A flurry of questions ran through Erika Rosales’ head during the college application process: Which schools might accept me? How can I afford it? Am I eligible for any scholarships? How should I answer the question of citizenship status?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, time for the Wisconsin Book Festival, 28 events this week alone, both in-person and online, and Stu Levitan welcomes one of the featured presenters, and one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, to discuss his NYTimes best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.
For today’s show, Monday host Patty Peltekos speaks with Jo Handelsman about her new book, A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet.
The Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Science Festival are co-presenting a book event with Jo Handelsman this Thursday, October 21 at 6 p.m. in the Discovery Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. More information available at the Wisconsin Book Festival website.
Jo Handelsman is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2014 to 2017. She is the author of A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet (Yale University Press, 2021).
Quoted: Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said it’s not uncommon for political party leaders to change their views on recall elections.
In 2012, Burden said, conservatives in Wisconsin fought the recall drive by arguing that Walker and Kleefisch had not been in office long enough to be removed and that recall elections were “merely a policy debate about labor unions and not over malfeasance in office.”
Now, he said, conservatives and Republicans can claim they are being consistent by arguing that school board members are violating state law with their public health mandates, such as masks, vaccines and online learning.
“So it is about wrongdoing in office and not just a dispute about local education policy,” Burden said.
Performer, educator and author Erica Halverson has a lot to say about how the arts can be used in schools to transform education in a meaningful way in her book “How The Arts Can Save Education.” Halverson, who also is a professor of curriculum and instruction at UW-Madison, will discuss her book during an in-person event at the Wisconsin Book Festival later this month.
Noted: Steve Ackerman and Jonathan Martin, professors in the UW-Madison department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, are guests on WHA radio (970 AM) at 11:45 a.m. the last Monday of each month.
Noted: An example of a protein is an antibody — you have to make sure that antibody is attacking the right disease or cancerous human cell, explained Choudhury, who is originally from Bangladesh, and received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UW-Madison in 2017.
The top two jobs in the University of Wisconsin System are turning over within months of each other next year, a major leadership shake-up that comes on the heels of new chancellors installed during the pandemic at nearly half of the regional campuses and amid a variety of other challenges.
Fans had to wait a little longer than normal Saturday as they attempted to enter Camp Randall Stadium for the University of Wisconsin’s football game against Army.
UW’s athletic department tweeted two hours before the game that “unforeseen circumstances specific to this game” created a situation in which not all the entry gates were fully staffed and fans were asked to arrive early.
Noted: Currently, De Pierola splits her time between her own business, a part-time job as a Spanish teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and her own studies. Trained as a lawyer in Peru, she’ll graduate with a masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in December and then take the bar exam — the necessary steps if she wants to practice law in Wisconsin. Simultaneously, she’s earning a teaching credential through online courses from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
For the first time in history, the Wisconsin Badgers faced the Army Black Knights in football this weekend. After a rocky start to the year, the Badgers won, 20-14. And six games into this season, they seem to be turning the tide.
Quoted: Erin Barbato, the director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, said that the immigration status of evacuees isn’t tied to remaining at the base, but once they leave, a clock starts on their resettlement benefits, which are only available for eight months after leaving the base.
“Many people are confusing the resettlement process with the immigration process. So, when people are applying for humanitarian parole or for their Special Immigrant Visa or even for asylum, that does not need to be completed on the base,” she said. “The issue is people have now been waiting for a long time at these bases and they don’t want to remain there any longer, but many of them need a resettlement plan in order to get their life started in the United States.”
Dr. Jeung co-founded the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center after reading news stories about attacks against Asian American elders and seeing an alarming escalation in xenophobia, bigotry and violence in the United States resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeung will be the day-one keynote speaker at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 2021 Diversity Forum Nov. 2-3.
Noted: This year in Wisconsin, a fall armyworm population is present unlike anything most entomologists have ever seen. The pests are doing damage to alfalfa, winter wheat and other cover crops around the state. Bryan Jensen, UW-Extension Pest Management Specialist, shares that this warmer fall weather has helped to create a perfect storm for fall armyworms to thrive. Fall armyworms are different from the normal armyworms seen during late spring. The good news, according to Jensen, is they will most definitely not over-winter here in Wisconsin: they are a warm weather species, and will not survive the winter
Let’s hand out some kudos today as the fall colors reach their peak.
