Megan Power and Marc Perry check out an ASU baseball game... in February.

Going to Arizona – Genius Decision.

Part 1 by Lien Do

So what’s better than the beautiful weather and amazing views everywhere you go? The fact that you get to brag about it to everybody back in Pennsylvania. Every morning I wake up to tweets and snap chats of all the horrible weather in Pennsylvania, and remember that I made a genius decision on going to Arizona.

Lien Do hiking the mountains of Phoenix

Lien Do hiking the mountains of Phoenix

Over the last couple weeks, we started working as student recruiters and administrative support at the front desk. Our boss, Ryan Hess is nothing but AWESOME! De’von, AJ and I hiked another mountain which can be easily compared to as Mt. Everest because it was so hard.

Megan and I have been recruiting at many of the community colleges with Ryan Hess. It’s been a learning experience so far, especially for me since I am a marketing major. With all the hands on experience, I have been getting a better understanding of how marketing works. Speaking to varies students about Wilkes University and how it has affected my life, makes me very proud to be a Colonel.

Over Spring Break, Marc and I went to the first annual BrewFest in Downtown Mesa. We got to meet the owner of Desert Eagle Brewing Company. Desert Eagle is a Brewing Company located in Downtown Mesa. Being 21, Marc and I were able to taste some of their beers, and it was a fantastic.

I was lucky enough to be invited to see “Simply EPIK”, with Cindy Ornstein, the Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center (MAC). “Simply EPIK” is a performance put on by EPIK Dance Company, a

Lien and Advisory Board Member Cindy Ornstein at the Mesa Arts Center

Lien and Wilkes Advisory Board Member Cindy Ornstein at the Mesa Arts Center

non-profit local dance company and Simply Three, a string trio. The two amazing group’s performances was like nothing I have ever seen before, in other words, they were SIMPLY EPIC! While I was there, Mrs. Ornstein was kind enough to show me around the Mesa Art Center. Trust me when I tell you, it’s phenomenal.  The structure of the outside and inside made it win an award for the International Association of Venue Managers. If you ever get the chance to see a show at the venue or even walk pass it, I strongly suggest that you do.

Part 2 by De’von Moore

De'von conquering Camelback Mountain

De’von conquering Camelback Mountain

Aj, Lien and I conquered the big bad Camelback Mountain. There are two trails you can take Echo or Cholla. It took about 3 total hours (up and down) with a few breaks along the way. The summit of Camelback Mountain is at 2,704 feet above sea level. It is worth the journey. The view is #BEAUTIFUL. You get to see the whole valley and multimillion dollar homes (Hi, EMMA Stone). I am not much of a hiker but I would like to start because I had such a great time.

Lolo's Chicken & Waffles

Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles

After the hike, we went to Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles in Scottsdale. If you like soul food or never had it, I would go and try it. They have a variety of homemade southern food, that you can only get at home or in the south.  Sunday morning they play gospel music and other times they play Hip-hop & R&B. And they have kool-aid on draft.  I got the “Ribeye steak and eggs”. Lien and Aj got Lo-Lo’s, which is 3 piece chicken and 2 waffles.

Tips for conquering Camelback:
Bring Water (2 Bottles)
Comfortable clothes
Go in the morning to avoid the Heat
Music (if going by yourself)

Part 3 by Marc Perry

Megan Power and Marc Perry check out an ASU baseball game... in February.

Megan Powers and Marc Perry check out an ASU baseball game… in February.

Megan and I went to the ASU baseball game, and in the great words of Marc Perry… “It was SICK”. Who gets to watch D1 baseball in February? It was nice getting to watch a baseball game in February and not be cold. Usually there is still snow on the ground in Pennsylvania and our team has to shovel snow off the field for practice. But here it was 80 degrees and sunny. It was a beautiful day for baseball game. Wild time, would do it again.

The view from South Mountain

Hello 75 and Sunny – Goodbye 20 and Snowy! Semester in Mesa 2015.

Hello 75 and sunny, goodbye 20 and snowy!  That’s right, we finally arrived in Arizona!

My name is Lien Do, and I am a senior at Wilkes University studying Marketing. The wonderful people who are on this SiMesa journey with me include Marc Perry (junior), studying marketing, Megan Powers (junior), studying accounting, and De’Von Moore (junior) studying management.

