Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lynchburg Safety Alert

My dorm has now enacted a 24/7 guest escort policy, and the building will be closed off to allow access only to us seniors. This is a good because the last few weeks have resulted in increasing safety problems all around Lynchburg. More computers were stolen at Lynchburg College recently, and we received the following email today.

Be careful, everyone! I'll be back next week!

Police release sketch of man in Liberty University stabbing

By Carrie J. Sidener and Dave Thompson;

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Police now have an idea of what the man who attacked a student in a women’s restroom on Liberty University’s campus looks like.

A composite sketch was released Wednesday of the man who is believed to have stabbed a student in the hand Tuesday evening in a second-floor women’s bathroom of the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center.

Campus security has increased because of the attack and authorities are asking students to stay alert and travel in numbers, said Ron Godwin, Liberty’s executive vice president. Students who request it will be escorted to their destination after dark, he said.

The security measures will remain in place until the man is arrested, Godwin said.

“It needs to be remembered that this assault happened on the second floor at 5:45 p.m. in a building literally teeming with people,” Godwin said. “That’s what’s even more startling.”

The DeMoss center is one of LU’s main academic buildings, with classrooms, computer services, the library, and the central university bookstore.

The attack happened when a man approached the women’s restroom with a foldout wet floor sign, Godwin said. He set up the sign outside the women’s bathroom after the student walked inside, then slipped quietly inside and put on a ski mask.

The victim, whose name is not being released, was in the bathroom stall when he entered, Godwin said.

“She had no idea that he had entered the room,” Godwin said.

The man forcefully entered the stall and moved to stab her. She raised her hands to defend herself and screamed. That’s when the man ran out, grabbed the wet floor sign and fled, Godwin said.

The wet floor sign was found later in the stairwell.

“I talked to the young lady myself this afternoon,” Godwin said Wednesday evening. “The trauma of the event was worse than the actual injury.”

Godwin said she received stitches in her left hand. The woman is receiving counseling and is “supported by a very strong circle of family and friends.”

Liberty has 80 police officers and security personnel and has brought in expertise from the Lynchburg Police Department and the Virginia State Police to assist in the investigation.

“Nothing about this has to do with adequate or inadequate security,” Godwin said. “There is no way to anticipate all the possible incidents that could happen that have never previously happened. This is a first for Liberty and it happened in the most unlikely place - the second floor of the most densely populated place.”

The Lynchburg Police Department is providing investigators and consulting on the case. The Virginia State Police is also providing experts from its criminal investigations unit, which produced the composite sketch.

Major Andy Vest of the Lynchburg Police Department said city officers are assisting Liberty at the campus police department’s request.

The Liberty University Police Department has been in operation since 1997. Its officers are sworn law enforcement and have gone through the same basic training as other police departments, Vest said.

“They call us when they need assistance,” Vest said. “When they have something serious like this, they call us right away. … We treat it just as if it’s one of our cases. We work it jointly.”

Some students on campus are taking the attack more seriously than others.

“We joked about it, but then we all walked back to our dorms alone,” Jen Slothower said Wednesday afternoon.

For some students, the only notification they received was an e-mail alert sent to the students on Tuesday night.

Some didn’t realize anything was going on until they received the e-mail or heard of the incident from other students.

“I had no idea about it until after curfew last night at about like 10,” said Justin Melvin, who didn’t see the e-mail, since his computer is broken.

Slothower was returning from work and saw the ambulance parked in front of the DeMoss center.

“I just thought somebody had breathing problems or something insignificant like that,” she said.

Melvin said several students are taking precautions, namely carpooling and trying to stay in groups after dark.

“I don’t think we’re on lockdown mode like everyone’s scared to step outside, but at the same time people are taking slight precautions.”

“It hasn’t really sunk in, I don’t think, to a lot of people,” he added.

Aleisia Lossau said girls in particular should be safety-minded.

“If girls are smart, they’re smart, and they’re not by themselves,” she said.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My motto for 2008

Many may know by now, but I suspect some don't.

We are rapidly approaching the presidential primary season, one of the most exciting and surprising times of the election cycle. In 2004, no one really expected John Kerry to be the frontrunner when the primary hoopla began- I myself always stood by Howard Dean even after his "scream".

