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Title: Concrete Greens: Urban Agriculture and Food Security
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Abstract: American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/17/2015
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While AU’s lush greenery already serves as a feast for the eyes, on April 15, Campus Beautification Day, the Library Green Team began cultivating a new garden plot near the SIS building for plants that are not only ornamental, but also edible.

Though gardening and urban life might seem somewhat antithetical to one other, urban agriculture has been on the rise in many major US cities. This urban farming, in addition to providing coveted glimpses of green amongst concrete city structures, also works to alleviate the detrimental health effects of food insecurity in economically disadvantaged urban areas.

Urban agriculture, specifically the cultivation of edible gardens, offers a new way of empowering communities with limited access to viable food options. Community garden advocate Ron Finley, in a 2013 Ted.com talk, offered inspirational words about his work planting gardens in the food desert of South Central Los Angeles. Commenting on the powerful yield of the edible garden, Finley proposed that "[t]o change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We [people] are the soil. Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Especially in the inner city.”

Finley’s gardens crop up in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs and his work confronts the incongruous conceptions of urbanity and food deserts. According to the USDA, food deserts are defined as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.” Finley succinctly summarizes the detrimental impact of food insecurity in areas like South Central Los Angeles where, in his estimation, "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

Issues of food security extend far beyond the city limits of Los Angeles as a persistent national concern. Even in Washington, DC, there is startling disparity concerning food availability in the nation’s capital. According to the USDA's 2013 report on household food security in the United States:

  • 13.4 percent of all households in the District of Columbia were food insecure in 2011-2013. That is an increase of 1.4 percent from 2010-2013 when 12 percent of all households were considered to be food insecure.
  • Among the 13.4 percent of District of Columbia households struggling with hunger, 5.2 percent were considered to have "very low food security," a 0.7 percent increase since 2010-2012. People that fall into this USDA category had more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.

Combatting these harsh realities is not easy, but many of DC’s residents are working to improve food security in impoverished parts of the nation’s capital. One such resident is Gail Taylor, a policy activist profiled in a September 2014 Washington Post article. Taylor, with the aid of American University’s free law clinic and council member David Grosso, drafted a bill restructuring city tax regulations that currently hamper urban farmers’ ability to sustain economically viable businesses.

Other organizations, such as the nonprofit DC Greens, are working to change the landscape itself by facilitating partnerships and empowering existing actors and residents to manage green solutions for at-risk communities. While community gardens have an established historical precedent in urban areas, these programs also highlight informal household food growing that uses private property such as back yards, front yards, pots on balconies, and fire escapes to grow edible produce.

American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus. Towards the rear of AU’s campus near the athletic fields is a pre-existing community garden where students can learn the ins and outs of urban gardening. In recent years, the Community Garden has donated extra food to a local food bank while simultaneously providing the educational tools necessary to spread urban garden practices by bringing 70 middle school students to AU to teach them about gardening and sustainability.

The Library Green Team hopes that cultivating this small plot simultaneously encourages students to consider issues of food sustainability in areas like DC where there is always room for another gardener to get a bit dirty in the interest of improving food security.

Interested in learning more about urban gardening and other related issues? Check out these materials and more in the Library’s collections:

A Community of Gardeners
This documentary by Cintia Cabib explores the vital role of seven urban community gardens as sources of fresh, nutritious food, outdoor classrooms, places of healing, links to immigrants’ native countries, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.

The World’s First Rooftop Farm: Mohamed Hage
This episode of The Green Interview features Mohamed Hage, who is turning the flat rooftops of Montreal’s industrial buildings into fertile farms that feed thousands-and he’s making a profit in the process. Hage, a self-described "technology geek" turned urban farmer, explains the genesis and genius of Lufa Farms.

City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson
In this critical history of community gardening in America, the most comprehensive review of the greening of urban communities to date, Laura J. Lawson documents the evolution of urban garden programs in the United States.

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Title: DC Community Gardens have their Roots in Victory Gardens
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Abstract: Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, an estimated 1/3 are former victory gardens, planted during the World Wars. Learn more about local history through our DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/10/2015
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Tucked into the northwestern corner of campus is AU’s community garden, a small plot run year-round by student group AU Community Garden Club. In the summertime, this garden is lush with squash, peas, and greens, and is a testament to AU’s commitment to sustainability. In addition to our campus plot, there are dozens of other community gardens in DC, some even within walking distance from campus. These gardens are often not only rich in produce, but rich in history as well.

One example is the Glover-Archbold Park Community Garden, which is located less than a mile down the New Mexico Avenue hill. The garden is just under three acres large and is home to an expansive 150 garden plots. It is also a former “victory garden,” or a garden that was planted during the early 20th century’s World War era to help increase the public food supply. This garden can reportedly trace its roots to the spring of 1943, when 400 acres of land were given to DC’s “District Victory Garden Committee” to be allocated among 6,000 DC gardeners. According to 1943 estimates from the Department of Agriculture, there were about 18-20 million victory gardens throughout the United States at that time. Families planted gardens not only in the spirit of self-sufficiency, but also as a way to calm anxious nerves and to provide stability during wartime. Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, Community Garden Data from 2010 estimated that about a third were former such victory gardens.

To learn more about DC history, check out the DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide, where researchers can read about and explore DC’s historic neighborhoods, culture, and green spaces.

Aside from our comprehensive subject guide, there are some fascinating resources in the AU Library collection, with more information on victory gardens and community gardening.

Char Miller’s "In The Sweat Of Our Brow: Citizenship In American Domestic Practice During WWII—Victory Gardens" from the Journal Of American Culture, v. 26, issue 3 (access available to AU Community only)

Cultivating Victory: the Women's Land Army and the Victory Garden Movement by Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant (access available to AU Community only)

City Bountiful: a Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson

If you’d like to get involved with local community gardens and garden-related organizations, consider these options:

AU’s Arboretum (hires interns every summer)

AU’s Community Garden

City Blossoms

Common Good City Farm

DC Department of Parks & Recreation

DCGreenWorks

Love and Carrots

Three Part Harmony Farm

Washington Youth Garden

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Title: Librarian Profile: Jenise Overmier
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Abstract: The sixth article in our series of librarian profiles focuses on Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier. Her commitment to public service and education make her an enthusiastic instructor, well-equipped to handle a range of research questions.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/27/2015
Content:

Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier knew that she wanted to work in librarianship early on in her college career. Her deeply held belief that education should be accessible for all people prompted her journey down this path. As a student at the University of Montana, she pursued a course in Liberal Studies that allowed her a broad overview of the humanities, something that is often handy at the Research Assistance Desk. From there, she was drawn to the University of Texas in Austin because of their unique course offerings in conservation and archival studies. After completing her Master of Science in Information Studies, Jenise took some time to travel around the world, exploring national parks here in the U.S., as well as Iceland, Turkey, and France, before relocating to Washington, DC.

Where can you find her?

Jenise can be found all across campus, providing in-class research instruction for College Writing students, helping users at the Library's Research Assistance Desk, serving on a variety of teams and committees, and lending a helping hand in Archives and Special Collections.

Her background in preservation allows her to contribute to Special Collections projects, such as rehousing fragile materials and analyzing collections for preservation processes. "I love working with my hands I am so fortunate that Susan [McElrath, University Archivist] has welcomed me into the archives."

When she is off-campus, Jenise can often be found relaxing in one of the many beautiful parks around town, reading, enjoying the fresh air, people watching, and "trying to coax squirrels into being [her] pets."

Why she loves her job

The idealism and energy of college students is a major perk of working at AU for Jenise. In her role as Instruction Librarian, she works with a number of freshmen and several of the College Writing professors, with a primary aim of helping these students build a foundation of information literacy. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she responds "I am all about the students! AU students are committed to their studies and incredibly passionate about making the world a better place. I love introducing them to tools they'll be able to use throughout their lives, like different research methods and how to synthesize information to strengthen their academic projects."

In the Community

Always eager to be more involved in interdepartmental collaborations, Jenise is a part of the Faculty Senate Social Media Guidelines Committee, the Library Green Team, the External Diversity &Inclusion Committee, and multiple marketing teams. By establishing connections with other departments and units at the university, Jenise continues to learn more about the institution and gains new insight into making the Library even better.

"Libraries are community centers. We've got something for everyone, whether you need help with a research project, a safe space to study, or something in between. I've always felt at home in them and I want to ensure that our students and community members feel that way too."

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Title: Clocks and Clouds Provides a Showcase for Outstanding Undergraduate Research
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Abstract: Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/24/2015
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Serving the AU community with our collection of over 767,923 volumes, 333,242 e-books, 25,000 sound recordings and 16,000 videos, the American University Library offers the resources our students need to achieve academic success. The AU Library collection totals over 106,881 journal subscriptions, 557 print journals, and over 403 databases covering a vast range of subjects. With access to this wealth of resources, AU students are able to produce outstanding research and embark on ambitious projects, the likes of which can be seen in undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds.

Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication with a mission. The team that works on this journal is dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research by highlighting how their work can reach a broader audience and have an impact outside of the classroom. A joint effort between the School of International Service and the School of Public Affairs, this journal focuses on research relating to political science, international relations, and public policy. In an increasing interdisciplinary academic environment, this does not limit Clocks and Clouds to the work of students in SIS or SPA. Additionally, while the journal exclusively publishes undergraduate work, students may submit articles up to one year after graduation.

By providing AU undergraduate students with a chance to have their work appear in a peer reviewed journal, Clocks and Clouds is able to serve as a stepping stone toward submitting work to national publications and making presentations at research conferences. Although Clocks and Clouds only publishes a select few of the submissions received, this selection process offers an excellent learning experience for any students submitting work. The journal’s panel of peer reviewers provides students with thoughtful feedback and suggestions on how they can improve their work and writing.

Working at Clocks and Clouds is another way for students to gain experience and make connections. The journal puts each of their reviewers through a rigorous training process; no small feat with a staff of more than 20 students. Through their work as reviewers, these students gain insight into the processes of research and writing, develop copy editing skills, get a sense of the scope of research in their chosen field, and enjoy networking opportunities on campus. While the journal requires that applicants for reviewer positions have taken, or are taking, a “Research Methods” course, freshmen may apply as ‘junior reviewers,’ allowing them to grow into a peer reviewer position as their college career progresses. As Clocks and Clouds expands and grows, the journal is hoping to recruit more students from the fields of marketing and communications. Students interesting in working as reviewers for the journal can visit their online application form.

Curious about the title of the journal? It references a quote from philosopher Karl Popper: "All clouds are clocks, even the most cloudy of clouds." The Clocks and Clouds website explains further: "Philosopher Karl Popper’s “clocks and clouds” metaphor describes the two ends of the spectrum of predictability in social science: Clouds represent the disorderly and irregular, and clocks represent the predictable and rational. By providing a venue for top undergraduate research, Clocks and Clouds aims to find the clocks amidst the clouds."

Volume 1, released in spring 2012, is available online. The next issue of Clocks and Clouds will be released on April 17th and copies will be available at the 18th SIS Undergraduate Research Symposium. Anyone interested in getting involved with the release, obtaining back issues, or learning more about the journal can email clocksandcloudsau@gmail.com.

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Title: Secret Lives: Shane Hickey
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Abstract: The fifth article in a series of profiles offering a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at our Library personnel. Meet Interlibrary Services Coordinator Shane Hickey and learn about his secret life as a rugby fanatic.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
Content:

Interlibrary Services Coordinator Shane Hickey loves a challenge. Here at the AU Library, his focus is on locating and obtaining Interlibrary Loan materials as quickly as possible, in order to assist scholars with the time consuming research process. “I know how big a difference a single resource can make, because a thesis or paper is only as strong as the sources used to write it.” Shane’s drive to succeed and his interest in helping others shines through in his entwined roles as a rugby player and LGBT rights supporter.

A lifelong athlete, Shane tried his hand at a range of sports. From the time he was in the second grade, it was a family hobby to run together each morning. Growing up near Syracuse, NY, this was no easy feat. Rain or snow, the entire family (including the dog) went for an early morning run each day, even when on vacation. Shane absorbed his parents’ enthusiasm for athletics. Throughout school he played basketball, soccer, and baseball, earned a black belt in karate, and ran cross country for 6 years.

Luckily for him, all that practice paid off when he was introduced to the world of rugby. A casual fan of televised matches, Shane quickly made the jump to playing on the Scandals, a DC area team. After meeting a local member of International Gay Rugby (IGR), an organization that brings together players from LGBT and inclusive teams, Shane joined the Scandals for their weekly practice and was invited to watch their game that Saturday.

Much to Shane’s surprise, the coach decided to start him in that match. “It was terrifying! I had never even seen a game in person before that day” he recalls, but was hooked and has now been a member of the team for a year and a half. All those years of running outside in upstate New York prepared Shane for the pre-season conditioning that begins each year in January. Twice a week, the team meets for outdoor conditioning trainings that shift into outdoor practice sessions mid-February. The first game of the season is held at the end of March and the season concludes in May.

During the off-season, Shane stays involved by working as Club Secretary for the team, participating in team volunteer work, such as taking part in the DC AIDS walk and volunteering at Capital Pride, and running Rugby 101 clinics with his teammates, which introduce newcomers to the sport. For him, rugby is more than a game. His work with the Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club provides him with an opportunity to build friendships, participate as a supporter within the DC gay community, travel for away games, and be a part of something inclusive and rewarding.

“There is a place on the field for anybody of any size. As long as you have the will, you can play rugby. Our team includes men who have always played sports and men who felt excluded from athletics because of their sexual orientation – and are trying a sport for the first time.” Shane loves that there is room for everyone in rugby. The Capital Rugby Union, an organization that oversees rugby clubs within a region that stretches from central Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, includes women’s, men’s, and youth clubs. Shane describes rugby as a “thrilling, intense team sport that offers room for individual goals and provides a satisfying sense of glory and competition.”

