Thursday, December 21, 2017

I wouldn’t change a thing

Thousands of dollars. Four years of your time. I thought it sounded awful, too, just a short three and a half years ago when I was getting ready to leave for college.

I didn’t have the best time in high school, and I thought college was going to be an exact repeat of that. But I was so wrong. I’d be lying if I said college is easy. College is tough and at times, it will test your limits. But college is more than just being young dumb and broke. College is about learning about who you are.

What I've learned

  • Get Involved — While your GPA is important, it's not the only thing employers are looking for. While joining extracurriculars are certainty a good resume boost, they also allow you to meet new people. Some of the best friends I’ve made in college are because of the activities I’m involved in. #ThanksDPhiE
  • Go to class — Read the first sentence of this post and come back to this line. Yes, you’re paying THOUSANDS of dollars to be in school. Show up to class and participate.
  • Ask for help — As I previously mentioned, college is not always going to be easy. There will be times where it gets both academically and emotionally hard. Whether or not it seems like it, the faculty and staff at Bloomsburg University are here to help you and want to see you succeed. If you’re struggling in a class, visit that professor during your office hours. If you’re struggling with life, go to the counseling center. At the end of the day, it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to ask for help. But people can’t help you if you don’t ask for it!
  • Utilize Campus’ Resources — As much as you don’t want to admit it, the time will come where you will have to be a grown up and get a job or go to grad school. But what is going to separate you from the thousands of other people you are competing with? Experience. ProfessionalU offers so many resources for FREE that I encourage you to take advantage of. Give up a Saturday every now and then and attend these professional development opportunities — your future self will thank you for it.
  • Enjoy it. Every second of it! — You get out of college what you put into it, and I really encourage you to make the most of it while you can. Four years is really over in the blink of an eye, and someday you’ll wish you had these moments back.
The only thing you’ll regret are the chances you didn’t take. College is your time to take as many chances as you want — to make mistakes and to learn from them. You never know what could happen if you never try. If taking a chance causes you to fall flat on your face, at least you learned how to get back up. It’s hard to believe that I only have one semester left, and if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.

— Kim Oaster, senior mass communications and marketing dual major #HuskyLife

Friday, December 1, 2017

I am on the right path!

As the weeks count down closer to the big day of graduation I have found myself investing more time into career development, attending all different Professional U workshops. Perfecting my resume, cover letters, elevator pitch and more than I ever knew went into a “professional brand."

Throughout this process, I have learned job hunting is a full time job in itself. I mean researching each company, tailoring each application perfect and keeping track of the requirements of each. As crazy as it sounds, I think I’ll actually miss my 15 page research papers.

But with the help of career development office and special shout out to the counselor Luke, they’ve been by my side throughout the process. Even during my mini anxiety attacks about the “futureeeee” (dun dun dunnnn!). Seriously, it can be really scary to plan for the unknown. Not really knowing where life is going to take you, what job opportunities will open up or the alternative paths you’ll have to take.

And it seems life as soon as someone finds out you’re graduating they go into a game of 21 questions, where you’re supposed to have the answers to life figured out. One of the workshops I attended called “Answering Career Questions” helped me get through Thanksgiving break and my oh-so nosey family members.

What I really loved about that workshop was it was really a conversation between us (the participants) and the workshop leaders. Centennial 108 turned into a safe space where people had the opportunity to share their insecurities about college, their major choice or what the future has in store for them. And the workshop leaders did an awesome job of helping us explore why we felt this way and gave us solid resources to explore.

Like this website that you can search any career field or major and see what kinds of jobs are out there. After that workshop I felt totally confident to tell people what “someone with a communication degree” does.

One piece of advice I can give to anyone either in my shoes or will be shortly is: take your time, soak up as much information as you can and practice! Make sure you attend career development workshops and pace yourself. That’s what has been working for me so far.

With less than 50 days until I moon walk across Haas stage, I still have lots of room to grow; but I trust I am on the right path!

— Giovanna Andrews, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A tasteful tour of Costa Rica

We’re almost to the end of the third module of classes now, and our group is busy studying Latin American Civilization and Culture. Together we’ve covered everything from ancient Aztec and Inca civilizations to the Latin American wars of independence in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A few of us took a day for a tasteful tour of Café Britt, a leading innovator in gourmet Costa Rican coffee. I’m not big on coffee myself, but fortunately Britt also specializes in cookies, nuts and chocolates (highly recommend the dark chocolate-covered pineapple jelly).

Two weekends ago we piled into the buses to head to La Fortuna, a small town northwest of San José in the shadow of two huge volcanoes, but first we took a high-flying detour to a huge jungle zip-line course. The Tarzan Swing was a surprise, not to mention the “Superman” line for the grand finale.

Arriving at La Fortuna, we got our first breathtaking look at Arenal Volcano, a 5,500-foot geological wonder with clouds surrounding the summit. Its most recent eruption was in 2010, and visitors can occasionally spot thin lava flows near the crater.

We spent a night in the natural hot springs that flow from the Tabacón River at Arenal’s base. Trust me, they’re better than any hot tub you’ll ever find. We’re coming into the homestretch now, and the daily rains have finally died down as the dry season (mid-November to April) steadily approaches.

— Joshua Lloyd #HuskyUnleashed #HuskyAbroad

Joshua Lloyd is a junior Spanish and Interpersonal Communication major spending this fall studying abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica. Through SOL, he is studying Latin American culture and civilization.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Empowerment through philanthropy

On Jan. 9, 2015, while my college peers were enjoying their winter breaks and time off from school, I sat anxiously in a waiting room at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Over the course of the previous 24-hours, my family received a life-changing phone call: they had found a heart for my dad, after nine months and nine days on the organ donation “waiting list.” For over 10 years, my dad was suffering with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition and eventually went into congestive heart failure.

