by Yasmine Alwan on December 12, 2014 in Must Reads with No Comments »
In The Case for Black With a Capital B, Lori Thorps considers the evolution of the descriptor “Black.” In particular, she unfolds how political and cultural disenfranchisement — that is, racism — has been reflected in rules of capitalization in the US.
by Yasmine Alwan on October 28, 2014 in Must Sees with No Comments »
Here’s an NPR audio piece about poet and scholar Jamila Lyiscott. She explores the different meanings of being called “articulate” as an African American who speaks highly polished, academic language.
by Yasmine Alwan on October 14, 2014 in Must Reads with No Comments »
What if success isn’t about “doing it right” and is instead about one’s ability to tolerate failure? As this New York Times article “What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” by Paul Tough details, at the prestigious private school Riverdale Country School, the headmaster champions characteristics such as grit, curiosity, and zest over specific academic skills as the true route to achievement.
by Yasmine Alwan on October 2, 2014 in Must Sees with No Comments »
Some facts and figures from Harper’s Index (September, 2014) regarding education, race, national energy politics and more. A statistician’s dreamboat! Possibly profound, disturbing and hilarious for the rest of us.
by Yasmine Alwan on August 15, 2014 in Must Reads with No Comments »
In New York Times article, “Taking Fares, and Writing in Between,” Rohter (2014) shows how Syrian poet-in-exile Osama Alomar does just that from the driver’s seat of his cab in Chicago. A pile of dictionaries ride along with him in the front seat, and a notebook at the ready. Writer Lydia Davis calls his work “very imaginative and vivid and exhilarating,” and I find his grit and dedication also an exhilarating reminder of what little moments can add up to.
by Yasmine Alwan on August 14, 2014 in Must Sees with No Comments »
At first glance, the picture below might seem familiar –an old map of the Amazon River and its tributaries. Looking more closely, you may find this map increasingly curious… Armenia? Spain? Athens? Along the Amazon? In fact, this image is from the first text book for American school children, a textbook written in 1824 by feminist and innovative educator, Emma Willard. She created this map and diagram for students to memorize European history, in this case the progression of the Roman Empire, by diagraming that expansion visually onto the course of the Amazon. If you click onto the map below, a link will take you to version of the map that you can zoom into and see much more clearly.
Some LEC students have found it helpful to do thought maps too — of a different kind — as an initial method of visually organizing their ideas. Below, you can find an example of a thought map (about thought mapping) from the internet. Click onto it to find a link.
And here is a picture of Aston Powell, BBA 2015, standing in front of his thought map.
by Yasmine Alwan on July 24, 2014 in LEC Scholars with No Comments »
What brought me to MCNY was conflict, failure, a lack of confidence, no sense of direction and an overall loss of self. Growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I did not feel that others expected me to be successful and education was not emphasized. I was surrounded by drugs, gangs and violence. In 2013, I packed up and moved to Georgia in an attempt to reestablish my life. I moved into a suburban neighborhood with a friend who was very encouraging about the importance of an education and he took me around to colleges. We had an apartment together, but I didn’t have a driver’s license which was basically a necessity. I decided to come back to New York because of my financial situation, family and the convenience of transportation. I came to MCNY to better myself and to be a role model for my nieces and nephews. My passion for helping people drew me the human services program.
by Yasmine Alwan on July 10, 2014 in Must Reads with No Comments »
“I write in order to peruse myself” – Henri Michaux
“Writing can be an artificial arena where we mash the world into a shape we can stand to look at.” –Tim Kreider
From Approaches to What?
…In our haste to measure the historic, significant and revelatory, let’s not leave aside the essential: the truly intolerable, the truly inadmissible. What is scandalous isn’t the pit explosion, it’s working in coalmines. ‘Social problems’ aren’t ‘a matter of concern’ when there’s a strike, they are intolerable twenty-four hours out of twenty-four, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
Tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, tower-blocks that collapse, forest fires, tunnels that cave in, the Drugstore des Champs-Elysees burns down. Awful! Terrible! Monstrous! Scandalous! But where’s the scandal? The true scandal? Has the newspaper told us anything except: not to worry, as you can see life exists, with its ups and its downs, things happen, as you can see.
The daily papers talk of everything except the daily. The papers annoy me, they teach me nothing. What they recount doesn’t concern me, doesn’t ask me questions and doesn’t answer the questions I ask or would like to ask.
What’s really goind on, what we’re experiencing, the rest, all the rest, where is it? How should we take account of, question, describe what happens every day and recus every day: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infraoridnary, the background noise, the habitual?
To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we habituated to it. We don’t question, it it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a probme, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither questions nor answers, as if weren’t the bearer of any information…What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us…
Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare.
Make an inventory of your pockets, of your bag. Ask yourself about the provenance, the use, what will become of each of the objects you take out…
-Georges Perec from Species of Spaces and Other Pieces published by Penguin Books, 1999
by Yasmine Alwan on June 17, 2014 in Must Sees with No Comments »
Click on the picture below for two minutes of glorious — and perhaps challenging — nothing. It might show you some things about yourself — at least, I had no idea how hard it was to settle my frisky fingers (and brain). Upon my return to the world, I felt much more ready to engage. Courtesy of Jaya Kanan, previous Coordinator of the LEC.
by Yasmine Alwan on June 12, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, I was selected with five other Haitian students to come to New York and study Emergency and Disaster Management at MCNY to help Haiti for future disasters. I was very excited because it was one of my dreams to study in the U.S. But when I took a seat in class, I could barely understand what was said because the way I used to pronounce words was completely different from the way there are pronounced in the United States.
During that first week, I submitted my first assignment for my writing class to my writing professor. She gave me back the paper and said that she was not able to grade because she did not understand it. At that moment, I felt I was going straight toward failure in that Master’s program. I could read in the professors’ eyes that we were a casting mistake.
During our welcoming ceremony at Borough Hall, I made a speech that made everyone clap their hands. At that moment, I realized my chance to succeed in the program was not over, but I was at the beginning of a challenging journey. I knew my failure would have been a failure for my country and giving up was not an option. It was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Therefore, I decided to read more, take ESL classes, make the MCNY library my new home, and go to the LEC to improve my writing. At the end of the semester, I had an A for my writing class. And now, I just finished my first novel: I Dare You To Try It, that will be published soon. Thanks to LEC.
I was shy because of my accent, but Prof. Motola advised me to speak up. So I became more confident in my presentations. Some professors especially Prof. Chuck Frank and Prof. Mick Maurer, challenged us regardless of our origin, which built our capabilities. The college also organized a trip to Chile where we gained more knowledge and skills in disasters. I was very proud of my 3.83 total GPA.
What really makes MCNY special is the way the staff empower students with knowledge, skills, and self-confidence. A special thanks to God, my family, the Council Member, Matthieu Eugene, and MCNY. It was a wonderful experience for me at MCNY. The MCNY staff (admission, financial aid, registrar, LEC, etc…), my classmates, and my professors were amazing.