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July, 2015

  1. TED Talk- The Development of STEM in the American Education System

    July 25, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    I truly enjoyed our experience with the presentation of TED Talks in the One Button Studio of the Pattee Library. It was exciting to actually do what I have watched in so many other TED talks.

    Questions to ask myself:

    1) What went well?

    Personally, I believe that my TED Talk went quite well. It was definitely a smooth performance. I established the shift in STEM in the American education system and went on to support my claim with evidence in a relaxed way. I feel as though I improved upon my minor errors from the practice session. Those previous errors included going over time and having too much information for a TED talk style presentation. I connected with the audience well, as it was appealing and they stayed focused on my presentation. They probably also stayed focused since they had a personal connection to STEM as that is the area in which their majors lie. Besides the connection, I think I had a nice and smooth flow to my overall presentation. I was happy and energetic about the topic area and that showed through the video. Additionally, my shift was clear, evident and in chronological order through my presentation.

    2) What areas could be improved?

    I feel that I could have used a few less words on some of my slides. Also, on my chart about the PISA student performance, I could have made the middle line for the average score thicker. If that were thicker, it would have been easier on the eye for those people watching the presentation. In addition, another aesthetic area that could be improved were my color choices for my actual slides which accompanied my presentation. A better choice could have been white writing on a darker color slide such as black, navy blue or grey.

    Link to TED Talk:

  2. It’s not the end…

    July 25, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Truly, it is not the end, it is just the beginning of a wonderful blog about my cupcake experiences.

    I plan to continue with my plan to find the best cupcake in America, a cupcake that manages to supersede that of Georgetown Cupcake, the current winner in my book. At this point, I would like to reflect and rate my favorite ten cupcakery experiences over the years.

    Current Leaderboard- Top Ten

    1. Georgetown Cupcake- Washington, D.C.
    2. The Sweet Lush Cupcakery- Dunmore, Pennsylvania
    3. Vanilla Pastry Studio- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    4. Baked by Melissa- New York, New York
    5. Crumbs Bakeshop- New York, New York
    6. Smallcakes- Kansas City, Missouri
    7. SAS Cupcakes- Newark, Delaware
    8. SWEET Cupcakes- Cambridge, Massachusetts
    9. Carlos Bakery- Hoboken, New Jersey
    10. Cupcakes Gourmet- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Now that you know the most important information, I would love to make a game plan for what I will do next, through the coming years as a cupcake enthusiast. I am interested in making a bucket list of cupcakeries which I would love to visit. That way, I could document my cupcake excursions through the coming years, once my English 137H course ends this summer.

    Bucket List of Sweet Stops

    1. Sprinkles Cupcakes- New York, New York
    2. Mad Mac NYC- New York, New York
    3. Buttercup Bakeshop- New York, New York
    4. Robicelli’s- Brooklyn, New York
    5. Magnolia Bakery- New York, New York
    6. Butter Lane- New York, New York
    7. Billy’s Bakery- New York, New York
    8. Hello Cupcake- Washington, D.C.
    9. Red Velvet Cupcakery- Washington, D.C.
    10. The Icing on the Cake- Newton, Massachusetts
    11. Treat Cupcake Bar- Needham, Massachusetts
    12. Mama Cakes- Westfield, Mass.
    13. Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe- Boston, Mass.
    14. Brown Betty Dessert Boutique- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    15. Cake Life Bake Shop- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    16. Iced by Betsy- Royersford, Pennsylvania
    17. Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes- Manyunk Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    18. Pamcakes Philly Cupcakery- Rittenhouse Square, Philly, PA
    19. Billy Burger and Bakery- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    20. Philly Cupcake- A Cupcakery Boutique- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    21. Whipped Bakeshop- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    22. Pink Cake Box- Dennville, New Jersey

    In the time between the Summer Bridge of the Pennsylvania State University Millennium Scholars Program and my actual freshman, Fall semester, my family will probably take two trips. I need some well-deserved rest and relaxation after this stressful summer.

