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Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell Story Ideas for March

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in March.

GETTING ‘SMART’ ON HEALING — Bucknell College of Engineering Dean Pat Mather and five collaborators from Syracuse University developed a new kind of shape memory polymer (SMP) that could have major implications for health care. SMPs are soft, rubbery, “smart” materials that can change shape in response to external stimuli. The researchers have designed an SMP that can change its shape in response to exposure to enzymes and is compatible with living cells. It requires no additional trigger, such as a change in temperature, so it can respond to cellular activity like healing. It may potentially have applications for closing wounds, treating infections and treating cancer. The team created the material using a process called dual electrospinning in which a high-voltage current is applied to two needle tips pumping two separate polymer solutions. The voltage draws out the polymer fibers, and they are blended into a fiber polymer mat. The proper combination of fibers gives the material its shape memory qualities. Their research, “Enzymatically triggered shape memory polymers,” was published in Acta Biomaterialia this year. CONTACT: Mather, 570-577-3711,

REDUCING INEQUALITY THE POLITICALLY ATTRACTIVE WAY — A recent study led by Bucknell political science professor Chris Ellis reveals that there may be a way to help economically disadvantaged individuals that is less likely to trigger racism-related resistance from American taxpayers, who have been found to be highly reluctant to provide support for people they perceive as undeserving. The new study suggests that programs should be designed to give economically disadvantaged individuals financial support indirectly, via tax credits, rather than direct public assistance. “Social benefits delivered through the tax code are less likely to trigger racialized thinking than similar or identical benefits delivered directly,” wrote Ellis and co-author Christopher Faricy of Syracuse University in the paper. “This is true, at least in part, because recipients of tax expenditures are perceived as more deserving than recipients of otherwise identical direct spending. For policymakers seeking to reduce inequality, tax expenditures may have one critical advantage over direct spending programs: They are, in all likelihood, more politically feasible.” Through a series of survey experiments, the authors demonstrate that social benefits delivered through the tax code are less likely to activate racialized thinking than similar or identical benefits delivered directly. The research was published in the journal Political Behavior this year. CONTACT: Ellis, 570-577-1960,

INVITING NEW BUSINESS TO CELEBRATE — Wednesday, March 20 is the third annual Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Day nationwide and Bucknell’s SBDC is celebrating by hosting The First Step Pre-Business Workshop for #SBDCday starting at 10 a.m. at its 416 Market Street, Lewisburg location — a startup workshop with 15 aspiring entrepreneurs participating. With support from the U.S Small Business Administration and Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, the Bucknell SBDC is now in its 41st year and works with 150 to 200 clients annually, providing no cost confidential consulting to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Juniata, Perry, Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Montour counties. Bucknell’s #SBDCDay events kick off with a “meet and greet” ahead of the workshop, featuring three of the center’s recent stellar clients along with the student consultants who helped them. Local elected officials, including State Rep. Fred Keller and Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner, will also be on hand to engage with small business owners. CONTACT: Steve Stumbris, director, Bucknell SBDC, 570-577-3791,


CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c),

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