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Triple Play: Duquesne Professor, Alumna Earn Three Awards at Emmys

A Duquesne University biology professor who enhances health literacy through multimedia efforts captured two Emmy Awards while a graduate of Duquesne's journalism and multimedia arts program walked away a winner at Saturday's ceremony in Philadelphia.

The Scientastic! program Are You Sleeping? Dormez Vous?, created by Dr. John Pollock, professor of biological sciences, was recognized in the categories of Children/Youth/Teen Program or Special and Musical Composition/Arrangement by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Meanwhile, May graduate Samantha Barker won a Student Award for Excellence in College Production for her news package.

Scientastic!, aimed at 8- to 13-year-olds and produced by Pollock's Partnership in Education at Duquesne with David Caldwell of Planet Earth Television, premiered on WQED in Pittsburgh and was distributed by American Public Television to more than 100 public television stations nationwide. Students from the Pittsburgh Public School's Creative and Performing Arts magnet school and the Winchester Thurston School added their skills to the production.

Pollock, who conducts basic science research on the nervous system, also focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and health literacy. The show was supported by the Science Education Partnership Awards from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, local foundations and regional organizations.

"Receiving two Emmy Awards is great recognition for the hard work and quality that we have brought to the issue of sleep deprivation among school-age kids, which is an epidemic that affects every aspect of their lives, from grades, athletics, mood and health," Pollock said. "Creating a show that brings the science of sleep into the world-view of a child while keeping it all fun comes from a great team of students and professionals."

Pollock plans to release Scientastic! for digital streaming this fall, which will complement a new eBook series for children. These join his app Powers of Minus Ten-Bone, which was selected for an Apple commercial, and the app Charles Darwin Synthetic Interview, which gives users the opportunity to question a virtual Charles Darwin.

Student winner Barker was nominated for the college/University Student Production honor for a news package she developed as a student in a news production class taught by Dr. Dennis Woytek, assistant professor of journalism and multimedia arts. Barker served as producer-reporter for a package about a fundraiser walk for blood cancer. A clip from the production created by the Mount Lebanon native is available on You Tube.

"Without Dennis Woytek and Mike Clark (adjunct professor and WTAE broadcaster), I wouldn't have had the skills necessary to receive this nomination," Barker said. "They've also given me the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain internships with both WQED and KDKA, while attending Duquesne."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.