Being a college student, I'm always amazed by my peers who choose not to get involved. To sit along on the sidelines, complain about the state of things, and do NOTHING about it. I persuaded one of these friends to request a North Carolina absentee ballot in 2004, and she voted for Bush after he won in an eenie meenie minee moe contest. I'm not kidding.

So for this upcoming election season, I'm implementing my OWN campaign!

2008: No Excuses!

The electronic world has made it so easy to access information, especially about politics. You can find up to the minute information about debates, speeches, and candidates. You can request absentee ballots for any election (I mailed my ballot from England last year. Distance and oceans are no excuse!) Of course, my mother is chair of the board of elections, so I automatically know when each election is, but the information is easy to find!

You have a voice, and you can exercise it. I heard many people complain that they didn't like John Kerry. So get out there and vote for a candidate you want to be president- it really can make a difference.

To help you all along, over the coming weeks leading up the kickoffs in January, I'll be posting candidate profiles and helpful information about elections. To keep things "fair and balanced" I'll even post a Republican candidates profile with each Democrat.

Hopefully it will encourage a few more people to get out there and vote. A while ago I installed a counter and statistics part to my blog, so I know that people all over the country and especially the states of Ohio and Virginia read this blog. Both Ohio and Virginia will be key states in 2008- and I want EVERYONE who reads this blog to vote, whether its at the polls or through the mail.

I'll update another day about my Thanksgiving break and life, maybe once I get through this very challenging week!

So stay tuned, educate yourself, and get involved!
No excuses!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Congrats Elizabeth!

I just heard the news that Elizabeth Yeager, a fellow Ohio girl and longtime friend, won the title of Miss American Coed Victory in Orlando this week.

Elizabeth and I started competing together over five years ago in American Coed.
The first time I ever entered a pageant was the summer of my sophomore year in high school. My friend, Amber Carolus, had been competing in this pageant for a few years, and said it was a lot of fun. It was certainly like nothing I had ever done before, and my friend Brett dared me to enter the pageant that summer and wear a pink dress- so I took her up on it.

Going into that first pageant weekend, I never anticipated that I would enter another pageant again. I expected to have fun, but I had no idea how much I would gain and grow from that experience. I was competing for Miss Ohio Jr. Teen, and there were 225 in that division. It was a little scary to be up against so many girls. It didn't help that my JC Penney dress had grown too short over the months preceding the pageant- my mom stayed up most of the night prior to evening gown sewing three inches of lace to the bottom of the dress.

At the end of that pageant, I was in the top 25. I never expected to come away with anything, especially being up against so many girls in my first pageant ever. I had an excellent weekend and came back the next year.

Throughout the coming years, American Coed held a special place in my heart each summer. I won numerous talent, volunteer service, modeling, and speech awards, and always placed in the top ten, and several times as a runner up.

Last summer I competed for Miss Ohio American Coed and won! It was one of the most precious moments of my life and something I will always remember. It was something I worked extremely hard for and I feel so blessed to have represented such an amazing pageant system that truly encourages inner beauty, healthy body image, and making new friends. When I first entered that pageant, I had absolutely no self-confidence, poor public speaking skills, and slumped shoulders during evening gown.

It took me five tries to win that state title- and each year, I learned something new and pushed myself harder. I made the best of every opportunity and grew so close to many of the girls, Elizabeth included.

Elizabeth was my first runner up and she won first runner up again this summer when I crowned the new winner, Cassandra George. Cassandra is competing for Miss American Coed now as I type, and I will anxiously await the results later this evening. It is hard to believe it has been a year since I made that very eventful trip to Orlando. (The hotel charged me twice for the room before I even arrived, overdrawing on my American bank account, the hotel lost our room, Virgin Atlantic linked me to U.S. flights that didn't exist, my mom drove the entire Ohio-Orlando trip by herself, etc-it was a challenge!)

Elizabeth was accepted early to medical school at Wright State earlier this year. I hope she doesn't mind me saying that both of us have come a long way since we first competed together. That is one of my favorite things about competing in this pageant for years- you grow yourself but you also see an incredible transformation in friends.

Now, what is Coed Victory? I'll explain.

