Dracula Relates to Grad Life, I Swear

And before you say it, I’m not calling graduate students at Emory blood-sucking vampires (though it’s a little debatable sometimes). I just decide to take a unique spin on our Grad Life beat. Often times, we focus on graduate program themselves or graduate student organizations. I feel that we lost the meaning of the beat being the Grad Life, and believe it or not, grad students have lives outside of the academic programs and extracurriculars. (I think).

Working at the Arts at Emory Box Office, I noticed that we get a lot of graduate students coming to see shows. At first, I was a little confused and would think “Don’t they have a dissertation or thesis to defend?” But then I realized that there’s a multitude of reasons that graduate students attend Emory arts events: friends in the show, musicians or composers they’re really fond of, or even just looking for a way to unwind on a Friday night.

Regardless of the reasons, Arts at Emory gives a lot of incentives for graduate students to attend concerts and productions. The first thing is grad students receive the Emory student rate for tickets. Of course, they are Emory students, but grad students pay the same price for tickets undergrads. Sometimes this is surprising to grad students because they aren’t sure if they qualify for the student discount. For example, a ticket for Dracula cost $22 for a full price ticket. With the Emory student discount, a ticket for Dracula is only $6, saving Emory students $16. Since we’re freshman we received an Arts passport at the beginning of the year, so we don’t really think about the prices of tickets. But did you know that any Emory student, include grad students, can buy a passport for $12? You might ask why anyone would buy a passport, but if we go back to the Dracula example, by using a passport students can get a ticket for “free.” Another incentive that grad students get that undergrads don’t is that grad students can buy two tickets at the Emory Student price and can use a passport for two tickets to each show/show run. Undergraduates only get one ticket at the Emory Student price and can only use a passport for one ticket to each show/show run. This means by using a passport to get two tickets for Dracula grad students already get their money back, and they still have all school year to get more tickets with the passport.

As I mentioned before, grad students do have lives outside of their programs. They like to see shows with friends and enjoy hearing concerts. And a lot of times they are some of the nicest customers and it’s easier to deal with grad students that somewhat know what their doing in terms of buying tickets than the confused freshman that love to come in the day of a show right before it starts with a passport to a sold-out or almost sold-out show so they can get a PACE requirement done.

The Arts at Emory Box Office is open Monday-Friday from noon-6:00pm. We also open up the box office an hour before any ticketed event (location depends on event). For more information, you can visit the Box Office at 1700 N Decatur Rd #251, Atlanta, GA 30322 or call (404) 727-5050. Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.

A Freshman’s Guide to Course Registration

Although there’s still months before the spring semester starts, freshmen must figure out what courses they plan on taking. It can be very overwhelming, especially since we are in the midst of yet another midterm-filled period of the semester. As a student who’s never missed a PACE class, I’m here to help you compartmentalize and learn exactly what to do in order to get what you want during registration.

The first thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is schedule an appointment with your pre-major advisor. Despite what you may think, they are a useful tool and know a lot about the registration process. Not only that, but you cannot register for courses until your advisor removes the “lock” that was put on your OPUS account.

Emory’s GER subject areas

After you schedule your meeting, you should start to look for the classes you want to take. If you already know what you wish to major in, look at the requirements and see if you can take any of them. If you do not know what you plan to study, you can use Emory’s general education requirements (GERs) as a guide to what you maybe should be taking. Also, your advisor may recommend some courses based on your interests and academic strengths. If you still find that you are struggling to pick what courses you may want, sit down with a friend who has similar interests and see what courses they’re taking. If you both sign up for a course that you don’t like, at least you’ll be together.

So now you may be wondering where you can find all the classes that Emory offers. The Course Atlas (link: http://atlas.college.emory.edu) is probably the most useful tool for checking out courses. On the website, you can filter classes by subject/department, the GER that they fulfill, or look at classes that are deemed appropriate for freshmen by the faculty. When you click on a class, you will be given information about it including its time, instructor, location, number of credit hours, the GER it fulfills, and a short description of the content in the class. Even though the Course Atlas is packed with classes, it still does not contain everything that Emory has to offer. The Course Atlas only has courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, so if you decide to take a class in the Business School per se, you must find its information from the Business School website. This is why it’s necessary to check your major requirements if you know what you wish to major in.

A weekly planner to use

After you have a list of the classes you think you might want to take, add them all to your shopping cart in OPUS. Even if you aren’t entirely sure you want a course, you should still add it just to be safe. There is no limit to how many courses you can add to your shopping cart, so go crazy. Once you think you’ve finished that, you should start to fill in some hypothetical schedules. It may be tedious, but it will save you from having 5 classes in one day and make sure you don’t have any time-conflicting classes. OPUS won’t let you register for courses that are time-conflicting, so you should have everything sorted out before registration time comes.

Intro Psych 1 has 1 seat left this semester

So now that you’ve decided what courses you’re going to take, you need to actually sign up for them. During your first registration period, you can sign up for up to 8 credit hours, and during your second you can add until your total is up to 19 credit hours (22 if you keep a cumulative 3.0 GPA). Keep in mind you need to take 12 credit hours to be a full-time student. Before your registration period begins, you need to make the potentially schedule-changing decision of which courses you should sign up for first. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to check how full the classes you want to take are in this semester. If you go to OPUS and search for classes but leave the semester as Fall 2017, you can view all the sections of the class you want to take next semester. You’ll be able to see the total class capacity and how many empty seats are left. From this information, you can tell which classes tend to be more difficult to get in to, and decide which you wish to register for first. Keep in mind that upperclassmen have already registered for courses, so if you plan to take any classes that aren’t restricted to freshmen, you should check how full they are by using the same method.

