Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Student Spotlight: Iliana Anapolsky Earns Scholarship to Summer Institute

Junior Russian and East European Studies / Political Science major Iliana Anapolsky was recently selected to receive the Russian and East European Institute Scholarship for Summer 2016. Iliana will use this award of more than $5000 to take summer intensive classes in Russian at the Indiana University Summer Language Workshop (Bloomington, IN). 

Established in 1950, the program is one of the oldest in the country--and one of the most prestigious. Over the years, the Summer Language Workshop has enabled thousands of students and professionals to intensively study languages critical to academic research, economic development, human rights, diplomacy, national security, cultural exchange, scientific advancement, and other global issues.

Upon graduation, Iliana plans to apply to law schools and eventually to become a lawyer specializing in international law. During the Winter 2015 semester, she travelled abroad to Poland and the Czech Republic, where she studied at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland).

Recently, Iliana participated in the CoLA Symposium, where she passionately talked about her majors to the audience of BU students. She is an active member of Russian Conversation Club and BU Linguistic League. In addition, in April, Iliana was an organizer and a presenter at the Tongue Fest, an event that brought together students interested in matters linguistic and intercultural.

Dr. Mykola Polyuha, assistant professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures, provided this entry. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mass Communication Students Develop Websites for Community Organizations

By Dennis Frohlich, Department of Mass Communications

In the spring semester, mass communication students put their web design skills to the test, developing websites for local organizations and non-profits. The project was part of MASSCOMM 220: Multimedia in Mass Communications I, and students worked in groups to create or update nine websites.

The goal of the project was to help community organizations either establish an online presence or update an existing website. All of these agencies have small staffs, and some are only staffed by one person! As such, it can be difficult for organizations to devote time to creating a website.

I worked with the Berwick Area United Way to identify suitable clients. Students worked in groups of 4-5, and met their clients in mid-March. They worked with clients to identify their needs and strategized the best way to meet those needs with a website. The groups then had five weeks to deliver the project outcomes.

Most of the clients did not have experience with web design, so it was imperative that students create a website that would be easy to update. In some cases, students also made social media accounts for the clients on platforms such as Facebook. Many of the clients wanted an easy way to accept online donations, so most groups also helped clients set up donation accounts with Paypal.

The following is a sampling of the work students completed.

The Berwick Area United Way’s website was drastically in need of updating, as it looked like it hadn’t been touched in ten years. Students not only gave the website an aesthetic update, but reorganized the content so that it was easier to navigation, and optimized the site for mobile devices.

The Berwick Area Swimming Pool Association has been preparing for years to reopen the Ber-Vaughn Swimming Pool. The pool fell into disrepair and was closed in 2012. Since then, the Pool Association has been working hard to reopen the pool. The pool previously had a single page website that was more of a placeholder than anything. Students created a whole new website for the pool. The pool is reopening this summer, so the website came just in time!

One group even developed a website for the Salem Township Police Department. At first they thought it would be intimidating working with the police, but they ended up having a great time and had a good working relationship with the department.

I could go on with stories like these. The students stepped up to meet their clients’ needs, and all of the clients were pleased when the students presented their work at the end of the semester.

One client sent me an email, saying in part:

“The students were pleasant, responsive and very professional to work with.  The clinic director and I are happy with the design, colors and format of the website they created. … They even offered to help me out via email if I get stuck! … Thank you for encouraging your class to perform this community service!”

The assignment partially fulfilled students’ Citizenship MyCore requirements, but the assignment was more than just a General Education Point (GEP). Students got real-world experience working with clients, and each group faced unique challenges as they tried to meet their client’s needs. The students got to give back to their community, and through this project they gained a newfound confidence in their design abilities.

Students will do this assignment again in the Fall semester, so we are in need of new clients! If anybody knows of a local organization, agency, non-profit, church, club, or other group that needs a website, please contact me at

List of Community Websites, along with the students who worked on them

Ber-Vaughn Pool
Laura Campbell, Matthew Delviscio, Erik Falcone, Cathy Quinones, Rebecca Ward

Berwick Area United Way
Ethan Baker, Nicole Keiser, Frank Kucharski, Angela Marchese, Hannah Young

Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine
Keely Cahill, Chelsea Kennedy, Carrie Mann, Audra Ortiz

Danville United Way
Francesca Fortunato, Jayne Gac, Dashiyah Green, Victoria Notte, Anna Wegrzyn

The Dental Health Clinic of Berwick
Monica Grater, Anastasia Scott, Andrijana Stamenkovic, Erin Winkler

The Gate House
Amanda Blasco, Malik Sneed, Eddie Weldon, Daneisha Williams

Mission Mall Alternative Gift Fair
William Breinich, Rachel Moogan, Alexandra Offor, Luke Rimmer

Salem Township Police Department
Devon Downes, Kyle Klosinksi, Lauren Messam, Alexandria Soller

Young's Funny Farm
Evan Brown, Seulgi Shin, Corey Shirk, Taylor Yandle

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Senior Spotlight: Shaakirah Bradshaw

Graduating senior Shaakirah Bradshaw is a creative force to keep on watching!  With four honor cords, this English Major and Dance Minor has turned some head in both arenas.  Recently initiated into the International English Honor Society, and closing the 6th Annual Dance Minor Concert with her work Meet My Emotions, she is highly expressive, full of vision, and has a desire to continue creating thoughtful works for public consumption. In her words:

"After graduation I plan to return home to Philadelphia where I will continue my training in dance. I also want to audition for many dance companies, go on tour, and just share what I love to do."

