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inside this issue Food Faces Kendall Gomez The 3rd Wheel Mary Darby Garren Snatch That Waist Erica Ruggles The Teacher-Student Relationship in Judaism Ariel Zalmonovich

Wingspan Anna Patrick Let’s Live Alive Jordan Stroman College Media Association New York City 2015 Hard Times and Hard Relationships Schylo Phillips Multicultural Relationships Shannon Pak True Love Can Make You Crazy Joshua Griffin

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Matthew Johnson

  What makes you come alive? What is

ASSISTANT EDITOR Anna Garner BUSINESS MANAGER Kaitlin Keller ADVERTISING MANAGER Ashley Shelton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Drew Greiner ADVISOR Dr. Debra van Tuyll EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Shannon Pak COPY EDITOR Erica Ruggles STAFF WRITERS Elizabeth Canas Christy Cheek Laura Cooper Letitia Cropps Mary Darby Garren Joshua Griffin Brittany Hatcher Savannah Maddox Stephanie McCray Madison Navarro

Shannon Pak Schylo Phillips Erica Ruggles Alissa Salvador Semone Sevion Summyr Sheppard Bernard Smith Shemaiah Stewart Nadeen Strachan Cody Woods

Allgood Hall E159 2500 Walton Way, Augusta, Ga. 30904-220 Phoenix magazine is published three times per academic year with a press run of 2,500 copies. It is created on Macintosh OSX computers using Adobe Creative Suite 6.0. The cover is printed on 80# gloss text cover; the text is printed n 60# gloss text. The body copy is Georgia, cutlines are Century Gothic and the nameplate is Cicle. This issue was printed by K-B Offset Printing, Inc. in State College, Pa. Phoenix magazine is a student publication of the Office of Student Activities and the Department of Communications and Professional Writing at Georgia Regents University. Phoenix magazine is a designated public forum and has been recognized as such by Georgia Regents University. The publication is funded by advertising sales and student activity fees. The opinions expressed in the Phoenix do not necessarily represent the opinions of the University System of Georgia, the administration or faculty of Georgia Regents University, the editorial staff or the advisor of the Phoenix.

something that fills your soul with an unshakable sense of purpose? That something is most likely pointing you to who you were created to be. That something is your dream and you were meant to live it out with the community around you.” These words, written by Jordan Stroman, immediately jumped off the page at me when I first read them. They not only provoke one to ponder his or her own purpose in life, they proclaim the same message that inspired this issue of the Phoenix Magazine.   I believe true value doesn’t always lie in what things we do or have, but rather the people we experience and share those things with. The relationships we have with people, places and things are often what shape us as human beings. The older I get, the more I find this revelation to hold true. As you begin to flip through the following pages, it is my hope that you will gain an even better appreciation for the people, places and things in your life that are most important to you.   As my time as editor-in-chief is coming to an end I would like to thank the entire Phoenix staff, students and faculty alike, for all of their hard work throughout the year. What we have been able to accomplish in such a short time has been nothing short of spectacular. However, it would not be right for me to leave without first highlighting the work of three very important people. Anna Garner, Kaitlin Keller and Drew Greiner, you have all three been crucial to the success of the magazine this year. It is your hard work, attention to detail and commitment to excellence that have helped the Phoenix regain its reputation as an award winning student magazine. You have been a pleasure to work with, and have truly made my job easy. While I started off the year viewing you as colleagues, I now consider you all great friends.   Last but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Debra van Tuyll. You are the one who made this opportunity possible for me. Your expert knowledge, wisdom and years of experience have not only helped me grow as a writer, editor and student, but, more importantly, they have helped me grow as a person.   I will forever cherish these relationships.

Matthew Johnson

you are WHAT

you eat


Kendall Gomez

Kendall is a May 2015 Televeision and Cinema graduate of Georgia Regents University. She shared with us the inspiration behind her “Food Faces” photo project and plans for the future.

What originally got you interested in photography? I have always had a passion for creating things. Whether it is making jewelry, sewing home made purses and bags, drawing, painting, or even building a fort. But through all of that, I have always had a camera in my hand. I started out being obsessed with my dad’s old Polaroid camera in the 90’s, but the film was always so expensive. I spent a lot of my allowance on that, and developing film from disposable cameras. Eventually, I got a semi decent digital camera and started taking photos when I would travel. I eventually moved up to a DSLR. I began to see the world through the lens and it just came natural to me to snap photos while really enjoying myself. Ever since I can remember, it has just always been a way of life. What inspired you to do food faces? I was working on my final for Photo 2 class at GRU and I just wanted to do something bright and fun. I love to paint, to take pictures, and I love food; so I decided to mix the three. I painted a strawberry on my friends face and food face was born! The next thing I know, I’m painting a lemon, ice cream and all

this tasty stuff on my friends’ faces. As a Television and Cinema graduate, do you ever see any overlap between your film work and photography? Or are they two completely different creative outlets for you? They definitely overlap. They are all art to me, and art is limitless. I have used film to make engagement videos for couples that mix in with photos, as well as a food face video I made for a film class! I used Photoshop, After Effects, and Final Cut to make it.

Do you have any words of advice for beginner photographers? In my opinion, photography is not about taking the best photograph, but more so about revealing something new to the human eye. Art is a mystery and that’s what keeps it alive. My advice to a new photographer: be observant and aware of your surroundings. When you pay attention to details, you just might come up with something great. Also, listen to your gut, and stay true to you!

Random Questions: How did you go about deciding what food to select for food faces? I would try to match the food with the person’s favorite thing to eat. It also has come from colors that I thought would match nicely with their skin. If you notice, there is always something real in the photograph, and paint to finish the look.

Three words that describe you? Eclectic, thoughtful, passionate Where do you go to get inspired? Nature always inspires me. COFFE OR TEA? Green Tea Motto you live by? Whatever you find Look between the Lines Don’t look behind Find your own mind

What are your plans after college? I am actually in training to be a Delta Flight attendant! I feel like it is a great career to give me versatility and still follow my passion for -Yours Truly art. I am actually going to paint some of the girls I am training with!

