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ISSUE NO. 19 • SEPT. 25 - OCT. 1, 2013 • PEOPLE ISSUE


Kara Driscoll @kardadri @newsrecord_uc


Josh Miller @josh_tnrsports Jake Grieco @Rosewater_Eliot


Ben Goldschmidt @b_gschmidt Kate Davis @kateTHE___great


Katie Griffith










I learn something new with every interview and source I meet. People are full of interesting stories.

I love spending time with my sisters. We’re like a tiny, fierce gang of cool girls.

Mary Linn White. She was the editor of The News Record in 1944.

I enjoy being around fun, adventurous people. And, I really just like hanging out with journalists.

I can’t stand pretentious people.

I once interviewed Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams. He was an extremely humble person, and an allaround bad ass. He slightly restored my faith in the American Dream.

Being in college, I really miss being able to spend time with my grandfather.

Not to be a stereotypical writer, but I would love to have a conversation with Hunter S. Thompson, preferably before he broke into the really hardcore stuff.

See Ron Swanson.

If you don’t have a really boss hand shake, you’re not worth my time. I try to break someone’s hand when I meet them for the first time.

I once talked to a girl who said she talked to her fiance through a medium.

It’s hard to pick just one person. I love all of my friends because they are reckless and I never know what they are going to do.

I would want to meet Jesse Lacey, the lead singer of Brand New. I would also like to meet Jack Kerouac and get wine drunk with him.

I enjoy crazy people. I love to meet people that are so profoundly themselves they seem like a character in a novel.

People that seem too put together. I get annoyed when I think people are trying to put forth an image instead of being themselves.

Once a week I talk to my dear sweet grandmother on the phone. Call me crazy (or lame), but those are the most interesting conversations I’ve had.

Ryan “Big Daddy” Hoffman.

Nick Swardson. I think we’d legitimately make really good friends.

I like people who own awkwardness. This characteristic is not for the faint of heart...

People who just love having an opinion and who always announce just how offended they are about something.

Pretty much every conversation with my boss while I was on co-op.

I really like hanging out with my parents because they’re hilarious and they pay for things for me.

Tina Fey, obviously.

A sense of humor, openmindedness and good taste in beer.

Close-minded people and people who can’t admit when they’re wrong.

It’s hard to narrow it down, but my niece thinks making the sky purple and the clouds pink would make the world a better place. Isn’t that cute?

My niece, Hailey. She makes me smile so much.

E. E. Cummings, he is (was) so amazing, and his work inspires just about every word I write.

Someone who is humble and talkative with an open mind.

I’m going to have to agree with Kara. Pretentious people are annoying.



UC faculty member moonlights as film director


Meloy holds best director award already, many projects still to come BROOKE BEERY SENIOR REPORTER

Kent Meloy is a Cincinnati man. Born in Cincinnati Christ Hospital 49 years ago, he fell in love with film after seeing a trailer for the first 3D animated movie, “Tron” back in 1982. He was only a college freshman then, a self-described computer science guy, but he knew he was destined for greater things. It’s a little past 2:30 p.m. and he’s entering Starbucks café in the College Conservatory of Music building at the University of Cincinnati’s campus, only one floor above his office. Swinging the large glass door open, his heavy footsteps announce his arrival almost as loudly as his voice. “Brooke?” He walks up to a middle-aged woman sitting quietly at a table, one of my old psychology teachers, actually. “Brooke?” It takes me a second to get to Meloy, and I nearly knock my drink over in the process, but introductions are finally made, and we take our seats at a little table in the corner. He’s wearing a dark gray T-shirt and jeans. His brown, slightly-thinning hair is curling under his ears and a pair of wire-framed glasses sits comfortably on his nose. He doesn’t order a drink but seems comfortable with his hands flat on the table, face smiling. Meloy has a wide-range of experience in both the theater and film industry. He started off doing location audio recording and eventually moved on to doing audio postproduction for Young People’s Specials for NBC. As

he continued to progress he started to work on films for ABC, PBS, the Disney Channel and the BBC. This led him to his job as the lead editor of Possible Worldwide. These days, he spends a lot of time shooting events on and around UC’s campus. He’s the manager of the UC Presentation Technology and Services group and it’s his job to record, in his words, “almost anything you can point a camera at.” He started at UC in November 2006. A friend of his, Bevin Blankenbuehler, was in a band that his band used to do a lot of gigs with. She told him that her department was looking for a manager and so he took the job as an opportunity to get back into video production. “Sometimes we have teachers who want us to get their class online, even something that simple,” he said, unlacing his fingers on the table. “We do everything from a single camera and a teacher to — you know — a full film shoot.” His hands are now raised, holding an invisible camera. Meloy and his team cover all kinds of events for UC. They do live multi-camera streams at commencement as well as oral histories and other projects around campus. Meloy’s passion for film and the arts is what’s most apparent in all of his endeavors. He’s currently working on several side projects that include directing an online TV series called “Dark Age” and is in preproduction for his short film, “Silent Ring.” The short is something he has been continually working on during the summer. “Silent Ring” follows an awkward middle-aged male who after deciding to buy his first cell phone, begins receiving calls from a mysterious female.

