Highlanders in the News: Week of Jan. 31

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.

Ellen Morris '21, and her Golden Retriever, Sammy.

Arts and Animals

A Radford University graduate’s artistic talents – and parts of her master’s thesis – now occupy a sprawling public canvas in Augusta County. 

Ellen Morris ’21 recently completed a 70-by-8-foot mural that adorns the front wall of the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center in Lyndhurst. It depicts billboard-sized likenesses of some of the dogs and cats that were available for adoption (not to mention one fairly anxious-looking guinea pig) while the piece was in progress. 

A Jan. 30 story in the Augusta Free Press documents how Morris, of Waynesboro, completed the artwork across six months between last May and November. The profile also documents Morris’ decision during that period to address her struggles with alcoholism and depression, her subsequent treatment and her burgeoning recovery.

“I didn’t want to accept the fact that this was holding me back,” she said of those issues to the Free Press, but added, “After a decade of feeling this depression, I was tired of feeling this way.”  


Morris also addressed her decision in 2016 to attend Radford University for her master’s degree: “I learned a lot about graphic design. I learned a lot about myself.”

Other local news outlets have featured Morris’ story as well. Last fall, WHSV did a story about her work while it was still in progress, and in January, The News Virginian also covered her artistic and personal efforts.

A recent video spotlighting Radford University’s Spring 2021 MFA show at the art museum includes smaller paintings of animals by Morris, as well as the work of artists Adam Ferguson, Heather Renee and L.S. King. 

“Witnessing the direct impact my work has and will have on [the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center] has reassured me of the contribution I can make to my community as a creative professional," Morris wrote in her project's artistic statement.

Extra credit

When it comes to venturing abroad, much has changed over the past two years, but one factor that will always remain constant is a globetrotter’s need for access to their funds.

Having a charge card turned down for any reason is hassle enough at the neighborhood store, but could be borderline disastrous should it occur thousands of miles from home, at a crowded hotel or airport counter. 

Anita Zatori, Ph.D.

As travel slowly adjusts to new norms, the personal finance website WalletHub.com took this far-reaching issue to a specialist with local ties – Radford University’s Anita Zatori, Ph.D., an assistant professor of recreation, parks and tourism.

Zatori, who has written extensively about travel, is featured in WalletHub’s “Ask the Expert” column, which approached her about the ways consumers can avoid such setbacks while in other countries.

What’s the most important advantage to look for when choosing a credit card for an overseas trip, for example. Which types of well-known cards are accepted less widely? And are there international destinations that do not accept such cards from the United States?

Zatori also weighed in on one of the biggest mistakes made by travelers abroad – relying solely on credit cards.

“Bring cash with you whenever traveling internationally,” she said. “Even better, if you have some local currency in your pocket. Cash is still the most prevalent payment method in many European counties, as some merchants do not accept card payments.

“In general, the more payment options you have, the more prepared you are to enjoy your trip no matter where you go.”

Feb 4, 2022
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150