5 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

3 The

rd wheel

by Mary Darby Garren

7 Summer 2015 | Phoenix


aving a successful romantic relationship in the social media age is tricky, and many couples are allowing a cellphone to become the third wheel.   It happens far to often: you and your partner are spending time together and, eventually, you get a text. After you read it, you go into autopilot mode. Next thing you know, you’re opening Instagram and swept into a vortex of coffee photos and cute animal snapshots.   It’s as easy as that to get sucked in. The person across from you finally gets your attention and you snap out of the social media daze. Sadly, this is now a part of modern life, and more specifically, modern romantic relationships.   It isn’t a surprise to anyone that cellphones are a necessity to most, or that they certainly have many benefits. They keep us connected with people we don’t live close to and help us to maintain relationships with meaningful people in our lives. An unexpected phone call or a thoughtful text is a simple thing that we as humans appreciate in relationships


that are weighed down by physical boundaries. Some go to their phones for inspiration via Instagram or Pinterest, which are great networks when it comes to creativity.   But as many times that a phone can be a helpful and amazing tool, they can build a strong barrier between you and your significant other. It isn’t the cellphone itself that affects your relationship, it’s what you constantly use it for: social media.   Before social media, the world of dating was a simple place where a guy could talk to a girl who wasn’t checking her messages every minute; where a Facebook relationship status didn’t keep you up at night, where you weren’t continuously bombarded with photos of your ex every time you reached for your phone. These days, it is likely that at least one person in a relationship is too dependent on social media, if not both people.   Christina Rivera, a student at Georgia Regents University, says that even though she is fond of social media, it can put a strain on her relationship,  “It causes me to see other couples and other relationships all

the time, and it is kind of hard not to compare.”   Many people in romantic relationships would probably agree with Rivera. Too much social media can make you feel a little down, with what seems like an endless competition of whose life is better. How can one be truly content when, right there in your phone, exists a non-stop stream of photographs proving that lots of people are more in love than you? It’s an unfortunate insecurity provoker. Numerous comparisons on a daily basis can be particularly toxic to relationships.   It’s not just other couples’ love lives we compare our own to, but also the love lives of former lovers. Rivera comments on the hard-to-avoid love lives of others all over social media.   “As much as I do not want to be looking at my ex’s profile, I catch myself doing it and have to stop,” says Rivera. “I know it negatively affects the way I think about my current relationship.”   Such “harmless” peeks at your phone are actually impacting your conversations. Your boyfriend or

“It causes me to see other couples and other relationships all the time, and it is kind of hard not to compare.” -Christina Rivera

girlfriend could be trying to tell you something important, and you are mindlessly checking your inbox. Whether you mean to or not, this leads to disconnect and less empathic concern for what your partner has to say. They are probably thinking, “Why aren’t you looking at me or talking to me?” which is not good for establishing effective communication.   The social media that resides inside your cellphone is diminishing the aspect of the here and now and inevitably giving off a vibe of “I have more important things to pay attention to”.   Lauren Herring, a communications student at Georgia Southern University, admits to being a bit of an iPhone addict. Herring also claims it is easier said than done to disconnect from the world of social media.   “I am constantly on my phone, even though I know it is rude most of the time,” says Herring.   Like many others, Herring keeps Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more open at all times on her phone. To your significant other, these social media go-to’s make you a more distracted person, or even a more selfish person. It distracts you from living in the moment and most im-

portantly, makes your partner feel insignificant when you choose to stare into a phone screen than the real person next to you.   “I make an effort to put my phone away when I am spending time with people I care about,” says Herring. “My phone clearly tends to get in the way of conversations.” With your cellphone always attached to you, it’s easy to feel the strong desire to stay connected with those who aren’t in the room, instead of those by your side.   A cellphone is the constant third wheel. It is not a polite third wheel that sits in with a couple during a movie, or awkwardly joins an intimate dinner. It is here to stay, as most people these days aren’t going to give up their precious cellphones.   These devices, and all the social media they have to offer, are always poking their head into the conversation and challenging the chemistry of couples. It forces its way into the middle of two people, and as long as one person allows its access, it is going to affect the relationship. We need to be less focused on the popularity of one photo, and instead see what is in front of us, much bigger than an iPhone screen and much more real.

Mary Darby is a senior communications major.

9 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

snatch that waist:

the modern function of corsets | Story by Erica Ruggles | Layout by Anna Garner

Photo by Richard Stahman

Although it’s easy to assume that steel boned corsets were left behind in regal England, the garment is making a big comeback, and not just for use in cosplaying costumes. More than just shapewear, corsets provide the wearer with a unique combination of function and beauty.   While some corset enthusiasts wear the garment for fashion purposes, others take it a step further by integrating the practice into their lives completely. Daily wear is common, but some individuals choose to wear their corsets while sleeping as well, only removing it to bathe. Most daily wearers are seeking to reduce the measurement of their natural waistlines, but others also lace up for back support, and corsets are especially useful for individuals who suffer from scoliosis or other painful back issues. However, dramatic and noticeable waistline reduction is possible only after years of rigorous daily wear, as seen in the noticeably smaller waistlines of Fakir Musafar, the father of the Modern Primitive movement, and Ethel Granger, who had a corseted waist measurement of 13 inches. In these cases, corseting can be viewed as a type of body modification, although not everyone who chooses to wear a corset is seeking such results.   According to an article by La Couturière Parisienne, the origins of the corset are unclear; it is not known whether the garment was worn earlier than the 16th or 17th century. Early on, corsets were made primarily out of whalebone, while steel boned corsets were only worn for orthopaedic reasons. Corsets were generally laced up at the front until later centuries, when the laces moved to the back. In the 1700s, corsets had shoulder straps to further encourage correct posture and gave the wearer a “V” shaped torso. This style covered and flattened the breasts, pushing them up, in what can be referred to as an overbust style. Toward the end of the 17th century, however, instead of the corset being a part of a dress, it became separate from the garment and was intended to be worn under the clothing. During the Regency and Victorian eras, stylistic changes and hard-

