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22 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Native American Studies Program at West Virginia University will host the annual Peace Tree Ceremony on Nov. 18 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the WVU Peace Tree on the downtown campus between Martin and Elizabeth Moore halls.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the Mountainlair ballrooms.

The event is free and open to the public.

The guests of honor for the ceremony include Boe Harris-Nakakakena, (Turtle Mountain Chippewa); and Ragghi Rain Calentine (Eastern Cherokee descent). The two cultural educators promote, social justice, health, cultural awareness, and inclusiveness through traditional music, storytelling, and dance.

Harris-Nakakakena is a Northern Traditional and Jingle Dress dancer who plays Native American flute. She has performed throughout the country, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at numerous NATO military bases throughout Europe.

“As a granddaughter of strong Indian women, my heart and spirit know no other journey than to follow the traditions that flowed through the souls, spirits, and lives of those women who walked before me,” Harris-Nakakakena said.

Calentine is a gifted storyteller who says she helps teach and inspire “people who are on the edge of life, including those in prison, children in crisis, and others.” Her work is aimed at helping individuals break the cycle of unhealthy decision-making that puts them and their families at risk.

Both women are actively engaged in community development with the Nanticoke Indian Association of Southern Delaware and travel throughout the country providing workshops, training, and retreats.

The first WVU Peace Tree was planted in 1992 by Chief Leon Shenandoah, Tadodaho of the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, and Chippewa Chief Robert TallTree.

While in Morgantown the honored guests will give an interactive Native American music, dance, and storytelling presentation on Sunday, November 16 from 2:00-3:30 at the J. Gluck Theater, Mountainlair. Families are encouraged to attend this free public event and enjoy an apple cider and cookie reception and children’s literature exhibit provided by the performance co-sponsors, the Morgantown Public Library & Shelley A. Marshall Foundation.

Sponsors for the week’s events include The WVU School of Social Work , WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, The College of Education and Human Services—Office for Diversity & Global Initiatives, and The Carolyn Reyer Fund for Native American Studies.

For more information, contact Bonnie Brown at 304-293-4626 or



22 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There is concern in California that planned wind turbine farms— intended to create new, renewable energy sources— will harm rare California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) and other birds of prey populations if the turbines are placed in their habitat.

The placement of the turbines, paired with the condors’ expansive wing span and their inability to quickly respond to aerial threats (wind turbine blade tips can rotate at 150 mile per hour) could be a deadly combination for the rare bird.

Jonathan Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University, is using a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to monitor the flight patterns of condors to better understand how these birds respond to variation in topography and weather, which could ultimately save their lives.

“There’s a potential conflict between plans to harvest more wind energy and these large birds that use the same resource. As it turns out, some of the most attractive sites for wind turbines are sites that condors and other large raptors utilize to move across the landscape,” Hall said.

“We’re trying to learn as much as we can about how condors navigate the landscape and respond to environmental conditions. A lot of time, money, and effort has been and is still being spent on making sure these birds don’t disappear forever. I feel privileged to work with the folks that are keeping California condors from going extinct because these birds are truly awesome and an important component of a healthy ecosystem. It’s a common and ongoing challenge to mitigate the interests of humans and the survival of wildlife.”

Using solar powered GPS units attached to individual condors, the research team will track each bird’s movements for the next year. The units record GPS location, altitude, flying speed, and temperature every 15 minutes and transmit the data via existing cell phone networks to a remote server.

The amount of data generated by each unit is a four-fold to eight-fold increase from previous generation technology and will provide a much clearer picture of condor flight behavior.

“There are unique benefits to renewable energy, but there are ecological benefits in condors’ presence. We need to understand these birds better if we going to have more wind energy and condors,” Hall said.

For more information, contact Jonathan Hall at (304) 293-8559 or

22 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Female veterans returning from war face many challenges when readjusting to civilian life.

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, required deployed women to participate in every aspect of the war.

M. Cookie Mankowski, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at West Virginia University present “Coming Home: readjustment for women veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in Elizabeth Moore Hall on the downtown campus, as part of the Women’s and Gender Studies Fireside Chat series.

