News & Recognition

It takes a village to raise a writer

Third-year student Erica Roberts, an international affairs major, during her international co-op in India. Contributed photo - See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/10/it-takes-a-village/#sthash.0hHevimG.dpuf

Third-year student Erica Roberts, an international affairs major, during her international co-op in India. Contributed photo 

It had always been Erica Roberts’ dream to work in India, but the third-year North­eastern stu­dent never had the oppor­tu­nity. That is, until last spring, when inter­na­tional co-op took her to a class­room in Chan­delao, a vil­lage about 45 min­utes out­side of Jodhpur.

Roberts worked with Chan­delao Vikas Sansthan, a small orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes women’s entre­pre­neur­ship. She con­nected with the orga­ni­za­tion through the Foun­da­tion for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, a San Francisco-based non­profit focused on capacity building in the inter­na­tional community.

Roberts took respon­si­bility for devel­oping a pro­gram to teach local women how to read and write Hindi. Though she didn’t speak Hindi, the resourceful stu­dent worked with locals to iden­tify the needs of the vil­lage women as well as the best approach to imple­menting the program.

“I worked with a friend who helped me con­duct inter­views, sur­veys and group meet­ings with women in the vil­lage so we could find out what their needs were and how we could help them go fur­ther and pro­vide for their fam­i­lies better,” Roberts said.

The inter­na­tional affairs major applied what she had learned in class to the devel­op­ment of the pro­gram, which ranged from con­ducting needs assess­ments to elic­iting insight from stake­holders. Roberts wrote the course plan, making sure to include ideas that would make the pro­gram sus­tain­able, and con­nected with a local teacher who altered a cur­riculum for indi­vidual stu­dents to fit Roberts’ needs.

“A lot of the classes I have taken were def­i­nitely applic­able,” Roberts said, “and it is really cool to go on co-op and see that what you are learning is actu­ally going to help you once you are done with college.”

As a result of the village’s small size, word of mouth turned out to be the program’s best recruit­ment tool. By the time Roberts had returned home after 17 weeks in India, about 30 women had com­mitted to the program.

“It was a good start,” Roberts noted. “I tried to plan out a lot of ways to get feed­back for all par­ties involved so we could make sure the pro­gram is run­ning smoothly and everyone has what they want.”

Written by Joe O'Connell

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This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

The artist behind the MFA’s sound

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Thanks to experiential learning and determination, Northeastern alumna Jasmine Hagans is living her dream as curator of lectures, courses, and concerts at the Museum of Fine Arts, where she’s building its concert profile. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

North­eastern alumna Jas­mine Hagans has lived and breathed music her whole life. Her father is a pro­fes­sional jazz musi­cian, and she has worked at local venues, man­aged two bands on tour, and played drums in a rock band for the last year and a half.

“I don’t think I could live hap­pily without music being a part of my life,” said Hagans, a 2009 grad­uate of the music industry pro­gram with minors in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, urban studies, and history.

Thanks to both her dogged­ness and valu­able experiential-learning oppor­tu­ni­ties at North­eastern, music cur­rently plays a role in what she does every day. Hagans is the curator of lec­tures, courses, and con­certs at the Museum of Fine Arts on Hunt­ington Avenue. In this role, she pro­grams more than 150 events per year, ranging from adult art his­tory and cul­ture classes to dynamic lec­tures and concerts.

In par­tic­ular, Hagans has embraced the oppor­tu­nity to expand the MFA’s music offer­ings. She pro­posed and imple­mented a pro­gram called Sound Bites, which brings in free live music one Thursday a month between the fall and spring. As a result of her cre­ative insights into plan­ning and music, the museum has fea­tured both pop­ular and worldly acts such as Pas­sion Pit, Oliver Mtukudzi, Eme­line Michel, Cal­i­fone, Lost in the Trees, So Per­cus­sion, and My Brightest Diamond.

