Feature writing was a lot more interesting, yet challenging, than I first imagined it to be. I
gathered what I needed to know from the resources that I had available, asked someone who
knew more about the subject (my invaluable sources) and then set out to assemble interesting-to-
read, quality stories.
Finding a “good” story was admittedly more challenging than I thought it would be. The
hardest part of the process after coming up with a story idea was finding the time to interview
people. Everyone I spoke with was more than willing to offer their assistance, the tricky part was
matching their schedules with mine. The majority of my sources welcomed the opportunity to
share their story with me.
My favorite story to write was the Harry Potter one. The sources I interviewed were very
passionate and that always makes for interesting quotes. They were interviewed while waiting in
line for the midnight premiere so there was just a buzz in the air that was really cool to be a part
If there were one aspect of this experience that I would have done differently, it probably
would have been the interviews. I always felt like after my sources answered my prepared
questions, I would draw a blank and quickly try to wrap up the interview. I lacked the natural
curiosity to delve deeper. This process helped but I could still use some practice.
Overall, I thought this class would be fun because there was more freedom in the stories
but I think I am more cut-out for news or fiction writing. I was challenged by not having any
guidelines to adhere to. Like I said before, coming up with story ideas proved to be the most
difficult task for me.
September 28, 2010
Washburn Review Editor in Chief
Dear Ms. Budden:
Fall is just around the corner and that means new fall trends. Students will be very interested to
know what’s hot in fashion as the temperatures outside begin to cool.
The A&E section of the newspaper is one of my favorites to read. It provides great information
on things of interest such as album, movie and book reviews, A feature on fall/winter fashion
trends would fit perfectly with what readers want from this section.
I know some very fashion forward students on campus that would make excellent sources for a
piece like this. I will also include quotes from Kimberly Marney, a local stylist and blogger.
This would be a fun and exciting piece to write. If you are interested in running a piece like this,
please feel free to contact me at (785) 893-2367 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 28, 2010
Director of Student Media
Dear Ms. Cassell:
Each year, the Mass Media department sends a number of skilled graduates out into the real
world. It would make an interesting feature to catch uo with one of last year’s graduates and see
how they have transitioned post-Washburn.
This is a great story for the Mass Media Messenger. I want to do something more in-depth than
the class notes at the back of the publication. I want ot run a piece that is focused on the
achievements of a specific graduate. I don’t think a story like this would fit as well in the Review
of Yearbook because the general student body won’t be as interested but Mass Media alumni
will be able to relate.
I have the ability to contact many graduates through my social network, so it would simply be a
matter of choosing one and interviewing them. I have Tara Schroeder in mind because she has a
unique story to tell about how her time at Washburn University helped her prepare for what she
is doing now and her goals for the future.
I would be a great person to write this story because I am graduating in May so I know many of
last year’s graduates and will be able to make this story relatable and interesting. Please feel free
to contact me at (785) 893-2367 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
November 23, 2010
KAW Yearbook Editor in Chief
Dear Ms. Burcher:
A yearbook is designed to capture pieces of history for students to look back on years from now.
The Harry Potter series coming to an end, marked by the final installments of the movies being
released would make for a very interesting story for the KAW.
This is an excellent story because twenty-somethings feel they have grown up with Harry, Ron
and Hermione. The piece would cover a brief overview of the series (though this will be a
challenge given the complexity of the story lines), a breakdown of the films’ box office success
and interviews with muggles present at the midnight premiere of the first installment of the
seventh movie, the Deathly Hallows.
These fans will provide excellent insight into the phenomenon, so I think they will be the best
sources for the story. I will also try to be in contact with theater workers to present the business
I would be a great person to write this story because I grew up with Harry Potter. I am one of
these twenty-somethings. I can’t remember not having HP in my life since before I was in 5th
grade. Mrs. Dixon, my 5th grade teacher, read the first book to us as a class and I have been
hooked ever since. It is a lot easier to write about something when you are passionate about it,
which is why I will write an excellent story for the KAW yearbook. Please feel free to contact
me at (785) 893-2367 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Leaving on a Jet Plane...
