Prism Spring Issue 2020

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EDITORIAL BOARD EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Steph Strickland Hannah Calderazzo

DESIGN EDITORS Erin McLoughlin Soumya Kona

MANAGING EDITOR Katherine Jovanovic

STAFF Kiran Mital Rachel Levy Anisha Saripalli Anays Hernandez Michael Dorsey Chloe Campbell Emma Schindler Kaylyn Ling Zoe Frongillo Annabelle Zogaib Joshua Santos Andrew Wengrovitz Noah Towbin


Vivianne Wagner Samantha Chery Courtney Chalmers Sofia Anrecio Miranda Ingram Stephanie Cobb Grace Dooley Derek Pena Amy Lao Anna Welch Ava Diercksen Jaciah Rashid Gina Crespo Angelica Chirino Jacob Stein Emily Roden


With its timeless host and iconic theme song, Jeopardy! is a classic American game show, and recently, it featured one of UF’s own Honors students: second-year chemistry major Kayla Kalhor. Since 1989, the show has hosted a two week-long College Championship for undergraduate college students. Kalhor is the third UF student to compete, and the first to return in 24 years. Originally from Longwood, Fla., Kalhor began taking an interest in the show during her junior year of high school when she joined the brain bowl team. Here at UF, she is involved with the quiz bowl team. As her experience with trivia competitions grew, she began to consider the possibility of appearing on Jeopardy! “Realistically I was getting a lot of answers correct and I thought, I think I could appear on the show and do well for myself,” said Kalhor. While Kalhor is also minoring in physics on an intensive STEM pathway, she has proven to be a polymath to any subject Jeopardy! throws at her. To begin the application process, prospective contestants take a timed online quiz and await a phone call from producers. Following the call, Kalhor traveled to St. Louis, Mo. for a follow-up audition. Kalhor broke the news to friends and family before diving into a study routine to prepare. Using a fan-made website called J-archive, Kalhor had access to every set of questions from all previous College Championships. “I tried to see what categories came up a lot and studied based on that,” said Kalhor. Using this repository of trivia, she focused on literature, but is a fan of the

word play questions. A few months later, it was time for the voyage to California, where the show provided for her family to stay at the Culver Hotel. Over their four night stay, she and other contestants became acquainted with Sony Pictures Studios. “We had some rehearsals just to get comfortable using the buzzer and to see the setup of the stage,” she said. In addition to getting situated, Kalhor met her competitors, with students representing schools such as Indiana University, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, and more. “There was definitely a lot of competition among us contestants, but we are all pretty good friends now. We even have a group chat to keep in touch,” said Kalhor. On the day of filming, Kalhor had the support of family and friends in the crowd. “My mom and dad accompanied me and got to sit in the crowd, along with some family friends. It was nice having some members of the crowd rooting for me.” While she cannot reveal details about the show’s results, Kalhor felt confident when the cameras started rolling. “I was nervous during rehearsal, but when I got up there and actually started filming, I wasn’t anymore. The nerves just went away and I’m thankful for that.” Kalhor advises anyone thinking about competing on Jeopardy! to try it out. “The first step is just an online test. If you get the call back, study subjects you are not great at and try to pick up your speed, practice on the buzzer if you can,” she said. On the eve of her debut, Kalhor competed against one student from Yale, and one Florida State Seminole, raising the competitive energy on the floor. Kalhor seized the Final Jeopardy question on the Salem Witch Trials, finishing in second place. The following week, Kalhor was able to compete again as a wild card, but finished $6,805 short of first place. As a semi-finalist, Kalhor was awarded $10,000 and the sweeping praise of the Gator Nation watching from home. Story by Sofia Anrecio Design by Courtney Chalmers Photo by Tiffany Liu



2020 has brought many new and exciting developments to the Honors Program, the most recent being a move to Walker Hall. But what else is up with Honors, and how are we growing in this new decade?

Growth in Applicants

The Honors Program has seen a considerable rise in applications, and while the Honors Program is still planning on admitting the usual amount of students, it is a good indication of the rising interest in Honors at the university. “This year we had almost 2,000 new students apply compared to last year, so applications are up from 9,300 to 11,000 and some odd,” Dr. Mark Law, the Director of the University of Florida Honors Program, said. Due to the increasing number of applicants, Law believes the Honors Program will see growth in the test scores of incoming students.

Growth in Staff

In addition to the new Honors academic advisor, Dr. Renee Clark, the Honors Program has added new members to the 2020 team: Coordinator of Marketing and Communications, Jess Berube, and Magda Wahl as the new Office Manager. The Honors Program has also just hired another advisor, Michael O’ Malley, who is coming to the Honors Program from the UF College of Engineering. “The staff supporting is growing,” Law explained.

Growth in Course Offerings

“Our class offerings have really grown,” Law said. This semester, the first sections of honors biology became available and have been popular choices for students in the Honors Program. Law also explained that this upcoming fall, unique Honors sections will only further increase, as the Honors Program plans to offer an Honors Arabic course. Traditional (un)common reads and (un)common arts are continuing to expand as well. “(Un)common read enrollment is still really strong,” Law said. “It was up spring this year compared to spring last year. In the fall we’ve got forty-seven (un)common reads being offered, so there are lots of new course offerings for students to take advantage of and get involved with.” Another exciting and special course offering centers around student-run Honors classes. Usually (un)common reads, students can approach the Honors director and explain that they are interested in teaching a certain book. Students then need to find a faculty mentor for the course, with expertise in the subject area the student is covering, not only to offer backup and assistance for the class, but also to ultimately handle the final grades. After securing a faculty mentor, Honors students can lead their own Honors (Un)common Read. Currently, two studentrun Honors classes will be offered in Fall 2020, and Law explained that they hope to further formalize the program over the next year, including establishing an application process for juniors and seniors who want to lead courses “It is a great opportunity if you are thinking about going to grad school,” Law stated. “Having some teaching experiences ought to be a real plus to getting into grad school and helping to find a program, so I think it can help students a lot.” The Honors Program is also beginning to work on an idea that falls partially under advising, and



partially under course offerings Aimed at first-year Honors students, it would help these individuals navigate the numerous and often overwhelming opportunities available to them in many different areas at the University of Florida. “I think it’s particularly overwhelming for our first-year students to try and decide, do I want to be an Intersection Scholar, or what is International Scholars, or do I want to do research?” Law explained. “We’re going to try and work out ways to help first-year students figure out where they need to go and what the opportunities are. I think over the next year we’re going to get that a lot more put together and formalized.”

