Page 1

al orner


S pring 2013

Volume 8 No.1

An Individualized Instruction, Journalism III Project, California University of Pennsylvania

Cabbie on the ride of his life By Scott Traverso It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday. While most college students are getting ready to enjoy themselves after a long week of class, Rian Zarko is just getting to work. Zarko, a 25-year-old junior at California University of Pennsylvania, is not the typical college student. Rather than relaxing after a long day in class, Zarko switches from student to cab driver to begin a long night. Zarko is a cab driver for Pittsburgh Yellow Cab, a job one would not expect a college student to have. Before being a cab driver, Zarko had just about every job one would think a college student would have. “Stock clerk, gas station attendant, cook, server, and bartender -- I did it all,” Zarko said. An injury led him to Yellow Cab, and the job has worked out quite well, he said. In spring of 2011, Zarko tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at a Cal U intramural basketball game. The injury required surgery. For most athletes, rehab for an ACL injury is close to a year. Forced to find work that had him off his feet, Zarko became a freelance cab driver for his friends when they went to the bar or anywhere around town. Eventually, a friend directed him to making his business official and got him a job with Yellow Cab. The ins and outs of the cab business were easy to grasp for Zarko. Now, his routine on the weekend is set in stone. He picks up the cab between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., drives the business crowd around, then moves on to the dinner crowd. The rest of the night is dedicated to college students and young adults in the Oakland, Southside, and Mt. Washington areas. “You can take a 12-hour lease, 24-hour lease, or weekend lease on a cab and after you make back your lease, the rest of the money is yours to keep,” Zarko said. “On any given weekend, I can make an easy $500.” Along with the money, the schedule is another thing that Zarko said he enjoys about driving a cab.

Photo by Scott Traverso

Rian Zarko helps pay for school by driving a taxi.

He only has to take the cab out once a month to retain his status as a Yellow Cab employee, so it works around his schedule for being a full-time college student. The schedule allows him to work whenever he wants and basically have a business to himself. “If I make a Facebook status saying I

have the cab for the night, my phone is ringing nonstop,” Zarko said. “I don’t even have to take calls that get sent from Yellow Cab. My friends and regulars know I can pick them up or if need be, I can pick up people on East Carson Street. There is more than enough business down there every Friday and Saturday,” he said. Although the cab business has been good to him, Zarko has bigger plans for his future. Zarko is a secondary education social studies major, and he is looking forward to student teaching in the fall of 2013. After he graduates, Zarko is looking to get a teaching job around the Pittsburgh area. “Being from the North Side of Pittsburgh, I saw a lot of kids get ignored and left behind and that’s not acceptable to me,” Zarko said. “I spent lots of time at Heinz House when I was young, and it’s a safe place for kids to go after school and stay off the streets,” he said. “It really influenced me in my decision to go into education and help those kids while they’re still in school,” he said. Zarko said he knows getting a teaching job right out of school isn’t a guarantee and that the cab job is a good back-up plan. He said, at first, if he’s just substitute-teaching on and off, he can keep working for Yellow Cab on

See “Cabbie,” Page 4

Inside * Page 2: *

Plumber soldiers on

* Page 3: * Student enjoys computers, duct work

* Page 5: * Writing’s on tap for student bartender * Page 6: *

Tires make student’s life go ‘round

* Page 7: *

Owner does his own thing at garage

* Page 8: *

Cal is painters’ palette

* Page 9: *

Artist specializes in ‘steampunk’

