Rowena Kirby-Straker receives research grant from the Natural Hazards Center

Rowena “Rowie” Kirby-Straker, assistant teaching professor of communication, has received a Weather Ready Research Quick Response grant from the Natural Hazards Center. Photo of Wake Forest faculty member Rowena "Rowie" Kirby-Straker sitting at an outdoor table with a cup of coffeeHer proposal, “Extending Disaster Stories to Save Lives: Investigating the Staying Power and Influence of Narratives on Disaster Preparedness in Three North Carolina Counties,” is one of nine submissions to be funded by a 2021 Quick Response grant. The program was established to advance understanding about ways to effectively prepare for and communicate extreme weather, water and climate events.

Kirby-Straker’s research interests include science communication and environmental risk communication, as well as public speaking, listening and peer consulting in oral communication.

The Natural Hazards Center is the National Science Foundation’s designated information clearinghouse for the societal dimensions of hazards and disasters.

Categories: Faculty NewsInside WFU

IS Fellow Isabella Ryan helps improve juvenile detention practices in Tennessee

The following is a guest post from Wake Forest Information Systems (IS) Communications.

Isabella Ryan, 2020-21 Wake Forest Fellow for IS, wrote and submitted a bill to limit the use of solitary confinement for children in juvenile detention centers in Tennessee. Ryan’s bill has passed the State Senate and House, and it is headed to the Governor to be signed into law.

Headshot of Isabella Ryan, 2020-21 Wake Forest Fellow for Information SystemsTwenty-three and a half hours a day, alone, in an 8’ by 8’ room. The impact of solitary confinement on children is immense. Many emerge with significantly impacted mental health and report signs of PTSD. Further, 50% of juvenile suicides in detention facilities occur while a child is in solitary. This is the reality of solitary confinement for minors in Tennessee.

However, thanks in large part to the persistent efforts of Nashville native Isabella Ryan (’20), it will soon no longer be the case. In 2015, as a junior at Hume-Fogg High School, Isabella, co-wrote a bill with her classmate to limit the use of solitary confinement for children in Tennessee. In 2016, Isabella contacted State Senator Jeff Yarbro with a copy of the bill. Senator Yarbro quickly introduced the bill and has continued to do so ever since. Finally, after five years of Isabella’s advocacy, the bill passed the State Senate unanimously and nearly unanimously in the State House, with only one dissenting vote. This means limits on how long and why children can be in such restrictive environments will soon be in place. The bill is now headed to the Governor to be signed into law. 

Read More »

Categories: Guest PostInside WFUStaff News

Dr. Warrenetta Mann named director of the University Counseling Center

Following a national search, Dr. Warrenetta Mann has been named director of the Wake Forest University Counseling Center. A licensed psychologist, Dr. Mann comes to Wake Forest from the University of South Carolina, where she was the director of Counseling and Psychiatry.

Headshot of Warrenetta Mann

Mann is a leader in the field of collegiate mental health, previously serving as director of counseling at the College of William and Mary, multicultural coordinator and staff psychologist at the University of Virginia, and as coordinator of clinical services and coordinator of multi-ethnic/cross-cultural services and women’s services at the University of Cincinnati Counseling Center. She is also an active member of the Governing Board of the Association of University and College Counseling Directors (AUCCCD).

“Dr. Mann officially joined the Wake Forest community on April 19 and has made an immediate impact on the student community, her staff and university colleagues,” said Associate Vice President for Health and Wellbeing Dr. James Raper. “Along with her 30-years of experience in the mental health field, Warrenetta’s current service on the Governing Board of the AUCCCD allows her to stay connected with the most current thinking around best practices in collegiate mental health. I look forward to supporting her as she helps the University Counseling Center evolve in response to our community’s needs.”

Mann brings a wealth of clinical and professional expertise and service to Wake Forest, with experience teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels and consulting at a wide range of colleges and universities. She is a small business owner and co-founder of Cuts and Conversations, an initiative that brings together Black men for in-depth discussions around mental health and wellbeing.

“I am excited to become a part of a community that has wholeheartedly taken on the challenge of integrating wellbeing into every aspect of campus life with a goal of lifting the humanity in all of us,” Mann said.

Categories: Inside WFUStaff News

Reminder: Zoom Cloud recording retention limits effective Tuesday, June 15

The following message is shared on behalf of Wake Forest University Information Systems. A cloud with the Wake Forest University shield logo and the word "Zoom" beside a stop sign that says "180 days"

As a reminder, beginning Tuesday, June 15, a retention limit for Zoom Cloud recordings will be enabled to ensure we stay within our campus storage capacity. Any Zoom Cloud recordings that are 180 days or older will be moved to your Zoom trash. Items in your trash will remain accessible for 30 days. Zoom will send automated notifications to users seven days prior to permanent deletion.

You are encouraged to evaluate your Zoom recordings and preemptively delete or move videos as appropriate. There are a variety of options available for long-term storage, including Google Drive and Kaltura. Please reach out to your local IT support for assistance moving recordings you wish to keep and reference the help articles below to help you navigate this process.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact the Information Systems Service Desk at or 336-758-4357 (HELP).

Categories: Inside WFU

Melanie Harris and Austin Rivera join Wake Divinity faculty

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity will welcome two new faculty-scholars on July 1. Melanie L. Harris will join as professor of Religion, Black Feminist Studies and Womanist Theology and director of the Food, Health and Ecological Well-Being Program. She is jointly appointed with the Wake Forest University African American Studies program. Charles “Austin” Rivera will join as assistant professor of Church History. Read More »

Categories: Faculty NewsInside WFU



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