March 13, 2014
Volume #44 No. 9
Chronicle at WVU Parkersburg
Uta Hempel - p.3
Mikhail Styrt - p.4
JorgĂŠ Meneses - p.5
Gerard El Chaar - p.6-7
Mary Oneyekwere-eke - p.8
WVU Parkersburg Embraces International Students
Yuxiao Li - p.9
Emmanuel Utietiang - p.10
Sheldon Rattigan - p.12
German Biology Professor Finds Her Niche in Small-Town West Virginia March 13, 2013
by Candice Hoalcraft From Sheldon Cooper to Albert Einstein, scientists thus far have contributed to society through their discoveries and philosophies. At WVU Parkersburg, a faculty member brought her skills and knowledge of science all the way from Germany. Uta Hempel, PhD, came to this country seven years ago with a love of biology and an interest in living abroad. Combining a wide range of interests with a love of teaching, Hempel found her niche in small-town Ravenswood, W.Va. Cologne, one of the biggest and oldest towns in Germany, is the beginning and start of Hempel’s journey leading up to her life in the U.S. The city was founded in A.D. 120 and is known for the colossal Cologne Cathedral. Equipped with lavish museums and underground symphonies, this town houses many fond memories for Hempel. Her favorite part about living there was her ability to walk around as she pleased. “I was very mobile and I felt fairly safe,” Hempel said. “As a first grader, I was able to walk to school with my friends.” Attending school in Germany is a completely difference experience than doing so in America. In Germany, it is expected for college students to go the extra mile and obtain their master’s degree at the very least. Hempel
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attended one of the most prestigious schools in the country and then furthered her education by receiving her doctorate. After finishing school, Hempel traveled to Tokyo, Japan, to fulfill the next big step in life: marriage. After growing up in the United States and somewhat in Japan, her husband found himself working in Tokyo. In the German culture, it is required to have a legal marriage before having a church wedding. This particular wedding was done in a German Embassy. “The Embassy has a beautiful garden. It was very impressive,” Hempel said. After the wedding, Uta and her husband had a child and one on the way when they discovered that their lifestyle was going to broaden on an international level. Her thoughts on leaving her country: “Let’s Go. I wanted my kids to have the opportunity to speak two languages,” Hempel said. “I wanted to see something different.” Relocating to Ravensood, W.Va., Hempel experienced a bit of a culture shock compared to the large city in which she was raised. Some of the biggest differences were the language barriers and transportation. In
Germany, each citizen has a variety of options of transportation, whether it be a bus or a bicycle, it wasn’t necessary to own a car. It was also a change because of the small-town nature of Ravenswood. Before receiving her workpermit, Hempel found hope for a job at the Jackson County Center. “[They] were looking for adjuncts and I gave them my resume. I never heard back from them,” Hempel said. After receiving an e-mail, she had the opportunity to take training for teaching online classes. “I had never attended an American university, so I really enjoyed it,” Hempel said. After a change occurred in the staff at WVU Parkersburg, Hempel received the opportunity to teach an evening class as an adjunct teacher. “I taught one class and I totally loved it,” Hempel said. However, it was an adjustment. In Germany, one class can be as large as 800 people. The learning process is different as well. Everything is set on a strict schedule and the students are meant to study and learn on their own with their textbooks and lecture notes. Despite the challenges, Hempel loved every bit Germany
of teaching. “I was very happy— I totally love teaching and I love Biology,” she said. “I’m very happy that I can work in the field that I chose to study. I feel that I can make a difference.” Outside of the classroom, Hempel has a wide range of interests. Most of them involve her two kids. She has a six-yearold daughter and a nine-year-old son. Her daughter was born in America and is very proud of it. While visiting the neighbors, she pointed to her house and said “I’m a West Virginia American and them over there, they are Germans.” Hempel explained. “She is extremely proud of being an American.” Her daughter is involved with soccer and ballet and she loves to sing. Her nine-year-old son loves math and attended the Kids’ College at WVU Parkersburg. He is also involved in soccer and martial arts. Both children love to build forts with moving boxes in their spare time. Hiking, bi-
cycling and reading are among Hempel’s other interests. Another hobby of hers is photography. However, she uses her skills to offer a more visual way of learning. Hempel takes pictures of different things in nature pertaining to Biology. Through the various culture changes and adjustments, Uta feels content with where she is. She has a genuine love and passion for science and it is shown through her dedication and contributions to this institution.
