Presenting at #OzQuest

This past Wednesday was Quest, which is a day SUNY Oswego commits to celebrating the academic endeavors of their students. Because it is a presentation of research, people may think it is only for the sciences, but many disciplines are involved. As a communications student, I have previously attended many Quest presentations, most of them focusing on the work of fellow communication students. This year I was asked to present my analysis and critique of a popular media text.In 15 minutes with added time for questions, I presented on the race and gender dynamics within Pitch Perfect 2 and how the content could be problematic when representing women and minorities. My presentation was based off of a paper I did for my children, women, and minorities in media class, which I took as part of my broadcasting curriculum. This paper included literature review of different studies and examination of media which I then applied in my own analysis of the movie. For the presentation, I selected the major points of my work and elaborated on them, supplemented by video clips and movie stills.

My thesis slide

As with anything of this nature, critique is subjective. However, I really liked engaging with the audience, and I was even able to elaborate on my thesis and arguments with interested peers afterward. It lead to really thoughtful conversations and evaluation of different work, which I think is one of the main purposes of Quest.

We had a full room with people standing and sitting on the floor when the chairs ran out. This was very fulfilling for me, and felt like a reward for my hard work. People asked excellent questions, and it let me know that they were engaged with my presentation. I would like to thank Dr. Fogel, the professor who asked me to present. Quest was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to show the work that I do here.

How to Perfect your Staycation

The sun and the sand of St. Lucia sound amazing, but that’s not always realistic for a broke college kid. If you’re spending spring break (or any vacation in your house), I have a few pieces of advice to make it one of your best.

  1. Sleep

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Staycations are the perfect time to catch up on the sleep you missed for studying for midterms. If you’re at home, you don’t have to feel guilty about wasting any time you could be spending sightseeing or tanning.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Organize

Image result for organizing gif If you’ve been letting your planner get messy or you’re pushing 587+ emails in your inbox, it’s a great time to hunker down and sort it all out. Getting prepped for the second half of the semester will make your life go a little more smoothly.

 

 

 

 

3. Do your hobby

Image result for baking gif If you’ve got a camera, a pair of skis, a computer, or whatever you like, pick it up and do it! Hobbies can be harder to execute while you’re at college because there is so much else on the docket. I’m planning on baking while I’m home!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Binge a new show

Image result for binge watching gif If you’re like me, you hate picking up a new show during a super busy time like right before big tests. A staycation is the perfect time to catch up on a show all of your friends have been talking about. Plus you have enough time to watch 2 (or 7) episodes in one day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Relax

Image result for treat yo self gif It’s spring break! The word break is in there for a reason, so at the end of the day, just relax and do what you want. You can treat yourself to a meal, new headphones, a little RnR, anything you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let envy take over! Your staycation can be just as beneficial as a trip to an exotic locale (and can be easier on the wallet). If you really can’t stand it, turn up the heat in your apartment and post a picture from the internet to your Instagram (kidding!). Have a happy and restful spring break!

Adjusting Back

I’m not afraid to say it; I miss being across the pond. By placing yourself in a foreign country, trying to build up contacts and a support network while cooking and doing other things for yourself, you change. It’s inevitable when you go off to see the beauty and the people that the world has to offer. You get pretty comfortable with introspection–and Citymapper for that matter. How can you not? You are undergoing so much personal growth and learning.

 

What’s the point I’m trying to get at? It’s easy to forget that being back is an adjustment. Yet another lifestyle change, and yes, you can get culture shock being back home. My first day back someone asked me what kind of tea I wanted. I said Earl Grey and she said “No, I meant hot or cold.” After being picked on by my fellow diners, I realized fairly quickly that I wouldn’t slip back into things as easily as I thought.

The college lifestyle is different back here, too. Classes are different and how students interact with each other is different. I think the key word in these phrases is different. Not better or worse, just different. That’s a really big takeaway from being exposed to new cultures that people don’t necessarily take the time to think about. It’s a concept that was mentioned in a communication class I had previously taken, and I always thought I had grasped it, but I truly understood it after my experience.

One thing to be really grateful for is my friends and family. I don’t think I’ve ever had better hugs in my life than those I received when I saw people for the first time in months. They are also what I missed the most, even more than Kraft mac and cheese or American peanut butter. They are what make the adjustment back so worth it.

An Intern Abroad

Imagine a 5’2 American girl lugging 15 lbs worth of equipment on and off the Tube, through places like Trafalgar Square and world famous museums like the Victoria & Albert. That’s my reality every time I go to work.

I’m one of the 3% of American students who intern abroad. I work for a news and entertainment channel called London Live. I get sent all over the city to cover all different kinds of events. My repertoire now includes filming a theatre show designed around accessibility for both deaf and hearing audiences, to covering one of the most famous portraits in the world at the National Gallery.

