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port main James Madison University’s Student Magazine

Pumped up kicks

Four sneakerheads have a passion for shoes that can’t be rivaled

Rock religion

A professor explains how he went from a Christian rocker to an atheist blogger

Fall 2013 V. 4 Issue 1

Foreign affairs Students take on the world with multiple study abroad trips


www.umicommunities.com


Letter from the Editor Dear reader, This is my first issue as editor-in-chief of Port & Main, so I’d like to introduce myself. I’m a senior media arts and design major from Northern Virginia who spends too much time reading magazines and dreams of the city life. My passion in life is telling people’s stories. I live for the stories of people’s quirky, interesting lives, and I’ve found that JMU is full of those people. I’ve dedicated this issue to the personalities that surround us. Whether it’s a professor with a rock-star past or students who have traveled the globe, these are the people that make up this amazing community. I want to this magazine to be for you, JMU. I encourage you to reach out if you are interested in writing or photography. I also encourage you to let me know what you think. Good, bad, I want to hear it all.

Anne Elsea

Editor-in-Chief

& staff

port main Editor-in-Chief Anne Elsea Copy Editor Dylan Garner art editor Natalie Wittmayer photo editor Griffin Harrington Online Editor Heather Butterworth

Contributing Writers Corey Tierney Jessica Williams Cameron Young Molly Jacob Heather Butterworth Kortney Frederick Seth Harrison Contributing Photographers James Chung Seth Harrison Ads Staff Will Bungarden Caleb Dessalgne Brianna Therkelsen WANT TO GET INVOLVED? Portandmainmag@gmail.com

TOP FROM LEFT: Dylan Garner, Caleb Dessalgne, Will Bundgarden, Griffin Harrington BOTTOM FROM LEFT: Anne Elsea, Heather Butterworth, Natalie Wittmayer, Brianna Therkelsen

Interested in advertising? 571-246-6868 portads@gmail.com

P&M, Fall 2013 3


Port and Main .com Blog Humans of Madison is a blog run by photo editor Griffin Harrington. The blog is based on Humans of New York which combines photographs and quotes to tell the story of the people of New York. You can find the blog online under the blog tab.

Features FACE IN THE CROWD By HANNAH SPURRIER Who are the people who serve the 20,000-plus population at JMU? Get an in-depth look at some of the famous dining hall workers around campus. TUNE IN Listen to music history professor Ojo Taylor’s band Undercover, profiled on page 20 at portandmainmag.com. SNAPSHOT By JAMES CHUNG See more pictures from our “Learning from the land” photoshoot on Wildside Farms in Singers Glenn.

Archives See past issues at portandmain.com under the archive tab.

Social Media Port & Main Magazine Humans of Madison

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@portandmainmag

/portandmainmag /humansofmadison


Feature

by Jessica Williams | photo by Griffin Harrington

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hen you’re in a financial pinch, sometimes you have to get creative. Pick up a few odd jobs, start selling things or find a new way to beg mom and dad. There’s money hidden in places you’d never think to look — and many students are doing everything they can to find it. Sarah Groth, a senior biology major, found the solution to her financial problems at BioLife Plasma Services where she donates plasma twice a week. The pay is nice. In fact, you can make up to $240 a month, or more, depending on what specials the center is offering, for a process that only takes about two hours each time. “I had a friend who signed up, so I had heard about it. Then I got into some financial trouble spring semester and decided to do it,” Groth says. After a round of questioning and a short physical, you’re taken to the donation area, where they place you in a chair and swab your arm for a few seconds before inserting the needle. There’s a short sting, but very little pain afterward, and you’re free to do whatever you want while you wait. There’s even free Wi-Fi, which is more than can be said for some hospitals. The center encourages college students to donate. There’s even a “buddy incentive,” where if you refer someone and they come in more than four times, you both get an extra $50. Donated plasma is used as a supplement for people getting chemotherapy. It is also used for people with certain diseases. “It’s money, but it’s also for a good cause,” Groth says. But, if needles give you the heebie-jeebies, there are always more creative (and less painful) ways to make money. Emily Rosser, a senior music industry major, earns her income by styling wedding hair for women around

Harrisonburg. “I’ve been doing hair for money since high school. When people realized I could do it, they asked me to,” Rosser says. She uses Instagram to advertise her skills (getting up to 15 likes per picture), and says that’s how most people find out about her. Her ability to do wedding hair led her to an unofficial singing career, as well. “I’ve also been hired to sing at funerals and weddings. I sang for one and word got around, so people I didn’t even know started hiring me. I think I’ve probably sung at four or five of each,” she says. Samantha, a senior math major, had to drum up a lot of courage to take her job. She does modeling for an art class that teaches students how to draw figures — nude figures. Three to six times a week, for $12 an hour, she attends classes where students sketch her without a stitch of clothing on. The classes are between two and three and half hours, and she has to stay completely still. “I was scared I was going to have to be examined and they would say I needed to drop 20 pounds, or something, but they take pretty much anyone,” she says. There are pros and cons to the experience. While it pays relatively well, some people aren’t as mature about it as others. “I’ve had some people thank me for modeling, but then there are people at D-Hall who will point me out and make a joke,” she says. “It’s a double-edged sword.” No matter what you do, there are opportunities to make money everywhere. Think about what skills you have, explore options that most people don’t. If you’re in financial trouble, you aren’t doomed to a job in retail or the food service industry. You just have to be willing to do some eccentric things for money.

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Profile

Music man One football player dreams of making hits on and off the field.

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by Wayne Epps Jr. | photos by Griffin Harrington

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ne of Rhakeem Stallings’ passions is very visible, on display in front of thousands every Saturday in the fall. Another is not so visible to the JMU community — at least not yet. Rhakeem, a redshirt freshman linebacker on JMU’s football team, is a multi-faceted musician. In fact, the singer, songwriter, drummer and pianist has been making music longer than he’s been playing organized football. “When I was probably like 8 years old, I would sing around the house, [and play on] pots and pans like I’m on the drums,” Rhakeem says. “Then when I turned like 10, I started playing drums for my church. Of course I wasn’t that good, but I was still trying to learn. My mom and dad got me piano lessons when I was little, so that actually started the foundation for me.” According to Rhakeem’s father, Jerald Perry II, he first started showing some musical interest at around age 5 or 6. He was drawn to the drums early on at the church overseen by his parents, Tabernacle of Deliverance in Chesapeake, Va. “He was always captured by the music department,” says Robin Perry, Rhakeem’s mother. “Always, even as a little boy, I remember seeing him just staring at the drummer. He was just studying the footwork, he studied their handwork. And he started off with drums, then all of a sudden we saw him taking notice at the keyboard and the Hammond [organ].” At around age 10, Jerald and Robin,

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Rhakeem Stallings is a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Dukes. Rhakeem has only been playing organized football for five years. Even though he won the 2008 and 2011 state championships at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, he claims he’s still “learning the game of football.”

