TU Alumni selected for The Amazing Race

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Sam Fowler – a 2011 Towson University graduate, international realtor and certified yoga instructor – was accepted as a competitor for the 29th season of The Amazing Race.

She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, her friends and older sister had attended TU, this inspired her to do the same. After graduating from TU with a degree in nursing, she worked as a child psychiatric nurse for several years before becoming a yoga instructor.

“That’s something I always knew that I wanted, and to have such an incredible experience doing so at Towson University made it that much more special,” Fowler said. “Because I not only got my nursing degree, but I made incredible lifelong friends along the way.”

Fowler also has a passion for traveling; this passion led her into developing a love for the Island of Saint John. She would move there to expand her yoga practice.

Later, Fowler received a message from a CBS casting director, asking her to become a contestant in The Amazing race. While unable to give away certain details, Fowler did say that her experience was worthwhile, even though she would be deprived of any form of social media for a month.

One challenge that she expected was not knowing who her partner would be in the show, but she did have an idea as to who she wanted.

“In my ideal race partner, I’m looking for somebody with a really positive attitude,” she said. “The only way I would be let down in a partner if they were super negative.”

She also said she was hoping for a male partner and would help him in any way she can in order to win. She also brings to the table her mantra, which is “be fierce but flexible.” She lives by these words and encourages TU students to do the same.

“You can have this fierce work-driven mentality but also be open to the world, really present and experience it, because you never know what other doors are going to open for you.”

If you wish to see Fowler take on The Amazing Race, you can do so by tuning in to CBS and watching the show on Thursday nights at 10 p.m.

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References:

http://www.towson.edu/news/2017/amazingrace.html

http://newsofstjohn.com/2017/03/16/st-john-resident-to-appear-on-the-amazing-race/

Person of Interest: Matthew Terry

Word Count: 545

For those who are interested in radio production, Towson University offers opportunities for students to hone their skills. One notable place is at XTSR, a student run online radio station located at the Electronic Media and Film (EMF) department.

XTSR is a starting point for students to improve their skills in broadcasting, music selection, and social media to name a few. One such student in particular is Matthew Terry, an EMF audio major at Towson University and voice actor.

While attending Towson University, the EMF department gave him the opportunity to improve his voice acting and learn how to be effective on air.

“I heard that they had a really good EMF program,” he said. “A friend of mine at Harvard Community said, if you like doing this you should go through Towson’s EMF program.”

James Armstrong, a Towson professor, was brought up as a big motivator for becoming a voice actor and for being instrumental in Matthew’s success and his talents earned him a spot at XTSR. He would fool around with his voice and make it sound silly and try to voice other characters to gain the attention of his audience on air. He shows his desire for improvement by watching movies and listening closely to the sounds and voice work done.

Roles at XTSR include voicing promos, station breaks, and announcements. One of his most notable roles is the voice of Captain X, who is used for promos, a character who encompasses the style of old radio shows like Buck Rodgers and The Phantom with the cheesiness of Flash Gordon.

In addition, he spends time writing, voicing skits and working on other projects with friends and fellow classmates. One in particular was a radio drama based in the world of Fallout, a western role-playing game.

“He’s super cool and really kind,” said Keelia Keating, a friend of Matthew and volunteer at XTSR. “He has really dedicated to his work and he’s really creative and he has always tried to make new things and just keeps going.”

Both Matthew and Keelia are working together at XTSR and are currently working on a Christmas skit that appears to be worth listening to if it is ever released.

“I always like grew up really liking cartoons and I wanted to work in animations, but I never went to animation as a major,” she said. “I got into audio and I’ve always been able to do a lot of cool voices. We’ve been friends before and I used to be the radio operator at this station and he just asked me to do stuff for him and I was one of those people who could do stuff.”

“It’s been enlightening,” said Matthew. “I don’t know of any other place that I can cultivate my craft and do voice overs and make public service announcements, not just write for radio and for voice over, I can perform it as well.”

