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EQ

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INSIDE HELPING IN HOT SPRINGS

Fall 2015

QUARTERLY

ISSUE

B AT E S V I L L E , A R

ROMANIA

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EAST EAST GOES

> FALL

HIGHLIGHTS

EAST CONFERENCE UPDATES

(EASTERN EUROPE, TO BE EXACT)

GALA + RED CARPET EXTRAVAGANZA

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A CATALYST IN CRESTON

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S ’ N O S A SE S G N I T GREE EAST from


FALL 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2

EDITOR’S LETTER

By Spencer Watson

FACILITATOR PROFILE

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MEET AT EAST

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

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EAST facilities are available for rent to the public.

The Batesville EAST program travels to Eastern Europe to establish a satellite campus.

Hot Springs has a flooding issue, and one EAST program has some ideas on how to fix it.

We sat down with Anthony Donahoo and discussed his EAST experience being a facilitator in the classroom with a group of incredible students at Creston High School in Iowa.

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EAST ALUMNI

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STUDENT TECHNICAL TRAINING

We talked with Ross Simms on how EAST impacted and changed his life for the better.

Check out these upcoming changes to student technical training, including new and adaptive programs.

STAFF PROFILE

Meet Lani Jennings, one of the EAST Initiative’s newest staff members. She is the office coordinator, as well as one of the first friendly faces you see when you walk into our building, and she is there to greet you with a smile!

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EVENTS

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CONFERENCE

21

SPONSORSHIP

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GEEK SPEAK

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CALENDAR

25

GEAR STORE

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PARTNERS & SPONSORS

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EAST STAFF

See highlights from Installs, EAST Night In, EAST Night Out, and more!

Gala, Red Carpet Extravaganza and all things Conference!

See how you can help support the EAST Conference.

Find out what to expect from TSO at Conference.

Upcoming events for December, January and February.

Buy new gear we have in stock so that you can look awesome.

Thank you to all who sponsor and partner with EAST!

Here’s a little insight into what the staff of EAST is really like.

FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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EDITOR’S LETTER

EQ NOT TO GET TOO PHILOSOPHICAL HERE, but what really struck me in planning this issue of EQ is how EAST manages to span both time and space. No, not in the same sense as last issue, where we saw how students at Magnet Cove had worked with NASA (and, I’m happy to report, are still doing so) on ideas that are out of this world, but in a more abstract sense.

To wit, this issue features Batesville High School, where students have established a satellite program in Romania—quite literally half a world away. In the sense of distance, that’s a lot of space to cover. But the marvels of modern technology make this partnership not only possible, but instantaneous. Another project covered in this issue sees a student from Hot Springs Middle School whose project addresses a problem that has stymied the local government for decades and the local community for centuries. Indeed, the problem itself is as old as humanity: how to deal with flooding. In this instance, EAST has an answer, and that’s pretty cool. In the same vein, we also take a look at how the EAST Initiative is trying to make student technical training more adaptive and responsive to the students and facilitators who offer their time and often travel a great distance to partake in it. Among technology’s greatest gifts is efficiency, meaning a worthwhile use of time, and we hope to improve that for everyone. Lastly, it’s only natural that, as the calendar swings into these closing months of 2015, the mind turns to time off. That is, the winter holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s ­­and all the holidays that crowd this part of the calendar­­ should be treasured. Here’s hoping yours are merry and fun and refreshing and invigorating. January is right around the corner, which means Conference 2016 isn’t far behind. Look for more on that in the next issue.

Spencer Watson

QUARTERLY

6215 Ranch Dr. Little Rock, AR 72223 501.371.5016 www.eastinitiative.org MAGAZINE TEAM Editor - Spencer Watson Designer - Dave Lewis CONTRIBUTORS Marisa Damm Ross Sims PHOTOGRAPHY Spencer Watson Dave Lewis COVER Dave Lewis PRINTING/PUBLISHING Printed by Allegra Print & Imaging of Arkansas, Inc. Published digitally through Issuu at: issuu.com/eastquarterly Disclaimer The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of the EAST Initiative. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the copyright holder. All copyrights are recognized and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review.

Editor EAST Quarterly

Questions or feedback?

communications@EASTstaff.org

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EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org


HOW CAN I GET

AT MY SCHOOL?

1. Talk to your school administration (Principal, Vice Principal, Superintendent etc.), and tell them what you see here. Show them this publication. 2. Encourage them to visit the EAST website www.EASTinitiative.org. 3. Have them email Tami@EASTstaff.org to get additional information.

WHAT IS EAST?

EAST is unlike any other model in modern education. It is a project-based, service-learning oriented program that provides students with high-end technology available in the most progressive fields in the world. At its heart, EAST is a coordinated effort to provide today’s students with an educational atmosphere that allows them to gain insight into their own abilities to acquire and use information, solve problems and gain valuable experience. Since its inception in 1996, the EAST model has expanded to more than 220 schools in five states (Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania). For more information about the EAST Initiative, visit www.EASTinitiative.org.

@theEASTinitiative

fb.com/east.initiative

@EASTinitiative FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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RENTAL RATES

R E N TA L R AT E S CONFERENCE ROOM 838 SQ.FT.

$250 per day $175 half day SEATING CLASSROOM 36 THEATRE 64 BOARDROOM 34 PODS 48

The meeting and training rooms of the new, 14,000 square-foot headquarters of the EAST Initiative in west Little Rock are available for public rental and provide adaptive venues in which to hold meetings, training seminars or professional development workshops. Each room offers a variety of configurations and comes technologically equipped to suit your presentation needs.

BOARD ROOM 1,242 SQ.FT.

