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Student Spotlight: Abdallah Ibrahim Makes a Difference with UN Relief Efforts

Student Spotlight: Abdallah Ibrahim Makes a Difference with UN Relief Efforts

Zac Kopp

April 19, 2017


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Within the violence of the Middle East, in particular, the Syrian Civil War, hundreds of thousands of refugees are forced to flee their war-torn homes to a world that may or may not even be welcoming of them. In these times, organizations like the United Nations World Food Programme are the only thin...

Students present in URCA symposium

Bex Hunter

April 10, 2017


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The College of Arts and Sciences is holding the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Symposium on April 11 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the John C. Myers Convocation Center.The symposium features work from over 60 students from 15 different departments within the College.The dean of the college, Dr. Dawn Weber, explained that the symposium will showcase a variety of work and talents of the students within the College of Arts and Sciences.“This event provides students in the College of Arts and Sciences the chance to present the results of independent research, exhibit their artwork, or give literary readings, musical or theatrical performances in a professional setting,” Dr. Weber said.The symposium will include oral presentations, performances, poster presentations, and art exhibitions.The event will start off at with the first session of oral presentations from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. in the Trustees Room. Dr. Weber will start the event with the welcome and opening remarks, and then will pass it on to the students. The first oral session includes works from Joey Barretta, Lydia Smith, Kiana Ziegler, and Meghann Fitzpatrick.The second and third sessions of oral presentations will take place from 10:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m. The second session will be in the Trustees Room which will include work from Alicia Jones, Corinne Spisz, Kayla Gowdy, and Aimee Linville. The third session will be in the Faculty Room and include works from Ryan Bastian, Isaac Waterman, and Ceyanna Stasick.Stasick will be presenting her work "The Stronger: An Application of the Meisner Acting Technique" which is a technique she has been drawn to in her acting.“The Meisner technique is built on repetition exercises meant to increase one's listening skills,” Stasick said. “As a Meisner actor you can not think, you must do. Simply and truthfully. My goal in the show was to achieve this skill of instant response, to be completely in the moment in that way.”The first poster and exhibition session will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Alumni Room. This session will include the works of Tasha Arnold, Lauren Bacigalupe and Emily Dine, Derek Baker, Zachary Bernhard, Hayden Eighinger, Elizabeth Kemp, Marissa Lindberg, Lydia Smith, Isabella Steiner, Hannah Wiles and Mitch Ellis, Muslimah Williams, Isaac Waterman, Emily Minns, and Emily Nicholls and Lindsey Jones.The second poster and exhibition session will take place from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the Alumni Room and will include work from Kate Budzik and Melanie Ward, Emily Civittolo, Emily Dine, Justin Dowell and Kelsey Kidd, Emily Law, Danny Lawson, Morgan Snyder, Cory Turpin and Lacy Hepp, Olivia Widenmeyer, Emily Wirtz and Danielle Bruno, Kelly Murray, Anamarie Coors.Dine’s work "Analysis of Phytochemicals of Red Maple and Related Species" has been project she has been working on for multiple years now and will be presenting her collected data.“The goal of my project was to quantify the levels of acertannin in different maple species,” Dine said.  “Acertannin, is the suspect compound in the leaves which may produce a toxic effect in horses.  Interestingly enough, the wilted red maple leaf is of most concern because horses typically only eat the leaves if the branch has fallen. The wilted red maple leaves had the highest concentration of acertannin compared to the three others. This is interesting because there was a three fold increase in the amount as compared to fresh maple leaves.”The oral presentations will continue from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m with the fourth and fifth sessions. The fourth session will be held in the Trustees Room and will include the works of Chanel Bluntschly, Michael Byndas, Joshua Thompson and Jason Wolf, Cortney Kourie and Samantha Carson, and Logan Baker. The fifth session will be held in the Faculty Room and include works from Grace McCourt, Dana Reed, Bethany Meadows, and Joey Barretta.Baker’s work "Exploring Tadashi Suzuki's Method in Performance" is her senior project for her degree in musical theatre.“I declared which acting method I wanted to use at the end of my junior year after being exposed to Tadashi Suzuki and his acting method,” Baker said. “I wanted to explore a physical side of my acting and I began to research and solidify the exercises from Suzuki's Method of Actor Training in early fall of my senior year. I accepted the role of the Leading Player in our spring musical Pippin, and from there I used the Suzuki exercises before rehearsals as well as between scenes to get out of my head and focus on the breath.”The symposium will end with the sixth session of oral presentations from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Trustees Room. The last session will include works from Bryanna Austin, Garrison Stima, Elizabeth Grace Davis, and Mykenna Schlorb.For a complete presentation schedule, go to: https://www.ashland.edu/cas/sites/ashland.edu.cas/files/general/urca_program_final.pdf 

