If you looked at the list of colleges I considered going to, Oglethorpe was number eight…out of a list of eight that included St. John’s University, Gonzaga University, Wabash College, Guilford College and Earlham College. I chose to come to Oglethorpe because of its proximity to Atlanta and its small classes. And, living up to its motto, Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how to make a life, make a living, and make a difference in society.
When I came to Oglethorpe my freshman year, all I wanted to do was “fast-forward” through the next four years. I wasn’t expecting to begin the process of starting a nonprofit called Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes, and to work at Pegasus Creative, an on-campus student communications agency.
Two friends and I were sitting around a table during lunch, and after telling them that I wanted to build prototype tiny house that was sustainable, their response shocked me: “Yeah,” they said, “Let’s do it. We can help!” We went to the university administration about our idea and they asked us how they could help us. Oglethorpe shocked me with its spirit of encouragement.
Mon, Cartrez Wilson '15 and Jacob Tadych '14 discuss the Oglethorpe Tiny Homes project.
Although I knew that I wanted to build a house, and had an idea of how it would look, I was lost on what purpose the house would serve. Some of my classes in my major (politics) and minor (nonprofit management) actually helped me realize the purpose of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes.
It’s not about building houses, but rather, reinventing the philosophy and people’s perception of what a house should be. One of my politics classes, “New American City,” was focused on the political history of the city of Atlanta. Without this class, I would not have understood the dire need for affordable housing in Atlanta. Many of my politics classes have helped me understand who gets what, when and how in society. Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes is all about creating affordable homes that increase people’s self worth without jeopardizing their net worth.
Mon with fellow Pegasus Creative member Caitlyn Mitchell '13
One of the most important things I have learned at Oglethorpe is that if you want to make a difference you must take risks and not be afraid of failure. Working at Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, has helped me get better at taking risks and learning from my mistakes. At Pegasus, you are given responsibilities and tasks that the whole Oglethorpe community (and everyone else) can see and be affected by it. For example, I have helped build websites for Oglethorpe that potential students and current students will use. My responsibilities and the risks I’ve taken at Pegasus have helped me not be as afraid of failure.
Coming to Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how I want to live and what I want to do. Looks like my lucky number is eight.
Editor’s note: Both Mon Baroi ’15 and Jacob Tadych ’14 were recently selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in recognition of the Oglethorpe Tiny Homes project. Read about it here.
Lindsey Mitchell presents her Honors thesis at the Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium.
As Commencement approaches, there is something I can’t stop thinking about: the moment when I will walk on stage and be “hooded” in front of hundreds of spectators. This simple act signifies and rewards numerous hours of research, writing and editing, all done in the name of a thesis for the Honors Program. In spite of all the time and dedication the process has required, every time I look at my 49-page thesis, I know that the work has been worth it.
The Honors Program is an opportunity for students to further challenge themselves intellectually, both within and beyond the classroom setting. Honors students participate in several cross-disciplinary classes, forging closer relations with peers and faculty from various disciplines who share a common enthusiasm for learning, while developing their own interests and initiative.
“The thesis-building years are not for the faint of heart!” says fellow Honors student Lindsey Mitchell ’13. “The level of research and writing that is required is excellent practice for students who are interested in pursuing higher stages of academia, and therefore it is very rigorous.”
“The skills you get are pretty amazing,” adds Jef Palframan ’13. “You get to do your own thing… plus, you get to work one-on-one with three PhDs who have something to do with your field.”
Samantha Flynn presents during the 2013 Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium.
“(The program) allowed me to bridge different fields of interest (political science, political theory, and political philosophy) to answer a question that is important to me,” said Samantha Flynn ’13. “I plan to expand this thesis into a book after graduation.”
Samantha’s thesis, “Invocatio Dei: The Competing Roles of Religion and Secularization in the Polarization of American Political Culture,” was inspired by the question, “What is the cause of the venom in party politics today?”. The answer, she argues, is found in the role Christianity plays in American politics.
“I specifically focus on the evolution of the modern Left, from its origins in Massachusetts Bay Puritanism, through Progressivism, and into modern liberalism,” she explains. “I contrast American secularization (which I argue is actually not happening) with European secularization, and reject modern theorists’ interpretations of why secularism happens with a return to Tocqueville.”
