April 4

RCL #5 – Advocacy Website


To analyze logical appeals for advocacy purposes, I discovered the website for the National Association for Gun Rights. Because I do not agree with many of their positions made, I was able to analyze the website through many observations and arguments.

  1. True to the red, white, and blue!
  • One of the first things that anyone can notice when visiting this website is the abundance of red, white, and blue on every screen. This appeals greatly to people who are especially patriotic, many of which are also avid gun rights advocates. Displaying these colors evokes a sense of freedom and liberty. This can also be interpreted as the belief that part of our freedom includes the right to own and carry a firearm.

2.  No compromise.

  • A very common theme among the pages on this website is the idea of defending gun rights at all costs. This means taking extreme measures and never compromising on the issue of gun control. They also place an emphasis on defending their guns in the “battle against the gun grabbers”. 

3.  All about Politics

  • Many of the posts found on this website are centered around complaints against politicians. This shows that many supporters of this cause ultimately believe that the root of all problems lies with the leader in charge. Additionally, they discussed each politician in a different attitude based on whether or not they supported gun rights.

This website showed numerous logical and emotional appeals to gain acknowledgement from pro-gun rights supporters. Through their many appeals, it is easily assumed that a website like this would be very effective in achieving support and confidence from individuals across the country who also share these beliefs.


March 27

RCL #4- Persuasion Essay Draft

Human Height as an Indicator for Self-Esteem and Success

As a diverse country, humankind is represented in a multitude of various shapes and colors. A person’s appearance may be an obvious physical characteristic, but as research finds, it can also provide evidence for their mental state and success. Specifically, human height is often debated as being an important trait to determine one’s status. Whether or not height can be an advantage relies heavily on a person’s gender, as certain gender roles and traits have been set for centuries without much variability. For example, short men are seen as having an unfavorable trait that reduces their masculine appearance. For female height, the discrepancies can either provide a woman with an abundance or shortage of confidence. Through the psychological studies done in this research, human height has also proven to be an indication of paranoia in some individuals and may alter their perceptions of other people (Freeman).

Often times, human height can predict a person’s success and levels of self-esteem. As shown in many studies, shorter people can develop a complex that feeds their personal feelings of vulnerability and inferiority (Freeman). With the national average height of men being 5.8 feet and women being 5.3 feet, people who are far above or below these averages often show signs of dissatisfaction (Kennedy). In addition, there are many obvious societal differences in height perceptions between men and women. Being a tall male is seen as being far more favorable than being short whereas with female height, the perceptions are not as clear. On one hand, tall women are compared to models and celebrities and thought to have more success. However, many studies have shown decreased self-esteem in women above 5’11” and increased mental health implications (Firman, et al.). The societal norms for people of different heights can differ greatly, leaving the socially acceptable responses to both tall and short people rather ambiguous. For example, it is seen as rude to randomly address a woman as being short but completely acceptable to comment on another woman’s impressive height. I believe these double standards are the root of a silent discrimination and mistreatment towards tall women and short men or those who do not fit the image of societal norms.


Let me know what you think so far!


Firman, Michael W., Sarah J. Hoffman, Ruth L. Firmin, Alisha D. Lee & Yelana Vorobyov (2012) “Tall College Women’s Social Dynamics Relating to Height” Qualitative Research in Psychology. May 14, 2012. Accessed March 26, 2018. 9:3, 210-230, DOI:10.1080/14780887.2010.500354

Freeman, Daniel, and Jason Freeman. “Does Our Height Influence Our Mental Health?” Psychology Today. January 30, 2014. Accessed March 26, 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/know-your-mind/201401/does-our-height-  influence-our-mental-health.

Kennedy, Rita. “The Average Height of Humans Over Time.” Livestrong. July 18, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.livestrong.com/article/542877-the-average-height-of-humans-over-time/.

March 13

RCL- #3 Deliberation attendance

For my deliberation attendance, I came to a presentation about downtown State College relations by another RCL class. In their discussion, they included 3 different approaches to discuss overall safety, social and economic interaction, and local government. Although I was only one of four guests at the deliberation, the discussion was very informational and helpful for the future of campus and downtown interactions.

While discussing safety investments for both campus and downtown, one situation that was brought up was the issue with Penn State students alcohol consumption, especially in events like State Patty’s Day. One question that was addressed was whether police should focus their efforts on controlling the students through arrests or ensuring their safety without repercussions of underage drinking. The team of students involved in this approach was very well informed and initiated discussion well.

In the issue of social and economic interaction of the State College community we discussed how our campus and downtown interact with one another. One student talked about the issue of overloading businesses during the school year while losing almost all business in the summer sessions. This is an important aspect of how downtown business function and can support a student economy.

In the final approach, we brought up the issue of local government involvement from students. Some of the class members believed that students should have representation within the State College borough, while others believed that we don’t have this right as students. Because we are only members of this community for the four years during college, some question how involved the students should be with impacting local policies.

Overall, this deliberation was very interesting but it was unfortunate that there were not many guests in attendance. It was especially difficult to discuss community relations without any community members to compare thoughts with. They all prepared well for the deliberation and provided interesting perspectives on their issue of downtown relations.

February 12

RCL #2- deliberation articles

For our deliberation, we are discussing the issue with freedom of speech on Penn State’s campus and how this effects the morale of both our campus and local community at large. To investigate this, I found two similar articles that discuss the importance of free speech.

The first article discusses the basic necessity for free speech in all environments. As a basic human right, free speech is essential for advocating change while also listening and understanding those who oppose our specific viewpoints. An expert on this issue, Peter Tatchell eloquently stated,

A free society depends on the free exchange of ideas.”

This specifically relates to our deliberation discussion because it emphasizes the need for balance in society. Being quiet will not make change, but being too loud can hurt the movement and disrespect the opposition. On a college campus, it is imperative to maintain this balance to not disrespect the cultural diversity at Penn State.

The second article emphasizes the importance of knowledge. Without freedom of speech, there is no way for people to learn about the great diversity among people and cultures. It is also important to value free speech in a democratic environment where each party can voice their opinions equally and create mutual decisions. These ideas highlight the importance of our deliberation to create an environment where people can share their beliefs and issues with this topic. By educating and promoting the basic principles of free speech, we can facilitate a safe community on campus for sharing thoughts and ideas.

Both articles will be helpful for our deliberation because they both connect ideas about the benefits of free speech. These will also be paired with the negatives of free speech to compare various theories.

Timms, Josie. “Why is free speech important?” Index , Index on Censorship, 13 Apr. 2016,   


Pinker, Steven. “Three Reasons Free Speech Matters | Steven Pinker.” FEE, Foundation for Economic Education,

          7 Nov. 2014, fee.org/articles/three-reasons-free-speech-matters/.



February 6

Post #1- Deliberation Summary

Deliberation: “We are… free to speak: Or are we?

Does freedom of speech promote diversity or hinder it?


How do we control freedom of speech on Penn State’s campus? What policies need to be put in place to protect our campus community?

We are going to discuss the impacts of freedom of speech, especially on Penn State’s campus. This will also include a discussion of the effects of inviting controversial speakers to campus, and the impact of “safe spaces” for discussion. We will also discuss the limitations of freedom of speech on students’ well being and the possible implications it can have on campus diversity inclusion.

My role in the group is being a part of the team for summary and outreach. My specific role is to arrange the social media campaign and taking notes during the deliberation. Our entire mini-team will work together to develop the post-deliberation questionnaire.

I am currently working on the social media campaign to gather an audience.



January 30

This I Believe

I believe in the power of boredom.

            As I’m sitting in my art class on a rainy Monday morning, waiting for everyone to slowly roll in the door, most still half asleep and barely coherent, I often find it entertaining to simply observe my surroundings and peculiar behaviors of fellow classmates. The kid to my left is swiping through Tinder, seeming almost too desperate for a match, the girl in front of me occupies her time by stalking her favorite celebrity on Instagram and obsessively liking way too many photos, the international student has his face buried in a math book that I have no hope of ever being able to understand. We are all waiting. Waiting for class to start, for the teacher to arrive, for class to end, and for a good sandwich at the end of the day… always waiting. Waiting is such a common practice, but I’ve found that many times, my greatest fear of waiting too long is becoming bored, God forbid.

