These are eight articles, one column and one press release I wrote during my sophomore and senior years. The following classes are Magazine and Feature Writing, Reporting and Writing for Mass Media. 

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Magazine and Feature Writing (Spring 2015)

The Thoughts behind the Construction at CMU

April 29, 2015

The administration at Central Michigan University has adopted a ten-year capital plan for their major construction and landscape projects, which add up to 45 impactful changes on the campus that will be paid mostly by bonds and partially by the school itself.

Thus far, the university has made estimations for 43 of these projects, which in total add up to $443,093,000.

Mary Hill, associate vice president of financial services and reporting, said that the CMU master plan isn’t set in stone, but serves rather as a guideline for where the university needs to go. They may not go through with all 45 projects, because each one has to be approved by the cabinet and the Board of Trustees. The university must also provide a plan on how to pay for labor, materials, permits and so forth. Some of their options for financing the projects are bonds, which is a form of mortgage, and funds, which are provided by institutional investors, like the State of Michigan, as well as long-term investors such as insurance companies. Hill added that the university is expected to pay back the bonds, including interest, and the companies that invest on the university expect to make a profit in the foreseeable future.

Recently the Board of Trustees decided during a meeting the budget for the renovation at the business administration building Grawn Hall to be no more than $10.8 million, which is lower than the $70 million estimate on the capital plan. Hill said it’s now up to the school to fundraise $5.8 million of that amount and then match it with $5 million. The master plan states that the overall estimate for the Biosciences building will be $95 million, which is currently the only on-going project. However, Hill stated that on April 20, its total expenditures reached $21,423,538.79 and thus far State of Michigan has funded $30 million in this project. If all goes according to plan, Hill said they will make their last payment in December of 2016 and have students attending classes there by the 2017 spring semester.

“It’s the most expensive building on campus, because we have certain requirements since we’re installing specialized equipment,” Hill said. “I know they had to put in a lot of cement, because of the vibrations that the microscopes and other machines will cause in the building.”

Thoughts behind the CMU Construction_PDF

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Defrosting the Writer’s Block:
How writers and poets maintain their creativity during the winter
Feb. 19, 2015

Cabin fever can cause writer’s block for some artists, with the low temperature and vast amount of snow and ice keeping people stranded in their homes.

Grand Rapids senior Audrey Hoisington said leaving the comforts of your home and placing yourself among other people is like holding yourself to your own word. Staying home will make things worse. At home, it’s easy to procrastinate, browsing the Internet and making excuses why there’s no point to write. The bad weather makes this venture obviously more difficult so it takes even more dedication to create a story or a poem.

“It’s always worth it,” Hoisington said, “because once you get there, there’s just something about the atmosphere, about actually getting up to be productive, that makes you really feel like a writer, and a good location helps to keep you focused.”

One of the places Hoisington likes go to is the Starbucks on Pickard Street, much obliged to the smell of fresh coffee and the free Wi-Fi. When she writes, she likes to listen to instrumental music from 8tracks.com and set a timer for herself so that she writes (and nothing else) for at least an hour. Another good place where she catches her muse is the fourth floor in the Park Library, specifically the spot looking out to the Bovee University Center.

Read the rest here: Defrosting the Writer's Block_PDF
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Campus Nesters
Jan. 20, 2015

Despite that the school closed down for four weeks, duty called for the staff members on east campus.

Even the custodians came into each building throughout winter break to clean the rooms.

Resident Hall Director Abby Gibson-Howe, who overlooks Herrig and Celani, said about 130-140 people stayed in Saxe/Herrig/Celani for most of break. Among them were athletes, international students, and domestic students who had work or just wanted to remain in the dorms.

Gibson-Howe said the resident assistants and multi-cultural advisers took turns living on campus throughout the break. They made rounds in the buildings like they do during the semester, and made sure all doors were locked at night.

Read the rest here: Campus nesters_PDF format

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Reporting (Fall 2014)

Tipping the scale in favor of rape victims at CMU
Dec. 11, 2014

The new Title IX policy at Central Michigan University hasn’t been completed, but it’s already having an effect on the departments that handle sexual misconduct on campus.

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Tony Voisin stated that the federal government is making legislature changes in regards to sexual assault on a weekly basis and sends universities like CMU requirements and regulations that they have to follow. The Title IX policy addresses issues that the government has raised, such as when a university is supposed to complete the investigation on a case; the time frame has been set to 60 days. He stated that it’s going to be a comprehensive, detailed policy that deals with all forms of sexual misconduct: assault, harassment, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence.

“The fact that we have a policy that provides options and intra measures for survivors, not only to support them, but to help them navigate through the process, is a good thing,” Voisin said.

CMU Police Department Lt. Cameron Wassman stated that the policy largely affects the university side of sexual assault cases, how the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity (OCRIE) conducts their investigation, and how the information is then passed through to the people who pose sanctions on the offenders. The tough task to get information out of rape victims hasn’t gotten easier.

Read the rest here: Tipping the scale_PDF format

With this story being my final project, I had to take photographs, create the layout and make it look like an actual published article. These are the five pages I put together for “Tipping the scale in favor of rape victims at CMU.”

Tipping Scale_Page 1 
Tipping Scale_Page 2 
Tipping Scale_Page 3 
Tipping Scale_Page 4 
Tipping Scale_Page 5

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Campus Security right on course
Oct. 9, 2014

The rise of incoming freshmen made Community Patrol Officer Laura Martinez think that there would be an increase in crime, but incidents have surprisingly not staggered the way she expected.

When 3,700 new students arrived on campus, a 25% increase of freshmen compared to last year, she had good reasons to believe so.

