Video Storytelling: Western Thunder Marching Band 2013

For our tenth and final blog post, we were asked to make a video. The video Taylor and I chose to make was a promotional video about the Western Thunder Marching Band at the University of Wyoming. It is the band’s 100th year along with the largest band in school history with 190 members. We thought this was news worthy and decided to make a promotional video about the band.

The whole experience was very stressful for me. I didn’t have a huge part in collecting the video footage because my class schedule didn’t fit well with the band’s schedule. Also, I have to work at football games, so it wasn’t possible for me to get footage there either. After we collected the footage, Taylor and I made an outline of how we wanted the video to be laid out and what we wanted to include from the interviews. This really helped. After that, we started to make some headway on editing the video and putting the pieces together. We spent about four hours to begin with on the editing process. We saved the video to a Mac in the IT building because we were using Final Cut Pro. But, some guy driving a big truck decided to hit a power line and the IT building lost power for the majority of the morning and afternoon.

We thought we had lost all of our video and editing when we tried to open our project on a different computer, but after we realized we needed to use the same computer every time we got all of our edits and videos back. Another power outage and other programming mistakes also cost us a lot of time. I did not enjoy any part of that. It was very difficult and frustrating, but it was worth it because I feel like Final Cut Pro is the best software to use. Learning how to use the program and seeing our entire video come together was my favorite part of the experience. My perfectionist side of myself made it difficult to ever finish the project, but I think we did well for our skill levels.

I was surprised by how easy it was to edit, once we figured out how to run the program and once we figured out we had to always work on the same computer. I wasn’t surprised by the difficulty level when dealing with Apple programs, they are always such a pain. I was also surprised by how well it came together. I guess you could say I had set my standards kind of low for this project, and it ended up coming out a lot better than I thought it would have.

If I could have done anything differently it would have been to try to get better video quality and add more video effects. There is a lot someone could do with a promotional video like this, and I could have spent hours trying to do more with it. I also would have tried to get more involved with the filming processes, but that just wouldn’t work with my schedule. If I knew more about what Final Cut Pro could do, overall, then I think we could have made the video even better.

I don’t really see myself using video in the future. Even if I was planning on sticking with journalism, I don’t think it is my best attribute. I am appreciative of the opportunity to learn how to make videos because I think it is necessary for the growing demand journalists are having and the growing demand for video. It also just really stressed me out!

My attempt at Twitter journalism

For blog post #9 we were assigned to tweet a live event. I chose the men’s basketball game against Black Hills State University. I thought this would be a good opportunity to tweet because I intern for Athletics Media Relations and I am able to receive the stat updates and get front-row seats to the game.

I really enjoyed this experience. I have live tweeted for my internship a few times, so this wasn’t my first experience with live tweeting, but I enjoy it every time. I enjoyed being able to get information out immediately. I know how much I rely on Twitter for sports updates or for any news updates. It was nice being able to practice live tweeting for the future. The only part I didn’t enjoy was the fast-paced action of the tweeting. Basketball is a really fast game, so trying to tweet specific plays is hard because I just couldn’t keep up. I know this is part can never be fixed or probably will never get easier, but I still didn’t enjoy it!

As I said before, I have tweeted live previously so I knew how difficult it can be while tweeting for sporting events. I have only tweeted for football and wrestling, and I found out basketball was a lot harder. The fast-paced game is hard to keep up with and trying to keep stats while tweeting was even harder. I can see how journalist using Twitter was an extreme learning experience to begin with. I was surprised by how difficult it was. I figured because I had done it before, i wouldn’t be too hard of an assignment, but I was wrong. I didn’t find it overly difficult, but I was surprised by the level of difficulty. If I could do anything differently I probably would have tried to take better pictures. Because of where I was sitting on press row my shot was blocked by the two men doing radio in front of me. I could have gotten some good shots of BHSU’s team, but I felt like that was innapropriate for my tweets. I would also try to space out my tweets better. There are a lot of opportunities available to tweet during a basketball game and I wish I would have organized it better.

I love social media and I love to learn about the applications of social media. I thought the speaker from the Denver Post we had today was really interesting because I love to learn about how businesses and newspapers are using social media. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon and if I was to stay in the field, I would definitely want to go in this direction. Before I decided I wanted to go to law school I had originally planned on going this route in journalism, now I just like to learn about it.

Walk, fetch, study

Goldilocks is not your average Golden Retriever. She doesn’t spend her days chasing her tail and playing with her toys. Goldilocks is an adopted pet who is part of a study conducted on nursing students and the effects of pet therapy for students.