Not only does he enjoy what he does, he also wishes for other radio majors to join in and get the training they need.

“The best way to do it is to just dive right in and that’s where you’ll get the best training. So come on down, we’ll have you. Come with your best foot forward.”

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Tuition Cost 101

Word count 856

By Taariq N. Adams

Tuition cost and attaining funds have always been an issue for college students, especially if one has to borrow money to pay to attend. A short survey was given to a group of students, asking how they handled their college finances and their plan to pay off loans. Unfortunately, no one responded, possibly because this is a very touchy subject and few are willing to discuss financial matters in detail.

However, when the tuition bill arrives, it is often difficult to comprehend and may require an explanation.

According to collegefactual.com, an undergraduate full-time student living on campus at Towson University may expect to pay more than $9,000 for tuition and fees as well as more than $15,000 for housing, meals, and books for the 2016 school year. Keep in mind that this is for in-state students. Out of state students should expect to pay more.

http://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/towson-university/paying-for-college/tuition-and-fees/

http://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/towson-university/paying-for-college/room-and-board/

Not only that, the projected cost is expected to go up by at least $500 for the upcoming year with the possibility of it increasing until 2019.

https://www.towson.edu/bursar/tuition/projected.html

According to Dr. Daraius Irani, chief economist at Towson University, one of the reasons for these increases in costs is due to the declining state support for public institutions across the country.

“There used to be a lot more dollars for the university that were coming in from the state rather than from tuition, now that has switched rather dramatically,” he said. “State support for universities has declined which results in tuition dollars having to rise.”

However, Towson students have options when it comes to paying tuition. They can apply for financial aid for grants, scholarships and federal loans and private loans. According to Jennifer Schleigh, associate director of financial aid at Towson University, students who apply for FAFSA, which is part of financial aid application, receive a notification known as expected family contribution or an EFC.

“It determines a student’s financial need,” she said. “The lower your EFC and the more financial needs you have, the more grant you’re going to get as opposed to someone who has a low financial need, maybe higher income etc. It’s really just going to be getting loans.”

She explained that there is a cap on the amount of federal grant and this is based on enrollment status. According to collegefactual.com, students attending Towson University often end up with more than $30,000 of student loans over the course of attending four years.

http://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/towson-university/paying-for-college/student-loan-debt/#

Schleigh also said that 63% of the students borrow to help pay for costs. For out of state students, these loans can be substantial.

According to Dr. Irani, students upon graduating do not earn much in entry-level jobs, thus adding the risks of defaulting on student loans or making it harder to make payments. This leads to higher interest on student loans, sometimes doubling the amount of total loan due. It becomes almost impossible to pay off debts completely in a reasonable time.

One might question if a college degree and education is really worth the effort and cost. According to Dr. Irani, the answer is yes.

A college degree is worthwhile because it will ensure a higher earning compared to a high-school graduate and will have a security in employment.  A higher earning career is worth it to be able to make a living and through hard work; it is possible to pay off debts in the long run.

Students need to be vigilant when it comes to financing their college education. Schleigh also emphasized three pitfalls students need to adhere in regards financial aid. First, meet deadlines, second, turn in requested documents on time, and third, read the financial aid package submitted by the financial aid office and respond in time.

A bit of advice that has been repeated many times was that students should apply to as many scholarships as possible, and the best way to be applicable for those scholarships is to maintain a good GPA and strive to do well in college.

According to Lorie Logan-Bennet, Director at Towson’s Career Center, she advised students to stop by the career center in hopes of applying for any internship to enhance their skills in their field of study.

“The Career Center offers a variety of ways for students to connect with employers for part-time and full-time jobs including Hire@TU job postings, job fairs, scheduled on-campus interviews, etc,” she said.  “We also help students with developing skills that will allow them to effectively conduct a job search.”

Logan-Bennet also advised to take advantage of all the services that are available to students. She also drew emphasis on networking with professors, fellow students, and alumni.

