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August 10, 2006
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We are currently looking for an BDIC Alumni Director (or Directors!)

        Remember all those great BDIC students you met while you were at UMass?  Wish you could have kept in touch?  The BDIC staff feels the same way. We think it would be invaluable to establish an alumni network so that alumni can easily contact one another, as well as staying in touch with current events at BDIC. 
        BDIC is looking for one or more enthusiastic graduates interested in helping promote the program and organize events specifically for BDIC alumni.  Currently our staff is not large enough to organize programs for both the current students and our indispensable graduates.  A BDIC graduate serving as Alumni Director would also play a key role in helping BDIC alumni keep in touch with one another through the successful implementation of an Alumni Message Board.
        We are looking for motivated graduates with creative ideas, but no worries – BDIC will provide back-up support and will handle the necessary paperwork.  Anyone who is interested should e-mail Linda Roney.



            Along with several other departments, the BDIC program underwent a routine academic review during the most recent school year.  Many of you gave us feedback from an alumni perspective for the review, and we very much appreciate the time and effort you spent returning the surveys to us. We are responding to each of you, but it is taking quite a bit of time since we had such an overwhelming number of responses!
            As part of the review, the BDIC staff compiled statistics on every constituency of the program so the reviewers could determine BDIC’s viability.  Descriptions of each function of the program and a statement of purpose were also put together to give the reviewers a clear idea of how the program works.  In February, three outside reviewers from universities with similar interdisciplinary programs visited BDIC for several days.  They met staff, current students, a small group of alumni, and many outside departments on campus that interact regularly with BDIC.  In turn, the reviewers presented BDIC with a program assessment, as well as suggestions for improvement.
            The review was very positive.  The reviewers began the report by stating that they found “BDIC to be a strong program, well administered by committed faculty and staff, populated by appropriate, highly motivated students and characterized by a great deal of thought in its policies and procedures.  The program in present state is well regarded in relation to similar programs, and in our eyes, deserves that esteem.”
            Many good suggestions for strengthening the program came out of the review process.  The reviewers felt that BDIC should have a half-time director (rather than one who has a very limited number of hours, as we have now) who can make BDIC his or her primary focus.  A director with additional hours could help in crucial areas, such as alumni outreach and as an interdepartmental liaison to help BDIC students gain access to classes.  The review team also suggested the following: that BDIC’s affiliation be reconsidered and possibly changed (BDIC has been affiliated with the Provost’s Office rather than one of the Colleges); that the student enrollment be increased; that BDIC add more staff; and that the BDIC office location be reconfigured to ensure privacy in the advising areas.
            The reviewers offered many other perceptive suggestions for improving the program. The staff has already begun making some of the changes proposed in the review.  For example, the BDIC junior year writing class will begin incorporating a culminating experience element. The program is also pursuing ways of encouraging more collaboration among its students (e.g., the reviewers suggested we create collaborative independent studies).  For starters, we will be organizing once a month pizza nights at which BDIC students can come together casually and connect with others in similar fields.  Hopefully, this initiative will be expanded to include many more collaborative events, including classes.
            The BDIC staff is very much looking forward to implementing the changes suggested by the review team. The academic review was a perfect catalyst to bring about needed change.  Also, it was a reassuring vote of confidence in the BDIC program.


          Thank you so much, BDIC alumni, for another year of generous donations!  Because of your support, BDIC is able to give many scholarships for travel abroad and research grants for independent studies to deserving students.  In addition, alumni support allows us to offer the extra events, such as the Spring Projects and Alumni Fair, where current students show off their research projects and alumni share their experiences with students in their field, and the Alumni Series, through which various alumni are invited back to campus to meet current students.  Events like these make BDIC a truly unique and enriched program.
        The BDIC staff has been busy over the summer planning events and program enhancements for the upcoming academic
year.   In our planning, we have taken into account the suggestions of the review team.  All of the new incentives will require financial support, so we will be depending on your continued generosity.  One of our plans for next year is to offer a Fall Projects and Alumni Fair, in addition to the spring fair, so that the students in the fall junior year writing class will have a chance to showcase their final projects as well.  We will also increase the Alumni Series events so that our students are able to avail themselves as much as possible of the benefit of meeting our talented alumni. (If you’d like to participate, please contact Linda Roney in the BDIC office. We’d love to have you visit campus and meet our students!)
        One long-time shortcoming of BDIC is its lack of visibility on campus.  Many faculty members from other departments know very little about the program and are, therefore, reluctant to allow BDIC students into their classes or to sponsor them.  We are creating a brochure that will describe BDIC, specifically directed towards faculty and staff in outside departments.  Hopefully, the brochure will be an ice-breaker in spreading the word about BDIC on campus.
        This past May, a BDIC student graduated who has contributed so much to the program that we just can’t let her go unnoticed. Her name is Paula (Aden) Houghton (she was featured in the BDIC summer newsletter). Because Paula, in so many ways, personifies the ideal BDIC student, we are starting an alumni fund in her name. Gifts made to the Paula Houghton Fund will be used to fund program enhancements, such as alumni visits and other endeavors.