This summer was the summer of a lifetime for one Washburn student. Emily Scott participated in
a study abroad program in order to fulfill the Washburn Transformational Experience. She had
already begun the process when it was announced that students will now have the option of
participating. Since she has always wanted to travel, she decided to go regardless.
Her travels began in England for four weeks. She studied at Edge Hill University for the first
three weeks and then got to visit London for a week. While in London, she was lucky enough to
see two plays at the globe, meet Katherine Heigl and go to the real Platform 9 3/4.
She traveled around Scotland and Ireland on a bus for the next two weeks. She stayed in hotels
and hostels, some of which provided interesting stories, like the one on an island off the coast of
Scotland that was originally and WWII bunker.
After Ireland, she departed from most of her new-found friends and headed to Barcelona, Spain
to continue on a different part of the trip. She lived there for a month and was completely
immersed in the culture.
After the conclusion of Scott's studies, she visited a friend in Germany for a couple of days. The
duo visited Dachau concentration camp. This left an impact that Scott will never forget.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Getting a Foot in the Door...
There she was, standing in the doorway of Lee Arena. Nearly a hundred potential employers
loomed before her. By the look on her face, one can probably guess the things running through
her mind at that moment.
“Is my hair ok?”
“Do I look professional enough?”
“What am I going to say to make me stand out?”
She worked hard to hush these discouraging voices in her head. She had attended this very same
career fair before, but this year things were different. At first she just went to look because she
really had no idea what she was going to major in. Each year she became increasingly more
serious about her search.
Now a senior, it was time to buckle down and start asking the tough questions. She has
succeeded in her classes and now has to show employers how well she can shine in the job
market…if she could just get that first break—one foot in the door—everything would be ok.
She stands outside those doors only moments longer. Her mental pep-talk did the trick because
once her name tag went on, so did her confidence.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
What Happens When a Tornado Meets a Volcano...
It seemed as though the woman knew it was going to be one of “those” Mondays, even before
anything went wrong. Things didn't start out horribly. Her alarm clock didn't go off, but she was
still able to make it to class with 5 minutes to spare. She survived her classes and work. Then the
afternoon came and things really started to hit the fan.
Facebook reminded her that next Monday will be their 2 year anniversary, like she needs
reminding. Ever since he walked into her life nearly 3 years ago, he has been one of the best
friends she’s ever had. And when things started getting more serious, it was exciting and scary
all at the same time. They have had their ups and downs, even separating for a short time, but
they have always managed to find a way to work things out.
Then Monday afternoon came and that searing doubt clawed its way back into her head.
She doesn't know if they are going to survive this fight.
She doesn't know if they have what it takes to make it to the finish line.
He tells her over and over that he is in it for the long haul, but she doesn't know so why that
doesn't seem to be enough?
Only time will tell if this couple has what it takes. This was not the first time they had gotten into
a fight, and in a way, she hoped it wouldn’t be their last.
So she vented as the duo walked, uncertain of what she needed to do next.
Friday, October 1, 2010
"Easy A" Earns an A+
Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.
Release Date: September 17, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
This is a story of high school, rumors and consequences. The film stars Emma Stone, Penn
Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Lisa Kudrow and Thomas Haden Church.
Emma Stone plays Olive, a teenager who goes from nobody to talk to the town when she makes
up a rumor that she lost her virginity to a guy from community college. Things begin to spiral
out of control as she begins to get paid (in the form of various store gift cards) by guys to say
that she did promiscuous acts with them.
She is studying Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Scarlett Letter” in her English class so it adds irony to
the plot that she has become a real-life Hester (the protagonist in Hawthorne’s novel who was
forced to wear an A on her chest to tell the world she was an adulterer). At first Olive revels in
the attention, even dressing more provocatively and emblazing her outfits with an “A” like
Hester. She uses all the attention she is getting to her advantage until eventually, things get
serious and she must find a way to right the wrongs she has been committing, or at least telling
everyone she’s been committing.
