Gearing up for graduation: Seniors reflect on their job search experiences

Senior Tim O’Keeffe poses with a llama at the camp where he will work full time before beginning a job in New York City at NBC. Photo from Tim O'Keeffe
Senior Tim O’Keeffe poses with a llama at the camp where he will work full time before beginning a job in New York City at NBC. Photo from Tim O’Keeffe

By Megan Dill and Jenna Periandri
Transcript Reporter and Transcript Correspondent

In just under a month, Ohio Wesleyan University’s class of 2014 will be entering into a new chapter of their undergraduate careers with an array of emotions, but not without support from OWU.

The Office of Career Service has made great strides to make sure this year’s seniors follow their postgraduate goals.

“Through individual counseling, creative programming and technological services, we help students to identify and enhance networks and skills necessary to achieve career goals and to become actively engaged in a global society,” states the Career Service Mission Statement.

According to senior Adrian Pekarcik, OWU has helped him to prepare for the future with career planning and lifelong decision-making.

“The job search is competitive, but I have found some places thanks to the OWU career center,” Pekarcik said. “I am waiting on two jobs [for] which I had phone interviews.”

Pekarcik said he hopes to do botany research in regards to restoration ecology.

Career Services has effectively helped a number of seniors with job experience through advertisement on Twitter and Facebook, helping them lead to jobs after graduation.

In regards to Career Service’s “internship advertising” Facebook page, the following was posted on Wednesday:

“As a senior, the Bishop Externship experience has shown me that not only do I have the skills to perform in a professional environment, but I can also thrive in one,” said Nicole Dianzumba.

“It took some of the edge off the anticipation of graduating.”

Senior Jenn Frey is still waiting for a job after graduation in hopes of the Career Services can help. “

Currently, I have nothing lined up, yet I’ve applied to over 40 jobs, some of which I found through OWU Career Services,” Frey said. “As of right now, I am excited for graduating and moving on to the next chapter in my life.”

Senior Emily Hostetler is another undergraduate that has been helped by OWU in so many ways.

“From internship to job experience, and more, the faculty and OWU Career Services has helped me to find programs in my area of study,” she said.

“I don’t have anything lined up for after graduation, but I have some awesome opportunities in both research and journalism.”

Senior Anthony Fisher will be moving on to work at investment banking firm, Madison Street Capital. Fisher believes that grades are far less important than networking when it comes to finding a job.

“What sets you apart are not how well you did, it’s who you met,” said Fisher. “I’m a capable human being with a decent at best GPA. I got the internships and opportunities because I met people or knew them and asked for help.”

Senior Tim O’Keeffe has two jobs in the works. He’ll be working as an exotic animal trainer in Missouri this summer and will then start a career as a NBC production assistant for a new drama, ‘Babylon Fields’.

“I decided to defer law school to pursue this opportunity,” said O’Keeffe. “I never thought I would be in the TV industry but when I saw a unique opportunity I really wanted to seize it.”

OWU Career Services is available daily with information on Twitter, Facebook, and in their main offices on the third floor of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.

Senior Sadie Slager said she’s eager to start working for OWU as a research associate in Mowry Alumni Center and to remain in the Columbus area.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to give back to OWU in this way because I am so passionate about this university and all the opportunities it has provided me,” Slager said. “I think if I hadn’t been offered this opportunity at OWU I would have searched for something similar at another university or institution, so I am very happy that the job is at my future alma mater.”

Uniting OWU: Interfaith event connects students spiritually

Photo by Spenser Hickey Junior Brianna Robinson (left) and University Chaplain Jon Powers (right) embrace following Night of Unity. Robinson organized the event, with assistance from Powers, other chaplains and Better Together, a club aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue. Photo by Spenser Hickey
Photo by Spenser Hickey
Junior Brianna Robinson (left) and University Chaplain Jon Powers (right) embrace following Night of Unity. Robinson organized the event, with assistance from Powers, other chaplains and Better Together, a club aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue. Photo by Spenser Hickey

By Spenser Hickey and Jija Dutt
Managing Editor and Transcript Reporter

A month after Culture Fest’s ignition of unity, Inter-faith House (IF) members carried out a spiritual remix.

