Page 1

November 2011

UNC Charlotte Publication

Vol 2 Edition 1

What Will Alaska Do For You?

beautiful place in the world, there was nothing to do but sit down and talk. The disconnect that most people experience in new friendships was shattered as we quickly became family.

By Kevin Rodengen


obody thought it would be easy. Everyone was right. The greatest trip of my life was also one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had. As a part of the Levine Scholarship Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, our first summer experience was an unforgettable one. Twenty-five days of backpacking through the mountains of Alaska is just as adventurous as it sounds.


ime was never wasted. We learned many wilderness survival skills, even the most basic ones such as knot tying and “Leave No Trace” principles. We stuffed our packs with our huge amounts of gear so many times, that now I could probably stuff an elephant into a book bag. Most importantly, however, we were taught how to be leaders. Each of us was assigned a day in which to lead our group to the next destination. For that day our duties included route planning, trek safety and health, camp location, and adhering to environmental protection standards.


y experience with my fellow scholars was beneficial for many reasons, some likely similar to most of the group, others specific to me. With food, shelter, water, and clothing all in my backpack, life was as simple as it ever will be. This made life back home seem a little ridiculous actually. I never realized how well I was living until I fit everything I needed into one bag and carried it around for a month. Chocolate became a luxury. If you had tried to give me $100 in Alaska for my Kit Kat bar, I would have laughed at you and walked away.


he most enjoyable part of Alaska was by far getting to know the other scholars. Back home I often complain about not having enough time. In Alaska, all we had was time. Secluded in arguably the most


hen we returned to base after the completion of our course, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I had not seen myself in twenty-five days. I looked pretty much the same, other than the dire need of a shower, but I was an entirely new person.


fter climbing a mountain, writing a five page English essay doesn’t seem so hard. After traveling hundreds of miles with 50 lbs. on my back, waking up and walking to class is a cup of tea. Alaska gave me a new perspective on life and taught me how simple and complex life can be. With my new family, the Levine Scholars, I am ready to take on UNC Charlotte…and the rest of the world.

Engaging the Community: The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte By Caroline Brewer


his year the sophomore class of the Levine Scholars Program has partnered with the newly opened Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte (RMH). The relationship between the House and the scholars is unique because it is the first long-term partnership between any Ronald McDonald House Teen Volunteer Board and a group of college student leaders. Twice a month, students from the sophomore class visit the House. They visit once to meet with the members of the teen volunteers and the second time to serve a meal to the families staying there.


he Teen Volunteer Board at Ronald McDonald House is a group of high school juniors and seniors that is interested in giving back to the community. The students of the Levine Scholars Program mentor the Teen Board by helping them organize their meetings, build on their ideas, and design successful volunteer efforts. So far, we have met with the Teen Board as a whole to help them brainstorm ideas that benefit the House. Within this relationship, we aim to act as a source of constant support for the Teen Board while also helping them stay on track with their goals for the House. We also talk to them about applying to college and what college life at UNC Charlotte is like.


ealtime is one of the favorite times of the day at the Ronald McDonald House, especially when there is a group fixing meals for the families. Once a month, at least six members of the sophomore class plan, shop for, and prepare a meal for those families staying at RMH. The number of people being fed during these meals ranges from 25 to 50. We try to stick with the requests of families staying at RMH, often ones of comfort food. We have made baked spaghetti with garlic bread and fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans for the past two meals, and the families loved it!


he partnership between the Levine Scholars Program and the Ronald McDonald House has been mutually beneficial, providing us with an incredible opportunity to get involved with an amazing organization and cause. It has also allowed us to meet and work with some great high school students. We look forward to many more fun times with the wonderful people of Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte! Page 2

Outlaw on the Run By Laura Outlaw


ne of my greatest passions in life is learning about and experiencing different cultures, and I have been blessed with some of these opportunities. This summer I stayed with my mom in her current residence of London, England, taking weekend and weeklong trips to other parts of Europe to visit friends as well as explore places on my own.


y favorite week of the summer was the time I spent in Bavaria, Germany with a friend attending a university in Munich. His parents live one hour outside of Munich in Wolfratshausen and were hosting a huge family reunion the weekend I was visiting. Non-verbal communication was achieved in its London, England finest form during those two days. Even though I could only speak to a few family members who spoke English, I felt so much warmth and kindness from everyone, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to experience German culture at its core. The main activities of the weekend were eating, drinking and talking, but the young adults also went swimming and biking together at the gorgeous Lake Starnberg. On my last day, my friend and I kayaked a lovely course on the Isar River from Wolfratshausen to Munich. During that kayaking trip, we saw hundreds of German vacationers swimming, cooking out, and sun bathing (nude of course!).


