You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Communication and Culture’ tag.

The Leftovers, HBO’s drama based on the novel of the same name written by Tom Perrotta, returned this Sunday for its second season. Season 1 focused primarily on the people of Mapleton, a fictional town about an hour drive north of Manhattan, and their dealing with the mysterious disappearance of 2% of the world’s population. In season 2 the story shifts to Jarden, Texas, appropriately nicknamed Miracle National Park, as not one person was taken from them in the Sudden Departure.

There is a bleak nature to The Leftovers, unlike anything else on TV at the moment (perhaps the only thing close in the “dark” department is, oddly enough, Review, which is great, but a comedy) that sucked me in entirely midway through last year’s first season. It’s grim. It’s depressing. Add that to a level of despair that will undoubtedly turn people off. It’s a divisive show, with a view of the world most people wouldn’t dare tackle nor one they want to be a part of.

Damon Lindelof, co-creator/writer, is no stranger to polarizing television. When LOST ended it’s 6 season run in 2010, many were unhappy, feeling they were left with more questions than answers. I was not one of those people, but I can’t argue with those who thought the show should’ve gone in a different direction. I didn’t agree with all the decisions made regarding the final couple of seasons, but I believe no less in Lindelof, who helped create something wholly original and unique, unlike anything else on TV then and with its failed copycats in the years since.

Alan Sepinwall, excellent TV critic for Hitfix.com, posted a wonderfully candid interview with Lindelof that gives great insight into the process of creating such a show, and the pitfalls of controlling something the magnitude of LOST.

The Leftovers is a show about grief, but it’s also a show about hope. A hope that these people can move on with their lives. Maybe not to rebuild the lives they once had, but to expand on lives they never thought possible. The departed are not coming back. We, the viewer, have been told by the creators that we won’t ever find out what happened to them. That focuses us entirely on what’s happening on-screen, right in front of us. There’s a supernatural aspect of the show that’s exciting in a non-alien way. No matter what your religious allegiances, it’s a show that tests your faith.

Mapleton has burned, figuratively, and to a point, literally. The Garveys, along with Nora (Carrie Coon’s performance as Nora Durst is transcendent and one of the great new TV finds in recent memory) are leaving that behind to start anew. I can’t wait to join them.

Here’s a beautiful piece of music from season 1’s Soundtrack. Part of a deep, emotional, and often contemplative score:

Twitter: @BobbyJDaniels

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

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!

The SPS Scholarship Committee has identified six scholarship recipients for the 2013-14 academic year. After careful deliberation, the Committee selected these students from an impressive pool of approximately 70 submissions—the most SPS has received to date.

Vearlane Edge and Velma Felix have been selected as 2013-14 Bob Martin Scholars. Vearlane is a student in the Online B.A. in Communication and Media program, and she anticipates graduating in 2014. For the past 20 years, she has organized and hosted Girl Scout troops of all ages, and has been especially active in an event providing children in need with backpacks and school supplies. With her help, this event has grown from 150 to over 300 participants in just three years. Velma, a student in our Online B.S. in Business program, is on track to graduate in December 2013. Velma returned to SPS after discontinuing her college education because of financial hardship. The Bob Martin Scholarship will allow Velma to finish her degree with SPS.

Tiffany Garcia is our inaugural Timothy Meade Scholar. A student in our Online B.A. in Disability Studies program with a Spring 2014 anticipated graduation date, Tiffany was led to the degree through her work as a special education teacher’s assistant in New Jersey. Tiffany has always worked hard for her education. Following an associate’s degree at LaGuardia Community College, she chose to finish her undergraduate education at SPS. She is on her way to becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college, which has inspired her older sister to return to higher education as well.

Nooria Nodrat and Merrilee Robinson have been awarded Founding Dean’s Scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year. Nooria is an in-person student in the M.A. in Disability Studies program, and anticipates graduating in May 2014. Nooria, who is blind, decided to come to SPS to pursue Disability Studies in order to give back to her community. Merrilee is currently pursuing a B.S. in Health Information Management with an anticipated graduation date in Spring 2014. Born in a “third-world country,” Merrilee has overcome hardship and prioritizes her education. Her goal is to enter the workforce, earn certification in RHIA and RHIT, and find employment as a compliance officer

Elmo Paige will be receiving the 2013-14 Stephen M. Rossen Memorial Scholarship. Elmo, a single father of four teenagers, is guiding them through their educational journeys as he embarks on his own. With the full encouragement of his employer, this scholarship will allow him to reduce his work hours and focus more closely on his studies: he anticipates graduating from SPS in 2015 or 2016 with the M.S. in Data Analytics.