ware improvements were made to corsets, which led to the more familiar hourglass shape of the garment. From the 1800s through the 1960s, aesthetic differences can be noted in corsets, particularly in overall shape, as general waist shapes were constantly changing throughout the years. In addition, corsets in the 1800s were made to support the breasts, as they sat just under the bust, in a style known as an underbust corset. It was only in the 1850s that tightlacing, which involves lacing the corset to a tight reduction to achieve dramatic results, became popular.   Around 1880, the spoon busk was developed. The busk is located at the front of the corset and is usually how the wearer can open and close the garment. It is usually stiff, but its flexibility can vary depending on the maker of the corset. The spoon busk shapes the stomach so it won’t protrude as much as it would with a different style busk, but doesn’t flatten it completely. It bends inwards to compress the stomach region, out over the belly and in again over the lower abdominal area. This style of busk allowed for the overall abdominal comfort of the wearer.   The combination of doctors concerns for corset wearers and the advent of corsets with an extreme lower back curve and damaging shape led the corset to fall out of fashion before the beginning of World War II. Until Madonna wore a bodice that vaguely resembled a corset in the 1980s, corsets were not widely worn beyond fetish or erotic situations. Now, in modern times, the corset community is active, visible and growing by the day. Companies such as Orchard Corset and Mystic City provide financially accessible off-the-rack corset options that fit a wide variety of body shapes. These companies provide an opportunity for anyone to try their hand at corseting and waist training without having to commit to a custom piece, which can cost over $300.   With the advent of social media, there is a plethora of sources available for those who are interested in beginning their own corseting journey. As corseting can be considered a type of body modification, it is

11 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

Artwork courtesy of Creative Commons. Artist unknown. extremely important to research the proper way to lace and wear a corset, as well as common physical effects of wearing the garment. It is also important to seek out companies and brands that offer high quality steel boned corsets, as corsets with plastic boning are not intended for waist training and can cause injury to the wearer. Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame (www., based in Colorado, is one of the most reputable sources for information on corsets and waist training. Heidi laced up for the first time in 2011 and has been actively training since. Starting with a natural waist of 27 inches, she was able to reduce that measurement to 25 inches within six months of consistent training.   “I began wearing steel boned corsets because I hoped to somehow ‘shrink,’” Heidi said. “But wearing a corset had, in a short period of time, progressed far beyond a way to change my body into some nonexistent ideal.”   Beyond allowing the wearer to


reduce the size of their waist, corsets can allow individuals to feel more confident of their bodies and boost self-esteem. Corsets also provide Deep Pressure Therapy, which negates the effects of depression and anxiety.   “I am very well aware of how it has changed my life for the positive. It was the way in which it began to reform my thinking that made the most difference,” Heidi said. “Suddenly I was finding solace in the pressure that a corset placed on my midsection. It began to feel like armor. More importantly, I began to accept myself despite and in spite of all my flaws, both in and out of the corset.”   Since she started wearing corsets, Heidi has also increased her overall fitness. She enjoys weightlifting, trail running and mountaineering, and she recognizes the importance of maintaining core strength with or without the daily wear of a corset.   “The idea that a person who waist trains with a steel boned cor-

set becomes physically dependent on the garment is another one of those pesky myths,” she said. “You shouldn’t be worried about your muscles atrophying simply because you’ve worn a corset for a couple of hours a few days a week. Regardless, we should all be taking steps to keep our cores strong. It should go without saying, but don’t wear your corset during any core exercises you completely lose the strength training benefits if you do.” Those who wear corsets are probably accustomed to the interesting reactions they receive when displaying a dramatically reduced waist in public. The comments and questions range from ridiculous to thinly veiled harassment, and it’s difficult to squash the myths associated with waist training.   Allie Pawlukojc, whose stage name is Odette Coquette, is a burlesque performer based in New York. She primarily wears corsets for her performances, but enjoys making custom corsets.   “My family has nothing against [wearing corsets], they find it fascinating,” she said. “My boyfriend worries when I lace down small. He sees it as possible body dysmorphia, but it’s just a silhouette that I find attractive and I don’t need to maintain.”   Most feel that wearing a corset at a tight reduction is harmful to the organs, particularly the liver and lungs. However, a German game show, “Hirschausens Quiz des Menschen,” recently showed MRI scans of tightlacer Eden Berlin’s corseted figure. The scans showed the noticeably small shift of the organs, and Dr. Eckhart Hirschhausen, the host of the show, found that the shift of the organs is far more dramatic during pregnancy. The liver and the stomach move upwards, retaining the same shape, and the intestines remain flexible.   “Most people assume that you are crushing bones and moving organs,” Allie said. “But really your organs only shift very slightly. There shouldn’t be any lasting damage or health problems. It actually can help with back problems and anxiety issues. Corsets are like hugs!”   Another common misconception is that people who wear corsets

have trouble breathing, as if their lung capacity is limited. In this case, it is important to note that corsets are compressing the waist, although some compress and reshape the floating ribs at the bottom of the ribcage.   “I can only assume that these people have forgotten how the human body works,” said Heidi. “To start, it’s very simple to point out that one’s lungs sit in the chest cavity, not the waist! And one of the less common misconceptions that I’ve been presented with are those that suggest that a corset is a symbol of oppression. Wearing a corset in modern times is quite the opposite of oppressive; it’s something that

a person has the right to choose to don. The judgment of those who tell me my choice to lace up is somehow wrong - that is oppressive.”   I personally began my corseting journey in November 2013 after a long period of research. No stranger to body modification, I was hesitant to begin lacing up without properly educating myself on how to wear the garment and where to purchase one. I eventually settled on the 20 inch (corseted waist measurement) CS-411 from Orchard Corset in black satin, which is easier to break in than cotton. At first, I found it hard to adjust to breathing in the top of my chest during the short periods of breaking in, or sea-