$300 per day $225 half day SEATING CLASSROOM 60 THEATRE 80 BOARDROOM 24 PODS 48

LAB 1

COMBINED

LAB 2

1,156

2,218

1,062

$250 per day $175 half day

$450 per day $375 half day

$250 per day $175 half day

SEATING

SEATING

SEATING

CLASSROOM 30 THEATRE 65 BOARDROOM 16 PODS 32-36

CLASSROOM 70 THEATRE 140 PODS 76

CLASSROOM 30 THEATRE 65 BOARDROOM 16 PODS 32-36

SQ.FT.

SQ.FT.

SQ.FT.

CONTACT INFO

MELANIE RIDLON melanie@eaststaff.org or 501-371-5016 ALL ROOMS INCLUDE A PROJECTOR, PROJECTION SCREEN AND WI-FI. COMPUTER LAB RENTALS ARE AVAILABLE FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE.

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EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org


TILE TO REMAIN

MEN 137

TECH. 134

WOMEN 136

CORRIDOR 144

CORRIDOR 150 OFFICE 127

SMALL CONFERENCE 131

SERVER 130

JANITOR 129

LAB 122

CARPET TILE

OFFICE 126

CONFERENCE 104

THINK SPACE 284 ft²

WORKROOM 128

CORRIDOR 149

KITCHEN + BREAKROOM 103

OFFICE 123

OFFICE 124

OFFICE 125

CORRIDOR 148

OFFICE 105

CARPET TILE

CLOSET 153

CLOSET 152

CLOSET 151

OFFICE 106

CORRIDOR 147

OFFICE 107

LAB 121

OFFICE 120

CORRIDOR 145

OFFICE 119

OFFICE 108

OFFICE 118

CARPET TILE

LAB 2

RECEPTION 133

KITCHENETTE 135

MECHANICAL 102

CARPET TILE

LAB 1

BOARD ROOM

LAB 143

STORAGE 138

MEN 140

STORAGE 141

WOMEN 139

ELECTRICAL 101

MECHANICAL COURT

CORRIDOR 146

OFFICE 117

OFFICE 116

OFFICE 115

OFFICE 114

OFFICE 113

OFFICE 112

OFFICE 111

OFFICE 110

OFFICE 109

BUI L D I N G S C H E M AT IC

CONF. ROOM

FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

TO

EASTern EUROPE BATESVILLE ESTABLISHES SATELLITE CAMPUS IN ROMANIA B Y S P E N C E R WAT S O N

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hen she was first approached about the idea of opening a global classroom in Romania, Jeanne Roepcke, facilitator at Batesville High School, had a fairly pragmatic reaction: great idea, but “we’re not going to Romania.” The time, the distance, the money. All seemed like significant obstacles. Of course, like most EAST programs, Batesville is no stranger to overcoming challenges. That’s why, on Sept. 22, Roepcke and two students were standing in the Little Rock airport, bound for Sighisoara, where they planned to install a 3D printer, laptops and associated software to connect their own classroom to another half a world away. The equipment was purchased with a $5,000 grant from Citizens Bank in Batesville. Airfare was paid for by the school district. “I’ve been in EAST for five years and never seen the whole town come together for a project like they have for this one. From getting started through partnerships, to the funding contributions, to the way we’ve had so much support 6

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

and interest from the community. People are so excited for this project,” said senior Jon Ward, team leader for the project. For junior Amanda Okolo, setting out was a surreal moment that had started when she’d been invited to make the trip. “I was like, yeah right. I just couldn’t believe it at first. But Ms. Roepcke said, ‘No, I have the ticket for you if you want to go.’” The whole thing had started some months before when the class was connected with Roberta Bustin, a former chemistry professor at Batesville’s Lyon College who is now a missionary living in Romania. She was aware of EAST from past partnerships and saw an opportunity to grow an academic after school program there, which operates independent of the local school and has to supply its own funding.

in this class hand-makes and sells these local emblems. While normally EAST projects are more sophisticated than this, the original goal in Romania was to teach these students how to use 3D design technology to make the emblems on a computer and 3D print them to sell and support their class.” The arrangement has Batesville students offering instruction first thing each morning at 8 a.m. local time, which is the end of the day Romanian time. It started for the EAST class as uncharted territory, since they’d never seen or spoken with the Romanian students, all of whom are proficient in English, before being connected. And there were some surprises.

Jon recalled that early idea.

“We’d talk to them online face to face and tell them something about Blender, a program for digital design and animation,” said Jon. “While they would all look at the screen and write some notes, none of them would touch a computer. They’re just so not used to applying what they learn.”

“One of the cool things about this town, it’s very ‘touristy.’ One of the students

It’s not that they are unlearned -- far from it, said Jon and Amanda. It’s just that the


American students saw what they interpreted as a sort of cultural memory of communism, the ruling ideology when the parents of these Romanian students were young, during which asking questions and doing more (or less) than instructed was generally frowned upon. Even today, Jon said, the education system is very rigid, all built toward a final test before graduation. “These students are very smart kids, really nice kids too, and you can tell they really want to learn,” said Amanda. “But this is so different for them, just like it was for all of us walking into EAST for first time. They’re used to having people tell them what to do in class.” But that’s changing. Questions are commonplace now. What started as a means to support a fundraising idea turned into real project-based learning. Indeed, some Romanian students have surpassed some of their Batesville instructors in Blender. Jon tells the story of one enthusiastic student who has taken the program and really run with it, making things on his own simply for the joy of it. “The things he’s created are unreal. You could see the excitement on his face of just getting to create new things. Unlike the emblems we started with, which were being made and sold to raise funds, these things have no practical ‘purpose,’ but he was able to explore and make something he wanted to make. Even streaming, you could see how happy he was from being able to do that.” The success has led to discussions of how to expand the offerings, such as by adding photo and video editing programs like Photoshop or Final Cut, and maybe someday by adding other classrooms in Romania or elsewhere. “We want people there to know about everything this class is doing,” said Amanda. “So if we taught them Photoshop or video software, they could promote everything they’re doing by making a video. It would get them publicity, maybe get more students.”