Communications Earnings Info Graphic

The following post was submitted by Crispin Goytia ‘09, Chair of the Alumni Advisory Council

The CUNY School of Professional Studies Alumni Advisory Council was formed with the intention of bringing alumni together to make time to dedicate and “give back” to the school that gave us so much. Personally, it has been a blessing for me to be a part of this council because I can’t think of a better way to keep the legacy of SPS alive.Alumni Reception at The CUNY School of Professional Studies

I was part of the first group of students enrolled in the online degree program and I have always thought of ourselves as “trailblazers” daring to take education to new and improved heights. I have many wonderful memories, but honestly my favorite was going on a nature walk in Inwood Park as part of the Nature and New York Course.

By being a member of the Advisory Council, we are able to partake in that vision each time we work together to develop ideas and programs that will forever shape the school and the populations it serves. Each time we meet, I am reminded that the Advisory Council feels like a family.

Giving of your time, even if it is just once a month can impact the life of a fellow student at CUNY SPS. I ask of all alumni both near and far to create an alumni action plan which can help people figure out how they can best give back to an institution that has given us so much.

Crispin is a graduate of the Online Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Culture Program, currently works in research, and plans to apply to one of the Master’s Degree programs here at SPS. 

In less than 4 weeks, I will be standing in Staten Island waiting for the start of the 2012 ING NYC Marathon with great anticipation. This is what I have been working so hard for over the last 5 months. It started with giving up a pack of Marlboro Lights a day and my commitment to fight for my health. Even though 5 months seems like a very long time, it’s almost a blink of an eye compared to the events over the last 2 weeks since my last post, “The Final Countdown.”

On September 29th, I ran with my team at Prospect Park with a brand new pair of running shoes, shoes that I call my “ruby-red-running-slippers.” I had special ordered these shoes in this special red color to match my American Cancer Society DetermiNation blue and red jersey. And special they are! Wearing them for the first time, I did 13.9 miles in them! So, I like to believe they are magical. It was as though I clicked my heels three times and the run was done! (Okay, so maybe not that magical!)

I used these very same running slippers on October 7th for the Staten Island Half-Marathon. It was an extraordinary experience for me. I was overjoyed while I ran. I kept a positive attitude and a steady pace. I was joyful and smiling at the finish! It brought me back to the day I felt as though I was forcing myself to try and fall in love with running. The idea seemed like a fairytale—just as clicking my ruby-red-running-slippers to magically complete a race might sound to you.

The puppy-love I was feeling with running didn’t stop there. I recall how I was emotionally happy but physically beat up after my first 10K race in July. Practice on the following Tuesday was so painful, that I felt like quitting. I fully expected and prepared myself for a tough practice this past Tuesday after doing the Half-Marathon on Sunday. Guess what—that was absolutely not the case. I ran my fastest 5.1 miles ever at 1 hour, 9 minutes and 21 seconds. My first race ever, the “Take Your Base 5-Miler” on June 30th, I clocked at 1 hour, 17 minutes and 48 seconds. Even though it’s exciting, having a personal-record is not everything. To me, it’s more about how I’ve been feeling after my runs. I feel giddy and excited. After Tuesday’s practice, I remember thinking, “That was a GOOD workout!” I never imagined in a million years that I would be excited about how “good” a workout felt.

So, indeed so much has happened in the last 2 weeks. I’ve had somewhat of a personal transformation. I am not getting over-confident though. Next weekend is my last opportunity for a long run before the big day. After this weekend, I begin to taper down on my mileage—while still practicing with shorter runs. I must must MUST hit 16-20 miles this weekend. I missed my target last weekend by 3 miles. But I am a “DetermiNator” and I am up for this challenge no matter how much time I have left to practice!

And while “time” is in the spotlight, I must remind myself—TIME is after all why I am doing this. Whether you are an individual who is fighting cancer, surviving cancer, helping a loved one fight cancer, or remembering a loved one who lost the battle to cancer—we all want time and lasting memories together. The American Cancer Society gives people the greatest gift and their most precious commodity; time.

For more information on my journey to the ING NYC Marathon & fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society, please visit http://bit.ly/xahndra.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

The power of positive thinking; if you can believe it, you can achieve it; walk by faith, not by sight; what you think about, you bring about; keep your eyes on the prize… All these sayings and mantras are what millions of people repeat and live by every day.

All stem from the law of attraction.

