In the news

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Wayne State, Microsoft Team to Strengthen Employability in Detroit

"We are a place of opportunity and upward mobility in the heart of Detroit, a city undergoing a significant transformation," says M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State. "Partnering with Microsoft's employability initiative will help move the city forward. We have enjoyed recent successes in student achievement, enhanced research funding and more, and this will ensure this momentum continues while building the digital economy workforce for Detroit and this entire region."
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Macomb County's 'fatberg' donated for research at Wayne State University

“Although FOG blockages have been known for many years, our understanding of their detailed chemical structure and formation mechanisms is lacking due to limited real-time and in-place data,” Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State University, said. “The formation and planned removal of such a massive FOG blockage presents a rare opportunity to study these formations, and funding received from the National Science Foundation will help our efforts in this regard," said Miller. 
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Professor’s new book looks at education of young black males

A new book takes an interesting look at educational outcomes for young black males. “A Walk in Their Kicks” isn’t just about instruction. It delves into ideas about how to engage young black men in ways that acknowledge the difficulties they encounter and point them toward success. Author Aaron Johnson is a public school educator, the associate superintendent for Farmington Public Schools, as well as a lecturer at Wayne State University. Johnson joined Detroit Today to talk about the book, his research, and his personal stories as an educator and as a student.
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Plan would grow walkable campus linking Detroit cultural institutions

A new vision is taking shape for the area surrounding the Detroit Institute of Arts in the city's thriving Midtown neighborhood. The goal: redesign the outdoor space around the 1920s-era Beaux-Arts landmark so that it becomes the heart of a walkable, innovative public area stretching for 10 blocks and linking 11 major institutions. The plan would ideally better connect Wayne State University, the main Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the College for Creative Studies, the Michigan Science Center, and others. “We want to be a gathering place for everybody,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. Early cost estimates for the plan are between $75 million to $85 million, organizers said. The money will come from foundations, grants, and corporations, organizers said. No taxpayer funding is being considered, they said. The plan has been underway for more than a year. On Jan. 23, visions of the what the 10 blocks could look like will be unveiled by three teams of finalists. Those plans will be on display at the DIA until April. The finalist team will be selected in the spring. 
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Trump calls border a ‘crisis of the soul’: 3 scholars react to his Oval Office address

President Donald Trump’s address to the nation on Wednesday night from the Oval Office announced no new initiatives either to end the government shutdown or to build the wall that’s caused the shutdown. Sylvia Taschka, senior lecturer of history, wrote a piece reacting to President Donald Trump’s address. “American presidents have traditionally made Oval Office speeches only under the gravest circumstances, such as during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis or after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. So when Trump said he would address border security in a nationally televised speech, critics who see authoritarian tendencies in this president understandably got worried. They feared he would declare a national emergency, abusing his executive powers to build a wall along the Southern border. Instead, viewers got a rather measured – if somewhat hastily and awkwardly delivered – speech by a softer version of a president better known for provocative, vicious rhetoric and obsessive daily tweets. Trump sat behind the Oval Office’s iconic, heavy wooden desk, framed by his beloved golden curtains, American flags and photos of his parents.”
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Metrics of Mary Jane monitoring

In November, Michigan voted to become the 10th state to approve the use of recreational cannabis. While medical cannabis avails in 23 others. One wonders how many drivers at any given moment have used the substance? In Detroit, scientists are addressing the dearth of knowledge. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Randy Commissaris and Kawthar Alali were in their lab at Wayne State University putting subjects through exercises. Commissaris, associate professor in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Alali, a graduate student from Saudi Arabia, installed volunteers behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala on loan from Doreen Head, director of the school’s occupational therapy program. Pointing at a large screen for fixed-base simulation of real-world driving, the Impala, outfitted with Drive Safety hardware and sensors, translated driver inputs through an interactive program called HyperDrive. The researchers measured performance of a control: a young male whose blood was first drawn and assessed to assure no trace of THC. And the performance of a medical cannabis user: another  young male — the pair were numbers nine and 10 so far in the study — who had consumed the substance within the hour (his cannabis-free baseline was previously established). Each subject spent an hour in the Impala.
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$1M grant to fight Great Lakes growing microplastic problem

Could the solution to microplastic pollution come from Wayne State University? Principal researcher Yongli Zhang, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, certainly hopes so. With the help of a recently awarded grant totaling $929,000 from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Zhang will lead a team of engineers and biologists in mitigating the micro-contaminants from entering the water. "The issue of plastic pollution, and more specifically microplastic pollution, is beginning to get more attention," said Zhang in a press release. "However, this is still a relatively new issue for more people, and a great deal of research and outreach is still needed to make positive changes to public awareness and engagement.”
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Become a blood donor during National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month: a time to raise awareness on the importance of donating blood. According to Dr. Martin Bluth, professor of pathology with Wayne State University, blood is used every two seconds in the U.S., which is why there's a constant need. "The different kinds of products that are required for blood utilization -- whether it's red cells, or plasma, or platelets -- are in constant demand simply because there's a shelf life to them." he told WWJ's Deanna Lites.
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It's time to name a building or park after trailblazing Detroiter Maryann Mahaffey