For anyone who is curious about rugby, Shane highly recommends checking out the Six Nations Competition, an annual international competition between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The 2015 Six Nations matches will run through March 21st and are televised at several Irish pubs in the DC area. The Scandals Facebook page also offers information on upcoming Rugby 101 clinics, matches, and social events where you can meet team members.

Book & Film Recommendations from Shane:

Life On Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster by David Attenborough
David Attenborough is a personal hero of mine and his autobiography is wonderful. From the early days at the BBC to his travels across the globe, learn about the history of the BBC, the challenges of filming wildlife, and the unexpected joys that life brings.

Anecdotes of Destiny by Isak Dinesen
This charming collection of stories by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) will keep you both entertained and thinking. Babette's Feast is my favorite from this collection and one of the greatest stories about food of all time—it was also turned into a film which won the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Borgen
Best political drama ever made, hands down. This fictional account of Denmark's first female prime minister will have you hooked from episode 1.

Bringing Up Baby
This story of unexpected love, a leopard, and one missing intercostal clavicle bone will keep you laughing from beginning to end. Oh, and it stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, need I say more?

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Title: Éirinn go Brách! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these Library Recommendations.
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Abstract: Get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
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Once classes resume after Spring Break, we will all need a little pick-me-up to get back into our routines. What better way to do that than to get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.

Books

The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day, by Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair [GT4995.P3 C76 2002]
A quick and comprehensive account of the ways that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated and how these traditions originated. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to understand it!

St. Patrick’s Day: Its Celebration in New York and Other American Places, 1737-1845; How the Anniversary Was Observed by Representative Organizations, and the Toasts Prepared, by John D. Crimmins [E184.I6 C9]
This book discusses the traditions and celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day from the first celebration in Boston in 1737 to the first parade in New York City. This book is also available as a free E-Book via Google Books

St. Patrick: The Life and World of Ireland’s Saint, by J.B. Bury; foreword by Thomas Charles-Edwards [http://bit.ly/1sDOyvf]
This biography points out possible discrepencies in some periods of St. Patrick’s reported history. It is an interesting perspective on the life and times of St. Patrick, the man behind the holiday.

Traditional Irish Cooking: The Fare of Old Ireland and Its History, Andy Gravette and Debbie Cook [http://bit.ly/1ynpxFR]
This fantastic cookbook not only has a plethora of delicious recipes, but also gives insight into the life of those who love these meals. Try a few of them out with friends or solo for some fun in the kitchen.

Irish Countryhouse Cooking, compiled by Rosie Tinne [http://bit.ly/1yhhs74]
A tasty way to try something new and old, these traditional meals range from easy to make to more complicated for experienced foodies. Why not add some green dye to your dishes to get even more festive!

Films

The Wind that Shakes the Barley [HU DVD 3374]
This film centers around two brothers and their respective places in the conflict between Britain and Ireland during the time of the Irish War of Independence.

Gangs of New York [HU DVD 590]
Leonardo DiCaprio plays an Irish American adult seeking vengeance against “Bill the Butcher” who killed his father years before in this film directed by Martin Scorsese.

Once [HU DVD 3745]
Set in Dublin, Ireland, Once is a guy-meets-girl story with a musical twist.It provides a great way to get your romantic movie fix while also experiencing Ireland’s rich culture.

Music

“20 Best Irish Pub Songs” by Noel McLoughlin [http://bit.ly/1yhAY3f]
This compilation includes some popular favorites such as “Whiskey in the Jar,” “The Wild Rover,” and “The Galway Races.”

“Traditional Irish Music” [http://bit.ly/1DIP13h]
Make sure to be logged into your AU account to access this set of songs from Sean Talamh. Some songs listed include “Belfast Mill,” “Valse Ronde,” and “The Humours of Flinn.”

“Celtic Dances: The Legend,” contributed by Liz Knowles [http://bit.ly/1Cszxgg]
If dancing is more your speed, enjoy the Celtic sounds that get the Irish to their feet. The Naxos Library, where this music is located, also has hundreds of other Irish classics for which to search!

Events

D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade [http://dcstpatsparade.com/]
On March 15th, 2015, the 44th annual D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade is taking place on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, N.W. The parade route is easily accessible from the Federal Triangle, Archives-Navy Memorial and Smithsonian metro stations. Come out of winter hibernation to celebrate the holiday with others in the D.C. area.

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Title: Collection Spotlight—Black History Month
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Abstract: Black History Month is a time of observance during which we reflect on the important people and events in African American history. Here at Bender Library, we spotlight the best selections in our collection to help further celebrate Black History Month.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/26/2015
Content:

Black History Month is a time of observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom during which we reflect on the important people and events in African American history. The precursor to Black History Month was Negro History Week, which was created 1926 and was since expanded to a month long celebration during the bicentennial of the United States in 1976. For more about the origins of this observance, read Ralph Crowder’s “Historical Significance of Black History Month” in Black History Bulletin (requires AU login) or check out our African American Studies LibGuide. Here at Bender Library at American University, we have curated the best books, films, and music selections to recognize the important contributions made by African Americans.

Books:

Black History extends from the time of slavery to present day America under the leadership of the first African American President of the United States. These selected books highlight experiences of black Americans throughout history.

From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss [E185 .F825 2000]
This is the powerful story of African American history, from the slavery era through the late twentieth century.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglas [E449 .D749 2005]
This highly influential book changed the abolitionist movement forever in 1845 through its account of Douglass’ life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois [E185.5 .D83 2005]
Du Bois’ 1903 collection of essays was groundbreaking in creating an intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century—which continues to resonate in the twenty-first.

Black Like Me by Howard Griffin [E185.61 .G8]
A nonfiction account of Griffin, who was a white native of Dallas, Texas, as he traveled for six-weeks through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man after artificially darkening his skin.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama [E185.97 .O23 A3 1995]
The President of the United States explores his heritage in this memoir and speaks to the current issue of racial tension within our nation.

Films:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these films tell a score of struggles and triumphs in black history.

Roots (1977) [HU DVD 6121]
Based on the novel, Roots: the Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley chronicles the story of his own family across many generations. It begins with an 18th century African, Kunta Kinte, who is captured and sold into slavery in the United States, then traces his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. into the twentieth century.

Glory (1989) [HU DVD 1171]
One of the best Civil War films ever made, this film follows the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of the Union Army and the Confederates.

12 Years A Slave (2013) [HU DVD 11176]
The Oscar winning film tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, as he is abducted and sold into slavery.

42 (2013) [HU BLU 4622]
This films depicts the story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Malcolm X (1992) [DVD 165]
Denzel Washington holds nothing back in his portrayal of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader in this Spike Lee film.

Music:

Music is an integral component of the history of black Americans. Here is just a small sampling you can find in our streaming content or in the American University Music Library, located in the Katzen Arts Center.

Negro Spirituals [http://bit.ly/1whlDNg]
This collection catalogs a sampling of songs slaves sang for inspiration while working and, sometimes, use to secretly coordinate runaways to freedom.

