December 11, 2016

Creative, Professional Expression Through E-Portfolio

Image courtesy of Stephanie Calderon

Image courtesy of Stephanie Calderon

By Stephanie Calderon

Everyday, someone is applying for an internship, job or opportunity but, in order to do so, they need to stand out from the crowd; John Jay has begun to introduce a perfect way to stand out to employers–E-portfolio.

E-portfolio can be considered a crossover between Linkedin and Tumblr, giving students the opportunity to be creative with expressing how they have spent their 4 years in college to be qualified for any job they apply for. It can also be used to put together a portfolio for graduate school. “This is a way for students to showcase their achievements, both inside and outside the classroom,” says Daniel Auld, Director of Learning Technologies & Support.

“The point of e-portfolio,” says Auld, “is for students to have a professional website where they can make it according to their personality, and don’t have to be afraid of it coming off as unprofessional, such as tumblr or instagram.”

The program was first offered to only students that had a first year or transfer seminar with a professor that wanted to use e-portfolio. The professors used this to replace Blackboard as a way for students to upload assignments, peer review, and so much more. However, after a fund was given to the program from New York State, it was expanded to all the students within John Jay.

There are many benefits of a student having an e-portfolio. Auld says, “This is the one place to put everything. It allows the student to be able to present themselves to their potential employer or application reviewer for an opportunity in a way that is much more personal than a resume and cover letter.”

An example of this is Magdalena Oropeza, a student here at John Jay whose dream it is to go to Law school. One of the steps to completing this dream is applying to the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program, a competitive law school prep program in which you have to compete between numerous other students for the program. When Oropeza applied for the program, she attached her e-portfolio link, just in case the reviewer wanted to know more about her before the final decision. When Oropeza was called for an interview, the interviewer said “she loved her e-portfolio, and spent 30 minutes on it versus her usual 3 minutes per application.” 

Brenda Almaraz, an e-tern with Student Academic Success Programs, has also used e-portfolio in a way that has helped her throughout her Academic Journey. E-portfolio was introduced to her during her first day of classes her freshman year with LLS Professor Jodie Rory and her English Professor Carmen Kynard. She learned about how e-portfolio could help her. In her English class, she was one of 9 “WebMasters”, which ultimately helped her to learn more about e-portfolio, which led to her falling in love with the work. Once she heard that a position was available to work with students, teaching them about e-portfolio, being a role model with her own portfolio, she knew that it was just something that she had to do. 

“Being an e-tern and having an E-portfolio has helped me with approaching faculty since I’m really shy and embarrassed when talking to more important faculty members,” said Almaraz. “It allows me to create a community with my peers and relate to them in a way that I wasn’t expecting.”

But are we the only students that uses this that makes us unique? “A lot of other campuses are also beginning of use e-portfolio, which means competition when applying, so the more that students are using their E-portfolio, customizing it with their passions, using the resources that we have here to help them make it as amazing as it can be is what will help single them out during the application process,” said Auld. Magdalena’s and Brenda’s experiences are only the beginning of what different types of opportunities that you can have.

Although there are a lot of students that are excited to be using this tool as a way to stand out, but not everyone sees having an e-portfolio as a benefit. One student said, “The only reason that I know what an e-portfolio is is for my job. I believe that it is a waste of time because of how much work it takes to maintain it and constantly update it.” Not everyone see e-portfolios as a tool, but more of a obstacle that they must go through to pass a class or complete for work.

No matter what the opinion of the student, e-portfolio is available for all students with their John Jay email, through the site:

Fashion Faux Pas

By: Darren Harris

Staff Writer

Summer is almost over and the season is beginning to change to fall, and along with the change of season, fashion seems to follow right along.

The summer fashions have seen a tremendous outburst of color such as violet tulip, freesia, white, placid blue, sand and dazzling blue in
jeans, shorts, blouses, shoes, and accessories.

So, what are the fashion mistakes to steer clear from when transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall?

According to, one of the biggest mistakes women make during the fall season is “mixing prints,” where “florals don’t complement plaid, and paisley doesn’t work with polka dots.”

