Bringing new perspective to science, technology, education and the arts, Elevations is a weekly radio show presented Saturdays at 7 a.m. on WKSU. Hosted by Dr. Amy Reynolds, dean of the College of Communication and Information, Elevations features interviews with Kent State University faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Through engaging conversations, we are telling the story of Kent State’s upward trajectory made possible by the innovative spirit and boundless energy of our community members.

Ways to Connect

photo of David Hassler
Kent State Univeristy

David Hassler, Director of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, tells us about two calls for poetry in anticipation of the upcoming 50th commemoration of the May 4th shootings. As an example, Charles Malone (Program & Outreach Manager, Wick Poetry Center) accompanied by Bobby Selvaggio on saxophone, reads a poem by Tiff Holland from the 20th commemoration.

Picture of Robert Eckman teaching class.
Kent State University

As Chief Information Security Officer at Kent State University, Robert Eckman is responsible for driving cyber security excellence and maturity across the University.

He has over 25 years of experience in technology as a project management specialist. His background includes work as the Cyber Security Program Manager for FirstEnergy’s Nuclear division and in roles at Progressive Insurance and Shearer’s Foods.

photo of Doctor Joseph Ortiz

Trained in Aquatic Biology and Oceanography, Joseph Ortiz is a Professor of Geology at Kent State University.  His research takes him all over the world as he attempts to "unravel climate mysteries."  As a companion piece to our Watershed news series starting June 24, 2019, he talked with us about the current conditions of Lake Erie, from the algae blooms in the western part of the la

Picture of Todd Diacon
Kent State University

Provost Todd Diacon was recently appointed by the Kent State Trustees to become the 13th President of Kent State Univeristy. He succeeds President Beverly J. Warren, who is stepping down after five years of service to the university.

Picture of Kent State President Beverly J. Warren.

As Kent State University President Dr. Beverly J. Warren prepares to depart the university, we sat down with President Warren to discuss her time as leader of the university.

Dr. Warren became the 12th president of Kent State University in July 2014. She will be suceeded by current Kent State Provost, Dr. Todd A. Diacon.

Picture of Kent State University team at computers playing video games
Kent State University

Maria Hawkins is the project manager of the eSports program at Kent State University. Esports is multiplayer online video gaming competition played for spectators - either in person or on streaming sites such as Twitch.  

The Kent State varsity eSports team plays on four different platforms: Overwatch, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League. As new games become popular, the university will consider adding them as competitive platforms.

photo of John Saylor holding guitar pin
Joe Gunderman / WKSU

John Saylor works with the developmentally disabled, helping them with job placements and housing, to name just a little of his involvement.  But he also is a fashioner of specialty guitar pins and other parts for the instrument.  We spoke with him at the shops of Guitar Parts and More.

photo of Angela Deibel and Dr. Yanhai Du holding one type of fuel cell.

Elevations visited with Dr Yanhai Du in his fuel cell lab in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering at Kent State University.  Marketing and engineering double major Angela Deibel gave us a tour, and the two explained fuel cells, how they are constructed and some of their applications.  We also got a ride in Kent State's new Zero Emissions Vehicle, a project Ms Deibel has been team leader on for the past three years.  One might see it driving around Kent's main campus.  The vehicle is charg

Project Citizen logo
Kent State University

Scott Bogoniewski is the director of Kent State’s School of Digital Sciences and a College of Communication and Innovation Professional-in-Residence for the groundbreaking six-week course, Project Citizen. 

picture of children walking on path lead by teacher.
Kent State University

Dr. Monica Miller Marsh is the Director of the Kent State University Child Development Center (CDC) and an associate professor in the Early Childhood Education program at Kent State. The Kent State CDC's philosophy is grounded in social constructivism and believes knowledge is constructed through an active process of inquiry that prioritizes exploration, communication, meaningful relationships and play. 

Picture of Sarah Rogers in front of black and white dress.
Joe Gunderman

Sarah J. Rogers is the current Director of the Kent State University Museum.  The museum’s goal is to advance the understanding of world cultures through collecting, preserving, and exhibiting fashion and textiles.