Growth at new Honors Halls

At the previous location of the Honors Program at the Infirmary, the Honors Program had very limited space— during almost all of 2019 two Honors Program staff had to work remotely at Little Hall. Now, the Honors Program has fifteen office spaces at Walker Hall, compared to the previous seven at the Infirmary, which has allowed the Honors Program to accommodate the newest members of their staff. “We were really crammed in the Infirmary, and had people scattered, so it’s nice to be all together again, in the same workplace, and with some room to grow,” Law said. While no new updates are currently planned for the stately building across from Plaza of the Americas, there could be some remodeling in 2021. However, Law expressed that there is hesitancy to renovate the space, as the Honors Program could be moving to the first floor of the new Honors Residence Hall in only a few years, as it is scheduled to be finished in Fall 2023. Besides providing access to Honors advising and the Honors Program all in the same residential building, Law explained other hopes the Honors Program has for the new residence hall, such as adding in numerous classrooms in order to offer even more Honors courses. “I’m hoping in the new building there’s a lot more of those kinds of spaces, and we can do even more classes right there, where the students are living,” Law said. More study spaces and common room areas are another desire for the new building. “I love the common room layout, so we would want to have more of those spaces in the new residence hall, but I would want more study spaces like the one adjacent to the [Hume] classroom, where small groups can get together” Law said.

Growth in Honors Travel

The Honors Program designed a new pre-health Honors study abroad, which will be offered to students in the future: UF in Thailand will allow students to study the intersections of traditional and modern healthcare in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For other Honors students interested in future studyabroad opportunities, another Honors-oriented program includes one on the Holy Roman Empire. Dr. Law also explained that although not specifically

designated as Honors, the UF in Cambridge program is a study abroad that usually is almost always made up of Honors students. But study abroad programs are not the only opportunities the Honors Program is providing Honors students who wish to expand their learning through travel. One such example is the Signature Seminar, Hamilton’s New York, taught during spring break of the Spring 2020 semester. While in New York, students learned about the life of Hamilton and the history of the American Revolution by visiting landmarks such as Federal Hall, Trinity Church, and the Alexander Hamilton Grange National Memorial. The Honors Program only hopes to offer more short Honors excursions, like the New York seminar, in the future. Law explained that the New York trip will contribute to figuring out the logistics of similar future programs, along with deciding what is possible for these programs and how it will work. “I’ve got a faculty member that’s interested in taking some students up to Birmingham, Alabama and doing civil rights. I could see going to an art museum in Chicago or New York. So I think there’s lots of opportunities to do city explorations, with cities as texts, where you can go off and explore certain topics and do a shorter trip,” Law said. Another added benefit of these programs is since they focus on travelling within the United States, and are for shorter periods, they will be considerably more affordable than study abroad programs. “New York is expensive, but it’s still cheaper than going to London or Paris,” Law said. Law further explained that these Signature Seminars would be planned during breaks, such as spring break, or during times like the first week of May, which is usually after commencement. This would allow students with upcoming summer obligations, such as internships, to attend these programs before their other summer requirements begin. December is another possible option, as there is about a week between when finals end, and the start of the holidays. “I think you could do a three or four day trip, and still not feel like you’re impinging on family time for students to go home and visit with mom and dad,” Law said. Depending on the timing, the Honors Program might even plan an excursion after New Years.

Growth in Scholarships

In discussing these Signature Seminars in American cities, Law stressed the Honors Program’s desire to provide more potential funding for students interested in these types of programs, along with study abroad. “We’re definitely trying to actively fundraise for scholarships,” Law said. “I am particularly fond of scholarships that support experiential kinds of activities, something that could offset the trip to New York or study abroads.” Many Honors students apply to study abroad, but study abroad programs can have considerable price tags, even with Bright Futures, between the cost of programs, plane tickets, and basic living expenses. While the Wentworth Scholarship, offered by the Honors Program, provides $1,500 towards summer study abroad programs, Dr. Law explained that the Honors Program would like to do more: “I think we could use and give a lot more study abroad scholarships. There’s obviously a ton of honors students going abroad, and if we could support that and help, that would be great,” Law said. Another area where Law would like to provide more scholarships for students over time is in offsetting the housing costs for Hume Hall. Hume Hall, while it is the official Honors Residence Hall, is also one of the most expensive residential halls on-campus, and can therefore be too costly for some students in the honors community to afford. “We do a lot of great things in Hume, and students that want to live there but can’t afford the price differential is another area where I would love to get some more scholarships,” Law said. “We are actively working on lots of opportunities there to try and support students, and hopefully we’ll have some big time successes.”

