Monday, September 30, 2013

Look Out World, Here She Comes: Tanijah Moore

Tanijah Moore

Look Out World, Here She Comes
By Ben Messmer, ENGL 336

Tanijah Moore, age 19, an aspiring writer from New York City, “The best city in the world” comes from an all-female family. She is the 2nd oldest of 5 sisters, and family is a large part of her life. Her family now lives in Montgomery County, Maryland. One sister graduated from Penn State University, another attends Montgomery Community College, two are in High School and her youngest sister is an 8th Grader. 

Her love of reading, writing, and drawing were obviously nurtured from a young age. She also enjoys working out and she especially enjoys dancing, which she started ate the age of 12. But she loves to write, “It’s a hobby”. She self identifies with being free-spirited, dressing in comfortable clothes and not necessarily conforming with societal norms, evidenced by her unique style of clothing and the ever present staple of the rebellious, chuck tailor shoes.

As a sophomore at Frostburg State University, she is currently pursuing a degree in English but is considering switching to an English Major. “I might want to be a teacher. Definitely want to be a teacher, of English for sure”. She hopes to someday write a book that “will change people’s views, not necessarily to agree with her, but to change the way that they think about them”. Despite the enormity of the challenge she wishes to pursue, she said it with the confidence of a woman on a mission.

Following her charismatic first impression, she proved to still be a blossoming teenager trying to figure out the world around her; questioning prior assumptions on religion, morals, identity and even her purpose in life. But such questions are expected in a new environment in an unfamiliar setting. Having never lived outside of a major metropolitan area, FSU is quite a change of pace, “I definitely like the city more”. 

Regardless of the adversity facing her, she seemed undaunted. Everyone needs a point in their life to define themselves, oftentimes this is when the chips are down, the odds stacked against you and you have two choices. You can quit or you can persevere. Moore is the type of person who will choose the later.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Marketing Campaign Launched at Fall Convocation

By Keith Davidson, ENGL 336.001

“When you leave this room, everything changes,” said Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter at the end of his annual fall convocation speech on Friday, September 27. However, that was an understatement because everything changed the second he stepped away from the podium to make way for the debut of the new university marketing campaign and tagline, “One University. A World of Experiences.”

A new video showing students, alumni, faculty, and staff discussing the university’s strong points of experiential learning, sustainability, and affordability debuted and served as the official launch of the campaign. At its conclusion, the audience joyously applauded as Gibralter threw open the doors of the Alice R. Manicur Assembly hall to reveal a celebration in honor of the new campaign.

All of Lane University Center had been transformed into a festival that included workers dressed in fresh new shirts proudly displaying the new tagline along with games, cheerleaders, the mascot, the marching band, new promotional materials, and free food and prizes. During the celebration, members from all areas of the FSU community, both past and present, were around mingling and showing their Bobcat Pride.

“It’s hard to describe the energy, enthusiasm, and positive response to the rollout,” said Rosemary Thomas, Vice President of University Advancement, during the celebration. “It is definitely Frostburg State University’s time to shine.”

While the video and new tagline are getting people talking, it is important to note that the new campaign runs much deeper than the face value of these new promotional ideas. The true value of the campaign is celebrating the FSU brand. As Gibralter stated, “a brand is not simply a logo or a slogan—it’s a connection, a feeling that resonates with everyone when they think about an institution.”

Connections to the university were very prominent during convocation. Twitter was buzzing throughout with attendees commenting on how much they love FSU, and the following celebration was consumed with discussions of just how amazing the university truly is. Students like sophomore Samantha Metz felt a renewed pride in FSU. “I’m really excited for my future years here, as well as for future students,” said Metz.

Convocation’s big news was easily the launch of the new campaign; however, the launch should not overshadow the points of pride discussed early during the event. Before the big unveil, convocation started with a recognition of employees who had recently been awarded tenure along with those who were recipients of the FSU staff awards for excellence.

The FSU Staff Awards for Excellence, which are funded through the FSU Foundation, are given each year to one employee falling in each of the following categories: exempt, nonexempt, and non-exempt employee/facilities-maintenance. The honorees in each of the categories respectively were  Jeff Graham, associate dean of students; Lynn Davis, senior administrative assistant, and David Wiland, housekeeper. 

In addition to the staff awards for excellence, Lois Bennett was recognized for receiving the University System of Maryland Board of Regents 2013 Regents Staff Award. Bennett serves as an administrative assistant for the Programs Advancing Student Success, Disability Supports Services and Registrar’s Office.

A complete copy of Gibralter’s fall 2013 convocation speech can be found here. The new FSU promotion video can be viewed through the link here.

