Student Shout-Out: Steven S. in "Writing for a Real World"

Today’s Student Shout-Out goes to COMS major Steven Slasten, or, I should say, COMS major and published author Steven Slasten! That’s right! An article Steven wrote for Professor DeLaure’s Critical and Rhetorical Methods class, entitled “A Look at the Cycle of Redemption in the Rhetoric Surrounding the Suicide of Tyler Clementi” has been published in USF’s Writing for a Real World.

I asked Professor DeLaure to tell us about Steven’s article. Here is her starred review: “Steven’s essay exemplifies the best of what Rhetorical Criticism as a form can offer: here is an insightful analysis of a collective struggle over meaning-making about a pressing, divisive political issue.  As is often the case for high-profile crimes and trials, a social drama played out in the media coverage of Tyler Clementi’s suicide and its aftermath.  Steven engages Kenneth Burke’s theory of scapegoating and redemption, drawing deftly from both primary and secondary sources.  In clear and elegant prose, he argues that the public discourse surrounding Ravi’s trial has broader significance and, ultimately, troubling ramifications.”

I also asked the author himself to also tell us about his paper:

This review analyzes the media portrayal of the suicide of Tyler Clementi using Kenneth Burke’s cycle of redemption and Brian Ott and Eric Aoki’s theory of media framing. The review first lays the groundwork of Burke’s theory, and then uses Ott and Aoki’s media framing, in their analysis of the murder of Matthew Shepard, as a follow-up to Burke’s theory and as a point of comparison to the Clementi suicide. The review that follows applies the media surrounding the suicide of Clementi to the steps of Burke’s cycle of redemption with a focus how the media portrayal of the chosen scapegoat shifted from that of a rational adult who engaged in homophobic bullying to that of an immature minor involved in a prank that went too far. The results of this review suggest that the cycle of redemption was not completed in this case, because of a societal inability to choose a perfect scapegoat.” 

Wow! Are our students smart or what?

COMS major and published author Steven with Professor DeLaure

COMS major and published author Steven with Professor DeLaure

I also asked Steven to tell us about why he decided to write about this topic. “The reason I chose to write on this subject was because I was a freshman at the same time that Clementi was. His first month of college was my first month of college. Yet his ended in a suicide and mine went on normally. I also chose this subject because I was disgusted at the whole event. How could someone be so cold and callous as to invade someone’s privacy in that way? An invasion of privacy that led someone my age to suicide? But as my freshman year went on I got caught up in making friends and going to classes, and my interest in the case waned. In fact, I totally forgot about it until I took Rhetorical Criticism, and randomly came across an article that concerned the verdict in the case. It reignited my interest in the whole event. The fact that a hate crime charge involving homophobia was involved piqued my interest even further, and so I decided I wanted to research the details of the case and that I wanted to write my final paper on it.”

A big congratulations to Steven on his publication! We’re very proud!


Dons' Doings: Pie Day = Success


Usually I reserve “Dons’ Doings” posts to talk about upcoming events in the department. But today I am blogging about our very successful Pie Day event that we held a few weeks ago. Why? Well, today’s Pi Day of course! So here we go, a retrospective of our Pie Day on Pi Day!

On February 28th, our Lambda Pi Eta students sold slices of pie in Gleeson Plaza. Why pie? 1) Because it is yummy. Obviously. and 2) So that people who bought pie could wear super cool stickers declaring “I ate pie with Lambda Pi Eta!” Clever, right? This is the third Pie Day we have hosted and they have each been fun and successful. We raise money for our Lambda Pi Eta chapter so that we can pay for the events that we put on each semester. Check out these pictures from Pie Day:

But this semester we wanted to do something a bit different. We decided to also support a nonprofit organization. But which one? We came up with the idea of letting our pie eaters help us choose! So we chose three deserving charities and let eaters-of-pie decide which one we should donate to. Each slice came with a free vote to cast for a nonprofit. In the running were the San Francisco Food Bank, Vittana, and the Blue Waters Youth Ranch.

Each of these three charities is equally deserving, so I want to provide a bit more information about each one:

The San Francisco Food Bank will provide food to over 225,000 people this year! Most of the people they serve are children, seniors, the unemployed, and low-wage workers. You can find out more about the SF Food Bank here: http://www.sffoodbank.org/

Vittana is an organization that gives loans to students from around the world so that they can go to college. You can find out more about Vittana on their website: http://www.vittana.org/

The Blue Waters Youth Ranch uses horses to help mentor, educate, and empower foster children. You can find out more about them here:  http://bwyrgunnersbluff.com/

Which deserving charity won? The Blue Waters Youth Ranch, located in Green Bluff, Washington. Now, I must admit for full disclosure that the Blue Waters Youth Ranch is run by my lifelong friend/closestthingIhavetoasister, Gina McGlocklin. But I also must make it clear that her charity won fair and square! Professor Sery collected the completed voting sheets and can attest to the results under oath.

Gina McGlocklin, Director of BWYR, and Dottie, one of the horses that works with foster children

Gina McGlocklin, Director of BWYR, and Dottie, one of the horses that works with foster children

What do they do at the Blue Waters Youth Ranch? They provide a safe and positive place for foster children. According to Gina, “Bonding with our horses gives foster children an opportunity to form a relationship with something that is free of judgment and to experience a connection with no strings attached. Many of our kids come to us with emotional scars that humans can’t fix. Our horses, Dottie, Chloe, Bella, and Bullseye, help make kids feel comfortable in their own skin and accepted for their own unique gifts.”

Gina was so excited when I told her about our Pie Day fundraiser (because she loves pie too… at first I think she thought I was just bragging about eating pie) and even more excited when I told her that her charity received the most votes and that she will be receiving a check from Lambda Pi Eta to help support her work! Maybe she will use it to buy worm paste. Seriously. That is on her wish list of things she needs to keep the ranch running. Worm. Paste. Now, Gina does not hold the title of World’s Best Cook, but I am almost positive the worm paste is for the horses. Almost positive.

Thanks to everyone who bought pie and supported our chapter of Lambda Pi Eta and the Blue Waters Youth Ranch!

Thanks to our Lambda Pi Eta officers and members for baking, buying, and selling pie! A special thank you to Gleeson Library for their support! You might have heard a loud, fog-horn sounding noise during Pie Day. It wasn’t the campus emergency alert system, it was Professor Sery marking the sale of TWO WHOLE PIES  to two Gleeson employees! Whoop whoop!

Two more thank yous: To Maude for making the absolute best tasting peanut butter pie in the world. No. In the universe. Yes. It is that good. And to Tina, for the funniest text messages I have ever seen. Yes, she is the student begging for pie in the picture above. That is classic and I thought it deserved being saved for posterity here on the blog.