The Arnolfini portrait is one of the art world’s greatest mysteries. This is a screenshot from one of my pieces I filmed for my job.

Work has also enabled me to attend an exclusive opening at the world famous Saatchi Gallery. After spending a day filming different exhibitions within the gallery, the curator handed me an invitation to attend the members-only opening that night. It was definitely one of the more surreal moments of my life.

A piece by the delightful and talented Daniel Crews Chubb, who I had helped interview earlier that day.

However, that isn’t the only type of things I have covered. My first real day in the office was the bombing at Parsons Green. My train had been cancelled before work so I had to walk/jog to make it. Nobody understood the magnitude of the situation. Even as we covered the scene live, details would trickle out slowly as we learned exactly what happened. I even managed to track down an interview with someone who was on the train. Sure enough, as what happens in big news situations, even reporters from the BBC and other international news companies started trying to record the interview I was getting with the London Live journalist I was sent out with. Talk about an intense and exciting first day!

One of the images I captured at the scene of Parsons Green.

 

Media frenzy at Parsons Green.

My work experience in London has been challenging and immensely rewarding. Finding your footing abroad is no easy feat. I’ve had to adjust to different styles of storytelling, different spellings, navigating a foreign workplace (not to mention an entire city!). However, I truly enjoy all of the change that’s happening in my life. I’ve grown so much in many different ways, both personally and professionally. The tests and challenges keep on coming, but the best way to grow is to keep moving forward and to keep learning.

This is an overlook of–in a broad sense–my office.

Adjustments: Moving Back Home

“Hey, wanna go grab ice cream?” This was the question I asked my best friend Alexandra on the second day I moved back home last year. She was hanging out at my house, so we got in my car and got our chilly desserts. Approximately 10-15 minutes, I got the text. You know, the quintessential parent to child text that strikes fear in your heart.

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After getting used to the autonomy of college, I realized that I had to tell my mom my location. I told my mother and she was fine with it, but it was a wake-up call. Yeah, in college I might mention that I was grabbing dinner with friends, but the task isn’t compulsory. I realized I would have to make a key adjustment moving back home.

It’s easy to forget when you experience the kind of big lifestyle change that college provides. It is often the first big stepping stone for many and is their first taste of living on their own. The biggest recommendation I have is talking things out with your parents and understanding their expectations for you. I definitely live under a certain set of rules, but my personal growth in college has an impact as well. I have more freedom than I did in high school, but I still need to respect my parents as well.

College is certainly a great experience, but that doesn’t mean going home for the summer can’t be great, too.

 

Rokerthon Caps Off Tour at Oswego

Did you happen to catch the familiar green and gold while sipping on your morning coffee? No, your 8 a.m. eyes didn’t deceive you, SUNY Oswego was on the Today Show. In fact, we were pretty busy breaking a world record. Rome may not have been built in a day, but we broke a world record in 5 minutes. Okay, that’s only technically true, but it isn’t the whole story…

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We managed to get 593 skaters to show up at the Marano Campus Center Arena at 4:45 a.m. in preparation for the national broadcast. Who knew you could get 593 to conga across ice to Gloria Estefan so early in the morning? The celebration was splendid, but more than what meets the eye went into putting on an event that sometimes felt like the circus- “The Greatest Show on Earth!”

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Aside from mandatory rehearsals for skaters, it was all hands on deck from virtually all departments on campus. If if wasn’t ice skating recruitment calls which took place in the dining and residence halls, it was working on the broadcast itself. The theatre department set up the lights and came up with the idea of snow machines for Al Roker’s zamboni entrance!

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(He rode in on a bigger zamboni. Team Mini still looked great!)

It would be misleading to say the event was easy. The amount of coordination and organization was Hurculean. It was exhausting, but man, if it wasn’t pretty darn cool. Some were there for Al, some were there for the fun of it, some (like me) got to geek out over the process of national TV (live-to-broadcast drones anyone?!?!). Our student media organizations were able to get interviews with Mr. Roker and develop great material. Del Sarte, the student dance club, brought signs that were cleverly themed to incorporate their recital and NBC. Everyone got to have a unique stamp on the day. Al even visited all of his old haunts around Oswego and campus on Friday!

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(If you go back and watch the recording, you can catch me darting through crowds to run the social media beat!)

The effort on behalf of the student body, administration, and community was incredible. Oswego absolutely has its moments and is a unique place. Why would we get selected out of so many large universities across the nation and Al Roker come back if it wasn’t?

#OzGoldRush and why it’s a big deal

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Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t. Some call it White Out Part 2, some wanted it to be Black Out, its proper name is Gold Rush. This Saturday, Marano Campus Center Arena will be bombarded with fans from all over, whether that is alumni, students, community members, etc. to catch a glimpse of what could possibly be history.