    We plan to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts. I will probably find a new cupcake place besides the norm of Georgetown Cupcake, in Boston, MA. There seems to be a plethora of wonderful options. In addition, I hope to go to Philadelphia, PA to visit my sister in her new home! There, I plan to try the cupcakes at Whipped which seems like an extremely popular spot! I would love to get to New York City as well and there are innumerable options to check off of my bucket list in the Big Apple.

    I am incredibly happy to have made the decision to blog about my passion for cupcakes. This experience makes me realize how this love has truly been a treat. I can’t wait to continue taking options off of my bucket list, moving into the future. Until then, don’t forget that life is short… eat a cupcake.

  3. Stasis Theory in Joe Paterno’s Legacy

    July 23, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Prompt: After reading chapter seven of the Rhetoric and Civic Life text, discuss how stasis theory might work to discover or to deepen the “framing questions” for your chosen controversy.

    My group includes Maddie, Matt and myself. Our topic area is the legacy of the late Joe Paterno. We plan to use stasis theory to deepen our framing questions in the investigation of our topic. By using the stases, one can find help in determining the argument at hand and its foundation. This can refer to the stance that someone agrees with. Also, it seems to be the point at which two individuals or parties agree to disagree.

    The stasis seems to be relatively easy to identify in our case. Side A would be that displaying Joe Paterno’s contributions to Penn State football and the University as a whole would be offensive. Side B would be the opinion that displaying his contributions would not be offensive.

    Some of our framing questions include

    • Would displaying his contributions effect or offend anyone?
    • What is valued most, tradition and culture or the decisions made by the Penn State Board of Directors?
    • Jurisdiction of Board vs. NCAA over Penn State?
    • Is the line of separation the relation to football or is it just random decision making? Some examples of the line of separation include football related and non-football related pieces of his legacy that have come and gone.

    The process of asking questions requires rhetors to determine the answers to these questions:

    • the conjecture or facts
    • the definition of the argument or meaning of the issues
    • the policy or plan of action
    • the quality and seriousness of the issue

    It is interesting that both sides of the argument continue the discussion about the current state of Joe Paterno’s legacy in Happy Valley. The point of stasis can clearly be identified.

  4. It’s all coming back…

    July 21, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Now that I am thinking deeply about my other cupcake experiences, I remember my trips to Cambridge, Massachusetts to the Harvard University Invitational for my high school speech and debate team. My primary coaches, Sarah and Joe, whom I previously mentioned about my Kansas City experience, went on the hunt for me while I was competing in rounds. They found the cupcakery that I was looking for on a short walk from our hotel. It was a lot closer than we thought.

    After long days competing in extemporaneous speaking, a cupcake was a great finish to my day. My first experience with SWEET on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA was in ninth grade on President’s Day weekend of annual competition. It was between rounds of international economics and foreign policy. I was desperately in need of a “pick-me-up.” So, my best friend, Emmalie, and I walked to SWEET in the middle of the day on Friday of President’s Day weekend, four years ago, and it smelled wonderful. There was a large selection of cupcakes and I was pleased by the cute decorations and furniture. My friend has a severe dairy allergy, so she unfortunately just watched me eat their Red Velvet cupcake.

    Surprisingly, the actual cake was moist, yet darker in color than normal which is slightly unappealing. The icing was good, even though it was slightly thick. Overall, the cupcake was good but not amazing to be sold for over three dollars per cupcake. For the price you pay, you would expect more intricate decorations, sprinkles, garnishes or themed toppers on the cupcakes. They serve their cupcakes on a plate with a fork and, personally, I love that approach to eating cupcakes. I enjoy eating and savoring the sweetness in nice, small bites. With this approach to eating cupcakes, you can avoid getting that little bit of usual icing on your nose when biting into a cupcake, loaded with icing.

    With all of that being said, Sweet looks to be a safe and dependable resource when catering any special events. They sell both large and small size cupcakes. It can also be a great birthday treat to buy a full size cupcake for someone. All in all though, there isn’t too much to admire here.