Within the last few years, pet therapy has been a popular subject among college campuses. A number of universities, including the University of Tennessee, St. Lawrence University, Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming, have brought in dogs during stressful times to help reduce stress levels and to positively impact performance of students. Alongside exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep, you can add “play with a pet” onto the list of ways to benefit your health.

Owning your own pet

According to Judith Young, the owner of Goldilocks and researcher behind the study, providing a therapy dog is a positive way to provide support to students during a stressful course of study. The popularity of therapy dogs at universities is spreading as students and administrators realize their benefits. But, some students also find that own a pet provides the same benefits.

Dani Riker, a grad student at the University of Wyoming, said her cat helps relieve stress and provides companionship. After finding her cat, Dixie, in her family’s barn suffering from starvation and disease over a year ago, she nursed Dixie back to life and she has been Riker’s best friend ever since.

“My first year of grad school was really stressful. I cried a lot from the amount of pressure I was under and the amount of stress I felt. It was very calming to come home and have Dixie sit on my lap and just make me feel better,” said Riker. “And when she does funny things that make me laugh, it’s like having weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Riker also has a pet guinea pig, Riley, who helps keep her company. “They provide such good companionship to someone who lives alone and spends most of their free time studying,” added Riker. “I am a lot less lonely ever since I got them.”

Holly Meltesen, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Alpine Animal Hospital in Laramie, Wyo., said owning a pet while in college can help decrease stress for the owner, encourage the owner to get outdoors and exercise and provide companionship to the owner and the pet. A study conducted at The Ohio State University found that nearly a quarter of college students, who reported for the survey, said pets were useful in keeping them active. Eighteen percent of the students said their pet was important in helping them cope during stressful situations, but the top reason for owning a pet was to avoid loneliness.

Sara Staats, the lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at Ohio State’s Newark Campus said in a published article,
“Many students said that their pets fulfill a significant role that is missing in their lives. The pets are not a substitute for human social interaction and support, but they do provide important interaction for these kids who might otherwise feel isolated from their current environment.”Staats also said that the research shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion.

3 factors to consider

Although pets can be beneficial to student’s health and wellness, take these factors into consideration before becoming a pet “parent”:

1. Pets are expensive.
Beth Greenfield of Forbes, put together a list of pets and their annual expenses. The expenses include food, vaccinations and other necessary purchases. According to Greenfield’s list, a small dog can cost anywhere from $965-$5,969 a year, and large dogs can end up being around $1,700 a year. Cats and ferrets cost around $700 a year. Birds, rabbits and reptiles all cost around $500 a year and horses cost at least $3,600 a year. If you’re hoping to find a cheap pet, you might want to stick with Beta fish, $5 and up, or hamsters that have about a $200 expense per year.

Meltesen also said a pet owner needs to take into consideration other costs that can come with owning a pet. Puppies need a series of vaccinations and older pets need more vet-visits as their age increases.

“An owner needs to make sure they can afford any unexpected costs of having a pet; such as surgeries for unknown illnesses or accidents,” added Meltesen.

2. Quality time
“Although quality time is beneficial to the owner and the pet, the owner needs to make sure they have enough time to spend with a pet in order to ensure the quality of their mental health,” said Meltesen. She also added that each pet is different. Puppies are harder than most pets because a person has to spend the time to train the dog. “Puppies go through different stages as they grow. They will want to chew on everything and will be hyper, so a person needs to be aware of the time needed to get through the phases and train the dog right,” said Meltesen. She also said that as a pet gets older, they won’t need the amount of attention that is crucial to a pet in their beginning years and that cats need less active time than dogs.

3. Where do you live?
A lot of college students live in rental apartment or homes. You will want to make sure pets are allowed on your property before ever considering a pet. The Humane Society of the United States gives a few suggestions on finding a pet-friendly rental. The Humane Society also mentions you should be willing to pay a little extra in security deposits when living with a pet. You can contact The Humane Society or animal care and control agency serving the area where you live or are moving and ask about apartment communities that allow pets. The Humane Society also suggests that you “promote yourself” and “promote your pet.” Show landlords that you are a responsible pet owner, who in turn, makes a good resident. Show that your pet has no fleas, your pet is under control and invite the landlord to visit your pet in your home, according to The Humane Society’s website, “A freshly groomed, well-behaved pet will speak volumes.”

Still want a pet?

If you find that you have considered all three factors and decided you want a pet, then there are a few directions you can go.

1. Buy a pet.
If you can afford the expense of getting a new pet, then do it. According to Greenfield, breeders can change upwards of $600 for a puppy, but the cost of any pet will vary. Take into consideration all the factors and allow that to help you make an informed decision.