t the end of the summer, my family traveled together to a few places including Istanbul, Turkey, which was one of the most stimulating experiences of my summer. There was little time for Bavaria, Germany relaxation in this city. Everything is in constant motion and you have to work hard to keep up with the pace! We were lucky enough to have a recommended Turkish guide show us around Istanbul and provide remarkable history lessons about the famous mosques and other sites of interest. Experiencing the public transportation during rush hour proved who the fighters are in my family; we literally had to push our way onto the tram in order to make it to our dinner reservation. Some of the other cultural experiences to note include a Turkish Bath, which was phenomenal, eating dinner on the Bosporus between Asia and Europe, and swimming in the Black Sea. The markets, also know as Bazaars, were incredible. The passion and aggressiveness of the sales men and women is remarkable, and you have to constantly be on guard so that you are not coaxed into a shop to buy clothes, sweets and random accessories. Once you are in there, it is tough to get out without buying something!


s you can tell, traveling is something I love and I have been fortunate to visit many countries throughout my life. Being immersed in different countries and learning about different cultures will always inspire change and appreciation. We have so much to learn from other people, and living in an unfamiliar environment is one of the best ways to become more open-minded and accepting of others. I look forward to sharing more of my experiences abroad when I return from a year and half spent in Sydney, Australia and Salamanca, Spain. Stay tuned!

Istanbul, Turkey Page 3

Make-A-Wish Foundation By Caitlin Vaverek


he Levine Scholars Program provides opportunities for internships with non-profit organizations throughout Charlotte during the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I was fortunate enough to work with Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina for six weeks during this time. This organization grants the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses in order to “enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.�


o say that it was the most rewarding job I have ever had would be a tremendous understatement. For six weeks I met families whose worlds had been turned upside down. I encountered tears and heartaches beyond all imagination, and I read the stories of countless children facing huge challenges in their lives. During that time I also experienced the incredible happiness and joy that can transform lives. From meeting a family at the airport that had flown from Texas for Race Weekend to meet Kyle Page 4

Busch, to planning character breakfasts with the Princesses at Disney World for a sevenyear-old girl, to delivering a golf cart to a child with special needs, I was able to witness the remarkable power of a wish.


ontinuing as a volunteer with the organization this fall, I have fully immersed myself in the business of a non-profit. I have attended board meetings, financial planning seminars, Association of Fundraising Professionals symposiums, and various other events that have helped me gain a broader perspective of the inner workings of Make-A-Wish. My favorite part continues to be working directly with the children, helping in whatever small way possible to make their wishes come true. After all, that is the purpose of this wonderful organization, which changes the lives of so many deserving children every single day.

Western Travels for Architecture Conference By Evan Danchenka


very semester an architecture school that is a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) South Quad hosts a three to four day conference for all universities in the system. The South Quad consists of schools from North Carolina to Texas and the greater Southeast region. The University of Texas at San Antonio hosted the latest South Quad Conference from October 6-9. The theme, “Integrate”, incorporated the following events: keynote lectures from five esteemed architects and practitioners, workshops, rendering classes, intern development programs, and firm crawls through the city.


or social events we explored the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, which we had adjacent access to from our


long with 14 other UNC Charlotte School of Architecture students, I came away from the conference having learned much more about gaining my professional architectural license, leadership and teambuilding, networking, creative design, and scholarship opportunities abroad. The conference was not only informative, but also a complete snapshot of the beautiful city and culture in San Antonio.


oving forward, I hope to attend the annual AIAS Forum, a nationwide conference for all architecture schools. This year the Forum will be hosted in Phoenix, Arizona from December 29-January 2. And, as the New Year’s fireworks skyrocket into the desert night, I will be thinking of ways to bring the Spring AIAS South Quad to UNC Charlotte. In spring 2012 we will host approximately 300 AIAS students from across the southern states. Planning has already begun and looks to be the most promising South Quad Conference to date.

Hyatt hotel. Even the Alamo was a stone’s throw from the hotel lobby. We also enjoyed the city’s “First Friday,” an open art exhibit stretching for over a mile of south district neighborhoods. The trip concluded with the Beaux Arts Ball, an AIAS tradition involving costumes reflective of a certain artistic movement. The theme for the night was Le Cirque de Beaux and was hosted in the Radius Museum.

Page 5

Standard Day in the Life of an Air Force ROTC Cadet By Kailey Filter


ir Force ROTC (AFROTC) is different from anything I have ever done. It’s fun, exciting, and scary all at the same time. It’s not a simple hobby or a club; it’s much more than that. AFROTC is a huge commitment that requires dedication.


cannot say that I particularly enjoy waking up at five in the morning, but once I roll out of bed and meet Mack Herman, a fellow Levine student and AFROTC cadet, down in the lobby things start looking up. As an Assistant Physical Fitness Officer, I lead the stretches for the wing on certain mornings. Once PT is over I go back to my room, change, and head to class. On Thursdays I have Air Force Today class, in which my classmates are fellow AS100s, or people in their first

Monday and Wednesday 5:00am – Wake up and get ready for Physical Training (PT) 5:30am – Leave for PT 5:50am – Sign in and form up 6:00am – Begin exercise, which occasionally starts off with me leading the stretches 7:15am – Leave PT and head back to the dorm to get ready for class

