Capstone Project Ideas

I’m brainstorming ideas for the Writing 400 Capstone project and would welcome any and all feedback! Below are my two main ideas:

Idea 1: Proposal for an Online Magazine

I’ve always been interested in magazine journalism.  In one of my previous Communications classes, I had the opportunity to briefly create and design a magazine cover for a magazine I would want to one day bring to life.  I’m looking to expand this idea for my capstone project and really get down to the nitty gritty of what this magazine would look like if it were to become a reality in terms of content, style, layout, target audience and marketing and promotion techniques.

The magazine that I “created” for my previous class was called “Bling on a Budget” and the magazine provided the latest accessory trends and how to pair accessories with various outfits for college girls shopping on a budget.  I’m looking to recreate this idea and turn the magazine into a more general budget-related magazine for college girls on U of M’s campus.  The topics/features of the magazine would not only be centered around fashion/accessories on a budget but I’d like to include practicality sections such as controlling/managing finances, eating healthy but cheaply on a budget, going out but still keeping your budgets in mind, etc.

I still have to figure out the logistics, but each issue would have a special feature, which would be budget related, but timely. For example, a December edition would have a feature on holiday shopping on a budget.  I want this magazine to be fun yet informative and realistic.  I hope that students can learn useful tips and tricks for managing their money in a variety of ways because that’s something every college student can benefit from.

Idea #2: Collection of Personal Anecdotes 

The other idea I was toying with was to create a series of fun and lighthearted personal anecdotes that describe my journey to becoming a writer.  I’m not entirely sure how I would go about this but it would be a series of personal reflections from situations I’ve found myself in that relate to my passion for writing.  I’m concerned this project would be too self-centered, so I would want to incorporate a lesson or piece of advice in every story that others can hopefully relate to and appreciate.




[Pika!] People Watching

People Watching has become one of my all-time favorite hobbies (seriously), and on Michigan’s campus, with thousands of undergrads walking around Ann Arbor daily, the people watching is never in short supply.  It’s so interesting and entertaining to see how people interact with one another and present themselves in the public eye.  I know I’ve witnessed some very amusing situations when sitting in the Union, working in the Dining Hall, or just walking down State Street.  I’m curious if anyone has any prime people watching spots on campus or any funny stories to share from their people watching escapades!

[Pika!] Daydreaming

On those cold, rainy, miserable days like today, I often find myself daydreaming about sipping on a Pina Colada while lounging on some tropical beach in Bora Bora (or at least drinking an iced tea by the pool in a warm climate).  I love to travel and can’t wait to graduate college and start a career so I’ll make enough money to start adventuring around the world.  I”m curious what you guys daydream about on these glum winter days and if there’s any one place you’ve always dreamed of traveling to.


[Pika!] Write for Her Campus!

If you’re interested in magazine journalism or looking to gain marketing experience during your college career, Her Campus UMich is looking to add writers and marketers to our staff.  Her Campus is an online magazine geared towards college women across the country.  The magazine covers content from beauty & lifestyle to relationship woes and career & internship information.   Since its “birth” in 2009, HC has become a well-respected publication and one of the top magazines for college females!

Her Campus is a great way to gain first-hand editorial experience in the magazine industry and looks fabulous on a resume (especially if you’re interested in pursuing a career in journalism).  I’ve been writing for the HC branch at Michigan since my freshman year, and it’s honestly been a blast.  I was able to pitch my own articles and really find my voice and style in magazine journalism.

The Michigan chapter holds staff meetings each month and team members are very supportive of one another and have formed bonds well beyond just interacting through the publication.  In addition, Her Campus hosts events around campus to increase publicity—we were sponsored to put on a big fashion show at Necto this past October called “College Fashion Week,” which was a huge success!

There are definitely many opportunities to get involved with HC on campus whether you’re interested in journalism or marketing, and I encourage all of you to apply to become staff members for Her Campus.  As Editor-in-Chief of the publication, I’ll be able to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to email for more information!

[Pika!] Puppy Love

When I go home for school breaks, I miss sleeping in my own bed, the taste of edible food, and taking bubble baths—but most of all, I miss playing with my puppy.  There’s just something special about coming home after being away at school for three months and being pounced on, licked, and loved by your dog.  I honestly thought Cleopatra wouldn’t even recognize me because she’s only been in the family for a few months before I left for school in August, but her big brown eyes perked up and her tail was wagging profusely the minute I stepped inside the house on Tuesday night.  There are so many comforts of home that we miss when we’re away at school, and I’d love to know what you guys love the most about going home for holiday breaks.

[Pika!] Where Do You Study?

Normally when I’m feeling lazy and it’s too cold outside, which happens quite frequently,  I’ll curl up on my bed or park it on a bar stool in the kitchen and hit the books.  Of course, we all need a change of scenery when it comes to studying.

I’ve never been a fan of the big “academic” study spots on campus (call me crazy).  I feel claustrophobic in the UGLi, the “Stacks” make me feel like an inmate, and I’m afraid of getting glared at for merely moving a muscle in the Ref Room.   This distaste for libraries and the like poses some sort of problem because all of my favorite “non-academic” study spots cost money.  I’m completely content with setting up camp in Starbucks (it’s Gingerbread latte season!) or ordering refills of hot apple cider in Espresso Royale while thinking of clever things to post on the blog.  Unfortunately, making these places go-to study spots doesn’t work out all the time because I can’t freeload off of Starbucks’ free Wi-Fi for countless hours, multiple times a week (or can I?) without ordering a plethora of lattes and all that jazz.  Sigh.  It’s a shame this habit isn’t feasible.  I wanted to ask what your favorite study spots on campus are, and if anyone has a compelling reason why the UGLi doesn’t want to make you pull your hair out, I’d love to hear it.




