Bachelor’s Degree With Individual Concentration

               We are currently seeking a new department mascot to replace the flamingo!  Submit your suggestions with your name, e-mail, and phone number to the office, or e-mail them to

               Prizes will be awarded to our two favorite submissions, and students will vote for the new mascot the beginning of spring semester.


Submissions are due by December 31.

Mascot Contest!


Notes from Linda

           Are you interested in BDIC and excited about sharing your knowledge with new students?  Do you want to help your peers get accepted into the program?  Do you want to earn credits that can be used as part of your concentration?

           We are currently looking for more peer advisors to join our staff for the spring.  If you are interested, stop by the office and pick up an application from Office Manager Davina Danian. 


Applications for peer advising are due by December 10.

Be a Peer Advisor!

Text Box: Table of Contents

                 As always, BDIC had numerous great applications for scholarship and research grants for a variety of different endeavors, and the department believes that it is important for the work of these students to be recognized.  Among the students awarded grants recently were Noah Zide, Lisa Andrews, Epifanio Arias, and Justin Eldridge-Otero.

Noah Zide, a junior concentrating in “Entrepreneurship:

BDIC Grant Winners

Winter Events

The Global Politik,” received a grant to aid his summer trip to Denmark.  Noah attended the Denmark International School this past summer in order to research the European Union and the Euro currency in conjunction with the Political Science Department and the School of Management.

Lisa Andrews, concentrating in “Community Food Systems,” received support for her work on a wildcat farm in Williamsburg, MA 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.

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.  Epi also used these funds to aid in his writing and filmmaking projects.

Justin Eldridge-Otero was also awarded a scholarship this summer, and graduated with a concentration in “Cultural Economics of Spanish Speaking Countries” and a secondary major in Spanish in September 2005.  Justin’s funds were put toward his ongoing work with the people in the town of Progresso, Honduras.  The project he worked on this past summer began establishing the foundation of a non-profit organization to set up scholarship programs for students in this area.  For more information about Justin and his work in Honduras, see our feature in the alumni news section.

Congratulations to all of the BDIC scholarship recipients!  We look forward to hearing more about your interesting projects and notable work in the field.

Anyone interested in applying for a scholarship research grant should see Office Manager Davina Danian in the BDIC office.

           The Theater Department presents a romantic comedy revolving around several pairs of lovers and their experiences with love, honor, and passion.

           Written by 17th-century nun Sor Juana Inès de la Cruz, one of Mexico’s great playwrights, this production will be presented throughout the month of December at the Rand Theater. 

           See this site for more information.

House of Desires

           Every Wednesday until the end of the semester we will continue having our weekly knitting circle in the BDIC office -- 608 Goodell. Bring your knitting, crocheting, or whatever is your craft of the moment!

           All are welcome, even non-BDIC students.  We are also willing to teach beginners, so don’t be shy!  Meetings are on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m.  We hope to see you there!

Knitting Group!

           This remarkable African-American and Native American duo combine the musical styles of their respective cultural backgrounds, and will be performing on December 8, 8 p.m. in Bezanson Recital Hall.  The cost is $5 for students, $10 for general admission.

Performance: Oliver Lake and Mary Redhouse Duo

           Pre-registration for Spring 2006 is going on now, so it is important to schedule an appointment with an advisor in BDIC to discuss your course plans — if you haven’t already.

           Students currently enrolled in the Proposal Writing Class should meet with Andrea Bergstrom, a staff advisor; all other students can make appointments with Linda.  If you need a RAC to register for classes, make an appointment with Linda as soon as possible to receive your code.
           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 Fall 2005 are as follows:

Alex Deschamps
Art and Cultural Studies, Interim Director
          Monday 9:30 - 12:30
          Wednesday 9:00 - 12:00

Henry Geddes Gonzalez
          Tuesday 1:30 - 3:30

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

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

     José Ornelas, supervisor of the Education and Human Services cluster is on sabbatical for the semester. If José is your supervisor, feel free to make an appointment with Linda, Andrea, or one of the other supervisors.
     Andrea will be in the office on Tuesdays 12:45 - 2:15 and Wednesdays 3:30-5:00, with writing sessions for all BDIC students on Tuesdays from 1:00 - 2:00. Linda is in the office Monday through Friday from 9-5.

Current Students

Registration for Spring 2006

           BDIC Junior Year Writing for Spring 2006 is currently filled, but there is a waiting list available in the BDIC office.

           Junior Year Writing will not be offered during winter session this year, but it will be available during the summer.  For more information, contact Instructor Andrea Bergstrom or Office Manager Davina Danian.

BDIC Fashion!

           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.

Decorate BDIC!

           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 1:00 to 2:00 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!

Writing Help Sessions

           In addition to the writing sessions mentioned above, BDIC is also introducing 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. Graduate school advising sessions will be scheduled during the course of the semester. Andrea is also 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.

Grad School Advising

           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!