SiMesa 2015 Students

SiMesa 2015 Students (l-r) Marc Perry, De’Von Moore, Lien Do, Megan Powers

Everyone’s adventure out to Arizona was different. De’Von had the most patience out of all of us because he took the 36 hour drive from Maryland to Arizona. His drive here was definitely a long one but exciting because he got to see a lot of different terrain from the Windmill Farms to the dry desert. De’Von stopped in Nashville, TN, and ate at a restaurant called The Aquarium. He also stopped by Amarillo, TX, where he had his first Wing Stop, Lemon Pepper.

Megan escaped the cold a week early and had the chance to come out to visit her family. She got to do a lot of sight-seeing and lucky enough to spend a couple days in the warm weather!

As for Marc and I, we spent 6 hours on a plane – exciting, I know. We were counting down the seconds ’til we landed, but those seconds seemed like an eternity. As the plane went over Phoenix, we saw all the lights and couldn’t believe that we were finally here.

Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel

Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel

Once we all got to the Marriott, we were taken back by the fact that this was where we were going to be staying for the next three months, trust me if you saw this hotel, you would be too. What makes the experience at the Marriot so much better is the staff. They are very friendly and welcoming… legends wearing Marriott shirts. We basically became best friends within the first 30 mins of my arrival.

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Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel

As our week went on, we started classes and had a great mini tour of the Greater Phoenix area. The Mesa Marketing Coordinator, Jen Atkins, took us around ASU’s campus, and showed us where spring training takes place. After the tour, we had In-N-Out Burger for the first time ever. Although it was kind of messy, it was absolutely delicious! I’m still questioning why we don’t have one of these in Pennsylvania.  It would save lives.

Our first adventure of the semester consisted of a scavenger hunt that Jen put together. Downtown Mesa reminded me a lot of Downtown Wilkes-Barre because of how all the restaurants are local instead of chains, which I thought was cool because you wouldn’t expect that in a big city. We went to stores such as Sweet Cakes, Gotham City Comics, Lost Dutchman Coffee, and many more

Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Center

wonderful businesses! Sweet Cakes Cafe was my favorite local business, though, because they offer great food and sweets. They also have a 5-layered brownie… I don’t think I need to explain how great those are, the name says it all! The most unique business I encountered was the Mesa Art Center. The structure of center made it very appealing.

Our second adventure was a hike up South Mountain that Deanna, a current student at Wilkes

Lien and Megan on South Mountain

Lien and Megan on South Mountain

Mesa, put together. This was my first time ever going on a hike and I was pretty sure I was going to make Marc carry me. This hike was slightly difficult but that’s only because that’s the most cardiovascular activity I’ve done in ages. Thankfully we didn’t see any strange creatures lurking around. Overall though it was worth it, we got to the top of the mountain and the view was unbelievable!

This is my first time on the west coast and experiencing a different region of the world. Within our first two weeks out here, we’ve met some great people and are having a great time. I’m definitely excited to see what else this semester has in stored for us!

The view from South Mountain

The view from South Mountain

Suggestions:

  • If you are over 21, make sure you have a horizontal ID and not a vertical one.
  • I know they get annoying, but read the e-mails that are sent out so you don’t forget any important paper work.
  • Drink water, it’ll save your life (seriously, you’ll get dehydrated).
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Guidance by Mentorship by Austin Bennett

Knowledge can be obtained through books and experience, but empowerment–that is beyond self. It is the parent who says, “I love you;” or the teacher who says, “I believe in you;” or the coach who says, “You got this;” or the spouse who says, “I trust you.” Trusting your own abilities does not come easy. Confidence is gained through failure. It also comes by way of continued encouragement and guidance. Mentorship is essential to success.

There once was a particular academic tradition where professors referred to their students as “distinguished comrades.”* Education was built on mutual trust and respect. It was a mutual endeavor built around camaraderie not mere self-reliance. Similarly, in the Ancient Near East, the Hebrews viewed those who pursued scholasticism as part of a family unit. Instructors were referred to as “fathers.” Students were referred to as “sons.”* Much like a child learning from a parent, students were guided by teachers for the betterment of self and community. In both traditions, a close-knit-community was formed around scholasticism and teachers were viewed as mentors.