And then my day begins with classes – like any typical college student


2:00pm – AFROTC class 3:30pm – Lead Lab 5:00pm – Drill

Page 6

year of the AFROTC program. The class gives us an introduction to the Air Force and sheds light on what we hope to become: officers in the greatest Air Force in the world.


fter class everyone in the detachment has Lead Lab. During Lab, juniors and seniors have a chance to practice their leadership skills and underclassmen learn even more about ROTC. Then the fun really begins. After Lead Lab, I attend Drill, which is where we “newbies” are taught all about drill and marching. Usually when people think of drill, they think of stone cold faces showing no emotion – that’s definitely not me. I am usually the only female present and I spend more than half of my time laughing at one thing or another. Everyone seems to get a kick out of it. After drill practice, people from the program get together and attend “Herman’s Happy Hour”, a time once a week when we all go out to dinner and get a chance to enjoy each others’ company. It is something I look forward to and I always have a great time.


ir Force ROTC consumes a lot of my time, but the people I get to spend time with are amazing. I look forward to continue learning about each of them and about this path that I have chosen to pursue in life.

Hypertension Self-Care Undergraduate Research By Anna Bawtinhimer


ith salty fast food restaurants and physical inactivity on the rise in America, hypertension is a growing epidemic in rural and urban communities. Unmanaged high blood pressure can result in a life-long struggle with your body’s ability to do daily tasks and can possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, learning how you can best control your hypertension with balanced diets, exercise, and medication can lead to illness prevention and better overall satisfaction with your personal health.


ccording to a 2011 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, approximately 31% of adults in the United States are diagnosed with hypertension. Of that percentage, only 41% have their blood pressures within manageable levels. When a hypertensive patient’s blood pressure is not within the optimal level there is a greater risk for heart attack or stroke. Under the direction of UNC Charlotte faculty member Dr. Jan Warren-Findlow, and in collaboration with a local primary care institute, several graduate public health students and I will be gathering data regarding hypertensive patients’ self-care practices and analyzing the results of that research. Using a survey developed by Dr. Warren-Findlow, patients report on self-care practices

and other contributors to health such as medication adherence, low sodium diet, physical activity, and health literacy. The results will be used to determine which self-care activity corresponds best with managing high blood pressure.


y participating in undergraduate research, I have had the opportunity to apply coursework that has been presented within the College of Health and Human Services. Research with Dr. Warren-Findlow has inspired me to continue my own research paper development towards a poster submission to the 2012 American Public Health Association National Conference. Working alongside community members has fostered my awareness of local health conditions and aspects of self-care that are not yet appropriately managed. The data observed through the study is an insight into how much more public health education and promotion programs are needed in underprivileged communities. As an aspiring physician and public health advocate, I desire to serve in underdeveloped communities and help others have better access to health resources, preventative educational programs, and increased communal opportunities that enhance their own qualities of life.

Levine Scholars

Class of 2014

Class of 2015 Page 7

9201 University City Boulevard Charlotte, NC 28223

Levine Beach Trip By Kevin Caldwell

Over this year’s fall break, the Levine Scholars Program coerced twenty-six of its participants to complete an arduous task. The students assembled together for a total of four days and were subjected to hours upon hours of extracurricular demands. Not really. Instead, the twenty-six individuals who were invited to attend clambered into two fifteen-passenger vans and were driven down to an oceanfront oasis in Cherry Grove, SC. They were given only one task to complete: relax. (And relax they did!) The trip was very enjoyable. Members of both the freshman and sophomore classes received an opportunity to interact free from the external pressures and obligations that are all too common amid college life. This trip, which represented a break from the norm, presented no requirements. The purpose of this weekend was not to incorporate any extra material into the program’s demands, but to provide a bonding experience unlike any other. And what a better way to bond than relaxing with a sandy paradise at your fingertips? We even invited some faculty members to be our guests and get to know us. The trip also cemented one crucial fact: both classes are capable of devouring mass quantities of food. Not only were the cupboards stocked full of delicious snacks, but there were also extensive breakfasts –

sausage, eggs, bacon and biscuits – and exquisite dinners – pasta primavera, spaghetti casserole and a seafood extravaganza, courtesy of Dr. Mike Richardson. Also present at every meal were delicious five gallon tubs of ice cream, complete with a smattering of toppings – caramel sauce, chocolate syrup and whipped cream, to name a few. It’s safe to say that the Levine Program does not allow its students to go hungry! In hindsight, the trip truly was a fantastic bonding experience. Whether this bond was developed over a friendly game of corn hole, a long walk on the beach, a Lord of the Rings movie marathon or a nice, warm hot chocolate, it is obvious that everyone involved grew closer and had a fantastic time.

Levine Connection - November 2011  
Levine Connection - November 2011  

Levine Connection - November 2011