University of Texas’ Ad School Taps Lisa Bennett to Run New Real-World Program

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The Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations (SRS) at the University of Texas (UT) appointed longtime agency executive and Texas native Lisa Bennett as executive director of The Lab, a new practice within the school, designed to provide students with practical experience in the advertising and marketing industry.

“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this role my entire life. I grew up in Austin, graduated from UT, learned from some of the best in the business, led work across a broad range of clients and mentored some truly incredible talent over the years,” Bennett said. “Our industry is going through massive change and is facing a multitude of challenges. Creating an entity designed to prepare students for the real world will be an important next stage of my career. The Lab will be designed to give SRS students the best possible chance of succeeding in what is an incredibly competitive and demanding environment.”

Ostensibly a program and student-run agency, Bennett brings voluminous experience to the role, starting at Leo Burnett, where she spent 14 years, ascending to evp, executive creative director. From there, she joined DDB Worldwide as managing partner and CCO of DDB West. Ten years into her tenure, she moved to a North America role. After DDB, Bennett spent time at two independent agencies, including TM Advertising in Dallas, which shut down last year.

“Lisa’s impressive track record and wealth of industry expertise will add tremendous value to the faculty and students of The Lab,” Jay Bernhardt, dean of The Moody College of Communication, said. “I’m confident that under her leadership we will build a highly unique and valuable resource for both students and clients.”

Bennett’s brand resume includes several iconic brands such as Delta Air Lines, Disney, Heinz, Intel, McAfee and McDonald’s. She’s also


Education, economic benefits possible from expansion of North Carolina school-choice program: Study

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Giving parents the ability to choose what school their children attend could save North Carolina taxpayers money, among other benefits, according to a new study.

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Released this week by Raleigh-based conservative think tank Civitas Institute and libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, the study said establishing a statewide education savings account program in North Carolina could improve educational and socioeconomic outcomes.


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“Statewide education savings accounts would put the power in the hands of families by funding students instead of school systems, just like we already do with many other taxpayer-funded initiatives,” wrote Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice for the Reason Foundation.

North Carolina’s education savings account program provides up to $9,000 a year for students with disabilities to attend a nonpublic school or home school. By looking at how the current program has affected academic achievement and educational attainment, researchers estimate a statewide expansion could lead to billions of dollars in economic benefits.

An American Educational Research Association evaluation of the state’s private school Opportunity Scholarship Program found a 36% increase in math testing scores and a 44% increase in language testing scores within the first year of the program among students who received the scholarships.

DeAngelis said 17 other studies also found some evidence of positive academic outcomes among students who have the flexibility to attend a private school.

Critics of the Opportunity Scholarship Program argue it uses government money to subsidize private schools that force students to conform to their religious beliefs, including those surrounding homosexuality and gender. Both forms of discrimination are prohibited under the state’s constitution.

Using the evidence on academic achievement and its connection with lifetime earnings, DeAngelis estimated a child who completes 12 years of private school could make more than $249,000 more over a lifetime


We need to shield the US space program from election cycle chaos

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Space exploration is a long-term endeavor. It takes many years and boatloads of money to get a single spacecraft off the ground and out of Earth’s atmosphere. Getting it to destinations outside the planet’s orbit is even trickier. And if the plan is to send humans along for the ride, you can expect development to take longer than most US presidential terms.

That’s a problem, given that the executive office is in charge of shaping the US space program and its overall goals: when different administrations have different ideas on what to prioritize, the space program faces whiplash that creates chaos and slows projects down. In just this century, NASA has seen its focus shift from the moon to Mars and back to the moon. In 2005, President Bush said we were gearing up to go to the moon with the Constellation program. In 2010, President Obama said we were headed to Mars. In 2017, President Trump decided it was actually the moon again.

With less than a month to go until an election that could lead to a new administration under Joe Biden, the space community is bracing itself for yet another possible pivot. The circumstances once again highlight the need to stabilize the US space program so it has the support it needs to pursue projects and achieve goals, secure that they won’t be abruptly upended by the whims of a new president. 

The next four years are critical. Under Artemis, NASA’s program to return humans to the moon, we’re seeing the development of technologies like lunar spacesuits, lunar habitation modules, landers, rovers, Gateway (a lunar space station designed to enable human exploration in deep space), and tons of other new technologies meant to make moon missions work. Only some would be immediately suitable for a Martian environment,


Minnesota college is home to elite program in musical instrument repair

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RED WING, MINN. — The most intimate relationship a musician may have is with a precious instrument. And when that relationship breaks down, an elite group of students here can fix it.

At Minnesota State College Southeast, about 85 students are learning to repair musical instruments. Most of them choose from among three specialties: band instruments, violins and guitars (whose students also learn to build guitars).

It’s a rare chance to learn these special skills. Only three schools in the country offer band instrument repair, according to school spokeswoman Katryn Conlin, and no other college offers violin repair. The rarity of the programs here attracts students to Red Wing from across the United States and Canada.

At age 18, Sarah Jensen of Clearfield, Utah, has already been working for several years in the instrument repair shop of her dad, who graduated from Red Wing in the 1990s. As she refurbished a tray of saxophone keys and pads, Jensen said she loves seeing the joy on people’s faces when they get their instruments back.

“I’m autistic,” she added, “and I think in certain ways. I like puzzles. For me, the saxophone is a 3-D jigsaw puzzle, and I love it.”

Michaela Alderink of Fairfax, Minn., had been working “a lot of not-fun jobs.” At age 33, she decided to enroll in the program after she opened her clarinet case from high school one day.

When she got a whiff of the wood and leather and metal inside, Alderink said, “I realized that I could be surrounded by this smell the rest of my life.”

Many of the students are musicians; some have advanced degrees in performance and have played professionally. But musicians often have to cobble together a living. Learning repair skills can be a welcome addition to income from playing


Report backs NASA exploration efforts as response to Chinese space program

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WASHINGTON — A new report used the growth of China’s space program to argue for continued support of NASA’s own exploration ambitions as well as legislation to assist the space industry and space traffic management.

The China Task Force Report, prepared by a group of Republican House members and released Sept. 30, covers a wide range of issues that group linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and saw as threats to the United States. Much of the report was devoted to issues of national security and the economy.

However, two pages of the 130-page report discussed space exploration. In it, the task force noted Chinese development of a space station and long-term, although as yet unscheduled, plans human lunar mission. “The U.S. should be concerned about the technological innovations and leadership role for the CCP that could come from missions crewed by [People’s Republic of China]-nationals to the Moon,” it stated,

The recommendations in that section of the report, though, addressed NASA’s space exploration programs. “As the CCP seeks to attract international partners to support its own space exploration goals and expand its influence, the U.S. must maintain its presence in low-Earth orbit, return U.S. astronauts to the Moon, chart a future path for human exploration of Mars, and maintain a steady commitment to space science missions,” it stated.

Those recommendations largely endorsed NASA’s current plans for returning humans to the moon by 2024. The report called for passage of a NASA authorization bill, such as the one introduced in the House in January, and funding that “fully supports” its exploration programs. It recommended maintaining the International Space Station and transitioning to commercial facilities, a balanced portfolio of science missions and use of public private partnerships in its programs. It also endorsed the Artemis Accords, the NASA initiative to

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