soning, the corset. However, it was easy for me to lace up on my own, and the more often I wore the corset, the easier it became to adjust my breathing patterns.   I ultimately decided to start wearing a corset because I believed it would help support my lower back and improve my posture. I have a mild form of scoliosis, and while I don’t require surgery or a medical back brace, I still experience pain and soreness at times. After wearing my corset daily for a few months, I found that after a long day at school or work, my back, and my lower back in particular, felt absolutely fine. On the off days that I wasn’t wearing a corset, I noticed that my back was sore and stiff, as it had been before I started lacing up. Wearing a corset has given me the back support that I ultimately need, and while I’m not really aiming to reduce my natural waist measurement, my newfound curves are a welcome side effect of daily corset wear.   More than just a fad, corsets provide incredible physical and mental support, and the corset community is growing rapidly and brimming with helpful information and kindness. While there are a wide variety of sources on the internet that provide helpful insight on purchasing and wearing corsets, it is important to have a strong sense of media literacy in order to distinguish false information from factually correct information. Rest assured that wearing a corset will definitely bring immeasurable benefits to body and mind. It’s not a quick fix diet, but rather a lifestyle change.

Erica is a senior communications major.

Photo by Ben Lazar 13 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

the teacher-student relationship

in Judaism storY by Ariel Zalmonovich Layout by ANna Garner

photo courtesy of Noam Chen 14

Are there valuable lessons to

be gleaned for today in the way knowledge was transmitted in ancient Israel? The relationship between teachers and students in Judaism and in the Jewish culture can be traced all of the way back to biblical times. In the Bible, one of the primary roles of the Levi tribe, besides serving at the Temple in Jerusalem, was to teach the other tribes of Israel the Torah - meaning the biblical law and way of conduct. ‘Torah’ actually means ‘teachings’ in Hebrew.   In return for their teaching, as well as their role of serving in the Temple, the Levi tribe received the utmost respect from the other tribes.   One of the reasons for choosing the Levi tribe for the mission of teaching the other tribes was simply because they were quite well-rounded in the Torah’s law because they were implementing it every day while working in the Temple.   In other words, the same contemporary model of a researcher or a professional who is sharing their knowledge with others that characterizes our higher education system today, was the actual foundation of the teacher-student relationship of the Israelites during biblical times. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the long exile, the mechanism of Judaism has changed and became focused on a well-establishucation system, which was mostly known after its main enterprise - the Talmud.   In the very foundation of the Talmud and its culture one can be found in the dynamic between the ‘rabbi’ (the teacher - which literally

means ‘great person’ in Aramaic) and the ‘Talmid’ (‘student’ – derived from the Hebrew root for ‘learning’ or ‘studying’ which is the same root as ‘Talmud’ - literally ‘study’).   As a comprehensive text that aims to engulf all the religious aspects of Judaism, studying the Talmud, similar to studying the Bible, is a religious duty and therefore defines the relationship between the rabbi and the student in a completely different light.   Precisely because of that, the Jewish tradition sees the rabbi as equal to the students’ parents, in his status, because the biological parents brought the student to this life and the rabbi – as the religious teacher - brings the student to the world to come.   In fact, based on the last principle, some of the Jewish Bible commentators expanded the meaning of the biblical commandment ‘Honour thy father and thy mother’ to include the rabbi as well.   Medieval Jewish thinkers espoused this concept and said that the relationship between the teacher and the student should resemble the relationship with his parents. This means that the teacher should think of the student as his own child and should teach the student values and offer advice in all different aspects of life. This kind of an ideal student-teacher relationship is based on mutual trust and on the perfect balance between authority and friendship.   This perspective goes hand in hand with one of the true pearls of wisdom that can be found in the ancient Jewish text of the ‘Mishnah’ (composed approximately in 220 AD):

  “A shy person does not learn, and a strict person is not one who can teach.” In other words, if the teacher is harsh or overly critical, the student will experience feelings of shame and fear. If the student becomes afraid of his teacher, the student will not ask questions and become an effective learner. It is the responsibility of the teacher to help the student to feel comfortable and willing to ask good questions.   In summary, the Jewish tradition of building a warm relationship between teacher and student has stood the test of time over many generations as a model for transmitting wisdom, knowledge and truth.

  Ariel Zalmonovich has a B.A. in European History and an M.A. in Jewish History from Tel Aviv University. With teaching expertise in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, he teaches Hebrew lessons to students from around the globe emphasizing a deep understanding of the origins and roots of Hebrew words. A prolific blogger, he writes daily from Jerusalem at “Ariel’s Hebrew Bible Insights” ( about the history, language, art, culture and customs of the Hebrew Bible.

15 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

Georgia Regents University Bachelor of Fine Arts (General) with interest in printmaking and sculpture

artist feature

My work is informed by my interest in contrasts of form, color, and ideas. I pull inspiration from the male and female body, but rarely incorporate the traditional figure. I hope to create work that evokes a push and pull emotionally and visually with the viewer. The reaction of the viewer is just as important as the work itself. I see my current body of work like an experiment. As the artist I want to create pieces which produce experiences reminiscent of childlike wonder, confusion and perhaps even revulsion.

Recently, I began working with human hair, which I’ve collected from my mother who is a hairdresser. I find the material not only beautiful but interesting in the different ways we interact with our own hair and the hair of others. If we are unsure of the source of a hair, often people are grossed out. Most of our interactions with human hair are either our own, or the hair of those we have a close physical relationship with. As an artist, it was fun for me to touch the hair of hundreds of people, many of which I don’t know, and for a part of their DNA to become the sculpture.


wood panel, acrylic, low-fire clay, human hair 48”x36”x2”

48 hanging soft sculptures; cotton, fiberfil, varied size

silkscreen print 8”x10”

I prefer to work with sculpture and printmaking. I enjoy the process of printmaking, especially intaglio etching, but feel that my work succeeds in three dimensional space more than two dimensional. I have recently been exploring ways to print intaglio and relief on fabric and then sew these prints into stuffed soft sculpture, which can then be stacked, hung from the ceiling, or even hung as a “traditional” two dimensional piece.

paper mache, latex paint 48”x36”x36”