I don’t want to say we’re changing the future of a country, but this is what these kids need, this chance to explore, to think outside the box they’ve been forced to be in.

Jon agreed. “These kids are really smart and can tell you anything, but they don’t have opportunities to think creatively in class or to innovate. Normally, school all leads up to passing a specific test to be successful,” he said. That may not sound so different from some American classrooms. Yet, it highlights the way in which EAST can meet educational needs anywhere and prove transformative, regardless of borders or cultures. “I don’t want to say we’re changing the future of a country here,” Jon said, “but I think this is what these kids need, this chance to explore, to think outside the box they’ve been forced to be in.” n FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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A

FLOOD IDE OF

I

STUDENT’S DETERMINATION MAY SOLVE PERSISTENT STORMWATER PROBLEM

t was a dark and stormy night. Or, rather, more of a mildly wet morning. In any case, there had been some rain. And Miles Hermann, at the time just starting his first year in EAST at Hot Springs Middle School, had been tasked with thinking about project ideas. That was the beginning. “On the way to school one morning I saw that the water was almost to the top of this drainage tunnel. When I came into EAST, I asked if we could solve that problem. The answer [from facilitator John Stokes] was, ‘Sure,’” said Miles, 14, now midway through his second year of EAST. He’s still working on that “sure.” It was never going to be easy. The tunnel in question, built before the 20th century, is off Whittington Avenue right where it connects to Central Avenue. For those not well versed in Hot Springs geography, that’s right in the heart of historic downtown, just around the bend from the front steps of the Arlington Hotel. For those who’ve studied the topography, it’s the single spot where the entire “bowl” of Hot Springs collects, and backs up, before it can drain off. It’s also right on the edge of the national park. It can’t be excavated because it’s historic. And it’s been a problem for as long as anybody can remember. Unsurprisingly, others had ventured solutions before -- students, engineers, consultants. None had really offered a plan that proved both viable and affordable. Until Miles. 8

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

“I was met with skepticism, even by myself,” he said. “I thought, how could I possibly do this? I was 13 when I started the project. But my family just said, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t you be able to?’ And they’re right. We’ve got all the technology we need in EAST. So we started working through the problem as if it were as simple as not having the pencil sharpener working, something small. We just had to go through it one step at a time.” Step one: move the water, right?

“We found out real quick that was a bad idea. We made our first 3D model in Sketchup and the idea was to transport the water via a pressurized tube to a lake almost six miles away. We talked to the city engineers and found out that this is a very bad idea. Moving water is one of the hardest things you can physically do without a water wheel and especially over such a distance, so we shut that idea down real quick.” So, Miles reasoned, if you can’t move the water you have to keep it in place. And that means giving it somewhere to go. There were a few “touch and go” ideas on what that should be, but the ultimate result, which won support from city stormwater manager Max Sestili and

which Miles hopes to bring to the Hot Spring Board of Directors for them to adopt and build, would create either one large or a series of five smaller reservoir basins. The basins would fill slowly and drain quickly, controlled by drop-down gates that, themselves, would be controlled by sensors already placed by the United States Geological Survey to monitor water flow. Miles created the model, in exacting scale detail, in Sketchup and then ArchiCAD after climbing down into the tunnel and over trees and old debris to measure it, then weighing those measurements against all of the data from past floods. It was an endeavor. “Crunching numbers, by all means, was the most challenging part. I’m a numbers person, but these were the hardest numbers to work with that I’ve ever seen,” said Miles. “Numbers like the flow rates and watersheds, you’ve gotta account for all these different factors that represent the tunnel itself.” The number that usually catches the interest of government, though, is cost. And the best estimate so far for the model Miles created is around $12 million. While no small amount, compare it to a $23 million proposal made 15 years ago


PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

AS

WE STARTED WORKING THROUGH THE PROBLEM AS IF IT WERE AS SIMPLE AS NOT HAVING THE PENCIL SHARPENER WORKING, SOMETHING SMALL. WE JUST HAD TO GO THROUGH IT ONE STEP AT A TIME.

BY SPENCER WATSON

to deepen the tunnel (which, again, may not be permitted because of its historic nature). Or compare it to the $5.3 million in damages caused by the most recent major flood in 1990. Either makes $12 million seem more economical. “You’ve got to weigh pros and cons here. You might spend $12 million, but at the same time you’re saving lives and up to $5 million a year. That’s quite a bit,” said Miles. And the design has potential, according to city staff. “Denny [McPhate, director of Public Works] and I have already seen this and we really believe it’s actually something legitimate and possibly something to pursue with some additional engineering,” Sestil, the stormwater manager, recently told Jay Bell of the Sentinel-Record. As for Miles, he’d love to see the design become a reality. In the meantime, he’s learned a lot about the potential of computer modeling for fields he was already interested in: architecture and engineering. “This has really opened those fields up for me in knowing what you can do,” he said. “Originally I thought ok, you draw a design on a piece of paper or make it out of wood or something. But no, you can design a 3D model of whatever you’re making in these programs and you’re looking at your solution. And you can even walk through that model and see how it works. And that’s really beautiful.”n

FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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FACILITATOR PROFILE

COACHING CLASSROOM IN THE

ROLE AS FACILITATOR, UNIQUE PROGRAM PROVE A PERFECT FIT BY SPENCER WATSON

M

ost facilitators have likely been in the position of having to explain exactly what it is students do in their classroom, whether to a potential community partner, an inquiring colleague in the teachers’ lounge or maybe to a friend who just wants to know what they do all day. But few facilitators are in the unique position of being the only person in their state who does what they do. “Words get thrown around like project-based learning, and people understand that, so sometimes you have to bring it back to that to get people to understand that’s partly what we’re doing here. That’s my intro to us,” said Anthony Donahoo, facilitator at Creston High School, the sole EAST program in Iowa. Not that Donahoo had much of an 10