Opened in 1876, the MFA is one of the globe’s most com­pre­hen­sive art museums, with a col­lec­tion com­prising nearly 450,000 works of art that are viewed by more than 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors each year. To Hagans, building the MFA’s con­cert slate to com­ple­ment its remark­able art exhibits and edu­ca­tional pro­gram­ming seemed like a nat­ural fit.

“Why not? This is the MFA,” she said. “As you walk around the museum, you feel truly inspired by these artists, and I felt that adding more music pro­gram­ming could only bring it even more to life. It gets you in the mindset that you’re in a spe­cial place.”

Hagans started at the MFA in June 2006 as a part-time intern, helping to coor­di­nate and manage winter and summer pro­grams and other events at the museum. Over time, she took on more respon­si­bility as pro­duc­tion assis­tant and then a man­ager, even­tu­ally coor­di­nating all aspects of the museum’s con­cert pro­gram­ming, from pro­duc­tion to hospitality.

After grad­u­a­tion, Hagans spent a year teaching Eng­lish in South Korea. When she returned, she soon real­ized her heart remained with the arts. So she recon­nected with her former employer and earned a posi­tion as the man­ager of lec­tures, courses, and con­certs in Oct. 2010. In July of this year, she was pro­moted to curator.

She credits her North­eastern edu­ca­tion for fos­tering her open mind as well as for fur­thering her engage­ment with arts, cul­ture, and the music industry.

“Each day I have the oppor­tu­nity to look at a visual ency­clo­pedia of human his­tory,” Hagans said. “Working here is nothing short of inspi­ra­tional and ful­filling both on a per­sonal and com­mu­nity level. Not a day goes by in which I don’t learn some­thing about the world’s his­tory and how we’re all moving forward.”

Written by Greg St. Martin

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This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

Student’s autonomous boat ‘Scouts’ the Atlantic

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Fourth-year computer science major Dave Pimentel wrote the navigation code for Scout Transatlantic, an autonomous boat on a mission to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Rhode Island to Spain.  Photo by Brooks Canaday. 

 When a friend with an ambi­tious goal to send an autonomous boat from Rhode Island to Spain approached David Pimentel, he jumped on the oppor­tu­nity. “He needed someone to help pro­gram the idea he had, which has to send a boat across the Atlantic,” explained Pimentel. “Right away, I was very inter­ested in doing it.”

Pimentel, a fourth-year com­puter sci­ence major, was tasked with coding the 13-foot long autonomous robotic boat, nick­named Scout, to follow a spe­cific set of latitude-longitude points. The oppor­tu­nity to code during co-op place­ments for PayPal and the mobile com­pany Run­K­eeper gave Pimentel the expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary to take on such a lofty task. The boat is depending entirely on these pre-programmed com­mands as well as infor­ma­tion about its envi­ron­ment col­lected through sen­sors to nav­i­gate the Atlantic.

After some trial and error, Scout was suc­cess­fully launched at 1 a.m. on Aug. 24 from Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, R.I., with a crowd of spec­ta­tors and project sup­porters in attendance.

“We had a couple of ini­tial launches fail due to dif­ferent rea­sons, but now this trip is going better than I expected,” Pimentel said.

The team’s other six mem­bers were respon­sible for cre­ating the web appli­ca­tion used to track the boat, pro­gram­ming com­mu­ni­ca­tions soft­ware, form con­struc­tion, and com­po­nent fab­ri­ca­tion, among other aspects. The boat’s bat­tery is pow­ered by solar panels, sim­ilar to how a motor­cycle bat­tery oper­ates. Since Scout only moves as a modest one mile per hour, on average, Pimentel and his team antic­i­pate the trip will take another six to 12 weeks.

“We would like to prove that this is pos­sible, and some­thing that can be used in a research set­ting,” he said. “The ability to send a boat out to a cer­tain point in the ocean to col­lect data, without needing to send a team, would be both cost and time effective.”