Jazz
Jazz originated in African American culture, evolving from Negro spirituals and European music. Some influential black jazz artists include Louis Armstrong [CD 3332], Duke Ellington [http://bit.ly/1yEHICx], Miles Davis [http://bit.ly/1AmpS9G], and Billie Holiday [http://bit.ly/1IGqhtx]. All of these artists, and many more, used their talents and prestige in the 20th century to fight for equality in the United States and across the world.

Go-Go
Originating in Washington, D.C. during the 1970s, Chuck Brown, the “Godfather of Go-Go,” introduced this subgenre of funk to the black music circuit. Get a taste of the culture, and D.C. history, with a live recording of Chuck Brown at the 9:30 Club [CD 9827].

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Title: Secret Lives: Jackie Saavedra
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Abstract: Our latest Personnel Profile story highlights Circulation Services Specialist Jackie Saavedra, a Miami native who was swept off her feet by Washington, D.C.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/10/2015
Content:

During the grey, chilly months of winter, many D.C. residents fantasize about sunnier locales with sandy beaches and palm trees. Sometimes we can lose sight of the charms our home has to offer, until we chat with an enthusiastic newcomer, seeing the city through fresh eyes. Let Circulation Services Specialist Jackie Saavedra, a former Miami resident who fell head over heels for D.C., take you on a tour of the nation's capital that will have you falling in love with the city all over again.

While visiting friends in the District a few years ago, Jackie was struck by the abundance of libraries, museums, and intellectual activities available here. Her friends brought her to the American History Museum, Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art, out for brunch and shopping at Eastern Market, and to see a band at the 9:30 Club. By the end of the weekend, she was hooked!

An avid book-lover, Jackie was already working on her Master of Science in Library and Information Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee. After completing her degree, Jackie was awarded a two month internship at the National Anthropological Archives through the Smithsonian Institute. When her internship ended, she moved back to Miami for a short time before relocating to her new home and accepting a job with American University.

Jackie takes full advantage of living in a cultural hub, catching author talks at her neighborhood bookstore, Politics and Prose, seeing performances at the Kennedy Center and Shakespeare Theatre, and trying out different restaurants and cuisines. (She loves the pop-tarts at Ted's Bulletin and the ramen at Daikaya!) Some of her favorite activities include bringing a book to Meridian Hill Park on Sundays for some leisurely reading and a chance to enjoy the weekly drum circle, strolling through Georgetown to see the historic buildings, checking out shows at local art galleries, and visiting the National Museum of the American Indian, her favorite museum in town.

She also makes time to visit the United States Botanic Garden regularly during the winter. The steamy, warm environment reminds her of home. While Jackie is still getting used to winter weather, she thoroughly enjoys the occasional snow day. "It is so peaceful to stay in your warm apartment, sipping coffee and watching movies, while enjoying the view of a winter wonderland. There is something beautiful about the glare of the sun hitting a blanket of bright white snow." Experiencing the change in seasons is new for her and she appreciates seeing how the city changes throughout the year.

Although she misses her family, Jackie Skypes with them regularly and loves being able to explore D.C. with them when they visit. Her homesickness has also been eased by the friendliness she has encountered here, which surprised her initially. "D.C. residents are so welcoming. People here seem more willing to start up a conversation or lend a helping hand than I expected. Even though it is a busy city, D.C. has the neighborliness of a smaller town."

Her list of places to visit and things to do is always growing, but she is eager to visit Mt. Vernon and Dumbarton Oaks, see the upcoming exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, and take a Ghost &Graveyard Tour of Old Town Alexandria. Jackie's excitement about D.C. is contagious and serves as an excellent reminder to step back and renew one's appreciation for local culture.

Book and Film Recommendations from Jackie:

1. House of Cards, Seasons 1 & 2

Although the original book and mini-series are set in the U.K.'s House of Commons, the story seems far more gripping and sinister in an American setting. Also, the time-lapse opening sequence shows D.C. in its most imposing light.

2. A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

This book takes a look at one of Shakespeare’s most productive years, in which he wrote Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet. It's an ideal companion to a night out at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre or the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

3. Blankets by Craig Thompson

A blustery Wisconsin winter is the perfect backdrop to this graphic novel about adolescence and first love; the setting alone makes it a great read for a snow day.

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newsId: 8757FC6F-5056-AF26-BE171301B1E31093
Title: Let the Library be your Valentine
Author:
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Abstract: Whether you plan to spend this Feb. 14 contemplating the nature of love, baking cookies, watching movies, or enjoying a romantic evening—the Library has plenty of suggestions for fun Valentine’s Day listening, cooking, viewing, and reading.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/05/2015
Content:

Whether you plan to spend this February 14th contemplating the nature of love, baking cookies for your most-adored friends, watching movies with your roomies, or enjoying a romantic evening with someone special (like yourself!)—the Library has plenty of suggestions for fun Valentine's Day listening, cooking, viewing, and reading.

Music:

Les Misérables Live! The 2010 Cast Album Get swept away by the music of this production and the romance between Cosette and Marius.

Magic Flute Set in a fantastical world, Mozart’s opera features plot twists aplenty, magical instruments, and of course, romance.

Tristan und Isolde  Wagner’s famous opera is a classic romantic tragedy based on a Celtic legend.

Cookbooks:

Sprouted Kitchen by Sarah Forte Show your body some love with healthy recipes from a wellness oriented food blogger.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child Learn to cook French cuisine alongside beloved chef Julia Child.

Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts by Michel Richard Make some sweets for your sweetie, using the recipes from this DC celebrity chef.

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes by Daniel Ahern and Shauna James Ahern This love story meets cookbook features recipes and romance, with great ideas for anyone avoiding gluten.

Neelys' Celebration Cookbook: Down-Home Meals for Every Occasion by Pat Neely, Gina Neely and Ann Volkwein This celebrity chef couple’s featured menu for Valentine’s Day manages to be both light and decadent.

Movies:

Crazy, Stupid, Love Two words: Ryan Gosling

Noah’s Arc (season 1) Super-campy & fun, this show takes a look at the lives of young black men in LA.

Zebrahead Set in Detroit, this Oliver Stone-produced film brings together 90s hip hop and interracial love.

Weekend Two men have a brief, but intense love affair that changes them both.

But I'm a Cheerleader Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne stars in this tongue-in-cheek rom-com cult classic.

Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss Unrequited love takes center stage in this charming camp classic.

Books:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Beautifully written, this novel follows a young woman as she reconnects with two deeply loved people from her past.

Selected Poems by Federico García Lorca Explore the haunting Sonnets of Dark Love in this book of dual language poetry by an iconic Spanish writer.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks In this book, a noted writer, intellectual, and social activist examines the concept of modern love. 

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin Follow the story of an American in Paris who experiences the soaring highs and devastating lows of love.

Perks Of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This coming of age story encompasses the love, heartache, loneliness, and angst of adolescence.

Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White Fall in love with Paris as you stroll through the ‘City of Lights’ alongside a celebrated American novelist.

More: Speak to each other in the language of love, using the Library’s new Pronunciator language learning software.

