Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's Flashback: In Memory of Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis
It's been a few weeks since I've posted a video for Flashback Friday. I'm feeling like you and I are all do for some pizza because I've been dishing out a lot of veggies lately. In life we need to maintain balance and I want to make sure I'm keeping this blog fresh, informative and fun.

This week, Hollywood said good-bye to Harold Ramis, a talented comedian and actor who also went on to produce and direct. He made his major impact in the industry during the 80's with films like Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters and let us not forget the beloved Groundhog Day that was released  in 1993. He made audiences laugh, actually he can still make audiences laugh. Just watch one of the films I mentioned. I've seen each of the films a few times and although not recently, I can still picture some of the funniest scenes. Ramis also reminded us of the power and importance of laughter in our lives. When the going gets tough try to find the humor in a situation.

This week's Friday Flashback is in memory of Ramis. He will be missed by many but luckily we have his films to look back at and remember him by.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bowling to Benefit Junior Achievement

So much of today's news and media reports are geared toward celebrity, crime, misfortune or tradegy and it's easy to be left with the feeling that the world is a bad place and that's just how it is. In our society it's easy to think a simple action or gesture doesn't make a difference in a big way. But the reality is that there are millions of people doing good things in our society, some of it's on a grand scale, but it often can be a simple gesture of helping out your neighbor by shoveling their driveway, holding the door open or carrying grocery bags for a stranger. It can even be bowling for a good cause. I believe it's important not to lose sight of the good things we do for others.

I'm am excited and looking forward to participating in my first bowl-a-thon to benefit Junior Achievement (JA) on March 30, 2014 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at AMF Lanes in Milford, Connecticut. The Employee Volunteer Council at UIL Holdings Corporation is hosting this company-wide event for all employees, their family members and friends to participate in.

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Their programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of contributing to their communities.

JA USA reaches more than 4.4 million students per year in 190,075 classrooms and after-school locations. JA programs are taught by volunteers in inner cities, suburbs, and rural areas throughout the United States, by 118 Area Offices in all 50 states. Last year in Connecticut, JA of Southwest New England served approximately $34,000 kids. 
I enjoy bowling for fun and it's an added bonus to also bowl for a good cause. My team goal is to raise $500, my individual goal is to raise $100. Help me get there with a $5 donation or whatever you would like to give. With your help I know I can reach my team goal. 

In a few more weeks, my simple gesture to bowl to benefit JA will help make a difference for kids in my state. I would greatly appreciate your support in the form of a small donation. Ready, set, donate and I'll bowl! Thank you in advance for your contribution!

If you're interesting in becoming a JA volunteer, click here for more information.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Reflection on the Walter Ong Conference

Session 3A Panel
Left to Right: James Jarc, Dung Tran, Aaliyah Miller, Jael Cooper
It's hard to believe that this time last week I was on a plane flying half-way across the country to Spokane, Washington for the Walter Ong Conference, Technology, Rhetoric, and Cultural Change: Walter J. Ong, S. J. in the Age of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, hosted by Gonzaga University

I was hoping the weather was going to be a little warmer, but that wasn't the case. As I left the plane, the snow was lightly falling and although it was picturesque I just wanted to get to my hotel room and catch a nap before the conference reception and evening plenary.  

As soon as I got to my hotel room I couldn't sleep. The irony of it. I tried, but my body clock was working against me. I spent the downtime watching CNN and vegging out. The time passed quickly enough and before I knew it, it was time to get ready and head over to the college.

While I was in the lobby waiting for the hotel shuttle I came across two gentlemen who were also attending the conference, as I was going through introductions, one stopped to ask me if I wrote a blog about the conference. I responded, "Yes," completely caught off-guard. He explained that my blog came up in his Google alerts on the conference, which put a smile on my face. I write my blog thinking just my inner circle of family and friends read it and I was reminded that my posts touch others, making the blogger in me feel good.
Jepson Center at Gonzaga University

My first academic conference was a great experience. I had the opportunity to mingle with fellow graduate students, educators, scholars and learn about their academic pursuits. I'm familiar with Walter Ong's main theories on orality, literacy and technology due to a few classes I took at Gonzaga, but the conference allowed me to go more in-depth in a meaningful way that I wasn't anticipating.

Before attending Gonzaga I thought about communications as a series of tactics and actions needed to obtain a desired result, but over the years I've learned that effective communications goes much deeper than that. I've also learned there is a value in understanding communications theories and applying those theories to help problem solve a topic or issue. This conference reinforced the teachings and values I've learned while studying at the university. 

My presentation went well. I was surprised by how  the topic engaged the audience. I was nervous and it didn't hit me until I was standing up at the podium looking out at the audience. My knees started to shake, but I just focused on what I was saying and eventually my nerves settled. I made sure to make eye contact and kept it moving. 

After I finished, my public speaking teacher congratulated me on a job well done, but noted my few ahs and ums. Another lesson learned, there is always room for improvement. 

The Walter Ong Conference was an engaging two days. I learned a lot and am glad I attended the conference. A week later I'm back home, reflecting on the the experience and getting myself back into my thesis research project mode. Going away was a nice break in my regular routine.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Walter Ong Conference: Here I come

In just one more day I'll be flying out to Gonzaga University to present at the Walter J. Ong Conference. I'm really excited because this is my first time presenting in an academic setting. I'm also a little bit nervous but the jitters will pass. They always do.

I remember when I submitted the paper for inclusion into the conference. I received an email about it from Dr. Caputo and decided to email Stephen McFadden and Libby Weber, two other students that helped me draft our group paper, Operation Reintegration: Applying Communication Theory to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Post-Deployed Military and ask them if they were okay with me submitting the paper for consideration on behalf of the group. They were enthusiastically in and while I submitted, I actually didn't think that the paper was going to get accepted. To my surprise it did and I'm proud to be blogging about it.
The Reverend Father Walter Jackson Ong, PhD

Shout out to Stephen McFadden and Libby Weber, especially Libby, because over the past two weeks she has immensely helped me with countless edits to the paper and the PowerPoint presentation. I couldn't have done it without her. Holla!

I like having first achievements, it gives me items to check off my bucket lists and helps me come up with new goals to strive for. I'm also looking forward to meeting new people and actually seeing some of my professors face-to-face. 

It's going to be a fast two-days and I'll be slightly jet-lagged when I get back, but my gut tells me it will be worth it in the end.