Writing After Midnight
Writing After Midnight





















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image courtesy of Word Press


Alice makes it in a cool scene

She eats whipped cream with a silver spoon in front of her television screen watching “Poltergeist”

All the while in the background the Brian Jonestown Massacre plays

She thinks about all the outlandish antics she and her crazy pals got up to last Friday night

She keeps telling herself she’s really a sweet, pure girl like Natalie Wood in

“Splendor in the Grass”

Erik Satie lulls her to sleep playing his Gnossienne Number 3

She does not fear the reaper because she has the spirit of a

Florence Foster Jenkins

She knows she is the most beautiful girl in the world and at the fashion party, too

To her, all men are her candy 

She always wants more, more, more

She loves to eat jelly right out of the jar; this is her idea of taking it easy

She can dance the minuet while humming Strauss’s “The Laughing Song “from “Die Fledermaus”

She believes everyday holds something wonderful

Into the blue she goes with her caravan of kooky girls and pretty boys on another jet set adventure

image courtesy Pintrest


DUST MY BROOM 7-23-17 (1)

She walks into the supermarket like she was walking onto a yacht.

Day tripping on a synthetic cloud of mechanized calm and plastic beauty that will never fade.

She is glazed over like the girl who sings about the white rabbit.

And in her Prosphene dream, she belongs to the chemical angels.

She is a creamy strange brew.

She confounds Holmes and confuses the returning Benedicts.

She greets everyone with a big Warhol, “Wonderful you!” exclaim.

She is sexy C-es’t Si Bon, Ann Margret style.

Irene Dunn invites her to her beer parties.

She is somebody groovy.

She has got your number from the girl from Acapulco.

She moans like a howling wolf lighting smokestack.

She gives so much love she is like a Vivaldi concerto in G.

When she returns to the present, she concocts a goat’s head soup.

She hides her love and sings Carly Simon’s, “You’re so Vain” right to your face.

image from Pinterest

The Thoughtful and Violent Delights of Westworld By Richard A. Lloreda November 21, 2016  

Image courtesey  HBO Canada

Don’t ever underestimate the power of technology. When Anthony Hopkins gives the directive, “Bring her back online,” a brave new hemisphere is about to erupt in Westworld, HBO’s highly anticipated science fiction series which debuted October 2, 2016.  The sci-fi drama is set in the dual worlds of a simulated “Old West” where robots interact with human beings and the conflicts of personnel who oversee the behind the scenes running of this amusement park for adults. Westworld has won the coveted title of “The Hit of Sunday Night” amongst 18 to 49 year-olds with an audience share of 3.3 million viewers including streaming according to the Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell.


Based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 feature film, Westworld is lushly brought to life by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan in the grand tradition of Rome, Carnivale and Game of Thrones.

At a reported cost of $100 million per ten episodes, each installment roars in at $8 to $10 million dollars with every inch of it spent on the small screen.


The elegantly mounted credit sequence of robotic surgery up to the androids being dipped in a white bath of artificial skin posed like Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Vitruvian Man illustrate the perfection of this dream world’s appearance. A player piano roll is featured prominently, a response to the emotional kick produced from technology, antique or ever evolving.


HBO’s version of Westworld is sympathetic from the perspective of the robots in several interconnecting storylines. The “newcomers” are visiting guests that interact as they please with the robots or “hosts” without fear of retribution. But as in all good sci-fi horror genres, this situation does not prevail for long.


The position of spectator sports playing video games drives the narratives in Westworld. These storylines unwind in a continual loop becoming more virus infected, thus changing the outcome consistently. A quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, “ These violent delights have violent ends,” is the wake-up call that humanoid Dolores Abernathy says, played with eerie effectiveness by the star in the making Evan Rachel Wood even as she swats a fly away from her that wasn’t part of her initial programming.  If she sounds poetic, it is because she is drawn from inspirations of both Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and physically ethereal because she is based on the painting Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. Dolores and the other robots are going offline and logging on all by themselves.


Image courtesey HBO

And we are rooting for the robots in this version in that Westworld begs the question of where consciousness originates. The humans seem so much less humane while the robots are more in touch with their emotions.

Anthony Hopkins is on hand as the quietly detached overlord Dr. Robert Ford CEO of this false utopia which is not his idea alone. James Marsden is a cyborg romantically linked to Evan Rachel Wood called Teddy Flood.  Another brutal boy macho Hemsworth brother, Luke, is cast as the security chief and main programmer of robot and guest relations, Ashely Stubbs.  Jeffrey Wright plays Bernard Lowe, head of robot creations and Westworld’s leader of Programming. Ed Harris portraying an evil, wealthy guest is the menacing “Man in Black.”  Thandie Newton is a standout in casting as the humanoid Saloon Madame Maeve Millay. Angela Sarafyan is part of the brothel storyline as Clementine Pennyfeather, and when she is threatened in the lab, our sympathies are with her character. Brazilian heartthrob and star from last summer’s Ben Hur Rodrigo Santoro is on hand as Hector Escaton, this time nothing like his Jesus portrayal, playing a darkly imposing lethal presence.


Westworld also highlights the corporate and political sub-story of the jockeying of the super competitive and self-centered staff. We get a trifecta of blunt operations exec’s played by Sidse Babette Knudsen as Theresa Cullen. Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale  Executive Director of Overseeing Operations and Shannon Woodward as Elsie Hughes, an aggressive and ice cold Programming Division leader who monitors the hosts increasing unpredictable behavior. Simon Quarterman portrays the combative Lee Sizemore, the Creator of Narratives.  Gina Torres from Suits shows up as a delightful surprise as Lauren, a Westworld employee on the rise.


There is even a sort of Caine and Abel storyline being played out by two guests, Ben Barnes as the decadent and lacking a moral universe Logan and Jimmi Simpson as William, his friend and brother-law who finds himself and true love with Dolores.


Westworld’s  stunning visuals are all shot in majestic Castle Valley and Moab, both located in Utah; backgrounds inspired by the dean of  “The American Western Film”, director John Ford.


The soundtrack of Westworld uses re-workings of classic rock songs to fit the western theme, such as The Rolling Stone’s, “Paint it Black” and Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”  These instrumentals contrast with the beauty of classical works that are used in the most violent scenes credited to Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy.


Racking up a huge fan following and massive critical acclaim with TV Guide placing it among the first five top picks out of ten for the new season; Westworld has won The 6th Critics’ Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series and two California On Location Awards for seamlessly editing California locations with the Utah settings.


Westworld is a big favorite among Millennials who appreciate the complex storylines, or according to The New York Times critic Emily Nussbaum, “It’s the kind of trippy conceptual project that would be unbearable if it weren’t so elegantly made. So far it works, mostly- not because it’s perfect but because it gets under your skin.”





The Mane Event

by Richard A. Lloreda Staff Witer

August 29, 2016

Ashley Ryan is the sorceress of scissors, the heroine of hair color who firmly believes that real beauty lies within. Her goal for each client is to help create a positive self-image of themselves.  That Ryan happens to be one the most innovative hair stylists in the Temecula Wine Valley is proof positive of the power of embracing her true calling: the muse of beauty.

Working in a highly competitive field, on her feet often more than eight hours a day, and now in the final months of her second pregnancy, the woman is unstoppable and her dedication inspiring.

Originally a farm girl with the soul of an urban sophisticate, Ryan uses her unique expertise to reinvent herself professionally and enhance her skills by always seeking to further her hair education.

One can imagine the challenge I faced to pin her down for a moment to “let our hair down” (no pun intended) and get down into the nitty- gritty of what makes Ryan run. It wasn’t easy: Between maintaining a demanding but rewarding schedule of raising a young daughter, enjoying a loving relationship with her beau – who is a professional chef at a blue-chip resort – and managing her career as a premier hair stylist (all while being more than six months pregnant), her schedule is hectic, to say the least. We finally reached a mutually satisfying give and take session while she was cutting and coloring my hair at The Loft Salon in Temecula.

Image courtesy The Loft

Entrepreneur and hair stylist Ashley Ryan | Photo courtesy of Ashley Ryan

“I had to earn credibility over time because I started very young,” Ryan stated. “But I was lucky, because of my educational pursuits, I kept meeting the right people and established great contacts and even better information.”

Using social media, Ryan said her business grew more than 40 percent – a dramatic uptick from her original word-of-mouth promotion.

Ryan’s entrepreneurial attitude and her passion for hair, combined with an upbeat personality and a hunger for perfection has made her career very successful.

Over time, Ryan said she “found a way to channel [her] headstrongness into strength.” She also added that a crucial key to success for any entrepreneur is the ability to accept – and learn from – constructive criticism, a skill she said cannot be learned in school, but “if you can take it, you are better for it.”

In addition to the career centers and resources available through beauty schools.

There are many tools for both students and professionals to access job and educational information.  Hairstylist jobs are available at popular websites like Monster and CareerCast. Salary forecasts can be found here.



According to Ryan, gaining experience firsthand, rather than relying assumptions reduced the risk of “things to go haywire.”

Ryan is a representative for the Enjoy Hair Care product company, specializing in precision haircutting. She also serves as an educator for the company, allowing her a full and thorough knowledge of her products and color line.

“I continue to further my education to keep myself and my clients up-to-date with the latest trends,” she said. “I am privileged and fortunate to love what I do.”

Ryan constantly updates her Instagram account, HairFairyAsh, sharing photos of her creations with an ever growing public, but cites Yelp as the best way to drive business to her salon chair. Aligning herself with the best people to work with and the finest educators to hone her skills while feeding her appetite for product knowledge have all contributed to her success.

So how does one juggle a busy career, a nurturing home life and expecting a baby in late fall? Ryan sums up her life philosophy like this: “I take life as it comes. Control is an illusion; I just enjoy myself and fill my life with positive people who I can inspire and be inspired by.”

Her professional portfolio is available online here.