First, a big cheer for Madison’s Levy brothers, Marv and Jeff, who last week announced a $20 million contribution to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, their alma mater, to build a much-needed new home for the College of Letters & Science.
UW-Madison’s new athletic director, Chris McIntosh, is a former Badgers football star and NFL player, who has been deputy athletic director since 2017. We chat with him about college athletics during the time of COVID and the future of college sports.
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are graduating sooner according to school data. The campus’s four- and six-year graduation rates have hit record highs.
A conservative group that brings speakers to college campuses moved an event with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) off UW-Madison’s campus after a disagreement over the school’s indoor mask policy.
Quoted: Kurt Paulsen, a professor of housing, land use and municipal finance with University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the bill’s provisions contrast with research indicating the expansion of permanent supportive housing is a solution to homelessness.
“Creating a criminal trespass for unsheltered homeless persons is moving in a different direction than expanding availability of permanently supportive housing,” said Paulsen.
Now nineteen months into pandemic life, many Americans are struggling to recalibrate their COVID risk. How do we balance needed COVID precautions with considerations of mental health and meaningful social interactions? What will it take to reach the “new normal”—and will we even know when we get there?
To help us break this down, Dominique Brossard, professor of life sciences communication, and population health scientist Ajay Sethi join us for a discussion of risk assessment in the post-vaccination stage, how to negotiate a wide range of feelings about the pandemic, and why it’s still okay to not feel okay.
Dominique Brossard is professor and chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where her teaching and research focus on science and risk communication.
Ajay Sethi is an epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he specializes in the study of infectious diseases.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison unveiled a $20 million gift Wednesday that will allow the it to move forward with plans to build a new home for its College of Letters and Science.
When outgoing UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank leaves for Northwestern University this summer, the UW System and its most high profile leaders are likely to be new to the job as they continue to work against the prevailing trends of declining state support and demographic changes in Wisconsin.
For today’s show, Ali celebrates the 15th annual Passing the Mic Intergenerational Hip Hop Festival with First Wave creative director James Gavins and student poets Azura Tyabji and Zack Lesmeister, who read samples of their poetry on air and share what it’s like being an “artivist” in Madison.
Quoted: Adjusting disease rates for age is a common practice in epidemiology. The practice is crucial for understanding the impacts that a disease like COVID-19 has on a large and varied population.
“We adjust for factors like age because we identify factors like age as being confounders,” said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Noted: COVID-19 vaccination rates tend to be lower in rural communities, and the same goes for rural areas in Wisconsin. The difference between the most and least vaccinated counties in Wisconsin is as much as 40 percent said Dr. Jonathan Temte, an associate dean with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health who studies vaccine and immunization policy.
A former Wisconsin Badger star running back and Heisman Trophy finalist, Montee Ball is now also an author, recently releasing the book Nowhere To Run: Discovering Your True Self in the Midst of an Addiction, his own personal story of his life journey being a star football player, his battle with alcoholism and addiction and the ways in which he’s turned his life around. Montee Ball’s story is one of change, humility, and inspiration.
The second-longest serving chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will step down in May next year to become the first female president of Illinois’ Northwestern University.
Quoted: Mike Wagner, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the conflict between Vos, Gableman and Brandtjen is typical of recent dynamics within the Republican Party and shows a “crash to be as close to President Trump as possible.”
Former President Donald Trump has continued to push false claims of election fraud across the country in the year following the election.
“It’s really striking to see elected officials and appointed officials engaged in a back-and-forth about who can be more skeptical about an election that was clearly shown repeatedly to be extraordinarily fair and very well conducted,” Wagner said.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will leave the university at the end of the school year to become the first female president of Northwestern University.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s hockey team is coming home Saturday to LaBahn Arena, where it’ll play in front of local fans for the first time since February 2020.
