Posts By tw2227a

Commonplace Book Entry 10

Pablo Picasso; The Tragedy 1903.

Pablo Picasso; The Tragedy 1903.

On November 21st, I visited the National Gallery of art. Out of all the paintings, sculptures and photographs, Picasso’s “The Tragedy” was one of the pieces that stood out to me the most. The colors and subject express the title successfully. Shades of blue and grey give the artwork a gloomy aura. The content gives the work mystery. What is the woman holding in her arms? Could the tragedy possibly be infant mortality? Additionally, it makes you think about why the artist was doing this. What was he going through at the time? Nowadays, through the internet, this information could be found.

Being able to stand so close to the artwork of one of the most world renown artists, Pablo Picasso, is a treasure in itself. As an artist myself who has studied artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, getting a first person experience was exhilarating. There is a complete different conversation between the viewer and the painting when studying it in person versus over the internet. Being able to see the brush strokes on the painting up close reveals many things. It could possibly show an area where the artist struggled and had to repaint, creating layering and smudging.

Commonplace Book Entry 9

Letts Hall second floor bathroom.

Letts Hall second floor bathroom.

Letts Hall second floor at American University classifies as an all female floor. This means that every bathroom on this floor is accessible to girls. However, due to its original structure, half the bathrooms have “Men Restroom” signs. When we first moved in, were told that the men’s restrooms would now be gender neutral, due to the fact we still have male guests on our floor. Being at a liberal school such as American and having gender neutral bathrooms on the first floor, it could be assumed that everyone would be alright with this decision. However, that wasn’t the case.

A week after move-in day, we were pulled in for a floor meeting. Someone had complained that they weren’t comfortable with the idea of a gender neutral bathroom, and all bathrooms were made exclusively female. This made many of my floormates and myself upset due to the fact that there were still 2 female restrooms in addition to the 2 gender neutral ones. So why couldn’t they just use those exclusively? This also made me think about why administration would make this accommodation for just one person?

Commonplace Book Entry 8

Photo by Andrew Yianne, a fellow American University Student.

Photo by Andrew Yianne, a fellow American University Student.

On November 11th, 2 members of the Westboro baptist church protested in front of American University. They’re known for their hateful protests concerning LGBT people, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Jews, American soldiers and politicians. American being a liberal school, accepting of all and any sexualities and races, they came to protest the LGBT community. It came to be that hundreds of students came out to peacefully protest back. These signs shows above put into perspective that there are and always will be hateful people in the world. Coming from a city like Miami a very diverse city, seeing this was new to me. Experiencing a protest in person for the first time made me put into context what I’ve learned in all my history classes.

Commonplace Book Entry 7

“A group of American University students burned U.S. flags on the D.C. campus Wednesday afternoon to protest Donald Trump’s election as president, some shouting “F— white America!” -The Washington Post

“A group of American University students burned U.S. flags on the D.C. campus Wednesday afternoon to protest Donald Trump’s election as president, some shouting “F— white America!” -The Washington Post

The day after the presidential election, a U.S. flag was burned by one student in front of an academic building. As a part of the student body of American University, this put worry into my thoughts. I too was disappointed at the victory of Donald Trump, however do not believe this was an appropriate way to show it. Our U.S. flag stand for much more than just a piece of fabric that labels us as the United States. Thousands of people risk their lives everyday to keep that flag in the air. I took this act as a sign of disrespect, as I’m sure others did as well.

Not only did the act of burning a flag lead to controversy within our classrooms, it gave American University a national spotlight. However, I wouldn’t say this spotlight is a good thing. It made national headlines on the news, for everyone to see. While some believe protesting in such a way will get their voice heard, playing with fire will get you burned. Do we want to be a University where the burning of our national flag is permitted? If this is permitted, what stops students from starting violent protests? And what if somebody gets hurt? When my parents saw what was happening, they were concerned with my safety. This then became an issue the leaders of our University had to deal with.

Reading Analysis: How to Get a Job at Google

In his article, Thomas Friedman argues that our praised GPA’s and test scores alone won’t land anyone a job at one of the most successful companies in the world. The main criteria for the job include 5 skills: general cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise. Since “Google attracts so much talent, it can afford to look beyond traditional metrics,”(Friedman), meaning that if you’re particularly talented at a skill, it isn’t necessary for you to have a fancy college degree. To google, experience trumps brand name colleges.