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newsId: 26F9EA44-5056-AF26-BEB0A786FFD08360
Title: Select Stream-able Selections
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Abstract: When it is chilly outside and you need a break from your studies, check out our streaming content that you can enjoy from the comfort of your room. If you are snowed in, look to the Library’s streaming and online services to cure your cabin fever.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 01/29/2015
Content:

When it is chilly outside and you need to take a break from your studies, check out our streaming content that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own dorm room. If you find yourself snowed in and bored, then look to the Library's streaming and online services for books, films, and music to cure your cabin fever.

Books:

Winter is the perfect time to sit down in a big comfy chair by a fire (or space heater), sip some hot cocoa, and catch up on a couple of those great literary classics you've been meaning to get around to but just haven't had the time. This is just a small selection of the numerous titles available online.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens [http://bit.ly/1ulgrHB]

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley [http://bit.ly/14n6PSX]

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain [http://bit.ly/1wzv72p]

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells [http://bit.ly/1tRvC6f]

Some electronic resources are spinoffs from literary favorites, such as the …and Philosophy series.

Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein [http://bit.ly/1xzHoHk]

The Hobbit and Philosophy: For When You've Lost Your Dwarves, Your Wizard, and Your Way edited by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson [http://bit.ly/14n9yvm]

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy: A Book for Bastards, Morons, and Madmen edited by Keith Dromm and Heather Salter [http://bit.ly/1GXeGFE]

Films:

Find more streaming videos in the numerous Media Service collections but here are some highlights not available on Netflix streaming.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) [http://bit.ly/116UIaB]
This film originally bombed when it was released, making it cheap for TV stations to play during the holiday season and solidifying it as the Christmas classic we know today.

The Stranger (1946) [http://bit.ly/1ub7yid]
Directed by Orson Welles, this film follows a man of the War Crimes Commission seeking Franz Kindler, mastermind of the Holocaust, who has effectively erased his identity.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1942) [http://bit.ly/116VwMI]
You won't find Benedict Cumberbatch or Martin Freeman in this William Roy Neill directed film, but you will find a lot of classic local scenery as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Washington D.C. in order to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands.

Music:

With Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio, you have a lot of ways to listen to music. Why not explore a few different genres of ad-free music brought to you by the music library?

Jazz Library [http://bit.ly/1ulLxii]
Mix selection of Jazz legends and contemporary jazz.

American Song Library [http://bit.ly/1vdPiYq]
Music from America's past including songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys.

World Music Library [http://bit.ly/1xA0Qnm]
Take your ears on a global trip with sounds from nearly every genre and region of the world.

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newsId: 330A2E1F-5056-AF26-BEDBC0FDE675981B
Title: SOC Alumna Reports Breaking News for ABC
Author: Nicole Mularz, SPA/BA ’14, and Megan Olson
Subtitle:
Abstract: Cecilia Vega, SOC/BA ’99, discusses her career in journalism and shares advice with students.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 04/09/2015
Content:

As anchor of "World News Tonight" Saturday and senior national correspondent for ABC News, Cecilia Vega's, SOC/BA '99, office is wherever the news takes her. Although she spends much of her time traveling back and forth from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to New York, Cecilia says her time in Washington, DC and at American University gave her a start in the journalism field and provided the foundation for her success.

For Cecilia, there is no routine day in the office. Breaking news takes her all over the world. She could start her day in one city and be on her way to another continent by evening. Cecilia has reported from the bottom of the Arctic in a submarine and in London's Olympic Village. She has also covered midterm elections, interviewed Heads of State, and more recently reported on cases of Ebola in the United States. Regardless of where an assignment leads her, Cecilia says that her work gives her a sense of fulfillment as she shares information with the public to ensure they make better decisions as citizens.

After growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Cecilia moved to the nation's capital to attend American University's School of Communication, where she earned a degree in French and print journalism. Her busy schedule today is reflective of her experience as a student. Cecilia remembers balancing studying, working, and interning during her time on campus. Though all of these commitments were hectic at times, Cecilia says that her hard work at AU paid off.

Cecilia's job in broadcast journalism came as a total accident. She started her career as a newspaper reporter and worked for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle. When the opportunity to move from print to broadcast at KGO-TV ABC7 in San Francisco presented itself, Cecilia jumped at the chance. Though she had no formal broadcast journalism training, she quickly learned the ropes. Six years later, Cecilia is an Emmy-winning broadcaster and has appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America," "Nightline," and "20/20."

Reminiscing about her time at American University, Cecilia shared advice for students today saying, "Utilize what you have at your disposal. Being in Washington, DC, you have so much at your fingertips. Your professors are in the newsroom in the morning and teaching classes at night –it is an invaluable education. The ability to capitalize on these opportunities separates AU students from other students."

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Title: Ron Nessen, Press Secretary for President Ford, Gives Back to AU
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA '11
Subtitle: Ron Nessen reflects on his career in politics and broadcasting, and still loves to come back to his alma mater.
Abstract: Ron Nessen, Press Secretary for President Ford, reflects on his career in politics and broadcasting, and still loves to come back to his alma mater.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/09/2015
Content:

"I love American University. I wanted to stay and get my degree. No matter what I was doing, I always arranged it so I would have time to go to AU." 

Even from the way Ronald H. Nessen, CAS/BA '59, speaks as we sit in an alcove of SOC's McKinley Building, it is evident that he loves his alma mater. Ron has had a distinguished career in broadcasting and journalism –going from a radio journalist in Arlington, Va. to television news correspondent in Vietnam, to Press Secretary for President Gerald Ford. 

Ron put himself through American University by working part time and going to school in the evenings. He knew more than anything that he wanted to get a degree from AU. He graduated in 1959 with a bachelor's in history.

After a several years of news, writing, and reporting, Ron became a television news correspondent for NBC News. He served as the White House correspondent from 1962 to 1965, and then spent time as foreign news correspondent, including five tours covering the Vietnam War. "In war," he says, "you see terrible things that you will never forget." 

After getting seriously wounded by a grenade in July 1966, Ron recuperated and chose to go back to Vietnam and finish his assignment. In 1974, White House Press Secretary Jerald terHorst resigned after President Gerald Ford gave Richard Nixon a presidential pardon. President Ford asked Ron to join the administration as Press Secretary. Ron served as White House Press Secretary until the end of the Ford Administration in 1977. He went on to be a writer, lecturer, and public affairs specialist in Washington. His book, It Sure Looks Different on the Inside, speaks of his time in the White House. 

Reflecting on his career path, Ron says, "Nobody really knows where they are going to go in life. Things have unfolded in a way that I never expected." In one of many interesting twists in his career, Ron was Larry King's boss at Mutual Radio Broadcasting Network, where ran the news department for many years. 

Throughout his career, Ron always had a special place in his heart for AU. He currently gives back as a volunteer for the SOC Mentoring Program, and he enjoys seeing his old stomping grounds. His favorite memory of his time in college, though, is uniquely AU: "When Willard [Scott, NBC News's "Today" weather-person], Eddie [Walker, radio personality and first blind student at American University] and I worked at WAMU. We all wanted to go into broadcasting, and we all ended up in broadcasting."