Once you’ve done all of this, the only thing left to do is actually register for the courses. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to login 2 minutes before your registration period begins, check off the courses you wish to take from your shopping cart and spam the “enrol” button at the bottom of the page until you either get in to your classes or are told they are full and get put on the waitlist.

My registration periods

I think that course registration is kind of a mess. It makes sense that upperclassmen get to register before the freshmen do, but the first appointment times for all freshmen are different. My appointment time is at 7:30pm, while I’ve heard some people got times as early as 6pm. It doesn’t really seem fair, and I think there should be a better way to do it. Also, I find that the OPUS interface is a bit difficult to navigate, and clicking one bad thing could effectively ruin your chances of getting in to your dream class. When advisor say that not getting the classes you want is a good opportunity to explore new subject areas, it’s just an excuse for the shortcomings of the registration period. Although Emory’s course registration may be flawed, by following these steps you can give yourself as much control as possible over your classes.

Emory’s Got EDGE

Sometimes I think graduate school seems like just another opportunity to accumulate more debt and to lose more sleep, except this time it is more like having a lonely, soul-crushing, full-time job. Although it may not be this intense in actuality, it is a taxing experience that can get lonely at times. Due to this, it is imperative that prospective students find and attend an institution that has an environment they are comfortable in and one where they can find a sense of community. This is especially true for students from underrepresented groups. Attending a school that lacks diversity could make it harder to find a community that underrepresented students can identify with. Fortunately, some graduate schools start initiatives to promote diversity within their programs. Among those schools is Emory University’s Laney Graduate School.

The logo for Emory EDGE

Emory has EDGE, which stands for Emory Diversifying Graduate Education. On their page about diversity, the school claims that “Diversity and community are of highest priority to Emory University and the Laney Graduate School” (Laney Graduate School). How exactly do they do this? According to Emory, there are five ways they try to promote diversity: programming, community, fellowships, outreach and recruitment, and partner organizations.

An old brochure for the STEM Research and Career Symposium

Some examples of programs they have include the STEM Research and Career Symposium, the IMSD: Initiative to Maximize Student Development, the NIH (National Health Institute) Pathfinder Series, and the ELSP: English Language Support Program. In addition to these programs, they have many different student organizations, campus offices and research opportunities and parties that underrepresented students can get involved with to find a welcoming community they connect with. Students can also be part of the Emory Graduate Diversity Fellowship or the Initiative to Maximize Student Development Fellowships (IMSD) which help cover costs of tuition and stipend and travel expenses respectively. Finally, Laney tries to reach out to possible applicants through different mediums that they know underrepresented groups respond to, including partnering with diversity-oriented organizations to connect with these prospective students.

Although the website explains what they claim to be doing, talking to students who have been directly impacted by these things gives us a better understanding of how effective EDGE actually is. Luckily I got the opportunity to interview an African American Ph.D. candidate in English Literature, Justin Shaw.

Justin P. Shaw

Mr. Shaw is an Emory Graduate Diversity Fellow, a Kharen Fulton Graduate Diversity Award Recipient, and a teacher. He also attended Morehouse for his bachelor’s degree and the University of Houston for his masters giving him experience in a variety of social environments that vary in terms of diversity. Our conversation lasted about thirty-six minutes, so below I took a few points he made.

1. What is Emory EDGE and what does it mean to you?

“EDGE is an acronym. It stands for Emory Graduate Diversifying Education. And it started about three years ago. Three or four years ago about, under the leadership of our former director… of recruitment in diversity and community in the Laney graduate school…started by him to Address some of the issues and lack and lacks of diversity and inclusion in graduate school...graduate students tend to already be isolated by research…and then you don’t really have community… [it] has a burden on your work-life balance, time management, and your ability to generate relationships, and even just general friendships and connections with people. And, you know, when you add race and ethnicity on top of that, it adds dimension to it because research suggests that students of color on the undergraduate level already have some things to deal with at a predominately white institution, but on a graduate level its intensified because you often don’t have people working, or who you are working with who look like you. And people working with you and your cohorts are coming from a similar background and understand you and the world in which you came from. The burden for graduate students are at large in terms of acclimating to the atmosphere at graduate school so disproportionately that students of color drop out due to depression, due to feeling emotionally withdrawn from their research and their program. From feeling like they’re not supported in their graduates’ programs because of things not necessarily racism but microaggressions are blatant themes that happen in departments for different reasons.”

2. How effective do you think Emory’s efforts have been in promoting diversity in graduate education? Are they living up to their mission statement?

“I think since the EDGE program was developed like I said four years ago four years ago, it’s definitely been something that the dean all the way down, people have been serious about and engaged with. I think the grad school is intentional about reaching out to graduate students of color to help with recruitment, to help with building community and to help with addressing issues within the community…I can’t speak for the whole university. I don’t know the impact directly that it’s had on the university yet. It’s still a very new program. I mean four years is not a very long time for, to see the effects. I’ve only been here for four years, and this program started when I got here. And I think you have to see a whole cycle of students go through it in order to really start to see the dividends.”

3. You went to the University of Houston to get your master’s degree. How does the environment at UofH compare to Emory’s? How do their efforts to promote diversity compare to Emory’s?

“I’ve seen three different types and I think a program like EDGE works at an institution like Emory and it can work a place like its sister schools… but a place like big public institutions it takes a different model…different kind of institution requires different needs, different students, more students. EDGE is great because Emory’s graduate school is just big enough to do programming that encompasses groups of people, where you can kind of know people face to face. You kind of know who people are. And you can address the need to the student body in a different way, as opposed to the vagueness that could become at UofH.”