realizing Rhakeem’s musical inclination, put him in piano lessons. Rhakeem did the lessons for a year or two, but most of what he did was self taught. Athletically, Jerald introduced football to Rhakeem around age 3 or 4. Jerald played high school football and later semi-pro football with a team in North Carolina in the ’80s and ’90s. But despite the early introduction, football wasn’t a main focus for Rhakeem growing up. “I was more of a basketball player growing up,” Rhakeem says. “I liked watching Kobe, so I used to always tell my dad, ‘Dad, I want to be like Kobe. Dad, I want to be like Kobe.’ So, [I] played rec basketball, played middle school basketball, tried to play [Amateur Athletic Union] basketball, but my family was telling me basketball is not where it’s at. It’s football.” Rhakeem, a sociology major and music industry minor, played recreation football briefly at age 12, but it wasn’t until the eighth grade that he got into serious

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organized football. He went on to win 2008 and 2011 state championships with Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake. “Honestly, I’ve been playing football for like five years,” Rhakeem says. “So I’m still learning the game of football.” All the while, Stallings was gaining notoriety on the music side. In his early teens, Rhakeem played back up drums in 2004 for notable gospel artists Earl Bynum, Andre Jones and Mona J. at the annual McDonald’s Gospelfest held in Portsmouth that year. Around the same time, he was named the minister of music at the Tabernacle of Deliverance and led the musical productions until he came to JMU last year. “Pretty much all the local musicians and producers in this area at some point in time has crossed Rhakeem’s path and has spoken very highly,” Jerald says. “If not even playing with him at a stage or inside of a church.” Rhakeem has also stepped into the recording studio, working with other gospel musicians like Todd Walker on a song

called “I’m Changed” that was featured on Walker’s album “Introduction to Change”. He also recorded with artist Robert Freeman on a project not yet released. The professionals that Rhakeem has played with, like Earl Bynum, have expressed high praise in his ability. Bynum even expressed interest in doing lessons with Rhakeem, but that never came to fruition because of Stallings’ busy schedule. Sports and school forced Rhakeem to put music on the backburner. Though music was more of a focus for him growing up. “Over the years, football has taken over,” Rhakeem says. “I don’t have time to sing at other people’s churches or do concerts or write a song … I’m trying to get better at football.” But recently, Rhakeem has been inspired to delve deeper into his music. “Ever since I’ve been taking [a] music industry class and minoring in the music industry, I found myself wanting to get back to my music even more so,” Rhakeem


says. “Sometimes when I’m in class … I might just start writing a song, like, whatever comes to my head I might start writing something down.” Rhakeem isn’t only writing new music but is preparing to do more production as well. When that comes together, he’s planning on working with teammates Sage Harold and DeAndre’ Smith on a mixtape. Smith plays the piano while both he and Harold sing. “I’m going to have my own recording system in my dorm. So then when I do that, I’m probably not going to be out of my dorm, pretty much,” Stallings says. “I’m probably going to be in my own room singing, making beats and stuff like that, writing. And I’m just going to be focusing on school, football and music.” Jerald and Robin describe Rhakeem’s sound as similar to John Legend. He draws inspiration from gospel and R&B and it’s clear that the music plays a special role in his life. “Music [is] his comfort,” Robin said. “Whether he was singing it or whether he was just sitting at a keyboard playing. Music is Rhakeem’s meditation. It’s in him and that’s the way he, like many other artists, expresses himself.” Music isn’t only Rhakeem’s comfort and meditation — it’s his dream, something that he could see himself doing professionally. And he’s moving ever closer to it. “Anybody can do anything they put your mind too,” Rhakeem said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, I’m putting my mind to it now so I’m trying to go further.” n

Rhakeem regularly spends time writing new music and plans to produce a mixtape with teammates Sage Harold and DeAndre’ Smith. In the future, he hopes to perform music professionally.

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Health

Living

gluten free Eliminating gluten from your diet isn’t just for those with medical issues, it’s a choice

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rom juice cleanses to the cabbage soup diet, it seems like trendy diets are what’s cookin’ in Hollywood. But what’s the scene in Harrisonburg? “People are realizing they have to go glutenfree,” says Valerie Ramsey, owner of Fine Flours Bakery, Harrisonburg ’s only completely gluten-free bakery. “We can tell who’s doing it out of necessity or if it’s a trend or if they’re trying to see how it makes them feel. We have seen a lot of increase of customers saying, ‘I don’t necessarily need it but I want to see if [gluten] makes me feel bad.’” Valerie and her husband Jonathan opened Fine Flours Bakery in 2011 because Jonathan w a s h av i n g m e d i c a l issues related to gluten products and desperately needed to change his diet. The bakery doesn’t have a storefront, but you can find their gluten-free products at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market on Saturdays. “There were not a lot

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by Molly Jacob | graphics by Natalie Wittmayer of local options as far as [gluten-free] goes,” Valerie says. “When we decided to open, we wanted to provide a service for people in the area - there’s really not a lot of options for everyone.” One of the newest bakeries in town, New Leaf Pastry Kitchen, also makes special accommodations

Kitchen’s owner and head baker. “People were occasionally asking what items were gluten-free. Our customers have more and more medical issues.” While those who go gluten-free are usually people with allergies or medical conditions such as celiac disease, some may choose to cut it out by choice.

to customers with dietary needs. French macarons made with almond flour, vegetable frittata and passion fruit butter cake made with their signature rice flour blend are among the gluten-free options they periodically offer. Also, with a 48-hour notice, some of their breads, pie crusts and other baked goods can be specially made for those with dietary restrictions. “We’re just responding to requests,” says Shawn Richard, New Leaf Pastry

Sophomore English major Autumn Shade has been a vegetarian for four years, and she only eats products made with gluten about three days a week. “I’ve noticed a definite spike in my overall energy and focus levels since I’ve been restricting gluten,” Shade says. “Since becoming a vegetarian about four years ago, I’ve been having trouble with fatigue and avoiding gluten has really helped.” Sha d e’s rea s o n f o r avoiding gluten may be

the exception. Many people follow this diet, made popular by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Zooey Deschanel, and think weight loss is immediate. “Because of its popularity with celebrities, gluten-free is definitely becoming a fad diet,” Shade says. “People see it as a quick fix for weight loss, thinking that if they avoid gluten for this amount of time, they’ll reach their weight goal. But it doesn’t work that way.” Whitney Thomas, a registered dietitian at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, says that while many people avoid gluten because they hear of others feeling better or losing weight, there are only negative effects from gluten if a person is intolerant or sensitive of the product. “If other [people] cut it out and happen to lose weight, it’s really only because their food choices are more limited so they may be eating fewer calories,” Thomas says. “But actually, a lot of glutenfree foods can be higher in calories.”


Still, a gluten-free diet is sometimes the only option for people who are sensitive or intolerant to the protein. Ever since sophomore psychology major Megan Paul was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago, she’s had to get creative with her food choices. “When I first came to JMU, finding food was tough,” Paul says. “I knew they had a gluten-free section at two of the dining halls but didn’t know about much else.” Both the gluten-free stations at D-Hall and E-Hall and prepared gluten-free options at Jemmy’s Corner Market and Mr. Chips make eating on campus much easier for students with dietary needs.