paula houghton


        For those of you who did not read the article about Paula in the summer newsletter, I’ll summarize.  Not only was Paula an excellent student (she is going on to a Linguistics graduate program at Rutgers in the fall), but she was also a peer advisor for two years and a peer coordinator for two.  During that time, Paula helped to restructure the syllabus for the BDIC proposal writing class and to develop a very effective training program for new peer advisors. 
        In addition to that, Paula has been deeply involved in work on all the important BDIC projects over the last several years. Paula’s commitment to the BDIC program is commendable; she

has touched every aspect of the program with her enthusiasm, her endless energy and her forward thinking.  We all thank Paula. We hope that you will consider giving to the Paula Houghton Fund so that we can always preserve the true spirit of BDIC.

2005-06 Alumni Scholarship Recipients

        Alexandra Luck has been given funding to support her travels to Ecuador this summer to work with underprivileged children with Type 1 Diabetes.  As part of her concentration in Community Development through the Study of Natural Sciences, Ali will be working with the American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad (AYUDA) program, volunteering at Campos Amigos.  Campos Amigos is a summer camp where these underprivileged children, in addition to being provided with a fun camp experience, gain medical support and education about their condition.
        Noah Zide is traveling to Antwerp, Belgium this summer with the aid of his research scholarship.  Noah will be an intern with the Seatrade Reefer Chartering Corporation, working at the Operations Support Desk to learn about the intricacies and organizational requirements for successfully conducting a fleet of chartered cargo ships.  As part of his internship, he will be focusing on the cost-cutting measures utilized for this transporation corporation as it faces the rising petroleum costs.  Specifically, this internship will provide him with firsthand experiences with the European management style, contributing valuable knowledge to his concentration in the Business Environment within the Euro-Zone.
        Lisa Andrews, concentrating in Community Food Systems, received support for her work on a wildcat farm in Williamsburg, MA. At the farm, Lisa participated in growing grain and storage crops in order to promote biodiversity.  The focus of this project was to help address food shortage needs created by a short growing season and how communities can begin to meet these needs locally.
        Benjamin Nathan, received aid to help in his development of an abridged version of a feature-length screenplay; Ben's concentration is Philosophy and Psychology in Filmmaking . Ben is undertaking this project in collaboration with experts in Middle Eastern history, filmmaking and storytelling consultants, and a small group of UMass students. The narrative of the film will be centered on ideas of conflicting loyalties and intends to critically examine numerous present day issues, such as Middle Eastern and European politics, Jewish-Arab relations, and relationships within Jewish sects while also dealing with the complications of a particular father-son relationship. As such, Ben’s project will contribute to a new trend in filmmaking that often blurs the distinction of between fact and fiction. This abridged screenplay will be used in order to film an extended trailer of the feature in the U.S., Canada, and Israel this summer.



          Jessica Morgan has been allocated funds to supplement an independent study regarding the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in the southern United States. During her study on social change, Jessica will be traveling for approximately two weeks to various locations in the south in order to aid her understanding of the long-term impact Civil Rights has made in the United States. This knowledge will help with her concentration in Cultural and Environmental Sustainability.