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

introduction himself when he applied to take over the program in 2012. Having graduated from Northwest Missouri State in the middle of the academic year, the Corning, Iowa, native worked at a gym in Kansas City for a time, something he’d long planned to do. But he’d always planned to go into education, ever since a beloved teacher sat him down as a sophomore in high school and gave him a frank assessment of his athletic skills, coupled with an encouragement that he’d make a fine teacher and coach. The problem was, as the academic year ended, teaching jobs were scarce. “I saw that they had an EAST facilitator position at Creston, about 20 minutes from Corning, and I had no idea what EAST was, but I was like, you know what, I’ll apply for it,” he said.

Turns out, he had to choose between EAST and teaching social studies. “I was going into an unknown, but I remember in the introductory training provided to new EAST facilitators, I was just locked from the second I heard what EAST was. And I realized how lucky I was to have this opportunity. I remember thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t everyone want this job?’” Not that it’s easy. It’s never easy. There are the hours outside of class, the weekends helping students with projects and, of course, the travel when it comes time to head to Arkansas for the annual EAST Conference or summer professional development. But Donahoo is uniquely appreciative of that extra attention. It’s what he needed from education, himself. “As a student, it was hard to reach me. I was a very tactile learner. I can’t sit at my


desk. I’ve got to touch what I’m learning,” he said, recalling time spent after school working one-on-one with teachers to get concepts down. “So now, as an educator, when I spend that time with students, I understand that even though this is taking out of my family time, and it’s unpaid, and I’ve been up for 14 hours now, I know how significant it is for that kid in that ‘aha’ moment. That’s what makes it worth it.” Creston is a program that began and remains strong thanks to support from a local bank. Inside the school, Donahoo credits his administration with recognizing that worth and supporting EAST -- financially and academically -- because of it. And he credits the broader EAST family for repaying their investment with camaraderie and friendship at events like Summer Seminar and Conference, as well as remotely. “We are on an island out here, but I’ve never felt alone -- ever -- in anything I’ve ever done, and that’s what’s very, very unique about EAST.” That’s helpful, he said, because he’s

WE ARE ON AN ISLAND OUT HERE, BUT I'VE NEVER FELT ALONE — EVER — IN ANYTHING I'VE EVER DONE, AND THAT'S WHAT'S VERY, VERY UNIQUE ABOUT EAST. cognizant of the fact that his program plays the role of standard bearer.

you do it with your team? It’s the same way in coaching athletics.”

“I’ve always told the students that we can be the catalyst. We can be the catalyst for people in Iowa understanding what EAST is.”

Finding a path that brings that love of coaching into the classroom makes Donahoo grateful he picked the unknown over social studies. Of course, it also helps, he said, that EAST is everything education in Iowa is striving to be.

Small wonder, then, that the selfdescribed nerdy athlete (or athletic nerd) would embrace the role of coach, both on the field for “everything under the sun,” as well as in the classroom. “I think it goes completely hand in hand. There’s a relationship there, letting kids get to a solution without being behind them pushing them. You tell them, you’ve gotta get to the end goal, but how do we do that? How do we do it as a team? How do

“I really do think that EAST is ahead of the curve. I just don’t think I can say that enough. I look at what Iowa is thinking of doing and how we’re going to a more collaborative and project-based learning — it’s the basis of what we’re trying to do, and it’s just really exciting to be a part of that and to have been a part of that for a while now. “So, yeah, I guess I won the lottery.” n

I'VE ALWAYS TOLD THE STUDENTS THAT WE CAN BE THE CATALYST. WE CAN BE THE CATALYST FOR PEOPLE IN IOWA UNDERSTANDING WHAT EAST IS.

FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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EAST ALUMNI

CHALLENGE CCEPTED Finding EAST at a tough time offered new direction BY ROSS SIMS Last year, Program Coordinator Tami Baker met Ross Sims, technology coordinator for the Lakeside School District in Lake Village, Arkansas, while helping install technology in a new EAST program at Lakeside Middle School. During their visit, Tami learned Ross is a former EAST student whose life was changed for the better because of EAST. She asked Ross to share his story.

A

s a sophomore at Lakeside High School, I was not on the college prep track. I took the lowest level courses, not challenging myself at all so I could focus more time on hanging out with friends. At the end of the school year and through that summer, I faced a difficult season of life from losing my dad to diabetes to being treated for some serious health issues, much of which resulted from stress.

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*Photo courtesy of Ross Sims

After that, I knew I wanted my life to be different so I decided that after high school I wanted to go to college -- but I didn’t know how that was going to happen quite yet. Over the years, several teachers had tried to persuade me to do something more for myself and not continue wasting my time, but no one told me how. That changed over a conversation with my teacher Ann Rossini, who told me about a new program starting at Lakeside. She was telling me how to do something more. EAST was how.


If this new program was going to succeed, it was because of us. If it was not, we were going to keep working at it until it did. I was one of four students chosen to set up the technology in the new EAST classroom and learn all of the software. Because EAST is studentdriven, we were also the student administrators. If this new program was going to succeed, it was because of us. If it was not, we were going to keep working at it until it did. EAST gave me purpose. I learned how to repair computers and how to use software that I had never even heard of. I was certified in GIS/GPS my junior year of high school. I was providing technical support for teachers. I gained confidence in myself that was not there before. Joining EAST forced me to adjust my schedule, and those teachers who previously told me about the time I had been wasting got their wish. I joined the college prep track, which meant catching up on two years of courses. I remember taking Spanish I and II at the same time, and all the other college prep courses. I actually had to study! The opportunity I was given, though, was worth it. My senior year, I joined the National Honor Society and received the Potlatch scholarship, which I maintained at Southern Arkansas University for four years, earning a degree in mass communications. None of that would have been possible without EAST. After graduating college, I moved back home with my wife in search of a job and eventually accepted a computer technician job at Lakeside, even though I had not worked on computers much since high school in EAST. The opportunity allowed me to continue my education and provide for my family.

