Ever felt like you were on a never-ending roller-coaster ride and THAT was your life?

There’s something about being on a ‘coaster that makes you feel like you are not in control. You are just experiencing the ride, but should it take a sharp turn left or right, you are just going to have to grin and bear it, or scream your head off, because you are not in control.

Or so you think. Who told you to get on that ride anyway? Oh….I see.

And life feels like that sometimes.

But it’s important to remember that there’s choices you can make to prevent or even mitigate the crazy freefall you think is approaching.

I remember living day-to-day with that crazy anxious feeling in my chest. Like, how am I going to get through today? I know I’m strong, but damn, this is killing me. I feel like a rubbed out eraser.

Things changed for me when I began to see my inner turmoil reflected in my external world. There’s nothing like seeing the ceiling collapsing all around you to realize that what you thought you were holding up….had been falling down all along. Do you understand?

Over the past year or so I’ve devoted myself to the new motto “no new business,” and what it means is that I have the power to say “no,” to set my own limits, to focus on my own goals, to slow down, to stop, to make changes, to remove or stay away from people and situations that hurt me, and so on.

“No new business” means I’ve got enough on my plate and I’m just trying to deal with what I’ve got on my plate right now. I love you, but, I can’t help you right now. I have to help myself right now. But as soon as I’m okay, I’ll do what I can. I can’t help you from a hospital bed, right?

“No new business” means saying to yourself, I work full-time, I’m in school, I’m a parent, I’m trying to improve my health, maybe work on a personal hobby or passion, and that’s about all I can handle at this moment. And THAT’S OKAY. I’m not a superhero, I’m just human.

And as we enter into the fall and get supercharged up to do this and do that and do this and do that—I say, slow down. You don’t have to ride every roller-coaster in the park. Just pick one or two. And maybe it doesn’t have to have that loop-di-loop either.  Just chill, do what you can do, and be happy with that. And allow others in your life, who want this and that, to also be happy that you are taking care of you.

“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” —Edna Ferber

Christina is passionate about teaching and helping others, social justice, and business ownership. She has a BA in English from George Washington University and a MA in Education from Howard University. She is currently completing a MS in Business Management and Leadership at CUNY SPS. After 10 years of teaching in public and private schools, she’s chosen to focus on helping women and minority owned small businesses succeed and give back so that her families, friends, and communities can thrive.

Seeing Beyond Disability by Keith R. Murfee-DeConcini originally appeared on the YAI Network’s blog Voice.

A few months ago, I was having coffee with a friend from CUNY, telling her about this internship and I mentioned the slogan of YAI, “Seeing Beyond Disability.” She took issue with it, commenting that people should not have to see beyond disability, they should just see disability and accept it as a part of the person. Ideally, yes that should happen; however, we do not live in an ideal world. Sometimes people have to see beyond disability first, in order to be able to come back and accept disability.

I remember a few years back, I was having lunch with a very dear friend of mine near Lincoln Center when we saw a couple dressed up, on their way to what we assumed was their prom or some other formal event. What was striking about this couple was the young woman, who was wearing a bright red dress, had a metallic prosthesis for her left leg. She could not have been older than seventeen or eighteen and yet the confidence in the way in which she walked arm in arm with her date was stunning.

In a conversation with another friend, my disability came up and my friend said, “I can’t believe people call you or think of you as disabled! I don’t.” When I asked her what she considered “being disabled” meant, she said she considered it being human. Her answer has stayed with me ever since because that was the first time someone had said something that bold, that it started to shift my view of having a disability to one of having a shared experience in relating to disability, especially in seeing the hidden disabilities in others around us.

I was finishing up a lunch meeting with my pastor in Tucson, Arizona, and as we were walking back to his car, he echoed the same statement of not considering me disabled. Now, it is important to point out that neither of them considers disability as something negative, something that should be feared and avoided. They could see my disability as a part of me, rather than being all of me; which is what most people see when they see a person with a disability. They see only the disability and not the person who happens to have a disability. A disability is a part of a person but it does not make up the person.