2. Adopt a pet
Buying a puppy or a kitten can be more expensive than you can handle. Consider adopting a pet as a cheaper alternative. According to The Humane Society of the United States, more than 6 million pets end up in shelters every year. The Humane Society also said adopting a shelter pet typically cost less and could possibly be free to the adopter.

Meltesen, a proponent of rescue animals, said adopting a pet is not only cheaper, but can be less stressful than training a puppy or another young pet. She also said that the majority of adopted pets don’t have behavioral issues, and the ones that do can be fixed with help.

The Humane Society suggests you check out one of the numerous websites that house shelter pets. According to The Humane Society’s website, The Shelter Pet Project is “the most comprehensive source of information on adopting a shelter pet.” You should also visit your local shelter, which may not be listed in the Shelter Pet Project.

3. Volunteer
If buying or adopting a pet isn’t in the cards for you, consider volunteering at your local shelter to get your “fix” of animals. The Humane Society of the United States gives a list of benefits you’ll receive from volunteering. Some benefits include: being a part of the solution to spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection, get the warm fuzzies, keep good company and enjoy the wagging of a tail.

To find volunteer opportunities you should contact your local animal shelter and ask about any volunteer opportunities. You can also look for opportunities on websites such as, or the website for the ASPCA.

Lily Strong

In a rare moment of embarrassment, 4-year-old, Lily Wilson, sticks out her tongue and covers her face with her arm as she walks into a large crowd standing outside her home. Wearing purple T-shirts with the words “Lily Strong” on the front, Lily’s family and friends gathered for the celebration of this special moment in Lily’s life. The outgoing, high-spirited, little girl from the small town of Upton, Wyo. has won over the hearts of everyone from high school students to strangers on her journey through an experience no one knew if she would survive.

16 months

Mikayla and Pete Wilson had been married for almost three years when they decided to move from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Upton. Pete took a job as principal of the high school and Mikayla was hired to teach middle school social studies. They were just settling into Upton with their 16-month-old daughter, Lily, when Mikayla noticed a bump on the inside of Lily’s nose.

“I was rocking Lily to sleep when I saw what looked almost like a pimple on the inside of her nose. It was rock hard and I thought that was strange, so Pete and I took her to the emergency room that night,” said Mikayla.

“It was really by chance that we decided to take her in, the EMT we spoke to told us he thought it was a tumor and to go to Mayo right away.”

The Wilson’s immediately got in their car and started to the 10 hour journey from Upton to Rochester, Minn., en route to the Mayo Clinic.

They arrived at Mayo around 3 a.m. on a Monday morning. The Wilsons were told at 6 a.m. the doctors would not be able to see Lily until Wednesday. Because Lily was so young, she had to be put under anesthesia to be scanned. No anesthesiologists were available for two days. “I asked them, ‘What do we have to do?,’ We’ll sit in the waiting room if we have to. And so that’s what we did,” said Mikayla. An anesthesiologist did manage to squeeze Lily in on Tuesday, and by Friday Lily was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma.

16 months to 2 years

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a cancerous tumor of the muscles that are attached to the bones. Lily’s tumor was inside her nose, a common site for Rhabdomyosarcoma. According to the American Cancer Society, Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for about 3 percent of all childhood cancers, and there are about 350 new cases that occur each year in the United States.

Lily was diagnosed in Stage 1, Group 1. This was good news for the Wilsons. Lily’s tumor started in a favorable area and had not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of her body. Her tumor was removed by surgery on Dec. 30, 2010, two weeks after her diagnosis.

lily going to surgery

After the tumor was removed, the Wilsons felt as though other option than to start a 43-week chemotherapy treatment and they ultimately decided on radiation as well. “Deciding on whether or not to do radiation was the hardest decision we had to make,” said Mikayla. “It came down to knowing her chances of surviving rhabdomayo[sarcoma] again were very slim, and it was worth the chance of her developing a secondary cancer later on from the radiation, that she could hopefully beat.”

Lily’s chemotherapy treatments were all done in Sioux Falls, S.D. Every three weeks Lily had to go in for a three-day, overnight treatment consisting of three different types of medicines. In between her three-week treatments, Lily had to go in once a week for a single, two-hour treatment.

Both Mikayla and Pete continued to work during this process. They made the six-hour drive to Sioux Falls every weekend, and stayed with good friends. “They [Pete and Mikayla’s close friends] treated Lily like their own child. She had toys and her own room with Dora stickers on the wall,” said Mikayla. “It was so nice of them to bring us in like that.”