When I chose to pursue my MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University I was promised a mentor-based education. At that time, I did not fully know what that meant nor did I whole-heartedly buy the rhetoric knowing the competitive nature of colleges. Yet, what I found was something closer to camaraderie and kinship than cool academia. I became at once a peer and a son. When I wrestled with choosing my creative thesis, fearing I was out of my depth, encouragement came in the most unlikely of ways. I had a dream. The program director, Bonnie Culver, came to me like a fairy-god-mother and squelched my fears by pointing to mentorship. She said, “That’s why we’re here.” When my wife gave birth to our first child mid-way through my creative thesis, my mentor, Jeff Talarigo, offered more than advice on writing: he offered fatherly advice.

Author Bio: Austin Bennett is a son, brother, friend, husband, father. He received his M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University in 2014 and is currently pursuing his M.F.A.

*Kuper, Abraham. Scholarship: Two Convocations Addresses on University Life. Trans. Harry Van Dyke. Grand Rapids: Christian’s Library Press, 2014. Kindle file.

Our First Arizona Graduates

The Honorable Scott Smith, former mayor of the City of Mesa, will be the keynote speaker as Wilkes University awards its first master of business administration degrees on Jan. 13. Three students will graduate with their master’s degrees in a 6 p.m. ceremony at the Mesa Arts Center. Diplomas will be presented by Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy.

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The graduates are (left to right) Kelly Rogers MBA ’15, Jamie McWilliams MBA ’15, Erica Roca ’09 MBA ’15. These students are the University’s first graduates in Mesa.
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Smith was mayor when Wilkes opened its center in Mesa as one of four colleges invited to participate in the H.E.A.T. (Healthcare, Education, Aerospace, Technology/Tourism) Initiative for Economic Development in Mesa, designed to increase college opportunities and spur economic growth.

The graduation ceremony will be in the Nesbitt-Elliott Playhouse at the arts center. There will be a reception to immediately follow the ceremony in The Brown Sculpture Courtyard.

Wilkes began offering its MBA program in Mesa in 2013, and will offer bachelor’s degrees in 2015 along with the M.A. in creative writing and M.S. in education.  Wilkes is located in the Mesa Center for Higher Education, 245 W. Second St. in Mesa.

About Wilkes University

Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the University provides its students with the experience, mentoring and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as personal growth. Learn more at www.wilkes.edu/mesa.

The Culmination

Well, here we are. At the finish line of the semester; but I’ll be crossing with bittersweet excitement. Hell, I listened to Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve three times on my last day to work. We have created our own little lives out here, like a separate identity. I walked around Entrepix for the last time, ensuring to say goodbye to each person. I walked by my completed project, sitting on the production floor. I stopped when I saw it; doing a cool internship project was the reason I wanted to work for Entrepix, it was even the reason I came to Arizona. Somehow until that moment, I never realized that the most memorable parts of my experience out here were because of people I’ve met.

I came to Arizona for a resume builder, and because I was tired of the daily grind. Well the daily grind sure was taken care of, and I have a few new lines on my resume. Great. But what I truly gained in Arizona cannot be measured in GPA points, money, or objects of any kind. It’s feeling unsure walking into a new internship, and the satisfaction of a ‘good job’ handshake walking out. It’s having nervous jitters driving a rental car to Las Vegas, and the calm of deep 3AM conversation driving through endless desert. It’s the pain of climbing every mountain possible, and the self-gratification of standing on the top. It’s the uncertainty of leaving a cozy college campus for a semester of who-knows-what, and the relief of it being the right choice. It’s hopes, fears, and all the other abstract nouns mashed into a blob we like call the human experience. And whether you’re in Wilkes-Barre, Mesa, or anywhere, you’re living it one minute at a time.

So yes, I’m going to miss being in Arizona. I’m going to miss my co-workers, the other students, the Mexican food, the scenery, the hotel staff, and living with 10 of Wilkes’ crazier students, but life is longer than one semester. And with what I truly learned out in Arizona, I’m excited to go home because the adventure continues, the landscape just changes. See you all soon!