“Be sure to develop the skills employers look for get applied experience, build your network, and learn how to effectively articulate what you have to offer an employer,” she said.

In reference to the survey, it is possible that students didn’t responded to it because either they already knew this and didn’t have to explain or because they are overwhelmed with tuition bills. Whatever the case may be, Towson University has the services and information available to those who wish to take advantage of it.

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Who I am and what I do

If you visited this site and seen my articles, you might be asking, why am I posting a blog about myself when it was devoted to only news? The reason why I am posting this is because most people tend to be engaged in news stories when they know something about the journalist who provides them. They can develop a connection with him/her and this can lead to the reader understanding the purpose of the article, it can lead to them to developing an interest in their writing style and it can lead to a level of trust. Through this, readers are bound to believe that the story is informative and interesting.

To my readers, take the time to know who I am and what it is that I do.

My name is Taariq N. Adams, I am 26 years old (at the time this blog was posted) and a student at Towson University, majoring in Radio and minoring in Journalism although it is bound to become a second major. My hobbies include movies, video games, reading, television and radio, including music of many genres, entertainment, local news, world news and politics. The reason why I developed an interest in journalism and radio was for many reasons.

When I was young, I used to watch a lot of movies, so my first ambition was becoming an actor, but then I realized that my acting was the equivalent of a 6-year-old trying to be more dramatic than Jim Carry in his role as Count Olaf in the movie “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” My second ambition was to be a TV anchor, but I tended to get nervous and at times, image is everything when on camera. You had to look presentable, you had to have good posture, and the most difficult part of it was balancing between reading your lines and facing the camera.

When I started going to college, I discovered my interest in journalism and writing stories to inform the public. Writing however wasn’t really my greatest strength and it requires editing upon editing upon editing and then some, that and I rarely had the ability to keep my attention on small letters and symbols. I had to find another means to pursue this goal and I needed to discover my niche and method to inform the public and ensure they remain interested in what I had to say. I then realized that I was able to engage more in what I could see or hear. This is where I discovered an interest for radio, a form of media while very simple, it carries a lot of weight to what is required. In television, you were able to see the anchor as he/she gives you the news, but in radio, all you have is a voice and that alone has to be enough to grab the attention of listeners and never let go. I found myself drawn to this form of media because this felt like the easier option to me although it would require years of training.

I embraced the idea of using only my voice to inform, entertain and inspire and at times, I believe that’s really all you need. This is ironic in a good way because when I was young, I was diagnosed with autism, a developmental disability that impaired my speech and listening abilities. At first, I was seen as non-verbal, but thanks to the efforts of my parents, I was able to receive various therapy services to overcome this obstacle. Now I am majoring in a field of study that would seem improbable knowing my history, but I pushed forward despite this and to this day, I continue to improve and develop my craft.

Another reason why I embraced this idea was because of a man named Edward R. Murrow, a man who reported on local news, politics and wars, specifically the Jewish prisoners at the end of World War II, and then reporting on the actions of Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare. There was a form of hardness and elegance in his voice, he was a respected person of the community and was willing to say what many would be afraid to say. Although he started off in radio then jumped to television, I still see him as an inspiration to me and hopefully other students interested in this field of study. I want to be able to report on several topics that some would seem controversial yet I want to be seen as a kind and honest human being, a respected and responsible member of the community and an engaging radio journalist who can win the hearts and minds of others, the same way Murrow did in his time.

The idea to push forward to reach this goal is very ambitious, but ambition is what drove many people to have their names written in the history books. I still have a long way to go, but I made it this far and I’m still going strong.

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Science Enthusiasts Promote STEM

Science Enthusiasts Promote STEM

 

Word Count: 432

By Taariq N. Adams

At the fourth U.S. Science and Engineering Festival April 16-17 in Washington D.C, science enthusiasts gathered to observe exhibits and discoveries that promote the STEM fields, from robotics and environmental science to military defense and programming.

“This event is designed to inspire the next generation to become STEM professionals,” said Shawn Flaherty, the PR coordinator of the event. “This festival has grown and has become a magnet for this weekend alone with 350,000 people.”

