Monthly Archives: March 2017

Corinne Doll Feature Story

By John Buoyer

Moving once before the age of 18 can be a difficult experience for kids. Corinne Doll did it twice.

Doll grew up in Maryland, spending the majority of her time playing travel soccer. She had athleticism in her genes because her dad played soccer at James Madison University.

Doll started playing soccer when she was 5 years old. She knew she was good, and by the age of 16 she made the youth women’s national team. Her recruiting halted, however, when her family moved to Arizona when she was 17.

“There just is not as much soccer out there,” said Doll.

She struggled to make contact with big Division-I schools out west, so she and her parents made the decision that it was best for her to move back to Maryland for her senior year of high school in order to gain more exposure from big schools.

“I didn’t really have one place that I was living senior year. I slept on couches and stayed with family friends. I was constantly traveling on weekends for soccer, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was just like one long road trip for me.”

Doll found that the time she spent away from the East Coast really hurt her in the recruiting process, and she was still struggling to get D-I offers throughout her senior year. However, one coach at a camp in North Carolina saw enough in her to offer her a scholarship. It was the head coach at Division-II Anderson University in South Carolina.

“It wasn’t a Division-I offer, but the coach made it seem like I could play right away, and I got a full ride, so I just took it,” said Doll.

As it turned out, Anderson University did not give her the experience that she had hoped for, so she ended up transferring to the University of South Carolina in the Spring of her sophomore year, hoping to get another shot at soccer.

“I lasted about two weeks and quit. I just realized I didn’t want to play anymore,” Doll said.

Now, Doll remains at USC, and she has found a new life after soccer. She is a founding sister of the Pi Phi sorority at USC, she is an executive for dance marathon, and she is on the Bateman team.

“After moving all over the place, it is nice to have found a second home here in Columbia,” Doll said.

Buoyer is a senior public relations major in the journalism school.

Middleton Finds Her Purpose

By Sterling Hopkins

Anya Middleton, a junior public relations major at the University of South Carolina, discovered her purpose through friends and family who readily accepted her over-the-top, yet charming nature.

Middleton is a native of Summerville, South Carolina, who does not allow her small town upbringing to stifle her vibrant and outgoing personality.

“You either love me or you hate me,” said Middleton. “There is no in between.”

Although Middleton’s vivacious character may rub a few people the wrong way, she finds it easy to make friends with those receptive to it.  Her friends describe her greatest strength as having the ability to make others happy and feel good about themselves.

Her recent decision to pledge and join a sorority is an example of the value she places on having meaningful and true friendships as she often associates a true friend with being a sister.  After joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, “I feel like I have a support system and more of a purpose,” said Middleton. “I take that seriously and friendship is a blessing from God.”

In addition to her chosen support system, Middleton relies heavily on the relationships she was given at birth. As an only child in a single-parent household, Middleton manages to remain family oriented. Among her many childhood memories, spending Christmas with her family always ranks in at No. 1. It is one of her favorite holidays because it is the only time when her entire family is able to get together.

More importantly, she is able to spend each Christmas with her grandfather. The two are very close and Middleton lives diligently by his advice.

“My grandfather always told me that you have to do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do,” said Middleton.

Not only did her grandfather teach her this but her mother displayed it by leading as an example. Although “it was kind of hard for her to balance being a mom and a businesswoman,” said Middleton, her mother made sacrifices that she will always be grateful for.

As a result of her grandfather’s advice and the sacrifices her mother made, Middleton is able to focus on her aspirations of becoming a lawyer and achieving her version of happiness and, to her, that is freedom.

Hopkins is a senior public relations major

 

Meet Nick Spano

“My biggest fear is not meeting up to expectations and settling for less.” This fear is what separates Nick Spano from everyone else. It motivates him to give it his all in everything he does whether it is sports, politics or life in general. But for Spano, doing what it takes to help others is what he wants to be remembered for the most.

Spano grew up in Columbia, Maryland, a town which is known for being “One of the Best Places to Live,”according to Money magazine. For Spano though, it wasn’t one of the best places to live, it was the best place to live. Spano took advantage of Columbia’s bi-polar weather by playing sports year round. Football in the fall, wrestling in the winter and baseball in the spring.