I like to meet new people whenever possible and recently a close connection was formed through a social networking site. When the topic of my voice came up, through promoting last week’s blog post, I asked the person if she could get used to my voice, especially if our connection progressed. She said, “Your natural accent is a part of what makes you who you are and that’s beautiful.”

Seeing beyond a disability is not hard to do, it allows a person to see another person’s full potential while being aware of all the parts that make up that person. Seeing beyond is not ignoring. It is about accepting, even if that acceptance is not right away in some cases. So if you are struggling with the “seeing beyond” concept or know someone who is, as a person who has experienced both stigma and acceptance, I offer this advice: Take a risk, see the whole person, and plan to be surprised.

Keith R. Murfee-DeConcini is a graduate student at CUNY School of Professional Studies in its Disability Studies program and a disability advocate. He is also an intern with YAI Network where he regularly contributes to their blog Voice. Born in New York City, he’s lived all over the country. When not in New York, Keith resides in Tucson, Arizona, where he’s getting a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Arizona.

The ePortfolio Showcase, which is hosted on a Digication ePortfolio site, highlights student work in individual courses, programs, and capstone projects at both the bachelors and masters level.

tyoes of eportfolios

ePortfolio provides a window into our students’ lives: who they are and who they aspire to be. While reviewing nominations to this year’s showcase, we were delighted to see much more multimedia integration; providing a richer experience for viewers while demonstrating students’ digital skills.2014_badge2_orange Showcase winners received an Amazon gift card and a digital badge to place in their ePortfolio. Please take some time to browse the featured ePortfolios below and feel free to leave the winners some comments on their work.

Here are a few highlights demonstrating the many ways our students are defining themselves academically or professionally while creating full records of their learning:

  • Both Joan Murray and Donna Harbans really dove into reflection. They included full reflections for each course listed in their academic sections as well as an overall program reflection.
  • Benjamin Miller delivers presentation and passion in his Business ePortfolio.  He included a great deal of video presentations and documents to support his business ideas.
  • Tobie Buford and Xian Edwards showed the many ways students can use multimedia to express themselves and compliment their course work. Both put a lot of work into their ePortfolios having shared much about themselves and their studies. Tobie used SoundCloud to make us hear the passion she has for disability studies.

To visit the ePortfolio directly, simply click on a student’s name. To view additional information such as the course they created the ePortfolio for and why the ePortfolio was featured, click on the image.

We’re thrilled to be able to share their work within and beyond the CUNY SPS community and send a special thank you to all of the showcase winners for the time and energy they put into their ePortfolios – they really are fantastic!

The following blog entry was submitted by Acting Assistant Director Michael Wilson, M.A. in Applied Theatre.

On April 16 and 17, the Arts in Education Roundtable hosted the 2014 Face to Face conference at CUNY’s City College of New York.  The conference is an annual gathering for educators, artists, and administrators in the City’s arts education community.  I attended to represent CUNY SPS’s M.A. in Applied Theatre and keep an eye out for developments in the field.

At least ten students and alumni of the SPS M.A. in Applied Theatre participated in the conference, representing every cohort in the program’s seven-year history, including a member of the new cohort entering in 2014.

Andre Dimapilis (’12) presented on the use of drama to teach math to young children.  Participants in the session explored how to adapt and frame familiar games around basic mathematical concepts such as distance, numerical correspondence, and patterns.  In addition to considering math instruction, participants in the session wrestled with the more universal question of how to offer creative challenges to students without embarrassing them in front of their friends.  Andre suggested that mindfully scaffolding activities helps make it safe for young people to take risks.  Andre’s contagious love for learning disarmed the conversation, illustrating that passion and care go a long way, too.  Andre drew his presentation from his work as a core team member of the Early Learning Program at the CUNY Creative Arts Team (CAT).

