Klepper Presents “Laughing to the Polls” Lecture to Over 1,200

Written By: Nicholas Ashenfelter

The Mark Twain Lecture Series is a fixture at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), even though it has only been around for 14 years. On Oct. 13, Jordan Klepper called in over Zoom to discuss Twain, modern politics and the nature of humor. 

Dr. Ben Click, a professor of English at SMCM, founded and organized the Mark Twain Lecture Series. From the beginning, he says, his goal has been “to educate people about the power and seriousness of humor.” To this end, he selects speakers that can “[bring] something new to St. Mary’s.” In particular, Klepper was selected due to his abilities “as a thinker and as an improvisational artist,” and due to his presence “on the front lines of the political landscape.” 

The event began at 7:40 p.m. with an introduction by SMCM president Tuajuanda Jordan. She described Twain as a “novelist, philosopher, humorist, [and] intellectual,” praising his work and acknowledging that “no matter where you stand politically […] we all can use a little levity.” She then introduced Click, who gave his own introduction of the event. 

Click added, with some amusement, that “Mark Twain probably would have caught covid, and maybe died from it.” He then cited a relevant historical example. Twain dearly wanted to see The Acropolis, but as disease was afoot, he was told to quarantine on a boat for a period of time before he could enter Greece. This, of course, did nothing to dissuade him, and with a few other men, he snuck into the country to get a peek anyway. With Twain’s character thus demonstrated, Click turned the mic over to Klepper.  

A common complaint is that comedy is becoming too political. However, Klepper explains that humor is not a “monolith,” it is “reading the room.” Like it or not, there is a demand for this sort of entertainment. More than that, Klepper explains that “the role of comedy isn’t to fight injustice, but in the times we’re living in, I don’t know what else you’d do with it.” He expressed his purpose as providing important information to a broader audience that journalists would not be able to reach. 

Klepper discussed a variety of issues, but one prominent question he asked was “is Trump good for comedy?” to which he replied “no, not at all.” Klepper found himself “exhausted by the news cycle,” as so often, it was the same content on repeat. He called Trump the “elephant in the room” that could not be avoided. Programs like The Daily Show are structured around satire, which Klepper described as “show[ing] you the bullshit through action.” Through satire, he tries to “out-crazy the news cycle.” This he reported to be a challenge when facing crazy headlines, which he readily attributed to Trump, noting that if Biden won the election, he could “take half the year off.”

His use of satire included visiting Trump rallies to speak to the participants. Klepper was asked if he believed this sort of content furthered the polarization of our nation, and he replied with clear thought and concern. He stated he didn’t want to “amplify something,” and always tried to “punch up” in his criticism — that is, satirize what is more powerful than himself. He went to events to learn about the voter base supporting Trump, as their opinions and political desires impact Trump’s actions. 

After the event, Click was proud to announce an audience of “1,200 registered”, meaning “probably two to three times” that number actually watched. He was disappointed to “lose the energy of the live crowd,” noting that “the students and the community really bring a lot to the gym!” That said, he also said that a benefit to streaming over Zoom was that “anyone from the globe could watch.” After all, Click made a point of emphasizing that this series is not just for SMCM students — it is for “the community, too.”

The Point News Alumni – Where Are They Now?

Written By: Kristina Norgard

Every year, students fly away from the nest of St. Mary’s College of Maryland when they have concluded their studies in pursuit of ventures beyond the river. It is always a pleasure to hear from and get updates from the alumni of the College on how they are doing post graduation. The college newspaper, The Point News, is no exception when it comes to bright alumni to be proud of. We have heard from two recent graduates, Dan Belson and Rose Glenn. 

Dan Belson graduated from St. Mary’s in 2019 with a degree in Public Policy and minors in Computer Science, Asian Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Dan was also the H.A.W.K. Radio President from 2018-2019, a Resident Assistant and a Staff Writer and Managing Editor at The Point News. Post-graduation, Dan has moved up and on from writing and editing campus journalism at St. Mary’s to now currently working as a professional journalist. Dan is doing very well covering important topics and issues as Crime and Courts reporter for Southern Maryland News. 