American Coed's name was created to give an image of the "all-american girl", not using coed to mean "girls and boys".They award titles in princess, sweetheart, preteen, jr. teen, teen, and Coed (the oldest division). Having an early January birthday, I was almost always the oldest in my age group. (They place you in divisions based on your age as of Jan 1st.)

Girls who win Miss State Coed titles can compete for the title of Miss American Coed. Anyone who places as a runner up to Miss State Coed can also compete for Miss American Coed. This rule exists because often the point differences between the girls in the top 5 are extremely close. For the past three years, in fact, the Miss American Jr. Teen winner has been a runner up in her state pageant. The idea is that anyone can win.

Girls who are former state queens, girls who are just competing in optionals(talent, actress, etc), and girls who didn't placed as runners up can compete for Miss American Victory. They compete in the same three categories as the other girls, but just for a different title. Elizabeth placed as a runner up this summer but chose to compete in Victory. I am so happy for her and proud of her, and I can't wait to see pictures.

well, that's all for now! I'll update later once the Miss American Coed pageant is over.

Cassandra, I am cheering you on from Virginia! You are an awesome young woman and you're doing Ohio proud! Cassandra has already won the national speech and actress competitions and placed third runner up in national talent.

Good luck to all the ladies!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving news

I just got the email update that Lauren Nelson will be in the Boscov parade on ABC during Thanksgiving coming out of Philadelphia! Everyone should tune in.

And a whole bunch of good luck wishes to all of the Miss American Coed competitors in Florida right now. Last year at this time it's hard to believe I flew from Heathrow to Orlando (with a disaster in between!!) to compete and it was a great experience, and I got to spend some time with my mom.

I wish all the ladies down there best of luck! Enjoy the Florida sun!

Campus Safety

Yesterday, I planned to go swimming during the open pool hours, but then I received an email that the first and second floors of my residence hall were having a mandatory hall meeting at 9 PM. Unfortunately, this has been one of many hall meetings this semester to address various problems.

In September, when I moved in, myself and many residents of Webb, the senior-only dorm where we live, supported a restricted access policy. This means that while we love having our underclass friends come visit us, the safety issues on campus made us uncomfortable in our own dorm. There were random men walking through our dorms even in the first few weeks of classes, and many of us felt they had no reason to be inside this building. In the post-Virginia Tech era, I was really hoping that our campus security would crack down and make this a safe environment for all students, but unfortunately campus safety has followed the path of many administration responses to problems this semester and become a disappointment.

After members of campus found out how the 80 students living in this building felt, the problem was blown out of proportion. There were flyers all over campus claiming that we wanted a campus "lockdown" and that each building should be restricted only to residents of that building. That is not, in fact, what we wanted. As senior female residents living in a turbulent campus environment, we wanted to feel safe in our own rooms and supported restricted access to this dorm.

We let the idea go, since so many people on campus believed we wanted restriction on a grand scale. Student government looked at the idea and tabled it. There was not a consensus.

Since September, however, we have had numerous security problems. Coed or not, this campus MUST be a safe place for its students. Our Honor Code should be held in high regard, but at this point, we can't trust that will happen. For this reason, I have always been a proponent of restricted access. There are several key points to support the argument for restricted access:

1.Many other college campuses allow access to dorms only to the people who live there. Having spent a spring break at Harvard and a summer in Boston frequently visiting the Harvard campus, even there students had to buzz in or call ahead to be let into other dorms. Each dorm was staffed by a student at the door, as well.

2.Our dorm has limited security. We have no peepholes on our doors, no security at the entrance, and any student on this campus can enter this senior only dorm.

3. The laundry room in this dorm is located on the lower floor, and any student can enter that laundry room through a side door without entering senior residences. Therefore, there is no reason that non-residential Webb students should be roaming these halls, particularly first year men, because it makes us extremely uncomfortable.

4. While I truly love and respect the Honor Code here, I do not hold it above my own personal safety and that of my fellow residents. Given recent incidents, I believe that our case as senior women has only been proven: this campus is not what it used to be, and it is no longer safe.

What incidences?

1. Over fall break, a senior's laptop on the 2nd floor was stolen from her room.

2. Shortly after fall break, someone's personal belongings were stolen outside her room on the first floor here.

3. Living on the first floor where the bathroom is located, I have been upset with the many non-residents of this floor who use our bathroom and trash it. It makes the job difficult for our community advisor, who then has to find the culprit and force them to clean it up.

