Newswise — -Florida State University's nationally ranked academic programs and faculty include highly respected experts who can comment on a wide range of seasonal and topical concerns.

Check out their perspectives on summertime challenges for divorced and newly blended families; film and social responsibility; children's literature; travel trends and gas prices; beach erosion; global warming and deep-sea life; stars and planets in the summer sky; lightning strikes; hot-weather exercise; protection from the sun; or the next outbreak of West Nile virus.


SUMMER VACATIONS FOR NEWLY BLENDED FAMILIES* Kay Pasley, chair, and Norejane Hendrickson Professor, department of family and child sciencesSo, you've planned this great family vacation for your newly blended household to enable everyone to experience quality time together ... Pasley can help set realistic expectations, or offer guidance on when and why some blended families should decide against such an activity for the time being. She has written extensively on the topic of stepfamilies -- including co-parenting and the roles fathers play -- in more than 40 articles and three books and worked for many years with The Stepfamily Association of America.

KIDS AND DIVORCED PARENTS: JUGGLING SUMMER SCHEDULES*Frank Fincham, director, FSU Family Institute and Eminent Scholar, department of family and child sciencesFincham can help divorced couples schedule and more positively share summer care-giving for their school-age children. An internationally renowned scholar and recognized expert on family and personal relationships, Fincham is listed among the top 25 psychologists in the world based upon the number of citations per published article. Research interests include the impact of interparental conflict/divorce on children and forgiveness, particularly in family relationships.


THE MOVIE MADE ME DO IT* Frank Patterson, dean, School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts (known as "The Film School") Patterson can discuss filmmakers' social responsibility and the impact of movies on society, including this summer's blockbusters. Now the dean of FSU's nationally top-ranked Film School, he has over 20 years of experience as a writer, director and producer of motion pictures; served as president of The Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood; and taught film for 15 years at the University of Texas, Baylor University and Chapman University.

'HARRY POTTER' AND MORE: WHY KIDS ARE READING AGAIN* Julianna Baggott, bestselling author and assistant professor, Creative Writing ProgramBaggott is the author of nine books - published and forthcoming - including a series of novels for young readers, "The Anybodies," written under the pen name N.E. Bode and in development with Nickelodeon Movies at Paramount Pictures. She can share her views on what's currently hot in kids' books, from the upcoming Harry Potter tome and beyond; why J.K. Rowling has had the most significant impact on literature in the last century; and why this genre has become so big that notable authors of adult novels are now writing for young readers.


STICKER SHOCK AT THE PUMP* Mark Isaac, Quinn Eminent Scholar and professor of economicsIsaac has worked on issues in energy regulation for more than 25 years. He is available to talk about high gas prices and energy markets, and how these factors may relate to an increased rate of inflation. TO TRAVEL OR NOT TO TRAVEL* Robert Bosselman, Robert H. Dedman Professor in Hospitality Administration and director, Dedman School of Hospitality Bosselman is an expert on the tourism and hospitality industry, and can provide analysis of the travel season and effects of global events on tourism. He is recognized as one of the most influential authors in hospitality management education and was editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education.


WHERE'S THE BEACH?* Joseph Donoghue, associate professor of geologyAre Florida's beaches eroding? Donoghue, an expert on the potential impact of global warming on sea levels, can discuss his research on the future of Florida's coastlines, including the possible effects of abrupt change in sea levels - several meters within decades - on coastal environments.

OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERE: GLOBAL WARMING REMEDY THREATENS DEEP-SEA LIFE* David Thistle, professor of oceanographyOne proposed solution to global warming is to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by sequestering it on the seabed in the deep ocean, but this has proven to be harmful to the organisms living in the deep-sea, according to a study led by Thistle, who has studied the deep sea for more than 30 years. To learn more, visit

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY!* Vasken Hagopian, Lannutti Professor of PhysicsHagopian can talk about seasonal and current astronomical happenings, such as NASA's plans to possibly upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope with a shuttle flight to extend its life; the first planet outside of the solar system photographed circling a very-low-brightness star, called a "brown dwarf"; the four bright moons of Jupiter, which can be viewed with binoculars; and the rings of Saturn, which are visible now even through small telescopes.

LIGHTNING STRIKES -- OFTEN* J. Anthony Stallins, assistant professor of geographyWhile everyone knows how much havoc a hurricane or tornado can wreak, in the South it's lightning that causes the most property damage. Stallins studied weather-related claims in Georgia from 1996 to 2000 and found that lightning comprised 53 percent of a total 37,093 weather-related claims for property damage, amounting to $22.9 million in losses. He is currently studying flash densities around Atlanta, one of the nation's fastest growing areas. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE: BAD BUGS; IT HURTS; IT'S HOT; EAT, DRINK BETTER

EMERGING INFECTIONS: MOSQUITOES AND MORE* Robert Brooks, M.D., associate director of health affairs, FSU College of MedicineIt's hard to know exactly what this summer's emerging infection story might encompass: SARS, bird flu, flesh-eating bacteria, a new strain of the AIDS virus, or West Nile encephalitis. Brooks is board-certified in infectious disease and can discuss any of these possibilities; his areas of expertise include public health, prevention, rural health, patient safety and terrorism. He is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, and was Secretary of the Florida Department of Health when West Nile was first detected in the state.

WHERE IT HURTS AND WHY* Angela Sehgal, professor, department of nutrition, food and exercise sciencesWith increased leisure time and a greater range of activities for many during the summer and vacation season, the recently released book that Sehgal co-authored --- "Where it Hurts and Why" --- might come in handy. She coordinates her department's Athletic Training/Sports Medicine Education Program and is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association.

THE NUTRITION NEIGHBORHOOD* Jenice Rankins, associate professor, department of nutrition, food and exercise sciencesFor some families, the lack of access to school breakfast and lunch programs during the summer months can be particularly tough on daily diets. To better address childhood obesity as well as lifelong nutritional needs for Americans at all stages of life, Rankins' "Nutrition Neighborhood" Web site debuted in April and provides one-stop access to nutrition information, healthy recipes and lesson plans for teachers: Rankins has dedicated much of her life's work to addressing health issues in the African-American community and other black populations around the globe, with more than 30 years of service from Newark, N.J., to Ghana, Africa.   EXERCISE IN HOT WEATHER, ATHLETES AND NUTRITION* Emily Haymes, interim chair, and C. Etta Walters Professor of Exercise Science, department of nutrition, food and exercise sciencesAn exercise physiologist, Haymes can talk about her research on exercise in warm weather; iron depletion in athletes; nutrition and performance; and physical activity and chronic-disease prevention.

CLOTHING VS. THINGS THAT HURT* Rinn Cloud, chair, and Margaret A. Sitton Professor of Textiles and Consumer Sciences, department of textiles and consumer sciencesAn expert on textile product performance, Cloud can discuss research on clothing designed to maximize comfort in high-heat conditions and as a protective barrier against occupational chemical exposure.

DON'T DROP THEM OFF WITHOUT HATS AND SUNSCREEN* Christine Readdick, associate professor, department of family and child sciencesChristine "Coco" Readdick can discuss her research on parents' inconsistent use of protective clothing and sunscreen on preschoolers at day care. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in child development and early education, and has worked with children and their families from Alaska to Florida for more than 30 years.