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Published by crystal, 2019-11-26 14:45:28




“Just a few short years ago, Wake Downtown
was still in the planning stages. I’m amazed every
day how much this urban site has become part
of the fabric of Wake Forest - and we are still
growing into our vision!”

– Rebecca Alexander, Director of Academic
Programming for Wake Downtown

My my, where
does the time go?

It’s hard to believe, but it has been 1,000 days since Wake
Forest University began a new and exciting chapter in its
185-year history by opening Wake Downtown. Joining in
the revitalization of the heart of downtown Winston-Salem,
Wake Downtown opened its doors on January 9, 2017.
This campus extension is an interdisciplinary hub housing
three anchor programs: Engineering, Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology (BMB), and Medicinal Chemistry. A
unique blend of old and new, Wake Downtown is situated
in a historic building that was once an R.J. Reynolds
tobacco factory. Under the leadership of developer,
Wexford Scientific, the building has been artfully renovated
and repurposed with innovative teaching spaces and labs,
and a design that honors its industrial origins.

TOP LEFT: Aerial view of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company buildings looking east from the
Reynolds Building, 1940

BOTTOM LEFT: Sign painting artists Norma Jeanne Maloney, in cowboy hat, and Willow
Anderson, from Red Rider Studios, work on one of the original doors in the old Reynolds
tobacco factory in downtown Winston-Salem, which was saved to decorate the new Wake
Downtown classroom building, on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

Photos courtesy of Ken Bennett and Digital Forsyth

“I picked WFU Engineering over
other programs because WFU
Engineering is redefining what it
means to be an engineer.”

Marguerite Walk (WFU
Engineering, Class of 2021)

Academic Innovation

In the first 1000 days (which spans six academic year across years one, two, and three. The inaugural cohort will
semesters and three summers), over 3400 students have graduate in May 2021 and be about 45 students. Within the
taken 264 classes at Wake Downtown! Many of these have inaugural cohort of majors (currently juniors), half have
been in the three core programs, which continue to grow. participated in academic research and 30% have had
The BMB program currently has 41 majors, who are all industry internships. Led by chair Olga Pierrakos, the
actively engaging in independent research projects. To date department now includes 10 full-time faculty supported by
27 graduates have written senior theses, with over 40% administrative and technical staff. The program’s diversity is
earning honors degrees. The concentration in Medicinal notable. The faculty are 60% female, as are 42% of the
Chemistry has 32 students. Graduates from these two students; 20% percent of the students are from
programs in 2018 and 2019 are employed in research, have underrepresented groups, and 10% are first generation
entered PhD and MD programs or are preparing to college students. The program is already attracting national
continue their education. Two BMB graduates are attention: WFU Engineering was invited to join the Kern
participating in NIH postbaccalaureate training. One student Engineering Entrepreneurship Network (KEEN), becoming
from each program was awarded a Fulbright fellowship: the first KEEN institution from North Carolina and the first
BMB graduate Elizabeth Sarkel was a Fulbright research to become a member prior to ABET accreditation. KEEN
scholar in Austria prior to entering a PhD program, and also awarded the department $150,000 for “Educating the
medicinal chemistry graduate Will Teuscher is a Fulbright Whole Engineer at Wake Forest University: Engineering
teaching scholar in Germany. Newly developed courses in Fundamentals, Entrepreneurial Mindset, and Character.”
these programs include Biophysical Chemistry, Molecular Institutions seeking to launch their own engineering
Signaling, and Medicinal Chemistry lecture and laboratory. programs are looking to Wake Forest as a model for
These courses integrate the cutting edge research facilities undergraduate engineering education.
into classes.

For example, BMB students in a new Molecular Biology
laboratory course use laser scanning confocal imaging to
show that they have been able to engineer yeast cells to
express hormone signaling machinery from a distant

The new Department of Engineering launched in August
2017, so they’re not yet 1000 days old! But they have been
moving full steam ahead with about 150 current students

TOP LEFT: Wake Forest engineering students measure water pressure inside a pipe in a
hydrodynamics lab at Wake Downtown on Friday, April 5, 2019. Engineering professor Lauren
Lowman, in white shirt, answers questions from a lab group.

