Monthly Archives: August 2013

Sonic, the Master Chief, and me

Today was day #1 of PAX, and it was fast and furious. Over 60,000 eager attendees entered the Washington State Convention center to play, interact, and to discover what is on the forefront of the world of board, card, and video gaming. One of our favorite things to do on the first day is to walk the show floor and experience the quirky world of cosplay. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it is short for costume play; which is way more than the mere act of “dressing up.” Cosplay is a subculture of the gaming industry where participants assume the personality and persona of a specific character or idea...and PAX didn't disappoint. See what you think!   [...]

2013-09-01T03:23:41+00:00 August 30th, 2013|Guildhall at PAX 2013|

A primer on PAX

An update from René, manager of admissions and alumni affairs for The Guildhall at SMU: Penny Arcade originally became famous as an online web comic about gaming culture. In 2004, the website’s founders launched The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle, Washington, with about 4,500 attendees. Over the past 9 years, it has become one of the nation’s largest gaming conventions, with more than 70,000 attendees in 2013. The convention has also expanded outside of Seattle in recent years with shows in Boston, Massachusetts and Melbourne, Australia. From a massive exhibition hall, to concerts, to hundreds of panels, PAX is leading the way as the preeminent convention for gamers, both professional and independent. The Guildhall at SMU will celebrate its 8th exhibition year at [...]

2013-08-29T18:33:46+00:00 August 29th, 2013|Guildhall at PAX 2013|

Second thoughts

Just two days after forming my idea for research on TCEDC’s impact in the community, almost everything seems to be in line: TCEDC’s directors have said my research is an important need; Dr. Nibbs, my cultural anthropology professor and mentor for the internship, has helped me to outline a plan and create interview questions; and I already have started some preliminary interviews with several of TCEDC’s clients. Yet I already have some hesitations about the whole thing.  As good as the idea may sound, it ultimately came from me, an outsider, rather than the community.  The distinction is significant: not only does my outsider’s perspective compromise my ability to do research, but it also establishes an undesirable relationship that places [...]

2013-08-28T21:42:09+00:00 August 28th, 2013|Kyle in Taos and Honolulu|

New direction

In Taos, poverty rates among high school graduates is almost 10 percent above the state average.  For TCEDC, that means that most clients simply cannot afford to pay at cost for the services that TCEDC provides.  As a result, TCEDC heavily subsidizes its services, making it largely dependent on grant funding.  I soon recognized an opportunity to use my skills and experience to maximize my impact at TCEDC by addressing its need for grant funding. Grant funding is something I have dealt with since high school, having written grant proposals for a struggling nonprofit organization in Hawaii (I ultimately helped them to win two grants!) and organizing grant-writing services for other nonprofits in need.  Although TCEDC needs no help with [...]

2013-08-28T21:27:26+00:00 August 28th, 2013|Kyle in Taos and Honolulu|

I have never seen a dead cow before

Kyle is a junior President's Scholar majoring in biology, individual studies in applied scientific computing and human rights in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Kyle is participating in Engaged Learning and also was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Internship from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. During summer 2013, he interned at two nonprofit organizations: Taos County Economic Development Center, where he examined how economic development corporations can help nonprofits empower communities, and Ke Ola Mamo Native Hawaiian Health Services, where he examined how one local nonprofit is able to work directly with the community.

2013-08-28T21:13:22+00:00 August 28th, 2013|Kyle in Taos and Honolulu|

“Where will these people be?”

An update from Aymen, a biology and Spanish major, and human rights minor: A month ago, all I knew about Australia was from what I had seen in movies and read on the Outback Steakhouse menu. After spending 10 days in Perth, I came back with unforgettable memories of exploring the city, taking selfies with kangaroos, being covered head to toe in dirt from crawling through a cave, (struggling) to canoe up a river, and most of all hearing firsthand accounts of Australia’s human rights issues. Upon arriving at Curtin University, we dove headfirst into a hefty list of human rights violations, the first being the issue of refugee/asylum seekers. I wish the previous research I had done on the [...]

2013-08-22T16:34:26+00:00 August 22nd, 2013|Human Rights Australia 2013|

Rewarding end to my time in Rio

I'm back in the States experiencing a disorienting mixture of nostalgia, introspection, and intense Texas heat. My three months in Rio is over, and I can't stop thinking about the people I met and the things I experienced. My last two weeks in Rio were the most rewarding. I was able to witness and experience an event that one of the women from the workshop had organized for weeks. The theme of the event was youth participation in Afro-Brazilian religions (specifically Candomble, which is the religion that the woman herself follows), and the event took place at her terreiro (the name of a Candomble religious space). Around 20 people showed up, including community members and leaders, members of the terreiro, [...]

2013-08-20T15:58:33+00:00 August 20th, 2013|Kerri in Brazil|

Postcards from Australia

An update from Emily, a junior majoring in human rights in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences: Some of our group in King's Park, overlooking Perth and the Swan River Students who participated in SMU's Civil Rights Pilgrimage beside a photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Trinity Church in Perth. Professor Halperin writing the Embrey Human Rights Program's motto, "There's no such thing as a lesser person," in the sand. Simon Forrest, professor of Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University, robed in a kangaroo pelt while performing the "Welcome to Country" ceremony

2013-08-19T20:24:55+00:00 August 19th, 2013|Human Rights Australia 2013|

Celebrating honesty in dance

An update from Kelsey, a junior dance major in Meadows School of the Arts:  What is a dance major doing on a human rights trip to Perth, Australia? On day five of our trip, after a long day of lectures, I realized my connection to human rights was more pertinent than I could ever imagine. The day began with Dr. Jude Comfort’s lecture on “Using a Human Rights Lens on LGBTI Issues.” I learned a lot about the history, terminology, and stigma surrounding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community; however, what really resonated with me was Dr. Comfort’s story about Larry and his lens on the issue. Because I'm an artist, people often ask me, “So you know [...]

2013-08-19T16:44:48+00:00 August 19th, 2013|Human Rights Australia 2013|

Stories that need to be known

From my previous work with economically vulnerable single mothers as well as my research in ethics, theology, and economics, I believe single mothers face particular cultural and economic pressures that often mean their realities are mostly invisible and their lives often stigmatized. Thus, many single, working-class mothers are marginalized in the broader culture. My research methods - of starting “knowledge gathering” with the women’s own voices and perspectives - reflect my concern that these stories need to be known and ought to help shape the cultural and economic structures impacting them and, ultimately, all of us. I am deeply concerned to recognize and support the dignity and agency of the participants who will shape the trajectory project by identifying themselves [...]

2013-08-16T23:16:08+00:00 August 16th, 2013|Julie in Dallas|
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