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b2ap3_thumbnail_9-15-Kimmie.jpgThe Yellow Jacket: an award-winning student newspaper since 1924, and the place where communication students come to prosper.

As a freshman journalism student at Waynesburg, I knew I’d get involved with the Yellow Jacket. But for that first semester, I was extremely hesitant to devote myself to it. I’m just a freshman – how valuable can I really be? What if my work isn’t good enough? What if I don’t find my niche? How will I get my other work done? How will I have time to sleep?

Two years later, as a junior, I’m the Executive Editor for the Yellow Jacket. Some of these questions still eat at me – I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Regardless, I know this is where I’m meant to be. A lot of my work for the newspaper is behind the scenes, but I’m making my mark. And at the same time, the Yellow Jacket is making its mark on me. Here are three of the most important lessons I’m learning as Executive Editor, each of which has given me insight into my field, myself and my future.

  1. There CAN be enough time. The Yellow Jacket is issued weekly. I spend every Monday and Tuesday night with my staff, working far past midnight to create all 16 pages of the newspaper. Then, we spend the day on Wednesday (in between classes) with our advisor, finalizing everything and sending it off to print. I use Thursday and Friday to interview sources and write articles for the paper, and then I spend the weekend attending to all of my other schoolwork and seeing family and friends. Come Monday, I begin again, with classes and a job added into the mix. It used to seem impossible – and terrifying. Now, it’s doable. So far, I’ve found time for everything – though it sometimes means I sacrifice a full night’s sleep. The point is, effective time management is a reachable goal and an essential skill for college and beyond. The Yellow Jacket has shown me my strengths and my limits, and together, we’ve struck a balance.
  2. Flying solo isn’t an option.  When I was named as the next Executive Editor, the most popular piece of advice I got was, “You need someone on your side.” I’m lucky enough to have a whole support team, without whom I’d be floundering. I have a staff at the Yellow Jacket who works with me every day to help make the newspaper a success and my life easier. I have two best friends who listen to all of my dilemmas, support all of my endeavors and drag me away from my work to relax with them at least once a week. I have an advisor who takes a genuine interest in my life, future and well-being, in addition to guiding my every Yellow Jacket step. I’m an independent person, but the Yellow Jacket has taught me that the best results arrive when you rely on others. 
  3. The real world is coming - get ready.  The real world doesn’t allow sleeping in until 10 on weekdays. The real world brings constant pressure from superiors to perform well. The real world means being professional, becoming a leader and establishing who you are. More than any experience I’ve had, the Yellow Jacket is getting me ready for that world. I can’t complain about getting up early – I know it’ll only get earlier when I graduate. I can’t crack under the pressure of responsibility – I have to learn to be at my best when there are people counting on me. I can’t be afraid to come into my own and be a leader – that’s what will lead to success in the future. I’m in training every day for how to interact professionally with my peers and my superiors, and I know I’ll be thanking the Yellow Jacket when I leave school and those skills really count. 

From being a scared, shy, intimidated freshman to becoming Executive Editor, the Yellow Jacket is, more than anything else, responsible for showing me the way. I don’t know where I’m headed after May 2017, but I know this: the Yellow Jacket has changed me – for good.


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b2ap3_thumbnail_possible-photo-for-small-liberal-arts-blog-2_20150910-135855_1.jpgBig school, or small school? That’s the question a lot of individuals face when choosing a college. And in the long list of factors that goes into choosing a college, size and type often find themselves placed near the top in terms of importance. To help with this critical question in the college search process, here are the top five reasons to consider a small, liberal arts college or university…

5. Community.  It’s rare to walk anywhere on a smaller campus and not see someone you know. Sheer numbers play a major role in that, but so does the fact that everyone on campus seems to be involved in something. If you play a sport, host a show on the school radio station, perform in the musical and work in the bookstore, you might be a student at one of these schools. Seems like a busy life, but the camaraderie is hard to beat at larger institutions.
4. Scholarships and financial aid.  Sure, big, public universities may have a cheaper sticker price, but when it comes to the bottom line, small schools often surprise prospective students with their affordability. The combination of scholarships and need-based institutional aid, which typically isn’t available at larger colleges, makes this possible.
3. Small classes taught by professors.  Because graduate and doctoral programs are not as prevalent at smaller liberal arts schools, often times, teaching assistants don’t exist, and if they do, they’re not in front of the classroom. Faculty members are the ones teaching the undergraduate students, and it’s almost always in a smaller setting. No 300-seat auditoriums here; you’ll know your classmates and be able to interact with them in a more intimate classroom environment.
2. Grad schools and employers value it.  As Lynn O’Shaughnessy put it in her 2010 article on, “liberal arts colleges…teach kids how to think, talk and write,” and while simple, that’s exactly what employers are looking for. Furthermore, according to O’Shaughnessy’s article, “liberal arts schools dominate the list of the top 10 institutions that produce the most students who ultimately earn doctorates.” Why is this? Graduate and professional schools are looking for the right mix of academic ability, research experience and leadership roles outside of the classroom—exactly what students can prove and acquire at smaller liberal arts colleges
1. You know your professors, and they know you.  While learning from professors in small classes is great, an even bigger benefit is getting to know your professors on a personal level and gaining hands-on experience right alongside them. The connections you make with those individuals become invaluable as you search for graduate schools and/or employment. They’ve all been out there in the field doing the work themselves, and now they’re helping little ol' you do the same.

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As a senior at Waynesburg University, family and friends often ask me if I like attending Waynesburg. My answer is typically a resounding yes. Not only have I enjoyed my time at Waynesburg, I would also recommend Waynesburg to high school students beginning their college search. Here are 5 reasons why. 