The law of attraction has become a big part of my daily life. I am in the process of changing my thinking to be more in line with the law of attraction. Over the past recent years, we have been inundated with information regarding the law of attraction via various books and movies. I always thought it was just some self-help bull so I didn’t stop to listen, but I’m listening now!

The law of attraction is very powerful yet very simple. It can be described with so many different words, but my favorite words to describe it are:

VISUALIZATION BRINGS MATERIALIZATION

What that means is that if you visualize something enough you will bring it to fruition; you will bring your visions into reality.

Even before I was aware of this law, it happened to me. In the past, I’ve thought about something so much that it manifested into reality; good and bad things.

Now with this knowledge, I try my best not to dwell on my fears and things that I DON’T want because those very things will come about. Now, I dwell on the end result, the things that I do want.

It is a struggle at times because when things go wrong it’s easy to slip back into a negative thought pattern. Being more conscious of my thoughts, and what triggers my fears and negative thoughts has helped tremendously. When I find myself emitting negative thoughts about a certain situation, I immediately fight it off by thinking of something that makes me happy, like shopping or driving that new Range Rover that I have posted on my vision board.

What are your thoughts on the law of attraction?

Martine Chevry received her B.A. in Communication and Culture from the CUNY School of Professional Studies in June 2011. She currently works as an Assistant Editor and lives in Queens, New York. She is a devoted mom, daughter and girlfriend, as well as an up and coming indie writer. She enjoys kickboxing, shopping, reading, writing and her guilty pleasure is reality television.

Alumni Spotlight
Nelson Franco

The Alumni Spotlight feature highlights one of SPS’s proud graduates. We asked Nelson Franco (B.A. Communication and Culture, Class of 2012) five questions about his experiences before, during, and after SPS.

1. What was your background prior to coming to SPS?

I had only taken one college course back in 1980. The second course was 24 years later (2004). I’ve had no change in career since 2004, but this was not my objective when going after a BA.

2. Why did you choose SPS and your program?

50% of my coursework was done at John Jay. The remaining courses needed to complete a political science degree were difficult to fit into my schedule. While searching for other CUNY colleges, I found SPS. Of course online courses worked perfectly for me, but I did change my major. This ended up being a closer fit to my current career so it turned out to be a double-bonus for me.

3. What is your favorite memory from your time at SPS?

Prior to being this year’s student speaker, my favorite memory was visiting the mosque at Ground Zero for a research project.

4. Are you currently working in your field of study? What are your current career and /or life goals?

My current career as Logistics Manager certainly exposes me to various business cultures around the globe. With my degree in Communications and Culture, this knowledge has certainly widened my tolerance of cultural differences with working others around the world. In addition, new technological tools experienced with my coursework have certainly helped in my current career.

5. Is there a message you want to share with your fellow SPS alumni?

I believe that I could have completed my degree without the help of fellow students’ encouragement and support. However, it certainly would not have been as inspirational and fun. Thanks and congratulations to all!

The CUNY SPS Online B.A. in Communication and Culture offers an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on critical issues related to communications, with special emphasis on new and traditional media. Students examine and evaluate social and organization culture, preparing them to launch or advance their careers in management, media and communications, social services, and international organizations.

Find out more about this and other SPS programs by visiting our website or by attending an in-person information session. The next Online Baccalaureate Info Session will be held Wednesday, September 12th 6-8pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Click here to register

With the start of the Fall 2012 semester this week, those of us who took the summer off are quickly reminded of the juggling we will need to do in order to maintain our family responsibilities and jobs. Schedules need to be re-arranged, social outings declined or cancelled, and sometimes we have to ask others for help. I’ve already had to ask my brother to spend time with Athena, my daughter’s Chihuahua, because we are both keeping long days with work and school, and in my case, training for the marathon too.

Asking for help has become a new talent of mine. It is how I have been able to raise over $2,500 for the American Cancer Society and how reaching the goal of $3,500 is attainable. Since the CUNY School of Professional Studies has an opportunity to fundraise for Komen’s Race for the Cure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fundraising secrets that have made “asking for help” a lot easier than it sounds.

Social media has been my number one source for donations. Using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging, I make the opportunity available to many potential donors. I engage my audience of friends, family and colleagues by making meaningful posts about my progress, set-backs, victories and challenges. I invite others to comment, share, and get involved. I offer opportunities to support me with either financial support, moral support—or both.