Junior Brianna Robinson organized Night of Unity as her house project for the second year in a row.

She said the concept is to provide a safe space for students to share their faith, spiritual journey or lack of faith.

“It is a time for everyone to learn and grow together,” Robinson said.

Night of Unity featured a variety of faith traditions, including denominations of Christianity, Judaism, agnosticism and atheism.

Performances included  dance, readings, singing and instrumental music.

Other IF residents, Better Together members and the Chaplain’s Office all helped organize the event.

Robinson said this year’s event was more successful, with approximately 40 people in attendance; planning began around two months ago.

“I am a true believer in unity and how we are all really better when we work, learn and love together,” Robinson said.

She added that her main goal was to reach out to as many people as she could.

“I wanted to get people to talk about (faith and unity,)” she said.

“Communication is key for change.”

Senior IF resident Rachel Vinciguerra took part by choreographing a dance and later reading a portion of “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan.

The dance, performed by students, was set to “Storm Comin” by The Wailin’ Jennys, a Canadian band.

The dance focused on themes of faith and loss of faith in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, while the reading looked at the Earth’s position in space and the triviality of religious conflict on it.

“I think it’s really neat that two presentations…that are so different fit so well into one program,” she said.

She said she loves Sagan’s scientific perspectives and that the event shows  both commonalities and unique experiences on faith.

At OWU, Vinciguerra said that interfaith dialogue can be hindered by the misconception that only religious people can participate.

“That is not true at all and I wish that was something that was more widely understood,” she said.

“I would love to see more people who don’t subscribe to a particular religion participating in these events because they have critical things to say, things that I think we all need to hear.”

“Interfaith to me means an open and understanding community where we can all grow and learn from each other,” Vinciguerra added.

“It doesn’t mean that we all agree all the time, it doesn’t mean that we ignore the differences between our beliefs, but it means that we embrace those differences and learn more about ourselves and others in the process.”

“Not everyone in this room knows each other – I know that for sure – but we’re here together,” Robinson said in her closing speech.

Truth of Israeli conflict not black and white

By Ariel Koiman
Letter to the Editor

I want to start by noting that, until recently, I hadn’t realized how many other Jewish day-school alums go here. Who knew?

Regrettably, I haven’t spent enough time with the tribe lately; these days, you can usually find me at my adopted home, Beeghly Library, where I indulge in typical senior activities such as trying to graduate and finding gainful employment. Activism simply isn’t on my personal agenda, and to the many among this readership who concurrently excel in advocacy and academia, I admire you and I have no idea how you do it.

Last week, the Transcript ran an opinion piece jarring enough to capture my attention. In it, News Editor and former Jewish day-school attendee Emily Feldmesser declared her newfound acrimony toward the state of Israel, largely as a function of her having reevaluated her stance on the matter after leaving the “bubble” of Jewish day school.

For the uninitiated, Jewish day school (JDS) is, indeed, a bubble. There’s even a BuzzFeed list to prove it, and #9 and #15 on said list are so very true (here’s looking at you, Mrs. Rosenthal!). So I understand Emily’s eagerness to step back and reconsider what they hold self-evident in ‘the bubble’.

There’s another component of Jewish culture I’d like to share with you all: there is seldom any consensus about anything, and rigorous debate is commonplace with respect to religion, politics, and cottage cheese (yeah, really). If you’re not acquainted with Israeli politics, it’s a circus made up of thirty zillion political parties where they all hate each other and form alliances rivaling those on “Survivor.” This extends to attitudes toward the Palestinians, where Knesset member opinions vary from the overly wary to the entirely sympathetic.

Yes, folks, the Middle East situation is ugly, and just as the conflict isn’t black and white, neither is the Israeli role therein.