She Sees Beauty Everywhere

by Richard A. Lloreda Staff Writer


Shari Tipich has a secret. She can turn an innocent ceiling into a skyscape with clouds resembling Elvis Presley that only she knows are there. Shari Tipich, self-taught decorative artist extraordinaire paints with her heart when re-imagining any surface into a lushly creative and elegant design experience.


This mistress of the paint pots is as fearless as a lioness turning balconies into Renaissance settings worthy of “Romeo and Juliette” and elevators into trippy portals into a Wonderland that Alice would have loved. Flowering vines, crests, pastoral landscapes, angels-you name it, she can paint it. To quote the classic Rolling Stones song,” She’s like a rainbow”.



A natural talent who started her foray into decorative painting accidently, Shari Tipich dreamed about a career as a veterinarian but fate intervened, “I have always been passionate about art and because I can appreciate graphics and textile design I was led into the world of interior design all quite by accident when I was asked to create decorative painting in a child’s bedroom for a design showcase house in Palos Verdes Estates.”


Serendipity has reigned supreme shaping Shari’s creative destiny, particularly at the beginning. “Being young and single I was open to trying to figure out what I wanted to do and tried everything. I always had a job and did artwork on the side.”

Shari Tipich’s gift for seeing beauty everywhere and using this inspiration to power her work led to the fruition of a flourishing decorative art profession with a large studio as her home base in San Pedro, California.  It is here that she creates, “Murals, historic finishes, and exquisite ornamentation.”

I was fortunate to have discovered her work at the recent 2016 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts in La Canada/Flintridge, California.  The estate, “formerly known as Dryborough Hall by its second owner Alexander Dryburgh is a 15,000 square foot Mission Revival mansion that includes a 2500 square foot “guest cottage”. Built by the original developer of La Canada/Flintridge Manson O. Sanford in 1918, though he never lived there, and was featured in the Rod Stieger bio-pic on W.C. Fields in 1977 called W.C. Fields and Me.  I was delightfully surprised by the upstairs balcony transformed into a pastoral Andalusian fantasy renamed “The Artist’s Veranda” and met the artist who gave it zest, the gregarious Shari Tipich. A few days after the Showcase House was returned to its original state we had a chat about her experience in such a tremendous undertaking.


“So much goes into creating a showcase house with only 90 days to complete. It is a wild ride that now seems surreal and anti-climactic but what a great way to make connections, support charities, and the people are great,” Tipich said. “There is a big, wonderful camaraderie, and spirit of friendly competition with an opportunity to take risks with design ideas. The clientele that supports the charities that are part of showcase houses offers a built- in audience, places me where the action is, and this does the marketing for me.”

As well as working on site on scaffolds and ladders, creating grandiose painted environments, Shari Tipich thrives in offsite work created in her studio space; everything she displayed at The Pasadena Showcase House 2016 was done in the studio and later installed as panels.

As an entrepreneur she offers, “People need to like and trust you immediately”, she explained. “Building relationships with designers and clients, being trustworthy and following through are vital to maintaining a successful career. Also, staying relevant and true through changing tastes and trends and having tenacity during variables and shifts in the economy.”




Shari Tipich inspecting her work


Word of mouth and building relationships is really the foundation of what Shari Tipich’s business is built on.  She is able to maximize what she knows and how to work on a client’s home or business and give it a personal touch.  “Think of decorative art in all forms, as custom investment pieces for your home,” Shari remarked. Curiously, her most elaborate work was in an unassuming little elevator and one of the mansion’s most attractive focal points. Shari Tipich, has created a flourishing career by applying her narrative to life, “Everywhere you look, see something beautiful.”


Please check her work out at SHARITIPICH.COM


Stephen Houston: Eyes on the horizon; foot on the gas


Photo courtesy of Stephen Houston, shown left.

Richard Lloreda, Staff Writer
May 12, 2016

Stephen J. Houston is the quietest, most driven person I have ever met.

Just one day after creating his home studio, Houston is perched at the end of his office chair, furiously multitasking; paying bills, cashing checks and answering a tidal wave of email correspondences.

The creator of his three-man operation, Tradewinds Remarketing, Houston directs everything from keeping vendors updated to double checking automobile inventories that make his remarketing business one of the most successful new ventures in Southern California.

So what does Tradewinds Remarketing do?  

“We represent our clients at dealer auctions — on the auction block — and manage the auction process for them end to end.”


Houston, alumnus of the University of Washington, grew up in the automobile world: His family owned dealerships in Seattle for more than 20 years. Before that, his father worked for the Ford Motor Company for more than two decades before opening up his first dealership in 1977.

The family dealership was sold in 1993 and Houston left Washington State for southern California to run several established automobile dealerships — among them, the Paulson Automotive Groups in Beverly Hills.

Houston also served as president of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) for three years (from ’03 to ’06). He followed as chairman and director and remains on the board of directors today. Under his bold leadership, the alliance energetically fostered active relationships with the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) and auctions and Houston was successful in single-handedly raising revenues and growing membership during his dynamic presidency.

Houston was also named the 2007 Consignor of the Year by the Conference of Automotive Remarketing. The following year, Houston was inducted into the NAAA Hall of Fame during the association’s 60th annual convention.

He made is entrepreneurial debut in 2011 by founding Tradewinds Remarketing.

He has been described by former NAAA President Jim DesRochers as a “low-key and well-respected leader (who) has left the retail side of the business in 1999 to pursue the best part of the industry — used cars, the auctions and remarketing — and worked for WFS/Wachovia starting in January 2001.”



DesRochers added that Houston has “also served the industry well, working on a number of NAAA committees, helping found IARA and serving as its president.”

Houston has even served as a judge for the World Automobile Auctioneers Championship three times.

Houston’s stride toward independence is as quirky as his Lake Elsinore, Calif. office, which is a mixture of trophies, taxidermy mounts, mid-century modern and mission furnishings and large, framed photos of airplane control boards mounted on the wall alongside vintage family and business photographs and baseball memorabilia.

“I established credibility as Wells Fargo Dealer Services National Vice President of Remarketing; the people in my business knew me and my reputation for honesty and follow through, so a trust was always there,” Houston said. “Discipline, perseverance, integrity and really paying attention to detail are the keys to, not just mine, but anyone else’s success. I am glad my partners and I live by this code because it certainly makes our jobs a whole lot easier, and we love what we do.”

Mr. Houston has always loved automobiles, especially early 1970s Boss Mustangs and 1960s Cobras. His favorite film is Steve McQueen’s 1968 action thriller “Bullet”.  

Today he is content with restoring a classic 1968 Buick Electra 225 four-door sedan and a 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk two-door roadster.

“By understanding our customers, especially the little guys, we focus on providing excellent personal service. One thing, if you lack integrity in this and really in anything you do not only does word travel fast but you will lose your credibility.”

“Lack of integrity in this business will kill you quicker than anything else,” he explained. “To help minimize risks we work at getting complete and accurate information.”

With all of the apps and websites available to his clients, Houston said transparency is an essential element in maintaining customer trust and remarketing integrity. Southern California is one of the nation’s — if not the world’s — largest and most lucrative market, he added, and customers here are armed and ready to get the best possible quality automobile that they can find.

For Houston and his team, helping the buyers purchase reliable cars from the onset is top priority number one.

“Being an entrepreneur was at first a bit of a gamble but I couldn’t live the way I do now if I stayed where I had been. So take a leaf out of Don Draper’s book from the AMC series ‘Madmen:’ ‘Bone up, strap on your guns and take no prisoners.'”



Tags: auctions, automobiles, Conference of Automotive Remarketing, entrepreneur, Ford Motor Company, IARA, NAAA,


richard lloreda, Stephen Houston, Tradewinds Remarketing, University of Washington, World Automobile Auctioneers Championship




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Crowning Glory

April 10, 2016

By Richard A. Lloreda

Leticia Martinez is on a major head trip. Leticia Martinez creates “flights of fancy via that most improbable and expressive fashion accessory: the hat!”

She moves with the agility of a gazelle, nimble fingers working magic on the jumble of silk flowers, swooshy feathers, bedazzled skulls, enameled hearts, colorful glitzy gems, and silk ribbons, all of them fairly screaming with drama and color galore.

Inspired by her passion for the romantic and glamor of classic Hollywood films, and the inferno of her fiery Latin heritage background, “Martinez simply delights her ever growing audience.

Soaking up the embarrassment of riches, for nearly a decade in the Renaissance splendor of Florence, she gladly answered her calling as muse to fashion designer Sergio Barberi.”


Her mother, Raquel Martinez, a fashionista in her own right, nurtured Leticia’s creative side and introduced her to her world of fantasy and self-expression through the power and warmth of glamor.

From this enchanted childhood exploration grew the seedling that is now Leticia M Studio


I had an opportunity to get the lowdown on her current quest for ongoing adventures in the often precarious waters of the fashion world. Martinez is packing up her first Hollywood studio and moving to the downtown arts scene the hub of Hollywood’s creativity. Having just finished showing at the recent L.A. Fashion Week collaborating with fashion designer Farah Angsana and beginning another gala scheduled for May benefiting the Virginia Robinson Garden (the oldest estate in Beverly Hills), Martinez took an espresso break with me at a newly converted container cum coffee stand/café.

“Social media is my focus for getting the word out on my latest fashion show presentation during L.A. Fashion Week a few days ago, “Martinez said. “If you are involved in an event, really get involved because this is how people get to know you and vice versa. I also strive to be friendly and help cross-promote others that I believe have real talent. By just extending my hand to others I receive an additional 280 followers without even trying, but boy, am I grateful.”

Martinez has always had a passion for art and fashion. Suddenly “headpieces and hats” dominated her creative inspiration, and she went with it.

