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  March 29, 2006
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NOTES FROM LINDA

 
Happy Spring, everyone!

          I hope you all had a wonderful spring break last week! Now that you're all tanned and refreshed, it is a very busy time at BDIC. Many of you will be graduating in May and will need to come and meet with me to double-check your requirements. Already, a number of seniors have come in for their “exit interviews.” Also, graduates, remember to reserve the afternoon of commencement day (May 28) for the BDIC party. Invitations will be sent out in early April. And don’t forget that your senior summaries are due by April 3!

 

          For continuing students, pre-registration will begin on April 10. There will be pre-registration appointments available with both Andrea Bergstrom and me, from April 5 -21. You can either call the office at 545-2504 or stop by to sign up for an appointment. I encourage all BDIC students to come for advising. Students with RACs or academic holds of any kind must come for advising.

          Congratulations to the students in the proposal writing classes! This week you will have completed your proposals and submitted them for final approval. We all have enjoyed talking with you about your interesting ideas and your plans for the future.

          I hope you enjoy the Spring Newsletter and find lots of interesting information in it. One thing to look for is information about the Spring Projects and Alumni Fair. This is always the culminating event in the spring semester, especially for the students in BDIC junior year writing whose projects are showcased.

                    Warm wishes,
                    Linda Roney

 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

SPRING PROJECTS FAIR!
          For this year’s BDIC Spring Projects and Alumni Fair, the department is attempting a new and more intimate approach for sharing students’ work with faculty members and alumni. Instead of displaying their work in a large public space, such as last year in the Student Union Ballroom, the Junior Year Writing students will be presenting their projects on four separate days with a reception to follow on the final day. It is the hope this setting will provide a comfortable atmosphere with more time for students to share their work with their peers, sponsors, and alumni. The presentations will take place on Tuesday, May 2, Thursday, May 4, Tuesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 11. The reception will be held on Thursday, May 11 in the BDIC office from 4-6 p.m.

ON THE JOB HUNT?
Sponsored by Career Services, alumni speaker Sara Cody ’02 will present a talk on various interviewing strategies and what employers are really looking for when considering candidates for employment. Sara is a senior recruiter for Keane Inc., a Boston-based IT services firm. Join Sara on Tuesday, April 4th, in the Memorial Hall lounge at 4:00 p.m. Free pizza and soda will be served after the session.

PHOTO EXHIBITS
“The Black Rural South”
A series of photographs taken in Mississippi and Alabama by Professor Julius Lester of the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department will be displayed on the lower level of the DuBois Library until March 31.  Lester spent much of his childhood in the South during the 1940s and 1950s where he dealt firsthand with Southern attitudes about race and segregation.  His photographs were included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian and are permanently displayed at Howard University.

“Imagerie II” - A Nature and Landscape Photography Exhibit
The Integrated Sciences and Engineering Library will display Andre Bandville’s collection of nature and landscape photographs on the second floor until March 31.  His photographs feature images from the Pioneer Valley area, California, Nova Scotia, and coastal New England. 

The Art of the Netherlands: Avery Preeman Exhibition
As part of the Five-College Valley-Wide Festival Go Dutch!, featuring art from the Netherlands, the University Gallery will display the paintings of Dutch artist Avery Preeman.  The exhibition features “decomposed” paintings and wall sculptures of the same quality constructed from various materials.  His art will be on exhibition in the lower level of the gallery from Thursday, March 30 until Sunday, June 11. 

LECTURES
Workshop: Education Technology and Teaching a Global Perspective
A workshop focusing on the uses of technology to enhance global education will be presented on Saturday, April 1, sponsored by the Global Horizons and the Center for International Education.  Various forms of media and technology will be assessed while examining the possibilities and controversies regarding the use of technology in global education.  The workshop will take place at 9:00 a.m. in Hills South, room 275.  A fee of $20 includes the workshop, a lunch, and teaching materials.

Thieves of Baghdad: The Journey to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasure
Matthew Bogdanos, Manhattan’s Assistant District Attorney and a Marine reservist, will present a talk on his book, Thieves of Baghdad, an account of his investigation into the looting of the Iraq Museum of Baghdad after the invasion of Iraq in April 2003.  Bogdanos will speak on Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Mahar Auditorium.  Admission is free to all.  

Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Sut Jhally
Professor of Communications and popular BDIC sponsor Sut Jhally will present his talk “The Factory in the Living Room: How Television Exploits its Audience" on Wednesday, April 19 at 4 p.m. in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center.  Professor Jhally will discuss how the profit-driven commercial media industry is very similar to the way the activities of factory workers are controlled and organized, and the parallels in the exploitation of audience and employee.  Professor Jhally will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the university’s highest honor, immediately following the lecture.

PERFORMANCES
Body Politics 2006
The Women of Color Leadership Network will be performing an original production about women of color and body image.  The performance will take place on Sunday, April 2, in the Herter Auditorium (Room 227), at 3:00 p.m.  Admission is free to all.

Theater Guild Coffee House
Join the UMass Theater Guild for a night of performances and free refreshments on Sunday April 9.  Come witness a variety of talented acts; singers, dancers, poets, comedy, musicians and belly dancers!  The performances will start at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom and last until 11 p.m.  Admission is free to all, and UMass and 5-college students are welcome to apply to perform. Contact Samm Smith for further information.

FILMS
Latin America, Caribbean, and Latino Film Festival: La Primera Noche
La Primera Noche, a film by Luis Alberto Restrepo and Semaforo, tackles the issue of violence and the forced displacement of Colombian peasants and indigenes who are struggling to survive in the city they suddenly find themselves in.  The film will be presented by Juan Camilo Osorio & Maria Alejandra Valez on Thursday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m., in Thompson 106.  Admission is free to all.

Multicultural Film Festival: “New Woman, Her First Song”
Amherst College will be presenting internationally acclaimed Korean filmmaker Kim Soyoung’s fascinating film about painter and writer Na Haesuk.  Her film explores the concept of the 1920’s “New Woman” phenomenon in North East Asia and its contradictions and political and historical achievements.  The film will be presented on Tuesday, April 18, in the Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College at 7:30 p.m.  Soyoung will be present for questions and comments after the showing. 

 

 
 

STUDENT NEWS

BDIC JUNIOR YEAR WRITING
         Interested in taking BDIC's junior year writing class in Fall 2006? Stop by the office and sign up! The sign-up sheet is on Davina's desk, and she can answer any questions you have about the class.

 

UMASS STUDENTS FOR FAIR TRADE
         University of Massachusetts Students for Fair Trade are looking for a student with experience in Graphic Design to help them produce attractive, effective advertisements.
         This is a great opportunity for any BDIC student with a background in graphic design! It looks great on a resume, and will provide valuable experience for a good cause. There is no obligation to join the group -- they are just looking for someone who's interested in getting some experience and exposure for their work
         Interested students should contact Kate Cessna.