* Page 10: *

Football player eyes pro end zone

* Page 10: *

Student’s skill is in the cards

* Page 11: *

Seamstress sews up her future

* Page 12: *

Cal Corner staff



al orner

Spring 2013

From regular Joe to American hero By Morgan Cushey He’s a plumber and a self-proclaimed, regular “Pittsburgh guy,” but there is more to Brandon Scherer than his affinity for plumbing and regular-Joe demeanor. Under his modest comments lies a true American hero. Scherer, 24, of Whitehall, began plumbing by chance at 19 at Mark Gilliece Plumbing and Heating after his father’s friend, who was a plumber, sparked his interest. Scherer was initially hired as a summer landscaper; then he was offered a job as an apprentice service technician. He later left the company to attend night class at Associated Master Plumbers of Allegheny County, where he became certified in plumbing and heating, ventilation, and cooling. Armed with an education and a determination to move ahead, Scherer took a detour from the plumbing profession to serve in the United States Army. “I had many other options, but I wanted to serve,” Scherer said. Scherer enlisted in the Army at 19 and was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was placed in a unit of soldiers who had just returned from a tour in Iraq. Scherer said because the other soldiers were more experienced, he had to earn his place. He explained that these soldiers had seen combat and had watched their fellow solders fall victim to the enemy. On Day One of weapons training with his unit, Scherer qualified as an expert. He went on to qualify second out of a 2,000-person brigade in marksmanship and weaponry. In June 2009, shortly before his 22nd birthday, Scherer was deployed to Afghanistan. There he worked on a mortar team, protecting the base and serving as one of the first lines of defense against an enemy attack. While he was on duty, insurgents attacked Scherer’s base. Scherer

Photo by Morgan Cushey

Brandon Scherer tightens a pipe.

explained that they [enemies] knew the mortar team was the strongest, so they attacked them first, hard and heavily. “Bullets were bouncing off the ground. You couldn’t get rounds down range in the gun pit,” Scherer said. Scherer was caught in the path of an 82-mm recoilless round when it hit an upright rock wall and landed five or six feet in front of him. “It [explosion] threw me with complete centrifugal force into the wall,” Scherer said. The round could have killed 20 soldiers at a time. Scherer said his neck and spine were injured. He also was left with permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), post traumatic stress disorder, and a permanent brain injury called Traumatic Diaphragmatic Injury, which can result from getting hit in the head or chest. “I’m honored to be messed up. I earned it [injuries] serving my country. I’m proud of it,” Scherer said. In October 2010, Scherer was sent to Fort Carson. There he was evaluated and granted an honorable discharge and severance pay for his service. In October 2011, Scherer left the Army a decorated war hero, earning 11 medals, ribbons, and badges for his bravery in combat and dedication to serve his

country. Among his awards were the Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two stars, and an Expert Marksman Badge. After his honorable discharge, Scherer settled down in Colorado and began working for the Mr. Rooter plumbing company. He was quickly recognized as one of the best service technicians within the company. Scherer, an avid motorcycle rider, said he got right back into the steel saddle when he returned from Afghanistan. Shortly after his discharge, Scherer was in a motorcycle accident that severely injured his wrist and hand, leaving him with a titanium structure holding together his wrist. “I got blown up and survived,” he said. “God gave me a second chance. So I’m gonna live my life to the fullest,” Scherer said. After he recovered from the accident, he got right back to motorcycle riding, not letting an injury keep him from his passion. Nevertheless, he admits his injuries got to him. He left his position at Mr. Rooter and returned to Pittsburgh. “Once I quit, I had no reason to stay [in Colorado],” he said. “My childhood memories, friends, and family are all in Pittsburgh,” Scherer said. Upon returning to Pittsburgh, Scherer was hired at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Homestead. He works there as a plumbing specialist. Using the leadership skills he gained in the Army, Scherer quickly excelled at Lowe’s. He finished his training early and was certified to run the forklift. Within his fourth day of training, Scherer was on the floor, working with employees and helping customers. He said he hopes to use his knowledge of plumbing and leadership skills to move up in the company. “If I keep my head in the game and