“As the need for a gluten-free diet has become more mainstream, we have added options to make it more convenient for

Finding these selections may be difficult for those who are new on campus and have a hard time navigating din-

Because of its popularity with celebrities, gluten-free is definitely becoming a fad diet. Autumn Shade our students,” says Stephanie Hoshower, director of JMU Dining Services. Hoshower says that JMU Dining will continue to offer food selections for students with health needs and lifestyle choices.

ing halls. Paul didn’t find out about these options until second semester of her freshman year. “I think JMU does do a good job with dietary restrictions, especially gluten-free,”

Paul says. “However, I think it would be a lot easier for new students if the options were advertised more.” Restaurants and dining halls around Harrisonburg have responded to the growing needs of those who need to avoid gluten, which is not only found in wheat products but, surprisingly, in grocery items such as soy sauce and lunch meats. “I have a lot of respect for people who choose to be gluten free without medical reasons,” Paul says. “If I didn’t have celiac disease and didn’t have to worry about the health issues that come along with it, I don’t think I would be able to do it.” n

P&M, Fall 2013 11


Feature

Globetrotters Most people only go on one study abroad trip during college; these students have become world travelers

by Corey Tierney n graphics by NATALIE WITTMAYER n photos courtesy of Stephanie Harris and Molly Stewart

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housands of young adults flock to JMU to start a new chapter in their lives, but some students take it even farther, jetting off just as quickly as they arrived. The JMU Office of International Programs sent 1,103 students on study abroad trips during the 2012-2013 school year, including both short-term and long-term programs. Among these are students who take it to the extreme, making studying abroad almost a part-time job.

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Students like junior sociology major Molly Stewart do it as a chance to learn more about themselves while helping others in return. Originally from Lexington, Stewart has been on three study abroad trips, including the one she is attending right now in Amman, Jordan. Unlike most students who wish to backpack Europe or have a romantic getaway to Paris, Stewart went for the unconventional journeys. Her first trip was to Lebanon, where she focused on

Arabic language and culture. This past summer, she traveled all the way to Ghana for both classes and an internship. While there, she took courses in sociology, psychology and African history. Outside of the classroom, she had some eye-opening experiences. “It made me more aware of what was going on in the world around me as well as more interested in the role that the United States played as a world power,” Stewart says. “I saw some things that I never could have guessed I would see,

good and bad, and met some of the most amazing people in the world.” Apart from a new worldview, Stewart got to work directly with locals, which included tutoring children while in Ghana. “I was fortunate enough to be able to teach some of the smartest kids I’ve ever met, but some of them survive on next to nothing and they don’t have the means or drive at home to continue their education,” she says. Her biggest reason for taking multiple trips is the people she came in contact


Junior Molly Stewart spent time tutoring children while on a study abroad trip to Ghana. While there, she took courses in sociology, psychology and African history.

with, both locals and fellow trip members. “I will remember the lives I impacted while abroad, as well as the lives that impacted me. The people I have spoken with and became close with on these trips have changed my world,” she says. “Some of my best memories so far at JMU have been abroad.” Other students go abroad in order to take part in opportunities that don’t present themselves in places like Harrisonburg. Junior media arts and design major Stephanie Harris is currently studying in Europe and will be there for almost six months total. She started back in June, where she spent six weeks all over Ireland, studying Irish theater, Irish film and narrative writing. While there, the group attended The Galway

International Film Fleadh (pronounced “F-lah,” meaning “festival” in Gaelic), where they attended multiple films and premieres. In attendance at the festival, were movie stars Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek” and “Amer ican Hor ror

Story”) and Saoirse Ronan (“The Host” and “The Lovely Bones”), who met the study abroad group. “It was all so surreal. I

Junior Stephanie Harris will be in Europe for almost six months total. Her first stop was in Ireland, where she studied Irish theater, Irish film and narrative writing.

was at a movie premiere and just inches away from A-list celebrities. It’s not an experience that I will easily forget,” Harris says. After returning home for a month, she got on another plane and headed straight for London. There she has a full time school schedule and internship for the semester. Students like Harris take the opportunities with OIP in order to get a jump-start into their career fields. “One of the most enticing parts of these programs is that I will be able to put them on a résumé. I can show potential employers that I

have international experience, which could really put me ahead,” Stephanie says. She however, like many, als o note d fe elings of homesickness. “I miss having JMU experiences, the Quad and social outings aren’t as prevalent abroad,” she says. Stewart says, “I do think that many students at JMU are stuck inside the JMU bubble, but hey what 20-something college kid isn’t? It’s just most of us don’t always realize what the rest of the world has to offer or what the rest of the world is going through.”

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Feature

Obsession /əb’seSHən/

Three students open up about sharing their passions with the world by Kortney Frederick + SETH HARRISON n photos by GRIFFIN HARRINGTON + SETH HARRISON

TOP Junior Elizabeth Foote collects Harry Potter items, and even took a trip to the World of Harry Potter theme park in high school. LEFT Freshman Maddy Potter dressed as the Little Mermaid for Halloween one year in high school.

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E

veryone has interests. Some people have obsessions. Those people are so deeply passionate about a book, person or cultural symbol that it becomes a defining part of their identity. When it comes to these kind of obsessions, people will have all the knowledge and merchandise to accompany their obsession, and they’re not afraid to share it with the world. Maddy Potter’s love for all things Disney is so infectious that it could make even a cynic believe that Disney World is really “the happiest place on earth” — and this past May it actually did. The freshman communication studies major went to Disney World this summer as a graduation trip, and one of her friends was determined not to buy into any Disney magic. “I convinced him to go on the trip, and he was like ‘I’m not going to enjoy this; I’m just going to make a point not to enjoy this,’” Potter says. But Potter, knowing her friend is really into “Star Wars”, persuaded him to go on the Star Tours ride in Hollywood Studios with her. Star Tours is a motion-simulated ride with a digital 3-D video of a space journey through the world of “Star Wars.” After Star Tours, Potter said that her friend had enjoyed the ride in spite of himself; he enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he claimed it was the most fun he’d ever had in his entire life. “Disney does its job well,” Potter says. Potter’s Disney obsession is allencompassing and spans from the parks themselves to the animation in the movies and the man behind it all. One overarching element of Disney that she finds particularly impressive