SPRING 2006 PROPOSAL WRITING CLASS
          As yet another semester of proposal writing comes to a close, it is again time to highlight several of the concentrations currently being proposed. There is a total of fifty-three students enrolled in the class this semester, and these students received visits from Sheila Brennen of the Five College and Domestic Exchange office, Joanne Bernhard from the International Programs office, and two BDIC supervisors -- Gino Sorcinelli and Paula Stamps. Both the students and peer advisors have been hard at work this semester, and the fruit of their labor can be seen in the following examples:
          Rebecca Schwerin-Whyte is parlaying her unique upbringing of growing up in an organic vegetarian household into a concentration titled Ethnobotany. Having traveled the world experiencing much of what life has to offer, Rebecca decided it was her time to focus her love of academia to acquire a degree. She intends to utilize all of the unique opportunities present in the five college consortium, as well as integrate a year of domestic exchange in Hawai'i. Upon completion of her studies, Rebecca has aspirations of either becoming a Naturopathic doctor or working within the natural products industry developing new, ecologically sound products.
          Tucker Daniels has worked as a camp counselor for several years. Working directly with younger children has compelled him to develop a concentration around Alternative and Experiential Education. Tucker believes in a style and method of learning that transcends the traditional setting, which is why he is choosing to take several courses in the Philosophy department, as well as numerous courses offered through Hampshire’s Outdoor Education program allowing him to take his knowledge and beliefs outside the classroom.
          Ashleigh Crowe prides herself on her commitment to social change, which is why she is pursuing a concentration in Social Change through Communication and Activism. After witnessing first hand the inequalities and devastation in the Dominican Republic, Ashleigh became determined to transform those inequalities, which led her to create her own international student non-profit organization called Ashleigh’s Student Army. In order to achieve her goal, she is planning to take courses from the following departments: Communication, Anthropology, Legal Studies, Journalism, and Education. Post-graduation, Ashleigh hopes to find herself joining the Peace Corps and enrolling in the Galbraith Scholars Program at Harvard University.
          Etan Efrati has been in and around construction sites for years, and at the age of sixteen even started his own contracting business. This background, along with experience gained through internships on the professional level with the Department of Design and Construction and Cooper Union, both in New York City, has led him to create a concentration in Construction Management. His studies will allow him to apply effective managerial techniques to all the areas of the construction process, which include planning, design, and actual construction.
          Rachel Mandel is expanding on her initial inclinations to pursue a degree in Sociology or Anthropology to create a concentration focusing on Gender and Sexuality. Her interest stems from living on Cape Cod where she was exposed to a diverse, accepting community at a very young age. This exposure has instilled in her a desire to research and understand how gender and sexuality are shaped in various cultures throughout the world and how these compare to American societal views. Rachel intends to pursue a career as an anthropologist after obtaining a graduate degree from the University of Chicago, which will allow her travel the world researching and writing.
          A reminder to all those in the class, final drafts are due on April 10! Please be sure to attach all the necessary documents which include: curriculum proposal sheet, a cover sheet signed by your sponsor, an unofficial transcript, and an SOM memo if necessary. Also, if you have any questions or concerns be sure to stop by the office in 608 Goodell or call us at 545-2504.

by Todd Schmeling

BDIC FASHION!
           Show your BDIC pride! T-shirts in a variety of colors are on sale now in 608 Goodell. For only $10, you too can be the proud owner of a T-shirt with "BDIC" on the front. On the back, the BDIC motto ("Stand Out in the Crowd") is written beneath a depiction of a flamingo, the BDIC mascot. There is a bright pink flamingo in the foreground, and several uncolored flamingos standing behind it.
           To purchase a T-shirt, speak to Office Manager Davina Danian!

 

 

 

WRITING HELP SESSIONS
           For students currently enrolled in proposal writing, junior year writing, independent studies, or any other BDIC-related classes, help is now available with written assignments. Junior Year Writing Instructor Andrea Bergstrom is available on Tuesdays from 11:15 to 12:15 for Writing Sessions. In the Writing Sessions, Andrea will assist you with grammar, content, flow, or anything else that has been troubling you about your assignments.
           If you can't make the Writing Sessions and need assistance, call the office at 545-2504 to set up a time to meet with Andrea or any Peer Advisor. We are all here to help!

GRADUATE SCHOOL ADVISING
           In addition to the writing sessions mentioned above, we also have Graduate School Advising with Andrea Bergstrom. As a current graduate student, she is very familiar with the process and all of its many requirements, and she is more willing to share her knowledge and provide guidance in this area. Andrea is available for individual appointments for both writing assistance and graduate school advising during her regular office hours by calling the front desk at 545-2504.

DECORATE BDIC!
           Attention artists!  We are looking for artists willing to lend their work to the BDIC office for an agreed upon amount of time.  Not only will you be contributing to making the office a bright and inviting environment, you will also be showcasing your work to faculty and fellow students!  If you’re interested, please contact Davina Danian.

PRE-REGISTRATION ADVISING
           Pre-registration for Fall 2006 begins April 10, so it is important to schedule an appointment with an advisor in BDIC to discuss your course plans — if you haven’t already.
           Current BDIC students and all students currently enrolled in the Proposal Writing Class should meet with Andrea Bergstrom, a staff advisor; graduating seniors or students with difficult situations can make appointments with Linda.  If you need a RAC to register for classes, make an appointment with Andrea as soon as possible to receive your code. If you have a credit hold or a ten-semester hold, you should meet with Linda to resolve these concerns.
           Alternately, you can schedule an appointment with your cluster supervisor to discuss upcoming classes and general course selection. The supervisors are equally willing to give advice on class registration, and have a wealth of knowledge to draw from.