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Title: Producer-Director Adam Friedman Discusses Documentary Featuring Meryl Streep
Author: Traci Crockett
Subtitle:
Abstract: Friedman is wrapping up work on a film called “Shout Gladi Gladi,” which Streep narrates.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/12/2015
Content:

"I like to say it was like painting the Mona Lisa without the smile." That's how producer-director Adam Friedman, SOC/BA '79, describes his latest film –before Meryl Streep signed on. "For four months, I had a movie I couldn't proceed on too much because I didn't have my narrator in place," Friedman says. 

In February, Friedman says, he got very lucky when his sister, a New York newscaster, somehow got a rough cut of the movie in front of Streep. "I got an email from Meryl's assistant saying 'hey, Meryl would love to do your movie. She thinks it's great,'" he says. And, the rest, as they say, is history.  

Friedman, owner of production company Vertical Ascent, is wrapping up work on the documentary called "Shout Gladi Gladi." It's a film about one woman's drive to help save African mothers suffering from fistula. That woman, Scottish philanthropist Ann Gloag, a former nurse turned businesswoman, now runs medical facilities in three African countries.

"We recorded her at nine o'clock in the morning on Saturday, the day before the Oscars," Friedman says of Streep. "That's how cool she was." Having booked a studio for six hours to do the voiceover, Friedman says, "she was in and out of there in 56 minutes…She was amazing." 

Not everything went so quickly, of course. The project began with a visit to Scotland to discuss it with Gloag. Then came trips to Malawi, Kenya, and Sierra Leone, where Friedman and his crews filmed what he calls an "immense" amount of footage. Friedman says they visited some "horrific" slums during their time in Sierra Leone, and he believes his was the last crew filming in the country before the Ebola outbreak. 

A lot of time was spent working on the film before the first cut was finished in September. Still, one key piece was missing. Enter Meryl Streep. "Obviously she changes the movie completely because of the way she reads. We were all just blown away," Friedman says. "Before we had a movie about fistula…a subject that most people will turn away from." But, he says, with Streep on board, he thinks the movie will reach "an incredibly large and wide swath of humanity." 

Friedman says he wouldn't be where he is today without AU. "I'm in this business because of AU and particularly because of my mentor, Larry Kirkman…I think differently than most producer-directors, and it's all because of what I learned at AU," he says.

Friedman tells a story about "lying his way into ABC" during his time as a student and working on an Emmy-nominated documentary. "But I didn't want to do documentaries then," he says. "There was a new thing happening at the time called music videos." Music video interested Friedman, so he wrote one for Darryl Hall and John Oates. They liked it and hired him to do more. He continued working in the industry, producing videos for the Rolling Stones and other musical acts. 

Since then, Friedman has gone on to do lots of different kinds of work, including a recent television show about the CIA for National Geographic. "AU gave me a lot of opportunities to play with a lot of toys, and you need that," he says. 

Friedman remains involved with AU, serving as a mentor for the School of Communication and as a volunteer leader with the Entertainment and Media Alumni Alliance. "What AU taught me was a really strong notion that there's nothing you can't do if you really want to," he says. "I met the best people in the world there." 

Friedman says he thinks what's happening with film online is going to change everything about his business so that's where he will turn his focus next. 

And, he says, "Obviously we're aiming for the Oscars next year."

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Title: Nate Beeler Draws The News
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alumnus Nate Beeler is an award-winning editorial cartoonist.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/11/2014
Content:

“There is something primal about a hand-drawn image that goes back to people painting on caves. We’ve always had cartoons, and editorial cartooning has a very rich history in the United States. It’s a powerful way to have a voice in the national conversation,” says Nate Beeler, SOC/BA ’02, an award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch.

By now, Beeler’s cartoons are certainly part of the national dialogue. His depiction of the Statue of Liberty and Lady Justice embracing following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) won the 2014 John Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition.

When the news of DOMA broke, Nate says he struggled for inspiration at first, but once he knew what he wanted to portray: the joy of same-sex couples as well as the scope and historical significance of the ruling, he says, “It seemed a natural fit to put Lady Justice and Lady Liberty together because this decision affirmed freedom and also righted an injustice.”

Nate draws five editorial cartoons each week for the Columbus Dispatch and his cartoons are also syndicated internationally to more than 800 other publications. “When you’re an editorial cartoonist, your work is basically a visual column, and you fall into the natural rhythm of the news,” he says.

Nate uses the newspaper and Twitter to track the national news conversation and search for topics that will resonate with his audience. Once he chooses a topic, he does extensive reading to determine how he feels about the topic, which guides his editorial approach.

His first foray into creating a cartoon tied to a national news story was for the edition of The Eagle published after September 11, 2001. Nate drew an image of the Twin Towers with angel wings, and the original drawing still hangs in The Eagle offices today. In fact, the The Eagle was Nate’s first stop when he arrived on campus, and he still stays in touch with his former Eagle colleagues and fellow alumni, including Brett Zongker, Scott Rosenberg, and Andrew Noyes.

American University’s strong journalism program and location in Washington, D.C. motivated Nate, a Columbus native, to attend AU. During his time in college, he was an editorial cartoonist for The Eagle and created two comic strips: Undergrad and Lawn Darts from God. His work with The Eagle earned him the prestigious Charles M. Schulz Award for best college cartoonist as well as the John Locher Award.

Since then, he has won more recognition, including the 2009 Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club and the 2008 Berryman Award from the National Press Foundation.

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Title: SOC Alumna Lands Media Spot with Oprah
Author: Kristena Wright and Penelope Butcher
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Abstract: SOC Alumna Lands Media Spot with Oprah
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/09/2014
Content:

Nicole Howard, SOC/BA '10, who works as the communications coordinator for AU's School of Professional and Extended Studies, says she came to AU to study sports communication and journalism.

"I'm not sure what is was, but I knew I had to come to D.C. for the exposure I wanted. After taking a few classes, public communication became my major," says Nicole. Writing became an integral part of her life, but she wanted to think of ways of make it match up with her career aspirations. Little did she know she would develop the details and skills to one day work for Oprah Winfrey.

After graduation, Nicole began contributing to forcoloredgurls.com, a blog inspiring and empowering women readers to reach their dreams, as a writer. Her first piece, "Blessing in the Storm," was about dealing with being laid off. Her other contributions included a series titled "My Almost Quarter-Life Crisis" and a story covering a National Council for Negro Women event. The founder of forcoloredgurls.com asked Nicole to write a book review for the site, but Nicole knew she needed her own blog in order to really get her writing where it could be noticed.

In December 2013 Nicole started her blog, shininlight.com, using Wordpress. The blog led to writing for adult fiction novelist Danielle Allen's Back to Reality book tour hosted by Carter's Books, and Nicole began reviewing memoirs and books about relationships. This led her to meet Mandy Hale, author of Single Woman. In Hale's book, she talks about her experience traveling as blogger as a part of Oprah's Lifeclass series on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and it stuck with Howard.