See “Plumber,” Page 4

Spring 2013


al orner


Student no stranger to hard work By Tyler Kimmel Ryan Whitacre, a 22-year-old computer information systems major from Scottdale, is used to getting things done with his hands. The California University of Pennyslvania senior seems to live by the “work hard, play hard” philosophy. He said the computer science industry is “an industry where you’re constantly learning, and I thought it’d be something I wouldn’t get bored with when I got older.” Whitacre said he wants to get into the field of computer networking because it is more active than programming. He said it is more active in the way that one is constantly moving around, instead of sitting behind one computer screen. Whitacre has always been interested and intrigued by computers, he said. Part of the reason stems from his father, Russell. Whitacre’s dad is a self-taught computer programmer and Web designer. Russell was a finance and accounting major in college, but computers were his true calling. Whitacre said his father teaches three computer science classes at Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology. Whitacre said his father has always had an interest in computers and that interest intrigued Whitacre and grew on him. His major isn’t the only job Whitacre uses his hands for. He has worked off and on for the last two years with Lantzy Heating and Air, doing duct work. Whitacre said that working in a cold, wet, basement, standing on ladders, and “a lot of heavy lifting” doesn’t bother him. “I really like the work because it’s hard work, and it’s nice to pick up a trade because when I’m older, I’d like to own my own house, and I’ll be able to do some of the work myself, rather

See “Worker,” Page 4

Photos by Tyler Kimmel

Ryan Whitacre works on a class project on his laptop. The computer information systems major is familiar with computers. The 22-year-old senior at Cal, who will be graduating in the fall, also knows how to do heating and air conditioning work.



al orner

Spring 2013

Plumber: Proud to serve his country Continued from Page 2 do what I’m supposed to do, I think I could become a store manager,” Scherer said. “I believe I’ll make a career here,” he said. Despite his physical limitations, Scherer said he enjoys being back in the workforce. He said he tries to keep as positive as he can. He said his injuries are permanent. “I’m in pain all day, every day, and I can’t hear half the time, he said. “But if I keep reminiscing on it, I’ll just be a Debbie Downer. I earned it all; I should wear it with pride,” he said.

Photo by Morgan Cushey

Brandon Scherer goes to work on a water heater. He works at Lowe’s.

Worker: Seeking his dream Cabbie: He’s Continued from page 3 than hiring someone else to do it,” Whitacre said. Besides work and school, Whitacre keeps his hands busy by doing his favorite hobbies. He enjoys lifting weights and playing basketball with his friends. “Playing sports with my friends is one of the biggest parts of my life right now,” Whitacre said. “It’s a good chance for us to hang out and spend time together while we’re having fun and staying in shape at the same time,” he said. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoys anything that is active and outdoors. One of his favorite parts of hunting is gutting his deer, he said. “I start under the neck and cut the skin the whole way down,” Whitacre said. “You can’t cut too deep because you can puncture an organ and spoil the meat. After you cut the guts out, you take it to the butcher. There’s nothing better than deer meat,” he said.

Along with his passion for computers, Whitacre also inherited his passion for the game of basketball from his father. “It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a little kid,” Whitacre said. “My dad and uncle got me into it because they were big basketball fans, and I’ve been playing it ever since,” he said. One thing Whitacre and his dad differ on are their basketball idols. Whitacre’s father always looked up to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Whitacre said. However, Whitacre’s favorite player is one of today’s generation’s biggest stars, Lebron James. As for the future, Whitacre isn’t asking for much. He’s just looking for a long and enjoyable life with a good job to help support his future family. “I’d like to work for a respectable company in the computer science industry,” he said. “I want the average American dream: a wife, kids, and a house.”

on a wild ride Continued from Page 1 the weekends to keep the money coming in. But the big picture for Zarko is moving on from the cab business and into the world of education. “I have more to give to the world than just a ride around town,” he said.

Photo from

Taxis wait for passengers outside Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Calorner 5 Writer serves it up at local pub Spring 2013

By Taylor Brown A typical Friday night for bartender Lisa Cameron, 36, consists of stepping behind the bar ar Bud Murphy’s in Connellsville and getting herself into “robot mode” to prepare for a night of multitasking and what seems to be a never-ending hustle. She earned her first degree in communication disorders, then committed to the role of stay-at-home mother. When Cameron’s second child, Carlie, turned 3, Cameron decided it was time to pick up a job that would work with her already hectic schedule. Little did she know that bartending would become an extension of one thing she was truly passionate about, talking to people and allowing her to work and pursue the aspirations for her future career as a journalist. Although Cameron is already balancing her time behind the bar, her time at home with her children, and her time with her new hobby of running, Cameron likes to think of herself as a “lifelong student.” “I have more on my transcript than the Gettysburg address,” Cameron said. “In other words, four score and a bazillion classes later, I am still pursuing my dreams.” After working as a speech therapist, Cameron realized that she wasn’t truly happy with what she was doing. She said she knew somewhere along the line she would find her way to journalism because it is simply “in her blood.” “My first degree was my parent’s degree, but journalism will be mine,” Cameron said. “I know I am a talented writer, and I believe in the power of words.” She obtained her first degree from Cal U in communication disorders, then decided to return for journalism. Although being behind the bar offers ideal flexibility to both her and her children’s schedules, being a female bartender isn’t always ideal.