          Rachel Besserman received funding to assist her research project which involves gathering footage of movements of the Hebrew Alphabet. Once the footage has been gathered, Rachel intends to use various editing technologies in order to present her work through means of digital interpretation. Rachel's BDIC program is entitled Interdisciplinary Education and Jewish Culture.
         Epifanio Arias, who is studying Filmmaking: Theory and Practice through BDIC, received money from the scholarship fund in order to help support his trip to Madrid, Spain last spring.  While in Spain, Epi was involved in a number of writing and filmmaking projects, which were funded through the aid of the BDIC research scholarship.




           This year, around ninety BDIC students graduated from UMass and joined the ranks of our distinguished alumni. For many of our newest alumni, graduation meant starting a whole new chapter in life. Whether it’s continuing on with education or starting out in the working-world, it is an exciting transition.
           We spoke with several of our newest BDIC alumni about their plans, which ranged widely. Here is a sampling of their replies!


            Paula (Aden) Houghton , our current Peer Advisor Coordinator, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Language Acquisition and Education. She plans to continue her schooling, and is starting in a PhD program this September. She will be earning her PhD in Linguistics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, one of the top schools in her field. Paula will be focusing her education primarily on phonology and language acquisition, which were essential components of her concentration.
            Keith Crossland is taking over a landscaping business on Martha’s Vineyard called Crossland Landscape Inc. With his concentration in Advertising, Landscape and Business Management, Keith is juggling tasks including landscape construction, maintenance and irrigation while working as an advertising consultant. He hopes this experience will bring his interdisciplinary education to new levels.
            Rachel Besserman is embarking on several different projects. Having completed her concentration in Interdisciplinary Education and Jewish Culture, she is working to build and manage Emmet's Essentials, an organic soap line inspired by her son Emmet, who will be two years old this month. Emmet’s Essentials will be making an appearance at the Blandford Fair in September, along with a booth in the Campus Center with chair massages and organic soap products. Rachel is also working on a book/DVD project on the Hebrew Alphabet through Movement and the Arts, to be published someday soon.  




           This year the BDIC staff reinvented the annual Spring Projects and Alumni Fair.  Instead of holding the fair in the Student Union Ballroom, we decided to have a more intimate event.  The students enrolled in the BDIC Junior Year Writing course created presentations based on the research they conducted relating to their concentrations.  As part of the Junior Year Writing Course, the students spend much of the semester working on this research project as a sort of culminating experience for their concentrations.
            This new format provided an excellent opportunity for all of the students to showcase their interests, as well as learning more about the research being conducted by their BDIC peers.  Current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and other members of the BDIC community were invited to attend the class in order to view the students’ presentations.  These projects showed off the excellent research being done within our department by current students, and gave the students a wider audience to appreciate their hard work.

            Student presentations took place over the course of four class periods and were presented in clusters consisting of similar topics. By grouping the presentations into areas of interest, we hoped that some alumni from related fields might attend to share their experiences and to mingle with the students.  The four most interesting projects were then presented on the final day.  Alumni were also invited to this final class meeting, which was followed immediately by a reception at the BDIC office.  Some examples of the student presentations are given here.


BDIC students enrolled in the Junior Year Writing course relaxed at the post-presentation reception. From left, Delisa Vieira, Denae Philips, Molly Hayes, and Cristina Sadler.

            Marta MacRostie’s presentation “The Innate Benefits of Play” relates to her concentration in Puppetry and was one of the projects exhibited on the final day.  The major topic of Marta’s research was “play therapy.”  According to her, play helps people, especially children, to process their world.  It is necessary for life, and not something frivolous.  Through expression, exploration, and empowerment, play therapy helps people work out difficult situations.  For more on Marta and her Puppetry concentration, see this article which was featured on the UMass website.
            Cristin Cali's concentration is Fusion of Vocal Jazz and Poetry Geared Towards Entrepreneurship, which inspired and informed her presentation on “The Evolution of Jazz Criticism.”  Cristin explained that, at first, jazz was only appreciated and understood by a few.  However, by the 30’s, jazz had become a real phenomenon that was widely appreciated, especially in Europe.  By this time, both the skill and improvisational qualities were appreciated.  Cristin is a musician herself, and says that she has been influenced a great deal by jazz.
            Amanda Pantano, who is concentrating in Event Management Marketing Sales, presented on “Gender Bias in Advertising.”  In her presentation, Amanda discussed the differences in reactions to ads between men and women.  For example, ads with sexual innuendo receive different responses from men than they do from women.  Additionally, Amanda blamed many eating disorders on the media.  “Are attractive people more persuasive?” she asked her audience, before replying that the answer is yes.  Amanda discussed television shows with strong women as heroines, and how even these shows still focused on the sexuality of these women.  In conclusion, Amanda said, the media pushes and manipulates gender for its own marketing purposes.
            Greg Herot's concentration in Medicinal Anthropology provided background for his presentation “The Dangers of Soy in the Diet.” Greg explained that soy mimics natural estrogen in the body, which can lead to sterility in males and otherwise affect male sex characteristics. Additionally, soy can have many other negative health affects, such as causing Alzheimer’s and brain aging, or carcinogenic effects. The trouble is that, in America, most soy that customers receive is unfermented. In Asian countries, fermented soy is used, which is not as harmful to humans.
            A total of twenty students were enrolled in the class, with as many distinctive and unique projects and interests. A sampling of the noteworthy topics presented by this semester’s students is listed here. Jasper Lin, whose concentration is Computer Graphics presented on “Violence in Video Games,” while Christopher