4. Two weekends ago, my friend Whitney was in her room on Saturday night after midnight. Someone was jiggling her door handle and pounding on the door, which was thankfully locked. Whitney threw the door open to find a drunk, unescorted (this is important because it is against our hall policy for men or female guests to be unescorted) man standing there, laughing. This scared Whitney and unnerved the rest of us.

5. This past weekend, a similar incident happened to a girl on the other side of the first floor. She refused to open her door and whoever it was finally left her alone.

6. Also this past weekend, another girl on the second floor of this building had her laptop stolen.

7. A drug deal occured in this area earlier in the year, which involved the police.

8. Several weeks ago, someone was setting off fireworks in the Dell (our outside ampitheater) and throwing smoke bombs at the residents of Webb smoking on the front lawn. This was called to Security and there was no response.

9. During the removal of the art from the Maier, a "bomb threat" statement was made to a student by a police officer. This statement was later proved false, although we only received an email saying such 24 hours after the fact. I feel that once ONE person makes a statement like that to a student, the student has every right to take that seriously. The entire campus should have been alerted to a potential danger. It should have been treated seriously and later diffused, not the reverse order.

Some may say that we can't blame these thefts on the male presence on campus, and that is true. What we can say is that in my time here at R-MWC, I have never felt unsafe. I have never had anything stolen from me. My first and second year roommate Nada and I frequently left our door unlocked if we were stepping out for a short time. The majority of students here leave their mailboxes unlocked. I have left my things on a table in the library to go get a drink and never seen them touched by anyone else. Most importantly, I felt like I was a safe woman inside my own room. That is no longer the case. Why are there people pounding on our doors who don't belong here? Why do we have to call Security to alert these things, but often see them fall to the wayside until a serious incident happens?

Visiting colleges four years ago, my mother and I were always impressed with the large numbers of protective parents who had one main concern about their childs transition to college: safety.

I wish I could say I'm surprised. I wish I could say that none of us senior women predicted such rampant problems. That's not true. We all feared that this was where our beloved college was headed, and I am even more disappointed that it takes 9 serious incidents before safety is even taken seriously.

Last night at our meeting, those who showed up overwhelmingly supported a 24 hour restricted access policy in this building. The main goal of this college should be to ensure the safety of all of those within it. It is unfortunate that something like this has only been taken seriously after months of demands by the students.

For now, I guess I have to wave goodbye to the Randolph-Macon of years past. Instead of the warm Honor community we must have, we now live in a community of fear and concern. Lock your doors, don't trust your community members, and play it safe.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Miss HHDF/HNN Part 2

Again, all photos courtesy of J. Tolentino, please visit his site at

Also, on a side note: since yesterday afternoon I have had over 100 hits to my blog from all over the country, and some in other countries! Wow!

Photos from Miss HHDF/HNN

All of the photos come from Julius Tolentino.

Please visit his site to see all the pictures at

Virginia is really lucky to have such a fantastic photographer, and he deserves all the credit for his fantastic photos!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Congrats new titleholders!

Last night, two very sweet and talented young women won the titles of Miss Hampton Newport News and Miss Hampton Holly Days. Tamika Mills won Miss Hampton Holly Days and Taylor Witte won Miss Hampton Newport News.

This pageant had 15 girls in it and it was a very strong group all around! The talent was great, and I hope it made for a very entertaining show. Each of the young ladies on the stage did a great job and it really was an honor to be named 1st runner up and the interview winner.

I've used my time since being back to study and catch up on some much-needed sleep. I have a biology exam on Tuesday, so my focus goes back to school for now.

I met some really wonderful girls at this pageant and I was so glad to get to talk with them all backstage, and I hope everyone keeps competing so we can spend time together.

So, it's back to academics and work for me, and preparing for Miss Arlington/Fairfax!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


I literally just parked my car about 30 minutes ago, and I am back from the pageant this weekend. Congrats to Tamika Mills and Taylor Witte, the winners.

Since I was there on my own I only have one picture I snapped backstage of Ashley Grizzard and I, but I think Julius Tolentino was on hand to snap pictures which he'll get up soon!

I'll update lots more later once I unpack :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Extremely Exciting news: RMWC art!!

I received the following message from the PEC (Preserve Educational Choice- the group who has challenged Randolph College on its many decisions), and it is truly exciting.

This is a very important step, and definitely the morale booster that so many of us alums and students need!

The Supreme Court of Virginia informed us a few moments ago that:

1) They have denied Randolph College's appeal to have the temporary
injunction removed

2) They have granted our appeal to lower the injunction surety bond
amount (it is now $1 million instead of $10 million)

3) The temporary injunction preventing the sale of these four paintings
will be "good" from November 10, 2007 for six months - however, the
injunction will dissolve if the surety bond is not paid by the end of
December 3, 2007

Given that the two Christie's auctions are Nov 19 and Nov 29 while the
injunction is clearly in effect, we can assume that the paintings will not
be sold at these auctions. We will (of course) ask Christie's to confirm
that the paintings have been withdrawn from the auctions and will let you
know when we have received that assurance.

We are working on a PEC update that will be issued later today as well as a
press release. -- Anne Y. (PEC)

And here is the email John Klein sent out to the community:

Dear Campus Community:

This morning the Virginia Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction enjoining the College from selling the Bellows, Hicks, Tamayo, and Hicks paintings for six months. The injunction will automatically dissolve if the plaintiffs fail to post a $1,000,000 surety bond by December 3, 2007.

We are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision. We have notified Christie’s to withdraw the paintings from their November auctions.

The Court’s decision delays the sale of paintings and therefore limits the extent by which the College can reduce its endowment spending rate this year. The College has taken substantial additional steps throughout the year to improve its operating budget, and these will continue to benefit the College’s financial situation.

We continue to believe the College has the right and the responsibility to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the College as a whole, and the Board of Trustees will continue to make the decisions necessary to ensure the College’s future. We believe the College will prevail when this extended litigation is put to rest.

John E. Klein

(I'm in Hampton to compete for Miss Hampton Holly Days Festival/Hampton Newport News, which I'm really excited about. I just wanted to update everyone quickly about this great news! I'll check back in on Sunday or Monday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Student and Faculty Reactions to Art Sale

Important News- RMWC Art

I have an update on one of the stories about my college that has caused an uproar on campus and the Lynchburg community, which is the sale of 4 pieces of art to help boost the "Randolph College" allotment. These pieces of art were added to the RMWC collection early in its history, the most prized and famous being the George Bellows "Men of the Docks". The pictures were removed from campus in a two hour time period several weeks ago, with the museum director being barred from her office while the paintings were removed and wrapped in bubble wrap. The paintings were then transported to Christie's, where they are to appear in an auction on November 19th.

As a student here (and particularly an economics one) I've been horrified by the ethics , or lack thereof, from this case, and also the fact that everything at Randolph College keeps getting worse. Just when will it stop? I fail to see how the sale of "assets" (and the debate over whether art can even be considered an asset in a liberal arts college has already been decided for this blogger) will boost the endowment enough to save the school. Even it if does, the college is being ripped of one of its many treasures, that in the long run simply can't attract students. Those of us tied to R-MWC were heartbroken the night the story about the art broke, and since then it has just created an even bigger divide in this school, among the students, faculty, and community.

This is something I've been wanting to write about for some time, although my schoolwork has been my focus. Now that things are cooling off a bit, I thought I'd share some of the news stories, photos, and my personal opinion about this latest travesty.

Last week, an injunction was granted to students and former staff/students who wanted to halt the sale, although the group was given a deadline of tomorrow to come up with $10 million dollars in order for the injunction to be complete. I hope that somehow, this money has been raised, although I am deeply worried about how this art sale has damaged the college's reputation and integrity beyond repair.

Please click on the below link to read a letter in which the Virginia Association of of Museums denounces the college for this act.

Also, the most recent news story about the injunction on the art sale:!news!localnews

In this situation, the best we can do is share information about these unethical approaches to running an institution of higher education, and to stand strong about the importance of art to all students in a liberal arts college. The Maier Museum here has a long legacy of outstanding collections, and R-MWC has long been working with artists and sharing programs through which we have been able to showcase great works of art on loan. I feel sure that no museum or artist would ever feel comfortable sharing art with this school any more, and the loss of such great opportunities is devastating.