If the Wilsons did not stay with friends, they would often make the drive back to Upton in a single day. Lily often got sick on these road trips, and was mostly fed formula because of the nausea caused by the chemo.For radiation treatments, Lily and Mikayla traveled to Houston. Lily received Proton radiation, a relatively new form of radiation, which pinpoints exactly where the laser should go and can be pulled back out. This causes less damage and does not let the radiation spread throughout her face.

Mikayla stayed at the Ronald McDonald house in Houston for a month while Lily was receiving her treatments. Over the course of the month, many friends and family members went to Houston to support Lily and Mikayla during this emotional time. “Being in Houston was the worst part, for me, of the entire experience. I didn’t know anyone there, I had no car, and I couldn’t even run to Wal-Mart to get Lily diapers,” stated Mikayla. “Pete couldn’t come down because he couldn’t leave school and that was very hard for me, so he called my family and asked them to be with me there. I was so thankful for that.”

The Wilsons also received help in other ways. Upton Schools organized an auction to raise money for Lily; “Love for Lily” raised around $28,000. Also helping Lily, was Pete and Mikayla’s former schools of employment. Mikayla’s former school raised $700, which was matched by Thrivent Financial totaling $1,400. There was another auction held at multiple basketball games at the school Pete previously taught at, along with an auction held in Mikayla’s hometown, Spearfish, S.D., that raised around $32,000.

The national Children’s Miracle Network helped donate formula, diapers and other necessitates. The regional Children’s Miracle Network out of Rapid City, S.D. helped pay for gas and travel expenses. Also, when flights were available, a program called “Angel Flight” provided two free tickets to Sioux Falls. The Wilson’s are eligible receive “Angel Flight” tickets whenever traveling for check-ups and appointments in Houston or Rochester.

lily in ICU

Because Mikayla continued to work while Lily was going through this experience, she was babysat often by local women. Dormie Materi became friends with the Wilsons when they arrived in Upton. Materi remembers playing with Lily.

“When I would watch Lily, she would get out her doctor kit and would practice using the different instruments on me. She knew what every instrument was called and what it was for. She would even check my blood pressure,” Materi remarked.

Materi’s favorite quality in Lily is her spunk and although she knows she did not have a normal childhood, she thinks Lily will do just fine adjusting to being a normal kid.
“Lily is outgoing, social, active, and you can just tell she will grow up and have a ton of confidence,” added Materi.

2 to 4 years

Just like many preschool girls, Lily had a princess-themed birthday party for her third birthday. A couple middle school girls came dressed as Cinderella, Tinkerbell and Belle. Lily screamed and giggled as she saw them, but does not recognize the girls as a few of her babysitters.

Lily tells everyone to look at her pretty hair as she drags her baby brother, Landry, around the house. Her dirty blonde curls are a sign that her battle with cancer is now over. She has a scar from a feeding tube and thinks that anyone in a hospital has cancer, but she shows no signs of fear.

Lily’s current struggle is one for attention. With a new brother and less hospital time, she is having a hard time adjusting to receiving less attention. “For a year, the world revolved around Lily,” said Mikayla. “Family, friends, nurses, and even strangers all focused on Lily. Now, as parents, we have to find a happy-medium between giving her too much attention and not enough.”

4 years
Lily tells everyone, including strangers, that she wants her mom’s new baby to be a girl.

“I think it’s going to be a girl. If it’s not, I’m going to take my magic wand and change it to a girl,” explained Lily.

Mikayla, seven months pregnant with her third child, laughed at this remark by Lily. She says Lily has taught her how to stay positive and to stay strong, no matter what. “We did what we had to do, and we got through it. I sometimes look back now and wonder how we did it, but then I think we could do it all over again if we had to,” said Mikayla.

The Wilson’s hope Lily can stay healthy. If she can make it three more years without the cancer returning, she won’t have to worry about anything except what she will wear on her first day of school.“I hope she uses her cancer as inspiration. I want it to push her forward and inspire her to do great things,” added Mikayla.


After getting through the crowd of purple, Lily forgets all about her family and friends when she sees the big surprise. She screams and giggles as she jumps onto the huge play-set with three slides sitting in her backyard.

The Make-A-Wish foundation provided Lily with the play-set after she made a “wish” for a big play-set with exactly three slides. The Wilson’s wanted to keep the play-set a secret from Lily and thought throwing a revealing party would be a great way to celebrate Lily’s winning battle against cancer. Red-faced with curly, messy hair, Lily seems like an average four-year-old girl. But to anyone who knows Lily she is brave, strong and anything but average.

SoundSlides: A review

This power ranger decorated cookies at Delta Delta Delta while participating in Safe Treat on Halloween.

This power ranger decorated cookies at Delta Delta Delta while participating in Safe Treat on Halloween.

My SoundSlides project is avaiable on our class website.

For blog post #8, we were assigned a SoundSlides project. My partner for this project was Taylor (William) Bailey. For our project, we decided we wanted to do a behind the scenes look at Safe Treat. This meant we had to gather audio from members of RSO’s, sororities, and anyone else who may have helped or attended Safe Treat. We also had to take pictures to go along with the audio. SoundSlides is essentially a form of MovieMaker or iMovie, that puts audio and pictures together to form a type of video that we then sent to Dr. Landreville to watch.

This wasn’t my first time working with Taylor on group projects. We have been doing group projects together for about two years now, so I think we know how to work pretty well together. We had to work together a lot on how to decide what direction we wanted our project to go in, and what information, audio and photographs we wanted to include. Planning ahead was necessary for this assignment. We didn’t really have anything too interesting or noteworthy happen along the way. The pictures didn’t turn out quite as good as I had hoped, but we ran into some lighting issues at the Union and it got dark outside pretty fast the night of Safe Treat. We also came up with the idea to add an “ambient noise” track that included the “Monster Mash,” which is my favorite Halloween song! I think this added a lot to the project and kept it interesting.

SoundSlides was actually pretty easy to run. It was actually the easiest part of the whole project. Taylor and I split up the responsibilities. He was in charge of all the audio and I was in charge of the pictures. I’m a little embarrassed to say this because I wasn’t overly proud of the way they turned out, but he deserves the credit for the audio! Once we both got our part of the project done, I downloaded the free trial of SoundSlides onto my personal computer. I put the audio and photos onto the project, rearranged them into the appropriate order and added captions and titles. Once I figured out I had to download the “plus” version of SoundSlides it went pretty smoothly.

The problems I encounter the most were probably the lighting in the pictures. I am definitely not a profession photographer, so it was a struggle for me to get good pictures in the bad indoor lighting that was present in the different buildings. I spent a lot of time trying to get rid of the yellow hue of the photos on Photoshop. We also had to make sure and keep the audio short enough to be able to accommodate for the pictures. A lot of the pictures I took didn’t end up turning out as well as I had hoped so our pictures were limited.

If I could redo this assignment, I would definitely take more pictures. I also get kind of nervous taking pictures of strangers, so I think I would also try and forgot about it and get “up close and personal” with people to get better pictures. Also, I wish we could have had better interviews with parents. It wasn’t essential to our project because we did a “behind the scenes” look at Safe Treat, but I think it would have added to the project.

My Audio Profile: Taylor Bailey

My audio editing experience went pretty painless for my first time around. I think Taylor made it pretty easy for me, but overall I think it went pretty well. I am an extreme perfectionist so eventually I had to quit editing and accept the audio the way it is, but it went a lot better than I thought it would before I started.

I learned so much from this experience. I have never done anything with audio before so I completely started from scratch when learning how to use audio. I really enjoyed it and I think it is a skill that will be nice to be able to say I have. Learning how to use Audacity was a little frustrating at first, but after I figured out how to use it, it became a much better experience.

I enjoyed the whole process of audio editing. I think using audio for a profile is a great way to connect the listener to the profile subject and a really awesome way of using journalism. I didn’t enjoy the never-ending process of audio editing. I constantly feel like I could keep making the audio better and better, but at some point I had to quit editing and accept the final draft as good enough, because otherwise I would still be editing until 11:58 tonight.

It surprised me how much I enjoyed doing audio. It was frustrating and difficult, but the final result was gratifying. I am usually very word-oriented and I enjoy the process of writing, but I was surprised how much I liked doing audio also. I’m not sure I would ever voluntarily choose to do audio over written journalism, but I am glad I learned how to do it and it is always and option I will be able to have.

I actually thought the content of my interview was really good. I had a hard time deciding what content I needed to cut and what content I wanted to keep because I could have gone a few different ways with the edited version. I decided to go with the emotional aspect of Taylor’s interview and use the parts of the interview that I felt Taylor really connected with. But, I also could have gone with a more descriptive route of the whole travel experience, including the parts of the interview where Taylor talks about what he did in New York and the different “sights” he got to see.

I wish my cuts could have gone more smoothy. I know I’m not an audio expert, but the different pieces cut together were really hard for me to get to fit smoothly together. Taylor kept using intro words in his sentences, such as, “I would have to say..” and I wanted to cut those out because it was getting repetitive. But because I did that, there wasn’t as much pausing in-between sentences as I would have liked.

