Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College: Academics

"Students read in the stacks of the library in Goucher College's Athenaeum Monday, October 12, 2009."

This will be my final “Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College” post. I’ll stop boring you. 

This photograph represents the countless hours and, particularly throughout my Junior and Senior year, regular all-nighters spent working in the library. It started with the Julia Rogers library and the infamous “Walk of Shame” – the long walk across campus at 3:30 in the morning in the cold winter rain after finalizing a twenty-page paper.

Halfway through the four years, the library moved to the Athenaeum, a much more convenient location. The workload increased however, and surviving on Snickers bars and Fritos from the vending machines in Julia Rogers changed to surviving on Caprese baguettes and Iced Athenaeum’s from Alice’s Restaraunt. 

Those nights, and the lack of sleep in general, are elements of College that I won’t miss, but hard work pays off. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in my Communications and Media Studies major and a minor in Spanish Language. I’m also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Sigma academic and athletic honor societies. And, this year, I wrote a 76-page Senior honors thesis titled, “Sex, Censorship, and Student Journalism: What Two Newspaper Columns Reveal About the Student Press.”

What I will miss are the conversations and discussions that took place in classes, and I’m thankful to the professors who sparked my interest in so many different areas of study. It was always a joy listening to lectures about the changing landscape of journalism or the role of robots in science fiction films. 

Finally, Goucher is unique in that professors become mentors and then subsequently become friends. I doubt there’s many other places where your Research Methods professor beats you 7-0 in basketball or your Spanish professor asks you to play tennis or your Communications professor buys you Chinese food. In my opinion, the prospect of forming these types of relationships is among the finest that Goucher has to offer. 

“Urban Chic:” Designers bring Spring styles to Goucher

"A student models off a 'Rimardo' dress designed by Richard Jones during the annual Umoja 'Urban Chic' fashion show at Goucher College Saturday, April 23, 2011."

This is something I’ve meant to shoot every year that I’ve been here, but for one reason or another, had never got there until this time around. Umoja, Goucher’s Black Student Union, hosts the benefit show every year to raise money for charity and to give local designers a chance for some exposure. 

I’ve never shot fashion, so I’m not sure if there’s a proper way to shoot a model walking down a runway. Then again, it’s a model walking down a runway, how complicated can it get? 

I enjoyed it, although some lighting effects would have added some atmosphere to the two rounds of models. The Athenaeum’s lighting at night time is so incredibly flat and boring. 

Regardless, it made me think about a part of the photography world that I’ve never really explored. 

‘Marley and Me’ and Goucher College


“John Grogan, author of ‘Marley and Me,’ fields a question after his lecture titled ‘Memoir & Me- The Art of First-Person Narrative’ at Goucher College on Monday, March 28, 2011.”

John Grogan, author of the 2006 New York Times bestseller, ‘Marley and Me’, was invited to speak at Goucher College last Monday.

I’ve haven’t read the book or watched the film, but it didn’t matter much for the purposes of this lecture. Grogan, a former reporter and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, spoke about the differences and similarities between journalism and narrative nonfiction. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on how objectivity and balance play into both styles of writing.

I got to speak with him at dinner before the lecture. He saw me with my camera, and he told me that he used to love to shoot for his college newspaper, although he admitted it was never his forte.

Here’s another post that explains his talk in more detail.

Goucher recognizes founder’s birthday with afternoon tea


"The Reverend's Rebels, Goucher's female A Capella group, perform in front of guests at the Mary Fisher Tea at Goucher College's Athenaeum Tuesday, March 22, 2011."

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: photography is my favorite way to take my mind off of things. On days when life can seem confusing and chaotic, producing images is something that’s simple. It’s just you and whatever fills your viewfinder.

That’s how I felt yesterday while I was shooting this assignment for The Quarterly. I hadn’t ever seen the Mary Fisher Tea, a campus tradition honoring the birthday of Mary Fisher Goucher, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

It didn’t matter much, though. I was able to shoot a nice variety of types of shots in the short window of time that I had.

Between being pleased with my work and speaking with some cheerful ladies sipping their afternoon tea, I left feeling much better than I did when I came in.

Black Jew Dialogues kick off Fusion at Goucher

"Actor Larry Jay Tish operates a puppet during a performance of 'The Black Jew Dialogues' at Goucher College Wednesday, March 2, 2011."
“Actors Ron Jones (left) and Larry Jay Tish don the role of grandmother together during a performance of ‘The Black Jew Dialogues’ at Goucher College Wednesday, March 2, 2011.”
“Actor Larry Jay Tish stands before a presentation of photographs documenting a history of persecution during a performance of ‘The Black Jew Dialogues’ at Goucher College Wednesday, March 2, 2011.”

I procrastinated on a paper that was due for class last Thursday by photographing The Black Jew Dialogues on Wednesday night. It made for a long night and morning with that paper, but I’m glad I was there shooting. I got the paper done on time, for the record.

The show touched on so many issues in such a short period, which is why I felt I had to post three photographs here. Only posting one wouldn’t have been a good representation of the feel of the performance. It was funny one minute, serious the next, lighthearted another minute, then difficult to take in the next.

The actors’ overarching message was that although Blacks and Jews have had different histories, as a whole, their struggles have been largely the same. Taking time to talk through those struggles with each other, not just among Blacks and Jews, but among all groups, is the best way to better the world, they said.

The dialogue was an interesting way to get that point across, I thought.

Haitian journalist cites shortcomings of American media


"Mr. Joel Dreyfuss, Managing Editor of 'The Root,' collects his thoughts before delivering a lecture on media coverage of the crisis in Haiti at Goucher College Tuesday, March 1, 2011."

Mr. Joel Dreyfuss, Managing Editor of The Root, an online magazine published by The Washington Post providing news and commentary from varying black perspectives, spoke at Goucher College last week about media coverage following last year’s earthquake in Haiti.

He addressed several shortcomings of American media, most of which he said were exemplified through coverage of this crisis.

Dreyfuss’ main talking point was that reporters and large media outlets didn’t take enough into account the complex history and culture of Haiti and its people. He mentioned how most journalists who were sent to Haiti were briefed with ten-page packets merely containing the most important moments in Haitian history. Because of this limited knowledge of history, stories that touched on more deep-seated, longstanding issues were missed.

I had dinner with Mr. Dreyfuss before his lecture, and he asked us if we were sure that we wanted to go into the field of journalism. We all nodded our heads in assent, yet after listening to him speak about all the problems journalism has today, I was a bit confused. I reminded him of that question he asked at dinner, and I asked him what he would advise for a young person who wants to address those problems?

I appreciated his answer, which was simple, honest and realistic. He said that for the most part, those who have worked in the media for years are jaded, and that journalism needs youth and enthusiasm.

He summed his answer up in two words: “Do it.”

Singers, dancers light up stage at ‘A Glimpse of Africa’


"Kwame Ansah Brew, professor and Ghanaian drummer, performs at the 'A Glimpse of Africa' celebration of Black History Month at Goucher College Saturday, February 27, 2011."
"Towson University's Rhythm Step Team dances in formation the 'A Glimpse of Africa' celebration of Black History Month at Goucher College Saturday, February 27, 2011."
“Maimouna Youssef, Grammy nominated singer and songwriter, sings at the ‘A Glimpse of Africa’ celebration of Black History Month at Goucher College Saturday, February 27, 2011.”

Goucher College’s Programming Board paired with Umoja, Goucher’s Black Student Union, to put on the second annual ‘A Glimpse of Africa’ celebration in honor of Black History Month last week.

I had a front row seat so I could get photographs, and the energy coming out of some of the performances was invigorating. I couldn’t stop clicking my shutter.

It’s a shame that the Hyman Forum’s plain wooden paneled backdrop is so disgustingly boring, because it really detracted from these vibrant displays of rhythm, song, spoken word, dance, and color.

And because I know that the lighting is always so awful on that stage, I figured I’d play around with exposure and motion this time around. The movements were so fast in most of the acts, so I decided to emphasize the blurring.

The show certainly got everyone amped up for a dark, sweaty, and crowded after-party dance in the Gopher Hole later that night.

Prospects For Peace.

"Dr. Robert O. Freedman, the Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Baltimore Hebrew University, discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Tuesday, November 16, 2010 in the Hyman Forum of the Athenaeum at Goucher College. Freedman was one of four panelists who participated in 'Trying Again: Prospects for Peace in the Middle East.'"

I shot this event at the end of a rough day. I also had to leave my favorite class early to make sure I got these photographs.

But, as it always seems to do, my camera made me feel better. Sometimes, the world confined within my viewfinder is a lot more simple than the world we actually live in.

Judy Woodruff speaks during Family Weekend

"Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour, receives a gift after discussing the 2010 midterm elections in the Hyman Forum at Goucher College Friday, October 8, 2010."

I always look forward to Family Weekend at Goucher because the college is always sure to bring in an amazing speaker for families to listen to.

This year was particularly exciting for us newspaper staffers because that speaker was Judy Woodruff, a very prominent news figure. She discussed the 2010 Midterm Election.

I stepped up to the microphone after the conversation was opened up to the audience to ask her a question: what skills should the young generation of journalists be learning, and what frame of mind should we have as the media changes so quickly?

She told me that it’s not just about writing, or not just about photography, anymore. Rather, one should know how to interview, write, take pictures and video, and use online media. She also said that we should stay curious and passionate, work hard, and read copious amounts of articles and books.

Goucher hosts immigration discussion panel



"Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, answers a question from the audience in the Hyman Forum of the Athenaeum at Goucher College Tuesday, September 28, 2010. Jacoby was one of four panelists invited for a discussion entitled, "The Arizona Immigration Law: Protecting America or Subverting America?"


One of the reasons I love Goucher College so much is all the interesting, intelligent, and influential figures who are invited to campus.

Most recently, the college hosted a panel discussion on the proposed changes to immigration laws in Arizona. I didn’t know much about the law, and since the panel included members of varying political affiliations, I used the event as an opportunity to educate myself.

I also had to take photographs of it, which is usually the case when speakers come to campus. I’ve shot so many of these types of events over the years that I know exactly what to expect.

This year, I want to be more creative in how I frame all of these shots of people with microphones in their faces that I have to take.