1/4 of the Way Finished!

I am excited to report that I am all ready to present tomorrow in my political science seminar. Since I have two majors, I have two senior papers and two presentations to do, and tomorrow I'm giving my first one, and I'll be a quarter of the way done with my senior work!

I found a lot of great information for this presentation including articles and books as well as newspaper coverage and videos which will make my presentation a little more interesting for my senior classmates to watch!

My powerpoint is all finished and tonight I just have to run through speaking it a few times.

A huge thanks to Elizabeth Pryor, my favorite RMWC alum, who gave me an outstanding book which helped make this project MUCH easier!

The title of my project is called "Evolution of Post Cold War Strategy: The Bosnian Conflict" looking at the six major changes in strategic affairs since the collapse of the Soviet Union and how the Bosnian intervention reflects each of those changes.

Wish me luck tomorrow; I'm really excited about it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wish me luck!

This, like many other weeks, has been a very busy one!

Yesterday I went to a professors house with several other seniors to talk and enjoy wine and cheese, and it was wonderful to get off campus for a little bit and catch up with some of the girls I haven't seen as much all semester.

Tonight I'm going to a dinner with all the other accepted American Culture Program students, as well as past participants, to celebrate the program's 16 years in existence here at R-MWC.

Thursday I will present on my senior paper topic for political science, which is basically a presentation explaining to the class what I'll be looking at in my senior paper. Having read parts of a great book I received last week, I can definitely see my paper expanding into independent study next semester if I wanted to do that.

This weekend, I'm excited to report that I'll be headed over to Hampton Virginia to compete for the titles of Miss Hampton Holly Days Festival and Miss Hampton Newport News. The directors have been wonderful already, and it would be great to work with them as a local titleholder!

On Monday, I'm going to be participating in a bridal photoshoot for the YWCA here in Lynchburg. The YWCA also operates the Domestic Violence Prevention Center, where I have been interning since August. The staff at the office really wanted me to participate in the shoot. I'll be featured in all the ads for the YWCA Bridal Shop, which sells gently used and donated new gowns here in Lynchburg. We're also having our hair and makeup done professionally, and traveling to a beautiful manor to get the photos done. This seemed like such a fun opportunity and a unique way to help out the shelter beyond my everyday responsibilities, so I'm really excited about being one of the models! I was told we'll also be on a website, so maybe I can link that once the pictures are done!

On Tuesday I have a biology exam and then Thanksgiving break begins, and I'm really looking forward to the chance to relax, finish my graduate school applications, and cook food for friends.

With all that said, I need all your good luck wishes for this week!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Big Success!

Photos from "Tacky Party" and "Fall Formal"

A few weeks ago, I posted that I was planning for Never Ending Weekend, and I have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to post many pictures from the events. Right now I am taking a ten-minute break from working on my politics powerpoint for my senior presentation next week, and thought it might be a good use of my time to share a few pictures.

First of all, the events were a HUGE success. We had great turnout, the decorations at both events looked great, and we had wonderful musicians! I am so proud of how all of this turned out, and I have heard so many comments about students who enjoyed it and what an improvement on past parties it was. We decided to use the campus radio station, the WWRM, to DJ the event and this was a great idea, because students felt comfortable asking for requests and we were also able to advertise this event and promote the WWRM and MAC together.

I took tons of pictures at Tacky Party, but Saturday night was consumed by the pageant here in Lynchburg, so I borrowed some from my friends Nada, Sarah, and Molly. It's good to know that students had a great time after so many of us worked really hard!

Blessed and Thankful

It's thanksgiving season... and a few weeks before, I already have thanks to give!

This past week has been overwhelming and tiring-but in a good way!

My academics have demanded my full focus, and I am really pleased with how I am doing. In the week before this, I felt like I had fallen behind due to a lot of other demands on my time, but now that things have settled I am excited to report that I am ahead of schedule!