As it was at my JDS, there exists no commonly held view that Israel is perfect, immune to criticism, or innocent of any and all wrongdoing. It is not the nature of the bubble to push one idyllic view onto young Jews while sweeping unpleasant truths under the rug.

I, like Feldmesser, do not blindly support Israel. But I contend that I never have; after all, blind support would entail being oblivious to the circumstances Palestinians endure. With the onslaught of vitriol that is part and parcel of my Israeli and Jewish heritage, being oblivious is impossible.

My support is the result of an informed decision, because awareness of the conflict’s tragic nature and concern for the welfare of Israel are not mutually exclusive. That informed decision came from constructive, robust conversations, wherein we don’t shy away from the tough questions and don’t ignore the facts.

Such facts do not include unfounded comparisons to Nazi Germany and misleading maps that present British Mandate Palestine as the Palestinian state, as were both published in the Transcript last week.

These tactics are used by hate groups who wish to see Israel’s undoing, not the peace that Feldmesser and I so rightfully aspire for. A prosperous peace means that both parties should abandon their mutual mistrust and entrenched cynicism, acknowledging that lasting peace is more worthwhile.

This isn’t just boundless optimism talking: the Irish Republican Army reached this very conclusion less than a decade ago, during the aftermath of the Troubles, stressing that “We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict. There is a compelling imperative on all sides to build a just and lasting peace.”

To Feldmesser and those with similar persuasions, let me emphasize that you absolutely have standing in the vibrant, ongoing debate about Israel’s role in the conflict. Don’t be surprised to find that the Israeli Jewish community isn’t a monolith, nobody is trying to silence you, and you can influence others within the community without feeling compelled to speak out against it.

I, for one, look forward to reading more of Feldmesser insights about international relations in her weekly column, the Global Grab, but I also hope to never again see such generalizations of Israelis and the conflict on this campus. We’re better than that.

Fluffy friends of Peace and Justice

Photos by Noah Manskar
Photos by Noah Manskar

By Brianna Velliquette
Transcript Correspondent

House of Peace and Justice siblings Jerome and Pepper have a presence on campus, not for their activism, but for their power to draw people in.

“We got them by accident,” house member sophomore Camille Mullins-Lemieux said.

“One of our housemates works at a farmer’s market and somebody came up with a box full of kittens.”

The two black cats have been at the small living unit since the beginning of fall semester.

In the warm weather, Small Living Unit and fraternity members are seen walking their dogs and sharing their pets with the public.

This existing pet policy has been in place for many years, according to the Residential Life Coordinator for the SLUs Levi Harrel.

“They like taking care of an animal,” he said.

“It becomes like home, part of the family, part of the community.”

Other SLUs that have recently had pets include Modern Foreign Language, Tree House and the House of Black Culture, as well as several fraternities.

“We really see pets as a positive thing,” Harrel said. “It’s one of the unique qualities of our housing units.”

In addition to napping in the sun and chasing leaves at P&J, Jerome and Pepper are free to roam around campus, and it’s likely they will be outside more frequently as the weather gets warmer.

Freshman Shabab Sami Kabir, a future resident of House of Thought, detailed his experience with Jerome one weekend while he was watching a movie in the Hayes Hall TV lounge. Around 3 a.m., he said he looked over and saw a black cat walk into the room.

“I thought, ‘What the heck? There’s a cat!’” he said. “It walked in and seemed just at home. Actually, he let me pet him and started purring.”

After contacting P&J, whose phone number is on Jerome’s collar, he and a fellow friend scooped up the cat. He put up no fuss and they carried him outside to find his way home.

“Yeah, they do that…” Mullins-Lemieux said after hearing the story.

“The first few weeks we had them, Jerome was the first to notice there’s an outside world. Pepper is much more direct.”

Jerome’s sister, Pepper, was described as the more reserved of the two.

“I think Pepper’s kind of dumb,” said junior Rob O’Neill, a member of P&J, who also owns a rabbit named Booper.

