Hello & Welcome!

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My name is Juliana Russo and I am currently finishing up my Senior year at the University of Delaware. Over the past four years as an Interpersonal Communications Major, with minors in Journalism and English, I have found out more about my desire to influence people with my writing than ever before. Choosing to pick up a Journalism minor was a spur of the moment decision for me however, it was one of the best ones I have ever made. As an Interpersonal Communication major I have already learned to think in a different, more open minded way, however my English and Journalism courses opened my mind even more. Now I am more aware of how to news write, and how important everyday news really is. I have always enjoyed writing yet never thought I would be able to do anything with it after graduation…now, that is my goal.

This Digital Portfolio will show you some of the work I have done over the course of this semester. It will include my articles that I have written for The Review, the University of Delaware School Newspaper, an assortment of digital images, and more. Thank you for taking the time to see how I have evolved as a writer and photographer over the past four years, enjoy!

Newark Deli and Bagel Video Mashup

For this assignment we were able to pick something we wanted to make a mashup of. Since Newark Deli and Bagels is the busiest and most entertaining place to wait for your food I chose to create on based off of it. We had to incorporate still images, video footage, sound and captions. I tried to use humor with the captions to make the video more entertaining. Watch and enjoy!

“Why I Love the Fall” Video Documentary

I put together this short documentary for my Introduction to Photography and Video class last semester. The assignment was to use still images we took ourselves along with old photographs, sounds and video footage to create a 2 – 3 minute documentary. The topic was “Why” and I chose to make mine on “Why I love the fall”. At first I thought this would be an easy assignment but filming falling leaves blowing in the wind gets boring after a while so I had to get creative. We had to write the script before we were able to start filming which made it difficult since I had written about things at home. Overall, this project was a success even though it was one of my first times using Adobe Premier Pro. Watch and enjoy!

Movie Review: “The Other Woman”

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After watching trailers of “The Other Woman,” I knew it would follow the typical romantic comedy guidelines, but I was not expecting it to be as humorous as it was. The movie starts off with Carly Whitten, played by Cameron Diaz, falling in love with her dream guy, Mark King, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Diaz played a role similar to the one she plays in most films she stars in, such as “Bad Teacher.” She comes off as a successful, single, attractive New York lawyer. Carly’s assistant at her prestigious law firm in the city happens to be played by Nikki Minaj. I thought this role was underrated, and she contributed to the humor I found in this film.

Coster-Waldau, one of the stars from the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones,” did an excellent job in the role of the cocky player. The introduction ends when viewers expect Mark to roll over next to Carly in bed, yet the woman switches from Diaz to his wife. Leslie Mann plays the frazzled but pretty washed up wife, Katie King.

As you start to get the gist of what kind of man Mark is, you can tell that there has been more than one affair. He comes off as the type of guy that immediately turns around when a girl walks past him and gets their number at any chance. It is clear from their interactions that he knows his wife is oblivious to his actions. Katie and Carly’s first meeting occurred in the worst way anyone would want to find out their husband is cheating on them.

After the breakdown, when Katie realizes her entire life is falling apart, she and Carly begin their weird friendship. Although their friendship was formed because of their hatred for the same man, which reminded me of the plot from “John Tucker Must Die,” they both tried to help each other work through their problems.

The third woman Mark is discovered to be having an affair with was not introduced until the movie was half way through. I am a huge Kate Upton fan and was excited to see what role she would play. Of course, Upton starred as the 22-year-old clueless girl named Amber.

The three collectively start to brainstorm ideas that will make Mark feel even worse than the way he had made them all feel. At this point, although I was enjoying the film, I started to get bored because I knew exactly how it was going to end. However, due to the fantastic cast, I was able to keep paying attention for the duration of it.

The film came to a conclusion after a trip to the Bahamas, which led to Mark getting busted and losing all of his money. Along with this came surprisingly happy endings for both Carly and Amber.

The music and locations in the film (New York, Connecticut and a few scenes in the Bahamas) really made the movie more enjoyable. This film could have gone in a completely different direction, yet the producers did all of the right things to keep viewers laughing and excited for the next scene. “The Other Woman” is definitely a chick flick; however, I believe even male viewers would find it a pleasurable and amusing watch.

The message I got out of the whole film was that friendship is strong enough to fight those with bad intentions. I would recommend this film to someone that is looking for a good pick-me up and laugh. The film is very straight to the point and does not ask viewers to think too much.

