Stark Voices Fall 2016

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FEATURE ARTICLE Society and Infertility by Nicole Sommers

Volume 1 / Edition 2

Fall 2016


ABOUT STARK VOICES Stark Voices is committed to recognizing Stark State students’ excellence while facilitating an academic conversation highlighting diverse perspectives, critical insights, and thoughtful reflection through publication of student work. In order to ensure that the publication holds to the academic standards of excellence, submission of work is accepted only through an instructor with the consent of the student. Materials must be non-fiction and comply with general requirements which include clear focus, substantive content, unique voice, accurate citations, included references (as applicable), and a minimal need for editing. Stark Voices is overseen by a committee of professors within the English and Modern Languages Department. Technical Communication majors, in their last semester before graduation, are required to hold an internship position within the committee and oversee the publication process, holding all executive titles and responsibilities. As such, Stark Voices is a student run-publication that incorporates a culmination of learned processes that include all aspects of publication, such as interviewing, customer service, editing, layout and design elements, and collaborative efforts between faculty and the student body. Stark Voices encourages all students with an interest in communication, publication, writing, and graphic design to consider joining the committee and assisting in the recognition of fellow students. Faculty who encounter high-quality student writing and wish to foster academic achievement and advance student success can submit student essays for publication consideration throughout the academic year. DISCLAIMER: The content of this publication represents the academic exploration of individual students. The perspectives expressed are not representative of the official positions of Stark State College.

Cynthia A. Boswell Editor


Brad Fetrow Assistant Editor

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STARK VOICES LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the Fall 2016 issue of Stark Voices! It is an honor to serve as editor of Stark Voices for this semester and to be a part of the transformation from a newspaper to a journal that showcases excellent student essays, penned by Stark State College’s own diverse student body. Stark Voices’ journal format gives instructors the opportunity to choose great writers and share their nonfiction essays with a broader audience. I love that Stark State has such a diverse student population of ages, cultures, and life experiences. We each have our own unique story to share, which you will experience in this issue’s essays. This edition features essays by authors who have endured great physical and emotional changes in their lives. Some have faced distinct challenges, while others share personal introspection. Collectively, we offer seven essays that give the reader unique insight into issues that some of us have also faced or topics to which we can relate. Some of the essays take an inward glance – a community that inhabits a city bus, the challenges of leaving a small town for the big city, and the emotional struggles of infertility. Others address child development – the effects of art therapy on children and the consequences of divorce on children. The remaining essays deal with self-realization, and in these, the authors discover and share an important personal insight, such as the long-term effects of physical labor and the liberating benefits of feminism. Each essay will take the reader on a personal journey in which a challenge is presented to view life from a different perspective. To the authors who offered their personal narratives, I thank you for sharing your journey. I am certain your essays will resonate with many and inspire people who encounter similar situations. To the advisers, Elizabeth Modarelli and Nicole Herrera, thank you for the opportunity to serve as editor and to grow under your tutelage. Brad Fetrow, Assistant Editor, and I thank you for all your ideas, hard work, and commitment to turning out a quality publication. Our sincere gratitude to Matt Brady for volunteering to do the graphics. It is greatly appreciated.

Cynthia A. Boswell Cynthia A. Boswell Stark Voices Editor

Fall 2016





PG. 5

While the debate over abortion and contraception remains prominent in our public discourse, the discussion regarding infertility remains largely overlooked. In our featured article, author Nicole Sommers confronts the topic head-on through her moving story of personal loss, enduring social stigmas and the hidden toll infertility can take on those affected. INSTRUCTOR: Nicole Herrera



PG. 7

Our world has never been as interconnected as it is now as a result of advancing technologies. People from across the globe can communicate in an instant. However, the very technology that brings us together can also insulate us from others, even those in decidedly close quarters. Author Olivia Beal ruminates on this phenomenon in her personal narrative on riding the Akron Metro Bus and the unique social strata created by that experience. INSTRUCTOR: Tricia Kincaid



PG. 9

Few things in our culture are as romanticized as “a hard day’s work,” and with good reason. Physical labor occupations can provide not only a comfortable income, but also a sense of tangible accomplishment. But what are the costs of this type of work? Author Michael Eshelman chronicles his career as a construction worker and the myriad physical issues that arise from this type of work. INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Modarelli


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PG. 11

Children can have a difficult time articulating their emotions, particularly in the case of traumatic events. However, art therapy can provide a necessary outlet for these emotions. In her piece, author Katherine Wilhite delves into the benefits of art therapy on children and adolescents through clinical studies and personal experience. INSTRUCTOR: Robert Berens



PG. 13

Divorce is one of the most traumatic events a family can go through. But as difficult as it is for the two partners involved, their children oftentimes suffer the most. In her in-depth essay, author Amorita Weaver details, through both personal experience and psychological research, the ripple effect divorce can have on a child’s psyche. INSTRUCTOR: Robert Berens



PG. 15

Sometimes students have no idea that a college assignment can change their lives and inspire their futures. Author Kelsey Westfall experienced this as she wrote a College Composition essay about the documentary, The Punk Singer. In her essay, Kelsey explains that the film opened her eyes to feminism in a way that empowered her to help overcome a painful trauma from her childhood. INSTRUCTOR: Justin Barber



PG. 17

The need to travel is an innate craving many people experience. This is especially true for individuals who grow up in small towns, where tranquility can give way to ennui as time goes on. But what happens when one leaves his small town behind for the big city? In his piece, author Philip Ingram explores his personal experience of moving to California and the culture shock that ensued. INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Modarelli