Jef’s thesis, “Lifting the Veil of Violence: The October Crisis, 1970” looks at “an event that changed the concept of sovereignty in Quebec.”
Jef Palframan '13
“There are two sides (to the crisis), but if you break the violence down, there’s more than English versus French,” he says. “We’re not against violence as long as that violence is used in the means of the state. When that violence goes against norms, we shy away from it.”
Lindsey’s thesis, “Discovering the Paths and Effects of Time Travel through Science Fiction,” has both academic and creative components.
“The creative portion is about two men who travel to a nearby section of the universe to photograph the way a certain cluster of stars looks in current time,” said Lindsey. “Eventually, the fatalistic nature of time travel catches up to them, (and) the two men are forced to abandon their missions and society, traveling forever forward in time until it is safe for them to return to the Earth. The academic portion is a series of essays attempting to explain the choices I have made within the research available to me. I represent certain areas of thought in the short stories, and the essays are my way of defending and breaking down the difficult theories so that they are understandable to someone who has not spent months researching as I have.”
Here I am presenting my Honors thesis at the Symposium!
My own thesis, “Horror-Comedy: The Chaotic Spectrum and Cinematic Synthesis,” debunks the idea that comedy and horror are disparate genres. By looking at common reactions, plots, and characters in movies, I’ve come to conclude that horror and comedy lie on a spectrum that consists of how threatening, plausible, and likable the characters, monster, and plot are. The Honors Program has added to my Oglethorpe experience in some astounding ways, and it is my hope that other students will participate in the future.
“The Honors Program is an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to dive into a wide variety of specialized topics that are not usually offered as full-length courses,” said Lindsey. “I would say anyone who has a passion for the process of learning would be an excellent candidate.”
The Symposium in the Liberal Arts and Sciences is an annual event that brings together students and faculty in a day-long celebration of exemplary analytic and creative work produced by Oglethorpe students during the academic year.
Dr. Lewis opens the day’s events with a keynote address. Dr. Lewis is a professor of history at Kennesaw State University, Director of the Museum of History and Holocaust Education, and Executive Director of Museums, Archives & Rare Books.
In order to make the address more interactive, Dr. Lewis asked students several questions ranging from “What you would like to do if money were no object?” and “If you had thirty days, what would you like to learn?”
Senior Caitlyn Mitchell gives her presentation about “Science and the Church.” Students presented their research in a wide subject area, from “The Process of Modern Cosmology” to “Horror-Comedy: The Chaotic Spectrum and Cinematic Synthesis”.
Students view a painting series by art major Katherine Law. Created in this year’s Advanced Painting class, the assignment was to create a juxtaposition series involving commonplace and horrifying imagery and integrate them together into three different paintings.
Coming back to the Oglethorpe campus 10 years after graduation was an odd feeling. Much about the university was the same, but I was definitely different. I’d been out in the “real world” for several years and here I was back at the old Petrel’s Nest.
I graduated from OU in 2002 and worked at a local agency that did casting for various film and television projects. After that, I spent six years as a marketing communications manager. I enjoyed certain things about both jobs, but my passions were not being stoked and I knew I needed to make a big change. Was the elusive dream job out there somewhere?
I took some chances and got very close, but things didn’t quite work out. After learning some hard lessons I found myself suddenly without a job. It felt like the whole world was breathing down my neck wondering what I was going to do. A common piece of advice I received was “networking!” “You must network!” “It’s all about who you know!” So, I reached out to the usual friends, family members and OU grads with whom I’d kept in touch; but, I knew I needed to do more.
Reed Barrickman '02
In July 2012 I visited the Oglethorpe Career Services Center. I got some good advice and was pointed to the Alumni Office (networking!). There I met with Barb Henry who impressively rattled off the names of several fellow Petrels who might be able to help me get my career back on track. I also began receiving emails from Career Services about internships and job opportunities that were aligned with my interests.
Sometime in August I got an email about this new program at Oglethorpe called Pegasus Creative. Among other things, they were looking for a social media intern. Social media was a big puzzle piece missing from my marketing communications experience. I decided to apply.
