A Letter From a Graduating Senior to Incoming Freshman


Dear Incoming Freshman,

Deciding on a college and major is scary. No one wants to mess up and have to change their decision, but here is the thing, it is okay if you do. Study something you are passionate about and will allow you to pay your bills and be self-sufficient. In the end you will be happy that you don’t have to rely on someone but you can enjoy your future job.

Find something that relaxes you. You will have those days that you are drowning in three presentations and multiple exams, but having something that will allow you to eventually focus will allow you to get it all done. It could be running, going to your favorite coffee shop or calling your mom. You will be thankful you have that escape.

Remember that you won’t be in college forever. It may seem like the semester takes forever but sooner than you know it you will be going into your final year of school.

Make your advisor your best friend. They are going to be the person that helps you graduate on time or tell you about the cool new classes. Don’t be afraid to tell your advisor the cool programs you want to do and have them help you figure out how to fit it into your road map. Graduating on time may be your goal (or your parents) but there are some things you can only do while you’re in college (like studying abroad).

MAKE GOALS. I cannot stress this enough. During the first weekend of college, make goals for the things you want to accomplish during your four years (or more) in school. It could be finishing a twenty-piece nugget meal by yourself or staying in the library for 24 hours straight or studying in Geneva for a semester, whatever it is write it down somewhere that you can refer to.

Do something productive during the summer. An internship, a part-time job, studying abroad or summer classes but if you do something during the summer you will thank yourself during the school year. You aren’t going to benefit from doing nothing for three months.

Join activities, it is the best way to meet people you have something in common with.  There are so many organizations at Kent that you can’t go wrong with any of them and it is a great way to get to know other people and have familiar faces on campus.

Don’t be afraid to go home. Too many people their first semester are either very homesick or really avoiding going home. If you are able to go home for a weekend, do it. Often times you’ll see the different lifestyle between your life at school at home and appreciate the differences. I wouldn’t recommend going home every week because you will miss out on a lot but if you’re feeling homesick, don’t feel like you can’t go home, but make sure you come back.

One of the things that has helped me through college has been finding mentors. Find a student mentor, they will help you know what classes to schedule when and which professor may be tougher than another. Find faculty mentors, they will teach you lessons everyday outside the classroom.

My last piece of advice is ask for help when you need it. College is a difficult time and it is very different from real life. You will have times that you are up all night or sleep all day. It will be different from what you have experienced and that is okay. But if you need help in class, ask for it. If you need help mentally, ask for it. If you need help adjusting, ask for it. There are so many people at college that can help you like RA’s, advisors or faculty members. You are not alone in this strange experience.

Remember, very few decisions are permanent; you can always fix your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be different.

Gabrielle Woodard.

Spring Break Around the World


Ciao tutti (Hello everyone),

I’m fresh off my spring break and what a whirlwind it was. I don’t think I traveled more in a short period of time. I did five cities in 10 days: Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Barcelona. It was refreshing leaving Italy and Firenze for a brief moment to explore other cultures, but I’m glad I’m back.

If you crave cheap Birkenstocks and history, go to Berlin. Seeing and touching the Berlin Wall was incredible because I’ve read about it and was taught about the wall when I was in high school. A fun fact is that the Berlin Wall is and probably will be the only wall that is built to keep its people in. Every other wall that was built was to keep people out.

I also went to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. It was one of the most surreal, emotional and intense places I’ve visited. It was huge, astonishing and left me heartbroken reading the history behind that camp. It’s a powerful place and really makes you think about humanity and the world we live in then and now.

Next stop: Amsterdam. My favorite part of Amsterdam was having the opportunity to go to the Anne Frank House. It was an emotional experience after visiting the concentration camp. To see where Anne, her family and another family lived for two years was astonishing. It was a small cramped room for 10 people. The original bookcase that was used to cover the door to the room was still in tact. Anne Frank and company were caught two years before the war ended. Everyone died in concentration camps except Otto Frank, Anne’s father.

We made a four-hour pit stop in Brussels, which was enough time to eat and see Brussels specialties. We ate ungodly amounts of Belgium chocolate and Belgium waffles. We even tried a Belgium tradition of fries with mayonnaise, not ketchup. After stuffing ourselves with four hours worth of food, we made our fourth stop in Paris.

Paris is in my top five favorite cities in Europe because I saw and did so much in a short period of time. I saw the Eiffel Tower, went to museums, saw the Palace of Versailles and walked through the Catacombs. My favorite part of Paris is of course the Eiffel Tower. I’m not ashamed to say that I was cliché and sat and ate macrons and a baguette as I gazed upon that magnificent monument. Seeing the Eiffel Tower during the day is as magnificent as seeing it at night when it’s lit and sparkles the first five minutes of every hour.