“If you for example have a population of 100 people, there’s going to be low crime rate. When there are a thousand more people coming in, crime is naturally going to rise,” Martinez said. “We can go from dealing with two incidents per day to six.”

The festivities during Welcome Week brought bad omens to the campus as well. When news outlets reported earlier in August that people on Main Street threw beer bottles at police officers, there seemed to be a general concern for campus security.

Read the rest here: Campus Security_PDF format

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Tough Love: the police officer who warms people’s hearts
Oct. 2, 2014

It would surprise most people today that up till the ninth grade, Community Patrol Officer Laura Martinez needed a speech therapist and special learning classes.

Even though Martinez was an American citizen – born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Saginaw, Mich. – she, her older sister and their Mexican native mother spoke Spanish at home. Her four other siblings stayed in Mexico with the father because of his work. Growing up in the city of Saginaw, Martinez said she saw both the good and the bad side of life. They didn’t have a lot of money, but her mother always made the best out of every situation, put food on the table and made Martinez and her sister feel special.

Being the only female police officer in the Central Michigan University Police Department since January 2009, Martinez brings these influences to her work and performs her duty with unparallel style.

CMU Lt. Cameron Wassman said the students like Officer Martinez and they value the interactions they have with her.

“I was partnered up with her at the (Toledo) football game, and as we stood in our position, it was amazing how many people, as they passed by us, knew her and made a point to say hi and strike up a conversation,” Wassman said. “That is not only good for the department, but also for the university as a whole.”

Read the rest here: Tough Love_PDF format
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Writing for Mass Media (Spring 2013)

Rebuilding a home brick by brick
May 6, 2013

The man dug the orange-brown kiln mud out of the ground with his hands and used it to fill the rectangular shape. With the sun beaming down on his head and shoulders, he continued to make bricks for the Mwereeve Secondary School. Along with parents from the community, James Lutwama pieced the building together, brick by brick.

More than 300,000 people lost their lives during the Uganda civil war between 1980 and 1986, which left many war orphans lonely and hungry.

For the past 20 years, Uganda native Lutwama has worked for the restoration of his country that has not yet gotten its feet back on the ground.

In 1990, he founded the non-profit organization Fountain of Hope, or Fhope. Trained as a teacher, he primarily looks out for the children who have lost their parents. By growing coffee beans, bananas, pineapple, and other fruits and vegetables, he has raised some money to help them pay for school. In Uganda, education is not free.

Lutwama hopes to get a permit to place a vegetable stand by the main road near Arcadia Valley where he lives. That way he can sell more of his crops for charity and in a country that’s stricken by poverty, it’s tough to raise money.
In mid-1990s, he was able to reestablish the secondary school in his community, a project completed through hard labor and hope for a better future.

Read the rest here: Rebuilding a home_PDF format

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COLUMN:

Avoiding the Breakfast Club
May 3, 2013

Young people need to look up to those who truly make a difference in their lives, such as our parents, our politicians fighting for what we want, our teachers and our community leaders… not rappers, singers or actors.

While these people might inspire us, they’re not exactly saving any lives or improving our daily lives with movies and music.

Typically, the majority of the people, especially young men and women, rather pay attention to their favorite singer or actor than scan their own environment for people to mentor them. In a sense, the stars from Hollywood—with the strong media focus upon them—have an even greater responsibility to set an example for the young.

That’s how I see it, because with magazines and tabloids gossiping about other people, everything from what they put in their mouths to their deep personal secrets, we see and hear about them more often and it’s likely to affect the younger members of our society.

However, with the Olsen twins shrinking into scarecrows as Lindsey Lohan is tripping down the stairs of moral sanity, it’s difficult to find that beacon in Hollywood. Many other former child actors or children of rich parents in those beautiful neighborhoods are living the fast and dangerous life of hazy nights, sex and drugs. Are there any good kids left?

 Read the rest here: Avoiding the Breakfast Club_PDF format

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PRESS RELEASE:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Saginaw Rising” – A documentary on crime and possible solutions
Husband-and-wife team send message about violence, which they consider a public health threat

The FBI has rated Saginaw to be the third most violent city in the country, which has spurred members of the community into action to stop what the advocates calls an epidemic.

In October of 2011, psychologists Dr. Stephanie Baiyasi and Dr. Zigmond “Ziggy” Kozicki began meeting with individuals in Saginaw to document people’s views on the ongoing crime.

They also talked with experts in psychology and criminology as well as law enforcement officers, political leaders and teachers in order to create an understanding as to why there is a lot of criminal activity.

They finished filming in December and gathered 80 hours of footage, which they broke into two hours of a documentary they call “Saginaw Rising.”

Baiyasi said their goal with the film is to raise public awareness on the basic social issues in the community that may eventually lead people to a life of crime.

Continued here and get a better look of how the PR would look like.
Saginaw Rising_Press Release_PDF format

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Colin Powell inspires and charms audience at CMU
Feb. 14, 2013

Excitement was in the air before retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell entered the stage.

People were having different expectations for the speech at Thursday evening as nearly 5,000 filed into Central Michigan University Events Center.

Powell, 75, a war hero and major participant during four presidential administrations, had been invited by CMU as a keynote speaker during the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration week.

His address to the university and community cost $125,000 and was funded by the Philip A. Hart and William G. Milliken Endowed Speaker Series for Integrity in Politics.

Higgins Lake resident Sam Boodoian, Jr. said he saw this as an opportunity to finally meet a four-star general.

“Even while I was in the force, I never met one,” said Boodoian, who joined the military in 1964 and was part of the National Guard for six years.

Read the rest here: Colin Powell (Guest speaker at CMU)_PDF format

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