 “Being an entrepreneur is an organic experience”, she explained. “I learn and grow as I go along. Be positive, work through the anxiety of the unknown. One thing I can offer up: Always make your own contacts. Then when you do don’t flake out on your people. Take the responsibility with a “no excuses” policy and work with integrity. In this business, everyone remembers you when you don’t follow through.”

One of the new resources available to young entrepreneurs is the advent of new school departments dedicated to helping fledgling designers start their brands. Fashion Institute in L.A. is very proactive, as are the new businesses created solely for helping creatives plan their careers through successful launches.

“I suggest getting a strategic planner because they will give an excellent idea of how to shape your business,” Martinez said. “I have also sought revenue from private backers and am researching crowdsourcing as a viable way to create cash flow. My business process is as organic as my creative process because in both ways I am always learning and growing.”

With all the information available via the Internet, YouTube tutorials, and chat rooms, there is a broad range of resources now accessible to aid young designers who are creating niche markets. Never before has the present business climate been better for gonzo entrepreneurs. Max Marmer in Harvard Business Review stated, “The opportunity to reinvent society is within our power, but the future doesn’t invent itself. We encourage everyone to look within themselves and around their environment and seek out opportunities for transformational change. Ask the entrepreneurs you know how the company they are starting is transformational. Ask students and job seekers what transformational problem they want to solve. Ask everyone else what transformational ideas, projects and companies they are excited about. Get people talking, reading, writing, researching and creating in the spirit of transformation — because it is our best hope for reviving socioeconomic progress”( https://hbr.org/2012/04/transformational-entrepreneurs).


Martinez doesn’t simply follow trends; she creates work that comes from her personal vision.  She has built a cult following based on an organic approach and by making things people truly desire, breaking rules and ignoring critics. Organizational risk and personal conviction is the combination that makes her a rare talent. Her commitment to finding the best materials assembled with artistry and integrity is what she bases her creative and commercial foundation on. The exciting aspect of her work is that she is always looking to do more, be better at her craft and share more of her work with others at tiered market price points.

The buyer of a fantastical Leticia M Studio headpiece or all out glam of one of her hats isn’t just buying clothes; they are including themselves on a creative journey crowned with coverage that leads them well ahead of mediocrity.

Check her site at http://leticiamstudio.com/collections/











Manpower's Phil Blair Shares Job Search Tips




Richard Lloreda, Staff Writer
February 26, 2016


The view from the Manpower offices main floor is spectacular. On the right planes fly in from distant shores. A World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, rests majestically on the left. Dividing this impressive panorama is a bay of tranquil waters, all of which made for one lovely morning in the world of employment staffing.

Phil Blair’s office affords an Olympian rooftop vantage point.


Phil Blair on KUSI News:





At a recent interview, he immediately listed the reasons why he started his own temporary employment agency and wrote his best-seller Job Won, a book on how to get and keep a job after graduating college.

“First, focus on job readiness while you are still in school. In fact, do this during your entire college career down to taking classes with a plan in mind,” he said. “You should plan on two years of getting ready to job hunt while still in school. And start a career path plan developing your skills at finding a job.”

Asked if the current job search is a combination of patience, knowing what the job offers one personally for fulfillment, common sense, insider information and joyful networking, Blair continued: “All of those things, plus polite persistence, and never say, ‘I don’t know what I want to do.’ Let the interviewer know you would like the job, and tell him or her so at the end of the interview.”

An expert in the subject of getting a job after college, Blair specializes in employment with his job placement agency Manpower. His book Job Won has also received strong reviews from Amazon readers who have given the work 4.3 out of five possible stars.

Readers are finding Job Won a valuable job-hunting tool.

Blair continued with the sage advice that “Students should integrate the job search from the beginning. This should be stressed from the beginning of their educational plan.”

Blair added that it can be helpful for students to take free non-credit courses to build their job-hunting skills. One-third of college students move back home instead of getting a job right out of college, so they should consider taking job search and interview courses.

He also stressed the importance of professors encouraging their students to take classes that may not directly relate to their chosen career path.

Informational interviews can help a job seeker get a foot in the door before a formal job interview. “Informational interviews are great for gaining inside information since 50 percent of all job postings are never posted. Also, keep your eyes peeled for jobs for which you feel you are a good fit. A powerful skill to practice is a 30-second elevator speech, outlining your intent, strengths and support statements in a polite and concise manner. Lastly, send out a handwritten “thank you” note that is relevant to the conversation in your interview, and be polite to everyone at your interview, including the receptionist,” Blair said.

By adopting a “back to the drawing board” attitude, Blair said, “You can massage your resume to match the job by using keywords and relateable and interchangeable skills to a particular job posting. Use your cover letter to express why you are such a great fit.”

“The job search is sort of like dating, so develop an instinct and accept that you will make some mistakes, so correct them as you go along. A job search takes time. Go to interviews for jobs you don’t want and use them to practice your interviewing skills. Show some of your personality without overwhelming the interviewer. You want to stand out, so be your best unique self.”

When the subject of millennials came up, Blair smiled and took a deep breath, then offered this advice: “Millennials do bring many desirable qualities to the table. They are embracing of their creativity and curiosity. They are idealistic and out-of-the-box thinkers.” Blair went on to say today’s high school age group can learn from millennials because millennials are pragmatic and organized.

Blair’s last bits of advice for graduates and college students alike included these helpful tips:

• Write your plans in pencil because you will be flooded by possible strategies and even more ideas.
• Think about preparing your career path two to three years before you graduate. Ask your professors about where you could look to start your career in the fields.
• Use your school’s career resource center, and massage your resume to each individual job posting.

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Portfolium Revolutionizes Multimedia Packed Employment Portfolios


Adam Markowitz. Photo courtesy of University of Southern California's Alumni webpage.

Richard Lloreda, Staff Writer
November 25, 2015


In the age of technology, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever. Adam Markowitz, founder and CEO of the San Diego-based visual resume posting site Portfolium, couldn’t agree more. After graduating from University of Southern California with an MS in Astronautical Engineering, Markowitz founded Portfolium in 2012. His team helps students and professionals reach a greater market by expressing their work with a strong visual presence. Portolium is a free service. Users can organize their work and categorize them with hashtags and topical searches. The website also allows other users to request interaction with students whose work inspires them.

Markowitz sat for an interview during a recent Portfolium office move.

Adam Markowitz said “I founded Portfolium with a vision of helping universities connect their students and alumni with employers based on proven skills and competencies acquired throughout their academic journey – via both curriculum and even co-curricular activities. It’s been incredible to witness just how invested universities have become in driving student success, and as a result, Portfolium’s growth. We’ll be announcing a number of new and exciting partnerships with universities in the coming weeks and months.”

After graduating from USC in 2010, Markowitz applied to EvoNexus, a technology incubator that helps startup companies in the San Diego and Orange County region. “As a first-time entrepreneur with little experience but all of the passion and determination in the world, I wanted to surround myself with experienced folks who were willing to help. That’s what EvoNexus is,” Markowitz said.

Markowitz develops key partners through persistence. By building a reputation of over-delivering, he was able to secure early partners in higher education, which helped slingshot his company into the spotlight.

Markowitz’s company struggled financially in the beginning as most start-ups do.

“We bootstrapped Portfolium for quite some time. We knew we had some key milestones we needed to achieve in order to prove our concept and earn the attention of prominent investors. We also set up those difficult to reach milestones early on and were very open about what they were,” Markowitz said.

A common business technique was used to secure funding for Portfolium. “We kept the right people informed of our progress along the way, so that when these milestones were achieved and even exceeded we weren’t starting from scratch with investors” Markowitz said.

What distinguishes Markowitz from other companies similar to his, is the way he operates his business.

“Passion, sacrifice, empathy, sincerity, and humanity are the basis to my success,” Markowitz said.

Markowitz said he made a lot of mistakes since founding Portfolium. “It’s true what [they] say. We learn the most from our mistakes. So I suggest making a lot of small mistakes and quickly learning from them and not repeating them.”

Markowitz said he learned from his mistakes by reflecting after every call and every meeting.

If he could go back and do things differently, Markowitz said he would get out of his own way sooner than he actually did.

Repetition is key, in figuring out what works. For example, starting with an MVP, even if it’s just talking about an idea and immediately testing the idea, by getting feedback from potential customers, clients and users, is important for growth, Markowitz said.

Markowitz said it’s impossible to avoid the unknown because there’s always going to be unknowns. No one knows exactly how to execute what they’re doing or what they’re trying to do. If they did, they’d do it themselves.

“It’s up to you to surround yourself with people smarter and more experienced than you to minimize the unknowns. I understand that I don’t everything, so I try to learn and spend time with others who can point those things out to me,” Markowitz said.

Portfolium differs from other job search websites such as LinkedIn, which allows people to view a resumes and media but has it all in separate places, and Indeed which just has a resume. Portfolium allows students working toward careers that require a highly developed visual content, like advertising campaigns or any of the realms of design, to post their video’s, and other media projects on Portfolium, making this website a shining comparison to other sites for people who wish to show off examples of work that are multimedia packed.

Portfolium also allows user to create communities of fans and supporters who share mutual interests and help spread each other’s work to prospective contacts in the most direct and vital way. Viewing someone’s work is much more persuasive than reading a resume.
To view
Portfolium go to:

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Jay Ferro

A Good Cause





Richard A. Lloreda
August 14, 2015

More than 200 people braved the driving rain one-morning last spring to attend the 17th Annual San Diego American Marketing Association (AMA) Cause Conference at National University’s administrative headquarters in La Jolla, California, also home to the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy.

Recharging cause passion, the event’s theme, was successfully conveyed to the enthusiastic crowd of marketing professionals. The all-day conference highlighted informative talks representing the nonprofit and the for-profit sectors.






Speakers included Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society. As the founder and executive director of Pricilla’s Promise, he shared his poignant life experience of losing his wife, Priscilla, to cervical cancer in 2007. Her fight against the disease inspired him to “turn a negative into a positive, to capture the spirit she had.”