“Jerome’s a lot smarter than her. Pepper’s like, afraid of weird things

“I don’t think that Pepper’s stupid at all,” Mullins-Lemieux said. “I think that Jerome is slightly dumb sometimes.”

“Actually, lots of people think they’re the same cat,” senior Erika Nininger, another P&J member, said.

Nininger brought the cats to P&J and is Jerome and Pepper’s main caretaker.

At the house, a policy was implemented to ensure the cats are always properly taken care of.

Nicknamed the “cat committee,” it is comprised of three house members that decide on budgets, litter box-cleaning and other caretaking needs.

Outside of the committee, other members enjoy contributing small items such as collars and cat toys.

Spring means more warm weather, and more of the two well fed, playful OWU residents adventuring on the campus grounds.

Helping OWU ‘trans-ition’ its outlook

By Olivia Lease
Transcript Correspondent

In an effort to make Ohio Wesleyan a more open environment, seniors Nora Anderson and Skylar Drake presented their senior projects, which was “Trans-ition Your Outlook,” on transgender and non-binary issues.

Due to the workshop’s conflict with John Lewis’ visit, they have scheduled another discussion to be held Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the faculty-staff lounge of Hamilton Williams Campus Center.

Drake, an intern at the Women’s Resource Center, led the discussion based portion.

“(We wanted) to have it be something we can talk about and help move forward,” she said.

The event was part of Anderson and Drake’s senior sociology seminar project.

For Anderson, who led the educational portion of the event, the interest in trans* issues stemmed from a lack of awareness and action.

“I had noticed previously that there are a lot of organizations on campus that say LGBT, use that acronym, and don’t focus on transgender issues,” Anderson said.

“I think it’s an issue that people really need to be informed about.”

Both Anderson and Drake also voiced their interests in OWU becoming more transgender friendly.

Specific things they mentioned included more gender neutral bathrooms, gender inclusive housing and a fill in the blank option for gender identification on forms.

“A lot of huge things often don’t get done on this campus, but a lot of little things often do,” Anderson said.

Both also noted the importance of faculty involvement.

“We both didn’t want this discussion to be limited to students, we wanted to bring it to a group that are pivotal to the university and might not be having these discussions at all,” said Drake.

Junior Kyle Simon attended the event and is an intern at the Spectrum Resource Center, which he described as “a student led office that creates programming geared towards raising awareness and helping the queer community.”

Simon said it is extremely important for faculty to get involved in the discussion because they support the students emotionally.

“(Them) being aware of the issues and trying might mean the world to a prospective student that is trans* or a trans* freshman who is just adjusting or someone who is just now realizing that they may have a trans* identity,” Simon said.

Anderson and Drake commented on the fact that they are both cisgender women planning a transgender awareness event.

Cisgender refers to having a gender identity that matches the one assigned at birth.

They said they did contact non-binary identifying students in the planning but didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, targeted, or held as a representative for the community.

For the next discussion they are hosting, Anderson said she “would really love to see (more) transgender and non- binary students take part in this discussion because this is their discussion.

“This is something that is affecting their lives on a daily basis.”

Commentary: Music faculty interpret Brahms

Johannes Brahms. Photo: Wikipedia
Johannes Brahms. Photo: Wikipedia

By Graydon Weaver
Transcript Correspondent

As winter began to loosen its grip, several staff members displayed their musical talents in the Jemison auditorium of Sanborn Hall.

Distinctive musicians in their own right, together they presented the works of one of the most famed classical composers.

The work of Johannes Brahms was the theme of the night.

“I get a feeling of emotional exhaustion after playing the first movement,” said Dr. Frank Chiou.

Chiou, the assistant professor of Piano and Theory opened the concert with two solo piano pieces.

Karl Pedersen, principal violist of the Columbus symphony, later accompanied Chiou. Crystal Stabenow , adjunct professor of voicesupplied vocals for the final two pieces.