It is time to recognize former Detroit City Council President Maryann Mahaffey for her 50-plus years of service to the city. As daughter, former students and mentees of Maryann, we are calling on the City of Detroit and Wayne State University to memorialize her through the naming of building, park and/or memorial garden. Maryann served 12 years as a city council president and 32 years as a member. She was also an author, educator, civil rights activist, volunteer and political leader at local, state, national and international levels for nearly 60 years, putting into action her deep commitment to solving critical social issues. Before her tenure on Detroit City Council, she served as program director of Brightmoor Community Center where she organized the first welfare rights group in Michigan. At city council, her lengthy list of accomplishments on behalf of people most in need includes developing the first Rape Crisis Center within the Detroit Police Department, chairing the Detroit City Council Housing Task Force and enacting legislation to ensure safety for homeless families and protect renters, passing laws establishing child care facilities in neighborhoods, prioritizing residents and neighborhoods over corporate interests, and establishing the first ever city-level task force led by residents with disabilities.
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Port Huron grad Burrell to be enshrined in Wayne State Hall of Fame

Troy Burrell will likely go down as one of the best athletes to ever come out of the Blue Water Area. The former Big Reds wide receiver had plenty of success after graduating from the school in 2007. He went on to star at Wayne State University, where he will be enshrined in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Feb. 16. After going undrafted by NFL teams, Burrell refused to quit and caught on with the Detroit Lions as a free agent. He caught their attention during a local combine and was soon after signed to the practice squad, where he played two seasons with the likes of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. 
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Michigan feeling the pinch of federal shutdown

Wayne State University has begun offering financial assistance to students who have been impacted by the partial government shutdown. "It's going to be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the situation," Matt Lockwood, director of communications for Wayne State, told The News. "It could look like waiving a late fee, emergency loans or setting up student on a payment plan to allow them to continue on with their classes and not interrupt their studies." Lockwood said this is the first time Wayne State has made such an offer to his knowledge.  "This has drug on. It's coming up on three weeks, fairly long," he said ."We were doing so many other things to ensure our students education is not interrupted. One of faculty members actually bought this up that so many of our students work and also rely on parents that any portion of their financial income stream being interrupted would impact their ability to stay in school. We've already received some information from students that have been interested in finding out if they qualify.” 
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Mysterious tale of man accused of spying in Russia

Paul Whelan, an executive with the auto parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Auburn Hills, was picked up by Russian authorities on Dec. 28 on suspicion of spying. “Russia has arrested some people for coming in on a wrong visa or not registering. But this, the Russian media reports, was a spy sting," he said. "So something must have happened. Who knows? They’ve done this a couple of times with some U.S. diplomats and some British diplomats, but they were all eventually deported and not arrested.”
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Detroit University Seeks to Revive Neglected, Worthy Words

Just days removed from the release of Lake Superior State University's annual banished words list, Wayne State University has released its top 10 words it wants to see brought back into circulation. Break out the thesaurus and practice reading those syllables, because some of these might be a challenge. "The beginning of the year is a time for resolutions. Some may vow to stop being such a slugabed and finally wake up early, heading to the gym to stop being so fubsy. Others may commit to get outside and enjoy some salubrious activities that cut through the anhedonia," Wayne State University writes in a post. "The Wayne State Word Warriors' resolution is to curb logorrhea by reintroducing wonderful words to the world's vocabulary."
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To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead.
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Have you experienced 'highway hypnosis?'

Randall Commissaris, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, talked about highway hypnosis. The phenomenon involves drivers who are aware and paying attention while operating their vehicle, yet, they don’t remember doing it. They’re in a routine while driving and not looking for exits – similar to operating on auto-pilot. Commissaris says one of the biggest potential risks is the challenge of dealing with a surprise situation. Commissaris uses a driving simulator and willing volunteers to study driving at Wayne State University.
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Wayne State releases list of words to 'use more in conversations'

The Wayne State University Word Warriors have put out their list of words that they say deserve to be used in the everyday language more often. As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language's most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words, the Word Warriors have applied their trenchant insight and released their annual list of the year's top 10 words that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.
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David vs. Goliath: What a tiny electron can tell us about the structure of the universe

Alexey Petrov, professor of physics at Wayne State University, wrote a piece for The Conversation about how the electron is commonly known as one of the main components of atoms making up the world around us. It is the electrons surrounding the nucleus of every atom that determine how chemical reactions proceed. Their uses in industry are abundant: from electronics and welding to imaging and advanced particle accelerators. Petrov wrote: “As far as physicists currently know, electrons have no internal structure – and thus no shape in the classical meaning of this word. In the modern language of particle physics, which tackles the behavior of objects smaller than an atomic nucleus, the fundamental blocks of matter are continuous fluid-like substances known as “quantum fields” that permeate the whole space around us. In this language, an electron is perceived as a quantum, or a particle, of the “electron field.”
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Your deeply held beliefs may just be wrong – 5 essential reads

The Conversation editors looked back at the stories that - for them - exemplified 2018. Among the five selected articles was Wayne State University senior lecturer Sylvia Taschka’s March 12th piece titled "Trump-Hitler comparisons too easy and ignore the murderous history." Taschka acknowledges that some historians have made legitimate comparisons of the “few striking similarities between the rise of fascism in Germany then and the current political climate in the United States.” But, such comparisons are false equivalencies that “not only risk trivializing Hitler and the horrors he unleashed,” she writes, but “also prevent people from engaging with the actual issues at hand.”