Priscilla’s Promise originated from a deeply personal place. Ferro wanted to honor his wife’s memory, the love they shared and the sons they raised together but that Priscilla would never see grow into adulthood. This personal commitment to his family was the fire that inspired Ferro to create Priscilla’s Promise.

The Pricilla’s Promise website (priscillaspromise.org) was created in memory of Pricilla Moore Ferro in partnership with American Cancer Society. The site aims to raise awareness of and help educate people about cervical cancer.





Going Mobile

Millennials’ use of mobile devices is driving the way the marketplace has reinvented itself. Engaging with all publics where they are (instead of waiting for people to seek out marketing information) is the goal of social media marketing. Ferro added, “Social media usages need to be site specific and to customize the message to the media.”

In his presentation, Ferro took on the themes of storytelling through social media, how millennials passionately connect to their causes. He discussed the importance of learning to develop a 360-degree view of constituent tracking donor behaviors. That means knowing your donors and their giving behaviors. This includes maintaining a positive relationship with constituents, profiling what their needs are and what inspires them to patronize a cause.

Deirdre Maloney, president of Momentum, a business communication coaching company, delivered the main conference takeaway message. “If you couple passion with good business practices and keep your public engaged, they will not only help you, they will not leave you,” she said.

Maloney’s presentation LEARN: The Art of the Pitch encouraged her listeners to make their first shot their best shot. Maloney said that standing out, being passionate and mastering the “elevator pitch” are the keys to pitching success. Focusing on a short and sweet delivery that highlights quality information and is not overloaded with details will help streamline your message effectively. She added that social media platforms like Twitter are an excellent way to, “Invite people to pitch for you.” This approach is especially helpful if you generate positive energy and show no discomfort in asking for money.

Chris Carter, VP of communications, marketing and public affairs at Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank, spoke on “Top 5 Tools for Marketing on a Shoestring.” He encouraged his audience to embrace Web and e-marketing, adding that engaging in social media will drive messages to more people and encourage advocacy. He also admonished listeners to not discount the use of traditional media and to enlist volunteer help.

Frank Scarpaci, CEO at Vianova, a strategy consulting and training firm, discussed “B corporations” is in his talk EXCEL: B Corporations: Using Business as a Force for Good. B Corporations are certified by the nonprofit B Lab B Corps and under intense scrutiny of accountability, transparency, environmental performance and social issues. “B corp” is to business what organic certification is to produce

There are now more than 1,000 certified B corps, representing 60 industries in 33 countries. These companies share a single objective: to reinvent prosperity in work and business.

Citing B corporations Ben and Jerry’s, Patagonia and Etsy, Scarpaci explained that these kinds of companies can attract investors, save money and protect your mission by benchmarking an organization’s performance. He also said 68 percent of today’s B corporations are more likely to make donations to causes they care about, invest in renewable energy sources, pay health benefits to their employees and hire minorities. B corporations also value their employees’ need to use their time to volunteer.

The daylong event included more than two dozen speakers, each of whom offered unique insights on successful marketing to interested professionals working in Southern California. Sponsors included CBS Radio and The San Diego Business Journal. Representatives of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy and National University presented as well.


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No Substitute for Experience


Richard A. Lloreda
August 4, 2015

Nearly 100 alumni and students attended the National University and Del Mar Union District Open House on the evening of June 15 at the Sanford Education Center in La Jolla, California. The talk was to inform National University students and alumni of the substitute teaching opportunities available especially in Del Mar, where more than 30 teachers are on maternity or personal leave. The North County Coastal Substitute Consortium (NCCSC) districts include Cardiff, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe Solano Beach and Del Mar.

There are many attractive reasons to pursue substitute teaching. Subs can choose their own schedules. They can even choose where they work. For students holding a four-year degree in any discipline or pursuing a master’s degree in education, substitute teaching is a good way to gain great work experience.

Substitute teaching is especially attractive to students with family responsibilities and also for people who would like time off during major holidays. And the pay is good. For example, for a six-hour day, a substitute teacher makes $120, and in some districts $130. Plus the workday often ends by 3 or 4 p.m.

Getting Started

The goal of the NCCSC is to put students and alumni into their pool of 27 schools and to help them network for jobs across the district. The application process for becoming a substitute teacher is simple, but finding a way to make yourself stand out will make you even more desirable. Developing networking skills will help. You’ll also get a better sense of your professional strengths and weaknesses.

You’ll want to create a profile page on the education job board EDJOIN and carefully follow the instructions. Review the requirements carefully. Customize your cover letter and strive for a personalized approach. Use this as an opportunity to present yourself at your best. Show that you cared enough to research the position and the district where you are applying. Always address your letters to a specific person and district, and not the generic, “To whom it may concern.”

Create a package or a file and use this as a reference guide to customize and update as you go through the job searching process.

Your resume should be one to two pages—no longer. Don’t overload it. Use bullet points and find a format that quickly highlights your skills. Include a cover letter and reference letters (letters from satisfied parents always help), and make sure to use a professional email address. Make your application package as visually pleasing as possible.

Think of this process the first step in branding yourself.

This isn’t a time to be coy. Sell yourself but don’t be aggressive.

According to Jason E. Romero, one of the lead speakers for the Del Mar Union School District, “We are looking for creative and collaborative people … tell your own personal story about why teaching is important to you.”

Teaching is a noble profession. Romero says, “We are addressing careers that haven’t even been invented yet and think how we will teach the teachers to teach these students.”

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Herald Editor Graduates


Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer
August 2, 2015



Herald editor Angela Cooper-McCorkle, a hard-working wife, and mother from Washington state, is now also a graduate of National University’s Digital Journalism BA program. While she hasn’t yet left us for good, we know she’ll eventually have to turn her attention to the new opportunities her new degree will open for her. Congratulations, Angela!

“Navigating through life’s challenges sparks the inner flame of inspiration,” Angela says. She met her mentor Patricia Corlew by chance while navigating the professional Q&A website she helps moderate. From this unlikely spot a rapport blossomed and it was through this relationship that Angela decided to follow a career path that champions her being her “true, authentic self.”

For the last couple years, she has been working hard to improve the Herald, editing stories and mentoring writers from her home more than 1,000 miles north of National University’s San Diego headquarters. An amazing feat. But nothing new for the tireless editor.

Before coming to National, Cooper-McCorkle worked for three semesters as a staff writer at the Clipper in Everett, Washington. Before becoming editor of the Herald, she served as the paper’s copy editor and as a staff writer.

Angela writes on subjects as diverse as education, the arts, social services, crime, marijuana legalization, science, and business. Before she walked in National’s June commencement, she took a few minutes to discuss her experience at NU.

What was it about National University that first attracted you?

A friend attended National so I learned all about the one course per month format. Knowing I could really concentrate on each subject and enjoy the sense of progress from finishing something every 30 days convinced me to apply.

What kind of challenges do you find in the publishing/media workplace?

The decline of print newspapers seems to mean fewer stable regional positions, particularly in straight news writing versus TV news production, for example. Also, pay for journalists is relatively low given the importance of the work. I fear that old adage that information wants to be free means that the highest quality information might be getting undervalued, not that underpaid journalists are a new trend.

As far as personal challenges, working 60 hours a week, being a full-time college student, editor in chief at the Herald, team mom for my daughter’s Little League, and managing our menagerie of pets has made it a constant challenge to meet reporting deadlines, but it’s been fabulous practice for the future.

How would you describe the career you want to have?

I’d like to land a full-time reporting gig locally that allows me to cover human interest topics and do investigative reporting, though I’m looking forward to more general assignment writing in the meantime as it builds an excellent knowledge base. I was offered a freelance reporter position in January and it’s given me a chance to learn something about the nuts and bolts of how my city functions and its key figures, plus the disenfranchised and the solutions the community’s working on to help them.

How did your education prepare you for this career?

I feel well prepared for actual reporting and am glad the school’s increasing its focus on multimedia reporting because a lot of jobs require or prefer candidates who can shoot and edit video, take photographs and use the industry specific software. I’ve studied investigative reporting, interviewing, I’ve also gotten to develop my own beat, covering marijuana news, a hot topic after recreational use was legalized in Washington a couple years ago.

What do you like and dislike about doing journalism?

I love unexpected revelations when I’m interviewing. I recently asked a city employee about a letter and got a rush when she admitted that the content was deceptive. And I was so pleased and satisfied to cross paths with a homeless resident at the beginning of a very rough morning that turned into a much better day due to the program I was covering. Telling those stories well, even the horrific ones, like about the holocaust survivor who spoke here a few weeks ago, is deeply fulfilling.

What advice would you offer someone considering journalism as a career?

Read everything. Then write. A lot. Keep up on the news. Question everything. Develop resourcefulness. And cherish your curiosity.

What do you read?

I haven’t had a minute for anything besides textbooks in the past two years, but for journalists, “Letters to a Young Journalist” is a nice starter and I loved “Feature and Magazine Writing” by David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller for teaching me how to write a strong pitch letter when shopping my story ideas around to new editors. In my spare time, I read a fair amount of post-apocalyptic stuff—great training for how to survive on a journalist’s salary.

Which style guide do you go by?

The AP Style guide is de rigueur for journalists. It spells out our secret code on how refer to people (“children,” never “kids”), and avoid many of the glaring errors that can arise when we write about unfamiliar cultures, regions and industries.

What are your goals for the future?

Well, the thought that got me into this was wanting to untangle the truth for a living. I’d like to simply settle in somewhere and have the opportunity to do the research on confounding issues, get my hands dirty in the data, and craft a clear, interesting story. My goal would be to land a job that allowed me to uncover mysteries and solve them.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My mentor Patricia Corlew inspired me to change careers, pursue something deeply meaningful. My literary influences, from Sherlock Holmes forward, influenced me to take joy in sorting out the details of perplexing mysteries, to be attentive. My husband influenced me to persevere and convinced me 100 times that managing this program while working 60 hours a week was worthwhile, less by what he said than by the way he made time for me. And my daughter, of course, influenced me to set a good example, value education and personal development. I had some wonderful professors too, who inspired me by their talented examples.


