’17
Danny
Bedford Hills, NY
Journalism
Leadership Studies

Interests

All Sports Delicious food Arguments about nonsense A lot of TV (The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones especially) Politics, history, and just about anything nonfiction.

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High Class

April 27, 2017

As graduation slowly impends, you naturally reflect. One thing that’s easy to take for granted is your classes. That sounds counter-intuitive, because you come to college to take classes. But amongst all the things that make college students busy, it can be easy to forget the opportunity to sit in a group of 16 and learn about a cool topic fro a smart person is actually an exceedingly rare opportunity. Thus, after reflection, here’s a sampling of some of my favorite classes I’ve taken in college and why.

The following are my three favorite classes from the Jepson School of Leadership.

Leadership 101: Fall ‘13

I took Leadership 101 my first semester and was enraptured. We read All The King’s Men and discussed the Dirty Hands Theory, or the idea that the ideological purity that inspires leaders is often impossible to maintain once decisions have to be made. We learned about the nature of propaganda and how the power of imagery can be  influenced for ideological purposes, not just with captions, but with context. We covered a ton of interesting stuff, but the professor is what made the class. Dr. Kaufman is a Yoda like figure, but would never offer his own opinion. He actually seemed to enjoy taking stances in class that made it impossible to discern what he really believed about the material, which made class discussions dynamic and interesting. Further, his curriculum never stays the same semester to semester. He keeps the general framework but updates material with new topics, so half of the course could be completely different from the semester before. The man is in his seventies, but he changes his material so he is always engaged.

“One day I’ll teach about the things I know about. Until then, I’m going to keep learning with all of you,” he told our class at the end of the semester. On top of it all, The people I met in this class are still some of my best friends today.

Leadership 205: Justice and Civil Society Spring ‘16

This is one of the best courses offered at UR. A class with community based learning, Justice delves into the intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomics, sexuality and politics, along with many other topics to analyze — you guessed it — justice in our society.  Class discussions can often get heated on topics like poverty and sexism. There’s also a service component, which I’ve blogged about before, mandating 24 hours of community service. I volunteered at the Delmont Learning Center, which was one of the most rewarding things I’ve been a part of in college. Additionally, we participated in the SNAP challenge http://site.foodshare.org/site/PageServer?pagename=programs_movement_education_snapchallenge

Fundamentally however, the course was about empathy. Dr. Gower, my professor for this course, was fantastic at facilitating amazing discussions and pushed us to think beyond what we were used to and to care about people we had not thought about. I’ll never forget our class discussion on the philosophy and motivations of offering money to homeless people, and how even when you have nothing to give, a smile or even a handshake can make somebody’s day.  As Gower always said, “Empathy is not walking in somebody else’s shoes. It’s understanding that you could never walk in their shoes.”

Leadership 390: Education and Equity 

I was extremely excited for my Jepson senior seminars, which are elective classes toward the end of the major where you can choose the topics that most interest you. Education and Equity opened my eyes to how K-12 public schools work in the United States, and how bringing equity to even a single school can be immensely challenging. Public schools in America are the most segregated they’ve been since the 1960s, and in some areas of the country, de facto segregation has actually surpassed the 1960s. Solving these diversity issues, which are economic as well as racial, is one of the most vexing challenges in America. 

I'm always hungry, usually talking, and an occasionally funny senior double majoring in Journalism and Leadership Studies with a minor in Business Administration. I am the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for the Richmond College Student Government Association, an Associate Editor with The Collegian, the student newspaper, and a brother of Theta Chi Fraternity. This past summer I interned for the Washington Redskins official website, Redskins.com. I am probably procrastinating as you read this.