Bringing new perspective to science, technology, education and the arts, Elevations is a weekly radio show presented Saturdays at 7 a.m. on 89.7 WKSU-FM. 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.

Picture of row of books on shelves.

Susan Wadsworth-Booth is the head of the Kent State University Press. She is the former Director of the Duquesne University Press and has more than 25 years of experience in scholarly publishing. 

She also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and managed public relations and campus publications at Salem International University in West Virginia.

Picture of students cooking food.
Kent State University

Amanda Woodyard, Director for Community Based Learning, and Adrienne Wilson, Nutrition and Dietetics Major at Kent State University, talked to us about how Campus Kitchen was established at Kent State University by students in 2011. The service is coordinated and run by students as a volunteer effort for the benefit of those who are food insecure in Portage County.  

Picture of Tom Jennings
Amrita Datta / Kent State University

Tom Jennings is a Pulitzer nominated print journalist turned Peabody Award winning video documentarian. He graduated from Kent State University’s school of Journalism after winning the prestigious Hearst Award while editing The Daily Kent Stater in the 1980s.  His productions have included “Diana: In Her Own Words,” “Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes,” and “MLK: The Assassination Tapes” among many others for Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery and more.

picture of two arrowheads.
Jon Nungesser

Metin Eren, Ph.D. is the Director of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at Kent State University and a research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

He is a leader in the field of "experimental archaeology" which involves recreating artifacts and testing theories on those neo-artifacts.

Grapes on the Vine
Kent State University

Ed Trebets serves as the Program Director for the Wine Degree program at Kent State University at Ashtabula.

As a winemaker, Trebets has been awarded numerous medals including 200 gold and double gold medals. In addition, he has garnered 14 Best of Show awards for his wines in competitions ranging from the Great Lakes Wine Competition to the Florida State Fair. 

Picture of Timothy Rasinski on the Kent State campus.
Kent State University

Timothy Rasinski, Ph.D. is a professor of Literacy Education and Co-Director of the Literacy Center at Kent State University.  In 2010 he was inducted into the International Reading Hall of Fame.  He speaks to why so many of kids are not reading at grade level.  He researches how to help those kids and his expertise is in reading fluency.

Picture of homeless man.
Neon Flamingo Films

After seeing so many homeless in San Francisco, filmmaker Tyler Pina discovered a lot of them had been released from prison with no resources. Pina researched and produced a short film about it titled "88 Cents." The film is currently slated for film festivals internationally.

Tyler Pina is a 2014 Kent State University graduate.

Picture of trees in forest.

Anne Jefferson, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Geology Department at Kent State University. Her team has been asked by the National Parks Service to investigate trees that won’t grow on National Park land in Northeastern Ohio which are on top of old mining sites.

The Parks Service gave Kent State a chance to do long term research at these sites which will help not just locally, but nationally and beyond.

Picture of woman with smartphone.

Chance York, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. York conducts research that speaks to a possible link between social media habits and one’s genetics.  

Picture of Arc art piece
Stuart Pearl / mankadesignstudio.com

Stephen Manka is one of Cleveland’s most successful public artists with installations from Shaker Heights to Playhouse Square. Manka started Manka Design Studio in 2004 which focuses on public sculpture, especially for Cleveland’s neighborhoods. 

He has an M.Arch. in architecture and urban design from Kent State University. .

Picture of a MEN meeting
Kent State University

Talea Drummer, Ph.D is the Director for the Student Multicultural Center (SMC) at Kent State University. In her role, Drummer oversees the overall operations of the center, develops and facilitates university-wide diversity programming and training efforts. 

In addition, she supports students, faculty and staff though individual consultation and committee service.

Picture of laptop.

Valerie Kelly is interim Associate Vice President of the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at Kent State University. She is also an adjunct instructor in the User Experience Design degree program at Kent State.

Picture of Elizabeth Smith-Pryor
Kent State University

Elizabeth Smith-Pryor, Ph.D. is an associate professor and the Undergraduate Program Coordinator for the Kent State University History Department. Smith-Pryor specializes in the subject of African-American history. 

In 2016, she won the Ford Foundation Senior Fellowship, including an $80,000 stipend, for her ongoing research on the history of the Cleveland Urban League's efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to redefine equality in an era of racialized inequality.


Picture of Leslie Heaphy, Ph.D. with baseball.
Kent State University

Leslie Heaphy, Ph.D. is the coordinator of the Honors Program and an associate professor in the Department of History at Kent State University at Stark. Her book, The Negro Leagues, 1869-1960, was a finalist for the Seymour Medal for the Best Book on Baseball. 

Picture of Janice Lessman-Moss and student.
Kent State University

Janice Lessman-Moss is an art professor in the School of Art and the head of the Textile Arts Program at Kent State University. Lessman-Moss creates artwork that bridges ancient techniques with digital technology. Her weavings have been shown widely in the U.S. and internationally. 

The School of Art at Kent State University offers the only Master of Fine Arts program in northeast Ohio and is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Picture of Emelia Sherin.
Kent State University

Emelia Sherin is a current student at Kent State University and co-creator of the play (In)dependent, The Heroin Project. The play deals with the opioid addiction crisis in her hometown of Warren, Ohio.

Picture of David Dees', Ph.D.
Kent State University

David Dees, Ph.D. is Dean of Kent State’s Columbiana County campuses – Salem and East Liverpool. Among Dees' many areas of expertise are enhancing college attendance and assuring student success among those who would be first-generation college students. 

Picture of Jason Lorenzon.
Kent State University

Jason Lorenzon is a FAA licensed Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor. He was one of the first pilot-lawyers to receive the Remote Pilot In Command sUAV (drones) FAA Certificate in Ohio.

Lorenzon teaches Aviation Law, Aviation Security, and Policy and periodically instructs Flight Tech majors at the Kent State University Airport.

Picture of David Dees', Ph.D.
Kent State University

David Hacker, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Geology at Kent State University at Trumbull. His main area of focus deals with mega-landslides in volcanic events.

His book, Earth’s Natural Hazards: Understanding Natural Disasters and Catastrophes is one of the standard textbooks in the field. 

Picture of pig being swabbed.

Tara Smith, Ph.D. is a Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health at Kent State University. Smith’s research generally focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals and humans). 

Her work has been profiled in many publications including Science, Nature, and The New York Times.

Picture of Bobby Selvaggio playing alto sax in concert.

Bobby Selvaggio is a composer, band leader, and one of the leading alto saxophone voices in today's jazz genre. He is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at Kent State University.


Picture of C. Lockwood Reynolds, Ph.D.
Kent State University

Dr. C. Lockwood Reynolds is an associate professor of economics in the College of Business Administration at Kent State. Reynolds’ research is in the area of empirical economics, where he attempts to distinguish between correlational and causal factors on topics ranging from local tax policy to college access and affordability. 

Picture of Patrick Coy, Ph.D.
Kent State University

Patrick Coy, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Peace and Conflict Studies at Kent State. Pat and his colleagues have served as a regional and national resource for conflict resolution and mediation for nearly 50 years.