Chronicle at WVU Parkersburg
Volume 44 Produced by students of WVU Parkersburg
News Editor: Jeremy Harrison Layout Editor: Corrissa Williams Asst. News Editors: Justina Morris Asst. Layout Editor: Macie Lynch & Candice Hoalcraft Layout Staff: Jacob Adkins News Reporting/Photography Shelby Thomas Kyle Nichols Jeremy Harrison Megan Newland Staff: Cora Tidd Tessa McAtee Jessica Thompson Allison Hilber Kristiana Hunt Shelby Thomas Hannah Duffield Tessa McAtee Jason Ross Daniel Jackson Tia Goodrich Macie Lynch Kyle Nichols Jason Ross Megan Valentine Hannah Duffield Erika Davis Allison Hilber Candice Hoalcraft Justina Morris Cora Tidd Rachael Gant Megan Newland Carle Stewart Whitney Liotti Amanda Hendricks Megan Valentine Jason Walker Kelly Bozeman Tia Goodrich firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Hendricks Daniel Jackson and find us on Facebook & Twitter Shalee Lathey @wvupchronicle Tonya Marks Breyer White
Advisor: Torie Jackson
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March 13, 2014
Math Instructor Shares His
Experiences With WVU Parkersburg by Daniel Jackson Instructor Mikhail Styrt has the combined experience of two different educational systems and the insight that goes with both. Styrt is an Instructor of Math in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math division at WVU Parkersburg, but before coming to the United States of America he taught high school math and physics in the Soviet Union. Styrt hails from Ukraine, or more specifically Zhtomyr, a city just under 90 miles west of Kiev. He immigrated to the U.S. along with his family in 1993 after receiving an invitation from his sister-in-law to come to the U.S. After arriving in the U.S., Styrt had his academic credentials translated to the U.S. education system and applied to Cleveland State University to obtain a Master’s Degree in the Arts. After two years of working full-time as a teacher's aid for the Shaker Heights City School District (SHCSD) on top of taking classes at night, he received his Masters in the Arts with a Concentration in Mathematics. After working for several years for SHCSD and working as a part-time math instructor for Cuyahoga Community College, he applied to WVU Parkersburg for a position and was accepted. He began teaching at WVU Parkersburg in 2008. Coming to the U.S. was a big culture shock he says. Before it was an independent country, the Ukraine was part of the U.S.S.R. As a result of its policies, the Ukraine was subject to the same rigid systems as the rest of the U.S.S.R. Upon immigrating to the U.S., Styrt said he was surprised about the total freedom everyone has
"I always wanted to be a teacher... I love what I am doing." -Mikhail Styrt in expressing his or her own opinions or beliefs. Freedom of religion and freedom of thought could not be expressed in public in the U.S.S.R. or the Ukraine for some time after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. After Styrt graduated from high school in the Ukraine, he began his higher education at the Zhitomir Pedagogical Institute or Teachers Institute for short, a five-year college. He majored in math with a minor in physics After graduating with the bachelor’s degree he received a state issued license to teach math and physics. He taught middle and high school math and physics for 10 years in the U.S.S.R. before moving to the U.S. “I always wanted to be a teacher so I went to the Teacher’s Institute back in the Ukraine to
become a teacher, and I love what I am doing,” Styrt says. Styrt started learning English in school as a foreign language class and later while attending college, but admits he had some difficulties with speaking it fluently. He found an interesting way to learn to speak fluent English though. “The best way to learn a language obviously is to go to an environment and to talk to people and to listen to them. But I took a lot from radio; while I was driving a car I was listening to public radio. Public radio had slow speaking people with very good pronunciation. I also watched TV, mostly kids cartoons with my kids, public television and spelling bees and that helped me a lot,” he said. The education systems of the
U.S. and the one that was in the U.S.S.R. at the time were completely different. Styrt said that the school system reflected the political system of the U.S.S.R. and that the government controlled everything. Regardless of where they lived, everyone would start the school year on September 1. Students could not set up their classes or class schedule on their own, wore the same uniforms, and used the same textbooks. Styrt pointed out that the methods of teaching were different as well. Instead of students listening to a teacher and taking notes like in most schools in the U.S., the teacher performed oral questioning and evaluations while students did class work on the board in front of the rest of the class. Everyone’s scores were
announced in front of the class, even if they didn’t want their scores announced. He also noted that there were differences in technology. The U.S.S.R. lagged behind in its general access to technology. Most students did not have access to calculators because they were too expensive. Computers were reserved for mainly public offices and schools; no one owned their own personal computers. Most televisions in the U.S.S.R. were black and white all the way up to the 90’s. Tape recorders were still being used while the U.S. was using compact discs and DVDs. Styrt said, “When I came here, I really enjoyed all these benefits and my first purchase I think was a VCR so we could record videos. It was really nice to have one because in Russia all those VCRs were imported.Russia did not make their own so no one could record videos so I really enjoyed that technology.” The cost of living was much different as well. Housing costs varied depending on the family size and type of housing but since the government owned and subsidized all housing in the U.S.S.R., it was comparatively cheaper. When asked about what he appreciated the most about this country he replied, “In one word, democracy.” “I like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, when I can express my feelings and say what I want without worrying about being persecuted for my beliefs, so I say it was a change for the better,” he said. If anyone would like more information about Instructor Mikhail Styrt they can contact him thru email at mstyrt@wvup. edu.