General cognitive abilities are our “brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex,”(Michelon). Strong cognitive ability will allow someone to solve puzzles and piece together information. This also involves critical thinking skills and how to solve problems. This skill isn’t something that could be sticker priced using a GPA, and is the number one thing needed to be hired to the Google team.

As opposed to taking every leadership position in every club you possibly could, Google is looking for “emergent leadership,”(Friedman). Emergent leadership is being able to take control of a situation suddenly. However, knowing when to step in is just as important as knowing when to step out. Decide you can’t handle situation and being “willing to relinquish power”(Friedman) is also a characteristic of leadership. You must be aware of your limits.

GSA Program Team

GSA Program Team

Being able to take ownership of a problem can be difficult for some people because they may not want to be wrong and have a bad outcome. Being able to step in and at least attempt to solve the problem is the type of ownership Google is looking for in their employees. Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google calls this “your end goal,” meaning what you can contribute to the situation. When it comes to humility, being able to learn from your failures is the key. Bock mentions how for this reason, “graduates from hotshot business schools plateau,”(Friedman), these intelligent students don’t experience the failures that would better them in the long run. This is when the fundamental attribution error is made. This entails that when failure does occur, they blame everyone but themselves for the mistake.

Bock states that “expertise” is the least important of all five skills. This has to do with the way an “expert” and a “nonexpert” solve problems. Someone who’s done the same thing 1000 times will come up with an identical answer to the problem every time, whereas a nonexpert will sometimes “come up with an answer that is totally new,”(Friedman). This specifically will make an employee stand out in the crowd.

Google, a multi-billion dollar company, hires their team based on raw talent, as opposed to their fancy college degree. If you have general cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise on your resume, you meet the criteria of Laszlo Bock, who’s a member of the team in charge of hiring. However, having that degree and excellent grades can only help you. A higher level education is important for general knowledge and may put you above others in skills such as math, computing and coding skills.  

Works Cited

Friedman, Thomas. “How to Get a Job at Google.NY Times, 22 Feb. 2014.

Michelon, Pascale. “What Are Cognitive Abilities and Skills, and How to Boost Them?SharpBrains, 18 Dec. 2006.

Annotated Bibliographies

1) Goff, Steven. “D.C. United Stadium Plans Taking Shape at Buzzard Point.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This article from the Washington Post is a background source, giving me insight to the future of Buzzard Point. A brand new soccer field has been approved to be built, replacing the old RFK stadium. With it being a larger, more modern facility that can seat up to 20,000 people, it will bring in customers from all around the city. This money could be used to make the rest of the area just as new and shiny.

I may use this source as an insight to gentrification in the area and what changes it will bring. A brand new stadium rises the economic status of Buzzard Point. The stadium will bring in a flood of tourists to the area. More tourists may lead to more food and hotel chains. In a bigger picture, with a new, larger stadium, comes more job opportunities.

2) “DC Neighborhood Cluster Profile – Population – NeighborhoodInfo DC.” DC Neighborhood Cluster Profile – Population – NeighborhoodInfo DC. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This source provides me with background information on the population of my built environment. I now have information on the total population of the area since 1980, including what percent of those people are children and seniors. I also now know what percent of the population was black, white, Hispanic, and Asian for every year documented.

The article additionally provides information on infant births. I am given the percent of low weight births and births to teen mothers. This information helps me better understand what the area was like in the past and the present. Knowing who was occupying the homes of Buzzard Point at any point in time uncovers the economic status of the area at the time and what type of jobs were available.

3) B., Lauren. “Riverside Condominium – Washington, DC.” Yelp. N.p., 04 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

The streets of Buzzard point are presently lined with apartment buildings and condominiums. But who lives there and what’s the quality of living? In this exhibit source, reviews from a specific living facility, Riverside Condominiums, gives me information on how it’s like to live there.

Because the information is coming from the residents themselves, I have credible information to use in an argument concerning the interior description of Buzzard Point. From the information I’ve gathered, as of 2015, the building has undergone a change of management, which has lowered the quality of living. I can now ask the question: why was the change necessary?  And why are people so unhappy with it?