     The supervisors’ hours for Spring 2006 are as follows:

          Alex Deschamps
          Art and Cultural Studies
          Thursday 11:30 - 1:30

          Henry Geddes Gonzalez
          Communication and Film Studies
          Thursday 1:00 - 3:00

          José Ornelas
          Education and Human Services
          Tuesday and Friday 9:00 - 1:00

          Gino Sorcinelli
          Business and Law
          Monday 3:00 - 5:00

          Paula Stamps
          Natural Health and Computer Science
          Tuesday 1:00 - 3:00

          Andrea will be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:15 - 12:45; Linda is in the office Monday through Friday from 9-5.

PLANNING TO GRADUATE?
Attention seniors! If you are planning to graduate in May, remember to turn in your Senior Summary and Abstract by April 3. This is your final requirement for graduation, and is an analysis of your entire program.

The summary serves as a permanent record of what you have accomplished through BDIC, and reflects upon all the work you've done since writing that proposal so long ago. It is also a good way for future students to learn about any troubles you've had along the way, so that they can steer clear of similar pitfalls. This is your time to share with the department all the lessons you've learned along the way.

You'll also need a one-page abstract of your summary, which can serve as a succinct way of fully explaining your degree to future employers or graduate schools.

Be sure to schedule an appointment with your BDIC supervisor to make sure that you have met all your requirements for graduation. If you have any questions about the senior summary and abstract, call or stop by the office to schedule an appointment with your supervisor, a peer advisor, Andrea, or Linda.

 

ALUMNI FEATURE

                  SUSAN KLEIN
                  year of graduation: 1974
                  concentration title: theatre arts and education
                  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!

by Kate Cessna

SPOTLIGHT ON STAFF

                    LINDA RONEY
                    bdic coordinator

 
                         

          Located in the back of the BDIC office is a smaller office which contains a rubber plant which is slowly taking over the office. But sharing the office with the plant is Linda Roney, the BDIC coordinator. Many students have had the pleasure of meeting with Linda and discussing their concentrations, interests, and many aspects of their lives with her. While Linda has been able to meet many students and get to know them, it is about time to turn the tables around and get to know the woman behind it all, Linda Roney.
          Linda was born in Oscawana, New York, which is located about 40 miles outside of New York City. She visited the city often and loved visiting the art museums and seeing Christmas at Rockefeller Center. As a teen she occasionally snuck down to the city, as any teenager would have done. She is the eldest of her siblings- two brothers and a sister. Linda’s favorite holiday is Halloween because it is liberating to have the ability to be anything for just one night. Fall seems to be a time when many great things have happened in her life, so it has a special place in her heart.
          Linda began her education in public school and transferred to a private Catholic high school for a brief time. Writing was her favorite subject area right off the bat. After high school, Linda attended State University of New York at Binghamton where she constantly switched majors. She majored in art, English, pre-med, anthropology, French, and music…eventually settling on English. She went on to a masters program at UMass Amherst in Secondary English Teaching. Linda then taught English at a high school on Cape Cod. She had previously worked in elementary schools when her children were young.
          Linda feels that working at a University keeps one young at heart and keeps one’s mind open with all the new ideas that are constantly floating around campus. She began working at UMass in 1989, starting out at CASIAC, which was a pre-cursor of pre-major advising. Later, she was asked to assist in the BDIC program and the rest is history. Working with students and helping them articulate how they will achieve their goals are her favorite parts of her job. Outside of the office, Linda lives with Bob, Belle, Brollie, and Dede. Don’t get the wrong idea here; these are Linda’s cats, all of whom had been abandoned. She also has two grown children. In her time away from all of us at BDIC, she enjoys reading, writing, and outdoor sports, such as hiking and skiing. She writes short stories, poetry, and children’s stories.
          Inishmoor (Ireland) is Linda’s favorite location. Monhegan Island in Maine is another favorite of Linda’s because she was taken there often by her parents when she was a child. Peru is next on her list of places to visit and she intends on going back to Ireland and Scotland. Her favorite place to live was on Cape Cod because she finds the ocean to be irresistible. Linda once lived in Grass Valley, California in the middle of an orchard.
          And now the answer to the question I am sure many of you have asked yourselves before, if Linda were to be a BDIC student, what would her concentration be? Her answer: a concentration involving healing arts and anthropology. Next time you come into the office, you not only can talk about your ideas and goals, but about Linda’s interests as well. So this is just a glance into the life of Linda Roney, who has been and will continue to be extremely important to all of us here at BDIC.