Lemoine, who is focusing on Organizational Consulting, presented on “Offshoring and its Effect on the Economy.” “Current Curricula of Sexual Education Programs in Public Schools” was presented by Delisa Vieria, who is studying International Relations and Community Health, and “Waste Material and Salvage” was presented by Matt MacDonald, who is focusing on Ecological Design.


BDIC Coordinator Linda Roney enjoys the sounds of a cappella group The Dynamics. The leftmost member of the group is Andrew Rozynski, BDIC student and peer advisor.
            Following the final day of in-class speeches, BDIC hosted a reception in the BDIC office – 608 Goodell.  The reception was catered by Bistro 63 in downtown Amherst, and entertainment was provided by The Dynamics.  The Dynamics are an a cappella group, in which current BDIC student and peer advisor Andrew

Alumna Charlene Galarneau ('78) chats with current BDIC student Marta MacRostie.

Rozynski performs.  Alumni and current students were invited, along with the friends and family of the junior year writing students, select faculty members, and the BDIC staff.  If you missed this year’s event and are interested in attending future projects fairs, please let us know!  We intend to hold a projects fair this December for the fall junior year writing course, and would love to have you!
            This spring’s guests included alumni Charlene Galarneau (’78, Bilingual-Bicultural Health Education with an Emphasis in Nutrition) and Jenn Aronson (’05, Children’s Television) and faculty members John Stifler of the Economics Department and Cathy Hole of the Music and Dance Department. This reception was a perfect opportunity for alumni and current students to mingle, and was greatly enjoyed by all!



year of graduation:  2005
concentration title:   cultural economics of spanish
                                       speaking countries
current occupation: co-founder of the organization of
                                        youth empowerment

