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Experts from Area Colleges to Discuss Averting Natural and Man-Made Disasters

“From Super Storm to Super Flu: A Lehigh Valley Perspective on Natural and Man-Made Disasters” – November 30

Bethlehem, Pa., November 23, 2005—Dealing with catastrophes and their aftermath will be the topic of the evening when a panel of experts from Lehigh Valley colleges and universities gather for the discussion titled, “From Super Storm to Super Flu: A Lehigh Valley Perspective on Natural and Man-Made Disasters.” Sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) and member alumni associations, the program will be held on Wednesday, November 30, in the Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a welcome in the Goodman Lobby by Chris Marshall, executive director of the Lehigh University Alumni Association and member of the Lehigh University Class of 1988. Attendees will then move to Diamond Theater for the panel discussion from 6:30 to 8 p.m., followed by a question and answer session.

Dr. Bettie Moretz Smolansky, professor and chair of the department of sociology at Moravian College, will serve as moderator. Her substantive teaching areas focus upon aspects of structured inequality and the effects of disasters on the poor. She is the co-author (with her husband, Oles Smolansky, professor emeritus of international relations at Lehigh University) of The USSR and Iraq (winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies award as the outstanding book in Slavic Studies for 1992) and The Lost Equilibrium (2001), an analysis of the changing dynamic in international affairs in the post-Cold War world.

Dr. Lisa Fischler, assistant professor of political science at Moravian College, will present “Damming China: Environmental Disasters and Global Futures.” Fischler specializes in China and East Asian studies and also works with the women's studies program. One of a select group of college teachers selected to participate in Columbia University’s Expanding East Asian Studies Teaching Collaborative for 2004-05; she led its first session with a problem-solving session on environmental politics in China. Fischler is author of several book chapters on the women's movement in Hong Kong. Her current research involves globalization and gender in Chinese societies.

Dr. Alan Hale, professor of biology at Cedar Crest College, will present “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Hale’s current research centers on infections caused by disease agents that are themselves infected with viruses, including avian flu. He has presented his findings at the American Society for Microbiology. Hale is currently working to bring attention to preventable infectious diseases such as malaria and cholera, which kill millions each year.

Dr. Lawrence Malinconico Jr., associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences at Lafayette College, will present “Monitoring and Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions: 25 Years after Mount St. Helens.” Malinconico’s research in a wide array of geological topics has taken him to Pakistan, Italy, Central America, Hawaii, and the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. He is now working on geophysical studies on the tectonics and structure of rift basins with a focus on the Newark Basin in the eastern United States, development of geophysical methodologies for detecting sinkholes, correlation of the geology and structure with radon emissions in eastern Pennsylvania, and the compilation and production of the gravity map of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Anne Metzler will represent host Lehigh University with “Tsunamis and Hurricanes: Living on the Edge.” Metzler is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh, as well as chair of the executive committee of Independent Research Institutions for Seismology, a consortium of 100 institutions with seismology research programs. A frequently published researcher, she has just taken part in a joint project to study the highest peaks of the Himalayas to find out whether forces such as wind and rivers contribute to tectonic shifts below the earth’s surface there.

The director of the Muhlenberg Scholars Program and professor of philosophy at Muhlenberg College, Dr. Ted Schick will present “Natural Disasters and Natural Evil.” He is the author of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, Doing Philosophy: An Introduction Through Thought Experiments, and Readings in the Philosophy of Science: From Positivism to Postmodernism. He also serves on the editorial boards of Free Inquiry and Philo. Schick has contributed to Open Court’s Philosophy and Popular Culture series. His teaching interests are biomedical ethics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics.

General admission is $10. Admission is free for students, faculty, and staff of LVAIC institutions. For more information about the program or to purchase tickets, contact Pat Hanna, alumni relations assistant at Moravian College, 610 625-7874 or phanna@moravian.edu.

The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) is incorporated as a nonprofit, educational organization whose members include Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College and Muhlenberg College. LVAIC expands educational opportunities for students; offers professional development programs for faculty and staff; engenders greater economy and efficiency in institutional operations; and serves local communities in a variety of ways.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the web site at www.moravian.edu.