by Michelle DiIeso


     
                      DAVINA DANIAN
                    office manager

          For two years Davina has served as the office manager of BDIC.  Prior to this, she was a peer advisor for five semesters while a BDIC major herself.  She concentrated in Creative Writing and by the end of her undergraduate degree, she found herself also focusing on women’s issues within writing.  Davina studied all different genres of writing, including some technical writing.
          The first of her top three classes in her curriculum was Writing the Body, which was a Hampshire College class that was a mix of creative and medical writing.  The next class was entitled From Seventeen to ‘Zine - Representations of Woman in Print Media, which was the beginning of her focus on women and writing.  The third class was Studies in Modern Fiction, where she learned a lot of writing techniques by “mimicking” other authors. 
          Being involved in the BDIC program for an extended amount of time, Davina has gotten to know its ups and downs.  She says the homey feeling the office provides is her favorite quality of BDIC, especially considering UMass is a large university where comfort can be lacking.  She claimed that the BDIC department was “a place that saved her college career, and now is the beginning of her post-graduate career.” 
          With a mix of ethnicities, Davina associates the most with her Armenian ancestry.  Consequently, she claimed that if she could travel anywhere, she would travel to Turkey to see the old Armenia and visit the village where her great-grandparents lived.  Davina is the oldest of three girls.  She has a very close relationship with both of her sisters, who are fairly close to her age.  She also owns two cats, Cassie and Kitten, both with very distinct personalities.  On the subject of animals, when asked what animal best describes her, she chose a chipmunk, “Because, although they are small and cute, they are very fast which gives them a form of protection.” 
          One of Davina’s favorite television shows is That 70’s Show.  Her favorite character is Hyde because he knows “who he is.” She relates the most to Donna, because she always seems to be fighting for the things she believes in.  Davina has had to work hard for what she believes in, and continues to do so today.
          Her past aspiration was to graduate high school.  Having had some difficult struggles within the school system, she finally was able to achieve her goal and graduate.  Her current aspiration is to be a good woman, to not judge or blame other women for superficial reasons, as she believes they are taught to do.  She also wants to be important in other women’s lives and their civil rights.  Davina says her largest obstacle in this undertaking is not forgetting what men go through in their lives.
          Asked to choose two jobs she’d love to have, Davina immediately answered, “the editor of Bitch Magazine.”  Bitch is considered to be “A Feminist Response to Pop Culture.”  The magazine is quite progressive and contains writing that Davina admires. 
          Another career she would like involves counseling people, especially people who have been abused in some way.  Things that inspire her are brave people, writing that gives her goose bumps, and springtime, because with the sun out things seem so wonderful.  So now you know some new and interesting facts about Davina, our amazing office manager who works hard in the office she loves.

by Michelle DiIeso

              PEER ADVISORS

 

          This semester, we welcome three new peer advisors to BDIC. Two of them -- Kate Cessna and Todd Schmeling -- are brand new to the office. Office Manager Davina Danian divulges the dirt on them in the following introductions!

          Kate Cessna is studying Societal Stratification and Social Welfare within BDIC and is possibly one of the busiest members of our student staff.  Her interest in social justice stems from her grandmother, who took in many foster children and exposed Kate early on to the problems within existing social aid systems such as welfare, foster care, and Medicaid. 
          While a full-time student at UMass, Kate serves as a peer advisor at BDIC, Interim President of the Freshman and Sophomore Honor Society (Alpha Lamda Delta), and works steadily at Bruegger’s Bagel’s in Amherst center.  Because she can’t bear to see Bruegger’s throw away recyclables, Kate is the sole organizer of their now new recycling program. Every Tuesday and Thursday she stops by to pick up and drop off the café’s recyclables on her own time. 
          Kate has a big heart and it can be seen in her academic goals, and the work she does at BDIC.  When asked what she most liked about being a peer advisor, she answered, “I enjoy mothering people.”  Knowing her advice has an impact on prospective BDIC students and their areas of study, Kate is very particular with her advisees.  She can often be found in the back cubicle researching her students’ interests and relevant classes offered through UMass and the Five-Colleges.  
          Next semester, Kate will be studying abroad in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  She may do an internship at an Indian reservation or work for the Office of Community Action while there.  Either way, we hope to have her back in peer advisor capacity as soon as next spring! 