My Raw interview with Taylor

My interviewing experience went pretty well for the first time interviewing a person by myself. Working for Athletics Media Relations has taught me how to use audio recorders and how to play back the audio to use for press releases. But, I have never had to ask the questions before and that made me a little nervous. It was also a little awkward to be interviewed by someone with an audio recorder. I am a bad nervous giggler, so I had to make sure and try not to giggle while Taylor interviewed me. I understand now how nerve-racking it can be to be interviewed by someone recording.

I learned from this experience how difficult using audio is. When you’re writing a story you can go back and rearrange sentences and make the story sound the way you want it to, but with audio you only have what’s available to you on your recorder. You can’t make the interview better by playing up the story, because the interview is the story when using audio.

I enjoyed the the learning experience of using audio and how to use it for journalistic purposes. I like that I will be able to use this multimedia in the future. I didn’t enjoy how awkward the experience was and how difficult the whole process is. I am also an extreme perfectionist, so I have a hard time stopping an interview and having to be OK with what material I had.

I wish I could have gotten more details and anecdotes from Taylor about his experience. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we started the interview so I just had to go with the flow. I didn’t like that very much because I didn’t know how to ask the questions to get the answers I wanted. I think with time I will learn how to do these type of interviews more easily and have a better understanding of what to expect during the interviews. I wish my questioning would have went more smoothly, for the same purposes. I could have gotten a lot better information if I knew what type of questions I needed to ask.

Creative Devices of Photography: My five favorite photos.

Close-up with Finley.


Finley, a Cairn Terrier, enjoys a little time relaxing after barking all day.

For this picture, my main creative device I used was focus. My dog, Finley, is the main focus of this picture, while the background of my friend is out of focus. This draws the attention to Finley and away from my friend and helps the viewer focus on Finley rather than her surroundings. Finley is hard to take pictures of because of her black fur, so getting up close and focusing only on her makes the photo more aesthetically-pleasing. I also used the rule of thirds to make the photo more interesting.

Fall in Laramie


Cottonwood trees changing color on the UW campus.

For this photo, my main creative device was color. I grew up in the Black Hills and only saw Pine trees my whole life, so I love the yellow color the leaves change to in the Fall. The yellow color against the blue sky makes the picture aesthetically-pleasing and the two trunks create leading lines up the photo and create a focus for the eye.

Bottles and Bottles.


Bottles line the shelves of a liquor store in Upton, WY.

I took this photo at my family’s liquor store in Upton, WY.  The main creative device used here is leading lines. The shelves create lines that lead the eye down the rows towards the right of the picture, creating focus on the left then leading the eye right. Also, the symmetry of the bottles creates a uniformed look which makes it aesthetically pleasing rather than unorganized and confusing.

A day at the Esquivel’s.


Generations of music-lovers come out of the Esquivel family.

Although this photo isn’t as high-quality as I wish it was, I think it has great use of the creative device, background. The focal point is the little boy, Rio, in the middle of the photo. This focal point is created by the eyes of the woman on the left looking down at him and the angle I shot this picture at. I think getting on level with Rio makes the photo more interesting and makes him the focal point, rather than the entire “band” as the focus. This also helps the picture be more aesthetically pleasing to help make up for the bad lighting.

Rio eats cake.


Rio enjoys cake on his first birthday.

I took this picture of my nephew, Rio, during his first birthday party. Although the shadow in the background is distracting, I wanted to capture the texture of the cake. Rio is the main focus, but the addition of the cake in front of him and on his face adds texture to the photo. I took the cake in front of him a little out of focus to create focus on Rio and the cake on his face and fingers. The texture makes this photo aesthetically pleasing by making the cake look delicious and sticky. I also used the rule of thirds to make the picture more interesting.


My five main creative devices were: focus, color, leading lines, background and texture. Although these were the main devices, I also used many secondary creative devices as well. I used the rule of thirds in the first and last photo, this makes the photos more interesting and helps draw attention to the focus, especially by putting the cake in the corner of my last photo. I used leading lines in the second photo to help lead the eye up the photo. I used symmetry in the third photo to help create organization in the photo and make the photo more aesthetically pleasing.

I was surprised by how much I rely on Photoshop while doing this assignment. I usually take a photo and then crop it to what looks best in Photoshop. Not being able to crop made me think more about how I took each picture. I also wish I could have had more time to take my pictures, I think I could have found better subjects and took better pictures.

The team behind the team

It’s Saturday-Game Day.