March 13, 2014
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zens can vote. In Colombia they have the majority vote. So when Colombian citizens vote it counts to elect whom they want to run for office. He misses a few things from home, which had warm weather year round and different music than is normally heard in the U.S. “In Colombia the music is very happy,” Meneses said. He has grown to like some country songs and other types of music this country has to offer. Meneses' future has a few certainties. He will soon be looking for a job after graduating from WVU Parkersburg. He also will continue to both play and watch soccer. He is a die-hard soccer fan and always will be. After all, it was ingrained in him before he could even walk.
by Shelby Thomas He could kick a soccer ball before he could walk, that is how Jorge Andres Meneses’ dad would describe him. A lot of truth can be found in that statement. Meneses always loved the sport, and frequently played soccer with his friends and family. He also went to a summer camp set up by a professional team for young kids. Meneses was seven when he first attended. While sitting in a classroom in Bogota Colombia, South America, soccer again caught his attention. The primary, middle and high schools are at the same location in Colombia, each in a different building. “I could see the elementary students playing soccer outside my classroom window,” Meneses described. In Colombia, many people are
day, he would sit down with a teacher and she would help him pronounce words and to understand the language. He had a full-time teacher that was just for English lessons. His teacher also taught him to read English and that really helped him. Soccer, however, didn’t require any translation. When Meneses began his collegiate career at WVU Parkersburg, soccer found him again. He became a member of the college team. Meneses is very passionate about soccer and so is his family. When he came to America he learned more about America’s football and eventually became a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Meneses has free time he likes to play other sports, including table tennis, basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf and American football. He spends much of his collegiate time playing sports, but a big portion of his time is devoted to academics. Meneses is working on his BASBA with specialization in marketing and management. He also serves as president of the Student Engagement Activities group. He is also very involved with the college’s international student group, serving as a past president. He is a proven leader who likes to interact with others. Part of this comes from his family background. Colombia is very family oriented; Meneses family would sit down every morning and eat breakfast together. They see this as a special time of day. Meneses would still sit and eat breakfast with his sister, but the morning rush of American life prevents this quality time. His sister is married and has two little girls. She is now a dual citizen in America and Colombia. Meneses keeps in contact with his parents back in Colombia through email, phone calls, and
Meneses brings his love of Soccer to America
huge soccer fans. Meneses compares the attention of a soccer game in Colombia to the Super Bowl in the United States. Life revolves around soccer and family. In America season sports exist such as football in the fall and baseball in the spring. In Colombia it is soccer all year round. Meneses plays indoor soccer and soccer outdoors as well. He traveled to the United States, moving in with his sister in West Virginia before his junior year of high school. Meneses attended Parkersburg Catholic High School his junior and senior years. In Colombia students only go up to the 11th grade, so that was one of the first changes he noticed with the U.S. — longer schooling. The language barrier became a concern when he moved to the U.S. At PCHS, for an hour a
he messages them on an app called “What’s Up.” His parents come in and see him once or twice a year around Christmas or other times of the year. Other family members also come and see him as well. The family is Catholic and celebrate a variety of holidays, including Colombia’s independence day on July 20th. They celebrate independence from the Spanish. Colombia is a lot like the United States; they have McDonald’s and other such American restaurants. Also in many ways they are very different. They do have Nike, Polo and other name brands. The political life in Colombia is Democratic, here in America how we have Electoral College vote, and every American citi-
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March 13, 2014
There is a sense in the United States that you need to help others. That you are given an opportunity, you’ve been given a blessing, and hence you want to take that blessing and give it back.
by Hannah Duffield His eyes sparkled as grandfather continued the story, “I was too old to enlist as a soldier, but I enlisted as part of the labor force at Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania making bombs for the allies during World War I. Even though I couldn’t go fight on the front lines, I helped win the war from the home front.” On his trips back to Beirut, Lebanon, Grandfather bore tales of the American peoples’ generosity. “I would carry my wares from town to town in my large case. It held fabric and other goods that I was trying to sell to the townspeople,” young El Chaar listened to grandfather intently. “Oh, how generous the people are. As evening came on, people would let me sleep in their kitchen, so that I could get sleep before traveling on to the next destination.” Gerard El Chaar’s grandfather had moved to the United States of America in 1905, long before Gerard’s birth. But those fascinating tales planted the idea in nine-year-old El Chaar’s mind
that someday he would go to America and experience adventures like Grandfather had done. Gerard El Chaar came to America and had a successful experience. He became an engineer and lived in multiple cities across the U.S., finally settling in Parkersburg, W.Va. He retired two years ago, and now serves as Chair on the Board of Governors at WVU Parkersburg. “My father was one of the pioneers in private schooling in Lebanon,” El Chaar said. “The gap between private schools and public schools is so huge… People try very hard to send their kids to private schools.” El Chaar explained the rigors of schooling when he was growing up, “At seven o’clock you went to study,” El Chaar explained that the study period ran from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. School classes ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a 45 minute lunch break at noon. Then from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. the students spent their time studying. “It was a very long, long day,” El Chaar said.
