In the news

News outlet logo for favicons/wdet.org.png

What to expect from the Biden and Putin summit

Wednesday marks the first time that President Joe Biden  met with Russian President Vladimir Putin since taking office. The summit happened in Geneva, and the discussions could set the course between the two adversaries as tensions continue to escalate between U.S. and Russia. Since Biden took office, he has significantly ramped up his rhetoric against Putin. His administration has twice imposed sanctions on Russia. In March, they sanctioned seven senior officials over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and in April, they imposed economic sanctions because of various cyberattacks. Aaron Retish is a professor of history at Wayne State University, with a specialization in Russian and Soviet history. He says while these meetings between world leaders are important, they are mostly “grand theater.” “What you want is to have two heads of state, shaking hands and speaking, that itself is important,” Retish says. “It’s actually essential in diplomatic relations to kind of show that the two are willing to be in the same room. It’s what happens behind the scenes, what happens on the sidelines that is really the most important.” 
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Techtown Detroit highlights their efforts to help during COVID-19 pandemic

In this 7 UpFront segment, Techtown Detroit helped keep small businesses and startups from folding during the pandemic. It has been a tough year, but the organization has become a lifeline in Detroit. TechTown President and CEO Ned Staebler, joined the discussion. "Obviously, you know it's been a horrible year medically and emotionally for the community, but our small businesses, which make up more than half of the jobs in metro Detroit and across the country, have really suffered as well. Estimates have shown that, maybe, 25 or 30 percent of small businesses nationally have closed over the last year," Staebler says. "We hopped right in in March of 2020, recognizing that the vast majority of our clients only had two weeks of cash on hand we were able, in the first days of the pandemic, to help over 700 businesses with cash grants totaling more than 1.2 million dollars to help those businesses, which collectively employed more than 2,300 people, stay in business."
News outlet logo for favicons/legalnews.com.png

U.S. Department of Commerce invests $754,840 in Cares Act Recovery Assistance to support medical technology innovators in southeast Michigan

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $754,840 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to TechTown Detroit to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the region’s medical and manufacturing sectors. This EDA grant, to be matched with $249,900 in local investment, is expected to generate $5.5 million in private investment. “TechTown has been helping to build a more resilient and inclusive economy by leveraging this region’s unique assets for more than 17 years, and now we have a partner at the highest level to help us expand our impact,” said Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “With this grant from the Economic Development Administration, we’ll engage 25 regional stakeholders including healthcare systems, local government entities, private investors, universities and economic development organizations to advance regional innovation in medical technology, creating good-paying jobs and helping SE Michigan build back better.” “This critical support from the Economic Development Administration signals a commitment at the highest level to Detroit’s innovation ecosystem,” said Wayne State University President and TechTown Chair M. Roy Wilson. “With it, TechTown will continue to be a leader in driving the region’s economic recovery through the COVID-19 crisis via its MedHealth cluster. Since 2015, MedHealth has played a critical role in convening, educating and connecting medical innovation stakeholders in the Detroit region, and we are thrilled to work with the EDA to expand programs that will further catalyze entrepreneurship and business growth in the region’s healthcare sector.”  
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Women in the Workplace: Employers' role in avoiding a 'she-cession'

Bertie Greer, associate dean at Wayne State's Mike Ilitch School of Business, said companies have a lot to lose, or to gain, based on the tone they are set as we return to work. “Right up until we had the pandemic, conversations about flexibility at work or remote work were still a no-no. This pandemic really, has squashed that argument," she said. Greer, who also knows what it's like to be a working mother herself, said the pandemic has shown us workplace flexibility can no longer be a perk, but is a necessity in some cases. COVID, she said, taught us that it's possible to accommodate that. “It becomes second place to see a child walk in the back of a video conference. It has become second place to hear interruptions," Greer said. Data shows that inflexible work cultures have contributed to some women having to choose between caring for a loved one or advancing in their career or keeping a job. “There is this issue of not necessarily gender, but gender plus," Greer said, the idea that employers are not concerned with gender, but rather what traditionally comes with it; kids, household duties, care-taking, etc. “We’re going to have to work with our employees," said Greer. "Now we know we have more tools to use. Invite these tools into the workplace and figure out how to use them to retain your best and brightest.”
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

What's fueling the massive spike in home and rent prices across metro Detroit?

