Ursuline College heads out on a Portrait of Italy

In 6 days, 23 of the Ursuline College Community (alumnae, students, staff & friends of the College) will set out on a 17-day excursion through Italy.  The planning of the trip started over a year ago and it’s hard to believe that we departure in less than a week.  The trip includes; Amalfi, Pompeii, Sorrento, Rome, Orvieto, Assisi, Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and Venice.  The journey will showcase ancient sites and ruins, priceless art, outstanding cuisine and unique lodging.

Throughout the trip, travelers will blog, showcasing their individual perspectives and photos.  As the Alumnae Director, I am extremely excited to begin the trip and experience this with fellow alumnae, students & friends of Ursuline & St. John College.

Andrews Osborne Academy students Read Out!

Thirteen Reasons Why the Beloved Captain Underpants is Looking for Alaska

“Beginning to think is beginning to be undermined”—this simple yet profound observation comes from French novelist and existentialist philosopher Albert Camus. I return to this quote often in my work as a scholar and as a teacher; it reminds us that true education is not merely the accumulation of facts, nor is it simply training to become “something.” Rather, the goal of education is to put ourselves face-to-face with ideas, experiences, and viewpoints that challenge us to examine our values and beliefs. And as Camus’ observation suggests, this process can be risky, frightening, and downright dangerous. However, to run away from or cover up ideas that appear to threaten our comfort and certainty diminishes us intellectually, morally, and spiritually. This past week we celebrated intellectual freedom with a Read Out of books that have been challenged, restricted, or outright banned in the interest of protecting social, political, and religious values. The fact that we have reason to celebrate Banned Books Week http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/  actually cheers me—for all of the supposed irrelevance and uselessness of literature, art and the humanities in our culture, the fact that year after year challenges and objections arise to “dangerous” books  demonstrates clearly the tremendous power of literature, of words, and  of the creative mind. The event was a great success; we did field one complaint about inappropriate material, and,  interestingly, we also had one passerby become irate thinking we were advocating censorship through our display! (but once the purpose of the Read Out was made clear, all was well!). And best of all, Captain Underpants made a special guest appearance!        

Andrews Osborne Academy students Read Out!

Andrews Osborne Academy students Read Out!

So don’t be afraid to open yourself to ideas that run counter to your own beliefs —you may learn something unexpected, see the world in a new way, let of something you thought unshakeable. You may also come away with your values all the stronger for having engaged in the difficult, risky and always rewarding work that real thinking requires.


BTW: The title of this post is a mashup of several titles from the list of most challenged books for 2012-13. Check ’em out!

Whatcha doin’ Friday night? Like to get all starry eyed?

Perhaps you would like to join us in Geauga for our Park District’s “Women in Space” program celebrating the 50th anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova becoming the first woman to travel into space and 30 years since Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. This program examines the important contributions woman have made in space science.

AND! The stars not only dance over Observatory Park, but the skies are so dark you can clearly see them, which is why we are an official international dark sky park, one of only 5 in the country and 8 in the world as of 2011.  The planetarium, telescopes, and staff naturalists give you a clear view of the world above us.

When:  Friday, September 27 from 7-8 pm (park is open to 11 pm)

How much? FREE with no registration required

For more information: http://www.geaugaparkdistrict.org/

Where:  Robert McCullough Science Center, 10610 Clay Street, Observatory Park, Montville, Geauga County, Ohio

How in the world do I get there?  Easiest route from Ursuline is straight east on Rt. 322/Mayfield Road (after Route 608 and before Route 528)  then north (left) on Clay Street.  Observatory Park will be north of Chardon-Windsor Road on the left (west) side of the road.   Map is online at http://www.geaugaparkdistrict.org/find-a-park.shtml

WHAT??? You haven’t visited Observatory Park yet?  There’s an observatory and telescope, over 1100 beautiful acres to hike, a one mile Planetary Trail that takes you on an imaginary stroll across the solar system, human sundial, sculptures, meteorite display, seismograph station, green building features, and so much more.  Interested in viewing what they offer?  Check out http://www.youtube.com/user/GeaugaParkDistrict1/videos

Enjoy every minute in gorgeous Geauga!

Celebrate National Public Lands Day!


Saturday, September 28, is National Public Lands Day and a fee-free day at most federally managed lands, including our National Parks and many National Historic Sites.


National Public Lands Day celebrates our nations’ 600 million acres plus of public lands, educates about our natural heritage, advocates for shared stewardship of these irreplaceable resources, and promotes partnerships to enhance, restore, and improve public lands.  For more information and volunteer opportunities, explore http://www.publiclandsday.org.


In northeastern Ohio, this is a great opportunity to celebrate and visit our own James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio.


President Garfield, often referred to as one of our favorite sons, is near and dear to the hearts of many in northeastern Ohio.   The last of our “Log Cabin Presidents,” he was born in 1831 in Orange Township (now S.O.M. Center Road in Moreland Hills), drove canal boat teams on the Ohio Canal, attended school at the Geauga Seminary in Chesterland, taught classics at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), served in the Ohio Senate, led Ohio troops and rose to prominence as a Major General in the Civil War, represented Ohio in Congress, and was a frequent visitor, with his wife Lucretia, at the Lake Erie Female Seminary (now Lake Erie College in Painesville).


And all this before he launched his famous Front Porch Campaign for the U.S. Presidency from his home at the old Dickey Farm in Mentor!  (Little wonder that the newspaper reporters of the time dubbed the property “Lawnfield” by which it is known today).


Garfield’s tenure as President was cut short when he was shot in 1881.  Today he is interred in the Garfield Monument in Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery.


But his legacy lives on at his home in Mentor where our James A. Garfield National Historic Site features the beautifully and accurately restored Garfield home, a state of the art visitor center and museum in the restored 1894 Carriage House, a brief introductory film, a campaign headquarters, windmill, various outbuildings, and lovely park grounds.


Several free special events will be held on National Public Lands Day, including a presentation on the President’s last days and subsequent death as well as the public unveiling of a new portrait of Garfield during the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga by Ohio artist Amy Lindenberger.  For more information, explore http://www.nps.gov/jaga/index.htm.

So join us on September 28 in celebrating the incredible legacy of preservation of public lands that we enjoy in the United States.




#UCStyleFiles Setting the Mood with Color


There’s no better way to illicit drama, mood, and emotion than to express them with color. Whether you’re thinking about fashion, marketing, branding, interior design, or graphic design color plays a momentous role in the overall composition.

What does your favorite color say about you?

Image via Pinterest: What does your favorite color say about you?

People tend to want to immerse themselves in an atmosphere that brings them comfort: If you think of something cool and calming, you’re probably thinking about the ocean. Thus, going with a cool, peaceful, beachy color scheme can provide a relaxing environment for a bedroom, or an office.


(Image via Pinterest) A light and airy color scheme brings peace and relaxation to your office space.


(Image Via Pinterest) Soft neutral colors can also illicit a calming effect where you need it the most!

It is no coincident that both of these offices utilize a cool color scheme, because the office isn’t always the most relaxing place. But what about your outfit? Have you ever asked yourself why you chose THAT top? There’s a room in my house, decorated with a blue-gray color palette which is were I find my serenity—and find it almost impossible to leave this room to get to class! One day I chose to wear a Free People top of a similar hue so as to mimic the peaceful surroundings of my favorite room–and this is something I did subconsciously.


Want to have that upper edge on a first date or job interview? Consider the message your color choice sends. (Via Google Images).

In terms of fashion, our style trends follow a seasonal color palette which helps set the mood for the season. With the seasonal color forecast in mind, you can still observe the initial mood or emotion each color presents. If you choose to stick with a neutral or monochromatic color scheme, you can accessorize add playful pops of color according to a mood you want to create.


BOLD and dynamic, this outfit can suggest that the woman wearing it is a powerful, ambitious person.


Adding a soft yellow blazer to a black dress creates a cheerful, yet sophisticated look.


Add the right amount of drama to your monochromatic look with a pop of color!



2013 Banned Books ‘READ-OUT’

Reading – it’s good for you!

Celebrate YOUR freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2013.  Support members from the Ursuline family along with students from Andrew Osborne Academy as they share a passage from their favorite banned or challenged book at the annual Ursuline College BBW ‘READ-OUT’, Tuesday, September 24, 11am-2pm at the Pilla Atrium and on the Besse Library Patio.  Rumor has it that you just might see a character from some of the top banned or challenges books.

See you there!

BannedBooksTableDisplay2 UrsulineStudentsviewingbannedbooks

Jackie Amos, Administrative Assistant – Ursuline Studies


Fall is when we harvest Apples, right?

As consumers and citizens, we have witnessed the growth of American multinational behemoth Apple. From a tiny little computer company founded in 1976 in CA, their endeavors now include the Mac line of computers, iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, iLife and iWork productivity suites, Safari web browser, and operating systems OS X and iOS. They are a major player in the IT industry, produce phones prodigiously, and are media store mavens online and off. Apple TV is a lukewarm hit and iWatch is coming. Each Autumn, we have come to expect the rollout of one new iPhone model. It was what people groaned over and wished for, saved for and relished. But this is 2013 and nothing is like it used to be.

As a student of Public Relations, though, I’m scratching my head. They must have the most proficient PR people in the business. What I’m seeing in their recent actions looks like a series of business moves, tactics, not a thought out market strategy. In the past week, Apple introduced a plastic cased iPhone 5c in many colors and the more expensive 5s which comes in three colors only but has a better camera, faster processor, and a fingerprint scanner. The 5c is under $100 if you buy the two year contract here in the U.S. but over $400 in the rest of the world. Apple is also planning a rollout of a new operating system at the end of the month.

So, we are harvesting lots of new ‘stuff’. But Apple’s main audience, loyal Apple product purchasers, have had to put up with a lot in the past few years. Apple has been a lifestyle brand, we want what they sell because it is the ‘cool’ stuff, the smart stuff. But increasingly, competitors like Samsung have other cool stuff! Apple consumers tend to lean left politically and are an educated lot. Apple is not the most environmentally friendly company, has been known to overlook labor indiscretions, has been in litigation over and again, and most recently one of its major suppliers was purchased by Koch Brothers, a huge donor to right wing political groups.

Has Apple stumbled this time? Their stock is down 5% today and market share is their mantra….time will tell. Is this the old wait and see strategy? Instead of jumping on the news programs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and all the other social media out there….are the PR folks at Apple sitting back to react once the dust clears? Well, played Apple…well played. Nothing new here.

– Laurene Medaglia

Author Bio: I am a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio. Having grown up in Geauga county, I favor the ease of country life but love my diverse city. I am 51 years old, the mother of a 19 year old college sophmore, and live nearby in Lyndhurst. I began classes at UCAP in January 2013 to complete the degree I began working on immediately after high school, at the University of Pennsylvania. I work for Progressive Insurance in Mayfield as an agent and volunteer in our diversity and inclusion programs regularly. I have a red belt in Tae Kwon Do and have recently begun training in yoga. I look forward to obtaining my degree to help meet career goals at Progressive and satisfy my neverending desire to learn something new. I am an avid reader, gardener, and music fan.

Volunteer Day 2013

#UCStyleFiles Fashion Week Wrap-up!

In this edition of #UCStyleFiles, I turn to some of the most fashionable people I know to articulate the best of New York Fashion Week.


Meganne’s #NYFW pick: Ladylike florals and prints


The Garden Variety: Meganne states,”My favorite trend is still florals florals florals”

Meganne Eddie, 25 ’10 UC Graduate: “My favorite trend is still florals florals florals.”

Meganne explains,”Well just prints in general. Also loving coordinating prints in sportswear! My absolute favorite designer Cynthia Rowley showed pretty much all of this in her show so of course I’m in love!!”

Natalie Koch, 23 ’12 UC Graduate:


“Luxury is in each detail,” Natalie says of the Marchesa runway show

Natalie writes,”After so many seasons of the minimalist look it’s nice to see that embellishment has made its return to the runway for SS’14. Designers including Rodebjer, Richard Chai Love and Jason Wu chose to adorn with sequins. Marchesa’s look for Spring 2014, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig were inspired by Goth – Victorian era embroidery. The romanticism and the dedication to detail are very inspiring and well executed. It seems that many silhouettes for the upcoming season are now more fitted to the body and flowing as opposed to being overly structured and abstracted which also adds to the softness and elegance. It shows how history is reflected in the style & grace of modern designers.”

Kelley Plas, 20, Junior (Fashion Design and Fashion Merch)


Futuristic meets femme in Alon Livné’s SS ’14 collection

Concept Korea takes us on a journey to the future.

Concept Korea takes us on a journey to the future.

Kelley says, “I love the ‘futuristic feminine’ trend that was present in several Spring 2014 shows including Alon Livné, Concept Korea, and Carolina Herrera. The easiest way to incorporate this trend is through minimalist makeup. You can achieve this with a matte foundation completed with mascara.”


Kelley says of Zac Posen’s collection, “He has an aesthetic that is very similar to my own.”

But which designer was Kelley’s pick for the best of New York Fashion Week? Kelley reveals,”It was without a doubt Zac Posen!” What set Zac Posen apart from the other NYFW designers was his “light, elegant, and flowy dresses and gowns.” Kelley loves Zac Posen’s SS ’14 collection which was executed in such a way that is both refreshing and fashion forward. Kelley says of Zac Posen’s collection, “He has an aesthetic that is very similar to my own.”

Stay tuned for more coverage on trends, style tips, and more!



#AftertheLecture Creating Meaning from Personal Archival Stories

image001American Mental Health Counseling Association Conference, Washington D.C. July 2013: Ursuline Graduate students in Art Therapy & Counseling along with Professor Katherine Jackson, Ph.D. presented gathered research entitled…..

Narrative Reflections: Creating Meaning from Personal Archival Stories

Nema, Emma and I (Katherine) excitedly drove to Washington D.C. full of anticipation and nerves! We kept pinching ourselves at having been accepted into this prestigious national symposium.

On Saturday July 20th, we presented our research on women’s stories and narratives to a warm audience of mental health professionals. We were thrilled by the energy and enthusiasm in which we were embraced, and learned a lot about ourselves and others in this endeavor. The greatest lesson learned in presenting our data, was to always remember to take risks, and dare to dream big in professional endeavors like this one!

Our research studied twenty-five women of many ethnicities and geographical locations who were interviewed about remembered female


lineage stories from their childhood or lives in general. These stories were carefully gathered and later transcribed. The transcriptions yielded a collection of interesting themes, such as empowerment, victimization, having a voice/ speaking up and the ability to persevere through a myriad of obstacles. These themes were persistent and appeared to give meaning and richness to the women’s lives as a whole. In some ways, themes or teachings gleaned from remembered stories were used as mantras or archetypal images that could be mentally and emotionally referenced during times of challenge and transition.

This narrative study with adult women sought to understand the connection of remembered and treasured stories in relationship to purpose and self-meaning in participants lives. What began as an experiment in creating Judy Chicago style historical dinner plate art work with a group of graduate counseling and art therapy students, turned into a quest for learning and understanding of the relationship between remembered story and its effects on life purpose and meaning (Chicago, 2007).