I have spent the majority of the 2012-2013 academic year as the social media specialist of the Pegasus Creative team. Through both research and conversation I’ve gained a much greater understanding of social media and the most effective ways to utilize it. I’ve also been able to exercise my writing, researching and video editing skills. Furthermore, because of Pegasus Creative I got a very valuable freelance job through a connection with a member of the University Communications staff. More experience for my resume!
I also thoroughly enjoyed two Pegasus “field studies.” One was to a local digital marketing firm and the other was an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at CNN. Pegasus Creative is a great way to explore and develop your skills in a real working atmosphere. I also think it’s a great way to help figure out which direction you’d like to take your career. It’s been quite an experience being back at Oglethorpe on a regular basis amongst all of these impressive and quirky students. Luckily they don’t make me feel too old.
Everyone involved in the program has been really helpful and supportive while I pursue some freelance work and continue my “dream job” search. I’m sincerely grateful to Oglethorpe for this great opportunity. I’m proof that your college education doesn’t have to end at graduation. I just wish they’d had Pegasus back when I was a student.
The naming is in recognition of a generous gift from the Özgörkey family, many of whom were in attendance. Cemal Özgörkey, chairman of Özgörkey Holding, is a member of the Oglethorpe’s Board of Trustees. Both he and his brother, Armagan Özgörkey, vice chairman of Özgörkey Holding, are Oglethorpe alumni. The bell tower’s new name honors their mother, Lale Özgörkey. The family’s gift benefits Oglethorpe’s new campus center, opening in August 2013.
“Oglethorpe’s relationship with the Özgörkey family began more than 30 years ago and we could not be more proud of Cemal and Armagan and what they accomplished,” said Oglethorpe President Larry Schall. “It’s a tremendous privilege for our entire community to name the bell tower that overlooks our campus in honor of their mother, Lale Özgörkey.”
Lupton Hall is named after John Thomas Lupton, the owner of the Southern franchise of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Lupton Hall was completed in three phases, with groundbreaking ceremonies in 1922, 1924 and 1927. The bell tower, a part of the original section of the hall, was built as a memorial to Lupton’s mother. Lupton Hall was the second building erected on the university’s campus.
Since 2008, Oglethorpe University has been awarded an annual grant from the The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grant promotes and raises awareness for highway safety issues, and thanks to Leanne Henry-Miller, director of counseling services, Oglethorpe has continued to benefit from this grant in some amazing ways.
Four Oglethorpe students participate in a banner competition about bullying at the Bacchus conference. Their participation was made possible by the grant from The Governor's Office for Highway Safety.
In 2008, the grant was fundamental in establishing the OU Alcohol and Drug Task Force. Members Gaby Pierce ’16, Zena Stephens ’13, Lukas Strasser ’14 and Katie Galli ’15 have been integral in tightening the alcohol and drug policy on campus and making sure students are more informed about sanctions. For example, this task force helped to establish the Good Samaritan Policy, which protects a student from being punished if he seeks help in an alcohol or drug-related emergency. In general, the Task Force stresses a need for uniform, clearly defined policies in regards to alcohol and drug sanctions.
Similarly, the grant is a primary sponsor of Peer Educationtraining, which is a program targeted toward leaders on campus. This spring, nine students completed the training, and learned how to respond to dangerous campus situations and how to lead through positive examples.
“Anyone who’s interested in being a leader on campus should (consider) this training,” said Leanne. “RAs, RHs, group leaders… it’s important for all gate keepers.”
Additionally, the grant provided funds to take students to the Bacchus Network Area 9 Conference. These students (Everett Jackson ’15, Gaby Pierce ’16, Brian Cornelius ’15 and Precious Goto ’16) participated in a banner competition about bullying, as well as a contest to see who could make the best Iron Chef “mocktail” (a cocktail without alcohol).
The grant also covers the cost for Alcohol e-CheckUpToGo, an online test for students who are concerned about their alcohol intake or who have been sanctioned.
