2011 June

USA Today


Foursquare check-in service hits big but faces challenges: “Foursquare has redefined privacy … (and) made its users far more aware of (it),” says Ananda Mitra, a communication professor at Wake Forest. “They can choose who to be private with and who to be public with. It has made them far more aware of privacy.”

FOX News


Euthanasia Study Raises ‘Chilling’ Concern: “Insofar as euthanasia has been legalized in Belgium, it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t want to take organs for transplantation,” said Ana Iltis, director of the Center for Bioethics Health and Society at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. “People tend to respond with an ‘Ick,’ but that response should be about euthanasia. Once you accept that physicians are going to kill patients, it seems logical that they would harvest those organs for transplantation.” … Iltis said a 2010 report by the Canadian Medical Association highlighted the fact that 66 out of 208 patients in Belgium were euthanized without explicit patient request – and that’s worrisome. …“You can imagine cases – maybe the patient’s family requested it – but the law as I understand it requires an explicit patient request,” she said. Here in the U.S., some states like Oregon and Montana have legalized physician-assisted suicide, which is much different. The laws vary from state to state, but with physician-assisted suicide, the patient would receive a prescription from the doctor for some pills and kill themselves on their own time, Iltis said, whereas with euthanasia, the doctor or nurse can inject a lethal cocktail into a patient’s IV. Iltis said a patient requesting physician-assisted suicide would be too sick to donate his or her organs, but in Belgium, a person doesn’t necessarily have to be sick to be euthanized. “In one of the cases the person had a mental condition,” Iltis noted.…Iltis said we should take the Belgium experience “and learn from it.”


Paul Pauca and his son, Victor.

Paul Pauca and his son, Victor.

Father finds his calling through son’s disability: Talk to any father today and most would agree — raising children can be challenging. Paul Pauca is well-aware of these challenges. His 6-year old son Victor suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes breathing problems and poor motor control, and as a result, has been hospitalized several times over these years. Yet despite these struggles, Pauca, a computer science professor at Wake Forest University, has focused on “the better” by providing his son with the best care possible. And thanks to these efforts, his son has flourished.

Women’s Day


8 Lessons a Father Can Teach His Daughter: To dispel the stereotype that women should avoid confrontation at all costs, it’s important for young girls to accept their “anger and assertiveness,” says Linda Nielsen, EdD, educational and adolescent psychologist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and author of  the book, Between Fathers and Daughters. “[A girl] has to be really comfortable expressing her anger and being assertive. If she can’t do it with her dad, she [won’t be able to] do it with a male boss, boyfriend, all the way down the line,” Dr. Nielsen notes.

News and Observer


Paving Recovery Road: More gloom came with news of a drop in retail sales. Eroding consumer confidence was the chief reason Wake Forest University professor Sherry Jarrell cited for May’s drop, the first decline in 10 months in what many consider a key economic indicator.

U.S. News Education

Martha Allman

Martha Allman

Ananda Mitra

Ananda Mitra

How Slang Affects Students in the Classroom: Where some admissions officers have observed a shift in language used in admissions materials, Martha Allman, dean of admissions at Wake Forest University, says she has not “seen the shortcuts that you typically see in social communication.”

“Students are primed in high school to know this is the way they show [their ability] to communicate in college,” Allman says. “My sense is that students certainly see a difference between their social communication and writing for the college essay.”

There is a measure of uncertainty as to whether college admissions officials will adapt to this social change in language, or if future prospective college students will need to be mindful and observant of the words they use. Ananda Mitra, professor and chair of the department of communication at Wake Forest, believes colleges will continue to place the responsibility on students to conform during the admissions process.

“Education is about adaptation to some degree,” Mitra notes. “An intelligent, educated student coming out of high school should be adaptive. Those who do not adapt would [not be admitted].”

Time Magazine


Why are Americans Obsessed with the Casey Anthony Trial?: “A man killing his child is bad, but it doesn’t have the same resonance [as a woman killing her child]. We have very gendered views about parenthood and tend to think that women are better suited to raise children — they’re more nurturing, more connected — but this violates those assumptions.” says Robin Simon, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University who studies the effects of social relationships like parenting and marriage on emotion and health.

On one hand, that storyline is unbelievable. On the other, it highlights the enormous responsibility inherent in becoming a parent. “I’m not saying I empathize with her,” says Simon. “What she did was monstrous. But you can understand how the stress of parenthood could really get to somebody.”

Perhaps society bears some of the responsibility for so poorly preparing people for parenthood. Having a baby is hard — even when the baby is very much wanted. “Our culture portrays parenthood in a romantic way, but it’s messy and exhausting and demanding,” says Simon. “It’s really important the message get out that this is difficult.”