Lekia Clark: From Gun Twirling to Gossip Magazines

     Lekia Clark is a fun loving Cambridge RA that likes to watch reality television and read gossip magazines in her spare time, but unlike most Frostburg students, she spent most of her high school time twirling guns and volunteering at military bases in the JROTC program. She joined the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps after her grandfather died as a way to feel closer to him and stuck with it throughout high school. While the program had no training regimen like a physical standard, it trainees would run or walk a mile to understand their physical limits rather than to break them. Lekia spent her time learning survival skills, sending care packages to soldiers, going to schools on base, and the aforementioned gun twirling and military base volunteer. 
     Once she started college, she had a lot of time on her hands since she was no longer a part of the JROTC program. She it was good change because she was so serious in high school and she wanted a more normal life now. With all her free time, she took to reality and gossip magazines quite quickly since she would spend her off time watching the E! Channel on TV. She currently hopes to be a PR consultant as she said she wants to be the voice of another person of product. She first attended VSU but transferred because she wanted to be closer to her family, which includes her older brother and younger sister that are both six years apart from her, her parents, one set of grandparents and thirty-some cousins one of who also attends FSU
     While her training most likely will not help her advance through the world of PR consulting, she can still retain at least some skills she developed in the program including the ability to spot a soldier out of uniform. Two lessons that can be learned from Lekia's story seems to be to obviously not judge a book by its cover, and that the journey down life's windy road can be a very interesting one. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Good time in Bad Weather

It’s 4:35pm. I hadn’t anticipated this much rain.

Luckily, all festivity isn’t completely over, as there is another hour and 25 minutes remaining until the festival’s official end. From a safe and most importantly dry view, standing underneath a tent directly adjacent to Guild and across from Sowers Hall, there are a couple of performers. This West Virginian Father-daughter duo, Ed and Kathleen Meyers perform a number, playing with what appears to be a banjo and a guitar. My instrumental differentiation skills are lacking, but due to the look and the banjo-like twang-like country sound, I’m taking a wild guess and deeming the instrument as in fact, a banjo. On a first glance what looks like a violin or viola is also present on stage, but I’m aware that it is in fact a fiddle. The sounds of the instruments that are used within the performance are quite unfamiliar to me, but also very interesting. Families are seated within the tent’s vicinity. The audience is small; a quick head count gives me 13 people, most of which are elderly or are children with their parents. The lack of FSU students in the audience surprises me (although not entirely because it is in fact raining cats and dogs.)

The music type is country, specifically folk. The two performers, Ed and Kathleen look content with being there despite the weather and quite diminutive audience size. From around the ways of the upper quad, students come and go. Some depict slight interest in what seems to be going on under the tents from where they stand. But inevitably so, they walk off and go along with their own agendas on this Saturday evening. The audience is attentive if nothing else. I myself feel like I’ve entered some sort of a twilight zone. The music is quite unfamiliar but I find myself enjoying it. There are positive vibes coming from this tent that’s for sure. There’s a sense of ingenuity within their performance and I think one can always appreciate active performers despite what may be viewed as negative surrounding factors such as the weather or small audience size.

It is now 4:51pm and as I look around from underneath the tent there are what seem to no longer be any festivities going on. But down the steps I go and directly in front of Compton Science Center there is another tent performance. Four men who call themselves “Mountain Therapy” are playing some good ol’ Bluegrass. Lonnie Wellman, Tim Custer, Ron Dick and Mike Ash are the four men of “Mountain Therapy” and they’re each playing with either guitars banjos or fiddles while there is one lead singer. The tune is catchy that’s for sure, and I find myself tapping my feet onto the wet and muddy grass as they play a number. I may be feeling this music so much because after all it is, as one of the men of “Mountain Therapy” would say: “Ho-down time.” As they break for a minute in between a number I decide to get a closer look at the audience. Much like the audience under the tent of Ed and Kathleen who are a few feet away, there are mostly families and older people occupy the tent. I decide this is a good time for me to get some audience feedback. A couple of steps away sit a couple of about 50 years old. I ask them what they enjoy most about this particular type of music (bluegrass) The man of the couple responds “This music makes us happy…It’s familiar…It’s relatable and we love it because it feels like home.” His wife or whomever is excitedly smiling and nodding her head, no doubt cosigning his reasoning for enjoying this genre of music. This interaction makes me smile.

A good time indeed.

Being here towards the very end (and no longer than an hour,) I may not have gotten the full experience of the Appalachian Festival. But from what I did see in terms of the two musical tent-performances, I can appreciate the festival for what it was and it makes me happy to know that despite the bad weather so can others.

Benjamin Messmer: Free spirit & Self-validator

Benjamin Messmer of Southern Maryland is quite the free spirit.

Growing up within the mid-west (Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas to name a few) Ben is the eldest of six siblings. Growing up, Ben’s family didn’t have an abundant amount of money, but from his upbringing, certain values and positive ways of thinking are instilled into the person that we see here today. He says “Growing up, I’ve gained a realistic focus on life-Reading books is important. So is eating.” From this we can see that Ben has a way of living that reveals his values.

