Can humans partner with robots? A look into the future of job skills needed

Multimedia Reporting by Ginna Royalty


Janna Anderson, director of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center

Movies like “Star Wars,” “The Terminator” and “Transformers” used to make people afraid that robots would take over the world. Now, it’s a reality, kind of. Global consultancy McKinsey calculates that the adaptation of currently demonstrated automation technologies could affect 50 percent of the world economy, or 1.2 billion employees and $14.6 trillion in wages, according to this article released by the Pew Research Center.


“Other technicians are capable of partnering with technology and moving much more quickly than humans can do by themselves,” said Janna Anderson, director of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. “It’s that robot or AI (artificial intelligence) partnership with people that is the most successful way to get jobs done. We need fewer people to accomplish much more.”

5 themes from the“I think that the first that the people in the communications field need to focus on is writing,” said John Doorley, the founding academic director of the Master of Science in Public Relations degree program at New York University. “Technology and robots are going to take away jobs that are routine, but I don’t think they will take away a lot of communications jobs.”

The Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center canvasses more than 1,400 technologists, futurists and scholars and found that most experts expect that education and jobs-training ecosystems will shift to exploit new virtual and augmented reality tools and artificial intelligence, in the next decade.

Anderson defines a robot as “a tool capable of carrying out a series of actions automatically.”


Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology at the Pew Research Center. Photo by Ginna Royalty

“A lot of the experts said that a crucial “skill” to master is the capacity for lifelong learning,” said Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research at the Pew Research Center.



“Their view is that in knowledge-related professions, people will constantly be challenged by artificial intelligence or robotics and will regularly have to update their skills in order to “stay ahead” of machines.”

The following question was asked of the experts: In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future?

They found that 70% of respondents said “yes” these programs will be successful, while 30% said that “no” these training programs will not be successful.

“As I was reading these answers, I was very struck by how much these experts were wrestling with really big questions: What are humans really good for? What are the special elements of human cognition and consciousness and social interaction that computers won’t eventually be able to replace?” Rainie said.

“Most of their answers were informed by their judgment about how to answer those questions,” said Rainie. “Most of them did not advocate that everyone has to learn computer programming or have to learn how to perform data-science chores. They set their sights higher than that.”

There are many skills, capabilites and attributes that are predicted to be most valuable in the future, including emotional intelligence, curiosity, creativity, adaptability, resilience and critical thinking.


Sophie Faxon, junior at Elon University. Photo by Ginna Royalty

“I think that one thing we really overlook is the fact that when businesses and industries really shift towards more of that mechanized process and creation, we are really choosing profit of people,” said Sophie Faxon, junior at Elon. “I think that individuals looking for jobs need to focus on finding other ways and skill sets that they can offer that a computer simply cannot, such as human intuition and having that face-to-face value.”


Participants had varying responses. Justin Reich, executive director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Teaching Systems Lab, observed, “Educators have always found new ways of training the next generation of students for the jobs of the future, and this generation will be no different.”

However, Jerry Michalski, founder at REX, commented, “Today’s educational and training institutions are a shambles. They take too long to teach impractical skills and knowledge not connected to the real world, and when they try to tackle critical thinking for a longer time scale, they mostly fail.”

Amber McGraw, assistant director of career services at Elon University. Photo by Ginna Royalty


“I think that students need to excel in are your soft skills, said Amber McGraw, assistant director of career services for the Elon University school of communications.  “A robot or a machine is not going to be able to build relationships with people or hold effective conversations with people, request information from people. Things that are kind of natural things.”

There are already machines in the workplace, so we must figure out a way to work with this technology so that citizens are not losing jobs.

Janna Anderson speaks about the future of job skills and jobs training. Video by Ginna Royalty


Food Truck Frenzy fires up Elon students

Multimedia Reporting by Ginna Royalty

Dana Carnes, director of the CFL, and Olivia Hobbs, junior enjoy the different food trucks. Photo by Ginna Royalty

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff could be found in the Koury parking lot on Wednesday for the Student Union Board’s annual Food Truck Frenzy event. SUB paired with Elon Dining and brought 12 food trucks to campus for the event this year.

“Food Truck Frenzy is a great event for Elon because it allows our community to try different foods in the area that maybe they can’t travel to,” Dana Carnes, Interim Director of the Center for Leadership said. “It’s also nice community fellowship to see everyone and check in on this gorgeous day as the semester is wrapping up.”