On top of the heart problems, my dad also has primary progressive multiple sclerosis, the rarest form of this disease. My dad receiving a heart transplant was a blessing. However, my family endured many setbacks because of my dad’s heart transplant.

A few weeks later, I headed back to Bloomsburg for my second semester of college. The guilt of leaving my family, especially my dad, during such a hard time was eating away at my conscious.

I needed to find something to distract myself from the guilt and the stress, so I decided to go through the sorority recruitment process with my roommate. When I first decided to rush, I did not expect to end up anywhere; however, my whole perspective of Greek Life changed when I met the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon.

It’s hard to explain that instant connection you feel when you find where you’re supposed to be, but as I mingled with several of the DPhiE sisters, I had never felt more comfortable. It felt like I knew all of these young women my whole life and not just several minutes. As the rounds of recruitment continued, I got to know more sisters and about the sisterhood of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. While the bond I felt within the sisterhood was certainly part of the reason I joined, what drew me in to this sorority was one of the philanthropies: the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Anorexia is a disorder that has affected several members of my family, most recently including myself. I was drawn in to the idea that I could be a part of a sisterhood where empowering women were empowering other women on the importance of body positivity. When I learned that DPhiE was an organization that did this, I felt compelled to not only be a part of that empowerment, but also spearhead it.

Shortly after joining Delta Phi Epsilon in March 2015, I ran and was voted as the coordinator of community service position for the following academic year. As the community service coordinator, I worked directly under the vice president of programming (VPP) where I supported the fundraising, philanthropic, and community service efforts for our chapter. Because of my experience and passion for all three of our philanthropies, I decided to run for VPP the following year.

Empowering other women was one of the many goals I set to accomplish as VPP. I got the idea to create an awareness video for the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders from a sister from another chapter. My vision for this video was to show that every woman has things they are insecure about, but there are so many positive things about each of us that we should focus on instead. In addition, I teamed up with the Women’s Resource Center for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Through our partnership, we had several successful educational events throughout the week.

Members of Greek Life are often stereotyped for partying all the time and having low GPAs. However, those assumptions are not always the case. Being involved in Greek Life is so much more than that — it offers you a support system and a home away from home. But more importantly, being involved in Greek Life allows you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Members of the Greek community collectively completed over 22,400 hours of community service last year.

How many other organizations can say they did that?

— Kim Oaster, senior mass communications and marketing dual major #HuskyLife

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Am I career ready?

Okay I’ll start off with a quick story about girl that was entering her senior year of college and by a sick twist of fate was forced to change her major,….AGAIN. Yes folks, she was entering into her fourth year of school and on to her third major and not by her choice this time. If you have not already guessed this mystery girl is me!

Summer 2016 I was officially without a major and for the first time in my college career completely directionless. With some research I decided to become a communications studies major with a track in leadership and public advocacy.

Going into the major kicking and screaming if I may add. I had no idea what comm stud majors did and what they had to offer, all I knew it would get me out of school the fastest so I signed up. Disclaimer, this is not one of those Cinderella stories about how I fell in love with my major and lived happily ever after. Even though that is literally what happened. This is about the journey that helped me realize that is major is where I belong and who/what helped me get to that “ahh” moment.

Career Boot Camp

Because I had no idea what I could do with my major, I decided to visit the Center for Professional Development and Career Experience (CPDCE) where I learned about the Career Intensive Boot Camp. If you do not know what the boot camp is, it is a weekend where juniors and seniors participate in workshops all about professional development.

I got the opportunity to network with alumni, get my resume reviewed, and go through mock interviews throughout the weekend. One of my personal favorite sessions was the etiquette dinner at Monty’s, where I enjoyed a four-course meal with a straight posture and fancy new (proper) dining etiquette.

What was most impactful throughout the experience was talking to some of the alumni who had such an interest in listening to my dreams and goals. I mean really listened, took their time out of the day to speak with me and guide me on how to make them into a reality.

Encouraged me to stick with my major and challenged me to see how my department could befit me. I had some of the most meaningful conversations that weekend that inspired me to have a new outlook on my situation and communication studies.

Since then, I have stayed connected with many people I met that weekend. Now a regular in Center for Professional Development and Career Experience. I go to workshops throughout the semester and learn some great tips about handling life after graduation.

I am now in my last semester of college, last…semester…of undergrad! The time has flown by and I am excited to see where my life takes me. Join me as I explore what the CPDCE workshops, guest and events to help me prepare for the ever so daunting adult life ahead.

— Giovanna Andrews, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In the shadow of Kearsarge

Go. Go somewhere new. Exciting. Different. Get out of your comfort zone. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Just … go.

You’ve heard those words before. Whether you’re reading this as a grad student or an undergrad student, or not even a student at all, I’m sure you’ve been told this before. You may have even given this advice to someone—If you have, I say to you: Thank you!

For the first time, this summer, I took that advice with regard to my higher ed career by accepting an internship for Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs program at a tiny private college in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire, working in institutional research and strategic planning with the president there, areas with which I was geographically and professionally unfamiliar.

As it turned out, this proved to be one of the most powerful professional development experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve taken to calling it my “North Star Experience” because, while I learned a great deal from the people that I met there and the work that I did, my time there confirmed many things about my career path.

It affirmed my desire to work at small, private, liberal arts institutions, especially if they are located in somewhat rural areas with ample outdoor recreation opportunities (more on that later), and also my goal to eventually shift my professional trajectory from purely student affairs to the broader world of higher education administration.

