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.

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.

A picture of a women mediators for peace in the Putumayo region of Colombia.
University of Tampere

Sara Koopman, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in School of Peace and Conflict Studies at Kent State University.

Much of her research is on civilian peacekeeping. This is a growing strategy in conflict zones where international civilians who are less at-risk escort local peace activists who are under threat. Koopman's ongoing research is with accompaniers specifically in Colombia, the country with the largest number of these civilian peacekeeping organizations.

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.