Journalism Joys

When it comes to solving complex mathematical equations, determining the value of x and y, or understanding the physics behind thermal energy, I’ll admit I get pretty confused.  But, so what?  I can sleep perfectly well at night knowing that even though I won’t be a superstar doctor, I’m capable of putting together a logical, coherent, and intelligent sentence.  That’s because I’m a writer and am darn proud of it.

A few days ago, I had dinner with a friend, and as we were saying goodbye at the end of the meal, she turns to me and says, “Ugh, you’re so lucky you’re a Comm major—it seems like you get away with not doing any homework.”   It’s comments like those that make me smile believe it or not.  I smile because I love what I’m studying and can’t help but roll my eyes at all the students who think that any major that doesn’t revolve around math and science is subpar.

As a writer, I’m pretty impressed with everything journalists can do via the written word.   We can persuade, inform, and share knowledge clearly and concisely.  We can communicate with others in a meaningful way and forge meaningful relationships with those we communicate with.  Writers are influential people—we have the power to create change all through words and language, and that should be respected.

My friend was correct about one thing—I don’t have a lot of “homework” because to me, writing doesn’t constitute “homework.”  Writing is something that I love doing and want to do.  Of course, there are some forms of writing that I enjoy much more than others, but in the end, it’s all about communicating your thoughts and feelings through words.  So, even though I don’t spend my nights tackling calculus problems on Web Work, I spend them typing away a mile a minute—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.



The Great Debate…

I found a great blog analysis that was posted on CNN last Thursday afternoon regarding the first presidential debate.  It’s very spot on with its interpretation and claims about some of the things that occurred during that pivotal hour and a half debate.  Here are the highlights I want to share with you guys:

Author, Rebecca Sinderbrand, claims that, “heading into the debate, everyone thought President Obama would come out on top.” This seemed quite true—even many Republicans and close supporters of Romney felt that this would be an incredible challenge for the Republican candidate.  But, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, a very knowledgeable, well spoken, and well-respected politician, had his chips on Romney.

“No doubt Romney claimed it in Denver.”  Yes, he certainly did—in a number of ways that weren’t necessarily brilliant, but also because President Obama failed to live up to the American people’s expectations throughout the debate.

In terms of overall persona, the article expresses how Romney was prepared as his body language and witty remarks said it all.  President Obama, on the other hand, provided long-winded answers and seemed unsure of himself when answering most questions.  Sinderbrand even says how Romney’s performance exhibited “muscle memory” since the Presidential candidate practiced long and hard before the big show.  This description is right on point as we saw how Romney used sharp tactics and showed great comfort and confidence throughout the night while Obama seemed overwhelmed by what Romney brought to the table on Wednesday night.

Sinderbrand also points out how the debate was merely focused on a few important aspects, but voters weren’t able to hear a lot about the campaign overall.   This is true.  Why was there NO mention of birth control or women’s rights?

To sum it up, the article illustrates how an imbalance of performances was evidenced in the polls immediately proceeding the debate.  Romney has regained his position and proved to be a better leader and better on the economy in terms of the showdown.  Sinderbrand closes with her views about how Romney has regained momentum and re-energized his base.

Do you agree that this article accurately portrays all the commotion surrounding the debate?










Student vs. Faculty Perspective

A common theme amongst these “Students vs. Faculty” posts revolves around situational factors. Most of us don’t side with either the faculty or students exclusively 100% of the time since there are many factors that influence whether we choose to be “good” students or simply blend into the crowd.

I find that when I’m in a class that is relevant and important to my major, I go above and beyond to meet and exceed the class expectations. I want to stand out in these classes, so in these cases I want to identify with the faculty and come across as a mature, dedicated, and ambitious student who separates herself from the common herd. Whether it be going to office hours regularly or putting in that extra effort each homework assignment, I’ll do what’s expected and more to distance myself from the rest of the class even though it means pushing beyond my comfort zone.  I can also tell that when I truly find myself siding with the faculty, it’s in those classes where I’ll choose taking traditional handwritten notes over using a laptop.  Handwritten notes > laptop use is seriously becoming “The Michigan Difference!”

On the other hand, in those classes which aren’t of utmost importance to my major at U of M (i.e. those mandatory additional natural science/humanities/etc credits), I don’t put in the extra effort to stand out from the crowd. I’m guilty of that, but also ok with it. I’ll still strive for an A and do everything that’s required to do well in the class, but I’m more likely to side with other students in these types of classes. It’s not because I’m a slacker, but because I find more value in putting extra effort into things that will benefit me more in the future.

Question: Revisiting Gender Stereotypes in Journalism

Hi all,

After much debate, I’ve settled on asking you all to think about this:

I’m currently a contributing writer and co-editor of the University of Michigan’s Her Campus branch.  For those of you unfamiliar with the site, Her Campus is an online magazine geared toward college women, covering topics that range from fall fashion trends to birth control pills to frat party etiquette, and so on.  We write under the motto, “A Collegettie’s Guide to Life.” Though Her Campus generates contributions from male writers, it’s a female dominated publication.

Though female writers have made a mark for themselves in the world of journalism, when we cover such female-oriented topics, do you think men will ever take us seriously enough and respect us as much as they would respect their male counterparts who cover the more politically-charged “hard” news?

Just something to think about!