Out­side of the poten­tial research impli­ca­tions of a suc­cessful trip, the team has already believed to have beaten the world record for the far­thest dis­tance trav­eled by an autonomous boat. The pre­vious record for the length of time spent on the water by an autonomous boat attempting a transat­lantic trip was set in 2010 by a vessel that trav­eled only 61 miles off the coast of Ire­land. Scout has already passed this pre­vious marker by nearly 30-fold.

“This has been a really exciting project to be a part of,” Pimentel said. “We’ve proven that it’s pos­sible, and if we can, we’re going to do it again.”

Written by Jordana Torres

 

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Diving right in, student researcher explores ocean habitats

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Nadia Aamoum at her international co-op in Seychelles, an island nation north of Madagascar. Aamoum, a marine biology major, did research dives and worked at a dive shop during her co-op. Contributed photo - See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/10/diving-right-in/#sthash.4zzFU8w1.dpuf

 

 

During Nadia Aamoum’s six-month inter­na­tional co-op in the island nation of Sey­chelles, north of Mada­gascar, the ocean was her work­place. She reg­u­larly con­ducted research dives off the coast of Mahe Island to survey fish, coral, and inver­te­brate populations.

“We don’t know that much about the marine envi­ron­ment,” Aamoum explained. “We know more about the sur­face of the moon. There is just such great intrigue, and diving is the best way to get down there.”

A marine biology major, Aamoum has been diving for five years and has her open water diving cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. She first learned to dive at a resort in Kenya her family visited.

“I find it really relaxing,” Aamoum said of diving. “I know that’s a little strange for a person to find breathing under­water relaxing.”

While in Sey­chelles, Aamoum con­ducted line inter­cept tran­sect dives, which are used to esti­mate the cover of a species on a coral reef, and sta­tionary point counts. Aamoum said she studied fish pop­u­la­tion because it inter­ested her the most.

Aamoum said her expe­ri­ence in Sey­chelles helped pre­pare her for the next phase of her col­le­giate career: Northeastern’s Three Seas Pro­gram.

The pro­gram, which cel­e­brates its 30th anniver­sary this year, is based out of Northeastern’s Marine Sci­ence Center in Nahant. It gives stu­dents an unprece­dented experiential-learning oppor­tu­nity by bringing them to three dif­ferent marine ecosys­tems in the Western Hemi­sphere over the course of a year.

“The pro­gram allows stu­dents who have a pas­sion for marine biology to really focus and get excep­tional field, lab­o­ra­tory, and class­room expe­ri­ence,” said Liz Bentley, the pro­gram coor­di­nator and dive safety officer. “So it will hope­fully allow them, in the end, to find their real pas­sion within the field.”

Stu­dents spend the fall semester diving and taking classes in Nahant. They then spend 10 weeks during the winter at the Smith­sonian Trop­ical Research Insti­tute in Panama, studying the trop­ical ecosystem there. The pro­gram then moves to Friday Harbor in Wash­ington state for eight weeks where stu­dents research rocky inter­tidal habi­tats and a sub-tidal kelp forest.

“It’s the pre­miere marine biology research expe­ri­ence,” said Steve Vollmer, the fac­ulty head of the pro­gram. “There is nothing else like it.”

The Three Seas Program at Northeastern's Marine Science Center in Nahant, Mass., is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

The Three Seas Pro­gram at Northeastern’s Marine Sci­ence Center in Nahant, Mass., is cel­e­brating its 30th anniver­sary this year. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Aamoum started the pro­gram this fall and said this oppor­tu­nity was a key factor in her deci­sion to attend North­eastern. So far, she’s enjoying the program’s chal­lenging cur­riculum and activ­i­ties. She said Nahant’s colder water tem­per­a­ture and vastly dif­ferent aquatic envi­ron­ment has been an adjust­ment to that of Sey­chelles. “It has taken a little get­ting use to. As a group we are all get­ting better.”

