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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_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_5-25-Narasimhan.JPGEverything is going very well here at the sanctuary. We had a couple of visitors this week, all Panamanian businessmen and their families. They were very interested to hear about the work we are doing here with the monkeys and our research. All of their businesses are devoted to sustainability and conservation, and they are not alone. Throughout Central America, these ideas are beginning to trend in areas such as agriculture and the building of infrastructure. It was extremely interesting to learn about all the things their businesses are doing and the possibilities of a more sustainable world. It would really be amazing if more and more businesses adopted these policies. 

I wrote about some of the research we are doing on different types of teak plantations and which are the most sustainable. Hopefully, when our research is done, it will be used to make more responsible decisions about how teak plantations are made. This is just one example of the type of work that is being done, and all around the world it is really making an impact. I love learning about the different ways we can help make our home a better place for us right now and for future generations.


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Today we visited the indigenous village of Ngöbe and the people there. To get there, we took a two-hour truck ride up the mountain. We got to tour an organic coffee farm run by the local people. Sustainability is beginning to trend in businesses all throughout Panama, even in the remotest of villages. 

The members of this village live a simple life, but it is far from boring. The women wear a beautifully colored traditional dress called the Ngwä. For lunch, we ate a traditional meal of a salad with a homemade dressing, rice and plantains. It was delicious. While we ate, there were several children playing and chattering in the local language nearby. 

We asked to play soccer with them, but they were extremely shy. It seemed they don’t receive many visitors from outside the village, and didn’t know how to respond. All the same, the people were very welcoming and smiled patiently when we spoke our broken Spanish. I loved learning about and seeing their culture. It is uninterrupted by technology and the outside world, but full of life and meaning. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_5-21-Narasimhan-2_20150522-144111_1.jpgThis internship keeps getting cooler. Today, we had a troop of wild howlers hanging around the sanctuary, and our babies actually got into the trees and interacted with them! We call this troop R2D2, and all of their names have something to do with Star Wars. The dominant male’s name is Yoda, and the other male is Vader. 

It’s interesting because no matter where a howler troop is, you will almost always find the dominant male in the center of the group. Stevie, our blind howler, was playing with Mace, a baby in the troop. It was adorable. Rugby is still a little shy with other howlers, but she is getting there. Watching the wild howlers and capuchins is unlike anything I have ever seen. It’s one thing to see them in photographs and to learn about their behavior in a textbook, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. I really enjoy just sitting peacefully and watching. 

Another cool thing we are doing is documenting howler behavior. The species has been neglected in this area, and so the research we are doing is extremely important. Every day we do several behavioral follows, either focusing on one baby or both. For about forty-five minutes, we document their every behavior, which can be anything from a vocalization to foraging. This is called an ethogram, and it takes a while to get the hang of. We are also identifying all of the individuals in each troop to try to get a population count. As of right now, it is not known how many howlers live in Panama, further adding to the importance of our research.

My favorite part of the internship so far has been interacting with the monkeys. The babies are frustrating at times, and it sometimes feels like babysitting spoiled toddlers. We try to keep them in the trees and off the ground as much as possible, to mimic a normal upbringing and get them used to a typical howler lifestyle (wild howlers spend almost no time on the ground). Sometimes, however, the babies do not want to get into a tree and just want to cuddle. Sometimes they will bite and run away, resulting in a wild monkey chase. However, watching them in the trees and playing with them is so rewarding, and they have the ability to make anyone’s heart melt, no matter how hard they bite.

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