Highlanders in the News: Week of April 18

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, well 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, well feature their stories.

Zachary Collier, Ph.D.
Zachary Collier, Ph.D.

The course of ‘conducting’ business

Whether or not you spend much time thinking about semiconductors, the fact remains that they are literally all around us.

They're necessary components of computers, smartphones, LED bulbs and most other consumer electronics, and they're essential for energy production and distribution.

In a Newsweek.com opinion piece that ran April 15, Assistant Professor of Management Zachary Collier, Ph.D., points to their even greater significance by theorizing that current global conditions could lead to semiconductor shortages and considers the potential implications of their scarcity.

He puts particular focus on relations between China and Taiwan, home to TSMC, a foundry that "accounts for over 50% of the market share of global chip manufacturing." 

"Overreliance on one company or geographic location raises the danger of a single point of failure in the supply chain," writes Collier, who last year co-authored a paper on managing supply chain risks.

His recent essay also raises cybersecurity concerns about the production of the components.

Collier concludes his piece with a mention of government efforts now underway to protect against the concerns he outlines, but he says joint legislation is still pending.

"With China-Taiwan tensions growing, it is more important than ever that the U.S. strengthen its semiconductor manufacturing capabilities before global supply falls into the hands of our adversaries," he writes. 

Collier's opinion piece also appeared on the Today UK News website

Burn trailer near Dedmon Center on April 23, 2022.
Burn trailer near Dedmon Center on April 23, 2022.

Sparks of inspiration

Earlier this month, students in Radford University's Fire and Arson Investigation class got a unique brand of hands-on experience — trying to determine the cause of an actual destructive blaze. 

It's a simulated emergency, conducted each spring for the past several years and coordinated by adjunct instructor Todd Jones '88, M.S. '94, with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, using a burn trailer.  

On April 13, some 23 of Jones' students were present as the controlled blaze swept through the elaborately furnished three-room structure. The group then had to work together, collecting forensic evidence to figure out where and how the fire started. 

Burn trailers are fairly rare, and only a handful of such simulations take place across the state each year, but this method gives students practical experience that otherwise would be difficult and potentially dangerous to get. 

The project was covered by local news stations WDBJ-7 and WFXR Fox

“I never thought I would get to investigate a fire,” Kade Fisher, who acted as the group's lead investigator, told WFXR.

“A lot of classes aren’t practically applied, so it gives us that practicality and a better understanding of how to do these kinds of things,” Fisher said.

Senior Vladimir Perez echoed the praise, saying the experience made his class “one of the most fortunate … not just in the state of Virginia, but in the country really.”

Screen capture from video of alligator witnessed by alumna Lisa Reed '96.
Screen capture from video of alligator witnessed by alumna Lisa Reed '96.

See ya later, alligator

On the rare occasion one encounters a carnivorous reptile on a golf course, it's usually best to just let them play through.

That was the approach Lisa Reed '96 recently took, and it netted her a startling video.

Reed, a former Radford gymnast and now a fitness trainer, was golfing at Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero, Florida, on April 16, when her day was briefly interrupted by the appearance of an alligator crossing the fairway near the eighth hole.

Someone in Reed's foursome got footage of the encounter, with Reed seen standing by excitedly, but the 'gator did not slow down to chat and was gone by the time the group reached the green. 

A brief story about the incident, complete with the video, appeared April 19 on the Naples Daily News website. 

"The guy I was playing with was like, 'Let's go take a picture of it on the cart,'" Reed told the newspaper.

"I'm like 'No, let's not,’” she said.

Apr 22, 2022
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150