Finally, the grant covers portions of speakers’ visits, such as Elaine Pasqua’s Orientation Presentation: “Sex and Excess: Surviving the Party,” which discussed how alcohol is usually a factor in sexual assault.
“The speakers are targeted towards freshmen because we know those first six weeks have high-risk behavior,” explained Leanne. “(We also) bring in speakers who target Greek life and athletes.”
Thanks to this grant, our campus has become better educated about drug risks and sanctions. Our student leaders have learned how to help their peers during moments of distress, and online tests have become available for those who are concerned about their alcohol consumption. Thanks in part to the Highway Safety Grant, Oglethorpe is becoming a safer, more informed campus, with students who are better prepared for emergencies and ready to lead their peers by example.
The Counseling Services at Oglethorpe is always ready to listen. If you have any alcohol or drug-related concerns, contact Leanne Henry-Miller at 404-364-3415.
Last year, Awet Woldegebriel ’14 was selected to be a presenter at the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), founded by President Clinton to bring together students, youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Awet, an international studies major, was invited to attend CGIU again this year to discuss his nonprofit Knowledge Aid—this time accompanied by three more Oglethorpe students: Mon Baroi ’15, Jacob Tadych ’14, and Carolina Duque ’13, selected to attend based on their own impressive projects.
Mon, a politics major and nonprofit management minor, and Jacob, a business major, have been working on Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project since September 2011, with the help of other members of the Oglethorpe community. “The mission of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project is to build a $400 home that is sustainable and environmentally-conscious on the campus of Oglethorpe in 2013,” explained Mon. “After we build the prototype, our first home, our plan is to raise $5,000 so that we can build five homes that are endorsed by the city of Atlanta for homeless or low-income individuals.”
Mon Baroi '15 and Jacob Tadych '14 happily at work on their project
The team plans to share their plans and research online, so that it may be improved upon and replicated around the world.
“I’m excited (to attend CGIU),” Jacob said. “I’m hoping we can get networks, get more people involved… plus we get to hear all the ideas from other people.”
One of those ideas is Carolina’s nonprofit, Mas Luz, which provides services and aid to help women in Colombia who have been physically and mentally abused.
“I’m looking forward to show everybody what we are doing in Colombia to help,” said Carolina, who is from Colombia and is studying business at Oglethorpe. “I wasn’t expecting (CGIU) to choose me. I am stunned.”
Carolina also hopes to network and to hear about other people’s projects. As Awet experienced last year, CGIU gives students the chance to grow their ideas and to make them a reality.
“The thing about (Tiny Homes) is that a lot of people think that it’s just about a house,” said Mon, “and the thing is, it’s not just about a house, it’s about a state of mind and a lifestyle. We’re advocates of a certain type of lifestyle, a lifestyle of lifelong learning.”
Since freshman year, I’d wanted to be a senator in SGA (Student Government Association), but there always seemed to be an obstacle preventing me from joining, whether it was self-doubt or an overload of clubs and schoolwork. At the end of my junior year, I finally took the plunge, crossed my fingers, and was elected to student government. And I never looked back. Serving on SGA offers numerous opportunities and responsibilities—and each member has a different reason for joining.
2012-2013 members of SGA
“My sophomore year was a really hard year for me,” said Senator Maya Hayes ’14, “and I really wanted to dive into something that was a good cause and would take my skills to the next level (in order) to take my mind off of things… It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Current SGA President Joscelyn Stein '13
Senator Brian Cornelius ’15 joined “because it gave (him) a sense of being involved in the OU community, and because (he) love(s) seeing the politics of how our SGA works.” Fellow senator Jordan Hopps ’16 ran for office because he wanted to be a part of the community that influences OU, and because it’s his life aspiration to be a part of public service.
“Anyone who is creative, comfortable speaking their mind, and wants to make a difference in (their) community should join,” said SGA President Joscelyn Stein ’13. “Any student who cares about the school and (his) peers, and who wants to put all those qualities to work will fit in well with us… Most people assume that our main focus is allotting money, but what we’re (really) doing is trying to meet all student needs.”
Along with voting on changes such as coin-free laundry and issues such as the Good Samaritan Policy, SGA is responsible for planning many of the events on campus. Programming Board Vice-President Heather Smith ’13 says that her most memorable SGA experience was helping to plan the 2012 Boar’s Head after-party.