Club Spotlight: Unidad

Vince Lester

March 31, 2017


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This week’s Club Spotlight is Unidad, a Latin American Club that translates to “unity” and was created to showcase their culture on campusThe recently re-chartered club was present on campus, but back in 2013 was disbanded due to lack of membership and interest. Since then, Patrick Wallace, curre...

The Real Robin Black

Kellie Pleshinger

March 31, 2017


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Robin Black sat down to write again.It was 2001, 20 years after she had left it all behind.It came back as an intense drive, as if pressure had been building inside her and was being released through the words on the page, she said.  A transition back to a pastime long abandoned, she felt like it was effortless as the writing poured out of her.“A lot of fears kept me from writing,” Black said, “a lot of inhibitions, and I had my first child when I was 25, and I kind of hid in my household having babies and raising them.”Facing these fears head on after her youngest child began kindergarten, Black reignited her passion, fueling the long-dormant fire of her writing and eventually publishing three books.Black, the author of Life Drawing and If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, is coming to Ashland University in the English Department’s Spring Reading Series to read from one of her fiction novels and answer questions on April 3 at 4 p.m.Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s in New Haven, Connecticut, Black’s aspirations for writing grew with her in a house full of books.  As the youngest of three children, stories influenced her from the very beginning.“I loved books, I mean, I was that kid at the restaurant who sat there–you know, you sometimes see them with families, you look over and there’s like one child holding a book–that was me.” Black said.But this love of stories evolved into telling them not through writing, but from the stage.  Black attended Sarah Lawrence College for Theater, a passion which did not last long, as she “kind of chickened out.”Abandoned because of social anxiety, leaving theater lead her about a year later to the creative pursuit of writing, according to Black’s website.“Everything was great,” Black said, a laugh building behind her words during the phone interview, “except then I quit in my early twenties.”Opting to devote herself to her family instead of her career, she married, raised three children, and while she was happy, the need to write stirred in the back of her mind, a little pinch of regret, she said.But in 2001, her life changed from pottery, “Halloween costumes and birthday cakes” to local writing workshops in Philadelphia, exchanging work with friends and making new friends with other aspiring authors.Two years later, Black became a part of the Master of Fine Arts program for writing at Warren Wilson College, and she went on to publish a story collection, an essay collection and a novel, with more works on the way.  Currently, she also teaches in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program and the Ashland University Low Residency MFA Program.“Robin Black’s novel Life Drawing is interesting and inspiring, and her coming to Ashland provides us with a unique opportunity to ask questions and here her story first-hand.” Sara Ludwig, a freshman English and Creative Writing major, said.The psychology behind characters, their motivations and why they act the way they do are her main inspirations for writing, she said, and this exploration of human behavior creates interesting and believable characters.“For me,” Black said, “it’s all about communication; it’s about looking at the world or making up a world and using literature to communicate things that feel important to me about human life...and, for whatever reason, that keeps me going.”Her most rewarding responses through her work come from people who suffered a tragedy and can connect with the characters to feel less alone, and her novel concerning loss is able to help those who have suffered through their trying time.“It’s also very cool to be at a reading or at a book group and here people argue about your characters as if they’re real people.” Black said in a lighter tone. “That’s amazing to me that they come across that well to readers.”Before the characters can become real to the readers, however, Black confronted the challenges of writing: primarily, the “dry spells,” balancing family life, and, well, writing.There are both productive and unproductive periods, and every writer goes through them, in various stages throughout their lives.  Beyond that, balancing work and home life also requires a constant learning process.Whether she found that balance, Black has yet to see.  “First of all, I think you’d have to ask my kids that question.” Black joked.  “I’m honestly not sure I always did.”When it comes to the craft, the hardest part to Black about writing is “just kind of doing it,” and shutting out doubts, fears, anxieties, laziness, and all other concerns, she said.While erasing all of these worries is necessary to write, Black does not see it as something that can be conquered but rather a constant battle for writers of any genre, one which requires learning that people disagree.“It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks,” she advised aspiring writers to keep in mind, “just do your best work."Advising is one aspect Black looks forward to for her reading here at Ashland, as helping writers in a question and answer segment is one of her favorite parts of an event such as this.  Through her experiences and her writing itself, she hopes to convey to others that even if they fall off of their passion for twenty years, they should not give up“If I’m on a crusade as a writer, it’s probably the fact that life is complicated and rushing to blame people for things is often wrong, that nobody is all good or all bad, that everybody has their story to tell,” Black said.