Both Bentley and Vollmer are alumni of the Three Seas Pro­gram and said it has started the careers of many pres­ti­gious marine biologists.

This aca­d­emic year there are 23 stu­dents in the program—15 under­grad­u­ates and eight grad­uate stu­dents. Under­grad­uate stu­dents typ­i­cally do the pro­gram during their fourth or fifth year at North­eastern. Grad­uate stu­dents are also required to do a six-month internship.

Bentley said this year’s class is one of the largest in the program’s his­tory. “I think the master’s degree com­po­nent is drawing a lot of people and is becoming more known,” she said, “and the marine biology major at North­eastern helps a lot for sure.”

Angela Her­ring con­tributed to this story.

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This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

Learning science while having fun

Science
A science and engineering fair organized by Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education drew more than 200 children and their families to campus earlier this month. Photo by Lauren Horn.

How do you play piano with bananas keys? How do you detect seismic activity? How do birds use their beaks to pick up food?

More than 200 young stu­dents and their fam­i­lies explored the answers to these ques­tions ear­lier this month at STEM Sunday, a sci­ence and engi­neering event held in Northeastern’s Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center. Vol­un­teers from the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity ran hands-on activ­i­ties at the “reverse sci­ence fair,” which was orga­nized by Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion, led by Claire Duggan. The event was part of the National Sci­ence Foundation’s annual Engi­neering Research and Inno­va­tion Con­fer­ence, which was hosted by the Col­lege of Engi­neering.

David Truong, who just com­pleted the fifth grade at Rus­sell Ele­men­tary School in Boston, one of Northeastern’s partner schools in Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Step UP pro­gram, loved the event. “There were a lot of fun things there, like the robot we moved with a con­troller, and making paper towers and gliders,” he said. “There was also a wizard who talked about saving electricity.”

Truong was one of four dozen middle school stu­dents who attended the event as part of their first day of the Exxon­Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Sci­ence Camp. The free, two-week pro­gram — run by the Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion and named after the first African-American to con­duct a space­walk — gives stu­dents the chance to work along­side North­eastern fac­ulty, staff and stu­dents on projects aimed at increasing their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in the areas of sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and mathematics.

Vol­un­teers from orga­ni­za­tions including the Cam­bridge Sci­ence Fes­tival, Maker Faire, NStar, and the Cape Cod National His­tory Museum, and grad­uate and under­grad­uate stu­dents from col­leges across the country par­tic­i­pated in the conference-led activities.

David Schmidt, a North­eastern bio­engi­neering grad­uate stu­dent, helped the young engineers-in-training build the tallest tower they could using only two sheets of news­paper. “Paper towers are a nice cost-effective activity because you can bring them into any class­room and use them for any age group,” he said. “Our tallest tower was actu­ally built by a mom, so clearly building them never gets old.”

Schmidt is also a member of Northeastern’s robotics team, the NUTRONS, which demoed a robot at the event. “These activ­i­ties are a sneaky way to teach chil­dren about engi­neering,” Schmidt said. “They don’t know they’re learning.”

 

 

This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

Physical therapy students to work for military hospitals

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Physical therapy students Alan Cheng and Katie Osterman, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who completed her ROTC training at Northeastern, will complete clinical rotations at military hospitals. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

 

Most phys­ical ther­a­pists who enlist in the mil­i­tary don’t immed­i­tately have the nec­es­sary skills to suc­ceed, as they’re untrained in tasks such as ordering X-rays and diag­nosing com­pli­cated injuries. Most have not gone through basic training — or even fired a rifle.

Katie Osterman, on the other hand, a sixth-year phys­ical therapy stu­dent who was com­mis­sioned in May as a second lieu­tenant after five years in Northeastern’s ROTC pro­gram, will be pre­pared to tell a much dif­ferent story.

Through a new part­ner­ship between mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals and North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, Osterman will con­duct her clin­ical rota­tions at some of the nation’s top facil­i­ties. At the Walter Reed National Mil­i­tary Med­ical Center, in Bethesda, Md., for example, she will teach sol­diers how to use new, high-tech pros­thetic limbs.

“After these clin­ical rota­tions, I’ll be going into my career with all this back­ground and expe­ri­ence so many people won’t have,” said Osterman, whose par­ents served in the Marine Corps.

Though there’s a waiting list for ther­a­pists who want to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, there’s also a shortage phys­ical ther­a­pists with mil­i­tary training who can hit the ground running.

“They almost have to be retrained when they get there,” explained Christo­pher Cesario, a clin­ical instructor in the phys­ical therapy depart­ment who spent the last two years building the partnership.

Maura Iverson, chair of Northeastern’s Depart­ment of Phys­ical Therapy in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences, noted that stu­dents who com­plete the ROTC pro­gram — which requires gru­eling phys­ical training and lead­er­ship classes on top of a full aca­d­emic course load — are some of the university’s strongest.

The chance to com­plete clin­ical rota­tions at mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals is also open to civilian stu­dents. Alan Cheng, a sixth-year phys­ical therapy stu­dent, for example, will work later this year at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

“When this oppor­tu­nity pre­sented itself, I thought ‘What other chance will I have to do some­thing like this? Some­thing that could pre­pare me for any kind of phys­ical therapy work I might encounter?’” Cheng said. “I couldn’t turn it down.”

 

 

This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

The husky wears Prada

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Journalism student Rebecca Stadlen turned a co-op and internship at Vogue magazine into a full-time summer job. Photo by Beth Babicz at Vogue magazine

 

“Haute cou­ture,” “on trend,” and “The Sep­tember issue” are now part of the everyday par­lance of third-year jour­nalismstu­dent Rebecca Stadlen, who has spent the last year working for Vogue, one of the world’s most influ­en­tial fashion magazines.

From June to December 2011, Stadlen com­pleted a co-op at Vogue’s New York City head­quar­ters, writing cul­ture and news sto­ries for print and Vogue.com and assisting with high-fashion photo shoots.

Her tenure was extended to a semester-long intern­ship, which ended in June with a full-time job offer — as an under­grad­uate — to write for the mag­a­zine over the summer.

“I didn’t always know that I wanted to work in fashion,” says Stadlen, whose child­hood dream was to become a bal­le­rina and a lawyer. “In a way, working at Vogue is a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of the two — there’s an ele­ment of inten­sity as well as this need for pre­ci­sion and poise.

Stadlen was bit by the jour­nalism bug thanks in large part to her step­fa­ther, who pro­duces and edits the leading TV news mag­a­zine 60 Min­utes. “I kind of grew up around it all,” she says. “He taught me to be a storyteller.”

This summer, Stadlen will have the oppor­tu­nity to pre­pare the iconic “Sep­tember issue” — the make or break book of the year for every major fashion glossy. The magazine’s most pop­ular edi­tion was the sub­ject of a 2009 behind-the-scenes doc­u­men­tary aptly named “The Sep­tember Issue,” which fol­lowed Vogue editor Anna Win­tour and her staff during the pro­duc­tion of the Sep­tember 2007 issue — the biggest in its 117-year his­tory and, at 840 pages in length, a world record for a monthly magazine.

Stadlen credits a freshman-year jour­nalism course for preparing her to ace high-pressure writing assign­ments and giving her the con­fi­dence and expe­ri­ence to com­mu­ni­cate daily with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the fashion industry’s top players, from Chanel to Louis Vuitton.

“We were tasked to step out­side of the box and dig for sto­ries,” she says of the class.  “For one assign­ment I had to call politi­cians at the State House, which was nerve-racking at first, but after that and my Vogue expe­ri­ence, I feel like I could com­fort­ably pick up the phone and call the Pres­i­dent of the United States.”

On the sur­face, Stadlen’s expe­ri­ence reflects that of Anne Hathaway’s char­acter in the hit film “The Devil Wears Prada,” which was adapted from the epony­mous roman a clef. In the film, Hath­away plays a jour­nalism stu­dent working for the impos­sibly demanding fashion mag­a­zine editor Miranda Priestly, who is por­trayed by Meryl Streep and believed to be based on Wintour.

But Stadlen says that that depic­tion could not be fur­ther from the truth. As she puts it, “The editor-in-chief ele­vates the whole team and her example helps to push us to want to be our best.”

By

 

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This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

Lending a helping hand in the community

Community
Through Northeastern’s Husky Volunteer Team, students create positive change in the communities surrounding campus and form strong bonds with local organizations. Above, the students who volunteered at the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury. Courtesy photo.

 

While North­eastern stu­dent Stephanie Sil­veira was vol­un­teering at the John F. Kennedy Ele­men­tary School in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neigh­bor­hood this semester, a fourth-grader in her class­room approached her with a problem: The girl was scared to read her essay in front of the class. So Sil­veira calmly took her out­side and asked her to first read the essay aloud only to her.

“She needed that con­fi­dence to have someone tell her that her essay was good so she could read it in front of the class,” Sil­veira said.

This is just one example of how Sil­veira, a senior psy­chology major, has been making a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity through Northeastern’s Husky Vol­un­teer Team. The pro­gram, which began in 2008 and is run through the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice, pairs groups of stu­dents with com­mu­nity part­ners each semester. Groups typ­i­cally visit com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions once a week to vol­un­teer in ways such as tutoring in after-school pro­grams with kids, vis­iting elderly res­i­dents and preparing and dis­trib­uting meals to the needy.

Through the pro­gram, stu­dents learn about social issues within Boston’s neigh­bor­hoods while also working toward cre­ating pos­i­tive change. Stu­dent involve­ment is also on the rise: 32 stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the spring semester, and 51 joined in Summer I.

“Our stu­dents form strong bonds with these com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions and often find ways to keep vol­un­teering there after their pro­grams end,” said Sydney Palinkas, a pro­gram assis­tant in the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice who coor­di­nates the Husky Vol­un­teer Team. “It’s also a great way for stu­dents to meet new people on campus.”

Sil­veira agreed, adding that the pro­gram allows stu­dents to become engaged in the com­mu­ni­ties sur­rounding campus. She’s been a Husky Vol­un­teer Team member for at least one semester the last four years. Her first expe­ri­ence involved run­ning a health and nutri­tion group for girls at the Deer­born Middle School in Roxbury.

Josh Mav­ilia, a third-year crim­inal jus­tice major at North­eastern, just fin­ished his first semester as a team member. He vol­un­teered in the gym­na­sium at the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club in Rox­bury, where he and another North­eastern stu­dent helped run sports programs.

Mav­ilia, who plays intra­mural soccer at North­eastern and par­tic­i­pates in a men’s hockey league out­side the uni­ver­sity, worked with kids on base­ball hit­ting and fielding drills and helped intro­duce many of the youth to the game of soccer.

Mav­ilia also recalled poking his head into the Boys & Girls Club’s music room on one after­noon to wit­ness another Husky Vol­un­teer Team member helping kids play the piano and improve their singing skills.

“It’s been incred­ibly rewarding,” Mav­ilia said. “The Yawkey Club has been fan­tastic, and the kids are really grateful. It’s been great seeing them improve in their sports, too.”

The dead­line for North­eastern stu­dents to submit appli­ca­tions to become Husky Vol­un­teer Team mem­bers for the Summer II semester is Monday, June 25. Appli­ca­tions are avail­able on the Center of Com­mu­nity Service’s website.

 

An ‘Idol’ follows her dreams

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Senior and music industry major Courtnie Bennett won the NU Idol competition to sing the national anthem at Fenway Park during Northeastern’s Senior Week. Photo by Dominick Reuter

On Tuesday evening, North­eastern senior music industry major Courtnie Ben­nett will belt out the national anthem in front of class­mates and more than 30,000 base­ball fans inside his­toric Fenway Park.