    The appearance of the store is adorable, though. The store front is completely glass and offers a nice view of the hustle and bustle Brattle Street in Cambridge. In February 2015, my speech and debate team was trapped in Boston due to an extreme blizzard over President’s day weekend. It was a great place to get out of the bitter cold for some warmth and a bite of sweetness. Its a nice place for a quick break if you’re walking around Harvard Square.  Over my many trips to Harvard Square, I have tried quite a few of their cupcakes and red velvet is definitely their best. So, if you decide to make the trek up to Boston, I have two pieces of advice if you go to sweet.

    1) Buy the Red Velvet Cupcake.

    2) Don’t go when there is a blizzard that will shut down the city and its transportation.

  5. Cupcake Planning

    July 20, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards


    Now, I feel as though I have hit a brick wall. My problem is that I can only remember so many cupcake excursions of the many that I have had with my family. I know that we visited one in Niagara Falls, Canada, as well as in Newark, New Jersey, but I can’t seem to remember what kind of cupcake flavor I bought or when I went there. Another issue is that my computer crashed at the start of my senior year of high school last year; therefore, I lost a cupcake diary which documented my cupcakes eaten. I am glad that I remembered a bunch of my favorite experiences.

    I am trying to recall my experience at Cupcakes Gourmet in the suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, but I am having trouble. I somehow signed up to be on their email list and I continually get monthly emails. Since I don’t even remember visiting, I should probably unsubscribe but pictures of their “Cupcakes of the Month” always make my mouth water.

    Also, I had a fantastic experience at Vanilla Pastry Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their cupcakery was adorable. The staff was very nice and helpful. They offered a wide variety of cupcakes on cute white platters. Every cupcake flavor was labelled nicely on signs in front of them, with large enough print to see. Vanilla Pastry has been named the Best Cupcake in Pittsburgh, two years in a row. Their prices were extremely reasonable as one was only two dollars and twenty five cents. They sold one dozen for only twenty five dollars. The Red Velvet Cupcake was very good. The cake was moist and icing wasn’t too sweet. Their cupcakes had a nice touch of glittery sprinkles on the top. My brother enjoyed their Cookies-n-Creme cupcake. He is a true lover of Oreo cookies and he, even as a twelve year old cupcake connoisseur, knew it was delicious.

    In my next post, I would like to reflect and rate the cupcakeries in light of my experiences. Also, I would love to make a game plan for what I will do next. I am interested in making a bucket list of cupcakeries which I would love to visit. That way, I could document my cupcake excursions after my English 137H course ends, this summer. In the time between the Summer Bridge of the Pennsylvania State University Millennium Scholars Program and my actual freshman, Fall semester, my family will probably take two trips. We plan to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts. Hopefully, I will find a new cupcake place besides the norm of Georgetown Cupcake, in Boston, MA. That would be ideal.

    Another idea that I have would be to shift this blog into one about all kinds of sweets and desserts that I stumble upon in my journeys as a college student and young adult. I love donuts and seem to always find fantastic donut shops as well. So, hopefully, I will think of a brilliant plan for my next blog. Until next time…

  6. Draft of Paradigm Shift

    July 20, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Olivia Richards

    Professor Hamilton

    English 137H

    20 July 2015

    Paradigm Shift- The Development of STEM in our American Education System

    Americans have crafted a love-hate relationship with the public education system in which the majority of our future leaders learn, grow, and develop necessary skills. This relationship results from the faults that the system as a whole, continues to embody because of its original design. Indeed, the United States education system has only done what it was designed to do, over one hundred years ago when our country had different needs, in a different world economy. The American plan was to have well-rounded students to enter industry. Unfortunately, our students reached the potential of that system decades ago, and the bar for the traditional primary and secondary education was never raised.

    The start of the twenty first century brought a sea of concerns as televisions flashed images of Asian international students tremendously outperforming American students. President George W. Bush responded to the concerned call from numerous national education organizations in his 2006 State of the Union Address with a plan to refocus. Following the implementation of these initiatives, the United States watched a shift occur in the American education system toward a focus on STEM, which is short for science, technology, engineering and math, in order to increase competitiveness with the world at large.  This speedy implementation can be attributed to the fear and worries of leaders in the U.S. government that believe the education system has been let go for too long.

    To some, the letters S T E & M are insignificant, but to many, their meaning is known and appreciated. STEM encompasses science, technology, energy and math. The acronym arose in common use shortly after a science education interagency meeting held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and chaired by Rita Colwell, the previous NSF director. Scientists suggested a change from the older and uncommon acronym SMET to STEM. Dr. Colwell advocated for the NSF to institute the acronym change and it clearly stuck, as the development of STEM in education was speedy.

    In the early twentieth century, the American education system was driven by business leaders, such as Henry Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, who watched the United States in its transformation from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. There was a tremendous need for children to learn to read, write, and complete basic arithmetic in order to proficiently operate the country’s newest factories when they became adults. The industrial revolution created millions of jobs, while altering the American way of life and allowing the country to lead the global economy. The businessmen of the late 1800’s knew that a workforce with appropriate training and education was essential for success in business. They used America’s education system to satisfy the needs of the country. The education system evolved into its own small educating factory, as students moved from one class to another, each and every day. The system was dedicated to producing well-rounded students without any specific focuses. It was based solely on the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic which failed to adequately prepare citizens to compete and be successful in the technological world of today. Unfortunately, not much about the factory-like educational structure has changed since the time of those business giants.

    STEM, as an acronym, was born out of worry about American competitiveness and maintaining a position of global leadership. In 2006, the United States National Academies expressed their concern about the declining state of STEM education in the United States. The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy developed a list of suggested actions. Its top three recommendations were to increase America’s talent pool by improving K–12 science and mathematics education, strengthen the skills of teachers through additional training in science, mathematics and technology, and enlarge the pipeline of students prepared to enter college and graduate with STEM degrees. President George W. Bush quickly got word of this national concern. In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush addressed his concern for and fear of an inability to compete against the international community. President Bush encouraged “innovation throughout our economy and to give our nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science.” He proposed that “if we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world” (McDermott). President Bush worried that there was a lack of high quality STEM research and education initiatives. Following his expression of concern, the President introduced the American Competitiveness Initiative to assist the advancement of our education system.

    STEM became a household name, in part, because of the efforts of President Bush and lawmakers to change the face of education. The American Competitiveness Initiative was driven by the belief that a student’s education is the gateway to opportunity and the foundation of a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. The goal of this $136 billion initiative was to increase investments in research and development, strengthen education, and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. President Bush focused on tax credit for research and development. To prepare our citizens to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, the American Competitiveness Initiative proposed $380 million in new Federal support to improve the quality of math, science, and technological education in our K-12 schools and engage every child in rigorous courses that teach important analytical, technical, and problem solving skills.  This initiative also expanded the Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Program. The AP/IB portion expanded access for low-income students to AP/IB coursework by training 70,000 additional teachers over five years to lead AP/IB math and science courses.

    While the country understood the importance of its new STEM focus, it quickly became a national priority because so many STEM related jobs were going unfilled across the country. As United States unemployment statistics hovered around eight percent in 2012, a close look reveals a clear contradiction. Those historically high levels never showed the types of jobs that went unfilled. Many of those unfilled jobs needed an education background in STEM (Engler). This suggests an apparent skills shortage of STEM professionals with advanced degrees. According to the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2014, “sixty (60) percent of United States employers are having difficulties finding qualified workers to fill vacancies at their companies.” The Department of Commerce estimated that “by 2018, the United States will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs” (Bennett). In addition, “STEM occupations will grow 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations from 2008 – 2018” (Good Jobs and American Competitiveness). Last year, the Department of Commerce estimated that “the number of STEM jobs will grow 17 percent by 2018 versus 9.8 percent [growth] for all other fields” (Bennett). These statistics clearly show the obvious and desperate call for employees in 2012, further solidifying the concrete need for STEM to be a national priority.