17 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

Jordan is 24 years old and resides in Orlando, Florida. She fell in love with the city while attending college at the University of Central Florida, where she recently graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media. She was born with a degenerative muscle disease that has caused her to experience the loss of most of the major functions of her body. She is grateful for the perspective these challenges have given her and holds a deeply rooted desire to not let her circumstances define her and to shatter preconceived notions. She loves spontaneous adventures and having conversations over cups of coffee. She recently founded the nonprofit Live Alive and is working to help others see the beautiful opportunity that is before them and to embrace their dreams with courage and vulnerability.

believe we were all born with dreams knitted to our hearts, and inside each one of us is a unique intended purpose that we created to live out. Life is messy, and sometimes we get scared, uncomfortable or distracted. We settle for a storebought bouquet when, in reality, there is a beautiful field of wild sunflowers right outside our back door. If we would just muster the courage to walk out there and embrace the people we were created to be, not only would our lives begin to change, but so would our cities.   For as long as I can remember, I had a dream tugging at my heart. I wanted to explore this beautiful world and see different skies. Around the age of 6, however, life threw a little curve ball my way. We discovered that I was born

with a neuromuscular disease that would cause my body to progressively weaken as time passed. Once a ballet-dancing little girl, I now sit in a wheelchair, at 24, and rely on a fancy little gadget to help me breathe.   For the past ten years, despite the complexity of my situation, that yearning to stretch to new places hasn’t wavered. More than a desire, it has been a constant quenching in my bones - an itch that could not be ignored.   But, you see, traveling to distant lands isn’t the most convenient when your luggage includes a 400-pound wheelchair and an assortment of other electricitydependent machines. I’ve planned trips in the past, to places far and not so far, always thinking, “This time, I’m actually going to do it,” until fear creeps in and

the reality of my situation freezes me in my tracks. It was always the same cycle: it began with “what if” this and “what if” that, and always ended with deep frustration: “Why does my heart have to want what can’t be had?” This time, however, was different.   In February of last year, I took a big risk. I decided to not let fear reign in my life anymore and I jumped, head first, into the unknown waters.   But I wasn’t alone. Five of my dearest friends were right beside me, ready to jump in, too. And that made all of the difference. Together, we chose to embrace the unknown and step into risk for the sake of adventure. Each of us had valid reasons to walk away from this opportunity: we were dealing with sicknesses, injuries, and financial

19 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

burdens. But I think our willingness to support and challenge one another to push through the fear gave each of us the courage to climb the mountain and see the view from the summit.   On Feb. 28th, 2014, we boarded an airplane in Orlando, Florida and flew across the country to San Diego. We filmed our whole journey, because we wanted to tell a story of hope that isn’t dependent on agreeable circumstances, and we actually had the honor of finally releasing that short film this past May.   This 5-day journey of new experiences, unexpected surprises and deeper friendships taught us that life is so full of beautiful opportunity and that fear will do all it can to latch on and pull us down. This journey taught us that incredible things have room to take place when you push through fear and step into the risk of discomfort. This journey taught


us that we were created to dream and to tenaciously seek making those dreams a reality. When we pursue the dreams that are inside of us and live into those things that fill us with life and meaning, the world will begin to change.   Our leap of faith to the west coast catalyzed a lot of incredible opportunities in our lives, and from this adventure a new dream was born. As we settled back into Orlando, we realized we were changed people and we felt the pull in our hearts: we need to share these discoveries with the people around us. And so we created a nonprofit called Live Alive, where our goal is to help people discover their purpose, overcome fear and live out their dreams through a community of hope

and inspiration.   A friend recently asked me, “Why was this time different? Why did you finally actually follow through on your plans?” My answer: community. This time was different because I wasn’t trying to pursue my dream on my own. I was walking through this with trusted friends by my side. When one of us would doubt, another would encourage. When one of us wanted to give in, another was right there to lift up. It definitely wasn’t easy to get out of my wheelchair and sit in a plane for six hours, but community made it possible.   I am convinced that is true of all of our dreams. I don’t think we were made to pursue them by ourselves. We were cre-

ated to thrive in community that knows and loves us. What a beautiful reality that is.   What makes you come alive? What is that something that fills your soul with an unshakable sense of purpose? That something is most likely pointing you to who you were created to be. That something is your dream and you were meant to live it out with the community around you.

21 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

The Phoenix takes New york city

Top to bottom:


Washington Square Arch

Times Square at night

Late Show with David Letterman studio front

iHeartRadio’s Z100 radio station in action

Times Square in the morning

Matt, Drew, Anna and Kaitlin in Times Square.

The Phoenix editorial team traveled to New York City for the College Media Association’s (CMA) annual student conferences. While Anna is the incoming editor-in-chief for the Phoenix, this issue is Matthew, Kaitlin and Drew’s last as they graduate from Georgia Regents University and enter the workforce. The trip gave them the opporunity to network and foster new relationships within the professional print industry, as well as allowed them to grow closer as a staff. “Our trip to the CMA conference was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I have never traveled to a major city like that, so I am very thankful to have had the opportunity. Along with all the sightseeing we did as a staff, we had the privilege of meeting and learning from some of the industry’s best at the many different workshops offered. Overall, I could not think of a better way to spend a week with my friends. We made memories that will last a lifetime.” - Matt, Editor-in-Chief “Working for the Phoenix has been one of the most valuable experiences of my college career, and just when I think my job couldn’t get much better, I discover that a staff tradition is to attend the CMA conference in New York for their annual conference. Not bad, right? It was my first time visiting the Big Apple, and during the day I was immersed in workships with media experts; everyony from the Yik Yak developers to New York Times and Vice editors. Being surrounded by progessionals whoa re so passionate about their respective fields was nothing short of inspiring. At night, the staff and I galavanted around the city where we explored, got lost and devoured an inordinate amount of pizza. system too.” -Anna, Assistant Editor “I’ve learned and experienced so many things in New York I never would have done without the Phoenix. I will never forget, and always appreciate, the time I spent working with the Phoenix Magazine.” - Kaitlin, Business Manager “My time in NYC was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Aside from it being that it was my first time in the Big Apple, CMA allowed me to meet several creative people in the magazine industry. Being the art and design guy for the Phoenix, I tried to make sure I went to every lecture and session relating to publication design and layout. The SPD, or the Society of Publication Designers, had a few of its members in attendance. The sessions they hosted were my favorite of the entire conference. Being in the presence of these creative professionals showed me how awesome it can be to work in this field. My time at CMA in New York City truly inspired and encouraged me to be a better designer and communicator.” -Drew, Creative Director