Story by Hannah Calderazzo Design by Soumya Kona

W E N S ? ’ S T R A O H N W O H H T I W SPRING 2020


FIRST-YEAR RESEARCHER Research is a crucial part of any college student’s undergraduate experience. It can boost your resume, deepen your knowledge of a specific field and help you explore a future career path. But as a first-year student at UF, I didn’t know how to get involved in what I knew could be a great opportunity. To help answer this question, I decided to interview first-year students who are already involved in research about how they found a project and what research has taught them so far. This article is the first in a three-part series on first-year researchers, specifically in the Honors Program. Throughout interviewing these intelligent and creative students, I was amazed at the fascinating research that they’re conducting in only their first year of college. I hope that this series can inspire and motivate others to get involved on campus and to find research opportunities in fields that they’re passionate about. My first interview was with Amy Lao, a first-year Honors student who is majoring in music and art history. Outside of research, she enjoys making croissants and tiered cakes. Q: What kind of research do you do? A: I’m in the University Research Scholars Program and it helped get me interested in undergraduate research. So I applied for the Emerging Scholars Program and found a faculty mentor around November of 2019. Her name is Dr. Laura Dallman, and she’s a musicologist. I actually met her



through a board I was on last semester (the College of the Arts Meta-Strategy Board, specifically in the Curriculum Working Group). I was with five other UF faculty arts members and we created a five-year plan for the College of the Arts’ curriculum moving forward. Through working with all of them, I got to know Dr. Dallman really well and I went to her office and said, “Hey, there’s this Emerging Scholars opportunity and I’d really like to do some research under you.” She’s really into new orchestra programming and how we can present classical music in new ways that are more interesting to people and more fresh. Our research project is looking into 21st century symphony programming and how orchestras are finding different ways to implement visual aspects such as displaying paintings or using projections to enhance the music experience while also making classical music more accessible to the general public. The University Research Scholars Program is a four-year program where students are exposed to different opportunities that help them build their research skills, including researchcentered courses and peer mentoring. The Emerging Scholars Program helps first- or second-years with no previous research experience to conduct a research project with the help of a faculty mentor. This program culminates in the undergraduates presenting at the University of Florida Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Q: That’s really cool! What do you do for your research on a daily basis? A: So unlike STEM research, we don’t have a research lab or lab hours, but we have a game plan where I contact each of the seven symphony orchestras on my list. It’s a lot of emailing, contacting, asking for archive access. I’m asking for all their programs from 2010-2020 and I’m going to categorize every symphony event that uses a visual aspect in some way. We’re also drawing audience members, and potentially demographics, to see how the visual aspects impact those numbers. We’re seeing if adding extra elements impacts the audience and increases the sensory experience. People are coming up with new things all the time and some are really crazy.

Q: That’s so exciting! Is there anything else that you want to add? A: This research is making opportunities for me, because I would love to do some artistic directing for a symphony orchestra someday where I create the programming. I want to show that visual arts and music can belong in a place together. Story by Miranda Ingram Design by Courtney Chalmers Photo courtesy of Amy Lao

Amy Lao

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your research? A: Before, I would spend an hour sending a single email because I would agonize over every single word! Now it’s easier to communicate with people I’m not familiar with.

Q: What is your favorite part about being involved in research, especially as a first-year? A: I think my favorite part is getting to work with one professor really closely who is in a field that I’m interested in. It’s nice to have someone to guide me, to have that mentor. We also get a little bit of funding, so I’m using mine to go to Boston for five days. I’ll be doing archival stuff there, looking at the Boston Symphony and digging into New England Conservatory’s archives to see what they have.



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Most Honors students remember Honor Chords from their impressive performances at the SHO barbecue and the Honors Spring Banquet. Honor Chords, the Honors a capella group, started in 2016 with just a small group of Honors students who wanted to create a non-audition group that gave everyone an opportunity to sing, since all the other a capella groups on campus required auditioning. As of 2020, Honor Chords performs at Honors events and Gator nights, even singing valentines at Shands Hospital. In fact, Honor Chords is officially designated as a student organization sponsored by the Honors Program at the University of Florida, which gives them access to more resources on campus However, the club is limited to Honors students. If you were tempted to join Honor Chords after hearing them perform at the SHO barbecue, you’re not alone. According to Honors Chords vice president Kenneth Harland, a second year biology and Spanish major who has been a member of the group for a year, most Honor Chords members joined after that performance. Although Honor Chords has grown in size, it still remains true to the founding members’ vision as a community for members to sing and have fun. Some students arrive with previous music experience, while others prior to joining just like to sing along to the radio. No matter their musical background, the members of Honor Chords all share a desire to sing. Honor Chords rehearsals are filled with the sounds of laughter and encouragement in addition to the sounds of singing, snapping to keep time, and the occasional twang



from the electric keyboard.The songs performed by Honor Chords also range widely. The a capella group sings pop songs, holiday carols, and University of Florida favorites such as “We Are the Boys from Old Florida.” Honor Chords members make the most of their Monday rehearsals, which feature all fellow singers and friends present. Members arrived early to chat with friends before they started singing scales as a vocal warmup. Even after rehearsal ends, Honor Chords members often stay late to hang out. Although performing is an important aspect of Honor Chords, the social interactions and sense of community are just as paramount. “It’s a big social group. I made most of my friends in Honors through Honor Chords. We’ll stay after practice and play board games and have socials. That’s my favorite part—the friendships I’ve made,” said Harland. About thirty five students are in Honor Chords now, forming the Honors Chords family. Story by Joyce Jiang Design by Gina Crespo Photos courtesy of Honor Chords and Gina Crespo



