Capstone Portfolio & Project

My capstone portfolio houses work that I have done throughout the Sweetland Minor in Writing. I view it as a disparate continuation of my gateway portfolio. While my capstone portfolio does include a link to my gateway portfolio, I very consciously decided to keep these two portfolios separate. I identify more with my recent works, but I also acknowledge that my past works (however cringe worthy) have helped to shape my current identity as a writer. On my capstone portfolio, I explore this idea more thoroughly in my writer’s evolution essay.

Of all the works showcased on my capstone portfolio, I am most proud of my capstone project—a blog/online educational resource duo that documents my journey to culturally conscious global eating. Here’s a teaser:

My journey to culturally conscious global eating began the moment that I tried Cold Skin (“Liang Pi“) Noodles for the first time. It was during the summer of 2016 at Biang! restaurant in New York City, and let me tell you, it was love at first bite. The tangy, salty, sour, and slightly spicy sauce that coated the noodles was intensely flavorful yet subtle and delicate at the same time. The noodles were cool, chewy, and refreshing. The intermittent pieces of seitan throughout the dish acted as sponges, soaking up the chili oil and providing sporadic additional bursts of flavor. It was unlike any Chinese food that I had ever experienced, and I had just spent the last four months studying abroad in Hong Kong and traveling throughout Shanghai, Beijing, and Yunnan. Fueled by the Cold Skin Noodles, my mind ran wild with questions: Why didn’t I come across this dish during my travels? What is it that makes this dish so special? Are there any other traditionally vegan Chinese dishes out there?  

I ate Cold Skin Noodles at Biang! restaurant many more times that summer, which satisfied my hunger but not my curiosity. I felt compelled to research the dish and to learn its story. A quick Google search revealed to me that Cold Skin Noodles are native to the Chinese city of Xi’an, which is the capital of the Shaanxi province. There, they are commonly consumed as street food, starkly juxtaposing the modern sit-down interior that I had encountered at Biang! restaurant. However, this was the only information that I could find about Cold Skin Noodles on Google. 

As someone who was raised keeping kosher before ultimately becoming vegan, I have always had to be mindful of the things that I eat, inquiring about ingredients and preparation methods. It was not until this experience that I realized how mindless I actually am when it comes to understanding the historical origins of and cultural contexts surrounding the things that I eat. Inspired by this realization as well as my frustrations with Google’s inability to provide answers to all of my questions, I enrolled in a course offered at the University of Michigan called Asian 258: Food and Drink of Asia. 

I invite you to join me, a vegan millennial and lover of all things ethnic food, as I embark on my journey to culturally conscious global eating! 

If you decide to explore any of my works, I suggest my capstone project. Let me know, what elements did you find the most compelling? Was there anything that you hoped I would expand on? As the reader, what did you think of the blog formatting?

My Capstone Project: The Chat Room

I can’t believe the time to share my project is here! It’s definitely still a work in progress because I am still editing podcasts and the website, but I am very excited to have the final product completed next week and to share a glimpse right now. Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with me about the project!

Introduction:

The Chat Room is a three episode podcast series that explores how people’s behavior on social media varies in different contexts. It seeks to answer some of the most urgent questions in society today: Would you share the same thing on Snapchat to your best friends as you would on Facebook where you’re friends with your grandma? Which social media platform did you share your overwhelming enthusiasm when Beyoncé announced her twin pregnancy?

This podcast has two purposes: first, to inform others on how different social media contexts dictate what, how, and why people share what they do, and second, to make you smile and maybe even laugh about the topic that seems to consume our society more and more each day. So what are you waiting for? Join The Chat Room.

Link: https://www.annaprenzler.com/

Feel free to look as pensive as Ryan Gosling when listening to my podcast.

 ryan gosling podcast headphones earbuds listening to music GIF

Thank you guys for being such an awesome, inspiring group of people. I can’t wait to experience all of your projects.

Careful Curation: Minor in Writing Capstone

Ah, I can’t believe the time is finally here! I’m putting the finishing touches on my capstone and am thrilled to finally get to share it with the MiW community.

 

This semester, I decided to explore how social media and our devices either hamper or improve communication with others. Nowadays, some people choose to interact with their electronic devices rather than the people around them. But is this necessarily a bad thing? It is called “social” media for a reason. 

