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BTN LiveBIG: Penn State art professor goes audio for visuals

Two artists sit in a paint-festooned studio surrounded by works of art in various stages of completion. It’s a casual setting; there’s coffee and easy conversation between the two as they weave in and out of topics. They discuss color, artistic discovery, passion, mysticism and the finer points of Herbie Hancock. “After the first minute or two, most people forget they are speaking into a microphone and we just chat,” said Brian Alfred, Brooklyn-based artist and creator of the Sound & Vision podcast. “I’d like to think I also set them at ease. The fact that I am a fellow

BTN LiveBIG: Big Ten sends some of its brightest to Britain

Students from Big Ten universities accounted for an impressive five out of 15 Churchill Scholars for 2016-2017. These students will travel to the United Kingdom this fall to study their academic disciplines for a year at the University of Cambridge’s Churchill College. Each academic year, the Churchill Scholars selects a few graduate-level students from throughout the United States who excel in mathematics, engineering or hard-sciences fields. The prestigious academic program was started more than a half-century ago by the legendary British statesman Winston Churchill, who requested the scholarship be set up through the foundation that bore his name. Here are

BTN LiveBIG: Former Northwestern softball player stands up against bullying

College sports fans live for gamedays: tailgating on a crisp autumn afternoon, jumping for joy after a game-winning buzzer-beater, seeing the go-ahead goal or run scored in a tight contest. While the spectacle of sport is what draws the fans, the things student-athletes do off the field often proves to be much more valuable. Marisa Bast got such an opportunity to make a difference three years ago. At the time a rising senior and third baseman on the Northwestern softball team, Bast was searching for a field-study subject for NU’s undergraduate leadership certificate program. Initially, nothing she found really stuck.

BTN LiveBIG: A Minnesota professor's crusade to bring education to life

He’s a college professor who goes on incredible adventures in far-flung places, interacting with fascinating locals as he pursues his mission to find and preserve priceless treasures. It’s fair to say that the University of Minnesota’s Aaron Doering shares more than a few qualities with Indiana Jones. Both do much of their academic work outside of the classroom and find motivation in their personal passions rather than riches and fame. And, Drs. Jones and Doering each cut quite a figure. Still, they aren’t exactly the same. Doering neither wears a fedora nor carries a whip. Also, the treasures he seeks

BTN LiveBIG: Penn State grad finds his roots through photography

When Jeremy Dennis came to Happy Valley about two years ago, he was hoping to expand his horizons. Already a graduate of Stony Brook University, New York, he applied for the master of fine arts in photography program at Penn State. Dennis travelled to University Park for an interview with Lonnie Graham, a professor of studio art at Penn State, totally unaware that Graham and the university would help propel his photography and artwork into a grand project titled “On This Site.” “I came to Penn State to interview with him [Graham] before I applied,” Dennis said. “He reviewed my

BTN LiveBIG: Illinois faculty achievements add up to big impact

Imagine you’re highly skilled in software coding or the finer aspects of machine learning. You’d be a sought-after commodity in today’s employment market, and the odds of finding a fulfilling job that allows you to make a good living would be pretty good. Now imagine you live in Kenya or Bangladesh. Though there might be opportunities available to you in those countries, it’s just as likely that you’ll find yourself in a job in which you’re over-skilled or doing something completely removed from your talents. Furthermore, there are many others in a similar situation throughout the country, creating a ripple

BTN LiveBIG: Wisconsin knows how its gardens grow

Every parent wonders at some point: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables? The answer: You make them grow the vegetables too! “When children have the opportunity to grow their own food, they just have a much closer relationship with that food,” said Nathan Larson, director of the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative. “Opposed to, say, a vegetable that they’ve had no connection to prior to it showing up on their plate, a vegetable that they’ve helped grow through the whole season and they’ve helped prepare in the kitchen … they’re more likely to try that food and they’re

BTN LiveBIG: Illinois grad finds his calling on social media

A college education is so much more than what one learns in the classroom. Extracurricular opportunities are integral to any student’s learning and professional development. Sometimes, those activities turn into a job. Or even a career. Scott Emalfarb studied sports marketing at the University of Illinois. He said that he was always interested in public relations and marketing, but his knowledge of the field really grew out of how he and his friends utilized their free time at school. “My friends and I started a promotion company where we threw hip-hop battles in Champaign,” Emalfarb said. “At first, it was

BTN LiveBIG: The heart of a Husker

When Caleb Lindhorst opened his eyes on one fateful day in January 2014, he didn’t know where he was. Or when. This University of Nebraska student’s last conscious memory prior to that moment was on the day after he’d finished his final exams — in the previous month. He was looking forward to getting some rest and relaxation over the winter break and spending Christmas and New Year’s Day with family and friends in his hometown of Lindsay, Neb., population 321. But it was not to be. That very day, Lindhorst was ejected from a vehicle that rolled over on

BTN LiveBIG: Minnesota camp builds self-esteem for kids who stutter

Communication is often just the first challenge for children who stutter. Beating the emotional complications that can accompany stuttering can be a much greater obstacle. “A huge part of managing stuttering is dealing with all the attitudes and emotions that surround stuttering because kids often get negative reactions from other kids and adults,” said Linda Hinderscheit, a clinical specialist of speech-language pathology at the University of Minnesota. “So they learn to fear speaking situations, and it can really take a hit to their self-confidence and their self-esteem.” In order to help youth who stutter conquer those difficulties, Hinderscheit and Erin