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The Royals: Trash Never Tasted So Good

Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer
May 21, 2015

A conversation unfolds in the grand dining room of the British royal palace.

“I am thinking about abolishing the monarchy,” says King Solomon.

“Ummm. Excuse me, what exactly does that mean,” asks Princess Marabel, hand raised.

Thus is born a tabloid-influenced, old school, nighttime soap opera, and E! Entertainment Network’s first originally sourced scripted program, “The Royals,” airing Sunday nights this spring.

Along with a heavy serving of cheesiness, the show manages a high coolness factor. It follows climactic moments of really good, stab-at-the-heart drama by broadsiding itself with goofy comedy, all of which make for a remarkably satisfying emotional roller-coaster ride.

Think sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll “Dynasty” style by way of Buckingham Palace— though it’s really London’s Blenheim Palace— then add a dose of “Gossip Girl, and you have an idea of what is in store in this deliciously filthy new nighttime dramedy.

“The Royals” is an American production that seems to build its scripts via hash tagging the trending Brit-hip catch themes of the last four decades. The Rolling Stones, David Beckham, Alexander McQueen, crowd surfing, Punk Rock, Posh Spice, Princess Diana, Glam Rock, Oasis, Rolls Royce- all that’s missing is Big Ben. Oh yeah, that symbol is everywhere you look and so are plenty of kooky hats! Sure it is uncouth and tarnishes the polish right off the British crown, but it is also jolly good fun.

E! Channel debuted “The Royals” March 15, and seems to have scheduled it right: First, series guest star Joan Collins, as The Grand Duchess of Oxford, was presented March 26 at the real Court of Saint James and made Dame Commander of the British Empire by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

Next, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born May 2 to Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The lucky timing of such events has surely not hurt the new series which was already popular with the 18- to 49-year-old crowd.

The show was masterminded by Mark Schwan, of “One Tree Hill,” and is E!’s first try at a scripted program. The style is all-important to reflect the trendy mindset of the E! audience. From the classic Punk Rock opening graphics-ala Marie Antoinette to the super stylish soundtrack that punctuates every scene; this is a show presented as a sexier naughty offspring from its “Dynasty/Dallas grandparents. “The Royals” drenches its audience in the kind of smutty fun which is the antithesis of its older cousin on British manners, “Downton Abbey.”

All of which spells hit: Even before its debut E! signed “The Royals” for a two-season commitment Jan. 15.

Among the cast of really attractive people doing terribly unattractive things, we have former supermodel and “Austin Powers” star, Elizabeth Hurley, as the all-powerful Queen Helena; the sexiest ruler in all of contemporary monarchy, William Moseley, Prince Liam from the Narnia movies, as the golden boy Prince Regent, along with Alexandra Park as party princess extraordinaire, Princess Eleanor.

Merritt Patterson as Ophelia is Prince Liam’s commoner girlfriend and daughter of the King’s Chief of Security. There is the stoic Vincent Regan as King Simon, and his plotting little brother played by Jake Maskall as Prince Cyrus, who all but twirls his cape and mutters, “Curses” under his breath.

Lastly, comic relief is provided by Hattie Preston plays Princess Marabel and Lydia Rose Bewley as Princess Penelope. These two are always together, much like Cinderella’s dopey stepsisters, except they are lushly costumed in getups that look like something Vivienne Westwood conjured during a fever dream.

Hunks pop out everywhere with Tom Austen as Jasper, the Princess Eleanor’s bodyguard, a Versace model if there ever was one, and the cocoa-skinned, Ukwell Roach as Prince Liam’s loyal bodyguard, Marcus. Oliver Milburn is Ted, the royal family’s head of security, Ophelia’s Dad and voice of morality.

The plot is pure old school dysfunctional family in modern drag ala Hamlet; except with really trashy situations and the kind of growling sex talk that would make your average 11- year old burst out laughing.

Try this on for size as the handsome rogue of a bodyguard Jasper to the depraved but misunderstood Princess Eleanor exchange a brief chat.

“I’ll do whatever I want, whenever I want and you’ll let me. Because you like this and need it…now strip off that overpriced dress. Get into bed and wait for me. Say yes,” says Jasper.

Eleanor demurely says yes, only to procure and places a “Princess Eleanor” lady of the night stand-in in her bed for him while she parties away in some London nightspot.

The ratings aren’t bad with a 1.4 million viewer interest, or 0.5 audience share, but critics are passionately divided as to whether the combination succeeds.

The Chicago Reader advised viewers to “think of the worst hour-long prime-time soap operas to have assaulted our senses over the past 30 or so years, then go ahead and add this one to your brain’s trash heap.”

People magazine, though, dubbed it “an early contender for every single Emmy.” And if you can’t trust People for quality opinions about quality TV, who can you trust?

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Cause Conference to Teach Marketing Techniques for Nonprofits

Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer
May 6, 2015

National University hosts the 17th Annual San Diego American Marketing Association’s Cause Conference on Friday, May 8, at its Torrey Pines, California, location. The daylong event will spotlight 30 speakers including National University faculty and representatives of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy.

Bob Kelly, executive-in-residence at National’s Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, will offer a talk on “Leveraging Your Social Investments,” which will cover how to transform capital into a co-marketing opportunity.

Dr. Mary Beth McCabe, an assistant professor in the National University School of Business and Management, will discuss how to get and share the best Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Her presentation, “Results Matter: What Results to Measure and Report,” will begin at 3 p.m.

Anna-Marie Rooney, chief information officer at the Salk Institute, Rick Hazard, vice president of marketing at WAXIE Sanitary Supply, and Dan McGinley, director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, will share inspirational stories focusing on cause initiatives through brand sponsorship in their talk called “Co-Mission Marketing Success Stories,” also at 3 p.m.

The debut reception is on the evening of May 7 at the Hilton Torrey Pines, 10950 N. Torrey Pines Road, in La Jolla. Tickets and additional information are available at: http://sdama.org/events/2015-art-marketing-conference/

The Sanford Institute will offer a seminar scheduled for May 12, highlighting subjects such as fundraising, cause leadership and cause sales. The Institute was created by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford in partnership with National University’s School of Business and Management and the Division of Extended Learning. More information is available at: http://sanfordeducationcenter.org/seminars.cfm

National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher learning in California.

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NU Scholarship Conference Highlights Student Research

Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer
May 2, 2015

The Ninth Annual NU Student Scholarship Conference Program showcased the diverse work of 67 students pursuing their undergraduate and master’s degrees and garnered scholarships for nine outstanding presentations.

Among the unique stories were several from NU’s Digital Journalism students including Tracie Savage-Booras’s multimedia presentation focusing on one woman’s struggle to bring fresh water to a Vietnamese village.

Sani Unutoa submitted a hard news video concerning the intense controversy surrounding an investigation on the recall of unsafe automobile airbags.

Diane Record created a video story about one family— rich in spirit, if not in pocketbook— and their generosity in bringing some Christmas joy to children in developing nations.

Courtney Paul offered her project on how West Hollywood, California, is enacting measures to decrease the incidence of pedestrians injured in their crosswalks. And Elizabeth Rodil presented a piece on how the Philippines are dealing with the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Ruby.

The March 17 awards ceremony took place at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

The day began at 8a.m. with student registration and exhibit setup followed by a judging session of poster presentations. Debra Bean, NU’s Provost, was on hand to present the awards.

The scholarship is open to students of all programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and NU encourages students to submit and display their work.

Rodil said she felt anxious before attending, but was pleasantly reassured once she arrived. “National fostered an environment that was more about being interested and engaged with their students instead of focusing on competing for scholarships.”

The program benefits students and the university: participants have the opportunity to show their individual projects, and NU has a chance to find student work that best represents the philosophy and style of the school.

NU, a nonprofit institution, presents grants and scholarships to students with a financial or academic disadvantage. The scholarship money is used to continue the student’s progression through their program at NU.

“Over the past nine years, the detailed research presented here has contributed significantly to our academic community and beyond. It has also stimulated scholarly discussions amongst faculty, students and staff,” wrote NU President Michael Cunningham in his letter of greeting to participants. “Research is the mechanism that transforms a student into a member of the academic community. It is through this endeavor that students demonstrate the critical thinking abilities that are essential to becoming a scholar,” Cunningham added.

Students polled at this year’s event said that they felt evaluations of their work came from a place of genuine caring and that they appreciated NU’s efforts to reach out to them individually.

“I was delighted to learn of the NU scholarship event. It is a great way for students to showcase their hard work,” Savage-Booras said.

National’s philosophy of supporting student endeavors shone through as did the student’s respect for scholarship and their school, making both the real winners at this year’s event.

More information about some of the mentioned students’ projects is available below.