Rose Glenn also graduated from St. Mary’s in 2019 with a B.S. in Math and Economics. In her first year at the College she was a photographer for The Point News and photo editor in her sophomore, junior and senior years. Currently, she lives in New Bedford, MA, and works as an Admissions Counselor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy–which Rose added “sadly doesn’t have a student newspaper.” During quarantine, Rose rescued two cats named Icarus and Nova: “The biggest change in my life during quarantine was my decision to adopt two bonded cats, Icarus and Nova. Unfortunately Icarus passed a month later from an unknown neurological reason, but Nova is thriving.” Rose is also currently pursuing an M.Ed. degree in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies with a sub-concentration in Higher Education Administration at Boston University Wheelock College. Rose noted that she is “working from home, attending my Zoom lectures, and trying to be as safe as possible.” 

The Point News would like to hear more from St. Mary’s alumni whether they are specifically alumni who were on The Point News or not. If you would like to submit an alumni update, please contact our Features Editor, Kristina Norgard at klnorgard@smcm.edu

The New Remote Virtual Career Fair

Written By: Maggie Bennett

September 30, marks the first ever Virtual Career Fair hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The Virtual Career Fair was definitely different than actually meeting with these employers in person. It involved having to plug in your computer, and not receiving any handouts. Instead emails, phone numbers and the companies’ websites were provided.  

 Which means that there were at least some technical difficulties. The system that the school used for the Career Fair had the students talk to employers, which was very complex. This system involved a queue for the students to wait their turn before talking to an employer individually. The times for talking to these employers during the queue was a mess, and therefore the students were confused when trying to enter a meeting. Melissa Golowski, a new member of the Career Development Center, claimed that they tried this system some days before, and that it seemed to work then. Even after they tried to fix the problem, some companies had tabs that were unable to open, for example, the Peace Corps and a company known as KBR. This might be due to the fact that there were too many students.

  There were at least 26 companies who came to talk to the students via Zoom or Google Hangouts. Some of the companies include: SMCM Micro-Internships, The Baynet, the Peace Corps, Navy Engineering Logistics and as well as many more companies. It was a whole mix of different companies, a job for almost every field of interest. A representative for Steny Hoyer was even in the mix of companies. According to Steny Hoyer’s personal website, “He is an American politician and attorney serving as U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 5th congressional district since 1981.” So, it is especially important that he came because he was able to reach out to those interested in governing. There was even a company known as Tekla research which is a service that a disabled veteran owns.

  If a student was interested in an engineering and science company, it was there. The virtual fair had almost everything that a student was interested in. Two companies that were very popular among the students were the Chesapeake Bay Trust Foundation and the SMCM Micro-Internships. 

  SMCM Micro-Internships are actually a part of the career center here at SMCM, headed by Golowski. The Micro-Internships are actually projects a student can do, and they can even get paid for it. These projects can be used for school credit, as well as jobs given by actual employers. SMCM Students can sign up for a Micro-Internship via the career development website. Afterwards, they are brought to a site known as Parker Dewey which lists several projects a student can do for different fields of studies. Sometimes these internships can even be in a group. It is definitely a new and remote job experience.     In the future, hopefully the school will have more success with prior technical testing and virtual platforms.  If you want to learn more about the employers at the career fair or need help finding a job on campus or off, go to the career development center. Which is in Glendenning Hall on campus; nearby the gym. You can also email Melissa Golowski at magolowski@smcm.edu.

Peer Health Educators Set to Host Stomp Out Stigma 5K

Written By: Angelie Roche

On October 10-17, St. Mary’s College of Maryland(SMCM)’s Peer Health Educators will be hosting a “Stomp Out  Stigma” 5K run/walk for suicide awareness. According to the SMCM website, the 5K is “meant to raise awareness of suicide on college campuses, decrease the stigma associated with conversations around suicide and mental health, and increase help-seeking behaviors by members of our community.” Along with many other events on campus, “Stomp Out Stigma”, which is usually hosted completely in-person, had to adapt to coronavirus-related changes. Instead of occuring on a single Saturday, the event will be open online for a week so participants can log their miles at their own convenience.  