The University of Wisconsin System says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a $720 million impact on state universities between March 2020 and June 30 of this year. But after a large infusion of federal stimulus funds, the system’s vice president of finance says it’s in “pretty good shape.”
A former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student who said she was sexually harassed by the former chancellor’s husband has filed a lawsuit against the university system alleging UW-Whitewater violated her right to due process and protection from discrimination.
Quoted: Every decade, states have to draw new maps after the census to rebalance the population in each district. For more than 50 years, the courts had the final say in Wisconsin because Democrats and Republicans split control of state government.
Not in 2011, when the GOP controlled both the legislative and executive branches.
“That’s when we got these really gerrymandered districts,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon.
Canon believes federal courts may revisit the issue after the science becomes more established.
“If the state courts can get some consensus on a measure or a couple of measures that show a partisan gerrymander, then maybe 10 years from now, this comes up again, and federal courts will say, ‘The states did this pretty well, and we do have accepted measures,’” Canon said.
Deaths caused by COVID-19 in Wisconsin surpassed 8,000 a year-and-a-half after the pandemic reached the state. As vaccination levels remain plateued, new medical developments to combat the virus and its deadly disease progress. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Nasia Safdar with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health explains.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison responded to a letter from a conservative law firm sent Wednesday, clarifying that mental health providers are not assigned based on a student’s race, nor are they limited in terms of the students they can serve based on race.
Noted: In 2000, Dr. List and Dr. MacMillan — working independently of each other — developed a new type of catalysis that used organic molecules called asymmetric organocatalysis.
Organic molecules, such as carbohydrates, are called that because they build all living things. The researchers discovered “cheaper, smaller and safer” catalysts that used organic molecules had the same rich chemistry as metal compounds, according to Tehshik Yoon, a chemist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their technique was also simpler and more environmentally friendly.
Video: Dairy is a top industry in the Badger State, where more than a million cows produce some of the nation’s best cheese, milk and ice cream products.
Quoted: Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says Haugen’s interpretation of the internal research squares perfectly with other work done on social media, especially Instagram.
“For a certain population of youth, exposure to this content can be associated with diminished body image, or body image concerns,” Moreno says. “I didn’t feel like it was tremendously surprising.”
A conservative Wisconsin law firm accused the University of Wisconsin-Madison of racial discrimination following an announcement of new mental health coordinators who would “exclusively serve students of color.” Now, an attorney with the firm says they’re giving the university “the benefit of the doubt” after it changed the wording of the near month-old press release about the hires.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Director Chris McIntosh and UW Head Football Coach Paul Chryst recently showed their support for the East Side Youth Football Program, helping them replace the football equipment that they lost in a tragic fire. On Sept. 14, they gave the young people a special surprise showing up at practice at Madison East High school to present equipment and speak to the young people.
Quoted: Simone Schweber, a professor of education and Jewish studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said it’s a common misconception that it’s better to avoid talking about painful subjects in history and current events.
“One of the easy pitfalls is that you think sometimes by teaching this stuff that it necessarily replicates,” Schweber said. “That if you teach about the history of racism that you’re necessarily replicating the institutions that are racist. And I understand where that fear comes from, but I think it’s a real disservice to what it means to teach.”
After more than a year of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college study abroad programs in Wisconsin have begun sending small contingents of students around the world.
Quoted: “Natural infection does produce an immune response, but not all immune responses will be durable enough and heightened enough to ward off reinfection at some point,” said Ajay Sethi, faculty director for the Master of Public Health program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health. “So the question becomes, which source of immunity will provide more reliable protection — and vaccines afford that.”
Quoted: Power plant and industry emissions didn’t see a steep drop or any decline during stay-at-home orders. The findings are consistent with what one would expect to see from people traveling less during the pandemic, said Tracey Holloway, professor with the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“They did not see that much of a change in pollution from power plants and some industries, and that also is consistent because we’re still using electricity,” said Holloway. “We’re still running our air conditioners and the kind of things that drive a lot of demand for electricity were still happening.”
A conservative law firm issued a letter to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wednesday opposing the hiring of mental health providers that exclusively serve students of color.
