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CLA Helps Local Tanner Duckrey Elementary

On September 5th, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) donated school supplies to local Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia to help their neighbors kick off the new school year. CLA’s School Supply Drive raised a large number of essential supplies for the underfunded public school. The mood was festive as teachers mingled with CLA staff who organized the drive, which is intended to become an annual effort.

Signs and notices for the School Supply Drive were posted all around campus and donations poured in over the weeks preceding the start of the school year. Last Friday, the culmination of that effort paid off when representatives from CLA and the CLA Alumni Association delivered the supplies to Duckrey students and teachers.

The supplies were distributed in the school’s cafeteria, where teachers and students lined up to “shop” for classroom supplies. Teachers perused through the donations and snatched up everything they needed.

“The school district gives us $100 a year (for classroom supplies),” said one science and math teacher, “and that always goes fast.” He added “it usually lasts a couple months.” After that money runs out, teachers have to begin buying classroom supplies themselves. Another 3rd grade teacher “easily spent over $1,000 on supplies last year, but now this doesn’t come out of our pockets. I don’t have a family yet, but most of my colleagues do and this saves us money and planning time.”

The excitement among teachers was palpable. “This is what it looks like when teachers win the lottery! Thank you so much!” said a first-year teacher. “They gave me an empty classroom, but it’s not empty anymore! Thank you so much!”

photo

CLA Alumni Association member Kristin Grubb helped organize the drive from her position as manager of operations in the Office of the Provost. Photo by Betsy Manning.

Principal David Cohen echoed the gratitude expressed by the teachers and students. “I can’t explain how helpful it truly is. We now have all the stuff you’d assume schools would have, regular stuff like paper and pencils that just get cut out of the budget.”

Principal Cohen described the excitement perfectly. “Did you ever see National Geographic, with the lions feeding, and then it’s gone like that!” he says while snapping his fingers. “That’s what it’s like, gone in a flash.

The Supply Drive marks the start of a partnership between The College of Liberal Arts and Tanner Duckrey Elementary. The annual drive aims to expand and provide more to the elementary school through donations by Temple Alumni, students, faculty, and local neighborhood contributions.

Students arrived at Duckrey the following Monday, prepared for their first day of school. “Learning is the biggest thing going on here,” says Principal David Cohen. In large part thanks to the CLA School Supply Drive, students and teachers can spend less energy worrying and more time learning.

Teachers shop for supplies.

Teachers “shop” for supplies at Tanner Duckrey. Photo by Betsy Manning.


Joyce Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82, and given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.”

CLA student turns hardship into service

Renee Cree

Growing up, Joyce Rasing, Class of 2015, did not know her father. And for years, she lived in an abusive household with her mother and stepfather. When she was about to graduate high school, she experienced parental abandonment. Rasing was able to stay with her grandparents for a while, but was soon homeless. The weekend just before her first semester at Temple, she was finally able to secure housing.

Charges against Rasing’s stepfather were filed, and he went to court eventually. At the end of the first semester of her freshman year, the verdict was announced; in the summer of 2011, he was sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison.

Rasing’s adversity has fueled a passion for helping others that extends from studying political science to dedicating her time to several organizations across Philadelphia. She tutors math at a women’s shelter, serves as a hotline counselor and directs a site for an SAT-prep program for low-income high school students.

“It has been a long road,” Rasing said. “Finding opportunities around the city to give back is a part of the healing process.”

In May 2011, Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82. That award is given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.” Rasing says that after struggling for so long, receiving the scholarship was an immeasurable gain.

“The scholarship alleviates a lot of stress for me,” Rasing said. “With that and my state grants, I don’t have to worry about tuition payments.

“Why Ronnyjane gives is so inspiring,” Rasing continued. “Despite her own hardships, she’s been able to move on and move up, and to help others. I hope I can be like her one day.”

After Rasing graduates in February 2015, she plans to use her political-science degree to begin a career in public service, following in Goldsmith’s footsteps of giving back.

For those who might be living through a situation like Rasing’s, she offers some advice: “Surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed and will motivate you to keep going for whatever it is you really want. And don’t forget to pass that favor on to others.”


While a student at Temple, Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, traveled to Ghana, where she was inspired to learn more about those who embrace a black racial identity.

CLA alumna researches and writes about race and identity

When Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, was growing up in New Orleans, she noticed that the light-skinned Creole population would sometimes segregate itself from the rest of the black community in school and in social situations. For example, Blay was excluded from a light-skinned classmate’s birthday party because she was “too dark.” As a result, Blay was conscious of her complexion and believed that those with lighter skin often received preferential treatment.

While a student at Temple, Blay traveled to Ghana to study both the trend of skin bleaching among Ghanaian women and the perceived link between beauty and skin color. She also examined skin-color politics among Creole women in New Orleans—a topic that hit close to home.

