June 27, 2008
PIP Program Was Rewarding Summer Job
Greg Slisz '09 - My time spent working in the PIP program over the last eight weeks has been both an educational and rewarding experience. While I will admit that I originally took this position because it sounded like a fun alternative to the dreaded summer job, I can honestly say that not only have I learned a great deal more in these eight weeks than I have in my previous two years of summer employment, but I have also had a great deal more fun researching a topic that I truly found interesting.
For my project, which focused on the Oscar Robertson-led Crispus Attucks basketball team of 1955, I was able to meet a number of very interesting people and see some cool primary documents relating to my topic. I was also able to read some interesting books as well as watch a movie that all pertained to my topic. Every step of this process was extremely informative and enjoyable. My favorite memory of the eight weeks was probably my trip to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, where I was fortunate enough to receive preferential treatment and even receive admittance into the back rooms into which the public is not allowed. I also learned a great deal about interacting with people. As an introvert, I was very nervous going into most of my interviews, but I would also say that these interviews were some of the most rewarding and interesting portions of the past eight weeks.
Ultimately, the most rewarding part of the Present Indiana Program for me has been the movie which I was able to create. It served as a final compilation and culmination of all my work, and through the involved process of making a movie I really began to take a great deal of ownership over the short film. In addition to learning indispensable digital movie-making skills, I also was finally able to appreciate the joy and pride that filmmakers have for their created works. While my movie was short and definitely not on a professional level, it still felt great to be able to take something tangible away from this eight weeks.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Present Indiana Program and would strongly recommend the program to other students who are looking for an independent research opportunity as an alternative to a boring summer job.
June 20, 2008
Nearing the End of a Great Internship
Cody Stipes '11 - With only a short week left in the Present Indiana Internship, the end is near and everyone in the group is vigorously finishing their projects. Thursday night was our final group adventure together as we traveled to Indianapolis to take in an Indians game and, of course, an amazing dinner at Champs Restaurant.
For the last 7 weeks we have been conducting interview, taking pictures, and gathering research and now our interviews are being chopped down into 20-second clips, the photos are being cropped to perfectly fit the screen, and the research is transforming into scripts and notes for us to use during our presentations. It is a very busy time, but the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming increasingly brighter and we all know that our hard work is starting to pay off.
My experience with the Present Indiana Project has been fantastic!
I have learned a plethora of knowledge about my project and Indiana, but most importantly it has taught me invaluable information about my future career as an educator. After talking with more than 20 professionals in the field of education, I have seen what it takes to be an exceptional educator and administrator at some of the best secondary schools in the country.
As the last week of this project draws to a close, my friends and I continue to work endless hours in the Media Center polishing are projects while we prepare to begin making presentations next week. It has been a great time and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out!
In photos: Top right, Joel Bustamante, Lijie Ding, Alex Moseman, and Cody Stipes gather around Indians' mascot Rowdy for a photo. Lower left, beautiful Victory Field at night.
June 16, 2008
Talking With Attucks' Greats
Greg Slisz '10 - I traveled last week to Indianapolis to speak with some of the people involved with the great basketball teams of the early 1950s. On Tuesday, I met with Mr. Cliff Robinson, who served as team manager of the Crispus Attucks basketball team from 1949-1953.
Mr. Robinson recalled with great joy his times at Attucks and his experiences with being around the basketball teams with Indiana basketball legends such as Willie Gardner and Hallie Bryant. He explained to me the importance of Crispus Attucks high school to the black community of Indianapolis and also expressed his reverence for Mr. Ray Crowe, the late Crispus Attucks basketball coach who coached the team from 1950 until 1957.
Mr. Robinson, who also managed Mr. Crowe's basketball teams when Mr. Robinson was in middle school and Mr. Crowe taught in middle school at School 17, said that Mr. Crowe was a true role model before that term was even coined. Mr. Robinson also spoke with pride about later attending St. Joseph's college and hitching a ride home to see the Attucks' historic state championship game victory in 1955.