One of the most engaging tools I’ve used is MapMyRun. While running, it tracks me and my friends can watch me live on the app. (Feel free to add me if you use MapMyRun, user name: xahndra.) One of the coolest features with MapMyRun is that when my run is complete, it posts a map and a custom message with my mapped run. I set the program so that it will automatically post to Facebook and Twitter after my run with a link to my fundraising page. My online community sees that I am doing the work and that their funds mean something to me. (It also socially holds me responsible to stick with my program and training days… Win Win!)

I try to think of gimmicks and mini-goals. For example, the hashtag on Twitter, #FF stands for FollowFriday. Many Twitter users actually search for that hashtag to see what fun people to follow on Fridays. Also, people pay attention to the #FF in their Twitter feed. So, I made #FF stand for something else. FUNDRAISING FRIDAY!

Fundraising Friday works best when you have some sort of mini-goal associated with it. For example, a few Frundraising Friday’s ago, I was very close to the 50% mark. I needed just a hundred dollars or so. By the time #FF Fundraising Friday was almost over, I needed just $19.25 to hit 50%. I sent out a tweet and status update requesting that amount and instead I received two more $25 donations pushing me well over 50% of my goal. It’s fun because now some of my teammates are using #FF Fundraising Friday and having success as well. Try using #FF this Friday as a member of the CUNY SPS team for Komen’s Race for the Cure. Let me know if it worked for you too!

In all my tweets and updates through social media, I try to engage others. If I can get a well known handle to retweet me or donate their status update for me, it’s a good day for my awareness. I always tag organizations on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve actually been retweeted by authors, sporting good stores, and the American Cancer Society. When this happens, it’s a great day for my awareness campaign! I’ve even asked for a status updates and tweet donations from my friends and followers. It’s really helped me reach the friends of my friends. In the last 3 months, I’ve actually doubled my number of Twitter followers. This will really help me for the next time around.

Outside of social media, I write bi-monthly email updates to all my contributors, family, friends and colleagues. This keeps them engaged and aware of the huge impact they’ve made in my life and reminds them of the good cause they have contributed to. I write updates to the blog on my fundraising page regularly, reporting my progress and milestones. I’ve held two happy hour fundraisers with friends and colleagues and I plan on doing a bake sale in the office. There really are so many little things that a #CharityRunner could do to raise big money without costing too much time.

So, here’s my personal challenge to the CUNY SPS community. As a team, let’s try to raise some serious cash for the Susan G. Komen #RaceForTheCure! So far we have 17 team members. If each of us raised $100, we would be making a huge impact with $1,700 raised as a team. That’s almost half of what I am raising on my own for the American Cancer Society. Can we do it? I think we can! To join our team and efforts, please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

“Live Your Best Life”… is what Oprah says and everybody knows that when Oprah speaks, we listen, intently! What happens when we aren’t necessarily happy with our best lives? We think we’d be better off with our co-worker’s best and our neighbor’s best because their best seems so much better than ours.

Once you understand that happiness depends on your individual definition, then you’ve just won the first battle. Let’s say that you were to attain your co-worker’s and neighbor’s best life; would it really fit into the fabric of your life? Everyone is different, we’ve all heard that before, what makes your neighbor happy may not necessarily even keep you interested and vice versa. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are our unalienable rights in accordance to the Declaration of Independence and for all intent and purpose our forefathers definitely had the right idea, LLPH gave us a guideline that is still followed to date. Today, I think the interpretation is much different; LLPH should now read: Life, Liberty and Your Individual Pursuit of Happiness.

As a young adult or adolescent, we all had some sort of vision of how we wanted our lives to be as an adult. That vision was what we looked forward to; we took steps to go down the road that led to our perceived happiness. As a teenager, I envisioned becoming an accomplished dancer (I attended dancing school from ages seven to eighteen), possibly dancing with one of the popular dance companies in New York City, Alvin Alley maybe, graduating high school and college and going on to law school and becoming a powerhouse attorney. I saw myself marrying an attorney like myself, living lavishly in an upper class neighborhood with two kids; one boy and one girl. Needless to say my life didn’t turn out that way, but it’s been an amazing ride getting to the point I am right now.

The truth is, there is nothing wrong with my life as it is, but my individual pursuit isn’t over by a long shot. How about you? What is your individual pursuit to happiness and how has it changed over the years?

Martine Chevry received her B.A. in Communication and Culture from the CUNY School of Professional Studies in June 2011. She currently works as an Assistant Editor and lives in Queens, New York. She is a devoted mom, daughter and girlfriend, as well as an up and coming indie writer. She enjoys kickboxing, shopping, reading, writing and her guilty pleasure is reality television.