Blay concluded that there was a bias toward those with lighter skin—and that those who could “pass” for white would often do so. But a 2010 panel that included Blay and Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, who self-identified as a “black Puerto Rican woman,” led her to think differently about her findings.

She was inspired to learn more about those who embraced a black racial identity. To do so, she launched the (1)ne Drop project in 2010. Blay describes it as an ethnographic and photographic study about black identity. She asked people she knew to share family stories and pictures. And after launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, people began contacting her in order to share their own experiences with race and identity.

Now, there are more than 40 (and counting) participants in the project. In January 2012, it garnered national attention when Blay appeared on CNN to discuss (1)ne Drop. It also was featured in a three-part series on CNN’s In America blog. And in December 2013, Blay published (1)Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race with BLACKprint Press.

After appearing on CNN, Blay connected with Soledad O’Brien, the host of the network’s Black in America series, and interviewed her for (1)ne Drop. Soon after, O’Brien asked Blay to help produce the next installment of the series, which aired in December 2012. It focused on the (1)ne Drop project, and Blay served as consulting producer. Her latest project, Pretty. Period., also has received rave reviews. It is an online collection of photos of black women designed to spark dialogue about what defines beauty.

An assistant professor of Africana studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she urges her students to explore the questions they have about the world.

“Whatever questions we have in our heads are worth asking,” she tells them. “Even if they’re personal. You never know who else will benefit from the answers you get.”

—Nikki Roszko, CLA ’07


Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL
When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA '09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he'll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

Two CLA Alumni are Super Bowl-Bound

Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA '09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he'll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL
When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA ’09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he’ll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

The Super Bowl is going to get some #CherryOn—again. When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA ’09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening, he’ll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years. Joining Knighton in Denver is rookie defensive end John Youboty, CLA ’13, who spent the season on the Broncos’ practice squad.

“Temple molded … the character I have now,” Knighton told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. “Just handling adversity. I didn’t have a winning season there…It just molded me into a man.”

Read the full story.


CLA Grad Featured on NPR's Project Xpat

Juliana's self-portrait with glasses.

Juliana Peluso, 2012 political science graduate and 2011 Phi Beta Kappa inductee, is working in Senegal, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was recently featured on NPR’s Protojournalist blog as part of the service’s ongoing Project Xpat. Listeners are invited to describe their lives abroad and also to submit four sounds that describe their typical days. Peluso has been in Senegal for more than a year and her life includes a lot of tea.

To visit Peluso’s entry on The Protojournalist, click here.

 


CLA Grad Featured on NPR’s Project Xpat

Juliana's self-portrait with glasses.

Juliana Peluso, 2012 political science graduate and 2011 Phi Beta Kappa inductee, is working in Senegal, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was recently featured on NPR’s Protojournalist blog as part of the service’s ongoing Project Xpat. Listeners are invited to describe their lives abroad and also to submit four sounds that describe their typical days. Peluso has been in Senegal for more than a year and her life includes a lot of tea.

To visit Peluso’s entry on The Protojournalist, click here.

 


'Anchorman 2' director Adam McKay, CLA ’90, reflects on his career

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, (right) talks with Will Ferrell on the set of the first Anchorman film.

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, (right) talks with Will Ferrell on the set of the first Anchorman film. Frank Masi

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, first took the stage to try stand-up comedy while a Temple student—and he was terrible at it.

“It was at a place called Comedy Works in Old City, a really cool comedy club,” he recalled. “Jim Carrey and some other guys had performed there. But I totally bombed. I was so nervous, I was afraid to take the mike out of the stand. I was basically reading my jokes instead of performing them.”

That rough beginning aside, McKay has found success as one-half of the duo behind movies including AnchormanTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, and as a founder of the website FunnyOrDie.com. The other half of that duo is Will Ferrell, whom McKay met when both joined Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1995.

“Toward the middle of our time on SNL, Will had one movie left on his deal with Paramount,” McKay explained. “We’d had so much fun writing sketches together, he asked, ‘Hey, do you want to write it with me?’”

They did write a movie together, but the studio passed on it. McKay was undeterred. He says the first process was so enjoyable, they decided to try again. “So we sat down and wrote Anchorman.”

McKay wrote for SNL for seven seasons—three of them as head writer. But his work on NBC’s iconic series was not his first foray into the world of sketch comedy. One of McKay’s Temple classmates, Rick Roman, told him about the improvisational comedy movement in Chicago, and about comedian Del Close. Close is credited with creating “the Harold,” a form of improv that provides comedians a framework with which to craft a scene.

That method of performing appealed to him in a way stand-up did not. “[Stand-up] can be pretty grueling, and I was never that great at it,” McKay said. “I really wanted to try the stuff that Del was doing.”

McKay moved to Chicago, and began training and performing at the iO Chicago Theater (founded by Close). While there, he and several fellow performers, including future SNL cast member Horatio Sanz, founded the sketch- and improv-comedy group the Upright Citizens Brigade.