CUNY SPS M.A. Applied Theatre

Joey Schultz (’12) and Kevin Ray (’11) presented on devising theatre with middle-school youth, drawing from their work as staff members of the CAT Youth Theatre.  Their approach will be familiar to students and alumni of the M.A. in Applied Theatre: play drama games to develop community and common theatrical vocabulary; investigate ideas that are of interest to the group; and provide a clear structure for participants to follow to create their own original pieces of theatre about their ideas.  For this session, Joey and Kevin lead participants in using physical images to assert how they would change the world.  The assembled teaching artists and administrators viscerally lampooned gluttony and inequality in many areas including, pointedly, arts funding.

CUNY SPS M.A. Applied Theatre

I also attended “The Many Hats of a Teaching Artist: Cultivating Professional Partnerships,” a session led by members of the Roundtable’s Teaching Artists Affairs Committee.  We used image theatre and other techniques to address issues that arise in relationships with parents, administrators, and classroom teachers.  Afterward, I spoke with committee member Lauren Jost about organizing to support teaching artists: what will it take to have reliable healthcare coverage?  Reliable pay for preparation and travel?  The issue is near my heart: when I was a teaching artist, I struggled with the inconsistency of the work.  I began a meetup group with Anneka Fagundes (’11) and Reka Polonyi, a graduate in Applied Drama from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, to workshop issues that arose in our work as teaching artists.  We imagined a structure for combining our resources and elevating the status and treatment of teaching artists in the field.  I am eager for our graduates to pick up that torch and run with it.

CUNY SPS M.A. Applied Theatre
Plenary speakers were concerned with the status of the field in the City.  New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said that making art teaches children how to approach learning.  Making art also develops skills tested by the city’s Common Core academic standards.

Later in the day, City Comptroller Scott Stringer presented from his report State of the Arts: A Plan to Boost Arts Education in New York City Schools.  The report, which was released in April, shows that one in five City schools has no part-time or full-time certified art teacher.  Stringer said he is working to secure funding to place an arts teacher in every school.  Reflecting on the day, Roundtable Co-Chair Ted Wiprud said that we arts educators now have a place at the table more than ever.  I shared this news and Ted’s outlook with my officemate, Maureen Donohue.  “More certified teachers?” she mused, “does that mean more jobs for teaching artists, or the other way around?”

I looked in Scott Stringer’s report and found that one in six schools have no arts or cultural partnerships—in other words, no teaching artists.  Would increasing arts spending expand those partnerships?

The intelligent advocacy of our graduates would help in that direction.  Interested in being involved?  Write me at Michael.Wilson@mail.cuny.edu.

CUNY SPS M.A. Applied Theatre

 


Show Your Work

Have you created one or more ePortfolios this past year? If so, we invite you to submit your ePortfolio to the CUNY School of Professional Studies ePortfolio Student Showcase for an opportunity to be selected as one of the “Featured Student ePortfolios” on the ePortfolio Showcase website and receive a $100 Amazon gift card!

Selections are made based on:

  • Design layout
  • Organization of materials
  • Best use of multimedia
  • Demonstration of reflective learning
  • Overall representation of academic skills, coursework, and extracurricular activities

To nominate yourself, please complete this form by May 24, 2014. Please help us recognize your great work with ePortfolio!

Resources

Last year, the ePortfolio Team and Career Services teamed up to create a webinar to explain the nature and uses of ePortfolios that gave students the tools they needed to build their own ePortfolio in time to participate in the showcase. Last month, we teamed up again to offer our first in-person workshop titled, “Transform your ePortfolio,” where we covered how to copy and move content between ePortfolios, finding Creative Commons images, and how to identify and showcase transferable skills. If you missed the workshop, here are the final tips we gave to students:

ePortfolio Tips

  1. Think hard about the organization, appearance and general layout of your ePortfolio.
  2. Be sure all relevant documents are uploaded to their corresponding sections of the ePortfolio.
  3. Avoid bright colors and stick to the more traditional business formatting and fonts.
  4. Use meaningful pictures to bring some life to your ePortfolio.
  5. Write good content and keep it up-to-date.
  6. Use reflection to create a narrative of your transferable skills.
  7. Connect your ePortfolio with social media sites so people can find you more easily.

transfer

 

SHOW YOUR WORK!

