Cornell Graduate Students Say Their University Has A Mental Health Crisis

About one hundred Cornell graduate students gathered outside the Cornell Health Center on campus Wednesday afternoon. They were calling for an external review of the mental health services at the University. Students shared their own mental health struggles. They described not being taken seriously by faculty and having to go off campus to find therapists. They say getting appointments is difficult unless they are in crisis, suicidal or in academic trouble.

Composer Hugh McElyea Uses an Ancient Form to Portray Heroism and Sacrifice

Composer Hugh McElyea talks about his work ‘Tenebrae: The Passion of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’. This theatrical work uses the ancient service of Tenebrae to tell the story of the last hours of Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who could have fled Germany during the Nazi regime, but whose faith compelled him to stay and face imprisonment and eventual execution just days before the war ended.  

Photo credit:

A Geneticist’s Growing Season

What does a maize geneticist do? Explore the growing season of maize, and how scientists study the plant’s genetic diversity and connect it to the phenotypes they observe. Maize needs lots of sun and warm weather to grow. Seeds are usually planted in spring, in marked rows to identify each plant by its pedigree and genotype. In the mid-summer, when the plants are ready, scientists begin crossing the varieties of maize.

Maize: Feeding the World

Maize—or “corn”—has a history dating back to the beginning of agriculture, and today is used for everything from livestock feed and human consumption, to the production of starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, fuel ethanol, and plastics. Maize is grown on every continent save Antarctica, and is the most widely grown grain in the world. Maize is also one of the most genetically diverse crops, allowing for selection from an incredible array of grain qualities and environmental adaptations. Maize is an excellent example of domestication—evolution in action—and researchers compare current varieties of maize with its wild ancestor, teosinte, to illustrate this principle. Maize was first domesticated from teosinte approximately 9,000-10,000 years ago.

Ezra, Beloved Red-Tail At Cornell, Is Dead

Photo by Karel & BOGette. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Red-tail Hawk we have to come love named Ezra has died. As some of you may know, Ezra has not been seen on the Cornell Hawks cam or on the Cornell campus for the past several days, and worries have been mounting. We are extremely sad to have to share the news with you that we learned this evening that Ezra has died. On Saturday, March 18, the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center received an injured Red-tailed Hawk who we now know was Ezra, and who had been found near the A. D. White House on campus.

Composer Karel Husa's Life and Career is Remembered

Ithaca College professor Mark A. Radice speaks about the life, music, and long-lasting influence of the late composer Karel Husa.  Husa never intended to be a composer, but his legacy goes far beyond his compositional output, extending to mentoring composers, and even to his work with high school musicians.  Professor Radice shares some of these stories.


Photo credit: Mark Radice for Ithaca College


Investing In Higher Ed Grows Jobs, Population

Among the winners in New York’s Regional Economic Development awards last month were colleges and universities. Binghamton University, Cornell University and Broome Community College combined to win nearly $700,000 through the economic development grants. The money will be spent on research labs, manufacturing and start-up business incubators. Amanda Knarr works for the American Institute for Economic Research. She said this kind of investment creates jobs.

Leap Into the World of Jumping Spiders on Science Friday

A jumping spider. Credit: Gil Menda and the Hoy lab

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4 p.m.

Encountering a jumping spider might give some people a start, but researchers are interested in these agile arthropods, especially their ability to plan and execute complex behaviors. Scientists are studying how jumping spiders coordinate their eight eyes to track fast-moving prey, and how these earless animals can pick up noises from across a room. Arachnologist Paul Shamble discusses the sensory systems of jumping spiders and how scientists go about measuring the small creatures’ neural activity. And ecologist Eric Olson discusses why these predators might enjoy a vegetarian snack now and again.

New Music Premiered at Cornell

Cornell University presents ‘Technologies of Memory’ on Thursday, September 15 at 8pm in Sage Chapel on the Cornell University campus.  Composers Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon present chamber works for  choir, string quartet, amplified rock ensemble, and the premiere of Wolfe’s duo for cello and double bass by John Haines-Eitzen and guest bassist Tomoya Aomori.  They speak about the works on the program, and about their renowned music ensemble Bang on a Can. Ms. Wolfe won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in music for her oratorio ‘Anthracite Fields’.


Photo credit: Peter Serling via Cornell Music


WSKG Arts is proud to partner with the Roy H. Park School of Communications for a series of Arts & Culture Shorts. This segment profiles the energetic and wildly talented Yamatai, which is Cornell University’s student-run taiko drumming team. Based in Cornell’s Lincoln Hall, they perform for several events on campus each semester as well as regional concerts all around the northeast. See how this ancient Japanese art is meticulously recreated by the students at Cornell and go behind the scenes with interviews and rehearsal/audition footage.

