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Spring 2010 | By THiNK Staff. Photo by $photocredit.value.


A master puppeteer who contributed to several Hollywood blockbusters debuted his new film in March during a visit to Purdue. Don Quixote is the second installment in Steven Ritz-Barr’s “Classics in Miniature,” a series of 30-minute films featuring puppets that are based on great works of literature. Spanish professor Howard Mancingand, graduate student Mass Giorgini, who are working on a film history of Don Quixote, consulted with Ritz-Barr on the film. The visit was sponsored by Filmand Video Studies, the School of Languages & Cultures, the Latino Cultural Center, Ivy Tech, Comparative Literature, the Department of English, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Latin American and Latino Studies.

Purdue is in a class of its own with the introduction of Breast Cancer Prevention 2020 (BCP 2020), a new CLA honors course at the core of the nation’s first interdisciplinary cancer prevention-training program.

Communication professor Jakob Jensenis one of the co-investigators responsible for securing a $1.5 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to launch Purdue’s Cancer Prevention Interdisciplinary Education Program.

The program reflects Purdue’s growing reputation as a force in the war against cancer— and breast cancer in particular. As Stephen D. Hursting, former head of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, remarks, “Everyone talks about doing interdisciplinary cancer and cancer prevention research, but Purdue is actually doing it.”

This collaborative network includes the Oncological Sciences Center at Discovery Park, the Center for Cancer Research, Cancer Prevention Training/Fellowships, and the Breast Cancer Discovery Group. “The focus on prevention makes us unique,” Jensen says.” Our program’s goal is to train high-quality cancer prevention researchers.”

Spring semester’s inaugural class paired students with Purdue cancer researchers and faculty members from liberal arts, consumer and family sciences, veterinary medicine, and engineering. For sophomore Courtney Sanor, BCP 2020 represented a personal crusade as much as an academic pursuit.

“I’ve seen firsthand what cancer does to the human body and spirit,” she says. “My mom passed away from breast cancer after a four-year battle. The class was a way for me to begin fulfilling a promise I made to her, and to myself. After all, the key to stopping this wretched disease from claiming more victims is to prevent it.” For more information on BCP 2020 and related initiatives, visit www.purdue.edu/hicc/bcp2020.html.



The saying “You’re only as old as you feel” resonates with older adults, according to research from Markus H. Schafer, a Purdue doctoral student in sociology and gerontology. Schafer and co-author Tetyana P. Shippee, a research associate at the University’s Center on Aging and the Life Course, compared people’s chronological age and their subjective age to determine which one has a greater influence on cognitive abilities during older adulthood. Nearly 500 people ages 55 to 74 were surveyed about aging as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.



A series of interviews with novelist, screenwriter, comedian, and performance poet Sherman Alexie appear in a new book edited by Purdue English professor Nancy J. Peterson. Titled Conversations with Sherman Alexie, the collection was released in November as part of the “Literary Conversations” series published by the University Press of Mississippi. Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. He is the author of 17 books, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a National Book Award winner.



Understanding human cultures is key to preserving wildlife  in African park sand reserves, according to new research from Melissa Remis, a Purdue professor of anthropology. Local communities, for example, may see wildlife populations as a problem if they damage crops. Other groups may resent saving wildlife when they are struggling to provide for their families and could use the protected species as food. Remis and Rebecca Hardin, a professor at the University of Michigan, focus on issues specific to the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve. Findings from their research recently appeared inConservation Biology.

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