          Todd Schmeling, our other new peer advisor, is one tough egg to crack. His concentration in BDIC is Gender and Sexuality Studies although he is also pursuing a secondary major in Women’s Studies.  His academic interests lie in lesbian, gay, and bisexual studies, the intersecting structure of oppression including race, ethnicity, and class, and global perspectives on feminism, gender, and sexuality. We wish Todd luck in conquering the many long standing stereotypes within sexuality and society! 
          Todd has a very gentle and genuine disposition.  His presence in the office is calming.  Currently, Todd is the only male peer advisor.  Many students have benefited from discussing their future plans and goals with him. Todd emanates trust and those students who are assigned to him from the proposal writing class can count their lucky stars… 
          In his spare time, Todd reads, studies, and travels to visit with his girlfriend in Providence.  He also recently spent time designing t-shirts, promoting, and organizing “Take Back the Night” here on campus.  When asked why he became a peer advisor, Todd said, “To help guide students through a process I struggled with myself, the process of finding focus and direction in a potential area of study.” 
          To learn more about Todd, look for more features in future newsletters…

          Katie O'Connell, our third new peer advisor, is a familiar face to many. Katie has been working at the front desk for two years, but this is her first semester as a peer advisor. Read about her journey from front desk to peer advising below!

Journal of a Peer Advisor

          My name is Katie O'Connell and while I’ve worked at BDIC for the past two years, I only became a peer advisor this semester. This has been a huge shift from where I started, as a front-desk employee, but has proven to be a rather exciting transition. I’ve been able to learn about and develop relationships with other students studying in my field, Business Management.
          When I started here at BDIC, as a freshman, I was rather naïve when it came to courses, tracks, majors and all the things that go with it! And who wouldn't be? As time passed, I got to see how intricate it all was and how inspiring it all can be, especially for the BDIC students that came through the office. Eventually, I became more comfortable with everything, even in my own major. I decided that while I liked being in the business program here, I also wanted to develop skills in languages to work internationally. I have since become a French minor and have also taken up Italian. Business is still my main focus and is what I concentrate my work on here at BDIC.
          For my first semester peer advising, I'm mainly working with Construction/Landscape Management students. With this area of study, I get to offer my knowledge of the management aspect, while I’m still learning about the construction and/or landscape aspects that are new to me. I now know what actually happens behind the scenes when all those buildings are going up. And wouldn't you know, as it turns out it's rather interesting!
          When I was offered the job as a peer advisor, I assumed that I would be correcting papers and offering technical input, and while that is the main focus of this job, it's only a part of it. It’s really interesting to read students’ papers and see how they evolve from beginning to end. At the start, students seem rather unsure of their ideas and how they will pursue them. Through the class assignments their ideas became strong, well thought out and defined. This is an evolution that only peer advisors are able to see, and something I’ve never known working at the front desk.
          Of all the things that I’ve realized in the short time that I’ve been a peer advisor is that it’s not a simple task- developing ideas, especially when they involve your future, from something of little framework and precedence. I take my hat off to all the students who are pursuing a BDIC major because it is not easy, but it seems to make it all the more worth while. I have two more years at UMass and hope to be with BDIC as an advisor or receptionist for as long as I can!

 

 

BDIC RESEARCH AWARDS

          Each semester the BDIC staff has the pleasure of allocating scholarship funding to students who have submitted applications for proposed research projects. At this time, the BDIC staff would like to take the time to recognize the most recent recipients of these funds. As each of these projects is particularly interesting, some aspects of each student’s plans are detailed below.

 

          BDIC senior, Benjamin Nathan, received aid to help in his development of an abridged version of a feature-length screenplay. 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 upcoming summer.

 

          The next recipient of a scholarship award is Jessica Morgan, also a senior, who 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.

          The third recipient of funding is Rachel Besserman who will, like the other scholarship recipients, graduate in May. Rachel 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.
          The BDIC staff is very enthusiastic about the support of these research endeavors, and we look forward to keeping the department updated on the progress of these very unique projects!

by Andrea Bergstrom