Thriving Beyond the Bubble
Research Beyond its three core programs, Wake Downtown also
hosts courses from academic departments across the
The 22 full-time faculty at Wake Downtown have university that take advantage of the building’s innovative
submitted research grant proposals totaling over $20M teaching spaces and urban setting. Interdisciplinary courses
and have received over $4M in awards in the first 1000 days taught in the first 1000 days include Science, Magic, and
- and half the faculty are just getting started! One recent Alchemy in Europe 1400-1700, Biotechnology and the Law,
collaborative proposal was submitted to NASA by Gloria and Street Photography.
Muday in Biology and Lauren Lowman and Kyle Luthy in
Wake Downtown
Engineering; this also serves as a
project will design tremendous
and develop devices community
for growing plants on resource hosting
the International cultural, arts, and
Space Station. educational
opportunities that
Wake Forest students work on separating components of a Research groups are bring together
drug using chromatography in their organic chemistry lab multi-generational, individuals from
at Wake Downtown on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. with postdoctoral across the
researchers working community and
side-by-side with foster deeper
graduate students, relationships. The Lifelong Learning program has hosted
undergraduates, and courses at Wake Downtown, including: Why Business?
occasionally even Creating Value in a Humane and Just Society and Around
high school students. the World in 10 Films.

High-end instrumentation used by multiple research groups Photos courtesy of Ken Bennett and Digital Forsyth
include a Zeiss 880 laser-scanning confocal microscope, a
Bruker 400 MHz NMR, and numerous mass spectrometers. Israel Suarez and other Graduate students lead bottle rocket experiments in
Engineering will also have a new makerspace that will go live Bailey Park with a group of boys from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club
August 2020. Training on all of these state-of-the-art
instruments is available to all at Wake Downtown,
undergraduates as well as faculty researchers.

One goal for locating in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is
enhanced partnership with Wake Forest School of
Medicine. These efforts continue to grow, and include
strengthening ties with research faculty in the Quarter who
collaborate with Wake Downtown researchers and serve as
research mentors of undergraduates. For example, 11 of the
19 BMB majors who graduated in 2019 completed their
senior projects in School of Medicine laboratories. Graduate
students from the School of Medicine Department of
Biomedical Engineering have worked as teaching assistants
in undergraduate engineering labs and as co-mentors of
research projects in Biomedical Engineering faculty labs.
Wake Downtown personnel are active participants in the
newly formed School of Medicine Clinical and Translational
Science Institute’s (CTSI) Science Outreach Collaborative;
with a primary focus to increase exposure to biomedical and
health careers, while actively engaging students and
teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering
and math. The collaborative brings together leaders from
around the Quarter to coordinate STEM community
engagement efforts.

Allison Thompson speaking at the 2019 Maya Angelou Garden Party On Sunday, April 8, 2017, the Wake Downtown Student
Ambassadors hosted the first Garden Party in Honor of Dr.
Maya Angelou in Bailey Park. Now an annual gathering, this
event invites community members to celebrate the life and
legacy of Dr. Angelou through poetry reading, music, and food.
The party featured local talented artists and individuals who
simply wanted to share their favorite works by the acclaimed
artist and beloved Wake Forest educator.

In 2019, ZSR Library
displayed handwritten
drafts of some of the
poet’s most famous

Wake Downtown is a
stone’s throw from its
academic peers, making
collaboration easier than
ever. As part of the Year of Rethinking Community, on March
23, 2018, Wake Forest’s Z. Smith Reynolds partnered with
Winston-Salem State University’s C.G. O’Kelly Library to host a
Human Library. This unique event sought to challenge
stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue, and volunteers
served as books who could be “loaned” to share their individual
stories. This first-time event was a tremendous success with
100 students from both universities participating along with
faculty and staff; every classroom, conference room and study
booth was “booked” (pun intended!) and the buzz of
conversation filled the building.

