RCL #3

I attended a deliberation on voter justice for Curry Kennedy’s class. The deliberation was run very well and discussion ran rather smoothly. Their issue guide was brief but provoked many good discussions on the topic. All of their members were very well prepared. I feel as though I understood how to run a deliberation much better after attending this one because of how well it was ran.
One of the participants in the deliberation, named Mark, was very familiar with voter justice and laws regarding voting in Pennsylvania, since he worked for a group concerned about voting rights. He gave a lot of great insights into issues with voter justice and the current laws in place that create problems. He was great for provoking discussions as he brought up many points that even Kennedy’s class hadn’t considered. For instance, nearly all of us were unaware that Election Day had once been a holiday but had been unsuccessful. He answered several questions that had been brought up by the deliberation group that Kennedy’s class were unable to answer. His knowledge of the issue was extremely helpful to facilitating the discussion.
Many of the other members of the discussion seemed to be genuinely interested in the topic of voter justice. Many of them had their own opinions on the topic and felt that there were some serious issues at hand that they were concerned about. Their genuine interest helped the discussion flow and kept it from ever getting stale.
I feel like I learned a few things from the discussion, many from Mark. I never knew that Election Day had once been a national holiday and that it wasn’t successful under that distinction. The issue of dead people being registered to vote was brought up. Mark informed us that to remove dead people from the registration, their relatives must call to have their names removed. However most relatives forget to do this, which is why so many of the deceased remain registered.

RCL #2

The first article discusses an incident where a student on Penn State campus was told they were not properly following Penn State’s free speech policies. The student felt otherwise. This article connects directly to my mini team and we analyze and evaluate policies regarding free speech on campus. We can use this article to pinpoint a specific incident where a free speech demonstration was somewhat controversial. We can also use this article to highlight the specific guidelines for free speech demonstrations on Penn State campus.


This article was just a statement made by Penn State President Eric Barron in regards to Richard Spencer’s request to speak on campus. This again can relate to Penn State’s policies on free speech on campus. We can use President Barron’s statement to address what rights the University has to pick and choose who speaks on campus.


RCL #1

Title: WE ARE free to speak… or are we?

Description of the deliberation: We’ll be analyzing the angles of the negatives and positives of free speech. We’ll look at how different people define free speech and what it should be. We will also analyze the policies of free speech on Penn State campus and their free speech zones and safe spaces.

My roles: To research and analyze the policies regarding free speech at Penn State.

What I’ve worked on: So far I’ve done research on the free speech zones on campus.

RCL #0

I believe that everything happens for a reason, good or bad. We don’t always know the reason but there’s always one there. There have been many instances in my life where I felt this belief has held true.
If I’m being honest, My first two years of high school were difficult ones. I struggled with, depression, anxiety and stress. I didn’t have many people that I considered close friends. Going into junior year I had hoped to get off to a better start. On the first stay of school I met with my good friend Rick before lunch so that we could sit together. We looked for a table that had some people who we both knew but unfortunately the only table with people we both knew had only one seat left. We decided to sit together with a few kids in our grade that we only sort of knew. We didn’t really talk to them that much because we didn’t know them too well. The next day Ricky decided to sit at the other table that had a lot of those kids that we knew because he knew them better than the kids we had been sitting with the day before. Because of our schedules, Ricky always arrived to lunch before I did and therefore was always able to sit with the other kids.
I was disappointed that I would have to spend lunch every day without one of my best friends and with a bunch of kids that I had hardly known. However this actually ended up working out for the better, much better As time went on I talked more and more to them and we joked around. By the end of the year several of them became some of my best friends and introduced me to other kids who are my closest friends today. Despite being at different schools, we all keep in touch daily. As someone who had felt very lonely growing up and especially in my first two years of high school it felt great to have a close circle of good friends. These were the friends that I had always looked for. The kinds of friends who are always there for you and who you can turn to. The kinds of friends that you can always joke around with and who will cheer you on in your endeavors. By what may seem like pure chance I ended my high school career with what had been the greatest one year of my life with a group of very good friends, many of which were from that table. It may just seem like pure luck to some, but I don’t think so. I believe I was meant to sit at that table. I was meant to meet these people and have them become the friends I had always looked for. I was meant to have these people be a huge part of the greatest year of my life so far. All of this was meant to happen and put my life in a better place. All of this happened for a reason, this I believe.

RCL #10

The History of Capital Punishment
HofPC Concept Contract for Nebraska Hernandez, Roan Lynch, Mark Ma, Ninad Mahajan, Andrew Pei, and Billy Young

Topic: The controversy surrounding capital punishment and the use of the death penalty in the United States.

An examination of the moral, social, and economic implications of the death penalty in the United States. Analyzes the extensive history of capital punishment and torture as well as their psychological effects on civilizations and mentalities. As a society, should we keep the death penalty? How much is a life worth?

Research, Roles, and Responsibilities:
Nebraska: The ancient history of torture and capital punishment as a means of interrogation. Nebraska will research whether the original intentions of the death penalty have changed. He will also examine public outcry to these methods prior to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Nebraska is responsible for helping to create the storyboard of the video.

Roan: Modern, recent tactics of torture and capital punishment as used by police authorities and the government. Roan will also research whether the original intentions of the death penalty have changed. He is responsible for analyzing the current, present-day controversy and debate over the U.S. death penalty. Roan is also responsible for helping to create the storyboard of the video.

Mark: Potential rationales and justifications for the use of torture, capital punishment, and the death penalty. Mark will act as the mediator between both sides of the controversy, researching the reasons for each side feels the way it does. Mark is also responsible for researching individual stories and case studies of the death penalty, diving into the lives of prisoners and their families who may be directly affected by the death penalty. Mark is responsible for editing the video and adding appropriate graphics and visual aids.

Andrew: The economic effects of the death penalty. Andrew will analyze the fiscal impact of using capital punishment throughout history, and most important, in the last decade. Andrew will research the financial costs of death row and the prison system as a whole. He will then compare the costs of the death penalty with alternatives researched and analyzed by Ninad. Andrew is responsible for providing narration and related audio services for the video.

Ninad: Potential alternatives to the death penalty. Ninad is responsible for researching probable solutions and proposed alternatives to capital punishment, spanning hundreds of years of history. Ninad’s research is important because it will add or diminish credibility to the arguments for using the death penalty. Ninad is also responsible for editing the video and adding finishing touches.

Billy: The moral and ethical ramifications of using the death penalty, as well as how the use of torture and capital punishment may violate intrinsic human rights. Billy will explore the philosophy behind the death penalty as well as examine the underlying mentalities surrounding its purpose. He is responsible for explaining the psychological and philosophical effects of the death penalty spanning decades of its use. Billy will argue whether or not the rationales and justifications researched by Mark are supported by the death penalty’s moral implications. Billy is responsible for providing narration with Andrew and editing the video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Nebraska Hernandez
Roan Lynch
Mark Ma
Ninad Mahajan
Andrew Pei
Billy Young

RCL #9

TED Outline Format
Oral Content

Topic: Family Dinner

Purpose: To encourage the return to the family dinner and promote the benefits of traditional family dining

Thesis Statement: This shift has detrimental effects on the nuclear family and individuals as it disrupts the way families bond and the way children grow and develop in a social setting.


Attention Strategy/
Orienting Material: How will you begin this presentation in a way that appropriately garners audience attention? Idk. I’ll think of something later on.


  • More people are becoming unhappy with this shift
    • Discuss step mother, mom and people who grew up with traditional family dining
  • Family is a social institution
    • Children learn language and social skills through family dinner
      • Research shows that children who eat dinner regularly with their families are more successful in school
  • Children gain sense of structure
    • Discuss dinner being a routine and how necessary and comforting that structure is
  • Family dinner gives people a sense of community
    • Smallest example of a community

Family dinners can help you bond with members of your family but also beyond
These dinners can bring forth a feeling of support


Concluding Remark –I encourage you all to make the return to traditional family dining. It may not always be easy but the benefits are worth the effort.

Paradigm Shift Draft

In the early 20th century it was the norm to have a sit-down dinner with the whole family. Everyone gathered around the table, sharing their stories of the day was what would be seen in nearly every American family. Fast forward to present day and the dining rooms in American homes look drastically different. Once seen with every member seated around the table, these dining rooms can too often be found empty. Some family members are out of the house, in their rooms or in the living room watching TV. In fact more family members are out of the house now than before. The role of mothers and women in the household has shifted from being the ones who would take care of the house and prepare dinner to the ones who are busy with work. The economy today requires women to work rather than stay at home and take care of the house and cook meals. More families today have both parents working rather than only one. The market around eating has changed too. It doesn’t take much to find a meal today. Places like McDonald’s and Taco Bell make it incredibly easy to get a meal. With the changes in the role of women in the household and the rise of convenient on-the-go dining, we now see traditional sit down dinners as more difficult to arrange.

Things I wanna touch on

  • Fast food and convenient on-the-go eating
  • TV dinners and other quickly made food items
  • Change to role of women in the household
  • Women work more and have less time to prepare something like a sit down meal
  • Maybe talk about how kids are busy with after school activities
  • Mention polls and surveys that act as evidence of this change
  • Also maybe look at health changes since some “experts” claim that health changes act as evidence to these dining changes. I mean maybe McDonalds isnt really good for you or anything.

RCL #7 Blog

Effective writing should allow the audience to visualize scenes created by the author. We should be able to see what Addario sees. Throughout the novel she is often effective in creating an image of the wild and often frightening things she comes across. Luckily for us Addario’s talent for photography literally allows us to see exactly what she saw. Through the photos she’s taken we can have a better understanding of the horrors she witnessed.

One photo that stood out to me was on page the 18th page of the 3rd group of photos. It’s an image of a little boy with a battered up face and bandages on him. The photo is very detailed, showing dirt and small scratches on his face. The photo makes me feel sad, I feel bad for the boy. No one should have to experience the terrors of war especially not children. It is sad to see those who are so new to the world with lots ahead of them damaged by the horrific experiences they endure at such a young age.

Another photo that stuck out to me is on the 11th page of the 2nd group of photos. Its shows bloodied, Kurdish soldiers carrying another injured soldier. This photo just gets to me because of the bloody dirty soldiers. I just cant imagine being in a war zone. The constant violence would be draining for me mentally and emotionally. I give a lot of respect to Addario for doing what she does because it’s not something I would wanna sign myself up for.

I’m not much of a photographer. I don’t know how effectively I’ll be able to use photo or video in my passion blog as it pertains to socks. However it can sometimes be hard to picture exactly what the socks look like so I’ll still use photos.

Rhetorical Analysis Draft


When you hear the word “liberty” what do you think of? The Statue of Liberty? The Liberty Bell? The Gadsden Flag and the Liberty Bell are two artifacts that hold within them lots of history and are the epitome for symbols of liberty. Both of these artifacts use their history to instill a strong sense of liberty among the American people.


Gadsden Flag

  • The snake on the flag is inspired by Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” political cartoon depicting a rattlesnake cut into pieces representing the colonies. Banded together these pieces would form something strong.
  • After the year 1765 those colonists who became increasingly resentful of interference from the English government came to be know as the “Sons of Liberty”. These “Sons of Liberty” and others who felt similar began using the snake as a symbol representing liberty, American unity, and independence.
  • The symbol of the snake accompanied by the phrase “Don’t tread on me” was first seen on the drums of a few marine units during the revolutionary war. It’s not certain where exactly where this phrase comes from. But think about what happens if you were to step on a snake. It won’t hesitate to fight back. Being tread on and stepped over is not something that Americans should stand for.
  • Named after a colonel in the continental Army, Christopher Gadsden the flag came about when the colonel chose a man named Esek Hopkins to be the commander-in-chief of the Navy. On one of Gadsden’s ships, Hopkins flew the flag that would become known today as the Gadsden Flag.


  • There is a lot of American History behind the flag
    • Creates feeling of patriotism
  • Flag is present in political movements making it a part of our culture

Liberty Bell

  • The bell was created in 1751 and was to be placed in Philadelphia. It was to be very special one that would not only call representatives to meetings, but also summon the town’s citizenry to the State House for important events or announcements.
  • It was to be the largest bell in the 13 colonies, with a voice to match its size so that everyone, including those on the outskirts of the province, could hear its ring.
  • Since no bell the size of that envisioned by the Pennsylvania Assembly had ever been cast in America, the legislators decided to have it made in England.
  • The Pennsylvania legislators eager to have the new bell put in place sort of had the bell rushed over. At the first stroke, it cracked, disaster believed to be the result of mishandling on the journey. In 1752 the sea voyage to America was hazardous, and the risk of damage great.
  • The bell was eventually repaired and on August 1753, the refurbished Liberty Bell was place back in Pennsylvania and rang out once again. It would do so for the next 23 years. The Bell would be used to make some of the most important announcements in the country over those years.


  • The Liberty Bell is something we learn about from a very young age. We learn about this as a symbol of liberty from the time we just start learning about the world.
  • Since we are taught about the Liberty Bell at such a young and because of its history the Liberty Bell is ingrained in our culture.
    • Within this culture is a sense of Patriotism that is taught through such artifacts as the liberty bell.
      Viewing liberty as an important aspect of our history is also taught through what we learn with the liberty bell.

Conclusion: Artifacts like the Gadsden Flag and the Liberty Bell use their history and symbolism to create commonplaces of feelings of liberty and patriotism in America.

RCL #6 – It’s What I Do

As a conflict photographer, Addario regularly faces challenges in her work and in her personal life. I mean, conflict is literally in the title of her job.

On pages 151-152 she said something that really hit me. “The sadness and injustice I encountered as a journalist could either sink me into a depression or open the door to a vision of my own life. I chose the latter.” While I’ve never had the experiences that Addario has had, such as financial issues, the struggles of pursuing a stressful career, or the strain of a difficult romantic relationship I have struggled with my own mind in the past. Addario’s quote is relatable to her audience because while the experiences she has had are unique, the quote itself can be applied to anyone who has had gone through struggles but stayed strong and pushed through them.

Back in 10th grade I went through a long 8 months of anxiety and depression. I won’t get into details but it was a very dark and difficult time for me. It was the biggest struggle I’ve had to go through in my life. Like Addario I could’ve let my problems keep me in a depression or even dig me deeper, or I could’ve done something about it and focused on making my life happier. Like Addario I chose the latter. Dealing with the struggle of my own thoughts everyday was tough. For the first few months I was stuck in a rut unable to pull myself out. I was sinking, going nowhere for quite sometime. Eventually I realized I was going to have to make a change even if that change would be difficult. Instead of choosing to stay in the dark place that I was at I chose to work to make myself stronger, happier, and better. I had to completely rewire my way of thinking. It was an active process that required a lot of effort but it paid off. I’m a much stronger and happier person than I was 2 years ago.

What does this have to do with my passion? Well, my passion is socks and I’ve never really had a struggle with socks. They’ve been good to me. However I did get serious about my sock collection in 10th grade.