Senior wins Evelyn Waugh essay contest

Senior Mary Kathleen Reilly, winner of the Evelyn Waugh essay contest, began to admire Evelyn Waugh and his novel “A Handful of Dust” during her high school years. Reilly’s father, whom she says is a devoted Evelyn Waugh fan, was the one who introduced her to him.

Reilly, an English and history double major, entered the contest after finding out her final paper for her Maps and American Literature class, taught by professor Martin Brueckner, fit the requirements for the contest. Reilly’s passion for Waugh’s work and her hard labor paid off, Brueckner says, as Reilly beat out students from universities around the world.

Presented is a brief interview with Reilly about her essay while she was on her service trip to help rebuild homes in New Orleans.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about why you wrote your essay on Evelyn Waugh’s “A Handful of Dust?”

A: Well, Evelyn Waugh is one of my favorite authors. My dad first introduced me to Evelyn Waugh in high school. [Waugh] was a contemporary author, like C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, so I was really open to reading him. I first read A Handful of Dust when I was a senor in high school and it really resonated with me first hand. It is a very unique work. He was Catholic, so there were a lot of themes, like faith, that I could really relate to. When it came to writing my final English paper in college, it really made sense to bring things full circle having written a paper on him my senior year of high school on one of his books. It fit the theme of the class so well.

Q: What class did you write the original essay for before entering it into the contest? Professor Brueckner told me you had been in two of his classes.

A: Yes, well the class was my honors English (480) Maps and American Imagination. We read “Treasure Island” and “The Wizard of Oz,” books where characters use maps or when you open a book and the author drew a map in our brains. As the semester went on, we moved to more abstract things like how characters perceive space, move through space and use space. We read a really interesting article about how authors use architecture and actual structures to do all kinds of crazy things. That pretty much fit directly with “A Handful of Dust.”

Q: How did those themes fit into “A Handful of Dust?”

A: Evelyn Waugh uses really interesting structures in “A Handful of Dust.” He starts off with the main character, who lives in a huge grand old abbey, which was considered by a lot of people to be really ugly, but he loved it. This reflected and affected him. There was an apartment as well, and then the story ends in the middle of the jungle, so there is really lack of structure there in the wild and nature. The themes of the class kind of expanded and the book really fit the class well.

Q: How did you hear about this essay contest? Did you enter it on a whim?

A: My dad is an Evelyn Waugh nerd pretty much and he subscribes to the EW society mailing list. He forwarded me this email that had the outline and statement for the contest. When I got it, I was like, ‘This could not be any more perfect.’ Of course, I just so happened to write a paper that exactly fit the contest, so I was able to submit it right away. It was fate.

Q: So, what happens now that you have won the contest?

A: I am going to be published in the Evelyn Waugh Studies Journal. They publish their actual journal once in the fall and once in the spring. They sent me the notification that I won with comments from the editorial board that read my essay and were the judges. They typed out really thoughtful criticism. I am going to use an extra month to edit the paper- I am going to cut it down a little bit then it will be published in the journal in the fall. There was also a monetary prize.

Q: What about this essay was different from others you’ve written in the past?

A: This essay was definitely more interesting because I was able to pick a text that we hadn’t read in class. Knowing that this was our ending point of our English career at Delaware, he let us kind of go wherever we wanted with it. My essay kind of went outside the class, which was American Literature, since Waugh was British. But it was the longest paper I have written.

Q: Did you enjoy writing this essay?

A: Not that I haven’t enjoyed writing my other papers in college, but it was especially enjoyable because I got to go in any direction I wanted. The theories we were using were about architecture and space – abstract ideas that were very different from anything I’ve written about before. You were pretty much able to pick your poison and do whatever you wanted as long as it tied back to the class. Having that freedom was really nice.

Q: Do you have any big plans for after graduation?

A: I am actually going to be doing a program at Saint Joseph’s in Philly. It partners with the Alliance for Catholic Education and is a part of the University Consortium for Catholic Education. People teach full time in Catholic schools, either K through 8 or high school—-I am hoping for high school—-while taking classes pursing a masters in education. It is kind of like a Teach for America for Philadelphia urban Catholic schools. I’m really excited about it. I am looking to teach high school English.

University welcomes Men’s Action Network to campus

The Men’s Action Network (MAN), a student organization that just arrived on campus, is established upon three goals (or the three E’s)—to educate and engage students in gender violence and toxic masculinity and to empower them to work toward extinguishing it, said senior and club founder Cedric Rudolph van Liefferenge.

“We want to get their gears rolling so maybe they will realize there is a problem here,” Liefferenge said.

Lauren Gibson, a prevention specialist at Student Wellness, agreed to co-advise the group after discussing the idea with Liefferenge at the Take Back the Night event hosted by Students Acting for Gender Equity.

Gibson said the group’s name sparked from the Delaware Men’s Education Network, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent and end domestic violence in the state of Delaware.

“We plan to workshop and talk to men about egalitarian thought, gender equality, and fighting against violence in any form–not just violence against women,” Gibson said.

The first E will focus on educating men about how violence works on campus and in the world, along with how they can work to stop it, Liefferenge said. Engaging, the second E, men in conversations about violence, he continued, is always the biggest challenge. The third E is for empowerment. MAN members hope to empower men to stand up and say something to make a ripple effect so more people do the same.

In the past, Liefferenge has been involved with groups on campus such as SAGE and Haven, and as such, he said it felt very natural to try to bring a group such as this to campus.

MAN, which had its first meeting on March 10, will hold three events this semester in order to spread the word and inform students about feminism, or what members refer to as the F word. The first event, The F Word, is planned for Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. Liefferenge said the goals of this educational program are to demystify feminism as well as other political agendas that seeks equality.

“People tend to have preconceived notions about what feminism is,” Liefferenge said.

At this event, group members plan to discuss how men can become involved in activism that is not exclusively feminist activism. Jimmy Howard, the interim assistant director of Residence life, is a co-advisor with Gibson for this group. Howard said during the event, members intend to explore the topic of female objectification and making a conscious effort to not view women as things.

Junior Brian Eirmann became involved in MAN after his past work with Haven.

“The goal of the first MAN event is to push for a change on our campus,” Eirmann said. “We plan to ask people who attend our event what they think feminism means, and then go from there.”

In the future MAN members would like to participate in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, Gibson said. The group welcomes all students and is hoping to expand over the next couple of months.

“We want people to know that in order to stop violence against women, we need both men and women fighting against it,” Gibson said. “We need them to come together to end this.”

Student-run group assists the chronically ill

Senior Alexa Rivadeneira says Lori’s Hands has been the most rewarding experience during her entire time at the university.

Lori’s Hands is an organization founded by university alumna Sarah LaFave that connects college students with the chronically ill of the Newark community.

“It has made me who I am, and I know it is something that I will always carry with me,” Rivadeneira says.

LaFave came up with the idea of Lori’s Hands when she was a sophomore, she says, and founded the organization in 2009 at the university in memory of her mother, Lori LaFave, who passed away after a long fight against breast cancer.

This year, Lori’s Hands celebrates its five-year anniversary, as it has flourished from a simple idea into the organization it is today, LaFave says.

“It’s exciting for me to reach this milestone because it means that we have successfully transitioned to a new generation of student leaders,” LaFave says.

LaFave says since graduation, she has been working with the College of Health Sciences to help develop and expand its service-learning programs.

Seniors Lisa Centrone, a nursing major, and Rivadeneira, a public policy double major, took on the co-presidency role after LaFave and the other co-founders graduated in 2011.

LaFave’s hard work and dedication to better the lives of those in need is what has helped this organization get to where it is today, Centrone says.

Centrone says they went in head first and have done an effective job establishing Lori’s Hands as a lasting and well-known group on campus.

While the members’ main goal in the beginning was to expand membership and pick up more clients, Centrone says their goal now is to spread Lori’s Hands to other college campuses nationally.

“We have had a lot of support from the university and the community of Newark,” Centrone says.

For example, the university now offers a Chronically Ill in America class, which teaches students about the relationship between different chronic illnesses and the Affordable Care Act. As a part of the class, students are paired up with a client of Lori’s Hands in which they help them weekly for the duration of the semester, Centrone says.

“I think the class with the curriculum would be a really efficient way to spread it all over,” Centrone says. “There are so many people in need wherever you go […] I think it would flourish anywhere.”

Junior nursing major Amanda Pedalino says when she first came across the course, she thought it would be similar to her previous nursing field experience.

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However, Pedalino says after her first session, she realized she had been mistaken.

“My experience with CK allowed me to grasp the realities of living with Multiple Sclerosis, other debilitating illnesses and stray from scientific or medical fixation,” Pedalino says. “I’ve learned that you cannot appreciate the psychological, economical and social burdens that come along with a certain illness until basically walking in their shoes.”

Rivadeneira says students involved in Lori’s Hands are currently helping 22 clients in Newark who are suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer.

The services students usually partake in range from household chores, such as laundry and cleaning or grocery shopping and raking leaves, to just sitting around, chatting and playing rummy, Centrone says.

Rivadeneira says Lori’s Hands officers take on the job of scheduling student volunteers with the clients depending on what times work best for both.