“I’m so excited,” said Ben­nett, who earned the honor of singing on Senior Night at Fenway Park by win­ning the NU Idol com­pe­ti­tion last month. The ball­game is part of Northeastern’s Senior Week programming.

In the first round of the NU Idol com­pe­ti­tion, which was held in March, stu­dents per­formed songs of their choosing. Top per­formers moved on to the second round, in which they had to sing the Star-​​Spangled Banner.

In the opening round, Ben­nett sang an a cap­pella ver­sion of Adele’s “One and Only” — at the sug­ges­tion of a friend.

“The lyrics really spoke to me,” she said. “A lot of young girls have the expe­ri­ence of love and heartbreak.”

Ben­nett, who describes her­self as a “jazz musi­cian, through and through,” began taking piano lessons at age 7, when her mother noticed her singing ability. At North­eastern, she is part of the Unity Gospel Ensemble, which afforded her the oppor­tu­nity two years ago to sing with the Boston Pops. She’s also a member of the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Choral Society and per­forms at after­HOURS and other local venues.

But a co-​​op last year at Reser­voir Media Man­age­ment in New York City really opened her eyes to the music industry. Ben­nett con­tacted record labels, researched up-​​and-​​coming artists and even got to meet Shaggy, a reggae artist who offered advice on the busi­ness side of the music industry and encour­aged her to follow her own mind and heart.

“It was a great oppor­tu­nity to see how the music busi­ness works and to get a better under­standing of how to place your­self and your music, and the kinds of people you need to meet,” she said.

After grad­u­a­tion, Ben­nett plans to move to New York to build her music career.

“My expe­ri­ences at North­eastern have made me an all-​​around better person and a better musi­cian,” she said. “I’m ready for a bigger pond.”

This entry was posted in Media & Arts and tagged co-op, Fenway Park, music, music industry, nu idol, senior week, students. Bookmark the permalink.

This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.

Addressing poverty in Ecuador

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Amina Temkin, right, teaches stu­dents in rural Ecuador as part of her co-​​op. Cour­tesy photo.

Amina Temkin wit­nessed poverty on a Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram to Kenya last year, but on co-​​op in Ecuador, she’s expe­ri­encing a much more per­sonal account of what it means to be poor.

“What I saw in Kenya wasn’t like this,” said Temkin, a fourth-​​year com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies major at North­eastern. “You didn’t get a chance to talk to people, ask them what they need and become their friends.”

Temkin cur­rently works for Entre Las Estrellas, or “Among the Stars,” a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion staffed by vol­un­teers who serve under­priv­i­leged chil­dren and their fam­i­lies in Para­gachi, Ecuador.

In her role, Temkin helps stu­dents at a vil­lage school create a com­mu­nity news­paper and design arts and crafts projects. She also con­ducts field research and runs open forums to iden­tify com­mu­nity needs.

“This orga­ni­za­tion really focuses on asking what the com­mu­nity needs to suc­ceed and improve,” Temkin said. “It’s not run by Amer­i­cans who say, ‘We know what will make your com­mu­nity better.’”

Her close rela­tion­ship with com­mu­nity mem­bers has an added ben­efit: “My Spanish is def­i­nitely get­ting better,” Temkin said.

The inter­na­tional experiential-​​learning oppor­tu­nity has given her the chance to work directly with the people she seeks to help.

“I knew I wanted to do some­thing less tra­di­tional,” said Temkin, in ref­er­ence to her first co-​​op with a Mass­a­chu­setts non­profit ded­i­cated to pro­moting women’s repro­duc­tive rights around the globe. “In this role, I’m get­ting a chance to know and help people in the community.”

This entry was posted in Campus & Community, Society & Culture and tagged communication studies, dialogue of civilizations, ecuador. Bookmark the permalink.

This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.