The 5K event has been going on for the past six years and means a lot to the entire SMCM community. Brandy Baggerly, the Peer Education Fellow, says its goal is to “get a healthy conversation started surrounding suicide awareness,” especially since suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15-34(CDC). Although statistics show that this is certainly an issue many college students face, it is not discussed often, leaving individuals to suffer in silence. According to the National Journal of Public Health, the stigma surrounding mental illnesses can present itself in many ways, from a “stoic” attitude to social isolation and, most importantly, a lack of awareness. These factors all play into students’ reluctance to seek help.

 In 2018, a study by the Harvard Medical School found that as many as one in five college students reported thoughts of suicide, with minorities being particularly at risk. The author of this study, Dr. Cindy Liu, explained that college can be a “phase of life where young people are confronted with expectations from new relationships and living situations and other encounters that are stressful.” Though some students are able to adapt to these changes, others collapse under the anxiety they cause, and without a supportive community, are at risk for depression or other mental illnesses. With this in mind, it is important to reach out to those who are in need of support and “Stomp Out Stigma” is a great way to start. Baggerly says that participating in the 5K not only raises suicide awareness, but it shows solidarity to those who are struggling and provides space to start a conversation on suicide awareness. Whether or not we are aware of it, many students in college communities — St. Mary’s included — are suffering with mental illnesses, depression, and thoughts of suicide. With the existing stigma, it can be hard to educate yourself on ways to offer support to those around you, but a great way to start is to attend the “Stomp Out Stigma” 5K. For more information on how to participate, simply visit the Peer Health Educators’ Instagram @peerheathsmcm, find one of their flyers around campus or on InsideSMCM, or follow the link at http://tiny.cc/Stompout. Though the current dialogue is far from comfortable with topics pertaining to mental health, SMCM’s Peer Health Educators are continuing to seek ways to foster a supportive environment for everyone in our community.  

Get to Know the Meaning of Life with the SMCM Philosophy Club

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) offers a wide variety of clubs, including those pertaining to certain disciplines, community service or activities around campus. This year it has been particularly difficult for some clubs to hold regular meetings. However, SMCM students continue to find a way to adapt and make the best of the circumstances. The Philosophy Club at SMCM has remained active during the pandemic and welcomes students to discuss and ask questions about morality, ethics and overall existence.  

Biweekly, the SMCM Philosophy Club meets to allow members to explore philosophical dilemmas and ideas. In addition to discussion, the meetings are typically accompanied by an activity, such as watching a movie or painting. The Philosophy Club is continuing to hold meetings over Zoom this semester, which will allow students to continue to consider and discuss philosophical questions, as well as socialize with their fellow club members. 

Co-president of the Philosophy Club Gina Fioravante (‘22) joined the club during her first year at SMCM. She found out about the Philosophy Club at the involvement fair during her first semester. Fioravante encouraged all students to join: “You do not need to be a philosophy major/minor to join the club! The philosophy club aims to provide a forum for students to discuss topics surrounding ethics, philosophy, and mindfulness in an open and inclusive environment.”

In addition to shifting the club’s meetings to an online format, Fioravante mentioned that the Philosophy Club is planning on hosting an outdoor and socially-distant movie night at some point during this semester, where members will gather to watch either “The Matrix” or “A Clockwork Orange.” Along with the outdoor movie night, Fioravante is also looking forward to the Halloween-themed meetings. She stated that last year, the club held a meeting focused on the philosophy of serial killers. 

Philosophy Club Vice President Mollie Rudow (‘22) has been a member of the club for the past two years. She stated that she found out about the club through the posters outside of the campus center. Rudow also explained that the Philosophy Club is welcoming to students of all disciplines. She mentioned, “Most of our discussions don’t require members to reference texts or have a background in philosophy, just be open to discussion and asking questions!”