ALUMNI,

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

While earning my teaching license and working in the classroom, I was encouraged to see the development in technology at Lakeside and project-based learning on the rise. It seemed the EAST model was being integrated into every classroom. I was often asked about my theory of education while working toward my license and explained that I didn’t want to be a teacher; I wanted to be a facilitator of learning. When asked about the difference, I explained that it is all about where the knowledge is coming from. I could stand at the front of the classroom and spout facts like many teachers do, but I wanted my students to discover answers. I wanted them to perform tasks that would allow them to find the answers. I believe EAST directly affected my educational theory. After two years in the classroom, the technology coordinator announced her retirement, and I immediately applied for the position. I loved helping 120 students learn new things, but what if I could help 1,200 students by assisting the technology staff in learning to use technology better? I had to take that opportunity. Now, 16 years after we first opened those boxes and ran those wires, we have come full circle, and I am watching a new group of students create a new EAST classroom at our middle school, transforming our students at an even earlier level. Reflection is sweet.

/EASTalumni @theEASTalumni Education doesn’t end with graduation, and no one knows that better than EAST Alumni. So where has EAST taken you? Check in with us via social media. Post a picture and let us know when and where you graduated, along with what you’re doing now. Use the hashtag

#EASTalumni.

We are searching for 20 years of EAST Alumni. Join us every third Tuesday for meetings and register free today for news and announcements.

www.EASTalumni.org

Thank you, EAST. n FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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FEATURE STORY

A

NATURAL FIT NEW OPPORTUNITIES WILL IMPROVE STUDENT TRAININGS BY SPENCER WATSON

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I

n addition to gathering more feedback from students and facilitators in an attempt to make student technical training more adaptive, the EAST Initiative has also entered into a partnership this year that will create opportunities to take sophisticated hands-on training in some software out into the field in the future. The partnership comes via the Nature Conservancy, an international nonprofit that promotes conservation, which has purchased nearly 250 acres less than a mile from the EAST headquarters and has begun reviewing proposals to start using the land to create educational opportunities for both students and the public. “We’re still in the brainstorming phase, but already some of our training partners have identified ways in which we could incorporate this property in student training,” said Rinda Hall, a program coordinator with EAST. Among those organizations are video training leader Steve Taylor and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Taylor, a conservation advocate himself, said the land could give students the opportunity to shoot still and video photography in a pristine natural setting, not often easy to find in an urban area. Applications for training through CAST including using

the land for lidar, or light and detection ranging, to measure and map the property for geographic information systems (GIS). From that, data could be made mapping specific species of trees or wildlife or many other elements of the property. Of course, not all training happens in the field. Sometimes finding new and creative ways to apply technology to service projects just takes time in a computer lab figuring out software. On that front, Phaedra Hawkins, student train-

EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING WILL HELP US TO SEE WHERE WE NEED TO GO AND WHAT WE NEED TO IMPROVE AND GET A GENERAL IDEA OF HOW THIS HAS BEEN HELPFUL TO THE STUDENTS WHO COME TO EAST TRAINING. ing coordinator at the EAST Initiative, is implementing some data collection efforts to make time invested by students more efficient. “This year we implemented a presurvey questionnaire for our students asking what they know about the training they’ve signed up for, and we’ve combined that with a post-training survey asking what did the students learn throughout that training.”

The results, said Hawkins, will help measure the impact of each training not only individually, but throughout the course of the whole year — and even year to year. “Everything we’re doing will help us to see where we need to go and what we need to improve and get a general idea of how this has been helpful to the students who come to EAST training,” she said. Part of the survey efforts will measure how students are using their training, including the most advanced training offered, in completing projects, and knowing that will help in setting the training schedule going forward, said Melanie Ridlon, EAST’s senior director of operations. “Previously, when looking back to see what we might add, the only analysis we had was simply supply and demand. So, if the sessions were repetitively full, we would keep those on the schedule,” she said. But, because there are always new students and new schools, that measure has historically often weighted toward introductory classes. Studying the survey data on application of advanced training will offer a better picture of the need, she said. Having a huge outdoor classroom in which to apply many of the advanced trainings offered will help to make them all the more useful and unique. n

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STAFF PROFILE

I

t’s been a half century since “Father Knows Best” was on the air, but the adage still rings true for EAST’s office coordinator Lani Jennings. It was her father, the superintendent of the early 2015 renovation project for EAST’s new headquarters building in Little Rock, who led her to the company. “He just said it’s a really great company, that I should look into it and apply, so I did,” said Jennings, who started in September. It was a leap of faith on her part, having grown up in Bee Branch, a town about halfway between 16

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

Greenbrier and Clinton. Despite being in the backyard of where EAST originated, there was no program at Southside Bee Branch where she graduated high school. She had never heard of EAST. “So I went to the website and kind of looked around and could not believe there was this cool company, which I had never heard of despite all the amazing things they do,” she said. A marketing major with an emphasis on research and a love of numbers, Jennings was, at the time she applied to EAST, working in a medical office handling billing and

insurance. The change was considerable, to say the least. “I’ve always applauded educators, because I’ve never seen myself in that kind of environment at all. I don’t really have that kind of personality. So, supporting educators is not exactly where I expected to be, but I love it.” That support comes in a lot of ways. It’s answering questions, either in person or on the phone. It’s working on a variety of projects within the office, from preparation for October’s EAST Night In to reorganizing the office’s inventory of supplies. She’s even taken charge of directing the Conference Clips video series offering news and updates on all


A FRIENDLY FACE EAST office coordinator handles many tasks with a smile By Spencer Watson things Conference. Oh, and she can help guests find a decent meal nearby when they come to EAST for training or professional development. Luckily, as someone who has always been outdoorsy and active, she said she thrives on being busy.

I want guests to be left with a positive experience. I want to able to show them what EAST is, to show them we’re someone who pushes them forward, someone who empowers and motivates and supports them.

“Getting to see how it all comes together is great. Now, granted, I may just be putting tables together or doing whatever I can do to help out, but I also get to be the point of contact that people see first; I get to ask if they’re excited for training that day or how they’re doing that morning and get to spark that feeling of excitement when they walk through the doors.” It’s partly having a natural knack for making people smile and partly just knowing people like seeing a smiling face. “You’re not always in a good mood, as much as everyone wants to always be in a good mood, but I started out in retail and you learn really fast, if you’re smiling and putting on a good mood, you’re going to get more out of that than if you’re negative. That’s going to influence the whole day for someone, so, I mean, you might as well greet everyone with a smile.” After all, what’s not to smile about, Jennings said. Being at EAST should be fun, even when it’s challenging. “I want guests to be left with a positive experience,” she said. “I want to able to show them what EAST is, to show them we’re someone who pushes them forward, someone who empowers and motivates and supports them.” n FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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FALL EVENTS

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EVENTS

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CONFERENCE

NIGHT IN THE SPOTLIGHT CONFERENCE ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET

UPCOMING CONFERENCE DEADLINES TO NOTE

TSO Golden Help Ticket Responses Due Leadership Team Applications (Ambassador, Documentation & Tech Support) Due

December 2, 2015

School/Facilitator Registration Deadline

December 4, 2015

Founder’s Award Letter of Intent Due

December 11, 2015

Poster Competition Submissions Due

January 13, 2016

Music Competition Submissions Due

January 20, 2016

Student Competition Submissions Due -3D Animation -ArchiCAD -Micro Controller -Storytelling with Esri Maps -Video -Website Design

January 27, 2016

Founder’s Award Applications Due

January 29, 2016

National Service Project Competition Submissions Due

February 5, 2016

T

he cast of EAST is many and varied: staff, facilitators, administrators, partners and sponsors. But the stars of the show have always been the students of EAST, whose work never ceases to amaze, impress and inspire. For that reason, the structure of our annual Conference, which celebrates the achievements of these stars, is changing this year. The pinnacle of the event, during which the Founders Award will be presented, will take place at the Awards Gala. Though the dress code will remain formal, the sit-down banquet and the long wait at the doors will be gone. “Part of the motivation here is that EAST outgrew the banquet format,” said Jessica Dunham, events manager for the EAST Initiative. “But we’ve been playing with the idea of a different format for a while. We want to create the atmosphere and experience of an awards show, like the Emmys and Oscars, from arrival to presentation.” To help create that atmosphere, the Gala will be preceded by a Red Carpet Extravaganza. It will offer a chance for attendees to meet and greet, snap photos

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November 30, 2015

Student/Chaperone Registration Deadline

February 10, 2016

Three Photos Upload Deadline

February 10, 2016

Leadership Team Retreat

February 17-18, 2016

School Drop Deadline

February 19, 2016

Shuttle Request Deadline

February 26, 2016

School Booth Requests Deadline

February 29, 2016

and, most of all, share the experience as anticipation for the ceremony builds. “The goal of Conference is to celebrate, and we want students to have fun while doing that,” said Dunham. “We think the introduction of the Red Carpet Extravaganza and the Gala for the awards ceremony will add to the fun.” n


SPONSORSHIP

INVEST IN

M

SUCCESS

S P O N S O R S I N V I T E D T O P A R T I C I P AT E I N C O N F E R E N C E

arch may seem like a long way off — it’s on the other side of Christmas, after all — but EAST Conference 2016 will be here before you know it. With that come numerous opportunities to support what many would call the most electric three days in education anywhere. From competitions to special events, printed items to electronic communications, there are many ways through which businesses or individuals can not only help make the event a success, but can also showcase their own organizations to thousands of visitors and participants. “Simply put, our sponsors are vital to making Conference possible,” said Jessica Dunham, events manager for the EAST Initiative. See, the benefits of sponsorship include more than just getting your

name out in front of participants from across the country. Sponsors are also invited to participate in Conference in a variety of ways, from leading tomorrow’s innovators in a breakout session to seeing the celebration of their accomplishments firsthand at the Conference Gala. All sponsors receive these opportunities, regardless of sponsorship level.

other technical or entrepreneurshiprelated events. You can certainly find them participating in the Acxiom Internship Program and as a member of our full-time workforce. EAST students and alumni are awesome, and I have to say that I am personally a big fan!” she said. n

“We’re proud to have supported the EAST Conference for 15 years now. Every year we’re amazed to see the variety of projects that the EAST students come up with and the energy and enthusiasm with which they present those ideas at Conference, and it’s pretty cool to be a part of that,” said Candice Offonry, College Recruiting/University Relations with Acxiom. “We consider EAST a pipeline program and regularly look for the students on college campuses and at

CONFERENCE NEEDS YOU!

To help support the Conference experience for thousands of students, contact Melanie Ridlon, senior director of operations, at events@ eaststaff.org or James Hopper, development coordinator, at development@eaststaff.org or call 501-371-5016.

DONATE TODAY AT

supportEAST.org

MARCH 15 - 17

HOT SPRINGS CONVENTION CENTER

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T.S.Oh. H

ave you heard of the Tech Support Olympiad? If not, it’s a competition for the “techie” students to participate in EAST Conference. It’s comprised of three rounds: first — the Golden Help Ticket, which must be completed to move on to the next round; second — three “graded” tickets completed preConference, with grades added up to determine the top contestants; and finally third — the live round Thursday, March 17, at EAST Conference, in which the top five students from round two are asked to come compete!

Then, they had to translate this photo:

represent 0s and 1s, which make up bytes. Taking those, it can translate from binary to text: ftp://tso/. Competitors then used this text to connect to an ftp server where they found three files. The first of which was the golden_ticket.mp4.001, the second was golden_ticket.mp4.005, and the third was location.png. They had to conclude that there was a sequence of missing files: golden_ticket.mp4.002, golden_ticket.mp4.003 and golden_ ticket.mp4.004 So, they had to use the file location.png to track down the others.

At this point, the first round is complete. The deadline to enter a solution for the Golden Help Ticket was Nov. 30. But, for those who entered, you might be wondering what the live round actually looks like. This was last year’s puzzle: The contestants started out with a computer with no internet. Their first step was to make an ethernet cable to connect to a switch to gain access. 22

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

Do you know what this could be? Binary! The on and off of the light bulbs

The interesting things about colors is that they hold values. The RGB val-


GEEK SPEAK

A LOOK BACK TO HELP THIS YEAR’S COMPETITORS BY MARISA DAMM

ues can be translated into an IP address (Editor’s Note: Bing’s IP is used in this example since the one used in the competition last year doesn’t exist anymore). Translating the RGB values into an IP address yields:

Once they downloaded the TSO logo above, hidden.png, they had to rename it to hidden.zip (which was indicated in a hint). Once they extracted that zip file they were given two files, golden_ticket.mp4.003 and key.txt. If they followed the path given in key.txt, it was a blank folder. They

#0000cc

#4fc5c8

204.79.197.200

At that address, competitors were given this photo: Inside of the source code of the webpage (or the backend coding of the webpage) was the file golden_ ticket.mp4.002.

needed to enable hidden files on the computer to view the final piece of the video, golden_ticket. mp4.004. From there they could pull all of the files into the same location and then use 7zip, a program that was installed on the competition computers, to combine all the files back together. The result gave them a completed video, taken from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of Charlie singing “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.” The first contestant who made the song play got points for being first. When time was over for the competition, the contestant with the highest score won! This year, we hope to go above and beyond for the contestants, and we hope to make this competition more hands-on and more interesting than ever before. We encourage everybody to support the students in the competition as they compete live the last morning of Conference in the Grand Lobby! Stay tuned for more information on time and who the lucky ones are that make it this year! n FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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CALENDAR

TRAINING

CALENDAR DECEMBER 2015 Nov 30-Dec 1 The Why of Where: History and Culture Nov 30-Dec 1 Advanced DSLR Photography Nov 30-Dec 1 Phase III 2nd-3rd Phase III 2nd-3rd 3D Modeling with Maya (Elementary and MS) Introduction to Programming in Python 3rd Audio Production 4th

Little Rock Fayetteville Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock Fayetteville Little Rock

7th 7th-8th 9th-10th 10th-11th 10th-11th 11th 24th-31st

Systems Administration Introduction to Geospatial Technology Introduction to Unity 3D Introduction to Adobe Photoshop The Why of Where: Water and Environment Introducing 3D Max EAST Office Closed (Holiday)

Little Rock Fayetteville Fayetteville Little Rock Little Rock Fayetteville

21st-22nd 21st 22nd 26th 26th 26th-27th

Advanced Video Camera Workshop Internet Design 1 (Elementary and MS) Internet Design 2 (Elementary and MS) Content Management Systems 2 BYOD “Bring Your Own Device” The Why of Where: Your Community

Little Rock Fayetteville Fayetteville Little Rock Little Rock Fayetteville

JANUARY 2016 1st 13th 13th 14th-15th 14th 15th 19th-20th

EAST Office Closed (Holiday) Fruity Loops Digital Photography Concepts Advanced Adobe Photoshop Internet Design 2 Introducing 3D Max The Why of Where: Your Community

Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock

FEBRUARY 2016 1st-2nd 1st-2nd 4th-5th

24

Advanced Photographic Principles The Why of Where: Your Community Make a Movie

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

Little Rock Little Rock Little Rock

Introduction to Geospatial Technology 8th-9th 9th-10th The Why of Where: History and Local Culture 17th-18th Final Cut Pro

Arkadelphia Fayetteville Little Rock


GEAR STORE

r a Ge EAST Alumni Shirt

EAST HOODIE

EAST T-SHIRT

EAST COFFEE CUP

EAST CINCH BAGS

EAST SUNGLASSES

EAST 24oz Tumbler

EAST LONG SLEEVE SHIRT

EAST GRADUATION CORDS

$25

$5

$10

$20

$5

$10

$15

$2

$8

r u o y r e d r O today at gear

EAST LANYARDS

(1) (3) (10) $3 / $7 / $20

r a e g T S A E / y l . t i b FALL 2015 | EAST QUARTERLY

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Thank You

or Advanc rf

ed

C The ente

to all of our sponsors and supporters who help make EAST happen for students.

sas, Fa an

ologies

y of Ark sit

26

EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org

Univer

U of A

n ch

e v i ll e

Spatial Te

CAST

tt ye


EAST STAFF

We asked the staff “What seasonal holiday food would you like to see served year­-round?”

Matt Dozier

President / Chief Executive Officer Matt@EASTstaff.org

Mary Forst

Chief Financial Officer MaryF@EASTstaff.org

“I am especially fond of the Cinnamon log my wife makes with her leftover pie dough. I fear that if it were more than a seasonal treat, however, that I would be four or five times the guy I am today.”

