Friday, February 21, 2020

A political science perspective on celebrity testimony

Neil Strine, associate professor of political science at Bloomsburg University, recently presented a Lunchtime Lecture about celebrity testimony before Congress in the Schweiker Room of Andruss Library. I felt the topic was interesting and was surprised I was the only student to attend. It seems it would be a popular topic, as celebrities typically have a large following. That’s why they feel the need to testify before Congress, as their influence brings attention to certain issues.

Strine researched this topic for his dissertation as a graduate student at BU. As part of his research, he bought a thesis for $30 that didn’t determine how exactly celebrities spoke to the right people to be able to testify before Congress, only that it was an “insider’s game” that basically used personal connections to obtain a hearing. Once celebrities schedule a hearing, a formal process begins in which they submit a speech that the interviewees read before the hearing. Everything is scripted, as members of Congress prepare questions they have after reading the speech beforehand.

Nothing is much of a surprise.

Strine explained how it’s all a show for viewers. Both members of Congress and celebrities seek to gain some sort of recognition from it. Celebrities get recognized as a good citizen looking out for others or championing a good cause. Members of Congress get publicity that brings attention to them and their constituents. It gives interviewees the opportunity to brag to colleagues and voters that they met a famous public figure. The attention the media gives the hearings put a spotlight on the district or state that the member of Congress represents, helping to amplify a cause for policymakers and get them reelected.

As part of his later work, he collaborated with a rhetorical scholar to examine many opening statements and speeches of celebrities and Congress to determine a basic speech format. The format of celebrity testimony included persuasive tactics such as downplaying their status as a celebrity, claiming they are just like “normal” Americans, and that they are helping the common person.

I found this lecture to be quite informative and interesting. I was disappointed to only see a few faculty and staff there, with no other students. As a communication studies student, I glad to see my discipline represented and used to analyze this type of public practice. I hope to hear and see more of these lectures in the future, as they are fairly conducive to my schedule.

— Gabriel Miller, senior communication studies major

Friday, February 7, 2020

Wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity

This week I attended Professional U's first career expo of the spring, the Diversity and Inclusion Career Expo. I actually forgot the expo was on Tuesday until it was too late. I forgot to wear business attire, not exactly a deal breaker for employers at the expo but not recommended by the organizers.

I also didn’t have a portfolio with copies of my resume, another recommendation for these professional events. But I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to learn more about certain employers and opportunities.

The table I spent the most time at was Sherman Williams. I wanted to learn more about their internship and job opportunities. As a senior graduating this fall, I wasn’t eligible for their internship but am eligible for their management training program. I was excited to learn more about, as I've been in a leadership position at my part-time retail job for about three years now.

The recruiter also explained to me that as a paint store they have various customers, both business clients and normal people. Many customers are interesting as many of them are DIYers (Do it Yourself) who are interested in paint for their projects. She explained that it's fun to help them find the best paint to suit all their project needs.

I’m very interested in pursuing their management program and will likely check into it more in the future. It’s a different industry I hadn’t really considered working for before. It's also advantageous that one of their locations is close to where I live.

— Gabriel Miller, senior communication studies major

Upcoming Boutique Career Expos

Explore career options, job opportunities and network with alumni and industry professionals.

  • Communications/Marketing/Management Expo — Thursday, March 5, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the KUB Ballroom
  • Education Expo — Friday, March 13, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., in the KUB Ballroom
  • Technology Expo — Thursday, March 26, from 1 to 4:30 p.m., in the Greenly Center

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The long winding road between two small towns

A few weeks ago as I drove back for my eighth and final semester at Bloomsburg University, it reminded me of the days when Bloomsburg was just a possibility. Of when the buildings and pathways I know so well now were just photos to me. I wondered what my life here would turn out to be, and I never would have imagined the amount of growth I would endure and how many people would become family to me.

My story of where I’d go to college wasn’t one where the whole family had attended or where I’d known forever this is where I’d be moving to. Instead senior year rolled around, and I applied to 11 universities because that’s how much I didn’t know where I wanted to be.

Picking a college wasn’t easy. But when you know what you want, just not where it helps.

My criteria was simple:
  • four-year public college
  • affordable
  • a well put together campus
  • enough students to escape the high school feel
Bloomsburg checked all of those boxes for me.

With only one problem — it’s eight hours from my small ski town in northern Vermont. The photos of campus looked nice, but I couldn’t get a feel for the campus through that. I couldn’t possibly attend a college before seeing it and feeling it.

Which is when my best friend Ema and I decided on a February day senior year to hop in the car and take a quick weekend road trip down to Bloomsburg, Pa. We hadn’t driven this far on our own before, but it seemed like a fun opportunity for us to spend some time together before graduation.

It feels as if Ema and I grew up together, becoming best friends at 13. We split apart to different schools when ninth grade rolled around, but we never stopped being each others go-to. We spent the majority of senior year dipping out of our free blocks to drive an hour (one way) to our favorite restaurant Moe’s — in an effort to make it back to school by three for lacrosse practice. We were always ready to jump at something to do, so this trip didn’t take much thought.

So, we loaded up in her old beat up Range Rover and made our way which turned out to be just the beginning of my long trips down to Bloomsburg University — now four years ago. Being able to walk on campus and drive through town made it real for me. I knew I loved Bloomsburg after that initial trip — the picturesque campus, the cute downtown restaurants, and the small-town atmosphere that made me feel right at home.

I come from a very small town. The list of things to do with my friends is very short. I didn’t always love it, but I was comfortable with it. So even though Bloomsburg was eight hours from home, and I didn’t know a single soul coming in, it felt similar to home. And as the person I was then, comfortable was something I wanted to stick with.

So Bloomsburg University it was.

— Drew Hess, a senior communication studies major and emergent media minor, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications. She is a native of Stowe, Vt., a town of 4,472 people in northern Vermont known for its trails and ski slopes.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife