Matters of the Mind: A Look at Millennials and Mental Health

Matters of the Mind logo designed by Ben Gregson

Matters of the Mind is one of the most satisfying group experiences I had during college. The project was created entirely by students, most of us from the same class, and it ended up turning out really well. There’s over a dozen stories, some audio, like five videos.

This project was also created in partnership with NBCWashington— special shout out to NBC’s Wendy Warren for all of her help in the project— and they have already aired us on television and placed the site prominently on their Changing Minds page.

I’m proud to say I contributed the various logos to this website, wrote an article about NAMI’s Ending the Silence program, and did some work to help out the web team.

Coming Out With Coffee: Coming Out Day at The Perch

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Note: This article was written in October 2013. 

The Perch is dim. Soft lights cast an amber hue over dozens of people sitting on couches, arm chairs, coffee tables, a 3-by-2 grid of decorative floor cushions and the laps of friends. More people are sitting around the tall, white, plastic tables that border the room, and after a while the walls are lined with more students still. Everyone is looking towards a single, short stool resting in the front of the room.

It’s the third annual Coming Out Monologues at American University, an event sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which is associated with National Coming Out Day. The day is actually on Oct. 11, the anniversary of the national march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. Dakota David, LGBTQ Program Staff Assistant at the center and event organizer, says during the introduction, “It is important to remember that the so-called ‘gay community’ is not monolithic. It is more of a confederation of individuals with identities as diverse as the general population.” Continue reading Coming Out With Coffee: Coming Out Day at The Perch

Time For Another Gaming Revolution

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Note: This was technically written as an essay in March 2012 for The New Yorker Class. However, given that it is intended to be in the New Yorker style, I have categorized it as an Article.

Time For Another Gaming Revolution:

Mass Effect 3 publisher BioWare sets a new precedent

“The machinery of gaming has run amok. Instead of serving creative vision, it suppresses it. Instead of encouraging innovation, it represses it. Instead of taking its cue from our most imaginative minds, it takes its cue from the latest month’s PC Data list. Instead of rewarding those who succeed, it penalizes them with development budgets so high and royalties so low that there can be no reward for creators. Instead of ascribing credit to those who deserve it, it seeks to associate success with the corporate machine. It is time for revolution.” –Designer X

“Designer X” is the voice of the Scratchware Manifesto, a statement of purpose written by a small group of video game developers in 2000. The Scratchware Manifesto calls out the gaming industry, “An industry that was once the most innovative and exciting artistic field on the planet [that] has become a morass of drudgery and imitation.” In the twelve years since, not only has the “machinery of gaming,” the large publishers and marketing schemes that encourage conformity and profit, become even more virulent, but a new enemy to the artistic vision of game designers stands on the horizon. Who? Why, the video game players, of course. In response to a very loud fan reaction to the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, Ray Muzyka— co-founder of the game’s developer BioWare— promised that BioWare will provide “a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey” (Myzuka). BioWare’s decision to provide alternative, optional or additional ending content in response to community dissent sets a new precedent for the gaming industry and gaming fans, but is that good or bad? Continue reading Time For Another Gaming Revolution

Fun and Furlough in Washington

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Note: This article was written in October 2013, during the period of time when the Government Shutdown had furloughed nearly a million government employees.

Nearly two weeks in, you’ve probably noticed that 800,000 government employees were furloughed on Oct. 1 when the government shut down. With parks, monuments and museums all closed, how can the furloughed workers possibly fill their time out in Washington? Well, if they aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck, and there are certainly many who are, there are discounts on food, drink and being merry until the shutdown ends. As the shutdown continues, more options have become available in Washington, and online as well.

Dozens of locations across the District are offering free or discounted food to federal employees, and a few are upping the price for congressmen. One CEO, Jeff Bank of Carmine’s, is even offering one of his nine private rooms and a free plate of spaghetti and meatballs to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and John Boehner. No one has taken them up on this offer. Continue reading Fun and Furlough in Washington

Rockville Art League December Member Art Show

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Note: This article was written in December 2013 for a Reporting class, as part of a regional beat assignment. I drew Rockville, Maryland out of a hat.

The art community in Rockville feels much farther away from the art community in DC than the 20 minute commute might lead one to believe, and that’s a good thing. The difference is best characterized by the very apparent support that individuals in the local art community offer each other, and competition appears to be a significantly smaller factor.

The Rockville Art League, founded in 1957, organizes two art shows a year. The Dec. juried member art show will have its open reception on Dec. 8 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, in the Glenview Mansion art gallery, and will be open to the public at no cost until the end of the month. The combination of beautiful estate and public gallery makes this a great choice for a holiday day trip out of the city. Continue reading Rockville Art League December Member Art Show