This Minor in Writing portfolio consists of three creative nonfiction short essays, written from my perspective, and a research report that analyzes the usage of technology in lieu of communication with others.

It is important to society today to think about the impact that our attachment to these devices has on the people around us. So now it’s your time to decide: does it encourage communication, or does it stifle it?

Link: https://hallkl.wixsite.com/website-1

Welcome to The World E-Portfolio

Wow, the time has finally come to present my E-Portfolio to the world. When I started my portfolio, I had the traditional setup that solely listed a Home Page, Bio, my Capstone Project, and my Evolution Essay. However, after analyzing my portfolio, I decided to mix it up.

Instead of having a traditional E-Portfolio, I decided to start a blog that correlates with my Vegan Instagram. On the blog, I share various recipes for affordable plant-based meals. I also have a “College” section that shares my work from the Minor In Writing. Instead of using this portfolio for just the Capstone Project, I plan to use it as a daily blog and share it with my Instagram followers.

I am excited and ready to share my website with my Instagram community. A few people have asked for my recipes, and now the site will provide an easy place for everyone to access them. I hope that people will subscribe to my blog, cook my recipes, and share if they liked the food. I also look forward to people offering substitutions that make my meals more allergy friendly.

Please check out my site at www.sweetenedcoco.wix.com/site and let me know what you think!

Introduction to “A Blonded Life” Capstone Project

I am beyond excited to share my finished Capstone project, “A Blonded Life.” As my prior posts have indicated, this is an in-depth analysis of Frank Ocean’s most recent album, Blonde. The title is taken from the song “Self Control,” in which Frank Ocean sings to a former lover, “You cut your hair but you used to live a blonded life.” The album, while largely autobiographical for Ocean, is at times opaque or unclear in its various messages. Narratives overlap and lyrics are vague. However, an attentive listener can pick up on the themes of lost love, sexual identity, nostalgia, and contemporary politics. This final theme, though, is not as apparent on the album as the other ones. As I note in my overarching album analysis, some music critics faulted Ocean for failing to directly address certain controversial issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

After conducting a track-by-track analysis and examining the context of the album (and its companion magazine Boys Don’t Cry), though, I highlight how Frank Ocean actually does address salient political issues, albeit in subtle ways. The autobiographical album, without a doubt, tells stories that are very personal to the singer. While these narratives do not focus on specific political issues, Ocean notes how his life as a bisexual black man intersects with systemic racism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

I also examine the burden placed on Frank Ocean by fans and critics. As a black artist, the music community seems to expect more of him than other musicians. Chris Rock explained: “I always say Tom Hanks is an amazing actor and Denzel Washington is a god to his people. If you’re a black ballerina, you represent the race, and you have responsibilities that go beyond your art. How dare you just be excellent?” Even though Frank Ocean actually does address some political issues, as I point out in my essay, we should not require him to be a spokesman for his communities.

Let me know what you think of my project! Here is the link:

https://kiessjos.wixsite.com/ablondedlife

 

Intro to My Capstone Project

So excited to finally share my capstone project and my eportfolio. This whole Minor in Writing thing has been such a great experience and this project has been a fun way to look back on my time at the University of Michigan. It gave me the ability to reflect on my experiences, while learning more about the unique experiences other students have had while here. Especially since my experience as a neuroscience major has differed from many other students within the writing minor.

For my capstone project, I decided to expand on my experiences as a medical school hopeful at the University of Michigan. Throughout my four years here, I have often turned to university resources to help guide me through my undergraduate experiences. For example, I often needed advice on how to navigate which extracurricular activities to get involved in, how to survive a rigorous academic schedule and how to enjoy Ann Arbor. For my capstone project, I decided to investigate whether the resources provided by the university gave meaningful information/advice that can actually help guide other students through their time at the University of Michigan as well. To do so, I gathered advice from both university resources and from graduating seniors to determine how well the two sources matched up. Initially, I expected that student advice would be quite different from that listed on university resources; however, there are some uncanny similarities in several areas. The website that I created serves as a medium to share the results of my comparisons, while hopefully acting as a comprehensive guide to the University of Michigan experience. Additionally, I received a plethora of unexpected advice that I believe will serve a unique purpose by encouraging students to take advantage of their time in Ann Arbor and to grow as well-rounded individuals beyond their field of interest. I hope that by exploring the site linked below, you will learn more about the true University of Michigan experience. 

