By: Kelly Donovan ENGL Dept. Social Media Intern

It is crazy to think that this will be my final blog post for this internship; time really does fly! I have really enjoyed both the vocational work I have done as well as the things I have learned on the academic side. I get excited when I complete a course that I know will help me in the future. Since I have talked a lot about things I have learned through this internship in many of my blog posts, I would like to shift gears a bit and talk about something that I am currently working on that has been very fun for me.

            A few months ago, Dr. Wright and I started discussing options and ideas for a social media campaign. Thinking of a COVID friendly idea was somewhat difficult at first, since we cannot encourage people to interact in person nor offer an incentive (such as a delicious pizza party) to the winners of my contest. I communicated with one of my advisors to ultimately come up with the idea to post trivia questions crafted by students from all SP21 English courses. We thought of this idea when students first became eligible to sign up for summer and fall courses. Ultimately, the goal has been to draw attention to the English department and spark an interest in English majors who are looking for new courses to take. I started by sending an email out to all of the faculty in the English department followed by a second one which went out to all of the students. When I realized how many people I was addressing in these emails, I got kind of nervous! However, it also made me excited to think about the amount of people I could possibly encourage to get involved in the social media campaign.

            Well, things did not go that way right away. I started to get nervous that no one really liked the idea because I had only received a few submissions from classes. Luckily, Dr. Wright supported me the whole time and continued to encourage students and faculty to participate via email. Even though I still haven’t received an abundance of questions, the ones that I have been able to launch have been a huge success! So many people are getting involved in answering the questions that I have posted. It has been so much fun to see everyone take their guesses on the Instagram polls. I have also really appreciated the questions that I have received because they have been so creative. I’ve come to learn that sometimes the quality is more important than the quantity. In fact, if I had one more semester left I certainly would enroll in some of the courses I have learned about through these trivia questions.

            This internship truly has been a great experience and I am grateful that I was able to have fun while growing as a student. Congratulations to all graduating students, go Dukes!

And They Don’t Stop Coming

By Paul Martorelli, English and Multimedia Journalism Major, D.U. Quark Intern

My mother is a nurse. When the vaccine was first released to the public, she was among the first able to get it. Randomly she received a text from one of her supervisors that a spot had opened up and that if she could make it to the hospital after work (she works from home), then she could receive her first dose. I was excited for her; I’d assume that for every twenty something without a pre-existing condition our biggest fear throughout this pandemic has been accidently killing our parents by spreading Covid to them. With this first dose, 25% of my fear vanished. Then a month later, she received her second dose and my anxiety was down to 50%.

Being vaccinated, the state of Connecticut asked her to volunteer her time to give out vaccines. Without hesitation, she signed up for as many days as she could. I, being a vain youngster, asked her if she would be compensated at all for this, surely spending your weekends jabbing people in the arm deserved some sort of pay, but no she would not be paid. I would remark every day before she went out to volunteer, “you know, they should at least give the families of the volunteers first picks on missed appointments, it would be a shame for them to throw out a perfectly good shot.” I really wanted some of that sweet sweet vaccine if you could not tell by now.

My plan did not work, I was never able to get squeezed into a missed appointment. Slowly but surely, every willing member of my family was able to get a vaccine. At first my sister and then my father got their shots, all the while I searched every day for an open appointment. On a technicality I was a part of both Connecticut and Pennsylvania’s first phase list of eligibility. Who knew that being obese and smoking would work out in my favor? Still, months past and no appointment was ever found.

I started doing DoorDash to make some quick cash on the weekends. At the end of my first weekend I got an email from DoorDash corporate. Food delivery drivers are considered essential workers. “Great,” I thought, “now I have even more of a reason to get the vaccine.” A lot of the pharmacies that I was checking wouldn’t let me through to make an appointment with my “pre-existing conditions”, but now I could get through to all of them with my essential worker status. Yet still, every website I checked had zero availability from now until the end of eternity. I was resigned to the fact that it might be until the end of this year that I would be able to get my hands on a magnificent vial of Moderna, a fabulous piece of Pfizer or that jewel that is Johnson & Johnson. That is until last week.

