Thursday, April 23, 2009
After brief stints at Northern Illinois University and Harper College in Palatine, I came to the conclusion that going to school to get away from your parents after high school is not a valid reason, and going to another school to spend time with your best friend is not a valid reason.
I took classes in the business administration and marketing field for a while, and while [sarcasm]I LOVE economics and accounting, [/sarcasm] I began to realize that the business world held absolutely no appeal to me. My friend and I wanted to start our own modeling agency, but deep within myself I wanted to use my brain power in a way that utilizes my strengths.
But what was it?
I had inclinations toward writing. That was really the only thing that I genuinely enjoyed doing—that and having a positive influence on people.
My roommate, Mariya Kozlova was a student at Dominican University, and she highly recommended I check out the journalism program.
We pulled up to the Visitor’s Circle on a sunny June day. I observed the ivy covering the buildings, the beautiful architecture, the quiet neighborhood nook down Division St. where the main campus was located.
It sounds shallow, but at that moment I was sold. Dominican isn’t a sprawling, indifferent campus. It isn’t full of impersonal lecture halls. There’s a different feeling to this institution.
I talked to Christa Raska in recruitment, and was even further sold. I was going back to school to major in journalism. In retrospect, I obviously didn’t know what journalism was—all I knew was I wanted to write and pursue truth.
My first class at Dominican was “Communicate: A personal, social, and career focus.” Dr. Germaine Goetz-Sota, a former nun, was the professor, and from the first day I KNEW I was WHERE I BELONGED at Dominican.
Dr. Germaine Goetz-Sota is one of the main people who so radically changed my life.
In this class, Germaine had us read a book called Please Understand Me: Temperament and Personality Types by David Keirsey. We had to take the survey in the book and learn about our temperaments, which resulted in a four-letter classification using a combiniation of Introversion/Extroversion, INtuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, and Perceptive/Judging.
My result was ENFP.
It was in Germaine’s class that I learned WHO I was. I finally understood WHY I am the way I am. I got HOW I relate to other people; how I perceive myself and how I approach the world. The test results said ENFPs are well suited for careers in journalism, like to express themselves and communicate, and are wordsmiths by nature.
It all made sense.
“ENFPs may suffer test phobias, because even those who do very well in class and know the material feel boxed in by fact-oriented exams that have only one "right" answer. On the other hand, they do well on essay tests, which give them the opportunity to integrate their knowledge into a bigger picture.”
Indeed. And as I grew to know more about myself at Dominican, I realized that I can’t make excuses for how, and who I am. There’s no fault in being different from the status quo. Human beings are complex and different for a reason—we all should embrace the way we function; the people we inherently are.
Germaine taught us life lessons that are absolutely invaluable. Through our class projects we learned the concept of empathy and non-judgment. We talked about paradigms and how individuals’ life experiences shape the way they see the world, and how they act and react to certain situations. Germaine had us write a mission statement for our lives. She taught us to look into ourselves, to truly dig deep, find out, WHO we are, and to run with it.
And from that semester, I ran with it. Germaine’s genuine caring for her students is stronger than any other professor or instructor I’d ever had at that point.
There was one day after class when she pulled me aside. “Are you okay?” she asked me. “You don’t seem yourself.” I spilled my heart out to her, just relieved that I could confide in someone who understood and would encourage me, regardless. The fact that she had picked up on my change in demeanor touched my heart.
Long after I had taken two of her classes, my random encounters with Germaine would instantly change the tone of my day. Her mere presence—her positive energy and love—has never ceased to make me want to do well in life, and impact others in the manner that she does just by being herself.
Through studying journalism, I’ve learned so much more than I feel I would have at any of my previous schools. I know what kind of writing I enjoy; where to focus. I embrace my strengths and don’t worry about my “shortcomings.” I focus on what I know I am meant to, and able to do.
Dominican University has been home to me for three years. After attending other colleges, I realized just how real the Dominican Difference is. Even though I may seem aloof to others—as a commuter I go to campus, take care of business, and leave without spending much time hanging around—the Dominican community is my extended family.
Whenever I see academic advisor Angela Frazier—who helped launch my career here and was one of the leaders on my first Study Abroad program to Ghana—we have a lovely short conversation and she ends with a word of encouragement for me and a, “Tell your mother I said hello.”