The Brahms pieces performed presented a challenge for the musicians. While the viola and piano parts complimented each other, the two performers played almost completely different pieces, which required great skill and precision to form one comprehensive piece of music.

Stabenow sang in German for the final two pieces, which exemplified the importance of Brahms and other classical works: the brilliance that surrounds the composition, not necessarily the content.

Though the majority of the audience could likely not translate the lyrics, Stabenow’s clear operatic voice drew the crowd’s attention.

“Expanding your appreciation for different kinds of music, especially classical music could benefit a lot of people,” said junior Stephen Telepak, an audience member.

Mumps the word

By Ellin Youse and Caleb Dorfman
Editor-in-Chief and Transcript Correspondent

Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus has not experienced an outbreak of mumps in at least 45 years, but that isn’t stopping OWU’s Student Health Services from taking precautions.

According to Jose Rodriguez, director of public affairs and communications at the Columbus Public Health Department, there were 116 cases of mumps reported in Franklin County as of Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., with 93 being connected to The Ohio State University.

On March 28, the Delaware General Health Department reported, “Several cases of mumps in [Delaware] county.”

Marsha Tilden, director of student health services at OWU, said none of the cases are at OWU.

Tilden said she could count on two hands the number of students on campus who have not received the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccines.

According to Tilden, because OSU is a public university, their students are not required to receive the MMR vaccines like they are at OWU.  However, Communications and Media Relations Manager at the Ohio State University, Dave Isaacs, said the university has come to the conclusion that the outbreak is not the fault of a lack of vaccinations.

“We see no evidence of that, we are seeing evidence that our students are highly vaccinated,” Isaacs said.

“Most states require students attending college to receive at least one does of the vaccine before they enter school. That said, we are encouraging any student who has not had the vaccine to come to the health center and get that taken care of.”

Isaacs said the student health center at OSU is making mump vaccinations a top concern in scheduling appointments.

“Our health center right now is fully staffed, and we are absolutely prioritizing students requesting for vaccinations for the mumps,” he said.

Isaacs agreed with Tilden in the most crucial preventive measure people can take towards contracting mumps is staying educated on staying healthy in general.

“The most important thing anyone can do to stay healthy is to learn the steps they can take in order to protect themselves and others,” he said.

“The mumps spread through liquid droplets, like the cold and flu viruses, so the tips to stay healthy are relatively the same. Wash your hands as much as possible and be up to date on your vaccinations.”

Tildensaid a case of the mumps has a typical incubation period of 15 days, but the disease can be present in someone’s body for up to 25 days without showing any signs or symptoms.

According to Tilden, the proximity in which a virus can spread is a factor in why OWU students should be concerned about the outbreak. Given the small size of OWU’s campus, the threat of mumps is not to be taken lightly.

“I think the main concern for any virus that is highly contagious, is the close quarters in which students live,” Tilden said.

“So any university that has students who live, eat and attend class together are at risk. Students should protect themselves by avoiding close contact with those that are ill, cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, wash hands frequently and don’t share cups, eating utensils etc.”

Tilden said vaccines are available for those who have not been vaccinated or have only recieved one dose of the vaccination at the Delaware General Health Department, which is located at 1 West Winter Street, and at the OWU Student Health Center.

Mama Charlotte shares message of peace

O'Neal in October 2013. Photo from Mama Charlotte's personal blog
O’Neal in October 2013. Photo from Mama Charlotte’s personal blog

By Kaillie Winston
Transcript Correspondent 

Former Black Panther Charlotte O’Neal came to Ohio Wesleyan University to convey a message of self-determination and community control through her music and poetry.

In 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale established the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Oakland, California. The group defended minority groups from economic, social, and political inequality in America. BPP members aimed to raise equality by organizing committees and programs such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1967 and the Panther’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program in 1969.

The Black Panther Party deteriorated by 1980, but O’Neal still feels strongly about the values they stood for: peace and justice.

