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College of DuPage Student Stories Feature


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Degree: Associate in Arts

After finishing high school, Courtney Clark was ready for college but unsure of what to pursue.

“I felt that as a student at College of DuPage, I would be able to continue my education while exploring some different interests since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in right away,” she said. “I found out shortly later that I had received a Presidential Scholarship, which helped even further solidify my decision to attend.”

Being named a Presidential Scholar, an honor that includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and induction into the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, provided Clark with financial security while she focused on her studies. The opportunities she received at COD played key roles in her future plans.

“COD impacted my life in many ways, but the biggest lesson it taught me is that hard work really does pay off,” she said. “This knowledge, plus my ambitious spirit and encouraging professors and staff, led me to really thrive at COD both academically and in extracurriculars.

“COD also opened my eyes to the value of service. There was a required service component that accompanied the Presidential Scholars Award and I chose to volunteer at an afterschool program for kindergarteners. I enjoyed this experience so much that I taught kindergarten again after finishing school. Additionally, the Living Leadership Program helped me to identify my leadership style and valuable skills, which came in handy in both my studies and career.”

Her favorite memories came from her time at the Courier, COD’s student newspaper, where she worked as both the arts and entertainment editor and the graphics/social media editor. The experience influenced her career path.

“During my time at the Courier, I learned how to use programs such as Adobe InDesign to design my section of the paper, which I also wrote and edited. I managed freelance reporters and photographers. I gained valuable interview skills and became an expert on AP Style. I learned how to use WordPress to run the Courier website as well as post on their social media pages. I was also responsible for maintaining communication with the publisher so that each issue’s copies would be printed by the deadline,” she said. “Working for the Courier also allowed me to attend and cover on-campus events such as a talk by Ari Shapiro, NPR White House Correspondent.

“I left the Courier with both new and greatly improved skills and an extensive portfolio of my work. I can’t stress enough how greatly this prepared me for my next role as a managing editor as well as my current editing career.”

Clark was named one of COD’s Outstanding Graduate finalists and earned her Associate in Arts degree. She then transferred to University of Southern California as a Communication major and began writing for the Daily Trojan and Neon Tommy, the online student publication.

Due to a switch in major departments and institutional credit requirements, she transferred again to Roosevelt University as an English major and worked as a staff reporter and managing editor on the Roosevelt Torch. During her final semester, she wrote her thesis on John Steinbeck’s exploration of the “American dream” concept and completed a publishing internship at Featherproof books.

After graduating with Honors and a bachelor’s degree in English, Clark earned her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification at International TEFL Academy in Chicago and moved to Thailand, where she taught English to kindergarteners.

Clark currently works at Epsilon on the email creative team, where she is a copy editor and project manager for several clients including the NFL, Dell, Seasons 52 and TaxSlayer. She recently led a Women in Leadership seminar and attended a two-day creative coding summit held at Epsilon’s Chicago office.

“I’ve always wanted to work in book publishing in New York one day and I plan to continue pursuing that dream,” she said. “In anything I do and any position I hold, my goals are to always find new challenges, improve my existing abilities and grow new skills while really making a difference and leaving an impact somewhere.”

She recommends students take advantage of College of DuPage’s affordable, high-quality education and the opportunity to explore interests, save money and gain valuable experience and connections. Clark also urges students to get involved.

“I observed many of my peers commute to and from class without discovering anything else COD has to offer, while I immersed myself in COD’s Student Life programs (Courier, Living Leadership Program, Student Ambassadors, Model UN and the French Club) and got to be part of an incredibly vibrant community. Another plus of getting involved is that many of these experiences also look really great on a resume. Make the most of your experience!”

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Selling candy grams for the Courier’s Valentine’s Day issue

Tabling to sell candy grams for the Valentine's Day issue of the newspaper!

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Buffalo Theatre’s ‘Underpants’ brings humor


The Underpants is a comedic story written by Carl Sternheim and adapted by the actor and comedian, Steve Martin. It is about a young woman, Louise, her husband, Theo, and the consequences of a major embarrassing moment at a public event.

