The Deacon Blog

A magazine staff blog with news of alumni and the WFU community


Vision of a scientist, eyes of an artist

A recent story in The Stokes News describes Ken Bridle (MA ’85, Ph.D. ’91) as a conservationist by profession and artist by passion. Bridle, who has spent much of his career promoting conservation and appreciation of natural resources, discovered that he could put his artistic skills to work in accomplishing those same goals. He started painting watercolors that capture nature’s beauty.

Ken Bridle is stewardship director for the Piedmont Land Conservancy.

Ken Bridle is stewardship director for the Piedmont Land Conservancy.

Bridle believes his watercolors are an engaging way to educate the public about conservation..

Bridle believes his watercolors are a good way to educate the public.

“Since my graduation from WFU as a Ph.D. in biology I have had many jobs and interests,” Bridle wrote to Wake Forest Magazine. He has been working with the Piedmont Land Conservancy, where he is stewardship director, to use science to educate the public about local conservation issues.

“Recently I have begun to paint watercolors, and I find that they are also a good tool to help capture the interest and educate the public,” said Bridle.

The Visitors Center at Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury, North Carolina, (about 30 miles north of Winston-Salem), will feature Bridle’s work at a reception from 2-4 p.m. March 8.

“I appreciate my past and continuing association with WFU to help me accomplish these goals,” he said. — Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)

Happiness is recognition from our peers


Wake Forest Magazine has been honored by its peer institutions in the 2014-15 District III (Southeast) competition of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

“An Artful Friendship,” written by Editor Maria Henson (’82) and published in the Spring 2014 issue, received an Award of Excellence in feature writing. The touching story is about college roommates Dick Peterson (’67) and Charlie Stott (’67), who reunited after many years apart and re-established their friendship through art.

artful-friendship“When I moved back to Winston-Salem it was Charlie, the painter, who put a brush in my hand and said, ‘Why don’t you come over and paint with me?’ I had never painted before, but Charlie gave me a gift that has greatly enhanced my life and deepened our friendship through art,” Dick said.

Editor Maria Henson ('82)

Editor Maria Henson (’82)

Charlie said of the article, “Beyond the obvious story, you recognized that there was something more to our friendship. As I went missing for three months of cancer treatments, you told the story of how cancer has impacted our friendship. It’s a story that has resonated with many others.”

The alumni magazine, which is published three times a year in print and year-round online, won an Award of Excellence in print/digital publications. In addition to Henson the magazine staff includes Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08), managing editor; Kerry M. King (’85), senior editor; and Janet M. Williamson (P ’00, ’03), deputy editor. Members of Wake Forest’s creative group on the magazine production team are Hayes Henderson, creative director; Jill Carson and Kris Hendershott, graphic designers; Gretta Kohler, project manager; and Ken Bennett, University photographer. Julie Helsabeck, a freelance designer, is also part of the team.

— Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)

TIME for the paperless classroom?

If you’re thumbing through the Oct. 20 issue of TIME Magazine you might recognize a fellow Deacon on Page 36. That’s alumnus Matthew Gudenius (’00) with his Calistoga, California, elementary school students. Theirs is not just any classroom — it’s a paperless classroom, and the article is about how this innovative young teacher is using technology.

Matthew Gudenius ('00) oversees his students in their California classroom. (Photo TIME Magazine)

Matthew Gudenius (’00) oversees his students in their California classroom. (Photo TIME Magazine)

Gudenius, who double-majored in computer science and communication, began his career as a software engineer, developing websites for Hallmark, a European travel portal and an Italian bank. In 2002 he decided to pursue something more socially meaningful and recognized that education — especially in K-12 schools — was an area “behind the times” when it came to purposeful development and integration of technology.

“I became a teacher, figuring the best way to learn the needs of classroom teaching is to experience it firsthand. I came to love the human interaction and the impact I could make as a teacher, and have been continuing in that profession ever since,” said Gudenius, who was in the first freshman class to receive ThinkPads and also participated in technology integration through the RTA (Resident Technology Advisor) and STARs (Student Technology Advisors) programs.

Now that he’s teaching he has not given up programming. The thesis for his master’s degree in educational technology involved development of speech-recognition enabled e-book reading software for primary students, and he is developing an all-in-one classroom management tool incorporating gradebooks, rubrics and behavior management into Google Drive / Google Apps for Education.

“My degrees in computer science and communication have both been invaluable for these endeavors, as well as the model WFU set in its early adoption of technology for education,” he said.

— By Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)

One Clippers family man admires another

Demon Deacon, NBA superstar and self-professed family man Chris Paul (’07) admires his new boss, based on comments he made in an article published in The Wall Street Journal Aug. 26.

Steve Ballmer, who retired as Microsoft CEO in February, purchased the Los Angeles Clippers on Aug. 12 for $2 million after a dramatic process described in detail by writer Monica Langley.

Stuart Palley photo of Chris Paul and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in screenshot from The Wall Street Journal website.

Stuart Palley photo of Chris Paul and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in screenshot from The Wall Street Journal website.

Five days after the purchase was closed, Ballmer met with his new team at a trendy L.A. restaurant. “Arriving at the Spago restaurant in suit and tie, Mr. Ballmer shook hands with Clippers players he had admired: all-stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin; center DeAndre Jordan; forward Matt Barnes,” writes Langley. “There were halting comments, polite laughter and much cellphone checking. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was struck by the body language: “They were suddenly all nervous.” But, Langley notes, tensions subsequently eased.

“The players jumped up to shake Mr. Ballmer’s hand,” writes Langley, and “Mr. Paul made plans to golf with him.” Quoting from the article: “What we loved is how competitive he is,” Mr. Paul said later. “And that he said he will miss some of our games if they conflict with his son’s basketball games. I have two kids, and that means a lot.”

Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)