin Luther King biographer and UNC College alumnus was invited to record a series of secret White House conversations with Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. The President kept the tapes, but the historian published his recollections of what was said, based on his personal notes and recordings made on the drive home. The result is a fascinating though complicated glimpse of an irrepressible politician’s
perspective on our time. The author’s tapes, transcripts and notes are available to researchers through the University Libraries’ Southern Historical Collection. • The Librarian (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) by Ruth Moose. Banish your stereotype of what you think a librarian thinks, and prepare to be surprised, tickled and moved by this delightful collection from the longtime creative writing instructor and poet.
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Bookshelf Co l l e g e
Boo k s h e l f
• A Vietnam War Reader (UNC Press) edited by Michael H. Hunt, professor of history emeritus. This collection of primary sources provides a documentary history of the conflict from all sides, including Communist leaders, Vietnamese peasants, Saigon loyalists and North Vietnamese soldiers to U.S. policymakers, soldiers and critics of the war.
• The Old North State by the Red Clay Ramblers. Be forewarned: This latest CD from the rollicking Chapel Hill string band, including UNC’s Bland Simpson ’70, will make far-flung Tar Heels extremely homesick. Simpson is Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Creative Writing. You can sample and order online at www. redclayramblers.com. • Boosting Paychecks (Brookings Institution Press) by Daniel Gitterman, associate professor of public policy. The author, a senior policy adviser to N.C. Governor Bev Perdue, illuminates a commonly neglected part of the American safety net — tax and wage policies that could support low-wage workers and their families — at a time when they are needed more than ever.
• Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina (UNC Press) by Leonard Rogoff English Ph.D. ’76. Through oral histories, original documents and fascinating profiles, the author and UNC alumnus provides the first comprehensive social history of its kind. Rogoff is historian for the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina and president of the Southern Jewish Historical Society. • Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters (HarperOne) by Omid Safi, professor of religious studies. The Muslim-American author and Islam scholar provides a three-dimensional portrait of Muhammad and his importance to modern Muslims around the world. • Becoming Rasta (New York University Press) by Charles R. Price, associate professor of anthropology. The JamaicanAmerican scholar draws on in-depth interviews and stories of elders to explain why and how they joined the Rastafari movement.
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• Love in Infant Monkeys (Soft Skull Press) by Lydia Millet ’90. Lions, monkeys and celebrities, oh my. This first short-story collection by the PEN-USA Awardwinning novelist and former UNC creative writing student humorously captures Madonna, Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Edison and other headliners in encounters with a dead pheasant, a legendary swamp rabbit, harried hamsters, an electrocuted elephant and more. • Red Holocaust (Routledge) by Steven Rosefielde, professor of economics. A member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the author assesses the grim carnage associated with Stalin and his forces, including at least 60 million deaths by massacre, famine, imprisonment and other crimes against humanity. • Relationship Banker: Eugene W. Stetson, Wall Street and American Business, 19161959 (Mercer University Press) by James L.
Hunt ’81 ’88. The UNC College and Law School alumnus tells how a young banker from Georgia rose to direct Guaranty Bank and its merger with Morgan, leading to JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the world. The author, a professor of law and business at Mercer University, shows how — long before our latest banking crisis — personal relationships determined who got capital. • Hôtel Dieu (Sheep Meadow Press) by Stephanos Papadopoulos ’98. In his second collection of poems, the Greek-American poet, translator and UNC classics alumnus explores love, joy and loss from Chile and Guatemala to Greece, New York and North Carolina. Papadopoulos lives in Athens. Online Extras: More on books at college.
Arts & Sciences
F i n a l Po int
Michelle Hicks is a senior English major, with minors in comparative literature and creative writing, from Lafayette, La. She wrote the poem as a member of the year-long senior Honors in Poetry
Carolina Arts & Sciences
Lady Mechanic tells me Honey, it’s by the spirit and grace of the Good Lord that car’s still running, ’cause mechanically I just don’t see how it could be. She has a laugh like a cough.Though it is only 8 a.m., she tries to serve chocolate cake to me. I tell her the car starts fine
Writing course. Lady Mechanic appeared in the fall ’09 issue of Cellar Door, the undergraduate literary magazine. Cellar Door awarded her poem the first prize in poetry.
and she says, well, Honey, do you pray? I can tell she’s a God-fearing lady so I tell her that I pray — ’cause it seems Jesus is answering your prayers, she says, somehow or someway. She hands me a mug of coffee, mixed nearly white with sugar and cream. I don’t think that she has the same God as me. But today it seems that her God is the only God: God of grease, God of internal combustion whose glory itself is a contained explosion, whose miracles only the trained mechanic can see. Because sometimes I do pray. I pray for an end to blindness, and to war, and to the world’s decay. I pray extra to Mary, hoping on her woman’s grace. Instead, I get a spark plug that works against all odds. A transmission that shifts though the gears are misaligned. A battery that just won’t die. — By
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