  1. You will build meaningful relationships with your professors and just about anyone else on campus. This is the number one reason I love Waynesburg. My professors don’t just know my name; they know my strengths and interests. They truly care about my success and demonstrate their concern by investing time in me. My professors have assisted me with resume building, academic planning and career counseling; however, professors aren’t the only faculty members that offer students support. I’m often given hugs from cafeteria workers, comedic relief from security guards and smiles from administrative staff. Waynesburg is a relationship-centered institution, and that is proven each day from the actions of faculty and staff. 
  2. You can’t skip class. Of course you are allotted three unexcused absences before your grade is affected, but class attendance is arguably more than highly encouraged, it is mandatory. While some people may think I am crazy for viewing this as a pro, I view attendance checks as a positive aspect of attending a small school. Because my absence is recognizable, I am encouraged to take full advantage of my education by attending each class.
  3. Class engagement is encouraged. At Waynesburg, you will never sit in a large auditorium being lectured for an hour. You will have small classes in which you will be encouraged to participate. My classmates and I often ‘interrupt’ class to ask a question or share our opinion on the topic we are discussing; however, our interjections are never frowned upon, they are welcomed. I enjoy participating in a learning environment in which my input is valuable and my questions and concerns are always met with suggestions and solutions. 
  4. Everything is within walking distance. This may be true of other small colleges, but I believe it is especially true of Waynesburg. My commute to class from my dorm is never longer than five minutes. The same goes for my trips to my club meetings, work-study job, the gym, library or cafeteria. This means that even if I am running late (which is often), it is easy to get to where I need to be on time, and if I forget something in my dorm, it is never a pain to simply return to my dorm between classes to retrieve the forgotten item. I love the gorgeous campus landscape that allows for easy walkability, despite all the hills! 
  5. You will be positioned to succeed in your courses. With extremely accessible professors, free tutoring and writing services, you will have multiple resources to help you succeed in your courses. While transitioning from high school to college is difficult, attending a school like Waynesburg eased my transition. My class size in high school was similar to that of my class size at Waynesburg, eliminating the overwhelming aspect of adapting to a new learning environment. In fact, in my time at Waynesburg, I have improved my GPA since high school, which is something not many people can say. This is due in part to the individualized attention that I receive from my professors. If I am ever struggling, I know I can turn to my professors to offer guidance and support. 
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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0675_20150717-154747_1.JPGLike most 18-year-olds trying to decide what it was that I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I was confused, lost and arguably disoriented. As I heard classmates speak of their future plans, neatly organized into a college major and future profession, I felt the panic start to sink in. 

Though I had already committed to Waynesburg University for the fall of 2012 and had declared my major as accounting, I was far from certain that I would spend the rest of my life crunching numbers. Nonetheless, in August of 2012, I embarked on my journey at Waynesburg University. 

In my first semester as a business major, I did exceedingly well, earning a 4.0 and ending the semester with good rapport with my professors whom ensured me that I held promise in my pursuit of a career in accounting. I regarded my successes as a good sign, and thought that maybe I wasn’t as lost as I had thought.

I continued on in the program, taking another accounting class in which I continued to excel, but deep down, I knew that I was lacking a passion for my studies. At times, it took a great deal of effort to bring myself to study my business textbooks. 

On the other hand, the College Composition course that I enrolled in during my second semester commanded my attention. I loved that it allowed me to write persuasively and develop compelling, fact-based arguments about hard issues facing our society. In other words, I was hooked and wanted to know where this new- found passion could lead.  

I decided to email my professor, Mrs. Nofsinger, and ask to meet with her to discuss my fascination with her course and my desire to learn more about career options. As a freshman, I was not yet aware of the relationship-centered culture of Waynesburg University, but I was about to discover what the university that I enrolled in was all about. 

My professor invited me to join her for lunch to discuss what was on my mind. We talked for an hour and she suggested I take a journalism course, promised me books for further exploration and recommended that I visit the counseling center for more vocational guidance. She also informed me that if I ever needed anything, to just let her know.

I was blown away by her kindness, but after meeting with several other professors and faculty members to discuss my options and smooth out the details of changing majors, I quickly discovered that this kindness was simply the Waynesburg way. Flash-forward to my senior year as a student in the Department of Communication, and I now know that my professors are not just teachers; they are mentors and personal resources there to encourage and offer advice to students when possible. 

Though unsure of the path I had chosen upon graduating high school, I could not be happier with my decision to come to Waynesburg University. While initially lost, I found my way in the loving atmosphere that is Waynesburg University. 


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b2ap3_thumbnail_5-28-Narasimhan.jpgBack at the sanctuary, things are getting busy. Everyday, tons of data is being collected, whether it be behavioral data from our baby howlers or population estimates from transects. When we perform transects, we are walking along set pathways through the jungle and recording every mammal that we see, and precisely where we see them. 

The pathways are through two different ecosystems: the primary forest corridor and then through the teak plantation. The corridors connect fragmented forests and allow animals to move between them, preventing isolation. The teak areas are being harvested and have been cut in a way that can sometimes prevent animals from using them.

Using this data, we can see what animals are using the two different environments and how often. Because teak plantations can be devastating to local populations, this teak plantation was cut in a way that left the understory, and it can still be used by animals. In addition to simply comparing the two environments, we are also using this data to compare to other teak plantations where the understory has been completely removed.

The hypothesis is that the plantation where we are collecting data will demonstrate more biodiversity and will prove to be more sustainable than other teak plantations. Conservation and sustainability are the reason for all of our work at Aloutta, and I’m enjoying learning about how to make the world a better place, one step at a time.

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