February 28, 2012

Ask And You Shall Receive

This Wednesday, a friend of mine invited me to go watch her model and support her at a fashion show. The venue was a few minutes away from campus, right across the local supermarket. Being a photographer, I asked the producer if I could take photos to get some more experience. It turned out that his photographer bailed on him, so he offered to pay me for my photos of the event. I was so surprised that a paid opportunity would present itself so unexpectedly. Here are some of the photos of the event:


He called me the next day. During the conversation, he commented that he really liked my photos and asked if I could shoot the next two events. Furthermore, he asked if I was able to do a photo shoot for the winning models… I’ve never been paid for any of my photos. I would never have thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to direct a photo shoot.

Some further updates on my college life: I recently got accepted to the Mayo Clinic’s Summer III nursing program. The Clinic traditionally takes two nursing students from CWRU to participate in this 10-week program. I will also be going to Africa this summer with a few friends. We will be doing some service work there, and because we’re all greek, the hours count towards Greek Life. I have also decided to go to China for my Capstone (CWRU’s version of a senior project). It’s just so amazing knowing that all these opportunities are out there. All you have to do is apply yourself, or in some cases, just ask about them.

February 07, 2012

Research in Action

Research. You've heard about it. You've probably done it sometime in your life (that 13 page paper for SAGES?). But lets face it, looking up things in Wikipedia don't quite make the cut. So what is it really and why do so many people think it's so important?

Quite frankly, I had no idea what it was. I didn't know how to access legitimate research articles (for one thing, Case has an extensive database of articles with amazing search engines). And most importantly, I didn't know how to do it.

Thankfully, one of the classes that I'm taking actually teaches you how to do research by making you do a research study on yourself. They term it as a "Personal Quality Improvement Project" which I have decided to lose 10 pounds within the span of a month. So far, I have gained a pound and a half despite going to the gym 3-4 times a week. After Superbowl Sunday, I had gained three pounds. But anyway, what's cool about this class is the non-conventional way of teaching. Sure the professors go over the concepts like most classes do, but their belief in experiential learning has really helped us realize the different parts of research (the formation of concepts, the hypothesis, the data collection, etc.) through the use of this creative assignment.

Another cool thing about this class are the professors themselves. Of the four that co-teach the class, mine is a prolific researcher of kangaroo care (http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/kangaroocare.asp), a technique that is now used throughout the healthcare field (on a side note: my professor is the head author of manly resource cited by wikipedia). The fact that I get to learn from a prominent researcher twice a week makes this class pretty amazing. The best thing about it was I didn't have to compete against my fellow classmates for this opportunity.What this class also made me realize was how a simple observation could lead to a revolutionary change in a body of knowledge.

For many, undergraduate research becomes the first stepping stone on the journey to make a difference in the world. The great thing about Case is that you're not only surrounded by these opportunities, but you also have the opportunities to learn from the best.

November 10, 2011

The SAGES Curriculum

Here at CWRU, we have a program called SAGES – Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship. SAGES offers Case students a series of small, interdisciplinary seminars that extend throughout the undergraduate curriculum. All students – from engineering to communications to language majors – participate in SAGES. In the first two years, we take three different SAGES classes across a variety of disciplines. During junior year, one takes a SAGES departmental seminar, usually within their major, and, in senior year, completes a SAGES senior capstone that demonstrates the intellectual agility that the SAGES program aims to foster.

SAGES classes at Case really are interdisciplinary. In the summer before freshman year, I put together my class schedule without SAGES, adding my biology classes, chemistry classes, and whatnot. Then, in the middle of August, I chose three SAGES classes that interested me from a set of classes that fit into my schedule. Then, one was assigned to me. This semester, I am taking a “Life of the Mind” seminar, which is what most seminars are generally called, with a concentration in music. We are currently studying Beethoven, his creativity, and the role that his impending deafness played in his music. I have been a piano player for the past fourteen years, and this really interests me, despite the fact that I am not an English or music major. For me, SAGES is a way to be able to take something different in an area that interests me but does not directly apply to my career goals. Next semester, I am hoping to take a class called “Nonprofit 101”, where I’ll get to learn about the administration and “behind the scenes” of both local and nationwide nonprofits. As a member of the planning committee of Relay For Life, part of the American Cancer Society, this is something that really interests me.

Another amazing part of the first-year SAGES classes is something called “Fourth Hour”. Generally, a SAGES seminar involves three hours of class a week (for example, my current class is from 8:30-9:45 on Tuesday and Thursday). However, the first seminar that a Case student takes, in their first semester as a freshman, involves a differently scheduled “Fourth Hour”. This is an opportunity for learning outside the classroom. It’s a way for professors to teach their students, many of whom are not from the area, about Cleveland and what it has to offer. For example, I have been to the Planetarium at the Natural History Museum in University Circle, something that is right on CWRU’s campus. Another “Fourth Hour” was reserved for a presentation on music and the mind, and yet another was for seeing a special performance of the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. It’s an amazing opportunity for freshman like me, not from the area, to learn some of the things that both Cleveland and Case have to offer, and to do some pretty awesome things along the way.

November 02, 2011

Take a Step Outside

With all these classes and jobs that I have, I never have time to actually go out with my camera and take photos despite photography being one of my most favorite hobbies. However, this year, I decided to take black and white photography as my last non-nursing class.

Because of the assignments, I was forced to go out around campus to find specific angles and objects to photograph. For one assignment, my friend suggested that we go to Wade Lagoon in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Of the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve never once set foot there. Once I got there, the sun was just setting or the “golden hour” as we photographers call it. I had never seen University Circle look so pretty before and to think that I’ve been missing out on this for more than half of my time at Case.

The same could be said for the classes here. It’s college! You don’t have to stick to the academic classes anymore. If you have the time, you can always take classes that aren’t part of your major. Often times, these classes will be required for you to graduate (For me, photography fills my arts & humanities requirement). So go out there and explore. You’ll never know what you find, and maybe it might be something that you’ve been looking for.