Meet My Mother: A Social Worker

My mom has held various positions in the field of social work.  In this mini-doc, She shares how she found her career path and the effects her work has had on her personal growth.

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My mom, recreating her typical day of multitasking

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Her current office space, in our dining room.

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Snapchat Story: A Day in Grace’s Life

This story chronicles pretty much everything that I did between the afternoon of Tuesday, April 17 to the morning of Thursday, April 19, 2018. Lots of class, fruit and studying with a surprise visit from my professor’s puppy.

Watch My Snapchat Assignment Here

Mini Podcast: Towson Students Sit Down With Grace to Share Their Opinions On Marijuana and its Potential Legalization in Maryland

With nine states having already legalized recreational marijuana use, many are wondering when Maryland will join them. I sat down with two fellow Towson students, Taylor and Ariel, who shared their thoughts on marijuana and its potential legalization in our state.

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 Taylor and fake leaf

By Grace Hebron

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Taylor’s Weedy Eyes

By Grace Hebron

Triggers, Trauma, Social Media, and the Fluctuation of Becoming Whole Again: A Survivor’s Ongoing Path to Peace.

By: Grace Hebron

She sits casually, legs folded and bare fingernails touching, in one of the College of  Liberal Arts Building’s armchairs, where students can be found lounging and studying at all hours. “Maya,” is not her real name, but that of the woman who helped her escape an abusive relationship. She chose not to use her real name.

 

Maya is here after a weekly meeting of her course on Campus Sexual Violence, a topic personal to her as healing progresses, during some of the only free time in her week. Her average day as a music education major relentlessly pulls her in various directions. Nonetheless, Maya’s eyes are locked on mine with presence, patience, and no object of time.

 

“People like to tell me that they know what abusive relationships are like–but no, it didn’t start out with him hitting me,” said Maya, her serene composure admirably unwavering in her recollection. “It started out with him isolating me and controlling me–mentally, psychologically, emotionally.” Sexual abuse followed. “I always was very curious about things, but when I said no, I wanted it to be respected,” she said. “Then the physical [abuse came] and that continued on for about six months.” Maya is not alone. According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, she represents one in three women in the United States who have experienced physical violence or sexual abuse in their lifetime.

 

 In the early stages of Maya’s ongoing healing journey, she used social media as a coping tool, later finding that it did not suit her needs. A long period ensued that found Maya closed off to herself and those around her. She was in denial. “I was very against talking about it,” she said.

 

    Maya attended a “Goddess workshop” in the early months of 2017, which targeted body image issues. This was the platform that empowered her to share her experience with others in a way that felt right to her. “I felt compelled to tell my story because my problems with body image weren’t from growing up in a household where I didn’t feel loved,” she said. She comes from a body-positive household, where her mother, a feminist, proudly flaunts unshaven legs. “It came from an external source telling me I wasn’t good enough.”

 

As a queer woman, Maya thrived in a space full of individuals similar to her and decided to use the nourishing energy she found as a basis to seek additional spaces of empowerment. This, she said, is what led her to Sigma Alpha Iota, the female fraternity colony at Towson University, for which she currently serves as diversity chair.

 

      Maya, discovered the musician’s fraternity through a classmate. “The girl who had been colonizing [the fraternity] made an announcement in our class,” she said. Maya was attracted to Sigma Alpha Iota as a fraternity exclusively for female musicians “In my healing journey, I really wanted to be around female energy and to kind of have a safe space to express myself as a woman and as a musician.”

 

     As diversity chair for Sigma Alpha Iota, Maya decided to bring more to the table than the social justice workshops that her position requires her to teach. This month, she led her fraternity in a professional development workshop dealing with social media guidelines, sharing trauma using public platforms, and the effects of PTSD and trauma on professional behavior. “Trauma is something that many people experience in their lifetime in many different, varying degrees,” Maya said. “[It] is not something specific to women, or specific to humans, even. Trauma can be experienced by any living creature.”

    

  Maya’s workshop was meant to be survivor-friendly. “We wanted to kind of address the fact that we’re all on a healing journey from our varying traumas in life,” she said. But especially for us as musicians–as entrepreneurs and people who kind of have to build their own brand–in a lot of ways, it’s incredibly important for us to be cautious and thoughtful when it comes to what we put out on social media.”

       

Maya, who has found comfort in the logical absoluteness of biology while healing, used it to guide her workshop with empowerment. “I went through what trauma is–how it affects the brain and other bodily functions, what symptoms can look like, how long they can last…And then I talked about social media–how we are all cultivators of our own brand,” Maya said. She combined the two subjects as a way of sending a message of support and encouragement to anyone in her fraternity empowered to share their experience of trauma.

 

As a survivor, Maya acknowledges that for some, sharing trauma is an important part of healing. “There are some days when you are just like ‘I need to speak about what happened to me,’” Maya said. “It might just be because that day, you are feeling empowered and you want everyone to know that you are taking back your life. But we have to be careful in our objective and purpose for saying things.” Maya created a healthy list of social media guidelines for her fraternity to consider in terms of their audience that included activating privacy settings and considering sharing personal trauma in a private group chat instead of a public post.