Relatively, as children, young boys and girls often have ideas of what they wish to be or do when they “grow up.” Benjamin, at 19 years of age and with a major declared “undecided” here at Frostburg State University, he takes his ambiguity of the exact future and rolls with the punches of life. “I lived in the moment [as a child] I was just there. There was never like, I want to grow up and be a fire fighter or a soldier. Thinking that far ahead was never really something that I did or considered doing.” It’s safe to say that although Ben may not have his life mapped out exactly, he’s still content with this, and very sure of himself and the decisions that he makes, taking everything in life whether good or bad, as experiences and life lessons

Ben’s Self-validation is a strong inner characteristic that protrudes through the surface. Worrying not about what his peers may think if himself, Ben is mainly concerned about his own character and being the best person that he can be. “You only have so much control of perception.” He says when it comes to what others think of him. This is an irrefutable fact and quite an admirable way of thinking. Despite this view point of people and their thoughts, he still manages to remain genuine and kind within his interactions with other people. Voted “most friendly” in his graduating class of high school, Ben certainly has no difficulty when it comes to making friends.

According to Ben, his positive and productive personality type and way of thinking are attributed to his religion and strong sense of faith. Raised as a Baptist, he grew up going to church and to this day still practices Christianity regularly. It’s the religion that ben uses as a way of self-validation rather than seeking it from others.

Quite the genuine and friendly person, Benjamin Messmer is someone to be remembered. Although according to Ben, he isn’t concerned with specific remembrance: “I don’t fit into the mold very well…but as for being remembered, it’s something that I wouldn’t care about-what exactly people think of me.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Korei Martin: Family Man at Heart

Korei Quinn Martin is new to Frostburg this year as a transfer student. Once a computer science major, Korei has since changed to an English major minoring in Journalism. After spending 2 years at Allegany Community College, he is now a junior. For the last 2 years, he has been living in Allegany County on his own. This made the transition to Frostburg a lot easier.

Originally from Prince George County, he is a long way from home and his family. Living close to D.C., Korei finds the city overrated. There are far too many people, and he hates the speed cameras. He may not miss anything about driving around in the city, but he does miss his family.

Korei's hero who he admires most is his mother. In his own words, Korei said “She did everything to put me in a position to succeed.” His mother, Monica Crump is also a college student and attending Prince George Community College online. Monica had Korei at a young age that prevented her from finishing college at first. A strong, determined woman, Monica is now a straight A student making her way towards a diploma with a 4.0 GPA.

She is an excellent role model and reminder to never give up on a dream. One thing they do together is Toys for Tots. Every Christmas Korei and his mother make a donation to the charity. It is “a way of giving back,” Korei said, and “getting in the Christmas spirit.” Together they made a donation of toys costing $500!

Obviously, Korei is very generous. One thing a lot of people don’t know is that he is also a self-proclaimed “geek through and through.” Two years ago he visited Comic Con. Comic Con is a huge comic book convention that takes place annually in San Diego, California. The super hero comics are what attracted Korei to the event; his overall favorite comic is Marvel Comic’s X-Men where mutant superheroes battle various villains. While Korei enjoys comics, he does not really create his own. Expressing a lack of artist talent, Korei said he sometimes draws them for fun, but has not expectations of publishing a comic book.

Korei is a great addition to the bobcat family and FSU is lucky to have him here. To learn more about Korei follow him on twitter @kqm2010.

Here are some of the toys that Korei donated to Toys for Tots.

Ethan West; Future Leader

There are fewer students here at Frostburg State University who are as ambitious and goal oriented as Ethan West. For a person who may not know who Ethan West is, you'd be pleasantly surprised with the life he has led thus far. West grew up in Charles County but has recently lived in Cumberland, Maryland for the past 8 years, an alumni of Allegany High School West starred in Football, Basketball and was also talented at throwing the discuss and  shot put. West entered college as a Political Science major with a focus in Public Relations and is a member of several groups on campus, most notably  the College Democrats where he is the president of the organization and the International Relations Club where is sits as the vice president. West spent time with his group at the UPMUNC at the University of Pennsylvania where he was able to make all types of connections and network opportunities with other students with the same ambitions as him. West is known to be a pretty big fan of sports and supports the local teams of his native area as best he can, namely the Washington Redskins, Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals. College sports aren't forgotten about either, he is also a big fan of the Georgetown Hoyas and the Maryland Terrapins. Though his Redskins are having a tough start of the season he stated that ''Once the Redskins get in their rhythm, they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.''

Wests story doesn't conclude there, it is noteworthy that he works on the political campaign for the County Commissioner Tom Striplin, something that will surely help him in his future endeavors. And while on the topic, West stated that he would like to attend law school once hes finished up his education here at Frostburg to help in the fight of civil rights for any and all people or get his masters in International Public Policy. His summer wasn't his idea of fun however, but it was very productive. He spent time on the campus of Frostburg working in the offices of conference and events and also had the tough job of setting up beds in Frederick Hall and Westminster Hall for every single room in the buildings, of course with the help of a few others, certainly a tough job when you have to make sure over 600 campers have to have bedding. A few interesting facts about Ethan is that he is a avid traveler and has journeyed to Seattle, Portland and also to Florida to see his Washington Nationals spring training. On top of that, Ethan is a big collector of autographs and while seeing the Nationals at training managed to add a few more to his collection, Bryce Harper, Davey Johnson, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond just to name a few of his favorites. He stated that he is still on the hunt for Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburgs signatures. All in all, anyone who would get the pleasure of getting to know Ethan West would definitely walk away with having known one of the most ambitious students here at Frostburg and a future leader of this great country.