The New York Times digital subscription for CUNY SPS students

Hey guys,

When I decided to write a graduation blog—sort of a tell-all about my CUNY academic journey—I quickly found out I literally had no idea of what to say. It isn’t that I’m lacking in material; rather I was chock-full of witty statements about meeting (or missing) deadlines; “thanks,” to send out to all my CUNY professors and other administrative staff that helped make earning my undergraduate degree an experience I’m truly proud of; and, of course, time-management tips for full-time students who have thousands of other obligations. However, I struggled with pulling anything cohesive together. So, after many wasted afternoons at my local Starbucks, I did what any other Communication and Culture graduate would do—I communicated by sharing my “writer’s block” phenomenon all over the Internet. While waiting for inspiration to hit or a friend to text back with a sympathetic ‘smiley face,’ I stumbled across a really enlightening video featured here.

As a Communication and Culture major, this video really struck a chord with me. The author presents his message in a brutally honest manner that cannot be ignored, if only because we are all so plugged in to society via “smartphones.” I, personally, can attest to the difficulty of striking up a conversation on the bus stop or even offering something as simple as a greeting to a passersby because we just don’t notice each other. The lives that we live online, the conversations that we hold via social networks, even the pictures we take and immediately post have become so important that we may be missing out on everyday moments. And why? Why is it so important that we ‘share’ every minute detail about our lives on social networks—it’s only being looked at, considered, judged, and then passed over, reduced to a ‘like’ or simply forgotten. I don’t quite know the answer to that question but I do know that I am going to utilize my degree NOT to publish my life online but to communicate interpersonally with the people around me.

My studies here at CUNY SPS helped me realize we are a nation of many cultures, languages, ethnicities, backgrounds, stories, and feelings. Each of us matters in our unique way and we all are worth more than the click of a ‘like’ or ‘share’ button. Communication, thus culture, is comprised of much more than wording an essay online or in class, composing an eloquent response to a peer, and knowing the correct usage of a word. Communication does not stop when we leave online chat rooms, close out private messages, or even exit our classes. Likewise, the history behind the many cultures populating America cannot be summed up and manifested in one person who thinks to share his or her life-story via Facebook or chooses to post authentic cultural dishes on Instagram. Communication and culture is so much larger than us that to truly understand its content, we must go outside the Internet, beyond our smartphones and venture into this people-populated world.

Big steps are not necessary in our quest to start interpersonal communication with those around us. The first thing I’m going to do is stop practicing yoga in front of my laptop screen with my cell close at hand and actually enroll in a class at my local gym. Ten dollars a class, no cellphones allowed, and interaction with men and women of all ages and ethnicities. Sounds perfect!

My name is Yolanda Ransom, and for the past two semesters I have had the pleasure and opportunity of being in the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy CUNY Corps group. During our group retreat last December, we brainstormed to come up with our idea of how to honor and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day. We decided to create an event that we called “A Piece of Peace.” Since a huge part of Dr. King’s goal was to bring about peace among people, rather than racial and ethnic division, our aim was to bring a ‘piece’ of Dr. King’s message of peace to a group of young students.

Some of our members are current students at City College or former students of the A. Philip Randolph High School. So we decided to launch our 1st annual “Piece of Peace” event there. We focused on selecting students that had shown leadership skills and worked with their administrators to invite these specific students. Although we originally planned to do the event in January when Dr. King’s birthday is legally celebrated, that was not possible due to scheduling issues. So when we were offered the opportunity to hold it in March instead, we jumped at the chance.

So, on March 11, 2014 we held the first “Piece of Peace” with about 100 or so eager students. We started off with lunch and provided a delicious spread beforehand (no one wants to learn, or do anything on an empty stomach, right?). Afterwards, we introduced our group and its purpose for being there.