Fall 2016



Society and Infertility By Nicole Sommers


hen I found out I was pregnant, I was in a village in Ghana, West Africa. My husband, Andy, and I were so excited and couldn’t wait to tell everyone. That feeling quickly faded when just a week later, I started to show signs of miscarriage and knew there was something wrong. I had two more weeks before I would be back in the United States, but Andy would be traveling on to Mozambique and would not be arriving home for several weeks after me. My sister-in-law was with me on the flight home, which I was grateful for. She was very sweet, but we were both very sad and fearful that I would lose the baby. I arrived home and immediately went to the doctor, who confirmed my first of many miscarriages. Over the next four years, I would have four miscarriages. I finally became pregnant with our son Jonathan, but at fifteen weeks, my water broke, and there was nothing the doctors could do. We held our son, lifeless and beautiful, for as long as we were allowed. The nurses did everything they could to help us process the event, but the shock and grief were unbelievable. Andy and I found ourselves in a strange place. We were not your typical parents who could show off their children to everyone or barely sleep because the baby kept us up all night. We were the secret parents; we were the couple that struggles with infertility and child loss. As the holidays approach and my family starts to plan, I can’t help but take a moment to gather myself and take a deep breath so I do not break down and cry. My mind wanders to the children I have lost through miscarriage and premature labor. I stop and collect myself so that I don’t have to explain my tears. Why do I feel the need to stop myself? Why do I feel so ashamed to still be dealing with this, even though it’s been four years since we lost our last child, Jonathan? There seems to be such an ease to debating topics like abortion and contraception, but when it comes to infertility, the conversation appears to be non-existent. Why is there such a stigma associated with infertility? The issue of infertility is so overwhelming for the individuals involved that the lack of discussion and awareness can make our struggles even more difficult.


Infertility and child loss are complicated issues in American society. Many men and women have had to deal with the emotional, societal, and financial aspects that can add to the grief they are dealing with. I am thirty-five years old, and people are always asking if I have children. This question is hard to answer because miscarriages and preterm labor ending in loss are not topics that many of us openly discuss. It is seen as private and uncomfortable. On the other hand, there is so much that needs to be discussed. When we unintentionally decide as a society that something shouldn’t be discussed, all kinds of urban legends crop up: A grandmother or aunt gives advice like, “If you stand on your head and eat (insert some kind of herb) while reciting the alphabet backwards, then you will surely become pregnant the next time you try.” If only that were the case, but it’s not (and just so you know, I have not tried that). There isn’t a lot that can be offered to a mother and father who are going through the loss of a child. Allowing ourselves not to be afraid to talk about the subject and learning the facts about infertility, though, can go a long way. In the process of figuring out what to do next with our doctors and many, many appointments and tests later, we were sent to a specialist.

Being sent to a specialist is scary because that means there is really something wrong that may not be fixed. The other scary part has already started: the medical bills. Once we started going to the specialist, we found that our insurance company was not going to cover most of it. Sharon Jayson (2014) from USA Today writes about how fewer women and men are seeking treatment for infertility. While the article touches on different reasons, it acknowledges that finances play a big role. If someone chooses to go through the treatment process, it can be long and overwhelming. Tests and doctor appointments can be difficult to make since they happen during most people’s work hours. Many of the treatments have no guarantees and can range in cost anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 (Jayson, 2014). Unfortunately, without much help from the insurance companies or the government, that is an unattainable financial commitment for most people and a major deterrent in seeking treatment. The financial stress that goes hand in hand with infertility treatments also creates more emotional stress. Infertility affects a person’s entire life. Sheena Young (2007) does a great job of expressing this in her article, “Infertility

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STARK VOICES – A real illness.” She says about individuals undergoing fertility treatments, “Their life revolves around hospital visits. Everything is put on hold until they find out their diagnosis, then it is put on hold while they wait for and have treatment. Their lifestyle is changed to try to do all they can to create the best possible environment for achieving a pregnancy.” Creating an outlet for some of the individuals’ distresses would allow them to focus on processing their loss. It could provide them with the opportunity to grieve and care for themselves mentally so they can contribute to society in a healthy manner. Infertility is such a fundamentally personal issue that I can see why it has become stigmatized. With everything that is involved in the process, why would anyone want to be even more vulnerable and speak out about it? As I have had time to grieve and am now in a place where infertility doesn’t define me, I can begin to let my voice be heard. I believe that the first step to a more sustainable policy is having the conversation and creating awareness. If there is no conversation, there is no action. One organization that I found, named RESOLVE, is taking a stand and advocating for those who struggle with infertility. This organization follows legislation throughout the states and creates a place for people to “study, promote, and defend infertility” (RESOLVE, 2015). They are turning up the volume on the conversation.

References Jayson, S. (2014, January 22). USA TODAY. Retrieved from The National Infertility Association. (2015). Who we are. Retrieved from Young, S. (2007). Infertility – A real illness. Pharmaceuticals Policy & Law, 9 (½), 157-161.

About the Author Nicole Sommers is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree and hopes to work in the field of Mobile App security. She also hopes to continue to share her family’s story and bring further awareness to the subject of infertility.

There will never be a moment when I don’t miss my children. There will never be a day I don’t think about who they would be or what they would have become. That will forever be a part of Andy’s and my life, but we do have the ability to change the way others see our situation. We also have the ability to let people into our pain and struggles. The more we are vulnerable and honest, the greater their understanding will be of infertility and the more aware we all will be that change is needed. With all that Andy and I have faced, we have decided that we should finally pursue adopting a child. Every time I share this news, I feel the need to qualify it with confirmation that I love my children and will always miss them. I clarify that we have always wanted to adopt, even before we began having infertility issues. This is mainly to ward off any uncomfortable questions or comments, but I know it has even more to do with the fact that I still struggle with feeling ashamed about my infertility. Thankfully, I know that ultimately I do not need to justify our choice to adopt and that we will be able to provide a stable and loving home for a child who needs it. We love children and are excited to be parents one day soon, hopefully.