AU seniors display work in art exhibition

AU seniors display work in art exhibition

Samantha Didion

March 28, 2017


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On March 30, the first Senior Art Exhibition opening reception will be held in the Coburn Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts building from 4:30- 6:30 p.m.The first art exhibition will feature the work of Emily Didion, Anastasia Russo, and Emily Minns. Their artwork will be available for viewing from ...

University play sends encouraging message to students

University play sends encouraging message to students

Kaitlyn Moore

March 28, 2017


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It’s a wintry Friday night in Almost, a little town in northern Maine. The cold, clear air beautifully showcases the stars and northern lights overhead as town residents search for love and happiness.Director and associate theater professor Teresa Durbin-Ames describes the evening as lovely and li...

Ashland University helps stroke survivor: Convo helps bring normalcy back into the life of a stroke victim

Kate Siefert and Erich Metze

March 2, 2017


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Many people spend their lives planning the perfect future for themselves. This was the exact case for Truck and Katie Bryson. It was not until four years into their marriage when both of their lives completely changed forever and the future they had dreamed together would become unachievable. Katie Bryson...

Warm weather changes campus atmosphere

Connor Dunwoodie

March 2, 2017


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February has already given Ohio a little taste of what is in store for spring. With temperatures hitting upwards of 65 degrees in Ashland, students and Ashland residents alike can be seen taking advantage of the nice weather both on and off campus. “On days that it is nice on campus I really enjoy being outside with some people and going to the intermural fields and throwing the lacrosse ball around or the Frisbee, or even playing flag football with a group of people. I always have a good time,” Ashland University student, Patrick Baeder said.Taking advantage of the nice weather can be as simple as going outside and going on a walk, but there is much more to do in Ashland than meets the eye. AU’s Director of Campus Wellness, Deborah Sullivan explained that there is a lot more to Ashland than many students may realize.“Just right within our area we have a walking trail right on our campus even, for a mile walking trail,” Sullivan said. “We have parks nearby, the closest being Freer Field that many people have found. There is a paved area but then back in the woods there is a number of other trails as well.” The Ashland County Park District offers a variety of places to enjoy the nice weather, with 16 different parks in the county alone. In those parks there are various activities to partake in, from bird watching to geocaching. According to the Ashland County Park District’s website, there are several caches within the county. Sullivan also mentioned how there is programming for Ashland to help get people outdoors. Let’s Walk Ashland is a movement, which encourages walking in general, whether it is in the parks or simply on neighborhood sidewalks. Let’s Walk Ashland encourages walking for physical, social, emotional, and many other reasons.   For students and residents who are looking to go outdoors and enjoy the nice weather without having to walk a lot, Ashland also has many other facets to enjoy the nicer weather with a more relaxing twist to it. “I also recommend if students are interested in a more meditative kind of walk to head up to the Ashland high school and on the back part of the high school there is a meditation garden,” Sullivan said. “There’s some Buddhist areas, there’s a bell, there is a little pond, and there are a variety of things that are very calming.”Sullivan also mentioned other calming areas, such as the garden at the seminary, which is used for prayer and relaxation, as well as taking a walk downtown and seeing all that it has to offer. For students looking to cover more distance without walking, cycling is an easy way to take advantage of the warmer temperatures. According to Director of Recreational Services, Janel Molnar, March 1 is when bikes become available to rent from the Rec Center. The city of Ashland and Ashland County as a whole consists of various bike paths that AU students and Ashland residents can take advantage of. “Please wear a helmet,” Molnar said, stressing the importance of safety when it came to activities such as bike riding.  Molnar also mentioned how in addition to bikes, the Rec Center offers a variety of other things to do outside such as corn hole, Kan Jam, and other lawn-style games. The sand volleyball courts are usually set up after spring break, depending on the weather. The Rec Center no longer checks out camping equipment. The Rec Center does now offer extended hours throughout the week, increasing time flexibility for those looking to check out equipment. These changes include remaining open until midnight Monday through Thursday and Sunday and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  