I found this movie to be a nice change from the mindless “comedy” that Hollywood has been
cranking out lately. The film was smart, feisty and sarcastic. I was surprised by how openly it
addressed issues such as homophobia, virginity and STDs. I actually laughed out loud on
multiple occasions. I definitely would not advise it for younger audiences, though.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"
Though technically, fall doesn’t begin until late September, one local woman starts partaking in
the joys of fall as early as September 1st. This might seem early to some, but it is a self-imposed
date to keep her from going pumpkin crazy too early in the year. She makes it her goal every fall
to find and enjoy anything pumpkin. She has pumpkin scented candles, wallflowers and hand
soap. She eats pumpkin cookies, bread, donuts, ice cream, cheesecake, you name it. She isn’t
even a fan of coffee or beer but has given pumpkin lattes and pumpkin spice ales their fair shot.
These are probably the only things she has found so far that doesn’t send her pumpkin radar
through the roof.
All of her friends know about her pumpkin craze. Everybody has their own unique quirks. This
woman just happens to have one of the seasonal variety.
As the weather begins to cool and Halloween, the pinnacle of all things pumpkin, draws near,
she finds herself all the more enthralled with finding something pumpkin flavored that she hasn’t
Having a pumpkin obsession is hardly breaking news. It doesn’t impede with her everyday life.
She doesn’t jones for it like a true addict would. It is just something that she looks forward to
every year. Having the smell and taste of pumpkin all around signals the beginning of her
favorite season, fall, the season of hoodies, football games and hot chocolate. Pumpkin is her
conditioned stimulus. One bite and she starts salivating like Pavlov’s dog because she knows fall
is just around the corner.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Hair and makeup? Check. Hot pink poodle skirt. Check? Plastic pumpkin bucket? Check.
Flashlight? Check. She had all of the perfect ingredients for a full day’s worth of fall festivities.
For this young girl, Halloween started early in the day. Her school had an annual parade where
all of the elementary school students would wear their costumes through the high school and
then down the main street of their small town.
This year was going to be the most exciting, though, because it was her fifth grade year and that
meant the last time that she would get to partake in this ritual.
She marched in that parade one last time, finished the school day watching Halloween movies
and devouring her treats from earlier in the day and headed out to do it all over again that night.
First on the list were her neighbors, which were limited to two since she lived in the country.
Then out to grandma’s house for popcorn balls and finally into town to the all the “good”
neighborhoods, like where the doctors lived and handed out full-sized candy bars. Oh, if only
this tradition were culturally acceptable for all ages!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
3 Cups of Tea Wrap-Up
I learned a considerable amount about the Middle East, its culture, the wars that are being fought
over there and the importance of what Greg Mortenson is doing by reading 3 Cups of Tea. When
we filled out the survey at the beginning of the semester asking about our background knowledge
of these topics, mine was pretty limited. I knew Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are the
bad guys, women aren’t allowed to show their faces and for the most part live lives of oppression
and that the main religion is Islam.
By reading the book, I better understand the internal struggles the area has. I was really inspired
by Jahan’s story. She was one of the first female graduates of the Korphe school who went on to
study in the medical field. Before Mortenson started his mission of building schools in the
remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it would have been virtually impossible for a child
to rise to such success, much less a female.
I felt like the book really took me on kind of an abridged version of the same journey that
Mortenson was on. I started out with pretty much no cultural knowledge and I picked up
valuable pieces along the way.
On a side note, I have to give Mortenson’s wife, Tara, props. I don’t think I would have the
patience she did, having her husband gone half the year and practically raising her kids alone.
The book quoted someone as saying they thought she was just as heroic as Mortenson and I
would have to agree.
It’s amazing how much change this one man brought about. The struggles he endured and the
price he paid were unbelievable. He never took his life’s mission for granted. “Five hundred and
eighty letters, twelve rams, and ten years of work was a small price to pay, Mortenson thought,
for such a small moment.” (referring to Jahan asking him for 20,000 rupees to continue her
medical education-pg 313)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Two years ago, Jennie Loucks’ family had a Thanksgiving to remember. She had around 20 of
her closest family and friends in her house that comfortably holds about six. Her father had
received a smoker for his birthday in August and was eager to try it out during Thanksgiving.
Everything seemed to be going well until he went to pull the bird out of the smoker. Loucks
recalls how the bird was a solid mass of brown and black.
“The smell was horrible. It was like skunk meets the dump,” said Loucks.
Since the bird was obviously not fit for consumption, the family decided to don it with a
newspaper sailor’s hat and set it in the family’s playground fort in the backyard since the garbage
truck wouldn’t be coming for a couple days and the smell was too foul to have it anywhere near
Loucks’ family named the turkey Toxic Tom. This incident has become a part of the family’s
The family feasted on pizza instead of turkey that year, but otherwise, had a normal thanksgiving
“It was a good Thanksgiving, overall and now my family has a great story to tell,” said Loucks.
Friday, December 3, 2010
How NOT to start your morning...
This morning, I dragged myself out of bed just like any other morning. I stumbled to the
bathroom, but as I sleepily pulled the shower curtain back, I got a huge shock and gasped in
horror. I literally would’ve screamed as if there were a serial killer in my bathtub except all of
the air in my lungs caught in my throat. There was a mouse scurrying around, staring at me with
its beady little eyes! I woke my roommate up frantically and made him take it outside. In case
you hadn’t guessed…I HATE MICE!
Lucas Mullin, WSGA VP Profile
Intended Publication: KAW Yearbook
Headline: It’s Been a Good Run…
Story Sources and their contact information:
Lucas Mullin (785) 207-8207
Christy Hollis, Friend of Mullin (785) 717-9628
Rugena Hall, Administrative Assistant to Dr. Farley (785) 670-1556
Career Services Profile
Intended Publication: Washburn Review
Headline: Career Services-- Helping Students Find Jobs…& More
Story Sources and their contact information:
Kent McAnally, Director of Career Services (785) 670-1450
James Barraclough, CS Specialist (785) 670-1450
Sabaria Gaffar, May 2010 Graduate (913) 636-5169
Megan Maes, December 2009 Graduate (620) 680-0428
Intended Publication: Washburn Review (A&E Section)
Headline idea: Students Gravitate Toward Comfort this Winter
All Story Sources and their contact information:
Grace Roberts (620) 200-1612
Brooke Trug (913) 378-6676
Jane Billinger (620) 566-7105
Shelbie Konkel (316) 648-8966
Grant Soller (913) 217-8998
Sam Blasi email@example.com
Kimberly Marney, stylist, (785) 246-1115
Intended Publication: Mass Media Messenger
Headline: Next stop…cheering for the Chiefs
Story Sources and their contact information:
Tara Schroeder, (913) 205-9785
Kate McCown, Assistant Director of Residential Living (785) 670-1065
Intended Publication: KAW Yearbook
Headline idea : The beginning of the end
All Story Sources (Sources interviewed at the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows)
Mariah Wambsganss, Freshman, English Education
Kady Boyd, Sophomore, Business Marketing
Phil Anderson, works at Hollywood 14 Theater, (785) 272-7440
September 1, 2010
Story 1, Final Version
“It’s Been a Good Run…”
Every potential college freshman has been there. Looking through countless websites and
catalogs trying to find the perfect school to call home for the next who-knows how-many-years.
Some might have had to come to grips with the fact that they probably weren’t going to
get into Yale or play football at Notre Dame. Then came standardized test scores, applications
and the long wait for the fateful acceptance letter in the mail.
Some find the school of their dreams instantly. Lucas Mullin, a senior public
administration major, is one of these people. It was love at first sight when he visited Washburn
and he knew there was nowhere else he would rather spend the next four years.
“I didn’t even apply anywhere else. I could see myself fitting in here,” said Mullin.
Mullin is a well-known face around the Washburn campus. His involvement in the
Washburn community is what sets him apart from his peers. He is currently serving as the vice
president of Washburn Student Government Association. Mullin has quite an impressive
resume, having participated in WSGA, Phi Delta Theta, Greek Council, BodSquad and many
other student organizations. He was also a resident assistant in the Living Learning Center for
Mullin didn’t wait long to start getting involved on campus. He began working in the
president’s office within his first month at Washburn said his supervisor, Rugena Hall,
“He has a real energy. He has never lost his enthusiasm for Washburn, and I think he is
more excited now than in the beginning. He is ‘Mr. Washburn!,” said Hall.
Mullin feels his involvement at Washburn has been a great tool to help him prepare for
his future endeavors. Through his many leadership positions on campus, he has learned valuable
skills, such as balancing budgets, working with diverse people and the importance of networking.
“College is training for the real world. Extracurricular activities are just as important as
reading a book,” said Mullin.
Everyone has the ability to mold what their college experience will be like. Life at
Washburn far exceeded anything Mullin had imagined.
“I am a totally different person. There’s not a price tag on the friends and memories you
make in college. I would love to have everyone have the same experience I did,” said Mullin.
One of the close friends Mullin made while at Washburn is Christy Hollis, a senior
athletic training major.
“He is a super hard-worker and enthusiastic about everything. He is always looking for
ways to improve himself and his surroundings. Lucas is a real go-getter kind of guy,” said Hollis.
A college experience like Mullin’s is not unobtainable.
“Take the first step. Join one student organization and it will open so many doors for you.
Don’t be afraid. College is for networking for your future,” said Mullin.
As for what Mullin has planned for his future, he will soon be starting the application
process for graduate school, but he imagines this choice is not going to be as easy as choosing
WU because at the moment he is more focused on finding a job. His goal is to ultimately work in
November 18, 2010
Story 2, Final Version
“Career Services-- Helping Students Find Jobs…& More”
Almost four years ago, I entered the Career Services office in Morgan Hall. My only
intention was to have my resume looked at so I could try to find a part-time job. I visited the
office within the first couple of days of my freshman fall semester. Laura Obrycki, who no
longer works with the department, was who I met with. She told me that they had a student
worker opening in the department and that I should apply. I took her advice and started working
in the Counseling and Career Services office right after Labor Day in 2007.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a job fall in their lap like mine did. Most students
don’t even know what they want to major in or if they do, even that is likely to change as they
explore all the opportunities being in college can offer. It is the goal of Career Services
specialists to help students on this journey.
“The mission of Washburn University Career Services is to empower students and others
to make optimal use of their knowledge, abilities and values to successfully: explore and choose
academic majors and career options, obtain career-related skills and experience and to develop
and pursue post-graduation career plans, including graduate and professional school and
employment,” according to the office’s mission statement.
The Washburn Career Services team agrees that what they do is not just finding students
jobs, they also help them find out more about themselves and grow as individuals.
“To be successful, you really have to know yourself,” said James Barraclough, Career
Sure, these specialists help with resumes, cover letters, job searches and mock interviews,
but they have so much more to offer students. From freshmen to seniors, they can help guide
students along their career development path.
Barraclough offers a course each spring that is “designed to guide students through career
and academic exploration and planning and provide the strategies and skills necessary for a
lifetime of career-related decision making,” according to its course description.
Career Services staff hold workshops on a variety of career-related topics and host the
annual Career and Graduate School fairs in order to provide students with the most opportunities
to gain an edge on competitors in the job market.
My experience with this department has been unique but that does not detract from the
multitude of ways I have benefitted from the services they have to offer. They helped me when I
wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. Even after I figured all of that out and found a major I
really enjoy, they have continued to be a great help because I’m not really sure what I want to do
with it after graduation. They provide online assessments that can help students, like me, figure
out how to find major that is a good fit or put the major they have already chosen to good use in
order to reach future goals. Now, in my senior year, they are helping with my internship search,
and helping me decide whether graduate school is a path I want to take.
The specialists are clear that they are not here to make decisions for students and would
never tell them exactly what field they need to get a job in. They work with students and equip
them with the tools and advice necessary for them to make those decisions for themselves.
Megan Maes, a December 2009 graduate, used the services offered frequently during her
time at Washburn.
“I went in there to get help with my resume initially. James worked with me to identify
some of my passions and then look at job posting relating to them. I gained more confidence by
doing mock interviews with all three of the specialists,” said Maes.
Sabaria Gaffar, a May 2010 graduate, also benefited from the advice she gained through
working with Career Services.
“You have to fight in this job market and Career Services really gives you an edge. They
know a lot that others can’t give you,” said Gaffar.
So whether this is your first semester or graduation is just around the corner, Career
Services is an invaluable tool available to students.
Everything doesn’t have to be figured out the minute you step on campus. College is an
exploratory time, but it helps to have a plan. The decisions about a major or career are bound to
change. What we want students to gain from their time at Washburn is the ability to be life-long
learners said Kent McAnally, director of Career Services.
Career Services is located in Morgan Hall, Room 123. The specialists can be reached at
November 29, 2010
Story 3, Final Version
“Students Gravitate Toward Comfort this Winter”
New York. Paris. Milan. These are the cities most think of when they think of fashion.
Designers and fashionistas alike flock to these cities to get insider knowledge of styles and trends
in order to ensure they are always one step ahead of the game.
Obviously, fashion takes on different meanings depending on geography, socioeconomic
status and level of interest. The goal of this story is to find out what real Washburn students find
fashionable in their everyday lives. Big trends are plastered on the covers of magazines and
entertainment channels but the average college student probably isn’t able to fork over tons of
cash for designer duds. One would be hard-pressed to find many college students decked out in
Marc Jacobs or Gucci. And unless the students follow magazines, Fashion Week and E!
religiously, trends tend to take a while to reach the Midwest as a general rule and by the time
they do, New York is on to something bigger, brighter and better.
That doesn’t mean that Washburn doesn’t have a few of its own fashion savvy students
roaming around campus. Most sport the usual college student uniform—jeans, t-shirt, flip flops
and a heavy backpack. But there are also students who put together ridiculously cute outfits
Grace Roberts is one of these students. She has a very eclectic style.
“I like thrift stores and antique shops. I don’t really read fashion magazines,” said
Roberts, freshman, undecided.
Roberts is most looking forward to wearing really colorful scarves, jeggings (leggings
that look like jeans and feel like sweatpants) and slouchy “Peter Pan” style boots this fall.
Another super-trendy Washburn student is self-proclaimed “fashionista,” Brooke Trug.
Trug’s tips for dressing stylishly this winter include skinny jeans, running shorts, big
shirts with belts around the waist, red lipstick and dark fingernail polish.
Jane Billinger, junior, goes for anything that is comfortable when piecing together an
“I love fleece jackets. You can never go wrong with a fleece jacket,” said Billinger.
All of these women seem to be right on track with what the experts forecast as the best
trends for fall and winter.
Kimberly Marney is a local stylist, blogger and the owner of Bluewater Research LLC,
which specializes in market trend research. Marney said jeggings, knee-high brown boots
(English-riding, motorcycle, wedge, heel…), puffy down coats and fingerless gloves are the top
trends she has seen this year.
A few other women’s trends this winter are capes, frayed edge jackets, cropped tailored
jackets, boyfriend jackets, military inspired pieces, high-waisted pencil skirts, tailored crops and
wide leg pants. These hot items are all considered in vogue according to mpdclick.com, which is
a website that “offers the fashion industry designer, buyer and executive the global creative
inspiration and consumer intelligence needed to succeed.”
Let’s not forget about the men on campus.
“I pretty much just wear jeans and flannels,” said Grant Soller, sophomore.
Others, like Sam Blasi, junior, have a more vested (pun intended) interest in what they
“I like to go for a business casual look. Something that is comfortable but says I am ready
to work, something mature and professional but still fits in with my fellow students on campus,”
Ultimately, WU students look for comfort. Being fashionable seems to be a fairly easy
task to accomplish on campus. Many students have staple items in their wardrobe, like Sperry’s,
jeans and sweaters for the winter months. Washburn students prove that following trends, or
setting them for that matter, doesn’t require a lot of money, just a keen eye and a little creativity.
November 30, 2010
Story 4, Final Version
“Next stop…cheering for the Chiefs”
Tara Schroeder, 25, dances circles around her competition, in all aspects of her life.
Schroeder graduated from Washburn with a Mass Media degree in the fall of 2009. She is
currently an account executive at Zillner, a marketing and advertising company based in Kansas
City. That, and she is also aspiring to become a NFL cheerleader.
Schroeder, a native of Olathe, Kan., has high hopes for her future, both in the business
world and as a dancer.
She has been working for Zillner for a little over a year. She works with an account team
to create and execute integrated advertising plans. Schroeder said this position provides many
opportunities for her to branch out into other projects.
“If there is one thing that I learned from the Washburn Mass Media Department, it’s the
importance of staying committed to growing and learning. I’m lucky to work at a company that
allows me so many opportunities to try new things,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder doesn’t take her work, or any aspect of her life, lightly.
“In general, my daily goal is to seek better and more innovative ways to do what we do in
this business. The communication industry is fascinating, fast-paced, inspiring and constantly
changing. It’s very exciting to be a part of the next generation of professionals who will mold
and define this business,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder gained a lot during her undergrad years that has helped prepare her for where
she is today.
“I credit much of who I am today with the experiences I had as an undergrad. I gained all
the basic things you should get from college - a quality education, a degree that makes me
relevant, etc.,” said Schroeder. “I completed internships while at Washburn that have prepared
me to succeed in the professional world, and I have a powerful network of fellow Ichabods
throughout the world who offer support endlessly. So, not to sound contrived, but I gained
everything from Washburn.”
While at Washburn, Schroeder was the captain of both the Dancing Blues and Elite
Nationals Dance Squad her senior year, she was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, an
officer for Campus Activities Board, and a student ambassador for the Future Alumni Network.
She worked for the Kaw Yearbook and was a resident assistant for two of her years at Washburn.
“Tara was the type of student you dream about working with,” said Kate McCown,
assistant director of Residential Living. McCown also said Schroeder consistently went above
and beyond her responsibilities and was an extremely hardworking, motivated and dedicated
The lessons that she learned at Washburn reach far beyond the classroom. Here, she was
able to nurture her passion for dance.
“By far, the majority of my activity involvement was through dance team,” said
Schroeder. “It was such a great way to be an active member of the Washburn community and do
what I love (dance and perform) at the same time,” Schroeder said.
She is continuing to foster that lifelong passion by coaching at Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School and dancing for the Kansas Koyotes, the Topeka semi-professional arena football
team. She notes that there is a difference between coaching and performing.
“Dance becomes art when you, as a performer, can connect with an audience in a way
that moves them emotionally, makes them think, changes them,” said Schroeder. “There are few
experiences in life more powerful than sharing your art with an audience and connecting with
them on that emotional level.”
She finds coaching to be equally rewarding but in a different way.
“As fulfilling as it is to be on stage, it’s almost better to watch your students nail a
performance they’ve worked hard for. When your dancers complete a new technical element, or
accomplish a goal – there’s really just nothing like it,” said Schroeder.
Like most students, her time at Washburn was academically, socially and mentally
demanding, in a positive way. She is finding the corporate world to be equally exhilarating.
Through all of this, though, one thing has remained constant for her…dance. One day, the die-
hard Chiefs fan sees herself performing in front of thousands at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Cheering at the NFL level was always a dream – but it became a real life goal in the last
few years,” said Schroeder. “Now that I’ve cheered at the semi-pro level for a few years, I’m
ready to reach for something bigger. I’m a big believer in being goal-oriented, so the second I
accomplish one goal I know it’s time to focus on setting a bigger one.”
December 9, 2010
Story 5, Final Version
“The beginning of the end”
A small group of people sat outside the theatre under layers of sweaters, coats, blankets,
scarves and gloves. It was 6 p.m. They shivered even as shouts of “Quaffle!” and “Yaxley!”
filled the air in a game meant to pass the time. Only six hours remained until the movie started,
the beginning of the end of the much-loved Harry Potter series. People started lining up around
noon for the midnight showing A crowd of approximately 30 people had gathered by 6:30 p.m.
said Chris Anderson, a worker at Topeka’s Hollywood 14 Theater.
The seven-part series phenomenon has put the hearts of an entire generation under its
spell. Most 20-somethings feel like they have grown up with J.K. Rowling’s trio of daring
misfits, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.
“I remember reading Harry Potter for the first time in third grade,” said Kady Boyd,
sophomore, meaning that, like so many other college students, Harry and his adventures have
been a part of her life for 13 years; more than half of her life.
Here’s a little reminder of the adventures that Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and
Harry Potter have faced. Harry is taken from his aunt and uncle’s home (Harry’s parents were
killed when he was an infant) and told he is really a wizard. Harry also learns that, in the
wizarding world, he’s a hero because it was the evil Lord Voldemort who killed his parents.
Voldemort tried to kill Harry, also, but was unsuccessful. It is at Hogwarts, the wizarding school
Harry lands at, that he meets Ron and Hermione. The three friends find themselves in more
adventure and trouble than they know what to do with due to Harry’s connection with “He Who
Shall Not Be Named.” Harry is guided through most of the series by Hogwart’s Headmaster,
As his adventures and the danger he is in increases, Harry begins to truly understand what
his mission is. He understands about love and life, and sacrifice. He has to defeat Lord
Most HP fans agree that, like a fine wine, the series has gotten better with age. And now
that the series is nearing its final chapters, fans universally are mourning its coming to an end.
“It makes me want to cry because Harry Potter is the reason I knew I wanted to be an
English major. Harry Potter was like my best friend. I grew up with the kid. It breaks my heart
because I’m not ready for it to be over,” said Mariah Wambsganss, freshman.
The series has been presented to audiences both book and film formats. The books were
first published in 1999 in the U.S. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was
released in 2007.
Hallows was the only book in the series to be split into two movies. The first installment
was released November 19, 2010 at midnight. It raked in approximately $125 million during the
opening weekend of the film. The series, which began being released in 2001, has grossed
approximately $5 billion at the box office, according to hollywood.com.
Topeka’s Hollywood 14 Theater sold roughly 1,500 tickets to multiple midnight
showings on Nov. 19, said Anderson.
“I feel like my life has a little bit less meaning now. It’s true, it has always been a part of
my life, there’s always been a new book in the summer, something to look forward to and now
there’s not,” said Boyd.
As with all books that are adapted for the screen, there has been a great amount of debate
about which is better, the books or the movies.
“I like the books. I think they’re very fun,” said Nate Goering.
Others are a bit more excited about the movies.
“I’m so excited that I have been counting down to it for 129 days and at the end of every
single one of my Facebook statuses is a countdown for days, hours, and minutes,” said
Harry Potter has meant so much more to people than just a children’s story of witches
and wizards. These stories have created a cult following of fans who view Ron, Hermione and
Harry as friends, not just characters in a book.
“Harry Potter means equality because that’s what they talk a lot throughout the book. It’s
being equal and treating everybody fairly and giving them their chance,” said Wambsganss.