~Danny Lykens

 

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P.S. moral of the story: Collect experiences over things. Make friendships over money. And live dangerously; just don’t die.

Grander adventures

We’re down to the last two weeks. From work, to our adventures, everything has been getting crazier. As the time crunch is on, we realize that the vacation semester will soon end. The problems at work have more pressure, but the solutions have become more rewarding. Key parts had been lost due to extenuating circumstances, but we recovered. Now the projects are close to completion, and we are feeling positive. I’m going to be sad when the projects are over though; I have had such a great time with the people at Entrepix, and I do not want to go.

As for adventures, we have not been downsizing. Recently, I rented a car for 24 hours, but did not plan our day trip until I had the keys. Over breakfast, Ryan mentioned Las Vegas was a short 5½ hours away. After rallying the troops, Doug and Polzella were on board with Ryan and me. We fit a more proper definition “day trip”, as the trip took a quite literal 24 hours. I’d love to write more, but that would break the golden rule of sin city; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

My favorite part of the craziest day trip ever? Illogically, the drive. Getting to know people is easer in a coffee fueled conversation at 3AM trapped in a car. Ryan asked the question, “What happens when we leave? Do we go back to not knowing each other?” It sounded like a quote directly out of The Breakfast Club. I simply responded, “I hope not.” Vegas was a shallow, glimmering city of image and lust; except for us, we had real good times.

The ridiculousness continuous, as we got to experience the realest beauty I’ve ever seen; the Grand Canyon. I wonder how long it took the Mayans to dig it. Everyone in the program piled into a 15-passenger van, and off we went. We got to the canyon in time to see the sunset. Now I’ve said before that pictures don’t do true beauty justice, but this is the first time my own eyes clearly could not portray an accurate image to by brain. My own eyes made it look fake; like it was a painting draped across the horizon. Nothing compared, nothing. We walked down into it a negligible amount, enough to escape the crowds. There we watched the sun set.

The next day we hiked along the rim. The Colorado River looked like a stream from the top, an impossibly far way down. I could have spent weeks there, hiking down and exploring. I’ll be back, that is certain.

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Suggestions for future SiMesa-ers

After being here for almost 4 months, I have experienced quite a bit. For all the future SiMesa-ers, I have put together a list of suggestions that have helped me have the time of my life.

  1. Carpool out

Don’t get me wrong; the public transportation is great out here. I use it a lot, for cheap. But, there are places that public transportation does not go. For instance, Sedona is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Millions of years of history can be seen in a single rock. The reason I was able to go; Doug drove out. Without that 1996 Saturn, I wouldn’t have seen Sedona, I wouldn’t have hiked the Superstition Mountains, and I wouldn’t have boated on Lake Saguaro. The city is great, but the beauty of Arizona lies outside city borders.

  1. Work out housing early

I almost didn’t go because of housing issues in Wilkes-Barre. This was a suggestion from the school itself. If you want to go to Mesa, be careful about your housing your junior year. I almost had to pay double rent. Everyone’s situation is different though; the only easy solution is for those living on campus. If you live off campus, you may need to find a sublet your apartment.

  1. Keep an open mind, try to get out and try new things

Be willing to try new things. I have had such a great time just doing everything I can. Rarely I regret something I’ve done. I only regret what I haven’t done; the opportunities I’ve missed. If you go to Mesa, or anywhere for that matter, don’t just sit around. Get outside; visit everywhere you can. I bought a bicycle to help me explore more; it was worth every cent. We’ve tried to climb all the mountains seen from the city. To quote the 1999 film, Fight Club “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” So if you’re spending it looking up Fight Club quotes locked away alone in your room, you’re doing it wrong.

  1. Don’t be scared

Every single person on this trip almost backed out at one point or another. If you can make it out here, do it. Don’t hesitate. After being here, I can’t believe I ever thought about backing out. Will you miss home at times? Yes. But regret won’t be on your mind. You have the choice to be part of the genesis of Wilkes’ branch in Mesa, or you could spend another semester at home, running through the motions. Looking back, I think the second one scares me more.

 

PS. Also, learn how to pronounce Spanish words. The Mexican food down here is great, but during the first few weeks, ordering is horrifically embarrassing.