A little bit about the place: Colby-Sawyer is a small (~1,100 students), private college in a very small, idyllic, quintessential New England town in the middle of vacationland New Hampshire, overlooked by the prominent Mt. Kearsarge. The College has captured what they call their “sense of place,” which is their identity as an institution, evident in their commitment to sustainability and respect for nature and to providing a multidisciplinary, experiential education to their students.

What really sold me on the place, however, was the people. From the president and senior leadership team to the students, everyone I met and spoke to was welcoming and possessed an inherent happiness, an excitement about they’re doing, and above all, hope for the institution. This is a place that has fallen on hard financial times in recent years and has responded with confidence, hope, and innovation.

If you have the opportunity to take the advice as stated in the beginning, do it. If you don’t have the opportunity, ask. My experience in New Hampshire happened because I had met the president when she worked in a different role at my undergraduate institution. I reached out to her last winter and asked if she would provide me with an internship opportunity. We all have a professional network, large or small, and it can be uncomfortable to utilize it and ask things of people. My advice: Get over that; ask anyway. As a grad student, you have the time and the ability, so take the opportunity.

Take a risk. Get a little bit uncomfortable. It’s worth it.

— Jonathan Gowin, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting out of your comfort zone

Growing up, I attended thirteen years of small, Catholic schools in Delaware County. While I received a quality education while attending these schools, once I began attending Cardinal O’Hara High School, I quickly learned that if you weren’t on one of the sports teams, in the band, or a part of the theatre productions, you slid through the cracks. While despite not being very involved in high school, I still managed to form a tight niche of friends; but I still yearned to belong to a group that made me feel bigger than myself.

Unfortunately, I consider myself virtually talentless — I can’t sing, I have two left feet, and I am pretty much the most uncoordinated person you will ever meet. So if I wasn’t in school, I was found working part time at Rite Aid. Once I graduated, I made a promise to myself that college was going to be different — I would do more than just work, go to class, hang out with my friends, and watch Netflix.

During my freshman orientation, they mentioned that the Center for Leadership and Engagement would be hosting an Activities and Involvement Fair where student clubs and organizations would be highlighting what they were about and what they would be doing that year. I was so excited! This was the perfect opportunity for me to keep my promise to myself — and a few days later, that’s exactly what I did.

I was a little overwhelmed at first because I had no idea what kind of things I wanted to be involved with; but the best part about attending a public school for the first time in my life was that if there was something I was remotely interested in, there seemed to be a club for it. I ended up signing up for six clubs at the Activities and Involvement Fair ranging from academics to fitness to community service. At first, I seemed to be able to balance 15 credits and seven extracurricular activities; but as soon as midterms hit, I realized it was going to be impossible to be involved in everything.

During Week 6 of my first semester in college, I called my mom in a panic. That week I had three exams and a ton of meetings for all of the clubs I was involved with. I have always had really bad test anxiety, so my mom suggested I take a step back from some of the organizations I was involved with and focus on just a few. I realized she was right and after that phone call, I created a pro-con list for each activity I was involved in.

I decided to try to stay involved in the American Marketing Association because marketing is one of my majors and I had already paid the dues for that year. But I still wanted to be involved in something that wasn’t necessarily academic. Because I attended Catholic school, I was required to do a certain amount of community service hours every year; but usually I went beyond the minimum amount. I realized in that moment that I needed to be involved in some sort of community-service club.

During my junior year of high school, I attended a leadership camp for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and quickly grew passionate about finding a cure for childhood cancer. When I saw that Bloomsburg had a Colleges Against Cancer chapter, I knew that this club would be perfect for me. During the summer before I started at BU, my grandma was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer so I thought that this was the perfect club for me.

I was pretty active in CAC my first two semesters of college, however, decided not to be involved any more during my sophomore year. I had joined Delta Phi Epsilon in my second semester and became the community service chair for them, so I wanted to put all of my passion into that.

While I believe that being involved on campus and in the community is an important part of being a student, I think it’s more important to find a few activities you really enjoy and are able to put your time, energy and passion into. As college students, we are often running around like chickens with no heads; but the friendships, soft skills, and resume boost you gain from being involved on campus is truly worth the stress.

Bloomsburg University has so many opportunities for you to get involved and leave your mark; and I really encourage you to get involved as early on as possible. The earlier you get involved — the more positive experiences you’ll get out of it.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and get out of your comfort zone. Even if you don’t think a club or organization is right for you, try it out and see how you feel. You never know the amazing things that could come out of it.

— Kim Oaster, senior mass communications and marketing dual major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Yes, I belong in this work

My name is Jonathan Gowin and I am currently in my third semester of Bloomsburg University's Educational Leadership, College Student Affairs program. When I think back over these last three semesters, I can say that it has been wild ride!

I got my start in student affairs as an orientation leader at my undergraduate institution, Lycoming College. While there, I struggled a lot to find a major that I loved, so like any typical escapist, I ignored that problem and got involved on campus instead! After one year in Orientation, I really dove into all the co-curricular opportunities that Lycoming could give me. By the time I graduated, I had added residence life, academic and disability support services, student activities, and leadership to my student affairs repertoire. Despite some lingering doubts about my direction, I decided to immediately pursue graduate school at Bloomsburg. Within the first week, my doubts were pushed aside and I thought for the first time, “Yes, I belong in this work.”

That confirmation hasn’t wavered in the last 10 months. In the fall and spring, I held a graduate assistantship in the Center for Leadership and Engagement, where I helped run the Leadership Certification Program for undergraduate students, planned large scale campus events, and co-supervised 12 student staff members. It was really my first opportunity to think like a student affairs emerging professional and be in that kind of role. When I think about the experiences I had with my students, it was straight-up fun.