This column is not saying not to wear prints, but instead, ensure that you’re going to wear a solid color that will complement the print blouse of your choice.

Priscilla Sanchez, a John Jay student, said “every girl should have a cute print top, but they shouldn’t overdue it, and that seems to be the issue i have noticed a lot on campus is the print can sometimes overpower the entire outfit.”

Another fashion mistake during the fall season according to www.gurl. com/fashion-mistakes-faus-paux is “not layering properly,” and the importance of layers for the morning, afternoon, and evening outfits.

New Yorkers tend to experience the emotions of the weather changes, and it’s important that they layer properly through the day.

Barrie Nulman, a John Jay student, said “I always try to wear a good amount of layering during the fall season, because I know that the weather can change during the day, and it’s essential that I wear layers that not only complement my style but also the New York weather.”

What about snow or rain boots? Should you bring an extra pair of shoes to change into once you reach your destination? During the fall season, New York City can experience large amounts of rain and snow that can often kill even the most pre- pared fashionista. Rain or snow boots can conflict with the style of an outfit if they aren’t form fitting to add to the appearance. In a recent poll at John Jay, 85 percent of students voted that it is easier to keep their rain or snow boots on throughout the day instead of changing into shoes. Students, such as Denise C. Taylor, hassle with keeping on wet boots. “Although it is easier to just keep the boots on, they become difficult to walk in, and really kill the look on a girl’s outfit,” said Taylor. In this case, looks come over comfort. According to John Jay student Marcela Nash, “style outweighs comfort any day and it’s just a fashion nightmare to wear rain boots that do not compliment someone’s outfit.”

If a person decides to wear rain or snow boots, then try to choose a neutral color that can be worn with multiple outfits. Fashion is always evolving and changing, and it’s important that fashionista’s stay on top of their wardrobe to ensure that they don’t become fashion victims during a season that often demands you to choose between comfort or style. Looking at the trends that are perfect for the fall and winter seasons, such as robe coats and dresses over pants, one must be

careful with these looks as they can make or break an outfit. There are statement making trends this fall season, and if

you’re selective yet fashion forward with your style, you’ll be making heads turn.

Men’s Do’s and Don’ts

By: Jenifer Valmon

Contributing Writer

For those of you who enjoyed the hot days of summer, withdrawals are likely on the way. No need to break out the box of tissues or shed tears for your favorite summer shorts, because fall is around the corner, and I’ve got just the right tips that can help revamp your wardrobe.

Nick Carvell, from the UK GQ magazine, reviewed the fall trends of 2014 in London.

According to Carvell, biker jackets and mankets (yes, mankets) are going to be this fall’s male trend. Mankets are the scarf/cape hybrid worn by Paul Galvin, an Irish soccer player and fashion columnist for the Irish Independent News- paper, as a sort of overcoat.

Corey Stokes, of, noticed trends in New York to be sweater layering and “techy, fleece outer wear.” Both Carvell and Stokes were able to agree that “scarfs that weigh as much as three babies,” also known as mankets, are going to be big for the fall.

But the question is: Who is wearing a manket in the “move or get run over” city of New York? If you need to stop the doors from closing when you’re about to miss your train, mankets can be the perfect accessory for the fashionable subway surfer.

If you live anywhere within the five boroughs and commute to class, biker jackets are the right pick for you. They are versatile and more practical for the active John Jay men.
Biker jackets can be worn as a casual piece with a pair of sneakers,denim pants and a white t-shirt, or it can be used to bring a little edge to a pair of slim trousers and a button down shirt. Either way, little effort is needed to put together a stylish outfit.

Black is always a safe color to choose but if you want go for other colors try to keep it neutral. Look for dark indigos, dustybrowns, and shades of hunter green. These colors will allow you to mix and match when creating the rest of your look. It will also make it easier to find the right layering pieces when the temperature drops.

Leather is ideal for longevity, since it wears very well and usually looks better with time, but nylon or cotton blends will do the job while being gentle to your budget.

Whether John Jay men will wear mankets or biker jackets, only time will tell. Whatever you choose, remember to make it work for you, regardless of your style. Don’t kill yourself to follow the trends and end up fashion road kill.