FREE PLANTS!: Plant class creates positive experiences for Honors students 10


UF students are well-acquainted with the sight of hordes of people exiting Turlington, their arms full of plants. Hopes high and hands dirty, each student carries a plant with a different destiny. Some will die within the week, while others will flourish and become a constant companion. This is the plant class, formally known as Plants, Gardening and You. ORH1030 is known to UF students for its free plants, given out weekly. “The plant class is a class that I’ve wanted to take basically ever since I found about it,” said Megan Palm, a fourth-year business administration student. “I’d heard about it and seen people with plants, so I was like, ‘This will be awesome!’” Palm found the class motivated her own botanical aspirations. “It’s kind of inspirational, for when I’m trying to grow plants in the future,” she said. “He recently gave out strawberry plants, and I think that’s going to be my favorite to see if I can actually grow this fruit I’ve always bought.” In addition to strawberry plants, the course was known for sweet tomatoes, marigolds and coleuses. But the class offered Palm even more than free plants, she said. “Even just repotting the plant, watching it grow and kind of being able to contribute to that is really stress-relieving,” Palm said. “It’s kind of nice just to see something outside of classes and work in college; something more nature-related.” It seemed a common opinion that Clark was a great professor for the course. “He’s very good at keeping people engaged in topics that perhaps might seem kind of dull,” said Megan Cannan, a sustainability studies and political science student. “He was talking about turf grass last class, and I was like, ‘Oh that’s really cool.’” Cannan herself found the class helped her relax after stressful periods. “I like getting the plants and seeing them when I wake up in the morning or if I’m staying up late studying,” Cannan said. “I have a little bit of life in my room, you know?” She also mentioned the class, being during her last semester, helped her reconnect with the pureness of learning.“It’s not like I’m taking this class to benefit myself in some sort of monetary way or ambitious sort of way,” she said. “It’s just to add to my personal life and to remind me that it can be fun to learn about new things.” The class wound up being an overall good experience that Cannan would recommend to others. “It’s a very friendly environment and you get that from the get-go,” she said. “If you just go in with a positive spirit and just embrace it, then you’re going to do well, and you’re going to enjoy your experience.”

Story by Soumya Kona Design by Soumya Kona Photos courtesy of Megan Palm and Megan Cannan





Q: What is SHO? A: SHO exists to bring together a diverse community of Honors students to focus on self-growth, forming connections, and developing academically by providing a variety of events in which they can express themselves and explore different aspects of the program and UF as a whole. We want to make everyone’s time in the Honors program as meaningful and enjoyable as we can. Q: What is your favorite event in SHO? A: The Honors Involvement Conference holds a special place for me. I have been on the small committee that has planned it for the past two years – the only two years that we have been running it – and have gotten to help build it up from the ground. It offers Honors students a chance to connect with organizations and opportunities that are seeking their talents through membership or application. The end result, with its formality and great presentations, is always a great sight to see.



Q: What is your role in SHO? A: I am currently serving as the president of the SHO board this year. My roles include serving as the official spokesperson of SHO, writing agendas and leading all officer and board meetings, planning events for students of the Honors program, and overseeing the three committees of SHO: Academic and Professional, Community Engagement, and Diversity and Inclusivity. Q: What is your favorite SHO event? A: My favorite SHO event is Luminaire, our annual fine arts showcase for Honors students. This showcase features various mediums of art, including paintings, poetry, music, and dance. The event includes art viewing, socializing, light snacking, and an art contest that includes scholarship prizes. Last year, a total of $750 was given out as scholarship prizes. Luminaire will be taking place on Apr. 17 this year, so mark your calendars!


Q: What is Honors Ensemble? A: Honors Ensemble is a non-audition ensemble for anybody in the Honors Program who plays an instrument and wants to make music with others. It doesn’t matter our skill level, everyone is welcome! Q: Why did you join Honors Ensemble? A: I played the violin and was in orchestra from 7th grade to junior year in highschool and I just love playing my instrument and making music. When I moved to Florida my junior year and school didn’t have an orchestra, I thought I’d never be able to play in a group again. But when I toured UF Honors last spring they mentioned Honors Ensemble and it was one of the reasons I wanted to come here and be in Honors!



Q: What is your favorite song that Honors Ensemble has done? A: My favorite song we have done so far is probably the Harry Potter piece we are working on right now for the spring concert!

Honors Clubs

Story by Emma Schindler Design by Soumya Kona Photos courtesy of respective clubs



Q: What does Honors First Generation do? A: The club puts on a monthly General Body Meeting and social for Honors students who are the first in their family to go to college. Q: What do you like most about the organization? A: I like having a personalized source as a first year student in honors for information and insight on campus. Also, they put on events for us. Q: What is your favorite event that Honors First Generation puts on? A: We have climbed to the top of Century Tower, and we had lunch with President Fuchs. I’d say that’s my favorite event.




Q: What are Luminaries? A: Luminaries are the official ambassadors for the UF Honors Program, and by sharing our individual experiences that UF Honors has fostered for us, we hope to recruit the best and brightest students from around the world to also partake of our program and reap its benefits.

Q: What made you join Luminaries? A: I joined Luminaries because I went on an Honors tour during my junior year of high school and I loved the passion that the student presenters had. I wanted to bring that same energy to other prospective students and families. I wanted to make them as excited about UF as I am.



Q: What do you like most about Luminaries and why? A: I love interacting with the students and their families most. My favorite part of the tour is panels and one on one lunch break because it allows me to talk about my experiences and answer questions from the students.



Parks and Nature Around Gainesville During this semester, it can be difficult to take a break from the stress caused by hard classes. Spending time outdoors can be a nice way to relax and enjoy the weekend. In and around Gainesville there is a large list of gorgeous outdoor areas that are available to the public.

If you are looking for a way to get further into the prairie, you can take Cones Dike trail, which is located behind the picnic area and bathrooms near the visitor’s center. To the right of Cones Dike Trail is Jackson Gap and Chacala Trail. Alongside hiking, you can also bike and camp at the prairie. If you are planning on going when the weather is warm, bring a lot of sunscreen and bug spray!