O’Neal, who refers to herself as “Mama Charlotte,” explained to a room of OWU students and faculty that the party primarily supported self-determination and community control in inner cities. If students learn to work together and set goals in the classroom, O’Neal said, they could prosper greatly.

“Mama Charlotte has many inspiring stories to tell about her journey and it is a great honor to have her at our school,” senior Taylor Rivkin said.

Additionally, O’Neal is a well-renowned musician and poet from Kansas City. During her time as a Black Panther, O’Neal wrote numerous poems about the struggles of minority oppression, protests, and peace for all. O’Neal continues to share her ideas today through artistic media.

O’Neal became interested in the BPP in the late 1960’s when she first saw founder and chairman Pete O’Neal speaking out about minority rights on television. She became an official member in the late 1969, after learning about the Panther’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program.

“When I discovered the Breakfast for School Children Program, it was over,” she said. “I signed on the dotted line.”

In this program, the BPP installed kitchens throughout America and fed more than 10,000 children each day before school.

The organization remained strong and started liberation movements with many other countries. For example, the United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC), a Panther effort, aimed to help develop well-rounded communities in Tanzania.

O’Neal said many people wrongly assume that the BPP was a black supremacist organization.

“Many people read negative things about the Black Panther Party,” she said, “The black supremacist groups actually disliked us because we worked with everyone.”

“Mama Charlotte” and her husband Pete O’Neal moved to Tanzania in 1971, where they began UAACC in order to spread Black Panther ideals through school systems.

Just five years ago, Mr. and Mrs. O’Neal founded a children’s home in Tanzania, aimed at providing a loving and nurturing environment for orphans. Charlotte O’Neal focuses on artistic involvement and hopes that a proper education will help these children to go far in today’s world.

“If we can spread love and peace, the world will learn to tolerate one another, regardless of gender or race,” she said. “That’s all that matters.”

Students spiritually connect to nature

By Catie Beach
Transcript Correspondent

Twelve Ohio Wesleyan students spent their spring breaks trailblazing the forests of South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, working to conserve the forest’s trails and campsite while connecting with their inner spirituality.

The weeklong hike is an annual backpacking trip organized by The Wilderness Ministry, a part of the Chaplain’s office. The theme of this year’s trek, titled “The Ground We Walk,” explored mankind’s relationship with the earth and how humans take care of it.

The group arrived in Sumpter National Forest after a day’s drive, spending the first four days of their trek hiking, camping, and exploring.

“The terrain was very beautiful–lot’s of waterfalls and varied species,” said sophomore Reilly Reynolds.

Before starting their service work on the trail, the group spent their first days getting in touch with their spiritual sides.

Their leaders isolated each hiker on the trail for a few hours at a time, allowing them to decompress and contemplate nature in private.

“I spent some time barefoot, feeling the textures of the ground,” Reynolds said. “I just really got to experience nature in an interesting way. I’ve always held a very high level of respect for my natural surroundings, but the trip heightened that even more.”

The trek, lead by Coalition for Christian Outreach counselor Jamie Zackavitch and alumnae Haley Figlestahler (’13), was a first time backpacking experience for many of the students.

“The trip really challenged my endurance,” said sophomore Scott Woodward. “We were each carrying 20 to 30 pounds on our backs. By the second and third days not only were you feeling the hike of your day, but the day before and the day before that.”

The last two days of the trip consisted of trail maintenance; a service which helps create safe trails and reduce the effects of hiker traffic on the environment.

“We would hike along the trails and cut any branches that were in the way of hikers and if we came across a stream without rocks we would move them there to create bridges,” Woodward said. “We fixed campsites up, raked leaves and took down unregulated ones to reduce negative human impact.”

The participating students’ service work helped them achieve a greater understanding of their role in environment conservation as well as a newfound appreciation for The Wilderness Ministry as a campus resource, according to Reynolds.

“I’d recommend wilderness treks to anyone,” she said.

“It’s a great lesson in teamwork, respecting physical abilities, and letting go of the stresses of everyday life to look at the bigger picture.”