Club Spotlight: AU G.I.V.S. campus impact

March 2, 2017


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This week’s club spotlight is AU G.I.V.S. which is a student run organization grounded through helping out others and the community through volunteering service.Jennifer Washock, AU G.I.V.S. adviser as well as Director of Orientation and Community Service, said community service is a way to “get...

FCA continues to grow at AU

Noah Cloonan

March 2, 2017


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For some college athletes, finding time to practice your religion and live out your faith can be hard to find, but Ashland University’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) helps to solve that problem.FCA is a national organization that focuses on reaching athletes and coaches while giving them an avenue to live out their faith on their respective campuses. The national vision of FCA is, “To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.”Joe Maggelet is the Athletic Chaplain at AU and he is in charge of running the FCA on campus. Maggelet says that on any given week he will see 50-100 kids that show up on Tuesday nights at the FCA meetings. This has not always been the case, as there were just five athletes at the first meeting Maggelet attended over 20 years ago. Since then, Maggelet has made it his goal to reach athletes on AU’s campus in a way that nobody else had before. One of  the first things Maggelet did was develop a mission statement that was personalized for AU and his ministry, “To reach, disciple and equip college students to know Christ and to make him known in successive generations in all the nations.” FCA goes well beyond the physical meeting on Tuesday nights as it extends throughout every day of the week through “Team Huddles.” Team Huddles are Bible studies that are led by athletes to the rest of their team.“Athletes reach athletes way better than someone from the outside so the goal is to help train and disciple athletes to reach their teammates for Christ,” Maggelet said. “We have about ten teams that have Bible studies that are student led.”On those ten teams there are currently 15 leaders that meet with Maggelet once a week to plan out the Bible study for the upcoming week that they will lead amongst their teammates. Team huddles see a very good turnout, according to Maggelet who said that during the fall semester the football team huddle would consistently have more than 30 athletes that would attend regularly.  “The Strength of FCA is what happens outside FCA,” Maggelet said. “We do chapels with football and basketball. With football we make sure we have a chapel available every week for athletes to go to.”For Rachelle Morrison, this could not be more true. Morrison, a senior on the women’s basketball team, was first invited to attend FCA at one of the team huddle meetings. She decided to attend and was introduced to Maggelet for the first time. She said that his passion for the Bible and his knowledge of it is unlike anyone else that she had ever met and that he pushed and challenged his students in a way that only he could.“I just look at the impact that he’s made on my life and the impact that I’ve been able to make on other people’s lives because of him,” Morrison said. “So it’s not only the people that he has reached one-on-one but who those people have reached as well. Joe (Maggelet) has impacted those well beyond one person.”Maggelet has a large emphasis on training athletes in the way they should walk in hopes that they will be able to teach others that same thing.“You invest in their life and then they invest in others. We call that the process of multiplication,” Maggelet said. FCA is not only for athletes but it is for the rest of the student body as well. FCA is held on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. in the Lower Chapel.“Joe just has such a passion and he gives it to you straight and if you haven’t come I suggest you come on Tuesday nights,” Morrison said.

Students spend time alone with God: Prayer wall in chapel

Bex Hunter

February 17, 2017


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On a college campus, finding a place for peace and quiet can be difficult. Right through the doors of the lower chapel entrance, there is a door with a plaque that reads “Alone with God.” The “Alone with God” room, also known as the prayer room, is a room specifically created to give students that...

Beauty from strife: 2017 Faculty Art Show

Beauty from strife: 2017 Faculty Art Show

Ingrid Schmidt

February 17, 2017


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 sculpture of the woman stands crying in the gallery.  Crying so hard that her tears have created the dress she is wearing.“And then she’s got her family and children up on top,” the artist Janis Mars Wunderlich said.  “They’re in this little boat, and the boat isn’t actually touching the water.  You get the sense that she’s trying to protect them and keep them safe from the flood.  But they’re also precariously balanced like they could tip over and fall into the water at the same time.”The annual Ashland University Faculty art exhibition at Coburn Gallery runs through Feb. 19, showcasing the art and sometimes the personal stories of the AU art faculty.Mars Wunderlich has been an art instructor at Ashland University for two years.“I’ve always tried to make my art an honest reflection of what’s happening in my world around me,” Mars Wunderlich said.  “I see them a little bit like journal entries in a way.  They record moments, or memories, or emotions, that I’m having around different topics.”The main themes in her art are divorce, mothering, love, and rebuilding after a tragedy she said.“I wanted to address that parenting and mothering is wonderful and beautiful, but there’s also all the complicated questions,” Mars Wunderlich said.Her sculptures show her desire to protect her children, even when she felt she may have failed them.“I was thinking about my children when I got a divorce, worrying that I was ruining them, and ruining my family,” Mars Wunderlich said.  “Nobody wants to have a divorce.”Instructor Cynthia Petry has been the gallery director at Ashland University for 21 years.  Her art was created with images of vintage women’s magazines.Petry feels that some of the ideas about women and equality implied in her work with the magazines still comes into play today.“Many of the issues are still relevant to women, maybe in different circumstances,” Petry said.  “I think this idea of being equal still comes into play.”Petry wants to see women’s rights and equality to continue for her daughter and granddaughter.“It gets us to sort of see the past and its place today,” Petry said.Michael Bird, assistant professor in the art department, has been teaching at Ashland University for two years.  Much of the art he created for the show features humans in bare flesh.  One of the most important elements in the art is the skin, he said.“The skin itself is kind of a metaphor for what contains the inside of us versus the outside of us,” Bird said.  “So a lot of what we view as being sensitive is about the exposure of that skin and if we break the skin, do we let a little bit of what’s inside of us out or a little bit of what’s outside of us in?”Bird’s work is often times influenced by events in his personal life.“Each piece is kind of a meditation on sometimes specific relationships,” Bird said.  “But I try to leave my work open to interpretation.  The pieces mean something to me, but they don’t necessarily have to mean something to you.”Mars Wunderlich also feels that although much of her work is grounded in deeply personal situations, viewers should remain free to ponder the art, and interpret it in different ways.“Even though these pieces are really personal to me, they’re about my personal struggle, I really hope people can connect with them on a more personal level,” she said.Mars Wunderlich feels that the show helps viewers see the style of art taught by the professors at Ashland and it gives the students insight into their professors’ artistic style.“We aren’t just educators,” Mars Wunderlich said.  “We are learners as well, we are artists as well, we are makers.”