Last week, I received an email from a Pennsylvania government address. It announced a two-day vaccine clinic. I checked the available times and to my surprise, every single timeslot was open. I scheduled my appointment; I never knew that hitting confirm on a website could cause such emotion. I was so close to being able to be free of Covid-19. Obviously, you still have to be careful even after you receive that vaccine, but still, knowing that you can’t die from one of the most infectious diseases to ever pop out of modern history is a feeling like no other.

So, the day of my appointment I left forty minutes early. With fifteen minutes to spare, I hit the exit to Monroeville. And oh boy, have I grown a new spot in my heart for hate. Monroeville’s traffic situation feels as though it was built by a guy who has never used a road before. Seriously, I think that I’d rather drive through downtown Manhattan before I ever drive through Monroeville again. The line to take the exit from the highway stretched back at least a half mile. Absolutely ridiculous. And the traffic wasn’t even for the vaccine clinic, those were just average people choosing to either live or do business in Monroeville. I’d never been there before, so I can’t tell you if this was an anomaly or not, but seriously at least a trillion dollars of Biden’s infrastructure bill needs to be focused on just Monroeville alone. Alright, rant over.

I get to my appointment thirty minutes late and I’m freaking out. In my head, I think that I’ve just blown my best chance at getting a vaccine. I get guided by National Guard members to an open parking lot, find a space and run to the office building that had been repurposed into an absolute vaccine administering machine. I walk through the metal detector, get searched by a woman with one of those metal detector wands that you usually encounter at concerts, which I thought was redundant. If I already passed one metal detector, what are you really going to find with the wand detector? I wait in line, getting beckoned through random doors which lead to more lines which in turn lead to more doors and lines. I finally reach a kind woman sitting in front of an iPad who was able to check me in. I told her I was late, to which she replied that I didn’t even need an appointment to get vaccinated. Cool.

I get motioned to another kind woman who rechecked my details, rubbed my arm with an alcohol swab and boom, I was vaccinated. They gave me my card and a little reusable shopping bag and had me wait in a large room full of chairs to see if I would have a reaction. My fifteen minutes passed with no reaction and I left. On the way out, I saw that the line had nearly quadrupled in size. When I arrived, the line started past the metal detectors. When I left, the line was deep into the parking lot. But the wait, no matter how long, would be worth it. After this one shot, we would all be free of the fear that this last year has had hung over it.

My two days afterwards I had some mild reactions, nothing too bad but enough to where I basically just slept the days away. Then I was good. I obviously still have to wait the fourteen days from getting the shot to be completely in the clear, but a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve always taken this pandemic seriously, from the beginning I’ve been worried about getting it and spreading it, but of the two, as selfish as it sounds, getting it has always been the scarier hypothetical. I know that I’m young and statistically I could beat it, but the fact that I could end up being one of the young ones whose lungs fill up and just drops always scared the living hell out of me. So finally, for the first time in a year, I could live without constantly thinking about my own mortality.

Since then, my mind has been freer than usual, that is until, I learned that I might develop blood clots now. Now it is back to the constant thoughts about my own mortality.


By Claire Neiberg, English Major / ARYSE Intern

It’s only been a few days since I posted my last blog posts, you know, the one about the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Well, that light only lasted until about 8pm yesterday, because at 8:30, I was whisked off in a Z-Car to the quarantine hotel on Southside after being contact traced.


When I heard, all I could do was laugh. Laugh because I was in shock. My friend who tested positive had been so careful. Laugh because if this had happened just ONE WEEK later, I would be considered fully vaccinated. Laugh because I had over ten missed calls from Health Services because I wouldn’t let anything interrupt my LSAT Workshop presentation (yes, the LSAT is still controlling my life). And laugh because the packing list they sent me had things like “nail polish” and “Hulu password.” Yeah, let me just pack my Hulu password before getting shipped off to isolation for the next ten days. Definitely my top priority.

I know, I KNOW they’re just trying to be nice, and I’m thankful they gave us a packing list at all because I was definitely almost out the door forgetting my medication, hairbrush, and contact solution. Lucky for me, my much more practical friend reminded me to grab them in the midst of packing other necessities such as spicy miso ramen, origami paper, my cute new emotion octopus so I can let everyone know that I am NOT happy to be here, and quite literally, my entire bedding.