Not long after reading Single Woman, Nicole discovered Oprah was coming to D.C. for her "The Life You Want" tour and needed media personnel. Nicole reached out to Hale for advice and was inspired to apply to be part of the Oprah Tour team. One week before the tour came to town, Nicole received word that she had been chosen to work on the team. She immediately started a page on her blog, as well as a Pinterest page, specifically devoted to the Oprah tour.  

"The Oprah tour taught me to not be afraid to go big, to turn an experience into usable, share-able content" she says. She also explains how the tour really helped her with branding and credibility. "The tour was a leap of faith, the live tweeting and taking pictures for the tour gave me the confidence and skills I needed to expand my blog," she says. Although it has concluded, Nicole continues to interact with the tour through social media. It helps her gain followers, and she now has contacts at OWN. 

In her spare time, Nicole works as an advocate for mental health issues and awareness. She also volunteers at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Keeping her writing in the forefront, she writes self-love posts on her blog, and also writes for Mind of a Diva, a blog featuring real life experiences as told through the thoughts of a women in her twenties. 

During her time at AU, Nicole was a part of the Summer Transition Enrichment Program, the gospel choir, and the Federal Work Study program. Nicole's advice to aspiring writers is very direct: "Get as much experience writing as you can. Get published if you can. Write for the school or local newspaper. Learn your voice. Pay attention to little grammar details. Stay in the writing center. Try different areas to find your niche, and then focus on your niche."

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Title: Alisyn Camerota, SOC/BA ’88, joins CNN
Author: Traci Crockett
Subtitle:
Abstract: After 16 years at FOX News Channel, Alisyn Camerota recently began as an anchor at CNN.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 10/02/2014
Content:

Alisyn Camerota, SOC/BA '88, says she arrived on American University's campus "with a vision of someday, somehow becoming a TV news reporter." And, that's just what she's done. After 16 years at FOX News Channel, she recently began work at CNN, anchoring both morning and primetime programs and covering special stories for the cable news giant.  

"I am loving my new job," Alisyn says. "There's been breaking news on a global scale for months now." In her short time at CNN, she's worked with a variety of co-anchors and producers on both New Day and CNN Tonight. "It's been pretty thrilling. It's been a whirlwind getting to know my new colleagues and getting to know how CNN operates," she says. 

Alisyn is settling in to a new routine –on some level. "Regular hours are not synonymous with news casting," she says with a laugh. She went from being on-air regularly in the early morning hours to anchoring the 10 p.m. newscast along with Don Lemon throughout the month of September. "I feel really fortunate to have this new opportunity," she says. 

Alisyn credits internships and hands-on experience while a student with launching her career. "Because of AU, I was able to achieve what I set out to do," she says. "I got a great internship and it connected me to all sorts of power players in the news business, and that was my launching pad." 

Because of her own experience as a student, Alisyn has remained actively involved with the School of Communication as an alumni mentor, a member of the SOC Dean's Council, and a host for students on site visits in New York. "I'm so grateful that I had a great academic and pre-professional experience at AU that I want to make sure other students have the same," she says. "I know of the goldmine of graduates that American has…And, I just know that if the current students can tap into that resource, then their future is that much easier." 

Alisyn has also made a lasting mark on McKinley, the new home of the School of Communication. Thanks to her generosity, it is also home to the brand new Alisyn Camerota Inspiration Lounge, which Alisyn describes as a one-of-a-kind space where the historic portion of the building meets the with the newly constructed areas –a vantage point showcasing both the past and the present. She's proud to say that the lounge bearing her name is "the bridge between the past American University building and the new School of Communication and all that will be accomplished there in the future."

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Title: Keosha Varela: Journey Through Digital Space
Author: Kristena Wright
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alumni Board Member Koesha Varela makes her mark in the digital world.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/15/2014
Content:

Keosha Varela, SOC/BA '07, SOC/MA '08, currently serves as the digital producer at The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. But working in digital production was not originally her career aspiration. "I knew I was going to be a lawyer and later on a politician," Keosha says. "AU was always my first choice school and I couldn't wait to get there. Early on, I realized that rather than campaign to spend a short amount of time on the issue of the day, I could raise more awareness by telling the story and following its development," she explains. Keosha decided to go into journalism, saying that she loves reading and writing. "I still wanted to contribute to society in a meaningful way so I decided to tell people's stories. I wanted to be someone who alerted the world on unjust stories so that we could make a change."

Keosha says she was determined to get as much experience as possible to be able to land a job after graduation. "I used the AU career center and Google religiously" she exclaims, which landed her internships with WAMU 88.5, BBC News, and AARP. Her persistence paid off and led her to the highly competitive NBC Universal News Associates Program in New York City. There she helped to produce segments for the The Today Show, MSNBC, and Dateline. She also worked on the launch team of the African American NBC News website theGrio.com. She went on to become an online news editor for WAMU, an editor and producer for WBUR.org, and the social media strategist for the American Clean Skies Foundation. 

When asked what she enjoys most about her career today, she says, "It's such a multi-faceted position. I'm not doing the same thing every day. I enjoy a little bit of everything versus sticking to one task on a daily basis." Keosha's experience has also opened doors for her to delve into her love of writing and interviewing people. As a freelance writer, her work has been published in Sister 2 Sister magazine, The Grio, AARP's The Bulletin newspaper, msnbc.com, and other media outlets. 

Through her success, Keosha admits she had to adjust to a few things that come with the job. "There's a good chance of getting good paying job, but you quickly learn digital news is 24-7. Jobs are typically 9-5 but if breaking information needs to be released, you're expected to do so no matter what time it is." She sums up her advice to students into three points. 

  1. Get as many internships as you can.
  2. Take initiative during internships. A degree doesn't automatically mean a job. Be sure to suggest positive changes at your internship
  3. Never give up. It's not as easy as it may seem. But those who are successful never gave up.

While at AU, Keosha was involved in a multitude of groups and organizations. She was a proud member of the alto section of the gospel choir and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lambda Zeta Chapter. She also served as a resident assistant on the second floor of Letts Hall and in the summers, she was an RA on Tenley campus. 

Keosha moved back to the area from New York with a goal of reigniting school spirit in friends and the AU community. Her first step toward this goal begins with her service as a current Alumni Board member. Keosha hopes to continue in digital space and eventually wants to oversee digital and editorial content and strategy. She has loved AU since her freshman year of high school and has her sights set on someday teaching at the college level.

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newsId: 3831F1B2-EEBA-1613-3AF966FAECEFF341
Title: Building Upon a Family History
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: After her valuable AU experience—and now her daughter’s—Mary McCarthy Hayford and her family are helping lay the groundwork for the university’s next generation.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/27/2014
Content:

Stroll along the west side of the quad, passing Frisbees floating across the grass and cheerful student organizations camped outside of Mary Graydon, and at either end of campus you will find a building that has been transformed within the last five years. Across the street from the Katzen Arts Center, the Kogod School of Business opened a 20,000-square-foot expansion in 2008. A few hundred yards down, next to Bender Library, stands the newly reopened McKinley building, the state-of-the-art new home of the School of Communication. Though housing separate schools, and situated on opposite ends of campus, there’s a strong thread connecting the two of them—the Hayford family.