4. You are an Emory Diversity Graduate Fellow, and you recently won the Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award. How have these impacted your experience at Emory?

“I think it shows that the school cares and notices…you know one reason why a lot of students drop out of grad school is because they don’t feel supported. They don’t feel like they’ve got community. No one cares. Not even about their research, but about them as a human being. And these things showed me and continue to show me that the graduate school and the university as a whole notices, and they care. And not in a superficial way as the token black kid, but as a person with good ideas, with experience, who can offer something, bring something to the table.”

5. Is there anything that you think Emory could improve in terms of recruiting and retaining a diverse population and promoting diverse environments?

“So one thing I criticize EDGE for, and I don’t blame them, I just criticize it in a positive way, is that is very focused on the STEM disciplines, science, technology, and math. And that’s no fault of their own…the problem in that there’s not a lot of money in that for that as there is in the sciences. There’s not these big grants from the National Science Foundation and institute to health to promote graduate student education in anything else.”

Listen to the whole interview to hear his complete answers and get advice about grad school.

Due to its age, it is unclear to see the long-term effects of EDGE, but presently, I believe that EDGE is doing just fine. So far their efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups and support them seems to be doing well. While Shaw is not representative of the whole underrepresented student population, this case shows that EDGE is taking strides in the right direction. It is important for graduate schools to adopt the measure so that we can have more people from underrepresented groups with higher degrees. I recently learned that artificial intelligence is now replacing even highly skilled workers (Inglehart and Norris). That means that we need more people to get advanced degrees to keep up with our changing economy. Since, “the white, non-Hispanic proportion of the total population decreased from 73.6% in 1995 to a projected 52.8% in 2050” and they make up the majority of the population of people with postgraduate degrees, there will be a shortage of skilled workers (Bryan). In fact, “by 2028, it is expected that there will be a shortage of 19 million skilled workers to fill jobs in the U.S.” (Bryan). As Shaw stated, if people do not feel supported or a sense of community, they are not likely to finish grad school, so I commend EDGE for doing so. I watched my mother struggle to get her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees during my childhood. I noticed that in her earlier stages of school, she had no community or support, which made school extremely difficult for her. Once she finally found those two things I watched her thrive in school. I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be for her when she goes back to get her master’s without that community going through it with her. EDGE provides this for its students. I think it is safe to say that EDGE is a good fit for Emory… for now.



Bryan, Julia A. “Minority Student Recruitment, Retention and Career Transition Practices: A Review of the Literature”. American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association. N.d., https://www.asha.org/practice/multicultural/recruit/litreview.htm. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.

[EDGE Logo] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.graduateschool.emory.edu/diversity/index.html

Inglehart, Ronald, and Pippa Norris. “Trump and the Populist Authoritarian Parties: The Silent Revolution in Reverse.” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 15, no. 2, 2017, pp. 443–454., doi:10.1017/S1537592717000111.

[Justin P. Shaw] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://justinpshaw.com/

[Symposium Brochure] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://rampages.us/bioadvising/wp-content/uploads/sites/2342/2016/04/2016-STEM-Brochure_Page_1.jpg 


Humans of the IDF

The “Israeli Soldiers Tour” began like any other Lecture Series. A confused freshman speeding to an unfamiliar classroom, anxious to have enough time to find the proper room and choose a seat that is not too far or too close to the front before the lecture actually begins. Indeed, this extra time was necessary, for I spent the minutes preceding the lecture frantically strolling through Tarbutton hall and consulting my phone to ensure it was not yet five p.m.

The flyer for the event, which was posted in my residence hall.

When I finally found Tarbutton 111, I realized that this would not just be any other lecture. Relieved, I walked into a small room full of familiar faces –my best friend, Hebrew classmates, other Emory Jewish community members, and even my Sophomore Advisor. In contrast with previous lectures I have attended, the buffet dinner and informal seating arrangement fostered a comfortable and casual atmosphere. Refreshingly, the age of this audience would bring down the average age of any other lecture by at least half. As opposed to knowledgeable graduate students and professors, the room was enlivened by passionate and committed undergraduate students. In fact, this lecture was so casual that the presenters arrived ten minutes late, attributing their tardiness to “Atlanta traffic.”

Two Emory seniors initiated the lecture, reading the bios of Eden and Joey, the speakers who would be recalling experiences from their military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). This student-led introduction demonstrated the active role students took in the presentation, as opposed to passively listening. The event itself was held by student groups – Emory Students for Israel, Emory Hillel, and the Emory Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Eden and Joey, the two speakers, analyzing a photo of a threat that they stopped.

Following the introduction, Eden began her presentation by projecting photos of her best friends, boyfriend, and the city in which she grew up. She wanted to establish that soldiers are more than their green uniforms, advanced machinery, or media coverage – they are normal individuals who treasure their loved ones. Yet again contrasting most lectures, Eden and Joey’s PowerPoint was full of vivid pictures, lacking any text at all. Their visual presentation demonstrated the engaging, well-rounded nature of the lecture. Eden continued by describing her childhood, which she deemed pretty typical. However, she added that living in Israel, she always entertained additional worries. With every brown envelope delivered in the mail came a chance that her father would be called to the army reserves. Furthermore, Eden dreaded the day that she herself would be recruited to join the IDF, which relies on a mandatory draft. Her parents reassured her that by the time she was 18, Israel would not have a draft, but this has yet to prove true. Eden now finds herself sharing these same words of reassurance with her younger brothers.