Before Mariya graduated, she and I would spend hours hanging out with Professor Nkuzi Nnam, whom we lovingly referred to as “Father Nnam.” He is crazy, and we had the best bonding times in Ghana, but he taught us life lessons in his wonderful, African way.
Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Dominican’s Dean, taught a Mystery of God course which radically revolutionized the way I view spirituality and changed my paradigms of Christianity. I LOVED the fact that a Catholic institution challenged traditional approaches to God, encouraging us to investigate and understand the concept of faith so that it was relevant to the individual.
A couple semesters later, Dean Carlson would encourage me and my classmates in our DominiNET endeavors, and tell me that he forwarded one of my blogs to everybody he cared about. The passion and realness of our quirky Dean never ceases to amaze me.
Professor Kathleen Prunty, instructor of “Communication as an Instrument of Personal Power” (I LOVE COMMUNICATIONS CLASSES) empowers her senior students, preparing us for the professional world with her practical knowledge and experience. Her incessant encouragement and genuine love for her students is astounding. She’s one of those people you instantly connect with—and a laugh riot. She keeps it real.
Tracy Samantha Schmidt, an adjunct professor of journalism who is all of a couple years older than me and SO accomplished, is a daily inspiration to me. She led me and a small group of students in an online journalism class which was quite revolutionary, compared to the other classes in traditional journalism which I had taken the years prior. Her instruction showed us how to ride the wave of the changing face of the industry, preparing us for the new generation of journalists. She is a nonstop hustler and is making a fantastic name for herself.
In Tracy’s class, I became good friends with Natalie Tolomeo, a sassy Republican whom I couldn’t stand in the beginning of that semester. She, Tom Blackwell (another journalism major) and I bonded over being some of the founding parents of DominiNET, declaring that we were going to take over the industry in the most fierce, flawless fabulous way. We are working on launching the TNC Dynasty soon—watch out!
"For the ENFP, work, too, must be play or it is probably not worth doing. Worthwhile tasks are those that affirm and enlarge the self and involve more fun than drudgery. They have a great deal of difficulty settling on just one career, for three reasons: They truly believe they can do most anything they want; the search for ever new fields to master is always more fun than remaining in a career already conquered; and they usually can do almost anything they set their minds to."
My experience at Dominican affirms that—showing me that I can do WHATEVER I WANT. Dominican unites. This community of exquisite people—professors, students, faculty—has forever impacted my life and drastically changed its course.
People, circumstances, and experiences such as all of the above (plus more) have made lasting impressions and been key in my personal and professional development. For all this, I am eternally grateful that my life’s path led me to this university. Undoubtedly, I would not be the person I am today if not for the Dominican Difference.
Monday, April 13, 2009
ADD is simply just a different type of cerebral wiring through which an individual perceives the world. An ADD brain is like a turbocharged race car in the sense that it works rapidly, utilizing its high energy performance to cross the finish line in first place. Acceleration and dedication fuel the ADD engine. The ability to see the bigger picture, see that finish line, is one asset of ADD. Creativity, spontaneity and constantly “thinking outside the box” are also among the many advantages of the ADD-wired brain. Many ADD individuals take control of it, make ADD work to their advantage and, as a result, are very successful. However, if undiagnosed or untreated, ADD can drastically prevent an individual from achieving success. The root of the negativity surrounding ADD comes from the name itself: Attention Deficit Disorder.
For my senior thesis, I created a 12 minute documentary, "Controlling the Chaos: The Upside of ADD." This original video production includes interviews with top Chiicagoland area medical experts and ADDers. This film was presented at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Investigation's EXPO on April 1, 2009.
(Because YouTube only allows 10 minute clips to be uploaded, this film was split into two clips (Parts 1 & 2) to allow the full 12 minutes and 27 seconds to be available.)
Friday, March 13, 2009
Myself and five other students took advantage of Urban Plunge, one of four trips offered. This trip was over March 6-8 and consisted of working with several Chicago agencies to learn more about their causes and different volunteer opportunities. We visited an organization called Eco-Justice Collaborative that focuses on people taking care of our environment. We also worked with a mens homeless shelter and helped served food and prepare beds.