North Shore: 133 Regatta Drive Hours: 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday) South Shore: 312 White Hurst Rd, Micanopy, FL 32667 Hours: 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)

PAYNES PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK North Section: 4801 Camp Ranch Road South Section: 100 Savannah Blvd Hours: 8 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. (every day) Price: $6 per vehicle

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a natural reserve located close to the University of Florida campus. Although the Prairie used to be a lake, today it is a savannah that is home to a larger variety of animals throughout the year. The North entrance of the park contains the La Chua Trail and the Alachua Sink, which can be viewed by a boardwalk. The South, entrance is about ten minutes from campus. This section of the park has a visitor’s center, an observation deck, along with Wacahoota Trail, Cones Dike, Jackson Gap, and Chacala Trail. The observation tower and Wacahoota Trail located right outside of the visitor’s center are great places to see the wildlife from afar. On certain days there are herds of bison, wild horses, deer, alligators, and birds. 14


Lake Wauburg is located near the south section of Paynes Prairie. The area is free to UF students, if you show your Gator 1 card. There are two sections of this area as well. Kayak and canoe rentals are located at the north end of the lake. If you are looking for other ways to spend time outdoors, the south section has trails, volleyball courts, picnic pavilions, rock walls, and a rope course. You can also rent out equipment using your Gator 1 card, such as volleyballs, frisbees, and helmets if you are rock climbing.


325 SW Williston Road Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset (Monday to Sunday) Price: $5 per vehicle If you are looking for long trails leading to scenic views of nature, Sweetwater Wetlands Park may be the place for you. The park has long natural trails and boardwalks leading into a gorgeous wetland area. There is a wide variety of birds and other animals that can be seen while on the trails. This park is also a great place to picnic with friends. Unlike some of the other parks mentioned, large portions of the trails are not in the shade of trees, so make sure to pack sunscreen and bring water!

BIVENS ARM NATURE PARK 3650 S Main St Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (every day) Price: Free

Bivens Arm Park is located near Sweetwater Wetlands Park. The park has a shorter, forested trail which also leads to a small marsh. Bivens Arm is a small part of Paynes Prairie. However, the trail provides a unique view and is not as long as the trails that are found in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. If you don’t have a lot of freetime, it is a nice place to relax in nature and picnic with friends. Since it is a forested area, don’t forget to bring bug spray, especially when it gets warmer in Gainesville.

DEVIL’S MILLHOPPER GEOLOGICAL STATE PARK 4732 Millhopper Road Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Wednesday to Sunday) Price: $4 per vehicle

The Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is located further away from campus. However, the park provides a very unique experience. A trail located in the park leads you down to a sinkhole that contains a miniature rainforest. The amount of steps you need to climb down may seem daunting, but when you reach the sinkhole it is definitely a sight like no other. The area has been used for years by researchers and archaeologists to learn more about the history of the area. Story by Gina Crespo Design by Gina Crespo Photos courtesy of Ava Diercksen SPRING 2020


A Garden in Jacob Mass is a first-year student majoring in exploratory engineering, minoring in percussion performance and pursuing a certificate in graphic design. Nothing about his academics reveals his ever-growing love for taking care of plants, but there are obvious reasons why Mass has gained a reputation as Hume’s “Farmer Jacob.” Take one glance into his room and you will understand.



Hume In addition to maintaining a garden in his room, he frequently enjoys propagating plants to give to his friends and fellow Hume residents. Mass even provides instructions to new plant owners on how to care for them. He gives a lot of credit to the class “Plants, Gardening, and You” for initially teaching him how to take care of his plants, but he believes that everyone should try a hand at it.

“It just feels fulfilling... I never thought that I would have the patience for it, but it’s nice to wake up every morning and check on them. I like seeing them grow, little by little.” Even though you might have doubts about your capabilities as a gardener or plant owner, growing your own plants can be an exciting and satisfying experience, and it’s possible no matter where you live. So, whether you decide to start a small plant nursery or simply nurture one potted plant, Farmer Jacob would be proud.

Story by Tiffany Liu Design by Tiffany Liu Photos by Tiffany Liu SPRING 2020



It has been two years since I survived the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. My hometown of Parkland, FL and my alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have become synonymous with loss and violence. Valentine’s Day has never been and will never be the same. What was a day full of love turned into a day of death and grief. I lost one of my best friends, Carmen, to the senseless violence on the 14th. I had buried my grief so deeply within me that the sadness didn’t get to me during the first year of the aftermath. Supported by the Douglas community during this period, I faced it while still at home along with other survivors. Rather than crying all the time, I made it my mission to be the shoulder that my friends cried on. Instead of facing my own emotional strife and vulnerability, I held them as they broke down about missing Carmen. The friends that I prioritized over my mental health went on their own paths, and then I started college. I launched myself into a normal college routine, determined to not let 18


this tragedy define me as much as possible. I kept putting on a smile so that I could make friends at the University of Florida. I gladly accepted the rigorous course load I was given, as it distracted me from the pain inside me. If I didn’t focus on the past, I could force myself to believe that everything was okay. I only allowed myself to cry on the anniversary of the shooting. In the second year, the unprocessed trauma resurfaced. In the summer before the 2019-2020 academic year, I realized that I was not as vulnerable with those I considered friends as I used to be. I didn’t let others in because I subconsciously feared that I would lose them too. By not becoming too close with others, I created a buffer so the pain wouldn’t hit when I inevitably lost them. In addition to realizing the patterns I had formed in my new relationships as a result of my trauma, I also had a couple breakdowns. I would think about how much I missed Carmen and start sobbing. I couldn’t think of anything else

