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Shaler Elementary Teacher Is Going To The End Of The Earth For His Students

Kevin Gavin
90.5 WESA
Science teacher Michael Penn poses next a penguin cut out in his Shaler Elementary School classroom on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.

Shaler Area Elementary School teacher Michael Penn is heading to Antarctica.

Penn is one of 11 teachers from the United States selected to participate in PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating), an educational research trip that pairs middle and high school science teachers with academic researchers actively involved in polar science research. Penn is one of five teachers headed to Antartica and will be one of six traveling to the Arctic.

He'll be part of a research team from the University of Wisconsin to install and maintain remote automatic weather stations across Antarctica.

Elsewhere in the show, 90.5 WESA arts and culture reporter Bill O’Driscoll discusses his investigation into claims of sexual assault by current and former employees of the Mattress Factory museum on the North Side.

Complaints of sexual harassment, physical assault, sexual assault and rape roiled the museum internally for months. The tension came to a boiling point after an internal investigation by Mattress Factory leadership was criticized by some staff for downplaying the severity of the allegations and retaliating against critics.

Employees' official complaint to the National Labor Relations Board and the resulting investigation could add a new layer to the complex situation.

90.5 WESA's Amy Sisk takes a look at how first responders prepare for a potential emergency on the Mariner East 2 pipeline. After emergency responders faced a natural gas pipeline explosion last month a different pipeline is nearing completion.

And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while just three percent of all American workers across the country are on the job at 2 a.m., as many as one in five Americans work sometime in the evening or at night, or on a rotating shift.

In the latest episode of 90.5 WESA's Still Working podcast, the night shift can be lonely — dragging yourself out of bed to work when everyone else is sleeping, but it’s essential to the region’s well-being.


 The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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