Fall 2016



The Stranger Two Feet Away By Olivia Beal


hen going from point A to point B in modern American society, one can look out a car window and see commuters with their eyes fixed sleepily on the street light at a stop, or slurping the dollar coffee that will be the only thing that gets their day started. They are all starting their days at different places, with different mindsets, and different lastminute thoughts before they go through either the daily grind or something that brings them back each day with a bit of joy for their work. No matter where they are going, they are all doing just that—going. They are all in the traffic, usually alone in the car. However, some people sit just feet apart for twenty to thirty minutes at a time, yet know nothing about each other, and care nothing. They are so wrapped up in the mentality of those who are alone that they never realize that they participate in a community of their own. In this case, that community is an Akron Metro bus. Every morning, before the 7:00 a.m. departure, passengers board the #4 Delia/North Hawkins bus. It’s a “school tripper,” and comprises mostly students that attend Firestone High School. The driver is usually the same, and the students are usually the same, but sometimes the random adult passenger boards. If they are over forty, they notice a phenomenon. Because all the city buses are Wi-Fi hot spots, the students connect and spend the ride in silence, fixated on their various devices. They disconnect, an invisible barrier—yet one more to separate ages. How can the older passengers engage a younger generation if that younger generation is so engaged in themselves? My first observations and interest in this phenomenon happened because I, as the writer and rider, realized that I could pass the twenty-five minutes and not even know who was next to me for the entire


ride to school. Leonard Borden, a frequent rider of the Metro bus, who is in his sixties, remarked in a hushed tone, “All they do is look at their phones. They’re so quiet.” The older generation sees and does not understand—nor do they appear to want to—the draw of the electronic, invisible world and the strange quiet that comes over young riders when they immerse themselves in it.

The “digital” community not only has an age divide, it also has a hierarchy, and the demographic of the bus directly correlates with the time of the departure. The 7:00 a.m. bus is quiet--some do their homework, most are on their phones, and only from the very back of the bus is much speech or noise heard; unfortunately, frequently that speech is punctuated not by commas and periods but by profanity. The 7:20 a.m. “late bus” holds a much larger crowd that woke up later. They are rowdy and loud. This is exactly the same after school, where the early bus rushes off with those who have to get to homework, jobs, rehearsals, and other responsibilities, while the rest mosey to the stop at 3:55 p.m. The bus driver at that hour is sometimes so overrun that he or she will not accept money from riders, only previously bought passes, so that the driver might hurry along the large crowd of 30 to 40 young adults. Any adults trapped amid the miasma of sweat, hormones, swearing, laughter, and music usually exit looking

shell shocked, or with murmurs of discontent to the driver, who heartily agrees. The “early” bus and the “late” bus in both the morning and afternoon are two different worlds. Why? With all these observations, it cannot just be said that the “bad” kids ride the later bus, not caring if they appall the adults who cannot connect to their world, lost in a sea of Wi-Fi. Amid the faint hint of pot smoke and industrial cleaner, there seems to be a reason that those who are loudest are those who are latest. This is where they see those who are like them. They thrive in an environment that they control, where a teacher isn’t misunderstanding their cry for help as simple goofing off. These students are thinking, “I don’t know how to learn what you’re teaching, but I am smart enough to know how to push your buttons. Can you teach me in a way that will make me want to learn, and try?” But that’s not what teachers hear. Instead they see the lazy way these students stroll into a class, hear the laughter as they disrupt their classrooms, and are glad to see them leave—to catch the bus. The bus where the quieter, homework-doers sit in the front with the elderly people shaking their head, and where others go to the back where they can be loud and not get yelled at by the driver. The community is pulled together-and works--because they share a common bond to get to different places, but some use it as connection. The daily grind: the solemn morning bus going to another boring day; the jubilant late bus going home to many different situations. The fact that human beings need the connection of those around them, and are drawn to those with whom they identify, is why there is strife in every chapter of history. “Different” is scary, but being placed in a situation where one must adapt and try to

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STARK VOICES understand the change makes that person survive. The older people who don’t know what to do with the kids attached to their phones are exactly like the kids who don’t know how to approach an older adult. The kids doing homework, trying to ignore the loudest of the yelling maniacs, might not realize that that boisterous young adult is striving toward mastering a sport because his success can never be realized in the classroom. Every person in that Metro community has a purpose, and they share a bond, even while they enter for very different beginnings of days, and exit to very different conclusions.

Fall 2016

About the Author Throughout Olivia Beal’s high school career, she rode the city bus and met a kaleidoscope of people. She considers herself just a kid from Akron who is pursuing her dream of creating beauty through music, while helping the hurting in the world. She studies Music Therapy and Vocal Performance at Baldwin Wallace University, but also studied English at Stark State College through the College Credit Plus program while attending Firestone High School. She enjoys painting, laughing, and listening to stories from people who are overlooked.



After Effects of Physical Labor By Michael Eshelman


am startled awake by the alarm blasting rock music at 5:15 a.m. I can smell the pot of coffee that is almost finished brewing in the kitchen. As I slowly try to get out of bed, every muscle in my body screams with pain and disagreement. The bed still looks made, and I am doubting that I even moved after I lay down the night before. These fourteen-hour days in the heat are a killer. “Why do I do this? Why would anyone do this?” I think to myself as I stumble to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, then straight to the shower. I need to be at the jobsite by 6:30. A life in construction is hard on the body, as are most other jobs that involve physical labor, but it is very satisfying (most of the time) and pays much better than a ditch digger or a landscaper. Even without being in a union, I was bringing in 50k a year, thanks to overtime. I paid my bills on time. I grilled steaks and drank expensive beer, when I was not stopping for takeout on the way home from work. My job enabled me to acquire nice toys and travel. Plus, it was a manly job. It kept me hard, in shape, and with enough of a tan to last through most of the winter. There were no office politics or backstabbing, like my friend, the pencil pusher, would tell me about. If there was an issue between workers on a crew, the tool belts came off, and it was settled on the spot. The women seemed enamored too. Whether it was a housewife at a residential job, the waitress where I ate lunch, or my girlfriend, the perks were there. Not to mention the satisfaction of seeing my work, whether it was the before and after of a project, or something built from the ground up. One other reason to do this type of work: I slept like a rock after a hard day’s work. However, it is not all steaks and good beer. Over the years, I received stitches nearly a dozen times. Bumps, bruises, and