On Thursday, I spoke with Mr. Sam Milton, a reserve on the 1955 and 1956 Crispus Attucks teams that won state championships. Mr. Milton also had fond memories of Mr. Crowe and also recalled playing with a group of his peers that had great camaraderie and truly enjoyed playing basketball together.
Mr. Milton, who grew up playing middle school basketball with Oscar Robertson, also vividly recalls a key jump shot that he hit at the end of the team's narrow 71-70 semi-state victory over Muncie Central. In Mr. Milton's home, plaques from both of the state championship-winning teams' enshrinement into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame were proudly displayed.
Both Mr. Milton and Mr. Robinson said they felt basketball helped bring their generation together. Although the older generations at the time had a great deal of racism, both men said that most high school players had a mutual respect for each other, regardless of race. The two interviews went great, and the two gentlemen provided a great deal of insight into a time that was much different than today.
June 12, 2008
Monon Trail One of State's Busiest
Howard W. Hewitt - One of the great things about helping lead the summer Present Indiana Project is working with the students on their projects. Sometimes that work is helping them out or working on something as it might relate to Public Affairs.
Wednesday night I was able to combine the two by shooting some photos for Seth Einterz '11 on the Monon Trail and get a little practice video taping.
Einterz, from Zionsville, is taking a look at Indiana rails to trails, greenways, and bike paths. They go by many titles but the benefits are many fold for Hoosiers.
After shooting a few photos along the trail in Broad Ripple, I turned the video camera on Seth and asked him to talk about his project. So, we now have our first-ever video blog entry. Look for more in coming weeks.
June 10, 2008
Trip to Evansville Put Exports into Perspective
Ding Lijie '11 ("Jackson") - After three hours of an exhausting drive, my associate Sean Huston and I were finally in Evansville to visit Escalade Sports, a company manufacturing and selling sports equipment.
My day started with an interview with Marla Fredrich, the Exports Sales Manager of Escalade. We talked at a Ping-Pong table (which is one of Escalade’s best selling products) about the history and current overview of Escalade’s export business.
Even though with a history of more than 80 years, Escalade did not start exporting until the last 20 years with their first deal being selling archery to Canada. The business enjoyed a huge increase ever since. As a company of less than 500 staff, Escalade now sells its products to over 75 countries! (Imagine that!) Canada, unsurprisingly, is their largest market followed by Mexico and Central Europe.
Ms. Fredrich showed a lot of passion about her job. She told me about all kinds of interesting stories and challenges during the exporting process: how they try to make their playground facilities to meet different safety standards, how their products once got stuck in at the Russian custom, how they helped a businessman in Azerbaijan grow his business.
Fredrich enjoyed working with people from different cultures and backgrounds and developing personal relationships with them. She said, in some parts of the world (actually almost everywhere outside U.S.), you cannot just sit down to talk about the price and quantity, you need to be partener’s friend to do business with him/her. What is more, Fredrich believed doing exports help the company think more open-mindedly about the global market. Even though it is now relatively costly and inefficient compared with domestic market, exporting is definitely worth the time and energy, considering the potential future market and the contribution of exports to the company in cultural aspects.
After meeting with Fredrich, I went around their manufacturing base and took some shots. Unfortunately, most of their manufacturing moved to Mexico, and to make things worse, the factory takes Fridays off. Though not able to talk to some workers there, I was still looked around the empty factory and took some amazing pictures.
Our trip ends with a late lunch at Cheeseburgers in Paradise and another three-hour drive back to Crawfordsville. I had a lot of beneficial information about my project on Indiana Exports and cannot wait to visit more places.
June 05, 2008
Spending a Day With an Indy Star Photographer
Alex Moseman ' 11 - Today I may have not taken a lot of great photos, but what I learned was priceless. I spent the day with Indianapolis Star photographer, Matt Detrich, who couldn’t meet with me last week because he was out of town. He was accepting an award for photographer of the year in the Midwest, no big deal or anything. After talking to Matt for just a few minutes I realized that it wasn’t a big deal to him. Maybe that’s what makes him so good. I realized as the day went on that he was so good because he just had a passion for telling the news through his pictures.