Meloy is also the president of the Southern Ohio Film Association. SOFA is a group that tries to help aspiring filmmakers achieve their dreams whether it is working on set or directing. “We’re trying to elevate the Cincinnati film industry,” he said. “There is a ton of incredible talent here and there are a lot of people who want to do it. Everywhere from those amateurs to guys that won Emmys and other awards.” When asked about his accolades, Meloy gets suddenly shy and lowers his head. “Me? Not many,” he said, chuckling. “I won a best director for a 48-hour film project two years ago. But yeah, I’m not in a position where I can win a whole lot. I hope to be winning more some day. Gotta get that Oscar before I die.” The Oscar comment is only a half-joke. Meloy is being modest about his achievements but there’s a clear drive in him to accomplish bigger things. In probably the biggest directorial project of his career, Meloy got involved with “Dark Age” through a fortunate meeting with the show’s writers at the 48-hour film festival. “We’d been looking for a director for a while and after working with Kent on the 48hour project, we knew he was our guy,” said Andrew Ludington, co-writer and creator of the TV series. “When we got to talking to Kent about this project, he responded so positively about it. Pretty soon, while we were working on “Dark Age” at lunch or dinner after a shoot, we would be bouncing ideas off each other for other things that we could do because, you know, all three of us, we love film. We love entertainment. And we really see “Dark Age” as the first of many projects to come.” Meloy has been working closely with the writers of the TV show, Justin Bondi and Andrew Ludington, since they met in 2011. Right now, they have ideas for a couple of other web series and are looking at potentially producing a feature film as well. Meloy said he’s never been interested in making money but he had to care about it when he started a family. “I’ve got a wife and two kids at home,” he said. “Hailey’s 13 and wants to be a filmmaker slash rock star, and Mason’s 10 and wants to make video games and be a skate punk. They’re two of the coolest kids ever. Period. No matter what anyone else says, my kids are cooler.” A huge smile spreads across his face as he talks about his loved ones. “I have the most supportive family ever,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for any better. I probably don’t deserve as good as I have it. And I fully admit I’m spreading myself too thin. I get pissed off when people do that, and here I am doing it. But these are the things that make life so rewarding.”

When Meloy said this, it felt like he was speaking to himself, trying to remember not to take any of his life’s treasures for granted. Meloy’s plans for the future are to keep working with Bondi and Ludington and to someday make it big as a movie director. He knows that his dreams are a bit far-fetched, but said he feels confident he can succeed because of all the amazing people that surround him. “For years, I’ve been trying to find some people that were as passionate about what I want to do as I am,” he said. It’s been over an hour and Starbucks has cleared out as students shuffled off to class. Meloy’s naturally loud voice softened and he leaned forward a bit, as though he was telling me a secret, “And that’s always the trick. It’s a lot easier to get the energy and the passion going when you’ve got a couple of key people as a core group that are really into it. That’s what I’ve found with Andy and Justin and it’s been great. So we’re talking about doing some shorts, we’re talking about doing some films. As far as “Dark Age,” it’d be kind of fun to have someone pick it up and want to produce it.” He leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest. “You know, I want to make movies,” he said. “So if this could help lead to that, that would be awesome.”

THE SHORT FACTS: “Dark Age” follows a group of characters living in a castle, 18 months after the world has fallen apart from an unidentified apocalyptic catastrophe that only a few pockets of people survived. The heroes live in a castle/barn that Arthur — the main character — put together. There’s a cult down the street of 50 to 60 people that is run by a crazy pastor who use to be a janitor. In the first episode, a pregnant member of his flock named Georgia Ann shows up at the castle asking for sanctuary. And that changes the dynamic of everything. Filmmakers made an agreement: no zombies. While viewers may be able to draw comparisons between the film and “The Walking Dead,” Meloy said it offers something different. The show’s first season is available online at There are nine episodes available for free viewing, each are about 10 minutes long. Ludington said season two is already plotted out and some rough outlines for season three are in the making.


UC student spends free time jumping out of planes Student overcame fear, now spends time helping others do the same ALEXIS O’BRIEN CHIEF REPORTER

Whitnie Wright isn’t a risk taker. She never has been. She doesn’t like roller coasters and heights terrify her. At least, that’s what she’ll tell you. But the daring third-year economics student from the University of Cincinnati jumps and free falls out of aircrafts 12,500 feet in the air. The 20 year old is a licensed skydiver with 80 jumps under her belt, or more aptly, her parachute. She’s also the president of the UC Skydiving Club, where she supports and motivates 30 others to face their fears. “My favorite part about being president is being able to enjoy my hobby with all of my favorite people,”Wright said. “I also love being able to teach.” She first considered skydiving when her father, a licensed diver of more than 200 jumps, bought her on a tandem jump — a jump made by two people connected together — when she was a freshman at UC. Through her father, UC criminal justice professor John Wright, she was exposed to the sport at an early age, but her mother wouldn’t let her jump until she was 18. That was when she decided to take to the sky, very responsibly. She enrolled in and completed the UC

PROVIDED Whitnie Wright and her father John Wright. John, who has more than 200 jumps, teaches at UC.

University of Cincinnati student and licensed skydiver Whitnie Wright on one of her 80 jumps. Wright serves as president of the UC Skydiving Club.

Managing Risks: Intro to Skydiving class. Then she traveled with the skydiving club to the vertical wind tunnel in Orlando, Florida — an indoor skydiving simulator that gave Wright the confidence she needed to try skydiving outdoors. “It’s hard to explain how I felt because it’s scary,” Wright said. “But the UC class provides you with everything you need to know, so you feel as confident as you possibly can.” Her first official jump was tandem and made her a little uncomfortable. “Tandems, they honestly freak me out,” Wright said. “They dangle you out of the plane and you’re connected to someone else, but you don’t feel safe. You don’t have your own parachute.” Since the tandem jumps, Wright has gone from jumping with two unattached instructors to jumping with one unattached instructor to merely jumping with a coach — her father. “Coaching Whitnie has been a highlight of my life,” John Wright said. “Nothing can replace it. Being part of her training and getting to experience the thrill of the sport with her has been remarkable.” Lately, Wright has been training to compete in collegiate skydiving competitions, which she plans to do in the coming year. During these events, divers are judged for their ability to quickly create body shapes with partners during airtime. “You have to exit the plane a certain way and hold on to your partners’ grippers in different ways,” she said. “You see how many formations you get in 35 seconds.” When Wright and her partner began

practicing, they averaged about two formations per attempt. Now they’re averaging about ten. “It’s a feeling you can’t really explain. You’re free and nothing matters while you’re flying,” she said. “You don’t feel like you’re falling, you feel like you’re floating.” Wright also emphasized the importance of a stable body position when diving. “Belly to the earth and arms and legs at 45 degrees, with an arched back,” she said. “If you laid on a table stomach-down and just lifted up a little bit, that would be a stable position.” A stable body position helps divers not spin or flip during flight, and can mean the difference between a good jump and a not-sogood jump. Wright said mistakes are well worth making, though. “You’re still jumping, and you’re still walking afterward,” she said. Every diver is equipped with a back-up parachute that deploys automatically if the


first one fails. Skydivers free fall for about 60 seconds, depending on their altitude, and many enjoy the covered part of their descent, Wright said. When their parachutes are in use, divers can look down and coast to the ground. “Don’t look down until the parachute [releases],” she said. “It makes for bad body position if you do.” Wright and other members of the UC Skydiving Club can be found at Start Skydiving — a skydiving center in Middletown, Ohio — almost every weekend, where they recently returned from cheering on new club members after their first free-falling experiences. Like many of the new skydivers, Wright was terrified before she took her first jump, but now she says skydiving is the biggest part of her life. “It made me a lot more confident,” she said. “Because if I can skydive, I can do anything.”

Peaks and valleys of Kilimanjaro: the story of African-heritage store owner, Titus Nzoiki


Access to Affordable Higher Education The American Association of University Professors-UC Chapter is hosting Rudy Fichtenbaum, President of the national AAUP and Professor of Economics at Wright State University. Rudy will speak about student debt, tuition, and access to affordable, quality higher education.

“[We must focus on] the root cause of skyrocketing tuition, which is directly related to the escalating debt burdening millions of students and their families.� -Rudy Fichtenbaum

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9/24/2013 12:34:22 PM


Engineering professor makes sound discoveries in acoustics Research revolves around reducing noise from commercial, military aircraft EMILY BEGLEY COLLEGE LIFE EDITOR

Sound can be a beautiful thing. Melodies entice and noises communicate in the form of sirens and alarms. When thinking in terms of music, sound is even craved — many would sooner increase its volume than willingly reduce it. The problem is when sound shifts from art to pollution. This conundrum is the basis of research conducted by Jeffrey Kastner, assistant engineering professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “I consider myself an expert in the field of acoustics,” Kastner said. For 14 years, Kastner has conducted extensive research on acoustics that has allowed him to work with engineers from NASA, Boeing, General Electric, the Navy and the Air Force. “I wanted to have some experience before I got into the classroom full time,” Kastner said.“I can do something based on what I did instead of what others did.” Kastner started off teaching algebra and trigonometry at Ohio State University. He came to the University of Cincinnati in 2007 and spent five years working in the department of aerospace engineering. He also had the opportunity to teach and design a graduate level aeroacoustics class. His focus now lies on teaching freshmen about the foundations of engineering and engineering models. “We’re trying to get our freshmen interested in engineering through those two avenues,” Kastner said. Kastner’s work, which spans back to his college days

at OSU, places an emphasis on reducing noise from both commercial and military aircrafts. “If you live by an airport, your property value goes down,” Kastner said.“There’s a lot of research that shows if you’re living in an unpleasant environment, you’re going to be unhappy.” Much of the effort to reduce noise from aircrafts is focused on something called a chevron, which according to NASA is,“the sawtooth pattern seen on the trailing edges of some jet engine nozzles.” The design — which Kastner likens to a shark mouth — reduces sound-inducing turbulence caused when warm air from the engine mixes with cooler air going through the engine fan. One of the biggest challenges sound presents is its physical appearance. Sound is a wave, and controlling it is a significantly difficult engineering problem. To demonstrate sound waves and the role they play regarding aircrafts, Kastner points to a video of a Ruben’s Tube, an antique device that uses a pipe and flames to demonstrate the relationship between sound pressure and sound waves. The flames appear to dance to music pulsing in the background. With each beat, some flames stretch taller and others shrink to almost nothing, creating a different wave shape with each new sound. The concept shown in the video is similar to noise and fire from an aircraft’s engine, Kastner said. Kastner’s experience at NASA stemmed from experiments he conducted as a student at OSU. “You would have an exhaust, and instead of using mechanical chevrons, you would create these little fire balls or plasmas,” Kastner said, describing an experiment he originally took on at OSU. “What we were trying to do was, instead of having the


Jeffrey Kastner (above) conducts research on acoustics. The professor has been studying acoustics for 14 years, and his work focuses on reducing noise from commercial and military aircraft. Kastner has worked with engineers from NASA, Boeing, General Electric, the Navy and the Air Force.


A chevron, the jagged pattern that appears on some jet engine nozzles, plays a significant role in reduing noise from aircrafts. Kastner compared the physical appearance of a chevron to a shark mouth.

chevron there, it would be something you could turn on and off. Basically that was the goal of going to NASA: to take a small technology and scale it up.” This silencing technology, officially called plasma actuators, would take the idea of a noise-reducing chevron and make it entirely electronic. Plasma actuators control turbulence by creating electrical arcs and can simply be switched on and off. Detailing the ideas behind this technology, Kastner credits realizing the success of plasma actuators as his greatest accomplishment. He thinks back to a seemingly routine night in the lab at OSU when he excitedly understood the technology was showing promise. “It was one of those Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. I can specifically remember: we were taking pictures, we turned it on and something happened,” Kastner said. Although the idea behind plasma actuators was not his own, Kastner takes pride in being the first to realize the technology was working. Kastner also reflects on his work with the Navy to reduce aircraft noise, noting it as one of his most memorable experiences. “This is the one that is particularly of interest,” Kastner said. Kastner and other researchers were challenged by not being able to limit the performance of military aircraft while addressing the issue of people being very close to the planes. Many individuals have worked near these aircrafts their entire careers, Kastner said. “Exposure to this damages these people,” Kastner said. “They are working at ways to try to reduce this noise. Ultimately, one thing is just understanding the noise. Eventually, you try to develop technologies that actually reduce the noise.” For Kastner, having these diverse experiences are crucial to his career as a professor. Kastner hopes his students will hear more than just noise in his classes; he strives to help students discover a passion for engineering while making them feel at home.




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Meet Dakota Wilson, UC’s rising motocross star University of CIncinnati freshman considers motocross racing a way of life, dream, family affair EMILY WITT STAFF REPORTER

Ask Dakota Wilson if he’s good at motocross and he’ll say, “Well, I’m alright.” But for the highly decorated and respected 18 year old — who has traveled across America training and learning from the pros — he’s far from “alright.” A first-year health and sciences student, Wilson began motocross racing at age 5, when his father bought him his first bike. “I walked outside and there was a dirt bike siting there,” Wilson said. “I didn’t know what it was. All I saw was a motor and wheels. I still had training wheels on my bicycle, and my Dad told me I couldn’t ride the dirt bike until I got those off. So I looked down and told him, ‘Take ‘em off.’ I rode down three houses, came back and said I want to ride that. He put me on it, and I just took off from there.” Dakota’s father began racing at the age of 5 as well. A sport that ultimately results in driving fathers and sons apart, the sport’s entire universality has only brought the duo closer. “He’s definitely kept it a father-son sport,” Wilson said. “I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent in the passenger seat of my dad’s truck, just sitting on the way to a track or a race. A lot of kids that I raced with when I was younger, their dads were out there on the track yelling at them: ‘You better jump that!’ or ‘You better go faster!’ My dad was never out there. He was always encouraging me. ‘Come on junior, you can go do

it!’ All the kids who had the stereotyped ‘mini-dads,’ they burnt out and quit after they were 14. Part of it’s the pressure and part of it is you, but the ‘you’ part gets diminished as you go along.” Wilson has dedicated almost 13 years of his life to motocross, sacrificing participation in other sports he loves, too. “They were conflicting with time,” he said. “I did wrestling for about five years, up until freshman year. I switched to playing basketball for my township and did that until I graduated. I’ve done football for a little bit.” Traveling to races every weekend with his dad and investing countless amounts of time and money into his passion, Wilson understands that he’s very fortunate to still be able to race. “My childhood dream was to be a pro-racer,” Wilson said. “We’ve invested quite a bit of money in this sport and it’s been fun, but where I am right now in this sport, it’s been because that’s where I’ve wanted to be.” The sport is not just financially demanding, but physically as well. Wilson even began taking a physical conditioning class simply to keep up with both his new college schedule and his world of motocross. “I have seen articles say that it’s the toughest sport in the world,” he said. “Sitting on the starting line, you can have your 120 heart rate and it can instantly shoot to 180. It’s so demanding on your cardio system for how long you have to do it. That’s why most professionals start at 16 but usually only last 10 years. It’s such a demanding sport on your body.” Yet for Wilson, every race he attends and every person he’s met reminds him daily that all the money, energy and time has made it all worth it. “You go to races and you have your second family,” he said. “I’ve met so many people that I never would have met anywhere else. A guy will break his bike and you’ll go and you’ll give him parts or you’ll sell him parts. We’ve made

friends just from helping. Once, there was a 10-year-old kid who had a flat tire. We ended up changing it for him and now we teach him how to ride.” Not only has Wilson met some of his best friends through motocross, he has also been trained by former worldchampion racer Travis Preston. “In 2011 and 2012, I went to North Carolina to train ... I spent three days each year down there with [Preston], doing six hours a day on the bike. He’d be out there, critiquing me, just trying to get better.” But he knows that in order to make it and progress in any sport, you can’t let your attitude get the best of you. Regardless of all of his awards, Wilson is very humble. “I don’t like the cocky attitudes,” he shrugs. “I mean you have the guys who think that they’re fast and they’ll run their mouths. You just kind of sit there and take it and then you go out there and beat them. I don’t get into the smack talk.” Wilson’s prominent power in motocross has also gained the attention of the widely popular and social-media friendly President Ono. “I had his boblehead and put it inside my helmet. I tweeted it at him saying, “Taking @PrezOno on his first motocross ride!” He retweeted it and posted it to his own Twitter account, saying: Thanks to Dakota Wilson for taking me on my first motocross ride.” Despite the media attention, awards — he named the Gold Medal at the 2008 Ohio Police and Fire Games his most cherished — and other recognitions, Wilson gets on the bike every single weekend simply because he loves every second of it. “I’m one of the very few that has had the ability to continue doing it, and still love doing it. Just being able to ride it. It’s why I ride. It’s worth the sacrifice and everything I’ve put into it.”

For the Record 09.24.13  

The News Record, the independent student news organization for the University of Cincinnati

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