“It [school] is tough but people are persistent because you don’t make it in Lebanon unless you are a knowledged worker,” El Chaar said. “You really get into demeaning jobs if you don’t have your high school degree.” Due to the Civil War in Lebanon 34 years ago, 17-year-old El Chaar and his family followed his grandfather’s footsteps and traveled to the U.S. where they found a home in Allentown, Pa. His grandfather “had an amazing experience; he loved the United States.” It was that experience that gave El Chaar “a fascination with the United States.” “Although my mom had been encouraging me to become an engineer,” El Chaar explained that he had come to America “with a lousy math background.” “Actually I didn’t decide until I hit JFK (airport) that I was going to become an engineer… in Lebanon I never would have had the opportunity to study engineering,” he said. Coming from a country that was small in size, approximately
4,000 square miles to a country that was 3.79 million square miles in size, was quite a shock not only culturally, “but every aspect of it,” El Chaar said. “Driving on the George Washington Bridge, coming from JFK and seeing how huge that bridge was, there is nothing like that in Lebanon,” El Chaar said. The vast landscape and large structures was only part of the difference between the U.S. and Lebanon. Another difference was the element of opportunity available in the U.S. “Anyone can make it in the U.S. if they persevere,” El Chaar said. “Opportunity is amazing… I know I have had a huge opportunity… an amazing opportunity. I was given grants, and I took loans and I studied. I thank God every day. Although, I love Lebanon, I’m glad I live here,” El Chaar said. “When I came I couldn’t speak very good English and I happened to go to a community college to learn English as a second language,” El Chaar said. He
was amazed by the care people showed by helping him get registered in the institution. El Chaar attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where he received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a computer emphasis and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering. Other accomplishments include fluency in the French, Arabic and English languages. Throughout his career, El Chaar lived in many different cities including Santa Monica, Calif., Danville, Va., Allentown and York, Pa. and in the state of Idaho. He also lived in Seattle while working for Amazon.com when they were a small company. While working for eToys.com in Pennsylvania as head of engineering, he accepted a position in London where the company wanted to open an office. Since they knew he spoke French fluently they asked him to head the venture. “So I went with another person and we set up the operation,”
March 13, 2014 Lebanon
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I have been in the US for a long, long time… and I consider myself more American than anything.
El Chaar said. One day while vacationing in Rome, El Chaar and his wife were walking into the Sistine Chapel when his cell phone began to ring. Surprise flooded his face, an offer from an American company that would bring him home. El Chaar had an interview in Parkersburg, W.Va. “The first time I came here,” El Chaar said, “I interviewed with the people here. But they liked me so much that they called Idaho to our chairman and said I think we’ve found a candidate everybody likes him… that was Friday.” Directly, El Chaar flew to Idaho and interviewed on Saturday with the company chair. Monday “they gave me an offer. It was so generous that I left London and came here [Coldwater Creek Distribution Center] within two weeks,” El Chaar said. “So I joined them and 13 years later I’m still here.”
During the 13 years that El Chaar worked at Coldwater Creek Distribution Center, he worked as Director of Distribution, Divisional Vice President of Distribution, Vice President of Distribution, and Senior Vice President of Operations. “He [El Chaar] was very passionate about people and the job. He wanted to be very successful in regards to achieving the goals that were set forward,” Steven Orn, former divisional vice president of operations at Coldwater Creek Distribution Center said about his former employer. “I met Gerard when he came to work at Coldwater Creek and I reported to him in his position in charge of operations at the distribution center,” Orn said. According to Orn, El Chaar cared about the employees and “spent time going out on the floor and getting to know people and working side by side with them as they did their job. He
made sure that he knew everybody’s name. He knew a lot about them individually,” Orn said, “He was able to build that one-on-one relationship with everyone in the facility.” El Chaar has been retired for two years and spends much of his time with his wife of 22 years and his three daughters ages 13, 8 and 4. “There is a sense in the United States that you need to help others. That you are given an opportunity, you’ve been given a blessing,” El Chaar said. “And hence you want to take that blessing and give it back.” Following this mindset, no matter where he was residing, El Chaar has always been active with local colleges. “When I lived at Mechanicsburg, Pa., I worked with Messiah College. I love colleges and universities so when I came and I found out about WVUP, I decided to contact them,” El Chaar said.
United States of
While El Chaar worked at Coldwater Creek he initiated a monetary donation to WVU Parkersburg on their behalf. He never knew how much he would eventually be able to help the institution. The governor later recommended El Chaar to serve as a member of the WVU Parkersburg board of advisors. Prior to serving as chair on the board of governors, El Chaar served on the board of advisors for WVU Parkersburg. “Here I am and I’m not only selected by the board to be their representative, their chairman of the board… I’m not from here, I have an accent. That tells you automatically that our society is open,” El Chaar said. “Gerard came on the board six years ago and I found him to be extremely outgoing and highly intelligent with a great background,” Matthew Santer, Professor of Psychology at WVU Parkersburg and faculty sen-
ate representative to the board of governors, said regarding El Chaar. “He really likes this school... Gerard is very tuned into people’s feelings and is very kind and considerate,” Santer said, “He likes to talk to people in the halls and find out how things are going with individual.” “He also came from another culture and really feels comfortable and enjoys the American culture,” Santer said. “I have been in the US for a long, long time… and I consider myself more American than anything, I don’t consider myself Lebanese anymore,” El Chaar stated. The journey that lead El Chaar to the United States of America was the founding of a bright future. Lebanon taught him perseverance, America provided the opportunity, and he created his destiny.