blisters were normal. I administered first aid to others on the job and drove others— and was myself driven—to the emergency room. I was at the top of a sixty-foot ladder one day when I sliced a finger wide open. It was bad, but I was almost finished up there, so I smothered the cut with gutter caulk to stop the bleeding and wrapped up the task. I didn’t want to go all the way down the ladder to clean the wound and get a band aid and then have to climb back up for five minutes of work. Injuries on the job are part of the game. The long-term pain and damage done to my body were not expected, and had I known then what I know now, I would have made a different career choice. My entire body hurts. The bottoms of my feet ache from spending hours every day on an extension ladder. My knees have been shot for twenty years from ladder work and running around on roofs. I am actually wearing through my kneecaps. The only cartilage left in my knees are shards that poke me when I squat. My back has two herniated discs, with five others bulging. Both shoulders have had torn rotator cuffs, and I have had more concussions than Brett Favre. My entire body is riddled with broken bones and arthritis. I’ve worked with people that have lost fingers and toes on the job. One older guy, who was in the business forever, walks like he is on an imaginary pony and cannot even climb a step ladder anymore. Another needs help up every time he kneels down. As our aging physical workforce selfdebilitates, the next generation is starting their careers with little to no knowledge of what is in store for their bodies. A life of physical labor does have adverse effects on health, both pre- and post-retirement (Cianchetti, 2013). Houses and buildings must be constructed and repaired. Ditches must be dug. Wheelbarrows full of material

must be moved. Infrastructures must be built and maintained. Is it my parents’ fault for not putting me through college after high school? Is it the fault of the companies that I have toiled for? Is it my fault? Who, if anyone, is to be held responsible? Even if every person is given a college education, this work still needs to be done. Is anyone really responsible for the long-term care of the people who work in these trades? These people build the city halls, put the two-story additions on the doctors’ and lawyers’ houses, and bust their asses for just about everyone else. They have built, repaired, and maintained the community. Construction workers have made their impact on society with their sweat and blood, and years after their work is finished, society is feeling another impact. The physical laborers are becoming debilitated during, and after, the projects. This impacts the families of these hard workers, as well as the healthcare system. Statistics show that those who sacrifice their bodies for their jobs live shorter lives, while being in more pain, and needing more medical care later in life, than those who push pencils for a living. In a 28-year study conducted by Oxford University on this subject, many participants died before the study was even finished. “The authors concluded that high physical job strain in midlife may set employees on a higher healthcare-use trajectory, which persists into old age” (Cianchetti, 2013). The community in general does not seem aware of the after effects, nor do the workers when they take up these vocations. Is there a solution for the hard workers of our country?

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References Cianchetti, F. (December 30, 2013). Physical and Mental Job Strain May Wear Out Your Health Faster. Daily RX News. Retrieved from

About the Author The daily aches and pains incurred from a career in the construction field inspired Michael Eshelman to return to Stark State to pursue a degree in Cyber Security and Computer Forensics; he will graduate in January. He currently works at the Stark State IT Help Desk and hopes to find employment in the private sector where he looks forward to using his mind instead of putting physical demands on his body.

Fall 2016



The Psychological Aspects of Art Therapy and Children By Katherine Wilhite


rt—in many different forms— is used as an outlet to express feeling and evoke emotions that otherwise may be difficult to voice. How one chooses to express herself, if viewed closely, often tells a story of that person’s life, in the good times and in the dark times. Art therapy is the best way to understand someone’s story because through this medium, what often cannot be said can come to life, and therefore, the true emotions associated with the artwork can ultimately be revealed. Art therapy is a gateway to healing from traumatic events such as sexual and physical abuse. Art therapy is everywhere--whether it is in the privacy of one’s own home, in a group at a community center, in a private clinic, or in a psychiatric facility, people are now looking to art as a means of therapy. All ages benefit from art therapy; however, the age range that benefits the most is children and adolescents because this therapeutic agent facilitates expression of what may be difficult to explain. The brain of a child is not fully enough developed to comprehend or cope with traumatizing events in a healthy way. Whether they choose to hold on to a memory or to escape reality, children can better express themselves through their drawings. Art therapy is often referred to as a psychotherapy medium that allows children to express the emotions that they are often too afraid to voice in an environment where they will not be judged. One example of art therapy in my own experiences would be a time I was bullied at school and going through a rough time. I would lock myself in my room for hours at a time and draw, not only as an escape from reality but also as a way to confront it. Every day the bullying seemed to get worse—I would be called “fat,” “ugly,” and “that smelly, weird kid,” and the teachers never acknowledged nor did anything about this abuse. During


all of my struggles with my weight and my bouts with depression, art therapy was a constructive way to express my emotions and process these traumatizing events, and it gave me the courage to voice artistically what I could never express vocally. In this way, art therapy is beneficial for children. In a traumatic situation, it provides a mechanism for children to cope with and express what they cannot fully voice or perhaps fully comprehend. With art therapy, children who have been physically assaulted are able to tell their story in a way that can be heard while simultaneously working through what happened to them. In their 2016 study, “The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in Reducing Internalizing and Externalizing Problems of Female Adolescents,”Yasaman Bazargan and Shahla Pakdaman state: “Art therapy combines traditional therapeutic methods with nonverbal communication and self-expression” (37). One example of a child who used her art to express her feelings and emotions is Emily. Emily had lived on the wrong end of a father who was angry. He lived paycheck to paycheck and was on the verge of being evicted from their home, so he would lash out at his twelve-year-old daughter, who then became angry with people and with the world. As the physical abuse began to take a toll on Emily, she lashed out at her fellow students and even went so far as to threaten her principal, which led to her expulsion from school. With nowhere to turn, Emily soon sought the help of a counselor, who helped her by giving her a book called Spill and Chill to help address her emotions. She used this book to confront her feelings of anger and betrayal and even her feelings toward her father. “The book listens to you and doesn’t talk back to you,” Emily explained (Emily l). Using art therapy to help her uncover her thoughts and emotions about what happened to

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STARK VOICES her, she in turn helped her father to realize what he had done and face his own issues. This facilitated the healing process and opened further lines of communication between Emily and her father, resulting in a healthier outlet through which they were able to express how they felt toward each other. The issue of sexual assault presents a difficult and complex problem, not only with respect to understanding why or how a person can force someone into a sexual act, but also in figuring out how to help someone open up about the trauma she has endured. When one attempts to verbalize the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault, it is often difficult to find the right words to describe the feelings and the explicit details pertaining to the attack. Oftentimes (especially in the case of children), victims are afraid that once they voice what has happened, it will make the situation worse. Some feel that once they have revealed all the intimate details of what happened to them, they have somehow made the traumatic event likely to recur. Moreover, they are often afraid of retaliation, and to add insult to injury, they feel as if they are being forced to relive the traumatic event during the process of revealing the circumstances of their attack. As the authors of “Adlerian Art Therapy with Sexual Abuse and Assault Survivors” explain, “The reactions contained in the body (i.e., panic attacks, flashbacks, sensory triggers) affect the unique and individualistic understanding of the events that transpired for the survivor” (Saltzman, Matic, and Marsden, 226). Duke University has a community Facebook page where students are able to confront, and combat, their own experiences with sexual assault through the use of photojournalism. Art therapy helps people to deal with the trauma associated with sexual assault by psychologically tapping into and explain what happened through the use of colors and shapes. This process can help a child tell the story when he is not able to articulate it, and it also helps the child work through what occurred. Now he can begin to find closure and heal, and he is ultimately able to move forward with his life.