Junior Year Writing

Alumni News

Supervisor Profiles

           In BDIC, students are divided into five clusters: Education and Human Services, Arts and Cultural Studies, Natural Health and Computer Science, Business and Law, and Communications. Each cluster is headed by a supervisor — a faculty member from the field who devotes extra time and energy to the BDIC program.  We are so lucky to have such fantastic people willing to work with us!

           To find out more about the supervisors, we have a special spotlight section in this edition of the BDIC newsletter.  Profiles of each supervisor can be found here!

Happy Holidays!

Good luck with finals, and have a wonderful vacation!

Questions?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Contact Paula Aden at

           Herter Gallery will present an innovative exhibition of the machines and mechanical devices originally contained in Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks.  The exhibition will feature sixteen models recreated by IBM engineers which visitors are encouraged to explore hands-on. 

           This exhibit runs from November 9 to December 11 and is free to the public.

Art Exhibition: The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci

           Professor Baker of the Philosophy Department will be presenting a lecture entitled "When Do Persons Begin and End? A Philosopher Looks at Life, Death and What We Are," on December 5 at 4 p.m.  The lecture will take place in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center, and is free to the public.

Faculty Lecture: Professor Lynn Rudder Baker

                 Happy winter, everyone! The fall semester seems to have just flown by. It seems like just yesterday when we were busily putting together the fall newsletter!
                 The past semester at BDIC has been an eventful one, which is possibly why it went past so quickly. More students than ever before enrolled in the proposal writing class. Many were disappointed because we had to ask them to re-apply for the spring class since the fall enrollment was so high. And, unfortunately, in the spring, we are having to cut the size of the proposal class almost in half in order to keep the population of BDIC at an even keel.

Coordinator Linda Roney.

                 We are already preparing for a busy and interesting spring semester. As usual, we will be sponsoring the Projects Fair and Alumni Forum in May, as well as other alumni and career-related events. In addition, we will be developing plans with other departments on campus to develop exciting new cooperative programs. We'll let you know more as soon as all is finalized. Finally, the BDIC program will be under-going an academic review, and we will be asking for feedback from the campus community and, particularly, from our students.
                 Wishing you happy holidays and a restful winter break (and lots of snow!).  We'll see you in January.  And, remember, the office is open throughout winter break, so if you have concerns about classes please call or stop in.
                                                                    Warmest wishes,


           Come view a collection of short films that are part of the 2004-2005 National Film Festival Tour of Asian Cinevision / Asian American International Film Festival. They will be presented on December 6, at 7 p.m. in room 137 of Isenberg School of Management.

Becoming X: New Asia Cinema

Justin Eldridge-Otero, with several children from OYE.  Picture taken from

Alumni Spotlight: Justin Eldridge-Otero

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 is 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, “The security and safety home provides. Also, water pressure and air conditioning.”  Justin goes 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.

BDIC wishes Justin well and thanks him for agreeing to do an interview with us.  The office and its staff miss him dearly but appreciate the fact that he is out in the world and working hard to improve it!  He and all the motivated students that have come before, and will come after, are truly what makes BDIC remarkable.

A closing message from Justin:  “Si quieren saber mas sobre los proyectos de OYE por favor visite la pagina de web.”  (If you are interested in learning more about OYE please visit our website.)

 The goal at the Women’s Caucus is to provide a voice for all women on campus.  A small group began The Women’s Caucus a month ago because they feel women’s needs have gone unnoticed. There has also been a lack of attention given to the two recent attacks near the Southwest area of campus.

Come join us to discuss a number of issues including campus safety, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and women’s health.  We are looking for anyone who may be interested- undergrads, grad students, faculty, staff, community members, ANYONE! We are not limited to females.  We meet every Monday at 7 p.m. in the Suffolk Room of the Student Union.

The Women’s Caucus

           Interested in learning how movies get made? Want to be a part of making that happen? BDIC senior Ben Nathan is currently looking for fellow students to get involved in his project: the making of a feature-length film about an Israeli spy in Paris.

           Sound intriguing? Email Ben at ASAP to get involved!  (Academic credit may be available for student involvement.)

Get Involved in a Feature-Length Film!

Job Opportunity for Recent BDIC Graduates!

           Paul Hake Productions is seeking a Multimedia Producer.  Producer Paul Hake (‘04) graduated from BDIC with a concentration in “New Media Development,” and would prefer to hire a BDIC student for this position.  Paul Hake Productions is based in Greenfield, MA and serves clients such as Hasbro Toys, Fidelity Investments, and Australis Aquaculture by creating interactive multimedia, DVDs, video games, and websites.

           Paul is looking for a recent [or soon-to-be] graduate with a concentration in New Media Development or Multimedia Development, preferably someone who also has some sort of art background.  Applicants should be someone who could be used as a contract multimedia developer.

           Check out the website for Paul Hake Productions, and contact Paul if you’re interested in this position.  Paul can be reached at (413) 303-9230 or at