Although Rudow is happy to be able to continue to hold club meetings over Zoom, she explained that she misses the in-person meetings, specifically pizza nights and art nights. Rudow remarked that art night was her favorite last year, as it allowed the members to gather and discuss the meaning of art. She stated: “the grooviest meeting we had was last year’s art night. We discussed what constitutes art, and if anyone is specifically qualified to say what is or isn’t art. While we had the discussion, we painted and doodled.”

In order to determine what club members are most interested in discussing this semester, the club executives are sending out Google Forms, which are then used to plan their upcoming meetings. Although they cannot meet in person, Rudow indicated that the Philosophy Club is making the best of their meetings over Zoom. In addition, the Club has been able to welcome new members from the first-year class despite their inability to host in-person meetings or an in-person involvement fair. Rudow commented, “I’ve also loved to see so many new faces this year— our community has totally grown with lots more freshman joining!”
The SMCM Philosophy Club invites students of all disciplines to attend meetings and explore philosophical questions. For more information on the Philosophy Club, reach out to Mollie Rudow at mprudow@smcm.edu or direct message the club’s Instagram account @philosophyclub.smcm.

Dr. Dorainne Green’s Recent Psychology Lecture: First of Four

Written By: Nicholas Ashenfelter

In the interest of educating the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student body, the psychology department has announced a series of psychology lectures themed around intervention science. Dr. Gili Freedman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, was able to elaborate on the decision-making process as well as the goal of this series. 

The full title of the theme is “Intervention Science: Harnessing Psychology to Address Oppressive Systems.” The lectures are meant to discuss, as Freedman put it, “long-standing structural inequities in this country” that have been brought into the spotlight by both “racism and COVID-19.” Freedman hopes this series will help students understand such topics with a psychological perspective and consider how to address them. 

Each speaker was selected by the Psychology Lecture Series Committee. In particular, Freedman said, they searched for individuals “doing important, rigorous research” on “oppressive systems.” In order to best provide different perspectives, the speakers were chosen from different psychological subfields, such as social psychology and clinical psychology. These subfields will serve as more specific lenses through which the public can explore the same issue. Each of the speakers chose their own topic within the general theme. 

Freedman reported that the lecture themes vary greatly from year to year, but the point is always how “psychological science can be leveraged to foster social change” or to help the community “understand real world problems.” These have historically done very well in terms of attendance, and Freedman is optimistic “that the Zoom platform will allow more community members than usual to attend” because of the increased flexibility of a digital medium. 

The first lecture was given by Dr. Dorainne Green of Indiana University at Bloomington on Sept. 30. Green presented to a crowd of 61. In her talk, she discussed the different negative emotional and physiological responses to discrimination. The latter includes heightened blood pressure and lessened sleep quantity and quality.

Green expressed that “emotion regulation strategies can either attenuate or exacerbate these adverse negative outcomes”— in other words, that how individuals respond to discrimination can impact the severity of their symptoms. To this end, Green conducted a series of experiments to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages associated with different response tactics. For example, some people respond to stigma with “self-immersion,” where subjects relive an experience, and some with “self-distancing,” where an experience is viewed as though it happened to someone else. 

To measure the difference, Green conducted a variety of tests. To measure the difference between the two tactics, she assigned her subjects to either self-immerse or self-distance when discussing their negative experiences. She also administered a Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM), before and after the discussion, so subjects could measure their happiness. To measure physiological changes, she monitored blood pressure. Finally, she also asked subjects to self-report their drive for activism before and after the discussion. 

Based on the data, Green concluded that self-immersion led to greater negative feelings and physiological outcomes but a higher drive to enact social change, while self-distancing led to the opposite. Green also expressed that many people didn’t want to try self-distancing. She remarked that “experiences are tied to social identity,” which may have led to reluctance in the subjects to separate themselves from these interactions. 

