Summer feature story tip sheet

Those long summer days are here, and the University of South Carolina’s public relations team has prepared a tip sheet chock full of summer feature story ideas to help reporters, editors and producers. Each story idea features a faculty expert and contact information for the public relations staff member who can coordinate interviews.

Southern summer cuisine revival 

Southern food is America’s classic cuisine, celebrated at summer reunions, picnics and cookouts throughout the region and beyond. Thanks to David Shields, a traditional American foodways expert at UofSC, many ingredients of Southern cooking have been rediscovered, restored and recultivated. These foods range from Carolina Gold Rice and the Bradford Watermelon to Sea Island White Flint Corn and the Carolina African Peanut. Shields, the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, can discuss summertime Southern heritage food traditions. His latest book, “Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine,” was released in May. (Contact: Peggy Binette,

Summer reading lists: Who should decide?

The cannon of literature taught in schools is a topic of ongoing discussion and debate. To keep students’ reading and critical thinking skills sharp during the summer, schools have long instituted summer reading lists, some with required reading and others with a list of books from which children and teens can select. But is that the best approach or is having students choose and log their own books a better way to encourage reading? Sara Schwebel, a children’s literature scholar at UofSC, can discuss summer reading and school literature trends. Schwebel, well known for her book “Child-Sized History,” is writing the first critical edition of Scott O’Dell’s Newbery award-winning children’s book “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” (Contact: Peggy Binette,

Making the most of your summer college tour

Summer offers a good opportunity for families of high school students to combine a college visit with a family vacation. Denise Wellman, director of the University of South Carolina’s Visitor Center, can offer advice about how to get the most out of planning a college visit, with tips on when to visit and what to ask. At UofSC, 101 student ambassadors gave more than 1,700 tours to more than 43,000 prospective students and parents last year. (Contact Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421)

Summer offers opportunities for healthy eating

Overwhelmed by the choices at produce stands and farmers markets this time of year? UofSC dietician Jennifer Barnoud can offer advice on choosing the freshest, healthiest foods. She also can suggest healthy summer recipes for in-season produce. (Contact: Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421)

Small-business summer slump

Summer isn’t always sunny. For many small businesses, the warm season translates into slumping sales. Michele Abraham, executive director at the S.C. Small Business Development Center in the Darla Moore School of Business at UofSC, and her staff can offer strategies and tips for helping small-business owners beat the slump. They also can offer tips and discuss resources available to help people who are thinking about launching a small business. (Contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704;

Christmas in July: The fitness and wellness technology revolution

Americans love their personal technology, with nearly two-thirds now owning smartphones, according to Pew research. Add to that the millions of wearable fitness bands bought last Christmas, and Americans are busier than ever tracking data that measures steps, calories eaten and burned, sleep and heart rate. Ben Schooley, a UofSC professor in health and integrated information technology, can discuss wellness technology trends. Schooley says Americans are going beyond fitness, taking a holistic approach to wellness, using apps that focus on the physical (fitness), intellectual (language learning, memory retention), social (community, philanthropy), spiritual (meditation) and emotional (stress, goal setting, creating/breaking habits). Schooley can discuss the wellness technology trend and America’s desire to track personal data. (Contact: Peggy Binette,

Heading to the beach? Know what’s in the water with you

Nothing says summer in South Carolina more than a trip to the beach. What beachgoers seldom think about is all the life and activity teeming just beneath the waves. Whether it’s fish, crabs, shrimp, porpoises, sea turtles, jellyfish or single-celled microorganisms, South Carolina’s waters are home to it all. And while some swimmers may get the chills thinking about all the critters sharing the ocean with them, it’s the diversity of marine life that keeps the ocean healthy and vibrant. UofSC’s Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine & Coastal Sciences near Georgetown has a number of experts who can discuss the ocean life on our shores and how it’s changed over the years. For media specifically interested in sharks, UofSC biology professor Joe Quattro – the man who discovered the Carolina Hammerhead – is available to discuss the reality versus the myths surrounding these ocean predators. (Contact:  Jeff Stensland,, 803-777-3686)

The latest in theme park trends

Summer is prime time for families to visit theme parks around the country. Scott Smith, an assistant professor and researcher in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, can discuss trends in theme parks, including the newest rides and attractions. He also is available to discuss occupancy rates and trends in summer tourism. (Contact: Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421)

Fireworks and PTSD

More combat veterans than ever are battling with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and the triggers that can occur in everyday life. For example, loud fireworks at Fourth of July celebrations can have profound effects on some veterans. Nikki Wooten, assistant professor of military social work and practice, is available to discuss how the community can both celebrate with traditional fireworks and be sensitive to the needs of veterans. (Contact: April Blake,, 803-777-5984)

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