Ron West is a writer, director, and actor.  He is the Roe Green Visiting Director for 2018-2019 and his "Any Resemblance" is being fully staged for the first time at Kent Theatre in April, 2019.  Last year he directed Twist Your Dickens for Portland Center Stage and his musical deLEARious for the Open Fist Theater in Los Angeles.

photo of Justin Hilton
Kent State University

Justin Hilton started out as an architectural designer, and worked with The Rock Hall, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center and many others.  He then became an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Architectural Design and Orientation at Kent State University, garnering multiple Outstanding Teaching Award nominations.  Now he is Senior Administrator for Community Outreach.  He is deeply involved in coordinated

David's carving of The Eagle

David Warther started carving ships at 6 years old.  The grandson of Ernest "Mooney" Warther who carved the history of the steam engine, David has used blueprints and deep historical findings to create a collection that surveys sailing history, spanning from the ancient world to clipper ships.  86 ships so far, with the 87th about to be completed when we talked in March, 2019, and more to come.  They're all on display at Dav

photo of Valora Renicker
Kent State University / Kent State University

Valora Renicker, Associate Professor of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University, is co-founder of Traveling Stanzas.  In 2009 she approached David Hassler, Director of The Wick Poetry Center at Kent, and the two developed a project that combines poetry and design.  The idea is to reach out to and interract with the community using these two creative forms.  

Picture of Michael Chanak Jr.

Michael Chanak Jr. is a gay rights activist who started working for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble (P&G) in the mid-1980s. He worked for years to get the company to add a clause to the equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy that protected the rights of gay people against discrimination at the workplace.

Picture of Michael Beam (left), picture of social media apps (right).
Kent State University / pixabay.com

How is personalized news (social media, cable networks, etc.) changing our roles as citizens? Michael Beam, Ph.D.  is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University.

The Architecture Building at Kent State and Dean of the School Mark Mistur
Kent State University / Kent State University

Dean Mark Mistur was named one of the top 25 most admired educators in architecture, interiors and landscape architecture in the United States for the 2nd time in 2018 by DesignIntelligence.  He talks with us about educating young architects, what draws them to the field, and what has changed.

Picture of Earth.

Cameron Lee, Ph.D. is an assistant professor from the Kent State Geography Department and an applied climatologist. Lee is a self-described “weather nerd” and his work models how the weather in our area is affected by climate events around the globe.

His work also studies how climate change affects people in terms of public health. 

several salt trucks plow snowy road

Dr. Anne Jefferson, associate professor in the Geology Department at Kent State University, runs the Watershed Hydrology Lab. She says we may be overdoing it when it comes to salting our roads in winter.   

Bea McPherson medal from the National Geospacial Intelligence Agency (left), Bea at map (right)
Joe Gunderman (left), archive photo (right)

Bea McPherson was in geology class at Kent in 1943 when her professor asked if a few of the women would like to be trained in map making to help the war effort.  In 2010 she was recognized by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Picture of Jason Prufer (right), picture of book cover (left).

Jason Prufer is the author of Small Town, Big Music - The Outsized Influence of Kent, Ohio, on the History of Rock and Roll.  The book features first-hand stories of big-name musicians traveling through Kent, as well as the local music scene where Joe Walsh, Patrick Carney, Chrissie Hynde, and DEVO refined their crafts. The book is published by the Kent State University Press. 

Prufer also works as a Senior library associate in Kent State University's library.

Picture of CIA logo.
Central Intelligence Agency

Stephanie D. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kent State. This follows a 27-year career in government working for the CIA, U.S. Navy, and the Department of State. 

Smith's work has been recognized with several awards including being the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, which is awarded exclusively for the performance of outstanding services in the Central Intelligence Agency.

picture of May 4th Visitor's Center, Kent State University
Kent State University

Mindy Farmer is the director of the May 4 Visitors Center and an assistant professor of history.  Previously she served as the founding education specialist at the federal non-partisan Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum where she oversaw the Library's education and public programming.  

She holds a doctorate from The Ohio State University. 

photo of Melissa Celko
Kent State University

Melissa Celko talks about students struggling with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.  Kent State of Wellness is an initiative set up to look at strategies to help students.