"Cutting Edge" Lecture Series Designed for High School Students

By Arthur Page

Release Date: February 19, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo is reaching out to local high school students and their parents through a new Cutting Edge lecture series that will be held beginning March 1.

Top UB scholars, as well as successful UB alumni, will be featured in the series in presentations aimed at increasing public awareness in rapidly advancing fields. Although designed primarily for high school students and their parents, the free series also will be open to UB students and alumni, as well as the public.

High school students interested in attending the lecture series are encouraged to seek nominations from their principals or guidance counselors, although students registering for the series on their own will not be turned away.

High school students who attend at least three of the five Cutting Edge lectures will receive souvenir gifts and an "Honorary CAS Scholar" certificate.

All sessions, which will take place in the Center for the Arts on UB's North (Amherst) Campus, will begin with registration and light refreshments at 9:30 a.m. The lectures will begin at 10 a.m. A question-and-answer session will follow each lecture.

The lineup of speakers will take students from ancient Rome to Chicago's South Side. The speakers and their topics are:

o March 1: Peter St. Jean, UB assistant professor of sociology, "Pockets of Crime: A New Look at High Crime Neighborhoods in the City." City neighborhoods are quite different in the type and amount of crimes generated within them. Why, over time, have some city neighborhoods maintained such high levels of street crimes while others have been so quiet? What do we already know about this puzzle? What are we still confused about? How can research be designed to help understand this vexing issue in a manner that, if desired, positive changes can be experienced in high-crime neighborhoods? The presentation will answer these questions by focusing on a book St. Jean is writing that is based on research recently conducted in high-crime neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side.

o March 8: Reinhard Reitzenstein, UB assistant professor of art, "Invert/Transform." This lecture will entail a brief journey along the path of the intentions in Reitzenstein's works. Central to his practice is the image/symbol of the tree, and by implication, the forests of the world. Within the many projects he will discuss during the lecture is a quiet, yet persistent critique of the constant displacement of the forests in the face of development. "The forests are our lungs and through our distorted priorities, we are taking our own breath away," Reitzenstein notes.

o March 22: Don McGuire, UB adjunct assistant professor of classics, "Trashy Tabloids and Vegas Casinos: Visions of Rome in Pop Culture." Why do we still care about the Roman Empire? Why is there a replica of the Roman world in the desert sands of Nevada? Why go to a movie like "Gladiator?" What does the world of the ancient Romans mean to us here and now in the 21st century? This multi-media lecture will explore some of the modern meanings of the ancient Romans, from the architectural wonders of Caesars Palace and modern day Coliseums, to law and political rhetoric, to pop culture, film and television.

o March 29: Pamela S. Benson, BA '76, senior producer of national security for CNN, "The Global Media and the CNN Effect: Observations of a Veteran News Producer." A CNN employee for 22 years, Benson is responsible for reporting news on terrorism and increased weapons of mass destruction. She has helped to produce such news stories as "U.S. Not Prepared for Domestic Terrorism" in December 2000, and "U.S. Officials Deny Report of bin Laden" in October 2000.

o April 5: Tracy Gregg, UB assistant professor of geology, "Space Odyssey 2002: Volcanoes in the Solar System." Volcanism is one of the fundamental geologic processes that affect all the solid bodies in the solar system. Each planet displays a unique volcanic style due to differences in composition, gravity and atmospheres. During her lecture, Gregg will explore how volcanoes look and behave throughout the solar system, and show how Earth is unique in some ways -- and surprisingly similar in others -- to its planetary siblings.

For more information about the CAS Educational Outreach Programs, contact Michele Bewley at 645-2711 or at mrbewley@buffalo.edu.

Further information and registration forms also are available on the CAS Web site at http://www.cas.buffalo.edu.