After Trauma and I just sat there wallowing in my sorrow. The following day, I proceeded to berate myself for not using that time towards studying for my impending exams. The one thing that I claimed kept me grounded, a busy schedule, started causing me more pain. I felt guilty for not being academically productive when I had those episodes, yet I also felt guilty for not thinking of her. Unfortunately, I still did not prioritize my mental health at that time. It had fallen through the cracks as I strived for a better GPA and became more active in organizations that I wanted to be a part of. My life had snowballed to a point where not enough hours existed to take care of myself mentally. The pressures of college made it almost impossible to focus on the non-academic aspects of myself. Even though my experience might not speak precisely to the same traumas or anxieties faced by others, I finally understood why so many college students grapple with mental health issues, especially since multiple facets of my life, many supposedly unrelated to Parkland, had coalesced to form an intensified aftermath of a trauma from two years ago. It was only after the second anniversary that I decided to actively cope with my trauma. I’m vulnerable with those I feel close to, because faking a smile for my friends emotionally exhausted me. If they didn’t know how I was truly feeling, how on earth could they have helped me? I also keep reminding myself that it’s okay to not always think about those I’ve lost. I’m not forgetting them or acting in spite of them if I give myself permission to be happy. I finally started counseling. The only way for me to fully process my experience and grow from it is to talk to a counselor or therapist. Looking back, how I managed to keep going after that day is beyond me. Certain sounds and situations trigger emotions as raw as the day they cut into me. Everything reminds me of Carmen, from the chilly Gainesville weather (which she would have loved) to the newest Marvel movie trailer. However much the grief buried within me pierces like shrapnel, I can only trust that it will blossom into understanding. Story by Anisha Saripalli Design by Erin McLoughlin Photos by Anisha Saripalli and Steph Strickland



GROWING YOUR PERSONAL SAVINGS Student loan debt in the United States totals about $1.5 trillion. As of 2019, average student loan debt per person was $31,172. It’s no secret that handling finances in college is a daunting and disliked task, but nevertheless an unavoidable part of becoming an adult. Schools rarely teach financial literacy, which is all the more reason why we should take it upon ourselves to study it.

Tutoring in Taxes

Taxes are a generally avoided subject, but for part-time employees, they may result in a refund. Depending on your filing status, completing a tax return when your income is below the necessary threshold may benefit you. Ask your parents if they claim you as a dependent before proceeding. To determine the next step, take the IRS’s free online “Do I Need to File a Tax Return?” quiz. H&R Block Free Online Tax Filing and Credit Karma Tax offer the most comprehensive free online tax filing services; however, if you’d prefer to have your taxes done by a professional, UF’s Levin College of Law houses a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site during tax season. The site offers free tax consultation for filers with income under $56,000. To schedule an appointment, search “VITA sites near me.” Remember that returns are due on Apr. 15.

Clothes for Cash

Students who live on campus know that closet space is a precious commodity. This lack of closet space leads students to prioritize the clothes they wear most often. Conveniently located on University Avenue, Plato’s Closet pays people for their used and unused clothes. The resale store also offers a $5 Closet Cash bonus for every five seasonal items bought. The amount and type of clothes the store accepts varies depending on the season and current inventory. Plato’s is not only a great way to make money but to save on new purchases as well. For clothes not purchased by Plato’s or sellers who prefer to set their own prices, the app Depop acts as a social marketplace in which over 15 million users buy and sell clothes. 20


Savings in Streaming

In the age of cord cutting, streaming services are becoming all the more popular. Luckily for college students, many of these platforms offer discounted memberships. Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, YouTube Premium, and Apple Music represent only a few of the services that participate in such deals. Additionally, Spotify allows its members to bundle their account with Hulu. Spotify for college students is only $5 per month and the Hulu portion of the membership is free, resulting in a combined savings of $11 per month. To bundle with Hulu, go to the “Your Services” page and select “activate” next to Hulu. Before committing to an entertainment provider, make sure you are satisfied with the platform set-up and the services provided. Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, YouTube Premium, Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Audible all offer free trial memberships. This may seem obvious, but make sure to cancel your free trial subscription before the renewal date. Some platforms allow you to sign up for a free trial and remove your payment plan on the same day. In this case, you get to use the service for the full trial period without the possibility of forgetting to cancel your renewal payment later. To do this on an iPhone, open the Settings app and navigate to Apple ID options. Then, click on “Subscriptions” to see a list of all active and expired subscriptions. On this screen, you can cancel unwanted subscriptions or keep track of current subscriptions.

Education Essentials

Apple is not a company known for its affordability. For newly accepted college students, however, Apple works to accommodate: Apple Education Pricing offers discounted prices on its Mac and iPad models. Be prepared to give your student ID information to prove your status as a student. This deal is also extended to parents of students pursuing post-secondary education. To business students learning to follow the markets, journalism students striving to polish their craft, and all other engaged students eager to learn more about the world around them, the University of Florida offers a free New York

Times membership. This would usually be a $9.99-$15.99 monthly expenditure. To activate your subscription, go to myUFL’s “Main Menu.” Then proceed to “Quick Links,” “NY Times” and “Subscribe now.” Take advantage of on-campus amenities. Playing beach volleyball at Southwest Rec can be an affordable substitution for paying to play paintball off campus. Instead of spending money on gas and parking for a beach or springs trip, try out Lake Wauburg. The nearby lake provides students with a variety of fun ways to stay active from rock wall climbing to stand-up paddleboarding. For students seeking employment while in college, check to see if the companies you are pursuing help pay for their employees’ tuition. Many popular employers offer this service; UPS, Publix, Wells Fargo, and Starbucks are just a few examples. Alternatively, UF employs hundreds of students and offers flexible hours to help students succeed in their coursework. Jobs range from Graphic Designer to Data Science Assistant.

Financial Philosophy

Growing personal savings while paying for college-related expenses undeniably poses challenges, but these obstacles produce strong character by teaching the value of delayed gratification. It is not a lesson learned overnight, but a long-term philosophy to strive towards for future success. As members of the emerging workforce, the initiative to minimize student debt should be viewed as pertinent and attainable; we should feel empowered for tackling relevant financial problems because our generation, with the aid of online learning, has the unique opportunity to facilitate meaningful change. Story by Amanda Smith Illustration by Grace Dooly Design by Courttney Chalmers



In time of year when birds refuse to sing, and hot decaying winds blow through the trees, for those who still lament the end of spring the eye of heaven shines to scorch the seas. And in this light two flowers grow apart with each a lonely grief that they withhold, and sinking towards a life with fading heart still searching for a love that grows from gold. In pride they look above the humble grass. In gall they spit upon forgiving dirt, and vainly view the world through mirrored glass afraid that fate will sow more tears than worth. While time knows all, it does not free reveal, for those who live past spring must learn to feel.