Fans are flocking to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie to watch Wyoming’s one-and-only Division I football team. They awake early to make the long drive from every corner of the state, anxiously waiting to hear Bon Jovi and the bang of the canon. But before Brett Smith makes his first throw and before Dave Christensen puts on his visor, the team behind the team has been hard at work.

Six hours before kick-off, the UW student equipment managers arrive at the Rochelle Athletic Center, the RAC, to begin their morning job duties. They begin by taking all of the gear; trunks full of extra helmet parts, rain gear, phone systems, etc., out to the field. After they set up the sidelines, the managers go over to concessions and get drinks and food for the “chain gang,” refs, and other workers. They then hang around until two hours before kick-off when the team arrives.

After the team arrives, the managers make sure all the players have their gear, help put on eye black, and wait around to see if anyone needs help. About an hour before the game starts, the managers help with stretching and pre-game drills.

During the game, the managers are in charge of anything that breaks, equipment problems, and making sure they are available for help. They are essentially “on call” for any problems that may arise during the game. Once the game is over, they clean up and leave work.

After celebrating a win, the managers all spend their Saturday night a little differently. Steven Sundberg, a senior Mechanical Engineering major, spends his night with his new wife, Jessica, and their dog Rosie. Henry Nira, a senior Agriculture Business major, spends his night dancing with his girlfriend, Bethany, at the Cowboy. Shea Bartsch, a junior Graphic Design major, spends his night with a few other managers, hanging out and watching movies.

It’s Sunday.

After spending their Saturday’s hard at work, the equipment managers can’t wait for a day off. Steven plans on spending his Sunday doing homework and building a storage shed he and Jessica have bought for their wedding gifts that are now taking up too much room in their apartment. Henry plans on sleeping and doing absolutely nothing, and Shea plans on hanging out and watching football all day.

That’s the plan, until Mad Dog calls and tells them to come to the RAC and help with laundry.

“That’s the worst part about being a manager,” said Steven. “You’re always waiting on Dog’s call.”

Mike Aanonsen, more commonly known as “Mad Dog” or “Dog” by anyone in athletics, is the head Equipment Manager and the student managers’ boss.

The guys go do laundry, which takes around four hours, and then head home.

It’s a weekday.

Every weekday, the eight managers are at practice until 11a.m. They usually have to come into the RAC an hour before practice starts. On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays the managers have to be in at 8 in the morning, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the managers arrive at 7 in the morning.

The manager team has to set up for practice and get the sound system and equipment ready before practice starts. During practice they help set up drills and have balls ready. They also help run practice by keeping time and running the “script,” which is a list of how practice is supposed to be run. After practice is over, the clean everything up and usually leave an hour or two after practice has ended.

When Steven is not at practice or working in the equipment room, he is probably at class. Being a Mechanical Engineering major, he has a demanding workload for school. When he’s not at class or working, he is doing homework or in his FE Review class from 7 to 9 at night. The FE is an engineer’s major exam upon graduating. Steven think’s its hard to go to school and be a manager. He wishes he has more time to put towards advancing his career and being more involved in having a profession.
“When you’re not in class everyone thinks you have nothing else to do, and that you should be doing something football related. It’s hard because some students just have harder degrees than others.”

Henry spends his weekdays working, going to class, doing homework, meeting with teachers and taking as many naps as he can. He is working on his senior thesis that is required for Ag Business majors. He meets with his teachers all afternoon on Wednesdays to get help with his thesis. Henry sleeps a lot in class and doesn’t like having practice before he goes to school.

“You just want to relax. It’s hard to pay attention in class after being at practice all morning,” said Henry.

Shea has very long days. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s he goes to class from noon till 6:30p.m., after being at practice all morning. Shea takes a nap any chance he can get, especially between getting done with class and starting his late night homework.

It’s Saturday-Another Game Day.

“The best part about being an equipment manager is the lifelong friendships we have made,” said Steven. The majority of managers said, if they could do it all over again, they would.

“Its a good experience. You learn how to manage time and prioritize your activities. It’s also a cool experience, getting to travel and stuff, ” said Henry.

Even though the managers often feel under-appreciated and stretched thin with school, practice and trying to have a life, they all agree it is a fun experience filled with great memories.

After traveling Friday night to their next away game, the boys get up Saturday morning and start all over again.

The UW student equipment managers are located on the top row, in brown polos, of this team picture. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Athletics

A feature video about Iowa’s football managers.

A video of Miami, Ohio’s equipment manager, known for his dancing.

Coal: A Usability Test

For this blog post assignment, I was given the website for Coal: A Love Story, and performed a usability test. I performed the usability test on two different web browsers: Internet Explorer and Safari. Surprisingly, I found no difference in usability between the two different browsers.