    Today, the United State has lofty goals to pursue and accomplish. It seems as though the evolution of STEM is necessary to achieve at least one economic goal. America is crying for a shifted direction toward a “creativity economy,” in which people are a part of “imaginative processes with outcomes that are original and have value”(Pell). In order to achieve this creativity within the technological world, the conditions for creative thought must begin in the classroom. Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Fordham Foundation, a school-reform think tank, agreed with Thomas Friedman’s bestselling book in 2006, that “the economy is fundamentally different today. If our kids are going to have an opportunity to have good-paying jobs and enjoy the lifestyle they’re used to, they’re going to have to be able to use their brains. By any measure, our students are falling behind the rest of the world, especially in math and science” (Feldman). Because of these economic goals, STEM has shifted into the largest part of the basic education for students.

    STEM continues to act as a priority in the American education system due to the problems that persist, as well. Unfortunately, we continue to test below some international averages in mathematics. Fifteen year olds in the United States continue to turn in “flat results” in internationally standardized tests. We have barely been able to crack the global top twenty in reading, science and mathematics among students from other developed nations. In the latest Program for International Student Assessment math exam, American students missed the mark for the international average. At the same time, they scored above average on the PISA reading and science proficiency exams. According to the same article from NPR, “the math scores of students in Shanghai showed that they are “the equivalent of over two years of formal schooling ahead of those observed in Massachusetts, itself a strong-performing U.S. state” (Chappell). But, we must take this information with a grain of salt, considering the fact that “twelve provinces in China took the 2012 PISA test, the OECD confirmed, but only the results from Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macao were publicly released. OECD “cut a special deal” with the Chinese government, allowing for “cherry-picked” results. In 2011, a Chinese website leaked the average PISA scores from 2009 for all 12 participating provinces. According to those results, China scored measurably above the United States in math and science, but significantly below the U.S. average in reading” (Heiten). Beyond this partial Chinese bias, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, commented on the report and addressed the “educational stagnation” that it portrays. This stagnation shows how American STEM education has a long road ahead to set out country back on track.

    The shift toward STEM in the American education system has been speedy and efficient, for the most part, and this becomes evident when analyzing the large amount of success and progress, as a result of the American Competitiveness Initiative. This distinct focus on increasing students’ exposure to advanced STEM courses allowed exponential progress for the College Board and students, in general. Of the thirty-four 34 Advanced Placement courses made available to students in the United States, ten (10) of them are defined by the College Board as STEM tests. The involvement of American students in AP classes has increased from 380,000 students to 1.5 million students in just six (6) short years.

    The American Competitiveness Initiative also funded numerous programs for research and development. At the same time, organizations were hopping on board with STEM as companies and organizations contributed to the start of STEM programs for students, both young and old. In addition, the students in my English class are candidates for third cohort of the Pennsylvania State University Millennium Scholars Program. This program was founded to increase the diversity of researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This highly selective program is open to academically strong high school seniors whose future plans include a commitment to pursuing a doctoral degree in science or engineering. The collective goal of contributing to society through diverse, world-class research is achieved through academic excellence, sharing the knowledge amongst scholars, and using the available program resources including mentoring, tutoring and advising. The Millennium Scholars Program is directed by Starlette M. Sharp who was hired by the University to begin this program in order to change the face of scientists and engineers leaving Penn State.

    It becomes more evident that STEM has taken over our educational world once you take a moment to walk around a school or listen to the news. Science, technology, engineering and math are the way of our future economy, culture and world. The United States began to fall behind in STEM at the turn of the twenty first century and we should be incredibly grateful that people caught on to our shortfall sooner than later.


    Works Cited

    Bennett, William J. “Hey, America, Here’s How You Spell Success: S-T-E-M.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 06 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 July 2015.

    Bush, George W. “President’s Letter.” American Competitiveness Initiative. White House, 2 Feb. 2006. Web. 10 July 2015.

    Chappell, Bill. “U.S. Students Slide In Global Ranking On Math, Reading, Science.” NPR. NPR, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 July 2015.