Another reason why I loved Paris was because they treat students very well. If you are studying abroad you have to get a student visa and if you show that document, you can get into the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and other museums for free. Paris also gives out discounts if you show your student visa because I got into the Catacombs at a reduced price.

It was time to say goodbye to Paris and head over to Barcelona where it was city life then a 15-minute metro ride in one direction to the beach and another 15-minute ride to breathtaking views. Barcelona is a very cultural city where we spent our time eating churros, tapas and paella dishes as well as gawk at Gaudi’s buildings. From Park Güell to Casa Batlló to la Sagrada Família, we saw unique architecture.


The Sagrada Família was my favorite because it was completely different from any cathedral I’ve been to in Europe. It’s very modern and the architecture of the inside and outside is not tradition to the typical cathedrals you see across Europe. The Sagrada Família started being built in the late 1800s and won’t be finished till 2026 so I guess that’s motivation to pay another visit to Barcelona to see the finish product.

After this 10-day excursion I need a little R&R before finals and weekend trips kick back in again. I only have one month left of this incredible four-month experience. I’m not thinking about the ending of this journey just yet because I still have more places to visit, sites to see, food to try and people to meet.

Sophomore Comm Studies Major Aims to Educate Community About Human Trafficking

I had no idea what human trafficking was until I came to Kent. My freshman year, I was shown the documentary “Nefarious” that completely broke my heart for the people who have fallen into the shadows of society as victims of human trafficking. I found my passion in life and began getting involved on campus to learn more about this topic.

I am now vice president of International Justice Mission at Kent. We are focused on raising awareness about and advocating against human trafficking. I have been to Washington, D.C., to visit International Justice Mission, the global nonprofit, and learned so much about human trafficking around the world. I recently traveled to Columbus with Kent State’s OEECE program for a human trafficking immersion trip that really opened my eyes to the issues of gentrification, poverty and human trafficking. We got to hear from a former trafficker and victims of trafficking, all of whom are now activists. This impactful weekend experience served to solidify my desire to pursue this as a career. Delaney1

My advice to every college student is to take every opportunity to get involved with what you are most passionate about. Find what starts a fire inside of you, and chase after it. During college, you have ample opportunities and resources available for hands-on experience in many different areas. You will come to realize that you can turn that passion into your future career.

The Columbus Human Trafficking Urban Plunge was a wonderful experience for me that focused on learning about human trafficking and how I can get involved with the movement to end it. This was a big step in learning more about how I can spend my whole life doing exactly what I am passionate about. I am on a mission to abolish human trafficking in our lifetime. However, as my knowledge of this issue increases, I have noticed that the biggest problem is how many people are unaware that this happens in our world today. Here are the top five myths human trafficking that everyone should know:

1. U.S. citizens cannot be trafficked. This only happens in other countries.
Many people are unaware of the fact that human trafficking, although illegal everywhere, exists in every country. The belief that people trafficked in America are all smuggled from other countries is false. Over 100,000 American children are trapped in the sex trade alone. This manifests in every state, city and most likely in your own community.

2. The only form of trafficking is sex trafficking. Slavery no longer exists.
Forced labor, bonded labor, debt bondage and involuntary servitude among migrant laborers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, sex trafficking and prostitution, children exploited for commercial sex and child sex tourism are all major forms of trafficking in persons, or slavery, that exist today. All involve the exploitation of people and happen within hotels, massage parlors, domestic service, agriculture, restaurants and sweatshops.

3. Only women are trafficked or prostituted. All the women that are trafficked are adults and chose this life. They could have left at any time.
Men, women and children are all susceptible to trafficking. Minors are protected by law as victims of human trafficking without proof of coercion. However, studies show adult individuals who are involved were trafficked from young ages, with an average age of around 11-13. They are forced or coerced through acts of love, violence, threats and loss of possession of their identification documents.

Victims come from all walks of life. Typically, they have disadvantages that make them more susceptible, including poverty, disabilities, backgrounds of sexual abuse and violence, runaways or growing up in foster homes. However, anyone can become a victim, regardless of their demographics.

Physical and psychological wounds keep the victim from speaking out or trying to leave. Law enforcement has often made it worse for victims through victim blaming and by labeling them as criminals, which can cause victims to turn away from law enforcement, viewing them as the enemy. This also causes the victims to have records of arrests and charges that keep them trapped.

4. Trafficking looks like a movie scene where girls are kidnapped from the streets, never to be seen again.
This can be true in some cases, and people should be very aware of this. However, more often than not, the victim is slowly lured into a trap. In many cases, traffickers are someone close to the victim, including parents and other relatives, neighbors and significant others. There may be a “boyfriend” promising a young girl love and protection, then turning around and telling the girl that she now owes him and this is her only option. With a mix of violence and love, the girls are psychologically conditioned in a way that keeps them from ever leaving or seeking help. Feeling responsible or guilty for the situation and blaming themselves adds to their resistance to leave. Stockholm Syndrome, where the victim becomes attached to their abuser, is another cause of victims returning to this terrible situation, because it is familiar to them. But what is Stockholm Syndrome?

Psychiatrist Dr. Frank Ochberg of the National Institute of Mental Health defines it: “First, people would experience something terrifying that just comes at them out of the blue. They are certain they are going to die. Then they experience a type of infantilisation – where, like a child, they are unable to eat, speak or go to the toilet without permission. In their mind, they think this is the person who is going to let them live.”

5. People who are involved in prostitution are criminals.
There is a stigma that surrounds prostitution, claiming that people chose this life because they’re “whores” who are addicted to sex or drugs. They’re often coerced into living this life and may turn to drugs or alcohol. Many police officers consider them criminals. They tend to let the person purchasing sex go free and arrest the prostitutes. In reality, many of these people are not criminals, they’re victims. And even if they are arrested, they usually end up going right back as soon they are released.

by Delaney Cordova

7 Netflix Shows To Binge Watch Over Spring Break


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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, spring break! If you’re broke like most college students, your spring break plans probably consist of a date with your couch. Here are the best shows to binge watch and pass the time with:


  1. Stranger Things – Set in the 1980s, this throwback show follows a town in hysterics after a local boy goes missing, and aliens might be behind it? Oh and it has the best intro sequence ever.



  1. House of Cards – Beware Frank Underwood! This political-thriller might seem totally far fetched, but given our current political atmosphere, maybe not so much.


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  1. Lost – So a plane crashes on a deserted island and it might all just be a dream? That’s how I would describe Lost to someone who’s never seen it. If you like shows that make no sense but are completely awesome, then Lost is the show for you!

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  1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Think Seinfeld, but ten times funnier. This show follows a group of five friends and their latest ideas to get rich and famous. Added bonus: The episodes are only a half hour long!

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  1. Black Mirror – This show is the twilight zone but set in modern times. Each episode features a new story with different characters that will leave you saying “whaaaaaat”.

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  1. Shameless – You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh again. This Showtime original series follows the dysfunctional Gallagher family as they just try to make it through the day on the Southside of Chicago.

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  1. Fuller House – Feeling nostalgic? Relive your childhood by seeing what DJ, Stephanie and Kimmy are up to now that they have kids of their own.

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Research, Jazz and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student

OmerMeet Omer Farooq, a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Farooq completed the master’s program in SLIS in 2012 and remained a Golden Flash to pursue his doctoral degree. In our Q&A, Farooq talked about his research, his experience teaching and his favorite local Kent restaurants.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Ohio State University for my undergrad in psychology. Go Bucks! I finished my Master in Library and Information Science from Kent State while in Columbus.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: Throughout my master’s program I had a wonderful advisor, Dr. Miriam Matteson, and she involved me in a few research projects that organically developed. She was very encouraging in that aspect. Then I decided to apply for a Ph.D. program, and I got accepted with the teaching assistantship.

Q: What are your research interests, and what projects are you working on currently?
A: In a nutshell it’s how students acquire information literacy skills and how they learn to be proficient in academic research. My dissertation topic is looking at the intersection of information literacy instruction and effective learning and instructional techniques that draw from cognitive science and educational psychology. Undergraduate freshman are my research participants.

Q: How has your experience teaching been?
A: This is my second year of teaching Information Fluency in the Workplace and Beyond. I helped revise this class with a faculty member, an adjunct instructor and a couple instructional designers over the course of the summer. We’ve had this course offered to undergraduates for a while, but it was time to revise it. The information in the course was outdated. The social media spectrum has evolved, and there are new tools and platforms.