Home prices are hitting record highs, and rent is also on the rise, making it difficult for some people to find and keep a place to live. According to Zillow, the average home value in Michigan is more than $205,000, up 13% from April 2020. Rent Cafe reports the average rent in the city of Detroit is up to more than $1,100 a month, a 4% increase from last year. This is a problem that can cause even more damage down the road, as the CDC said it's a basic necessity for families to find safe and affordable housing. "You really just need state and federal government to create tools that make it easier for developers to build affordable housing and for residents to qualify and to live in affordable housing," Matthew Roling, an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University said. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Detroit suffers from a deficit of about 100,000 housing units for low-income residents. The U.S. has a shortage of 7 million units of affordable housing. Roling said the term affordable housing typically refers to government-subsidized housing for low-income residents. "But these days the housing market, the 'for sale' residential market has exploded in value so much in the last year and a half, the affordable housing conversation in a lot of markets could also reasonably be construed to include that," he said.
News outlet logo for favicons/dbusiness.com.png

30 in their thirties 2021

Kelly Kozlowski, COO of TechTown Detroit, has found her place in operations. After working as COO of Automation Alley in Troy and COO for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Kozlowski moved into the same position with TechTown. “I love the work of a COO,” she says. “I love the work of someone who’s working very closely with a leader, in support of that leader, and in partnership with that leader.” TechTown is a nonprofit entrepreneurship hub that supports businesses in and around Detroit by offering funding, workspaces, and programming. According to Kozlowski, finding startup capital can be a big hurdle. Many people who start a business first attempt what’s referred to as a “friends and family round,” asking loved ones for funds. It’s a route that typically isn’t an option in communities where generational wealth is scarce. TechTown partners with Wayne State University, which has resources and networks that TechTown wouldn’t be able to curate alone. In turn, TechTown can quickly change programming when necessary. Kozlowski’s role is dual-purpose; she’s also assistant vice president of economic development for Wayne State. In this role, she guides the development and execution of the university’s economic impact strategy, serving as a bridge between TechTown, Wayne State, and the community.
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Michigan Marvels: Wayne State's Old Main Building

It's now the centerpiece of Wayne State University's Detroit campus, but the Old Main building started out life as a high school. Construction on Detroit's Central High School began in 1894 at the corner of Cass and Warren, and held its first classes in the fall of 1896. It was originally T-shaped, with more than 100 rooms and about 1,600 students. Decorative brickwork, elevators, 20-foot-wide corridors and a clock tower were some of the features of the four-story building. Today, Old Main houses the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which includes the university's planetarium and the anthropology museum. While it is no longer the only building on campus, its age, history and prominent location at the intersection of Cass and Warren make it an emblem of the university.
News outlet logo for favicons/michiganadvance.com.png

Rick Haglund: Absence of viable regional transportation continues to hurt SE Michigan

Metro Detroit is regarded as having one of the worst public transit systems of any major metro area in the country. The region’s 4.2 million residents are mainly served by two unconnected and inadequate bus systems: DDOT in Detroit and SMART in the suburbs. There’s also the People Mover, an elevated train that rings downtown Detroit, and the QLine, a 3.3 mile-long streetcar that runs along Woodward Avenue from New Center to downtown Detroit. “It’s embarrassing and it really financially hurts us,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University in Detroit. Last year, voters across the country approved 47 out of 52 public transit proposals on local ballots, according to the American Public Transit Association. The biggest was in fast-growing Austin, Texas, where voters in November passed a $7.1 billion plan that will pay for new rail lines, a bus rapid transit (BRT) network, a downtown transit tunnel, e-bikes and more. An additional $300 million was approved to prevent transit-related real estate development from displacing low-income Austin residents from their homes. “They’re making investments in their future,” Staebler said about Austin’s ambitious transit plans. “If you don’t invest, you don’t succeed. We’re a case study of that.”
News outlet logo for favicons/secondwavemedia.com.png

What’s the future of the Metro Detroit commute?

Numerous Metro Detroit employers have announced or are currently considering plans to preserve at least some remote work post-COVID-19, and that shift is likely to have significant and varied effects on the area. More than just increasing the likelihood that you'll continue taking Zoom meetings from your kitchen table, the change will affect everything from traffic to real estate to housing. However, less commuting may not mean fewer overall trips or fewer vehicles on the road. Carolyn Loh, associate professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University, says people who have flexible or remote work models may choose to make more trips in the middle of the day. "It might not reduce trips overall, but it might spread them out over a distance of time so they're not concentrated at rush hour," she says. Loh predicts that reduced commuting will also prompt some workers to choose to live farther from work. If they only have to commute three days a week, for example, many will be willing to accept a longer commute in exchange for cheaper or more spacious housing. Loh notes that this is all likely to make public transit planning more complicated. housing along bus lines and train lines, if we ever build train lines. I think it's just really, really hard to adequately serve that spread-out of a population with buses."  
News outlet logo for favicons/cbslocal.com.png