For this semester, I have taken up a GA working with Dr. Denise Davidson, who is the program coordinator for the summer term. This has given me the opportunity to see the operational, nuts-and-bolts side of running a graduate program and for someone like me, whose passion transcends student affairs and encompasses higher education broadly, this has been very exciting. In the fall, I will continue to explore new areas of student development when I move to University Tutorial Services, where I’ll be coordinating the Supplemental Learning Program.

For me, the CSA program has been so much more than just the sum of my GA and class work. My favorite part about this program is the wealth of the co-curricular opportunities that are available (spoken like a true student affairs person, am I right?). In March, I, and several colleagues attended the international convention of a leading professional association, College Student Educators-International.

I’m currently a member of two research teams; one with Dr. Mark Bauman studying college presidents and the other with Dr. Mindy Andino and two fellow CSA colleagues, studying Generation Alpha. Just last week, I presented my preliminary findings for the former at the Pennsylvania Student Affairs Conference at East Stroudsburg University. Last, and perhaps most excitingly, a colleague and I, with collaboration from faculty here and at other PASSHE institutions, are starting the Student Affairs Graduate Almanac (SAGA), a “by students, for students” academic journal. I’ll share more details about these projects in future blogs!

If I’ve learned anything from these semesters at Bloom, it’s that the sky is the limit. This is an environment of inspiring people that will encourage you to take your ideas and run with them and challenge and support you (@Sanford) in the process. Bring your wild ideas and enthusiasm to us, it has a home here!

— Jonathan Gowin, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

A large learning experience full of transition

Hello! My name is Alex Reynolds, and I am a second-year student in Bloomsburg University's Educational Leadership, College Student Affairs program. Before coming to Bloomsburg, I graduated from Salisbury University in Maryland with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in New Media. Since starting at BU, I have engaged in a high capacity in my graduate assistantship as a Graduate Hall Director and as the Treasurer for Chi Sigma Alpha, the College Student Affairs honor society and student organization.

For the summer, I am working as a Summer Graduate Hall Director (GHD) in Elwell Hall East. With my transition from Montgomery Place Apartments complex last year to a more traditional residence hall, there have been a lot of learning experiences. Living with the students in the same general location, my office being one floor below my apartment, and the ease of accessibility to the departmental office that I communicate with daily has been convenient. The proximity of my office has also promoted reflection about the challenges of and learning involved in keeping a work-life balance.

My chief responsibilities as a GHD involve engaging the residents of Elwell with their Summer Session 1 classes. Planning events, keeping students aware of maintenance of the building, and checking in on students overall have been my tasks so far. Alongside of this, I am preparing to integrate residents within the Summer Preparatory Program into the climate of living on-campus for the coming weeks and within the academic year if they continue to matriculate here at Bloomsburg.

Getting to know my student staff has been nothing less than immersive. I have enjoyed developing relationships with the Community Assistant staff that I supervise. In addition to the standard GHD responsibilities, the department has added a new professional position assigned to the new residence hall that will open in August. There have been interviews with candidates for that role and it has been nothing less than exciting.

I also work with Joanne Powser, a CSA student and Summer Graduate Hall Director for Elwell Hall West. Working with her and going through similar transitions, from working with upperclass student populations to preparing for both the Summer Preparatory Program students and for the 2017-2018 academic year, has been stimulating. Working with each other and going through graduate school together has been beneficial for me by having support from a coworker and a future colleague in the student affairs field.

This summer is one large learning experience full of transition. Overall, seeing the large amount of learning and engagement with all aspects involved in my summer work so far has me hopeful for the future learning experiences that are to come.

— Alex Reynolds, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Welcome to “Tent City”

The Archaeology Field School in Ohio at the Balthaser Home Site, was a unique experience that you just cannot repeat. I have learned that Archaeology in on itself is about looking at the bigger picture and not getting stuck in the mindset of a 1X1 meter test pit. By taking in the entire site you gain the image of the homestead, the workshop, and the Hopewell way of life. Not only did I connect to the Hopewell, but also with the individuals that joined me on the field school trip.

All the students set up their own living areas at the Jackson Lake Campground, similar to how the Hopewell set up their own hamlets (4-5 families living together in one area). When everyone arrived on the first day they set up their tents and were in different groups together. We (Bloomsburg Students) set up a “Tent City” in one area and the Geneseo in another. Both schools started out as separate groups in the beginning, but came together in the end to form one complete group.

Overall, field school was a learning and connecting experience that I will remember for a long time to come. Archaeology is a repetitive excavating of units, notes, and sifting (screening for anything that is cultural from the units); down in the dirt you go. Although, every unit is different whether you get a post mold, a pit, or something else. Starting with the first day you quickly discover that dirt sticks to you as sand does from the beach. You never know if you are getting tanned from the sun or just have dirt on you. Not only did I gain knowledge about Archaeology, but also gained knowledge about myself which helped me to come out of my shell and make friends that I would not have been able to if I did not get this great opportunity to come to Ohio.

      Alyssa Theurer, sophomore anthropology major

The Field School Experience

Reflecting upon my experiences so far at the Balthaser Home Site, I have learned so much, not only about archaeology, but also about myself. I was apprehensive that archaeology would not come to me intuitively, and that there would be many challenges for me to face. However, Dr.Wymer from Bloomsburg and Dr. Pacheco from Geneseo University were crucial in helping to direct the dig in the field and sharing their knowledge of the culture called the Hopewell.