Overall the trip was very rewarding. At about $50 a person, the short-term alternative spring break offered us an opportunity to do service and learn more about the organizations in our very own back yard. Every student who went on Urban Plunge said that they felt their weekend was worthwhile.
Next year's spring break is less than a year away. How will you spend it?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It's been an ongoing issue, but at the last RSA meeting as well as Monday's SGA meeting; the changes in the Cyber were brought up.
What some may not know, the Cyber was designed with a focus on being a cash flow service - meaning not for heavy use of meal exchange. But students have been using the Cyber for meal exchange when they should be going to the dining hall.
Amy Preston and other executive board members of Resident Student Association met with Chartwells a few weeks ago to discuss these issues. As RSA representative at the SGA meeting, Preston informed attendees that Chartwells wants to reduce traffic to the Cyber and encourage people to go to the dining hall for meal exchanges. To this effect, that is why there is now a limit of 2 meal exchange transactions at one time at the Cyber.
Preston also mentioned that Chartwells employees at the Cyber were having to stay until midnight cleaning up - and that wasn't a part of their job description. As a result, hot food service has been changed to end at 9:30 PM (while closing is at 10 PM) to allow more time to close up.
At the RSA meeting, an executive board member said that the clean-up crew was behind on their duties because security was kicking them out - due to staying two hours more past closing time.
With all the changes, it's hard to keep up with what can be ordered on meal exchange and what can't be. The chicken caesar salad and outtake sandwiches were on meal exchange, but then they weren't. They may be back on meal exchange, I don't know, but I feel it could just as easily get shifted around the next day with the way things have been working. I'm glad that the pizzas and subs allowed on meal exchange are clearly labelled. I understand the supreme pizza not being allowed on meal exchange (with all the ingredients on it), but I usually order that and have found myself ordering something different or just going to the dining hall.
I understand the need to encourage meal exchange use in the dining hall - that's what it's primarily there for, but you never know what to expect there. Even with the buffet selection, some days the food choices are not worth a meal exchange. For example, today I only grabbed dessert from the dining hall before heading to the Cyber for dinner. Nothing else was worth getting.
What you might not know:
A little over half of the money made in the Cyber goes back to Dominican (out of $10, only $4.50 goes to Chartwells).
Monday, March 2, 2009
Watch this video to see video coverage from the protest and counter-protest.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Did you know you can manipulate sounds by using a gameboy??
This video will show you how....
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
While the attraction undoubtedly created by some mischievous resident was amusing at first, the aftermath left nothing to smile about. After about an hour of running, the water began to fill up and overflow. Maintenance was called by two RA's and a resident in order to fix the problem. At around 12am, Jeff Powell, a member of Physical Plant, came to shut the water off.
The prank lead to a giant puddle in the hallway and a water damage on the floor below. For now, the water fountain has been shut off indefinitely.
If you did not get a chance to see the attraction before it closed, please check out the video below.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
With the housing shortage continuing to be an issue for the university, the chance to house up to sixty DU students at these apartments is a way to help alleviate the problem. The number of freshmen coming in next year is continuing the growth trend. While the housing is shifted around on the Main Campus (for example, 40 beds on the 3rd and 4th floors of Centennial being reserved for freshmen), the housing lottery this spring will have the additional option to live at Dominican Court.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
One indie rock band, The Green Tangerines, impressed me and I think they were one of the top bands that performed that evening.
Below is 2 minutes of the band performing the cover "I Will Possess Your Heart" by Death Cab For Cutie.
Friday, February 13, 2009
On CNN.com, they have iReport submissions where people took photos or recorded video right when the Buffalo plane crash happened. One particular video includes a woman screaming, frantic and wanting to know if her family was all right in a house near the crash site. I first saw this on CNN and I felt uncomfortable, almost guilty for viewing a very emotional and tragic scene.
True, it is interesting to see live, eyewitness video versus reporters telling the story after the fact. But there is a point where the interest for watching the video makes way to "why am I watching this in the first place?" Sometimes, too much information is too much information.
Now I'm all for online journalism because of the opportunity to do more rather than writing a story and maybe a color photo (if the newspaper has the money for it) along with it. The chance to do an in-depth photo essay - in full color - or adding video to attach the names in the written story to faces allows for news to be presented in more colorful, interesting ways. Black and white print isn't what it used to be.