The event lasted from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and there was a special musical performance from The Tripps, a band made up of Elon students. Students could pay with cash, credit, Phoenix cash, food dollars and even meal dollars, making this event more accessible to all members of the Elon community.

Students stand in line for the Chirba Chirba dumpling truck, a favorite among students. Photo by Ginna Royalty

“Food Truck Frenzy gives students a nice variety of choices that they wouldn’t usually get in a dining hall and it also allows upperclassman who might not have a meal plan to also experience that as well as supporting local food trucks and businesses,” Helen Thompson, Elon junior said.

SUB is always looking for ways to expand and improve this event, with possibilities of moving to a bigger parking lot or making it a multiple-day event, according to an ELN Morning broadcast show. 

Looking back on Trump’s first 100 days

Multimedia Reporting by Ginna Royalty

Graphic by the Elon Poll

On his campaign trail, President Donald Trump made a lot of promises about what he would do during his first 100 days in office. “We have drugs. We have debt. We have empty factories. That’s going to end. That’s going to end. So easy,” Trump said.

But what has Trump accomplished during his first 100-days in office? Before his election, he promised to repeal and replace ObamaCare, crack down on illegal immigration and pursue a tax overhaul.

A recent Elon Poll shows that 51% of voters in North Carolina disapprove of how Trump is handling the job of president. According to the results of the poll, 49 percent say Trump is doing a worse job as president than President Obama, while only 39 percent say Trump is outperforming his predecessor.

Melissa Roy, Elon student who works in the provost office, disapproves of how Trump has done during his first 100 days in office.

“I think the first 100 days has been completely unsuccessful,” said Melissa Roy, junior at Elon. “I think that the people that voted for him are disappointed. The 100-day mark is an indicative sign that he is not capable of fulfilling those campaign promises.”

In a memo from the White House regarding the first 100 days of the Trump Administration’s time in office, they highlight the Trump administration’s job creation efforts as well as regulation cuts and national security measures. However, the majority of Trump’s accomplishments have been made through executive action or memorandum, something Republicans decried Obama for doing during his second term.

“Typically, presidents enjoy strong support during their first 100 days even from former opponents and critics,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll. “The Trump presidency is different. His level of support in his first 100 days both for himself personally and for his key policies is as low as we’ve seen in the history of opinion polling.”


Of the 37 points on Trump's 100 days of accomplishments memo, 62% were accomplished by executive order or memorandum.
Graphic by Ginna Royalty

Regarding Trump’s Twitter usage, the Elon Poll found that 73 percent of voters disapproved and found Trump’s Twitter usage to be inappropriate.


“I think that people might overreact a bit to his Twitter usage,” said Larry Salvucci, senior at Elon. “That’s just who he is. Personally, it doesn’t bother me as much as other people.”

Among N.C. voters, 59 percent oppose building a wall in between the United States and Mexico. The support and disapproval are very clearly divided between political parties, 76 percent of Republicans are in favor of going ahead with building the wall and 92 percent of Democrats oppose it.

Justin Miller, an Elon freshman, is excited to see what Trump has planned next.

Women voters were more likely to give bad marks to Trump’s job performance, with 54 percent disapproving of how he is handling the job and only 38 percent approving. As for Trump’s campaign promises, 56 percent believe he’s doing what he said he would do as president while 38 percent believe that his actions haven’t lined up with what he promised.

“I think that Trump has done an alright job over the past 100 days,” said Justin Miller, a freshman at Elon. “I’m kind of scared to see what he is going to do next but at the same time, it could help our country. I’m nervous and excited to see what he has in store for our country.”

The Elon poll is a live-caller survey done through landline and cell phones of 506 voters. They were registered voters who were classified as likely voters in the Nov. 8 election. It has a margin error of +/- 4.36 percentage points.

Bozena Zayac, Elon community member, gives her opinion on Trump’s first 100 days in office.

SURF Day celebrates students’ successes

Multimedia Reporting by Ginna Royalty

Clare Shaffer presents her undergraduate research during the poster session in the Great Hall. Photo by Royalty

Some students spend days off of school sleeping in, watching Netflix or catching up on work. But over 250 students spent Tuesday presenting their research for the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum. SURF Day is an annual forum to showcase student and faculty’s hard work and research and has been a tradition for 24 years.

“There’s great value in being part of an intellectual community,” said Paul Miller, assistant provost for communications and operations and is also closing out his tenure as director of undergraduate research at Elon. “It gives us an opportunity to display the expanse of things that are happening on campus. I think it cements the value of the mentor experience.”

Students from all majors presented researched throughout the day with poster presentations in the Great Hall and oral presentations in Moseley and the Center for the Arts. Some students gave 20-minute oral presentations with time at the end for questions from students, faculty or staff.

“SURF day is beneficial for both presenters and students,” said Clare Shaffer, junior. “Presenters are able to receive affirmation from their peers and faculty that those long days in the lab were worth it, and students at Elon are able to learn things from their peers and perhaps become inspired themselves to pursue research in their own area of interest.”

Each year, about 150 faculty members review abstracts submitted for SURF day. The student presenters choose three reviewers who read each abstract and then they provide feedback for the SURF chair, advisory committee and the director of undergraduate research to aid their decisions in which abstracts will be accepted for presentation.

Bridget Smith presents her research after two and half years of work. Photo submitted by Smith

“The opportunity to do undergraduate research through the Fellows program was actually the main reason I came to Elon,” said Bridget Smith, senior. “I believe that research is super important for Elon students because it allows you to learn so much more than you can in any given class. It’s also the perfect opportunity to really apply what you’ve learned and allows you to build strong relationships with faculty members, which is incredible.”

“I believe that research is super important for Elon students because it allows you to learn so much more than you can in any given class. It’s also the perfect opportunity to really apply what you’ve learned and allows you to build strong relationships with faculty members, which is incredible.”

Shaffer started to do research because she wanted to start being able to answer some of the “big” questions that she would find herself thinking about during her classes. “Research at Elon gave me the autonomy to be creative in my design and craft an experiment that aimed to try to start to examine those big questions.”

Math Tools Chap. 9-12

By Ginna Royalty

Chapter 9: Directional Measurements

How fast is that-Journalists can never rely on numbers that are just given to them, they should always check numbers related to time, rate and distance.

The basic formulas for time, rate and distance are all the same, but different parts get switched around depending on what solution is needed.


Distance = rate x time

Rate = distance ¸ time

Time = distance ¸ rate

Although speed and velocity are often used interchangeably, they are different measurements. Speed measures how fast something is going, and velocity also indicates direction.

Formula: average speed is another word for rate, so simply plug speed into the rate formula. Average speed = distance ¸ time

Acceleration = (ending velocity – starting velocity) ¸ time

Ending velocity = (Acceleration x time) + starting velocity

A g-force is an acceleration measure, and one “g” represents the normal force of gravity on the Earth’s surface.

Math problem: 

Zionsville is 126 miles away from Cincinnati. How long would it take for the average biker to reach Cincinnati if the rider pedaled five hours a day at an average speed of 12 mph?

Time = 126 miles ¸ 12 mph = 10.5 hours

10.5 hours ¸ 5 hours/day = 2.1 days  

Chapter 10: Area Measurements

ConversionsJournalists need to be able to express accurate and clear measurements for their readers. Analogies are a great way to explain measurements because readers are able to visualize the information. However, analogies won’t work if they don’t understand the comparison and they also don’t convey exact measurements. Another way to explain measurements is by using simple, accurate numbers.

Smaller spaces are measured in square inches or square feet. Larger areas are measured in square feet, square yards or square rods. Fields and farms are measured in acres. States, cities and counties are measured in square miles.


Perimeter = (2 x length) + (2 x width)

Area = length x width

Area of a triangle = .5 base x height

Circumference of a circle = 2P x radius

Area of a circle = P x radius2

Math problem: A fence outside Emily’s house has a length of 12 feet and width of 7 feet. What is the perimeter?

Perimeter = (2 x 12) + (2 x 7) = 24 + 14 = 38

Chapter 11: Volume Measurements

common liquid conversionsVolume measurements play an important role in journalism and many details are needed. Terms like a ton, box, barrel and cord take on different meanings in the business world. Liquid measurements can be used in things like recipes and bodies of water.

There are many common liquid conversions that journalists should know including pints to quarts, quarts to gallons, etc.

Formula: Volume = length x width x height

Firewood is sold by a measurement called a cord. A cord is 128 cubic feet when the wood is neatly stacked in a line or row.