Tracie Savage-Booras on the Vietnam water crisis: http://traciesavage.me/2014/12

Elizabeth Rodil on Typhoon Ruby: https://lizrodil.wordpress.com/typhoon-ruby-international-name-hagupit/


Scholarship Winners’ List


Winner Submission # Work Title First Author
Winner SHHS-UG-04 Sexual transformations of Mexican and Filipino Culture Vanessa Tatoy
Winner SHHS-UG-04 Sexual transformations of Mexican and Filipino Culture Raquel Tatoy
Winner SHHS-UG-04 Sexual transformations of Mexican and Filipino Culture Paul Tatoy
Winner SHHS-UG-04 Sexual transformations of Mexican and Filipino Culture Michael Sibal
Winner SHHS-UG-04 Sexual transformations of Mexican and Filipino Culture Camille Pinano
Winner SHHS-GRAD-09 Colorectal Cancer Screenings and Low Health Literacy in Hispanic/Latino Men Over 50 Montserrat Noboa
Winner SOBM-UG-02 Zoom Through Life: A Game of Car Decisions and Opportunity Cost Kim Bell
Winner SOBM-UG-02 Zoom Through Life: A Game of Car Decisions and Opportunity Cost Raphael Montgomery
Winner SOBM-UG-02 Zoom Through Life: A Game of Car Decisions and Opportunity Cost La Toya Kemp
Winner SOBM-GRAD-01 July 4th Diana Arkans
Winner SOBM-GRAD-01 July 4th Austin Bolton
Winner SOBM-GRAD-01 July 4th Anthony Asuncion
Winner SOPS-GRAD-09 The Decline of Victim Services due to Bureaucratic Failure Shapree Smith
Winner COLS-UG-06 Crowdsourcing Antibiotic Discovery at NU Richard Baun
Winner COLS-UG-06 Crowdsourcing Antibiotic Discovery at NU Morgan Cooper
Winner COLS-GRAD-04 Narcissism and Intermittent Explosive Disorder Andrea Cruz
Winner SOEC-GRAD-02 Automated Event Notification System Swathi Dhulipala
Winner SOEC-GRAD-02 Automated Event Notification System Sravani Sanupareddy
Winner SOEC-UG-02 RGNU1 Robot Michael Bradvica
Winner SOEC-UG-02 RGNU1 Robot Michael Feeler




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This Year Resolve to Support the Humane Society


Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer

On Dec. 14, 2014, our 16-year-old Shi Tzu died quietly in my arms after a remarkable recovery from a stroke earlier in the year. My partner and I discussed how to rebalance our lives after losing such a dear member of our family and decided to bring home another Shi Tzu as soon as we had gone through our mourning process.

As members of the Humane Society of the United States, we decided to support pet adoption rather than buy from a breeder or pet store.

The Humane Society is a global leader in animal protection advocacy, actively defending animals’ rights to humane treatment. It is successful largely because of private donations.

Whether protecting wild seals in freezing temperatures or defending domestic animal rights in corporate America, the Humane Society is actively engaged in the pursuit of globally responsible treatment concerning the Earth’s animal population.

Private support has helped the organization champion progressive measures in providing care for more than 100,000 mistreated animals.

In 2014, the Humane Society was successful in championing 117 state laws that focus on animal protection, and malicious cruelty to animals is now a felony in 50 states thanks in part to a Humane Society campaign.

Some noteworthy victories include a provision providing egg-laying hens with a cruelty- free production environment and a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court banning the production of foie gras in California. And in the corporate world, Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, Cargill and Clemens Food Group have partnered with the Humane Society to promote crate-free food production.

You can do so much through volunteering, advocating or donating any amount, large or small, to increase awareness, respect and protection for our animal friends. Even time and cash-strapped students can contribute by signing letters online that are sent to public officials in support of anti-cruelty initiatives.

With the New Year in full swing, make one last resolution: lend your support to the Humane Society. It’s an empowering yet easy step that will bring hope, joy and love to so many deserving spirits.

I know personally how well this pays off: My partner and I are thrilled to have our new sweet and adorable 2-year-old Shih Tzu rescue at home as we start 2015.

The Humane Society of the United States: http://www.humanesociety.org

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Hollywood Costume: It’s Not an Exhibit, It’s an Experience


Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer
February 19, 2015


“Do it big, do it right, and give it class,” said L.B. Mayer about making a film the MGM way. Mayer’s quote must be the motto for the costume exhibit: It takes visitors who couldn’t care less about costumes and leaves frothing at the mouth for more.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exhibition Hollywood Costume is presented by Swarovski in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It includes more than 100 years of prime Hollywood costumes from 150-plus legendary films, curated by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis. The exhibition is a multimedia extravaganza worthy of the most dynamic blockbuster. And it’s housed at the historic May Company, the Art Deco architectural jewel and future home of the Academy in Los Angeles.


To give you a hint of what is to unfold before you no less than all eight of Edith Head’s Academy Award statuettes greet you in the entrance hall of the exhibit.

The all-black painted exhibition galleries have a weightlessness that is intriguing. One feels a light-headed floating sensation as you are transported by the utter creativity of it all. From the likes of the awe-inspiring ultra-luxe gem encrusted dinner suit costume worn by Marlene Dietrich in Angel, 1937, or the high flying techno punch of Avatar, 2009.

The public, students of film, art direction, costume design, fashion design, digital or communication media will leave ravenous for more.

Adjuncts to Informing the Audience

The exhibit communicates how the art of costuming a film embodies the psychological, social and emotional mood of the character. Costumes are non-verbal messages that help to inform the audience of the mood of the film moment.  The show explains in detail that tireless research has been conducted.  All of this work enables the audience to believe that the screen characters possess an authenticity. 

Electronically illustrated design tables with mock –up boards of the creative process abound. Included are video feed state of the art interviews with heavy hitters like Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Meryl Streep. 

Ms. Streep has a mini costume exhibit devoted to her alone, both she and Johnny Depp explain how important costuming is in helping them complete their film characters.  The costume designers weigh in too, and seeing their sketches come to life is inspiring for anyone who has a picture in their head and then sees it realized.

Presentations of the designs from The Bourne Legacy and Argo are as carefully thought out as the lush costumes from The Last Emperor. Case in point would be Michael Kaplan’s 70’s sleaze themed wardrobe for Brad Pitt in The Fight Club, 1999.  Not only are the sketches dynamic but the polyester prints of porn posters on Pitt’s shirts and his pleather jacket reek “one sketchy dude”, in an artistic way.


Queens for Days and Days

Holding court on one entire space shows the queens of cinema historical drama, several versions of Queen Elizabeth, including Shakespeare in Love and Marie Antoinette, Queen Christina, and Guinevere.  Marisa Berenson’s promenade costume from Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon and Glenn Close’s Dangerous Liaison formal court gown all seem to be scheming an intricate plot.  The results are delighted and awe-inspired audience reactions.

This exhibition brings the viewer into the mind of the costume designer and the love of craft that entails the creations of such sumptuous visual feasts.  Guinevere’s bridal gown from Camelot, designed by John Truscott in 1967, took over 100 skilled craftspeople to fashion a spider web of delicate lace casing holding thousands of pumpkin shells for an overall sensational effect.





It’s All About the Process

The warren of gallery spaces leads the spectator to digital tableaus of work tables illustrating the costume designer’s conceptual creative process with the actual garment on display. Case in point would be Quentin Tarantino talking about Sharon Davis’s costume for Django Unchained, 2012. The idea was based on “Little Joe’s” short corduroy riding jacket from the classic television series, Bonanza; and how after umpteen fittings the costume was finally correctly fulfilling their collective vision.

Hitchcock’s heroines, Tippy Hendren and Kim Novak’s Edith Head creations are on display too.  Hendren’s light gray-green suit from The Birds, 1963 has the mannequin being pecked at by malevolent crows.  In her crystal clear video interview, Ms. Hendren tells of her understanding the creative process of how a costume design from a character’s relation and contribution to the overall effect of a film.  The costume is all about the importance of context in the story.  Kim Novak’s deep green knit dress with polka dot trim,  leaps out at the viewer, as it does in Vertigo, 1958.





The great costumes from Hollywood’s most illustrious films and most legendary stars seem to greet the exhibit-goer with utter joy.  There are the contemporary superstars, Kate Winslet in her traveling suit from Titanic, 1999 and Nicole Kidman bedecked in her pink swan feather creation from Moulin Rouge, 2001. In the first gallery, there is Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” costume from 100 years ago, and it looks completely at home with Helen Mirren’s hunting outfit from The Queen, 2006.  There is the 2006 Beyoncé Knowles Dreamgirls Barbie gown, resplendent in silver-violet shimmering nylon by Bill Condon. Set for a sort of “Haunted Mansion” family photograph are The Addams Family, 1993, Morticia, Gomez and the children complete with Thing, awaiting your arrival complete with a Charles Addams illustration.

The Film Floodgates Explode

From here on the exhibit fairly “pops” like a champagne cork unleashed of pure exuberance.  Carole Lombard’s deliciously liquid creamy silver sequined dinner suit from My Man Godfrey, 1936, is a show stopper.  Marilyn Monroe’s chiffon heart shaped derriere cutout that only she knew about helps to inform us in on a little sexy secret to her performance in Some Like it Hot, 1959.  We get to see how structurally well-built Joan Crawford’s quarterback shouldered Mildred Pierce, 1945, waitress costume is, and we realize that these costumes are not clothes, they are carefully constructed projects.  These costumes are part of the character’s psychology and part of the film’s narrative. This in of itself is rather wonderfully mind-blowing.

A Name Dropper’s Paradise

Crowned with video monitors of the stars faces set atop the mannequins, making them looking at you in a sort of robotic suspended animation is unexpectedly wondrous. We come face to face with among others, Marilyn Monroe in her white halter top dress from The Seven Year Itch.  Judy Garland’s ruby slippers and her blue gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz are on view, as is Glenn Close’s dementedly chic Cruella Di Ville’s black and white creations from 101 Dalmatians.  John Travolta’s white disco suit from Saturday Night Fever and Sylvester Stallone’s boxing shorts from Rocky are here too. 

No less than two very different Cleopatra’s, two versions from The Great  Gatsby, a pair of Superman’s and a collection of Batman’s, just to name a few. And Indiana Jones and Darth Vader, too!  Suffice to say, the show is an embarrassment of riches.


We have legendary Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue magazine fashion editrix extraordinaire, Diana Vreeland to thank for the new way we experience costume exhibitions.  Her spirit is the beginning point of such an intimate relationship between audience and exhibit items.  “You have to give the people something they want before they know they want it!” seems to voice her sentiment even before you enter the gallery spaces, and your heart will simply race with anticipation.