Many businesses are adopting sustainable principles and practices, which is changing the way business and economics are taught in higher education. We talk about how the UW-Madison School of Business is integrating concepts of environmental sustainability into its curriculum, and we learn how this fits within the new framework of capitalism.
After a year of spending cuts driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, fund balances at University of Wisconsin System campuses have grown significantly. Tuition reserves, in particular, have increased by more than 46 percent following years of sustained decreases that put some campuses in financial jeopardy.
Quoted: Steve Deller, professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he thinks the new technology makes the plant a worthwhile investment for state tax credits and will hopefully help the state’s dairy industry move into the future.
“This is a pretty good shot in the arm for the Wisconsin dairy industry,” Deller said. “Any time we see new investment like this is a positive sign because a lot of the growth in the dairy industry has really not been occurring in Wisconsin.”
Noted: Rasmussen, a Wisconsin native, attended UW-Madison, where she studied music performance and French.
The combination of her interests strangely brought her to winemaking.
Republican Ryan Owens dropped out of the race for attorney general Monday after facing criticism for deleting podcasts he hosted as a University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor.
Stanley Temple is hopeful and nowhere near ready to give up his fight for science-based conservation practices and advocacy.
Quoted: UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden is the director of a non-partisan elections research center. He’s been following the election investigations closely.
“It’s really unclear what’s happening in each investigation because these things are mostly not being done in a public way,” Burden said.
Burden believes it’s unlikely that the probes will uncover anything problematic or new due to a lack of evidence to support claims of fraud.
“The motivation for what they’re doing is sort of hard to figure out,” he said. “It may be that they’re looking for reasons or justification to make some changes to state law. It might also be a way just to keep this issue on the front burner going into the next election cycle just to keep their voters energized.”
Noted: The Madison Bans Off Our Bodies march was cosponsored by Indivisible Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison BIPOC Coalition; however, on Friday, the UW-Madison BIPOC Coalition announced its rescindment from the event.
“We are officially rescinding our cosponsorship and endorsement of this event because the primary organizers have repeatedly failed to recognize their privilege, be inclusive of all folks with uteri, and understand that BIPOC, queer, disabled, and/or low-income folks do not owe cis-gender, middle-class white women their support, nor labor in a movement that white women co-opted,” the organization said in a statement.
Quoted: Still, kids’ risk of severe disease is much lower than that of adults, and doesn’t seem to be any higher with delta than it was with earlier iterations of the virus, said Dr. Greg DeMuri, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“It’s just that there are more cases, so a small percentage of a large number is still a significant number,” he said.
Welcome to Barry Alvarez Field at Camp Randall Stadium.
University of Wisconsin officials announced Friday they are naming the field for UW’s former head football coach and athletic director.
Quoted: Patrick Remington, a former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program, said leaning on the Wisconsin Emergency Response Plan is important to coordinate different entities but ideally, state officials would adopt an additional statewide plan that focuses on preventing and controlling the spread of the virus to combat the outbreak.
“That’s appropriate in the middle of an emergency, you need to have command and control and have top-down response. … It’s only part of the approach. You need to have a prevention and control plan that accompanies an emergency response plan,” Remington said.
A recent survey by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and the School of Nursing at UW Madison shows an impending nursing shortage.
Anywhere from 10-20,000 nurses plan to retire in the next 10 years, and that could cause a crisis for the state. Right now many healthcare companies are finding it hard to staff nurses, so many are offering bonuses and high salaries to professionals from out of town.
Quoted: Heidi Johnson is the advising and training manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Office of Student Financial Aid and president of the statewide Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. She told WPR the coronavirus pandemic and the year of online classes it brought to the state meant in-person meetings about FAFSA applications between students and high school counselors were halted.
As a result, Johnson said it wasn’t as easy for counselors to offer “friendly nudges” to encourage students to fill out the applications when mulling whether to attend college.
“So, I think certainly the timing of it, especially for that particular senior class, played a part,” said Johnson. “And just the fact that things stayed virtual, I think much longer than any of us planned for in the beginning.”
She then chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue her doctorate, she’d later tell her kids, in part for the chance to move far away and escape a bad romance.