There are three different types of tons:

  • A short ton is equal to 2,000 pounds
  • A long ton is equal to 2,240 pounds
  • A metric ton is equal to 1,000 kilograms, or 2,204.62 pounds

Ton conversions:

  • Short to long ton: Multiply by .89
  • Short to metric ton: Multiply by .9
  • Long to short ton: Multiply by 1.12
  • Long to metric ton: multiply by 1.02
  • Metric to short ton: multiply by 1.1
  • Metric to long ton: multiply by .98

Math problem:

How many ounces are there in 9 tablespoons of milk if 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce.

 9/2 = 4.5 fluid ounces

 Chapter 12: The Metric System

10 copyAlmost the whole world uses the metric system, besides the United States. The metric system is an important part of international commerce and science and is important for journalists to understand.

The international decimal-based metric system is based on multiples of 10. Every measurement uses standard language for each level: giga, mega, milli, micro, etc.

The meter is the basic unit of length. Mass is also derived from the meter. The metric system is based on the decimal system, so people can change from one unit to another by multiplying or dividing by 10, 100, 1,000 or other multiples of 10.

To convert American lengths to metric:


  • Inches by 25.4 to find millimeters or 2.5 to find centimeters
  • Feet by 30 to find centimeters or 0.3 to find meters
  • Yards by 90 to find centimeters or 0.9 to find meters
  • Miles by 1.6 to find kilometers

To convert metric lengths to American:


  • Millimeters by 0.04 to get inches
  • Centimeters by 0.4 to get inches
  • Centimeters by 0.033 to get feet
  • Meters by 39 to get inches
  • Meters by 3.3 to get feet
  • Meters by 1.1 to get yards
  • Kilometers by 0.62 to get miles

To convert American area measurements to metric:


  • Square inches by 6.5 to find square centimeters
  • Square feet by 0.09 to find square meters
  • Square yards by 0.8 to find square meters
  • Square miles by 2.6 to find square kilometers
  • Acres by 0.4 to find hectares

To convert metric measurements to American:


  • Square centimeters by 0.16 to get square inches
  • Square meters by 11 to get square feet
  • Square meters by 1.2 to get square yards
  • Hectares by 2.5 to get acres
  • Square kilometers by 0.4 to get square miles

To covert American mass measurements to metric:


  • Ounces by 28 to find grams
  • Pounds by 0.45 to kilograms
  • Pounds by .07 to get stones
  • Short tons by 0.9 to find metric tons

To convert metric mass measurements to American:


  • Grams by 0.035 to get ounces
  • Grams by 0.002 to get pounds
  • Kilograms by 35 to get ounces
  • Kilograms by 2.2 to get pounds
  • Metric tons by 1.1 to get tons

To convert American volume measurements:


  • Teaspoons by 5 to find milliliters
  • Tablespoons by 15 to find milliliters
  • Fluid ounces by 30 to find milliliters
  • Cups by 0.24 to find liters
  • Pints by 0.47 to find liters
  • Quarts by 0.95 to find gallons
  • Gallons by 3.8 to find liters
  • Cubic feet by 0.03 to find cubic meters
  • Cubic yards by 0.76 to find cubic meters

To convert metric volumes to American forms:


  • Milliliters by 0.034 to get fluid ounces
  • Milliliters by 0.002 to get pints
  • Liters by 2.1 to get pints
  • Liters by 1.06 to get quarts
  • Liters by 0.26 to get gallons
  • Cubic centimeters by 0.06 to get cubic inches
  • Cubic meters by 35 to get cubic feet
  • Cubic meters by 1.3 to get cubic yards

To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius:

Celsius = .56 x (Fahrenheit -32)

To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit = (1.8 x Celsius) + 32

Math problem:

 975 meters = How many millimeters?

 1 millimeter = 1/1000 of a meter

 975 x 1/1000 = .975 millimeters

Elon Relay for Life raises over $110,000 for American Cancer Society

By Ginna Royalty

The Colleges Against Cancer executive team holds up this year’s total. Photo submitted by Nina Stevens

More than 40 teams came together to raise money for the American Cancer Society on Friday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for Colleges Against Cancer’s fifth annual Relay for Life. The event was hosted in the PARC in Danieley Center where the participants would “take a walk in the PARC” to remember loved ones and celebrated cancer survivors.

CAC had a goal of raising $100,000 and were able to raise $110,652.45 for the American Cancer Society, surpassing their total from last year by about $20,000. Elon was able to represent themselves well, becoming the largest collegiate Relay for Life in North Carolina.