Fall 2016

Art is the best way to express and evoke emotions of any kind. A child who is subjected to any trial or tribulation in his young life can turn to art therapy as a way to connect with how he felt when that bully called him fat, or when Daddy took it out on her because he couldn’t pay the bills. By constructively connecting their past traumatic experiences with an artistic medium, the abused can then confront these emotions. Rather than internalizing their feelings, they can show them, and grow from them, resulting in closure and a fresh start.

Works Cited Bazargan, Yasaman, and Shahla Pakdaman. “The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in Reducing Internalizing and Externalizing Problems of Female Adolescents.” Archives of Iranian Medicine (AIM). 19.1(2016): 37-42. Emily: Spill and Chill. Art with Heart, n.d Web. 6 March 2016. Saltzman, Marni Rosen, Monique Matic, and Emily Marsden. “Adlerian Art Therapy With Sexual Abuse and Assault Survivors.” Journal of Individual Psychology 69.3 (2013): 223-244. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

About the Author Katherine Wilhite has used art her entire life as a means of expressing herself. She believes that art therapy is an excellent method for hurt children to bring negative feelings forward and deal with them in a healthy way. Katheine is attending Stark State College to become a Physical Therapy Assistant and wants to work with children after graduation. Katherine currently works at Home Depot as a Lawn and Garden sales associate. 12


The War Children Face By Amorita Weaver


ivorce. The word itself is split into two syllables, much like its effect on the two lives it separates. It divides itself inequitably, just as the hearts and lives it tears apart seldom break equally. While this causes a deep aching in the hearts of all parties involved in a divorce, children are most affected because of the painful memories and upsetting processes. Many times, children must listen to one parent degrade and tear down the other, only to experience the same with the opposing parent. The children are then left trying to discern which parent is right or wrong and whose side they ought to take. In some cases, parents make a conscious effort to remain respectful to one another to create an environment that will lessen the stressful effect on their children, and sometimes separation is the best option to protect the safety and welfare of the children involved, such as when one spouse is abusive. But more often than not, divorce devolves into an ugly combat zone, leaving gunsmoke and rubble in its wake. Children are the ones who suffer the most from the effects of this battle because their brains, personalities, and emotions are still in the stages of physical development. Since the brain is still in the process of development, young children who experience parental divorce are more likely at risk for psychological damage, particularly those who aren’t old enough to communicate or completely process what is taking place. Divorce causes tension between family members and inherently brings about troubling circumstances, such as the extended lapses of time being apart from one parent; thus, children are less able to cope and emotionally process what is happening. Even in infancy, the effects of divorce impact a child. Jolene Oppawsky, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and works at the University of Phoenix, shares in her article “The Nurse Sees it First: The


Effects of Parental Divorce on Children and Adolescents” that “infants from birth to one year react to parental divorce with, among other symptoms, irritability, increase in crying, increased need for physical contact, and acute separation anxiety” (3). The concern here is for an infant who has no means of verbal communication and no way of comprehending the circumstances; this type of change and stress can be damaging to the infant’s psyche and may stunt growth emotionally and mentally. Oppawsky goes on to say that “children from one to three react with clinging behaviors, calling, and searching for the missing parent, need for proximity to and physical touching by the parent who had custody, and more serious reactions such as night terrors, tics, and other psychosomatic reactions” (3). This should be a major concern for the parents involved in divorce. Children, especially at this young age, are more susceptible to unexplained disruptive behavior later in adolescence that many parents don’t realize, or even want to admit, which stems from those traumatic years when the divorce occurred. A divorce that takes place during a child’s early childhood or adolescence can lead to a misconceived perception of how normal, healthy relationships work. Therefore, the experience adversely affects the children’s own personal romantic endeavors. In a study titled “The differential effects of parental divorce and marital conflict on the young adult romantic relationships,” Ming Cui and Frank D. Fincham argue, Young adults may shape their behavior in their romantic relationships by observing marital interactions between their parents. Specifically, children may learn a variety of conflict behaviors from observing their

parents arguing, and these observations are likely to shape their own conflict behavior in their romantic relationships in young adulthood. (332) In many cases of divorce, children listen to one parent degrade and undermine the other spouse, and hear the same from the other parent about the opposing spouse, creating confusion for the children. This creates an emotionally and psychologically stressful—and potentially damaging— situation. Parents may be unaware of the kind of damage they are imposing on their children by making an already stressful situation even more so by failing to show regard for the other parent. It is unrealistic to think that any marriage doesn’t have its conflicts, but marital conflicts can be resolved in a respectful manner that does not involve raising voices or breaking objects. Many children of divorce have never experienced or learned how to resolve conflict in a healthy, non-harmful way. This may be directly connected to how they will approach conflicts in their own romantic relationships when they get older, setting them up for further hurt and emotional damage. Cui and Fincham explain this concept well in their study: Furthermore, it is likely that such an attitude toward marriage and divorce will affect their own romantic relationships through their commitment to their relationships. For example, if a romantic relationship is viewed as something that is expendable and best terminated when inevitable difficulties arise, there is little incentive to have a strong commitment to the relationship. Therefore, young adults may determine to leave a less satisfying relationship rather than work on the relationship based on seeing the consequences of his or her [sic] parents’ behavior. (332)