My initial thoughts about the look of the main page were very attractive. I thought the theme of the page was very relevant to the subject and coordinated well. For the most part I liked the design of the page for the same reasons why I liked the looks of the page. What I didn’t like, was the layout of the design and how the different stories and links ran together in appearance. The feel of the main page was very appealing and made me want to keep looking on.

I started exploring the page by watching the “Start Your Experience” video, which is the first option at the top of the page. After watching that, I clicked “next” and watched the following story, “Love isn’t Simple.” I continued this pattern down the page until I got to “From Coal Town to Ghost Town.” I watched every video and looked at every graphic from the first video to the graphic I just mentioned. I went in this order because I thought it was interesting the way the stories continued down the line.

After looking at the graphic, I started to watch and look at any of the graphics related to Wyoming. I grew up in the Northeastern corner of Wyoming, in a town that is primarily employed by the surrounding coal mines. Because I grew up around coal mines, this subject really piqued my interest. I first watched the “Wyoming to Chicago” graphic. After watching that, I watched “Sometimes it’s hard to get away.” I then looked at the graphic, “Where your coal comes from.” I thought this graphic was very interesting and I spent a lot of time looking over it. After spending some time on that graphic, I continued on a watched a few more videos and clicked on a link that took me to the home page for “Powering A Nation.” From there I got lost and had to re-enter the address to get back to the coal site.

I only encountered one problem when navigating the site. The navigation was simple and the navigation buttons were large. The controls and navigations were in logical places, top to bottom, and the multimedia was integrated into text. It was easy to return to previous content because large [X] were available to click and get out of the different pop-up windows. The location and position of links were always the same and there was less than seven available options for primary navigation. The labels could be a little more clear and overall, the design was simple and clean.

I enjoyed the design and usability of the site, but i think it might be harder to navigate for anyone who doesn’t use web browsers well or very often. I can’t see my grandma being able to run this website.

It took me a while to find the contact information. I thought maybe I should contact News21, the Carnegie Corporation, or the Knight Foundation for information because they are listed at the bottom of the site under “about”, but I knew that wasn’t right. I navigated myself back to the main page for “Powering a Nation” and at the top right corner of the homepage was a “about” tab. After I clicked on that tab, it brought me to a tap labeled, “contact.” Overall, it took be about ten minutes to find the contact page.

After I finished my usability test, I had my fiancé, Joe, conduct a test on my Mac using Safari. Joe thought the site was confusing at first because he couldn’t tell what was a link and what was a picture, but liked the way it looked. He called it a “cool site,” but thought the design of the site was “very busy.”

Joe scrolled up and down for a while trying to decide what to click on. I had to tell him he was allowed to click the links, because he thought he was supposed to just look at the page and not click on anything. The first video he watched was “Sometimes it’s hard to get away.” I think this was his first choice because he found it interesting since his family has a background in ranching and my background in coal. He then went to “Where your coal comes from,” and explored that for a while. He then clicked on a video towards the top, “Love isn’t simple”.

After he watched “Love isn’t simple,” he got confused on what to do next. The video was only a minute long and after it finished it had an arrow pointing to the “next” button. Joe either didn’t want to push next, or didn’t see it because I had to tell him to push “next” for him to continue. It only took Joe a few minutes to find the contact information, but he got very frustrated by the time he found it.

Joe and I had different experiences when conducting the usability test. I thought it was easy to navigate, but it confused him. I started at the top and worked my way down and he went straight into a video in the middle of page. I agreed with him about the layout of the page and we both thought that stance on coal was a little confusing. We also agreed on the look of the page, in that the theme was “cool.”

The three things the website should not change are:
1. The content. The content really hit home for me and I found myself wanting to keep looking on and on. I spent longer than ten minutes.
2. The theme. I loved the theme of the webpage and thought it fit perfect with the overall image.
3. The videos. I know this is part of the content, but I love watching videos and people react to videos way better than text or graphics.

The Three things I would change are:
1. The links. The links and the pictures run together and I think people would have a hard time knowing they are links.
2. The “next” buttons. I thought the next button was obvious, but I can see how others would be confused by it. It needs to be more clear that someone should click it to continue on.
3. The Homepage: It was really confusing on how to get to the homepage. Without getting to the homepage, there is no way to find the contact list.

Overall, I think Coal: A Love Story passed the usability test. I couldn’t put it away and I think that is the most important factor.

I pass this sign going to, and from my hometown, Upton, whenever I drive from Laramie.