is the level of detail in all aspects of Disney culture. “They put hidden Mickeys around the park and they make sure the details are perfect when you go visit the princesses and they put crowns on the ceiling of the Royal Palace so that you can look up and see them,” she said. “Just the little details means that they love what they do and they care so much about what you think when you go to the park.” Potter said that while she’s not entirely sure when to pinpoint the beginning of her passion for Disney — which she admits could be considered an obsession — it might have begun when she was 11 and visited the park for the first time. “I wasn’t interested in it, when I went [to Disney World] the first time,” she says. “And I’m not sure if that like, sparked it and it just kind of snowballed from there. But I know that now Tumblr is definitely an aide in my obsession.” Potter isn’t the only JMU student whose obsession has been fueled by social networking sites. Sophomore biology major Megan Moore uses Tumblr and YouTube as ways to support her One Direction obsession. Moore became a One Direction fan during her senior year of high school when she heard “What Makes You Beautiful” on the radio and thought it was so catchy that she had to learn more about the band. “Then I got a Tumblr, and that’s when everything went terrible. Tumblr’s the worst thing,” Moore says. “If you like something, you’re going to obsess over it after you get a Tumblr.” Moore said that the vast majority of the blogs she follows on Tumblr are One Direction-themed. “I’m pretty sure — I follow, like, 600 blogs — and probably, like, only five of them are not One Direction. So, basically, all the time I see One Direction,” she says. Moore has also made multiple playlists on YouTube to watch One Direction interviews and other videos. Although they may seem to fit the definition, not everyone is willing to call their obsession, an obsession. “[Obsession] is a strong word,”

Tumblr’s the worst thing. If you like something, you’re going to obsess over it after you get a Tumblr. Megan Moore

Elizabeth Foote says. “Harry Potter’s not taking over my life, I’m just vocal about it. Being excited about something isn’t bad.” Foote is a junior psychology major. Ask her what her true passion is, however, and there’s only one answer: Harry Potter. Foote started reading the books when she was in third grade. At the time, the series was only up to the fourth book: “The Goblet of Fire.” Initially, Foote was reluctant to jump on the Potter bandwagon, but once she started reading them, she couldn’t stop. “It’s a whole world that you can get into,” Foote says. Foote is a collector of all things Harry Potter, and her friends are always looking for Harry Potter-related surprises for her. “My friend in Israel sent me a Hogwarts letter,” Foote says. “She told me she was sending me a surprise, but she didn’t say what it was. When I got it, I cried a little bit.” In addition, after graduating high school, Foote decided to take a trip that many Harry Potter fans dream of. “The most expensive thing that I’ve

done was go to the World of Harry Potter theme park. There’s an online community called the Leaky Cauldron, and they had a Harry Potter convention there. Me and some friends went down to Florida and stayed in one of the really high-end Universal resorts, and we got to see the latest movie before it was actually released in the U.S. I blew about half of my graduation money.” Harry Potter himself may only exist on the printed page and movie screen, but the author of the books, J.K. Rowling, is very much real, although Foote has yet to meet her. “Me and a friend were going to get tickets [to an event where Rowling was speaking], but the tickets leaked online before they were supposed to go on sale, and by the time we got there they were gone.” If Rowling’s and Foote’s paths do cross, however, Foote is ready. “If I met her, I would be very emotional, but I wouldn’t cry. I have a list of questions. I want to know why she made Peter Pettigrew a Gryffindor,” she says. “He’s just such a traitorous bastard.” P&M, Fall 2013 15


Feature

Learning from

the land An ISAT internship class teaches students more than just farming

by Cameron Young n photos by JAMES CHUNG We are surrounded by dirt, but most of us don’t give it a second thought. Chelsea Romanchuk, on the other hand, is enamoured with the processes that go on within the soil. Romanchuk, a junior biology major, reflects fondly upon the time she spent helping her grandparents with their garden as child. “Nature, in general, has always fascinated me,” Romanchuk says. “That life can come from a single seed.” Romanchuk worked over the summer at a farm in New Jersey and wanted to bring her love of nature back to JMU. She is now interning at Avalon Acres, owned by Lorinda Palin and Solly Walker. Romanchuk is not the only student who is

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getting her hands dirty in the fields. Romanchuk and 14 other students are in ISAT 473: Local agriculture and farm internships. The internship fully immerses the student into life of a farmer. It provides insightful first-hand knowledge of the labor of love that is required to grow food. The course is led by professors Jennifer Coffman and Wayne Teel, who created it out of an overwhelming interest from students to work on and learn from small-scale, diversified local farms. During the semester, students combine classroom meetings and assignments with a minimum of five hours a week on their assigned farm, which results in more than 110 hours of farm

time during the semester. Although Romanchuk has only been working at the farm for about a month, she has already developed a deep relationship with the farmers at Avalon Acres. “It already feels like they understand me better than my parents ever have,” Romanchuk says. Romanchuk and Palin get along so well because of their shared love of soil. Avalon Acres focuses on growing vegetables and herbs through organic practices. Romanchuk was also impressed that the farm even had a biochar kiln. This tool helps with reducing the farm’s overall carbon footprint. This among other practices allows Romanchuk

to confidently describe Avalon Acres methodology as beyond organic. This all begins and ends with compost in preparation for the next season. Avalon among other participating farms strive to create a truly sustainable ecosystem from the ground up. They hold a firmly held belief that farming is a reflection of the care and effort that the farmer puts forth into his fields. The ideology of beyond organic was echoed by John Picklap, a 2013 alumnus, who directed the documentary “The Farm Course,” which interviewed present students in this course. Picklap noticed that among the students he interviewed, they completed the course with a fresh,


holistic view of the earth and farming. He found that, especially on a farm, everything is interconnected. Nothing in a farm grows in a vacuum, the plants and animals are in constant interaction with their environment. “On a small farm, everything is a cycle,” Picklap says. A part of this cycle is death. The decomposition allows for new growth to occur which is why learning how to create a proper compost is critical to a farm’s success. At Avalon Acres, they are as obsessive as Romanchuk with understanding the intricacies of nourishing the soil with compost. Students are assigned to a farm that aligns with their interests. Successfully pairing students to farms is Coffman and Teel’s goal. “Even if you have no interest farming, it is a really good way to learn about our environment,” Coffman says. While farming, students are exposed to the intimate connection between humans and our environment. Jake Cochran, a 2012 alumnus, worked as an EMT prior to participating in this course while pursuing a degree in health sciences. Now Cochran works full time at Wildside Farms but at the time he described himself as becoming increasingly frustrated. “I was just not finding the answers I was looking for,” Cochran says. Cochran noticed during his time as an EMT that the majority of issues plaguing patients can be attributed to preventable causes. During his internship while in ISAT

473 at Wildside Farms, Cochran began noticing the direct impact that farming has on our health. “We are impacted by the things we put into our bodies,” Cochran says. “And not only that, but our personal economies that include our interactions with people.” Farming not only fortifies our bond with nature but it also strengthens communities as a whole. There must be something said about the knowing exactly who grew your food and how. To echo Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”: “We need to shake the hand that feeds us.” Without a basic under-