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STARK VOICES Children who have divorced parents often view marriage as disposable rather than as a relationship worthy of genuine attempts at trying to sort out the issues that arise. When parents choose divorce as the way out of a difficult marriage, their children may see this as a primary go-to option for their own relationships and may view divorce as a solution to a problematic marriage rather than pursuing other methods of resolution for the marriage. In addition to the potential problems with future relationships, divorce impacts a child’s everyday activities in that the normal routine becomes completely discombobulated, often adding to the tension and causing confusion for the children involved. Prior to the divorce, the children go from living in one home to having their time divided between two homes. Often they have separate wardrobes, hygiene amenities, and such, almost as if they are living in two separate worlds. I have a family friend who is currently going through the separation process. He has two daughters, ages 13 and 6, who spend every other weekend with him

and the remainder of their time with their mother. He shared with me how difficult the divorce has been for him. For example, his oldest has a problem wetting the bed, and the first weekend they spent with him, he explained to her that she should not be embarrassed by it, telling her that when it happens, she can just take the sheets off the bed and throw them into the washer and wake him if she needs help. She looked a little puzzled when he said that, so he asked her who washes the sheets at home after she has an accident. She stated that after an accident, her mom would usually wash the sheets but would wait for a few weeks rather than wash them straightaway. This is an example of how two different households are structured contrarily. The parents do not communicate the way they would if they were still living under the same roof. Often, if one parent attempts to discuss an issue with the other, the other will ignore or accuse, then absolutely nothing gets accomplished.

or to share responsibilities with. This is completely disrupted with divorce, and children see firsthand just how much their now single parent struggles to shuffle all the responsibilities. Oftentimes, children will blame themselves or find fault within themselves for the struggle their parent is going through. Children have to become accustomed to a new norm, which often causes a chaotic lifestyle that brings about stress and emotional instability. In retrospect, divorce leads to circumstances that may produce emotional and mental damage, particularly for the children involved. It causes disruption from normal everyday routines, confusion, and a skewed perception of a healthy relationship. Like war, divorce can lead to wounds and scars, leaving destruction in its wake. Just as in battle, often the deepest injuries aren’t physical, but psychological, the ones that mar the heart.

Being a parent has its difficulties, but often the benefit of a two-parent household is that there is another person to lean on

Works Cited Cui, Ming and Fincham, Frank D. “The different effects of parental divorce and marital conflict on young adult romantic relationships.” vvPersonal Relationships 17 (2010): 331-343. Oppawsky, Jolene. “The Nurse Sees it First: The Effects of Parental Divorce on Children and Adolescents.” The Annals of Psychotherapy. Summer 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.

About the Author Amorita Weaver’s major is Nursing, and she plans to further pursue a BA and MA in Nursing, eventually becoming a Nurse Practitioner. She is currently a patient care technician at Aultman Hospital, and her dream is to work as a nurse on board a Mercy Ship. Fall 2016



Another World By Kelsey Westfall


n my short life, I have faced many hardships, some worse than others. The worst of these was being stolen from, although not in the way one would imagine. My innocence was corrupted, my mentality shattered, my strength tested. I have been at war within myself for twenty years, and I struggle to tame my harried thoughts and poor self-evaluation. Even though what took place was not at all my fault, it has been my burden to bear. It has haunted my existence through every step in my life, nagging and pleading to be brought forth to rip me apart once more. I have kept this beast bottled up inside the deepest corner of my mind, carefully sealed apart from the rest of my life. Until now. Bikini Kill was a punk rock grunge band in the late 80’s and 90’s. They were hardheaded, high-strung women with a message that demanded to be heard. The documentary The Punk Singer is about the absolutely captivating singer, Kathleen Hanna. After I watched this short film, she became my role model, and I can easily see why she had so many followers and still does to this day. She was not just in a band--she sparked a revolution in women; she brought them--us--together. Kathleen Hanna altered the way women looked at feminism at the time and molded those truths into how we view it today.

always the suspicion around a woman’s truth...the idea that you’re exaggerating [sic].” She made me aware of these truths with those three simple sentences. We can learn, teach, and experience things through and with each other. We do not have to feel alone or judged.

Although I loved every second of this movie, the one scene that sits frozen inside my mind comes towards the end. Kathleen Hanna is reflecting on the very beginnings of her journey through womanhood and becoming a feminist. She states, “I just think there’s this certain assumption that when a man tells the truth, it’s the truth. And when, as a woman, I go to tell the truth, I feel like I have to negotiate the way I’ll be perceived. Like I feel like there’s

It has also inspired a need in me to tell my story. I do not speak openly about this. I was very young, four or maybe five, when I was sexually assaulted by my babysitter’s fourteen-year-old son. For the past twenty years of my life, I have been ashamed of this terrible fact, doing anything and everything to hide from it. Why? It is not something that I asked for. It is not something that I could have stopped. So why do I feel so guilty? It all comes back to Kathleen


This documentary taught me that it is okay to feel lonely, that it is going to happen sometimes in life. It also showed me that I do not have to be alone in these thoughts. I can reach out, and someone, somewhere, will be there with a helping hand. It brought forth a new sense of strength and belonging. It portrayed a different side of feminism, one that truly is about speaking up for women, on behalf of women, instead of bashing men, as it is sometimes portrayed. I have always viewed feminists as crazy women droning on about suppression and inequality, blaming it all on the men in our generation and generations before. That is how feminists are often perceived in today’s media. Why is this so? Is it that there is not one person to speak out against this label? Or is it really because of suppression brought on by men in politics? I do not have the answers, but I would like to find them out. I am still learning, weeks after watching just one short film. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world, perspective, and community.