“I definitely dislike the sexist stigma that comes along with females in a loose environment such as a bar,” Cameron said. “I abhor the slang, the whistles, the cat calls, if you will.” But through long hours and snide remarks, Cameron learned to see the silver lining through these small annoyances. By realizing that she was, in fact, a people person, she also learned that she was able to turn a customer’s conversation or attitude into one that would benefit her most of the time. The juggling act of being a parent, a student, and an employee, while still pursuing her long-time career goal has proven to be a difficult task. Although she has sacrified much during her journey, Cameron noted that through it all, she has gained more than enough in return and is thrilled with her decision to return to Cal U. Because of this balancing act, days in the Cameron household need to be planned almost rigidly in order to maintain harmony. Cameron finds her children doing their homework alongside her. “We grow together,” Cameron said. “I teach them that it is never too late or inopportune to reach a goal.” Cameron dreams of writing full time, but that doesn’t mean that she will

Photo by Taylor Brown

Lisa Cameron draws a draft beer.

move on from bartending. “I may hold on to bartending until there is greater stability,” Cameron said. “And I am OK with that, provided I do not stagnate.” Someday, Cameron would like her own column, but until then, bartending gives her the best of both worlds. “Bartending is reaching out live and in person,” Cameron said. “Writing is reaching out with thought and consideration. “It’s all a matter of semantics.”

Photo by Taylor Brown

Lisa Cameron bartends at Bud Murphy’s in Connellsville when she isn’t writing.



al orner

Spring 2013

Student doesn’t tire of family business By Jamie Rider When you walk into Mouser’s Garage in Smock, it’s easy to feel a little out of place as you pass the stacks of tires in what appears to be someone’s messy garage, more than a popular local business. The small entrance opens into the main shop, where customers aren’t spared any of the sights. They see stacks of tires, tools and equipment waiting to be used, and Taylor Mouser standing ready to assist people as they enter. Mouser is a second-generation tire man, who has worked in the garage since he was 10. It’s a family business that Mouser takes seriously. He is also a full-time student at California University of Pennsylvania, while putting in 40 hours at the garage, making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Mouser’s father, Dave, owns the garage and the Mousers take pride in their work. Dave worked in many garages and then opened Mouser’s Garage with high hopes. It’s easy to see from where his son gets his ambition. Dave is relying on his son to take up the family business when Dave retires. As Mouser sees it, “When my dad finally decides to retire, I know it’s going to be me running the place, so I work hard and try my best to make sure I’m living up to what he expects,” Mouser said. The garage is a popular destination for the people in the area who come in yearly for their tire needs. And Mouser is not complaining. “It’s crazy,” he said. “Our one employee, Bob, knows everyone in Searights, and they know him. “He brings in so many customers, and I’ve gotten to know them, as well. It’s an interesting place to meet all kinds of different people,” Mouser said. Mouser doesn’t just change tires and go to school. He also is a Jeep enthusiast. He has four Jeeps near the garage

and his house. “I can’t help it,” Mouer said. “I love Jeeps! “I probably don’t need four, but it’s a hobby that I love,” he said. “Every year I go to Jeepfest in Butler, and I have so much fun,” Mouser said. The annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival features new models, vendors from whom to buy parts, and a parade in which Jeeps from the ages are showcased. Of his four jeeps, Mouser explained that “I have two Cherokees. I drive one to and from school, and one sits in the yard. I still need parts. “Then there are the two Wranglers I’m working on, as well. As soon as my income tax check comes, I’m going to start on those again,” he said. Working in a garage and working on Jeeps may seem like a humble life for most, but Mouser is content. “I just want to graduate and start working full time here,” he said. “I’m happy and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” Mouser takes pride in his work, hobbies, and family values.

Photo by Jamie Rider

Taylor Mouser works on the tire machine at his garage. He spends 40 hours on the job and attends Cal U full time.

Rooted in southwestern Pennsylvania with no intentions of leaving, he will continue to serve his customers, even if he can never seem to get the grease off his hands.

A sign sits outside Mouser’s garage, directing people to step inside.

Photo by Jamie Rider

Spring 2013



Garage owner does it all and his way By Kate Sheldon Vehicles require a lot of attention and upkeep. Sometimes, people overlook things or put off maintenance. This, however, is not true for Mark Podolek, of Washington, Pa., owner of the Car Care Center. Podolek, 52, has been passionate about anything with wheels for as long as he can remember. He had many hot rods and dirt bikes when he was younger and always enjoyed messing around with cars, he said. He is the only one in his family to pursue a career of this sort. When he was growing up in Washington, he had a lot of opportunities to hunt and to ride his motorcycle, two of his favorite activities, he said. Lifting weights at the gym is also another hobby Podolek still enjoys. Photo by Kate Sheldon After working at NAPA Auto Parts and Mark Podolek of the Car Care Center in Washington, Pa., says his shop does most jobs. then being a manufacturing manbut there is one job he prefers to ager at Calgon Carbon Corporation “We’re different from avoid. in Pittsburgh for years, he decided it our competitors because “I don’t like changing heavy tires,” he was time for a change of pace with his we very seldom turn said. career. down any job ...” “They’re really just awkward to do.” Podolek purchased The Car Care Cen-- Mark Podolek ter on Henderson Avenue in WashingHe said the most satisfying part of Garage owner ton in 2003 after he had decided that his job is “the fact that I can provide “With the way this economy is now, after his last job, he never wanted to a living for my family without anyone considering the presidential regime work for anyone else again. telling me what to do; [that] makes The Car Care Center is an auto repair we’ve had, there are busy and slow me feel the most accomplished.” times, but the flow of customers and shop. There are plenty of auto repair The most important qualities for a jobs is usually fairly constant,” Podolek shops around, but Podolek thinks his position in this field are to know diagsaid. is unique. nostics, he said. He said he finds a great deal of “We’re different from our competitors Even though he did not go to school satisfaction when a customer calls because we very seldom turn down in this field, he said he feels that it is back and says how pleased he or she any job or task that we come across, important to get the right education to and we specialize in almost everything is with the job that has been completed, but there are other times when be able to perform the things that are automotive,” Podolek said. done on a daily basis. Podolek is not so happy. “We also not only offer vehicle mainThough there is always something to Those times include, “when a vehicle tenance, but also complete collision is difficult to diagnose and do a correct be done while at work, Podolek tries service, as well,” he said. to make the atmosphere as laid-back repair on and when a customer says Podolek employs five people. They as possible for both his employees and we charge too much for a service that take care of everything from car mainhim, he said. we do here,” Podolek said. tenance to collision repair. They even Podolek tries to make sure that he As the owner, Podolek said he is do detailing. and his employees live by his motto: willing to do anything necessary to For Podolek, being timely with a “We all have to work for a living, so provide a quality service to each cuscustomer’s car repair is important and tomer. we might as well have a little fun domaking sure that everything is reHe is willing to get his hands dirty, ing it,” he said. paired correctly is a must.



al orner

Spring 2013

The people behind the paint at Cal By Julian Sepesky Tucked away on the ever-growing campus of California University of Pennsylvania, behind the Herron Fitness Center and between the Pottery Shop and Vulcan Hall, is a small brick building. The building is the campus paint shop, and it is the office of paint foreman Bill Yagnich and his crew, Mike Kopas and Kurt Sungala. The painters are one of the six skilled work groups that keep up Cal U’s buildings and grounds. The other five are the carpenters, electricians, grounds crew, plumbers, and custodians. Yagnich has been the paint foreman for three years. “We are responsible for pretty much everything here that needs to be painted or varnished,” Yagnich said. “…Over the summer we did a lot of smart classroom renovations,” he said. Kopas and Sungala go out on the job while Yagnich stays back and makes sure he has secured all his material for future and current jobs and has scheduled jobs. “The way it works is real simple,” Yagnich said. “If anyone on campus needs something painted, they go through a new computer program called ‘Footprints,’ he said. “We get the message on our computer in the shop, and I order the appropriate supplies and send my workers out,” he said. Yagnich said his crew recently received a request for the hallways and common areas of the Dixon Administration Building. “All five floors of the building need the hallways and common areas painted, so this is a fairly big job,” Yagnich said. He said he likes to walk over to the job and see what it entails and what materials are needed before he sends his workers out. Recently, after Yagnich visited Dixon and set his crew up for the job, he found another request on Footprints.

Photo by Julian Sepesky

The Cal painting crew refurbishes everything from Dixon Hall to the dorms.

“We are responsible for pretty much everything here that needs to be painted or varnished.”

-- Bill Yagnich Cal paint foreman

A professor had put in a request for a cabinet that has been missing a door in a classroom in Keystone. “The cabinet contains a large amount of class materials that have been openly visible, and this needed to be covered up,” Yagnich said. The cabinet doors were in pretty bad shape. Yagnich said he would have to prime and paint the cabinet. The project was small so Yagnich was able to do it himself while his crew took care of some other jobs.

Calorner 9

Spring 2013

Artist inspired by man and machine By Max Freese

society builds people into perfection,” Bodner said.

A young woman with bright orange hair and glasses sits timidly in a large, oversized library chair. She is wearing a black and orange jacket with erratic markings.

The drawing, again using pastels, is of a Barbie doll with thick blonde hair that eventually turns into thick, tentacle-like wires. Circuits can be faintly seen in the loudly pink background.

A portfolio with pieces of art with similar orange colors rests next to her big chair. The young woman is Katherine Bodner of Cambrook. A graduate of Shade City Central High School, she’s a junior graphic design major at California University of Pennsylvania. However, Bodner still isn’t sure why she decided to go Cal U. “I don’t know. I ask myself that same question every day,” Bodner said. Despite not being exactly in love with her college of choice, she is passionate about what she loves most: art.

Bodner doesn’t remember when she first got into art, but she knows that from a young age she’s was “always scribbling.”

Photo by Max Freese

Katherine Bodner creates ‘steampunk’ art.

is a pastel drawing of hands interlocking with one another. Some parts of the hands are exposed and the veins and muscles pop out. Warm colors, such as red and orange, give the piece a fleshy look.

Bodner said that no specific art or artists have an influence on her.

“It’s all about the sense of touch,” Bodner said. “I used Da Vinci and my own hands for references.”

“I like everything,” Bodner said, “from Rembrandt to the latest thing.”

The third piece is untitled and unfinished.

Bodner has three pieces of art in her portfolio that all share a common theme: man and machine.

“This one is about society and how

A secondary passion for Bodner is music. The eye-catching jacket she’s wearing is actually a The Used jacket, an alternative/hardcore rock band that has been around since 2001. The Used frequently play at the Warped Tour, a music and extreme sports festival that Bodner attends every year. In her free time, when she’s not coming up with scenes of creepy biomachinery, she enjoys long walks and ATV rides, she said. Bodner may not find inspiration from a particular artist or work, and she may not know why she chose Cal U, but she is clearly passionate about art.

The first piece, (which Bodner says she forgot the title of), was done with pastels and charcoals. In the foreground, there is a young man with black sunglasses and a black suit. In the background, there’s an orange haze, and within the haze, are different kinds and sizes of cogs and clockwork. A term for this genre of art is “steampunk,” which, according to Wikipedia, is a type of science-fiction that mixes Victorian-era and American West fashion with steam-powered machinery. The second piece, “Nerve Damage,”

Photo by Max Freese

Katherine Bodner’s latest artwork represents society and its strive for perfection.

10 C alorner

Spring 2013

Cal football player hopes to go pro By Victoria Martin

communication and distance issues with his daughter’s mother, he said.

William Davis, 29, a junior finance major at California University of Pennsylvania, is not the typical student.

Davis works as a part-time security guard at McMonagles Irish Pub and at Quiznos in California Borough. He enjoys working with people and is a hands-on individual, he said.

Davis works two part-time jobs while balancing his school work — and even finds time to train to become a professional athlete.

He also said he likes “having authority.” He takes his job as a bouncer seriously, but enjoys watching the various stages of sobriety as the people enter and leave the bar, he said.

Davis is from Cranberry Township, where he played football at Seneca Valley High School. His dreams of becoming a professional athlete were put on hold when Davis became a father after graduation. In his later 20s, Davis decided to further his education and go back to doing what he loves — playing football. “I came to Cal U to play football, get an education, and give my daughter a better future,” Davis said.

Besides his two jobs, Davis is a fulltime student. With all this on his plate, he still manages to work out five days a week, twice a day, he said. Photo by Victoria Martin

William Davis dreams of a pro career.

His 4-year-old daughter lives in New York, so he rarely gets to see her, he said. Davis remains supportive, despite

“I’m conditioning for Pro Day coming up, hoping to play pro football,” Davis said.

See “Player,” Page 12

Student by day, magician by night By Dan Mader

Carmichael said.

“Is this your card?” Dan Carmichael, a card trick enthusiast, asked his friend as the friend flipped through the six cards that he thought were missing the Queen of Hearts, the card the friend had selected from the deck.

Karol did some simple magic tricks along with his show and afterwards, he showed some tricks to students.

Once the friend flipped the last card and revealed the Queen of Hearts, it was apparent that Carmichael was someone special. Carmichael, 20, grew up in North Huntington. Soon after he enrolled at California University of Pennsylvania, his interest in card tricks was ignited. “A few weeks into my freshman year here at Cal, I saw Jim Karol, who is a mentalist, perform at the Performance Center in the Natali Student Center,”

“I was immediately interested in going home and trying them out myself,” Carmichael said. Carmichael went back to his dorm room and started looking up card tricks on YouTube and began to try them. After watching countless videos, he eventually started to teach himself the tricks and began to become expert at them. “I usually do some test runs by myself to practice, and once I become better at them, I start to do them in

Photo by Dan Mader

Dan Carmichael taught himself card tricks.

front of my friends,” Carmichael said. He also said that he has about seven tricks that he has down solidly. He has performed in front of a group as large as 10 people. He’s even performed his best trick --

See “Magic,” Page 12

Calorner 11

Spring 2013

Seamstress stitches her dreams something for a special project, she goes to local businesses.

By Ester Suchevits Some people find it hard to follow their dreams as they get older. For 48-year-old Penny Davis Rowe, this is not the case. In 1990, in Sharon, she founded Rowe Sewing and Embroidery, a business that has grown over time. Rowe’s first shop was in a 200-square-foot building. In six months, she had taken over the shop next door, which was nearly twice as big. In 1-1/2 years, her business grew out of that shop, and she moved it to a house. Four years after that, she moved into her current 2,600-squarefoot shop, where she does just about anything. “If you can wear it, we can do it,” Rowe said. Rowe’s shop does everything from small repairs to making full gowns from scratch. She said she has recently noticed people bringing in old clothing to have it repaired or taken in, possibly because of the economy. She would much rather design her own gown than do a repair, though, she said. “I love it when people let me create,” Rowe said. “I can create a whole gown from my imagination.” For some orders, the customer will give a general idea of what he or she wants but will let Rowe fully or mostly take care of the design.