           Just a few months after graduating from UMass Amherst with a double major in BDIC (Cultural Economics of Spanish Speaking Countries) and Spanish, Justin Eldridge-Otero began working in a field directly related to his undergraduate studies.  He and two friends, Jesse and Ana Luisa, founded the Organization of Youth Empowerment (OYE) in the summer of 2005.
           OYE is a non-profit organization focused on children’s education and based in El Progreso, Honduras.  El Progreso is a small and poor suburb just outside the second largest city in Honduras, San Pedro Sula, also known as the AIDS capitol of Central America.  OYE provides Health Education, Art Education, and scholarships for the children and young adults living in two local children’s centers, COPPROME, and ProNino.
           COPPROME is an orphanage for girls and/or young women, and ProNino is a shelter for boys living on the streets.  A large portion of these children have been orphaned by, and/or are living with, HIV or AIDS.  Most of them have experienced things such as malnourishment, abuse, neglect, and drug addictions (huffing glue is a popular cure for hunger and the cold).  OYE is based upon providing education for these children who would otherwise be left to their own devices to survive and develop into adulthood.
           During a recent interview with Justin he spoke about how he originally got involved with the two centers. “Ana Luisa and I have been volunteering at the orphanage, COPROME, in El Progreso since I was thirteen and she was fourteen years old.  I kept at it every summer after that, usually raising a little money (between $2,000-3,000 each time) before I left the states.  I would go on a shopping spree at Walmart or another department store and buy all kinds of things for the kids, and then give the rest of the money to the nun who runs the center, Sister Teresita.”
           When asked how OYE came to be, he replied, “As I got older (as did the kids I worked with) we realized a greater need than just soccer balls and construction paper. When these children turn eighteen years old, they are set out into the world and “freed” from the center, so to speak.  However, many arrive at a life without any family support whatsoever and soon begin working for very little. Most girls, since their decision making skills were never really fully developed, fall in love with the first guy that buys them a cell phone and are soon pregnant. To reverse this, we're offering university scholarships to the older girls that have passed through the center and are now struggling to work 50 hours a week and study simultaneously.”
           As mentioned above, OYE has chosen to focus on three aspects of education (health, art, and scholarships) during the first five years of their organization’s growth.  Health Clinics are offered each weekend in the local library to members of the community.  Unexpectedly, many women from the center and the neighborhood attend, but no men have expressed interest as of yet.  Because of this, “it’s turned into a self-empowerment thing and we bring in guest speakers who address subjects like decision making and friendship.”
           Scholarships are available for a small number of young adults who wish to attend college.  Currently, there are four individuals who are benefiting from an OYE scholarship. “We’ve formed a scholarship committee of teachers, professors, and other Hondurans who interview candidates and then meet with us, so we don’t actually make any decisions as to who receives them.”
           OYE’s art projects are “whatever the time calls for.  We just finished painting a huge mural with Honduran themes and we spent a whole month making Halloween masks and decorations for the orphanage.  We turned the kitchen into a haunted house and it was great fun. Right now we are making Christmas cards for all our donors in the states.”
           When asked about what he misses most from home, Justin said, "The security and safety home provides. Also, water pressure and air conditioning.”  He went on to add, “Getting homesick can happen often because the town is so poor and there isn’t much to be entertained with.”  Concerning what usually makes him feel better, “I guess every day when I show up and they all come running out to greet me, I forget about it.”
           During the length of the interview, Justin shared some downsides to his new position. “Most of the kids I work with have ADD so I’ve found working in groups and following directions is very hard for them.  They are also very demanding as most are attention deprived, so often one afternoon can feel like a week.”  He was happy to report, however, that he has gotten his voice back!  He bought a much needed whistle and no longer needs to holler above the chaos to get the children’s attention.
           “As a new NGO, we are so open to any support. We really need fundraising. It’s a constant burden because we have scholarships guaranteed and need the funds to pay them.”  OYE can also benefit from volunteers who have experience working with children and can speak Spanish.  The organization’s website can clarify the specifics for anyone who wishes to help out in any way by making a donation, volunteering, or offering another method of aid.
           If you are interested in learning more about OYE, you can visit their website.


                  SUSAN KLEIN
                  year of graduation: 1974
                  concentration title: theatre arts and
                  current occupation: storyteller


          Susan Klein has been a storyteller for over two decades. She graduated from BDIC in 1974 with a degree in Theatre Arts and Education, and her life's work since then has been nothing short of amazing.
          Ms. Klein's first job after graduation was teaching kindergarten and first grade. Although her BDIC concentration turned out to be quite relevant to her eventual career, she had not designed her curriculum with storytelling in mind. Quite the contrary, she explained, her first experience seeing a storyteller was against her will. Having been forced to go by friends, she was "prepared to have a really rotten time" and "sat on the edge" like any seasoned theatre-goer anticipating the need for a discreet early exit. Instead, she was instantly hooked. The storyteller she'd seen had successfully worked his magic, and Ms. Klein has been doing the same for a diverse array of audiences ever since.
    Her endeavors have led her around the world, through several European countries -- some of them quite remote. She has also traveled to approximately 38 U.S. states. In 1983, Ms. Klein undertook what would become a five tour stint through eight tiny Alaskan villages during which she was often initially viewed as an outsider. When asked how she was able to relate to audiences in such a situation, she explained: "If I haven't been hired to tell a specific piece of material, I don't make that decision until I reach the stage. I'm often suprised... an image will come into the third eye and I realize that that's the story that wants out and there's a reason. I don't mess with that... I'm just in service to the whole thing."
          Service seems to be the name of the game for Ms. Klein, who has been involved in fundraising efforts for Community Services in her hometown in Martha's Vineyard for 25 years. Specifically, Ms. Klein and a few acquaintances act as organizers and auctioneers at the annual Possible Dreams auction, where the things that are sold "are not tangible items that you can buy anywhere else." Some examples of past "items" that have been auctioned off include walk-on roles in HBO movies, dinner for four in New York with Mike Wallace, and an invitation to a private party on Walter Cronkite's sailboat. "Everybody just really steps up to the plate" she explained. "We all get together and try to give back something." At last year's auction, Ms. Klein and her friends raised $775,000 in three and a half hours.
          The Possible Dreams auction is just one of several of Ms. Klein's current projects. She has also recently developed "An Alien Eye," a workshop dedicated to teaching the technical aspects of writing including copyediting and proofreading. In addition, she is in the process of working with three Vietnam veterans, one poet and two storytellers, in a self-described "slow moving" project which is just beginning to take shape and for which she is currently searching for funding.
          Having published more than ten books and recordings, in addition to establishing and managing her own production company, all the while traveling around the world, and serving her community, Ms. Klein has been enormously successful at doing what she loves. When I asked her how she felt her experience with BDIC had contributed to her success, she explained that it had granted her "the ability to know that I can stand on my feet wherever I am...it doesn't matter what kind of challenges come up, the proof has already been in the pudding."
          To learn more about Susan Klein, visit her website!


