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Lending a Hand at the Caring Cupboard

Hey there everyone! Can you believe that it is back to school time already? The summer just flew by! My summer was fairly busy, working at my internship within the Church of the Brethren denomination. However, I have to say that I did have a favorite part of my job: three times a week I would leave the office a little early and head over to the Caring Cupboard a food pantry that originally started in the basement of my church. Many years later, the Caring Cupboard is now an effort of many different churches and denominations in the area to help those who are in need.

The Caring Cupboard

The Caring Cupboard

I was helping Miss Judy, the Director of Client Relations on my volunteer days. After shadowing her for a couple weeks, she said “Laura, you do the next interview.” My first thought was “ummm. There is no way that I can do that!” But, then I realized, I could watch her do 40 interviews and I wouldn’t feel as prepared then if I just did it. And of course, it turned out fine. Working at the Caring Cupboard for those couple months was very rewarding, not only for my future career as a social worker, but I really received a better understanding of those in need in my own community and met a bunch of amazing people, whether those I worked with or the clients that I got to interact with.  Working at the Caring Cupboard gave me knowledge that I could not have necessarily learned in class, but is now helping to connect what I already was taught and am still learning as I start my senior year! I think that it is going to continue to be a fantastic year!

Super Hero Cheerleader

Hey ya’ll! My name is Jamie Kensinger and I spent the last 6 years at Geneva College pursuing my undergraduate degree in Communication/Public Relations and Writing and then my Master’s of Arts in Higher Education. I supervised Student Activities at Geneva and was in charge of the Commuter and Transfer Students there, as well. My time in Residence Life, at Geneva, was confirmation that I am meant to be in Higher Education in some aspect.

Graduation Day at Geneva College

Graduation Day at Geneva College

So, now that all the technical banter is out of the way, some of the fun facts (or quirky things) about me are that I have a Beta Fish, whom I love, named Murfy. I love doing volunteer work for the Humane Society and The American Cancer Society. Also, I grew up immersed in a farming community, where my Dad is part owner of an orchard business.

My sister Kristi and me

My sister Kristi and me

I have an immense fear of gorillas, because of a bad experience at a zoo when I was a child and have a fascination with pandas. My favorite food is pineapple and I am a movie addict (seriously, I have a ginormous DVD collection). I have anything from Disney movies to horror flicks. I enjoy hiking, painting (or really any form of art), writing, talking about superheroes and super villains (especially Wolverine and Harley Quinn), and public speaking.

Me, chilling with Peter Pan

Me, chilling with Peter Pan

All my life, I have been involved in cheerleading (especially competition cheerleading) in some aspect. In college, I cheered on my Golden Tornadoes, where I made some life-long friendships. A lot of people find their spouse in college, but I was more fortunate in finding my bridesmaids.

Some of my besties

Some of my besties

When I have spare time, I love to bake (although I am gluten intolerant). My friend, Megan, and I have a dream of opening a bakery (this dream was pre-Two Broke Girls, although we love the show).

I used to be a youth leader and enjoy getting involved in outreach opportunities. One of the best experiences was a mission trip to Pittsburgh where everything that could go wrong did. My youth kids were amazing at staying positive and the learning experience through that was worth all the unfortunate events we experienced.

Some of the youth group in Pittsburgh

Some of the youth group in Pittsburgh

As I am going through the transition to Juniata College, I am excited to be a part of the community here and getting involved in the community of Huntingdon. I would love to touch base and exchange stories about any common interest and higher education with anyone that wants to.

I am most looking forward to travel season (especially in the DC area). I love meeting new people and exploring new places. If you haven’t noticed, I love pictures and capturing memories. I am sure that this coming year will be no exception. Again, I look forward to the journey ahead and being part of this new community. I am extremely blessed to have this new adventure at hand.

5 Snippets of Practical Advice for Entrepreneurial Students

*Brent Lightner graduated from Juniata College in 2000 and a 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient.  Among many other accomplishments, Brent is the founder and Creative Director of TaotiCreative, a company he started in his Juniata dorm room.

*Brent Lightner graduated from Juniata College in 2000 and a 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient. Among many other accomplishments, Brent is the founder and Creative Director of TaotiCreative, a company he started in his Juniata dorm room.

Firstly, let’s dispense with the term “entrepreneur.” It comes with a lot of baggage and expectations about starting a business. Instead of focusing on starting a business for the sake of starting a business, focus on whatever skill/service/idea that you have that you’re passionate about and good at. That’s what you ‘are.’ For me, it’s web design. I started a web design company called Taoti (www.taoti.com) out of my Juniata dorm room in 1996. But it’s not like I declared myself an entrepreneur and took it from there. I was—and still am—a web designer first and foremost. The ‘entrepreneur’ label that I’m often given seems to be more retroactive than anything. Back then, no one was calling me an entrepreneur. I was just “the kid in South building websites.” Anyway, my point is that your focus should be on what it is that you’re going to do—not on the ‘start my own business’ part of it. That part of it will come. That said, there are some things that can help it along. In no particular order, here are some things I’d tell anyone wanting to turn their passion into a business:

