Jul 09

Global Conversations With William Burke-White

When William Burke-White attended Harvard Law school, he worked very closely with Ann Murray Slaughter, who was then a professor at the university.

As Burke-White completed his PHD in political science, Slaughter became Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University. She gave Burke-White his first academic job as a lecturer.

Burke-White started teaching international law and foreign policy at the prestigious university and after three years of service, he was offered a position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law school as a professor and deputy dean of international programs. The university announced that on July 1, Burke-White will begin a new role as the inaugural Richard Perry Professor and Director of the Perry World House.

Could you tell me about the Perry World House?

About a year and a half ago, Richard Perry and his wife Lisa, who are alumni of Penn, made a major gift to establish a center for all things international across the university. Over the last year the university has been searching for someone to come in as the inaugural director and I was asked to do so.

The world house will be a kind of connecting point, a hub for everything international that happens across the university that brings in the different schools and provides a place for students and faculty doing international work all over the world to really come together.

It will also be a kind of think tank within the university that brings Penn’s academic work to solve global challenges. Thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, if you’re trying to address climate change for instance, you can bring together scientists, political scientists, economist and engineers in a single place to really apply academic knowledge to advancing a solution.

Read the full story…

Jul 09

GPA Spotlight

I started writing for Global Philadelphia in early 2013 and have been writing different pieces for them since then. They were nice enough to include me in their monthly newsletter last June. Super nice of them. You can read the small write-up on me below and check out the newsletter in all of its entirety by clicking the photo. Also, huge thanks to Kaniz Pramanik of Humans Of Temple University for taking the photo of me :)


Apr 21

Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Spin-off blogs based on Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” have become a trend among some amateur photographers, including junior biology major Kaniz Pramanik.

Pramanik created “Humans of Temple University,” which she said tells a variety of stories through pictures and short interviews as a way to showcase how diverse her peers are. Her efforts started out as way to showcase some of her own work. Pramanik began taking pictures for Humans of Temple University in January of this year, but posted the photos later in February because of what she called her hectic schedule.

“Just within two weeks, I think I had around 200 followers,” Pramanik said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”

Pramanik said she has been interested in photography since high school when she took a black and white photography class. She said she loved being able to develop pictures in the school’s darkroom and manually manipulate the photos.

Not being able to afford the equipment to have her own darkroom, Pramanik decided she would explore the digital realm of photography. She bought a camera and began taking pictures, posting them to her Flickr page.

“I started taking pictures of people that I knew,” Pramanik said. “I’m trying to spread it out and pick random people. Just picking people that really interest me. I’m trying to get everybody in.”

Pramanik said there are many people around the university that interest her when she’s wandering around Main Campus with her camera, even a person who’s quiet and studying. She said her policy is to politely explain her purpose and ask permission to take their picture. She follows this with a series of short questions centered around the subject’s major, reason for attending Temple and any advice they have for fellow students.

So far, people have been receptive to the idea, Pramanik said, adding that no one on Main Campus has turned down her request to photograph them.

“I’m just trying to get out that you’re not alone,” Pramanik said. “There’s this one guy who’s from Washington D.C., who’s featured on the page and his life is hard, being far from home and being in school. A lot of people connect to that.”

Read the full story

Check out the multimedia component by journalism majors Avory Brookins and Noa Garcia

Visit and like Humans of Temple University.

Apr 15

Global Conversations With Krista Bard

The Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia (CCAP) is the oldest association of foreign consuls in the United States, encompassing representatives from over 30 countries around the globe. Members of CCAP are responsible for enhancing and coordinating relations between their respective countries and the greater Philadelphia region.

To Krista Bard, CCAP’s newly appointed president, that responsibility means much more. To her, international harmony and peace is what the Consular Corps really strives to accomplish, leveraging the city of Philadelphia’s special place in the world.
What is your role as the president of the CCAP?

As president of CCAP, my goal is one: to make sure that the other consuls do their jobs as well as they can for their countries, and then two: to better work as a whole in representing Philadelphia and its international character on a global stage.

What prepared you for this role?

I’ve been working and doing projects for Lithuanian since childhood. I went there in 1988, although it was still part of the Soviet Union. I’ve been involved for many years and then I was named consul, four years ago now, and became a member of the Consular Corps in Philadelphia.

I became one of CCAP’s officers and then joined the executive committee. From there I was asked to become president. There’s a saying that God moves in mysterious ways. In 1988 I was just following my heart. I really wanted to see Lithuania. Who would have predicted what it would lead to today? You just keep following your heart and God’s mysterious ways do unfold.