This causes Louise to become the talk of the town and soon strange characters begin showing up to rent their spare room.

Amelia Barrett, director, says “it is very much Steve Martin humor” and includes a range of different genres.

She describes it as having both “bawdy and philosophical” qualities.

The female lead part will be played by a former student, Lynda Wellhausen while the male lead will be played by an ensemble member from the Buffalo Theater Exchange.

Barrett explains the play “deals with notoriety, momentary fame, and what happens when you lose it.”

The cast began rehearsal right after finals ended and rehearsed all over the holidays.

Since the college was closed, they were able to rehearse in their usual space in the K Building.

“We all laugh because it’s so silly,” said Barrett. “The people in the show are really funny and fun people.”

The Underpants premieres on Thursday January 17, featuring a pre-show discussion in K 131 with the directors and designers and shows until Sunday, February 3.

Tickets: $25-33. For more information, call the MAC Ticket office at (630) 942-4000, or purchase tickets online.

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COD alumna showcases art exhibit at Wings Gallery

Artist Ashly Metcalf talks to patrons at the opening reception of her exhibition.

The Wings Gallery is featuring Ashly Metcalf’s exhibit through December 13. Metcalf mainly uses yarn to create sculptures. She utilizes linear lines and space to form patterns and webs.

She also owned a store before it burned down. This prompted her to move her business online and she now runs a website and a store on She calls her store “LeafLee’s Little Sweat Shop” and sells jewelry, clothing, and accessories, which feature unique and unexpected crochet and knit designs.

The Wings Student Art Gallery is located in the Student Services Center, Room 2210.  The gallery is open noon to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Starving Artist – Joel Janchenko

Joel Janchenko

Major: Associates
of Fine Art

Age: 20

City: Indian Head Park

How would you describe
your art?

Art and music are a culmination of creativity and I search for the exploration of sound to see what boundaries have been crossed, what history has been written and what hasn’t been developed yet. It’s like a space age Goodwill store. My art consists of unique self-disciplined doodles. I’m the drummer in Wednesday small group jazz class and in a Wednesday community big band, which is a club here. I am also in another group which plays funk metal and it’s called $plor! It’s new and developing and it’s a fusion of genres. I am a jazz drummer who loves funk. Some of the other members like metal. We all like different things so it’s a potpourri of sound. I also play the kalimba and do solo projects.

Where do you find

Everywhere. Nature…the streets…I find inspiration in the fact that everyday is a new day and a day to keep pushing yourself and whether you stay with a concept for a week or keep changing it up, it’s about not falling behind and not looking at anyone else but focusing on what I do and how to get better at it. I also get inspiration from music and listening to everything.

What do you love
about your art?

I love that it allows me to express myself completely. No one is telling me what to do. It’s just me and my heart and sometimes my legs and my feet. I really also like that it allows your mind to stay active and it’s exploring what your body and mind can do.

What do you hate
about your art?

I hate when people tell you to do something a certain way and look past the beauty unfolding in front of them. I wish people would take things for what they are instead of saying “you could do this a different way.”

How did you get your start?

I’ve been drumming ever since I could walk. I’ve often thought I was born with drumsticks in my hands. I learned by carrying drumsticks everywhere. I didn’t even have drums because I lived in a townhouse. I carried them and drummed on garbage cans and figured out all these different sounds. I began with self-disciplined doodles that became something nice to look at. I kept drawing until I figured out my own style.

People you admire?

Benny Grab, Jojo Mayer, Adam Deitch, Keith Moon, Jimmy Cobb and Buddy Rich. They’re all influential drummers in their field. The first 3 are all current drummers rocking it day in and day out all around the world. They inspire me because I look at them and think, “they did it, I could do that too.” The last 3 are heroes of drumming; they’re the all-time greats. I love Keith Moon because he’s the reason I started drumming. His explosive style was the foundation of why I started playing.

Plans after COD?

I have a good GPA so I’m going to look at a music college. My aspirations are to go away to a music college and continue to play every single day. My passion will be my drive to get wherever I want to go. I want to go anywhere where I can just play 24/7.

What are some of your
other hobbies?

Drumming takes over my entire life but besides that I like kicking it with my jam buddies and working through rhythms. Just continuing to be courteous day in and day out because people are cool. Every single day I drum. When I go home today I’m going to practice for 4 hours and there’s nothing I’d rather do. Continuing to learn is a hobby. I watch dvds and read books about drumming and that takes a lot of time. I am always discovering who I am by playing the kalimba.

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012. 

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All Things Considered, NPR Correspondent Ari Shapiro talks about covering the Romney campaign

Ari Shapiro, NPR White House Correspondent, spoke on Tuesday November 13, in the Turner Conference Center.

He spoke about his journey as a journalist covering Mitt Romney’s campaign and also gave some general insight into the election’s outcome.

He talked about many specific individuals he met over the course of the year, traveling from place to place and said

“There are voices I will always remember from this past year.”

He also talked about a story he did on the voters’ gender gap in Daytona, Florida. In a large crowd of white males, he found only one Obama supporter.

He also mentioned something that got him a lot of negative feedback from listeners. He did a show where he played a clip of a woman who claimed that she didn’t like the Obamas because the first lady doesn’t look like a first lady.

Shapiro said he loves that he gets “to hear people’s stories, put them on the radio, and let listeners judge for themselves.”

He said there were two times when he saw a different side of Governor Romney that he said most people didn’t get to see. He said in an off the record conversation, Romney seemed genuine, human, reflective, funny, sincere, and relatable and that was something that Shapiro felt Romney had trouble getting across on camera. The second time Shapiro said he saw this side of Romney was onstage at the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado.

Shapiro then went on to list reasons why both Romney and Obama struggled in this election.

He spoke about demographics and how social media changed this election.

He spoke to many undecided voters and said there is no single profile and no single issue they are stuck on.

Michael Renland, a physical therapy student said, “I went to get extra credit for a class and it ended up being really entertaining.”

Another student, Christie Lacey, said “He was a really charismatic speaker and it was really cool how he cited different facts not necessarily in the news.”

Shapiro answered many questions after the event ranging from topics of foreign policy stances, NPR, Romney’s position, debates, etc.

Shapiro said he majored in English in college and that the most important thing is not your major but learning “to read and write and think.”

He said his favorite stories so far deal with “average people in extraordinary moments.”

He feels like he is performing a “public service by sharing a voice who needs to be heard that nobody would have heard otherwise.”

Shapiro said “When I can keep someone in their car even if it will make them late for work, that’s a great moment.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Theater Department continues long tradition, performs “A Christmas Carol”


“A Christmas Carol” is premiering in the K Building Theater Friday, November 23 at 7p.m.

Auditions were held at the beginning of the term but rehearsals began 6 weeks ago. The cast consists of 47 student actors and 17 young actors.

Amelia Barrett, the director said this script by William J. Norris “was written for COD specifically. This script premiered here in 2006 and we do it every two years.”

She said it has become a family tradition for people in the area to come see the show. One time when they didn’t perform “A Christmas Carol” there was a big uproar and people were very upset.

The show is an hour long with no intermission “to make it family friendly, so everyone from toddlers through grandparents can come and enjoy it.”

Since they are not performing in the MAC due to construction, they have “had to make a lot of adjustments to fit that many people on the new stage,” said Barrett.

Many people have seen “A Christmas Carol” before and Barrett has previously directed it but she says, “With a different cast and a different stage, it becomes a new show.”

They are also running a food drive supporting People’s Resource Center. Non-perishable food items will be accepted at all performances.

The show runs until December 2. Tickets are available at the MAC box office or at 630- 942-4000. They can also be purchased online at

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Page Turners to discuss “Perks of Being a Wallflower”

The Page Turners are a book club that read books and have discussions about them to further their knowledge and understanding. The group used to read one to three books a semester but now usually only read one so people can find the time to finish it. They only have two meetings every semester. At the first meeting they plan what book to read and decide the date that they will discuss it. Then there is a discussion meeting where anyone who has read the book is welcome to join.