“Not enough kids are going into STEM fields,” Flaherty said. “So this festival is really designed to get people excited to celebrate science and want to develop a passion for entering it as a career.”

Awesome music through the use of a Tesla Coil at the Fourth DC Science Expo.

A post shared by Taariq Adams (@thedrunkreporter) on

The festival included National Geographic, Chevron Cooperation, Dell, InfoComm International and the U.S. Department of Defense. One of the highlights of the event was a live question and answer session with astronaut Jeff Williams while he was still in space.

There were many exhibits including one for SensorCraft, a programing training software made from the video game Minecraft using Python, a high level programming language.

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“It’s a clone of Minecraft written in Python,” said Jesse Cruz, 33, programmer of Sensorcraft. “There’s a bunch of exercises in there for you to go in and mess with the gravity and learn how to build and launch stuff.”

Other exhibits included a robotic jellyfish that operates by measuring water pressure levels, a weather truck from NBC with a satellite attached, a tesla coil provided by the UMKC (University of Missouri–Kansas City) Department of Physics and Astronomy, and a seal robot designed for neurological and non-pharmacological therapy from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

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“I really enjoyed everything,” said Ryan Revel, 60, attendee. “It’s fun for me to get exposed to so much information and technology. If you’re interested in STEM, go for it. Your work is your life so you got to work in something you enjoy.”

Barry Stevens, a Benjamin Franklin reenactor since 2005, was dressed in his period clothes and holding court as the great inventor. Youngsters were eager to ask Benjamin Franklin questions about his life and his struggles. This was to build interest in science and technology and to encourage curiosity when entering this field.

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“Science is not something that I did, I was just curious, and when I found something that interested me, I said A-HAH; this is something Franklin needs to look into,” he said. “It’s fascinating because these are the scientists of tomorrow. We need to give them the attention they deserve and to encouraging them, that is what this entire event is all about.”

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Baltimore’s 61st St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Baltimore’s 61st St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Word Count: 369

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Baltimore held its 61st St. Patrick’s Day parade March 13 near the Inner Harbor.

“It’s important for people as a manifestation of their Irish identity and Irish culture,” said Brian Cahalane, 38, Irish political counselor of immigration. “The Irish have made distinctive contributions to Baltimore both in terms of the construction of the railways and many other aspects of city life so it’s that they strongly identify with their Irish culture.”

Baltimore also held The Shamrock 5K race for charity. The streets were crowded shoulder to shoulder for the festivities.

“It’s a great event downtown, it’s a family day,” said Joanna Cox, chairperson of the St. Patrick’s day Parade. “It’s not just for the Irish community, it’s for everybody.”

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the McBride family.

A post shared by Taariq Adams (@thedrunkreporter) on

St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated as the day Christianity was first brought to Ireland. This is seen as a day when Americans of Irish descent can gather to celebrate and it is very inclusive.

“I’m not Irish really, my family is all Scots and English,” said Kevin Brown, 61, pipe major in the John F. Nicoll pipe band. “Usually in a day like today, all the Celts kind of pull together and say we’ll celebrate your holiday too.”

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Mustang Club Of Maryland.

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Highlights of the event were the the operable repaired cars and groups such as the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Police Emerald Society and Pets on Wheels.

Marching bands included the Greater Kensington String Band, The Baltimore City Pipe Band, and the Woodland String Band. Each has its  own flair and marching style.

“Along with the musical training they must learn marching and it’s not the typical American marching,” Brown said. “The Americans have a tendency to march in a stiffer style. The British system is more comfortable and the speed is a little different.”

Even though the event was met with overcast weather and intermittent showers, the parade did not stop and the people stayed to enjoy it.

“We get together as a family to go to an event that will lift our spirits up,” said John Talson, 13, parade goer.  “I think it’s important to me because this happens once every year and some people don’t get to do this every year.”

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See 10 parts of event here: