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October 2013
 Interactive map of past Magellan projects 

Welcome to the fourth issue of the Magellan Messenger, the e-newsletter that strives to connect the W&J community and friends of the College with the Magellan Project. The October issue features articles by current students as well as a Magellan alumna. We also are pleased to unveil our new interactive Magellan map, which is now available on the Magellan website. Powered by Google, the map provides users with detailed information about previous Magellan recipients and their projects.  



Write It How You Want It   
Casey Ortega, Class of 2015



Casey Ortega in Zuni, New Mexico.

My Magellan projects have been a crucial part of my collegiate career.  I am a Spanish major with a minor in Computing and Information Studies and a concentration in graphic design.  I always knew I wanted to study Spanish, but it was through my two Magellan projects that I realized I had a passion for using new media to communicate a message. My projects allowed me to explore interests I had in a way that simply is not possible in the classroom.  This I my story ...


As a freshman, I was undecided about what I wanted to major in, but I really had an interest in how physical activity affected the lives of Zuni Indians.  For my first Magellan project, I spent six weeks living on the Zuni Indian Reservation in Zuni, New Mexico. I worked with the Zuni School Healthy Lifestyles Program to organize, advertise, and assist in activities targeted to promote a healthy and active lifestyle amongst the Zuni youth.  Also, I independently interviewed other health centers in the Pueblo and members in the community, including a Zuni WWII veteran and a member of the Zuni Tribal Council. While I went to Zuni to learn about physical activity, I walked away with so much more.


Zuni is an area where poverty, unemployment, and alcoholism affect a substantial portion of the population.  However, everyone I met went out of their way to make me feel welcomed, and I have never met people with such a great sense of humor.  This was a humbling experience that made me realize how important it is to be able to laugh in tough situations.  Even more so, witnessing and participating in the religious activities of the tribe gave me a better understanding of a unique culture that resides within our country. 


My second Magellan project, which I conducted this summer, was a complete 180 from this first experience. During my time in Zuni, I realized that I loved working with people to communicate a concept with words and images. After taking some new media classes during the school year I wanted to take what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to a real life environment.  Sophomore year I received a Magellan award to complete a seven-week graphic design internship at USG Insurance. During my internship I worked on several company projects and gained insight into the dynamics of a professional company.  However, this internship was a wake-up call into how different the work environment is from the school environment.  This was a great experience because it allowed me to test-drive my potential future career and add pieces to my portfolio without making a long-term commitment.  Between the two Magellan projects I completed I have gained knowledge and skills that have helped me throughout my W&J career and will continue to help me in the future.


First, both experiences showed me the importance of being able to adjust to new environments.  I learned that one of my biggest character flaws is that I am not a relaxed person. I have lots of energy and I love meeting people and trying new things, but if you want to "blend" into your environment you have to be relaxed and observant so you can quickly and properly learn how to behave.  Second, I gained insight into two very different areas of society.  In regards to Zuni, I learned about and experienced the problems Native Americans in this country face such as eating properly, exercising regularly, combating alcohol and drug abuse, preserving traditional culture, and so much more. In regards to interning at USG Insurance, I learned about the dynamics of the workforce, made professional connections, and added pieces to my portfolio. As a junior, I feel blessed to have experienced working in two totally different environments because I now have a better idea of what I am looking for in a professional career.  However, the most valuable thing I gained from these Magellan projects is confidence in myself.


To complete both of my Magellan projects I did everything independently.  I wrote my own project proposals, planned my budget, contacted people in Zuni, applied for the position at USG Insurance, etc. It was through the application process that I learned the importance of time management, being assertive, and being proactive.  Through the projects themselves, I realized that I am a resilient individual who is capable of adapting to new environments. My Magellan projects not only have helped me grow as a student, but also as a person. I have a better understanding of who I am and I where I want to go.  For those of you thinking about applying for a Magellan, my best advice to you would be: Go for it, and start now.  It's your story, so write it how you want it.


  Casey (right) with Rosanna Tsatie, W&J Class of 2013, and Donald L. Bert, a WWII Zuni veteran and Rosanna's grandfather.

From Summer Internship to Full-Time Job    

Kara Seamon, Class of 2014    



   Kara Seamon (bottom right) with her fellow Deloitte & Touche interns. 


In the world of accounting, most accounting majors desire to begin their careers in public accounting at one of the world's four largest accounting firms, referred to as the "Big 4." This summer I was privileged enough to be selected to work at one of these four firms, Deloitte & Touche, as an audit intern in their Pittsburgh office. I worked and lived in downtown Pittsburgh for ten weeks, and it was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

During my time at Deloitte, I worked on three different client engagements: one private company, one public company, and one benefit plan. The reporting requirements vary for each of these different types of audits. In addition, each of Deloitte's clients has a different engagement team composed of various Deloitte professionals. Also, auditors normally work at their client's headquarters because they work closely with the client's accounting department and need access to the financial information of the client. Consequently, I not only worked with three different engagement teams, but I also saw three different types of audits, worked at three different client locations, and interacted with each of their accounting departments. In addition to the variety of work I experienced, I was also pleasantly surprised that Deloitte truly treated me as a staff level accountant and enabled me to actually contribute to various clients' audits. As an intern, I received invaluable hands-on auditing experience. I got to sit in on meetings, perform walkthroughs of controls with clients, perform actual testing, and help set up financial analytics.


My internship also provided me with a little bit of domestic travel: I attended Deloitte's National Intern Conference in Westlake, Texas. The conferences were separated by function, so I attended the AERS (Audit and Enterprise Risk Services) Conference. We networked, performed community service, and completed auditing simulations. It was an awesome part of my intern experience because it was great to meet so many other young accounting professionals who shared the same career aspirations as me. It was also helpful to meet the older Deloitte professionals who facilitated the conference and shared stories about their individual career paths. The people I met are what truly solidified in my mind that Deloitte was the right company for me to start my career. This was one major take away from my summer: it doesn't matter what company you work for if you don't like the people you work with on a day-to-day basis.


In addition to auditing, I also was able to give back to the community through a few different community service projects I participated in while at Deloitte. Once a year, all of Deloitte's offices nationwide close for the day and every single Deloitte professional participates in a day of community service, known as Impact Day. All of the offices find various community service opportunities in their areas. For example, I helped mulch and weed a local dog park, and other interns helped at an event at a nursing home. In addition to Impact Day, our intern class also spent one afternoon making bicycles for the local Boys & Girls Club in Pittsburgh. While in Texas, we had a whole evening dedicated to community service. We spent the night making bicycles, blankets, wagons, and teddy bears for needy children. One of the greatest things I learned this summer is how much Deloitte tries to give back to the community. Although I hadn't thought about it before, I realized I would never want to work for a company who did not care about their community. I was so happy to be able to perform these different service projects this summer, and I am glad that I now know Deloitte is committed to giving back and improving our communities.


It was such a rewarding journey because I felt myself learning and growing along the way; I honestly learned so much in my short ten weeks with Deloitte. It was such a gratifying feeling to apply what I had learned in my accounting classes at W&J to real-world scenarios and companies. As nerdy as it sounds, I loved looking at my Excel spreadsheets or financial statements and knowing these numbers truly meant something: I was looking at entire companies, all of their successes and failures, in a few small stacks of files. For a while, I was surprised by how much I was enjoying working eight hours a day. Finally, I realized that I shouldn't be shocked. On the contrary, I should be very happy because I had chosen the right major and right career to make me happy. I think this was the most important take away I had from my summer because I feel many people in today's world do not choose a career that they enjoy, yet I was able to pick the right major, career, and company to make me look forward to going to work each morning.


After ten weeks of hard work, fun, and adventures, I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time job at Deloitte & Touche starting next fall. I am so thankful to enter my senior year knowing I have a job waiting for me after graduation. I am so appreciative of my accounting professors and of Roberta Cross for helping me be selected for this internship; without them, I would not have had the amazing summer or have such an exciting future with Deloitte. In addition, I am grateful to have been chosen as a Magellan recipient. The stipend I received significantly helped me financially.


Now that I have experienced the Magellan Project first-hand, I am eager to encourage other W&J students to apply to the program. More specifically, I am excited to spread the word about internships students have completed with the help of Magellan. I want to ensure that as many students as possible take advantage of the program and get to have amazing experiences, just like I did this summer.


Why You Should Apply for a Magellan     

Allyse Corbin, Class of 2014  



   Philopappou Hill, Athens, Greece. 


Eudaimonia is a Greek word that means the state of having a good indwelling spirit, a good genius. I first discovered this word while reading Aristotle in an Athenian hostel and immediately fell in love with it. If I had not applied for a Magellan scholarship to study in Athens, Greece, this word would've never stuck with me the way it has. In fact, I made a collage of tickets, pictures, receipts, rocks, and other items from my trip to Athens and painted "eudaimonia" along with its definition at the the top. That's what I need to remember about my trip--that word and what it means to me.


Let's rewind to my sophomore year. I wanted to be an actress. So, I proposed a Magellan project that would take me to New York City and Los Angeles, alone. My plan was to study how theatre impacted these popular artsy communities. I wanted to talk to people about theatre and how supportive they were of the arts.


When I got to New York City, I discovered that I would be working full-time at Ellen's Stardust Diner. High school me never would have believed you if you told me that. I remember visiting the diner during my high school choir trip and being star-struck by the singing wait staff. Only two years later, I was working alongside that famous wait-staff, interviewing them, and decorating the desserts they served to visitors from around the world. They were so welcoming that once I was there I didn't feel star-struck but instead like just another worker. During my time there, I interviewed over ten servers and performed by myself two times. I lived in an apartment, cat sitting, for the entire month of June. Living in Harlem alone was a little intimidating, but overall a pleasure. Working all day surrounded by thousands of people, and then going home alone, was a very tiring process. I would get really lonely and sad sometimes, but that's what the city life is all about: you not only have to know who you are, but also like who you are. I learned that even when you are surrounded by what seems like millions of people on the subway, in the streets, and at the diner, you still can feel alone.


New York also taught me that it is easy to get comfortable. Ellen's Stardust Diner was created for aspiring Broadway actors. The actors would serve as the singing waiting staff while taking acting, singing, improv, and dance lessons along with auditioning for shows. I found that a lot of the wait staff I interviewed were not auditioning for shows because they were comfortable with the job they had at the Stardust. They were getting paid very well in tips and were able to perform and feel appreciated at the same time, which was a lot easier on the ego than being rejected audition after audition. This taught me that it not only is easy to get comfortable along the way to a dream, but it also is easy to lose the focus of that dream.


When I got to L.A., that lesson was drilled into my head. I interviewed every member of The Gallery Theatre, which is a community theatre located in Anaheim, CA. All of these actors decided that their dreams were unrealistic, so they got day jobs and acted in their spare time. It was kind of sad to me that these people didn't believe in their dreams enough to follow them, and with every interview I heard more excuses. This was my first Magellan. It woke me up, forced me to grow up, and showed me life.


After my first Magellan, my view of life was much more developed. I began to think critically about my dreams, and what it takes for dreams to become reality. As I look back on blog entries, I want nothing more than to go back and experience it all again. I would tell myself to stop being nervous and take even more chances than I did. I remember living in NYC, and how different it is compared to any other city. I remember crying by myself, completely overwhelmed and confused. I also remember feeling so inspired that it amazed me.


Although there are so many things I would tell myself to do differently in retrospect, I am so proud of what I had accomplished. As a sophomore in college, I lived alone for two months. I not only worked at a diner in Times Square, but I also technically sang (twice) on Broadway. I lived in Harlem, mastered the subway system, did my laundry in a NYC Laundromat, got a personal tour of NYC from an actor's perspective, attended Broadway shows alone, interviewed an entire community theatre company in Anaheim, got lost, asked questions, and wrote some pretty interesting dramatic works. I knew I had to apply for another Magellan project for the following summer because Magellan helped me discover who I was, and I wasn't going to be satisfied with only one trip.


So, the next year came along, and I decided on Athens, Greece to study the history of theatre and rhetoric. When I arrived in Athens, I was looking forward to being immersed in these subjects. They were born in Greece, and I expected hundreds of exhibits, entire museums, events, and artifacts dedicated to them. However, when I began exploring, I quickly started to realize that Athens was not as dedicated to displaying the history of my two favorite areas of study as I thought it would be. Luckily, my faculty mentor had provided me with a great reading list, so I at least was able to read about these subjects in their birthplace.


Between feeling like a failure and not knowing the language, homesickness hit me harder than I ever imagined it would. It took days for me to get adjusted, and after the first week I had moments of relapse into homesickness. I wanted to go home because I felt alone and my project was nothing like what I had planned. But even though I felt defeated, I picked myself up after receiving numerous supportive messages from family, friends, and W&J faculty. I decided to explore, and to keep reading, but also to immerse myself in the culture that surrounded me.


I wish I would've done much more, but every single day for three weeks, I was reminded that I was a woman in a foreign culture and that I should not go out after dark. I often was verbally harassed, and every time someone asked me if I was alone, the response was accompanied with shock. All of these things made me think critically about my status as a young woman traveling alone and how that was affecting my time in Athens. But more than being afraid, I was angry. Why should my trip be less eventful than a male's or anyone traveling with a group?


This anger soon turned into analysis. I started studying the language people used when warning me. They acted like I was unintelligent when I went out alone. I started asking myself why. I continued to question these ideas and observe the gender norms in the country mostly through body language and physical appearance. Then on the plane ride back, I thought about my trip and read a few American magazines. Rape culture and sexual violence was a common theme in them, and I suddenly realized my trip to Athens to study theatre and rhetoric actually related to a passion I have had for years: studying sexual violence research and education. Thanks to my time in Greece, I have decided to use my Communication Arts capstone project as a way to continue exploring this interest. I am analyzing the role that media, as a form of rhetoric, plays in sexual violence and sexual violence education. In addition to my capstone, I have proposed an Honors Project where I will create a sexual violence radio public service announcement campaign. These two projects also prompted me to apply for a Fulbright Research Grant to New Zealand, where I have proposed to study several sexual violence prevention organizations and analyze the methodologies they use to educate the public.


Looking back at my Magellan projects makes me incredibly thankful. I will tell every W&J student I know to apply for this independent research opportunity, and I wish I could do one every summer for the rest of my life. I know that without these projects, I would still be a good person, but now that I have gone out on my own, followed my own dreams, found new ones, and learned more about life than I could ever articulate, I am more me. Eudaimonia to me means that you are trying to live the best life possible. It means that you want to learn, and you know that plans are just that: plans. They're not written in stone and won't always work out, and that's okay. This is what the Magellan Project taught me, and it's a lesson I will carry with me long after I leave W&J.



Ellen's Stardust Diner, New York.

Magellan Alumni Spotlight:    

Kaitlyn Loy, Class of 2012   



Kate Loy (right) in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland.  

If someone had told me during my freshman year of college, that before graduation, I would travel to six European countries, I wouldn't have believed it. The girl who had never been on an airplane and still didn't have a valid driver's license? No way.


At 23 years old, and one year post-graduation, I can now add two more countries to that list. And the girl who had once never been on an airplane has now checked off so many "must-see" cities on her bucket list that she has had to make a new one.


Studying abroad at W&J was the key that opened the world to me. I can say with confidence that traveling independently has made me a braver, stronger person. It has exposed me to new ideas and ways of life, and introduced me to wonderful people from across the globe, many of whom I now call friends.


When I made the decision to apply for a Magellan award, I was returning from my first study abroad experience in London, England. I was on the plane and I just kept saying to myself, "I have to do this again. No matter what, I have to find a way to do this again."   And the Magellan Project was the answer.


When I began my application process, I felt strongly that I wanted to be immersed in the culture of a Spanish-speaking country. Knowing that I had left my heart in Europe, all signs pointed to Spain. With the help of my theatre advisor, I secured a summer internship at Face2Face Theatre Company, a bilingual theatre production company in Madrid. I couldn't wait to pack my bags.


During my time with Face2Face, I had the opportunity to travel with the actors and actresses for performances; participate in script writing sessions and brainstorm plot ideas with the production team; and even run lines with the actors. I also worked as a camp director for Face2Face's first annual summer theatre camp for Spanish children. We played drama games, worked on improv scenes, and rehearsed two short plays that the children prepared for their parents to come and see at the end of the week. My Spanish language skills truly were put to the test when the parents arrived to watch their children perform!


With funds from the Magellan Project, I also had the ability to travel to Ireland and experience the performing arts in the land of my ancestors. While living in Dublin, I saw ten theatre productions, from Shakespeare to contemporary Irish drama to avant garde performances, and I even realized my lifelong dream of traveling to County Clare where my family's story originates. I took in the Galway Arts Festival, embarked on a day trip to see the breathtakingly beautiful Cliffs of Moher, and arranged to travel by ferry to the island of Inish Mor, home of the oldest fortress in Europe and one of the few places in Ireland where Gaelic is still spoken. I even had the chance to take an acting class at the Gaiety School of Acting, Ireland' s National Theatre School.


As I reflect on all of my undergraduate travels, I feel like a true Irish girl: very lucky. To this day, my travels stand as my proudest achievement. Being a Magellan Scholar gave me the confidence to travel again to Europe this past September in order to travel Switzerland and Italy by train. I stood on the highest summit in the Alps, risking negative temperatures in order to get the perfect picture on the top of Europe; hiked along Italy's western coast; and experienced true Italian lifestyle in Venice, Rome, and Florence. W&J students should absolutely take advantage of the Magellan Project because it takes you places you never thought you would go. A truly unique program with the only rule being you must make your adventure your own, Magellan gives students the means to go out and thrive: as scholars, as travelers, and as passionate global citizens. So where will you go?


Kate Loy recently completed a season-long internship working at Pittsburgh Public Theater and is applying to graduate schools in London for performance studies. She also is a 2013 Marshall Scholar applicant.


Grand Canal, Venice, Italy.


Issue 4  

In This Issue
Write It How You Want It
From Summer Internship to Full-Time Job
Why You Should Apply for a Magellan
Magellan Alumni Spotlight
Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors: Interested in applying for a Magellan? The 2014 application is now available.

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