The soft peony looks as much its worth with beauty that outwits the poet’s pen, first grew in spring’s blue sky and watered earth now tears are dry, it seeks to love again. And eager with the virtue it conserves to reach atonement’s gold with longing hand to seek the eyes that purity deserves to fill the well that is the heart’s demand. But through the blushing eyes from which it looks contempt on those who lay among the grass, and colored by the flirting leaves of books perceives not humble joys but rather class. In judging petals, disregarding roots finds hopeless love that yields but sour fruits.



Flowers The violet hyacinth hides heart within since mourning dew escaped its many blooms, now dry and wilting, still confines chagrin once flowr’ing petals now become its tombs. Although it knows that spring is season’s pawn and nature’s deeds are no cause for alarm, it sinks to pride with all its reason gone in actions plain perceives a seed of harm. How could there be a joy if spring can end? How unforgiving towards ungolden love? when history has seen it wilt and bend it spends its time afraid of clouds above. Although past grief is painful to relive, the wisdom comes in choosing to forgive.

In blissful quiet birds no longer sing and sun-warm leaves chartreuse among the trees, a chance to nurture selfhood after spring while traveling winds caress reflecting seas. Now april showers have all come and gone but those with open hearts know love will reign, accepting eyes let in the light of dawn forgiving past offense is one’s own gain. Although our faults can injure darling buds; beloved, we must extend our trembling hands, to meet the raining blooms and quaking floods for love grows in the things we can’t command. And when our grief forbids, our hearts reveal oh flower, it is victory to feel. Story by Jason Liu Illustration by Grace Dooly Design by Erin McLoughlin SPRING 2020


Shira’s Green Child The pain from my left shoulder jolted me awake, calling attention to the deep gashes that were bandaged by my frozen blood. I struggled to stand up from the icy steel flooring thanks to my rigid, aching scapula and glanced over at my laptop. A red light blinked below a familiar smiling face. I squinted to see who it was, but by the time I could begin to make out the first few letters of their name, the light died out. I didn’t even know why I bothered to look. I was surprised any of them managed to survive this long. Dammit, why didn’t you listen to me? My sensors didn’t indicate anything out of the ordinary at the time, but I could feel something was off. The air was too still and the fauna too sparse for the time of year we arrived. I begged Captain Shira not to lead another excursion in these conditions in spite of what we were being told, but she just gave me that classic confident grin of hers and assured me everything would be okay. The blizzard proved her wrong. I gazed around the room in hopes of finding supplies. I could hear the menacing howl of the wind from outside as I examined the scattered screws surrounding a fallen metal scrap that I deduced must have knocked me unconscious. After about an hour of searching, I lit a fire and took stock of all I had found. Rations of food and water to last the crew about two weeks, a radio with no batteries, my laptop, seven weighted blankets and the potted plant Captain Shira tried to grow. It infuriated me to even look at that plant. Against all my scientific evidence saying a plant like that couldn’t survive in temperatures anywhere near this cold, she tried nurturing it anyways. My biting criticism was interrupted by a faint chirp emanating from the camp’s entrance. I peeked through the door to see a magnificent crimson breasted robin, shivering in the frigid wastes. I quickly scooped him up and carried him inside. I observed the peculiar bird, trying to determine its species. By all accounts, it was a male robin, but at these temperatures, it would be impossible for him to survive. I concluded that he must be a new species and hurriedly opened my laptop in hopes of snagging a photograph. I set him near the flames to revitalize him and grappled with my laptop’s webcam to get a clear shot. The moment he began to rise, I snapped a picture and began analyzing its behavior. Curiously, it watched me as well with its shiny, beady eyes that seemed to convey a sense of warmth. Perhaps gratitude for his rescue? But could a robin even convey



complex emotions such as gratitude? What biological purpose would it serve? Over the next three weeks, I had fallen into a habitual routine as most organisms do. Decide what to scrap to keep the fire lit, feed myself and the robin I eventually named Nobu, write in my journal to pass the time and keep me sane, and go outside in case anyone was looking for me. In addition to this, I decided to continue caring for Shira’s plant. As much as it pained me to watch over, it kept a part of her with me. But, as expected, the plant never seemed to germinate. Why did you choose me, Shira? There were so many others that were just as qualified as me, if not more so. Maybe I should have matched your conviction. Then maybe you’d… I was interrupted by a large squawk from behind me. Nobu had begun to fly in an odd circular pattern, something I’ve never seen him do before. I scurried toward my journal to jot this down. He divebombed toward the fire, rushing past the flames and shot out of the campsite through the small crack in the roof that I had previously tried to patch up using the fallen piece of metal that struck me. In the commotion, he knocked over the pot and scattered its contents across the floor. A clump landed right on top of my journal, and poking out from within was a tiny, bright green stem. I picked it up, peering at its light green stalk as it greeted the world above. My fingers danced delicately along what I presumed to be the formation of a leaf. It was soft to the touch, like a newborn child, and would bend at an infinitesimal amount of pressure. I placed it back in the pot and, using the slim ray of sunlight squeezing through the roof, began to cultivate the green child. Laying next to it, I thought I could hear a distant whirring. I was rescued later that day. I informed the agency of what had happened and they sent out a search party to recover the bodies. Soon, each of the team members had a proper burial and were commended for their dedication to the advancement of science. I never saw Nobu or another robin like him for as long as I lived. But I never gave up looking. Story by Derek Pena Illustration by Matina Mahasantipiya Design by Erin McLoughlin

