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Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell’s May Story Ideas

LEWISBURG, Pa. — These are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in May.

REMEMBERING THE ’72 AGNES FLOODS — June will mark the 50th anniversary of the devastating flooding across the Central Susquehanna Valley caused by the remnants of Hurricane Agnes. The storm killed 48 Pennsylvanians and destroyed 70,000 homes and left hundreds of thousands without electrical power, telephone service or clean drinking water for weeks. “Before Agnes, people in Lewisburg and other river towns thought they were prepared because they did take precautions,” says Professor Andrew Stuhl, environmental studies & sciences, who has conducted extensive research on the disaster. “If flood waters collected in a location, they knew from experience to move their things out of harm’s way to the second floor or even evacuate their house. They thought it couldn’t get any worse than the flood of 1936, the most damaging one on record at that time.” After traveling up the Atlantic seaboard, Agnes weakened to a tropical storm, but it met a cold front coming from the west and stalled over the Susquehanna River Valley. The storm dropped up to 18 inches of rain on eastern Union County, where the Susquehanna River crested at more than 34 feet — 17 feet above the flood stage. Agnes caused about $300,000 in damage to Bucknell (approximately $2 million in 2022 dollars). Stuhl now questions whether river towns can remember Agnes to protect themselves against the next catastrophic flood. He and his students joined community partners on their research. They contributed to a The Daily Item book, will join commemorative events in Lewisburg, Milton and Danville; and willm join Lewisburg Mayor Kendy Alvarez for announcement June 18. CONTACT: Stuhl, 570-577-1974,

MUSICAL MEMORIES — How does emotion help us remember a song? Professor Andrea Halpern, psychology, studies cognitive processes such as memory and thinking, especially for nonverbal materials. Of particular interest to her is how we understand, remember and react to music — particularly when you “hear a tune inside your head.” She studied this using the traditional tools of experimental psychology, as well as with cognitive neuroscience techniques. “When we listen to music we remember the music, lyrics and emotions,” Halpern says. “Orienting yourself towards the emotional message actually helps you remember the actual music better.” Halpern has completed a number of studies on the concept, and was recently featured in TIME for her work. In her 2010 study, musicians listened to the first minute of familiar classical pieces and recorded their judgments of the emotions and looked at the overlap when just imagining the first minute of the song. “The overlap in their profiles was astonishing, which means that they were doing this complicated piece in real time and extracting the same emotions,” Halpern told TIME. The musicians were able to map the emotions expressed in the music even when it was playing in their heads and imagine music so vividly that their scores were almost identical. Her latest study, “What do less accurate singers remember? Pitch-matching ability and long-term memory for music,” published last November in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, details how people may differ in how well they remember music. CONTACT: Halpern, 570-577-1295,

SAGE MONEY ADVICE — As students graduate college and head out to their career fields, Freeman College of Management Professor Stacy Mastrolia, accounting, offers some money-management advice that might make a good commencement speech. In a recent video for Authority Magazine, Mastrolia provided “5 things I wish someone had told me before I started building wealth.” Her first tip was to save systematically, invest consistently and use a dollar-cost averaging strategy. “Don’t try to time the market,” says Mastrolia, who teaches personal finance. “Use a monthly budgeting strategy that prioritizes saving and then investing 15% of your income each month in a diversified portfolio.” Second, she advises everyone to find your passion and try to make a living out of it, much like new graduates will now be doing. Her third tip is to do things professionally and personally that are outside your comfort zone. “Fourth, don’t be afraid, everyone else is not smarter than you, better prepared than you, or worthier than you,” Mastrolia says. “And fifth, be generous. Being generous is one of the most fun things you’ll ever do with money.” CONTACT: Mastrolia, 570-577-1560,


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

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