Bradshaw was recently selected to learn a dance work created and choreographed by the highly acclaimed Artistic Director of the Koresh Dance Company.  This work was performed here at BU as part of the Celebrity Artist Series.  She reflects on that opportunity:

"Dancing with Koresh was one of the best experiences I had here at BU. At the audition I was very nervous but excited at the same time. I just had to remember that this is something I do every day, I just had to relax and do what I love. Once I got in I was very happy and ready to work hard. In practice I worked a lot on finding the meaning of the dance within myself. I did not truly find the meaning of the dance until the company came for the performance. Seeing them rehearse on stage, working together so well,  and dancing with such grace and meaning made me truly understand what I wanted to do in life, and I finally understood the meaning of the dance for me. I am so thankful that I got the chance to dance for Koresh because it made me realize that dance is all I want to do in life. In the end I received a scholarship to dance at the Koresh School of Dance for the summer! I am really excited and cannot wait for new experiences!"

As her dance mentor, I couldn't be more proud of her bold nature, her drive for excellence, and her unique sense of artistry.  She will continue to move and change the world.

Submitted by Professor Julie Petry, MFA

To see the 6th annual Dance Minor Concert featuring Shaakirah's work, click here.

Brittany Churbika produced a video about Bloomsburg University's Dance Minor. Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Senior Spotlight: Abigail Messinger

Graduating senior Abigail Messinger has recently completed an interdisciplinary project to combine the concepts of both degrees that she will be receiving this spring. As a dual major in Audiology/Speech Pathology and Spanish, Abigail worked to translate into Spanish the clinic forms and documents from our very own Bloomsburg University Speech and Hearing Clinic in collaboration with Dr. Patricia Dórame-Holoviak. Throughout her time here at Bloomsburg she has been very involved with both departments. 

Abigail plans to attend the University of North Carolina this fall to study for her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology, focusing on working with the Spanish speaking population. Congratulations, Abigail, and good luck!

Monday, April 25, 2016

BU Student Presents at CERIS Undergraduate Research Symposium

My name is Elizabeth Miller. I transferred to Bloomsburg from St. John’s University in Queens in the spring of 2014. I am from a small town called Port Jervis, NY. I am currently a Junior and a dual major in Arabic and History with a minor in Middle East Studies.  I am apart of the work-study program and I work at the History Department in Old Science Hall. I am also the secretary of History Club and I am involved in Model Arab League; I am also helping to start a functioning Arabic Club. After finishing my undergraduate studies I intend to further my education at graduate school to pursue an intensive Middle East Studies and Arabic program.

The weekend of April 9th 2016 I went to Duquesne University to present my research on Osama bin Laden’s radicalization based on the U.S. policies, involving Saudi Arabia up to September 11th 2001. I wrote this paper for a Research and Writing Skills course here at Bloomsburg University under Dr. Karsner in the department of History. The presentation allowed me to show other students and faculty the work I put into this topic, which has affected society's perception of the Middle East today. Additionally, the symposium gave me the opportunity to practice my public speaking skills, and for me this is unnerving. Although that is the case, it is important to step outside of your comfort zone and show others the hard work one puts into research. 

Elizabeth Miller with Dr. Safa Saraçoğlu
I also had the honor to meet others who share similar interests regarding Islamic and Middle East studies. One of the fellow students in my presentation room was from Kenya and was there during the 1998 Africa Embassy bombings. Additionally one of the professors who was not able to see my presentation specifically asked me to send him a copy of my paper because he was interested in my research. This symposium presented me the opportunity to make connections outside of Bloomsburg University, which may help in my future career.

This summer I will be furthering my research on this subject with Dr. Saraçoğlu. He gave the keynote address at the conference on the Syrian Refugee crisis and is a professor here at Bloomsburg University. I received feedback and suggestions from other professors at the conference that will help me in my research. I am a dual major in Arabic and History and have a minor in Middle East Studies. This summer, thanks to the encouragement of Dr. Laayouni, the Arabic professor, I will be studying Arabic in Morocco for four weeks and when I come back I will further my research here at Bloomsburg University with the support of an URSCA grant.

The professors at Bloomsburg University have encouraged me to present my research and further my studies in this field. I am grateful for the experiences and support I have here, especially in the History and Languages and Cultures departments. I would encourage other students to make faculty connections and participate in conferences and presentations. It is important to be proud of your work and make the best of your undergraduate years in order to better yourself as a student to have a successful future.