“My abuser told me that I was never going to amount to anything.” Nearly six years following abuse, Maya is now a hardworking student with one degree under her belt. “Maya is a wonderfully caring and compassionate person,” said Carisse Philips, president of Sigma Alpha Iota. “She does so much to help this new organization get on its feet, and we couldn’t have had the successes we’ve had without her!” As her healing journey progresses, Maya is chasing her dreams and enjoying her busy life. “I’m working my ass off. I’m overwhelmed. But I wouldn’t have it any other way…and he will never get to know that,” she said. “I am going to be a successful person despite him and without him and in spite of him.”

 

Carisse Phillips: Cphill14@students.towson.edu

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Maya By: Grace Hebron

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Maya’s Facebook Feed

By: Grace Hebron
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Fingers Crossed
By: Grace Hebron

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“Today, I will not stress over things I can’t control.” Maya’s Instagram Feed

By: Grace Hebron

 

Campus Oasis: Explore Asia’s Popular Healing and Medicines at Towson University’s Center of the Arts

This is the excerpt for a placeholder post.

Towson University’s Center for the Arts building is home to Asia’s Healing Arts, an interactive exhibition that invites students and visitors to explore globally popular healing practices and learn about their Asian roots.

The exhibit, which is on view until May 19 in CFA’s Asian Arts Gallery, (CA 2037)  exudes breezy serenity amid the pervasive bustle of academia. Gallery attendant Maklene Bzadey appreciates the exhibit as a unique platform for learning. “…It’s like a break from academics,” Bzadey said. “You’re learning stuff but you’re not doing school work.”

The exhibit bears significant resemblance to a spa–complete with relaxing music, sheer curtains and glowing light. Visitors are greeted upon arrival by the “Relaxation Station,” a precise assortment of silky pillows, arranged in the middle of the gallery.

Asia’s Healing Arts invites visitors to explore the healing practices of Shiatsu, Acupuncture and Ayurveda, one of the oldest healing practices, which teaches healthy living and eating. Behind the “Relaxation Station” sits a basket stocked with brightly colored mats, where visitors can learn more about Yoga, a healing exercise that originated in Asia before earning its status as one of America’s most beloved exercise trends. The Shiatsu showcase was created by Susan Weis-Bohle, Melanie Lester and Niya Werts, practitioners found through Asia in Maryland, an interdisciplinary course taught at Towson University by Joanna Pecore, Director of  the school’s Asian  Arts and  Culture Center,

Everything–about the curation of the exhibit–from its luminous ambiance to the authenticity of the images used in the space–was executed with careful thought. Nerissa Paglinauan, program manager for the exhibit, was responsible for various elements of its design. “It was really a group effort finding the right images, getting Brian [Ho] to do the photography and the videos, and just figuring [it] out,” Paglinauan said. “So we went through and Joanna created this outline, and then we figured out what made sense to present the material. I also did, a lot of the technical stuff.”

Paglinauan worked alongside Pecore to create a special experience for visitors. “[It’s] one thing writing a paper. It’s another thing presenting it–having like a visual presentation of what you want to teach, and something that is meaningful to people who are coming to visit the gallery,” Paglinauan said. Pecore, an Ethnomusicologist, provided music from her personal collection to be played in the gallery, “[Pecore] was already familiar a lot with the music,” Paglinauan said. “Melanie wanted us to create a playlist or suggested music to add to the ambience of the exhibit, and Joanna already had all these CD’s from which we picked a bunch of tracks and put them together.”

This Summer, the Asian Arts Gallery will be showcasing Rootless Orchids, which Paglinauan says will feature Taiwanese artists. “It’s curated by an MFA student in Curatorial Practice at MICA [University],” Paglinauan said. She and Pecore are currently meeting to discuss this Fall’s exhibit, which Paglinauan is curating, called Asia in Maryland: Expressing Cross Cultural Experience, which Paglinauan said features “Maryland based artist who are either Asian, Asian-American, or inspired Asian arts and aesthetic.”

 

~30~

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Maklene Bzadey, Gallery Attendant for Towson University’s Asian Arts and Culture Center, speaks to Lauren Maiden about the exhibit. By: Grace Hebron

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Nerissa Paglinauan, Program Manager for Asia’s Healing Arts, presents the acupuncture exhibit. By: Grace Hebron

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“Relaxation Station” at Asia’s Healing Arts Exhibition. By: Grace Hebron

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Cupping Therapy By: Grace Hebron

Three and Three Interview: Kaleab Getachew

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

  1. Kaleab Getachew, Student and Community Assistant for Tower A in Towson University’s Glen Complex

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“I like coming out of my comfort zone–but not too much where I’m like panicking–like a nice zone where it’s like ‘Oh! I’m trying something new.’ I like to dance a lot–like a lot. If I want to move my hips a lot, I like Caribbean, [music] more like Reggaeton. But If I want a more, like lyrical combo, I guess like–I guess more like Indie…I’m not really sure what defines some of the songs–I guess like Amber Run–I found that that’s like one of the more pretty lyrical [artists]. I like India Arie–Pearls. That was a really pretty [song] I saw in my Jazz Dance class. [I like] having like discussions and debates and just like–opening up that way.”

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Getachew greets Tower A residents and writes messages on the whiteboard, behind the CCA desk.