Mary McCarthy Hayford, Kogod/MBA ’78, did her graduate work at AU’s business school, but when she attended, it did not yet bear the Kogod name. It was simply called the School of Business Administration. Classes were housed in the Ward Circle Building, and offices were in the cozy quarters of the Hamilton Building (known then as Hamilton Hall).

“I remember picking AU based on my perception that the administrators and faculty were more accessible,” McCarthy Hayford shares as she recalls her AU experience. “I look back not only on the great full-time professors in subjects which appeal to me, but also on several adjunct professors who imparted real world experiences. For me, that exposure to professionals working in industry was essential to seeing how the theoretical was applied in the real world, and to envisioning the type of career I would want to pursue.”

When the Kogod School of Business announced plans for its expansion campaign, Mary and her husband, Warren, signed on to help by making a major contribution to the building. Their generosity is marked by a plaque adorning one of the new classrooms inside, which displays their names.

Then, three years later, when the effort to renovate McKinley began, the Hayfords were there again, eager to give back once more, naming the facility’s new audio editing suite.

Why jump in to support another major project, especially when the family had so significantly dedicated themselves to an effort close to their hearts just a few years earlier? One reason is that their daughter, Margaret, SOC/BA ’13, just finished a very positive undergraduate career in the School of Communication.

“We feel strongly that SOC and AU provided Margaret with the experience she needs to pursue her career goals,” McCarthy Hayford articulates. “AU was one of few schools where she could study film and graphic design while still broadening her education in history, science and social science. She capped off her SOC experience with a semester in the film school in Prague where she worked with a small group to create a professional-quality film.”

In addition to Margaret, the Hayfords are parents to Amanda, a 2006 alumna of Oberlin College, and Warren, who graduated from George Washington University in 2012. Ms. McCarthy Hayford’s husband, Warren John Hayford, is the president and managing director of the software company RatioServices, and is a director of the Warren J. and Marylou Hayford Family Foundation, which his parents founded. The foundation has been instrumental in the Hayfords’ gifts to American University.

Though she has graduated—as have her children—McCarthy Hayford remains an avid learner. While embarking on a path toward starting a new career, she has been steadily auditing courses at the university. “Wherever that takes me, I hope to keep close ties to AU.”

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newsId: 8B4B6663-0F1B-49C7-FA19296835529E49
Title: Alumnus Michael O'Brien's Book Details Symbolic Civil Rights Movement
Author: Ann Royse
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alumnus Michael O'Brien writes an enthralling and historic account of the famous sit-in protest at Woolworth's in Jackson, Mississippi during the height of the civil rights era.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/17/2014
Content:

If, during this Black History month, you find yourself searching for a new and enriching story of the civil rights era, look no further than a book by AU alumnus and successful author, Michael (M.J.) O’Brien, SOC/BA ’84. He is the writer of a new and highly popular book titled We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-In and the Movement It Inspired, a story accounting the infamous and nonviolent protest in Jackson, Mississippi, during the turbulent American civil rights era. The book has received multiple accolades, and, according to Julian Bond, distinguished adjunct professor at AU and former NAACP Chairman, “Michael O’Brien has written a detailed history and fascinating study of one of the iconic moments of the modern civil rights movement and the powerful effect it had.”

The spark that ignited the passion and growth of this book begins with a single photograph found in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. While Michael was visiting the center, he came upon the photograph, which features three young people conducting a “sit-in” protest at the counter of Woolworth’s, surrounded by a violent and angry mob of Mississippi citizens. Shockingly, one of the iconic faces staring back at him was that of an old and very dear friend named Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland. Joan had humbly omitted ever mentioning her historic involvement with the civil rights movement in Jackson to Michael.

With this new knowledge, he set out on a mission to uncover and tell the story behind the faces in this photograph and the grassroots civil rights movement surrounding the iconic protest. In essence, he used this image as the central organizing feature to tell a much larger story regarding one of the most tumultuous times in American history.

When discussing his book, Michael is quick to recognize American University as a major contributor to his success in writing. He specifically attributes his own growth in confidence to the education he received at AU in the School of Communication, saying it was “the best training I’ve ever had.” Michael fondly recalls former faculty member Joe Tinkelman as a primary guide and mentor during his time at AU. Professor Tinkelman encouraged and nurtured Michael’s passion for writing and telling stories about social change and justice, a passion he continues to embrace today.

Michael first met Joan while he was a working as a camp counselor with Joan’s five boys, and the friendship grew from there. Then, on the day he discovered her photograph, he decided to dedicate his work to telling her story and the larger social movement of that time. Indeed, Michael O’Brien’s life and career took an unexpected yet valuable turn after befriending Joan. In fact, AU students should heed this insightful advice of Michael: “Keep your eyes open. You never know who will have a significant impact on your life.” Whether it is a confidant and inspiring professor or a lifelong friend and civil rights activist you meet in the park, Michael says it is clear that certain people and events have the ability to change the course of one’s life and career.

Currently, Michael lives in Virginia with his wife and three adopted children and looks forward to continuing a career of writing about his various passions. He reflects fondly on time at AU, saying, “my education [there] essentially launched my career.”



Tags: Alumni Author,Alumni Update,Civil Rights,School of Communication
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Title: AU Alumnus Prepares to Release Film in 2014
Author: Penelope Buchter
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Abstract: Brian Levin SOC/MA '04 is writer/producer for Flock of Dudes
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/13/2013
Content:

"I've learned a lot in a short amount of time. I've been lost in the realities of film," Brian Levin, SOC/MA '04, says of his first film, Flock of Dudes, which is set to release in early 2014. This is his first feature-length film, and he says that the process has been an opportunity to put everything he has learned into one work. It has also taken more time than any past project. From the initial idea to make this film until now, Brian reveals that over five years have passed.

The inspiration for the film came from a lot of personal experiences, and Brian thinks they are experiences to which many people will be able to relate. He says, "There's something about the experiences people go through in that time of life; it's a funny and emotional time."  

Now that the film is in post-production, Brian is looking forward to his next projects, some of which he hopes to bring to Washington, D.C. Having grown up in Maryland, Brian has spent a lot of time around the area; he says that there is a special look and feel to D.C. that he hopes to capture on camera. To add to the effect, he hopes to find a cast from around Washington for his next project, which he reveals will be a throwback comedy in the vein of films like The Naked Gun. He expounds, "I'm excited to be making these movies and bringing them back to the area."

However, Brian wasn't always sure that he wanted to go into film. He entered college at Towson University as a mass communications and advertising major interested in commercials. He always loved movies, but film had been merely a hobby for him until he got to college, when he realized that film was where he wanted to make a career.  

There are many aspects of filming, but Brian explains, "I felt pulled more and more toward screen writing as a specialization, then toward producing." To current students, he gives the advice that to succeed you need "persistence, seeing it through to advance in whatever you're doing." And, as it relates to film, he says, "try to be creative every day."

Brian encourages students, saying "take advantage of the fact that you have all this time and these resources." He adds, "AU was a great place for me, to have the tools, teachers, and flexibility to discover what I wanted to do professionally."

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