College Initiative Program

By: Edir Coronado

Contributing Writer

One of the main issues with the prisonsystem is the recidivism rate. A New York based program has begun education programs in prisons, and with great success has allowed its participants to become contributing members of society. With 300 participants, only one returning to jail, and most students receiving a bachelors degree, it is safe to say that the program is showing results.

Ray Tebout, the director of counseling and mentoring at the program, explained how the College Initiative program allows former inmates to attend college by debunking some of the barriers they believe they will encounter.

Tebout understands the mix of different personalities the staff deals with and the obstacles both the student and mentor must overcome.

Some of the common obstacles Tebout sees among the younger students is the desire for instant gratification. He said the most common questions among these less experienced individuals are “why should I invest two to six years in school?” or “why not pick a trade or get a job?”

Tebout tackles these questions by providing evidence that an education will reduce the likeliness of a return back to prison. He also approaches this situation by helping the younger potential students in terms of long term goals.

Skeptical students are asked by Tebout to look at how much income they will accumulate over a lifetime rather than the short term. According to Tebout, a high school graduate can expect to earn an average of 1.2 million, someone with a bachelors can earn upwards of 2.1 million, and a masters graduate in the 2.5 million range.

These statistics gives the young students a different perspective on life and education.

Among the more seasoned individuals what is most commonly seen is the lack of knowledge when it comes to computers and technology. Many of the older students might have went to prison when the internet had not become such a big tool or when computers were not easily accessible.

Older generations of inmates face a major issue due to not being involved in a world that has rapidly become digitally influenced.

One 70- year- old student in the program, who asked to remain anonymous, has been in prison for more than 30 years. This individual had major issues with the use of computers. At the moment, he is currently finishing up his first semester, which is a huge success for someone who may have given up if not for the support that the College Initiative program has given them.

The program doesn’t only rely on its staff to support the incoming students, they rely heavily on peer mentorship. Through experience they have realized that a student is more likely to drop out of college during their first year.

This is why, after several months of working with a staff member, the students enter a peer mentorship program, where a fellow program participant with a 3.0 GPA and at least a year of college under their belt becomes a mentor to the new student. They serve as a support system for the student if they have problems with a subject matter or maybe a need to just vent about their frustrations with school.

Frustrations can include being the discrimination that they encounter because of their prison history. Tebout explained that the students within the program are scrutinized, “it is not necessarily the organization that is receiving negative feedback from the community, but the student themselves.”

Some reasons and common arguments of those opposed to an educational tactic towards the rehabilitation system often revolve around “we do not want to make smarter criminals,” according to Tebout. Tebout believes “we are not making smarter criminals, we are creating individuals with a different way of thinking.” His meaning is that when a person is exposed to education, he or she has the ability to create better options and make better decisions.

Tebout claims that if we were to look at our incarcerated in terms of employment, people can see that for many, selling drugs is the only job around. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Drug offenses account for 48.8% percent of all incarcerated American. Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping offenses account for 2.8 percent of the prison population, sex offenses for 6.5 percent, robbery 3.7 per- cent, and weapons, explosives and arson account for 15.8 percent.

What the College initiative programs aims at doing, is taking this prison population, and showing them a different method of succeeding in life that they might have not been exposed to in the past.

The program has gained awareness through word of mouth and by sending their staff members to different location to speak about the program and the issues that they are trying to resolve through education.

Murder Mystery

The Long Island serial killings of women prostitutes have become a mystery even being called “the Gilgo Beach Murder mystery.” Many experts believe that there are multiple killers due to the number of victims, the different methods used in disposing the body, and the number of years that separate the murders. Louis B. Schlesinger, Professor of Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice believes there is only one serial killer. Despite the number of victims and the gap in years between the first murder and the last, 15 years, he still believes there is one murderer. In response to the reason why the victims were dismembered in the past but are no longer, Schlesinger  explains that

English: Knife Fox Italiano: Coltello Fox

Image via Wikipedia

the killer must have just realized that it was too much work and decided to switch up his methods.