When asked about her biggest takeaway from her army service, Eden responded that “the word responsibility gets a whole new definition.” Only in her young 20s, Eden commanded 70 female soldiers and led their basic training. When her soldiers were granted weekends at home, Eden felt responsible for ensuring that they all arrived home safely, demonstrating her care and the seriousness with which she approached her job. With Eden’s responsibility came an increased sense of worry. When bomb threats went off, she could not console herself by referring to the slim chance that it would directly affect her or her family. She was responsible for 70 soldiers that spanned the map of Israel, and a bomb threat meant that any one of them could be in danger.

Eden’s thick Israeli accent was then replaced with a strong and unexpected American voice. In his presentation, Joey immediately addressed this surprise, sharing that he grew up in Las Vegas. He jokingly clarified that no, his mother was not a stripper, his father was not a casino owner, and he did not live in a hotel. Joey’s involvement in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), a Jewish youth movement, inspired him to enlist in the Israeli army. On a trip to Poland, Joey visited Jewish death camps with a Holocaust survivor. As the survivor was sobbing and grieving for his lost relatives, Joey watched a group of Israeli soldiers march through the camp. This juxtaposition of Jewish pride and strength in the face of the sadness and loss of the Holocaust hit Joey. He knew he must enlist.

During college, Joey remained involved in Israeli causes, and immediately following graduation, he made Aliyah (Hebrew for “the act of going up”), officially becoming an Israeli citizen. At the beginning of his service, Joey did not even know Hebrew. Since all army commands are delivered in advanced Hebrew, Joey learned the language by doing endless push-ups as punishments for his inability to understand or perform the orders.

Like Eden, Joey’s army service was life-changing and informed all of his future endeavors. From it, he derived that “You are a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.” Joey has continued to pursue his passion for Israel by working at Stand With Us, an organization committed to Israel education and advocacy. He also volunteers at The Lone Soldier Center, where he ensures the physical and social health of Lone Soldiers, soldiers who voluntarily join the Israeli army from abroad, like himself.

The audience posed for a picture with Joey following the presentation.

While the Israeli army faces extreme media and political scrutinization, this event humanized the members of the IDF. Israelis our age are enlisting in the army and defending their country. Both Joey and Eden’s stories demonstrated the life experience that army service provides and how embedded this service is in Israeli culture. Hearing these relatable, well-delivered retellings in a communal environment made the message loud and clear: through their army service, Israelis gain a self-awareness and clarity about their dearest values that is beyond their years.

Fall for Emory in Autumn

As the spookiest time of the year comes to a close, the month of October gives way to November, and with it, the season of autumn firmly implants itself at Emory University. Growing up, autumn always had a special place in my heart. For me, it meant crisp fresh air, trees filled with vibrant plumage, and of course the sound of crunching leaves as I left Starbucks with my Pumpkin Spice Latte. In my opinion, the month of November just doesn’t get enough credit. It’s stuck right between the crown jewels of capitalist exploitation; Halloween and Christmas. The poor month never stood a chance. Don’t get me wrong, November has its core group of fans, but when compared to the amount of cash flow from pumpkins and pine trees, turkeys just don’t measure up. The argument for November as the best month of the year could be won solely due to the fact that my mom was born on November 5th (shout out to Mamma Kidd), but here are my top five reasons why November is so great at Emory.

  1. Emory Athletics                                                                                                                    November marks the beginning of championship season for many Emory sports including Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, and
    Emory Volleyball

    Women’s Basketball. Volleyball will compete at home in the UAA Championships on Friday, November 3. For a full schedule of the regular season and championship games for all varsity sports visit the Emory Athletics website.

  2. Emory Theater                                                                                                                        Emory’s theater department puts on
    The Anointing of Dracula

    four performances throughout the year.Its 2017-2018 fall show is entitled The Anointing of Dracula: A Grand Guignol, which will run until November 5th. General admission tickets are $22 per person, however, all freshmen received an Emory Arts Pass which they can use to receive free admission to the show. If you come in costume to the 11:00pm showings on either October 31st or November 4th you can get in for free. For a complete list of show dates and specialty ticket prices visit here.

  3. Emory Dance                                                                                                                           The Emory Dance Company’s Fall Concert will take place during November as well. The concert runs from Thursday, November 16th through Saturday, November 18th. All performances will be held at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Regular admission tickets are $15, but once again, freshmen are able to use their Emory Arts Pass. For a complete list of performance, times visit the Emory Dance and Movement Studies Program events page.
  4. Emory Film                                                                                                                                     The Emory Film Department conducts multiple film series throughout the year and during the month of November, the department will continue with this trend. Shakespear on Film will conclude with a screening of Titus (1999) on Friday, November 4th. The Emory Cinematheque will continue in November with The Tin Drum (1979) on Wednesday, November 1st and will screen a total of four films. A full list of showtimes, dates, and locations can be found here.
  5. Emory Celebrations                                                                                                                 While many students are looking forward to Thanksgiving Break, which begins on Wednesday, November 22, it is important to celebrate other holidays as well.
    Fiesta Día de Muertos

    The Spanish and Portuguese Department in collaboration with Casa Émory presents Fiesta Día de Muertos. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 1st at Casa Émory and will celebrate the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos.

Although not as flashy as October or December, the month of November still has a lot to offer. At Emory in particular, it brings with it classic traditions such as Emory Dance Company’s fall concert and it ushers in the beginning of championship season for the school’s varsity sports. No matter your interest, Emory offers a plethora of activities and events for its students to enjoy. The Emory University events calendar for November can be found here. I encourage everyone who reads this article to not only attend events you’re interested in but to also explore events that you normally wouldn’t go to.