Hanna’s quote. Any male I have confided this truth to has always brushed it off. Like I would exaggerate the details of such a tragic event. So I stopped confessing this hardship completely until one day, when after a few cocktails, I told my best friend. She cried, and then, of course, I cried, and I realized that I had been turning to the wrong people the whole time. Are men just wired differently? I am beginning to think so. I have heard time and time again how this “thing” that took place has made me stronger, that I am an incredible person because of the situation I was put through, and because I have come out on top. Is that seriously how people think? I would like to think that even if I had not gone through it, I would still have become strong and independent because of the woman who raised me, not because of some low-life pervert taking advantage of an innocent child. If anything, the experience made me weak, challenged, and ready to accept self-defeat openly. I push through these thoughts on a regular basis and snuff them out. I learned to be brave, which, as it turns out, is entirely different from being “strong.” I have taught myself to face the facts and embrace a challenging day with vigor. I have never sought out help from an outside source to “deal” with this situation. I always took the approach that it happened, and that is the end of it. I was very hesitant to include the topic in this paper, and it sparked some interesting thoughts. For one, I am still learning about myself and the events that took place in my life, and that are shaping who I am to this day. I say “shaping” because this event is one of many in my life that have taught me a thing or two. It does not define me, but it is a part of who I am. I resent the man that

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STARK VOICES did this to me, that took away a piece of my childhood that can never be replaced. Does that make me a man-hating feminist? Probably not. The idea of knowing that there are other women out there with these same feelings, speaking up for those of us who cannot find our voice, is comforting. This is what I would like to believe feminism is, and I like to think that Kathleen Hanna felt the same way. Watching The Punk Singer, which is about Kathleen Hanna and the struggles she faced as a female in the predominantly male music world, taught me things that I feel cannot be explained. I realized at the end of the film that I was sad that it had ended. I wanted more. I still do. She has brought forth my voice. Now it is up to me to decide what to do with it. Writing this paper is the first step. Then what? Become a women’s activist? Start my own feminist band? Or, do I take the trades I already know and sprinkle a dash of woman on them? Guns, motorcycles, dirt bikes—all things that for years have objectified women. Slap a naked woman in the picture because then it will sell. Why are they only trying to appeal to men? Should I stand out against rapists and molesters? Would I then be labeled and harassed as a man-hater? That could very well be. The idea of women banding together is so distorted in our society. This is one of the reasons Kathleen Hanna was such an epic woman. She didn’t care. She knew that something needed to be done for women. Of course, she faced many adversities along the way, but she kept going and fighting for what she knew in her heart was the right thing. I have never considered gender inequality as a part of my everyday life. It was actually just this week that I had a little lightbulb moment. My boyfriend and I were meeting with a man about moving into a new house. We were standing in the kitchen of what was possibly our new home, conversing about bills, pets, and what each of us expected of the other, when the topic of career was brought up. The man turned to my boyfriend immediately, assuming he brought in most of our income. He could

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not have been more mistaken. Not once was I asked what my career is, but the reality is that I am the one who takes care of the bills in our household. We both pay, but the responsibility of getting them paid on time is all mine. Why was it that he automatically assumed that it was the other way around? I never spoke up, thinking that maybe eventually he would ask the same questions of me. I was wrong, but before watching this documentary, I would have never given it a second thought. I still did not make my voice heard, but the wheels in my head were spinning nonstop, trying to piece together what had just happened. I am starting to see the world differently. It is like that first day of getting new glasses, seeing things hidden from me that have always been in plain sight just now coming into focus. This documentary ended up being way more than I ever imagined. It was a huge learning experience. It has shed a new light on the hardships women face in our world. I was educated on the fact that women still do not have an Equal Rights Amendment. I was blown away. Not only because this is something that has never existed, but because of my own negligence. I feel as if I am failing myself, and other women. Up until now I would

have never thought of myself as a feminist, and I totally am one! I am in college, aren’t I? I am sure that many women feel the same way I do. I want to find out why this is so. Why, as women, do we not identify as feminists? Feminism has such a bad rap, so much so that females are afraid to speak out for it, afraid to take a stand and fight for the rights we deserve. We work just as hard, are just as smart, and are just as capable as men in and out of the workplace. We have babies, for goodness sake! I would like to see a man take on that kind of challenge. I have been given the gift of revelation, a true “aha!” moment, one for the better that has changed how I perceive myself and the world around me. I give thanks to Kathleen Hanna, to Bikini Kill, and to my composition professor. Without this assignment, I would have never given this topic a second thought. Who says a classroom education is so bad? I can now expand on these ideas, do research of my own, and teach myself, and hopefully, others like me. I can continue to grow, flourish, and pass on my desperate need to get this information out to others like myself. I can find the closure I did not know I had been searching for, that which was always there but never quite within my reach. I can finally be at peace.

About the Author Kelsey Westfall has two dogs who are the loves of her life. She is attending Stark State College to be an EMS Paramedic. She would like to continue her education in critical care and become a helicopter flight paramedic. Kelsey credits this essay assignment with helping her to discover strength through feminism. She is devoted to her family and school and enjoys reading, being outdoors, and going to the shooting range. She is currently employed at Nimishillen Township Fire Department as a 911 dispatcher.



Life Outside A Small Town By Philip Ingram


umper to bumper traffic greeted me on a Friday night on the main highway traveling to L.A. Astonished, I realized that in about forty-five minutes, I had traveled only one short mile. During this period, I had a lot of time to reflect on my life. What was I doing here? Going from a small town barely large enough to be considered a city to one of the biggest tourist attraction cities in America puts a few things in perspective. I grew up in a small village called Louisville, where everyone knows one another and boredom is as common as the cold. Louisville has more cows than people, and frankly, the smell of fresh air there is the smell of cow crap. Life is simple, slow, and worst of all, repetitive. Everyone does the same things and sees the same people. The friends I have, I have known since elementary school. I graduated 214th in a class of 235 students. As I said, my town was small. I knew most of the population--it was hard not to. My neighbor was one of five police officers in the whole town. One time, I got pulled over for speeding, and soon after, I got eight phone calls from concerned family members wanting to know what I had done. All I wanted to do was leave, to experience life, to go out and make my mark on the world. What I didn’t count on was how I would look at the rest of the world once I was out in it. I pulled myself away from the safety and security to which I had grown accustomed and traveled to a place I knew nothing about, nor did I know anyone; and every time I got in the car, I needed a GPS to get back to where I belonged. When I was twenty-one years old, I joined the Marines, where I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. I arrived at San Clemente, California, on February 16, 2011. It was odd to