Be “Siege” My Eyes

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington (Image via

Prior to 2001, bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 led to many speculations concerning a terrorist attack on US soil. Not to be left out, Hollywood decided to try their luck at such an idea when in 1998, “The Siege” starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis was released. Whether this movie was a foreshadowing to events following is still left for speculation. Directed by Edward Zwick, “The Siege” follows FBI agents Anthony Hubbard, played by Denzel Washington, and Frank Haddad, played by Tony Shalhoub as they try to stop the terrorist plots of many independent terrorist cells within New York City. This movie is not without many different elaborate subplots within the movie, such as the miscommunication between government agencies and the apparent stereotyping of a certain Arab speaking demographic in Brooklyn specifically.

This extensive, almost two hour movie leaves nothing up to the imagination. There were moments ranging from great to downright questionable throughout the movie, which made it kind of hard to sit through. 
    Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, playing Major General William Devereaux, carry the entire cast on their shoulders and valiantly try to succeed while doing so. Unfortunately, there are too many characters who do not carry their weight, and the movie suffers because of it. The entire cast makes this movie seem scripted, while Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis bring a sense of realism to a topic that already feels real. Just the fact that the movie takes place within New York makes this movie real, but the other cast members makes viewers realize that it’s just a movie.

This movie could have been shorter. From the struggles between the FBI and CIA to catch the same terrorists to the fact that there were four terror cells introduced to the movie within the first hour can make “The Siege” something to watch only if you have too much time on your hands. Six terror cells within one movie is too much; not even “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” was this unnecessarily elaborate. The perception of time is also skewed in the movie. The movie can lead one to believe that the events happen within a span of weeks, until you realize that the time between the beginning of the movie to the point where the first cell is eliminated (which happens 20 minutes into the movie) is only 36 hours. Trying to keep up with this movie’s plot can be tedious, and worth giving up on. The entire movie is supposed to take place within two weeks, and it is apparent by just how much information is thrown at the audience throughout the two hour movie.

The musical score in this movie makes the dramatic moments of the sciences pretty easy to predict. There are only two possible outcomes to consider in this movie whenever the music gets louder before each dramatic movie: either the terrorists complete their mission or the FBI succeeds in their assignments.

This movie had good action sequences throughout, and the difference in culture and morals between the Western world and the Middle East is accurately and beautifully portrayed, but there are some glaring instances that can leave viewers scratching their heads.

As the movie progresses, it is revealed that the CIA trains the terrorists that the FBI are trying to stop. Whether or not that is true in real life can be debated, but it surely leaves viewers wondering how valid such a scenario is. Another moment that left me scratching my head, in a negative way, was the negotiation scene in the first couple of minutes of the movie. If Denzel Washington is close enough to a bus when it blows up to be thrown back, the pressure emitting from the blast should not have left him virtually unscathed afterwards. At the very most, Denzel should have died at that point for the movie to retain its realism.

Bruce Willis played the role of a hardened general who will do anything to get the job done beautifully. It reminds me of the role he plays as a cop who does anything to get the job done in “Die Hard” or the former Special Forces agent who has to do whatever it takes to get the job done in “Fifth Element”.

Even if Bruce Willis emerged as the eventual antagonist in this movie, the fact that he has played the same kind of role for most of his life would normally be disappointing, but for “The Siege” he did what he is known for, which clashes with Denzel’s character throughout the latter part of the movie in a way that is worth observing. It is reminiscent of a dominant heavyweight champion (Denzel Washington) clashing with a surprisingly touch challenger (Bruce Willis), but at the end of it all it was Denzel’s brilliant acting that makes this movie even worth looking at.

Despite its many flaws, “The Siege” is actually worth watching once, and I emphasize the word once. The movie pushes the envelope without seemingly offending anybody, and the acting of Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, as well as the historical context surrounding the movie, brings to light that terrorists are in the minority of every race (like the Ku Klux Klan is a minority amongst Caucasians). If you read too deeply into movies, pass this one up because you will be overloaded with unnecessary information. If you merely want to watch a movie that is thought provoking, watch this only once.