They created a stress-free, hands-on working environment in which the students can learn the basics of both archaeology and organic flotation. Their influence has helped me become more self-confident in knowing my own strengths as a leader, as well as helping others achieve their potential. This experience has provided a fantastic opportunity for meeting inspirational peers, as well as making connections with possible future colleagues. Overall, I have seen fantastic sites, made connections with wonderful professors and peers, and completed a part of my education which will doubtlessly assist in my future.

A specific experience which tested my determination happened to be the excavation of one of the largest Hopewell post-molds (discoloration of soil due to the decomposition of a wooden post) found within the Balthaser Home site, called Feature 136. When we originally saw the soil discoloration, it was dubious as to whether there was anything to be found below the surface. My partner from Geneseo and I were quite surprised as we continued to excavate down, down, and down. At times, it was discouraging to have the professors instruct us to keep digging, especially because the space we were allotted to work in was the size of a shoebox.

Thankfully, my partner and I created a routine of trading off responsibilities so that we could keep our work balanced. Our post-mold was so large that it reached around eighty centimeters below the ground surface, making it likely a large central or interior post for the overall Hopewell structure. The post-mold contained charcoal, bits of burned bone, and burned pottery, which could provide crucial information in creating an overall picture of the Hopewell way of life. Much information will be gleaned from the research done at the Balthaser Home Site, but the students at the field school will also walk away with many life lessons and experiences which cannot be repeated or replaced.

      Anne Snyder, senior anthropology, French, and psychology major

Dirt is Fun

I decided to be a part of the 2017 Ohio Archaeology Field School because I have had a lifelong interest in archaeology. I didn’t know exactly what I would experience, but I did know it would be a learning process with a lot of work. On my first day in the field, I was hesitant to sit in the dirt on the ground. I don’t mind dirt, but was worried about what bugs might crawl on me. Now, coming to the end of the field school, I sit on the ground with no hesitation. I have had so many ants, spiders, etc. crawl on me that I have grown used to it. The first week was overwhelming with how much I learned, and I am still learning different terms and processes in the 4th week. With my various team members, we found many features. However, the last feature was my favorite part of field school.

I worked with three other people to dig the dirt out of this test pit. At the end of the work day, I started leveling the test pit to see if there were any features in it. As I scraped, I saw darker areas in the center of the test pit. It was confirmed to be a post mold feature perfectly centered in the unit. I dug half of the post mold out which revealed it went 70 cm below surface.

I dug out more of the feature to put in a soil sample bag to be looked at by other students. I had parts of the feature left after that, that I had to dig out and sift through to see if there were any artifacts in it. The center of the feature turned out to be deeper than 70 cm below surface. I was instructed to keep digging until I reached the bottom. The bottom turned out to be 113 cm below surface. My partner and I found some charcoal and a small piece of pottery. It was a unique experience to have such a deep feature to work on. The groups switched around, but I was glad to have one partner to work on the feature with because it was difficult to dig in the hole for a long period of time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this experience. I liked learning the processes within archaeology such as mapping, leveling and edging walls/floors of test pits, sifting, and more. I am glad I had the opportunity to have such a unique experience. It was nice to learn hands-on instead of in a classroom.

      Kallysta Panagakos, senior anthropology major

Field School

The first day of excavating, I was excited and a little nervous to be digging in a 50 by 50-centimeter test unit. All the students from Bloomsburg University and Geneseo University were mixed into groups of three. Every group started a test unit to learn how to properly excavate into the soil and to be able to recognize different artifacts that are culturally created versus naturally created. The hardest part for me was being able to tell the difference between cultural flint and natural flint. Natural flint has more rounded edges and cultural flint has groves, divots, and sharper edges that were created by and individual. Once, my group completed our 50 by 50-centimeter test unit we were assigned a 1 by 1 meter unit. In the 1 by 1 meter unit my group found a feature. We had to open another unit beside our first 1 by 1 meter unit to follow the feature. Excavating feature 130 helped me learn about myself and the culture. Inside feature 130 we found pottery, seeds, cultural flint flakes, and charcoal.

I excavated to 90-centimeters below the surface. When the professors can over and told me to keep digging it was disheartening knowing that I did not reach the bottom of the feature. However, me and my partner would switch between sifting (is screening the soil for artifacts) and excavating. It can be hard to keep on going when you have been excavating the same feature for a week. You see the same soil and same walls around you, but if you keep going you might just find an artifact that makes it worth it.

For me it was the Adena Spear Point, which was beautiful. The Adena are the ancestors of the Hopewell and were the first to build the mound earthworks in North America. Excavating feature 130 taught me to be more patient and to not get discouraged easily. To know that I helped to discover more about a culture and one that is known little about is amazing.

To be able to go to The Balthaser Home Site and learn how to properly excavate in Archaeology was a remarkable experience. Not only did I learn about the Hopewell Culture, but about others who share the same major. It is nice to connect to individuals that are trying to accomplish the same major, but are going down different paths. Also, I liked talking to the teacher assistants and hearing about what they have accomplished and what they are doing after graduation. It gave me different ideas of what to possibly accomplish while getting an Anthropology degree and what to do after wards. I would love to study abroad and to dual or double major. Overall, being able to participate in field school and to meeting other students was a unique experience that cannot be replaced.

      Kasey Theurer, sophomore anthropology major

Goodbye, “Tent City”

During our time at field school, we learned a lot. We not only learned about archaeology and the Hopewell culture, but how to be a team, how to live in a tent for a month, and how to thrive as young archaeologists. This experience has been so very rewarding, and it was hard to say goodbye. Our little paradise of “Tent City,” that we had grown to love after a long day of digging was no more.

Even though our tents may not be there, the friendships we have built over the month will continue to remain. It was an awkward transition in the beginning- working with people you have never met before in tight spaces and in a new environment.