Were you afraid while you were in Lithuania because of the presence of the Soviet Union?

Yeah, I was scared. I do remember getting off the plane there were soldiers. Even then Americans who were on the trip didn’t understand. They were journalists, they were used to freedom of speech and I was telling them that they could not go off of the schedule.

Read the rest of my question and answer interview with Krista

Apr 01

Music Program Serves Philadelphia Youth

Musicopia is a nonprofit after school program that works to ignite lifelong interest in music for youth. The program works to establish partnerships with school districts throughout the region, and is a leader in revitalizing in and after school music programs.

Musicopia’s mission is to bring a vibrant combination of music performance and education to both students and communities. The nonprofit provides musical opportunities for children from kindergarten through high school, and just last year worked with 25 Philadelphia area high schools. Musicopia concentrates on schools in the poorest of neighborhoods and offers different opportunities for those within those neighborhoods to work with music.

Some of the schools that Musicopia has been able to work with so far include, Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia; St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia; and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Hunting Park.

You can read more about Musicopia and the awesome work that they do by visiting the sites below:

Blending Jazz and Classical Music For Musicopia

Sharing The Joys Of Music With School Kids

Musicopia String Orchestra


Mar 31

The Transformation Of AJ Young

There was never a particular moment when AJ Young felt that he was supposed to be a guy, but it was more of a continual questioning why it was he felt uncomfortable around friends and family. Not just generally, but socially.

Young was born Catherine Rebecca Young. He grew up in Elgin, Illinois where he realized early that people didn’t really recognize his gender identity the way that he wanted. AJ stands for Andrew James, a name Young would have been given had he been born a male.

“I had a lot of friends, but was always the odd one out for many reasons and a lot of reasons,” Young said. “There was never one moment when I was like, of course I’m suppose to be a guy. It was more of figuring out why I had felt uncomfortable and off a little bit, not just in my body.”

It was around the time that Young was a sophomore in college at American University in Washington, D.C. and taking women’s studies courses that he had become aware that trans people existed.

Young started to realize that he was reading about things he had been experiencing and dealing with. For the next few years he did more reading on trans identities and things started to fall into place.

“I was sitting in a training about trans identities at the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center and I was listening to trans people tell their stories and realized that what they were going through was what was going on with me,” Young said. “It took a couple of years to digest that and actually move to making the decision to start transitioning.”

Read the full story here…

Mar 04

What Is The Impact Of Music?

I think I started working on “What Is The Impact Of Music” for JUMP Philly around 2012. I’ve been working on this story for a while now and I’m really happy that the link to the online version has been published. I talked to a lot of people around Philly about the sometime violent lifestyle in today’s music and to hear the different perspectives on the issue was pretty cool.

As someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of music (I mostly listen to movie soundtracks and Paramore) I was a little nervous at first about taking on this project. This is also my first time writing in magazine style. I’m really thankful to the editors of JUMP and George Miller for crafting the tone of the piece.

Overall I’m really satisfied with the end result. Below is a snippet of the piece:


Mont Brown and Pace-O Beats of The Astronauts drive through Southwest Philadelphia, anxious to start their tour of their old neighborhood — near 54th and Trinity streets, where much of the inspiration for their music is derived from.

They park a few blocks away from Mont’s former home. As they walk down Trinity, Brown takes a moment to look down at the very spot where a friend was gunned down a few years back. He was targeted, Brown says, but no one really knows why.

The Astronauts’ music represents the truth of what they and others have experienced – it’s sometimes violent and otherwise off-color, much like the way life was when they were growing up and still is for some of their friends today.

“I’m the one who does the lyrics,” Brown says. “It’s no hold punches. Everything I’m saying is real.”

In his song “All I Had,” the chorus rings: “I do this for my mom, I do this for my son / I do it with this rap or I do it with a gun / I sell a little crack just to eat a little lunch.”

But The Astronauts also try to motivate people to do better. They took their group’s name from Guion “Guy” Bluford, a West Philly native, who in 1983 was the first black astronaut to enter space.

“It’s a message,” Brown says. “It’s ‘Mona Lisa,’ like a picture that is being painted. We’re not lying, that’s first and foremost. These are real situations. Everything we rap about is the God’s honest truth. Nothing is fabricated. And I’m just telling these kids that Guy Bluford, he made it and we can make it just as well.”

Last summer, The Astronauts hosted a huge block party in Southwest Philly called the Stop The Violence Festival. With proceeds benefiting the Mothers in Charge Foundation, the intention was to bring the community together to show there are ways to interact peacefully.