“We are pretty much their point people and help keep our clients in their home,” Rivadeneira says.

Centrone and Rivadeneira have been visiting clients Edna and Warren Watts, an elderly couple, each week for over a year now. Both say that Edna and Warren have become like a set of grandparents to them. Rivadeneira says Edna and Warren have told them that they do not know how they lived without them.

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Centrone says the relationship she has formed with the couple Edna and Warren Watts has changed her college experience.

Rivadeneira says Lori’s Hands has given her relationships with the clients, as well as officers, volunteers and board members that she will cherish forever.

In a few weeks, Rivadeneira says she and several other Lori’s Hands officers will be attending a Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Arizona to help them better the organization, as well as network.

She says she hopes this will help them move towards their goal of bringing chapters of Lori’s Hands to other college campuses.

Living legend, Harry Belafonte, comes to the university for Black History Month Extravaganza

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“Living legend” Harry Belafonte, renowned civil rights activist and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., hosted this year’s Center for Black Culture’s Black History Month Extravaganza Thursday night in the Trabant Multipurpose Room.

At 86, he can look back on a lifetime of achievements, not only in the crusade for equality but also in music and entertainment.

Belafonte, who engages in humanitarian projects today, was a devoted activist for the fight for civil rights as a young man. He was an instrumental player in the fight as he said he helped to garner funding, participated in freedom rides and marched with King throughout the movement.

“Once he stepped into my life, everything about me became something else,” Belafonte said about his friendship with King and the influence King had on him.

The two met for the first time in the basement of a church in New York, and a friendship developed rather quickly through their mutual passion and dedication to the civil rights cause, he said.

An audio recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was played prior to Belafonte’s stage entrance. Center for Black Culture Director Kasandra Moye briefed the audience on Belafonte’s early life before he began his speech.

Belafonte began by recreating the African American Civil Rights Movement by coloring a mental image for the audience from a detailed memory of the 1960s. He described a time when he feared for his life in the South with each passing day.

He said he was able to defy societal limitations stacked against him, despite being born in Harlem, N.Y. in 1927. If not for all the hardships in his early life, he would not have met all the great people that brought him to where he is today, he said.

Belafonte also described a specific instance when his activism could have cost him his life. On a journey to Greenwood, Miss. to deliver $70,000 to fund pro-civil rights projects with Sidney Poitier, he ran into the Ku Klux Klan. Poitier had warned him before the trip that they may not survive, but Belafonte said this was what he expected would happen. The money he raised would later be used to fund voter registration drives and freedom rides, Belafonte said.

Professor of Black American Studies Yasser Payne said he aspires to emulate Belafonte.

“Belafonte is a hero to many of us aspiring activists, not only to people in the black community but to folks around the world,” Payne said. “It is real with him. He is one of the last voices that speaks about hard issues, poverty and oppression that occurs domestically and internationally.”

Not only has Belafonte proven to be a successful activist over the years but he has also been equally influential in his work as a humanitarian.

Black American Studies professor Arica Coleman said Belafonte uses his position as a celebrity to draw attention to various social issues other celebrities would never address. In 1987, Belafonte was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador due to his never-ending fight and dedication to UNICEF’s cause.

He has helped create partnerships for children in need and has spoken up about the issues that impact their lives such as a dire need for adequate health care in Mozambique, Coleman said.

Coleman, in alignment with Belafonte’s speech theme, said there is a need for more humanitarian acts in our society. Belafonte said the fight to keep humanitarian programs like art, music and theater in our society’s institutions must not be ignored.

Belafonte said Black History Month is important to him because he thinks our country is severely undernourished when it comes to understanding our history and the people who contributed to it.

“Belafonte’s brand is seeing people as human, seeing them as equal and not just talking about the ideals of humanity and equality—but actually living it” said Coleman.

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In order to move this nation forward, the idea of radical thought has to be employed, he said. Radical thought means thinking outside of the norm, which Belafonte encouraged people to embrace.

“Unbridled capital is the name of the game,” said Belafonte, and in our society today “we suck it up like a junkie looking for a fix.”

Payne said Belafonte’s revolutionary spirit has brought so many injustices to the forefront of American minds.

“I think that if we don’t understand how we evolved as a nation we will never really grasp the extent to which we have to address the possibilities that are at our disposal to heal and to fix,” Belafonte said.

The months of January and February bring numerous university speech requests to Belafonte as the nation celebrates black history. He views these as opportunities to serve public interest and he participates every year, he said.

“Civil rights doesn’t start and stop,” Belafonte said. “It is always in our midst.”