The event is free and open to the public.

During the 20-minute talk, Mankowski will discuss her research on the difficulties female veterans face when returning from the Iraq conflict and Afghanistan conflict.

“Civilian life is quite unpredictable. It’s everything from picking up the kids, making dinner, to going to work, all still within the experience of their military life. Adjusting to civilian life post-deployment was not always easy or smooth for the women in my study,” Mankowski said.

The two recent conflicts were different than most wars in the sense that there were no front or rear lines, as in a number of previous wars. In Iraq and Afghanistan, every place was a battle zone.

“Women, although they might not have (had) a military occupational specialty that was described for battle, they were still in battle grounds. They were still getting hit by mortars and had to avoid improvised explosive devices,” Mankowski said.

Mankowski completed her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and earned her master’s degree from The University of Michigan. She received a pre-dissertation fellowship at Yale University and her doctorate from Smith College.

She has experience providing clinical social work and case management services, and has been employed at community mental health agencies, schools, universities and hospitals.

The Fireside Chats are sponsored by the WVU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and made possible through contributions to the Women’s Studies Development Fund.

For more information, contact Cookie Mankowski at

20 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Department of History at West Virginia University present the 2014 Rush Holt Lecture, “Telling Stories in Early America, or, The Indian Who Went to London with an Eagle and Came Home with a Lion” on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in room G21 of Ming Hsieh Hall on the WVU downtown campus.

Joshua Piker, history professor at the College of William and Mary and editor of the William and Mary Quarterly, will speak on the travels of Tomochichi, a Creek headman who sailed to England in 1734 for a meeting with King George II.

The event is free and open to the public.

“(Piker) exemplifies that teacher-researcher (mentality) that so many academics strive to become over the course of their careers, and he does it through the telling of stories, which is the focus of his talk on Thursday,” said Michele Stephens, assistant professor of history at WVU.

Tomochichi’s experiences on the voyage illustrate how American Indians approached the challenges and opportunities of the colonial world.

Piker has published articles and essays in a wide range of venues, as well as two monographs— “Okfuskee: A Creek Indian Town in Colonial America” and “The Four Deaths of Acorn Whistler: Telling Stories in Colonial America.” The Harvard University Press published both of his articles.

The first Rush D. Holt Lecture was presented by the WVU Department of History in 2011. Inaugurating the lecture series was the Honorable Rush D. Holt Jr., a U.S. Congressman from New Jersey and the son of former U.S. Sen. Rush D. Holt Sr., of West Virginia, after whom the series is named.

The lecture series is supported by the family of Senator Holt through the Senator Rush D. Holt Endowment established in 1998 through a private gift to the WVU Foundation, Inc. The same endowment sponsors a biennial historical conference.

For more information, contact Joseph Hodge, chair of the Department of History at WVU at

17 Oct

Knowing our family and friends are safe after any type of disaster is something we all care about, and now, Facebook is making it even easier for people to notify family and friends of their safety. Natural disasters don’t often happen in our area, but when they do, safety is our number one priority.

“It seems like this app wouldn’t even be able to function if people have their location settings turned off. In other words, if you don’t give Facebook access to your location, the app probably cant work. it’s not really for the people who are in the disaster, its for the people who are worrying about the people who could be in the disaster. It’s just a neat little feature to give people that extra sense of security,” said Elizabeth Cohen, Communication Studies professor at West Virginia University.

15 Oct

Join the Chestnut Ridge Center Nov. 12 from noon-1p.m. for WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry Grand Rounds. In conjunction with the 2014 David C. Hardesty Jr. Tanner Lecture, Dr. Stuart Yudofsky will be presenting “Stuck in Pleasing Others: Introduction to Supermentalization” at the Okey Patteson Auditorium of Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

A leader in his field, Yudofsky is the chairman of the departments of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital. He is responsible for the oversight of academic activities in psychiatry at Ben Taub General Hospital, the Michael E. Debakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, DePelchin Children’s Center and the Menninger Clinic

Below are links to both events with details.