And traditional print media can't compete with the interactivity of online journalism through the ability for viewers to comment on a story, video or photo. Reading one comment on the previously mentioned plane crash video, I had hope that some people are able to step back and say what we all should be thinking...
[viewer comment to video posting below]
Why is this out for public viewing? I understand the freedom's of press, but this is a very personal glimpse of a tragic moment for people who haven't even had a moment to think about or reflect on what just happened to them. Is their no common decency left in America, or are we all just gore addicts?
Even so, there's just something about having a camera or camcorder to document an event as it occurs. Unexpected things happen all the time and while it may not be a plane crash right in your backyard, the need to know is relentless. As iReport shows, it's not just journalists who have that need to know - it's any one of us, however much we deny it. Celebrity gossip is popular for a reason after all.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
With Valentine's Day only two days away, take advantage of one of many Oak Park restaurants. If you and your special someone (or close group of friends) have a preference for American, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Asian, Indian and even South American flavors, make a reservation at an Oak Park restaurant. Click here to get a complete list of restaurants, phone numbers and even customer reviews.
In this video, I visited Oak Park's Sushi House, Papaspiros Greek Tavern and Cucina Paradiso (some of my favorite OP restaurants) to hear about their plans for Valentine's Day.
Check out my video and let me know how dinner at one of these fine restaurants was.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
We marvel at how many millions of dollars are spent on 30- or 60-second commercial time slots during the Super Bowl every year. It can be quite easy to dismiss the ever-so-hyped Super Bowl Sunday commercials as over the top, silly, or a waste of money, but the fact that companies are willing to shell out upwards of $3 million for individual commercials holds much significance. Analyzing the whole spectacle from a sociological standpoint can speak volumes about American culture in a particular era...and what we allow major corporations to convince us.
My personal hypothesis in analyzing the most-viewed sporting event of the year (95.4 million people!) was based on previous observations: Super Bowl commercials will use the allure of hot babes, status, and machismo to sell products, as well as the promise of happiness and well-being—and most importantly, the ads will capitalize on stereotypes.
I mean, obviously. But while it’s not a groundbreaking theory, And people are more open to the messages when they’re expecting the ads to be sensational—is there ever a time when commercials are more anticipated? (Other times of the year, we use TiVo or fast-forward through ads!)
The most pressing issue for Americans in 2009 is the crumbled economy. By the millions, people are hesitant to spend, worried about jobs, and uncertain about the future. Advertising companies don’t ignore the trends—they strive to give the people what they’re starving for.
For example, Career Builder capitalized on that with their witty commercial displaying people who hate their jobs—and ending by saying it’s okay to be on the job hunt—you’ll revamp your life and obtain more personal happiness and fulfillment.
Priceline, an online travel agent that allows you to name your price for travel packages (and NEGOTIATES for you!), also reinforced that feeling. Their message was that it’s okay to travel still—just use their service and you won’t be overspending in these tough financial times.
Racial stereotypes are also integral in Super Bowl advertisements. Save for a new talkin', singin' baby in the E-Trade commercials, the blacks in the ads were mostly athletes inspiring young black kids to dream big! Read: become professional athletes. The executive hot shots were white men in business suits. The Asian executives at Hyundai (Oh, it sounds like "Sunday?" We can pronounce it now!) were yelling like it was a kung fu movie; almost mockable.
Sex and gender roles are also key. A new Pepsi product is the diet cola for a MAN, not women. Mr. Potato Head is driving in the mountains with his nagging wife when her mouth pops off and falls down a cliff; thank goodness! GoDaddy.com uses busty babes and suggestive same-sex shower scenes to sell domain names. Teleflora allows men to send flowers to women and simultaneously avoid the typical female over-analysis and mixed signals.
And isn't it interesting how the only female athlete prominently featured in the ads was completely objectified?
The many advertisements during the most-watched broadcast of the year reinforce and perpetuate the stereotypes. And there’s clearly a reason why these tactics work—they’ve been deeply embedded in our subconscious; we’re used to perceiving people or situations certain ways. Blacks are athletes, women are either confused or sex objects, white men are either executives or idiots ("I'm good, I'm good."), Asians sound funny when they yell and it’s always okay to spend money! In fact, you must!