This week was somewhat stressful because I realized on Monday that my dataset for my econometrics project was not workable, because the data was $125. Although I will definitely need the data for my senior econ project next semester, I am worried that it wouldn't arrive in time, and I'll probably have to ask my advisors about whether this can be funded through the department. In the meantime, I stayed after class and my professor and I altered my hypothesis so that I can use United States' census data instead of German data, and I have a new project.

I'm also excited that next semester I will be doing independent senior research in the politics department, which will allow me to write 25-30 pages either expanding my current research or looking at a new topic. I'm excited about being offered this chance and I really believe it will be helpful as I prepare for graduate school.

Today I went out to replace some things I needed, and purchase my mother's Christmas present. I was successful on all attempts and came back on campus to spend some time with Nada, my first and second year roommate and closest friend. This semester, we have both been overwhelmed with our workload and extracurricular commitments but I consider myself very lucky to have been assigned Nada as a roommate my first year here. She has been my best friend ever since, and between her and Meaghan, my roommate in England last year, I have never had a bad roommate situation! I have been really blessed in that area.

Speaking of being blessed, some truly amazing things have happened for me in the past week. I have been showered with generosity and kindness on many levels, and I don't know that I will ever be able to adequately thank all those who have helped me on the journey to my dreams- both academically and in the Miss America organization. Several people stepped forward offering to help me in my 'pursuit of the crown' and have enabled me to enhance my wardrobe and given of their time and kindness. It has not only helped me on this road to Miss America, but given me greater confidence and helped make this challenging semester a much better one than I anticipated.

I am currently working on my thank you notes for these incredible gifts, although some of them have come anonymously. I wish that I could thank each individual person for what they have done for me and helped me to do- I am incredibly appreciative of these gracious gifts of your donations, time, advice, and kindness! I am so grateful to have so much support as I keep working to accomplish my dream!

I also want to thank each of my Children's Miracle Network donors, who have helped me raise $500 for CMN and Miss America this pageant season! This will allow me to now compete for all the open pageants that I choose!

I also wanted to thank the women at Virginia Baptist Hospital who have more than thanked me for my volunteer work with the I am Woman 5k run a few weeks ago; they have been so kind and I am really look forward to working with them more in the future!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Miss Hill City

This past weekend was a very busy one for me, and I really enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Hill City, and got to see some girls I have come to know and love here in Virginia, Madison and Whitney, and I also met some great new girls who were so kind and have SO much potential! The Hill City committee was great, especially when my cd started acting like there was no song for my talent on it.

It was a stressful weekend, too, though, because it was Never Ending Weekend here at my school, and as president of the activities council I was kept very busy trying to make sure that Tacky Party on Friday and Fall Formal on Saturday were pulled off. Both of these events are very old traditions at our school, in which Friday night is a dance party where everyone dresses "tacky" (I think the name gives it away but every year some students are confused!) and on Friday everyone dresses up for fall formal.

I worked extremely hard on both of these events, as did the entire Activities Council, and they were a BIG success! We had a huge turnout, and great musicians/djs for both nights. The week leading up to all of this was very stressful, but it was all pulled off.

It was really great that Hill City was here in Lynchburg, because about 12 of my friends were able to come watch me compete, and that was really great. They were all extremely supportive and it was wonderful to have them there.
I have to say that each of the girls I have met so far in Virginia are extremely kind, and their mothers are helpful. When I competed in Shenandoah Valley, I drove there myself, stayed by myself, and managed all my own preparation. I was fine with this, but I was amazed at the mothers who offered up anything I needed.

Madison Van Duyne and her mother invited me into their room the first night and fed me a late dinner after our rehearsal, and they are the most genuine people you will ever meet. I really love Maddie's personality and her mother is so incredibly kind, and she is definitely someone that you want to spend more time with the moment you meet her! After Miss Shenandoah Valley, Madison's parents took us out to dinner, and I am so grateful for their kindness. Whitney Law's mother also offered to help me multiple times, checking in on me to make sure I was okay. This was so generous of them and I am so happy for Whitney, who won Miss Hill City after relentlessly competing for the chance to go to Miss Virginia. She and her mother are such nice people!

The pageant was a lot of fun and I am glad I did it. I am, however, looking forward to taking a break from pageants for several weeks to focus on my studies and post-graduate plans; I am taking the GRE November 16th and have a few graduate applications left to finish. I'm also preparing both my senior papers and my regression project for econometrics, so I know that my focus needs to be on my work right now.

