University of South Carolina

For reporters: Summer Tip Sheet

To help beat the sweltering days of July and August, the Office of Media Relations at the University of South Carolina offers a variety of cool story ideas and related experts to help broadcast and print media. To coordinate an interview, contact the faculty or staff member directly or the media relations contact listed with each entry. Media relations staff members can be reached at 803-777-5400.

Permanently parked
There was a time when learning to drive a car was the ultimate rite of passage for teenagers. However, in today’s age of often overly involved and overly cautious parents, an increasing number of teenagers are passing on the car keys of independence until their senior year in high school or even college. Dr. Tobin Lovell, a psychologist in the university’s Counseling and Human Development Center, can discuss what parents and teens can do this summer to shift out of park, tackle fears and need for control and hit the open road. 803-777-5223; (Peggy Binette)

Keeping summer food safe
Summer means picnics and pool parties and backyard cookouts. While it’s the time of year for relaxing, don’t be too casual about food preparation. Cases of foodborne illnesses increase in the summer, as bacteria multiply faster in foods that are left in the sun too long. Jill Michels, director of the Palmetto Poison Center, can discuss the importance of keeping food safe in the warm summer months. (Megan Sexton)

Pickings are ripe for healthy eating
Blueberries, tomatoes, squash, peppers. Our gardens and roadside markets are filled with them during the summer months. Deborah Zippel, a dietitian with USC Campus Wellness, can take you on a stroll through USC’s Healthy Carolina Farmers Market and discuss how to choose and prepare fresh foods your family will eat. She can also talk about and demonstrate how to choose and cook fresh fish, another good choice for summer. Reach Zippel at 803-777-0742 or (Note: Zippel is unavailable July 12-16 and Aug. 2-6). (Megan Sexton)

Test prep while the living is easy
Between homework and activities, the school year offers high-school students little opportunity to prepare for standardized tests. Meredith Fievet, pre-university programs coordinator, says summer is the best time for students to take advantage of an array of test-prep tools and offerings. Fievet can offer tips for how teenagers can tackle test prep and still have plenty of time for fun in the sun. She also can provide details about a series of SAT-ACT test-prep institutes that USC is offering this summer in Columbia, Greenville, Sumter, Beaufort and Charleston. 803-777-9444; (Peggy Binette)

Finding a safe exercise routine for summer heat
You don’t have to move your exercise routine indoors when the temperatures soar, but you do need to be smart about working out in the heat. Dr. Larry Durstine, chair of USC’s department of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health, can talk about ways to adapt your routine to stay safe in the heat and humidity. Durstine, a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, can also discuss ways to maintain your physical activity plan once summer ends. Reach Durstine at 803-777-7680. (Megan Sexton)

Being green about being green
Living green doesn’t have to mean big lifestyle changes. In fact, many small changes can have a big impact, says Michael Koman, director of sustainability. Koman offers a number of simple tips to help anyone jump start a greener life. These include washing your car on the grass and using a phosphate-free detergent, putting reusable shopping bags in the car, replacing disposable plastic water bottles with reusable containers, unplugging phone chargers when not in use, and buying local, especially food, to reduce the pollution and fuel consumption needed to transport materials across the country. Koman will be available throughout the month of August. 803-777-5428; (Peggy Binette)

Backyard 101
Classrooms may be closed, and field trips are still months away, but opportunities for learning are as close as the great outdoors. The typical backyard, for example, is teeming with a wide variety of fascinating plant life, more than enough to fill up a summer for an inquisitive young mind. Dr. John Nelson, a professor of biology and the curator of the university’s herbarium, can discuss ways parents can encourage their (possibly bored) kids to get out and actively learn. 803-777-8196; (Bond Nickles)

E-readers are changing more than summer reading
As summer arrives, people are beginning to take vacations and immerse themselves in cool bodies of water . . . and reading. Paper once was the only choice for books. Then audio books came along. Now, e-readers, such as the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or the new I-Pad, are changing that dynamic. Dr. Ron Brown, an assistant professor of library and information science, sees these personal technologies as changing not only our reading habits, but also how we interact with all information. Brown can discuss the impact that these technologies are having on personal privacy (corporations having access to what consumers read, search and buy), corporate pursuit of consumer dollars and on libraries as a hub of community resources and activity. 803-777-0446; (Peggy Binette)

How to prevent your child from losing reading skills over the summer
For children, summer can be a lazy time of hitting the beach instead of the books. So, parents need to be on guard to assure that children don’t lose reading skills. Dr. Pamela Jewett, an assistant professor of instruction and teacher education, says parents can do some fun activities, not only to prevent reading loss but also to improve reading skills before school starts in the fall. 803-777-2055 (Note: Dr. Jewett won’t be available after July 16th.) (John Brunelli)

Family reunions perfect time for learning family medical history
Family reunions offer a perfect opportunity for relatives to share family histories – including medical ones. As testing and communication methods have progressed, people have more information than ever to share. Karen Brooks, a genetics counselor and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, can discuss the best questions to ask to make the most of family gatherings. Reach Brooks at 803-779-4928, ext. 229. (Note: Brooks will be unavailable the first two weeks of August.) (Megan Sexton)

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/12/10 @ 4:25 PM | Updated: 07/12/10 @ 4:25 PM | Permalink