“I had never been a part of something so much ingrained in OU life,” said Heather. “It was a huge honor to be a part of it.”
Joscelyn also finds her involvement gratifying, especially “seeing initiatives that I’ve worked really hard on come into fruition,” and “seeing other students come and take leadership roles… watching them grow and being part of that process.”
Indeed, Senator Emmanuel Brantley ’15 says that his favorite SGA memory is “when Joscelyn Stein looked me in the eyes and told me that she saw a leader.” He encourages applicants to remember that “the mission of this university is to serve the students and that the only way they can complete that mission is to hear us… We need to be (the students’) voice.”
Want to be a voice for the student body? Consider joining SGA! Elections for Secretary, Parliamentarian, Treasurer, and Class Presidents run from April 8–11, and Senator elections take place April 15-18. Declaration forms for each week’s elections are due at 5 p.m. on the Wednesday of the week prior to elections (April 3 and 10, respectively). Even if you aren’t interested in running, be sure to vote for your representatives on Petrelnet! Elections are currently underway for Programming Board, Executive President, Executive Vice-President, and Vice-President For Programming. Let your voice be heard!
During the high school scramble to find a college, I found myself drawn to Oglethorpe for three reasons: it looked like Hogwarts, it was obsessed with communityservice, and it offered the Core curriculum. The Core, which strives to enrich student experiences with a challenging, cross-disciplinary education, has led to some amazing opportunities for students. Recently, Rebekka Strom ’13 and Samantha Flynn ’13 were among only 40 students accepted to present their papers at theAssociation for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)student conference at Shimer College in Chicago.
ACTC is an international, professional association that seeks to advance liberal arts education by developing and promoting liberal arts education programs (and other programs) which integrate core text courses with the most advanced developments in administration, curriculum, student support services, faculty support, and general education assessment and review.
The ACTC conference gave students the chance to share their papers, which reflected upon and integrated various Core texts, with a group of faculty members and fellow students. Rebekka was able to put her English degree to use in a formal environment, and “to see how Core transcends the classroom setting.” Similarly, Samantha was given the experience of a “dry run at academia,” which is her ultimate career goal.
Samantha Flynn '13
“What really struck me during the conference was the outstanding quality of an Oglethorpe education,” enthused Samantha. “Other participants in the conference were from Great Books schools and top-tier university names, and yet Oglethorpe’s Core had prepared me to understand, discuss, and critique their papers on a wide variety of subjects. When people met me and asked where I was from, almost no one had heard of Oglethorpe, and yet, by the end of the conference, I had several participants inquire about the nature of Oglethorpe’s Core program because they were convinced it must be a Great Books school.”
“The (conference) solidified my choice in selecting and pursuing a liberal arts education,” added Rebekka. “I was able to interact with like-minded undergraduate students and their support faculty members about core texts and their relevance in 21st century higher education—from Aristotle and Plato to Hobbes and Locke… it was an exciting experience to network with colleges and universities that strive to keep the liberal arts alive.”
Rebekka’s paper, “Remember the Ladies: Individuality, Community, and Equality of Early and Modern Women,” was written for her COR-302 class.
“In [class], we talk a lot about modernity,” she said. “I (looked at) the women of these time periods and contrasted them with what it means to be a modern working woman in 2013.”
Samantha’s essay, “Libido Dominandi: Fulfilling the Presence of the Absence of a Reality,” was written for Dr. Orme’s Human Nature and the Social Order class.
“(My topic) was something I saw in a lot of texts…’The Lust for Power,’ ‘The Will for Power… I tried to link all these (phrases) and make them part of the same dialogue.”
For anyone interested in a similar opportunity, Samantha had the following advice: “Take Core seriously… It was one of the main reasons I came to OU, and this is an example of Core paying off.”
Samantha was extremely thankful to have had this opportunity, and feels indebted to Dr. Knippenbergfor sponsoring her and to Dr. Ormeand Professor M. Smith for advising her on the content of her paper. Likewise, Rebekka expressed gratitude towards Dr. Knippenberg, Dr. Baube, and the entire Core Committee, as well as to her academic advisors Dr. Chandlerand Dr. Hornback. Without their support, and without the Core program, Samantha and Rebekka could not have had this experience.