Nature with Makeup

Michael and Sandro stood anxiously shivering under the roof of Long-Street Means as the 42 degree air had their teeth chattering and fingers frozen. Once again Sandro subtly hinted “Do we really have to go? I’ve been there before and have pictures”. Without even acknowledging his comment Michael jumped in the Uber and Sandro reluctantly followed. Once again Sandro decided that the Uber driver was his best friend as Michael shook his head and put in his headphones. Though the ride only lasted 10 minutes, the sound of Sandro talking about cheese with this complete stranger had Michael smashing his head against the window.

Michael after we got shut down.

Shortly after the ride Michael and Sandro were warmly greeted by the garden staff with a “We are closed!” as the receptionist shut the window. Sandro started laughing hysterically, but Michael was extremely frustrated as the garden was supposed to be open on Sundays. A technician approached us from behind explaining that there was a “power outage” moments before we arrived. After Sandro berated Michael with about 50 “I told you so”s, Michael was convinced that Sandro was a bad luck charm for our blogs. “What the f*** are we going to write about” Michael crankily said, but Sandro somehow had it all planned out.

Sandro’s eyebrow started twitching and along came a sudden flashback. It was like a PTSD moment for the Vietnam War veterans except on a smaller scale. He was only 13 years old when his parents forced him to go to this wretched place. Sandro turned to Michael and started talking about his first experience: “First up, after the main entrance hall where you are given the opportunity to learn all the worthless information about the different types of flowers at the garden, is the Rose garden itself. The tour guide as well as the website said that ‘The Rose Garden offers a representative collection of old-fashioned and landscape roses to visitors. These varieties are managed organically and are interplanted with appropriate perennials’.”

Sandro’s Flashback:

Outside the Garden.

However, to bring it down to a few sentences, if you’ve ever seen a bunch of different colored roses planted together or have seen four different colored roses in a small bouquet, you can completely skip this part and head on over to the next useless attraction at the garden, the Great Lawn. This one’s amazing, there’s a whole field of grass, I was absolutely mesmerized when I saw grass for the first time in my life on this indeed Great Lawn. If you come at night, they even hang some flashing lights on nearby trees as well as across some of the bushes surrounding the Chapman Conservatory. The lights, I have to admit, were very aesthetically pleasing, but I definitely wasn’t at the botanical garden to get an epileptic seizure. Our tour guide said our next stop was…. The Rock Garden. Holy f***ing s**t, I thought to myself, rocks with lights over them. The tour guide described it as an exciting addition to that garden, but really there was just one tiny gazebo with water around it.

Parterre Fountain Installation
Storza Woods

On the way we saw the Parterre Fountain Installation, which definitely did not make my $30 ticket worthwhile. The website says “Created for the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2004, Dale Chihuly’s Parterre Fountain Installation is a one-of-a-kind sculpture in blue and white, interpreting shapes and colors of water, ice and sky. A captivating assemblage of twisting, brightly colored glass, the sculpture sparkles in Levy Parterre Fountain, where it is especially lovely lit up after dark. See it sparkle from a whole new perspective, the top of the recently renovated Alston Overlook.” “Sparkle” there was not sparkle. I thought I came to the garden to see plants, not glass. Last but not least we were at the Gardens in Storza Woods where we would “Experience the tranquil beauty of storied hardwoods surrounded by woodland gardens in one of four spaces: Beachwood Overlook, Boardwalk Balcony, Channel Overlook and The Patio at the Water Mirror.” That was truly the only good part about the garden, nothing was altered, it was just one big peaceful wooded area. But again, the ticket was $30 and I have some trees planted in my backyard as well.” Wow, Michael thought as Sandro finally closed his mouth and they hopped in the Uber back to Emory. Thank God for the wind that day, as otherwise he too would’ve endured the same torturous fate as Sandro did on the cold night of August 11th, 2014.

Man made sculpture and pond.

Although Sandro successfully convinced Michael that the power outage was a good thing, he noticed a theme in Sandro’s flashback. Though Sandro’s experience was utterly painful, he seemed to have appreciated the natural beauty of the Gardens in Storza Woods. He was able to describe in great detail the unpolished elegance of this wooded area compared to the superficial aesthetic of the other sites. Though the Botanical Garden emphasizes an “organic approach”, it seems like almost everything in the garden has some sort of human alteration and fabricated appearance. Whether it was the Rock Garden or Parterre fountain, there really seemed like nothing truly natural about this garden. While one could easily argue that the garden is supposed to be seen as a giant architectural achievement, there are some clear transformations that are almost too artificial. A perfect example of this can seen with the lights on the Great Lawn. Though this arrangement was aesthetically pleasing, Sandro was disappointed because the lights distracted the visitors from the natural beauty of the lawn. It seems as if our world is no longer attracted to the simple, natural things in life. From beauty products to the man made designs of the garden, our world is living in a constant cycle of superficial reinvention. But when does it go too far? How long can our world sustain a balance of natural beauty and advancement when our own affinity for the natural things in life is ever changing?

Feel free to explore the website: http://atlantabg.org

-Michael and Sandro




uscitytraveler. “Atlanta Botanical Garden.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Oct. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZWHsgX2kdk.


Central Park Vibes in the ATL

Imagine yourself in standing in the middle of an open, green field, with trees all around. There is a lake to your left, and all around you in the distance are tall buildings that contrast the nature within your immediate distance.

This is what it feels like to visit Piedmont Park, an urban park about one mile northeast of Downtown Atlanta. Its 185 acres of land are home to many activities and events, including a farmer’s market and sports practices.

