Recent Features Stories — Page 28

Humble Hero

Rocket attacks. Kidnapping threats. Suicide bombers. Life was not easy for Dr. John Muth during his recent tour of duty as a U.S. Navy reservist in Iraq. For 12 months, the electrical and computer engineering professor negotiated Iraq’s violence and sticky politics as he led a team of 30 civilians, military personnel and translators providing advice and support to the nation’s Ministry of the Interior. His efforts did not go unnoticed. Earlier this spring, Muth received a Bronze Star for his service, which included performing more than 100 missions in dangerous situations, installing a system of human rights inspections at pretrial detention centers and setting up the ministry’s court system.

On the Rise

If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or Ghost Whisperer, chances are you’ve heard the music of Kyler England (’98). Since her days as a Caldwell Fellow, England has flourished in the alternative rock music scene in Los Angeles and was named one of Music Connection’s Hot 100 Unsigned Artist of 2007. Her songs from her latest album, Simple Machine—her fifth studio release—have popped up on numerous TV shows and earned her a spot as a finalist for Indie Acoustic Project’s 2008 Best Female Songwriter. She’s also a member of The Rescues, a band that the California-based Easy Reader independent newspaper described as the “first Indie supergroup.”

Energizing Physics

Physicist Bob Beichner is no stranger to mixing things up in the lab or in the classroom. His innovative teaching methods have been fine tuned over the past decade into a system called SCALE UP – Student Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs – and adopted in one form or another at more than 50 universities across the United States, including Clemson, the University of Alabama and MIT. Beichner’s philosophy is that students learn better through hands-on activities – a philosophy that's been borne out by research and in practice.

Cousins Who Serve

First Lieutenant Christopher Young has never needed to write a letter to the parents of one of his Marines, explaining why their son won't be coming home from Afghanistan. And that's why the former NC State football player from Raleigh was recently awarded the Bronze Star for bravery – protecting his platoon during a hellacious month in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province. Some of the support Young received while in the field came from a squadron of Cobra attack helicopters – just like the one his cousin, Captain Drew Wimsatt, was flying over the region. Wimsatt, a defensive end for the Wolfpack from 2000-02, has completed several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently sent NC State head football coach Tom O'Brien, a former Marine officer, a flag that Wimsatt kept in the cockpit of his helicopter.

Change Brings Change

There’s an old African proverb that best-selling author Greg Mortenson, NC State’s 2009 convocation speaker, often quotes as the driving force behind his humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan: If you educate a boy, you educate an individual – if you educate a girl, you educate a community. It's a mindset shared by a group of NC State students who have implemented Mortenson's Pennies for Peace program on our campus in hopes of helping bring a shared philosophy of equality in education to children halfway around the world.

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