“Relay gives people a chance to see those that are impacted by cancer and those people that their fundraising is helping,” said Ali Leroy, junior.”

“I love Relay because it reminds me of why I celebrate, remember and fight back every day. It’s not just for me and the individuals that I relay for, but for everyone affected by cancer.”

Rebecca Venetianer, the executive director, speaks to the crowd during the event. Photo submitted by Nina Stevens.

Many of the student organizations were represented with teams, including a team called “Kickin it with Colie,” which consisted of friends and teammates of Nicole “Colie” Dennion, who passed away from Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare childhood bone cancer.

During the 12-hour event, representatives from each team took turns walking around the gym to represent how cancer never sleeps. There were plenty of activities to keep them occupied, including sunrise yoga, a capella groups and food trucks.

“The executive board was so dedicated and passionate this year and that really drove the committees and the participants to do the best they could and have the best time, the img_6312.pngenergy was there all night which was great,” said Nina Stevens, senior.

There was also an opportunity for students to cut their hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients.

“I decided to cut my hair because it broke my heart seeing my best friend Catherine lose her hair,” said Carly Blau. “She didn’t feel like herself and didn’t truly feel beautiful again until she got her first wig.”

“I hope that by cutting my hair I will be giving another cancer patient the same happiness and hope that Catherine felt when she got her wig.”

The money from the event goes towards cancer research as well as helping provide people with tools for cancer prevention, 24/7 psychological services and more access to treatments centers with transportation and lodging.

To find a Relay for Life event near you, check out this link:;jsessionid=00000000.app365a?NONCE_TOKEN=A591037D5A1B29CCC24FC40DD25EBEA7&pagename=relay

Robert Bullard speaks about climate change as a human right to kick off Earth Week

Multimedia Reporting by Ginna Royalty

Robert Bullard opens the presentation with some jokes about climate change. Photo by Ginna Royalty

Robert Bullard, also known as the “father of environmental justice” spoke to the Elon community about the importance of climate change and bringing justice to everyone in the United States. Bullard has worked to examine the relationships between class, race, urban planning, environmental health and sustainable development.

Bullard has written 18 books on topics ranging from food insecurity to climate to racism. Although they all differ in topics, they are all connected by the ideas of fairness, justice and equity.

“Climate change is more than talking about greenhouse gases and parts per million,” Bullard said. “It’s also about justice—climate justice!”

One of the major points that Bullard discussed is that clean air, water and food are basic human rights, and yet climate change is making it difficult to achieve these things. And unfortunately, according to Bullard, the communities and countries that contribute the least to climate change are going to be hit the hardest by climate change.

Bullard also emphasized that our most vulnerable communities, children and elderly people, are going to be affected the most as well.

A kid’s job is to be outside and play, but it’s not healthy for kids to breathe this air,” Bullard said. “We need to protect the most vulnerable—thats what environmental justice is about.”

Climate ChangeMany students, professors and Elon community members were in attendance for the start of Earth week.

“I thought Bullard brought up some interesting points about a topic that I previously did not know anything about,” said Elon junior Maggie Filipowich. “It is definitely an issue that more people need to become aware of, which starts with them understanding that climate change is real.”

It is no secret that there is more pollution in bigger, metropolitan cities. Bullard highlighted the importance of developing more sustainable, affordable transportation in metropolitan areas. Public transportation is also an important way to cut down on emissions.

“When we talk about the issue of breathing, America is still segregated,” Bullard said. “People of color are exposed to 46 percent more nitrogen oxide than whites.

Bullard gave a lot of other shocking facts, such as that the asthma rate for African Americans is 35% higher than whites.

“The presentation was full of information that painted the startling reality of environmental racism, said Elon junior Sophie Faxon. “However, I wish it had been more action oriented.”

Bullard discusses the inequality that goes along with climate change. Photo by Ginna Royalty

Bullard also went through maps of the different belts in the United States where climate change is even worse for people that are already vulnerable. This includes minority populations, those who are uninsured and in food deserts and more. According to Bullard, zip codes are the best predictors of health.

At the end of the presentation audience members had time to ask Bullard questions, get books signed and continue the conversation as well as socialize at the Coffee Klatch in the Moseley Kitchen.

For more Earth Week 2017 events, check out this page: