Blog

A Resourceful U

My name is Rebeca Feldman and I am from Allentown, Pennsylvania. I am a senior at  double majoring in Psychology and Political Science.

Over the course of my time at American, I would say that I have gotten good at finding some hidden (and not so hidden) gems to make the most out of my time here! If I have learned anything, it is that there is always a resource to utilize and always a staff member who is willing to help you, you just have to know who to ask and where to go!

The Library: The Resource We Take for Granted

The first and maybe most important discovery I have had since coming to AU is how much you can get out of our library! Yes, you can go there when you have to crank out a paper or get some readings done, but that is just where the adventure begins! Whether it is signing out a textbook for a few hours to do a reading (*cough cough saves you money*), checking out a board game to play with friends, or getting help at the tech center (think of it as your on-campus Geek Squad, but better)—the library really has it all.

Please, if you do anything, utilize the research librarians the library has available for students. There is a research librarian for each major, so they understand all of the databases, resources, and basic content areas that you are studying already. This year, I am in two classes that are challenging me to write pretty extensive final research papers and going to the psychology research librarian this semester was one of the best discoveries I’ve made and has significantly improved the quality of my writing and assignments. I just wish that someone had directed me there earlier on in my studies!

*Bonus tip* If you are like me and are having issues with a research assignment while studying abroad, you can still reach out to research librarians and get help over email or the messaging service they offer.

The Math and Statistics Lab

I would go there every single day, directly after my statistics class, to get help on homework. It is a really supportive environment, where tutors and students collaborate and tag team concepts to make sure you understand your homework and the content of your class.

The CTRL Lab

The CTRL Lab is located in my favorite resource spot, the library! The CTRL Lab exists to help teach you about statistical programming and different online resources available to AU students. Many of these programs would cost hundreds of dollars to download personally, but CTRL can show you how to access them from your computer for free or a discount and also offers trainings. Knowledge of these programs are great things to add to the “skills” section on your resume and also gives you a boost in class.

The Writing Center

Want someone to edit your paper but you don’t want to send it home to your mom or bother your roommate? You can go to the Writing Center and they will help you out. It also makes you start working on your paper sooner and gives you extra eyes to check for mistakes before turning it in.

The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC):

By far my favorite center on campus. They offer group tutoring for various classes, individual tutoring, and hold a ton of workshops! I’ve gone to sessions with their office about how to organize your schedule, effective ways to read and take notes, among many others (these events also usually have free food). They have a super supportive staff who can work with you on any personal academic issues you are having and make sure that you are getting any accommodations you need to best succeed!

As someone who found out they had ADHD half way through college, getting support from ASAC was crucial. They have been great at helping me understand how I learn and have really held me accountable to take control of my own academic trajectory!

Office Hours

Go to office hours if you are struggling with a class. Go to office hours if you just want to say hello to a professor. Go to office hours if you have never even taken a class with a professor but their work at the Department of Health and Human Services, or their position they held at the State Department interests you! Professors are required to plan out time where they sit in their office and wait for students to stop by to get one-on-one help and to just talk. A common misconception is that you need to be struggling in order to go to office hours but that really is not the case. Your professors are the greatest resource around; getting to know them well will help you out if you start struggling later on in the semester, want some career guidance, or need a letter of recommendation!

Career Center

You should not wait until your senior year to go to the career center for the first time. They can help you revamp your resume, prepare cover letters, and help you discover jobs and internships that interest you. It does not matter if you aren’t currently in the market for an internship, it always helps to have a resume ready to go.

They also hold a career fair every semester, which I’ll admit I went to for the first time this semester. Don’t be like me, go every semester to get a better feel for organizations exist, to get used to talking to potential employers, and to see what opportunities fall into your lap! You never know who you will meet!

The Career Center recently launched a new alumni networking website called “Handshake.” You can go on and network with alumni, see and apply for available jobs and internships, and get a better grasp on the opportunities out there! Never be afraid to reach out to an AU Alum for career or life assistance, they love to help.

This only scrapes the surface of the resources that are available to students at American. Take advantage of the experiences offered to you, go to free events, and really get involved with both academic and fun experiences that are happening on campus. You never know what you’ll discover, what skills you’ll get, and what connections you’ll make until you just go for it!


AU Always in Motion

My name is Shannon Mulreed and I am from Branchburg, New Jersey. I am a freshman double majoring in Justice and Law and Public Relations.

Dance has always been a really important part of my life. I have been dancing since I was three years old in a wide variety of genres, including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. Dance has always been the best method for me to express myself and to feel completely comfortable and empowered in doing so. I find a sense of mental clarity when I am dancing. It provides me with such wonderful balance and a mental break when I feel overwhelmed by everything else going on in my life.

At the beginning of the semester, my friend group consisted of a small inner-circle of people who I either met at orientation or lived of my floor. I was looking for more ways to get more involved on campus – dance was something I was very comfortable and familiar with- and I hoped I could expand my circle of friends through it.  I was immediately drawn to AU in Motion, the largest student-run dance group on campus. At the beginning of each semester, they holds open auditions to student dancers of all levels and backgrounds. The choreographers are selected in a separate audition by the AU in Motion E-Board, who are also students in the group. These  talented choreographers will each cast a diverse and enthusiastic group to create a piece for our semester showcase.

The reason why I love AU in Motion so much is definitely because of the amazing group of individuals who get together every week to bond over our shared passion for dance. AU in Motion provides me with a climate of positivity and confidence and together we are able to build a strong sense of community across the campus. I have found some of my closest friends through AU in Motion and am so grateful that I decided to join. We also love to spend time together outside of our rehearsals, whether its explore D.C. and all the amazing food it has to offer or grabbing coffee and doing homework together, with well-deserved dance party breaks in between, of course! Overall, this has been a great opportunity to meet new people while getting in a fun workout.

We are so excited to show everyone what we’ve been working so hard on all semester! Our 2018 Fall Showcase is taking place November 16th and 17th at 8:00 pm at the Greenberg Theatre. This year’s Fall Showcase includes a wide variety of dances in areas like contemporary, jazz, ballet, kickline, hip hop, and Bollywood. Tickets are free and we are hoping to get a large turnout from our fellow AU students, so come experience AU in Motion!

Last semester’s showcase

 

Local Living: Exploring D.C. Through the Eyes of a Native

My name is Scout Holden, and I’m from Bethesda, Maryland. I am a freshman at AU, studying Legal Studies.

When I was growing up, I moved a lot. When I started high school, I landed in Bethesda, Maryland, just a couple of stops down the red line from AU. With D.C. so close in high school, I learned how to explore D.C. off the beaten path.

Personally, I love going to art museums. One of my favorites is Renwick Gallery. The Renwick cycles through new exhibits every few months and offers unique modern art that features unique mediums. The Renwick is part of the Smithsonian consortium, which means it’s free. It’s easily accessible by metro and not too far from the White House. Even if art museums aren’t your thing, there are a bunch of exhibits that make for really cool pictures.

If museums aren’t your speed, I recommend checking out the National Botanic Gardens. The Gardens are filled with the classic stunning flowers and trees that you would expect but are also home to a variety of rare and crazy plants you didn’t even know existed. If you’re looking for a colorful afternoon full of exploring the bounds of nature, the gardens are the way to go (and they’re free too!). The museum also showcases endangered plants and has an exhibit called Savage Garden filled with carnivorous plants.

One of the best things to do when exploring DC is to get on the metro and see where it takes you. A definite must for this type of exploration is Gallery Place-Chinatown. Located on the red line, this metro stop brings you right from underneath D.C.s Capital One Arena, putting you within a block of two of the most popular museums, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, as well as the Portrait Gallery. Within walking distance of this stop are a variety of food options, ranging from Shake Shack to traditional Chinese restaurants spread all around the area. This stop is also just a couple blocks down from Penn Quarter and CityCenter, two more fun places to explore in DC.

Silhouette Exhibit at the Portrait Gallery

 

City Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you chose to do with your free time in DC, you’ll have fun. Never discount the tourist-y moments like visiting the Library of Congress or spending the day on the Georgetown Waterfront, but looking for lesser known activities can always help bring you new and fun experiences while you’re here! Whether you chose to schedule your day down to the last second, or just get on the metro and see where it takes you, I promise you’ll find yourself falling in love with this city just like I have.


 

Community Through Chorus

Hello! My name is Jarryd Delaney and I am a current third-year student studying CLEG (Communications, Law, Economics, and Government) in the School of Public Affairs here at AU, and I am originally from Westfield, NJ.

Throughout my life, I have always had a love for performing arts. From participating in bands & choirs, to even performing on stage all through my education; the performing arts have played an integral role in shaping my personality and life. In fact, I also minor in Theatre.

Although I have had performance opportunities in my life; there is one that holds an extra special place in my life. The ability to perform in a chorus and make beautiful music with other dedicated people is such a special opportunity. Especially when the chorus is made up of a unique community of people, just like the American University Chorus is.

Some members of the AU Chorus

The AU Chorus has been an extremely important part of my time here at American. Comprised of students (undergrad, graduate, and law), professors, faculty & staff, alumni, and even community members from around the city; it is an amazing way to meet people of different backgrounds and to share experiences with each other. We have over 100 members this year!

I have been able to build strong friendships in AU Chorus and my best group of friends are all part of the vocal ensemble. This year, I was asked to be Section Leader of the Tenors (proud Tenor II here), so it has been a great way to practice leadership and administrative skills!

The chorus has not only been an amazing opportunity to meet new people and network with alumni who share the same interests, it’s also been a phenomenal way to explore DC and share our love of song with its community. Last November we were able to take part in the Yearly Caroling Tradition at the famous Willard Intercontinental Hotel in downtown D.C. and perform in the beautiful and historic lobby. This academic year we are performing at the National United Methodist Church and the National Presbyterian Cathedral. In the Spring, we are partnering with the AU Chamber Singers and the AU Orchestra to perform (and record) the premiere of a new work called “The Last Seven Poems of Yehudah Halevi.”

This December, thanks to one of our soprano members and the hard work of our fantastic director Dr. Casey Cook, we have been invited to perform traditional holiday carols at the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park in front of the White House. It is important to point out all these opportunities AU Chorus offers because it shows there are so many ways to explore and enjoy the nation’s capital. By joining a group dedicated to something you love, chances to explore your new home will fall into place.

By joining AU Chorus, I have been able to partake in a phenomenal extra-curricular, meet great people, experience unique opportunities, and grow my love for music all while being able to get a few credits out of it! If interested, the Course Registration Number is PERF-142 and you can take it for one or no credits! We meet every Tuesday night of the year from 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. so it can be easy to fit in your busy class schedule.

If you love performing in chorus or have always thought you would like to then I highly suggest auditioning the American University Chorus! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The AU Chorus with the AU Orchestra


Chamber Singers: Hitting the Right Notes

My name is Loie Faulkner and I am a junior from Ithaca, New York. I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Education Studies.

I was raised in Ithaca, New York where creativity and self-expression were encouraged. Ithaca is an extremely artistic area, and music was a part of my life since I was an infant. In middle and high school, I participated in competitive choral programs regularly, and received awards from my high school for my achievements in choral activities. When I applied to college, I knew I did not want to pursue music as a degree, but it was important for me to continue singing at a high level.

When I arrived at AU, one of the first things I searched for was the audition sign-up for choral ensembles. I was accepted into the AU Chamber Singers at the beginning of my first year, and I was welcomed with open arms. Immediately, my conductor and the rest of the ensemble made sure I was comfortable and felt like my voice and abilities were recognized. We learned a wide range of music from contemporary a cappella to Baroque Lutheran liturgical music, as well as music from all over the world.

 

One of the most exciting parts about being in AU Chamber Singers is our biennial international tours. My first year in the ensemble, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland for 12 days with the entire group. We toured nine different cities and performed both an a cappella program and an orchestral program with local orchestras. This summer we’re touring all over Greece!

Dr. Daniel Abraham, the conductor of AU Chamber Singers, is dedicated to international diplomacy through music. He champions discourse within musical communities and achieves this by bringing his choir to locations “off the beaten path.” Our ensemble travels to locations that aren’t usually visited by choirs (the most common being Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy). We have the privilege of performing with local musicians, and we bring music that isn’t generally performed in those areas. This allows us to create a conversation about identity through our shared love of music.

These tours, along with the diverse selection of music and discussions on the meaning of the pieces we perform, exemplify AU’s dedication to human rights for all and inclusive excellence. Additionally, the range of cultural backgrounds and geographical origins of the singers in our ensemble (and all other ensembles at AU!) allow us to have an ongoing and positive dialogue about music and how it affects us.

Participating in a music ensemble at American has been one of the most influential and positive experiences I’ve had thus far in college, and I know I’ve made friends for life. AU offers vocal ensembles, instrumental ensembles (symphonic, jazz, chamber, and orchestral), and many student-run ensembles. All AU students can take instrumental or vocal lessons through the university, and there are practice rooms available 24/7 for all students in the Katzen Arts Center. If you’re interested in music at all, I highly recommend any of these programs! Music helped me to find my home at AU.


 

It’s all Greek to Me

My name is Molly Lurensky and I am a sophomore from New York City! I am majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communications with a minor in Education Studies.

 

When I talk about the activities that I am a part of, I always say that joining AU Ambassadors and going through Panhellenic recruitment  (and joining a sorority) were the two best decisions I have in college thus far. When I was looking at colleges, I was not sure if going through Panhellenic recruitment was something I wanted to do. Before I came to AU, I had a narrow view of what Greek life looked like from what older friends had told me.

When trying to decide if going through Panhellenic recruitment was going to be the right choice for me, I went to several open-house style events where I got to meet women from each organization. At this point, most of my friends were people who lived on my floor, so I decided to sign up for formal recruitment to meet a broader range of women. It was one of the best choices I have ever made. Now, it’s hard to walk around campus without seeing a friendly face from my organization or another sorority or fraternity on campus. Through the Greek community, I have met some of my best friends who I know will always be a part of my life. I have gained friends to go on new adventures in D.C. with or spend countless hours studying in the library.

I have found that the Greek community at AU emphasizes scholarship, community service and philanthropy by encouraging all organizations to get to know each other and attend each organization’s events.

Students cannot go through formal recruitment until the second semester of freshman year and it takes place over the course of a long weekend. There are nine social sororities on campus. This small number allows the Greek community to remain close-knit and allows for making friends in many different organizations. I have friends in organizations across the Panhellenic community and have had the opportunity to attend many of their events.  

I have also been able to  take on leadership roles in my organization that I know will serve me in the future and give me tools for future leadership roles, jobs and internships. This semester, I am serving as the Co-Philanthropy Chair for my organization, where I had the opportunity to host and help plan a fundraiser for Hurricane Florence victims. We partnered with a fraternity on campus to make a broader impact and get more people involved.  We raised a over $200 in three days just from tabling on the quad. It was amazing to see how people can come together in order to benefit a good cause.

If you are on the fence about going through recruitment, I would encourage you to attend the open-house events so you can get a feel for the different organizations on campus. In addition to social sororities and fraternities, there are service and professional fraternities on campus as well.

One big happy AUA and Greek family; three Greek organizations are represented in this picture.


 

Learning in and Outside the Classroom

My name is Haley Epping and I am from Rochester, New York. I am a sophomore with a double major in law and society and communication studies.

 

During my freshman year of college I was a part of University College, a living learning community here at AU. This means that I took a particular class with people I lived with. My class was called Harsh Justice and we discussed punishment and the criminal justice system in America. The class was taught by a professor who teaches undergraduate and doctoral students at AU and is expert in institutions of punishment and confinement, the death penalty, institutional violence, and race and justice in America. One of the components of the class was taking part in off-campus field trips to apply what we were learning in the classroom to the real world.

Our two off campus trips were organized by our student Program Leader, Cal Creeden, who is also an AU Ambassador. The first trip was to a poetry reading at the Kennedy Center. The poetry was written by prisoners and then read by individuals who either studied the prison system, or worked to help prisoners. My professor ended up reading one of the poems which was exciting to hear and see. This trip helped me bond with people on my floor while exploring D.C. and learning more about the American prison system. The other trip we went on was to a play at The Round in Virginia. This play was called Jesus Hopped the A Train which was about two different stories from men in prison. After the play there was a question and answer session with Kirk Bloodsworth, the first man exonerated by DNA evidence. During the intermission my professor introduced us to Mr. Bloodsworth and I was able to have a conversation with him. It was an enriching experience because I was able to apply what I learned from the play to the real world.

Additionally, we were each required to go on a police ride along or go to a court case. I chose to go on a police ride along in D.C.’s Ward 3. It was an eye opening experience for me. I was assigned to a cop for the night and I was able to ask him  questions about being on the force in D.C. and being an officer in general. In class we also had a police officer from Fairfax, Virginia come in to speak with us. This was a really interesting experience because we learned about the justice system through both the eyes of a police officer and prisoner respectively. The cop also fielded questions about jobs in law enforcement. This class broadened my horizons and I ended up switching my major to Law and Society after this class. I enjoyed the diverse perspectives we learned about in class as well as a lot of the real life experiences my professor incorporated into the curriculum.

This year I am a program leader for a University College class about medical perspectives because I loved my class so much!