My bedding was actually the last thing I needed because the hotel was kind enough to give me eight pillows and two very comfortable beds. I slept in the one closet to the outlet and have used the other one strictly to jump on. When I called my parents crying, my dad told me to keep my head up and take advantage of being in a nice hotel. I used to love hotels when I was a little kid–jumping from bed to bed and running down the hallways. It could be a lot worse.

And it really could be a lot worse. I could be in Towers (ew). Or I could be home and risk spreading the virus to my family. But I’m not. I’m at a perfectly nice Holiday Inn, have full-access to food delivery services (thanks, Dad), and already have had several friends offer to bring me anything I need (I really am so blessed!). Having one of my best friends here helps as well because while we can’t be in each other’s rooms, we’re allowed to take our one one-hour walk of the day together. When I was told this, I said, “Oh, so like yard time?” I hope the RD found that as funny as I did, but probably not.

I spent all of last night FaceTiming and texting my friends, feeling extremely upset and wallowing in self-pity over the things I am now missing out on. My one friend and I were going to go to the Strip District this weekend, my other friend is turning 21 at the Hofbräuhaus on Monday, and my other group of friends and I had plans to enjoy the mental health day together. Not anymore. Instead I’ll be spending that time in my own solitude, staring out the window with the view of my dorm, and trying to keep myself occupied.

Given that it’s mid-day Friday, I really only have six full days left (praying I test negative on Wednesday). I can do six days. At least I have all the time in the world to work ahead on homework (hence why I’m writing this blog post weeks in advance) which brings me to my internship. I only have deliverable left which is my final paper. I am writing a research/reflection paper on refugee law. I completed the research stage last week (as I mentioned), so I am actually looking forward to writing this paper.

I was hesitant to start this paper because it seemed like a daunting amount of research to take on, but once I started it, I found the cases to be thought-provoking and hard to put down. It helps that I’ve had a lot of practice with case reading and briefing from my political science classes, and my current Legal Research and Writing class class has given me exposure to the basics of legal research plus a list of resources.

I’m hoping that this week I can get an outline of the paper done and continue to be of help where ARYSE needs me. I still plan to attend my after school program on Tuesday, and if I am not scheduled with clients, perhaps attend a staff meeting. I wish I could have gone to more of these, but unfortunately, I either have class or work. As the end of the semester is near, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to work with ARYSE and feel that I have learned a lot out myself and my interests through this position.

Okay, this post is very long and incredibly unfocused, so I’m going to end it here. I’m honestly so bored right now, this feels therapeutic. It also gives me something to look back on if I ever want to remember my first day at the Holiday Inn and a, yet another, weird end to the spring semester.

Booting Motivation

By Olivia Stumpo, ACH Clear Pathways/Community Writing Center Intern

As the end of the semester nears, the weather begins to change, and school becomes a drag. I’ve seen it happen in peers, students, and myself. The finals are on the horizon, but all that you can think about is summer. As this part of the year comes up again, it’s important to stay motivated. I did a little research, checked some old textbooks, and found some great tips to incorporate into my work habits. 

Across the boards, the types of tips I found centered on achievable goals that result in a reward. This can be as simple as having your favorite snack after working for so long or remembering that summer vacation comes after the semester is done. I can remember discussing this extensively in an Inclusive Education class. We discussed arranging a reward after a certain goal or behavior was achieved with IEP students. As these habits form, the rewards gradually taper off in an effort to enforce the new natural behavior. So enjoying ice cream after studying for all day, then a full week, then a month until the reward is no longer necessary. 

The important thing about these goals though, they need to be specific and measurable. Take the early ice cram example, that is not a well articulated goal. It’s too general about what studying will entail. Instead, a goal like by completing my Math homework, English homework, and class journal, I can have ice cream today, can be easily decided as achieved. It has clear steps that mean it is completed. It’s all about creating a to-do list and deciding the prize at the end. 

In my life, I know these motivation strategies will be important. As a teacher, I will have to inspire my students to keep going in their educational career. These goal making strategies will be implemented in many projects, both long term and short term. Rewards will be important then too. Movie days after weeks of reading a long book, moral discussion days to ease off content heavy days, will all serve as reprieves or rewards for their strong efforts in my class.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

By Nicolas Lucente, Multiplatform Journalism major, D.U.Quark Intern

As we enter the month of April, seniors are only one month away from graduation. As graduation approaches, the main goal seems to be wrapping up classes efficiently and properly while also focussing on one’s future; something none of us have ever had to really do. Getting into college is one thing, but finding a job and beginning a career is another.

However, through all of the stress and the pressure, I still feel like it is important to appreciate the little things. When I say the little things, I mean the things that you will never get back. Who knows who we will talk to down the road and how what we learned in the last four years will actually help us in the real world, but besides doing the necessary things to take that next step, appreciating what we still have is important.

With only a month left to go for seniors, some of us only having a month left to go in Pittsburgh as well, I would argue that maintaining friendships and connections with people we’ve met in our time here is just as important as taking that next step. Life is going to become complicated once we leave Duquesne. College, in general, kind of feels like a governing body before we have to abide by a real government and follow adulthood rules. That may sound like a stretch, but if you think about it, it makes sense. However, university rules are much more forgiving than real life and understanding that is important.

I have not entered the true adult world yet even if I think I have, but because of that fact, I can look back at my time at Duquesne and truly appreciate everything that I have been able to do here. Coronavirus definitely limited the “college experience” in a way, but when the virus hit originally I never went home. I stayed in my house in Pittsburgh with my friends and we went through it together back in the spring of 2020. Would I have been able to be cooped up with my family at home during that time, yes of course. However, being with friends that I had grown close with throughout my time at Duquesne was an experience that I will treasure.

My point is to not forget the connections made throughout college. I don’t know who is reading this or who needs to be reading this, but what you learn, who you meet and the connections you make in college can be the foundation of one’s adulthood post-college. I haven’t graduated yet, so I may just be hopeful when I say all of this. All I really hope for is that everything I have experienced in college was not just for a degree and for something more than that.

Approaching the Finish Line

By Maria Sosso, English Major / Gumberg Library Intern

Graduation is about a month away, a prospect that is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying to me. I’m sure that my fellow interns are feeling the time crunch as we wind down the days of our undergraduate experiences. Personally, I was never more grateful to be in the liberal arts college than I was when I learned that the McAnulty College was one of the schools selected for an in-person ceremony. The fact that my parents will actually be able to see the culmination of my four years of hard work down at PPG Paints Arena is such a blessing. It’s hard not to be hopeful when more and more people are being vaccinated every day. (I have already received the first dose of the vaccine and I’ll be fully vaccinated by April 17th!) I’ve been thoroughly plumbing the depths of Handshake for internship opportunities for the summer and fall. It’s a little tough to find the perfect position, considering many appealing jobs require years of field experience that I simply don’t have as a soon-to-be college graduate. The complaint from employers about how hard it is to find skilled workers these days is particularly funny to hear because these are the same places that refuse to do on the job training. As I have learned in my two internships throughout the course of this year, mentorship is something that can be fundamental to the success of an individual, regardless of the job. As it stands right now, I’ll just keep sending in resumes, hoping, and playing the waiting game.  

Spring Forward

By Claire Neiberg, English Major / ARYSE Intern

My favorite days this semester have been the surprisingly sunny, 60-degree days that have been sporadic throughout February and March. Stepping out of my building and feeling the warm sun hit my face after weeks of winter is a fantastic feeling, and now that the weather has been consistently warmer, I can’t help but feel happy.

With the warmer weather, I’ve also been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel through the efforts to get more people vaccinated and the significant drop in COVID cases since Christmas. Thanks to ARYSE and Pittsburgh Public Schools, I am now fully vaccinated! While I know that the vaccine does not guarantee full protection against the virus, it gives me some peace of mind knowing that I am more protected than I was before.

The after-school soccer program I have been working with has also resumed its in-person activities. While this means less kids at the program I will still be attending, I’m excited that their in-person programs are opening back up and I hope our do as well. I’m also hopeful that some of PRYSE will be able to be conducted in-person, because while virtual learning has its place and purpose, nothing can replace face-to-face instruction when it comes to working with kids.

My internship work also feels like it is really coming together. I did a lot of research into different cases last week, using the resources given to me in my Legal Research and Writing class. I found it to be extremely interesting and meaningful work. Sitting in the library for six hours with a venti ice tea, reading and briefing cases, also made me feel like a law student. I hope to be working with this same enthusiasm next year…

This past weekend, I went home for Easter and brought my best friend with me. I don’t think my parents would have felt safe having any one other than family in my house this time last year, so being able to bring my friend home and have her meet my sister and get to know my parents better was something I had been wanting to do. Our whole house has had either one or both doses of the vaccine, and we’re still the family of introverts that were perfectly content with being home all day one year ago, so we haven’t done anything that would put any one of us as risk.