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March 13, 2014
Shocking Discovery: Student Learns About New Culture
by Erika Davis On a warm day in early A u g u s t , 1 7 - y e a r- o l d M a r y Oneyekwere-eke prepared to leave her home and family in Nigeria as she embarked on her journey to the United States. While on the plane some 30,000 feet in the air, Oneyekwere-eke celebrated her birthday. When the plane touched down in Atlanta, Ga. she had turned 18. Oneyekwere-eke applied to WVU Parkersburg because she wanted to go to a school outside of her country. She wanted to experience something different and to have a different education. Another reason that Oneyekwere-eke chose WVU Parkersburg was because the school's profile said the college was in a rural area with a calm environment. She is currently here on a Visa. In her home country of Nigeria, which is located in West Africa, the people use over 500
languages. The three major tribes are: the Igbo tribe, the Hausa tribe and the Yoruba tribe. Nigeria's time is six hours ahead of West Virginia, and they do not have daylight savings. Coming to West Virginia was a huge culture shock for Oneyekwere-eke. The biggest shock was the snow; she had never seen snow before except for in movies. In Nigeria it is not normal for girls to wear short shorts outside, but she thinks it is cool how people here do not seem to care about what they wear, according to Oneyekwere-eke. The climate is similar in Nigeria and West Virginia because the cold usually comes between November and February. However, what they would consider cold, we would consider warm. Nigeria also doesn't get any snow. Another difference between the U.S. and Nigeria is the Religion perspective, mostly the difference in numbers. “The
first church I went to here was a Catholic church and there wasn’t a lot of people there, in my country I’m used to a Catholic church being filled so much that there were people standing outside because it’s so packed,” Oneyekwere-eke said. One thing that surprised Oneyekwere-eke about food in the U.S. is that most people usually does not make their own meals from scratch; they tend to eat at a restaurant. In Nigeria families cook home-made meals. The mother will go to the market, buy the ingredients she needs and make the meal at home. Although over 500 languages are spoken in Nigeria, English is the first language, but it’s more of a British English. The political aspects between here and Nigeria don’t have much difference. For Oneyekere-eke she hasn’t 100% completely grasped just how the politics here work. When it comes to the education only one thing separates the two countries, learning things hands on. “What I like about WVU Parkersburg is that you don’t just learn by hearing a lecture, you learn by doing something hands on,” Oneyekwere-eke said. Being so far away family can be hard. Oneyekwere-eke does not keep in touch with her family by writing letters. She keeps in touch with them using technology such as Facebook, Skype and by calling them. Oneyekwere-eke does have a few aunts living in the U.S.. She has two that live in Tennessee and one that lives in Maryland. Every once in a while she tries to visit them over school breaks.
She is currently a Pre-Med student working towards a degree to become a doctor. Oneyekwere-eke will be attending medical school and eventually has to transfer to another school. Oneyekwere-eke has many different places she would like to live after she receives her degree. A few places that she likes are the cities of Chicago, San Francisco and the state of Maryland. However she isn’t sure where she will end up, she is still learning everything she can about all the other states. Oneyekwere-eke currently lives in Parkersburg where she stays with Peggy Clifford. She appreciates that the people are really nice and friendly to her. “I went to Wal-Mart and forgot my purse in the cart, I thought someone would take it because in
my country if you left something you would never see it again, but I was surprised when I went back and it was still there,” Oneyekwere-eke said. She thinks the technology available here is really helpful for her. Oneyekwere-eke also likes that the area does not have a high crime rate. “I think WVU Parkersburg is a good school and a good place to get a good quality education. The school has a lot to offer people,” Oneyekwere-eke said. Oneyekwere-eke is enjoying her time at WVU Parkersburg as a student. She is excited to see where her college career takes her and to see what path her degree will take her down. Oneyekwere-eke looks forward to experiencing different things, making new friends and anything that may fall in beween.
“I went to Wal-Mart and forgot my purse in the cart, I thought someone would take it because in my country if you left something you would never see it again, but I was surprised when I went back and it was still there.” -Mary Oneyekwere-eke
March 13, 2014
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Chinese International Student Pursuing Medical Degree
by Kyle Nichols Moving from a land of bustling crowded streets and an all around different way of life, one girl who now lives in West Virginia has changed many of her perspectives as she studies at the more quaint campus of WVU Parkersburg. Yuxiao Li is a Chinese international student from Kaifeng, Henan Province, China, who has been living in the area for three years. Her mother and stepfather live in Pennsboro, W.Va., but she is currently renting an apartment and working in the area. As a student at WVU Parkersburg, Li is working towards a medical degree, but for now she is taking general education classes to get her prerequisites accomplished. Li said that the biggest difference in culture was the way in which people behave. “Here people think individually. Back in China, people think collectively,” she said. “It’s a huge difference in base point that people start with to think about everything.” Having lived in the area for three years now, Li believes that she has mostly adjusted to the differences to her home place since she has been working in local restaurants.