As I ordered my Uber to visit Piedmont Park last Thursday afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that after a long week of studying and classes, I was ready to be outside in the beautiful weather and have a relaxing afternoon.

The Uber dropped my friend and me off near the Welcome Plaza. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were struck with silence. Not only were there limited people around, but the only sounds we could hear were the rustling of leaves and the occasional bird chirping. This was brand new to us coming from a bustling college campus.

A map of Piedmont Park. Credit to piedmontpark.org

We decided to take a look at the map to see what the park had to offer. We noticed tennis courts, a swimming pool, and many picnic areas. However, the map was a bit difficult to interpret, so we simply walked forward to see where it would take us.


First, we came upon a beautiful lake, where there were multiple people fishing, reminding me of the parks near my home, where my dad used to take me fishing. We sat on a wooden swing near the shore and soaked up the silence as we enjoyed the view: the tops of the buildings downtown peeking out from the rows of trees behind the lake. This view quickly reminded me of Central Park, one of my favorite places in New York. Growing up, my dad’s company would send him to New York three to four times a month, so going to visit him became a common occurrence. I was always so amazed that the city had room for so much greenery and hills, and I had this same feeling as I sat on the swing in Piedmont Park.

Our view from the shore of the lake at Piedmont Park.


We continued on our journey and came upon the swimming pool. Only open during the summer, the pool included 4 lap lanes, a concession stand, and locker rooms.

This was the best view we could get of the pool, which is closed for the 2017 season.

The concessions stand at the pool wasn’t the only one in the park however. There are multiple throughout the park, most of them only open on Saturday and Sunday. Blue Donkey Coffee and King of Pops, a couple of Emory favorites, are only some of the food options that the concessions stands have to offer.

After passing dog parks, playgrounds, and picnic areas, we climbed some stairs to my favorite area: The Active Oval. The Active Oval, home to a running track, two soccer fields, two softball fields, and and two sand volleyball courts, is where all of the sports practices take place. To me, the greatest part of it all was the view. Standing on the field gives the perfect panorama of the Downtown Atlanta landscape. Staring wide-eyed at the incredible city in front of me, I was so proud to call Atlanta my new home.

A panorama I took of the view from the Active Oval.
Our newest restaurant discovery, Cactus House, right next to Piedmont Park.

After snapping more than a few photos, my friend and I found ourselves wishing the concessions stands were open. We decided to walk to Piedmont Avenue, the city street where the park’s main entrance is located, to scope out the good restaurants. We quickly came upon Cactus House, a brand new Mexican restaurant about a block away from the park. We sat and enjoyed some chips and guacamole and an avocado taco on the porch, raving about our experience at the park. We agreed to gather a big group of friends and return on a weekend for a long walk and a picnic.

Overall, my experience at Piedmont Park was amazing. College students need to get off campus every once in awhile and spend some time outside to refresh their brains, and a walk in the park was exactly what I needed. However, my recommendation would be to visit the park on a Saturday or Sunday, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a snack and see all of the activity.




THE GREEN MARKET: Every Saturday in March-December, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

TOURS: History Tours, Tree Tours, and Bird Walks offered

FITNESS: Guided fitness classes and free monthly yoga




NOV 1 – Pick Up and Pitch In for Piedmont Park @ 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

NOV 12 – Love You Healthy Fitness Party @ 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

NOV 27 – Free Yoga on the Promenade @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


By Kate Monger

What’s Actually Going On With ILA?

What’s actually going on with the ILA?

In 2012, the Dean of Emory College, Robin Forman, said “Finally, we will suspend graduate admissions to the ILA (Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts) and reorganize the ILA into an institute without permanent faculty. In this reimagined institute, we will strive to create a more fluid structure for promoting interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, perhaps through rotating faculty appointments.”

The Institute for the Liberal Arts, which is in fact still intact at the undergraduate level and still offers the IDS program, sponsors a seminar series that features interdisciplinary faculty new to Emory.

Link to articles explaining the dissolution of Emory’s Graduate level of ILA: http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/emory-u-will-close-3-departments-as-part-of-broad-academic-restructuring/48872


Who can attend these seminars?

These special seminars are open to students and faculty from across the university.

What’s the typical format of these seminars?

3:30PM-4:00PM: Refreshments are served to all in attendance. This gives attendees time to meet the professor and allows for a more informal environment.

4:00PM-4:20PM: The speaker presents a provocative problem or issue from their research, aimed toward a general audience.

4:20PM-5:00PM: A discussion among all those present is catalyzed by the speaker’s research.

What was the topic of this seminar?

Abigail Sewell: “Hypermarginalization in Policing: The Illness Burden of Racial and Gender Disparities in Use of Force by Police”






I took the silent cue from other students in the room and put away my computer and pulled out the old-fashioned notebook and pen to take notes. Professor Sewell analyzes illness risks associated with systems of inequalities. She has reached a conclusion that excessive negative police experiences or interaction creates a weathering effect on the bodies of people of color by inciting the fight or flight response over and over again. I went from writing a million pen strokes a minute when she introduced her research topic to completely putting the pen down when she went in depth about her usage of equations and the statistical analysis tests that she used for each intersection. This information was dense and extremely developed. I was the only undergraduate student in a room filled with grad students and established professors.

Why is Professor Sewell a credible source?

Abigail Sewell, an Assistant Professor at Emory University in the Department of Sociology, focuses on the political economy of racial health disparities, the social construction of racial health care disparities, and quantitative approaches for studying racial inequality and structural racism. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Indiana University and her B.A. in Sociology (Minor in Women’s Studies) from the University of Florida.

Why should this still qualify as a “Grad Life” post?