While there’s still a long road ahead of us, I’m feeling more hopeful than ever. 

The End is Near

By: Kelly Donovan ENGL Dept. Social Media Intern (blog 5)

After playing in my senior game with the women’s soccer team this past Sunday, it has started to sink in that graduation is right around the corner. Now that soccer is coming to an end and I will no longer be a student athlete, I have been taking some time to reflect on myself solely as a student. In addition, I have begun to think about some of the things that I have learned along the way through soccer that I believe will help me in my law school journey. As a student athlete, you are forced to learn how to time manage. Between classes, homework, studying, practices, games, traveling, lifting, rehabilitation, meetings etc., student athletes quickly learn that there is not much room for free time. Instead, you quickly learn how to prioritize what is most important to you. I personally knew from the start that school would be my number one priority. Although it wasn’t always easy, I have taken pride in consistently submitting assignments on time while I also making sure the work itself was done to the best of my ability. When I know my soccer schedule is going to be extra hectic, I also try to complete work that is due in the distant future. As a second semester senior, my course load isn’t too strenuous. I recognize that in law school, I likely will not even have the option to complete work that’s due in the future, since the course load will be much heavier. Although this will be the case, I do think my time management skills will help me succeed in the classroom, especially since I will not have the extra obligation to soccer in my life.

When I think about myself as a student alone, it makes me excited that I have already started to find a passion in law through the courses I have taken and the extracurriculars I have participated in. However, this semester in particular has shown me the ways in which my writing skills have been of value as an English major and how they will change going in to law school. I would argue that the writing for my political science classes have been more similar to legal writing than the work I have done for my English classes. In political science, we are taught to spend a lot of time doing research before actually writing. Our writing is based off of solid facts, whereas this is not always the case in my English classes. For example, I took a class called Fiction Workshop. In this class we were taught to be creative. The writing for tor this class was not expected to be factual, hence why it was a “fiction” class. In classes such as this one, I have been taught to use a variety of word choice to entice readers. However, in Legal Research and Writing with Professor Sprowls, we have learned that legal writing encourages the repetition of certain terms for clarity and consistency purposes. In creative writing, citations are not required. In legal writing, it is important to include citations when referencing statutes or other authority. I also have learned that I will need to be extra cautious about grammatical expectations in law school. While contractions have typically been acceptable in the courses I have taken thus far, this might not be the case in the future.

I wouldn’t trade my life as a student athlete for anything, but I can certainly say I am ready for the next chapter of my life. While I have certainly learned a lot of life lessons and skills as an athlete, I believe that the things I have learned in the classroom will be most crucial in my success as a law student.

Change After You Graduate

By Nicolas Lucente, Mulitplatform Journalism major, D.U.Quark Intern

Getting a job has always been difficult. I am not saying my life is harder than others. All I am saying is this is hard and people expect you to get a job the second you get a degree, I am here to say that it it is not that simple.

I have been applying for months now and I have not gotten a call back. Yes, I am pursuing a career in journalism, sports announcing or creative development, which is incredibly difficult to land a job in. However, I am trying and people do not understand that dreams are hard to achieve.

And if I can expand, dreams are hard to achieve. Everyone knows that dreams hard hard to achieve. However, everyone tells you to “shoot for the stars” and to “strive for your dreams.
” Except, they do not tell you that you are going to struggle for a few years. I haven’t gotten there yet, but from what I have heard, I am going to struggle for a couple a years before I potentially find success.

Life becomes different. I haven’t graduated yet, but I am already feeling the pressure of graduation. My parents are asking me, “Where have you applied,” and “Where are you looking,” as if I know what I am doing. I don’t know what I am doing if I am being completely honest. I am trying my best to apply to as many jobs as possible, but they all say “you need at least 3+ years experience to do this job.” What am I suppose to do? Gain three years of experience in said field in two months? It is not possible.

I am fine with the struggle. The struggle breeds success in my opinion. Though, struggle also means living in swallow for a minute. Minute meaning a couple of years of living with a struggle trying to figure out exactly what you what to do for the rest of your life.

Again, I am fine with this concept, but what is the point of going to an extra four years of school to earn a degree to just learn that you hate the industry that you are about to enter. To me, it is mind boggling. Of course, you have to learn and take what you have learned and adjust to society.

I guess what I am frustrated with is the fact that there is no one to strictly tell you what you are prepared to do. Most applications involve a “3+ year requirement” of said experience before landing that job. Of course, most if not all all college students do not have said experience applying for that job, even though they believe he or she feels they have the proper amount of experience.

My question is, who guides you properly to the proper starter job? You may answer the career center or your mentor or even your advisor, but no one reaches out. No one tells you what you are supposed to do after graduation voluntarily.

I am not ranting about the flaws of college, and I do not want this to come across that way. All I am saying is that more people are confused as to what to do after getting their degree more than you think they are. The education is great, but what now? We want, we need to make a living for ourselves. We simply need to know where we fit into society.

“This is what you wanted to do right?”

By Paul Martorelli, English and Multimedia Journalism Major, D.U. Quark Intern

My relationship with editing in all forms is a love/hate one. I hate editing. It’s tedious work. Especially when working with sound, the small nuances that you have to focus on are infuriating. You spend a full hour chopping up a five-minute sound bite, getting rid of every awkward pause and noisy breath. Then you add a compressor to that soundbite, trying to control the dynamics of the voice recording. Maybe at one point you accentuated a syllable in a weird way so you’re trying to make sure that it doesn’t sound too loud comparative to the rest of the syllables. Alright, the soundbite is compressed, it is time to add an EQ. Using the EQ, you remove all the harsh frequencies in the high end of the voice recording, you completely shut out all of the underlying low-end frequencies so that there is no “muddiness” to your voice. Cool, this soundbite is starting to sound professional. To finish it all up, you add a tiny bit of reverb to give the voice some ambience. Nothing too crazy, not a room or a hall reverb, but just a little bit of reverb to make the soundbite not sound too dry.

For that five minutes of sound, you’ve just spent an hour and a half. From here on out it shouldn’t be too bad. You have all of the settings that you used for the compressor, EQ and reverb already, so now all you have to do is cut up the rest of the soundbites, another ten minutes of sound, and you’re good. So, you spend an hour and a half chopping up the rest of the sound bites, getting rid of every awkward pause and noisy breath. You add a compressor, you use an EQ to get rid of unwanted frequencies, you add a reverb for some ambience. This doesn’t take much time at all because, again, you already have all the settings saved from that first soundbite. It’s done. You’ve completed the project. You get up, make yourself some coffee, sit back down, and listen to the whole project. You’re sure that it is ready to be exported and posted to Spotify, but not giving it a listen would be bad juju.

So, you listen to the whole thing and…it sounds whack. The different soundbites don’t sound the same at all. It sounds like each soundbite was recorded in a different room using different microphones. In reality, each soundbite was recorded in the same room with the same microphone, the only variable that changed was the distance that you were to the microphone and the energy that you personally brought into the recording. So now you have to go into each different soundbite and mess with the compressor settings. In one it might need to be less aggressive, in another it might not be aggressive enough. The EQ is generally the same all around still, but with the compressor being changed now the reverb needs to be adjusted. You spend another hour just trying to get everything to sound as similar as possible, but at this point you’ve been listening to the same sounds on repeat for a combined four hours give or take, your ears just cannot tell the difference anymore. Deaf doesn’t feel like the right way to describe it, it’s more like your ears have gone blind.

At this point there is only one thing you can do. Get up and do something else, anything else, so long as it doesn’t require you to listen too intently. Go for a run, fold some laundry, write a paper, whatever it is you have to do just do it. Come back to the audio software no less than three hours later, listen to it all again. Spend another hour trying to tweak the settings across your project. Forget about the fact that you can use compression on the whole project, that might help. Oh no, that actually made it kind of worse never mind. Use automation to painstakingly go through and control the volume of the project. Realize that you’re using studio headphones and that most people probably won’t be able to hear or even care about the subtle nuances that you are trying to fix. Export the thing to Spotify and get another cup of coffee. You’ve successfully finished this podcast.