McKay continues to produce, write and direct films with Ferrell, including Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, in theaters Dec. 18. Traditionally, the pair has avoided making sequels, but McKay said the movie’s fans have been asking for a second installment for years.

“The track record for sequels isn’t great, except for maybe The Godfather Part II,” he said. “But people kept asking for [a sequel], and we thought it could be a fun challenge to present that story in a new way.”

McKay recalled his early stand-up performances to offer budding comedians some advice. “The first few times you do it, you’re probably going to bomb,” he said. “You have to keep doing it until you feel comfortable. But that’s true of anything. Brain surgery, for example.”


Adam McKay, CLA ’90, (right) talks with Will Ferrell on the set of the first Anchorman film.

‘Anchorman 2′ director Adam McKay, CLA ’90, reflects on his career

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, (right) talks with Will Ferrell on the set of the first Anchorman film.

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, (right) talks with Will Ferrell on the set of the first Anchorman film. Frank Masi

Adam McKay, CLA ’90, first took the stage to try stand-up comedy while a Temple student—and he was terrible at it.

“It was at a place called Comedy Works in Old City, a really cool comedy club,” he recalled. “Jim Carrey and some other guys had performed there. But I totally bombed. I was so nervous, I was afraid to take the mike out of the stand. I was basically reading my jokes instead of performing them.”

That rough beginning aside, McKay has found success as one-half of the duo behind movies including AnchormanTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, and as a founder of the website FunnyOrDie.com. The other half of that duo is Will Ferrell, whom McKay met when both joined Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1995.

“Toward the middle of our time on SNL, Will had one movie left on his deal with Paramount,” McKay explained. “We’d had so much fun writing sketches together, he asked, ‘Hey, do you want to write it with me?’”

They did write a movie together, but the studio passed on it. McKay was undeterred. He says the first process was so enjoyable, they decided to try again. “So we sat down and wrote Anchorman.”

McKay wrote for SNL for seven seasons—three of them as head writer. But his work on NBC’s iconic series was not his first foray into the world of sketch comedy. One of McKay’s Temple classmates, Rick Roman, told him about the improvisational comedy movement in Chicago, and about comedian Del Close. Close is credited with creating “the Harold,” a form of improv that provides comedians a framework with which to craft a scene.

That method of performing appealed to him in a way stand-up did not. “[Stand-up] can be pretty grueling, and I was never that great at it,” McKay said. “I really wanted to try the stuff that Del was doing.”

McKay moved to Chicago, and began training and performing at the iO Chicago Theater (founded by Close). While there, he and several fellow performers, including future SNL cast member Horatio Sanz, founded the sketch- and improv-comedy group the Upright Citizens Brigade.

McKay continues to produce, write and direct films with Ferrell, including Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, in theaters Dec. 18. Traditionally, the pair has avoided making sequels, but McKay said the movie’s fans have been asking for a second installment for years.

“The track record for sequels isn’t great, except for maybe The Godfather Part II,” he said. “But people kept asking for [a sequel], and we thought it could be a fun challenge to present that story in a new way.”

McKay recalled his early stand-up performances to offer budding comedians some advice. “The first few times you do it, you’re probably going to bomb,” he said. “You have to keep doing it until you feel comfortable. But that’s true of anything. Brain surgery, for example.”


cla_pastor_joni

2013 Gallery of Success Inductee

cla_pastor_joniEvery fall, Temple University honors alumni from each of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges and highlights their achievements in the Gallery of Success. The College of Liberal Arts would like to congratulate Joni F. Pastor, MA ’80, for representing CLA at this year’s Gallery of Success Awards.

About Joni F. Pastor, MA ’80

Dr. Joni Pastor is a leading expert in industrial-organizational psychology, and one of the rare psychologists who works and is licensed in both clinical and business psychology. Dr. Pastor received her undergraduate degree in religious studies and psychology at the University of Michigan, and two master’s degrees in those same disciplines from Temple University. She received her doctorate degree in clinical psychology and industrial-organizational psychology from the California School for Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.

Dr. Pastor founded JPA International, Inc. in 1979, quickly building a client corps that included major companies and organizations all over the world, whom she collaborated with on matters of leadership, management, strategic development and infrastructure. By the mid-80s, she was also working with the federal government, including the Department of Defense and as the lead strategy facilitator for the National Security Agency. Today, her clients include Pepsi-Cola, University of California system, Chevron, the Federal Reserve, Office Depot, State Farm, General Motors and many more. In addition to her work with organizations, she is also the president and owner of Healthy Brain and Body Centre in Beverly Hills, California.

Dr. Pastor has received many recognitions and honors, including Outstanding Young Woman of America, the U.S. Army Customer Service Award, the Excellence in Journalism Award, the San Fernando Valley “Trusted Advisor” Award, and has been recognized as one of 12 people in the world the University Michigan Alumni Association has designated as a preferred executive and vocational coach.