Winston-Salem State University and the Innovation Quarter,
The YMCA Achievers World of Work tours, the Boys and Girls
Clubs and many others. This outreach will only grow, as the
Jessie Ball Dupont Fund has awarded Wake Forest $80K to
enhance undergraduate participation in community

Wake Downtown is able to draw from the collective "Sometimes, all a kid needs is for someone outside of their
expertise and passion of its educators, researchers, home to tell him or her that they're 'smart enough' to pursue
and students to cultivate interest in emerging STEM fields their goals. That's what it took for me to recognize the hidden
and continuing education. Since 2017 Wake Downtown potential that I had. I think it's only fair to do the same and
has welcomed hundreds of local K-12 teachers and
students, from the Sci-Tech summer camp led by help kids recognize and develop their own potential."

Israel Suarez, Chemistry PhD student who hosted Summer
2019 weekly “Science Hours” at Wake Downtown for Boys

and Girls Club campers.

PHOTOS: SciTech; St. Paul’s Episcopal summer camp visit;
Arts-Based microscopy.

Arts and

At Wake Downtown, we embody
Winston-Salem’s motto “The City of
Arts and Innovation” by celebrating Wake
Forest’s own talented artists. START.dt is
a collaborative programming extension
for the WFU student gallery and Wake
Downtown that presents work created
by WFU students in spaces at Wake
Downtown. Artists present works relating
to science or community outreach, per the
mission of Wake Downtown and receptions
are held quarterly for community members
when the artwork is rotated. Below, see
some of the student works exhibited at
Wake Downtown.

“START.dt was born as an effort
to create a formal, continuously
designated space to emphasize the
important relationship of the arts
to other disciplinary approaches to
learning and knowledge-making... I
think START.dt is important because
it showcases the vibrant cultural
life of Wake Forest in one of its
primary satellite campus spaces while
promoting constant conversations
between thinkers and makers across
the university's academic communities.”

Jay Buchanan, START/START.dt
gallery manager 2017-2019

TOP & MIDDLE PHOTOS: stArt gallery is celebrating 10 years of truly
innovative student art programming with an exhibition curated by
previous stArt managers – Caitlin Berry, Marcus Keely, Adelaide Knott,
Katie Wolf , Becca Gleichenhaus, Brittany Forniotis, Kylie Kinder, and
Jay Buchanan – featuring works of student (now alum) artists from each
respective manager’s tenure. In many cases recent work and projects will
be paired with past ones.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Student filmmakers in Wake Forest art professor
Joel Tauber’s class project their films onto the wall of Bailey Power
Plant in downtown Winston-Salem as a temporary public art project on
Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

Center For Molecular Signaling Retreat 2019 CONFERENCES 1
Allan Younger at the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center Launch Challenge AND MEETINGS

The Wake Downtown auditorium is used for both
university and community events. Two research
centers composed of researchers (faculty, graduate
students, and undergraduates) from both the arts and
sciences and medical school campuses have had annual
research retreats. The Center for Molecular Signaling
and the Center for Redox Biology and Medicine have
had 5 retreats that built research bridges between
campuses: Our Innovation Quarter neighbors at the
Forsyth Tech Small Business Center host their bi-annual
Business Launch Challenge at Wake Downtown each
May and December. The event is the culmination of a
four-month-long program where prospective business
owners are challenged to launch businesses by the
conclusion of the program.

“I became a Wake Downtown Ambassador as a way to share with my peers the advantages of being immersed
in the Greater Winston-Salem Community. As a Politics and International Affairs Major, it is important for me to
understand the ways that government, economics and society function to build my city. Being at Wake Downtown,
learning about the local businesses, and participating in the events sponsored by the City Hall allows me to do just
that. In addition to being in Downtown Winston-Salem, the views and study spaces are great for doing homework

off-campus. In turn, making my experience at Wake Downtown one of learning, innovation, and fun!”

- Cameron Allen Student


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