Green’s lecture was only the first in a series of four. Each talk is expected to run for 45 minutes with an additional 15 minutes for questions from the audience. The schedule and Zoom links for these lectures are on InsideSMCM, with the next one taking place on Oct. 23.

SKY@SMCM

Written By: Maggie Warnick

SKY Campus Happiness is a wellness program featuring yoga, meditation, breathing techniques and more that is designed to help members of a campus community feel and be their best. Now, the program is at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). According to their website, 58 campuses have implemented such programs, with over 100 thousand students reached. Their mission is “To be an ecosystem for total wellbeing for every college campus in the U.S.” Research has been done on the effectiveness of the SKY program by institutions including Harvard and Yale.

James Carter (‘22), leader of SKY@SMCM stated that SKY “brings evidence-based breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, group interaction and leadership trainings to empower people to connect with the world and their inner self” and “looks to bring people of different communities, backgrounds and grades together as one. They can also enable people to serve others via service projects and leadership training.” Noticing that students at St. Mary’s seemed stressed and run-down by the pressures of school, Carter decided to begin a SKY program on campus. Carter testified that he “personally felt a big change in my life from SKY, so I felt that it would be something amazing that others can experience as well.” 

Events on campus include breath, mediation, and yoga workshops, a Happiness Retreat and yoga sessions on Facebook live that Carter, a 200 hour certified yoga instructor, will be leading. Students can also expect dance parties, game nights, singing sessions and other get-togethers that according to Carter will “allow people to empower themselves, connect with their inner nature of peace, and create a beautiful community where a person can prosper physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.” Carter hopes to let anyone interested in joining know “That it is a beautiful club with beautiful people that hopes to bring a smile on every face. That we will not just be meditating and doing yoga but connecting with each other on a social level so we create a sense of belongingness within the community and the group.” He continues by stating that “we hope to bring peace, joy and fulfillment into other people’s lives through breathwork, the loving community of SKY, meditation and yoga.” Meditations are held every Monday at 5:00 p.m., and information about the SKY and its events at St. Mary’s, as well as information about how to be a SKY leader can be found by contacting jwcarter@smcm.edu. For more information about SKY as an organization, visit skycampushappiness.org.

Dig This: SMCM Anthropology Club

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) offers an abundance of student clubs, from discipline-centered clubs such as the History Club to community-centered clubs, such as Knits for the Needy. One club which remains active despite the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic is the SMCM Anthropology Club. The Anthropology Club introduces students to the study of the past and how it has shaped the world in which we live today. 

The location of the College allows students studying anthropology to gain experiences right in their backyard in Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC). Many students participate in archaeological digs and the Anthropology Club works in collaboration with HSMC to coordinate events which allow for the exploration of the past right here in St. Mary’s City. 

The Club President, Caitlin Hall (‘22), is an anthropology and history double major with a minor in museum studies. She has been a member of the Anthropology Club at SMCM since her freshman year, when she first found out about the club through the Involvement Fair. Hall explained that her favorite memory with the club thus far is the pottery making event that they attended last year in HSMC. She stated: “We had a bonfire at the Woodland Indian Hamlet where we baked our pottery, made s’mores, and told ghost stories about Historic and Point Lookout and heard several Native American myths. It was a really fun experience that I hope new members will get to experience in the future!”

Hall also emphasized that COVID-19 will not stop the club from holding regular meetings, and that they will continue to attend virtual lectures and discussions. She mentioned, “Although it is disappointing not to be able to interact with new club members in person, I am glad that we have the opportunity to still meet virtually.”

The Anthropology Club has various activities and meetings planned for this school year, including bimonthly open study sessions which serve as an opportunity for any anthropology students to attend and receive help from the club members on assignments for anthropology courses. Hall explained, “We also have a couple other events in the works, such as discussing popular anthropology-related podcasts and of course the Distinguished Scholar lectures that the [Anthropology] Department puts on in October.”

McKenna Litynski (‘21) is the Anthropology Club Vice President and has been a member of the club since the fall of 2019. She originally found out about the club after taking the HSMC Archaeological Field School in 2019. Litynski mentioned, “I became friends with a member of the 2019 exec board (who graduated in the spring of 2020) and he recommended that I join the club.”

One of the greatest aspects of the Anthropology Club is that it is open to students in any discipline. Litynski explained: “The wonderful thing about anthropology is that it is interdisciplinary.  Therefore, we welcome all students from all fields of study.” She also remarked that “The Anthropology Club is a really great way to meet anthropology majors and minors at SMCM, as well as, students in other majors with interests in anthropology and archaeology. “ 
For more information on the Anthropology Club at SMCM, reach out to the club’s executive board at smcmanthropologyclub@gmail.com or through direct message on the Club’s Instagram page @smcmanthro.

SMCM Alumni Make a Difference During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Olivia Sothoron

As the nation was overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) alumni started campaigns and projects to give back to the frontline workers who were putting themselves at risk on a daily basis to fight this deadly and unprecedented virus. During these dark times, SMCM alumni demonstrated their ability to put the needs of others before themselves to help those in need. 

Kathleen Stefanos (‘05) is a trained physician in both pediatrics as well as emergency medicine. One of her main goals aside from treating her patients was to help inform others about the new illness, and she spent much of her time teaching others about the new discoveries which surfaced each day. Her desire to teach others about the Coronavirus inspired her to create an online learning elective for their medical students who were no longer able to gain experience in the hospital due to the pandemic.

The online elective, which was originally created to be a one-time occurrence, was so popular that Stefanos and her coworkers opened up two more week-long courses that filled up quickly. The curriculum will also be offered for students at outside institutions for the Fall 2020 semester. Stefanos explained, “the medical center was seeking ways to teach students without having them see patients, so I spoke to a colleague with an idea and we opened an elective for the students.”

In addition to Stefanos, Lt. Alexander Walls (‘13) has been working with his training group of seven United States Marines to create protective equipment for those on the frontlines. Walls is a member of the 2d Marine Logistics Group (2dMLG) MakerSpace, whose mission is to inform and educate Marines and sailors on how to properly utilize technology that is not taught in formal Marine Corps training, such as 3-D printing, robotics and coding.

Although the pandemic caused the cancellation of all classes in order to slow the spread of the virus, the 3-D printing devices were still used to produce personal protective equipment for marines who were confronting the virus in their daily work. Walls explained that the most rewarding part of the work was “knowing that we were making a difference by providing protection for those that were on the front lines. It was also great to have a case study that could demonstrate the usefulness of the technology and training we were providing.” 

Kate Jakuta (‘07) has been a member of the Latino Racial Justice Circle, a faith-based group out of Baltimore, Maryland that works to provide support for immigrants, since January 2017. In March, when the pandemic was first making a large impact on communities in Maryland and across the nation, the Latino Racial Justice Circle started a GoFundMe “to provide financial assistance to immigrants in the Baltimore area who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis and don’t qualify for support from the government, such as unemployment benefits or the stimulus payments.” Originally, the goal was to raise $3,000 and provide financial assistance contributions of $200 to 15 families. As of July 10, the organization has provided 257 financial assistance contributions for a total of $51,400. 

Jakuta mentioned: “Our fundraiser is an act of solidarity and an effort to fight back against this lack of equity. I wouldn’t describe the work as rewarding. It is challenging and heartbreaking to receive so many requests from community members who are going through extremely desperate times, and to know that our financial contribution is just a Band-Aid solution to a much larger problem.”

During this dark time, members of the St. Mary’s community reminded us that it is always possible to shine as a light unto others and to support one another regardless of the circumstances.  