4) Longstreth, Richard. “The Southwest Urban Renewal Area in Washington, D.C.” Welcome. N.p.,  n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

This source provides me with background information on the Urban Renewal of Southwest DC. Newly found information on who the area was built to attract tells me who resided there in the past. The new developments would lure middle- and upper middle-class households to the metropolitan core.

The article also provides me with photos dating back all the way to 1949. It’s interesting to see how the area hasn’t changed much in appearance. But this now leaves me with the question of: can this be said the same about the interior?

5) Lochner, Tom. “Martinez: Downtown Walk, Waterfront Park Festivities Support Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction.” News. The Mercury Times. N.p., 3 Sept. 2014. Web.

This article is a background source from The Mercury News, that tells us about the 10th annual Recovery Walk on September 20th, 2014. The walk was created to support Waterfront Residents who are overcoming addiction to alcohol or other drugs. This promotes treatment and recovery options, and urges communities to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

This article shows that for the last 10 years, the community of the Buzzard Point area have been trying to decrease the amount of drugs on the streets, and help pull it’s people away from the drug scene. With this information, conducting more research will lead me to find out if this particular event has caused drug crime to decrease over the last ten years.

6) Baskin, Morgan. “Bowser Pledges to ‘Crack Down’ on Synthetic Drug Use.” Washington City Paper. N.p., 9 June 2015. Web.

This article is a background source from Washington City Paper that gives information about how D.C’s current mayor, Muriel Bowser, pledges to reduce synthetic drug distribution and consumption. She warns about the side effects of these drugs and why we must stay clear of them.

With this article, a comparison between our current mayor and our past mayor, Marion Barry, can be made. As opposed to stopping drug use, he was caught using them himself. Entering office in 2015, research can be done on whether the use of synthetic drug use has decreased in the last year.

7) “Southwest Waterfront – Buzzard Point.Point Homes, 2014.

This is an exhibit source where I will analyze the data present to relate it to another topic. The website provides population demographics of buzzard point. For example, the total population and how many of those people are female and male. Additionally, it provides me with recent crime rates and statistics. The website gives me a general idea of the area: Is it safe? Who lives here?

I will use this source in my interior description of Buzzard Point to compare the past and present crime in the area. Once I compare these factors, I can begin to research why things have changed, and if they have changed for better or for worse.

8) Bowser, Muriel. “Buzzard Point Urban Design

This PDF is an exhibit source that described the future plan for Buzzard Point. It provides the researcher with information on Buzzard Points present conditions and the vision the Government of the District has for its new regional and local destinations. They aspire to revitalize the area and fill the needs of residents and relate the need of the city as a whole.

I will use this source to analyze why this gentrification is happening and who it will affect. This article will also help me relate my place to the rest of the city. What are they doing differently? It informs me on renovations for the next 10-15 years, giving its residents an “enhanced environment, community benefits, and improved transportation.”

9) “Southwest Waterfront.” UrbanTurf. Accessed 5 Dec. 2016.

This article is an argument source where the writer most people believe “Southwest Waterfront has been nice, quiet, and dependably consistent,” but it will soon “break out its shell.” The article related past and present information in terms of Buzzard Points Urban Renewal and economic standpoint.

This article can be integrated into my research because it supports my argument in that Buzzard Point is improving for the better of the entire city, and will leave people surprised. It is no longer a quiet part of town the rest of D.C didn’t even know existed. In addition to the National Mall where all tourists find themselves in when visiting the District, Buzzard Point will become a place they won’t want to miss.

10) D.C., United. DC United Stadium. 19 Aug. 2016.

This article is a background source that provides information on the future D.C United Stadium. It tells us who will be working on the stadium. For example, the associate architect: Marshall Moya, and the design builder: Turner Construction Company. The article additionally tells me why they’re building the stadium and the benefits it will have for the community.

With this information, I can relate how the stadium will act in relation to the already existing neighborhood. How will this new attraction affect the surrounding residents? Will they have to worry about more traffic? More tourists?

D.C United Stadium: Digital Document

As I conducted online research for my site, Buzzard point, I found that the area is planned to undergo extreme gentrification. One of the planned projects include the new D.C United Stadium. But whose idea was this? And why? On December 30, 2014, the “DC Council formally approved the District of Columbia Soccer Stadium Development Act of 2014, allowing for construction of a new soccer stadium on the specified site in the Buzzard Point area of Ward 6 through a public-private partnership.” The District will take care of the cost of land acquisition and infrastructure, while DC United will design the stadium. When researching additional renderings of the stadium, I was linked to a PDF website by DC United. This gives the researcher information on the project team, purpose for the stadium, and how the stadium will fit in relation to the existing neighborhood.

Website cover page.

Website cover page.

While scrolling through the website, it’s use of graphics and proposed images left me in awe. Graphic design is one of the most important fundamental parts of any website. It not only is the creative spirit of your site but is critical to the overall branding strategy of a product, business or recording artist,” meaning a website’s designs might be that one element that pushes the product over the edge to being a success. The designs on the DC United website create visual appeal and professionalism. They present a clear goal and straight forward plan. When funders of the new stadium view the site, they will be more likely to be more supportive and contribute more donations.

Proposed visual of the new stadium.

Proposed visual of the new stadium.

The designers of the website created and added visual representations of what the proposed stadium will look like, and how it would fit alongside the already existing neighborhood. These images aid my research by proposing the following question: Why there? The site introduces an answer in their introduction. The design team studied the Buzzard Point Framework Plan in an effort to ensure that the new stadium design supported its goals of developing a vibrant mixed use neighborhood, dynamic public open spaces and well connected pedestrian pathways.” This connects to the gentrification of the area. The stadium will contribute to economic revitalization and bring Buzzard Point out of isolation. It will create a new sense of community and bring residents together. Visuals such as the image below create a conversation with the viewer and how this new stadium will relate to them. Residents of the area may to curious as to how a new stadium will affect them and this website will provide them with an answer.

Where the stadium will be located.

Where the stadium will be located.

The complete website gives the researcher information on who’s involved in the project, what area it will affect, and discusses the benefits the new stadium will bring to the community. The designers of the website created a conversation with the viewer using visual appeal and stimulating aesthetic senses to increase a feeling of connection. The stadium is just one aspect of gentrification that will transform Buzzard Point into a new, revitalized community.


Works Cited

Steingasser, Jennifer. “Memorandum.” District of Columbia Office of Planning. N.p.,

4 Mar. 2016. Web.

“DC United Stadium.” PDF. N.p., 19 Aug. 2016. Web.

“Why Is Graphic Design Important to Web Design?” Archimedia Studios. N.p., 25

May 2011. Web.

Bowser, Muriel. “Buzzard Point Urban Design Framework.” N.p., n.d. Web.


Common Place Book Entry 6

[A]n education [. . .] that was designed to support a truly direct, deliberative democracy [. . .] would be an education oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision-making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation. (205)

In his quote, David Fleming argues that educators should be teaching students to form their own opinions and make thoughtful decisions, as opposed to just regurgitating information. He believes students should be rewarded for actively expressing their opinions and ideas. This is much like some classes I’m currently in. Credit is given for input on the topic and class discussions. This is the type of reward fleming believes will improve student’s use of language effectively and prepare them for real world situations.

students raising hands in classroom

Reading Analysis: “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”

In her article, “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick argues that gender neutral designs in the workplace, specifically in it’s restrooms, would comply with our culturally changing society. With the recent increase in feminism, designers must move away from a Modernistic landscape.

Gender equality in the workplace has been an elongated debate for years. With a new wave of feminism, “the barriers and hierarchies have started to come down as women have become more prominent,” meaning that Mother Nature has become more accepted into the workplace. Because of Actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson’s speech promoting the “He for She Movement,” men have jumped on the cause for gender equality. With an effort coming from both men and women, a change is likely to be seen. Recently, changes we’ve seen include the acceptance of same-sex marriage.    

Emma Watson giving her speech on the “He for She Movement.”

Emma Watson giving her speech on the “He for She Movement.”

Society presently is more accepting of androgyny than in the past, outward appearances make gender roles more confusing: boys look like girls, girls look like boys. No one should have to decide on their gender depending on their sex in order to use a restroom. This is why “big companies like Google are adopting gender-neutral or unisex bathroom,” allowing for a comfortable, safe, place for their employees. Bathrooms in particular are a touchy issue when it comes to gender neutrality. Some people are uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with someone who is transgender, even though they classify as the same gender as they do. The article mentions a case where an employee who underwent gender-reassignment was excluded from using the all male and all female bathrooms. In other words, they had no bathroom. If a gender neutral bathroom had been installed, this problem would not have risen in the first place.

