Highlanders in the News: Week of Nov. 1

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

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About 150 Radford University students took part in the annual Radford Gives Back event and, together on Oct. 27 and 28, brought 10,810 items of donated food into the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

During the event’s closing hour, Highlanders formed a reverse “bucket brigade” and divided the supplies up into 300 bags, each of which contained the elements of a meal — fruits and vegetables, a pasta entrée, soups, snacks, peanut butter and more.

All 300 bags have been delivered to Radford Public School students, according to Jenny Riffe, M.S.W. ’03, whose program, Bobcat Backpacks, accepts and coordinates the donations year-round.

Read more here about the event, reported by WFXR.

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Two Radford University faculty members were recent sources for news organizations well beyond the New River Valley, lending their expertise to media outlets based in the United Kingdom.

In an Oct. 26 article from BBC Worklife, Benjamin Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Management, spoke at length on the plight of entry-level employees forced to perform “grunt work” as part of informal hazing practices by more senior workers.

“These expectations are unspoken. They’re not in any handbook,” Thomas said in the piece.

“Most people who do the hazing were themselves hazed,” he explained, “so they’re just sort of carrying on tradition for tradition’s sake.”

But he also concluded that there are some advantages to doing the dirty jobs: “In a lot of professions where you’re doing work that feels like a waste of time, you’re really engaging in what might be called tacit learning … you’re getting many, many micro-lessons learned through firsthand experience.”

Thomas told BBC Worklife that such cultures have existed for so long and so pervasively that they won’t easily change. Still, he theorized that workers from younger generations may ultimately opt out of such systems: “They might not necessarily want to earn a place there.”

BBC Worklife’s data page said the site boasts 2.8 million unique viewers each month and garners 5.2 million page views.

Mary Atwell, Ph.D., a professor emeritus in criminal justice, spoke to the British online newspaper The Independent for its Oct. 28 story on women sentenced to death in the United States and how societal expectations can lead to biases against them.

“A crime is seen as particularly heinous because it is committed by a woman,” Atwell told The Independent, positing that as women are commonly perceived as nonviolent, those convicted of violent crimes can potentially be seen as “not a normal woman.”

“A jury can then move beyond treating the woman in a humane way because they view her as having already stepped outside the border of humanity.”

According to newsworks.org.uk, The Independent has approximately 28.2 million online readers. 

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In July, Alex Metzner ’14 was named president of Katz Metzner Financial LLC, a firm based in Frederick, Maryland. Katz Metzner specializes in retirement strategies, including insurance, investments and financial planning.

Metzner, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in business management, will take over the duties of lead advisor from the firm’s former president. He came to the company in 2015 after a stint at McAdam Financial in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

While at Radford University, Metzner played Division I men’s tennis and was part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Athletes in Action and also Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for accounting and finance. He is also a graduate of Middletown High School in Maryland.

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In a Nov. 3 article on famous serial murderers who have been caught but remain alive, the popular gossip magazine In Touch Weekly pointed its flashlight through the shadows at a resource out of Radford University’s Department of Psychology.

The piece provides a link to the Radford University/FGCU Serial Killer Database, a project by Professor of Psychology Michael Aamodt, Ph.D., and students, that includes exhaustive biographies, timelines and data sheets on about 200 known serial killers.

In Touch cites the study’s findings that the number of serial killers peaked in the 1980s, but lest that fact give you comfort, the magazine is quick to point to recently caught figures such as Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr. – more broadly known as The Golden State Killer – who was tracked down and taken into custody in 2018 at the age of 74.

“Theoretically, the quiet grandparent next door could have a terrifying past,” In Touch warns its readers.

But for those who want to know in-depth details about the lives of dozens upon dozens of history’s most infamous killers, from Charles Albright to Robert Joseph Zani, the Serial Killer Database offers one-stop shopping.

Nov 5, 2021
Neil Harvey