The First Virtual Voices Reading: Workshopping Comic Books with Yona Harvey

By: Clare Kelly 

On September 3, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community welcomed back Yona Harvey to the first virtual event of the Voices Reading Series, directed by Professor Karen Lorena Anderson, and sponsored by the Arts Alliance, the Lecture and Fine Arts Committee and the English Department. Harvey is a recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award presented by St. Mary’s College of Maryland for her poetry. She is the author of “You Don’t Have To Go Mars for Love,” a collection of poems. In the world of comic books, she and Ta-Nehisi Coates are the co-authors of “Black Panther and the Crew,” published by Marvel Studios.

In her welcoming address to the community, Anderson explained that as the mission of the Voices Reading Series brings together great voices, she wanted to share a voice that “shines a light through the terror” of the past few months. Anderson noted that Harvey came to mind as a “fierce” and “compassionate” voice to invite “not once but twice.” Harvey will be returning to the St. Mary’s community in two weeks’ time for a reading of her poetry; whereas on this day she came as a comic book writer and to lead a workshop on this topic. Professor Anderson honored Harvey’s work as a comic book writer that shows a “different way of finding liberation.” 

At the beginning of the workshop, Harvey asked all attendees “to breathe and accumulate and to be grateful and excited” in preparation for sharing this place. The goals she hoped to achieve in her workshop included “broaden[ing] the perspective of what comics can do or be,” inviting the attendees to write themselves into the comic and to share the words of great female comic writers. Harvey introduced the work of a comic artist, Linda Berry, that inspired her. Berry held a philosophy that “anyone can draw, anyone can try this;” as Harvey commented, she “elevated my game as a teacher.” She valued Berry’s “transparency about her process” because she finds that “comics are collaborative.” Throughout the exercises, Harvey emphasized the power of collaboration, and how people tend to see writing as an isolated place, but it’s really a collaborative workshop. 

Harvey asked all the attendees to take part in an activity that had many parts to it. First, she asked everyone to draw five different things. She allocated one minute to draw each item without looking. The images she instructed are bacon and eggs, a mermaid, a giraffe with spots, the Statue of Liberty and a human skeleton. After this, she instructed the group to write a run-on sentence for each of the following topics. Harvey gave two minutes for this activity. The different topics included chewing, salt, circles, and freedom. After instructing all the attendees through these exercises; she exclaimed that the participants were simply two minutes away from drafting their first comic. She instructed them to look through their run-on sentences and underline anything that stands out to them. With these bits of writing, she told attendees to write the underlined words with the pictures that they drew in activity one. As if she was reading the minds of attendees, Harvey explained that if the comic and the writing contrast that gives color to the comic. “It would be boring if the text matches the pictures.” 

Harvey ended the workshop by presenting the styles of different artists. Two of these artists included Rina Ayuyang and Julie Delport. Ayuyang used “colored pencils to create many sketched images, [in comparison to] hard images like Marvel.” Deport, on the other hand, valued minimalist, but also worked with colored pencils. Harvey shared these artists to encourage all to “be open to the different shapes and forms.” She opens doors for all those attending to understand that they are welcomed into the realm of comic writing. 

“I thought it was an amazing workshop that really reminded me that art doesn’t have to be so high stakes! As long as what you create means something to you, it’s art, which is a really nice reminder I think. I’m currently working on an SMP in art and just being able to do really silly and laid back art like this was so relaxing and very welcomed so overall it was just a really fun time,” stated Jasper Lopez ‘21. 

Jazsmin Prince’21 said, “I absolutely loved the workshop that Yona Harvey held for us. This was the first time that I had ever been to a workshop voices reading before. I was super excited when Professor Anderson told us in our Creative writing class that this would be the first one! I really loved the workshop we did. She allowed us to make comics in a fun way and showed us what it was about. I appreciated her coming back to St. Mary’s.” 

In this workshop, Harvey gave the reader, illustrators and writers different perspectives and methods to strengthen and expand their knowledge of the comic book. She used these exercises to break down the walls of comic book drafting to show anyone has the ability to be a comic writer. Now the St. Mary’s Community has not seen the last of Yona Harvey, she will be returning on September 24 to share her voice once again this time through poetry.