The only trouble is, like all good things it will do a classic Hollywood fade-out after March 2, 2015, due to the construction of the Academy’s new home. So make the most of it before the exhibit will reside only in memory.  Take heart, because everyone can watch them in an excellent movie anytime and bask in the utter appreciation of this subtle magic.



All photos from http://www.oscars.org/hollywoodcostume/




































A Keyword Christmas Carol: My Illuminating Search for Seasonal Retail Work


Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer

“Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again.”

Simon and Garfunkel got it right in The Graduate with their song about feeling stuck at a crossroads post-college. I could relate, having found myself fighting boredom and anxiety during a recent four-month leave of absence from National University. So I decided to ease myself into the working world again with a retail job for the Christmas season. After all, I have finished my first course in my master’s program and earned my bachelor’s in Strategic Communications. I was bound to find something. I would be like honest Abe Lincoln, working and studying to build my character.

The Wild Sleigh Ride Begins

Job hunting is no fun, especially in 105-degree heat. One is supposed to waltz into an interview ready to dazzle, armed with a resume and cover letter in a handsome portfolio. I gave it a stab, crafting a resume and a cover letter extolling my virtues as a gifted retail professional, and applied to several online employment services. After a few unsuccessful tries I began to feel an ever-growing sense of ennui, much like Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock.

Sometimes I sat at my computer in my bathing suit and pounded out online applications in frustration. Other times I got dolled up, went to the large retailers with stunning letters of references and filled out applications.

To my dismay, the computer often decided I was taking too long and threatened my session would close soon. Talk about putting pressure on a person, and all for a $10-an-hour temporary retail job.

Two weeks into my search I was invited me to a job fair at a hotel by one of the online job search sites.

The fair took place on a 109-degree afternoon in a ballroom that had the chairs locked into rows. I spent half the time just trying to get out of some aggressive guy’s armpit.

The jobs offered were sales positions in the bulldozer and burial businesses plus a few Christian investment firms. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but eventually found the humor in the situation and congratulated myself for at least showing up.

Testing the Waters at Target

A few days later I saw an ad for seasonal work at Target and decided to apply. Because it is good practice always to dress for the life one wants, I wore a casually elegant summer ensemble of lightweight white cotton slacks, a freshly dry cleaned pale blue dress shirt, summer-weight beige jacket and, to complete the ensemble, a gold tie. In this fabric armor, I felt my confidence rise.

I learned immediately that this was almost completely the wrong approach. No one was there to interview me. The entire process was done on computer. I groaned inwardly at the weird questions meant to test my integrity like “have you ever told a lie before” posed in three different ways.

I ask you, haven’t you ever told a lie before, ever, in your whole entire life?

Then the computer system judged me on my integrity. I found the whole approach dehumanizing. Perhaps that was why the club kid next to me was huffing and puffing so much as he filled out his application.

Instinctively I knew I should have filled the application out robotically but I just had to test the system. Maybe it was the artist in me or just my resistance to playing the corporate game. Either way, I had a hunch that I wasn’t going to be singled out as Target team member material, though I am a total team player and enjoy retail.

I was getting frustrated at corporate America and all the hoops one has to jump through to land a job or even an interview.  It was disillusioning to think successful job seekers might be better at hoop jumping than doing the actual work.

Afterward, to soothe my raw nerves, I decided to indulge in some retail therapy while I was there. I regained my self-esteem by drinking in the appreciative stares I received from the bored housewives and young people suspiciously shopping en masse in the middle of a scorching weekday afternoon.

Three days later my hunch proved right: Target vetoed my application via email.

“Hello Richard, Thank you for taking the time to apply with us. We are unable to offer you a position at this time, but we do appreciate your interest in Target.”

National to the Rescue

I would have almost been crestfallen if National hadn’t invited me to a big two-week career fair in San Diego that same day. It was as if a divine guide were watching over me, ready to avert any further misadventures. I gladly attended and soaked up every opportunity to eradicate my job-searching ignorance.

I came prepared to work, resumes and cover letters in a briefcase, my laptop just in case, and a notebook to write … what else? Notes! My belief is straightforward. If you don’t know anything about a subject, start from zero and build up from there. Though I stood out like a gray hair in a black eyebrow, I presented myself this way as a form of discipline. You never know who you are going to meet or who is looking at you.


At the job fair, I learned that the successful job hunter may not be the best-qualified person for the position, but he does know a thing or two about being a clever searcher. One crucial step is to identify the keywords in the job description and liberally pepper your resume with them. These words will appear as matches when your resume is screened so it will be less likely to end up in the reject pile. Online applications that don’t use keywords don’t even make it to the human resources director, so without them, your efforts will be for naught.

Job Fair, Day One: Cover Letters are Critical

At the job fair, National University provided several cover letter samples to follow. The university has a career guidance center that I later put to good use crafting my first resume and cover letter. The process was hard work, but essential.

Along with keyword matching, creating customized cover letters is essential to landing interviews. Think of them as a blend of subtle wooing and tactful self-promotion. Don’t think it’s enough to write a template and update it for different employers. Individually crafted cover letters demonstrate how your past achievements match the employer’s specific qualifications, highlighting you as a star applicant. As with a resume, grammar and punctuation count.

Also, saving the cover letter as a PDF file keeps your documents consistent with what appears on your screen format-wise and prevents careless overwriting.

Job Fair, Day Two: Refinement

On this day almost everyone dressed professionally. I felt reassured when a lovely and very nice young woman dressed like a Bond girl at HQ wanted to pal around with me because of my earlier appearance, saying something about birds of a feather.

I was soon taught how to view myself from an employer’s perspective, identify and illustrate my key strengths with examples, and better market myself. I was also pleased to find out my resume and cover letter were not too far off base. Thank heavens I am not a total idiot!

Job Fair, Day Three: Marketing through Social Media

The next meeting focused on making and maximizing contacts through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Fortunately, National recorded for future review, which was good since the 20-minute seminar was a whirlwind of information!

Job Fair, Day Four: Networking in the Flesh

This day featured real live interested employers. I learned on the spot that, even in this electrically charged environment, networking in the flesh is an important skill. Good fortune was on my side because the career guidance director took a shine to me and helped me get introduced to a school official that a former professor had endorsed—and we hit it off! Through his enthusiastic support, I met several other officials.

One helpful director leaned into my ear and confided, “Either way you look at it, job hunting sucks.” I felt I had encountered a friendly comrade, which was a relief.

She cited a superb book to help me shape a career plan, The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster, by Steve Dalton. Dalton provides a complete strategy for conducting the electronic job hunt and aims to alleviate new-graduate anxiety by focusing that energy in a productive direction. He has readers create dream job lists and “good fit” job titles. Graduates can then reach out to alumni to find advocates who can create inroads to these jobs.

Dalton suggests that job seekers rely both on their own passion for certain work to motivate them and that they enlist advocates

Dalton also suggests searches based on dual motivation and recent postings. Dual motivation refers to your own motivation to do a job you are passionate about as well as the motivation of advocates who can help you land those jobs. Advocates are people you have something in common with who you can enlist to help you with your search: alumni established in the industry you’re interested in often make excellent advocates. I haven’t finished the book yet, but am so glad I lucked into the school’s career fair and got off my butt to learn this new approach.

My Brush with the Retail Rush

One retailer, Z-Gallery, called me up on the strength of my new keyword-heavy resume and cover letter. We interviewed, but although they thought I was too corporate savvy to be a retail clerk, I told them I wanted the job to test my retail marketing skills. So they put me to the test on the sales floor, and the store was completely dead. I had forgotten how a quiet store can make for an awful, long, soul-killing day. I was glad when the manager told me the shop had all their holiday staff picked out. It seems I dodged a bullet.


I can attest that by using as many keywords as possible in recent retail applications, I did land interviews. But interestingly, the employers suggested I not do anything too dramatic, but wait out my leave of absence and focus on my master’s program.

I was apparently becoming too professional for retail.

So, my current plan of action is to keep my cool, study up the application process for career-centered jobs and stay the course with school. But if I do decide to try the job hunt again, I would focus on internships geared toward building my career.

School starts up again soon, and I have learned invaluable life lessons. Keep abreast of the changing face of the modern job search, using keywords from the job description postings, crafting particular qualities that fit each job with a customized resume and cover letter. Make use of in-person networking, put yourself out there and get know people. This humanizes the approach and creates a better-built road toward harvesting career satisfaction.

A week ago I was shopping at Target, and reflected that maybe someday I would find myself applying for a corporate creative position there. Knowledge really is power: I may become a Target team member yet!

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American Horror Story: A Scare with Style

Richard A. Lloreda, Staff Writer - NU Herald
November 12, 2014


“Trick or treat,” the little girl says, more a statement than a question. It is Halloween evening in Jupiter, Fla., 1952. We see what the girl sees, and like her, it frightens us: clowns, everywhere clowns.

Her mother doesn’t understand. “I loved clowns when I was her age. Naturally, her brother is constantly teasing her about them,” she confides to her friend with a laugh.

Soon Halloween is over and the children are back, safely it seems, in their brand new ranch-style home. The little girl is in her room, looking at all her candy, but the moment is ruined by her adolescent brother harassing her about her fear of clowns.

But while her mother and her girlfriend enjoy a cocktail in the blond wood living room, and the brother stands in the doorway, continuing to mock his sister, someone else is walking down the hall.

He wears a filthy clown costume and approaches the girl’s bedroom.

A scream followed by an explosion of glass shatters the ladies’ social hour. They sprint into the girl’s bedroom.

“Where is your brother?” wails the trembling mother. The child points to a gaping hole that had been her closed window.

“The clown took him,” she says quietly.

