From March Madness to Cuban relations, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community is playing a role in some of the most important topics and issues making headlines around the world.
Join us every Wednesday for the UNC-Chapel Hill's “Well Said” podcast as we talk with Carolina’s newsmakers and experts. Each week, students, faculty, staff and alumni will discuss whats going on in classrooms, labs and around campus, and how it pertains to the local, national and international headlines.
Well Said: Revitalizing Morganton
Morganton, North Carolina, has historically been known for its strong manufacturing and textile industries, but those industries took a significant hit during the 2009 recession and companies moved much of their operations overseas. Unemployment in the town rocketed to 15%.
Carolina alumna Sara Chester '07 saw that critical time as a chance to reshape the city's economy and build a better future by encouraging businesses to plant their roots in Morganton.
She is now working to bring Morganton back to life as the co-executive director of the Industrial Commons, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing an inclusive economy throughout western North Carolina and creating a culture of dignity for manufacturing workers.
On this week's episode, Chester talks about how Industrial Commons is redefining Morganton and the industries it has relied on for decades by harnessing the power of local workers and small businesses.
Well Said: 2020's extra special day
There are 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week and 366 days in 2020.
“The Earth doesn't orbit the sun in exactly 365 days. There's a little bit extra,” said Jordan Sheely, a senior astrophysics major and science educator at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. “It's about .24 days, so just about a quarter of a day. Every year we're behind by just a little bit.”
That means people like Carolina sophomore Lauren Stiller only get to celebrate their true birthday every four years.
“Every year that passes is basically a fourth of a year for me,” Stiller said. “So, as a 19-year-old, I say, ‘I'm four and three fourths.’ So, I'll be turning 5 this year.”
On this week’s episode, hear about the little struggles and big celebrations that come with having a rare birthday and the science behind it, too.
Well Said: Honoring the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Negro Leagues — professional baseball leagues comprised mostly of African American players. The leagues were created in 1920 as a response to non-white players being kept out of major league baseball.
“As long as there has been baseball, there have been African Americans playing baseball,” said Matthew Andrews, a teaching associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences' history department. “But as baseball got organized, African Americans found themselves excluded from organized baseball.”
Andrews and other historians study the Negro Leagues using primary sources like newspapers, but a large portion of the leagues’ history is actually unknown.
On this week’s episode, Andrews shares the history of the Negro Leagues, tells some of the leagues’ stories that have survived the test of time and examines the true reasons that the leagues were created in the first place.
Well Said: Falling in love with love songs
Love songs have the power to define big moments in our lives.
“You have a proposal song or a wedding song or a prom song, and then people remember that moment and they remember that song,” Jocelyn Neal said.
The Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Music in the College of Arts & Sciences, Neal specializes in Southern music studies, but she said love songs fulfill the same purpose in all genres.
“They come in so many different layers,” she said. “There's been a number of people who've done great research on what songs are about, and without a doubt, three-quarters of songs in country music — and slightly higher in pop— are either about happy love or lost love, and that's the framing device.”
No matter what state of love someone might find themself in, there’s a song out there to express it.
On this week’s episode, Neal shares what makes a good love song.
Well Said: Sitting courtside with Freddie Kiger
“Each day, each event measured in hours, minutes, seconds and then lost to eternity. A precious few are not. They linger, committed to memory, treasured. This rivalry is just that, timeless.”
Those are the words of Freddie Kiger ’74, ’77 (M.A.) describing Carolina’s rivalry with Duke. It’s a subject he knows well, having watched about 100 basketball games between them from courtside. While finalizing his master’s degree in history, Kiger began working with the men’s basketball team as a statistician.
The first time he worked a Carolina-Duke game in Chapel Hill was on March 2, 1974. That game featured a Carolina comeback from eight points down with only 17 seconds to play. Walter Davis made a buzzer-beater to send the game to overtime, which the Tar Heels then won comfortably.
“I thought Carmichael’s roof was going to collapse,” Kiger said.
On Saturday, as Carolina hosts Duke in the latest installment of the rivalry, Kiger will be at the scorer’s table relaying statistics to the television broadcasters. He’s worked with ESPN, CBS, NBC and other networks for major events like the Olympics and the X-Games, but nothing, he said, compares to a Carolina game against Duke because of the success of both men’s basketball programs.
“Let’s just talk NCAA titles,” Kiger said. “You’re talking about two schools eight miles apart who have won 11 national championships. That’s staggering.”
On this week’s episode, Kiger will share the stories he’s accumulated over nearly 50 years of being involved with Carolina basketball and what he’s learned along that journey.
Well Said: Investigating potential cancer treatments
Growing up, Lindsey James always loved solving problems and puzzles. She even majored in chemistry in college because it combines science with the problem-solving she liked about math.
James liked chemistry so much, she earned her doctoral degree in it from Carolina in 2010, and she’s been here ever since.
Now at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, her research into possible treatments for cancer, HIV and other diseases helps to add pieces to the puzzles of these diseases. In her lab, she creates molecules that target specific proteins that are believed to play roles in the development of those diseases.
In December 2019, Pinnacle Hill, the medical innovation investment partnership between Carolina and Deerfield Management Company, awarded James with funding to continue trying to develop better treatments for multiple myeloma, the second most prevalent blood cancer in the country.
“The Pinnacle Hill funding definitely takes everything to a new level,” James said.
This project is trying to create a compound that inhibits a specific protein that research literature suggests plays a significant role in the progression of a specific subtype of multiple myeloma. If she’s successful, James’ research will lead to greater understanding about the diseases and might lead to more effective treatments.
James knows that her success might reveal more problems about the disease that need solving, but that’s what she loves about her career.
“There’s a lot of failure, but then those successes are really rewarding,” James said. “You tackle it one day at a time and solve problems.”
On today’s episode, James explains how she tackles medical problems one day at a time and why she loves doing it at Carolina.