23 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

Story by Schylo Phillips | Layout by Shannon Pak   Having a healthy relationship is already a difficult task, but it can become even more difficult once someone is locked up in a cement box.   Marcus Williams, a 47-year-old native of South Central Los Angeles, has been in and out of the jail and prison system for 38 years. He is on parole as of now, but his last 14-year prison stint had him in Pelican Bay State Prison, Corcoran State Prison, and Calipatria State Prison. Throughout his life, he has had to try and maintain relationships with family and create new ones with other prisoners.   “I kept down a criminal path, which lead me to juvenile facility after juvenile facility, and led me up

to a juvenile camp where I served time when I was about 15 years old,” Williams said. “From that, I eventually grew to a little harder criminal activity and I ended up going to the county jail as an adult at 18. From there, that’s when things started taking a turn towards more hard-core criminal activity,” Williams said.   He grew up having a good relationship with his parents and family, but the relationships he had with the people on the streets of Los Angeles were what helped to lead him down a path of crime and trouble.   “I came from a relatively loving family, a very supportive family, but the influence of the environment that I was raised up in kind of had

an early influence on me,” he said. “I was being influenced by some of the more negative activity where I grew up at, so it had somewhat of a slight pull in the early phases of my life and a stronger pull in the later phases of my life.”   Once behind prison bars, it becomes more difficult to have a relationship with family and friends because the distance between the prison and home becomes further and feelings between individuals begin to shift. The relationship can go from hanging on a thread, to broken fairly quick.   “In some of my earlier years of juvenile incarceration, my mom and my grandfather were very supportive and they would come see me on

25 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

“I watched them grow up in pictures...Iamstilltryingtodo patch work to bridge a relationshipbetweenmeand the kids...”

the weekends, we would have sit down visits on the weekends but then after they saw that it had become a repetitive behavior, eventually, my mom stopped visiting,” Williams said.   Not being able to have a close relationship with a parent or grandparent can be difficult, but what about when there is a significant other and children involved? The family dynamic is hard to maintain and Williams learned this during his 14year stint in prison. He was left with a divorce and a strained relationship with his children.   “During that last 14 year stretch I did, I was married, but the relationship between me and my wife, it was rocky. Trying to maintain a marriage from prison, that is a hard task right there. Especially if you have a lot of hard time to do. It ultimately lead to us getting a divorce,” he said.   “To this date me and her are on very bad terms from that because I felt abandoned,” Williams said. “She also felt a sense of abandonment because I left her on the streets with children and then at the same time while I was in prison, I felt that she should have been a lot more


supportive because I was supportive when I was on the streets with her.”   While in prison, some parents try to maintain a relationship with their children, but sitting down at a metal table surrounded by security guards is not the same as being at a father-daughter dance or first football game. Pictures and visits once every couple of months are what parents in prison have to work with.   “I watched them grow up in pictures. I was able to see graduation and birthday pictures over the years. I have seven kids; I have four younger ones, two adults and one teenager, so the younger ones were really affected by my absence,” Williams said. “ I am still trying to do the patch work to bridge a relationship between me and the kids from all of the time that I was gone. It has definitely been a difficult task.”   Even though having relationships with people on the outside of prison is difficult, having them with people on the inside can be even more of a challenge. There are relationships with religion, prison guards and cellmates forming around the clock.   Vivian Parker has been a counselor for

the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department in Portland, Oregon, and a part of Prison Ministries Incorporated for 27 years. She has seen prisoners turn to religion and form a relationship with Christ after they have had a chance to think about what they have done, but it does not always last.   “There were some people who we met early on who gave their hearts to Christ. When they got out, some of them started to preach. Unfortunately, some fell back into the criminal life,” she said. For Williams, having a lot of time on his hands and having a Muslim cellmate opened him up to Islam, but he understands that others in his situation create a relationship with whichever denomination that can give them some type of perspective on where they might be going in their lives.   “A person could worship a tree, if that works for them,” Williams said. “If that gives them some balance, then let that man worship that tree. I found [Islam] it to be something that appealed to my logic and reasoning.”   When having a relationship with an ancient text does not suffice, an option

is to create a relationship with another prisoner. For Williams, one relationship that is never acceptable in prison is a homosexual one.   “If a man participates in homosexual activity, whether he is in prison or on the outside, if he crossed the line and participates in that activity, he’s a homosexual, no matter where he participates,” he said. “If he allowed himself to get twisted out of his nature and involve himself in some type of activity like that, you can’t draw

Marcus Williams, age 19, when he first went to prison

a line between what you are in here and what you are in there. You have people that fall weak.”   For those that do not want to indulge in relationships with other prisoners, sexual or not, they have the option to try and create a relationship with a female guard.   “If your sexual desires get too strong, then the next best thing to do is to try and make a relationship with one of the female guards,” Williams said. “If I have to do life in prison, before I turn to a situation where I am engaging in homosexual activity, I will spend all of my time and energy trying to formulate a relationship with one of the female guards there.”   Jonette Phillips has been a deputy at the Columbia County Detention Center in Appling, Georgia for a year, and during her time there she has been able to see how male and female prisoners try to form relationships while incarcerated.   “When the male trustees deliver the meals, laundry, or juice to the female block, the deputies have to be mindful of the inmates trying to communicate with each other,” she said. “Some of them may be boyfriend or girlfriend, siblings or

just someone attracted to each other and the inmates attempt to pass notes, the females flash the males or maybe try to deliver some type of contraband.”   Having relationships with other prisoners can be tricky, but with all of the new technology, prisoners are actually able to utilize phones to talk with people on the outside. This will most likely change the dynamics of prison relationships in the future.   “A lot of the prisoners are using cell phones in prison. It’s completely illegal, but the prison guards are bringing them in there and selling them for astronomical prices, 1000 dollars for a touch screen cell phone,” Williams said. “This is how they get onto those dating sites, how they are opening up bank accounts, stock markets.”