Thankfully we were all new to field work and could bond over the learning experience! We became close friends with our group members, close friends with the surrounding unit members, and close friends with people from both schools. Meeting and interacting with the SUNY Geneseo students was a great learning experience for us Bloomsburg students, they had knowledge about things we didn't, and vice versa.

The days themselves seemed to drag on. Waking up at 6 a.m. every morning, getting to the field by 7 a.m. and working until 3:30 p.m. was rough on some days. I'm not going to lie, it was hard getting out of bed knowing I’m going to be digging in either rain or hot weather that day.

But, I loved every day for its own reasons. The field school as a whole however, went by like a blink of an eye, I can’t believe it’s over. From the day we started digging, to backfill day, it was all an amazing learning experience.

I am thankful that Bloomsburg, along with the Anthropology dept. has given us such a great opportunity to learn, explore and achieve new levels of learning. They have helped many of us as students to decipher which way our educational paths will go and they continue to give us the tools to conquer anything in our paths! Thank you for a great field school!
      Julia Stein, sophomore anthropology major

#CollaborativeLearning #HuskySummer #HuskyUnleashed

DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology, and a group of Bloomsburg University students hit the road each spring in mid-May to spend four weeks in southern Ohio digging at a Hopewell habitation site. The archeological field school experience enables student teams to rely on new imaging technologies to uncover another living site of the Mound Builders from 2,000 years ago.

Friday, June 2, 2017

A glimpse back through Norwegian times

Today following a short drive we found ourselves in the small village of Kaupanger along the immense Sognefjord. While there, we visited the Sogn Folk Museum where we, guided by the gracious Ms. Anna Avdem, were given a glimpse into various time periods through the lodgings Norwegians would dwell in.

In one memorable home, an 18th century farmhouse, the residents were forced to utilize wood to create all of their possessions from shoes, furniture and utensils, and they did so with amazing ingenuity. We also were treated to a "class" with our wonderful tour guide presiding as instructor and together we sang a traditional children's school song. This experience was both mentally stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable, adding to the joy of our adventures in Norway!

    — Evan Llanso, sophomore mass communications major

Surrounded by titanic fjords and emerald mountains 

Nestled within Norway's southwestern coast, surrounded by titanic fjords and emerald mountains lies the wharf town of Bergen. The first stop on our trek through the wonders of this beautiful country and Bergen does not disappoint.

Ranging from exquisite cuisine not found in our own united states, notably the decadent whale steaks and burgers, to a rich historical inheritance. Our journey into Bergen's past began at the Bryygan museum where we beheld articles of encounters with ferocious fires, displays of garments, tools and medical practices of a time long lost.

Following this rewarding experience our next brush with Bergen's heritage was found as we ascended the medical fortress of Rosenkrantz tower, through thin corridors of stone until we reached the peak, and for our efforts were rewarded with a spectacular sight of Bergen's Wharf, the azure waters cloaked in mist as they expanded outward to the ocean's welcoming embrace. Though we soon will depart this wonderful town, the sights that await us keep our spirits high and excitement abound!

    — Evan Llanso, sophomore mass communications major

Bergen to Luster

We set off on the European Route E 16, a very scenic drive that stretches west-east across Norway. Along the way we saw sights such as great pastoral farms, surreal fjords and the waterfall Tvindefossen. The latter part of our journey took us through the Lærdal Tunnel, which, at 24.5km, happens to be the longest road tunnel in the world!

The tunnel is so long that the architect feared for people falling into a hypnotic state while traveling through the tunnel, so he hired a psychologist to help him build structures that would keep drivers awake.

These structures came in the form of lights, which simulate a rising dawn. Finally, after about five hours, we ended our journey in the picturesque, fjord-side town of Luster.

    — Aaron Llanso, sophomore geology major

Aaron and Evan Llanso are among a small group of eight study abroad students led by Ben Franek and Laura Mock, of the Department of Environmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences, spending three weeks this summer exploring the physical and cultural landscapes of Norway. Among the planned experiences include seeing the midnight sun, the majesty of Norway’s fjords and Viking artifacts like a 1,000-year-old ship.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Best chapter of our lives

And just like that, junior year of college comes to an end. In the past month, I’ve said, “where has the time gone, I don’t want to be old,” at least once a day. Looking back to the start of junior year, I barely recognize who I was. My priorities were different, the people in my life were different, and I’m not sure where my head was at.

To sum it up, junior year has been a year of growth. A long year of growing out of unhealthy friendships and investing all my time in the positive aspects of my life. As corny and cliché as this sounds, junior year has taught me that the root of happiness comes from self-love.

Like my mom said in a long, much needed motivational text message to me, “Life is about balance. The good and the bad. The thing everyone should realize is the key to happiness is being by yourself, for yourself. It’s so much better to be sad, yet complete, rather than being happy and feel like something missing. Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead.”

And with that, I focused on making every day count, because soon enough, I’ll be a senior and the greatest experience of my life will be coming to a close. My roommate often says, “Isn’t it unfair this is the best chapter of our life but also the shortest.”

That mentality right there is what goes through every junior and senior college student as they approach the month of May. We begin to reflect on our past three years, but also look forward to what will come next. We are all itching for summer, but none of us are ready to leave our home. It’s crazy to think that only three years ago, I came into this unknown town and have created some of the best memories, met some of the best people, found my dream hobby, and learned what I am looking for in a future career.

College has changed me in the best ways possible, and I’m just not ready to let that go. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to say goodbye to this place, but the best I can do now is be thankful for every day, even the bad ones, because at least I’m in Bloomsburg.