“There is an awesome disappointment when things are out of your control,” Evans says. This past summer was especially challenging for Evans because it was there was an above average rainfall. This was completely out of Evans’ control and it led to his tomato crops contracting a disease called blight. Blight renders the crops unsellable by causing rapid decay. LEFT PHOTO Jake Cochran, a 2012 Instead of viewing the loss alumnus, interned at Wildside Farms while of the harvest as a loss in at JMU. TOP Wildside Farms, in Singers revenue and responding Glen. BOTTOM Jeff Gorman, 2012 alumnus, manages Wildside Farms with Cochran. by using synthetic fungicides to prevent a future occurrence, he accepted that “Eventually I’d like to own a these sort of occurrences are a large chunk of land I can live part of his profession and, in off of,” Romanchuk says. “This the future, will adjust to the has been my dream for a while variations of weather and crop now.” threats by planting more and Cochran and his friend Jeff different varieties of crops. Gorman, another 2012 graduStudents learn these invalu- ate of the internship, are now able lessons during their time managing Wildside farms. interning at the farm. This “It is a really fulfilling thing internship not only provides a to do,” Cochran says. skill set specific to farming but Farming to the students and also to their lives in general. farm owners is more than skill Although not every student or a pastime. graduates and decides to work “It turns into your life,” on a farm, but many do find Evans says. n that their future does indeed lie on a farm.

The fact is we should all at least know how food is grown. It’s a knowledge that has unfortunately been lost. John Picklap

standing of farming, the disconnection between food production and most consumers is staggering. In this internship, students return to our roots as a civilization, so to speak. “The fact is we should all at least know how food is grown,” Picklap says. “It’s a knowledge that has unfortunately been lost.” “[It is] an incredibly tangible way to realize the problems we have with waste, pollution and health,” Picklap says. Yet, no matter how much planning famers do, there are factors that are out of their control. Taylor Evans, a 2013 graduate with a degree in biology, describes a lesson he learned during his two semesters interning that he needed to expect the best but plan for the worst.

P&M, Fall 2013 17


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Profile

‘God Rules’ Music industry professor Ojo Taylor reveals his musical history and the inner clash with his religious beliefs

by Dylan Garner n photos by Griffin Harrington and courtesy of Ojo Taylor 20

P&M, Fall 2013


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usic professor Joseph “Ojo” Taylor gave his songwriting class a fairly simple assignment: write a one-part song. The class obliged, but they had one challenge for him, they asked him to write one as well. He retreated back to his office in the Music Building and began to write. He contrasts his own style to that of legendary writers like Bob Dylan, who are able to create entire worlds through their lyrics. “For me, my songwriting seems to have been about documenting my life, which sounds a little bit pretentious,” Ojo says. “I document my life through my songs, whether that is good or bad.” To get inspiration for the assignment, he read a poem called the “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” and decided to loosely base his song on the prose, which is approaching its millennial anniversary. The poem was pulled from “The Portable Atheist” by Christopher Hitchens, a well-known advocate for atheism. Ojo describes the book as “required reading” for anyone. It took him just one day to write his song, “Be Still My Child,” which he dedicated to the “promotion of the human condition and those human experiences.” His songwriting career up to the recording of this anti-“ism” ballad took him through journeys both spiritual and physical. And it all started with the Rapture. Ojo and his childhood friend, James “Gym” Nicholson became enthralled by the preachings of pastor Chuck Smith, the conductor of the Calvary Chapel in Southern California. In

his words and in his texts, Smith was predicting the end of the world. Ojo and Gym, along with many young adults at the time, did what they had to do to save themselves from the inevitable. They were born again. “We had this sense of urgency. That’s why we did it,” Ojo says. Gym wanted to start a band — he knew Ojo had played a little bit of piano growing up — so that became their outlet for their Christianity. After middling success playing free shows in lumberyards and parks, their small band moved from ’70s rock influences and became a band that matched the life and times of early-’80s Los Angeles: a punk band called Undercover. “That’s what you did. You went for it and became a born-again Christian, started a band and started playing, spreading the good news. After all, that’s what the Bible commands Christians to do, go out and make disciples of all nations,” Ojo says. “And then you add in that sense of urgency from the impending apocalypse: There’s your mission from God right there.” Southern California was a tumultuous yet electrifying location for the growing youth population and its music. Within just a couple of years, the city erupted with loud guitars and angsty screams with a new breed of punk music. Black Flag and the Circle Jerks laid the foundation for this L.A. hardcore scene. Undercover thrived on the speed and style of these bands but didn’t preach the anarchy to wild, moshing audiences like the others did. Undercover, instead, preached the gospel. The band’s strange blend of hardcore punk, new P&M, Fall 2013 21


TOP Ojo Taylor and his band, Undercover, in the 1980s. The band combined Christian lyrics with a new wave and hardcore punk sound. LEFT Ojo Taylor plays the keyboard during a concert in Canada.

wave and Christian lyrics was difficult for the church to accept. “The churches are just getting over the idea of people having long hair and singing with their acoustic guitars, and here we come with mohawks and chains,” he says. “It was another big shift; probably before

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the church was really ready for it. It really was kind of a cultural revolution all over again among young c h u rc h - g o e r s i n Southern California. And then, of course, it spread from there across the country.” Ojo recalls playing on the Sunset Strip, a block away from the famous Whiskey a Go Go, where Black Flag was playing. He describes the scene as “mayhem,” with people — ranging from “12-year-olds” to “skinheads” — pouring into the streets. Through the chaos, Ojo found inspiration in an odd place. “On the side of the building ... there was a bunch of graffiti,” he says. “Somebody had written with a black marker, like a Sharpie, ‘Mob Rules,’ which was a record by Black Sabbath. And it just immediately came to

me, blinding, flashing the obvious.” “I went home that night and wrote ‘God Rules.’ It literally took me one minute, and I’ve been paying for it since.” At 1:07 running time, “God Rules” is indistinguishable from the blistering pace of other bands at the time. The guitars are incredibly loud and distorted, the drums are relentless and the vocals are shouted into the mic in a tone just calmer than a scream. The tempo was similar to Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the lyrics couldn’t be more different. “The devil lost the fight; Jesus won with power and might.” Regardless of the lyrics, his ties with the hardcore punk scene put him on the same stage as bands like Black Flag. This includes the riots that these bands would routinely create in the early ’80s. “I remember playing at the L.A. street scene the year of the riots, and it was our stage that caused the riot. We were playing with Fear and the Minutemen and Minor Threat — Circle Jerks were there — all these great bands. And there we were, this Christian band,” he says. “This whole division of the Christian world and a secular world never made any sense to me. There’s one world, we all live in it. I was never one for saying, ‘No, I can’t go into that place because we’re Christians.’ That doesn’t make any sense to me.” Despite growing teen angst, the ideas of anarchy and counterculture were not sought after by all teens. Ojo describes the “cultural revolution” that was happening at the time among the younger generation. They wanted music to grasp onto that still reflected their values and culture. As both Ojo and the band progressed, they grew more popular but also grew more mature in their style and lyrics. Ojo was becoming a father of four — and would soon be a divorced father of four. Undercover’s 1986 album “Branded” was Ojo’s outlet for discussing this time in his life, but it didn’t have the direct religious tones that his previous writing had.


“I had no intention in covering it up in some Christian platitude. I wanted to deal with it up front and in the open,” he says. “It’s — musically — a good record and lyrically it broke new ground for Christian music.” Ojo also began his foray into record producing. In 1987, he formed Brainstorm Records, which sought to combine Christian music with what was popular at the time, much like he and Undercover did — and were still doing. Along with releasing Undercover’s albums and a solo project on the label, he found some rock groups similar to his own. But he also attempted to capitalize on the fastest-growing genre at the time. “We had one or two of the first Christian rap albums. … They all did really well. So we kind of fell into that accidentally … We let them produce it because, you know, I was as white as the driven snow; and strings a shot. After the leaving utilI didn’t know how to produce that stuff.” ity company, he took music composition Ojo considers the height of the band classes at Cal-State Fullerton in 2001 with to be around 1987, but Undercover never hopes of getting one step closer toward this truly died after that. He and Gym contin- “goal.” It culminated with his second masued to create records until 2002. But at the ter’s degree five years later. time Ojo seemed “I had no career objecdone with Christives or anything,” he says. tian music. In fact, “It was just for the love of he thought he was music.” n Ojo toured the U.S., Canada and done with music It ended up bringing Europe regularly, headlining up to period. him to JMU. He has been 250 concerts per year. After selling his teaching classes such as n He played at the 1984 Los record company, music industry, history Angeles Olympic Games. and graduating of rock and songwriting n He has produced more than 75 from UCLA with full-length recordings. since he came to Harrian MBA in 1996, sonburg in fall 2007. he received two Coming to Virginia job offers. One at a record company in would help him break past the final barriNashville. The other at an electric utility er of faith that had gradually eroded away company in California. He chose the latter. since becoming a born-again Christian in The music didn’t escape him though. He the ’70s. He met an environmental scientist developed a passion for classical music — a from Charlottesville who asked him about world distanced away from the manufac- Hell and sin, and what he believed about tured “shock” and repetition that he heard these ideas. He didn’t know how to answer. in popular music at the time. “That was the straw that broke the camA CD remains by his side on his desk that el’s back,” he says. “The whole house of cards he recalls listening to years ago. He sat in his came crumbling down after that.” car with a great friend of his — a dancer, he Initially, Ojo had no intention on being notes — listening to “Symphony No. 3” by vocal about his discovery. “Who cares what Henryk Gorecki, a Polish composer. I believe anymore?” he thought. He told her in that moment, “If I could “Well, somebody cared,” he says. die having written something like that, then His revelation came in the form of a full I would die a happy man.” chapter of a book dedicated to Ojo’s story. Ojo didn’t have any disillusions about In 2009, he was approached by a writer who become a legendary composer, but he knew about his time with Undercover. The decided to these classical arrangements writer’s name was Jerry Wilson, and he was

Ojo's music history

TOP Ojo Taylor keeps the chains he wore on stage 30 years ago in his office. BOTTOM Ojo now teaches history of rock and music industry classes at JMU.

compiling interviews with pioneers of Christian music for his book “God’s Not Dead (And Neither Are We).” To help promote the book, Wilson asked Ojo to join Facebook. He was met with a “blitz” of people that he hadn’t seen or heard from in years asking about how he was. They asked him how he was doing and what he P&M, Fall 2013 23


Ojo drew inspiration from a poem published in “The Portable Atheist” by Christopher Hitchens. He describes the book as “required reading” for anyone.

was up to. They also asked him where he was going to church. “My choices were to lie or not,” he says. “And I chose not to.” It made tremors that he didn’t quite expect. The reaction was “scandalous” from those who felt he betrayed them and their religion. But it also opened up even more doors. His biggest opportunity came when Dan Barker, the co-president for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, contacted him. Ojo was invited out to become a speaker at a convention the foundation was holding discussing atheism. Barker was also in the process of making an album inspired by free-thinking ideas titled “Adrift on a Star.” Barker came from a similar background as Ojo. He became an evangelist as a teenager in Los Angeles and was an ordained minister for 19 years. He also helped compose and produce traditional Christian music. Barker asked Ojo if he had any music that might work for his album.

Ojo’s composition for his class, “Be Still My Child,” was his contribution to the record. “I had all these songs written from the Christian perspective,” Ojo says. “This was the first song I had ever written from an unbelieving perspective. From a skeptical position, if you wanna call it that. As a free-thinker.”

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I want to know that I loved deeply and boldly. Ojo Taylor

religion, or current lack thereof. “Gods, Cigarettes and Sadness” is his latest entry. Ojo’s external struggles trying to fight off cigarettes in 1990 was the landscape for his internal battle with his beliefs at the time. “ I had no context for what life would be like without religious belief anymore than I had a context for a daily routine without cigarettes,” he writes. “Smokers and former smokers know what I mean. Former believers know what I mean too.” Music such as “Be Still My Child” is the next step for Ojo’s journey from religion. He plans to release an album full of similarly inspired songs on Bandcamp in the future. To continue his music is to avoid one of his two “death-bed regrets.” His second: “That I didn’t love aggressively enough or assertively enough — my kids mostly,” he says. “I want to know that I loved deeply and boldly.” You can follow Ojo’s inner-adventures at ojotaylor.com. n

What was once an undercover sense Ojo had to come to terms with, his “unbelief ” is now being vocalized. He blogs about it now on his website, ojotaylor.com, to help discuss and understand the idea of agnosticism and atheism with the assistance of others. His posts explore parts of his past and beyond. Just like his music, he is documenting his life but in the context of his


H

McHone


Feature

by WAYNE EPPS JR. | photos by JAMES CHUNG | graphic by NATALIE WITTMAYER

For sneakerheads, shoes aren’t just shoes. They’re a hobby, an expression or even a job. Sneaker enthusiasts sometimes pay hundreds of dollars and wait in lines for hours to get the pair they’ve been coveting. We found JMU’s most dedicated sneakerheads, including a set of twins, to see just how many sneakers they have in their closets.

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Alan Jones Public administration graduate student

Which are your favorites? I have a pair of OG [Jordan] Retro 12s. So they don’t have the Jumpman [logo] on them, they have the Nike Air on them instead and they came in the Nike box instead of the Jordan box. OGs are originals, and they bleed a little bit because they’re so old, but I have a pair of those. And then I have a pair of [Jordan 4] ‘Thunders’ that I got. What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a pair? It was $750, when they [re-released] the [Jordan 4] “Thunders”. I missed them when they first came out because they came out in a package with the “Thunders” and “Lightnings”. Then they started selling them separately. So when they started selling them separately, I bought a pair of ‘Thunders.’ How would you describe the sneakerhead culture? I feel like we’re trendsetters. The reason why you become a sneakerhead is because the first thing women notice about you are your shoes and your smile. So when you have nice shoes, you tend to get more girls. That’s the mindset that most guys have. That’s basically the sneakerhead culture — you’re a trendsetter and you’re fashionable.

50

Alex Jones Adult education/ human resource development graduate student

How did your interest in shoes start? Probably started when I was, like, in seventh or eighth grade. Before I started buying sneakers like I do, whatever sneakers I had I would wear them until they fell apart. I got to eighth grade, and just a group of friends that I had, they just constantly were buying new shoes. And, for me, it was interesting to see that and it piqued my interest because they all wore different types of Jordans or Nikes or Reeboks. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a pair? Some burgundy [Jordan] 5s came out when I was in 11th grade. I paid a friend to stand in line for me. And he charged me like $250 extra on top of what the shoes were worth. So that’s probably one of the craziest things, just because I didn’t want to do it and he went out at like 4:30 [a.m.] , and so I had to pay him to stand in line and then I had to pay him to pick up my shoes. And I met him in this sketchy area, it was really weird. How would you describe the sneakerhead culture? Sneakers are an art form. Just like anything else, whether it’s like music or dancing. I think we definitely see sneakers as art and it’s artistic and it’s an expression. So like the types of shoes that I get say a lot about my personality. I don’t just buy sneakers just to buy sneakers. I buy sneakers that say something about me or that say something about who I am and what I like to do.

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50+

Jonathan smith Senior engineering major

Which are your favorites? The “Bred” 1s, the black and [Jordan] Varsity 6s. I have the “Do the Right Thing” 3s. They’re one of my favorites. And “Infrared” Air Max 90s. How would you describe the sneakerhead culture? It’s changing a lot. Because everybody’s getting into shoes now and they want to call themselves sneakerheads and stuff like that. I’m not one of those people, but it’s interesting to see how it looks. Because a lot of people camp out for shoes now and fight for shoes. And it’s not worth all that. Overall, what’s your favorite part about collecting? I like to get different stuff too that other people don’t have. So, just to walk on campus and somebody say they like my sneakers or something like that, that’s nice. What’s your advice to someone looking to start their own collection? Make sure you know your research, that’s important. Know the history the sneakers and stuff and just like the culture. And pick up what you like and wear what you like. Don’t pick it up because somebody else likes it.

40+

Kevin JIang Senior marketing major

What are some of the favorites in your collection? Every shoe means a little bit. But if you ask me which one is my favorite, there’s one called [Nike SB] “Skunk” … It’s really limited, it’s a quickstrike. Quickstrike [means] it’s a really limited release. They will never restock. Senior year [of high school] I skipped school for this. I waited in line for a couple hours to get a pair of these. When I got it, it was running $150. Right now the retail is about $450. What are some of your recent additions? The recent one I got, it was the Jordan 11, the lows. I got it in Harrisonburg. It was because location definitely plays a huge role in the shoes. Let’s just say it’s a big city, like Northern Virginia, unless you know somebody at the store working there, it’s impossible to get a pair of shoes. Because you got to wait in line really early. Let’s say the store opens at 10 a.m. on Friday morning, people usually get there Friday like 2 a.m. camped out [at the] store. How would you describe the sneakerhead culture? Before it was OK. Now I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of sneakerheads left. It’s just everybody’s trying to make money off of it. I mean, I’m not going to lie, I’m trying to make money off of it too. Because it was good back in the day, the shoes were cheap, people actually collected them just for the fun and for the hobby and stuff. Now Nike and Jordan, they turned this hobby into a business. Because think about it, how much every year they limited shoes, “Oh, 1,000 pairs. Oh, 900 pairs.” Keep going lower and lower and lower.

P&M, Fall 2013 27


Profile

The boy who biked Navid Attayan braved the elements and traveled 3,000 miles for cancer research

by Claire Fogarty | photos courtesy of Julian Ali and Navid Attayan

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A

lumnus “There will be music, Navid Attatalks by patients and yan set out their families and we’ll on his cross-country probably do a march bike trip on May 25 around the Festival with one intention: Lawn,” Attayan says. to raise awareness “Everyone will come out about childhood wearing gold in support cancer. But by July of Childhood Cancer 12 — 48 days and Awareness month and 3,058 miles later,— the whole event will be he realized the trip kid friendly.” became something Aside from being an else entirely. advocate, Attayan is “I set out on the preparing for his next journey expecting phase of the project, adventure, to do biking the circumfergood and give people ence of the moon; 6,784 hope. But during it, Navid visited a total of 19 hospitals and treatment centers during his trip across the country. miles in 365 days. When it became somewhat he begins the project about me,” Attayan says. “It gave life a whole kids, their entire family, too. I didn’t think at the end of September a new donation new meaning. I was fighting for something, what I was doing was anything extraordi- fund will be opened. Each day he will have almost to the point of death … I’ve never nary … I didn’t expect what I saw. ” to bike about 20 miles, which he wants to been so focused in my entire life.” What he did know, and was unfortunate- symbolize the fight cancer patients have to And focus was essential to Attayan’s ly reconfirmed, was that hospital funding endure each and every day. journey, especially since each of the seven for cancer is too low. According to the Attayan is also in the process of writing a states he traveled through (Virginia, Ken- National Institutes of Health, cancer is the book, currently titled “The Journey Within,” tucky, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona leading cause of death in children age 1 to about a lot of his personal experiences and and California) forced him to overcome a 14. Each year approximately 14,000 children life lessons learned on the trip, relating it all different challenge. Virginia had the most are diagnosed with cancer and a quarter of to childhood cancer. hills, Arizona was the hottest and Kansas them will die. Yet federal funding for pediFor example, Attayan recalls biking had the worst head winds and storms. Yet, atric cancer research is less than 5 percent through one town that warned him about despite all the physical challenges, Attayan of total cancer research funds. the upcoming town he was scheduled believes the mental challenges were much Additionally, the American Cancer to pass through. They cautioned him to worse. Society, leader of Relay for Life, fails to rec- change his route and go a different way, “It was like I was being tested every ognize childhood cancers and provides no saying the town ahead was dangerous and single day,” Attayan says. “Every day was funding toward it. Attayan says that this full of poor people. But Attayan couldn’t something new, and [I] never knew what year they have refused children from their change his route and continued on despite to expect.” Hope Lodge, which was a place families the forewarning. When he got to the next But it was the constant challenges could go while they were in the hospital town, he was greeted by kind, generous throughout his journey from Harrison- for extended periods of time. people who gave him much more than they burg to San Diego that helped him feel “I was disappointed with what I was told,” had. They gave him a place to stay, fed him more connected to the children he was Attayan says. “But it did give me a better and came together to have a barbecue so fighting for. perspective of what’s out there.” they could get to know him. “I could never compare what they go Post-trip, Attayan’s goal is to raise more Attayan says the tale of two towns is through to what I did,” Attayan says. “But I money and awareness. In total, he raised only one personal experience he had that can definitely say I know some of the pain.” approximately $12,500, all of which was showed him how unity and diversity come By the end of his trip, Attayan had met donated to cancer research. After arriving together for one cause. He says he was countless patients and visited a total of 19 in San Diego, he doubled his number of fol- raised on the concepts of unity and diversihospitals and treatment centers. At each lowers on Facebook to 12,000. Additionally, ty, but he never fully understood what they stop, he’d go door to door visiting the kids he was featured on 58 TV stations, 97 radio meant until his trip. His book will investiand their families, handing out ProJeKT stations and in 123 newspapers nationwide. gate more of his experiences and hopefully 3000 wristbands, spreading hope and talk“I’m turning the [Facebook] page into motivate others to take action. ing to doctors and nurses. more of an awareness campaign,” Attayan “My point is even if cancer isn’t their “One thing I realized is that cancer says. “I’m taking the role of an advocate cause, that’s OK. I want to inspire others to doesn’t just affect the child, it affects the and using the fan base to drive serious make their own projects try to do good in whole family,” Attayan says. “Tears would awareness.” any way they can,” Attayan says. “If everycome running down [the families’] eyes At the beginning of October, Attayan is one did his or her own little part the world when they saw me. These [patients] are in teaming up with Phi Alpha Delta for “Flood would be better.” the hospitals all the time, and not just the the Festival Lawn.” P&M, Fall 2013 29


JACards accepted


: o

d n o T g a hip s a n sn ter ex

by Heather Butterworth | graphics by Natalie Wittmayer

Career

So what is it?

Usually, externs job shadow an entry-level professional for two to five days. Externs network in the hopes of being offered an internship or, more often, a full-time position. At the graduate level, externships are much more extensive and hands-on. Some externships involve leadership programs with seminars and motivational speakers.

Why do one?

Many students find it difficult to fit internships into their schedules, especially since they are usually full-time and unpaid. Externships are shorter and still offer networking opportunities.

How can I find one?

Competitive application processes are not the norm for externships, except in the business and accounting industries. Reach out to contacts through LinkedIn, family, friends or even Twitter. JMU’s online Recruit-A-Duke services help you connect to alumni and so does the alumni group on LinkedIn. Establish a relationship with someone before asking for an externship. Once you figure out where you’d like to go, it’s easy to ask professors if they know anyone there. Informational interviews can lead to an externship or two.

If you ask students what an externship is, you’ll get some blank looks. But externs are snagging sweet internships and jobs post-graduation. While other students were working boring dead-end jobs, Brianna McCarthy spent her summer at eight externships across the country. She did the expected things like listen to speakers and participate in seminars, but she also did more unusual activities as part of the externships — making trail mix for community service, bowling as networking and competing in a scavenger hunt around Philadelphia. As a senior accounting major, McCarthy wanted to network so she could find a competitive internship. By the end, she had eight internship offers for the following summer. “It definitely relieves some of that anxiety,” McCarthy says. “Starting at JMU, I had no idea externships even existed.” For her summer externships, she had to apply in January. “You have to be active in pursuing them — they’re

super hard to find,” McCarthy says. Denise Rudolph, assistant director of Employer Relations and Recruiting Services, stresses the importance of externships, especially for freshmen and sophomores. “You can learn quite a bit in a day,” Rudolph says. “Having an externship could go a long way in really competitive industries.” Shelly Laurenzo, the health and human services liaison for Career and Academic Planning, says students looking into health care need to get a taste of the field before they spend years in graduate or medical school. “Externships are important because it’s not like you can just jump into a surgery,” says Laurenzo. “It’s a lot more hands-on than textbooks.” Laurenzo says CAP helps students find opportunities, but smaller hospitals and private practices

P&M, Fall 2013 31


continued from page 31 may not have externship programs. You can make your own if you contact their staffs. “You have to build the opportunity yourself,” says Laurenzo. “Worst case — They say no — it’s not the end of the world.” E x t e r n s h i p s a re n ’ t j u s t f o r undergraduates. JMU requires doctoral audiology students to have 1,820 hours of clinical practicum. Students work in hospitals and clinics alongside doctors, geneticists and specialists. They test babies’ hearing, fit adults for hearing aids and

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conduct full hearing screenings. Claire Jacobson, audiology clinical coordinator and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, says expectations are high. “It’s a little bit of a shock – some sites throw you in and say ‘swim,’” says Jacobson. “But none of our students are unemployed after graduation.” She says it’s important to get feedback and hone a professional attitude before stepping into the workforce. “They’re marketable anywhere – they never cease to amaze me.”


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P&M, Fall 2013


Jessica Williams Jessica is a senior English and writing, rhetoric and technical communication double major. She enjoys writing, sarcasm and the occassional sandwich.

Voices

Bitter in black frames

Holiday Haunted Halloween is approaching. I know because I can feel my scar burning. As an October baby whose birthday falls a few days shy of the holiday, it has forever haunted me like a kid whose parents didn’t feel like buying a costume so they threw a sheet with some eye holes over him and called it a night. I hate it. If your birthday is close enough to a certain holiday (and anyone whose birthday is anywhere close to Dec. 25 can attest to this), it starts to become one with that holiday, and it’s impossible to escape the effects. It’s like a curse. When I was little, I always got the same presents from my friends and distant relatives. Orange and black lip gloss, orange and black socks, a notebook with a black cat on it that hisses when you press it and the annual jack-o’-lantern earrings. “Here, have these earrings that you can wear for the next four days before they’re no longer relevant. Happy birthday.” My hatred is also mostly the fault of Stephen King. When I was 7, I was introduced to a short series based off of one of his novels called, “Storm of the Century,” which is about a man with a wolf cane that kills people on its own. It sounds ridiculous because

it is ridiculous, but it scarred me for life. And as much as I’d like to say I’ve grown out of being afraid of it, I still flinch sometimes when I think I see that cane standing behind me.

cartoon by Natalie Wittmayer

I haven’t watched a horror movie since. But the main reason I’ve always hated it is that Halloween is too much pressure, even for kids. “Costume Day” at school was like a Miss America pageant. You had to prepare for it weeks in advance and one mistake

made you the class outcast for a good month. I dressed as a green M&M one year and you would’ve thought I had dressed like Hitler with the looks the other kids gave me. I spent the rest of the year trying to recover. In more recent years, I’ve tried to get into the spirit, but to no avail. Freshman year, I watched “Halloweentown” on the Disney Channel while my roommate, who was dressed as a pink crayon (if a sleeveless pink mini dress with a homemade “Crayola” sign on it counts as a costume), went out and got hammered. The year after that, I went to a party in a makeshift Princess Leia outfit, but ended up stone-cold sober and watching a couple make out against the stove in the kitchen while I stood awkwardly in a corner. And last year, I bought two bags of chocolate to hand out around my dorm but ended up getting really stressed one day and eating all of it. I don’t know if I will ever enjoy Halloween. But, there is one saving grace about Halloween 2013. I will have been 21 for four days, and I will be in the good company of a mixed drink until the sun comes up. And, for that reason, this might be my best Halloween yet.

P&M, Fall 2013 35


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Port & Main Fall 2013