The day started off with me sitting with some of the other Indy Star photographers as I waited for Matt to get back from an early assignment that he had gone on before I had got to the newspaper. As I sat there I got to talk to some of the other photographers about what they were doing.
I learned some new easy tricks that they use to help make their pictures better in a matter of minutes. When Matt came into the office the first things that struck me was how personable he was, almost immediately I felt comfortable around him. I guess that could be a useful quality in someone who goes around putting a camera in peoples face.
The assignment that he was working on for the day was shooting a lady shopping for groceries for a story about the rising price of food. Matt had the amazing ability to see and anticipate every angle and scene of whatever environment we were in. Even in a place as ordinary as to local Kroger’s, Matt found a way to take shots of his subject in an interesting way that told the story of the article.
On the way back to the paper some storm clouds began to appear, and Matt and I both couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop and take some pictures as the storm rolled on overhead. This was probably one of the most surreal moment of the day. There I was on the street corner taking pictures of storm clouds along side one of the best photographers in the country.
When we got back to the paper I talked to Matt about how to be a better photographer. He told me “just be sincere, people can tell when we're lying to them.” Nothing hammered that point home more than Matt’s actions throughout the day. I can’t wait to go back to The Star and meet with some of the other photographers and I am certainly excited to shoot more areas and events.
Visiting the Home of That Famous Cat
Joel Bustamante ' 11 - After two hours of exhausting road travel, my associate Alex Avtgis and I arrived in the middle of nowhere, lost in back-roads near Muncie, Indiana. It was in the dense cornfields and forest that we encountered the home of America’s beloved cartoon cat, Garfield (and his creator, Jim Davis too).
Paws, Inc. is a multi-level office where Davis runs his incredible cartoon empire;merchandising, promotional images, film, licensing, and the daily strip included.
As I waited for my meeting with Ms. Kim Campbell, Public Relations Director of the company, I ventured around the front office and was completely amazed at the plethora of Garfield paraphernalia. The staff welcomed me, and was very helpful in locating interesting pictures and Garfield-related items. Every wall is lined with interesting facts and history about the company; from its inception to the recent launch of the educational website Professor Garfield. Even the coffee tables have Garfield and Odie’s images engraved into the base.
When I was able to speak with Ms. Campbell, we were taken to the atrium-the center of the building complete with giant trees, picnic tables, and a kitchen. According to Ms. Campbell, the building also houses a fitness center, for those employees looking to get a quick workout during lunch.
After my extensive interview, Ms. Campbell treated us with a tour of the facility. First, we were taken to “The Showroom,” the top of the building outfitted with every bit of Garfield merchandise imaginable. Big cats, little cats, Oreo boxes, movie posters-everything a diehard fan could ever dream for lay in this magical room. The end of the giant room held awards, notably his four Emmy’s and National Cartoonist Society honors. Other images included various other prominent cartoonists honoring Garfield, such as Mort Walker’s “Beetle Bailey” and Mike Peters’ “Mother Goose and Grimm.”
With that room finished, we proceeded to the artist studio, where Mr. Davis’ art department creates various images for the public. Mr. Davis himself keeps a separate office away from the busy room in order to maintain focus on the strip and other projects.
In this room, several drawing boards lay prominently; each artist has a distinct area in which they work. After this room, the tour was over, and I was given a copy of “Garfield at 25: In Dog Years I’d Be Dead,” which chronicles the life story of Mr. Davis and Garfield. Ms. Campbell was also kind enough to give me a small movie poster from the recent live-action film.
With so much happening at this place, it’s hard to imagine that it all started with a simple cat drawing and ballooned into such an incredible empire. The best part is the upcoming interview I have with one of the employed artists, in which I’ll get a more in-depth look into how the images are created. Easily an amazing day, and a great benefit to my project.