For most people, one sport is time consuming enough, but for Spano this was preparing him for becoming a leader in life. Spano learned that in sports, just as it is in life, the spotlight isn’t always going to be on you, sometimes you are going to be the unsung hero that no one talks about. But in the end, the most important thing is teamwork. And for Spano, his parents are his biggest supporters.

Spano’s mother gave him the blueprints for going into the realm of public relations. His mother was a publicist for big name stars such as NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’ Neal and Charlie Sheen, before he starred in Two and a Half Men. Aside from being a publicist, Spano would tell you that his mother provided the emotional support that only a mother can give. “I know I can go to her with stuff like relationships,” Spano says.

When asked about who the most important person in his life is, Spano quickly said his father. Spano’s father worked as a Secret Service agent for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was also one of the first responders for The Pentagon during 9/11. While his father doesn’t really talk about his experiences much, Spano understands the importance of taking care of the people who matter and making a difference in the world.

As for Spano himself, he just wants to be remembered for having a positive reputation. “I want to be remembered as a great friend, a hard worker, doing what it takes to help others and to make a difference,” Spano says. He wants to start with trying to make budgeting changes in South Carolina then moving on to improve education and the dreaded South Carolina roads. In the end, Nick Spano is a man who puts other people before himself without asking for anything in return. A man whose future aspirations, love of sports and love for family, push him to become the best at whatever he does.

Drinking Rosé All Day

By Lindsay Alshefski

Senior year of college in a nutshell: job stress, graduation anxiety, networking, the last year of a college social life, wine while studying…and did I say wine?

Undergraduates in their senior year experience an overwhelming variety of emotions. Morgan Dixon juggles the typical responsibilities of a college senior, but has developed a passion from a daily chore, her job at Cellar on Greene. She became passionate about wine since she has been in the food and beverage industry. Her love for wine inspired her to work towards becoming a Certified Specialist of Wine.

“When I started working in the food and beverage industry, I didn’t really enjoy wine. It became an interest when I realized I would make more money if I knew about different types of wine. Before I knew it, I fell in love with the different varieties and learning where different wines come from. Plus, drinking wine is also a fun way to socialize with friends,” said Dixon.

To become a Certified Specialist of Wine, the aspiring specialist must complete and pass an extensive 100-question exam in one hour. This certification serves as a prerequisite for higher certifications, but is also satisfying to have as an avid wine lover.

Since working at Cellar on Greene, Dixon has become increasingly passionate for tasting wines from different regions, of different tasting notes and made up of different grapes. She loves any pink or white wine, but her favorite is any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Cellar on Greene is a quaint wine bar, shop and restaurant that offers wine tastings, multiple shelves of wine to purchase and a dinner menu. Dixon says the atmosphere at Cellar on Greene is unique because it is an all-female working staff and that she is also the youngest person working at the establishment as a 22-year-old.

Dixon, like typical senior-level college students, balances a lot on her plate. From working at her favorite restaurant for some extra cash, completing her course assignments, maintaining relationships with her friends and family, and working towards becoming a Certified Specialist of Wine, Dixon juggles all her essential and pleasurable obligations.

“I’m so glad I fell into a random college job that opened my eyes to a new passion. If I could give one piece of advice to college freshmen, it would be to find something you love and lose yourself in it because it’s no fun getting lost in a major or job that you don’t enjoy,” said Dixon.

Dixon realized early in her college career the importance of doing and working with something you love. She started college on the Pre-Pharmacy track, but after taking a couple of science courses, she knew she wasn’t passionate about science like she thought she was. Dixon had a change of heart and now studies public relations to follow her creative intuition.

One day, Dixon hopes to pursue a career in pharmaceutical public relations. Her dream job would be working at OPI, the American nail polish manufacturer, as a creative advertising and marketing professional who names the thousands of nail polish hues. Until then, she will continue focusing on achieving different wine certifications to work in advertising and marketing for wine brands.

Alshefski is a senior public relations major 

Finding Luck

By Margo Schiffman

Luck can be defined in many ways. Some say it’s finding the last parking spot in Bull Street Garage or somehow making it to class even though you left your house 10 minutes before it started. John Kendall may define it a bit differently.

