Highlanders in the News: Week of May 22, 2023

Every other 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.

Jim Minick

Storm “Warning”

This week marks the 68th anniversary of a deadly tornado that struck the small town of Udall, Kansas. The vortex’s winds reached 200 mph and destroyed buildings and structures, including the town’s recently built high school and its water tower. It left 82 people dead and 270 injured, making it the deadliest tornado to occur in that state.

Jim Minick, a Radford University professor from 1991 to 2013, recently wrote a nonfiction account of that calamitous incident, with recollections by some of the people who survived the tornado’s wrath and reflections on the fates of those who did not.

Local weather guru Kevin Myatt wrote about Minick and his book, “Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas,” in a May 10 article for Cardinal News. It offers an expert’s view on the history Minick’s story provides, the lessons that can be taken from it and Myatt’s perspectives on the catastrophe.

“The scenes during and after the tempest are presented so vividly from Minick’s words, it is easy to imagine oneself standing amid the chaos and devastation following the Udall tornado and to feel some tiny fraction of that horror, shock and despair,” Myatt wrote.

“But beyond the death and destruction, the book is about resilience and recovery.”

“Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas,” is published by the University of Nebraska Press and available in both paperback and electronic formats.

Sarah Morris (Floyd County Public Schools)

A healthy education

Students in Floyd County High School’s freshman composition class have recently penned articles for SWVA Today news as part of a series this year called “Next Generation,” and one of those focuses on a former nurse with ties to Radford.

A May 18 story by Macie Marshall checks in with Sarah Morris, who since 2017 has been a teacher at Floyd High.

Morris attended Jefferson College of Health Sciences – now Radford University Carilion – where she earned her Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, in 2006 and 2017 respectively, and the article talks about how a family tragedy steered her toward her initial career helping victims of neurotrauma and some of the lessons she learned along the way.

“Never stop seeking education,” professor and academic advisor Lisa Foote told Morris, according to Marshall’s profile.

The piece also follows Morris through other fields in medicine, and into her later pivot to teaching at Floyd, where she offers such courses as Sports Medicine and Introduction to Health.

“As a nurse, you look at just the part of the body or body system that needs fixing,” Morris explained. “As a teacher, I have learned more about the whole body instead of just looking at one part.”

Theresa Burriss, Ph.D.

Cultural content

As East Tennessee State University (ETSU) develops an online, open-access version of its expansive Appalachian encyclopedia, it will have a local expert on that topic to offer insight – Radford University Associate Professor Theresa Burriss.

Burris, director of Appalachian Studies and Radford’s Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center, was recently named to an eight-member editorial advisory board for the project by ETSU’s Center for Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services, according to a recent release by the Tennessee university.

ETSU’s center, in partnership with the University of Tennessee Press, recently received a nearly $50,000 grant to produce an updated, digital version of its Encyclopedia of Appalachia. An earlier print edition, published in 2006, ran more than 1,800 pages and included approximately 2,000 articles by about 1,000 contributors, according to the school.

The grant, awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is part of a nationwide initiative by the independent federal agency to subsidize 258 projects with $35 million in funding.

The project will be led and edited by the director of ETSU’s Appalachian center, Ron Roach.

“This is the only encyclopedia focused on Appalachia, and the online version will allow people across the world to access reliable content about this remarkable region for years to come,” Roach said. 

May 26, 2023
Neil Harvey