“If you just go to school, the only people you will know are classmates and instructors. You don't get the entire diversity of the culture from that limited point of view,” she said. Li said that she has seen many similarities between actual peoples’ personalities in China and the United States. “You have people that are happy and people that are just always sad in both cultures. It is an interesting experience meeting them at work,” she said. Li knows English and Chinese, but she also knows a little bit of Japanese as well. She said that English is easier to learn than the other languages that she knows. “I would say English isn't that hard to learn compared to a beginner that doesn't know Chinese. The main difference is in English a word's pronunciation is also a part of the spelling. In China, if you write the word, it pronounces differently and the meaning can be different,” she said. “You are combining three different ways of learning with Chinese.” Before Li began renting an apartment, she had to commute all the way from her parents' home to WVU Parkersburg. Renting an apartment in the area requires her to have a job,
and she says that she is “paying more with my spare time, but it is totally worth it.” Li enjoys various different foods from her culture as well as in others. She said that her favorite dish from China though is the roasted duck. Her tastes also range from sushi in Japan and curry dishes from India. As for the United States, Li’s favorite food is basically fast food like hamburgers. Climate in China is, according to Li, quite similar to the United States with cooler and warmer areas depending on where a person lives. Her hometown is drier because it is on a more inland part of China. Li said that her favorite part about the United States so far is the environment. “It doesn't matter where you go, you can explore yourself and check out your potentials.” said Li. “There are always people that understand your point of view, and there are, of course, people that also do not understand your point of view.” Culture shocks are common for people coming to an area for the first time. Li said that she had two major culture shocks. “To start with, transportation. In China, we have public transportation like buses and taxis, and we also use bicycles, and
electric bikes,” she said. “Peoples’ main transportation here is private cars. You can't move in China with a car, and using one is actually an inconvenience instead of a convenience.” Li said that her second culture shock would have to be the difference in the way that communities are so much more spread out than in China. “Jobs here can be far away from your home, and you can live super in the country,“ she said. “In China, everything is so much closer together. You can walk to the mall, job...etc. You can walk everywhere.” There are many differences in technology among cultures. Li said that the main difference between China and the United States that she saw was the use of herbal medicines in her culture. She said that she was amazed how alternative methods to normal treatment such as acupuncture can change a person in a very large way. Li said that she decided to pursue a medical degree because of health issues in her family as well as the passing of her biological father. Li is planning to continue working at local restaurants and eventually moving to her dream of acquiring a medical degree.
The Chronicle at WVU Parkersburg
International Student Sheds Light On Life Away From His Home Country of Nigeria by Cora Tidd Students pass each other in the crowd every day. Many never get a chance to know where the other person came from or where they are going. One of those people among the crowd is Emmanuel Utietiang (Uh-tee-tyan). Utietiang is a native from Nigeria, West Africa. He spent two years in Hungary studying PreMed at the University of Szeged, before enrolling at WVU Parkersburg in the fall of 2009. Utietiang graduated from WVU Parkersburg in 2013 with a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree with emphasis in Psychology and Sociology. He is currently taking additional anatomy and physiology courses at the campus. According to Utietiang, the school systems in Nigeria are a little different from the school systems in the United States. Schools in the U.S. focus more on student-teacher interaction. A student is able to communicate face-to-face with his or her instructor more efficiently. Schooling in Nigeria is more lecture-based. A Nigerian instructor can lecture up to 900 people a time in one hall. What Utietiang enjoys most about college life at WVU Parkersburg is the sense of community that the campus invokes. Utietiang learned the majority of the English language in high school, but his parents helped him to become a more fluent speaker by using English at home.
“English is always a hard language to learn, even for those that speak it,” joked Utietiang. Throughout all of Utietiang's travels he has never experienced any cultural shock. He lived in the city where diversity is more common and the technology moves along with the West. Even though most of Utietiang's family is back in Nigeria, they are just a phone call away, and visits are always a possibility. Utietiang does have a brother that currently lives in Wheeling, W.Va., as a Catholic Priest. One of his favorite celebrations from Nigeria is the Yam Festival. It is a traditional African celebration where families unite and meals are shared. One of the dishes commonly served is fofo. Fofo is a yam powder that is molded and eaten by hand and usually served with a soup. Food in Nigeria is unique in the sense that almost every family produces their own food, except for the rich who can afford to do without a personal garden. In rural areas of Nigeria, subsistence famine can occur. Various political differences can also be found between the United States and Nigeria. “Democracy is more practicable in the U.S. than back at home which is a typical demonstration of craziness,” said Utietiang. When Utietiang first came to the United States, his idea of freedom was somewhat altered. “Initially, before I came here, I thought of this city as a free
country. I thought there was a lot of stuff you could get away with, but that’s not true. I’ve gotten too many speeding tickets, something we don’t have back at home,” shared Utietiang. Utietiang hopes for students to understand that although Nigeria has an exaggerated negative reputation, the nation's contributions to the global community cannot be overemphasized. According to Utietiang, Nigeria is not as underdeveloped or poverty stricken as many people are led to believe. They have large cities that are neat, clean and just as busy as New York. Crimes and troubles occur in Africa just as they do throughout the world. “Just because there is one Hurricane Katrina in part of the U.S. doesn’t mean the whole country is flooded with Katrinas. So if there is one war in a small region of Africa, it doesn’t mean the whole country is a war zone,” said Utietiang. After Utietiang's schooling is over, he plans to travel back to his home country to use his degree. Utietiang hopes for students to gain a new outlook and understanding of Nigeria. “I would like for people to understand that the perception about African countries as portrayed by the media is greatly flawed and tantamount to mere media myopia. Africa is not a ghetto or a jungle, it has cities and people just like here.”