The Association of College and Research Libraries had a new guiding document for academic libraries titled Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We looked at the course in light of what are the knowledge practices undergrads should be able to do in terms of information seeking behavior, information needs and information use. It was an interesting and rewarding experience at the same time.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I like listening to music. I play the guitar, but I haven’t really had time to play like I used to. I’ve been listening to a lot of early jazz like Soft Machine and Indian saxophonist Vijay Iyer. Also, my wife and I like to explore new places to eat. Some of our favorite places are Wild Goats, because they have great discounts, and Ray’s Place.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I like to see myself in a lot of different positions. For me, an important thing is the institutional culture of people. Good culture and good colleagues that help support what you do. That really is how it started for me. The important thing in a dream job is that nurturing cultivating factor where you have good support on top and good support laterally.

by Elline Concepcion

Travel Often


This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Samantha Meisenburg, ’18

Ciao tutti (Hi everyone),

When I was picking a place to study abroad I wanted to study in a place that was in a central location that would allow me to travel to neighboring countries. Italy is in the perfect location to do major traveling because it’s close to many European and Northern African countries. This allows traveling to be easy and cost effective.

Over the past two months I’ve been to 12 cities and six countries. Some of those cities include Rome, Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Monte-Carlo and London. For the rest of the semester I plan on traveling to other cities, such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona.

Italy is a great country and there is so much to do and see, but it is nice getting out of the country every once in a while. Going to different countries and seeing their way of life compared to the states and Florence is a unique experience. I’ve been to Austria where people eat a lot of meat and speak German, and London that is known for its fish and chips and English speaking. Experiencing different languages, food and culture has allowed me to expand the way to life, as I know it in the states.


Despite all this traveling I’ve done, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Getting to and from airports and hostels and maneuvering around countries without Internet service on my phone in non-English speaking countries has been a little stressful. But the stress is belittled once I arrive to my destination and see the sights that I want to see and eat the traditional cuisine.

Another lesson that I’ve learned from this experience is to travel as much as possible, even if that means you are alone. If there is a city that you want to visit but no one wants to go with you, book the trip anyway. That is what I did when I went to the French Rivera. I went to four beautiful cities with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea that I wouldn’t have gotten to see if I didn’t book this trip by myself. I rather have the stress and anxiousness of traveling alone than the regret of not seeing a city because I was too scared of being alone.

With that, I leave you with a quote that sums up my traveling experience so far: “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – Lewis Carroll

Why Travel?



This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Rachel Rankin, ’17

Now that I have been in Italy for almost two months, I am finally traveling outside of Florence. Within the last few weeks I have been to Verona, Rome and Barcelona, Spain. Florence is a great city with many things to do, but it is nice to get out and explore other cities and countries.

First stop…Verona. I traveled with my roommate Emma to Verona, Italy as a one-day trip. The “Verona In Love Festival” was going on right before Valentine’s Day. Verona is a cute and unique city that is small, but filled with such character. We spent the day with Smart Trip and visited Romeo and Juliet’s houses, along with a few other parts of the city. Verona is not very far from Florence, but it was nice to explore a different city even if it wasn’t very large. It is important to get to know your hometown while abroad, but I think adventuring to these other places are just as important.

I recently traveled to Rome for one of my CCI college field trips. I was in Rome for almost 4 full days and saw a lot of historical sights. We visited the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and more. We also had the opportunity to listen to the Pope speak. Rome is a lot bigger than Florence and there is so much to see. We were constantly touring with our professors and the walking never stopped. The Trevi Fountain was beautiful during the day, but I returned at nighttime and it was even more amazing.

The architecture changes from night and day and it was nice to see both sides. The Coliseum was more beautiful than I imagines. It felt as if the gladiators were still present within. It is shocking to think someone built this large arena many years ago. Rome was a beautiful place and I hope I am able to return someday. I think there is a lot to learn from Rome and it is incredible to think the art and architecture was created so long ago. This city is a must see when traveling to Italy.


My biggest trip was to Barcelona, Spain. This was a trip taken independently from the school and I went with my roommate Emma and our friend Jon. We left on a Friday morning and returned Sunday night. Our Spain trip was a beautiful disaster. Traveling to an unfamiliar place can be stressful and fun at the same time. We did not sight see as much as we wanted because transportation was difficult. What we did explore was beautiful. We visited Park Guell and saw the mosaics, which are popular in Spain. The view from the top of the city was breathtaking and worth the struggle to find. Staying in Barcelona was also my first experience in a hostel. My first hostel experience was great and a lot of fun. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was basically similar to staying in a dorm. After an exhausting, but fun weekend, we were all ready to go back to Florence. I am happy with our trip to Spain and I hope I am able to go back someday to explore more of the city.


Traveling has taught me so much about myself. I have learned to have patience with people as we are all struggling to figure out what we are doing or where we are going. I have learned to relax and know that everything will work out in the end. I can now thoroughly read a map (in a different language) and figure out directions (which is very important). Traveling is crucial to your personal growth. I encourage everyone to travel, whether it is near or far. There is a lesson to be learned wherever you are going in life.