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event
Next, we did an exercise designed to help the students become aware of and recognize how automatically we stereotype one another based on physical differences and/or labels. All of the students formed 2 long lines facing each other. While one student held a label (which they couldn’t see) up to their forehead, the partner facing them would ask them questions associated with the label assigned to them. For example, one student had the label “CEO.” Based on the perceptions, stereotypes and assumptions that automatically come to mind, the student facing the ‘labeled’ one would say things that either did/did not result in the ‘labelee’ figuring out what their label was, and whether it is generally viewed positively or negatively in society. The students really enjoyed doing the exercise.

We wanted the students to gain a greater understanding of Dr. King and what he was all about. So we gathered many of his lesser known quotes to share with the students. Most of the students admitted that they know Dr. King for his “I Have a Dream” speech, but not much else. Here, I and my fellow Malave members are introducing this part of the event:

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event

The quotes were shared in small groups where the students read and discussed them. They described how the quotes applied to them, society, and their futures as leaders. Both the students and Malave members were deeply engaged in the discussions.

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event

Then, each group selected a spokesperson or two to present their collaborative ideas to everyone.

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event
For the final part of the event, we explained to the students that they were the first group ever to participate in the “Piece of Peace.” To commemorate the event, each student would place their thumb in paint and ‘sign’ a dove image that we had brought. The artwork would then be framed and displayed at the A. Philip Randolph High School as a collective symbol celebrating Dr. King and our shared experience that day. This is when all the students got super excited and began cheering, whooping and clapping! They all gleefully lined up to ‘sign’ the dove onstage.

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event
Each student and everyone in attendance also received a colorful wristband that read “I Have a Dream” and “A Piece of Peace” on it to take as a gift and reminder of the day we all spent together.

Malave Leadership Academy’s “Piece of Peace” Martin Luther King Jr. Event

Here is the ‘Piece’ of Peace Dove that the students will proudly display at their school:

CUNY Corps group and the A. Philip Randolph High Scho
It was a wonderful day for both the CUNY Corps group and the A. Philip Randolph High School students. We gave and took from one another in a positive spirit of learning and up-building and everyone left very happy. The students shook hands, hugged and thanked us for coming. And we returned the love and thanked them for letting us spend a few hours with them. This first event got off to a great start, and it can only get better from here!

Group Shot!

CUNY Corps group and the A. Philip Randolph High School students

Greetings from the ePortfolio team at CUNY SPS! We hope your semester is going well and that you’ve had a chance to log into your Digication account to work on one or more of your ePortfolios. Speaking of which, many students have reached out to the team about maintaining multiple ePortfolios, so we’ve decided to throw a pizza mixer (aka “workshop”) in April, just before spring break brings a brief lull (and hopefully sunny warm weather!). During this hands-on workshop, students will learn how to use ePortfolio to identify and demonstrate their transferable skills and will also work with the ePortfolio team to create a central (hub) ePortfolio by using Digication’s Organize feature. We also welcome this opportunity as chance to get feedback from students on ways we can improve the overall ePorfolio program. That, plus some delicious NYC pizza and you can’t go wrong for a Wednesday evening in April! Seats are limited so register soon. For those who can’t attend, we will post all of our resources and a video overview shortly after the event (sadly, sans pizza).

Cheers,

Sarah Morgano & Jennifer Holland
CUNY SPS ePortfolio Team

Workshop: Transform your ePortfolio

When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Location: CUNY SPS, 119 W. 31st Street., Room 303, New York, NY 10001

Want to make your ePortfolio showcase and career ready? Join Sarah Morgano and Jennifer Holland from the ePortfolio team, Shannon Gallo from Career Services, and Anthony Sweeney from Student Services for some pizza and for an opportunity to learn how to transform your ePortfolio in time to participate in our annual ePortfolio showcase, where featured student ePortfolios will receive an Amazon gift card.

Visit the event page to learn more and register for this workshop: http://sps.cuny.edu/events/id/217

CDC Find & Apply Workshop

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