WFU in the news: Jan. 15-21, 2024

Selected news clips courtesy of the Wake Forest News & Communications team


Could lab-grown rhino horns actually stop poaching? We may never know
By Juliana Kim | NPR
Despite all the years of debate, there is still little research on the effects of engineered rhino horns. Economics professor Fred Chen has formulated economic models to predict how lab-grown horns would do in the market. His research suggests that engineered horns could be a powerful tool in conservation even if they led to some increase in the demand for the real thing. “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, it could lead to more demand, so we don’t want it.’ I think we need to dig a little deeper than that,” he said. – 1/17/2024


Fan psychology: What draws fans together to gather and celebrate?
By Amanda Winstead | The Fandomentals
Folks who find supportive fandoms can benefit from improved social skills and give you something meaningful to look forward to. This may sound banal at first but psychology professor Christian Waugh explains that desire is a powerful positive emotion. Waugh states that anticipation gives you “a little bit of a positive emotional boost” that helps you overcome stress. – 1/16/2024

Clean energy jobs are coming to W.Va., but who’s going to work them?
By P.R. Lockhart | The Register-Herald
“The people most likely to enter [the energy workforce] are younger workers, generally more educated workers,” said economics professor Mark Curtis, who has studied how coal miners transition into clean energy jobs. And despite its reputation as an energy powerhouse due to coal and natural gas, the state hasn’t been as successful in adopting clean energy, ranking at or near the bottom of several national clean energy scorecards. “There’s not a lot of renewable jobs currently available in West Virginia,” Curtis added. “That’s for a lot of reasons including geographical reasons — West Virginia is not ideally suited for solar and wind.” – 1/17/2024

Sri Lanka ban on Chinese ships a ‘victory’ for India, but shows limits of small states in big-power rivalry
By Maria Siow | South China Morning Post
International affairs professor Neil Devotta said India and the US among others, were concerned that Chinese-owned ports might be converted to bases in the future, leading to China’s further “power projection.” “The countries concerned would like to delay or prevent this development in the Indo-Pacific, hence the pressure on small states like Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that while Colombo owed China money and relied on it for support in international forums, it mainly depended on Western markets for exports. – 1/15/2024

Burning wood pellets for energy endangers local communities’ health
By Justin Catanoso | Mongabay
Journalism professor Justing Catanoso writes on a new peer-reviewed study that quantifies broadly for the first time the air pollution and public health impacts across the United States from both manufacturing wood pellets and burning them for energy. The study, said to be far more extensive than any research by the US Environmental Protection Agency, finds that U.S. biomass-burning facilities emit on average 2.8 times the amount of pollution of power plants that burn coal, oil or natural gas. – 1/18/2024


Gauging the impact of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina
By David Ford | WFDD-FM (Winston-Salem, NC)
On December 1, 2023, North Carolina became the 40th state, along with the District of Columbia, to expand Medicaid. Economics professor Tina Marsh Dalton said understanding the health impacts of Medicaid expansion is complicated, but one positive short-term measure was found: declining money worries. “Out-of-pocket medical bankruptcy went down,” she said. “Having to borrow to pay your medical bills went down. And then the participants reported a lot less stress about their finances. So, that can also feed into health just on a general level.” – 1/17/2024

Localized data from Durham highlights connection between structural racism and poor health
By Leoneda Inge | WUNC-FM (Chapel Hill, NC)
For many, the idea that racism is linked to poor health outcomes is not new or surprising. But a recent study shows just how deeply connected the two issues are by using highly specific neighborhood-level data from Durham. Leoneda Inge talks with researchers and Dean of Wake Forest Medical School Dr. Ebony Boulware about how rates of diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease among communities of color are closely tied to structural racism. – 1/18/2024

Chief scrutinizes how police investigate massage parlors
By Connor McNeely | Hickory Daily Record
Law professor Alyse Bertenthal said that although she agrees with Thompson that the prosecution would likely be easier if you have a “confirmatory act,” the ease of prosecution should not be the only consideration in setting the new policy. “In this case, I think the change in policy is less about what makes for a better case than about what sort of conduct the department is willing to tolerate in the name of making a case,” she said. – 1/18/2024

Exercising your leadership character
By Mary Crossan, Corey Crossan, Bill Furlong | Chief Executive Magazine
Many people don’t understand what character is and certainly don’t understand how to develop it or embed it in an organization—although everyone would agree it’s important. The Virtuosity app was designed as a system to support individual and organizational character development. Embedded within this system is a framework developed by The Oxford Character Project and The Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University that describes seven strategies of character development. – 1/18/2024

Students from area universities to volunteer at annual MLK event for elementary schoolers at WSSU
By Amy Diaz | WFDD-FM (Winston-Salem, NC)
About 100 college students in Winston-Salem are teaming up to work with children for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Read-In event this weekend. The event is a way to honor Dr. King’s legacy and ideas around service and equality. Approximately 60 Forsyth County elementary schoolers will be paired up with students from three local universities: Winston-Salem State, Wake Forest, and UNC-School of the Arts. – 1/16/2024


Wake Forest University breaks down plastic recycling woes
By Bob Buckley | WGHP-TV (High Point, NC)
In this interview, Bob Buckley talks with law professor Sarah Morath:“By 2040, the estimates are that we’ll be around 80 million metric tons of plastic that are being produced. We’re better at recycling some types of plastic than others. So for example, plastic bottles…have a recycling rate of around 30% but other types of plastics like polystyrene has a recycling rate much lower. I think we can be more thoughtful and deliberate about the amount of plastic we use and the ways in which we design plastic.” – 1/17/2024

Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University host joint MLK Jr. Day program
WFMY-TV (Greensboro, NC)
This year’s theme was about making our voices heard. Even though the two schools have very different demographic makeups, they focused on what mattered most— bridging the gap. Speakers talked about “how we as a people need to move away from celebrating to activating change.” – 1/15/2024

Wake Forest Announces MLK ‘Building the Dream’ Award Winners
By Kim McGrath | Yes! Weekly
Senior Rute Ayalew and Assistant Director of Advocacy and Social Justice Deb Marke have been named Wake Forest University’s 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. “Building the Dream” award winners. Building the Dream awards are traditionally presented to a professor or administrator and a student from Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University who exemplify King’s qualities and promote diversity within the community. – 1/19/2024

New gallery exhibit highlights six decades of art ‘Of the Times’
By Steve Morrison | Yes! Weekly
Few people are aware that there is a fantastic collection of contemporary art, decades in the making, hidden away in Winston-Salem. For the next few weeks, this collection will get a rare public outing. Thirty-seven Wake Forest University student-acquired artworks spanning six decades will be displayed in Hanes Gallery this spring. – 1/17/2024

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