The 2016 Democratic Convention provided gender neutral bathrooms.

The 2016 Democratic Convention provided gender neutral bathrooms.

Like those with disabilities who fought for the Disabilities Act, transgender people are fighting for a workplace where they don’t feel excluded. However, gender issues cannot be resolved through just regulations and compliance. The problem must be first addressed with gender neutral designs. Because the definition of masculinity and femininity aren’t as clear in 2016, society must comply with this unclarity. The needs of individuals are constantly changing. For example, the need for a smartphone has led to everything becoming smartphone-friendly. When using public parking, instead of using a meter, one can now simply pay through their smart phone. Environments must also change to allow for individuality and freedom of gender.  

Works Cited

“Crazed Conservative Calls DNC’S Gender-Neutral Bathrooms ‘Rape Rooms.’”

N.p., July 2016. Web.

“Understanding HeForShe.” Into The Gloss. N.p., 2014. Web.

Tick, Suzanne. “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society.” Metropolis. N.p., n.d. Web.

Reading Analysis: “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces”

In their article, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi advocate for the necessity of interaction with nature on college campuses because it can help students maintain or restore cognitive function such as direct attention, problem solving, focus and concentration, impulse inhibition, and memory. In order to reach full potential, a college student must be stimulated through “well-designed and connected networks of indoor and open spaces on campuses,” meaning students should be walking outdoors between classes, not just from hall to hall to reach their full potential. The implication of nature adds a sense of community and value to the campus as well, benefitting all teachers, students, and employees.  

The University of Washington’s Quad has 31 Yoshino cherry trees, making for a beautiful social space.

The University of Washington’s Quad has 31 Yoshino cherry trees, making for a beautiful social space.


The history of college campuses shows that student success increased more as observatory space for agricultural, technical education, and scientific research were constructed. The Morrill act of 1862 required new buildings to provide this space, contributing to student learning through “its working farms, forests, arboretums, greenhouses, gardens.” Students were learning more than they could have in only clustered buildings. For example, students were taught “natural resources management, sustainability/ecology, agriculture, forestry, etc. and more recently, a focus on environmental education and sustainable practices,” leading to a new awareness of how important environmental protection is.

Gettysburg College greenhouse facility. It’s faculty staff and students are committed to improving sustainability.

Gettysburg College greenhouse facility. It’s faculty staff and students
are committed to improving sustainability.


Additionally, when students interact with nature, their cognitive function such as direct attention, problem solving, focus and concentration, impulse inhibition, and memory are being maintained and restored. This attentional system is referring to direct and involuntary attention. Involuntary attention stimulated by natural green environments, will thus better a student’s direct attention, improving their working memory, impulse inhibition, and concentration. This proves that a natural landscape has attention-restorative benefits and positively influences learning and academic performance.

A student’s learning is dynamic, meaning their ideas are enriched by instructed classroom experiences in addition to non-classroom occurrences. Quads and benches surrounded by green trees and brushes around the college campus promote these outside occurrences. For example, the American University surrounds a large, green quad where attending students socialize, study, and gather. This extracurricular experience promotes their success.

Furthermore, open spaces in higher education communities add value to the campus environment by “creating a sense of community, curbing escalating campus density, serving social and recreational needs, providing environmental benefits, and facilitating fundraising and recruitment of both faculty and students.” Without these open spaces, student and staff members would just walk from destination A to destination B, depriving them of any human interactions. These human interactions are necessary to build a stable community.

Students that attend Manhattan College gather on the quad to socialize during the spring time.

Students that attend Manhattan College gather on the quad to socialize during the spring time.

Learning spaces that utilize nature and create social spaces broaden learning opportunities for students. A naturalistically designed campus opens opportunities for learning and provides cognitive benefits, such as improved direct attention. Furthermore, a sense of community is built through social interaction in these open spaces, raising the quality of higher education campuses.

Works Cited

Kratsas, Gabrielle. “35 Great Value Colleges with Beautiful Campuses.” Great Value Colleges.  N.p.,  n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

Scholl, Kathleen, and Gowri Gulwadi. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces |   Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces.” Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces | Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

“Manhattan College.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

“Campus Initiatives.” Gettysburg College –. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.