The Second Annual Academic Minute Senior Superlatives

Jul 24, 2012

WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Mount Holyoke College and Newman's Own Foundation recently celebrated the second anniversary of The Academic Minute, the daily segment that has become a higher education staple by bringing the latest research from campuses around the world to listeners across the United States, Canada, and online at

To honor the hard work of the contributors and public relations teams at the higher ed institutions, the AM team is proud to announce the Second Annual Academic Minute Senior Superlatives. While favorite honors remain like the “Social Butterfly,” the AM that got the most online hits, and “Best Press” for the PR department that was the most timely and efficient. New categories include “Most Likely to Change the World,” which pays tribute to the best scientific/medical AM, and “Listener Choice,” which encouraged Facebook users to vote for their favorite Academic Minute. Winners will receive an Academic Minute reusable bag, Mount Holyoke College mug, WAMC T-shirt, and a package of Newman's Own cookies.

Featuring professors from a range of institutions around the world, The Academic Minute provides a forum for leading experts to explain their research and discoveries to an engaged listening audience. It is made possible through the support of Mount Holyoke College and Newman's Own Foundation.
Since its launch in July 2010, The Academic Minute, which is hosted by Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquerella, has featured professors from some 175 colleges and universities across myriad disciplines. Including the WAMC network, the daily segment airs on more than 65 stations across North America. It is also available to visitors to the Insider Higher Ed website and as a podcast.
“We at Northeast Public Radio (WAMC) are in love with this show,” says station President and CEO Dr. Alan Chartock. “As a lifelong professor and academic, I know how frustrating it is to do important research and only have a handful of people know about it. That’s why I wanted to do this show. Too much important work is being done in our colleges and universities that people don’t know about. We are most appreciative of our partners at Mount Holyoke and President Lynn Pasquerella for their partnering with us on this project.”
Lynn Pasquerella, an accomplished scholar, medical ethicist, and global advocate for women's education and empowerment, was named the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College in October of 2009. As host, she introduces each segment.
"Congratulations to each of the winners for their informative and thought-provoking segments,” says Pasquerella. “Their ability to communicate complex research and scholarship in a manner that is both accessible and entertaining through The Academic Minute is bound to inspire the next generation of leaders in the academy.  We are truly grateful!"

The Academic Minute Senior Superlatives:

Best Smile
Dr. Chris Martine, SUNY Plattsburgh – Plant Reproduction
Dr. Martine not only engaged listeners with his topic, but delivered it with the swagger only a true lover of plant biology could.

Miss(ter) Congeniality
Dr. Jason Kring, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Astronaut Dynamics
While delving into the social dynamics of long-term space flight, Dr. Kring drew in listeners with his easy going dialogue. We say mission achieved!

Most Likely to Change the World – two winners
Dr. David Mullin, Tulane University - Bacterial Butanol
Dr. Mullin’s research on an innovative way to produce biobutanol both tackles alternative energy and demonstrates how reusing newspapers to do so powers-up this technique to the Model-T.

Dr. William Wood, Humboldt State - Antimicrobial Compounds
Dr. Wood investigated how a species of deer can provide a new kind of antibiotic for athlete’s foot, thus paving the way for researchers to look beyond typical mold and fungi for cures. This is a giant step for medicine.

Most Likely to Blow Your Mind – two winners
Dr. Caleb Everett, University of Miami, Take a # please
This topic earned a perfect 10 from listeners; considering Dr. Everett’s history with the Amazonian tribe, it all adds up.
Dr. Daniel Abrams, Northwestern - Cooperation, Competition & Left-Handers
Dr. Abrams knocked it out of the ballpark with this one. We knew some of the greatest artists were lefties, but finding out their advantage in sports is a hole-in-one.

Most Likely to Take Over the World
Dr. Thomas Park, University of Illinois - Naked Mole Rat
Quite frankly, anything having to do with this incredible, so-ugly-it’s-cute, animal deserves all the awards.

World Traveler
Dr. Michael Bunce, Murdoch University - DNA Product Labels
Perth, Australia is 11,540 miles away from Albany, NY. The kicker? It took him less than a week from our requesting the segment to having it in-hands with perfect quality.

Best Couple
Seton Hall University - Laurie Pine, Director of Media Relations
In what can only be described as a labor of love, Laurie regularly delivers research from Seton Hall that leaves us informed and enlightened. And somewhere along the way we even developed a soft spot for sharks and Machiavelli.
Best Press
Cornell University - Syl Kacapyr, Public Information Officer
With a style that’s always sharp and wrinkle-free, Syl’s model efforts have made working with Cornell professors as smooth as chocolate.
Most School Spirit
University of North Florida - Joanna Norris, Associate Director of Public Relations
Using a mix of traditional and new media, Joanna and her team never fail to support and promote the work being done by UNF professors, and the listener always wins!
Social Butterfly
Dr. David Clark, Alma College - Wolf Spider
The World Wide Web had its spider sense tingling for Dr. Clark’s Academic Minute; he garnered the most hits and plays in the history of the segment.

The President's Award
Dr. Sylvia Alajaji, Franklin & Marshall College - Female Muslim Rappers
This segment not only reminds us of the impact Western media has on perceptions of women around the world, it highlights the power of women to transform their societies through leadership, innovation and creativity.

Listener Choice
Dr. Bill Connell, Seton Hall University - Machiavelli Faces Unemployment
You chose it, and for obvious reasons. Dr.Connell’s research on a lost letter about Machiavelli captivated listeners.
All segments aired between 7/1/11 - 6/29/12 were considered.

The Academic Minute team would also like to give honorable mentions to Professors Jennifer Hoyer of the University of Arkansas for her “Gaga for Rilke,” and Vanderbilt University’s Daniel Sharftein for his “Passing in the South,” which both won 2012 Communicator Awards in the Programs - Writing/Creative Concept category, and in the overall program category, respectively.

If you enjoyed this year's winners, take a moment to listen to the winners of the 2011 Academic Minute Senior Superlatives.