The club began in 2004. Lisa Higgins, the club’s advisor, said the books they read are “sometimes classical, bestsellers, science-fiction, children’s books, and one time we did a graphic novel.” Some of the books they have discussed in the past include: Pride and Prejudice, The Screwtape Letters, Jennifer Government, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Diary of Anne Frank.

In addition to reading books, Higgins said they also “like to collaborate with other clubs and talk about things that interest both of us, and we try to co-sponsor some readings.”

Last year they collaborated with the Spanish club where some students read a book in English and some read it in Spanish.

This year they will be discussing Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in Student Services Center, Room 3245.

They chose this book because someone suggested it at the planning meeting.

The event is “an open discussion, whatever themes or topics you want to bring up we’ll talk about, we go with the flow of conversation” said Maria Perez, President of Page Turners. She also said “I always find the time to read. If you really enjoy reading, it’s not very hard to find the time for it.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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COD students to show off ballet, jazz, contemporary styles at upcoming dance recital

The college’s dance program will be holding a dance showcase on Friday, November 16 at Lemont High School’s Arts Center at 8p.m. Katherine Skleba, the co-artistic director of the dance program, described it as “a college dance showcase featuring student choreography as well as dance faculty choreography.”  She also said student choreography auditions are held the second or third week of the fall semester and are open to any students who want to choreograph. Skleba said the showcase will include “a ballet piece, a flamenco dance piece, contemporary and jazz.”

There will be another dance show in the spring semester, which Skleba says is a “more formal dance concert. We are more selective with what student choreography works. It’s more concert dance.”

She says the show on Friday “really is a fusion of all dance styles and there is emphasis on student choreography instead of faculty.” The student choreographers learn about the process of choreography and collaborate with costume and lighting designers.

Auditions will be held in the spring for a second show. Skleba said choreographer “present a snippet of what they’d like to put on stage” and a panel chooses some choreographers. “Later we have dancer auditions, they don’t have to be a dance student, they could be majoring in something else but enjoy dance.” Skleba said they received about 30 dancer auditions.

This showcase will feature 7 dance pieces, which each practice once a week.  Sarah Fugate, choreographer and dancer, said, “We have had about 8 weeks to prepare. We have been rehearsing our pieces once a week for an hour and a half time slot.”

Fugate described the piece she’s choreographing as “a combination of jazz and contemporary hip-hop.”

Skleba says, “the dance program has been growing since about 6 years ago, we’ve been working really hard on creating a college dance program and preparing students for dancing at a university level.”

Skleba hopes “to be able to become an accredited program where students can get an ASA with an emphasis in dance.”

Fugate said, “I’m excited for everyone to see our pieces we’ve worked so hard on this semester. I’ve choreographed in previous years and I love being able to create new pieces and share them with my dancers and the audience.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Artist Lisa Boumstein-Smalley to give presentation about combining art + commerce

Lisa Boumstein-Smalley will present “Visual Storytelling” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the McAninch Arts Center, Room 164. Lisa has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she pursued Fiber and Material Studies.

She said Visual Storytelling can include a story that is linear or nonlinear and how that story can be presented in different ways and through different mediums. Some examples include stop-motion animation or creating a flipbook or a poster. It could also be installation-based.

Smalley said visual storytelling focuses on “visual imagery or crafted objects tat communicate a concept.”

She says it is a useful tool when trying to explain a brand new idea to someone. “Most people can retain information better when it’s shown to them visually,” said Smalley.

She said there are so many different ways to tell a story such as through cutout paper and making a video, drawing on a chalkboard wall, or live-action drawing and telling a story. Smalley said the main three components are “the story, making it visually interesting, and its interactive and engaging.”

She said she does this for her job but is also interested with the concept in her own art. She described her art as being “narrative-based and generally more abstract.”

She will be talking to students about the “ways to unite both your creative self with your career and finding an opportunity where art and design intersect with commerce and business and how you find your own path to find those connections.” She is bringing a video and diorama that helped her to get her job and says she is “not intimidated by any mediums to make the kind of work I want to make.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.