     year of graduation:2004
     concentration title: marketing, communication,
                                             & graphic design
     current occupation: graphic design manager
  elizabeth bishop

          Last week I spent my afternoon chatting with a friend, former co-worker, and BDIC alumna, Elizabeth Bishop.  Elizabeth is currently a Multimedia Graphic Designer at Print Services on the UMass Amherst campus.  Her boss, Bette Norton, is also a UMass alumna; Elizabeth credits Bette for teaching her everything about the print industry.  Elizabeth began working as a part-time departmental assistant and is now full-time and able to work on her own designs, due to many small promotions based on her excellent skills and work ethic.  It isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows her that she’s done well for herself since graduating in February of 2004. 
          Elizabeth was perceived as someone special by the BDIC department almost immediately.  After becoming a BDIC major and designing a concentration in Marketing, Communications, and Graphic Design, Elizabeth showed interest in becoming more involved with the program and soon began working in the office. 
          Elizabeth and I worked together in the BDIC office as peer advisors for a few semesters.  She seemed no-nonsense and flawless, usually dressed to the nines and always with a smile on her face.  She trekked across campus daily, always with a load on her back.  She carried a very large bag with her, filled with some of her photography pieces and equipment, a laptop, books, notebooks, and a sketch pad.  It seemed she was always working on something.
          As for her peers at BDIC, to us, she never seemed like the typical student.  I remember assuming she was older than I, because of her presence.  She had a maturity and calmness that was natural to her disposition.  Although this was a girl filled with passion, we never saw a raw spot.  Elizabeth fit right into our student advisor staff.  She quickly became an advisor that many other student employees sought out for advice because she had a knack for communicating academic ideas and information, as she was rarely ruffled by any type of interaction. 
          Now, almost three years after we’ve both graduated from the BDIC program, we sit together in the cafeteria on the bottom floor of Whitmore and order lunch.  Our conversation goes like this:
          In her original proposal, Elizabeth mentioned her interest in computers and art often, as it is the basis of the concentration she designed in Marketing, Communications, and Graphic Design.  I asked her what these two have in common.  Her comeback was “everything.”  She went on to explain that the production of art has changed drastically since the insurgency of technology.  Once, art was created by hand, now it is almost impossible to not use a computer when dealing with visual art.  She explained the use of digital files and how they have impacted every aspect of the printing process; even the printing press is now being queued by computer.
          Elizabeth also included photography in her curriculum.  The BDIC office still showcases a small collection of her pieces.  I asked her if she was still taking pictures.  She said she now mostly alters photos being used in certain designs but she still picks up a camera every now and then.  She can’t help it.  She also explained the connection between graphic design and photography: detail. 
          In her current position, detail is very important.  It’s imperative for the printing of any design job, for all information to be accurate.  When a print comes to her for review, her eye is trained to pick up inconsistencies in fonts, colors, or the positioning of images.  The placement of images or text affects the overall feel of the visual representation, and it is important to make sure that everything is perfectly in place.  On a side note, she also shared that when she was younger (and even today a desire lingers) she wanted to be a surgeon.  She says this is also because of the emphasis on detail.
          Elizabeth credited Linda Roney, BDIC Coordinator, for pushing her to participate in an internship while an undergraduate.  She says this prepared her for the professional world and made her feel confident during the transition from a college environment to the working world.  While in college, Elizabeth worked at the Boston Globe during interim semesters, as well as at BDIC and Pre-Major Advising during regular semesters in order to put herself through school.  During her final year, Elizabeth was an intern for both the Nutrition Education Program and University Health Services for their graphics departments.