15 Oct

Tim Carr believed a Monroe County Utica Shale well producing 38.9 million cubic feet of natural gas per day last year was big. That was until he learned of the 46.5 million cubic feet pumping daily at the Magnum Hunter Stewart Winland well in Tyler County. “I do not know what we will do with all the gas. Always want to wait and see what the decline is, but these numbers are off scale,” Carr, the Marshall Miller professor of geology at West Virginia University, said.
15 Oct

People who use Snapchat send pictures to their friends and family, and they last only for a couple seconds. However, after over 100,000 of these pictures were released over the weekend, more questions are being raised about the app’s security. Selfies are sent via Snapchat by thousands of users every day. One person takes a photo, determines how long they want their friend to view it, and send it out. Once it’s viewed, it disappears.

14 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Andy Lattal, centennial professor in the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University, has been recognized for his more than 45-year-career in the field of behavior analysis.

He has been named the 2015 Outstanding Contributions to Behavior Analysis award recipient by the California Association for Behavior Analysis, and will be honored at the organization’s regional conference in February.

Lattal has long been a leading researcher in the field, and has been essential to the success of behavior analysis research at WVU.

“Dr. Lattal is an internationally recognized scholar of behavior analysis,” said Kevin Larkin, chair of the psychology department.

He added, “receipt of this award is further testimony to the fact that the WVU faculty comprise one of the top programs in the world in the area of behavior analysis.”

Author of 150 research articles and chapters on conceptual, experimental, and applied topics in behavior analysis and the psychology of learning, Lattal has edited seven books and journal special issues.

He has served as president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the American Psychological Association’s Division for Behavior Analysis, the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis.

Lattal is editor for English language submissions of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, and former editor of the field’s flagship journal, the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. He has served on the editorial boards of eight professional journals and is a past recipient of the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Distinguished Contributions to Behavior Analysis Award.

Lattal received the WVU Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award in 1989, the American Psychological Association’s Division for Behavior Analysis Distinguished Contributions to Basic Research Award in 2001 and its Don Hake Award for Translational Research in 2013.

Lattal taught and conducted research at several universities and in six other countries, most recently spending the 2012-13 academic year at Université Charles de Gaulle in Lille, France, as a Fulbright Research Scholar.

He is a fellow of American Psychological Association, Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the American Psychological Society.

Lattal joined the WVU faculty in 1972, serving for 30 as the coordinator of WVU’s behavior analysis.

The annual California conference is the largest subgroup of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, an association of behavior analysts from various organizations throughout the world.

It is composed of practitioners in education, autism, and basic researchers.

Lattal will accept the award at the CalABA Western Regional Conference at the Town & Country in San Diego, from Feb 19-21, 2015.

For more information, contact Andy Lattal at (304) 293-1705 or

14 Oct

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – American politics are becoming increasingly polarized.

That polarization, experts say, can cause politicians to focus more on helping out their party, rather than doing what is good for the general public.

The School of Politics and Policy at West Virginia University will host Sean Theriault, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and scholar on congressional partisanship at 10 a.m. Friday in the Shenandoah Room of the Mountainlair (downtown campus).

Theriault will present “Party Warriors: The Ugly Side of Party Polarization in Congress,” a look at how Congress has become polarized, and what it means for the future of American politics.

The event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow.

“This will give people some background on where we are right now, with the challenges were facing in a very polarized political system in Washington,” said Scott Crichlow, director of the WVU School of Politics and Policy.

“Both houses of Congress have changed their behavior with the increasing level of polarization in the last 20 years. Can Congress still function in that way?”

Theriault researches American political institutions, primarily the U.S. Congress. His current research is on the Gingrich Senators, who entered Congress and led a group of insurgent conservatives whose chief aim was a Republican Party majority. This led to extreme polarization; something American politics had yet to experience.

He has published three books, “The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution” (Ohio State University Press, 2005); “Party Polarization in Congress” (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and “The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress” (Oxford University Press, 2013).

In addition to his books, Theriault has published numerous articles on subjects ranging from presidential rhetoric, congressional careers, the Louisiana Purchase and the Pendleton Act of 1883.

For more information, contact Scott Crichlow at (304) 293-9535 or

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