            I believe that most people are afraid or uncomfortable with being bored. However, it’s hard to even tell whether or not boredom actually bothers us because, few people allow themselves to become bored. When I’m waiting for a friend to get dinner and not even 1-minute passes by, I pull my phone out to mindlessly occupy this brief period of waiting. Taking just a second to slow your roll and breathe, even for just a second, is not as scary as it may seem, but can lead to some incredible thoughts and creative ideas. In fact, I developed my best ideas for this essay when I was laying sick in bed this week, completely and utterly bored. Even allowing myself to be bored at least once a day without any distractions can help me to become more centered and comfortable with my own thoughts.

Boredom should not be a state that one needs to escape, but rather treated as an opportunity for escape, an environment that breeds new ideas and an open mind. Once you can be comfortable with your own thoughts and not have a panic attack when the phone battery dies, there is a great feeling of comfort which translates into all parts of life.

On my never-ending journey to self-improvement, boredom is one skill I hope to master, and I don’t mind waiting.




October 9

RCL #7 – A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Throughout Addario’s novel, she includes several of her awe inspiring photographs from years of her career as a photojournalist. The two images that strike me the most are very different, yet I think that they both summarize Addario’s career and personal struggles immensely well. The first picture is found on the 11th page of pictures in the third section. It is a picture of a mother sitting with her two children in the cover of their home. At first glance, this image means relatively nothing to the reader, and may not mean anything to people in our class who have yet do actually read this book. Yet, it portrays one of the most powerful stories of women oppression in Africa and was the most influential part of the book for me.

The two children with the 20 year old mother, Kahindo, were born of rape.

She was kidnapped in 2008 and held for three years while being raped repeatedly. Addario includes several stories of rape victims from the Congo, and each is more vile than the next.

The second image that I found to be especially important was found on the 22nd page of the third section of images. While this photo is not from her many war photographs, I believe it is one of the mot important images to understanding Addario’s life. It depicts her and new husband, Paul, on their wedding day. They both have such genuine smiles, and for the first time in Addario’s life, she has something figured out. Through the chaos and turmoil, she found Paul and couldn’t be happier than on her wedding day.

Photographs play an essential role in making your audience feel what you are trying to say. They capture not only life events but also emotion and passion. I can incorporate several images to convey new levels to my blog posts and make the audience truly see and understand my perspective.

September 5

RCL #2- No Regrets

In Part 1 of It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario, Addario recounts one of the most memorable pieces of advice given by her Nana. Nana’s story was about her missed chance at love with her young lover, Sal. Unfortunately, while Sal had passion and intimate love, he had neither money nor a stable future ahead for Nana, so she chose a man that could support her financially, Earl. While Nana has happy with Earl and their life together, he never showed her the passion and fire like Sal. Because of this, she always regretted her missed chance at love.

When Addario recalls this story, she simply states, “I never wanted to regret the kisses I missed”. This story applies to her life both in her relationships throughout her life and her career. With everything in her crazy life, she never wanted to regret missing a huge opportunity. For her career, she would often make extremely risky decisions in hope of a successful outcome that would not be available if she didn’t take the initial risk. This story also provides some background to Addario’s tenacity in pursuit of her passion. It always provided her with an incentive to push harder and take the risks.

For my passion blog, I am writing about my life with Celiac Disease. Honestly, I didn’t have much say in being gluten free, but I was able to decide whether or not I could use it in a more positive light and pursue it as a passion of mine. One event that had a great impact on me and helped to shape my passion was shortly after I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I remember feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t eat pizza when I encountered a girl in my high school with various intestinal disorders.

She was only able to eat food through a tube in her stomach.

When I saw this, I recall putting my thoughts of self pity into perspective and remembering that at least I could still eat food. At that point, I was able to see this burden in a new light and eventually my passion started to fall into place from there.

For the remainder of my passion blog posts, I am going to talk about different stories I have about being gluten free including moments like the one mentioned above, and different interesting aspects about Celiac Disease that many non-gluten free people are unaware of.