That said, my dream of competing for Miss Virginia and Miss America is still alive and well, and I plan to return to competing as soon as I can remove my focus from school a little bit and dive back in to my community service and my passion for this program.

I want to thank all of the people who have sent me encouraging emails, letters, and flowers, because it really means a lot to me. I am so incredibly blessed to have such good friends and to meet such kind and helpful people.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thank you

to my friends in the RMWC sister class of 1982, who sent me these gorgeous pink flowers over the weekend!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

More Hill City Pictures

Sorry that some of the pictures are fuzzy. As you can tell from the giant shadows behind us, the lighting was a little different and sometimes my camera just acts up and blurs pictures.


to the new Miss Hill City, Whitney Law!

It's been a very exhausting weekend for me, so I'll just post this quick picture and throw out my congrats to Whitney, a pageant competitor I have known for a long time who was truly thrilled to win this title!

I also included pictures of the new preteen and teen winner.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Miss Hill City

Tomorrow begins the next step of my journey in the Miss America system: rehearsal for Miss Hill City.

I am so blessed that many of my close friends will be in attendance, as this town of Lynchburg is itself "the hill city"! I am so genuinely excited about this opportunity, and I feel so excited about the opportunity to give back in an even bigger way to this community.

Wish me the best of luck. The interviews are Saturday afternoon and the pageant starts at 7 PM Saturday... I will update you all once it finishes and I get to enjoy my college's fall formal, which I have spent three months planning as president of the Macon Activities Council.

I also want to send a huge thank you out to Elizabeth Pryor, who donated $100 towards my efforts and the Children's Miracle Network the day I signed on for Miss Hill City. I have been so lucky to interact with many strong and intelligent R-MWC alums, and Elizabeth's patience with my busy schedule and her fun, witty emails always make my day better.

To my friends Audra, Whitney, Nada, Vanessa, Melanie, my coworkers Lauren Hlava and Lani, my boss Amanda Denny, and all my R-MWC supporters, thank you for the constant encouragement and belief in me as I go after my dream. You all are such great friends and I couldn't have selected a better place for my education.

In other news:
I'm long overdue for a politics post in this election season (especially with the mudslinging of Clinton all over the place!) but I'll put it off. A few days ago, I had my senior political science paper approved. I have two majors and therefore have to write two senior papers. I am researching the importance of coercive diplomacy in Bosnia as a case study reflecting greater changes in military strategy after the end of the Cold War, and I'm really excited about doing a research paper in this area that I really enjoy.

I'm also working hard on an econometrics project that will develop into my economics senior paper, looking at a regression to examine the wage gap in Eastern Germany for men and women in three periods: under Soviet control, post-unification, and currently (economic integration with Europe). Since my interests are military strategy and European policy, I think both my senior papers will be great preparation for graduate school. Although I will continue to study politics, I am so glad that I have learned the rigorous economics that help to set up models to create and evaluate policy, as I feel this is a lacking tool for many policy-makers today.

One more piece of good news! Last week I received my acceptance letter to the American Culture program, a special 12 credit seminar next semester to study consumerism in America and traveling across the U.S. to study a few specific examples. I feel this will be an excellent complement to my ten months abroad in England, and be a wonderful experience for me! I am really honored to be chosen and can't wait to participate, and as usual, I'll use my blog to share this journey.

I owe one more post explaining "Never Ending Weekend", the event into which my blood, sweat, and tears has been poured the last few months. It's a big RMWC tradition and has taken a lot of time, but I am looking forward to seeing it pulled off and be able to enjoy it my senior year. It's so hard to believe that I am one semester away from graduation. Sometimes when I look back on what the last three and a half years has meant to me, I can't even believe what all has transpired and what I have learned over the course of my education. As my mother always says 'you can't always let your education get in the way of your education' and I have learned as much here in the classroom as out of it.

Speaking of my mother, a few more thank you's before this weekend:

Tony: for everything
Michael: for the constant laughs and support
Mom: For always believing I can do it, and being an outstanding mother that I will always treasure!

Now, I'm off for a good night of sleep, last minute preparation, and PAGEANT WEEKEND!

Wish me luck!