          After asking her how her view of the professional world has changed since she graduated, her response was “small things.”  Now that Elizabeth is involved with hiring for certain positions in her department, she has a chance to be on the other side of the interview.  She shared the view that “on the day of your interview, what you are wearing will be considered as the high of your appearance standards.  In other words, that’s the best you are going to look.”  Also, she noted things like the personal touch of sending a thank you note after an interview or making eye contact with everyone involved with the interview, really do increase your chances of a call back!
          During our conversation, since we were lunching only twenty feet from her department, Elizabeth said hello to passersby.  She told me how she knows each of them.  One individual she greeted was a woman named Amy Glynn, Associate to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.  Elizabeth explained how she helped her to get her first design job.  In the beginning of her tenure at Print Services, when she was learning the press and doing mostly “polish” work on others’ designs, there was a small emergency.  A catchy looking envelope needed to be designed for Student Affairs. 
          As usual, Elizabeth recognized her opportunity and designed ten different templates using funky fonts to show to Ms. Glynn, who loved her work!  She chose one of Elizabeth’s designs and has since come back to her many times.  Elizabeth now does the design and printing jobs for many student-related groups and programs such as The Every Women’s Center, The Stonewall Center, First Week, and Something Every Friday.  She also redesigned the University’s Undergraduate Application and the Dean of Students’ Alcohol and Drug Brochure.
          Her long term career goal is to one day become an Art Director.  What does she do in her current position to advance towards this goal?  She tries to get everything she can from her first job.  She asks questions and genuinely wants to be familiar with every part of her position and surroundings.  She described to me how she grilled the printing press employees about anything she could think of to ask!
          With her new and most recent promotion to Multimedia Graphic Designer, she can concentrate more on design and now is also working with multimedia, such as websites, print, t-shirts, and so on.  She told me that although she is busy, it seems more manageable than when she was in school.  During her undergraduate career she was bombarded with deadlines and spent most of her time seeking people out.  Especially because of her BDIC major, classes were harder to get into.  She was constantly meeting with professors and asking them to admit her into their class, or meeting with her sponsor for recommendations, and working on projects both for and outside of classes, looking for contacts and placements, etc.  Now, she said, working rather than studying in this area, means they come to her.  She is able to work with clients to come up with a manageable schedule as opposed to being required to conform to set deadlines.
          Elizabeth is the embodiment of a BDIC student, independent, head strong, and intuitive.  She never feared what others would think of her self-designed program or that she wouldn’t be able to complete all the work involved.  The BDIC program is grateful for students like Elizabeth who represent the program in such a positive way. 
          I asked Elizabeth where she learned her work ethic, who taught her how to act in a professional setting, and who gave her the confidence to strive for so much.  She credited her   adoptive mother, who stressed how important first impressions were and how to take advantage of an opportunity.  She taught her to keep her composure and treat others with respect.  She did her greatest to give Elizabeth the best tools with which to build her life.
          After thinking on that subject, Elizabeth came up with another answer too.  “I’ve been thinking a lot about where my drive to succeed comes from and I came to the conclusion that it relates to being adopted.  I was born in Peru and loved by my family.  Then, I was given this great opportunity, which was primarily my choice at the age of 5, to get out of complete poverty. Therefore, it was my responsibility to make sure all the efforts that were put into this process were not put to waste. That is the true reason I always push to succeed because it is my responsibility to be successful and in turn, return to my biological family and help them. How could I ever not want to succeed knowing all that was given up for me . . . That is the reason I have made plans and set goals in my life.”
          The BDIC program wishes Elizabeth all the best!  For a look at Elizabeth’s work please visit her website.