Schylo is a senior communications major.

27 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

MULTICULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS Story, layout and photography by: Shannon Pak


on’t be so quick to judge couples from the way they appear. Augusta, Georgia, couple, Geraldine and Michael Lopez may be of the same race, but they come from different cultures that effect their everyday interactions and even the way they raise their daughter.   Geraldine, a second generation American, was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Although she is an American, she was raised in a household of strong Dominican practices and beliefs.   “My mom and my dad capped very strong Dominican traditions when I was growing up. If they felt I was being too Americanized, they would send me to the Dominican Republic for vacation. I even lived there for two years to get in touch with my inner Hispanic,” she said.   In the Dominican Republic, girls are taught to cook, clean and take care of a family from a young age. At just 8 years old, Geraldine was in the kitchen with her mother learning how to prepare traditional Dominican dishes. Although she feels Hispanic women are taught to be strong and independent, she describes the culture to be “stuck in time;” women are still expected to serve the dominant male in the household.   Geraldine’s husband, Michael, a born and raised Puerto Rican, describes his homeland as more “modern.”   “The island [Puerto Rico] could be


more modernized due to the fact that we are U.S. territory and go through the same influences they do. For example, we can go to Outback or Wal-Mart over there,” Michael said. “You can’t do that in the Dominican Republic; they are more old school than we are.”   Although the culture has modernized over the years, a big part of the Puerto Rican culture is the strong sense of pride for their island. This sense of pride is very obvious in Michael, as he has the Puerto Rican flag and flower tattooed on his arm, Puerto Rican stickers on his car, and was very insistent on having Puerto Rican decorations in their home.   “Michael will see a Puerto Rican shirt or something and will try to get me to buy it; but I wouldn’t be caught dead in anything Puerto Rican,” Geraldine joked.   Since Geraldine and Michael are the same race, they are often judged to be Mexican or even brother and sister.   “People have come up to us in restaurants or something and say ‘oh, how sweet, brother and sister coming to eat dinner together,’” she laughed.   The couple is able to understand each other on a deeper level, as they both come from Hispanic backgrounds. They are able to fully appreciate their families and where they come from. Although they are on the same page culturally, they run into some difficulties when raising their four-

year-old daughter, Alexa, in the United States.   The conflict with raising Alexa comes more with Hispanic and American cultures,” Geraldine said. “Like, for example, the respect Hispanic children show their parents are different to that of American.”   The couple strives to instill both the Puerto Rican and Dominican cultures in their young daughter. They stress the importance of family and respect for parents, as they feel the American culture does not emphasize it enough. To them, family should have an extremely strong bond. “With raising my daughter, I don’t go full traditional, but I try to keep the Dominican traditions alive. I want her to be proud to be American, Dominican and Puerto Rican. I want her to be able to identify with all three cultures,” Geraldine said.   To further impart the Hispanic cultures on Alexa, Geraldine and Michael speak Spanish, cook Hispanic foods and follow Hispanic practices. For example, along with Christmas and Thanksgiving, Geraldine and Michael celebrate Three Kings Day with their daughter. On this Hispanic holiday, children wait for the Three Kings to visit their homes and put grass under their beds for the camels. Children are also given gifts on this day.

29 Summer 2015 | Phoenix

“They can claim to be Americans, but you have to know where you come from because if you don’t have history, then you don’t have future.”

More traditional African clothing | Photo by: Shannon Pak

  Although they want their daughter to be culturally balanced and proud of her roots, the couple primarily wants their daughter to be a well-rounded individual.   “I just want her to embrace all of it; to be American, Puerto Rican and Dominican. I think we have agreed though, as parents, that we just want her to be civilized and wholesome,” Michael said.   Like Geraldine and Michael, multiracial couple, Denise and Baruti “Brother B” Tucker, has similar experiences in Augusta. The Tuckers own the Humanitree House, a juice joint and art gallery. Although they may appear to be just another black couple in downtown Augusta, the Tuckers are infused with different cultural backgrounds from all over the world. Baruti, born and raised in Staten Island, New York, comes from French and Haitian descent; and his wife, Denise, born in Oklahoma, is of Nigerian, Japanese, French Creole and Haitian descent. Together, they raise two boys from Brother B’s previous marriage.   These different cultures play a big role in their everyday interactions as a married couple and parents. Brother B explained Haitians can be very upfront and direct when speaking, and this can be very different to how Americans may communicate.   “I was raised primarily as an American woman,” Denise said. “I have a lot of American ways. Haitians tend to be very aggressive and direct when they speak. Since he is so direct, I sometimes think he is maybe being mean, and he’s really not, that is just the way that he talks; so, we sometimes bicker about that.”   Although they were born in the U.S., the couple does not neglect the cultures they were raised with.   “My family’s background is all mixed up,” Denise said.” I was raised in a household where they did not diminish

Alexa and Michael | Photo by: Geraldine Lopez the Nigerian culture; it was actually very active.   Denise is still very in touch with her Nigerian background spiritually, and she is a big influence to her stepchildren.   “From me, they get a lot of Nigerian spiritual influence,” Denise said. “We try not to keep them in a small box of religious principles more than spiritual principles. With me, they tend to get the spirituality of listening to yourself and understanding the voice of the creator when speaking to you and just trusting

“I just want her to embrace all of it; to be American, Puerto Rican and Dominican. I think we have agreed though, as parents, that we just want her to be civilized and wholesome.”