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“Just because there is one Hurricane Katrina in part of the U.S. doesn’t mean the whole country is flooded with Katrinas. So if there is one war in a small region of Africa, it doesn’t mean the whole country is a war zone.”
C h a r m March 13, 2014
by Candice Hoalcraft While walking in downtown Parkersburg, citizens have the opportunity to step off Market Street into the Lebanese culture. Chams, a locally owned restaurant, offers authentic food from their home in Lebanon. Differing from others, this establishment offers something more than excellent Mediterranean food: genuine hospitality and kindness towards their customers. Each story has a beginning. This one began in a classroom. Rizkallah Halou, one of the co-owners, began as a teacher in Cleveland, OH. After the traumatic and economic effects of 9/11, he had to resign his position. He then worked as a substitute at Marietta and Warren high schools. Unable to regain his position in Cleveland, he began working at a Lebanese restaurant, where he learned how to cook. His sister, Cham Ekelman, had restaurant experience as well. Combining their backgrounds, they decided to open their own business in 2006. At that time, the street was mostly empty. However, the hype for this new restaurant was great. The grand opening housed important members of our community. West Virginia Congressmen Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall attended along with three mayors. “People couldn’t wait to see something different in this area,” Helou explained. “When we first opened, there were people who waited up to an hour and a half for their food, but they just kept coming.” It has been said that Mediterranean food is one of the best types of food in the world. The three main ingredients are garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Anoth-
The Chronicle at WVU Parkersburg
er key item is fresh ingredients. “We get here at 7:30 in the morning every day to make sure that everything is fresh,” Helou said. The menu includes a variety of entrees and pita wraps. Each entrée comes with a salad and an order of pita bread. Due to their delicious food and homey atmosphere, it’s no wonder their business is thriving. “[I] thank God our business is booming. Year after year we are getting better and better,” Helou said. Almost every online review I read had nothing but positive things to say about the food and service. People from all over the world, in varying countries such as Syngapore, Germany and Argentina, came to Parkersburg to experience it for themselves. “Seventy percent of our costumers are from out of town,” Helou said. Their success goes back to their hometown of Sarba, Lebanon. Growing up with a number of siblings and friends, their mother was always in the kitchen. “My mother would never complain, she would always cook for all of us,” Helou said. “That’s how we grew up. We love people.” To maintain their success, Chams is looking to a bright future. “We are going to continue our goal to make downtown Parkersburg more exciting,” Helou said. “I hope that I see more restaurants in this area because downtown Parkersburg is very beautiful, especially on Market Street.” It is well worth the time to stop by this downtown restaurant. With excellent food and some of the nicest people you will ever meet, it leaves little room for disappointment.
Curbs the Cravings
by Kyle Nichols The main problem with most Chinese restaurants is the seeming randomness in quality of food. One dish will be absolutely wonderful, the next will be dry and flavorless. Nestled next to 7-Eleven in Mineral Wells, Chef Chen's Chinese Restaurant is a different story. When walking into the door, it is notable that the atmosphere and general design of Chef Chen’s is a lot less awkward than other Chinese restaurants. The general eating area is actually sizable and have seats and tables that look professional and more homely. The waiting area is also quite large with multiple seats instead of the awkward two chairs and cramped table that other similar restaurants offer. Another noticeable positive about Chef Chen’s is that the staff seem accessible. Of course there is sometimes still a slight hardness in distinguishing some words, but the man that waited on me was both calm and had a very good grasp of the English language. Chef Chen's offers a large variety of food, and their menu is simple and easy to understand. They have different combo plat-
ters such as the Chef's Special and Special Combination Platters, each served with unique sides as well such as pork fried rice and egg rolls. It is wise, though, when ordering the Special Combination Platters to plan for the large quantity of food that it provides. The containers are absolutely stuffed with food, and it is easy to misjudge the first time eating there what is an appropriate size for the situation. This could be a small criticism because the meals do not actually label how much food they give. I sampled both their General Tso's and Sesame Chicken, and it was such a welcome change to the chicken I was exposed to in another Chinese restaurants. Each piece was smaller and crispier with much more flavor, and it was surprisingly very filling even after only eating a smaller quantity. None of the pieces that I ate were dry and tough like is usual when ordering such a meal. Another big topic with Chinese restaurants is the rice since it is a staple of Chinese cuisine. At Chef Chen's, the rice that came with my meal was moist and added a nice mixture of flavor to the General Tso's Chicken. Ad-
mittedly, the absolute best food that I ate there was the cream cheese wontons. The filling was a very different kind of cream cheese than what is normally inside of the fried treats. Instead of tasting more like a cheese, the filling was extremely sweet like it was more of an icing than cream cheese. The actual fried breaded outside was also notably more flaky and crispy than tough. The final large food item that many people always take into consideration is the Chicken Lo Mein which is basically noodles with small bits of chicken. Overall, the noodles were very flavorful and not bland whatsoever. The portions of chicken that they included were also much more substantial than the usual two or three pieces in each serving. If you are out craving for Chinese food, I would highly recommend Chef Chen's. The take out wait time is very little, and the actual eating area is clean and comfortable. The food is delicious, and they are not stingy with the quantities. To get in contact with Chef Chen's, contact them at 304-4899800 or 304-489-9801.