1. Make sure you have a viable idea/product.
Is someone else doing it? If not, why not? There’s usually a reason. It’s rare to have the kind of totally original idea that will be the next big thing, just because you thought of it and no one else did. (Don’t get me wrong—that can happen. And when it does and it’s a commercially viable idea, big things can happen. But the vast majority of new businesses are variations—if not near duplications—of existing business. And there’s nothing wrong with that.) Also, don’t believe them when they tell you there are no stupid ideas. There are definitely are stupid ideas. Make sure yours isn’t one of them. Try to find all the reasons NOT to pursue something. Only when you cannot find enough reasons not to do something you should you give it a go.

2. Focus.
Don’t try to create the ‘ultimate anything’ out of the box. Focus on the one thing that you can really nail, and hone that for a while. Make that core thing a viable business before expanding your offering or trying to add in all sorts of bells and whistles to your product/service.

3. Wait tables.
Everyone should spend some time in the service industry to learn how to deal with the myriad of challenges that arise from serving customers. You’ll learn how to please and how attention to detail can make or break a customer’s experience. You’ll learn that customers are far from always being right, but that it doesn’t matter—they’re still the customer. You’ll come to appreciate being dependent on a supply chain (your cooks) and learning to take responsibility for them, even when their goofs are not your fault. You’ll learn efficiency and the price you pay for not being efficient.

4. Take real-world and applied courses.
It’s going to be a while before you can afford a full-time accountant (or even an outsourced book keeper.) So learn basic accounting: profit/loss statements, balance sheets, etc. Better yet, learn some actual accounting software that you’d actually use. Modern cloud-based services really simplify this sort of thing so that you really don’t need to be an accountant to be your own CTO for a while. Take some other real-world courses too! One of the great things about Juniata is that you can take just about any course you want and make it part of your POE. So learn how to build a website (because you won’t be able to afford a pro-grade website out of the gate, but it’s not hard to do yourself if you know how.) Learn basic IT skills so that you can set up your own email, network, wifi, printer, etc. Take some basic corporate law and HR courses so that even from the get-go, you have a grasp of potential liabilities. Take a course in corporate formation and understand how to become and stay compliant and in ‘good standing’ with local and federal governments. Whenever possible, take courses that focus on real-world and applied subject matter.

"My son, following in Dad's footsteps.  At 19 months, he is more advanced on the iphone than his grandparents."

“My son, following in Dad’s footsteps. At 19 months, he is more advanced on the iphone than his grandparents.”

5. Read.
I’m not much of a reader, so my mom would be shocked that this one made my list. But two books that I think are really educational and motivational for anyone wanting to start their own business: Steve Jobs (by Walter Isaacason) and ReWork (by Fried and Hansson). Seriously, read these books. There are plenty of other good reads, I’m sure. But these are the two at the top of my list.

This list could be 100 points long. There are so many tidbits that present-Brent would like to impart upon then-Brent. So many things I’ve learned along the way that would have made life easier. If you’re for real—you have an idea or product and you fully intend to make a real run at it, I’d love to chat with you. I’d be happy to offer up my $.02, for whatever they’re worth—to help make things a bit easier for you so that you don’t have to learn every lesson the hard way. Feel free to drop me a line. Either way, best of luck with your venture!

"With the company boat.  Who knew what a company I started in my dorm would lead to?"

“With the company boat. Who knew what a company I started in my dorm would lead to?”

 

It’s Shelby’s Turn to Give Back To Juniata College

As a recent Juniata graduate, I am so excited to be an official member of the Admissions team!  Here’s a little bit about me including my experiences at college, my hobbies, random facts, and whatever else I could think of mixed in between.

I graduated!

That’s me, Shelby Cassell.

So what could be a better way to start than to talk about Juniata?  Each time I visited Juniata while I was in high school it rained.  That did not, however, keep me from seeing how great this place is.  My favorite aspect of Juniata is the sense of community it has.  I love how friendly everyone is from the faculty to students to administration…I could go on and on.  I did not get enough in my four years here as a student so now I am sticking around for more!  In May I graduated with a degree in Health Communication and a secondary emphasis in Spanish.  Working in various positions at the Enrollment Center for the past year allowed me to learn about a new career path that I am now pursuing.

Besides working on campus, I also played volleyball while at Juniata.  It was so much fun to be a part of a team here on campus and make so many great friends through the years.  We traveled many places together including St. Louis, San Antonio, Rochester, and others.  It was always most fun, though, to play in our own gym here at Juniata surrounded by friends and professors cheering us on.  I actually flew on a plane for the first time in my life when we traveled to Texas my freshman season!

My volleyball team, and our beloved Eagle, at our annual “Dig Pink” game to raise funds for Breast Cancer awareness.

My volleyball team, and our beloved Eagle, at our annual “Dig Pink” game to raise funds for Breast Cancer awareness.