“​Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it doesn’t focus on gifts or things, but thankfulness. Turkey and dressing all year would make me very happy. I’m always sad when they’re gone, which is usually the next day.”

Tami Baker

Sam Byrd

Program Coordinator Tami@EASTstaff.org

Technical Support Group Member Sam@EASTstaff.org

“I fix my first pot of wassail for my family when we pull out the Christmas tree. We all love wassail and look forward to cup after cup throughout the holiday season. It probably wouldn’t be as special if we had it to drink all year long, but all year long it’s nice to think about the holiday memories we’ve made while it simmered on the stove!”

“Why limit it to summer when the possibilities are endless when it comes to watermelon? It can take the place of the cornucopia at Thanksgiving. Christmas Trees? Why not Christmas Watermelons! Jack­-O­-Lanterns can easily become Jack­-O­-Watermelanterns! And instead of Easter Eggs? You guessed it: miniature watermelons! Watermelons are amazing.”

Lori Canada

Lisa Cook

Program Coordinator Lori@EASTstaff.org

Professional Development Coordinator Lisa@EASTstaff.org

“I would love to have Christmas cookies all year round! You know...those sugar cookies that are in the shapes of reindeer, ornaments and candy canes. I love being able to decorate them and they taste SOOO much better with sprinkles!”

“Although technically Hot Apple Cider isn’t a “food,” it is one of the things I enjoy most during the holidays. And actually to be honest, I don’t even drink it half the time, i just put the mulling spices in a pan of water and boil them so that my house smells like the holidays!”

Toni Cook

Adam Crider

Purchasing Coordinator Toni@EASTstaff.org “Absolutely, without a doubt, my Aunt Pat’s dressing! My Aunt Pat has made this dressing since before my mother was a twinkle in my grandmother’s eye. I have lived in many different states and traveled to quite a few countries, but I have never found anything like my Aunt Pat’s dressing.”

Programmer

Adam@EASTstaff.org “Deviled eggs during the Thanksgiving season are always the best.”

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Marisa Damm

Lead Technical Support Marisa@EASTstaff.org

Jessica Dunham Events Manager

Jessica@EASTstaff.org

“Because holiday foods are always better reheated, I wish my grandma’s leftover turkey and gravy over mashed potatoes would last all year long!”

“My late grandmother’s pumpkin pie and (cream) cheese pie recipes are to­-die­-for! I’m a typical lover of everything pumpkin, but I want it year­-round. Growing up, I would get so excited about the cheese pie that my grandmother started making me my very own for the holidays so I didn’t have to share.”

Doug Gusewelle

Rinda Hall

Technical Resource Specialist Doug@EASTstaff.org

Program Coordinator Rinda@EASTstaff.org

“Every Christmas my Grandad makes bacon jalapeno duck breasts. These are pieces of duck breast wrapped around a slice of jalapeno with a strip of bacon wrapped around that. Not a typical seasonal food, but it is in my family.”

“My mother-­in-­law’s pork roast... it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it only comes out for the holidays. :-­(”

Phaedra Hawkins

Beth Hicks

Student Training Coordinator Phaedra@EASTstaff.org

Program Coordinator Beth@EASTstaff.org

“Although this is not a food, rather a drink, I’d say eggnog. For a dish, I’d pick green bean casserole.”

“Okay, I love sweets and desserts! We have eight family Christmases, so I get to load up on fudge, cheesecake and pecan pie, which my family only makes during the holidays.”

Eric Holt

Allen Holzhauer

Internet Services Manager Eric@EASTstaff.org

Technical Support Group Member Allen@EASTstaff.org

“Green bean casserole. I make it as a main dish sometimes. Is that weird?”

“My grandmaw’s pecan pie!”

James Hopper

Lani Jennings

Development Coordinator James@EASTstaff.org “Nothing is better than a smoked turkey leg at the fair and Thanksgiving... oh wait, yes, there is. I forgot I am southern and that means that I can and should deep fry everything. Therefore I propose to you that deep­-fried, cajun turkey should be the only turkey for Thanksgiving and beyond.”

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Office Coordinator

Lani@EASTstaff.org “Every year, I make sugar cookies with my Granny before Christmas. Why it’s not more often, beats me!”


Cody Jones

Dave Lewis

Staff Accountant

Designer

Cody@EASTstaff.org

Dave@EASTstaff.org

“Peppermint everything. I hoard peppermint coffee, peppermint bark and peppermint Oreos during the holidays. I can’t be the only person that wants a cup of peppermint coffee in June.”

“My Memaw’s dressing is the best. It wouldn’t be as ‘special’ if it was served year round...buuuut I think I could get over that.”

Jerry Prince

Melanie Ridlon

Senior Director of Program Services

Senior Director of Operations

Jerry@EASTstaff.org

Melanie@EASTstaff.org

“Christmas Sugar Cookies. I don’t know what is in the red/green sugar sprinkles, but it needs to come in colors of every season! And shapes other than a spruce tree! Yes, such sorta exists — but not the same as!!”

“My mother makes a delicious cranberry salad that has minimarshmallows and crushed pineapple. It doesn’t seem like the combination of the three ingredients would be good together but it really is amazing.”

Tim Stephenson, Founder

Tim Van Dusen

Program Coordinator

Network Manager

Tim@EASTstaff.org

TimV@EASTstaff.org

“My wife is German and can really bake. She makes pies with everything fresh and homemade from scratch (lemon meringue is my favorite), but these seem to come out between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

“We make an awesome Mac and Cheese, but it’s so complicated we only have time to make this dish when we’re off for few days.”

Spencer Watson

Communications Manager Spencer@EASTstaff.org “I could eat my aunt’s marshmallow­-infused Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole every single day. Of course, the high sugar intake would probably lead to health complications, but it would be entirely worth it.”

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