Being the owner, Rowe gets to decide her schedule. She is there during regular business hours and often stays extra, often four or more hours. Sometimes, she’ll stay late to do a prescheduled fitting for a customer. Rowe hasn’t always lived in Pennsylvania. She was born and raised in Marietta, Ohio. Photo by Ester Suchevits

For over 20 years, Penny Davis Rowe has been sewing and embroidering.

time on embroidery projects. There are also a few other employees who help around the shop part time. Rowe’s equipment includes five sewing machines, three zigzag machines, four irons, and two embroidery machines. Getting the supplies she needs is never an issue, she said. She does the majority of her shopping online, especially for large quantities, and gets a wholesale discount. The supplies for the embroidery work come from one supplier and those for sweatshirts come from another. She gets the majority of the leather she needs from a supplier in California. If she needs only a small amount of

Before operating her own shop, she was an assistant in the medical field. She moved to Pennsylvania after getting married and opened her shop shortly thereafter, she said. Unfortunately, the future for the shop looks somewhat bleak. She said she hopes to leave it as a legacy for future generations. But while both of her children have an interest in sewing, neither wants to take over the business, she said. She said younger generations seem to lack interest in hobbies that take skill, such as sewing. She foresees her shop and other professional shops like it dying out. For those interested in learning more about her shop, information can be found at her website: http://www. She also encourages people to check out her Facebook page.

Like any business, the shop has its busy season. Christmastime is one of the busiest times for Rowe. During January, business can be quite slow, she said, but in February, it starts to pick up again. As it gets closer to the end of the school year and prom season approaches, she enters one of her busiest times because of prom dress orders, she said. Rowe’s husband, Jason, helps keep up with the orders and works part

Photo by Ester Suchevits

In her Sharon shop, Penny Davis Rowe sews everything from zippers to prom dresses.

12 C alorner

The Cal Corner is a publication by the students of Journalism III, under the instruction of Margo Wilson, at California University of Pennsylvania. To put what they learned into action, the class concentrated on various editing techiniques, using the profile stories written by students from a Multidmedia Journalism class. The students also focused on editing the photos provided with the stories.

Player: Gives 100% Continued from Page 10 Davis said a typical day for him begins around 9 a.m. with class. At 10 a.m. he heads to the gym and then to another class, barely squeezing in time for lunch. After class, Davis heads to one of his two jobs and still finds time for another workout.

Spring 2013

Photo by Margo Wilson

Meet the editors: Clockwise from front left, Morgan Cushey, Tyler Kimmel, and Scott Traverso take a break from their layouts during their Journalism III Editing class.

Magic: Student stumps friends with his card trick proficiency Continued from Page 10 and favorite -- over the airwaves at the WCAL Radio station as the DJ broadcast the trick Carmichael was doing. Carmichael told the DJ that he would be amazed.

“When you want success just as badly as you want to breathe, then you will become successful,” Davis said.

Carmichael started by asking the DJ to select a card.

Davis said his goals are to play pro football, graduate from Cal U with his finance degree, and become a successful business person and father.

The DJ chose the Queen of Hearts and as Carmichael told him to put the card back in the deck, the DJ looked skeptical.

Davis wants to provide more for his daughter and become a better father after graduation, he said. He admitted it takes a toll on him not being able to see his daughter. But as he sees it, his dreams show that he wants to be a good role model and father figure.

But he placed the card back into the deck and Carmichael began to shuffle.

He said he believes people should “just do it, because no one else will do it for you. That’s the motto I live by.”

The DJ shook his head at every card and became puzzled how Carmichael was going to pull this off.

Carmichael then took the bottom six cards of the deck and asked the DJ if any of them were his card.

Carmichael then took those six cards, did not add any, and placed them in the DJ’s hand. He told the DJ to grip them tightly, and after he did, Carmichael slapped the cards. Five cards scattered on the floor and one stayed in the DJ’s hand. The DJ flipped the card over and was astonished to see the Queen of Hearts in his hand. Carmichael had amazed the DJ, as well as those listening over the WCAL airwaves. The DJ was stunned, to say the least. Carmichael had remained slick and calm while performing his tricks, both in front of his friend and during the radio broadcast. And so it is with Carmichael. Just as soon as a person thinks he knows him, Carmichael will pull a card that is unexpected.

Cal Corner Spring 2013  
Cal Corner Spring 2013  

This is a publication of the Journalism III Individualized Instruction students at California University of Pennsylvania. They teamed with a...