Everyone in the little girl’s bedroom is frozen, looking out through her shattered window frame. An outdoor light illuminates the backyard like a moonscape, revealing nothing save for a single aluminum lawn chair. A sudden breeze blows her torn lavender sheer nylon curtain, letting the chilly night air in.

Welcome to American Horror Story, created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.

The show boasts an expert ensemble cast playing outrageous characters. Its style pays homage to horror movies of the 1970s and ’80s. With split-screen graphics a la Brian Di Palma and the way-out whoosh of the creepy synthesizer soundtrack, American Horror Story is a gourmet meal of horror.

Haunted houses, a Catholic insane asylum set in the early 1960s, witches in contemporary New Orleans and a carnival troupe marooned in Florida during the 1950s are all subjects from the past four seasons. And like all good horror tales, American Horror Story includes flashbacks ping-ponging through several centuries.

Where else can audiences find Jessica Lange playing a series of wacky characters like a kooky neighbor, an evil reverend mother, the queen of the witches and a Marlene Dietrich-style freakshow ring mistress? Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates also lend a welcoming, if dominating, presence to the proceedings. And many other notables show up from time to time including Gabourey Sidibe, Patti LaBelle and Patti LuPone. Even Stevie Nicks makes an off the wall appearance as a version of herself.

The casting makes for a familiar roster in unfamiliar situations, with celebrities playing parts that seem linked to their real-life personas.

This season the freak show has come to town during a murder spree perpetuated by a psychotic clown. In classic horror movie perspective, it is the freaks that show their love, loyalty and respect for humanity in contrast to the “regular” folk that persecute them.

American Horror Story should be in the Guinness World Book of Records for being the most outside the box TV story concept ever. Even episode length varies from an hour to 90 minutes to showcase each new installment as the creators well-rounded stories unfold.

The crowning glory of American Horror Story is that it never finishes a storyline at the end of a season which allows viewers to ponder and fantasize about what might happen after the screen goes dark. This unusual twist personalizes American Horror Story, making it our horror story—scratch that, our favorite horror story, because we now own it in our imaginations, and get to play out these terrifying tales in any way that intrigues us.

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The Sanford Education Center Opens

by Richard A. Lloreda N U Herald Staff Writer


Philanthropist Denny Sanford
October 27, 2014


Excitement charged the air at the opening ceremony for the Sanford Education Center in La Jolla, Calif., on Sept. 18. It was the culmination of a shared effort by San Diego philanthropist Denny Sanford and National University to raise the bar for education in the community.

“I am overwhelmed!” said Sanford to the audience, which included San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. Sanford added that successfully partnering with National University has turned “a dream of mine into a reality.”

The beginning of their partnership was liberally peppered with obstacles, especially in missed telephone calls and electronic communications between Sanford and National University president and chancellor Michael Cunningham.

As if hinting that great things were looming on the horizon, in the parking lot for the historic U.S S. Midway Aircraft Carrier, the two future partners finally encountered each other unexpectedly.

The Power of a Handshake

“I was just getting out my truck when another, unassuming regular guy’s truck pulled up next to me,” Cunningham said. When the man asked if Cunningham was going to the Midway he immediately recognized him as Denny Sanford.

Sanford recognized Cunningham, and as it turned out, he’d been meaning to talk with National’s president about a project. “After some time discussing the idea of an education center we shook hands and began a collaborative effort to make this project happen,” Cunningham said.




Close to the Heart

The Sanford Education Center promotes three programs.

  • The Sanford Inspire Program will provide teachers with ways to excite and empower youth from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
  • The Sanford Harmony Program, based on research from Arizona State University, will support teachers in championing better interaction between girls and boys in prekindergarten through sixth grade. The program aims to differentiate the psychological qualities that distinguish girls from boys, focusing on how they relate differently from each other. “In this way students can learn together by developing a rapport,” Sanford said. A friendly and inquisitive little green outer space being named Z is the Harmony Program’s trademark. Z was created to explain the unfamiliar and unique qualities that make up boys and girls. The program will help children process their perceptions about themselves and minimize conflicts in the classroom.
  • The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy will address how nonprofit leaders can helm nurturing relationships and the successful mechanics of philanthropic endeavors. This is targeted to start in spring of 2015, and will be part of a Master of Arts degree in cause leadership.

These are “the three transformative programs that I conceived, but I couldn’t complete,” Sanford said.

Sanford also expressed his appreciation to Randy Frisch, National’s vice chancellor of business and administration, and the university’s talented team of technological and facilities personnel for committing tirelessly to this project.

Allyson Handley, recently of the University of Maine, has been named executive director of education for the Sanford Center. She holds a doctorate of education from Johns Hopkins University. The executive in residence with the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is Bob Kelly, former president of the San Diego Foundation.

A Future of Positive Change

Long Island University is the school’s first partner on the East Coast in in the Sanford Harmony Program, and Cunningham said there will be more. “Our goal is by the end of two to three years we’ll be in all of the major universities across the country.”

Cunningham also noted that National University tuition is 60 percent less than other comparable learning institutions in California, and that graduates, on average, earn 39 percent more than they did before attending National.

The Sanford Education Center and National University aim to educate future leaders in the nonprofit sector and actively increase their role in education. The Center hopes to benefit individuals and communities for generations to come by championing empowered philanthropy and creating a proactive learning environment.

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Crusaders for Truth: Heart amd Soul Makes "Masters of Sex" More Than Physical







By Richard A. Lloreda, NU Herald Staff Writer

Right from the playful opening credits, Masters of Sex, Showtime’s critically acclaimed seriocomic series, examines sex, from what its power is to how people define themselves through it, a subject that still raises gooseflesh in mixed company.

The program is presented as a tasteful period drama set in Middle America, namely Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., during the buttoned-up 1950s and early 1960s. With human sexual response as its topic, it is everything that revolves around sex from which the real dramatic thrust comes.

As Dr. William Masters and Dr. Virginia Johnson’s relationship unfolds, the program reveals more than what the naked eye can see. Their research touches off more than just a laboratory’s conditioned environment would have allowed. They are in fact part of their research.

Each inspires the other to stretch their intellectual capabilities by exploring their differences. Their relationship is intricate as research partners, co-authors and more—much, much more than either one of them ever imagined. In modern terms, they could be seen as Pierre and Marie Curie, or to some, Victor and Elizabeth von Frankenstein.

Therein lays the conflict of opinion debated by Masters and Johnson.

Michael Sheen portrays Masters with brooding complexity. The emotionally unavailable Masters just begs to peel back his buttoned up layers, and Lizzie Caplan depicts Johnson as the intuitive explorer carefully pursuing her quest for emotional truth.

Their conflicting viewpoints are the weekly spark that ignites this powder keg of a mid-century drama. Inspired by Thomas Maier’s book, Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love, the program unfolds elegantly, playing against the backdrop of the Eisenhower to Johnson administrations.

Five Golden Globe nominations and a win for best actress Allison Janney as Margaret Scully in 2014 show the program is clearly a hit with critics and audiences.

“Masters and Johnson were suddenly famous with the publication of their first landmark book, Human Sexual Response,” according to Maier.

However, this series is not about fame or even solely about sex so much as it is about the human responses to life as lived through this complicated period of world history. Topics woven throughout the program confront themes including the inequality of women, the struggle with integration, battles against racism and breaching the taboo subject of sex and all of its facets, which parallel modern day anxieties.

Masters’ take on the study is from a physiological point of view, but as the story unfolds, it is Johnson, compelled by the psychological effects, who guides the personal outlooks regarding all aspects of the motivations of behaviors behind the sexual responses. Masters is emotionally isolated and is somewhat perplexed by human relationships. His struggle is based on a complicated past, and by studying human sexual responses in a clinical light he keeps emotions at a safe distance. Love is something he cannot wrap his mind around, as evidenced by his rudimentary approach to intimacy with his wife, Libby Masters, played by Caitlin Fitzgerald.

Johnson is discovering that the questions raised by the study touch her in ways she finds intriguing about both other human beings and herself. She struggles with being taken seriously, even by Dr. Masters, in the male dominated world of the hospital environment and larger society. She is ostracized by her female peers, who regard her as an oddity, whispering rumors about this strange sex research in which she is involved with Masters. As a single mother, she is both fighting for independence and doing work she cares about with the added financial realities that lead to her to sell diet pills to make ends meet.

Johnson discovers enlightenment in her dealings with very human aspects of sexual response through the study. She is emotionally connected and desires to tell the personal stories behind the sexual behavior. Her road is one of mounting self-discovery as seen in her ability to form complex friendships with women. Johnson begins, through the study, to question and then understand her motivations and who Dr. Masters is. Johnson is a woman alone yet so immersed in the study that she really isn’t wounded by loneliness. Although her focus is on her work, she also develops a certain savvy in a man’s world, maneuvering around men with watchful caution, reacting to her situations as case scenarios.

If Masters of Sex were a Turner Classic Movie, one could easily imagine the story set in the mid-1950s. Dr. Masters would be played by Henry Fonda at his most removed self. Johnson would be Ava Gardner, completely covered up, far more seductive and compelling than currently portrayed in today’s overly sexualized visually stimulated society. The irony of Masters of Sex lies in the fact that while there is nudity and there are sexual situations, these are not the most provocative aspects of the program. The key to the exciting story line is everything else going on rather than the actual sex.

Michael Sheen’s Masters is fairly bursting to tell the audience why his character is so pent up. Caplan presents Johnson as so fascinating that she could make emptying a swimming pool with a teaspoon mind-blowing. In other words, if a cigarette company sponsored this program there would be a veritable skyrocket in sales on Sunday nights. Masters of Sex is high-performance drama that leaves the audience to ponder more questions than answers, a format that maximizes viewing pleasure.

In a nutshell, Masters of Sex, Masters and Johnson’s relationship reflects the timeless lyrics of Johnny Mercer, “When an irresistible force such as you meets an old immovable object like me you can bet just as sure as you live something’s gotta give.”

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