Kendall, 21, is a senior at the University of South Carolina. He is a public relations major who plans on continuing school to study law. He is from Atlanta, Georgia. If you asked him about luck at the beginning of his senior of high school, he would have definitely not said the same thing. Since he was from Georgia, most of his friends were looking forward to going to school at the University of Georgia. Kendall defines not getting an acceptance from Georgia, as one of the biggest challenges of his life. Now it is one his biggest blessings. “I plan on never leaving USC at this point, I love it too much.” Kendall said.

At the end of his senior year of high school, his luck catches up to him. All of his friends and their parents took one last trip together before separating to go to college. They chose to go to Atlantis Paradise Island, a resort in the Bahamas. Kendall spent most of the trip doing what you think an 18-year-old boy would do in the Bahamas, drinking and gambling his graduation money away. Towards the end of trip, he had spent most of his money but took one last chance at a slot machine. It was about 3a.m. when Kendall heard all the buzzers going off. He had just won $20,000. “They brought my money out in a case and I couldn’t believe what had just happen.” Kendall said. “I was running around tipping everyone, just giving away all the money.”

Luckily at one point, he woke up his parents who made sure he stopped spending his winnings. “My parents kept me from spending it right away and when we got back I invested in Apple stock so I still have it.” he said. He plans on using his money for long term plans involving his girlfriend after graduation. Unlike most 21 year olds, he can set up a future for them.

Having such luck with the slot machine is described by him as one of the best nights of his life. Kendall said. “The funny thing is, my family still goes back to Atlantis and they always remember this baby face boy who won $20,000.”

Schiffman is a public relations senior

For the Love of the Game: From Player to Coach

If anyone understands the phrase “for the love of the game” best it would have to be Grant Hensley. Born and raised in the suburbs of Columbia, South Carolina, Hensley learned to catch and throw a ball before he even learned how to walk.

For the Hensleys the dedication and passion for sports runs deep.  His father Davis was the driving force behind his love for all things sports related. A collegiate athlete himself, having played football on an athletic scholarship for Presbyterian College, Davis Hensley wanted the same experiences he had for his two sons.  From childhood through high school, Grant’s father introduced his sons to a wide range of sports. From football to basketball and even soccer, Grant played them all. Unlike his father, however, Hensley’s true passion lied with America’s favorite pastime.

Following in his older brother’s footsteps, baseball captured Hensleys full attention come high school. Having quit his two other sports teams his freshman year, he decided it was the right moment to focused strictly on the game he loved so much. During his high school baseball career, Hensley and the Hammond School Sky Hawks made it to the South Carolina state championships three years in a row and he finished his senior year with in a truly memorable win. With bases loaded in the final innings of the 2013 state championship game Hensley stepped up to bat, the team’s fate resting on his capable shoulders. Of course, Hensley came through for his teammates with an outstanding performance at bat, hitting a grand slam to win the game and take home the trophy one last time. He recalls those memories as capping off his career in what he called “the best way possible.”

The four years playing baseball for Hammond School had such a profoundly influenced on Hensley as an athlete and as a young man. He attributes those years spent with his team and coaches to shaping him into who he is today. Baseball taught him how to look defeat in the eyes and remain standing. It also taught him how dedication, perseverance and hard work can all pay off.

Now 21 years old Hensley continues his passion for baseball today, instead of being in the batting line up he is the one making it. Growing up in a community that cherished its sports teams and players so much had such a lasting impact on Hensley he decided to return the favor. He now coaches the junior varsity baseball team at his high school alma mater while attending the University of South Carolina.

Choosing A Major Is Tough

By Morgan Dixon

Picking a college to attend and picking a major are both tough choices that many high school seniors face today. Not everyone gets it right on the first try. For Lindsay Alshefski, a semester at the University of Maryland was all it took to know that she wanted a different college experience.

Alshefski says she wanted school spirit and big football games like Southern universities offer, so she transferred to the University of South Carolina. Luckily for Alshefski, her school was the only thing she switched, because with a little guidance from her parents she chose public relations as her major and that is what she is happy to be graduating with a degree in this spring.