Produced by Erin McClory, Tom Garris & Akili Dorsey-Bell

Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. | #tbt

In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, Liberty Hyde Bailey, considered the father of agriculture at Cornell University, sits at his desk. Bailey was born outside South Haven, Michigan on March 15, 1858.  In 1882, he graduated from what is now Michigan State University and went on to work with Asa Grey, one of the most prominent botanist of his day, at Harvard.  After teaching horticulture at Michigan State, Bailey took a job as a professor at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Bailey greatly expanded the agricultural programs and in 1903 he established the State College of Agriculture at Cornell. Bailey served as its first Dean until 1913.

Andrew Dickson White

Today Cornell University enrolls over 20,000 students in 14 different colleges and schools, but when its door’s first opened in the fall of 1868 the university had just one building and 412 students. One man would do more to help guide the fledging university through its initial years and set it on course to become one of the greatest institutes of higher education in the county.

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
The History Center in Tompkins County

Photos Courtesy of:
The History Center in Tompkins County
Library of Congress
Wikimedia Commons

Women's Basketball Team at Cornell, 1905 | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph comes from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University. The image shows members of a women’s basketball team at Cornell University taken in 1905. Before women’s basketball became a varsity sport at Cornell in 1971, women played in inter-class competitions and teams wore different color bloomers to tell each other apart. You can’t deny that uniforms have come a long way since the early 1900s.


Nerdcore Rapper Sammus Makes Definitive Statement With New Single: ‘I Am A Human Being’

Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo is a PhD student at Cornell University, but she’s also a producer and nerdcore rapper. She calls herself Sammus. In her new single 1080p, she shows her fans that there is no distance between these two aspects of her life. There are a couple video game references sprinkled into the song, but the focus is on the rapper’s personal journey to good mental health.

The Private Life of Deer

Nature The Private Life of Deer airs on WSKG TV on March 16, 2016 at 8pm.  

Whitetailed deer seem to be always around us, whether they’re grazing alongside our roadways, feasting on plants in our backyards or darting into the woods, though these “neighbors” do like to protect their privacy. While other species may be negatively impacted by human development, it is just the opposite for the whitetails. “We as humans have created pretty much the perfect habitat for deer,” explains Dr. Jay Boulanger, who coordinates Cornell University’s Deer Research and Management Program. “These are areas that have a wide diversity of plants that deer can eat, versus, say, a rural forest.”

PBS's 'In Defense of Food' features Cornell Professor and Lansing High School

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With that, food journalist Michael Pollan answers one of the most frequently asked questions of our time – what should we eat to be healthy? In the new PBS show In Defense of Food (check out our preview), Pollan takes us on a journey through the American food system, showing what and how we make up our diet.

Composer Adrienne Albert premieres her newest work at Cornell

The Cornell University Chorus presents the premiere of a new work by composer Adrienne Albert: Malala. It is inspired by Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel prize winner.  The composer talks about being commissioned to write a new work for the Cornell University Chorus and how Malala’s life and work inspired this new music.

Photo courtesy Adrienne Albert


Scholar: Plant-Based Diet Improves Health Of People And Environment

Dr. T. Colin Campbell is known for his book The China Study, where he looked at the effect of a plant-based diet on long-term health. He’s also Professor Emeritus at Cornell, and featured in the new film PlantPure Nation. The film asks why the United States is spending almost 4 trillion dollars annually on healthcare.

The Cornell Jewish Studies department presents a Yiddish Theatre Festival

The Cornell Jewish Studies department is presenting its first Yiddish Theatre Festival on September 8th, 9th, and 10th.  The festival includes a silent film from the 1920s, a performance of “Yosl Rakover Speaks to G-d”, a sampler of Yiddish theatre, and a performance of “Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish.  Allen Lewis Rickman gives us an overview of the festival.


Picture courtesy Ronald L. Glassman via Cornell Jewish Studies

Cornell ROTC | #tbt

During World War II, colleges and universities across the country expanded their ROTC programs and participated in other military training programs. This was especially true at Cornell University where there were both specialized army and navy training programs. In all, over 20,000 students who trained at Cornell during the war would serve in World War II. Our new local history documentary, “Class of the Century” explores how World War II and the G.I. Bill helped forever change the landscape of higher education in America.

Photo courtesy of The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.

Dancing With The Bhangra Stars

WSKG Arts is proud to partner with students from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College in a series of short features. This piece looks at Cornell University’s world-renowned Bhangra dance team. Founded in 1997, Cornell Bhangra’s goal is to promote awareness of Punjabi dance and culture in the community and across the nation. Bhangra is a folk dance originating in the state of Punjab in Northern India and Pakistan that celebrates the arrival of spring and everyday culture/life in Punjab. Over the past 18 years, Cornell Bhangra has grown to become among the most well-known bhangra teams in North America and the group has captured many national awards over the years.

Phoenix Players Theatre Group

WSKG Arts is proud to travel to the Auburn Correctional Facility to present a short feature on the inspirational Phoenix Players Theatre Group. PPTG is an inmate run organization, that with the help of Cornell University, meets every Friday night. The inmates practice monologues, skits and other theatre inspired exercises while also learning about themselves. This feature goes inside the the maximum security facility to eavesdrop on a Friday night meeting. We see the group perform and also interview a few of the members as they discuss what it means to them to be a part of this important group.