“There was no violence the whole day,” Brown says. “We just proved right there that we all can come together for one common goal and that’s exactly what happened. I’m around this shit everyday, I know that we got so much potential to do better.”

Brown continues the tour, coming to a friend’s home, which is now abandoned. On the wall is a collection of old gum that is plastered to bricks, forming the words “54th and Ghetto.”

It’s the same rawness and bluntness of this mixed media graffiti that Pace says The Astronauts employ in their songs. A level of ratchetry grabs people’s attention.

“It’s quicker when you try to give a message, I mean, especially in our culture as black people,” he says. “If you’re glorifying it, I think people are just going to go with the flow.”

And not hiding the ratchetry or debauchery of life from art, Mont adds, is actually a positive thing for his people, his community.

“I’m literally telling you what we’re doing, you know, in the neighborhood that I’m from,” he says. “The neighborhood respects me and him for doing this. No matter what I’m talking about, even though we’re from the ghetto, it’s still a positive thing that we’re doing.”

Read the full story here…

Dec 06

New Healthcare Facility Aims to Connect With The Community

Rising Sun Health Center, a program of Public Health Management Corporation and one of five nurse-managed federally qualified health centers in the PHMC health network, opened the doors of their new health center this fall at One & Olney Square.

The 7,500 square foot facility is three times larger than Rising Sun’s previous area location, allowing for expanded services including primary care and social services, along with elder-friendly facilities and 12 state-of-the-art exam rooms. It’s more than what they had at their previous site.

“We’ve been getting a lot of people,” said Mariam Salahou, a nurse practitioner at Rising Sun.  “People will be like, ‘Oh yeah, I go to that place.’ ‘You guys moved here?’ ‘I live back there.’ ‘I live next door.’ We’ve been getting a lot of them.”

Rising Sun Health Care Center, is a program of Public Health Management Corporation and one of five nurse-managed federally qualified health centers in the PHMC health networkData from PHMC’s 2012 Pennsylvania Household Health Survey indicated that last year, more than 30,000 residents in the community surrounding Rising Sun Health Center utilized a community health center or public clinic. There are an estimated 35,500 uninsured people in the neighborhood. Around 20,900 don’t have a regular source of care and 29,900 who, in the last year, chose not to seek needed health services due to cost.

The Household Health Survey is one of the largest local health surveys in the county and a unique regional resource. The expansion of Rising Sun Health Center will help provide accessible, affordable health services to those who need it the most.

Read the full story here…

Nov 27

Tending To Community

Tree Tenders is a city-wide program in Philadelphia developed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The primary mission of the program is to encourage people to volunteer and plant trees in their neighborhood.

John Dobbs, coordinator for the Olney Tree Tenders, had always been a lover of trees and when first hearing about the Tree Tenders, had wanted to learn how to get more involved with the program.

“We needed three people from our neighborhood in order to go to their training,” Dodds said.  “So it was me, my wife and another person. We were able to start the Olney program in 2011.”

The main focus of the Olney Tree Tenders is planting what they call “street trees” in neighborhoods alongside the homes of Olney residents.

Together with his staff of all volunteers, Dodds ventures out into the community to solicit people who may want trees planted by their home.

Read the full story

Nov 02

A Journey Like No Other

The idea of writing a memoir about their journey as adoptive parents raising 22 kids came to Hector and Susan Badeau when their adoptive son, 24-year-old Wayne, died from Sanfilippo Syndrome in April of last year.

The loss left a hole in the Badeaus lives as they tried to decide what they wanted to do next and what direction they wanted their lives to go. Finally, they decided it was time, they felt, to get their story in words and out to those who could possibly benefit from them.

Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids! chronicles the Badeaus’ trials and tribulations as their small family of only two grew into a large one of 22.

“We started as foster parents and started adopting soon after we married,” Susan Badeau said. “We felt that the story of our family and what we learned along the way would speak to people, help people understand why kids in foster care need families.”

Badeau’s husband recalls meeting his wife for the first time in the forward of the book that captures the moment beautifully. Like many accounts in the book, it is as if the reader was actually there with the Badeaus

“Although it took 35 years to live it, it took just three months to write the manuscript once Hector and I began writing,” Badeau said.

The Badeaus have always had a passion for kids, even as kids themselves in high school. Through the writing of this memoir they hope that people who are interested in adopting will get a realistic picture of what’s it like and gain knowledge of the subject.

Read the full story here…

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