In addition to Juniata, I love the outdoors!  I can’t stand to have a day go by during which I haven’t spent time out in the sun.  Hiking, running, and vacationing at national parks are just a few outdoor activities I enjoy.  I have been to Yellowstone, Acadia, Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt, Grand Teton National Park, and more.  Hopefully in the next few years I can make it to Denali in Alaska and Redwood in California.  Recently, I went camping at Raystown Lake near Juniata.  The picture below was the view from my campsite!

SC Raystown Web

When I just need to get away, though, my family cabin is the first place that comes to mind.  While at my cabin there is plenty of wildlife to see including elk, deer, bears, etc.  I make sure to pack my hiking shoes, comfy clothes, and of course my latest book.  Sue Grafton is the author of my favorite series about the adventures of a private investigator and currently I am working through U is for Undertow.  I also enjoy reading health and fitness magazines.  My latest hobby that I am working on developing is cooking so if you have any favorite recipes, feel free to share them with me!

Me and my 2 year old Springer Spaniel at my cabin in Elk County, PA.

Me and my 2 year old Springer Spaniel at my cabin in Elk County, PA.

Some other random facts about me include that I enjoy watching movies and I find Steve Carell to be especially funny, my favorite colors are blue and purple, I love just about any kind of seafood, Red Lobster is my favorite restaurant (makes sense right?), I like to spend time with family and friends whenever possible, and I enjoy going to the beach during the summer.

I am looking forward to expanding my horizons through my work with Juniata Admissions.  I will definitely be looking for new natural areas, restaurants and fun things to do in my region!  If you have any questions about Juniata please do not hesitate to contact me!

Go! Advice from a Juniata Alumnus*

*Mike Thompson graduated from Juniata College in 2012 and earned a 2012 Teaching Fulbright in Taiwan. He will be continuing his studies at the University of Michigan this fall.

My Fulbright colleague Katherine and I goofing around in front of a painting of Jinmen’s most famous landmark (母忘在莒).

My Fulbright colleague Katherine and I goofing around in front of a painting of Jinmen’s most famous landmark (母忘在莒).

In 2009, after getting off the plane I had been trapped on for 16 hours, I think I realized for the first time how huge our planet was. I was on the first crew of Juniata students to travel to China during the summer, which has now broken into two successful trips every summer. After a whirlwind week of adventure in China, I was hooked and already planning my return.

Dalian’s Olympic Square at night during New Years: Year of the Rabbit.

Dalian’s Olympic Square at night during New Years: Year of the Rabbit.

I find myself in a similar place this year, having returned from a year spent in Jinmen, Taiwan on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant scholarship—I already can’t wait to go back!  After returning from Taiwan this past year (a tough year of teaching, learning, and making great friends) I am moving on to pursue my MA in Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. I’m hoping eventually a Ph.D. is in my future, but it’s a long road, so I am doing my best to take my time!

My 3rd grade students at 賢庵國小 sing a song about colors and the rainbow at an assembly.

My 3rd grade students at 賢庵國小 sing a song about colors and the rainbow at an assembly.

I graduated from Juniata in the class of 2012, and of what little wisdom I have accrued, I would share about one of the best things Juniata did for me, and encourage you to take time to study abroad and study a language. No matter what your POE is focused on, the addition of language ability and foreign study is an invaluable addition to your future success.

My Fulbright ETA colleagues and Jean, my supervisor’s wife, at our holiday party (she’s standing in front of our paper menorah).

My Fulbright ETA colleagues and Jean, my supervisor’s wife, at our holiday party (she’s standing in front of our paper menorah).

During my year abroad in China, I traveled to Inner Mongolia, to the termination of the Great Wall, to a Lisu village on the Burmese border of Yunnan province and took intensive Chinese courses as well as coursework on Chinese topics ranging from sociology to political economy. Those courses formed the basis for my senior thesis and my whole senior year, in which I picked up a secondary emphasis in Economics. My travels reminded me that just like the United States, China has a diversity of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural groups, which I later wrote about in an independent study on political philosophy my senior year. A year abroad didn’t take away from my time at Juniata, but enriched it and drove me further my senior year.

A picture of the valley and a Lisu village in Yunnan Province, near the Burmese border.

A picture of the valley and a Lisu village in Yunnan Province, near the Burmese border.

Those experiences have been like keys for me: as soon as I began studying Chinese, it began to open doors to opportunities that were previously locked: my Fulbright grant and the funding I received for graduate study were possible because of my focus on Chinese language and culture in addition to my more POE central classes.

A village nearby my school called 珠山 (Zhushan).

A village nearby my school called 珠山 (Zhushan).

Most importantly, because of study abroad at Juniata and the foundation in Chinese I obtained there, I was able to build relationships across the Pacific, opening all of China and Taiwan to me for my job search, business and travel. This is the aspect that I want to emphasize to students: go. Make time in your schedule for a semester abroad: or better, a year. Connections you foster will be the keys to a successful, global future.

 

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