me because in Ohio at that time of year, temperatures would be below freezing. Yet here I was wearing only a sweater because it was a balmy 60 degrees. When I got there, it was dark, so I couldn’t really take in my surroundings. There was a steady flow of traffic, so it took no time to reach my destination. The friend with whom I was going to stay was awaiting my arrival. After a long journey, I fell asleep, having no idea that I would wake up to a different planet. The next morning felt like something out of a movie. There were palm trees everywhere. The taste of salt from the ocean was in the air. The number of people I saw was amazing. Roads were flooded with cars, the sidewalks were filled with people walking, skateboarders and cyclists were rolling across the city. It was a lot to take in. The first sign that I didn’t fit in was social interaction. I was at the convenience store one day, and someone was standing behind me. I turned and smiled and asked him how his day was going. The person just looked at me as if I was a psychopath. I quickly learned to keep to myself. I was in a place I didn’t understand. The small-town hospitality I had grown up with was nonexistent here. Another aspect that I had to adapt to was driving. In Ohio, highways are easy to drive on. In California, people didn’t seem to know the meaning of merging. It’s a battle to get onto the highway, and once on, you’re at the mercy of the traffic. You may get lucky and ride at a consistent speed, or you may get the usual stop-and-go for hours on end. I was driving to UCLA one day to visit a friend. Traffic was stopped completely on the Route 5 northbound. I turned on the radio to the first English-speaking news station I could find to hear if there was something on the traffic, but there was no report. It wasn’t until a piece of ash drifted inside my car through my sunroof that I quickly realized the cause for the traffic. There was a wildfire, which I later found out was about fifty miles up the highway. At the time, it seemed inconceivable. But I soon realized that those happen all too often.

The one question that lingered in my mind was what should I do when I got out of the Marines? Staying in California was a very real possibility, but I didn’t want to limit myself to the state. I could go anywhere my heart desired. I soon came to realize that I missed my small, quiet town. I missed terrorizing my nieces and having home-cooked meals. As I drove down the highway, I found myself wishing that the palm trees would turn into pine trees and that the sandy beaches would mutate into fields that would go for miles. After five years of being away from my small town, I decided that it was time to go home. On September 3, 2015, I ended my contract with the Marines and started my journey back home. After driving for three days straight, sleeping at truck stops and rest areas, I finally made it back home. The first thing I noticed was that the traffic was not worth complaining about. I was excited to see all the Ohio license plates on cars and the Browns and Ohio State memorabilia. The smell of grass and flowers overwhelmed me. At a local gas station, a man smiled and held the door open for me. I smiled in return and thanked him. The place I couldn’t wait to leave was the place I couldn’t wait to return to. They say home is where the heart is, and that might be true because being home feels like I am complete again. Growing up in a small town affects you in a way that makes you value the relationship you have with your community and cherish the small community touches that you would not see in a big city. The next time I think about leaving, I may just sit outside and think about the slow peaceful lifestyle I will have to leave behind.

About the Author Philip Ingram is majoring in Electrical Engineering and is currently employed by KBRwyle Technology Solutions, Inc., in Maboula, Kuwait.

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STARK VOICES INSTRUCTOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This page is dedicated to the Stark State College instructors whose guidance assisted with the development of essays published within this journal. These instructors were instrumental in instilling best practices within student work towards academic achievement. Thank you to all instructors, faculty, and staff that dedicate their time and careers towards building educational advancement opportunities for others to reach their goals.


Justin Barber is an assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department. His area of academic instruction includes College Composition I and II, Writing for Media, Writing for the Web, and Film Appreciation. Justin graduated with a BA from Kent State University in English (2000) and an MA from the University of Akron in Composition Studies with a Master’s Certificate in Literature (2005). Prior to teaching at Stark State, Justin worked as an e-business writer for GOJO Industries and then as an advertising writer for Sterling Jewelers Inc. In addition to teaching at Stark State, Justin also runs a small consulting studio where he helps develop marketing and communications for small businesses, community organizations, and nonprofit groups.


Robert A. Berens is an assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department. He teaches College Composition, British Literature II, Academic Writing, and Intro to Academic Writing. Professor Berens attended Kent State University (OH), where he earned his BA in English (2001) and furthered his education at The University of Akron (OH), obtaining his MA in College Composition (2011). Prior to becoming a faculty member at Stark State College in 2005, he was employed at Brown Mackie College for three years.


Nicole Herrera is an assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department. Her courses of instruction include College Composition I and II, Business Communication, Academic Writing, Intro to Academic Writing, and Technical Report Writing. Professor Herrera graduated from Bowling Green State University (OH) with a BA in political science (2001). She further continued her studies at The University of Akron (OH), where she obtained her MA in English Composition (2008). Prior to her employment with Stark State College in 2009, Professor Herrera was employed at The University of Akron. She is also an advisor for Stark Voices. In her free time, she enjoys running, coaching basketball and soccer, gardening, and being active with her husband and two children.

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STARK VOICES INSTRUCTOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This page is dedicated to the Stark State College instructors whose guidance assisted with the development of essays published within this journal. These instructors were instrumental in instilling best practices within student work towards academic achievement. Thank you to all instructors, faculty, and staff that dedicate their time and careers towards building educational advancement opportunities for others to reach their goals.


Tricia Kincaid is an assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department. She is an instructor of College Composition I, College Composition II, Business Communication, Technical Communication, and Academic Writing. She studied English at Kent State University (2002) and received her Master of Arts in Composition at The University of Akron (2007). Prior to being employed at Stark State College, Professor Kincaid was part of the faculty at The University of Akron and Kent State, Stark Campus.


Elizabeth Modarelli is an assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department. Her courses of instruction include College Composition, Academic Writing, and Intro to Academic Writing. She studied at The University of Akron (OH), where she received her BA in English (1998), MS in Integrated Language Arts in Education (2003), and MA in English Composition (2009). Prior to her arrival at Stark State College in 2010, Professor Modarelli was employed by the Knox County Schools (TN), Pellissippi State Community College (TN), and The University of Akron. In addition to teaching academic courses, she is also an advisor for Stark Voices.


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STARK VOICES STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS Technical Communications Interns


Cynthia A. Boswell Technical Communications Major English Composition Major English Literature Major

Asst. Editor

Brad Fetrow

English Composition Major



Committee Members

Elizabeth Modarelli Assistant Professor of English Nicole Herrera

Assistant Professor of English

Robert Berens

Assistant Professor of English

Duane Dodson

Assistant Professor of English


Publication Layout, Design, and Graphics Matt Brady

Graphic Design Major

For more information contact Stark Voices at

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