Who is Philly’s first digital director?

Who is Philly’s first digital director?

Under Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, the city of Philadelphia has its first digital director. Stephanie Waters, the former digital director for Kenney’s campaign, officially took the reins of her new title just last week. She’s still getting used to her new position, learning the ins and outs of City Hall — and getting use to working with a PC after using Mac computers for so long. So far, she says, other City Hallers have been very helpful. As digital director, Waters is primarily tasked with assisting Kenney on his social media accounts, but she’ll also be a resource to other departments within City Hall that lack a social media presence. “I saw the opportunity in government to be able to engage with citizens as incredibly important and a really valuable way that we could improve what was currently happening on the existing social accounts,” Waters said. “It wasn’t a role that existed before and I thought that if we showed that we were...
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Geek of the Week: Rebecca Barber, Ultrarunner and Founder of the Rocky 50K

Geek of the Week: Rebecca Barber, Ultrarunner and Founder of the Rocky 50K

It was just two years ago that Philadelphia’s own Rocky 50k run made its debut. What started as a joke by Philadelphia Magazine writer Dan McQuade has quickly evolved into a yearly tradition for hundreds of runners from across the country. (There was even a baby named in its honor!) Created by ultra-runner Rebecca Barber, the serpentine course is mapped out at 50 kilometers long — that’s a little over 31 miles — starting in South Philly, weaving through the Italian Market, through North Philadelphia, along the Schuylkill River banks, and finally finishing on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Categorized as a “Fat Ass” race, this ultra marathon is technically a low key affair, characterized by the phrase “no fees, no awards, no aid, no wimps.” There are no qualifying times, no registration hoops to jump through. Just show up and run — whether you hop on the course for a few miles, or tackle the whole thing. So what would possess someone to run 31...
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Former Philly Gang Member on Honor, Reform and the Next Generation

Former Philly Gang Member on Honor, Reform and the Next Generation

Kevin Wilkins remembers the summer day long ago when he stared down a member of The Valley, a notorious gang that inhabited the streets of North Philadelphia in the '60s and '70s. He was around 16 at the time. The gang tested him and his peers from his North Philly neighborhood by beating them. It was a way to see if they were truly tough enough for the life ahead. Wilkins remembered his beating not being too bad. With shadows of his previous life written into his body -- a tattoo of a panther on his right arm, a lion on his left -- the former gang member does not wish to reveal his true name. I first met Wilkins a few years ago at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, an extension of the nonprofit Project HOME. Wilkins was a frequent visitor, stopping by to collect fliers about upcoming programs. North Philadelphia, where Wilkins and I both live, has gone through...
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A New Place To Call Home

A New Place To Call Home

It was twelve years ago when D.W. Wilkins first moved from New York City to Philadelphia. Upon his arrival, he had been living without medical insurance or other safeguards until learning about the services being offered at St. Elizabeth, a healthcare and recovery initiative of the Philadelphia nonprofit Project HOME. “I was taking a few computer classes in the community where I live and work,” Wilson said. “It was there that I met a young lady who told me about St. Elizabeth and that I could go there and get the care that I needed.” According to Project HOME, roughly 70 percent of households have incomes of less than $35,000 per year in the St. Elizabeth community and nearly half of adults and children live at or below the federal poverty level. The idea of having a wellness center placed in the heart of Philadelphia had first come to Sister Mary Scullion, Executive Director of Project HOME, when civic leader Stephen Klein had approached...
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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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Robert Margolskee Appointed Monell Chemical President

Robert Margolskee Appointed Monell Chemical President

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia. On Oct. 1, Robert Margolskee succeeded Gary Beauchamp as the center’s next president and director. Margolskee will be the center’s third director since its founding in 1968. “This will be a big change for me and a big change for the center because Gary Beauchamp, the current director, has been our director for 24 years,” Margolskee said. “The big challenge basically for the director is to lead the research that goes on at our center. I’m a little excited, a little bit worried. I think the common word is trepidation.” Margolskee received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his MD-PhD in Molecular Genetics from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with the late Nobel laureate Dr. Daniel Nathans. He carried out postdoctoral studies in molecular biology at Stanford University with the Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Berg. While on the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of...
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What Makes Philadelphia A “Renaissance City”?

What Makes Philadelphia A “Renaissance City”?

Philadelphia is a city of innovators, a city of makers, a city of immense cultural and historic significance. There’s a reason why it was once the capital of the United States. As a native son of the city, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) Jack Ferguson represents Philadelphia to the world. “What that truly means is that we’re out asking people to come to meetings, conventions, shows and international travel for groups or individuals,” Ferguson said of his role at PHLCVB. “I always tell people that the melting pot of Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market because you get the best of all cultures that we have to offer. Our residents, our workers, our visitors, our convention attendees and our rail system that runs beneath it.”   He previously served as senior vice president and partner of LearnSystem, which has the capability to reach hundreds of thousands of hospitality industry professionals to improve job performance and customer service skills...
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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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The Transformation Of AJ Young

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.   "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...
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What Is The Impact Of Music?

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...
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