The Chronicle at WVU Parkersburg
S H E L D O NI G A N R AT T
by. Tessa McAtee Sheldon Rattigan found himself “tricked” into landing at West Virginia University at Parkersburg all the way from Kingston, Jamaica. Rattigan was working for a financial institution called Jamaica National Building Society in downtown Kingston with a plan to continue his schooling in finance. He planned on using his education to move up the ranks at the financial firm to becoming a successful businessman when a phone call from a relative changed his plans completely. Rattigan’s aunt who lives in the United States called one day and asked him and his 19-yearold brother Tarick some “tricky” questions about what their plans for school were. The men told her their plans, she then asked them if they would consider coming to school in the United States. They responded with a "sure why not," not thinking much would come from it and there were no other words mentioned of it. A few months later their aunt calls again and says, ‘I’m sending for you two to come to the United States to go to school.” Sheldon left his job at Jamaica National Building Society, he
and his brother packed their bags and they flew to the United States to start a new adventure. Rattigan's aunt, his mother's sister, was the vice president for Workforce Community Education. She moved to the United States 20 years ago to complete a college degree in Houston, Texas. Upon landing in the United States; it was the first time Sheldon had seen his aunt since he was two. Tarick had never seen her in person before this point. They talked on the phone often so they had a strong relationship with her prior to coming to the United States. When she called and asked all the questions, she gathered all their information and enrolled them into school. She worked out the details so they could come to the United States and get a fouryear degree while they lived with her. Rattigan has been here for six months and has really been enjoying himself. He and his brother both played on the soccer team at WVU Parkersburg. Rattigan said, “We used to play soccer at home for fun. After work we would get together and play in a parking lot before we all went home.” Rattigan and his brother are planning on taking a slightly dif-
ferent route in life than the rest of their family. Their mother is a seamstress who makes not only everyday clothing, but formal dresses. Their father is a highly-skilled carpenter whose specialty is cabinetry. He works for a large construction company in Jamaica. “Both of my parents do great things with their hands,” said Rattigan. He also has an eight-year-old-brother in Jamaica named Nickardo. Family is very important to Rattigan. He enjoys sitting down and have a converations with with people. Both brothers are in the Computer Information Technology program with a concentration in cyber security. Their aunt really pushed them to look into this program due to the job security and the universal use of the degree. When asked if he would use his degree in the United States or in Jamaica, Rattigan said, “…If I get an opportunity to use it here, I'll take it. In terms of currency, the currency is a lot stronger here than it is at home and opportunity is better here than it is at home. If I get an opportunity here to use it here I will, however if not I can use it back home.” Since Rattigan’s father was a
March 13, 2014
carpenter, he had the chance to go on a few jobs with him. When on these jobs he had some handson work experience as well as a spark of interest into a whole different career field. He took a strong interest in architecture. Rattigan said, “I love the constructing of all the lines and then when you look, and wow this is a house, I just drew that and then it's going to be built. I know exactly what that house is going to look like before anyone else does.” After talking to his aunt she encouraged the brothers to pick a degree that is in high demand both here and in Jamaica, that is why he and his brother landed in cyber security. When asked what the biggest culture shock was upon first arriving he said,“ …the changing of people. You all are altogether very high-spirited and always smiling. Not what I was really expecting.” He also laughed and said, “You all apologize for everything.” Houston, Texas, is his favorite place in the United States out of the 12 states he’s been to so far. When asked about Jamaica's climate Rattigan reported that the high temperature is around 80 degrees and the lows are in the
mid 60s. When adapting to West Virginia's harsh winter of negative degree weather and snow, Rattigan said, “We have a saying back home, if you want good, your nose will have to run so I guess this is my nose running. “ The brothers would call their family back in Jamaica telling them about the weather they were dealing with, they would always get a good laugh out of the extreme low temperatures. He mentioned the food he missed the most from Jamaica is stew peas. Stew peas are kind of like a chili, but not; it’s a combination of red peas, a stew liquid, spices and meat. Rattigan's favorite meat in stew peas is pig tail. Other thinking he misses are his friends, Jamaican nightlife and music. Rattigan is not a big fan of country music so the West Virginia music scene is not his favorite. Taking the same degree as his brother has helped them both complete and retain their schoolwork. Rattigan said, “We both have our own unique way of handling things. If I don’t get something I can go to him and say, “what do think about this?’ He tells me what he thinks and we collaborate together until it makes sense. It just works.”