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News Briefs

July 13, 2003
Contact: 

Alan Czarnetzki, associate professor of earth science, (319) 273-2152, (319) 266-7062, alan.czarnetzki@uni.edu
Susan Dobie, instructor, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, (319) 273-5930, susan.dobie@uni.edu
Ann Vernon, professor of education and coordinator of the counseling program, (319) 273-2226; (319) 273-2605; ann.Vernon@uni.edu

Making sense out of weather forecasts

Each day Americans are inundated with local, regional and national weather forecasts. Meteorologists pepper us with an array of facts -- 'a cold front is moving in, the barometric pressure is falling, the dew point is 63 degrees, the heat index is 110.' All this data is meant to better inform us, but do we really understand what it means? UNI associate professor of earth science, and meteorologist, Alan Czarnetzki is an expert at using commons terms to describe the complicated world of meteorology. He has tips on what to listen and look for in weather forecasts.

Contacts:

Alan Czarnetzki, associate professor of earth science, (319) 273-2152, (319) 266-7062, alan.czarnetzki@uni.edu

James O'Connor, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761



Teens who self-injure are expressing pent-up emotion

Susan Dobie, an instructor at UNI, has seen and heard about it far too often: Teens who, suffering from internal emotional pain, inflict physical pain upon themselves. 'For instance, when someone has been sexually or physically abused, they will experience despair, sadness and anger. Often adolescents can't control those feelings. But one thing they can control is their own physical pain,' explains Dobie, who is researching self-injury for her doctoral dissertation. 'They'll use anything they can to cut themselves -- a knife, a broken CD case, a paper clip, a key, anything that's available when they're alone and have feelings that they want to get rid of.'

She says parents and educators of self-injurers often are blind to the practice. 'Those who self-injure quickly become adept liars and skilled deceivers, making it difficult for parents or teachers to notice the practice. They are masters of disguise.'

Contacts:

Susan Dobie, instructor, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, (319) 273-5930, susan.dobie@uni.edu

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





Managing vacation with kids -- advance preparation pays

When planning vacations, people often forget that their family is, typically, not normally together 24 hours a day. So when they are, and, especially, when they are in a small space, problems can arise, says Ann Vernon, UNI professor of education and coordinator of UNI's counseling program in the College of Education. Vernon suggests a family meeting before leaving to try to determine each person's interests and needs. 'For example, one person may have a need for space or time alone. It helps to determine ahead of time how much inclusion or privacy each person may want.'

Vernon also suggests making a list of the things everybody wants to do before leaving and try to ensure that each person gets at least one of their wishes fulfilled. 'At the end of each day or the beginning of the next, outline an agenda for the day to help accomplish this goal,' she says. 'It can be difficult with kids, especially when there are big age differences. Parents may want to split up and each take a child or two.' She adds that it's important to be flexible.



Contacts:

Ann Vernon, professor of education and coordinator of the counseling program, (319) 273-2226;

(319) 273-2605 ; ann.Vernon@uni.edu

Vicki Grimes, Office of University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761