— Megan Hawbecker, junior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou #HuskyLife

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Break ... our saving grace

This semester I’ve been balancing four ongoing group projects, an internship, and having all of my exams “strategically” placed on the same Monday or Wednesday. On top of that, the spring time is very busy for the organizations I am involved in, so every weekend calls for an event.

Saying my weekdays are “busy” is definitely an understatement, but that just makes a moment of relaxation much more exciting. We all have tunnel vision for the one week of freedom we receive in the midst of all of this chaos.

Some students decide to go home and lay down on the couch for a week straight. Some students book flights with friends and fly south to warmer weather for seven days of endless excitement. Then there’s me and my best friend, who decided to pack up and drive north right into the snow.

We knew this was going to be one of our last adventures together while both being college students. We also knew we wanted to save some money but still get away for a few days. Therefore, the only logical option seemed to be Niagara Falls.

We booked a cheap hotel for two nights, Kevin’s mom packed us an endless amount of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we were off. A six-hour drive seems like nothing when you are in no hurry and just enjoying the moment you’re in. Luckily, Kevin has a good taste in music, which made the drive that much more tolerable.

We had an ironic “go with the flow” mentality the entire time. We didn’t make any plans ahead of time, so we just decided what we wanted to do in that second and did it. The first night we spent in Niagara was a night where you remember how lucky you are to be alive. There wasn’t any reason to use the word “no,” which resulted in trying a handful of new things.

I went to my first Hard Rock Cafe and somehow received my first bill at a restaurant that was over $100. I experienced a game of blackjack at a casino, where Kevin made back all of the money he lost with an additional $15. We somehow gained ourselves a free casino buffet the next day, which is apparently rare.

I faced my fears of singing karaoke and learned that I need to add more passion into my performance. Then to finish off all of these firsts, we made it to the falls. We spent our second day exploring everything Niagara Falls had to offer and did not let the snow stop us.

The trip was affordable, fun, and everything I could have asked for out of an experience. I am thankful every day for the friends and family who not only support my dream to travel, but join the adventure as well.

— Megan Hawbecker, junior mass communications major #HuskyLife

Monday, March 20, 2017

Like a good pedestrian ...

Soon after I arrived in China, I got to see many interesting sights while observing many differences between American and Chinese culture.

For starters, pedestrians do not have the right away when crossing the street, so it is necessary to pay attention to your surroundings while walking around with vehicles passing by.

Instead of having a separate sheet from a quilt, they have what is called a 被子 beizi (quilt) inside of a 被罩 beizhao (bag shaped quilt cover zipper sheet).

The cuisine is naturally different of course along with many different types of vegetables!

For example, some vegetables I have seen are 藕 ou (Lotus root), 莴笋 wosun (asparagus lettuce), 鱼腥草 yuxingcao (houttuynia cordata), 冬瓜 donggua (white gourd), 萝卜 luobo (a type of raddish), and 豆芽 douya (bean sprout).

Morning markets are also an occurrence in China as well! 火锅 huoguo (hot pot) Other dishes and meals!

Morning markets! A place to find fresh ingredients!

I went to some awesome places in Beijing like the Bird’s Nest (鸟巢niaochao) [Beijing’s National Stadium] and the Water Cube ( 水立方 Shui Lifang) [National Aquatic Center]. A very famous place to go, especially if you are a fan of the Olympics!

More places!

未名湖 weiminghu (Famous lake located around Beijing University).

Other places around and within Beijing University (北京大学)

Beijing Normal University

Another famous place in Beijing! 颐和园 Yiheyuan (Summer Palace)

Rachel Ann Cimera is a senior Chinese major with a minor in political science who is spending her final semester as a undergraduate this spring studying abroad at the renowned Beijing Normal University, a public research university located in China with strong emphasis on basic disciplines of humanities and sciences.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Netflix has a secret …

Have you ever been in a show hole on Netflix?

If you don’t know what a show hole is it’s when you have just finished a series and now you have no idea what to watch. Yes, we have all been there! We click on the browse button to see what type of genre we want next, but they are just too broad. We can never hone into the exact thing we are looking for.

What if I told you here is another world to Netflix? No, I am not crazy. You might be thinking to yourself there is no way, I know the ins and outs of everything Netflix. Well, you are so wrong. Netflix has some secret code that is put into the address bar that will take you so subgenres.

I know crazy right! Be amazed because your life is about to change! Ever in the mood for a tearjerker, some Nicolas Sparks movies, or anything with Robert Pattinson in it. Look no further they have a subgenre for Tearjerkers. All you have to do it type in the The number code is what triggers the subgenres in the website.

So, let’s say you are in the mood for Zombie Horror Movies, just add the code 75405 into the address bar and you have a slew of zombie movies. Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum Slapstick Comedy, add the code 10256 and you got The Little Rascals, Scooby-Doo, White Chicks and so much more.

We even have comedies for specific majors.

Criminal Justice

  • Crime Documentaries: 9875
  • Crime Dramas: 6889
  • Crime Thrillers: 10499 
  • Crime TV Shows: 26146

Foreign Language

  • Foreign Comedies: 4426 
  • Foreign Documentaries: 5161 
  • Foreign Dramas: 2150 
  • Indian Movies: 10463 
  • Irish Movies: 58750 
  • Italian Movies: 8221 
  • Japanese Movies: 10398 
  • German Movies: 58886 
  • Greek Movies: 61115 
  • French Movies: 58807

Political Science

  • Political Comedies: 2700 
  • Political Documentaries: 7018 
  • Political Dramas: 6616 
  • Political Thrillers: 10504

Environmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences

  • Science & Nature Documentaries: 2595 
  • Science & Nature TV: 52780


  • Showbiz Dramas: 5012
  • Showbiz Musicals: 13573

There are so many different categories to choose from. This will definitely help us stay out of a show hole and maybe even learn more about our majors and some avenues we can discover once we graduate.