Alexa and Geraldine | Photo by: Michael Lopez yourself; that’s a challenge to most young people.”   Brother B also has a huge Haitian influence on his young sons, as one of them is learning capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts form, which is very popular in Haiti. “I always tell him, ‘listen son, I know you want to use what you learn, but understand, your mind is discipline before your body,’” he said.   According to Denise, the children are very well spoken and upfront when they speak, just like their father. The very honest and straightforward communication is a Haitian value she admires in them. Growing up mainly in the South, Denise was raised to be “nice,” which she believes is not always as honest. She respects the way in which Brother B teaches his children to always be comfortable with speaking their minds.   Along with different values, the couple does not forget to teach the children about another important aspect of their cultures, the food.   “Around the Christmas holiday, we make a point to embrace all the cultures that is in our family,” Denise said. “So, while my family has the Nigerian, Asian and French and his family has French and Haitian, we bring all of that together.”   Denise and Brother B do not celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving or Christ-

mas in their household. The couple strives to educate their children by bringing in foods from all of the countries they are influenced by. They teach and talk about the different foods, so that the children learn and understand where their roots derive from.   Like Geraldine and Michael, the Tuckers understand the children need to be educated and have pride in their cultures, but learning to be a well-rounded individual is the most important lesson at the end of the day.   “For me, it’s important to just be human,” Denise said. “At this point many of us are all melting pots on the inside anyway… My children need to know their African heritage, but they don’t have to go around with an African flag on their foreheads. They can claim to be Americans, but you have to know where you come from because if you don’t have history, then you don’t have future.”

Shannon is a senior communications major.

31 Summer 2015 | Phoenix



Story by Joshua Griffin | Layout by Shannon Pak   “Sweetie, I’m home,” I called out as I walked into my house. I threw my keys down onto the old, black piano that sits near the front door and pulled my phone out.   No missed texts or calls from her. Maybe she’s asleep? I put my backpack down on the empty couch, grabbed a bottle of water and walked through the den of the house.   “Honey? Are you here?” I said loudly while checking each empty room that I passed.   I sipped some water from the bottle and thought for a moment.   Where is she? Is she all right? I quickened my pace. My footsteps were the only sounds that could be heard in my eerily quiet house. I rounded the corner and stepped into my room.   “Oh, there you are! Why didn’t you answer?” She didn’t say anything, but she didn’t have to. She just stayed there, staring at me with her blue-grey eyes. Those beautiful, piercing eyes that changed not just because of what she wore, but with the weather and her mood. Those were the eyes I longed to gaze into at night as I was falling asleep, and the first things I saw when I woke up in the morning.   I met her unwavering smile with my own smile, abandoning any amount of anger or sadness or anxiety that was budding within me prior. No one else on this earth has the calming effect on me that she does.   I could tell at this moment she was happy. She usually was. Since it was rare for her to be in a bad mood for long. When she does get angry or sad she always takes her pen and small notebook and locks herself in a room for a while and amazing things come out of it. Music: Beautiful music with incredible lyrics that can change anyone’s mood with just a few chords and words. Even though I hurt when she hurts, I love


the music she creates from the dark places she goes to and pulls herself out of.   “Cause, baby, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me.” Those lyrics have stuck with me for quite some time. It just shows how strong my girl is and how she doesn’t let anyone push her around.   Then there are the sweet songs that she writes for me, and I gush over her as she pours her heart out: “It’s 2 a.m., in my room. Headlights pass the window pane. I think of you.”   “I wonder if he knows he’s all I think about at night?”   Just the though of these songs brings a stupid smile to my face.   “We should be together. Every time you smile, I smile.”   “I saw what you posted on Instagram… that was so cute,” I said while moving a little closer to her.   “I’m sorry, she scratched you though, does it hurt still? Meredith is usually so calm, I surprised she hurt you.”   My eyes darted around the room and glazed over the lone coffee cup on the dresser in the corner of the room. She loves her coffee.   I kept scanning and my eyes narrowed to our closet door that was open a crack. I listened for the faint meow or scratching sound that often gives away her position. Meredith must be in there, she usually hides in and around our shoes that are kept on the floor.   Meredith is technically “our” cat, of course, but was hers originally. It really bothers me when she does bad things like this.   She was quiet again. I stayed with her, complacent and happy to keep her company. Sometimes silence between two people can be awkward and uncomfortable but not when it comes to us. We sometimes sit for hours with each other just writing, watching TV, or listening to the rain beat against our window just be-

ing happy that we are with one another.   I’ve never felt this way before when it comes to a woman. Another one of her tunes floods into my head: “Can’t help it if there’s no one else. Can’t help myself.”   This is what bliss is, isn’t it? I turned to face her, and spoke gently because she was so quiet. I didn’t want to step on any toes.   “Look I know you’re not talkative today… But I wanted to let you know that I’m glad you’re in my life and I want to tell you…” I leaned in close to her, my eyes tracing her flawless face, going back and forth from her eyes to her mouth and over again.   “…I love you.” I gently touched my lips to hers, closed my eyes and kissed her.   “Josh, are you in here? Dinner is ready—oh…” a female voice said while opening my bedroom door. I quickly pulled away from my Taylor Swift poster and smiled sheepishly, not knowing what to say.   “You know,” continued my mom, “it’s really creepy when you talk to that poster, let alone kiss it. Normal kids have real friends.”   She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.   “Look, when you are done with, um, whatever this is, dinner is ready,” she said while walking out of my room.   “Our love is real, mom!” I called out loudly through the open door way into the hallway.   “Haters gonna hate hate hate! Ha!”   “Our love IS real,” I repeated, “isnt it, Taylor?” I turned back to the poster and stroked her cardboard cheek.   “Nobody understand us, do they? But it’s OK. Yeah. It’s OK. It’s OK.”

Joshua is a senior communications major.

33 Summer 2015 | Phoenix


We took to Instagram this time around to find out the inside scoop from students just like you.

Which celebrity would you go out with? “Tom Brady, because of his smiles and muscles. No more explanation is needed.”


If you could be any food in the world, what would you be? “I would be a blue popsicle, because everyone loves the blue popsicles.”


Who do you look up to the most? “My dad because he’s the hardest working dude I know.”


if you could pair together any two fictional characters in a romantic relationship, who do you think would make a good match? “Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl and Mark Sloean from Greys Anatomy.”


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