Capstone Link:  megsb2.wixsite.com/meg1capstone

 

True Life: I’m Addicted to Making Websites

So I’ve created three websites total this semester, and consider myself a pro at using Squarespace now (seriously, if you’re thinking of using it for your portfolio feel free to reach out to me/comment on this post and I’ll help you out!)

However, this also means I’ve created three websites this semester. I’m a little burnt out creatively and find that I’m struggling to pick a theme for my portfolio.

Here are a few of the things I know for sure:

  1. I am making sure that my Capstone Portfolio has the same overall theme as my Gateway Portfolio. Since I link my Gateway Portfolio in a lot of job applications, I want to be able to do the same for my Capstone. Plus, I am so proud of the way my Gateway Portfolio turned out, so I’m treating my Capstone Portfolio as the former’s more mature version.
  2. Along the same lines, I’m using the same “Headers”/Menu Items that I used in my Gateway. They’re a little less traditional than “About Me” and “Capstone Project,” which aligns more with my style of writing and creating.
  3. The opening page has a video that plays, as a way to catch my reader’s eye…so I’m pretty stoked about the way it looks right now. It’s a video created by one of my favorite brands, so it aligns really well with the aesthetic I’m focused on for my overall portfolio.

Even though I’m positive on the three above attributes, I’m struggling a lot with how I want to introduce each section of my portfolio. The approach I took in the Gateway was to briefly describe my process and the steps I took to get to the final piece.

However, with my “mature” Capstone, I want to combine the explicit with implicit. By this I mean I want to explain the revisions I made and the research I did with saying I made revisions and did research. It’ll be a tricky balance to get right, so I’ve reached out to a previous professor of mine to see if she’d be willing to navigate my portfolio this weekend, and make notes on confusing language, technical difficulties, etc. Basically anything that would make the portfolio hard to read.

If anyone has tips for how to integrate research and revision into their portfolio, I’d love to hear about it!

I finally have a title!

One of my biggest concerns and anxieties throughout this process was choosing a title for my podcast. As you’ll see in my presentation today in class, I finally came up with a title for my podcast that focuses on how different social media environments impact our behaviors: The Chat Room.

I came up with it very randomly, as most ideas do, while talking with one of my roommates. I think this name will remind millennials and older listeners of the archaic “Chat Room” on AOL messenger or AIM messenger, causing them to not only feel nostalgic but perhaps laugh at themselves. This name will also bode well for introductions, because the first question I will ask each guest is to choose a screenname for The Chat Room. I think not only will this make them laugh and feel more comfortable sharing throughout the podcast, but it might reveal some emotions they have about what and why they share online and the identity they associate themselves with online versus in-person.

I have yet to create a logo or image for my podcast, but definitely want to start creating that soon so I can show my guests a more finished product when we are editing the podcast together. In my research, I found that including guests in the editing process will make them feel more engaged and proud of their work, causing them to share this podcast organically among their friends and family. This is essential to my podcast’s success, because having my guests share will make it accessible and intriguing to a much larger network than I could possibly share in my own network.

So, what screenname would you choose? My middle school screenname was pinkdrmaqueen125…so take with that what you will.

Thanks for listening!

Cheers,

Anna

 

The Dreaded (yet always exciting) Pivot

In my entrepreneurship classes, I’ve learned that people often pivot during their endeavors, meaning that they quite literally move in a completely new and different direction partway through their project. The scary part? This is often after a good chunk of work has already been done. I pivoted big time last week after having a discussion with my friends about my capstone project.

Hearing their comments and suggestions was humorous.

“Oh, we know you love to people watch, Kelly.”

“It sounds like you’re looking mostly at people on their devices. Why can’t you write about that?”

“You love watching people–both in person and on social media!”

This reaffirmed that I was in the right genre, but my topic needed a little tweaking. After some brainstorming with Clint in class, I made an executive decision and did a lot of thinking and working on my Wix website this weekend. I’m still observing people, but now I will be focusing on people who are using technology in public, even when they’re surrounded by others. I’ll explore the idea of if it inhibits social interaction or not through three creative nonfiction stories. Now, I’m even more excited about my project and I’m ready to really get going. I’m a dork when it comes to human behavior, and I don’t care who knows it.

I’ll also probably need some help from you guys soon. I plan on creating a Google Form that asks about your own technology/social media usage, and how you perceive it impedes on your social life.

As always, thanks for reading!