Here is the list of codes so you can find your one subgenre!

— Samantha Gross, senior telecommunications major #HuskyUnleashed

Friday, March 10, 2017

Longing for the past, restless for the future

I find myself at a standstill as I finish my junior year of college. I’m constantly reflecting on the past, letting nostalgia overwhelm me with the way things used to be. I see myself maturing on social media and investing myself in work rather than going on personal adventures. I blame email for my transition into adulthood. My email is always open on my desktop and the worst part is that I get excited to see who’s reaching out or responding to my messages.

Just for the record fellow students, that’s when you know you’ve completed your transition into the real world.

We all want to stay young forever. I would stay 21 years old for the rest of my life if it were possible. I remember reading a quote on the internet that said, “A year of hurting so bad, but living so good.”

I find these words constantly floating around in my head as I live out my last few years as a young adult. I truly find my early twenties as the years we are living so good. We are free of most major responsibilities, we develop our passions, we meet our forever friends and most importantly, we build the foundation for our future. As much as this is the time of living so good, I also see it as the time of hurting so bad. We face several heartbreaks, we leave friends behind, fail tests and seem to face more rejections than anything else. Every day I remind myself that this is all part of the process.

Sophomore year will always be my favorite year out of the four. During that period of time, my friends and I were carefree, balancing on the fine line between freedom and responsibility. We didn’t know what the next year would have in store for us, nor did we care. We finally lived in our own apartments and had our cars with us, which gave us every reason to explore whenever we could.

Yes, we had schoolwork that needed to done, but it did not seem as important as the life lessons we chose to face instead. Staying up all night, broken down vehicles, driving hours to get diner food, flying across the country, and doing it all with the friends who continue to make my heart full will forever be the memories of my sophomore year.

The moments we share together as we grow up are equally as memorable, but reflect a new stage of life. Getting the call that we received the internships we have strived for, seeing our stories being published, and planning our last year together as college students is this stage.

If I have any advice for an underclassman, it’s to make the most of your first two years of college. If you’re questioning going out with friends, do it. If you’re not sure you want to spend those extra dollars, do it. Those are the moments that turn into the memories we will always carry with us.

— Megan Hawbecker, junior mass communications major #HuskyLife

Where the gypsies live

I still can’t believe my final week in Spain is over! I will miss all the friends I have made, the family I have been staying with, and Granada in general! I feel as if I have only just got here.

On Monday I went out for paella with my friends. Paella is a customary dish in Spain. It is usually shared with people and comes out in a large pan. Paella can be many different flavors from black rice (octopus) to a seafood or vegetarian paella. They always contain rice and different seasonings, seafood, or vegetables depending on the type. Eating here is a very social activity and when going out to dinner you can almost guarantee that it will take you at least two hours.

Tuesday we went horseback riding outside the city. A fifteen minute bus ride will take you out of the city and close to the mountains and the river. A group of students and I rode horses along a walking trail by the river. It was very beautiful and relaxing. The houses are all built along the mountains here and the views are amazing from up above in the country side.

I saw a movie at the theatres in Spanish on Wednesday. My friend and I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was a little hard to follow in Spanish because they speak quickly, but overall I could understand the story and learn a few new words in Spanish. In movie theatres here there are assigned seats and they are fairly cheap in Granada (only 4 Euros).

Thursday we went to Flamenco in a cave in an area called Sacromonte. This area is where many gypsies live inside caves built into the mountain. The caves are amazingly beautiful and surprisingly warm in the winter here. The flamenco show lasted almost two hours and was incredible to watch. I was extremely close to all the dancers and they moved so quickly and elegantly. Before seeing the show the group I was with had an hour dance class in Flamenco. It was extremely hard to do and learning the rhythm in the songs is not easy!

On Friday I had my final day of classes and had to say goodbye to my professors, friends, and host family here in Granada. It was hard to say goodbye, but we ensured each other that we would talk and whenever I visit Texas, Italy, Spain, or Korea I have people to visit.

My experience abroad has been eye opening! Living among another culture and language other than my own has been very fun. The people here have been so friendly and patient with someone who cannot speak perfectly. I have met so many amazing friends and this experience has propelled me to continue learning Spanish.

When I had wanted to say something to my family and I didn't know how, I would make it a goal that day to learn so the next day I could perfectly tell them what I had wanted to say. I can honestly say my experience here has been life changing!

I now know what it feels like to be lost in a country and have no idea how to ask for help. It has given me much more compassion for others and helped me to slow down and enjoy life a little more. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone no matter what level of language you know. My Spanish has improved vastly, and going to Spain has given me more knowledge and experience than any one class could have provided me.

Some fun facts about Granada ...

  • Unlike America where our street trees are mainly oak, maple, and ash, Granada has its streets lined with orange, pomegranate, and palm trees
  • Granada was under Muslim rule for almost 800 years, which is the longest Muslim rule in Spain
  • The whole time I was in Granada it did not rain or snow once
  • Spain has a president, but also has a king and queen
  • The area of Granada has been inhabited since approximately 5500 B.C.
  • Granada actually means pomegranate in Spanish

— Racquel Kreischer #HuskyUnleashed #HuskyAbroad

Racquel Kreischer is a senior engineering major spending this winter break studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Through the Instituto Mediterráneo Sol Granada she is studying Spanish while living with a Spanish family learning up-close about Spainards lives, language and culture.