Alshefski’s parents help guide her with, they also helped her to appreciate a love of good red wine. So when choosing to study abroad, as a public relations major and hotel restaurant and retail management minor, Alshefski chose to study abroad in Italy, where she says she continued to grow her love of food and wine. For her pr major, Alshefski also took a class on creative advertising, but she says that the class was really just centered on the advertising of wine bottle labels. She says that the professor would bring in different bottles of wine and the class would discuss how the wine bottle’s label could matter to different consumers. The design of wine bottles and their labels is important in the marketing and advertising of the brand.

Alshefski also took classes learning to cook and pair wine with foods, which she loved because she enjoyed all the foods. In addition, her teacher was “an adorable little Italian lady who barely spoke any English” but really helped her to understand the food culture of Italy. The culture and life in Italy was Alshefski’s favorite part and that is why she especially enjoyed traveling on the weekends. Amsterdam was her favorite city to visit in the fall because she says the trees were beautiful with all the colors changing.

Being able to take trips all around Europe, and classes while studying abroad in Italy, only helped to confirm that public relations was exactly what Alshefski wants to do with her life. Graduating in the spring of 2017, Alshefski wants to get a job in corporate pr to work on building her pr skills within an agency. According to Alshefski, it is the quickest way for her to work her way up to pr management, which is her ultimate goal in life.

Dixon is a public relations senior

Kleinfeld Dreaming

By Kate Stucky

Every bride strives for that feeling. The one deep down that tells her she found the perfect dress for her big day. Every year thousands of brides go to find that special gown at Kleinfeld Bridal Corporation. The popular television show Say Yes to the Dress features Kleinfeld, a store that brings in an average revenue of over $12 million each year.  India Harrison, a senior retail student at the University of South Carolina, is one of the few fortunate students with the opportunity to intern there this coming summer.

Harrison grew up right outside of Washington D.C. before moving to Columbia for school. This past summer while in D.C. she was a part of the team that opened the Carolina Herrera flagship store. She had held small retail jobs in the past but this was her first real introduction to the world of designers and luxury fashion. Harrison’s face lights up when she talks about her future and all of the exciting things she is working to accomplish in the fashion industry.

Ever since she was little, Harrison always knew she wanted to work at Kleinfeld. She watched Say Yes to the Dress religiously to learn the names of the consultants and designers so that she would already know them by time she started working there. The beautiful beading and lace, the miles of white tulle and the joy a bride felt after finding her perfect gown called out to her. She realized it was her dream to be a part of that moment.

One of Harrison’s aunts is the store manager of Kleinfeld and would always give her tours growing up. Having that family connection is part of the reason she was so drawn to that salon and excited at having been invited to intern there. Kleinfeld finds dresses for 10,000  brides each year and houses so many gowns that there are entire floors dedicated to storing them. The dresses are all hung on one of New York City’s longest clothing lines.

In the fall, Harrison plans on attending Laboratory Institute of Merchandising in New York City to study the business side of the fashion industry so she can eventually become a buyer for the salon. After a lengthy application and interview process, she finally received a letter of acceptance to LIM. Harrison said, “I’ve wanted to go there so bad and lost it when I found out I got in. Now I’m just waiting to officially enroll.”

In her final year at USC, Harrison started working at a pageant shop called Dazzles in Boozer Shopping Center. She said it gives her a lot of experience helping girls find the right dress in a much smaller setting. It has also allowed her to meet with designers firsthand and host fashion shows.

On occasion, after a girl finds her perfect dress at Dazzles she will mention how it was like being on Say Yes to the Dress. “I’ve only ever mentioned working there twice after a girl says something like that,” Harrison said. “Most of the time I keep quiet and LOL in my head about it.”

Stucky is a Visual Communications Junior

From Atlanta to Columbia

By Kelli Caldwell

Three years ago she arrived in Columbia, S.C., expecting the bustling movement of a big city. Now she knows it’s more of a town and Sydney Bugg is not intimidated.

Bugg’s friends would describe her as awkward, sarcastic, and funny which is exactly the impression she makes. When she got into USC she quickly did a Google search about the capital city, but was sadly mistaken when she arrived. The place she thought would be a bustling city like Atlanta turned out to be in her words a “town.”