Last semester, I made one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career: I became a part of Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, launched in the fall by the University Communications department. Thanks to Pegasus, I’ve gained hands-on experience, internship credit, and the confidence that can only come from a supportive, skillful team. (For those students out there, with summer internship orientation around the corner, why not consider applying to Pegasus?)
One of the (numerous!) great things about Pegasus is that we are offered field studies—we’re required to complete at least one—to enhance our skills and learn about other real world communications careers. Recently, my co-workers and I ventured on one such trip: a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of Joe Sutton ’09 (an alumnus of Oglethorpe’s program for adult students), who generously took time out of his busy schedule to show us around his workplace. Joe has quickly climbed the so-called ladder of success, earning numerous promotions, and is now a news editor and journalist for CNN. He oversees the editorial direction and news gathering for 13 states and serves as the liaison between the Washington, D.C. bureau and CNN headquarters. He credits much of his early success to Oglethorpe.
“The least I can do is stay in contact with the institution that has made me who I am and the education that has allowed me to take on any damn thing I put my mind to,” said Joe. “Being at school late at night and taking some weekend classes helped me fully prepare to take on more complex, time-devoting career positions. I understand how to manage time effectively and juggle multiple projects simultaneously, and I love being under pressure and deadlines… What I set my eyes and mind on, I usually get! That’s the stormy petrel in me.”
“It was a great opportunity to see things up close and in person,” said Zach Kevorkian ’13, Pegasus’s graphic designer. “The exclusivity of it made us feel like we were part of the excitement. The fact that our tour was personalized by an alum made it all the better, and I was grateful for the fun afternoon with my friends at Pegasus!”
Caitlyn Mitchell '13 in CNN's Command Center.
Joe showed us numerous offices including International Headquarters, the Command Center, and his own workspace, which he called “the heart of CNN.” We were given the opportunity to sit across from an anchor as she delivered her news report (live!), and to ask questions about Joe’s daily life at CNN. Between that, watching the process of a breaking news report, and posing with the majestic Lady Rainicorn (of the Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” series), I can’t decide what I most enjoyed!
“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the control room,” said Chandler Anderson ’13, web content developer at Pegasus. “The director analyzed the various camera shots to determine which one was the most effective, and relayed that information to his crew. It was incredible seeing all of this important behind-the-scenes work done before my eyes.”
“I was impressed at how fast it all is,” added Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, former magazine features writer for Pegasus. “You know that news is speed, and that the turnaround time has to be near instantaneous, but you don’t realize until you’re seeing it that there are stations across the United States…ready to leap at a moment’s notice. My favorite part of the trip was definitely sitting in the command chair in the “Command Center”—yes, they really called it that! I was doing my best…not [to] touch any of those incredibly tempting buttons.”
“Joe Sutton gave us a tour that was unlike any tour I’ve ever gotten,” added Rebecca Williams ’13, editor of the adult degree program’s newsletter The Nightcap and friend of Pegasus. “We were able to see important procedures—like filming the news—that we would otherwise never see. (Joe) is widely respected by everyone there. It’s undeniable that he will continue to do great and amazing things for CNN!”
This opportunity would not have been possible without Pegasus—and would not have been possible if I had not pursued an internship at Pegasus. It is not enough to be supplied with opportunities, but to take them as they come. Pegasus showed me an exciting career choice that I had not previously considered, and internships like Pegasus can make all the difference in paving the path to your future.
“Internships are essential to determining who you are as a person,” said Joe. “In media, there are plentiful internships in various departments. Be flexible, be savvy, be astute in global news, (and) be committed. Generally, I find that saying ‘yes’ is a good thing…it opens many doors of opportunities in the business.”
Attention Oglethorpe students! For me, Pegasus opened the door, and it can provide many opportunities for you as well. If I’ve persuaded you to join our team, or if another internship opportunity calls to you, contact Debbie Aiken in University Communications. Opportunity is knocking, and you only have to answer!