“That feeling in your gut when red shows up on the ice in more ways than one.” An apt line from the Laker Men’s hype video to describe the scene that will take place on Saturday. Archrivals Oswego and Plattsburgh will show down as they try to set the record straight on who the true king of the SUNYAC is.

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Fact: This group of seniors have not beaten Plattsburgh at Marano during their tenure. Looking to cement their legacy, they will be hungry during this Saturday’s championship game.

Fact: This Saturday will mark the 6th consecutive year that Oswego and Plattsburgh have met in the SUNYAC playoffs. If you don’t call that rivalry, then I don’t know what you would.

So why the name Gold Rush? The team is hunting for SUNYAC gold this Saturday. They are also looking to wear their gold alternate jerseys. These jerseys are special because they have the names of alumni as well as the active roster etched onto a bright Oswego gold.

There is only standing room left now for student section tickets. The line is expected to reach White Out proportions. What do the fans need to bring? Simple, unmatched energy and gold. What do the players need to bring? Their best play of the season.

*Wordpress distorts the quality of the photos.

Before your food coma…

I’m sitting in my warm home with my mother realizing halfway through making pumpkin pie that she only has enough to make one pie and not two while my sister is trying to show me different things she wants to do with her Pre-K students. My sister’s fiance is in the garage fixing his truck. My dad is out working in the cold; unfortunately, he doesn’t get today off.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and as I’m writing this, I don’t need to think hard about what I’m thankful for. I have a home and people who love me. I have fantastic friends, and I’m fortunate enough that I have the ability to pursue a college education. I’m lucky that I had Friendsgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with my family tomorrow.

As much as I’m happy and grateful for everything in my life, I don’t want this post to be a laundry list. Instead, I would like to ask that anybody reading this remember what they are thankful for and make sure to spread extra love and kindness this holiday season, whether that is at the dinner table or in life in general. Don’t let Aunt Sue’s political opinions or Grandpa Jerry’s food complaints get you down. Love is what is important. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mom's not impressed with this pie. She's having an off-day for pie making

Mom’s not impressed with this pie. She’s having an off-day for pie making.

Do as the Ozians Do!

This is part two of a two-part blog. The first entry is “When in Oz…”

Here’s a helpful image I made to show what my life was like in September and October.

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This seems like a lot, and I wouldn’t be honest if I said it wasn’t. However, I came to college to challenge myself and see what I could do. The payoff of all this hard work was truly incredible. I was able to work with alumnus and professional dancer/choreographer Dexter Jones whose talent and personality can’t be put into this blog post. The energy of the shows was awesome. The reception of the crowds and their comments really show that this effort is not for nothing. One of the most awesome comments I got were that professionals thought I had prior dance training before this show. I was fortunate enough that I was in the show-stopping dance number, the Winkie Celebration dance. The crowd interaction in that number is why performing is such a rush and privilege.

Right before the Celebration. I'm the General (in black)!

Right before the Celebration. I’m the General (in black)!

You would not believe the amount of adrenaline pumping through my veins during and after that scene.

The dance crew became a very tight group, and I was able to meet so many wonderful people that were a part of the cast and crew in general. We got to make a lot of memories together, not just rehearsing with each other, but getting pizza or late night together (We love food!). I still get breakfast with them and hang out with them.

The moral of the story is that college is a fantastic time to explore. I made it a personal goal to leave my comfort zone and try something that I haven’t done here. Just look how much magic happened! We were able to open up Waterman Theatre with a bang, learn so many new things, and create awesome relationships. The arts community here is unique and leads to unrepeatable experiences. If someone is even thinking about trying something in the arts or just something new, here’s my advice: go for it!

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When in Oz…

 

*This is part one of a two part blog post.

Before coming back in August, I had a lot on my mind. WTOP-10 was upgrading to HD, and I really wanted to try something new. I knew Oswego would be putting on a production, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Classes started and it turned out that one of my professors, Jonel Langenfeld, was the director. She informed everyone of the show, “The Wizard of Oz,” and auditions, and I knew I had to make a decision. I plucked up enough courage to seek out the audition sheet and sign up. I had no idea at the time, but my life was about to get a lot more interesting.

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The initial audition process was two days, broken up into singing and acting on the first day, and dancing on the second. I performed and went to celebrate Labor Day with my friends, not expecting anything. That night, I received a call saying I got a callback. Needless to say, I was virtually prancing with all the excitement brimming within me.  My friends were incredibly supportive, which made it even better.

Callbacks were intensive. We went over the allotted time, dancing for many hours, which many of us weren’t used to. Multiple different dance styles were taught, and then those with special skills were asked to stay and show them. I stayed and demonstrated my gymnastic ability, praying it would seal the deal.

When my stage manager, Nicole, called to tell me I was cast as a principle dancer, I was over the moon. I also didn’t realize how much my life would change.