    Engler, John. “STEM Education Is the Key to the U.S.’s Economic Future.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 15 June 2012. Web. 13 July 2015.

    Heiten, Liana. “U.S. Achievement Stalls as Other Nations Make Gains.” Education Week, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 July 2015.

    Feldmann, Linda. “Can Bush Make America More Competitive in Math and Science?” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Feb. 2006. Web. 10 July 2015.

    McDermott, Tricia. “Text: 2006 State Of The Union.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 31 Jan. 2006. Web. 12 July 2015.

    Pell, Allison Gaines. “STEAM: Person, Place or Paradigm Shift?” The Huffington Post., 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 10July 2015.

  7. TED Talk Experience

    July 17, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    This morning, our class visited the One Button Studio to present our TED Talks. It was a fantastic experience!

    Two of my favorite presentations that were exciting and refreshing included Oluwasanmi Victor Ariyo and David Lee. Victor had an excellent presentation on the paradigm shift of the Internet. He confidently began his TED talk and was extremely knowledgeable about his topic. Victor went in depth with his accurate sources and showed passion. He displayed interesting differences in the generations in American history between the millennials and baby boomers. David presented us with a new idea about the shift of shoes from function to fashion. It was interesting to see the actual development of companies that are household names such as Adidas and Nike. The influence of hip hop, music and celebrities on the evolution of shoes was fun. I was interested in his friend’s company of Heat Check 412 in the way that they are sharing their passion for shoes with others around Pittsburgh.

    There were five great moments during the experience as well. Sarea Recalde-Phillips had a very soft start to her presentation. It made the audience feel welcomed and very comfortable. It was nice to learn something new about the complexion of the tan in the United States. Victor’s pun on his last slide in his presentation about Childish Bambino was funny with the link to his music and its link to the internet. Ishan Phadke shared statistics with us that over forty percent of our nation’s first and second graders between the ages of 6 and 8 wish they were skinnier. That survey was startling to me, yet educational. Amanda Craine’s point of showing how evolution was put into action was interesting, especially in the case of Darwin’s Finches. Andrea Gade connected the selfie conversation to us and the millennial generation. I liked the way that she advocated for and encouraged us to take natural selfies without loading on the makeup and flexing our muscles.

  8. You never know what you’ll find when you aren’t looking.

    July 15, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards


    As I wrote in my first post titled “Lets start at home…” my younger brother’s competitive ice hockey career has taken our family around the country and into Canada. Needless to say, I have taken the Richards family off of the beaten path quite a few times! But, they still find a way to love me since nine times out of ten, these “trips off of the beaten path” result in cupcake success! Sometimes, the “best cupcakery” according to my research, doesn’t turn out to be too great. On these hockey trips between the ages of ten and sixteen, I would like to venture off, especially if the ice rinks were near towns, because you can only play so many arcade games and read so many books in twelve hours at an ice rink. The games are spread apart enough to give the players rest but not enough to actually do something interesting with the time, away from the rink.

    At one of Luke’s first ice hockey tournaments while playing with a team called the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Junior Penguins, I had one of those experiences. Luke was playing at a rink on the campus of the University of Delaware. It was a weekend long tournament and at the age of thirteen, I was desperate to find something ELSE to do. I begged my Mom to take me for lunch downtown, on the main street of their campus. So, we went to our normal lunch spot at home, Panera Bread. After we ate, my Mom and I wanted to walk around. As we walked around, we stumbled upon SAS Cupcakes at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

    We walked in and the cupcakery was cute and adorable! They had quite a variety of cupcakes with at least a dozen different flavors. All of the cupcakes looked quite appealing with their little, colorful candy straws sticking out of them.

    I tried their Red Velvet, no surprise there. My Mom tried the Vanilla/ Chocolate which is vanilla icing on chocolate cake. Our main gripe was that there simply seemed to be a bit too much icing. It was a little bit of a letdown because they just crossed that fine line of enough vs. too much in the sweetness department. Their cake seemed dense…if that makes any sense. The “density” came from a lack of moisture, maybe! I’m not sure what the cause was but their Red Velvet didn’t rank at the top of my list. They had a nice taste in cake and icing.