Learning a thing or two about jazz with lecturer Vincent Chandler

Vincent Chandler is native Detroiter, who was a protégé in Detroit’s jazz scene during one of jazz music’s peaks in the city. He studied under some of Detroit’s most influential jazz musicians and is now passing on what he has learned as a lecturer in jazz studies, trombone, at Wayne State University. Chandler joined Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about the importance of passing on the history of jazz to the next generation and how jazz music has influenced the Black community since the genre’s conception. While speaking about jazz music’s history, Chandler points out the opportunities that the popularity of jazz gave to Black musicians, as the music helped start a foundation for eroding racial prejudice and breaking down barriers. Although the fight for racial equality continues today, jazz fueled the Civil Rights Movement in a way that no one thought music could. “What the Black community has done for music when it comes to America… you’ll see that throughout history it has given us opportunities that transcend even slavery.”
News outlet logo for favicons/mlive.com.png

University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State boosted state’s economy by $19.3 billion in 2019

Three of Michigan’s top research universities combined to boost the state economy by $19.3 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, according to an independent analysis. This is more than 20 times the funding University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University receive from the state, according to a report by Anderson Economic Group released Monday, June 7. The three universities make up Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC). While the report doesn’t account for losses during the pandemic, the billions in net economic impact demonstrate their continued importance to Michigan’s economy, said Patrick Anderson, CEO and president of AEG. “Over the past dozen years, Michigan went through the Great Recession, saw an extended period of job and income growth, then entered the pandemic year of 2020,” he said in a statement. “This report is based on data from just before the pandemic started, so it does not capture pandemic-related losses. But it does demonstrate conclusively the importance of the URC to jobs and income in this state, through good times and bad.” The economic impact includes providing qualified graduates for the workforce, innovating through research and local community contributions, according to the AEG release. The $19.3 billion is a 50% increase from $12.8 billion in 2007, when AEG first conducted its analysis for the three universities. The URC increased the state’s tax revenue by $640 million, and Michigan households earned about $10.8 billion more through university operations and capital spending, the report stated. There were 141,000 students enrolled in the URC in the 2019 fiscal year, which constitutes a growth of 16,600 over the last decade. With 70% of those students staying in Michigan, the state economy has benefited from the talent retention, the report stated. The three universities almost completely made up for all federal funding spent on their research, attracting 94 cents for every federal dollar spent in 2019, according to the report. URC schools conduct $2.7 billion in research and development annually, the release stated.
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

3 ways schools can improve STEM learning for Black students

James Holly Jr., assistant professor of urban STEM education, wrote an article for The Conversation on improving STEM learning for Black students. “Black people make up just 9% of the STEM workforce in the U.S. As a scholar who studies how STEM educators can more effectively reach Black students, I want to help all people develop an understanding of how anti-Black racism is a significant barrier for Black students learning STEM. Many scholars have argued that our current ways of teaching STEM are bad for everyone because only the experiences and contributions of white people are discussed, but the negative effects are greater for Black people. Teachers frequently question the intellectual ability of Black students and prevent them from using their cultural worldviews, spirituality and language in the STEM learning setting. Still, Black people continue to boost STEM knowledge across the world. It is time to generate new teaching practices in STEM that affirm Black students in a way that connects with their lives.”
News outlet logo for favicons/scienmag.com.png

Wayne State physics professor awarded DOE Early Career Research Program grant

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the awardees for its Early Career Research Program. The program will support 83 scientists, who will receive a total of $100 million in funding that will support critical research to cement America as a global leader in science and innovation. Chun Shen, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded a five-year, $750,000 award for his project, “Quantitative Characterization of Emerging Quark-Gluon Plasma Properties with Dynamical Fluctuations and Small Systems.” The project will focus on elucidating Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) properties — a novel state of matter that existed at the infant phase of our universe — by understanding the dynamical evolution of stochastic fluctuations in relativistic heavy-ion collisions from large to small systems. “My research will provide a quantitative characterization of the QGP properties, how it ripples and flows, and its phase structure by interweaving theoretical many-body nuclear physics, high-performance computing and advanced machine learning techniques,” said Shen. “My work aims to develop a new open-source theoretical framework to decode hot nuclear matter properties from the measured multi-particle correlations.”
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Next generation COVID treatments: What experts look to change, improve

Pharmaceutical companies are already hard at work to make the next generation of vaccines for COVID-19 easier to administer, less invasive in some cases, and more effective against a wider range of illnesses. Pfizer and Moderna are already conducting trials to evaluate booster vaccines to protect against new variants, the results of which are expected later this year. “They have to be as good or better than the current vaccines that we have," said Dr. Paul Kilgore, an associate professor and the director of research in the Department of Pharmacy Practice within the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University. Kilgore, who is also a senior investigator with Henry Ford Health System's Global Health Initiative, told Action News hitting that gold standard takes time. “The first approach is to develop an mRNA vaccine very similar in design to the original vaccine that Pfizer and Moderna have, but what they will have is a new sequence in the mRNA that corresponds to the new spike protein in the variant," he said. 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Supreme Court affirms tribal police authority over non-Indians

Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation on police authority over non-Indians. “The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the sovereign power of American Indian tribes on June 1, 2021, ruling that tribal police officers have the power to temporarily detain and search non-Indians on public rights-of-way through American Indian lands. In most communities in the United States, the local government has the authority to investigate and prosecute both misdemeanor and felony crimes. And local police can detain and search individuals suspected of state and federal crimes, at least until handing them off to the appropriate authorities. Tribal governments – the local governments in Indian country – have the power to prosecute tribal citizens on tribal lands. When it comes to non-Indians, though, the situation is different. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that tribal governments could not prosecute non-Indians for any crimes in Indian country. Tribal governments have to rely on state and federal governments to prosecute non-Indians – which doesn’t happen often. Effectively, non-Indians have been able to commit crimes in Indian country with impunity.
News outlet logo for favicons/dbusiness.com.png

Wayne State to Anchor Detroit’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in Corktown

Wayne State University will be working with the city of Detroit to provide economic development initiatives to the greater Corktown neighborhood as the city deploys the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deployment. “Wayne State University is pleased to serve as an anchor institution for the city’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the transformation of Clement Kern Gardens and the Greater Corktown Neighborhood,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “Wayne State has been a critical partner in the planning process and is excited to continue working with the city during implementation of the grant by providing evaluation services and committing $3.7 million of leverage to support neighborhood residents.”
News outlet logo for favicons/salon.com.png

There’s a neurological reason you say "um" when you think of a word

Eishi Asano's latest work sheds light on those seemingly pesky words that litter our speech: uhs and ums. As a neurologist at Wayne State University, Asano works on mapping human abilities to brain regions. One such important ability is the ability to use language. Neuroscientists have discovered that, like many little cogs in a wheel, a wide network of brain regions all work together to produce language. Certainly, the ability to communicate with others affects all aspects of life. Thus, protecting these brain regions during brain surgery is of high priority. Asano has an opportunity few have: to study the brain in action. During a pre-surgical procedure called an electrocorticography (ECoG), an incision is made in a research participant's skull, and electrodes are placed directly on the exposed surface of their brain. He then presents them with photographs of complex scenes and asks them to describe it. When they ran this study, Asano and his team were originally interested in deciphering which regions of the brain were responsible for describing what was in the picture, what they were doing, where and when. But, as his team rummaged through transcripts, what transpired between these words – the uhs – caught their attention.
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

America's first Memorial Day celebration; Charleston, SC race course or Waterloo, NY?

American history is riddled with interesting facts. The earliest Memorial Day celebration is one of them. Waterloo, New York is officially credited with starting our nation's most solemn holiday on May 5, 1866. But in 1966, one hundred years later, Yale University and Pulitzer Prize-winner historian David W. Blight stumbled across a then little known narrative inside boxes of Union veteran archives at Harvard University's Houghton Library. On May 1, 1865, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered, a crowd of about 10,000, mostly freed slaves, staged a parade around a Charleston, SC race track to honor Union soldier prisoners who had fallen in the brutal Civil War. In a recent interview with Marc Kruman, the Distinguished Service Professor of History at Wayne State University, also educated at Yale University, he recalled the story that reportedly happened in the city where the Civil War began. Special services at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, marked the official beginning of Decoration Day, the forerunner to Memorial Day. And, in 1971, Memorial Day became a Federal holiday which is observed every year on the 4th Monday of May.
News outlet logo for favicons/nbcnews.com.png

Public colleges in 49 states send students' debts to collection agencies, imperiling financial futures

To the surprise of many students and parents, public colleges in every state in the country except Louisiana use for-profit debt collection agencies to retrieve overdue tuition, library fees and even parking fines. Many universities add late fees to students’ bills, and when debt collectors add another 30 or 40 percent, students can end up owing thousands of dollars more than they did originally. Even as several universities have expressed concerns behind the scenes about losing revenue, some say using collection agencies isn’t necessarily more effective than other ways to collect the money. For example, in the fall of 2018, Wayne State University started a program called Warrior Way Back. Former students who owe up to $1,500 are allowed to reenroll, and for each semester they complete, one-third of their debt is forgiven. University administrators say the program has actually helped financially: Wayne State has gained $1.5 million in tuition from these students, after taking into account the debt it forgave. “Think about when you’re 18 years old and what you don’t know about managing debt,” said Dawn Medley, the associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State, who created the program. “We had a lot of students who owed us these past balances — they may have had veterans’ benefits or remaining federal aid money, but they’re caught. They can’t enroll until they pay the debt, and they can’t get aid until they enroll.”