As a junior public relations student, Bugg has adapted to the new environment at the University of South Carolina. An Atlanta native, she wanted to get away from the people she went to high school with so she pursued USC’s journalism school instead of the University of Georgia or Georgia State University.

Bugg is pursuing a minor in business administrative and hopes to work at a public relations agency. Researching internships for the summer it has helped her to figure out where she wants to end up after graduation. Looking into the company Ketchum, Bugg has taken an interest in this global public relations agency.

“They have this really cool program that if you’re a recent graduate they will send you across the country or to another country to study and work for them,” Bugg said.

Her passion to travel will most likely take her to different countries in her future career. Her favorite place to go so far would have to be Hawaii, she said. She enjoys the natural beauty there and the fact that they still hold onto their culture even through all the tourists.

When Bugg isn’t applying for internships or focusing on her schoolwork she likes to keep involved with student organizations. She is a member of the Association of Black Journalists and Alpha Kappa Psi. Bugg gets real-life experience to prepare her for a future career in public relations from these organizations.

One of Bugg’s best qualities is her empathy for others. She thinks it’s a great way to really understand another person is going through and truly know what kind of person he or she is.

“I know you can never really know someone else’s experiences but I think trying to see past those you get to see who that person really is,” Bugg said. “Even if I don’t agree with their way of life or how they do things it’s interesting to hear their stories.”

She credits her father with having the biggest impact on her. 

“He didn’t finish school but he worked really hard to still get a job in corporate America,” Bugg said. “Even though my family didn’t have a lot of money he always made sure that he solved things, even if we had to eat ham sandwiches during that time.”

As a hard-working person Bugg strives to be just like her dad by pushing herself to reach her goals.  

Caldwell is a public relations junior

Experiencing Time and Family

Little distance lies between the vibrant inner city of West Columbia and the diminutive town of Hopkins, South Carolina. For Nekeindra Thomas, student life at the University of South Carolina isn’t the most noteworthy experience. Rather, it is her dusty rural background, situated just miles away, which anchors her heart.

“Family is definitely one of the most important things for me,” says Thomas. “I’m very family oriented.”

Thomas grew up in the placid town of Hopkins. She attended Lower Richland High School, transferred as a freshman out of the University of South Carolina Upstate, and settled closer to home at the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Currently, at 23 years old, Thomas is concluding her final semester in college.

Upon transferring universities, Thomas opted out of broadcast journalism, and set her eyes toward public relations. “I just didn’t see many people out having success in a career with broadcast,” she says.

Thomas lives at home, and commutes daily to the university. The deep value she places on family illuminates brightly in her commitment to live at home. Many students would find it appalling to endure another four years with their parents, but not Thomas. She enjoys her alone time reading, writing and often interacting with her two sisters. “I have a few close friends,” she says. “And I’m pretty set with that.”

Among all of her family, her mother is her greatest influence. “I’m very close with my mom,” Thomas says. “I can pretty much talk to her about anything.” One of Thomas’ greatest objectives upon graduation is making her family proud, especially her mother. Thomas says that the older generations have much wisdom, something young people ought to take advantage of their many valuable lessons.

Thomas boasts a grand imagination, and hopes to embark upon global travels soon after graduating. Rural life can hold one back from experiencing the world. Moving forward, Thomas doesn’t want to miss out. She says there are many things to see, and many things to do, yet with fleeting time.

“I guess if you want to dig a little deeper, you could say I value my time greatly,” Thomas says. “Maybe even as the most important thing, because I wouldn’t value my family life without knowing how precious those moments of time really are.”

For Thomas, valuing her time and opportunities leads her to value her family. She says, “If I could go back and redo time, I guess you could say I’d redo my senior year of high school. I made a lot of mistakes, and didn’t take my schoolwork seriously. Again, time is so valuable; we only have so much of it.”

Thomas’ time at USC has been packed full with academic success, while experiencing many sweet moments with her family. As she reflects upon time and family, she moves forward eagerly anticipating a future brimming with opportunities.

Hunter is a public relations senior