Monthly Archives: January 2017

Art and Activism Collide – a submission from Kellyn Ishman

Corporate Communication major, Kellyn Ishman, expresses her culture and values with images of freedom fighters in this original drawing she created in 2016. It is very timely considering today’s political climate and the tremendous success of the Women’s Marches earlier this month. The word “coexist” is spelled out in religious symbols, reminding us of our oneness, regardless of differences. Feminist leader Gloria Steinem and Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. are also celebrated in this drawing, which empowers us to speak our minds. Thank you for this timely and powerful submission, Kellyn!

American Culture Sketch_Ishman_Week 2

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Filed under Art, Creative Writing

Art & Activism: An Interview with Romeo Azondekon

By Daouda Bambaromeo-closeup

For IDS400 Topics in Multiculturalism,  I had the opportunity to interview an artist about art and social movements. You may know Romeo Azondekon as a college administrator, an advisor or the first director of Central Penn College’s Center for Cultural Diversity, but did you know that he is also a multi-talented artist?

His career at Central Penn College began six years ago and he has promoted diversity and inclusion through his many efforts and initiatives.  Romeo is the founder and advisor of the International Society Club, which is a diverse club with members from different countries such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Jamaica, Guinea, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Romeo is also an artist who paints, makes collages, does mixed media, and uses oils. Most of his art work focuses on texture.

He says,  “Art is like a signature to a social movement because it helps the movement leave a legacy behind for the next generation to view and reflect on the struggles their ancestors went through.”

He started painting in his early twenties. Romeo says that art in a social movement is very important because it is a way of expression. It is a powerful way to motivate people to join a movement because it unifies people and creates one unique voice. Almost every movement used art in some shape or form. Art can play a big role in a movement. Art can be in the form of music, poetry, painting, or even attire.

“I have always been passionate about art,” he says. For Romeo, like other activists, art is both identity and self-expression.

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Filed under Art, Higher Education, Profile

The ADHD Brain and Listening Skills

By Jadon Buser

Reading or reciting your own creative work in public can be a daunting task when you first start out, especially if you’re audience doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to you. Adding vocal variety, keeping it brief and finding other ways to engage your audience can change your poetry reading into a powerful poetic performance. In this essay, Allied Health major Jadon Buser explains the art of listening with ADHD. ~ Prof. Maria Thiaw

jadon1-2Reflecting on my own listening skills, I like to think I do better than the average ADHD student. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While everyone with ADHD is different, three major areas can be affected: Impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. These definitely get in the way when trying to be a good listener, however, I believe that my ADHD has actually assisted my information processing skills. Since I am unable to hold constant attention or retain much information, I have adapted certain coping mechanisms to compensate and my skills in organizing and filtering relevant information have improved.

With greater awareness of my “listener’s curve” during a presentation, I have conditioned myself to perk at attention to the subtler pauses and tonality changes that indicate that a person is moving on to the next point of their presentation. After I feel that I have processed the necessary information for that point, and the speaker begins to add a story of their own to demonstrate their point or give other supplemental information, I’ll typically “clock out” for the remainder of that point discussion, in order to conserve enough “attentive energy” – so to speak – to fully process the next point made.

This method is not as effective, however, when instructions are being given or when a long list of important details are being explained. That is when I have the most trouble retaining information, and effective note-taking becomes an absolute must.

Our culture seems to be built to exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, and I can immediately think of 3 ways that it does so:

  • Interruptive dialogue,
  • televised media, and
  • social media.

Interruptive dialogue is the norm of socializing in the United States. More often than not, socializing (not public speaking) typically can be broken down to one person making a statement, then the rest of the members of that conversation race to see who can give their response first or start a new topic first. This reduces listening ability because, in order to be the fastest, one must stop listening and be prepared to interject at a moment’s pause. Waiting till a person finishes their subject completely not only shows respect, but you may learn something from them that you wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

Televised media also discourages listening ability through its ADHD-like speed and rate of subject changes. If you ever pay close attention to the shows and commercials you watch, the speed at which they speak and introduce new ideas is faster and more intense than what the average person CAN speak, which turns your brain onto overdrive in order to keep up with it all. (Ever notice how you typically feel revved up rather than relaxed after watching TV, and that it can be harder to fall asleep right after a show?) The only solution to this that I know of is simply to reduce the amount of television that you watch, so that you can save your mental energy for more important things.

Social media is the last culprit that I’ll mention, and it may not be in the way that you think. While social media has done a great job of ruining dinner conversations and making speakers feel irrelevant, the core issue is the exacerbation of ADHD-like symptoms through overstimulation of the brain. If you look at social media – let’s say Facebook – you scroll through a wall of short, provocative statements that are all made to grab your attention. It’s no wonder that we subconsciously go to social media on our phones whenever we’re not being stimulated by our surroundings. The simple solution here – give Facebook a rest, because in reality you know that, in the last 30 seconds, you really haven’t missed anything.

Hope my spiel on listening skills from the mind of an ADHD college student gave you some food for thought!



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Filed under Creative Writing

Yin Yang

A poem by Christine Fusselman, Class of 2016


Colorful leaves

radiate like fire’s glow.

As embers rise into the dark,

flaming foliage twists, turns,

descends from lofty limbs.

Tugged from their summer home

by autumn’s whistling winds.

Beautiful turns ugly,

falling to the ground.

Withering, rotting, burying itself

within an earthy mound.


Yet, death nurtures life

in the calm, still winter.

Cold turns to warm.

Old becomes new.

Brilliant blooms spring from below

displacing winter’s hue.

Tender stems become strong trees

wrapping themselves in jackets of leaves –

bright, beautiful, colorful leaves.

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Filed under Poetry Submission