The overwhelming joy of graduation day

The overwhelming joy of graduation day

Each morning and each night I look at my journalism degree from Temple University, I remember the challenges I overcame to get it, including the fear of never receiving it at all. The overwhelming euphoria I felt when it finally arrived in the mail is something I still carry to this day. It can never really be replicated or taken away. In the beginning, I never saw myself attending college. I never saw it as the important factor it would become in my life. I grew up in and still live in North Philadelphia. A college graduate is something not often seen coming from a low income household or an impoverished neighborhood. I remember walking through my neighborhood on graduation day, a cool spring day, twiddling my fingers as my gown blew in the breeze. This would actually be my second degree. The first came from the Community College of Philadelphia just a few years prior. Though I was older, and some things...
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At 17, Drexel Student Pushes Ahead

At 17, Drexel Student Pushes Ahead

When Zakiya James attended Woodrow Wilson High School in her native city of Washington D.C., she quickly exhausted the curriculum that was being offered to her there. Zakiya, 14 at the time, was not being challenged and her mother, Shawna Malone, could see that. Malone attempted to enroll her daughter into higher-level courses at Woodrow, but the administration was not open to the idea. Malone was told by counselors that she should be glad that Zakiya was making A's and didn't need to be in more challenging classes. Their thought, Malone said, was that more challenging classes could result in lower grades. Having attended Wilson herself, Malone knew that Zakiya was becoming bored and if she was not pushed more, she would become lazy and disinterested in school. "It made me realize that if I was really going to be concerned about my daughter's education, that I would have to take matters into my own hands," Malone said. "So when the school wasn't...
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Philly Grad Aims For New Chapter In Life

Philly Grad Aims For New Chapter In Life

It happened earlier this month when Shawn Jorden, 25, was handed his degrees in Psychology and Liberal Arts from the Community College of Philadelphia, a goal that he had initially thought was out of reach. Jorden attended Indiana University before attending CCP but because of the university's tuition and cost of living, he was forced to return to Philadelphia. At times he found himself homeless while working to complete his degree, relying on the kindness of friends and family for a place to live and work. "I really wasn't feeling it because I was at a four-year university and coming to a two-year institution, I was a little depressed about that," Jorden said. "So I did some research and decided that I needed some help but I wasn't sure what kind of help I needed." Jorden connected with The Center for Male Engagement at CCP and met Kevin Convington, who would later become his mentor as well as Derrick Perkins, the director of the...
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Reflections Of A Temple Grad

Reflections Of A Temple Grad

  Even though it happened just a few months ago, graduation for me was almost a complete blur. I do not remember much of what was said to me on that day except the word "congratulations." That word was repeated a lot, especially by those who saw me walking to school wearing my cap and gown. I remember arriving somewhat early to the ceremony, so early that there were not too many graduates in attendance yet. The final touches were still being taken care of and I was told to simply wait. Later, as the ceremony began and I sat amongst my graduating peers and scrolled through my phone, I could not help but think of how far I had come. It had been a rough couple of years. There was still one class that I needed to complete for my major. The class was statistics, and it would start the following week and continue for five more additional weeks. Click here to read the...
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Summer Teaching

Summer Teaching

Can't remember if I posted this or not, but I worked on the above video for the majority of the summer while assisting with Temple University's High School summer journalism program, otherwise known as Prime Movers and Shakers. It's led by Professor Maida Odom, former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one of my former professors. The goal of the summer program is to teach the students, who are from different Philadelphia area high schools, about journalism and the different aspects of the field in a few short weeks. At the end they produced a newspaper that is printed by the Philadelphia Daily News. This was my second time working with the program and this time my main responsibility was putting together a video of the students experience with the program. It's not the best, but I was proud in the fact that I was able to put this together after not working with FinalCut Pro for a a few...
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Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Documenting The Faces Of Temple

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...
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Tending To Community

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...
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I Dream For A Living

I Dream For A Living

Turning over her wrist and pulling up her shirtsleeve, the Steven Spielberg quote "I dream for a living" is tattooed in bold ink. Michele Hannon, a Temple University senior, described the day when she decided how she would spend her first paycheck and her career. She would use it to purchase a handheld Sony MiniDV camera to make a few small films, and begin to follow her dream. While in high school, Hannon figured that if she was attending college for film then she should have a production company name to go with her work. "I wrote down a bunch of different names and kind of came up with the name Mirrorwall," she said. "It was in 2008, by this point I knew I wanted to go to Temple I knew I wanted to do film and knew that I needed to get serious." Hannon spent her first two years in Temple trying to learn all she could about film; she was finally...
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From WeHab to Chile

From WeHab to Chile

Not every student decides to take advantage of the summer weather, relinquishing books and scholarly duties to relax at the beach. Some college students have chosen to perform rewarding research that will impact both their studies and their career path. Cathy Chukwulebe, a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame, said she is working with the WeHab research team, which is developing a Nintendo-based program with therapeutic activities used to improve motor skills and balance in those who are physically impaired due to an injury, accident or illness. “Through connections established from a class with Dr. Paul Brenner of the Center for Research Computing, I have recently been helping the WeHab team to expand their program’s applications to children with disabilities,” Chukwulebe said. “The team has been working with St. Joseph’s Pediatric Clinic and Memorial Children’s Hospital to install the WeHab system and collect data and feedback from its use by the therapists and patients.” Chukwulebe, an engineering major, said by working...
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College Delayed: A Better Choice for Some

College Delayed: A Better Choice for Some

The ideal of attending college after completing high school is ingrained in most people’s minds at a young age. Perhaps now more than ever, obtaining a college education is thought to be a necessity in order to succeed in the world today. But some people choose to take a different path. After graduating from Mastery Charter High School in Philadelphia, Jessica Henderson had planned on going to college, but not “right away” like her fellow classmates. “That was only because I knew I didn’t have enough credits,” Henderson, now 23, said. “I had to go back to high school for another semester, so I decided to find a summer job instead.” Henderson said she needed to make up a science course and was just shy of five credits. She was also unable to afford the high price of a college education, something that is a common problem for most youth who wish to attend institutions of higher education, she said. According to The New York...
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