The majority of students in attendance were graduate students who took a specific interest in maintaining ILA sponsored events after the ILA was dissolved. These students had either participated in the undergraduate level of ILA or they would like an opportunity for more interdisciplinary studies on the graduate level.

The ILA program is a program that would instill a liberal arts and evidence based education in Emory graduate students, which is something that Emory claims to be very passionate about. The way it is structured now, with no permanent faculty, is a disadvantage to Emory graduate students and it should be reverted to its previous structure. Emory has one of the highest endowments in the nation, so despite their given reasoning that the program was not financially sustainable, I do not understand why they would not keep this program alive on the graduate level.

When are the next seminars and what will they be about?

Always a reason to smile


Sounds like an extinct dinosaur but it’s actually my last name! By the time you’ve gotten to this post, I’m sure that you’re already going to be familiar with my full name. When I say familiar with, I don’t expect you to know how to spell it or pronounce it correctly. I only know of 4 people that can successfully do so with my name, 2 of them are my parents, 1 is my little sister and the other is my roommate at my old boarding school of 2 years. I mention 2 years because that’s how long it took him to be able to pronounce it. Oh, and now there’s also Hunter who can throw a half-decent attempt at it.

Although originally from The Republic of Georgia, I moved to the state of Georgia about 3.5 years ago (Ironic! Isn’t it?). Let me just mention that it’s very bizarre explaining to people that there’s a country called Georgia.

“I’m from Georgia and I speak Georgian!”
“You mean English? Because you do know that Georgia is part of the United States and they speak English there”

“No, listen….”

“Ok…you’re not very smart, are you?”

That’s a conversation I have quite often.

The Republic of Georgia is a failing nation – a country full of all sorts of turmoil and poverty, is still my home. There are many people in various regions of Georgia who, to this day, don’t have direct access to simple, but critical, things such as clean water, electricity, and healthcare. Not to mention a lack of education. But my experiences with moving and displacement are for the next Dooley Special, for now, is one part of my life that truly shaped me.

Being a native of the Republic of Georgia has had a significant effect on my life. Then there’s the whole aspect of me being from a generation of war.

Growing up I shared an apartment with my parents, uncle, aunt, cousin, and grandparents in a large complex on the outskirts of Tbilisi, the capital city. To do the math, there were 8 of us in a 3-bedroom apartment. My grandparents had actually gotten the apartment in a soviet lottery, that’s how things worked back then. If you didn’t have money to bribe officials you would have to be placed on a very long waitlist to get a half-decent 2-bedroom apartment. But that’s a whole different story. I remember I would run down in the huge yard that used to surround our apartment building and meet my friends to start playing football(soccer) or rugby on the football field.

I remember almost every other day, I would decide that I either wanted ice-cream or some sort of candy from the local supermarket 1 block away. I’d run to back to my apartment, the 2 windows of my room would be facing me, and start screaming “Bebooo… Baabbuu” (translated to grandma and grandpa in English) to ask them for what is the equivalent of 0.80 cents in US dollars. Most of the times I would get the requested amount, sometimes, however, they wouldn’t have that much to give me for my silly candies. I was raised to be very humble in general, so I would never complain or ask again for the next 2 days because looking over at my friends, I knew that they wouldn’t get those 0.80 cents thrown down to them for weeks because of the financial difficulties their families were going through.

I remember one day seeing someone buy this big robotic dinosaur at the store, and asking my mom if I could have one too, her looking back at me and shaking her head implying that we didn’t really have enough at the time. We just had enough for the products that we were there to buy. I would smile back at her so as to not make her sad, but from her voice tone and every now and then teary eyes, I would know that my smile wasn’t always enough.

After those stories, you must be ironically thinking to yourself “One big happy family, eh?” The truth is, we were. There was nothing but laughter radiating from our windows, from early morning to late nights.

That laughter was completely silenced in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, yeah, I know this sounds like the whole but “But everything changed when the fire nation attacked” from the Avatar: The Last Airbender, but truthfully it was far from it. I remember my mother hurrying me over to a friend’s house and sitting together awaiting the moment when it would be officially announced that we were under siege.

My dad called us from a village called Gori that was currently being bombed and where Russian soldiers would strip Georgian soldiers naked to string them up on light poles as a form of embarrassment. He said that he was there with the President and Minister of Defense and that combined they had enough army and security resources to make it out fine, but that the tanks were slowly approaching the capital city, Tbilisi. However, a few days after international leaders intervened in what was going to be a countrywide occupation, I remember standing hand-in-hand with my parents and endless others to form a human circle of strength around Tbilisi, a chain that extended over 60 miles.

Post-war there were multitudes of Georgians who had been forced out of the occupied regions. Many displaced families sought refuge in camps neighbouring our home in the city. Most mothers from Tbilisi volunteered to take care of the refugee children, many of whom had been orphaned. It took days of convincing, but my mother eventually agreed it was okay for me to take my soccer ball to the camp where she was serving. That summer, on the ill-maintained playgrounds of Tbilisi, I made many new friends, found some “rivals” – and I met Gocha.

Russian soldiers and their heavy artillery tore apart Gocha’s family, but they did not take away his playfulness. Perhaps we were both too young at the time – Gocha, a year older than me – to truly understand the torments of becoming an orphaned child. I could barely picture how lonely he must have felt because he never shared his sadness.

Gocha and I were a lot alike. Both quick to raise our hands when it was time to volunteer to be captains for a soccer game. Both bent on picking the best players for our teams. A week in, we had all become ferociously competitive, and fights were common – especially when we could not agree on whether a goal had been scored. Stones and rocks, piled up to make goalposts, got the job done, but not very well.