Red Carnation “Spinning round and round we go! Blackened rose for endless woe Yellow iris for hope so bright Carnation for chosen love tonight!” The children fell into a circle, giggling amongst themselves affectionately. Their flower crowns now hung askew on their foreheads, petals and leaves tangled in their hair. They resembled forest sprites, back from a night of mischief and magic. Smiling, Clarissa returned to weaving the long line of daisy chains between her fingers, braiding one bright green stem to the next. It was only the second day of the spring festival, but already the chosen field was strewn with flowers, the floral vendors draping their carts and canopies with flowers of every variety--roses, lavender, honeysuckle, and many more bloomed in the air, releasing their sweet, bright scents. “Clarissa! Clarissa!” A voice yelled ecstatically. Looking up, Clarissa saw her little sister Violet bounding across the field, long skirts clutched in-hand. “Violet, slow down!” Clarissa laughed, pushing back the broad brim of her bonnet. “But Clarissa!” Violet exclaimed, “There’s a hundred thousand flowers, and there’s going to be a million more at the Rose Ball tomorrow evening. There’s even a rumor that the Prince himself will be the Fae King!” Clarissa rolled her eyes and tossed the daisy chain around her exuberant sister’s neck. “Just because the Rose Ball is a masquerade party does not mean that the Prince himself is coming in disguise. You dream too much.” Violet huffed. “Well, at least you get to go! Mother refuses to let me do anything--even if it means I could marry the Fae King.” “You can marry the Fae King when you’re older. I don’t think twelve is quite a marriageable age.” “So you say,” Violet pouted, “but everyone knows the Fae like to choose beautiful young maidens.” “Emphasis on the young, I see,” Clarissa retorted, gathering up her skirts and rising from the ground. The pleasant spring sun had drawn more crowds today than before. Many young couples were walking through the

park, the women clutching parasols as bright as the bouquets in their gloved hands, and the men shielding their eyes from the sun with their top hats. “Oh! Well fine! But if you don’t tell me everything that happens tomorrow, I’ll never forgive you as long as I live!” With that Violet darted away into the crowd. “Violet!” Clarissa yelled. She grabbed her own parasol and went to catch her sister, when she felt something fall from the ribbon of her bonnet and onto the ground. Startled, Clarissa looked down to see a bright red carnation looking up at her through the blades of grass. She barely had time to question how Violet had placed the flower on her hat before she grasped the carnation and ran into the crowd, following the sound of her sister’s bright laughter… Not noticing the gentleman staring after her, his features obscured by a midnight blue mask. His eyes followed her briefly, before a sudden breeze stirred up a flurry of flowers, and he vanished. Clarissa felt her chest heaving, constricted by the tight bodice after racing several paces after her sister in a most unlady-like fashion. “Violet! You can’t just go running off like that!” But Violet merely giggled, clutching a handful of flowers. “I saw him!” She crowed triumphantly. “Saw who?” Clarissa demanded, growing slightly more annoyed with her bouncing sister. “I saw him! The man in the mask!” “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. There’s no one wearing masks here.” Clarissa sniffed. “Your fancies about the ball are running away with you.” Violet only smiled more, and taking the red carnation from her sister’s hand, neatly tucked it behind Clarissa’s ear. “Carnation for chosen love tonight!” she sang, skipping through the forest, while Clarissa sighed and followed, ignorant of the singing breeze that spun Violet’s melodies around her ear, and dropped another red carnation onto her hat. Story by Hannah Calderazzo Illustration by Matina Mahasantipiya Design by Erin McLoughlin



Plaza, Purgatorio, Paradiso On the outskirts, they walk of their own volition, while those cutting across fall into a rhythm, their souls ferried along the red brick diagonal river. Flowing from the chasm between gothic and modern, past East and West— the latter imposed upon the shore whose vertical glass slits glare both day and night. The river surges in rapid swells, when the clock strikes; Yet at all other hours, it basks in the doldrums with the occasional passerby. Along the banks, those docked call out to those swept away, yet they chug onwards, their ears catching a shudder, their faces grazed by a ghost. These souls, they splinter from the stream, coursing to the West, snatched from sunlight, hidden from sky, following fate to three heads of doors— two hinged, one revolving. Pass through it they must and shall. Carried up and out of sight,



clanking steps below their soles, they enter to abandon hope. Upwards, silence shrouds the senses; Downwards do you dare descend? Where rows upon rows, And stacks upon stacks of bound prisoners remain, for if they manage to escape it’s done in vain, all for naught; they get returned to their infernal spot. Dream they do not, Breathe they do not, A waking sleep is theirs. Undiscovered to them, exists flesh and bone, hearth and home, shared by the souls that still are. To see beyond the gate, Would be to feel sunshine sinking through the spine, trees arching over cover to cover, flowers fluttering pink and dotted yellow. But here they sit and here they wait, never to meet a different fate. Poem by Katherine Jovanovic Illustration by Matina Mahasantipiya Design by Erin McLoughlin

WASTE A splash of fresh water, Poured from a hand-painted pastel can. A window seat, One with a sweeping view of the fields below, One where the sunlight seeps in through the cracks in the blinds. A daily good morning, a kiss goodnight, A rosy blush, a satisfied smile, A contented sigh, a rush of Love. I’m happy in my window seat, Taking in the sun every day, Growing taller every second. But even with all this Love, I fear I’ll grow into, not a beaming sunflower, A blushing rose, a mighty oak, A lush, towering sycamore, But a ratty, forgotten, Weed.

Story by Stephanie Cobb Illustration by Matina Mahasantipiya Design by Erin McLoughlin



Front Cover by Grace Dooley Back Cover by Ava Diercksen