    The icing to cake ratio was off for the non-Red Velvet flavors. It looked like vanilla Mt. Everest in icing sat down upon a chocolate cupcake…maybe that’s where it lost the moisture!

    Anyways, it was a good find. I would recommend SAS Cupcakes because they were reasonably priced for the quality cupcake in which they were providing. If they had been over $3 a piece, I could have advised others to go somewhere else for dessert. Until next time…life is short, eat a cupcake!

  9. Paradigm Shift Paper Introduction- The Evolution of STEM in the American Education System

    July 11, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Many in America have grown to have a love-hate relationship with the lovely public education system in which the majority of our future leaders learn and grow. This relationship is the result of the faults that the system as a whole, continues to show. Our United States education system has only done what it was designed to do, over one hundred years ago when our country had different needs, in a different world economy, to satisfy a different life style using the then available technology. The American plan was to have well-rounded students to enter industry. Our students reached the potential of that system decades ago, yet the tradition style of primary and secondary education continued. The early 2000s brought a sea of concerns as televisions flashed images of Asian and Indian students, outperforming American students tremendously. President George W. Bush responded to the concerned call from numerous national education organizations in his 2006 State of the Union Address with a plan. Following the implementation of his initiatives, the United States saw a shift in education towards a focus on STEM, which can be attributed to the fear and worry of leaders, in order to be competitive with the world at large.

  10. Don’t judge a cupcake by its size…

    July 11, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    photo       photo1

    A few summers ago, a friend of mine and I decided to take a day trip into New York City. It got off to a bumpy start and we ended up leaving a few hours later because we accidentally missed the 6:30 A.M. bus. Unfortunately, we had to wait until 10 A.M. to take the next bus. Since this experience preceded my days with a driver’s license, my friend didn’t have a car, we had to walk around the downtown of my city to pass the time. We were too embarrassed to call for a ride to come back and pick us up. So, needless to say, our days plans were pushed back but, lucky for us, we didn’t have any plans!

    Alanna and I arrived into the Big Apple around noon on a hot, July day and we were ecstatic to finally be there. We left Port Authority and walked to Times Square. Since the both of us are lovers of Broadway, we decided to stop at TKTS, a discount ticket booth, to buy inexpensive student tickets for a show. Once we bought tickets for that evening’s production of Chicago, we needed things to do.

    We eventually found ourselves venturing around the shopping district of Manhattan. Alanna and I stumbled upon Baked by Melissa. This cupcakery has four locations in New York City and I visited the Fashion District one. This façade looked adorable. Since there was a small line. I had to go inside to try.

    Baked by Melissa is unique in that the shop only sells mini cupcakes. They have a wide variety of flavors but there is no different in size. I would compare each cupcake to the size of a half dollar. From the experiences that I have had in my house, it looked as though you could eat one cupcake in a single bite. Each bite of goodness sat in a case full of tiny holes, only large enough to fit one cupcake. For the customer, it was incredibly aesthetically pleasing and increased my expectations for the cupcakes. Soon enough, I found my “bite-size” assumption to be true. While the cupcakes were tasty, they were a little too small for me! I felt as though there was something missing. Maybe it was that there didn’t seem to be enough icing on some of the cupcakes. But, their small size compensated for being tasty and not getting dry, quickly.

    I vividly remember enjoying the Chocolate Chip cupcake which was yellow cake with white cake and chocolate chips on top. Besides the strong cream cheese flavor, my usual of Red Velvet was still good as well.

    For someone who tries not to eat more than one regular sized cupcake for each of my visits, I liked having the opportunity to buy a whole dozen for my friend, Alanna, and I to share. After eating six cupcakes, I felt a lot less guilty due to their size. Also, they were relatively inexpensive at the time. I believe we bought a dozen for only $10.

    As you can tell, Baked by Melissa was a great place to accidentally visit.

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