One such fight became unnecessarily ugly. Gocha pushed me, and I tugged at him, tearing apart what I later learned was his only shirt. At the end of the game, my teammates pressured me to apologize to my shirtless opponent. I talked myself into walking up to him – rather begrudgingly and uncomfortably. Gocha looked over at me as I rehearsed under my breath what I was going to say and, as I was about to start, he shamelessly broke into a fit of giggles. I smiled back, more confused than guilty. I realize that despite everything that had happened to him, he could still find it in him to laugh, or at least smile.

The next day I brought him some of my shirts as an apology. All of them fit, and a loyal bond was sealed. I even remember him laughing at one of the shirts because it had a pony, drawn on it by me.

At this point, I know I will spend a lifetime spelling my name and clarifying its pronunciation. I know my country will find it difficult to survive – the population of the Republic of Georgia steadily decreasing to the point where a century from now the number of citizens is predicted to drop from 3.4 million to one million. Despite all of that, I know, because I was there, that aggression does not overpower compassion.  War is devastating. But does it mean we stop looking for joy and happiness? That we can no longer smile? That we turn our backs on acts of kindness? That we subdue our natural personalities? No. As I have learned, sometimes all it takes is a soccer ball and 8 new shirts.






Inside a Record-Breaking MLS Game

As a fun Family Weekend activity and a birthday present, I had the opportunity to attend a soccer match with my family between Atlanta United FC and the team I support, Toronto FC. The match was the last of the regular season, and both teams had something to play for; Atlanta United could score a bye in the first round of the playoffs, while Toronto could achieve the highest ever point-tally in Major League Soccer (MLS) history. The atmosphere truly reflected the importance of the game, with over 71,000 people showing up to watch (an MLS attendance record). The passion of the fans and the amount of noise made it pretty uncomfortable to cheer for the away team.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The match took place in the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which Atlanta United share with the Atlanta Falcons. The stadium is located just southwest of Centennial Olympic Park, close to the center of downtown Atlanta. This causes a lot of traffic before and after their games, but we didn’t really have a problem getting out. The unique shape of the stadium makes it stand out in the downtown area. All the noise coming from the area also draws lots of attention. I found that all of the stadium staff were very efficient and friendly. We never really had to wait in a line, despite there being 70,000 other people there.

Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco signing autographs

In order to get to our seats, we had to walk past the tunnel where they players enter the field from. Fans of Atlanta United were lined up along the sides, waiting for their heroes to come out. As the players came out of the dressing room, they jogged down the tunnel and high-fived all the fans who stuck their hands out. After the players were on the field, we got to watch them warm up from the field-side and then took our seats. We just so happened to be sandwiched between Atlanta United fans, but from looking around the stadium I could tell that they were everywhere. I was only able to find a few other Toronto supporters during the match.

Before the game started, Atlanta United displayed their tradition of taking a golden spike, signed by fans of the team, and hitting it with a sledgehammer as the fans spell the name of the team. This match, the honours of hitting the spike were given to Atlanta recording artist 2 Chainz. Afterwards, the anthem was sung by another Atlanta recording artist, CeeLo Green. As the match started, everyone remained on their feet and did not sit for the entire 90 minutes. The energy in the stadium was truly unmatchable by any other team in MLS.

2 Chainz with the sledgehammer and CeeLo Green singing the anthem
Final score: 2-2

The match was very even throughout and ended in a 2-2 draw. While both teams were hoping to win, a draw suited Toronto just fine – they achieved the most ever points in MLS history with 69 (20W-9D-5L). However, because Atlanta did not win, they were unable to move into second place, so they must play in a knockout game against Columbus Crew S.C. in order to stay alive in the playoffs. Tickets to this game are already practically sold out, as fans of the team are very excited to see Atlanta United in the playoffs in their inaugural season.

Following the MLS and keeping an eye on Atlanta United has made me think about one question: How are Atlanta United so successful? There has to be an explanation to how they can get over 70,000 people to come to a game. There are a few reasons, and combined it all makes perfect sense.

The first reason is undoubtedly the success. There is no way that the team would have so many fans without it doing well in the league. The owner of the team, Arthur Blank, invested lots of money from the get-go in order to start the franchise on a high note. Atlanta brought in talented players from across South America and a coach who understood what the fans want to see. The result is an exciting team that plays fast-paced, interesting soccer that the fans love to watch. When the supporters see their team doing well, it reinforces their pride and makes them feel happy. Atlanta were excited when they got their team, and the success that they’ve had in their first year has kept that excitement going.

The Atlanta United Supporter’s Section

A deeper reason why that many people come out is that it is a team of the people. The team name, Atlanta United really means that it is a medium to unite everyone in the city. Having the word united in the name has special significance to the supporters, as it makes them feel that they are just as big a part of the club as anyone else. Not only that, but Atlanta is a city on the rise with lots of young people. This club is something that they feel they can take and make theirs. This leads to the creation of supporters groups, who sit together, chant together, and… support together.

The supporter groups have really done a great job of getting people to join in and support their club. To quote an interview done by Copa90, “Hip-hop was the lubricant to bring people in who are newbies and show them a good time”. The interview showed the various things the supporter groups do to lure people in to joining. These include playing hip-hop music, tailgating, and creating tifos, which are large displays that the fans hold up to show support for the club.

An Atlanta United tifo

Overall, Atlanta United F.C. is a successful franchise on many levels. The success of the team as well as the fans is really something special. However, it will be worthwhile to see how they do in the playoffs, and if the hype will last from season to season.


Copa90 interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXNuVz4EFUc

Match highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffZxa7JLmnw