I wasn’t surprised in the findings of my Super Bowl "sociological experiment," if you will, but viewing the commercials with a critical eye—specifically looking for the time-tested selling tactics—brought new perspective to our culture and norms.
And I don’t get offended that the marketing execs exploit women and typecast non-whites. Obviously the advertising strategies work, and stereotypes are in place for many reasons including the fact that we allow them to be. I enjoyed almost all of the commercials and laughed a lot (after being rendered speechless over Jennifer Hudson's tremendous National Anthem performance!).
Other than that, we know that bugs are Coke addicts and MC Hammer loves gold. Good times.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
This display can be found in the Science Building.
On Jan. 20, 2009, the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama was on the minds of the American people. According to CNN, 1.5 million people gathered to watch the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, at the National Mall on Tuesday.
While at least one of Dominican's students, Evisa Kalemaj, attended the inauguration and the Inaugural Ball (as an Inaugural Scholar), the majority of the Dominican community watched the President take the oath of office from various locations on campus. Check out the Feb. 4 Dominican Star for more on Evisa's inauguration experiences.
Dean of Rosary College of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey Carlson said,"The University decided to have as many viewing venues as possible to accommodate what we thought would be a strong interest among many in the community." This was a great strategy as many classes were canceled to relocated to an inaugural viewing area to allow students to soak in the moment.
Students and faculty alike viewed the historical event in the Library Link. Dean Carlson sat in front of me during the viewing and Angela Frazier-Asiedu, assistant dean of advising services, sat to my left.
Frazier-Asiedu said she "cried through the whole thing."
"As I watched the first family come through the tunnel, I was gleaming. These people looked like me. The daughters reminded me of me and my sisters when we were that age. I was so proud. And then, Aretha Franklin began to sing and the tears began to well up," Frazier-Asiedu said.
Emotions of "joy, disbelief (wow, this was really happening), peace, thankfulness and pure pride" took over Frazier-Asiedu as President Obama took the oath of office.
"I could not contain my expressions," she said. "His words were strong and showed his leadership right out of the gate. He not only gave Americans hope, but I think he gave the world hope."
Students and faculty stood at the back of the Library Link as CNN broadcast live coverage from Washington. By the time President Obama gave his speech, the standing area overflowed into Lewis Hall and into the library. (Unfortunately, I was not able to get a photo of the intense crowd as there was no way to get out of my seat. Also, I did not want to disrupt those around me as the moment in Washington captivated everyone in the area.)
The Social Hall also displayed the inauguration. A large screen showed CNN's live coverage and rows after rows of seating allowed students to take part in the moment. Freshman Marco Colapietro viewed the inauguration in the Social hall.
"Watching the event in the Social Hall (with all my peers) was a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said.
As inaugural events progressed and President Obama's speech came closer and closer, more people gathered in the Social Hall. The standing area that was unoccupied, became more and more full as the clocked ticked. In the photo above, you can even see President of Dominican University Donna Carroll gathered to take part in this event. Junior Kacey Hahn was also in among the Social Hall's viewers.
"There were a ton of people there. Students were there, teachers there, all of Dominican was there," she said. "It's great DU showed the inauguration especially because it's such a big milestone. DU made it so that students wanted to go."
The Springer Suite was also a host of the inaugural viewing. Students and faculty gathered, mesmerized by the events taking place in our nation's capital.
As you see above, most people watching the inauguration appeared to be so glued in to the TV screen. Seriousness was present. Focus was present. Emotion was present.
The Cyber Cafe also became a viewing spot for students and faculty. These students watched the inauguration in between classes.
Inauguration viewings were also held in Parmer Hall and the Priory Campus. This election was the first election many students were able to participate in, and Dominican University embraced students' interests by hosting many viewing areas throughout campus. Frazier-Asiedu said watching the inauguration with her "work family was amazing."
"I was grateful that the University felt like this event was important enough to show throughout the campus," she said. "This gave the DU community to participate in an historical moment together."
Patriotism was a large presence that not only took over Washington, but the Dominican community as well...the cafeteria even had a cake for lunch decorated like the American flag and said: "President Obama...Yes We Did!"