Communications Student Overcomes Obstacles to Become Banner Carrier at Convocation

Posted on: May 17, 2017

Amidst the excitement of graduation, communication major Ciara Jackson, a third generation MSU graduate, proudly carried the banner of the College of Communications Arts and Sciences this May - an annual honor given to one outstanding graduating senior. Daune Rensing, her academic adviser, recommended her for the position after witnessing her determination to overcome every hardship and earn her degree.

ciarajackson“I have almost 20 years of experience working with undergraduates and Ciara has been through more adversity than anyone I have ever worked with,” said Rensing. “I am so proud of how she has persevered and made it to graduation.”

Jackson hasn’t always lived in the spotlight throughout her career at MSU. During her freshman year, Jackson’s family moved to Kissimmee, FL, an 18-hour drive away. She was left with only the support of her grandparents.

“Throughout the years I have been homeless during breaks and summers,” said Jackson. “I have slept in my car and bounced from house to house. My grandparents would have allowed me to stay with them, but I wanted to be an adult and didn’t want to impose.”

Jackson never let these obstacles keep her from earning her bachelor’s degree in communication. Through the support of the family she created at MSU, she was able to persist on her road to success and create what she described as a phenomenal experience with ComArtSci.

Along the way, Jackson found helpful resources through the college and MSU. Jackson noted that Daune Rensing was an especially helpful adviser, who would refer her to various people and resources on campus. In addition to her advisers, Jackson also received assistance from Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence (FAME). The resource center provided Jackson with dental and health insurance and helped her to find housing during academic breaks.

“I managed to keep pushing forward because I know where I could end up without an education. I refuse to become a statistic,” said Jackson. “I’ve met wonderful and caring advisers along with making lifelong friends.”

Following graduation, Jackson is looking forward to a career in law enforcement. She felt the fast-paced job would best suit her active lifestyle.

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was 12 years old,” said Jackson. “I’ve already taken all necessary tests and interviewed twice with a local agency.”

Jackson advises other students struggling to get their degree to take the journey one step at a time.

“Never be afraid to fail because everything right now is temporary,” said Jackson. “If you fail, don’t be afraid to try again.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Amir Butler: Pursuing Her Dreams

Posted on: May 11, 2017

MSU Media and Information sophomore Amir Butler started her first business, Soreem, when she was a freshman and has continued to grow her clothing brand with the help of resources at Michigan State University.

Soreem is defined as “carefree,” which is something she wanted her company to represent.

“I wanted it to be carefree, whether it was about your dreams or fashion sense,” says Butler. “To not really worry about what other people think of you.”

Butler always knew she wanted to start a clothing line, but she just didn’t know where to start. Not long after she got Soreem under her belt, she found out about the Hatch, which she learned about through her minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I’ve had Soreem since March 2016, so it was already running, but, there was little stuff that I needed help with, like financials and things like that,” says Butler. “Overall the Hatch has been really helpful.”

The Hatch at MSU is a space that provides resources for student entrepreneurs and assists them with developing their business ideas.

amir-and-her-clothing-soreem“With all the events they have, I try to take advantage of everything,” says Butler. “With the Hatch they helped me get stickers, they gave me resources for different things that I needed, different events with speakers I could talk to related to what I’m doing.”

Butler encourages her peers who aspire to start a business to do their research and find resources, and to look at competition and see if there’s something they can do better.

She thinks young people get discouraged because they don’t know where resources are.

“Just always do your research and never take ‘no’ for an answer,” says Butler. “A lot of people will say you can’t do something because they never brought their vision to life. Always keep people around who support what you’re doing."

Butler hopes to give back as much as she can to upcoming entrepreneurs and to those who supported her.

“I would love to have a little business seminar, with people starting up to give them little keys to start,” says Butler.

While, encouraging young people to follow their dreams, Butler also wants them to know that it isn’t easy, and that you have to work hard.

“The road is not easy, don’t ever believe that it will be easy. You will hit walls, but you will get over that,” says Butler. “It’s fun, because you get to work for yourself.”

With the help of her family and friends and MSU resources, Butler has been successful with Soreem, and has a lot more in the works for her company.

“I just don’t want anybody to regret not following their dreams, as cliché as it sounds, you should always follow your dreams,” says Butler. “Always, no matter how big or small, always. That’s what I’m doing, that’s what I love to do.”

Story by Brandi Scarber

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Junior Gains Presentation Skills and Confidence Through Internship With The Big Ten Network

Posted on: April 27, 2017

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After a successful internship reporting on live TV for a local news station in Nantucket, advertising junior Kayla Wright set her sights on the Big Ten Network. She applied for MSU BTN, even though she knew there were an overwhelming number of applicants. She got the interview, was offered the internship and was thrilled to accept it.

Wright was the marketing intern for MSU BTN this past year and helped set up the Big Ten tailgate, assisted with advertising, set up home basketball games and, with the help of another intern, facilitated the Instagram contest at each home basketball game.

“It was all about getting the fans that were coming to the games interested in doing the Instagram contest,” Wright said. “We even got to present our ideas for the contest to the BTN marketing team in Chicago. This required knowing a lot about Big Ten, having confidence and being prepared. It was a great challenge.”

Some of Wright’s ideas included using props for the contest with the hashtag visible on them, so people would remember and use it. She also suggested that the interns go to the games after they run the contest to be more educated on what BTN was covering that day.

Interning for a large company like BTN taught Wright the importance of being professional, being on time and how to be a good employee.

“My presentation skills increased, as well as my social presence,” Wright said. “The internship really helped with my confidence, too, as I was always engaging with a really diverse range of people.”

Wright said the interns would have to be prepared to talk to fans, as well as Fox representatives that would come in. They would have to explain what they were working on. One of the representatives posted a photo of Wright and the other marketing intern doing the Instagram contest on LinkedIn, which was great publicity for the MSU Big Ten Network.

“The internship was a lot of talking to families, fans, alumni and just really trying to learn more about people,” Wright said. “I tried to make everything more personable.”

Wright is also getting a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I have always been interested in the media industry, but I have many interests,” Wright said. “I have even thought about starting my own business. If I have an idea, I just go for it. I love coming up with new ideas and being innovative, which will hopefully help me in all aspects of this industry.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Junior Strengthens Audio Interest Through Student Organizations, New York Field Experience and Music

Posted on: April 21, 2017

arthur

Over spring break on the New York Field Experience trip through the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Arthur Jones, media and information junior, was not only able to observe audio, video and music industries individually, but he was also able to see his interests work together in the media industry as a whole.

His interest in audio started his senior year of high school, when he took a class with someone who owned a local recording studio.

“I knew I liked to play music and thought the class looked neat at first, but I happened to really like the recording aspect of the class,” Jones said.

The one visit that Jones found particularly interesting during the New York City Field Experience was the group’s stop at MTV.

“We learned how important their social media teams are,” Jones said. “Because their demographic is early to late teens, they constantly have to stay up-to-date with new app trends. Whenever something new comes out, they have to learn how to best apply it to their audience.”

The biggest thing he learned from alumni on the trip was the fact that, in college, you never truly know what city you will end up in.

He also learned a lot about careers in the audio industry.

“I knew New York was a big media market, but I really learned so many valuable pieces of information related to all things audio,” said Jones. “Whether it’s in TV or radio, doing something in audio would be my dream job.”

The market in New York City made Jones aware of potential job opportunities.

“I definitely am more open now and saw the possibilities of different careers in the media industry,” Jones said. “The New York trip really broadened the potential I saw in the different jobs I could do.”

A change in tune

Jones first came to MSU as a student in the James Madison College. When he discovered that he wasn’t passionate about what he was studying, he left MSU to study at a community college in his hometown. He pursued a music degree and learned how to play an instrument – the double bass. When he returned to MSU, he decided to major in media and information with a minor in music.

“Even though there aren’t a ton of audio classes, MSU has so many students making student-films and other projects as well,” Jones said. “I was pulled into the fiction film class and Theatre 2 Film. I also work at Recording Services in the music building.”

In addition to all of those commitments to expanding his craft, Jones also plays in the concert orchestra at MSU.

Valuable skills learned

Jones doesn’t regret taking the time away from MSU to learn what he wanted to do. He said the experience was “valuable.”

“I thought I wanted to do international relations, but I realized the reason why was to be on NPR,” he said. “It’s still a dream job of mine to work on an NPR special, but I feel like I can accomplish that with what I am doing. By leaving and coming back, it made me very secure in what I want to do.”

His advice?

Jones suggests if students don’t know what they want to do, to think about an interest and pursue it more.

“You have to think, ‘Could I do this for years?’” Jones said. “College is the time to figure out your interests and experiment with those interests. At MSU, there are so many clubs, which makes it fun and easy to try out anything and everything.”

By Meg Dedyne

 

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Communication junior to spend summer interning at BCPM in New York City

Posted on: April 14, 2017

New York City is like a second home for communication junior Allie Baer. Having traveled to the city almost every year since she was young will make her summer internship position with BCPM a smooth transition. BCPM is a global public relations agency, specializing in brand building and communications in New York City.

“I thrive in fast-paced environments and am thrilled Allie Baerfor this opportunity,” said Baer.

Baer’s personal and professional connections enabled her the chance to interview with the company over the phone. Just a few days later, she was offered the position, which she excitedly accepted.

“I can’t wait to be a part of such an outstanding agency,” Baer said. “I knew BCPM was a top public relations agency and it was started by two strong women, which really appealed to me. They offered me a position in the fashion department, so I am excited to learn more about that industry as well.”

Baer admires how the company got its start. She said it shows women choosing their career paths and pursuing what they want to do.

“Their client list spoke volumes for me,” Baer said. “BCPM works with high-level clients, including fashion and travel. I’ve been interested in both of these industries as it relates to public relations and now I will get to learn from professionals how these industries work.”

She describes this internship as her first real-world experience.

“I’m on my own at MSU, but this experience will be different,” Baer said. “I will be working and living on my own, which is exciting and scary all at the same time.”

How she started the search process

Baer started networking and applying for internships earlier this fall to get ahead of the summer internship season. At the time, she was a part of a course that met for two hours on Fridays, facilitated by Karin Hanson and Rachel Ruis. Each week, they brought in MSU alumni to speak to the class and offer advice about the networking process, the importance of attending career fairs and industry insight.

“They told us to not be afraid to reach out,” Baer said. “Talk to people, learn about what they do. A lot of their advice was about trying new things and how to use LinkedIn effectively, as well.”

Baer used LinkedIn to look for internships and find alumni at companies she wanted to work at. Now, she’s using LinkedIn to find her peers she will be working with this summer at BCPM.

Her advice?

“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” Baer said. “Spartans are always willing to help you. Don’t give up. I started applying in September and I just accepted this internship within the past month. Everything happens for a reason. Once I interviewed with BCPM, the process took only six days. So don’t give up and don’t get down on yourself. Always keep trying.”

By Meg Dedyne

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ComArtSci freshman visits New York City through Field Experience course

Posted on: April 6, 2017

ashleyreedJournalism freshman Ashley Reed wasted no time gaining experience in the media industry.  She spent her first college spring break touring New York City with fellow classmates on the NYC Field Experience - Media Production trip with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. ComArtSci offers six different field experiences designed to help students explore career options and network in their field.

“This trip was a huge eye-opener for me as a freshman, because I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to do when I came to MSU,” Reed said. “But going to New York put things into perspective for me and helped me see that I can pursue the dreams that I have.”

The trip took students to various media companies, ranging from coverage of music, radio, video — you name it. They met with executives that work in the business, as well as Spartan alums, who explained day-to-day life as professionals in the city.

A love for media at a young age

Growing up, Reed knew that she wanted to be involved in the media industry. She always imagined having her own television show. She decided that majoring in journalism would allow her to explore all of her media interests.

“My favorite part of the trip was seeing people do what they love,” Reed said. “I know in my family, most people who did or didn’t go to college, aren’t doing what they love to do. Going on this trip, I am now more hopeful that I can do what I love to do, especially going as a freshman and knowing I will still have more guidance.”

When Reed was around eight years old, she started singing and songwriting. She began with short stories, which turned into poetry, which turned into songs.

“After I started doing this, I just wanted to keep creating more things,” Reed said. “I really opened up and wanted to know what else I could create. I started making little music videos and getting into cameras. Everything I created, I had to figure it out by myself.”

Her senior year of high school, Reed started The Belle Society, which is a women empowerment group. She started the social media pages for the society and produced videos and facilitated photo shoots, too.

“This is where I self-taught and learned how to do most of this stuff. This society was also a way for my peers and me to lift each other up,” Reed said. “My love for all things media came in high school.”

Seeing opportunity in the city

Reed says she would love to be the female version of Ryan Seacrest one day. In fact, her biggest take-away from the trip was that dreams like this one are actually possible.

“One of the most memorable moments from that trip was meeting an alum that now works at MTV,” Reed said. “It was great to hear how he started as an intern and then came back to work full time.”

The students also visited an alumnus that is working as a news reporter at ABC News. He allowed the students to come back and watch his team in action.

Reed said it was great to be around media professionals and to see MSU alumni making an impact in such a large city.

If she could do anything, she would want to be a singer, songwriter, television personality and producer — she would do it all.

“I love hosting and producing videos, but sometimes it’s hard for me to just focus on one thing,” Reed said. “The possibilities and options of the media industry have always just grabbed my interest.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Leadership in Sales Program Led Advertising Senior to Internships and Full-Time Position

Posted on: March 30, 2017

laneshaAdvertising management senior Lanesha Davis has had two sales internships during her college career and already has a full-time job lined up after graduation. She credits a lot of her success to the opportunities she was given through being a part of the sales minor leadership program in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

“The sales minor leadership program is not only a way to develop yourself professionally in sales, but also to develop real-world experience,” Davis said. “I learned how to network and the program offers the chance to compete in an actual sales competition.”

Davis is the event coordinator for the Global Sales Leadership Society, therefore she was responsible for organizing the competition, as well as competing herself. The event itself hosts about 80 students and about 20 different companies.

One of Davis’ sales internships was this past summer at Delphi Automotive where she worked on their sales team. Davis’ role was to work on the Ford team to acquire new business leads.

Davis worked on a team with other interns to come up with new onboarding ideas for new hires in the sales industry. While working on this project, she analyzed data to maximize profitability and was also able to attend some classes on selling techniques and gaining strategic people skills.

“My favorite task was definitely the onboarding project,” Davis said. “I was able to be one of the leaders for that project and it was cool having the goal of increasing new hire retention rates.”

Another internship that Davis completed was with the Enterprise Rent-A-Car located at the Detroit airport.

“Enterprise was very hands on and I was actually responsible for doing the same tasks that a full-time employee would do, which was a great experience,” Davis said. “ Enterprise was very fast pace, as we did transactions daily. It was a great opportunity to experience different paces throughout my two internships.”

Davis currently works in the human resources department at MSU and has just accepted a full-time position as a business management associate at General Mills.

How did she decide to work in sales?

“I would say I am a people person and I love a challenge,” Davis said. “Being able to interact with different people and achieve new goals daily is something that got me interested in sales.”

Davis enjoys the people she works with in the industry, as well as the chance to network with people that have the same interest in sales that she has.

Advice?

“Get involved in leadership roles and experiences outside of the classroom,” Davis said. “Those are the skills that will set you apart from others.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Journalism student interns at KOFY-TV in San Francisco

Posted on: March 24, 2017

leeThis past summer, journalism senior Cynthia Lee accepted an internship with a local TV station in San Francisco called KOFY-TV. She was able to use interview and networking techniques she learned at MSU to prepare for and obtain the internship.

Lee was the station’s only intern, covering promotions and productions. She learned how the television market works and how the industry is changing. She also gained a better understanding of just how important teamwork is, especially in times of change.

“I gained so many valuable skills through my internship, especially being on the other side of the country and having to figure out everything on my own,” Lee said. “For example, I didn’t have design experience, so I just had the mindset of being willing to learn and work hard.”

Being the only intern at the station, Lee had to learn how to connect with and target a different demographic. She used this opportunity to learn from others at the station, who had years of experience.

Lee said her favorite project was helping out with the productions for the Pride Parade in San Francisco.

“It was really different and fun,” Lee said. “We had to stay up for hours to create notecards by hand, but to have had the chance to watch and help out with live events was really cool.”

Her internship helped her to discover what she does and doesn't want to do in her future career.

“I really like being in front of the camera,” Lee said. “I recommend letting the right people at your internship know the intentions of what you want to gain from the internship and to take control of your own learning experience. I wanted to build up my reel, and I told them this. You just also have to be prepared to prove yourself.”

Production appeals more to Lee, as she likes to be active and in the field. She found that working on promotions is more office work, but she is grateful for having both of those experiences in one internship.

“I also learned how life would be post-college and if I got a job out-of-state,” Lee said. “I would be commuting to work every day and I would be in a new area. Learning how to start fresh somewhere and how to adapt was great. It wouldn’t be so scary if I had to do that again.”

Since her internship, Lee has been working to continue to improve her skills through projects.

“I like productions and producing a lot,” Lee said. “I am creating a web series right now and trying to finish that up, as I want to have it done by April.”

The web series is based on her friend group’s experiences in college.

When considering internships and job opportunities, Lee suggests that you express to yourself, and even to the people you’d work with, what skills you are looking to build and what experiences you’d like to have.

“I would just really emphasize to be clear on what you want to gain when you obtain an internship,” Lee said. “Especially when you do phone interviews, always sound enthusiastic; pay attention to those little details about yourself. Above all, use all of the opportunities and resources MSU has to offer.”

By Meg Dedyne

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ComArtSci Senior Combines Passions During Internship at Lettuce Live Well

Posted on: March 17, 2017

During her first two years out of high school, media and information senior Eman Hubbard was a collegiate athlete. When she transferred to Michigan State University for her junior year, she found a nonprofit that combined her passion for healthy living and storytelling through graphic design.Eman

Hubbard became the graphic design intern at Lettuce Live Well in January of her junior year at MSU and concluded that portion of her internship in July 2016. She will continue to intern there again when summer begins.

Lettuce Live Well is a nonprofit dedicated to leading community health challenges by providing programs to help those in the community live a healthier life. With a minor in health promotion, Hubbard enjoys helping others through the organization’s different programs.

“I really enjoy going to local schools and talking to kids about health and nutrition,” Hubbard said. “A lot of adults don’t realize how to shop healthy either. At the end of our classes and grocery store tours, we give attendees $5 or $10 to put them through a test to buy healthy on a low budget.”

One of the segments Hubbard enjoyed most was the kids segment of Lettuce Live Well called Little Lettuce League, which was developed in the Journalism 212 2D Animation Storytelling course. MSU journalism animation and comics faculty work with students from majors across campus to find ways to integrate their passion for animation and cartooning into successful careers.

The nonprofit puts together full animation skits where cartoon characters talk about health. She helped make the graphics for these skits. She also created the flyers and graphic work for all of Lettuce Live Well’s events.

“I really like that the internship was with a nonprofit,” Hubbard said. “My boss is very proactive and passionate about the work Lettuce Live Well does. Everyone in the office is extremely health oriented, which is really cool.”

After playing sports during her first few years of college, Hubbard became actively involved in bodybuilding to stay fit and healthy.

“I started eating really well and focusing more on being healthy overall,” Hubbard said. “I wanted to break the stereotypes about bodybuilding. I wanted to explain to women that weight training is healthy and a great way to exercise. Lettuce Live Well personally helped me find balance in my diet, exercise and I feel like I am now more mindful.”

Hubbard said she feels as though many people her age and older want to learn about balancing their wellness goals.

“This internship was so fulfilling. Once I started, I didn't want to leave,” said Hubbard. “At Lettuce Live Well, they help people from every angle surrounding their health. I really like to see people from where they were two months ago in our programs, to where they are now. From this experience, I hope to someday create a nonprofit in Detroit where kids can exercise and gain experience in the health industry.”

Hubbard is also pursuing a minor in Japanese, which came in handy at Lettuce Live Well.

“My interest in Japanese started with growing up in Novi,” Hubbard said. “There is a huge Japanese population and I took Japanese in high school. I wanted to reach out and bridge that gap and learn about a culture that’s not my own. Knowing the Japanese language led me to assisting some people at Lettuce Live Well, who I gave nutrition advice to, because I could speak their language.”

Currently, Hubbard is working on a Flint school project with Katherine Alaimo, a professor in the department of food science and human nutrition. Their group will be talking to sixth grade students in the Flint community and teaching them about Type II Diabetes and the value of nutrition.

“Overall, the internship at Lettuce Live Well made me aware of all aspects of nutrition,” Hubbard said. “It definitely changed my life and I can’t wait to go back.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Senior obtains internship with Jackson National Life Insurance after working in student role

Posted on: March 10, 2017

After working for two and a half years at the Jackson Zone on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing, advertising senior Mitch Marier is now the corporate social responsibility intern at the Jackson National Life Insurance headquarters in Lansing.

“Shortly after I started working at thePicture1 Jackson Zone, I was assigned more responsibilities,” Marier said. “I started with entering data into their systems and the more comfortable I became, I started doing customer service calls. It was cool to get my hands on a variety of tasks and growing my skills in an area I never thought I would.”

Marier said while he worked at the Zone, he took advantage of their programs such as resume building and networking 101. They would often have leadership chats, where the executives from Jackson would come in and talk more about future career opportunities with their company.

“I definitely think Jackson’s career prep for students helped me tremendously in getting my first internship at the State of Michigan,” Marier said. “I gained experience at this first internship in writing and event planning, which I knew would translate well to the internship I have now with Jackson.”

“Jackson in Action” is Jackson’s internal volunteer team and it has its own email inbox. When people want to sign up for service projects, Marier is their point of contact. He also updates the internal website with content and writes recap stories, then shares them with the rest of the company to share all of the good work Jackson is doing.

Another part of the internship is promoting the volunteer events themselves. Marier’s last project was organizing Jackson volunteers for Impression 5 Science Center’s LEGOPalooza. Marier set up the schedule and was the main contact for Impression 5. Along with large events with local nonprofits, Marier also facilitates volunteering events such as cooking dinners at the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan or the Mother Theresa House in Lansing.

“I love going to these community events and seeing the people Jackson helps,” Marier said. “It’s amazing to actually see the tangible effects Jackson has on the Lansing community.”

Marier said seeing the financial impact that Jackson has on the community is one of his favorite parts of the internship.

“Seeing smiles on people's faces is so worth the work I do every day,” Marier said. “It’s great to be a part of a company that really cares about its community. Being from the area especially, it’s great to see how committed Jackson is to the Lansing region.”

Every two weeks Jackson also does a ‘jeans day.’ Everyone pays $5 each to wear jeans and each day it goes to a different charity. Marier always helps put together the promotional material for this and he also helps promote internal communications such as making posters of calendars with upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Currently, Marier is working on a story about the Jackson Zone. It’s about what the Zone does and how employees can work part-time and gain valuable business experience. The stories he writes go out to Jackson’s business partners, in the quarterly newsletter and Jackson’s website.

With a minor in public relations, Marier became heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) his junior year. He was also on the media relations team of MSU’s student-run PR firm, Hubbell Connections. Marier learned of the internship with Jackson through the PRSSA weekly email blast.

“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten either of my internships without PRSSA,” Marier said. “Hubbell Connections is what I talked about in my interviews. These groups at MSU introduce you to what potential employers want from you and the portfolio you should have. They have definitely prepared me for interviews, internships and given me valuable writing samples for the future.”

By Meg Dedyne

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